Yeah, I’m mad.

As a partisan, my immediate reaction to the complete bullshit which emanated from last night’s Ohio State presser was a question:  what was Jim Tressel’s first thought upon hearing the news that A. J. Green had been suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season?  “Suckers“?  “There but for the grace of God go I”?

We’ll never know.  But one thing’s for sure.  We know it wasn’t “I’d better come clean now.”

That’s not even the most offensive part of what we learned.  Tressel’s silence was wrong, but he had the sheer gall to top it by lobbying the NCAA to let his five players – players who would have been suspended for four 2010 regular season games had Tressel been truthful with his school and the NCAA about what he knew – remain eligible for the Sugar Bowl so that Ohio State would have the opportunity to lock in its ill-gotten gains.

And don’t forget those come-to-Jesus meetings with his five players where he extracted pledges from them to return for 2011 and face the music for their bad decisions.  Because they were told that was the right thing to do by a man who didn’t follow his own advice.

If I’m Mark Richt, I’m fuming right now.  It’s not just about having the basic integrity to conduct yourself the way you preach to your players.  It’s also about job security.  It’s hard to escape the feeling that Richt is a coach whose seat was made appreciably hotter because he and Green were honest.  Even the most zealously anti-Georgia football fan out there would concede that Georgia’s 2010 season wouldn’t have begun 1-4 had Green trotted out as a starter in the first four games.  Does anybody doubt that had he followed Tressel’s lead with the result that Georgia had won 10 games last year and Green’s problem emerged now, Richt would still be on firmer ground as to his continued employment in Athens than he is?

So now the ball is in the NCAA’s court.  That’s not a particularly comforting thought in this case.  Sure, the NCAA has a track record of looking unfavorably at people who lie to and mislead its investigators.  But this situation is more complicated than that.

The NCAA went fishing into A. J.’s dealings as a result of reading a TMZ piece about some parties in Miami.  Did their investigators stop when Green told them that he hadn’t attended any such parties?  Nope.  They went on to request his financial records.  The rest is history.

Compare that to how the Tatgate investigation was handled.  The matter comes to the attention of the NCAA as a result of dealings five Ohio State players had with a man under investigation by the federal government.  And upon receiving assurance from Jim Tressel that there was nothing else going on, the NCAA investigators packed up their bags and wished everyone a nice day.  Nothing to see there.  Good call, people.

Of course, the NCAA will say that’s Jim Tressel.  He’s a man of impeccable reputation.  (Even though he’s really not.)  On some level it was determined that he was entitled to more of a pass on his word than Green, despite the fact that at the time the worst incident on A. J.’s blotter was a bogus penalty for excessive celebration.

In other words, this was pretty much an epic fail of an investigation.  And one other consistent thing about the NCAA is that it doesn’t like to admit to making big mistakes.  Throw in that Tressel’s defense is going to be a variant of the “I didn’t know” approach that’s already proven to be hugely successful in warding off sanctions and you’ve got good reason to be pessimistic here, unless you’re an Ohio State fan.

This really sucks.

************************************************************************

UPDATE: Schlabach’s a little over the top with this column, but, damn, Gordon Gee confirms he’s a first class fool.

… Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee said he never considered firing Tressel.

“No, are you kidding me?” Gee said. “Let me be very clear. I’m just hoping the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”

Please, please keep telling me how school presidents have the intestinal fortitude and character to stand firmly against their coaches on important issues when it’s the right thing to do.

************************************************************************

UPDATE #2: Paul Myerberg makes an excellent point.

… That’s one slight difference between the penalties assessed to Tressel and Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl, even if it’s a slight skewed comparison: two different sports, for one, but Pearl’s suspension — which covered the first half of the conference season — was assessed by the SEC, not the N.C.A.A. or the university.  [Emphasis added.]

What was that argument John Pennington pushed yesterday about the Big Ten holding the moral high ground?  He may want to reconsider.

************************************************************************

UPDATE #3: After you look at Brian Cook’s timeline, you’ll wonder why the NCAA gave Tressel the benefit of the doubt in the first place.  It sure beats me.

************************************************************************

UPDATE #4: No surprise here.

He’d rather wait and see if there’s any more lobbying to do.

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83 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Georgia Football, The NCAA

83 responses to “Yeah, I’m mad.

