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Crankie Avalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:15 AM
Original message
The Woman Behind President Bush's Reading List
The Woman Behind the Reading List
(President Bushs English Teacher?)
By B. V. Dees

President Bushs reported summer reading (which included The Stranger by Albert Camus) caused a minor stir among some Americans. The notion of a president reading existentialist novellas and three Shakespeares was arguably an unusual one. Nevertheless, when recently pressed further as to which were the three Shakespeare plays he had in fact read, the president confidently responded, Julius Caesar, Romeo, and Juliet.

Additionally, the identity of the person who assisted the president with compiling his reading list has been made public. She is Susan Taylor, an English teacher at Sam Houston High School in Plano, Texas.


We were recently able to conduct a brief interview with Ms. Taylor.

How did you come to help the president with his reading choices?

I was approached by people working for the president. I was very happy to do it and, as I was not teaching summer school this term, I had the time.

Why The Stranger?

The Stranger is a book I assign to all my students. It also fit in very well with both of the presidents two most important ground rules: That the books assigned be neither too long nor too faggy.

Looking over the list as it currently stands, it seems to be weighted toward books that are normally first read in high school, as well as towards books about baseball. Are there any special reasons for that?

Its quite refreshing that a man of the presidents age and station in life has remained down-to-earth enough to read with an open mind what some would characterize as high school books. Also, in fairness to the president, he attended Phillips Academy in Andover, MA (one of Americas premier boarding schools) in the early 1960s, before many of the works we think of today as staples of an American high school education became the mainstays on the syllabus that they now are. For example, The Catcher in the Rye was only published in 1951. However, the president has expressed an especially keen eagerness to tackle that one, particularly since he found out its protagonist is a youth dismayed by the phoniness of an exclusive eastern prep school from which he has just been expelled.

Interesting.

As for the baseball books, the president enjoys a reward after wrestling with classics like Brave New World or The Old Man and the Sea. As a teacher, I appreciate that a mix of such choices are necessary to keep up his overall enthusiasm for reading. The president has even strayed from his usual length preferences for the baseball books. He recently read a biography of Derek Jeter and didnt once complain about its being well over 200 pages.

Whats the next conquest to go on the presidents book shelf?

Well, the regular school year starts again in September for me, so, unless he enrolls in one of my classes, the president will be on his own. I wish him well in whatever path he takes in life as he goes forth into adulthood.

As further proof that the president has indeed been reading the large number of books he has claimed to be, Ms. Taylor provided a collection of book reports the president had written for her. The following are excerpts:

Lord of the Flies

"Lord of the Flies by William Golding is the greatest book I have ever read. What it teaches us is that you have to be ready to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and not hang around losers like Piggy the way Ralph did for too long. Ralph was at first considered the coolest guy but then everyone saw him with Piggy and that he had the wrong type of people for friends so they sided with Roger. Lord of the Flies teaches us that it is bad to wear glasses and be fat, unless you are Dick Cheneys age when it doesnt matter. This book is very sad, but it also makes me very glad because it shows how far we have come as a nation. Whereas if you have glasses and are fat back then, you would get a boulder rolled on top of you, but today you would just be voted off the island and not be eligible for the million dollars prize. So that is more kinder and gentler."

Brave New World

"Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is the greatest book I have ever read. It teaches us that science is not good for human civilization because it makes nightmares out of reproduction and other stuff. It also shows us the 'noble savage' is noble even if the elitistical so-called elitists think they are more sophisticationed and better. In fact, the savage is better than everybody. So there. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley teaches us for example what happens in a country where stem cell research would happen. Everyone and his mother should read this book."

Frankenstein

"Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is not the greatest book I have ever read. It is very disappointing. Boris Karloffs Frankenstein is good because he talks to people on their own level, not above them, in words they can understand ('I love deadhate living,' 'smoke goodfire bad,' etc.). This is very important. Mary Shelley makes Frankenstein seem snobby and elitistical and we do not sympathize with him. He sounds more like the faggy second mad scientist doctor with the white hair in Bride of Frankenstein. Perhaps it can be said that Mary Shelley had a tough act to follow in trying to do a book of the movie, but I say she should have known better than to mess with a classic. Karloff goodMary Shelley bad!"

