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09.26.13 VOL. XLV, NO. 4 CONTENTS NEWS 3 A Farmer's Market Economy FORUM 4 Cycling, Pilates, and Zumba, Oh My! 5 Brace Yourself for Beauty 6 Red Herring ARTS 7 Defining a /pōεm/ 8 Hil–Bloody–larious 9 Found in Translation 10 Partyin' Partyin', Yeah! SPORTS 10 Struggle Bus 11 Dominating the 'Dogs 12 Taz's Take As Harvard College's weekly undergraduate newsmagazine, the Harvard Independent provides in-depth, critical coverage of issues and events of interest to the Harvard College community. The Independent has no political affiliation, instead offering diverse commentary on news, arts, sports, and student life. For publication information and general inquiries, contact President Angela Song (president@harvardindependent. com) or Managing Editor Sayantan Deb (managingeditor@ Letters to the Editor and comments regarding the content of the publication should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Christine Wolfe (editorinchief@harvardindependent. com). For email subscriptions please email president@ The Harvard Independent is published weekly during the academic year, except during vacations, by The Harvard Independent, Inc., Student Organization Center at Hilles, Box 201, 59 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.

The Indy is unfolding. Cover Design by ANNA PAPP

President Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Director of Production

Angela Song '14 Christine Wolfe '14 Sayantan Deb '14 Miranda Shugars '14

News and Forum Editor Arts Editor Sports Editor Design Editor Graphics Editor Associate News Editor Associate Forum Editor Associate Arts Editor Associate Design Editor

Whitney Gao '16 Curtis Lahaie '15 Sean Frazzette '16 Alex Chen '16 Anna Papp '16 Milly Wang '16 Kalyn Saulsberry '14 Sarah Rosenthal '15 Travis Hallett '14

Designer Jerry Chang '16 Cartoonist John McCallum '16 Photographers Maria Barragan-Santana '14 Tarik Moon '15 Business Manager Albert Murzakhanov '16 Columnists Aditya Agrawal '17 Michael Feehly '14 Jackie Leong '16 Andrew Lin '17 Madi Taylor '16 Shreya Vardhan '17 Senior Staff Writers Michael Altman '14 Meghan Brooks '14 Whitney Lee '14 Staff Writers Manik Bhatia '16 Xanni Brown '14 Terilyn Chen '16 Lauren Covalucci '14 Clare Duncan '14 Gary Gerbrandt '14 Travis Hallett '14 Shaquilla Harrigan '16 Yuqi Hou '15 Cindy Hsu '14 Eldo Kim '16 Chloe Li '16 Orlea Miller '16 Albert Murzhakanov '16 Carlos Schmidt '15 Frank Tamberino '16





ou. Hey, you. That’s right. With the eyes. Reading the Indy.

I want to be your next UC Representative, you lucky shit. I’m a strong, independent white woman with the drive and integrity to go into consulting—but not before leading the Undergraduate Council to victory. Here’s why you’re going to elect me: Hot breakfast…on the shuttles. No one has time to sit down and eat breakfast. And no one wants cold cereal. Do you want cold cereal? Do you? That’s un-American. I’m bringing in a whole new fleet of luxury shuttles complete with table service and threecourse breakfasts. French toast Mondays. Eggs Benedict Tuesdays. Waffle Wednesdays. Omelet Thursdays. Pancake Fridays. But when are the mimosas, you say? I’ll tell you—mimosas are every day. Daily mother-loving mimosas. God bless America. New IMs: Shuttle Running. Put your skills to the test and compete with the best of your peers in the university’s most widely practiced sport. Events will include running down Mass Ave, running

New Roots I

t’s Tuesday. Say you find yourself wandering out of the Science Center, blinking morosely at the furious glare of the afternoon sun, its wrath intensified by every reflective and scintillating surface, not least the literally blinding new Plaza. As you fastidiously clutch your highpriority delivery — Bob Marley posters and a conch shell from Back Home — you turn to smell the rich aromas of fall harvest and exuberant yuppies. The Harvard Farmers Market is enjoying its seventh straight year of cucumbers, pies, and friendly New England Photo by Christine Wolfe

Lauren Covalucci for UC Rep: A drunken decision you won’t regret.

around Memorial Hall, and the ultimate campus challenge—the classic sprint down the Quad driveway. The dining hall dash will also be considered an event. A secretary under every desk. Choose your preferred gender and hair color and get to work, you sly dog. You’re guaranteed a Yale or Princeton-educated professional. Ponies to carry your books around for you. I heard on some radio talk show that back pain was the number one leading cause of death among American youth. As your UC representative, I will put a stop to this. There will be no more dragging heavy backpacks to and from the River, and Quad residents will have an extra four legs to guide them on their journey from the North. Dinosaurs In case your pony dies of exhaustion, I will give you a dinosaur of your choice to ride. Varieties include the brontosaurus, triceratops, pterodactyl, and stegosaurus. For those extremely interested, I will hold a training course on how to tame, ride, befriend, and mind-meld with raptors. -and A more transparent UC. Hell yeah

Photo by Lauren Covalucci


Harvard Farmers’ Market grows in new location. accents. Every Tuesday from noon to six, local farmers, growers, and artisans congregate underneath the tent in the Science Center Plaza to show off the literal fruits of their labor. This is the Market’s first year under the tent, and so far, it’s been a big hit. “It gives a sense of permanency to the Market,” says Market manager Louisa Denison. Jeff Newton, a longtime employee of Lanni Orchards, agreed, noting that, compared to the Market’s old location several blocks away on Oxford Street, “it’s more convenient, more

centrally located, and more customer-oriented.” The change in location has satisfied agriculturalists and academics alike. Many students, seeking to take their diets into their own hands, are turning to the Market as a source of locally-grown food. “It’s cool that we have quick access,” says Matt Hanna, a freshman living in Weld. “It’s refreshing. As college students, we don’t usually get stuff like this.” Working with fresh ingredients can be a great motivator for Harvard students looking to take on some culinary (and dietary) independence. Harvard Dining Services launched the Market in 2005; originally, about six vendors set up shop once a week behind Memorial Hall. But enthusiastic customers kept coming back, and the Market has grown to include nearly twenty weekly vendors — ranging in offerings from vegetables to donuts and from Lebanese cuisine to homegrown honey — as well as numerous performers and other community events. This last season has hosted Kids Read Aloud (co-sponsored by the Cambridge Public Library), demonstrations led by local chefs, and skill-sharing sessions covering everything from recycling to beekeeping. Performances, a relatively new Market component, often feature Harvard students or local musicians. “It’s here every Tuesday, and you can come by, rain or shine,” says Denison proudly. And the masses are taking notice: the Market is consistently teeming with students, faculty, and residents of Cambridge, all excited to score some local, tasty, and affordable food. The Market’s season runs through October 29th and will open again next June. For a complete listing of vendors and wares, see html. Miles Hewitt ’17 (mhewitt@college) likes anything in a mason jar.

