Friday, May 27, 2011

Episode 27, Part 2: Doug and Patti P.I.

This episode throws all kinds of new information at you right from the first words.

"Bluffington: Bumper sticker capital of the world."

See? So much more new information to come. This whole episode takes place at...

There are two typos on this sign. It clearly says "PUMPER" and I can't not point that out. I guess you could argue that a company that makes bumper stickers might think misspelling "picnic" is humorous, so that one might just be a weird joke on bumper sticker companies. But pumper stickers....

Anyway, it's the Bluffco family picnic, so naturally everyone in Bluffington is there. Everyone is playing games and having fun. Doug is reading.

He's reading Whiz Kids #49. It's a series about a brother and sister that solve mysteries. Doug is finally getting to the solution and it comes to this.

Doug is about to look at the solution when Patti snatches the book out of his hand and says that you're supposed to figure it out for yourself.

She says it's an easy one. Doug starts making wild guesses that are all wrong. Patti says you're supposed to look at the evidence and ignore all the motives.

Then Skeeter runs up to ask them about his missing wheelbarrow but notices the book and comments on how easy it was to figure out. He knew it all along apparently. Patti cuts him off so he doesn't ruin it for Doug, who gets back to hard thinking before...

"Professor Whiz kidnapped himself!"
"ROGER! He almost had it!"

So yeah, even Roger thinks that mystery was easy to solve. The first few minutes of this episode are spent showing that Doug doesn't have the critical thinking to work through a simple children's mystery story. Oh, and why did Professor Whiz kidnap himself? According to the book: "Professor Whiz kidnapped himself in order to test the brain power of his extraordinarily brilliant children." So yeah...Doug isn't extraordinarily brilliant.

Skeeter asks Roger if he'd seen his missing wheelbarrow and he gets defensive, saying he wouldn't get caught dead in that crummy race. So apparently there's a wheelbarrow race.

Finally Mr. Dink runs up yelling about something terrible when he also notices the book and comments on how easy it was. Poor, simple Doug. Anyway, the terrible thing that happened was sabotage. Somebody stole all of the bumpers for the wheelbarrow race. It actually sounds like a fun race for a picnic. Kids are blindfolded in wheelbarrows and their parents run them across the field to a hanging bumper. They have to slap bumper stickers on it. Doug never fully explains the rules, so I'm not sure how a team wins (most stickers in a given time, best accuracy, least injuries), but for a picnic, at least it's not a sack race, or a three-legged race, or an egg toss, or a series of jokes about ants ruining everything.

Seeing Mr. Dink break down into tears over the sabotage sends Doug into his first fantasy.

It's a classic noir-style mystery. Doug, P.I., is hanging out in his office when he confronts a shadowy his office. Hmmm. He accuses the shadowy figure, who fumbles his alibi, and then Doug rips off his overcoat, revealing that the shadowy figure has the bumper stickers strapped to his back. Case closed. Patti is impressed.

"Well, Patti Whiz...once you understand the criminal mind..."

"What are you talking about, Douglas?"

Just another case of acting out his fantasy and confusing those around him. And what a fantasy. It's just that easy. Detectives usually just wait around in their offices until shadowy figures come in and can't answer the first question without changing their answer 3 or 4 times in a row. It's also great that it's still a mysterious "shadowy figure." Doug solved the case by pointing out that a shadowy figure did it. What shadowy figure? I don't know. The shadowy figure in Doug's office. Arrest that figure!

Anyway, after the fantasy Doug and Patti decide to solve the mystery together. Then Porkchop walks up to them with a glove in his mouth and gives it to Doug, who then gives it to Mr. Dink saying, "you dropped your glove." Mr. Dink says it isn't his and Patti says, "Doug, you found a clue!"

No. Porkchop found a clue. At least according to the way Doug wrote about it in his journal. Also, it's a glove at a picnic in a park. If you're going to consider everything a dog brings you to be a clue in the case of the missing bumpers, then be prepared to deal with figuring out what the thief was doing with all those Frisbees, sticks, and dead birds.

With this first clue, Mr. Dink is excited and runs off to get some very expensive equipment to help out. When he runs off with his box full of bumper stickers, one flies out.

I'm going to assume the sticker is referring to the cold cut...

Right before the next fantasy, Doug narrates, "the Funnie Mayonnaise Detective Agency was open for business."

