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I have excellent teeth, thanks to my dad and his excellent teeth genes.  However, even though I have no particularly bad dentist stories to tell, I am terrified of the dentist. I can only attribute this to the ‘fear of the unknown’ factor. I have no better explanation.

During my “Year of Adulting” last year I had my first checkup in about 8 years and two small cavities were found. I had them filled last week and was very afraid. Facebook assured me beforehand that the survival rate for these procedures is pretty high. Afterwards, I proudly proclaimed on Facebook that I had voluntarily gone to the dentist to have a procedure done.


Someone inquired. What other way is there to go?

Ohhhhh, dear sir! Involuntarily. as per when I was a child. Our mother took us kids dutifully for checkups on the regular! Every second of that was involuntary, I assure you. My mother had my best interests at heart, but she was calling the shots and paying the bills and cries to CPS about forced dental visits fell on deaf ears, so I said “ahhhhh” and went to my happy place and hoped nothing horrible would happen to me.

It almost did.

At 16 I still had a stubborn baby tooth that hadn’t dislodged itself yet and the dentist proclaimed braces and head gear were in order to bring the adult tooth down. Mom opted for a more conservative approach as she saw large tears coursing down my angsty teenage face (and, being a frugal woman, wondering what all that could possibly cost) and viola! In a few months, after a mere extraction, the adult tooth made its appearance, no embarrassing, expensive headgear required.

Bullet dodged, thanks to my mother listening to either/both the concerns of weeping teenage daughter and/or her own pocketbook.

But it was kind of a relief to remind myself in the chair last week that I could leave the dentist office at any time. I can walk right out of there untreated at basically any point. Or I could go through with it. I could even opt for tooth whitening if I am having a particularly nice time. I am in control.

The bill comes to me. I call the shots. I am in control.

I could get treatment. Or not. It felt reassuring. And that’s the point. He who pays the piper calls the tune. When it was my mother in charge, that’s one thing. She was mainly concerned with my long term well-being.

When you ask or force some other entity that doesn’t love you to pay for your healthcare (or education for that matter) for how long will you suffer under the illusion that you also retain control or that decisions made for you are truly in your best interest?

Put a large layer of bureaucracy between you and your doctor and what do you imagine you might get?
I promise you it won’t be more control.

Health insurance companies routinely deny this or that course of treatment, for whatever reason and they largely get their way. They are paying the piper.

He who pays the bills will always preeminently care about smaller bills. I just don’t know how you get around that. Only you’re slathering on an additional thick, thick layer of bureaucrats into the mix who need specialized knowledge of how to deny claims and fight court battles and they don’t come cheap. Instead of paying medical bills, you’ll be paying them.

If what you want is healthcare, be the one paying the doctor, as directly as possible. If what you want is denial of treatment, give as much of the money that should go to your doctors as possible to entities that deny treatments. It is basically as simple as that, in the long run.

Do you have a right to healthcare?

Does the doctor have a right to work and make a living at a wage commensurate with the time and money spent on the necessary education?

Here is what you have a right to:
You have a right to see the doctor. But the doctor is also not your slave. Neither is he/she your slave by proxy.
When you argue that everyone else should shoulder your healthcare costs and/or for doctors to be forced to serve you, think about what you are advocating.

You are advocating for people charged with controlling costs (denying healthcare) to be in charge of healthcare.
You are advocating for an unsustainable system in which the financial burden of years of expensive medical training can never be recovered. In other words: You are arguing for a doctor shortage.

You are arguing for the stable and lucrative employment of faceless bureaucrats whose measure of success will very probably not be how healthy you are but how much they saved the system in payouts. (You can see how there might be a conflict there.)

In short, you are not advocating for yourself.

We need other solutions. The “health insurance” model as a whole is failing.

Here’s an idea: How about payment plans? You can negotiate these with the hospital already and often for very reduced rates. If healthcare is so exorbitantly expensive, how about saving money on government and insurance bureaucrats, only using them for major medical events like accidents and cancer, but anything under 6 figures, you just pay directly in installments?

