Old 09-26-2012, 09:37 PM   #1
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Default Oh lord help us all...unlevel again!

After a long period of not uploading anything to RP.net, I submitted three shots of the "Wabash" unit backing an empty unit train along the Stonega Branch out of Andover. One was accepted---but this one got the dreaded "unlevel" rejection. I appealed, and gave my reasons, but told them I wasn't inclined (no pun intended) to make any changes, so if they didn't accept it as is----just forget it (which they'll probably do). As a matter of info, the train is backing up a 2.5 percent grade here, and the coal truck is sitting on a slightly elevated curve (to the left). Except for the telephone pole behind the unit, I'm not sure if there's anything one could reference as "vertical." The pole is vertical, however.

Comments are welcome. The third shot is stuck at number 1 in the queue, which means the screener has passed it along to someone else for judgement. Oh well...

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Old 09-26-2012, 10:45 PM   #2
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Next time, bring a saw and cut that yellow sign
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:15 PM   #3
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Next time, bring a saw and cut that yellow sign
Wish I could...but it had a metal post.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:19 PM   #4
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Funny how they can they see yours as unlevel but miss an obviously unlevel image like this:

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Old 09-26-2012, 11:24 PM   #5
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Ron;

.5% CW.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:36 PM   #6
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Sorry, Ron. It's not just unlevel. You've also got foreground clutter -and not just the yellow sign. I'm afraid those great big dump trucks obscure my view . . .

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Old 09-26-2012, 11:39 PM   #7
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I'm useless at leveling but that was shot today right? Do you know if they finished loading today, looks like Atlanta area gets a second chance at the Wabash, wooo!
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:06 AM   #8
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I'm useless at leveling but that was shot today right? Do you know if they finished loading today, looks like Atlanta area gets a second chance at the Wabash, wooo!
That was about 11:30 this morning, so I would say the train is loaded and back to Andover by now. Yes, it's headed your way (Atlanta).
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:36 AM   #9
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Too bad we wont have beautiful weather like you did when it gets down here, maybe I will get lucky. Had to make sure it was today since this is the second 702 turn the unit has done.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:07 PM   #10
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Looks fine to me as is, as far as level goes.

Now, hi-jacking the thread a little, how did my buddy Tom Knowles do at the L&N gathering in Nashville last weekend? I helped cover for him down at the Cowan museum while he was away lecturing to you guys. I heard his presentation went well.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:34 PM   #11
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Looks fine to me as is, as far as level goes.

Now, hi-jacking the thread a little, how did my buddy Tom Knowles do at the L&N gathering in Nashville last weekend? I helped cover for him down at the Cowan museum while he was away lecturing to you guys. I heard his presentation went well.
Much to my regret, I didn't attend this year. I had an obligation for another (non-railroad) organization in which I'm involved to be at another function. I understand it was an outstanding convention.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:49 PM   #12
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Except for the telephone pole behind the unit, I'm not sure if there's anything one could reference as "vertical." The pole is vertical, however.
The shot "looks right" to me. I'd point out that I've seen telephone poles sticking up at all sorts of different angles so they're rarely reliable "vertical" references. However, in this shot the majority of the tree trunks look true to vertical which is a more reliable vertical indicator. The main trunk of trees don't waste time growing in any direction other than straight up unless they're trying to clear an obstacle (like growing around something blocking a clear path straight up). Of course split trunks above the split usually angle away from each other and there are other exceptions - but if you look at the main trunk of most (healthy) trees they provide a good vertical reference and that's the case here.

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/02/09/sc...-a-916188.html

I linked that primarily so I could point out the phrase "reaction wood" which I think also has a secondary meaning associated with rp.net viewers seeing a female in a shot...

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Old 09-27-2012, 05:48 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by MDH View Post

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/02/09/sc...-a-916188.html

I linked that primarily so I could point out the phrase "reaction wood" which I think also has a secondary meaning associated with rp.net viewers seeing a female in a shot...

