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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 12403 times)
WingsofCrystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #90 on: Jul 14th, 2010, 2:44pm »

Hey Phil,

"Odd. So we are left to speculate about who's lying here."

It's the strangest story. I would love to know what the heck really happened.
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« Reply #91 on: Jul 14th, 2010, 8:29pm »


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« Reply #92 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 08:00am »

Washington Post. We're all hurting and they gave this guy 5 Million dollars. angry

U.S. paid Iranian nuclear scientist $5 million for aid to CIA, officials say

By Greg Miller and Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 15, 2010; 6:20 AM

The Iranian nuclear scientist who claimed to have been abducted by the CIA before departing for his homeland Wednesday was paid more than $5 million by the agency to provide intelligence on Iran's nuclear program, U.S. officials said.

Shahram Amiri is not obligated to return the money but might be unable to access it after breaking off what U.S. officials described as significant cooperation with the CIA and abruptly returning to Iran. Officials said he might have left out of concern that the Tehran government would harm his family.

"Anything he got is now beyond his reach, thanks to the financial sanctions on Iran," a U.S. official said. "He's gone, but his money's not. We have his information, and the Iranians have him."

Amiri arrived in Tehran early Thursday to a hero's welcome, including personal greetings from several senior government officials. His 7-year-old son broke down in tears as Amiri held him for the first time since his mysterious disappearance in Saudi Arabia 14 months ago.

In brief remarks to reporters at Imam Khomeni International Airport, Amiri said, "I am so happy to be back in the Islamic republic," and he repeated his claims of having been abducted by U.S. agents. He said CIA agents had tried to pressure him into helping them with their propaganda against his homeland and offered him $50 million to remain in the United States.

Amiri, who flashed victory signs as he stepped into the airport, also said that he knew little of Iran's main nuclear enrichment site. "I'm a simple researcher. A normal person would know more about Natanz than me."

He was greeted by Hassan Qashqavi, a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official, as well as a deputy interior minister and a deputy science minister.

Amiri's request this week to be sent home stunned U.S. officials, who said he had been working with the CIA for more than a year.

Whether the agency received an adequate return on its investment in Amiri is difficult to assess. The size of the payment might offer some measure of the value of the information he shared. But it could also reflect a level of eagerness within the U.S. intelligence community for meaningful information on Iran.

The U.S. official said the payments reflected the value of the information gleaned. "The support is keyed to what the person's done, including how their material has checked out over time," said the official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity surrounding the case. "You don't give something for nothing."

The transfer of millions of dollars into Amiri-controlled accounts also seems to bolster the U.S. government's assertions that Amiri was neither abducted nor brought to the United States against his will. Given the amount of money he was provided, a second U.S. official said, "I'm sure he could have been very happy here for a long time."

The payments are part of a clandestine CIA program referred to as the "brain drain." Its aim is to use incentives to induce scientists and other officials with information on Iran's nuclear program to defect.

The Iranian government maintains that its nuclear research is strictly for peaceful purposes. But the United States and other nations contend that Iran is secretly pursuing a nuclear bomb. Acquiring intelligence on the country's nuclear capabilities and intentions is among the highest priorities for U.S. spy agencies.

Amiri, 32, is known to have worked at Iran's Malek-e-Ashtar Industrial University, which U.S. intelligence agencies think is linked to the nation's Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful entity accused of activities ranging from weapons research to supporting terrorist groups.

The scientist is not believed to have had direct access to Iran's most sensitive nuclear sites or leaders involved in decisions on whether to pursue a bomb. Still, officials said Amiri was valuable in confirming information from other sources and providing details on multiple nuclear facilities.

Iran has already begun to take advantage of the Amiri case, with state television echoing his claims that he was abducted and describing his return as a national victory. Awaiting Amiri at the airport Thursday were Hassan Qashqavi, a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official, and other ministers.

The CIA has authority to bring as many as 100 people into the United States each year under a provision of the 1949 Central Intelligence Agency Act that enables the agency to bypass ordinary immigration requirements.

Promises of resettlement and reward money are two of the primary inducements used by the CIA to recruit informants inside "hard target" countries, including North Korea and Iran.