But that is currently illegal as of the ACA. That model was ACTUALLY insurance. What we call health insurance now is nothing of the sort. It is some kind of paperwork producing bureaucratic jobs program that makes the “health insurance” industry about 10 times bigger than it needs to be.

I don’t know about you, but as a grown adult myself, I take comfort in owning my own healthcare decisions as much as I can. And if I could legally own even more of them in the form of a cheaper major medical insurance plan instead of what has been forced down our throats by Obama, I would.
Current Mood:
cranky cranky
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I left off some things I thought I should address...

11.  Hit me once, shame on you.  Hit me twice, shame on me.  Don't stick around if a relationship becomes violent.  I make it explicitly clear that no man gets a second chance to hit me.  Your apology may be accepted, but my bags won't be coming back to the house.  I'm no one's victim, and once a man starts down that road, forget it, its over.  Check, please.  Men can be battered too, so vice versa.  The same applies.  I've never been hit a first time, btw.

12. Fight fair.  Don't name-call, don't resort to ad-hominem remarks, avoid using attacks that start with absolutes like "You always..." It's an exaggeration and you know it.  Don't compare a woman to her mother in a negative way, or a man to his father.  It can be really below the belt, depending on the situation.  Just argue when you are calm and rational and believe that your SO wants to work it out and understand your perspective.  Thus, most of your statements should start with "I feel that..."  because you are explaining your perspective.  If they really don't give a crap about your perspective you're probably in the wrong relationship and screaming isn't going to make a difference.

13.  Sex.  This is one I really haven't figured out for myself, but I will tell you what I do know.  And that is it is nearly impossible to perfectly match libidos.  Most of the time, guys have a higher libido, but not always.  People have to compromise.  The higher libido partner needs to just have patience and the lower libido partner has to suck it up and put out more often than they might want to.  But don't act bored or like you're not having fun.  There are plenty of people out there who will have fun with your mate in your place.  Both people have to compromise.  You have to figure out what your partner wants and what you want.  And its really hard to read people's minds, so figure it out, and then figure out how to get the message to them.
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Having been in one miserable marriage and one happy one, here is what I have learned:

1. Say please and thank you. Just because you are intimate doesn't mean you don't need to give your significant other (SO) the respect of common courtesy. No one likes to be taken for granted or treated like a hired hand, or worse.

2. Pick your battles. Defer to your partner on the small things, and hope that they return the favor proportionately. But really, MOST things are not worth making your SO miserable over, and collectively they will kill the relationship, so think carefully before you make a mountain over a mole hill. Don't torture them. Just break up if you want out.

3. Do more than your share. Work in the home is never completely 50/50. Expecting it to be only creates an opportunity for tension. My rule is if you don't feel like you're doing 70f the work, you're probably not doing enough. Also, there should be an understanding that the person with the lowest tolerance of filth and clutter will be taking care of it sooner. Don't resent you making your home better for you. If you find a partner who will say "Thank you!" for it, you've hit the jackpot. Be that partner, which leads me to -

4. Be that partner. Strive to be the sort of partner you would want to be with. If you were your SO, would you like being with you?

5. Have your own money. At my house, we have his, hers and ours bank accounts. It may sound complicated, but it sure does make life simpler in many ways. Either one of us can splurge on a toy at any time if we have the money in our individual accounts. That's just the kind of freedom that should come with being a grown up. Don't get into a relationship that won't allow you that. Along with that comes

6. Pull your own weight. Its OK to depend on one another, but return the favor and don't be a burden. And be patient when its your turn to pull the weight. If its too one sided, you're not in a relationship of equals and you should get out if it bothers you. Children and stay-at-home mom/dad issues are something we haven't encountered yet. But that is something that should be exhaustively discussed beforehand.

7. Offer praise at every opportunity. Be very measured with criticism. It really helps when you notice your SO doing something good.

