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Farmers across America ditch tractors for oxen in bid to beat rising fuel prices
The Daily Mail ^ | May 9, 2011 | Daily Mail Reporter

Posted on 05/15/2011 7:01:59 AM PDT by bkopto

When farmers Danielle and Matt Boerson realised they could no longer afford to run their tractors, they took the bull by the horns - and ditched them for oxen.

Soaring petrol prices had become so high that the couple, who run an 80-acre farm near Madison, Wisconsin, were forced to get rid of their two tractors, hay baler, plough and rotavator.

So they took a course at the agricultural institute in traditional farming techniques.

'It gave me the confidence that, yes, I could do this', Danielle told the Times. 'It just required a lot of concentration and a firm voice.' Their instructor was former peace core volunteer Dick Roosenberg, 64, who learned the trade while working for the UN in West Africa. He took the skills he had honed back to Michigan and set up Tillers International.

At first the company was aimed at helping Third World farmers harvest in the cheapest way possible.

On the side, he also helped historically-themed villages. But his specialist knowledge is now enjoying a new wave of interest with farmers from Wisconsin to Alaska now joining his courses.

(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News
KEYWORDS: communism; marxism; obama; progressives; socialism; wisconsin
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To: MsLady

Not the Amish families I have seen around Ohio and Pennsylvania, my statement was they have cut back on family size like the rest of the world.


51 posted on 05/15/2011 7:37:16 AM PDT by org.whodat
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To: blackdog

“Subsistance Farming” — or something very close to it. Surpluses will be modest, so the farm income will be equally modest.


52 posted on 05/15/2011 7:37:42 AM PDT by Tallguy (Received a fine from the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit.)
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To: BfloGuy

i’m from the city, but i see clearly from your comments, (and mylife and Venturer), that this is BS.
...feeding an oxen corn for a year, must cost more, than diesel gas at planting and harvesting times.
(not even considering the amount of time, vet care, etc.)
i don’t doubt some do it for other reasons, but not financial. ...the idea that large numbers of commercial farmers are trading tractors for oxen, is clearly more fantasy from liberal global warming types.


53 posted on 05/15/2011 7:39:32 AM PDT by Elendur
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To: central_va

Depends on your definition of profitable. Several points - the Amish live a 17th century lifestyle, BUT with some 21st century benefits, like modern medicine, good roads, etc. Not saying that’s a bad thing; just pointing out that they are willing to live what for many if not most of us would be an unforgivingly hard lifestyle, and they do have modernity to fall back on if there are problems.


54 posted on 05/15/2011 7:39:52 AM PDT by SuzyQue (Remember to think.)
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To: yldstrk

Damn! We depended on the Brits once again to do the actual reporting!


55 posted on 05/15/2011 7:39:52 AM PDT by MinorityRepublican
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To: bkopto

I think I will start the plans for a buggy whip manufacturing site soon.


56 posted on 05/15/2011 7:41:38 AM PDT by catfish1957 (Hey algore...You'll have to pry the steering wheel of my 317 HP V8 truck from my cold dead hands)
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To: Cvengr

Due to the price of fuel, I’ve been reduced to eating soup with a dull spounge!


57 posted on 05/15/2011 7:42:01 AM PDT by papertyger
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To: bkopto

The Environmentalist strategy is working.

The goal: Reduce the power and influence of the United States of America to make way for a World Socialist Government.

The Energy Tactic: Use political means to increase the cost of energy to the United States which will directly, proportionately and continually reduce the standard of living of all Americans.

It’s hard to argue that this has not been a very, very successful plan. You have virtually the entire Democrat party supporting it and incredibly weak GOP opposition.


58 posted on 05/15/2011 7:42:23 AM PDT by InterceptPoint (w)
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To: SuzyQue

The cost per acre is less, no fuel or chemicals. The down side is animal care and time.


59 posted on 05/15/2011 7:43:15 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va
As incredible as it may sound (I grew up in the tidewater, where 10 acres of tobacco was considered a farm), these are family farms, here.

