Artium Baccalaureus

Future Rhodes Scholars on the Farm, circa 2014

Future Rhodes Scholars on the Farm, circa 2014

I went to a liberal arts college, Dartmouth in the 1980s, and we did not have modern pre-professional degrees like journalism or bean-bag-horse-shoe-pitching. But like Stanford in many many ways, now since and forever. Wah hoo wah. We got next.

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Weiss campaign lands three endorsements

Mark Weiss for Palo Alto City Council, if you, dear reader, of Plastic Alto, permit me the indulgence of speaking of self in third person, although usually I claim this is sign of subject “jumbling the shark” or the presentation of severe personality disorder, “I and I” Rastafarians notwithstanding — and yeah that was me singing “not one of my seed….shall beg for your bread..I and I” in the showers at 7:45 a.m. today at Ross Road Family YMCA — the campaign picked up three endorsements from a diverse trio of people who knew him (me) in a former live, or the earlier incarnations of Young Weiss-ton.

BLUF (bottom line up front and no that is not a gratuitous Michael McFaul reference): Lisa Delong, Colin Bonini and James “Jamie” Lyons I communed with in various real and electronic ways and I’m happy to report they said, yeah, sure, whatever use my name (Jamie gave me a fist bump, or at least did not refuse mine; Lisa also know as Cammie’s mom or nowadays Cameron’s or Cam’s mom or also Mrs. or Ms. Dr. Nomi Khan the spine surgeon of Crescent Park or Center-ville made me some tea or chai or high end “d.i.y.” cafe-quality beverage although we had to guess at the flavor which was in high French or some uber-exclusive Swiss-French-German slang they don’t teach,, not Louis Weiss at least — still not my daddy, although I wish I had a nickel for how many times someone said, apropos of a French language teacher in PAUSD “Is Mr. Weiss your father?” and I’ve had to say “no?” or “non?”; Colin, taking a pass from his twin brother the judge Griffin Muff Bonini who said he could not endorse me, unless I was running odor judge — I’m going to leave that, that little computer-suggested amendment “odor” for “for” — is it saying something about justice writ large? – – Judge Bonini said he had fond memories of being my teammate and riding in my blue Camero and knocked on — that’s actually a soccer term — my email to Colin who sent a little quote:

“Mark Weiss is a fine fellow, this conservative Delaware legislator and former Wesley Wolf scoring leader doth say” –that’s a paraphrase and probably breaks both E.B. White’s first law “omit needless” words and is more like Joe Biden’s famous plagiarism or a violation of the Mann Act for interstate politico-babble than the direct quote — and keep in mind all I have to do is publish this and click six times like Dorothy in not-Kansas to cut-and-paste it in for real.

I also got a rather limp response from Anna Eshoo saying that she wrote this letter before I tipped my hand enough to reveal that the Mark Weiss running for Council and asking her endorsement is the same Mark Weiss son of Paul and Barbara Weiss she knows quite well– or Dad says, Mom used to say she adored Anna– so I actually feel sorry for Anna getting so far into the rabbit hole of Politics with a Capitol that she cannot remember the Nineties. Her current campaign manager Nikki something, all of 23 years old or so and an odd habit of snapping her gum as she chews actually had a computer program that says my dad doesn’t exist and my mom only gave $1,000 so I should watch the way I swagger thru her office there on Cambridge Street Palo Alto, back in an alley behind something and next to a parking lot, kind of near the post office, the Eisenhower Era one and not the nice one the sellouts and deposits are selling off — talk about boondoggle. If Anna’s letter had said “I’m sorry I cannot endorse you because I don’t really know you, say hi to your parents, Anna Eshoo” or “I cannot endorse you because, if you keep on modern genetics the way I do, the excellent traits I have noticed in your parents Paul and Barbara Weiss just as likely may skip a generation or two and I don’t have even a minute to eyeball you myself, even if you come to the Wojcicki and Codispotti $150 a plate soiree Saturday, but keep in touch”.

