Sunday, August 3, 2014

STEVE POST HAS DIED.

44 comments:

  1. Yes. It's referred to on Paul Fischer's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PaulsFrequency

    ~ 'indigopirate'

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  2. Don't know if this is problematically off-topic (or tangential), but Margot and Post's deaths, and Paul Fischer's FB page, combined with your providing those two wonderful tracks from your collection, reminded me of how wonderful the music BAI once provided was, and how deeply knowledgeable and enthusiastic were the people who provided and presented it – as is, still, for example, Irsay.

    So I googled, and found that Teri, aka 'Laughing', as in 'The Laughing Cavalier', is still very much around, with his enormous collection, and his great love for Bach:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Towe-on-Thursday/93829743380?sk=info

    https://blogs.princeton.edu/paw/2012/12/tiger-of-the-we-139/

    Nice to know, I think :)

    ~ 'indigopirate'

    ps: Charles Ruas, of D&L, was also out of Princeton http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Ruas

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  3. Fass, Josephson and Rothenberg will soon join the ancestors.

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    1. Yes, you may well be right, and I'll be right with them/

      If some far-out, cult-feeding theories are not just that, some riders on the outbound train will get off and not find any ancestors. Think about that. :)

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    2. Okay, wait.... So, after people die they join the ancestors? How do they do that? Their ancestors are dead... is this some new age time-travel sci-fi-fantasy thing?

      ~ 'indigo'

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    3. No. It's called hell...

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    4. It's complicated, Indigo. Some believe it's strictly by invitation, others think there's evidence of a dance card of sorts. Issued pre-natally and containing future brushes with death (sometimes called near-transfers). It is, they say, an itinerary for our life-long trek to the ultimate family reunion.

      I should add that I, personally, am more inclined to go with a theory held by a drummer friend of mine. "Call it what you will," he says, "we all have a one-way ticket to Vermont."

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    5. I've been dead three times in my life and brought back. I wonder what that means...

      Anyway, I always hated my family, one and all. Yup, it's going to be hell...

      SDL

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    6. Chris: Was your drummer friend thinking more of happy-hippie-artist-musician-artisanal-at-one-with-the-earth vermont or of the less-prominently-promoted plain-ol'-new-england-redneck vermont?

      ... and which would be heaven and which would be hell...?

      ... damn, this can be complicated.

      ~ 'indigo'

      ps: My imaginary drinking buddy, Musashi's Ghost, said it was all about the Void – personally, I think he's got a point.

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    7. Hello Chris, I know your "drummer friend" very well. I shared the bandstand at Eddie Condon's with him 6 nights a week for several years, and have stayed in pretty close touch with him ever since. "Vermont," according to Danny, is the place where parents euphemistically tell their children Uncle Bill has gone, to explain his sudden and permanent absence in the family circle.

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    8. Thanks for the reminder, Tom, that's exactly how Danny described it to me.

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    9. OK....OK.....
      I'm the one who coined the phrase "Moved to Vermont"........basically indigenous to the use of WHITE people.

      In fact.....are there ANY people of color residing in "Vermont"? If so, it would have to be fewer than 5%.
      I may have heard it used by my Aunt Madeline back when I was a toddler.

      I think an uncle of mine died and rather than explain the death she said, "Danny, Uncle Herbert has moved to Vermont. He's in a better place now".

      As far as I know it's a phrase only used by Caucasians when explaining the death of a relative to small children.

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    10. Thanks Danny, nothing beats getting the info straight from the horse's mouth!

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  4. Margot used to have a late night show in the early eighties and plowed through the whole Frank Zappa collection methodically it was great

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    1. Margot was an asset to the stations she worked for and by no means was her positive influence restricted to her immediate surroundings. Margot's death leaves a void, Post's leaves a poorly written book of self-serving lies.

