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Mark Steyn: Worshipping at the church of Tim Hortons (social suicide in Canada, Britain and Europe)
Macleans ^ | May 03, 2006 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 05/03/2006 4:14:07 PM PDT by NZerFromHK

The idea Canadians have replaced doxology with doughnuts is less Timmy than tinny

------------------------------

The other week, the Toronto Star assigned Kenneth Kidd to do a big story on Tim Hortons as an icon of Canadian identity. This was a couple of days before that odd incident with the fellow going into the men's room and blowing himself into a big bunch of Timbits, so nothing tricky was required, just the usual maple boosterism. And naturally the first thing Kidd did was call up the Canadian media's Mister Rent-A-Quote, Michael Adams, the author of Fire And Ice and American Backlash, and a man who can be relied upon to provide some sociological context to the lamest premise.

Mr. Adams evidently thought about the old doughnut-chain thing for a nanosecond and then slotted it effortlessly into his grand universal theory about the difference in American and Canadian "values." Canadians are communal and gregarious, while Americans are paranoid and cowering in terror behind the gates of their stockades. "Americans aspire to independence," he told the Star's man. "Their model is to drive out of town, Gary Cooper with Grace Kelly, and get on their ranch and she's in the kitchen and having babies and he's standing at the ranch gate with a gun, saying, 'no trespassing.' "

Really? Is that in the director's cut? No matter. This turned out to be just the sort of thing Kenneth Kidd needed for the piece and he ran with it: "Canadians, by contrast, are far less fearful," he decides. "Americans now increasingly use churches as their replacement for a sense of community lost to long working hours and lengthy commutes."

I don't know if, in the course of their research, Messrs. Kidd and Adams ever visited any "communities" -- in, say, New England, or old England, or Belgium, or Slovenia, or even Canada. But, if they did, they might have noticed that you drive through the outskirts of the "community," past the various "dwelling units," and arrive at the centre of the "community" -- often called a "village green" or a "town square" -- and smack dab at the centre of the centre you'll see a big building with a cross on it, and perhaps a sign saying "St. George's Parish Church. Consecrated 1352." Nonetheless, undaunted, two grown men are willing to argue in the Toronto Star that Americans have to make do with going to church because they've lost all sense of community.

But not in Canada. "We don't go to church as much on Sundays," says Adams. "We go shopping and we go to Tim's." Gotcha. Americans are forced to worship Christ, whereas Canadians are free to worship crullers.

"Timbit Nation," as the Toronto Star headlined it, belongs to a thriving genre of journalism: the feel-good story that's somehow very demoralizing. It's less Timmy than tinny -- hollow and rather sad. I yield to no one in my admiration for a glazed maple cream doughnut, but I'm not sure I'd regard it as sufficient replacement for the entire Judeo-Christian inheritance. And with the best will in the world, standing in line at a Tim's one Sunday morning a couple of months back, I couldn't detect any great sense of community: as slow-moving doughnut lines go, it was not unpleasant, but nor was it an exercise in national affirmation. As a viable thesis, that and a buck'll get you a cup of coffee.

But in a fast-changing world we can all use confirmation that the changes are working out -- especially when, as in the preference for doughnuts over doxology, they involve the rejection of age-old certainties. Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, is an apparently permanent presence on the Maclean's bestseller list mainly because of one central proposition: according to the authors, the legalization of abortion in the seventies accounted for up to half of the reduction in U.S. crime in the nineties. If you accept one of the central locutions of the abortion lobby -- that every child should be "wanted" -- this feels true: to quote the bumper sticker the columnist Nicholas von Hoffman liked to drive around with a few years back, "The fetus you save will grow up to mug you!"

And that's correct in a very basic way: almost all crime is committed by young men. If you were to abort all babies, there would be no one to hold up the convenience store in 20 years' time. On the other hand, there would also be no one to man the convenience store. The devil is in the details of trying to find the balance between those two points.

The Freakonomics theory rang false to me. For one thing, the abortion era has seen a huge rise in crime in Britain, Scandinavia and most other Western jurisdictions. If termination of the "unwanted" pre-emptively clears the punks and hoods from our streets, why wouldn't London and Stockholm and, indeed, Toronto have also seen an abortion dividend?

