Author Topic: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs  (Read 957 times)

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The Last Messiah

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On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« on: July 26, 2015, 10:14:17 am »
While searching for some insight into "the pointlessness of writing" I found this article of interest:  Bull-s-h-i-t Jobs.

F-u-c-k this freeboards DOT org editor.  It is becoming more and more irritating that I can't even type a link if the URL has a "curse" in it.

At the link above, once you are at strikemag.org, search for Bullsh-it Jobs minus the hyphen. 


« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 10:18:33 am by H »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

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forthebirds

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Re: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2015, 12:07:59 am »
i wasnt able to find it, sorry :/ guess im dumb atm

The Last Messiah

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Re: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2015, 11:23:56 am »
Arrrrr ..... ya landlubber ... and this god' fer saken freeboards editor that is overly obsessed with protecting its users from BAAAAAAD WORDS that I can't write the URL address for you.

This forces me to cut and paste, arrrrrrr .... I did not have s-e-x-ual relations with that woman ...  :P arrrrrrr ... I am not a pirate or an hacktivist .... arrrrr .... Somebody stop the voices in my head!   

If only there were an toothless grinning emoticon ... No doodling in digital ... arrrrrrrr ....

http://strikemag.org/?s=bull****+jobs

You know Our Divine Protector will place * for s h i t in the above ... but the bull gets you close enough.  The article is linked to the gorilla in the suit image.

First I have to pirate the image.  Now, this is not going to be pretty:


Illustration by John Riordan

Now for the bloody verbiage ... I left it in UK English, you know, where the s is not turned into a z as is done in the Slave States. 

On the Phenomenon of Bull-S-H-I-T Jobs 

Quote from: David Graeber
In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that technology would have advanced sufficiently by century’s end that countries like Great Britain or the United States would achieve a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

Why did Keynes’ promised utopia – still being eagerly awaited in the ‘60s – never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn’t figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we’ve collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment’s reflection shows it can’t really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the ‘20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers.

So what are these new jobs, precisely? A recent report comparing employment in the US between 1910 and 2000 gives us a clear picture (and I note, one pretty much exactly echoed in the UK). Over the course of the last century, the number of workers employed as domestic servants, in industry, and in the farm sector has collapsed dramatically. At the same time, “professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers” tripled, growing “from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment.” In other words, productive jobs have, just as predicted, been largely automated away (even if you count industrial workers globally, including the toiling masses in India and China, such workers are still not nearly so large a percentage of the world population as they used to be).

But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the “service” sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.

These are what I propose to call “bull**** jobs.”

It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is exactly what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as they had to (this is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat). But, of course, this is the very sort of problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don’t really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.

While corporations may engage in ruthless downsizing, the layoffs and speed-ups invariably fall on that class of people who are actually making, moving, fixing and maintaining things; through some strange alchemy no one can quite explain, the number of salaried paper-pushers ultimately seems to expand, and more and more employees find themselves, not unlike Soviet workers actually, working 40 or even 50 hour weeks on paper, but effectively working 15 hours just as Keynes predicted, since the rest of their time is spent organising or attending motivational seminars, updating their facebook profiles or downloading TV box-sets.

The answer clearly isn’t economic: it’s moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the ‘60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.

Once, when contemplating the apparently endless growth of administrative responsibilities in British academic departments, I came up with one possible vision of hell. Hell is a collection of individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don’t like and are not especially good at. Say they were hired because they were excellent cabinet-makers, and then discover they are expected to spend a great deal of their time frying fish. Neither does the task really need to be done – at least, there’s only a very limited number of fish that need to be fried. Yet somehow, they all become so obsessed with resentment at the thought that some of their co-workers might be spending more time making cabinets, and not doing their fair share of the fish-frying responsibilities, that before long there’s endless piles of useless badly cooked fish piling up all over the workshop and it’s all that anyone really does.

I think this is actually a pretty accurate description of the moral dynamics of our own economy.

*

Now, I realise any such argument is going to run into immediate objections: “who are you to say what jobs are really ‘necessary’? What’s necessary anyway? You’re an anthropology professor, what’s the ‘need’ for that?” (And indeed a lot of tabloid readers would take the existence of my job as the very definition of wasteful social expenditure.) And on one level, this is obviously true. There can be no objective measure of social value.

