42% of EU citizens in UK who apply to stay now not deemed “settled”

This includes for example a chef who has been in the UK for over 20 years.

Still believe that weren’t lying in 2016 when politicians said that nothing would change for EU citizens in the UK, that we would all automatically be granted “settled” status and be permitted to stay and continue with our lives? No fuss whatsoever?

Still believe that the application process is a mere registration process and is straightforward and simple, easypeasy?

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/30/eu-citizens-uk-settled-status-alarm

Image

Brexit update

In spite of all the noise in the media, the dot gov dot uk website still mentions 30 June 2021 as the application deadline

Application? To use an app to ask if we – EU citizens lawfully residing in the UK – can pretty please obtain the rights about which it was said in 2016 that they weren’t going to change and were guaranteed.

Even if we ask and are approved, we still won’t get any official documentation, nothing that will convince anyone else, apparently. But at least they’ve waived the application fee.

The dot gov dot uk website also still advises EU citizens who haven’t been here very long to wait until they’ve passed the five-year mark, if applicable, before they apply.

Today, I received this e-mail below, which undoubtedly everyone else in that Home Office e-mail data base got as well. (Can’t do screenshots at the moment.)

Brexit-forward

See also my previous post.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

I am so so so sorry that the UK government and the abundance it keeps away from so many of the British makes the person who wrote that tweet feel that way.

Sadly, that lack of abundance for most of the British appears to be part of the historic makeup of British society (the class system and the resulting whopping inequality).

I am not too fond of my own extremely well-organized country because I find it a little bit too rigid, but from living in the UK, I have learned to see how wonderful it is to have no class system and very little inequality. It makes people feel very secure and quite happy, even though they may not be aware of it.

That makes it easier to be welcoming to strangers.

From a book written by a Brit about cultural differences and on how to deal with British people, for foreigners in international business settings.

From living in the US, on the other hand, I learned that my own country was running way behind on women’s emancipation and much too focused on everyone having to be average (as being average is perfectly fine), hence not being very tolerant of and not creating any space for people who wanted more.

When I was living in the US, people who wanted to be very good at something for the sheer joy of it, people who were very driven and enthusiastic, were so welcome and I loved that. I got to know Americans as open, easy-going and welcoming, but also as very hard-working, purpose-driven and goal-oriented.

In my home country, me wanting to work on weekends at the uni made some people consider me a total pain in the butt. In the US, it was perfectly normal for professors to be at the uni on weekends and over Easter.

Striving for excellence, for the sheer joy of it, is a wonderful thing, and that kind of “go for it” “yes, we can!” spirit is such a wonderful thing to have in one’s culture. I understand that part of what made America so great was the sense of everyone having to put their shoulders under it towards the same goal, no matter where you came from, a sense of pioneering and a sense of solidarity.

The way I see it, if we want to solve British feelings of intolerance and general misery and poverty, we must find a way to bring abundance to the people. Not charity. Not PR photo ops. A genuine everlasting sense of guilt-free abundance. This does not have to rely solely on material things, but should serve to make people feel that there will always be enough of anything they need, no matter what. Homes, food, clothes, education, opportunities.

Opportunities

So, I am stuck in a country that is preparing for riots over food shortages and medicine shortages and intends to bring the country under martial law when the government-imposed shit hits the lives of normal Brits a.k.a. the fan.

Is there anything positive in the foreseeable future, in Britain?

Well, they say that times like these, in which a society is in deep shit, offer the greatest opportunities.

Other than smuggling food and medications in with boats across the Channel and the North Sea, I am not seeing any yet.

Unless you are able to speculate big time every time the pound takes a hit and then moves up again.

Does this mean that people in Britain should pool their spare pounds? But with a couple of pounds, you can only make a couple of pounds, unless maybe if the pound drops to, say, one dollar cent eventually.

Britain already was so steeped in deep poverty and so much misery. Which idiots thought that making this much worse would benefit Britain? Who exactly in Britain does it benefit to have more poverty and misery in Britain? What are those people doing, the people who benefit from more misery?

That must be where the opportunities are.

Let’s face it, all the stories about the wonderful deals Britain will be able to make with countries and communities that are not the EU are utter bullshit. The whole world is aware of how desperate Britain is and the dire straits it is in. So, yeah, people like Trump will be jumping to sell Britain what it needs at extortionate prices (sometimes also known as a weak pound).

