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  #1  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:00 PM
Jake Jake is offline
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How Old is Cecil?

Or is he immortal?
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:03 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Assuming he's one person, and has been doing this job since 1973 (according to the masthead), he's at least in his upper 50s.
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  #3  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:11 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Yes, Jake, there is a Cecil. He exists as certainly as snark and cynicism and a devotion to the truth exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Cecil. It would be as dreary as if there were no Jakes. There would be no mature cynicism then, no satire, no trivia to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which adulthood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Cecil! You might as well not believe in Gravity! You might get private investigators to watch all the desks in Chicago to catch Cecil, but even if they did not see Cecil writing his column, what would that prove? Nobody sees Cecil, but that is no sign that there is no Straight Dope. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see a word with five consecutive vowels? Of course not, but that's no proof that it is not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

Last edited by DrDeth; 09-12-2012 at 02:12 PM..
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  #4  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:17 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Originally Posted by Jake View Post
Or is he immortal?
Nobody knows if he is immortal. All we know is that he hasn't died yet. He was fairly old even in 1973 so I would say he is at least 75 or 80 now.
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  #5  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:22 PM
PacifistPorcupine PacifistPorcupine is offline
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Did you ever see a word with five consecutive vowels? Of course not, but that's no proof that it is not there.
queueing
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  #6  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:27 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
Assuming he's one person, and has been doing this job since 1973 (according to the masthead), he's at least in his upper 50s.
Surely someone of Cecil's greatness would have been fighting ignorance since he could talk, or quite possibly since he was a spermatozoon, so he might not even be 40 yet.

Last edited by Colophon; 09-12-2012 at 02:27 PM.. Reason: fighting typos since 1977
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  #7  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:33 PM
Szlater Szlater is offline
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There is only one Dope, and Cecil is its prophet!

Cecil, truth be upon him, will be wherever there is ignorance to be fought.

*faces toward Chicago*
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  #8  
Old 09-12-2012, 02:53 PM
Jake Jake is offline
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Oh, I believe in Unca Cece alright, otherwise I wouldn't have stuck around here for the last 12 or so years! I wish I could have had him as a college professor just to show me how to find difficult info.
He (or they) is smart enough to keep very intelligent people around him, something that took me a long while to learn. I think that this is the wisdom of the master.
I remember reading one of his columns (can't remember which one) in which he said he was an "Old Fart", and this got me to thinking about his age.
So... what do you guys and gals think his age is? (If he really is one person)
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  #9  
Old 09-12-2012, 03:01 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by Jake View Post
I remember reading one of his columns (can't remember which one) in which he said he was an "Old Fart", and this got me to thinking about his age.
So... what do you guys and gals think his age is? (If he really is one person)
Well, his editor might have slipped that one in, and he's over 60 now. But don't tell him we told you.
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  #10  
Old 09-12-2012, 03:27 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Do you know why Cecil Adams has never been photographed?

His image casts no reflection.

I have probably already said too mu
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  #11  
Old 09-12-2012, 03:38 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Sure he's been photographed. Not only that, he recruited a body double as an editor to throw the wolves off the pack -- and, if that picture is to be believed, he's developing some sort of Mini-Me, too.
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  #12  
Old 09-12-2012, 03:41 PM
RedFury RedFury is offline
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Ask Ed Zotti, for he is the one filling fictional Cecil's role at the moment.

ETA: Does this "question" really belong in GD? Come on guys, we've done this over and over and not much good ever comes out of it. I mean, "immortal"? In GD?

Last edited by RedFury; 09-12-2012 at 03:45 PM..
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  #13  
Old 09-12-2012, 03:43 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
Sure he's been photographed. Not only that, he recruited a body double as an editor to throw the wolves off the pack -- and, if that picture is to be believed, he's developing some sort of Mini-Me, too.
A clever ruse.
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  #14  
Old 09-12-2012, 03:54 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by RedFury View Post
Ask Ed Zotti, for he is the one filling fictional Cecil's role at the moment.

ETA: Does this "question" really belong in GD? Come on guys, we've done this over and over and not much good ever comes out of it. I mean, "immortal"? In GD?
I think you mean GQ.

