Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga: a Book Review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:46 PM GMT on November 21, 2012

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With a name like "Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga", a book with a title like that compels one to pick it up and see what the heck the author is talking about. And Joe Romm's new book on how to communicate doesn't disappoint--it's a thoughtful and compelling look at the techniques used by some of history's great communicators to help persuade. Joe Romm is author of the climateprogress.org blog, the most visited climate change blog on the Internet, and the main blog that I use to stay current on climate change and energy news. Romm defines Language Intelligence as "the ability to convince people of something both intellectually and emotionally, at both a conscious and unconscious level." He goes on to say, "If facts were sufficient to persuade people, then experts in science would rule the world. But facts are not, and scientists do not. We filter out all the facts that do not match our views." At the heart of great communication lies great story telling, and Romm give us these tips on how to tell a story people will want to read:

- Write a great headline: Newspaper readers read 56% of the headlines, but only 13% of the stories are at least half-read. Headlines are even more important on-line, since they are what show up on Google searches and tweets. An example of one the most re-tweeted headlines Romm used in 2011: "Mother Nature is Just Getting Warmed Up: June 2011 Heat Records Crushing Cold Records by 13 to 1" (Romm uses a pun and personification to help create an eye-catching headline.)

- Short words are the best words.

- Slogans sell.

- If you don't repeat, you can't compete. Repetition and rhyming help people remember your message.

- The golden rule of speech-making is: "Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em; tell 'em; then tell 'em what you told 'em."

- Repeated distortions and smears are as effective as repeated truths, so beware of these sorts of attacks.

- If you want to de-bunk a myth, you need to focus on stating the truth, not repeating the myth.

- If you want to be more noticed and remembered, use more figures of speech (metaphors.) Examples of metaphors I've used include comparing our melting Arctic to the attic of a house that is on fire (Earth's attic is on fire: Arctic sea ice bottoms out at a new record low) and comparing the impact of global warming on extreme weather to the impact steroids have on a baseball slugger (Extreme events of 2011: climate change a major factor in some, but not all).

- Create an extended metaphor when you have a big task at hand. Countless books and articles underscore that extended metaphors are at the core of human thinking.



Video 1. National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Dr. Jerry Meehl uses a metaphor to explain how climate change's impact on extreme weather is similar to how steroids affect a baseball slugger's ability to hit a ball out of the park.

At 183 pages, the book only took me about two hours to read, and I was very glad I did. It was very entertaining and informative, and anyone involved in public communication can learn from this book. I give it my highest rating: four stars out of four. Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga is $9.67 from Amazon.com.

Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday, everyone, and I'll have a new post for you on Friday.

Jeff Masters

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162. yoboi
Quoting hurricane2013:
Stop talking about politics!!



when the Doc has lady gaga in his blog topic pretty much anything goes.....
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Quoting TomballTXPride:


The 12Z usually has a better handle on surface temperatures, especially within the first 36 hours.

The 18z is nearly identical to the 12z.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32721
Quoting hurricane2013:
Stop talking about politics!!



NO
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The John Lennon story is a good example of how headlines and context are slippery critters. Seems quite on topic considering the blog post by Dr. M.

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Tomorrow's Thanksgiving Day temperature forecast, brought to you by the 18z GFS.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32721
154. yoboi
Quoting PlazaRed:

I was in LA during the Olympics in '84 and in the evening the sun was setting into a brown smog. I remember that the police on traffic duties had badges that changed color when the pollution was really bad.
One night I landed at LA airport and the whole sky except for the bit directly above was deep brown.
What I am getting at with my previous comment is that this stuff normally blows away here, so very few people are aware of its existence.
Added to that I come from Manchester UK! When I was at junior school some mornings the smog was so thick we could not clearly see the ground we were standing on!




the smog did not seem bad in CHIPS episodes...
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Stop talking about politics!!
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Quoting gulfbreeze:
I watch CNN & Fox and go with somthing in the middle!There is very little real News reported just lots of opinions!


Fox News vs. MSNBC is simply counter-programming. CNN takes the middle road, although I think that have the best coverage of International news.
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Why don't we just discuss ENSO & the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season? Because the setup this year seems to be interesting. For the first time since 2004 I can say that we are in a very weak "Modiki".
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Why don't we just discuss ENSO & the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season? Because the setup this year seems to be interesting. For the first time since 2004 I can say that we are in a very weak "Modiki".
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Quoting PlazaRed:

I was in LA during the Olympics in '84 and in the evening the sun was setting into a brown smog. I remember that the police on traffic duties had badges that changed color when the pollution was really bad.
One night I landed at LA airport and the whole sky except for the bit directly above was deep brown.
What I am getting at with my previous comment is that this stuff normally blows away here, so very few people are aware of its existence.
Added to that I come from Manchester UK! When I was at junior school some mornings the smog was so thick we could not clearly see the ground we were standing on!


