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Jim Hemmingway

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Jim Hemmingway last won the day on July 18 2016

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About Jim Hemmingway

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    Copper Member
  • Birthday 07/12/1951

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    Retired Fish & Wildlife Biologist, Prospecting, Mineralogy, Music, Reading, Fly Fishing, Camping.

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  1. I Know This Is Off Topic But...

    Hi Dave... I agree with Fred, in fact I think your photo represents as nice a display of gold nuggets as I've seen here lately. That said, I hope 2018 will be your best year ever!!! Thanks for the photo and WTG!!! Jim.
  2. A Discombobulated Prospecting Tale

    I don’t know either Tom… but when it comes to Bigfoot sightings and other preternatural occurrences, well I’m not from Missouri… but you’re still going to have to show me before I’ll believe it. While it may be pleasant around the campfire to hypothesize that Bigfoot is roaming the nearby bush, I’m inclined (in retrospect that is) to consider the culprit in Discombobulated Prospecting to either be a bear or more probably a cougar as noted earlier. “I was in process of hiking over to the tree as I was looking for treasure at the time and figgered I was being called over to the shaking tree”. I take it that you are still dowsing for minerals, hence you feel that the guiding force that causes your map-dowsing pendulum to perform was also perhaps causing the tree to sway such that it called your attention to it. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but neither can I dispute it because there is no factual basis to do so. But I will say that a swaying tree in our northern woods is a good indication of a large blackbear. We both pursue this hobby alone and rather defenseless in remote areas. Should a confrontational situation suddenly occur, I doubt there would be sufficient time to retrieve my bearspray from my knapsack. Best probable solution might be to acquire a faithful dog or two. Dogs are pretty good with the metaphysical stuff, their extra-sensory perception allows them to see what we cannot see and that might serve us well. Handguns are illegal here, and a rifle is cumbersome extra gear that is too inconvenient to tote around the bush. In closing Tom, maybe I could relate a brief story to you about finding some silver on our most recent trip to the North Country. I was searching a new area that I had earlier researched and the day previously had recovered several small pieces that encouraged me to persist there. Late the next afternoon, an elongated signal, correctly identified by my MXT’s iron probability readout, proved to be a sizable iron bar that was removed from several inches below the surface. Rechecking the hole produced another signal that was slightly offset to one side and perhaps a foot deeper. It consistently read at 20% iron probability, and resulted in the silver sample depicted in the first and second photos below. It was quite a surprise to find large silver so close to the surface, and to realize that the encouraging audio signal and target ID had been produced by silver rather than the usual large iron at depth. In addition to a few smaller pieces, after two days of trenching that site the dendritic silver in the third photo surfaced as well. Both samples below were HCl acid treated to remove excessive carbonate rock and cleaned with a rotary tool silicon carbide bit, followed by a soapy wash and rinse. While not exactly a handsome specimen because it is embedded in a dark blue-grey carbonate matrix, the ten lb piece is a fine example of massively structured dendritic native silver that accounts for much of the rock’s total weight. That’s it for now, take care. Jim.
  3. Gold Basin Meteorite Pendant

    Fred that pendant is unlike anything I've ever seen... simply beautiful. Thanks for posting this unique treasure. Jim.
  4. A Discombobulated Prospecting Tale