But let’s look at it practically. Food. Britain imports a lot of its food. So Brits have to learn how to become good at growing anything that is not kale and root vegetables and onions or apples and pears. That is one area in which there must be opportunities for some people.

If you look at global trends, it is very clear that eating meat is becoming less and less popular. So there are opportunities in growing more and more fruits and vegetables and nuts etc and start producing delicious foods that it can not only sell nationally but also export. (Global warming may actually be a plus within this context, as would a weak pound be.)

And focus much less on cattle, chickens and other forms of livestock farming.

So who is doing that? Who is working on growing more fruits and vegetables, pulses, mushrooms and nuts etc in a sustainable manner and offering it as or turning it onto delicious foods?

Want an example of how others do it? Look at Amy’s Kitchen. Does a British equivalent exist? (https://www.amyskitchen.co.uk/) Are Linda McCartney’s food products equally inspiring? Not quite in the same league, but interesting enough. Who else does this kind of thing in Britain? I have no idea. You?

And who is getting rid of the plastic and making sure these products are also as sustainable as possible? I don’t know. You?

Okay, we do have Jack Monroe too.

(Side note: I find that people who focus on ingredient costs often overlook energy costs related to storing and preparing the food in your home. An hour in the oven adds quite a bit to the costs of a dish and if you can leave your refrigerator off, you can keep your costs and environmental footprint down.)

And who is working on turning British cities into urban gardens for its citizens? This would keep them active without the need for gym memberships, hence keep them healthy (reducing some of the need for some of those medications in the future).

Does Britain have good fruit and vegetable seed vendors or do those seeds and plants have to be imported too?

There could also be opportunities in growing bamboo in the UK, which yields fibers for fabrics, wood for kitchen products and many other items.

Also, in economically hard times, people tend to seek more solace from time to time in things that cheer them up. (An example? Carnival glass a little under a century ago, during the Great Depression.)

So anything that makes people happier or more at peace, more content could also be good to undertake. Including mindfulness events and certain YouTube channels (such as ASMR) or podcasts as well as music and theatre.

So, who is going from door to door, shop to shop, business to business in Portsmouth, in person and asking people what their biggest challenges are and what their biggest Brexit concerns are? Who is bringing these people together, organizing meetings and putting taskforces together to address the issues that come up?

 

Tentacles of cling film

(September 2011)

I am so angry.
So very very angry.
So so angry

I carry out boxing exercises,
imagine beating your face,
breaking your nose.

Teaching someone – me – how to be afraid
afraid – afraid – afraid
is not a nice thing to do.

You wrapped your cling film tentacles
around my throat,
around the throat of my life.

You robbed me
of all my air,
of all my oxygen.

And I hate you
hate you – hate you – hate you –
hate that.

My anger
has nowhere
to go.

It punches air.
It flows into fairy tales.
I am powerless.

Because I am
nothing but a woman
and that, they say, means I don’t count.

My head pounds
and my fists fly
against the air

You sucked from my lungs,
you sucked from my days,
you sucked from my future.

Now I feel better
because voicing my anger
any way

is better
than the silence
wrapped within your cling film.

Your butt crack
is not
my punch line.

It’s yours,
and yours
alone.

You.
Took Joy
and killed her.

You killed her,
killed her killed her
killed her dead.

Still I wish
I wish I wish you
well.

