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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 11:42 am:   

When the networks essentially dropped boxing in the late 80s, it was dead and didn't know it. In the intervening years, the stars that arose in the sport either never or rarely appeared on free TV, and this caused the audience for the sport to age drastically. I can count on my fingers the number of boxing fans under the age of thirty that I know personally. The boxing promoters put every big fight on PPV and the marketing of boxing's youthful stars was handled by 70s type PR men. That did the rest. Now there are no new stars in the States. By new, I mean boxers who first made their mark in the 00s. There's Jermaine Taylor, but unless he improves measurably...well, the style he exhibited against Hopkins won't draw flies. The heavyweights are a bunch of tomato cans -- one could argue that there's not a single exciting fighter above welterweight.

Contrast this to Mixed Martial Arts. Pride and UFC have been smart in their marketing, using rap and heavy metal, targeting a young demographic. Once a month in Portland, they sell out an 8000 seat arena for fights that don't rise to the level of undercard fights on UFC PPV cards. The April PPV card in LA sold out Staples almost three months in advance. When's the last time boxing had that kind of response? Both Pride and UFC have a free weekly show on Fox Sports and Spike TV respectively. Their big cards attract young celebs like Vin Diesel and Josh Hartnett. Whereas boxing has only old guys like Sly and James Caan. MMA offers fighters who are in shape, officials who rarely make bad decisions, and competitive matches. By contrast, the state of boxing is symbolized by the recent heavyweight championship match between James Toney and Hasim Rahman, in which one competiter was too fat to move, the other too inept to hit him with anything meaningful, and the officials judging the fight got it completely wrong.

Last week, Marc Ratner, the commissioner of the Nevada Boxing Commission, the highest profile commission in the country, resigned his post to become the MMA commissioner in Las Vegas. This lateral move is the last nail in the coffin. Ratner can read the writing in the wall and is abandoning ship.

Stick a fork in it.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 12:13 pm:   

How has boxing killed itself? Let me count the ways...Its death is a death of many cuts.

I'm not familiar with the world of MMA, but if the various governing bodies have (i) good marketing teams; (2) competent, honest stewards; and (3) knowledgeable officials, they will be leagues beyond the current state of boxing today.

It is undeniable that boxing killed the goose that laid the golden egg by forsaking the replenishment of its fan base. I think women's bball is an instructive comparison. My dad and all his old Italian friends became UConn women's bball fans in the early 90s because men's tickets had gotten too expensive. Boxing simply priced itself out of the market by restricting big fights to hi-roller meccas with big-ticket prices and forcing fans to pay through the nose for PPV. The fights they were given for free were generally worth every penny. While MMA markets itself on basic cable through networks with young male demographics, boxing insists its fans shell out $30-$50 for fights that often aren't worth it.

Bad judging, alphabet-soup corruption and the general bad behavior of fighters, regulators and promoters don't help, but its economics and demographics that are the twin stakes through the heart.

With the collapse of Mike Tyson, the sport lost its last legitimate media star. Now, it's just a matter of decades before the public's interest completely grinds to a halt.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 12:33 pm:   

I doubt it'll take decades. MMA is growing by leaps and bounds, has grabbed the youth audience....I say it takes less than twenty years.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 12:38 pm:   

When we talk about boxing's belated efforts to grab a youthful audience, I think about the failure of "KO Nation."
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 12:59 pm:   

Was that the saturday aft show? Yeah, it was a half-hearted effort. All the old farts went boo, but Kellerman said the girls should have had bigger asses.

They didn't give it a chance.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 01:02 pm:   

Yeah, that was the show where they walked the fighters out, WWF-style, with a dj spinning hip hop tunes.

Established fans didn't like it, because it didn't feature Burt Sugar telling Zale-Graziano anecdotes.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 01:37 pm:   

Bucket amongst them....
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 01:40 pm:   

Did you hear that Denise wants to go to Stevestock with us? Bucket says he is thinking of initiating divorce proceedings. :-) Just got my Seagal Birchmere tix for June 27!
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 01:44 pm:   

I told you that on several on the board and you never responded. I already bought her ticket.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 01:44 pm:   

in several occasions
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PM
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 03:15 pm:   

Boxing has its problems but I still enjoy some of the fights.

I don't think it helps when the announcers are dead wrong but it's become its own sort of entertainment.

I'd rather watch competitive fights but I suppose I'm willing to take it like Jeff "punch me in the face" Lacy.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 03:31 pm:   

Name me a competitive fight upcoming that doesn't involve two safety first guys....
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PM
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 04:13 pm:   

I may not be quite following your point. From what I've seen the schedule looks lukewarm.

And the safety dance. We can dance if we want to:

I'll watch these and some others too but I don't have a dog in either of these two:

Mayweather vs Judah
Coralles vs Castillo

Mayweather like Roy Jones, Jr does that facial wincing thing at times which is visually irritating. They'll be winning but look almost as though they're afraid to take a punch.

