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Author Topic: We'd like a side order of revisionism with that history please— we're Greek
Hephaestion
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posted 20 November 2004 11:14 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Greek lawyers threaten to sue over gay Alexander film

quote:
(Athens) The upcoming film Alexander and Oliver Stone its director are being threatened with a lawsuit for portraying Alexander the Great as a bisexual.

A group of Greek lawyers announced Friday that they have served Stone and Warner Bros film studios with "an extrajudicial note"

The group wants Stone to include a reference in the title credits saying the movie is fiction and not based on fact.

Yannis Varnakos, the spokesperson for the group, admits that he has not seen the film, set to be released Nov. 24, but says he has already gathered enough evidence to suggest there are what he calls "inappropriate references".


[ 20 November 2004: Message edited by: Hephaestion ]


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'lance
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posted 20 November 2004 11:19 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But I thought Alexander wasn't Greek, but Macedonian.

Perhaps Macedonians in turn will get angry at this Greek attempt to claim their national hero.

[ 20 November 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


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clockwork
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posted 22 November 2004 04:51 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So, someone is pissed that Oliver Stone misrepresents history...

Score another one for Oliver Stone.


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Hephaestion
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posted 22 November 2004 06:11 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by clockwork:
So, someone is pissed that Oliver Stone misrepresents history...

Score another one for Oliver Stone.


How is Stone "misrepresenting history"?

quote:
Sorry to those who insist that Achilles and Patroclus were NOT lovers, but this sentiment is just incorrect. The ancient Greeks, both Hellenic and Hellenistic, had no where near the attitude toward male/male sexual relationships I have seen expressed repeatedly in this thread.

In fact, male/male love was prevalent amongst the aristocrats, and seen as something of a rite of passage in some cases. There was no stigma attached as long as it was also a mentoring type relationship between an older, more experienced man and a younger (though still adult) one who was wooed with gifts, and as long as the relationship ended with the marriage of either (usually the elder man).

As for the ancient Greeks taking a dim view of the homosexual leanings of Achilles, sorry, but that just ain't so either. Achilles was seen as the embodiment of arete, and when offered a choice between a long, mundane life and a short, glorious one, Achilles chose the latter. This was the sort of choice which appealed to Classical and Hellenistic Greeks alike. Alexander the Great himself worshipped (literally) Achilles (and slept with a copy of the Iliad under his pillow), and even sacrificed to him when his army passed the mound of Hisarlik (site of Troy), on their way to smash the hosts of Darius III Codomanus at the Battle of the Granicus River.

What's more, Alexander himself had a life-long love affair with his boon comrade and best friend, Hephaestion. When Hephaestion died, Alexander went nearly mad with grief.


There's more here.....

Methinks the one who is "misrepresenting history" here is not Stone....

Or how about this...?

quote:
Hephaestion (c.357-324), Macedonian nobleman, general, friend and lover of king Alexander the Great. He and Alexander had gone to school together, two of several boys who studied under the philosopher Aristotle. When Hephaestion was killed in battle, a grief-stricken Alexander gave him what may well be the most spectacular funeral in all history.

“Alexander the Great had the body of his dead lover, Hephaestion. burned atop an awesome 200-foot pyre, erected at a cost of over 10,000 talents, equivalent to roughly $60 million today. The pyre, which took months to complete, contained tiers of sculpted ships, centaurs, bulls, sirens, lions, and wreaths, all in combustible softwood.”(*)

(*) quote source: Rutledge, L. The New Gay Book of Lists. Alyson, 1996, p. 19)


[ 22 November 2004: Message edited by: Hephaestion ]


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clockwork
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posted 22 November 2004 06:42 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Look, I'm not a historian, Greek or otherwise. However I do know that given his past representations on the silver screen, Stone ain't one to be trusted. And, honestly, I made my post to this thread as a general observation: I readily admit any particular Stone fact might be true. Hell, someone telling me a bunch of ancient Greeks were gay wouldn't bat an eye over here in clockwork-land. I was just commenting on Oliver Stone and not necessarily about a particular fact of Greek history.

So, I admit my post had no real relevance to your point in hand. I'm just typing away at five in the morning. My only point is that Stone puts controversy on film. I almost think Stone expected this lawsuit. Stone seeks out this type of controversy. The gay thing is inconsequential.

