As standards change - worse or better ?

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As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:49 pm

Hiya Folks,

I love to read through the old books on Bonsai, as I like to know what the practice was originally, and how or why it changed.

Seems that pre-1930, Bonsai was still in the realm of the well off, and were included in displays using ornament that was very valuable and obviously costly.

NOW I BECOME A SNOB [ for sake of discussion ]
I gather, as the poor took over, the tree became the focal point and out went the ornaments, to be replaced with cheaper things that could be found. Stones, weeds and so on.

Stones became less of a personal situation [ one can really only have say ten or so, before the quiet value fades ]
and quantity, not quality becomes the ceiling limit.
The need / desire to show off - we see it down here in cars, bottom end of big names, BMW or Lamborghini and so on.
Perhaps feeling that this will give a bland life value ??????

Trees start to fill up with dead wood and all the features that true potted trees, would have as value.
[ Originally, the aristocrats collected - potted trees - as the yamamdori ]
Today yamadori, to once again fill that emptiness ?????????

Un Snobbing,

There are complaints about growing trees fast and not taking time. For the inner heartwood this is bad. For example the J.B.pine is a softwood, growing faster would just make that worse.
Of course we have the technology to fix rotting wood, but what are we teaching those young to bonsai?

Then there are the soil changes, from organic to totally inorganic [ hydroponics ], and all the situations that then arise.

Pots which were once high fired porous earthenware, protected from winter, to attempts to use stoneware and perhaps no real attempt at handling winter.

Do we move more slowly or always try to follow the speed of technology ?

I do what I think is good for me, and I leave it up to the reader to choose as they wish.
I shall continue to read...................................
Khaimraj

* The words of Zeko Nakamura once guided me, and I realised yesterday, he still does.
Start miniature Bonsai with weeds, and know that you can have over 100 mame'[ under 3" - 7.5 cm ] on a plank of only
7 x 3' [ 228 x 91 cm ]
Low cost / free , as you easily make those pots in a small test kiln.
Just as satisfying as larger bonsai.

See also the work of Count Matsudaira.

Now in a handmade bonsai pot.


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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  DougB on Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:49 pm

Khaimraj I had to read your post several times. And it still incites deep thought. Thanks and have a great week.

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Michael Cooper on Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:54 pm

I found this very interesting.
I first dabbled in bonsai in 1985 and then only in a very modest way. But bonsai was according to the books I read then, mainly trees from seed/ seedlings or perhaps air layering I don't think I remember the word yamadori being used much if at all.
So I nurtured my little seedlings,twigs in pots as my wife used to say, and those that I still have now. still have very slender trunks despite their 25/30 years growth.
Later I saw a demonstration. I think it was by Peter Adams,forgive me if I got that wrong , and he showed the way to fast thick trunked trees by buying an established nursery tree and chopping it down to 18 inches or so, a sort of bonsai chainsaw massacre.
Now I have more time and in returning to my collection I resolve to take my trees more seriously. And now I also have the internet to study ,and find it is full of amazing contorted shapes of dead wood, yamadori that require two or three people and hoists to move them and though amazed and impressed by much of what I see I do wonder at times if some are more like sculpture, than really trying to capture nature in miniature.
I hasten to say I do not condemn these practices,possibly I wish I had the years ahead to create something amazing of my own or the purse to indulge myself more.
Perhaps like painting, as an artist myself,I keep telling people- do whatever you want to achieve the effect you want,most rules are there to be broken

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:54 pm

Ahh but Michael,

your trees might be closer to the proportion of the trees in nature, and you could easily say, you are more of a realist, than a mannerist.
Often those big trunks are out of proportion to what there is in nature.

For my part, I try to observe what may be best in each tree and grow it in, as an idealist. chuckle.

Ha ha, I tend to follow more the path of Raphael, than Michelangelo or Bronzino or Caravaggio - painter's joke.
Thanks to both you and Doug for reading.

