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Do Americans know?

JedMarum 12 Apr 00 - 09:27 AM
catspaw49 12 Apr 00 - 09:35 AM
Gary T 12 Apr 00 - 10:02 AM
Rick Fielding 12 Apr 00 - 10:11 AM
AndyG 12 Apr 00 - 10:16 AM
Hyperabid 12 Apr 00 - 10:17 AM
Mooh 12 Apr 00 - 10:22 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 12 Apr 00 - 11:12 AM
catspaw49 12 Apr 00 - 11:20 AM
AndyG 12 Apr 00 - 11:20 AM
katlaughing 12 Apr 00 - 11:33 AM
Hyperabid 12 Apr 00 - 11:36 AM
Steve Latimer 12 Apr 00 - 11:38 AM
Peter T. 12 Apr 00 - 11:49 AM
catspaw49 12 Apr 00 - 11:51 AM
Hyperabid 12 Apr 00 - 11:55 AM
Gary T 12 Apr 00 - 11:55 AM
catspaw49 12 Apr 00 - 12:02 PM
Peter T. 12 Apr 00 - 12:12 PM
Hyperabid 12 Apr 00 - 12:17 PM
kendall 12 Apr 00 - 12:26 PM
sophocleese 12 Apr 00 - 12:32 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 12 Apr 00 - 01:08 PM
catspaw49 12 Apr 00 - 01:25 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 12 Apr 00 - 02:14 PM
katlaughing 12 Apr 00 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,james 12 Apr 00 - 03:01 PM
Bill D 12 Apr 00 - 03:03 PM
bbc 12 Apr 00 - 04:15 PM
MMario 12 Apr 00 - 04:26 PM
Hyperabid 13 Apr 00 - 05:18 AM
Jim the Bart 17 Apr 00 - 06:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: JedMarum
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 09:27 AM

well, Ickle, perhaps England will feel better about participating in 2002!


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 09:35 AM

Interesting.......About 100 posts back, I made the same point as Mick and Amos and Rick. These threads always lead to about the same thing don't they? And again, there are generalities and specifics in this one and all can be agreed upon or refuted as is your wont.

This is a very diverse country, probably a little more than most, but all countries have some diversity...And in the final analysis, folks is folks.......good, bad, or indifferent, they come from everywhere.

Spaw (Thanks Andres, for pointing out the Argentinian angle**BG**)


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Gary T
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 10:02 AM

Dear James--I don't disagree with your comments, though I will clarify a bit. I fully realize Canada is a foreign country, but it doesn't so much seem like one. When you compare the U.S. to Mexico, or Germany to France, these neighboring countries have much more obvious differences than you see in comparing the U.S. to Canada. The somewhat large degree of similarity, spanning the great majority of a continent, I believe is a factor in many Americans' different perspective on the world community. The magnitude of cultural difference from state to state, or province to province, or U.S. to Canada seems to pale in comparison with that offered from country to country on the European continent.

Sadly, I think it's true that most Americans don't even know what Canada's capital city is. It's rather embarassing.


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 10:11 AM

Thanks Mick and Spaw. Sheesh, people are exactly what YOU make 'em.

Years ago when I first started to explore the parts of this fascinating world that I could get to with a guitar and limited budget, folks told me to "put a maple leaf on your guitar case, so you won't be mistaken for an "American"...That's idiotic, (and no..I didn't tell them that.) I just refuse to knowingly buy into ignorance and racism. I'll say it again....learn to identify the haters from a distance (They ALWAYS give themselves away quickly) and go in a different direction. Believe me the Americans don't have a monopoly on silly or pushy tourists. Dimbulbs HAVE no nationality!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: AndyG
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 10:16 AM

Which Americans ?

Canada is in continental america, The USA is in continental america, Mexico is in continental america, Panama, Honduras, Belize, Venezuala, Columbia, Argentina Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, Nicaragua, Guyana, Guatemala, French Guiana, and probably more...
are in continental america.
All the people who live in these countries are Americans.

