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Mal
Tue, Jul 28, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Riddles

@ MisterFred, I agree, this episode was quite enjoyable for all the reasons you outline.

A very solid three-star outing. And frankly, the rare exploration of friendship makes "Riddles" a genuine gem. The episode is sweet and affecting in a way that DS9's "Ascent" never really managed between Odo and Quark. Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips have a genuine warmth that takes you back decades to Bones and Spock.

@ Proteus, I really appreciate your perspective. And I wonder if @ Jammer was just too young at the time to really enjoy this hour of Star Trek?

If @ Jammer went back now, two decades later, and watched "Riddles" again, would he be able to enjoy it at the three-star level it really is? I certainly hope so.

I do understand @ Jammer's frustration with the Rest Button. The producers missed a huge opportunity to change the direction in which Tim Russ played Tuvok for the rest of the show. They could have taken this as an excuse to bring just a little bit more emotion into the character, the way the half-human side of Spock allowed him to almost crack a smile, at least with the twinkle of his eyes. But then again, the producers fucked Voyager up so many times, what is one more missed opportunity?

But that is no reason to take away from "Riddles" itself.

Time to re-score this hour at * * * (out of four).
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Tomalak
Mon, Jul 20, 2020, 7:34am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Personally I don't have a deep idea of what is and isn't Star Trek. And I don't have any sense of narcissistic entitlement that Star Trek producers make TV I like. They can do whatever they like.

I just reserve the right, when they make poor quality shows, to express my view. This one looks absolutely dire and juvenile. (And I am a big Orville fan, in case anyone thinks I'd say that about any comedy show set in the Star Trek universe, which the Orville comes as close as it can to without being sued.)
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Tomalak
Sun, Jul 19, 2020, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: The Q and the Grey

Does anyone know what the conflict was actually about?

Death Wish was a great episode, and it was clear that Quinn was up against fellow members of the continuum - including Q himself - who thought euthanasia could have bad potential consequences. But this sequel makes no sense. What precisely is Q rebelling against? Quinn has already killed himself. There are vague references to individualism I think, but since when were the Q unable to go around doing their own thing?

In Death Wish, Q eventually decided he wanted to support Quinn's death wish, and helped make it happen, so he got what he wanted. But equally. as far as the Continuum were concerned he had clearly done all he could to prevent it. I don't understand how a civil war started from this, and nothing in the dialogue explains it, or what either side is fighting for.

Separately, if Q is the leader of the rebellion in this version of the US Civil War shouldn't the guy who tries to stop him be the equivalent of Lincoln? In which case why the pronounced Confederate accent for the latter?

And I think the female Q actress did a poor job with this one, having previously played Star Trek characters well. She comes across too much like a 1990s stereotype woman to be believable as a Q.
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Tomalak
Sun, Jul 19, 2020, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

"I'm happy to watch a Trek comedy, I just can't stand the frenetic, hyperactive, hysterical style popular in animation nowadays where everyone's lines have to be read at 10x the speed of how normal people talk, as if every character has just had 6 cups of coffee and snorted a line of meth, ice and coke."

Very well said. I wonder if it's a way to cover up the awful humour - and the jokes in that trailer really are awful.
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Mal
Fri, Jul 17, 2020, 11:08am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Trek has finally been dumbed so far down, it's reached the Lowest Common Denominator.

As the trailer might put it, "the dumbest Trek?"

It is so sad, because animation has been an incredible platform for certain scifi franchises.

Animatrix was a wonderful animated addition to the Matrix franchise in the form of a prequel. Even better, maybe, than the third movie.

By all accounts, The Clone Wars was a grand animated follow up to the Star Wars prequels. Certainly better than the prequels themselves.

There has also been some startlingly revolutionary original animated scifi, like Ghost in the Shell. Futurama gave a Simpson-esque-verse a fun scifi spin.

But alas, NuTrek is none of that.

Lowest Drek. Indeed.
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Tomalak
Thu, Jul 16, 2020, 3:06am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: The Thaw

Great episode. It's a minor thing but I don't think it quite works to say fear itself wants to be conquered. The child riding a roller coaster may wish to conquer his fear - but that's not the same thing as the fear itself having an independent wish to be defeated.
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Mal
Tue, Jul 14, 2020, 10:53am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Extreme Risk

Pancakes!

https://youtu.be/EoKCFI292j0?t=2620
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Mal
Fri, Jul 10, 2020, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Demon

"Demon” is one of Voyager’s rare attempts at hard science fiction.

