The Private Man

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Incredible Comment

This past has nothing to do with a man’s Charisma but is tangentally related to relationships and is certainly about the power of the Internet.

The comment originates from the Martin Luther King post and is a response to a Munson comment. It was written by a reader and new commenter, Sincere. Rather than let the comment get forgotten in an older post, I thought it best to highlight it, front and center, as its own blog post:

I think the root of the problem goes deeper than the broken family unit. The real issue is that the American black man doesn’t have a history.

We can’t trace our lineage back to some faraway land. We aren’t told stories about the accomplishments of our great-great grandfathers.

And in school, we learn about Europe. And Asia. And India. And (of course) the United States. Our origin continent remains dark.

We don’t even have last names of our own. The natural result: we don’t have an identity.

So our community is left grasping in any and every direction, looking for a sense of self. This is an almost visceral reaction. At some level, we know that without a sense of self there can never be self-esteem.

And like you noted, fathers are a rare commodity. So some of us turn to musicians and athletes… the only other folks that look like us. In turn, we learn to stunt and to make it rain. Engineers don’t ball. Scientists don’t get bitches.

At least that’s the common Kool-Aid. But notice the key phrase above… “some of us”. Others are finding their identity in other ways, which I’ll get to in one moment.

We had real role models for a while. MLK, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Huey Newton and the like gave us something to believe in. They gave us an identity to aspire to.

They told us that there’s no need to be ashamed of being black. That you can be intelligent, well-read and confident. And that you can describe yourself as a man without using the adjective “black”. But we lost those men. And we were left with lofty dreams splattered all over the balcony, or podium, or apartment wall.

So naturally a vacuum was left behind. Esteem isn’t built overnight, and we still weren’t confident in our new position within American society. Yet the black rights movement was largely over.

That’s when the rappers and Jessie Jacksons tried to fill that void. I’ll refrain from commenting. But your point is right – a new, real leader has yet to step up to the plate.

Nor should one.

Despite of (or maybe due to) the loss of those leaders, the black community has outgrown the need for a new “black leader”. Integration WORKED. We don’t need to march for equal opportunity any more. We’ve already earned it, and signed for it in blood.

Poverty, drugs and violence are still problems in our community. But there’s also a counter note – a swelling wave of intelligent, ambitious black men and women that identity as Americans. And the upcoming generations are unique, they have been pulled closer together, thanks to the Internet, than any generation before it.

Of course, there are still remnants of times passed. I still get the occasional off-color comment (ha), but most are out of ignorance instead of malice. And once every couple of years I get pulled over for DWB (Driving While Black). You still have the older black folks holding onto a dead wrath, and older white folks with the same. But the beliefs MLK railed against are dying… along with the generations that hold them.

My circle of friends would’ve make MLK smile. The next generation will be even more color-blind, prosperous and “connected”. And if my pronouns weren’t explicit enough, I am a young black male. I’m a business owner, I don’t have a criminal record, I have a passport and I hardly ever say “aint”.

And I’m not alone.

This is the power of an online community. The Internet is a series of connections amongst circles of like-minded folks. Sometimes, the circles overlap as is the example of Sincere. Sometimes, the circles are in conflict (no names mentioned).

I have filed this post under “The Collective Wisdom of Men” because that’s where it belongs.

Of course, it would be quite disheartening if Sincere were merely a sockpuppet.

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27 thoughts on “Incredible Comment

  1. Thoughtful post. I guess what Ive noticed is that black men can be incredibly charming and likable, more so than the average white guy. Im happy to be lead by a deserving black guy. I just kind of feel sorry for you guys that you are stuck dating black women, who can be awful. Understandable why some black men go for white chicks.

    • NMH, I read your comments on the “awful profiles” section. You should date black men since you find them “incredibly charming and likable”.

