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Old 01-17-2013, 12:00 AM   #7776
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My whole house isn't worth as much as that bathroom.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:14 PM   #7777
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Pay cuts may signal "new normal" on Wall Street



BOSTON (Reuters) - In the past few days, major global banks have taken the ax to pay with unusual zeal.
JPMorgan Chase & Co slashed the compensation of CEO Jamie Dimon, one of the world's top bankers, by half despite record earnings in 2012. His crime? Being in charge when an investment unit ran amok with the botched "London whale" derivative trades that cost the bank more than $6.2 billion.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc , which is known for handing out some of the most lucrative pay packages on Wall Street, paid just 37 percent of its 2012 adjusted revenue to employees - the second-lowest proportion since the Wall Street firm went public in 1999.

Earlier this week, sources said Barclays Plc and Deutsche Bank AG plan to cut banker pay by up to 20 percent, while Morgan Stanley took the unusual step of deferring 100 percent of 2012 bonuses for high-earning employees.

Morgan Stanley bankers and traders got word directly from their managers on Thursday, which one employee characterized as "bonus day, if you can even call it that anymore."

Wall Street employees might have to get used to that. Investors and analysts believe lower compensation is here to stay for some time as firms face unprecedented challenges, in some cases forcing them to fundamentally rethink how they operate. New regulations make many businesses on Wall Street less profitable and sometimes even impossible.
With tens of thousands of jobs shed in the past few years, bankers and traders have trouble demanding more money. Banks are also replacing employees with automated systems in areas such as bond trading, which reduces staffing.
"I hate this phrase, but I think their compensation levels at this point are the new normal," said Michael Cohn, chief investment strategist at Atlantis Asset Management, which owns Goldman Sachs shares. "The world isn't going back to the way it was anytime soon."
If Wall Street employees are the losers from these pay changes, there are some winners, as well.

"It's a good trend for the stocks and for investors," said Mark Morgan, senior analyst at Thrivent Asset Management, which oversees more than $80 billion in assets.

Less money for employees means more for shareholders.

"It's tougher to justify the expense if revenues aren't there," Morgan added.

Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski called Goldman a "textbook example" of how banks can boost profitability even in a difficult business environment by cutting employee pay.

"It is simply not an option for bank managements to earn non-competitive returns in the long run," he said.

Goldman's return on equity for the quarter - a measure of how well the bank turns shareholder funds into profit - was 16.5 percent, nearly triple its level in the same quarter a year earlier.

SELLING APPLES?

However, there are some skeptics who say it is too early to declare the arrival of a new era when it comes to Wall Street pay. After all, they point out, banks are only taking drastic steps after punishing investors with weak returns for the past few years. If business really starts to pick up, they expect fat paychecks to return.

Senator Bernie Sanders, one of Wall Street's most vocal critics, said the boards might be more receptive to criticism in the short term.

"There is an extraordinary amount of anger at Wall Street; much more so I think than inside-the-beltway pundits perceive," said the senator, who is an Independent from Vermont. "I think maybe some of the boards there are beginning to catch on to that."

But once that anger died down, he expected Wall Street compensation to go right back up.

The steady decline in pay in large part follows demands from bank shareholders, who were increasingly exasperated with high pay levels that continued for years after the financial crisis and ate up shrinking revenue.

Reuters reported in October that top shareholds meeting with Morgan Stanley executives in 2011 had demanded to know why the bank could not cut compensation to just 30 percent of revenue from current levels above 40 percent. Yet some observers point out there is not much sympathy for Wall Street, where pay packages for mid-level employees can run well into the six figures. That is still multiples higher than what the average U.S. worker earns.

"In the end, this is still going to be the most highly paid industry in finance," said Brad Hintz, a former Morgan Stanley treasurer who analyzes brokerage stocks for Bernstein Research.

