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My 2 Cents on Apocalexx Now
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Bilbo67
Heretic


Joined: Fri Oct 27th, 2006
Location: The Daisy Hill Cluster Lizard Farm
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 Posted: Sun Jul 17th, 2011 12:44 pm

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My 2 Cents on Episode 4.20: Apocalexx Now
(7/17/11)

 

You know how that old saying goes: “If it ain’t so slow to develop that my fixed anticipation becomes a hellish solitary gulag of its own making during which my eyes crust over and retreat into the lightless inner recesses of my skull as an evolutionary last ditch defense against the glaring, pixilated tedium of an unrefreshing forum thread; my various stress points are besieged with bedsores that buckle under the unremitting pressure and fuse my posterior to the computer chair on a molecular level; and the individual protons that form the basis for the constituent building blocks of my corporeal frame begin to decay and diffuse into the subatomic miasma from whence they came—it ain’t Bilbo!”

 

All right, so it’s not exactly what you’d call old, but people totally say it!  Or they would, if I approached them without warning on the street, gently persuaded them to stop screaming and kicking me in the shin, and paid them to. 

 

Already I can hear the house band warming up for the customary song and dance: Where the hell’s he been, what the hell shiny object managed to sink its talons into his attention this time, and why the hell is there a house band jamming in my living room!?!  I can’t account for that last question, except to ask that you please say hi to Papa Jacques for me.  Dude was on fire during last week’s gig.  (Literally…it was flare gun night at the jazz club, his solo was running a bit long, so my snail-watching group and I decided to push a couple tables out of the way, place a glass of what my legally indemnifiable little teetotaler’s mind assumed was room temperature spring water on the waiter’s head [I’m a 20% tipper, but by God you will earn every cent of it!] and stage an impromptu 21st century update of the legend of Bilbo Tell.  For reasons that seemed like a good idea at the time, in this version he has to make his iconic shot while performing a high speed bouncer-assisted head-spin.  One might argue that if I’d paid a bit more attention in my high school chemistry class, things might have gone a little differently that night.  But then I never would have found out that the cheerleader who sat next to me thought I smelled like sheep dip.  As for the first two questions, let’s just say that the risks associated with the after-hours lifestyle I’ve embraced these past couple years have come home to roost and left me holding something totally unforeseen.

 

I always knew it could happen.  Shirked no opportunity to playfully joke about all the zany, downright unethical things I would do if it did.  But until I found myself face to face with the reality of the situation…until it met my wonderstruck gaze with its own…I honestly never believed it could happen to me…

 

 

 

THEY’RE LETTING ME DESIGN A STRONGMAN SHOW!!!

 


Sure, I’d always rather compete, but the head promoter basically begged me to sit this one out and run the scoring for him.  I was hesitant at first, so he upped the ante by pretty much letting me craft the show from the ground up.  That means quite a bit of my customarily dateless free time has lately been devoted to securing a venue, paying cold-call visits to sponsors (most of whom are quite affable once it dawns on them that I’m a little too well fed to be a panhandler), and sweating myself senseless fiddling with a truckload of long, hard rods in a non-air-conditioned welding shop, all for practically bupkis in the way of compensation.  But I’m not in it for the money…I’m in it for the Warp 9 ego-boost that comes standard with an ephemeral ingot of power!  Yup…I got to select all five events, and while abject sadism is generally frowned upon, I pretty much have carte blanche to make them as difficult as I want.  And don’t think for a second that the fact that I know a lot of the guys who will be competing, and that many of them are my friends has in any way clouded my objectivity.  On the contrary, it was with them in mind that I approached the drafting table, adamant that no personal affront—however minute, unintended, or fabricated—would go un-dwelt upon when I was calculating poundages.  Were it not for my allergies and extreme aversion to having my lap used as a pincushion, I would have done so while stroking a cat and humming along to Stravinsky.    

 

In other words, don’t be surprised in the least if I have a…butterfly room…installed before this is all over.

 

*PAUSES FOR CONVENIENT, DRAMATIC THUNDER CRACK…CHECKS WATCH, THEN PEEKS OUT THE WINDOW AT CLEAR BLUE SKY AND MUTTERS WHAT SOUNDS LIKE “OH, YOU’LL GET YOURS TOO, BIG GUY!”*

 

 

Now then, unless your knowledge of film history begins and ends with the Wayans clan, or you just flat out refuse to watch any video that doesn’t have the word “schpondle” in the title, you’re probably well aware that this episode takes its name from the movie Apocalypse Now.  An amazing flick from start to finish that I hope and pray the nostalgia-gulping merchandise machine that is contemporary Hollywood will keep its grimy, remake-obsessed hands off, at least for the duration of my lifetime (which I’m leaving no ethical line uncrossed in my tireless effort to indefinitely prolong), I first made acquaintances with it a little over a decade ago, when my old man—himself a Vietnam vet whom you might liken to a composite between Adrian Cronauer, Gunnery Sgt. Hartmann, and a less reticent version of the irascible old guy from American Chopper if you encountered him in the wild—coaxed me into sitting down and watching it with him.  I didn’t really feel up to it, so I scrambled for an excuse.  Since I wasn’t quite as quick on my feet back in those days, all I could come up with was, “Can’t, I have a date.”  Cue raucous laughter from all parties involved, after which I shrugged my shoulders, died a little inside, and hit the play button.  Little did I know what I was committing myself to when I said, “Meh, I’ll watch for a few minutes.  Just until Brando shows up.”  For this was no ordinary copy of the film, but the recently released nine hundred hour “redux” version, which means that at some point during the glacial epoch between fade-in and fade-out:

 

*I had a birthday

 

*Six or seven world governments changed

 

*We went through three White House press secretaries, two Bonds, and a too-short lived 1720’s retro fad.

 

*My clothes, I regret to report, failed to come into style

 

 

Nonetheless, it enthralled me from start to finish, and hasn’t lost any of its visceral luster in subsequent viewings.  Like countless other films I could name, it also served as a gateway drug to great world literature.  In this case, the works of Joseph Conrad, that venerable—and somewhat controversial—Polish penman whose groundbreaking body of work so expressively probed the multifaceted depths of the human condition (and withstood the test of time long enough to roundaboutly inspire a late season filler episode in a low budget show about ass probes).

