• "Grass Fed" - An Explanation of Herbivore Culture

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    Grass Fed: An Explanation of Herbivore Culture

    written by Kyojiro Kagenuma

    Let me begin by saying that I am not an expert whatsoever about Herbivore Culture. That said, I doubt there is anyone even in Japan who can give you an answer that can accurately portray Herbivore culture that is not biased by the feminine narrative. Also, although I did link some articles, this isn't an academic work or research, rather it is my opinion.

    That’s What She Said
    The term Soushoku-kei Danshi a.k.a. “Herbivore Boys” is coined by Maki Fukusawa in 2007 and became a buzzword by 2009/2010. Fukusawa is a woman and her observations will obviously be skewed by the feminine perspective. Soon, another woman by the name of Megumi Ushikubo, the president of the market firm Infinity, authored “The Herbivores Ladylike Men are Changing Japan” using pseudo-science to come up with her conclusions. To be fair, a man named Masahiro Morioka, a professor from Osaka Prefecture University, made the term popular in his book "Love Lessons for the Herbivore Boys". The fact remains that the ones that made a fuss about this are the women, that is.

    Herbivore men don’t talk about being Herbivore with other men; we just are and the women didn't like it.

    The Japanese Beta Male
    What most Japanese traditional men are, are workaholic corporate salary-men. These men often work long hours and give all of their income to their wives – every last Yen. The wives in turn would give the husband allowances and keep the rest. Yes, this is a thing in Japan (Spacey, J 2012)

    What these men truly are, are Japanese Beta Males being bitch-slapped by their wives. Anyone with half a brain could see that this is not a life and is the primary motivating factor behind the Herbivore Culture as well as the reason it has gained so much ground in Japan. Hence, the Herbivore Men is a counterculture to Nikushoku Danshi or Carnivore Men which is the traditional male role, specifically on matters of love, employment and consumption.

    Lesser known but just as true is that Herbivore Culture had existed long before the term was coined. It started back in the early 90’s as a reaction towards Japan economic downturn. As Japan’s economy further descends, it accelerated the growth of Herbivore Culture. The Herbivore men are typically 35 years of age or younger and this demographic corresponds to the period of Japan’s economic crisis; it’s a culture 20 years in the making, there just wasn't a name for it back then.

    The Herbivore Men is a culture that rejects traditional Japanese way of life in favour of individual happiness instead.

    Media Hype
    What the media tend to report about Herbivore Men (that is commonly written by women) is that they are

    • Afraid of women and commitment – some writers went as far as to state that Herbivore men are afraid to hurt and get hurt emotionally.
    • Frugal and non-ambitious – Herbivore men only spend money for themselves and aren't looking to advance themselves in society.
    • Effeminate, Fashion and Beauty Conscious – the media loves to focus on these metrosexual men who spend their money on beauty products and fashion.
    • Abstaining from sex – either being celibate or being indifferent to sex.

    All I can do when I read articles that writes this is to facepalm myself. While the above criteria are true, it is very much misleading. Herbivore men are not identified by all 4 criteria; there are some Herbivore men that fit some of the criterion but no Herbivore man fit them. To think that Herbivore Men spend money on their hair, make up, fashion while at the same time saying that they are frugal when clearly beauty and fashion are luxury expenses, is ludicrous.

    The 70% of the men that are within the Herbivore demographic (20 – 35 y/o) whom identify themselves as Herbivore, include (but not limited to) NEETs (Not Employed, in Education or Training), and Freeters (men who are not employed or are not fully employed) which amounts to a sum of 2.5 million people who are further divided into different sub-cultures which consist of manga, video games, maid cafes and good-ole Japanese Adult Video (porn to you).

    NEETs, Freeters are included in the wider spectrum of other Herbivore men who do have fulltime employment and are doing well. NEETs and Freeters tend to be frugal and pretty much into the Otaku (Nerd) culture while at the same time being Soushoku-kei Danshi (Herbivore). And then there are the effeminate Herbivore Men who created this new trend of men who are into grooming and fashion and this is the Herbivore men that the media identifies readily and hyped.

    Another thing that the media likes to hype is the bruised pride and dignity of the Herbivore Men. Since the traditionally, women do not refuse the advances of Japanese man, the fact that modern Japanese women can and do reject Herbivore men at the point where it hurts their pride so badly that they simply cower, I find that also ludicrous especially when these findings were presented by Oricon (music statistic company of all things) and other companies using pseudo-science.

