Tucson: My Hometown as a Basketball Town

March 20, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Arizona ScenesBy Ernie McCray

I just finished a nice read, Tucson a Basketball Town. It was written by Arizona hoop legends, Bob Elliott and Eric Money.

They, in a nice informative way, remind Arizona basketball fans that before Lute Olson came along and took the program to somewhat unbelievable heights that there was an era, in the 70′s, their era, that Tucson became a basketball town.

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Restaurant Review: “Espresso Cucina” in Ocean Beach

March 14, 2014 by Judi Curry
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“Espresso Cucina”
1776 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
Ocean Beach, CA 92107

This restaurant was closed far too long and was missed by many patrons of the area. I am happy to report it has reopened Wednesdays through Mondays.

The restaurant has been cleaned up nicely, and although much the same as the old “Espresso” there are subtle differences in the new surroundings. For one, it looks much cleaner than the old restaurant; it has a little more ambiance than it used to.

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What’s Left: Surrender or Resurgence?

March 3, 2014 by Jim Miller

education01By Jim Miller

Just when you thought the Obama administration’s education policy couldn’t get any worse, it did.

Last week Obama nominated founder and CEO of New Schools, Ted Mitchell, to the second highest post at the Department of Education.

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Restaurant Review: Old Townhouse Restaurant in Ocean Beach

February 27, 2014 by Judi Curry
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Old Townhouse Restaurant
4941 Newport Avenue
Ocean Beach, CA 92107

It has been years since I had a meal at the “Old Townhouse.” I am not sure why we stopped going there, but I am sure it had nothing to do with the food. I think more restaurants opened in the area and we started going to some of them.

The place, on Sunday, was packed, and there was a line waiting to get in when we left. .

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Is the Drought Over in Ocean Beach?

February 26, 2014 by Judi Curry
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By Judi Curry

So, is the drought over in OB? If you have driven down Sunset Cliffs Boulevard in the past three months you would sure think so. I stopped driving down this street months ago when there was construction going on and I had to take detours.

Guess what? There is still construction going on and the street is like a floating river.

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The “Alvarez Effect” and the Future of San Diego

February 17, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Alvarez14DNobody thought this was going to be easy.

Back in July, at the height of the Filner debacle, I predicted a dire outcome, noting that “in a recall or special election in an off year, the electorate is guaranteed to be more conservative and definitely not favorable” for a progressive replacing Bob Filner because, “Faulconer would have a huge fundraising advantage garnering support from all the usual suspects downtown and benefit from an energized base geared up to hand it to the liberals, unions, minorities, and other foul ‘special interest groups’ that they’ll blame for bringing us the evil that was Bob Filner. With the Democrats dispirited, humiliated and divided, it might not even be much of a fight.”

As it turned out, David Alvarez stepped up and offered progressives hope, and the labor movement surprised everyone by actually being able to raise more money than the Faulconer forces. Sadly, on Tuesday, many of us were crying in our beer instead.

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Restaurant Review : “Antique Thai Cuisine” in Point Loma

February 14, 2014 by Judi Curry
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“Antique Thai Cuisine”
3373 Rosecrans St.
San Diego, CA 92110

I have frequently had lunch at the “Antique Thai Cuisine” restaurant in the Midway section of San Diego. Their lunch specials start at $5.99 and it is easy to have a satisfying lunch for under $8.00.

This evening I had to take one of my students back to the airport so that she could begin her journey back home to Sao Paulo, and my other student – Felizia – and a friend – Warren – wanted to see her off. Since it was dinner time when we began to return home and Felizia saying she really liked Thai food – and since we were on Rosecrans anyway – my car just automatically drove into the Antique Thai parking lot.

The dinner menu is pretty much the same as the lunch menu, but different prices –and a few items that are only available at dinner.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Olive Garden … or a Quick Satirical Synopsis of a Blind Date

February 11, 2014 by Judi Curry
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Every now and then my name crops up on one or more of the dating sites that I used to belong to and I receive correspondence asking if we can chat, go out for coffee, or… Here is a quick tale from last night:

Brian and I had been corresponding for several weeks; talked a few times on the phone and he asked me to join him for dinner at the “Olive Garden”. Since my student was going out for dinner, I agreed to meet him and asked him what he would be wearing. He told me he would have on a western shirt and Levi’s. We agreed to meet at 6:00pm.

