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 Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet

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str8razor

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PostSubject: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:34 am

Not that anyone isn't on here but it does bring up some very good points in the following article.

from www.theartofmanliness.com


Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet: 6 Ways to Bring Civility Online

“All u need is one shell: for yourself. Done.”

“Nothing says survival like a tube of Carmex. Add a little to that condom you stored and protect the world from more people like you….”

The above comments were left on Tuesday’s post about building the Ultimate Survival Shotgun. That post was a big hit, quickly becoming one of our most popular articles of all time (thanks Creek!). But not everyone really got it—it was designed neither to be a humorous satire nor a super serious survival tutorial. Rather, it was simply supposed to showcase a fun project that also taught some of the basic principles of building a survival kit; it was meant to be an extremely cool look at a challenge a man set for himself—how to build a survival kit on a shotgun without any separate packs—and how he very cleverly accomplished the task.

Okay, so not everyone saw that, and even if they did, they still didn’t like it. That’s fine. We don’t expect everyone to like every article! But how does a man go from not liking a blog article to finding its author unworthy of reproduction or life?! I’ve come across plenty of blog posts that I’ve detested, but I’ve never made the leap from my distaste for a piece to thinking the author should off himself. Where does this kind of angry, cringe-inducing inhumanity come from?

Certainly the loss of empathy from interacting as anonymous, disembodied selves is a major factor. But the real root of the problem is how we view our time online; many see it as a break from their “real lives”—a place where they can let it all hang out. In their off-line lives they must be civil and refrain from telling their boss how they really feel about him, yelling at the customer service rep who’s giving them the runaround, and getting out of the car and punching the rude and reckless driver in front of them. The anger from this restraint boils inside of them, and online, freed from any real consequences, they unleash their pent-up venom.

But the world is spending more and more of its time online. For many, it has become our major source of education, entertainment, communication, and debate. Isn’t it time to let go of the false wall between our online lives and our “real” ones and act with the same kind of civility on the internet that we do in our day-to-day interactions?
Why a Man Should Strive to Be More Civil Online

A gentleman treats others with dignity and respect, regardless of the kind of forum in which he participates. He treats life’s fellow travelers as he himself would like to be treated. And in doing so, he makes the world a little better of a place everywhere he goes. He leaves those he interacts with feeling edified and uplifted instead of depressed and angry. Every man has the power to brighten his corner of the world, whether that corner be in the office, his home, or online. The more men who decide to take the higher road of civility, the more enjoyable everyone’s lives become. And choosing to reject our baser impulses in favor of our higher ones is a big part of becoming our best selves and building our legacy.

We all have daily annoyances that build up a well of anger inside of us. But instead of taking this rage out on others, it should be released healthily through things like exercise, meditation, and time spent in nature.
How to Be More Civil Online

Being a gentleman online simply involves the application of common sense. But anyone who leaves their home each day knows how uncommon common sense can be.

In our grandfathers’ and great-grandfathers’ time, etiquette books were extremely popular; believe it or not, Emily Post’s tome on the subject was one of the most requested books by GI’s during World War II. Our forefathers understood something we often forget: no matter how common sense something is, without frequent reminders and practice, humans are drawn to the path of least resistance. While our culture has largely dropped these reminders to be our better selves, today we’ll fill in the gap by reviewing some common sense principles for being a gentleman online.

1. Remember that there are real people on the other side of the computer.

This is so easy to forget. We see only our screen and our empty apartment; the faces of folks out there who will be reading what we write seem unreal and nebulous. But they are out there. And your words can truly wound them. So when writing something, keep this rule in mind:

2. Never say something to someone online that you wouldn’t say to the person’s face.

Perhaps the most important rule for online interactions. People level the kind of vitriol online they would assuredly never say to someone’s face. I know a website owner that sometimes figures out the phone numbers of those who leave extremely rude comments and calls them up to ask what made them say something like that. Inevitably, the confronted person, hearing the voice of a real human being, is reduced to a stammering, apologetic mess.

