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Plastic Bags Could Be A Thing Of The Past
The Vancouver Sun ^ | January 25, 2008 | By Tiffany Crawford

Posted on 01/26/2008 11:53:56 AM PST by JACKRUSSELL

Eradicating those unsightly plastic bags that hang in trees and clog landfills may not be in the bag just yet but the idea is reaching a fever pitch in Canada and around the world.

On Tuesday, Whole Foods Market, the world's largest natural-food retailer, announced it would stop giving out disposable plastic bags at the checkout counters. All of the retailer's 270 U.S., Canadian and U.K. stores aim to be free of bags by Earth Day on April 22 of this year. And earlier this month China launched a countrywide ban barring shop owners to hand out single-use bags.

Slowly ideas are changing about the need for plastic bags. But could they go the way of the VCR or at the very least become taboo like cigarettes?

"There is a shift in perception," says Tracey Saxby, a 30-year-old environmentalist who lives half of the year in Rossland, B.C., and the other half in Whistler, B.C. "We just don't need them."

Saxby, an Australian native, was one of the first people in North America to champion a ban in her adopted home of Rossland.

About 10 years ago, the budding environmentalist worked in a retail store in Australia, where incidentally the federal environment minister is currently seeking to ban all ultra-thin plastic bags by the end of the year.

She said she would question why she had to give customers a bag even for the tiniest item. It was then on a trip to Coles Bay in Tasmania that she became really passionate about doing something about the problem.

"It was really cool what was happening there because it's such a tourist attraction and all of these thousands of tourists who came to see the national park were also witnessing a town without plastic bags and really seeing it work, she said by phone from her family home in Brisbane.

The village of Coles Bay, which attracts about 25,000 tourists a year, became the first community in Australia to ban the bags in 2003. The move was copied by dozens more communities in Australia and across the globe.

So Saxby brought the idea home. She took the idea to city council last year in Rossland.

"I said Rossland, let's do this and the whole town got excited," she said. "There was an overwhelming fervour."

The town vied to be the first town in North America to go bag free, but that honour landed in the lap of the small community of Leaf Rapids, Man., on April 2, 2007. With just over 500 residents, city officials handed out more than 5,000 free cloth bags. Leaf Rapids is about 980 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

San Francisco became the first U.S. city to adopt a ban in March after efforts to impose a tax failed, while New Jersey is seeking to be the first state to phase out bags after government implemented a bill in November.

Large global cities are also jumping on board. London's 33 municipal authorities are pushing for an outright ban on plastic bags, and city council in New York trying to pass laws to bar the so-called white pollution.

"It's happening everywhere now," says Saxby, "Vancouver, Toronto, Whistler - all these places are looking at options and are committed to reducing or eliminating them. Reusable bags are everywhere."

The idea is gaining worldwide momentum. There are now restrictions or bans in Ireland, Taiwan, Kenya, Uganda, Zanzibar and South Africa, among others.

The chief administrator in Leaf Rapids, Martin Van Osch, says the whole community is willing to use the cloth bags to do their shopping. Local businesses could be fined $1,000 for ignoring the ban, but no fines have been levied.

"It's a good thing because people are learning that plastic bags are not free. There's a price," says Saxby.

It's estimated that plastic bags take about 1,000 years to break-down in the environment.

The tricky part of the equation for many Canadians is the perennial question: plastic or paper? But environmentalists say using paper isn't the answer either. Opponents say they use too many trees, create more greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing and take up more space in landfills.

Environmentalists argue that consumers must look at other options.

"We wouldn't oppose a ban, but we currently propose a tax," said the leader of Canada's national Green Party Elizabeth May, noting a federal ban is highly unlikely in Canada.

"We need to convince consumers that, on so many levels, these are not essential products," she says. "It's a created false need."

Saxby agrees. "It was only in the '70s that we even started to use these plastic bags."

Tips to reduce plastic bag use:

Buy cloth shopping bags available at most grocery stores.

If you are only buying a couple of items, consider carrying them.