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In the Battle for the Soul of San Diego David Alvarez Stands for All of Us

February 10, 2014 by Jim Miller

1658660_769012429793127_570456494_oBy Jim Miller

San Diego is on the national stage again.

As the final week of the dead heat mayoral showdown unfolded, Politico reported on “the battle for San Diego,” the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters pondered whether the race would be a harbinger of things to come in California politics, and the New York Times covered “a battle of ideology in a city unaccustomed to that sort of election,” astutely noting, as I did here at the San Diego Free Press during the primary, that this contest is “a test of whether yet another big-city Democrat can be elected by riding a wave of populism, much as Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York did last fall.”

And that test is happening because last November David Alvarez defied the pundits and political insiders and beat the prohibitive favorite, Nathan Fletcher, in the race to face Kevin Faulconer in the run-off to be San Diego’s next mayor. This was a seminal moment for San Diego—perhaps the biggest political upset in the history of the city.

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The Women Volunteers of the San Salvador

February 10, 2014 by Judi Curry

Eager volunteers work long hours recreating Cabrillo’s galleon at Spanish Landing


Editor: We covered the building of the San Salvador by San Diego volunteers back in May of 2012 and posted a photo essay of the wonderful reconstruction of the Spanish galleon. Here, Judi Curry continues our coverage with a special focus on the women volunteers, the Women of the San Salvador.

By Judi Curry

The Maritime Museum of San Diego is building a $5 million replica of San Salvador, the galleon Cabrillo guided here in 1542 when he became the first European to explore what is today known as San Diego Bay. The museum has dedicated a construction site for the ship which was donated by the San Diego Port District on public land at Spanish Landing, 2 miles from where its main collection of historic vessels are docked on North Harbor Drive.

Thirty-five months have passed since the keel was first laid in March of 2011. This three-masted galleon, totaling 88 feet of beautiful wood will weigh 200,000 tons when completed. Plans call for the ship to open as a paid attraction in 2014, when it joins the museum’s other ships at the nearby embarcadero.

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Restaurant Review: The Habit Grill in the Mid-Way

February 6, 2014 by Judi Curry
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The Habit Grill
3455 Sports Arena Blvd., #104
San Diego, CA 92110

Just what the area needed – another hamburger restaurant. My favorite has been “Raglan Public House” ever since it opened, with “Hodad’s” and “In and Out Burger” second and third. Yes, I have tried the other “new” ones in Liberty Station; in Mission and Fashion Valley, but Raglan’s still comes out on top to my palate.

I picked up my granddaughter Molli at school today and rather than take her to my house for dinner until her mother picked her up, I decided a fresh, young palate would help me with my review. We went to “The Habit” because it is new to our area; it is in the Ralph’s/Target shopping center; and is across the road from PetCo – all places I needed to stop at after she was picked up.

From the side that we came into the parking lot from it appeared to be closed, but when I drove around to the front of the building it was open, albeit dark. The first thing I would suggest is better lighting along the side of the restaurant. There is an outside patio, replete with space heaters, but the lighting is still bad.

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Thoughts about the Super Bowl – 2014

February 3, 2014 by Judi Curry
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Several years ago, as a new widow, I wrote an article about how lonesome it was to watch the Super Bowl without a companion to discuss it with. I have made it a point from that time on to always be with friends when the biggest game of the season plays. Today was no exception.

As the oldest of my group today, I was interested in the other comments about the commercials and the Half-Time shows. There was quite an age gap between us, and I was curious about their responses. As a group, there was total agreement that the game lacked excitement. Since I was the only one that wanted the Seahawks to win, I found that I had to temper my enthusiasm when the Seahawks scored the safety; when the return man from Seattle ran the ball the length of the football field; when Denver fumbled and the Seahawks recovered – how many times was that? – you get the picture.

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Mayoral Race Polling, Pensions, and Plutocracy

January 27, 2014 by Jim Miller

yo voteBy Jim Miller

Last week a new poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) funded by the Democratic Party came out that showed the race to become San Diego’s next mayor a dead heat with Alvarez at 46% and Faulconer just behind with 45%.