    Thanks to everyone for dropping around with your nice comments!!! I had wanted to contribute something to this forum by way of some light reading for the holidays. Glad you enjoyed the article, it was lots of fun to write. I’ve added a multi-photo below depicting a few examples of the small silver that far more accurately reflects the vast majority of our finds in that area. Hi Tom… good to hear from you, and trust you enjoyed the Christmas holidays. Yes this is a revised edition of the original posted to the former AMDS forum years ago. I had hoped there would be some folks here that might enjoy the read. I didn’t get a look at this creature and cannot say with any confidence just what it might have been. Of course, common sense suggests that it must have been either a bear or cougar. I think the possibility of a bear would be highly unlikely, since in my experience blackbears much prefer to avoid contact with people and those that occasionally do show themselves are rarely aggressive towards us. A big cat might fit the bill, as this animal must have charged from somewhere on the perimeter of the bench where I was parked, and fortunately I was already secure inside the truck. And such a scenario suggests “ambush” which also fits quite well. Say Bob, thanks for sharing your advice with me, rather providential I’d say. I suppose we can only hope this mysterious and elusive creature of the deep woods, if he exists, will abandon the country. Otherwise our usual sunny prospects for that area will be somewhat shrouded in a foreboding atmosphere of gloomy uncertainty. Take care Jim.
  5. A Discombobulated Prospecting Tale The following is a recollection about a prospecting trip, encounters with wildlife, including an unidentified large creature. Since our story is firmly entrenched in wilderness prospecting environs, we’ll scatter some of our more photogenic native silver and other photos at appropriate intervals throughout the text. These happenings occurred over less than a twelve-hour period many years ago. Let's move on to our tale… please read this as a campfire story. “There’s a long, long time of waiting Until my dreams all come true… Till the day when I’ll be going Down that long, long trail with you.” The origins of our tale begin some years ago, with my annual autumn prospecting trip into the northeastern part of Ontario renowned for its silver production. The area represents a small part of a vast, heavily forested wilderness perched on the sprawling Precambrian Shield. Away from the small towns and villages, and widely scattered farms and rural homesteads, there exists a largely uninterrupted way of life in the more remote areas. There are uncounted miles of lonely country backroads, overgrown tracks leading to abandoned mining camps, innumerable rough timber lanes, and a virtually infinite tangle of winding trails that reach deeply into the distant boreal forests. The region is largely supported by forestry, tourism, and mining. It is rich in nearly every mineral one can imagine, but especially of gold and silver, and the base metals. It attracts an annual autumn migration of hunters, fishermen, mineral collectors, and other adventurers seeking the beckoning, companionable solitude of the remote wilderness. The photo below depicts a former minesite located in the immediate area, where documented in 1924, two prospectors claim to have sighted the highly elusive Sasquatch, sometimes referred to as the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. Our journey back in time so many long years ago, finds us contentedly settled into a perfectly routine, bright morning following a highly interesting prospecting sojourn the previous day. That day I had made the companionable acquaintance of two staff members from Michigan State University. They had recently arrived in a magnificent motorhome to search for precious silver and other minerals with their assortment of metal detectors. Their silver prospecting had been unsuccessful thus far, but undiminished in their enthusiasm, they were eager to explore for old relics and antique glassware. I suggested some promising abandoned homestead sites in the woods, and we made further plans to share some morning tea, view my silver recoveries, and make some detecting plans for the day. In preparation for the visit, I arose early that morning, performed the usual perfunctory personal ablutions, and stepped lightly from the camper to prepare a hungry outdoorsman’s breakfast at the picnic table. That normally means bacon and eggs fried on the fretful propane gas stove conveniently located beneath the wide, foul-weather canopy. Now for the benefit of urban dwellers not fully appreciating such matters, I submit there is no more tantalizing scent that permeates the woodland aisles as solicitously to a ravenously hungry wayfarer than that of sizzling bacon in the frying pan. Thus to my dismay but not surprise upon returning from the camper with some handy utensils, I abruptly came face-to-face with a wayfarer in the form of a decidedly stout blackbear immediately across the table from me. Well… we both rather casually glanced at one another for some several seconds, which is a long time really… in what could only be described as a mutually earnest attempt to evaluate exactly just what the other's full intentions and possible capabilities might be. The issue at hand of course, was possession of the steaming breakfast now lying sumptuously before us, a seeming impasse that would brook no compromise. Allowing that I was a man of action, a trait not one whit diminished by the present circumstances, and fully aware that a brand-spanking-new container of "Bear Guard" resided within my trusty backpack just inside the camper doorway, I promptly retired indoors to retrieve this potent pest serum. In the twinkling of an eye the bear spray was in my hand, safety mechanism removed, and finger on the trigger. Brimming with confidence that no small victory