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Author Topic: Change a light bulb, starve the Saudis
snopes
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Comment: Hello,
Can you please do some research and let me know if the following email I
reived today is true. I couldn't find anything about it on this website.
Thanks for you help!

Following is a copy of the email:
"I just saw this from some energy guru on CNN. So I am starting this (what
I hope to be a "chain" mail)
If everyone in the states changes just 1 regular light bulb in their house
to a florescent bulb that would save the country 1.3 billion barrels of
oil a year, save you $$$, help air quality and most important put a huge
dent in the Saudis bank accounts."

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snopes
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quote:
If everyone in the states changes just 1 regular light bulb in their house
to a florescent bulb that would save the country 1.3 billion barrels of
oil a year, save you $$$, help air quality and most important put a huge
dent in the Saudis bank accounts."

As long as the world's demand for oil exceeds the supply, our using less oil isn't going to "put a huge dent in the Saudis bank accounts." It just means the Saudis will sell more of their oil to countries other than the U.S.

And, in any case, the people whose bank accounts would be the most dented by decreased U.S. oil imports would be Canadians.

- snopes

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LikeHeyScoob
The First USA Noel


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Yeah, see, I would do that, but my local store has a one day sale on fluorescent bulbs. The one day is Sunday. Bill O'Reilly says I can't buy gas on Sunday. I can't get to the store with no gas.

I'm torn.

--------------------
Support you local community newspaper! CNN.com probably won't be covering your child's spelling bee.

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KennRice
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I wonder if the calculations for those savings included the amont of oil it would take to make and distribute the florescent light bulbs for over 100 million households? And of course the oil needed to make the money to buy all those florescent light bulbs, and the gas needed to drive to the store to buy the florescent light bulbs.

I seriously doubt that a single light bulb, in a year, used as much energy as it takes to manufacture a florescent light bulb, and the transportation costs involved in sending it to the store, and driving to the store to buy it.

Not to mention the disposal costs of the non-florescent light bulb.

Ken

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I'mNotDedalus
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quote:
Compact Flourescent Bulbs-- From the Smart Office Web Site: http://smartoffice.com. Replacing an incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent one offsets the burning of about 528 pounds of coal, the release of one ton of carbon dioxide, 20 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and the equivalent of a barrel of oil.
(I wouldn't normally rely on such a site for this kind of information, but they do back their claim with facts provided by the SDIC)

Comparison of Electricity Cost

The next step, obviously, would be to compare this 1 fluorescent to 1 barrel of oil ratio to the most recent U.S. Census information (specifically, housing information: located here; for giggles, the 2000 Census tallied 281,421,906).

I'm too damned literary to do the math, so the googleless can make do with the citations above.

Although, I think snopes hits the mark. This business of "putting a dent in the Saudis' purse" is ridiculous. In a globalized economy, there is no longer such a thing as win/lose economics. Incidentally, Saudi Arabia is the largest U.S. export market in the Middle East. If their economy suffers, the U.S. itches like an old man scratchin' at an amputated stub.

--------------------
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Davros
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in Australia most of our electrical power is generated with coal with under 8% approx from oil or gas(natural gas not petrol)
some info
so changing a light here would not help at all

we use more hydro power than oil and gas for power generation

--------------------
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So I'm Evil Get over it

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EthanMitchell
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We have changed over entirely to CFs, except in one fixture that has a dimmer switch, which they can't handle. We did it, oh, two years ago, and we're quite happy. Here are my thoughts.

When we looked at the numbers, we were very impressed at the energy savings, especially because CFs tend to last much longer than incandescents, so incidental costs like the oil consumed in shipping them are amortized over a longer time.

However. They are fairly easy to break, and they contain a small quantity of mercury, so they are not a nice thing to break. They should really only be used in fixtures that have a dome or some other shielding, and I find that the domes also make the fluorescence less obnoxious.

Most hardware stores have a deal where they will periodically sell CFs for giveaway prices--less than incandescents, which use more power per lumen, and burn out sooner. To me, it's not a matter of starving the Saudis or the Canadians or whoever. Wasting money in order to waste energy is just plain stupid.

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Hero_Mike
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There are now dimmer-capable CF bulbs, tri-light CF bulbs, even 150W-equivalent CF bulbs that are the size of a mason jar and only consume 40W of electricity.

