The Storm - December 2016 Edition


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December Issue 2016 The St orm season’s Greetings


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December Issue 2016 Our Staff Our Mission Advisor Ms. Topp Editor in Chief Samara Kleiman Layout/ Graphic Editor Genesis Vega News Editor Alexa Charak Reporters Taylor Finn Fernando Marchán Sila Avilés Andrés Estrella Nicole Barrocas Gabriella Valdivieso Emam Hijaz Alejandro Latorraca Catherine Acosta Marina Acosta Stella Guiterrez Patricia Diaz Lillian Zou Luis Portela Luis Vazquez Jake Grossman Jose Luis Casas The Storm’s mission is to create a platform in which the voices of Saint John’s School’s community is heard and responsibly informed through trust, respect, and recognition in an eloquent manner. A Message From your editor Since our last edition in October, many historical changes have occurred, mainly our local elections and of course stateside elections. The United States Elections of 2016 will forever be ingrained into this generation, for most of us will remember exactly where we were when the results were announced. This has caused an explosion of controversies and violent outbreaks. To top this off, there have been increasing reports of police brutality and a general unrest in the world. Now, we approach the holiday season, a time of family, vacations, and joy. More importantly, the New Year is upon us, a time for reflection, an opportunity to make amends, solutions, and set new goals. The As December 31st approaches, it is important for everyone to step back and reflect. 2016 was not all bad, many good things have occurred. The tiger, manatee, and panda populations have increased, the Juno spacecraft finally reached Jupiter, the mothering gene that is linked to ALS was discovered, and Leonardo Dicaprio finally New Year couldn’t have won an Oscar. All of these come at a more perfect time, the victories may be small, may only affect world, as a whole, needs a one person, or may seem irrelevant. fresh start. This year of 2016 has But, a victory is a victory. It is been chaotic and hectic for important to always find the good in everyone, creating a general bad the bad because it is always there, no perception of it. matter how hidden it may seem. The New Year is a reminder of this. It does not matter how bad the previous year went, there w ill alw ays be a next year, the year of 2017 in our case. Reflecting back on the process of creating this paper, it was hectic and chaotic for everyone. But, it was a learning experience, and a fresh start. The last issue did have flaws, but we all learned from them and worked hard to fix in this edition. We all know there is always a space for improvement, since there will always be the next paper. As you go into winter break, remember to reflect and find the good things that happened to you this year. Also think about the bad, and figure out ways to learn from them. The Journalism Class and I hope you enjoy reading this paper, and wish you all happy holidays.


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December Issue 2016 SJS Life HUMANS OF SAINT JOHN’S By: Sila Avilés Alejandra Mendez Librarian “When I was 14 years old my mom gave me an SLR camera as a gift. My Chemistry teacher taught me how to develop film. I even worked on the high school yearbook when I was a senior. Later on in college, I published several of my photos. It was a surreal experience seeing something that I created in a newspaper and a magazine. To this day, I still enjoy photography but I don’t pursue it as often as I used to. ” Dariana Francisco School Nurse “I like to collect pennies off the ground since I was 10. My best friend and I do the same thing. She’s back home, and still does it to this day. It all started when we were 10. There was this penny on the ground, we both looked at it and fought for it. Then we came up with this idea to pick them up and collect them. I have around 3 jars full of pennies!”