The money that went to Amiri was apparently placed in accounts or investment mechanisms that would sustain him over a lifetime in the United States. "You basically put together a long-term benefits package," one of the U.S. officials said.

Although Amiri might no longer be able to access the accounts, it was not clear whether the CIA would be able to reclaim the funds. The U.S. officials declined to disclose where the funds had been deposited.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley would not disclose Amiri's immigration status while he was in the United States or the reason he had been in the country. "He was here of his own volition and left of his own volition," Crowley said. "If he wants to talk about this, he can."

The CIA's payments to Amiri add to what has become one of the more bizarre recent episodes in espionage. Amiri disappeared in Saudi Arabia last summer and then resurfaced in a series of contradictory Internet videos this spring.

In some, he claimed to have been abducted, drugged and subjected to CIA torture to get him to talk. In another recording, apparently produced with help from the CIA, Amiri insisted that he had come to the United States of his own accord and said he was living in Tucson while pursuing a PhD.

One of the U.S. officials said Amiri's family was a main factor in his decision to return. "He just wanted to see his family and, unfortunately, he chose a dumb way to do it," the official said, "lying about what happened to him here to try to build up his credibility back home."

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/15/AR2010071501395.html?hpid=topnews

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #93 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 08:05am »

Washington Post cry

Companies pile up cash but remain hesitant to add jobs

By Jia Lynn Yang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 15, 2010; A01

Corporate America is hoarding a massive pile of cash. It just doesn't want to spend it hiring anyone.

Nonfinancial companies are sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash, roughly one-quarter more than at the beginning of the recession. And as several major firms report impressive earnings this week, the money continues to flow into firms' coffers.

Yet all the good news from big business hasn't translated into much promise for jobless Americans, leading many to wonder: If corporations are sitting on so much money, why aren't they hiring more workers?

The answer to that question has become a political flash point between the White House and big business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which held a jobs summit Wednesday and accused the Obama administration of dumping onerous regulations on businesses. That has created an environment of "uncertainty," which is causing firms to hold back on hiring as the unemployment rate has hovered near 10 percent, the Chamber said.

The White House countered that companies are wary of hiring not because of new regulations but because they're still waiting for consumer demand to return. The administration also claimed credit for 3.5 million jobs created by the stimulus bill from last year.

The acrimony over jobs comes at a particularly tense moment in the relationship between business groups and the White House. With the midterm elections looming and polls showing Americans expressing a lack of confidence in President Obama's handling of the economy, White House officials are eager to demonstrate that their policies are helping, not hurting, the prospects for job growth and are making an extra effort to reach out to industry leaders.

For the Chamber's jobs event, the White House said it asked for a speaking slot for senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who acts as a liaison to the business community, but the Chamber turned down the request. Chamber officials said Jarrett's office called Tuesday afternoon, the day before the conference, and demanded a speaking slot immediately after remarks from Chamber chief executive Tom Donohue. The White House said that it did not ask for a specific slot.

"There are going to be areas where we differ, but we do have different roles," Jarrett said in an interview. "Our job is to both protect the American people and foster a climate where companies invest and create jobs. Their role is to produce profits for their shareholders."

White House officials also choreographed a competing set of images for Obama on Wednesday, having him meet separately with famed investor Warren Buffett and, later, with Bill Clinton as well as the chief executives of Bank of America and Honeywell. Obama aides said the business meetings were a coincidence and had been scheduled before they knew of the Chamber event. They said the meeting with Buffett had been in the works for a long time. (Buffett is a director with The Washington Post Co.)

The question of how to encourage companies to hire has challenged policymakers.

A survey last month of more than 1,000 chief financial officers by Duke University and CFO magazine showed that nearly 60 percent of those executives don't expect to bring their employment back to pre-recession levels until 2012 or later -- even though they're projecting a 12 percent rise in earnings and a 9 percent boost in capital spending over the next year.

When asked why companies are holding back so much, many economists cite broader uncertainty that goes well beyond anything happening in Washington. Firms aren't sure whether the economy can sustain a strong recovery. And as long as consumer spending remains low, there's not much incentive for companies to ramp up.