The pro-abortion U.S. media were notably reluctant to question Levitt and Dubner's findings. A "woman's right to choose" is not as popular as once it was, and the abortion crowd seemed happy to take "society's right to choose" as a viable fallback option, notwithstanding the whiff of old-time eugenics about the argument. But in his splendidly lucid new book The Party Of Death, Ramesh Ponnuru conclusively demolishes the Freakonomics case. While its key evidence turns out to be based on a programming error, its plausibility in the marketplace derives from a more casual assumption -- that the 45 million unborn children aborted since 1973 would, absent Roe vs. Wade, all have been born. In fact, the legalization of abortion caused the number of conceptions to go up by 30 per cent, while causing the number of births to go down by only six per cent. "Many of the unborn children who have been aborted since Roe," Ponnuru points out, "would never have been conceived in the first place without it." And, given that it also largely ended the assumption of male responsibility for the carelessly conceived, as Ponnuru writes, "Abortion may not lead to fewer unwanted children; it may lead to the birth of more children who aren't wanted by their fathers."

The Party Of Death is a very tightly argued case: by halfway through, Ponnuru had made me realize he was pro-life for much better reasons than I am. Yet the book isn't about abortion per se, so much as "the politics of personhood." One consequence of abortion is that, in designating new life a matter of "choice," it made it easier to make judgments about which lives are worth it and which aren't. Down's syndrome? Abort. Cleft palate? Abort. Chinese girl? Abort. But it's foolish to think you can raise entire populations -- not to mention generations of doctors -- to make self-interested judgments about who lives and who doesn't and expect them to remain confined to three trimesters. The "right to choose" is now being extended beyond the womb: the step from convenience conception to convenience euthanasia is a short one, and the step from convenience euthanasia to compulsory euthanasia shorter still.

Commentators like Andrew Sullivan have attacked Ponnuru, somewhat hysterically, not for his book's argument but for its title. In fact, the author got it from Ronald Dworkin, a liberal legal theorist, pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia, but nevertheless intellectually honest enough to admit that these are "choices for death." They lead not just to literal death but to a societal and spiritual death, too. In The Cube and the Cathedral, George Weigel begins his lively dissection of "politics without God" with a bracing series of questions, including the following:

"Why do certain parts of Europe exhibit a curious, even bizarre, approach to death? Why did so many of the French prefer to continue their summer vacations during the European heat wave of 2003, leaving their parents unburied and warehoused in refrigerated lockers (which were soon overflowing)? Why is death increasingly anonymous in Germany, with no death notice in the newspapers, no church funeral ceremony, no secular memorial service -- 'as though,' Richard John Neuhaus observed, 'the deceased did not exist'?"

You really need a Euro-Michael Adams to answer those questions -- to point out that Americans' collapsing communities are driving them to flock to grim rain-swept cemeteries and huddle round burial plots of friends and family in the forlorn hope of recovering the lost sense of society obliterated by their paranoid Second Amendment fearfulness, while the Frenchman by contrast affirms his belief both in personal interconnectedness and collective responsibility by spending the weekend with his wife's sister at a nude beach on the Côte d'Azur, secure in the knowledge that his dead mother on ice in the meat locker back in town is the state's problem, not his.

I seem to have wandered a long way from the Timbit Nation, but not really: as the pieties of late 20th-century progressivism crumble like a stale cruller, their defenders take refuge in self-deception, trumpeting defects as virtues, to the point where a man cradling his coffee alone in a doughnut shop on a Sunday morning is a stronger affirmation of community than a packed church. Oh well. If there's an emptiness at the heart of the advanced social-democratic state, at least Canada's worshipping the doughnut; Europe's worshipping the hole.


TOPICS: Canada; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Front Page News; Germany; News/Current Events; Philosophy; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: austria; belgium; britain; canada; cyprus; denmark; eu; europe; europeans; europeanunion; euros; finland; france; freakonomics; germany; greatbritain; greece; holland; italy; luxembourg; malta; marksteyn; netherlands; norway; partyofdeath; portugal; spain; steyn; sweden; uk
Yet another provocative article from the euroweenies' perspective. Keep 'em coming Mark, the Euros definitely need more wake up calls judging from the response to another of your recent article!
1 posted on 05/03/2006 4:14:13 PM PDT by NZerFromHK
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To: okie01; Fair Go; NYer; sionnsar; Pokey78; Tolik; goldstategop; Fred Nerks

Mark Steyn ping!


2 posted on 05/03/2006 4:15:14 PM PDT by NZerFromHK (Leftism is like honey mixed with arsenic: initially it tastes good, but that will end up killing you)
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To: NZerFromHK
Mark Steyn has that rare ability, as I do, to look at the forest from the outside and figure out the different trees and weeds.