    Because the truth is, there are Herbivore Men who do date women; but many Herbivore men don't care. And although there are Herbivore men who are indeed shy and passive, it certainly doesn't explain why other Herbivore Men are celibate, asexual and/or indifferent.

    The important thing to note is that, the Herbivore culture is more inclusive and diverse than what the media portrays.

    Japanese Men are Going Their Own Way
    If you could ask every Herbivore Man, one common element that they all share is their attitude towards women, hence consequently marriage and relationships. The Carnivore Man is the symbol of traditional masculine role, i.e. a Japanese man is expected to support his wife and family without complaint even though he feels discontent and unhappy. The Carnivore Man’s social standing is defined by him having wealth and family, even if in pursuit of this makes him miserable.

    It also doesn't help that the main criticism that all the articles regarding Herbivore Man in Japan and around the world, come from the grievances of women who – if you read the subtext carefully – want their man to pamper them. The women want their man in their traditional roles as salary men who slaves at work all day and gives all his money to his wife; a life that Herbivore Men refuse to participate.

    Herbivore Men and Japan’s Troubling Economy
    In this section, I want to share the significant impact of the Herbivore Culture on Japan’s economy.

    “Won’t Someone Think of the Children?”
    In retrospect, it’s quite amazing how the Herbivore Culture could slip through societal awareness for so long without attracting attention. The first indicator were the Parasite Singles phenomenon back in 2000 but it was largely ignored, then the rise of the Otaku Culture between 2001 and 2007 (Azuma, H 2009) and Japan's high suicide rates; these were all indicator of a larger problem that society did not see.

    The reason why the last 5 years there has been significant interest in Herbivore Men is the primary concern of Japan’s Birth Rate Crisis. Japan could not ignore this. To give you an idea, a local school in Nanmoku, 85 miles from Tokyo, had 1,250 first graders 50 years ago. In 2012, it had only 37.

    Where are the children? There are no children.

    2010 began what has become the dramatic effect of the Herbivore culture which saw the population shrinking with negative percentages in annual population growth. With the birth rate of 1.39, Japan will see a future with more elderly unable to retire, a national debt of 1.1 trillion dollars that they cannot hope to pay without a much needed labor force, and the government not able to support Japan’s social welfare.

    As more and more Herbivore men “Go Galt” and simply refuse to marry and father children, what many observers predict is a financial catastrophe of a colossal scale. Japan is of course worried, and people inside and outside of government are proposing plans to encourage more men and women to marry and have children. One example is from Morinaga Tokuro, an economic analyst who in 2012 proposed an absurd Handsome Tax saying “If we impose a handsome tax on men who look good to correct the injustice only slightly, then it will become easier for ugly men to find love, and the number of people getting married will increase.” Under this proposal, the wealthy and handsome Herbivore Man will be taxed 80%. (Beth, 2011 Handsome Tax).

    He was not joking; the Japanese are just that quirky.

    Death and Taxes
    I doubt very much any further tax imposed on the Herbivore men would have any effect. A married salaryman with an annual base salary of 10 million Yen (approximately US$100,000)would receive and allowance of 30,000 to 40,000 Yen or $300 - 400 monthly from his wife. Theaverage Herbivore man can earn 6 million Yen annually; after income tax, this would yield 3.6 million Yen or $36,000 net, which amounts to 300,000 Yen or $3000 monthly. Deduct monthly cost of living at the outskirts of Tokyo, which is 120,000 Yen, the Herbivore Man will still have a disposable income of 180,000 Yen, or $1800 - about 5 times more disposable income than if he was married. (Note: These figures are approximate. Since May 2013 the exchange rate has fluctuated around US$1 = 100 Yen.)

    If we consider the Handsome Tax of a Herbivore man who is earning 10 million annually and is taxed 80%, with other factors constant, his monthly disposable income would be 46,000 Yen or $451; still higher than the allowance a married salaryman would be likely to get from his wife. I must clarify that the Japanese Government gives many incentives to married couples with children and I gave an overly simplified example. However, it is worthwhile to see that even with taxes imposed on wealthy and handsome Herbivore men, it will likely not have any impact considering the heavy cost of having children that includes food, day care, school tuition, housing, car and insurance.