Edited: sorry, the controversy isn't inconsequential, it's the defining feature of his films, it's what generates the free buzz. Controversy is what defines his film.

[ 22 November 2004: Message edited by: clockwork ]


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Hephaestion
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posted 22 November 2004 07:17 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, I admit Stone is not adverse to a bit of controversy, and his historical accuracy has been challenged in the past.

But as to whether Alexander was "Greek" or Macedonian, apparently there are some controversies that Stone wants no part of. According to The Guardian:

quote:
Evangelos Venizelos, the formidable former Greek culture minister and a Macedonian, attempted to get Stone onside early on, offering him Greek locations and the use of the army for battle scenes, but the director demurred and instead diplomatically chose locations far away from controversy in Morocco and Thailand.

In truth, Alexander was half-Illyrian (mother) and half-Macedonian (father) and he was hardly his dad's (Philip's) favourite. He was not particularly nationalistic and tried to mix and amalgamate cultures within his empire. For the modern Greeks to "claim" him is laughable.


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lagatta
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posted 22 November 2004 07:21 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But Hephaestion , only you would know - was he any good in the sack? I can imagine him always thinking about the next conquest ... and I don't mean a cute warrior...
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clockwork
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posted 22 November 2004 07:40 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Errr? the argument over whoever claims Alexander as their own strikes in me the same chord as when I hear the arguments over Alexander Bell. Scottish, American or Canadian, I just say let it go. At least Bell was a comparative contemporary whose genius is worth fighting for. Alexander the Great? what, he built a couple of dirt roads between Europe and Asia?

Err.. I digress. I readily admit I'm not treating this thread with the same gravitas as you, Hephaestion, so I'll bow out. Usually I'm keen on the history threads but not today.


PS: Isn't Greece and Macedonia just different sides of the same mountain? Is it a Hull/Ottawa type of argument?


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Hephaestion
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posted 22 November 2004 07:47 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by lagatta:
But Hephaestion , only you would know - was he any good in the sack?

Not entirely true that "only" Heph would know. Alex had a wife, Roxanne of Bactria, with whom he had a son. Bah! That was all politics, though. Alex's lifelong companion was Heph, and he became reckless, even foolhardy, about his personal health and safety after Heph was killed.

quote:
I can imagine him always thinking about the next conquest ... and I don't mean a cute warrior...

Well, Alex loved his conquests, for sure, but Heph he always considered as an equal, and as far as Alex was concerned, Heph was his alter-ego:

quote:
Alexander had captured Darius's throne tent with treasure of 3000 talents of gold ( US$ 1.2 billion, 1 TALENT = 27 kg Au), with a complete imperial escort; including Darius's mother, Sisygambis; his wife, Stateira; his harem and other princesses.

When Alexander and Hephaestion went to meet Sisygambis, she prostrated herself at the feet of the most imponent figure in the group. She chose by the mistake the taller Hephaestion! Alexander is said to have responded in a rather friendly fashion:

"Don't worry, mother, he is Alexander, too."


[ 22 November 2004: Message edited by: Hephaestion ]


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Hephaestion
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posted 22 November 2004 07:52 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by clockwork:
I readily admit I'm not treating this thread with the same gravitas as you, Hephaestion, so I'll bow out. Usually I'm keen on the history threads but not today.

No probs. I just happen to be kind've an amateur history nut, and ancient Greek and Roman history has always fascinated me.


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Frac Tal
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posted 22 November 2004 09:46 AM      Profile for Frac Tal        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
When Hephaestion was killed in battle, a grief-stricken Alexander gave him what may well be the most spectacular funeral in all history.

What history I've read said that Hephaestion died of a disease, possibly cholera.

Path of Return and Sudden Death


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Cueball
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posted 22 November 2004 10:42 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Not entirely true that "only" Heph would know. Alex had a wife, Roxanne of Bactria, with whom he had a son. Bah! That was all politics, though. Alex's lifelong companion was Heph, and he became reckless, even foolhardy, about his personal health and safety after Heph was killed.


He was always reckless and follhardy.

That said, there is no reason to think that Alexander was not gay or bisexual, given the mores of the time. Stone doesn't need to be an accurate historian to present the case that he was. Ancient history is always open to interpretaion on these kind of details.

Does the movie include the part where Alexander kills his companion that saved his life during his first foray into Asia minor?

