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Stupid, Basic Garb Question

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  • Marc Lauterbach
    For someone who takes their garb seriously, I feel like a total noob, but oh well. Perhaps this has already been addressed a gazillion times before, but in
    Message 1 of 16 , Apr 8, 2005
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      For someone who takes their garb seriously, I feel like a total noob,
      but oh well. Perhaps this has already been addressed a gazillion times
      before, but in any case, I'd just like a bit of clarification. I was
      just browsing the net and it occurred to me that while leather forearm
      bracers are all the rage at ren faires, tv shows, movies, and that sort
      of thing (and granter, are useful for archers and their ilk), I don't
      think I've ever actually seen examples of bracers or cuffs in period.
      Is this just another medievaloid type development like the ring belt,
      or is there some evidence of their existance prior to 1600? Thanks!
      Matthaeus
    • Rhonda Staggs
      ... wrote: I was ... forearm ... sort ... don t ... period. ... belt, ... Thanks! ... OOH - OOH (waving rasied hand) I know this one. Actually,
      Message 2 of 16 , Apr 11, 2005
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        --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Marc Lauterbach"
        <mllaut@w...> wrote:
        I was
        > just browsing the net and it occurred to me that while leather
        forearm
        > bracers are all the rage at ren faires, tv shows, movies, and that
        sort
        > of thing (and granter, are useful for archers and their ilk), I
        don't
        > think I've ever actually seen examples of bracers or cuffs in
        period.
        > Is this just another medievaloid type development like the ring
        belt,
        > or is there some evidence of their existance prior to 1600?
        Thanks!
        > Matthaeus

        OOH - OOH (waving rasied hand) I know this one.

        Actually, leather forearm coverings are very period but they are
        called by a different name: Vambraces.
        Usually vambraces were worn as part of a full armour kit and I have
        not found any documentation where they were worn alone as decoration
        as we do in the SCA. As we say on this list, just because there is
        no documentation doesn't nessecarialy mean they didn't do it in
        period.
        <-------<<<< >>>>-------->
        Lady Germaine Sylverbyrd Of Staghurst
        Kingdom Of Atenveldt
        Barony Of Tir Ysgithr
        House Agni Vajra
      • Kass McGann
        ... Gee. And here I was thinking that if you couldn t document it, you shouldn t assume they did it in period. Silly me! Kass
        Message 3 of 16 , Apr 11, 2005
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          --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Rhonda Staggs" <rls56@m...> wrote:
          > As we say on this list, just because there is
          > no documentation doesn't nessecarialy mean they didn't do it in
          > period.

          Gee. And here I was thinking that if you couldn't document it, you shouldn't assume
          they did it in period. Silly me!

          Kass
        • Marc Carlson
          ... A very iffy line to walk. I have no documentation that they didn t use rayon and hot glue guns, but... OTOH, about 90 perscent of what what i suspect
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 11, 2005
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            --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Kass McGann" <historian@r...>
            wrote:
            >> As we say on this list, just because there is
            >> no documentation doesn't nessecarialy mean they didn't do it in
            >> period.
            > Gee. And here I was thinking that if you couldn't document it, you
            > shouldn't assume they did it in period. Silly me!

            A very iffy line to walk. I have no documentation that they didn't
            use rayon and hot glue guns, but...

            OTOH, about 90 perscent of what what i suspect about medieval
            shoemaking is based on plausible assumptions since there is virtually
            zero documentation. Even so, there are some areas where researchers
            have different plasuible assumptions.

            Marc/Diarmaid
          • Kass McGann
            ... However, I would argue that the simple fact that we can find no documentation for leather bracers worn as fashion accessories does not imply any plausible
            Message 5 of 16 , Apr 11, 2005
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              --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Marc Carlson" <marccarlson20@h...>
              wrote:
              > OTOH, about 90 perscent of what what i suspect about medieval
              > shoemaking is based on plausible assumptions since there is virtually
              > zero documentation. Even so, there are some areas where researchers
              > have different plasuible assumptions.