    Add to this, the rising trend of suicide in men and work-related deaths due to depression, job loss and fatigue. In 2009, 32,845 Japanese killed themselves, 70% of them male (Brown, AM 2010). Japan has an average suicide rate of 30,0000 people annually for 14 years straight until 2012 with an average of 10,000 deaths due to overwork (Demetriou, D 2009). The National Police Agency attributed 1 in 4 suicides as financially motivated where borrowers of financial loan kill themselves so that their loan can be paid off with their life insurance. Japan’s suicide rate is one of the highest in the world according to the World Health Organization, with no indication of decline.

    Men would rather die than make their friends and families financial slaves. Herbivore men would rather live alone than be enslaved in this fashion.

    The Downward Spiral
    Understandably, Morinaga Tokuro’s proposal seemed desperate. Well, Japan is beginning to feel desperate. I read an article in the New York Times (Harney, A 2012) where the writer, Alexandra Harney proposed,

    a) subsidizing public day care in an attempt to make child care more affordable
    b) employ younger, more skilled labor and discourage overtime in favor of family time
    c) employ more women, and give incentives for women to return to work after childbirth

    Wow, talk about the fastest way to ruin a country. Her suggestion is echoed by many writers of her kind in the western world. Instead of arguing her suggestion, I would like to point out that this writer absolutely did not address the actual problem i.e. young men and women are not having babies, there are no new families because they don’t want to make a family and, this is the most important part, Japanese women don’t want to work.

    In a 2011 article in Time Magazine, Sylvia Ann Hewlett said that data from the Center of Work-Life Policy showed that Japanese women with college degrees are 74% more likely to voluntarily quit their job, and that 63% of those who quit cite that “their career was not satisfying enough” (Hewlett, SA 2011). A government survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry in 2013 showed that 1 in 3 of women wants to settle down and just remain a housewife (JapanToday, 2011).

    Both Hewlett and Harney argued that Japanese women are being sidelined because of societal pressure to be stay at home mothers, stated that day care is expensive, and advocated flexible work hours – all to accommodate women, willfully ignoring that the many of young Japanese women do not want children and simply do not wish to work.

    If the Japanese government continues to push pro-women policies in the workforce while disregarding the birth rate crisis and Japan’s aging and shrinking tax base, Japan would likely plunge further into debt, the cost of living would rise and people would have to work longer hours to try to earn more, resulting an increase in fatigue, stress, mental problems and work-related suicide.

    Only this time, it’s the women in the workforce who are going to kill themselves, or at least kill each other. I’m not saying that’s a good thing though.

    Made In Japan
    How would this affect Herbivore Men? Nothing that wouldn’t affect everyone else twofold.

    Herbivore men are generally cautious and wary of their future and the economy, looking toward preservation and sustainability rather than consumption and conquest. Necessity is the mother of invention and in Japan’s worsening economy, the preservation and sustainability of Herbivore Men provides that necessity in which ingenuity and innovation to thrive. As Herbivore Culture grow in consumer market in Japan we should see a shift in purchasing power from women to men.

    Bear with me on this; what this would do is create new products and services that are uniquely male-oriented, just as video games had been uniquely male for the best part of 30 years. We can see today how video games have grown from a geek culture to global culture, all thanks to Pong, Pac Man and everyone with a penis. The Otaku culture, another pre-dominantly male space and industry, is estimated to have market size of 2 trillion Yen in 2005 (Geek Spending Power, 2005).

    Men created an industry when no industry existed before.

    Sony, JVC, Casio, Toyota, Honda, Canon, Ricoh, Nintendo, Olympus, Panasonic, Seiko; the list just goes on and on of the many things Japanese made which are held with great esteem once or still. It was the Japanese automotive, electric and electronic products that made them rise from a nuclear testing ground to the third largest economy in the world paved by men’s ingenuity and innovation.

    What Shinzo Abe, and other vagina worshippers like him fail to see, is that the solution does not lie with pandering to women but instead the government and the economy needs to encourage men. What the Japanese have forgotten is that at the end of the Second World War right up to Japan’s economic boom in the 1980’s, what made Japan so prosperous and advance is their inclination towards ingenuity and innovation carried out by the men of Japan.