[ 22 November 2004: Message edited by: Cueball ]


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Hephaestion
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posted 22 November 2004 11:05 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Frac Tal:

What history I've read said that Hephaestion died of a disease, possibly cholera.

Path of Return and Sudden Death


Hadn't read that one before... Of course, they also rather primly limit themselves to referring to Hephaestion as Alexander's "best friend", so....


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Hephaestion
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posted 22 November 2004 11:06 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cueball:
Does the movie include the part where Alexander kills his companion that saved his life during his first foray into Asia minor?

Got me, Cueball... I guess we'll find out when the movie comes out...


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bittersweet
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posted 22 November 2004 11:49 AM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If the pyre took months to complete, there wouldn't have been much body left to burn. Eew.
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Contrarian
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posted 22 November 2004 12:03 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
He would have been embalmed or whatever. The books about Alexander by Mary Renault are good fictional accounts; she obviously admired him very much. I wonder if the movie relies on them at all.
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bittersweet
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posted 22 November 2004 12:30 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Of general interest, the current issue of Archeology has a feature story on Alexander. Their website has interesting links (including a bibliography) and new book references. Apparently Alex murdered his "trusted commander Cleitus in a drunken fury." I hate it when that happens.
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arborman
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posted 22 November 2004 06:05 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wasn't he 17 when he died? Or do I have my Greek history all mixed up?
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Timebandit
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posted 22 November 2004 06:14 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think Alexander was closer to 30 at the time of his death. Not a long life span by our standards, and I'm not sure about the standards of the day.
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Agent 204
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posted 22 November 2004 06:18 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Frac Tal:

What history I've read said that Hephaestion died of a disease, possibly cholera.

Path of Return and Sudden Death


On a related note, I've heard that Alexander himself died of malaria. Quite the irony- the greatest conquerer in history felled by a lowly mosquito.


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faith
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posted 22 November 2004 06:40 PM      Profile for faith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I can't remember the link for a theory put forward about Alexander's death but it was interesting and has stuck with me.
Pouring over old accounts of Alexander's military career researchers found a description of his march toward a city shortly before his death. I can't remember if it was his home city or one he just finished sacking but the victory march was marked by ravens (birds of death) falling from the sky dead and the ground littered with dead birds.
This would have been an important omen for sure in Alexander's time but in our time the researchers believe that it could mean that avian flue could have been responsible for Alexander's death.

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Hephaestion
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posted 23 November 2004 02:12 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The first feedback on the film over at 365gay.com is not flattering:

quote:
I just saw the Alexander film and Alexander's gay affair is very clearly presented. Unfortunately, it's really, really lame. The affair is campy and the sex, well, what sex. Alexander and Hephaeston hug a couple of times and we're supposed to "get it."

Colin Farell makes a few pouty faces to "show us" his "love" for Hephaeston. He even screams out in anguish upon his demise. Sadly, this film won't knock down any stereotypes. In fact, I'd be surprised if it stays in theatres for very long.



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bittersweet
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posted 24 November 2004 01:52 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
While important, Alexander's sexuality isn't the crucial point of the movie. His arrogance is, especially as it reflects--safely back there in antiquity, for patriotic USian audiences--the colonialist mindset. You can watch it just like an old western. The Persian conquest/the Indian Wars...the Iraq invasion. While I don't think the movie's great--as with Platoon, the action is made more compelling than the deeper issues--making the link between past and present was likely Stone's intention.

As for historical accuracy, anyone who insists on that in art, popular or not, misses everything.


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Bacchus
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posted 24 November 2004 02:03 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
ancient Greek and Roman history has always fascinated me.

Kewl Hep, I got my degree in that (and medieval)

The movie is loosely based on the Robin Fox biography.

Now if we could just get a decent movie on Julius Caesar, Richard I, Edward III or Julian the Apostate


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Contrarian
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posted 24 November 2004 03:05 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This summer in Calgary, Shakespeare in the Park put on Julius Caesar; it was very well done, with the short dictator strutting around in his military uniform, very effect martial music in the background; and of course ending with another short dictator strutting around in his uniform.
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'lance
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posted 24 November 2004 03:29 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The first feedback on the film over at 365gay.com is not flattering...

