We Are Not “Captains”

A captain looking through binoculars on the deck of a ship.

This post is going to get me in all kinds of hot water, but I just can’t stand it any more. I tried to ignore it, I really did, but it’s no good, I have to say something.

What’s making me crazy is the current fashion for recreational mariners, particularly on VHF radio, to call each other “Captain”. This seems to be confined to the US, although it is spreading to Canada too. As far as I know that’s as far as it has got…I fervently hope so.

You can call yourself “Captain” if you are:

  • A serving officer in the Army, Airforce, or Marines with a rank one below Major.
  • A serving, or retired, officer in the Navy with a rank one below Admiral.
  • You have an unlimited tonnage all oceans master mariner’s licence and command a commercial vessel at sea, which almost always requires four years at a recognized maritime university and several years serving at sea working your way up the ladder through various mate positions to command. You would also be entitled to use the title in retirement.
  • You sit in the left pilot seat in a large transport aircraft.

To quote Bugs Bunny, “that’s all folks”. (Actually I don’t know for sure that there are no other positions that are properly titled “Captain”, so if you know of one I missed, please leave a comment.)

You are not a Captain because you have a US Coast Guard 100 ton licence or a RYA yacht master. Heck, I have a good friend who has a Coast Guard 500 ton licence and has served as an officer on tall ships for over a decade. She does not call herself “Captain”.

If you command a yacht, you can call yourself “Skipper” or, if signing something official, “Master”. But you are not a Captain.

Not only do we look ridiculous, particularly to commercial mariners, when we call ourselves “Captain”, it is also extremely disrespectful to those that have put in years of study and sea experience to earn that title legitimately.

You wouldn’t call yourself “Doctor” after doing a three day first aid course would you? Or “Reverend” just because you go to church regularly? Or “Professor” at the end of your first year of university? Or “Engineer” because you did two years of shop at high school? Ok, I’ll stop, you get the idea.

Now I know that none of us yachties that do this mean anything bad by it. In fact, I think it has become a kind of verbal tic. But, none the less, let’s stop. Please pass the word.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Stephen June 23, 2014, 12:57 am

    Sounds like some good defenses for using the term, and I guess we can’t help how others address us on the radio… but doesn’t it seem a bit ‘yutzie’ when a boat owner refers to THEMSELVES as “Captain Bob”, for example?

  • Ron June 23, 2014, 1:09 am

    Well alright then. What would be the appropriate response if some one makes the mistake of calling you “Captain”? Is there a gentlemanly way of correcting them. I too have been ambarrassed by being called ” Captain” when clearly I am not. However you get tired of correcting people. Maybe we can come up with a socially acceptable way to set them straight.
    Fair Winds,
    S/V Golden Echo

    • John June 23, 2014, 7:48 am

      Hi Ron,

      I’m embarrasses to admit that I haven’t thought of one. Years ago when I served in the Bermuda Regiment, a part time force based on British Army training, if one, as a new recruit, made the mistake of calling a Sergeant or Corporal “Sir” they would always reply “don’t call me sir, I work for a living!”. We need an equivalent.

  • Michael June 23, 2014, 1:18 am

    Hi John. I think it all boils down to a play on words and respect at this point. Maybe you would have been right years back but now the captain is just a figurehead in the transportation industry. Call people wheveter you want, just be respectful of the person in charge of the vessel. And coming from a professional captain, I could care less what people call themselves on the radio. Just as long as the communication is short, professional and polite. If that means the harbor master says captain, to someone Webster thinks shouldn’t be, whatever. I’ll judge the commander of the vessel based on their actions not on what they call themselves.

    Your beef should really be with people who don’t know how to talk on the radio. That’s what really pisses off the professionals.

    • John June 23, 2014, 7:43 am

      Hi Michael,

      Now there’s a good point. Some of the stuff I have heard on channel 16 is, or at least should be, a huge embarrassment to us recreational sailors.