The "cost" of energy for manufacture or shipping of a CF bulb is built into the price. The only cost that is missing is the cost of disposal, but that will still be trivial over the lifetime savings of the bulb.

At 10 cents per kwhr, a 100W equivalent CF bulb breaks even with a 100W incandescent bulb at only 430 hours of operation (based on how much they cost here in Canada). This is less than half the typical 1,000 hour life of an incandescent bulb. A CF bulb is usually rated 8,000 to 10,000 hours. So while they last 10 times as long, they pay for themselves in less than the life of one regular bulb.

The low prices of CF bulbs are here to stay. I've noticed in the last 3-4 months that prices have dropped in all stores, especially now that there are 60W CF bulbs the exact same size as a regular "Type A" incandescent bulb.

--------------------
"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

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Cervus
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I recently bought a three-pack of 100W equivalent CF bulbs (the kind that only use 40W of energy but are supposed to be as bright as 100W incandescents) and honestly, they're not as bright as the incandescents I've used in those same light fixtures all these years. I don't know if it's the particular brand or style that I bought (I don't have the package) but I am rather disappointed with the brightness level. I was going to put one in my reading lamp but I'm glad I didn't.

--------------------
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Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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I love my CFs! We have replaced nearly all the bulbs in the house with them (those we haven't are the 3-way lamps; we haven't seen the 3-way CFs in the stores yet, but will be looking).

The brightness factor was, at first, an issue, but it was pretty minor and we adjusted fairly quickly.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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EthanMitchell
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Were you using 100W incandescents or something even stronger? There is a little difference in the color of the light, but luminosity is pretty much objective. If you really aren't get the stated number of lumens, maybe you have defective bulbs.
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Delta-V
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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
I love my CFs! We have replaced nearly all the bulbs in the house with them (those we haven't are the 3-way lamps; we haven't seen the 3-way CFs in the stores yet, but will be looking).

Try Lowes. I found one there. The ones they have only go up to 150W equivalent, so not as good as a regular 250W for reading.

Oh, and the US only gets about 3% of it's electricity from oil. 51% of it is from coal, 20% nuclear, and 17% natural gas.

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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NeeCD
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I was watching a show a while back that was talking about the advantages of CF bulbs, but that there is a difference between individual bulbs, as far as brightness levels go. The point of which was that you had to be careful to match bulbs in a fixture to each other. This was several years ago, however, and I don't know if this is still an issue.

--------------------
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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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250? I don't think I've ever seen a lamp that takes a 250-watt bulb.

And for me, brighter is not necessarily better for reading. I've got some photosensitivity issues, and have a very difficult time with glare on paper (magazines are very difficult for me to read with any sort of artificial light).

--------------------
"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Jason Threadslayer
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I have them in all but the 3-ways and dimmers and the halls (the CFs have a delay in turning on). I bought one of the 3-ways, but hated it.

They keep the house much cooler.

--------------------
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Rehcsif
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Almost every fixture in our home is dimmable. Normal CF's can't handle that, and the ones that can are hideously expensive (like $50 a bulb).

If someone finds me a $10 dimmable PAR-30 style indoor CF flood that doesn't have that horrible hospital-white look, I'd start switching out immediately.

-Tim

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Lotta Palaver
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If you have a Fred's in your area (mostly the South), you can get flourescent bulbs fairly cheap there. Cheaper than WallyWorld.

But I don't see how using less of the wattage produced by the nearby nookyooler [Wink] plant will have any effect on the Saudis!

--------------------
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Hero_Mike
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Dimmable "Type A" (regular looking) light bulbs cost only about $13 CDN for a 100W equivalent light. Indoor CD floodlights aren't there yet, but in only 6 months I've seen the 60W CF bulb shrink in size by a huge amount. I really think that in less than 18 months, they'll be universal.

The slightly different colour of CF bulbs is really a personal preference issue - I notice almost no difference when I use them inside a shade or globe.

Another issue of incandescent light bulbs is the actual voltage of electricity. Power varies as the square of voltage, so if you have 90% of the "rated" voltage, you only get 81% of the power output. For an incandescent bulb, this means you only get 81% of the output lumens. You also get about 20% longer life at the lower voltage.