The only reason some of these family farms are incorporated is to keep the government from siezing a huge chunk of the farm for death taxes.

The equipment required to farm wheat on this scale costs over a million dollars by itself. Profit margins per acre are small so it takes a lot of acres.

60 posted on 05/15/2011 7:43:20 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: bkopto


Fascinating article! I did not realize that true oxen were still around much less that anyone was using them. It would depend on your business model for your farm but I can certainly see how oxen could be very cost effective in a world of $6 (and up) diesel fuel, machinery repairs and operations.

During the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, Wellington's Army moved their heavy 24" siege guns with a team of 64 head of ox on each gun. The beast wore a harness made of rope that carried 6 cannonballs on their backs in addition to the harness to pull the gun.

Of course, there were other teams of ox to pull the wagons of powder, food, tents, bullets, supplies of all description, including more teams to pull the fodder to feed them all. And of course as the loads decreased with time, you can always slaughter a couple of oxen and feed a whole bunch of people fresh beef...

At one point Wellington's British Army had almost 250,000 head of ox in their campaign against Napoleon....


61 posted on 05/15/2011 7:44:16 AM PDT by Bean Counter (Rembember, you asked......)
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To: bkopto

Perhaps we could switch Nebraska over to rice fields.

/s


62 posted on 05/15/2011 7:45:22 AM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network ("Saul Alinsky, meet Donald Trump...")
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To: SuzyQue

“the Amish live a 17th century lifestyle,”

Explain what the 17th century (1600’s) was like, I can’t get the picture.


63 posted on 05/15/2011 7:47:02 AM PDT by conservativesister
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To: papertyger

What’s a spounge?


64 posted on 05/15/2011 7:47:23 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 844 of our national holiday from reality. - OBL Dead? The TSA can go away!)
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To: bkopto

my father used to do that, and it’s

hard

work. very few of the post ww2 generation would attempt it.


65 posted on 05/15/2011 7:47:23 AM PDT by ken21 (dem taxes + regs + unions = jobs overseas.)
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To: The_Reader_David
Obama and his “green” tsars may be smiling, as are assorted agrarian romantics, Maoists and tree-huggers

You've hit on a key aspect of many discussions I have had with leftists and assorted Luddites who have this romanticized view of a lifestyle without machinery, IC engines, electricity, etc. The fact is, they've never had to live that way, and so don't understand what it was really like. For those who have, it was a very arduous, difficult lifestyle, a daily struggle of hard labor to secure the basics of survival. It involved dawn-to-dusk labor and nothing else, and I'm talking difficult, sweaty, physical labor of a type 99% of the population has never done (certainly not the elite Luddites, for whom typing on a keyboard is their idea of "work", or welfare types in the cities). It was a lifestyle where very few children ever went beyond a grade school education, because they had to go to work on the farm. The average lifespan ended in your forties, because half of your children would die in childhood.

So maybe the thing to do is to take these agrarian romanticists and Luddities out to the wilderness, leave them there, and say, okay, you wanted it, you got it, you're on your own. Check back with them every so often. My guess is as soon as they can't keep warm at night, or go hungry for a few days, they'll be crying to go back to their heated loft apartments, ready to jump into their car and head to the nearest McDonald's.

66 posted on 05/15/2011 7:47:37 AM PDT by chimera
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To: bkopto

Friggan hippies from Madison. They are growing wacky weed there somewhere. You can bet on it.


67 posted on 05/15/2011 7:48:15 AM PDT by crz
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To: central_va

Yes, exactly! The cost may be less, but production will be much less.

Remember, there is a good reason that oil is so valuable and widely used - it is a lot of energy per volume. Oxen are less. You put less in, you get less out and vice versa. You get less, it becomes more expense and less available. And, people have to work much, much harder. It is what it is.


68 posted on 05/15/2011 7:49:26 AM PDT by SuzyQue (Remember to think.)
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To: central_va

You mean with a magic ox you do not need fertilizer, and weed and bug management not to mention all the types of plant fungus.


