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barbarianism

Trad climber
Blurgemanvilletowne
Mar 22, 2009 - 01:52am PT
As I rember it:

Largo and crew sitting at the top of Smooth Sole Wall at Suicide, mid 70s, staring down at me as I come to grips with the crux of Ultimatum. As a poor teenager, I've worn holes at the toe and ball of both EBs (and therefore my feet as well), and I'm madly edging with the outside edges of the shoes. The route at the time, as described in the Wilts little orange guide, was done straight up, but I'm thinking there's no way I'm gonna be able to do that, and I spot a large, inviting alternat knob, up and left, with some larger edges leading to it. So off left I shuffle to the knob, goofy footed as all get out. As I move on towards the top Largo opines as he gets ready to move on, "never seen it done that way" Was it the goofy edging or the easier variation he was talking about? Don't know, but the easier variation I worked out showed up in the next guide!
Mar'

Trad climber
Santa Fe, NM
Apr 8, 2009 - 10:57pm PT
I wasn't a real Stonemaster— my partners were Sutton's girlfriend's little brother, Malcolm Best and Karl Koch, eventual creator of the "Hardman" comic series. I remember when I got to shake hands with Hugh Burton down at Idyllwild's town center, by the pull-up bars. If we wuz called anything at all, it was "youth". We were the "wineheads" …not because of wanting to be like Warren Harding, but simply due to the fact that I'd sewn some hilarious, ugly violet-colored pullover fleece hoods for each of us.

I love that Skimart's old piton rack is at the climbing shop in Idyllwild. I saw my first pair of real ski-mountaineering boots at Skimart on the barrel at the top of the stairs. I was blown away that they existed. They were "San Marcos" with many buckles and a built-in gaiter. That must have been in '72. I didn't have a clue about what was involved in using them. It's really awesome that I've come to find out… I still have the aluminum cordlocks I stole :x. And I did my first 5.9 on the famous boulder out back!

Eventually I ventured to Rubidoux and was watching some guy in teensy shorts and sawed-off EBs play around on the slab to the right of the 5.2 crack …so I guess the first time I really saw Largo climb, I have to admit my jaw did actually drop. I never did have sawed-off EBs, but I wish I hadn't sawed-off my Fires. La Sportiva is actually now selling performance "mid"-height crack and edging shoes after all these years of nothing but low-tops. I'm getting my Fires re-randed and resoled at the shop in Bishop right now!

Somehow I'd gotten a camera gig hauling lenses up to the base of Bye Gully for that Wheaties "Operetta" commercial from one of the Poway Boys. Man, did the "art department" tear that tree up! That was 1982… I ended up giving the gig to Malcolm and he got paid ninety-five bucks cash + pack rental~ but that came back as I'd get tossed guiding bones from Malcolm and Mike Paul when they were off blowing their minds! All because I'd been squatting at Humber for a month, and a rat or something had taken up residence in my 1957 rolling Whillan's box. That's why I spent that day plugging all the holes in it, instead of working! Said tree at the base of the descent gully is history, now that the slab that used to be by the belay bolts above the Weeping Wall is gone!— which is something that really takes me back.

My first "ascent" of Suicide, with $20 half-shank "Hanwag" closeout mountaineering boots from Steve Mackay's "Backpacker" store in Santa Ana was a link-up via the 5.2 gully, Bye Gully and Continuation. My partner had real RDs. We were using a doubled "greenline" (5/16" Marine Corps antenna-line), which gave us a 60' cord. I ran out of rope and the closest feature was that same big split slab. So, urging my partner not to fall, we simul-soloed toward it until I could throw a home-made dinosaur egg back into the crack. I forget how we got down. Probably walked all the way around to the north side.

But I'm about as obscure as a taoist cloud as the only print I've ever seen is the last page of the "Hunk Guide" where Randy states: "It has come to the attention of the author, that a 'brave(?) soul'" is sea-cliff climbing the 40' high rib jutting out into the surf at the south end of the cove where the old beach-front trailer-park was between CDM and Laguna. That, and an ice-climbing shot of Rick Linski following the line up to the tree-belay on the Trough that appeared in the Chouinard catalog in '83 or '84.

