Thor2

Resurrected an old one from 2009 today.

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Discussion (58)¬

  1. hotrats says:

    Barmaid 1, Prophets 0




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  2. parkerscreek says:

    Barmaid 90 something, Prophets 0




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  3. Caliban27 says:

    Yes, it makes me wonder just how many gods we have created. If just one for each language group, which seems reasonable, that’s about 12,000 which we know about, and not counting the many pre-historic deities or the predominant polytheistic cultures.




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  4. Matt says:

    Never was it more apt to say “it’s funny because it’s true”.




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  5. Sinnataggen says:

    And I’ll resurrect my even older teenage logic from 1950something. If only one of these hundreds (thousands) of deities can be “the one true God” the odds on any one of them must be very long indeed. From then on I decided to spend my meagre pocket money on more predicable outcomes.




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  6. John B. Hodges says:

    I once saw in a catalog a book called “An Encyclopedia of Gods” that listed 2500.




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  7. Jerry+www says:

    The only “True” religion is one where required headgear can be used in cooking, so “Pastafarians” rule, all others are shallow colander-less frauds.




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  8. two cents' worth says:

    Another god to add to the list: http://blog.dilbert.com/post/121272544521/my-plan-to-save-humanity-from-the-technical#_=_

    And some possible criteria for determining which is the true god (or, at least, the greatest): http://xkcd.com/1505/ (When viewing the cartoon, let your cursor hover over the drawing, and you’ll see a pop up box with a continuation of the text.)




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  9. arbeyu says:

    @Sinnataggen.
    Unfortunately, using logic doesn’t cut any ice when dealing with those who put faith above reason.

    The “answer” to your argument that you get from a True Believer is that they Know-with-a-capital-K (a) there is only one god, and (b) it has revealed itself to them, and usually (c) that it wants their and your pocketmoney… Either that, or they just shout “Blasphemy!” at you until you shut up!




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  10. Stephen Mynett says:

    Not sure how many gods have been created by people but this is a good site for some of them: http://www.godchecker.com/




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  11. Max T. Furr says:

    Ah, the happy world of delusion.




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  12. Sinnataggen says:

    Thanks to @arbeyu and others for responses to my betting analogy. But I don’t think I ever tried to use its logic to persuade True Believers that I was right and they were mistaken. Obviously, if I had ever succeeded in persuading everyone that the nag I fancied was the only one that could possibly win, the odds would have shortened to a degree that would have reduced my winnings to nothing. But I never did become “a betting man”. Though I did once put 5 shillings (Yes, really!) on a horse. It came in last. I learned from that too.




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  13. Author, I know I have read all the archives. How come I can never remember the resurrections when you post them. Is this just a problem with my aging brain, or, more likely, because there is such rich deposits in the ore. Damn. Must go back and read the entire archives again because I’m obviously not book marking my favourites accurately. This one is a gem. Love the “hard to swallow” line.




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  14. William says:

    I am a polyatheist, there are 100’s of Gods I don’t believe in.




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  15. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    As usual human insanity
    permeates its design of a divinity
    Primitive backwards jerks
    Try to manipulate the whole works
    Like they are the sole heirs of prophecy.




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  16. Dan says:

    After much thought I think it most convincing that the universe was sneezed out of the nostril of the Great Green Arkleseizure.




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  17. Michael says:

    Caliban27 sez:

    “Yes, it makes me wonder how many gods we’ve created.”

    The Hindus claim there are 30 million gods. We can take that as a lower limit.




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  18. Emma says:

    Reminds me of the Usenet classic:

    “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
    …Stephen F Roberts




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  19. white+squirrel says:

    30 million deities
    perhaps
    if you add the goddesses then the figure will grow
    given all deities are imaginary then the true figure is closer to at least one per person -which includes all atheists because they are also imagining the deity they dont believe in
    and then there are all the lesser spirits and supernatural entities
    at what point does a supernatural entity become titled a deity
    moreover there are also all the made up gods from fiction novels- cuthulu, Eru the one, Arioch of chaos, plus all the ones from fantasy roleplaying games – all just as real as the dieties believed in
    increasing the total yet agian

    [Cuthulu in fact is a borderline case because there are some in the world who think Lovecraft was revealing cosmic truth]




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  20. white+squirrel says:

    also the number could be taken as an extension of the Greenbank formula =
    proportion of alien civilisations with religion and gods

    Trillions ?




