Welcome - willkommen!


Blogging in English und auf Deutsch.
English: A key topic of this blog certainly is Bullying, and what can be done against it.
Deutsch: Ein Kernthema dieses Blogs is ganz sicherlich Mobbing, und was dagegen getan werden kann.
E: There are still lots of other topics here, too - feel free to cruise around and take a look :-)!
D: Es gibt aber auch noch viele andere Themen - schaut Euch einfach um :-)!
E: I look forward to comments on my blog entries!
D: Ich freue mich über Kommentare zu meinen Blog-Einträgen!

In the banner picture: Libera.

Monday, December 20, 2010

No Way Out



... without words ...

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Gregor Schmidinger, THE BOY NEXT DOOR (2008)




"I saved $25 ... Do you want to be my friend?"

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THE BOY NEXT DOOR
(USA 2008)

Written & directed by
Gregor Schmidinger


Cast

Mark
Michael Ellison

Justin
Truman Chambers

Jack Brown (Justin's father)
Damon Preston


"Mark, a 25-year-old male prostitute who suffers from anxiety attacks accidentally runs into the 10-year-old son of one of his clients. When the boy tells him he is looking for his father Mark, taken by surprise, wants nothing to do with him. But while they wait for the client to return Mark realizes that maybe this unexpected guest was exactly what he needed. Over the course of the night this strange new friendship grows and gives both Mark and Justin the courage to overcome their fears and face their own personal demons."


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The short movie "The Boy Next Door" was written and produced as an in-class project made by Bowling Green State University student Gregor Schmidinger. In 2009, the short movie was shown on festivals all over the place. And in the beginning of 2010, Schmidinger uploaded the movie to his YouTube Channel.

"The Boy Next Door" is supposed to be taken to the next level, by being turned into a full feature movie. The project is in the works, but it needs support. In his vlogs and on the movie's official website, Schmidinger explains what fans of the short movie and everyone interested in the project can do to support the upcoming film.

So, if you like: Click the playlist above, check out the short movie, and the vlogs (2 of them up to now, but I will keep the playlist updated), and get involved as you see fit.

______________________________


Visit
Gregor Schmidinger's YouTube channel
and subscribe

Visit
"The Boy Next Door" - Official Website
and get involved

Visit
"The Boy Next Door" - Officia Facebook Fanpage
and "Like" it
... sounds funny :-))) ...

Visit
Gregor Schmidinger's Blog
and get more in depth info

Visit
"The Boy Next Door" - Official IMDb page
for additional details (to come) on the project

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Where freedom of speech ends - a bully forced to resign




Original uploads made by YouTuber
SuchIsLifeVideos

He does amazing work on his channel,
so please subscribe to him!


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Clint McCance, 31, Midland School Board Vice President in Arkansas, came into the focus of attention on October 26th 2010, by outrageous comments on his Facebook concerning the suicides of gay young teenagers in the US.

Find the story here:
http://gayrights.change.org/blog/view/arkansas_school_board_member_says_gay_students_should_get_aids_and_die

and see a PDF of the original Facebook page here:
http://www.hrcbackstory.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/ClintMcCance-Facebook-image.pdf

A massive wave of protest was the result of these contemptuous and brutal statements that the school official had made, and by that giving the worst of possible examples to kids and parents alike, and showing clearly where hate and prejudices of bullies come from...

... because kids learn by example.

Last night, McCance was interviewed on "Anderson Cooper 360°" (CNN). Watch for yourself how tried to defend what he did, and made attempts of apologizing.

And also see what the parents of one of Asher Brown (who shot himself a short time ago, at the age of 13, after having been bullied for years) have to say on this matter. I can only begin to imagine how they felt ...

Due to the massive pressure he had gotten under for his Facebook comments within only two days, Clint McCance announced that he will resign from his post as Vice President of the Midland School Board - what a petition with tens of almost 100,000 signatures within a few days (!) had demanded.

On Sunday, October 31st 2010, Clint McCance submitted his letter of resignation to the Midland school board. He was officially removed from his office on November 1st 2010.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I am / Shades of Life




Billy Gilman
I AM / SHADES OF LIFE

Lyrics by
Mattie J.T. Stepanek
(1990 - 2004)


______________________________


I am black, I am white
I am all skins in between
I am young, I am old
I am each age that has been
I am scrawny, I am well fed
I am starving for attention
I am famous, I am cryptic
I am hardly worth a mention
I am short, I am height
I am any frame or statue
I am smart, I am challenged
I am striving for a future

The colour of sky
Is blues and grays
The colour of earth
Is greens and browns
The colour of hope
Is rainbows and purple
And the colour peace
Is people together
Shades of life
People together
Shades of life

I am

I am able, I am weak
I am some strength, I am none
I am being, I am thought
I am all things, said and done
I am born, I am died
I am dust of humble roots
I am grace, I am pain
I am labor of willed fruits
I am slave, I am free
I am bonded to my life
I am rich, I am poor
I am wealth, of this strife

The colour of sky
Is blues and grays
The colour of earth
Is greens and browns
The colour of hope
Is rainbows and purple
And the colour peace
Is people together
Shades of life
People together
Shades of life

I am

I am shadow, I am glory
I am hiding from my shame
I am hero, I am loser
I am yearning for a name
I am empty, I am proud
I am seeking my tomorrow
I am growing, I am fading
I am hope amid the sorrow
I am certain, I am doubtful
I am desperate for solutions
I am leader, I am student
I am fate and evolutions

I am spirit, I am voice
I am memory, not recalled
I am chance, I am cause
I am effort, blocked and walled
I am many, I am no one
I am seasoned by each being
I am me, I am you
I am all-souls now decreeing

The colour of sky
Is blues and grays
The colour of earth
Is greens and browns
The colour of hope
Is rainbows and purple
And the colour peace
Is people together
Shades of life
People together
Shades of life

I am

______________________________

.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When the chain of bullying continues ...