  1. DawgPhan

    first?

    • Pumpdawg

      Dawgphan,
      We don’t play that little game here.That’s for the ajc knuckleheads.

      • DawgPhan

        please tell me more about what we dont do here…is there a rulebook for this blog, i havent seen it yet….thanks for letting me know…

        • yep

          well “dogfan” if you were at least in your 20′s you’d understand some of the rules shouldn’t have to be in a rulebook. carry on.

          • DawgPhan

            So what if I am older than my 20′s?

            You guys are an up tight bunch…good grief, I have been reading and commenting on this blog for years now and I understand how it works around here…just going for the irony since I was up when the senator was and I knew this would be a big story for today…

        • As a well-known bleeding-heart commie pinko librul, I am of course opposed to the death penalty. But I’m willing to make an exception for “First!” commenters.

          • SCDawg

            “First” can only be used ironically to make fun of the idiots on the AJC who do the first thing-for every damn article. The death penalty is a tad harsh,though. I say water-boarding is an appropriate punishment.

            • the Coondawg

              Nothing more annoying. I say, take him to see the Mulholland Falls. (“this will always be your way back to Chicago”)

  2. baltimore dawg

    actually, the part that burns my ass more than the ncaa’s capriciousness (which we all just expect) is that jim delany and the big 10 lobbied the ncaa on the osu players’ behalf.

    what do you think slive and co. did for a.j.? or, conversely, for cam newton? i love sec football completely, but i loathe the organization.

  3. Robert K Burnham

    Don’t get mad at Tressel, get mad at the NCAA , biggest bunch of wishy washies around . And Gordon Gee is an idiot

    • Don’t get mad at Tressel? Give me an effing break.

      “I have had a player murdered,” Tressel said. “I’ve had a player incarcerated. I’ve had a player get taken into the drug culture and lose his opportunity for a productive life. It was obviously tremendously concerning. Quite honestly, I was scared.”

      You honestly think the NCAA wouldn’t have suspended his players had they known in April? The organization isn’t that wishy-washy. That’s what really scared Tressel.

      • NK_Knight

        So, first of all…there was only two players in the original email. Second, there was a lawyer confidentiality. Why would you suspend players if you didn’t know that they were in trouble…that’s asking for more problems. Third, you do realize that Ohio State self-reported all of this…the NCAA didn’t find out, Yahoo didn’t come out with this stuff…Ohio State went to the NCAA with it. Now, if I was a school, I wouldn’t report anything, because it seems that Yahoo has a mole inside the NCAA. Should he have said something, sure. But all you need is for you to pull your guys into a federal investigation. The investigation was over, Ohio State got the final information that it was 6 people, and they got suspended.

        • Should he have said something, sure.

          That’s what matters here. The rest of your post is commentary.

        • SSB Charley

          First of all, whoever that attorney is has big problems if the tattoo guy is in his office divulging confidential information. Hello, Disciplinary Commission! As any attorney (and his or her spouse) will tell you, sharing information that is protected by the attorney/client privilege is a big no-no, even with your spouse, much less a football coach.

          Second, OSU is in all this trouble because they didn’t self report it. Tressel knew 8 months before anyone else with the university did. He covered it up, an NCAA violation, and lied about when he knew about it to NCAA investigators, another NCAA violation. This also calls into question, IMO, the bullspit defense that OSU wasn’t educating its student-athletes (sic) enough so that they would know not to do this.

          The whole thing is crap. Every game from last season should be forfeited (not vacated). The five players should still be suspended for next season. And OSU should face a bigger sanction than losing its coach for two games against Pigsknuckle State.

        • tywebb

          “There was a lawyer confidentiality”??? You have no idea what you are talking about. If you think you do, please try to explain that phrase.

  4. gastr1

    All I have to say about Gordon Gee is that his comments reveal exactly why he is at Ohio State AFTER being at Vanderbilt instead of before.

    • Jaybird

      Actually, he WAS at Ohio State before..this is his 2nd time as pres of Ohio State. (from 1990-1998) He was also Pres of West Virginia and Brown.

  5. Sefdawg

    I can not believe this. Obviously, as a dawg fan, this enrages me. And then, as an SEC guy, the fact that they beat Arkansas with 5 guys that should not have been there! After 9 straight losses to SEC teams. Worst. Governing Body. Ever.

