PO Box 21203, Seattle, WA 98111-3203
Mature Friends publishes a member newsletter with updates on our
activities such as: • traveling (both locally and internationally),
• attending arts events, • playing bridge or pinochle, • reading and
discussing books, • making investments, • touring gardens,
• taking walks and going on hikes, • lunching and dining
options, • cooking, • and tasting fine wines from around the
world including our own Washington state.
The same newsletter information is included here but without member contact information.
Want the newsletter? See How to Join on the Welcome page.
NOTE: Because of the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus, most activities are suspended or live-streamed until the ban on group gatherings is lifted.
Please click on underlined area for additional information.
Eating Date and Time Location Monthly Potluck
Suspended until further notice
Wallingford Community Senior Center [closed]
Lunch Out Suspended Jimmy's [closed] Dinners Out
First Tue., suspended
Third Tue., May. 18, at 6:00 pm.
Palermo’s on Capitol Hill, [no indoor dining]
Robb’s 125th Street Grill
Dinner for Six Suspended In members’ homes
Mon., May 17, at 7:00 p.m.
LIVE! At a member's home. Check the May newsletter. Annual Banquet
Women’s University Club
Meridian Park (playground),Shelter #1
Playing Date and Time Location Board Meeting Mon., May. 10, at 7:00 p.m.
Bridge Club 1 Wed., May. 5, Cancelled
Pinochle Club2 Wed., May. 5 & 19, at 7:00 p.m.
Online via Pinochle app by Karman Games. See newsletter for contact person. Hearts Wed., May. 12 & 26, at 7:00 p.m. Via the "Hearts+" app, see newsletter. Board Games
Suspended Wallingford Community Senior Center Green Lake Walk Every Wed., 10:45 a.m. at
Parking lot by the Bathhouse Theater, but now
The Seattle Public Theater
(Suspended: lunch at the Blue Star Cafe and Pub)
West Seattle Walk Every Sat., 11:00 a.m. Meet at Lincoln Park
8011 Fauntleroy Way S.W.
Time2Share Thur., May. 13, at 7:00 p.m. Film historian David Chapman presents GLADIATOR MOVIES OF THE 1960S AND THEIR HOMOSEXUAL SUBTEXTS Book Club Tue., May 18, at 7:30 p.m.
Via Zoom, Christopher Bram’s Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers who Changed America. See newsletter for contact. Oddball Outing Suspended Unusual locations off the beaten track. A Better Club for Investing Suspended Members, contact club leader for location;
See newsletter for contact information.
Walk/Hike Tue., May. 18, at 9.30 a.m. Kukutali Preserve A Discover Pass is required. Challenging Hike Wed., May 26, at 9:30 a.m. Heybrook Ridge Trail Garden Tour
Thur., May 27, at 10:30 a.m.
Bainbridge Island. See newsletter for address and carpool information. Travel and Events Suspended Past trips, foreign and U.S. Scarecrow Screenings Suspended Scarecrow Video Theater, Music Dates and Details below
Annual Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR.
1 The fee for Bridge Club is $4.00 per night for members (who pay an annual fee of $40.00 to join the club) and $5.00 for nonmembers.
2 The fee for Pinochle, when in person at the senior center, is $4.00 per night for members and for nonmembers.
Once a month, our hike leader takes a group on a day hike through some beautiful territory. If the hike leads the group out of town and you share a ride, expect to chip in $5.00 or $10.00, depending on the distance, to the driver for gas. Also, the group sometimes brown bags it for lunch along the trail. Other than that, this activity is an invigorating, frugal day’s entertainment! So why not join us on the next hike?
May Hike — Kukutail Preserve
We have two hikes in May. Our first hike will be along the trails in the Kukutali Preserve near La Conner, Washington. The Preserve is a peninsula jutting out into the far north end of Puget Sound, with views of nearby islands and the Deception Pass Bridge. Most of the area is covered with typical mossy lowland forest, with trees festooned with lichens. The main trail is about a mile long, with two side trails to explore adding another mile. Kukutali Preserve is the first Tribal State Park in the history of the United States to be co-owned and jointly managed by a federally recognized Indian tribe and a state government. This is a gentle hike with just a couple moderate uphill sections.
