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Old 07-08-2011, 08:59 AM
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RE: Are ships captains allowed to marry people at sea?


http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...-people-at-sea

No doubt the myth's credibility was greatly enhanced by the famous marriage scene in John Houston's blockbuster movie The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, featuring a scene where the Nazi ship's captain utters that immortal line, "I now pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution!"
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:05 PM
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...The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn....
Oh dear God!
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:57 PM
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http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...-people-at-sea

No doubt the myth's credibility was greatly enhanced by the famous marriage scene in John Houston's blockbuster movie The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, featuring a scene where the Nazi ship's captain utters that immortal line, "I now pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution!"
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Oh dear God!
What John is implying here, is that you are obviously very young and have conflated Audrey Hepburn, a great actress in her own right, with Katherine Hepburn,another very good actress.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:07 PM
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What John is implying here, is that you are obviously very young and have conflated Audrey Hepburn, a great actress in her own right, with Katherine Hepburn,another very good actress.
Kate Hepburn is a "very good actress"??? Hmpfh. You've undervalued her, sam.
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Old 10-31-2018, 06:38 AM
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What John is implying here, is that you are obviously very young and have conflated Audrey Hepburn, a great actress in her own right, with Katherine Hepburn,another very good actress.
If you're talking about breast size, INflated would be a better word than CONflated.
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Old 10-31-2018, 05:04 PM
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If you're talking about breast size, INflated would be a better word than CONflated.
Was that really necessary? That's exactly the sort of irrelevant reference to women's bodies that we've been trying to discourage.
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:28 PM
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Not to mention, that Nazi captain was politically way ahead of his time.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:47 PM
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Both Capts. James T. Kirk ("Balance of Terror") and Jean-Luc Picard ("Data's Day") thought they could marry people, and that's good enough for me, dammit!

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarriedAtSea
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:35 PM
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There's also a very satisfying shipboard wedding in Patrick O'Brian's novel The Surgeon's Mate. William Babbington, having been trained by Jack Aubrey himself in the duties and privileges of a ship's master in His Majesty's Navy, performs the ceremony after a brief reference to the regulation manual.

I'm shocked to learn that this is all--gasp--fiction. (This is only partly a joke. I thought that O'Brian researched his stuff very thoroughly. Apparently the historical novelist was more novelist than historian.)
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:48 PM
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What was the deal with the ape? "And it is offering itself to Babbington."
I'm not sure that he is to be trusted.
Was he studying the Hindi phrasebook, "Woman, wilt thou lie with me?" and Jack took his money away went he sent him shore so that he couldn't visit a house of ill repute?

Last edited by carnivorousplant; 07-11-2011 at 08:51 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:02 PM
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.... featuring a scene where the Nazi ship's captain utters that immortal line, "I now pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution!"
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Originally Posted by Elmer J. Fudd View Post
Not to mention, that Nazi captain was politically way ahead of his time.
I assume that Herr Fudd noticed that the captain wasn't a Nazi. The film was set in 1914.


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Kate Hepburn is a "very good actress"??? Hmpfh. You've undervalued her, sam.
Oh, sure. Sounds like something you'd say.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:13 PM
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My favorite line is in the morning she says not "Mr. Allnutt", but, "Ah...Dear, what did you say your first name was?"
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Old 10-31-2018, 03:25 PM
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There's also a very satisfying shipboard wedding in Patrick O'Brian's novel The Surgeon's Mate. William Babbington, having been trained by Jack Aubrey himself in the duties and privileges of a ship's master in His Majesty's Navy, performs the ceremony after a brief reference to the regulation manual.

I'm shocked to learn that this is all--gasp--fiction. (This is only partly a joke. I thought that O'Brian researched his stuff very thoroughly. Apparently the historical novelist was more novelist than historian.)
Hello 2011

I have no reason (yet) to believe that the story was wrong. Marriage before a priest or magistrate only became embedded in English law some years before the novel setting: a Catholic priest would not, I think have been eligible, and a ships captain in the Queens navy (also expected to read the service on Sunday) would have been the closest thing to English law and the state church for miles around and for months if not years on end.

