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Prince Charles Called Out on Woo-Woo PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

her003Reader Rob commented on this piece that appeared on the BBC website. It seems that Prince Charles has a detractor in one Edzard Ernst, the UK's "first professor of complementary medicine." The scion of the royal family has long supported unproven remedies, and Ernst is appalled at one particular product. The item in question, Duchy Herbal Detox Tincture, is heartily endorsed by Prince Charles. It's also of note that Duchy donates money to Prince Charles' charity.

From Duchy's site:

What is Detox Tincture?

Duchy Herbals Detox Tincture is made from extracts of Artichoke and Dandelion, cleansing and purifying herbs to help support the body's natural elimination and detoxification processes, and help maintain healthy digestion. Duchy Herbals Detox Tincture can be taken as part of a regular detox program.

Globe artichoke, which has the Latin name Cynara scolymus, is a thistle - like perennial plant originating from Africa. It is easily recognised by its large green leaves and attractive purple flowers. Its is a well known vegetable that can be used in a variety of different dishes, and is also a well known digestive aid.

Dandelion, which has the Latin name Taraxacum officinale, can be found growing throughout the English countryside and is easily recognised by its vibrant yellow flowers. Dandelion leaves can be included in salads, the dried roots can be used as a coffee substitute, and it is also used to flavour herb beers and soft drinks.

With tongue firmly in cheek, I tell you that I would buy a product designed to improve my health based solely on how "attractive" the flowers of the ingredient plants are, and the fact that one of the ingredients can be used to make fake coffee.

Why the latin names? Does that somehow make the product more effective? Here's another latin name: Bos taurus, and I believe some of its eliminatory products have found their way into the Duchy's catalog.

There's not need for me to comment further, howerever, as Edzard Ernst sums it up nicely:

Duchy Originals detox tincture was based on "outright quackery".

There was no scientific evidence to show that detox products work, he said.

And then later:

Professor Ernst of Peninsula Medical School said Prince Charles and his advisers appeared to be deliberately ignoring science, preferring "to rely on 'make-believe' and superstition".

He added: "Prince Charles thus financially exploits a gullible public in a time of financial hardship."

But hey, some of it goes to charity.

 

 

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written by MadScientist, March 12, 2009
Bos Taurus? Excrementum! Or was I meant to say "excelsior!"

I've never tried the good old dent-de-lion as a salad vegetable; perhaps I would if there were a war on and there was nothing else to eat - hell, I'd even try the fake coffee thing. I've been told numerous times that the good old dandelion leaves make a nice sald - naturally everyone who has told me so had never used the leaves as a vegetable. Now for thistles - if you're not a horse, why eat it?

I think royalty are a bit funny in the head - perhaps it's the inbreeding or else being raised to believe that some sky-fairy had made them naturally superior to other humans, but they are peculiar nonetheless. Ol' Chuck's rather dreary and dull compared to his dad who has mastered the art of foot-in-the-mouth but perhaps he will turn funnier in his later years.
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written by MadScientist, March 12, 2009
Oh, I forgot to mention - since dandelions and thistles are considered weeds everywhere on the planet where I had encountered them, one question does come to mind: why pay for it? I'm sure the neighbors would thank you if you walked into their yards and chewed up the thistles. Stay away from my dandelions though - I love stomping them and watching the seeds scatter in the wind.
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written by Roo, March 12, 2009
Bos taurus? Well, that would be good for Prince Charles' garden at least... As an English girl, I groan inwardly whenever Prince Charles pops up with anything to do with homeopathy. He is a decent man, who is right about so many things - architecture and gardening in particular - and then he goes and lets himself down by spouting off about weasel-water remedies. 'Duchy Originals' should stick to their nice biscuits and pies and leave the world of medicine alone.
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written by medains, March 13, 2009
Having tried it (whilst on a caffeine free period), Dandelion makes an extremely poor coffee substitute.
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written by DrMatt, March 13, 2009
Coffee doesn't fill in bald spots in the lawn very well. In fact, it doesn't grow very well here at all. Coffee is no dandelion substitute.

