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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Removing stamps from letters, paper.

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rgnpcs
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19 Nov 2011
04:50:01pm
This topic is being beaten to death. The answers have been given many times as to what works, and I have also suggested Pure Citrus Air Freshener, that I have used on self-stick, and older stamps as well. just a small quick spray on stamp and within a few seconds stamp comes off. No residue is left.
Please, take the advice that has been given, and do not keep asking the same questions. all the answers are there!
Richaard
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Bobstamp
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19 Nov 2011
05:12:31pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

I don't have a problem with any legitimate question being posted. Even if a topic "has been beaten to death," responses to it just might provide some new information or ideas. It's a bit much to ask anyone to do a search, which can often be a futile exercise. Case in point: I used the search function to search for "Pure Citrus Air Freshener". Any guesses about what I found? Just your post of today, Richaard.

Bob

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Andrejs
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21 Nov 2011
08:07:59pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

I'm with Bob on this one. Sometimes a new thread on an old topic sparks some great insights. In this case, I've got a trip to Crappy Tire (sorry to all you non-Canadians who don't get the reference) planned, thanks to Liz' post.

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michael78651
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21 Nov 2011
11:15:24pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Richaard, if you don't want to read the post and responses, then don't. No one says that it's mandatory to read every post that is written.

To follow your logic, there's no need to ask any questions here, because there is plenty of philatelic literature that says it all.

To stifle discussion is to stifle learning.

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DRYER
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The past is a foreign country, they do things different there.
21 Nov 2011
11:59:14pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

STAMP COLLECTORS:

I'm the stereotypical curmudgeon and contrarian, but I have to agree with mainstream Stamporama on this one. I belong to this stamp club because, among many important things, it supports philatelic freedom of speech (opinions and views and so forth) - no qualifications except that we remain polite.

John Derry

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
22 Nov 2011
02:17:31pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

" .... To follow your logic, there's no need to ask any questions here,
because there is plenty of philatelic literature that says it all. ...."


And by the same token, every possible philatelic question has been asked, reasked, and answered and reanswered, during the last 171 years.

I agree with Michael, although the temptation to peruse each new comments is strong, just to see if there is some new insight, it is not physically impossible to skip over a comment or even a whole thread if you are certain that there will be nothing new and exciting, possibly even illuminating to be found because, after all, you already know it all.

So, buck up Richard, press that "Return to Topics" Button amd skip what you do not want to read.

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auldstampguy
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Just one more small cover .....
23 Nov 2011
09:40:48pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

The other thing to consider here is that thinks change, technology changes, stamps and stamp adhesives change, and on top of that we have new members joining almost every day. I personally am alway learning from all you guys and when you come up with a new and better way of doing something I store it away for future use.

Regards ... Tim.

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
23 Nov 2011
09:51:08pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Or, may I add, Tim, a better way of explaining some otherwise convoluted answer to a stamp query.

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
27 Nov 2011
03:52:30pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Bob writes;
" ... I don't have a problem with any legitimate question being posted.... "


I came across this proverb when I was in the military" ...The only stupid question is the unasked question....".

I made it a part of the lessons I tried to teach my children as they were growing up, and now grand children.
Sometimes a re-asked question can seem annoying but as long as it is not the same person asking the same question I am happy to adhere to the first rule. When that happens the first thing I try to consider is whether my previous answer, actually answered the question asked and if so was my answer really a help.

I have also discovered that often in an effort to explain something I am forced to rethink my explaination through and occasionally come to a greater insight myself. Finally, I believe that the average person asks questions, not of someone who is likely to not know or be mis-informed, or unable to illumenate the solution, but usually of the person most likley to know the amswer. As such it is an honor.




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hjulsing
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25 Jan 2012
11:13:27am
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

To Richaard,

I took your advise and bought a can of pure citrus air freshener (does it matter which odor?), when i visited the US, as this stuff is not for sale in Europe. You are absolutely correct, the stamps came of paper without any problems. However the stamps stay sticky, any suggestions?

Oh i also tried it on Brazilian and Indonesian self adhesives, same result, Great stuff.

Harry

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Patches
Liz
25 Jan 2012
12:46:47pm

Approvals
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Brush talcum or baby powder on the back of the stamps. That will get rid of the stickiness.

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hjulsing
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25 Jan 2012
03:27:08pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Haha! Now i understand why people collect Mint only. They are just lazy, what a lot of work.
But it works, thanks

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michael78651
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25 Jan 2012
05:14:33pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

I collect predominately mint stamps, but I do have a good number of used as well. Oh yeah, the used stamps I collect are where someone else has done the work of taking that paper off of them. I hate soaking!