 

 

Gristle for thought before we get down to business: am I the only one who thinks there’s a very strong possibility that they thought of the title for this episode—and the following one—first, then went back and piled a story up around it?  I’m sure you can picture the scenario…an off-the-clock grabass session in a dingy, ill-lit break room bedecked with sausage sculptures and what might or might not be a rug made out of human toe hair, the beans sharing whimsical alien abduction anecdotes from their youth and kicking punny episode titles around while Jeff Hirschfield fawns over the seventeen dollars Paul and Lex had to begrudgingly pay him for proving that he could, in fact, sneak five fully grown snapping turtles past customs if he absolutely had to.  We’ll probably never know how many they went through (titles, not turtles…they’re all fine, btw, but if they could talk, oh the surfer-dude-accented stories they would tell!), which can only be for the best, as I imagine posting an exhaustive list of their rejected ideas would probably get me about seventy thousand hours of community service and a three day weekend in the stocks.  But it was all for what certain deranged circles might consider the best, for from the ashes of that cerebral coolant leak arose two bejeweled bon mots, without which the beans may have failed to meet their episode quota and been forced to pad out the remaining time slots with hidden camera footage of Xenia Seeburg scrubbing her shower tiles in a form fitting green ninja costume for no particular reason.

 

…oh damn you three.   

 

It would make perfect sense to me, given what’s about to go down; and from a creative standpoint, it’s more than a little humbling to consider: that so many people from so many different walks of life (production, travel, catering, Mike McManus’ solar powered floozie flotilla) can wind up deriving their livelihood from something as simple as a bit of throwaway word play.  Perfectly happy as I’d be to cash an obscenely large check, if any of my slapdash creative efforts ever take off, foremost in my mind will be the people and families who benefitted because I spent my lunch break scribbling ideas in a ratty old notebook.

 

 

Now then, as far as I’m concerned, this episode picks up right where 4.18 left off (with minimal tweaking they could have cut right to Trip…that they didn’t move Heaven and Earth to ensure that that episode was #”420” baffles me to my spongy Nerfen core).  That Prince is now Pinky Swear Obligated to return Kai’s soul should be the talk of the town—or at the very least, the breakfast table icebreaker that precedes, “Hey, does this thing on my neck look like it’s changing color?”—and while it’s certainly odd that nobody bothers to so much as bring it up, to tell you the truth, I don’t mind the lack of immediacy.  Some major plot developments are better served by a slow burn, something I’ve long believed was lost on the beans when they undercut both of Zev/Xev’s well crafted deaths with near instantaneous revivals.  Besides, in hindsight, the inevitable consequences of Prince’s very specific words were all but carved into the wall.  If you go back and listen carefully to what he said when they struck their bargain, it’s plain as day why Izzy has decided to bide his time, and why the finale—though a heartbreaker nonetheless—is a foregone conclusion.

 

We open with the highest quality Vietnam war-era stock footage that Canadian couch coins can buy, set to a somber remix of the Bonanza theme.  We’re invited to ride shotgun in a low flying huey while the jittery, water buffalo-hating door gunner strafes the living bojangles out of a river as part of a little-known international covert operation to hunt down and assassinate Gustave the crocodile (take a minute to Google him…then best of luck sleeping with the lights off!).  From there we exchange pleasantries with a trio of doe-eyed doughboys as they mug for what I guess is supposed to be a 1960’s webcam and play high speed Whack-a-Mole with the Big Board o’ Military Cliches.

 

First up we’ve got the clean cut Corporal Birdie, who’s looking forward to a nice quiet future of taking care of his gal once his hitch is up.  A touching, heartfelt sentiment marred only by the fact that he’s a near dead ringer for Neil Patrick Harris.

 

Up next is the neatly chiseled PFC. Bogie, who looks kind of like Deebo from Friday before he went cross-eyed.

 

Finally we meet their squad leader, the well pressed Sgt. Eagle, or as I have summarily rechristened him, CAPTAIN CONTRADICTION!  For if your social calendar is barren enough to facilitate indefinite IMDb browsing time, you’ll almost certainly recognize him as Root, the laborious lothario from Boomtown (Birdie was also one of the background players in Gametown, but we’ll pretend that doesn’t count)And what, might I ask, was Root doing forty-odd years ago when this footage was shot and the denizens of Water were still confined to their respective repositories?  That’s exactly right…shut up!

 

 

From whatever that was, we segue to the opening proper: a wriggly, tadpole-like entity inexplicably emerging from a large nebulous space rock.  Not at all unlike the opening scene from Eraserhead … but this is Lexx we’re dealing with, so there’s precious little hope that the next forty-eight minutes will make THAT much sense!  Case in point, the wall-eyed walking tour of the set, which plays out like Pixar’s first—and God willing, last—foray into the world of human reproduction tutorials.  Like a meek R2D2, the flagellating little freeloader chirps and scoots through Lexx’s various gangways and into our hearts, stopping only to glance over 790, who’s tied up for some reason (I don’t remember that happening in 4.18), Kai, who’s hogging the cryo-covers as usual, and Xev, who’s chosen to sleep in a sort of reclining lotus position, which can’t possibly be comfortable, but has nonetheless inspired me to work on my tan, brush up on my German, and re-enroll in the yoga class that was nearly my undoing.

 

Finally we arrive at the prickly parasite’s port of call, Das Kapitän.  Being that this is something of a military themed episode, Stan pays lip service to protocol by doffing his cover while indoors and sporting a high and tight updo that practically screams “MAGGOT!”  And, being that his prop comedy act has grown a bit stale of late, he’s working on his impression of a discarded gas station burrito by failing to biodegrade as he lies motionless in a grimy old tee soaked through with grease that I can only pray did not originate from his body.  Can’t ask him about it now, though.  He’s midway through a sepia-toned stroll down memory lane, recalling his brief gig as an apprentice shovel operator at Jurassic Park (glamorous?...no.  But after word got out about what the characters at Disneyland do after hours the waiting list exploded), where he apparently ran afoul of a hungry velyekkaraptor (*winces a bit as hundreds of Bilbo-shaped voodoo dolls are impaled in unison*).