Charles Mountbatten-Windsor is famous for being famous. He is afforded altogether too much attention.
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I wonder if they have applied for Government Approval?
written by seantellis, March 13, 2009
Prince Charles was instrumental in setting up the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (a.k.a. OfQuack) in the UK. I wonder if Dodgy Originals have applied for certification under the CNHC's rules?

Rules which, unfortunately, do not require any evidence of efficacy or safety. UK readers can sign a petition at http://snipurl.com/ofquack to require these minimal safeguards to be introduced. Edzard Ernst already has.
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written by latsot, March 13, 2009
There's something about this that really boils my piss. We the British public are asked increasingly to suspend our senses of fair play and outrage in accepting a tribe of unelected, inbred and over-privileged halfwits, who have achieved nothing at all on their own merit, as our heads of state. Now they are using the license we've unthinkingly neglected to revoke to them over the years to sell us ineffective quack bullshit.

But more importantly, the royal seal of approval will persuade any number of idiots that the prince’s ‘remedy’ (and therefore why not every other random thing?) is above board. Not only is it bullshit, but its anti-competitive bullshit.
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written by eli54, March 13, 2009
Artichokes certainly seem to clean out my system!
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written by Soapy Sam, March 13, 2009
Actually, this year, the Prince's Trust will NOT be benefiting from Duchy Original's donations, as DO, like many other "luxury brands" is taking a hammering due to the financial situation.
That said, what DO don't reinvest in the business (which means jobs) does usually go to charity, (albeit selected by Himself), so it's not quite as cynical as some purveyors of rubbish. DO also sells "quality, organic" foods to supermarkets. Having criticised McDonald's for their poor nutrition, barmy Prince Charlie was recently taken to task by at least one TV chef who pointed out that DO foods sometimes contain more salt and sugar by weight than McDonald's.

The problem with Charlie is that he is clearly not a cynical rogue. He has no need to be. He's a genuine, decent nutter who actually believes in everything from flying saucers to organic germanium and honestly thinks he's saving the world. He is, as we say in Scotland, "Away wi' the fairies." In most people this would hardly matter, but because he is surrounded by toadies and psychophants, he thinks everyone in the real world agrees with him. Sadly, this includes too many people in powerful positions who want knighthoods and other awards for idiots. (Wake up and smell the 21st century you morons!)

Fortunately there are some people willing to stick to the facts and tell Chuck when he has left Earth orbit and started doing quantum loops around the Moon. One of these is Edzard Ernst, who is emphatically on the side of reason. If there IS anything to SCAM, he is probably the one who'll find it,because he's meant to do that, but he's no waffle merchant. He's a real scientist.
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written by Willy K, March 13, 2009
Detoxify the Earth

1 - Take one regulation Olympic size swimming pool.
2 - Fill with properly prepared Di-Hydrogen Oxide.
3 - Slowly add members of Royal families.
4 - Wait until all movement of said members has stilled.
5 - Repeat as necessary. smilies/wink.gif
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written by MadScientist, March 13, 2009
@Soapy Sam:

I think you mean 'sycophants', but since you're Scot we'll forgive the English misspellings. The thought of 'psychophants' does terrify me though.

@Willy K:

You wouldn't also happen to be a Scot and reviving the ideals of your great allies the French, would you? At least swimming pools don't make as big a mess as Madame Guillotine. As Lady Macbeth exclaimed: "Out, out damned spot!" (I think she was talking to her dog.) I'm sure Elizabeth I musn't have been paying attention at the performance and she heard 'Scot' rather than 'spot' - a great misfortune for her cousin Mary.
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written by pxatkins, March 13, 2009
See, this vitriol won't win over a single believer. Charles is a bit eccentric, not a half-wit, that's just what you read in some bos taurus magazine while you were waiting to fill your recyled shopping bags. I doubt half-wits get to be qualified fighter pilots. I doubt they get to be qualified navigators, etc. etc.

People who are attracted to alternate medicines are by default interested in looking after their health. I'd say, by and large, it's better to drop a tab of garlic than a hamburger. Charles, irksome he may be to some, gets people to take better care of themselves.

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written by Willy K, March 13, 2009
MadScientist
You wouldn't also happen to be a Scot...