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rgnpcs
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26 Jan 2012
12:26:52am
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Harry,
Have not had any sticky stamps. I imagine that any fragrance is ok. I use orange.
Richaard

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drmicro68
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05 Mar 2012
08:18:57pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

I have some specific questions about Scott 3178, the "Mars Sojourner/Pathfinder" mini sheet. The copy I have is on a piece of the plastic/fiber 'paper' that is used for some large envelopes. Does this stamp soak easily or is there a problem with the copper flaking off? And what about the 'paper' it's on--that won't get wet so I'll have to try to soak the mini sheet itself. Or do I just stick with my gut instinct on this and leave it on piece, nicely trimmed?
Roger

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michael78651
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05 Mar 2012
09:58:22pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Roger, with that type of "paper" that the sheet is attached to, you will have to soak from the stamp down as the water will not soak into the stamp if you lay the piece face up in the water. Any stamp on thick backing paper is always easiest to soak face down in the water.

Now, wait until you hear from someone else about the copper and soaking this sheet in general as I do not know what will happen to it if you soak it.

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George
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10 Apr 2012
08:35:15pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Can anyone tell me if it's possible to remove this stamp from paper without ruining it? The lower picture is digitally enhanced to show the security holes.
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Does anyone know about Italian stamps? These look like they are die-cut so they're probably self-adhesives. Does anyone know if they will soak off in water?
Image Not Found
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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
10 Apr 2012
08:41:19pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

George, the British stamps are specifically designed to disintegrate upon removal from paper. American stamps just do it because of the vagaries of the printing contracts.

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George
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10 Apr 2012
08:57:03pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

oh ok thanks

i guess that means i should keep it on piece... yuck

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joshtanski
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11 Apr 2012
08:07:01pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

I have tried some of the Italian ones, but not the ones you have pictured. My result is that they soaked off, but didn't lose any of the sticky gum, so I wound up sticking them back on some acid free paper and neatly trimming them.

Josh

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
15 Apr 2012
07:59:38pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

First; the Mars-Pathfinder stamp can be soaked from the cover if you are careful and patient. I used quite a few on Priority Mail envelopes back when they were available for use and managed to retrieve quite a few to work on. I think I ruined one or two before I managed to remove some successfully. In fact, I am sure I ruined several, as has been mentioned, they have to have the water penetrate to the stick-um through the back, and you have to tug gently on the paper and not on the corner of the stamp. I think I still have five or six cleaned soaked examples tucked away somewhere.

Now as to the United Kingdom's attempt to defeat people who reuse stamps skips that they negligntly failed to cancel in the first place, and drive honest collectors who have been diligently assembling postally used collections of British stamps for most of their lives totally crazy and into occasional bursts of tears;
*** Yes, they can be removed. ***
First some history.
Over the years the Royal Mail's converted Wheat Harvesters that are used to chip, scrape, scratch, tear and sometimes accidentally apply cancellations to envelopes placed in their care seemed to have been completely missing a very high percentage of the stamps that were applied to pay the postage. Actually, skips were so common that a cottage industry developed with folks soaking skips, assempling them into bundles by the hundred and blatently advertising used, uncancelled stamps on sites such as eBay. Of course, some sellers were mature enough to not say for re-use and sometimes mentioned that these uncancelled lots were ideal for specialsts to use to study recent used issues. Yes, and there is this bridge in Brooklyn that I have for sale ......
So RM reacted by using a sticky stuff, a direct descendent of the original "glutinous mix" proposed by Roland Hill a hundred and sixty years ago, that did not dissolve readily in water and then to be sure that stopped the cleaning for reuse process, began to place these "U" and inverted "U" shaped die cuts in pairs on both sides of the Queen's head that look like paper clips had inadvertantly gotten onto the paper during the printing process.
Fooling around with these stamps carelessly in water will result in a damaged stamp and should have prevented those folks who were cleaning and reselling stamps to be reused, despite the fact that that activity is illegal in both the UK, the USA and also Canada.
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Now for the good news.
They can be removed as can most US and even the Aussie's sticky stamps. But it does take some time, some practice and always some careful handling.
First you need a suitable work space that is well ventilated.
I use small bottles of inexpensive Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol) available at pharmacies and supermarkets through out the USA. Some collectors use lighter fluid but I feel safer with the Rubbing Alcohol. I understand that in Great Britain is goes under a name like "Spirit soap" or something, but the technical name is the same.
I happen to have an eight inch square black marble block that I salvaged from a broken lamp years ago which is great for the job. Otherwise select something, such as a small watermark tray, that will not be ruined over time by the alcohol soaking into the finish.
I also have about six different stamp tongs nearby to use for diffeent purposes. My favorites for handling stamps are very sharply pointed and in fact are called "Lethal" which probably refers to the occasional collector who decided to scratch his or her nose while still absently holding these tongs. (Glasses are a good investment after all !)

