i Nili o i Ardanolë Newsletter:

Your source for Lord of the Rings News, Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.


Issue 63, Volume 3, 29 October 2005.

Editors: Perian, Xara. 
Chief Correspondent: Prongs.
Columnists: Lady Morrigan Shadow, Padfoot, Cerridwen.
Staff Writers: Angel, Evenstar, Fan, Smi Gol.
Archivist: Ivy.

In this issue:
A LOTR Halloween? by Cerridwen.
The Invasion of the Oversized Primordial Crickets By Perian.
Some Completely Unexpected Randomness by Xara.

In every issue:
Fanfiction: This Fortnight: Recollections: The Old Forest by Perian.
NEW! Image of the Month.
Next issue: Mistaken Identity.

Find past archives or contribute at http://inili.iwarp.com/ (Will be updated soon, I promise.)

A LOTR Halloween?
By Cerridwen.
Ah, the beauty of the insanity of Halloween. The wonderful decorations, the painful sugar-rush that threatens to pretty much make your heart implode or explode (depending on the amount of sugar...) and the ever fun game of trying to guess if that is a Nazgul or a really weird Grim Reaper that's trying to open that box of Dots. So having moved to the city for the first time in my life, and preparing for the first city-type Halloween, I figured it would be prudent to prepare a run down list of what might be seen tossed in with the witches, queens, wizards, monsters and random kids in costumes that you can't tell WHAT that is...
Nazguls - usually dressed in black, unless you've got an inventive child on your hands. If you cannot tell between the Nazgul and a fellow from Scream, simply find a child dressed as a Hobbit and see what hits the fan...
Balrog - if someone's dressed as a Balrog, there is definitely a problem...probably didn't mean to be flaming...get a fire extinguisher, put the poor kid out and give them an extra bag of M&M minis to make up for the experience.
Gandalf - Ask first if they're a Gandalf or a wizard from some other movie - mistakes of who a wizard is usually gets ugly...and ends up with either you getting yelled at that "You shall not pass" the next time you try to open your front door, or someone threatening to turn you into a odd toad.
Elves - Usually easy to pick out the Arwens and the Legolases, but be careful on the ones who are a bit hard to tell - it's either Haldir or that weird dude from Merlin...again, ask...and give low sugar treats. Elves do NOT process sugar well.
Aragorn - About the whole sword thing...sometimes get a bit carried away. No stimping on the candy or it isn't fun. Also, don't call him a knight from the Middle Ages...that just isn't a good idea.
Gimli - Right, so again, either definitely recognizable, or one of those costumes where you go "Oh, aren't you...clever? Here, have some candy!" Offer one of those gems lollipop rings - dwarves like gems.
Hobbits - You can usually tell that these are hobbits - especially if there are four of 'em and one of 'em looks like he's had a tankard too many, another looks puzzled, one keeps following another one and one looks like the Nazgul from earlier scared the life out of him. Be sure to offer large
quantities of candy - these guys will go through it WAY too fast, but they'll be cheery! One or two of them may return and try to sneak more candy...
Rohirrim - Middle Age knights? Middle Earth knights? Either way, feed 'em candy and fast. Works well.
Orcs, goblins, cave trolls - Okay, these guys are tough - never can tell if they're from LOTR or wherever. These guys go in clumps. Drop the bucket of candy and run like none other.
Smeagol - Probably freezing cold out and about like that so offer a bunch of candy so he can eat up and get a sugar rush that keeps the blood flowing so he doesn't freeze before he gets to the next house.
The Invasion of the Oversized Primordial Crickets
By Perian.
  [Um, yes, excuse the title. It's a homage to Halloween, I think. -Ed.]

