December 13, 2011

Syzygy

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(REUTERS/Tim Wimborne)                   




I think that I shall never see
A word as troubling as syzygy.

Though it may speak of celestial alignment,
Speaking it's a tough assignment.

The s and z, and then the g
Are in too close proximity

For tongues to tackle tactfully,
Too tight together to try, these three.

And having three (or just two) y's
In such cramped space is none too wise.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can say syzygy.




Apologies to Pandabonium, FrogmaJoyce Kilmer,
and to anyone who made the mistake of reading this.

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125 comments:

  1. Apology accepted. I find your blog to be both inaniloquent and nihilarian. How do you do it?

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  2. I don't know who Pandabonium and Frogma are, but Joyce Kilmer has a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike.

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  3. Luckily the spelling of "Higgs" is much easier though it seems it is still only God that knows if its really real or not.

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  4. Or perhaps Higgs is the only one who knows if god is really real or really not?

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  5. I accept your apology, O'Dock.

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  6. Nice word to remember for scrabble - massive 75 points with treble word score.

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  7. I've always felt naming a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike for Joyce Kilmer is like naming a whaling ship for Jacques Cousteau. But I guess, in New Jersey, there can be no higher form of praise. What poet wouldn't want to be alongside literary geniuses like Vince Lombardi?

    I accept your acceptances, Doc and Anonymous. And I've always considered my nihilarian posts to be my most useful work.

    But I can't understand all this fuss about discovering bosons, JP. I've discovered many bosons at work, most of them in upper levels of management.

    For readers unfamiliar with the Higgs particle, it was apparently just discovered at the LHC, the world's second largest collider - after the New Jersey Turnpike.

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  8. Can I have a drink instead of an apology?

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  9. I propose that we rename the rest stop at milepost 116 on the NJ Turnpike to be the O Docker Syzygy Higgs Boson rest stop.

    I have no idea what any of those words mean, just as I have no idea who the current honoree of those toilets at milepost 116 is or was.

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  10. Not only is syzygy an excellent score in Scrabble, it can be a great name for a full-keel sailboat -- depending on what font you use, you may have a six-letter word with five descenders.

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  11. Six descenders, Carol Anne, if that's what you name your Laser.

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  12. Quick quiz:

    With all this discussion of rest stops on the New Jersey Turnpike, can someone tell me how many are named for women?

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  13. No, you are wrong Anonymous. The correct answer is 2.

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  14. Oh, I should have mentioned this was a trick question.

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  15. Actually if you asked how many women have rest stops on the NJ turnpike named after them, the answer is indeterminate as Molly Pitcher may actually be a composite image inspired by the actions of a number of real women.

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  16. Joyce Fenimore Cooper?

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  17. Is JP correct to say that SYZYGY scores 75 points with a treble word score in Scrabble.

    If you look at the letter scores...
    S=1
    Y=4
    Z=10
    Y=4
    G=2
    Y=4

    you might conclude that SYZYGY would score 25 and with a treble word score square included, that would yield a score of 25.

    But how many Y tiles are there in a standard English Scrabble set? This is not a trick question. The answer is 2.

    So to spell SYZYGY in Scrabble you would need to use a blank tile for one of the Y's, and the score would only be 21.

    But all is not lost.

    If you play SYZYGY on one of the treble word score squares in the center of a side of the board you might only score 63. But if you are lucky and smart you might also be able to include a double letter score in the word. And there are several places on the board where you can play it so that the Z is on a double letter score, which yields a grand total of 93.

    It is also possible to play it with the S or the G or a Y on a double letter score, yielding 66, 69 or 75 respectively.

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  18. Arvin, did I tell you you could leave comments on O Docker's blog? Get back in your closet.

    And, by the way, there should be a question mark at the end of your first sentence, and the number at the end of your third paragraph should be 75.

    Androids! Who needs them?

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  19. Arvin, those are some of the most inaniloquent and nihilarian comments anyone's ever left here.

