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HUSBAY Lecture Series

Usually on the First Monday of Each Month(in season)
We're resuming our live lectures at the Center for Arts and Humanity

(1226 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236)

Next Lecture Event: Monday, October 4, 2021 -

Lecture Schedule:




Oct. 4, 2021 Welcome back reception with talk on surprising stories and facts about Florida Kate Holmes
Nov. 1, 2021 7 Words that can Change the World Joe Simonetta
Dec. 6, 2021 Sarasota County Homeless Project for the Mentally Challenged- Megan Howell
Jan. 3, 2022 New Year's Party 7pm to 9pm All of Us
Jan. 17, 2022 Miracles of Science Brian Dunning
Mar. 7, 2022 What constitutes Good Sleep Health Dr. Matthew Edlund

Next Lecture Event

Monday, October 4, 2021
Meeting Time: 7:00pm

Speaker: Kate Holmes,
Advisory Board member at the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Topic: Surprising Stories and Facts about Sarasota

•The Society maintains, preserves, and presents both the oldest house in Sarasota County and the Crocker Memorial Church.

These buildings were moved and thus saved from demolition by members and contributions. Kate is perhaps best known for her first-person historical presentations of Bertha Palmer, Sarasota’s Legendary Lady and Queen of Chicago, who made Sarasota her winter residence from 1910 until her death in 1918.

She also presents as Lizzy Webb Guptill, who came to this area in 1867 when she was 12 years old, and who saw the changes "From Wilderness to County." As volunteer social media wrangler for the Historical Society, one of Kate's greatest delights is to find and research facts and fantasies that will make every county resident, experienced or novice, understand and cherish what our area is all about.

Kate’s career was in the consignment business, and she is a noted consultant and how-to author in that field. Her first mystery novel, The Picker Who Perished, takes place in a fictional Sarasota consignment shop. Kate is currently at work on an historical novel of early Sarasota. The series will follow a family from Sarasota’s pioneer days to today.

Last Lecture Event

Monday, April 5, 2021 (Via Zoom)
Meeting Time: 7:00pm

Speaker: Doreen Dupont MD,
Charter Review Board for Sarasota District 2

Topic: Al Gore Climate Reality Project

•At Large Director DECF
•Al Gore Trained Climate Reality Leader
•BS Communications Cornell University Agriculture & Life Sciences

Her Bio appears here.

Below are links to three possible presentation formats for 24 Hours of Reality:

Keynote Power Point PDF

Previous Lecture Events


Monday, March 1, 2021 (Via Zoom)
Meeting Time: 1:30pm

Speaker: Billy Weatherington (from the Peace Education and Action Center)

Topic: Punishment and Redemption: Downsizing the American Gulag

Our guest speaker has two degrees from the University South Florida from the College of Business Admlnistration with a major in Accounting and from the College of Arts and Letters in Philosophy.

His hobbies include reading, history, bird watching, blues and folk music and occasionally aggravating public officials with letters and radio programs.

Last Lecture Event

Monday, December 7, 2020 (Via Zoom)

Speaker Dr. Carol Hartz, PhD

Title: President of the Sarasota County League of Women Voters

Topic:  Gun safety, and the efforts the LWV is taking to gain support for background checks, a ban on assault weapons, and no expansion of the right to carry guns.

Her Bio can be found by clicking on this link.

Previous Lecture Event

Monday, November 2, 2020 (Via Zoom)

Speaker: Mandisa Thomas

Topic: Challenges and issues facing Black people who declare themselves atheists and the support her organization provides those individuals.

About the Speaker: Mandisa, a native of New York City, is the founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. Although never formally indoctrinated into belief, she was heavily exposed to Christianity, Black Nationalism, and Islam.

As a child she loved reading, and enjoyed various tales of Gods from different cultures, including Greek and Ghanaian. “Through reading these stories and being taught about other cultures at an early age, I quickly noticed that there were similarities and differences between those deities and the God of the Christian Bible. I couldn’t help but wonder what made this God so special that he warrants such prevalence in today’s society,” she recalls.

Mandisa has a number of media appearances to her credit, including CBS Sunday Morning, CNN.com, and Playboy, The Humanist and JET magazines. She has been a guest on podcasts such as The Humanist Hour and Ask an Atheist, as well as the documentaries Contradiction and My Week in Atheism. Mandisa currently serves on the Board for American Atheists, and the American Humanist Association, and previously for Foundation Beyond Belief, the 2016 Reason Rally Coalition, and the Secular Coalition for America. She also is an active speaker, and has presented at conferences/conventions for Freedom from Religion Foundation, Secular Student Alliance, and many others.

