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I live in a very small town in Texas. This small town's main claim to "fame" is having old Route 66 running right through it. It's a quiet town just half a step away from being a ghost town. In the vicinity of what passes for the "Downtown" area, or perhaps to use an older term "Main Street", there is a movie theater. The Avalon. The state that it's in... well it's enough to make a strong person want to weep. The facade is barely intact with the box office standing like a forgotten sentry. I have no doubt that it was beautiful once, and I'd love for it to be beautiful again.

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The other day while walking past the theater I saw a piece of paper taped to the box office. It gave an address for a crowd funding website and the sub link for a fund raising effort to restore the theater. I was beside myself with excitement. Then I got home, got online and looked at the page.

Right from the start I had reservations, not about the project which I'm sure is on the up and up, but rather about the person who started it. Specifically about his politics.

His profile picture from the start was worrisome. A close up picture of a bald eagle's head with the text over it proclaiming "A new age patriot with 1776 attitude." So I went and looked him up on Facebook. The first thing I discovered is that he's not only trying to save and renovate the Avalon but that he also runs a small local grocery store on Main Street. But then there were comments he'd made on various posts regarding assorted news items. I'll only quote one comment by way of example so as to not belabor the point...

"They should all be tried as adults and sentenced accordingly. If it were a group of whites that had beat a black mother it would be all over the news and called a hate crime before the police had time to press charges. Where are the big 3 race baiters (Obama, Sharpton and Jackson). This is getting really sad. Does Obama want a race war to break out in our country. I don't want this to go that far, but it sure is headed that way."
sigh Now to be fair I've heard more bigoted and hateful rhetoric, but it's still troubling. I like the little market, I like being able to support local businesses (of which there are precious few around) and I'd love to see the Avalon restored. But, well, I'm strictly speaking a nobody, but I have a good mind and if this were someone that I could have felt comfortable with I would not have minded meeting him in person and maybe seeing what I could have done to help. But frankly I just don't know how comfortable I am giving much in the way of time, or energy, let alone money (of which I have even less of than time and energy) to someone like this. I really don't feel all that comfortable even promoting his efforts to restore the Avalon. On the one hand I don't think he's dishonest. I'm sure his desire to see the Avalon restored is quite sincere. But just from the glimpse I got from his Facebook page he seems like a narrow minded bigot and who knows what else. I just really can't say that I think it's worth having to put up with such a person even if the aim is good.

At the same time I don't know how I feel about my feelings. Am I being too narrow minded? Am I by backing away from this because I don't care for an individuals opinions missing out on the chance to accomplish something of value?

I wish I had a clear cut pat answer. But more than that I wish the guy had just been a bit less of a blatant Right Wing, Racist. I mean an opinion here or there I could probably have ignored but when it seems to be the only thing he talks about?

Keep The Faith My Brothers And Sisters!

(and keep a little extra for me because right now mine's at kind of a low ebb)

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's unfortunate (26+ / 0-)

    and believe me, I do feel your pain and understand it because I live in a somewhat rural part of Arizona outside of Phoenix and racist bigots are everywhere.
    I don't know what I'd do either but think I would not support that person's business or his endeavor.
    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  •  I live in a small town in Texas too. We have guys (27+ / 0-)

    like this one. We also have others with "conservative" takes on life who are more tolerable.

    I'd say, as much as it's a great idea, let the theater effort make do without you. It's not worth the time out of your life spent de-stressing from dealing with the guy. Time is the one thing you can't get more of, once it's gone, it's gone.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 06:56:16 PM PDT

    •  either that or try to engage the NAACP in the (8+ / 0-)

      project; the amazing thing is the racists frequently drop out once minorities and DFHs start getting involved.  Some folks may feel this would be hijacking his project but in some 30 years of community organizing, I can only observe such projects need everyone's support and the sooner the support is diversified, the better it is for the community

    •  Floriduh will give you a run for your money, I (4+ / 0-)

      know personally that having been around these bigots as long as I have has turned me into one , for which I freely admit being. I have a list of people I can't stand:
      1. If you wear 'camo' as the latest style trend, if you think it's cool to spend hundreds of dollars turning your new vehicle into a "camo" machine- stay the hell sway from me.  Rednecks know how to drive now, what's the world coming to?
      2. If you have a Gadsen flag flying in your yard or a bumper sticker on your vehicle depicting one- stay the hell away from me. Don't like your kind...
      3. If you have a vehicle 'wrap' that you spent $1,000 on having installed on your truck that states "One Big Ass Mistake America"- stay the fuck away from me. Damn freak...
      $ If you see fit to put a flag pole in the bed of your truck and drive aimlessly for hours around town with your gigantic Confederate flag billowing behind you- well, stay the fuck away from me. You people suck!
      4. To the asshat on the Harley going down US1 over the weekend with BOTH the Confederate flag AND the Gadsen flag- yeah, you, too, dumbass, stay the hell away from me. Can't stand your type.
      5. If you own a business and your best idea for promoting it is to give away guns- you needn't stay away from me, I'll stay the hell out of your business and convince anyone I possibly can to do the same.
          Damn right I'm a bigot, and damn proud of it...

      Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are.

      by teabaggerssuckbalz on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 04:39:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You seem quite level-headed.. (17+ / 0-)

    the owner of the store, on the other hand, is a flaming nut-job who I wouldn't give a penny of business or a second of attention to.

    ..and yeah, ended sentence with a proposition. Sue me.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 06:57:41 PM PDT

  •  The Rightwing Cannot Be Other Than Blatant (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bibble, htowngenie, Miggles, Aunt Pat

    because between their religious wing and their militarism and economic wings, they're all on a mission to take over the world.

    Bigotry tends to be most appropriate toward race, other demographic categories, and religion that are generally difficult or impossible for people to change. Disliking or hating a worldview, a political philosophy, especially one that's imperialistic and conquest oriented as the various rightwing -isms are, I think that's not so much bigotry as common sense.

    Whether or not you feel hatred toward these individuals, there is still the question of how to deal with them as neighbors, and that's where hatred of the individual is a risky complication.

    Playing Irish trad music I expect to be rubbing shoulders with some militant anti-abortionists and, at least in the past, IRA supporters. My policy has always been to keep my head down and not ask risky questions, and avoid participating and supporting events or projects where I can't know the chain of consequences and the chain of custody of any funds or support.

    For most of my adult life to date I was an active wedding/funeral musician, and seeing that it was Celtic music, it appealed to the entire philosophical and political spectrum. For that reason I never put political signage on my car, and I never declined to support a family or other group with my music so long as it wasn't an event to advance goals. I figured in karma, and hopefully some time in my life and my communities, it might be helpful to let some of the more hateful of these people to consider that one of their enemies had had their back in their time of celebration or need.

    With that in mind, if this guy's doing a project you support, and you can be reasonably sure it's not having funds siphoned off for unsavory applications, if I were you I'd support it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 07:06:57 PM PDT

    •  I had a certain opinion about bigoted (17+ / 0-)

      'rednecks'.  I always lived in liberal cities until my husband and I decided we really needed to stretch our horizons and move to a ranch in bumfuck Oregon.

      It was really white.  It was so white Protestant, I even met a Catholic girl who was worried because she wasn't following Protestant tenets.

      And yes, people were racist.  But I soon discovered it was mostly through ignorance.  They just didn't know any black people.  It was like talking about Martians.

      But there was a black kid in our neighborhood.  Whose black dad was a semi-major rodeo champion.  And he was treated just like all the other kids in the area.  He was seen as family.

      And for myself and my husband.  We were out socialists and atheists.  Everyone knew it.  But they loved us anyways.  They helped us with our farm, if we needed to learn something, or if our truck broke down, or if we needed a stump pulling.  And these people were smart.  They knew how to do anything.  They were far better equipped mentally to control their environment than we were.

      These people we far more generous with their knowledge and their time to "outsiders" than anyone I have ever met living in the city.

      Which proved to me that we city-dwellers on the left have some bigotry issues of our own.

      These country folk sure taught me to revisit my stereotypes.

      •   I wonder if it would have been (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rubyr, FiredUpInCA

        the same if you were black?  They accepted you, but it is hard for me to see people you describe as racists really treating the black kid like a white kid.   Racists can he kind to whites, but being racist means something.  I understand that most folks have good and bad, but racism reveals itself differently to black folks.

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 07:57:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  dunno: I raised biracial kids in the deep South (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rubyr, Ahianne, Be Skeptical

          back in the 1980's.  Sure there were racists who avoided my family like the plague but the disdain was largely underground.  I have found most racism is based on generalities and once the bigots meet individuals of that race, those new acquaintances become "one of the Good'uns"

        •  One never knows. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rubyr, MHB

          My best friend in the Army was black. One day he was near tears after being around a group of other black soldiers. I asked what was wrong. "They make fun of me," he said, "Because my skin is shit-colored brown."

          As you say, most folks have good and bad.

