Eighth Doctor

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Doctor Who — Incarnations of The Doctor : 1st - 2nd - 3rd - 4th - 5th - 6th - 7th - 8th - War - 9th - 10th - 11th - 12th
Companions : Jack Harkness · Martha Jones · Donna Noble · Clara Oswald · Amy Pond · River Song · Rose Tyler · Rory Williams
Adversaries : Cybermen · Daleks · The Great Intelligence · The Master · Rassilon

This page is a collection of quotations from the adventures of the eighth official incarnation of the The Doctor from the BBC science fiction television programme Doctor Who, during which the role of the Eighth Doctor was played by Paul McGann.

The universe hangs by such a delicate thread of points, it's useless to meddle with it. Unless, like me, you're a Time Lord.

Doctor Who (1996 film)[edit]

(27 May 1996)
The Doctor: It was on the planet Skaro that my old enemy, the Master, was finally put on trial. They say he listened calmly as his list of evil crimes was read and sentence passed. Then he made his last, and I thought somewhat curious, request. He demanded that I, the Doctor, a rival Time Lord, should take his remains back to our home planet — Gallifrey. It was a request they should never have granted.

The Doctor [Narrating]: A Time Lord has thirteen lives, and the Master had used all of his. But rules never meant much to him, so I stowed his remains safely for the voyage back. Because even in death, I couldn't trust him. In all my travels through space and time, and nearing the end of my seventh life, I was finally beginning to realise that you could never be too careful.

[The Eighth Doctor's first words after regenerating.]
The Doctor: Who am I? Who am I? Who... Am... I?!

Grace: [sceptically] Okay, you're trying to tell me you came back from the dead?
The Doctor: Yes.
Grace: No, sorry, the dead stay dead. You can't turn back time.
The Doctor: Yes, you can.
Grace: I'm not child. Don't treat me like I'm child, only children believe that crap. I am a doctor.
The Doctor: But it was a childish dream that made you a doctor. [Grace looks back at him, shocked] You dreamt you could hold back death. Isn't that true? Don't be sad, Grace. You'll do great things.

Grace: Maybe you're the result of some weird genetic experiment.
The Doctor: I don't think so.
Grace: But you have no recollection of family?
The Doctor: No... No-no-no-no-wait-wait-wait-wait... I remember I'm-I-I... I'm with my father, we're lying back in the grass, it's a warm Gallifreyan night--
Grace: Gallifreyan?
The Doctor: Gallifrey! Yes! This must be where I live. Now, where is that?
Grace: I've never heard of it! What do you remember?
The Doctor: A meteor storm. The sky above us was dancing with lights! Purple, green, brilliant yellow... Yes!
Grace: What?!
The Doctor: These shoes! [Stomps the ground happily.] They fit perfectly!

The Doctor: I love humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren't there.

The Doctor: Grace, I came back to life before your eyes. I held back death. Look, I can't make your dream come true forever, but I can make it come true today!

[The Doctor and Grace escape on a police bike]
Grace: Doctor?
The Doctor: Yes?
Grace: I only have one life. Can you remember that?
The Doctor: I'll try.
Grace: Thank you.

The Doctor: How does it feel to hold back death?

The Doctor: You want dominion over the living, yet all you do is kill!
The Master: Life is wasted on the living!

Storm Warning[edit]

(January 2001)

Tamworth: And you are...?
The Doctor: The Doctor. Of most things and some more besides before you ask.
Tamworth: Of most things and some more besides... Steward, what do you mean bringing some long-haired stowaway into the VIP lounge?
The Doctor: I'm wearing a tie!

Tamworth: [Regarding The Doctor] Is this man armed?
Weeks: No sir.
Tamworth: Is he dangerous?
Weeks: I don't think so, sir.
Tamworth: Is he insane?
Weeks: I wouldn't like to say, sir.
Tamworth: Well, two out of three's not bad.

The Doctor: Breathe in deep, lieutenant. You too, Charley. You feel that pounding in your heart? That tightness in the pit of your stomach? The blood rushing to your head, do you know what that is? That's adventure. The thrill and the fear and the joy of stepping into the unknown. That's why we're all here, and that's why we're alive.

Sword of Orion[edit]

(February 2001)

Charley: Better than Aladdin's cave, isn't it?
The Doctor: Or a lot of tinsel and bric-a-brac if you ask me. Still, you never know. There might be hidden treasure around here someplace.
Ike: Head plug's less than half price, dolly.
Charley: Head plug? Thank you, but mine's not leaking.

Charley: If you're not careful you'll bluff your way into an early grave.
The Doctor: Early? Some might say overdue.

The Doctor: I'm rather good with gadgetry.
Charley: And very modest.

