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Ak-Sar-Ben Itself Merits Praise Along With King Dick And Queen Suzanne - 10-14-10

Come Election Day, White And Terry Can’t Duck Party Labels Any Longer - 10-07-10

Today, Second-Guessing Other Sports Commentators But Some Thoughts On Current Political Issues, Too - 09-30-10

Gates Gives Somber Non-Political Appraisals Of Iraq, Afghanistan - 09-23-10

At Last, A Prominent Moderate Muslim Speaks Out Against Muslim Terrorists - 09-16-10

Today, It’s All About College Football With Some “As I See It” Commentary - 09-09-10

Danes’ Sensible Approach To Immigration Won’t, Unfortunately, Fly In The U.S.A. - 09-02-10

Mosque Controversy Isn’t About Legal Rights; It’s About Moral Use Of Those Rights - 08-26-10

Time To Answer The Obvious Question: What Chance For Success In Afghanistan? - 08-19-10

Two-Paragraph News Story Offers Scary Prospect For World’s Future - 08-12-10

Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10

Not Wall Street But Democratic Policy Caused Mortgage Market Crash - 07-29-10

Windfarm Promoters Need More Facts, Less Rhetoric - 07-22-10

Nebraska Democrats’ ‘Find A Candidate’ Problem Began Long Months (Years?) Ago - 07-15-10

When The Subject Is Disasters,Obama Needs A History Lesson - 07-08-10

McChrystal’s Firing Spotlights Afghan War And The Slim Chance Of U.S. Victory There - 07-01-10

Advice For An Egocentric President: “I, I, I” Suggests One-Man Team - 06-24-10

Texas Decision Good For Big 12 But Even Better For The Longhorns - 06-17-10

Europe Is Sobering Up From 'Welfare' Binge; Obama-Led U.S. Moving Toward Similar Crises? - 06-10-10

A New Issue: Does ‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’ Make Military Service Easier For Gays? - 06-03-10

Do State Officials Really Understand The Challenges Faced By Omaha Schools? - 05-27-10

Democrats Continue Cheap Shot Campaign Against Republican Congressman Lee Terry - 05-20-10

Cartoonist Koterba Says It Clearly: Don’t Put All The Blame On Schools - 05-13-10

Citizenship For Immigrants Is Inevitable But Start By Closing The Border - 05-06-10

Punish Wall Streeters If They Deserve It But Liberal Dems Spawned The Mortgage Mess - 04-29-10

Did Legislature, Speaker Mike Flood Deserve All Those Kind Words? - 04-22-10

Tiger Sulks His Way Through Masters— Is Obama Gambling On The Nuclear Issue? Rogue States And Terrorists Won’t Sign Up - 04-15-10

Did Obama/Pelosi ‘Sausage Factory’ Produce A Debt-Increasing Unpopular Health Plan? - 04-08-10

The Stories Behind Some Disturbing Headlines And Some Advice For Avoiding National Bankruptcy - 04-01-10

Four-Vote House Margin Makes Americans Swallow Trillion-Dollar Pill They Don't Want - 03-25-10

Insurance Pays 96% Of Family’s Cost For Seven Years Of ‘End Of Life’ Treatment - 03-18-10

President Angry Replaces President Cool; ‘ObamaCare’s’ Chances Helped Or Hurt? - 03-11-10

Americans To Get ‘ObamaCare’ Even If They Don’t Want It? - 03-04-10

Despite The Headlines, There’s Progress In Curbing Violence In North Omaha - 02-25-10

Corporate Expenditures Bad For Politics Except When They Benefit Liberal Candidates? - 02-18-10

Wind Energy Industry Faced Disaster; V.A. Hospital Not Personal Obama Choice - 02-11-10

Some Remarkable Legislative Comments And Some Questionable Media Performance - 02-04-10

When The Subject Is Nebraska Wind Energy, ‘Green’ Is The Color Of Money - 01-28-10

The “Teddy Kennedy Seat” Lesson Might Benefit Both Democrats and Republicans - 01-21-10

Some Legislative Issues—Like Gambling—Deserve Quick Death But Water Issues Deserve Careful Attention - 01-14-10