    But since I am naturally inaniloquent and nihilarian, they are warmly appreciated.

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  20. I just like proving humans wrong. JP is a human, isn't he?

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  21. Well, he's British, Arvin.

    I think that's very close to being human.

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  22. This could not have gone any better.
    Welcome back Lord Tillermaaaaaaaaan
    and O Docker!

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  23. Why re you tunting me with ll those first letters of the lphbet. How did you know tht my keybord ws broken?

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. Nyz! :D Ypylygy yccyptyd! Yyyy!

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  26. Would anyone like to buy a vowel?

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  27. Ths pst hs bn rmvd by th thr.

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  28. only here are the comments longer than the posts.

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  29. Only here are the comments better written than the posts.

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  30. No apology necessary, O Docker. Very nice poem. Did Kilmer's trees line up?
    And if three trees line up in a forest and there is no one there to observe them, is it syzygy?

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  31. I'm not sure about vowels but I've got a job lot of exclamation marks to offload if anyone wants one!

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  32. Buff Staysail12/14/11, 4:44 AM

    Jeez, is it only me and Cliff that care about facts.

    JP is a POM!!!

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  33. Buff, I am appahled at your rudeness. You should never call anyone a Brit or a Jew or a POM. JP is not a "POM." He is a Pommish person.

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  34. I care about facts too.

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  35. I don't know why I delude myself into thinking I have any control over the direction of the comments thread on this blog.

    I'm writing this as much to make the total number of comments 40 as for any other reason.

    But, as long as you're here, Jeez, could you explain why, if it's your birthday, everyone else gets the presents?

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  36. Good question O Docker. I often ask myself that question. And, by the way, why doesn't anyone ever think to throw me a surprise birthday party?

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  37. Well Jeez, I'd get you something, but you're so hard to buy for.

    And everyone's always saying they're doing things for your sake. For Christ's sake this. For Christ's sake that.

    Maybe they think they don't owe you a party.

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  38. I'm posting simply to keep Tillerman from being #43.

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  39. Worked like a charm. I never get tired of seeing #43.

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  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  41. A somewhat good idea gone bad. Forget I said And.

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  42. Well, I'm glad that you're OK, Baydog.

    For a minute, I thought we'd lost Grover's Mill, NJ again to another alien invasion.

    And by the way, there will be no special prize awarded for the 50th comment on this post. To do so would demean the Corinthean spirit of commenting we try to encourage here on O Dock.

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  43. Aha! It worked!

    Fifty comments it is, then!

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  44. This post now has more comments than the number of days I have been Laser sailing this year. (49 so far - in case you were wondering.)

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  45. This post has 3 more comments than years I've been alive.

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  46. 54 is an interesting number in that it is the smallest number that can be written as the sum of 3 squares in 3 different ways...

    49+4+1
    36+9+9
    25+25+4

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  47. 55 is a very interesting number in that it is the sum of the numbers 1 to 10.

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  48. I sang the word 'Yeah' 56 times in the Nirvana song "Lithium".

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  49. Heinz makes 57 varieties, but varieties of what, I have no idea.

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  50. Wrong. There never were 57 varieties. It was just a number that Henry Heinz thought would make a catchy slogan. Personally I think 43 would have been better.

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  51. NJ turnpike, vowels, androids, POM (what's a POM?), Vanna-Kurt-Jesus, the Corinthians, ketchup.

    We do have a laser sailing reference! That's on topic.

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  52. Thanks bowsprite. I do try and keep O Docker on topic... but I'm afraid I've forgotten what his topic is these days.

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  53. Let me just say this.

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  54. My best sailing buddy has determined that Hell would be spending eternity at the Vince Lombardi rest stop.

    When making windsurfing pilgrimages to Cape Hatteras, a stop at Molly Pitcher is ritual.

    Thus my post doth wax marine.

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  55. 3M makes a good marine wax/cleaner

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  56. I prefer a wet sanding with #400.

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  57. Sounds kinky, Puffin, but I won't knock anything until I've tried it once.