              However, I would argue that the simple fact that we can find no documentation for
              leather bracers worn as fashion accessories does not imply any plausible
              assumption at all. It's a "you can't prove they didn't" argument. And I think this list
              exists in particular to discourage such things.

              Kass
            • Marc Carlson
              ... I didn t suggest that it did imply any plausible assumptions. No evidence is just that - no evidence, one way or the other. The most likely assumption
              Message 6 of 16 , Apr 11, 2005
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                --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Kass McGann" <historian@r...>
                wrote:
                > However, I would argue that the simple fact that we can find no
                > documentation for leather bracers worn as fashion accessories does
                > not imply any plausible assumption at all. It's a "you can't prove
                > they didn't" argument. And I think this list exists in particular to
                > discourage such things.

                I didn't suggest that it did imply any plausible assumptions. No
                evidence is just that - no evidence, one way or the other. The most
                likely assumption (most likely to me, that is) is they probably didn't
                use them as fashion accessories, but that's hardly proof of anything.
                Which is, I suspect, what the poster was intending to suggest.

                True skepticism requires that we be skeptical of our own conclusions,
                as well as other people's.

                Marc/Diarmaid
              • Adele de Maisieres
                ... Yay Kass! -- Adele de Maisieres ... Quot homines, tot sententiae.
                Message 7 of 16 , Apr 11, 2005
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                  Kass McGann wrote:

                  >--- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Rhonda Staggs" <rls56@m...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >>As we say on this list, just because there is
                  >>no documentation doesn't nessecarialy mean they didn't do it in
                  >>period.
                  >>
                  >>
                  >
                  >Gee. And here I was thinking that if you couldn't document it, you shouldn't assume
                  >they did it in period. Silly me!
                  >
                  >

                  Yay Kass!

                  --
                  Adele de Maisieres

                  -----------------------------
                  Quot homines, tot sententiae.
                  -----------------------------
                • Hasoferet@aol.com
                  In a message dated 4/11/05 11:43:36 AM, historian@reconstructinghistory.com writes: As we say on this list, just because there is ... Gee. And here I was
                  Message 8 of 16 , Apr 11, 2005
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                    In a message dated 4/11/05 11:43:36 AM, historian@...
                    writes:

                    << > As we say on this list, just because there is

                    > no documentation doesn't nessecarialy mean they didn't do it in

                    > period.


                    Gee. And here I was thinking that if you couldn't document it, you shouldn't
                    assume

                    they did it in period. Silly me!

                    >>

                    I don't see a contradiction between the two statements. You can't assume, but
                    just because you can't assume doesn't mean they didn't do it. Lack of
                    evidence, especially when evidence is scant, doesn't prove a lot.

                    Raquel

                    +____________________________________+
                    Do not beg. Do not refuse. Preserve. Bestow.

                    --Colman mac Beognae, 'The Alphabet of Devotion
                  • Rita Linck
                    Message 9 of 16 , Apr 12, 2005
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                      <Marc/Diarmaid wrote:
                      OTOH, about 90 perscent of what what i suspect about medieval
                      shoemaking is based on plausible assumptions since there is virtually
                      zero documentation. Even so, there are some areas where researchers
                      have different plasuible assumptions.>

                      Actually, there's a fair bit of shoe stuff out there, at least for European 11th-16th century - earlier I have some vague knowledge of the bog finds and I couldn't comment at all about areas other than Europe. Unfortunately, I'm a lowly Harp Laurel, so I can't name resources off the top of my head, but they shouldn't be too hard to find. I know the London garbage dump books cover shoes, and Masters Griffin & Galeron of the East had tons of reference material, as did Master Eldred of Atlantia.