The Harvard Independent • 09.26.13



Fitting intoFitness On an upward incline.



ever was I more overwhelmed than the first time I attended a group fitness class. My super-in-shape best friend decided it would be fun to wake up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning to go spinning at a studio in the “hip” part of town. Donning Lululemon tank tops and spandex (not my ‘unacceptable’ running shorts and my oversized “I was a good cookie—I donated blood!” t-shirt), I intrepidly entered the studio 15 minutes before class began and had the instructor set up my bike for me. While I stood there fairly helpless, I noticed more people starting to file in. The first was a sinewy, middle-aged man in a bright, tight shirt and even tighter black bike shorts. Then there was an overweight woman wearing a loose-fitting outfit comparable to the one my friend deemed unacceptable. Next were three 20-somethings in skin-tight Lululemon, who looked almost identical to my friend. Followed by them was an older woman who, although weathered, looked like she could run a marathon at any time of the day. Then class began. As we did intervals, endurance drills, sprints, hills, and jumps, I continued to observe my fellow class participants. Just as they had all dressed differently, they performed differently, too. Some made it through what I thought was the most intense workout of my life, barely breaking a sweat. Others were sweating buckets, including me. Though my first group exercise class was definitely rough, I kept going back. I loved getting a good workout, but I also loved the people-watching (which distracted me from the fact that the instructor was kicking my ass). What began as a forced march became an addiction. I went to spinning, mat pilates, reformer pilates, pure barre, yoga, and Zumba classes every week. No matter which class I attended, whether I went at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m., to the “hip” studio or to the YMCA, I always encountered the same types of people as I did at my first spinning class. The man in the tight-and-bright outfit represents what I would call “The Real Athlete.” These types only go to these classes to cross-train, and they dress like professionals to boot. No Lulu or Athleta for them. It’s all black shorts and a shirt from their most recent Iron Man competition. They’re also at or near the front of the pack in terms of fitness, depending on who else is there. Only two kinds of people could surpass “The Real Athlete” in fitness: the Instructor and the “Old Person Who Is in Really Ridiculously Good Shape.” Obviously, the instructor has to be the fittest, because he or she is the one teaching the class, but less obvious is the physical fitness level of that one 65-year-old lady who may or may not have osteoporosis. This kind may have at least 20 years on every other participant, but since they’re retired, they have all time in the world to go to these classes, and as a result, are really freakin’ good at them. They’re truly inspiring people. If I’m in that good of shape by the time I’m their age, I will feel so fantastic about myself. But for now, they make me feel like crap, because I — hypothetically at 4

Photo by Caroline Gentile

my physical peak — am nowhere nearly as fit as they are. The “Lululemon-Clad-20-Somethings” are probably the most frequent participants in group exercise classes. They spent $60 on their tank tops, and dammit, they’re going to put them to good use! Usually, this kind is in pretty decent shape and travels in packs of two or three. They don’t necessarily have to be in their 20s, but they’re young (below 45), they’re social, and they want to look good naked. Another frequent flyer of group fitness classes is the “Overweight Over-Achiever.” They may not look like they are healthy, but they want nothing more than to be. While they may struggle to keep up with the rest of the class physically, they surpass everybody else in effort. They may not inspire people to be more fit like the “Old Person Who Is in Really Ridiculously Good Shape”, but they’ll make their peers want to work hard, which is important in a group exercise class, where effort truly determines how much you get out of it. And then there’s the “Novice”: me at my first spinning class. The one who didn’t know what to wear or how to get set up on the bike. I think

I actually Googled “what to wear to Pilates” before I attended my first class, which is pretty embarrassing, but I know I’m definitely not the only one who has ever done that. The novices are both excited and terrified to come to class. On one hand, they know this will be the beginning of a long yet rewarding journey to getting in shape. On the other hand, they really just don’t want to look like an idiot. The best part about being a novice, though, is that you aren’t a novice for long. After a few classes, you’ve learned the necessary techniques and you’ve observed the other participants enough to know that it’s weird to wear socks to Pilates or that you will be heavily scrutinized by your classmates if you stand in the front of the class during Zumba. Even though I would no longer consider myself a novice, I still pay attention to my fellow group exercisers. No matter what ‘type’ of person you are in the class, there’s always something to learn from someone else, whether it’s how to refine the warrior pose or what not to wear. And people-watching is always fun. Caroline Gentile ’17 (cgentile@college) can’t wait to be that Grandma. 09.26.13 • The Harvard Independent


Bracing for Braces


Beauty is a lot of pain.



wo weeks ago, I got braces for the first time. For the week afterwards, I was in so much pain that I thought something had gone seriously wrong with the whole procedure, and I was itching to call my orthodontist and ask about it. Unfortunately, his office was closed from Thursday to Monday, and there was no one that I could talk to. My lips were both proverbially and literally sealed. Of course, the medical authorities, ever conscious of their liability, did inform me that I would experience some discomfort for the first few days. I don’t know when discomfort ever equates to intense pain in any dictionary. Discomfort is when your clothes are tucked in wrong or you have a stone in your shoe. But this, this wasn’t mere discomfort. It felt as if my teeth were being pulled out without anesthetics. Pain. True pain. And I didn’t expect it at all. Opening my mouth hurt. Actually, doing nothing hurt. If my teeth even so much as touched each other, then burning pain would shoot right through my gums. I couldn’t really talk. I couldn’t really smile. I couldn’t really eat. I couldn’t really think either. My first day was actually pretty hazy, but that’s probably because I slept through most of it. After all, I refused to take any painkillers (pretty brave, but also not very smart — but I am very proud

of the fact that I made it through without any). I’d done my fair share of online readings before getting braces. Some did mention the pain. But it’s definitely hard to experience pain through words. After all, reading about it doesn’t really elicit the same kind of feeling that you would have if you actually experienced it. Which is generally a pretty good thing in life, I guess. Also, the memory of pain doesn’t last long for everyone, so it wasn’t as if I could conjure up a memory of a past pain and wince while reading about it. Even now, I have a bit of trouble remembering the amount of pain that I was in for those first few days after getting my braces. But I guess I’ll get to relive it when I head back for my adjustments in a week or so. But these braces have really taught me a lesson. A year ago, my roommate told me that her hairstylist always told her that one must suffer to be beautiful. I can’t remember the context of the conversation, but I do remember that particular sentence. At the time, I merely scoffed inwardly and didn’t buy into it at all. After all, in all 19 years of my life, I have never really suffered for beauty. Well, of course, I’ve never actually tried to be more beautiful or anything (whatever that means), but I figured that hey, when the time comes that I decide to try it out, it can’t be that bad, right?

