Nannerl and Constance: Heads up, Agnes!

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piston
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Nannerl and Constance: Heads up, Agnes!

Post by piston » Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:54 pm

Is there anything more confusing, these days, than "historians" who have acquired a decent understanding of what is known about a composer and his family but who then proceed to blend this non-fiction with a hefty mélange of fiction? In other words, the story you are about to read is fictional, but I, the author, will do my utmost to confuse fact and fiction so much that, in the end, you'll believe my fiction is true!

That's pretty much how Rita Charbonnier wrote her book (her first) on Nannerl, the elder sister of Mozart, formally named Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart. Nannerl is depicted as no less a child prodigy than her younger brother but papa Leopold, in predictable patriarchal fashion, forbids her to learn the violin, to compose, and confines her to teaching piano lessons. She is to provide for her family while father and son have a grand time in Italy. Anachronistically, the author portrays Nannerl's reaction to such a destiny as though she were a late-twentieth century woman in quest of emancipation. She is so mad at her oppressive father that she destroys all she had composed and resolves never to perform as a pianist again.

But this is fiction and, you guessed it, Nannerl cannot be abandoned to her boring fate. Rather, the plot thickens. Nannerl soon falls in love with a young female student who, it so happens, has been promised in marriage to Wolfgang's best buddy. There ensues a permanent family crisis between brother and sister that was unresolved at the time of his premature death. Nannerl then finds her inner peace, actually marries, and seeks closure with her brother by devoting her life to organizing and publishing his works.

But in the process of mixing fact and fiction, the author has no qualm about drawing a grotesque portrait of Mozart's mother, whom she views as vulgar, and his wife, Constance, whom she depicts as (take a deep breath, Agnes), "a loose," "vulgar," "dirty woman," whose interest in the "worst common public places" let her to sell her husband's manuscripts to Nannerl, the heroine, who emerges, finally, as the guardian of this temple. Her own greatness thus finds expression in the preservation of her brother's artistic treasures.

And that is one important reason why your scholarship is so vital, dear Agnes.....
Image
From a book review published in French on ResMusica.com
http://www.resmusica.com/aff_articles.php3?num_art=3925

Agnes Selby
Author of Constanze Mozart's biography
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Re: Nannerl and Constance: Heads up, Agnes!

Post by Agnes Selby » Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:50 pm

[quote="piston"]Is there anything more confusing, these days, than "historians" who have acquired a decent understanding of what is known about a composer and his family but who then proceed to blend this non-fiction with a hefty mélange of fiction? In other words, the story you are about to read is fictional, but I, the author, will do my utmost to confuse fact and fiction so much that, in the end, you'll believe my fiction is true!

That's pretty much how Rita Charbonnier wrote her book (her first) on Nannerl, the elder sister of Mozart, formally named Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart. Nannerl is depicted as no less a child prodigy than her younger brother but papa Leopold, in predictable patriarchal fashion, forbids her to learn the violin, to compose, and confines her to teaching piano lessons. She is to provide for her family while father and son have a grand time in Italy. Anachronistically, the author portrays Nannerl's reaction to such a destiny as though she were a late-twentieth century woman in quest of emancipation. She is so mad at her oppressive father that she destroys all she had composed and resolves never to perform as a pianist again.
--------------

Reply:

:lol: This is, of course, totally false. Nannerl's diary is in print
and can be obtained from the Mozarteum bookshop. It shows
what a feather-brain she really was. Most of the entries concern
her dog's bodily functions. Nannerl was mostly concerned with fashion.
She was a good performer but was not a prodigy. She also became a good piano teacher after her husband's death. I have not read Charbonnier's book but Nannerl was far from what she describes.
=============


But this is fiction and, you guessed it, Nannerl cannot be abandoned to her boring fate. Rather, the plot thickens. Nannerl soon falls in love with a young female student who, it so happens, has been promised in marriage to Wolfgang's best buddy. There ensues a permanent family crisis between brother and sister that was unresolved at the time of his premature death. Nannerl then finds her inner peace, actually marries, and seeks closure with her brother by devoting her life to organizing and publishing his works.
-----------