I went to those Olympics! First time I saw how the French soccer team were total cheaters! Diving all over the place! haha The crowd went from being pro-France to pro-Brazil. But yeah, LA, ugh. My mom lived in pasadena for quite a while, and had visited for a few days in the early 90's. Had gone up to the mountains, and you couldn't see any land, despite being a cloudless day. it spreads so badly eastward as well to the Coachella Valley, used to watch it come in.
Manchester still gets bad sometimes in the summer, but probs not as bad now?! I do quite like living where pollution isn't a problem in the Welsh hills. Don't even have a light pollution problem at night, glorious! Though have a def rain/cloud problem for that :P
Member Since: October 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 868
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
I see a lot of Thanksgiving talk going on this evening...John Lennon, Fox News, Nea the Baker Man...I love the holidays!

And on a side note...Don't you hate it when you spend a hour in the grocery story, only to realize you forgot something?

I just hate spending time at the grocery store. Grocery or clothes shopping is just so boring to me.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
I see a lot of Thanksgiving talk going on this evening...John Lennon, Fox News, Nea the Baker Man...I love the holidays!

And on a side note...Don't you hate it when you spend a hour in the grocery story, only to realize you forgot something?
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Quoting PlazaRed:

There was some point about 40+ years ago when some of the Beatles were reported to say we are more popular than Christ.
This as far as I can remember was followed by a large quantity of their records and writings being burned in the USA.
I believe they were jokin around, but if they were not, I guess there would be a conlfict of interests..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22322
I watch CNN & Fox and go with somthing in the middle!There is very little real News reported just lots of opinions!
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Quoting SherwoodSpirit:


Denver in the 70s was the same way. I remember days you couldn't even see the Front Range from downtown, it was so bad. There's a temperature inversion present most of the time, that just holds the air in the bowl Denver resides in. When you came down from the mountains into Denver's smog, it was like driving into a soupy grey brown miasma. It stunk. You knew you didn't want to breathe that stuff.
Back then, Denver's largest single contributor to its air pollution was the coal-burning electric company that powered the city. When they cleaned up the power plant and got strict with auto emissions, Denver's air cleared tremendously. I was amazed to see how much it had improved when I went back for a visit in 1984.


The U.S. has had declining CO2 for two years runnings. The last time that happened was in the 1980's when we had three years running of lower CO2 levels. We're making progress. Now if we can get rid of the corn ethanol mandate which creates more CO2 in that process not to mention the suffering it has caused with higher corn prices.
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Quoting bappit:

At least this part was quoted here.

"Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."


Jesus Loves You - Comforting to hear in Church, horrific to hear in a Mexican prison...

Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10663
SIMILARITIES


November 19, 2012


November 20, 2004


"Similar, but different"...
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Quoting plutorising:


i think he was spot on.

At least this part was quoted here.

"Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Jed, it is not I who is "singling out" Fox. There have been a number of university-level studies that have done the "singling out" for me; I'm merely citing those studies. At any rate, Fox was the subject of the original comment to which I was responding (#45), so discussing it seemed like the right thing to do.


Fair enough, but I recognize that the sources you posted are mostly heavily left leaning. I must stress that I am not a right winger, as most here would know, I'm pretty neutral politically, if anything I lean slightly left compared to most Americans. With that said, maybe that's because most of the time you're discussing climate change, which I agree Fox News is far more deceiving about the issue than the other major networks. However, that is only because the other major networks are generally left biased and climate change is often a major concern to the left because the environment is a serious value for them, with CNN being more moderate of the others.
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Quoting LargoFl:


I have a request to the NWS - can you please not use similar colors to denote an area you are trying to highlight as a warning area?

I can sorta tell the rip current area, but not easily or at first glance.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10663
Quoting Minnemike:
considering rock 'n roll is still up and kickin too, it'll be a long long time before he's proven wrong ;)
and indeed his reward is great.. he never had to endure either Fox or MSNBC.. am i right??!
:P

LOL, Mike, I'll give you a thumbs up on that one. :)
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Quoting sar2401:

You should have lived in Los Angeles in the 60's. Most days the visibility was less than five miles due to persistent and extremely irritating smog. There are surely unseen pollutants that cause harm, but check out a view of downtown LA in the 60's compared to today. The progress in fighting smog has been remarkable, and it was certainly nothing I thought I'd see in my lifetime, so there's hope for you too.