    • anon

      Never understood being a “conference” guy.

      • SC Dawg

        Think of it as saying I’m a Georgian and an American.

        • anon

          That’s dumb. Does America negatively recruit against Georgia?

          • Sefdawg

            I look at it like a brother relationship. I’m gonna try to beat my brother every time we compete with each other, but if he’s competing with an outsider, of course I’m pulling for him.

            • Scott W.

              Do you and your brother compete for limited resources? I mean I’m all about regional pride but I don’t pull for anyone but the Dogs.

              • SC Dawg

                Actually when you think about it states give tax breaks to entice businesses to come to there state (limited resources that bring people and money to the state). I think of it in the same regard. I just consider myself a UGA fan, then an SEC fan, and yes I cheer for every team in the SEC who is facing a non-SEC opponent. It increases the on field credibility of the SEC, which in turn allows an undefeated SEC the chance to play in the national championship every year without an argument. I can see the other side but I don’t think it’s dumb. I also have a good number of friends and family at other SEC schools.

              • Sefdawg

                Well, if by “limited resources” you mean my father’s love, then yes we do!

  6. Don’t give up hope yet. Just as the NCAA let Cam off the hook because “he didn’t know” they could just as easily nail Tressel to the wall BECAUSE he claims “he didn’t know.” Consistency and precedence aren’t really the NCAA’s strong suit, as you pointed out.

    Also keep in mind that while Richt’s honesty torpedoed the 2010 season, the NCAA has now left town. With Auburn, Oregon and now Ohio State, which were all much less forthcoming with their scandals, the NCAA is almost certainly still sniffing around.

  7. Jaybird

    Tressell looked really uncomfortable yesterday while lying to explain his lies…and I don’t blame him. That was complete and utter BS.

  8. heyberto

    Yeah, I’m mad too, but on the other hand, it makes me happy that we took the high road and handled our situation with integrity. No one else that got slapped with investigations this past year can say the same (that I can recall). As much as I want UGA and Mark Richt to win a national championship, I don’t want it to come under the auspices that Auburn’s did this year. We can hold our heads high Dawg fans. That counts for something.

    • 69Dawg

      Unfortunately we are in the pig pen that is the SEC. As Lewis said you never wrestle with pigs cause you both get real dirty and the pig loves it. UGA is guilty by association as far as the rest of the country is concerned.

    • BCDawg97

      It does count for something. It really does. I’m a bleeding heart idealist. I’m all for doing what’s right and living by rules and treating people with respect and fairness. I don’t believe in being an asshole to people even though it tends to get you further in life sometimes.

      The problem is, at this point it just isn’t winning us any games. But I like to believe in karma. So I just hope I’m young enough to see this pendulum swing the other way and UGA rewarded for some of this. Because between the AJ, Cam and tOSU situations, it really sucks to be an idealist.

  9. 69Dawg

    The NCAA will quickly accept tOSU self-imposed sanctions and make them promise to do better next time. The NCAA needs to be investigated for being the worst organization in the history of the athletics. Gordon Gees only mistake was saying what everybody already knew; the Presidents of high powered university’s are held hostage by their athletic programs if it is a successful one. He should of just not stated the obvious.

  10. Hogbody Spradlin

    How much time did Tressel spend with lawyers and PR people to come up with that story, which of course cannot be verified because it involves attorney client privilege and alleged details of confidential federal investigations?

    • gernblanski

      Here is the thing … Tressel better hope that his part about the “mitigating” circumstances is true, because if they are not true – there will be hell to pay with the NCAA. There still might be some additional penance because the NCAA is not obligated to take OSU discipline as the only punishment.

      Now that this is out in the public, the federal prosecutor or Tressel’s source may say come out to say – yeah it was a federal investigation but the OSU player part had no need for confidentiality. Tressel’s cover-up looks even worse.

      What happens if it’s found out that Tressel’s source was not notifying him to make him aware but also was an OSU booster too? Was he alerting Tressel so they could prevent the players from getting into trouble?

      He is not out of the woods yet.

  11. Dawg eat Dawg

    You know, back when I weighed 150, wore sweaters, and had glasses, I never was ticketed no matter how often I was pulled over.