:lol: :lol: I wonder where this nonsense comes from. Nannerl married
a thrice widowed man by the name of Johann Baptist von Berchtold
zu Sonneburg. Prior to her marriage, she did have a love affair with a cavalry officer by the name of Franz d'Yppold. Her son Leopoldus von Sonnenburg was left to be brought up by Leopold Mozart in the hope that he would become another Wolfgang Mozart. This did not eventuate and Leopoldus became a respectable public servant. After the death
of her husband, Nannerl returned to Salzburg. Her letters to Breitkopf & Hartel constitute an entirely different story which, if anyone is interested, I will be happy to post. Nannerl did not publish a single work of Mozart's.
==========

But in the process of mixing fact and fiction, the author has no qualm about drawing a grotesque portrait of Mozart's mother, whom she views as vulgar, and his wife, Constance, whom she depicts as (take a deep breath, Agnes), "a loose," "vulgar," "dirty woman," whose interest in the "worst common public places" let her to sell her husband's manuscripts to Nannerl, the heroine, who emerges, finally, as the guardian of this temple. Her own greatness thus finds expression in the preservation of her brother's artistic treasures.
---------

:lol: :lol: What can I say? ? Of course, we know from the large number of documents available in the Mozarteum archives that none of the above is true. It is very hurtful to read such nonsense after having devoted
years of research to find the real Constanze. All that I have said in my book is fully documented. Let me just say that Constanze took great care of the blind Nannerl during the last year's of Nannerl's life. Neither
Constanze nor Mozart's mother were dirty or vulgar women. Constanze
looked after Mozart's legacy with great care for 50 years after Mozart's death. Letters to publishers are filed in the Mozarteum archives.
It is such a shame that such books are published at all.
=============

Thank you, dear Piston, for regarding my work as important. If any one is
interested, "Constanze Mozart's Beloved" is available on Amazon.
I must stress, though, that it is NOT a novel.

Regards,
Agnes.

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Post by Teresa B » Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:44 am

Hopefully no one will read this novel and think it's factual--although Nannerl's gay fling rings true :lol: .

It is too bad, though, that an author decides to portray real people so completely off-the-wall from what they actually were as inferred from true research. Even if we know it's fiction, the characterization sticks in the mind.

Agnes, you were at one time planning a possible book with the aged Nannerl narrating, no? Go for it!!!

All the best,
Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

CharmNewton
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Post by CharmNewton » Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:36 pm

An English translation was just released about one month ago (336 pp vs. the 395 pp of the French edition, which also appears to be a translation). The author is described as an "Italian TV scriptwriter", sp perhaps she had hopes of her book being the basis of a film or television project.

John

Agnes Selby
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Nannerl

Post by Agnes Selby » Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:53 pm

Teresa B wrote:Hopefully no one will read this novel and think it's factual--although Nannerl's gay fling rings true :lol: .

It is too bad, though, that an author decides to portray real people so completely off-the-wall from what they actually were as inferred from true research. Even if we know it's fiction, the characterization sticks in the mind.

Agnes, you were at one time planning a possible book with the aged Nannerl narrating, no? Go for it!!!

All the best,
Teresa
_----------

Dear Teresa,

I thought about writing about Nannerl but not a book of fiction.
Even though I had every possible support from the Mozarteum and
Ms. G., the chief librarian, was willing to send me pertinent data, I could not have written it without spending at least a couple of months in the Mozarteum archives. As I am needed in Sydney, I decided against the project.

No, I do not think for one moment that Nannerl ever entertained a gay relationship. In fact, she saw herself as a very feminine and a chic young woman. In her old age, she often referred to her past beauty and her many conquests.

She was completely dominated by her father, Leopold. She was given
to hysterical outbursts due to her lack of freedom. She defied her father
only once. When her love affair with Franz d'Yppold ended, she ran away from home and spent some time in the home of d'Yppold's mother.

Mozart suggested that she and d'Yppold come to Vienna and marry without the father's blessing. (Letter in Emily Anderson's Letters). He suggested that she could earn a living by becoming a piano teacher until d'Yppold found work. However, Nannerl returned to her father and married the widower and became a mother to his orphaned children.

After the death of her husband, Nannerl moved from St. Gilgen back to Salzburg. Joseph Metzger became her companion until her death.
Joseph Metzger was a kindly man and it was he who informed Mozart's sons about the death of their step-father, Georg Nissen. Joseph Metzger appears in the diaries of Mary and Vincent Novello as the intermediary between the Novellos and Nannerl as by the time the Novellos visited Constanze and Nannerl in Salzburg, Nannerl was completely blind and bed-ridden.