The trend of companies holding more cash is not new. Between 1980 and 2006, the average cash-to-assets ratio for U.S. industrial firms more than doubled, according to research by finance professors.

One explanation, said finance professor Renι Stulz at Ohio State University, is that as competition has become more global, it's become harder for individual companies to survive, and so they hold on to more cash to be safe. He added that companies have also increased their cash holdings in the wake of the financial crisis, particularly since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, as the banking system has become more fragile and credit has become scarce.

Tech companies in particular tend to build large cash reserves. Intel, which reported on Tuesday its biggest quarterly profit in a decade, brought aboard 400 new employees worldwide in the last quarter, though it would not identify in which countries the hirings took place. Intel spokeswoman Lisa Malloy added that the firm expects to spend more money, from $4.5 billion last year to $5.2 billion this year, investing in capital projects around the world.

And yet the firm has $1.7 billion more in cash than it had a year ago. Intel said it is enjoying strong demand for its chips, so low demand doesn't help explain the firm's mountain of cash.

Alcoa, which reported strong earnings Monday, said it had $493 million more in cash this quarter compared with a year earlier.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/14/AR2010071405960.html?hpid=topnews

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #94 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 08:09am »

Telegraph

Mystery handyman makes repairs council considered too costly.

As he wondered why his council did nothing to fix the broken benches and fences scarring his neighbourhood, Stephen Rimmer felt he was in danger of becoming a "grumpy old man".

By Nick Britten
Published: 7:10AM BST 15 Jul 2010

But the former soldier was not prepared to simply leave things as they were and set about carrying out repairs deemed too costly by the local authority himself.

Now Mr Rimmer, 37, has been recognised as a hero in his neighbourhood after 12 weeks spent secretly sneaking out at night to fix benches and fences.

Locals had been mystified to wake up and find their amenities fixed and wondered who was behind the clearing up and mending.

Mr Rimmer finally decided to unmask himself and is believed to have saved Oldham Council around £3,000 repairing 18 broken benches and fences.

Even council officials have now recognised that he showed "great community spirit" in carrying out the tasks they had failed to do.

''I forked out my own money to buy the paint and other supplies to make the repairs but it's been worth it just to make the area look better," said Mr Rimmer.

''I had a bit of a grumpy old man attitude when I saw broken benches when I was out on my bike. These benches had been like that for years, yet you only needed to move your head a few degrees to see something that could be used to fix it.”

Mr Rimmer spent night loading up his mountain bike with his own wood and tools and pedalling the streets. He used the remnants of pruned trees and a blowtorch to make new planks.

He left the army six years ago after four years of service and began his secret sideline after starting a design degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, where his studies covered recycling.

He said: ''I'd go cycling down the canal path and I'd see a bench with no wood on it and I just thought to myself why hadn't anyone repaired it?

"I started to look around for wood that could be used for benches that needed fixing. There were lots of materials around, I'd collect bits of wood that could be recycled and find a job that they were right for.

"I'd be thinking what works best, and getting some colour in there. I started going out at night because there would be less people about to bother me, no-one would give me any trouble.

''I do like the idea of surprising people. It's not there one day, and there the next.”

His repairs began springing up everywhere from Daisy Nook country park near his home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, to the towpaths of Huddersfield and Rochdale canals.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7890170/Mystery-handyman-makes-repairs-council-considered-too-costly.html

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #95 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 08:12am »

Telegraph

Scientists discover prehistoric fish under Great Barrier Reef
Australian scientists have discovered bizarre prehistoric sea life thousands of feet below the Great Barrier Reef, in an unprecedented mission to document species under threat from ocean warming.

Published: 10:13AM BST 15 Jul 2010

Ancient sharks, giant oil fish, swarms of crustaceans and a primitive shell-dwelling squid species called the Nautilus were among the astonishing life captured by remote controlled cameras at Osprey Reef.

Justin Marshall, the lead researcher, said his team had also found several unidentified fish species, including "prehistoric six-gilled sharks" using special lowlight sensitive cameras which were custom designed to trawl the ocean floor, 4,593ft (1,400m) below sea level.

"Some of the creatures that we've seen we were sort of expecting, some of them we weren't expecting, and some of them we haven't identified yet," said Mr Marshall, from the University of Queensland, Australia.

