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San Diego Real Estate – A Cacophony of Data

I love the scene from the “Princess Bride” where they undergo a battle of wits. Very funny scene, and way too reminiscent of popular conversations regarding the housing market in general and the San Diego housing market specifically.

So, How’s the Housing Market Doing in San Diego?

There’s no shortage of data or opinions, of course.  Here a just a couple of places and opinions I found interesting and potentially useful.  First, Here’s DataQuick’s (OMG lengthy) view of the San Diego data.  Quite a bit of stuff in here, all of which seem to indicate that the San Diego market might be recovering slightly.  But right on the heels of the DataQuick report is an article from MSNBC, a report that has  a rather dim view of San Diego’s recovery.

So, with my own opinions of the San Diego market in my head I reviewed a couple of local real estate experts to see what they thought. First a take on one of the neighborhoods in San Diego by Kris Berg.  Her numbers are easier for me to read than DataQuicks, and no one likes to be called a sick real estate market by anyone.  And here’s our good friend Jeff Brown with his take on analyzing real estate data.  Jeff is speaking to the choir in me when he talks about analyzing.  He is asking if the data and the way it is analyzed is as important at the analyst doing the organizing.

 My Take on San Diego Real Estate

My opinion comes after this concerto, aptly named “Cacophony”, but sweet music to my ears, and which I’ll explain below.  Listen to this now.

Pretty cool stuff, huh?  A cacophony of sounds, but your head and your heart allow you to analyze and put these sounds together so that they not only make sense, but are appealing and fun to spend time with.

Which Brings Me to My Opinion on the San Diego Real Estate


  • When you want to know if there’s gas in the coal mine….you send down a bird.
  • If you see smoke, you know’s there’s fire….but how hot is that fire?
  • If it walks, quacks and…you know….it’s a duck.
  • “Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”  (Will Rogers)
  • See it.  Hit it.

Yep, this is what you paid to read.  Some old fashioned advice about skinning cats, and some advice for each of you who are real estate pros.  And that advice is that it’s up to you to consume all the data, analyze all the data, taste the food at every restaurant, smell the grass at every playground, walk the railroad tracks at 10 p.m., put your soda down and go into art shops and old shoe repair places.  It’s up to you to be the analyst that Jeff Brown wants you to be, the historian that Kris wants you to be, and the ultimate best at putting together a synergistic and cohesive body of knowledge (not info…) that your current or future clients can take to the bank.

San Diego real estate is a cacophony of data, but each of you has a guitar in hand, and an audience who wants to listen to the concerto, not all the notes.  In your area, learn the notes, and then put them together to make a concerto that clients will turn to.  Every real estate market has a sound that you can harness, and data that clients desperately want to hear.  Conduct yourself (and your data) like a professional, and the only cacophony you’ll hear is the phone ringing with new clients.

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Silent and Powerful | An Homage to Our Potential

July 4th is not simply about the military, our country’s young history, or even independence so much as it is about our potential as men and women to be and do so much more.  Let’s take a few to celebrate Man Alive today, and reach for the potential in all that we do.

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Blind pickin at its best – So long Doc…


I might be a Bloodhound if Eric likes my intro video….

My respect for Eric Blackwell is, well, simply beyond my ability to wordsmith.  This guy is not only smart, but he’s fun (in a funny way),  creative, and shaped in the mold of Jeff Brown’s cat skinners.

So when Eric penned a post recently on how one might be a Bloodhound if……and then showed us a superb video by a cool guy right up the road from me, I decided it would be appropriate to thrown down a glove in the challenge and see whether I win the prize (get the princess) or am sent to the guillotine.

You be the judge.  Joe Post and I have worked together for a long time, and our goal is to create a video site where we are THE go to guys for finding info other than square footage and HOA fees.  Enjoy…..cause I might be a Bloodhound  if this makes you feel like you’d like to get to know us better.




Really, What If He’s Not Wrong?

A follow-up to an article on syndication I wrote just a short time ago.  Keep in mind that I’ve never even met Jim Abbott, and am not promoting his company.  But I’m listening harder now to him, and as he speaks his words continue to etch a path that I really believe warrants all of our attention.

