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EU Roundtable #2.1

Mike Cooper here! Kicking off our voyage into the forgotten Roundtables of yesteryear is this gem, one of the two chats in this series (out of three, to give you an idea of why this was all delayed so long) that I wasn't a part of. My absence wasn't due to technical or scheduling problems, though; it was because of the theme: RotS and the EU! Remember, this went down around November of last year, when some of us were still avoiding spoilers like the plague. Luckily, I was able to corral four folks who had no qualms about going into details, including the dependable Billy "T2Q" Buehler, who filled in as guest moderator in my absence. I'll let him take it from here.

Shooting down the theory that it wouldn't be a Roundtable without Mike Cooper like a Galaxy Gun to Byss, comes the first guest-hosted EU Roundtable (tentatively retitled "Mofference" since I can call it whatever I want while Coop's not around...). Those who gathered 'round for this installment are:

  • Billy Buehler, aka The2ndQuest, JC Literature moderator, author of The Ultimate Attack of the Clones & the Clones Wars Timeline. Also, your guest host for the evening!

  • Jeff Driscoll, coordinator of the New Jedi Order Encyclopedia and producer of the (way-laid) Crossed Galaxies.

  • Brian Gates, staffer and founding editor for The Unofficial Clone Wars Site.

  • Josh, aka Leto II, veteran poster to the JC, coauthor of the forthcoming Clone Wars Dossier.

Jeff wasn't able to join us until about mid-way in, but we gave him a chance to chime in on the topics raised.

You have just entered room "Mofference." (Hey! - Ed.)

Billy Buehler: Tonight's general topic is ROTS and the EU

Brian Gates: Let's just get this out of the way early. Darth Nuke.

Josh: Darth Nuke...

Billy Buehler: From the inclusion of both Aayla Secura and another EU character in RotS, to the inclusion of RotS characters, costumes, etc. in the novels and comics, Episode III is shaping up to be the most thoroughly EU-integrated of all the Star Wars films. How would you say the lead-in effort has been handled so far? Should they be doing more? Less?

Josh: From what has been stated on both Hyperspace and from what a few folks that I know "in the loop" have told me, there's been much more ofa conscious effort this time around to more completely integrate and dovetail with the established EU continuity; that George has been more fully appraised of smaller storyline minutiae, and that there'll be far fewer (if any)contradictions.

Billy Buehler: Me personally, with Tasty's recent postings on the TOS VIP thread, they've seemingly been very careful at the various overlapping content in that lead-up period to ROTS between the comics and novels and cartoon but overall, they, as far as I can tell so far, seem to be doing a bang-up job about this. I think everyone is far more excited about this lead-up material than, say, The Approaching Storm was for Episode 2

Brian Gates: I've read everything in the Clone Wars so far (just fininshed Medstar II today) and the direction of the stories have been right on. I really enjoy enjoyed the mixture of stories that are being told. I like the intergration of EU in Episode III and Lucas is doing it in a way that is not distracting from the story (from what I have gathered reading spoilers and what-not) and as sort of a wink to the fans of EU.

Josh: Yes, another good example -- we're looking at MUCH greater "canonist/movie purist" interest and support this time around, largely thanks to the folks at Dark Horse and LFL who recognized the need totap into that and harness it.

Brian Gates: Overall it's not a big deal, but it's kind of cool thing for you Star Wars geeks out there. haha, myself included. haha. I don't take too much stock in the "levels of canon" and all that jive. It's all fiction so I look at it as one big story.

Josh: Ditto, re: the "canon" quetion. It's blarbslarkingly ridiculous. Whereas the last time reaction to stuff like "The Approaching Storm" was somewhat mezzo-mezzo, this time there's a genuine andpalpable swelling of enthusiasm from folks. You can feel it.

Billy Buehler: The fact that the authors have, with argubaly only a couple exceptions, been slamming the ball outta the park in regards to the story qualities hasn't hurt things either ;;)

Josh: Not that I was necessarily ever hating on TAS, but others have been.

Brian Gates: Oh, I hated TAS. It was boring. Period.

Billy Buehler: Well, TAS main failure was that, while it was pulled from a reference in the script of the film and had access to some AOTC characters, it didn't really affect the setup to the events of the film and was more or elss a standalone adventure with a 2 page Dooku cameo. I found TAS dull overall, but must admit it had amazing character moments and general characterization

Josh: Recently re-read it, and it held up better the second time around...Foster did a decent job sketching the characterizations, but some of the mise-en-scene was...slow.