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D ecember Issue 2016 SJS Life Pressure Cooking @ SJS By: Alexa Charak “I am applying to Harvard” “I think I want to go to Stanford” “I want to be at Yale” These are all phrases every high school student at Saint John’s has heard. As someone who has been in Saint John’s for over twelve years, I know pressure can become an issue. Seeing others wanting to achieve such high standards causes a domino effect on other students. It creates competition, and sometimes even impossible standards for you as well as other students to reach. Some Tips: • Each person should be on his or her own path. o Take classes best suited for your skill level and put the most effort you can into all of your work. • Do not compare yourself to others. o Each person works differently. • Challenge yourself at your skill level. o Do not give yourself a course load that you cannot handle. • Stay focused on what is best for you. o Do not let an environment of competition get in your way. • Give yourself time to do nothing o Take a walk on the beach without your phone. o Relax yourself. o Alone time is a priority. A few Opinions: “I think that I personally inflict a lot of pressure on myself to do well in school.” Francisco Aponte, Junior “I think Saint John’s kids really enjoy school and enjoy challenging each other. I think this is a competitive place, but everyone is challenging himself or herself to be the best they can as a student.” DJ, College Counselor “My parents are not really involved in my school life so I give myself most of the pressure that I go through. The rest of it would be because of my peers between 8:00 and 8:25 am.” Nissim Roffe, Senior 4


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December Issue 2016 SJS Life Holiday Equality By: Catherine Acosta Patricia Del Toro (Social the school was open Studies Teacher) believes during three kings, but Observing the Holidays that there is no issue; the that the reason behind the school is nonsectarian and longer break is not due to Every student in Saint John’s has the winter break off, which extends past the break of most schools in the U.S. due to Christmas and Three Kings Day. Not everyone celebrates these holidays, yet our break is extended to include the majority of students who do. SJS is a nonsectarian school, it is not affiliating itself with any religion. In reality, the school is in a Catholic culture, but it is aware of the other holidays. The school also realizes that many members of the SJS this between the administration and rest of us. José Suarez (Security Guard) would like to see change in the school. Whichever path the school decides to take meaning that it is not associated with any particular community would not is fine as long as there is religion. But since Puerto Rico is predominantly come to school or work if communication. Christian and Catholic, it is understandable that the school would adhere to the calendar followed by Holiday Decorations the majority. When decorating for the holiday season, Is it unfair? SJS in the past has had Christmas trees and menorahs in the cafeteria, as well as lights and Students, who have to miss school days because their holidays are not observed, cannot properly celebrate their holiday as well as make up all their work. They must rush through all the assignments and sacrifice their holiday and the quality of their work. Maya Charak (9th) believes the school should observe Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (The Holiest day of the year/ Day of Atonement) because of the all day services and fasting. Amanda Rodriguez (7th) wants the school to celebrate all religious holidays equally. Christopher Cabral (12th) comes from Catholic school background and says it has been a change but he still respects the schools beliefs. Emam Othman (10th) celebrates Eid Al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) and Eid Al-Adha (Sacrifice Feast) and he thinks it is fair because he understands that he is a minority as one of the only Muslim members of this school. Alexa Charak (11th) understands that it's hard to cancel school on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. A small number of students celebrate these holidays, so teachers should at least limit the work they give on these days. streamers throughout the school. This year there are wreaths, assortments of various materials constructed to resemble a ring, with much history and symbolism associated with them, and other ornaments to decorate the school in a nondenominational way. Since the school is nonsectarian, putting up holiday decorations can be tricky. When asked about this issue, Samara Kleiman (11th) said, “I love how the school looks with holiday decorations put up. Personally, I do not mind decorations that are not for the holiday I celebrate, but some people do get upset when they do not see anything related to their religion. Instead of simply taking away the decorations, I think the school should take the next step and always ensure that all holidays are represented in different ways.” Carlos Martinez (12th) says “I believe that having Christmas decorations up in school is fine as long as our students that practice other religions have no problem with it.” The different opinions show that this is an issue the school should look into more in the years to come.