Today: ‘Big Daddy’ Government Wrong Again, And How Justified Is Cornhusker Title Talk? - 01-07-10

Dan Neary Worthy Of The Honor--
Today Some Upbeat Comments But "Obama Care" Debate Demands Attention
- 12-30-09

Even Without That Health Bill Vote, Another Term For Nelson Was Questionable - 12-23-09

Let’s Talk Football And Why Nebraska’s Suh Deserved The Heisman - 12-17-09

Image of Immigrants Would Be Helped By Less Cinco de Mayo, More 4th of July - 12-10-09

Image Of Islam Is Badly Damaged By ‘God-Approved’ Slaughter Of Non-Muslims - 12-03-09

Close Call For NU Research, Reputation; Thanksgiving Reminder: Count Your Blessings - 11-25-09

NU’s Reputation And Research Role Are Both At Stake When Regents Vote - 11-19-09

Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’
Changing To ‘Maybe We Can’t’?
- 11-12-09

Review The History Before Renaming A Street; Memories Of Sarah, Our Sweet Senior Dog - 11-05-09

“Socioeconomic Diversity” More Important Then Academic Achievement In “Learning Community”? - 10-29-09

A Visiting Sports Columnist Agrees: ‘There Is No Place Like Nebraska’ - 10-22-09

Might Obama Wish He Had A Chance To Say ‘No, Thanks’ To Early Nobel Prize? - 10-15-09

Don’t Overlook The Variety Of Aid Which Goes To ‘Poverty Level’ Families - 10-08-09

Smorgasbord Today: From UN’s “Nutcake Day” To Obama Performance Here And Abroad - 10-01-09

Must Defense Continue To Cover For Huskers’ Anemic Red Zone Offense? - 09-24-09

'Energizer Bunny' President Continues To Add Proposals For Reform - 09-17-09

Today, Variety: Football, Golf And Why No President Should Televise Himself Into The Nation’s Classrooms - 09-10-09

Massachusetts Gave Kennedy Significant Second Chances - 09-03-09

Obama’s Problem Not Just With GOP
But With A Great Many Americans
- 08-27-09

Tiger Could Use Sportsmanship Lesson—And Less Coverage From Fawning Media - 08-20-09

Gallup ‘Competitive’ Label, If Accurate Long Term, Is Good News Not Only For Nebraska Democrats - 08-13-09

Democrats Go All-Out Negative:
Trash Private Insurance Industry
- 08-06-09

Journalistic Watchdogs Turned Lapdogs When Obama Called That ‘News Conference’ - 07-30-09

Look Back, Mr. President: Opposition Is Catching Up - 07-23-09

Dem Lynch Mob Might Hang President’s Hopes - 07-16-09

Dems Start Oust-Terry Effort In The Political Gutter - 07-09-09

Despite Liberal Media's Views, Nation Better Served By Viable GOP - 07-02-09

A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09

Freshman President Learning Some Political Realities? - 06-18-09

Voices Of Reason Raised Too Late To Slow Rush To Wind Power? - 06-11-09

Public Will Be Watching Prosecution Of Three Teen-Age Creatures - 06-04-09

Wealthiest Paying Less, In Taxes?
It’s Simply Not True
- 05-28-09

Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson
- 05-21-09

Special-Interest Liberals
Shouldn’t Badger Obama
- 05-14-09

A Surprising Source: Obama
Cites Positive Results of Iraq War
- 05-07-09

Media Transfer Their Love
From Candidate to President
- 04-30-09

Suttle Campaign Subtly Two-Faced? Or ‘Just Politics’? Voters Will Decide - 04-23-09

If America Is "At War
With Islam," It's Self-Defense
- 04-16-09

Seven Iowans Change Marriage
Tradition For 3 Million Others
- 04-09-09

Will Liberal Democrats Continue
Escaping The Verdict Of History?
- 04-02-09

Multi-Focused President
Upsets Even Liberals
- 03-26-09

Richard Nixon—Appropriate To Recall The Good As Well As The Dark Side - 03-19-09

Not Reducing Mortgage Costs; We’re Simply ‘Modifying’ Them - 03-12-09

Fair Warning From NY Times: Obama’s “Breathtaking Plans” Would “Transform American Society” - 03-05-09