But now that I have gotten braces, I completely and utterly agree. I mean, I never really thought of braces as something that was purely for beauty. Or rather, all my orthodontists have always said that it was something that I should get to fix my bite, an idea that I completely bought into. And if it will make my teeth better looking in the process, then why not? But in those first few painfully slow days, the only thought that ever went through my head was “Gee, I don’t need these things. It’s not like I’ll die without them. Heck, I’ll probably die from having them. There wasn’t anything wrong with my bite anyways. It wasn’t as if I couldn’t eat or anything. Clearly, I’m paying the price for vanity.” It’s strange how things come into perspective when you’re desperate to eat and talk and feel normal but can’t. There’s a saying that wise men learn from other’s mistakes, while fools learn from their own. Clearly, I fall into the latter category, since I didn’t believe in the pain until I tried it out for myself.

Milly Wang ‘16 (keqimillywang@college) has clearly never talked to anyone who waxes.


Photo by Christine Wolfe

The Harvard Independent • 09.26.13

Swelling of the brain due to accumulated wisdom and/or flavivirus. Take reading classes in the Fall. The leaves are quaking, brittle as old paper, the wind is warm and smooth, and the light falls with just enough shadow to cast an orange glow. Couples walk hand in hand along the River, their steps in pace with rowers’ oars. Your classmate, reading, sits on a bench, her hair softly bouncing with the wind at her shoulders. And you’re looking for an outlet. Ditch the practicality of psets, at least for this precious season. Join in the eons-long romantic tradition of reading under swaths of red and yellow leaves. I’ll bet you a Pumpkin Spice Latte you won’t be sorry.



One Fish, Two Fish, My Fish, Your Fish Not really but kind of promoting pet ownership on campus.

By LAUREN COVALUCCI much tougher to care for. I also smell markedly better than a litter box. LC: Fascinating. Might I add that your bowl makes an excellent dorm decoration? Alfie: Please, you’re too kind. I know. LC: I’m wondering if you have much on-campus company as a fish and fishenthusiast. Alfie: We’re a small group, but we’re growing. I have a new cousin down in Kirkland who I’m excited to get to know. I mean that literally, since, as male bettas, if we ever actually meet we’ll most likely try and fight to the death. LC: Oh. Oh my. You’re sure you’re a safe pet? Alfie: Oh, yes! Of course. I’m extremely safe.

Photo by Lauren Covalucci

Note: The following is a hypothetical portrayal of a hypothetical interview with my hypothetical fish. Any resemblances to persons/aquatic animals dead or alive are completely accidental.


n light of the age-old ban on pets here on Harvard’s campus, I sat down with my fish, Gandalf—who goes by Alfie—to get a first personal view of the life of an on-campus pet. LC: Great to see you again, Alfie. Thank you for letting me join you today. Alfie: No problem. Thanks for coming by my bowl. LC: How do you feel about your status on campus? As a fish, do you feel particularly discriminated against by Harvard’s no-pet policy? Alfie: Absolutely. I’ve been a member of the Harvard community going on two years now, and it’s really awful to see that there hasn’t been a lot of progress towards pet acceptance. 6

Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be welcome here anytime soon. LC: Do you think any particular misconceptions play into the administrative ban on pets in dorms? Alfie: Hm. Well, dealing with the guilt by association with dorm silverfish is especially brutal. Clearly fish and silverfish have absolutely nothing in common—I mean, just look at them!—but they still give us a bad name. Before coming to Harvard, I spent time on a committee working to rename silverfish to ‘silver crawly things.’ We had a promising trademark lawsuit in the works before funding cuts shut us down, so here I am. LC: I’m sorry to hear that. In such a high-stress environment one would think that the school would encourage pet ownership for all its benefits. Alfie: Yes, especially here. In my current position, the common room by the window, I have a lot of opportunity to show off my fins and jump out of the

water to bite students’ fingers, which always brings a smile to their faces. Not to brag or anything, but a lot of the time I’m really the only friend my owner has. If I weren’t around, she would be in her room eating dinner alone every night. This way she has a fish for company, which she finds very reassuring. She doesn’t get invited out much, so I try to be as supportive as possible. LC: That’s very kind of you. Alfie: I do what I can. LC: Would you recommend one species over another for a student considering pet ownership? Alfie: I can’t be counted on as an unbiased source, obviously, but a fish is a wonderful addition to any dorm room. Bettas, like myself, are hardy and fairly cheap to own. I’m also of the opinion that we’re one of the more beautiful fish species. As far as more high-maintenance pets, I’ve known students who keep cats, but they’re

LC: Good to know. Alfie: If anything, I’m the one who needs to be afraid. Humans can do some serious damage to fish. There’s always a danger of negligence and forgotten feedings or water changes to deal with. More specifically, I felt that HUDS’ dramatic increase in fish entrees is a personal attack. LC: That must be very distressing. Alfie: It’s all part of the job. Don’t get me wrong, it really does have its perks. Sometimes my owners’ roommates overfeed me, which is nice. I’ve also recently been introduced to freeze-dried bloodworms, which are absolutely delicious. At any rate, look at me. Look at my flowing fins and interesting coloring. My attractiveness is truly a blessing. LC: You really are a very lovely fish. Alfie: Thank you. Now could you feed me? LC: Anytime, Alf. Lauren Covalucci (covalucci@college) fully supports the movement to allow pets at Harvard and truly loves Alfie the Betta fish (hypothetically, of course). 09.26.13 • The Harvard Independent

