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#121

Loandbehold

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Posted Feb 27, 2013 @ 5:10 PM

I was wondering how a girl recruited as a spy at a young age with little or no military/combat experience could find it in her to kill someone in cold blood like the security guard. Were KGB agents supposed to be socio paths or it turned out that way?


She was recruited in 1961 and didn't arrive in the U.S. until 1965. So, she had four years of training.

Which brings the next question. How can any spy again after living and socializing for decades find it in them to kill the people they are living with/amongst? Wouldn't there be somekind of Stockholm Syndrome for lack a better term that would prevent them from killing let alone commit many other criminal and/or immoral acts?


That's what a sleeper agent is supposed to be. Someone who works to assimilate into society until they are called to perform their job. They are trained to do this. Since they aren't being held hostage by the U.S., they can put on the act of being a normal suburban couple while retaining their love for Mother Russia. Well, at least Elizabeth does.

One last thing. How would any long term undercover spy keep up on training & technique along with tech while trying to maintain their cover. Even soldiers who overtly train year round sometimes lack or are out of practice at something. I always thought the bulk of spy work was cultivating & recruiting sources above all else.


Tae-Bo. Kickboxing classes. Or, to be more early 80s centric - Jane Fonda Workout videos. Actually, because they operate a travel agency and have a number of employees, one of them can almost always do some form of training during the day while the other remains at the office. I'm also sure that Virginia had shooting ranges then, so keeping up on that skill wouldn't be too difficult.

#122

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Posted Feb 27, 2013 @ 9:00 PM

Killing someone and doing in real world conditions is alot different than four years of training. Although I guess training probably sticks alot better being from a totalitarian country. I figure she killed early enough in her career that she could still do it in the 80s being a zealot.

The husband only has become more Americanized in lifestyle but thinking as well. It's not like the wife is a Muslum fanatic. Something drives her(mother held hostage?) to kill a civilian in cold blood. Still do not understand the wife.

#123

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Posted Feb 27, 2013 @ 9:24 PM

The husband only has become more Americanized in lifestyle but thinking as well. It's not like the wife is a Muslum fanatic. Something drives her(mother held hostage?) to kill a civilian in cold blood. Still do not understand the wife.


What difference are you drawing between her and a Muslim fanatic? She's a true believer in Soviet Communism and thinks she's doing a heroic thing in her work. True belief in the cause is a much stronger incentive than someone holding something over her head and Elizabeth has that kind of belief. The civilian was going to get them caught so she killed him. We don't know what her training consisted of, so she could have had some type of military/combat experience, or at least experience in life/death situations. Any spy doing work like that would be prepared for the real thing as best as possible. Lots of people have been persuaded to kill in pursuit of a cause they believed in even when the cause seems ridiculous.

The extent to which Phillip is "American" is interesting to think about. Russian is not the same as Soviet, so he might also be representing that pov (assuming he's from Russian proper too).

#124

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Posted Feb 27, 2013 @ 9:29 PM

Killing someone and doing in real world conditions is alot different than four years of training. Although I guess training probably sticks alot better being from a totalitarian country. I figure she killed early enough in her career that she could still do it in the 80s being a zealot.


I don't think the type of government matters much actually. All she has to do is firmly believe that she's killing people to serve a greater good. That security guard was an imminent threat who stood in the way of what she considers to be a just cause. So from Elizabeth's perspective, which includes the US govt and culture as evil enemies, it was an unfortunate but necessary casualty. People do that in war all the time. This was a "cold" war, sure, but still a war. And so given her perspective, what she did makes perfect sense to me.

Edited by madam magpie, Feb 27, 2013 @ 9:33 PM.


#125

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Posted Feb 27, 2013 @ 11:45 PM

Americans didn't misunderstand him and think that he was trying to say that he was next in line to be President, right? So then, why would Americans make fun of him for that?