They're just in their tree house/office, taking a lot of calls when an alarm announces a shadowy figure alert. They hop on their bikes and chase him, ultimately catching him with an elaborate trap that involved cutting down a tree.

In reality, they start looking over the crowd at the picnic to determine who might have taken the bumper stickers. Doug is coming up with motives for people. Chalky's dad might have taken it because if they lost the race their athletic reputation would be ruined. Beebe's family might have done it because they hate running races and losing. Patti says, "Mr. Valentine." Doug disagrees immediately because he can't think of a motive. Patti shows him the inside of the glove.

Seems like the kind of thing you'd notice almost immediately. No one is going to hire the Funnie Mayonnaise Detective Agency. They look over at Joe and he drops a huge, cloth-wrapped bundle on the ground. They proclaim that it is the bumpers. Case closed! Then Phil Funnie walks over to him and drops another bundle! How could he be involved in the theft too! Doug has a fantasy about sending them both to jail.

Then Phil asks them if they want to help set up the bonfire.

So misleading. Then Mr. Valentine notices they are holding his glove, takes it and says, "well, I was wondering what Ruby did with my other glove." So it was Skeeter's mom!

Better go investigate the new suspect. They find her playing cards with Mrs. Klotz and Mrs. Dink, right next to the scene of the crime.

They overhear Mrs. Dink telling the other two about how she told Mr. Dink he could run in the family wheelbarrow race, if they had a kid. Then Roger comes over and starts to ask his mom something, but she cuts him off saying she already told him she can't run the race because her feet hurt from work. Maybe his father will be able to make it next year. Patti then tells Doug that his dad lives in Bloatsburg. So, if you've been wondering what happened to that guy...Bloatsburg.

Mrs. Valentine says something that makes Patti realize that Skeeter's wheelbarrow was stolen and used to steal the bumpers. They go back to the scene of the crime and again notice something that should have been immediately apparent to them; wheelbarrow tracks.

OH SHIT A SHADOWY FIGURE! Also, that wheelbarrow leaves two tracks. Magic wheel or some idiot pushing it backwards? You decide.

The shadowy figure turns out to be Skeeter. He's actually still just looking for his wheelbarrow. It certainly looks bad for him though, because when he looked in that dumpster he accidentally found all the bumpers right when Doug and Patti ran up.

Finally, Doug puts it together. It was Roger.

He really wanted to be in the race, but his deadbeat dad didn't feel like coming from Bloatsburg.

So, with all the bumpers back in place, it's finally time to do this shit. But Doug doesn't feel right. He solved the case, but feels unsatisfied. He gets the obvious idea to have Roger and Mr. Dink team up for the race and everyone is happy.

Yeah. Skeeter didn't find his wheelbarrow, I guess. The rest of the picnic goers didn't think this sounded like much fun, I guess.

I can only assume that Patti helped Doug take his time figuring out that Roger did it. It's so obvious he did it that she probably suspected it as soon as she heard the bumpers were stolen. Most likely she just wanted to let Doug feel smart for figuring it out, since he couldn't figure out the Whiz Kids #49 mystery before Roger spoiled it.

Pretty cool how the first full episode of season 3 paints a sympathetic picture of Captain Rickets. Sort of reinforces my idea that he just wants to be friends with everyone but really doesn't know how. Maybe if he had a dad that wasn't a shithead and showed up to picnics to have fun with his son, he wouldn't think that treating someone like shit was the way to show that you love them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Episode 27, Part 1: Doug's Fat Cat

This episode begins with a competitive game of barnyard chess. Porkchop is reading a book.

Doug makes a move that angers Judy right before someone rings the doorbell. Judy blames all these distractions for her terrible playing.

At the door is Roger. He's stopping by on his way out of town. He's going with his mom to a monster truck rally. Probably just stopping by to brag about his vacation.

He goes on a series of leading statements about the hotel not allowing pets in a way to make Doug agree to take care of Stinky for a few days. It takes Doug a really long time to get to this point in the conversation. If someone stops by to say they're going out of town and can't take their cat, a normal person would immediately see where this is going. When Roger finally says that Doug should take care of Stinky, there's a short fantasy where he imagines how horribly that will go. In the fantasy, Porkchop and Stinky are chasing each other around the house and Doug calls the cops to have the cat arrested. Then the house falls down.