  About three weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be granted an hour with Emily Sturrock and Matt Appleton of Weta Workshop. Though the information and anecdotes they gave were not exactly exclusive, it does seem that i Nili was the only, ahem, media coverage. Many thanks to them both for taking the time out of their 26 hour shifts, and granting their permission for quotes. I hope you find their tales as enchanting and bemusing as I did.
Emily Sturrock and Matt Appleton ... So who are they again? The appearance of the names alone is probably not enough to call to mind any direct association with The Lord of the Rings. After all, the list of cast and crew on those movies seemed to go on for hours. So please allow me to give a bit of background.
Emily Sturrock was a makeup artist prior to her involvement with The Lord of the Rings. When she applied to Weta she was given the exciting and glamorous task of making chain maille. 'It's like being stuck at a really bad dinner party,' she said by way of describing the endless hours with the same few people, repetitious conversations, tiresome snacks, and a tedious task. So in her spare time she would practice airbrushing in the hopes of transferring to that department. After six weeks of clicking rings into place and the same amount of months in spray-painting, Emily was offered a position which, well, had its perks: that of hero armour and weapons continuity standby. 'Do I clean feet, or do I play with Orlando Bloom? Hmm...'  The choice, though a seemingly difficult one, was made soon enough.
Matt Appleton also worked on weaponry, and later went into the miniatures and bigatures department. What you probably know him best for, however, is his role as Glorfindel in the Council of Elrond. You know, the austere one beside Gandalf  with the blonde wig and taped-back eyes; second in Some Random Elf fame only to Figwit. Well, and perhaps tied with the whippy-haired 'Mirkwood' elf in the prologue.
So, what did these two have to tell? More than I can recount in a brief article, but I will attempt to share the highlights.
The Fiends: Not only were the orcs nasty little creatures (and I don't mean the actors beneath the costumes, 'very sociable, those guys'), but sometimes they were positively fiendish when taking the piss out on people. Look very closely the next time you watch The Lord of the Rings... you may find a Keith Richards or Ozzy Osbourne 'tribute' orc, courtesy of Weta.
If Sauron looks stiff, it's because he was. The poor Dark Lord was encased in a costume which had almost no mobility, with a multitude of very brittle spikes. So between takes it was the duty of the hero armour helpers to fetch the flying spikes, assuming they had been able to find them amid the sand, carry them and a stepladder to where Sauron was waiting, and glue them on for the next take.
The Dance Routine: Picture that wonderfully dark, drizzly Buckleberry Ferry scene. What atmosphere it had! But according to Emily, it was 'great for the shot, but miserable for you...' to be up on Mt. Victoria at 3 a.m. in wet slosh so volatile that the crew had ropes rigged between the trees so in case they slipped they could swing to their destination. Unlike the muddy, wet and grumpy crew, 'the hobbits had been in their campers all nice and snuggly and warm'. So the lads decided to lighten the mood. They came out 'with their arms around each other ... doing the can-can, singing pub songs!' Four hobbits doing the can-can and singing in the rain... now that is footage I wish I could see. 
Can We Do That Again? As you may know, Jane Abbot was the spectacular riding-double for Arwen. During one particular scene the plan was for her to be riding neck-to-neck with a wraith, while he back-handed her. But the move was timed just a wee bit too perfectly, and the wraith gauntlet, that evil-looking thing, connected, full in the face. After being thrown back, Jane was able catch Frodo's scale double, grab ahold of the reins, and pull both of them back up. A few minutes later, holding an ice-pack to her bleeding nose, Jane asked "Ca' we do tha' again?"
A Bit Late to Ask! The filming of the tearing-down of trees in Isegard was another one of those very wet, very mucky shoots. While camera men were wearing garbage bags to save their $500 coats (call me strange, but if I pay that much for something, I want it to work), the crew in their far more effective $20 jackets were kneeling up to their thighs in mud. They came to realise that they needed better gear than they had, so, with another shoot scheduled for the next night, then hurried into Wellington proper. They squelched and splattered along the infamous Cuba Street (think fountain) at eleven a.m., entering the outdoor sporting shop and saying 'Yeah, we need some wet weather gear?'
Sharp Pointy Things... Be it in Moria or Bruinen or Helm's Deep, there was always that rather volatile factor of weaponry being used. When Emily suggested to the hobbits that they 'put their swords away' before they ran down the 'tiny, tiny little stairs' in 'hobbit feet ... really, really big and flappy', Sean Astin retorted 'Yeah, and you wouldn't let us run with scissors, either.' Quips aside, the weapons really were dangerous. Oh, not all of them. They would often use aluminum which would bend rather than cut through anything, each blow doing more damage to the sword than to the one it was aimed at. The 'hero' weapons, however, were the real thing. In the Ford of Bruinen scene, this became a bit of a problem. On location, fetching extra props was not an easy thing, but when Peter Jackson declared that he wanted a shot of the wraiths waiving their swords around as they rode, it suddenly became essential. Namely because two of the nine swords they had with them were the hero sort, which could kill a horse or a man if waved in the wrong direction by a limited-visibility wraith. So when you see those wraiths rushing madly down the flooding ford, well, two of the swords are flax leaves covered in silver spray-paint and sand. Innovation? No kidding.
And now as this article is coming close to becoming a novella, I shall leave you, and save one last grand anecdote for a future issue.