Though your
stone tone
death.

~~~~~

I wrote this in 2011, after having been pursued for years by two British individuals (though up to the end of 2010, I was only aware of one of them; while the other one had popped up on my doorstep one day in 2008, I was unaware of his connection to all of this at the time and he was a complete stranger at that point).

The last line is a phonetic word play. Pronounce it and you will hear “tone deaf” and “stone deaf” and you’ll see the deliberate spelling error in “your”.

What else can you do with this kind of situation in which you are utterly powerless than at least try to do something mildly creative with it?

It is part of my booklet “Crunchy Peanuts“, which I took offline for a while because of its very negative tone, but it reflects a very negative situation, so has a high level of pure truth.

(It’s 2019 now… and this stuff is STILL going on, as you can see in some of my other posts.)

 

What is the biggest enabler of child (sex) abuse and its effects?

Secrecy.

Others pretending that it is not happening and that it never happened.

Others wanting to hush it all up forever and ever and ever.

But the wish to “protect” the child or later adult in a way blames the child, if you think about it. It imposes a burden, one of shame and embarrassment, doesn’t it?

You do not hide the fact that someone had appendicitis or broke his leg as a child, after all, though the leg may still be weaker as a result.

Openness says:

“It should never have happened to you and you are not to blame and you are fine just the way you are. It had nothing to do with you as a person, just the fact that you were somewhere at a specific point in time where you encountered a specific person or specific persons”.

“Had you been somewhere else, it is very likely that nothing would have happened to you.

But once something did happen to you, the ball started rolling and it wasn’t you who was rolling the ball. You were the powerless ball.”

That it is not always quite as simple as this, I do know.

But the blame game has to stop. People who were abused as children have nothing to be ashamed of, just like a ball or a bucket or car tire or door cannot be blamed for getting kicked.

(Just some random thoughts that occurred to me with regard to two specific people I ran into in the UK.)

 

About that honking

My nose never goes “whatup whatup” when I blow my nose and it never howls/whines/begs like a pining puppy either.

Neither do I very loudly blow my nose around the time when my downstairs neighbour is about to crawl into bed or has just crawled into bed. So how can the reverse be possible?

I am a scientist. I don’t have set bed times etc. So I know that this is scientifically impossible. 

In any normal given situation, that is, in which no stalking (including hacking) occurs.

Why I don’t do hints?

Why don’t I do hints?

  1. Only the person who gives the hint knows that it is a hint.
  2. If it is a hint, only the person who gives the hint knows what it means.
  3. Paying attention to “hints” is a recipe for mental illness.
  4. Normal human communication works MUCH better.
  5. Apparently, Brits are the only ones who understand their hints anyway.
  6. (Are there any other cultures who do this hinting? That is highly unlikely as it all stems from the rule of Queen Victoria.)
  7. Why anonymous hints? Why anonymous?
  8. Period. 

Landlords…

Never had any problems with landlords in the Netherlands. Never.

Had three in Florida. The first and the third were fine, but the second one was not and his attorney was rumoured to have mafia ties, I kid you not. But I heard that later. I think it was actually a legal aid lawyer who told me that who I talked with later, long after I’d moved out and his lawyer started pestering me. I’ll spare you the details.

My third landlord was the husband of the person I volunteered with on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. (He was a builder, built huge places, the way they are in Florida. Nice guy. I think he was in the US Army for a while, and they lived in places like Morocco. ) She stopped by one day – to bring me two birds – and was appalled and suggested I move in to one of their places. They owned a small apartment building that was mostly used by snowbirds (people from for example Canada who take winter vacations in Florida).

Some time later, I moved to Britain.

In Southampton, I knew several landlords. (Only one of them was mine.)

One said that only educated people were decent human beings, and I was too shocked to respond. He called tenants who rang him because the washing machine or heating wasn’t working (properly) “bad tenants”. This was not my own landlord, but someone I met within a business context and was friendly with for a while. Wasn’t actually a bad guy at all, strangely enough.

I also knew one who proudly told me how he had tricked an elderly woman with beginning Alzheimer’s out of her flat, I kid you not.

On another occasion, the same guy was talking with me about a new building he was constructing and then added that it did not have to be very good “as it is only for tenants”.

In Portsmouth, I’ve met two who dump rubbish on other people’s front courts and patios. I caught one red-handed and the other one admitted it.

I have principles.

If I can help make things better for people who come after me who are less strong in some way – okay, except physically as I am getting old and I am feeling it – I will try to do that. And that baffles the hell out of (most) Brits. But that is not my problem.