69 posted on 05/15/2011 7:50:04 AM PDT by org.whodat
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To: conservativesister

What?


70 posted on 05/15/2011 7:50:23 AM PDT by SuzyQue (Remember to think.)
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To: BfloGuy
The 80 acre farm supportinng a family was possible in this area up to the 1960s.The farmer had typically a dozen cows,about the same number of pigs,a couple dozen chickens,and raised corn,hay, and soybeans for sale and for his animals. His wife and children tended a large garden. They bought little more than flour ,sugar,salt, and a few other items at the grocery.The wife sewed their own clothes,including making many items from cotton print feed sacks.(No, not burlap...that is just for the monks!)The farmer had one tractor of 20+ drawbar horsepower and their one automobile was used for going to church on Sundays and the weekly Saturday trip to town ,but kept in the toolshed or shelter mostly. They had one or two AM radios and probably a black-and-white TV that was a truly major purchase.Every tool,appliance, and article of clothing was used until worn out,not just out of fashion.

The leisure most people take for granted didn't exist.

One important difference is those farmers didn't have to pay 7% sales tax and many other taxes were lower.Those farmers and their town cousins weren't yet forced to support the tens of millions on various federal and state welfare handouts nor huge foreign aid grants to the enemies of America.

Just payment of the current property taxes is a burden on most people these days.

If we really want simpler lives,we must reduce the government at all levels.

71 posted on 05/15/2011 7:52:26 AM PDT by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a credit card?)
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To: central_va

“Farming with draft animals, while more time consuming, is VERY profitable. Ask the Amish about it.”

Your “more-time-consuming” phrase is very telling. If you assign no “expense” to your own labor, lots of stuff is “VERY profitable.” Heck, get rid of the oxen and resort to hoe tilling, and profit will really soar.


72 posted on 05/15/2011 7:52:26 AM PDT by olrtex
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To: central_va
You really need to take a tour of a modern big grain farm in the midwest, there are operations with 80 quarters of land under cultivation, there's no way on earth to do that with animals.

How could this be duplicated with animals;
73 posted on 05/15/2011 7:52:40 AM PDT by dynoman (Objectivity is the essence of intelligence. - Marylin vos Savant)
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To: bkopto

In a year’s time the carbon footprint of an oxen must be higher than a small tractor. Not that it makes any difference to me.


74 posted on 05/15/2011 7:53:14 AM PDT by super7man
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To: bkopto
This is so funny. For a couple of decades I've been telling my kids and grand kids the back to the earth fascist SOBs wouldn't be happy until the peasants were walking behind oxen and walking to the bus stop like they do in third world countries. Well, they're realizing that what I was telling them wasn't all exaggeration now. Even though this is unusual, at least the kids and grand kids have started looking at how bad it could get in a different light now. You elect fascist democrats to majority control for fifty years and what else can you expect? Democrat fascists promise the little volk whatever will get them motivated while in reality they're carefully building a system where the little guy is only one step above the outright slaves.

I wonder, how are the solid democrat masses in Detroit going to like farming behind a mule on one of those bold, new, urban farms in return for the benefit check? I can't wait for the ads with Michelle telling 'her people' how physical labor in return for their welfare is a good thing and will make their lives on the welfare plantation happier and more rewarding. Yes sir, they can sing, dance, breed as needed, and be real happy just like they were the last time democrat nobles had them all in one place where they could look after them.

75 posted on 05/15/2011 7:53:22 AM PDT by Rashputin (Obama is insane but kept medicated and on golf courses to hide it)
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To: bkopto

John Deere stockholder here... I’m not worried. They’re seeing fantastic demand for tractors. Food inflation, and growing demand from developing countries more than offsets fuel costs...


76 posted on 05/15/2011 7:53:22 AM PDT by Tim n Texas
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To: Cvengr

This story doesn’t make sense. A 80 Acre farm???? That’s not a farm, that is someones backyard in Texas.