A Look At Academy Awards Nastiness, But First A Plug For My Book, “Life With Marian” - 02-26-09

Let’s Not Move Slot Machine Cancer From Iowa Casinos To Nebraska Race Tracks - 02-19-09

Whiteclay Is Wrong Target;
Aim At Alcoholism Problem
- 02-12-09

For The Best “Stimulus” Formula:
Put Economic Recovery First;
“Remaking USA” Can Wait
- 02-05-09

Journalistic Hounds Are Still
In Full Pursuit Of Bush
- 01-29-09

‘First Black President’ Celebration
Shouldn’t Further Distract Us
From Job We And Obama Face
- 01-22-09

‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real
- 01-15-09

Advice For Husker Fans:
Rejoice—But Be Realistic
- 01-08-09

Kennedy Dynasty History
Includes Shameful Chapters
- 12-31-08

Today Some Merry Christmas Thoughts But A Few Political Barbs, Too - 12-24-08

This Time It’s Indians
Who Break The Treaty
- 12-18-08

Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So
- 12-11-08

Obama Steers A Moderate Course
But Congressional Democrats Veer Left
- 12-04-08

Too Many "Non-Blessings"
This Thanksgiving Week
- 11-26-08

Let’s Hear More About
The Principal ‘Crisis’ Victims
- 11-20-08

Color-Blind Issues Voting
Showed No Turn To The Left
- 11-13-08

Election Made History
But Big Questions Remain
- 11-06-08

Today, A Choice of Topics:
Politics Or Football—Or Both
- 10-30-08

Splitting Electoral Votes Good Idea? Then Why Do 48 States Reject It? - 10-23-08

Dems Take 11th Hour Low Road
In 2nd Congressional District Race
- 10-16-08

Another Government “Welfare Program,” Bargain Mortgages, Caused The Crisis - 10-09-08

Words Can Lose Their Meaning
When A Government Program Is Involved
- 10-02-08

—Have We Learned This Lesson?— Crisis Results When Individuals, Encouraged By Financial Institutions, Try To Live Beyond Their Means - 9-25-08

Bonds To Build Four-Lane Highways?
Where Would The Money Come From?
- 9-18-08

Today, a Large Load of Political
Commentary After a Brief Plug For
My Book, ‘Life With Marian’
- 9-17-08

Major News Media Look Bad
In Non-Coverage of
Edwards’ Sex Affair Story
- 9-11-08

Disadvantaged Students Can Be
Helped Without Discriminatory ‘Affirmative Action’
- 9-04-08

My Favorite Olympic Champion?
It Wasn’t Michael Phelps
- 8-28-08

Will Chinese Get Away With
'Out Air Is Clean' Scam?
- 8-21-08

Windmills, Solar Won't Do It;
Time To Get Real On Energy
- 8-07-08

I Doubt That God or Jesus
Have Heavenly Money on Either Team
- 8-07-08

‘Pop Star’ Obama Lacks Experience,
McCain Lacks Clear Campaign Strategy
- 7-31-08

Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit?
- 7-24-08

Would Odor of Politics
Taint Fire Chief Choice?
- 7-17-08

Will Hospitality, Qwest Center
Lure Swim Trials Back to Omaha?
- 7-09-08

Omaha Stars Again
On National TV Stage
- 7-02-08

Omaha's CWS Reputation
Gets New "Rave Reviews"
- 6-25-08

S.D. Vote Could Lead
To National Abortion Battle
- 6-18-08

Don’t Let Niobrara Go The Way
Of The Republican And The Platte
- 6-11-08

Voters Didn’t Impose Term Limits
To Rid Legislature of Chambers
- 6-04-08

“It’s Our Turn” Pitch Might
Not End With Hillary Defeat
- 5-28-08

Prime Nebraska Political
Battleground This Year:
2nd Congressional District
- 5-21-08

