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August 2004

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We are pleased to announce that jesper@tds.net was the winner of our drawing last month for one of our planters.planter

To enter this month's drawing, click on the link below and send us an email. Put "ENTER" in the comment section of the contact form. That is all there is to it. We shall announce the winner in next month's ezine.

Click here to send us an email to be entered into a drawing for a valuable gift.

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I want to take this opportunity to wish my little sister Micky a very Happy Birthday

Hey Micky, you are getting old. But it sure beats the alternative! Be sure to call the fire department before attempting to light all those candles.

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Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have raised forty foster kids and host fifty three exchange students.

About six years ago I hosted a Russian-Armenian boy. Rafael was with me for about a year. While attending South Pasadena High School, Rafael met Valentin Usov, a boy who had just emigrated from Siberia. I guess that when Valentin walked into the High School, the basketball coach up and died. Here was a 15 year old kid that stood 6' 6" and was still growing. Needless to say, Val was immediately made a member of the high school basketball team.

As the only Russian kids in the school, Val and Raffy were naturally drawn to each other. Through Raffy I met Val. He did not speak English yet so Raffy had to translate the Russian for Val and I to converse. Of course Raf had already taught me all of the cuss words in Russian so Val got a kick out of my limited Russian. It took about four months for Val to pick up enough English to carry on a decent conversation with me.

After Rafael returned to Russia, Val started hanging out at my house with the new kids that were living with me. Eventually he asked to be able to help out at the factory during the summers and weekends to make a little spending money. This led to Val working quite a bit for me and becoming an important part of the Decotec Family.

Val now attends Pasadena City College where he is on the basketball team. His field of study is mainly the humanities. He has been granted a scholarship to USC and will play basketball and study there next year. With a sigh of relief by Valentin's parents when they are on the grocery checkout line, Val has stopped growing at 6' 10" and a size 14 shoe.

Valentin Standing with ball Valantin on the hoop

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This month I would like to recommend the following web site. The Pub Sign Shop.

Being an amateur historian, I was quite impressed by the history of pub signs as outlined on this site. I have taken the liberty of lifting the following two paragraphs from their history page.

Most historians agree that it was the Ancient Romans who get the credit for originating the pub sign. Roman wine merchants would hang vine leaves or bushes on a pole just outside their establishment to let the illiterate public know where to find drink and games. As time went on, the Romans added illustrations to signs outside their venue. One of the earliest of these signs depicts two Roman slaves carrying a vase of wine between them. Yet another features the Roman god of Bacchus to signify a local wine merchant.

Over the next hundred years, to grow their expanding empire, the Romans created a system of inns-taverns along newly constructed roads. To identify themselves to travelers, these inns would often post an easily identifiable sign. Because the majority of the public could not read, there was no reason to write the establishments name on the sign. Often the inn opened without a name and over the years, a name evolved from the illustration on its sign.

Besides the history of pub signs, take a look at the vast array of custom made signs at very reasonable prices. I am sure that you will be as pleased as I was to find this site.

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We are offering our model 505 Swivel stool this month at a 10% discount. For our newsletter readers, we shall take an additional 5% off, making the stool only $145.07 plus the shipping for a total of $128.46. This price is for you or anyone you recommend. To receive this special discount, the person ordering the stools would have to call the factory.

505 SWIVEL STOOL

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I hope that you have enjoyed this month's letter. I am always open to suggestions and would like to hear your ideas and comments.

Please feel free to contact me.

Until the next letter,

Warmest regards,

Bill

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