"Heavy-duty" and "long-life" incandescent bulbs are often rated at 130V, while normal incandescent bulbs are rated for 120V. A bulb rated for 60W @ 130V only puts out 85% of the wattage at 120V. Many areas have 115V or less as the "nominal" voltage in household distribution.

And you can get regular "Type A" bulbs in up to 300W, with 250W being good for floodlights and reading lights.

--------------------
"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

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Delta-V
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quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:
Another issue of incandescent light bulbs is the actual voltage of electricity. Power varies as the square of voltage, so if you have 90% of the "rated" voltage, you only get 81% of the power output. For an incandescent bulb, this means you only get 81% of the output lumens. You also get about 20% longer life at the lower voltage.

Hmmm...my circuits book says P=VI, not P=VI.

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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Finite Fourier Alchemy
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quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:
Another issue of incandescent light bulbs is the actual voltage of electricity. Power varies as the square of voltage, so if you have 90% of the "rated" voltage, you only get 81% of the power output. For an incandescent bulb, this means you only get 81% of the output lumens. You also get about 20% longer life at the lower voltage.

Hmmm...my circuits book says P=VI, not P=VI.
P = VI = I2R = V2/R

Increasing voltage over a given resistance increases the current proportionally. If you're changing voltage and keeping resistance constant, power changes with the square of the voltage.

--------------------
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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Finite Fourier Alchemy:
quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
Hmmm...my circuits book says P=VI, not P=VI.

P = VI = I2R = V2/R

Increasing voltage over a given resistance increases the current proportionally. If you're changing voltage and keeping resistance constant, power changes with the square of the voltage. [/QB]

Oh, Duh! That's what I get for posting late at night...

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"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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wolbeer
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
I recently bought a three-pack of 100W equivalent CF bulbs (the kind that only use 40W of energy but are supposed to be as bright as 100W incandescents) and honestly, they're not as bright as the incandescents I've used in those same light fixtures all these years. I don't know if it's the particular brand or style that I bought (I don't have the package) but I am rather disappointed with the brightness level. I was going to put one in my reading lamp but I'm glad I didn't.

Even after 10 minutes? Most CF-bulbs take 5-10 minutes to get to their max. output. In Belgium you only need a 20W-CF lamp to have the same output as a regular 100 w incandescent lamp. But we have 230 v, so that might be the reason for the difference.

In 2004 every household in the flemish region got a CF-lamp for free. over 1 mio CF-lamps have been distributed and each household saves over 180 kwh by using the free CF-lamp.

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Richard W
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Same in the UK (240V). The bulbs do start off dimmer when you switch the light on but they don't take long to become as bright as a conventional bulb.
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jennakatze
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I remember years ago when I got my first CF bulbs, the packages had a warning label on them that they should not be used in enclosed receptacles. Is that no longer true? All of the lights in the apartment I live in now have fully enclosed receptacles (covered with glass domes), except in the solarium, so I switched back to regular incandescent lights. I would love to go back to my fully CF bulb ways, though.
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Seaboe Muffinchucker
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I just have to say that I keep reading this thread topic as "Change a light bulb, save the Saudis"--directly opposite of the actual meaning.

[Big Grin]

Seaboo

--------------------
Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Hero_Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by wolbeer:
Even after 10 minutes? Most CF-bulbs take 5-10 minutes to get to their max. output. In Belgium you only need a 20W-CF lamp to have the same output as a regular 100 w incandescent lamp. But we have 230 v, so that might be the reason for the difference.

A 100W equivalent CF lightbulb in North America is between 23W and 29W, depending on the style, size, colour, etc. I found CF bulbs at Home Depot which are higher wattage but are a more "natural" colour of light.

But in general, electrical equipment is more efficient at higher voltages.

--------------------
"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

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WildaBeast
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quote:
Originally posted by wolbeer:
quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
I recently bought a three-pack of 100W equivalent CF bulbs (the kind that only use 40W of energy but are supposed to be as bright as 100W incandescents) and honestly, they're not as bright as the incandescents I've used in those same light fixtures all these years. I don't know if it's the particular brand or style that I bought (I don't have the package) but I am rather disappointed with the brightness level. I was going to put one in my reading lamp but I'm glad I didn't.

