Bukowski C/D and S&D

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Everyone seems to embrace this drunk ex-post office worker. My first Buk book was Factotum. I even like Dominique DeRuddere's film Crazy Love based on his work. However when I saw the documentary on him, I cooled down a bit.

nathalie, Tuesday, 14 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

He is often portrayed as being a mysogynist..but I think that it was just that he had a dislike for people in general. my first book was "the days run away....",thats quite different from his later stuff. I wonder what it was about the doco that put you off?

Folina, Tuesday, 14 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

try "you get so alone sometimes it starts to make sense" (or something similar)

Geoff, Wednesday, 15 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

THe novel "Hollywood"is about him writing the screenplay for the film "Barfly"with Faye Dunaway and MickeyRourke....a funny insight and his usual twisting of the truth.

Ever come across any of his poems that mention Dac Jerouac ? pretty funny

Folinax, Wednesday, 15 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

He is often portrayed as being a mysogynist..but I think that it was just that he had a dislike for people in general

I love the way hating half the population is always seen as worse than hating the whole population.

I will not read Bukowski becuase Miles Hunt once said that he had got into something (I forget what) that had turned him onto Bukowski, through whom he had in turn discovered Dostoyevsky. I'm not sure if it was all just to do with them rhyming. Anyway, through Miles Hunt I have been turned off this entire cultural daisy chain.

Nick, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Used to like him a lot. After awhile you get the...ahem...shtick. So Classic. Search: Post-Office (hilarious), Women and Love is a Dog from Hell.

I think I saw that documentary too, Nathalie. Has Sean Penn in it, right? My enthusiasm cooled a bit after that one too since he acted like a pig towards his woman-du-jour on camera.

Omar, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Yeah..kicked her and called her a fucking cunt didn't he? I found it rather amusing actually .I couldn't figure out if it was a show for the camera or whether she had just pissed him off..probably both.

Folinax, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

two years pass...
I never tire of the schtick and am a "fan", I guess, inviting all the attendant stigmas.

His poetry is way better than his prose, though.

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Sunday, 14 December 2003 01:10 (nineteen years ago) link

Saw Barfly the other night. A decent-enough film RUINED by Rourke's dreadful attempt to do Bukowski's accent: "heeeey maaaaan, liiike whaaaat's goiiiiin orrrrnnnnn..."

Ian SPACK (Ian SPACK), Monday, 15 December 2003 00:21 (nineteen years ago) link

When that movie came out, unfamiliar with the term as I was, I thought it was meant to be pronounced 'barf-ly.'

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 15 December 2003 00:22 (nineteen years ago) link

ha! one of my housemates in college thought that, too, ned. i had rented the tape and came home to her asking, "what's barf-ly about?".

lauren (laurenp), Monday, 15 December 2003 00:32 (nineteen years ago) link

Classic, but dud when read by idiots (too many no-talent would-be macho drunks who are just... drunk, without Bukowski's eye for the romantic, read him and decide they can be poets and if you don't like their poetry you're a boo-joi shithead).

Ann Sterzinger (Ann Sterzinger), Monday, 15 December 2003 06:07 (nineteen years ago) link

two months pass...
I'm greatly anticipatory of


@d@ml (nordicskilla), Friday, 20 February 2004 21:38 (nineteen years ago) link

Why did I think this thread was about Christine Baranski?

NA (Nick A.), Saturday, 21 February 2004 04:45 (nineteen years ago) link

two months pass...

It'coming to SF and Berkeley very soon.

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Sunday, 9 May 2004 23:29 (nineteen years ago) link

Obviously, nobody gives a crap about this film except me, all having declared Bukwoski reactionary, adolescent, and artless bullshit. But I am seeing this film tonight and I am very, very excited.


@d@ml (nordicskilla), Tuesday, 18 May 2004 21:08 (nineteen years ago) link

Bukowski, even.

Although there are readings from Sean Penn and Harry Dean Stanton in it. Not sure.

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Tuesday, 18 May 2004 21:09 (nineteen years ago) link

Who's this Bukkakski guy anway?