  2. Sincere

    As well-written, thoughtful, and cogent a response as I’ve seen. I am presently unable to reply as fully as I’d like, but your response is so comprehensive, maybe I don’t need to. But I’d like to make this one. There is a new movie about the Tuskegee Airmen, the black fighter pilots who never lost a plane entrusted to their protection. It will be inspiring I’m sure. But I think we should also honor those black soldiers, denied combat roles, who drove the trucks across the near road-less plains of Europe following D-Day. Amateurs talk tactics, pros talk logistics-and a million, a million, tons of supplies and materials is logistics writ large and it is due entirely to them. Gen. Eisenhower ( logistician par excellence) doesn’t just say it contributed to the effort; it WAS the effort i e our material advantage over the Germans was literally delivered to our adversaries by these men. And these black men largely came from the worst racial environments in the U.S. Why did they do it? And why did so many others sacrifice for a nation that failed, as regards them, to live up to the promises spelled out in its very Declaration of Independence, promises this nation committed to BEFORE it was a nation? It was because they sensed that despite its failings, despite its hypocrisy, those freedoms belonged to them to and they would pledge themselves, dedicate themselves, and die if necessary to support the ideals contained in that Constitution even if in the current circumstances those freedoms and ideals were not totally, perhaps not even partially, extended to them. Our black patriots did something NO other community within our nation has ever done-they accepted a post dated check on their liberty, and were willing to serve it its cause well before they would see it cashed.Indeed, it has not entirely “cleared the bank” to this day. You my fine sir have shown that this tradition lives still, that progress has been made, and will continue, and that America will one day be free of its Original Sin,its glaring, horrible denial of the humanity that inspired its creation and that it swore its dedication.

    I remain respectfully yours
    Thomas V. Munson, Esq.

    • Sincere on said:

      Mr. Munson – If today’s novelists put half as much thought and eloquence into their writing as you do your blog comments… well, then, I wouldn’t be stuck rereading Roth or Rand every few months.

      And while I’d never compare myself to any of the heroes (black or white) from WWII, I do my best to live in honor of the ideals that they fought for. It’s the least an American can do.

      PM – Thanks for highlighting my comment; I’m flattered you considered it worth conversation. And the caliber of the comments on a comment ABOUT a comment show that you’re building something truly special here. You’ll see me around these parts more often.

      Oh, and I spent the last 30 seconds trying to come up with a witty retort to being a sockpuppet. I got nothing…

      • Cindi-Alpha on said:

        Um … Wow. I’m usually a woman of lots of words, but right now I’m gobsmacked.
        I love this site, and I thoroughly enjoy reading comments like Sincere’s … And all the blog entries are so insightful!

  3. Marellus on said:

    Mr Munson.

    Do you then still believe that the US Constitution is a binding legal document ? From what I’ve read in all my travels on the internet, is that the US Govt has usurped and negated the Constitution by devious means.

    Kind of like what happened in Orwell’s “Animal Farm” to the laws of Animalism :

    Originally the laws were as this :

    1. Whatever goes on two legs is an enemy.

    2. Whatever goes on four legs, or has wings, is a friend.

    3. No animal shall wear clothes.

    4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.

    5. No animal shall drink alcohol.

    6. No animal shall kill any other animal.

    7. All animals are equal.

    And were then subtly changed to this :

    1. “Four legs good, two legs better!”

    2. No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.

    3. No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.

    4. No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.

    5. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

    Can you as a lawyer comment on this ?

    • That’s kind of a fool’s question.

      The US Constitution is a “binding” legal document only to the extent that we are willing to be bound to it. As noble as the language and principals are, it is not holy writ (and these days not even holy writ is holy writ) it is a living document that is still used as the guideline for how we govern.

      In point of fact, the US Government — an agency established BY the Constitution — cannot by definition “usurp and negate” the Constitution. At that point it wouldn’t be a US Government any more. Now the government and the people can — and have — change this document to better-accommodate the needs of the times as our country has grown and changed. Expecting to use a 200 year-old document, written for a nation of small agriculturalists, to be perfectly fine for governing a massive multi-nation post-industrial corporate empire is ludicrous. So a lot of interpretation and amending has to happen to bring it up to speed.

      • Marellus on said:

        Expecting to use a 200 year-old document, written for a nation of small agriculturalists, to be perfectly fine for governing a massive multi-nation post-industrial corporate empire is ludicrous. So a lot of interpretation and amending has to happen to bring it up to speed.

        You’ve answered my question. Now how do you square that with this quote from Benjamin Franklin :

        Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

      • the same on said:

        I dont see you offering any solution or at least a better way to do things. To destroy is easy, to build is hard. So far a republic is the way to go, but, of course there is a sector of the population that dont like to compete a play fair to get ahead. They like to cry and blame others for their inability to earn in a competition(life) what is deserved. They dont go to school, their crime rate is high even among themself and still complain. You better go to liberia o create a communist state and we see how you like that, in that case we better run, these envious people will become part of the secret police to oppress decent citizens.

