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    Default The Final Countdown: Top 10 tips, secrets and tricks of the rep game!

    Hello, all! As some of you may or may not know, I took a little sabbatical from RepGeek, and other fun little hobbies, to focus on some other things in my life namely my future husband, my house and my career. All these things required a great deal of my time but now, after a fashion, I think I’ve managed to prioritize better so the very best of me is available to each of those spheres, even including RepGeek.

    Lots of things change over time but, unfortunately, not everything. And one of the things I noticed that didn’t change was some of the topics that come up seemingly all the time. You know them. It’s that familiar sounding thread that came up six months before and then eight months before that and then a year before that. The questions are relevant all the time, which is fine, because new people come and go on the forum but the answers always tend to be the same with no new information added. Same script, different actors. Horse, beating it dead, you are.






    So, I thought that maybe I could piece together a list of tips, secrets and nuggets of wisdom (culled from the most brilliant minds on this board!) that may cut down on these threads. A bit idealistic? Perhaps. I had to do quite a bit of research to put all this information together. This list may not be definitive but it would be a place to point those new to the rep game, or naggy little reminders to those already involved, that we have to remember what’s really going on here, everybody’s angle seen from different perspectives. It will help us to help each other better, I hope. And maybe it will also reduce the anxiety for some who are on the quixotic, expensive search for perfection and allow them to take the plunge sooner or enjoy their collections with a whole different mindset. At best, I would hope it saves someone some money, which is what most of my posts are primarily about. Let’s start with the obvious fact that . . .

    1.These are replicas.

    That’s right. Fakes. This is the first thing to remember as you traverse this wild and wacky world of counterfeit goods made in unregulated Chinese factories. While you can easily find a replica that is as detailed and completely functional as the original, you have to keep in mind that it is a) not the norm and b) not the genuine article and so there will be no appreciation, except maybe within the replica community. And even that’s not guaranteed. Whereas a genuine watch, for example, may be discontinued and replaced with an alleged better version, the older example has the ability to stabilize or even gain in value. When a replica is replaced it is usually replaced by a “better” version (we know this is hit or miss depending on who is doing the judging of the merits of the new version) which destroys the value, if any, of the previous version. It can happen quite suddenly and without warning leaving the owner, who actually had convinced him or herself of the value of the item, with what could amount to an expensive, inaccurate POS. Even a modded item can be relegated to also-ran status, rendering it unsaleable for anywhere close to what it cost to create. The factories are getting better and better at making watches and bags, even going so far as doing lume and anti-reflective coatings well. Being cognizant of what you’re buying will make these transitions easier—and cheaper! But until the factories make them accurate out of the gate, there will be modified watches. But please remember . . .

    2. A “franken” is more than one genuine part.

    A franken watch used to connote something very specific at one point in time. As I was told by someone very knowledgeable regarding horology when asked, it was often a genuine case, bracelet, crown, tube, crystal and maybe some other parts, that often had a non-original movement (but usually genuine), perhaps even an ETA. However, the parts themselves were genuine or aftermarket, which could also be considered replica parts but were typically unbranded. The term, considered pejorative to some, originally referred to a watch assembled with these disparate parts culled from different time periods, whole different models or even completely different brands! It didn’t specifically refer to a replica watch that had genuine parts or movement installed.


    Behold the Omlex: Omega 601 movement, MkII dial, Rolex Oyster Case, Omega Dynamic hour and minute hands, Grand Seiko strap, Omega 300 second hand!