Nope. Though my mother claims that her cousins named Wallace are descendants of William Wallace, to which I replied, "Mumsy dearest, how many "descendants" of W.W. were discovered after Mel Gibson made that movie?" ;-)

Oh by the way, I'd included all royal families on the planet, that why I said "Detoxify the Earth." smilies/grin.gif
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written by mandydax, March 13, 2009
But hey, some of it goes to charity.

Perhaps a charity that uses actual (evidence-based) medicine to treat those who didn't seek real treatment for a real condition because they thought that this weed-juice could cure their ills? smilies/angry.gif
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written by MikeHutch, March 13, 2009
It hasn't just been salt and sugar that Duchy Originals has been criticised for having more than Macdonalds' products. This from the Daily Mail (not the most reliable of papers, certainly, but this is consistent with another critique mentioned below):

"The Duchy Originals Cornish Pasty carries more calories, fat and salt on a gram for gram basis than a Big Mac, which is the signature product of the McDonald's chain.

"The pasty carries 264 calories per 100g, which is considerably more than the 229 per 100g of the Big Mac."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-438997/Hypocrite-Prince-Charles-brand-food-unhealthier-Big-Macs.html

On Gordon Ramsey's "The F Word" in 2007 Janet Street-Porter presented an item which came to much the same conclusions.
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written by johnnymoab, March 13, 2009
Prince? he hasn't put out anything good since purple rain.
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written by Soapy Sam, March 13, 2009
I pspotted the "p" in "psychophant" as psoon as I popsted it. smilies/cry.gif . No "edit" button.
The pspelling pseems more psuited to the psubject!

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From Quackometer...
written by BillyJoe, March 13, 2009
Prince Charlatan.

That's all I have to say except that Australia will become a republic as soon as he descends the throne.

Oh and...pxatkins: you IDIOT! smilies/grin.gif

BJ
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written by MadScientist, March 13, 2009
@pxatkins:

"I doubt half-wits get to be qualified fighter pilots"

Your doubt is misplaced. I find it amazing that people would think someone needs much intelligence to fly something like a fighter aircraft - it's a mostly mechanical skill, like driving a taxi. As for navigators, people who genuinely understand the skill are pretty rare (I'm thinking maritime navigators like Ferdinand Magellan, Captain James Cook, etc). These days everyone with a handheld GPS receiver thinks they can navigate.

@Willy K:

I understand. My mom says I'm related to the Sam Huntington who signed the declaration of independence; lacking any evidence, I just took that as the sort of story a lot of people would like to tell.

@Soapy Sam:

Nice response. smilies/smiley.gif
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written by elbuho, March 14, 2009
Edzard Ernst is co-author with Simon Singh of Trick or Treatment? (Amazon link: http://is.gd/nkfr), and is the voice of reason (ostensibly) inside the CAM camp.
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written by latsot, March 14, 2009
Charles is a bit eccentric, not a half-wit, that's just what you read in some bos taurus magazine while you were waiting to fill your recyled shopping bags.


How did you know! That's *precisely* where I got my opinion of Charles Windsor.
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written by BillyJoe, March 14, 2009
Prince Charlatan.

I have had a rethink about that and now I feel I must apologise to Prince Charles.

Prince Charles is not a charlatan because, to be a charlatan, you have to actually have a clue.

smilies/grin.gif

BillyJoe
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written by iiwo, March 14, 2009
Just saw this on skepchick. For some reason when I read the article here last night, it didn't make sense. To be fair, I didn't read the BBC article you linked to, and I was tired enough that I got lost trying to follow all the quotes.

Now that I've read it again, it makes sense. Nice article, and thanks for the update!
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written by latsot, March 15, 2009
Charles is in a position to endorse whatever he wants. This is an opportunity that could be used for either:

1. good, or

2. evil.

Discuss.
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You've missed something
written by Alexander, March 15, 2009
You know Prince Charles isn't merely endorsing this product, he's producing it. He is not only the Prince of Wales, he's also the Duchy of Cornwall, and his income is from the Duchy Originals company.
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written by Roadtoad, March 15, 2009
It's easy to cite the stupidity in what Charles is promoting. The problem, as has been noted earlier, is that Chuck the Chump is famous for being famous, and there are those who will not recognize that mere notoriety does not translate into intelligence. If it's good enough for Charles, it ought to be good enough for them, never mind that in actual use, it's every bit as effective as the snake oil that used to be peddled across the American West by charlatans of every stripe, (and probably every bit as harmful.)