In another poll, Latino Decisions and the Latino Victory Project appraised Latino voters on the race and got radically different results than both the earlier Survey USA/UT-SD poll, a Republican Party poll , and the more recent PPP effort showing that Alvarez leads 75%-10% among Latino voters.

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Restaurant Review: Embargo Grill

January 22, 2014 by Judi Curry
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Embargo Grill
3960 W. Point Loma Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110

There are so many new restaurants opening up in San Diego that it is hard to decide which one to try out first. Since I was going to meet a young man to interview in Pt. Loma, the Embargo Grill seemed like a good place to try out.

The restaurant is located in the old “Longs” shopping center on the corner of West Point Loma and Midway Ave., where the Soup Plantation, the Halibut Shop, Denny’s, CVS, etc., are located. I hope that the location is not a bad omen, because the restaurant that used to be in the same location, “BGR” was one that I rated highly – at least the first time I was there. The Embargo Grill is in the same place, and unless I am mistaken, even the furnishings are the same.

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David Alvarez is the Living Embodiment of King’s Dream; Faulconer, Its Antithesis

January 20, 2014 by Jim Miller

mlk basic incomeBy Jim Miller

This year our ritual celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes in the midst of a contentious mayoral election. And while some might try to bracket this year’s remembrance off from the ugly fray, that would be a mistake. As I noted in an earlier column on this subject, remembering “a sanitized version of King as a vanilla saint who called on us to just move beyond our differences does a disservice to him and his legacy” because “[o]ur collective remembrance of MLK is most useful when it troubles us.”

And King would be deeply troubled to see where we are today nationally and locally. Yes, the man who said, “one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring” would be profoundly disturbed by the fact that we are living in an era of historic economic inequality.

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My Hopes for the Next 35 Years

January 14, 2014 by Ernie McCray

schoolboard_meeting_erniemccrayBy Ernie McCray

I recently was reminded that the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD) has been around for 35 years; 35 wonderful years I might add. I mean they’ve worked tirelessly in society’s behalf to challenge the military establishment’s overbearing intrusions in our lives.

They, with a host of other peace groups, have kept military issues in our collective consciousness via community forums, in the streets, and through youth outreach, keeping us aware of how much the military strains our economy, how much it magnifies a negative image of our country around the world, how much racism and sexism and homophobia it nurtures throughout its hierarchy.

COMD is a big part of why I continue working with the Education Not Arms Coalition (ENAC) to counter the recruitment of our children.

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Kevin Faulconer, Man of the People?

January 13, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Meet Kevin Faulconer, man of the people. He’s running glossy commercials about how he’ll be “a mayor for all of us” and talking as if he’ll be the guy who will focus on neighborhoods that “have been under-served by this city for too long.”

His website and ballot statement have been scrubbed of any unpleasant reminders that he is a Republican backed by San Diego’s traditional power brokers, and he just can’t stop reminding us that there is “no such thing as a Democratic or Republican pothole.”

Like the Republicans at the national level who have decided that they can claim poverty as an issue while refusing to raise the minimum wage, extend unemployment benefits, or stop cutting services to the poor, Faulconer seems to think ….

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Restaurant Review: Ortiz’s Taco Shop in Point Loma

January 13, 2014 by Judi Curry

Ortiz’s Taco Shop
3704 Voltaire
San Diego, CA 92107

Outside signBy Judi Curry

As the Chargers lost on Sunday, interim Mayor Todd Gloria had promised to send authentic Mexican food to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. As an aficionado of such cuisine, I was amazed to see the three restaurants Gloria selected: Ortiz’s Taco Shop in Point Loma, Lolita’s Taco Shop in Kearny Mesa and Mama Testa Taqueria in Hillcrest.

So I called two of my friends – Ro and Irene – and asked them if they would like to join me in reviewing these three restaurants – one at a time, of course.

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Steve Fisher, SDSU’s Master Educator (and Basketball Coach)

January 10, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Steve FisherBy Ernie McCray

When San Diego State’s men’s gifted basketball players showed up at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas and rose from the 21st rated team to number 13 after destroying the Jayhawks’ dream of stretching a 68 game winning streak against non-Big XII teams to 69 – I couldn’t help but think, at the time, of how lucky those young athletes are in having Steve Fisher as their guide on this wonderful ride.