  4. I can’t not respond to this post.

    I live in the South, where the bulk of the racial nastiness occurred in the past. You literally cannot walk by a street corner that doesn’t have some racially-tinged story to it — and those stories go back centuries. Having grown up in the South in an integrated suburban neighborhood of a small city during the 1970s, I literally have a little freak-out when I travel to other parts of the country, places where black folks are a tiny minority. Maybe it’s just me, but that many white people together kinda freaks me out.

    But I so understand what Sincere writes so eloquently about. I got to see first-hand how circumstances conspired to essentially go to war on black men in the 1980s. And I’m not talking mere prejudice and racism — economically, politically, and socially black men were under attack and under suspicion from every quarter at all times. Black women hated them, the system was constantly against them, the causes that had inspired their fathers to march and agitate and lead had turned to dust even as the effects of the civil rights movement were finally being felt at a generational level. Seeking an education got you snubbed by one group, and doing hardcore drugs got you snubbed by another — and either one could shoot you out of the blue for no apparent reason.

    But this is where I want to take issue with Sincere. While I understand the deep emotional disconnect implicit in being an African American, as much as anyone could through lifelong personal observation, I would point out the flip side to that. Black men in America, unfairly bereft of their own history, went on to bend history to their will with feats of honor, courage, ingenuity, artistry, imagination, and profundity that not just influenced the course and speed of American history, but the fate of the world itself. In searching for their own identity they established perhaps the most important global cultural influence of the modern age. As a white Southerner, I know my folk have gifted the world with pharmaceuticals, Coca-Cola, cigarettes, air conditioning, country music, bluegrass, debutante balls and Nascar. Your folk have gifted the world with Jazz, Blues, Rock, Hip-Hop, the Polio Vaccine, a rich history of dance and culture, Creole cuisine,and one towering academic figure after another. (I’m going to have to split the issues of Soul Food, the Pig Pickin’, and barbecue in general — those are clearly multi-racially-derived cultural institutions from a syncretic synthesis of cultural traditions, i.e. my gramma’s mac & cheese is better than your gramma’s mac-and-cheese).

    And all that without an uninterrupted cultural tradition to build upon.

    When black men felt they had no identity, they forged one of the most powerful and profound identities the world has ever known. That is awe-inspiring to me. I’ve seen the shit black guys have to put up with, just for being black guys, and to take that kind of adversity and channel it to such powerful cultural expressions is the height of masculine adaptability.

    And that’s the thing: when I consider the personal male role models in my life, aside from the powerful influence of my father I often find myself drawn to the black men who have given me insight, wisdom, strength and inspiration over the years. Scout masters, teachers, neighbors, co-workers, bosses, and most of all my friends who survived the gauntlet of a fearful and dangerous adolescence and achieved what they had through persistence, patience, determination, and pure exercise of will.

    I agree with Sincere that I think Dr. King would be proud of my friends and the way I’m raising my own kids. It might take another generation to completely cleanse the stain of racism in the South, maybe two, but even now an overt racist is a rare bird. In most places black guys and white guys understand that their similarities unite them more than their differences separate them, to the extent where it becomes a point of gentle humor amongst friends. The stereotypes now act as benchmarks of irony, issues of culture more than “race”.

    And if nothing else, in thousand of casual conversations with strong black men over the years, both black men and white men can agree on one fundamental thing: a black woman who is bobbing her head in a discussion should be treated as a live hand-grenade. The white girls can do it and get a reaction, but it takes a black woman to do it in a way that truly strikes fear and terror in your heart. Every man in the South has been on the wrong side of that bob. Consider it a bonding moment.

    Thanks for such an eloquent and thoughtful comment, Sincere, and thanks TPM for calling it to our attention. And I think I’ll take my dad to see the Tuskegee Airmen movie this weekend. Because once again Munson has drawn my attention to a corner of masculinity that deserves some respect. Thank you.