It's clear that an American ships master has no authority /now/ to preform a marriage unless registered as a celebrant by some American state. Extending that to an English Navy captain /then/ is another step.
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Old 01-31-2019, 11:24 PM
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... a ships captain in the Queens navy....
King's Navy, at the time of the Aubrey-Maturin books.

And also at the time Mutiny on the Bounty (the 1962 Marlon Brando version) was set, that is, in 1788. Just watched it, and at one point a midshipman, having fallen in love with a young Tahitian woman, asks Capt. Bligh to marry them. The captain refuses (pretty rudely, too), but not because he lacks the authority.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:35 AM
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There's also a very satisfying shipboard wedding in Patrick O'Brian's novel The Surgeon's Mate. William Babbington, having been trained by Jack Aubrey himself in the duties and privileges of a ship's master in His Majesty's Navy, performs the ceremony after a brief reference to the regulation manual....
I just finished The Fortune of War (1979), the novel in the series just before The Surgeon's Mate (1980), and in it Capt. Broke of HMS Shannon is told by his crotchety old ship's clerk, when he asks, that the captain does indeed have authority to marry a couple.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:15 PM
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I just finished The Fortune of War (1979), the novel in the series just before The Surgeon's Mate (1980), and in it Capt. Broke of HMS Shannon is told by his crotchety old ship's clerk, when he asks, that the captain does indeed have authority to marry a couple.
Babbington does say it is in his manual "after the burial service", so I guess we could check.
  #17  
Old 02-01-2019, 07:52 AM
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Both Capts. James T. Kirk ("Balance of Terror") and Jean-Luc Picard ("Data's Day") thought they could marry people, and that's good enough for me, dammit!

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarriedAtSea
If Jim Kirk's shirt is torn, he can do anything.
Even beat Batman.
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  #18  
Old 02-01-2019, 01:08 PM
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If Jim Kirk's shirt is torn, he can do anything.
Even beat Batman.
What self-respecting Starfleet captain would preside over a wedding in a torn shirt? Not James T. Kirk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS3PQgCVF4U
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Old 02-04-2019, 12:38 AM
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If the ship is registered to a Common Law jurisdiction, then the Captain has the authority to perform a marriage, just like anybody else does.
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Old 02-04-2019, 02:51 AM
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If the ship is registered to a Common Law jurisdiction, then the Captain has the authority to perform a marriage, just like anybody else does.
The vast majority of common law jurisdictions now require some form of marriage license.
  #21  
Old 02-07-2019, 10:12 AM
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What self-respecting Starfleet captain would preside over a wedding in a torn shirt? Not James T. Kirk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS3PQgCVF4U
Getting married by James T. Kirk ranks right up there with marrying a Cartwright. It's gonna be a short marriage.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:09 PM
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Getting married by James T. Kirk ranks right up there with marrying a Cartwright. It's gonna be a short marriage.
Well, it's a pretty small data set, after all. He only did it once, that we know of.
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:15 AM
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Not to mention Captain Steubing, who performed numerous marriages on "The Love Boat."

All this proves, of course, is that the writers for that show, like millions of other people, WRONGLY believed ship captains have that power.

Last edited by astorian; 07-14-2011 at 06:16 AM.
  #24  
Old 07-14-2011, 08:01 AM
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Not to mention Captain Steubing, who performed numerous marriages on "The Love Boat."

