1. #51
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    Personally, I do not agree with Mr. Douglas Gantenbein, and his views on our profession!

    But, I only one thing to say, this is America, and he has the freedom of speech. This freedom was given to Mr. Gantenbien by our war heroes years ago. I am sure, by his standers, these men and women that lost their lives to for him, were not heroes either. As the military have many of the same traditions as the fire service.

    Firefighters are Americans, we have rights too, and we have the right not to purchase Sports Illustrated or MSN or any other publications the Mr. Gantenbein writes for. Maybe the editors will consider the drop in sales, when they edit Mr. Gatenbein articles before allowing such crap to be published.

    As the millions of firefighters may take this time to exercise, Exercise our right not to buy or support, any corporations that Mr. Gatenbien is affiliated with.


    Mark Conn
    South Florida
    (Not a hero since 1978)


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    Talking Look what happens when you let someone play with the home labotomy kit once too often

    This individual is as uninformed as he is brash...first he flames firefighters in Slate now he wanders in here trying to justify his twisted belief and all because hes mad that some guys from his area infringed on what he considered his turf (that being mountain rescue).
    I dont post here often BUT after reading his rants in Slate and then reading his odacious post in here I felt compelled to remark simply by virtue of the fact that Im a member here and he shouldnt be.
    The shame of it is he is hiding under the cloak of freedom of speech and using it to blasphemy people whom he has never met, or worked with. The man is obviously smart enuf to be a hazzard to himself and others, and I for one and thankful I dont live anywhere near him, if I did I would move.

  3. #53
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    Default How I see it.....

    A response to Mr. Douglas Gantenbein:

    Let’s take step back, breathe deeply a few times, and look at this article objectively (if we can). First of all, I’m sure all of our initial reactions were pretty much the same. Something along the lines of “Why, you mutt, I oughta….”. Secondly, remember that in these forums, or the firehouse, or with our families, we are preaching to the choir (that means that we are attempting to persuade those who already agree with us). Thirdly, in over 30 years as a firefighter I have seen Mr. Gantenbein’s point of view expressed every once in a while, so it’s nothing new. Sometimes the letter is from a wanna-be that was rejected by or dismissed from his local volunteer fire department and seeks to “get back at them”. Sometimes it comes from a guy who has tried and tried in vain to get on his local paid department, and lashes out in his frustration. More typically it is from some poorly-informed civilian with a lot of time, a little paper, and no clue. He has an axe to grind, and we are a target of convenience.

    I present for your consideration a discussion of this article, in an attempt to put it in perspective. I tried hard (although not altogether successfully) to prevent this from being an angry rant. Such replies are neither helpful nor professional. Please don’t bother sending this guy hate mail. Those who get it, get it. Those who don’t throw stones at those who do. Please bear in mind that Mr. Gantenbein’s article doesn’t entirely malign firefighters – his main point is that we shouldn’t be called heroes, because a lot of the time (in his myopic view) we aren’t doing much, if anything. Let’s get into it, shall we?

    First, and most importantly, Mr.Gantenbein, you had every right to write the article. You are entitled to your opinions, as are we all. I do regret that someone chose to publish it without equal space for a dissenting viewpoint, but I’m quite sure that you would probably point out that your article is in fact the dissenting viewpoint to the commonly-held belief that firefighters are indeed heroes. May it ever be so. In any case, your assertion that it is a “cush job” with the “best work schedule in the United States” set the tone fairly early - your article is long on opinion and short on fact. In my 30+ years as a firefighter I have seen my work schedule go from 64 hours per week to 48. Even though there is a New York State mandated 40-hour work week for professional firefighters, we still work 48 and get paid the difference in Night Differential Pay. Other paid firefighters around the country work more hours than that, and volunteer firefighters don’t even get the benefit of a work schedule. So, even though the accepted 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday work week is 40 hours, I work more than that. This also, Mr. Gantenbein, includes weekends and holidays. How many hours per week do you work, Douglas? And how many of your kid’s Christmases have you missed? I’ve missed quite a few.

    As far as your view that “a few big-city fire stations may have 4, 5 or 6 calls or more during a shift, and the rest are not nearly that busy” . . . boy, you need to get around more. Yes, there are some quieter stations, but you have missed the entire premise of paid fire protection. You see, Douglas, we have to be here 24-7 because we don’t know when your emergency will be, or where. If you could schedule them for us, it would make things a lot easier. Nice spring afternoons would be nice, if it isn’t too much trouble.

