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#1
Old 11-18-2012, 12:18 AM
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Re "Dune" is the book's Baron Harkonnen as grotesque as the movie version?

Lynch's movie Baron was pretty over the top in grotesqueness. Was the books Baron Harkonnen just as bad?

Quote:
Dune’s" boil-covered, sadistic ogre, played by Kenneth McMillan, would growl, "Bring me that young fellow we bought …with the lovely eyes. Drug him well. I don't feel like wrestling." In David Lynch’s 1984 film adaption of Frank Herbert's novel, Baron is known for raping his beautiful male slaves, smothering them with his fat — and then eating them.
#2
Old 11-18-2012, 01:24 AM
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The first good description of the Baron in the book is as follows:

Quote:
The Baron moved out and away from the globe of Arrakis. As he emerged from the shadows, his figure took on dimension -- grossly and immensely fat. And with subtle bulges beneath folds of his dark robes to reveal that all this fat was sustained partly by portable suspensors harnessed to his flesh. He might weigh two hundred Standard kilos in actuality, but his feet would carry no more than fifty of them
So he was probably fatter than was depicted in the movie, but less...boil-y.
#3
Old 11-18-2012, 02:09 AM
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IIRC his sex slaves were also somewhat younger in the book than they were onscreen.
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#4
Old 11-18-2012, 02:19 AM
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He's basically an exceptionally venal and corrupt Renaissance-era noble; not, however, something from a horror movie.
#5
Old 11-18-2012, 08:58 AM
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There was also, as I recall, no indication in the book that he was on rubber bands.
#6
Old 11-18-2012, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
"Bring me that young fellow we bought …with the lovely eyes. Drug him well. I don't feel like wrestling."
I'm pretty sure that's a direct quote from the book.
#7
Old 11-18-2012, 09:49 AM
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He's definitely a pedophile. In Frank Herbert' 1963 point of view, that was horrifying enough. He didn't feel the need to attribute additional atrocities to him.
#8
Old 11-18-2012, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
He's definitely a pedophile. In Frank Herbert' 1963 point of view, that was horrifying enough. He didn't feel the need to attribute additional atrocities to him.
He'd pull out their heart plug and let them bleed out while molesting them. That's even worse than the pedophilia.
#9
Old 11-18-2012, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by levdrakon View Post
He'd pull out their heart plug and let them bleed out while molesting them. That's even worse than the pedophilia.
That is from the movie. No heart plugs in the books. Just a man with a sadistic sexual appetite.
#10
Old 11-18-2012, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Ike Witt View Post
That is from the movie. No heart plugs in the books. Just a man with a sadistic sexual appetite.
Are you sure? He didn't kill his young victims?

I hate that movie. I read the original book multiple times and thought I had the whole thing memorized, but now the movie has screwed up my memories.
#11
Old 11-18-2012, 10:47 AM
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He killed one ganymede who'd been boobytrapped with a poison needle, but I don't remember indications that was Baron's usual practice.
#12
Old 11-18-2012, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levdrakon View Post
Are you sure? He didn't kill his young victims?
Sure, but just not always and not that way -- anyone at the service of the Harkonnen was totally disposable. A particularly pleasant toyboy he may keep around for a while but he may be doomed in the end, almost as likely by others in the entourage who may grow jealous or wary.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 11-18-2012 at 11:03 AM.
#13
Old 11-18-2012, 01:32 PM
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The Baron for sure killed his young lovers, but the heart plug concept is strictly from the movie.
#14
Old 11-18-2012, 02:31 PM
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In the book he punishes his nephew by making him strangle all of his favorite harem girls. That always stuck in my mind as encapsulating the character's callousness and inhumanity.

Last edited by Llama Llogophile; 11-18-2012 at 02:32 PM.
#15
Old 11-18-2012, 02:56 PM
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The Baron was a sadistic pedophile. Paul kicked off a galaxy-spanning jihad that killed, most likely, billions. That's one of the things I admire about the original saga. It is refreshingly free of good guys.
#16
Old 11-18-2012, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
...In David Lynch’s 1984 film adaption of Frank Herbert's novel, Baron is known for raping his beautiful male slaves, smothering them with his fat — and then eating them....
Raping, sure. But "smothering them with his fat — and then eating them"? Not in the movie that I remember.

A question about the Baron:
SPOILER:
When, if ever, did he learn that he was Lady Jessica's father? When, if ever, did she learn it? And did Duke Leto or Paul ever know?
#17
Old 11-18-2012, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Raping, sure. But "smothering them with his fat — and then eating them"? Not in the movie that I remember.

A question about the Baron:
SPOILER:
When, if ever, did he learn that he was Lady Jessica's father? When, if ever, did she learn it? And did Duke Leto or Paul ever know?
Response to spoiler...