  • Peter June 23, 2014, 3:52 am

    Mostly ridiculous…..
    I don’t expect a serving naval captain to call a yacht captain “captain”, but he frequently does in a mid ocean VHF radio banter…..
    It’s a polite formality……
    His proposal won’t work for the egos of yacht captains I know……
    Won’t float with a megaboat “BN in Charge”, where most are more proficient than Carnival Corporation’s Captain Schettino……
    Would someone like to dream up a comfortable replacement ?
    I don’t expect a hospital MD to greet as “doctor” a tenured Ph.D. in other sciences, even if he has eleven sets of letters after his name, but he can’t decline to call “doctor” an incompetent intern colleague……
    We hire plumbers and mechanics that didn’t study or pass their “boards” but you can’t find one without use of the title….
    He’s right, in a room full of rank….
    Otherwise, if the formality fits, wear it…..
    Get over it. ….

    • Denis June 23, 2014, 12:27 pm

      Just a tiny bit of maybe off-topic precision on the use of the title “Doctor”. Anyone with a valid doctorate and a member of a professional order is allowed by law to use the title “Doctor” or an abbreviation thereof if, when in writing, it is followed by the name of the discipline of the diploma (this does not apply to medical doctors, dentists and veterinarians, who can use “Doctor” without conditions). At least in Quebec, according to the professional code, art 58.1. It is therefore customary for members of a professional order holding a Ph.D. to be called “Doctor” in a clinical, research or official setting. As for the obligation to call someone “Doctor”, from any professional order, even from one colleague to another, to my knowledge there is no disposition of law to that effect. So, if this is to be transposed in the current discussion, it is not reprehensible for anyone to call you “Doctor” (or “Captain”, I would guess), it can be an error or an endearing effort, but the thing you definitely can not do is present yourself as such if you are not.

  • Nicolas June 23, 2014, 4:57 am

    So if I understand correctly a yacht master can be considered to be a non formal captain without rank and less respect than a ship/airline captain but with the same legal responsibilities of their ship/warship/airline counterparts whereas in a ship/warship/airline a master is a very capable/educated managing director of a relatively big team that obligatory is ranked as a captain that also comes with the appropriate respect.

    Years ago when I started climbing the RYA ladder doing the coastal skipper there were several airline pilots in my group. One of them a captain of Airbus A319 that did not know what is a Mercator projection and what it represents nor its limitations or how to correctly use it. His understanding of velocity (and force) vectors was less than minimum and could not comprehend the influence of tides or wind on a moving sailing boat. Respect is earned and not given. I vowed to myself never to fly with that particular airliner again and if somehow it happened to captain any plane I was on I would surely get off the plane.

    On the other hand, some years ago, I was crewing on a delivery trip in the Med (Beneteau Oceanis 50). There was no liferaft, binoculars, radar (with that I can live)….etc on board. The owner told the captain that we should take swimming lessons to be prepared in case something happens. The captain laughed and entertained my worries by saying that if I am afraid I am free to go whereas the agent and RYA instructor/’captain’/school owner that arranged for this told me that we always have the dinghy….Among others the ‘captain’ would not even enter our position on the rudimentary paper charts we had
    So yes , although these people have excellent sailing abilities, they can never be regarded as captains.

  • John Rushworth June 23, 2014, 9:38 am

    I’d say it is clear. Whether you are Grey Funnel Line (RN), Wavy Navy (RNR) or Merchant Navy, if you have 4 stripes you are a Captain. RYA Yachmaster power and sail, commercially endorsed to 200GT like me, then a Skipper. If I progressed (which I don’t intend to do) then my current status of having completed most of myMCA OOW 3000 and Master 200GT, then maybe Master but certainly still Skipper. Master is what goes in your log book in those circumstances.

    And whilst Superyacht Masters (MCA LY2 code over 24m) may wear the stripes for all sorts of reasons then I suspect most call themselves Masters, not Master Mariners or Captains?

    I know my ex father-in-law was a Master Mariner being the Captain of a super tanker.

    In the same vein as above. Am I an engineer, as an ex RN Artificer MEA (P)? I think we fall into the same trap. A mechanic is like a stoker. An Artificer is a technician and an engineer is qualified by a degree, but we were still called engineers.

    Much is down to whether a person understands the maritime world and as an ex Skipper of a 65ft ally cat workboat I always let mistaken crew or passengers know the difference between Captains, Skippers and Master Mariners, to save any embarrassment on my part by being called a Captain. I am not worthy. In the workboat world others would often refer to you as the Master though.

    John R.