    Back then, when you had something that said “Made in Japan”, you knew it was the best. Here’s hoping that our brothers in Japan find the same ingenuity and innovation to bring them out of economic abyss.

    Green Grass and Red Pills

    In this section, I will examine the differences and similarities between Herbivore Men and Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW). I am indebted to MGTOW having given me perspective and insight that is invaluable for all men. Vice versa, I believe the Herbivore culture can contribute an understanding and applications that would be beneficial for men.

    Intellect and Industry
    If there is one thing that can be said about MGTOW, it is how intelligently the movement conducts and exhibits itself. MGTOW has only been around 5 years, but it has garnered tremendous amount of support and followers from America, Europe and certain parts of Asia due to the many talented MGTOW speakers using the internet as a platform to articulate, with fervor, elegance, and piercing candor, the perils of modern women and society with illuminating insight and electrifying exegesis.

    Anyone who has taken the Red Pill is compelled to be honest with themselves and to raise their intellect, not least due to MGTOW's expansive vocabulary; they also need to relinquish their long-standing ignorance regarding Feminism’s destructiveness on modern society, and begin to defend, retaliate and change public perception. The core of MGTOW, as a movement, is their collective wisdom and how this wisdom is dispensed on a national and international scale.

    Herbivore men, unfortunately, have not yet developed this intellect – the hazard of “eating grass” all your life. However, what they lack in intellect, they make up for it with imagination. What the Herbivore men have done successfully in the last 20 years, has been creating male spaces. It seems mind-boggling upon reflection; the goal of MGTOW is to help men navigate life against the gauntlet of Feminism, yet Herbivore men’s adaptation to it has been almost instinctive. It’s uncanny.

    Weaning off women, opting out of the marriage institution and “Going Galt”, Herbivore men as a collective have joined together across different socio-economic demographics to claim their own territory. Where there was no place for them they created one; diverse markets of Otaku culture that consists of - among others - manga, anime, video games, toys, figurines, porn and now even fashion and beauty. The Herbivore market has reached a size of at least 809.3 billion Yen, roughly US$ 8 billion, as of 2011 (Yano Research 2011)

    So pervasive is the Otaku culture that it now spawns a myriad of followers around the world. With its own set of predominantly-male industries, Otaku Culture not only provides that much needed outlet for men, but it also preserves monetary resources that might otherwise fall in the hands of decadent and predatory women. Japanese men have more money and they are spending it for themselves, slowly eroding Japanese women’s purchasing power, putting pressure on large corporations as well as the government to take notice and respond.

    MGTOW are statesmen and scholars while Herbivore Men are artists and entrepreneurs. Both are needed to build and propel a civilization and both are equally important in our struggle against Feminism. Substantial public opinion is needed to procure public support to instigate social change, while strong purchasing power is required to exert economic leverage to dictate public (and especially corporate) interests. Effectively, the West is fighting Feminism from the front, while the East is fighting them from within.

    Green Grass
    What some of the Herbivore Men are doing – those that incline towards fashion and beauty – is redefining the male identity. A man’s identity is reflected by his role in society and these new generation of young Japanese men is breaking the old mold of traditional male role. Decisions such as ‘Going Dutch’ on a date, and being unassertive and indifferent towards romances, is their way of no longer adhering to the role of the provider and family protector.

    The reaction towards Herbivore men has been mixed. Masahiro Moriaka, a professor of philosophy at Osaka Prefecture University, stated that the Feminists in Japan are looking at Herbivore men with distrust and apathy but Japanese women in general are curious about the phenomenon. He further explained that some Feminists view the Herbivore men as another trap made by the male power and an attempt to conceal (male) domestic violence (Moriaka, M 2013).


    Herbivore Men are known with their gentleness towards women; hence this statement from Feminists can only be described as delusional. However, acting on this delusion, feminists have in the past 2 years dialed up their victim rhetoric, citing that “reports of domestic violence in Japan for the first six months of 2012 have increased by a significant 46.3% over the same period from the year before(Westlake, A 2012). This may seem a great deal and you might assume a crisis but consider that the same article also states that reported cases of DV only amounted to 2,016.

    Only 2,016.