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  58. I prefer a sandy wetting with #43.

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  59. I thought #43 was already married.

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  60. If that was my wife she wouldn't be married for long. Giants fan you know...

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  61. If that was my wife....

    Oh, never mind.

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  62. Emily Titesphinker12/15/11, 10:44 AM

    Thank you so much, Mr. Tillerman, for stepping in with a prudent and proper 69th comment.

    With the direction this discussion has been taking, that could have gone wrong in so many ways. We can always look to you as a voice of reason and restraint when the rabble raises its raucous voice.

    Sincerely,

    Emily Titesphinker

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  63. I don't understand how 69 could have gone wrong. Please go into great detail.

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  64. Emily Titesphinker12/15/11, 1:23 PM

    The devil's in the details, Mr. Puffin.

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  65. seventy-three12/15/11, 3:15 PM

    Let me say just this

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  66. 74 is the exit off of the Garden State Parkway for Forked River.

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  67. The alphanumeric total of "DETAILS" -1 is 69.

    Create an algorithm in which the title of any wind and water blog's alphanumeric total minus the square root of 1 equals a Tillerman magnet integer.

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  68. Tillerman has magnets on his integers? If the Laser class association ever finds out, he is SO busted.

    This question always comes up, Puffin, whenever we discuss alphanumeric totals here and it's one I've often thought about. My algorithm maker has the week off, but I'll put him on it first thing when he gets back.

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  69. I have magnets on my refrigerator that hold up my Stop & Shop coupons and reminders that I need to pay my slip dues for next summer. By December 31.

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  70. 69 is of great interest because the aliquot sum of sixty-nine is 27 within the aliquot sequence (69,27,13,1,0) 69 being the third composite number in the 13-aliquot tree.

    Not to mention that 69 is a semiprime.

    Furthermore, since the two factors of 69 are both Gaussian primes, 69 is a Blum integer.

    And it's fascinating that adding up the divisors of 1 through 9 gives 69.

    But best of all, because 69 has an odd number of 1s in its binary representation, it is sometimes called an "odious number."

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  71. I am now in my semiprime, but I never thought of it as odious when in my prime.

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  72. Jesus O Docker, Are you that semiprime?

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  73. O is my first name, Baydog, not my middle name.

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  74. By whom (is it sometimes called odious)?

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  75. If I must refer to Wikipedia (which is always right) more than three times a day, it's officially time to quit commenting when I'm obviously out-educated regarding the vocabulary with which these comments have been written.

    See you tomorrow.

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  76. 'scuse me Dog, but I do not bow to the false god of wikipedia. That is not where anyone should go for expertise. In particular I question not the definition but the "sometimes called" bit. I'll bet not one damned person in recent history has called 69 an odious number.

    To test my theory I went to Youtube (I know where to get the goods) and looked up 69 to find people talking about it. Found several videos no problem..."odious" was not heard even once.

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  77. At the risk of asking the "W", why did Joyce die so young?

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  78. Puffin, you're probably right that no normal person has called 69 odious.

    It's only mathematicians who do.

    And actually, it's not 69 they think of as odious, but 1000101, which is how mathematicians do 69.

    You can see right off that they don't do 69 the same way that everyone else does, This is probably because they spend too much time alone in their rooms until they start to smell funny and then no one wants to do 69 with them.

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  79. Baydog, Sergeant Alfred Joyce Kilmer went off to fight in The Great War (not my name for it) and never returned. He was killed at the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31.

    So, at 31, he had written verse well enough to become more famous than I will ever be.

    Why he wanted to be called Joyce instead of Alfred, I don't know.

    Now, that's 90 comments, which is more than any blog post should have, so I'm going to bed now.

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  80. I don't know whether the original post or all these comments are more interesting than the other, but in any case comparisons are odious.

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  81. This is an itch that I'm trying desperately not to scratch, but....aaaaaaaaaaah

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  82. Measles make you bumpy
    Mumps'll make you lumpy
    Chicken Pox'll make you jump and twitch
    Common cold'll fool you
    Whooping cough'll cool you
    But reading blogs, Lord'll make you itch.