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Q. Why do trees grow straight up all over the world? Why don't they point toward the sun?
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:55 AM   #14
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It's a fact of life that no single element in some scenes could be considered "unlevel." If you photographed a train on Saluda Mountain from the side, would you have to use the leveling software in Photoshop to eliminate the 4.5 percent grade? Of course if there's at least one element that's truly vertical (or horizontal). I refuse to make CW or CWW rotation of .3 degrees so someone can throw a grid on it and say "ah HA!!!! It's unlevel!!!" Either a shot is worth a shit, or not---but don't dismiss it out of hand for such a lame reason. If I have to do that to have one of my shots accepted here---I'll never post another one. Besides, what would it matter (to me, or anyone)?

I'll tell you guys....other than exposure or contrast, this stuff about "PEQ," "Poor Composition," "Unlevel" and some of these other contrived terms just didn't exist until a few years ago---at least in the field of railroad photography. Any reasonably astute judge of photography could look at an image and immediately pronounce it acceptable---or not. Now, it has become a process of picking imaginary gnats out of the buttermilk--or much ado about nothing. And, because of that, many otherwise terrific photos never make it to RP. Instead, we're "treated" to a high percentage of very mundane imagery (some good, of course, but far too much formulaic "monkey see, monkey do" mimicry). I know, I know...how do you NOT accept the otherwise competently-done three quarter shots from some acne-infested kid who's struggling with the effects of puberty? You can't.

I check RP just about every day to see what's posted. I hope to be entertained and inspired---but most days, it's just a string of mundane shots. The only redeeming value (for me) are the great vintage shots posted by the likes of Steve Patterson and others. And, on occasion, some of the younger guys throw up something that really excites me. But, 90 percent or more is formulaic----level, "well composed," properly exposed, not blurred or over-sharpened, or whatever else it takes to pull the brass ring on the RP.net merry-go-round.

And, it's certainly not about MY shots--because that certainly doesn't matter. I just yearn for some inspired imagery. Please, screeners---don't turn back the edgy and "different" photos at the door, because it sure keeps the party dull. Be bold, be creative, don't be afraid of the dark or the boogie man.

Rather than look for the "best" photos (a task that can't be objectively defined), RP's screeners should only reject the truly crap-o-la shots. Shots should meet, or exceed, the very basic level of adequacy only. Everything else should be accepted to allow the viewers to decided what they want to see. And---it also makes better business sense for the site owners, since their ad income is driven by unique page views.

Trust me....I ain't viewing someone's latest shot of a BNSF train rolling by some rural grade crossing, so it's not helping your bottom line. Instead, give me something that's different---controversial---edgy--maybe a little nuts. That's when RP will truly find itself a leader in the field, rather than an ultra-conservative supporter of the status quo.
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:50 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ron Flanary View Post
It's a fact of life that no single element in some scenes could be considered "unlevel." If you photographed a train on Saluda Mountain from the side, would you have to use the leveling software in Photoshop to eliminate the 4.5 percent grade? Of course if there's at least one element that's truly vertical (or horizontal). I refuse to make CW or CWW rotation of .3 degrees so someone can throw a grid on it and say "ah HA!!!! It's unlevel!!!" Either a shot is worth a shit, or not---but don't dismiss it out of hand for such a lame reason. If I have to do that to have one of my shots accepted here---I'll never post another one. Besides, what would it matter (to me, or anyone)?

I'll tell you guys....other than exposure or contrast, this stuff about "PEQ," "Poor Composition," "Unlevel" and some of these other contrived terms just didn't exist until a few years ago---at least in the field of railroad photography. Any reasonably astute judge of photography could look at an image and immediately pronounce it acceptable---or not. Now, it has become a process of picking imaginary gnats out of the buttermilk--or much ado about nothing. And, because of that, many otherwise terrific photos never make it to RP. Instead, we're "treated" to a high percentage of very mundane imagery (some good, of course, but far too much formulaic "monkey see, monkey do" mimicry). I know, I know...how do you NOT accept the otherwise competently-done three quarter shots from some acne-infested kid who's struggling with the effects of puberty? You can't.