At the end he does make a request.  In San Diego you can actually withhold syndication on a property by property basis.  On the MLS form simply check “No Syndication.”  Try it.  I discussed it yesterday with a client, and I’m listing her home without giving away all the info to you know who.  Oh, and I truly believe if buyers come to my site to learn about this property, even if they don’t want this particular home, it will greatly increase the likelihood of my working with them in the future.

Want to skin some cats, anyone?


Earl Scruggs – My 1st Round Pick(er)

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Where Is He Wrong?

This was in the San Diego Union Tribune, and references an occurrence at a local real estate meeting here last week.

Wednesday: Jim Abbott, owner of a San Diego real estate brokerage, backed out from appearing on a real estate event’s panel after he was told to refrain from speaking negatively about real estate search sites including Zillow.

Zillow reserved a table at Thursday’s 2012 Real Estate Success Event, held at downtown’s San Diego Convention Center. Abbott is against third-party housing websites because he says they are inaccurate, misleading and take business from listing agents. Leaders from such sites say their platforms are popular with consumers because they’re easy to use and offer lots of information.

Here’s Jim Abbott’s video explaining why Zillow, Trulia and are…well, worthy of having something bad said about them.

Where is he wrong? If Zillow, Trulia or really believe he’s off the rail, then why an effort to keep him down. Seems like a nice enough fellow. Not caustic. Simply telling a story.  Oh, and I know this isn’t “just in” news.  It’s simply news that I believe we as Realtors, actual fiduciaries to our clients, have a duty to take a stand on.

I, for one, think Mr. Jim Abbott is on point, articulate and taking us to an important question all of us should ponder and stand on as well.

Where am I wrong?


I Hate Bill Maher

I hate Bill Maher…mostly. Hate most of the stances he takes, and over the years the manner in which he has taken them. “Never make a point when you can take a shot…Maher.” But in this short video he has me laughing, at myself and even with him. Good on ya….as Greg would say.


Am I getting soft, going kookoo, or simply exposing that mostly I like to laugh rather than look at gestalt or grouse? Ah well, Maher will do himself in with me in a week or month, but for today I’m leaving work with a smile on my face. Be happy my fellow hounds….


Picking Our Pockets One Wallet at a Time

“State and federal officials say the settlement could eventually help as many as a million households. Roughly 750,000 borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008 and 2011 will get a cash payment of about $2,000.”

Oh, I appreciate there are gory details in this $25 billion settlement, but I don’t give a damn.  My money…your money, going to folks who lost their homes to foreclosure?  And by the way, before you tell me “the banks are paying”, please rely on one of the classic rules of economics:  “He has who has the gold makes the rules.”  This ain’t no free lunch for any of us.  Costs get (that’s right……everyone raise their hands) passed along to the consumers, which would be you and me, foreclosed upon or not.

Holy crap!  These are criminals who continue to pick my pocket, skim off some for themselves, and then redistribute to hard luck cases, while insidiously destroying all of the good faith any of us had in basic right and wrong.  This story gets a headline for a couple of days.  Then the banks entrench and stretch out their liabilities as far as the eye can see, with no apparent benefit accruing to the average homeowner, and a significant token of mea culpa passed along to a some small group of apparently disenfranchised, needier than their neighbors, down and outers.

 Well, you group of Attorney’s General, banks and the glorified Fed….you can’t pick my pockets any more.




Sicker Than We Thought????


Here it is…a diagnosis that’s supposed to bring us back to reality. Lawrence Yun might be certified as something, but he’s done quite enough “doctoring” for me.


Paint My Heart and Take Away the Sadness

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Who “Nose” What’s Right?

This is an article whose inception has come from some recent interactions on other blogs with regard to NAR’s update of Article 10 of the Code of Ethics concerning discrimination against sexual orientation. Though I participated in commentary on this topic, what really was bothering me was what follows. Simply put, I’m pretty damned tired of being proselytized and dumbed down by NAR, and even more tired of watching the planet forsake common sense because crafty special interest groups have figured out how to dilute the “Fathertongue” so as to render it useless.

I’m against “Gay Marriage”, and wanted to talk with you about why.