 

Maybe it’s the sap in me talking (I had a small tree for lunch), but I can’t help feeling for the poor guy.  Sure, he’s carrying a torch that burned out four thousand years ago, and by all accounts the original human Lyekka was a complete bitch on whom he was wasting his affections, but as anyone who’s had to man up and shoulder the soul-crushing pangs of unrequited love can tell you, the heart wants what it wants and rarely wants to listen when the brain is jumping up and down shouting “IT! AIN’T! HAPPENING!” (this hits home in a particularly personal way, for try as I might to woo it, in my heart of hearts I know that my sledgehammer will never love me back).  Others may come and go, but in the jilted’s mind, their “one and only” remains exactly that.  Stan’s not all that dissimilar from Xev in that regard, save one key distinction…Xev—lusticon mojo or not—is in love with Kai.  Strip sex/lust/her programming out of the equation and what you’re left with is a focused, monogamous eros that transcends a superficial roll in the hay.  As always, it’s hard to say for certain, but if she were knowingly propositioned by an ersatz Kai I don’t THINK she would feel the same way for him (Prince played head games with her in season 3, and her throwdown with Bob doesn’t count since she was not-pon-farring like crazy). 

 

*APPLIES FOR A SECOND MORTGAGE ON HIS Y CHROMOSOME AS HE PREPARES TO PARAPHRASE BARBARA STREISAND*

 

Stan, on the other hand, seems to be in love with the idea of Lyekka; this perfect, rose-tinted mental construct that he probably spent who knows how many hundreds of hours shaping and refining in his mind before he ever mustered the courage to speak to the real deal.  That her petty, hurtful rebuke did little to shatter that perfect image betrays—in my thoroughly non-professional opinion—an almost bullheaded level of denial.  Somewhere deep down he knows the truth, but rather than face it for what it is and take the hit, it seems he’d rather shout that Planck sized scrap of sagacity down and embrace the illusion.  Ergo, as far as all but the deepest levels of his conscious mind are concerned “his” Lyekka—the Lyekka that he’s always carried with him—is the real Lyekka.  Which is why he falls so hard for an obvious physical construct on more than one occasion (and why this season’s Lyekka is able to manipulate him).  Because each of these new Lyekkas present him with someone he can project that idealized image on (indeed, all three construct-Lyekkas base not only their appearance, but to some degree their personality on the blueprint he’s carrying in his head).

 


Anyhoo, “no, I’m tellin’ ya, it’s just sweat”-inducing nightmares being among the most potent killphrodisiacs on the market, Stan scratches and yawns his way onto the bridge in search of something small and defenseless to kick.  Ignoring the conveniently soccer-ball-sized metal malcontent who’s been all but batting his eyes and making kissy faces at his boot since about midseason, he slouches against the pedestal and punches up the view screen.  A few well spent minutes of ogling the ethnically perplexing weather girl and cursing his never-fail lucky lotto numbers later, the plot drifts into view in the form of a large, fast moving asteroid.  Seems a little harmless target practice is in order.  Until 790 chimes in and informs him that the object’s outward appearance is a ruse, and that it’s actually a colossal alien spaceship with ties to Stan’s erstwhile tenants, the carrot probes.  You’d think that red-hot reminder of recently repressed remembrances would light a fire under a certain tormented tuchus, resulting in uncontrollable tandem bouts of Niagara-caliber weeping and paper-shattering maniacal laughter as he frantically doled out as many billion megaton doses of Preparation F.U. as old Doc Lexx can prescribe.  Instead, he momentarily turns the other cheek and scampers off to consult the others about it.  They chide him a bit, accusing the supposedly self-reliant Stunner of being afraid to make decisions for himself (well, he did have a habit of letting Prince order for both of them…), before unanimously voting to steam the carrots with extreme prejudice mere seconds before the shapely intervention of Lyekka v.5, who struts through the gangway decked out in a charred jogging bra that looks like it was swiped from an arson investigation evidence locker and some kind of trapezoidal frat pledge beanie that I initially mistook for a welding mask.  All in all it makes her look like a giant sexy highlighter (the moral of that little aside being, of course, so what!?!)

 

Much fanbase scalp scratching ensued following the sudden, largely unexpected return of the Lyekka plant entities (Garden-Lyekka was a different kind of construct entirely, and Looloo was a reincarnation of the original girl, so neither of them count).  Questions like “What are they doing in the Dark Zone?” and “Where did they originally come from?” lit up the Skiffy board, fueled in part by the widely whispered—and thoroughly misinterpreted—insider hint that the climax to the series would bring everything full circle.  To many—none guiltier than yours truly—that meant that time travel, the Insects, the Order, a regenesis of the Light Zone, the cycles of time beginning anew, the prophecy not actually been fulfilled yet because Kai himself didn’t physically destroy the last remnants of the Order, or some jarbled combination thereof must figure in.  Lordy b’gordy, what a mess we did make!  In the midst of it all a few sane theories actually managed to take root, chief amongst them The Lyekka Touch, an absolutely top notch fan fic by our old stable mate Ramses.  In short, she casts the Lyekka race as an out of control product of the Order’s “biohorticulture” division, a theory I’d be happy to see assimilated into the canon.

 

That said, I’ve got my own competing theory that I’m far too lazy to put in prose form: I think the Lyekka race, like humanity and the Insects, are a phenomenally ancient species who are native to the Dark Zone.  I think their morphing, in conjunction with their ability to sense/extract subconscious thought patterns from other sapient entities, is simply a unique—and highly alien—evolutionary adaptation, and that their habit of systematically devouring everything they encounter on a planetary scale is not an act of malice.  It’s merely a cut-and-dry hyperpredatory instinct married with sentience, advanced technology, and most important of all, the lack of a higher predator to keep their population in check.