Michael White (Hereward), Tuesday, 18 May 2004 21:15 (nineteen years ago) link

I just want to see the side of bukowski what wants to fight with Frank Stallone on a regular basis.

bill stevens (bscrubbins), Tuesday, 18 May 2004 21:15 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh well, it actually wasn't all that great. Some interesting documentary footage, but in terms of anecdotes, nothing I hadn't heard before. I asked Mrs Nordic, a stranger to Bukowski, what she thought of the movie and she just said "it made me feel nauseous...but I guess it's supposed to, isn't it?"

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 16:46 (nineteen years ago) link

Seeing him after losing 20 pounds due to leukemia was a bit scary - he looked...almost normal!

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 16:47 (nineteen years ago) link

Is this playing in NYC now? Can't access the link (I'm at work).

57 7th (calstars), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 16:55 (nineteen years ago) link

I started to read his stuff last year and was quite intrigued -- so simple, direct yet painful and exacting. His personality is repugnant and pitiful. Yet he derives compassion. I read a short biography.
I respect someone who make beauty out of suffering. But I do not respect someone who violently brings their suffering onto others
Bukowski as poet: C
Bukowski as human being: D

Gilles Meloche (Gilles Meloche), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 17:01 (nineteen years ago) link

I did feel a bit weird laughing at an alcoholic, as so many people in the theater did.

The Bono and Sean Penn talking heads were excruciating. Harry Dean Stanton less so.

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 17:04 (nineteen years ago) link

And 57 7th, it would appear that NY hates Bukowski:

MAY 28th, 2004
LOS ANGELES, CA at Landmark's Nuart Theatre
CAMBRIDGE, MA at Landmark's Kendall Square Cinema
BERKELEY, CA at Landmark's Act 1 & 2 Cinemas
SAN FRANCISCO, CA at Landmark's Lumiere Theatre

JUNE 11th, 2004
PORTLAND, OR at Cinema 21

JUNE 18th, 2004
ATLANTA, GA at Landmark's Midtown Art Cinema

JULY 9th, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC at Landmark's E Street Cinema

JULY 30th, 2004
ST LOUIS, MO at Landmark's Tivoli Theatre
NEW ORLEANS, LA at Landmark's Canal Place Cinema
SEATTLE, WA at Landmark's Varsity Theatre
SAN DIEGO, CA at Landmark's Ken Cinema

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Wednesday, 19 May 2004 17:05 (nineteen years ago) link

three years pass...

I have "Women". Should I read it? I read the first page and it looks like it could be v good.

Drooone, Thursday, 26 July 2007 02:32 (sixteen years ago) link

No. Shittiest, most overrated writer ever.

John Justen, Thursday, 26 July 2007 02:39 (sixteen years ago) link


Drooone, Thursday, 26 July 2007 02:50 (sixteen years ago) link

yes read it.

chaki, Thursday, 26 July 2007 02:53 (sixteen years ago) link

depends what kind of writing you like. if you like denis johnson, maggie dubris, raymond carver, tobias wolff, richard ford, then you'll probably like his stuff.

i love it. easy to read, funny, deceptively simple style. i haven't read 'women', but i think the misogynistic label is a little harsh.

Rubyredd, Thursday, 26 July 2007 03:03 (sixteen years ago) link

OK, that was a bit of a kneejerk reaction from me. I just never liked the guy at all, and was constantly subjected to him for my first 3.5 years of college by precious rich slumming classmates, so I might just be a little bitter.

John Justen, Thursday, 26 July 2007 03:11 (sixteen years ago) link

that's fair enough. honestly, i can totally understand why a lot of people don't like his stuff. but it really does come down to taste rather than talent, imo. i really do think he was a talented writer.

what can we do?- Charles Bukowski

at their best, there is gentleness in Humanity.
some understanding and, at times, acts of
but all in all it is a mass, a glob that doesn't
have too much.
it is like a large animal deep in sleep and
almost nothing can awaken it.
when activated it's best at brutality,
selfishness, unjust judgments, murder.

what can we do with it, this Humanity?


avoid the thing as much as possible.
treat it as you would anything poisonous, vicious
and mindless.
but be careful. it has enacted laws to protect
itself from you.
it can kill you without cause.
and to escape it you must be subtle.
few escape.

it's up to you to figure a plan.