"There was a shark that I really wasn't expecting, which was a false cat shark, which has a really odd dorsal fin."

The team used a tuna head on a stick to attract the creatures, which live beyond the reach of sunlight.

Mr Marshall said the research had been made more urgent by recent oil spills affecting the world heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, and the growing threat to its biodiversity by the warming and acidification of the world's oceans.

"One of the things that we're trying to do by looking at the life in the deep sea is discover what's there in the first place, before we wipe it out," he said.

"We simply do not know what life is down there, and our cameras can now record the behaviour and life in Australia's largest biosphere, the deep sea."

Scientists have already warned that the 133,000-square mile (345,000-square km) attraction is in serious jeopardy, as global warming and chemical run-off threaten to kill marine species and cause disease outbreaks.

Chinese coal ship Shen Neng 1 gouged a 3m scar in the reef when it ran aground whilst attempting to take a short cut on April 3, leaking tonnes of oil into a famed nature sanctuary and breeding site.

About 200,000 litres of heavy fuel oil spewed into waters south of the reef last March when shipping containers full of fertiliser tumbled off the Hong Kong-flagged Pacific Adventurer during a cyclone, piercing its hull.

It was one of Australia's worst ever oil spills.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7891737/Scientists-discover-prehistoric-fish-under-Great-Barrier-Reef.html

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #96 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 08:15am »


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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #97 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 09:34am »

on Jul 15th, 2010, 08:09am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Telegraph

Mystery handyman makes repairs council considered too costly.

As he wondered why his council did nothing to fix the broken benches and fences scarring his neighbourhood, Stephen Rimmer felt he was in danger of becoming a "grumpy old man".

By Nick Britten
Published: 7:10AM BST 15 Jul 2010

But the former soldier was not prepared to simply leave things as they were and set about carrying out repairs deemed too costly by the local authority himself.

Now Mr Rimmer, 37, has been recognised as a hero in his neighbourhood after 12 weeks spent secretly sneaking out at night to fix benches and fences.

Locals had been mystified to wake up and find their amenities fixed and wondered who was behind the clearing up and mending.

Mr Rimmer finally decided to unmask himself and is believed to have saved Oldham Council around £3,000 repairing 18 broken benches and fences.

Even council officials have now recognised that he showed "great community spirit" in carrying out the tasks they had failed to do.

''I forked out my own money to buy the paint and other supplies to make the repairs but it's been worth it just to make the area look better," said Mr Rimmer.

''I had a bit of a grumpy old man attitude when I saw broken benches when I was out on my bike. These benches had been like that for years, yet you only needed to move your head a few degrees to see something that could be used to fix it.”

Mr Rimmer spent night loading up his mountain bike with his own wood and tools and pedalling the streets. He used the remnants of pruned trees and a blowtorch to make new planks.

He left the army six years ago after four years of service and began his secret sideline after starting a design degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, where his studies covered recycling.

He said: ''I'd go cycling down the canal path and I'd see a bench with no wood on it and I just thought to myself why hadn't anyone repaired it?

"I started to look around for wood that could be used for benches that needed fixing. There were lots of materials around, I'd collect bits of wood that could be recycled and find a job that they were right for.

"I'd be thinking what works best, and getting some colour in there. I started going out at night because there would be less people about to bother me, no-one would give me any trouble.

''I do like the idea of surprising people. It's not there one day, and there the next.”

His repairs began springing up everywhere from Daisy Nook country park near his home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, to the towpaths of Huddersfield and Rochdale canals.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7890170/Mystery-handyman-makes-repairs-council-considered-too-costly.html

Crystal


Really liked this news article Crystal... thanks grin

Wouldn't it be nice if more people did things like this...

Luvey
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« Reply #98 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 12:42pm »

My Name is Rose

The first day of school our professor introduced himself
and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already
know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched
my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, 'Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven
years old. Can I give you a hug?' I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze.

'Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?' I
asked. She jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids...'

'No seriously,' I asked. I was curious what may have
motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
'I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm
getting one!' she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and
shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three
months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was
always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she
shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and
she easily made friends wherever she went... She loved to
dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon
her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our
football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She
was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to
deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five
cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the
microphone and simply said, 'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I
gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll
never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you
what I know.'

