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Now I know what I wanted to say.

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A question such as whether the nails went through Jesus' hands or the wrists is barely relevant to the symbolic power of this iconic event.


So there is symbolic power. Ok, I will grant you this. But is this enough for you? What if the actual event never took place? Just knowing that certain aspects of the story are clearly false leads me to suspect the whole story. Where do you draw the line? At what point do you say: "Well, this part of the story probably happened while the rest of this might be embellishment." How do you what is fact and what is fiction?

You call this an iconic event. Was it really even an event? Aren't events things that actually happened? How do we really know that Jesus was crucified? How do we know he even really existed? I'm NOT arguing that he didn't exist and wasn't crucified, but am pointing out that believers sure do accept a lot of information at face value. There are literally no historical records of Jesus existing, yet believers believe. I assume he existed, personally, but I strongly doubt he walked on water and rose from the dead. If he existed he was just a man with a mission. He probably never said everything that is attributed to him.

What if I made up a story with an abundance of symbolic power? As long as the story elicits the desired effect in the target audience the truth isn't important. This seems to be what you're saying when you say, "A question such as whether the nails went through Jesus' hands or the wrists is barely relevant to the symbolic power of this iconic event." If we can identify holes in the story and find absolutely no empirical evidence for the balance of the tale why should we believe?

I know...I'm a bit of a party pooper. I think too much. I question too much. I'm a skeptic and a cynic. Maybe I should just join the flocks of followers and stop analyzing every last detail. But I can't. It isn't in my nature.



Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:25 pm
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Penelope wrote:
Robert said:
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For example, a story such as the crucifixion of Jesus Christ may be lacking in historical evidence, but it continues to resonate because it speaks volumes about the tragic nature of our world and the potential for redemption. A question such as whether the nails went through Jesus' hands or the wrists is barely relevant to the symbolic power of this iconic event
Redemption means - buying back - like when my Grandma used to pawn her wedding ring in the middle of the week - But would go and redeem it at the weekend when Grandad got paid. I am not comfortable with the word used in this sense. Atonement - I like much better - because that can be broken down into AT-ONE-MENT. Which is what I see as my purpose in existing....to become at one with what Robert has just brilliantly described...as the Mirror Image. I often wondered what I was trying to become 'at one' with Robert. It is a definite, and sometimes inexplicable, urge. I found your metaphor very, very helpful and so.......I hope that is what you meant. Could you tell me? Thank you Robert Tulip......again.


Hi Penelope. Redemption is indeed a loaded word, implying that humanity has sold its soul to the devil and can only be saved by Jesus paying the blood ransom. Like you, I prefer atonement as a concept, as it is more attuned to the Buddhist idea of being at peace with the universe. The problem is that humanity actually is on a path to destruction, and does quite drastically need to change the world in order to have a future. The sense of redemption is that a voice comes from outside our normal experience to demand change. Traditionally, this has been interpreted in the magical idea of being washed in the blood of the lamb. I would rather see it in terms of Jesus presenting a redeeming message about reform priorities and human nature. Your grandmother's ring is passive, and reliant on her to redeem it for cash. The religious concept of redemption means we need a sense of reliance on divinity in order to fix our planet.

The cosmic mirror idea is about atonement, in that Christianity says humanity is made in the image of God, but does not faithfully live up to this image. You are 'at one' with your reflection in a mirror, unless the glass is dark. I have been thinking about this 'image of God' idea in terms of the anthroposphere, the part of our planet influenced by humanity. I think of God as the good of the anthroposphere, the collection of things that are conducive to human flourishing. This has to be totally ecological, in that planetary atonement requires a partnership between humanity and nature.

The hands/wrists point is highly ironic, in that doubting Thomas said show me your hands rather than show me your wrists. In 70 AD the Romans crucified many thousands of Jews in Jerusalem by hammering nails through their wrists and calf bones until they ran out of wood. Jesus in some way became a symbol displacing this traumatic memory. Perhaps it is the deep shock of this event which led to it being transformed into memory of a symbolic individual who had stigmata at the points of radiant energy in the hands, rather than prosaic holes between the radius and ulna. This is an interesting study in the evolution and formation of mythic belief.