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Hyacinths and Biscuits / by michael feehly

Mary Ruefle’s 26 short discursives. P

oets give lectures often. Their topic: poetry. Unlike other experts, academics, or public intellectuals, poets enjoy authority to speak only narrowly in public lecture. Audiences listen, quite politely, to a poet discussing craft or excavating a genealogy of a particular poem or line of a poem; they do not, though, have patience for much else. Their perspective: let the poet save science, love, life, theory, and politics for the page (unlikely to be read, besides) — we’ve come to hear what poetry is! This does not even account for the large genre of poetry known as ars poetica, the poetry of explaining poetry. This is the context that makes the DISCURSIVES lecture series, organized by the Woodberry Poetry Room, all the more refreshing. Woodberry invites poets to Harvard, to the Emerson Chapel — site of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1838 Divinity Address, his most radical distillation of his experiential and transcendental philosophy — where crowds await, eager to be lectured, hectored, or disabused of their fusty notions. But, of course, they line up and sit on chairs and floor, stand up, lean against walls, for poetry, too. The inaugural DISCURSIVES lecturer Mary Ruefle was no disappointment on any of these counts. Ruefle stood confidently at the lecture of Emerson’s pedigree; behind her was Emerson himself in bas-relief on a plaque mounted to the right of her shoulders. She spoke on a variety of topics — 26, precisely — and a room full to the brim. I counted seventy or so by eye from where I stood. And I stood. For the whole hour. The author of Madness, Rack and Honey (Wave Books 2013), Mary Ruefle began her lectures without any sign of intimidation. She was unruffled by high turnout, by the patriarch’s shade behind her, or by the stifling heat. Such poise is what one would expect from a recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, a former instructor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a poet published in the Best American Poetry series. Ruefle opens DISCURSIVES with her “Short Lecture on the Dead,” printed in Madness, Rack and Honey. This exposes what motivates even idealistic lecture series: book sales. Clearly at least ‘one living poet has a clue what she is doing.’ The gist of the “Short Lecture on the Dead” is “no living poet, none, could teach us a single thing about poetry for the simple fact that no living poet has a clue as to what he or she is doing.” Ruefle establishes two categories of poets: the living and the dead. In discussing the living, mentioning those poets she has talked to (John Ashbery and Billy Collins: these two included in the same category, the same sentence can only The Harvard Independent • 09.26.13

be taken as farcical, perhaps polemical), Ruefle perceives their poetry to be nothing more than attempts to explore what Death is. Since the living have no knowledge of death, no experience of it, the perspective of the living embodies incomplete knowledge, knowledge that cannot be shared with or without poetry. The turn Ruefle takes next saves the lecture from mere critique of her present peers. Ruefle, referring to Ashbery and Collins, declares, “The minute they become Dead they can teach us everything…because that minute they are dead all of their poems about death become poems about being alive. And we are alive and can be taught something about that.” With death, with the completion of life, a poet’s works shift their orientation from expectation of death toward remembrance of life; memento mori becomes plain momento. This idea has roots in Montaigne’s Essays — his famous confrontation with death was titled “That to Philosophize is to Learn how to Die” — and also in the broader tradition of stoicism. Poetry, replacing philosophy for Ruefle, exists as a conduit between living and dead, a communal experience between generations present and past. Ruefle synthesizes this point in saying “Poets are dead people talking about being alive.” Poet-hood becomes the capstone of a life lived entirely, thoroughly, fully. Ruefle sees in death the conference of finality and authority — the heft — required to make a poet from whom one can learn. This centrality of death creates a problem for Ruefle; since she is not dead, she forfeits the title of poet by her own formulation. The lecture is only minutes old. My feet are not yet tired nor are those sitting yawning or rubbing their eyes. Momentarily all seems lost. A room full of lovers of poetry desire to hear a master speak. She speaks: she tells them she is not a master, that nobody ever learned anything from any lecture, and, perhaps, that nobody learns anything until meeting their end in death. Understanding how Ruefle escapes this problem requires knowledge of the structure of her lectures, the very thing of which the audience has no knowledge. With hindsight, it becomes clear Ruefle was never in a tight space at all. Her lectures begin with a title, progress through the subject matter suggested by the title, but stray toward another topic — an example: a lecture on instructing students about the left-brain rightbrain distinction leads to “Short Lecture on the Brain” which treats the evolution of the human brain, and is followed by the “Short Lecture on Evolution.” So, from the end of all things death, Ruefle cycles back to the beginning of civilization,

and delivers her “Short Lecture on Socrates.” She retells Socrates’ quest to prove the oracle of Delphi’s claim that Socrates is the wisest of all. Socrates interrogates all the Athenians he encounters — the politicians, he finds, know nothing but are unawares, the poets know a few things, but only things concerning poetry and not other fields — and comes to the conclusion that the essence of his wisdom is that he knows that he knows nothing. Ruefle repeats this, echoes Socrates, when she claims to know nothing about poetry. Her lack of knowledge becomes a claim toward Socratic modesty, and also a claim to possess Socratic wisdom. Understanding Ruefle as she understands herself, as a gadfly, the audience comes to expect, to enjoy, and to laugh at her challenge of the form of the lecture. One of her lectures consists of her using noisemakers and bobble-head of Scotty from Star Trek. Another, she grabs a ‘vase’ from her lectern, made of crinkled, tightly folded paper, expands it out into the shape of a hat, places it on her head and asks “Is the vase now a hat? Or is my body an upside down flower?” When it came time for Ruefle to end her lectures, there was a moment for questions. It briefly passed in silence. No questions. Ruefle was pleased, and so was I. Not pleased from an eagerness to leave — pleased to know that her message of the primacy of experience and of doing had been communicated. It is not that Ruefle believes questions are worthless; it is that the end of understanding, obtaining answers, is served best when one sits with a poem and reads it, or when one attempts to write one’s own. Ruefle’s lectures accomplish for me what Whitman accomplished in his poem “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.” In 26 Short Lectures, Mary Ruefle defends experience against the prevarications of didacticism, the tradition of poetry from its modern detractors, and wide-ranging philosophical interests against the narrow confines of craft. Woodberry’s DISCURSIVES lecture series will be highly influential if the momentum generated by Ruefle continues. Currently, the Woodberry Poetry Room has no public posting of other dates or speakers lined up for future events. I am convinced, though, that the interdisciplinary and wide-range of topics intended for poetic consideration will bring greater numbers of Harvard students and faculty into conversation with poetry. Michael Feehly ’14 ( thinks that you should read Madness, Rack and Honey, but nothing will capture exactly the experience of being in that lecture, in that room, in that community, at that moment. Unless, of course, you’re dead.


