Daily Archives: September 5, 2016

TV Review – Archer (2009 – )

Bawk bawk.

I have no idea how this show was ever made or how it has lasted as long as it has.

Mind you, that’s not because it is bad, but because it defies any kind of usual TV show parameters, rules, guidelines or what have you and is therefore laugh out loud funny.

BQB here with a review of FX’s Archer, which has just wrapped up its seventh season with no end in sight.

In this adult cartoon (or should I say cartoon for adults?) H. Jon Benjamin voices Sterling Archer who is essentially a walking personification of the word “douche.” He is a world class spy so he has the skills and looks to back up his cocky demeanor, but he generally treats everyone like crap and gets away with it because his mother, Malory (Jessica Walterowns the independent contractor spy agency (originally dubbed the International Secret Intelligence Service or I.S.I.S which obviously, due to current events, had to be changed a couple years ago.)

  • FYI Jessica Walter played Charlie Sheen’s snooty rich mother on Two and a Half Men as well as the snooty rich mother on Arrested Development and therefore she has a lock on all snooty rich mother roles in the comedy world.  She deserves it as she knocks the snooty rich mother role out of the park.

Archer has an on again/off again romance with fellow agent Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler) who suffers the burden of being the only responsible adult in a crew full of dummies.

Those dummies include:

  • Cheryl Tunt  (Judy Greer) – the agency’s insane, oddball fetish having secretary.C
  • Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell) – Total nerd who serves as the agency’s comptroller/bean counter who also has the hots for Lana.
  • Pam Poovey (Amber Nash) – Chubby potty mouthed HR rep with impulse control problems, known for her pearls and occasional dolphin hand puppet.
  • Doctor Krieger (Lucky Yates) – Mad scientist. Clone of Adolf Hitler though looks nothing like Hitler. In love with an anime hologram.
  • Ray Gillette (Adam Reed, who is the creator of the series) – Openly gay pilot/agent.  In fairness, Ray has it more together than the rest of the crew, though their incompetence regularly causes him to lose a limb or a body part as a running gag.

Speaking of running gags, the show is full of them. “Phrasing” is the best one that comes to mind. Say something that sounds remotely dirty and Archer will hit you with “phrasing” as in “you could have phrased that better.”

Archer loves 1970s action movies and is a devotee of Burt Reynolds.  Burt and many other stars have made cameos as either themselves or other characters. Being cartoonized as an Archer character has sort of become a sign than an actor/actress has made it in Hollywood (or at the very least, they have a good sense of humor.)

Animation has definitely allowed the show runners to get away with things that would never fly in live action. Somehow drawings of butts make it to TV but real butts are a no no. Oh well. I’m not a prude or anything I’m just wondering how the censors make this distinction.

Six seasons are available on Netflix.  They’re short, roughly twenty minutes long, so a good show to check out if you need a quick distraction.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy

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BQB’s Bucket List – Part the First

An ongoing list of things that I, Bookshelf Q. Battler, want to do before I croak:

#1 – Discover the secret to not croaking.  Hide it from the world so that I am the only one who knows how to not croak. Laugh at everyone as they croak.

#2 – Climb a regular sized mountain. Lie and tell everyone I climbed Mt. Everest. How would anyone know the difference? Everyone is a dummy who has never climbed a mountain.

#3 – Fart in the presence of the Queen of England. I don’t know why. It is nothing against the Queen and/or England. It is something to do with offending someone super classy. Actually, I should probably substitute the Queen with just someone who is super classy so as to avoid a smelly international incident.

#4 – Attach a Go Pro camera to my head then do absolutely nothing athletic ever. Bore my 3.5 readers with action footage of me stuffing cake into my face hole then taking a nap.

#5 – Punch a shark in the face. This shark, in particular:


Don’t feel bad for him. This shark is a douche and I suspect that he once ate a manatee…and the manatee had just discovered the cure to crotch fungus.

Now the cure for crotch fungus is lost forever thanks to this schmuck shark.  Everyone will be itchy forever.

#6 – Rappel.  Women have always told me that I am repellant so I should be good at it. Although I’m not sure if being repellant means that you would be any good at rappelling down the side of a wall like an action hero star.