Meanwhile, and I apologize both for shifting back to first person and away from the promisingly amusing third — and that brings to mind Borges “Borges and I” (“Borges Y Yo”) and also my weird thing I wrote last night about Alexis Harte and the real Alexis Harte; I woke mentally writing him back and blaming it on Edward Allen Poe “William Wilson” or whatever it was called, he wrote in 1850 I wrote just as long ago or read rather in 1984, fittingly — or if you came tonight to hear about Lisa Delong and Colin Bonini and Jamie Lyons,I also met with Rabbi Janet Marder who lives in Plao Alto. After a nice 30 minute meeting that could have stretched to 35 but Laura Bandman, my idea of a Cantor with a canter, said she would be waiting in the next room, practicing her scales – and although I did not get an endorsement I left with a book, on loan, a private press oral history of my actual Rabbi, Sidney Axelrad — now that’s what I call Inspiration! After a rather satisfying end of day, sun falling in sky (actually, we spinning away from site of sun, do note) circle of East Meadow and Arbitus –new terrain for me, even, here since 1974 walking the precint or canvassing or pressing doorbells, I was so inspired I pulled over, despite Terry saying the beef borgnine in ernest would be ready at 6:30 and it was pushing 7, I called and left vm for RJM: hey, maybe you can endorse me as an individual. The Jews of Palo Alto will be glad to have something to vote for; you won’t regret it, et cetera. (I literally got cut off, ran out of time, but also paraphrased one of the lessons she let me: I don’t have to finish my work, but cannot just leave my work, her response to my pseudo-vedantic we have the right to work but not the right to expect to be paid in full.

So I am holding an office hour, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. here at Peet’s near Cubberley if anyone reads this in real time and moseys by, please say hi. Jamie Lyons says he is working with Collected Works a producing org in Sf and did lights for something Russian sounding I did not catch the name but it does suss up proper like. I shot him here a month or so ago and maybe ran the photo here, or it is trapped with 1,700others in my phone.

I have my La Para La Selva breakfast klatch from 9 to 11, Paly media lab for UNAFF something black and or African Senegalese — for six minutes at 4 till about 6:30 then rushing down to Cupertino or Sunnyvale for Gunn v. Homestead, hopefully the first W for good old GHS which we called HMG. Or is it GSH?

Lisa returned a Dawn Richardson Mel Bay drumming book that hopefully spoke to then-Cammie a few years back. Lisa stopped her car to spy me as I stood in front of Enid Pearson’s house. Again, no endorsement but thanks for the inspiration! Likewise I rang the doorbell and left vm for her neighbor and doppelgänger Emily Renzel. I have photo of Enid, plus she has a flyer from 40 years ago saying the same thing: not everyone who claims to be a Residentialsit is one.

the owls are not what they seem.
The Cougars are not what they were.
Wear Sunsream.

We have the power to whip you.

What are the odds of a beautiful half-Swedish Palo Alto soccer mom slamming on the breaks of her Mercedes SUV to espy this piece or work, this not too solid piece of flesh, sagging Titan, point two seven points per game? Zero, minus the fact that Terry made me, Terry my Terry, the former two term Palo Alto Arts Commissioner, Terry Acebo Davis, the printmaker and installation artist, a cool poster, a yard sign.

Don’t vote for me, vote for my yard sign!

edit to add (that’s a lie, this is 1,354 and not published yet. Visuals?) I also saw Lori Davis Cottle and Sean Cottle at the Y; I am tempted to ask Lori to walk a precint with me. Twenty doorbells, try to place four signs, she does not have to talk unless they speak to her first, in and out in 2.0 hour, starting at her house. Game?

I also caught up with John Liddicoat’s dad, who said he wants to go back into business; if he cannot evict Apple from his old building, maybe go after that little VC firm on Kipling next to the wine bar. I’m all in with ya, big fellow. (He took a yard sign,although again,I would be fudging it to list him as endorsement. I will hit up Olive Borgsteadt when I see her, my 5th grade teacher, plus will try to yard sign that huge modern house or group of houses near The Adobe and Esther Clark, the one with the mizzuza and the modern or western art.

Somewhere between: John Adams or Sam Adams: there is nothing left here to forward our country and is it Perry “I have not yet begun to fight” ?? mixed with Hunter S. Thompson “When the going gets tough the weird turn pro” and John Wooden “be quick but don’t hurry”.