Wait, excuse me for a minute…there’s a bunch of people at my door.  Oh my, it’s the ACLU, some folks with signs with something about LGBT on them, some reporters from MSNBC, and even someone from NAR with a photocopy of the newly amended Article 10 sexual orientation anti-discriminatory verbiage.

Ground rule #1 – This is not about religion. Yes, I am a Christian, and yes Christians mostly believe that gay marriage is not appropriate. Yes, I’m one of them. But in this article you get no traction with any comments slamming Christianity. This is not about my faith. As with most “discrimination” issues, I am well able to separate my philosophy and faith from an honest discussion about rule of law, society, sociology, the family, and more importantly, the long hand of a master to whom I owe no allegiance.

Your Right to Throw a Punch Ends Where My Nose Begins

This saying has been a way of life for me for as long as I was able to stick up for myself. Hopefully you won’t find the saying controversial. It’s a reminder that I am an individual, complete and independent, and while we do in fact interact, your right to exercise your independence ends where my “nose” begins. You may shout or debate. You may whisper behind my back, or come to my door with placards. You may join with your own pugilists to wage war on my philosophy. You may lobby and convince. All these things you may do. But you must stop your fist where my nose begins.

The Marketing Wordsmith

My stand in saying I am “against” gay marriage comes from my long love of the written and spoken word. I’ve written that we must say what we mean, and that doing otherwise because of societal or group pressure always demeans and diminishes us. Greg Swann writes eloquently of these pressures in an essay at

I think that Greg uses the term “fathertongue” to describe the activity of communicating with the use of the written and spoken word. He differentiates this from “mothertongue” communications, nonverbal in nature. And so if it follows that we communicate, and that communication is a lynchpin that holds society together, then understanding, respecting and mastering the written and spoken word are skills all of us should undertake to the best of our abilities.

Believe me, those who work in the field of marketing have in fact mastered this art, and I’ll use these marketing wordsmiths’ work products to demonstrate how and why the word “marriage ” morphed from X to Y while the “fathertongue” watchmen slept in the tower.

We Say X…but we Mean Y

Here’s some examples of how we’ve lost our way with words, and more importantly, the real meaning behind those words.

• If you take a pregnant woman and force the early termination of a child she is carrying….it was called an abortion. Now it’s “a woman’s right to choose.
• We used to call the duty we owed to our country the Selective Service. Now it’s the All Volunteer Army.
• We used to talk about same sex relationships as homosexuality. Now it’s “gay rights.”

You see, the marketing folks figured out that if you SAY it over and over, this new phrase for the old phrase, we’ll dumb down and forget what the original term actually meant. Only I haven’t forgotten…and I really care.   You should, too.

Marriage – The Union of a Man and a Woman

You know the phrase, don’t you? “It’s the economy, stupid.” Small talk, hardball, softball, gamesmanship, scare tactics….none of these hide the obvious. We all know what this phrase means.

Marriage. You know what it means. Boy meets girl. Guy meets gal. Man and woman join together. Kids (mostly the old fashioned way, with an occasional wonderful adoption). This what the word marriage means.

We have other words to describe relationships. Dating. Going steady. Living together. Friends with benefits. Different words, all of which denote a different relationship with a different set of facts.

Why then, I ask, change the true meaning, context and value of the word marriage, a word and relationship from which we have germinated and grown our society over these many years? Will you replace MY fathertongue with yours? Will you thrust your fist into my nose, insisting you have a right which I do not? Will a segment of this democracy numbering 20% or less dictate a change in my right to use the commonest of words in the commonest of ways to communicate the commonest of relations?

Oh, but gay couples want equal rights. They want the right to live together, bring children into their families, devise and contract as couples, obtain the right to be considered direct family for such things as medical care, visitation, etc. And do I protest these?

Not for one moment. I’ve been an advocate for these changes for many years. A child of the 1960’s, Vietnam, and the Civil Rights movement left me well equipped to stamp out discrimination wherever it rears its ugly head. (I surely did not need NAR to remind me of this as they felt they had to in Article 10 of their Code of Ethics….but thanks daddy).

Just don’t usurp my word.

You can have these words (or more) – civil union, civil partners, LGBT’s….and I’ll march with you to the legislatures to see that the rights I mentioned above are provided rightfully to you.

Just don’t try to morph my word.