The 'Browning' of America:
How Far Will It Go?
- 5-14-08

Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08

"Does Homebuyer Bailout
Reward the Irresponsible?"
- 4-30-08

"Was McCain, Not Clinton,
The Real Winner in Pennsylvania?"
- 4-25-08

"Cleaner Skies Advice For Gore:
Pressure On China, More Nuke
Power If Jane Fonda Will Allow It"
- 4-16-08

"Why The Big Fuss Over
Tiny Gasoline Cost Increase?"
- 4-09-08

"Quietly, Nebraska Yields
All-Public-Power Status"
-  4-02-08

"Obama’s ‘Historic’ Speech Left
Big Questions Unanswered "
-  3-25-08

"Overweight Moore Produces
“Sicko,” Finds An Ally In Creighton Doctor"
-  3-19-08

"Bush Sings, Praises Press
At Annual Gridiron Dinner"
-  3-12-08

"Obama Would Be Least
Formidable Opponent For McCain"
-  3-7-08

"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" -  2-27-08

"Could Citizen ‘Packing Iron’
Have Stopped Von Maur Killings?"
-  2-20-08

"Obama’s Style Without Substance
Exciting, But Is It Presidential?"
-  2-13-08

"Barack Obama and John McCain:
A Major Contrast in Egos? "
-  2-07-08

"‘First Black President’
Emphasis Wouldn’t Help Obama"
-  1-30-08

"Kimball Lauritzen: Think of Her
As Joyous on Some New Dawn"
-  1-23-08

"What 'Tough' Election Contest
Was Ben Nelson Talking About?"
- 1-16-08

"Overhyped New Hampshire
Offsets Overhyped Iowa"
- 1-10-08

"Coach Bo Now Well Welcomed;
Time to Start Thinking of NU Wins"
- 1-2-08

"Words of Jews Most Moving
To Me This Christmas Season"
- 12-25-07

"AT LAST: TALK OF PREVENTION
JOINS MOURNING OVER KILLINGS"
- 12-19-07

"Killer Is Getting Just What He Wanted;
Let's Add Anger and
Action to Our Sorrow"
- 12-12-07

"Bo Brings Emotional Fire to NU Job;
Scary News: Huckabee Gain in Iowa"
- 12-05-07

"Callahan Outclasses Loudmouth Critics;
Tom Osborne Treated Him Fairly"
- 11-28-07

"A Thought for Thanksgiving Day:
Tell Them You Love Them"
- 11-21-07

"Callahan Critics: Is Loss to CU
The Only Way to Satisfy Them?"
- 11-16-07

"Crybaby Fans, Sports Commentators
Distracting Players From Their Job?"
- 11-09-07

"Did Bob Kerrey’s Decision Avoid
the Likelihood of Defeat?"
- 11-02-07

"Nosy Congress Makes
Three Bad Calls"
- 10-26-07

"Is This The Way to Run UNL´s
Athletic Program?"
- 10-19-07

"Right Decision Could
Help Both Fair, UNL"
- 10-12-07

"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07

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As I See It
Harold W. Andersen is a retired Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of the Omaha World-Herald Company. Full biography.

A number of you have told me that you don’t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That’s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)

And, if you haven’t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a weekly reminder when a new column is available.

First, a reminder:

Attractive, hardbound copies of “Life With Marian”—a book which a good many readers have said they would be interested in owning—are still available for purchase (for $22.50) at The Bookworm in Countryside Village.  If more convenient, you can now also send a check payable to Harold W. Andersen for $26.66 (includes tax and postage) and mail to me at P.O. Box 27347, Omaha, NE, 68127.  A copy will be sent by return mail.

Today, Variety: Football, Golf And Why No President
Should Televise Himself Into The Nation’s Classrooms

September 10, 2008

Let’s start with the most important subject—presidential intrusion into school classrooms.  (Yes, Husker fans, even during the season, there are subjects more important than Husker football.)

Has there ever been a more ego-driven, “I’ve got the answer to everything” president?  The latest example:  Obama’s decision to broadcast a live televised presidential “pep talk” into schools across America.

The president’s theme was “preparing and succeeding in school” and challenging students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning.

