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Author Topic: My exciting American jaunts!  (Read 24457 times)

Barmymoo

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My exciting American jaunts!
« on: 10 Sep 2011, 03:31 »

I mentioned in a blog thread a while back that my college choir would be making a tour of the USA (or at least bits of it) during the summer of 2012, and now I have received dates and places! It would be wonderful if some people could come and see some of the concerts/services if you're in the area. Full admission: it is a church choir, we will be singing church music and probably most of the time it will be church services. So if you are vehemently anti-religion then it might not be the thing for you.

Anyway, here are the dates!

12 July -  Boston
13-15 July - New York City
17 July - Garden City, Long Island
19 July - Philadelphia
20-22 July - Washington DC

I'm hoping we will have some free time in each city, so hangouts might be feasible too. I'm super excited about this! Please tell me exciting things that must be visited in those places, assuming I am free to do so.
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bainidhe_dub

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #1 on: 10 Sep 2011, 07:34 »

DC: the Smithsonian museums, until your feet fall off or you've seen them all, whichever happens first (hint: it will be your feet). I imagine you'll probably sing at the National Cathedral, which is a pretty cool place on its own too. (Hopefully they will have the damage repaired by then.) It also puts you not too far from the National Zoo (though it'll be hot and humid and full of tourists in July), Georgetown (expensive bars and shops), and the Metro, which opens up access to a lot of other areas in the city like Chinatown and H Street (somewhat less expensive bars and a ton of theatres). If you get to go out of the city, there's stuff within an hour's drive or so, like National Harbor, Annapolis, the National Arboretum, and the Baltimore Aquarium.
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jwhouk

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #2 on: 11 Sep 2011, 02:45 »

Part of me is sad when I see that list, as I realize you are only going to be seeing about 1/7th of the country.

There is a lot more to the USA than just the BosNYPhilaWash corridor. Too bad you guys will probably be heading home after the 22nd, as a few side flights to Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, Minneapolis, Saint Louis, Dallas, Phoenix and Los Angeles would give you a more accurate "flavor" of the country. (And, if you were in Minneapolis, I'd actually have half a shot at seeing your choir sing.)

I guess it'd be just as bad as me only going to Sydney or Brisbane and assuming that all of Australia is like that.

Anyways: it does sound like you're going to have a pretty packed schedule, so I'd suggest doing some of the touristy things: go on a bus tour of New York City and the area when you're there July 13-17; make sure you see the WTC memorial and visit the Statue of Liberty (though it will be closed for repairs to the base). Times Square is now a pedestrian mall, so check that out, along with the Empire State Building.

Not sure if you're a footy fan, but you might see if the New York Red Bulls of MLS are playing that weekend (or maybe DC United, when you're in the capital).

If you guys are in Philly the 18th, try to see some of the major historical sites before your concert; at the very least try to get to Independence Hall, where the Constitution was signed. And make sure you try a Philly Cheesesteak or two.

DC has a LOT of things to do; I'd like to echo Baindhe_dub that you shouldn't try to see all of the Smithsonian museums. Pick some of the ones you'd really like to see - maybe the Air & Space Museum, or the American History Museum, or the main building (the "Smithsonian Castle"). Try to get in to see the Capitol Building and the White House, and visit at least one of the memorials/monuments (Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington).

Your group might be already slated for some group tours; they're easier for those from out of the country to use so that you can hit the "major" sites in your limited time here.

Just keep in mind what I said at the start: you're only seeing a sliver of the country. 
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Barmymoo

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #3 on: 11 Sep 2011, 13:28 »

I realise that it's only a little bit - I have seen some more places, although mostly the mid-west, already, when we had ChicagoCon the first and Camp Eed (I think we saw bits of Ohio, Chicago, Indiana, other places I can't remember, my geography is terrible). One day I'll get to visit more western/southern places!

Thanks for the suggestions so far! Are there any places that tourists usually go to that you wouldn't recommend, as in places that cost more than they're worth or have huge queues or something?
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Doctor Online

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #4 on: 11 Sep 2011, 20:29 »

Ugh, if you could head a little more south into Virginia (by a little more, I mean 20 minutes south of Richmond) I'd tell you the best place to eat for some damn good BBQ.