was easily within my grasp, I took careful aim… and well, how could one possibly miss? Meanwhile, my uninvited, immobile guest had remained quietly composed and altogether civil in his demeanor, and I regret to relate, with rather sad, supplicating eyes fixed with unblinking steadiness on mine. But doggedly immune to sympathy for any but myself …at that particular moment that is… the trigger was released without the least regret. And quicker than thought, a plume of debilitating chemical spray tracked unfailingly straight for the bear’s nose. But even quicker still, my new acquaintance ducked his head and sidestepped, indeed shrugging off the main thrust of my carefully conspired offensive as if it were inconsequential. And there was a further complication insofar as I had signally failed to consider the oncoming breeze. Almost as quickly as the implications occurred to me, I succumbed to the bear-spray fumes, abandoned breakfast in panicky confusion, blindly retreating back into the camper’s safety. Subsequent to a half-hour convalescence of teary-eyed, spasmodic coughing and retching, I regained some semblance of normal breathing and cardiac composure. Ready to face the inevitable, I set forth to resume the contest, only to find my breakfast charred, and amiable new companion unmoved and indifferent to my enterprise thus far. I reviewed the alternatives carefully as things now stood. Breakfast was no longer a matter of dispute to me at least. But I could not simply hand it over either. The park brochures unequivocally admonished the reader not to feed the bears and I did enjoy the repute of being an experienced outdoorsman. More, my tentative little friend had demonstrated remarkable forbearance by not taking advantage of my temporary lapse. And worse, he fixed me with unwavering, sad appealing eyes, conveying eternal gratitude and sacrifice for my sake, if only he might sample the frying pan’s tasty scraps. I began to feel shame at my own indignant, confrontational behavior towards this unobtrusive creature. But company was coming for tea, and in short order we would be leaving camp for the day. My new friend could not be left alone near camp. Long story short, I sidled over to my truck and spent an exasperating hour or so chasing this mangy, obstinate competitor from camp and hopefully from the park. Now, fully appreciating the desperate craftiness I faced with this shrewd adversary, I arranged for the Ministry of Natural Resources to set a bear trap nearby, later in the day. Content with this strategic maneuver, and in the afterglow of glad relief as can only be savored with successful, decisive conquest of brute strength by infinitely resourceful cunning, my recently arrived companions of the previous day and I enjoyed morning tea, and merrily hit the treasure trail. Feeling secure any remaining camp contingency was suitably addressed, I for one had no more care in the world than the wispy, white cirrus clouds scurrying across the blue heavens above. Late evening of that day found me alone at a remote site, deep in the wilderness and far removed from the welcoming lights of civilization. As had become habit over many years, darkness… rebuked only by a slim sliver of veiled moonlight known affectionately to livestock thieves as a Rustler's Moon… found me still rock hunting. The recovery of a promising target signal preoccupied my thoughts and effort. I’ve never been able to abandon a good signal and never will, regardless of circumstances. Finally, after exhaustive prying and digging, I packed my prize into the backpack and reluctantly hiked uphill to a wide bench where my truck was parked. With nothing more profound on my mind than entertaining thoughts of tasty pork and beans for dinner over a hot fire, I stored my equipment and backpack into the back of the truck and made ready to return to camp. It happened so quickly, it was shocking, and there was no time to think. Throwing the transmission into reverse, I did what I always do from long habit… I looked into the interior rear view mirror. You might easily imagine my startled reaction to see two enormously elevated large glowing eyes, illuminated only by my reverse lights…fixedly gazing into the mirror directly into mine. There was no sound, no contact with the truck. In a furious snit of energy that would have garnered surprised favor from my boss back at the office, I quickly swung my Jeep around… a credit to my youthful driving instructor, could he only have witnessed that splendid three-point turn. My lights immediately filled the misty gloom to reveal…nothing. The creature had vanished into thin air, certainly not an impossible feat, but most unlikely. It was wide, open space on that bench, and I could not understand how the creature had disappeared so quickly. With the desire to leave the scene waning quickly, I drove some thirty yards downhill on the overgrown track and stopped. I jumped out of the truck with my high powered flashlight at the ready, and began a systematic exploration of the nearby woods, always staying within easy retreat to the vehicle’s safety. The remaining foliage of innumerable aspen and tag alders interfered with a close scrutiny and I did not dare to go further afield. Yet, short of the distant forlorn cry of a loon, I could not see or hear anything unusual to disturb the evening’s tranquillity. Dismayed, I returned to the truck and cautiously resumed my way down the dark, abandoned track, crossed a tumbling wide brook at the bottom end of the lake to finally gain firm footing on the opposite shore, and headed for camp completely lost in thought. Some three-quarters of an hour later I arrived back at the campsite looking forward to lighting a blazing fire and enjoying a steaming mug of tea before dinner. At such times, subsequent to a highly startling experience, it is unsettling to realize that no “sixth” sense had alerted me to the possible danger of a nearby large creature out at the remote