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Author Topic: Strange icons  (Read 39330 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #765 on: August 02, 2014, 12:51:00 AM »

(such as "Lord Sabaoth" as used at my local Old Rite parish).

Interesting. Is God the Father a standard part of Old Rite iconographic tradition? Are there any other particulars/standards when he's depicted in icons?

The Old Rite Church in Erie PA features no icons of God the Father to my knowledge.

It may have at some point, or possibly not - many parishes don't come close to having every "standard" icon.

I'm inclined to think they didn't, in accordance with their Pomortsy background.

In this photo of one of their processions, for example, where a Chapelist cast icon of the Crucifixion would depict the "Lord Sabaoth" at the very top, they have an image of the Saviour Not-Made-By-Hands. Unless they acquired new molds, they probably had those to begin with.



On a different note, does anyone know what the deal is with the flower at the bottom, below the skull of Adam? I've never noticed it before and the few icons I have which include it depict it more in the form of a bush.
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« Reply #766 on: August 02, 2014, 12:56:12 AM »

The cruciform halo expresses what and who God is. Yet it is only the Son and Word who became incarnate.

It's sort of a moot distinction if only Christ is ever depicted with it.

Not moot at all. Icons must be faithful to what the Church teaches, and the fact remains that the Father never became incarnate.

Exactly, which is why depictions of the Ancient of Days with the cruciform halo, yet without the explicit IC-XC inscription, must be of the Son.

Not so. Every single icon of Christ, whether as a child or adult, must bear the IC-XC inscription, just as every icon of the Mother of God should bear the inscription MP-OY.
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« Reply #767 on: August 02, 2014, 01:09:37 AM »

The cruciform halo expresses what and who God is. Yet it is only the Son and Word who became incarnate.

It's sort of a moot distinction if only Christ is ever depicted with it.

Not moot at all. Icons must be faithful to what the Church teaches, and the fact remains that the Father never became incarnate.

Exactly, which is why depictions of the Ancient of Days with the cruciform halo, yet without the explicit IC-XC inscription, must be of the Son.

Not so. Every single icon of Christ, whether as a child or adult, must bear the IC-XC inscription, just as every icon of the Mother of God should bear the inscription MP-OY.

I'm not arguing that any icon should lack such inscriptions, only that wherever they're missing (whether intentionally or due to negligence) around a figure with a cruciform halo, it's probably intended to be Christ and not, say, the Father.
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« Reply #768 on: August 02, 2014, 01:19:17 AM »

I'm not arguing that any icon should lack such inscriptions, only that wherever they're missing (whether intentionally or due to negligence) around a figure with a cruciform halo, it's probably intended to be Christ and not, say, the Father.

To be fair, I've seen icons of the Holy Spirit/God the Father with cruciform halos. They're definitely the exception, though.

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« Reply #769 on: August 02, 2014, 01:20:46 AM »

This is definitely one of the stranger renditions I've seen of this:

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« Reply #770 on: August 02, 2014, 01:25:41 AM »

I'm not arguing that any icon should lack such inscriptions, only that wherever they're missing (whether intentionally or due to negligence) around a figure with a cruciform halo, it's probably intended to be Christ and not, say, the Father.

To be fair, I've seen icons of the Holy Spirit/God the Father with cruciform halos. They're definitely the exception, though.

I suppose one should look at the context then as well.

My real purpose behind arguing with LBK goes back to Damaskinos' icon of the Unburnt Bush. I just don't think the figure of the Ancient of Days is supposed to be God the Father but rather God the Son, even without the IC-XC inscription. That is all.
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« Reply #771 on: August 02, 2014, 01:39:57 AM »

I'm not arguing that any icon should lack such inscriptions, only that wherever they're missing (whether intentionally or due to negligence) around a figure with a cruciform halo, it's probably intended to be Christ and not, say, the Father.

To be fair, I've seen icons of the Holy Spirit/God the Father with cruciform halos. They're definitely the exception, though.

I suppose one should look at the context then as well.

My real purpose with arguing with LBK goes back to Damaskinos' icon of the Unburnt Bush. I just don't think the figure of the Ancient of Days is supposed to be God the Father but rather God the Son, even without the IC-XC inscription. That is all.