Michael, 72, and 2 to 3 years ground growing, you might hit 3" [ 7.5 cm ] and follow the path illuminated by Harry Harrington [ Bonsai4me ].
Stay Healthy.
Khaimraj

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Michael Cooper on Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:09 pm

Thank you Khaimraj, I am already studying the path of H Harrington.I only hope be was right regarding the use of Tesco's finest low dust Cat Litter the first of his tips that I have followed, nothing has died so far DV.
You at least have seen that my slender few twigs do probably mirror nature better in some ways.
I think my code of care for them possibly follows a Zen like discipline of sitting and looking at the trees for twenty or so years before actually touching them.
Regards
Michael

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:43 pm

Michael,

once it is clay, just find a potter friend to pop in the kiln and fire it to a point where it can still absorb water, but will not fall apart as clay does when dry and suddenly exposed to water.

I see all these complaints about clay and the collapsing in water, and yet no one just firing the stuff.

I think you guys also have access to, is it diatomaceous earth ?

Down here we have a natural deposit of low fired clay [ underground gas fires from the ancient days.] that like akadama will last a few years in use, but the firing is too low to stop the eventual return to a clay state.
However if fired to say 950 deg.c, the change is permanent and you have fired porous clay material the can grow trees very well.

With some slender trees [ if it is a problem ] a loooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnggggggg extension bottom branch can do wonders, just watch out for reverse taper.
Later.
Stay Healthy.
Khaimraj

* That's how I end a letter to my friend, Carl Rosner [ old IBCer ] now in his 80's - stay healthy.

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  JimLewis on Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:35 pm

DougB wrote:Khaimraj I had to read your post several times.  

Me too. I know I'm older than dirt and may be losing it, but I'm afraid I didn't get it at all. Maybe I'll read it again.

_________________
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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  appalachianOwl on Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:53 pm

Dont quite get where your going either Khaimraj, but thanks for the extreamly useful bit of info about firing. As far as better or worse, it's all relative, each one of us has our own truths and we must respect that of others.


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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Guest on Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:23 am

JimLewis wrote:
DougB wrote:Khaimraj I had to read your post several times.  

Me too.  I know I'm older than dirt and may be losing it, but I'm afraid I didn't get it at all.  Maybe I'll read it again.


me three.
can you make it simple abd direct LLB.


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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:09 am

Jim and L.L.B,

trying to speed read can be problematic.

This what Doug actually said -

"Khaimraj I had to read your post several times. And it still incites deep thought. Thanks and have a great week."

NOTE - and it still incites deep thought.
Sorry no can help. Sigh.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  JimLewis on Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:36 pm

Sorry no can help. Sigh.

Then I won't bother . . .

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Confused!

Post  Rick36 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:53 pm

A follower of Raphael? Even more curious, since he was known for his "clarity of form and ease of composition". Try again, please.

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  brett2013 on Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:25 am

I don't think there is anything wrong with growing trees fast, or slow.  As long as the results are achieved, that's fine. You can move at the pace you want. Why bother with what others do ?

For us who don't have the time (or desire) to grow from seed or twig, we buy mature or established ones.  Like Harry Harrington wrote (or from an interview ?) that he doesn't have anything against buying established trees, he just had to start on his own as he didn't have the pocketbook to do so.  Thanks for that, now we benefit from his experience.

For good sellers, they can sell a faster-grown tree too at a cheaper price, so it benefits bonsai lovers as well who are more practical.

"By the experience of sales in JA, Tadahito says, "It goes against the tide that people spend 50 or 60 years to grow a tree. I think trees which grow fast will be welcomed from now on. It's important for us to have not only artistic and expensive bonsai but also reasonable one. I think the main point to regain popularity is easiness of growing and improvement. It's interesting to find reasonable tree and grow it into the excellent bonsai with great care."
- Ryoshoen Bonsai Garden - quoted from an article I was reading regarding Yume-nishiki cork bark pine - http://bonsai.shikoku-np.co.jp/en/shugi/2010/10/nishikimatsu-cork-bark-japanese-black-pine3mother-tree-of-yumenishiki-easy-to-grow-without-much-care.html

As for showing bonsai trees, whether mame or big like it should not be called "bonsai" anymore Smile, I'm fine with that too, helps us appreciate it, or find one like it, or give us ideas on design.  Of course, it should not be looked at with envy or disdain, or it will take over our sense of appreciation.

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:51 am

Brett,

you will also find Japanese growers with the opinion that everyone wants things too fast.