minesite. A creature that apparently was aware of my activities, and perhaps observing or even stalking me for some length of time. Yet as I jumped out of my truck at camp, that sixth sense came abruptly to the fore. The evening sky had given way to gloomy scuttling clouds, the wind had sharply risen to rustle fallen leaves, sighing fitfully through the treetops. Have you ever stumbled in the darkness of night into an unseen wall or obstacle that brought you up short? The moment I stepped away from my truck such an overwhelming foreboding sense came over me that I stood stock still, peering into the thick darkness in some vague attempt to comprehend the sharp, uneasy feeling. Now then, let it be clear that I am not one given to fears of the dark or superstitious nonsense. I never look over my shoulder dreading the sight of some phantom specter, not ever. But my instincts were alerted, as I stood there motionless, considering possibilities. Grabbing my flashlight, I treaded slowly towards the camper. There seemed to be no indication of… CLANG!!!! The unmistakable, hard contact of heavy steel. Relocating my boots in a fit of unbounded fright and quickly retying them with an uncompromising knot, I cautiously probed around the far corner of the camper. For the second time in less than an hour, the steady beams of two blazing lanterns gleamed directly back into my eyes from the depths of darkness. For securely locked inside an MNR bear trap, placed strategically behind and immediately adjacent to my camper by far-sighted government employees, was a rather large bear. At the moment he was huddled in cringing fear at the rear of the cage. ‘And so you should be’ I swaggered with surging, buoyant relief. Early the next morning, in the face of a steady driving rain, all thoughts of rockhunting were dismissed for the day. I hurriedly wolfed down breakfast, nodded a cheerful farewell to my erstwhile caged companion of the night, and lit out for the minesite. On arrival, I carefully looked for, but could not see any tracks. I felt certain that somewhere in the soft slag-sand substrate, there should have been some evidence of tracks despite the rain. Certainly a moose or large bear on hind legs could be the only credible suspects with regard to the enormously elevated set of eyes that had glared into my rear-view mirror the previous night. But I looked for tracks or any other evidence in vain. Deflated and somewhat incredulous, I retraced my way back to the nearest country backroad where, as chance would dictate, I abruptly encountered my acquaintances from Michigan. I described the event at the minesite to them, whereupon one individual opened his briefcase, retrieved some stapled papers and handed them to me. A fully documented account from 1924 of a Sasquatch sighting in the very same local. The article revealed that two prospectors arose from their fireside breakfast to observe an enormous man-like creature disappearing into the nearby forest. Their estimate was on the order of eight feet or so, a wild-looking hairy biped. In those times such creatures were not nearly so widely known or celebrated in the mainstream media. That factor alone doubtless lends more credibility to the report. Was meeting these two men again at that time and place mere coincidence? Did they have some other reason for visiting the area in addition to their relic, bottle and silver hunting? There was no question they had purposely brought the prepared Sasquatch information. You might ask in retrospect why I did not see the creature’s outline in my reverse lights. My answer is that my full attention was immediately drawn to those two blazing eyes. It was all so quick and unexpected. In retrospect, I regard this event simply as an encounter with an unknown creature. Only the illusive Sasquatch of the deep wilderness, given that he exists, could have the sharp intelligence to outwit me with regard to his timely, quick disappearance. The removal of tracks was too clever indeed, but at the same time there is no support for the notion that any other wildlife in existence could possess the means or forethought. A tale is never complete without a postscript. Despite the passage of many years, I have not been able to relinquish the memory of the bear with the terribly sad, pleading eyes. Call me a hopeless romantic. I later learned that berry production was very poor that season, doubtless resulting in higher bear mortality rates. Could I revisit those moments, if I thought there was any chance my uninvited guest would sit down at the table, mind his manners and otherwise behave, I would now gladly serve up my charred breakfast scraps were it only possible. But alas, time moves relentlessly forward, leaving only fading memories of scenarios we can never retrieve. Many years later, on a beautiful, clear evening in the silvery radiance of full moonlight washing down over all the old familiar places, I revisited that particular site ostensibly to collect some pyrrhotite samples. But the truth is that I was contemplating that vivid memory from so many years ago. It was no fun getting back in there at night after the long passage of time. I spent a pleasant few hours in observation, over sandwiches and coffee, then departed, crossing the old stream-bed perhaps for a last time. The beavers seem to have abandoned the spot and massive washouts appear imminent. Think what you will, but that concludes our prospecting tale. Whether by design or chaos, we live on a tiny planet in a small, inconsequential solar system located on the outer fringe of the Milky Way. Life for most of us is nothing more or less than a twisty maze of circumstances and events that frequently generate no reasonable or satisfactory explanation for the odd happenstances of our existence. Happy Holidays everyone… all the very best to you in the forthcoming New Year. Jim. Edited / Photo Revised December 2017
  6. Have You Ever Pissed Off Your Prospecting Partner?