The man is clearly a wonderful coach, a master teacher if there ever was one. He knows how to connect with folks who are counting on him for guidance.

I know. I’m an educator by nature, in a way.

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Restaurant Review : Sundara Indian Cuisine in Ocean Beach

January 10, 2014 by Judi Curry
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Sundara Indian Cuisine
1774 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
Ocean Beach, CA 92107

There is an old saying that states ‘you cannot go back and expect to find the same things you found originally.’ Such is true of the Sundara Indian Restaurant in Ocean Beach.

I originally reviewed this restaurant August 3, 2012, when it was located in a tiny restaurant almost on the corner of Sunset Cliffs and Pt. Loma Ave. At that time it was sharing its restaurant with the “Pt. Loma Beach Café” – cooking its meals in a community kitchen during the late afternoon and bringing that food to its patrons for dinner. It was very good and I gave it a favorable review in the OBRag.

Asked again to review it now that it is in a permanent place with the ability to cook all of the meals on the premises, I asked my friend Eric to accompany me, as he has done several times in the past.

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WARNING! No more right hand turns on red at Voltaire and Famosa

January 3, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for WARNING! No more right hand turns on red at Voltaire and Famosa

This a warning from the Widder Curry:

When was the last time your came off Highway 8 west, made your left hand turn, and continued to Famosa Boulevard (the street and bridge that runs over Nimitz Blvd), turned right at the signal and coming up to Voltaire St. Then, after making a complete stop at the intersection of Famosa and Voltaire you turned right? (Famosa becomes Catalina at the 7-11.)

Yesterday? Did you get a ticket? No? You don’t know how lucky you were, because without any notice a sign has been placed at that intersection that now reads “no right hand turns on a red light.”

People are complaining that they are getting $293 tickets for making that turn.

Where did you say that is again?

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San Diego’s Unlucky 2013: The Year That Can’t End Fast Enough

December 30, 2013 by Jim Miller

2013 handsBy Jim Miller

…the emergence of the local plutocracy’s strategy of rule by ballot initiative is a genuine threat to our local democracy

Last year, I rang out the New Year with a list of the best in San Diego culturally and politically in 2012. This year begs for a grimmer assessment. Better yet, politically, 2013 deserves to be tossed from the house with the caveat that it not let the door hit it in the ass on the way out.

It would be tempting to do a bottom ten list as there are so many deserving candidates in all quarters, but let me just reiterate what I wrote last summer, that much of what we saw transpiring in our fair city brought to mind Mark Twain’s pithy assessment of “the damned human race”:

I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the lower animals (so-called), and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me. For it obliges me to renounce my allegiance to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals; since it now seems plain to me that the theory ought to be vacated in favor of a new and truer one, this new and truer one to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals.

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“My Grandma’s High on Weed”

December 27, 2013 by Judi Curry
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“My Grandma’s High on Weed”

My grandma has a case of shingles,

She hurts terribly bad,

I wish I could do something for her,

It makes me extremely sad.

Grandma went to her doctor,

Who gave her a strong pain pill,

But all that it managed to do for her,

Was to make her feel more ill.

Grandma went back to the doctor,

Begging for some relief,

The doctor said to get a weed card

And then go buy some leaf.

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The OB Hippie House Dedicates a Peace Pole

December 23, 2013 by Judi Curry

On December 21, 2013 at 9:11am, the Time & Day of the Winter Solstice

2013-12-21-Liquid-Blue-Band-House-Peace-Garden-002By Judi Curry

To call this beautiful remodeled house on the south side of Ocean Beach a “hippie house” truly does it an injustice. The new owner – Scott – has put a great deal of money into the house to make it liveable, and the fact that it is not the “normal” Pt. Loma residence is incidental. But….it is gaining fame, even though Scott and his significant other Layla, have just recently moved in.

First of all the views are spectacular. The scenery changes from minute to minute. What were high waves an hour ago are small little ripples now; the pelicans fly over going both north and south. The surfers are not there today – waiting the 72 hours after the rain – before dotting the scenery with their black wetsuits and multicolored surfboards. So why were we there this morning, braving the cold and wind, standing outside looking at a pole set in concrete , albeit in a beautiful design?