Some Completely Unexpected Randomness
By Xara.

   Before we begin, I would like to put two questions to you, which I am relying on you to come up with the answers to throughout the course of this, and I use the word loosely, article. The first is; why am I writing this? Let me give you the background. The time is 7:25 p.m. on Thursday evening. Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. is my final, ever, huge, state-wide, Biology exam. Tomorrow afternoon at 1:55 p.m (don't ask) is my final ever, huge, state-wide Music exam. Why indeed? But moving on, my second and far more important question is; what is this article going to be about? The answer to the first question may defy all logic, but it is fairly obvious (ha ha! You thought you were getting out of it didn't you? I'm still not telling you). However the answer to the second is far more cryptic.
   So where to begin? Well let's see. In order to discover the answer to this problem, we must first take in some of the current issues in the life of the author, to see if any of them might contain inspiration for an article. We must also consider the fact that this article is being written for a newsletter for Lord of the Rings fans. We can tell immediately that this article is not about pipeweed. We have an advantage here because we know for a fact that the author's editor has made it quite clear that such an article would be inappropriate. We know also that this article is not about exams, because despite their current relevancy, no such thing existed in Middle Earth. However we are beginning to become deeply suspicious that this article might be about procrastination, as some of you may have already guessed, being the answer to the first question. Other more creative and less likely to accept the most logical explanation people may be thinking this is an article about amateur detective work.
   Well, if you were thinking that, YOU'RE BLOODY WELL WRONG, GO BACK TO YOUR HOBBIT-HOLES AND EAT THE DIRT FROM THE CELLAR YOU SLIMEY LITTLE WEASILS. ("Hey, that was uncalled for," says the editor, who had secretly been thinking just that). This is an article about procrastination. It all fits, if you look at it logically. Consider the opening statements, which were in their own way, very round-about, skirting around the issue at hand type remarks. Then there was of course the first question, which was a foreshadowing, much like Gandalf's clever comment to Frodo in Chapter Two of "The Fellowship of the Ring", "My heart tells me he has some part yet to play, for good or ill, before this is over." Then of course, there was the infamous second paragraph, which deviated completely from the subject, and yet at the same time adhered closely to it, for that was in itself a procrastination. At such a point, we must ask ourselves...where was I?
   No seriously, where was I? Ah yes, procrastination, the noble art. Frodo was good at it. He procrastinated about leaving the Shire. Elrond was good at it. He procrastinated about letting the fellowship leave Rivendell, although strictly that was not all his fault, but partly Frodo's, who procrastinated about leaving the Shire. Thus we can see how one person's procrastination can make so many people late for important appointments, especially if that one person happens to be the person picking all the other people up. But that's not the issue, today, it was yesterday, but that's another story. *Author pauses, looks back on previous two sentences and shakes head in confusion, then continues as if they weren't there.* Denethor was a procrastinator too, he put off defending his city, and Theoden, he put off defending Denethor's city, and Aragorn, he put off claiming his inheritance so that he could defend both their cities. Even Legolas put off trying alcohol until that night at Edoras, if the RotK EE is to be believed. But my point is (and here even the author marvels in surprise at the secret centrality of the article, which brings itself seamlessly back to the opening statement about exams), my point is, everyone did it, but Middle Earth was still saved in the end. So I'm hoping that I'll still pass that exam tomorrow, even though it is now 7:48 p.m and I have wasted a full 23 minutes, plus the extra two minutes I spent finding the calculator and working that out. You might be saying to yourself, "couldn't she have just worked it out in her head?" but it would have taken me just as long, I don't do maths. Anyway, I have to go. Have fun!