To facilitate car pooling for those who wish to do so we will meet on Tuesday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m. near the Bank of America at the north entrance of Northgate, just off Northgate Way. Riders share the cost. Bring a lunch, and drinking water. Wear a mask and bring your own hand sanitizer. A Discover Pass is required at the trail head. Google Maps hyperlink to trail head for directions.
April Hike — Fragrance Lake Trail
Our hike in April was at Fragrance Lake, in Larrabee State Park, south of Bellingham, Washington. We met at the trail head. There was a small parking lot in front of the trail head. A Discover Pass was required for day parking. You can also purchase a pass online before you go if you don’t have a current pass.
Bruce, Larry, and Garry on the Fragrance Lake Trail
There is about 1,000 feet of elevation gain in the two miles to the lake, with gentle switch backs that make the gain moderate. It was a change from the level winter hikes we have been doing. The trails were well maintained.
You can use Google Maps for directions from where you are.
Snapshots from Some of Our Previous Hikes
Our hikers posed with beautiful backdrops from some of our past treks. The following pictures show some examples.
John, Garry, Ron, Lance, Wayman, Larry, and Bruce in the Redmond Watershed Preserve
January Hikers at the Start of the Green River Trail
October 2020 Hikers at Whistle Lake
John, Dale, Duane, Stephen, Ramon and Keith Hiking the Cedar River Trail
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This year, Mature Friends have introduced a hike activity that is more challenging than our regular hikes. If you feel up to a bit of a challenge and wonderful scenery, why not give it a try and join us on the next hike?
Heybrook Ridge TrailOur second hike this month will be along the Heybrook Ridge Trail near Index, Washington, which offers spectacular views of mountain peaks. On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with a remarkable view of Mt. Index, Bridal Veil Falls, and the Skykomish valley. This hike has more elevation gain, although it is still a moderate 780 feet in 1.5 miles.
To facilitate car pooling for those who wish to do so we will meet on Wednesday, May 26, at 9:30 a.m. near the Bank of America at the north entrance of Northgate, just off Northgate Way. Riders share the cost. Bring a lunch, and drinking water. Wear a mask and bring your own hand sanitizer. No pass required at the trail head. Google Maps link to trail head for directions.
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This wildly popular activity takes you on tours of beautiful gardens in the Seattle and greater Seattle area. if you like plants and gardens or if you’re just interested to learn a little about horticulture, come join us!
The Garden Tours resume!
Private Garden on Bainbridge, May 27, 2021
Located in the south end of Bainbridge Island on Rich Passage, the 'Beluche' gardens have been developed on approximately one acre of a very long, narrow parcel and adjoining lot. The property originally was covered in blackberries, English ivy, nooksa roses, invasive vegetation, and damaged and fallen trees. Its unique microclimate, a near horticultural zone 9, has aided the planting and growth of a wide variety of species.
The gardens are designed to not only complement the contemporary house, but to also provide privacy. They include a section of dune grasses, extensively planted drainage rain garden, shoreline management restoration transition, kitchen garden, lawns, heavily planted borders, vegetable garden, green house, and garden house.
The Washington State Ferry leaves downtown Seattle at 9:35 a.m., with a tour beginning around 10:30 a.m. to allow time to drive from the Bainbridge ferry terminal to the Beluche home.
If you are interested in carpooling, contact Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Garden of George and Omar
Mature Friends Omar Watson and George Shriver sent around some pictures from their garden. I asked them to label the pictures so that I could identify them and put them up on the website to share with all of you. So here we go. . . .
These three lilies have different names for the same flower:
The next four are the Acer Aconififollum tree, or full moon:
And the last one is the Oxydendrum arboreum Sourwood tree:
October 2019 Tour: Seymour Botanical ConservatoryOn Thursday, October 17, 2019, two of us Mature Friends had a wonderful private tour of the Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Wright Park in Tacoma. Tour guide Kayla pointed out many of the beautiful specimens in the botanical collection.