3. Use your real name.

This is simple: if you’re not proud enough of something to have it associated with your real name, then why are you writing it?

Yes, there are caveats to this rule–legitimate reasons for anonymity. But when typing in an alias, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Do you have a valid reason for doing so, or do you simply wish to avoid ownership of your words because they are rude?

4. Sit on it.

This is something I’ve had to learn by experience and still struggle with. You see something that makes your blood boil, you’re filled with the desire to absolutely eviscerate a person, and you furiously type out a scathing response and press send. And later you regret it.

Instead, go ahead and write out your comment to get it off your chest, but sit on it for several hours or even a day. I know it feels like you simply have to get it off your chest at that very moment, but your adrenaline and heart rate are up and you’re not thinking clearly. Give it some time and you’ll be amazed at how “I must respond!” will transform into “Eh, who cares?”

Source: xkcd.com

5. Or don’t respond at all.

Your mom was right: If you don’t have something nice to say, sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all. This is another thing I’ve learned from experience and still slip up with. I used to want to rebut every bit of criticism directed at me, but I’ve learned to choose my battles and that it’s often better not to get involved at all. Just let people do their thing. I know it’s difficult because when we feel someone is wrong, it’s so hard to let it go. We want to show people the error of their ways and change their minds.

But as sure as you are about being right, you can never win an online argument. Why? Because of something called the “backfire effect.” In this article on the effect by David McRaney, which I highly recommend reading, he explains the fact that far from changing people’s minds, threatening someone’s beliefs actually strengthens and entrenches them further. This is why I generally abstain from heated internet debates; they get you all worked up, waste your time, and go absolutely nowhere.

If you come across a discussion where you really feel like a different perspective needs to be added, just jump in and civilly state your case instead of responding directly to specific people. People are much more likely to consider your point of view when they experience it indirectly as opposed to feeling attacked.

6. Say something positive.

Studies have shown what people already know from experience: folks are more likely to make negative comments in online forums than positive ones. It makes sense; when something makes you angry, you’re much more motivated to complain about it and want to vent. McRaney explains why this is:

“A thousand positive remarks can slip by unnoticed, but one “you suck” can linger in your head for days. One hypothesis as to why this and the backfire effect happens is that you spend much more time considering information you disagree with than you do information you accept. Information which lines up with what you already believe passes through the mind like a vapor, but when you come across something which threatens your beliefs, something which conflicts with your preconceived notions of how the world works, you seize up and take notice. Some psychologists speculate there is an evolutionary explanation. Your ancestors paid more attention and spent more time thinking about negative stimuli than positive because bad things required a response. Those who failed to address negative stimuli failed to keep breathing.”

Well, I certainly want to keep breathing, but I don’t want to only respond to things that make me angry. So this is something I’ve been working on too. When I read a blog post I enjoy, I find it easy to think, “That was great,” before surfing away. So I’ve been trying to take a minute to type those thoughts out before moving on. As a blog owner myself, I know how incredibly encouraging it is to hear something positive.

How else can we cultivate civility online?
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Guy



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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:27 am

I live by #2 & #3
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Doc Manhattan

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:56 pm

In the gentlemanly interest of giving credit where credit is due, I'd like to mention that the article reprinted above is by Brett and Kate McKay. (Do check out the original on their site, to appreciate the inline illustrations.)

Cheers to the McKays for an interesting discussion, and a tip of the hat to str8razor for bringing it to my attention.
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str8razor

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:32 am

Doc Manhattan wrote:
In the gentlemanly interest of giving credit where credit is due, I'd like to mention that the article reprinted above is by Brett and Kate McKay. (Do check out the original on their site, to appreciate the inline illustrations.)

Cheers to the McKays for an interesting discussion, and a tip of the hat to str8razor for bringing it to my attention.