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  21. white+squirrel says:

    re The only “True” religion is one where required headgear can be used in cooking, so “Pastafarians” rule, all others are shallow colander-less frauds.

    not true
    jewish males wear headgear that can be used in cooking, the hats for example could be used to mix sauces or measure water for recipes – try doing that with a colander




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  22. John B. Hodges says:

    To White Squirrel- remember Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel from the ICE AGE movies. He once died and almost went to Heaven, close enough to see the Great Acorn, before he was revived by Sid the Sloth.




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  23. arbeyu says:

    @Sinnataggen
    Hi. Five whole shillings on a horsey? Blimey! I’m now imagining you attending the races with all your royal chums and sporting a top hat and monocle.

    Your betting analogy is, in my opinion, spot on… With so many conflicting and mutually exclusive candidates for “The One True God”, the chances of picking the right one (assuming there is such a thing in the first place) are slim indeed. We’re better off ignoring it as a consideration and concentrating on what we can know.

    And it is pointless trying to use it on a True Believer. It should only ever be done so as a practical lesson in an exercise of futility.




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  24. white+squirrel says:

    ICE AGE movies – bound to be at least one xian website devoted to spotting illuminati symbolism in them




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  25. white+squirrel says:

    “The One True God”,
    how would you know even if it were the case?
    how would the ‘one true god’ itself even know for certain?
    who/what would be the one true god for the one true god- for all we could know the ‘one true god’ might believe in an even higher entity/concept




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  26. Another Kind says:

    The religious are strongly convinced that those without religion are somehow missing something. I offer this quote from WikiPee as a thought for the day:

    “Lesions to the parietal lobes may result in agnosia, an inability to recognize complex objects, smells, or shapes, or amorphosynthesis, a loss of perception on the opposite side of the body.

    Could it be that the atheists and agnostics and other doubters, infidels, heretics and followers of other faiths are sporting as yet undetected bruises in their parietal lobes? Might it be that they could be fixed</b?
    Perhaps the holy wars could all be replaced by a series of hospital admissions?
    Would not that be evidence of a merciful deity?
    Would it not be wonderful?




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  27. Another Kind says:

    On the subject of an inability to see complex patterns … even after proo-freading, I missed the broken “stop-bold” after the “fixed” and the missing end-quotation mark after “body”.
    Sorry.
    Maybe I, too, have a slightly busted parietal?




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  28. It seems the trolls have a new approach. Don’t actually talk about your odious opinion. Instead, complain about the self righteous intolerance of liberals when you express your odious opinions. Complain about how you get screamed at and shut down and called nasty names when all you are looking for is a polite, reasonable, logical discussion.
    By the time you do get around to revealing your odious opinion, the liberals on the thread are cowed into tolerating your odious opinion and politely discussing the merits of your odious opinion instead of calling you the asshole bigot that you are.

    This seems to be a refinement of sea lioning. I propose we call it preemptive sea lioning, as demonstrated by jb. Now I’m annoyed at myself for being polite to the fuckhead. I might have left the impression that we could be friends.




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  29. plainsuch says:

    Darwin Harmless

    Pardon my ignorance, please. What is sea lioning?




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  30. Cthollhu says:

    Another Kind: Your comment about brain lesions reminds me of Christopher Hitchens quoting the object of Pascal’s suggested wager. Hitchens agreed, quoting “I am so made that I cannot believe.” This notion hits home with me (I just don’t get how believers can be so gullible!). HOWEVER, it strikes me that this “deficiency” could be used against atheists: there must be something wrong with you poor atheists…. Can you say lobotomy? Good thing science/medicine is not high on the theist agenda. Thank you, Author, for your amazing work (gosh, I don’t remember this one either–must be that brain lesion acting up!).