Nanny's BBQ. Anyone in Virginia that reads this, go there. It's in the Petersburg/Prince George area. Their hours are kinda odd, they're open till 10 pm on fridays and saturdays closed sundays and mondays, and tues-thurs they're open from 11 am to 2 pm for lunch. But it's sooooo good. Buffet, home cooked nom noms, they sell the BBQ sauce by the bottle. I'm running low on mine so it's about time for me to make a trip up there to see my family and get some more sauce. Maybe some hushpuppy mix. Mmmmm.
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JD

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #5 on: 11 Sep 2011, 23:29 »

I think the Smithsonian has spoiled me with their completely free admission.  the non-smithsonian museums aren't particularly worth going to in my opinion, they can cost up to $20 to get in.
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valley_parade

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #6 on: 12 Sep 2011, 08:31 »

Yeah I am a bit anti-religion but uh, MAY, BOSTON, I'LL BE THERE.

Massive rad hangouts, right?
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Barmymoo

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #7 on: 12 Sep 2011, 08:39 »

YES
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #8 on: 12 Sep 2011, 10:28 »

And re: Boston, duck boats are lame, duck boats should only be ridden by championship teams slowly.
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Dazed

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #9 on: 13 Sep 2011, 21:47 »

Fuck the duck boats, goddddd those things are annoying.

Also, where in Boston? I'm also vehemently anti-religious, but I do study a lot of church music so I may be interested!
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Barmymoo

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #10 on: 14 Sep 2011, 02:46 »

Sadly I have no idea where in Boston. Perhaps you could all listen really hard for music and run towards it?
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #11 on: 14 Sep 2011, 05:44 »

I dunno May. That usually just attracts me to record stores.
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Carl-E

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #12 on: 14 Sep 2011, 08:09 »

Well, it's in a church, right?  That should narrow it down...   :-D

Maybe a particular type of church?  Catholic?  Anglican/Episcopal?  Lutheran? 


Unitarian? 
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valley_parade

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #13 on: 14 Sep 2011, 08:47 »

We're talking Boston, there's a LOT of churches.
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Carl-E

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #14 on: 14 Sep 2011, 09:25 »

I know, I know, like I said, narrowing it down...
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Dazed

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #15 on: 14 Sep 2011, 16:33 »

I will assume it's one of the churches in downtown, that's where Umass has our choral performances usually. So by that I mean it could still be any of like, 20 churches.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #16 on: 14 Sep 2011, 16:49 »

Really guys? Based on what we know, google searched Church Boston July 12 Choir England.

Very first listing: the Keble College Chapel Choir will be performing at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, which is at 138 Tremont St.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #17 on: 14 Sep 2011, 17:02 »

Ah, ok, I know that one. It is where I thought it was.
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jwhouk

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #18 on: 14 Sep 2011, 20:54 »

And from the website of Keble College Chapel Choir of Oxford:
Quote
The choir also has the chance to travel both during and out of term.  In 2011 the Choir offered Evensong at Bouthrop Church, John Keble's first parish in Eastleach.  The choir also travelled to the East Coast of the USA for a 12-day tour in Boston, Manhattan, and Washington DC singing at St Paul's Cathedral in Boston, St John the Divine and St Patrick's Cathedrals in Manhattan, and Washington National Cathedral as just a few of their venues.
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pwhodges

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #19 on: 14 Sep 2011, 23:31 »

But May is at Cambridge, not Oxford.  We (here in Oxford) call it "the other place", and I dare say they do the same in return!
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #20 on: 14 Sep 2011, 23:47 »

Still - those do sound like probable venues. (Woo, Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan - that's gonna be impressive.)

I think I see the obvious reason why there's no trips beyond the East Coast of the US (besides money and logistics): the Anglican church didn't take root beyond the old colonies. (For example: my little town of Merrill has about five or six Lutheran churches of various synods, and only one Catholic church - and I think only one Episcopalian church.
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Barmymoo

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #21 on: 15 Sep 2011, 10:11 »

Paul is correct, I'm at Newnham College, Cambridge (that is incidentally my address too! If you send things addressed to May, Newnham College, Cambridge, they will find their way to me, which I think is ridiculous. I feel like maybe the Queen and I are equals in the eyes of Royal Mail)(except that she is the Royal part obviously).