Denver in the 70s was the same way. I remember days you couldn't even see the Front Range from downtown, it was so bad. There's a temperature inversion present most of the time, that just holds the air in the bowl Denver resides in. When you came down from the mountains into Denver's smog, it was like driving into a soupy grey brown miasma. It stunk. You knew you didn't want to breathe that stuff.
Back then, Denver's largest single contributor to its air pollution was the coal-burning electric company that powered the city. When they cleaned up the power plant and got strict with auto emissions, Denver's air cleared tremendously. I was amazed to see how much it had improved when I went back for a visit in 1984.
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Hurricane Sandy's death toll is, unfortunately, up to 253 this afternoon following 44 fatalities in Haiti, indirectly related to the storm. This brings the death toll there up to 104, while the one in the United States remains steady at 131.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32721
Back to the topic of weather, does anyone else remember a Thanksgiving holiday period where the weather has been this tranquil in the whole CONUS? The national mosaic radar is remarkable for almost the complete lack of any type of storms. I don't think I've ever seen this large a portion of the country blanketed in high pressure as I do today. Figures, this is one of the few years I won't be flying anywhere. :)
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Quoting sar2401:

Well, it's 47 years later, and I don't think his prediction has come true yet. John Lennon, on the other hand, has already met his reward in the great hereafter. What that may be, I'm not qualified to say.
considering rock 'n roll is still up and kickin too, it'll be a long long time before he's proven wrong ;)
and indeed his reward is great.. he never had to endure either Fox or MSNBC.. am i right??!
:P
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Quoting indianrivguy:


well all the kids went out and bought new albums after their folks went bonkers and burned... so the Beat-uls made out anyway..



Haha touche! First time I saw that interview, probably in my very early teens when Mtv started getting big...even then, it didn't sound like he was saying they were so great and bigger than Jesus. Total taken out of context moment.

Anyway, Hope all you back home have a good day tomorrow and those doing all the cooking have a bit of R&R too! Being in the UK, always a very quiet Thanksgiving for us. I make some pumpkin pie for myself (as Ceres doesn't care much for it, so ice cream for her), got some fresh cranberries to make some sauce for both, mash with gravy for her, a sweet potato for me and a bit of turkey type thing for both. Have learnt can't do too many sides when just us. Hopefully get hold of my ex-pat friend to offload pumpkin pie to so I don't eat the whole thing LOL
Member Since: October 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 868
Quoting wxgeek723:
You know, I STRIVE to be open minded.
But every day I come on WU I see comments that reinforce Southern stereotypes.
Just saying.

Really? I live in Alabama. Exactly what Southern stereotype do you believe is being reinforced? Have you ever lived in the South, or even spent a significant amount of time in the South? There's a reason it's called a sterotype. I can think of some pretty unappealing sterotypes of people who live in the LA metro area or the San Francisco Bay area (I have lived in both), but I'm not foolish enough to believe they are either true or represent even a significant minority of the people there.
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Quoting sar2401:

You should have lived in Los Angeles in the 60's. Most days the visibility was less than five miles due to persistent and extremely irritating smog. There are surely unseen pollutants that cause harm, but check out a view of downtown LA in the 60's compared to today. The progress in fighting smog has been remarkable, and it was certainly nothing I thought I'd see in my lifetime, so there's hope for you too.

I was in LA during the Olympics in '84 and in the evening the sun was setting into a brown smog. I remember that the police on traffic duties had badges that changed color when the pollution was really bad.
One night I landed at LA airport and the whole sky except for the bit directly above was deep brown.
What I am getting at with my previous comment is that this stuff normally blows away here, so very few people are aware of its existence.
Added to that I come from Manchester UK! When I was at junior school some mornings the smog was so thick we could not clearly see the ground we were standing on!
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2153
Quoting plutorising:


i think he was spot on.