    There’s all kinds of ways to read what just happened. There’s regional: the NCAA will give those sterling Big 10 institutions the benefit of the doubt, but shady SEC schools go through through the ringer. There’s hierarchical: when a coach says No, the NCAA says fine; when a player says it, they dig deeper. And there’s also racist: a white man wearing a sweater vest in the Heartland will be believed; a taciturn black kid from Summerville — even without a record — deserves further inquiry. Any of these potentially explains the results pattern of the precedent-free, 19th-century case-by-case law-”finding” the NCAA says determines the path of its investigations.

    What to do? I’m just a miffed layman. Still, UGA’s strategy for interfacing with the NCAA could adjust for investigator bias. For starters, the phrase “just like with Ohio State, we expect …” should be drilled as a presser talking point — Richt won’t be able to lie, that’s for sure, but he’s the perfect man to demand fairness and integrity.

    Also, don’t we have a PR firm or two on retainer? If we ensure that the NCAA bets large chunks of its credibility every time it sends a letter to Athens — and practice a little tOSU-style infractions disclosure management — we might have the rest of the league angry at us, but we also wouldn’t be in the Liberty Bowl.

    As the Germans say, “der Ehrliche ist der Dumme” — the honest man is the idiot.

    • Dog in Fla

      And as the operative in from Paraguay said at the bar in Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant in the Germantown section of Columbus last night:

      Jim Tressel ist ein intelligenter Sohn einer Gewehr.
      Sweatervest wird auf dieses eislaufen.
      Das NCAA ist Polen!
      Heil Gee!
      Heil Jim!

  12. James Stephenson

    Forever More, they should be called, “The Cheaters State University”. Don’t forget the “The”.

  13. TennesseeDawg

    Amen, Senator. Tressel should have been fired on the spot. It was not so much that the infractions were terrible in so much as the cover-up was unforgivable. Tressel knew exactly what he was doing and thought he could get away with it. This incredibly lame ass punishment just embarrassed Ohio State as much as Tressel’s cover-up.

    • TennesseeDawg

      Furthermore, hoe did Ohio St. decide upon the 2 game suspension? First two games are against powerhouses Akron & Toledo. Third game? Miami.

      • DawgBiscuit

        And if Tressel gets any additional suspension, I’m sure Jim Delaney will lobby the NCAA to get it postponed until after the Miami and Colorado games, lest tOSU embarrass the Big 10 by losing a non-conference game. (see: 2011 Sugar Bowl)

  14. RC

    I remember back in the mid-90′s when we were twisting in the wind in the last of the Ray Goff years. Over lunch with a client, who happened to be from Columbus, though he was himself a Notre Dame grad, I posed the question as to why the ultra-successful coach at Youngstown State hadn’t been offered a head-coaching job yet, and wondered if he wasn’t just biding his time for the tOSU job. My client explained to me that the scuttlebutt back in his home state was that Coach Tressel of Youngstown was widely viewed as a little too chummy with the “power brokers” (suspected organized labor/crime types) of the Youngstown steel community, and that none of the brand-name institutions in the area wanted to take a chance on him. Until tOSU did a few years later, that is.

    So none of what is now coming to light regarding the Sweatered One’s character is all that shocking to me. It is more of a confirmation and pieces falling into place than anything else.

  15. Just as I said in my post in the past. Is there a way to get out of NCAA and still play legitimate college athletics? I there is none, then schools are just slaves of their own making. If NCAA can be this corrupt and inept, why be a member?

  16. Delaney obviously knows how NCAA can be as corrupt as any criminal organization in the guise of running children’s athletics. NCAA should be renamed as National CRIMINAL Athletic ASSociation.

    • RC

      And who can forget Brian Bosworth’s famous re-interpretation of the acronym- National Communists Against Athletes…

  17. Go Dawgs!

    So where’s all that high-minded academic idealism that Gee was preaching while he was at Vanderbilt? Or was that all just a bunch of bullshit he was peddling because he knew there wasn’t anybody strong enough at that University to stand up for athletics and get in his way? His conduct in this Ohio State matter just goes to show who he really is, a nerd who is afraid to stand up to all of the sports bullies at his school. He had an opportunity to do something the NCAA isn’t willing to do, stand up for the NCAA’s rules and ideals, and instead he just sat back and talked about how gee-whiz neat it is that the quarterback knows his name.