Scrolling in Translation T

So where are we now? The Internet, of course. The explosion of online funnies, web-based graphic novels, and everything in between only serves to make the pickings broader — and our definition of a visual story fuzzier.


he day after I moved back in, I ordered a two-by-three-foot poster that consisted entirely of comic panels. They were taken from various stories of the Marvel universe, brightly colored, and smelled like an era gone by. Allow me to explain. The comic has gone through many an evolution, but the one that still resonates with our nostalgia is the simple comic book, filled with fantastical tales, superheroes, and a parade of questionably form-fitting costumes. And though visual stories in that medium persist today, there is something undoubtedly sentimental about them. The comic book has had its day and continues to crank on in the niche it has carved out for itself. Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes have had theirs and the rest of their ilk has as well. And while both continue to exist, they’ve fallen out of the spotlight. So where are we now? The Internet, of course. The explosion of online funnies, web-based graphic novels, and everything in between only serves to make the pickings broader — and our definition of a visual story fuzzier. As with everything else that the Internet touches, comics, something we could so easily define in the years past, are now speeding down a different, more experimental path, with the side effect that the comics and graphic stories no longer occupy only one niche. For every standard comic strip in existence there is an alternative that pushes the boundaries of form and content. There are two kinds of Internet comics. There are the conventional strips, the straight-laced fellows that sport four panels and a silly punchline, the graphic novels whose pages are populated by gridpacked panels and a predictable layout. And then there are the creations that were made by literally breaking out of the box by people who’ve made it their personal goal to stretch the limits of the web to the breaking point. That’s where the true webtoon comes in. Let’s backtrack. As a freshman in the

process of creating a first-effort graphic novel, I spent a day or two researching the different formats that I could possibly use (We could get into my misadventures with Flash, but I think that’s a story left for a different time). It was around that time that I stumbled upon the long-strip format, more commonly known as the Korean webtoon. That was December 2012. I haven’t looked back. The Korean webtoon is named so because of obvious reasons, and it’s called the long-strip for others equally obvious. Instead of flipping through pages as one would in a book, the reader scrolls down… and down…and down. The entire chapter is a singular length of content designed for you to exercise that muscle in your hand that aches when you scroll too long or too often. The story progresses vertically instead of to the right or left. There are no gaps, no waiting for pages to load — this is the Internet, lest we forget where we are — and most importantly, no boundaries. Frames and panels cease to exist in a traditional sense, and when they do, they’re invaded by text, speech bubbles, and innumerable other elements. There’s an incredibly organic sense and flow to a long-strip story that the comic books of yore, while impressive in their own right, just can’t achieve. Korean webtoons have few strings of commonalities between them. Besides the fact that they’re usually all in color, they are nothing alike. Unlike the strictly regulated art and writing styles displayed by the classic Western comic book, today’s modernized version has no specific art style, no preferred subject. Gone are the complex multiverses, chiseled features, and strictly fantastical material — they have left us in favor of complete freedom. It follows logically that today’s webtoons tend to list over to the side of the avantgarde (to varying degrees, of course). Somewhat surreal magic realism can rest alongside an off-kilter comedy. The comic of today resides, more often than not, in the realm of the experimental. The cream of the world’s crop of visual stories is no longer accessible as

a sure weekly arrival in the drugstore. Instead, we have to hunt, and the Korean webtoon is no exception. For all the appeal and elegance of the form, there is one obvious caveat, and that is at least in the English-speaking market, Korean anything is only as good as the devotion of those willing to translate. The deciphered versions often hide in strange shady corners of the web, on blogs, in the strange and darkly jumbled archives of Tumblrs and translator webhosts. Google “Korean webtoon” and you’ll probably find something you like, but it’s likely to be in the oddest of places. That’s the way that everything has gone, I suppose, nowadays: instantly and simultaneously accessible and inaccessible. But that’s the beauty of the whole idea, in the end. Or perhaps it’s just the way of the Internet. Foreign webtoons that reach the eyes and hearts of distant lands are not just the product of one artist or writer but of a group: those translated words we skim through so quickly are thoughts that have passed through the care of many minds. To me, I suppose, the Korean webtoon in particular stands out as the epitome of the visual story because of its grounding in community; being completely webbased, everything from comments to translation projects operates on a dynamic timeframe that runs at the speed of not necessarily a press deadline — though that’s a possibility too — but the demand and passion of both the creators and consumers. They aren’t all made by contracted professionals, and oftentimes, you can’t tell. Even barring the point regarding translation, the Internet has largely removed the barrier between creators and the people they create for. And there’s something magical in that, in picking up and reading any webtoon, Korean or not, and realizing that somewhere, the author sits on the opposite end of the screen — not a creative team of artists, storyboard-sketchers, designers, coffee-gophers, executives, assistants, and assistants of assistants, but rather a handful of people who cared enough to share their ideas to the nameless unknown. We’ve come a long way from the fivecent drugstore booklets. We are no longer bound to fixed stereotypes, can no longer accurately explain what a visual story should be. And that’s not a loss. Korea may have gotten it right, but it doesn’t mean the rest of the world isn’t following suit or can’t join in. For the rest of us, even those who understand not a whit of a foreign language, the fun is still just a few clicks away. Jackie Leong ’16 (jacquelineleong@college) is a graphic novelist who reads too many comics. For an easy (translated!) entry-drug to Korean webtoons she recommends readers visit tapastic. com/collection/webtoon.