That Charles cannot be corrected in his proclamations, based upon a centuries old precedent of Royal Infallibility is sad and embarrassing. It suggests that in spite of becoming one of the most advanced nations on the planet, Great Britain remains mired in certain situations in sad customs which have long ago proven to be detrimental to the greater good. In the end, it will only bring an end to the subsidy of a wealthy group of people who have long ago served whatever purpose they might have fulfilled, and who are now in a tragic decline of their own making.

At least when Faulkner chronicled the decline of the sadly inbred Compson clan, he managed to show the humanity in them, and left us to feel some empathy for their fall. In this instance, I can only hope the fall comes sooner, rather than later, and they're obligated to go out and get real jobs to support themselves, rather than continuing to suck away at the drying teat of the British people.
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The perfect royal product
written by jcwept, March 16, 2009
...in that it's irrelevant, ineffective, and based on nothing more than outdated symbolism.
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written by latsot, March 16, 2009
"The problem, as has been noted earlier, is that Chuck the Chump is famous for being famous"

That isn't the problem.

The problem is that he is effectively if not technically the joint British head of state and providing his mother ever dies, which seems unlikely, our future full-time head of state, very much tied into politics, the armed forces and the political process. Charles has opportunity to influence policy decisions and the way those policies are instrumented. He does this all the time, to my lasting consternation.

It is unbelievable that a proper, modern society behaves like this, but here we are.
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written by Willy K, March 16, 2009
@Soapy Sam:
Is that screen name a tribute to "Soapy" Sam Ballard Q.C., head of chambers at One Equity Court where one Mr. Horace Rumpole practices law? smilies/grin.gif

"Rumpole of the Bailey" is my favorite TV law show. Rumpole was a skeptic if ever there was one!
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GOOD NEWS - BAD NEWS
written by rich_illing@yahoo.com, March 17, 2009
Good News - This morning I heard that some researchers have had some preliminary success in treating children with peanut allergies.

Bad News - The treatment (which should not be tried until further testing confirms the safety and efficacy) involves feeding the child extremely minute portions of peanut (thousandths of a peanut) and over time increasing the exposure. I think we can all see what the homeopaths will do with this information.
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written by mandydax, March 17, 2009
The treatment (which should not be tried until further testing confirms the safety and efficacy) involves feeding the child extremely minute portions of peanut (thousandths of a peanut) and over time increasing the exposure.

This is how I gained my immunity to iocaine powder.
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hold the press!
written by MadScientist, March 17, 2009
OK, we can forget about Chuck for an instant. I've just been reminded that the Grand Master of Woo is no less than His Holiness (*gag*) the pope. News reports (if we can believe them) claim that the pope is telling the people of Africa that condoms will not help in the struggle against AIDS.
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written by Roadtoad, March 17, 2009
Great. A guy who's supposed to be celibate is counseling on how to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and saying that one of the more effective methods of doing that is not going to do it for them. I don't know if it's the racism that gets me, or the sheer stupidity of such a statement. Certainly the arrogance does.
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written by BillyJoe, March 18, 2009
Did he say that or did he say that they SHOULD NOT use condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS?

I've seen news reports that say that he said that condoms actually increase the spread of AIDS, but I haven't yet seen a direct translation of what he said. So I'm loathe to comment at this point.

Does anyone have a link?

BJ
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written by tctheunbeliever, March 19, 2009
The Rev. Jim Jones wasn't all bad--he convinced quite a few parishioners to be concerned about the fates of their immortal souls. Let's not judge him solely by the Guyana Kool-Aid thing. smilies/wink.gif
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written by Roadtoad, March 20, 2009
Too bad he didn't drink it by himself, and leave everyone else out of it.
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written by Caller X, March 21, 2009
MadScientist wrote:

Your doubt is misplaced. I find it amazing that people would think someone needs much intelligence to fly something like a fighter aircraft - it's a mostly mechanical skill, like driving a taxi. As for navigators, people who genuinely understand the skill are pretty rare (I'm thinking maritime navigators like Ferdinand Magellan, Captain James Cook, etc). These days everyone with a handheld GPS receiver thinks they can navigate.


