Link to KansasPrairie.net

7/30/2014

COLYER TRIES TO FOOL KANSAS TWICE…

Filed under: prairie musings, print news, Sam Brownback, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 2:28 pm

Colyer tries to fool Kansans twice
July 29, 201412:03 p.m.

It’s hard to believe that Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer tried the same trick twice. On New Year’s Eve last year, the last day of the campaign finance reporting period, Colyer loaned the Brownback campaign $500,000 – the largest campaign loan in state history. Several days later, reporters asked Colyer and Gov. Sam Brownback about the loan, which looked suspiciously like it was aimed at inflating the campaign’s fundraising total to match the fundraising of the Democratic challenger, House Minority Leader Paul Davis. Colyer told the Lawrence Journal-World that the loan represented his commitment to making a better future for Kansas kids. Brownback told the Kansas City Star that the loan would allow him to take his message to voters this winter and spring. Neither of them disclosed that the campaign had already repaid Colyer for the loan, on Jan. 2. Now, Colyer has done it again. On July 23, a day before the latest reporting period ended, Colyer again loaned the campaign $500,000. And again, the campaign claimed that the loan was merely a sign of Colyer’s commitment to the campaign.
By Phillip Brownlee

A Wichita Eagle Editorial Blog…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALLY….

Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:39 am

My youngest just turned 60 today.  How can that  be?
Happy Birthday, Ally.  I love you bunches and wish I could be with you to celebrate.

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You can always pick Ally out of a crowd.

7/28/2014

BILL TAYLOR…KING OF THE PALACE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 2:02 pm

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Bill Taylor joined the Salina Presbyterian Manor…oft referred to (by me) as “The Palace”…  in November 2010 as the chief executive officer.   Two years following that,  on November 28, 2012, I moved in as a new resident and have been able to observe first hand Bill’s many skills and accomplishments.

Sadly, Bill is leaving next week.  The happy note is that he’s moving up the ladder in the Presbyterian Manor administration and will be here from time to time working within the framework of his new job.

During the almost four years Bill has been the “in-charge” man here, wonderful things have happened.  Some are very obvious; others more subtle.

I remember when I first arrived he sought me out and welcomed me to the Manor. His feelings were genuine and warm and  the occasion, which I remember well, stuck with me.  I have an open door policy in my apartment on the second floor and I soon noticed Bill  did as well.   I’m the only resident whose door is always open, and it goes without saying not all chief executives leave their office doors open as a sign people are always welcome to enter and talk about matters of mutual concern.  Bill is sincere about his open door policy.

Bill is a people-centered person which comes naturally to him.  He’s comfortable around people and you sense that quality about him right away.  I mention it because he’s leaving and I’m going to miss him for many reasons most of which is that he’s done a wonderful job of keeping this place at the top of all the retirement center/health care charts.  This is a highly rated, outstanding facility in every category and operated by top-notch, well-qualified people.  You sense that if you live here because you experience a smooth, trouble-free living style that can only come if the place is well-managed.  There aren’t any sharp edges to be found.

During his tenure here there are noticeable changes that have occurred that have made the Palace an even better facility.  He made a game room in the basement out of a series of small cubby hole offices.  The room has a TV, pool table, lounge chairs, popcorn and vending machines.

One of the things that sold me on moving here was the restaurant-style dining that Bill instituted.  There is open seating at tables for four or six, linen table cloths and napkins, nice dishes and table ware and comfortable chairs.  Diners, with menu in hand,  are waited on by  a trained wait-staff just as you’d find in a fine restaurant.

One of Bill’s recent changes has been the addition of  the Salina Activities and Movie Network (SAMN) communication system and in-house TV channel.  There are daily postings to the system that include menus and activities, notices, birthdays, anniversaries, movies, etc.

When I moved to “the hood” and a larger apartment on second floor, it was completely upgraded and renovated.  As people move out of the apartments and townhomes, they are being completely renovated for the new resident, thanks to Bill.