But I'll take these any day over the typical heavyweight matches...
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 04:32 pm:   

Duh! The heavies are a joke, '

Coralles-Castillo is a beatdown -- not competitive. Corrales is shot.

Mayweather=Judah might have been interesting had not Judah lost to Baldomir. It's not competitive.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 04:32 pm:   

Sorry, Lucius, I musta missed the Denise post...
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 05:47 pm:   

The thing is, the sport is dying, and has been ever since the 80s. It started with the Mancini--Doo Koo Kim fight, in which the Korean fighter was killed. That was during the NFL strike, as my friend Katherine points out, and on a rainy November day all across the US, which meant that three times as many people were watching, mainly families. Shortly after that, the networks dropped it and the various governing bodies dropped championship fights from 15 to 12 rounds, saying that the last three rounds were the most dangerous ( a mistatement, since statistically, the first few rounds are the most dangerous.) Boxing never recovered. I guess if you take the big picture view, it's not really dead -- the sports been around for five thousand year and it will survive somehow--but for my purposes, it's dead. I doubt it will be a significant factor in the sporting life of this country for a very long time.
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PM
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 09:32 pm:   

More from my penny jar.

I don't think of boxing as a "family sport". While it's debatable what is and isn't age appropriate I think that we'd have to acknowledge that there are enough people to make it corporate unfriendly for network tv. It's bloody at times and of course there's the language (at times).

So yes that diminishes the potential audience though much of the audience has rightly or wrongly determined that it's not appropriate.

Cable tv wasn't the force back then that it is now. But it's still likely that at least for now that more money is being made by going the pay channel/PPV route.

And that's just it. In order for boxing to make millions then it has to be broadcast and someone has to be paying.

But the fights have to be exciting. If the present boring trend continues then presumably the PPV events will eventually collapse.

Whether this would bring new blood into the sport or change the matchmaking would remain to be seen. Presumably it would.
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L
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 10:27 pm:   

Boxing isn't a family sport was my point== the complaints of the families watching Kim's bloody demise helped make the networks' decision for them.

Boxing doesn't have to have PPVs to make millions. That's BS. What has to happen is it needs to be run like a business. Look at the UFC. It was discrimminated against by every state commision, by congress, it was failing, in worse shape than boxing ever was. Then the Zuffa Bros took over, started marketing it correctly, and now it's far and away the fastest-growing sport in America. Boxing needs less ppvs. More free tv.
But that still wouldn't do it. Back in the late 70s, people started sending their kids to karate or kung fu classes instead of the boxing gym, inspired by KUNG FU with David Carradine and the explosion of martial arts movies. That hurt. Then there's the explosion of salaries in football, baseball, basketball--that drained off athletes who might have become boxers. There is no solution. Boxing is flatlining, going into a semi-vegetative state, and there it will remain for a goodly while. The plethora of Eastern Europeans who were supposed to form the next underclass from which boxing would draw live bodies....well, that hasn't worked out. Eastern Europe has produced a few good lighterweight fighters, Orzubek Nazarov and Kostya Tzuu most prominent among them, and a few negliglble heavyweights like Valuev and Maskaev...but that's it.
With no source of new talent, it is as I have said.
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PM
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 07:08 am:   

Ali and Tyson haven't helped either.

Ali, unintentionally with Parkinsons, is seen as the damaging conclusion of a career in boxing.

Tyson, criminal and at times Dennis Rodman wannabee, fails to connect.

Both serve as strong disincentives for mainstream adoption.

Then there is the "coolness" factor. One thinks of martial arts as depicted in film and tv as bestowing superpowers or suprahuman ability. One doesn't associate boxing with the ability to say rip out an organ. When I watch Kung Fu I'm still wowed by his mien and his manner as the bad guys inevitably cross the line. Boxing just doesn't provide the same sensation.

It can be a contemplative sport though certainly not its exclusive appeal. And the time commitment is just right. The matches aren't too long and the frequency works well so that it's not a near daily event. Yes someone is boxing somewhere but one isn't obligated to see most or all fights.

As for PPV it's the matches. I'd say that Tyson biting the ear was unforgettable. It was also a ripoff. There were at least 30 or 40 people watching. And the host likely turned a profit :-) But everyone walked away miserable.

I recall a local club that would essentially do the same thing. But the matches aren't popular now and aren't shown by and large anymore.

As to the money and its talent draw. I'd say this is more applicable to Americans. Now maybe that's part of the problem for the audience. Whether Americans are boxing are not isn't important to me.

Is boxing dying? I like "declining" and "unpopular" but we're not really in disagreement.
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Lucius S
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 07:50 am:   

"Whether Americans are boxing are not isn't important to me."