There is a nice little postscript to Nannerl's love for d'Yppold. In her
last Will and Testament, Nannerl requested that she be buried in St. Peters Cemetery and not in her father's grave in St. Sebastian cemetery.
During my visit to St. Peters cemetery, I was kindly escorted by the Sexton, at the request of Ms.G. of the Mozarteum. As an afterthought
he showed me a small grave where d'Yppold is buried. Perhaps Nannerl's request to be buried in St Peters cemetery was her hope to be reunited with her great love in death.

Regards,
Agnes.

piston
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Post by piston » Sun Nov 11, 2007 4:13 pm

What you have written, here, significantly differs from the Wikipedia entry wherein Marianne, as she came to be known as an adult woman, is depicted as being totally subservient to her father. Have you thought of bringing a few revisions to the current entry?

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Post by Werner » Sun Nov 11, 2007 4:16 pm

On the other hand, how reliable are the things one picks up from all sorts of (anonymous) sources on Wikipedia?
Werner Isler

piston
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Post by piston » Sun Nov 11, 2007 4:31 pm

Werner wrote:On the other hand, how reliable are the things one picks up from all sorts of (anonymous) sources on Wikipedia?
True. And, wouldn't it be disturbing if somebody else revised Agnes' revisions with some fictitious statements?

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Post by Chalkperson » Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:29 pm

Hey Agnes, I just wanted to say how lucky we all are to have you on this board... :D

Agnes Selby
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Nannerl

Post by Agnes Selby » Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:53 pm

Chalkperson wrote:Hey Agnes, I just wanted to say how lucky we all are to have you on this board... :D
-----------

Thank you, Chalkie, I am very happy to be here. (Forgive me for
calling you Chalkie, I don't know your name).

-Regards,
Agnes.
-------------

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Re: Nannerl

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Nov 11, 2007 6:07 pm

Agnes Selby wrote:Thank you, Chalkie, I am very happy to be here. (Forgive me for
calling you Chalkie, I don't know your name).
Chalkie is my name!

Agnes Selby
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Nannerl

Post by Agnes Selby » Sun Nov 11, 2007 6:09 pm

piston wrote:What you have written, here, significantly differs from the Wikipedia entry wherein Marianne, as she came to be known as an adult woman, is depicted as being totally subservient to her father. Have you thought of bringing a few revisions to the current entry?
---------------

Dear Piston and Werner,

I will not get involved with correcting the Wikipedia entry.
For the following reason: When my book came out, I received
a number of letters accusing me of white-washing a most
evil woman - Mozart's wife. Even after the Mozarteum
posted the book on their web-site as the official biography of Mozart's wife, the letters of abuse continued. One particular gentleman
is still writing to my publisher and although it has by now become a joke,
one experience of this kind of abuse is enough. (In this man's imagination, it was Constanze who had gambled away all of Mozart's hard earned money and produced children fathered by Sussmayr).

In any case, no writer of non-fiction can compete with writers
of fiction who base their novels on famous people and add imaginary details to their subjects' lives. Wikipedia can
also be altered after my alterations. People who are really interested
in the subject, will find out the truth.

Regards,
Agnes.

Teresa B
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Re: Nannerl

Post by Teresa B » Sun Nov 11, 2007 6:40 pm

Agnes Selby wrote: I will not get involved with correcting the Wikipedia entry.
For the following reason: When my book came out, I received
a number of letters accusing me of white-washing a most
evil woman - Mozart's wife. Even after the Mozarteum
posted the book on their web-site as the official biography of Mozart's wife, the letters of abuse continued. One particular gentleman
is still writing to my publisher and although it has by now become a joke,
one experience of this kind of abuse is enough. (In this man's imagination, it was Constanze who had gambled away all of Mozart's hard earned money and produced children fathered by Sussmayr).

Regards,
Agnes.
I can vouch for Agnes' comments, as I read some of the vituperative stuff on a Mozart board. It never ceased to amaze me how so-called music scholars could get into a wad over a well-documented factual bio of Constanze Mozart. (In fact, is it not much more reasonable to assume that Constanze was not some cardboard evil woman, but a normal human being who supported her husband and kept his music playing after he was gone?) And these guys didn't stop at respectful disagreements, they tried character assassination on Agnes, which expressly didn't work and only made them look childish and petulant.

Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

piston
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Post by piston » Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:28 pm

In any case, no writer of non-fiction can compete with writers
of fiction who base their novels on famous people and add imaginary details to their subjects' lives. Wikipedia can
also be altered after my alterations. People who are really interested
in the subject, will find out the truth.
I didn't wish this thread to be a source of frustration for you. As you know, Hollywood always prevails over historical accuracy and this woman's book being already read in three different languages illustrates why the scholar never wins in terms of popularity contest. Accuracy is not thrilling, as you know, other than among accurate people, that is. :D But it is worrying that the world of literature has engaged on this course of blurring, if not obliterating, the distinctions between fiction and non-fiction. Is it any wonder, in this environment, that you've been harassed by folks who just can't understand the difference?

By the way, Constanze, when and where did she get such a bad reputation? Who's involved in creating this implanted memory?

Agnes Selby
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Constanze.

Post by Agnes Selby » Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:11 pm

Dear Piston,

You have not frustrated me but encouraged me.

Where did Constanze's reputation stem from?

It was a product of the early 20th century. Until then, her reputation
was intact. She had worked to keep Mozart's music alive for 50 years
after his death. Her letters to publishers some of which are included in my book make for interesting reading. She would have made a good public relations person had she lived during the 20th and 21st centuries.

She enjoyed a good fight with critics and publishers. She published
all of Mozart's works which had not been published during his lifetime and
toured German speaking countries producing concerts and operas.
She even sang in a production of Mozart's opera, la Clemenza di Tito
in Berlin in February 1796 to critical acclaim. She also published the first
documented Mozart biography in co-operation with her second husband,
Georg Nissen.

As the suffrage movement began, some writers found Constanze
a perfect example of the self-asserting woman. A business woman,
with opinions and plenty of spunk. They began attributing Mozart's
poverty (of which there was none) to Constanze's spending habits.
In Mancester, England a group of Mozart's lovers put her on mock trial for killing Mozart with the help of Sussmayr, her supposed lover. As Sussmayr, we now suspect, was gay, he would have been hugely surprised. The mock trial came to no conclusion!!!

In addition such respected scholars as Alfred Einstein threw in their lot with the critics. None took the slightest step to examine Mozarteum's archival evidence. Einstein, in his biography of Mozart,
described the Weber family as useless vagabonds. The fact that
Fridolin Weber, Constanze's father was an univeristy educated man,
as was his lawyer father, and that his musical family included singers and the composer Carl Maria von Weber, never entered their minds.

Einstein's criticism and "quotes" are NOT referenced in his book. All are false. Constanze's sisters are described in derogatory terms, placing them as parading in front of the Vienna military barracks to catch husbands. He knew perfectly well that the married Aloysia was then the highest paid opera singer at the Viennese German Opera, Josefa was studying singing in Graz on an Imperial scholarship and Sophie was 15 years old, a shy girl much attached to her mother, who married late
only after the death of her mother.

I suppose each writer added a bit of his own venom to Constanze's
history. It made the reading of his articles more interesting.
Very much like the author of Nannerl's book who found it necessary
to add that Nannerl was gay. How long will it take before this fable is accepted as fact?

Regards,
Agnes.

piston
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Post by piston » Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:20 pm

Fascinating and astonishing! Thank you wholeheartedly (you could have replied simply by stating "Read my book" :lol: ). As a student of history, I am always interested in "implanted" memories, both in terms of their origin(s) and of their respective lifespans. An evaluative approach to all sources, primary and secondary, is the ultimate mark of the real scholar. There are plenty of people who seek to address some life challenge by endeavoring to write a book. Not many,however, have either the evaluative skills or the epistemological ability to successfully tackle what is significant.
Again, thank you for your reply.

Monn

Re: Constanze.

Post by Monn » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:19 am

Agnes Selby wrote:Einstein's criticism and "quotes" are NOT referenced in his book. All are false. Constanze's sisters are described in derogatory terms, placing them as parading in front of the Vienna military barracks to catch husbands.

This 'parading in front of military barracks story' does not appear in Einstein's book and has repeatedly been proven to be a total figment of your imagination. Why you keep slandering the memory of a great Mozart scholar with this fabrication, defies explanation.

Agnes Selby
Author of Constanze Mozart's biography
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Re: Constanze.

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:38 am

Monn wrote:
Agnes Selby wrote:Einstein's criticism and "quotes" are NOT referenced in his book. All are false. Constanze's sisters are described in derogatory terms, placing them as parading in front of the Vienna military barracks to catch husbands.