SPOILER:
I think the point when he found out was when Alia killed him. She addressed him as "Grandfather". Leto never knew but Paul did...he saw it when he had his first prescient glimpse while they were escaping the Arrakeen massacre in the ornithopter. I don't know if Jessica knew before Paul claimed the Harkonnen holdings by birthright of Jessica's paternity when he defeated Shaddam.
#18
Old 11-19-2012, 07:53 AM
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I hated that they made the Baron an insane shouter with terminal acne. And we could easily get that the Harkonnens were a family without giving them all the same outfits and ridiculous colored hair.


Baron Harkonnen was supposed to be a calm, Machiavellian plotter with disgusting tastes and habits. As others have noted, the heart plugs weren't in the book, although I could see the book's Baron doing that. But there was no need to externalize his evil by giving him a Pizza Face, or having him take a dirty oil bath.


Have a look at the SciFi channel's version. They did The Baron (and a lot of other things) much better. (Although the Lynch film has a lot to recommend it)





Also, have a look at my old thread Dune.....the Musical http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...t=Dune+Musical

Last edited by CalMeacham; 11-19-2012 at 07:54 AM.
#19
Old 11-19-2012, 08:27 AM
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Further response to spoiler:

SPOILER:
Not got the book handy but as I remember Paul forces Jessica to recognise her parentage when they are linked together after he has changed the Water of Life.

I'll check when I'm home!
#20
Old 11-19-2012, 08:42 AM
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"More kittens!"
#21
Old 11-19-2012, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ike Witt View Post
The Baron for sure killed his young lovers, but the heart plug concept is strictly from the movie.
In the book that's not sure at all. He does kill one sex slave (not sure I'd use the word 'lover') but that one was booby-trapped to kill him, so I think the Baron gets a pass on that one.

And we do know that
SPOILER:
at least one of the Baron's bed-mates (in a younger sleeps-with-women phase) survives long enough to give birth to Jessica


The book Baron is fat, homosexual, and nearly completely ruthless in his ambition; he also lives in a slave-owning society that at least somewhat condones having slave concubines, and takes advantage of that, and these concubines are young but we don't know exactly how young. But he's not covered in boils or anything.

And, in fact, I don't think he's sadistic; the Baron would see torturing someone for no reason as a shocking waste of resources (obviously, if you have a valuable but sadistic mentat on staff, as the Baron did, keeping them happy is a good reason, but only as long as the costs don't outweigh the benefits of keeping him happy).


What's kind of repugnant about the book itself, actually, is how Herbert basically presents being homosexual as enough to show the Baron's eevvvilll nature (and implies that homosexuality == pedophilia == child raping)
#22
Old 11-19-2012, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
...What's kind of repugnant about the book itself, actually, is how Herbert basically presents being homosexual as enough to show the Baron's eevvvilll nature (and implies that homosexuality == pedophilia == child raping)
It was first published in 1965. That was not, alas, an uncommon point of view at the time.
#23
Old 11-19-2012, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin's Finch View Post
The first good description of the Baron in the book is as follows:
Lynch appears to have read this line -- "his figure took on dimension -- grossly and immensely fat" -- and ran with it. The suspensor belt to help him carry his weight turned into a levitation belt to allow him to float around the room. Most importantly, the description of "grossly" was taken away from the word it was modifying, "fat", and applied to the Baron's overall appearance and demeanor. So he became gross and immensely fat.

I agree, the book Baron was probably fatter than the movie Baron - there was only so much that could be done at the time to fake that level of obesity. (This was way before Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers series.) But the boils and the blood showers and the heart plugs and all were all Lynch adaptations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
And we could easily get that the Harkonnens were a family without giving them all the same outfits and ridiculous colored hair.
They certainly overdid it, but I see the same outfits as a shorthand for their family tradition and style of protection suits, showing a distinct culture difference than the Atreides or other Great Houses.

Quote:
Have a look at the SciFi channel's version. They did The Baron (and a lot of other things) much better. (Although the Lynch film has a lot to recommend it)
The Lynch version has a lot of scenes that feed from the book, but feel compressed and don't quite capture the epic scope and grandeur. The stillsuits are pretty awesome, except for the distinct lack of head cover. But Lynch twisted numerous things, from the portrait of the Baron, to the nature of the "weirding" training that Paul used and taught the Fremen. I thought the weirding modules were a neat idea, but that was before I ever read the book.

The SciFi channel version in a lot of ways was truer to the book portrayal, but some style elements were odd - in particular, all the hats for the Princess and the Sardaukar outfits. They wrote the Princess a much larger role. But one thing that didn't work for me was casting John Hurt and Duke Leto.