77 posted on 05/15/2011 7:54:14 AM PDT by Psycho_Runner (I never voted for change, I prefer folding money.)
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To: null and void

It’s a british sponge, you oaf!

;o)


78 posted on 05/15/2011 7:54:22 AM PDT by papertyger
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To: digger48
Heck you need 80 acres just to turn that thing around
79 posted on 05/15/2011 7:56:27 AM PDT by mouser (Run the rats out its the only chance we have)
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To: evad

“But, but, won’t it produce ox-flatulence and kill the ozone, thereby radiating the earth and killing all the farm crops.”

This grave danger is out-weighed by the ability to turn to your fellow elite at the local organo-foot market and say, “well WE only buy organic produce that is grown from oxen-tilled fields, it’s much more “rustic” that way.” The higher cost would be worth it to out-trend all your snobbish foody peers, and watch them sadly putter away in their prii(the plural of “prius”).

Freegards


80 posted on 05/15/2011 7:57:29 AM PDT by Ransomed
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To: org.whodat

I am assuming that since the field is plowed (the whole point), no RoundUp™ or diesel fuel is needed.. That starts the draft animal farm off with a huge advantage per acre. After the crop is planted, the costs are exactly the same.


81 posted on 05/15/2011 7:57:31 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: papertyger

oof! according to the urban dictionary it’s Bohemian...


82 posted on 05/15/2011 7:58:06 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 844 of our national holiday from reality. - OBL Dead? The TSA can go away!)
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To: null and void
Obama is smiling. Somewhere, Karl Marx is smiling.

And Mao...

We already got the "bare foot doctors" at our local community "first provider" health stations ...courtesy of 0bambiCare...

Next up....

Back yard smelting and the "Great Leap Forward"....

and expect a cultural revolution and re-education for all miscreants.

83 posted on 05/15/2011 7:58:43 AM PDT by spokeshave (Obamas approval ratings are so low, Kenyans are accusing him of being born in the USA.)
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To: bkopto
Big Bud with a litter of 4 young ones.
84 posted on 05/15/2011 7:58:59 AM PDT by USMCPOP (Father of LCpl. Karl Linn, KIA 1/26/2005 Al Haqlaniyah, Iraq)
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To: dynoman

I don’t think the discussion is about farms run, or contracted, by ADM.


85 posted on 05/15/2011 7:59:16 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: bkopto

Farmers should make their own biofuel.


86 posted on 05/15/2011 7:59:20 AM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open ( <o> ---)
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To: bkopto

It won’t work on the ten thousand acre fields of the High Plains.

They must plant three times the crop as the animals have to also eat.
Agriculture is a labor intensive form of work. It used to be done by indentured servants, serfs, slaves. Now tractors do the work.

Why do you think so many of the children of the farmers fled to the Big City!

And then when you do have a crop ready for harvest, here comes the “White Harvester” for you! It happened to us in 1951, then drought in 1952. We then left the farm.


87 posted on 05/15/2011 7:59:40 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name. See my home page, if you dare!)
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To: spokeshave

Will the reeducation camp that I’m sent to be tuition free and have nice dorms?


88 posted on 05/15/2011 8:00:28 AM PDT by hal ogen (1st amendment or reeducation camp?)
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To: chimera

These people are still delighted that Pol Pot kept the Cambodian population from exploding...


89 posted on 05/15/2011 8:00:37 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 844 of our national holiday from reality. - OBL Dead? The TSA can go away!)
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To: bkopto

Mules, we need more mules.

Want more oxen power, stick some ginger up their butt.


90 posted on 05/15/2011 8:03:46 AM PDT by razorback-bert (Some days it's not worth chewing through the straps.)
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To: BfloGuy

“I never realized that there were so many FReepers from the city. Because only city people could read this article and believe it.”

Amen to that!

Farmers will have to work harder? Most idiotic statement on the thread, obviously made by someone who has never plowed behind a mule, or even watched someone plow behind a mule. I have done some of one and a lot of the other.