    I also take issue with your thinking that giving tours to school kids (we call it “fire prevention education”) and washing the fire engines (we call it “equipment maintenance”, and it involves a lot more than a just keeping things clean) are not really part of what we should be doing. I guess that building inspections are out, too. Likewise patrolling public assembly events – after all, that isn’t putting hose in the road. You make it sound like we should be out there fighting major blazes all day, every day. Well, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but the future of the fire service lies much more in fire prevention than in fire suppression. The vast majority of fire deaths in the United States are dead when the alarm sounds at the fire station. It’s our job to save them, too, and that’s what fire prevention is all about. Your comments about firefighters “doing ambulance work, doing search-and-rescue work, anything but Job #1” are truly incredible. Those are our duties too, Douglas, and believe it or not you are Job #1, whether you are on fire, trapped in a car wreck, or having a heart attack.

    Your comments about many firefighters moonlighting at other jobs is certainly true. I put three sons through college, and you can’t do that on what we pay our firefighters. It’s called providing for your family, and believe me, most of us don’t work those second (and third) jobs because we like it. We are already away from our families more than the average worker. Guess you missed that. OK, what’s next?

    Oh yes . . . “firefighting isn’t that dangerous”. Ride along with me in my first alarm district some summer night, Douglas. It’ll change your mind for you. By the way, exactly how many letter-writers died in the line of duty last year? Mr. Gantenbein, rather than allow you to dishonor the memory of so many men and women who are better than yourself, you’ll just have to shut up on this point. I’ve lost too many friends to be able to respond to you objectively on this issue and I make no apology for that.

    As far as being ‘adrenaline junkies”, yes, I’ve seen some of that. Most of them are young and haven’t seen enough yet. Believe me, even big fires aren’t that thrilling after the first few hundred. Your point about our “excellent propaganda skills” is also confusing. No firefighter I know (or have ever known) is into tooting his own horn. We don’t do that. We hate that. I’m also sorry you found a firefighter’s funeral “agony” to sit through. Rest assured it was agony for us too, but for very different reasons. You see, our funeral rituals are for us, not for you. They mean something to us. We have earned the right to have them. You have not earned the right to criticize them. Next time, stay home. We don’t want you there.

    Yes, you are correct we are a special interest group. What you fail to grasp is that our “special interest” is your sorry ***. I regret very much that you feel it necessary to label some of us as greedy, lazy, racist, sexist homophobes. Some of us may be some of those things . . . we are people, too. But, call us what you will, we will continue to be there for you whenever and wherever you need us. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure your safety, even at the risk of our own. That’s what we do.

    In closing, I will not be defined by the misguided ramblings of an ignorant non-combatant. You don’t have the slightest idea what we do, or why, and your opinion doesn’t matter to me at all. Do I consider myself a hero? No, I don’t think that way. I know a lot of heroes, though. As we clear the doors and hit the siren, I’m surrounded by them. It’s a genuine privilege to know them. Too bad you never will. We are firefighters, and we watch out for each other . . . and for you, Mr. Douglas Gantenbein.

    What’s that? . . . . . . Oh, you’re welcome.

    Captain David B. Reeves
    Truck Company 3
    Syracuse Fire Department
    Syracuse, NY

    --------------------
    " Syracuse - An ISO Class 1 Fire Department"

  4. #54
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    I knew one day we could agree on something.
    So, THAT'S what all the earth-shaking was about!

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    MUTT ! MUTT! MUTT ! MUTT! Where is the Dog Catcher when you need one?
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

    IAFF Local 3900

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    Thumbs up AMEN!!!!!

    Captain Reeves,

    I think your letter pretty near sums it up for us all, Paid and Volunteer. Some people will just never understand.