Fucking cat. And dog. Porkchop was a part of it too. But still, this totally possible outcome that Doug has imagined means Roger needs to do some more convincing.

Doug says that he shouldn't because his parents are away (nothing else is said about this) and so it's just him, Judy and Porkchop and Judy doesn't really like cats but...

...she runs out and falls in love with Stinky. Doug finally agrees to watch the cat.

It turns out that Stinky has been getting fat and really sick lately. Roger put him on a diet of special cat food designed to make cats lose weight. So he gave Doug all the supplies and instructions and one last, very concerned "I'm counting on you" before his mom pulled her monster truck away. Monster trucks are great for road trips, right?

At night, Doug can't find the cat in the house, so he looks outside and what does he see?

Stinky is hanging out with a couple of strays, drinking Moo Moo Milk and singing like a bunch of drunks. Seriously. Guess who hates this the most.

Robe and slippers.

And slippers.

Porkchop takes the hose attached to his igloo doghouse (because of course the dog needs a water hose) and starts spraying the cats. Doug runs outside and gets soaked breaking up the whole mess. I can only assume that everything after "I looked outside and saw the cats drunkenly singing and drinking milk" is total bullshit that he just put in his journal because otherwise all he would've put was, "I agreed to watch Roger's cat today and I have so far experienced no problems whatsoever."

Ahh, but it's dinner time now. Porkchop is having a pizza. Doug opens a can of the special cat food, acknowledges how bad it smells, and then gives it to Stinky, who kicks it away in disgust. Doug then asks, "why can't you just eat pizza and ice cream like a normal pet?"

This sets Stinky off. Of course he would love to eat pizza and ice cream, just like a normal pet.

After much whining, Doug relents and orders pizza for the cat and prepares a huge bowl of ice cream for him.

All that food for one cat. I don't know how crazy you have to be to think this is a good idea. When Doug wakes up the next day, he can't find Stinky. He starts looking all over the house, even in the refrigerator, because maybe the cat accidentally shut itself inside.

He finally goes into Judy's room while she's practicing her Cleopatra routine in the mirror. She tells him to quit worrying. Cats are independent and can take care of themselves. For example, Stinky found his way into Judy's costume trunk during the night. He's sick.

Time for Doug to freak out. Skeeter joins him, because why not? Stinky won't quit moaning in agony, and it causes another short fantasy where Doug imagines telling Roger over the phone that he made his cat sick.

Roger pulls him through the phone, ties him to the top of a car and runs a monster truck over him.
In reality, Roger finally does call. Porkchop answers it. At first Doug says everything is fine, but then Roger wants to talk to Stinky. Doug doesn't want to do this because the cat is making horrible, sick-cat noises. Skeeter takes the phone and pretends to be a cat. Roger doesn't buy it, so Doug finally confesses that the cat is sick and they are taking him to the vet. Roger hangs up.

Doug and Skeeter rush to the vet. In the waiting room, they are frantically pacing when Doug finally gets too impatient and peeks his head into the vet's office where he overhears this.

"If he brought the cat in tomorrow, it would've been too late."
"Even sooner. It could all be over any minute now."

Sounds pretty bad. He comes out and tells Skeeter that Stinky is dying. Roger shows up, crying, asking what happened.

"Roger, it's all my fault. I fed and ice cream."
"I didn't think once could do any harm."
"I tried to talk him out of it, but he just kept howling."
"And now it looks like he's...gonna..."

And that's when Roger's mom chimes in with, "be a very proud mother!"

Yeah. Turns out Stinky is a female. Doug asks how Roger didn't know this.

"Well, how was I supposed to know!?"
"Son, we're way overdue for a very important talk."

Indeed, Mrs. Klotz. Indeed.

