pruning recommendations - Part II

momcat2000(indiana)January 27, 2004

are we done with the sci-fi pruning topic? i'd like to print a copy to send to my aunt, but if it's not dead, i'll wait.....

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phdnc(z6NW-No.Car.)

momcat2K are you sure you want to get this rockin' again? lol
perry

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 8:30AM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

I'd leave bad enough, alone. ;^D

We could turn this into a real pruning thread, though. I'm restoring the shrub plantings around my house by doing some radical pruning... 30-year-old shrubs that have never felt the sting of the Felcos.

Besides the horticultural rules for keeping shrubs and trees safe and healthy with pruning, there are some aesthetic aspects to keep in mind... besides avoiding the hated meatball model.

Does historical period of the house have bearing in how shrubs should be shaped? Does the architecture and shape of the house influence the way we prune and train plantings?

Take'r out, Ensign. Warp speed.
Aye, sir!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 10:34AM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

Hello All:

Felcos, shrubs, history, yeah, yeah, huh-huh, pruning, right.

On Beta Antares Four they play a card game...the name of the game is called...Fizbin. Each player gets six cards except for the dealer and the player on the dealer's [right].

spectre

P.S.: You were doing OK until your signature, Cady.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 11:23AM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Drat! My clever ruse has been discovered!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 11:30AM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Except on Tuesdays when it rains. Right, Spocko?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 11:32AM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

The odds of getting a royal fizbin are astronomical... Spock, what are the odds of getting a royal fizbin?

spectre

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 11:41AM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

I have never computed them.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 12:00PM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

Well, they're astronomical, believe me. Now, for the last card, we'll call it a kronk. You got that?

spectre

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 12:21PM
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ScottReil_GD(z5 CT)

CADY!

This is your doing, you fraud (You know Spectre can't help himself). "Oooh, I'm too high-brow for this silly stuff; we should talk about pruning. Isn't that right...MR. SPOCK! (Sad head shaking) Tsk, Tsk... ;)))

Hey I want Spectre to get that Pulitzer as much as anyone; then he'll have enough clout to get the "The Trouble with Triffids Redux" green lighted. I do so want a part in the movie. I know Shatner would need to be dead for a dedcade at least not to get the part (he would rise from the grave any sooner), so Kirk is out, but despite my decided lack of "ethnicity", I really want the Ensign Leibovitz part. Listen, I've been practicing...

"AAAARGH!"

or this one,

"AAAaaaargh!"

or more dramatic,

AAaaaaarrgh....gahhk!"

As you can see, practice does make perfect. You can contact me here for now, but I'm looking for an agent. I've found someone who might be right for me. He certainly seems honest; he wouldn't take the customary 50% and insists on only taking 40%, so I've got that going for me.

Tinsel in My Heart,
Scott

P.S. What shrubs do you have, Cady?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 12:24PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Okay, already. I'll stop the script in its tracks, even though I'm dyin' to finish the fizbin sequence. Fraud, indeed.

I think you could carry off the Ensign Leibowitz part, Scott. After all, look at all the Irish and Italian guys who played Native American parts in Hollywood... Just keep your back to the audience like Shatner's stand-in did when Kirk was split into two entities.

Shrubs... I have a ca.1925 cottage-bungalow-raised proto ranch, surrounded by 30-year-old yews, pieris, azalea, convex holly and burning bush euonymus. They are on average 8-10' high.

Last autumn, I pruned the first 10-12' of shrubs to remove dead and broken branches, crossing branches, and other corrections related to maintaining plant health. Bad weather made me stop for the time being, but I'll continue pruning in late winter. My goal is to restore the shrubs to a more open, airy state, but keep their shape informal.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 1:14PM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

Huhhhhh...........can't...stop...must...resist typing...huuhhhhh.......no italics....Right. Oh, look at that, you've got another jack! How lucky you are! How wonderful for you! Now if you didn't get another jack, if you had gotten a king, why then you'd get another card except when it's dark, when you'd have to give it back.

Sorry, I tried. LOL. Scott, I think you'd be great for the part of Leibowitz and I'm working with Viacom and Paramount to get the go ahead for a feature length movie called Star Trek XII: The Wrath of Leibowitz. It's basically a love story where Leibowitz gets affected by the Genesis device and gets reborn and seeks vengeance on the Federation on behalf of red-shirted extras everywhere.

My guy will call your guy and we'll do lunch.

spectre

P.S.: I tried to talk about pruning, but...