Oh, I agree. Considering how many clear depictions of Christ leave out the IC-XC inscription (correctly or incorrectly so), it's really not much of a stretch to assume that a cruciform halo = Christ.
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« Reply #772 on: August 02, 2014, 04:55:59 AM »

I'm not arguing that any icon should lack such inscriptions, only that wherever they're missing (whether intentionally or due to negligence) around a figure with a cruciform halo, it's probably intended to be Christ and not, say, the Father.

To be fair, I've seen icons of the Holy Spirit/God the Father with cruciform halos. They're definitely the exception, though.

I suppose one should look at the context then as well.

My real purpose behind arguing with LBK goes back to Damaskinos' icon of the Unburnt Bush. I just don't think the figure of the Ancient of Days is supposed to be God the Father but rather God the Son, even without the IC-XC inscription. That is all.

What you think does not square with iconographic tradition, or the very real and serious deviations from that tradition by Damaskinos, Tzannes, and those of their ilk. It is impossible for them to have been unaware of the absolute necessity of the IC-XC inscription for icons of Christ, or of the absolute necessity to express the ever-virginity of the Mother of God through the painting of the three stars on her head and shoulders.

The Cretan School produced some of the finest and most spiritually sublime icons ever produced, but, as the Italo-Venetian influence grew within it, the spiritual and theological integrity of its works diminished, eventually becoming essentially imitations of Renaissance religious art painted in a diluted "iconographic" style.
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« Reply #773 on: August 02, 2014, 05:58:47 AM »

I'm at a loss as to why you keep misunderstanding me, LBK. My bone of contention from the beginning was your statement that "it is almost certain that the old man is God the Father."

It is true that Damaskinos did not include the IC-XC inscription around his depiction of the Ancient of Days and I'll take your word for it that it most definitely should have been there. However, its absence is not enough to claim that the painter intended for the figure to be seen as God the Father and not God the Son, especially since he bears the cruciform halo, imagery unique to Christ.

None of this is about what Damaskinos should or should not have done but rather who he intended the figure to represent.

Since there are no elements indicating that the figure is meant to be the Father (no inscription of the sort, for instance) and yet there are elements clearing evoking the Son (the halo), I've concluded that it is not "almost certain that the old man is God the Father" but is more likely that the old man is, in fact, supposed to be Christ.

Do you disagree with my conclusion?
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« Reply #774 on: August 02, 2014, 06:06:49 AM »

Yes, I do disagree with your conclusion, because of the frequent use of the cruciform halo in "icons" of God the Father, sitting next to Christ, in the so-called New Testament Trinity.

The absence of God the Father imagery in iconography before about the 16th century is also significant.
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« Reply #775 on: August 02, 2014, 06:17:37 AM »

Yes, I do disagree with your conclusion, because of the frequent use of the cruciform halo in "icons" of God the Father, sitting next to Christ, in the so-called New Testament Trinity.

Well, okay then, now we're on the same page.

I'm just giving Damaskinos the benefit of the doubt. I see no reason for us to assume he's making more mistakes than we have to.

The absence of God the Father imagery in iconography before about the 16th century is also significant.

I agree.
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« Reply #776 on: August 02, 2014, 06:30:10 AM »

Damaskinos makes many errors in his "icons", as I have pointed out. Giving him the benefit of the doubt is misguided at best, given that he trained as an iconographer in a Cretan monastery, before traveling to Italy.

Another of his western touches was to sign his work "by the hand of ...", and, at times, "creation of ....". Both these forms, particularly the latter, are the opposite of the humility of a true iconographer, who works in obedience as an instrument of the Church, using his talents and abilities to faithfully proclaim her truths in paint.
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« Reply #777 on: August 02, 2014, 06:33:11 AM »

Giving him the benefit of the doubt is misguided at best

Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is like ethics 101.
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« Reply #778 on: August 02, 2014, 06:39:28 AM »

Here, Damaskinos clearly uses the cruciform halo for God the Father. Do you still want to give Damaskinos the benefit of the doubt?

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« Reply #779 on: August 02, 2014, 06:42:10 AM »

Here, Damaskinos clearly uses the cruciform halo for God the Father. Do you still want to give Damaskinos the benefit of the doubt?