In-groups, out-groups, empathy, altruism, parochialism and disparity – but not necessarily hate

However, it can come across like that on the disadvantaged side of exclusive solidarity:

The Neuroscience of Hate: Rebecca Saxe from the Petrie-Flom Center’s channel on Vimeo.

I find this talk very enlightening, also with regard to my own situation as a migrant in the UK. I will have to do some thinking about how I can apply this knowledge.

What Rebecca Saxe calls parochialism, I call exclusive solidarity (as opposed to inclusive solidarity). Rebecca Saxe’s talk also explains that scarcity – imagined or real, as opposed to having an abundance mindset – causes it. Parochialism. When you’re afraid that there won’t be enough for all, you will only want to look after your own.

In connection with this topic, this book by Kathleen Taylor, another neuroscientist, is very enlightening as well:

 

The UK and women – setting it straight

Most Many Brits despise women – and I am correcting that view, the idea that women deserve nothing but contempt. (I can dream!)

The past few days, I have been going around telling women that they should be proud of themselves, that they’re human beings, not punching bags or trash, as most have been told most of their lives.

I have also reminded a few men of the fact that Britain is officially the world’s most (openly) hostile place for women and asked a few to teach their sons not to beat up on women. (Figuratively and/or literally.)

Some observations follow.

      • A very impressive young woman along Kingston Road took out her earbuds to listen, told me that she works in the military, locally. Her male colleagues treat her like she’s a 5-year-old. Her digital skills are likely a thousand times better than theirs – in view of what she does – but they have dicks and, hey, that is all that matters, in Britain. She also said that nobody here talks with anybody. That was the first thing she said, actually. (True! People here mainly communicate through violence, deception and threats.)

She told me to “keep fighting”. She does not let any of it get to her, she said. She meant it, I could see that and she impressed the hell out of me. Hats off to her! But she fully agreed that Britain is horrible in this respect, that women are seen as less than men and as having to be subservient to men. Her I wanted to hug and give a protective yet also very impressive superwoman cloak that she can wear all her life. (It does not need to be visible, such a cloak.)

She made my day, but I also felt very sad for the abuse she has to take while at work. I should add that when I addressed her, I was mainly still fuming over the relentless and immensely destructive abuse I have experienced myself, as a female professional and business owner in Britain.

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Portsmouth Police breaking the law again

They don’t have the time and resources to solve crimes against individuals, unless those individuals have been killed, but they do still have the time and resources to send two or three cars to follow me and hunt me through the city to play PacMan.

They love playing PacMan with migrants and with women.

They first did this to me in 2009. February it was.

Of course, when you call them out on it, they always say that they don’t have the time and resources for that kind of crap.

So on my way back, I walked up to the central police station in Portsmouth, and addressed its CCTV camera:

You. Need. To. Observe. The. Law.

The law!

 

That’s the kind of police we have in Britain – barbaric, lawless and abusive – for which we pay through our council tax. They’re straight out of a film of police brutality and incompetence of the wild-west US in the past.

Two or three police cars were following me all over town again yesterday evening, slowing down when they passed me, backing up and returning when I took a left or right, etc.

It’s happened  too many times before.

And this kind of crap takes up most of their time. Hunting down citizens who dare report crimes and who dare stand up against the utterly lawless British police. They don’t seem to do anything else but this.

I have on occasion stood by on purpose myself to serve as possible witness in police brutality cases when I saw them hunt other people. But they are too clever to attack people in plain public view, I am sure.

We pay for this harassment through our council tax. We pay for it ourselves!

Portsmouth has the highest CCTV density of the UK, so yes, police can hunt anyone through the city, in retaliation or just for fun.

I also got a creep on a bicycle after me, along Albert Road, to tell me that women deserve to go hungry, should not be allowed to own any property of any kind, should not be allowed to work and should not be allowed to earn a living, or even be healthy and happy and that they should generally keep their mouths shut.

I told him it was the 21st century, that the middle ages were a long time ago and I crossed the road. The kid was not even half my age. He should apologize to all the women he owes his existence to, starting with his mother, but he won’t see it that way, clearly. In his eyes, women are lower than cattle. Usable and disposable. Not worth shit.

In case you wonder what the hell I am still doing in this shitty hell hole, well, I’ve tried to escape four times already. I also sometimes foolishly think that I can help make things better here, simply through my presence.