    Around here, the term has taken on a life of its own. It’s not a term tinged with shame, oh no, it’s a badge of honor! It means that this replica, above all others, will allow you to walk into an authorized dealer for that brand and walk out with your head held high. This watch will allow you to hand it to any so-called expert and not get called out. Well, that’s all fine and dandy but what exactly makes your particular watch or bag a “franken?” Some people, and you’ve read these threads, feel a genuine band or even something as innocuous as a crown and tube makes a watch a franken. A genuine strap for a Louis Vuitton travel bag or, worse, a luggage tag bought off Ebay and affixed to a handle, makes the bag a franken. For the term to have any meaning whatsoever, there has to be some kind of definition of what turns an ordinary, run-of-the-mill replica into a franken. A bare minimum would be a bezel, crystal, gaskets, tube, and crown. A better example would have these plus any two of the following: dial, hands and/or strap. But the best of show, so to speak, would have some, or most, of the above and sport a genuine case or genuine movement. A genuine case alone could be worth it for some models, especially ones with helium valves considering some replicas don’t feature working helium valves. Although diving with a replica could be considered playing with your life! LOL But it’s nice to know that you could.

    The percentage of replica parts to genuine could also be used to determine franken status as well; maybe 50% should be the threshold. I don’t know. But we can all agree that a crown and tube are not it, right? While you may not be down with creating an expensive franken, you still need to . . .

    3. Determine your particular reason for buying replicas.



    Everyone has them, whether they know it or not. You have to be up front with yourself with your reasons for buying replicas. It sounds crazy but it will help you in the long run. There are people who buy because they are trying to project a certain image to their peers and colleagues, probably in addition to liking the design of the item itself. They may in fact be up to their neck in hock and couldn’t afford a designer bag or watch if their lives depended on it! With tuition, gasoline, groceries, ratcheting ARMS, slashed credit lines and increased interest rates, going and buying luxury goods may not be so easy. Now you may not have any of these problems but what you don’t like is the arbitrary cost applied to cotton canvas bags coated with vinyl or watches with $200 movements selling for thousands. There are the people who love watches and have the tools to repair them, spare parts in a box and other things lying around. These people couldn’t indulge their love for all the genuine articles and so buy replicas to satiate their desire to own unique, exclusive timepieces. Even if internally the movement is rather pedestrian. One of these could be you or all of them could describe your situation.



    If, like most, you are looking to replicas to help enhance your lifestyle and project an image while keeping cash flow in check, then that should be decided in advance. These are the people that won’t be modding watches or sitting at benches with tweezers and magnifying lenses. They want a watch to wear to the next country club luncheon. And that’s okay. Let’s respect them and help them find what they need so that they can get on with their lives.

    On the other hand, if you’re that other significant part of the RepGeek’s audience, the actual geek, and buying replicas because as a WIS who likes different models but can’t (or won’t) afford them all, that’s fine too. You’ll have fun meandering through the multitude of threads about minutiae dealing with every watch currently and previously available.

    I don’t mind anyone’s reason for repping and try to help everyone achieve what they’re after. I’ve seen too many people spend money on things that they later have to sell for less than they paid, and we’re talking genuine, because they needed the money. Save your money for the important things in life and leave luxury goods to those who can truly afford it. No one will think less of you for it. Not me anyway! And that bring us to this gem . . .

    4. If you’re buying a replica for someone else, man or woman, you tell them up front.

    This seems like a no brainer but as often as this topic has come up (73 times since RepGeek’s founding), it bears repeating. I know that some of you would like to give the gift of a watch or bag to someone and then have them be none the wiser about its authenticity due to the exceptional quality inherent in many replicas. Luxury goods as gifts make you seem not only generous but also successful. And I know you don’t want to “ruin the magic” of the moment but you have to tell, preferably before purchasing the item. Some people are not rep-friendly, for various reasons, and so you should tread carefully. If the person isn’t aware of the item’s provenance, they may take it to that brand’s store or authorized reseller and find out the hard way that the item is a fake. Hilarity will ensue!

    With bags (if very high quality), it’s actually harder for that to happen as it probably wouldn’t get called out at the store level because, for most repairs, they send them back to the factory. There are bags that will pass easily at store level which is why they don’t authenticate at the store level at most brands anymore. Even Hermes has stopped and they used to do it all the time. It takes a forensic retail scientist (they exist) to determine if the bag is indeed a replica.