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  5. This is the NY Times obit for Post http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/05/nyregion/steve-post-sardonic-wit-on-wnyc-is-dead-at-70.html?_r=0

    ~ 'indigopirate'

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  6. Thanks, Indigo, that one is slightly more accurate than the Daily News—he did not seek the Folio Editor's job (it was handled very well by Marcia Tompkins); he came from Korvette's, where he used to announce the stores sales over the PA. I guess you had to have been around him to know what he was really about: a despicable, vindictive, narcissist who found no comfort in truth, stole other people's mail packages (LPs) and should never have been allowed on the air. That was misjudgment on my part. I did not post these obits, because—as in the case of Robert Knight---they perpetuate Steve's own hype and (because they don't know his other side) make no mention of the people he tried to destroy on and off the air. Really, the way Post tried to defame Tana DeGamez and other good broadcasters at WBAI was disgraceful and not a peep was heard from the likes of Bob Fass and Larry Josephson, much less that whimp of a manager, Millspaugh. I can feel bad for his wife and brother, but Steve Post is someone whose "transition," as WBAI puts it, I would be hypocritical to find fault with.

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    1. I respect your judgement, but we differ here to some degree, perhaps, in that I see Post as having been a significant talent.

      As for other considerations, we're both aware that very nearly everything presented publicly is to some degree, often to a very considerable degree, hype.

      Yet, for performers, for ‘talent’, of course, that’s what matters.

      How many artists, writers, performers have been, after all, monsters?

      Quite a few.

      I may be reaching here, but from your comments I can’t but wonder if your truly great quarrel is with Frank Millspaugh – it’s talents’ task at times to be off the wall, and unmanageable. It’s management’s job to manage them anyway.

      In that respect, from your description, which I do not doubt, Millspaugh was rather less than ideal, and talent ran roughshod over and through him.

      As talent will, in those circumstances.

      So I see Post and Josephson as rare talents.

      Knight? Not so much. Not at all really, even early on.

      ~ ‘indigo’

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    2. I guess you had to be there, and not wearing blinders. Had Post shown his very dark side while I was still there, I would have fired him as quickly as I hired him. Talent is no excuse for what he did to some of his co-workers, including people whose talent was a positive contribution to the station.

      The man was totally self-absorbed and he really took the low road to gain attention. Anyone who is heard on the air regularly will by default eventually grow some sort of following, that's the nature of the business. Post's m. o. was to outrage people whose retained values harked back to small town Middle America--the Norman Rockwell crowd—and thus win the admiration of a burgeoning counter culture.

      This was something WBAI was already doing quite well, so Post needed to push the envelope farther. This is what he did, but not with much intelligence--he was simply jumping over the fence at its lowest point and I find nothing admirable about that. It surprises me that you do.

      Like Roy Cohn, Post had long since become a harmless pathetic figure when he fizzled out, so his death came too late to make any difference to most of us.

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    3. I suspect that the triumvirate of Fass, Post, and Josephson are the Dionysian to your Apollonian, and it is, of course, of such conflicts that something interesting has been known to emerge.

      Where we differ, I think, aside from their merit or lack thereof, is in that as I understand it you feel the ‘ego-centric’ character of their freeform was what led to the station’s sliding into meretricious irrelevance.

      I’m of the opinion that the problem was the move to essentially overt politicization, which was mandated from ‘on-high’ at Pacifica and then, in turn, the local board of the period.

      Our opinions as to the merits of freeform and the like may differ at times, but it seems to me that WBAI/Pacifica might have survived any shortcomings in that respect, in time – what fixed its remarkably lengthy decline into utter irrelevance and very nearly complete lack of interest or merit was the decision from above that WBAI/Pacifica ought to be a tedious soap box for the mindlessness of ‘politically correct’ ‘progressive’ soap-boxing.

      On this latter, perhaps, we might agree?

      ~ ‘indigo’

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  7. What I really wonder about is why Post is the only person to have written an autobiography that largely deals with WBAI. With so many people (crazy or otherwise) having gone through the staion, you'd think more people would have put pen to paper by now, even if only to slam their former compatriots.

    There is really a sad dearth of history out there for anything under the hood of the major incidents of WBAI. These days everyone writes an autobiography, even if all they did was walk down a street.

    SDL

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    1. There are few phrases more common than ‘I could write a book,’ or ‘You ought to write a book.’

      Everyone wants to write or imagine they might write their memoirs, the story of their life.

      Playing in the FM Band was published by Viking at a time when WBAI was of some visibility, of some interest, and at a time when publishing had not yet transitioned to the corporate culture which dominates today.

      Today, of course, any-and-everyone is an ‘author’, the MFA mills spin merrily away producing credentialed ‘authors’ in large numbers, and the net provides innumerable outlets for self-celebration and the assertion of authority and/or consequence.