Also, I had formally raised the issue about the problems with local police again this week. Some retaliation was to be expected.

This photo below shows you what my door looks like when I am not in, these days. Three locks on the inside, warning note on the outside and a barricade in front of it, to stop, eh, anonymous elements, from shimmying the locks and carrying out crap in my flat – which has been going on since 2011, with the approval of Portsmouth Police.

Updated on 12 July 2019
At the moment, I am not using the vacuum cleaner to block my door, but the basket and two older printers. There was a time when I believed there was a local person with a brain-related impairment behind it, but it’s more complicated than that.

 

 

I love coffee

Note: This is an upcycled older post. Aldi later upgraded the packaging. See thumbnail on the right.

This post is about coffee in Britain.

Many people in my home country have a hard time accepting that Britain really is the way it is (when you live here, which isn’t the same as it is for tourists). It is not “just like the Netherlands except that the people in England (as the Dutch usually call Britain) speak English, drink tea, are reserved and prim and proper and walk around swinging walking sticks and bowler hats” or some version of that.

Most Dutch people blindly assume that everything in Britain works the exact same way as things work in the Netherlands. I can’t blame them. I too had no idea how vastly different Britain is relative to my home country, or the United States.

The people in my home country are also often convinced that the coffee here is bad, however. True, but that applies only to the cheap instant stuff.

Ground coffee – real coffee – is actually very good and, in my opinion, even much better in Britain than in the Netherlands.

I haven’t had an electric coffee maker in many years. After another one had broken down, I started making coffee with a separate filter and a large thermos. I ended up with much better-tasting coffee and it landed me absolutely perfect coffee once, so good it was stunning. The amount of coffee, the way I poured the water and its temperature must have been just right for my coffee to turn out so exceptional that morning.

Nowadays, I make my coffee in a French press, inspired by a remark made by a Spanish professor at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton in 2005. If I accidentally drop a French press and the glass breaks, I can order a replacement glass.

I have several favourites. Taylors of Harrogate makes great coffee, which sells at roughly £3.75 a bag these days, I think, but it is often on offer. I think that one bag contains 227 grams. It comes in many varieties, but not every supermarket has all varieties, and I have my favourites. The varieties occasionally change, too. Places like Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury sell Taylors.

Aldi – which is a much more luxurious supermarket in Britain than in the Netherlands – sells really great coffee too. People actually started going to Aldi for no other reason than its coffee. When coffee prices started to rise a few years back, Aldi tried to compromise on the quality of the coffee. I wrote to them about it. Others must have done too because Aldi later compromised again, but this time by making the bags smaller. They now contain 200 grams of great-tasting coffee instead of 227 grams.

Its “Rich Java” is so popular it is often sold out. 100% arabica coffee. “Deep, rich, syrupy flavour with subtle notes of chocolate”. Rainforest alliance certified. Strength: 5.

I tried one of the other ones, but Rich Java was much better and kept selling out.

Aldi must have noticed, because it replaced one of the other varieties (I think it was “Ethiopian”, which I didn’t like) and introduced “Peruvian”. 100% arabica coffee. “Bold bodied with red fruit notes and a caramel finish”. Rainforest alliance certified (sustainable livelihoods, protecting the environment). Strength: 4.

I love them both! At times I prefer the Java and at other times the Peruvian. The Peruvian is a bit more refined, more subtle. The Java could be Brazilian. (It isn’t. Java is part of Indonesia and that is where this coffee comes from.) It plants its feet firmly on the ground and says “Here I am!”.

£1.99 for 200 grams for each of them.

Did you know that coffee has tremendous health benefits, too, for most people? It can do wonders for the liver, for example.

Why I sometimes call British culture “paranoid” or “narcissistic”

If someone writes to you “with the greatest respect”, isn’t it paranoid or an indication of extremely low self-esteem, hence possibly narcissistic, to believe that it means “I think you’re an idiot”?

That’s not “sarcasm”, folks.  That’s bonkers. Nuts.

YouGov survey: 
British sarcasm 'lost on Americans':

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46846467

So when a local shop owner suddenly started repeating “Don’t worry about it” a few years ago, I had no idea that it meant “Piss off!”, and I still have no idea why he suddenly wanted me to piss off either. I must have said something that he thought was intended as the exact opposite of what I said and meant?

Interesting is that before I moved from Amsterdam to the USA, I received some warnings/advice about Americans that turned out not to apply at all – for instance about the dinner invitations as mentioned in the BBC article – but I did later discover that some of it applies with regard to southern England.