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  31. white+squirrel says:

    re
    Lesions to the parietal lobes may result in agnosia, an inability to recognize complex objects, smells, or shapes, or amorphosynthesis, a loss of perception on the opposite side of the body.
    that may be the case -but it does not explain belief in ‘god’ or a lack of it as dieties have none of the properties listed, being entities of pure imagination

    nor does it explain how such occurring in Atheists would reduce ‘holy wars ‘ which are purely a product of theists

    replacing belief in ‘god’ with [psychiatric] hospital admissions would definitely be a wonderful thing




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  32. white+squirrel says:

    re Would not that be evidence of a merciful deity?

    no it would not be

    ‘god’ by the nature of dieties can have /possess any and all properties the imaginer can choose to assign to it
    thus anything and everything can be used as evidence of its existence
    the universe with ‘god’ is identical to the univese without ‘god’
    so what point does ‘god’ have other than to assist self justification for the bigoted?




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  33. Another Kind says:

    White Squirrel, you seem to be missing the point and to be coming at it from the wrong direction. My conjecture was that the theists are right and that only an injury to the brain is keeping the non-theists from understanding and grasping this essential fact.
    If you look at it from this perspective, then healing the damage would not only bring the wrong-headed unbelievers back to the fold it would bring them back to the correct fold.
    A fully functioning brain, without injury, would of necessity know the “One True God”.
    Your stance is that atheism is correct and belief needs to be explained. I was contending that the opposite could be true, that theism is the truth and that only a small injury to one processing centre of the brain is preventing atheists and others from seeing this.
    This conjecture would explain why faith is prevalent in humans. It is there because the believers are right. It also explains atheism and picking the wrong deity to follow. The believing circuits are broken in those with incorrect or missing faiths.
    It’s Bill’s Razor.

    Of course, one could use the same conjecture backwards, implying that believers have a faulty rationality circuit due to micro-injuries but that is an obvious absurdity. 🙂




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  34. white+squirrel says:

    ok
    is there any way to distinguish a ‘one true god’ from any other ‘one true god’
    which ‘one true god’ is the right one ?
    and how would you be certian that you got it right?
    because a long since dead and decomposed self proclaimed ‘prophet’ said so perhaps?




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  35. white+squirrel says:

    re
    “My conjecture was that the theists are right and that only an injury to the brain is keeping the non-theists from understanding and grasping this essential fact.”

    ‘another kind’ reveals the Stalinist approach

    dissension from the party line= mental illness




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  36. Another Kind says:

    Yes, White Squirrel, I did note the similarity. The question was not whether it has been conjectured before in other circumstances, the question was “what if it is true?”
    You don’t seem to be willing to even imagine such a thing. This is the self-righteous zealotry of a fundamentalist.
    If one religion is correct and faith in anything else is the fault of an obscure, tiny but significant flaw in a brain that renders it unable to recognise the pattern of The One True Truth then it may be curable. We could have a united world through the miracle of modern medicine. We could have peace.
    Would that not be worth investigating?
    Or are you so convinced in your dogmatic faith of a lack of faith that you can’t even think about something so outrageous?

    Turn it around. If theism were proven to be the result of micro-trauma would you not wish it to be cured? Would that not suit your zealotry? Would that not make you happy?
    Good. Now pretend you are a theist and try, for one moment, to see it as possible that non-faith or wrong-faith is an indicator of something broken.
    Would it not be a good and worthy effort to investigate that?
    Would not our science-derived, modern medical technology given ability to fix it show that the real deity is merciful after all?

    Even if it does look Stalinist from a distance.

    Or should we just argue, mock and kill each other without evidence?

    A hundred thousand people die each day. That is a lot of believers we could test and possibly a few score non-believers, too, for similarities in brain structure. We could put all of the petty squabblings on hold for a while until we’ve done the investigations. The savings in expenditure from the armistices would pay for any research.
    Then, after say a decade of exploratory autopsies and maybe a couple of decades of data assimilation we may have a conclusive proof one way or the other.
    May have. If not, then we could go back to slaughtering each other merrily but then we would know the infidels, heretics and other blasphemers were not sick.
    Just stubborn.