Julius Caesar

"Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare is the greatest book I have ever read. It is the tragically historical play about Julius Caesar and his merry men and teaches us lessons that are as true today as they were in the days of William Shakespeare and his ancient Rome of old. 'To be or not to be' is the question and the answer for Julius Caesar is to not to be because he is killed and this is why this book is a tragedy and not a non-tragedy. It is especially tragical because Julius Caesar is killed last of all by Brutus. He could have lived through everything else but seeing Brutus of all people kill him is what makes him die because he trusted Brutus and thought Brutus would always be on his side. Then Brutus is also killed and once he is dead someone calls him, 'The Noblest Roman there was of them all,' but we are left to opine if this was not ironically sarcastic since he is dead and not alive the way a hero should be at the end."
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Newsjock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
1. K&R
Just on the "Romeo and Juliet" line alone. Hahahahahaha.
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niyad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
2. took me just a minute--this is GREAT!!!
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moc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
3. 3 Shakespeares = "Julius Caeser, Romeo and Juliet"
:rofl:
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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Is that for real, or just a joke by the author?
Because that is frickin' HILARIOUS, either way!!
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #7
52. Based on the fact that *ALL* of the books are the "greatest book"...
> Is that for real, or just a joke by the author?

Based on the fact that *ALL* of the books are the
"greatest book I have ever read", I think you can
safely conclude that this is a joke.

Tesha
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
4. "Julius Caeser, Romeo, and Juliet"??? Did Bush say it that way? as if it
were three plays - not two, JC and R and J?
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Julius Civitatus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. OY!!!! ROTFL!!!
Edited on Thu Aug-31-06 10:30 AM by Julius Civitatus
If this is for real, his stupidity and ignorance are mind-numbing!

:rofl:
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. We were had. Read the original post carefully.
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Julius Civitatus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. It's from The Onion, right?
It has to be. It really has to be satire from The Onion.
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #15
19. It should be if it is not. Very well done.
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Crankie Avalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #15
32. I wrote it myself, but thank you...I like the Onion a lot and it's...
...a compliment to read someone saying they think this is good enough for that publication.
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ContraBass Black Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #32
39. You had me until that line.
:D
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AnneD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #39
46. It was the criteria that made me look...
'Can't be too long or too faggy'. Considering the folks that are in the inner circle of the WH...well, let's just say I'd be careful in the wash room.
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rosesaylavee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #32
44. You got both me and my husband
Isn't it sad that this is just too believable? Actually, you had until the book reports... ok, the second book report. :rofl:

Best laugh of the week - easily!!

K & R

Would love to see this on the Home Page!
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badgerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #32
48. Ya had me goin', ya did...
It was the "...too long or too faggy." comment that gave it away.
:rofl:
Worthy of The Onion indeed!
:yourock: :applause:
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. Oops. You got me. Good job. Good satire.
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savemefromdumbya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:20 AM
Original message
Can't the President pick his own books from the library?
(Hungry Caterpillar)
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radwriter0555 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 08:39 AM
Response to Original message
55. Can't the president's WIFE, the former LIBRARIAN be charged with something
so valuable and sanctimonious as the President's Royal Reading List?

Why must the white house have a court appointed librarian to the boy king?
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Drum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
5. LOL!
Great piece, Crankie Avalon!
:thumbsup:
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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:21 AM
Response to Original message
6. Wow. You win the prize for best post of the day.
:patriot: :toast:
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Julius Civitatus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
11. Chimpy's books can't be "too long or too faggy"
Edited on Thu Aug-31-06 10:29 AM by Julius Civitatus
It wouldn't surprise me if this was actually a real quote from the preznit.

:eyes:
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #11
22. Important ground rule: Not "TOO" faggy??? Eh? Lil' faggy is Okay then?
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #22
26. A smidgen of "faggy" is just fine
After all, he has fond memories of the dressing rooms at Philips Andover... ooops, I've said too much.
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #26
36. Well yes, that requirement well bespeaks Bush's own brand of
Edited on Thu Aug-31-06 11:58 AM by Kurovski
butchy-bisexualism. (ie: "Just 'cuz I like weiners, that don't make me queer.")

Just ask Jeff Gannon. ;-)

What's odd is that such a man would then go on to decry "phoniness". Or, rather, not so odd at all.

The OP is "The greatest OP I have ever read!"
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #36
41. Bushio and Gannonette
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. For never was a story of more woe: Than this of Gannonette and his Bushio.
:rofl:
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Catbird Donating Member (633 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
12. Some missing books
1984, Aldous Huxley