#7 – Run for the Presidency of Barbados.  Everyone wants to be the President of the U.S., right? Who needs it? Too much work. No one wants to run Barbados. So let me do it. Fun. Sun.  You just wake up and tell everyone to run around the beach and be happy and sell trinkets to fat stupid tourists. I would president the shit out of Barbados and all the Barbadoonians would love me and hail me as a god.

#8 – Win the gold in an obscure Olympic event, just so I could be all fat and ugly and walk around in my USA track suit with and stand next to pro javelin throwers and race runners and show off my gold medal for Olympic paper airplane making.

#9 – Go everywhere in a helicopter.  Land my helicopter at the grocery store. Land it at the dentist office. Land it wherever I need to go.  People will be all like, “you can’t land that helicopter here, jerk face!” and I’ll be all like “Shut up ass clown, I own a helicopter so I can do whatever I want!”

#10 – Oh. I suppose I should add some nice shit to this list. And I’d like to say that I thought about doing nice shit right up front and in no way should you assume that being nice was an afterthought because it is the last item on this list.  So I would probably adopt some orphans and teach them all how to start their own blogs to bring in their own 3.5 readers.

Thank you, 3.5 readers.  Let me know what is on your bucket list.

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TV Review – Mad Men (2007-2015)

Dun dun…dun dun…dun dun….dun dun…cartoon silhouette of a man falling out of a window combined with violin music.

Hard drinking, chain smoking 1960s advertising men and Christina Hendricks’s jumbotrons = a compelling historical drama.

BQB here with a review of Mad Men.

3.5 readers, I like to consider myself an educated person. I read books and shit after all.

But few shows brought to life for me the women’s rights struggles as this show did.

Ironically, that’s not what the show is about but it is what I’ll probably always remember it for.

The set-up – Don Draper (Jon Hamm) lives the life of a free wheeling, perpetually fornicating Madison Avenue advertising executive (aka he is a “Mad Man.”)

Because its the 1960s, he’s pretty much free to boink any babe he wants and just tell his wife he had to stay late at work if she asks any questions.

In fact, his comrades at the firm pretty much do the same thing.  His boss, Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and his underling Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) rival Don in their hard drinking, smoking, and extramarital affairs.

We often look to the past as simpler, more innocent times yet this show does put on display things that were commonplace in the past that would turn a head today, the most glaring example that everyone at the firm has their own fully stocked bar in their office and walking around the office with a cocktail in one hand and a smoke in the other happened all the time.

Good luck trying that today.

The formula is pretty standard:

  • Don cheats on his wife because he was once a poor bum who never thought he’d amount to anything and now that he is on top and the world is his oyster he feels this driving need to drink, smoke and boink as much as possible before his life is over.
  • Extramarital boinking is fun for five minutes but then he realizes family is the real deal, that one night stands will never bring him the long lasting happiness that being a family man will.
  • Don decides to straighten up only to start boinking again. In his defense, women just throw themselves at him so it is hard to avoid the boinking. It is easy for me to say that I’m not an evil boinker since no one is offering to boink me.
  • Don’s colleagues at the firm all experience the “be faithful to your spouse vs. boink while you can” conundrum.
  • Along the way, we learn a lot about the history of commercial advertising, how some of the advertising campaigns that fool us into buying crap we don’t need got started and continue today.

There are times when the show seems tedious, like it is going nowhere.  I get the main premise, i.e. love the one that’s loyal to you because the side action will never be as loyal.

If I didn’t bear a striking resemblance to a gargoyle, I would take this to heart and tell the side action to take a hike. Alas, I am too hideous to attract side action.

But maybe I’m the lucky one. Maybe Don would have been better off if he weren’t so damn handsome and having so many women throwing themselves at him, demanding that he be unfaithful.

I mentioned the women’s rights movement earlier.  So, what I noticed is that Betty (January Jones) who is super hot and frankly, would be enough for me (I’d be racing home from the office to get all up in that) basically has to put up with Don’s bullshit.

She’s a housewife. No money. No career. No job prospects. If you’re a 1960s housewife and your husband cheats on you, your choices are a) put up with it and lose your dignity or b) leave and be poor because the best job you’ll be able to find is waitressing if you’re lucky and also you’ll lose the kids because your husband has the money to hire a lawyer and you don’t.