Deutsche Version dieses Blogs hier.
______________________________




During my research for my video "It is okay if you're gay ... Stop bullying now", I collected news and mentions of cases of gay teens losing their lives, and I set the range to the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. And going through this time, I remembered vividly how much certain news I had stumbled upon during those days had shaken me ... as they reported about things that should never happen to anyone - but still, they do, and have dreadful results.

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The death of 15 year old openly gay Lawrence "Larry" King came to my attention back in 2008, as I am a fan of Ellen de Generes. She had made an announcement on her show, stating that "when the message out there is so horrible, that to be gay you can get killed for, we need to change that message."

Larry had been shot by a fellow 8th grader named Brandon, because Larry had asked Brandon to be his Valentine.

This case hit the media hard, and was reported upon nationwide and even beyond the US. The video of Ellen's announcement got loads of views and came to my attention on YouTube, by the back then still active site function "Related Videos".

I shared the video with quite a few people, and the reaction was always the same: Shock and dismay, and genuine sadness about what had happened there - that a young life had been lost, and for the tragedy that had hit Larry's family. And there was also compassion for the boy who had killed Larry, and for his family, because their lives would never be the same, too.

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So, in 2008, it was one story that came to my attention, and that had taken me aback. Because this is not something you hear about every day. Still, it was a singular event I heard about, and as I did not research for similar news back then, it was the only story of that kind that came to my attention. By Ellen's statement, a wave of compassion and awareness had been triggered, and it was to be hoped that things might be influenced a little bit to the better.

They might have been so - influenced to the better, I mean. But change does not come from statements alone, as intense, heartfelt and true they may be ... Change comes from what people who hear them take from such stirring messages, and what they decide to change in their lives, and how they react to matters, in order to really make things become different.

In 2009, though, and again without searching, I came across not one, but two cases of kids losing their lives due to them being harassed for their sexual orientation - or what others chose to see in them, and call them, and did not approve of. This time, the nature of the violence inflicted was a different one, although the result in the end was the same.

______________________________


11 year old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover killed himself, after being bullied for months, accused of being gay and picked on for that every day at school.

Carl took the abuse as long as he could; he told his Mom about it finally, and she went to the school officials immediately. The principal asked Carl to reveal the names of those kids who taunted him - but as being a "snitch" or a "tattle tail" obviously is an even worse stigma still than being accused of being gay, Carl did not want to report the bullies at first; instead he tried to somehow cope with what was thrown at him every day. He was afraid that any reprimand from the principals office would not stop the bullies in what they were doing to him, but they then would come even harder on him, for Carl having reported them.

But in the end, he simply could not take it any more ... and so, he hanged himself upstairs, while his mother was cooking dinner; when she came to call him for the meal, she would find him dead.

The news about Carl's tragic death came to me by accident, when I was checking an article on an online news website for something else. It was not the leading headline, but it caught my eye anyhow. And when I saw the "Share with Facebook" button embedded with this message, I decided that this was what I needed to do.

By posting this news there, I actually started to use my Facebook on a regular basis ... until then, I had hardly been there, as I had established it only on request of a friend of mine, Portuguese-Scottish writer Ricardo Pinto, who needed a first few friends to add him there, to get his own Facebook started a year before.

Since that day, my Facebook has become fairly active.

And only later, I found out that Ellen had responded to the death of Carl, by inviting his Mom Sirdeaner L. Walker to the show, and had been talking with her about what had happened and also what Mrs Walker's way of dealing with the loss of her son was: To go out and try to help other bullying victims, as well as working and campaigning to help establish real, systemic, effective responses to the endemic problem of bullying and harassment - in her own words:


"If anything can come of this, it's that another child doesn't have to suffer like this and there can be some justice for some other child. I don't want any other parent to go through this."

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A second suicide of an 11 year old kid made the news in 2009, too: Jaheem Herrera was bullied at school for being gay; kids made fun of his accent, his looks, and him liking dance and the arts, which made him "different" in their eyes.

And to sum all of that up, the label "gay" was good enough for those kids to cover that, and to make Jaheem something that, a little bit longer than a year before, Ellen had stated she was not and Larry King was not ...

In the eyes of those bullies, Jaheem had indeed become a second class citizen, on who to pick and who to taunt was "okay" - and obviously no one of the other kids thought it necessary to stand up against this, and to help Jaheem.

If at all, the school reacted to the complaints of Jaheem's mother with the usual reprimands to the bully - but an hour or two of detention has never changed anyone for the better, and made him stop doing what brought him into this temporary predicament. The bullying continued, and finally, Jaheem, just as Carl, could not take it any more.

It was the second anti-gay induced suicide of an 11 year old kid I heard about in 2009. In retrospect, I remember being stunned and saddened by what had happened, and the fact that this was the second case of a similar nature made things even heavier ...

______________________________


But only when, in early fall 2010, a series of not less than four suicides within only weeks, of three gay teens and one 18 year old gay young man brought Ellen to make a new statement on her show ...



... I suddenly saw a line that was there - but it was not the sheer connection of all those cases by having similar circumstances.