We were sorry that nobody else showed up but we had a great time and I encourage many of you to make your way down. It's a wonderful little gem. And Kayla obviously loves her work as she frequently got very excited about seeing new blooms.
In 1908 the historic W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory was opened and is one of only three public Victorian-style conservatories still in existence on the West Coast. Listed on the National Historic register, the conservatory’s tropical plants and flowers gave many of the early residents their first chance to learn about many exotic and species not native to the Pacific Northwest.
Today, visitors experience the conservatory’s permanent collection of ferns, palms, figs, bromeliads, orchids, and many other rare, unusual, and endangered plants as well as its changing floral exhibits.
Address: 316 South G St., Tacoma, Washington
Cost: $2.00 per person
September 2019 Tour: Point Defiance ZooEleven Mature Friends enjoyed a tour of the gardens at Point Defiance Zoo lead by head gardener Bryon Jones on September 19.
The zoo gardens are home to hundreds of plant species with three full-time gardeners responsible for garden design and plant maintenance.
Special garden areas visited included the Asian forest sanctuary, bamboo garden, and an area dedicated to conifers, cycads, and ferns. We also learned about living fossils, such as the Ginkgo Tree and Wollemi Pine, both once thought to have been extinct. We also learned about plants grown in the zoo gardens that are used as food for the animals, including Dogwood, banana, bamboo, and kiwi.
The Zoo gardens feature:
The garden is home to hundreds of varieties of plants from decorative to functional. Zookeepers use some of the plant growth, such as banana leaves and bamboo shoots, as food or skill-building tools for the animals. The plants also create a stunning botanical paradise.
5400 N. Pearl St.
Tacoma, Washington 98407
Directions to the Zoo:
Cost: Adult $19, 65+ $18.
- From I-5 North or South, take exit 132 (Highway 16 West).
- Exit Highway 16 at 6th Avenue (Exit 3),
- Continue to the second stoplight and turn right on to Pearl Street (WA 163).
- Follow Pearl Street into Point Defiance Park. Signs will lead you to the Zoo's free parking lots.
There are hills involved so mobility may be an issue for some. They do offer motorized scooters for rent $35.00 and wheelchairs for $10.00 each.
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Book ClubThe Book Club is open to all Mature Friends and their guests. To participate you will need an invitation to join a Zoom meeting. I send these out about an hour before the meeting time of 7:30, and many people sign on early to have a half hour of socializing.
On Tuesday, April 20, we will discuss Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain, an epic portrayal of a working-class family and a gay childhood in Glasgow, Scotland. This book won the 2020 Booker Prize.
Christopher Bram’s Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America. A history of literature by Gay American from WW2 through the 1990s. Bram is a novelist as well, the author of Gods and Monsters. Available in limited copies from the libraries, so get in the queue if you depend on the library.
— Bruce B., Book Club Leader
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Time2ShareOn Thursday, April 8, at 7:00 p.m., David Martin, curator of the Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds, will give a Zoom presentation on two excellent exhibits currently on display at the museum. The talk will feature the works of painter Leo Kenney and photographer Shedrich Williames.
Leo Kenney (1925 – 2001)
Kenney, a gay artist, was featured in Cascadia’s Lavender Palette exhibition last year, was one of the most celebrated regional artists of the
mid-twentieth century. He achieved success at an early age with works that combine Surrealism with his own unique interpretations of Northwest iconography. He later developed an emphasis on geometric abstraction.
Shedrich Williames (b.1934)
Williames is one of the Northwest’s most accomplished photographers, was active in Portland from the 1960s until his recent move to Chicago. His photographs reflect a personal quest to document the inner light that animates the people, landscapes and still-lifes inhabiting his unique vision of the world.
David’s talk will give insights into both artists’ personal lives and influence, and he will display numerous examples of their work.
David Martin is engaging, entertaining, and extraordinarily well-informed about his subject matter.