 

Obviously, given what they’re capable of, said predator would have to be cunning, abundant, and hellishly vicious to bump the Lyekkas off the top of the food chain.  Sounds like a job for the Insects!  I think that for untold lengths of time—we’re talking eons here—the Insects preyed on or otherwise kept the Lyekkas under wraps.  In fact, to flat out smash-and-grab a concept from one of the Futurama movies, it could be that both the Insects and the Lyekkas owe their sapience, their cunning, and their remarkable physical and adaptive prowess to a longstanding “evolutionary arms race.”  Two predatory species inhabiting the same biome on some primitive, backwater planet, evolving in tandem in a seemingly endless scramble to get a leg up on the competition.  In this case, the proto-Lyekkas (the lower predator) developed new ways to defend themselves and ward off predation, while the proto-Insects (the higher) in turn developed new ways to rout said defenses.  Over and over the process repeated itself, both species, as a byproduct, exploding in terms of intellect, awareness, and sheer numbers until they acquired the physical and intellectual wherewithal to spread out to the stars, their inherent viciousness and predatory impulses now posing a threat to the universe at large.  At some point thereafter the Insects gained the upper hand, though I hesitate to infer permanence.  Left to their own devices for a million or so years, I’m sure the Lyekkas would have developed a way to turn the tables on them.  What happened next brings to mind Prince’s second favorite “B” word (after “Butterbiscuit,” from his unpublished but promising coffee table book Angelbuns to Zigglepuss…My 26 Pet Names For The “Four” That Got Away), BALANCE.

 

Up until this point, humanity had been little more than a blip on both species’ radar (indeed, by the time the Insects started tear-assing through the universe the Lyekka’s numbers may have been so thin that they never encountered any humans).  A high protein snack at best, a mild spacefaring annoyance at worst.  Until they stoked the ire of the Brunnen-G.  We all know what happened next…the Brunnen-G multiplied righteous indignation by infinity and wiped out every single Insect in the two universes, save one plucky survivor (an incomprehensibly brutal, multi-generational endeavor that Valdron postulated to have involved such radical tactics as deliberately triggering supernovas, creating weaponized black holes, and even destroying an entire galactic core).  In so doing, they upset what they may not have realized was a longstanding balance, humanity’s collective bloodlust essentially blinding them to the potentially detrimental effects of eradicating an entire species (at the time they may have rationalized it as “anything is better than this,” and to a certain degree they might have been right, because the Lyekkas, though devious and deceptive when it serves their purposes, seem to hew a bit closer to the neutral end of the scale).  With the Insects gone, and the human quotient of the Dark Zone reduced to a few scattered, chaotic, technologically regressed pockets, the intelligent, spacefaring Lyekkas were now free to chart their unencumbered course about the universe. 

 

And so, with that said, Kai’s final sacrifice?  Nothing less than cleaning up the last vestiges of a mess his own people unknowingly made in the first place!

 

O…kay…that was a long rant even by my standards.  No hard feelings if you choose to dismiss it with a casual “Nah,” but I like this theory, and barring intervention from the legal beagles at Alliance, I’m inclined to enshrine it in my own personal understanding of the bigger picture.  It gives the Lyekka aliens even more of a legacy status, and adds a profound degree of depth to a plot twist that, to be honest, I originally dismissed as unimaginative.

 

Questions remain, though.  Does the asteroid represent the whole of their species, or is it one of many shotgunned throughout the cosmos?  For that matter, where did Light Zone Lyekka come from?  As far as we ever saw, she was just a single spore cruising through space four thousand odd years ago.  Did she drift from her ship and pass too close to a fractal core?  Did some of the spore entities cross over into the LZ around the same time humanity and/or the Insects first did? (*PLUG ALERT* See my overdone fanfic for speculation on how this might have gone down)  If so, did the Order know about them?  Were they content to leave them be until the Gigashadow took care of business, or did His Shadow take measures to keep them in check?  Truthfully, we may never know…

 

 

…kind of like we may never know how the producers were unable to find any decent Air Force One stock footage.

 

Yeppers, we’re shifting gears and paying a call on the First Fudge-heads, so you know what that means…Bunny’s back!!!  And thanks to her choice of wardrobe, I will never again be able to watch the last twenty minutes of Rocky IV without facing down and slaying some mighty conflicting feelings!

 

Per some spatter of buzzkilling Constitutional fine print, it’s in the President’s best interest to be seen doing things from time to time.  Because it’s a known fact that the Catholic vote can make or break a sitting President’s chances of getting reelected, and because the beans decided to make sure their first class tickets to hell included the full VIP package, Regosaurus and co. are on the way to sunny South Vietnam for what’s being billed as the much prolonged follow-up to the Banquet of Chestnuts: a speaking engagement at the Khe Sanh Khuntry Klub and a spirited game of Eighteen Holes with the Pope. (So many, many snarky asides in mind…but folks, one lightning bolt is all it takes…)    

 

Mr. and Mrs. Mushhead deplane on the set of Michael Bay’s Caddyshack, where they are granted an audience with Pope Genevieve.  Giggy—and whoever else is in there with her—bids them welcome like she’s pitching a TV movie of the week (nowhere in the formal celibacy vow does it explicitly preclude casting couch), while simultaneously kick-starting an entirely new fetish industry(Chesticulos habet et bene pendentes!).  Like Steve McHattie in Moss, I can’t help wondering how much of Ellin Dubin’s dialogue was ad libbed in this episode, because while she’s buried the needle on the insanity meter in the past, this time around she grabs the dial with her teeth and cranks the volume all the way up to fish!

 

Another none too subtle hint that Reggie might not be from around these here planetary parts is utterly lost on Giggy, who banters a bit with Bunny, all the while doing what I can only describe as a near perfect Dan Aykroyd impression.  From there she delivers the formal blessing to a group of mosquito-ravaged dignitaries, before hoofing it over to the Prez.  Adrift without his floaties in a briny sea of easily rustled papers ever since the executive teleprompter took early retirement to sort out its personal demons and cruise the fishing show circuit, Priest finds himself at a PR crossroads.  The leader of the free world cannot be seen hastily regathering his grass stained crib notes.  That could cause him to lose face (literally, it wouldn’t be the first, or even tenth time he nearly gouged his eye out on a retractable lawn sprinkler).  Better to simply brush the mishap off with a smile, lay on a triple coat of that non-biodegradable Priestly charm, and shoot from the hip.  Now, I’m not even allowed to vote, seeing as I tried to install a puppet government a few years back (never would have figured Big Bird to be a double agent).  But that certainly doesn’t disqualify me from revolutionizing the political process, provided a brilliant idea wakes up in my lap with no recollection of how it got there.  Ergo, I propose the following:

 

At the start of each election season, we flip the switch on a high speed four digit random number generator.  It will run non-stop, every second of every day, until the polls close on election night.  Any time it settles on any combination of the numbers 1, 6, 0, and 0, all candidates—incumbents included—must drop what they are doing and hold an impromptu, extemporaneous come-dressed-and-smelling-as-you-are press conference/Q&A session/hopscotch contest.  Performances will be evaluated and scored by a socio-economic cross section of preschoolers who were tricked into thinking they were going to a Wiggles concert.  Prepared answers are strictly forbidden, under penalty of lobbyist canings and a televised stinkhorn mushroom pie to the face, courtesy of up and coming Kansas City Royals pitcher Aaron Crow (sure, they suck and I don’t even follow baseball, but he went to my high school…much love!…and can ya spare a dime?).  And of course, no candidate’s name will appear on the ticket until after they have hopped the pond, cranked up their emergency oxygen reserve, and gone moutho-a-moutho with an open session of Parliament.  Preferably on nickel pint night.

