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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 12, 2019 8:15 am 
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The Animal With Bloody Eyes

The creature that squirts blood from its eyes is the horned toad, a reptile that isn’t a toad at all, but rather a type of lizard that lives in the deserts of the western United States and Mexico.

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Horned Toad (Lizard?)

Most horned toads are from three to six inches long, with sharp hornlike spikes on their head. When one of these creatures is frightened or angry, its eyes puff up until they bulge out of the lizard’s head. Then a fine jet of blood squirts from blood vessels in the corners of the lizard’s eyes. The squirt may travel up to five feet! No other creature can squirt blood out of its eyes.

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It’s known that the horned toad squirts blood only when it is frightened or angry, but no one knows what purpose the blood-squirting serves.

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Perhaps the horned toad squirts blood to scare away its enemies, or maybe the strange discharge is meant to lower its blood pressure.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 12, 2019 9:20 am 
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The horned toad extends to East Texas and Western Oklahoma. It's range is decreasing, primarily due to the eradication of harvester ants by humans and fire ants.

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Post Posted: Jul 13, 2019 8:18 am 
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The Umbrella

If you live in the UK, Ireland or Canada, even maybe California or New Orleans, you’d be very soggy a lot of the time without this simple but clever invention – and perhaps one of the best in the last 500 years.

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Collapsible parasols, or sun shades, had been around even longer than the umbrella: the earliest evidence of a parasol are from surviving engravings from around 2400 BC.

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The Chinese seem to have been the first to have the bright idea of making them waterproof, using wax or lacquer.

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During the Wei Dynasty, the emperor’s umbrella was red and yellow while everyone else had to have a blue one.

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The Emperor’s colors

The Chinese invention spread to Japan, Korea, Persia and Western Europe. The first European umbrellas had ribs made from wood or whalebone and were covered with oiled canvas.

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In 1852 Samuel Fox, a manufacturer of women’s corsets, had lots of steel corset ribs left over and came up with the idea of using them for umbrellas. It was another hundred years before the giant leap forward in umbrella design of compact collapsible umbrellas. But the basic umbrella design has stayed the same for thousands of years.

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Fox umbrella

The very latest umbrellas use nanotechnology to make them bone dry after a good shake. The special umbrella fabric doesn’t absorb water.

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The first shop to sell nothing but umbrellas was James Smith and Sons, which opened in 1830 in Foubert Street in London. It moved to New Oxford Street in 1857 and it’s still there and still in business.

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Post Posted: Jul 14, 2019 8:15 am 
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Let Your Fingers Do The Walking

At one time, the only way a blind person could read was to run his/her fingers over wooden blocks on which raised letters and numbers had been carved, and try to “read” the letters with his/her fingers.

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Then, in 1829, a Frenchman named Louis Braille invented a better system, one which permitted blind people to write as well as read. This system was named after the inventor.

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Louis Braille

Braille, who was blind himself, invented an alphabet consisting of various arrangements of raised dots.

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Each arrangement of from one to six dots stands for a different letter.

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A blind person can run his fingers over these dots and know what letter they stand for. And by using a pointed object to press dots in paper or by using a typewriter-like braille writer, a blind person can “write” in braille too!

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Reading

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Writing

Louis Braille was only 15 years old when he developed his raised-dot reading system!

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Post Posted: Jul 15, 2019 8:11 am 
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How And What Did The Inuit Hunt?

Commonly referred to as Eskimos, the Inuit were mainly hunters, and relied heavily on the animals of the Arctic as their main source of food. Since very little vegetation could survive in the Arctic climate, the Inuit could not depend solely on plants for food. Thus, each animal required a different hunting technique.

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Inuit hunters

To hunt caribou, for instance, hunters set up two rows of scarecrow-like figures (aka Inukshuk) made of snow or stone. Making as much noise as they could, women and children chased a herd into the area between the scarecrows, which led to a corral or a lake, where hunters waited to spear the frightened animals.

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Inukshuks

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When hunting seals, Inuit hunters looked for clusters of small holes in the ice. These were breathing holes made by seals, who lived below the ice throughout the winter. A seal hunter hunkered by these holes, sometimes for hours, waiting for a seal to approach. When an animal appeared, the hunter stabbed it to death with a harpoon.

