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How would you have changed the fate of the fallen?
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   Author  Topic: How would you have changed the fate of the fallen?  (Read 1433 times)
JhnZ33
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How would you have changed the fate of the fallen?
 
« on: Feb 13th, 2006, 7:36pm »
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Ok, this has been on my mind lately.
 
If you could go back in time (any period of your choosing) and make changes in history to prevent the fall of the once great flags, :
 
1. What time period would you choose?
 
2. What changes would you make?
 
3. and Why? (what is/are the reason(s) for your proposed changes)
 
 
John


« Last Edit: Feb 13th, 2006, 7:39pm by JhnZ33 » Logged
Royal_Palm
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #1 on: Feb 17th, 2006, 10:16am »
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Circa 1915, I can only suppose that the Rock Island and MP/T&P were too broke to jointly purchase the El Paso & Southwestern (Santa Rosa, NM to Tucson, AZ) and somehow extend it to Los Angeles. It certainly would have helped the east-west business of both.

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Mark_Foster
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #2 on: Feb 17th, 2006, 9:26pm »
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Oh Boy John those are huge questions you ask but I'll take a stab at them.
 
Well into the 1950's The Illinois Central lived up to its monicker, "The Main Line of Mid-America". Its main and secondary lines were immaculately maintained and it boasted trains the likes of the all Pullman Panama Limited (which rivalled the Broadway and the Super Chief), the City of New Orleans with some of the fastest cardings of any train in the world at the time and the undisputed fastest freight train in the US, the Chicago to New Orleans manifest MS-1.
 
Times were good and the IC was flush with profits leading its directors to form the Illinois Central Industries which became the owner of the ICRR in addition to a number of diversified non-railroad businesses. The railroad was the "cash cow" of IC Industries and its profits, which by the 1960's were in decline, continued to be siphoned off to support other non-railroad ventures. This led to deferred maintenance. declines in service, loss of business and the inevitable downward spiral was underway.  
 
In order to keep its head above water the IC was forced in the 1970 and 1980's to sell or abandon, where it could not find a buyer, all but its "core"line trackage. This included such routes as its Mississippi Division mainline between Shreveport, LA and Meridian, MS which, after acquisition and upgrading by the KCS, today forms a bridge between the NS and the BNSF and has experienced one of, if not the most, dramatic traffic growths of any rail line in recent history.
 
The ICRR today as a component of the Canadian National is but at best a shadow of its former self and prominence among US railroads. It unfortunately is a victim of corporate plundering and missed opportunities. Unlike some less fortunate railroads the ICRR at least exists today in part.
 
Mark


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O2BARRTYCOON
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #3 on: Feb 17th, 2006, 9:55pm »
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As far as the northeastern United States; I would have done everything in my power to prevent the DISASTER that was the Penn Central merger!!!! Many other northeastern railroads were forever harmed because of this!!

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RDG484
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #4 on: Feb 22nd, 2006, 9:25am »
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on Feb 13th, 2006, 7:36pm, JhnZ33 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Ok, this has been on my mind lately.
 
If you could go back in time (any period of your choosing) and make changes in history to prevent the fall of the once great flags, :
 
1. What time period would you choose?
 
2. What changes would you make?
 
3. and Why? (what is/are the reason(s) for your proposed changes)
 
 
John

 
1.  Late 1960's-early 1970's.
 
2.  The Reading purchase the WM plus the P&WV, leaving B&O/C&O out.
 
3.  To give the Reading access to Pittsburgh and become a competitor to the newly-formed PC.  


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electro soundwave
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #5 on: Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:58pm »
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hmmmm
 
I would have had Southern buy out NKP, EL, possibly New Haven, or CNJ, and after the PC collapse (in the days between bankruptcy and CR) buy the Big 4 and various parts of the PRR. And they would be operated as seprerate operations still in their seperate colors.


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CandOFan4Ever
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #6 on: Mar 13th, 2006, 6:14am »
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There are actually two time periods I would like to go back to.  
 
The first is back to the 1970s when the Penn Central was floundering around. I would have bought let the C&O make a complete buy out of the Penn Central. Then I would sell off the Penn Central's half of the Nicholas, Fayette, and Greenbrier to the Norfolk & Western. I would have also given the Norfolk & Western trackage rights on the entire West Virginia Secondary. Then after that merger, I would purchased the B&O and the Lehigh Valley so that I could run more our of the steel mills. But, I would let the B&O and the Lehigh Valley operate as seperate rail lines until I thought it was time to bring them into the system. This would all depend on their revenue and maintence costs.
 