Don’t go halfway, go Midway. (which is coded shout to Morton Benjamin Weiss the Southside playwright and developer)

outtro: and try to play both at same time, Patti Smith and Eric Bachman: (and it doesn’t fit here musically but like Ms.Mary on Romper Room and her magic mirror I also see Linda Perry circa 1993 at Paradise Lounge trying out or trying on “what’s up?/ what’s going on?, deserves its own post, this is 988 btw.

also nice meeting severin mathe of mn ymca

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What did you do with the real Alexis Harte?

This is not the real Alexis Harte but a collection of data that reminds me of him

This is not the real Alexis Harte but a collection of data that reminds me of him

I had a friend or at least business associate named Alexis Harte, a man a few years my junior who was husband and father and bandleader and played a couple shows for me, as Earthwise Productions of Palo Alto.

BUT NOW, buy i mean

Right this very minute a complicated yet shiny machine is sitting in my lap, a type of lap dance I suppose, and I dare say that tonight at least it has displaced my human companion, Terry, Terry my Terry, and the machine replicates in certain ways, voice and a visual of the real Alexis Harte, who apparently, if you believe what you read, has a new song about sin and Halloween and I guess Fatherhood, and God, and better than that you too can “own” it, or have it, or control a version of it, a file with bits of data but placed in or on the right group of chips and dips makes something like music. For $1. Only. Just click here. (I was afraid to do it, yet somehow even worse it is controlling my fingers, this lap dancer; it is writing this, I am not. Free will. Or just programming and genetic code? ABCG, was it? ATCG? Who needs to know? I recall the c and the g link tighter than the a and the t. Thanks, Karen Antoun and family.

Do androids dream of electric sheep?
What have you done, with the real Alexis Harte?
Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio?
What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

good luck to Alexis and he is raising money for Doctors without Borders which I hope is distinct from Doctors without Bodies.

I saw a flyer on campus for the singularity, coming soon.
Beam me up, Scotty?
Dave, this is HAL. Quit asking about ALEXIS.

sing versus singularity, discuss
passing strange, doug hilsinger, ryan singer

The owls are not what they seem.
The talking birds of telegraph hill.
I think therefore I am.
After that, you am on u own.
All that I have is my should. (I wrote “soul” but the machine finished my sentence. a life sentence. a lite sentence. my kingdom for a horse

edit to add: from wiki and google, but I believe it to be true:
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore.
betsy hall, city hall, halloween, half-japanese, great american music hall — again, the machine offers this list David Levinthal: I took a recent photo thinking the statue in front of San Jose Museum mimics the Willie Mays photo on the banner

When I got to heaven, God said: forget Moses, why didn’t you try to be more like Weiss? (Rabbi Familant, circa 1990, my brother’s wedding, a story)

I never died said he (Joe Hill) I had a couple more lines but Terry is yelling at me so I forget the rest

I think of the internet as a business device but this is almost personal:who wrote “alone again” or who sang it? Stew said he is just the song. Just ask the song.

Parrots idiot. we’ll always have parrots.
Last word or thought: I have a ryan singer apron with this image:

ryan singer is navajo painter and pop artist, i met in santa fe, made this stew

ryan singer is navajo painter and pop artist, i met in santa fe, made this stew

I just wrote this into my notebook yesterday:James Gleick quoting someone else that you cannot stir things apart so take this:

early Alexis Harte,about early birds get the worm or something, sunlight loping, “Parrots” song, track 6 sho nut ya dig

and 1:

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Palo Alto pizza democracy

Observing the vetting of five candidates for two seats on the important Planning and Transportation Commission by nine current City Council members at around 6:45 this evening, my attention was drawn to three half-eaten pizza pies at a table arms length from the action and a lunge away from me. Without disrupting the affair I reckon pepperoni, sliced tomatoes and combo. The box says New York Pizza, nearby, affordable but frankly second tier or worse.

Bottom line: I’d rather see leadership eating Pizza My Heart or Pizza Chicago at 20 percent higher cost, but I would predict a more efficient thru-rate.


Schmidt, Lippert and three rather unappetizing pies.

Schmidt, Lippert and three rather unappetizing pies.

seat turns over from Claude Ezran who I recently upgraded from nemesis to potential ally to Art Keller who said recently and without explication that he is not voting for me. I think he goes by Arthur, like the rock group. Sorry I called you Kessler in a speech.