First let me state that in my personal experience Citizens of the USA (CoUSA) are no worse, or better than folk of any other nationality. I like most, I dislike a few. There are however definate cultural differences which can easily lead to misunderstandings between individuals.
The best example I can think of, from my English perspective is;
When making a joke in the presence of a CoUSA you need to laugh so they know. There is a very distinct difference between our senses of humour and the form our humour takes. This can lead to someone taking offence where none was offered.
I think these cultural differences are particularly profound between Britons and CoUSA due to their "separation by a common language".

As to why The USA, as opposed to individual citizens, might be disliked, a dislike which would colour personal interactions should they occur, allow me to quote the following piece of net humour. It is I believe of USA origin.

This test contains only one question, so you should find it very easy. Here is a list of countries the US has bombed since the end of WW2.
China 1945-1946
Korea 1950-1953
China 1950-1953
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-1960
Guatemala 1960
Congo 1964
Peru 1965
Laos 1964-1973
Vietnam 1961-1973
Cambodia 1969-1970
Guatemala 1967-69
Grenada 1983
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1980's
Nicaragua 1980's
Panama 1989
Iraq 1991-1999
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999

In how many instance did a democratic goverment, respectful of human rights, occur as a direct result?
Choose one of the following:

a) zero
b) 0
c)zip
d)zilch
e)a whole number between -1 and +1

;-)
This sort of flies in the face of We hold these truths to be self-evident ...

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Hyperabid
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 10:17 AM

Rick's got it right...

Whether it's:-

German's putting their towels on sunloungers on holiday Less than bright Irishmen Overweight American's Snooty Englismen Miserly Scotsmen Garliccy French Greasy - skinned Spanish / French etcetera etcetera etcete - bl**dy - ra

No matter how true one may feel these stereotypes can be - using them is xenophobic...

Hyp


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Mooh
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 10:22 AM

Joeler, What in the world makes you think that everyone else in the rest of the world wants to move to the States? Are you taking your government's propaganda too seriously? Jeez! I live in Canada and I love living here, but other folks prefer other places, by introduction or by ancestry, and their reasons are as valid as yours. Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:12 AM

AndyG,

No wonder you have to laugh at your own jokes, you are the only one who thinks they are funny!!!

Seriously, your comment is so typical of the "I understand America and Americans" situation as described above--

In fact, yes, we do get your jokes--We think it is very funny to pretend that we misunderstand jokes, particularly jokes made by "Britons"--

If you knew more about what goes on here(something that you can do by just picking up the TV Guide) you would know that we are very fond of sophisticated, dry, British humor--particularly Benny Hill--

I must admit, some Americans confuse him for Anthony Wedgewood Benn--but, cut us a little slack, many Britons confuse Bill Clinton with Benny Hill--


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:20 AM

Okay Ted.....I know Benny Hill. Who the hell is Bill Clinton?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: AndyG
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:20 AM

Erm...

My point is made ?

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:33 AM

No, Catspaw is having you on, without the laugh you claim Americans need to have to get it.

Might also mention Dave Allen and the fact that BBC has been very successful in launching a new cable channel, BBC-America, as they've found a ready made and avid audience for the *dry* humour you note, here, in the States. Believe it or not, some of us in America grew up with that exact same sense of humour. Generalisations should be avoided like the plague.

People are people are people are people....but some of us wish to be cats.


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Hyperabid
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:36 AM

Andy and Ted

America is a huge force in world politics in the 20th century just as the UK was a huge force in world politics 100 - 200 years ago. That generates resentment from other nations who feel pushed around as often as not because directly or indirectly they are being pushed around.

UK politicians won't enter into a debate about the legalisation / decriminalisation of soft drugs - a major reason is political pressure from our ally the US who adopt a zero tolerance policy towards recreational substances despite the experience of prohibition. This despite the recommendation of the UKs own police-sponsored charities that criminalising soft drug users is socially pointless.

200 or os years ago the British were busy imposing their will on US consumption habits regarding something known as tea. I gather afternoon beverages and cucumber sandwiches were served in Boston with revolution for desert.