Consolidate purchases into one bag.

Place fruit and veggies directly into your basket.

Purchase lightweight mesh or cotton fruit and veggie bags to use for little things like peas or beans.

Avoid double bagging.

If an item already has a handle don't put it in another bag.

Ask the store for produce boxes that you can re-use and then recycle.

On a bike? Take a back-pack with you.

What can I use as a garbage bag?

Compost organic material. Recycle as much as possible. Rinse your bin and reuse.

Re-use newspaper to line your garbage bin: Save a few sheets of newspaper each week to wrap your rubbish or line your garbage bin. This helps minimize mess and is a good alternative to plastic garbage bin liners.

Purchase biodegradable bags. While biodegradable bags are not the solution (we need to reduce our waste first!) they are a compromise if you feel you do need to line your bin.

What can I use to pick up dog poop?

Re-use plastic bags that you get as packaging. For example, bread bags, or paper mushroom bags.

Buy a dog-composting unit that you can install in a corner of your yard.

Ask your local pet store to order a dog composting unit for you.


TOPICS: Canada; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: environment; globalwarming; plasticbags
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These people are really getting on my nerves.
1 posted on 01/26/2008 11:53:58 AM PST by JACKRUSSELL
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Mine too.


2 posted on 01/26/2008 11:57:33 AM PST by XR7
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To: JACKRUSSELL

These are the people who pushed us to use plastic bags to save the trees.


3 posted on 01/26/2008 11:58:25 AM PST by gitmo (From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

What are we going to pick the dog’s poop with then?


4 posted on 01/26/2008 11:58:35 AM PST by cll (Carthage must be destroyed)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Their answer to all of the plastic bags littering the landscape is to ban plastic bags. An alternative would be people picking up their own mess.

They always have to manufacture a cause and the latest crisis. They must lead very unfulfilled lives.


5 posted on 01/26/2008 11:58:59 AM PST by driftdiver
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Oh noooooooooooo, what am I going to use to put the dirty diapers in!!!!


6 posted on 01/26/2008 11:59:10 AM PST by diamond6 (Everyone who is for abortion has been born. Ronald Reagan)
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To: cll

“What are we going to pick the dog’s poop with then?”

Your hand, washing is optional.


7 posted on 01/26/2008 11:59:30 AM PST by driftdiver
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To: JACKRUSSELL; EarthBound

The worlds largest natural food store has less name recognition than Winn Dixie. And fewer stores than Publix.

And I promise that the .8 cent plastic bag will hold on tighter than the 3 cent paper bag. And half the population can’t even remember their ID for the credit card they use, but somehow we’re supposed to all bring our own bags?

What about the companies making these bags? What’s their “Carbon footprint”?

Idiots.


8 posted on 01/26/2008 12:00:03 PM PST by MacDorcha (Do you feel that you can place full trust in your obsevations of the physical world?)
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To: al baby; Auntbee; BJClinton; Dashing Dasher; dfwddr; exile; feinswinesuksass; Finger Monkey; ...
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket TaЯd ping!

"Tard" refers to the ping list members and not to the subject of the thread!

List of Ping Lists

9 posted on 01/26/2008 12:00:24 PM PST by EveningStar
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Oh for God’s sake!
First they don’t want me to use paper cause of the trees, now no plastic.

A composte unit in my backyard for my dog??? Uh, do I carry it around when we go for a walk?

Now I am so ticked off, I will protest by using even More plastic!!!


10 posted on 01/26/2008 12:01:11 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie (We need a troop surge in Philly and Newark!)
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To: gitmo

Best point goes to gitmo!


11 posted on 01/26/2008 12:01:31 PM PST by MacDorcha (Do you feel that you can place full trust in your obsevations of the physical world?)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
"There is a shift in perception," says Tracey Saxby, a 30-year-old environmentalist who lives half of the year in Rossland, B.C., and the other half in Whistler, B.C. "We just don't need them."

Just like shampoo, soap and toothpaste, right Tracey?