8. Your SO is not a project. Adults come As-Is. Your efforts to change someone into the perfect partner will only frustrate both of you. If they are not that person when you meet and as the relationship moves along, heed the red flags and stop wasting both of your lives and find someone who already is. Think about it - how eager are you to be shaped and molded into someone you're not just to please someone else? Wouldn't you rather have someone who loves you as you are? Return the favor, or move on. I'll say it again: Adults come As-Is.

9. Have a life. And let them have a life. Your SO is not your therapist, and not your everything. Yes, tell them your sorrows and your triumphs, but after 10 times, they get tired of it. Have outside friends to hang out with and talk to. Its good for you, good for your relationship.

10. Don't get fat. It's the most inconsiderate and selfish thing for you to do to your (expected) monogamous sexual partner. Take care of yourself, and they should do the same for you. Stay sexy, because sex is a healthy part of being human. If you let yourself go, you are only inviting them to temptation, and it comes to a point where its just cruel to expect them to continue to service your fat repulsive ass. If you insist on the KFC every day and you must have that to be fulfilled as a person, you need to discuss and be open to an open relationship. Be considerate and be the partner you would want if you were them. If not, you will soon find yourself with either an unexplainable STD or unexpected divorce papers. Believe it.
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I did it! I subscribed. Under my own brazen name. Soon I will join the ranks of eagerly awaiting subscribers anticipating the mailman's delivery near the end of every month.

I freakin LOVE Playboy. I'm out of the closet about it. And I LOVE strip clubs. You know why? I'm a feminist, and there is power in femininininity. And why on earth are people complaining about women being exploited when its the men going broke and the women paying for night school and college? We all have our different gifts and tools given to us by God. The world works the way it works, and if you don't utilize what ya got and make the most of it, its only you gonna be sorry.

Tell me what's healthier? Next time you stand in line in the grocery store, you think about this - the last time you saw a Playboy, what did the cover model look like? Now look at that Cosmo or Vanity Fair, sold outside of plastic wrap in front of your 3 year old. Tell me which model is more likely to be doing lines of coke to look the way she looks? Which one is puking up her sushi in the bathroom? Flip through the articles of a Cosmo and a Playboy, side by side. While Cosmo will try with 90% of their print space to make you buy something for $2000 that you could get for $50 because of a label, Playboy will make you think. They, in the fine print of their company reports, consider themselves libertarian, small L. As a stockholder I know. :) I've even read most of Hef's 345 page philosophy statement. (I adore that man. And I touched his smoking jacket in LA and cried for about $150 worth of my party just out of awe.) Hef is a hero of liberty and has completely infiltrated society with his message. He fights the fight, and wins. The post office delivers his mail. That in itself is a victory no one appreciates 40 years later. You didn't know it took numerous court battles including the Supreme Court for that to happen, did you? I'm not even old enough to KNOW about the trouble this man has seen, and I can't get over it.

Image. For women. Fact - women in this country tend to be overweight. In fact, according to www.obesityinamerica.org 62% of female Americans are considered overweight and obesity is the 2nd leading cause of preventable death in the US. We need a little pressure, and a fit, healthy ideal is probably a good thing for the American female psyche. As much as she may resent the high standard - which standard is something to aspire to, vs. which standard will only drive you to depression? Lindsay Lohan? Nicole Richie? Kate Moss? or Jenny McCarthy, Rachel Culkin, Tiffany Fallon? Healthy, curvy women, classic blushing beauties, not heroine chic.

I'm excited about my first official Playboy issue, and proud to join this healthy family.
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I've always been on the fence about Iraq because I KNEW there was more to the story, and it usually has to do with money. This is from Feb '05 in my LJ

"I admit I don't know the whole story of Iraq and I don't know to what extent we were provoked by the treaty violations, WMD possibilities, oil prices yada yada yada. So I'm lukewarm on Iraq, lukewarm on our soldiers... "

I have received new information and theories that make oh so much sense and they have EVERYTHING to do with money, specifically the US dollar - VS. the Euro, AND oil. I knew Saddam was bad, but there are a lot of bad guys in the world. Why was he targetted? One reason, one action, one violation of terms that if left unanswered would have a devastating chain reaction ending with you standing in line to pay $100+ for a gallon of milk.