OK, we could just say "Cecil Adams is a fictional construct first used by the Chicago Reader in February 1973 for the Straight Dope column. The column has in recent years, as far as we know, been written by a balding guy with specs named Ed Zotti, born 1951, who also tinkers with an old house in Chicago."

But that would be boring.
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  #15  
Old 09-12-2012, 03:54 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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We are all Cecil, and are ageless.
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  #16  
Old 09-12-2012, 04:04 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
"Cecil Adams is a fictional construct first used by the Chicago Reader in February 1973 for the Straight Dope column. The column has in recent years, as far as we know, been written by a balding guy with specs named Ed Zotti, born 1951, who also tinkers with an old house in Chicago."
I suppose, technically, this is just the only conclusion the evidence we have allows us to draw, but that describes all of the conclusions we form about reality.

My point is, you'll find push-back from moderators and administrators and SDSAB members but you won't get any evidence that actually refutes this conclusion. Therefore, it would be irrational to abandon this conclusion.
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  #17  
Old 09-12-2012, 06:52 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Cecil himself says Cecil exists! If I may paraphrase:
I mean the impulse to be truthful. Three hundred sixty-four days out of the year humankind commits all manner of heinous falsehoods. On the 365th day we give facts to the kids. I'm not saying that the latter compensates for the former. I'm not saying Adolph Hitler wouldn't have given the truth to his children, if he'd had children. But come on, it's got to count for something. The giving of knowledge in such a way that no credit will devolve upon ourselves is sufficiently at odds with our routine behavior as to be accounted a mystery, and we may as well give that mystery a name. Cecil Adams it is.
From here.
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  #18  
Old 09-12-2012, 07:01 PM
Capt Kirk Capt Kirk is offline
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Cecil himself says Cecil exists! If I may paraphrase:
I mean the impulse to be truthful. Three hundred sixty-four days out of the year humankind commits all manner of heinous falsehoods. On the 365th day we give facts to the kids. I'm not saying that the latter compensates for the former. I'm not saying Adolph Hitler wouldn't have given the truth to his children, if he'd had children. But come on, it's got to count for something. The giving of knowledge in such a way that no credit will devolve upon ourselves is sufficiently at odds with our routine behavior as to be accounted a mystery, and we may as well give that mystery a name. Cecil Adams it is.
From here.
Thanks for sending me back to that one, awesome column

Capt
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  #19  
Old 09-12-2012, 07:01 PM
Lukeinva Lukeinva is offline
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Never ask a Navy man how many drinks he's had.
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  #20  
Old 09-12-2012, 07:26 PM
colonial colonial is offline
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Our Beloved Master Cecil was born, under another name, on December 25, 0001AD/CE
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  #21  
Old 09-12-2012, 07:43 PM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
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Nobody knows if he is immortal. All we know is that he hasn't died yet.
Looking good so far!
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  #22  
Old 09-12-2012, 10:26 PM
Dr. Drake Dr. Drake is online now
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Our Beloved Master Cecil was born, under another name, on December 25, 0001AD/CE
Cool! Just a few years after Jesus. I wonder if they knew one another?
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  #23  
Old 09-12-2012, 10:30 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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Slight tangent, seeing the post about Cecil's snark.

There was a thread somewhere on the SDMB not too long ago about the role and appropriateness of condescension in education/edification. Where is that thread now? Anyone have it bookmarked?
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  #24  
Old 09-12-2012, 11:44 PM
BigT BigT is offline
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Knowing how old the actor is doesn't tell us how old the character is.
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  #25  
Old 09-13-2012, 12:13 AM
FuzzyOgre FuzzyOgre is offline
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If you ask me, he'll never be de-Cece'd.

Last edited by FuzzyOgre; 09-13-2012 at 12:13 AM.. Reason: added period. period.
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  #26  
Old 09-13-2012, 01:17 AM
RedFury RedFury is offline
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
I think you mean GQ.
Right.

Quote:
OK, we could just say "Cecil Adams is a fictional construct first used by the Chicago Reader in February 1973 for the Straight Dope column. The column has in recent years, as far as we know, been written by a balding guy with specs named Ed Zotti, born 1951, who also tinkers with an old house in Chicago."
Correct. I suggest we make that a sticky.