Brian Gates: A journey through a wheat field is bound to be slow. Speaking of TAS, I reckon Labyrinth of Evil will be it's Episode III equivalent. You think Luceno will come through?

Josh: Oh, I think that Luceno being Luceno, he'll please not only the hardcores, but also the fence-sitter purists.

Billy Buehler: LOE seems to be the lead-in of all lead-ins...for the novels at least

Josh: Much more ambitious. LFL took note from TAS. And folks's comments.

Billy Buehler: Though I think the first two Radio Dramas still take the cake for the overall best film lead-ins (though i suppose their technically expansions, they do contain significant material that lead into the films)

Brian Gates: Do you guys really think LFL "takes notes from fans" etc.?

Billy Buehler: Going by their apparent demeanor on TOS VIP and DHC's boards, I think so

Josh: People were wanting a far "harder" segueway in terms of direct connections, and there are few better out there at throwing the fanboys continuity bones and keeping it all straight than Luceno.

Brian Gates: I mean, it's one thing to sort of influence what Dark Horse does in SW Tales or something, but novels...

Josh: And the radio dramas are still virtually non-pareil.

Brian Gates: Sales influence LFL more than anything.

Billy Buehler: The VIP's- Sue, Tasty and Pablo in particular, seem to definitely listen to our comments, gauge reaction. whether they act upon them or not directly, I can't say obviously

Josh: Yes, ridign herd on two (or more) distinctive media in the way they've done so far has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Brian Gates: The reason why Sue Rostoni, Randy, Leland, Pablo, et al. post on the message boards is because they are nerds too. They are just nerds with jobs that WE would like to have.

Josh: It's up to the individual author/creator after a certain point...the fans are invited to the party, but it's still up to them to decorate.

Billy Buehler: but I think issues get brought to their attention alot quicker now, and that may have resulted in faster answers to be generated.

Josh: Yes, Sue, et al, are bona fide dweebs. In a good way.

Billy Buehler: Yes, we love dweebs and nerds named Sue and Pablo and Leland

Josh: Takes all kinds...

Billy Buehler: Nerds named Randy, however... ;;)

Josh: LOL. Let's not forget Nuke...

Billy Buehler: I was kinda hoping we would ;;)

Brian Gates: I hate the drip-feed (Hyperspace), so I prefer they continue with how they are leading in. I expect the EU lead-ins to pick up this month with Obsession #1.

Billy Buehler:: Yeah, things really kick into high gear this month- Obsession, Jedi Trial...etc

Brian Gates: The books don't do much for movie spoilers, but the stories are interesting.

Josh: It's rather strange that -- right now -- we now have 3SA denizens BEGGING us for info on stuff like what occurred at Ruusan and what-have you...in a few more months, LFL are going to be moving metric tons of the "Jedi vs. Sith" collection out the door.

Brian Gates: The comics this time around will really be revealing.

Josh: Particularly with folks like Ostrander at the stick.

Billy Buehler: By next year's end, the Clone Wars volumes alone will be huge sales, especially once the majority of the CW volumes are available

Brian Gates: Oh, and the Grievous mini-series and Clone Wars season 3

Josh: He knows from long-term storytelling, with his "Grimjack" series, and it's paid off in spades in the last two plus years.

Brian Gates: Ostrander, yeah, he's good But his writing style is starting to wear down on me.I'd like to see some more variety in Republic now

Billy Buehler: He's certainly been on one hell of a roll these past 3, hell, even almost 5 years

Josh: I get e-mails from folks asking me whether the CW volumes are a worthwhile investment...my response is "aye." Been a fan of his going back to the mid-80's.

Billy Buehler:: I think only Honor and Duty fell below par for him since he did Twilight and H&D only suffered becaused it got shrunk down by an issue- and we got the awesome #49: Sacrifice in it;s place.

Billy Buehler: As mentioned earlier, fans can expect yet another EU character to worm his or her way into the realm of G-canon with the arrival of RotS. What's most interesting about this is that, unlike Aayla Secura's last-minute addition to AotC, this character has reportedly been in the script since the beginning, and thus could end up having a much more important role (compared to Aayla's in AotC, anyway). Who do you think they should include, and what role should they play?