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  83. For Joyce Kilmer fans everywhere, here is the original version of Trees.

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  84. This post now has as many comments as words in the post (not counting the picture credit and the title.)

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  85. I remember back to my childhood days my pastor gave a sermon titled "Comparison is Odious." he died in the late 80's, so I would have been 8 or 9 years old.

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  86. 8 or 9 years old and you were paying enough attention to remember a sermon? I just had visions of going to IHOP afterwards dancing in my head.

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  87. It's funny how things like that stick in your head. I remember a sermon from about the same age that was titled, "Is Your Bible Dirty or Dusty?"

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  88. My wife once delivered a sermon to me titled "Comparison is Dangerous".

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  89. Dirty good, dusty bad... in case you were wondering.

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  90. Tillerman - are you still talking about your Bible?

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  91. While Tillerman's considering his reply, My2Fish, I want to make sure everyone knows the house policy here on O Dock:

    After 100 comments on any post - it's an open bar!

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  92. I was talking about the hypothetical bible in that sermon given c.1956. At school I was forced to buy a bible and one day I accidentally spilled ink all over it.

    My car is dirty.

    My boat is dirty.

    My running shoes are dirty.

    My bicycle is dusty.

    My guitar is dusty.

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  93. Gin and tonic. Make it two.

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  94. My mind is both dirty and dusty

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  95. My mind is dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.


    I've often wondered why Simon used dappled in that lyric. Mostly for the alliteration, I think, as the word's meaning doesn't seem to fit.

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  96. The image that dappled conjures for me in the 59th Street Bridge Run is of walking in sunlight under trees, or perhaps having that same happy feeling that doing so creates. It is morning but the author is sleepy (up all night perhaps?)

    Either that or it's a drug reference. Most metaphors in 60s songs were drug references.

    By the way, the lyrics are, "I'm dappled and drowsy..." not "My mind is dappled..."

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  97. I think I'll take a nap now.

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  98. Song not Run. For some reason the word "bridge" makes me think of Run.

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  99. I like that explanation.

    I first confronted the word, head on, in a college English class where we read this Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, which, by the way, is not a bad example of another kind of syzygy.


    PIED BEAUTY

    Glory be to God for dappled things--
    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
    Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough;
    And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

    All things counter, original, spare, strange;
    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
    He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
    Praise him.

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  100. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  101. I think I like reading your blog because you are "counter, original, spare, strange."

    Of course I can be strange too.

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  102. Oh Lord (Tillerman), isn't it about time you published a chronicle regarding BEYC or something?

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  103. We went to BEYC. There was kayaking and whalering and snorkeling and SUPing. There was lots of sailing in all sorts of little boats and some big boats. I won some races. We saw Rising Sun and the rising moon. There was wearing of Hawaiian shirts. There was rum.

    It was good. Even more good than last year if that were possible.

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  104. Why don't we all give up our own blogs and just write what we want to write in O Docker's comments?

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  105. Will we ever read another publication on 'Proper Course'?

    Signed: Former Newark News delivery boy.

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  106. To everything there is a season
    And a time to every purpose under heaven

    A time to be born, a time to die
    A time to plant, a time to reap
    A time to kill, a time to heal
    A time to laugh, a time to weep


    A time to build up,a time to break down
    A time to dance, a time to mourn
    A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together.


    I think I'll go and gather stones together now.

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  107. Stones? Is this some Old Testament drug metaphor?

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  108. ghost of christmas past12/18/11, 3:18 PM

    Rolling or kidney?

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  109. All this reminds me that I likely need to go to New Mexico to find my title for Syzygy and bring Syzygy to the sailboat consignment lot at Lake Pleasant.

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  110. I've also been gathering and dispersing stones, but now I'm out, so I'll have to get ten tons of dirt tomorrow.

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  111. Ecclesiastes doesn't mention anything about a time to get ten tons of dirt.

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