    Hi Gerry… I prefer to hunt alone because it is both more enjoyable and successful for me. Occasionally I happen across a temporary hunting partner, but try to avoid any issues by comporting myself in a casual manner regardless of what is or isn’t found. But if that partner isn’t doing well, and should I happen across a productive patch, then I will bring it to his attention and invite him to search it too. One cannot do otherwise and feel happy about it. That said, my wife of some 45+ years has been my part-time prospecting partner for three plus decades. I guess it goes without saying that I don’t piss her off while we’re out prospecting. I’m too well trained to do such a stupid thing. There are consequences for everything we do, so I prefer to wait until we return home before provoking her. But in the field, I make every possible effort to ensure that she enjoys her visits with me when I’m rockhunting in northeastern Ontario’s silver country for the duration of each autumn. Her interest certainly is not nearly on a par with mine, but she does like to find quality native silver specimens re: possessing good character. She has no particular inclination to find an outstanding large silver sample… obviously the stuff that motivates me… and so it’s a simple task to direct her to productive sites where small silver exists in reasonably accessible quantity. Of course we search together at such times to ensure that any difficulties she may experience, or questions about various minerals she encounters, are quickly answered or resolved. She’s a great partner, we’ve traveled extensively in pursuit of this hobby, particularly into the silverfields as noted, and more recently into Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains. Our memories are replete with exploring wilderness areas, electronic prospecting for silver ores or floats, and otherwise searching for non-detectable minerals in Ontario’s renowned Bancroft area. We’ve shared infinite companionable moments by blazing campfires on cool, starry autumn evenings, typically discussing our plans for the next day or evaluating ores over steaming hot coffee. Depicted below is a commonplace example of her many small native silver recoveries, found during our most recent field trip. We had been scraping away some hillslope tailings and alternately scanning the fresh surfaces with both an F75 / MXT equipped with 10” elliptical coils while operating in true motion all-metal modes. I had been working just around a bend and thinking about calling it quits for the day because twilight was stealing upon us, and a swirling snowstorm was swiftly advancing across the lake toward us. My partner stepped around the tailings, with a rather pleased smile over her latest silver recovery held out for me to see. I love the soft gleam of high purity native silver embedded in creamy white calcite, so I took the photo despite it being freshly dug and covered in wet dirt. Well, I guess that’s about it for now. Thankyou for your recent contributions to this forum Gerry, we do hope that we will see more from you in the future. It’s all good. Jim.
  7. Couple Rocks