                      I've also run into several cobblers who make period shoes - the ones I've spoken with have tons of documentation, enough to make this laurel's eyes glaze over :)
                      Aria


                      ---------------------------------
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                      Yahoo! Small Business - Try our new resources site!

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • lilinah@earthlink.net
                      ... Well, this is a constant issue we deal with in our re-creation of Medieval and Renaissance stuff . If there s no evidence, then you cannot say they did
                      Message 10 of 16 , Apr 12, 2005
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                        "Rhonda Staggs" <rls56@...> wrote:
                        > > > As we say on this list, just because there is
                        > > > no documentation doesn't nessecarialy mean they didn't do it in
                        > > > period.

                        historian@... responded:
                        > > Gee. And here I was thinking that if you couldn't document it,
                        >you shouldn't
                        > > assume they did it in period. Silly me!

                        Hasoferet@... commented:
                        >I don't see a contradiction between the two statements. You can't assume, but
                        >just because you can't assume doesn't mean they didn't do it. Lack of
                        >evidence, especially when evidence is scant, doesn't prove a lot.

                        Well, this is a constant issue we deal with in our re-creation of
                        Medieval and Renaissance "stuff".

                        If there's no evidence, then you cannot say they did do/have it. If
                        we are interested in historical authenticity - as i assume we on this
                        list are - then we cannot assume that just because we have no
                        evidence, we can go ahead and do it anyway.

                        Too many people in the SCA say things line, "well, this modern thingy
                        must be period because they had all the materials necessary to
                        make/do it." That's jumping to quite a conclusion based on very
                        little information.

                        On the other hand, we can study the issue at hand. I we find no
                        evidence in a particular time and place, then we can look at the same
                        place in times before and after. Or we can look at the same time in
                        neighboring cultures or places. If we find additional evidence for
                        the thingy we are researching, then we are in a position to draw a
                        conclusion, based on additional, possibly supporting, information.

                        We cannot say for certain that our conclusion is correct, but at
                        least we haven't arrived at it "just because we like it". As long as
                        we keep honest - and when asked, or in "documentation" say how and
                        why we arrived at this conclusion - then i don't see it as bad
                        research.

                        But we need to be aware that we haven't "proved" anything, we've just
                        made a better informed decision than if we'd just done whatever the
                        heck we felt like because we liked it.

                        Tangwystyl, who is on this list, has taught a class called - IIRC -
                        Plausible, Possible, Probable. She can describe this process much
                        better than i can. But until she does, here's what i recall, which
                        may be an inaccurate representation of her ideas...

                        Is it Plausible?
                        If i operate strictly by the maxim of "Absence of evidence is not
                        evidence of absence", then i can say that just because we haven't
                        found any televisions in the Middle Ages doesn't mean they didn't
                        have them, so i'm going to put a TV in a carved wooden box and say
                        it's Medieval. But that really isn't plausible. Certain colors of dye
                        or certain food combinations might be, however...

                        Is it Possible?
                        We need to go beyond our limited information or first impression, and
                        do some or more research. If we look a little more deeply into the
                        topic, we can find that they had the technology/materials to make or
                        do the thing that interests us. This look should make it clear that
                        television is not even plausible - they didn't have the necessary
                        materials or technology. But something else might be, say, a dye
                        color or food combination. After we do this, we can decide whether or
                        not they were possible. We can easily conclude that since they had
                        meat and carrots and turnips in certain times and places, then it was
                        possible for them to make something like a modern stew. Or that they
                        actually did have access to a number of different dye plants so they
                        could have combined them to make a particular color.

                        Is it Probable?
                        But we shouldn't stop there. Just because something is possible, just
                        because they had the materials and technology, that doesn't mean they
                        did, made or used this something. We need to inform ourselves whether
                        a specific culture in a specific time period had thought of the
                        possibility, would have wanted to do it, and in the end actually did
                        it. We need look more deeply into the culture and the technology.