CACIQUE'S RECOMENDED READING LIST
(CLICK ON ANY BOOK)


3 posted on 05/03/2006 4:24:20 PM PDT by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: NZerFromHK
Steyn knocks another one out of the park.

I'm looking forward to reading the book he mentioned.

Thanks for posting the entire article.

L

4 posted on 05/03/2006 4:31:35 PM PDT by Lurker (Anyone who doesn't demand an immediate end to illegal immigration is aiding the flesh trade.)
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To: NZerFromHK
"Why do certain parts of Europe exhibit a curious, even bizarre, approach to death? Why did so many of the French prefer to continue their summer vacations during the European heat wave of 2003, leaving their parents unburied and warehoused in refrigerated lockers (which were soon overflowing)? Why is death increasingly anonymous in Germany, with no death notice in the newspapers, no church funeral ceremony, no secular memorial service -- 'as though,' Richard John Neuhaus observed, 'the deceased did not exist'?"

How a society deals with its dead is a clear indicator of its health. This was brought home to me by the burial styles employed at our Mesa Verde National Park -- cliff dwellings utilized by the pre-Columbian Anasazi culture in America's Southwest.

When the society was healthy and prospering, burials were evidently quite formal, individual and with full honors -- as the deceased was fully dressed and accompanied by tools, weapons or toys, as appropriate.

Over time, however, as the society declined, bodies were literally "thrown over the side" -- into the town garbage dump at the base of the cliff.

One could see this change occurring over time -- several centuries worth of decline.

Europe would appear to be approaching "the edge of the cliff"...

5 posted on 05/03/2006 4:33:31 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: NZerFromHK
Simply outstanding Steyn.

BTTT

Cheers,

knewshound

Coming soon to a City near you !
6 posted on 05/03/2006 4:36:13 PM PDT by knews_hound (When Blogs are Outlawed, only Outlaws will have Blogs.)
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To: NZerFromHK
Oh well. If there's an emptiness at the heart of the advanced social-democratic state, at least Canada's worshipping the doughnut; Europe's worshipping the hole.

Priceless.

7 posted on 05/03/2006 4:39:38 PM PDT by jgorris
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To: NZerFromHK
You really need a Euro-Michael Adams to answer those questions -- to point out that Americans' collapsing communities are driving them to flock to grim rain-swept cemeteries and huddle round burial plots of friends and family in the forlorn hope of recovering the lost sense of society obliterated by their paranoid Second Amendment fearfulness, while the Frenchman by contrast affirms his belief both in personal interconnectedness and collective responsibility by spending the weekend with his wife's sister at a nude beach on the Côte d'Azur, secure in the knowledge that his dead mother on ice in the meat locker back in town is the state's problem, not his.

It doesn't get any better than this--ever.

8 posted on 05/03/2006 4:42:10 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: NZerFromHK
"...to point out that Americans' collapsing communities are driving them to flock to grim rain-swept cemeteries and huddle round burial plots of friends and family in the forlorn hope of recovering the lost sense of society obliterated by their paranoid Second Amendment fearfulness, while the Frenchman by contrast affirms his belief both in personal interconnectedness and collective responsibility by spending the weekend with his wife's sister at a nude beach on the Côte d'Azur, secure in the knowledge that his dead mother on ice in the meat locker back in town is the state's problem, not his."

Mr. Steyn has a gift for making the truth hurt. Ouch.
9 posted on 05/03/2006 4:48:46 PM PDT by mojito
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To: hinckley buzzard
You really need a Euro-Michael Adams to answer those questions -- to point out that Americans' collapsing communities are driving them to flock to grim rain-swept cemeteries and huddle round burial plots of friends and family in the forlorn hope of recovering the lost sense of society obliterated by their paranoid Second Amendment fearfulness, while the Frenchman by contrast affirms his belief both in personal interconnectedness and collective responsibility by spending the weekend with his wife's sister at a nude beach on the Côte d'Azur, secure in the knowledge that his dead mother on ice in the meat locker back in town is the state's problem, not his.

It doesn't get any better than this--ever.
------
Agreed, Mark at his best.

10 posted on 05/03/2006 4:49:59 PM PDT by RJL
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To: xsmommy; secret garden; Constitution Day
But not in Canada. "We don't go to church as much on Sundays," says Adams. "We go shopping and we go to Tim's." Gotcha. Americans are forced to worship Christ, whereas Canadians are free to worship crullers.

How does he do write so well and so consistently?