Later, Rick and I were at the June lake ice-fall. I was leading and suddenly I got a ferocious tug. Fortunately I was using BOTH tools again and wondered what the heck had happened. Seems a plywood sheet sized piece of ice had calved and hit Rick pretty bad as he tried to tuck into the belay. Somehow he made it up and I lowered him down the slope off to the side. We made it to the ER and it turned out that he'd broken some ribs on that one!

I must have gotten the Iron Cross perfectly though, because the Troll let me lead that and when I popped-off the crux, I was smiling before I landed. I got it the 2nd try. It's a perfect name, as the move is padding up while pressing the thumbs outwardly in opposition in a full wing-spread lock-off. Excellent!

Once, Clark Jacobs saw me with a French Red Patagonia Bunting full-zip at Jan's one morning and accused me of stealing his …I should have lied, but I was just a kid then~ and didn't think to mess with anyone, even Clark!

Another time, the usual (local) suspects were looking for …well, body parts (sorry)— for the County Sheriff. A terrible thing had happened one Memorial Day weekend on Tahquitz. Well, that's what we were doing, and with a good dose of black humor, as I recall. We were combing the base of Sahara Terror— then someone found something all covered with ants! They shook off the bugs and started to wrap it carefully in a big sheet of paper, when somebody hawked "$2.69 a pound"!

My Valhalla experience was graced in a pure style as I wandered up to the crag by the crack of gloaming afternoon light. The Stonemaster smiled down as Kelly and Malcolm lowered the rope for a proper "mass" ascent!

Where is Nyberg and Steve Mackay? Last I heard of Steve was he started working at a bank~ after he had had that store. I was with Bruce and Kelly on Hubris in the late-ish 80's. Sutton mailed a new Metolius rope to Malcolm Best for his 40th bithday from Telluride, but that was already 7~8 years ago.

Oh yeah— does anyone really know why Fred Becky blew off the slide-show at Rock+Ice? I'd seen him the previous night at Holubar. He showed so many lovely and professionally exposed shots of beautiful mountains in perfect light that some people were actually complaining that it went too long. Unbelievable— I'd gone to Rock+Ice the next night for more!! "…are you Fred?"

This thread has been an amazing experience of tears and laughter. Thanks to everyone and the Stonemaster in us all. Now, after all these decades, I finally know where my partners got "HO-MAN"! I never really noticed the expression, as such, to actually utter it myself. This is the best thread ever!

Probably the funniest thing Largo ever wrote, imo, was his account of climbing "Hades" in the AAC Journal… "razor-sharp sidepulls" :o

barbarianism

Trad climber
Blurgemanvilletowne
Apr 8, 2009 - 11:53pm PT
wow. floodgates breach, and the air is so thick with memories i have to swat them away like flies.....

two of my favorites largo stories, probably as much myth as reality but we lived and died by them back in our early teens:

circa 74/75, idylwild:

one story goes that tobin and largo are returning to the parking lot from either tahquitz or suicide, and tobin decides to take a shortcut off one of the embankments and sets off a small rockfall that sends a few small loose rocks into the middle of a bunch of bikers getting ready to mount their choppers. as the story was related to me, by a buddy who claimed to have seen the whole thing, the bikers were in the middle of giving tobin a raft of fairly intimidating biker vibes when largo comes crashing out of the woods in a fury that his bro is getting hassled, throws off his pack and rips off his shirt in one swift motion, exclaiming in his most intimidating baritone "OK, WHICH ONE OF YOU GUYS (OR WORDS TO THAT EFFECT) WANTS TO BE FIRST!?!

another story i recall, again, probably a blend of truth and myth (the best kind): there used to be a greasy spoon biker joint right at the top of the grade where you climbed out of hemet then hit a "t" and took a left into idylwild. story was that largo and company went in there for breakfast and the place was wall-to-wall bikers. largo wades through the scene, takes a look around, and points a hamhock finger at some of the leather-vest-clad ladies in the place and proclaims in a loud, conspicuous voice "HA! CHECK IT OUT! MOTORCYCLE MOMMAS!" then he holds his arms out and pantomimes the "vroom vroom" of a biker gunning his ride.

