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Author Topic: The Letters Beast - Online!  (Read 23925 times)

Buttonman

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #120 on: 02 August, 2020, 10:01:35 AM »

Holy Cremola Foam, we’re back a scant few weeks after our last outing. Furloughed staff have been reactivated at Beast Towers and efforts to fiddle Government subsidies have been curtailed for the five minutes this nonsense takes to bash out.

A full page, 5 letter, inside back cover is the reward for our patience this week in Prog 2193, and what delights it offers. A couple of newbies and two moves on the all time leader board - excitement she wrote.

We open with Stephen Parry of Birmingham who celebrates his third printed offering following two 2016 efforts in Progs 1976 and 2011. He has a bit to go to match Nigel or ‘Na’ Parry, as he was sometimes known, from Burton on Trent who presently has the Parry Pole at 8. He was last seen in the 'Letter of the Week’ berth in Prog 2124 in 2019. **Shock Stat** No Parry has ever had a Dreddlines letter published in the Megazine.

Stephen (it’s a good name)  secures Letter of the Week laurels with his offering headed ‘Years Gone Bye’ which we’re pretty sure is a ‘Walking Dead’ homage/rip off. Stephen does a lot of thinking - three times in the first two paragraphs. He resurrects the decades old ‘What will 2000ad be called in the year 2000?' debate and thanks Tharg for keeping his numbering consistent. He doesn’t mention the year end Progs which are plain confusing in our filing systems, but generally, he‘s a happy camper.

Next up, and barely making the minimum word count, is George Kaplan of Berks. George makes a brief speculative comment about ‘The Out‘ which Tharg doesn‘t dismiss. This is George’s first offering and hopefully he can make it to 30 words next time around. There has been one previous ‘Kaplan’ in the shape of Andrew from USA whom we met in Meg 222 in 2004. There have been 17 ‘George’ letters across both publications with George Elder of Lanark in the lead on 2, the last being in Prog 1609 in 2008. Remember him for later on as there is a writer called ‘Senior’ and we make a poor joke about who is the Senior/Elder of the two.

For the 3rd Time in 2020 we get to roll out our ‘Browning Version’ gag as Chris Browning of Todmorden nets his 15th score overall. This moves Chris up the all time leader board to 15 strikes and 22nd= overall. Chris is in the vanguard of new or at least recent letter writers with his oldest offering being in Prog 1961.

Chris’ winning formula is clear - he loves everything - even ‘The Order’ which he describes as “mad” - well something is around here. He points out how reader favourite Abnett is practically writing the Prog these days and he’s also enjoying Dredd’s take on the Rogue Trooper ‘The Hit’ story line.

Longest letter of the week goes to the writer with the longest letter writing shadow on the page, Michael Crouch of Naughty Norwich. Crouchy is seen here for the 30th time, in his first appearance since Meg 404 (an error shurley) in 2019. Michael was first seen in Prog 521 with his seminal drawing of ‘Thatch the Warlock and Ronnydonk’. He also drew ‘The Dead Tharg’ in Prog 670 and his latest offering moves him up the leader board into 5th=, breaking his tie with Alan Holloway and Linton Porteous. Next in his sights is Steve Frame on 31.

Michael’s letter is another gusher with everything getting a thumbs up including all of the spin off publications. Quite right too - we buy it because we like it. He could perhaps rank things and say that whilst Dredd is great, Hershey is also great abut maybe slightly less great. Still we’re teaching Granny to suck eggs here, you don’t get 30 Beast hits by not knowing a winning formula.

Last up is the senior writer on the page, Tom Senior of Bath. Given he’s a senior I hope it’s one of those walk in baths! With Tom and George Elder mentioned above there is more than a whiff of Werther’s Originals about today. At least I hope that’s what it is. This is Tom’s first letter and the fifth single to come from the ‘Senior’ clan. The Senior Senior is Mark who had a drawing of ‘Krane’ published waaay back in Prog 13 in 1977. Tom is the first Senior to find his way to the letterbox since Andy in Prog 993 in 1996.