Mandisa is the recipient of the following awards: 2020 - Harvard Humanist of the Year (along with Sikivu Hutchinson and Ijeoma Oluo) 2019 - Freethought Heroine (Freedom From Religion Foundation), and Backbone Award (Secular Student Alliance) 2018 - Person of the Year (Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association) .

As the president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., Mandisa works to encourage more Blacks to come out and stand strong with their nonbelief in the face of such strong religious overtones. "The more we make our presence known, the better our chances of working together to turn around some of the disparities we face. We are NOT alone." Find More on our Links page.

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Last Lecture Event

Monday, October 5, 2020

Speaker: Dr. Ryan T. Cragun

Dr. Cragun

Topic: The Origins and Evolution of Religion

About the Speaker: Dr. Cragun is a husband, father, and sociologist of worldviews (in order of importance). The focus of his scholarship is on Mormonism and nonreligion. He is a professor at The University of Tampa.

His research has been published in a variety of academic journals, like: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion , Sociology of Religion , Journal of Sex Research , Journal of Religion and Health , and Journal of Contemporary Religion . He's the author or editor of numerous books, including, Organized Secularism in the US and What You Don't Know About Religion (but Should).

When he's not working, he's spending time with his wife and son, hiking, or tinkering with computers. For more about his work, you can visit his website: www.ryantcragun.com

Originally from Utah, he now lives in Florida.

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Previous Lectures

Date: Monday, August 3, 2020 (1:30 - 3pm)
Speaker: Carrie Seidman, Columnist for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune


Topic: The Changing Landscape of Newspaper Journalism.

About the Speaker: Carrie Seidman is the lead columnist for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, where she has been a staff writer since 2010. A graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism, Seidman has been a reporter, critic and columnist for nearly 40 years, previously with the New York Times, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Albuquerque Journal and Albuquerque Tribune. She also serves as the Herald Tribune’s dance critic.

Seidman addresses a variety of community, state and national issues in her three-times-a-week column, focusing on social equity, underserved populations and civic responsibility. A former fellow of The Carter Center for Mental Health Journalism and winner of Mental Health America’s 2016 national media award, she has a particular interest in the area of mental health. She is currently involved in Sarasota Strong, a local grassroots effort to make Sarasota a trauma informed community by promoting healing, resiliency and community connection.

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Previous Lecures

Monday, March 2, 2020
Speaker: Tom Boeke, Professor, State College of Florida
Topic: The Future of the Middle East
Synopsis:  “Major Factors Affecting the Contemporary Middle East.”

Topics Covered:

1. Resurgence of Islam,  2. Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism,

3. Oil,  4. Arab/Israeli Dispute,   5. ISIS  6. Tribalism,

7. The Internet,  8. Status of Women,  9. Iran

This is a large amount to cover within a limited time. It can be done, however. I may add or subtract things depending on changed circumstances in the Middle East and the amount of time you would want me to speak and how much time to allow for conversation.

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Speaker's Brief Bio: Tom received his B. A. degree in Political Science from Ohio State University and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati. He has an extensive teaching background in international relations and foreign policy. He has held appointments as Academic Dean at the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY; Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Cabrini College in Philadelphia; and Provost at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. Tom is retired and currently teaches international relations on a part time basis at the State College of Florida.

Monday, Dec. 2, 2019

Speaker: David Williamson

Topic: Secular or Equal?

Synopsis: "While religious fundamentalism may be losing in the court of public opinion, its grip on local, state, and national government officials remains strong. David will discuss the various methods employed when challenging establishment clause violations and the importance of continued vigilance."

Speaker's Bio: David Williamson is an atheist activist fighting for the separation of state and church and building a Humanist community in Central Florida. He is co-founder of the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC), an organization of atheists and Humanists focused on the separation of state and building a thriving secular community in the Greater Orlando area. Locally, he is a member of the Central Florida Commission on Religious Freedom, is Secretary of the Florida Humanist Association, and co-coordinator of the organization’s conference FREEFLO. David serves 2 national organizations. He is on the Advisory Board of the Freethought Equality Fund and a Florida State Representative for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

For his complete Bio, plesee click here.

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Click here for information on our previous lecture.

Click here for information on
upcoming Monday evening events lectures.

Presented at the Roskamp Center for Arts and Humanities

Arrive by 6:30 to mingle with fellow members and guests, and enjoy snacks and beverages, courtesy of Claudia Holmes and Garret Cantrell.
1226 N. Tamiami Trail  Roscamp Center Map Icon

*Note - Members are admitted free of chanrge. Non-members will be rquired to pay a $5.00 fee (reimbursable if they sign up for membership shortly after the evening is over.