09.26.13 • The Harvard Independent

When The Curtains Rise | by Shreya Vardhan

Sampling British comedy on the Boston stage. S

eated snugly in the Lyric Stage Theatre on a windy afternoon in Boston, I waited for the curtains to rise on One Man, Two Guvnors with some considerable eagerness. The play promised to provide intelligent humour for its own sake — the kind of humour that is, I believe, better tolerated on the stage than it is in books, which are unfortunately rendered irrelevant when they fail to touch on Greater Issues. In that respect, I was certainly not let down: the play was as “irrelevant” and irreverent a comedy as I’ve ever encountered. The idea of a British comedy about servants and masters inevitably brought P.G. Wodehouse — whose brilliant and explosively hilarious books have been the constant companions of my youth — to mind. The humour in the play was, however, rather different from the kind I’ve loved in those books; what I found was both less and more than what I’d expected. While there were only a few moments of sublime wit that really, instantly made me laugh out loud, there was a kind of lively joviality in every movement and spoken word that left me with the feeling that I had been laughing all through. I could sense this ubiquitous laughter even in the catchy country songs the orchestra played in the minutes leading up to the show. Flipping through the program as the seats around me filled up, I read about the lengthy and interesting path through time and space that the story had tread on the way to this stage. It began life as Carlo Goldoni’s 18th century Italian play, Servant of Two Masters, set in 1700s Venice. This original production was influenced in large part by the Italian tradition of commedia dell’arte, where masked actors who perfected the depiction of specific characters improvised stories centered around their characters. While both Servant of Two Masters and Richard Bean’s adaptation of it to Brighton of 1963 — the play of the present name — were scripted rather than improvised, the real sources of laughter were still clearly the people with their multifarious absurdities; the plot seemed simply to follow from the explosive intersections of these absurdities. We first meet the cynical and worldweary Charlie “The Duck” Clench, who grudgingly agrees to let his (somewhat dimwitted) daughter Pauline marry the The Harvard Independent • 09.26.13

love of her life, the aspiring actor Alan (my personal favourite, for his ability to come up with heartfelt rhapsodies of the following kind: “My love is ethereal, pure. Like the kind of water you’re supposed to put in a car battery.”), after the sudden death of her former betrothed, one conveniently wealthy Roscoe. His decision arises less from empathy than convenience: the wedding sausages have already been ordered. Complications arise, however, when a couple of new characters arrive on the scene: Roscoe’s sister, the feisty Rachel, disguised as her dead brother in an attempt to extract dowry from Charlie, and the mysterious Stanley Stubbers, who turns out to be Rachel’s betrothed (and, incidentally, Roscoe’s murderer). The principal character, however, turns out to be the bungling manservant Francis Henshall, who by a series of circumstances and the prospect of an extra dinner comes simultaneously into the employment of both the impersonating Roscoe and Stanley Stubbers. Hilarity ensues as Francis clumsily juggles the letters, messages and orders of his two guvnors while trying to conceal the existence of either from the other, and pines all the while for a meal. The curtains of the title are entirely metaphorical in the case of this performance; the scene changes were accompanied by cheery choral interludes (the musicians perched high up in the corner of the room certainly helped create some of the most delightful moments of the play), while the actors went about removing or adding furniture or changing the background in sight of the audience. This produced an interesting comic effect, and seemed to intimately involve the audience in the creation of the story. The theatre itself was small and intimate, allowing plenty of eye contact between the actors and the viewers. The sense of proximity to the stage and the story created by this structure was taken to an entirely new level as the play went on. Francis, as his confusion and hunger grew over the course of the story, increasing appealed to the audience for assistance, advice, and food, and improvised amusingly to incorporate their responses. As matters finally came to a head in a scene where the beleaguered butler had to prevent his two guvnors, dining in the same restaurant, from discovering

each other while trying to serve both (and continuing, of course, with his own quest for food), a member of the audience was called on for help and made to follow a hilarious and thoroughly perplexing series of instructions: carrying and concealing large dishes of soup, lunging to hide behind statues or under tables. The audience thus had a vivid and hilarious share in all the fluster and bewilderment. This touch achieved the same elusive effect that traditional oral forms of storytelling create by acknowledging and appreciating the fact that the telling of a story creates a new story. Once the protagonist’s hunger has been satisfied, love takes precedence, and he sets out, still blunderingly, to win the heart of Charlie’s attractive bookkeeper Dolly. As the stories of the three couples intertwine, the audience finds itself in store for a whole new range of dramatic experiences: One pair of lovers tiffs and doubts in an immaculate drawing room while another jumps into a well within minutes of each other, each believing the other to be dead. Fortunately, they discover each other and choose to live after all. This is the point where wit, wordplay and slapstick comedy all rise to a thoroughly delightful pitch to create a memorable climax. Acting is, of course, of even greater significance in a play that revolves around the peculiarities of its characters, and yet the actors never seemed quite over the top. The distinction between Alan’s “acting” throughout the play and that of the others was amusing. The muddleheaded Francis, in particular, seemed entirely to fill up the stage with his distraught “soliloquies,” brilliant combinations of ridiculous, panicked words and hysterical gestures. At the end of the day, the players’ clearly evident enjoyment of their roles and lively improvisation contributed perhaps most greatly to the delight of the audience. Shreya Vardhan ’17 (shreyavardhan@college) also wishes more people would read P.G. Wodehouse and highly recommends his Jeeves and Blandings books to everyone.



10 Men

Shuttle Running


Sport of champions and the chronically late.

A change in atmosphere at a Harvard social institution.


s much as Shakespeare is about the meter and the lines and invented words, leading to productions like Romeo + Juliet and Hamlet (2000), it is also about the story. That’s how works such as The Lion King and West Side Story are born. And as much as these are great works on their own, they are great works because of their respect to their origin and inspiration. I believe that this same frame of thinking can be applied to the art of the party. I walked into the (in)famous 10-Man for this year’s first registered party and immediately I noticed a change of taste. Where last year’s hosts prominently favored the clear liquid from the European East, and Lady Bligh and her Captain, I saw that this party was dominated by the gold of beer. I also noticed a bottle of American bourbon, a rare drink at Harvard, but one symbolic of a changing taste. The second thing I saw as I looked around was that the large TV, always placed screen-to-wall on the occasion of a party last year, had been replaced this year by two long tables on which stood numerous red cups watched over by the Stars and Stripes and its blood brother, the cannon flag proclaiming “COME AND TAKE IT.” I didn’t know quite what to expect from all of this. I had arrived early enough that the lights were still on. I could see that most people had cups filled with beer and were standing around the long tables. I recognized a couple of people in the room but nobody well enough to really join in with. I spent the next hour or so watching the room fill up, listening to the group cheer and encourage the attempted cup-robotics, joining in the noise making at any particularly adroit display. By the time the lights went out and the room got down to business, I’d seen two things new to my experience at a Harvard party. Most shocking was that the men in the room were a lot bigger than I was. I’m pretty tall at 6-6, but by the time the tables went away and the music was turned up, I was definitely feeling dwarfed by people a good several inches taller than me, displaying their wide shoulders under their brotanks. And accompanying the giants was the presence of a new set of girls: sisters. I’ve got plenty of sorority friends, but I’d never encountered them partying together outside of their house. The sisters were dressed in black; the pledges, in more colorful outfits. Together, they held the attention at the center of the party. In the beginning, I was shocked. I found myself disliking the party intensely. But I think now that I just wasn’t ready for it. I was not properly applying my understanding of typography and origin. I thought a “Harvard party” favored vodka and rum and used the free mixer so graciously supplied by the dhall. I was wrong. I wasn’t enjoying it not because it was bad, but because it wasn’t what I was expecting. What I was a part of that night was merely another story. It fits a different narrative type. It is not ‘low,’ or bad, but different. I have a preference of form, but I cannot say that it was a bad party — because it fit its form beautifully. The red solo cups. The American Flags. The long tables. The athletic men and sorority girls. It had the proper roles cast, the key narrative moments acted out, and most importantly the spirit and the atmosphere. Sometimes, when you’re prepared for it, a change of atmosphere is good. So Harvard, know thy host. Don’t just go to a party, go to the right party. Will Harrington ’16 ( was definitely not at the right party.