    But it is important to let the person know or gauge their reaction to replicas prior to purchase. It saves everyone trouble! And until you’re sure about how they feel about replicas you will follow the . . .

    5. First Rule of Rep Club: Don’t Talk About Rep Club.



    I know, I know. I put this fifth. Sue me! You’ve heard this clichéd movie line twisted every single way. It is apropos in this context because you really shouldn’t be discussing replicas openly at any venue with anyone. Those who are in the know will know. And you have to be careful who you tell because some people will use what you tell them to get the purveyors of replicas shut down. If you’re woman or have a lady friend into replica bags, she’ll tell you firsthand how it is, especially on the ‘Net. There are women who are TOTALLY against replicas in any form and will turn info about sellers to the authorities or the luxury conglomerates whose intellectual property is being copied. They really want people to eat Top Ramen for months to be able to buy a genuine bag. And some do.

    In short, just keep it under your hat!

    6. If you like a particular replica a lot, always buy a second copy of that bag or watch.



    SMIDSY comparing the replica (left) Bell & Ross to the genuine.

    Not every replica is a 1:1, meaning all parts of the genuine are interchangeable with the replica item. There can be variances in case size, crystal and all the other parts between a genuine and a replica which means only the parts from another replica will work in repairing whatever you bought in the event of a breakdown. The best way to resolve this is to buy a second copy to use for spare parts. There’s no telling when something will be discontinued or how hard it will be to replace the broken part with another new replacement. And modifying a genuine part to use on your replica may not be practical, possible or affordable.


    As you can see the parts between these two would most likely not be interchangeable.

    Besides, the spare watch or bag as a whole would probably be cheaper to buy than whole parts from different sources, factoring in shipping. The best way to make this easier to deal with is to . . .

    7. Mix your replicas and genuines to pull together an all-authentic look.

    The key to ensuring your replicas remain basically undetectable is by making sure they mesh with your lifestyle and mixing them with some genuine articles. This only applies if you are trying to use replicas to, again, spiff up your image. This is something we women know all about as we routinely mix expensive clothes with Target finds. If done properly, everything looks good and coordinates so you end up looking polished. No one can tell what is what with a cursory glance, which is what you want.

    The interesting thing about this is that the rich, at least the ones I know, routinely purchase replicas. And, yes, there are more who do than those that don’t. A peculiar thing about money is that once you have it, you want more and you won’t easily part with it once you’ve acquired it. Don’t believe that? How many times have you heard, seen or been a part of, a court case of a wealthy person who clearly could afford to pay for a good or service and didn’t? It happens frequently. And some really won’t pay unless you take them to court. Net 90 my @ss! And I’m sure you’ve heard of one Martha Stewart who, although having a net worth over one point five billion dollars, decided to sell ImClone stock to save herself a lousy $60,000. To any normal person, it would seem ridiculous to risk jail for such a small amount of money when you have so much more but to anyone rich, or anyone who knows the rich, this is par for the course.

    So, you’ll see someone pull up to Morton’s driving an S-Class, wearing Louboutins, carrying a Chanel 2.55 and rocking a two-tone DateJust with a diamond bezel, all of it, when taken at once, appearing to be genuine. What you don’t realize is that the S-Class is pre-owned, the bag and watch are replicas and the only genuine items are the shoes and the diamonds in the aftermarket 14k bezel!

    It’s a bummer but sometimes you have to buy genuine and pay retail, mainly because a particular replica doesn’t exist or is just awful. But don’t think buying a genuine makes you impervious to problems because . . .

    8. EVERYTHING can (and eventually does) break and defects abound.


    As some of you know, Louis Vuitton makes a popular bag called the Galliera, named after a museum in Paris. When it first came out, the bag was notorious for having the ring that held the shoulder strap to the body of the bag break. It was sent off to be fixed, free of charge, at any LV store.