beyond the stories, there were the actual encounters with JL: at the ski mart on garnet, a block from crystal pier, when largo was working there, again about '75, my buddy and i were sitting in rapt attention while he held forth on climbing: the one moment we most clearlky recalled was when he paused, looked out the window, glanced back at us, and murmered like a zen master as if to himself: "you gotta have vision man, you gotta have vision..."

that summer, astroman went free, and me and a buddy of mine used that quote as the denoument in a decrepit little guide we published to new free climbs in san diego. we were awestruck, inspired, and were climbing the hardest routes of our lives within months of that encounter.

the problem with largo attempting what will essentially be an oral history of the stonemasters is that he was the dominant personality of that small tribe, and in the intervening years has been the principal historian of the period. but i can't wait to see such a project hit the presses.

i have so many other memories, encounters with tobin, bullwinkle, henny penny and the c*#k, the core stonemasters and all the folks who came milliseconds on their heels, getting up their early suicide and tahquitz routes -- although i've climbed far, far harder routes, i think doing "new gen" with mike paul when we were both still teenagers may be one of the two or three most memorable days of my climbing life -- i don't know, there was a magic to those days that i know for a fact is not idle middle-aged nostalgia...it was as real and tangible as the air we breathed on the approach to suicide or the throne or middle....too many memories, too many stories...i try not to reflect so much on the past, as the fututre holds so much more of the same....

berg heil!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 9, 2009 - 12:02pm PT
Bump, for the men of stone!!!!11111
barbarianism

Trad climber
Blurgemanvilletowne
Apr 9, 2009 - 12:53pm PT
wow. floodgates breach, and the air is so thick with memories i have to swat them away like flies.....

two of my favorites largo stories, probably as much myth as reality but we lived and died by them back in our early teens:

circa 74/75, idylwild:

one story goes that tobin and largo are returning to the parking lot from either tahquitz or suicide, and tobin decides to take a shortcut off one of the embankments and sets off a small rockfall that sends a few small loose rocks into the middle of a bunch of bikers getting ready to mount their choppers. as the story was related to me, by a buddy who claimed to have seen the whole thing, the bikers were in the middle of giving tobin a raft of fairly intimidating biker vibes when largo comes crashing out of the woods in a fury that his bro is getting hassled, throws off his pack and rips off his shirt in one swift motion, exclaiming in his most intimidating baritone "OK, WHICH ONE OF YOU GUYS (OR WORDS TO THAT EFFECT) WANTS TO BE FIRST!?!

another story i recall, again, probably a blend of truth and myth (the best kind): there used to be a greasy spoon biker joint right at the top of the grade where you climbed out of hemet then hit a "t" and took a left into idylwild. story was that largo and company went in there for breakfast and the place was wall-to-wall bikers. largo wades through the scene, takes a look around, and points a hamhock finger at some of the leather-vest-clad ladies in the place and proclaims in a loud, conspicuous voice "HA! CHECK IT OUT! MOTORCYCLE MOMMAS!" then he holds his arms out and pantomimes the "vroom vroom" of a biker gunning his ride.

beyond the stories, there were the actual encounters with JL: at the ski mart on garnet, a block from crystal pier, when largo was working there, again about '75, my buddy and i were sitting in rapt attention while he held forth on climbing: the one moment we most clearlky recalled was when he paused, looked out the window, glanced back at us, and murmered like a zen master as if to himself: "you gotta have vision man, you gotta have vision..."

that summer, astroman went free, and me and a buddy of mine used that quote as the denoument in a decrepit little guide we published to new free climbs in san diego. we were awestruck, inspired, and were climbing the hardest routes of our lives within months of that encounter.

the problem with largo attempting what will essentially be an oral history of the stonemasters is that he was the dominant personality of that small tribe, and in the intervening years has been the principal historian of the period. but i can't wait to see such a project hit the presses.

