August 2010


As most of you know, we here at Food Court Lunch devote most of our considerable free time to the “sport of queens” – cricket. We’re often seen in the parking lot at lunch time squeezing in a few “overs”, or waxing our wickets on smoke breaks. That is why we were devastated to learn that members of Pakistan’s cricket squad are (allegedly) embroiled in a match-fixing scandal. This is just another in a long line of scandals that have rocked the sport that is supposedly eponymous for fair play. Needless to say, we took the day off.

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However, there is always a silver lining. For from this latest cricket disaster have emerged some instructive lessons from Pakistan on how to properly protest scandal in sports. In particular, the protestors in Lahore provided the following protest guidance:

  1. Find some random animals that have seemingly nothing to do with the sport in question (donkeys apparently work just fine);
  2. Assign the animals the names of the targeted players – it’s like Watership Down, only classier;
  3. Pelt said animals with rotten vegetables (after all, the animals brought this on themselves);
  4. Beat (or pretend to beat) the vegetable-laden animals with your shoes in a display of seemingly insane rage; and
  5. Act shocked and surprised when the world (i.e., ignorant North America audiences) continues not to take your sport seriously.

Blue Menu and I are off to Chinese Tai Pei in order to stage a protest over the treatment of Canadian little leaguers. Taking a page from the cricket protesters’ playbook, we intend to repeatedly roger three-toed sloths with cucumbers until our cause gets the recognition it deserves…

No, I haven’t found it – I want to design it. A public bathroom containing every single one of the annoying things that, taken individually, make using a particular facility less of the transcendent experience it rightfully should be.

Please note that I haven’t listed ‘filthiness’ as one of the attributes, because a pube-garnished floor or a counter sloppy with mystery liquid will ruin even the Pope’s can (which, if you’ve never used it, is totally worth the eight days in a Vatican jail). In this scenario, we are building the bathroom from scratch, and it’s never been used.

The list:

1. Weak hand dryers

Obvious. Everyone wants, nay, yearns for paper towels, which cut your drying time by 80%. But cheap washrooms still refuse to give ‘em. Nowadays, newer places have started to introduce the automatic, super powerful dryers – the ones where you insert your hands into mitten-sized slots, like it’s a toaster and your hands are bread, and they then get blasted by hurricane-force winds. The problem with these is that they are louder than an airport. But they are still light years better than the old school, push-button jobbies.

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Those ones take an average of four minutes to completely dry your hands, no matter how vigorously you rub. And there is always a line-up behind you, since it takes exponentially longer to dry your hands than it does to pee (if it were an assembly line, the operations manager would be fired). This then gives rise to a tendency to cut it short, which inevitably means you will run into your old high school teacher outside in the food court, with the resulting obvious-though-unacknowledged shaking of dry hand to damp.

Seriously, weak hand dryers are the worst. I would welcome a return to pay toilets if it meant I could rub my paws on some thin brown sandpaper, and get the hell out of there.

2. Separate hot and cold faucets

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This is the stupidest thing you can put into a public bathroom. Two separate faucets are designed for bathtubs and only bathtubs, where you are filling a large space with water and have the time to adjust for the perfect mixture of temperature (or so I’ve heard – I don’t take baths, on account of my overwhelming manliness). If you are filling up a bathroom sink, plug in place,  just to wash your hands, you are a psychopath. But then your only other option in a two-faucet scenario is to turn them both on, and then frantically shimmy your hands back and forth, from scalding to freezing, until you get all the soap off.

This is no way for civilized humans to live. And unless your bathroom has heritage value, like it’s in an Aztec ruin or Anne Frank’s house, there’s just no excuse.

3. One urinal and one stall

And by this I mean that these are the sum total of the receptacle hardware in the bathroom. In that scenario, I can’t tell if it is a bathroom meant for one or two. Have you ever mistakenly walked into one of these (with an inviting swinging door as opposed to a lockable knob, no less) only to find a guy at the urinal? What do you do? If you go back outside and wait until he’s finished, you feel like you’re being weird, like the kid from grade school who pressed up way too close to the urinal to pee. But if you stay, the tiny space makes it feel like two people using the same washroom in someone’s house. You may as well be crossing streams.