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 2:21PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

A better movie would be "The Leibowitz Wars: Attack of the Red-Shirted Phaser Fodder." It would be a revenge movie for all of the extras who were destined to be vaporized, consumed, fried, fricasseed or melted, and who didn't get their names in the credits.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 2:35PM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

Hello all:

OK, OK, if you really want me to talk about pruning, I can...I've discussed a technique on a couple of other posts before known as "lacing" that was promoted by a locally famous landscape designer known as Sinjen. He came up with it for subtropical gardens in San Diego to promote a thick, lush, look without the need for getting an artificial lollipop of butchered look.

If you're interested, I can discuss it here...or if all of you LD oldtimers just look at me as the punchy comic relief, I can do that too:

spectre

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 3:32PM
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momcat2000(indiana)

no, i don't want to get this rockin again. what i hated more than weeding my mother's garden, was the endless episodes of star trek, lost in space, monty python and such which was force fed apon me as a child. now, i'm not saying that i didn't have a favorite episode of star trek (charlie X) but my mom lived in a fantisy world which collided with my world of reality. although, i do have a monster rose bush which i have named "audrey" after the plant on "little shop of horrors". i learned anatomy from the bosom busting sci-fi paperback covers placed in the bathroom for our toilet reading pleasure. hours of fun for my brothers....

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 3:37PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

I keep trying to talk the woman who directs our FARA charity musicals into doing Little Shop... for some reason she thinks the pastors of our church (we stage these shows in the sanctuary)would object.

melanie

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 5:31PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Really--I just want a chance to build Audrey II....

momcat--my mother HATES it when we (sibs, inlaws, kids--everyone but HER really) starts doing scenes from Python. So you are in good company. She is the Smartest Person in The World. We don't understand WHY she can't see the humor in the Spanish Inquisition..

melanie

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 5:35PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Spectre, that graphic is over the top. LOL

Alright, I'm not going to encourage you anymore. We have to get back to serious pondering about garden restoration, renovation and rejuvenation.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 8:35PM
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momcat2000(indiana)

audrey II is a 7 sisters rose in my back yard. i have given my neighbor permission to prune if it attacks. mjsee, just the opposite here, my mother was a member of MENSA (certified genius) so there must be some enduring qualities and all this sci-fi stuff that i have yet to discover. oh well, maybe in my next life......

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 8:02AM
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ScottReil_GD(z5 CT)

Priceless, spectre, just a knockout. Spin-offs as far as the eye can see...

Propagating Audrey sounds like it might be up spectre's alley too (Isn't she a tropical?)

Where were we, pruning I believe? Cady prune the burning bush with a shovel. Bad plant; bird borne invasive it's evil...

Burn her, shes a witch...

What happened? I just woke up on the floor, mumbling something about Spam... Anyway...

The rest of your shrubs sound great and should respond well to heavy rejuvenation pruning, with the exception of the azaleas; have to go easy there as they won't back bud as regularly as the rest. But you should be able to turm most of them...

into a newt. Yes she did.

Happened again. This time I woke up wearing womens clothes and carrying an ax...

I got better...

(Sorry momcat)

Scott

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 11:48AM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

I know, burning bush is EVIL. But the previous owners were in love with it and put it everywhere, including in the woods in back. ACK! I'm planning a general eradication, replacing them with viburnum.

Spectre is quiet today. I hope he's researching more sci-fi 60srivia for another script. The three-part episode had me snorting tea on the monitor. :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 11:56AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

I want to know how Sinjen would have laced a callistemon citrinis (bottlebrush). I have one with a very dense crown. I need to either thin it out or get rid of it. The birds like it, and bromeliads bloom under it, so it has its merits. But it's also messy and dense.

Am I on the right forum? Hard to tell...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 12:11PM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

Hello:

Yeah, I'm quiet today. After the underwheming response to the movie teaser yesterday, I'm beginning to think that the charter members of the Garden Restoration forum probably want to see more threads on gardening than Star Trek, Monty Python, and Ensign Leibowitz. Heck, a few of the posts on this thread just went past it . . . if I'd done this in Tropicals, people would be coming back with their own movie posters. There was a post in a completely different thread in Tropicals where the contributor referred to pruning triffids, so I know we have some lurkers here.

It's not that I need my ego stroked continuously (well, it is actually, but not in this case), but I'm concerned that the humor needs to be toned down so we can give people real redesign and restoration advice.

Rest assured that I'm coming up with a plot line for LW: ARSPF involving Star Trek, Audrey II, the Jupiter II, and other shows where extras get killed (or forgotten) like James Bond movies, Mission Impossible, Hogan's Heroes, and the Brady Bunch (what happened to Tiger and the toilet in the kids's bathroom?) But that will be a few months away . . . there are plenty of things Cady could be snorting and I can tell you, tea is not one of them.

There are still redesign and restoration questions being posted on the LD forum that I'd like to see here. If posters realize the kind of advice and help they can get here, that will give this forum a nice mix of redesign and restoration advice, garden history, and humor that will make this "must see TV".