  18. Money and ESPN also should have some role on how OSU handled this problem. What with Herbstreit giving a lot of love to that school at all times.

    • Jackie Sherrill's Dentures

      Re: Herbstreit, he can always look back on his sparkling performance against the Dawgs in the ’93 Citrus Bowl: 101 yards on 8-for-24 passing with 2 INTs and a bumbling ‘run-into-your-halfback’ fumble inside the red zone. He capped it off with an endzone interception to effectively end the game.

  19. When Damon got in trouble with the redpantygate a lot of OSU fans were on UGA’s case. It is time to give them the TATTOOgate in return. They are hypocrites and are no different from GT fans.(I just need to insert my hate)

  20. Chuck

    If only Mark Richt wore sweater vests….

  21. Wow at Gee’s response. Unbelievable.

  22. Dog in Fla

    Gordon goes all in. Up to the hilt.

    2007: Gee believes college athletics is at a crisis point needing immediate attention and discussion. “I can’t make that point if I’m not at an institution that’s living by the rules … and no one is going to take us seriously unless we also have teams that perform very well. We now need to be taken seriously as to the way athletics at Vanderbilt is working,” he said.

    http://lubbockonline.com/stories/042207/col_042207044.shtml

  23. GreenDawg

    This whole situation just doesn’t pass the smell test at all. Forget Coach Tressel for a minute. You mean to tell me that these players were supplying a drug organization with tens of thousands of dollars worth of memorabilia in exchange for TATTOOS? There is something fishy there. It’s not easy to get $70,000 worth of tattoos… $70,000 worth of drugs on the other hand is pretty easy to do. These players absolutely need to be included in this federal investigation, because using simple economics this situation just doesn’t add up. Unless these players are just complete boneheads(completely possible).

    • anon

      A big full color custom half sleeve can cost up to $ 1K.

      • GreenDawg

        That’s fine, but they each only have two arms. They would have to be covered in custom, full-color tattoos to reach that amount of money.

    • gatorhater27

      Where did you get this $70K figure from? I hadn’t heard that, and (I have no reason to doubt you), that is just crazy.

    • Jackie Sherrill's Dentures

      Could be Maurice Clarrett is tangled up in there somewhere as the putative bagman. He couldn’t have gotten too far from Columbus the way he operated inside a car, right?

  24. To all: GEE WAS NOT SERIOUS. IT WAS A JOKE.

    Otherwise, I can’t really disagree with your post. When crap like this happens, it’s the NCAA’s job to use precedent to punish programs; since they treat every case differently, they have none.

    • To Mike: IT WASN’T FUNNY.

      Or, if you prefer, it was in poor taste, considering the circumstances.

      Gee is a fool.

      • I’d go with poor taste and unfunny.

        Gee isn’t a fool; he’s a pretty smart man. Last night, he was a tool for the football program.

        • Gee isn’t a fool; he’s a pretty smart man.

          No reason those two attributes are mutually exclusive. It’s not like he hasn’t put his foot in his mouth before.

          • Fair enough. Also, in the “hindsight is 20/20″ department: I may have misjudged the amount of influence coaches have on school presidents. Just a teeny bit.

        • Know One Knows You're a Dawg

          Gee is smart enough to know something UGA has yet to figure out: the NCAA is weak and easily swayed. By saying Tressel will not be fired, Gee has drawn a line in the sand against any further investigation. “No point in investigating further, because it isn’t going to make a difference.” He’s counting on the NCAA to blink, rather than prostrating his athletic department before them.

          Hopefully now that Adams dreams of being NCAA president have gone down in flames, he (and the AD and coaches) will start advocating more forcefully for UGA’s athletic programs and their student-athletes. And speaking of advocating, someone wake Ed Tolley up and suggest he start taking notes as to what a forceful defense against an NCAA investigation looks like.

      • Go Dawgs!

        So tOSU President wasn’t really serious about hoping that the football coach wouldn’t fire him?

        Get real, Mike, nobody thought he was serious. But we do think he’s serious about never even thinking about firing his coach for willful violations of NCAA rules and outright lies to NCAA investigators which should land his program in serious hot water with the NCAA. And THAT is the joke, Mike, because he SHOULD have given some thought to firing the guy. But he just won a Sugar Bowl, so we’re going to go ahead and try the “we didn’t know” defense that seems to be so popular these days.