    I rather like the idea of this experiment, especially the bit that includes a hiatus in the killing. Who knows, if we hiated long enough perhaps it could become a permanent thing?




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  37. Another Kind says:

    WS: the “one true god” would obviously be the one believed in by those whose brains worked properly. Sufficient scientific investigation should be able to determine which brains those are.
    If not, nothing is lost, save a few killings.
    Even the theists should agree that gaining absolute, quantifiable, repeatable, indisputable, concrete, observable scientific proof of the correctness of their assertions would be a GoodThing{TM}.
    More so if it meant their OTG would be the one to be proven. Which is a chance all of the OTG’s would have.

    We can slice and dice and map and digitise brains to the molecular level. We have the bandwidth and storage to assimilate the data. We may even learn incidental somethings from a project like this one. 🙂




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  38. two cents' worth says:

    Another Kind, you’ve described an interesting thought experiment. I wonder, though, how sufficient scientific investigation would be able to determine which brains work properly. If there are 2 ways brains work, and people are grouped by the way their brains work, would the group with the smaller number of people be the one whose brains are working properly? How would the proper way be identified if it turns out that brains work in more than 2 ways?

    When I read your first post, it reminded me of a science fiction story I read long ago–I can’t remember its title or author–about a community where everyone could see ghosts, except one person. The people who could see the ghosts were affected by them (they could hear them, feel them, etc.), but the ghost-blind person was not affected by them at all. As I recall, the ghost-blind person was the first with a certain mutation; eventually, all of the people who could see ghosts died out, and everyone was ghost-blind. The community evolved from one where everyone believed in ghosts to one where no one believed in ghosts.

    Have you read Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief, by Andrew B. Newberg, Eugene G. D’Aquili, Vince Rause? You might find it interesting.




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  39. wnanig says:

    Another Kind, how would you know that the brain anomaly doesn’t affect the ability to assess the experiment? Who would be qualified to do the assessment?




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  40. white+squirrel says:

    the “one true god” would obviously be the one believed in by those whose brains worked properly. Sufficient scientific investigation should be able to determine which brains those are.
    1] how would you know which ‘brain lesion’ was the correct one, it might be that each OTG belief [ or none] produced its own unique pattern
    2] the properly working brain set would only establish that BELIEF in that OTG was the uninjured state, it would still not change the existence or lack of it of the deity itself. As the existence or non existence of any OTG is completely and totatally independent of whether its beleived in or not.
    if ‘god’ exists it would still exist even if the entire population were atheist and conversely if god does not exist it would still not even if the entire population were theists
    thus your thought experiment would not establish the ‘truth’ about ‘god’ it would only establish a uniform mind set concerning belief in the OTG
    a world were everyone thinks identically
    no thanks




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  41. white+squirrel says:

    3] there is also the small problem that difference in thoughts/beliefs is due to brain injury
    whereas in reality thoguths and beleives are still developing until the brain becomes fully developed in the individuals mid 20’s
    thus thoughts and beliefs are a product of enviromental. social-cultural and emotional expereince and will never be the same for anyone
    even using a clone with the same set of genes [ as in ‘boys from brazil ‘ film] while it might produce a similar personality it would not produce the same personality
    4] define belief in a OTG – wiccans hindus buddhists animists and shintoists are excluded by definition. and then the belief has to be identified in a specific location in the brain
    to be fully scientific the test would have to take account of all the variable
    [assuming they had all been identified ]




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  42. white+squirrel says:

    We can slice and dice and map and digitise brains to the molecular level.
    which bits are thoughts and beliefs?