Because he made himself look like an idiot. Any high school kid who had taken a social studies class knew he wasn't "in charge"--at least not unless a couple of other people were out-of-commission too. The general American populace wasn't running wild in the streets wondering who was answering the phone at the White House so it just looked (to many) like Haig was mostly just grandstanding. I remember wondering if he was drunk or otherwise "medicated" because (IMO) he made himself look like a hapless moron instead providing any reassurance. I think it's telling that Reagan ended up (a few years later) asking for Haig's resignation.

#126

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Posted Mar 4, 2013 @ 1:30 PM

I remember wondering if he was drunk or otherwise "medicated" because (IMO) he made himself look like a hapless moron instead providing any reassurance. I think it's telling that Reagan ended up (a few years later) asking for Haig's resignation.


I was lucky to be sick from school during the day Reagan got shot. As I remember it, it was seeing the footage over and over (all networks were doing this), then the identification of Hinckley as the shooter with a photo of him looking glassy-eyed and evil. By the afternoon, it was announced that he had a history of mental problems and was probably acting alone. The Jodi Foster connection wasn't reported until the next day. I didn't know who Jodi Foster was until my sister reminded me she was the smart blond in "Foxes".

The thing I remember most about Haig announcement is how he looked pleased and relaxed despite the President of the United States might be dying. Everyone to that point had been upset. Not Haig. He stood there in his expensive Savile Row suit like he was oblivious to what was happening, much like how he was oblivious to Watergate when he was Chief of Staff for Nixon.

I loved how the show tied this into the Soviet Union suspecting this was some kind of coup. The Soviets were still trying to figure out Watergate, theorizing over hidden agendas and possible secret plots. Then suddenly a military general who had been hired by Nixon tells the world he's in charge after an assassination.

Not everyone though Haig was an idiot. My dad who was a staunch Republican thought Haig showed poise and leadership in the midst of a terrible crisis and insisted that Haig was the only reason the Soviets didn't take advantage of the situation. So our family had two laughs that day.

#127

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Posted Mar 27, 2013 @ 9:29 PM

Americans didn't misunderstand him and think that he was trying to say that he was next in line to be President, right? So then, why would Americans make fun of him for that?


Because he made himself look like an idiot. Any high school kid who had taken a social studies class knew he wasn't "in charge"

It's funny, but this episode made me understand Haig more than I did at the time. At the time, I bought into the "conventional wisdom" promulgated by the press that Haig was an arrogant, power-mad idiot. But listening to the context of the quote--a context which the show allowed to be heard over a TV set--I totally got that Haig was not claiming to be next in line of succession. Far from it--he said (paraphrasing), "The vice president is en route, and as soon as he gets here and is able to seize the reigns of power he will be in charge, obviously, but until that moment, rest assured that we don't have chaos in the White House." I think what Haig said needed to be said, and he was right to say it (even though maybe he could have said it a little more artfully). The show made me realize that as I hadn't before.

#128

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Posted Mar 27, 2013 @ 9:50 PM

Best joke was Johnny Carson on Richard Nixon:

"Pat! Pack the bags! Al's got us back in!"

#129

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Posted Mar 27, 2013 @ 10:31 PM

So far as I understand it, Haig has said that what he meant was, "Until Bush lands, I'm the one running the physical White House itself." I don't know if I should believe him or not, but it makes more sense than him thinking that he was the next in the line of succession.

Regardless, though, I'm confused as to why anyone would think it was a coup - even if they were from a country where coups are common. Would someone who's announcing a coup really say, "I'm in charge until the intended leader's plane lands" and leave it at that?

Edited by BlakeSpeare, Mar 27, 2013 @ 10:32 PM.


#130

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Posted Mar 27, 2013 @ 11:52 PM

So far as I understand it, Haig has said that what he meant was, "Until Bush lands, I'm the one running the physical White House itself." I don't know if I should believe him or not, but it makes more sense than him thinking that he was the next in the line of succession.

Regardless, though, I'm confused as to why anyone would think it was a coup - even if they were from a country where coups are common. Would someone who's announcing a coup really say, "I'm in charge until the intended leader's plane lands" and leave it at that?