Billy Buehler: On a related note, I love how Aayla's role, at the very least, was increased for ROTS...

Brian Gates: What's this "G-canon" stuff?

Billy Buehler: (G-canon refers to anything in the films or originating from Lucas himself; everything else is more or elss C-canon)

Brian Gates: Anyway, the character will likely be a Wookiee or somebody.

Josh: Even my LFL sources aren't quite sure who this "mystery character" is, since none of them are terribly EU-familiar in the first place. I plan on finding out soon, though. One guy is going to comb though a few scenes that he's workedon or is working on at the moment, and try to gimme a hard answer.

Brian Gates: Probably Chewie's mom or dad. Brief appearance

Josh: It ain't Bel Iblis, though. Unfortunately.

Brian Gates: You know, from the Holiday Special.

Billy Buehler: Yeah, Pablo I think ruled out all Zahn characters

Josh: Yup.

Billy Buehler: which is a shame- Bel is probably the most appropriate of all for inclusion

Josh: Why don't we ask Pablo? =-O

Brian Gates: I will have to be someone from comics since Lucas is a visual person. He doesn't read the books and thus probably wouldn't feel compelled to include a book character in his movie. Or one of the wookiees from the Holiday special.

Josh: True, Bel Iblis would be right there alongside Smits and Genevieve during all the politicking...

Brian Gates: Mark my words.

Billy Buehler: Josh, you follow the spoilers closer than I do- have they denied the posisbilities of Nym or Quinlan?

Josh: Quinlan...I think so. Nym...no. Not last I heard.

Brian Gates: Unless, of course, Jett Lucas said, "Dad, that Nym fella from the Starfighter games is cool! Put him in Episode III!"

Billy Buehler:: Lucas was pretty involved in the devlopment of the Starfighter games, so I could see him becoming fond of the Nym character

Brian Gates: I think that's how Lucas comes up with ideas for his movies: from his kids.

Billy Buehler: Nym is a visually interesting species, and let';s face it- with Charlie Rocket's voice, he's one of the most fun PT-era characters, period.

Josh: He's certainly a strong possibility -- "coming from the EU" don't mean solely from the novels or comics, which some folks overlook.

Brian Gates: It's not some complicated backstory he wrote years ago. He brainstorms with his kids over cereal and coffee.

Billy Buehler: and the fact that Lucas is familiar with him doesn;t hurt either

Brian Gates: Holiday Special = EU, just FYI

Josh: Lucas scenarized the whole Nym backstory? Interesting. Heard he had something of a hand, but that takes things up a notch slightly.

Billy Buehler: no, that was Blackman I think

Josh: Oh.

Billy Buehler: but you can see him working with the Haden and the LEC folks on Starfighter

Brian Gates: Lucas doesn't bother with games and stuff. He's a billionaire. He's a filmaker. I can't.

Billy Buehler: watch your TPM DVD again

Brian Gates: He doesn't bother with that stuff.

Billy Buehler: yeah he does

Brian Gates: For the most part, that is...

Billy Buehler: he actually plays the games with his kids, plus Lucas seems to at least talk with Haden quite a bit going by the interviews, Lucas provided Haden answers for game story developments- Starfighter, Jedi Starfighter, Bounty Hunter and SWG, for example

Josh: But, yes...there is some interaction going on between the layers of the cake...like the whole "Acclamator" scenario, Rothana Heavy Engineering, etc.

Billy Buehler: Another thing to consider is if there's a role for such a character in the film

Brian Gates: doubtful that Lucas talks with Haden "quite a bit". Haden's seen the script. That's probably enough.

Billy Buehler: well it seems to be quite a bit compared to other authors-except for, perhaps Stover

Josh: Right, Haden and various other personnel have been granted access to the screenplay. Comics or video games would be my primary guess...and most of the video games (apart from Starfighter) DON'T focus too terribly heavilyupon the Big Three or Four Movie Characters.

Brian Gates: Nym probably won't figure into Episode III. From what we know, there doesn't seem to be anywhere for him in the movie.

Billy Buehler: unless it's just as a background character, which wouldn't seem to be worth noting in the script

Brian Gates: My guess, again, is one of Chewie's family members. Probably fighting in the battle on Kashyyyk.

Josh: Probably not as a mere background personage, given thebuildup-pimping they've been doing on this thing since last year. More substantial would be my take.