Harrison observes that poor people rely on prayer more than rich people do, given the inverse statistical correlation between faith and wealth. This seems to indicate that rich people feel able to control their lives sufficiently not to need to rely on petitions to the almighty, while poor people are more likely to be living lives of quiet desperation where they have no solutions, for example with health problems, so fall back on faith as their only option other than sheer despair. In praying to 'a God', people are not necessarily restricting the nature of that God in the way Harrison argues. People should not claim to know the nature of the god to whom they pray, and indeed the claim of such knowledge is specifically criticised by Jesus and the prophets. The point, having exhausted known remedies, is to seek remedies from an unknown source. Prayer orients us to sensitive caring connections with others by articulating what we want to happen in the world.



Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:45 pm
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Robert wrote:
The religious concept of redemption means we need a sense of reliance on divinity in order to fix our planet.


To me this is a serious flaw or weakness in the concept of faith. Relying on anything that really isn't there seems like such a waste of precious time, energy and emotion. Reliance on divinity necessitates a lack of reliance on oneself. Unless you would argue that people can rely on God as much as they rely on themselves. I'd find this hard to believe. How can a person that thinks they have a friend in Jesus be as motivated to achieve as someone who knows they are completely responsible for their own destiny?

Divinity only exists in the minds and imaginations of those that believe, but this belief can be equated to a placebo. Yes, placebos work quite often, but no where near as much as well-researched prescription drugs. This has been proven in studies. Prayer works about the same as a placebo. And placebos and prayer don't work at all if there isn't some faith that they'll work.

Some of us don't want a placebo. I'd be extremely upset if my doctor gave me a placebo as opposed to proven drugs. In my opinion, God is a placebo for minds that don't recognize the difference between truth and fantasy, or between genuine drug and sugar pill. Some of us demand the real deal. We want to face reality no matter how ugly, seemingly cruel or indifferent reality can be. Placebos only work when the recipient believes they'll work. And I can't force myself to believe in a God in hopes of receiving the benefits that such a belief might bring. I want truth and honesty even if there is some pain involved with facing the truth.

Am I off base here? Aren't you arguing that the ends justify the means, Robert? Faith works so faith is good. Well, there are other things that work just as well as faith, but they aren't as easy to acquire as faith appears to be. An education is far more powerful than faith, but also far more difficult to obtain.

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The religious concept of redemption means we need a sense of reliance on divinity in order to fix our planet.


Let's start with the assumption that the planet needs fixing. If the planet needs fixing how can relying on divinity help us achieve our objectives? Divinity doesn't appear to be real. Shouldn't we focus on real solutions? Aren't we better served by learning to rely on ourselves and each other?

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Harrison observes that poor people rely on prayer more than rich people do, given the inverse statistical correlation between faith and wealth. This seems to indicate that rich people feel able to control their lives sufficiently not to need to rely on petitions to the almighty, while poor people are more likely to be living lives of quiet desperation where they have no solutions, for example with health problems, so fall back on faith as their only option other than sheer despair.


Actually, there is a quite different way of interpreting the data. Maybe you have it backwards. Maybe belief in and reliance on a loving and providing God is a contributing factor in their poverty. When a person feels that praying to God will benefit them why should they go out and break their back trying to achieve what God will just give them for asking. When you are reliant on a handout or a subsidy or a blessing or gift or a helping hand from your God where is the incentive to do for yourself?

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This seems to indicate that rich people feel able to control their lives sufficiently


Or it indicates that people that feel able to control their lives have a higher probability of becoming rich. The wealth didn't necessarily come first. Maybe the self-confidence and self-reliance these people already possessed laid the foundation for creating wealth. I know that having a pocket full of money can add some pep to your step, but perhaps some hard work and self-reliance is what led to the wealth in the first place. And what better way to motivate oneself than to come to the realization that we're all in charge of our own lives, decisions and destinies.



Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:04 pm
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Penelope wrote:
Well, Chris the Bible obviously isn't the infallible Word of God.

The Bible is a whole bunch of books bound together - some are history, some are poetry, some laws and etc....

And bound together somewhat arbitrarily from what I can gather.


I appreciate that you are pretty honest about these things. You'd be amazed at how many times I have heard Christians argue that every word is divinely inspired and that there are no errors, cultural biases or contradictions. Maybe you wouldn't be amazed. But I've read that there aren't as many Christian literalists in the UK as over here on this side of the pond. We seem to have an epidemic of fundamentalism and intolerance brewing.

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Yes, some of it is beautiful and thought provoking......but when anyone says I can't just choose bits of the Bible to believe and others reject, I reply - who says?


Clearly you have the right to choose bits of the Bible in which to believe. You also have the right to choose to stick a key in a light socket. Neither decision seems in your best interest. What I'm interested in knowing is what criteria you employ when assigning each Bible bit to either the "believe" or "reject" basket. Do you believe in certain things because of evidence and reasoning or because of emotion, desire or fear? What leads you to reject some bits?