I think the belief it was a coup had at least a little to do with the fact Haig was still being addressed as "General Haig", whether or not that was the correct form of address for him in his then-current position, & the fact that most coups in foreign countries are staged by officers of said country's military (& usually very high-ranking officers, at that). They probably figured, if it could happen in country X, why couldn't it happen in the US too, even though there was no previous history of such a thing here. Plus, of course, the language barrier possibly/probably causing (or being blamed for, for possibly nefarious reasons) an issue with the correct interpretation of Haig's remarks being made by the Russsian government translator from whom The Centre &, in turn, Claudia, Elizabeth, & Phillip were getting their operational info as events surrounding the assassination attempt continued to unfold. That's just my take on it; I could be wrong (either partially or entirely).

#131

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Posted Mar 28, 2013 @ 6:25 AM

So far as I understand it, Haig has said that what he meant was, "Until Bush lands, I'm the one running the physical White House itself."

What the show taught me--because it played the whole sentence over a TV set, not just the "I'm in charge here" part of it--is that Haig not only meant to make an unobjectionable and reassuring statement, he said an unobjectionable and reassuring statement. Thirty years later, it's finally perfectly apparent (thanks to this show) that he was unfairly pilloried in the press for a power grab he didn't commit and which was clear at the time he wasn't committing, if anybody bothered to listen to his whole damn statement instead of four words of it. I don't blame the Russians for misunderstanding him, for all the reasons the show presented and all the reasons that have been discussed here. I do blame us, and our media, for misunderstanding him.

Edited by Milburn Stone, Mar 28, 2013 @ 7:18 AM.


#132

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Posted Mar 28, 2013 @ 10:29 AM

Was he misunderstood by the media? I got the impression that while everyone understood what he was saying, what he was saying was still giving himself airs because he wasn't the one holding down the fort at the White House. So it was more that they felt he was taking pleasure in assuming the role of the guy in authority calming the public by saying he was keeping things cool while the president was gone, like anybody was looking for that kind of reassurance from him. More along the lines of Dwight Schrute saying he's assistant manager instead of assistant to the manager.

#133

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Posted Mar 28, 2013 @ 12:41 PM

His statement was:

"Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State in that order, and should the President decide he wants to transfer the helm to the Vice President, he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course."


The main criticism of him was that he talked about the line of succession without mentioning the Speaker of the House, or the President Pro Tempore of the Senate - both of whom come before the Secretary of State.

His claim was that he wasn't talking about the full line of succession, just the figures in the line of succession that are in the executive branch. (In other words, he claimed that he was rightfully in charge of the physical White House until Bush landed, because the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore are Congressmen.)

However, his statement was ambiguous. If he'd clarified that he wasn't talking about the entire line of succession, and that he was just talking about the physical White House, it would have made a big difference.

Although, from the way this episode depicted it, as soon as he said anything about control, a lot of people (particularly the Soviets) would have assumed there was a coup. That seems kind of dubious to me.

#134

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Posted Mar 28, 2013 @ 1:47 PM

General Haig was wrong about the rules of succession, or deliberately minimizing the slightly gray areas.

General Haig is referring to Article 3 of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the President to temporarily designate the Vice President as Acting President.

However, Article 4 is the relevant rule in this case of unexpected disability. GHWB would be the Acting President if he and a majority of the Cabinet officers certified in writing and submitted to the President Pro Tempore and the Speaker of the House that the President was unable to serve. To resume his office, the President then would be required to make a similar declaration.

General Haig had no authority under that scenario, except to be a vote on the Cabinet.

#135

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Posted Mar 28, 2013 @ 5:02 PM

I guess the central question is, was Haig simply incorrect/incomplete about the order of succession, or was Haig trying to orchestrate some kind of power grab? I lean toward the former, although the "conventional wisdom" at the time seemed to be the latter.

I think the reason for that conventional wisdom was not just that Haig went by the title of General. It was that in the last days of the Nixon Administration, Haig really was running things! (Somebody had to.) Now, just seven or so short years later, it was easy for contemporary observers to blur the memory of that with the new situation.