And BTW, Audrey II is an alien or xenotropical that presumably comes from the same planet as the triffids. And Cady, ACK? That's from another alien, specifically the bubbled headed Martians in Mars Attacks. "Ack, ack, ack-ack-ack, ack, AAACK."

spectre

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 12:27PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Hey, I thought the movie poster was outrageous! I just don't have those skills with Adobe Illustrator or PhotoShop to be able to come up with sequels.

ACK... I got it from Bill the Cat ("Bloom County").

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 1:02PM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

Hi Catkim and All:

I was writing my last post while Catkim posted her comment . . . this is exactly what I'm talking about . . . people still aren't sure what we're about!

Yes, Catkim, this is the right place for your question and any others that involve garden or plant restoration, rehabilitation, and redesign. As you know, WF Sinjen promulgated a pruning technique know as "lacing", which I use in my subtropical garden routinely. I learned it from local landscape designer Tom Piergrossi, who has a TV show on San Diego CTV called Down to Earth.

The idea is to prune shrubs like camellias, hibiscus and others so that they maintain a more graceful, natural look, as opposed to a hedge or lollipop look. One starts by normal heading cuts, remove all crossing internal branches that impede airflow, remove dead wood etc.

The lacing part comes in when you cut any vertical growth. These branches give the shrub or tree the overgrown look that is unattreactive. Further, traditional heading-type cuts typically cause flowering delay because you're continually cutting back mature wood. You want to promote lateral, diagonal growth to give the shrub structure and a graceful look that will require far less maintenance and cutting, promote more flowering, and give it an open look.

For example let's say you have the following situation when you're pruning:

The normal tendency is to cut the side branch and let the water spout or vertical branch grow. With lacing, you want to prune the vertical shoot and let the side shoot develop. Many older shrubs that look like mulch material can be given new life using this technique. Lacing involves artistic pruning . . . after you make your cuts, step back and see what you've done to shape the plant.

It's not as involved as bonsai, but the long-term goal is to work artistically shaping the plant to give it a natural shape and character. Your plant will look like crap initially, but it will look great given time.

Catkim, this should work with bottlebrush . . . give it a shot and if you need any additional advice, please ask. Good luck.

spectre

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 1:31PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Aha! Spectre, your illustration made the lightbulb go on. One more question, with said beastly bottlebrush, where to begin? Out to in, or in to out? From lower branches upward, or the reverse? This thing is an incredibly dense tangle.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 1:51PM
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phdnc(z6NW-No.Car.)

Martha Green-White-Black, my pruning mentor, while I was a young buck in the wholesale nursery business, used to tell me "P.D. you need to look at that plant, make a cut... and then stand back and look at it and listen.....'cause that plant gonna tell you what it wants done!!" That woman created some of the most gorgeous topiaries I have ever seen. It sounds silly doesnt it to stand back and let the plant tell you but how many of us have done just that and let the shape come out on an old plant . I love pruning the old guys that have been abandoned, just to see what can become of it.
Artistic Pruning........ Southern Style. lol
Like spectre says give it a shot.

Spectre I was way far away when the Liebowitz poster was created and posted cause I would have commented immegeadiTTately!!!

spectre .......you scare me!!!*smile*
thanks for the lacing tutorial.
perry

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 2:07PM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

Hi Catkim:

When I saw Tom actually doing it with some horribly overgrown camellias on his show (actually this month's episode), he hacked away with abandon in the beginning. He started at the top and easily accessible side branches first...you need to access the inside of the shrub to thin and unless you want all of those stamens in your hair, that involves cutting outer branches. As he was able to see what he was doing, he slowed down and looked at where he wanted to go next, artistically.

My point in the second to the last paragraph above was that your initial cuts are going to make the plant look like crap, but there's little you can do about it if you want to ultimately want to see what you're doing. The way I go is if I have access to the base of the shrub without getting cut-up, I start there to thin out the obvious crosses. By then, that opens the shrub enough to see where I need to make artstic cuts.

Short answer: out to in and thin out the top first so you can see, then go to branch bases. I hope I answered your question, but the bottom line is the shrub will look ghastly the first time you do it, but if you do right it will look beautiful. Let me know how it goes.

spectre

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 2:16PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Spectre-
Won't you end up with a lot of crossed branches this way, tho'? Seems to be encouraging this--that's what "lacy" would imply, too. Sort of a net or web of branching. Maybe this is a technique for certain types of plants with amenable growth habits? If so, which ones?
Ginger