First of all: What I had read and heard about, and quoted here, is only a tiny fraction of the terrible damage bullying causes every day, in schools all around the world. And bullying does not only afflict gay kids and teens. Basically everyone can become a victim.

But still - if I am taking those above mentioned cases as empiric examples, two things show up for me:

For one, it was the fact that the numbers of those cases that came to my eye, even without me searching, had doubled from year to year ... 1 - 2 - 4 ... And had a case of manslaughter been the beginning of this row of events, the cause for gay kids to die then turned to those kids ending their own lives.

And this latter tragic turn, in my view, is co-caused by the fact that the intensity and brutality of bullying rises steadily. Bullies have less and less inhibitions to torture victims in more and more brutal ways. Apart from physical and mental harassment, cyberbullying in various forms adds to the picture. The pressure on victims rises, gets more and more intense and refined - and hearts and souls break.

The second reason I realized was there, is the fact that victims have to face more and more brutal abuse, but still stand alone in their distress and daily struggles.

Although everybody knows such things happen ... although everybody knows of cases at his own school ... although everybody can imagine how terrible it must be, to be trapped in that situation ... and although so many are genuinely moved and shaken by emotional and intense appeals like Ellen made them three years in a row ...

... there are still all of those out there who turn the blind eye, who do not come to help when they see others being treated in unfair and brutal ways. So many say that it is terrible what's going on, but obviously so many out there still don't realize that change does not come by itself!

Change comes ...
when victims are no longer left alone.

Change comes ...
when the bully's strategy of separating his victim by a reign of terror from every possible source of help and support (friends, teachers, parents) does not work any more.

Change comes ...
when the victim does not have to seek for help themselves (and do not dare to, because the bully's scheme works!), but have allies on their side who are simply there because they are needed, because things are going on that are not right, and that no one has the right to do to another person.

Change comes ...
when the silent majority finally makes that leap of faith, and stands up for others - not by fighting back, but

- by simply being there
- by not looking away
- by being a witness (and not only a bystander)
- by being in the way
- by saying No
- by getting more help if necessary ...
from friends, teachers, the principal, parents, the police, or whoever else is needed.

No one has to become a warrior here. Super heroes are not needed ... and, let's face it: Most of us won't look good in these flashy costumes!

But: There are rules, regulations and laws against basically all of the things that bullies do. Why are we afraid to call them in?

Victims are alone ...
Bullies are many ...
But the number of all the others is legion!

If all of us finally get to realizing this, change will come. If all of us start acting on what we all know is right, change will come.

And then, there will be no more cases like the one of Jaheem's sister, who not only lost her beloved brother, because he cold not stand living any more, but one year later still also got bullied herself on Jaheem's death.

When all of us start doing those simple things that are necessary, the chain of bullying can be broken. But: All of us are needed. It is a only a small leap of faith for every single one of us, if we all are in on this.




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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Libera, LULLABYE (2010)




Libera
LULLABYE

(Solo: Joshua Madine)


Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say

I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay

And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep
Inside an ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me

Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on...

They never die
That's how you and I
Will be

______________________________


Libera
PEACE
(Deluxe Edition, 2011 - CD)


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Please also visit

Libera's official YouTube channel

Libera's official Website

Truedantalion's YouTube Playlist "Libera"

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

It is okay if you are gay ... Stop Bullying Now!




This is the follow-up video to

"It will get better - if we do something!"

which is my contribution for the project that was created
by writer and columnist Dan Savage.

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Bullying, brutality and violence against gay kids and teenagers costs lives. Every year, and everywhere in the world.

In 2008, talkshow host Ellen de Generes took up the case of 15 year old Lawrence "Larry" King, an openly gay teenager who had been killed by another teen, just for being gay. Ellen sent out a intense message on her show, calling out for equality, and against ignorance, prejudices and intolerance.

In 2008, this one case was all over the news. In 2009, though, it was the suicide of already two kids that everyone spoke about:

Carl-Joseph Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera, who killed themselves, as they could not take any more suffering from anti-gay picking, teasing and bullying at school.

Carl-Joseph and Jaheem were only 11 years old.

Again, Ellen set an example, by taking up this devastatingly sad topic on her TV show, and by sending out a sensitive and all the same strong and emotional signal to all her viewers.

But 2010 saw even more suicides for anti-gay bullying in the media than the years before. Within only a few weeks and months, four gay teenagers ended their lives, and two more victims were to be mourned still, after Ellen, yet again, spoke out on her show.

With a campaign named "It gets better", initiated by writer and columnist Dan Savage, gay people upload videos, and by that step up and send out a message to kids and teens that it's worth to cling to life, because it holds so much in store for them, and to "tough it out" during High School, during which so much bullying happens.

But this message, this prospect of a better future, is not enough.

All of us need to start taking action, here and now, to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender kids and teenagers who get offended, abused and terrorized because they are "different" ... just as well as any other kid that suffers from being bullied needs our help!

We must help them, so they can make it to that future, living their lives and realizing their potential.

We must do all in our power, to stop bullying now!

______________________________


Music:
Immediate Music, SERENATA IMMORTALE

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It will get better ... if we do something!



This is one of my two contributions to the IT GETS BETTER Project that was initiated on September 21st 2011 by columnist and gay rights activist Dan Savage, in response to the suicide of 15 year old Billy Lucas, from Indiana, who ended his life due to being massively bullied for being gay. Billy's death was one of four cases of bullycide that have been reported about on the news during the last months.