Salon is no kinder (if you're not registered, you have to watch an ad):

quote:
What's far more interesting is Alexander's alleged bisexuality, which Stone is obsessed with. But he doesn't do justice to that, either. There are no graphic male sex scenes in "Alexander," but there are plenty of rummy allusions to Alexander's closeness with Hephaistion, and several scenes with boys and men frolicking and cavorting in a not particularly heterosexual way. Olympias, worried that her teenage son will fail to produce an heir, admonishes, "You're 19 and the girls are already saying you don't like them." (Could it be that he's always dragging them home to listen to his "Judy at the Acropolis" records?) And Christopher Plummer appears in a toga as Aristotle (if you close your eyes, you can hear the rounded, figgy tones of Edward Everett Horton -- shades of Jay Ward again?), explaining to his young male students that they shouldn't necessarily deny their urges: "When men lie together and virtue pass between them -- that is good." You see, in olden times, homosexuality was clean and wholesome: You don't hear Aristotle extolling the virtues of a long, slow screw from a big, dumb guy.

Stone's approach to Alexander's sexual orientation manages to be both ham-fisted and insultingly timid. It's a shame, because Farrell is at his best in his scenes with Leto. The two don't kiss, or even caress -- mostly, they just speak to each other with warm regard and lock their arms around each other in a manly clench. But Farrell is such a sensual presence (and such a hardworking actor, although as yet an untested one) that he makes the tenderness between the two men seem far more natural than the idiotic dialogue Stone and his co-writers have embroidered around it. When he looks at Leto, you see something very real inside him, a mix of romance and carnality that doesn't exactly have a name.

But Stone sabotages any depth of feeling Farrell tries to put across. In the dramatic wedding-night sequence, Hephaistion appears in Alexander's bedchamber, bearing a ring for his beloved. Dressed in a scraggly fur vest, his eyes ringed with smudgy kohl, Leto looks like a wronged hippie chick, ready at any moment to fling himself down, tearfully, on his Indian bedpread while Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" plays over and over again on the turntable. (Leto tries hard, but trust me, no actor can survive that eyeliner.)


Edit: Stop the presses. Salon's review is rapturous compared to David Edelstein's over on Slate:

quote:
With Alexander (Warner Bros.), Oliver Stone has done what I never thought possible: He has made me feel pity for him. The movie is a sprawling mess, a lox, a three-hour non-starter. But it's not an affront, like Stone's other bombastic, amphetamine-paced essays in megalomania. This one, large-scaled as it is, seems too puny and fragmented for its mighty subject; it feels as if Stone, for the first time in his career, simply ran out of hot air.

...

I could continue in this on-the-one-hand/on-the-other vein for the length of Alexander, but the bottom line is that there is no bottom line: Concluding that Alexander's failures were more estimable than other men's successes, this is an unusually straddling sort of effort for Stone. Is it possible that his loathing for what he regards as doomed U.S. imperialism in present-day Persia has muffled his reliably fascist storytelling instincts? He seems to have forgotten how to put an audience on the rack.


And so forth, and so on. In a word: whoa.

[ 24 November 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


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Agent 204
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posted 26 November 2004 11:41 AM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Jesse Wente came on the radio this morning and admitted that he'd been wrong in calling Catwoman the worst movie of the year. He says Alexander is much worse.

BTW, anyone know if Jesse is related to the dreaded Margaret Wente?


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Cueball
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posted 26 November 2004 04:45 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
All I can say is this film is likely to be a step up from the dreadful Troy.
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'topherscompy
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posted 26 November 2004 05:13 PM      Profile for 'topherscompy        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
i saw alexander on monday (i had free passes.) the conversation after the show between my companion & self was as follows:

me: "so..."
her: "well."
me: "at least we didn't have to pay to see
that."
her: "it's not the worst movie i've ever
seen."
me: "yeah, i've seen worse too."
her: "the red part was kinda cool..."
me: "but the three hours before that...
not so much."
her: "mm-hmm. my place for a bowl?"
me: "a'ight."


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Hinterland
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posted 26 November 2004 05:17 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Aw, that's nice. A bowl of cereal after a movie. Who says young people don't indulge in wholesome activities anymore? Did'ya have Cheerios?
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'topherscompy
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posted 26 November 2004 05:32 PM      Profile for 'topherscompy        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
lucky charms.

they're magically delicious, don'tcha know


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