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Researching courtesans

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  • Anabella
    Greetings! I m receiving this in digest format (which is about to be changed soon - too damn difficult to reply to) so I hope you ll bear with me replying to
    Message 1 of 22 , Mar 28, 2001
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      Greetings! I'm receiving this in digest format (which
      is about to be changed soon - too damn difficult to
      reply to) so I hope you'll bear with me replying to
      two posts in one! :)

      Message: 9
      Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 19:02:16 -0000
      From: ahelou@...
      Subject: Re: Yet another newbie

      Ciao Bella! :) Might I ask where you've been
      researching
      courtesans?
      I've been looking for good sources. Most of the
      information
      I've
      gathered is from passing mentions of courtesans in
      books
      which focus
      on other topics of everyday Italian life...what do you

      recommend?

      Vittoria

      Hi Vittoria! Right off let me say that *most* of my
      research thus far has been on clothing of the
      Venetians (late 16th century) - including courtesans,
      but not restricted to, and therefore has been mostly
      pictorial. What I've seen so far leads me to believe
      that courtesans wore just what noblewomen did - the
      best they could afford. Although they may have been a
      touch more...daring. :)

      As for other info, amongst bits and peices here and
      there, I've read "The Honest Courtesan" which is not
      completely a biography of Veronica Franco, poet, but
      an examination of women's writing, particularly hers.
      There were many details in there from her wills which
      were interesting, also details about her trial before
      the inquisition.

      In her research for "The Honest Courtesan" Margaret
      Rosenthal made use of another book which I've seen
      glowing recommendations for: "Lives of the Courtesans"
      by Lynne Lawner. This will be difficult to get hold of
      - I had a first edition copy stolen from me by a
      "computer error" but my fiancee managed to track down
      a copy from an estate sale before the books were
      listed online or for sale. If you go looking you might
      find a copy *still* listed at Capitol Hill books -
      they "don't know what the problem is" with this still
      being listed! I'm waiting on my copy's arrival
      eagerly.

      Message 2:

      I believe there is supposed to be a courtesan page on
      the web
      somewhere, it
      should be good.....let me see.... there is this one on

      Veronica Franco
      http://www.usc.edu/ext-relations/news_service/chronicle_html/1995.03.27.html/01.PORTRAIT.html

      one could always read the "Pillow Book" but that is
      Chinese.....

      I'll keep looking. I know that someone was working
      on a
      good SCA webpage
      for courteseans....

      Despina

      There are more out there on Veronica Franco, but
      nothing really comprehensive on the subject of
      courtesans that I've seen so far. If you find this
      webpage on courtesans do let me know please?? I'd love
      to see it. I'm working on a webpage about 16th century
      clothing in Venice, which will include info on
      courtesans when I finally get it all up and running!
      :)


      Bella Lucia da Verona

      _____________________________________________________________________________
      http://my.yahoo.com.au - My Yahoo!
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    • Kass McGann
      ... Forgive me because I missed the first part of this post. If you ladies are talking about the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (Makura no Soshi) it is Japanese,
      Message 2 of 22 , Mar 29, 2001
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        > one could always read the "Pillow Book" but that is
        > Chinese.....

        Forgive me because I missed the first part of this post. If you ladies are
        talking about the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (Makura no Soshi) it is
        Japanese, not Chinese, and it is about a female courtier, not a courtesan.

        If there is a Chinese Pillow Book about courtesans, please forgive the
        intrusion.

        Kass
      • Amy L. Hornburg Heilveil
        I bow to the superior knowledge of one who knows better Despina
        Message 3 of 22 , Mar 29, 2001
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          I bow to the superior knowledge of one who knows better
          Despina

          At 07:56 AM 3/29/2001 -0500, you wrote:
          > one could always read the "Pillow Book" but that is
          > Chinese.....

          Forgive me because I missed the first part of this post.  If you ladies are
          talking about the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (Makura no Soshi) it is Japanese, not Chinese, and it is about a female courtier, not a courtesan.

          If there is a Chinese Pillow Book about courtesans, please forgive the intrusion.

          Kass
        • Kass McGann
          Hey, no bowing, Despina... I have often heard Americans refer to a Pillow Book as if it had racy info in it and the Pillow Book I know isn t like that at
          Message 4 of 22 , Mar 29, 2001
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            Hey, no bowing, Despina...  I have often heard Americans refer to a "Pillow Book" as if it had racy info in it and the Pillow Book I know isn't like that at all.  So I was just wondering if there was another book of the same name.  I'm not sure there's not...
             