The Stones of Venice[edit]

(March 2001)

Charley: They’re not exactly what you’d call grateful, are they? They should thank us. All we did was start a bit of a revolution. Unshackled the underdogs. Stirred them up a bit. Haven’t we? Doctor?
The Doctor: Hmmm?
Charley: I was saying, Doctor, that we tried to help them and now they’re shooting at us.
The Doctor: That’s often the way.
Charley: Are you alright?
The Doctor: I was just thinking… How ‘bout a trip to Venice, Charley?
Charley: What? Look, we’re in imminent danger of being shot to smithereens, and…
The Doctor: I just fancied it. Popped into my head for some reason.
Charley: Run, Doctor!
The Doctor: They’re not exactly grateful for my help, are they?
Charley: I just said… Oh, why do I even bother? Are people ever?
The Doctor: Yes. Sometimes.
Charley: Well good for you. Now how about you getting us away from here before they tell us outright how pleased they were for freeing all their slaves and closing down their weaponry installations?
The Doctor: That’s what I’m trying to do, Charley. I’m attempting to save our necks, locate the TARDIS, and plan our next trip all at the same time. I think I’ve overextended myself.
Charley: I rather think you have.

The Doctor: As for you lot, I don’t carry weapons. I don’t need them, but must say I think you treat your visitors here in a very shabby manner, indeed. I’m glad I managed to…
Charley: Oh Doctor, get in!

The Doctor: What a terrible lot… just because I put an end to their reign of terror. Didn’t they know that’s what I do? There’s nothing I like more than putting the kibosh on a really good vile regime.

The Doctor: It might be the 1930s to you, Charley, but for me it’s nothing of the kind.
Charley: And which decade is it for you? You’ve been a little evasive about that. You can’t shock me, you know? I’ve heard enough outrageous things by now.
The Doctor: Which decade? All of them. None of them. I don’t really know anymore.

Churchwell: It’s most irregular, you know? Most irregular indeed.
The Doctor: I’m an irregular kind of guy.
Churchwell: We don’t open for private showings. This is the duke’s private collection.
The Doctor: He won’t mind. We’re old friends.
Churchwell: Really?
The Doctor: No. Do you know I used to be terribly good at name-dropping and bluffing my way into places and these days I can’t do it for toffee.

The Doctor: We’re in their lair, are we? How fascinating. Mind you it looks like a hundred other lairs I’ve been in. Dust. Brick wells. Old blankets. Damp. I bet there’s riffy old rats in here too for authentic charm.

Churchwell: We should have stayed where we were. Where they left us. They’ll be furious to find out we’ve gone.
The Doctor: In my experience? They never are. In the end the people locking you up prefer it if they can chase after you. They love it! It provides an excuse to come back and rough you up a bit, you know?

Vincenzo: You will be put to death for this.
The Doctor: That’s rather harsh.
Churchwell: They’re cultists. I told you. They’re funny like that.

The Doctor: Why do religious types always regale you with histrionic imperatives? It’s hard to get any kind of decent conversation out of them.
Vincenzo: Silence, Doctor!
The Doctor: That’s the other thing. They always shout. As if they’re the only ones worth listening to. Fanatics always get on my nerves.

Vincenzo: You will do my bidding, and that is as much as you need to know.
The Doctor: Alright, alright. Say you manage somehow through the forces of sorcery and devilment and whatever to revive Estella from the dead. What happens then, hmm? What’s she going to do?
Vincenzo: She… will save us all. She will make the city rise from the sea again.
The Doctor: That’s a pretty tall order from someone just back from the dead. I should know. It’s a very taxing business. Usually it’s as much as you can do to remember your name. I wouldn’t expect any miracles. I imagine she’d feel a little tired and confused.

The Doctor: Are you alright, Vincenzo?
Vincenzo: What concern is that of yours, infidel?
The Doctor: : Of course I’m concerned. I hate seeing people get hurt. Even horrible people.

The Doctor: Let’s travel in style. Let’s raise a glass as we steam down the canal. And before the world ends it turns completely upside down.

Charley: Doctor, when you invited me to join you on these trips you never said anything about marauding amphibians and enforced marriages to noble lunatics.
The Doctor: Yes. I should have, really. It’s always the way.

Orsino: She was my wife, Doctor. They’ve taken her away from me, and made her into some kind of goddess.
The Doctor: Yes, she’ll be feeling very much like I always thought Liza Minnelli must have felt about her mother. Imagine having Judy Garland for a mother. Living in the shadow of an icon like that must be hard.

The Doctor: There’s no such thing as prophecy or fate. There are true events. Things that happen and things that have to happen, and none of us can escape those. None of us can, and that’s bad enough. I know that, but we don’t have to invent myths to make it all worse. We don’t have to create terrible destinies. We come to them sure enough. I thought my own people were bad enough with their legends and myths of terrible happenings, but you lot take the biscuit. The fates you encounter are all down to yourselves. You make it all up yourselves.