Then I would like to spring forward to the early 1980s when the Chessie and Seaboard merged. I would not have merged with the Seaboard itself, but bought outright the Louisville & Nashville and the Clinchfield. Then after that was all done, I would have bought the RF&P. This is so that we could have a more direct route from places like Atlanta and Nashville to places like Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and New York City. Also, I would have bought a few Nickel Plate lines from the N&W so we could of had a more direct connection between New York City, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. This would have been done so that passengers riding my trains would have a more direct route from NYC to Chicago and points West. Plus I would have went in and bought the D&H from Guilford and let them run as a seperate company inside mine. This would have left the New York Central, the Pennsylvania, The Reading, Western Maryland, and the E.L. to merger together.  
 
Then maybe a few more years down the road, Conrail could have been split up between us and the Norfolk & Western.
 
Oh and by the way, did I mention that our locomotives would have kept their original liveries with renumbers. Plus, when they needed to be painted, we would have painted them back into their original paint.


« Last Edit: Mar 15th, 2006, 11:13am by CandOFan4Ever » Logged

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KingCoal
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #7 on: Apr 16th, 2006, 4:55pm »
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Wow John,
Great Topic and thought provoking too.
As far as the Penn Central merger I think it was doomed from the start, after all,
they Both originate ninty miles apart in the north east and terminate in Chicago. Other factors acting againt it such as the growing political support for highway construction and Air travel were further agrivated by the sad physical condition the roads were in due to the high demands of wartime traffic. They had no way of knowing that within five years the demand for coal woud dwindle, never to return, and that within ten years the handwriteing would be on the wall for most passenger operations (airlines) and mail (airlines and trucks). The american steel and the ship building industries would be gasping their last breath by the mid 70's (Foreign compition sponsered, no doubt, by our own foreign Aid program). For a super railroad that originates, basicly, in the same place and ends in the same place there
is precious little left to haul. The only reason for that merger, IMHO, was to give the stock holders a chance to get out before the excrement came into contact with the whirlling impeller blades.
So send me back to about 1946 as President of the PRR and this is what I would have tried to do.............
First : I would have had an inkling that coal was declineing. The tonnage had been declineing since the late 20's (war time demands had artifically spiked the numbers).
The reading would have been hurting worse, so I would have moved mountains to secure a merger. That merger would allow the new company to abandon a lot of miles of compeeting trackage and the new company would have the advantages of both the Readings "local" service in PA and the PRR's superior road west.
Second : Having done this I would have tried to seek a merger with a western road
in order too provide thru transcontintal service. Later down the road I would have tried to acquire the D&H and I C to give me a tie in to canada and the Gulf ports.
The industrial decline of the north east would have put most of the Readings local traffic out of commission but the growth of intermodal would have more than offset that.


« Last Edit: Apr 16th, 2006, 9:48pm by KingCoal » Logged

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towny72
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #8 on: Apr 30th, 2006, 1:09am »
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70's 80's Chessie. CSX would have made its purchases, but kept its railroad under the name Chessie System.  Maybe a merg with CNW to give the Cat a strong mid west opperation.

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electro soundwave
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #9 on: Apr 30th, 2006, 11:42am »
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I would also have the SP/SCL merger go through. New name would be something like Pacific Seabord Lines or Southern Coast Lines.

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towny72
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #10 on: Apr 30th, 2006, 4:17pm »
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Maybe go back far enough and have C&O Wabash B&O P&LE WM merge

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ARA18
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #11 on: Jul 17th, 2006, 12:51pm »
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I would go back to the 1960's and prevent PC. The NYC would have had gone in the B&O/C&O, the PRR into the NKP/N&W/WAB and the NH would have gone with the Pensey. LV would be thrown in with PRR and EL would have gone with the N&W after forming Dereco. RDG and CNJ wou;d end up in the Chessie System merger.

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George_Harris
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fal
 
« Reply #12 on: Sep 28th, 2006, 11:37pm »
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There are many.  How about this one:
 
Go back to the 50's and pick up where Tigrett left off with the GM&O.  Do not even think about merging with the Illinois Central.  Concentrate on what they did best, which was operate a low and medium density railroad in the rural south while attempting to streamline and economize the operation of the Alton.  Get in the welded rail game early to reduce the cost of track maintenance.  If ICRR decides to sell off Meridian to Shreveport - which they always treated like an unwanted stepchild - jump on it.


« Last Edit: Sep 28th, 2006, 11:42pm by George_Harris » Logged
Nighttrain
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fallen?
 
« Reply #13 on: Jun 3rd, 2007, 11:19pm »
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I would have gone back to October 18, 1957, the day following the resignation of  John Kiley as president of the Milwaukee Road.  Shortly thereafter I would have held a proxy fight to entirely gut the line's ineffective board of directors and put in place new board along with a competent  president who could lead.  I would have never gotten into the C&NW boondoggle.  Instead, I would have concentrated on the Pacific division and begged, borrowed or stolen to build up the southern Indiana extension and then worked an arrangement with the Louisville and Nashville for interchange traffic.   Ten years later, I would have been in Washington DC arguing the merger that created the BN.