The link was provided to their website at the top of the page
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Dutch

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:15 am

Excellent post! I have often considered that when you read the statistics on psychiatric drugs prescribed by doctors in the U.S., it's no wonder that some people are extracting "therapy" online. I think there is a possibility that their anger is coming from somewhere other than the forum posts they are responding to.
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Airborne



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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:30 pm

Excellent. Very nice.

Thank you.
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Irene Adler
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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:29 pm

As a gentleman, I often hold my tongue - especially online.

But considering that I am a woman, I have this habit of talking too much...

Cool
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str8razor

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:54 pm

Irene Adler wrote:
As a gentleman, I often hold my tongue - especially online.

But considering that I am a woman, I have this habit of talking too much...

Cool

lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol!
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CyrilLucar

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:54 pm

Vivat!

I would hope that a community of pipesmokers would be gentlemanly (and gentlewomanly) in our discourse and manner, with a little gentle snark thrown in, of course.
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MartinH

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:03 pm

Excellent article. On this topic, I am constantly amazed at how angry people are on the roads. I live in the south, Charlotte, NC to be exact, and people's anger on the road is palpable. In person, while shopping in stores, the rudeness of the average individual is impossible to overstate.

I feel that not only has there been very little decorum online since the inception of the earliest bulletin boards, but society in it's totality has lost its civility. To be honest, this pipe smoking community is the only place online that I've experienced where civility is the rule, not the exception.

There are a great many brothers/sisters on this forum who are probably smarter than me. So I ask, what has been the cause of this lack of civility and decorum? Is it the media we consume? Is it the breakdown of the nuclear family? I'm not talking about gay-marriage versus straight-couples, I am writing of the lack of father or mother figures in so many children's lives? However, this "absence" of role models exists across all social and economic strata.

Now, raising a toddler, I'm constantly reminded of how important it is that I always set the example for my little boy. I'm not perfect, by any means, but where have things gone wrong for so many children, and even adults.

My wife used to listen to rap all the time, it was her escape from her job as a symphony musician. I have come to summarize our culture, especially the drivers in this city, with a phrase from a rap song.

"Move bit$h, get out the way." (Sorry for the profanity) I thinks this speaks very loudly of the "me and I" culture we live in. Most people who I meet are more concerned to feed their own ego and id, than giving to others, or doing the right thing for the greater good.

I'm not a US citizen, and grew up in Europe. However, despite living here since 1990, I just don't understand. Can anyone expound on what has and is happening in this country? This lack of civility extrapolates directly to the Internet I think. Anonymity leads to people being even more uncivil and downright nasty. I used to answer telephones at a public library. You simply wouldn't believe the rudeness and downright disgusting behavior by people who assume they have anonymity when calling a city/county service. It was simply disgraceful behavior by the majority of callers.

At any rate, I rant, and if this post is inappropriate, I understand and will gladly take it down.

However, I have to end in saying that I find pipe-smokers to be the friendliest, most informed, most intelligent and best behaved people I have ever met, either online or in person.

Sincerely,

Martin
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daveinlax

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:35 am

CyrilLucar wrote:
Vivat!

I would hope that a community of pipesmokers would be gentlemanly (and gentlewomanly) in our discourse and manner, with a little gentle snark thrown in, of course.

After a whole month and 10 posts and you're telling US how to behave? Would you tell me that to my face? Really! I say that's very rude.
I didn't even need to read your little primer on "manliness" to know to comeback with some gentle snarkiness, of course Shocked


Last edited by daveinlax on Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Airborne



Registration date : 2011-07-06

PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:28 am

MartinH wrote:
Excellent article. On this topic, I am constantly amazed at how angry people are on the roads. I live in the south, Charlotte, NC to be exact, and people's anger on the road is palpable. In person, while shopping in stores, the rudeness of the average individual is impossible to overstate.

I feel that not only has there been very little decorum online since the inception of the earliest bulletin boards, but society in it's totality has lost its civility. To be honest, this pipe smoking community is the only place online that I've experienced where civility is the rule, not the exception.