"And so, no one is going to be crying over Goldman partners selling apples on the street corners."
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:22 AM   #7778
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http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02...declared-dead/

Cool story.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:12 AM   #7779
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Body found in LA hotel water tank may be missing Canadian tourist

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A body found in a large water tank on top of a downtown Los Angeles hotel on Tuesday may belong to a 21-year-old Canadian woman who went missing under suspicious circumstances while staying there late last month, police said.

Elisa Lam, a student from Vancouver, British Columbia, who was visiting Southern California on her own, was last seen at the Cecil Hotel on January 31. Los Angeles Police detectives had characterized her disappearance as suspicious.

A security video taken in an elevator at the hotel and released by the LAPD last week showed Lam acting strangely, hiding in a corner and repeatedly peering around the elevator doors into the hallway.

A body had been found in one of four large water tanks on top of the Cecil Hotel early on Tuesday after a maintenance worker went up to investigate reports of low water pressure, a Los Angeles police spokeswoman said.

Detectives were on the scene, but had not yet determined whether the remains were those of the missing woman, the spokeswoman said.

Some two dozen firefighters could be seen cutting through one of the four large, cylindrical water tanks under a canopy that shielded them from news helicopters overhead.

Police have said that the reason for Lam's visit to Los Angeles was unclear, but that her final destination was expected to be Santa Cruz in central California.

She speaks Cantonese as well as English and was known to use public transportation such as trains and buses.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker, desking by G Crosse)

creepy story. those water tanks were used for the whole buildings water, showers, sinks, kitchen, etc.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:31 PM   #7780
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Ewwww...
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:54 PM   #7781
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I know it is the Twitter app I use so this is really annoying news.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technolog...Deck-apps.html

Twitter kills off TweetDeck apps
Twitter has announced that it is discontinuing three of its TweetDeck apps for iPhone, Android and Air.

Twitter announced in a blog post that the TweetDeck applications would be pulled from the clients' respective app stores in early May and would stop working shortly after that.

Many users choose to access the microblogging site using applications developed by third parties.

The demise of these apps marks an end to the heyday of third-party Twitter clients, a process begun last year when the company tightened its guidelines and "effectively wrestled developers into a choke-hold", according to Readwrite.com.

According to the Twitter blog, the company will be focusing it's efforts on its "modern, web-based versions of TweetDeck". This is unlikely, at least initially, to placate those users who are loyal to the older versions, particularly TweetDeck Air, which has a large following.

The British company TweetDeck was bought by Twitter in 2011 for $40m so the site could gain control of one of the most popular ways of viewing its own content.

Twitter took control of all of TweetDeck’s intellectual property and employed the staff who had been working on the product.

TweetDeck was set up in 2008 by Iain Dodsworth and became one of the poster children for London’s Silicon Roundabout, a government-backed attempt to replicate the successes of Silicon Valley.

The company was launched in the area around the Old Street roundabout in East London, home to a host of young tech companies.

While the area grew up by itself, the Government tried to encourage more tech companies to set up there, holding a £1m funding competition.

Mr Dodsworth, however, was cynical about the idea, saying at the time. “We’re here because it’s cheap. There aren’t many parks; it’s a little bit of a dump,” he said.

Within months of its launch, TweetDeck service won acclaim from tech bloggers and other high-profile users, such as Stephen Fry. Actor and prolific twitterer Ashton Kutcher posted a video showing him and his then wife Demi Moore using the service.

After it was acquired by Twitter, different software was released branded TweetDeck by Twitter, changing from the original Adobe Air application to a native Windows and Mac OS X version.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:05 AM   #7782
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Vial of deadly Venezuelan virus goes missing from Texas lab

GALVESTON, Texas A vial containing a virus from Venezuela that can cause hemorrhagic fever has gone missing from a research Texas research facility.

Officials say there's no reason to believe there's a threat to the public.

The University of Texas Medical Branch said Saturday that there was no breach in the security its Galveston National Laboratory and no indication of wrongdoing.