The Lord of the Rings Soundtracks by Howard Shore
Reviewed by Perian.

  Yes, you probably all have them by now (if not, why not?) ... but let this be a reminder to slip them off the shelf, dust off the 'jacket' -does that word still apply to cds?- and spend an evening reminiscing.
  I did this by complete accident a few weeks ago, when I set the computer to play all files so I could clean them out. Unbeknownst to me, among those lurking Celtic ballads and unplayed Broadway musical tracks were a few other neglected pieces. Suddenly amidst the random play mania I heard a stirring single note which sent shivers up my spine. After a year of not listening to the soundtracks in earnest, they still have the ability to send me into a state after hearing a few short measures. I stopped everything I was doing and listened to the whole of The Breaking of the Fellowship, shedding a torrent of silent tears by the end of it simply from the beauty of it. I don't know how he did it, but he did. Howard Shore was able to capture emotions and put them to music. Not as a reflection, but the raw element. He may have been removed from the Kong production team over artistic differences with our beloved director, but I shall remain eternally grateful that The Lord of the Rings united the two for a few years to create this incredible music. 
  Go on, treat yourself to it once again.

This Fortnight: Recollections
Chapter Seven: The Old Forest
By Perian.

There was a tentative tap at the door of Xara's study. She and Frodo had agreed to turn four of Bag End's guest room into studies when they had first been married, as the two of them rarely did anything but study. One each, Frodo had originally suggested, but Xara knew better. There were times, she explained, that one could become so busy that he or she would have to be in two places at once. Though Frodo had never actually accomplished this temporal feat, he accepted the potential need for a place where he could get away from everything, including himself.
  Being unable to find Xara in Study X1, he now rapped a single knuckle lightly against the steel reinforced, fire-proof door of Study X2. It was built to withstand earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, nuclear blasts, and Matthia Brandybuck, but had been penetrated at the base by the teeth of a persistent kangaroo rat. It also had no lock. Frodo slipped in.
  "You have three minutes. Any longer and I won't be able to hold down the muse onto the paper, and I will be very ... upset, disgruntled, irked, unsettled, and . pissed," said Xara without turning away from her keyboard. "Hmph. This programme always leaves it to me to find the best adjective."
  "I simply wanted to tell you that..." Frodo cleared his throat, feeling unbearably silly for saying "phase one of Operation Alternative News is coming along nicely, though if they have a firewall we may have to ... invade from within, to use Matti's terminology for it." He winced.
  "Oh, that shouldn't be a problem," said Xara, grinning.
"And also, I thought you should know, Ivy's sick."
"Now that's a bit harsh, Frodo," said Xara in an admonishing tone. "I would not hesitate to say dirty, though. I'm surprised at you."
Frodo's eyes widened and a soft pink blush rose to his cheeks. "No," he hastily rectified, "I mean she hasn't been out of bed all day."
It was not the most diplomatically or even smartly phrased rectification.
"Oh, I see," said Xara who, frankly, didn't. "Sometimes it surprises me how much Merry is willing to tell you. I should have a talk with him about filling your head with notions. Not that I don't trust you not to listen. Aha, did you hear that triple negative?"
"Yes, I did. Xara, my dear, were you reading the Uncensored Issue before I entered?"
"What? Me? No," she said, glancing at her desk to be sure it was not visible. "Why would you ever think that?"
"Only a feeling," he said, rolling his eyes. "I don't think you understand. Ivy has been in some sort of sulking fit since reading that article. Merry's beside himself."
"Directly beside himself, or a few feet before or behind?" she mused distractedly. "I'll check on her later tonight. Thanks for telling me." As Frodo left the room she slipped the issue out from under her keyboard and found her place.
* * *
Merry hovered like a promising-looking thundercloud over a desert; doing nothing, but talking a lot in an effort to be helpful. "Would you like a cup of tea?" he asked desperately.
  "You've already brought me three," muttered Ivy, gesturing toward the nightstand. There stood three identical white teacups, all with cold water which was beginning to leave mineral rings around their rims. In each the well-meaning Merry had forgotten to add the tea.