    Stay Safe,

    Jim

  7. #57
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    Talking

    Try to keep everything in perspective. "Those who can, Do and become firefighters. Those who can't, become writers!" Just keep in mind we have earned a good name and don't have to prove anything to anyone.
    E. Dean Holland
    Retired Fire Chief

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    Red face Understandable

    Mongoose,
    I understand what you are saying 100%. This guy has hit some issues that the industry has problems with.
    The part that fry's me is this is exactly the kind of media that city planners use to decide budgets for their Depts.
    Maybe he should ride in a house that sends out two man engine companies for a few weeks. I mean in between games of checkers. I am having a hard time typing this with my bags of money beside me. Maybe he should find out the reason we need second jobs on our off days.
    In his mindset I guess I should only get paid by the call.

    A four month wonder goes out and hears some story's, sees a flame or two, and he is an treated as an expert. The point he really misses is that the media are the ones that have pounded the "Hero" name on us. It doesn't sell newspapers or books to just say Firefighters.

    He is right that the industry needs help on some issues, but If he is trying to help by making us look like a bunch of lazy, overpaid, thrill junkies. Thanks for nothing. When they cut our budgets, and manpower again, let him call the pizza delivery guy instead of 911.

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    Originally posted by Mongoose772
    BorderPatrol:

    Please accept my apology about the inference to "jolly whackers". My intent was not to ridicule volunteers, and certainly that irreverant term doesn't apply to most volunteer firefighters.
    Mongoose, apology accepted and please accept mine for having a hair trigger on these issues.

    Stay safe Brother

  10. #60
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    Angry

    I did not join the fire service to be told I have an easy, cushy job and be called a hero, it is just the opposite.

    When I joined the Yarmouth Volunteer FD in Nova Scotia 28 years ago I was getting $10 a year honorarium. Now I am getting around $200 a year before taxes. I did not join for the money as it doesn't cover the gas or dry cleaning.

    I did not join to be told it's cushy and easy work. Believe me it's not.

    When you leave your house and warm bed on a snowy night you don't know when you are coming home.

    I think that writer should wake up smell the roses and work a 24 hour shift with some of the men he is insulting.

    Our motto is to serve, defend and protect life and property no matter how easy or hard the work is.

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    Default Dangerous

    This job isn't dangerous?


    Tell that to 343 of our brothren that went to work on the morning of 9/11.

  12. #62
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    It has been a while since I have posted anything here, but like all of you, this is something I felt strongly about. As for being heroes, I don't think you can find one firefighter who calls himself a hero. Yet even as we tend to consider what we do "just doing our job" we still take the time to recognize our members who have done something we consider to be "above and beyond" that call. Even when presented one of these awards, the individual will not call himself a hero. That in part is what makes a hero to me, that humble attitude.

    As for some of the "Facts" that the author used in his article, they seem more generalizations and stereotypes than facts. Yes there are slow stations just as there are busy stations. There is greater safety now than in the past, but not enough, as we keep loosing our brothers. While there is no single cause of death among fire service fatalities, it is wrong to say that firefighters are dying for being out of shape.

    As for the fire service being heavily unionized, I think actually it is somewhat less unionized than most other professions. While most if not all career firefighters are members of a union, the majority of firefighters and fire departments in the country are volunteer and as such are not unionized. That doesn't seem all that heavy to me. Are we a special interest group, I guess in a way we are, but how many other special interest groups devote themselves to trying to end thier business? We as firefighters and as fire service organizations spend alot of time working on fire and injury prevention. IF it were actually possible to totally prevent these things we would no longer be needed.

    As for working second jobs sure there are some that do that. But most career firefighters work more than 40 hours a week and most volunteer firefighters do this in addition to thier jobs, so how exactly is this a bad thing? Plus let us remember that the author's bio lists more than one publication, so doesn't he work more than one job? doesn't he moonlight?

    Are we junkies just looking for a rush? I don't think we are at all, but there is a certain rush in knowing that you are there when needed, to save life and property. There is a certain rush in a job well done. In as much as this is about having pride in what you do and doing what you enjoy, these are not faults but core american values.

    Are the funeral rituals silly or overdone? I don't think so. Each and every thing that is done at a fire service funeral is done as a tradition that is representative of something. From flowers in a speaking trumpet to uniformed pallbearers. Does it matter that some of those killed fighting fires were jsut college kids? I hardly think so, this year we have seen the tragedy of a sixteen year old killed in an apparatus roll over, should that not have been considered line of duty because she didn't make it to the fire? That would be the worst kind of dishonor to show the departed. I for one hope I never have to put on my uniform for a funeral again, ever. I know I will have to do this, however. I also somewhat selfishly hope none of you will ever have to put on your uniforms and stand to honor me, but I am comforted a little to know that if that does happen the brotherhood of the fire service, a large number of whom will not know much about me, will be there for my family.