The episode draws from one of the great classics of the genre, the short story “Desertion" by Clifford D. Simak, which was published back in 1944 in Astounding Science Fiction magazine.

You can read the entire short story here:

https://archive.org/details/Astounding_v34n03_1944-11_cape1736/page/n63/mode/2up

From the first moment Paris says,

PARIS: I'm telling you, Chakotay. It was an amazing experience. It, it's like when you're a kid who's afraid of the water and you suddenly realise that you can swim. Go ahead, take your helmets off. Try it.

I hoped that was where the story was going.

And then much later in the episode when Harry tells Seven and Chakotay,

SEVEN: I see monochromatic geological formations, dust, haze.
CHAKOTAY: What do you see, Harry?
KIM: To me, those geological formations are a dozen shades of red and gold. That dust, it's glowing. And the haze, it seems to intensify the colours. I'm sorry. I know it's weird, but I feel connected to this place.

It immediately brought to mind the crescendo of the old 1944 story by Simak.

In “Desertion" by Clifford D. Simak, human researchers are part of a project (like the movie Avatar) where they are transformed into forms that are suited to Jupiter, so they can explore the gas giant the way a native might.

One by one the researchers transform and set out into Jupiter to go exploring. And none ever come back. Finally the head of the program decides he has no choice but to go after his team, and he transforms himself. And that is when we learn how incredible it is to be on Jupiter if you are in a form that is suited to Jupiter.

You can listen to a reading of the critical part of Clifford D. Simak's story where the head researcher describes what Jupiter looks like to him now that he has gone native:

https://youtu.be/WYOk9D0ZwVk?t=1224

I first read “Desertion" 25 years ago as a boy, and have never forgotten it.

It is a story about what you feel when you go to an alien place - a foreign country - and finally give up your old ways, and, as they used to say “go native.” The resulting beauty and awe can be overwhelming.

Sadly, Voyager’s mediocre writing team was never able to tap into that rich vein, and “Demon” ends up being a complete disaster of an episode.

Half a star for trying something great but failing completely.
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Mal
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 10:29am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Favor the Bold

"Favors the Bold" is a tour-de-force. One of DS9's greats. Indeed, one of Star Trek's greats. If I may be so, um, bold, let me say, one of scifi's greats. @ $G, I'd put this one up there with Babylon 5's third season episode "Point of No Return" as one of the most critical episodes of a great scifi saga.

I see what you're saying, @Luke, this is really where Damar comes alive. And maybe, just maybe, Damar leaking the plans to Quark was not quite the accident we have been led to believe. If you're crazy, @Luke, I'm right there with ya bro!

@ AeC, Drusilla does some serious whimpering in Season 2 of Angel ("Redefinition") after Angel burns her and Drusilla ( https://dai.ly/x6mw7kq?start=2565 ). You're right, there is so much more to Drusilla's pain than anything Leeta is able to muster, not withstanding Leeta's tig ol bitties @Sintek :-)

Speaking of Angel, @ D K, Lilah Morgan gets a pretty satisfying beatdown ( https://dai.ly/x4h3feh?start=180 ) in season 3, "Billy".

@DLPB, Damar is only 3 inches taller than Kira. It is more of a fair fight than one would imagine. I like Damar a lot, but let's be honest, he was never really a hand-to-hand kind of a guy. His command presence came from his charisma, and frankly his very awesome voice. He's more like Picard that way. At least before Picard became all action hero-y in the movies.

My favorite line from "Favors the Bold" has somehow been overlooked in this thread. So here it is, from Quark:

ROM: The fate of the entire Alpha Quadrant rests in your hands. Billions and billions of people are counting on you.

QUARK: Boy, are they going to be disappointed.

ROTFLMFAO! Quark is awesome.

@ Fortyseven, if you enjoy a good binge of DS9 or nBSG, then please do check out Babylon 5. I'm not sure why @Jammer never got around to it. And now that we're all older, with so much more on our plates, I fear he never will. But hope burns eternal.

Faith Manages.

https://youtu.be/uoD-Gw5oqrQ
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Mal
Sat, Jun 13, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Alter Ego

A solid, enjoyable * * * episode.