Anyway everything turned out fine. The vet even tells them that Doug did the right thing feeding the cat pizza and ice cream because pregnant cats always want to eat crazy things. So, yeah. Pizza and ice cream.
It's a pretty good start for season 3. Low on the fantasy, but way too high on the altered reality. Doug's idea of a normal pet is totally fucked, but we already knew that because of Porkchop and all the things Doug thinks he does. Like reading a book, or wearing a robe a slippers. The parents going out of town getting no explanation is par for the course. Where did they go and why did they leave their two kids? Who knows and because they don't give a shit about them. Also, this is another attempt by Roger to get closer to Doug. He doesn't even say that Doug is his last resort. He doesn't say he asked anyone else. It was always Doug to take care of his precious kitty.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

An EP about Superman

Here's more shitty music that has nothing to do with Doug for you! Last month, I took a break from writing songs for my next dumbass album to record a short ep for one of my friends that graduated last week. For ridiculous reasons that don't make sense, the songs were either about how much Superman sucks, how awesome my friend's mom is, or both. And for the cover I recreated the cover of Action Comics No. 1, with myself in Superman's position, wearing the badass sweater her mom gave me a while ago.

So this is my friend's graduation gift, minus the songs that reference her mom. You can stream it on the bandcamp site. It's just 4 short songs, and really, I don't think I'd call the first one a song. It's just weird. I don't know what I was thinking. So I guess it's 3 songs and a weird 45 second intro. Oh, and a bonus song if you download it. The bonus song has nothing to do with Superman. It's about ewoks. That's why it's a hidden song that comes with the download.

1. The Sound Lois Made the First Time She Saw Superman's Weird Alien Genitals
2. The Functioning Alcoholic
3. To Teach a Man to Fish
4. The Dinner Party
5. March of the Ewoks (hidden)

There is no minimum on the price to download. At least for now, while I still have over 200 free downloads through my bandcamp site. So I recommend you put in "0" and enjoy. If you want to pay something for it, then know that it is much appreciated and I will put the money towards something badass. Like a racecar.

Anyway, I will be starting on season 3 of Doug this week, so if making fun of Superman isn't your thing, you'll be happy to know that I think I've got all that out of my system now. Doug, on the other hand, I have much more to say about.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Episode 26, Part 2: Doug's Lucky Hat

This episode is basically Forrest Gump. The movie. Before the movie was made. I've never read the book. But remember how the movie begins? The camera follows a feather to the feet of the narrator of the story. The feather is clearly deliberately blown by the wind and meant to be picked up by Forrest Gump. This episode begins with a few shots of a hat being blown in the wind.

It even blows by a bus stop. It lands at the feet of Doug, who picks it up, remarking that he has a weird shaped head and hats never fit him. Skeeter and Connie encourage him, because it is a really good looking hat. It's so cool. Look at it...

Red and blue. How cool! So he tries it on and it fits perfectly. He looks at his reflection in a car window and is very pleased. Looks like Doug has a new hat! He takes a step, trips and lands face first on the sidewalk. Skeeter points out that the hat may be bad luck. But wait...

Right in Doug's face on the ground is the one Sky Davis trading card missing from his collection. I'm sure it's in good condition too. You know how sidewalks are the perfect place to store trading cards if you want to keep them in mint condition.

At home, Doug is admiring his new hat in a hand mirror while Porkchop plays a game and Skeeter listens to the radio. Doug is great, entertaining company. Skeeter is trying to convince Doug of the hat's amazing lucky powers because of the Sky Davis card. The DJs on the radio announce that the twenty-third caller wins a signed copy of the latest Beets cd. Skeeter shoves the hat onto Doug's head, and the phone into his hand. Doug wins the cd.

Pretty awesome! Doug is still not convinced. It's just a couple of coincidences. As they are celebrating the signed cd, Theda meekly comes into the room.

She was sorting the laundry and found Doug's Smash Adams triple 3d x-ray glasses. He'd been looking all over for them.

Okay, Doug. Cool it with the bullshit and the hallucinations.

At school the next day, Doug is warming up to the idea that the hat is lucky. He removes it from his locker and puts it on before having a great fantasy.

This is at the inauguration speech of the "world's first rock-guitar-playing president." The national symbol has been changed to a picture of the hat. His speech should be classic.

"My fellow citizens. I wish to thank you all with this special guitar solo!"

Then he jumps up on the podium and wails on the guitar. Best inauguration speech ever. Well...maybe second to William Henry Harrison's, but still...way up there.

Oh, and Doug is apparently acting out this fantasy in the hallway.

Remember that kid in school who acted out his fantasies of being a rock-star president at school and wondering what kind of medication he forgot to take that morning? That's Doug.

Suddenly Doug and Skeeter hear Patti yelling "Hamlet" in the hall. She's looking for her guinea pig Hamlet. Hamlet has run away.