— Garry R., Time2Share Organizer
Wine TastingThe ever-popular wine tastings meet every other month. During this time of shelter-in-place, we've been meeting virtually through Zoom. We hope to resume “live” tastings sometime in the future.
May: Italian Chianti Wines
The next meeting of the Mature Friends wine group will take place on Monday, May 17,at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. We will be tasting Italian Chianti wines.
March Tasting: Italian White WinesWe met via Zoom on Monday, March 15, at 7:00 p.m. We began the evening with a discussion of Italy’s wine history and growing regions—we are talking of a whole country that has been producing wine for thousands of years. This was an opportunity to just go and pick what you have wanted to try and not had the opportunity to do so.
Wine dealers are glad to point you in the direction of a favorite bottle at every price point.
As always we enjoyed the sharing and friendship that carries through wine and Zoom.
— Ed K., Wine Tasting Organizer
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Oddball OutingThis once-a-month activity that began in 2017, takes us on day trips and activities around the town or to locations nearby. The newsletter gives the location and time. Many events require an RSVP to Jerry P. See newsletter for contact information.
The Oddball Outings have been suspended until further notice thanks to COVID-19.
February 2020 Outing was: Dim Sum in the Year of the Rat
This month we celebrated the Chinese New Year which has just begun. In Chinese element theory, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold (Metal), and Water.
To celebrate this momentous year, February’s Oddball Outing will be Dim Sum at the Dough Zone, located at 815 Pine, at Ninth Avenue. We will
meet on Friday, February 7, at 11:30 a.m. The Dough Zone has terrific dumplings and a tempting Dim Sum menu.
— Jerry P., Oddball Organizer
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Travel and EventsThis section is about upcoming or recent trips planned for Mature Friends. Everybody who has gone on one of these trips has had a great time and was well taken care of. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up and join the fun!
NOTE: To travel with us, you must first join the club.
Travel Options in 2021Our travel coordinator will once again search for trips, based on how many members are interested and on when the travel ban is lifted.
Past Trips and Events
If you missed some of the trips organized by Mature Friends, you might be interested in reading about what you missed. Or if you went on any of these wonderful trips, you might be interested in reliving the fun and adventure. If so, this section is for you!
Thailand in Spring 2019
Travel to Thailand—once called Siam—where independence, hospitality, and the traditional philosophy that "life is pleasure" casts a spell over every visitor.
Twelve Mature Friends returned from a sixteen-day adventure to Thailand on March 29. We started with a boat trip though the canals of Bangkok with a lunch that featured David Turner using a mortar and pestle to make red curry for our lunch. In Bangkok, we also visited the Grand Palace. We proceeded to Kanchanaburi, where we walked across the River Kwai Bridge and along the Hellfire Pass railroad constructed by World War II prisoners of war. We also visit the Kanchanaburi prisoner- of-war cemetery.
Then off to Sukhothai Province to visit historic ruins and a local school. On the way to Chiang Main, we stopped at roadside food booths for sticky rice and barbecued rats. A highlight of Chiang Mai was the elephant-care center, where we fed sugar cane to elephants and also washed them.
We ended the trip at the Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, where we looked from Thailand across the Mekong River into Burma and Laos.
Pictures to come. Stay tuned!
— Bruce T.
Viking Homelands: April 28 – May 12, 2018
Eight Mature Friends embarked for fifteen days on Viking Ocean Cruises to Bergen, Norway, and disembark in Stockholm, Sweden. We will visit eight countries and dock at eleven ports of call. Accommodations on the Viking Sky consisted of a private veranda stateroom, including wine and beer with meals. The itinerary comprised eleven guided tours with ports of call that include Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Gdansk, and St. Petersburg.
A full account of this magnificent trip, with photos, will be forthcoming, so stay tuned.
Tacoma’s Big Three Museums: November, 2017On Thursday, November 9, we bused down to Tacoma to visit three Tacoma Museums, including the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and Washington State History Museum. Each participant chose what museums to see and paid his or her own entry fee.