Did you notice the title of this thread? If so, why bother commenting?

As to talent, American boxing, even with the loss of the Afro-American athlete, is in far better shape than European boxing--it has a Mexican and Puerto Rican population to draw on You should be worried about the Americans boxing, Most of the great champs have been either American or Latin, and without the Americans, you're going to have the upper weight divisions dominated by Eastern Europeans, freaks like Valuev and non-entities like the guy fighting Brewster tonight.
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PM
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 09:15 am:   

Well there are Americans and then there are those who immigrate or live in America and then there is boxing in the USA.

Those can overlap and they can also be distinct.

You made a valid point earlier that American athletes were being drawn to other sports due to money. Here I think we're both thinking of Afro and Caucasians who are American.

But this is a lament for the upper weight classes.

It's obvious that there's a lot of enhancin' goin' on in sports in general. And in the heavyweight division realistically who can survive a clean punch from today's monsters?

Yes we can say that some of the Eastern Europeans are "juicin'" more.

I'll watch the heavyweights but I don't consider that to be where the action is. And whether they're American or not their bodies are clearly unnaturally transformed (some more than others) and it isn't a clean fight.

The only way that's going to change is to get the "drugs" out of the system. Just don't see that happening anytime soon.

So yes I've basically written off the upper weight divisions. Which brings in the mid to lower weight divisions which have been at times exciting.

Granted we have to acknowledge that a number of these fighters in these divisions have "had" their careers and so it's a rebuilding time.

But I'm confident that there will be a new wave of Latin fighters to emerge though it may take a few years.

I want to see quality fights and I'm not going to express a preference in whether they're actually American or not.

I see boxing as its shown in the USA as an international sport.

But if we're talking about Americans who box who haven't recently arrived in America then yes when considered in its totality (all weight divisions) the Americans have been on their way out.
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Lucius s
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 10:11 am:   

Without American dollars, it's patently obvious that boxing worldwide suffers. The only star quality fighter to emerge lately in Europe is Ricky Hatton, and he's rapidly wasting the currency he gained from beating Tzuu.

You keep saying you want to see quality fights and you don't care if they;re American, as if I said something to the contrary. Which I did not. What I'm saying is that the health of boxing worldwide depends to a large degree on the health of the sport in America, and that's just basic.

Your last point is ridiculous == boxing in America has ALWAYS been funded by the latest wave of immigrants. and to suggest that they're not Americans because they're recent arrivals demonstrates an uncommon blindness to history of this country.

You say you want to see quality fights. I see about one or two a year, and that's it. Most of the rest are just pitiful mismatches or shows of incompetence. Rafael Marquez is one of the best fighters in the world, yet his visibility is almost zero. The next wave of Latin Fighters is here. Joan Guzman, Martin Castillo, Jhonny Gonzales, Fernado Montiel, etc...their visibility is also almost zero. We get, instead, Brewster-Whathisname.



Boxing has to be run like a business - simple as that. If it's not, it will become marginalized for the forseeable future. As of now, it's a cowboy industry, it's run like the drug business, and it's generating a lot of ill will.
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PM
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 12:54 pm:   

Our disagreements here are largely illusory.

However when I hear someone talk about the lack of Americans in this or that it points me in the direction of those who are born in America. America's a changing country and that's fine with me. But your examples were in the heavyweight division. So maybe you weren't trying to say it would be nice if there were more American born whites and blacks in boxing. But it could be read that way. And even if it's read that way it doesn't have to interpreted in a dire manner.

Because as we both acknowledge if Americans by and large run off and play other sports then someone
else from somewhere will box. And when given a chance some will choose to live in America. That's fine with me. Over time they become Americans. Or they remain in their native countries which is fine with me too.

When I think of boxing (especially when I'm trying to think positively about it) I just don't think of the upper weight classes. Yeah I watch 'em but it's just about like Mystery Science Theater.

Those divisions could disappear.

There is still an incredible bias toward these heavier weighted divisions. Boat anchors...

My interest is in the lighter/middle weighted guys and any number of them are not in born in America. I'd rather see talented non-Americans than mediocre Americans in the ring.

As far as the mismatches go doesn't much of this go as an attempt to create no loss records? And as with anything decisions are being made as to who will and will not be seen on tv. One can hope that some of the existing duds will fade and will provide an opportunity for someone else. That's a dream.

But the fighters and the promoters have to be willing to let the fights happen and obviously when one is gearing up to create PPV events or special events then we're going to likely get a lot of ---- in the interim.