I would not presume to tell someone who is convinced they are making a meaningful contribution to the world that, really, they are not. But what about those people who are themselves convinced their jobs are meaningless? Not long ago I got back in touch with a school friend who I hadn’t seen since I was 12. I was amazed to discover that in the interim, he had become first a poet, then the front man in an indie rock band. I’d heard some of his songs on the radio having no idea the singer was someone I actually knew. He was obviously brilliant, innovative, and his work had unquestionably brightened and improved the lives of people all over the world. Yet, after a couple of unsuccessful albums, he’d lost his contract, and plagued with debts and a newborn daughter, ended up, as he put it, “taking the default choice of so many directionless folk: law school.” Now he’s a corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm. He was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.

There’s a lot of questions one could ask here, starting with, what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call “the market” reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) But even more, it shows that most people in these jobs are ultimately aware of it. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a corporate lawyer who didn’t think their job was bull****. The same goes for almost all the new industries outlined above. There is a whole class of salaried professionals that, should you meet them at parties and admit that you do something that might be considered interesting (an anthropologist, for example), will want to avoid even discussing their line of work entirely. Give them a few drinks, and they will launch into tirades about how pointless and stupid their job really is.

This is a profound psychological violence here. How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way, as in the case of the fish-fryers, to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it.  Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.

Even more perverse, there seems to be a broad sense that this is the way things should be. This is one of the secret strengths of right-wing populism. You can see it when tabloids whip up resentment against tube workers for paralysing London during contract disputes: the very fact that tube workers can paralyse London shows that their work is actually necessary, but this seems to be precisely what annoys people. It’s even clearer in the US, where Republicans have had remarkable success mobilizing resentment against school teachers, or auto workers (and not, significantly, against the school administrators or auto industry managers who actually cause the problems) for their supposedly bloated wages and benefits. It’s as if they are being told “but you get to teach children! Or make cars! You get to have real jobs! And on top of that you have the nerve to also expect middle-class pensions and health care?”

If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it’s hard to see how they could have done a better job. Real, productive workers are relentlessly squeezed and exploited. The remainder are divided between a terrorised stratum of the – universally reviled – unemployed and a larger stratum who are basically paid to do nothing, in positions designed to make them identify with the perspectives and sensibilities of the ruling class (managers, administrators, etc) – and particularly its financial avatars – but, at the same time, foster a simmering resentment against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social value. Clearly, the system was never consciously designed. It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working 3-4 hour days.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 11:55:44 am by H »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~

The Last Messiah

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Re: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2015, 06:40:12 pm »
Even though the forums are gone, it's good to see the original whywork.org site is still available since there are many links to keen insights.

For example, What is a wage slave?"

I know this question has the potential of P-I-S-S-ing people off.

To put it into context, a note from Dead End:

2013.03.14

Reading Solzhenitsyn’s In the First Circle, recently translated – the UNCENSORED CANONICAL TEXT – is proving to be a spiritual experience for me, forcing me to acknowledge that my “troubles” have not destroyed me, but have actually connected me to the people I most identify with: the downtrodden.

downtrodden – tyrannized over; oppressed: the downtrodden plebeians of ancient Rome.

One of my favorite characters is a very minor one, Uncle Avenir (uncle of Innokenty Artemievich Volodin). He is a proud elderly peasant who hates the proletariat. He refers to them as the leading class. He says peasants commune with the soil, with nature, and that intellectuals are engaged in the noble work of thinking. The proles spend all their lives within dead walls making dead things with dead machines. How can they ever learn anything?

Uncle Avenir says that if you have a position to hold down, you have to truckle … and you have to be dishonest.

“I could not even stand being a librarian, let alone a teacher.”

Innokenty asks, “What’s so hard about a librarian’s job?”

Uncle Avenir replies, “Just go and try it. You have to trash good books and praise bad ones. You have to mislead undeveloped minds.”

What job can be done with a clear conscience? Certainly not police, soldier, guard, judge, or prosecutor. What does it mean to “truckle”? To truckle means to fawn, boot-lick, ass-lick, kiss-ass, brown-nose, to cower, to cringe, to grovel, kow-tow, knuckle under, succumb, follow, tag, tail. In general, to be an obedient dog, to follow orders. A truckler is a sycophant, what Mom calls a Yes Man. She does have some understanding of my rebellious spirit. She understands that I am not a Company Man. I am not a Team Player. I guess I am the polar opposite of a corporate drone. May I coin the term “anticorp”? I am an anticorp, an anticog in the Machine Age.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 06:41:55 pm by H »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~

forthebirds

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Re: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2015, 12:29:22 am »
Thanks for reposting the bullShit jobs article. I enjoyed it very much.