      •  Sounds like the Oregon town where I grew up (7+ / 0-)

        There was only one kid in our school who wasn't lily white. I'll never forget one guy telling me that Catholics worshiped a 3-headed monster!

        The radical racism was carefully hidden, but just like the slot machines in the closet of the Elks Lodge, it was there and everyone knew it.

        There was a very active chapter of the KKK. I left there after high school, and never looked back. The town we're in now still has its racist people, but they are more the exception than the rule

        The deeper that sorrow carves in to your being, the more joy you can contain ~ Khalil Gibran

        by SisTwo on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 09:13:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A three-headed monster? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ahianne, Aunt Pat, SisTwo

          A common error made among those ignorant of Catholicism.

          I attended services at Our Lady of Monster Island Church. That guy's thinking of St. Ghidorah in Chains, a more dominionist offshoot of the one true Tokai faith.

          Thank God, the Bob Fosse Kid is here! - Colin Mochrie

          by gardnerhill on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 11:21:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Southern Ohio here (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FiredUpInCA, TiaRachel, SisTwo, Eyesbright

          I understand there were small Klan rallies on the courthouse steps well into the 70s, but most of the people are okay and this is a racially diverse area thanks to the coal mines of old.

          Still I'll never forget the day an acquaintance of mine was struggling to illustrate how liberal minded she was and said (I am not making this up) "I've even had Catholics in my house!"

          Somehow my Irish maiden name had failed to register a salient point in the echo-chamber of her mind. But then that was nothing new.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:35:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Somewhat similar situation... (9+ / 0-)

        My husbands family lives in lily white southern Illinois, and the bigotry runs deep.  I have to admit I was really confused when they reared their ugly racists heads when I was around.  There were white people as far as I could see.  I live in Houston, so not seeing people of different colors is quite unusual.  Anyway...their blatant, unashamed racism floored me.  After clenching my jaw until it was almost broken, I finally had to ask a simple question - "Is your bigotry based on experience or ignorance?"  Needless to say I'm not exactly the family favorite, but it grated on me so badly that I just had to find where all that hate was coming from. After talking with the group for a while, they don't even know anyone that isn't white.  I just hope I made them think.  One thing is certain - they don't spew their vitriol when I'm around - and for that I'm thankful.  

  •  If the motherfucker is so right wing, let him (10+ / 0-)

    go out and fund it. How dare him approach the public asking for a handout to buy his dream.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 07:07:09 PM PDT

  •  Oh, I feel your pain (19+ / 0-)

    I had to leave a liberal 'hood in Boise for a conservative, redneck town in Southern Idaho, and I struggle with the same desire to support the precious few local businesses here without supporting their regressive goals.

    It's tough. I don't know the answer.

    I try to do most of my shopping at Costco because I appreciate their labor standards, but it's just me, my partner, and our pets, so buying in bulk is often a waste. The rest I buy at Smith's (Kroger's) which is pretty labor friendly.

    But I miss the Boise Co-Op and Farmer's Market, not to mention all the other little shops and restaurants that are locally owned.

    I don't think it's bigoted, I think it's just deciding where you want your money to go. A lot of the local businesses here- especially the restaurants, treat their employees like shit, so I don't want to support them anyway.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 07:09:07 PM PDT

    •  I would be really hard pressed (6+ / 0-)

      to team up with a real racist in order to save a building.  Unless it was 400 years old.

      Much better to put your money into setting up a living room classroom teaching life skills.

      •  Well, I have an affinity for old buildings (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rubyr, Aunt Pat

        I would probably do what I could to preserve a historical building. I don't like losing touch with history.

        Sometimes we have to make awkward alliances. It's not easy, but sometimes it is worth it.

        There was a theater in my hometown that had stood for over a hundred years. It burned down when I was a 'tween and I was always saddened that they didn't try to restore it. It could have been done.

        It's been bulldozed and something else rebuilt in its place for over twenty years now, but I still mourn its loss. It was an important piece of that town. I wish we could have kept it.

        I'm sentimental, though.

        P.S. I am not a crackpot.

        by BoiseBlue on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 08:19:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Slightly OT (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But I live alone and still buy in bulk. Freeze it, dry it or can it. Works for me.

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 08:42:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I live in Houston and we have crazy guys too. (18+ / 0-)

    I went to a counter top fabricator to have my sister's kitchen redone. It was shortly after Wendy Davis' filibuster. My sister mentioned she thinks her taxes are too high and the proprietor goes into this spiel about Dan Patrick (total red meat republican wing nut) running for Lt. Governor and how he will lower all taxes. When he asked if we knew who Dan Patrick is, I told him Dan Patrick is part of the war on women and he would lower taxes by starving public schools and old people. I wasn't rude or using bad language. The dude refused to do the job for my sister even though it was a 12k job. We easily found another fabricator.  