 

Once again, leave it to Lexx to show us the way.     

 

 

Well, let’s see, we’re all of about two minutes into this episode and already I’ve stolen more minutes from your lives than there are hairs on my face (there’s a damn good reason why you’ve only ever seen me clean shaven, and why I’ve had the same electric razor since I was nineteen).  We better skedaddle back up to the Lexx before you succumb to the primal urge to put your heads together, giggle, and say “Well, you know what they say about a man with a fetus face!”

 

 

So as anyone who didn’t drop the dime for a crazy straw lobotomy following Priest’s IMAX-style trouser doffing in Bad Carrot should be well aware, this new Lyekka isn’t Lyekka.  That much should be obvious, since Lyekka—every Lyekka—is dead.  Instead, this Lyekka, who likes looking like Lyekka, announces herself as Lyekka’s sister Lyekka, to which Xev goes momentarily cross-eyed while Stan’s peepers light up like bug zappers in the bayou as he recalls everything his extensive body of monthly literature taught him about twins.  She proceeds to crush the standing record for Most Uses of “Like” and “Lyekka” in a Single Sentence Without Tearing a Tongue Muscle, then affirms 790’s longstanding suspicion: the carrot probes that have been sending donut cushion stocks through the stratosphere are a scouting party that her people sent ahead to taste test the planet (again, I refuse to acknowledge the obvious joke on the grounds that it’s too easy/horrifying…hunt Dieter up if you need it spelled out for you).

 

By Stan’s own admission, the ethical brouhaha that follows is a bit too technical to comprehend.  In layman’s terms it appears to boil down to:

 

“I want to eat that planet.”

“No.”

 

No time like the present for Lexx to finally have its way with the old diplomatic starship captain trope.  With the fate of a place that’s tried to kill him more times than a scheming trophy wife on the line, Stan summons forth his inner Kissinger and suggests a bold, mutually agreeable solution: only eat part of the planet! (“a little bit pregnant,” “a little bit of horrifying global genocide”…same diff).  Lyekka cheerfully agrees to his terms, promising to stick to a particularly scrumptious locale filled with “fat, greasy, and delicious people,” (ah, Milwaukee…have at it, I insist), then asks our heroes where and how she might get in touch with the leaders of Earth.  Cue Lyekka, a musky den full of Freemasons, and a gilded bowl of individually wrapped butterscotch hard candies.

 

Er…umm…never mind.  Nothing to see here.

 

 

Plenty to see at the KKK get-together, though.  The speech papers having vanished from his line of sight—and therefore, as far as he is concerned, ceased to exist altogether—Priest decides to ride the improvisational wave, to the thoroughly inappropriate backbeat of some tense, highly foreboding music.  Harkening back to that beloved Biblical parable about the cat with the really big sword (per most cultural metaphors, it loses a bit in translation), he boldly rails against Japaneseland (The Tentacularest Place on Earth!™).  Like almost all off-the-cuff speakers, he sputters out the occasional gob of phonetic backwash, but essentially says what most of us have all secretly thought from time to time (I mean come on, Japan, do we really need things like Lamaze instructions and the five stages of grief in manga form?!)

 

 

[Speaking of which, am I the only one who was bummed that Ani-Lexx, that manga-esque post-season-4 fan project, never took off?  I was so stoked when I read the first couple chapters that I emailed the guy behind it and practically begged him to let me help write, but he never got back.  In hindsight, I wonder if my attempts to kill him with kindness were a little too successful.  Just to be on the safe side, if anybody asks, y’all didn’t see me.]

 

 

Hold on folks, the Kaivalry’s a comin’!  I’m not entirely sure why all three leads felt the need to accompany Lyekka to Earth.  I’m also not altogether sure why the Khe Sanh Khuntry Klub is in Ho Chi Minh City, considering those two places are more than six hundred miles apart (thank you homeless grifter for succeeding where Google Map failed me so), but then again I live in Kansas and we have an Old Chicago in my town, so I suppose it’s pretty much the same thing.

 

“We’re looking for the President,” Stan announces to precisely no one as they snoop around a random cart shed.  “790 says he’s around here somewhere.”  Ya gotta love the Stunner’s philosophy on background information.  Like a three-year-old who’s been crammed full of Pixi Stix and Red Bull and then asked to tell you about his favorite show, he just assumes you know what he’s talking about and the hell with you if you fall behind.

 

*SIGH*…I know it’s still a bit too early in the episode for brain-shielding apathy to set in, but when the crew uncovered a POW bamboo cage beneath the floor of the clubhouse, I essentially shot my screen a nod and muttered “Yeah, why not.”  So this is where we meet back up with those square-jawed stalwarts from the cold open that wasn’t, right?  Of course not!  What’s wrong with you?  That would actually make sense, in a tormented manner of sorts.  Instead, they unearth a gaggle of ultra-lean Marines who’ve been nursing a forty year grudge against Charlie for failing to tell them that their inexplicably just-like-new assault weapons could have blown their cage to matchsticks in seconds.  Once word gets out that the President and the Pope are in danger the training kicks in and they fall out to the tune of one of the all time classic Vietnam marching cadences (little does anyone know, that cadence actually had a reverse effect and wound up doing wonders for the terminally shy, self conscious Ho Chi Minh’s reputation as an indiscriminate ladies’ man)

 

Xev is right on so many levels…golf is one weird game! (says the guy who pulls trucks with everything but his teeth)  I actually laughed so hard at that line that I had to pause the video.  In and of itself, it’s not funny, but there’s just something about the naïve, unintentional way Xenia delivers her lines that makes it work.  It’s pretty subtle, as her accent never really waned, but as the seasons progressed I noticed she seemed more at ease delivering her lines.  Again, I’ve never met her (and thus, have never actually spoken the phrase “My life begins today!”), or any of the cast, but I get the feeling that this is yet another case of the actors injecting a bit more of themselves into their characters as time went on.