I have met nobody who has escaped.

I have met some of the great and
famous but they have not escaped
for they are only great and famous within

I have not escaped
but I have not failed in trying again and

before my death I hope to obtain my

from blank gun silencer - 1994

Rubyredd, Thursday, 26 July 2007 03:22 (sixteen years ago) link

i always hated bukowski then i loved him but now it seems that love might have been a shameful interlude though i'd never hate him again, he's way better than i thought. i used to think he was hamming being fucked up but i think he genuinely was, in a not entertaining way, which i have compassion for, being not chosen. some of his show drunk act is annoying but his audience were probably responsible for some of that, he had an obedient streak.
i don't consider him a misogynist but i wish misogynists could be banned from reading him.

estela, Thursday, 26 July 2007 03:37 (sixteen years ago) link

I hope me reading the first page and saying I liked it doesn't make me seem a sodgy.
As I recall he's going, pathetically, on about how useless he is with women.

Drooone, Thursday, 26 July 2007 03:42 (sixteen years ago) link

^^^^^that's some bad sentences from me jus there.

Drooone, Thursday, 26 July 2007 03:43 (sixteen years ago) link

no no i didn't mean you.

estela, Thursday, 26 July 2007 03:48 (sixteen years ago) link

I don't really see definite cross-pollination between Johnson/Ford/Wolff love and Bukowski. Carver, maybe, esp. for the guys in motorcycle jackets who still think alcoholism is the key to creativity (ie Ethan Hawke), but the first three are more lyrical and lack Bukowski's narcissism (which is kinda the defining feature of his novels).

milo z, Thursday, 26 July 2007 03:55 (sixteen years ago) link

i would never place bukowski and carver together, they are totally different kinds of drunks and writers. also carver would never claim that alcoholism was the key to creativity, he was dismissive of that kind of thinking. he was sober for the last eleven years of his life, that's hardly glamorising it.

estela, Thursday, 26 July 2007 04:13 (sixteen years ago) link

i like carver, ford, johnson, etc. and i like bukowski, so i was just making a generalisation.

Rubyredd, Thursday, 26 July 2007 04:59 (sixteen years ago) link

"i would never place bukowski and carver together"

I can see the similarities. both were direct. the lost art of the straight punch. carver was more the craftsman, like hemingway. bukowski was more inspired, like kerouac.

nicky lo-fi, Thursday, 26 July 2007 05:57 (sixteen years ago) link

I read the first 40 pages or so of Women last night. I'm enjoying it. But I can see how it could be construed as misogynistic.
I wouldn't encourage my gf to read it. I tried to get her to read Tropic of Cancer and she did not like.

Drooone, Wednesday, 1 August 2007 22:02 (sixteen years ago) link

yeah but Bukowski >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Henry Miller

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 1 August 2007 22:27 (sixteen years ago) link

I have met girls that dig Bukowski. Really!

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 1 August 2007 22:27 (sixteen years ago) link

my wife is one of them!

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 1 August 2007 22:27 (sixteen years ago) link

easy to read, funny, deceptively simple style

I'm finding this to be otm.

Drooone, Wednesday, 1 August 2007 22:30 (sixteen years ago) link

..actually this book's not that funny.