The original writer said "I doubt half-wits get to be qualified fighter pilots" so you created a strawman argument. Would you get in a cab driven by a half-wit? Can you name one aircraft on which you are qualified?

From Wikipedia (take it or leave it): "Prince Charles has qualified to fly a Chipmunk basic pilot trainer, a Harrier T Mk.4 V/STOL fighter, a BAC Jet Provost jet pilot trainer, a Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft, a[n] F-4 Phantom II fighter jet, an Avro Vulcan jet bomber, and a Spitfire classic WWII fighter." Presumably he has not maintained his quals. I look forward to hearing about yours.
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written by BillyJoe, March 21, 2009
Maybe he's an idiot savant. smilies/grin.gif
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written by Caller X, March 21, 2009
Maybe he's an idiot savant.

Would YOU get in a cab driven by an idiot-savant?

The Prince is also a member of The Magic Circle, though to his credit he seems not to use the credential.
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written by Caller X, March 21, 2009
Maybe he's an idiot savant.


Hardly a nice thing to say about MadScientist.
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written by SalzVR6, March 22, 2009
To say somebody is qualified to fly a Harrier begs a couple questions.

1. Did he get an 'Elvis black belt' sort of certification? What do you think might happen to the instructor's career path if he downgraded that particular student?

2. So what. Do you really honestly think they would risk him in a combat role?

My take is that a certification like that is about as meaningful as an honorary doctorate, only with vastly less justification.
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written by Caller X, March 22, 2009
written by SalzVR6, March 22, 2009
To say somebody is qualified to fly a Harrier begs a couple questions.

1. Did he get an 'Elvis black belt' sort of certification? What do you think might happen to the instructor's career path if he downgraded that particular student?

2. So what. Do you really honestly think they would risk him in a combat role?

My take is that a certification like that is about as meaningful as an honorary doctorate, only with vastly less justification.


The technical term is "qualified" not "certified". You're not slandering the Prince, you're slandering his instructors. So you're slandering a helicopter instructor, a naval jumpjet instructor, and an F-4 instructor; chances are they're not the same person. What aircraft are you qualified in again?
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written by latsot, March 22, 2009
The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) responded to a complaint by a member of the public over claims of efficacy in the advertisements for this jollup. As a result, Duchy Originals has agreed to remove the claims from the adverts.

http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Howweregulate/Medicines/Advertisingofmedicines/Advertisinginvestigations/CON041381

It's unlikely to impact sales in the slightest, sadly.
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written by Steel Rat, April 12, 2009
People who are attracted to alternate medicines are by default interested in looking after their health. I'd say, by and large, it's better to drop a tab of garlic than a hamburger. Charles, irksome he may be to some, gets people to take better care of themselves.


Well of course. Which is one might hear one say "Anything is better than surgery..." Which i actually heard a woman say when talking about her ills. She was trying everything else under the sun, except what had been proven to work time and time again. Looking after her health. Riiiight.
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written by Steel Rat, April 12, 2009
Doh! "Which is one might hear one say" should have read "Which is why you might hear one say"
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written by Steel Rat, April 12, 2009
The Rev. Jim Jones wasn't all bad--he convinced quite a few parishioners to be concerned about the fates of their immortal souls. Let's not judge him solely by the Guyana Kool-Aid thing. smilies/wink.gif


How does that alleviate his badidity? Trading fairy tales for suicide...
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Steel Rat
written by BillyJoe, April 12, 2009
Firstly: Yes, people who are interested in alternative medicine are interested in their health but, may I say, they have an unhealthy interest in their health, which is to say that their interest in their health is to the detriment of their general enjoyment of life. They also have no idea how to look after their health and Prince Charles, amongst others, ensures that they will remain. ignorant.

Secondly: Strangely, I read your original sentence the way you corrected it, so your correction confused me for a moment. Perhaps I have to be carreful not to read what I want to read. smilies/grin.gif

Thirdly: The poster you quoted in your last post was being ironic, though he spoiled it by including a smily smilies/wink.gif

regards,
BillyJoe
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