"Wine, then? Or ale? Or mead? There's a bit of apple cider in the cellar, or orange juice in the icebox. We're out of cream. Perian poured it in a dish for the wee folk again. But if you want some I could run to the Gamgees'. There are carrots and beets in the cellar if you would fancy those juiced. Or cooked. Or I could make -that is, ask someone else to make- something to eat." By this point he was leaping from foot to foot, and so as not to grow dizzy Ivy had covered her head with a quilt. "The fruit is all in season, and taters have been brought in. There's a good fresh cheese around here somewhere. And bread. Plenty of bread, though the crust may be a bit dry by now-"
"NO," Ivy bellowed through the heavy cloth and down.
Merry paused mid-leap, falling against the bedpost. "No?"
"No!" Ivy affirmed. "I don't want anything. I'm trying to think."
  "Aha, to think!" cried Merry, drawing from a store of non-organic information. "I could help you with that, too, if you'll let me. There's ginko and gensing, and Omega 3 fatty acids, and-"
  "Good grief!" said Ivy, slapping down the blankets. "If there were such a thing as a grocery outlet salesman, you could put him out of business!"
  "Er, I take it that's not a good thing?" he chanced.
  "You take it in the right direction. Look, why don't you trot off to Buckland for some chocolate and leave me in peace for a few minutes?"
Glad for something to do, Merry grinned and bounded out of the room.
He didn't even kiss me goodbye, she thought morosely, staring at the ceiling.
He may have been afraid of being bitten, in your current mood, another part of herself reasoned. After all, it has happened before.
That was an accident! her dominant self argued, slowly drifting from lethargic to enraged and not even noticing, like the proverbial boiling frog. Besides, who asked you? I finally get a free moment alone, and you show up! Go away and let me sulk.
You wouldn't be sulking if you had bothered to notice the adoring and adorable concern he's been showing you today. It's so cute! When was the last time you really paid him attention?
Fifteen minutes ago, or something like that.
No, I mean as much attention as he gives you.
Look, we were able to bend the rules for a life like that at one time, but if we allow it again we'll all be subjected to mortality.
Have it your way, Eve.
Ivy mentally kicked the little voice.
Ouch! it yelped, rubbing its furry, non-existent shins. I hope you feel better now, it grumbled.
Thank you, I do, Ivy replied, smiling for the first time in days. With that she pulled the quilt up around her ears and tumble into a dream in which Merry was being made an honorary member of the Irish Mafia.
* * *
The mist began to rise like spectres in wisps and shreds as Merry crossed over the Brandywine, his arms filled with various bags and boxes. Ivy had never insisted upon the finest of anything - he forced it upon her before she had a chance.
Merry hummed as he walked, popping a chocolate with a liquor centre into his mouth - instinctively spitting it out again when the shell was thin enough that the filling might begin to leak through any cracks. Bebother the Vala but they did make his life so complicated. He was quite good at hiding it, though. Even his other half (no, not a secondary personality) had not caught on. She still accepted, though perhaps not believed, his drunken songs and stagger. He was careful to drain their cellars by several pints per week, as he knew she checked them. A closet sober-hobbit, that's what I am, he thought.
So busy thinking was he that he did not realize he was being followed. He did not see that figure cloaked in black who padded through the edge of the forest. He did not hear the cautious footsteps. And due to his affliction, he did not smell the faint odour of vodka which wafted before the figure on the breathless air. He did, however, feel the heavy object which impacted with the base of his skull.
"Ouch," he mumbled as his blue-green eyes tried against his will to roll upward. "That hurt." He staggered forward a few feet, then stopped, shaking his head to regain his balance. Behind him the cloaked figure gave a disgruntled grunt.
"You're supposed to be unconscious," grumbled a muffled voice.
"I'm not, though. Ivy often comments on how thick-"
The object impacted with Merry's head again. "Now you are," the muffled voice said cheerfully. A pair of gloved hands gripped his ankles and pulled him off the road. The assailant deposited him on a gently sloping bank, then stared for a moment, not certain of what to do next. Merry let out a loud snore and popped his thumb into his mouth, receiving a stamp of a foot and a vehement "You're not helping!" in reaction to his unconscious action. The cloaked figure looked around, and spying Merry's bag made a move toward it. A black muffler was pulled down and a clearer if more puzzled voice asked, "What's this?" A shuffle and a fistle, and the contents were revealed. With man an "mmm" the assailant-turned-pilferer examined the loot. A note, sticky and stained, was soon pinned to Merry, stating, just in case he missed the fact upon awakening,