The Doctor: I do think there’s always a way to put things right. If I didn’t believe I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I wouldn’t eat breakfast. I wouldn’t leave the TARDIS ever. I would never have left home. There is always something we can do.

The Doctor: It’s doesn’t do to have an underclass, you know? It really doesn’t do at all.

Minuet in Hell[edit]

(April 2001)

The Doctor: So I said to Lincoln, “Abe,” I said, “Don’t go to the theater.” I couldn’t have been clearer. “I’ve seen Our American Cousin,” I told him. “Not a laugh in it. The only good thing in it is that Booth fellow, and he’s not performing tonight.” Did he listen? Do they ever listen?

The Doctor: Hello, Charley! I see you’ve met my best friend! [Indicating the Brigadier ]
Charley: I thought I was your best friend.
The Doctor: Ah, lesson to myself; don’t tell people they’re your best friend.

Dashwood: Do you see, Zebediah? Up on that screen, the gospel choirs singing their hearts out? The Lord’s faithful creating a wave of love… and hard cash.
The Doctor: I wonder if they’d sing if they knew the real you, Dashwood.
Dashwood: And who’s going to tell them? You? I don’t think so. You’re a loony, she’s a weirdo, and the old guy’s croaking in another room somewhere. You know, I don’t think they’d believe a word against me from anyone. Most of them are too stupid to understand anyway.
Charley: I’m sure they’d be pleased to know that.
Dashwood: My sweet, beautiful girlie no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public. When I start my sermon that poor collection of rubes, sub-normals, hypocrites, and white trailer trash is going to go plumb crazy. [A beep]
The Doctor: And then?
Dashwood: And then… when I cry out, “Vote for the good Lord! Vote for Dashwood!” the world will witness the biggest, most powerful coup since… well, a certain evening in Nuremberg springs to mind. [A longer beep] What the hell is that?
The Doctor: Your friend, Scott? Anxious to talk to you perhaps? He seems to be trying to get your attention from that little booth up there.
Dashwood: Oh go and deal with the masses, Scott. I’m busy, and… Why has the singing stopped?
The Doctor: We could hazard a guess, yes. Charley?
Charley: A good guess.
The Doctor: How good a guess?
Charley: My guess would be that everyone in the outside world just heard Mr. Dashwood here describe them as “sub-normal”.
The Doctor: “Hypocrites” as well, I recall.
Charley: So my next guess is that the money has stopped coming in.
The Doctor: And that Brigham Elijah Dashwood just broadcasted his final sermon.
Charley: I like TV, Doctor. It’s fun!

The Doctor: Well, Brigadier, here we are again.
Brigadier: Yes indeed. Every time I think I’ve seen the last of you, up you pop again. I like the new face, by the way. See if you can’t hold onto it longer than some of your predecessors. There’s a good chap.
The Doctor: It’s always a pleasure teaming up with you. Someone dependable. Solid as a rock.
Brigadier: You too, Doctor. You too.

Charley: He seemed awfully nice, your friend the Brigadier. One of the best, you might say.
The Doctor: Oh no, Charley. The best.

Invaders From Mars[edit]

(January 2002)

The Doctor: Well, it’s the historical repercussions, you see. The beat of one bat’s wings eventually leads to a tropical storm. That sort of thing. Or was it a butterfly?

The Doctor: I believe it’s usual in these circumstances to find a clue written on the back of a book of matches.
Charley: Hmmm… What? Like this book of matches?
The Doctor: Well done. What’s in it?
Charley: Matches.
The Doctor: Ah, that’s the trouble with clichés.

Charley: So, it’s not far off my time. 1938. I could get a boat home!
The Doctor: You know, it’s a constant puzzle to me why so many of my traveling companions can’t wait to leave me. I show them all the wonders of the universe and what thanks do I get?

The Doctor: So Ms. Bee, what’s the rumpus? You cracking foxy with me or is you in trouble with the bricks? They gonna drag you down to the hole because some guy gets shot through the pump with a heater?
Charley: Are you alright?
The Doctor: Local patter, Charley. It always helps break the ice. As it happens it’s a particular skill of mine.
Glory Bee: Ms. Pollard, is Mr. Halliday unwell?
Charley: No, no. Um, he just gets like that sometimes. I believe he was trying to say, “How can we help you?”

Charley: Doctor, it’s 6 a.m. Don’t you ever sleep?
The Doctor: Once in a while.

Glory Bee: Were you a housebreaker before you became a detective?
The Doctor: No, but I’ve been intimately involved with more cell doors than you’ve had…
Glory Bee: Bad men?
The Doctor: I was going to say hot dinners.
Glory Bee: I’ve had a few.
The Doctor: And yet you stay so slim. What’s your secret?
Glory Bee: Clean living. What’s yours?
The Doctor: Oh, every now and again I treat myself to a complete makeover.