Schmidt, Lippert and three rather unappetizing pies.

Schmidt, Lippert and three rather unappetizing pies.

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Putin riot

Stanford's Michael McFaul my old Deadhead buddy was on Charlie Rose the other night and other speakers but probably not he compared Putin to Catherine the Great, talk about pussy riot!

Stanford’s Michael McFaul my old Deadhead buddy was on Charlie Rose the other night and other speakers but probably not he compared Putin to Catherine the Great, talk about pussy riot!

BLUF bottom line up front: I am comparing, as far as their knowledge of Vladimir Putin, Michael McFaul the former ambassador and Alexis Harte, a local musician. Maybe Michael, Alexis and I can jam together at Lytton Plaza, or Red Square.

I am trying to realize, meeting Michael McFaul for the first time in 31 years, that we are way beyond being old drinking buddies or concert going-chums (and besides I knew him indirectly in that we double-dated with my classmate his girlfriend at the time, his freshman year at Stanford, the three of us Gunn seniors, 1982).

So I will probably not suss out my thesis about whether being the son of a music teacher helps him hear false notes and propaganda in diplomatic channels. (I dropped this on him briefly at an Amanda Renteria for Congress event in Portola Valley recently, just missing him at the meet and greet at World Affairs council in Atherton some weeks prior).

Pleased to see him even in split screen on Charlie Rose the other night.

Thanks for the “BLUF” bottom line up front.

Interesting to say that he has been tracking Putin since 1991 because during glasnost a group of local elected officials, like Los Angeles City Council (and Zef TK, the one whose name is on side of Hollywood Bowl) went to St. Petersburg to meet their counter-part-counter-comrades and Putin was a low level admin of that, and Mike was already intrigued by the Soviets and there. He is Candi’s protegee but to her left. He was a Rhodes Scholar after Stanford 1986, Obama admin Security Council then Ambassador, until just after Sochi.

The crew on Charlie Rose kept comparing Putin to “Catherine the Great”.

I rang out of blue my former near-client and still-friend Alexis Harte because his song about George W. Bush has a line about Putin. Here is a recent video which may help.

I fantasized about inviting Michael to Dark Star Orchestra at Fox Redwood City recently. I am buying the line in Foreign Policy Review that when he got to Stanford he was struck by the indulgence per se of a dorm mate having 100 Dead tapes, not that he was a deadhead too. In Russia, he caught some grey-market jazz shows, they say. He did tweet about pussy riot. I think this is about my tenth McFaul citation on Plastic Alto; will give it a rest. I had invited Mike to see Taylor Ho Bynum event 9/20/14 at Lytton Plaza; he connected my name, the following week to that invite but didn’t let on if he remembered the exact connection, that I was friends with his freshman year girlfriend. ( I called her, now happily married to someone else, with 2 boys, almost men when Mike was named to Obama team and she said “I know, my dad just called.”)

Not to seque too far from Alexis Harte video name-checking or one-line summation of Putin, Vladimir “he is too highfalutin”? but Bill Murphy, a Paly 1969, playing guitar with Gunn 1982 Stanford 1986 Esther Berndt alto saxophone last night at CoHo claims that Jerry Garcia sat in with Vince Guaraldi at a residency in Menlo Park, didn’t realize, will, as Bob Marley says, suss that out.

The other day I wore a black knit cap from Riot, a new line in downtown near Broadway L.A.

Ok, back to work.

and 1:

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Slow pitch softball plus a pinch of Carl Hubbell the usual

Having struck out with Palo Alto Weekly, Daily News and Daily Post, I am counting on Stanford's Communcations 4 to tell the true story of the Weiss campaign

Having struck out with Palo Alto Weekly, Daily News and Daily Post, I am counting on Stanford’s Communcations 4 to tell the true story of the Weiss campaign

Mr. Weiss,

My name is Erin Ashby and I am a Stanford student currently enrolled in COMM 104: Reporting, Writing, and Understanding the News. We are currently making candidate profiles for the upcoming Palo Alto City Council election and I have been assigned to you.