We're an Anglican choir so I dunno.
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jwhouk

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #22 on: 15 Sep 2011, 21:08 »

Well, obviously, the problem started over here about 1775-76 with the Anglican Church.

Still - the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (aka The National Cathedral) is a pretty impressive place to play (and it is an Episcopalian Church). Hopefully it will be reopened by the time your choir comes to sing there.

Just don't be surprised when you start singing God Save The Queen and everyone in the audience starts singing with different lyrics... ;)
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #23 on: 16 Sep 2011, 05:45 »

I really hope it doesn't take them almost a year to fix those spires... But the whole, earthquake > spires break / bring crane to fix spires > crane gets blown over, thing is not too encouraging.
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Carl-E

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #24 on: 16 Sep 2011, 09:53 »

Considering it took over 80 years to build the thing (without pause), and they're still evaluating the structural damage, it may be awhile...
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #25 on: 16 Sep 2011, 10:57 »

Thanks for the suggestions so far! Are there any places that tourists usually go to that you wouldn't recommend, as in places that cost more than they're worth or have huge queues or something?

Times Square in New York City....it's nice to just say you've been there but I wouldn't plan a lot of time there...it's twice as crowded as anywhere else in the city (except maybe Chinatown or the subway during rush hour). 

I second World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty &/or Empire State Building but definitely check out Central Park, Bronx Zoo, the village in general (when I lived in NYC I always loved St. Marks Place)...oh! And the Metropolitan Museum of Art!! It really depends on what you're into, but you could probably find something for everyone you're traveling with  :-D
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Metope

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #26 on: 17 Sep 2011, 08:43 »

If you're not too busy, check out the PS1 in Queens as well, it's a contemporary arts center/gallery/museum and just absolutely amazing.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #27 on: 17 Sep 2011, 09:56 »

Not to mention MOMA.  Or the Guggenheim, which I think would be my suggestion if time is limited; the Metropolitan Museum of Art is vast.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #28 on: 17 Sep 2011, 18:50 »

Take in a Rockette's show at Radio City.  'bout as American as it gets...

In DC you definitely want to spend some time at the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, they're as quick/long as you have the time for, and awesome. 

In Philly, Independence Hall is interesting, but it's been 30 years since I saw it last.  There's also the WWII battle ship New Jersey, docked at the waterfront as a museum.  And eat at least one cheesesteak.  Don't eat more than one in a day, though, and definitely not before a performance!   
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Barmymoo

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #29 on: 18 Sep 2011, 01:56 »

Sadly much American cuisine is closed to me, as a mildly lactose-intolerant vegetarian.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #30 on: 18 Sep 2011, 06:11 »

Boston Baked Beans it is, then.  :wink:
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #31 on: 18 Sep 2011, 06:17 »

Or perhaps another burrito the size of your head?
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #32 on: 19 Sep 2011, 04:59 »

Yeah, but you can get Heinz Vegetarian Beans. They have a blue label and are good with Kraft mac n cheese.
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Barmymoo

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #33 on: 19 Sep 2011, 05:15 »

I didn't know there was more than one kind of burrito! My life just got more exciting.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #34 on: 19 Sep 2011, 05:26 »

Oh! But don't get the pinto beans at Chipotle. They have bacon or pork or some sort of pig-parts in them. They only just started telling people, and a lot of Muslim and Kosher people are pissed.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #35 on: 29 Sep 2011, 07:40 »

I am not surprised that they would be pissed! I would be furious and I'm just vegetarian by choice, not by religion (which I feel is more of an imperative - if you believe that your God requires you not to consume meat, there's a lot more at stake than just your dietary preferences if you do).

You guys, I have a very ridiculous idea in my head. It is unlikely to happen, but on August 4th there is a writing conference in New Jersey that I'd love to go to. My choir tour finishes on July 22nd in Washington DC. Is there anyone who lives in or near or even between either of those places who might be able to let me sleep on their floor/sofa for the interim period? Does anyone live near Newark and might be able to put me up for the night of the 4th? The meet finishes at 11pm and it's in a hotel that would cost $119 a night - I don't think I can afford that but a cheaper alternative might be possible.