Quote:
But that would be boring.
Different strokes...
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  #27  
Old 09-13-2012, 06:00 AM
samclem samclem is offline
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Moved from GQ to ATMB.

samclem, moderator
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  #28  
Old 09-13-2012, 06:43 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Knowing how old the actor is doesn't tell us how old the character is.
True for every case except Katharine Hepburn.
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  #29  
Old 09-13-2012, 10:25 AM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is offline
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Cool! Just a few years after Jesus. I wonder if they knew one another?
Cecil didn't know Jesus, but he knew of him. Every time he'd preach, his disciples would come to Cecil afterward, and they'd be all like, "What's a Samaritan? When is the eleventh hour, and why is it such a popular time to hire workers? Is it true that you can't put old wine in new wineskins?"
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  #30  
Old 09-13-2012, 10:33 AM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is offline
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Originally Posted by Jake View Post
Or is he immortal?
I would say he's amortal.
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  #31  
Old 09-13-2012, 10:34 AM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Originally Posted by Freddy the Pig View Post
Cecil didn't know Jesus, but he knew of him. Every time he'd preach, his disciples would come to Cecil afterward, and they'd be all like, "What's a Samaritan? When is the eleventh hour, and why is it such a popular time to hire workers? Is it true that you can't put old wine in new wineskins?"
And they asked of Cecil, "Speak to us of strong drink".

And Cecil replied, "Teeming Millions, have you ever seen an animal stumbling in a ditch, unsure of it's direction, unable to walk?"

And they replied, "No, Cecil, we have not."

And Cecil said to them, "Then you haven't seen my horse."
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  #32  
Old 09-13-2012, 10:40 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Originally Posted by Szlater View Post
There is only one Dope, and Cecil is its prophet!

Cecil, truth be upon him, will be wherever there is ignorance to be fought.

*faces toward Chicago*
Has anyone ever depicted Cecil in a turban with a bomb on his head? Would we threaten the Dutch embassy if so?
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  #33  
Old 09-13-2012, 11:04 AM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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Cecil has the wisdom of the ages. this offers a couple possibilities.

Cecil is really old (in order to have read lots of written knowledge) and a speed reader (in order to have read lots of written knowledge) and a non-deteriorating mind (in order to recall lots of written knowledge).

Cecil is a huge super computer (both start with the letter c, coincidence? i think not.) with all the wikis of the world, Wolfram research and all the data from all the government computer systems in the world.

those are not the most likely in my opinion.

i think Cecil is a collaborative effort of all the faculty of the University of Chicago (both start with the letter c, coincidence? i think not.). maybe a bunch of alumni too.
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  #34  
Old 09-13-2012, 12:23 PM
Jake Jake is offline
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Cecil MUST be real... He's in the newspapers!
Thanks, all, for the responses.
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  #35  
Old 09-13-2012, 12:44 PM
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Cecil is first mentioned in ancient Babylonian tablets.
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  #36  
Old 09-14-2012, 12:27 AM
Try2B Comprehensive Try2B Comprehensive is offline
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Yes, Jake, there is a Cecil. He exists as certainly as snark and cynicism and a devotion to the truth exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Cecil. It would be as dreary as if there were no Jakes. There would be no mature cynicism then, no satire, no trivia to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which adulthood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Cecil! You might as well not believe in Gravity! You might get private investigators to watch all the desks in Chicago to catch Cecil, but even if they did not see Cecil writing his column, what would that prove? Nobody sees Cecil, but that is no sign that there is no Straight Dope. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see a word with five consecutive vowels? Of course not, but that's no proof that it is not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
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  #37  
Old 09-14-2012, 05:43 AM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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I believe it's a matter of common knowledge that we're on our third Cecil now, Mike Lenehan being the first incarnation, Dave Kehr the second and Ed Zotti the third. Whether there is a fourth waiting in the wings to step into the breach when Ed Zotti shuffles off this mortal coil or moves on to fresh woods and pastures new is unknown.
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  #38  
Old 09-14-2012, 06:53 AM
Cicero Cicero is offline
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Cecil is like Keyser Soze. The greatest trick he ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
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  #39  
Old 09-14-2012, 08:47 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivorousplant View Post
Do you know why Cecil Adams has never been photographed?
"one of the very rare known sightings of Mr. Adams"
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  #40  
Old 09-14-2012, 08:54 AM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Obviously Photoshopped.
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  #41  
Old 09-14-2012, 10:24 AM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is offline
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Originally Posted by FoieGrasIsEvil View Post
Has anyone ever depicted Cecil in a turban with a bomb on his head? Would we threaten the Dutch embassy if so?
Considering some of the ways Slug has depicted Cecil, with no known adverse consequences, I think we're safe on this score.
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  #42  
Old 09-14-2012, 10:40 AM
Suburban Plankton Suburban Plankton is offline
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As it was explained to me during my original Charter Member initiation rite, Cecil is not so much a person as a title. You see, it's the name that's the important thing for inspiring the necessary awe.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Cecil took me to his office and he told me his secret. "I am not Cecil" he said. "My name is Ryan; I inherited The Straight Dope from the previous Cecil, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from is not the real Cecil either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Cecil has been retired 15 years and living like a king in Patagonia."
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  #43  
Old 09-14-2012, 11:37 AM
sittininlab sittininlab is offline
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Don't you see the code?