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Whaling usually involved a team of hunters. Led by an expert whale hunter called a umialik, about ten men would paddle a boat into the ocean. When they saw a whale, they paddled toward it and shot at it with their harpoons. Pulling on the harpoons, they then dragged the huge animal closer and finished the kill with smaller lances.

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They also fish, hunt polar bears, muskox and walrus.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 16, 2019 7:41 am 
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Where Do Pigeons Live?

Pigeons, or rock doves, are actually fairly common in agricultural areas.

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Rock Dove

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There they find niches in barns and lofts that resemble the rocky ledges that are their natural nesting sites, as well as plentiful supplies of their favorite food, small grains.

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However, pigeons do seem to prefer cities to small towns and wilderness.

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There are probably two reasons. The first is food. City pigeons feed on anything, from bread to popcorn, and they find more food strewn on big city streets than on small-town lanes.

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The other reason is nesting sites. Rock doves live only in open areas, not densely wooded places, and only near a suitable roosting or nesting site.

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This usually means a man-made structure. Cities offer a multitude of suitable sites, on the ledges of tall buildings, under bridges, etc.

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Rock doves, the same species used as homing pigeons, are not native to North America. They were carried around the world from Europe, perhaps as food, and the date of their arrival here is not certain.

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They are believed to have been around since the late 1600s, almost since the Mayflower arrived in America.

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Post Posted: Jul 17, 2019 8:18 am 
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Who Thought The Tomato Was Poisonous?

We did!

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Yep, right here in the United States! The tomato, which is so common in this country today, didn’t become a popular food here until just about a century ago. Before that, many people believed that a raw tomato was poisonous!

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But in America, people were afraid to eat raw tomatoes until the late 1800s, when a man named Robert Johnson stood on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey, and dared to eat a raw tomato.

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Spectators expected Johnson to die from the tomato. When he didn’t, people realized the tomato was harmless, and it soon became popular in this country too.

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Tomatoes first grew in Central America, and didn’t reach Spain and Italy until the 16th century. At first, the Spanish didn’t know what to do with the tomato, since they thought it was too tart to eat as a fruit. Then a Mexican chef at the royal court mixed tomatoes with olive oil, bell peppers, chilies and onions, and invented the world’s first tomato sauce.

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And I’m sure you’re wondering: The largest tomato ever grown was 4.25 pounds!

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Post Posted: Jul 18, 2019 8:01 am 
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The Nigerian Civil War

The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Nigerian-Biafran War, was a three-year bloody conflict with a death toll numbering more than one million people.

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Having commenced seven years after Nigeria gained independence from Britain, the war began with the secession of the southeastern region of the nation on May 30, 1967, when it declared itself the independent Republic of Biafra.

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The ensuing battles and well-publicized human suffering prompted international outrage and intervention.

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Less than two months after Biafra declared its independence, diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis fell apart. On July 6, 1967, the federal government in Lagos launched a full-scale invasion into Biafra.

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Expecting a quick victory, the Nigerian army surrounded and buffeted Biafra with aerial and artillery bombardment that led to large scale losses among Biafran civilians. The Nigerian Navy also established a sea blockade that denied food, medical supplies and weapons, again impacting Biafran soldiers and civilians alike.

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During this civil war, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people died daily in Biafra from starvation as a result of the naval blockade. The international reaction to the military conflict helped define how the world now views and responds to similar crises.

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And yet – war or no war – sports made a peaceful contribution to the conflict. The story goes that in 1969 the great Brazilian footballer Pelé and his club, Santos, stopped the Nigerian civil war for 48 hours as the warring factions put aside their differences for a couple of days for Santos to play in the country.

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Post Posted: Jul 19, 2019 8:22 am 
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Why American Pioneers Lived In Forts

Early American pioneers found that living in separate cabins did not offer them protection from Indians.

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So all the settlers who lived near one another would get together and build a fort. They would construct cabins inside the fort along one wall. Like the rooms in modern motels, these cabins were in a straight line, one next to the other, with no space between.

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When new pioneer families came to an area, they lived in one of the cabins in the fort while they were building their homes.

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So like the rooms in our motels, the cabins in the forts served as homes to numerous families.

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Post Posted: Jul 20, 2019 7:48 am 
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”Houston, Tranquility Base Here. The Eagle Has Landed.”