    To be honest, this figure is insignificant. Japan’s National Police Agency said that 2012 recorded 1,382,154 criminal cases, half what the statistic was in 2002 and 6.7% less than in 2011 (JapanToday 2013). Also bear in mind that murders and attempted murders were 1,030 cases – the lowest on record since the Second World War - and the year before, the number of suicides were 30,000, plus 10,000 deaths that were work-related (Fukada, S 2012). Feminists would have you believe that there is an epidemic of wife-beating in Japan when it isn’t even 1% of Japan’s crime rate in 2012; it’s only 0.1%.

    Feminists claim that Japan is violent - when in reality, Japan is the safest country in the world. (The Japan Times, 2014)

    Inadvertently or otherwise, Herbivore men are displaying examples of qualities inherent in men, such as self-assuredness, tolerance, patience, creativity and perseverance. I suspect that the Feminists in Japan are nervous because Herbivore men are not exhibiting the male violence about which they rant. As Herbivore men become the majority, more women will realize the many allegations that Feminists made were lies and people will come to grasp what Feminism truly is - a mental disease.

    Hence, by redefining what it means to be a man as well as creating and participating in markets and industries that are androcentric, Herbivore men are succeeding in changing society’s perception as well as creating large pockets of male spaces in a gynocentric ecosystem; a system within a system, disparate but not separate.

    Red Pills
    Meanwhile, Feminism in the west has successfully built a Gynocratic Empire that takes advantage of male disposability and misandry to continually erode the value of men. Sullying their dignity made men rely upon the approval of women. Women have manipulated men using guilt and shaming rhetoric to rob them of esteem, rendering him submissive while broken promises of the reward of sex ensured that he remained compliant. Feminism convinced men to be subjugated by women.

    What MGTOW is doing, is to reclaim the Male Worth. The Male Worth is the understanding that men are not disposable and that men are and is able to do immense good. It is a man’s own realization of his own autonomy, of his limitless potential and of his enduring determination to strive, pursue and achieve greatness that is to his benefit and those within his dominion.

    This greatness could be in terms of, but not limited to; athletic, academic, economic, scientific or even artistic success. Men have pursued every field with passion and vigor, and we continually triumphed. For the first time, in a long time, men who took the Red Pill and jumped into the rabbit hole, realized that they did not need women to be successful, to be good or to be a man.

    The MGTOW assault however, is a pincer movement. While reclaiming Male Worth, MGTOW exposes the core nature of women, i.e. their selfishness, childishness, greed, laziness, manipulation and deception, thus effectively diminishing women’s inflated sense of self-worth down to its real, actual value - which is sex. And when sex is no longer part of the equation, women have no leverage.

    Women are losing power over men and that is scaring the shit out of them.

    So afraid are the womenfolk, that a Google search of “MGTOW 2013” offered 156,000 results, and the first page is filled with vitriol, hate and condemnation. They have flagged the MGTOW videos on YouTube repeatedly, to stifle the MGTOW voice, but in fact their efforts are aiding and abetting the spread of the Red Pill. Another Google search for “MGTOW 2014” yielded 96,500 results in a mere two months into the year, which shows that people are talking about MGTOW.

    Make no mistake gentlemen, MGTOW is growing. You are being heard, and the world is responding.

    Through MGTOWs relentless and tireless labor, more men are ‘waking up’ and ‘wising up’ to women and their wrongdoing. Even some of the women are siding with men (not that it’s needed, but let’s not be finicky). And granted MGTOW is young compared to the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM); but what MRM could not do for tens of years, MGTOW have managed to do it in 5 through a critical analysis of women and applying an appropriate counter-force in response.

    By returning men their dignity and revealing the lie of the female worth, MGTOW is demolishing the Gynocracy and the pedestal that society holds for women. By reclaiming our Male Worth, men are liberating themselves from the system, and fighting back. Bit by bit, MGTOW is garnering public support to fight against the insidious tyranny of Feminism.

    Male Worth and Male Identity
    What can be learned from both Herbivore men and MGTOW is that we need to redefine our role and to appreciate our value in the postmodern world. This does not mean becoming effeminate, but it does mean that we move away from the protector and provider role and continue to explore unconventional ideas in an uninhibited intellectual and creative environment.