SPOILER:
The scene where the Duke finds out that the Baron supposedly had Paul murdered, he's supposed to fly into a rage. The movie did that well. This portrayal goes for a quiet rage, that doesn't convey well and doesn't match the description of Duke Leto as a hotheaded and vibrant man.
#24
Old 11-19-2012, 04:35 PM
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The Baron was pretty mustache-twirling evil, but I don't recall any mention of cannibalism in the book.
#25
Old 11-19-2012, 05:14 PM
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The book version didn't drink hamster milkshakes, either.
#26
Old 11-19-2012, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beastly Rotter View Post
The book version didn't drink hamster milkshakes, either.
No, the magazine Cinefantastique had a picture of the mouse (not hamster) in a plunger container, and said it was an invention of the film -- Squood, for "Squeezable Food". But IIRC, it was Jack Nance's character who drank it, not the Baron.
#27
Old 11-19-2012, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
...The SciFi channel version in a lot of ways was truer to the book portrayal, but some style elements were odd - in particular, all the hats for the Princess and the Sardaukar outfits....
The Sardaukar hats on SciFi were just ridiculous. Perhaps they intended to incapacitate their foes with laughter?: http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/banth...7_original.jpg
#28
Old 11-20-2012, 12:54 AM
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I got the feeling those outfits were loosely inspired by the Swiss Guard outfits used by the security at the Vatican.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Swiss_Guard.jpg
http://carbolicsmoke.com/2009/05/29/...ff-isnt-swiss/
http://deadliestfiction.wikia.com/wiki/Swiss_Guard

As ridiculous as they look, there is precedent.
#29
Old 11-20-2012, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
The Sardaukar hats on SciFi were just ridiculous. Perhaps they intended to incapacitate their foes with laughter?: http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/banth...7_original.jpg
Are those actual combat uniforms, or court/dress uniforms? They don't look any more ridiculous than the Swiss Guard, whom I suspect they were modled on.

Last edited by alphaboi867; 11-20-2012 at 01:05 AM.
#30
Old 11-20-2012, 01:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
The Sardaukar hats on SciFi were just ridiculous. Perhaps they intended to incapacitate their foes with laughter?: http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/banth...7_original.jpg
I remember those. That's like 5 berets sewn together kicking and screaming. For the most feared soldiers in the universe, they dress like a high school theater production
#31
Old 11-20-2012, 01:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
The Sardaukar hats on SciFi were just ridiculous. Perhaps they intended to incapacitate their foes with laughter?: http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/banth...7_original.jpg
The hats were a symbol of their bravery. You have to be brave man to wear a hat like that.

Seriously though, there's a long military tradition of wearing stupid hats, especially by elite forces. Perhaps it's just a lack of constructive criticism when it's time to pick their uniforms. Are you going to tell a green beret or a Sardaukar that his hat looks goofy?
#32
Old 11-20-2012, 01:41 AM
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It seemed to me that the Sardaukar uniforms were based on those of the Swiss Guard.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_66mr7N1rBS...he-vatican.jpg
#33
Old 11-20-2012, 02:23 AM
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Berets were part of the Sardaukar uniform in Dune Encyclopaedia - not that big, though. Stupid hats were a thing in that series, though - vide the Bene Gesserit

And really, 200kg isn't that obese; this guy is 200kg.

Last edited by MrDibble; 11-20-2012 at 02:24 AM.
#34
Old 11-20-2012, 03:51 AM
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I think the book version was worse than the movie, but yeah as others have said there were no boils/weird showers/heart plugs. But he was obviously a gay pedophile who enjoyed his sex slaves and didn't think much of having to kill one who tried to assassinate him. But beyond that, the book version was mentally cunning and morally depraved. He was almost admirable in how awful yet intelligent he was, whereas in the movie he was more of just comic book evil. The book version is worse from a mental perspective.

Also, when he died, his suspensor belt did actually cause him to hover off of the floor a few inches, according to the book. But there was no flying around as a comic horror.

I actually think the heart plugs fit well and think it's one of the few things the movie added/changed that Herbert never included that was pretty awesome.

Also, Herbert hated homosexuality, and even had a son who turned out to be gay who died from AIDS I believe, and they did not have a good relationship. So yes, it was Herbert's intent to include homosexuality as an example of his evil depravity. Oddly, perhaps, as a gay man myself, I didn't find it all that offensive.