      I’d guess, and it’s only a guess, fate is nothing if not fickle, that you’re not likely to see what you’re looking for in this respect.

      WBAI and indeed Pacifica were of interest only a very, very, very long time ago, from founding through, I would argue, the time of ‘the crisis’ of late-1976-early-1977.

      One will see blogs, comments on personal web pages, and the like, that refer to some things, but I doubt you’ll see much more.

      How much would you be willing to pay, as a publisher, for a book on WBAI?

      One might pitch a university press, or an outfit like Overlook, but why?

      Who, really, would be interested.

      Now, is it possible to write something interesting about WBAI/Pacifica, pitch it, make it happen? Of course. It’s possible to write something interesting about paint drying or The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed – but it requires time, talent and commitment.

      As for WBAI? Pacifica?

      The audience, the readership, of this blog and perhaps a few other on-line reminiscences is, I suspect, all you’re likely to see.

      For good reason.

      ~ ‘indigo, pirate’

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    2. Matthew Lasar, rhe "WBAI historian" (self-appointed, I believe) wrote a book that gives a fairly accurate account of Pacifica, but—to the author's detriment—it is poorly researched and often reads like an inside job.

      In 1966, the late John Leonard based his second novel, "Wyke Regis," on his experiences at KPFA, where he was Drama and Literature Director. Pacifica has not attracted people of his intellect and creativity in many decades. His Wikipedia profile is impressive—he had an extraordinary midnight show at KPFA that inspired me to do :The Outside" on WBAI.

      I agree that the WBAI/Pacifica amateur circus is not of sufficient significance to have publishers drool, but I think the whole mess, from idyllic dream to the present nightmare, could—if handled right by a conscientious outsider--result in an interesting study of greed, avarice, racial bias, idiocy, and galloping dysfunction.

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    3. With respect, simply to compare thoughts and perspectives: I differ in that while, as I said, it's possible to make any subject interesting, but sometimes you need a John McPhee, and those aren't readily available.

      A conscientious consideration would take a great deal of time to research, and the circle of interest would be small. One could do a fictional work, of course, but then it would be... fiction.

      Let me put it this way: Don’t think you’re interested in this project, and neither am I.

      There are other things to do. If someone wants to do the heavy lifting on this bundle of snakes, more power to her or him, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to put their time, effort, and talents into such a project.

      ~ ‘indigo’

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    4. Perhaps the real story lies in the fact that one could beat Lew Hill's concept into submission, but death came ever so slowly. :)

      John Leonard would have written a marvelous obit.

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    5. You guys are being a bit overly analytical. All I meant was that I would have thought some WBAI host(s) or other, besides Post, would have felt a need to vent in an autobiography. I'm not talking about writing a WBAI history. A lot of people have left WBAI through the years in an angry state.

      Anyway, how well would a book on the topic do? Not well, probably. However, considering some of the crap that gets published and doesn't sell... Hell, even use a vanity press like Lulu.

      SDL

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    6. I see what you mean, the problem is that few people who stayed at WBAI for any length of time could write intelligent book, much less one that wasn't centered around their own imagined importance. A good chapter or two by someone who moved to higher ground makes sense to me.

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    7. Sadly, some of the best people for writing books are dead now, like Paul Wunder and Fred Kuhn. These guys saw everything that went down, but didn't say anything. They were smart. In fact, Kuhn was probably THE encyclopedia of WBAI. His ability to remember details was astonishing. I remember sitting with him one night as he just went on and on about people from the past and all sorts of stuff. Mind boggling all the stuff he knew. He played the fool well.

      Irsay or Schmid could write great books, I bet. Imagine the sense of humor?

      SDL

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  8. Did Steve Post smoke?

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    1. I meant cigarettes- because of the fact that Larry Josephson said he had cancer of the lung.

