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First off - how can anyone think of leaving when RJMason is still going to be here? I really am going to miss you guys - maybe even enough to pony up (but I doubt it).

In any event - RJ had some questions:

"Dean, if we are to be co-adventurers, it doesn't seem so unreasonable that everyone in the party should cough up some money to pay for the horses, rope, and ammunition."

Yes - but not everyone IS. We steerage passengers are carrying the freight for you toffs.

"Thousands of dollars in uncompensated writing effort, but not one penny in tribute."

Yeah - amazing what people will do for enjoyment and peer recognition. Amazing what they will do for principal, too. Maybe I am cutting off my nose to spite my face (and it is possible I will 'come to my senses' and recant and cough up - at this point I cannot say), but did not come here to be a customer.

"...a lot of your resentment is based on not liking the Gardners very much..."

Only partially true - I still have a very low regard for David (no doubt the feeling is mutual, or to paraphrase Rick Blaine 'I guess he would despise me, if he ever bothered to think about me'), but Tom seems like a nice enough guy. I think he is trying spin-doctor this whole fiasco, but he probably has very little choice. It is amusing to see the denials at cross-purposes: 'we are doing this because it is expensive to run the boards and we need the money' but 'we are not doing this because we need the money and might go down the tube otherwise (so don't worry, your $15 is safe)'

The real complaint is that they are fundamentally changing the terms of our relationship, without acknowledging the change. I don't believe that three years ago they were planning a 'bait-and-switch' for Feb '02 - but they are trying to pull one off. By treating me as a (abysmally stupid, pathetically unobservant) customer, they have alienated me as a participating member. I fear that they have done that for enough participants that this little community will become like Celebration, Florida - that little ersatz town by Disneyworld where the whole place looks like Main Street, USA - where people pay to live the dream of community, rather than rolling up their sleeves where they are and creating one.

"...a standard public television subscription is much more expensive than what the Fool proposes to charge."

Yes - but the production values are higher <g>


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