Even after 10 minutes? Most CF-bulbs take 5-10 minutes to get to their max. output.
That's the thing I noticed with the inexpensive CF bulbs I have. They're not very bright at all when I first turn them on, but after a few minutes they get brighter. The better quality CF bulbs I ordered from here don't seem to have that problem.

That site also has dimmable bulbs starting at $6.50 and three-ways starting at $9.25.

quote:
I remember years ago when I got my first CF bulbs, the packages had a warning label on them that they should not be used in enclosed receptacles. Is that no longer true? All of the lights in the apartment I live in now have fully enclosed receptacles (covered with glass domes), except in the solarium, so I switched back to regular incandescent lights. I would love to go back to my fully CF bulb ways, though.
I think the last time I bought one they still had that warning. However, I have used them in enclosed fixtures in spite of the warning and for me there never was a problem; they worked fine.

I wonder if it perhaps it shortens the life of the bulb. I had one that had been previously been used in an enclosed fixture burn out recently.

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LittleDuck
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I really love using the fluorescent bulbs (mostly mini coils). We have a hallway fixture upstairs that has no switch (I don't know hwy, it just doesn't) so we use one in that. Even being on 24/7, bulbs have lasted more than a yaer in the fixture. In fact, of all the mini coils we have I think that one and the downstairs hall light (which is on the most of any light that does have a switch) are the only bulbs we have had to change. I don't know about a difference on the electric bill but I do notice the difference in my wallet.

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Unknown Soldier
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I'm just curious... When an incandescent light burns out it will usually flash and pop as a result of the filiment burning in two. What happens when a CFL "burns" out?

--------------------
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strange_little_girl
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I have an energy saving light bulb which I was given free by the toddler group around 7 years ago which is still going strong. It does take a few minutes to light up fully but the newer ones I've got in other fixtures seem to reach full output almost immediately.

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Deranged LunaTech
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quote:
As long as the world's demand for oil exceeds the supply, our using less oil isn't going to "put a huge dent in the Saudis bank accounts." It just means the Saudis will sell more of their oil to countries other than the U.S.
OPEC will ensure that supply will never exceed demand.... That's part of their function - much like the Federal reserve regulates the interest rate to control inflation, OPEC controls production rates to regulate market price.

--------------------
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Morseman
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Davros:
[QB] in Australia most of our electrical power is generated with coal with under 8% approx from oil or gas(natural gas not petrol)

The part about hurting the Suadi economy is, as has already been said, a none starter.

However, saving energy and reducing CO2 emmissions is correct.

For instance, each kWh of electricity used that has been generated in the UK (a mix of mainly Coal, gas and a little hydro plus a small % of renewables) is calculated to release 0.43kg of CO2. The figures are calculated by DEFRA every few years to take into account the different mix of fuels used to generate electricity in the UK.

The figure for a kWh of gas used, in the UK, is 0.15kg of CO2 released.

Since electricity and gas prices are going up, so the value of a saving made this year will increase next year is the tariff increases.

Hope this helps people calculate the cost and effects of using gas and electricity.

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Morseman
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quote:
Originally posted by Unknown Soldier:
I'm just curious... When an incandescent light burns out it will usually flash and pop as a result of the filiment burning in two. What happens when a CFL "burns" out?

All that happens is that, one day, you switch the light on and nothing happens, or it flickers and doesn't 'strike'. In simple terms, striking is the gas inside the tube charging up and 'ignighting'. It's more complicated than that, but unless you are a chemist, who cares? [lol]

The traditional long straight flourecent tubes sometimes flicker if the starter unit breaks down, and replacing that usually restarts the light, but in the ones we are talking about the starter is encapsulated in the base, so once something goes, you have to replace it. However, they should last for a lot longer than the filament bulbs.

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Donovan
Deck the Malls


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I tell you what, not having to change the three lights in my hall (which I swear ate incandecents for lunch) has made the cost of CFLs worth it to me.

I gotta wonder how long before the new LED technology bumps the CFLs and traditionals right off the shelves.

Donovan Ravenhull

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Illius me paenitet, dux (Latin for fun and business)

"It's like trying to hawk pork chops at a kosher PETA banquet." - Esprise Me

Posts: 429 | From: Alabama | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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Be happy you only have to feed 'em once a day [Smile]

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Movie characters never make typing mistakes.

Posts: 586 | From: Hamburg, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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