#136

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Posted Mar 28, 2013 @ 6:13 PM

I agree that General Haig had no designs on grabbing Presidential power, however he presented himself. If nothing else, there was no practical advantage, since his own party would hold the office in the natural order of events.

#137

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Posted Jun 23, 2013 @ 8:16 AM

I really like the fact that spies are neither amazingly competent in foreseeing what's going to happen (like James Bond) nor utterly ruthless in their devotion to the cause (like Jack Bauer) but are still portrayed as dedicated what they believe in. It was interesting to see how the Soviets might have viewed the attempted assassination of Reagan (I remember it happening - I was 9/10 at the time - although not as significant an occurrence in my lifetime as the Brighton bomb (1986, I think) that came close to killing the UK Cabinet). It seems odd (to me) that the USSR would be more worried about Reagan being shot than Nixon being deposed (in 2 years the USA had lost its President and Vice President) which would probably look a lot more like a coup to them.

 

I think the idea behind Operation Christopher was to decapitate the US Leadership in the event of a coup leading to war. Also, given that the survival rate of assassins is pretty poor, it shows how they are prepared not just to kill but also to die for the cause.

 

I guess Elizabeth & Philip's children have the same grasp of geography as their contemporary classmates, given they think Poland is in Russia (I presume Elizabeth could have corrected him and I was wondering why she didn't) - had he said Kiev was in Russia (it's in Ukraine, but would be part of the Soviet Union at the time) it might have been a more understandable mistake.

 

 

 

Irlandesa I adored Paige mocking the continuous news coverage of the shooting. "Oh look the bullet finally missed." It was a nice little dig at today's cable news coverage.

 

 

To use another British reference, it reminded me of the news in the UK recently that caused me to comment "In other news, Margaret Thatcher is still dead."

 

 

Mrs Peel  Totally inappropriate of Stan to tell them that before it was public knowledge.

 

 

I thought it was pretty reasonable - even if it wasn't true, all he was really saying was "Don't panic, the President is doing fine, the attacker was a lone nut". He didn't reveal that they were looking into any KGB connections that Hinkley might have had.



#138

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Posted Jun 23, 2013 @ 8:49 AM

 

I guess Elizabeth & Philip's children have the same grasp of geography as their contemporary classmates, given they think Poland is in Russia (I presume Elizabeth could have corrected him and I was wondering why she didn't) - had he said Kiev was in Russia (it's in Ukraine, but would be part of the Soviet Union at the time) it might have been a more understandable mistake.

 

 

 

I thought Paige's comment about Poland wasn't geographical but political--she meant it was controlled by the Soviets--she was saying that because she has that teacher that always seems to be focused on "what the Soviets are up to" Cold War lessons.



#139

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Posted Jun 23, 2013 @ 1:17 PM

And didn't some maps at the time show all of the countries in the eastern bloc shaded the same color? Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc were all still their own countries in a technical sense, but I can understand Paige's confusion on the matter. At thirteen, "Well, these countries are technically their own country like on paper, but really they are completely controlled by the government of this other country," is a pretty high level thing for a thirteen year old to grasp, and would probably lead her to think, "Oh okay, so it's really just another part of Russia. Huh. So which legwarmers to wear today..."

 

I really like the fact that spies are neither amazingly competent in foreseeing what's going to happen (like James Bond) nor utterly ruthless in their devotion to the cause (like Jack Bauer) but are still portrayed as dedicated what they believe in.

 

I appreciate this aspect too. They've made them good at what they do, but there are slip-ups on both sides (FBI/CIA) and alot of what unfolds in an episode ends up being guesswork or them having to think on their feet.


Edited by Hal25, Jun 23, 2013 @ 4:25 PM.