    Bob... I presume that you have one of those handsome jasper specimens mounted and displayed somewhere prominent within your home. WOW!!! I like the darker sample photo too, it almost (with some imagination) looks like something from outer space!!! WTG. Jim. PS: Merry Christmas !!!
  8. Few Finds From Last Week

    Hi Chris... twenty inches on a three gram nugget is impressive!!! I particularly admire your specimen gold as I love the combination of gold and quartz. Congratulations on some beautiful finds, and thankyou for posting those dandy photos. WTG Chris!!! Jim.
  9. 2 Good Days In Gold Basin

    Congratulations on finding those beautiful character nuggets Chris. I'm not inclined to single out any specific one as a favorite because I like them all. Although I must say that I agree with Steve's post above, that particular nugget is outstanding. Thankyou for sharing those superb photos. WTG Jim.
  10. Hi Jin… yes I fully agree with you that it is nice to have your wife along for the prospecting trips. I can tell you frankly that most of our friends, workmates, and neighbors have no real interest in pursuing hobbies or other interests in the great outdoors. I think that the likelihood of persuading our spouses to accompany us on such trips is greatly enhanced if we explain to them that there will be opportunities for them to indulge some of their interests too. Even after 45 years of marriage, I have to remind myself that girls are different from us, and their interests do travel along other lines that are equally important to them. So it is a good idea to plan ahead to ensure that they have such opportunities. For example it could be making provisions to include a (clothing, antiques or whatever) shopping excursion or whatever interests her, and to ensure that her books, knitting, or whatever else she prefers, are packed safely into the camper for her use. Our wives will enjoy accompanying us all the more, and will appreciate that we’ve made the extra effort to accommodate them and ensure they can be clean and comfortable. It’s a win-win scenario. I also like the idea of letting her find a gold nugget even if you have to plant one at a shallow depth. Once they’ve had that success, they may find that in addition to the alluring gold nugget, that they have enjoyed a sense of individual accomplishment too. We can never be quite sure just what aspect of the hunt might capture their interest. Also, perhaps developing some rudimentary knowledge about local mineralogy (pretty rocks) may be all that’s required for the next small step to metamorphose her into a genuinely interested hobbyist. But of course Jin, if none of the above works, well there’s no worries. The unconditional affection and loyalty of a good dog can amply supply most of our companionship requirements. Moreover, there is a great deal to be said for heading to the outback and enjoying some uninterrupted, relaxing solitude. It’s all good. Thanks for taking some time to share in this discussion. I like your ideas, and wish you every success with your future prospecting adventures. Hopefully we’ll interact here again soon. Attached below as an afterthought are some silver examples my wife and I have found while working together at one time or another over the years... Jim.
  11. Hi Jin… I enjoyed reading your post because it expresses my lifelong inclination to include my wife and family in my prospecting adventures. I’ve enjoyed a good deal of success in doing so for over 30 years now. Of course this is just one example of many endeavors where I’ve always been responsible for the guidance and stewardship pertaining to all things family related. So I guess I’m saying thankyou for sharing your thoughts and feelings in that regard. Below, just for the heck of it, I’ve included a few photos of my lifelong prospecting partner in winter camping scenes. She’s a very astute metal detectorist with an impressive history of silver recoveries here in Ontario, and the best of companions in all weathers. As depicted below, it seems that we invariably find ourselves in early winter conditions because we are always reluctant to pack-up and leave our North Country prospecting environs. So thankyou Jin, and congratulations on acquiring your new camper and Jeep, I’m sure these will encourage your wife. And who knows… we all were once newcomers to the hobby… just maybe she’ll eventually become a dyed-in-the-wool prospector.
  12. Couple Rocks

    Very attractive rocks Bob, I like them both. I'm not familiar with your second rock, but it certainly does respond nicely to the shortwave light. Hope you will post more of your summer finds over the winter months. I'll try to do the same with some of my rockhounding finds, probably later in the winter. WTG Jim.
  13. Minelab Depth Chart Vs ATX

    Outstanding post Steve!!! I don't normally respond to most of your posts because there is nothing to add. All your posts are knowledgeable, well-considered and otherwise excellent in every way. But this one does all that and adds a lot of the thought process behind your views. That is what I really appreciated most. Thankyou for all of your diligent hard work both with the management of this forum and for your superlative presentations. Jim.
  14. Late Season Cabin Fun!

    What a really nice post with such perfectly illustrative photos Peg!!! It just moves right along so nicely!! I think those gold nuggets on the scale look terrific, but first and foremost this hobby is entirely about having some fun in the great outdoors with your time machine. Thanks for sharing, and WTG!!! Jim.
  15. Rye Patch - The Struggle

    Congratulations Rick on some handsome finds! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience… always an enjoyable read… and certainly a source of motivation to me too. WTG. Jim.