Drooone, Wednesday, 1 August 2007 22:36 (sixteen years ago) link

The part when Chinaski goes out camping with his girlfriend and her two sisters is funny.

earlnash, Thursday, 2 August 2007 00:32 (sixteen years ago) link

Ham on Rye & Post Office are both pretty good - Ham on Rye is better than "pretty good," really.

the early poetry's weird for how lit-mag it is; the middle period gets pretty good; then it gets real lazy and scattershot, like he's decided that he's gonna hit an occasional vein whether he tries or not, which is kind of an honest approach, if that's something you value. in the late ones, when he does hit, it's with an assured ease. still, I prefer the stuff from when he was just beginning to feel confident - it has an economy that he later lost in favor of something else

J0hn D., Thursday, 2 August 2007 02:43 (sixteen years ago) link

"Ham on Rye & Post Office are both pretty good - Ham on Rye is better than "pretty good," really."

that's what i said on yet another bukowski thread today! it's true too.

shd i return my "bukowski: born into this" dvd to ntflx or shd i watch it?

scott seward, Thursday, 2 August 2007 03:20 (sixteen years ago) link

yeah, i think i read post office and factotum in one sitting. dude had some issues with women (to say the least), but ppl seem to forget the scene in post office (?) where betty drinks herself into a coma and he goes to the hospital and sits with her, washes her, brushes her hair and abuses the fuck out of the medical staff for not doing more to save her.

hollywood is hilarious. quite a bit different to his other books in that he is more outside of the story, less the central character. and the scene where they visit charles manson's house is pretty good.

don't understand the whole "chicks wouldn't dig him" tag - i mean, i can still want equal rights for women AND have a sense of humour, right?

Rubyredd, Thursday, 2 August 2007 03:28 (sixteen years ago) link

yuh. right.

Drooone, Thursday, 2 August 2007 03:30 (sixteen years ago) link

and nicky lo-fi otm.

Rubyredd, Thursday, 2 August 2007 03:37 (sixteen years ago) link

fwiw, i only said my gf wouldn't like him. Not that all "chicks wouldn't dig him".

Drooone, Thursday, 2 August 2007 03:42 (sixteen years ago) link

oh no, i wasn't really referring to what you'd said - it just seems a general belief. although i belong to a bukowski forum and it's probably 98% male.

Rubyredd, Thursday, 2 August 2007 03:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Bukowski never claimed his drinking contributed to his creativity. I never got that impression anyway. I think he even denied it. In a way I see my fascination with Bukowski similar to Guided by Voices (in a roundabout way) and, hey, I'm not rich nor a student, but I can see John's (?) dislike because of the "kids slumming" thing. In a way it's bit like women digging serial killers who are imprisoned. It's a safe way of living dangerously, I guess. Bad boys are attractive. I do place him in the same league/territory as Carver, Johnson and so on. They all seem to have a very direct way of writing, which, certainly at the time, appealed to me immensely. I didn't/don't like a very floral, tralala, magic real way of writing. (I have since come around to it and do like magic realism and even a floral way of writing, though in doses.)

Was he mysoginistic? I am still not convinced. Or rather I... excused it (until I saw the documentary which made it too up close and personal) and appreciated he was so matter of factly about it. He clearly had issues with women but I was able to forgive it because 1 he wrote very honestly about it, 2 I think deep down he did love women in a fucked up kinda way and 3... well, it's always easier to read it, then see/experience it. I do think that he played into it (mysoginy/alcoholism). He was aware that his fans loved that part of him (much like GBV for example), so I do think his fanbase kinda kept the machine rolling in that way.

Women is a great book! I love Post Office and Factotum more, but Women is a great book as well. I'd defenitely recommend it.

stevienixed, Thursday, 2 August 2007 08:57 (sixteen years ago) link

BTW, fuck, has it been that long since I read Bukowski? Sheeit. More than 6 years. Yikes.

Also, don't call him Buk. He's not a dog. God, I hated it when people used that nickname.

stevienixed, Thursday, 2 August 2007 08:58 (sixteen years ago) link

I love Bukowski! and I am female! Have just finished reading Howard Sounes' bio actually. The film Factotum with Matt Dillon was very good, I thought.

I think mainly he is v funny but his pathos can be heartbreaking too (viz the poem about the dead goldfish).

Meg Busset, Thursday, 2 August 2007 18:57 (sixteen years ago) link

I got the book HOLLYWOOD out of the library!

I look forward to reading it when I have finished with GEORGE MELLY.