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Of course I have some safer spade tips and round tips, even one old mangled tip that I proffer to the grandkids to use to do unspeakable things to tiny screws and little dolls that need repair.
But for this process I prefer the tiny ends to get the stamps loose.

I spray the Rubbing Alcohol on the front and reverse of the stamp on paper and give it a minute or two to work in. Then with the stamp face up I start to work the tip under one of the corners, usually the top away from those nasty diecuts. Once the tip is a tiny bit under the top of the stamp it can usually be slid from side to side, along the top till the stamp is almost half clear. At this point comes the tricky part, I begin to slip the tip of the tongs along one edge or the other, sometimes both sides one after another, up and down the side, still being careful not to get too close to the "U" shaped die cuts.
Finally I select one side and place the tip along the loosened edge about midway between the "U" and its inverted brother and work my way in and then up or down to loosen the area of the die cuts from the middle out.
Once one side is loose, the other has to be worked also.
Then, of course, the loose alcohol soaked stamp can be placed face down on the classified section of an old newspaper to dry.
Now sometimes the stick-um is still there and so I have an old wide bottle cap with a shot of taldum powder (Johnson & Johnson's works well) in it handy so that a little dab can be placed somewhere convenient and the dried stamp can be brushed though the little trace of talcum so that the gum molecules becomes too busy playing with the talcum to be a further problem.

Now there is one more complication. With some of the stickies (Not the British Machins so much) you will notice when you have the stamp face down that the gum has remained in a layer on the back of the stamp despite the use of the solvent. This can usually be tugged gently with the tip of the tongs and once a bit is pulled back the rest can be rolled back much like you would roll up a rug in a room. Unfortunately with some of these beasties a layer of the paper stays with the gum which makes the stamp that remains quite thin and even more delicate. Again, with care collectable used stamps can be salvaged although the stamp will have become a bit thinner.

A final note. There are some stamps, notably a few definitives of Brazil and France as well as some other nations that simply cannot be soaked and are best used in the back yard stuck to a target board at about 15 yards.

I have been collecting the Machins since their inception 45 years ago. I have spent the most time trying to acquire examples for my specialty album and so far, despite the extra work these "U" shaped die cuts have caused I have been successful. But if you are ready to try the steps that I have been attempting to describe, start with heavily cancelled common junk examples so that you get the procedure down properly before you try it with some beautiful lightly canceled stamp as I am sure that at first you will absolutely destroy the stamp and wind up with one or two oval shaped holes at the sides of the Queen's head as Royal Mail intended.

Once you are able to do that I will be glad to explain about the small mis-spellings and numbers worked into the wavy "Royal Mail" inscription in the background that provides some idea of the source, sheet, booklet, coil, or mini sheetlet and the year of issue. What looks like a simple gold or blue Machin NVI stamp actually may have ten or fifteen minor collectable varities. (Notice the upper right hand corner of the 12p stamp I posted where the inscription is "Royal MTIL".) That can make these gold and also blue NVI stamps very interesting.



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lisagrant87
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15 Apr 2012
08:18:03pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Hi all,

I'm pretty sure what I am about to ask has not been covered. If it has please point me in the right direction and I will go read the thread. Keep in mind I am not asking for general S/A removal techniques, I have that one down.

Regardless of whether you use citrus spray, water or anything else, I currently have an issue with stamps on envelopes with bubble wrap. I'm talking about the manila envelopes that are lined inside with bubble wrap. Great for protecting things, not so good for getting stamps off.

When I try soaking, the water does not get through the bubble wrap well enough to soak the back of the stamp. Any chemical would have the same problem. Removing the bubble wrap is pretty much impossible without tearing the envelope and therefore the stamps. I really do not want to have to keep these stamps on the bubble wrap because they are bulky and don't fit into mounts or stock pages nicely. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
15 Apr 2012
08:23:31pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

I have found that often you can remove the bubble wrap from the backing paper after the paper starts to get damp. Not always, but often enough to give it a try.
Then the stamp on what remain of the paper can be processed or destroyed in the usual manner.