      • Dog in Fla

        From a human resources point of view, Gordon’s job does have its ups and downs,

        http://www.10tv.com/live/content/local/stories/2010/03/11/story-columbus-ohio-state-shooting-gordon-gee-vigil.html?sid=102

        he remains well-paid even after leaving Vanderbilt,

        http://www.thelantern.com/campus/gee-paid-more-than-public-peers-1.1066819

        leading to the conclusion that he can still throw a party, fundraise and, like Lane, do very well in job interviews.

        http://www.jacobgrier.com/blog/archives/595.html

  25. What fresh hell is this?

    Complete bullshit indeed. That was the best non-apology apology I’ve ever seen. Tressel thought he was doing the right thing? He actually managed to sound pious. With this self-imposed “punishment” OSU has lost all credibility.

    It’s important to remember that the NCAA has not ruled on this matter.
    Anything less than a five game suspension would be a travesty. There could, and should, be some wins vacated here as well. Players were allowed to play when they clearly would not have been eligible.

    Ask yourself this. If AJ was given a four game suspension for telling the truth about the sale of a jersey, what penalty should a coach (someone who is presumably held to a higher standard than players and is responsible for teaching his players about right and wrong, and what constitutes a violation) receive for lying (by ommission) about the same offence?

    The penalty here MUST be greater than the penalty that would have been handed down if Tressel had come clean upon first knowledge of the violations. If not, there is no penalty for lying to the NCAA.

    Unfortunately I don’t have much faith in the NCAA doing the right thing.
    Additionally, the NCAA has the luxury of waiting, under the guise of “further investigation” until all public fervor has quieted. I am not hopeful.

    What’s the lesson to be learned here?
    If you are going to lie and cheat, make sure you dress like a cross between Ward Cleaver and Mr. Rogers.
    If you’re caught, tell’em you thought you were doing the right thing.

  26. lrgk9

    This whole thing on the back of the Camgate fiasco just blows…

  27. Scott W.

    No one is sorry about their infractions and would probably do it again. As more and more comes out about the past season, the losers appear to be the schools trying to comply with the rules. The NCAA should be punished for lack of institutional control, unfortunately their is no precedent for that.

  28. Just be glad that Richt Or UGA is not involved, There would be a lot more intensity & “we are going to get their asses ” attitude involved if the NCAA had the same situation with the DAWGS. Others will skate but not the Dawgs., Same is true for ESPN & their “Get The Picture” attitude.

  29. Texas_Dawg

    The game is a total farce right now. A total sham. Its results many, many times more fraudulent than MLB during the steroids era.

  30. Go Dawgs!

    Meanwhile, UGA has had to report 5 secondary violations because two former UGA players showed up and spoke at Drew’s signing day ceremony last month.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/recruiting/2011/03/09/ray-drews-announcement-results-in-5-ncaa-violations-for-georgia/

    The system’s broken, folks.

    • Normaltown Mike

      Where is the line on Pollack a sports radio personality versus Pollack a “former letter winners who appear to be representatives of the University’s athletics interests”?

      • Go Dawgs!

        That’s an excellent point. How about Buck Belue? Does he not get to interview any prospective college athletes anymore? Or does he not get to attend and cover signing ceremonies? Or is it the fact that they spoke at the ceremony that’s the problem? Because many sports media people are invited to give talks at those sorts of things.

        In short, it’s cool to solicit money to play for a school, and it’s cool to exchange memorabilia for money or services (as long as you don’t play for Georgia!), it’s cool to not know even the most obvious of NCAA rules, but it’s 100% not cool for a former athlete to attend a signing ceremony for a committed athlete who has ZERO chance of being influenced by your presense because he’s ruled out completely signing with another school.

        • Go Dawgs!

          presence, not presense.

          • Vinings Dog

            Not to get New Testamenty or anything, but the NCAA reminds me of…….[Ye] blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
            Of course, I deal with the OTHER SEC, the Securites and Exchange Commission, and I swear they think exactly like the NCAA (sweat the little stuff and ignore the big stuff). Amazing.

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