Bill also saw the necessity to repave the front parking lot and upgrade the concrete slab around the entry.  He included additional outside seating under the main entry canopy.

At Christmas time, Bill hosts his annual Christmas holiday open house with Christmas drinks and treats.  I’m really going to miss that as it was a special occasion.

There are many other things he’s done that I’m not remembering…or aware of…that have made us all feel more like we are part of a neighborhood where we care about our neighbors.  I’m enormously grateful the Palace is here and I’m living in it.  And, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Bill for all he’s done to make this a perfect place for me to be.  And, my family members thank him too.

Thanks for tuning in…

7/25/2014

JOAN AND AUSTIN…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:49 am

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If you attended school in Salina in 1946, you’ll quickly recognize this couple….Joan Britegam and Austin Stedham.  They’ve been married 61 years. The thing is…they have changed very little in appearance and look just the same, only slightly older.  I’d bet their wedding attire would still fit.

Thanks for tuning in…

7/23/2014

RECIPE: HOW TO SLOW COOK TOUGH, OLD PEOPLE….

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 12:03 pm

Now, don’t read this if you don’t have a sense of humor.  It’s not for cranky people. I’m not throwing aspersions on the Palace where I live as I KNOW this is the best place in Salina for someone like me to live and I love every minute I’m here.

While holding this in mind, just know that there is hardly a day that passes that my friend, Joy, and I aren’t rolling on the floor laughing our lungs inside out at something funny that has happened here.  If you have a six story building, and several outhouses,  loaded with old folks, you better know there is something funny happening every minute of the day.  Joy and I try not to miss out on anything.

We have a new “head of maintenance” guy…with a fancy title, “Head of Environmental Services…”, something or other.  He couldn’t get to work yesterday because he didn’t have a key to the front door.  Don’t you just love it?

And, one of our residents who is usually very mild mannered, called a townhouse resident where she used to live…but hasn’t for over two years…and was mad as hops because she hadn’t brought her wheat check to her.  The townhouse resident was absolutely clueless about a wheat check or anything associated with it and more puzzled about getting wrung out like a rag over it.

And, yesterday one of the yard maintenance men was mowing around the pond and somehow drove the mower straight down into the pond.  Blurp, blurp…

But the best laugh of all occurred at “Travel and Taste”.  I opted out of the monthly “eat out with the inmates” which last night was a trip to Junction City.   We all load onto the Palace bus and go someplace different for dinner.  It’s fun, we all enjoy it and usually always something happens on the trip to bring us to tears in laughter.

Last night I didn’t go for several reasons, one being it was 110 degrees and that is “hot as hell” to me.   I can’t tolerate extreme heat like that gracefully.  The bus is air conditioned but no matter what seat in it I choose, the AC seems not to reach that far.  It’s a good thing I didn’t go, as it turns out they ran out of gas coming home when they were about two miles west of Russell Stover’s.  They pulled over by the side of the road and waited, and waited, and waited…an hour according to those being slowly cooked in the heat of the bus.

Eventually a highway patrolman came by and gave them some gas.  They continued on west and tried to buy gas in Solomon but nothing was open so they continued on west…and they ran out of gas AGAIN.  The same highway patrolman came to their rescue again and went for more gas to help them along.  Eventually, they got back to the Palace but they said they were all soaked through and dripping wet from a constant stream of perspiration.  I never would have managed…

Anyway, the stories going around today are really very funny…I just love this place.

Thanks for tuning in…

7/22/2014

ADAM FOSTER…FLYING SPECIALIST EXTRAORDINAIRE….CO-OWNER LEADING EDGE FLYING SUITS…

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 1:17 pm

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My cousin’s son, Adam Foster, and his girl friend, Gina, were here visiting.  They had been in Cushing OK doing what they both love to do best…wearing bat wing suits and jumping out of airplanes or from he top of some cloud-shrouded precipice in the Alps …and were on their way home to Colorado.  Flying is what they “do” and they teach others the intricacies of the sport and sell the suits you need for it. Adam has tallied about 1,500 jumps like this so you know he must love it. Gina, not so many, but a commendable number that draws a lot of respect.  Todd, Ally and Karen joined us for dinner last evening at Tucson’s and an evening of catching up with each other.  That’s the best kind of visit.