Tom has taken up drawing during lock down and would like to have a story printed too. You can almost hear Tharg groan as he laments his ever growing slush pile - just stop at ‘Plan : Hit Earth’ oh verdant one!

Overall a positive page of fan letters with each pointing out what is great in the Prog. We’re fine with that in these troubled times, although a bit of balance is always welcome too.

Let's finish up with a newly updated Beast top 30...


« Last Edit: 02 August, 2020, 10:06:41 AM by Buttonman »

Richard

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #121 on: 02 August, 2020, 10:57:44 AM »
I love these! Never stop.

Buttonman

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #122 on: 02 August, 2020, 11:25:11 AM »
I love these! Never stop.

A noble reaction to your hold on 5th place being challenged!

Don't worry, they will go on for as long as I can keep pocketing the meds!

Buttonman

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #123 on: 01 September, 2020, 09:53:16 PM »

And we’re back and it’s with almost indecent haste, barely a month since the last letters event. Our read count last time was dramatically down, so in the tradition of ‘Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em’ we proudly present the Lettersentertainyou

BATTLE OF THE LETTERS

Yes, in a totally original format we are going to decide, once and for all, what is the best letter. We’ve all enjoyed the preliminaries, but we are down to the pure breeds now. The Beast random number generator has come up with the following pairings:

Letter from Grandma Vs. Overdue gas bill
Graphic Novel from Tharg Vs. Confirmation of your sex offender registration number
Reader’s Digest notice that you have won a prize Vs. Laithwaites wine catalogue
Love letter from that girl you still think about from School Vs. Hospital test results

Excitement she wrote.

Before we get to the main event we better have a look at the three letters printed in Prog 2197. Only three, but they are long ones. Maybe edit down the twaddle and get five in? We have it on good authority that Tharg had at least another 3 letters in his inbox, but we digress.

First up, in the Letter of the Week slot, is debut writer Neil Scott of Glasgow. We don’t know Neil, but have probably crossed paths in Forbidden Planet or at that Convention where we were too scared to say ‘hello’ to Carlos. And then he died. Never have regrets kids - badger that creator, because they won’t always be there. Neil has no letters history of his own but his two names are shared by two celebrated Scottish Scribes. Neil Colquhoun of Edinburgh who sits on 16 Beast entries and Scott Ferguson of East Kilbride who has 24. Both lag behind some other Cal-Habber.

Neil’s letter is a right old ramble but none the worse for that. It starts off in Schoolboy fashion with “Your mighty organ” mentioned twice in the first two sentences. He also goes on about ‘erections’ and  his ‘difficulty to rise’. To be honest we were losing the will to read further as it was looking like a column and a half of smutty innuendo. Then there is a tonal shift and the remainder is a heartfelt love letter to Tharg, charting his positive Prog experiences. You could say it was a bit disjointed and jarring. Just like I did there.

The Quarter Finals

The votes are in and Letter from Grandma kicked Overdue gas bill into the long grass. Although not actually read all the way through, the £5 Boots gift token sealed the win for the pensioner.

Graphic Novel from Tharg was a strong favourite but it lost out to Confirmation of your sex offender registration number when it was found to be an IDW offering.

Reader’s Digest notice that you have won a prize knocked out Laithwaites wine catalogue in a close run thing, but that offer to join a £1m raffle for free if you buy a £29.99 book on the History of Armchairs was just too tempting.

Love letter from that girl you still think about from School won against Hospital test results but withdrew from the competition when it learned that the test results were positive for a nasty yeast infection. Of the balls.

The semi finals look like this:

Letter from Grandma Vs. Hospital test results

Confirmation of your sex offender registration number Vs. Reader’s Digest notice that you have won a prize

Letter two was from ‘Samuel’ L. Jackson of Aylesbury. We know his full first name is ‘Lewis’ as he wasn’t so embarrassed about it when he was first published in Prog 2153 in 2019 when he gained the Letter of the Week laurels. These two hits place him just one behind all time ‘Action’ Jackson, Ed of Sheffield who was last seen in Prog 1350 in 2003.