So thanks a lot, Don, you big time douche. Dudes like you who had no idea how good you had it created a world where women had to take charge and alas, I don’t have January Jones waiting for me when I come home now.

Aside from the man drama, you also have Joan (Hendricks) and her enormous sweater cannons, which are basically characters in and of themselves and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) paving the way for women in business, showing what working women had to go through.

Throughout the series, we see Peggy go from mousey secretary to female Don Draper while Joan must navigate her way through a sea of perverts who want access to her sweater cannons on her quest to be taken seriously as a businesswoman.

All seven seasons available on Netflix. Set your TV to widescreen mode so you can take in Joan’s chest rockets in their entirety.

Seriously, its like watching a movie when you the theater is packed and you have to sit in that damn row that’s right up against the screen.  You have to look to the left to see the left boob then crane your neck to the right just to see the right boob.

Very stressful.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Happy Labor Day, 3.5 Readers

You’ve worked all year long so enjoy this day off.

If you haven’t worked at all…stop reading dumb blogs and get a job!

Thank you for your continued support, 3.5.  I, as always, continue to labor on this blog for your amusement.

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TV Review – Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

I am the one who reviews!

High school chemistry teacher with cancer + his former student who calls everyone “bitch” = show that most critics would agree is the best television show of the twenty first century thus far.

BQB here with a review of Breaking Bad.

When this show came out in 2008, someone close to me had just died from cancer, so I wasn’t interested at all.  I saw the previews for it and was like, “eh” then I saw the previews for Showtime’s The Big C, a show that came out around the same time about a woman trying to keep her life together while fighting cancer and I was just like, “Look Hollywood, cancer is not funny or glamorous and it is the last thing I want to see on TV when I’m looking for an escape, thank you very much.”

So the years passed and then somewhere in the early 2010s I heard people talking about this show so I gave it a chance on Netflix and was immediately hooked.  And from what I’ve heard, the invention of streaming media breathed life into this and a lot of other shows.

Because when you think about it, a show about a high school chemistry teacher dying from cancer doesn’t exactly sound like good time appointment viewing, but once it was available in a format for people to check out when they had a free moment, boy howdy did they get hooked.

And truth be told, the show isn’t so much about cancer as it is a study of a) the sadness people feel when they reach the end of their lives feeling like they never reached their full potential and b) how much the legal system keeps us all behaving like good doobies without us ever realizing it.

Remove a) the fear of dying because you are already dying and b) the fear/humiliation of ending up in prison (because you’re dying) and the nicest person you know might end up walking down an evil path.

The set-up – Walter White (Bryan Cranston) was, in his youth, a promising chemistry scholar who starts a business with friends Elliot (Adam Godley) and Gretchen (Jessica Hecht).

Walter sells his share of the company early, the company becomes huge, like Facebook huge.  Meanwhile, Walter grows old and bitter, having spent his life in mediocrity as a high school teacher with a part time job at a car wash just to make ends meet.

Somehow he manages to snag a hot wife, Sklyer (Anna Gunn) while his son, Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte) oozes happiness and gets along as a typical teenager despite a handicap.

When Walt is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his despair over his untapped potential haunts him. He’ll die without using his genius brain to make it big.

Alas, his brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris), a DEA agent, takes Walt on a ride along.  Walt catches a glimpse of just how much cash a good drug dealer rakes in and the little hamster starts rolling around the wheel in his brain.

What begins as an idea to use his chemistry know how to cook crystal meth in order to leave some extra cash behind for his family turns into a long journey into the proverbial heart of darkness, as Walt uses his smarts and fearlessness (because, hey, he’s dying anyway) to rise to the highest ranks of the criminal underworld.

He takes on Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), his former student turned junkie as his partner in crime and together, they become expert meth cooks.  As Jesse becomes like a second son to Walter, their relationship is sometimes tragic and sometimes even hilarious.

Add to the mix criminal lawyer (the show stresses you are to read this as a “lawyer who is a criminal”) Saul Goodman (veteran comedian Bob Odenkirk) who steals the show with his obnoxious TV lawyer ads.  Saul teaches the boys how to launder their money, dodge law enforcement, get out of trouble, etc. etc.

Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) is the old ex-cop/problem fixer that Walt works with. The combination of the grizzled old man who has seen and done it all and the chemistry teacher who sees things through gentrified eyes is comical.

Meanwhile, Giancarlo Esposito as crime boss Gus Fring is one of the scarier bad guys on television.

Throughout the series, Walt struggles to keep his public and private lives separate.  He continues to pose as a good dad and husband while sneaking off to cook meth and deal with criminals with Jesse.

All the while, lovable Hank, and I do mean lovable, is chasing some criminal without realizing the man he wants is his beloved brother-in-law that he spends the weekends with grilling burgers and shooting the breeze.

If anything, the Hank/Walt dynamic is what really makes the show. The show runners could have made Hank the stereotypical tough guy cop but instead they made Hank an average joe.  He loves his wife, Skyler’s sister Marie (Betsy Brandt), loves his in-laws Walt and Skyler, loves his nephew Walt Jr. and brews beer in his garage as a hobby.  He is, one might say, a true mensch.

The star of the series is Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator and man behind the scenes.  Every detail, every little thing that happens means something.  Take notes as you watch because if someone so much as sneezes it will turn out to be important later. Not letting a single second of time go wasted has become Gilligan’s signature.

So many shows take off and then descend into chaos.  The actors get too big for their britches and want to leave for bigger, better things.  Ironically, prior to this show, Bryan Cranston wasn’t that well known, his other biggest acting gig having been as the father on Malcolm in the Middle.

Like Walt, Bryan found fame and fortune late in life (albeit legally) but he never forgot the viewers and juggled all the big movie roles that came his way with Breaking Bad, keeping it all together to keep the show going.

And sometimes writers run out of gas, but Vince and company keep viewers on the edge of their seats to the very end.

In fact, if you’re a wannabe writer, I highly suggest checking out this show. (At present, all five seasons are available on Netflix.)

And catch the prequel, Better Call Saul on AMC. It doesn’t have a lot to do with Breaking Bad but you get to learn how Saul and Mike worked together before Walt came along.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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The Illiad Rebooted – Chapter 7

Tyndareus cradled his aching head in his hands as his sons and their buddy loudly and obnoxiously voiced their dismay.

“Agamemnon and Menelaus are the biggest butt holes in Greece!” Castor shouted.

Odysseus stared at a hangnail. Soon, he found it so annoying that he nibbled it away.

“Can’t get on board with shipping Helen off to the butt hole brothers, Pops,” Odysseus said between nibbles.

“They are cruel,” Castor said.

“Vile,” Pollux added.

“Ill-tempered,” Castor said.

“Ill-mannered,” Pollux added.

“Lustful of power,” Castor said.

“Lustful of anything else,” Pollux said.

“The two biggest dingleberries to ever wiggle their way out of Hades’s turd hatch,” Odysseus said as he finally managed to bite the hangnail clean off.

“They can’t be trusted,” Castor said.

“Exactly,” Pollux said. “A pair of ruthless backstabbers.”

“Can we reopen the Ajax discussion?” Odysseus asked. “Even if the guy doesn’t have a great big jumbo wang, he’s still a pretty loyal hombre. It’ll be like giving Helen her own gigantic puppy dog.”

“Anyone would be better than Menelaus,” Castor said.

“Literally anyone,” Pollux added. “Anyone at…”

The king looked up and banged his fist down on the table so hard that it knocked everyone’s wine glasses over, spilling the delicious fermented grapey goodness everywhere.


The trio of young men were aghast. They’d never seen the kind hearted old king angry before.

The king sighed and sat back down. The tone of his voice returned to normal.

“Don’t you three think I have agonized over all of this?” the king asked. “The situation remains that Agamemnon, through violence and guile, has consolidated twelve of the most powerful nations in Greece into the Achaean League. The kings of these lands bow to him. Their warriors fight for him.”

“Oh whatever,” Odysseus said. “Tell Agamemnon he suck my big ole Greek…”

The king interrupted his guest. “I already denied Agamemnon once when he requested Helen’s hand. To deny his brother would be just the excuse he needs to declare war on Sparta.”