  • Dick Stevenson June 23, 2014, 10:14 am

    Dear John (and everyone),
    For me, your comments strike more at an attitude than a wish to parse the meaning of the word Captain. And I do believe it has serious elements and is worthy of consideration. That is to remember that most of us are recreational boaters and most of us are amateurs. By that, I in no way want to imply that we are dilatants or not competent, even professional, but neither do I want to forget that I am not out there (here) on the water earning a living and executing a job.
    My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

    • John June 25, 2014, 7:54 am

      Hi Dick,

      As so often happens, you have cut to the heart of the matter. Exactly my thinking. Thanks

  • Robert Muir June 23, 2014, 12:08 pm

    I thought that “captain” is a legal description of the person in charge of a vessel. When the USCG contacts a vessel, don’t they ask to communicate with the captain? Still, I wouldn’t answer the call as “Captain Bob”, but I would answer as the captain of the vessel.

    Just like “Captain Ron”, I always took it as a tongue-in-cheek title, although not one I would use on the VHF. “Skipper Bob” doesn’t have the same rolling off the tongue flair to it.

    • ChrisW June 23, 2014, 12:20 pm

      You should Google “Skipper Bob.”

      • Robert Muir June 23, 2014, 12:29 pm

        That’s even worse Chris. It’s frickin trademarked! ;-)

  • Tanya V June 23, 2014, 12:43 pm

    Living below the 49th parallel on the west coast of Canada we hear USCG Puget sound radio as often as the Canadian Coast Guard radio. I hear USCG referring to the skippers they are talking with on VHF as Captain all the time. Perhaps this is where the trend is coming from?

  • Eric Klem June 23, 2014, 1:54 pm

    It is interesting to see just how many comments there are on this, both serious and fun. I admit to having used the term Captain in different ways than defined in the post and I believe that there are 2 reasons for this. First, while USCG licenses are technically master’s licenses, they are widely referred to as a captain’s license including by the regulatory bodies around here (US).

    The other reason has to do with having passengers aboard. Around here, I believe that most people who are not commercial mariners assume that whoever is in charge is the captain and it just makes things so much easier to go along with that rather than try to correct everyone. A PA announcement that started with “This is your skipper” would likely confuse a lot of people. If there are enough crew to have a mate, then I have found that people assume that you are the captain.

    I guess that this makes me guilty of improper use. Maybe I am hypocritical but it drives me crazy when people use the term captain for small recreational boats but I really don’t mind it (maybe I am just used to it) when people use it for commercial vessels of a reasonable size.

    Eric

    • John June 23, 2014, 2:29 pm

      Hi Eric,

      I’m with you: “drives me crazy when people use the term captain for small recreational boats but I really don’t mind it (maybe I am just used to it) when people use it for commercial vessels of a reasonable size”.

      • John Rushworth June 23, 2014, 2:32 pm

        So a ‘reasonable size ‘ of commercial vessel could be defined as over 24m per the MCA Large Yacht (LY2) code?

  • Frans June 23, 2014, 2:43 pm

    Here another imposter ! He called himself captain Iglo, selling the products of Iglo on TV, but in reality he was a taxi driver and an actor. http://nos.nl/artikel/327086-kapitein-iglo-overleden.html

  • David Hudson June 23, 2014, 3:04 pm

    And then there was “Cap’n Bob” of the Lady Ghislaine and Pergamon /Mirror empire. An interesting man to if not “Admirable”.

    What’s wrong with two + 5 seven?

  • Ben Ellison June 23, 2014, 3:21 pm

    Hi John,

    I’m generally hesitant about being called “captain” but attribute that bias to being a life-long New Englander (I prefer “operator”). I think the usage difference is simply cultural and I’m glad you got some pushback for claiming your way of using the term as the right way.

    • John June 23, 2014, 4:06 pm

      Hi Ben,

      Haven’t done a poll, but it looks as if the “push back” is running a little ahead of the agree, and, above all, we are having fun!

  • Westbrook June 23, 2014, 5:29 pm

    There are “captains,” e.g., the captain of a football team, or (in common parlance) a captain of industry.
    My card says “Commanding Officer”–a title inspired by its usage in the U.S. Navy.

  • Nicolas June 24, 2014, 6:23 am

    Hi John,
    I agree this is a fun social perception exercise that as someone said in the comments list shows not only language is alive and evolving but also differs between people with common language but different culture. I am very glad you came up with this post.

  • LLL June 24, 2014, 12:20 pm

    You missed Captain on Fire or Police.