uesday, an email went out over CurrierWire containing a message from the Office of Student Life; for the first time, it said, shuttle service would be available between the Quad and the River on weekend mornings. This announcement was met with jubilation – no longer will one-night stands too cheap to take a cab have to wait until noon to reach the River. No longer will Quadlings have to set off a half hour in advance for Sunday brunch in Leverett. Affection towards the Harvard shuttle will undoubtedly increase in the coming weeks, and for the most part, the drivers in particular deserve our gratitude. Who hasn’t sprinted out of a dining hall at 9:59 a.m., watched the shuttle pull away and, after madly chasing after it, have it stop at the corner and open its doors? For the daredevils among us, shuttle running is a daily event, and we rely on the kindness of Harvard’s drivers to keep our winning percentage above .50. Yet, as every inveterate shuttle runner knows, there are instances when the driver can’t —or won’t — stop. Whether the bus is overcrowded, running late, or too far gone for hope, drivers do leave us behind and watch us grow smaller and sadder in the rearview mirror. Late to class and already out of breath, we trudge on. Being left by a shuttle generates a certain sense of panic in me, likely stemming from a fifth-grade encounter with a particularly cruel bus driver on a snowy morning in upstate New York. Swaddled in a long-sleeved shirt, sweater, coat, jeans, snow pants, boots, hat, mittens, scarf, earmuffs, and kneehigh socks, I was approximately twenty feet from my stop at the end of the street when the bus pulled up. My bus driver, a flannel-wearing, trucker-hatbearing, half-toothless old man looked at me, smiled, closed the door, and drove off. I took off after him – a squat

marshmallow flailing down the road, boots threatening to slip from my feet as I threatened to slip on packed snow. He let me chase him to the next bus stop, and after finally letting me on he laughed hysterically all the way to school. Needless to say, I cried. I wish I could say nothing similar has happened at Harvard. Alas, two weekends ago my injury-free college career was tainted when, chasing down the midnight Quad shuttle in heels, I tripped over the curb. Jeans torn, blood pooling on my palms and dripping down my right leg, I climbed onto the shuttle (the driver stopped out of pity) with my body and pride wounded. It was the wrong shuttle, of course, but I’m pleased to report that unlike professional soccer players, I managed not to cry until I got to my room. The gash on my palm almost healed, I have spent a considerable amount of time over the past two weeks reflecting on shuttle running as sport. Despite my eleven years of participation in organized sports, I have never run faster or harder than when chasing after shuttles. Injuries aside, shuttle running demands the speed of a sprinter, the determination of a rower, the concentration of an archer, and the timing of a fourth-quarter QB. As such, I propose that it be added to the College’s intramural schedule. As in golf, handicaps will be awarded based on a runner’s potential. Quadlings and Dunster/Matherites will have a handicap of zero due to their inborn shuttle running prowess. Competitors from Adams, on the other hand, will begin with a 36.4, though a Jamaican bobsled team-esque performance is always possible. Races begin tomorrow. Open Shuttle Tracker, and I’ll see you in the morning. Meghan Brooks ’14 (meghanbrooks@college) is a bit miffed that the athletic trainers wouldn’t dress her knee.

09.26.13 • The Harvard Independent



Ruckin’ and Rollin’ Women’s rugby notches their first varsity victory.



t was a warm morning on the 21st of September. The sun was beating down on the turf beads of Cumnock Field as history was made. Women, freshman through senior, donned red and black uniforms, high socks, and cleats. Some put on a scrumcap, others a headband. It was a matchup that was meant for history: Harvard–Yale.

On this warm autumn day, the Woman’s Rugby team garnered its first victory as an official varsity program. Following a tough 3910 loss against a good Quinnipiac team, the Crimson had a short week — only three days of practice — before their second game of the season. But that seemed to matter none. The team, after shouting “Harvard” on three, honored their tradition by following it by “Radcliffe.” After that, it was all dominance. Only two minutes into the game, senior captain and flyhalf Xanni Brown scored a try (like a touchdown, but only worth five points) and completed the conversion (similar to the extra point in football, but it’s worth two points) to start of the game with a 7-0 lead. That would have been enough to win the game, but the Crimson were not satisfied. A few minutes later, another senior captain, Brandy Machado, scored the next try. And then senior scrumhalf Shelby Lin scored another. And before the fans knew it, it was 17-0 Crimson, with twentynine minutes still left in the first half. Yale might as well have gone home. Instead, they stood strong and tried to fight, but the beat down never let up. Behind a strong The Harvard Independent • 09.26.13