  •  So it's come to this? (3+ / 0-)

    We're really going for two Americas, with conservatives on one side and liberals on the other?

    Rather than looking at the bald eagle and pseudo-patriotic garble, why don't you look into this man's eyes. Yes - a man. A human being whose only crime is having a different opinion than yours - and not even a particularly egregious one at that, considering the civil rights community really is a joke today, as he claims.

    Stop hating your fellow man just because he has different political views. Being wrong about one thing doesn't make you wrong about everything else. It may surprise you, but some of the best things in this country were done by ardent racists. Ever wonder who Glass and Steagal were who sponsored the Glass-Steagal Act? Glass was a Senator from Virginia, and Steagal was a Congressman from Alabama. Not exactly paragons of civil rights, but they passed one of the most important banking reforms of the 20th century.

    And before you say "the Tea Party hates us": Be better than them.

  •  I don't think you are a bigot. Far from it. (7+ / 0-)

    It is not always black and white, is it?
    There are so many shades of grey.
    On the other hand, how are we different from those who have taken blood oaths against working with this president if we can't work with those with whom we disagree?
    I don't have the answer but I'll support whatever decision you make.
    I'm black, btw.

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 07:31:58 PM PDT

  •  A Bigot by defintion is prejudiced (9+ / 0-)

    Meaning to judge someone based on superficial reasons - skin color, hair color, eye color, religious belief or the country they were born in.

    You didn't prejudge this guy, you learned something about his beliefs and now have evaluated those beliefs and don't care for them. So, you have not prejudge him in the classic sense of the word.

    Now no you haven't actually met the guy, but If you are worried about your progressive soul, go do it. Shake his hand, tell him you admire his efforts to restore the movie theater and leave it at that. If he asks for a donation for the project, simply decline and if necessary to get off politely, lie and tell him times are tight right now, but you will be happy to support the place if he gets it open.

    Then you've done your due diligence and you can walk away head held high.

    Progress 365 not just a slogan a goal - 300 progressive seats in the House and 65 progressive seats in the Senate.

    by jusjtim35 on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 07:40:04 PM PDT

  •  It often surprises me (13+ / 0-)

    that the Right feels that everyone needs to know their politics, in every public setting..

    When, for example, was the last time you saw a line at the end of an eBay listing stating "Proud Atheist", yet the fundies put their religion on listings all the time.

    They don't just think they are right, they are Righteous about it, and by God you will be told!

    I would steer well clear of this guy. I know that is difficult in a small town, but for him I'd make an exception.

    I know people around here hold exactly the same attitudes, but in the main they haven't told me, so I don't ask.

    Whatever, thanks for the Diary. We need to hear this stuff.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 07:54:37 PM PDT

    •  my father always said a merchant cannot afford (8+ / 0-)

      politics or at least wearing your politics on your sleeve.  I have watched merchants run off various would be customers because of race or ethnicity or politics and I note most of those folks don't last long.

      During an NAACP protest, for 2 weeks, their members paid only with Susan B Anthony coins.  After that time, they told merchants to count those coins vs their other collections for the period and decide if they really wanted a boycott.  Merchants caved

      •  No one who works with the public (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, entlord, TiaRachel, twigg

        can afford to wear their politics on their sleeves. I work in a very conservative office. People here sometimes talk politics amongst themselves (except for me), but you will see no bumper stickers on the cars in our parking lot or any other overt display of partisanship. It's not a written policy, it's just common sense.

  •  You're a long way from being a bigot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rubyr, TiaRachel

    Never give your money to a rightwinger if you can possibly avoid it.  You know they're working against (and voting against) everything that you believe in.

    As to the movie house restoration, etc., odds are that effort will go nowhere (and he might even manage to keep the money that was raised for the failed effort if the total doesn't match the "goal").  There was a similar effort here (and this is a much larger town) and because of that I have some knowledge of the costs involved.  Odds are that project would be far more expensive than you think.  Don't waste your money or your worry over it.