            Kass

            I bow to the superior knowledge of one who knows better
            Despina

            At 07:56 AM 3/29/2001 -0500, you wrote:
            > one could always read the "Pillow Book" but that is
            > Chinese.....

            Forgive me because I missed the first part of this post.  If you ladies are
            talking about the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (Makura no Soshi) it is Japanese, not Chinese, and it is about a female courtier, not a courtesan.

            If there is a Chinese Pillow Book about courtesans, please forgive the intrusion.

            Kass


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          • Amy L. Hornburg Heilveil
            ... If you look at the website I sent earlier, it does have a link within it to new research Rosenthal is doing in the area of courtesans and their clothing in
            Message 5 of 22 , Mar 29, 2001
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              Bella Lucia da Verona wrote:

              Hi Vittoria! Right off let me say that *most* of my
              research thus far has been on clothing of the
              Venetians (late 16th century) - including courtesans,
              but not restricted to, and therefore has been mostly
              pictorial. What I've seen so far leads me to believe
              that courtesans wore just what noblewomen did - the
              best they could afford. Although they may have been a
              touch more...daring. :)

              If you look at the website I sent earlier, it does have a link within it to new research Rosenthal is doing in the area of courtesans and their clothing in 16th c Venice as well; evidently using evidence in two previously unexplored books.  Her research backs up your assertion that courtesans did indeed, wear the same clothes as noble women.  It was for this reason that the sumptuary laws came into being.  It became difficult to tell who was a noblewoman and who was a courtesan - the laws were supposed to make it easier and placate the noblewomen that something was being done to keep their honor intact.  Except for the fact that both the law and the courtesans did not follow or uphold them it was a good strategy.

              Another, fairly good paper on the subject of courtesans' dress can be found at this website http://www.armory.com/~skuld/venice.html  it even has a decent bibliography.  I love people who give bibliographies on the web rather than just throwing a paper up and not giving their sources - gives me somewhere to go exploring.

              This is an interesting article which gives several (book) titles written on, about or by courtesans in period and using Rosenthal as a reference http://www.salon.com/sex/feature/2000/11/15/courtesan_1/print.html

              The special collections library at the University of Michigan has this second edition book, the first and second printings of which were in period. If you are in or near the area, you may want to have a look.
              Courtesan, in Cesare Vecellio,Costumes, Ancient and Modern
              Published in Venice by Sessa, 1598
              Woodcut
              17.5 x 22 cm (open book)

              Cristoforo Guerra (Christoph Krieger)
              Born Nuremberg, died Venice ca. 1598
              After Cesare Vecellio
              Pieve di Cadore ca. 1521 - Venice 1601

              And finally I give you this website http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~ebernhar/annbib.html which is an annotated bibliography including a couple of books previously unknown to myself on the subjects of courtesans, foot binding and the like.

              I hope this is of help and if I do run across that webpage that was supposed to be designed for courtesans, I will certainly post it to the list.

              In Respectivo,
              Despina de la Brasov






              Quot Libros Quam Breve Tempus.
              So Many Books, So Little Time
            • J. Badgley
              ... I believe there is a movie titled the Pillow Book . It is based, as far as I could tell from the back cover, on a young woman s experiences and the
              Message 6 of 22 , Mar 29, 2001
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                On Thu, 29 Mar 2001, Kass McGann wrote:

                > Hey, no bowing, Despina... I have often heard Americans refer to a
                > "Pillow Book" as if it had racy info in it and the Pillow Book I know
                > isn't like that at all. So I was just wondering if there was another
                > book of the same name. I'm not sure there's not...

                I believe there is a movie titled 'the Pillow Book'. It is based, as far
                as I could tell from the back cover, on a young woman's experiences and
                the strength or at least insights she gains from the diary of a Heian
                courtier.

                It seemed to deal with some fairly racy subjects from the way it was
                portrayed, and I wonder if that isn't where some people get their ideas.

                -Ii
              • Amy L. Hornburg Heilveil
                ... You are correct in all of this. Despina
                Message 7 of 22 , Mar 29, 2001
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                  I believe there is a movie titled 'the Pillow Book'.  It is based, as far as I could tell from the back cover, on a young woman's experiences and the strength or at least insights she gains from the diary of a Heian courtier.

                  It seemed to deal with some fairly racy subjects from the way it was portrayed, and I wonder if that isn't where some people get their ideas.