But Things and Meanings Change Over Time

Sure, some things have changed.

  • I used to think that what Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather said was true….turns out it wasn’t always.
  • I used to think my baseball heroes were, well heroes. Rose, Bonds and Clemmons prove otherwise.
  • I used to think Congress had the only right to declare war. Billions of dollars and thousands of lives later…..guess not.
  • Used to be that “R” rates movies had some bad language and some frontal nudity (mostly female and breasts only). Now……(don’t get me started).
  • And you used to be able to stand toe to toe with another person, shout, scream, spill venom, and if fisticuffs broke out a Band-Aid usually fixed the damage. Now, it’s shoot first, stab second, defame publicly third. No one understands the importance, the tradition, the meaning of discourse any longer.

Don’t Get Your Nose Out of Shape

Who “nose” if I’m right about gay marriage? Remember, it’s the word “marriage”, and its common and well established usage that I am unwilling to cede over to a special interest group. (Yes, LGBT is, by just about any standard, a special interest group).

Who “nose” if NAR had to take the step of reminding all of us that discrimination, in any form, is discrimination? I suppose if our governing body thinks we’re unable to conduct ourselves without discriminating, then it should come as no surprise that the general public likewise fails to discriminate our profession from that of politicians, lawyers and car salesmen.  (Again, no offense intended to you should you fall into these categories….but you know what I’m talking about, don’t you?)

So if you’d like to punch me out because I’ve expressed a view with which you do not agree, then just remember to be nice. Your right to throw your punch ends where my nose begins.


The Santa Claus Nation

I love Christmas…just so you know. And no, I’m not on drugs, this being just past the start of Spring. But it occurred to me today that we are becoming a Santa Claus nation. Let me explain.

It all started when I read that the U.S. Post Office had just issued a stamp that depicts the Statue of Liberty. The story indicated that the picture of the Statue of Liberty was not actually the real one, but rather a photo of the Statue of LIberty in Las Vegas! Of course, when I read the article, I assumed that this mistake would make the stamp valuable, and that the real Statue would quickly replace the fake one. But….

The United States Postal Service admitted the mistake but said it planned to stick with its Lady Liberty “Forever” stamp.  “We still love the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway,” Roy Betts, a post office spokesman, told the Times.

Really? While I happen to love the movie “Miracle on 34th Street”, and am delighted each time I watch it, I’m no longer 6 years old, and (spoiler alert) understand the difference between Christmas and Santa Claus. Can’t wait for December? Want a reminder?

The difference between Christmas and Santa Claus just doesn’t seem to have been clarified to our government, the Post Office for example, does it? What we’re now going to get is a depicture of a depicture. A replica of the real thing. They’re giving us Santa Claus. I want Christmas.

This is really a post about government in general, of course, NAR specifically, and an awful lot of the world we’ve colorized in attempt to feed the masses chaff instead of grain. I’m a man who was once a boy, working in a profession run by boys who never act like men, in a country where our government now openly promotes imitation over the real deal. If you’re on the street today showing homes, and if you come upon an old woman with wrinkles, look away. Somewhere there’s a Photoshopped Gravatar of her that I’m sure will be better than the real thing. Seems that there really IS a Santa Claus, Virginia…


The Blindsided Realtor

On January 31st I had a catastrohic retinal detachment in my left eye that rendered me blind (black, nada) for two days.  Two days later I had retinal surgery to repair the detachment.  This included injecting and filling my eye with silicone oil to keep the retina in place and the intraocular pressures where they needed to be.   In a followup visit four days later I had additional laser surgery to tack down the areas of the retina that needed it.  I was told during this time to lie face down 24 hours a day to keep the silicone oil pressing against the back of the eye.

Then, one week after the surgery I began to see a black shade covering my eye once again.  The retina had detached once more, and so for a few more days I was not just legally blind (the effect you get with silicone oil and the regular run of the mill retinal detachment surgery), but black, dark and very disturbingly blind.  It seems that the retina had not only detached, but there had been formation of retinal scar tissue in the wrong place.  This is a very serious condition called proliferative vitreal retinopathy (PVR), and if left uncorrected almost always results in permanent blindness.