Special exhibits for November at the Art Museum include “Two Centuries of Still-Life Painting,” “The Dynamic American West,” and “The Art of Framing.” The Museum of Glass showcased special exhibitions dedicated to the work of Dale Chihuly and the glass and steel sculptures of Albert Paley.
Lake Diablo Day Trip, 2017
On August 10, thirteen Mature Friends bused to Diablo Lake. Hop aboard and get a taste of what these tourists saw and experienced. Maybe you can schedule this tour some day.
Diablo Lake Tour
California Coastal Cruise, 2017Departing on April 11, seven Mature Friends sailed on the ten-night California Coastal Cruise departing from Vancouver, B.C. sailing at 4:30 p.m., we cruised down the coat for two days before arriving in Los Angeles, followed by a day on Catalina Island. After Catalina, we embarked for Santa Barbara for a day, ending up with an overnight stay in San Francisco. Then we sailed up the coast for two days before arriving back in Vancouver the morning of April 21.
Escape into Cuba
Five Mature Friends took off on an all gay tour with seven days in Cuba. They departed from Seattle and arrived in Havana in time for a group dinner.
The tour included a bus overview trip around the city and visits to a rum-bottling facility and a tobacco farm to see the cigar-making process. We also saw the unique mountains and caves in Vinales National Park. The highlights, though, were the explorations of the city we did on our own.
We saw the beautifully renovated plazas and streets in Old Havana (a UNESCO Heritage Site), strolled along the Malecon with hundreds of cell phone-toting Cubans, saw various museums, and reveled in the joy of riding in 1940s and 1950s vintage American car taxis. We all thoroughly enjoyed one another’s company, and it was a trip we will long remember.
Sail Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain Sailing Ships
Avast, ye buccaneers! Last summer, our evening sailing on the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain got canceled because of a heavy rain and lightning storm that struck just before our sailing time. This year we tried again.
The three-hour cruise on Lake Washington in reproductions of eighteenth-century sailing ships features booming cannons, close quarter maneuvers, and the singing of sea shanties. Both ships have appeared in numerous movies and television shows. The ships sailed on Saturday, September 3, at 2:00 p.m. from the docks at Carillon Point in Kirkland.
But don’t take my word for it. Read all about it and check out the pictures!
— President Bruce T.
The Cruise to Nowhere, September 16 – 23, 2017
The famous Cruise to Nowhere (actually it went somewhere) departed from Seattle with a one-day stop in Astoria, Oregon, then for two days in San Francisco, and finally one day in Victoria, B.C., before returning to Seattle. This voyage consisted of a full seven-day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas with no airfare required.
Cruise to Nowhere
Rome and Tuscany, April 23 – May 8, 2016
This trip began with a week in Rome. We spent a week in the Eternal City with a gay guide escorting us to the major tourist sites, including ancient, renaissance, and contemporary Rome.
We spent the second week at a private villa in a small hill town in southern Tuscany. Day trips took us to Siena, the wine towns of Montepulciano (home of Brunello wine), Assisi, Pienza, Chiusi (Etruscan sites), Orvieto, the antique fair in Arezzo, and Monte Olivetti Maggiore (a major abbey with a large collection of frescoes by the Renaissance painter Sodoma).
The fabulous trip concluded with a day in Florence. Some travelers extended their tour for a day or more in Florence.
Weekend in Texas, October 30 – November 1, 2015
On Friday, October 30, nine Mature Friends flew on Alaska Airlines nonstop toSan Antonio. We spent a great time in this beautiful city over Day of the Dead (Halloween) weekend, staying at the traditional El Tropicano River Walk Hotel right on the banks of the famous River Walk.
Daily high temperatures hovered around 75º with cloudy and clear skies. San Antonio is a popular convention town and the most visited city in Texas. It has the Alamo, an easily walkable downtown with several museums, and an amazing San Antonio River, which meanders for miles and on which quiet tour boats glide. Great restaurant terraces line the route from which you can watch the lighted boats pass and hear Mariachi and jazz quietly echoing up the canyon. The natural ambiance is romantic and real. And . . .Remember the Alamo!
