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Author Topic: Urban Legends of London
Justin
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I am interested in any information on urban legends of London, on the pig in the sewer stories, bodies in the tube trains blah blah blah...

Can anyone help?


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Charley
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Justin:
the pig in the sewer stories

I can't resist this Justin, what on earth is the pig in the sewer story?

Char "on the Baconloo line?"ley

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I choose solid ground to make my stands. And stay off the streets at closing time.


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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Here's a page which also mentions the story, but it doesn't tell it either!
http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~jeffc/tunnels.html

Embra "Queen's Pork?"


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Charley
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Thanks Embra, at least that link is a pointer!

I heard there were pigs in the sewers but they got eaten by the alligators on holiday from New York.

Char "rubbish, I know, but it's been a long day" ley.

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I choose solid ground to make my stands. And stay off the streets at closing time.


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arnold wanker
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Y'all need to go rent/buy the 1972 film 'Deathline', the mother of all Urban Legends movies. It starred Donald Sutherland and still packs a scary punch to this day.
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Rhapsody Angel
The Red and the Green Stamps


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It's not much as urban legends go, but many people claim that pigeons regularly ride the Underground on certain routes, routinely boarding and exiting at the same stations. Not surprisingly, my sources aren't clear on which stations or lines the pigeons have been seen riding. I've seen one board a train at Earl's Court, but I'm not certain it was deliberate. 'course, I didn't see it debark, either. Scary thought, that: first clever sheep, now intelligent commuting sky rats.

Remind me later to tell you about the demonic bird of Lincoln's Inn.

Rhapsody "bird brained" Angel


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RenaSF
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Have you read King Solomon's Carpet by Ruth Rendell? Not exactly an urban legend, but discusses virtually every possible way to die in and around the tube, and includes many gruesome true stories about tube accidents, tube surfing, tube fires, and other assorted mayhem.

Rena "tubular" SF


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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
many people claim that pigeons regularly ride the Underground on certain routes, routinely boarding and exiting at the same stations. ... . I've seen one board a train at Earl's Court, but I'm not certain it was deliberate.

I saw two get on to the Metropolitan line at Baker Street (I think... that does have open platforms, right?) once. I can't remember where they got off, and I don't make that journey often enough to know if they do it consistently.


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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I saw pigeons limping about on stationary trains at (I think) Whitechapel, but I've never seen them travel, much less get off... However, a co-worker says she's travelled on the Piccadilly Line with pigeons, embarking at Baron's Court and disembarking at Hammersmith. She says they weren't at all fazed, just kept pecking about on the floor and the platform...

Embra "stop the pigeon"


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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
... a co-worker says she's travelled on the Piccadilly Line with pigeons, embarking at Baron's Court and disembarking at Hammersmith.

At risk of sounding completely unreliable, when I was trying to remember where I'd seen this, I originally thought "Hammersmith", but then I suddenly thought that there wasn't an appropriate platform there. I think I was getting the two parts of the station confused... maybe I could pretend they were going to Hammersmith from Baker Street on the Jubilee line - but that's definitely a deep one - damn!

Anyway, these pigeons were definitely on a moving train, and they were also completely unperturbed by it and just stood about near the doors.

Richard "Mornington Crescent" W


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osakadave
I Saw Three Shipments


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I haven't seen any pigeons on the trains here, but I have seen something similar in Nara (very old city neighboring Osaka) with deer. Downtown Nara is a large park/temple complex where a large herd of sacred deer live. They mostly keep to the park, but can be found in most parts of the city. On several opccassions, I've witnessed the deer seemingly obeying traffic signals - stopping for red lights, crossing on green lights.

Osaka "1 word: venison" Dave

------------------
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A: Because Buddhists don't have any soul.


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Justin
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I must admit I have lived in London most of my life and NEVER seen this behaviour from the pigeons - maybe I should open my eyes!

Anyone know of the bricked up tube trains with the bodied inside?


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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Here's an extensive piece about pigeons (and other animals) on the tube:
http://victorian.fortunecity.com/finsbury/254/tubeanimals.html

Also, I remember a children's story by Roger McGough called "The Bakerloo Flea". The premise was that the rubbish in the tunnels harbours colonies of giant rats, which are themselves colonised by HUGE fleas. The flea in question was dispatched by a group of plucky cleaning ladies...