PJ Miller, Friday, 3 August 2007 18:13 (sixteen years ago) link

Hollywood is fantastic. I love it because of the OH NOT SO OBVIOUS references. roffle.

stevienixed, Friday, 3 August 2007 18:14 (sixteen years ago) link

Francis Ford Lopolla

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 3 August 2007 18:33 (sixteen years ago) link

i love bukowski. i mean i LOVE HIM. im naming my second born after him.

sunny successor, Friday, 3 August 2007 18:46 (sixteen years ago) link

I just watched "Born Into This". Yeah, the part where he goes aggro on his girlfriend/wife was definitely upsetting; classic alcoholic personality going horrifingly distorto.

But, parts of the film, to be honest, moved me greatly. The guy, despite his facades, did have a side to him that was so penetratingly naked and revealing of the human condition. I mean, as far as his actual personal presentation, as well as his writing. I guess that is what some of the people in the film are getting at when they repeatedly refer to his "charisma".

I feel that people like Bukowski, Kerouac, Miller, et al. tend to get a short-shrift these days as a result of so many dodo-heads reading their stuff and ending up missing said authors' points entirely, and subsequently advertising their misguided interpretations in loud and crass fashion, and then eventually these authors' writings/personas get shunted into some cheap cultural shorthand for 'bohemian' blahblahblah.

But for me, at least, it doesn't take away from the fact that these people led genuinely risky, interesting, inspirational lives that are eminently worthy of consideration (not to mention their actual literary outputs, as well). I guess what I am trying to say, is that, I understand when people dismiss these folks offhandedly as being a throwback to some portion of their own adolescent phase, but, at the same time I would encourage them to read a good biography of any of these people, or to read some of the actual primary sources with a fresh eye. (Part of the problem in appreciating some of them, as well, I think, is that people tend to read them (as mentioned upthread) as a sort of rite of passage when one is eighteen years-old or so, and, at that young age very few people have had sufficient "adult" life experience (i.e., earning a living, significant love affairs, etc.) to be able to appreciate these writers in their full depth.)

But, anyhow, Bukowski, as a human being, in the film made me cry. It reminded me of an essay I read years back where the author quotes some young woman at one of his readings who said something along the lines of "he's so ugly, that he's beautiful".

dell, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:12 (sixteen years ago) link

It was hard seeing Bukowski act that way on camera (re: Born Into This)...the trouble is that I wanted him to *not* be a heel in real life, in spite of the fact that he spent his whole career describing how much of a heel he was.

My absolute favorite thing is showing Bukowski to friends who don't like poetry: I've never met anyone that hasn't been turned around by him.

VegemiteGrrrl, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:22 (sixteen years ago) link

there's a bukowski forum that i belong to, and there is an insane amount of people who end up posting there, who have never been fiction or poetry readers. but once they've been turned onto bukowski, that changes entirely. i think that's where his real power lies.

Rubyredd, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 02:47 (sixteen years ago) link

That's interesting. I was always more predisposed towards Kerouac & Miller, if I can clumsily lump them in with him...but, anyhow, I can see how Bukowski's poetry could definitely convert someone who was otherwise turned off from poetry.

VegemiteGrrrl, did you feel like he seemed a heel other than the disturbing sequence where he hauls off on his future bride? I thought he comported himself pretty decently other than that, at least within the context of the film.

dell, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 03:09 (sixteen years ago) link

Also, Ginsberg. I have a serious soft spot for Ginsberg. I think that Ginsberg managed to express the rawness that is so affecting in the best of Bukowski and Kerouac, but also added the joi de vivre that was Miller's stock in trade.

dell, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 03:13 (sixteen years ago) link

The scene with his wife was the clincher, I really loved the movie overall.
I just hate finding out my heroes are real people. Bubbles burst, etc. You can only romanticise them so far before you're shown your own hypocrisy I guess. Ah who cares. All the best heroes are screwups anyway, I should be used to it by now!