It will take millions of healthy, able-bodied, mostly men until we can beef our women up to Russian peasant standard, who will plow from daylight to dark to put in a crop that will still not equal modern agriculture. And then the same number who will harvest the crop. And many in between those times to hoe the weeds out of the crop.

(Go look at the population and acres-farmed history of North Dakota for proof. Why was North Dakota’s population so much higher in the early 1900s than today? Horse-drawn agriculture required huge numbers of poorly paid physical laborers. More acreage is farmed for more bushels per acre today by just a handful of mechanized farmers.)

How could this oxen scheme possibly work? Aha! The ‘Rats favorite political party, the Kmer Rouge, worked it out in Cambodia! Take millions of people from the cities and make them work the fields. I am quite sure that you can find a lot of “intelligentsia” in Madison that admire the Kmer Rouge.

These are hobby farmers who are NOT going to force their children to work the fields dawn to dusk and will soon give this up. It’s hard to work behind a plow in old age, most can’t do it, even if willing. Without a LOT of children to carry on (because some will run away), this kind of farming dies out easily.

Oh, and what if all those 8 to 10 children do want to continue farming? They have to somehow get their own land, because this measly 40 to 80 acres won’t support them when they have their necessary children.

No doubt they will sell their hobby produce for a great deal of money in Madison and other elite enclaves, but only in comparison to the evil produce of modern farms. They won’t be able to compete in the general marketplace, because they won’t have enough product. Ever.

This is complete economic silliness by Utopian fools.


91 posted on 05/15/2011 8:03:49 AM PDT by Cincinnatus.45-70 (What do DemocRats enjoy more than a truckload of dead babies? Unloading them with a pitchfork!)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Hell it won’t work on hundred acre farms. Hobby farmers can do it if they wish but real farmers wouldn’t even consider such stupidity.


92 posted on 05/15/2011 8:03:55 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Ransomed

LOL..soooo true


93 posted on 05/15/2011 8:04:07 AM PDT by evad (Obama needs to show us his green card)
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To: central_va
Not really. Actually crops may cost less. Farmers will have to work harder.. It is more work taking care of large draft animals than a tractor.

Really? You are going to feed the world by using oxen to plow millions upon millions of acres? What fantasy world do you inhabit?

94 posted on 05/15/2011 8:04:42 AM PDT by arkady_renko
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To: Smokin' Joe

****More overblown dirtworship dreams. *****

Like the hippie farm communes of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Fun for a few weeks then they realize it it REALLY IS WORK! then back to the city.


95 posted on 05/15/2011 8:05:06 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name. See my home page, if you dare!)
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To: null and void
Guess you're right. I never could spell “bohemian...”
96 posted on 05/15/2011 8:05:44 AM PDT by papertyger
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To: chimera
So maybe the thing to do is to take these agrarian romanticists and Luddities out to the wilderness, leave them there, and say, okay, you wanted it, you got it, you're on your own.

Didn't the History Channel or someone do a series along these lines? What little I saw of it, I seem to remember the people not exactly enjoying the frontier lifestyle.

97 posted on 05/15/2011 8:05:54 AM PDT by digger48
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To: arkady_renko

All who predict shortage are right. If oxen or even horses/mules are used, the results will be subsistence farming. Don’t romanticize it.


98 posted on 05/15/2011 8:06:35 AM PDT by Let's Roll (Save the world's best healthcare - REPEAL, DEFUND Obamacare!)
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To: hal ogen

No, it won’t.


99 posted on 05/15/2011 8:06:53 AM PDT by SuzyQue (Remember to think.)
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To: central_va

“Farming with draft animals, while more time consuming, is VERY profitable. Ask the Amish about it.”

Your “more-time-consuming” phrase is very telling. If you assign no “expense” to your own labor, lots of stuff is “VERY profitable.” Heck, get rid of the oxen and resort to hoe tilling, and profit will really soar.


100 posted on 05/15/2011 8:07:04 AM PDT by olrtex
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