If there was just one more urinal in there, it would be clear it was a multi-person facility. But a 1-and-1? It’s a complete wild card.

4. No hook on stall door

Maddening, particularly in winter. Where do you hang your coat? You can’t drape it on the back of the john. There’s cocaine residue and drunk guy urine on there. The floor is obviously out. So you have to hold it or drape it over your lap, which no one enjoys.

Cheap hooks are $ 7.99 at Home Depot (I checked). There’s just no excuse.

5. No reading material over urinals

I admit, this is a bit of a spoiled complaint. You can’t really expect bar owners to go the extra mile of paying for the daily newspaper and switching it out everyday just so you can read the sports section during your fifteen (or in my case, eleven hundred) second pee. But isn’t it great when they do? Even a gum commercial on one of those automatic television monitors gives you something to look at.

So while this isn’t exactly a horrible attribute, the world’s worst bathroom definitely doesn’t feature it. On the list it goes.

6. Urinal placed right in front of the door…

…so when the door swings open, there you are. It’s much worse if the men’s bathroom is right across from the women’s. I don’t need a long line-up of females knowing I lean my leg up against the bottom of the urinal to wizz. That’s between me and my chiropractor.

Anything I missed?

Because I bought my TV receiver from Skymall, I only just now learned that Canada’s entry into the 2010 Little League World Series lost its game against Chinese Taipei on Tuesday by a score of 23-0!  You read that right – 23 to Zeeeerooo.  What’s more, the game was called after 4 innings!

What kind of heartless bastard tells his team to go out and run the score up by 23 runs?  And just what the hell is “Chinese Taipei” anyway? 

Out of respect for our scrappy Canadian boys, I felt compelled to take to the internet to find out more about these Dragos of the little league baseball world.  Turns out “Chinese Taipei” is the name China calls Taiwan, as a way of distracting the world from the fact that Taiwan does not want to be part of China.  That’s all I could discover from Wikipedia, because I instantly became too bored to keep reading.

Judging by its showing in this year’s Little League World Series, Chines Taipei long ago gave up on international diplomacy to focus instead on worldwide pre-teen baseball diplomacy.  And based on the steady stream of lead-laced toys making their way to our shores from Taiwan on a daily basis, I can only assume that these diminutive powerhouses subsist on a diet of melamine and BPA which gives them the superhuman ability to drive in runners in a clutch manner.

But 23-0?  Talk about a ‘Taipei” personality.

“The Canadian players kept smiles on their faces despite the lopsided loss.”  Well sure, because they’re kids, and they know their parents are still going to take them to Dairy Queen for Peanut Buster Parfaits.  But how did those heartless bastards from Chinese Taipei celebrate their win?  You guessed it: They returned to their hyperbaric chambers at the Cobra Kai Dojo and Baseball Training Centre, awaiting their next victim.

Well, this isn’t over, Chinese Taipei.  And we haven’t forgotten your failed foray into 1980s dance pop. Consider yourself officially on Canada’s shitlist.  And don’t be surprised when you get boarded from behind by a 6’1″ 12-year-old grain-fed Albertan at the next Little League Stanley Cup Finals. 

SWEEP THE LEG!

August 25 – a defining date in our collective history. Why, you ask? Wonder no more…

1814 – Washington, D.C. is burned and White House is destroyed by British forces (from “British North America”) during the War of 1812. Canada 1, U.S.A. 0…

1944 – World War II: Paris is liberated by the Allies. Just for good measure, and to maintain their international reputation, France surrenders.

1970 - Claudia Schiffer is born, giving new meaning to my adolescent years.

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1980 – Zimbabwe joins the United Nations, finally laying to rest those pesky rumours that the UN is an ineffectual international body.