Now you have evidence to the contrary. In the absence of such evidence, giving someone the benefit of the doubt is an ethical imperative.
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« Reply #780 on: August 02, 2014, 06:43:22 AM »

A "new testament trinity" by Emmanuel Tzannes, Damaskinos' contemporary. Note the haloes:

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« Reply #781 on: August 02, 2014, 06:45:54 AM »

Do you have any examples of non-"New Testament Trinity" icons of God the Father by the hand of Damaskinos where the figure is clearly labelled as such?
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« Reply #782 on: August 02, 2014, 06:52:45 AM »

I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you looking for an image of God the Father on his own by this painter?
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« Reply #783 on: August 02, 2014, 07:01:39 AM »

I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you looking for an image of God the Father on his own by this painter?

Yes, indeed.

In a "New Testament Trinity" icon, one can easily tell the difference between God the Son and God the Father, even if neither is explicitly labelled as such. If one has the figure of the Ancient of Days alone, however, (as in the Unburnt Bush icon) without an inscription, it is perfectly within the realm of possibility that he could be intended to be the Son, as in traditional iconography.

I'm wondering whether Damaskinos ever explicitly painted icons of God the Father where one didn't have to depend on the context to figure it out.
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« Reply #784 on: August 02, 2014, 07:09:05 AM »

You're still trying to justify God the Father paintings, aren't you? On what basis?
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« Reply #785 on: August 02, 2014, 07:17:05 AM »

You're still trying to justify God the Father paintings, aren't you? On what basis?

I'm not trying to justify any God the Father paintings. I have noted in the past that I don't particularly agree with them myself (despite being surrounded by them) and that remains true.

I'm also becoming more inclined to believe that Damaskinos might have indeed intended for the Ancient of Days in the icon of the Unburnt Bush to be the Father. I'm just still unconvinced that we have to unequivocally assume that it is, that it can't have been the one time he decided to go down a more traditional road and depict the Son as such.
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« Reply #786 on: August 02, 2014, 07:34:50 AM »

Damaskinos has taken various artistic liberties in the Unburnt Bush painting, consistent with his Italo-Venetian influences. He has used the cruciform halo for the Father in other paintings. He indeed knew the "rules", and followed them in his early work, but his later work is art, not iconography.

There's nothing wrong with liking his Unburnt Bush as a piece of religious art. What it is not is an icon.
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« Reply #787 on: August 02, 2014, 07:49:38 AM »

Damaskinos has taken various artistic liberties in the Unburnt Bush painting, consistent with his Italo-Venetian influences. He has used the cruciform halo for the Father in other paintings. He indeed knew the "rules", and followed them in his early work, but his later work is art, not iconography.

There's nothing wrong with liking his Unburnt Bush as a piece of religious art. What it is not is an icon.

No disagreements from me.

Setting aside any impressions I may have given earlier, I'm not much of a fan of that particular school of art. I find nearly nothing aesthetically pleasing about it.
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« Reply #788 on: August 02, 2014, 11:57:08 AM »

Can someone explain who the Son of Man is, if the Ancient of Days in Daniel is intended to be Christ? Does Christ appear twice and talk to Himself? What does the vision signify, if not the Father bestowing authority on the Son in the manner Jesus spoke of in the Gospels?
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« Reply #789 on: August 02, 2014, 02:02:59 PM »

Thank you for this discussion on the Damaskinos icon.  I found it very helpful.  I value your analysis very much LBK.  From another website I was led to believe that it was not the Father that was being portrayed.  But now I see that it is most likely the Father, and that the Theotokos is not properly depicted as well.  

I also had another question.  Would it be proper to depict Christ, properly painted with the cruciform halo and the inscription, as giving the tablets to Moses?  Is this depiction theologically sound?  There are also other icons which depict only a hand giving the tablets to Moses, with no identification for the hand.  Is this proper?

Can someone explain who the Son of Man is, if the Ancient of Days in Daniel is intended to be Christ? Does Christ appear twice and talk to Himself? What does the vision signify, if not the Father bestowing authority on the Son in the manner Jesus spoke of in the Gospels?

I'm sorry I don't know enough to answer this.  
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« Reply #790 on: August 03, 2014, 12:53:19 AM »

Quote
Would it be proper to depict Christ, properly painted with the cruciform halo and the inscription, as giving the tablets to Moses?