Our Lecture Series Schedule

The 2018-19 Season Began on Monday, October 1
Mostly on Mondays except where noted*.



Oct. 1
Dennis Maley, Political Columnist for the Bradenton Herald
Dennis will present his perspective on the mid-term elections and other political issues.
Nov. 5
Grissim Walker, ACLU
He discussed racially biased mass incarceration in our prisons.
Dec. 3
Dale Anderson
Presenting: How Fascism Works


Jan. 7

New Years Party

Party (Finger foods and drinks furnished, entertainment) Begins at 6:30. (Any member is welcome to bring a non member guest. Donation $5 per non member.)
Jan. 18,
James Helton of the American Atheist Association.
American Atheists - The Time Is Now
*Feb. 16
Our Darwin Day Event, held at Marina Jacks
For members and invited guests only (see Darwin Day)
Mar. 4
Sherry H. Penny, Author and Professor from the University of Massachusetts, Boston (originally scheduled for Dec. 3, 2018)
Presenting: "Still Stuck: Women in the 21st Century
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Apr. 1
Annual Meeting
*Apr. 7
Annual Picnic, held on at Turtle Beach Pavillion
Jun. 3 Karen R. Koenig Weight Stigma—Time to End
the Blame-Shame Game?
Aug. 5 Brian Usher The challenges that come with recycling
Oct. 7 Bill Schoolman National director for the Speakers' Bureau at Final Exit
Nov. 4 Alan Grindal, MD The Aging Brain:
Realities and Opportunities.
Dec. 2 David Williamson Secular or Equal?

Click Here For a Complete
List of Upcoming Events Through 2020



The 2017-18 Season Began in October

Usually first Monday of the Month, *except where noted.
Oct. 2, 2017
Liz Coursen, award-winning
author, editor/ publisher
Game Changer: Me, My Mom,
and Billie Jean King
Nov. 6, 2017
Dale Anderson, MD
Is Democracy Safe in America?
Nov. 15, 2017
Herb Silverman, Founder
and Presidentof the Secular Coalition for America
His New Book
“An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Land”
Dec.4, 2017
Jenni Casale
Healthcare as a Human Right
Jan.4, 2018
No speaker, but a New
Years celebration instead
Celebrate 2018 with
your fellow humanists.
Mar. 5, 2018
Vickie Oldham, Columnist
Click here for details
Newtown Alive -
Courage,Dignity, Determination
Jun. 4, 2018
Frank Alcott
Florida Constitution Revision (Click for info)
Aug. 6, 2018
Our own Dan Dana
Quelling the Conflicts that Disrupt Our Lives
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Our Previous Lecture Season

(Began October 2016)


1. October 3 - Jennifer Hancock, founder of Humanist Learning Systems and author of several books about Humanism, will lead us in a discussion about Humanism as an applied active philosophy and what it means, practically speaking, to be a humanist and to attempt to live humanistically.

2. November 7 - Tim Rumage works closely with Dr. David Houle, a globally recognized futurist and guest lecturer and futurist in residence at the Ringling College of Art and Design. He will address climate change and the impact on the future of our earth. He will also address economics, health issues, and climate change as it relates to Sarasota.

3. December 5 - Chris Costello, a Sierra Club administrator, presented a case against Big Sugar and its contribution to our algae problem and other environmental effects. For more, go to this location: Lecture

4. January 2 -Our program was a New Year's gathering. We had party plates on hand along with our usual drinks.

5. February 6 --We had, as our guest speaker, Dr. Alan Grindal, MD. His talk focused on on the Biological Basis of Ethical and Moral Behavior.

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Dr. Alan Grindal is a board certified Neurologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. He received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and his Medical degree from the University of Illinois. His Neurology training was obtained at the Medical College of Virginia where he also served on the medical faculty.

Dr. Grindal was in private practice in Sarasota for over thirty years and is currently on the Clinical Faculty of Florida State University. He is the medical director of the Memory Disorder Clinic at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and is also a volunteer in the Community Clinic at the hospital. He often teaches classes at the Lifelong Learning Academy at the Ringling College and Pierian Springs Academy. He was selected by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America consecutively from 1997 to his retirement in 2004.

6. March 6 (Final Session for the 2016-17 Season)-Matthew Edlund, MD, Director of the Circadian Medicine Center in Sarasota, is an internationally recognized expert on biological clocks, performance, and rest. His latest book,The Body Clock Advantage, explains how to take advantage of our body inner timing to get the most out of life.