  • David June 24, 2014, 12:49 pm

    Most naval officers get their first command at the rank of Commander — not Captain. Yet they are certainly call “Captain.” For example, the current captain of the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), guided missile destroyer, is Commander Camille Flaherty. A woman and graduate of the US Naval Academy class of 1995 (feel old?).

    Regards,

    David
    US Naval Academy Class of 1990

    • Heather Reimer June 24, 2014, 3:31 pm

      noun

      1The person in command of a ship: he found a vessel whose captain was prepared to sign him on

      From the dictionary. First entry.

      I’d never want to be a Captain with a capital C, as they seem to run their ships aground. Me, I only want to captain my vessel. Aren’t there greater things to worry about, like whether the beer and wine is going to last?

  • Brian Bearden June 24, 2014, 8:55 pm

    In American English captain means the person in charge. Look in any dictionary. This goes way beyond boats. For example we would call the person wearing the yellow armband on a World Cup team the captain of the team. We do the same in many other sports and in the workplace.

    If you call a boat on the VHF, and you want to talk to the person in charge, you ask for the captain. This is why the Coast Guard does it. What do you ask for in this situation? Owner or operator are not correct. Person in charge is too cumbersome. This is standard American English, so to say you don’t like it is one thing, but to say it is incorrect usage is faulty logic.

    In my part of the USA, commercial operators will almost always call a recreational operator “captain” on the radio, so I don’t think we look foolish to them doing the same.

    I see this as very different from “Captain” as a formal title. If I call you on the VHF, I am referring to you as captain as a noun meaning someone in charge of a ship (‘can I talk to the captain’). If I call you “Captain John”, or you write your name as such, you are bestowing title. That is a way different situation, which is why someone who calls themselves “Captain ___” without proper credential looks so foolish.

    Americans are also generally uneasy with title. Someone who insists on being called “Dr. ___” outside of the workplace, even if they do have a PhD, is generally considered a tad foolish and insecure in the US. This for sure applies to anyone calling themselves “Captain ____” outside the workplace. Of course in the workplace you should use any title you have earned within reason. I did work with one Engineer with a PhD that insisted people call him “Dr. ___”. Needless to say his career did not go so well.

    • Ben Ellison June 24, 2014, 9:32 pm

      Well said, Brian!

    • Ian Jones June 30, 2014, 9:01 am

      Brian. A fair and reasonable explanation. Thank you.

  • capt. suzan wallace June 24, 2014, 9:44 pm

    All of us Masters are tested and qualified through the USCG but are considered Officers in the Merchant Marines as commercial operators. I don’t know what outfit you educated through, but around here Captain is an earned honor and we sweared the oath to defend our country and stand ready if and when our borders are under attack. No foreign war would be supplied without the Merchant Marines. The military acknowledges the service of Merchant Marines and so should you. If you do not carry this licensed ticket then you are a ‘skipper’. Do NOT disenfranchise those who carry our seafaring traditions with honor. Shame on you John!!!

    • John June 25, 2014, 7:34 am

      Hi Capt Suzan,

      I think you misunderstood my position. If you re-read the post I think you will see that I was supporting merchant marine officers and particularly those that have put in the years of school and sea time to earn the title of Captain. I have huge respect for that profession and in fact it was that respect that inspired the post.

      As to my qualifications…not much, other than a bunch of sea time. I do have a Bermuda Government, Department of Marine and Ports Class C licence to operate a vessel taking passengers for hire. The then director of Marine and Ports, who was a master mariner in the British merchant marine and had commanded a submarine in WWII, who examined me, used to call the qualification I hold “a mud pilots licence”. Pretty accurate I would say.

  • Ben Ellison June 24, 2014, 9:51 pm

    What this conversation has led me to recall is the subtle way “captain” is sometimes used on a vessel underway:

    I used to do a lot of deliveries, usually as “captain” but often (if things came together well) with equally qualified “captains” as mates. I’ve also sailed as mate to well qualified “captains.” In those circumstances, especially when the situation got a little dicey, “captain” or “cap” was sometimes used in a very specific way, even if it sounded casual. The meaning — whether out of my mouth or into my ear — was something like “hey, you’re the boss here; I respect that command structure and want to know how I can assist you.”