i have so many other memories, encounters with tobin, bullwinkle, henny penny and the c*#k, the core stonemasters and all the folks who came milliseconds on their heels, getting up their early suicide and tahquitz routes -- although i've climbed far, far harder routes, i think doing "new gen" with mike paul when we were both still teenagers may be one of the two or three most memorable days of my climbing life -- i don't know, there was a magic to those days that i know for a fact is not idle middle-aged nostalgia...it was as real and tangible as the air we breathed on the approach to suicide or the throne or middle....too many memories, too many stories...i try not to reflect so much on the past, as the fututre holds so much more of the same....

berg heil!
rotten johnny

Social climber
mammoth lakes, ca
Jul 10, 2009 - 09:03pm PT
largo....drove my 62 bonneville up to humber park one fine warm summer evening in 75 into this raging stonemaster party....it was dark and there was a boxing contest and tree climbing contest going on and some guy named jim wilson was half way up this 100 ft ponderosa pine....those guys knew hw to party.....was in the valley when tobin and graham got rescued on the prow....it was easter vacation and snowing...mead hargis and dennis miller were on the rescue and hargis took a swig off a water bottle that turned out to be white gas...according to millis , the veins in mead's neck started distending....i remember seeing tobin and mike after the rescue in the c4 parking lot....johnny rotten
rotten johnny

Social climber
mammoth lakes, ca
Jul 10, 2009 - 09:15pm PT
mar...last i heard , steve mackay was working at a trash dump entrance station in oregon....that was several years ago....i think i remember the rock and ice ..was it in santa ana...? bruce nyberg was living in mt. center last time i talked to him getting into teaching....j. rotten
dfrost7

Social climber
Jul 11, 2009 - 01:14am PT
Another great thread.
fred haering

Boulder climber
New Zealand
Oct 6, 2009 - 09:11pm PT
Hi. Just saw the film: Nordwand. Recollecting my own life adventures, I remembered earlier when living here in New Zealand in 1979, when a guy named Tobin Sorenson came through on a climbing lecture. I didn't bother to attend, but at I thought at the time, the name was familiar, mostly as it was unusual.

In the autumn of 1970 or 1971, I had climbed one weekend with a 14-year old lad with that name. It was Tobin's second weekend out. He was donning a pair of a new-age of climbing shoes....what would later become the standard. I remember seeing him clutching in his hands these weird-like women's dancing shoes. They were tourqouise in colour. The Royal Robbins climbing boots (blue with red strings) had come onto the market in recent years, replacing our Clutter shoes or simple hiking boots. Longware pitons and bongs were being phased out by Dolt and Chouinard stuff as the European stuff became more costly (excepting the Bonatti stuff).

Tobin was brought out on our Sierra Club trip to the Granite Mountains. This was a climbing area some of the Rock Climbing Chapter people had found situated deep in the Mojave Desert. somewhere behind Joshua Tree National Monument and 29-Palms. It hosted some awesome, bigger scale Joshua Tree climbing. I later heard that the local Indian tribes had closed it to public access...probably due to increasing accidents and liability issues.

Jack Schirr, a fireman and a well-accomplished climber, was about 5 years older than I, making him about 22 or so. He was well known in the Riverside Chapter as a young, keen type, who even already was well encsonced in the Riverside Mountain Rescue unit. Jack told me he had come across this lad who lived in the vicinity where he lived, somewhere arouund Upland, California. Tobin, Jack and I set off to climb a new route named "The Purple Haze". It was one of the Granite Mountains' more formidable new routes, in asmuch as it was an 80-foot roof that actually started almost immediately from a ledge to which we climbed under a huge boulder-bulge-like buttress. The rock seemed to have a purple hue to it. I led the climb out to about 45-feet with etrier and direct aid (bongs and pins). Jack belayed, as Tobin was still learning "the ropes". Once exhausted, I rapelled off. Jack rigged up some prussocks, then showed Tobin how to ascend. After that, he coached Tobin with the remainder. Tobin continued with ease up around and over the roof, then up a very steep bit of crack climbing, until it panned out on a vertical, still unbolted face. He then rapelled off. It took him only 20 minutes or so, with protection. I was impresseed with this kid's tenacity and ability. He was the first of what would become a new generation of young urban climbing lads.

Later, I heard much about a kid named John Long, for example, who was easily doing direct and even un-roped some of our Joshua Tree direct-aid cracks of the 1960's.