Embra "blind tube mare"

[This message has been edited by Embra (edited 07-26-2000).]


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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Probably more popular culture than an UL, but I had an uncle who was fond of singing at top volume a song about the ghost of Anne Boleyn, who walks the Bloody Tower "wiv 'er 'ead tooked under 'er ar-r-r-rm."
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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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http://freespace.virgin.net/martin.lightburn/county/london.htm

is a list of ghosts associated with London. Most of them are pre-20th century, but I noticed a phantom bus story and a ghost motorcyclist amongst them. Best of all, Greenwich claims its very own vanishing hitch hiker, who disappears from the back of a motorbike while going through the Blackwall tunnel.

AND I've just come across this recent encounter with a ghost on the Northern Line:
http://www.h2g2.com/A259599

Embra "...but he died years ago."

[This message has been edited by Embra (edited 07-26-2000).]


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Slycat
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I am an American, but London is one of my favorite cities. The one I heard was that folks were allegedly committing suicide on the Tube by jumping in front of the oncoming train. I was told when this happens, the train stops for a “passenger action.” I have no idea if this is true or not. (I come from a small town in the US without even a bus line so I don't know.)

I have also heard many stories of ghosts in London. My sister, a London resident, has had stuff moved about her flat. She would look for a long time for things just to find them sitting in the most obvious places. I happened to me on a visit as well. Some of my medication was lost, and still never turned up.


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Brad from Georgia
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My wife and I leave in a few hours for a two-week vacation in London and the UK, so I'll listen for ULs. Of course, with my Southern drawl and the various British accents, they may get a bit garbled....
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Jaime
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Re: the people committing suicide by jumping in front of trains.
Oh yes. They do. And more often than you'd think.

It totally sends the entire systm into confusion. I do feel sorry for these people but it gets hard when they mean you're stuck on a tube or in a station for hours waiting for them to deal with the problem. It does mean your boss can't really be annoyed when you stroll in 2 hours late though. Not even my boss is THAT stone hearted!

Oh, but "passenger action" usually just means that somebody has pulled an emergency cord or messed with the doors or pulled a knife out or something. They tell you the truth when its somebody in front of a train.

Jaime.


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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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When I hear the phrase "passenger incident", I always assume someone's thrown themselves under a train. This goes for overground as well as underground lines. From what Jaime says, it sounds like I could be upgrading those instances when people pull the communication cord though... I've heard the phrase "fatality on the line" as well. Co-worker here says that she overheard the technical term "some nfbsking idiot" once, over the walkie talkie of a train company employee who was standing next to her on the platform...

I've never heard the scare story about people being deliberately pushed onto the line told about the London Underground. The newest stations on the recently ready-for-action sections of the Jubilee Line now have a system of glass or perspex panelling along the platform with sliding doors which (theoretically) align with the doors of the train so you can't throw yourself, or push others under the train. Neither can you get clothing etc trapped in the doors of the train and be dragged to your death, which certainly HAS happened in recent years...

Embra "the London Underground is not a political movement"


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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Damn, I really should pay more attention on trains. First I couldn't remember where the pigeons were, now this. Anyway, I've also been on a train which was delayed because of a death - I think somebody died of a heart attack on the train in front, but it might have been that they died by the track, or not a heart attack, or something. Anyway the point was that our train was delayed because somebody somewhere had died of something, and the conductor told us so without using any euphemisms. And it must be true because I was with my Aunt's hairdresser's friend at the time (or was it her cousin? Curse my memory...)

It probably depends on the person making the announcement. Does anyone know if there are official guidelines for this sort of thing?


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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Another co-worker says that on the tube she heard the announcement: "Your train has been delayed because some idiot has decided to throw themselves under the train in front."

Do train-drivers who run over jumpers like this get the automatic right to retirement (on full pay?) if they want it, or am I just imagining that?

Embra "tubular hell"


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Macheath
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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This comes straight from "Brad from Georgia" who is currently in London, spreading cheer and good will throughout the streets. Or something.

He says the tour guides that run the boat tours along the Thames are spreading the UL that POSH stands for "Port Out, Starboard Home" while they pilot the boats about the river.

Let me assure you that dad didn't just call me to get this posted on the page. He also called me to wash his car.