Lewis, sorry L., runs through the Prog, liking most stuff before showing off his Billy bookcase full of Tharg tat. This man is barking up the wrong tree if he thinks this audience will be impressed by that offering - he doesn’t even have matching custom spines for goodness sakes.

The Semi Finals

Letter from Grandma won against Hospital test results but alas the results were Grandma’s and told her she had ten minutes to live, so it’s Hospital test results who proceed to the final where they’ll meet…

Confirmation of your sex offender registration number which trumped Reader’s Digest notice that you have won a prize when the £1m prize was found to be an instalment plan that paid £1 a year for a million years. Confirmation of your sex offender registration number also gained points when the number was found to be the same as that young women’s finishing school up the road.

The Grand Final Looms:

Hospital test results Vs.  Confirmation of your sex offender registration number

But first letter three from veteran scribe Luke Williams who nears his own Beast identifier code with this, his 9th offering. Luke did toy with calling himself ‘Lucas’ when he appeared in Meg 377 but has wisely reverted to ‘Luke’ for all his other offerings. He lives in Llanelli…sorry, just wipe down my screen there, and his last offering was in Prog 2030 when he submitted a photo of a Japanese Mechanismo robot.

Luke may also go under the guise of ‘Mrs Dan Abnett’ as he can’t talk any higher about the cherished droid. He lists all of Abnett’s recent hits, but it falls to Tharg to mention the never popular ‘Sinister Dexter’ (unless you are Neil Scott from letter 1).

The Grand Final
A mood of anticipation gets Hospital Tests results over the line for a famous win. But alas, the news is bad. In fact, terminal. Any last words? Na.

« Last Edit: 01 September, 2020, 09:58:38 PM by Buttonman »

Colin YNWA

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #124 on: 01 September, 2020, 10:16:53 PM »
I mean its good, it very good. But you need to open this out as a vote for everyone. I can see it working!
« Last Edit: 01 September, 2020, 10:19:40 PM by Colin YNWA »

Colin YNWA

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #125 on: 01 September, 2020, 10:20:26 PM »
I mean its good, it very good. But you need to open this out as a vote for everyone. I can see it working!

Mind I say good but I bet you don't need a spreadsheet for this... what.. the what...

..Beast???...

Oh I see...

Buttonman

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #126 on: 02 September, 2020, 08:50:32 AM »
Cheers Colin - I'm afraid one Beastly MS database is the extent of my powers!

Buttonman

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #127 on: 05 October, 2020, 08:16:55 PM »

Topical eh? ‘Circuit Breaker’ - like the new proposed lockdown, not like Tharg with all his droid gubbins. That said one of his metal friends liked our Facebook post today, so maybe they are human after all? Or just badly programmed; one of the two for sure.

Tharg has continued his recent trend of allowing us one Nerve Centre a month, with the week’s being 5 weeks since the last in Prog 2197 - the recent run in weeks has been 4-4 and now 5. Can we read something into this? Yes of course, The Green One is self-isolating on Betelgeuse and the expanding orbital cycle means that he’s having to travel further to pick up his sack of post each month. Either that or the work experience boy who picks the letters has been furloughed and the local nutter can only break in once a month to paste them up, as the rest of the time he’s busy creating podcasts.

Anyway, we’re grateful for what we get, and what we got was a full page of five letters of variable quality and content in the excellent Prog 2202.

We open up with a lady <straightens tie>  in the shape of Freiya Benson of Fife, who we encounter for the third time - fourth if you count that time we were stood up on that date we’d planned. Standing in a bush still counts. Freiya ‘s two previous letters were sent from Brighton so she has taken the wise move and headed north. Hope you enjoy the rain Freiya! After a while you’ll develop a stoop so that it doesn’t drip into your chips. Freya is a long time reader, with her previous offerings scattered over the six years since her debut in Prog 1893 in 2014.