Savage opened a YouTube channel "where Members of the LGBT community upload videos that explain how their lives got better after high school. The idea is to reassure teens who are being bullied because of their sexual orientation that the harassment won’t last forever."
(quoted from
http://mashable.com/2010/10/05/youtube-projects-social-good/ )

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Well, I find the basic idea good, but it leaves a big gap open, that for me (if I were a gay teen struggling with a life full of harassment and abuse every day) would make it hard to come up with new strength and courage, to face my every day misery, without any idea of how to make it through all of that, except "tough it out - it's worth it, because life will get so much better one day."

Therefore, my own video is meant especially to those kids and teens out there who do not bully themselves, and who also are no bullying victims.

I believe that we do not enough, if we only try to send out a message to kids, teenagers and even young adults, who get bullied for either their sexual orientation, or also e.g. for belonging to an ethnic minority or for any other reason, and this message being that life will probably get better some time in the future.

We must offer concrete help and support today, and by that every one of us is needed, too, to do our part for this above mentioned promise will come true!

This means that
"the silent majority"
has to find the courage in themselves
to make a stand against bullies,
and become allies

of those who are
victims of abuse and harassment today.


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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ellen on bullycide - a message that needs to be heard *everywhere*!





In the wake of a revent series of
several gay American teens
committing suicide
after being harassed and bullied
for being gay
Ellen de Generes sent out this message on her show
on September 30th 2010.

As The Ellen Show is being produced by Warner Bros.,
this video was blocked one day later
for YouTube viewers from Germany
and many other countries outside the US
on copyright grounds.

So I decided to upload this video on my YouTube channel,
like many other YouTubers already did,
to make it accessible for those
who are being kept out by Warner Bros'
narrowminded policy.

Please watch, and share this video, if you like.

______________________________

Bullycide? We can't have that!

Not lives have to end - bullying does.

Bullying No Way!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

British and Irish Cooking




BBC's Keith Floyd on Britain and Ireland

"Keith Floyd sets out to discover the origins of some British and Irish dishes, from "Champ", the local speciality in Belfast, made from spring onions and potato, to Gary Rhodes' speciality in South West England: Braised Oxtails. On his travels, Floyd cooks and tastes some of the most delicious dishes the land has to offer, in some of the most extraordinary situations."

(from the playlist description)

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I just watched the currently latest video of this playlist
with the Ladyship cooking a Salmon
because it was in my subscription of
YouTube's BBC Worldwide channel.

And either because I'm a bit hungry at the moment,
or because this video has a very entertaining
air of Britishness that caught me,
I clicked on a link annotation at the video's end
to possibly watch yet another one of those cooking shows
and discovered
this playlist, with the host presenting
a lot more recipes from Britain and Ireland.

So I thought, just on a whim:

Blog it :-)!

Oh, and Keith Floyd in books and on DVD
can be found
here!

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In the meantime, I put together a playlist myself,
with the above videos from the BBC's playlist
with Keith Floyd on British and Irish cooking
plus some new videos that also
include other regions' cuisines:





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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Forgotten Sons




Marillion
FORGOTTEN SONS


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Armalite, street lights, nightsights
Searching the roofs for a sniper, a viper, a fighter
Death in the shadows

He'll maim you, he'll wound you, he'll kill you
For a long forgotten cause, on not so foreign shores
Boys baptised in wars

Morphine, chill scream, bad dream
Serving as numbers on dog tags, flak rags, sandbags
Your girl has married your best friend, loves end, poison pen
Your flesh will always creep, tossing turning sleep
The wounds that burn so deep

Your mother sits on the edge of the world
When the cameras start to roll
Panoramic viewpoint resurrect the killing fold
Your father drains another beer, he's one of the few that cares
Crawling behind a Saracen's hull from the safety of his living room chair

Forgotten sons, forgotten sons, forgotten sons

And so as I patrol in the valley of the shadow of the tricolour
I must fear evil, for I am but mortal and mortals can only die
Asking questions, pleading answers from the nameless faceless watchers
That parade the carpeted corridors of Whitehall

Who orders desecration, mutilation, verbal masturbation
In the guarded bureaucratic wombs

Minister, minister care for your children, order them not into damnation
To eliminate those who would trespass against you
For whose is the kingdom, the power, the glory forever and ever, Amen


Halt who goes there?

Death

Approach, friend ...


You're just another coffin on its way down the emerald aisle
When your children's stony glances mourn your death in a terrorist's smile
The bomber's arm placing fiery gifts on the supermarket shelves
Alley sings with shrapnel detonate a temporary hell


Forgotten Sons

From the dole queue to the regiment a profession in a flash
But remember Monday signings when from door to door you dash
On the news a nation mourns you unknown soldier, count the cost
For a second you'll be famous but labeled posthumous

Forgotten sons, forgotten sons

They're still forgotten

Peace on earth and mercy mild, Mother Brown has lost her child
Just another Forgotten Son

Ringa-ring-o-roses, they all fall down

Down ...

Forgotten Sons

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Friend (written and performed by Alan Hall)




My Friend

written and performed by
Alan Hall

______________________________

I'm at love's end
I won't be back to you
Goodbye my friend
I've all but seen it through

I have these tears
To hold of you
Can't make amends
It's time, my friend

And as I leave
I hear your crying call
I close my mind
Along the corridor

There's no once more
My heart is torn
The door will close
No more my friend

While I await
To hear that you are gone
Memories play
Our carousel song

This day has come
Around too soon
Can't take it in
As grief begins

Goodbye my friend

So now it's true
Your tenderness is distant too
No arms to hold
Laughs ‘n’ tears to share

There's just a quiet echo calling
Of what once was
Once was
My friend

______________________________


Find Alan's music
on iTunes
(simply enter "Alan Hall")

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.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 ... Witness to History

Deutsche Version dieses Blogs hier.
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A date that has become an icon like probably no other date in recent history ... September 11th, or 9/11.