U hav been robbed.
* * *
Ivy paced through the smial, peering out through the darkened windows, her hands clenching and unclenching like the pinchers of a lobster over the nose of a karma receiving chef. "Where is he?" she asked aloud.
Matti looked up from the book she was reading, Terry Pratchett's classic "Mort", and commented lightly, "Maybe his hourglass fell off the table and smashed, or almost did, but then Gandalf caught it and saved him from almost certain Death and the two are now in a pub, celebrating."
  None of this registered to Ivy, save the fatalistic and ominous way in which Matti said Death. She had actually voiced the word quite chipperly, but no one trusted that tone from the young half-hobbit any longer. Ivy threw on her cloak, her heart racing. On a sudden impulse she snatched Matti up in a breath-wringing embrace. "I didn't do it!" Matti gasped, trying to squirm away.
"Of course you did, precious," Ivy replied automatically. "Stay here and stay out of trouble for a while. I'll go look for your father."
"I knew it!" Matti cried excitedly. "I'm a changeling, aren't I?"
"Of course, darling, whatever you want, so long as keep the doors locked and yourself on the inside."
"Can I keep the key on this side with me?"
"Yes, yes. I have to go..."
  "Hand it over, mummie dear," said Matti, holding out her upturned palm. As Ivy set a massive iron key in Matti's hand the younger grinned. It was the master key. She had it now, and da- dratted if she would give it up before she learned how to forge a copy. Now, where did she leave the tongs? Ah, yes, behind the sofa cushions, with the squished chocolate eggs and packing foam. Matti prided herself on her memory for details and locations of anything she might want in the future, if not for her own cleanliness. She shrugged at the lack of the latter. "I'm only human. Maybe."
* * *
Ivy ran frantically through the darkened woods, her cloak pulled close with one hand while the other held in place a pair of glasses which were fogging slowly. An archaic corner of her memory longed for a defroster. Sense held the idea away from becoming a thought by reminding it that a car or something of the like would be required to put it in.
A pale form caught her eye. She cursed loudly and ran toward it, to see a shadow rise from beside it and flee into the deepening shades. Ivy felt a hot rage boiling up within her. Luckily it didn't make it to the point of steaming. That would have been a sight to see. No, she fumed only in a figurative and emotional sense, flying through the narrow woodland corridors, almost blinded by her fury. A salesman on amphetamine could not have mustered the energetic frenzy she did at that moment. The trouble with having such frenzies in the middle of the night, as any storyteller will more obliquely inform you, is that it invariably leads to tripping over one tree-root or several and falling face-first into the dirt. As it was, Ivy tripped over eight of them before realizing that she had tripped over any at all. By the ninth she impacted the ground with more enthusiasm, and the fact that her prey was far gone seeped into her along with the leaf-mould. She stared at nothing in particular while contemplating what to do next. She sniffed. If Merry was ... was... for surely that was Merry lying there. No other hobbit would wear the silver toe-ring she had seen glimmering.
Oh Merry, she thought with a sudden desperation which brought tears to her eyes; you can't leave me alone. You've been my life through all the happiest days of it. And you left before folding the laundry.
Ivy plucked her glasses up and leapt to her feet. It was easy to find and return along her trail - the trees on either side of it had respectfully parted (pieces of broken twigs and torn foliage lay below) to allow her passage.
  It was some time before she found Merry, prone and inert, lying above the incline. She sprinted to him (tree-root number twelve) and dropped to her knees beside him. She brushed back his hair and stroked his cheek. No response. She waited. Still nothing. She took his hand and wrung it gently between her own. He once again did not react. Frustrated, Ivy cried "Wake up!" and slapped him lightly.
His eyes flickered open. "Oh," he mumbled affectionately. "I thought it was you."
Ivy sighed with relief and sank to the ground beside him, slipping an arm beneath his shoulders to hoist him into a sitting position. Merry groaned, his head dropping to her shoulder. "What happened?" she asked.
  "I was robbed, they wrote," said Merry, handing her the note.
"Merry, what did they steal? It wasn't... the chocolate, was it?"
Merry nodded weakly, his eyes still unfocused.
Ivy stood and snapped her fingers. "Damn."