    Yes, this made it into the sales channel!

    I don’t know why this has to be said but it does. It’s not just replicas that break. Genuines break all the time. They may have better quality control but sometimes I wonder with the level of defective merchandise that makes it to the sales channels. People often feel particularly stunned when a replica breaks, I’ve noticed. Gen owners may not necessarily expect this but they sometimes take it a lot better. This may be due to the fact that they can walk in an AD and have it sent off for repair. Replica owners don’t have this option, obviously, and finding someone to service a replica let alone repair one can be an experience in frustration. Keep calm and carry on. Oftentimes, a shoe repair place can fix a bag as well as a pair of shoes!


    Genuines break? Perish the thought! I thought that was merely an affliction of $300 replicas not $6,000 originals.

    Automatic watches are tiny little mechanical devices that really should break more often than they do considering that many are used on a daily basis and treated nonchalantly by so many. They have sometimes have hundreds of moving parts. Imagine wearing Patek Philippe’s Calibre 89 daily or even weekly. There’s no way that something like that wouldn’t need a servicing or at least a minor repair. While most of the replicas aren’t of that complexity, they are just as delicate. And these movements tend to come dry, with parts misaligned, missing jewels, etc. This increases the likelihood of breakage.


    IWC Top Gun Chronograph with a broken case. "Let's make watches out of glass!" This will end well. Learn more here.

    And as many high-end gen owners can tell you, their watches sometimes stay in the shop as much as any BMW. That’s about the only thing that’s consistent in luxury goods because as anyone in the industry can tell you . . .

    9. There’s no such thing as consistency in luxury goods.


    I don’t believe people realize this. Every luxury goods maker deviates from what is proscribed by outside brand “experts” as normal. The one thing these so-called experts don’t know is that there is no such thing as normal when dealing with luxury goods. Many, many clients feel exceptionally special and want their purchases to reflect that through unique touches made to the item before or after the sale.


    Mr. Fux and two of his three Drophead Phantoms. Neither color is a standard Rolls-Royce option. The Fux Red one in the foreground is the one with the carbon fiber interior.

    Michael Fux, billionaire businessman and philanthropist, is a perfect example of this because he owns several Rolls-Royces and each one is a one-off made specifically for him exactly the way he wants it. Nevermind what Rolls doesn’t do normally, they figured out how to do it for him! He wanted a Drophead Phantom with carbon fiber in place of the wood all over the cabin. Rolls had never worked with carbon fiber at all prior to his request and set to work making it happen. And happen it did. While none of us is as wealthy as Michael Fux, it goes to show that with a request, and lots o’ money, you can make a luxury brand create what you want. And luxury goods makers do special requests and custom pieces all the time. And not just for the Sultan of Brunei. They will charge you but you’ll have what you desire. Let some loud mouth members of the proletariat armed with a few photos they got online tell it, your very real watch or bag instantly becomes a fake!



    And what the factory won’t do an aftermarket company will. Take for example Prohunter's tranformation of stalwart Rolex models. Or the Sac Chien above. Louis Vuitton will make a bag ANYWAY you want it—as long as the bag is for travel. The Sac Chien is a pet carrier made for travel so the Monogram Canvas Multicolore Sac Chien is a bag that they would make (and probably have). This bag is a replica but it also could not be one. Is your head about to explode?


    Whoa. Somebody who decided to make his watch look how he wanted it to look. Get the pitchfork and the torches!

    It stands to reason that the only people that seem most worried about the external accuracy of their watch or bag would be . . . people with fake watches and bags. The factories make all kinds of things and with decades, sometimes centuries, long histories they made whatever was asked for in addition to regularly produced models. It stands to reason that the individual who has the money to buy some of these luxury goods also has the money to make it look how they want it to look.

    And up until recently, the manufacturing process wasn’t as ruthlessly efficient as it is today so variations within production of a model were very common. This brings me to my next point which is . . .