What action was this? Saddam took Euros instead of Dollars for oil.

Let's back up. Used to be our currency was backed by gold. Maybe some people don't know this, but that has not been the case since Nixon took us off the gold standard in the 70's. Our money is now worth what it is worth by decree, or by fiat. If you go to Fort Knox and ask for your dollar's worth in gold, you'll get laughed at. When Nixon did that, inflation began to ensue and to stave that off we had to somehow increase worldwide demand for the dollar. So Nixon brokered a deal with OPEC and the middle east, who have never been able to stabilize their political situations. Nixon says here's the deal - we'll use our military to keep things stable around there, police things if you will. In exchange, you will only sell your oil to people with dollars. Not yen. Not marks. Not francs. Dollars only. Got it? Now the rest of the world scurries to provide products to America, so they can get paid in dollars. They need those dollars to go to OPEC and get oil.

Thus when Saddam goes and invades Kuwait, the deal kicks in and we are obligated to go put him back in his place. That wasn't a favor. That was an obligation. The rest of OPEC sees that and is mollified.

Then in November of 2000, Saddam deliberately breaks the deal and accepts Euros for oil. The rest of the middle east looks on to see what happens to him for doing this. The next thing they know, he's dragged out of a rat hole and paraded in front of the world on TV looking completely mad and humiliated. This is our little warning to the rest of OPEC. OPEC sees this and is (hopefully) terrified.

And what if OPEC doesn't keep playing the dollar game? Economic meltdown. The demand for the dollar plummets and suddenly everything you have in your bank account is worthless.

I'm reading this
http://www.tacomapjh.org/petrodollartheories.htm for more information and the innerworkings.

But I KNEW there was more to the story. Its not so much that we need the middle east's oil. We get less than 20% of our oil from the middle east. It is that our dollar is backed by their oil, and secured by our military might.

So now how do I feel about the war? How do I feel picturing myself hungry and unable to buy things anymore? My benjamins not quite as valuable as toilet paper? It's a mess that's been brewing since the 70's and is coming to a head. It seems to matter little who gets elected to office next because this will haunt them.

No wonder Condie doesn't want to run.
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So hospitals in LA have been buying their indigent patients a one way taxi cab fare to skid row. And now apologizing because the missions who rescue them have raised the cash to surveille them and it looks really bad to kick grandma (nobody's grandma) to the curb ON FOX NEWS.

Scroll back to 1933 when FDR promised us a New Deal. A bright new day. When your retirement is secure because the government will take care of you. When the poor will not fear homelessness and destitution when they can no longer work because the government will take care of them. Secure futures and retirement with dignity - guaranteed to all US citizens, brought to you for the low low price of 12% of your paycheck.

Scroll a little forward to Johnson's Great Society when Medicare was going fix the health care problems of the aged. Now you don't have to get along with your son when he pisses you off. Now you don't have to suck up to that nasty little daughter-in-law. You don't have to play nice anymore with those brat ungrateful relatives of yours - because why? You don't want to live with them anyway. You will have options when the time comes. You'll have your independence. The government has been taking care of you your whole life with that 12% cut of every paycheck and you'll have sweet freedom when you're 55. Or 65. Or 72. Or 85. Or whatever the hell it is by the time you get there.

Yeah, the government will pay for my hospital bed when I need it, because its the right thing for them to do. If they don't, the hospital will just let me stay if I'm sick because they can't just turn someone out into the streets.

Who is supposed to take care of you? The hospital that's already socialized enough to be desperately overfull and wasting space on you that could be taken up by another billable chart? Do you want to go to the homeless shelter and be crammed into whatever they consider to be living conditions? Carol Ann Reyes and too many other trusting Americans say "Yes" to these questions, and this is how they live. Desperate, angry and confused because they trusted the faulty promises of politicians and governments, and yes, even other people. I bet Ms. Reyes had a nice husband once upon a time that worked hard and supported her. And as a woman of her era was expected to do, she stayed home and made the house nice for him to come home to. Trusting, trusting, trusting that their social security would maintain her one day. That even if her kids estranged themselves, she's done everything by the book and she'd be fine.