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December Issue 2016 SJS Life An abomination of stress By: Gabriella Valdivieso Some students in SJS were asked the following Have you ever heard the questions in relation to their stress: expression 1. Are you stressed because of school or school related “Eat your stress away?” activities? 2. What classes or activities are causing you stress? body’s Stress sugar is directly connected to consumption. By sugar, I your don’t 3. Are you controlling the stress? If so, how? 4. What do you suggest other students do to control their stress? mean artificial sugar like the one in candy, I mean the sugar found in carbs and fruits. These Anonymous: “Digital Art and Robotics stress me out. I am stressed because I have a lot of work and sugars provide good source of energy when you are stressed. During stress, you have an increased release of certain hormones that make you hungry. The amount of energy your deadlines are hard to meet. If you do sports, it’s even harder to keep up with school and meet deadlines. I’m not controlling it. I have mental breakdowns every other day. Crying helps.” body uses to release these hormones increases immensely, making you tired. Fernando Marchán 12: “Applying to college, and the workload the school gives us are all factors that make Not realizing stress can be unhealthy in the long run can cause health problems such Be sure to take in the appropriate amount of calories during times of stress, as this can be an me stressed. I’m controlling the stress a little bit but it controls me more than I control it. I suggest releasing stress with other activities besides school and don’t leave work for the last minute.” as: anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, weight gain, and sleep problems. Knowing how to control stress is key. The simplest way to manage your stress is to be organized. Make lists, be disciplined important contribution to controlling your stress levels. Additional ways to control stress are having healthy relationships at home and at school. It is also important to make time for disconnecting your mind by doing sports or any physical activity, or Anonymous: “Yes, Geography gives me stress. I am trying to control it by disconnecting with sports and music. I suggest students organize themselves and find a hobby.” Monica Aponte 10: “History is giving me stress and also History and on top of that, History. I was told to take yoga to control the stress, but I mostly do exercise. Suggestion: Organize yourself. If you’re going to study, make a to-do list and do other things besides studying.” with your work, prioritize assignments, use time efficiently and be aware of due dates. Be sure to take in the appropriate amount of calories during times of stress. listening to music, Last but not least, getting enough hours of sleep. According to, the average teen should sleep at least 8-10 hours while adults should sleep 7-9 hours. Oscar Garnier 10: “I am not stressed very often but when I am I usually put my problems to the side and take care of them later. I also take care of it in my free block.” Valeria Torres 9: “Physics and all the classes combined give me stress. We have a lot of tests and quizzes on the same day. I’m studying to control the stress and trying to create order. I try to plan ahead of time. Don’t procrastinate.”


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December Issue 2016 Feature Which movie/fictional character best describes you?? Teachers Edition By: Marina Acosta Irmarie Coriano “Flick” Why? “Because I love his machines, and because I would like to be part of a theater company.... or a CIRCUS!” “Hes a Da Vinci!” Tyler Snow “Coach Carter” Why? “ He helps adolescents overcome adversity.” David Henner “Doc Brown” Why? “Because I would like to go ”back to the future. Maria Martinez “Don Quijote” Why? “ Porque representa la lucha por los ideales aunque va en contra de la corriente y piensan que esta loco.” Alberto Farmer “Jareth the goblin king” Why? “Because he’s awesome...he’s epic...he’s sexy.... he’s mysterious. Also he teaches a bunch of goblins every day.” David Sanabria “Ferris Bueller” Why? "When I was younger I could relate to him mainly because of his sense of humor and outlook on life. He understands that you have to take time and enjoy the things that are most important in life. Above all else, in his own way he "cares for family and friends. Carol Topp “Barbra Streisand” Why? “ Because when I was growing up, my friends used to tell me I was just like her. ”Favorite movie: Funny Girl