                  You are correct in all of this.
                  Despina
                • Anabella
                  Hi Despina! Sorry about the delay in answering your post - I m in Lochac and it s just after 8am here. :) ... Yes...if you are referring to the USC new article
                  Message 8 of 22 , Mar 29, 2001
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                    Hi Despina! Sorry about the delay in answering your
                    post - I'm in Lochac and it's just after 8am here. :)

                    --- "Amy L. Hornburg Heilveil" <aheilvei@...>
                    wrote:
                    > If you look at the website I sent earlier, it does
                    > have a link within it to
                    > new research Rosenthal is doing in the area of
                    > courtesans and their
                    > clothing in 16th c Venice as well; evidently using
                    > evidence in two
                    > previously unexplored books.

                    Yes...if you are referring to the USC new article on
                    the discovery of two manuscripts while she was
                    researching Honest Courtesan I have it bookmarked and
                    await the results of her research eagerly!


                    > Another, fairly good paper on the subject of
                    > courtesans' dress can be found
                    > at this website
                    > http://www.armory.com/~skuld/venice.html it even
                    > has a
                    > decent bibliography. I love people who give
                    > bibliographies on the web
                    > rather than just throwing a paper up and not giving
                    > their sources - gives
                    > me somewhere to go exploring.

                    I liked this one too for the same reasons - looks like
                    we've both been researching the same things! :)


                    > This is an interesting article which gives several
                    > (book) titles written
                    > on, about or by courtesans in period and using
                    > Rosenthal as a reference
                    >
                    http://www.salon.com/sex/feature/2000/11/15/courtesan_1/print.html

                    Wow...now this is one I hadn't seen! Thank you! I
                    found this article very interesting. I might look into
                    the works cited by the author just to satisfy my own
                    curiosity.


                    > The special collections library at the University of
                    > Michigan has this
                    > second edition book, the first and second printings
                    > of which were in
                    > period. If you are in or near the area, you may want
                    > to have a look.
                    > Courtesan, in Cesare Vecellio,Costumes, Ancient and
                    > Modern
                    > Published in Venice by Sessa, 1598
                    > Woodcut
                    > 17.5 x 22 cm (open book)

                    Oh...I have the Dover book of Vecellio! It's my main
                    source of info as I'm doing very late 16th Venetian -
                    which, as you know, he is extremely reliable for! :)

                    > And finally I give you this website
                    > http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~ebernhar/annbib.html
                    > which is an annotated
                    > bibliography including a couple of books previously
                    > unknown to myself on
                    > the subjects of courtesans, foot binding and the
                    > like.

                    Yes...this is a truly dangerous bibliography -
                    dangerous to the wallet! Thank goodness I can't read
                    Italian or I'd be in trouble. That's one of the places
                    I read about "Lives of the Courtesans" -oh, and I just
                    read that it's folio sized...now I'm drooling! Can't
                    wait to get my hands on that....damn waiting for the
                    post man. :)


                    > I hope this is of help and if I do run across that
                    > webpage that was
                    > supposed to be designed for courtesans, I will
                    > certainly post it to the list.
                    >
                    > In Respectivo,
                    > Despina de la Brasov

                    Despina, you've been most kind! I hope you do find
                    that webpage. By the way, do you have a courtesan
                    persona, or is it an interest?

                    Bella Lucia da Verona


                    _____________________________________________________________________________
                    http://my.yahoo.com.au - My Yahoo!
                    - Have news, stocks, weather, sports and more in one place.
                  • Kass McGann
                    I believe there is a movie titled the Pillow Book . It is based, as far as I could tell from the back cover, on a young woman s experiences and the strength
                    Message 9 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                      I believe there is a movie titled 'the Pillow Book'.  It is based, as far as I could tell from the back cover, on a young woman's experiences and the strength or at least insights she gains from the diary of a Heian courtier.

                      It seemed to deal with some fairly racy subjects from the way it was portrayed, and I wonder if that isn't where some people get their ideas.

                      You are correct in all of this.
                      Despina
                      I heard about this movie and my X wanted me to watch it, but I refused.  I knew it probably had very little to do with Shonagon's Pillow Book.
                       
                      For those who have never read it and are interested, it's the book that made me fall in love with Heian Japan and it's available from Penguin (you can use this link if you like:  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0231073372/reconstructinghi)
                       
                      The book is written by a 10th century lady in waiting to the Empress and, yeah, she talks about her lovers, but it's not explicit or racy at all (Effingham will correct me if the Japanese version is;  I have only read it in English).
                       
                      The part I like about it is her lists:  "Things that make one think of Spring" or "Annoying Things."  Man, I've had days like that...
                       
                      Sei Shonagon is probably the main reason why Lady Fujiwara exists.  But she wasn't a courtesan.
                       