She's alive, but she's not fine. Not by my standards. Where is her family? Where are her savings? What has she done her whole life to end up here?

The media's upset with the hospital, but I'm more interested in her.

If you think your family is a bitch to get along with, try Uncle Sam as a guardian. Don't let that 12% tempt you to play fast and loose with those that may be your only hope one day. Be nice to them. And save 10% in your own account - for YOU.
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Watching the news tonight, and I see stories on the suffering around the world and New Orleans... I see people volunteering energy building playgrounds when people are homeless and destitute... I hear Nagin crying about how Uncle Sam is not doing enough to put his voters back in the "chocolate" factory... Brangelina's been to Haiti and now some world economic summit. What I wouldn't do to be in their heads and know what they hear and what they think about it...

Democracy, that sainted god of the west, has wrought in Palestine a terrorist government, and now we are stuck in the position of cutting off aid in protest and watching them starve. Oh, we can't let them starve... How will it be a fair fight if our enemy is weak from hunger?

And I'm thinking - you know what would make this world a better place? Stop the lobbying. Stop the guilt tripping. Stop accusing the rest of the world of not caring about your plight, because you know what? Assume its a moot point. They don't care. You are right - in 100% of your accusations. We're not that Christian, and we're not that morally good. We ARE desperately greedy and don't want to give you squat, to rebuild your city beneath the sea, to fight a disease you've determined is cured by infecting a virgin, to fight a war you're fighting with our allies, to eat for free when you should be building an economy, to sit on your duff when you should be figuring it out on your own, like our forefathers did.

Just assume nobody cares. Take that to heart. Take that as your first assumption. No one cares about you, but you. You figure out how to improve your situation. If you wait for someone to argue with you when you accuse them of being heartless and greedy, maybe you'll wait your whole life. Maybe you'll be proven right, and what a shallow victory that will be.

I learned this lesson when I was unemployed for a year and went back to my alma mater, and they didn't care. I went to the LP and my friends who I'd helped before and they didn't particularly care either. Who pulled me up? Myself and my partner. Nobody else, but the employer who finally believed in me and gave me a shot.

Nobody cares about you. Nobody gives a shit. But you. Figure it out. The sooner you figure this out, the sooner you stop whining about this sad fact and the sooner you figure out what you need to do to be valuable, to get ahead, to help your fellow man so they will give you something back, to you get a leg up, so you get somewhere.

This is my message to Palestine, to New Orleans, to Africa - even as my own parents are en route to a hospital in Kenya as I write this to work at a mission hospital there, in defiance of all I just said - don't take the world's good graces for granted. You're not entitled. The second you feel entitled, is the second you begin the long miserable wait that lasts the rest of your putrid and worthless life.

Like Simon Cowell, just giving you the cold hard news that will save you years wasted in the wrongest direction.
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I've been reading Hugh M. Hefner's 345 page editorial from 1962 on his empire's philosophy and came across this excerpt:

"If what many of us profess to believe religiously were actually applied to American social, political and economic life, we would have a system more nearly socialist than capitalist.

I have to disagree, and this is partly the reason Gnosticism interests me so.  Gnosticism, to me, looks at the boiled-down teachings of Jesus, without the input of the power hungry that have muddied the message througout history.  

If one looks on the reported actions and sayings of Jesus in the gospels, I don't think you could at all argue that a follower of His could be Socialist, at least not politically.  Yet I've heard the claim Hefner makes over and over, almost as a slight against Christianity, perhaps especially against the notoriously Republican Religious Right.  "If you are so Christian, why are you so Capitalist?"  As if to be a Capitalist is to not care about one's fellow man.  Rather, they should vote Democrat.  It's the religious right thing to do. 