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  9. Not a book but something I wrote for Project Censored's annual book (in 2012). The characters who've passed through WBAI over the years are numerous. I am by no means expert. I landed there in 1979 during the Three Mile Island crisis. I was working on a film on nuclear power at the time and had a lot of connections. I was invited on air immediately and remained behind the mic all night. It was incredible and exciting and I was hooked by dawn. I had recently volunteered in Celeste Wesson's newsroom - now there was a tough and talented news person - who subsequently moved on to NPR. At the time I was freelancing for Australian Broadcasting as a sound recordiist and I traveled widely world wide. I had all kinds of audio. For instance we interviewed James Jesus Angelton who'd just resigned as head of counter intelligence at the CIA - I offered to bring these tapes to WBAI - the first person I met was Fred Geobold, the receptionist and then Lynn Samuels - it was a strange introduction and I nearly walked out. But once ensconced in the WBAI newsroom at 505 Eighth Avenue with Celeste it felt more normal. In those days there was real talent at WBAI. Lenny Lopate did a late night show and a few years after I landed there I created a show called "Investigations" and Lenny and then Bob Fass followed me. Amy Goodman was my assistant on the show - I had brought her to WBAI from Hunter College in 1984 where I taught a course on the radio documentary. Amy wanted to get into journalism and asked if she could audit the class and later that night I took her to WBAI and we know the rest. But here's that small piece I wrote for Project Censored. Kind of dry compared with other WBAI stories. Perhaps I'll get to others one of these days.

    http://andrewlesliephillips.blogspot.com/

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  10. I bet that WAS quite the first impression! Kuhn/Geobold and Samuals must have been a sight...

    SDL

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    1. Lynn was always an enormous talent – she had difficulty getting meaningful traction beyond being Fass's gofer at the church, but, thank heavens, she did in time, and then showed what she could do.

      Personally, I didn't think of her so much as being a character, she seemed to me always to be precisely who she was, Lynn, which was a good thing.

      Fred succeeded Bill Kortum, who at the church was a major force of nature in a soft-spoken (generally) sort of way – extremely capable, he always knew *everything* that was going on – and I mean *everything*.

      There are two new (at least to me) tributes to Steve Post for those interested, both on WNYC:

      https://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/392739

      This one has Larry Josephson with Brian Lehrer http://www.wnyc.org/story/remembering-steve-post/

      ~ ‘indigopirate’

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    2. I enjoyed Lynn Samuels on WBAI immensely. She was a real person and made no pretenses to anything else. Sometimes she was political, sometimes fluff, but always gave you that feeling like you were right there yapping with her... sometimes wanting to tell her to shut up already...

      Did you ever listen to the old Simone Phone on WPIX? If you don't know, Samuels used to sell the Daily News or Post (forget which) outside of the WPIX studios. Simone had a segment where he would go do "man on the street" questions right outside the studio. Well, Samuals was always on those tapes because she was right outside working. She always had a smart ass answer for him, like the time he asked...

      Simone: "Do you know where the Empire State Building is located?"

      Samuels: "Why? Is it missing?"

      Only one person got it right, even though Simone and all victims were standing right in front of it!

      Fred was a great guy. He was so underestimated when it came to his memory and intellect. His knowledge of a multitude of subjects, besides WBAI, was astounding. You just had to sit down and get him talking and you would know you met one of the most interesting people of your life. I can hear Fred's voice in my head as I type this. "Fred Geoooobooold ooon theeee Lightttt Shoooow..." Great guy and glad I met him.

      SDL

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    3. Knew about the papers, but didn't hear or know about that bit – it's great. I can *totally* hear Lynn doing that, short, sharp, and quick :)

      Nice to hear that about Fred, simply didn't know him, but that, too, sounds great, and is good to hear.

      ~ 'indigo'

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  11. Many people are afraid to write a book because of their own personal safety. Many crimes have been committed in recent years - person would have to write a book under a fake name!

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    1. No offense to you, but that's absolute nonsense.

      ~ 'indigopirate'

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    2. No, it is the truth - just ask Andrew - he knows - he was THERE! Serious crimes have been committed - people are afraid to speak. One day they will, however they will need a bodyguard!

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    3. I know Goodman claims Leid shoved her. DiRienzo was accused of hitting a reporter. There were some accusations of violence regardng Bernard White's pals. How much is true? No idea.

      SDL

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  12. No offense to you, personally, but are all leftist/progressives so easily terrified?

    Frankly, it seems that they are. So much for 'To the ramparts, comrades!'

    Armchair revolutionaries who criticize real generals and people who actually build things in the world?

    What you say may be true for these daring leaders of the vanguard of the people's revolution, but it's pretty damn pitiful, isn't it?

    In any case, the reason for not publishing anything is simple: There are only four people and a mangy dog interested in the topic.

    (I exaggerate slightly.)