I ordered baby back ribs for dinner last night at Tucson’s.  They are wonderful, well-seasoned and fork tender.  Guess what we had for lunch here today?  Baby back ribs for the first time since I moved here.

My friend, Ann, invited me to go with her to hear Jill Docking tonight and I bailed…but only because I’m “walker” dependent and the facility where it’s being held is more than I can manage.  Dang it.  At least I can still get around for most things I want to do.  Sitting in a theater seat is no longer on my user friendly list.  I simply can’t extricate myself from it.

Life in the Palace is going very well and I’m still gloating over my decision to move here.  I could not have made a better choice. I have all the freedom I want to come and go…despite my joking referrals to being an inmate….and I have some very good friends here to visit with whenever I want.  It’s the best of two worlds.  My bedroom is full of all the technological gadgets I need to stay connected to the outside world, I have a stack of good books I rotate from the Salina Public Library, and far more options for places to go and things to see than in my previous “life”.

I have a new phone number that I changed rather suddenly.  The Palace has 100 in house phone lines that are used for business purposes, health care and all their related services.  That leaves a few that are free for resident use, as they become available.  After waiting almost two years,  one became available yesterday when my name rose to the top of the list. I grabbed it and ran.  It’s cheaper by about $100 a year than Cox.  I retain my unlimited long distance service.  The only drawback is that I have to dial 9 first, which isn’t a problem as I fed it into my bank of speed dial numbers. Another plus is that my message machine now works the way I want it to and I don’t have to dial up my messages from Cox.  Life gets easier day by day.  Life is very good.

Thanks for tuning in…

7/20/2014

SCOTT STROEDE HAS BEEN EXCOMMUNICATED BY PASTOR PHILIP HOPPE AND ST. PAUL’S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH’S CONGREGATION FOR BEING GAY…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:07 am

I pass this along with permission from Scott who outed himself and was excommunicated.  It’s another example of picking and choosing.  I wonder how long it has been since Pastor Hoppe and church members have violated the prohibition against mixing fabrics (Lev 19:19) or eating shellfish (Lev 11:10–12) and pork (Lev 11:7–8)?
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7/16/2014

#NERDY

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:07 pm

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7/14/2014

NEW YORK TIMES…KANSAS’ RUINOUS TAX CUTS (IS THE PATIENT DYING?)

Filed under: prairie musings, Sam Brownback, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 7:54 am

Kansas’ Ruinous Tax Cuts

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD JULY 13, 2014

There was a windstorm of hasty excuses in recent weeks after Kansas reported that it took in $338 million less than expected in the 2014 fiscal year and would have to dip heavily into a reserve fund. Spending wasn’t cut enough, said conservatives. Too many rich people sold off stock in the previous year, state officials said. It’s the price of creating jobs, said Gov. Sam Brownback.

None of those reasons were correct. There was only one reason for the state’s plummeting revenues, and that was the spectacularly ill-advised income tax cuts that Mr. Brownback and his fellow Republicans engineered in 2012 and 2013. The cuts, which largely benefited the wealthy, cost the state 8 percent of the revenue it needs for schools and other government services. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted, that’s about the same as the effect of a midsize recession. Moody’s cut the state’s debt rating in April for the first time in at least 13 years, citing the cuts and a lack of confidence in the state’s fiscal management.

The 2012 cuts were among the largest ever enacted by a state, reducing the top tax bracket by 25 percent and eliminating all taxes on business profits that are reported on individual income returns. (No other state has ever eliminated all taxes on these pass-through businesses.) The cuts were arrogantly promoted by Mr. Brownback with the same disproven theory that Republicans have employed for decades: There will be no loss of revenue because of all the economic growth!