The original announcement included “lesson plans” to accompany the speech.  The plans, available online, originally recommended that students “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.” 

The announcement of a presidential speech to be televised into the nation’s classrooms, coupled with the suggestion for “help the president” letters written by the students to themselves, created a predictable storm of criticism.

The “help the president” letters suggestion was quickly dropped from the proposed lesson plans.  But the fact that it was there in the first place raised in some people’s minds a continuing question as to White House motives.

Let Teachers, Parents “Pep Talk” Students

In any case, it seems to me that “Big Daddy” government is going too far when it projects a live-television presidential message—whatever the subject—into classrooms across the country.

Some school districts, to their credit, decided not to interrupt the school day for the talk.

Rather than televising a presidential “pep talk” to children in their schools, isn’t it more appropriate and productive if we concentrate on encouraging good teachers and encouraging parents not only to give occasional “pep talks” but also to express some firm admonitions when appropriate, all of this coupled with praise for performance by both teachers and children when merited?

I speak from experience.  I’ll never forget what happened when I brought home a note from my third grade teacher saying that I was too often not paying attention and was failing to live up to my educational capabilities. 

My mother responded with a memorable “pep talk,” including a very strongly-worded admonition about making the most of my capabilities and opportunities—a message which served me well during my educational years and all the years that followed.

My continuing feeling of gratitude embraces not only my mother, Grace Russell Andersen, but also Dorothy Edwards, my third grade teacher nearly 80 years ago at the long-since-replaced Florence Grade School at 31st and Tucker Streets in far-North Omaha. 

* * *

If you are not interested either in Nebraska football or Tiger Woods’ performance in the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament last Monday, I suggest you excuse yourself and come back next week.  But first you might want to take a look at the final item in today’s column.  It deals with the “Ego Age,” and I tried to make it both perceptive and a bit amusing.

* * *

Did Any Sports Commentator Notice
The Huskers’ Defensive Performance?

Let’s take a closer look at that 49-3 Nebraska victory over Florida Atlantic University in Lincoln in last Saturday’s season-opener.

I saw some different things than did at least some of the TV and print reporters/commentators who descended on Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

I was surprised (amazed?) by the fact that I had to look in the italicized statistics to learn that the hapless Florida Atlantic University Owls had rolled up a total of 358 yards against the Husker defense. 

Four other Big 12 teams (Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas) also hosted “patsy” opening day foes—the kind that come to town prepared to take a sound licking in return for a significant (to them) slice of the gate receipts for a game in a major college stadium.  The K-State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas visitors gained total yardage ranging from 211 to 291, compared to the 358 yards gained by the Cornhuskers’ season-opening patsy. 

This made it all the more puzzling when I read this appraisal by one of the myriad of reporters/commentators covering the Husker game:  “People are looking for the Blackshirts to carry this team, and they didn’t disappoint on opening night.”

The same commentator called the win over Florida Atlantic “one of the better starts in recent years” and referred to a tackle by Husker Ndamukong Suh as “an All-America play.”  Another print commentator referred to the Huskers’ “swarming defense.”

You wonder whether some of the reporter/commentators were watching the same game as Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini was.

In his Tuesday press conference, Pelini said the Huskers defense played “soft” and Suh played “average.”  Pelini said further:

“A lot of guys didn’t feel proud of the way they played.”  The coach’s bottom line:

“We did not play defensively the way I expect them to play, period.”

Husker Punting Also Goes Unmentioned

If you consider punting as, in effect, part of the defense, there wasn’t anything to encourage the Huskers in this important category either.  The average of three Husker punts was 32.3 yards.  (I had to look that up in the statistics, too.)

The road ahead is a long one, both literally and figuratively.  Remember that four of the games against what are likely to be among the Huskers’ strongest opponents are on the road.  I’m speaking, of course, of Virginia Tech, Missouri, Baylor and Kansas. 

I should add that one development Saturday may make the Huskers’ path a bit less difficult than it appeared before the season started. 

Pre-season, one of the toughest tests for the Huskers appeared to be their visit to Virginia Tech September 19.  But consider this paragraph from the Associated Press report of Virginia Tech’s 34-24 loss to Alabama in Atlanta last Saturday.