I heard later that Tobin had continued with much zeal and success. Jack once mentioned that he was climbing almost every weekend, mostly at Taquitz or Suicide rocks. After those years, I transferred my university studies from Riverside City College to Chico, then thereafter out of the USA. I think the memory of that weekend of climbing stuck in mind, mostly as Tobin would typify a new era and breed of climbers who emerged in the early 1970's out of Urban America: driven, focussed, almost religious in finding an interest to which they could attach and ossify their fledgling identities. Every male teenager in a competitive nation needs some kind of outlet. Life in the Southern Californian overt-urbanesque human-ridden setting, can smother ones sense of identity in general.

As mentioned earlier, years later, when I was resident here in Christchurch, Tobin came through on a lecturing and climbing Austral-Asian stint. He gave a lecture across the street here at Canterbury University after climbing with many of the local lads at Mt. Cook. He seemed to have made quite a name as an alpinist. I thought his lecture was about an Eiger North Face soloing effort, but it might have been his reknowned mid-winter Matterhorn climb.

Only a corollary now, but here I am in my late 50's. I have a new young lady in my life with a 13-year old Tobin Sorenson-like son. He shows uncanny focus, ability and tenacity for anything physical. Maybe it is a sort of Zen-like obsessiveness, couple with a loner's attitude. I put Connor into some shoes and took him along to "The Roxx", a "Real-Roc" indoor climbing gym we built here (have a look on the web). He is already climbing steady 19's and getting onto 20's. It is his second month of climbing now. I hope his fate is not akin to that of other Tobin's I have met continuously in my life and are no more. Somehow pushing the limits of ourselves is a personal thing that only knowing how to strike the balance of our entire being ensures continuance.

I saw the photo someone had posted of Tobin Sorenson with the characteristic white taped hands (for Joshua Tree-like crack climbing on that big and sharp-crystalled Quartz Monsonite). He was with the same hair style I had met him that weekend sometime in the autumn of 1970-71 (?)

I must find Jack Schirr, if he is still around. He'd be about 62 or more now.

graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Oct 6, 2009 - 09:36pm PT
Nice story Fred.

A good friend reminded me yesterday was the day Tobin died back in 1980. so its curious to read your post.

When ever I look at any of my Photos of Tobin I see a Man/Boy frozen in time and forever young.

Thanks for the picture you painted for me.

Cheers,

Mike
eKat

Trad climber
BITD2
Oct 6, 2009 - 09:52pm PT
LordLovaDuck, MartiniMan (aka rotten johnny). . . YOU KNOW STEVE MACKAY?

I didn't know that!

I'd LOVE to hear from him. . . we go WAY back.

Whoa.

If you ever hear from him, send him to TheTacoStand and tell him to look Brockman up.

Damn!

Kath
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 7, 2009 - 03:56pm PT
Fred,

His name is Jack Schnurr. He taught me how to climb.

JL
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Oct 19, 2009 - 12:52am PT
Bump for The Ages. I can spend a whole evening reading a handful of these 10 Stonemaster threads. That's gold Jerry, gold!

oh and P.S. I got to eyeball Pat Nay's copy of The StoneMasters the other day. Wow wow wow!! Anybody who considered themselves a California rock climber in the 70's has to have this book. Huge kudos to all involved in making a reality.
Robb

Social climber
The other "Magic City on the Plains"
May 25, 2010 - 11:35am PT
'bout time for a bump.........
MisterE

Social climber
Bouncy Tiggerville
Jul 19, 2010 - 02:26pm PT
History Bump - MH's links listed earlier for the rest of the threads:


Stonemaster Stories (Part II)http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=150211

StoneMaster Stories (Part III) continued onward http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=155821

StoneMaster Stories (Part 4) continued onward farther http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=157408

StoneMaster Stories (Part 5) the epic continues http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=161148

StoneMaster Stories (Part 6) the epic continues http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=164782

Stonemaster Stories; Part 7-More of the same, only different http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=169730

Stonemaster Stories, Part 8; More Tales from the Crypt http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=173337

Stonemaster Stories, IX – The Eternal brotherhood http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=176623