11 posted on 05/03/2006 4:52:18 PM PDT by NeoCaveman (new name, same sarcasm.)
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marking


12 posted on 05/03/2006 4:56:37 PM PDT by eureka! (Heaven forbid the Rats get control of Congress and/or the Presidency any time soon....)
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To: NeoCaveman

he is a jewel.


13 posted on 05/03/2006 4:59:31 PM PDT by xsmommy
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To: NZerFromHK
Wow, Steyn hit it out of the park again! And no steroids.

What is Kidd's problem? It's over the top and back again with superlatives and overdrawn stereotypes. Does he actually believe half of the p00p streaming out of his head and into the article? What a sad, strange litle man. Who would probably benefit from a visit to a Church!

14 posted on 05/03/2006 5:04:32 PM PDT by fortunecookie
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To: okie01
I wonder if there will ever be a time when America thinks about bringing home the bodies of her soldiers that are buried in France?

I could see that happening one day if things keep "progressing" there.

15 posted on 05/03/2006 5:07:27 PM PDT by concrete is my business (place, consolidate, finish)
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To: NZerFromHK
"Canadians, by contrast, are far less fearful," he decides. "Americans now increasingly use churches as their replacement for a sense of community lost to long working hours and lengthy commutes."

Uh...yeah...yeah, we've sure come a long way from our atheist roots into the theological quagmire we're in today. Is this individual sane?

16 posted on 05/03/2006 5:07:55 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: NZerFromHK
Steyn is the Cormac McCarthy of non-fiction.

I love his writing.
17 posted on 05/03/2006 5:10:28 PM PDT by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Liberals are blind. They are the dupes of Leftists who know exactly what they're doing.)
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To: NZerFromHK

How I wish Steyn could run for President; or at least Chief of Staff or presidential political advisor.


18 posted on 05/03/2006 5:33:07 PM PDT by Albion Wilde (Got freedom? Thank a veteran.)
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To: NZerFromHK
You really need a Euro-Michael Adams to answer those questions -- to point out that Americans' collapsing communities are driving them to flock to grim rain-swept cemeteries and huddle round burial plots of friends and family in the forlorn hope of recovering the lost sense of society obliterated by their paranoid Second Amendment fearfulness, while the Frenchman by contrast affirms his belief both in personal interconnectedness and collective responsibility by spending the weekend with his wife's sister at a nude beach on the Côte d'Azur, secure in the knowledge that his dead mother on ice in the meat locker back in town is the state's problem, not his.

Man. Reading Steyn when he's on a roll is like watching a master fencer twirl his silver, glittering rapier in the sun. It's beautiful!

19 posted on 05/03/2006 5:42:16 PM PDT by wizardoz
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To: NZerFromHK
The other week, the Toronto Star assigned Kenneth Kidd to do a big story...

Canadian journalists/reporters must live in daily fear that their work will have caught the eye of the Master Idiot Slayer, the Belittler of Lesser Wordsmiths, Mark Steyn.

20 posted on 05/03/2006 6:01:46 PM PDT by randog (What the...?!)
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To: concrete is my business
Indeed, a legitimate concern.

The day may well come wnen the inhabitants are likely to find the fields of crosses and Stars of David "offensive".

21 posted on 05/03/2006 6:09:50 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: NZerFromHK
"Americans aspire to independence," he told the Star's man. "Their model is
to drive out of town, Gary Cooper with Grace Kelly, and get on their ranch
and she's in the kitchen and having babies and he's standing at
the ranch gate with a gun, saying, 'no trespassing.' "


Well, the Canuck is right for at least one 'Murican.
It's just that I've not yet located a contemporary Grace Kelly available
for cohabitation.
22 posted on 05/03/2006 6:25:05 PM PDT by VOA
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: RJL

Americans are forced to worship Christ, whereas Canadians are free to worship crullers.

Maybe not the best line, but darned good.

24 posted on 05/03/2006 6:45:10 PM PDT by SuzyQue
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To: SuzyQue

Steyn is a great Canadian and a once-in-a-generation wordwmith. Steyn for Prime Minister in 2012 (when PM Harper steps down)!


25 posted on 05/03/2006 6:54:02 PM PDT by canadianally
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To: canadianally

No - I think he's ours now. Doesn't he live in New Hampshire?


26 posted on 05/03/2006 7:09:42 PM PDT by SuzyQue
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To: NZerFromHK

I have to save this gem.