“Our new pro-growth tax policy will be like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy,” he wrote in 2012. “It will pave the way to the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs, bring tens of thousands of people to Kansas, and help make our state the best place in America to start and grow a small business.”

But the growth didn’t show up. Kansas, in fact, was one of only five states to lose employment over the last six months, while the rest of the country was improving. It has been below the national average in job gains for the three and half years Mr. Brownback has been in office. Average earnings in the state are down since 2012, and so is net growth in the number of registered businesses.

The experience in Maine has been similar. Cut taxes, cut funding to public education, watch the economy falter as a prosperous future for…

With less money to spend, Kansas is forced to chop away at its only hope for real economic expansion: investment in public schools and colleges. While most states began restoring education funding after the recession, Kansas has cut K-12 spending by 2 percent over the last two school years, and higher education by 3 percent since 2012.

The evidence of failure is piling up around Mr. Brownback, whose re-election campaign is faltering because of his mistake. Yet he continues to cling to his magical ideology, pleading for more time. “It’s like going through surgery,” he told The Wall Street Journal last month. “It takes a while to heal and get growing afterwards.”

But it’s not clear the patient can recover from this surgery — the reserve fund, in fact, is likely to nearly run dry next year. As Kansas has clearly shown, states cannot cut their way to prosperity. They need to use every tool of government to nurture growth, and those tools require money.

7/13/2014

PALACE REFLECTIONS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 1:45 pm

I knew this was coming:  I miss talking with the “young professionals”, as I like to think of them, who  are now between the ages of 30 and 50, ambitious and well-informed who appear to be on the cutting edge of life, the best ever period in one’s lifetime.  They are my grandchildren, my nieces and nephews, and young friends from Ellsworth and “around”.  They are bright, intelligent, well-educated and moving ahead with their mental GPS systems pointing them in the  direction they have chosen.  They have boundless amounts of energy and use it to the fullest.  They operate off multiple spread-sheets and have their futures planned years in advance.  They give serious thought and consideration to lifetime issues that my generation let “just happen”…like   saving and preparing for retirement, life time health care and family planning. They all know who they are and I hope they know they are missed.

They, both men and women,  are waiting until their 30s to get married, usually after they have finished their education (at least the basic BS) and after they have a career path in view.    They plan the arrival of children very carefully, sometimes well before they are married.  They are not judgmental and take people for who they are. They speak properly as if HR people were constantly on duty.  They know not to cross personal boundaries. Color, disabilities and gayness don’t enter their minds. They want equality for all. They understand the Constitution and Bill of Rights and have a much better understanding of what they mean than their elders.  For the most part, they understand the truth behind the plethora of political lies that are spewed over the airways.  Truth and honesty matter to them. Religion doesn’t play a major role in their lives, if at all.

All in all: the young professionals “get” it.  The older generations I mingle with don’t get it.  It’s neither good nor bad: it’s just the way things are. We all grow older and more set in our ways, largely because we aren’t exposed to new thoughts and ideas. There are a lot more older folk in the world than we ever expected. The young professionals are our future.  They will lead the way and I am confident they will do a better job than we can even imagine.

Our paths cross infrequently since I moved to the Palace, and I expected that they would, so the conversations that once took place regularly have been put on hold.  It’s not a negative thing; it’s  the way life is.  That’s the one thing I really miss about living here, but I’m learning how to fill the void.

Sadly, there is nothing here at the Palace to take the place of those conversations, nothing like them to stimulate our minds.  It’s likely that I and a small handful of others are the only ones who’ve noticed.  Programs and parties need to include everyone…memory unit and health care…. and they are always designed and based on the lowest common denominator, which I think is a disservice to everyone.  There are few exceptions. But…people here are happy and love living here, as I do.  It’s just all part of the adjustment to a new life style.