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George_Harris
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fallen?
 
« Reply #14 on: Jun 22nd, 2007, 8:11am »
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on Jun 3rd, 2007, 11:19pm, Nighttrain wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I would have gone back to October 18, 1957, the day following the resignation of  John Kiley as president of the Milwaukee Road.  

I think I would back up a little further than that.   Say about 1952 to 3.    
 
First and foremost, I would have declined to be interested in taking over the Union Pacific's passenger trains to Chicago.  This proved later to be a financial albatross.  In general, I feel like Milwaukee was overbuilt on the eastern portion and under-maintained on the western end.  
 
Second:  Forget about mergers and concentrate on running a good efficient railroad, which has to start with recognizing that you cannot run a good railroad on bad track.  Get in the welded rail game early, and be obsessed with getting all rail in main lines welded up.  Keep up tie replacements at a rate that keeps ahead of wear and rot.    
 
Third:  I also think that the Pacific Extension was their future, and should be promoted extensively.  Milwaukee alone connected most of the Eastern District roads to the Pacific Rim without having a third party in the middle.  As part of this, keep the electrification and install wire across the gap.  Ignore those that talk about how obsolete your system is.  It really was not.    
 
Fourth:  Try to work out trackage usage swaps in the multiple branch territories in the Midwest to reduce the mileage of tracks closely parallel by tracks owned by other railroads.  As part of this it would appear a very good thing to recognize that five companies (CB&Q, CRIP, C&NW, ICRR, Milw) operating between Chicago and Omaha was at least two too many main lines.  Remember, both CB&Q and CRIP had line on west.  Only the other three terminated at Council Bluffs.  The Milwaukee should have regarded Iowa as simply a large branch line territory with no pretensions as a main line.  
 
Maybe they should have moved their headquarters out of Chicago to someplace much further west, such as Tacoma WA or Aberdeen SD to help them lose their Chicago-centric mentality.  
 
George


« Last Edit: Jun 23rd, 2007, 7:30am by George_Harris » Logged
silver_champion
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fallen?
 
« Reply #15 on: Jun 22nd, 2007, 8:30am »
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I would have had the Pennsy not to go to New York Central. Just think if the PRR and SCL would had become one railroad. I think it would be just like the UP is today.

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HwyHaulier
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fallen?
 
« Reply #16 on: Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:38am »
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George -
 
Good theory of the case for MILW. I am somewhat, maybe charmed, by your fourth point. Efforts at rationalization of the excess capacity were simply pure, good logic. Consider, though, how that would have put the wise heads at the ICC into a complete tizzy! They would have had fun with it for years and years, until all the railroad players were broke!
 
Besides, we wouldn't have wanted to divert its resources from its charge, since beginning of regulation, to see the lines had prevailing rate scales that would, in turn, assure continuing, profitable operations. They produced such fine results over the decades...
 
............................Vern................


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George_Harris
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fallen?
 
« Reply #17 on: Jun 23rd, 2007, 8:01am »
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on Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:38am, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
George -
 
Good theory of the case for MILW. I am somewhat, maybe charmed, by your fourth point. Efforts at rationalization of the excess capacity were simply pure, good logic. Consider, though, how that would have put the wise heads at the ICC into a complete tizzy!  
 
Besides, we wouldn't have wanted to divert its resources from its charge, since beginning of regulation, to see the lines had prevailing rate scales

Vern:
 
I was thinking of a more stealthy approach.  What I was thinking about was to say internally, "what level of track do we need to efficiently handle the local traffic available in Iowa?" and then start maintaining facilities on that basis.  It is still, even on relatively light trafficed branches worth your while to weld up the rail, but on the lower volume lower speed line you install lighter and older relay rail, not heavy weight and not new.  
 
When it comes to line rationalization, maybe you do develop a systemwide concept, but you do not give it to the ICC.  They will choke on it and you will get no where.  Instead, you pick one or a few of the most likely rationalizations to be approved, even if not the one with the greatest return, but the one most likely to be approved.   Submitting proposals to the ICC that would save you $1,000,000 actually save nothing if they are rejected.  Submit proposals that are so obvious to the ICC that they are reasonably sure to approve it even if it only saves you $100,000.  Then come back in a couple of months with another one, and keep it up.  A series of singles with RBI's puts numbers on the scoreboard that count for as much as home runs.
 
There are a number of examples of these small changes being approved.  A couple:
In 1963+/- MoPac abandoned their signaled line from Benton, Arkansas into Hot Springs, about 30 miles, in favor of trackage rights on the parallel unsignaled CRIP line.
In about the same time frame, CRIP abandoned the first about 12 miles of their branch from Alexandria, LA to Eunice LA in favor of rights on the parallel T&P main line.  
In the first case, a couple of towns of under 1000 people may have lost their railroad, in the second case, nobody lost rail service, since these lines were only a few hundred feet apart for most of the distance.  
 