I think the problem lies in getting young folk - say 18 to 24 into Bonsai as professionals, trained from scratch much as the various Ateliers/Studios do. Mind you the trend of the Ateliers/Studios is to draw and paint realistically well.When you are on your own, you do as you think best.
Which I believe is how it should be.

I am working towards having Bonsai truly recognised as an ART form, as painting or sculpture is, by being well trained, and not just a bunch of hobbyists running around shouting art, art, and having everyone either laughing or just ignoring.
Additionally using 3d Holograms to be hung on walls as paintings are. Get away from that pretty garden viewing effect, seen today.

The trees soon outgrow the design.

So I will with time try to help get a Bonsai School started, where one can play the game, get a University degree in Bonsai and a chance to grow trees professionally, and be desired by the old money. More jobs for skilled gardeners along the chain of collection tending with room for Bonsai Artists with recognised certificates behind their name.

No I don't think I am qualified to teach bonsai, but I can motivate, get land, a structure to house a museum and so on.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  brett2013 on Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:07 pm

IMHO, these bunch of hobbyists help make the hobby thrive.  It's a hobby ...

Sure, trees outgrow their design, then bring it back or create a new one.  It's a living thing after all, and it's been like that ever since.

You are taking it too seriously I think.  Well, hope your dream comes true for you  Smile

Anyway, here's some bonsai paintings to lighten up.  Real trees  Wink 

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v475/solar84/IMG_9881_zps24707599.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v475/solar84/IMG_9879_zps28612aad.jpg

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:27 pm

Brett,

this is my normal personality, how or why do you think I trained to be a Traditional painter for 7 years +, when I could have just picked up a brush splattered some paint and expect to be paid for it,as is done down here - ha ha ha ha.

As you said it is just a hobby...............

By the way when I lived in Europe, my attitude to Bonsai, was ----- just buy what I liked from China or Italy and not have to think about anything like ground growing etc.
Over there, I think it can be, in it's purest form - a hobby.

Down here one has to adapt.

Thanks for the images, they are quite beautiful.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Guest on Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:33 pm

Nobody needs to shout for the whole art world to hear that bonsai is an art...because it already is.

Not so long ago, types of arts are just as follows- Painting/drawing, Architecture, Sculpture, Music, and Pottery.


Now there's Graphic design, electronic visual media, dancing is now considered artform separated from Music, Photography is now considered as a separate form of art...etc. So you see like bonsai designs and appreciations things are all evolving. Bonsai doesn't have to be exhibited in an "art gallery" to be called art, or be done by professional artists with educational certificates.

Your goal to have a bonsai school is noble and should be appreciated. Your effort to show to the art world that bonsai is an art is also noble but first you have to believe in it as an artform. It is just like selling a cookies for others to taste but you yourself doesn't believe that the cookie is not worth buying and tasting.

Just do some little exhibitions and see what people would say. Like here and maybe as well in other places, it is just too common to hear words from regular viewers their awe and amazement and hear phrases like- "what a wonderful art",,, and I never heard somebody even from the most naive ones, saying- what a wonderful garden tree.
I wish you could attend one of the big conventions and see how Bonsai is already appreciated even by other artists like sculptures and painters as equally as good as other form of art... and not just a garden hobby.

...but as always, there is a catch. like in all other art forms, there is an ugly executed "art" and there is a Nicely done piece.

regards,
jun  Smile

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  brett2013 on Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:01 pm

Well, I think it's a hobby for many, like photography.  For some, it's a living, and they won't do well without us hobbyists or collectors.  For others, it's a medium of art that they are extremely good at, so I guess these are the artists.  Some even go for apprenticeship in Japanese nurseries to either learn more and make it a living, or just to learn (they probably are well-off folks).  Some are just naturals, picking up information like a sponge and good at applying it, no need to go take a course.

Well, that's life, there is diversity Smile

I think the best artists of any art form are just naturals, like they were born for it.  Sure, some may have studied their craft, but because they were naturals, they had an edge, while others' works didn't have the soul.

Personally, I don't think big buyers will be interested whether the bonsai seller went to a bonsai university and has a certificate.  They'd be more interested in fame of the artist or high aesthetic qualities and other stuff like age.  