There has to be some parallels to be drawn between Patti's pet Hamlet, and her pet Doug. Presumably the guinea pig's uncle murdered his dad and married his mom. This drove Hamlet crazy. Similarly, Doug believes he is wearing a lucky hat that will make him a rock-star president one day.

Anyway, Doug and Skeeter help her look for the stupid guinea pig, but not before she mentions the reason she brought it to school.
"So much for my report on how guinea pigs help the ozone layer."
I can only assume that her entire report consisted of pointing out that guinea pigs do not produce aerosol sprays full of CFCs and that guinea pig farts are 86% O3. I'm not entirely sure why she needed a live guinea pig for this report. Dumbass overachiever.

Right, so they've moved to looking for Hamlet outside on the picnic tables when a gust of wind blows Doug's hat off his head and through a window into the cafeteria. It lands on one of the trays of food that Flo is serving to the kids. Doug runs up and starts asking for his hat and Flo serves it up with her spoon.

Oh, and Hamlet is in the food under the hat. The lucky hat strikes again! Doug decides he's never going to take the hat off. Ever. See?

Need a lot of luck in the shower.

Or at the barber shop.

How can you expect to sleep all night without all that luck on your head?

Doug's good luck means the owner/operator of this gum-ball machine is fucked out of several dollars. Sorry, dude. Doug has the good luck. Enjoy your quarter.

Carnival games are no longer fixed thanks to Doug's lucky hat!

He also trips while trying to catch a pop-up in baseball, but the good luck just directed the ball into his glove.
At the Honker Burger, Patti comes over and says she's been meaning to ask him something. Skeeter whispers that she's probably going to ask him to the spring carnival (though it looks like he already went with his dog).

She asks him about the hat. Why is he always wearing it? Is it a bad haircut? He decides it would be better not to tell her he thinks it's a lucky hat. He just says it's special. She tries to pull it off (for some reason) and Skeeter tells her to be careful. That hat is lucky.

Patti: "Lucky? Is that it, Doug? You think your hat is bringing you luck?"
Doug: "Me? Uh uh! Not me! No way!"
Roger: "Then you don't mind if I borrow it, do ya?"

Doug tries to get it back but Roger tells him to knock it off because he just said he didn't think a hat could be lucky. As if you have to think possessions are magically lucky for you to care about them. Roger wants him to prove that he doesn't think the hat is lucky by loaning it out for a few hours. Roger just wants to wear it while he takes the biology test. Doug agrees, but look at that hat hair.

Just awful.

"My hat was gone and I felt totally hopeless. My life was doomed to failure."

Yep. He has a fantasy where he sells lucky sox on the street with Porkchop. He went from rock-star president to borderline-homeless sock salesman just because Roger took his hat. It's only the best, or worst, for this bi-polar kid.

During the test, Doug couldn't concentrate because Roger had the hat. "Without my hat, I felt fuzzy. My brain just didn't work right."

After school, Doug and Patti have a great conversation about the hat. He confesses that he really did think it was lucky. He says the hat found him. The hat made him feel like a winner. She says he's a winner with or without it. Then Rickets McGee comes out and shows off his D-.

The hat really is lucky! Roger passed a test because he was wearing the lucky hat. He decides to keep it. Doug is fine with this. The wind is not. It blows the hat off Roger's head and up into the sky, because it is someone else's turn to find the hat.

And Forrest Gump ended with the feather floating away. It just didn't have any magical properties attributed to it by the mentally challenged narrator that found it.

Also, it seems to me that a truly lucky hat would've found the guinea pig before it crawled all over the cafeteria food.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Episode 26, Part 1: Doug's Lost Weekend

In this opening fantasy, Doug is a fighter pilot chosen to save the people of some made up planet from the chipmunk people.

See? Ready to go!

The story begins with Doug and Skeeter at the mall. They are window-shopping a store called Computer Junkie, and decide to go in. Doug picks up a game and tv plot #209 happens.

He didn't even buy anything. His prize is a brand new Super Pretendo with the latest game, Spacemunks.

The game is unfortunately not called Spacemonks. It would be more interesting if Doug was killing monks in space, rather than chipmunks. Anyway, the game is supposed to be a Star Wars parody, and the entire game appears to be nothing more than flying a ship around, shooting nutcracker-shaped spaceships.