                      Kass
                    • Anthony J. Bryant
                      ... The book is written by a 10th century lady in waiting to the ... Actually, one of my favorite parts of Makura literature is the large part of it that s
                      Message 10 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                        Kass McGann wrote:

                        > For those who have never read it and are interested, it's the book
                        > that made me fall in love with Heian Japan and it's available from
                        > Penguin (you can use this link if you like:
                        > http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0231073372/reconstructinghi)>>
                        The book is written by a 10th century lady in waiting to the
                        > Empress and, yeah, she talks about her lovers, but it's not explicit
                        > or racy at all (Effingham will correct me if the Japanese version is;
                        > I have only read it in English).
                        Actually, one of my favorite parts of Makura literature is the large
                        part of it that's speculative on just who her lovers were. Who was her
                        husband? Who were the lovers? We're not sure, so everyone looks for
                        clues in the writing, and not everyone sees the same thing. It's fun.
                        <GGG>
                        > The part I like about it is her lists: "Things that make one think
                        of
                        > Spring" or "Annoying Things." Man, I've had days like that...>

                        Annoying things about Pennsic.
                        Sudden downpours that drench you on your way to court, and by the time
                        you get back to camp to change, it's clear and the sun is shining. Bunny
                        fur. Goth chicks. Fighters marching off gloriously to war wearing but
                        armoured in pickle barrels. A lovely period pavilion inside a campsite
                        demarcated by curtains depicting Calvin and Hobbes in armour....

                        We had a great discussion about Sei and Makura yesterday in the seminar,
                        and it really prompted my think-juices. Later I'll be posting random
                        comments to the JML on it, as some of them might be interesting.


                        Effingham
                      • Kass McGann
                        ... Hey! I think that was the encampment of our once and future King! ;) ASIDE: See, Despina, NOT a bastion... ... How timely! Kass
                        Message 11 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                          > Annoying things about Pennsic.
                          > Sudden downpours that drench you on your way to court, and by the time
                          > you get back to camp to change, it's clear and the sun is shining. Bunny
                          > fur. Goth chicks. Fighters marching off gloriously to war wearing but
                          > armoured in pickle barrels. A lovely period pavilion inside a campsite
                          > demarcated by curtains depicting Calvin and Hobbes in armour....

                          Hey! I think that was the encampment of our once and future King! ;)

                          ASIDE: See, Despina, NOT a bastion...

                          > We had a great discussion about Sei and Makura yesterday in the seminar,
                          > and it really prompted my think-juices. Later I'll be posting random
                          > comments to the JML on it, as some of them might be interesting.

                          How timely!

                          Kass
                        • Amy L. Hornburg Heilveil
                          ... People who come to your campsite and ask where s the alcohol? We heard there was some good brew here. and then look at you funny when you hand them a
                          Message 12 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                            Annoying things about Pennsic.

                            People who come to your campsite and ask "where's the alcohol? We heard there was some good brew here." and then look at you funny when you hand them a bottle of mead. Then require you to define mead....... and pass on tasting it to wander for 'real stuff'.

                            Loud drunks on the road next to your campsite at 4am singing filks

                            Dragon wing headresses
                          • Anthony J. Bryant
                            ... Oh, lord.... For those of you who didn t make it to Pennsic, that was an actual campsite I saw last year. ... Effingham
                            Message 13 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                              Kass McGann wrote:

                              > > Annoying things about Pennsic.
                              > > Sudden downpours that drench you on your way to court, and by the time
                              > > you get back to camp to change, it's clear and the sun is shining. Bunny
                              > > fur. Goth chicks. Fighters marching off gloriously to war wearing but
                              > > armoured in pickle barrels. A lovely period pavilion inside a campsite
                              > > demarcated by curtains depicting Calvin and Hobbes in armour....
                              >
                              > Hey! I think that was the encampment of our once and future King! ;)

                              Oh, lord....

                              For those of you who didn't make it to Pennsic, that was an actual campsite I
                              saw last year.

                              >
                              >
                              > ASIDE: See, Despina, NOT a bastion...
                              >
                              > > We had a great discussion about Sei and Makura yesterday in the seminar,
                              > > and it really prompted my think-juices. Later I'll be posting random
                              > > comments to the JML on it, as some of them might be interesting.
                              >
                              > How timely!

                              <G>

                              Effingham
                            • Kass McGann
                              ... campsite I ... I m not positive, but Hanse has a great fondness for Calvin and Hobbes (and not the philosophers). Heck, he IS Calvin. Kass
                              Message 14 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                                > > Hey! I think that was the encampment of our once and future King! ;)
                                >
                                > Oh, lord....
                                >
                                > For those of you who didn't make it to Pennsic, that was an actual
                                campsite I
                                > saw last year.