Last edited by drewtwo99; 11-20-2012 at 03:54 AM.
#35
Old 11-20-2012, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by drewtwo99 View Post
Also, Herbert hated homosexuality, and even had a son who turned out to be gay who died from AIDS I believe, and they did not have a good relationship. So yes, it was Herbert's intent to include homosexuality as an example of his evil depravity. Oddly, perhaps, as a gay man myself, I didn't find it all that offensive.
That explains the bit in God Emperor where Duncan Idaho is aghast that Leto allows the Fish Speakers to have same-sex partners and holds it up as proof that he's lost his way. I always thought that segment was kind of out of left field.
#36
Old 11-20-2012, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
The Sardaukar hats on SciFi were just ridiculous. Perhaps they intended to incapacitate their foes with laughter?: http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/banth...7_original.jpg
It wasn't just the Sardaukar hats -- that movie had the most ludicrous and ridiculous collection of hats since Atlantis, the Lost Continentr.
#37
Old 11-20-2012, 08:38 AM
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The ridiculous hats were, I thought, supposed to give things a kind of medieval/Renaissance flair. The images of headgear from those times that Google image searching brings up show people wearing some pretty silly looking hats. They don't look notably different from the hats in the mini-series.
#38
Old 11-20-2012, 09:34 AM
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You must be looking at a different Renaissance. A lot of the hats in the SciFi channel Dune looked structurally unsound. It's a good thing none of those sandstorm winds kicked up while people had those hats on.
#39
Old 11-20-2012, 09:40 AM
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Google image search "medieval hat" and "Renaissance hat" for yourself. The differences are a matter of degree rather than type. The hats in the show are more flamboyantly silly and impractical, but the medieval and Renaissance pieces_once you get beyond that hood thing that serfs and dung farmers wore_were obviously about fashion not about keeping your head warm.
#40
Old 11-20-2012, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
You must be looking at a different Renaissance. A lot of the hats in the SciFi channel Dune looked structurally unsound. It's a good thing none of those sandstorm winds kicked up while people had those hats on.
Maybe looking structurally unsound was kind of the point. Look at me. I'm so powerful and wealthy that I can afford to wear this silly looking hat that looks like it's going to fall apart at any moment. The mitre the Pope wears looks completely ridiculous as well but it's a real hat.
#41
Old 11-20-2012, 01:15 PM
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What I don't get is that those hats are obviously just for decoration and doesn't serve a functional purpose. Why even have hats in the military besides helmets?
#42
Old 11-20-2012, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
What I don't get is that those hats are obviously just for decoration and doesn't serve a functional purpose. Why even have hats in the military besides helmets?

Impractical headgear is a longstanding tradition in the military.
#43
Old 11-20-2012, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Scumpup View Post
Google image search "medieval hat" and "Renaissance hat" for yourself. The differences are a matter of degree rather than type.
example 1 - Deluxe Velvet Swashbuckler Hat with Ostrich Plume, or Deluxe Musketeer Cavalier Nylon Velvet Hat

example 2 - Hat Princess Cone

example 3 - medieval woman in strange hat (must scroll down)

example 4 - what the hell is that thing on his head? A hat? A hat with a built in scarf? A parachute?

example 5 - words fail me


Quote:
Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
What I don't get is that those hats are obviously just for decoration and doesn't serve a functional purpose. Why even have hats in the military besides helmets?
Because the military has Dress Uniforms, that are used for ceremonial purposes, like escorting Emperors around and guarding Princesses. The intent is not just to be security, but to look fancy and ceremonial and fit the decor. Emperors and Princesses tend to want draperies and fancy colors and banners and flags everywhere, and they want their security staff in bright livery.
#44
Old 11-20-2012, 03:10 PM
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Actually, I have a theory about those conical "princess hats". I don't think they were impractical at all.
#45
Old 11-20-2012, 03:11 PM
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In the Dune universe, the bigger your outfit the more deadly stuff you can hide in it.
#46
Old 11-20-2012, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by levdrakon View Post
In the Dune universe, the bigger your outfit the more deadly stuff you can hide in it.
Unless you're Feyd-Rautha, and just go for the old poison needle in the chainmail jockstrap gambit.
#47
Old 11-20-2012, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
Actually, I have a theory about those conical "princess hats". I don't think they were impractical at all.
. . . ?
#48
Old 11-20-2012, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Scumpup View Post
Impractical headgear is a longstanding tradition in the military.
This being the Dope, of course we have a few choice threads on the subject:

http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...d.php?t=342555
http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...d.php?t=342890
#49
Old 11-20-2012, 06:06 PM
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Are Sardaukar hats demonstrably more silly than these hats?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearskin

or these?
http://themoscowtimes.com/photos...03/india_3.jpg

I got the second link from the old thread, and even sven deserves credit for this gem of a line:
"These pictures are from the tensest border crossing in the world, where India and Pakistan show their mutual disrespect by facing off in short pants and hats with fans on them."
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