1981 - Rachel Bilson is born. The world briefly stops in her honour (please return my calls…)

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1987 - Blake Lively is born, rounding out the “Claudia, Rachel, Blake” triumvirate of hotness…

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1987 - Whitney Stevens is born. I had no idea who Whitney Stevens was before this post, but I will not rest in my continuing quest to inform our readership until I have carefully scrutinized her entire body of work and reported back to you, our readers.

We have nothing for you today but our hopes, dreams, and wishes for a better future for all our readers. Oh, and a list of titles that you could give to pornos that were based on Shakespearean plays. This was the best we could do on short notice. Have at it, readers.

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  • As You Lick It
  • The Merchant of Penis
  • The Two Gentlemen in Vagina
  • The Shaving of the Shrew
  • A Midsummer Night’s Ream
  • Much Ado About Fucking
  • The Tem-Pissed On
  • Julius Caesar, Then Fucks Her (You have to say it to understand it)
  • Hamlet Me Do Anal
  • Tits Andronicus
  • Romeo and Juliet and Juliet’s Friend
  • Richard III-Way
  • The Rape of Lucrece (Huh, it didn’t even have to change)

If you come up with something good for “MacBeth” or “Troilus and Cressida”, I will be extremely impressed.

A mercifully short look at the headlines that shape your world

(Apocalypse) Coming Soon: Labatt Blue, Brewed by Molson

Canadians are expecting an identity crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen since the “I am Canadian” guy was arrested for possession of child porn.

Muskoka Bear Cub Comes to Toronto to Have Broken Leg Fixed, Leaves with Heroin Habit

If I’m a mama bear and I’ve got a cub with a broken leg, I’m going to get it looked at in Sudbury? Yeah right.  Even wildlife know that Toronto is the centre of the universe.

Wyclef Jean Said to be out of Haiti Presidential Race, Fugees

Turns out the first four questions on the application form are: (i) Are you a resident? (ii) Do you Speak French or Creole? (iii) Do you operate a Fraudulent or at least incompetent charity? and (iv) Can you hold a tune?

Bully Street Broads? Women’s Hockey Debated at Summit

As a purist, I am heartened to see that the women have adopted the whole ‘playoff beard’ tradition.

Many US Kids Confused by Equal Sign Also Have Difficulty with Similes

That hasn’t seemed to stop them from using ‘like’ as every third word when they talk.  [ed. note: I hate teens].

Woman Dies in Hwy. 69 Crash, May Have Been Upended

Either that or she was going the wrong way.

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For a period of about five years, I lived close enough to work that I walked everyday. It took me about twenty minutes, and I loved it. In that amount of time, I could listen to the first four songs of a new album or a podcast on my iPod, pick up a coffee at my neighbourhood Tim Horton’s, and stretch my legs out before I commenced sitting on my ass for the next ten hours. It was delightful.

Then my fiancee and I bought a house in the suburbs (which, as I understand, are chock full of heartbreak), and started to drive into work. And holy hell, talk about a 180. My morning commute transformed from a breezy, stress-free stroll into an enraging exercise in misanthropy.

My trip is now divided into two parts; the initial twenty minutes on the highway, and ten to fifteen more spent puttering along in downtown Toronto traffic. The second part sucks, with its slow crawls, suicidal cyclists and reckless, largely non-white cab drivers all incrementally chipping away at my sanity. But surprisingly, it’s the relatively rapid highway portion that really brings out the worst in me. Because it’s on the highway that I have the opportunity to enact my one-sided, petty measures of revenge.

My go-to move? It’s an old chestnut. And it starts with my absolute hatred for people who follow me too closely. Now I’ve got a bit of a heavy foot. It’s something that I’ve been trying to curb after six speeding tickets and a needlessly high monthly car insurance bill, but it still happens. On a 100 km/h highway, I’ll usually do between 120 and 130 (about 75 to 80 miles per/h for you Americers), and I drive in the left lane. I’m not trying to brag – that’s just how I roll.