    Thoughts and beliefs are electrical impulses they are not something that can be
    broken down to the molecular level

    anymore than you can take a motorcycle apart into its components and pick out its speed or performance




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  43. white+squirrel says:

    true we can identify the portion of a human brain in which a specific thought might arise – but it tells us nothing of the exact variety of thought
    we can tell where colour preference or sexual orientation or beleif in ‘god’ reside
    but it tells us nothing about which colour or ‘god or sexual orientation is preferred




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  44. plainsuch says:

    oake
    Thanks




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  45. hotrats says:

    white squirrel:

    do you think you do the rest of us a service by thinking through your arguments to the point where they cohere, and then presenting them with conventional grammar and punctuation, instead of littering the site with whatever ideas occur to you, in lazy and inconsiderate note form, in separate posts as and when they bubble up through your consciousness?

    Speaking as a former regular who used to enjoy the high level of argument and wit on this site, for some months now I have been avoiding J&M, because the regular sight of multiple copies of your cheesy pink unicorn has come to trigger a tedium headache.

    Perhaps you would be more at home on Twitter, where this kind of open-ended, free-associating, its-me-again post is the norm?




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  46. HaggisForBrains says:

    Hotrats – A bit blunt, but true!

    Thanks to Sod’s Law, you have emulated white squirrel by omitting a capital at the beginning of your second paragraph 🙂 .

    You will no doubt, like me, have noticed the comings and goings of commenters here over the years. Just be patient, and things will even out in due course.




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  47. white+squirrel says:

    I willl present my ideas in whatever form I choose




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  48. Micky says:

    ‘Ideas’ is waaay too much of a stretch. You’re just a common or garden troll.




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  49. Another Kind says:

    WS said : “true we can identify the portion of a human brain in which a specific thought might arise – but it tells us nothing of the exact variety of thought
    we can tell where colour preference or sexual orientation or beleif in ‘god’ reside
    but it tells us nothing about which colour or ‘god or sexual orientation is preferred”

    YET!

    With sufficient research who knows what we may find?
    It is already standard science to have a living brain probed while the user describes what he is thinking about, this leading to later probes telling the user what he is thinking. It isn’t easy, yet nor is it highly accurate but with sufficient practice and study it could become so.

    I started with an inchoate suggestion that perhaps the theists were correct and non-believers were somehow broken, proposed a test to uncover the truth of the situation and have come to suggest that such a research effort would probably reveal marvels and wonders.
    It is a great pity it will never be attempted.
    The theists would never chance having their religions debunked so effectively. 🙂




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  50. Another Kind says:

    Micky, if white squirrel is but a troll does that make me the GoodGuy in this? That would be nice. 🙂




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  51. Another Kind says:

    HfB: hotrats’ “second paragraph” was not, it was a continuation of the sentence begun with the name “white squirrel” and the colon. As such, it does not require a capital. “white squirrel” does not require one, either as that fine gentleman has, like “ee cummings” chosen to defy the conventions of English grammar when spelling his name.
    However, I do think hotrats did make a mistake in his message. I think he meant to type : “white squirrel: do you think you MIGHT do the rest of us a service by thinking through your arguments to the point where they cohere, and then presenting them with conventional grammar and punctuation …“. Or perhaps ” … could …” instead of “might“?




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  52. Micky says:

    one troll, two handles?




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  53. HaggisForBrains says:

    Another Kind – you’re right, my mistake. Apologies hotrats. Serves me right for trying to be a grammar nazi 🙂




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  54. Chiefy says:

    “I willl present my ideas in whatever form I choose”
    Yes you will, white+squirrel, and we will treat your ideas with whatever respect they are due.

    As far as brain lesions go, I have no confidence that any group of “believers” would be objective enough to determine the cause of improper belief. I think rational medical professionals often can and do determine physical causes of unusual behavior, e.g. brain abnormalities. There is, of course, a social component of “proper” thinking. A hundred years ago in the US, proclaiming that same-sex marriage is a good thing for society might get you put away.




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  55. Another Kind says:

    Micky said : “one troll, two handles?”

    No, mate, and blank-and-squirrelly would be terribly offended by the suggestion. 🙂




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  56. smartalek says:

    Delurking to say that I am moved, surely by some “spirit” or another, for the first time ever, to say — cliché tho it be — “Best. Episode. Ever.”
    Right to the heart of the matter.
    Thank you, Author, for all your work — but especially for this one.




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