All this proves, of course, is that the writers for that show, like millions of other people, WRONGLY believed ship captains have that power.
We don't know what flag the Love Boat sailed under - from Cecil's followup response:

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That is, unless the captain had been granted the right under the laws of a foreign country, in which case recognition would be granted as a matter of course.
So, in theory, the good Captain could marry folks.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:03 AM
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We don't know what flag the Love Boat sailed under - from Cecil's followup response:



So, in theory, the good Captain could marry folks.
I guess we need to check Liberian law!
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:58 AM
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I thought it was a Mongolian-flagged cruise ship.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:22 AM
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I thought it was a Mongolian-flagged cruise ship.
My memory is suspect, but I thought most cruise ships are registered in Liberia.
  #28  
Old 07-14-2011, 12:56 PM
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Captain Stuebing is fictional, but the MS Pacific Princess was a real ship (it still is, but is now known as MS Pacific, with a new ship bearing the MS Pacific Princess name), and, during the entire Love Boat era, its port of registry was London.
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  #29  
Old 07-14-2011, 01:09 PM
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I thought it was a Mongolian-flagged cruise ship.
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My memory is suspect, but I thought most cruise ships are registered in Liberia.
I think Elendil's Heir was joking by suggesting that a ship could be registered in a land-locked country.
  #30  
Old 07-15-2011, 03:55 PM
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I think Elendil's Heir was joking by suggesting that a ship could be registered in a land-locked country.
Actually, there are quite a few ships that are registered in Bolivia. Bolivia lost its coast line back in 1884, but after 128 years, the country is still officially in denial.

Heck, Bolivia still even has a navy.
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Old 07-14-2011, 03:14 PM
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Quite.
  #32  
Old 07-15-2011, 02:33 PM
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Dang, Katherine Hepburn it is. And I'm old enough to know the difference.
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:37 PM
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...and yes, checking Wikipedia (maybe I should have done that first), it's set in WWI. Not Nazis, Gerries. Oh well. Great movie, and point is, it definitely popularized the marriage by captain myth.
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:51 PM
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Not Nazis, Gerries.
Huns.
  #35  
Old 01-07-2013, 11:26 PM
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Just saw Casablanca tonight, which included some dialogue I'd forgotten. In the Paris flashback scene, as the German army approaches the city, Rick suggests that he and Ilsa get married right away. He thinks of the train they're planning to take soon and says, "Let's see. What about the engineer? Why can't he marry us on the train? Why not? The captain on a ship can. It doesn't seem fair that.... Hey, what's wrong, kid?"

A lot of people have seen Casablanca over the years. These lines might have something to do with the widespread belief that ship captains can, on their own authority, conduct weddings.
  #36  
Old 10-31-2018, 05:51 AM
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He thinks of the train they're planning to take soon and says, "Let's see. What about the engineer? Why can't he marry us on the train? Why not? The captain on a ship can. It doesn't seem fair that...
Ironically, it's probably true that the ship captain and the train engineer *DO* in fact have the exact same authority to marry people. That is, such a marriage is valid if and only if both parties *BELIEVE* it's valid and behave that way afterwards (and it helps if you live in a state/country that recognizes common law marriages).

Basically, it comes down to how you respond when someone asks to see your marriage certificate. I you can't produce the document, I can't think of a better excuse than "The ship was sunk by a torpedo thirty seconds after the wedding." Runner up for best excuse goes to the young German couple in James Michener's novel Space whose excuse was "The church was bombed and the country it was located in no longer exists."
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:00 AM
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Comprehension would be greatly improved if so many of you weren't impressed with your own cleverness and just spelled out your inside jokes. Quit acting like schoolboys.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:56 AM
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One mustn't forget the fine documentary series Gilligan's Island, wherein the Skipper attempted to perform a marriage ceremony for Thurston and Lovey on a raft in the lagoon, using a cigar band as a wedding ring. If memory serves, however, the ceremony was never completed, a point which was rendered moot by the end of the episode.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:41 AM
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So can the bus driver officiate and marry two of his passengers to each other?

Last edited by BMalion; 01-08-2013 at 09:42 AM.
  #40  
Old 01-08-2013, 12:18 PM
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Comprehension would be greatly improved if so many of you weren't impressed with your own cleverness and just spelled out your inside jokes. Quit acting like schoolboys.
Um... any "inside jokes" in particular that you didn't quite catch?
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:31 PM
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Nobody has answered my question about Patenter's remark from the column yet. Specifically, why mostly sailboats?

