People often ask, ``how are you able to keep such a highly complex organization as the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve operating so smoothly, efficiently, perspicaciously, and virtuously?'' And we always, every one of us, answer: ``by consensus.'' Yes, this ideal of democracy, attempted by King Arthur, by Pompeii [ftnt. 2], by the ancient Polish Sejm, and more recently with indifferent success by the Supreme Praesidium of the Soviet Union, has been perfected by us.

A Civics Lesson

This very Homepage is an example of our system of governance in action. When I considered whether it would be a good thing to discover to a wider world the existence of our institution, once known only to an elite few, I knew we ran the risk of tragically disappointing those who, by geographical misadventure, or due to previous luncheon arrangements, would be unable et cetera. Naturally, I recognized that I should only proceed with the most full approval of all of our complete membership. Under our system, I was assured that there would be a complete consensus. Moreover, since I wasn't planning to change my mind, I knew that everyone would consense with me. Thus, reassured by my fellow-members' generous granting of unsolicited yet unanimous support, I proceeded in confidence.

There is no downside risk.

People also often ask, ``how are you able to achieve such an agreeably agreeable agreement in the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve, operating so smoothly, without sinking into predictability, ennui, boredom, and coma?'' ``Ha-ha,'' we always answer. An illustration of how this works is the reaction to my announcement that we had decided to create a Homepage. Although unanimous approval was a foregone assumption, that approval was expressed in a variety of interesting, supportive, constructive and informative ways. A sampling of comments:
``What is a `home page'?'' [Yes, this comment was spoken using British punctuation conventions.]
``Side chains are very harmful.'' [See minutes entry on fatty acids.]
``Why is it that the lists in this section all have exactly four items?'' (No, really I just made that up.)

Members were also amused to learn the name of our institution.

Take me home.

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