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 2:35PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Is that the same thing as "pleaching"?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 2:58PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Cady-Pleaching is planting trees close together, then pruning to grow so the lateral branches touch, then purposefully interweaving them. Then the branches actually grow together to make natural graft-like growths. Someone posted a photo of trees grown like this in a circle to form a canopied seating area - may have been Michelle some years back. Hornbeams are used for this. I looked into it b/c I wanted to try it, but never did(so far!).
G.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 3:21PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Thanks, Ginger. I got "lacing" and "pleaching" confused...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 3:28PM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

Ginger:

If you look at the plant in one plane, yes, it will encourage crossing branches, but not the type that I'm referring to above. For example, when I say that crossing branched need to be eliminated, this means the ones that touch or are obviously "twisted" inside another branch. The end result should look something like this:

As far a plants that lend themselves to this, most woody shrubs and trees can benefit from lacing, especially if it's a plants that's used to being sheared. It's simply more natural looking.

spectre

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 3:44PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

I get it. Work more on the outside to open it up for the bowl-shape; keep branches from crossing by pruning for direction. Nice.

Thanks for further explanation, spectre. Drawing made things clearer.

Ginger

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 6:05PM
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JillP

Oh I am so excited. I have been lacing my Van Houten spirea all these years. I am actually pruning right?! Lets just not discuss the apple tree. Live long and prosper.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 7:05PM
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momcat2000(indiana)

i pruned my lilac bush about 5 years ago. i cut the big, old canes from the middle so it would receive more air and light. well, the outer branches weren't spreading wide like i thought a lilac bush should, so i tied some of the larger outer branches with string weighted down with small river rocks hanging on the end of the strings. craziest thing you ever saw, looked like the bush was dripping rocks. left it that way for about a month, training the shape of the bush to stay more open. improved the shape of the bush and the middle stayed less crowded

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 8:42PM
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venezuela(venezuela)

I don't know who WF Sinjen was but I learned lacing from my father who probably learned it from his father. I've been doing it from the time you were still in diapers Spectre!!!!!!! Anyway, I always start by getting inside and working out. Get rid of all the crossing branches and all the clutter of small branches.
As you get rid of all this inner growth the branch structure begins to show itself. Then you can keep working out to the tips removing branches that repeat higher and lower ones. If you have three going in the same general direction most often you can get rid of the middle one and thus open up the outer edge. This gets the branches spreading so that more air and light come through. In the end you will have a shrub or tree that has a natural shape and whose structure can be seen.

If you have ever been to southern California you will know what we are talking about as it is done by all the cities there. I personally think they take it too far, They prune to almost leave the trees leafless and then, the trees barely start to grow when the tree crews come through to prune again. Actually, I think it started in Disneyland. From the time they opened in 1955 they began lacing their trees.

chris

ps. I am sure glad we got back on to a garden topic, sorry, I was lost and starting to get bored.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 8:59PM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

Venezuela:

Didn't you watch TV when you were younger? What's wrong with you man?

The way I use lacing is that once the shape is set, I let the plant grow and fill in, continuing to artistically prune the shrub. I let it leaf and flower out in full.

spectre

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 9:05PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

I did a google search on "lacing" earlier and it is indeed mentioned in city after city in CA, especially around the San Deigo area. Various arborists advertise "lacing up" as one of the services rendered, too. I like the term; it's expressive.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 10:39PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Well, now I know how to tackle the quince bushes in my fornt yard. STILL need to move one of them, though. Maybe next fall I'll have figured out where to move it TO.

I've been lacing my poor prunus mume since I moved in--just didn't know that's what I was doing--I just couldn't believe all those branches growing straight up were a good idea. They were rubbing the horizontal branches above--and I didn't think THAT could be good for the plant either...

who knew?

melanie

    Bookmark   January 29, 2004 at 10:14AM
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ScottReil_GD(z5 CT)

I wouldn't recommend lacing a shrub dogwood, a forsythia, or a lilac. Some plants are just better cut back to the base, like momcat did with her lilac. On the shrubs I just named I take a third of the old wood right to the base every year. Momcat, do that yearly and the basal sucker growth will fatten your lilac in just a few years.

Just thought we needed to specify that this lacing isn't for every plant out there...

Scott

    Bookmark   January 29, 2004 at 1:43PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

momcat, the rope-and-rock weight technique has been used by the Japanese for hundreds of years. They do it to shape pine trees and other garden and landscape plants.

I guess if something simple works, there's no need to go high tech! :)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2004 at 1:56PM
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venezuela(venezuela)

Spectre, I think I did see a lot of TV when I was a kid but I remember "I love Lucy" and maybe "Leave it to Beaver" better than Star Trek. As I said I was probably off singing in a choir---- or gardening.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2004 at 8:51PM
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spectre(SZ 24, US 10b)

Venezuela, I know about Leave It To Beaver like the classic line, Ward, weren't you a bit hard on the Beaver last night?"

spectre

    Bookmark   January 29, 2004 at 11:12PM
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