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December Issue 2016 Student Spotlight Amanda Perdomo SJS Life By: Samara Kleiman Amanda Perdomo started modeling at the age of 12; around the time her mom started her photography business, in which Amanda helped be the model for sample photo-shoots. Amanda says, “seeing my mom go through the whole process, taking photo-shoots of people and editing all the photos, is what first got me interested in photography and art”. One day, Amanda was in Plaza Las Americas when she saw a booth for a modeling agency, and quickly signed up. She participated in this company for a couple months, only to realize it was all a scam. She then signed up for Elite Model Look International, which is a competition that scouts for new faces for the Elite International Agency. When she turned 14, she was old enough to participate, and went to her first competition where she qualified as first runner up in Puerto Rico. This success landed her a contract that started her career. She has Amanda feels modeling has given her confidence about herself and body she would not have been able to have without it. It has given her the strength to understand that “throughout your life, it is impossible to please everyone around you. There will definitely be people that will not like you, either for your looks or your actions”. Amanda says that “mass media has degraded the purpose of modeling and shamed the models that participate in it” and this upsets her because of how much she has learned through modeling. Being in a business that is so demanding to stand out physically and personally, at times she feels overwhelmed being a 16 year old in a room filled with college students or adults working beside her. However, “it has made me who I am as a person and has opened me to a world that I could not have discovered in a classroom environment” been part of big events such as Puerto Rico Fashion Week, San Juan Moda Week, and Puerto Rico Fashion International. She has done a lot of runways for upcoming local designers, as well as designs from Miami and Dominican Republic. Her favorite moment was being able to wear a final wedding dress in a runway show. She holds this to be special because “the designer trusts me to close the show, and in the end you feel so special”. 8


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December Issue 2016 Feature Holiday Recipes By: Marina Acosta Oreo Parfaits Ingredients: 1 regular size package Oreo Cookies, crushed into crumbs 3 cups whole milx 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding 12 oz Cool Whip, thawed 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, softened to room temperature 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature 1 tspn vanilla extract 1 cup powdered sugar Warm Apple Crumble Ingredients: 1 20 - ounce can sliced apples 1/4 cup golden raisins or mixed dried fruit bits 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 -3 tbsp sugar 1 tspn apple pie spice or ground cinnamon 3 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces 1 1/2 cups low-fat granola 1/4 cup flaked coconut (Vanilla ice cream optional) Directions In a large bowl, whisk together milk and pudding mixes until thick. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until firm. Fold in Cool Whip and refrigerate while preparing the rest of the mixture. In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat on medium speed for one minute, until smooth. Fold cream cheese mixture into pudding mixture with a rubber spatula until combined. Spread cookie crumbs in bottom of parfait dish. Layer pudding mix and cookie crumbs. Directions Place undrained apples and raisins in a 2-quart square baking dish. Stir in vanilla. Sprinkle sugar and apple pie spice over apples. Top with butter pieces. Sprinkle granola and coconut evenly over apple mixture. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or till apples are heated through and topping is golden. Serve warm with ice cream, if you like. Makes 4 servings. 9


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December Issue 2016 Holiday Gifts Feature By: Marina Acosta Presents, one of the best parts of the holidays! Picking them out for our loved one can be hard, so here are some For Dad: ideas. For Mom: Darts $128 Personalized Mug $12.99 For Boyfriend: Echo smart speaker $179.99 Witty tea towel $7.99 For Girlfriend: American Eagle $69.95 Popcorn popper $ 12.99 For Teachers: For Sister: Personalized Book $8.11 Love Bracelet $28 For Brother: Personalized Stationary $20 Lush Bath Bombs $18.99 Fierce Cologne $40