On the contrary, to be Capitalist, you must ESPECIALLY care about your fellow man.  If you don't, your fellow man will not reward you by buying what you're selling.  Then how can you employ others of your fellow man to make more widgets to sell, in turn allowing them to support a family and prosper?  No.  Success just equals greed plus adequately guaging the desires of your fellow man.  A lovely combination of self-interest and servanthood.

So what is Socialism and what did Jesus teach?  Socialism is "to each according to his need, from each according to his ability" by decree of an all-powerful state.  In other words, do what you can for the collective and the collective will give you what you need to survive.

Problem is, the individual underestimates what they should give to the collective, and the collective underestimates what the individual should get.  Result: poverty for all, productivity for none. 

Bigger problem: the giving to the collective is done at gun point and threat of imprisonment and force. This "compassionate" form of government, and its sister Communism is responsible for more misery, imprisonment and democide than any other. You put Jesus right in the middle of this nasty little mess and you got yourself an excellent straw man.

What did Jesus teach, then? Giving? Yes. Force? Imprisonment? Jack-booted-ness? No, emphatically. In fact, Jesus was not at all concerned with the power of the state, which was the major reasons the Jews did not accept Him as their Messiah. He was not what they were looking for. They are still looking for a great political leader who will overthrow their enemies, but that's another subject. Jesus taught compassion and concern, empathy for your fellow man, but through free-will. Jesus asked a lot from a lot of people, but it was always their decision. It is only through your own volition that a good deed has spiritual value. Man looks at the outside, but God looks on the heart. The Pharisees praying openly and loudly on the streets did not impress Jesus for this reason. The nearly unnoticed widow's mite did.

Even the Virtuous Woman of Proverbs was so obviously a Capitalist for the good of her family (though a lot of modern devotionals turn her into a housewife who fastidiously cleans all day). She was a business woman who earned money and made investments for the security of her family and employees. She also gave to charity of her own free will and excess. Her hard work enabled her to give to others.

Consider Proverbs 31:
10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

This is the Bible presenting an ideal. Is she a Capitalist? Or is she a Socialist waiting for a hand-out and wondering when its her turn in the gulag? She is bright, optimistic, clever and industrious. She is also compassionate, light-hearted, and loving. She loves life and makes the most of it. Is she the suppressed 1950's housewife waiting at home for her man to provide everything while she waits obediantly? (desperately) No.

Ok, so this is not about woman's place in society and the Bible, but the point is people misconstrue the Bible's actual teaching with what religious people SAY it teaches. The Bible does not teach Communism/Socialism, it teaches free-will and individualism. Charity, in the Biblical sense, does not extend to extracting it from others at gunpoint or government coercion. It might involve instead, rational discussion to convince your fellow man to be charitable, (findraising) but the use of force is patently un-Christian, and so is Communism/Socialism.

That's right, kiddies. Jesus was a Libertarian.

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Wow. It is official! I am going to a party at the Playboy Mansion end of March. Can you believe it! I donated $500 to MPP to get my ticket, but I am THERE. I am jumping out of my skin excited about this!


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We went to see Narnia last night and it was overwhelmingly good. I've never seen anything like it. It's going to have such mass appeal and its going to make sooo much money. Kids are going to LOVE this movie! And adults will love it too. The effects don't look like effects at all. The creatures in Narnia are so cool. And the allegory is not too preachy. The storyline is sweet and innocent with the 4 young siblings and how they relate to eachother.

Mike and I hated the Lord of the Rings movies. Just found them completely boring, repetitive and episodic, none of the characters particularly likeable or relatable. Narnia is the polar opposite. The story is exciting, and starts out with characters everyone can relate to, and in the real world - crossing over to a fantasy world, a better one than Tolkien created. Unicorns and flying lion-bird things, animals that talk, little goat men and centaurs. Very cool.

Go see it. I can't imagine a bad review of this movie. I think it might leave Titanic in the dust.
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