It has been only nine years ago from today, since the events happened that make this date so oppressive. Not even a decade ... and yet, I hardly can remember any more how it used to be before the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on the morning of this day in late summer 2001.

I remember that I was at work that day. At some time between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m (GMT +1) I received a phone call from some customer, who was waiting for a weekly report my company still had to deliver. I thought he was calling me for this reason, and basically, he did. But he started the conversation with

"Did you hear that there has been a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center?"

I thought this man was making some kind of drastic joke, to emphasize that he really needed the report we were still to hand in, and made up some crude story, like "... and that could happen to you, too, if I don't get that report finally!" Well, this guy indeed could be funny in conversations, and we often would have a good time, even if we only had to discuss business matters ...

I replied that we would probably get the report done and delivered to him within one or two days, even without him taking such drastic measures.

On that day, I had not heard yet, what had started happening some 45 minutes before in New York, at 8:46 a.m. EST.

The caller informed me that NO, he was NOT trying to be funny here or make an ironic whiplash to motivate me - but that there really had been an attack on the World Trade Center.

The company I worked with at those days, had no TV set anywhere in their rooms, and the only radio we had was in the bureau of the chief of the accounts department. I informed my colleagues, and we were trying to get some news footage on any of the stations there.

It was the year 2001, and so, Internet news coverage was not yet as developed as it is today. We really had a hard time finding a station that reported about the incident; indeed, we had to wait for the full hour, to listen to a regular scheduled newscast. And there, we heard that indeed something had happened. What we did not know was, how immense and terrible the consequences would be.

______________________________


When I got home some hour after that, I immediately turned on the TV, and I would not turn it off any more before I went to bed, which was after 3 a.m. that night ... I had to get up early in the morning, but I simply could not stop watching, although the images shown after some time started repeating, and there were only a few real news updates on what had happened, once in a while, and how the catastrophe developed.

It was still going on ...

The Twin Towers attacked by two aircrafts, the Pentagon obviously attacked by one aircraft and a fourth machine that did not reach it's appointed goal, whatever it was, because it was brought to crash, when the passengers and crew had started to fight the hijackers.

Mind you, I am only writing here what, back then, was said in the news, and what reached my brain and crashed into my heart. I will not go into any of the "What really happened - or did it at all?!" stuff that went on in the years to come. I am not interested in possible conspiracies or lies here, in schemes and plots from terrorists or possibly politicians or business people. Not in this blog.

I only remember how this day brought me into a state that lasted for a whole week ... a state of shock.

I was feeling like everything around me had gone dark, was shadowed ... like my vision was kinda blurred (I had a hard time focusing on things, as my mind wandered), and my hearing seemed obstructed too, like after a loud bang (I could not really follow what was said for more than a few seconds, as my mind wandered).

I had the hardest time understanding myself during the days after 9/11 ... I simply was not functioning, although basically nothing had happened to me personally. The sudden death of almost three thousand people had hit me full force, but it took me days to understand that ...

I was grieving for them.

Without knowing any of the victims personally, without having lost personal friends or relatives ... I was grieving.

And I still, for all that time, that whole week or so, I could not really believe that those things had really happened. But still, they had.

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After that first week following the events at what would be known as Ground Zero from then on, and at the Pentagon, I finally started to feel ... different. Not really "better" ... but matters shifted more and more back into perspective, so I would "function" again - although processing what I had been witness to on that day still took me a long time.

It had started like a kind of bad joke.

Then it had turned into something that looked like something from a Hollywood action movie.

And then, finally, the mechanisms of re-adjusting my taking in of events (by filtering and trying to bring some meaning to them I could identify by knowing them) wore off, and I was left with the reality, which was something unseen and never before experienced for me, and probably to most of us who have not been alive during a World War or any other man made Armageddon that our race inflicted over the centuries on their own people.

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One year later, in September 2002, I discovered the documentary 9/11 by the filmmaking brothers Jules and Gédéon Naudet on TV. I had missed the first 10 minutes or so of the broadcast that night, I guess ... well, that's what you get when you just zap through your TV stations and don't use a TV guide.

As soon as I saw the first images and realized what this documentary was about, I was ...

... I was back in pretty much the same state I had been on 9/11 one year earlier. Almost all of how I had felt was back. I was sitting in front of the TV and was all but petrified, did not move a muscle, but watched the complete documentary until the very end.

By this film, I went back in time, and went through the feelings again that had hit me on 9/11 2001. But I did not watch it from afar this time ... I was there.

This documentary is something that you need to watch.

"They say that there is always a witness for history, I guess ... that they are chosen to be the witness."

By this statement, Jules Naudet pinpoints what had happened, and what he and his brother Gédéon Naudet had done - they had been chosen to be the witnesses of history on 9/11.

And by what they filmed on that day, and during the days and weeks to come, still, they have created an immensely important document ...

... they make us all witness to history.

______________________________
Jules and Gédéon Naudet
9/11

Documentary
(2001 / 2002)


Region Code 2 
Sound: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian
Subtitles: English

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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole




Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Fantasy
Australia 2010

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Directed by
Zack Snyder

From the books by
Kathryn Lasky

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"Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" is an American computer-animated family film based on the book series "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" by Kathryn Lasky, directed by Zack Snyder ("Watchmen" a.o.).