                        If we want to know about dye colors, looking at paintings will not
                        suffice. When we do we will discover that there are significant
                        differences between the painter's palette and the dyer's. There are
                        paint colors that just didn't exist as dye colors. And we will
                        discover that there were potential dye colors that were not
                        fashionable or desirable. We can find whether used for dyes plants
                        they grew or otherwise had access to - we might use them now, but
                        maybe they didn't then. To get a better idea we need to read texts on
                        trade, sumptuary laws, household accounts, etc., and to examine
                        surviving cloth fragments, to see if they even desired the color we
                        modern folks want. We need to learn whether they actually combined
                        dyes as we do today, or whether they preferred a single dye color or
                        dye bath. Then we may be able to learn the prices cloth dyed
                        particular colors sold for, to see how valued they were.

                        For food combinations we read surviving cookbooks. But we also need
                        to read diaries, personal or official descriptions of feasts,
                        travellers' accounts, household records, food-related laws,
                        archaeological analyses of kitchens and middens, etc. to see what
                        people ate that might not be in a cookbook.

                        And finally we can put all the information we have gathered together
                        and draw a conclusion on whether or not the dye color or the food
                        item or whatever the thingy is was Probable - always bearing in mind
                        this is our conclusion is based on what information we have found,
                        and that additional information might make it reasonable to change
                        this conclusion.

                        I suspect that Marc has examined surviving shoes and shoe fragments
                        to the greatest degree possible to him to arrive at his conclusions
                        about shoe technology in times and places for which he has no direct
                        evidence. He didn't decide that he wanted to do it a certain way just
                        because "they could have". While he may have reached a conclusion
                        about the technology of a particular time and place for which he has
                        no direct evidence, it was not done "blind" or just because he liked
                        the idea. He made an informed conclusion.

                        That's very different from, "well, i can't find any evidence they
                        did, but there's no evidence they didn't, so i'm going to go ahead
                        and do it because they could have."

                        I eagerly await improvement of my rambling above from Tangwystyl, or
                        Christian, or someone with a better memory than i have.

                        Urtatim, formerly Anahita
                        --
                        "The truth must be taken wherever it is to be found,
                        whether it be in the past or among strange peoples."
                        -- al-Kindi, Baghdad (801-873)
                      • Marc Carlson
                        ... By zero documentation , I was really referring more to actual period texts regarding shoemaking. Aside from a rumored 14th century Latin book on
                        Message 11 of 16 , Apr 12, 2005
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                          --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Rita Linck <countessaria@y...>
                          wrote:
                          > <Marc/Diarmaid wrote:
                          >> OTOH, about 90 perscent of what what i suspect about medieval
                          >> shoemaking is based on plausible assumptions since there is
                          >> virtually zero documentation. Even so, there are some areas where
                          >> researchers have different plasuible assumptions.>
                          > Actually, there's a fair bit of shoe stuff out there...

                          By "zero documentation", I was really referring more to actual period
                          texts regarding shoemaking. Aside from a rumored 14th century Latin
                          book "on shoemaking" (which is held in an unammed archive in Florence
                          and the scholar who's translating it into modern Italian is keeping
                          the details as secret as she can - i.e. I'll believe it when I see
                          it), all that exists on shoemaking from the Middle Ages are references
                          to it in other documents, a few illustrations of shoemakers, a large
                          number of illustrations that show "shoes" with few clues to
                          manufacture, and the archaeology.

                          The problems with the archaeology is that the archaeologists tend not
                          to be shoemakers, and have to base their conclusions on a) the
                          assumptions of modern shoemakers (some of which are -truly- odd, and
                          frequently have nothing to do with -historical- shoes) or b) the
                          assumptions of earlier archaeologists and scholars, many of which are,
                          um, flawed. The archaelogists aren't neccessarily looking for the
                          clues that would be the most useful to me (note - I'm not blaming them
                          for this, simply pointing it out), leaving it to me to have to draw my
                          own conclusions about things.