12 posted on 01/26/2008 12:02:23 PM PST by rickmichaels (God Bless America, Land That I Love)
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To: cll

Your hands. Please get with the program. The left knows best.


13 posted on 01/26/2008 12:04:02 PM PST by businessprofessor
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To: EveningStar
Buy a dog-composting unit that you can install in a corner of your yard.

Headshakey

14 posted on 01/26/2008 12:05:55 PM PST by FredHead47
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To: JACKRUSSELL

The only thing more annoying than plastic bags are the environmentalists who think that they are entitled to tell others how to run their lives.


15 posted on 01/26/2008 12:06:32 PM PST by steadfastconservative
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To: JACKRUSSELL

“Re-use newspaper to line your garbage bin”

It all makes sense now. The Dinosaur media newspapers are trying to up sales again. But doesnt that waste paper?!?!?!

And I like how they proposed we all wash our trashcans out after every use. Guess water isn’t as valuable as “saving the Earth”...


16 posted on 01/26/2008 12:06:39 PM PST by MacDorcha (Do you feel that you can place full trust in your obsevations of the physical world?)
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To: All
This latest round of liberal idiocy has NH written all over it.
First it’ll start out like the ban on releasing balloons. A wacky idea brought up because someone did’nt like what a balloon did to a bird.
But unlike that bill, it’ll move forward and wind it’s way through the legislature in the name of the public good and wind up as a ban on plastic bags in grocery stores before too long.
These “progressives” up here want to out-Mass the massholes.
17 posted on 01/26/2008 12:06:48 PM PST by newnhdad
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To: JACKRUSSELL

This pisses me off. I see these red or green bags creeping up in the supermarkets here. Another one of the city counsels “green” ploys. If I do a week worth’s of shopping for my family I can have 10 or more bags. So I now have to pay 10.00 to buy these bags then carry them to the store every week. And if I just want to run in to a store I have to carry some around with me or pay for more? What a scam.

The dog poop is absurd. How much bread would you have to buy to recycle for dog poop. What are people who live in apartments supposed to do with their compost? Idiots.


18 posted on 01/26/2008 12:07:16 PM PST by bluerose (Press "1" if you speak English. "Press "2" to disconnect until you can.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

I don’t see this as a huge problem around where I live but I have a friend who travels in SE Asia and she says the huge numbers of plastic bags hanging from trees is unbelievable. It gives the landscape a surreal look. Some people are slobs. I know when I was a kid (many years ago) I always threw stuff out of the car window. If I can be retrained, anyone can be retrained.


19 posted on 01/26/2008 12:07:36 PM PST by Ditter
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To: JACKRUSSELL

So its going to be like 20 years ago when there were no plastic bags? LOL


20 posted on 01/26/2008 12:08:43 PM PST by cripplecreek (Duncan Hunter, Conservative excellence in action.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
What can I use to pick up dog poop?

Re-use plastic bags that you get as packaging. For example, bread bags, or paper mushroom bags.

What morons. Dog owners would have to eat one or two loaves of bread a day to take care of one dog's poop. Then we'd get the obesity-whackos fired up again.

21 posted on 01/26/2008 12:09:27 PM PST by hsalaw
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To: driftdiver
Their answer to all of the plastic bags littering the landscape is to ban plastic bags. An alternative would be people picking up their own mess.

And guess who leaves the biggest mess. Conservatives clean up after themselves.

22 posted on 01/26/2008 12:11:18 PM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Ditter

HA.....I “retrained” a kid once......was walking by the car when she threw something out the open window of the parked car she was sitting in.....went back, threw it back in the window, and said, quit throwing your litter in my neighborhood.....she, and her little brother with her were QUITE surprised.


23 posted on 01/26/2008 12:14:10 PM PST by goodnesswins (Being Challenged Builds Character! Being Coddled Destroys Character!)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
She said she would question why she had to give customers a bag even for the tiniest item

There is some commonsense in what she is saying. For most of my life we got along just fine with brown paper bags of varying sizes including little ones for little items. On the other hand plastic bags get re-used at my house for all kinds of purposes so to call them 'single-use' is just dumb.