Certain phrases in Lorem ipsum can be rearranged to "Cecil Adams has been fighting ignoradjknv lgnlee nrfgm." According the the Bacon cypher.
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  #44  
Old 09-14-2012, 11:42 AM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is offline
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Originally Posted by sittininlab View Post
Certain phrases in Lorem ipsum can be rearranged to "Cecil Adams has been fighting ignoradjknv lgnlee nrfgm." According the the Bacon cypher.
I used to know a girl named Nrfgm.
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  #45  
Old 09-14-2012, 12:07 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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Originally Posted by carnivorousplant View Post
I used to know a girl named Nrfgm.
I knew her twin sister, Nrfgm.

They got confused a lot.
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  #46  
Old 09-14-2012, 07:39 PM
Billdo Billdo is offline
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The answer to this question, as is the answer to most of the significant questions in life, is found in this explanation from the long-gone and much-missed neuro-trash grrrl:

Quote:
Originally Posted by neuro-trash grrrl
Who is Cecil? What is Cecil? Cecil is as the ebb and flow of the tides, as the solar wind dispersing the cosmic dust, as the pulsating cells of the brain. Cecil is the smile on your child's face as he or she contemplates the knowledge in a brand new encyclopedia set, and the bill you receive for them afterward. Cecil is the dragonfly that soars on bejeweled wings, and the frog that catches the dragonfly as it zooms too low over the pond, and the alligator that eats the frog as it suns itself on a lily pad, the gator-wrestler who kills the alligator, and the heavy beer stein that smashes in the gator-wrestler's head during a bar brawl in Baton Rouge. Cecil is as the molecular structure of our DNA, and also as the molecular structure of Grandma's spinach-Velveeta soufflé just before it collapses, and the cheers of jubilation that follow. Cecil is the structural defect in your ice cream cone causing it to break and spill Rocky Road all over your new pants. Cecil is the physical laws that make airplanes fly, and also the physical laws that airplane designers occasionaly forget, causing devastating crashes. Cecil is the cockroach that refuses to die no matter how hard you stomp. Everything is Cecil, nothing is Cecil. Cecil is in all of us, Cecil is in none of us. Contemplating Cecil's nature leads to cosmic enlightenment, and also migraine headaches.

Does this answer your question?
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  #47  
Old 09-15-2012, 03:48 AM
user_hostile user_hostile is offline
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He may be dead, or moved to Florida. His last posting was Jan of 2010.
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  #48  
Old 09-15-2012, 06:43 PM
Digital is the new Analog Digital is the new Analog is offline
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He may be dead, or moved to Florida. His last posting was Jan of 2010.
I haven't seen him here (Florida) recently. It's such a small state, I assume I see everyone here at least once a week.

-D/a
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  #49  
Old 09-16-2012, 12:00 AM
bahimes bahimes is offline
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I haven't seen him here (Florida) recently. It's such a small state, I assume I see everyone here at least once a week.

-D/a
Along with Elvis, Che and Groucho.
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  #50  
Old 09-16-2012, 12:21 PM
Jake Jake is offline
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Originally Posted by Billdo View Post
The answer to this question, as is the answer to most of the significant questions in life, is found in this explanation from the long-gone and much-missed neuro-trash grrrl:
That was beautiful. Yes, it does answer my question, Billdo.
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