But that can't be blamed on the SD members.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:59 AM
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Um... any "inside jokes" in particular that you didn't quite catch?
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Oh dear God!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmer J. Fudd View Post
Not to mention, that Nazi captain was politically way ahead of his time.
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I thought it was a Mongolian-flagged cruise ship.
If you think that your wit, rivals Oscar Wilde than at least have the courtesy to explain the joke instead of forcing people to beg for an view into your attention-starved mind.

You are one of the most active practitioners of this ploy, to the point that I ignore most answers that you supply. If you don't have the correct answer or have nothing to add, shut the fuck up.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:02 PM
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The surest way to make a joke funny is to explain it. In detail.

Oh, wait.* You see, that's wrong. You see, explaining a joke actually removes the humor. The key to much humor is the surprise twist, the juxtaposition of the expected and the unexpected, the balance between taking what you know and thus what drives your perceptions and then inserting something else at the cusp. That's often the root of one-liners and puns. Excessive explanation is only necessary when the audience did not have the info to jump to the expected conclusion before the unexpected was provided. Thus, the failure of humor is often the failure of the humorist to understand his audience. In those cases, explaining the joke may increase the humor by some token value**, because the audience that previously didn't know now does understand, but the cost is often a larger value of humor from the tedious verbage required to fill in all the missing information and make all the connections. The humor is often in leaping the gap, not walking down one side of the ravine, across the bottom, then up the other side of the ravine.

-----
*You see?

**Actually, I needed two of those specific examples explained myself. Basic lack of familiarity with the subject matter, the movie The African Queen. But I was aware of which actress was in the movie, and difference between an Audrey and a Katherine. Still, you don't have to be rude about it.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:42 PM
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If you think that your wit, rivals Oscar Wilde than at least have the courtesy to explain the joke instead of forcing people to beg for an view into your attention-starved mind.

You are one of the most active practitioners of this ploy, to the point that I ignore most answers that you supply. If you don't have the correct answer or have nothing to add, shut the fuck up.










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Old 01-09-2013, 04:15 PM
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If you think that your wit, rivals Oscar Wilde than at least have the courtesy to explain the joke instead of forcing people to beg for an view into your attention-starved mind.
Et cetera. Your first two examples require a familiarity with a classic movie, two famous actresses, and German political history, and the third assumes a knowledge of basic geography. All of these, plus a sense of humor, are considered prerequisites before posting here.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:56 PM
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Et cetera. Your first two examples require a familiarity with a classic movie, two famous actresses, and German political history, and the third assumes a knowledge of basic geography. All of these, plus a sense of humor, are considered prerequisites before posting here.
  #47  
Old 01-09-2013, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
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If you think that your wit, rivals Oscar Wilde than at least have the courtesy to explain the joke instead of forcing people to beg for an view into your attention-starved mind.

You are one of the most active practitioners of this ploy, to the point that I ignore most answers that you supply. If you don't have the correct answer or have nothing to add, shut the fuck up.
Moderator note:

This is a formal warning.

If you have a problem with another poster on this board, take it to the Pit.

You can disagree but you must do so in a civil manner.

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Old 01-08-2013, 02:34 PM
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Comprehension would be greatly improved if so many of you weren't impressed with your own cleverness and just spelled out your inside jokes. Quit acting like schoolboys.
Whoa, that's way out of line here.

There are no "inside jokes" in this thread. And even if there were you should not react to them by yelling at people.

If you are unsure about what's going on in this thread, just ask a question.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:57 AM
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It's Katharine Hepburn. With an a. C.K. Dexter Haven of all people should have corrected that instantly.

Nunzio, go sit in the corner.

Last edited by Sister Vigilante; 01-10-2013 at 11:58 AM.
  #50  
Old 10-30-2018, 05:25 PM
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Bumped.

I'm now reading Robert A. Heinlein's sf novel Starman Jones (1953), and the first officer of a starship says that the captain can marry people. I guess Kirk and Picard must've read the same ship's regs.
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