Her letter her is very ‘Out’ there! Quite the irony since we are all locked in. She makes a good case, so much so that we may go back and read it. It did look a bit difficult at first glance.

Who has done best out of the pandemic? Big Pharma? Toilet roll manufacturers? Conspiracy theorists? Meme creators? We put it to you that the biggest beneficiary of Covid-19 is Chris Browning of Todmorden who has his 4th letter printed in 2020 - there have only been 7 letters pages for goodness sake! We’re not saying that Chris created a virus and killed thousands so he could get some letters printed but all the pieces fit. He’s printed so often that we can’t even use our ‘Browning Version’ joke again.

This ‘Browning Version’ is a short one and Chris likes ‘The Out’ too and describes the recent Dredd epic as “joyously demented” which sounds good, but probably hides a truer, possibly less gushing viewpoint on the flawed thrill. Chris demands more merch from Tharg, so letter 5 is probably at the printers as we speak.

Sterling work next in the shape of Steve Sterling from USA who waffles on about ‘thrill sensors’ - thrill receptors surely? Steve runs through the Prog and says the Dredd epic was a bit rushed - we agree -we rattled through it in five minutes. Oh he wants padding? Off to the chemist for you Steve ‘Always Ultra’ are very good we hear.

Steve matches Freiya with this being his third letter also, although he wins the tie as he not only has a Letter of the Week but also a credit for a ‘Dredd cake’ - small slice please Steve. Steve’s other two hits were in Progs 1728 and 2106 and he’s currently 97 scores behind the current Steve/Steven/Stephen leader.

Next up it’s H-H-Hancock’s half pager. OK it’s a third of a page but that doesn’t fit our 60 year old reference. Mark Hancock of Leamington Spa scores his first hit with this offering and immediately becomes the joint highest Hancock, joining David of Prog 177 fame on, er, one. He has someway to go to become all Leamington Spa Champion as Keith Burden shoulders that burden on a thrilling three.

Mark’s letter stars badly with “OMG” - mega cringe. He then goes on to rave about the Dredd epic ‘End of Days’ that registered a ‘Meh’ on most tally cards. He says the story is greater than the sum of its parts and it will have a long term impact on Dredd. The clever money says he’ll get a new uniform from stores and it will never be spoken of again. He also likes to ‘mainline’ Sinister Dexter which may also be Trump’s next Corona Virus cure.

Last up is R. Hunt of Essex in what appears to be a first outing. We did have a Richard Hunt of Cricklewood who delighted us with his ‘Torque Show Host’ in Prog 544 but we though that was a made up name in the Bart Simpson style?

R. gets the last word and uses it to ask about Finnigan‘s demise in Sin-Dex. In a universe where there are multiple realities I think it‘s safe to say that the twain shall meet again, but at least it‘s a decent talking point to end the page.  The biggest shocker was it‘s been 25 years of Sin-Dex - They made a right R. Hunt of Essex of that a long time ago!

Only kidding - it’s one of the few strips we understand! Anyway a good offering in an excellent Prog - see you all in 4/5 weeks!

Proudhuff

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #128 on: 06 October, 2020, 02:24:15 PM »
MATRON!
DDT did a job on me

Proudhuff

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #129 on: 13 October, 2020, 02:17:12 PM »
this reminds me of the opening of The Big Lebowski...
DDT did a job on me

Buttonman

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #130 on: 13 January, 2021, 06:48:50 PM »

And we’re back and it’s a big Happy, er, 13th January from all of us here at Beast Towers. Alas normal service was provided by the Royal Mail who decided that two weeks into the New Year was the best time to deliver the Christmas Prog to our eager hands. This one always has letters, not least to allow that Lego man in Norway to parade his wares. Thanks to Simon at the subs department who refunded our money and provided a digital copy the very day before the actual Prog arrived. By this time we’d been fleeced £8.50 for a copy on eBay! The ‘Buttonman Beast’ copy has been returned to the Nerve Centre - hopefully a collector’s piece for some young subber or some potential DNA evidence, if nothing else.