So, one then relies on other pockets of stimulation:  computers, books, the arts, and conversations, etc.  There are lots of reasons why conversations among the elderly are limited.  We’ve reached an age (65 to 105) where we aren’t planning vacations and trips to exotic places because travel is too difficult and tiring; we aren’t looking for jobs or spouses as most of us have already had them and lost them; we aren’t starting a family or building a house  so those aren’t topics of conversation of the elderly.

Older people get riled up over subjects such as  politics and religion, or anything controversial,  and can’t talk about them in a rational manner.  That’s because older people, in my opinion, tend to seek consistency in their beliefs and perceptions and they don’t want to be confronted with something that conflicts with another previously held belief.  We all knows that monumental progress has been made in STEM.  Young people understand.  Older people are still hanging on to creative design, deny global warming and can’t accept science. The term cognitive dissonance comes to mind when that feeling of discomfort  overwhelms one from holding two conflicting beliefs at one time.  You can see it when the “shade” is lowered and eyes get squinty. No one wants to even think about something that might cause them to slip into this quagmire.  One treads lightly around here.

Even current events are deeply infused with politics and are subjects residents avoid just as they do religion and politics.   So, in my opinion, conversations that do occur don’t require a lot of thought or information and they take place  over lunch where only pleasantries of the day and the latest spin on who is stealing the fruit cups and flatware or some thing dealing with the weather are mentioned.  I guess you call that having respect for others.

When spontaneous utterances do occur, it’s usually because someone has spent way too much time watching Fox News and is all riled up over things that probably aren’t true, or only partially true.  The inmates are overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, but the Rs who aren’t tea party folk  don’t understand how the litmus test system works now that the tea party has taken over.  For some reason I can’t figure out, they believe the Eisenhower Republicans will somehow reappear on their white horses and come to their rescue.

I particularly miss my young friends now that there is no one I live among who even comes close to filling this self-imposed vacuum of conversation-less living.  Fortunately, I still have good friends who like to have phone conversations so I can rely on them to fill my empty spaces.

This situation is one I expected when I moved here…it is, after all,  the “Presbyterian Manor” with religion infused at every turn.  And, since most people in Kansas are Republicans, you can imagine that most who live here are as conservative as they come.   Eisenhower died a long time ago and I don’t ever expect him to return.  I hate to break the news to others.   That is not to say that I don’t enjoy the people around me, as I do. Very much.  Some have become very good friends.

BUT…..there is a bright light on the horizon, which was my real reason for the blog.  Three of my good friends, who are in their early 70’s and lean the same direction I do on most things,  are moving to the Palace grounds.  It will be a joy to have them near.  That makes six of us, as far as  I know, but I’m still looking for sleepers.  Change comes with baby steps.

Thanks for tuning in…

SERIOUS CLIMBERS…

Filed under: prairie musings, Drew Britton — Peg Britton @ 6:54 am

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Here are three of my favorite mountain climbers…Christy, Drew and Sarge…atop Shavano.  Five  Colorado summits in two weekends.

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Sarge, 100 pounds of solid muscle is the luckiest dog alive.  He gets to climb mountains every weekend and carry his own personal saddle bags with his water and food and other supplies.

7/10/2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TODD…61 WISHES AND MAY THEY ALL COME TRUE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Todd Britton, Todd & Karen Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:20 am

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Todd is celebrating his 61st birthday today…that hardly seems possible.

I hope you have a wonderful day, Todd.  I wish I could bake one of the famous train cakes I once made for you!  You’ll have to settle for sushi.

I’m very proud of you and the man you have become….

lots of love always…
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Todd’s family….Tyler, Karen and Drew.

7/8/2014

FRAGMENTS FROM THE PALACE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF, Drew Britton, Mackenzie — Peg Britton @ 7:00 pm

What have I been doing?, you asked.  It boils down to doing a bit of this and that everyday with no real demands on my time or brain.

Well, we have the usual new people who move into apartments that we have to meet and become acquainted with.  As with any such migration, there are those that we enjoy and have more in common with than others.  But they are all nice folk and it’s good to have their company.