I check RP just about every day to see what's posted. I hope to be entertained and inspired---but most days, it's just a string of mundane shots. The only redeeming value (for me) are the great vintage shots posted by the likes of Steve Patterson and others. And, on occasion, some of the younger guys throw up something that really excites me. But, 90 percent or more is formulaic----level, "well composed," properly exposed, not blurred or over-sharpened, or whatever else it takes to pull the brass ring on the RP.net merry-go-round.

And, it's certainly not about MY shots--because that certainly doesn't matter. I just yearn for some inspired imagery. Please, screeners---don't turn back the edgy and "different" photos at the door, because it sure keeps the party dull. Be bold, be creative, don't be afraid of the dark or the boogie man.

Rather than look for the "best" photos (a task that can't be objectively defined), RP's screeners should only reject the truly crap-o-la shots. Shots should meet, or exceed, the very basic level of adequacy only. Everything else should be accepted to allow the viewers to decided what they want to see. And---it also makes better business sense for the site owners, since their ad income is driven by unique page views.

Trust me....I ain't viewing someone's latest shot of a BNSF train rolling by some rural grade crossing, so it's not helping your bottom line. Instead, give me something that's different---controversial---edgy--maybe a little nuts. That's when RP will truly find itself a leader in the field, rather than an ultra-conservative supporter of the status quo.
Can I say "Amen" ?

PS. Sorry, Ron. I don't like the original shot. It is nothing but the big ass of an ugly truck to me. The interesting locomotive is very small and has a ugly sign pole blocking it.
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:52 AM   #16
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Can I say "Amen" ?

PS. Sorry, Ron. I don't like the original shot. It is nothing but the big ass of an ugly truck to me. The interesting locomotive is very small and has a ugly sign pole blocking it.
Well put - but that is just my opinion.
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:23 PM   #17
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I'll tell you guys....other than exposure or contrast, this stuff about "PEQ," "Poor Composition," "Unlevel" and some of these other contrived terms just didn't exist until a few years ago---at least in the field of railroad photography.
PEQ exists as a way for them to say "we don't want to accept this image." At least that's how I've always interpreted it. Would you rather they say, "Sorry, we don't like this shot and we're not going to accept it"? PEQ allows them to be nice about it.

As far as poor composition goes, people have been taking photographs with "poor composition" since the invention of the camera. It's the difference between someone having an "eye" for the scene and someone missing it. But you already knew that. As for RP purposes, poor composition can often be saved by recropping the photograph or reshooting the scene.

And unlevel...well, everyone knows how I feel about that. It doesn't matter if it's a railroad scene or whatever, unlevel is unlevel and should be corrected...unless it's some kind of ridiculous unlevel creative shot.
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:00 PM   #18
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I'll tell you guys....other than exposure or contrast, this stuff about "PEQ," "Poor Composition," "Unlevel" and some of these other contrived terms just didn't exist until a few years ago---at least in the field of railroad photography.
Maybe they should have?
Quote:
Any reasonably astute judge of photography could look at an image and immediately pronounce it acceptable---or not.
Hmm, I wonder if those astute judges had any conscious or subconscious standards or principles they were applying in rendering those pronouncements, including poor esthetic quality, poor composition, or even unlevel? Maybe those contrived terms have been around all along?
Quote:
Now, it has become a process of picking imaginary gnats out of the buttermilk--or much ado about nothing. And, because of that, many otherwise terrific photos never make it to RP.
I understand that some people are being driven away, and I don't object in general to seeing some more flexibility. At the same time, some bad shots are kept off, and some shots are being corrected and improved, and some people are returning to the scene making better second efforts. It isn't clear to me that, in particular, the balance between mundane and better is going to much change. And in particular, the dominant number of photographers are always going to be generating mundane images. (I suppose one solution is to just keep them off and make an RP more of an elitist venue.)

Gnats and buttermilk, baby and bathwater, the endless debate ...
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:21 PM   #19
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Well...all this is good, healthy discussion. Before I hit the sawdust trail this morning and head out of town, here's a shot for discussion. I don't mean to call Chase out, because he's an excellent photographer (and an RP screener I might add). But---isn't this badly "unlevel"? If it's not....why? There are clearly vertical elements in the center of this mega-wide angle shot that aren't close to being vertical (I understand the distortion at the edges, which can't be avoided).