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Some of it is excruciatingly boring........


This is true, but quite a bit of science is excruciatingly boring too. But claims are either true or false, whether they are scientific or religious claims. The boringness (if that is even a word) of a subject, text, or field of study doesn't influence the validity of that subject, text or field of study.

Do you reject the parts that are boring? ...or do you simply skip past them exercising your prerogative to read and think about whatever you like?

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And some of it in the early part of the OT - about the sacrifice of animals is positively sickening and barbaric.


Leviticus is sure a pretty horrific book. But does the horror found in Leviticus make it any less valid than the other more pleasant books of the Bible? What criteria should we use when trying to weed through the Bible and differentiate between fact and fantasy?



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I don't really think any of the Bible is absolute indisputable fact. Even the history part is modified or written to agree with the philosophy of whomever wrote it. Furthermore - some parts of the Bible have been altered in places, as is evidenced by the reference to the trinity in one part of the New Testament. Research shows that the early christians didn't believe in the trinity. There is plenty of evidence, in the Bible and elsewhere to show that they believed in reincarnation. I am not arguing here, you know, with you or Robert, because in my experience, it doesn't matter what you believe or opine - it is how you behave towards other people and - when I don't quite know how to react to some one, or what to say - I pray - and I don't think it is necessary to analyse what happens when I do. There is enough evidence for me to believe it is an outside influence, but of course, I will never convince anyone else of that.

But, I do believe there is plenty of philosophical truth in the Bible though. Just as if you read 'Hamlet' and said - 'there never was a King of Denmark like this' - and yet, there is an awful lot of truth about human nature in Hamlet and other Shakespeare plays. Do you know what I mean when I say, they are not literal truth - but they are telling the truth about our thoughts and behaviour, and reasoning powers.

I am not going back to upholding and quoting the Bible to back up my opinions. I am not going back to believing the Christian doctrine of salvation - although Salvation doesn't mean - Save - in means - Heal -
Salve - just means to heal (Doesn't it Robert?). But I still find it crass of Mr. P to have that piece of toast....for his avatar. Because some people would be offended. Expecially since Mr. P knows that it is so easy to mock this sort of faith. He knows they are not going to declare Jihad on him.....

Anyway, it is not helpful IMO.


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Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:03 am
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There is plenty of evidence, in the Bible and elsewhere to show that they believed in reincarnation.


This is news to me and I'd be interested in knowing where you find references to reincarnation in the Bible. I'm not challenging you because I'm sure not a Bible scholar. Let me know where to look for this please.

I find the toast avatar pretty funny, but I can see how it might offend. We have another member with what I consider an absolutely hilarious avatar. His shows a fat kid and the words say, "Fat kids make baby Jesus laugh." I almost peed my pants when I saw that one. It is so politically incorrect and shocking that it cracked me up. But that is just my sense of humor.

A few weeks ago I was in a cell phone store and there was a customer sitting at the counter wearing a T-Shirt that said the following on the back:

"Excuse me, but are those my balls on your face?"

I died laughing! You might have turned around feeling embarrassed....maybe not. But stuff like this is just friggin hilarious to me.

There is a web site where you can order prank bumper stickers to put on your friends/enemies cars. My favorite is:

"Available for all-male gang bangs"

Can you imagine how embarrassing that would be for someone to have on the back of their car without knowing?



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OK Chris - I will tell you where to look for the reincarnation reference....and it certainly isn't vague.

It is where the 'people' say, 'some say that that John the Baptist was Elijah the prophet returned to earth.

And Jesus - doesn't tell then off...he just says... for so he is.

Look at Matthew Chapter 17 -Vs 11-13 - it's not the one I wanted but it will do.

I am not quoting this to convince you of anything other than that reincarnation is mentioned in the Bible;....there are other references but I can't find my concordance!!! Sorry, I will try to find more and post the references up if you are interested.


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Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:28 pm
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Mr. Pessimistic wrote:
Penelope wrote:
I am not going back to believing the Christian doctrine of salvation - although Salvation doesn't mean - Save - in means - Heal -Salve - just means to heal (Doesn't it Robert?).

The really interesting thing to me in Harrison's book is how he engages with what to me is a silly idea, that being saved means going to heaven. I have always understood salvation as the transformation of our planet, so the medieval idea of going to heaven after you die strikes me as a simply absurd, unscientific and dangerous belief system. It is like a tumourous relic in human culture. The concept of salvation as transformation is aligned with the teachings of Jesus Christ and with science, whereas the Christian church has got it wrong big time with its concept of heaven.