Well, you’re saying, this is a real estate blog; not a Jerry Springer show or even an Oprah event.  And you all know that I’m writing this because I’ve had some sort of epiphany…right?

In truth, there hasn’t been an epiphany yet, and there might not be one.  I started off asking myself if there were any other “blind” Realtors functioning in America.  Turns out there’s a quite successful, totally blind, real estate agent in La Jolla.  So my hopes of being important because I couldn’t see just simply faded to grey like in a bad B-movie.  And any hopes I had for this being just a good story that I could share around the water cooler died this past week.

I was sent to USC Doheny Eye Center in Los Angeles by my surgeon here in La Jolla.  Was told his group was the “best of the best.”  Beth and I drove up, saw four doctors, including the big cheese himself, and came away with a plan.  Fluid had built up behind my retina, but there was a slight possibility that I could go home, stay face down for four more days, and by then hope that the retina was doing well enough to just “add laser” to keep it attached. 

Not to be.  I was able to stop my black shadow blindness, but the retinal fluid remained, scar tissue was still forming, and another operation was needed. 

I’ve had lots of opportunities to be afraid.  Sailing alone one “dark and stormy night” from the Channel Islands to San Diego I went up to check a sail and was knocked into the water.  I had the tiller tied off (the boat was sailing itself), and so when I went over if I had failed to find the boat and get back in I’d be left in the middle of the Pacific right in the path of the commercial vessels that traverse the coast.   Well, more likely that I would have died from exposure since the water temp was only in the low 50’s.  And I’ve also literally flown off the side of a mountain in West Virginia in my motorcycle, landing face down, removing just about all the tissue possible, and burning the h*** out of my leg and arms.  And more stories…but the point is….I wasn’t afraid.  I simply was not afraid.

But on Tuesday I’m going to have another surgery, and if you permit me, I want to let you know I’m afraid.  That’s certainly not an epiphany.  It’s not even newsworthy.  It’s a reflection of how I was blindsided by the reality of how a precious and unbelievable gift could be snatched away so quickly. Just reflect a bit with me.

The sensitivity range of the eye, which gives us excellent vision in bright sunlight as well as in the dimmest moonlight, far surpasses any film. The eye adjusts to 10 billion-fold changes in brightness.
Its neural circuitry enables the eye to automatically enhance contrast.
Its color-analysis system enables the eye to distinguish millions of shades of color and quickly adjust to lighting conditions (incandescent, fluorescent, underwater, or sunlight) that would require a photographer to change filters, films, and housings.
The eye-brain combination produces depth perception that is beyond the range of any camera. Engineers have yet to design a system that will, e.g., calculate the exact force required for an athlete to sink a basket, on the run, from 25 feet away, in a split-second glance.
Consider the combination of nerves, sensory cells, muscles, and lens tissue in the eye.
Light passes through the cornea, which has the greatest effect on focus. It is the cornea that determines whether someone is nearsighted, or has astigmatism. This is the part of the eye corrected by Lasik surgery.
The cornea is alive, one cell layer thick, getting its food and oxygen from tears. The tear gland not only feeds and lubricates the eye, but also packs enzymes into the tears that kill bacteria.
Then light passes through the iris, the aperture. People had no idea how intricate irises are until we started making biometric scanners for identification purposes. Whereas each human fingerprint has 35 measurable characteristics, each iris has 266. The chance that two people will have matching irises is one in 1078.
Passing through the lens, the light is further focused, a fine-tuning. Then it strikes the pigmented retina.
The retina has 127 million photovoltaic receptors – only 7 million of which provide color awareness and fine detail. The information of these 127 million receptors is converted from light to electricity and transmitted along one million nerve fibers to the 1% of the cortex of the brain.
As little as one photon can trigger a photoelectric cell; a flashlight, eg, fires 1018 photons per second. On a clear dark night, the eye can see a solitary candle flame from 30 miles away.
Think in terms of Polaroid Instamatic cameras that printed out photos rapidly, and compare. The retina never stops “shooting” pictures, and each fiber of the optic nerve processes one hundred “photos” each second. Each of those individual photos would be represented mathematically by 50,000 nonlinear differential equations, to be solved simultaneously. Considering both eyes, and allowing only five synapses (connections) to other nerves from the retina to the brain cortex, a 1983 Cray supercomputer would require one hundred years to process the information that your eye transmits every hundredth of a second.