Thanks to these Volunteers

We would like to acknowledge the following people for their contributions in making our lecture series a success:

  • Claudia Holmes & Garrett Cantrell, current providers of goodies before the lecture
  • Donna Gannon & David Coe, former providers of the goodies before the lecture

Past Lecture (Jan. 18, 2019)

(See the photo below)

When: Friday, January 18, 2019

Speaker: Jim Helton

Talk Title: American Atheists - The Time Is Now

Description: What is an atheist issue? American Atheists redefines what is an atheists issue. We will challenge the status quo. In doing so we will lay out a plan to fight for equality and the true separation of religion and government. If you are not happy with the way things are then the time is now to make a change.

Speaker's Bio: NATIONAL FIELD ORGANIZER Jim G. Helton is the National Field Organizer for American Atheists. After attending the 2012 Reason Rally, he co-founded the Tri-State Freethinkers and was appointed American Atheists’ Kentucky State Director. Under his leadership, Tri-State Freethinkers adopted the highway in front of the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter and led a protest that received international attention. He played a key role in eliminating Gideon’s bible distributions in public schools and removing abstinence-only sex education.

Mr. Helton’s activism at the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter landed him appearances in the 2017 documentary film Bill Nye: Science Guy and the forthcoming documentary We Believe in Dinosaurs. He has been quoted in countless news outlets, including The New York Times, Miami Herald, and Washington Post. He is a fixture in local media and has given interviews for international television specials in France, Switzerland, and elsewhere.

As National Field Organizer, Mr. Helton works with affiliates, local partners, and state directors to challenge religious privilege and fight to protect church/state separation at the local level by building coalitions around specific issue campaigns, including medically accurate sex education, LGBT non-discrimination ordinances, and religious exemptions.

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Board and Guest Speaker
From left to Right: Barry Zack, Donald Slate, Gale Russel, Jim Helton, Dave Helgager,
Baerbel Kavanaugh, Sandra Zelick, Judy Helgager

Previous Lecture: Monday, June 3, 2019

Speaker: Karen Koenig

Topic: Weight Stigma—Time to End the Blame-Shame Game

Synopsis: Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, MEd, eating psychology expert and author of seven books on eating, weight and body image, discussed the negative emotional and physical impact that fat shaming and weight stigma have on higher weight people and offered a more humanistic approach to this issue.

Karen Lecture

Note: Some of Karen's work can be found on our
Write Stuff Page

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Previous Lecture: Monday, August 5, 2019

Speaker: Brian Usher, Solid Waste Collections Manager of Sarasota County Public Utilities

Topic: The challenges that come with recycling

Synopsis: The last of our summer lecture series focused on recycling and related issues in Sarasota County and most likely globally and the US.

We were fortunate to have Brian Usher, Solid Waste Collections Manager of Sarasota County Public Utilities as our guest speaker. Mr. Usher has more that 25 years of experience in the waste industry including waste collections, hazardous materials management and environmental engineering. As the Solid Waste Collections Manager, Brian serves the community by administering the solid waste collection, recycling, hazardous waste, litter prevention and education programs.

He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from St. Andrews College in North Carolina and holds the professional certifications of Manger of Solid Waste Collections and Integrated Solid Waste Systems from the Solid Waste Association of North America.

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Mr. Usher addressed how recycling is progressing in our county and throughout our country. This presentation was more than just about what goes in those blue and red bins, though those issues will certainly be part of his presentation. (That info is available on the Sarasota County website.) "What will happen with all this plastic we keep using and throwing away," a member emailed me. "Some areas in our country can no longer find a way to recycle it." I am sure many of you have watched the debris pulled from our oceans and experience the piles and piles of plastic and other waste overwhelming other countries. The evening proved to be interesting and enlightening.

There's an important article on this subject which you can download by clicking here.

Previous Lecture: Monday, October 7, 2019

Speaker: Bill Schoolman—National Officer, Final Exit

Topic: Preparing for the next stage

Synopsis: Our October lecturer manages the speaker's bureau for the Final Exit Network.

Bill has spoken to many free thinker, atheist and Humanists groups. He has also been vice president of the Florida ACLU. Before he retired, Bill was a business and legal executive for both profit and not-for-profit organizations. He currently lives in Ft. Lauderdale and has been a proud Humanist for decades.

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Previous Lecture: Monday, Nov. 4, 2019

Speaker: Alan Grindal, MD

Topic: Preparing for the next stage

Synopsis: The Aging Brain: Realities and Opportunities

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December 5, 2016

Learn about Big Sugar

Sierra Club's Cris Costello
Appeared at Our HUSBAY Lecture

Cris has been organizing the grassroots for the Sierra Club since May 2007. She is the lead organizer for the Sierra Club Our Wild Florida Campaign, which encompasses the Everglades Restoration, Red Tide, and the Stop Sugar Field Burning campaigns.