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D ecember Issue 2016 Feature Certainly More Than Damsels In Distress By: Luis Portela Created in 2001, Jessica Jones went from a relatively obscure character starring in Alias to having her own Netflix-produced show in 2015, played by Kristen Ritter. To a newcomer, a suitable starting point for the character would be either Alias by Bendis, or the Netflix show. The Kate Kane incarnation of the character originally appeared as Renee Montoya’s love interest in the critically acclaimed weekly 2007 series 52. An excellent starting point for a new reader would be the wonderfully written yet tragic 2010 story Batwoman: Elegy by Rucka. From initially appearing as a part of DC’s Sensation Comics series in 1942 to having her own movie slated for a 2017 release date, Diana has come a long way. A good starting point would be the upcoming Wonder Woman: Rebirth series by Rucka. Thankfully, writers such as Greg Rucka, the current writer of Wonder Woman and the creator of Batwoman, and Brian Michael Bendis, creator of Jessica Jones, have taken it upon themselves to improve the medium, to make sure that comic books are not viewed as a mindless macho fantasy by writing mature and intriguing stories starring female heroes. They’ve crafted stories that are worth reading, regardless of gender. “When we talk about agency of characters in 2016, Diana deciding to leave her home forever — which is what she believes she’s doing — if she does that because she’s fallen for a guy, I believe that diminishes her heroism.”- Greg Rucka Mr. Rucka believes that comic books have shown a Superman, an alien from Krypton, and Batman, an orphaned billionaire—are two cultural icons shaping the outside view of comic books ever since the 1930s. Wonder Woman, a princess from Themyscira. Batwoman, a veteran socialite —are two lesser-known characters. Historically, they have been underutilized, to the point where a casual reader may struggle to name a single Wonder Woman story they’ve enjoyed. ludicrous amount of male dependence, and upon his recent return to DC, has taken it upon himself to fix that. He says, “We never had a meeting saying, ‘We need to create this character.’ It’s inspired by the world around me and not seeing that represented enough in popular culture.” Brian Michael Bendis believes that creating strong female characters such as Jessica Jones is simply a reflection of the world around him, not a status quo change for a publicity stunt. 11


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December Issue 2016 Feature Who Are the REAL Americans? By: Liliann Zou U.S. citizens call themselves Americans when all the other countries on the continent of America do not. Some people think Americans should be referenced as the people on the continent while others believe in using it to refer to U.S. citizens. Reasons why it is ACCURATE Definition from the Oxford Dictionary: *U.S. citizens have been using ‘American’ to refer to themselves for 200 years. It would be difficult to make such a big change in their vocabulary. *Other countries use ‘American’ Polish – Amerykański French – Américaine Italian – Americano Reasons why it is INCORRECT *In countries such as Venezuela, ‘America’ is referred to the continent. *In France, there has been some sort of debate about whether the word to describe a U.S. citizen should be “États-Unien” (which would translate to “United Statesian.”) *Francophone Canadians have been using the term “Etats-Uniens” for decades. *In Spanish, estadounidense is used instead of americano. *Some consider this rude, “’Calling this country ‘America’ is offensive," wrote political activist Elizabeth 'Betita' Martínez in 2003.’” “I think the real Americans are the Native Americans. Most of the American populations are immigrants from other countries. They never were the original Americans.” -Sebastián Díaz (7th) “I don’t like it when people from the U.S. say ‘I’m American.’ I mean they are American, but so is everyone else in the Western Hemisphere.” Catherine Acosta (9th) “I don’t really care if they say Americans or America. It really depends on the context. I think the United States seems like a very formal term which is why I think it’s reasonable to simply say America.” –Kevin Lin (12th) “I think U.S. citizens refer to themselves as Americans because the name of the country itself has the word ‘America’ in it, but I still think it’s misleading sometimes.” –Ella Lowther (9th) “I think it’s kind of unfair to associate American as people from the U.S.” -Olivia Solanot (11th) In the end, there really is no right or wrong. Latin American Program director at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Cynthia Arnson says, "I'm not sure if it's incorrect or correct. I think it's an aesthetic issue. If you're in place where it is likely to be taken badly, it's better to refer to oneself as from the United States.” It really is just a matter of opinion and how you were taught to use the word. 12