#140

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Posted Jun 23, 2013 @ 2:45 PM

I really like the fact that spies are neither amazingly competent in foreseeing what's going to happen (like James Bond) nor utterly ruthless in their devotion to the cause (like Jack Bauer) but are still portrayed as dedicated what they believe in. It was interesting to see how the Soviets might have viewed the attempted assassination of Reagan (I remember it happening - I was 9/10 at the time - although not as significant an occurrence in my lifetime as the Brighton bomb (1986, I think) that came close to killing the UK Cabinet). It seems odd (to me) that the USSR would be more worried about Reagan being shot than Nixon being deposed (in 2 years the USA had lost its President and Vice President) which would probably look a lot more like a coup to them.
 
I think the idea behind Operation Christopher was to decapitate the US Leadership in the event of a coup leading to war. Also, given that the survival rate of assassins is pretty poor, it shows how they are prepared not just to kill but also to die for the cause.
 
I guess Elizabeth & Philip's children have the same grasp of geography as their contemporary classmates, given they think Poland is in Russia (I presume Elizabeth could have corrected him and I was wondering why she didn't) - had he said Kiev was in Russia (it's in Ukraine, but would be part of the Soviet Union at the time) it might have been a more understandable mistake.
 
 
 
To use another British reference, it reminded me of the news in the UK recently that caused me to comment "In other news, Margaret Thatcher is still dead."
 
 
I thought it was pretty reasonable - even if it wasn't true, all he was really saying was "Don't panic, the President is doing fine, the attacker was a lone nut". He didn't reveal that they were looking into any KGB connections that Hinkley might have had.


Responding to the bolded point (bolded because it's harder to edit quotes to isolate specific comments, between using the Mobile version--less chance of malware contamination with its setup--& the changes in the new forum, in general).

Anyway... With all due respect to your point, I respectfully disagree.

I disagree for these reasons, most/all of which I think are somewhere upthread, in a comment I posted after the US airing of the ep:

1. Most people, especially in the US media/the White House Press Corps, continued to refer to then Secretary of State Alexander Haig as "General Haig", using his Army/military rank, rather than as "Secretary Haig"/"Mr. (or "Madam", for females) Secretary", the correct forms of address for someone with US Cabinet Secretary status as he had at that time. (To be fair, I'm pretty sure this also happened when General Colin Powell, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, served as Secretary of State during the 1st term of current US President Barack Obama... But it never became an issue as there were no assassination attempts against President Obama during that period, Communism no longer rules in Russia &, it could at least be argued, Colin Powell is more calm & sensible in a crisis than the late Alexander Haig was & the same misunderstandings involving Haig likely would not have occurred with Colin Powell if there had been an assassination attempt on President Obama when he was Secretary of State)

2. Also there was the whole "I am in control" declaration, in conjunction with Secretary Haig's bungling of the US Presidential Line of Succession in the same set of remarks, made from--of all places--the White House (seen as the US Government's "seat of power" by many outside the US). He was only "in control" because then Vice President Bush was in Air Force Two, returning to Washington from a trip of some sort at the time, & he was the highest-ranking Cabinet member/government official around at the time of the incident.

3. The majority of governmental coups involving changes in power, historically involve(d) high-level officers in that country's military, usually (you guessed it) Generals. I think this includes in Mother Russia herself (or at some point her rulers were referred to as--or at least had the military title of--General). Plus a number of coups, if not many/all, have resulted in bloodshed. President Reagan was shot, as were others including his then Press Secretary, James Brady, & members of the Secret Service & others in law enforcement.

If you put those 3 things together, considering the Soviet government mindset at the time, I could completely see where our anti-heroes would extrapolate that there could be a coup in the US government following the Reagan shooting as opposed to after the resignations, in turn, of Vice-President Agnew & President Nixon.

Edited by BW Manilowe, Jun 23, 2013 @ 2:47 PM.