VegemiteGrrrl, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 05:42 (sixteen years ago) link

I love all of Bukowski's writing, but his poetry is definitely on a slightly higher pedestal for me. I grew up loving flowery wordy poets like
Shelley, Tennyson, Blake, the old dudes...Bukowski's economy of words, and the simple pictures of mundane un-pretty life...it just gets me. Goddamn
genius. Side note: Bukowski I enjoy most when I smoke (and I'm not much of a smoker). Early Rolling Stones, too. It just feels right.

VegemiteGrrrl, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 05:51 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, meeting heroes can easily turn to dud. Though, I've met at least one person who actually surpassed my expectations (in a positive respect).

But, point well taken-- knowing what a jerk I myself can be, idealizing others just seems silly.

You're not alone in preferring his poetry to his prose, and I have a feeling, based in part on conversations with others, that ultimately, his poetry will be remembered in greater esteem than his prose.

dell, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 06:14 (sixteen years ago) link

I smoke so infrequently that everything seems appealing to me on occasions when I do, so I can't even properly comment to that end!

dell, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 06:17 (sixteen years ago) link

...but I will make a mental note to throw on early Stones next time.

dell, Wednesday, 8 August 2007 06:18 (sixteen years ago) link

six years pass...

I wonder if he'll make it into the Library of America series. He should.

calstars, Friday, 14 March 2014 15:19 (nine years ago) link

LofA is all about canon and prestige. Writers like Bukowski and Henry Miller lurk near the outer edges of the canon, but neither has the prestige to break into that series. Of course, if Miller ever makes it in, that would be a sign that Bukowski will eventually qualify, too.

Aimless, Friday, 14 March 2014 18:12 (nine years ago) link

two years pass...
one year passes...

Will Henry make the Library of America? It might take a hundred years but yass

calstars, Monday, 5 March 2018 21:54 (five years ago) link

I think Miller will get his LoA editions pretty soon

Brad C., Tuesday, 6 March 2018 02:16 (five years ago) link

Henry's readership has certainly endured for a goodly number of decades beyond his death now. They tend to be relatively few in number and they don't often remain loyal to him into their middle age, but new youths always come along to replenish the supply. I tried reading him in my forties and I got so I wanted to hurl his books at the wall in exasperation with him.

I've read less of Bukowski. I think he might be slightly more congenial than Miller for actual adults; my general impression of him is that he had a noteworthy talent, but occupied a very narrow niche, rather like e.e. cummings. A little of him goes a long way toward giving you all of him.

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 6 March 2018 02:36 (five years ago) link

I meant Henry Chinaski

calstars, Tuesday, 6 March 2018 02:48 (five years ago) link

Miller's good but he has his own thread I'm sure

calstars, Tuesday, 6 March 2018 02:49 (five years ago) link

174. Jack Kerouac: Road Novels 1957–1960
231. Jack Kerouac: Collected Poems
262. Jack Kerouac: Visions of Cody, Visions of Gerard, Big Sur
283. The Unknown Kerouac: Rare, Unpublished & Newly Translated Writings

not saying just saying

Brad C., Tuesday, 6 March 2018 02:53 (five years ago) link

Kerouac has more cachet in academia than either Bukowski or Miller, since he is emblematic of a 'movement' rather than a one-off.

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 6 March 2018 03:39 (five years ago) link

four months pass...

Gittabdinh fad fcofien

calstars, Sunday, 15 July 2018 00:10 (five years ago) link

Gotta read factotum, that is

calstars, Sunday, 15 July 2018 00:10 (five years ago) link

Still waiting on that library of America comp btw

calstars, Sunday, 15 July 2018 00:14 (five years ago) link

Gittabdinh fad fcofien

(Aimless takes the unlit briar pipe from mouth and nods sagely)

A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 15 July 2018 00:15 (five years ago) link

Library of America comps are the bomb.

earlnash, Sunday, 15 July 2018 02:32 (five years ago) link


F# A# (∞), Sunday, 15 July 2018 05:12 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

“I come from San Pedro ...”

calstars, Sunday, 16 September 2018 21:25 (five years ago) link

five years pass...


calstars, Saturday, 18 November 2023 23:52 (one week ago) link

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