                          For example, I recently discussed on this list the question of sewing
                          with pig bristle versus needles, but there all sorts of other tiny
                          things that can be used: Shoes are sewn with linen thread - ok - is
                          that flax or hemp? How many strands, of what size, for which
                          stitches? "Traditionally" in shoemaking, you would use flax for
                          closing uppers, but stitching the insole would be done with hemp, do
                          we assume that's what they were doing then? There's no evidence
                          currently available for it, one way or the other. I tend to use linen
                          for both since getting fine enough hemp threads has been hard for me.
                          There's no chemical research that's been done on the threads to see
                          what they were waxed with. Since the evidence to assume that they
                          were waxed with the pitch/rosin mixture I use is slim, if I were to go
                          with the pure _non testamonium, non est_ school of thought, I should
                          either not be waxing my threads at all, or using just plain beeswax
                          (which means that I shouldn't use pig bristles, even though I know at
                          least some of them were using those). So i have to make it clear that
                          while I don't know precisely what they were using, it was something
                          that was reasonably similar to what I do use -- even though I have no
                          evidence for what I am using.

                          See what I mean ? :)

                          Marc/Diarmaid
                        • Huette von Ahrens
                          ... Do we say this on this list? I joined this list because I was told that this list disliked this argument as much as I do. I do have a pair of vambraces or
                          Message 12 of 16 , Apr 12, 2005
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                            > Message: 3
                            > Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 18:16:38 -0000
                            > From: "Rhonda Staggs" <rls56@...>
                            > Subject: Re: Stupid, Basic Garb Question

                            > OOH - OOH (waving rasied hand) I know this one.
                            >
                            > Actually, leather forearm coverings are very period
                            > but they are
                            > called by a different name: Vambraces.
                            > Usually vambraces were worn as part of a full armour
                            > kit and I have
                            > not found any documentation where they were worn
                            > alone as decoration
                            > as we do in the SCA. As we say on this list, just
                            > because there is
                            > no documentation doesn't nessecarialy mean they
                            > didn't do it in
                            > period.
                            > <-------<<<< >>>>-------->
                            > Lady Germaine Sylverbyrd Of Staghurst
                            > Kingdom Of Atenveldt
                            > Barony Of Tir Ysgithr
                            > House Agni Vajra
                            >
                            Do we say this on this list? I joined this list
                            because I was told that this list disliked this
                            argument as much as I do.

                            I do have a pair of vambraces or bracers which I
                            commissioned a leatherworker to make for me when I did
                            archery. They are very beautiful and highly
                            decorated. Vambraces or bracers are utilitarian items
                            and were worn for specific reasons. Either as part of
                            armor or as part of your archery gear. Yes, women did
                            wear bracers when they practiced archery and archery
                            was a popular sport for upper class women. And while
                            they may have had highly decorated bracers for when
                            they did practice this sport, there is no
                            documentation that they wore these as garb in court or
                            any other circumstances other than practicing their
                            sport. If it had become fashionable to do so, someone
                            would have commented upon it in their diaries or
                            letters, painters would have used them in their
                            paintings and women would have been buried in
                            such if they had died while such was popular.
                            _But_ no one has. And until someone finds any sort
                            of documentation of such a fad, then we have to
                            say that absence of documentation means absence of
                            usage.

                            Have I worn my bracers for occasions other than
                            archery? Yes, once or twice, but I have never told
                            anyone that wearing them was period. I have
                            told others that in doing so I was using the
                            "A" of the SCA. I have several small daggars
                            hidden in them and wore the bracers for an
                            "assassination" drama/game [like a Murder Mystery
                            evening] that I was part of. My intended victim
                            "died" admiring my bracers.