Neither of us are in a position to throw stones at each other here!

Hyp


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:38 AM

Due to some rather odd circumstances my father who was the oldest of 10 children moved to Toronto, Canada from Dublin as a young man. His parents moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. and the rest of our rather large family stayed in N.Y. State. I love them and visit them often.

Perhaps as Canadians we are overly senistive to the general lack of knowledge about us and our ways displayed by people living only a few hours away from us. Sure I'm generalizing, but to be told by an upstate New Yorker that he wouldn't visit Canada because 'they only speak french there' was disturbing, but not surprising. This conversation was held in English, after I had mentioned that I was Canadian. Trying to convince this person that the vast majority of Canadians speak English was futile.

Most of my relatives know a fair amount about Canada as they have visited us and found we don't live in Igloos and drive dog sleds. However we do meet friends of theirs who are often not only surprised to find out that our climate and there's is virtually identical, many don't believe it. As the crow flies we're only a few hundred miles away.

Then there was the guy in the bar in Pa. who asked my buddies and I where we were from, we replied Toronto. He went on about 'you Ohio Guys' We tried several times to tell him that we were from Toronto, Canada, it turned out that his confusion was that there's a Toronto, Ohio, a small town when compared to our city. This guy didn't realize that there was 'another' Toronto. He thought the World Champion Blue Jays were from smalltown Ohio. I love visting the U.S. (would like it more if you could get a real beer or cup of coffee there). But I would never want to live there.


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:49 AM

Oh well, why not get in on this. I have travelled extensively around the world, and the one generalization that I can make is that people travelling in groups tend to behave appallingly and like the worst of their national stereotypes. Why this is is mysterious to me, but it seems to be true. I once spent a very amusing week in the Netherlands going to the tulip fields 7 times on the same tour bus (I was having an affair with the lady running the tour, but I also loved the tulip fields in April, May, right now, why am I not there????). Every day there was a different national group, and each one was more appalling than the previous one -- Japanese, French, Germans, Americans, English (twice). Thank God there weren't any Canadian tours that week, or I would be a man without a country. The Japanese paid no attention to anything that wasn't within their camera frames; the French were only concerned about lunch and where to buy accessories; the Germans were bossy and unbelievably rude; the Americans were loud, pushy, and complained at lunch because there weren't any hamburgers; and the English were completely vicious derogatory about everything that wasn't English, which, since we were in the Netherlands, was everything. It was totally hilarious. All it lacked was them dressing up in their official national costumes. I am sure that individually they might have been O.K., but maybe there are national pheromenes that odorise groups -- or is it people who take bus tours? yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:51 AM

Having been to both Torontos Tony, I can verify that the only thing in common is the name. Like many small East Ohio towns, they do have an active Little League though. Sorrowfully, many towns are heavily involved in Soccer now.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Hyperabid
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:55 AM

Peter

What do you mean that the English are derogatory about anything not English.

Anyway that's a Canadian opinion so it can't be right *VBG*!!!

Anyway I'm off to Venice next month to celibrate my anniversary and there'd better be a fish and chip shop there!

Cheers

Hyp.


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Gary T
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:55 AM

A little note on terminology:

Andy G said:
"Canada is in continental america, The USA is in continental america, Mexico is in continental america, Panama, Honduras, Belize, Venezuala, Columbia, Argentina Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, Nicaragua, Guyana, Guatemala, French Guiana, and probably more... are in continental america. All the people who live in these countries are Americans."
which is true, but not helpful in a practical sense.

For all countries on the American continents other than the U.S., there is a clearly recognized term to describe their people, e.g. Mexicans, Panamanians, Hondurans, etc. One can further talk about North Americans, Central Americans, South Americans, and Latin Americans. But from centuries of usage, and with the lack of any other clear and unwieldy term to describe them, "Americans" is understood rather universally to mean people in the U.S.

I'm afraid I don't see much point in trying to make an issue out of what "American" could technically mean. It only raises confusion, and the common usage is quite unlikely to change.