With the voice talents of Jim Sturgess, Geoffrey Rush, Ryan Kwanten, Emily Barclay, Anthony LaPaglia, Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham a.o.m.

Scheduled to be released on September 24th 2010.

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"Acclaimed filmmaker Zack Snyder makes his animation debut with the fantasy family adventure 'Legend of the Guardians' based on the beloved books Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky.

The film follows Soren, a young owl enthralled by his father's epic stories of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, a mythic band of winged warriors who had fought a great battle to save all of owlkind from the evil Pure Ones.

While Soren dreams of someday joining his heroes, his older brother, Kludd, scoffs at the notion, and yearns to hunt, fly and steal his father's favor from his younger sibling. But Kludd's jealousy has terrible consequences - causing both owlets to fall from their treetop home and right into the talons of the Pure Ones.

Now it is up to Soren to make a daring escape with the help of other brave young owls. Together they soar across the sea and through the mist to find the Great Tree, home of the legendary Guardians of Ga'Hoole - Soren's only hope of defeating the Pure Ones and saving the owl kingdoms."

http://www.kathrynlasky.com/KK/Movie_Update.html

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Visit the movie's official website:
Legends Of The Guardians - The Owls Of Ga'Hoole


Check out
Kathryn Lasky's official website


Features the new song

"To The Sky"
by Owl City

available on iTunes

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

I feel Immortal


video


Tarja Turunen
I FEEL IMMORTAL

(2010)


From the album
WHAT LIES BENEATH

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Whenever I wake up
I'm lost and always afraid
It's never the same place
I close my eyes to escape
The walls around me

And I drift away
Inside the silence
Overtakes the Pain
In my dreams

I feel Immortal
I am not scared
No, I am not scared
I feel immortal
When I am there
When I am there

Whenever I wake up
The shards of us cut within
Always the same day
Frozen all in the fringe
I surrender to the sleep
And leave the hurt behind me
There's no more death to fear
In my dreams

I feel Immortal
I am not scared
No, I am not scared
I feel immortal
When I am there
When I am there

So far or right beside me
So close but they can't find me
Slowly, time forgets me
I'm lonely, only dreaming

I feel Immortal
I am not scared
No, I am not scared
I feel immortal
When I am there
When I am there

I feel immortal
and I am not scared

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Monday, September 6, 2010

One month ... From missing to remembering



Mike,

sorry - it took me a while to sit down and start writing to you here. To be honest, I had not really thought about it until now, as I was busy ...

... busy thinking of you, busy going through our conversations of more than one year, busy talking to mutual friends about you, over at YouTube's, where we met, and where we shared time and an important part of our lives with each other.

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We first met on July 19th 2009. And this was no accident ... Someone who knew us both had the thought that it might be good if you and I might have a talk, or maybe even a few conversations.

Jacob was right, wasn't he? Well, I know that I am grateful for the thought he had there - and I know you were, too.

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You had lost your baby brother Stew three months before we met. He was 12 years old when he died, and had been victim in a dreadful car accident, as was his best friend Dino, who was of the same age. The doctors tried their best, but they could not do anything for Stew, and so, you had to let him go.

Me, I had lost someone I had known for only seven weeks, but had come to feel as close to as to a child of my own. His name was Kel (short for Kelvin), he was 13 years old, and he died six days before your brother - to put it in words that at least kind of bring justice to what happened: Kel died of sort of a dreadful accident, too.

So, by this situation already, we shared a lot, had made kind of similar experiences. But there was more.

You and I, Mike, almost broke, by what we had to face, and had to learn to live with. We went through our personal hell and back ... yes, I say "back", too, because we both decided to do something that would, maybe, help us a little bit in dealing with what basically cannot be dealt with.

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Meeting each other on YouTube was possible, because you, like me, had made a channel in memory of the one you had lost [Note: Mike's channel has been taken off from YouTube on his parents' wish]. A place to remember, to keep memories alive and share them, and a place where friends could meet and share some time together. And so, we started talking about the things that moved us and weighed us down ...

We could understand each other so very well - the pain, the loss, the sadness ... and we exchanged thoughts, and talked about the emotions that rushed through us, flooding the landscapes of the soul like a Tsunami, burning it down like a roaring steppe fire, and crushing everything in their way, like an avalanche of big hard rocks and mud.

We told each other a lot and shared memories of Stew and of Kel, realizing very quickly that these two, had they had the chance to met on YouTube, would have become really good friends there. We knew that they'd both have been so happy about it. And so were we.

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Keeping the memories alive, of the good things that we connect with our to loved ones ... yes, it always has been sweet and comforting doing this, by talking with each other. It gave us strength and confidence to know that those two kids, who had to suffer so much from being bullied, online, and (even way more so!) offline, still had managed to keep their good spirits up, to dream of things they wanted to achieve, and to give so much to the people who knew them and loved them.

Knowing all this, we both saw that these things are also possible for everyone else out there, kids and grown-ups ... to have to carry a crushingly tough load every day, that hurts down to the core - and still enjoy life, by cherishing the small good things that are also there every day (although they might go unnoticed sometimes ...), and by sharing them with others.

We learned a lot from Stew and Kel there, right, Mike?

And by becoming friends, you and I helped each other out, to cool down the flow of the red, blazing hot lava that poured out from our hearts, since the day of the tragedy that bereaved us of a person we loved more than anything else in the world.