“Let him try it,” Castor said.

“The mighty Spartan army is oiled and waiting,” Pollux added.

“Guys,” Odysseus chimed in. “Did you all not hear me? Ajax the Great allegedly has a great big jumbo wang. I say we invite him to court and demand that he drop his drawers so we can put this mystery to rest once and for all.”

“Be serious for once, Odysseus,” Tyndareus said.

“I’ll be serious when you say something that deserves a serious response,” Odysseus said.

The king sneered. “What did you just say?”

Odysseus threw his arms out. “Well, what did you expect us to think about this idea? You know we hate those two jerk holes.”

“When we were young, they used to run around the palace strangling rats and torturing small animals,” Castor said.

“Sick, twisted shit,” Pollux added.

“Yes,” Tyndareus said. “The lads of Mycenae did indeed have an unpleasant childhood.”

“Unpleasant?” Castor asked.

“Their father killed their cousins to get back at their uncle for banging his wife,” Pollux said.

Odysseus snickered. “Then, as if that weren’t enough, their father cooked up his nephews and tricked his brother into eating his own children. Classic Atreus.”

“Indeed,” Tyndareus said. “And when Thystes discovered what was in his supper and slew Atreus, I took in Agamemnon and Menelaus until they were of age and able to return to Mycenae, murder their uncle and take back the throne.”

“Those two dip shits owe you big time,” Odysseus said. “If anything, you should be making demands of them.”

“Agreed,” Tyndareus said. “And yet my heart calls on me to pity them, for surely having your uncle bone your mother, then having your father murder your cousins and feed them under false pretenses to your uncle only for your uncle to then turn around and murder your father is not only a very complicated tragedy to experience, but one that would no doubt turn the best of us into a heartless beast.”

Odysseus sighed. “It is no wonder that Agamemnon’s thirst for power can never be satiated.”

“It truly can’t be,” Tyndareus said. “Agamemnon is now stuck on a course where he will continue to seek a limitless amount of territory as salve for his childhood wounds.”

Odysseus picked up his goblet and poured fresh wine into it.

“Someone really needs to give ole Aggie a hug and tell him to just cry it out because no amount of land will ever help him get over the fact that his uncle fucked his mother and then his father killed his cousins and fed them to his uncle and then his uncle retaliated by killing his father.”

“If only they made a greeting card for that,” Tyndareus said.

“Father,” Castor said. “You might recall that when Agamemnon took our sister Clytemnestra as his wife in Helen’s stead, he agreed that there would always be peace between Mycenae and Sparta.”

“He did,” Tyndareus said. “But that was before he established the Achaean League. Now his power knows no bounds. Will he personally feel offended if Menelaus is snubbed? No. But Agamemnon is crafty. He bides his time, looks for the perfect excuse for war and when it presents itself, he strikes with cunning precision and furious vengeance.”

“What an asshole,” Odysseus said.

The Dioscuri looked downtrodden.

“Father,” Castor said. “It feels as if…

Pollux interrupted his brother. “It feels as if Castor and I have spent our entire adult lives saving Helen from danger only for you to deliver her into danger.”

A tear trickled out of Castor’s eye. He lost control and hugged his brother.

“Oh Pollux! Finally, you have added something useful to the conversation!”

The king nodded. “I know selecting a husband for the most beautiful woman in the world is a horrible task, but I see no other way. By marrying Helen off to Menelaus I can die knowing that Helen will never again be kidnapped as no one would dare cross Agamemnon and…”

The king reached across the table and took Castor’s hand. “…I can rest assured that you, Castor, will be able to preside over Sparta as king, leading our country in a time of peace and prosperity thanks to a renewed truce with Agamemnon.”

Castor’s heart skipped a beat. “Oh father…I…I….”

Tyndareus stretched his other hand out and took Pollux’s hand. “I am sorry, son.”

“Quite alright,” Pollux said.

“We never were sure which one of us came first,” Castor said.

“’Twas definitely Castor,” Tyndareus said. “Popped out of your mother’s womb like a greased goose ready to take the world by storm.”

Castor blinked his eyes, trying desperately to curb his tears of joy.

“And Pollux,” the king said. “Know that when your brother serves as king, you shall be…”

“Oh my gods,” Pollux said as a grin took over his face.