    If you’ve never sailed with a competent “captain” as a mate (or vice versa), do try it. The natural order of things is for the mate to be relaxed — after all he or she is probably only responsible for a watch, instead of a whole boat and voyage — and a great asset to the skipper.

    Thus “captain” is important term recognizing the way crews work best together on a vessel.

  • TomT June 25, 2014, 4:59 am

    World Cup joke from this week:

    I hear that England has a new captain. Robert Smith.
    He’s the captain of their British Airways flight home.

  • Coen June 25, 2014, 5:24 am

    I understand John to have a problem with the self-styled Captains who wear pseudo-Naval wear to make up for lack of skill. There used to be a hilarious British spoof on a couple who would rent a boat moored in a canal for the weekend, and the moment they set foot on it the Woman adresses her husband as Captain, and tells their guests: The Captain said …’ Who have not had the pleasure of meeting people like that?

    There is also the sense of the person in charge: The captain of the boat must produce a crew list .., or ‘I am the captain of my soul, I am the master of my fate.’

    What fun language is!

    • Jerry Robbins July 6, 2014, 4:00 pm

      I am a retired MasterMariner as such was called by the companies I was employed by the Coast Guard when they routinely came aboard,Captain after all does not anyone but I in the 21st century think it would be quite rude to require the folks working with you on a vessel to call you Master?

  • John June 25, 2014, 7:43 am

    Hi All,

    Well that was fun! Thanks to all for the interesting and well reasoned opinions. We will move on to our usual technical and destination programming in a day or so.

    Also a big thank you for keeping the debate civilized and polite.

  • Chris June 26, 2014, 7:55 am

    As a shipping professional of 40 years standing and holder of master class one ticket I agree with you almost completely.
    I do however take small issue with fellow mariners who may be qualified ship masters who expect to be known as “Captain” when not actually in command of a ship.
    Whilst in the services, “Captain” is a rank, in the merchant marine it is an expression of respect to the master of the ship. You may hold your master’s ticket, but in my book you need to actually in command of a ship to called “Captain”
    anyway, keep up the good work skipper !
    cheers,

  • Dick June 26, 2014, 11:12 am

    Hi John,
    Are you suggesting that I should change my email address from:
    captain.dick
    to something else?
    Best regards,
    Dick

    • John June 26, 2014, 2:48 pm

      Hi Dick,

      Far be it from me!

  • ChrisW June 26, 2014, 2:06 pm

    John,
    This whole thread reminded me of a pop corn popper with the lid off!
    Chris

    • John June 26, 2014, 2:49 pm

      Is that what it was? I wondered.

  • mark robert June 26, 2014, 8:56 pm

    i own a sailboat but never refer to myself as a sailor because i don’t want to be included with those who see themselves in a different class. it might seem strange to a real sailor but i also prefer to simplify rather than take endless courses that do little more than inflate the ego.

    cheers

  • Captain Steve June 27, 2014, 1:07 pm

    While I certainly agree with the sentiment of the article, it goes from one extreme to the other. Holding ‘Mater’s Papers’ of any class is a legitimate reason to be called Captain. You are the ‘law’ and final point of responsibility for the vessel, crew and passengers. It is not limited to an “All Oceans” ticket. There are lots of us who are and have flown as PIC, Pilot in Command, of Corporate aircraft and other ‘civil application’ pilot positions who certainly are legitimate Captains; Fire Fighting fixed wing and rotor aircraft, air ambulance, police etc. It does NOT need to be part 121 scheduled air carrier ops to qualify to be addressed with respect as Captain. Again you are the ‘law’ and final point of responsibility for the aircraft, crew and passengers. Of course Military, active, reserve AND retired titles are and always will be legitimate and respectful references. I too am tired of ‘lowest common denominator’ accommodation of politically correct titles and status! I hold all the above positions and have worked hard and earned them! Skipper, OK. But Captain in the position of literally being THE LAW on board a vessel or aircraft is something very different. Regards, Captain Steve

    • Westbrook June 27, 2014, 8:14 pm

      From the sign above my nav station: “Be reasonable: Do it my way–The Captain.”

      • John June 28, 2014, 10:12 am

        Hi Westbrook,

        Great sign, only mine would be signed “Master Under God”.

  • Dave June 28, 2014, 5:28 am

    I appreciate your goal and your opinion, but most dictionaries say something like: Captain = the person in charge of and responsible for a vessel.