    10. Unless the fake is terrible, there’s no way to discern if a piece is a replica.



    Replica, franken, special order or all-original genuine? Can you guess?

    However, there are fakes extant that couldn’t possibly have been produced and these are easy to spot and don’t really count in this context. And this also doesn’t always apply to every region of the world. There are some places that you don’t want to take a fake to because the people in this region know their luxury goods. Japan is the first place that springs to mind, or any place in SE Asia really. They’re savage when they find out you’re carrying or wearing a fake. This can actually lead to being a little socially ostracized in certain circles.

    For most other places in the world, you can carry something slightly fantasy or customized, but still replica, and no one can really call you out. You’re not going to run into many people who know a brand so well that they can tell without opening the watch or deconstructing the bag. Many people that work within these companies couldn’t even do that.

    Just enjoy the hobby and keep some of this stuff in mind. You’ll have less gray hair, more money and more fun!
    Last edited by Posh; 09-10-2011 at 12:14 AM.
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    Recommend omegaplanet, rcgary, Rolemars recommended this post
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    Well said, great post. It should be a sticky for the newbies to read.

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    Really impressive!  thank you.

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    Default So many threads and posts about this...

    ... and then suddenly everything is perfectly explained in one post.
    Brilliant!
    (thank you for sharing)

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    Mrs. Gordon Gekko

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    I really hoped it would help SOMEONE. I think it hits the stuff most asked or thought about. But, as we know, it may not ebb the flow! Thank you all so much!
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    this is a great post Posh. number 7 is a big thing for us. i make sure that i throw some gen stuff in like my shoes and then carry a replica bag. it pulls it all together. lol and our reasons for repping is we can't afford all the gen stuff we want. pure and simple!

    isn't 8 self-explanatory? people don't know this? :-/

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    Mrs. Gordon Gekko

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennerate View Post
    this is a great post Posh. number 7 is a big thing for us. i make sure that i throw some gen stuff in like my shoes and then carry a replica bag. it pulls it all together. lol and our reasons for repping is we can't afford all the gen stuff we want. pure and simple!

    isn't 8 self-explanatory? people don't know this? :-/
    Thanks! I think why you're doing it may be the reason why most people do it.

    And eight SHOULD be self-explainatory but there are people that have to be reminded that things sometimes break. They also need to know that repair isn't impossible and to just be chill about it. I've seen posts with people up in arms about things that are ridiculous. Oh, my gosh. It's crazy. No further comment about eight. LOL
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    good post for those who get too anal about replica accuracy and too WISsy.

    But I do have one area of contention with your post, and that is about getting a spare watch for parts. For the most watches, one can readily upgrade to a newer and better copy of that same watch if the old one breaks down. I wouldn't replace my Sead PO with a spare Sead PO. I'd just go out and get the 5th gen PO.

    I follow some of your advice regularly, such as mixing my gens with my replicas. In fact I have more gen Omegas and franken Rollies than I do replicas.

    At the end of the day, it's just a watch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by If you see Kay View Post
    good post for those who get too anal about replica accuracy and too WISsy.

    But I do have one area of contention with your post, and that is about getting a spare watch for parts. For the most watches, one can readily upgrade to a newer and better copy of that same watch if the old one breaks down. I wouldn't replace my Sead PO with a spare Sead PO. I'd just go out and get the 5th gen PO.

    I follow some of your advice regularly, such as mixing my gens with my replicas. In fact I have more gen Omegas and franken Rollies than I do replicas.

    At the end of the day, it's just a watch.
    People tend to get overly analytical (and that's coming from me!) and it can really make people new to the game needless apprehensive. Now, I do feel that people need to know exactly what the flaws of their watch are so that they can make a decision about whether or not they can live with it. Not knowing is worse than knowing, in my opinion.