Fan Art Image of the Month.

  Now this is what I call parody. And what skill the artist has, too! For an image to inspire an entirely new column; 'tis a thing unheard of. Almost. If you run across anything spectacular you would like to see featured in the next issue, e-mail the URL to Perian@HotPOP.com

YOU! How often do you think about animal rights? Do you make sure you buy cosmetics that have not been tested on animals? Do you avoid eating veal because of the cruelty involved? Do you oppose the use of laboratory animals in scientific experiments? These are all issues well-represented by the animal rights movement. However there is one group of cruelly massacred, exploited and generally down-trodden organisms which this movement has hitherto failed to acknowledge. I refer, of course, to microbes. Unicellular organisms have rights too, my friends, and the newly created pseudo-political organisation "The Society for the Protection of Microbial Rights" is here to enforce them. Did you know that 15,000,000 yeast microbes die horribly every time you bake a loaf of bread? Well you do now, and you can stop it too! How? By joining SPMR and fighting for the rights of those yeast microbes, and for microbes everywhere! See our website for details. http://groups.msn.com/TheSocietyfortheProtectionofMicrobialRights
WANTED: Ten wafers of lembas, a case of ginger beer, a length of elven rope, an essay marking sheet, and a long stick. No questions asked. Perian@HotPOP.com

Fax. Now, I know the word makes most readers, at least those unfamiliar with archaic language, cringe. You are happily reading The Lord of the Rings, losing yourself in the narrative, completely forgetting the world, then, blast! Shadowfax. Now, certainly, the names might have caused a few chortles before, but that is just a bit too reminiscent of a bad day at the office. Well, if it's any consolation, the word 'fax' originally meant 'hair'. Try working that on out the next time you are watching a message from distant lands printing off.



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