She coordinates the Sierra Club’s water quality campaign to prevent harmful algal blooms in both coastal and inland waters in Florida by eliminating point and non-point sources of fertilizer, sewage and animal manure pollution. Cris works with partner environmental organizations, local government staff and officials, homeowner associations, and landscape maintenance professionals around the following issues: Everglades restoration, springs protection, local and state-level urban fertilizer management policy, and water quality standards for Florida’s fresh and estuarine waters.

In November 2013 Cris organized the Citizens’ Clean Water Summit in Orlando, where 253 activists from 121 organizations gathered to make plans for a higher level of collaboration among the state’s water quality and water quantity advocacy community. Cris coordinates the result of the Summit, the 156-partner

Prior to joining the Sierra Club, Cris was a rural and urban grassroots community organizer, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras, an organizer and negotiation/arbitration specialist in a seventeen year career in the labor movement, and a consultant to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation in Venice, Florida. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

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March 5, 2018

Learn about Newtown Alive


Vickie OldhamVickie Oldham enjoys good storytelling. She is foremost a journalist. Presently, Oldham is spearheading a groundbreaking historic preservation project called “Newtown Alive.” It began as an initiative to trace the 100-year history of the African American community of Newtown; but has quickly expanded into a rebranding effort that is causing residents and visitors to take a second look at the neighborhood through the lens of history.

A comprehensive 350-page research report was completed and later reformatted into a book. Other Newtown Alive products include 15 historic markers placed in important locales that tell stories about the resilience of Sarasota’s African American pioneers. There is a documentary short, a guided trolley tour led by high school students, a traveling exhibition, a brochure with a map of marker locations, the newtownalive.org website, a mobile application, videotaped oral history interviews, an inventory of 150 historic structures and a speakers’ bureau.

In May, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation honored Oldham’s team with an outstanding achievement award. The group is pursuing a National Register of Historic Landmarks designation for the Newtown Conservation Historic District.

Oldham’s propensity for asking questions is the impetus that led to another African American history project. In 2004, she spearheaded the "Looking for Angola" project. Multi-disciplinary in its approach, archaeologists, anthropologists and historians are piecing together the story of a little known and almost forgotten 1800’s Black Seminole settlement that existed in the Tampa Bay region.

The Sarasota resident made her mark as a reporter and TV host at the local ABC affiliate after receiving a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications at the University of Florida and a master of fine arts degree at Florida State University’s Conservatory of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts. She hosted a popular TV program called Common Ground, interviewed some the country’s most recognized entertainers and has appeared in numerous commercials and an ABC network primetime drama.

Oldham has produced documentaries and shorts: “Reflections: A History of Sarasota County;” “Triumphant Struggle;” and “Looking for Angola,” and most recently “Newtown Alive.”

A career transition led her into higher education in 2006. She was Albany State University’s Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Fort Valley State University’s Director of Marketing and Communications/Special Assistant to the President. Both are Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Below is a photo of Vickie and her three associates during this well-attended meeting.

Vickie & Company

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June 4, 2018

First of 2 Summer Lectures
Frank Alcott

Our speaker for the first summer lecture will be Frank Alcott discussing the proposals coming from the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. Some of these are of questionable impact on our state. The lecture will be held Monday, June 4, at the Center for Arts and Humanity, 1226 N. Tamiami Trail (corner of 13th and 41. To avoid construction turn right on Coconut and left at 13th just past 10th.).

There will be social gathering at 6:30 and the lecture at 7.

Frank Alcott is a political science professor at New College and ran for the State Senate in 2016. He has been a political contributor for our local ABC TV station, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and other news outlets. He is considered an expert on the proposals coming from the Constitution Revision Commission. Attend and learn about the effect of these proposals on the citizens of Florida. We will be voting on these in November.

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Second Annual HUSBAY New Year's Party

A sizeable group of HUSBAY members met at at the Center for Arts and Humanities to celebrate the New Year. We were entertained by the guitar stylngs of Dominick (Donny) LaPonte, who just kept on strumming. Donny also provides tech support at our lecture meetings.

Claudia Holmes and Garret Cantrell provided the goodies, to whom we extend our thanks and appreication.

Photographic Evidence
(through the courtesy of Betsy Helgager Hughes)

Our President gets things going Guitarist pulls some strings Two members perform navel maneuver
ABM 5296
Mary & Bob, making such a big "Magilla"   Listening and talking at the same time
5296 MMAP <5296
Hail from the chief's Mrs. Snap Chat: they chat,
Betsy snap
Board members, but not bored members

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