No, as He was not incarnate at the time.

Quote
There are also other icons which depict only a hand giving the tablets to Moses, with no identification for the hand.  Is this proper?

Yes. This is the proper way of depicting God giving the tablets to Moses.
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« Reply #791 on: August 03, 2014, 02:22:40 AM »

Quote
There are also other icons which depict only a hand giving the tablets to Moses, with no identification for the hand.  Is this proper?

Yes. This is the proper way of depicting God giving the tablets to Moses.

The hand is honestly quite bizarre in iconography. It clearly anthropomorphizes God in a way that's not particular to the post-incarnate person of the Logos, and just looks kind of silly IMO when done both in the East and in the West.

I mean, in the same vein of logic about depicting the Persons of the Godhead in general, when did God become incarnate, or even manifest himself, as a floating hand? It's like some iconographer had this internal monologue:

"It's not possible to depict the Father or the pre-incarnate Christ, so what am I to do? I can't just have the tablets magically appearing before Moses..."
"Oh! We all know that God has a body (which can be seen/hidden/cause death), which he hid with his hands, so I'll just depict God/the Father/the pre-incarnate Christ as a mystical hand in the sky! Problem solved."
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« Reply #792 on: August 03, 2014, 02:37:10 AM »

Quote
There are also other icons which depict only a hand giving the tablets to Moses, with no identification for the hand.  Is this proper?

Yes. This is the proper way of depicting God giving the tablets to Moses.

The hand is honestly quite bizarre in iconography. It clearly anthropomorphizes God in a way that's not particular to the post-incarnate person of the Logos, and just looks kind of silly IMO when done both in the East and in the West.

I mean, in the same vein of logic about depicting the Persons of the Godhead in general, when did God become incarnate, or even manifest himself, as a floating hand? It's like some iconographer had this internal monologue:

"It's not possible to depict the Father or the pre-incarnate Christ, so what am I to do? I can't just have the tablets magically appearing before Moses..."
"Oh! We all know that God has a body (which can be seen/hidden/cause death), which he hid with his hands, so I'll just depict God/the Father/the pre-incarnate Christ as a mystical hand in the sky! Problem solved."

Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, In the place, O Lord, which You have made For Your own dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established

Your hands O Lord have made me and established me
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« Reply #793 on: August 03, 2014, 07:05:43 AM »

Quote
There are also other icons which depict only a hand giving the tablets to Moses, with no identification for the hand.  Is this proper?

Yes. This is the proper way of depicting God giving the tablets to Moses.

The hand is honestly quite bizarre in iconography. It clearly anthropomorphizes God in a way that's not particular to the post-incarnate person of the Logos, and just looks kind of silly IMO when done both in the East and in the West.

I mean, in the same vein of logic about depicting the Persons of the Godhead in general, when did God become incarnate, or even manifest himself, as a floating hand? It's like some iconographer had this internal monologue:

"It's not possible to depict the Father or the pre-incarnate Christ, so what am I to do? I can't just have the tablets magically appearing before Moses..."
"Oh! We all know that God has a body (which can be seen/hidden/cause death), which he hid with his hands, so I'll just depict God/the Father/the pre-incarnate Christ as a mystical hand in the sky! Problem solved."

Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, In the place, O Lord, which You have made For Your own dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established

Your hands O Lord have made me and established me

Thank you, Father.  Smiley

I would also add this:

Lord, Your mercy is forever. Do not disdain the work of Your hands.


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« Reply #794 on: August 03, 2014, 01:13:28 PM »

Quote
There are also other icons which depict only a hand giving the tablets to Moses, with no identification for the hand.  Is this proper?

Yes. This is the proper way of depicting God giving the tablets to Moses.

The hand is honestly quite bizarre in iconography. It clearly anthropomorphizes God in a way that's not particular to the post-incarnate person of the Logos, and just looks kind of silly IMO when done both in the East and in the West.

I mean, in the same vein of logic about depicting the Persons of the Godhead in general, when did God become incarnate, or even manifest himself, as a floating hand? It's like some iconographer had this internal monologue:

"It's not possible to depict the Father or the pre-incarnate Christ, so what am I to do? I can't just have the tablets magically appearing before Moses..."
"Oh! We all know that God has a body (which can be seen/hidden/cause death), which he hid with his hands, so I'll just depict God/the Father/the pre-incarnate Christ as a mystical hand in the sky! Problem solved."

Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, In the place, O Lord, which You have made For Your own dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established

Your hands O Lord have made me and established me

Thank you, Father.  Smiley

I would also add this:

Lord, Your mercy is forever. Do not disdain the work of Your hands.




But I think you and Fr H are missing Nephi's point.  If it is improper to depict the Father because he never became incarnate, and if it is improper to depict the pre-incarnate Christ because he had not yet assumed flesh, then why paint a hand to represent either/both? 

The reasoning which points to language in Scripture which speaks of God's hands as the justification for painting a hand is nothing more than the reasoning which would point to "manifestations" of the Father and/or of the pre-incarnate Christ in the OT to justify "Old Man" icons.   
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« Reply #795 on: August 03, 2014, 02:34:30 PM »

But I think you and Fr H are missing Nephi's point.  If it is improper to depict the Father because he never became incarnate, and if it is improper to depict the pre-incarnate Christ because he had not yet assumed flesh, then why paint a hand to represent either/both? 

The reasoning which points to language in Scripture which speaks of God's hands as the justification for painting a hand is nothing more than the reasoning which would point to "manifestations" of the Father and/or of the pre-incarnate Christ in the OT to justify "Old Man" icons. 

Exactly, as well as pre-incarnate icons of Christ as an angel, etc.
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« Reply #796 on: August 03, 2014, 05:21:49 PM »

These are not exactly strange- I do not think they have canonical problems- but they are different from many I've seen. These were recently installed at my parish. They're scenes from the life of St. George.



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« Reply #797 on: August 04, 2014, 05:35:11 AM »

They decipt scenes from Life of Saint George the Trophy bearer... Only last is bit unusual, since I never saw Saint George seated on Throne...
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« Reply #798 on: August 04, 2014, 06:19:15 AM »

Quote
Only last is bit unusual, since I never saw Saint George seated on Throne...

While not as common as icons of him on horseback, there are various historic icons of St George enthroned:

A couple from Serbia:
 


Quote

A Greek one:



There are also icons of Great-martyr Demetrius shown this way.

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« Reply #799 on: August 04, 2014, 06:59:30 AM »

Quote
Only last is bit unusual, since I never saw Saint George seated on Throne...

While not as common as icons of him on horseback, there are various historic icons of St George enthroned:

A couple from Serbia:
 


Quote

A Greek one:



There are also icons of Great-martyr Demetrius shown this way.



Well, I guess it has theological reasoning behind, after all we sing that Martyrs deserved crowns, for their Testimony of Christ.
Usually, Saint George is represented on horseback (usually representing his feast day, 23rd of April), or standing (usually icon connected with Feast of Renowation of Church of Saint George in Lyda, 3rd of November).
Byznatine icon, today in Athens:
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« Reply #800 on: September 05, 2014, 01:34:28 PM »

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« Reply #801 on: September 05, 2014, 01:39:50 PM »

When looking at icons, I often think, "This one would be cooler with a Nazi dragon."
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« Reply #802 on: September 05, 2014, 01:42:51 PM »

This really -does- clarify the whole Episcopal staff thing for me.....it's a snake killing weapon...with symbols of -what-it can be used to kill, right there on it.  Wink
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« Reply #803 on: September 05, 2014, 02:13:17 PM »



I want this.
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« Reply #804 on: September 05, 2014, 02:20:09 PM »

Everything was normal until I scrolled to the bottom.  Smiley Although it's fine in the end. Indiana Jones and I feel the same way about these people.
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« Reply #805 on: September 05, 2014, 02:52:32 PM »

Everything was normal until I scrolled to the bottom.  Smiley Although it's fine in the end. Indiana Jones and I feel the same way about these people.

You, me, Indy, Jake, Elwood...we're in good company.  Smiley
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« Reply #806 on: September 06, 2014, 10:53:56 PM »


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« Reply #807 on: September 06, 2014, 11:03:10 PM »

That's the same one...  Huh
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« Reply #808 on: September 07, 2014, 06:17:34 AM »


Lol!  So it is!
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« Reply #809 on: September 08, 2014, 09:41:09 AM »

First time in my life I've seen it, but maybe it's not so strange:


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