Basically I can only do this if it's super cheap so I'm not being too optimistic, but since I'm in the US anyway, it feels like I'm halfway there cost-wise and it's at least worth investigating.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #36 on: 05 Oct 2011, 11:35 »

Good news!  The National Cathedral will be reopening Nov 12th, well before your arrival.  The interior is in good condition, and the exterior damage has been sufficiently stabilised. 

Repairs will be ongoing, but most of the damage was cosmetic.  Like my first visit over 30 years ago, I expect there will be scaffolding...
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #37 on: 05 Oct 2011, 15:15 »

The National Cathedral has been under construction pretty much since it opened.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #38 on: 05 Oct 2011, 16:06 »

It's reopening to visitors in November, but complete repairs are expected to take 10 years.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #39 on: 06 Oct 2011, 00:13 »

The National Cathedral has been under construction pretty much since it opened.

It was actually completed in 1990, after 83 years of construction.  Aside from routine maintenance, there hasn't been "construction" for over 20 years! 
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #40 on: 06 Oct 2011, 00:32 »

I wasn't previously aware how close this building program was to that of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, started in 1904 and completed in 1978.  In each case a chapel was completed for use early in the process, (1910 in Liverpool, 1912 in Washington).  Both buildings are among the top few cathedrals in the world by size (the ordering varies according to what you measure, of course).  Washington was designed by Bodley, who lost out in the competition for Liverpool to the young Giles G Scott*.

* I nearly typed G G Scott, but there were three generations of G G Scott, all church architects, the first two called George Gilbert, and the third Giles Gilbert - quite confusing at times!.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #41 on: 26 Oct 2011, 15:21 »

Update on these exciting plans: I am now planning on staying in the US for the remainder of the summer (I have to be back in Cambridge on September 22nd). The very tentative plan is to be either in Virginia or Indiana, because the wonderful Edith is trying to find somewhere I can live in exchange for my labour. Money is very tight but it's possible I might be able to make trips out to interesting places if I can find cheap transport and cheap/free accommodation. I spent an hour or so today enquiring about possible grants and bursaries from college and it's looking promising - especially if I can find a worthy project to do somewhere.
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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #42 on: 26 Oct 2011, 15:57 »

Well I plan to be in Muncie, Indiana in September for college. While I am no expert on Indiana, there are a few things you should do:

1. Eat some corn
2. Go to ComedySportz in Indianapolis
3. Go be all historical touristy in Corydon
4. Bloomington is generally a rad place. I can tell you specific resturaunts and some interesting shops if you decide you are interested.
5. If you are interested in hanging out with a random person, visit me at Ball State University.

Now, if anyone needs information on visiting south florida, I could write a freaking bok on that.
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this forum is slowly decomposing into butts and kitties

jwhouk

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #43 on: 26 Oct 2011, 17:00 »

OOh, Excellent. Get thee away from the East Coast and visit the REAL America.

Or, at least, you could come up here to the Midwest and look at some cows...
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valley_parade

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #44 on: 28 Oct 2011, 07:22 »

We definitely have cows in the northeast.
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Wait so you're letting something that happened 10 years ago ruin your quality of life? What are you, America? :psyduck:

Barmymoo

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #45 on: 28 Oct 2011, 07:49 »

It's ok, we have cows in England too.
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

Carl-E

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #46 on: 28 Oct 2011, 09:20 »

But do you tip them?
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When people try to speak a gut reaction, they end up talking out their ass.

Barmymoo

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #47 on: 28 Oct 2011, 11:09 »

Yup, and then giggle as they try to get back up again.
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

imagist42

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #48 on: 28 Oct 2011, 12:45 »

I keep reading the thread title and thinking it says "My exciting American joints!"
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Hopefully it goes without saying but you should always ask before sticking things in people's butts

Carl-E

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Re: My exciting American jaunts!
« Reply #49 on: 29 Oct 2011, 12:04 »

There are several jaunty joints in America...
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When people try to speak a gut reaction, they end up talking out their ass.
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