                            Huette
                            Caid



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                          • Heather Rose Jones
                            At 12:18 PM -0700 4/12/05, lilinah@earthlink.net wrote: ... Actually you ve got these two swapped. The discussion set possible as an utter baseline
                            Message 13 of 16 , Apr 12, 2005
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                              At 12:18 PM -0700 4/12/05, lilinah@... wrote:

                              <snip>

                              >Tangwystyl, who is on this list, has taught a class called - IIRC -
                              >Plausible, Possible, Probable. She can describe this process much
                              >better than i can. But until she does, here's what i recall, which
                              >may be an inaccurate representation of her ideas...
                              >
                              >Is it Plausible?
                              >If i operate strictly by the maxim of "Absence of evidence is not
                              >evidence of absence", then i can say that just because we haven't
                              >found any televisions in the Middle Ages doesn't mean they didn't
                              >have them, so i'm going to put a TV in a carved wooden box and say
                              >it's Medieval. But that really isn't plausible. Certain colors of dye
                              >or certain food combinations might be, however...
                              >
                              >Is it Possible?
                              >We need to go beyond our limited information or first impression, and
                              >do some or more research. If we look a little more deeply into the
                              >topic, we can find that they had the technology/materials to make or
                              >do the thing that interests us. This look should make it clear that
                              >television is not even plausible - they didn't have the necessary
                              >materials or technology.


                              Actually you've got these two swapped. The discussion set "possible"
                              as an utter baseline of "does not violate the known laws of physics
                              or biology". "Plausible" covers a wide range from "does not
                              contradict any known evidence" to "would not require major revisions
                              of current theory to be true".


                              >Is it Probable?
                              >But we shouldn't stop there. Just because something is possible, just
                              >because they had the materials and technology, that doesn't mean they
                              >did, made or used this something. We need to inform ourselves whether
                              >a specific culture in a specific time period had thought of the
                              >possibility, would have wanted to do it, and in the end actually did
                              >it. We need look more deeply into the culture and the technology.

                              I think I presented this one along the lines of, "would it do more
                              violence to current understanding of the topic for this _not_ to be
                              true than to be true?"

                              The idea of the presentation was to get beyond a "documented
                              /not-documented" dichotomy and to consider a much broader range of
                              nuances for evaluating things for which there's no direct evidence.

                              Tangwystyl
                              --
                              --
                              Heather Rose Jones
                              heather.jones@...
                            • wodeford
                              ... This list is made of up individuals, each of whom has different opinions and levels of knowledge. Please keep that in mind. Jehanne de Wodeford
                              Message 14 of 16 , Apr 13, 2005
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                                --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Huette von Ahrens
                                <mechthildberg@y...> wrote:

                                > Do we say this on this list? I joined this list
                                > because I was told that this list disliked this
                                > argument as much as I do.

                                This list is made of up individuals, each of whom has different
                                opinions and levels of knowledge.

                                Please keep that in mind.

                                Jehanne de Wodeford
                              • Kass McGann
                                ... Oh, no we don t! Oh, yes we do! Oh no we don t...
                                Message 15 of 16 , Apr 13, 2005
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                                  --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "wodeford" <wodeford@y...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Huette von Ahrens
                                  > <mechthildberg@y...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > > Do we say this on this list? I joined this list
                                  > > because I was told that this list disliked this
                                  > > argument as much as I do.
                                  >
                                  > This list is made of up individuals, each of whom has different
                                  > opinions and levels of knowledge.
                                  >
                                  > Please keep that in mind.

                                  Oh, no we don't!

                                  Oh, yes we do!

                                  Oh no we don't...

                                  <WINK>
                                • wodeford
                                  ... I m sooooooooooooo confuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuused! Jehanne
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Apr 13, 2005
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                                    --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Kass McGann" <historian@r...>
                                    wrote:
                                    > Oh, no we don't!
                                    >
                                    > Oh, yes we do!
                                    >
                                    > Oh no we don't...
                                    >
                                    > <WINK>

                                    I'm sooooooooooooo confuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuused!

                                    Jehanne
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