                                I'm not positive, but Hanse has a great fondness for Calvin and Hobbes (and
                                not the philosophers). Heck, he IS Calvin.

                                Kass
                              • Anthony J. Bryant
                                ... Oy. My first Pennsic (in 79) I met a Tuchux fella named Ursus, who was a contract urinator. For a six-pack, he d hose down anyone s pavilion you wanted. We
                                Message 15 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                                  "Amy L. Hornburg Heilveil" wrote:

                                  >
                                  >
                                  >> Annoying things about Pennsic.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > People who come to your campsite and ask "where's the alcohol? We
                                  > heard there was some good brew here." and then look at you funny when
                                  > you hand them a bottle of mead. Then require you to define mead.......
                                  > and pass on tasting it to wander for 'real stuff'.
                                  >
                                  > Loud drunks on the road next to your campsite at 4am singing filks
                                  >

                                  Oy.

                                  My first Pennsic (in 79) I met a Tuchux fella named Ursus, who was a
                                  contract urinator. For a six-pack, he'd hose down anyone's pavilion you
                                  wanted.

                                  We met him in Sir Tetsuo's camp, where he stuck his head in the camp
                                  curtains and said he wouldn't leave until we gave him beer. I told
                                  Tetsuo he should've drawn down on him....


                                  Effingham
                                • Anthony J. Bryant
                                  ... And the light goes on.... Effingham
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                                    Kass McGann wrote:

                                    >
                                    > I'm not positive, but Hanse has a great fondness for Calvin and Hobbes (and
                                    > not the philosophers). Heck, he IS Calvin.

                                    And the light goes on....


                                    Effingham
                                  • Kass McGann
                                    ... (and ... Don t worry, sweetheart. He s still gonna wear bunkan sokutai for Court! Kass
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                                      > > I'm not positive, but Hanse has a great fondness for Calvin and Hobbes
                                      (and
                                      > > not the philosophers). Heck, he IS Calvin.
                                      >
                                      > And the light goes on....

                                      Don't worry, sweetheart. He's still gonna wear bunkan sokutai for Court!

                                      Kass
                                    • Anthony J. Bryant
                                      ... Ah, salvageability... Effingham
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                                        Kass McGann wrote:

                                        > > > I'm not positive, but Hanse has a great fondness for Calvin and Hobbes
                                        > (and
                                        > > > not the philosophers). Heck, he IS Calvin.
                                        > >
                                        > > And the light goes on....
                                        >
                                        > Don't worry, sweetheart. He's still gonna wear bunkan sokutai for Court!
                                        >

                                        Ah, salvageability...


                                        Effingham
                                      • Kass McGann
                                        ... Court! ... You know my personal motto is get em with garb ... Kass
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                                          > > Don't worry, sweetheart. He's still gonna wear bunkan sokutai for
                                          Court!
                                          >
                                          > Ah, salvageability...

                                          You know my personal motto is "get 'em with garb"...

                                          Kass
                                        • Amy L. Hornburg Heilveil
                                          Bella, ... I m not a courtesan, but I like to help people find things and so I have information on a number of SCA related topics floating around. I think I
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                                            Bella,

                                            Despina, you've been most kind! I hope you do find
                                            that webpage. By the way, do you have a courtesan
                                            persona, or is it an interest?

                                            I'm not a courtesan, but I like to help people find things and so I have information on a number of SCA related topics floating around.  I think I can track down the courtesan who said she was developing the website but it'll take me a few days.  Her name is Morgan, if I remember correctly and she taught a class on courtesans last Pennsic, quite fascinating, lovely person.

                                            I'm glad that at least some of my information for you was new and interesting.  Of course, I find it all interesting. *smile*  If I find that site, I will post it post-haste.

                                            Despina
                                          • Amy L. Hornburg Heilveil
                                            I think if we could all remember to change the subject line when we diverge from a specific thread it will be helpful to us in the coming months and years when
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                                              I think if we could all remember to change the subject line when we diverge from a specific thread it will be helpful to us in the coming months and years when we want to look into the archives for some information previously posted.

                                              Just a suggestion,
                                              Despina
                                            • Anthony J. Bryant
                                              ... Oh, is *that* the motto... Effingham
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Mar 30, 2001
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                                                Kass McGann wrote:

                                                > > > Don't worry, sweetheart. He's still gonna wear bunkan sokutai for
                                                > Court!
                                                > >
                                                > > Ah, salvageability...
                                                >
                                                > You know my personal motto is "get 'em with garb"...
                                                >

                                                Oh, is *that* the motto... <G>


                                                Effingham
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