I'm not sure how I've missed this episode all these years? But like @Sarjenka's Brother, I have absolutely no memory of every watching it.

Which made watching "Alter Ego" this evening - for the very first time, a real treat!

Like @Lt. Yarko, this is easily the most I have ever laughed with a Voyager episode. On the level of sheer fun, I'd put this one up there with "Future's End Part I".

One new thing that re-watching Voyager after all these years has given me, is an appreciation for just how well the show sets up the Paris/B'Elanna coupling over the years. There are small flirtations a few times here and there. Then, I think it was at the start of Season 3, with "The Swarm" when we get some real honest-to-goodness (and fun) flirting. So to see the Lower Decks vulcan (Vorik) cock-block Paris at the luau was absolutely hilarious.

Watching this episode for the first time now - after movies like Joaquin Phoenix's Her (https://youtu.be/6QRvTv_tpw0) have been made, also makes Harry's reaction to crushing on a holodeck character more understandable. Harry had studied the TNG Moriarity situation at the Academy. Maybe, @William B, Harry also knew about the Minuet gambit the Binars pulled on Riker? Maybe Harry's reaction to falling for a holographic woman was actually prudent?

Finally, let me echo what @Jordi Bosveld said at the top. When both Tuvok and Harry say "no" to that lovely hololady who wants to join them at the end of the show, I for one burst out laughing :-)
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Mal
Sun, May 31, 2020, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Booming, countries like China and Kazakistan and Iran do not typically live broadcast manned launches from their facilities (Russia doesn't launch from Russia).

https://www.rocketlaunch.live/?pastOnly=1

But when Nasa is involved, you might at least get the launch.

https://www.rocketlaunch.live/launch/soyuz-ms-16

It is a rare treat to get the entire mission broadcast live, as we are getting right now for Dragon.

https://youtu.be/21X5lGlDOfg

Part of that is that TV stations aren't about to give 23 hours of continuous broadcast of NASA TV, which is how long it takes to get to the ISS. And part of that is that online broadcasting has dramatically improved in the last decade.

We live in awesome times!
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Mal
Sun, May 31, 2020, 7:46am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Booming.

TOS taught us that Russian accomplishments are human accomplishments. There is no reason to minimize launches just because they are taking off from Russia.

ST First Contact taught us that our greatest breakthroughs will be thanks to individuals driven by profit like Zephram Cochrane, not any sort of world government. There is no reason to minimize human accomplishments just because of the character of the folks making the breakthrough.

Dragon is less than 1 mile from the ISS!!! It looks so beautiful over the Chinese night sky right now:
https://youtu.be/21X5lGlDOfg
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Mal
Sun, May 31, 2020, 6:13am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

And the timing of Neflix dropping Space Force is basically perfect.

We are just 150 minutes away from the earliest docking time to the ISS!!!

Watch NASA live:

https://youtu.be/21X5lGlDOfg
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Mal
Sun, May 31, 2020, 1:55am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Space Force is just what the doctor ordered after The Good Place ended and while we wait for new Orville episodes.

At least someone out there is making uplifting wholesome scifi again!

Plus it is always great to see Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe from Friends) back on screen again! Yeah!

https://youtu.be/MkHQxsv1JgQ?t=78
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Mal
Sat, May 30, 2020, 10:50am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Speaking of great new scifi, hope everyone is watching Space Force.

It's like the most enjoyable prequel for Star Trek/Orville we could hope for!

And Steve Carrell is fantastic. The Office in space uniform :-)
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Tomalak
Tue, May 26, 2020, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Jetrel

Great post above from Skeptical (years ago now). I could easily come up with better arguments from Jetrel than the scriptwriters - the analogy with Hiroshima is interesting but fails because anyone actually involved in Hiroshima would have pointed out that nuking it saved millions of lives (compared to a land invasion of Japan). Instead from Jetrel we get absurd straw men arguments about how you should always pursue scientific progress even if it means mass destruction.

I think Star Trek's ability to consider complex moral arguments is probably overrated, honestly. With the exception of Deep Space Nine, these kind of straw men on one side of the argument were the norm for the show. Similarly you sometimes get liberals not understanding why conservatives like Star Trek. Can't conservatives see themselves in the straw man villains who keep losing the argument? Um, no, that's not what we believe so it's really not very troubling to see those points defeated.
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Mal
Wed, May 20, 2020, 12:51am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Parallax

@Cody B, I think @Booming has already said something to that effect when he wrote above,

"I like your Christ but I don't like your Christians because they are so unlike Christ"

Which to be fair, is probably true of all dogmatists, including (especially?) atheists.