This 'parading in front of military barracks story' does not appear in Einstein's book and has repeatedly been proven to be a total figment of your imagination. Why you keep slandering the memory of a great Mozart scholar with this fabrication, defies explanation.
----------------
Hello, Dear Doctor,

I have been wondering when you would appear again.

So, welcome to this site and to more of your criticism of me. As I said above, I truly no longer care. Those of us who have met you before have
no trouble recognising you, no matter what name you happen to use.

Monn

Re: Constanze.

Post by Monn » Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:51 am

Agnes Selby wrote:
Monn wrote:
Agnes Selby wrote:Einstein's criticism and "quotes" are NOT referenced in his book. All are false. Constanze's sisters are described in derogatory terms, placing them as parading in front of the Vienna military barracks to catch husbands.

This 'parading in front of military barracks story' does not appear in Einstein's book and has repeatedly been proven to be a total figment of your imagination. Why you keep slandering the memory of a great Mozart scholar with this fabrication, defies explanation.
----------------
Hello, Dear Doctor,

I have been wondering when you would appear again.

So, welcome to this site and to more of your criticism of me. As I said above, I truly no longer care. Those of us who have met you before have
no trouble recognising you, no matter what name you happen to use.

What kind of weird reply is this supposed to be? I asked you why you keep inventing stories about Einstein and his portrayal of the Weber sisters and you resort to confused statements about your doctor. The military barracks do not appear in Einstein's book and it is quite obvious that you lack every argument to explain your fabrication.

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Post by Werner » Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:53 am

Who is this guy?
Werner Isler

piston
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Post by piston » Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:00 am

Werner wrote:Who is this guy?
Rita Charbonnier's husband. :roll:

Agnes Selby
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Who is this guy?

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:27 pm

Werner wrote:Who is this guy?
Dear Werner,

It is Doctor Michael {Removed}.

------------------------

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Post by Werner » Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:48 pm

The name rings no bells with me - I gather you've encountered him before.

Not a reliable musical authority, it seems!
Werner Isler

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Post by Gurn Blanston » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:04 pm

Werner wrote:The name rings no bells with me - I gather you've encountered him before.

Not a reliable musical authority, it seems!
Quite the antithesis, he is quite reliable and knowledgeable. Unfortunately, he is, to say the least, intolerant of any standard of knowledge below PhD level. Mere enthusiasts need not apply. :roll:

8)

----------------
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Regards,
Gurn

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
That's my opinion, I may be wrong
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
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Post by Werner » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:45 pm

Interesting - but Agnes is no mere enthusiast. She's been there, done the research. She knows what she's talking about. I don't know about this other guy. Probably don't want to know.
Werner Isler

Agnes Selby
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Nannerl

Post by Agnes Selby » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:51 pm

Werner wrote:The name rings no bells with me - I gather you've encountered him before.

Not a reliable musical authority, it seems!
'
-----------

Indeed, I have, Werner. But I am a big girl now and he can no longer
intimidate me.

In the introduction to my book, I thanked Ms. Geffray
of the Mozarteum for all the help she had given me. Ms. Geffray
remains a friend to this day. In fact, I owe her my gratitude for
all the material she made available to me and the letters and
articles she copied for me.

Then comes Mr. {Removed}. He wrote to me on Open Mozart that he had
visited the Mozarteum and spoke to Ms. Geffray. According to Mr.
{Removed}, she had never heard of me or my book. This information upset me very much as it did my friend Ms. G. She could not remember ever seeing him.

To me, this seemed a very nasty reflection on Mr. {Removed}.

Regards,
Agnes.

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Post by Gurn Blanston » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:05 pm

Werner wrote:Interesting - but Agnes is no mere enthusiast. She's been there, done the research. She knows what she's talking about. I don't know about this other guy. Probably don't want to know.
Yes, I wasn't only speaking of Agnes though. As we would say in Texas, he is an all around, equal opportunity ummm... OK, well I won't say it. Anyway, the main point is that of total intolerance. 'nuff said.

8)

----------------
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Regards,
Gurn

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Post by Chalkperson » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:32 pm

Given his credentials it is surprising he feels the need to hide behind a (cryptic) synonym, if he wants to take on the mighty Agnes, on her territory, he should have the guts to do so in person, maybe we should refer to him as Herr Doktor, as in Austin Powers... :wink:

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