27 posted on 05/03/2006 7:13:46 PM PDT by Bob Eimiller (Kerry, Kennedy, Pelosi, Leahy, Kucinich, Durbin Pro Abort Catholics Excommunication?)
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To: concrete is my business

I wish we would. France will be Muslim soon, and I hate to think of General Patton's headstone being used as a sidewalk. Dittos for the troops that were under his command.


28 posted on 05/03/2006 7:21:20 PM PDT by Richard Kimball (I like to make everyone's day a little more surreal)
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To: NZerFromHK

Steyn is always brilliant but this piece is so good it hurts.


29 posted on 05/03/2006 7:22:32 PM PDT by visualops (This isn't Mexico... www.visualops.com ...let's keep it that way!)
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To: NZerFromHK
...while the Frenchman by contrast affirms his belief both in personal interconnectedness and collective responsibility by spending the weekend with his wife's sister at a nude beach on the Côte d'Azur, secure in the knowledge that his dead mother on ice in the meat locker back in town is the state's problem, not his.

Brilliant.

30 posted on 05/03/2006 7:24:13 PM PDT by denydenydeny ("Osama... made the mistake of confusing media conventional wisdom with reality" (Mark Steyn))
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To: NZerFromHK
This was one of his best ever, and that's saying something:

Why is death increasingly anonymous in Germany, with no death notice in the newspapers, no church funeral ceremony, no secular memorial service -- 'as though,' Richard John Neuhaus observed, 'the deceased did not exist'?"

If they never existed, then there's no pain having lost them, and our whole culture tells us daily that to experience even the least bit of inconveneince, let alone emotional discomfort requires a pill or a scapegoat.

The traditional American sense of community and our respect for our departed are two of our qualities I am most proud of. I hope we can hold on to them.

31 posted on 05/03/2006 7:54:21 PM PDT by lawnguy (Give me some of your tots!!!)
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To: NeoCaveman

He's just that good.


32 posted on 05/03/2006 8:37:19 PM PDT by secret garden (Dubiety reigns here)
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To: NZerFromHK
There is no god but Tim Horton, and Homer is his prophet


33 posted on 05/03/2006 8:42:31 PM PDT by RightWingAtheist (Creationism is to conservatism what Howard Dean is to liberalism)
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To: concrete is my business
I wonder if there will ever be a time when America thinks about bringing home the bodies of her soldiers that are buried in France?

Wouldn't it be ironic if someday our military had to once again storm the beaches of Normandy to secure our military cemetery perimeters and supervise the return of our WWII dead? It could happen when the Muslim's presence grows larger and they play the Mexican card ("Its too late, there are too many of us to legally control now!") and find the presence of all of those Christian crosses, not to mention the Stars of David, to be intolerable.

34 posted on 05/03/2006 9:32:18 PM PDT by LZ_Bayonet
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Ping to self.


35 posted on 05/03/2006 9:34:44 PM PDT by little jeremiah
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To: 8mmMauser

Must-read ping.


36 posted on 05/03/2006 10:06:32 PM PDT by TheSarce (The Silent Majority is finding its voice. It goes to ELEVEN!)
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To: NZerFromHK
LOL I see you have added Britain to the title. Although there is no mention of Britain in the title

You seem to take great delight in having a go at Britain in all your threads.

So you take pleasure in attacking an ally that has stood by America, backed America up and has soldiers serving alongside America in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

I see you are a young man, when are you going to join up and support America, or are you just one of those who likes to sit on the sideline and insult others to make you feel like a man

37 posted on 05/04/2006 2:57:17 AM PDT by tonycavanagh (We got plenty of doomsayers where are the truth sayers)
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To: tonycavanagh
You are too quick to take umbrage.

Now put that umbrage back where it belongs!
:O)

38 posted on 05/04/2006 3:23:52 AM PDT by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: metesky
LOL its my umbrage.

After five years on this site I understand American freeper mentality and its best to be aggressive, anything else is seen as weakness.;)

39 posted on 05/04/2006 3:48:39 AM PDT by tonycavanagh (We got plenty of doomsayers where are the truth sayers)
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To: NZerFromHK; TheSarce
Pinged from Terri MAY Dailies

8mm

40 posted on 05/04/2006 5:23:02 AM PDT by 8mmMauser (Jezu ufam Tobie...Jesus I trust in Thee)
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To: fortunecookie
Does he actually believe half of the p00p...

LOL, what's with this p00p?

If poop is called for, then POOP it should be! Big and brown and large as life!

:)

41 posted on 05/04/2006 7:00:44 AM PDT by Max in Utah ("Great Wall of America?" I'd settle for "Pretty Good Wall.")
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