    We should consider developing and participating in new and existing industries and markets that are catered to us and uniquely us. From something as simple as creating an anti-feminism meme to spread on social networks, or sharing Red Pill experiences in various forums, to delving into animation, comics, music, literature and online gaming, MGTOW can use these markets as avenues to further spread the Red Pill.

    We also should deliberate on different habits, manners and behaviors in dealing with women that are uniquely MGTOW or Herbivore. I believe the fusion of MGTOW’s intellectual honesty and inspired candor with Herbivore Men’s quiet confidence and creative independence warrants serious thought. Imagine creating a sci-fi graphic novel or manga using ideas from Stardusk and words from Barbarossaa.

    Lastly we also should appreciate our male worthiness in fields of athletics, academics, economics, civics, scientific and artistic endeavor, as well as share this success with fellow MGTOWs and Herbivore men. Doing this promotes camaraderie among men in a world full of misandry, and also sends a chilling message to Feminism and the Gynocracy. It shows the world that we chose to opt out of the system and lead a MGTOW or Herbivore lifestyle; and we are fitter, happier and more productive because of it.

    As more people see how content and fulfilled we are with being MGTOW and Herbivore, the sooner they’ll realize that the life they are living is a sham. Let’s make 2014 a great year to be MGTOW and Herbivore Men.

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    Good reads on Herbivore Men
    Japan Counterculture: The Soushoku Danshi – Shave Magazine
    Japan’s Herbivore Men – Reuters
    Who are Japan’s Grass-Eaters – Discover Japan

    Read with caution
    The Herbivore’s Dilemma – Slate Magazine
    Blurring the Boundaries – Japan Times

    Links, Citations
    Azuma, H 2009 Otaku Minneapolis University of Minnesota Press.


    Morioka, Masahiro, 2013 A Phenomenological Study of Herbivore Men, The Review of Life Studies, Vol. 4, September 2013

    DomesticViolence Cases reported in Japan increase by 46% in 2012.

    Case Study: Karoshi: Death from over-work

    Crime stats down across Japan in 2012, says NPA

    Japan's Death March: Overworked Salarymen

    Crime rate dips again in Japan
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Neo's Avatar
      Neo -
      Great article that covered so many areas. I think it gives a detailed yet to the point coverage of the herbivore phenomenon.
    1. Freeychromosome's Avatar
      Freeychromosome -
      Women may fall when there's no strength in men.
      William Shakespeare

      "electrifying exegesis"

      Kyojiro"s english is about 1,000 times better than my japanese.

      Handsome tax wtf? It is absolutely astounding what the fem and state apparatus will consider rather than facing up to addressing the concerns of their most productive and creative element, their male population.

    1. American_Dancer's Avatar
      American_Dancer -
      I'm an American woman who is a non-feminist. I had a basic understanding of the term "herbivore men" and realized this was formed out of a desire to not conform to societal expectations but this article was very well-written and shed a lot of light on the topic.

      There is a growing anti-feminism sentiment amongst men (and some of us women) in the United States, but the sentiments in the U.S. versus the sentiments in Japan are opposite ends of the spectrum.

      Young Japanese men are "opting out" of dating and marriage because they no longer want the pressure of literally working themselves to death to be the sole providers of women who don't want to work and take their husbands' whole paycheck. If I'm understanding the article correctly, men working hard and being the sole providers is seen as gross feminism in Japan, where as in the U.S., American men see women being career-driven and competing with men in the workplace as being masculine. What American men see as American women being masculine is what is defined as feminism in the U.S. Many American men feel that American women aren't "submissive" enough.

      After reading this article and getting a better understanding of the GYOW movement in Japan, as a woman, I actually and completely sympathize with the "herbivore men" of Japan. It seems these men feel emasculated, and rightfully so.

      The interesting thing I find is that while young Japanese men are opting out of being salary men with wives and families to support, American men believe that the solution to getting away from the masculine, feminist American career woman is to marry Japanese women (or Asian women period), or women from Eastern Europe or South America. American men possess the belief that non-American women--especially and particularly Asian women--are more feminine and more submissive than American women.

      Interesting dynamics, indeed!
    1. Ligurius1979's Avatar
      Ligurius1979 -
      An interesting insight. Thank you very much for your thoughts.
    1. Darkman's Avatar
      Darkman -
      Riveting! More than I can possibly digest in one sitting.