In a statement, university president Dr. David L. Callender said doctors were unable to account for one vial of the agent during a routine inspection March 20 and 21, 2013. The vial had been stored in a locked freezer within a secure laboratory, he said.

The virus in the vial is called Guanarito, according to the university. The medical branch says the virus, native to Venezuela, is transmitted only through contact with Venezuelan rats. It is not believed to be able to survive in U.S. rodents or to be transmitted person-to-person.

Officials suspect the missing vial containing the Guanarito virus was destroyed during the lab's cleaning process but the investigation continues. The university said this is the first time a vial has gone missing from a lab.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was immediately notified after the vial was discovered missing Wednesday.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:31 AM   #7783
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Morons!

Ind. Explosion Suspect Charged in Murder-for-Hire Plot

As questions remain about the deadly November house explosion in Indianapolis that killed two people and destroyed 33 homes, prosecutors say the man facing trial for the deed is now at the center of an attempted murder-for-hire plot.

Mark Leonard, his girlfriend Monserrate Shirley -- who owned the home that exploded -- and his brother Bob Leonard are all facing murder and arson charges after Shirley's home exploded Nov. 10 in Indianapolis' Richmond Hill subdivision, killing her school teacher neighbor next door Jennifer Longworth and her husband, John.

Investigators believe the house was blown up in a plot to collect in the recently-increased $300,000 insurance policy that covered the personal property in the home.

Now, from Marion County jail, Mark Leonard is accused of phoning an undercover federal agent posing as a hit man, according to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.

"Mr. Leonard stated that he wished to arrange for the death of a witness in the explosion case," Curry said at a press conference Thursday.

Jailhouse calls are monitored and recorded, as indicated by a sign above the phone alerting prisoners to this fact. Investigators say that despite this warning, Leonard used the jailhouse phone to plan the murder of a witness only identified as "M.D."


"It is further alleged that Mr. Leonard drew a map for directions to that target's house and signed an agreement to pay $15,000 upon the death of 'M.D.'" Curry said.

Leonard had no idea at the time that an undercover agent was in on the plot.

"On March 13, Mr. Leonard placed a call to the undercover agent in which Mr. Leonard again confirmed his intent to have 'M.D.' killed," Curry said.

Prosecutors say Leonard offered the hit man a $5,000 bonus if he made the witness' killing look like a suicide. Leonard also allegedly had wanted the witness to call 911 and recant his statement to investigators before his death.

In December, Curry said that as soon as investigators began poring over the remnants of Shirley's home, they noticed that the microwave oven had been blasted out from the inside. A small canister found in the kitchen may have been inside the microwave, but authorities said it was being tested for evidence of flammable contents.

In addition to the murder and arson charges, Leonard has now also been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder, Curry said. In February, Curry said that he would seek life without parole for Shirley and the Leonard brothers.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:06 AM   #7784
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so time for a darwin award. that kid from the show buckwild and his uncle and guest deserve to be mentioned at least for the award. apparently they went out drinking, and after drinking decided to go off roading with the pickup truck, well it was crazy muddy, so they got stuck. the muffler was shoved under the mud they were stuck so bad (i'm guessing the driver just kept jamming the accelerator and they got more and more stuck), so they decided i guess to sleep it off in the car, with the motor running.

cops say no foul play is suspected in their deaths, so they literally just decided to go to sleep and died of carbon monoxide poisoning (allegedly).

how dumb can you be?
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:31 AM   #7785
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I heard about them dying but didn't hear about the muffler being plugged/carbon monoxide poisoning. Crazy bad luck.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:06 PM   #7786
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Quote:
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I heard about them dying but didn't hear about the muffler being plugged/carbon monoxide poisoning. Crazy bad luck.
Is it really "bad luck" when you go out driving off-road while drunk, get bogged down in the mud and then go to sleep in a running vehicle which you already know full well is clogged with mud and wind up dead?

Sounds like a Darwin Award to me.
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:43 PM   #7787
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Beaver attacks and kills man in Belarus

A man was attacked and killed by a beaver in Belarus.