Maybe I just don't get it...

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=410417&nseq=2
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:01 PM   #20
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Well...all this is good, healthy discussion. Before I hit the sawdust trail this morning and head out of town, here's a shot for discussion. I don't mean to call Chase out, because he's an excellent photographer (and an RP screener I might add). But---isn't this badly "unlevel"? If it's not....why? There are clearly vertical elements in the center of this mega-wide angle shot that aren't close to being vertical
Well, I see it and I don't see it. It looks to me like the pillars holding the roof up in front of the door are vertical, as is the vent in the tower. The edge of the tower to the right of the vent is not, and one could argue that the image is actually leveled to the right of that. So whatever the chosen central point is, there is one, and it is fairly close to the center if not on it. The issue is that there are a number of vertical-ish lines near the center that are not parallel to each other. But, yes, I probably would have chosen something different, probably the dominant vertical, the closest corner on the tower. Maybe the screener just missed it, as Thias tells us over and over, they do get missed.

Quote:
(I understand the distortion at the edges, which can't be avoided).
Actually, Ron, not only can it be avoided, with appropriate perspective correction in post, but in this case I think it should have been. To my eye the wide angle distortion does this scene no favors, it distorts in an unattractive, unartistic way. I'd have straightened it out in a jiffy!

I do prefer my shots adjusted for no such distortion, but occasionally it just looks better the other way. I would say Chase's is one where it does not, and the following is one where it does. YMMV

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Old 09-28-2012, 03:04 PM   #21
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It's a fact of life that no single element in some scenes could be considered "unlevel." If you photographed a train on Saluda Mountain from the side, would you have to use the leveling software in Photoshop to eliminate the 4.5 percent grade? Of course if there's at least one element that's truly vertical (or horizontal). I refuse to make CW or CWW rotation of .3 degrees so someone can throw a grid on it and say "ah HA!!!! It's unlevel!!!" Either a shot is worth a shit, or not---but don't dismiss it out of hand for such a lame reason. If I have to do that to have one of my shots accepted here---I'll never post another one. Besides, what would it matter (to me, or anyone)?

I'll tell you guys....other than exposure or contrast, this stuff about "PEQ," "Poor Composition," "Unlevel" and some of these other contrived terms just didn't exist until a few years ago---at least in the field of railroad photography. Any reasonably astute judge of photography could look at an image and immediately pronounce it acceptable---or not. Now, it has become a process of picking imaginary gnats out of the buttermilk--or much ado about nothing. And, because of that, many otherwise terrific photos never make it to RP. Instead, we're "treated" to a high percentage of very mundane imagery (some good, of course, but far too much formulaic "monkey see, monkey do" mimicry). I know, I know...how do you NOT accept the otherwise competently-done three quarter shots from some acne-infested kid who's struggling with the effects of puberty? You can't.

I check RP just about every day to see what's posted. I hope to be entertained and inspired---but most days, it's just a string of mundane shots. The only redeeming value (for me) are the great vintage shots posted by the likes of Steve Patterson and others. And, on occasion, some of the younger guys throw up something that really excites me. But, 90 percent or more is formulaic----level, "well composed," properly exposed, not blurred or over-sharpened, or whatever else it takes to pull the brass ring on the RP.net merry-go-round.

And, it's certainly not about MY shots--because that certainly doesn't matter. I just yearn for some inspired imagery. Please, screeners---don't turn back the edgy and "different" photos at the door, because it sure keeps the party dull. Be bold, be creative, don't be afraid of the dark or the boogie man.

Rather than look for the "best" photos (a task that can't be objectively defined), RP's screeners should only reject the truly crap-o-la shots. Shots should meet, or exceed, the very basic level of adequacy only. Everything else should be accepted to allow the viewers to decided what they want to see. And---it also makes better business sense for the site owners, since their ad income is driven by unique page views.

Trust me....I ain't viewing someone's latest shot of a BNSF train rolling by some rural grade crossing, so it's not helping your bottom line. Instead, give me something that's different---controversial---edgy--maybe a little nuts. That's when RP will truly find itself a leader in the field, rather than an ultra-conservative supporter of the status quo.
And another "Amen"!