Glad to see everyone is coming together in civil discourse. This truly is the unique magic of @Jammer's website.

That's probably why we keep coming back. Year after year. Decade after decade. This is the right place for us.

https://youtu.be/VhD0hbGEDSU?t=28

Faith manages.
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Mal
Tue, May 19, 2020, 6:00am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Sen-Sors, the Red Letter Media review is so disturbing.

https://youtu.be/TwF1iri1GjQ

It is basically an obituary. Star Trek is dead.

nuTrek is a zombie.
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Mal
Mon, May 18, 2020, 12:53am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Rejoined

Hot lesbian kiss episode - ratings gold!

https://youtu.be/zubb8tYlWcI

I'll be in my bunk ;-)

https://youtu.be/ScarujvqlIU
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Mal
Sat, May 16, 2020, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Parturition

Hey @Mal - yeah me, from 11 years ago - guess you're about to get your dream come true.

https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/15/star-trek-strange-new-worlds/

An animated Star Trek for the kiddos. An adolescent Trek full of cursing and moronic plots - Discovery - for whatever demographic enjoys that stuff. Picard for the senile geezers.

And maybe, just maybe, if we are very lucky, they can keep Strange New Worlds for us grups.

https://youtu.be/tfhlEP8LT4k

(hat tip @Booming)
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Mal
Sat, May 16, 2020, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Twisted

@Jeff O’Connor, I agree completely. As @Milica alludes to, the climax is almost the opposite of how we’ve seen various Star Treks approach a Kobayashi Maru like no-win scenario.

Kirk famously did not believe in a no-win situation. That, in part made his death in Generations so unsatisfying (there were other reasons also, obviously. Why didn’t they give him a proper send-off with full honors as his service and rank demanded?). But in his final moments, recall that Kirk reverted to form. His last words were “it was fun,” and he died with a twinkle in his eye. And man, through three years of TOS, and seven (!!) movies, over 30 years, it was a hell of a ride!

How we approach death says a lot about what kind of person we are.

When you ask, @Elliott, what separates those of us who would give this episode 1 star (like @Jammer), and those of us who would give it 2 stars (on @Jammer’s four star scale), it all comes down to how we view the climax. @Rob in Michigan picked this up right from the first comment on this episode.

I’ll admit, I sometimes just skim @Elliott’s extended reviews of episodes. But this time I read it. Twice. And I agree with it all! Except that, while you describe Act 5 perfectly, you give it 1/2 a star, and I’d give it 3 stars. And that weighted average brings my reckoning of “Twisted” to 2 stars over all, while you give it none.

But let’s take a step back to Harry and Janeway in the Jefferies tube.

How many times before “Twisted” have we seen Janeway and Harry work one-on-one alone together on a problem? Has it been even once? It is a very rare paring.

Recall, that at this point, Harry is just 27.

I don’t know how many of you have 27 year olds working for you. But at that age it is a pretty big deal to work one-on-one with the big boss. I know I don’t get very much time any more with the kids in their mid-twenties like that. We’re usually all too busy at work, and when you’re in charge, it is far more likely that you will be working with someone more senior. Janeway and Tuvok working alone together happens enough. Or Janeway and Chakotay working alone together. But Janeway and Kim??

Those rare times when you are working along with the youngster on your team, those are the best times to tell these youngsters that you value them. Not during an annual review. Or during some meeting in your office. But when you are actually out there working a problem together.

That is also part of leadership.

So I thought it was a good beat.

And it set things up nicely for Act 5. Where we get to see the crew face their own Kobayashi Maru.

Next, some folks wonder about Tuvok “acting out” in a way that might not be very vulcan. But as @HolographicAndrew says, it is very interesting when you think about it.

At the end, in the holodeck, when Chakotay has to pick between Bellana’s plan and Tuvok’s plan, this is the first time Tuvok must realize he has no control. Look around him. His Captain is incapacitated. Bellana has a plan - but she failed out of the Academy, and joined the Maqui, and they can be hotheads. The other officers there are Paris - who, less than a year ago was in jail; there is a holographic EMH; and a 2 year old Ocampa. The only half-way credentialed person is a very young Ensign Kim not even a year out of the Academy.