We’re still down to one elevator which has its downside although we work around it.  They haven’t even started working on the malfunctioning one so I don’t know when in the near future it will be operational.  I can’t imagine what would happen if the only good elevator shot craps, as it’s been on the fritz from time to time.  I could manage to walk one flight of stairs once a day, I think….not really sure how that would be….but there are those living on the 6th floor and that is not an option for them.  None is young, and while some are far more physically able than others, it would pose a real nightmare.

I sat outside for a while tonight and visited with Jason and Nellie who always sit quietly side by side holding hands.  They are in their late 80s and have been married a very long time. Bob and Anita were there too…they weren’t holding hands but rather engaged in a lively conversation.

I loved The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and just finished “The Invention of Wings,” her newest novel that was inspired by the lives of abolitionist Sarah Grimké and her young slave.  The setting is in Charleston so I passed it on to my friend, Doris, as I think she would like it.  Her daughter lives in Charleston so we talk about that area of the country from time to time over lunch.

I’ve made a slight den in The Little Friend by Donna Tart, author of one of my all-time favorite books, The Goldfinch.   In this book, “a nine-year-old boy is found hanging from the branch of a black tupelo tree in his parents’ garden. The sudden, unsolved act of violence - the inexplicable murder of the universally adored young son - becomes the unreferred-to catastrophe which sends a whole extended Baptist family of grandmothers and great-aunts into displacement and grief.”

Standing by, is Tartt’s other book The Secret History and I may jump to it.  I think as much as I love Tartt’s style and order of words in spinning her tales, I’m getting a little weary of young boys dying.

So, while trying to keep up with reading, I also have to wander around Netflix to find the next exciting adventure I want to watch.  My grand kids, and several younger friends, have long talked about how much they liked Breaking Bad.  When the series first started, I watched a couple of episodes and discounted it as another drug deal gone wrong.  But, a couple of my friends were over the other day and we talked about it again and since they were so hung up on it, I decided to give it another try. Voila!  I liked it and watched all five seasons of 16 episodes each back to back on Netflix.  That’s what I did last week. I don’t like watching weekly episodes on TV…at all…and much prefer taking the whole series in one swipe.

They give free manicures here to anyone who wants one every month.  I’ve never gone to get one and I doubt there is anyone who needs one more than I.  I did take about a dozen pair of reading glasses to Stacy Munson last week for her repair and cleaning.  She works at WalMart and once a month they provide eye glass service.  It’s very nice.

Sandwiched in with all of that was my 86th birthday which was filled with friends, phone calls, emails and greeting cards to last me forever. It was quiet and very enjoyable. My friend Lynn took me to Longhorn’s for a great steak dinner and my kids did the same the next night.  They make great “from scratch” margaritas.  It was a good event becoming a year older.

My grandson, Tyler, was here for about 24 hours to attend a friend’s wedding reception.  We  had a good visit.  He never gets to spend much time in Kansas, but that’s okay.  He’s doing exemplary  work elsewhere.  If you scroll down from this entry, you will find pictures of him and his friends on their latest trip to Peru.  He has more exciting trips planned for this fall.

This concludes the end of the first year my granddaughter has worked as a developer at Asynchrony in St. Louis.  I’m very proud of her.  She made a bold move from Dallas, a job and a lot of friends to move to St. Louis a few years ago…where she didn’t know anyone.  She’s done very well.  Now, I can only hope she works her way west.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all my grandkids lived in the Denver/Boulder area?  I think so.

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And, my grandson Drew, and his constant companion Sarge, just climbed three more peaks in Colorado last weekend.  This picture was taken atop Redcloud.  He must be close to reaching his goal of climbing all the 14,000 footers in Co.  I’m so proud of all my grandchildren.

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If you have some spare time when you are in Salina, I’d love to have you stop by to visit and see the Palace.  It’s a good place to be.

Thanks for tuning in….


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