  5. the same on said:

    People live in the past for too long, black men in america still live in slavery, slavery is a state of mind. Victim mentality, begging to others for jobs without considering earning things without waiting for other people to hand it over to “them”. Unemplyment rate always high, right now close to 16%, young blacks are unemployed at a 50% rate. This is not about being charming, that by the way not put food on the table or pay mortgages. To be e comedian is one thing, to be a real and responsible man part of a competitive society is a whole different thing. It is time to grow up.

    • All the black men I know have jobs, work their asses off, and do not have a victim mentality about anything but marriage. Maybe I’m hanging out with the wrong sort.

      But as for the young black men out there . . . they’re in the same boat or worse as the young white men. Why the hell should they grow up? What’s in it for them? The responsible black men in my community bear a huge burden of responsibility for which they receive little or no thanks, they get divorced as often as white men, and their chances of landing custody are even worse. So . . . why? So that people can make the same sorts of assumptions as ‘the same’ did about them?

      To quote a black friend of mine, “this is some BULLshit.”

      It’s an utterly thankless game for black men. No matter what they do, they’re a threat — unless they come across as so innocuously Beta that no one sees them as a threat. Black women don’t trust them, white women have highly unrealistic expectations and ideas about them. I think that’s why I’m seeing so many Black and Asian expat marriages.

  6. the same on said:

    Ian Ironwood:

    I know that the truth hurts, but, I will continue saying it. Black people are about 12% of the population in the USA but are 48% of the jail population. Almost zero PhD degrees awarded to black people in Science and Engineering in the last decade, Unemployment rate for black always doubled the one for whites, not only in time if crisis. When things go wrong they always blame the whites requesting jobs in pulling out the card of racism. Jobs are being created but blacks can’t getting for lack of qualifications, jobs in Engineering and medical field are always in demand, where are the long lines of blacks engineers getting the jobs?. Not even in traditional whites schools where black are minorities they get into programs to get advanced degrees in Physics, Math and Hard Science. Check the stats and see the numbers of blacks in the best programs in USA. No black has been Chess world champion. And you are hanging out in a Cristal ball isolated from reality. What to expect from a group that drops out of high school at a rate of almost 50%:

    http://www.rolandsmartin.com/blog/index.php/2010/08/26/roland-tjms-08-26-10-roland-s-martintom-joyner-morning-show-roland-martin-talks-with-john-h-jackson-about-low-high-school-graduation-for-african-american-males/

    Sorry, but I know, truth hurts, you are man enough to take it. Your comment is another example of the victim mentality when you say “It’s an utterly thankless game for black men. No matter what they do, they’re a threat …”. Stop complaining and take action, you are not the only blacks in the world, it seems to me that black from other countries are better, way better.

    • I find this humorous, because I live in a community that’s considered one of the premier science, research and engineering communities in the world, and I coulda sworn I saw some black folks up in there.

      Seriously, I know more black PhDs than I know unemployed black folks. There are five historically-black colleges within 100 miles of where I live, not to mention a dozen historically-white colleges with large black populations. And those folks aren’t all majoring in entertainment marketing. The massive research companies in my neighborhood employ thousands and thousands of black professionals with advanced degrees. There is a very strong black middle-class in this country, a segment of the population that has managed to hold its own relatively to how badly the middle-class over-all has fared.

      If there’s a higher population of black men in jail, I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t because they felt victimized. Part of it is purely sociological and class based (working class folks tend to get busted for smaller and more violent crimes earlier in their careers than professional class folks, and without recourse to private lawyers they tend to get harder sentences and longer time. Since the working class in the South has historically been heavily African American, then logically a higher-proportion of African Americans in the working class would be subject to criminal prosecution. And that’s before you add in any racial motivations.

      Then there’s the urban issue. The African American population, outside of the South, is highly concentrated in urban areas. Urban areas not only have more crime, they prosecute more crime, and if a population is concentrated in a high-crime area then they will be both victims and perpetrators of crime as a matter of course. If you look at predominantly black suburban areas, you will find that the crime stats are roughly the same for suburban white areas.

      I live in a neighborhood with a black post-doc neurochemist, a black Ph.D. who works as head of pharmacovigilance at a large firm, and a black eye surgeon who graduated from Harvard and is at the top of her field. And this is a relatively modest middle-class neighborhood. Sure, I also know plenty of black cooks, janitors, and service workers. I’d be shocked if I lived in the South and didn’t. But your claim that blacks don’t achieve in the sciences and technology is just laughable.