For people in countries that don’t have English as their main language, the fact that British English is so vastly different from other forms of English can be really confusing.

There is also a thing in British English that we foreigners sometimes call hinting, and that people from other countries don’t get either.

I am not so sure that what the BBC writes about the British use of sarcasm applies to Scotland, by the way.

I do remember one occasion when I did catch the sarcasm. A year or so ago, I walked into a store to ask something and addressed someone whose last words to me before I left the store again were “and we’ll sort you out”.

What she meant was that they would teach me a lesson.

I suspect that I know what it was about and if I am right about that, then she considered the items she was selling “old junk”, felt that I had been comparing her to old junk by something I said (perhaps indicating that she was not very happy with what she was doing, even though I think she was an owner, not an employee).

This is typically British. Anywhere else, you’d be considered paranoid or otherwise not well in the head to have thoughts like these. Here, however, you are considered not well in the head – slow on the uptake – if you don’t get this stuff.

See how upside down the world can be and how tricky cultural differences are?

 

(My) human rights in Britain

The British (as a nation) tend to see themselves as the human rights champions of the world, and “foreign fucktards” as those who violate human rights.

That’s otherization, explains Kathleen Taylor in her book “Cruelty – Human evil and the human brain”. If only “foreign fucktards” commit human rights violations, it follows that you, therefore, don’t.

That it is okay to violate the human rights of “fucktards” (foreign or otherwise) is the other aspect of otherization. Think of the fact that any foreigner can be arrested and detained indefinitely in places like Yarl’s Wood, for example, or the British government deliberately pushing poor people and poor disabled and chronically ill people into even deeper poverty, even causing their deaths.

I took a look at my own human rights situation in Britain. (Okay, make that “Portsmouth” as I did have quite a few more human rights in daily practice when I was still living in Southampton.) This is what my life has more or less looked like for the past ten years.

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Lost black dog spotted in Portsmouth

This morning, between 10:45 and 11:00, a lost BLACK male dog with a bright RED collar was spotted near Manor Infant School in Portsmouth, England Little George Road/Inverness Road/Kingston Road). It looks like possibly a staffie/lab mix.

One woman who had business at the infant school noticed him too and she had seen him almost getting hit by a car when he crossed Kingston Road before. The driver of the County Supplies lorry saw him as well.

I spotted the dog from my window. He seemed hungry as he was sniffing rubbish bags, then walked back to one, decided to dig into it and ate whatever he had found in that bag.

I went outside with some dog treats, intending to grab him and track down the owners, but when I came downstairs he was gone. I walked around for 15 minutes or so, but did not see him anywhere.

(Unfortunately, I did not have internet access at the time because of this https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46464730 and I am posting this from elsewhere. I cannot send texts either.)

I will keep on the lookout for him and if I see him, attempt to grab and keep him at my place.

(He was energetic, in good shape, and while a little bit confused, did not appear to be a problematic dog in any way, and dogs usually get along well with me.)

I’d appreciate hearing it if the dog has meanhile been reunited with his owner. Thank you.

Why Portsmouth should diminish traffic

I wrote an article about it on LinkedIn. If you’re interested, you can find it, and you don’t need me to post the link here. Southampton can’t do anything as drastic as this. Bournemouth can’t. Chichester can’t. London can’t. But Portsmouth can.

And Portsmouth can turn this into a giant plus and use it to boost the economy, but it won’t. Because it is drowning in crap such as bullying and corruption, also at city council level, and likes seeing itself as the powerless whining underdog a little bit too much. There is very little true vision left in this town, where too much of the focus is on traditional capitalism and on the past. The industries of the past are GONE, folks. Quit waffling about that and move forward.

Here are a few links to supporting studies:

All I hear is stupid excuses.

  • The impact of cars on our space

    No space for trams. Sure there is!

  • The people with more than 2 cars will protest and shout very loudly. Wear ear plugs! (What about the 80 or 90% or 95% of the rest of your population? 70% have no car or only 1 car. Many of Portsmouth’s inhabitants hardly ever get out of Portsmouth.)
  • Shop owners will complain. Show them that most of their customers are actually coming from within a small radius and give them decent business support! Most are probably delusional in thinking that their customers come from miles away and may blame traffic measures for their own failures (a certain pet supplies shop owner comes to mind).
  • A certain lawyer will whine. Tell her to shut up. She doesn’t know what she is talking about. (If she makes you feel stupid and ignorant, that’s because she is talking complete rubbish!)

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