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My point is, I should rarely, if ever, be subjected to aggressive tailgating for driving too slow in the fast lane. And if I am, I gladly move over to the right and let the other person by. But what absolutely drives me nuts is when I pull over to the right, and the person follows and stays right behind me. That is the worst type of driver. That is the driver who is not only happy to allow me to take the risk of getting the speeding ticket (because I’ll naturally be the one passing any speed trap first), but who does so in a way that means if I have to slam on my brakes for someone in front of me, he is going to smash into my bumper (which has happened to me twice). There is nothing wrong with the first part per se; in fact, I love it when you’re on a highway for a long period of time, and you make that symbiotic connection with another driver where you both share the lead for equal periods of time to split the risk of a ticket. But the second part absolutely drives me insane.

So my go-to move is this: after the person has followed me into the right lane and it dawns on me what is going down, I slow down to a crawl. Like, 10 km/h below the speed limit. The person will invariably become confused. He usually lingers for a little bit, thinking that something must be temporarily distracting this conveniently-placed speedster who was clipping along at a nice pace just a short moment ago. But after a minute or so, he’ll get antsy and pull back into the left lane to pass me. And that’s when I immediately pull in behind him, inches from his bumper, and follow him like a wakeboarder until I’m sure he’s gotten the god damn point. Then I pull up beside him, give him the “incredulous grandpa” head shake, and speed off on my way. Check and mate.

Now, in my calmer moments, I can accept that most of these people aren’t following me too close to be pricks or to annoy me. They are just bad drivers. But when it’s actually happening, it doesn’t matter. They become my enemy. And I become Darth Vader in one of his cozy little TIE Fighters, making them pay for their refusal to pledge allegiance to the Empire’s cause.

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But when I used to walk to work – what’s the worst that could happen? A crowded sidewalk? I was an expert sidler. Snow or rain? I’m not made of salt. Running into a co-worker on the way who you’d rather not spend the whole walk talking to, but who is going to the exact same place you are, so you pretty much have no choice but to remove your earphones and settle in for twenty minutes of bliss-interrupting awkward banter?

Actually, that sucked. But I’d take that in a heartbeat over the freeloading barnacles who dangerously leech off my blazing speed.

I guess my dream is to one day win the lottery and become a full-time dog walker. They get to walk for a living, all while hanging out with dogs, who are notoriously respectful of proper following distances. But unless and until that happens, I’m stuck with my morning slog, and the passive-aggressive games I play to get through it.

Feel free to share your go-to road rage move below. We can help each other.

A few months ago I was out for dinner in Montreal with a group of friends, including the esteemed General Tao. Picture “My Dinner With Andre” but with three other people and an exponentially greater number of Batman and pro wrestling references. Classy, huh? Anyway, one of the attendees (we shall call him “Bibbity”) was in the middle of relaying an anecdote or story when he dropped the following sentence on the rest of us:

“It’s like that line in that Jay-Z song — I like a lotta poubada, and…”

Sorry, what?

“I like a lotta poubada.”

Collectively we had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

“You know, poubada.”

That’s not a word.

“It’s in the song.”

What song?

“You know, that one. The poubada one.”

“You know, “Can I Get A…”.”

Each of us at the table scrambled for our blackberries to find out what the hell Bibbity was talking about.

Let’s see the video for the song. Go to 1:55 of the video.

I have no idea what she says, but I am pretty sure it’s not “I like a lotta poubada.” Why? Because “poubada” is not a word. Not even remotely. We asked Bibbity about this.

“I don’t know. I thought it was some rap thing. I assumed it could be used universally as some kind of noun, verb or adjective.”

As in “I grabbed her poubada.” Or “Her ass is poubada.” Or “I am going to poubada the shit out of that.”

The actual lyrics?

“Git Up, Git Out and get somethin” Shit!
I like a, lot of P-rada, Alize and Vodka

Remember, folks. The Devil Wears Poubada.

I can understand getting the lyrics to a song wrong. However, hearing a made-up word and just going with that as the lyrics, that’s a new one.

We tried to convince him that “Alize” was made up as well. No dice.