I look at the stuff here for a few reasons - in no particular order:

1. I want to see what's going on in the railroad world. There are lots of cool excursions and events that I can't get to. Show me them! Now!

2. I want to see images that are well composed and just plain look "good" to me. This is very subjective. More variety is better than less as everyone has different taste.

3. I want to see historic shots. These bring up happy memories and interesting comparisons with today.

4. I want to see pictures that tell a story - that have a message to convey.

I don't much mind if they are a hair of kilter or the cropping isn't perfect. Maybe that's because I grew up in the "slide show" generation, where there was no post processing and you had to be a bit tolerant of minor defects.

As for my own stuff. I get'em the way I like them. If they get rejected and I don't agree with the reason, c'est le vie!
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:32 PM   #22
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Well, I see it and I don't see it. It looks to me like the pillars holding the roof up in front of the door are vertical, as is the vent in the tower. The edge of the tower to the right of the vent is not, and one could argue that the image is actually leveled to the right of that.
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In virtually every wide angle of this nature, the center of the scene should be vertical. That would mean the steeple of the church. It clearly leans to the right, so the shot couldn't possibly be level.

Thanks for the comments, though. I agree with your points (although I'm not a fan of lens correction).
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:12 PM   #23
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Well...all this is good, healthy discussion. Before I hit the sawdust trail this morning and head out of town, here's a shot for discussion. I don't mean to call Chase out, because he's an excellent photographer (and an RP screener I might add). But---isn't this badly "unlevel"? If it's not....why? There are clearly vertical elements in the center of this mega-wide angle shot that aren't close to being vertical (I understand the distortion at the edges, which can't be avoided).

Maybe I just don't get it...

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=410417&nseq=2
I don't mind calling photographers out either (as seen earlier in this thread), as unlevel is EASY to fix and pointing it out is has nothing to do with the abilities or talents of said photographer. And yes, Chase's shot is no more level than your rejected shot, Ron. It needs some slight CCW rotation, but that'll be considered a nitpick.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:40 PM   #24
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I don't mind calling photographers out either (as seen earlier in this thread), as unlevel is EASY to fix and pointing it out is has nothing to do with the abilities or talents of said photographer. And yes, Chase's shot is no more level than your rejected shot, Ron. It needs some slight CCW rotation, but that'll be considered a nitpick.
Thanks Jim. Isn't "nitpick" the name of the game here most of the time?

I'd much rather they reject the real duds rather than reject an otherwise good shot for little or no reason. My sad old shots aside, I can't count the number of very good shots that have been rejected---and the photographer comes here seeking "expert" advice. Crop it this way, or that way, or rotate it CW the width of a pubic hair, or CCW the width of a gnat's gonads, or lighten it, or darken it, or whatever. But then---after all these miniscule "corrections"---BINGO!---it's accepted to RP! Point is: there usually ain't a dadburn bit of difference between the shot as it was first rejected, and as it was finally accepted (if, indeed, it gets accepted).

Of course sometimes this happens, and the shot just isn't good. And---many of us find the diplomatic tones to say so. Let's face it--not everyone is a world class photographer (me, for example...).

It's just like in music: what we have on RP is a whole lot of Justin Bieber, Green Day, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift---and not too much Thelonius Monk, Wynton Marsalis or Experanza Spalding. The first group fills stadiums and makes untold millions--while the others cater to a far smaller and musically discerning group (I don't mean to come across as highbrow---just making a point).

Bottom line: Justin Bieber shots find their way on RP.net with the greatest of ease, but Thelonius and Wynton suffer a few rejections now and then. Such as the burden of genius.

Last edited by Ron Flanary; 09-28-2012 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:46 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Ron Flanary View Post
Bottom line: Justin Bieber shots find their way on RP.net with the greatest of ease, but Thelonis and Wynton suffer a few rejections now and then. Such as the burden of genius.
At least RP doesn't allow those terrible back-lit Biebers!

Hmm, did I just coin a phrase, maybe an acronym? "Nope, sorry, RP just doesn't accept that sort of a BLB." The in-crowd nods heads wisely, the out-crowd says "huh"?
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