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 12:02 PM

Sorry Steve...that was meant for you and I had just replied to Tony Burns on another thread.....sorry 'bout that. Aw but what the hell, you're both Canadjuns. What's the difference...........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 12:12 PM

A more interesting topic might be who are the finest people in the world: what is the best your country has to offer. Has there ever been a finer human being than Abraham Lincoln? If America never did anything else.... yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Hyperabid
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 12:17 PM

One slight thing that has always bothered me - - -

No anger or prejudice involved just puzzlement.

In 70s hollywood and TV movies we would often be treated to a stock shot of the houses of parliament with the subtitle "London, England".

I fully understand that there are other places called London around the world and that the fact it is our nation's capital doesn't necessarily give it standing over the people of these other townships in their eyes.

However, I've always thought that Big Ben, the Thames and a smatterring of Red double decker buses might just be a bit of a giveaway as to which one it is...

Hyp


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: kendall
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 12:26 PM

Being from the state of Maine, wherever I go in this country, I encounter the same ignorance that Canadians encounter when they come here. I've been asked if Maine is part of Canada (a guy in Ohio)..and other idiotic questions such as, "Do moose really live on the streets of Portland?" I had a shipmate from Ohio, his dad was a well known pro golfer, and, when he learned that his son was being sent to Maine, he raised hell with his congressman. "I dont want my boy among those ignorant hicks!" It's probably true that most "Americans" dont know diddly about Canada..why? maybe because Canada minds its own business. What sells newspapers here, (violence, civil unrest war, etc. is not common in Canada. Hey, you wanna get noticed? start a war somewhere. I guarantee we will know more about you before its finished. I also believe we would back your play if you do!


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: sophocleese
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 12:32 PM

Yeah kendall, I had a friend you wondered if the world series would be televised if it was fought out between the Montreal Expos and the Toronto Blue Jays. We appear to be spreading the sports around hockey goes south and basketball moves north. I do like the spread of soccer though, a lovely game at times..


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 01:08 PM

That was me, Kat, being all funny-not 'Spaw--

But, can it be that AndyG is so thick that he missed the fact that it was all a rather simpeminded joke? I am literally dancing and cackling with glee-- Tell me AndyG, are there anymore at home like you? If so,I've got the Brooklyn Bridge for sale--cheap!!

No--AndyG is having a bit of a laugh on us! Well played, old sport!!--that boyish naivete had me going!! In fact, I am still fooled!!


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 01:25 PM

Well maybe you are Ted, but I still wanna' know who that Clinton feller is! From the last few posts, its obvious that Ohio produces more hilljacks per square foot than any other state in the US and I'd hate not to support the efforts of my home state.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 02:14 PM

Clinton, at least as near as I can figure, is the fellow that donated the herbareum the Buffalo Musueum of Science--or maybe he was the fellow from New York that was so funny they called him De wit Clinton.

Of course, all these EEU types know everything, and I don't know much, but I'm not lost--

Would have liked to be there to see the poor fellow trying to explain to the bartender that the Blue Jays were not from a small town in Ohio--

And as for poor old Kendall, every one knows where Maine is, some of us, only too well--I can personally guarantee that there is no one that can give you a run around like a Down-Easter--you probably get a lot of undeserved paybacks-

"Can you help me? I'm headed up North"--'You re in the wrong place--hereabouts is all Down East'--

"Bangor?" she said, "Bang 'er" I did-- I'll never go there anymore!


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 02:15 PM

Maybe so, M. Ted, but I still maintain Spaw was and IS still pulling some legs!**BG**


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: GUEST,james
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 03:01 PM

Peter you had a great idea , let us all celebrate the things we love about the culture of others.... Great things about America.....Baseball, Thomas Jefferson, Blues Music, a beautiful Flag, generosity, and Charles Shultz. Britain....Cornish Pasties, Churchill, Great literature....Absolutely Fabulous, Humour ,the beer.