Mack da "son of Brad from Georgia" Knife


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ROBERT.BAK
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Macheath:
This comes straight from "Brad from Georgia" who is currently in London, spreading cheer and good will throughout the streets. Or something.

He says the tour guides that run the boat tours along the Thames are spreading the UL that POSH stands for "Port Out, Starboard Home" while they pilot the boats about the river.


I've been to Brighton (on the south coast of England) the past two years, and on both occasions the taped commentary on the Guide Friday buses gave the UL about Lewis Carroll giving Queen Victoria one of his mathematics textbooks. Of course, as the page I link to explains, this is pure BS; Lewis Carroll didn't write any maths textbooks, they were written by his alter-ego Charles Dodgson... (who, to the end of his life, strived to maintain the fiction that he and Lewis Carroll were two different people...)


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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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A couple of years ago, scientists noted that mosquitoes living in the London Underground had developed separately from their above-ground brethren, to the extent that they might constitute a new species.

http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:www.astmh.org/newsl tr/news10-98/scinotes.html+mosquitoes+london+underground&hl=en

Not quite the Bakerloo flea, but...

Embra "bitten by the bug"

[This message has been edited by Embra (edited 08-01-2000).]


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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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And, warming to the theme of London-based ULs, here are a couple attributed to the capital. They doubtless have other homes as well...

From Healey & Glanvill's The Return of Urban Myths, Virgin, 1993.

quote:
A story recently appeared in a local free sheet in London's East End concerning a dog that had followed behind his owner (on his way to work and oblivious to his pet's presence) as far as Mile End tube station.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the dog then ran along the tracks after the tube train his owner was on, eventually surfacing at Stratford, one stop away along the Central Line.
Luckily he'd suffered only slight injuries.

heh. Dogs really ARE stupid. Even PIGEONS know to get on the train...

H&G go on to say that the journalist writing up the story called London Underground to check the tale, only to be told an even taller one about a dog spotted at King's Cross which appeared later at Earl's Court ("11 stops if the dog used the most direct route, the Piccadilly Line").

Story number two:

quote:
One of the first places to have the automatic speedchecks fitted was near Wembley on lOndon's north circular road. Recently a motorist known to a friend was quite taken aback to receive a docket from the Met advising him that following the examination of photographic evidence, he was being fined for exceeding the speed limit.
The thing was, his car had broken down on the morning of the date stated, so he demanded to see the pictures for himself.
Down at the station, he was shown the prints, which indeed showed his car crossing a junction at considerable speed and with the light on red.
But, as the driver pointed out, the photo missed out a crucial point - he was being towed by a breakdown truck at the time.

Embra "red for anger"


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rosa who else
The Red and the Green Stamps


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...with my Southern drawl and the various British accents, they may get a bit garbled....

Well, Brad from Georgia, if you listen carefully you'll hear how very close English accents and American Southern accents are.

And for those of you who aren't travelling, rent A Man For All Seasons and watch for the scene where Thomas More is throwing his daughter's suitor out of the house. He says, "Well, tek a horse and git on howm." Sounds more like Tom Bodett than anything. And the actor, Paul Scofield, wasn't trying to be transatlantic.

rosa (enchanted with both accents)

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Brad from Georgia
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Well, we got back from the UK last night, so here's my report:

POSH--as Macheath told everyone, a crewman on a Thames river cruise gave us this one. He also defined "posh": "See the top o' that buildin'? There's a restaurant up there, an' they puts two tablecloths on ev'ry table. 'At's posh, innit? I mean, at Macdonalds, you don't even get one."

But gadfrey, folks, the tour guides in the UK seem responsible for keeping tons of misinformation in circulation. In Bath, we heard the "pluck yew" story. In Stratford, there was the "baby with the bathwater" phoney baloney. Oh--a tour guide in Bath told us that Queen Elizabeth took "one bath a year, whether she needed it or not." In Stratford-upon-Avon, a tour guide for the same company told us Queen Elizabeth took "one bath a MONTH, whether she needed it or not." That's Elizabeth I, of course. But in Edinburgh, we heard that Queen Elizabeth never bathed, whilst Mary, Queen of Scots, bathed every single day of her life.