Sky News reported the man was on a fishing trip with two friends at Lake Shestakov when they spotted the animal on the side of the road.

The beaver attacked the man as he approached to take a photo.

The Daily Telegraph offered a slightly different version of events, saying the man wanted to pose next to the animal for a photograph.

The next part of the story is not in dispute – the beaver sank his sharp teeth into the man’s thigh, severing a main artery.

Despite his friends' attempts to stop the bleeding, the man bled to death.

"It was early morning and already light when they saw a beaver by the road, which was unusual because beavers are nocturnal," Sergei Shtyk, the deputy head of the region's wildlife inspectorate, told The Daily Telegraph.

"One of them went up to be photographed with it, and the animal attacked him and bit him twice, cutting an artery in his thigh, before running away.”

Don't believe us yet about how intimidating a beaver can get? The YouTube video below shows an unassuming Russian filming a beaver that goes from "look how cute I am" to "I'm going to kill you" in less than 30 seconds.
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:06 PM   #7788
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Quote:
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Don't believe us yet about how intimidating a beaver can get? The YouTube video below shows an unassuming Russian filming a beaver that goes from "look how cute I am" to "I'm going to kill you" in less than 30 seconds.
This is why actually linking to said articles, rather than just copying/pasting them, is sometimes nice. =P
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:24 PM   #7789
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VIDEO-CLick to Watch!:


VIDEO-CLick to Watch!:
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:00 PM   #7790
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Yeah, that hit the spot.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:32 PM   #7791
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Two explosions have happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon - half a dozen people hurt
http://abcnews.go.com/live
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:44 PM   #7792
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Reading it on twitter right now, shocking to say the least. I'm waiting for more information to develop, it's all speculation right now.

Any reported dead yet? Hopefully it's just injured, and not worse.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:50 PM   #7793
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Three reported dead. Prayers and thoughts to all.
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Old 04-15-2013, 03:11 PM   #7794
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I've heard 2 dead, more than 23 injured

thank goodness ambulances were already there
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:43 PM   #7795
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separate thread for the bombing here http://forums.comingsoon.net/showthread.php?t=55583
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:45 AM   #7796
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Well, of course his mail is opened at a separate location - I would have figured that out. Ricin is nasty stuff - a bit as small as few grains of table salt will kill you.

Secret Service: Suspicious letter mailed to Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Secret Service says it has intercepted a letter addressed to President Barack Obama that contained a "suspicious substance."

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan says the letter was intercepted at a facility away from the White House. He says the letter was received Tuesday.

The letter comes a day after lawmakers said a letter was mailed to Sen. Roger Wicker that tested positive for poisonous ricin. Another senator said police have a suspect in mind.

Tensions have been high in Washington and across the country since the deadly bombings on Monday at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 170.
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:18 PM   #7797
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You gotta love the idiots that would use this "bombing" to further harsher gun control laws. I mean, you gotta love them!
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:42 PM   #7798
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Yeah let's outlaw pressure cookers
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:18 PM   #7799
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and black backpacks.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:55 AM   #7800
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Holy chrome, that must have been nerve wracking!

Hitler's food taster tells of poisoning fears



BERLIN (AP) — They were feasts of sublime asparagus — laced with fear. And for more than half a century, Margot Woelk kept her secret hidden from the world, even from her husband. Then, a few months after her 95th birthday, she revealed the truth about her wartime role: Adolf Hitler's food taster.

Woelk, then in her mid-twenties, spent two and a half years as one of 15 young women who sampled Hitler's food to make sure it wasn't poisoned before it was served to the Nazi leader in his "Wolf's Lair," the heavily guarded command center in what is now Poland, where he spent much of his time in the final years of World War II.

"He was a vegetarian. He never ate any meat during the entire time I was there," Woelk said of the Nazi leader. "And Hitler was so paranoid that the British would poison him — that's why he had 15 girls taste the food before he ate it himself."