Canada, Natalie MacMaster, Loreena MacKennit,Pierre Trudeau, Blueberry Grunt{in the east}, This hour Has 22 Minutes...CBC Two.......Tim Hortons and oh yea, we have great neighbours....


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 03:03 PM

...a few notes..

1)..18 years ago I made a trip into Canada JUST to buy some beer with flavor..and still appreciate some very nice brews from Canada, now, fortunately, you can get good beer in most places here. (though, in many small towns, you are still limited to the methelated swill that passes for lager..i.e.Budweiser)..Micro & mini breweries in the USA are competing very well...

2)..I can make a FINE cup of tea...ceramic pot, boiling water, LOOSE tea, proper steeping etc...but I do NOT pollute it with milk until there is no tea flavor left!

3) The USA is too large for any stereotypes to be relevant. As Kendall can tell you, living in Maine is TOTALLY different than living in Texas, or Kansas, or Alabama, or New Jersey....and NOTHING is like living in California!....there are states that I simply could NOT live in, whereas I could easily live in (most) of Canada, Scotland, Australia, Belgium..(oh, the BEER!..and chocolate too).

4) Peter T's experience with tour groups echos and enlarges on my WAY earlier post back up ^ there. Organized tour groups often are made up of affluent idiots who have NO idea how to behave. I once saw a cartoon of an American tourist in Mexico, standing in front of a poor wide-eyed vendor in an open-air market, screaming...."Cheeze Doodles, Cheeze Doodles!! Don't you people understand anything?" Unfortunately, THAT's what gets remembered.

(My wife relates a story of being in England, at a restaurant, and asking for a glass of water, and being ostentatiously misunderstood for long minutes until the waitress finally asked disdainfully, "Oh..do you mean 'wawtuh'?")....*grin*


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: bbc
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 04:15 PM

Grey Wolf--There is no need for Americans to "know" that most people hate them, since I don't, for a minute, believe this is true. I have no idea why you felt the need to start such a negative thread. If folks want to continue more positive discussion on this topic, Rick Fielding has started a "Tourist" thread. Please post to it & let this inflamatorily-named thread DIE!!!!!!!!!!!

bbc


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: MMario
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 04:26 PM

NOI - hyp, you said"However, I've always thought that Big Ben, the Thames and a smatterring of Red double decker buses might just be a bit of a giveaway as to which one it is... "

Most people wouldn't know what Big Ben looked like without being told, a river is a river is a river and believe it or not, there are actually red double decker busses in other cities then London.....


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Hyperabid
Date: 13 Apr 00 - 05:18 AM

MMario... Thanks for your point on my thread reply... It is well made... these things are of course familiar to me because I am English.

I really don't mean to sound smug but if you showed me a picture of the Whitehouse or the Capitol I think I'd know I was in Washington District of Columbia not Washington State or Washington, Tyne and Wear, UK.

If I showed you a picture of the Eiffel Tower or the Champs Elysee I think you'd know you were in Paris, France not Paris, Texas.

My point was is that I don't believe the stereotypes about US citizens. With a population of around 250,000,000 they are far to diverse a culture for such things to have any meaning.

However, if the US movie industry goes about explaining the obvious in films - it's not a great leap of imagination to see why some lesser souls outside of the US get the impression that the makers of these movies make assumptions about the intelligence of their own population.

The argument - "Well look at them - they even have to be told where they are and whether it's day or night" - has been fired at me by many a closet racist at the time...

I assure you - comments like this p*ss me off as much as they annoy the people who they are aimed at.

Hyp


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Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 17 Apr 00 - 06:52 PM

Oh, hi! What were you all talking about?

Darn, I always seem to get to the party a little late and I never seem to know what's going on. Did I miss anything?

I guess I could read the thread, but that takes so long. . . Couldn't someone just sum it up for me? I really have so much to do. . .food to overeat, countries to bomb, lousy beer to drink, money to count, cultures to ignore.

Sorry, gotta go! That "Who wants to be a millionaire" show is coming on.

I just want you to know that whatever you think about me I love you all, nationalities be damned.


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