Billy Buehler: well, also, I think one of the HS diaries said the scene the EU character was in was almost cut...

Josh: But slightly. Yeah, I remember that. They were working on a way to keep him/her/it in the flick.

Billy Buehler: and I would find it strange that they would consider cutting out a part of the Kashyyk battle

Brian Gates: *ahem*Chewie's dad

Billy Buehler: is he really an EU character though?

Josh: What was his name? (Can't remember for the life of me.)

Billy Buehler: Attichichuk. Did Lucas create the family? who wrote the Holiday Special anyways?

Josh: Attchy?

Brian Gates: might not be part of the battle. might be some dialogue b/n Chewie and his dad while Yoda is on Chewie's back. something quick like that. who knows

Billy Buehler: or something like that- Itchy?

Josh: Nevermind ;) Getting him and his son crossed, there...

Billy Buehler: and the only reason I remember his name is because Qui-Gon's narrations said his name so often in GBG ;;)

Josh: Yup, during their interactions in that game, and the "training"-thing.

Brian Gates: I know "Itchy" isn't as cool as Quinlan Vos, but It's probably more reasonable to assume he or another Wookiee is the EU character.

Billy Buehler: The senate is anothe rpossibility as far a ssetting goes. Post notes talk about scenes on Coruscant with senators and landing pads and such getting rearraged or what have you

Brian Gates: Yeah, but most of the cool Senators that would "catch" Lucas' eye are from books. Or dead...

Josh: Simon Greyshade? Goes back to the Marvel series...

Billy Buehler: would he really be visibly noticable though? another human?

Brian Gates: I'm telling you it won't be someone we would be expecting.

Josh: Right. Trying to come up with a likely candidate.

(Jeff joins in and is caught up on the current topic)

Jeff Driscoll: Well, my original hope, once we learned that not only did Bail Organa play an important part in the movie (obviously), but Mon Monthma showed up as well, would have been General Bel Iblis to form the triumverate founding the Rebellion, But it's since been confirmed it's not from a Thrawn book...soo.... I see the suggestion of Chewie's family, but I would doubt it given Lucas' supreme hatred of the Holiday Special. I remember a hyperspace comment that Pablo had to go look up any references for clothing and what not

Billy Buehler: i recall that as well

Jeff Driscoll: which to me, shoots out the idea that we've ever seen the person in a comic or video game because that'd be just a quick image to glance at- But no, it really stumps me as far as who that mysterious character would be - and I'm impressed that they're keeping it locked down so well...but that would also imply to me that the part isn't that large

Billy Buehler: Another related quetsion one must wonder is- how much longer can they keep this character secret, assuming he/she/it hasn't been cut

Jeff Driscoll: I think the only way they can keep it secret is if it's a CG-character and not played by an actor and seen on set by the entire crew.

Josh: True and true -- small enough not to warrant an "Insider" frontcover, yet large enough to get ballyhooed for more than ayear-and-a-half.

Billy Buehler: think they'll release who it is in a couple months once all the EU vamp-up begins? in the hopes it generates interest?

Josh: Probably. Maybe in the Chuck Dixon "Grievous" mini-series?

Billy Buehler: eh, that's not till next year

Josh: But s/he/it may make an appearance there or in "Republic."

Billy Buehler: and I think they're gonna let Obsession finish first

Jeff Driscoll: So the question would be......what EU Character is big enough to warrant a role in the movie, and isn't from a Thrawn book? lol

Josh: It's been known to the DH people for long enough that they may work it in someplace.

Billy Buehler: which would work well- they'll have the Greivous miniseries take upo the 4 months leading up the film then

Jeff Driscoll: Or...what EU is Lucas willing to grow into G-Canon

Josh: With lots of fertilization...we need Lucas's seed! Er...

Jeff Driscoll: ...

Billy Buehler: if Lucas allows Burtt to slide in all those Droids cartoon references, I think pretty much everything is fair game ;;)

Josh: Right. Who wants to lay down Hard Coin O' The Realm that there'l be yet more "Droids" nods in EP3?

Billy Buehler: I mean, you'd think "Boonta", "Bogden" and "Toong" would be way low on the list of stuff you'd want to reference in terms of priorities and likelyhoods ;;)

Brian Gates: Forgot about the "Droids" cartoon

Josh: Mungo Baobaby, all the way...; I kid, because I love...