With many Germans contending with food shortages and a bland diet as the war dragged on, sampling Hitler's food had its advantages.

"The food was delicious, only the best vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, everything you can imagine. And always with a side of rice or pasta," she recalled. "But this constant fear — we knew of all those poisoning rumors and could never enjoy the food. Every day we feared it was going to be our last meal."

The petite widow's story is a tale of the horror, pain and dislocation endured by people of all sides who survived World War II.

Only now in the sunset of her life has she been willing to relate her experiences, which she had buried because of shame and the fear of prosecution for having worked with the Nazis, although she insists she was never a party member. She told her story to The Associated Press as she flipped through a photo album with pictures of her as a young woman, in the same Berlin apartment where she was born in 1917.

Woelk says her association with Hitler began after she fled Berlin to escape Allied air attacks. With her husband gone and serving in the German army, she moved in with relatives about 435 miles (700 kilometers) to the east in Rastenburg, then part of Germany; now it is Ketrzyn, in what became Poland after the war.

There she was drafted into civilian service and assigned for the next two and a half years as a food taster and kitchen bookkeeper at the Wolf's Lair complex, located a few miles (kilometers) outside the town. Hitler was secretive, even in the relative safety of his headquarters, that she never saw him in person — only his German shepherd Blondie and his SS guards, who chatted with the women.

Hitler's security fears were not unfounded. On July 20, 1944, a trusted colonel detonated a bomb in the Wolf's Lair in an attempt to kill Hitler. He survived, but nearly 5,000 people were executed following the assassination attempt, including the bomber.

"We were sitting on wooden benches when we heard and felt an incredible big bang," she said of the 1944 bombing. "We fell off the benches, and I heard someone shouting 'Hitler is dead!' But he wasn't. "

Following the blast, tension rose around the headquarters. Woelk said the Nazis ordered her to leave her relatives' home and move into an abandoned school closer to the compound.

With the Soviet army on the offensive and the war going badly for Germany, one of her SS friends advised her to leave the Wolf's Lair.

She said she returned by train to Berlin and went into hiding.

Woelk said the other women on the food tasting team decided to remain in Rastenburg since their families were all there and it was their home.

"Later, I found out that the Russians shot all of the 14 other girls," she said. It was after Soviet troops overran the headquarters in January 1945.

When she returned to Berlin, she found a city facing complete destruction. Round-the-clock bombing by U.S. and British planes was grinding the city center to rubble.

On April 20, 1945, Soviet artillery began shelling the outskirts of Berlin and ground forces pushed through toward the heart of the capital against strong resistance by die-hard SS and Hitler Youth fighters.

After about two weeks of heavy fighting, the city surrendered on May 2 — after Hitler, who had abandoned the Wolf's Lair about five months before, had committed suicide. His successor surrendered a week later, ending the war in Europe.

For many Berlin civilians — their homes destroyed, family members missing or dead and food almost gone — the horror did not end with capitulation.

"The Russians then came to Berlin and got me, too," Woelk said. "They took me to a doctor's apartment and raped me for 14 consecutive days. That's why I could never have children. They destroyed everything."

Like millions of Germans and other Europeans, Woelk began rebuilding her life and trying to forget as best she could her bitter memories and the shame of her association with a criminal regime that had destroyed much of Europe.

She worked in a variety of jobs, mostly as a secretary or administrative assistant. Her husband returned from the war but died 23 years ago, she said.

With the frailty of advanced age and the lack of an elevator in her building, she has not left her apartment for the past eight years. Nurses visit several times a day, and a niece stops by frequently, she said.

Now at the end of her life, she feels the need to purge the memories by talking about her story.

"For decades, I tried to shake off those memories," she said. "But they always came back to haunt me at night."
__________________
"When I said 'nuke the Chinese' I meant put the take out in the microwave!"
"We're not spies, mate. I don't even speak Russian."
"What?"
"I don't...Am I speaking Russian? How come I'm speaking Russian?"
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