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DRYER
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The past is a foreign country, they do things different there.
16 Apr 2012
03:20:50pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Yes, Lisa, my experiences with bubble wrap are similar to Charlie's.

Cut the bubble wrap to leave the widest possible margins around the stamp(s).
Soak. Separate the perimeter edges of the bubble wrap from the paper. Soak some more.
Remove entire bubble wrap from paper. Remove stamp(s) from paper.

Practise with some next-to-worthless stamps. You'll be a pro in no time.
Next thing you know, we'll be asking you for advice.

Good luck,

John Derry

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lisagrant87
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It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. - Aristotle Onassis
18 Apr 2012
09:56:38pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Thank you! I'll try that with the pesky bubble wrap!!

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oliver_black
22 Apr 2012
12:38:28am
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

I had a batch of mostly UK stamps to soak and decided to try the citrus gambit. Unfortunately, while at the Home Depot store, I couldn't remember whether I needed the orange air frshener or some other orange citrus-based product. I flipped a coin and purchased "Zep Heavy duty citrus detergent" because it's label advertised the removal of adhesives (among other things). It is also a much better bargain if it works.
I used a batch of duplicates just to test the process. Waiting until my wife left the house on some errands (no fool I), I used our double-bowled stainless steel kitchen sink.
I mixed a few inches of barely luke-warm water with a some "spritzes" of the "Zep" liquid at an approximate 50 to 1 ratio. I filled the second bowl of the sink with plain cold water. I put the duplicates (which were on a variety of papers and cardboards)in the mixture to soak. In about 5 minutes, the stamps were sliding off the paper themselves or required a minimum of my touch to come off. As each one was removed from the mixture, it was rinsed in the cold water and placed into the drying book, which is now sitting beneath about 10 pounds of stacked books. Only 1 stamp gave me a serious problem, and it was a US Aloha shirt stamp.

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RossTO
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Back in the hobby after a 25+ year absence. Currently with VERY few stamps, no albums, no tools, no supplies and LOTS of time! I love a challenge!!! LOL
22 Apr 2012
08:15:11am
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

This thread is why sometimes what might be beating a dead horse can actually be beneficial. I have been out of stamp collecting for 25+ years. So back then self-adhesives were a failed experiment. I have been researching how to remove them in a rather frustrating search on Google. There isn't a lot of information out there about them. To further the issue storage of mint is one with regards to theses stamps as well as the new perfs used. Trying to find a clear perforation gage for these stamps is extremely difficult as there are not a lot out there.

So thanks for all the tips!

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Mike
22 Apr 2012
09:45:29am
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Ross,
For a good perf gauge, try the LINN'S MULTI-GAUGE. It covers all perfs between 8 and 16, including those pesky fractional perfs. It also has a zero center ruler, cancellation gauge and millimeter ruler, as a bonus.

Well worth the investment.

Mike

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Les
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22 Apr 2012
12:51:05pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Oliver
The recommended substance is the air freshener. Apparently, a Home Depot employee discovered that it worked very well in removing the sticky pricing labels they use to put on the shelves. The article describing the technique is on www.stamps.org, that is the website for the American Philatelic Society. However, your idea of using Zep citrus cleaner and water sounds like it might work very well.

Ross:
Another option besides Linn's multi-guage is the Sonic Imagery Labs Precision U.S. Specialty Multi-Guage. It is not as convenient for measuring perfs but it will let you spot re-perfing and it has a go-no go for US rotary press issues. And there is always the Stanley Gibbons Instanta. Regency Superior is the exclusive Stanley-Gibbons distributor in the U.S.

Maybe we should think about putting a Frequently Asked Questions page on the site.

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DRYER
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The past is a foreign country, they do things different there.
22 Apr 2012
01:25:15pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Les:

Please, no more FAQs.

What I find attractive about the "Discussions" page is its spontaneity and the fact that real people are involved.
FAQs are robotic responses that seldom answer the specific question I want answered.

Gosh, I hope our WEBMASTER is nodding his head in agreement with me.

John Derry

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DaSaintFan
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22 Apr 2012
06:02:37pm
re: Removing stamps from letters, paper.

Quote:

"FAQs are robotic responses that seldom answer the specific question I want answered.

Gosh, I hope our WEBMASTER is nodding his head in agreement with me.
"



I think they're making sure his circuitry is working as well : *Bada-bing*
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