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The Thought of David Alvarez as Mayor…

December 23, 2013 by Frank Gormlie

David Alvarez…Has More Than Him Smiling

By Ernie McCray

It was like walking in on a “Who’s Got the Sunniest Smile” Contest as the room in this “David Alvarez for Mayor” gathering, was full of them. I joined right in with my ages old grin.

My smile shone brightly because David is an answer to a dream of what a San Diego mayor should be like that I first conceived when I moved to town in late August of ’62. I was barely a few months over 24 years old, ready to change the world for the betterment of all humankind. For most of the years since then, my dream of a mayor like David has seemed just like that: a dream.

I mean when I showed up on the local scene I thought I had escaped the small-minded non-progressive kind of thinking I had been subjected to growing up in Tucson. That notion changed when I turned my TV on and saw two men, Frank Curran who would later become mayor and Allen Hitch who wanted so much to be the mayor.

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Merry Christmas, Sex Pistols Style

December 23, 2013 by Jim Miller

sexpistols huddersfieldBy Jim Miller

Every holiday season one of my favorite tasks is collecting and delivering all the toys donated by my union brothers and sisters in the American Federation of Teachers to the Labor Council office for the annual toy drive. My union, along with many other San Diego locals who participate in this annual ritual, do so in order to help out the families of unemployed workers struggling during the holiday season.

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More From the Widder Curry on the “Hippie House” of Sunset Cliffs

December 19, 2013 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for More From the Widder Curry on the “Hippie House” of Sunset Cliffs

Scott Stephens, the owner of the “Hippie House” on Sunset Cliffs and Adair told me today that he has had over 100 people stop and talk to him about the beautiful designs on his wall.

Everyone that has stopped has been enthralled with the designs, the layout, and the landscaping being done. After all, the house has been a rental for years and not in very good condition.

He, along with his significant other Layla, talked over the designs they wanted for their landscaping – native garden; peace poles; murals, etc., and worked with artist Adelaide Marcus in putting their ideas in motion.

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Have You Ever Wondered How Rumors Get Started?

December 11, 2013 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Have You Ever Wondered How Rumors Get Started?

The New “Hippie House” of Sunset Cliffs

Have you taken a walk along the south part of Ocean Beach lately?

Have you walked along Sunset Cliffs and Adair and wondered if you had stepped into a time capsule and were transported back to the 1960’s?

Have you ever said to yourself – or out loud – I wish I were living in the days of the Beatles, Mario Savio, Angela Davis, or Samuel I Hayakawa?

Well, my friends, hold on to your roach clip, because you may be taking that trip into that tunnel as this is being written. Is this going to be the new maryjane house of Ocean Beach?

Oh my goodness! Is this house going to give the Kodiak a run for it’s money?

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South Africa’s Role in My Evolution as an Educator

December 11, 2013 by Ernie McCray

As I reflect on Mandela’s passing I’m reminded of how the struggle of his people has played an important role in my development as an educator, starting back in ’57 or ’58 before I had taken my first “How to Teach” course at the University of Arizona.

At the time I was writing a research paper and found some essays on South Africa and the word “apartheid” leapt off the pages at me and I discovered that my struggle in Southern Arizona was so similar to what blacks were going through in the southern tip of the Dark Continent.

Of course, apartheid was more brutal. I didn’t have enough time to dwell on the subject so I just tucked my new found information away and got back to a life of pop quizzes and mid-terms and the like.

But, I didn’t know how much I had internalized what I had learned until the next year when I was in a class listening to a glowing lecture on South Africa that highlighted the country’s sparkling beaches and stunning countryside and rugged mountains and rich resources.

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There’s No Fool Like an Old Fool: The Final Chapter – Not!

December 10, 2013 by Judi Curry

Instead of finding love, many online daters are left deceived and heartbroken. The FBI’s San Diego branch stated it deals with more than 1,000 “Catfishing” cases a month. Here’s a candid account of one such scam.
1765667By Judi Curry

For months I have been experimenting with “on-line” dating. As each of the paid sites have finished, I have not renewed my membership. However, there are two dating sites that I still frequent, because there is no money needed for membership. I want to talk specifically about OK Cupid.

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