Jeff Driscoll: Another thing to clue in on.... they haven't told or let slip even what the EU character's role or position in the movie is. Given how much it seems Pablo and LFL like to tease the fans, I think their position / role must be a dead give-away

Josh: Hiding in plain sight, in other words, you think?

Billy Buehler: see, that makes me want to say a Palpatine advisor

Josh: Kinman...

Billy Buehler: but those would be Zahn characters, which brings you back to square one

Josh: They've shown up in Luceno, though, since then. Or rather, he has.

Billy Buehler: right but then so has Thrawn

Jeff Driscoll: Do you think they'd be that picky on semantics to try and throw us off?

Brian Gates: I'm telling y'all, the EU character won't be from a book. He/She has to be visual somehow. Comic, cartoon, video game, etc.

Billy Buehler: This is certainly one of the most puzzlling...puzzles the EU cmmunity will have for quite some time

Brian Gates: Aayla just happened to "catch his eye"

Josh: ...Quoth Krusty the Klown from the prison stage. It's sure as hell been mystifying. That much I'll say.

Billy Buehler: Once RotS has been released, the era of history best described as the Dark Times, i.e. the years between RotS and ANH, will finally be open for business to writers other than Lucas. What would you most like to see out of the EU (in terms of books, comics, and television) in the post-RotS time period?

Josh: Direct "purge"-related material...show us WHY Vader was to befeared, per Alec Guinness's soliloquy in ANH. Make us care for the Jedimore than the movies have (sometimes) done.

Jeff Driscoll: The Jedi-Purge....paving the way for some non-Jedi stories

Billy Buehler: I'd actually like to see some connections made to the Han Solo Trilogy's earlier events eventually- especially when they get around to focusing on the early Rebellion days

Jeff Driscoll: ^ yea, early Rebellion, formation.

Billy Buehler: I really love the early Rebellion formation stuff- there's so many tidbits we've gotten here and there... Correllian Treaty, events from the X-wing games, Han Solo Trilogy, etc

Jeff Driscoll: Push late enough into the era we can see some young Leia in the Galactic Senate and rebellion stuff. I'd give great credit to someone who could write a *good* ANH lead in novel - disolving of the Senate, Vader on the trails of the Tantive....

Josh: Get these guys out of the way. Let Michael Reaves work his magicon some "dark" stories, like he did with "Gargoyles" and "Batman: TAS.". Build up to the Rebellion. I know this is "peanut-gallery"-level fanwank, but it's GOOD "peanut-gallery"-level fanwank.

Billy Buehler: I don't see them stepping on the toes of the Radio Drama though

Josh: Nope, as they shouldn't.

Billy Buehler: yeah, I think the RD;s rendition of the Devasttor's pursuit of the Tantive is one of the better stories

Josh: Slightly higher familiarity-index there, and I don't see them overtly shortsheeting it.

Billy Buehler: though the disolving of the senate hasn't really been covered in detail, has it?

Josh: Not as such. There's a story in that somewhere. Along with Adi Gallia's death, and several other things.

Brian Gates: I'd like to see a TV show from that era.

Jeff Driscoll: I'd much rather see a Rogue Squadron based TV show, but I'm sure that's a very, very different discussion. ;)

Brian Gates: It is a wide open thing. TV shows, cartoons, everything is fair game. should be a fun time for Star Wars fans.

Jeff Driscoll: I don't think the Jedi Purge could really be covered well in a TV show

Billy Buehler: Well, we know something is a brewing in that area

Brian Gates: With a TV show, we will likely get something new, not rehashes of stuff that has already been done.

Josh: Perhaps, perhaps not. Vader should be used sparingly, if at all possible.
Brian Gates: i.e. no Rogue Squadron

Billy Buehler: and Randy did say that the era may end up being not as wide-open as they originally thought, which to me implies they are giving lee-way for something big like a TV series to avoid continuity issues

Brian Gates: And I don't think we will have to worry so much about continuity with a live-action TV show.

Jeff Driscoll: I know that while we expect a TV show to work, there's no guaruntee. I dont' think they'd want the chance to ruin Vader's image. (had to get that in)

Josh: Considering James Earl Jones is getting all of about two hours ofstudio time for EP3, I'm sure he'd be willing to let Lucas make it upto him on an occasional TV "appearance."