You briefly met one of my peers at the Farmers’ Market this weekend on California Ave., Alex Blandino! (as a junior at Stanford, .310, 12 hr, 44 rbi, communications major, from Palo Alto but prepped at Saint Francis)

I was hoping to get the following information from you to put in your bio:

-elected experience
-other professional experience
-reason for running
-length of time of residence in the Palo Alto area 
-family (general)
-any endorsements for the campaign (up to 3)

Hope to hear from you soon.


(we spoke by phone and she told me that she could not meet up in person because she was at a medical appointment — I live on campus so suggested an in-person meeting might facilitate her article)

gosh golly.
be well.
don’t swing at any bad pitches.

mark weiss
1788 Oak Creek Drive #217
Palo Alto,  CA 94034

(650) 305-XXXX call any time

say “wah hoo wah” old school dartmouth lingo for “hurray” or “good luck” to your new coach.

The Unwinding by George Packer who’s mother and father taught at Stanford, background for my campaign (I had mentioned in our phone conversation, as an influence — Nancy Packer has endorsed me as well; we had talked for about 12 minutes on Wednesday, October 15, at 3 p.m.)

endorsed by: Matt Gonzalez, the SF Green former Supervisor; Greg Brown, the muralist; Henry Ford a black football pioneer, if that’s my rainbow coalition of supporters and inspirations. 

I sounded fairly articulate when we spoke I hope some of that ends up in your notes.
Also, I shot a portrait of Alex with his camera for my blog, if you remind him to forward to me. (see above)

I am an arts guy but played basketball and tennis for Gunn and baseball 8 years in youth leagues plus junior high football flag for Terman

A former client of mine Mark “Stew” Stewart produced a Broadway show “Passing Strange” about his life as a black artist but it workshopped on campus. Also Aleta Hayes a Stanford instructor endorses me and sang at some of my events.
lives in town.

I once went to a Grateful Dead concert with Michael McFaul, in 1982 his freshman year on the Farm my senior year at Gunn; he is at Hoover and the former Ambassador to Russia said hello to him for first time in 30 years last month.

also, he did not endorse me but Rich Kelley a Stanford basketball legend and NBA player this morning said I could use his picture for my blog and you hereby have permission (  c earthwise productions 2014) to reprint it or use academically. enclose (he is the 6’11 guy, I am the 5’11 3/4 inches guy, with hat — Erin said later that the picture was not usable so we sat for each other not selfies but simultaneous cellphone portraits or close enough, serially at least. I suggested trying Veronica Weber of the Weekly and ask for one of the outtakes “the one in which I am smiling” as opposed to glaring (10/1014 or staring into space, from 2012)

born 1964 chicago
aquarius, moon in cancer scorpio rising

read my blog: plastic alto (its a jazz reference)
my partner in life is terry acebo davis a former arts commissioner here and visual artist (and works for stanford but please do not say what exact department I had mentioned off the record I hope) (I also brought one of the yard signs Terry made to the meeting we had today)terryNanking
from last Wednesday, 10/15

Hi Mr. Weiss,
Just got back and able to start writing.

Three questions for you:
-Does your girlfriend reside with you? I just need to use the correct conjunction

-What do you mean by Henry Ford a black football pioneer? I want to make sure I correctly identify your endorsers

-Do you happen to have a picture of you with your entire face? Unfortunately that is one of the requirements of the assignment. I can pull one off of your website if that would be easier. Totally up to you.


(did not see that until the next morning, luddite that I am…)

you might have called to let me know this is here.
i have to be in a meeting in 10 minutes.

I live at Oak Creek. Terry Acebo Davis lives Downtown North. We keep separate residences, but in some parlance we “live together”. complicated.