#141

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Posted Jun 24, 2013 @ 10:46 AM

Well I was going to comment on how (from my non-US, non-Soviet) perspective that the Soviets ought to be more comfortable with the idea of assassination - until I actually thought about Soviet history. No Soviet Premier was assassinated (and even Czar Nicholas II was deposed and then killed) so it might seem alien to their thinking that it could happen in America. And perhaps Nixon (and Agnew's) removal from office was reminiscent of Kruschov's being (peaceably) removed in the 1960s. Although the fact that we can argue about motivations of (fictional) past characters indicates that it's entirely believable that the US and USSR might suffer from different perspectives. And I really like the fact that the characters aren't especially farsighted about what's going to happen.

 

And (even if it came across like that) I didn't mean my "Poland is in Russia" comment to come across as a "Dumb Yanks" comment (well, maybe a little!) so much as to wonder whether Elizabeth and Philip would be happy to have their children think of the Warsaw Pact as being one of Brothers in the cause of International Socialism (with a few incorrigible, ignorant) troublemakers who just couldn't see the truth as opposed to a Soviet Occupation of unwilling countries that the West (and, probably, most of the people in Eastern Europe) saw it.



#142

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Posted Jun 24, 2013 @ 12:06 PM

And (even if it came across like that) I didn't mean my "Poland is in Russia" comment to come across as a "Dumb Yanks" comment (well, maybe a little!) so much as to wonder whether Elizabeth and Philip would be happy to have their children think of the Warsaw Pact as being one of Brothers in the cause of International Socialism (with a few incorrigible, ignorant) troublemakers who just couldn't see the truth as opposed to a Soviet Occupation of unwilling countries that the West (and, probably, most of the people in Eastern Europe) saw it.

 

Interesting thoughts. I'm fairly sure we can guess Elizabeth's perspective. Philip's is a little harder to nail down since he at times seems more tempered towards the US than Elizabeth, but continues to work for the KGB, so it's hard for me to say for certain what he believes in politically. My take on it is that he's not necessarily sold on any ideology, but that the primary motivator is the outcome for his kids/Elizabeth, and the US is "not so bad." Probably he thinks both sides have their problems and good points. My take was that Elizabeth was annoyed at the evidence Paige's history teacher (who has been brought up in several episodes as spouting plenty of USSR=bad statements) was doing a poor job yet again.

 

I also think Philip and Elizabeth walk a fine line because they really can't be influencing Paige and Henry at home much at all on their own political views (whatever those may be) at the risk of their kids going off to school and repeating everything that's said at home to their friends and teacher, which is what is very common at that age. So having them not really have any more of a clue about where Poland is and what's going on there than their classmates means they're doing a great job in their cover. If Paige and Henry were more knowledgeable about the situation at 13 and 10, it would probably raise curiosity. For a child in Germany to be fairly well apprised of the situation makes sense: Poland is right next door, physically. Quite relevant. For Paige and Henry, it's on the other side of the world. It's like expecting a child in Germany to have all the US states identified, many of which are as big as entire European countries. Easy to see why it's only minimally relevant at their ages, and something they'd only have a distant understanding of.



#143

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Posted Jun 24, 2013 @ 1:01 PM

I'm still waiting for poor Mr. Hendrickson to show up one episode. Maybe Liz finally requests a parent-teacher conference.



#144

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Posted Jun 24, 2013 @ 1:36 PM

"I was a major in Uralic and Altaic Studies.  But the university and its records burned to the ground and all my classmates and teachers died.  It was sad."



"I'm doing a crossword puzzle.  I need a four letter word to finish this sentence:  Everyone from my past and all of my relatives are _ _ _ _."



#145

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Posted Jun 25, 2013 @ 11:28 AM

 

I'm still waiting for poor Mr. Hendrickson to show up one episode. Maybe Liz finally requests a parent-teacher conference.

 

 

They have to cast someone with a hairlip--didn't he have a hairlip?



#146

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Posted Jun 30, 2013 @ 3:19 PM

Comments by politicians are taken out of context and misconstrued all the time, usually in order to embarrass them - President Obama's 57 states comment, Romney's joke about not being able to open windows on airplanes, etc. Did anyone REALLY think Obama didn't know there were only 50 states? No, they just enjoyed jumping all over him for making a mistake.