      I’m not hanging out with a crystal ball and pretending an idealized version of how I’d like black people to be. I hang out with black people instead. I’ve gone to school with them, worked with them, and lived with them my entire life. I’ve been to their weddings, their funerals, their bachelor parties, and their graduations. I’ve had poor black friends and rich black friends. Some are filled with race-oriented “black rage”, but the vast majority accept the somewhat humiliating inconveniences of being black in our modern age as the price of progress and get on with living and enjoying their lives just like white Americans. From the way you make sweeping generalizations, one might conclude that you are ignorant of the actual on-the-ground facts and are willing to rely on cherry-picked, out-of-context statistics to justify your own preconceived notions.

  7. the same on said:

    the comments says “I think the root of the problem goes deeper than the broken family unit. The real issue is that the American black man doesn’t have a history.”

    And what about blacks from other countries?, they come to america and outperform the the basketball playing monkies from usa in everthing. You are just a bunch of crying babies, slaves for ever will be. Man up, and yes, the youg blacks need to star growing up now, otherwise thay are going to be crying too like their parents, requesting jobs from other people forgetting that things are earned and not given.

    • You’re equating race with culture. Stop it.

      Take some SERIOUS looks at statistics about black people in this country. Not the ginned-up race-baiting hoopla from both sides that try to make political points, but look at the actual facts on the ground. You’ll find that not only are “black people” in this country not the monolithic cultural institution you think, but that there are plenty of nuances that affect community and individual achievement: urban or rural? Traditional family or not? Access to higher education or not? Strong religious beliefs or not?

      The image of the typical black man in America as a smooth talking hood rat is about as accurate as the image of the typical white man as an ignorant, pickup-truck driving shotgun-toting Confederacy-loving neanderthal who can’t get beyond Rush Limbaugh’s determination of social perspective. I mean, you can find rednecks (sorry, “Agro-Americans”) like that anyplace, and plenty more in the South than elsewhere. But that doesn’t mean that they’re ubiquitous, or even prevalent. The fact is a significant portion of black America has managed to build a very nice life for themselves without any more or less recourse to government intervention than white people have. They are deserving of our respect for doing that, black men not the least, because anyone who claims that blacks have had it easy since the civil rights movement has been grossly misinformed.

      • the same on said:

        I am talking about “african american” men, is that a culture or a race. Also I dont have to stop anything, I beleive you are in denial, it would be good if you stop that, ok?. Not even seeing the info change correct your miopia. Be good.

      • the same on said:

        You’re equating race with culture? No, I am not doing that, I am talking about race. If the american black man does not have history, What about blacks from other countries? Do they have history or they dont?. It seems to me that you dont care about that, and you only want to continue complaining and justifiying things. The stats that I showed are clear enough, maybe I should put a comparison between races to see the performance. Just give a bit, I will have that right out for you.
        You also say “You’ll find that not only are “black people” in this country not the monolithic cultural institution you think” Do you know what I think? You don’t.
        People achievement (I guess you are talking about IQ) is 85% genetic and 15 % enviromental, this is a proven fact, search it.
        Access to higher education? You got to be kidding, Almost no black want to go or cant go to graduate school in a field such as Engineering or Hrad Sciences.
        The image of the american black man was created by the black man, who raps, who drops out high school at a rate higher that 50%, who commits most of the crimes, who is always cmplaining about things and blaming others, who prefers baksketball over using the brain., etc…..
        Go and Understimate somebody else, ok?

      • the same on said:

        Nobody have it easy.

  8. @ Marsellus

    Very, very, very broad question. I am a simple attorney out in the hinterlands, earning a prosaic living in the “sausage making” side of the law. Your question is worthy of a treatise.But I’ll try a brief response.

    I would take issue with the word usurped, but I think I can grasp what you are referring to. An example would be the establishment clause. It was initially designed to prevent the U.S. government from interfering with the state religions of the various states, Pennsylvania for example. It has morphed into something entirely different. The founders would have been horrified to find the 1st Amendment used to protect pornography; technically porn is still sanctionable but for all practical purposes it is not. What would really have shocked them though is the expansion of federal powers under the commerce clause. It has been used to allow the feds to govern all kinds of activity. I would argue that IF the Obamacare’s insurance requirement is upheld, for all practical purposes there is no real limit to federal power. Even to the extent there is the feds get around it with the carrot of federal money (speed limits, DUI tolerances are examples).