Well, it's 47 years later, and I don't think his prediction has come true yet. John Lennon, on the other hand, has already met his reward in the great hereafter. What that may be, I'm not qualified to say.
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Quoting PlazaRed:
Some interesting reading on here tonight!
Well, I just watched the Spanish national weather forecast. Every night they show photos that people have uploaded of weather on that day,a bit like some do to WU.
One of the photos was of Barcelona on a clear day blue skies and the forcaster said no wind.
Above the city of about 5 million sure enough were clear blue skies but at ground level,( we had a bit about "ground level"earlier the place where we live,)the buildings disappeared into a thick brown misty haze.
The forcaster was quick to state that this was "Pollution," which lingers due to no wind.
Times this city by a few thousand, at least 5 days a week and thank the wind that we normally cant see the pollution.
Somebody once said,"Do not be afraid of what you cant see!"
Well once you've seen it should fear follow?
Just because there is wind to blow it away the pollution is still there, just dispersed.

You should have lived in Los Angeles in the 60's. Most days the visibility was less than five miles due to persistent and extremely irritating smog. There are surely unseen pollutants that cause harm, but check out a view of downtown LA in the 60's compared to today. The progress in fighting smog has been remarkable, and it was certainly nothing I thought I'd see in my lifetime, so there's hope for you too.
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Prepared jointly by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA,
Space Weather Prediction Center and the U.S. Air Force.
Updated 2012 Nov 21 2200 UTC


Joint USAF/NOAA Solar Geophysical Activity Report and Forecast
SDF Number 326 Issued at 2200Z on 21 Nov 2012


IA. Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 20/2100Z to
21/2100Z: Solar activity has been at moderate levels for the past 24
hours. The largest solar event of the period was an M3 event at 21/1530Z
from Region 1618 (N09E01) associated with Type IV and II radio sweeps
(estimated velocity of 1918 km/s), a 200 sfu Tenflare, and a CME. More
imagery is needed to determine the trajectory, however, it is expected
to be Earth-directed due to the location of the region. Region 1618 also
produced an M1/1n flare at 21/0656Z associated with Type IV and II radio
sweeps (estimated velocity of 720 km/s) and a CME. This CME appears to
have a slight Earthward component but the majority of ejecta is directed
Eastward as visible on imagery. Region 1618 developed into a
beta-gamma-delta magnetic configuration. A filament eruption occurred
between 20/2305Z to 21/0200Z at around N27E17 with a 14 degree
heliographic extent. This filament eruption does not appear to have a
CME associated with it. There are currently 5 numbered sunspot regions
on the disk.

IB. Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be at
moderate with a chance for high levels on days one, two, and three (22
Nov, 23 Nov, 24 Nov). Region 1618 is expected to produce M-class flares.
A chance for an isolated X-class flare exists for this region.


IIA. Geophysical Activity Summary 20/2100Z to 21/2100Z: The geomagnetic
field has been at quiet to unsettled levels for the past 24 hours. Solar
wind speed, as measured by the ACE spacecraft, reached a peak speed of
488 km/s at 21/0307Z. Total IMF reached 7 nT at 20/2228Z. The maximum
southward component of Bz reached -6.4 nT at 20/2350Z. Electrons greater
than 2 MeV at geosynchronous orbit reached a peak level of 857 pfu.

IIB. Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected
to be at quiet to unsettled levels on day one (22 Nov). On day two (23
Nov) conditions are expected to increase to unsettled to minor storm
levels with a chance for major storm levels due to the arrival of 21 and
22 Nov CMEs. Conditions are expected to decrease to unsettled to active
with a chance for minor storm levels on day three (24 Nov) with CME
effects combined with a favorably positioned coronal hole. A chance for
a proton event exists on days one, two, and three (22 Nov, 23 Nov, 24
Nov) due to a chance of high solar flare activity and a favorable
position of Region 1618.



III. Event probabilities 22 Nov-24 Nov
Class M 70/70/70
Class X 30/30/30
Proton 30/30/30

PCAF green


IV. Penticton 10.7 cm Flux
Observed 21 Nov 140
Predicted 22 Nov-24 Nov 140/135/135
90 Day Mean 21 Nov 122


V. Geomagnetic A Indices
Observed Afr/Ap 20 Nov 010/013
Estimated Afr/Ap 21 Nov 007/008
Predicted Afr/Ap 22 Nov-24 Nov 010/012-023/030-014/020


VI. Geomagnetic Activity Probabilities 22 Nov-24 Nov
A. Middle Latitudes
Active 20/35/40
Minor Storm 05/30/20
Major-severe storm 01/10/05
B. High Latitudes
Active 20/10/10
Minor Storm 30/20/25
Major-severe storm 25/65/60
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 8002
Quoting sar2401:
This is the actual quote from John Lennon, as reported in the London Evening Standard on March 4, 1966:
"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first—rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

The "more popular than Jesus" thing was a small part of what got Christians upset. John Lennon, while a great musician, was clearly off base when it came to discussing Christianity.


i think he was spot on.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 81
Quoting hydrus:
I see your point, but are you implying that nothing is more popular that Christianity? If you are, you would be off base.