Anyway, all the best ... Bonsai University, now that would be something ... 30 year course gets a degree, 50 years for a PHD  Smile 


Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Brett,

this is my normal personality, how or why do you think I trained to be a Traditional painter for 7 years +, when I could have just picked up a brush splattered some paint and expect to be paid for it,as is done down here - ha ha ha ha.

As you said it is just a hobby...............

By the way when I lived in Europe, my attitude to Bonsai, was ----- just  buy what I liked from China or Italy and not have to think about anything like ground growing etc.
Over there, I think it can be, in it's purest form - a hobby.

Down here one has to adapt.

Thanks for the images, they are quite beautiful.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:29 pm

L.L.B,

different philosophies, different standards. We work towards spaces in the major art museums, National Gallery,Louvre, Ufizzi and so on. Trying to raise the standard back to the Renaissance and Baroque.
I would treat Bonsai as the same.

We do have a similar Horticultural show as is done in London, and there are three Bonsai exhibitions a year, but since the late 70's, the folk visiting have changed from hardcore to bored eyes looking for something to do.
The days of the Dutch sending Tulips to filled the many refrigerated glass containers, for oohing and ahhhing, are over.

Bonsai down here is for folk wanting to encourage others, to buy their products, not for the love of nature/beauty.

I was offered 2 lots for use in the Botannical gardens, to build a Bonsai housing centre and display. then later, an acre and finally 5 acres.
I begged the heads of the society, and one was an architect, to focus on the future, build and solidify.

No one listened or cared, all they wanted was to sell and have folk pat them on the back, feel important.

That type of situation is hollow, so I decided to just do it by myself, I see no point in going through all this work and have my "children" killed off when I die.
[ See various blogs out of the U.K. for references to folk, who died and had their collections sent to family to perish.]
That would be wasting my time and life.

My paintings are self protected, when bought, they have to be looked after, or you lose your investment.
Bonsai are not so lucky.
A friend of mine from the 80's [ died in the 90's ] sold his work, and I did what I could to save them, by going to see them once in a while, all over the island ........................ all dead............... what a waste. Crying or Very sad 
Later.
Khaimraj

Actually Brett, if you focus on certain trees it's , 5 years for trunk, 6 main branches, 5 years for branchlets.
Facts be told, I really wonder if any tree is really as slow as 30 years ? [ maybe the sweet lime - murraya]
For the King of Bonsai - Bonsai Today shows - 3 to 5 years for trunk - 7.5 to 12.5 cm and you can work on the 6 branches as well, then another 5 for branchlets.
The early treatment of the seedlings is also supposed to enhance the radial roots.

Plus, I figure the students would work on finished trees to learn refinement and so on.
Also provided would be good basic starter stock.

Good chance the Queen of Bonsai - the maple also fits into that situation as well.

For us the Gmelina, can match the maple and the Tamarind or Casuarina can match the Black pine [ if didn't also grow well from - seed - in the tropics.]
Not to mention the Chinese serissa, the Chinese elm, the Sageretia, the Fukien tea,the Podocarpus, the Olive, the West Indian Cherry, the Flacourtia, the willow leaf ficus, the tamarisk, the guava family, and many that Jun would know off that we don't have.
Now working with Punica g. minima [ I want one like Jun's  alien envy ]

I doubt they will need 30 years - chuckle.
Thanks for responding.
Khaimraj

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  brett2013 on Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:33 pm

I'm just kidding, KS Smile

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:39 pm

L.L.B,

a brief history of Trinidad, so you can really understand what we are devolving into.

When the English left in 1962, things common to them left as well, their influence/habits stayed around for another 20 years or so.

Factor in Bonsai, as a club/social/hobby.

English -

[1] Christmas - giving gifts.
[2] Cooking - as an Irish chief put it mashed and over cooked foods, stews, black pudding and baked ham/turkey.
[3] Tea parties - cucumber sandwiches -finger food.
[4] HOBBIES - unheard of - save for other European folk.
[5] Education as a way of fufilling the mind/soul / discovery- local - get a job.
sub-division - reading Classical Literature
[6] Culture - as in museums, art galleries, Ballet or Opera and so on.
[7] Manners - please, thank you and especially sorry.
[8] Easter - no playing of Calypso music ------------------ local - no respect
All gone.