“Alabama held a staggering 498-155 edge in total yards against Virginia Tech’s touted defense.”

Huskers May Be A Year Away

Too early, of course, to make any predictions with any feeling of confidence.  But a combination of good coaching, strong team spirit and a plethora of talented underclassmen, including some red shirt freshmen, plus some very talented seniors—even that combination, given the schedule that lies ahead of the Huskers, makes me think that achieving something as good or better than last year’s 9-4 season record will be tough.

The Huskers may be a year away from being realistically favored to be champions of the Big 12 North Division.  I hope, of course, that I’m wrong but I can’t forget those 358 yards given up by the Huskers to their season-opening patsy.

Now as to Florida Atlantic Coach Howard Schnellenberger.  I don’t think a couple of one-sided whippings of a team coached by Schnellenberger make up for what Schnellenberger’s University of Miami Hurricanes did to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl the evening of January 2, 1984.

Schnellenberger’s fifth-ranked Hurricanes beat Tom Osborne’s top-ranked Cornhuskers 31-30 in what a “College Football’s Greatest” television network program last year described as one of “college football’s greatest upsets.”  Osborne was praised for going for two points and a victory rather than calling for a placekick point after touchdown and settling for a 31-31 tie—a tie which probably would have given the Huskers the national championship.

So there is something of a measure of revenge in handing a Schnellenberger-coached team a 49-3 defeat in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln last Saturday evening.  Just as there had been a measure of revenge in Osborne’s Huskers defeating the Schnellenberger-coached Oklahoma Sooners 39-0 in 1995.

But mention a Schnellenberger-coached team in a game against Nebraska, and I’ll wager that most Husker fans will continue to mention first that 31-30 upset which cost the Huskers the 1983 national championship.

* * *

A True Touring Pro
Bests Tiger In A Major Test

NBC golf commentators were, predictably, gaga over Tiger Woods’ final round Monday in the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament in Norton, Mass. 

Tiger was very near the end of the round when the broadcast began and he had indeed played a remarkable, comment-worthy front 9 and the first few holes of the back 9.  He wound up with a 63, the same as two others had shot in earlier rounds. 

There was a great deal of TV talk about what Tiger had almost done.  Typical comment:  “He had everyone talking about a potential 59” after a first-round 29.  (He shot a front-nine 30, hardly the first time that has been done in tournament play.)

As the network televised some of Tiger’s earlier shots, we heard comments like this:  “How pure is this putt and how close was it to a 29.”  It seems to me that “a pure putt” goes in the hole.

Another comment, after the telecast had switched from replay to live play:  “He hits a good putt, but he missed it.  It was a fine putt.”  I’ve never considered a putt was worthy of praise as a “fine putt” when it didn’t go in the hole.

Tiger’s 63 earned him a tie for eleventh, five shots short of Steve Stricker’s 17-under 267, a victory which allowed Stricker to replace Tiger at the top of the FedEx Cup standings.

Tiger Woods is a splendid golfer, of course, and shoots some remarkable rounds, especially when his putter is hot, as it so often is.  But I like to see him beaten from time to time by a pro among those who grind it out on the tournament tour without picking the tournaments which they choose to play in, as Tiger so frequently does.

* * *

“Information Age” Has A Cousin:
Let’s Call It The “Ego Age”

It has occurred to me that what is frequently called  the “Information Age,” with its remarkable capability of electronic collection and transmission of virtually unlimited volumes of information, has a close relative—not necessarily a sibling or child but at least a first cousin.

I’ve decided to give the name “Ego Age” to this previously unnamed member of the “Information Age” family.

Evidence of the existence and continuing rapid expansion of the “Ego Age” is all around us, especially among young people.  They expend incredible amounts of ego and time on such things as My Space and Facebook and first-person singular “texting” to people who then respond with first-person-singular electronic text messages.

This phenomenon might also be called the “I, Me, Mine Age” but “Ego Age” rolls more easily off the tongue, I believe.  And remember, as this title catches on, you heard it first here.

# # #

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