Doug and Skeeter get it hooked up and waste the rest of the night playing. Doug goes first, and immediately goes into fantasy mode.

Even though Skeeter is right there, he still imagines that Porkchop is his co-pilot. Look at him there, all cute in his little car seat. The three of them take turns (yes, of course Porkchop gets turns) until the screen in Doug's fantasy ship starts to malfunction.


"Can you tell us the answer to the question?"

"Oh...uh..." Doug looks down at his book, looking for an answer. He finds the only bold word on the page and says, "the governor?"
"The governor clogs up the Noodle River?"

Roger laughs his ass off at Doug.

This causes a very quick fantasy, which again distracts Doug from Ms. Wingo's questions.

Rockets fly in and blow up Roger. The Super Pretendo is clearly exacerbating Doug's problems.
Ms. Wingo asks if he did his homework and he admits that he forgot. Then she reminds him about his report on silt that will be due on Monday.

At home, he's playing the game again, and right after his fantasy commander promotes him to Major, the commander's voice changes into a woman's.

Judy changed the channel, and it took a few lines of Shakespeare on Ice for Doug to be broken from his fantasy.

She's clearly getting joy from screwing with his mind.

Skeeter leaves and Doug decides to get started on his big report on silt. Sitting down in the kitchen, he starts hallucinating. Dripping water from the faucet sounds like lasers.

He turns it off and picks up what is apparently a magazine (or one of those picture-heavy books you can expect to find in elementary and middle school libraries) about silt.

But, oh shit...that changes too. A rocket flies out of the cover.

The rocket, followed by two more, flies around his head until he decides he should just go to sleep.

Finding that he is unable to sleep, he decides to play the game again. Until 5 am. The next day at school he is barely able to stay awake. Patti finds him outside after school and asks if he'd like to study with her at the library this weekend.

This is what he sees the entire time she's talking, and he agrees to meet her at the library later, but it really doesn't seem like he heard anything she said. He's way too tired and all he can think about is murdering chipmunks in space.

That conversation kicks off what Doug called his "lost weekend." He immediately went home and started playing Spacemunks. Eventually Skeeter came over and asked for a turn, but being the addict that he is, Doug kept saying "one more turn, and then you can play." His family looked in on him once, which is apparently the extent of their concern. They didn't say anything. They just look at him because...look at him. What a crazy kid.

Finally, Doug beat the game. He destroyed the mothership. There are no more chipmunks in space. Doug has murdered them all. Time to get to work on that silt report!

Nope. He's still stuck. All he has is "silt is." It's sad. He wakes up at 10 am, realizes he's late for school, grabs all of his shit and takes off. Outside of the school he has one more fantasy.

He's basically a homeless drug addict now. He wanders back into Computer Junkie to beg for one more game. The store throws him out, as that is what drug dealers do to the junkies that come to beg because they have no money.

After the fantasy he notices Mr. Bone is walking his way and he hides in a dumpster. Then Skeeter walks by to the throw away his juice box and Doug calls him into hiding as well.

Skeeter happily jumps into the dumpster, always excited to go on another adventure! Doug explains that he didn't do his report and Skeeter explains that it's Sunday. Ha!

Realizing he has another day, and remembering that he promised to meet Patti at the library, he takes off.

So, he was able to get his report done. And he got to study with Patti. But video games sure are bad. And his parents don't seem to give a shit about him. He determined to put the Super Pretendo away when he got home but someone else is addicted now.

This episode is just more proof that his parents aren't there. They show up just to gawk at the guy that is fantasizing about flying a spaceship around, murdering chipmunks. It is a kind of low point for Doug when Patti asks to study with him and all he can think about is the game. He isn't even excited about the study date. His obsession with the game brought on several visual hallucinations and at least one (possibly two) auditory hallucination. Doug could possibly be diagnosed with schizophrenia based on this episode alone. Instead, he just learned about silt.

By the way, silt is awesome. I'm pretty sure that's what Doug was going to say with his opening sentence. Also, can you imagine grading more than one paper about silt? Ms. Wingo is torturing herself. Think of all the strange ways 11 year old kids are going to reword the definition of silt so as to avoid accusations of plagiarism. And then what are they going to say about silt? It's not exactly a topic that can be stretched to much length without getting into dreadfully boring territory.