Henry and Rochelle Ford have endorsed my campaign. They are for real husband and wife, probably 60 years. Henry was first back (african american) quarterback at Pittsburgh the University (tony dorsett , Larry Fitzgerald and him are on their poster) and then played briefly in the NFL for Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns before their inter-racial marriage (she is considered…Syrian?) got him blackballed, according to a recent book, on “black football pioneers” and a lecture they jointly gave recently to PAHA.

they live on waverly before kingsley. yellow house with sculptures she makes and sells. his son marc ford played running back for paly while jim harbaugh year younger was QB there.

 i actually did just promise the other day to hire a photog for official campaign snap but otherwise steal my face as we deadheads say.

an hour later, while sitting at the ARB ready to oppose the placing of a giant antenna at Palo Alto Little League fields

A Little Chin Music for The Corporate Behemoth 9/18/14 plastic alto wordpress blog
(not sure why the all caps came in, and was too in a hurry to correct…SORRY)


Hi Mr. Weiss,
I was hoping to gather a little more information from you for you profile. My professor gave me back comments on my first draft.

Unfortunately I have practice and a meeting after it tonight but do you have time for a short phone call again?
(Erin plays on the softball team, if you didn’t glean that from mention of the new coaches, from my alma mater, Dartmouth)


slow pitch softball and i pinch of carl hubbell as always

our header: Re: Fw: Palo Alto City Council Profile CORPORATE CREEP AT BASEBALL LITTLE LEAGUE PARK
(I said in there somewhere that corporate creep is my term for encroachment of a corporate mindset into the public sector or everyday life; see also Kurt Vonnegut “Player Piano” circa 1959)

(meanwhile I had a brief correspondence with Alex Blandino who confirmed that he played four seasons at PALL. Also, somewhere in there I promised to try to get Ms. Ashby job interviews with Cincinatti Bengals and San Diego Chargers, I also name-checked Anne Cribbs Warner the former Olympian and pr wiz. I hope to check out a game next spring, win or lose, and meet the Dartmouth brain trust. Plus Matt Maltz will coach Gunn girls again, maybe Erin Ashby will do a clinic or something for Titan Ladies.

As a lagniappe I was thinking of linking to “You Know Me, Al” by Ring Lardner and “The Glory of Their Times” by Lawrence Ritter, the two best books on baseball, as much for A.B. as E.N.A or my readers..

I had a card like this until the great ransack of 2/1/08

I had a card like this until the great ransack of 2/1/08

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Weiss spurs jangle jingle

A musician and composer sent me this 14 second performance that I hope people listen to apropos of my campaign for Palo Alto City Council. A young person named Daphne who lives near East Meadown and Arbitus (her mom is named Karen), said it sounds like Joanna Newsom, which is a compliment. For background you might want to know that in the first semester of the 8th grade, at Terman Middle School in Palo Alto, I put up a bunch of flyers that said WHEN YOU ROLL THE DICE IT COMES UP WEISS, was indeed elected student body president and later Ms. Jean White my homeroom teacher for 7th grade and our Vice Principal gave me Terman Student Council Award.

By the way, in terms of a blog post title or headline “spur” above means, according to online version of Merriam-Webster, to encourage someone to do or achieve. As in, I spurred the singer, clarinet player, bandleader and social activist to create this wondrous 14 seconds 12 word ditty, little slice of Americana, piece of our civilization, culture.

Jangle is a term for a type of guitar sound, think Malibu Canyon early seventies late sixties kind of thing, I am drawing blank on actual sound or names: Joni Mitchell type morning, or is it Topanga canyon, I See Hawks In LA more recent version. And yeah I am flirting with some 1940s Americana lyric about a guy and his horse or off his horse, I did gloss or suss it up or “search-injun” it up.

Thanks anonymous musician for your hard efforts on behalf of the free people of Palo Alto. Not sure how to use this. Would KFOG add it? Or KZSU even?

Reminds that my first job out of university (did I mention I went to Dartmouth?), Tom Harbeck the former advisor of the Gunn Oracle (before Kristy Blackburn, was even born) offered me an unpaid internship at Chiat-Day on Maiden Lane, on Worlds of Wonder, Teddy Ruxpin and Lazer Tag and all that. Chiat-Day Holiday card: _ _ bells — we don’t do jingles. Artist and I conversed on whether this was jingle, or ditty or short composition and we stuck with jingle despite the pejorative connotation.

Am also recalling Paul E. Weiss and I touring Jimmy Carter Library with my Dartmouth roommate G. Scott Rafshoon, Jerry’s kid, and Scott not able to stop himself from singing along to a Carter for President lick, or lyric, 1992 morphing with 1975.

Not sure how to move it from cellphone email storage to WordPress?

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