Dear Baggage Handlers,

A quick side-note to start off this letter: I use the term “baggage-handling” to describe touching my own junk when I am sitting in my boxers watching TV. This letter is entirely unrelated to that activity.

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I’m sorry to interrupt what is likely an extremely busy afternoon of loading and unloading suitcases, plotting drug and weapons-smuggling schemes and stealing souvenirs from the guileless rubes who don’t lock their bags, but I just want you to know: you guys win. I am not disputing it. Quite frankly, no one is disputing it. You are indeed incredibly strong gentlemen.

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You see this guy? The one on the right?

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You kicked sand in HIS face at the beach. Then you buried him up to his neck and face-raped him. You are that strong.

This guy?

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Pfffft. All he does is stand there. Let’s see that lazy bastard try to put hundreds of those globes on a moving conveyor belt. He’s like a fucking trainee.

This guy?

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Gay. Clearly gay. Whether he knows it or not, he’s gay. And significantly weaker than you.

You win, gentlemen. You are more than capable of hurling around luggage like the suitcases were mere tumbleweeds. You are the airport Krakens and our assorted Samsonites are just your average Greek peasants. You? Strong. Me? Significantly weaker. Now that this obvious source of insecurity is out of the way, can you stop throwing around my shit like you were Gator looking for crack money?

This might be news to you, but sometimes people put fragile things in their suitcases. It’s crazy, and they should know better, but it’s true. Sometimes they even put those fragile things in their luggage against their better instinct, such as in circumstances where they bought duty free alcohol in Europe and didn’t appreciate the fact that due to their stopover in the US on the way to Canada, they would be forced to jam that bottle of alcohol into their luggage as they raced to their connecting plane instead of being allowed to keep the bottle as carry-on. Because, you know, I apparently look like Richard Fucking Reid.

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The author.

Anyway, the thing is, if you toss bags that have fragile items in them, the fragile items have a tendency to shatter. For example, there was a bottle of port in my luggage. When I opened my suitcase in Toronto, this was no longer case. Instead, there was a bag full of broken glass, extremely damp and stained clothing and a strong odour of port that continues to remind me of my apparent lack of appreciation for your folks’ strength and power. Oh, I also have a summer wardrobe that looks like it was purchased from Sharon Tait’s yard sale. So thanks for that.

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“Don’t get down, man. I like the new look, Butter Chicken. The huge dark stains bring out your eyes, like mine when I stare into your soul.”

Again, let me reiterate my earlier point: you are powerful. Strong. Virile. It’s a given. It’s acknowledged. Now stop fucking tossing my suitcase around like you are recreating an Ike and Tina Turner afterparty.

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Sincerely,

Butter Chicken

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Setting: Sparsely decorated hotel room.  Bruce Springsteen plays loudly through iPod speakers while a man sings along in shower.

Telephone rings; An agitated Peter King enters room in bath towel, dripping wet.

Peter King:     Where is that damn Blackberry!  Hello?  Hello?

Don Banks:     Hi, Peter, It’s Don Banks.

Peter King:     Donnie Boy! How’s it hanging, good buddy?

Don Banks:     Things are great, Peter.  Thanks for asking.  Listen, the reason I’m calling is -

Peter King [interrupting]:     You seen Dexter yet? I’m hooked.  Did you get the DVDs I sent you?  You better watch them soon, because they’re from Netflix.

Don Banks:   I did get them, and thanks again.  You didn’t have to -

Peter King:     No problem, D-Man.  Hey, when are you and the missus finally going to check out our new digs?  We’re right in the heart of Beantown, you know!

Don Banks:     That’s very thoughtful, Peter.  I’ll have to check with Alissa and let you -

Peter King:     Say, I ever tell you about the time I was sportfishing in Chesapeake Bay with Bum Phillips?  Guy was half in the bag and nearly fell out the boat when his line got caught in the motor.  Hilarious!