My daughter Diana just starred as one of the swindling tailors in a production of The Emperor's New Clothes. I did think it ironic that the show was on while Pope Benedict was in Australia with all the cardinals solemnly nodding their heads about their catechism. No one likes to look a fool.
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Quote:
But I still find it crass of Mr. P to have that piece of toast....for his avatar. Because some people would be offended. Expecially since Mr. P knows that it is so easy to mock this sort of faith. He knows they are not going to declare Jihad on him..... Anyway, it is not helpful IMO.

Well, this is not the first time you have disagreed with my avatar. I will not apologize for it, because what offends me most is that these pieces of toast, when people really think they see them, sell for thousands on ebay. THAT is what is offensive, if you do not see that then maybe you have the issues. You seem to have a very thin skin. I am not looking to please people, sorry. I just do what I think is funny and I cannot understand why it would offend any rational person. And you think I pick easy targets? Where is that Muhammad...he can go scratch my arse too!! Bring it on losers. ALthough to make it apples to apples, I would have to challenge Allah instead no? Mr. P.

Penelope, I am offended by claims that such imagined resemblances have deep theological meaning. Believers in miracles deserve mockery, tempered by due sensitivity to the feelings of the ignorant. The only real miracles are delivered by science, or at least are compatible with science. The perception of Christianity as a magic cult, promoted by various toast worshippers, interferes with serious scientific analysis of the merits of the Christian message. Perhaps the Pope will buy the blessed sacrament of the toast on Ebay and keep it in a suitable eternal container for veneration and adoration as the body of Christ. They could treat it with McPreservatives to stop it going mouldy. As they said in the reformation, Hoc Est Corpus = Hocus Pocus.



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Robert Tulip:- On this forum we are dealing with ordinary human beings a lot of the time. Not the Pope and Cardinals. I think they seldom log on to this Website.

But my heart breaks...really...when young people log on....looking for a bit of reassurance....that it is OK to question.

If you are brought up in a Fundamentalist Household.....in a Fundamentalist town in America.....and you are taught
that it is the 'Devil' tempting you to question. Which is what they are taught. It is very frightening indeed and needs very gentle and careful handling. AND if I may say so, a lot a prayer and guidance as to how to help.

We might not be much help.....but the opportunity is here. And a little help is better than no help at all.


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With my philosophy - If it gets serious - You are on the wrong track!!!

I must end on a lighter note:-

Chris: English Bumper Sticker: Seen on a lorry (truck) on our motorway.

'Hung Like a Bull - Ask Driver for Details'

Also:-

On a tanker which emptied Septic Tanks (Lavatories/Toilets)

'A1 Septic Tank Specialists - Number One for Your Number Twos'.

(I am wondering if some of this might be lost in translation! :( )


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Penelope wrote:
Robert Tulip:- On this forum we are dealing with ordinary human beings a lot of the time. Not the Pope and Cardinals. I think they seldom log on to this Website. But my heart breaks...really...when young people log on....looking for a bit of reassurance....that it is OK to question.If you are brought up in a Fundamentalist Household.....in a Fundamentalist town in America.....and you are taught that it is the 'Devil' tempting you to question. Which is what they are taught. It is very frightening indeed and needs very gentle and careful handling. AND if I may say so, a lot a prayer and guidance as to how to help. We might not be much help.....but the opportunity is here. And a little help is better than no help at all.

Penelope, these are valid comments about the sensitivity of discussion about religion, but believing that Jesus is in a piece of toast is in a direct continuum with Roman Catholic belief that miracles are needed for canonisation and that Jesus was born from a virgin. Mr P's avatar shows clearly that the 'emperor' of traditional Christianity is prancing the streets without clothes. I agree with you that we should pray for the souls who believe that doubt is unchristian.



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OK - so you believe that myth - that these pieces of toast sell for thousands on E-bay. You don't really believe that do you???? No, and neither do I.


Penelope, what Nick says about eBay is actually true. These stories aren't myths.