My perspective is I'm not interested in titles or title bouts per se. Theoretically those should be bringing the best matches. They don't.
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charlie weisinger
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 03:12 pm:   

Yes , pay per view was a big killer.
Don king was a big killer too.
WWE was a killer.
Mike tyson rape charges made it hard to be a mike tyson fan.
Ali becoming a mental invalid did not help boxing.
I am really sad cause I love boxing.
Hagler vs Hearns.
sugar vs ray mancini
loved those fights.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 03:23 pm:   

We all did, charlie. But today with fights upcoming between winkie-hopkins (boring) and overweight heavies...It's a bleak lanscape.
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:20 pm:   

you know, i don't think i've sat through a whole boxing match, ever. like a real one. i've seen them in films, and a few clips and all, but a whole match? it's never been in an easily accessible place for me, and truthfully, i don't care enough to track it down.

which sorta goes to that marketing thing.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:22 pm:   

You need to go to a live fight and sit so close the blood splatters your shirt... :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:26 pm:   

will it is easter. what would easter be without some blood splatter?
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PM
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:36 pm:   

Ben, I could bust your nose...but I'm sure I'd have to wait in line :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:41 pm:   

yeah, best take a ticket now, pm, for when i start selling for that day ;)
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PM
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:42 pm:   

Oh, I'm gonna make a killin' on the "I hurt Ben Peek" buttons.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:43 pm:   

Are you a rude boy, PM...Hmmm.

Ben, Easter without blood is like a moo without a cow.
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PM
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:45 pm:   

Nope, Ben loves the attention :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:49 pm:   

Well, you'll never how much he loves it til you actually punch him....
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PM
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:52 pm:   

Lucius, you're a man of deep understanding.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:55 pm:   

You just noticed?
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PM
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:57 pm:   

It was an opportune time to mention it.
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 09:23 pm:   

the really funny thing is i don't care for attention at all, but i figure if you get it in this gig, it's better than being ignored.
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PM
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 09:29 pm:   

Well ok, mister I wanna rig an American genre award so I can spoil whatever little joy some may have left in their sad, empty lives :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 09:34 pm:   

heh. i was only joking on that--i mean, if i won, i'd be stuck with a nebula, and who wants that?
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PM
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 09:41 pm:   

No worries. I'd show up at the ceremony and demand a recount...
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 09:43 pm:   

you should do that anyway. all those voting awards suffer from the same bloc things--it's just the australian ones only require less people, and it's easier to pick the rigs.
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PM
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 09:47 pm:   

Well when "The Lepodopterist" wins you'll know who's responsible :-)

Well when it's your mates it hard to not wanna support 'em...
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 09:55 pm:   

You can have my Nebula, man...if I can find it. :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 10:29 pm:   

that'd be funny. i could start a trophy collection of awards won by different people. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 10:48 pm:   

If I can ever lay my hand on it, it's yours...
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 10:50 pm:   

i don't know how to thank you...
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 06:09 am:   

Send me your Ditmar.... :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 06:55 am:   

that's a harsh and unnecessary thing to say :P
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 09:44 am:   

We'll see, won't we?

I think it's entirely appropriate. ;)
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 04:06 pm:   

i told cat sparks it was hers, but if she doesn't want it, dude, i've still got your address round here somewhere...
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 04:33 pm:   

:-)

What a ditmar like. I imagine a pangolin with half its body melted into a caramel plastic mold.
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 04:43 pm:   

they change it every year, i think. last time i saw one it was a big glass brick like object.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 04:49 pm:   

Well, that's gonna look swell on my mantlepiece. :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 05:13 pm:   

it was a nice glass brick, i do have to say :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 05:20 pm:   

I bet it was...get enough of 'em, you could build a tiny house. :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 05:31 pm:   

at the time, the thought did cross my mind. though it's a long road to go, what with them being yearly... fifty years and you might have enough ;)
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 05:46 pm:   

Fifty years is tooo long. Steal ditmars, build house. This is my plan.
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PM
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 05:55 pm:   

Hmmm....guess we know where the Oscars went :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 05:56 pm:   

it's a beautiful plan :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 06:00 pm:   

I like it, too. Maybe a little house of Nebulas, too.
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 06:06 pm:   

you could go to award ceremonies and steal them. maybe offer a bit of cash. or a swap. probably just easier to take a backpack and swipe them all before the actual giving out, tho.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 06:42 pm:   

That sounds like a plan...and have a weapon for backup, maybe shoot some SFWA skunk in the nose. God, I'm getting all excited. :0
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 06:54 pm:   

haha. it's like the heist movie no one will ever care about :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 07:51 pm:   

well, if the screenplay's written well enough...
;)
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 08:10 pm:   

you call it THE HOUSE OF INTEGRITY
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 08:47 pm:   

HOUSE OF INTEGRITY ON THE EDGE OF TOWN...:-)
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, April 08, 2007 - 02:37 am:   

obviously a work of genius on our part :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 06:43 am:   

LAST HOUSE OF INTEGRITY ON THE LEFT :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 07:01 am:   

Good 'un!

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