 

 

Wow…they threw darts at a mixing board to select this episode’s soundtrack, didn’t they?  As all such conflicts eventually must, the Vietnam war reignites to the infectious beat of a mid-tempo discothèque bumper.  The air grows thick with smoking hot lead as our heroes casually sidestep perforated piles of eclectic extras, their pulses barely acknowledging their fourth or fifth gunfight in as many months.  Amidst thinking, “Hey, American Dad totally ripped this episode off!” I found myself wondering if Priest recognized Pope Giggy as Queen.  I kind of doubt it, since for all her posturing she was little more than a pimple on Prince’s keaster, so her name probably didn’t come up much.  Also, while admiring the Swiss Guards’ grace under pressure and occasional attempts to at least feign ducking for cover in the middle of a close combat firefight, I found myself wishing they would whip out those wicked awesome ceremonial halberds and start going to town.  Preferably against the people in the helicopters…whoever the hell they are!

 

By and by the dust settles.  Stan and Priest are spirited off by Giggy’s Inquisition Rangers, Bunny is saved from certain re-re-death by Sgt. Eagle (still a lowly E-4 after four stinkin’ decades), while Kai takes aim at a chopper with his brace, but doesn’t actually fire it, and so just winds up standing around looking foolish. 

 

 

To say the tone suddenly shifts at this point is like saying Mata Hari kinda got around.  Next thing we know, Kai, Xev, and Lyekka are taking a tranquil, leisurely trip upriver in a stolen longboat with some kind of weightless, invisible force field around it (anybody else care to explain why nobody’s hair is blowing in the headwind?)  Not much to say about this little cutaway, except that I’d forgotten how snitty Kai sounds when he’s forced to raise his voice.

 

Stan shouting his lungs out, on the other hand?  Must be a time that ends in “m.”  Though still plenty tame by historical Vatican standards, Giggy’s understanding of “interdimensional interfaith dialogue” involves stringing her guests up by the hands, balancing gas cans over their heads, surrounding their feet with candles, then proceeding to take wild, poorly aimed golf shots at said gas cans.  To be honest, I completely missed the candles the very first time I saw this episode, so I never really understood why Stan and Priest were acting like they were in so much danger. Could be that the characters—unlike the writers—actually understand that a high speed golf ball to the forehead would absolutely break the skin and most likely crack the skull, but as someone who once whacked a driving range ball, somehow hooked it in midair a second time on my follow-through, and wound up tossing it behind me right into some guy’s front bumper (honest to God true story), I’m pretty much disqualified from weighing in on anything pertaining to golf, logic, or golf-logic.

 

And so another piece of the soggy, mixed up, partially eaten puzzle emerges.  Giggy has no past.  She simply woke up one day as Genevieve G. Rota, fully formed and with a complete personal history that she apparently doesn’t remember.  Actually, that last part is subject to interpretation, because she never explicitly addresses it.  It’s possible she does, but that she realizes that whatever memories/past experiences she’s toting around in her head aren’t actually hers.  After all, Bunny is a reincarnation, but she apparently has an entire lifetime’s worth of memories, living family members, old friends, etc.  That begs a couple of big time questions that we’ve kicked around before, such as what the process of  “waking up” entails (is it a Scientology-style spirit/body hijacking, or a completely standalone physical substantiation?), and why various reincarnates seem to have full recollection, fragmented recollection, or no recollection at all of their true past. 

 

Look, I’ve already bloated this review into an early grave with harebrained speculations, and I’ve tossed out a couple of convoluted—though vaguely reasonable—theories in past reviews, so I promise not to veer off the rails with this one.  In short, I think the answer might be found in Supernova and A Midsummer’s Nightmare.  Both episodes allude to the existence of what for brevity’s sake I’ll simply call “Gaia-type” entities.  Beings that are less than gods—and demonstrably fallible—but still untold levels of magnitude beyond any sort of human/alien comprehension.  If that’s the case, then perhaps when Earth was inundated by all the souls from Fire and Water, its Gaia—apparently Oberon, though it could be something else—was overwhelmed by the task of having to sort them all out.  It would be like dumping too much information into a computer, or putting too much electricity through a circuit.  Something has to give.  That could account for why the souls that did substantiate were scattered, erratic, and in so many cases, “incomplete.”  Throw Prince’s machinations into the mix (I’ll lay Priest’s complete knowledge of the truth at his feet), and you’ve got the recipe for one melluva hess.

 

Course, it could be that we’ve had it all bass-ackwards this entire time.  Y’all know how much I bow and scrape before Darrow.  I’ve always been keen on his interpretation of Fire/Water: that they were BOTH a form of graduated purgatory where the souls of the dead were essentially promoted and demoted based on how they performed during each reincarnation, but were so bureaucratically mucked up that few, if any, ever truly ascended to the “final” afterlife (had the balance remained unbroken, I believe Fifi would have been consigned back to Fire, Mantrid—who seemed both dimly aware of and contrite about his past—may have earned a ticket to Water, or at least a less harsh part of Fire, and that Bunny—who was a vapid skank when we met her in Wake The Dead—may very well have been consigned to Fire following her original death).  What if Earth was just another level of the system?  What if there was no final afterlife? (which would make sense in a way, if the universe is an honest-to-goodness closed system)  If instead of transcending time and space or becoming one with some kind of godhead, the souls of the dead who’d proven their worth could genuinely reincarnate in the mortal plane if they managed to “graduate” from Water, and that Earth is where they essentially “started over.” (Think low man on the totem pole in a job structure…the new guy sorting mail or mucking out latrines).  Perhaps death in the Lexx universe(s) historically begot reincarnation.  Perhaps Fire and Water were merely a way station between lives, or were a sort of karmic correctional facility that the majority of individuals bypassed altogether, save the ones whose most recent lives warranted a little (or a lot of) time in purgatory.  Could be that when the entire Light Zone collapsed, all those surplus souls had to go somewhere, which is why even people like Kai—possibly the least deserving person in the two universes, as far as stints in purgatory are concerned—were consigned to limbo.  Simply put, the powers that be had no place else to put him!