    But while "buying the newest version" may work for some watches, which have new versions, some don't go beyond the first batch. There's more of those than Ultimatest Awesomest Version 10 Submariners around.
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    Good post. Hope this helps noobs get some base knowledge and a reality check.

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    Definitely, a must read for all noobs.

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    The big bubbly font and bold red text.

    Ouch, my eyes.

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    Damnit Posh, you've done it again. This should be a sticky

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    good job Posh! i enjoyed the read. thanks for taking the time to do this. i'm sure it is welcome advice for newbies and great reconfirmation for the rest. helps to keep everything in perspective

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    Great thread!

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    Well done, great thread.
    SEX, breakfast of champions.

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    I needed to read this.

    I just remembered, designers do indeed make custom items. For example, LV will make their speedy bag completely of leather instead of the monogram canvas. I saw it on Ebay and thought it was a fake. The entire bag was made of that beautiful untreated leather which patinas into a dark honey tan. I called my nearest LV store and they said it is available through custom order only. It's called Vachetta.

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    Nice post Posh! You have succinctly stated some of the thoughts I've had while reading some previous threads here at RG!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubancurls View Post
    I needed to read this.

    I just remembered, designers do indeed make custom items. For example, LV will make their speedy bag completely of leather instead of the monogram canvas. I saw it on Ebay and thought it was a fake. The entire bag was made of that beautiful untreated leather which patinas into a dark honey tan. I called my nearest LV store and they said it is available through custom order only. It's called Vachetta.
    i've seen those! i thought they were only made for Japan because those always seem to be where the sellers are from on ebay. i didn't know they were something you had to order. it wouldn't stay clean around me as i am really good about spilling things on my bag. ugh. i imagine nothing would get that stain out.

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    Well done Posh, certainly deserves to be stickied.
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    Thanks for taking the time to put this together Posh


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    Quote Originally Posted by cubancurls View Post
    I needed to read this.

    I thought you would really enjoy this. I'm glad it helped. Enjoy whichever J12 you damn well please.


    Quote Originally Posted by timothyddc View Post
    Nice post Posh! You have succinctly stated some of the thoughts I've had while reading some previous threads here at RG!
    Thanks, Tim! I appreciate the appreciation!

    Quote Originally Posted by desfacil View Post
    Well done, great thread.
    '

    I hope it helps, Facil! Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by hnl2pdx View Post
    Great thread!

    PDX, you're very kind. Thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by elvis View Post
    good job Posh! i enjoyed the read. thanks for taking the time to do this. i'm sure it is welcome advice for newbies and great reconfirmation for the rest. helps to keep everything in perspective
    ]

    That's the whole point. People get too uptight about this stuff sometimes. We all want complete accuracy to genuine but sometimes that's not possible. But there are watches that pass that test so if you need one, then buy that. Thanks for the comment!

    Quote Originally Posted by ryandh View Post
    Damnit Posh, you've done it again. This should be a sticky

    It is now. Thanks, Ryan!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brobert View Post
    Well done Posh, certainly deserves to be stickied.
    Thanks, Robert! You encouragement, publicly and privately, means a lot to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by crossbones View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to put this together Posh

    I'm happy you took a moment to acknowledge it. Thank you, Bones.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonadragon View Post
    Definitely, a must read for all noobs.

    Indeed! Thanks for the comment!


    Quote Originally Posted by Lobster2010 View Post
    Good post. Hope this helps noobs get some base knowledge and a reality check.

    We all need a reality check from time to time. I wrote this as much for myself as I did everyone else. I was worrying about a bag and a watch and saw another member worrying about a watch. I said, "This is ridiculous. No one is going to notice or care. I'll buy what I want and be done with it." Gosh, if we would only lighten up, we'd all live longer, with less ulcers. LOL Thank you for the reading the post, Lobster.
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    Cool post. Thanks!
    To Laugh Often and Much...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjohn View Post
    Cool post. Thanks!

    Thanks, Ron! If it made you laugh, cry or cringe, then it was worth it. LOL
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