    As for first amendment rights, the author absolutely has the right to write anything he wants, and the publishers absolutely have the right to publish anything they want. That is part of what makes america great. One of the other rights that makes this a great country is the right of free assembly, which allows us to be the brotherhood that we are, and the right of peaceful protest which allows us to not buy magazines, use internet providers, watch news channels or otherwise patronize the various outlets that this author has. Do I think that a full scale boycott is needed, I don't know. Partly because I'm not all that sure how effective it would be. I think the form of protest needs to be almost an individual thing. After all we are a special interest group that just does our thing, right?

    Alan Shaw
    Belltown Fire Department
    Stamford, CT

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    Let the "author" of this drivel have his day in the sun. The sun will set, time will pass, and the issue of SI this was in will end up in either the recycle or trash bin.
    100% true!


    You know whats funny/sad/odd/strange is when we keep responding to the posts Douglas Gantenbein + William Langewiesche made.We collectivly are just feeding the trolls.

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    Originally posted by stm4710
    We collectivly are just feeding the trolls.
    Something you know all about huh???
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

    IACOJ-WOT proud

    GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

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    Default here is how to get in touch with this obviously misinformed "gentleman"

    Did a little firehouse detective work today with yahoo people search.

    Came up with the address and phone number of the author of this terrible article, Doug Gantenbein and his wife, Jane Kilburn.

    I am obviously not suggesting that we should all call or write directly to them to voice our displeasure. I am merely providing a bit of information for the masses.

    < PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED >

    Sorry, if you want to contact, use the individual's personal web site listed. But posting personal information, wife's name, etc. is not appropriate here --- WebTeam

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    I don't think that's right to post someone's PERSONAL information, ESPECIALLY a home address on here for anyone to see. Do you want it on your head that something happened to these people because some nutcase saw the address here?? I would suggest removing that, not to mention the fact that it goes against the TOS of the site. Bad move on your part. The guy has a VERY differing opinion than the rest of us regarding the Fire Service, however I don't think posting his wife's name and their home address is the proper course of action.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

    IACOJ-WOT proud

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    Any one paying attention to "The media" (TV,print,Radio)realizes that they are owned by huge corporations that tend to further there own causes. It has becone increasingly evident that many of these "news" organizations are finely cloaked advertisements for there books,mags, sports bars, movies,...,for their parent or sister Co.s I think the author had some preconcieved political motivations for his piece and he got the reaction he was looking for. There is a faction out there who want to strip away what our brothers before us have built. They want the fire service to be "cheaper" to operate. The onus is on the departments to be pillars in the community and to market yourselves with the same zeal as these political "media giants" want to belittle the invaluable service we render.
    I.A.C.O.J.


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    OTHERS ARE JUST ON
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    Default Re: here is how to get in touch with this obviously misinformed "gentleman"

    What the hell is wrong with you? Why don't you just play into this guy's hand? You know he reads this. There is no legitimate reason to post this address except as a veiled threat. I reported this to the WT and hopefully it will be deleted soon.
    Last edited by GeorgeWendtCFI; 11-03-2003 at 12:48 PM.

  19. #69
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    Yes, the first addmendment allows for such dribble to be published, and yes I spent my time in the military to ensure that right, including the Gulf War of '91, and yes, if asked I would do it again.
    If 56 hours a week/2900 hours a year is cushy, so be it...
    If you believe that our Union, and it's desire to keep us safe is a special intrest, so be it...
    If you think we are addrenilin junkies, so be it... (but I can guarentee there isn't one of us that gets a rush out of pulling people out of fires to the distressed look of family members)
    If you believe firefighters think of themselves as heroes, you are wrong again, so be it...
    And the list of falicies goes on, so be it...
    The best part of your article is; you are a perfect example of how out of touch the main stream media is from the general public. For this, I thank you.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
    George Mason
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    during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
    Elevator Rescue Information

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    George, might I suggest editing the address out of the quote in your post. I was going to quote him too, but that's the reason why I didn't. Maybe then JUST that one post can be removed and not an entire thread. I think that perhaps this thread can be a good thing if people keep their tempers in check, MAYBE the author can get a differing view of what we do, IF we all act like adults.