Anyway enough of our Prog locating travails, let’s get right to the slightly stale letters which will be reheated by puns and poor banter.

First up with the Letter of the Week, is familiar face Steev Hopper. Steev will he hopping happy with this, his third top ranked offering and possibly his 10th overall. As all Beast devotees know the 10th offering awards a Beast identifier code but is our ‘Steev’ the same as the ‘Steve Hopper’ of Dublin and Plymouth who has two entries in the Beast codex in Progs 836 and Meg 191? If Steev could present evidence including a note from his parent or guardian we will consider his admission to the Pantheon of Champions.

Steev’s letter is what we in the letters community refer to as a ’shooty in’ . Every letter writer and his dog and his dog’s friend will have sent Tharg a note congratulating him on a near seamless service during the pandemic. Although that did include ‘The Order’ and some questionable postal choices, the service has been great and it was an obvious topic for letter submission. To be fair, Steev’s effort is decent. Steev has enjoyed ‘The Out’ and ‘Hook-Jaw’ and thanks Tharg for not running some second rate strips or old reprints. These points are up for debate, but they are well made and come from a position of honesty and  one of ‘I want a graphic novel this bad’.

Next up we get double teamed by David and Stephanie Walker of Exeter. This couple can boast ten Beast entries between them but alas , no Beast Code can be awarded at present. Stephanie had sole credit in her Prog 2136 effort, so we have individual scores of 8.5 to David and 1.5 to Stephanie. If this decision causes marital discord, so be it. No doubt this will be the Exeter Chiefs talking point at their breakfast bar or indeed pillows. David’s 8.5 includes an entry from Prog 314 when he was in Derby - is this the same scriber? We say nay, unless evidence can be provided to the contrary.

The letter is a bit strange in that it has co-signatories but has the frequent use of ‘I’. Is this a fly attempt to get two prizes from the verdant one? If the personal pronouns don’t show up the fallacy of the joint signature, the content surely does - two people to say to give someone a pat on the back about a shark tale? The ten-year old daughter could have managed this on her own, and maybe she did!

Stan Wilks of Barnstaple next, with his first effort to see print. It’s also the first letter from Barnstaple and the first letter from a ‘Stan’. Stan’s a name we don’t see much of any more - a bit like Ethelred or Adolf. There has been one other ‘Wilks’ in the shape of Matt who holds the Wilks crown with his mighty two from Progs 1026 and 1073 from the halcyon days of 1997.

Stan likes an adjective, with ‘zarjaz’, ‘scintillating’ and ‘unexpected’ all making early appearances in his flowery, uninventive and laboured letter. He goes on to say ‘Hook-Jaw is ‘tight’, ‘gorgeous’ and ‘intriguing’ . He ends by showing he likes American things now by saying the creators have “hit a home run”. Gee-Whiz that’s fierce commentary!

Another newbie next in the shape of Chris Allen of Thailand. Chris claims to have had a letter printed in Prog 578 and The Beast can corroborate this claim. He was living in Rugby then in the far off days of 1988, when lady-boys and green curries would be the subjects of a madman’s dreams. This is also the first letter on the list from Thailand, although there have been loads of ‘Allens’ and  a mighty 275 ‘Chris’ or ‘Christopher’s.

Chris starts in annoying fashion with a ‘Howzit going’ followed by an insult to our Emerald Editor. His letter is a trip through his attic as he recounts his one time letter glory and about his receipt of an original Pat Mills script. We just hope Pat doesn’t catch wind of this unauthorised use of his characters and writing. Chris should probably send a cheque, just to be sure.