Stonemaster Stories; Part X--What? Still more!? http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=210947 [/quote]
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 13, 2011 - 08:42pm PT
Whole bunches of primo tales...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 5, 2012 - 11:08pm PT
bump
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 5, 2012 - 11:28pm PT
bomp
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Nov 5, 2012 - 11:28pm PT
bumping the bumper

There should be a "classics" menu over on the left.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 15, 2012 - 05:31pm PT
hey there say, jobee! woww, thanks for the fun story about my brother, ... mark's pretty even keel around home, so--when he's this jumping-wildly, you KNOW he's entertaining something wonderful...

also--i remeber seeing pooch, too... and mama cat finaly went to live with my MOM, when i was STAYING there (after my divorce)... i got to her enjoy her and comb knots-of-yosemite out of her fair-hair... very neat cat... she lived a few more years there (i moved out to michigan, just before the ol' cat-mama passed on)... must have been over twenty years, i am sure...

as to your quote:

Jan 26, 2006 - 03:19pm PT
Sorry this is 10 years after John but I have often reflected on it!

My first Stone Master encounter:

A Rogue, is A Rogue, is A Rogue, is a Rogue!..or is he?

We were at the Chapman mannor in Yosemite West 1984 and it had to be Thanksgiving because there was a turkey, frost on the windows, a huge fire in the woodstove, and we were psyched to be inside.
Mark was downstairs plinkety,plinkety,plinking, on his guitar a song called "White girl" by a band called "X".

Pooch the dog, the two cats Mama and Sneakers were running laps around the sofa in the living room. The aroma of meat was driving them wild and little cartoon bubbles appeared above their heads read: (MORE GRAVEY) it was insanity.

The house had a rustic appeal and was in the early stages of development. My good friend Nance had promised to make the meal, being a vegitarian I was against the whole gluttonous affair but had promised them a Vegan cake.
I was in the kitchen when I heard a very loud BAM!

Bam,Bam,Bam, Again, Bam,Bam,Bam! I thought to myself geeze that sounds like some sort of ramming device and I hoped it was'nt the rangers. Pooch bolts to the door Woof,Woof,Woof..mouth foaming,fangs out, the works..i'm hot on her heels.. she always had a special way of greeting people.
I open the door and lock eyes with somebodys waist then looking upward lock eyes with a very large man!

The stats:
I'm 5ft. 3ish 110lbs. He' well over a foot taller than me, double my size, has hands as big as my head, and is grinning like the Cheshire Cat himself.
Pooch has now fled and is cowering in the bedroom while i'm thinking I sure wish Mark would get his butt up here and save us!

He then proclaims! "Where's Chapman?" I manage to stammer "downstairs I think" and pray this guys a friend.
Mark comes to the door and upon seeing the stranger goes beserk! He starts doing his Happy Chappy dance waving his arms around wildly as he does his introductions. Jo, Nance, this is John Long!
Holy smokes i'm thinking this guy's a living legend, one of those Stone Master dudes and i'm now face to face with history and history was now in the making!

Minutes pass and it's like we've been living together for years. Marks beaming with delight and filled with nostalgia, Nance is smitten and flirtatious, the animals have fled, while i'm just floored.
Seconds later John walks up to the turkey on the table rips a leg clean off the thing (which I thought a bit barbaric yet mesmerizing!) he starts waving the thing around like a baton as he spits out questions to Mark. "What's happening Man?" "Nice pad!" "Who are the chicks?" and "How's climbing going!" food is flying everywhere ( now i'm thinking the man is a savage).

As the night waned, and the food disappeared the stories told went "LONG" into the night. I wished for more time. Here I was twentyish sitting around a fire with my best friend Nance, Mark Chapman (a legend in his own right), and one of the origianl Stone Masters...Wow! My life was definately on the upswing and Thankgiving that year was'nt so bad.

All the best lads,

jow


I might have the made the Turkey leg thing up...(NOT).


p.s. John come on by any time it's been twenty years folks claim I make a mean Tofurkey!

"Go Vegan"!


wow, happy to see that john long enjoyed remembering all that, too...
:)
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