Don Banks:     Yeah, I think you mentioned it once.  Hey listen, I just wanted to ask you a fav-

Peter King:     – and all I could think was – What kind of a name is ‘Bum’ anyway?  Hey – you know what’d be funny? If his last name was Butkus.

Don Banks:     Peter – I need to talk to you about something imp-

Peter King:     Bum Butkus!  That’s what his name would be!  Come to think of it, Dick Butkus is a pretty funny name too.

Don Banks:     That is pretty funny, Peter.  But listen -

Peter King:     Hey Donnie – Are you going to be in town for the SI event next week?  We should go for ribs!  I know this place called Tony Roma’s.

Don Banks [becoming agitated]:     Peter.

Peter King:     It’ll be just like old times, buddy.  K-Man and Donnie Brasco, out on the town!

Don Banks [yelling]:     PETER!

Peter King:     Hold the phone! What is it, Donnie Boy?

Don Banks:     That’s just it, Peter.  Now don’t take this the wrong way, but I was wondering if you could cool it with the nicknames in your columns for a while.

Peter King [deflated]:     You don’t like ‘Donnie Brasco’?

Don Banks:     Listen, you’re a good friend, Peter, but lately your columns make it sound like we’re two childhood friends.

Peter King:     I don’t know what to say.  I was just trying to send a little love to a good friend.

Don Banks:     It’s just that I’ve been getting some ‘uncomfortable’ emails from some of your fans lately.

Peter King:    What are we talking about here, Donnie?  Because if you’re talking about the so-called [ahem] ‘cock shots’, that’s Brett thing.  I was barely even there.

Don Banks:     I just think you might want to tone down the friend angle for a while.  And maybe cool it with the twitter updates.

Peter King [defensive]:     Oh, I can do cool, Don.  In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been at this game for a while.

Don Banks [back-tracking]:     I know, Peter.  You do top-notch work.  I never meant to-

Peter King:     I mean, I practically invented the hip and irreverent top 15 sports format!

Don Banks:    I know, Peter.  Everybody loves your columns. I love your columns.

Peter King:     They just want to hear about real life, Donnie!  That’s what I give them – a window into life on the gridiron!  I’m sorry if sometimes people think that makes me a hack.

Don Banks [defeated]:     Listen, I’m sorry I even brought it up.  Let’s forget I mentioned it.  Hey – how’re your Red Sox holding up?

Peter King [mood lightening]:     Don’t you count out my Sox just yet, good Buddy!  They’re not cooked yet!

Don Banks:     Attaboy, Peter.  Listen, I should let you go.  Please give my best to -

Peter King:     ‘Youk’s still got another post-season run in him yet!  Say, we should catch a game and some brews sometime.

Don Banks:     Sounds like a plan.  Bye for -

Peter King:     – or we could go for coffee!  Doctor says I need to stay away from the stuff, but a man’s got to have his java, am I right?

Don Banks:     I really do need to go now.  Say hi to the kids for me.

Peter King:     Speaking of Laura and Mary Beth, when are we going to set them up with your two boys?  Then we’d be in-laws!

Don Banks:     I don’t think it works that way, Peter.  And anyway -

Peter King:     You checked out that Tebow kid yet, Dubs?  I got a good feeling about that kid.  Good head on his shoulders.

Don Banks [perturbed]:     Okay, Peter, I’m going to have to hang up now….

Peter King:     And that body!  When I saw him at the Combine, I was ready to get on my knees and praise the Lord.  Talk about upside potential!

Don Banks [pretending to hang up]:     Click.

Peter King [pausing]:     You still there, Donnie?  Reminds me of the time I was interviewing Ralph Wilson over the phone.  I thought he fell asleep, but turns out he had a stroke!  Can you imagine?

Don Banks:     Peter….I really need to go -

Peter King:     COLDPLAY! STARBUCKS! COLGATE UNIVERSITY! GOLDEN RETRIEVERS! HUSTLE! BRETT FAVRE! DELTA! ALL-THAT-IS-GOOD-IN-THE-WORLD-OF-SPORT!

Don Banks [hanging up]:     Click.

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