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We could not do much; we could not cast a spell that would make the other heal ... Kel and Stew had died three months earlier, only six days apart from each other, and we could not make the pain and the sadness just go away, or turn it into something that would not hurt.

Medicine does that. Medication stifles emotions, blocks out memories, and suppresses that what torments us. But these meds also take away all the good we have, in remembering the loved ones we miss ... and this is something that you did not want to happen, Mike - although you did have to take medication from some point on, because it all got too much.

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This stream of red hot lava from the heart oozes out constantly, burning and scorching everything around it, and it won't let the pain end. Still, it cannot just be stopped, and it cannot be reversed. Anyone who tries to make you do that, will only bring more hurt and pain to you, either immediatley in this very moment, or in the long run, because the lava will continue pouring, but will be held back, and thereby gradually increasing the pressure, which some day will unload, causing unexpected damage ...

This stream of lava can only be slowed down to a near standstill, by means of cooling it down, during a long time, and bit by bit ...


... by the love and care of people who really understand how we feel, who give us the time we need, who allow us to hurt, who share our pain and not belittle it ... but who also rejoice with us in the happy memories we keep up in our hearts and cherish - as they are precious gems, and a counterweight to the loss and emptiness we were left with, after death stroke.

Cooling down this stream of lava in that way works like bringing a handful or two of snow, and throwing it onto the red hot hell.

We do so by being there for each other, talking with each other, sharing happy thoughts and memories, and also those things that are so terrible ... because they want to and need to be said and heard.

And so, we became Snow Bringers for each other - by talking and listening, and by putting up videos once in a while, where we dealt with thoughts and feelings, with loss and pain, but also with joyful things.

You found a way of letting out feelings and dealing with them by making music: Singing, and playing the guitar and the piano were your thing. You made covers of songs you loved and that held a message you could relate to ... and you even started to write songs of your own, arranging them, recording them (with the help of your father and his friends - "The Dad Band", as you called them) and putting them up as videos on your YouTube channel.

I don't know how many times I have watched your videos, Mike - like this one here, for example - I was listening to the words and knew exactly what you felt, and I also know how much of Stew you have put into the video ...


video


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You were up to great and beautiful (and healing!) things there, Mike, I know it. And you would have made your way, I am sure ... in the music business, and on the long and winding path of slowly learning to live with your brother's death.

But this will not happen any more ...

... because a month ago from now, during the night from August 6th to August 7th 2010, you died, Mike. You were 17 years old, and would have turned 18 on November 22nd this year.

______________________________


You were bereaved of all the life that still lay ahead of you, and you were taken away from all those who loved you, including me. A brain haemorrhage ended your life while you were sleeping that night. Just so. No warning, no signs before it happened. And nothing anyone could have done to prevent it.

Those meds you had to take from some point in time on, and that were meant to at least somehow help you ... their side effects made you lose your life.

Your cousin Donnie brought me the sad news of your death, Mike. I received his message on YouTube during the night from August 15th to 16th 2010. It was almost 2 a.m. when the blow hit me ... and it kind of was like back then, when I received the message of Kel's death in 2009 - it had been also a night from Sunday to Monday (April 19th to 20th 2009), and it was a few minutes after 2 a.m. when this horrible message back then showed up in my inbox.

Just a coincidence, I know ... and still ... Not the best of times any more, those Sunday nights, holding two dark memories now.

_______________________________


Donnie and I have been messaging a lot since then, Mike.

He has the hardest time dealing with your passing. But he is trying his best to find ways to start coping. And so do I. This was a blow I had not seen coming, and it hit me like a sledge hammer ...

When you and I started messaging to each other, Mike, three months had passed since the death of those two persons we loved. Donnie and I now have started messaging only a little more than one week after you had gone, Mike ... and I think, this is the single one good thing that came with all the bad, all the sadness and pain, that losing you brought to all of us who knew you and loved you.

I have lost a good and precious friend with you, Mike, and an important Snow Bringer. And this makes me sad beyond measure.

But Donnie and I started to connect in a similar way, mourning the oh so fresh loss of a loved one, and helping each other out very soon after it happened, by bringing a handful of snow or two (you can't carry more at a time ...), and throwing it on a fresh and dreadfully hot stream of each other's red lava ... Cooling the pain down a little bit, by sharing memories, and helping each other out ...

... to come from missing to remembering.

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Mike, that's what I wanted to write to you for now. And I wanted to do this today, on the one month anniversary of losing you. Sorry if it has become a bit of a chunk to read - but well, that's just me, right? Too many thoughts, too many memories, and too much love to just jam-pack into a few three-word sentences ...

Say hi to Stew and Kel for me, okay? And give them a hug. I will join you some day, and then, we'll all hang out and have a great time ... Oh, and wherever this may be - there'd better be a McDonald's!

Love,

~Michael

P.S.: I just wanted to let you know, still, that you now are in this video here, too, together with Kel and Stew. It just felt like the right thing to do.




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Promises




Documentary
made in 2001

Written and directed by
Justine Shapiro
B.Z. Goldberg




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The feature film long documentary PROMISES was in theaters and won numerous prizes on film festivals all around the globe, before it was finally published on DVD in America.

It describes the everyday life of Jewish and Palestinian children in Jerusalem, facing the never ending state of civil war that wrenches Israel for so long now, and only brings pain and sadness to everyone involved.

B.Z. Goldberg, born and raised in Jerusalem, went to America and became a filmmaker. Years later, he returned to his native country and made this documentary where he shows how Jewish and Palestinian children live in this constant state of war. They describe their view of the situation, and of the people "on the other side of the fence".