    ~ 'indigo'

    'They will need a bodyguard'? [shakes head] Yeah, right. Uh-huh.

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  13. Sorry for the delayed response Chris, but I just saw this on your blog, from last August... You posted: "Steve Post is someone whose "transition," as WBAI puts it, I would be hypocritical to find fault with." I'd like to imagine that had you thought your words through, you might have toned down your assertion.

    Steve was, for decades, my best friend. I was with Steve at the moment he died, lying close to him in his bed along with his wife Laura. You, as we all do, have a right to your opinion regarding the quality of his work. Your characterization of his "dark side" sounds pretty far out to me, knowing Steve as I did. But again, our perceptions of people need not agree, nor must our actual experience with that person. But, and correct me if I am misreading your comment, it sounds to me like you are saying "I'm glad he's dead", that you cannot find a single reason to mourn, that Steve’s life was a blot on humanity. Can you imagine the feelings regarding that point of view of someone who embraced him as he lay dying, and who continued to embrace him after his death, as his wife looked on?

    I'm not here to bash you, Chris. But I am here to tell you that, though I truly appreciate your approbation regarding my own work, you are a man who has expressed something between disinterest and pleasure that my best friend is gone, for reasons that seem unique among those who knew him. No, I’m not sure of that, but it doesn’t really matter. I can only speak for myself.

    Post did not win a following “by default”. Steve was an utterly original talent, and a major influence on my own air sound. He was also a kind and generous friend to myself and many, many others. You have a right to think what you will, and even to be glad he's dead. But I'm afraid I cannot continue being friends - if only on Facebook - with a man holding such views, and harboring such feelings. Steve's death was very painful to all who loved him, and to those he loved. I find no fault in the fact that you have your own views. I simply do not wish to be reminded of them.

    I miss my beloved friend and colleague, my Stevie, every single day. I am truly sorry to know that his death was pleasing to you, or at least an event regarding which you can “find no fault”. In fact, I am horrified. It is unbearable to see your name on my screen, as a "friend". Again, you have the right to see Steve Post in any light you please. But we also have the right to choose our friends. You understand. I just cannot do it. I wish it were otherwise... but it's not. We agree on many matters concerning the present state of the station, and I appreciate your passion regarding WBAI, I truly do. Chris, I’m sorry… Steve’s death was just too painful, too heavy a loss to accept your contempt for his life, and to be reminded of it whenever I see your name.

    James Irsay

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    1. I am sorry to lose you as a Facebook friend, James, but I think I understand why you made that decision and I appreciate the fact that you took the time to share your thoughts.

      I should tell you that I am not "glad" that Steve passed away--nobody's death is without some loss to someone. I will say that I had a feeling of indifference. When I knew Steve Post, he was, indeed a vile, vindictive person who callously and publicly besmirched the reputations of colleagues by telling lies about them over the air. Had he died then, I probably would have felt relief knowing that his days of destroying were over. Steve, however, appears to have changed his ways—I don't know if he ever felt remorse for what he had done to good people, but he obviously had defanged himself. Hence my feeling of indifference rather than elation.

      Had you known him back then, I am not so sure you two would have become friends, but that's merely an assumption.

      That's all I have to say, except that I have read my previous post regarding Steve and stand by every word. It is not likely to happen, but, should you ever rise above your disgust with me, I think you will understand where I come from in this.

      Take care. I hope WBAI continues to realize what an asset they have in you.

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    1. James, you did not suggest that my post suggested "indifference," you interpreted my reaction as elation, "triumphal payback", which is very different and--to me—abhorrent. Indifference is what it was and I have never hidden the fact that I am upset when I see WBAI abused, and even more upset when that abuse is deliberately designed to damage the image of decent people who worked hard for the station, because they truly cared. Tana DeGamez was such a person-she deserved thanks and praise, not put-downs. Perhaps I personally had grounds for payback, considering the lies told about me, but I don't let such things bother me when I know they are not true. I had moved on, but I was concerned over his other targets, Barbara Dane, Bob Bisom and, particularly, Tana--it was all so senseless and callous. You and I obviously knew two very different Steve Posts, although the young man I hired and trained showed no signs of moral depravity—I wish I had know your model.

      I, too, am sorry that you have chosen to end our budding friendship, but, sadly, you have, and life goes on.

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