 

Okay, I’m pushing away from that, pronto!

 

   

Question: why didn’t Lyekka fill up on dead dudes before they left the battlefield?  Or if farm fresh flesh is her bag, why not chow down on the myriad of people shooting at her?  I likee me some Lyekka, but my God, if she didn’t just abruptly transform into my least favorite kind of passenger.  Xev usually carries a box of emergency Certs in her purse, but since egg sac shoulder bags went out of style last spring, she’s no help here.  Lucky for Lyekka, they happen across the trail of what Kai seems to think is a tiger, although if you ask me it sounds more like a graboid coughing up a newspaper truck.  It tickles her tummy, so she requests they pull over.  Stan, if he were there, would already be peevishly muttering “Never get out of the boat…” in autistic intervals, but with him out of the picture the testosterone level has necessarily skyrocketed, so Xev essentially says, “Whatever, just bring me back some licorice.”  She instructs Kai to tail her—probably to make sure she doesn’t get that rancid green apple kind—and once again the most distinguished assassin in the two universes manages to lose someone who’s got a three step head start on him, obliquely sealing his fate and setting the stage for everything that follows between now and the last fade-out.

 

But it clears the way for a pointless but much-welcome shot of Xev jutting by the river, so once again, so what!?!

 

Okay, now what happens next threw me for a mild loop, which means it had exactly the effect the beans were hoping for.  Kai returns almost instantly and announces, “I could not find her.”  I don’t know about you, but I so hoped Xev would reply with a flat, “You gotta be shitting me!”  Instead, she stands there looking bemused as Kai confides in her that he’s changed his mind and now agrees with Stan; they should let Lyekka’s people eat a portion of the planet.  We soon come to find out that that was not actually Kai, but Lyekka herself, who took his form both to get a read on Xev’s true feelings and attempt to sway them.  All in all, a nifty little swindle.  I just wonder why Lyekka bothered to change back into her default form at all.  Why not keep Kai’s form, convince Xev to ditch “Lyekka,” and continue on, leaving the real Kai in their dust?  He’d have caught back up with the boat eventually, but by then she could have eliminated Xev and Stan, clearing the way for her comrades to take an unobstructed run at Earth!

 

That’s it, I’m getting a small business loan and starting up a supervillain consulting firm!  Half off if you’re a well-intentioned extremist whose goals aren’t necessarily rooted in pure evil.

 

 

Of course, when your victims are so dense that they fail to realize their feet are not tied down and they could easily kick the potentially life threatening candles away, you don’t need my help!

 

Almost forgot!  Before Stan of Arc has his diesel soaked date with destiny, I need to check in on Bunny (it’s in my contract…I’d let you read it but it mostly consists of wingdings and macaroni art).  Full disclosure: I have no idea what’s going on in this sequence…and I don’t care!  It’s punctuated by Bunny decked out in Stars ‘n Stripes doing a high impact aerobics routine by firelight.  That in itself justifies the production overrun, the countless retakes, and the many painstaking, ball-gagged hours in the editing dungeon.  Tip of the hat to the guys playing the Marines, they looked like they were having a blast (and if you fail to understand why, then I assume you either skipped the first half of this paragraph or spent your formative years wearing pants made entirely out of x-rays).  It’s just too bad Lex G. couldn’t have worked “That’s the fact, Jack!” into her vocal routine.  Man, that road not taken and I really need to start seeing other people.

 

Have we really gone an entire fifteen minutes without a gunfight?  Can’t have that!  Right on cue a tense, strangely well acted shooting situation breaks out.  The leathernecks Bunny’s been tutoring give Charlie all he can handle and then some (kudos especially to the…dancing…guy.  Seems nobody told him a full auto M14 should run out of ammo in about two seconds), but it’s to no avail.  The enemy overwhelms them with their sheer numbers and one by one they all fall: Birdie, Bogie, Eagle, Albatross, Chip, Hook, Slice, Waterhazard, Ambrose, Ballwasher, Zitfacedlittletwerpwhodrivestheballcollector, Shank, Big Bertha (the squad’s beloved bomb sniffing turkey), and Lieutenant Mulligan.  But it’s okay, cause they’re g…g…g…ghosts!, so they’re used to it.  I’m all out of spec sauce at this point…Prince did it.  Or a wizard.  Work for you? 

 

Back to the Temple of Doofus, where we are once again reminded that unless he’s encased in a cubic centimeter of concrete or free floating through the still, silent intergalactic void, Stanley Tweedle is rarely outside of screaming distance.  One purposeful power walk later and it’s Kai to the rescue, mowing down a quartet of mostly unarmed Vatican guards (notice only one of them actually draws a weapon…but it’s a kick-ass trick shot, well worth the price of four workaday stooges) before snatching Stan from the clutches of certain immolation by…perforating his gas can with his brace.  Well, they say it’s the thought that counts.  For example, based on the above, I think those gas cans were actually filled with perfectly “harmless” Vietnamese river water, and unbeknownst to her terrified targets, Giggy was using the threat of supposed imminent personal disaster to teach them a valuable lesson about cooperation, similar to those “trust fall” activities featured at so many weekend wasting corporate retreats (you know, the ones that practically invite sprained shoulders and sexual harassment suits).

 

Standard huff-paint-by-numbers soap opera ending follows: the ambisexual plant girl devours the functionally insane female Pope while the hypersexual lizard girl, the corpse, and the aerobics instructor untie the President, who authorizes an alien invasion of Japan, nukes Vietnam for something a reincarnated Caucasian space cannibal did to him, then races off to put a stop to his evil twin brother’s sham wedding to the amnesiac waffle iron heiress.  Honestly, would it kill these assembly line hacks to depart from the formula just once!?!

 

“That makes sense…in a weird way.”  You’ll never convince me that wasn’t Ellin Dubin talking, and not her character!