And now this “Commander” who resigned his commission to join a terrorist organization is going to make a decision for the entire crew. Remember, Tuvok is very familiar with Chakotay’s command style - he served under Chakotay when he was undercover infiltrating the Maqui. So this is the first time Tuvok openly questions whether this particular motley crew is going to do the right thing. And he’s right! Chakotay picks the wrong “solution”.

Which brings us to the emotional climax of the hour.

Faced with death, resigned to follow Tuvok’s sage advice, each crew member reverts to form.

Chakotay prays. Bellana joins him.

Paris puts his hand on Harry’s shoulder (yes, @Elliott, it is out of love).

Tuvok places a hand next to his Captain.

And they each face what they think is the end. With calm stoicism.

If only we could all face inevitability with such equanimity.
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Mal
Fri, May 15, 2020, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Non Sequitur

@Elliott, that's hilarious! Really LoL!

I guess it's been about 11 years since I last commented on this episode. But what can I say, I still think it is a solid 2 1/2 stars.

Tons of plot holes? Sure.
Unwed fornication? Sure ;-)
(I kid @ Sean Hagins because I love, promise).

But the atmosphere of San Francisco feels right. And the bar in Marseille was a treat to see IRL (as against to the holodeck).

Did Harry Kim do everything wrong? Sure. But he was just 26 at the time. Weren't we all just as stupid back then?
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Mal
Wed, May 13, 2020, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

^the post above is not me. Someone seems to be impersonating me. But as anyone who has read the last 12 years of my comments on @Jammer's site can easily see, nothing in that post is anything like me.

Since I have always used the same email address to post on this site, this is easily verifiable.

- Mal.
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Malia
Wed, May 13, 2020, 1:53am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Ashes to Ashes

OMG, I just finished reading this entire thread, after re-watching this episode for the first time after its initial run. And I can't believe neither Jammer nor anyone else here has pondered among the comments what has sparked discussions elsewhere:

The Kobali look to be of the same species that the Borg Queen originates from (Species 125)!!

Even if somehow it was merely some look-alike species (the way many aliens look human in the Star Trek universe) surely Seven and the Captain should have immediately made not of this—perhaps also the Borg kids there (though who knows if the Queens visual image is known/shared with all drones, especially not-yet-mature ones, or not.) I mean... an alien shows up looking like the leader or epicenter of Borgdom, and it's not worth even a comment from anyone?

If true, it's fascinating to contemplate the layers in all this. How did someone (a Kabali) even get to be a Borg Queen? Is it because a select former-individual is found upon assimilation to have a superior brain? Or were the Kobal a very old space-faring civilization, and perhaps it was their skill at reanimating/re-engineering corpses into a distinct new entity that radically impacted the "perfection" of the Borg by adding this as their "distinctiveness" to the Borg Collective.

Maybe, prior to assimilating Species 125, the Borg as entities were more biological OR more tech. Perhaps assimilation as a process killed many many captives, but the Kabali "re-animation" process changed all that. Perhaps the Borg aren't so much continually living beings, enslaved by tech. What if, instead, they do die (physiologically) at the moment of assimilation, then the re-animation happens to transform new assimilates into what we know as Borg, reborn.

Why would they bother to make elaborate alien makeup and prosthetics so that this character looked like a Borg Queen, for nothing? It seems as if, in fact, they did. Which is not just bizarre, but such a waste!
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Mal
Tue, May 12, 2020, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Cody B, of course it is racist to refer to a person by the color of their skin. It is by definition reductive, and thus demeaning.

But at least, in a few hundred years, we can look forward to the range of skin colors being expanded. And the range of slurs will also be expanded ;)

SHRAN: Captain Archer. Look at the trouble you've gotten your pink skin into this time.

Worry not, @Cody B, it could always be worse. Imagine you were green!

https://youtu.be/rRZ-IxZ46ng

It's not that easy being green;
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold-
or something much more colorful like that.

But with Star Trek, there is always hope!

By the time we get to the 23rd century, officers like Uhura are able to let such moronic words just roll off their backs, even when those words come from someone like honest Abe.

https://youtu.be/2BBOWsWODX4

Sadly, you and I are not likely to see such a day.

One would only hope that folks on @Jammer's site could refrain from such ugly behaviour. But these nuTreks seem to attract the worst sorts.
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