There are a great many brothers/sisters on this forum who are probably smarter than me. So I ask, what has been the cause of this lack of civility and decorum? Is it the media we consume? Is it the breakdown of the nuclear family? I'm not talking about gay-marriage versus straight-couples, I am writing of the lack of father or mother figures in so many children's lives? However, this "absence" of role models exists across all social and economic strata.

Now, raising a toddler, I'm constantly reminded of how important it is that I always set the example for my little boy. I'm not perfect, by any means, but where have things gone wrong for so many children, and even adults.

My wife used to listen to rap all the time, it was her escape from her job as a symphony musician. I have come to summarize our culture, especially the drivers in this city, with a phrase from a rap song.

"Move bit$h, get out the way." (Sorry for the profanity) I thinks this speaks very loudly of the "me and I" culture we live in. Most people who I meet are more concerned to feed their own ego and id, than giving to others, or doing the right thing for the greater good.

I'm not a US citizen, and grew up in Europe. However, despite living here since 1990, I just don't understand. Can anyone expound on what has and is happening in this country? This lack of civility extrapolates directly to the Internet I think. Anonymity leads to people being even more uncivil and downright nasty. I used to answer telephones at a public library. You simply wouldn't believe the rudeness and downright disgusting behavior by people who assume they have anonymity when calling a city/county service. It was simply disgraceful behavior by the majority of callers.

At any rate, I rant, and if this post is inappropriate, I understand and will gladly take it down.

However, I have to end in saying that I find pipe-smokers to be the friendliest, most informed, most intelligent and best behaved people I have ever met, either online or in person.

Sincerely,

Martin



A very good post, Martin. And I pretty much agree with your assessment. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that America is a huge country and as such, you will find most everything in abundance. I'm an American, but I live in Quebec. I can assure you that rudeness is not an exclusive American trait (especially on the highway at rush hour). I also lived in Ireland and it was true there as well. However, my experience has always been that friendly, pleasant, charming, gracious people far out number the discontents. My wife (who’s Quebecois) always remarks when we cross the border into the U.S. how pleasant and kind Americans are.

As for the internet, my guess is that anonymity is a big cause of rudeness.

Ultimately, it amounts to what we value. If we value respect, we will gravitate in that direction. If we value rudeness, we too will gravitate to it.

Anyway, maybe we should promote what you said about pipes and endeavour to convert the world to peaceful pipe smoking!

Enjoy the weekend!
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MartinH

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:51 am

Airborne - if we can convert the world into a enjoying pipes and therefore being decent and respectful people, that would be my version of panacea.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!


Martin
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LIPIPE

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:10 am

Well written posts Martin (by the way I'm Martin too/friends call me Marty) and my friend John. I'm a life long New Yorker. I was born in the Bronx, have lived on Long Island for 35 years and I have a vacation home in rural upstate New York. Rudeness is relative to the pace of life. It is also I believe part of the "American Culture" which is the freedom of living large. We Northerner's somehow assume that the Southern life is more laid back and genteel. I guess from your post it is not. I think the USA has melded into one large culture of free living, free thinking and free acting, and that is expressed by free language. Somehow when I see someone write Bull $hit I know that they say the words but exercise discretion or repression when they write it. Colloquially, I use the famous four letter word now and then as a means of manly expression but I refrain from writing it. I am not an aggressive driver, but having done police work on Long Island for fifteen years, I understand it. As a cop I learned how to drive aggressively. It is dangerous to do and careless, however, it is unfortunately a pressure relief valve. That said, I understand it but do not condone it. I worked as a highway patrol cop. The pressures of life, time constraints, and traffic congestion on poorly designed roadways make drivers sometimes become aggressive. What I've experienced on roads on Long Island does not exist on upstate highways or country roads. People at peace with their environments do not become aggressive in their driving or in other daily activities.