 

 

Well now, that certainly was…something, wasn’t it?  I guess I can’t complain too much, since I asked for a slow burn and that’s precisely what the beans delivered here.  The mystery of the carrot probes is finally unraveled, a new antagonist is introduced and gradually revealed for what she really is, and all the major season-long plot points begin to coalesce.  All very necessary and welcome story elements, but per the season 4 norm, the foundation is outweighed by the fluff.  Not that “fluff” is necessarily a four letter word.  Ellin Dubin bowed out of the series in style, giving what could well be her most manic performance to date.  You’ll never convince me she wasn’t having the time of her life, and if you pay close attention to her eyes when she delivers some of her lines and you really do get the impression that nobody’s home.  No telling how the beans decided golf would feature so prominently in this episode, but I found myself thinking it was kind of a shame they’d already used their Jeff Hirschfield cameo for this season, because that dude has “loveable greenskeeper with vague, undiagnosed brain disease” written all over him.   

 

In all, I didn’t dislike this episode.  But barring the essential stuff, I could take it or leave it.  Were I the one calling the shots way back when, I would have jumped straight into Trip and Yo Way Yo right after The Game—possibly with one more episode mixed in to make sure nothing was rushed.  To be honest, my first time through this episode, I wasn’t even sure why they made it in the first place.  Until I saw the credits…

 

SHOT ON LOCATION IN THAILAND

 

Holy hash bar, that explains everything!

 

 

Cheery bye.

Kai kills- 17



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mayaXXX
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 Posted: Tue Jul 19th, 2011 01:53 pm

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Between the sweltering heat, humidity, local 'refreshments', and the smorgasbord of activities for the more discriminating 'tourist', I'm surprised they managed to film anything with any kind of storyline. I have pics of the cast in Thailand and all I can say is....WTF?

Great job Bilbo !!!!!

:stanfacial::xevfacial::bunnyfacial::10SCORE:



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 Posted: Tue Jul 19th, 2011 03:33 pm

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...are these the kind of pictures that could potentially cost us all several Constitutional rights if they turned up on our hard drive?



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 Posted: Tue Jul 19th, 2011 03:58 pm

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No, but they might prove to be rather embarrassing to show up on a world-wide server...*snort*



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 Posted: Wed Jul 20th, 2011 12:17 pm

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Bilbo, I think I'm in love with you.



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 Posted: Wed Jul 20th, 2011 05:07 pm

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Every time I watch this episode I keep thinking between the three, they should be able to come up with at least one functional brain cell, and just Kill Lyekka. And then when I watch Trip I end up with a severe case of deja vu.

I think "Between the three of you can't you find at least one functional brain cell?"

Then I realize that there are these rare moments (pretty much every episode:c030a:) when intelligence and logic are strictly taboo.

Last edited on Wed Jul 20th, 2011 05:08 pm by Abby1964



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 Posted: Wed Jul 20th, 2011 09:32 pm

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You can always tell which eps Jeff writes....the man is on a whole different corporal realm than the rest of us...

:7902:



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 Posted: Thu Jul 21st, 2011 03:46 pm

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Squish wrote: Bilbo, I think I'm in love with you.


hands off..he's mine! I'm his official stalker and I ain't having no competition for his affections around heah! :u055a:

 

Hi Bilbo cutie!! :bounce_pinka::s010a:



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 Posted: Thu Jul 21st, 2011 05:31 pm

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Getting my "hands" on someone in Kansas when I'm in California would require abilities that I simply do not possess. So, stalk away!
Sheesh....this is what I get for admiring someone's writing and analytical talent.....



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 Posted: Thu Jul 21st, 2011 06:39 pm

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Squish wrote: Bilbo, I think I'm in love with you.


Ah, those mail order mind control lessons are finally paying off.  Best fifty boxtops I ever spent!!!

(Glad you liked it, and welcome to the asylum!)





Abby1964 wrote: Then I realize that there are these rare moments (pretty much every episode:c030a:) when intelligence and logic are strictly taboo.

87% constitutes "rare?"  (I did the math on my fingers while swerving through three lanes and what might have been a corn field, but trust me, it adds up)

 

 

mayaXXX wrote: You can always tell which eps Jeff writes....the man is on a whole different corporal realm than the rest of us...

:7902:

Funny thing is, for all the guff I lovingly sling at Jeff, when I watched the behind the scenes featuers from season 1, he struck me as the most normal, personable of the lot.  Lex--who we know through his interview is as cool as they come--looked like he'd been awake for about two straight months and Paul Donovan just seemed a bit...off model! :P


Ketana wrote: Squish wrote: Bilbo, I think I'm in love with you.


hands off..he's mine! I'm his official stalker and I ain't having no competition for his affections around heah! :u055a:

 

Hi Bilbo cutie!! :bounce_pinka::s010a:


*Eyes widen as he realizes 'Tana's catnip candygram has officially worn off.  Commence bushes rustling*





Oh, and did I say I live in Kansas.  I meant to say I live...for Kansas.  Yeah, that's it...Dust in the Wind for life, baby! 0_o



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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 05:55 pm

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Squish wrote: Getting my "hands" on someone in Kansas when I'm in California would require abilities that I simply do not possess. So, stalk away!
Sheesh....this is what I get for admiring someone's writing and analytical talent.....

Hey don't take it personally, we have a rather outlandish group here, and room for more. No one really takes anything seriously....



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 Posted: Fri Jul 22nd, 2011 08:47 pm

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Maya, you know not what you say.  I take Dust in the Wind VERY seriously.



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 Posted: Sat Jul 23rd, 2011 08:07 am

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In honor of such a mind boggling review of Apokalexx Now I give you something to keep you enthralled for hours!  (It's hard to keep your eyes off of them!)

 



 




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 Posted: Sun Jul 24th, 2011 03:15 pm

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Bilbo67 wrote: Maya, you know not what you say.  I take Dust in the Wind VERY seriously.

Well you know what they say about those that can't do, they teach.....

:2567:



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 Posted: Mon Jul 25th, 2011 10:08 am

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Squish wrote: Getting my "hands" on someone in Kansas when I'm in California would require abilities that I simply do not possess. So, stalk away!
Sheesh....this is what I get for admiring someone's writing and analytical talent.....

they fall each and every time...:2567::bounce_pinka::c030a::kissmyass:



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