“Champion of Sparta!” Tyndareus said.

Pollux hyperventilated. “Oh my gods! Oh my gods! I’m so happy!”

Father and sons jumped to their feet and embraced.

Meanwhile, Odysseus guzzled a gulp of wine, then interrupted the three-way hug with an obnoxious belch.

“I hate to break up this family schmaltz-fest, but this plan will not bring about peace.”

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The Illiad Rebooted – Chapter 5

Tyndareus and the Dioscuri enjoyed goblets of wine around a table in the king’s chamber as Odysseus regaled them with tales of his daring do.

“So I was all like, ‘Damn Medusa,’ you got a butter face.’”

“Ha,” the king said. “And what, pray tell, is a ‘butter face?’”

Odysseus sipped from his goblet. “Its when a woman has a smokin’ bod ‘but her’ face? Whoa nelly! Put a bag on it!”

Tyndareus and his lads erupted into laughter.

“I’m serious,” Odysseus said. “I literally had to put a bag on Medusa’s face. I wasn’t trying to be rude but the bitch had snakes for hair. Plus there was the whole ‘turn you into stone if you so much as look at her’ vibe she had going on. It was all very awkward.”

“Oh Odysseus,” Tyndareus said. “Seeing you and my boys having such a rollicking good time brings back happy memories of days long past.”

The king’s face turned grim as he set down his goblet. “But I’m afraid we must move on to a more pressing matter….Helen.”

The Dioscuri gasped.

“Oh for the love of the gods,” Castor said.

“Has she been kidnapped by another pervert already?” Pollux inquired. “I haven’t even had a chance to take a bath yet.”

“I can tell,” Odysseus said as he pinched his nose. “Not for nothing but you two smell like you just murdered a couple of crusty old fucks.”

The king shook his head. “No. Helen is safe, but as we all know, not for long. It will only be a matter of time before another crafty pervert circumvents our security, maneuvers past the mighty Spartan army, and takes off into the night with our dear Helen.”

“We’ll be ready, father,” Castor said.

“We always are,” Pollux said.

“Yes,” Tyndareus said. “But there will not be another rescue mission for you, Dioscuri, for the time has come for Helen to be married.”

Gasp. Gasp. Gasps all around.

“Well,” Castor said. “Helen certainly won’t want for suitors.”

“The line will surely back up all the way to Asia,” Pollux said.

“Indeed,” Tyndareus said. “However, I have already decided who the groom shall be.”

The Dioscuri and Odysseus took turns guessing.

“Ajax the Great?” Odysseus asked. “Word around the Aegean Sea is that the man is packing a jumbo wang. We’re talking third leg territory. Obviously I don’t have visual confirmation but they don’t call him ‘great’ for nothing.”

“I always assumed it was because he is great at battle,” Castor said.

“No,” Odysseus said. “Stop talking nonsense. Its because he has a great big jumbo wang.”

“It is not Ajax the Great,” the king said.

Castor snapped his fingers. “Who is that fellow…the one from Arcadia?”

“Agapenor?” Pollux asked.

“That’s him,” Castor said as he pointed at his brother.

“Aww shit,” Odysseus said. “Agapenor the Arcadian. Those Arcadians are some swarthy ass muthafuckas. Sappy romantics. Good choice, Pops.”

The king sighed. “It is not Agapenor the Arcadian.”

Odysseus leaned back in his chair. “Just tell me its not Ascalaphus, because if you ask me, that guy is a real ‘Ass-cala-hatus.’”

“Helen can surely do better than the underworld’s orchard keeper,” Castor said.

“It is not Ascalaphus,” the king said.

“Well who is it?” Odysseus asked.

“Yeah,” Castor said.

“Don’t keep us in suspense,” Pollux added.

Tyndareus rose to his feet and leaned over the table. “Helen’s husband…shall be…Menelaus.”

The faces of all three men turned red with anger.

“Booo!” shouted Odysseus. “Booo!”

“Minotaur shit!” Castor cried.

“Total minotaur shit,” Pollux added, rather needlessly.

Odysseus made a cone with his hands and shouted into it. “Booo! Do over! Do over!”

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