'Virgin Mary' toast fetches $28,000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4034787.stm

Virgin Mary pretzel bidding at $10,950 on eBay, and climbing
http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews ... _virg.html

Virgin Mary Pretzel For Sale On Ebay
http://sharoncobb.blogspot.com/2008/02/ ... -ebay.html

"Virgin Mary" Pretzel Passes $1M On eBay
http://www.wayodd.com/virgin-mary-pretz ... ay/v/8990/



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Penelope wrote:
OK Chris - I will tell you where to look for the reincarnation reference....and it certainly isn't vague. It is where the 'people' say, 'some say that that John the Baptist was Elijah the prophet returned to earth. And Jesus - doesn't tell then off...he just says... for so he is. Look at Matthew Chapter 17 -Vs 11-13 - it's not the one I wanted but it will do. I am not quoting this to convince you of anything other than that reincarnation is mentioned in the Bible;....there are other references but I can't find my concordance!!! Sorry, I will try to find more and post the references up if you are interested.

Saying this is Christian reincarnation is an interesting take on the 'who do you say that I am?' line. If they said Jesus was Krishna that would really set the cat among the sacred cows. When Jesus asks the question we get the following exchange in Matthew 16:

Quote:
Peter's Confession of Christ
13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
14They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."


This leaves open the possibility that Jesus is a reincarnation of Elijah or Jeremiah, but in a sense is arguing that the prophets participated in a bigger spiritual reality, and that 'the Christ' is the ultimate human spirit.

BTW www.biblegateway.com is a great online concordance.



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Penelope wrote:

OK - so you believe that myth - that these pieces of toast sell for thousands on E-bay. You don't really believe that do you???? No, and neither do I.


Myth? I do indeed know about the EBAY sales...as Chris posted. Do I necessarily believe the person who bought it really believes it is Jesus there? Mayb e not...a few might have just wanted a publicity stunt or something...but of course, that is just conjecture...but that sum of money was paid as the reports attest.

Quote:
But just imagine......A young girl of say, 17 years.....comes on here to discuss her problems with her 'fundamentalist christian family...in the deep south of America......and she sees your avatar.....that is going to scare her away immediately. How can we help people to stop being scared of the indoctrination.....if you post mocking, avatars. I have read two or three posts from such young people, who reach their teens and start to question......believe me, it is very scary...I have been there. It would be a matter of compassion on your part to remove it. I usually make a joke.....but this is not funny.

Sorry Mr P, this is such an opportunity.....on this Forum....and IMO you are not helping.........try, for me, please.....to see that it is unkind of you.


Nope. I have had many serious conversations with people about all this subject matter. There was a young man I workled with that had a similar situation, not the cultish indoctrination we see on the extreme..but he was questioning and we had the opportunity to connect. I talked to him a few times about things regarding atheism and religion and was not mocking anything at all. I think he got something from these conversations. If someone is coming here for some sort of guidance and gets spooked by a picture like that...well I cannot help that...it would show me they are too far gone anyway.

The way I see it is, by showing what a joke religion is, we can get more people to see how easy it is not to be 'scared of the indoctrination'.

Jesus toast is a joke. I really do not care who gets offended by it because those that WOULD get offended usually offend me with every word they spew. Really...move on to topics that are impacting our lives Penelope. How about that jerkoff who shot those people in the church in Knoxville? Let's worry about stuff like that ok?



Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:47 am
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One more post ought to do it.

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OK Mr P. - Keep your piece of toast!!

I didn't want to join this discussion.....because I knew by the name of the book...that it would stress me out for no good reason.

The young man in Texas (and really, what do I know about Texas?) actually sent me a PM and asked me to join in. If some one asks me for help....I try to give it....that is my religion (not superstition!!!).

I would like to write a book called - 50 Reasons People Give for Hoping in God!! as an answer to Mr. Harrison's book. Unfortunately.....I know I am not able to express myself well enough. It is just 'Hope' after all.

I think as human beings we need to develop 'Forebearance'......trying to understand the reasons why people behave and react the way they do. Once we understand the reasons.......we might, Oh we just might...be able extend our boundaries....and communicate.....that can only be good.

I have felt hurt and disturbed this week...watching people I have come to care about.....hurling insults and mockery at each other......

I am merely trying to understand your reasons Mr. P....for the toast.

You have answered me:-

Quote:
The way I see it is, by showing what a joke religion is, we can get more people to see how easy it is not to be 'scared of the indoctrination'.


We can become so scared....we can't 'think' anymore. Some people, like you, become agressive; attacking the people rather than the 'system'. I would like to politely point out.....that, yours in not the way to do it.....but I am trying to use my forbearance...and understand why you want to do it this way.....keep your mocking toast...

I will try to hold on to my 'hope'....that we can reach out to people and communicate.....and perhaps avoid....

Quote:
Penelope. How about that jerkoff who shot those people in the church in Knoxville? Let's worry about stuff like that ok?


_________________
Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:02 pm
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