    But that doesn’t mean the consent of he governed is a nullity. Recall Prohibition; that was a constitutional amendment that was wildly unpopular, and people violated it right and left. Finally, the government was forced to relent.

    I would posit that the federal gov’t expansion of power at certain levels reflects technology. In the Cold War, everyone understood that if the Soviets attacked we would not have time to convene Congress, vote articles, and then declare war. I think the accretion of federal power in that arena bled out into others. The New Deal entitlements have created the situation where most Americans look to the feds to provide a significant, if no total, portion of their retirement. There has been an inexorable flow of power to the central government, and despite cries about it I see no reason to expect it to change. My Republican congressmen, and Senators always brag about the pork they bring home; does this money come from God?

    In short, we have the power to effect change. We choose not to. We want everyone else to go on a diet while we eat our ice cream. It has been argued that this is how societies finally die; not by invasion, but by internal softening. I can’t find that author (believe he was a Roman such as yourself) but he said prosperity is more destructive than war. I think it merits consideration in the circumstances.

  9. the same on said:

    Ian Ironwood:

    Where is that serious statistic located?, I live in the USA too and I know what I am talking about. Black people in the USA have dont anything positive to society, no invention other than peanut butter if any to be proud of. Sport? well, Music, Ok, blues is good, but that is past history, today hatred based rap is the music black people like, lame.

  10. the same on said:

    Ian Ironwood:

    What community do you live in so I can check the numbers?, Black in Engineering and science? very little and you know it, you are in denial.I live in a place that people need advanced degrees in science and engineering and dont see too many blacks. So, what is your community? let us check the numbers, dont tell me you live in south central LA.
    You say “The massive research companies in my neighborhood employ thousands and thousands of black professionals with advanced degrees.” If its not to much to ask, what companies you are referring to so we can check that one too? That would be hard to believe given the fact that more than half of blacks dont finish high school, tha ones that go to college drop out at a very high rate too, Masters in Hard science degrees that are blacks is rare, so that huge amount of blacks with advanced degrees is a myth, tell us the campanies name if you have them. Thanks.

  11. At a very very existential level, I cannot argue with the “well armed reference”. Someone said “The Second Amendment safeguards the rest.” Much truth in that for example, suppose the Supreme Court tried to outlaw guns. A ruling, binding as law. Well, I guarantee you there’d be carnage a plenty trying to implement it; maybe we’d nullify the Constitution. Yes, that’s right. We could do that. The example of Prohibition only involved a vice, drinking. The right to bear arms, for many, is God given. Subject to reasonable limitations, but not categorical interference. But insurrection has its cost; Manassa, Antietam, Gettysburg, and the rest. Like the old black spiritual:
    Find the cost of freedom
    buried it the ground
    mother Earth will swallow you
    lay your body down

  12. Random Angeleno on said:

    “the same” ought to try living in South Carolina. Columbia would be a good start. There, blacks and whites have lived in close proximity for 300 years, and have learned to get along over the last 50 years. Sure there are plenty of miscreant blacks present in SC, but there are also a lot of blacks who have made it into the middle and upper classes. They even get voted for: Tim Scott is a black Republican who beat Strom Thurmond’s son for the SC 1st District Congressional seat.

    Or go spend some time in Atlanta. You’ll definitely find a visible black professional class there.

    Now it is true that blacks only represent 12% of the population in the US and there are a lot of poor blacks so places like this won’t be common. But they do exist and that is something you have categorically denied. Consequently, you’re rapidly losing your credibility.

    • the same on said:

      Random Angeleno, thansk for your replay, I have been to Atlanta a lot of times, and the black unemployment situation there is crazy, check the news, go online and see for yourself. The example from SC is nor representative of a whole community, yes a few make it, the others don’t. After years of statistic I will have to say that the curse of ham is true.

  13. @ Sincere

    I noticed I never responded to your compliment, intrigued as I was with the substance of you later remarks. Thank you-all the more appreciated because ti comes from an obviously accomplished wordsmith.

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