On July 20, 1969 – 50 years ago today, the Apollo 11 crew landed on the moon, prompting Neil Armstrong to utter the famous words “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”, and culminating in the successful fulfillment of John F. Kennedy’s daunting challenge issued on September 12, 1962.

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Below is JFK’s speech:

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”President Pitzer, Mr. Vice President, Governor, Congressman Thomas, Senator Wiley, and Congressman Miller, Mr. Webb, Mr. Bell, scientists, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen:

I appreciate your president having made me an honorary visiting professor, and I will assure you that my first lecture will be very brief.

I am delighted to be here, and I'm particularly delighted to be here on this occasion.

We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a State noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.

Despite the striking fact that most of the scientists that the world has ever known are alive and working today, despite the fact that this Nation’s own scientific manpower is doubling every 12 years in a rate of growth more than three times that of our population as a whole, despite that, the vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished still far outstrip our collective comprehension.

No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man’s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power.

Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America's new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.

This is a breathtaking pace, and such a pace cannot help but create new ills as it dispels old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships, as well as high reward.

So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this State of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward--and so will space.

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.

Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency.

In the last 24 hours we have seen facilities now being created for the greatest and most complex exploration in man's history. We have felt the ground shake and the air shattered by the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas which launched John Glenn, generating power equivalent to 10,000 automobiles with their accelerators on the floor. We have seen the site where the F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined, will be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48 story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field.

Within these last 19 months at least 45 satellites have circled the earth. Some 40 of them were "made in the United States of America" and they were far more sophisticated and supplied far more knowledge to the people of the world than those of the Soviet Union.

The Mariner spacecraft now on its way to Venus is the most intricate instrument in the history of space science. The accuracy of that shot is comparable to firing a missile from Cape Canaveral and dropping it in this stadium between the 40-yard lines.

Transit satellites are helping our ships at sea to steer a safer course. Tiros satellites have given us unprecedented warnings of hurricanes and storms, and will do the same for forest fires and icebergs.

We have had our failures, but so have others, even if they do not admit them. And they may be less public. To be sure, we are behind, and will be behind for some time in manned flight. But we do not intend to stay behind, and in this decade, we shall make up and move ahead.

The growth of our science and education will be enriched by new knowledge of our universe and environment, by new techniques of learning and mapping and observation, by new tools and computers for industry, medicine, the home as well as the school. Technical institutions, such as Rice, will reap the harvest of these gains.

And finally, the space effort itself, while still in its infancy, has already created a great number of new companies, and tens of thousands of new jobs. Space and related industries are generating new demands in investment and skilled personnel, and this city and this State, and this region, will share greatly in this growth. What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, your City of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double the number of scientists and engineers in this area, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year; to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities; and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion from this Center in this City.

To be sure, all this costs us all a good deal of money. This year’s space budget is three times what it was in January 1961, and it is greater than the space budget of the previous eight years combined. That budget now stands at $5,400 million a year--a staggering sum, though somewhat less than we pay for cigarettes and cigars every year. Space expenditures will soon rise some more, from 40 cents per person per week to more than 50 cents a week for every man, woman and child in the United Stated, for we have given this program a high national priority--even though I realize that this is in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not now know what benefits await us.

But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun--almost as hot as it is here today--and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out--then we must be bold.

I'm the one who is doing all the work, so we just want you to stay cool for a minute. However, I think we're going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don't think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job. And this will be done in the decade of the sixties. It may be done while some of you are still here at school at this college and university. It will be done during the term of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform. But it will be done. And it will be done before the end of this decade.

I am delighted that this university is playing a part in putting a man on the moon as part of a great national effort of the United States of America.

Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there."

Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.

Thank you.”


===============

Sadly, we lost a few along the way:

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Kennedy – Nov 22, 1963

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Chaffee, Grissom, White – Jan 27, 1967

Nonetheless, and against all odds, we persevered.

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”That’s one small step for man, …

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”…one giant leap for mankind.”

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Happy Birthday, Apollo 11!


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 20, 2019 8:58 am 
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Thanks Henry, I'd never read that speech in it's entirety.


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Scalawagy wrote:
Thanks Henry, I'd never read that speech in it's entirety.

My pleasure indeed. :)

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