I still remember the time I discovered that "CLAWS" site. I was so happy reading those words.

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Re: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2015, 02:13:38 pm »
I wonder what ever happened to Whyjob.  There were some characters in those forums.

It's amazing that more people don't voice their true feelings on this issue.  We were fortunate to have stumbled upon that forum when there were a handful of people being completely frank.  It was as if we were all intending on dying soon and didn't give a damn what the values of the herd (and the ruling elite) were.

Quote
... the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.

I witness this also in the "thera-peutic industrial complex" where "therapists" and others in the mental health profession chant the mantra about how reporting to a "behavioral health treatment center" at the very least provides structure ... For what?  As preparation for the "work-shy" to be put back in a harness.

There is such a taboo against goofing off, farting around, and just sitting around thinking.  They seem to suspect that idleness leads to debauchery, drunkenness ... marijauna-induced comas ...  Maybe, for a great many, too much time on their hands does lead to self-destructive habits, but there are certainly those who can momentarily snap out of such habits and maybe get hooked on reading horror or philosophy ... or just tinkering with math, code, and depressive, defeatist, nihilistic ideas.

The work ethic seems to have less to do with economics and more to do with morality and social control.

Also, there must be a compulsion to justify one's standard of living.  Suppose one had inherited a fortune.  Unlike Arthur Schopenhauer, who openly strove to live the life of a scholar, kind of stretching the funds, there are those who must feel obligated to hold some kind of position with some corporation so as to appear self-made.

Of course, as the above article points out, what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic.

It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.

It's so much more pleasant posting such things on a message board that few people read than to debate with those who chant the mantras ... those who wave flags and encourage youth to join the military.   ::)

Maybe the reason why reading Cioran had an even stronger impact on me than reading Schopenhauer was the degree of Cioran's shameless attitude toward loafing, stating that sometimes the best thing you can do to get through a day is to lay down and groan.  I'm not minimizing the effect Schopenhauer had on my attitude, but - you see - as a maintenance worker, one who collected garbage, cleaned toilets, mowed grass, cleared roadways of snow and fallen trees, etc, I had to imagine myself some kind of monk since I would be able to reflect on the ideas I had studied at night during the workday.  There were endless opportunities for reflection and meditation.  I just always wondered what Schopenhauer would have done were he in my boots.   

Then, a couple years after discovering Schopenhauer's works, sometime in 1993, I found Cioran's The Trouble With Being Born in a library.  Now here was a thinker who was not living off an inheritance.  How did he pull it off, I wondered.  At my innermost core, that inner presence who would daily drag his invisible chains as a "state slave" read Cioran as the most delightful blasphemy against my work ethic.  I had prided myself on being a conscientious "good worker," a workhorse ... "Mission Mike" ...  :o

I never imagined that my severe moods would lead to me shunning employment altogether, seeking refuge in the underground economy of welfare and government relief.

On whywork.org. Nat and I imagined we were part of some kind of organic SSI Monastery!   ;D

(Of course, mine is a very non-Hollywood rotten toothed grin ... dental horror!)
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 12:59:08 pm by H »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~

The Last Messiah

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Re: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2016, 10:03:04 am »
And then I need a battery for the mouse ... and my mind goes through all that is required to produce batteries and computer components ,,, [sigh] ... and I feel ... pathetic. 

Was that an aphorism?

On the Great Refusal (from wikipedia):

 Herbert Marcuse argues that "advanced industrial society" created false needs, which integrated individuals into the existing system of production and consumption via mass media, advertising, industrial management, and contemporary modes of thought.

This results in a "one-dimensional" universe of thought and behaviour, in which aptitude and ability for critical thought and oppositional behaviour wither away. Against this prevailing climate, Marcuse promotes the "great refusal" (described at length in the book) as the only adequate opposition to all-encompassing methods of control. Much of the book is a defense of "negative thinking" as a disrupting force against the prevailing positivism.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 01:13:53 pm by H »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~

forthebirds

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Re: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2016, 11:46:42 am »
Have you ever seen that animated movie "wall-e?" It is computer animated and meant for kids, but it paints out a rather depressing view of what could be the future of humanity.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-kdRdzxdZQ

This, to me, represents how a gort would handle leisure. This is not what I was after when I came to why-work. I seek freedom to pursue knowledge and to improve myself. Now, I will not debate and try even not to judge anyone who wished to live a life like in that video clip... I still say that we all deserve the freedom to make that choice. We need to end wage-slavery.