    It's not a question of whether our founding fathers are rolling in their graves but rather of how many RPM they're clocking.

    by Eyesbright on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 08:37:58 PM PDT

  •  this right-wing stuff is esp. pervasive (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, rubyr, JoanMar, Aunt Pat, MHB, FiredUpInCA

    around these parts (i'm in another relatively small town in the tx panhandle). we, too, have a movie theatre in disrepair that is using crowd-funding to renovate. problem is, downtown is also run-down and vacant. too much, too late, maybe...(and all the 'good, white people' moved their businesses to the other side of town.)

    with so many things here, i proceed with caution. but maybe stop by his store, make his acquaintance, ask about the project.

    a year ago, i hired a man to do a great deal of work on my vintage bug. silly me, i assumed his singular interest in vws would mean he was a 'hippie liberal' like wrong to assume.

    he is as rabidly right-wing as they come, as i discovered on his facebook after he'd posted pix of the car's progress. yikes.

    so, again, i proceed with caution, but with kindness and respect, believing that it can make a difference.

    good luck to you!

    'i know what it's like to be dead. i know what it is to be sad.'-jpgr

    by shesaid on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 08:46:57 PM PDT

  •  Here are some thoughts… (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rubyr, JoanMar, Aunt Pat, MHB, TiaRachel

    1) Let’s say you got the money and restored the theater to pristine condition (maybe you get a government grant or a donation from a zillionaire) -- then what? What’s the business plan? Show movies seven nights a week (either current movies or old classics)? Maybe install a small sandwich-type restaurant or ice cream shop? Maybe occasionally rent out the space to the local Kiwanis or Elks Club or Democratic Party or whoever? Maybe occasionally rent it out for a live show (polkas or punk rock or stand-up comedy or talent shows or whatever)? Maybe find local artists to display art on the walls for a couple weeks or a month -- and take a commission on sales. Maybe some kind of museum thing. Maybe lectures of some sort. Maybe start a local theater group. Maybe have the city council meetings there (and get them to toss in some tax money).

    In other words, once you get the theater restored, what’s gonna happen there? How will it stay alive -- or at least break even -- as a business?

    I doubt you could get it to work as a regular movie theater showing the latest movie releases -- those days are gone. People rent or download movies nowadays to watch on big-screen TVs or their computers. And if you want a state of the art (digital or even 3-D) theater, the equipment is enormously expensive.

    2) Another question is are you gonna run it as a for-profit business or as a non-profit? Are the owners gonna expect to make some money or are you gonna have volunteers who put in hours because it makes the town a nicer place to live?

    3) You didn’t say how big the town is. 100 people? 1000 people? 10,000 people? That would certainly make a difference. If the town only has 100 people, you’d have to have big enough shows that would attract people from a wider area.


    If you’re thinking about going forward, you could maybe volunteer to help out. You’d have to balance the positives and negatives. Would the positive of restoring the theater and maybe revitalizing the town be worth the negative of working with some right-wing racist asshole? Maybe you could eventually do some missionary work and convert him to our side (ha!).

    I don’t know. I’m just suggesting a few things to think about.

    If it were me, I’d go talk to the guy but not reveal my politics at first. Maybe try to figure out what he's thinking before you tell him what you think.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 09:13:22 PM PDT

  •  Unrealized Expectations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, TiaRachel

    I must admit I was a bit disappointed with the content of this diary.  But to be honest, I first saw your title out of the corner of my eye.

    I read it as:

    I Might Be A Bigfoot.
    (And I Don't Know How I Feel About That.)

    So my expectations on clicking the link were unrealistically high.


  •  My $.02: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    Go back and think on it a little more. Ask your friends and family what they think -- maybe even have a face-to-face talk with the guy. If you're that passionate about the objective, and this guy shares your passion for it, see if there is any way that you can work with him to make your community better. That's how it begins: locally, with people who may or may not agree on 90% of the issues facing the country, but can unite to solve a single problem or set of problems.

  •  You are possibly a good example for him and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, MHB, FiredUpInCA

    maybe potentially a good influence.

    We all have to live with people in our communities who believe in or do things we find offensive. Part of what makes a community work is making it work in spite of that, and whenever possible, inspiring or coordinating gentle course changes where you can.

    Is it possible that if mainstreat AKA the town is rehabilitated, and renewed, that people will feel less financially and therefore socially insecure?

    The root of bigotry is fear. Not just fear of others who are different, but also fear of the future, insecurity about access to resources.

    Perhaps is these other issues are addressed, then eventually the bigotry can be addressed too.

    Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

    by GreenMother on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 07:07:26 AM PDT

  •  This is why it's big corporations all the way (0+ / 0-)

    for me, rather than "mom & pop" stores that tend to be run by the biggest nutcases out there.

    McDonalds, here I come for lunch, mmm, mmm, mmm.

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