Each of those kids first has clear and distinctive views about who in this conflict is "right", and who is "wrong". But during the interviews, some of the kids start asking questions, and develop an interest to personally get to know those kids beyond the Checkpoint ... And so, a groundbreaking (and dangerous!) experiment is waged. And those who participate in this venture, see things with different eyes afterwards.

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PROMISES is one of the most intense and moving and important documentary I have ever seen. After it had been around the world on festivals and in cinemas, it finally also was published on DVD in America.

In Germany, PROMISES has been shown on TV and has been for public sale on VHS tape only in the years 2003 / 2004. After that, the movie could only be purchased by schools, as teaching material (on a VHS tape, and for a outrageously high fee).

In 2011, this documentary will be one decade old - but the topic it deals with is still as present (and pressing!) as it has been for so long ... and the message of this documentary is timeless, and universal.

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"PROMISES stops you in your tracks. It reminds you that children are very connected to God. It is deeply touching and disturbing to see how alike all children are and how religion turns them into each others enemies. It is a movie that changes you."
(Mike Nichols, Film Director)
_

"Impressive, moving and deeply authentic. One of the best films about the Middle East I have ever seen. The rhythm of the editing leaves you at the edge of your chair. If I had my way, the next Middle East peace summit would start with a screening of PROMISES."
(David Grossmann, Israeli author)



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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Maman est chez le Coiffeur




Maman est chez le Coiffeur
(Mommy is at the Hairdresser's)

Drama
Canada 2008 (TV)

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Directed by
Léa Pool

Written by
Isabelle Hébert

Music by
Laurent Eyquem

Songs performed by
Élie Dupuis

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Summer 1966. It's time to enjoy the summer holiday, total freedom.

Teenage Élise discovers that the sudden departure of her mother completely disrupts the family. Her brother Coco seeks solace in the garage, building a super racing car. Her youngest brother Benoît throws himself into his own inner world. The father seems absolutely knocked out by the situation.

Élise decides to take control of her family, in an eloquent attempt to save them. With the assistance of flourishing nature around her, she stands on the threshold of an incomparable summer.

(from IMDb)

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Élie Dupuis
BANG BANG




Élie Dupuis
THE GREAT ESCAPE




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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blue Eyed / Brown Eyed ... A Class Devided




A CLASS DIVIDED

The Blue Eyed / Brown Eyed Exercise

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"Don't judge a man,
before you have walked in his mocassins"
Sioux prayer

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For more on the subject:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/


For more on former 3rd grade teacher
Jane Elliott
from Riceville, Iowa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Elliott

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Monday, August 9, 2010

THE LAST AIR BENDER ... I love M. Night Shyamalan

Since back in the days when I first watched the outstanding movie THE SIXTH SENSE, Manoj Nelliyatu "Night" Shyamalan is one of my all time favourite writer-directors.

And so, although I did not watch the Anime series AVATAR, and will watch the movie THE LAST AIR BENDER only when it comes out on DVD (as I only will watch the original version, and not the German dubbed one), I know I'll love this movie.

And as I just found that it's legal to embed the trailer of THE LAST AIR BENDER ... I will do exactly this here, by making this blog entry :-)!



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Monday, August 2, 2010

On Death Penalty

Click image to enlarge!

"He,
who willfully ends
another life
by means of violence,
and thereby commits a murder,
shall be killed
by the bidding of the law."

(Loosely translated from the French original)


Picture taken from

André Franquin
IDÉES NOIRS / DARK THOUGHTS / SCHWARZE GEDANKEN


A vast display of André Franquin's comic books
can be found
here!
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AutoPlay on YouTube ... now wait a minute!

Truedantalion comes back to vlogging, kinda ... forced back to the front office by YouTubes never ending series of inventing and implementing things that no one really needs (to put it nicely).

So I made two vlogs in one day, a short one and a long one - and the long one even celebrated the fact that YouTube had done something really cool: Allowing regular users to now upload videos up to 15 minutes in length :-)!

Still, this treat does not make the AutoPlay function one iota better. Check out the video and find out more. Feedback by comments on my video or here on this blog here are welcome!




The video holds a video response with the second vlog I made on that day. And that one is 11:28 long :-). Comments are welcome on this video, too, if you post videos yourself on ouTube and have to deal with the layout and functionality changes they made in the "My Videos" section ... not that any of those would have been necessary!

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Do Re Mi ...

This morning, I received a wonderful surprise, by a dear friend featuring the video I include here on his YouTube channel. This song has a very special meaning for him and me, because it reminds us of someone we lost - Kel.

Kel loved this song, and he loved singing it himself. Me, I would give everything for hearing him sing this tune ... but sadly, this will not happen any more.

The downside to my friend's sweet idea of surprising me with this video is, that I cannot watch it on YouTube any more, because of the ongoing copyright struggles YouTube has with the big record companies, and also the German GEMA.

It is really disgusting how they manage to spoil and destroy the fun for viewers in general. And, at times, WMG, Sony and all the other ignorant copyright holders hit me where it really hurts, like with keeping me from watching this video once in a while, and remember Kel by it. They have done so with other videos in the past already ...

Still, I will not take that. And so, I upload DO RE MI - THE SOUND OF MUSIC here. Because I need to watch it once in a while. And I need to do so online. Some things have no logical reason - but still, they HAVE a reason, because they are important for the heart. And this is one of those things.


video

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