It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis

Wait, maybe he actually has read these. Apparently at least some of his cronies have.
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #12
17. "The Spy Who Loved Me" (Valerie Plame) - I guess that would be on Rove's
list rather than Bush's.
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karlrschneider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #12
21. Um, I don't think Huxley wrote 1984
;-)
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #21
24. George Orwell wrote "1984".
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Catbird Donating Member (633 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #24
40. Thanks for the correction. nt/
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AspenRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
13. B.V.D.s
Good one (is that a compliment to underpants?) :D
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BrotherBuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #13
20. LOL, not enough coffee yet!
I actually Googled B. V. Dees Onion to see what's what! I took it in the shorts :rofl:
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Crankie Avalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #13
33. I hadn't thought of him at the time, but he IS one of my favorite posters
...so an homage to him is fine with me.
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peekaloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
14. LOL...you had me up until the "too long" or "too faggy" rules.
:rofl:
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yellowcanine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. The "book reports" are great also. Dead giveaways. I glossed over them
and missed it the first time.
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Marie26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:32 AM
Response to Original message
18. You should submit this to the Onion! nt
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
23. Bush actually specified "not too faggy"? My God! Yet the prick *....
...walked with the Saudi prince holding hands :wtf:
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SeveneightyWhoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
25. Wow, you wrote this?
I was actually looking for the Onion link..

Great job.
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Crankie Avalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #25
34. Thanks! Check your inbox. n/t
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npincus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
27. *
Edited on Thu Aug-31-06 11:20 AM by npincus
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
28. Too damn funny.
Nice job. :)
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yorkiemommie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
29. i knew i was being had

Dumbya doesn't use words like 'opine'. "....but we are left to opine", ( last line ). At least he wouldn't be able to use it correctly!

ha,ha, I love where she says she wishes him well as he goes 'forth into adulthood'.
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Crankie Avalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #29
35. Hehe...actually, he does use "opine," that's why I deliberately chose it
...wish I could find a handy link, but I specifically remember threads on DU where people were getting a kick out of Bush using a word like "opine" and saying he must have been listening to Bill O'Reilly.

I first typed "ponder" but then remembered his funny use of "opine" and changed it.
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yorkiemommie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #35
43. ' opine '

that must be one of the words he writes on his hand before an interview!!! lol!
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dalaigh lllama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
30. best satire I've seen in a while
This is just great, Cranky Avalon. I hope you're going to get it published somewhere. Took me a while to catch on, but definitely loved, "Julius Caesar, Romeo, and Juliet."

A hearty K & R
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Crankie Avalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #30
37. Just did it for fun here on DU but someone left a PM in my box asking...
...if he/she could possibly publish it on his/her website so we'll so what happens. Glad you enjoyed it.
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Faux pas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
31. LOL plus tax! He should have read the Cliff Notes, might have
written better book reports. Too funny, passing this one on.
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Atman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
38. I got half way through that before I realized it was a joke...HYSTERICAL!
Very well done! Kudos to Mr. B. V. Dees! :rofl:
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kskiska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 02:03 PM
Response to Original message
45. Surely you corrected his spelling, Crankie
I doubt he spells much better than he speaks. His reports must have been written with a Sharpie, too.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 07:59 PM
Response to Original message
47. This had to be written by an English teacher.
I love, love, love the book reports!!! I'm dying over here, and my hubby and I can barely breathe. This is classic!!
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Crankie Avalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 07:26 AM
Response to Reply #47
49. My BA is in English and it was my favorite subject as a schoolboy...
...but I didn't feel I had the temperament to go into the teaching of it. Every now and then I'll wonder about that decision while in my cube doing offce work.

Any actual English teachers out there reading this have a mixture of my wistful admiration...and my sympathy.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #49
56. I taught for three years. I couldn't last longer then.
I'm in a different place in life now and thinking of teaching remedial classes at our community college to see if I want to go back.

Your book reports are right on, though. They sound just like what my students used to write. :D
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Crankie Avalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 07:29 AM
Response to Original message
50. So long as this is already kicked, thanks to everyone...
...who wrote such kind replies. I had fun just in the writing of it for its own sake, but then seeing an audience respond so kindly to it takes it to a whole other level of nice feelings.
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wicket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 07:30 AM
Response to Original message
51. "too faggy" - Are you kidding me???
:grr: :grr: :grr: :grr:
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warrens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 08:20 AM
Response to Original message
53. Key word here is LIST
Anyone who thinks he read and comprehended these books should put down the kool-aid.
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johnnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 08:36 AM
Response to Original message
54. Great job Crankie!
That is really funny. You had me until the "not too faggy" and I thought, "wait a minute, is this real?". This cracked me up: "It is especially tragical" Tragical... :rofl:, that sounds like georgie.

Good job! :applause:
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focusfan Donating Member (884 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
57. Bush is such a moron
he has to get an English teacher to help???what a dumbass 
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sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
58. Brilliant!
Worthy of the "b" in "subtle":

"...(T)his is why this book is a tragedy and not a non-tragedy."

Thanks for bringing a smile to my face.
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-02-06 02:50 AM
Response to Original message
59. Kick.(nt)
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