What we have today,

[1] Mimicry - save with a twist of greed - teach something, to sell something
[2] Trying to show off with cheap knock-offs of well known products
[3] Building houses that have North American standards, ceilings now down to under 9' 6' [ 290 cm's ] instead of 14' [ under 4m's] for proper ventilation, and then having to buy airconditioners, costs go up, and complaints about how hot it is.
[4] Staying in an office to stay pale [ office tan ] dark tinted glass for cars, darked eyed folk needing shades outdoors.
More complaints of how hot it is.
[5] Party, party, party, and yes more party. Stay away from work, especially if it rains.

AND how do I manage them,
I was brought up English, was taught by religious folk in school, my grandfather [ Chinese ] had a dry goods store, so we shopped there and got by on local meat cuts. I had a full childhood in the forest and by the sea, enjoy the island for it's great wealth of natural beauty, mild climate [ no airconditioner, save a mobile one to isolate a room to stay in if they are spraying for mosqitoes once a year, in the rainy season,] and stay out of most peoples' way.
Later.
Khaimraj

* Also there is little real inclination to violence, save for those who bring it back from North America.


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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  appalachianOwl on Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:14 pm

Also there is little real inclination to violence, save for those who bring it back from North America. wrote:

... I still dont get his thread, i do consider this offensive, as this is an international community one should have some respect, and not apply stereo types so carelessly.

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Vance Wood on Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:24 pm

Michael Cooper wrote:I found this very interesting.
I  first dabbled  in bonsai in 1985 and then only in a very modest way. But bonsai was  according to the books I read then, mainly trees  from seed/ seedlings or perhaps air layering I don't think I remember the word yamadori being used much if at all.
So I nurtured my little seedlings,twigs in pots as my wife used to say, and those that I still have now. still have very slender trunks despite their 25/30 years growth.
Later I saw a demonstration. I think it was by Peter Adams,forgive me if I got that wrong , and he showed the way to fast thick trunked trees by buying an established nursery tree and chopping it down to 18 inches or so, a sort of bonsai chainsaw massacre.
Now I have more time and in returning to my collection I resolve  to take my trees more seriously. And now I also have the internet to study ,and  find it is full of amazing contorted shapes of dead wood, yamadori that require two or three people and hoists to move them and though amazed and impressed by much of what I see I do wonder at times if some are more like sculpture, than really trying to capture nature in miniature.
I hasten to say I do not condemn these practices,possibly I wish I had the years ahead to create something amazing of my own or the purse to indulge  myself more.
Perhaps like painting, as an artist myself,I keep telling people- do whatever you want to achieve the effect you want,most rules are there to be broken

Your post reminds me a bit of my experience. I started in1957 and did not even have a legitimate book till I found Yoshimura's book about 1960. He mentioned collecting trees. His galleries in his book were full of natural trees, but yes, you were correct this aspect was not promoted to a high degree. In general a lot of information about the cultivation of bonsai has been kept a secret by the Japanese and the Chinese until recently when it became appearant that we were going to figure it out anyway and blaze our own trails.

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Vance Wood on Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:31 pm

JimLewis wrote:
DougB wrote:Khaimraj I had to read your post several times.  

Me too.  I know I'm older than dirt and may be losing it, but I'm afraid I didn't get it at all.  Maybe I'll read it again.

I agree, I also suffer from being a  flatulating old douche bag and probably forget more than I have learned which means I am un-learning things almost daily.  I viewed some, if not all, of this as esoteric babble that I tend to view  as an example of The King's New Clothes.  If you don't understand or you don't "see" you are somehow deficient, and wrong.  I don't mean to offend anyone or demean anyone by my salty language or contrary point of view, but I try to call it as I see it----often at my own regret.

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:44 pm

Vance,

not to fuss this is the lounge, grab a pint / beer /ale / vino / whit tea, sit, relax and chat. Some points might be made, and we as a group can discuss, but it is just the lounge.

My earlier point was simply that naturally beautiful specimens from nature are very rare. They got the title - Potted Trees.
What we do today is try to reach that standard [ or exceed ] with Bonsai / Punsai / Tree Penjing and so on.

Just chatting.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: As standards change - worse or better ?

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