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, 'We do not
stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop
playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy,
and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor
every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your
dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and
don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and
growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full
year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty
years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed
for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.
Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or
ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding
opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but
rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear
death are those with regrets.' She concluded her speech by courageously singing 'The Rose.'

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them
out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the
college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her
sleep...

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in
tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that
it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS
OPTIONAL.

WE MAKE A LIVING BY WHAT WE GET. WE MAKE A LIFE BY
WHAT WE GIVE...

THESE WORDS HAVE BEEN PASSED ALONG IN LOVING MEMORY OF......ROSE.
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #99 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 12:55pm »

That's a wonderful story, SR! Thanks for sharing! smiley

Brightest star explosion seen blinds satellite


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The brightest explosion of a star ever seen temporarily blinded a satellite set up to watch such events, astronomers said on Wednesday.

The gamma-ray burst and explosion of X-rays that followed came from a star that died 5 billion years ago, far beyond our own Milky Way galaxy, NASA and British scientists said. It took this long for the radiation to reach the Swift orbiting observatory.

The bright X-ray burst blinded Swift on June 21, and the observatory's software ignored it as if it were an anomaly, the astronomers said.

"The intensity of these X-rays was unexpected and unprecedented," Neil Gehrels, Swift's principal investigator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said in a statement.

...

tiny link

Can the Allies Trust Afghan Soldiers to Watch Their Backs?

Was the Taliban behind the actions of a rogue Afghan army soldier who allegedly shot dead three British servicemen overnight while they slept? The militants claimed that the incident, which included a shooting and a grenade assault, was a premeditated attack, part of a new strategy to push back against coalition forces spread out in record numbers across southern Afghanistan's battle zones. Although the inside-job claim remains unconfirmed, the killings cast a shadow on the quality and reliability of Afghan security forces deployed in a hostile region where they are being groomed to take the reins of the country's own security and wean themselves away from dependence on western troops.

The incident took place at a British military outpost in Nahr-e-Saraj district, a Taliban stronghold near the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. A senior Afghan National Army (ANA) officer identified the gunman as Talib Hussein, 23, a member of the ethnic Hazara minority from Ghazni province who had served for less than a year, mainly in remote swaths of Helmand, far from home. After killing a Major in his bed, the suspect fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the base's command center that left a British lieutenant and Nepalese Gurkha dead and four others injured, before he managed to flee outside the wire. A manhunt has ensued even as the Taliban assert he is now with them in a "safe place." (See pictures of life in the Afghan National Army.)

It's a strange sequence of events, given how the Hazara were brutally persecuted under a Pasthun-dominated former Taliban regime that massacred thousands. Today, Hazara Taliban are all but unheard of due to the history of bad blood and differences of orthodoxy: Hazaras are Shi'ite Muslims, considered heretics by the rigidly Sunni Taliban hardliners. By way of explanation, Gen. Ghulam Farook Parwani, the deputy corps commander for the ANA's southern forces, alleged that Hussein was a habitual hashish smoker, a widespread phenomenon within the ranks. Even if it's true, however, this hardly provides a clear motive for the deadly outburst. (See images of the Afghan apocalypse.)

...

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #100 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 1:00pm »

on Jul 14th, 2010, 8:29pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
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Is this a pic of Avatar 2? grin

on Jul 15th, 2010, 09:34am, Luvey wrote:
Really liked this news article Crystal... thanks grin

Wouldn't it be nice if more people did things like this...

Luvey

I agree with you, Luvey. He's a real life hero! smiley
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« Reply #101 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 4:40pm »

begin quote -

Really liked this news article Crystal... thanks

Wouldn't it be nice if more people did things like this...

Luvey

- end quote

Thanks Luvey. It was such a wonderful article. And a great guy.
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« Reply #102 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 4:41pm »

Swamprat! Good to see you. cheesy And what a great article.
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« Reply #103 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 4:42pm »

Is this a pic of Avatar 2?

Looks like it huh Phil! grin It must have taken forever to get that costume on and the make-up done.
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« Reply #104 on: Jul 15th, 2010, 7:45pm »



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