We spent a low-stress weekend mainly riding the hop-on-hop-off sight-seeing bus. Some in our group had booked a Halloween dinner cruise on the San Antonio River, but at the last minute the cruise got canceled due to heavy rains. Undaunted, the dinner guests got re-booked into a fine restaurant on the River Walk. Others of us went off on our own and also experienced fine dining on the River Walk. Two went to Landry’s Seafood and sat outside by the river. When the rain started, everybody scampered indoors . . . all except for two of us, who decided to stay put when the staff erected an umbrella over us.
Aside from the great food and beautiful scenery along the river banks, we enjoyed touring the Alamo, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Tower of the Americas, La Villita, the Spanish Governor’s Palace, the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, as well as many more sights. We could have spent a week and seen something new every day.
We flew home on Sunday evening after a full day of last-minute of sight-seeing. Everybody had a great time. Thank you, Jerry and Bob, for organizing this relaxing, enjoyable long weekend in Texas.
Cruising the San Juans 2013In September 2013, several Mature Friends set sail to spend a long weekend cruising the San Juan Islands in the northern part of Puget Sound. But don't listen to me, check out the trip for yourselves:
Boating through the San Juans
Reno Gambling TripTwenty-one people took off for our annual gambling trip on May 12. The package included round-trip airfare and accommodations at the El Dorado Resort Casino. We arrived in Reno shortly after 5:00 p.m., just in time for cocktail hour in the Roxy bar.
But to get the full story, come on and click the link and see some pictures of this relaxing three-day excursion.
Reno or Bust!
Grand Tour of China 2014In April 2014, about twenty Mature Friends set off for an adventure of a lifetime — touring China! To read about the trip, all we did, all we saw, please click the link:
Tour of ChinaAnd enjoy the pictures, too!
Spain and France 2014On October 12, 2014, twenty-four Mature Friends took off for Madrid, where they began a two-week tour of Northern Spain and Southern France. Please click the following link to see some of the sights they saw:
Tour of Spain and Southern France
Don’t forget to click the links in the story to see some pictures.
Cruise Down the Asian CoastAt the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, several Mature Friends took a cruise down the East Coast of Asia. We began in Hong Kong and ended up in Singapore. As with the tour of China, we saw several incredible sites, but without the hassle of unpacking and repacking, because our Holland-America ship acted as our home base. Check out this great cruise:
Cruise Down the Asian Coast
Cruise to AlaskaOn April 29, a few Mature Friends set off on a short cruise off the Alaskan coast to Ketchikan. Everybody had a great time, as usual on a Mature Friends’ voyage. Check out some of the pictures of this relaxing trip
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Theater and Music
This section lists local theater and music productions that might be of interest to Mature Friends.
Screenings of Gay Themed MoviesSuspended until further notice.
5030 Roosevelt Way NE
— Brian T. & James B., Scarecrow Video coordinator
Shakespeare and Daedalus in Ashland
The 2021 Shakespeare Festival
We are not yet able to announce a 2021 season schedule or an on-sale date, but we’re working hard to plan for our return. Given COVID-19 safety concerns for our audiences, artists, and staff and in line with many of our sister theaters around the country, we are focusing our programming options toward the second half of 2021. You’ll be the first to hear when the plans are finalized and we are ready to launch our 2021 season.
The 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic. But in 2019, our annual trip took place on September 13 – 16. Eighteen Mature Friends, the largest number so far, spent an extended weekend in Ashland, Oregon, attending plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and taking part in the 2019 Daedalus Project, the Festival’s Aids Benefit. We enjoyed three Shakespeare plays:
- As You Like It
- All’s Well that Ends Well
We also saw Paula Vogel’s Indecent, which is playing this month at the Seattle Rep in a different production. We saw a lively staged reading of Hedwig and the Angry Inch as part of the Daedalus Project and enjoyed the talents of the company’s members in a talent show, including the ever-popular Underwear Contest. We also enjoyed a group meal at Arbor House, an excellent family-run restaurant in neighboring Talent, Oregon, as well as many meals in the wide variety of Ashland restaurants.
— Bruce B.
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