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December Issue 2016 Feature The Teen Nightmare Acne If simply washing your face and applying cream doesn’t work, then you should visit your dermatologist for an evaluation in order to select the most appropriate treatment. By: Taylor Finn Acne is the #1 skin condition in the United States. In reality, it can happen to anybody. According to Dr. Cristina Brau, a board certified dermatologist, acne is a multi-factor disorder caused by a combination of hormonal effects and genetic predisposition. It affects 85% of young people between the age of 12 and 24. For mild intermittent acne, tropical over the counter treatments with ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur might be sufficient. The big question is, What really is acne? Acne appears when a pore in our skin clogs with dead skin cells. When the body produces elevated amounts of sebum, an oily material that moisturizes out skin- dead skin cells can stick together inside the pore. Sometimes bacteria in our skin get trapped inside the clogged pore. Inside the pore, the bacteria multiply and the pore becomes inflamed. Are there different kinds of acne? Yes, there are many variants of acne. The most common types are comedonal and inflammatory acne. Treatments vary from tropical creams to oral treatments. It’s not your fault. The development of acne usually doesn’t cause due to your daily living such as sports, hygiene or sweating. Certain medications, high glycemic index diets, excessive makeup use and stress can sometime cause or worsen acne. Treatment for inflammatory acne can consist of tropical creams, oral antibiotics, oral vitamin A (isotretinoin), and hormonal therapy, among others. You are not alone when dealing with acne. It may seem that acne only affects ones face when in reality, it can also affect the way one feels. Acne can lead to feelings of inferiority, which can result in seclusion. Don’t be scared to branch out and look for help. You are beautiful Remember, beauty is literally skin deep, what is in your heart is what counts! 13


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December Issue 2016 Feature The Reality of Global Warming By: Patricia Diaz Global warming, the increase of the overall temperature in the Earth’s atmosphere, is a big issue all around the world. Our atmosphere is directly affected by global warming everyday. There are many rumors and myths spread about global warming, and they are quite terrifying. Addressing rumors and educating the community are two very important steps that have to be taken in order for this issue to be handled properly. • Global warming causes droughts • Global warming will decrease the amount of fresh water found on the earth • Hurricanes aren’t linked to global warming • Antarctica will fully melt in the next two centuries • Global warming has stopped because temperatures are chillier • Water levels are rising because of the melting of glaciers • The levels of carbon dioxide have been higher in the past years, yet there is no proof they are the cause for global warming • The Artic is one of the places most affected by global warming • Temperatures are rising Global warming is an important issue, not a hoax. It has been a debated topic among many citizens and leaders. Levels of carbon dioxide are increasing greatly and temperatures are changing. These two factors have caused even more side effects in our environment. Measures such as using compact fluorescent light bulbs, solar energy, clean fuel and reducing waste help stop the aggravation of global warming. The following two students gave their opinions about global warming. Natalia Areces 10th grade What are your thoughts on global warming? “ Global warming is an important problem that needs to be addressed, it is not a political matter.” What is global warming causing? “Global warming is causing many animals to lose their home because of the melting of glaciers.” Monica Aponte 10th grade What are your thoughts on global warming? “It’s mostly in the hands of the people, definitely something we can fix.” What is global warming causing? “The weather is warmer and changes in the weather are greater.”


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December Issue 2016 It’s Not “Just” a Joke Feature By: Samara Kleiman A student walks out of a classroom in which he has just taken the hardest test of his life, and says, “That test raped me”, as all the people around him nod in agreement. What is wrong with this? Do you even notice the issue? To many, this might seem like a trivial issue. What is often underrated is the value of a simple word or phrase. This happens way too often with today’s high school students. The fact that some students see nothing wrong in this comment is a serious issue because it is an example of the rape culture in our everyday lives. “C’mon, its just a joke” is said, as someone is trying to defend themselves from others trying to correct them. It may seem like just a set of words used to explain how hard a test was, but to others, it can mean everything, and anything, because words can hurt. These kinds of comments coming out of our mouths comfortably is proof of the desensitization our society has developed in accord to rape. As a society becomes desensitized to it, both teenagers and adults begin to joke about it, which directly feeds the epidemic that is the rape culture. Don’t be alarmed though, just because you have said jokes like these does not make one a bad person, and can easily be fixed. We as students, teenagers, and ultimately the future generation, can help end rape culture. We have to stop treating rape as a joke. It is not just the rape jokes that have been used out of hand; jokes about race, religion, gender, and ethnicities are constantly laughed at. The issue with these jokes is that they do affect others; words are stronger than what they seem. It is important to always think before a joke is made. You think you are saying something funny, but at the same time can be saying something hurtful and disrespectful. Next time you tell yourself it’s “just a joke” think again.



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