Pipe smokers as a group are gentlemanly and laid back. They do not rush around and they are at peace with their environment. Several police colleagues were pipe smokers. We aggressively enforced the laws on the highway, but, we did it with discretion and understanding. Many motorists got the speech and the warning and were allowed to proceed on their way. The wise guys got the summonses. DWI's got cuffed and arrested. Enjoyment of the pipe is closest to "smelling the roses". We as men take our time and look forward to enjoying the ride.

I too, enjoy this forum, and the friends I have made. Pipe smokers are a great bunch of guys to know.
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Doc Manhattan

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:22 am

Talk of pipes and aggressive driving reminds me of the poem "Meditation on the A30" by John Betjeman. The road is a place where being a gentleman may indeed save your and other's lives--maybe it would be best if we went back to thinking of the Internet, too, as an "Information Superhighway" and acted accordingly.
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:33 pm

Nice post Martin.

As a father myself, I agree that setting a good example for our children becomes vital in our role as parents. Perhaps in becoming aware of our own behavior, we are also becoming aware of rude behavior in general? Maybe it´s more a sign of our own "evolution" and that people are quite rude period given the right circumstances? Dunno.

I don´t know if pipe smokers would fit the bill as a higher species, but generally we seem to have a working "clam filter" insofar as posting is concerned. I have seen some truly crappy behavior both on this board and others but is usually swings back towards civility before too long. I´ve also experienced a sense of belonging and generosity among the pipe smoking community that is way beyond other internet venues. That´s why I stick around.



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Brewdude

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:55 pm

I'm all about civility on forums. Practice what you preach is my motto. I make an effort to never say anything on line I wouldn't say to someones' face.

That's one of the reasons I like this site. The participants are courteous, civil, and it's easy to have a discussion even if we don't agree.

Good site here, and I feel right at home.


Cheers,

RR
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CyrilLucar

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:12 pm

daveinlax wrote:
CyrilLucar wrote:
Vivat!

I would hope that a community of pipesmokers would be gentlemanly (and gentlewomanly) in our discourse and manner, with a little gentle snark thrown in, of course.

After a whole month and 10 posts and you're telling US how to behave? Would you tell me that to my face? Really! I say that's very rude.
I didn't even need to read your little primer on "manliness" to know to comeback with some gentle snarkiness, of course Shocked

Dave,

Hmmm... I'm a little confused, to say the least. Maybe I was completely misunderstood. Perhaps this will help.

1) I didn't begin this topic, nor did I check the poster's time on this blog before I responded.
2) I didn't post the primer on "manliness" (or even repost it).
3) I wasn't telling anyone how to behave, I was a) agreeing with the poster and b) expressing my expectation that this community would be a place of civility - though since I am new, that can only be expressed as a "hope."
4) And yes, to your face I would admit that I agree with the original poster that civility is important.

Cheers,

Cyril
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dshpipes

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PostSubject: Re: Being a Gentleman in the Age of the Internet   Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:32 pm

This is a great thread and I am delighted to see this topic being discussed! I too agree that we've lost a great deal of civility in society in general, but am glad that there are others still carrying the torch.

One thing that I've noticed is that the extremely fast pace by which we live our lives these days builds up a lot of stress in most people's systems, leaving little room for the consideration of others. Many lash out without taking the time to consider how they're affecting someone else. We see it on the internet, over text, over the phone, and almost every where else you can imagine.

This may be one reason why pipe smokers tend to be significantly more civil and pleasant that the general populous: we take the time to consider and collect our thoughts and feelings and in doing so de-stress. This practice allows us to exert our energy in a more positive and focused way than much of the populous who are so wound up into knots of stress that they barely have the time to think about what their next meal is, much less how their behavior affects others.

This, of course, is an opinion based on observation and is no way meant to be a statement of fact.

Thank you to everyone for sharing your thoughts and opinions on this subject. It is delightful to hear your views. Smile

Sincerely,
David
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