Good first name, Stephen Parry next from e-mailland. This is Stephen’s fourth appearance with the previous three giving his location as ‘Birmingham’. Don’t hide your roots Stephen , you have Duran Duran and Barry off ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet’ to be proud of. Stephen’s first appearance was in Prog 1976 in 2016 and he now has half the total of ‘Parry’ leader Na (Nigel) who’s 8th and whose last appearance to date was in Prog 2124 in 2019.

Stephen talks up the ‘Regened’ issues which is probably a wise move if you want to see print. He likes Abelard Snazz stories - don’t we all, but the Dillon/Moore ones surely? He closes by giving a big shout out to the letterers, calling them ‘unsung heroes’. He also throws in the colourists as an afterthought too - what about the printer and the guy who forgets to deliver the issue for a month ? They deserve something too!

Not long now. Luther Davies next and we wished we watched the show as  there are probably some puns to be had. <looks at Wikipedia> Luther Elbas his way onto the page with a Ruth(Wilson)less  attack on correct numbering that will make many readers (Mark) Cross. His structure is poor as he starts with offering a double but ends up with a three-bagger; each more positive than the last - it’ll never catch on.

Luther is from e-mailland also but we know he lives, or used to live, in Chipping Norton possibly alongside Jeremy Clarkson. In that vein his letter is like a rocket ship driven by a maniac - on steroids!

Last up is the familiar Norwegian family gathering of David, Oskar and Feliks Rees who celebrate their 11th entry on the Beast all-time table and cement their /// identifier code - they are only participants who have added to their tally this issue. David first appeared in a Letter of the Week offering in 2010’s Prog 1677 and the family’s Lego and model offerings have been a staple of the Christmas issue since 2014. That’s seven Christmases in a row and at this rate they are only 89 festive seasons away from hitting the top slot (jointly).

In true 2020 style their offering this year is a digital one, rather than an actual build. It’s pretty nice but we’d prefer something solid that we could break by Boxing Day, or by Valentine’s Day if it was delivered by Royal Mail.

Overall a jolly festive offering of seven letters that brightened a dull mid January day. This was the first letters sighting in 10 Progs and an untold number of Megs so let’s hope Tharg’s New Year resolution is to get the letters page back to being a weekly offering.

Happy (Chinese) New Year!
« Last Edit: 13 January, 2021, 06:53:35 PM by Buttonman »

SmallBlueThing(Reborn)

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #131 on: 13 January, 2021, 07:07:35 PM »
Plymouth and Dublin Steve is indeed Steev. I'm assuming Thargs of the time were confused and thought "poor boy cant even spell his own name". Anything pre-1992 spelt the other way would also be me, as that's when I started forgetting how to spell it on a regular basis.

SBT
 
 

SmallBlueThing(Reborn)

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #132 on: 13 January, 2021, 07:13:48 PM »
Ps) How long is it polite to wait for the freebie graphic novel before sending Tharg a reminder, do you think? I once won a red 2000AD hat via a printed letter, that came embroidered with the legend "20   D", and I'm rather hoping my trade will be another such refugee from the obvious pile of knackered bugger-ups, like Brink Volume One, but with half of it replaced with The Space Girls or something.

SBT

Buttonman

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #133 on: 13 January, 2021, 07:23:02 PM »
Wonderful! Real time letter attribution! The Beast shall be duly updated with your wandering locations and indeed name.

Any time I've been printed the prize is normally there before the issue in which the letter appears. Bit of a spoiler really! Given the Progs are a month late I think the prizes will be similarly affected. Probably at least a month before your copy of 'Red razors' hits the mat!

SmallBlueThing(Reborn)

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Re: The Letters Beast - Online!
« Reply #134 on: 13 January, 2021, 07:35:05 PM »
Not that I wish to take up any more of your valuable time this evening- i would hate to get in the way of your food photography and cat cuddling, or the 15to1 season 17 box set- but is there any chance you could let me know the prog and Meg numbers that you have down for my letters? I fancy digging them out and astral/chrono travelling to soundly beat my younger selves with heavy objects. Thankyou in advance, and for this thread!

SBT