Brian Gates: It will probably focus on new characters anyway

Josh: Hell, he did "Stargate" disembodied, for Ghu's sake...

Billy Buehler: Let's not get too into the TV series topic- that should be saved for another roundtable, where I can plug another one of my forum projects ;;)

Josh: <clucks tongue>

Billy Buehler: We already know Luceno is doing the post-ROTS book as well now, so he'll be bookending the film and bringing us into this era

Josh: Which -- betwixt him and Reaves alone -- gives me hope.

Billy Buehler: and given Stover's comments about working some of Luceno's work into the ROTS novel..the three books may form more of atrilogy themselves a retroavtive trilogy, but nonetheless...

Josh: Sort of like the Hambly/KJA/Hambly triptych...

Billy Buehler: but reversed- you had COTJ as a stand alone, then Darksaber and POT were kinda a two-planned followup...here we have a two-planned LOE/ROTS and an added one after the fact

Jeff Driscoll: do you think 5 years ago if you'd said that a new author was going to jump into the Star Wars galaxy, write 2 NJO novels, help shape the arc, write the finale, and write the lead in and lead out story to ROTS that any of us would have believed it? ya gotta give Luceno credit, he's certainly worked his way in the door

Josh: Stover and Luceno, though, are money in the bank, no matter what you do there.

Billy Buehler: him and Denning have shined for the past few years- and I actully may have believed you back then, afterall, we've seen at least 3 other authors become the "Chancellor of SW University" before outta almost nowhere. I mean, who'd have thought KJA would have ended up having so much influence on the body of SW EU? Or even Stackpole?

Josh: True. KJA said "to hell with SW," apparently after "Redemption" and "Bane of the Sith," and went off to rui-, I mean, work on Dune (andhis own universe).

Jeff Driscoll: or Zahn, not to put the obvoius out there

Billy Buehler: Zahn has had less influence i think

Jeff Driscoll: KJA's done with Star Wars?

Josh: He hasn't done much of anything since 2000 or thereabouts. One short story, and Bob's your uncle.

Billy Buehler: Zahn;s books are important EU works, but Zahn never took the reigns of what seemed like everything for a couple years, like KJA, Stackpole, etc

Josh: Right...he (Zahn) was feeling the itch of doing his own originalstuff for a while, and in not getting pigeonholed as simply a "StarWars author." He wanted to let others take up the slack and come back recharged (afew stories here and there and some WEG consultancy work notwithstanding). Damn this interface...scrunching my words together like that...

Billy Buehler: Blame AOL- that's what's it's there for. Anyways, before we wrap this up, I think we should give Jeff a chance to throw in a quick comment or two on the topic he missed earlier, to make this as complete as possible- that topic was, regarding the various EU characters in ROTS and the EU ti-ins leading up to ROTS....

Jeff Driscoll: I'm not sure what you mean by 'lead-in' ... as far as EU effect on the movie? or as far as ibnvolvement of the books and comics and what not bring us into the story?

Billy Buehler: yeah, the comics, nmovels and cartoons and such having info from the script and leading up to the film and how you think it's being handled thus far

Jeff Driscoll: I think it's great! If only there had been this level of coordination back when the Prequel trilogy started...I mean, the video game has worked directly with Nick Gillard and Hayden... I think the benefit of having Luceno writing boht books is that he can introduce sub-arcs that aren't focused on in the movie and make them even larger parts of the story

Billy Buehler: Good observation

Jeff Driscoll: an example: he could actually land clones on a planet and get it all setup for when we see the montage in the film, and then come back in the book for the clean up. Something which could be done with different authors, but not as well

Billy Buehler: yeah- instead of a single author trying to contain all of that in a single story. Alright, I think that wraps things up

Jeff Driscoll: I only missed the one? wow. ah, that made it much easier for me to slide in. Thanks for helping me in as seamlessly as possible

Billy Buehler: no problem

Brian Gates: This was fun. Hopefully we can do this again.

Josh: Thanks for having me (and send Coop my regards).

Right back atcha, Josh. Anyway, hope you all enjoyed this one even though yours truly wasn't around to provide the usual wit and insight. My thanks to the participants, especially the indomitable Mr. Buehler, whose last name I've become unsettlingly at ease spelling. Coming up next week, some JCers and I get into the political side of things!

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