Pretty impressive piece of equipment we all were given, yes?  I understand that 85% of everything we learn and know comes to us by way of our eyes.  If you will think about how you take in what you know, who you know, and how what you’re doing right now is made possible by the eye you’ll feel a little bit of what I’m afraid of losing.

Yet who among you has not suffered?  Just in the writings and musings in this one place we see mothers holding their daughters up for miracles, reputations bludgeoned and regained, the heavy hand of debilitating disease holding court in good men and women’s lives, friends in the throes of grief from the sudden or sometimes drawn out process of family members and friends, and doers of both great and small tasks in Haiti and other parts of our world.  

No epiphany.  Just wanted to share.  If you are a man or woman of faith, then ask God to do what will be best for me in His eyes.  If you are a 60’s hippie, take a hit and wish me good karma.  But no matter what your philosophical bent, ask yourself if you’re using your eyes, your time, and the wonder that goes with those gifts the best you possibly can. 

It’s no epiphany, but it’s a fact that how and what we see are miracles to those of us who are given the opportunity to reflect on a life without.  And thanks for giving me a Sue Silvester moment to talk with those of you with whom I share the bond of friendship.  I’m less afraid now.


Realtor Prayer for Veterans

The National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics starts with this:

“Under all is the land……..”

Today, on the 235th birthday of the U.S. Marines, and in anticipation of tomorrow, Veteran’s Day, I suggest that every Realtor, every American, and every freedom loving citizen of the world stop to consider the cost of that freedom. I dedicate once again this article that is reprinted from a 2007 post. I was lucky enough then to work with a young Marine and his wife to help them buy a home here in Oceanside. Meeting them moved me. Hopefully reading about them will move you as well. I’m dedicating this post and calling it….

Under All are the Graves….

Saturday, December 8, 2007
It’s Hardly An EOD

I took a young couple out looking for homes today. First time we had met, and our initial introduction had been through my web site and a couple of emails.In the course of our meeting I engaged in my usual convivial chatter, finding out in small snippets where they were from, what they were dreaming, and of course, what they “did for a living.” Now an old philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, once wrote “if you label me, you negate me”, and being not quite that old, but old enough to remember and revere the 60’s, I always ask “what do you do” hoping it creates something that really takes me to the core of that person, not just to the superficial meaning of his or her life as labeled by a job.

So today I asked “what do you both do?” She said, “I’m ex-military, and he’s still on active duty.”

“What branch?”, I asked.

“I was in the Air Force”, she said, “and he’s in the Marines.”

We’re here in Oceanside, California, home of Camp Pendleton, and some of the finest young men and women in the whole world. I myself served as a Marine many years ago, but continue to find that meeting and interacting with young service people always makes me glad I live in the San Diego area where so many opportunities arise to do so.

“What do you do in the Marines?”, I asked.

“EOD’s,”, he said.

I’m looking at him, and he’s a young guy who clearly loves his gal, his country, and is not a big talker like me. So I ask him, “EOD’s….what are they?”

“Explosive Ordinance Devices,” he says. “You know, when they set the roadside bombs, me and my unit find them and neutralize them. We make it safe for the rest of the guys.”

“Been to Iraq yet?”, I asked. “Three tours,” he says, and again he’s taking his girl’s hand and concentrating on her.

He’s not even looking straight at me, and I think I sense he’s reluctant to make it sound like anything he does is important. After all, I have my Realtor’s badge on, my head filled with facts about the market and all the homes I’m going to show them. It’s clear he’s looking at me as though I am important.

Well, for today, and to once again remind all of us, Real Estate, is NOT AN EOD!! It’s a job, and it’s a job some of us do well, love, and that can make a difference, but one that nonetheless “labels” us. I want to say that the next time someone meets me and engages in small talk, including asking “what do you do”, I’ll say something really honest, really revealing, and perhaps really dangerous. I’ll say, “I met a Marine who did EOD removal… you know what that is?”…..and then talk about this young man and young woman until the subject changes to why what THEY do make what WE do possible.

And if you’re reading this on your knees…..this veteran salutes you.


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