defensive unit and a stronger offensive attack, the home team went into half time with a convincing 46-0 lead. Strangely, the new Crimson coaching staff did not find this as satisfying as the fans did. While the Red’s faithful cheered them off the field, the coaching staff immediately pulled the team to the middle of the field and ran what looked to be a variety of practicetype maneuvers. The coaches shouted instructions, altered forms, and reinforced talking points, encouraging the team and saying that apparently, 46-0 was not quite good enough. Meanwhile, Yale sat dejectedly behind their bench, looking exhausted and fearful of what was to come. The second half brought no more hope to the squad from New Haven. Less than eight minutes in the half, the third senior captain Ali Haber scored a try, and the onslaught continued. Machado scored her fifth, and then fellow senior Rachael Foo tacked on another. Nothing could stop the machine. Everything seemed to be going the Crimson’s way. In fact, the ball remained on the Yale side of the field for the vast majority of the game — with only one notable drive made by the Bulldogs, which was stopped short of the tryline with little difficulty by the home team. The rucks, scrums, and lineouts — the points of play where the ball is technically up for grabs — were all won by the Crimson it seemed. They were bigger, stron-

ger, faster, and in better shape than Old Eli’s women, and it clearly showed on the pitch. As the Harvard tired out the Yalies, the play of their defense clearly eroded. In one fantastic drive by the Crimson, the scrumhalf Lin received the ball, shook off a tackle, evaded countless more, and advanced the ball herself from midfield to meters of the try area. Immediately after she had been tackled and presented the ball, a ruck formed over her by the players that had followed her down the field. The ball was secured and the team continued to make progress. Plays like this seemed also commonplace, as Harvard tacked on try after try. The final score was made with less than five minutes to play, as Aniebiet Abasi sprinted around the Yale defense (although she probably could have jogged), and placed the ball down for five, capping off the score at 84-0. No, that is not a typo. In the end, every senior on the team scored, led by Machado, who put down an incredible five tries for twenty five points. Brown converted six of the tries, and scored two of her own, coming in second with twenty-two points on the day. And Shelby Lin tacked on two of her own, also playing with beautiful acumen at the scrumhalf position, working well as the connection between the forwards and the backs. The team put up an incredible display on defense, when it actually had to play that side of the ball, but maintained possession for

the vast majority of the day. The tunnel was formed, good games were said, and cheers were made for the opposing teams. Harvard then gathered in a semi-circle and sang to their opponents — a rugby and school tradition, of great sportsmanship, companionship, and respect. The victory, however, meant much more than the crushing defeat of an inferior team. The victory was the first and probably will be the last time that crowd witnessed the first varsity victory at this school. As the forty-second team to varsity, the Crimson do not seem to be looking towards adding more any time soon. But on that September day, a crowd of faithful fans was able to witness history. The path to glory does not end there for the Crimson, though. The team looks to continue their goal of Ivy League dominance as they travel up to Dartmouth on the 28th. Hopefully, all goes well, and a match up with last year’s champions Brown on October 5th has the Crimson looking like eventual champs. It all comes down to November 2nd and 3rd however, as the team will play (hopefully, at home) for the Ivy League Championships. Only time will tell how the crew will do, but if their victory over Yale was a sign of anything, it looks as if this team should have a fighter’s chance. Sean Frazzette ’16 (sfrazzette@college) hopes Harvard-Yale has a similar score down in New Haven.



Interview with a Scrumhalf

The Indy sits down with junior rugger Taz Ramirez. By SEAN FRAZZETTE


s the women’s rugby team begins its first season as a varsity, the Indy sat down with junior Taz Ramirez to talk about the team, college athletics, and the goals of the season. Ramirez, a junior from California, is entering her third season with the Crimson. The rugger provided inside information as the team transitioned from one of the most successful club sports on campus to a varsity sport this past season. Read ahead and learn of the wide world of rugby through the eyes of Taz. Sean Frazzette: Did you ever play rugby before college? Taz Ramirez: No, I didn’t. Not at all. SF: What made you decide to play once you got here? TR: Like a lot of the other players, I was at the activities fair looking for the club soccer table, and I got intercepted. SF: So, now that you do play, what position do you play? TR: I play scrumhalf. SF: Scrumhalf…and for those readers that don’t understand, what exactly does that mean? TR: So I am the player that connects the forwards with the backs. The forwards tend to be larger physically and are more aggressive, and the backs tend to be leaner and quicker. So I connect those two players. SF: In terms of this year, what would you say is the biggest difference in the switch from a club sport to a varsity sport? TR: I think our level of intensity, along with our level of focus, our level of being committed is a lot higher. And so I think our level of play is being reflected in that. SF: With the increased amount of time that comes with a varsity sport, how do you find time between school, practice, and lift — and the games — and then everything else you probably do on campus? TR: I think that because it’s such a big time commitment, but still something I’m dedicated to, makes me prioritize and focus more intensely on other things. So just making a better use of time, and you do have to sacrifice to be on the team.

Photos by Angela Song


SF: Did you start playing as a freshman?

TR: Yes, and I studied abroad last semester. I’m currently injured, but it’s because I was playing rugby in Spain. SF: How was playing rugby in Spain? TR: It was very interesting. It’s really cool that you’re able to connect with people from all around the world that have this love of the same sport. SF: What’s your favorite rugby moment, either here or in Spain? TR: I guess my first try, the first time I ever scored. Because it made me realize I was a competent player and my team was able to support me and help me get better until I was at that point where I was able to score. SF: On the topic of support, could you speak a little about what the team is like and what it’s like to be on a team in college? TR: The team is one of the only places where I feel completely comfortable — it’s a very safe place. We have such a huge difference group of players. Rugby inherently requires people of all sizes and of all different kinds and types, and so the group of girls is just very very friendly, very fun, very nice. There’s just a lot of love on the team. And that’s really cool because it transcends what’s currently there. It’s a thirty-year tradition and something that we share with other people that graduated. One of our coaches is actually an alum, which is really cool. And it’s just fun. It’s fun to work out everyday. It’s fun to be competitive and feel very confident because you know you could tackle anyone you feel like. SF: What are your goals as a team in its first varsity season? TR: Our top goal is to win the Ivy League, and then make it to Nationals and win Nationals. Smaller goals are we try to score a try and our conversion in sixty seconds. Seven in sixty. But also just to work on our basic fundamentals, so that way even if we don’t achieve everything we want this year that we will be able to next year. SF: Is there anything else that you want to say to the readers of the Indy? TR: Come out for rugby! We love new friends. Sean Frazzette ’16 (sfrazzette@college) went to the activities fair for the food and found the Indy instead. 09.26.13 • The Harvard Independent

Autumn Leaving  

The first days of autumn leave us in that warm-breeze-and-yellow-leaf induced stupor. Or perhaps it's just our natural urge to relax before...

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