    Better to go after Knots per hour.

    • John June 28, 2014, 10:13 am

      Hi Dave,

      Great idea, we will do that one next time I want to stir the pot! :-)

    • Frans June 28, 2014, 12:17 pm

      hahaha! Knots per hour!! I used to sail with someone who kept saying it, no matter how often I corrected him on this! (bring back good memories) :-)

      • mak robert June 28, 2014, 2:15 pm

        perhaps we should change the subject to physics and talk about how un – worthful those who aren’t up on it are. john, you might wonder why people are taking different sides.

        sail but knot a sailor.

  • captain Mike June 29, 2014, 2:54 am

    If a pretty girl needs to tell everyone she is pretty by adding the title Pretty to the front of her name – what would you think?

    Then perhaps the same applies to Captains?

  • Pete July 6, 2014, 1:30 pm

    I’ve always seen this as a somewhat ridiculous, but ultimately harmless, American affectation. On this side of the Atlantic, being in charge of any kind of leisure vessel does not make you a “captain” – I can’t think of any yachting situation where it wouldn’t sound absurd. The only likely use is perhaps a non-nautical guest on board, the overenthusiastic kind who will probably also say “yo ho ho and a bottle of rum” at some point during the day.

    Some of the uses mentioned in the comments seem to stem from the apparent lack, on your side of the pond, of the term “master”. Here, this refers unambiguously to the person in charge of a vessel, whether leisure or commercial and whether or not formally qualified. If the Coastguard needed to talk to the person in charge, this is the term they would use.

    The usual everyday term is “skipper”.

    • Laurent July 6, 2014, 2:44 pm

      I understand that we have three different words refering to boat or ship commanding officers, in french or in english (UK and/or US…) which are : “master”, “captain” & (sometimes) “commander” plus of course “skipper” (or in french “maitre”, “capitaine” et “commandant”..).

      In the UK : “master” can be used in most cases whatever the boat/ship or the rank of the person, but, for some high ranking navy officers, or perhaps concerning commanding officers of the biggest navy ships, I understand that the correct word is not “master” but “commander”.

      In France, “maitre” is still used in some administrative documents, like certificate of “maître au cabotage” (captain of small cargo boats…), but it is completely forgoted in current use. Calling “maître” the “capitaine” of a small cargo ship because he has a certificate of “maître au cabotage” instead of a certificate of “capitaine au long-cour”, while technically probably correct, would be considered as impolite and a way of despising that person. The most current french word for ship/boat commanding officer is “capitaine”, and you may call “capitaine” the skipper of an 8 m. sail yacht (although “skipper” is more often used…), but, “capitaine” is not the appropriate word for the commanding officer of a large military ship. You must call that person “commandant” even if his rank in the navy is generally “capitaine de vaisseau” (there is no “commander” rank in the french navy…).

      Looks like US practice in that field is much more similar to french practices than to british ones. Questions are : since how long and for what reasons ?. I understand that there was some debate in the end of XIXth century about the importance of french and british influences in the origins of the US Navy and US shipbuilding at the end of XVIIIth century. Official history decided that french influences had been much weaker than british ones. Perhaps this specific marine etiquette point might relate to that debate and help understanding that official history might have concluded a bit too quickly in that field….

    • Ben Ellison July 16, 2014, 11:11 pm

      “I’ve always seen this as a somewhat ridiculous, but ultimately harmless, American affectation.”

      Have to say I’ve been laughing about that for a week. Peter, do you understand that on this side of the Atlantic the priggish Brit definition of “Captain” is also seen as an affectation? And that we are over 300 million people living in a nation that is purportedly exceptional? I won’t swear by the latter but I do know that “Britannia rules the seas” is ancient history. And here’s guessing that the next super power — China? — will also be profligate in their use of “captain”…American style. Just a guess, but reality based. Sorry about that.

  • Mike July 16, 2014, 10:47 pm

    YHGTBSM….what a waste of time – but, like we say – “if you don’t like the show, change the channel”……pass me the remote darlin’ ;-)

  • John July 17, 2014, 12:01 pm

    Hi All,

    I think we have all had enough fun with this, and we are also starting to go around in circles, so I have closed the post to further comments.

    Thanks to all for keeping it, for the most part, civilized and polite.

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