    Obviously, he has based his opinion on something, and we all know that it only takes ONE bad apple to spoil the bunch. So instead of getting all twisty and tied up in knots, why don't we objectively tell him what we do (as several have), give him a better idea and a larger comparison base. It's easy to see a small minority that don't fit in with the "norm" and base a judgement on that, and while it's our natural love of the brotherhood that makes us want to jump down this guys throat; lets use that love and respect to change his view of us, not reinforce it.
    Last edited by PFire23; 11-03-2003 at 12:36 PM.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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    George, might I suggest editing the address out of the quote in your post. I was going to quote him too, but that's the reason why I didn't. Maybe then JUST that one post can be removed and not an entire thread. I think that perhaps this thread can be a good thing if people keep their tempers in check, MAYBE the author can get a differing view of what we do, IF we all act like adults.
    Good call.

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    You know I see alot of people saying things like "this is his right" and "free speech" and "first amendment." Yes, this guy has the right to write and print what he wants, millions of young men and women have died over the years for him to exercise this right. However, it is my right as an American Citizen to disagree with it as well. So in not so many words, Mr. Gantenbein, F--K YOU!

    This is what happens when you let the left control the Media. I called and cancelled my SI subscrition as soon as I read it and also am suggesting we cancel the subscription we have at the Firehouse. I know he isn't an SI regular, but they let him write for them. So AMF SI!

    While I do not disagree with a couple of the statements in the article, it was mostly bullscat and I now know why I am proud to be an AMERICAN a FIREFIGHTER and a REPUBLICAN!

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    In roundabout terms this was stated eariler, but it seems to me that this fellow might suffer from "Ladder Envy" or something like that, relating to his particular statement on use of ladder trucks:

    "honor" four young people killed in a forest fire (one absurd touch: hook-and-ladder rigs extended to form a huge arch over the entrance to the funeral hall).


    Hmm I don't know the background on this one, but I do know that "we" don't do things without reason. And I am sure there was a good one, besides the death of four young people.

    Mongoose, your initial post was well said. George, I sadly must agree with you on the "Freedom of Speech" part. No I am not sad to agree with you (we do that sometimes LOL) but only in the fact that this fellow is allowed his $0.02 worth, and his 10 minutes of fame. I belive he has received those and more perhaps. We have our freedom to speak out against him, just as he had his to make his article. Sometimes that really sucks.

    Chief Reason, yep you are right on the money there. This guy is not worth the effort to send a msg to, in my opinion either. Something about the last line in my signature comes to mind: [i]"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you."[i] Perhaps we might want to take care in how we respond at a personal level to this individual.

    Pfire: orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, he really wanted to be a firefighter and couldn't make the cut so he became a journalistic bastahd instead Yep right on the money!

    I don't agree with what this guy wrote anymore than the rest of us do. Some of his "facts" may be correct, and I don't need to reiterate them, it's been done. His tone and direction are certainly out to lunch, but then as George stated, that's his opinion, and we all have one. Sometimes we agree sometimes we don't, thats part of being Human. HOWEVER, one thing that I really didn't agree with, and this has been said too, is the public posting of Mr Gantenbein's home address. I just spent an entire Thursday attending an Access to Information/Privacy Act briefing, and this goes against everything that the Act protects. I hope that the Webteam will "strike" that part from the forums. Yes it might be information that is publicly avialable, but the rights of the individual are still to be protected. Publicly posting someone's home address without consent is a very big bad NO-NO.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

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    Thanks George!!

    I was reading some of his responses on the MSN forum, and I read where some people who have contacted him have threatened him and his family with harm, burning down his house etc., so I didn't really think his address being posted was a great idea. I might also add that knowing that these types of threats have been made against an individual who has a negative opinion of us as it is EMBARASSES me and does nothing to bolster his view of us.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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    Default for admin and those that bashed me....

    In the article, there is a link to the author's home page where he, himself, gives his wife's name and the city where he lives. I merely used this information to do a yahoo people search and found his address. I did NOT post anything that is not freely available on the internet already.

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