To me it's like the old styrofoam McDonald's boxes--If they want to get rid of them that bad it's OK with me. I really don't worry about it.

24 posted on 01/26/2008 12:15:02 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Moonman62
And guess who leaves the biggest mess. Conservatives clean up after themselves.

Very true.

25 posted on 01/26/2008 12:15:06 PM PST by ken in texas (come fold with us - team #36120)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
I ask for plastic bags whenever I shop for groceries. Grocery clerk: "Plastic or paper?" Yours truly: "Which one harms the envoronment the most?" Fellow shoppers: "Gasp!"

Indeed now that I have read this article I am considering hoarding them so I can continue to use them. It is fun!

26 posted on 01/26/2008 12:17:25 PM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

There aren’t enough mental hospitals for all these folks.


27 posted on 01/26/2008 12:18:08 PM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Paper bags are useless.

It’s like cutting down forests to produce newspapers.


28 posted on 01/26/2008 12:20:16 PM PST by MikeHu
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To: driftdiver
An alternative would be people picking up their own mess.

LOL

29 posted on 01/26/2008 12:21:58 PM PST by org.whodat (What's the difference between a Democrat and a republican????)
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To: EveningStar

I already do some of the things they suggest. And I didn’t need them to nag me to do it.


30 posted on 01/26/2008 12:25:38 PM PST by Enterprise (Those who "betray us" also "Betray U.S." They're called DEMOCRATS!)
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To: steadfastconservative

I think the only thing more annoying than plastic bags are the teenage baggers at grocery stores who put 3 itmes in a bag and then decide the bag is full. That’s actually why I bought some of the cloth bags — they hold more and make transporting the items from the SUV to the home (where I left the air conditioner on while I was out) easier.


31 posted on 01/26/2008 12:26:55 PM PST by cammie
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To: JACKRUSSELL
I thought that plastic bags were to save trees from being turned into paper bags ... at least that’s what the environmental kooks were saying years ago ... now this?
32 posted on 01/26/2008 12:29:14 PM PST by SkyDancer ("There is no distinctly Native American criminal class...save Congress - Mark Twain")
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To: hsalaw

You could always bring the dog poop inside and flush it.


33 posted on 01/26/2008 12:30:51 PM PST by Ditter
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To: JACKRUSSELL

I always use paper bags, but I may start using plastic just out of spite.


34 posted on 01/26/2008 12:31:38 PM PST by lesser_satan (Fred Thomson didn't lose. America lost.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

In 20 years, they’ll go back plastic, another 20 years, back to paper, so on, so on.

Bring your own bags? Yeah, I’m aware of the weight, size and dimensions of every item I might decide I want at the grocery store.

Yeah, I’ve seen plastic bags in trees. Never in my neighborhood. Generally these are the same neighborhoods where graffiti is scrawled everywhere, half the houses have aluminum foil in the windows and no grass in the front yard because that 20 ft. walk from the driveway is just too damn far. Like I care about some bags in their trees.


35 posted on 01/26/2008 12:31:55 PM PST by L98Fiero (A fool who'll waste his life, God rest his guts.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

It’s stories such as this that make me want to go out to the country side, commune with nature, and burn a pile of old tires.


36 posted on 01/26/2008 12:32:23 PM PST by BigCinBigD (")
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To: cll

“What are we going to pick the dog’s poop with then?”

TP. But only One square.


37 posted on 01/26/2008 12:35:02 PM PST by BigCinBigD (")
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To: JACKRUSSELL

“Place fruit and veggies directly into your basket.”

The basket that has had the dirty diaper kid sitting in it, the bird pooping on it in the lot and the overspray of months or years of spittle, sneezing and coughing over it? It’s bad enough that the fruit has been exposed to filty people for a day or two on the shelves. Rather than wash the food before eating it, it would have to be pasturized.


38 posted on 01/26/2008 12:35:15 PM PST by Proud2BeRight
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Thank you, everyone — your witty comments have calmed me down.