No, not at all. I was merely pointing out the Lennon's actual qoute was not simply musing on the fact that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, it was a direct attack on a major religion. As time has passed, it's much easier to forgive him as being a young and exceptionally arrogant man when he said that, but I can certainly see why it caused an uproar when it came out. I was 19 at the time and remember it well.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41845
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41845
Quoting bappit:

How do I know that any of that is true?


I would absolutely put that ice cream pie on top of my mississippi mud!

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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41845
Haven't been on in a while tryna get ready for black friday at my store but i wanna thank everyone for a great hurricane season and wish everyone happy Thanksgiving Eve! make sure yall give thanks to everyone and pray for those who cant be around to see their families and that are homeless.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41845
Some interesting reading on here tonight!
Well, I just watched the Spanish national weather forecast. Every night they show photos that people have uploaded of weather on that day,a bit like some do to WU.
One of the photos was of Barcelona on a clear day blue skies and the forcaster said no wind.
Above the city of about 5 million sure enough were clear blue skies but at ground level,( we had a bit about "ground level"earlier the place where we live,)the buildings disappeared into a thick brown misty haze.
The forcaster was quick to state that this was "Pollution," which lingers due to no wind.
Times this city by a few thousand, at least 5 days a week and thank the wind that we normally cant see the pollution.
Somebody once said,"Do not be afraid of what you cant see!"
Well once you've seen it should fear follow?
Just because there is wind to blow it away the pollution is still there, just dispersed.
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2153
Quoting Dakster:
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVE TO EVERYONE on the WunderBlog.

I hope mother nature cooperates and gives us all nice Thanksgiving weather.

and a Happy thanksgiving to you and yours also..supposed to be great weather here by me
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41845
Quoting sar2401:
Boy, it's tough in here when there are no major disasters to talk about. :)

It's a beautiful day here in Central Alabama, with a temperature of 69 and a light breeze as I write this. It's supposedly only going to get into the mid 50's and down into the mid 20's by Saturday. Seems to hard to believe, but we'll see if it really happens. No severe storms at all so far, which is a blessing for us, since November is our secondary severe weather season here.

Since we're all going to die soon from the curse of the Mayans, AGW, zombie attack, asteroid collision, or just plain old age, tomorrow will be a good day for giving thanks for all I've gotten so far and the pleasures of life while they last. I've met an a lot of really good people here (even including Nea {gasp!}), so I'm also thankful for all of you, Dr. Masters, and Angela for giving us a place to vent, learn, and generaly hang out. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Agreed. Beautiful day here in Austin as well at around 80. It looks pretty nice across most of the country. Def a lot to be thankful for as well. Lets all enjoy it before those asteroid riding zombies you speak of eat all the remaining twinkies. :-)
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116. yoboi
Quoting SherwoodSpirit:
Per comment #99 (I don't quote trolls)...
You didn't learn from that ban did you?

!, -, gone. :P




i learned not to ask that question again....calling me a troll is breaking the rules that could result in a ban but don't worry if your on the DR side of thinking ya prob won't get the ban....hope you have a great thanksgiving...
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When you take time out of your short life to write something on this blog I do hope you also take some time to reflect upon your own intentions.

Are you trying to inform? To uplift? To bring understanding?

Are you trying to stir controversy? To divide people? To play "gotcha!"?

You have a choice. Never believe that you don't influence this world with your words and actions. You do - and you will be remembered for your influence. How do you want to be remembered?
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blob near central america will slowly move nw giving latin america their last majors rains to april. how come i know stayed at a doghouse inns last night
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Quoting Dakster:
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVE TO EVERYONE on the WunderBlog.

I hope mother nature cooperates and gives us all nice Thanksgiving weather.

Happy Thanksgiving.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22322
Quoting sar2401:
This is the actual quote from John Lennon, as reported in the London Evening Standard on March 4, 1966:
"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first%u2014rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

The "more popular than Jesus" thing was a small part of what got Christians upset. John Lennon, while a great musician, was clearly off base when it came to discussing Christianity.
I see your point, but are you implying that nothing is more popular that Christianity? If you are, you would be off base.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22322

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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