I have always suspected that Milwaukee took on the UP passenger trains on the thought that they would be getting more of the freight, which seems to have never happened.  Milwaukees mostly single track line, now cluttered with several more trains had no hope of matching the service of C&NW's mostly double track line.  The passenger service addition reminds me too much of seeing companies underpricing their services to get in the phase 1 of a project on the basis that they will make it up on the follow on contracts.  Usually does not happen.  Instead, they usually learn enough to price themselves out of the follow on contract by being too realistic and losing the job some new chump.  
 
Surely, by the mid 50's the handwriting on the wall could be easily read on the long term future of multiple long distance trains.  At best the profits from adding passenger trains could not be anticipated as being other than marginal.  With UP showing interest in CRIP which was after all the first railroad across Iowa to Council Bluffs, how could Milw see a long term future in cozying up to UP?
 
George


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HwyHaulier
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fallen?
 
« Reply #18 on: Jun 23rd, 2007, 9:13am »
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George -
 
Given the circumstances, many lines were reduced to near hysterical, it looked like a good idea at the time, kinds of decisions. Anything to assure steady cash flow so, in turn, they could write good pay checks...
 
The passenger business. Realistically, it could be handled on  a painless basis, if it at least covered avoidable, variable costs, and some offset to pay for the equipment actually used in the services. There absolutely must be a strong base of cargo in the system, though, to carry the fully allocated costs load. Should the cargo base get dicey, variable costs pricing becomes very treacherous (well, if not fatal, as with the Northeast lines)....
 
ICC and Stealth Strategy. A very realistic way to play the game. In the era, too, carriers could publish substituted highway for rail provisions in tariffs. To outright abandon any piece of track put one right in the dismal swamp of an ICC Finance Case.
 
Too, the ICC seemed dead set against any competitive innovation by the railroads. An example, the circa early 1960s period with Southern Railroad with its Big John car, grain rates case. To fill in viewers just joining, S R S involved in design, and acquired a group of aluminum (IIRC), five car, permanently coupled, dry hoppers for grain traffic. It also wanted it treated as a single car in the tariffs, and provide attractive low, competitive rates on movements. (Practically, it was taking dead aim on water traffic, moved on quasi public agency, Federal Barge Lines, and other river operators.)
 
The ICC went practically ballistic. S R S was conveniently sited just several blocks away in its K Street, NW, grand "Fort Brosnan" headquarters. S R S dug in, and followed a strategy similar to General Sherman's march thru Georgia. Outcome was a triumph of common sense, and a favorable Supreme Court decision cemented the matter. While I was there, it was quite exciting times, with daily updates from the front in this hot contest with the Yankees!
 
Ah! The Honorable Commission distracted from its pasttime of fiddling while Rome was burning. In an outburst of near foolishness, it did reward us all with its murky, Byzantine rules on T O F C traffic. I recall a helpful L & N rep, who advised on full loads of plastic molding material. He commented all we had to do is throw in a can of shoe polish, or shaving cream, before closing the load and sealing the door. That way, it was properly lower rated as a FAK load, rather than the higher rate on the molding compounds....
 
 
........................Vern...............


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atlpete
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Re: How would you have changed the fate of the fallen?
 
« Reply #19 on: Jun 23rd, 2007, 6:03pm »
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This IS fun..... back to the fifties, IMO
1. Got to agree with Mr Foster, the IC was a really top-drawer operation/property and deserved to survive on top, mergers that could have extended it's reach into the southeast and southwest (maybe COG, SLSF, KCS,) would've been complimentary.  IC industries? - BAH!
 
2. All those who would've prevented PC are dead right, send NYC to C&O/B&O, PRR to N&W, but instead of WAB and NKP going to N&W I'd of swung WAB to the EL and tied the NKP to an LV, RDG and D&H merger. Preserving the northeast rail industry and competition wouldn't have been  mutually exclusive in the sixties if ICC regulation hadn't been so totally un-visionary and politically blinkered in the forties and fifties.
 
3. Tax-relief, inter-city passenger and commuter subsidies and incentives on par with what the airlines and highway lobby got.  Anyone who thinks we wound up with the mess we have today through free market forces is got to be pretty naive.  Of course, they'd still of suffered with bad labor contracts and route redundencies but there could've been reasonable legal solutions to those too.  
 
Oh yeah, and I could've of studied computers & systems management instead of manufacturing in college.
Oh well... "could-of, would-of, should-of"


« Last Edit: Jun 23rd, 2007, 6:08pm by atlpete » Logged
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