39 posted on 01/26/2008 12:35:25 PM PST by FoxInSocks
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To: cammie
They are trained to bag like that by people who are not teenagers. What gets me is last summer I bought several cloth bags at Publix to carry groceries in. It seemed like a good idea since they looked nice, too. But I got tired of returning them for my money back when on the way home the bottom seams would split. They were hardly sewn at all! I tried to carefully examine them and found many had open seams brand new in the display rack. Sheesh. I went back to always asking for double plastic bags.
40 posted on 01/26/2008 12:35:44 PM PST by A knight without armor
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To: JACKRUSSELL

This is just more stupidity on the part of the left.
I worked for a division of Amoco Chemical in the late ‘80s. Amoco Foam Products supplied the foam clam shelll containers to McDonalds and was getting a lot of pressure from McDonalds, the federal government and enviormentalists (the tree huggers at EDF) to eliminate the use of foam packaging. “FOAM DOESNT’ BREAK DOWN IN LANDFILLS”
McDonalds made the decision to switch from foam packaging to wrapping their sandwiches. A big deal was made of the switch and Geo HW Bush made a rose garden presentation to McDonalds honoring their enviornmental efforts.
The wraps that are use-are coated paper. The paper CAN NOT be recycled paper-government regulation prohibits packaging food in recycled paper. So the base paper has to be virgin paper. AS noted the paper is coated, and like polystyrene foam, coated paper does not break down in a
a landfill. And unlike foam packaging, coated paper wrappers CAN NOT be recycled. In addition it takes about three times a much energy to make coated paper packaging as it does to make foam packaging.


41 posted on 01/26/2008 12:36:23 PM PST by mrmargaritaville
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To: Ditter
You could always bring the dog poop inside and flush it.

Sure. Great. But what if you're walking your dog around the neighborhood? How do you pick it up and carry it home? In a kleenex? I have a big dog.

42 posted on 01/26/2008 12:42:23 PM PST by hsalaw
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To: lesser_satan
If you are that kind of spiteful guy here is a fun thing to do on a Saturday. Go into a Whole Earth Provision or a like minded enviro friendly store and ask where the seal clubs are located. Tell them that your old club is worn out and it’s time for a new one because baby seal clubbing season is coming up.

Mr. Ditter actually did this and I thought their head would explode before they figured out he was teasing. They realized he was not serious but they still didn’t think it was funny because somewhere once a baby seal did get clubbed and you shouldn’t joke about things like that.

43 posted on 01/26/2008 12:44:44 PM PST by Ditter
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To: hsalaw

That’s where your bread bag would come in. I don’t walk my dogs, they get their exercise chasing squirrels and rabbits in the back yard.


44 posted on 01/26/2008 12:46:53 PM PST by Ditter
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To: Ditter

LOL!


45 posted on 01/26/2008 12:47:26 PM PST by lesser_satan (Fred Thomson didn't lose. America lost.)
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To: hsalaw

How about those reusable, washable, eco-friendly cloth bags?

Just remember to wash them thoroughly before putting your groceries in them.


46 posted on 01/26/2008 12:48:34 PM PST by MikeHu
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To: hsalaw

“How do you pick it up and carry it home? In a kleenex? I have a big dog.”

Two kleenex? You could always let him poop in the neighbors yard and let them worry about it. Thats what my neighbors do.


47 posted on 01/26/2008 12:49:46 PM PST by driftdiver
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To: goodnesswins

I have never seen a plastic bag in a tree.


48 posted on 01/26/2008 12:51:41 PM PST by altura (Jumper on the Mitt-wagon)
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To: MikeHu
Just remember to wash them thoroughly before putting your groceries in them.

Oh, ick. :)

49 posted on 01/26/2008 12:51:55 PM PST by hsalaw
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To: Ditter

But you have to walk your dogs to get YOUR exercise... unless you join them in chasing squirrels and rabbits.


50 posted on 01/26/2008 12:52:38 PM PST by altura (Jumper on the Mitt-wagon)
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