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Re: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2016, 12:53:57 pm »
I am unable to see the above video you linked to.  Maybe it's because I logged into Windows 10 to download the update (upgrade 1511 from back in November).  I've been in Linux-mode for the last couple months since I prefer working with code with GNU's gcc, g++, and gdb ... although I do think Microsoft's Visual Studio is cool.  I just prefer using gdb ...

That must be it since my link isn't showing up either.  I'll check in here after I boot the computer into Linux.

I did find this though: Everything wrong with Wall-E in 12 minutes or less:

wall-e

Keep busting those gorts, forthebirds!

PEACE
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 12:59:11 pm by H »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~

The Last Messiah

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Re: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2016, 01:27:47 pm »
That was it.  I can now view both videos.  I'm sure I just have to load some kind of plug-in to Firefox in Windows but it's not too much of a priority.  I use Windows for certain tasks such as printing out important documents ... since, well, the printer is hooked up to a wireless router, and I was able to set up the printer as shared device for Windows operating systems (since the router had Windows compliant software), but I haven't gotten around to making it work in Linux. 

I don't do much printing these days anyway ... man, I can see how an ereader (that handles pdf files well) would be a glorious tool for a modern day scholar warrior to have handy ... I am still holding out on that transition.  And yet, just as I use Windows for some tasks and Linux for most other tasks, it is likely that I would only use an ereader for some things.  I would still prefer a big fat text book when I can find it dirt cheap ... I just can't seem to be able to justify the purchase at this time.  I don't want it to distract me from making use of my little book collection, which I consider to be a powerhouse.

I see your concern as related to Wall-E.  Were the masses liberated from wage-slavery and mandatory "day therapy bull-s-h-i-t programs" would they become fodder for the Mall Rat Machine?   We might "consume" literature, hiking boots, hammocks, and tents ... whereas you are afraid the masses would become addicted to stupid crap ... online c-a-s-i-n-o and fantasy football ...

As far as the film goes, yes, I can see that you nailed it on the head pointing out the creepiness of the futuristic Gort Colony ... scary stuff.  At least the film maker was able to get across the ugliness of such a scenario. 

I sometimes think that China's economy would be threatened were they to eliminate the consumer base, and yet ... Ugh ... My brain is resisting following this thought to its conclusion.  I hate to think of the role one plays as a "consumer".   The word screams gort.  They even refer to those coerced into psychiatric treatment as "mental health consumers".  I wonder if jailbirds are considered "penal welfare consumers" ...  ::)

I don't want to think about these things.  I need to engage in some "sublimation"    :-\

ts
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 02:39:23 pm by H »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~

The Last Messiah

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Re: On the Phenomenon of Bullsh-it Jobs
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2021, 10:56:41 pm »
Seasonal Associate by Heike Geissler (translated from the German)


How the brutalities of working life are transformed into exhaustion, shame, and self-doubt: a writer's account of her experience working in an Amazon fulfillment center.

No longer able to live on the proceeds of her freelance writing and translating income, German novelist Heike Geissler takes a seasonal job at Amazon Order Fulfillment in Leipzig. But the job, intended as a stopgap measure, quickly becomes a descent into humiliation, and Geissler soon begins to internalize the dynamics and nature of the post-capitalist labor market and precarious work. Driven to work at Amazon by financial necessity rather than journalistic ambition, Heike Geissler has nonetheless written the first and only literary account of corporate flex-time employment that offers “freedom” to workers who have become an expendable resource. Shifting between the first and the second person, Seasonal Associate is a nuanced expose of the psychic damage that is an essential working condition with mega-corporations. Geissler has written a twenty-first-century account of how the brutalities of working life are transformed into exhaustion, shame, and self-doubt.

_____________________________________
also:  “Smells Like Work”: Examining Employment in Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson

How Work Became Drudgery Once Again (School and government led us down the road to re-ensferment.)
« Last Edit: February 13, 2021, 11:03:52 pm by Sticks and Stones »
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

~ Tabak und Kaffee Süchtigen ~