Other lore: In Stratford, the reason for canopy beds was to keep creatures from falling from the thatch into the open mouths of sleepers. Rats and mice were mentioned, but I couldn't contain myself and said, "Of course, cats and dogs couldn't get up there, so that couldn't be the reason we say 'raining cats and dogs.'" The poor lady said, "Umm....no."

We visited Inverness and actually went do Drumnadrochit, where there's a "Loch Ness Monster 2000" center that actually does a good job of explaining why the presence of really large creatures in the loch is unlikely, and how conditions on the loch cause misperceptions and illusions that could be interpreted as monsters. Well done!

Oh, and at the Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall, we did hear several of the Churchill/Lady Astor exchanges, many of which I understand to be of dubious provenance.

Had a wonderful time and understood most people very well. I actually communicated more easily with the Scots than the East End Londoners. And I was surprised and a little saddened at the omnipresence of American popular culture over the water, from the ubiquitous Macdonalds and Burger Kings to pop songs and an obsessive interest in Brad Pitt (who is no relation).


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Scuttler
Ron Mexico


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quote:
Had a wonderful time and understood most people very well. I actually communicated more easily with the Scots than the East End Londoners.

Glad to hear it. I presume you didn't talk to any born and bred Glaswegians, though. You wouldn't have stood a chance!

quote:
And I was surprised and a little saddened at the omnipresence of American popular culture over the water, from the ubiquitous Macdonalds and Burger Kings to pop songs and an obsessive interest in Brad Pitt (who is no relation).

The problem is, American popular culture (burgers and Britney Spears etc.) is now International popular culture. There's no escape.


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CatInHat
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Embra:

Do train-drivers who run over jumpers like this get the automatic right to retirement (on full pay?) if they want it, or am I just imagining that?

Embra "tubular hell"


I think you're imagining it (either that, or you've got it confused with the "If my college roommate commits suicide, I get an automatic A" legend ).

I work in the mass transit industry, and I've never heard of it. They do get massive counseling, though. I suppose, if a driver is traumatized enough, they'll end up on disability.

[aside]I have driven trains on occasion, and you really don't have a lot of control from up there in the cab. You (obviously) can't steer around obstacles, and stopping takes a nfbsk of a long time, even with the emergency brake. I've seen (from the cab) trains have near misses with wild animals, and it's terrifying; all you can do is blow the horn and hope like hell the beast will get out of the nfbsk way in time. I can only imagine how it would feel if it were a person.[/aside]

Cat"Casey Jones ain't got nothing on me"InHat


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Mark
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Hey Justin, ur a pretty sick guy, but that's kewl cuz peeps say that about me all the time, i kno sum pretty kewl urban legends, most rn't from london but they're still kewl, i dunno if ya care or not. don't be a moron and not write back cuz im from the states, but i hav been 2 london, well neway, write me back crazykid4life@yahoo.com, later

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Bonnie
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
It's not much as urban legends go, but many people claim that pigeons regularly ride the Underground on certain routes, routinely boarding and exiting at the same stations. Not surprisingly, my sources aren't clear on which stations or lines the pigeons have been seen riding. I've seen one board a train at Earl's Court, but I'm not certain it was deliberate. 'course, I didn't see it debark, either.

Tunnel Vision:
Waiting for the A Train, The Sophisticated Pigeon

Randy Kennedy
The New York Times
Section A; Pg. 1; Column 4; Metropolitan Desk
5 March 2002

In the annals of strange subway stories -- some pure urban legend, some alarmingly real -- there has always been a menagerie of animals.

[...]

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/05/nyregion/05TUNN.html
[requires registration, but that's free]

[Actually, this story also ties in a bit with something Decima Dewey and others noted in http://www.snopes2.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=35&t=000409]

--------------------
Se non č vero, č ben trovato.


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milo
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Completely off-topic: I keep trying to load this page, and the document done message comes up, but it won't appear on screen. Any help?
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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I've been trying to figure this out since March of 2002, and I'm throwing in the towel. I can't explain it, milo. Sorry.

--------------------
"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

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Bug Muldoon
The "Was on Sale" Song


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 -

Have you been drinking ?

--------------------
All along the untrodden paths of the future, I can see the footprints of an unseen hand.

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Brad from Georgia
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Just fizzy water. I can't help it if I ponder things slowly.

Brad "I'm still working on the question of whether to admit China to the U.N." from Georgia

--------------------
"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

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