Don Chaney: You’re the two Ellis found at the hotel?
The Doctor: Yes.
Don Chaney: The ones he told me were locked up?
The Doctor: Yes.
Don Chaney: Would you recommend I get myself a new second-in-command?
The Doctor: Probably.

The Doctor: You’re Orson Wells as I live and breathe. I’m such a fan! I’ve seen all your films.
Orson Wells: But I haven’t made any.
The Doctor: Of course not, but you will. You will.

The Doctor: [As a Martian] People of the Earth! Your attention! Your planet is now under Martian control. Surrender is not an option. We intend to, uh, uh, devastate your planet until it hangs like a cinder in space. All life will be extinguished. We shall… drain your rivers. Level your mountains. Annihilate your infestation from this world. How am I doing?
Orson Wells: Very good.

The Doctor: [To Orson Wells] Don’t let them cut Ambersons! Oh no, I mustn’t interfere.

The Chimes at Midnight[edit]

(February 2002)

The Doctor: Oh you’re right. It is very dark. Oh how exciting. I do love the dark, don’t you?
Charley: Well… within reason, but I think you can have too much of a good thing.
The Doctor: Oh it all just enhances the mystery, the sheer anticipation of not yet having a clue where we are.
Charley: You really haven’t got a clue?
The Doctor: The console isn’t telling me anything at all, just a blank read-out.
Charley: Well that sounds ominous.
The Doctor: No, not at all. I’ve been too methodical recently, I think. Setting coordinates and things, actually deciding where we want to go. I’ve been getting far too safe and predictable these last few incarnations. Do you know I once traveled for centuries without ever knowing where I’d materialize next?
Charley: Yes, I can believe that.

The Doctor: In fact, it is extraordinarily difficult to drown yourself standing up in the sink.

The Doctor: I don’t like being given a role to play, Charley. I prefer to find my own.

The Doctor: Mr. Shaughnessy, you’re pointing a gun at us.
Shaughnessy: Yes sir.
The Doctor: That’s not a very nice way for a well-bred butler to behave, is it?

Shaughnessy: I assume it was suicide, Doctor?
The Doctor: Yes, I imagine so. It’s quite clear that Frederick brought the car inside the house, ran himself over with it, and put it back outside before he finally expired.

The Doctor: Whatever it is it’s wanting to incorporate us into its little world. Trying to rationalize us, make us safe. Well we won’t be safe, whatever you are. We’ll resist, won’t we, Charley? Just as we always resist the monsters.

The Doctor: Ah, there you are, Shaughnessy. With your gun, I see. You took your time.
Shaughnessy: My apologies, sir. I am not as young as I used to be.
The Doctor: No, well, who is?

Shaughnessy: I’m sorry sir, but I’m getting an irresistible urge to shoot you in the head.
The Doctor: Well, stiff upper lip, and all that.

The Doctor: How do you escape infinity? All time and space compressed into one paradox. We’ve arrived in the TARDIS, we haven’t yet arrived, at all, we’re in the process of arriving.
Charley: We’ve become like the poor people in this house, going ‘round and ‘round forever.
The Doctor: They’ve never died before, and yet they’ve been dying every hour as the clock chimes forever. Because there is no time here, you understand? This is the past, this is the present, this is the future; looping around as it has always been looping around. Stuck in a rut since the beginning of time.


(December 2003)
The Doctor [Opening narration.]: Once upon a time, in a land not too dissimilar to ours, there lived a king, and he was a good king in an age when good was something of an unfashionable rarity. He was very, very wise and very, very powerful, but he was also very, very old, and he realised that for all his great wisdom and his great power, he would soon have to leave his kingdom once and for all, and make the journey to the outside world of infinite darkness. And so, on the eve of his departure, when his physicians had finished all their head shaking, and his wives had wrung as many tears from their eyes as they could, he called his son and heir to his side.
“Everything you see is yours to command,” he said. “But be advised that better slaves are those who still believe they taste some freedom. Play the tyrant, but you must inspire love as well as fear.”
Yet the son cared not for his words, and when the corpse had been dispatched, with much pomp and fireworks, to the darker realms outside, the new king resolved to stretch the limits of his authority. He gathered all the people before him and told them that their every thought must match his thought. No will should exist save his will, and people being people, they agreed. Those that didn’t vanished in the night, and their families soon learned to pretend that they had never existed, but still the king was not content. So, he instructed the animals in his kingdom that they must now obey his commands. Horses should bark, dogs should mew, fish should fly from tree to tree exactly as he desired, and animals being animals, they agreed. Some of the pigs had to be culled, but no one minded because they tasted so lip-smackingly good, and the cats had to go because no one can tell a cat anything. But soon the people and the animals lived in perfect harmony. Their lives precise expressions of the whims of their lord.
Every living creature obeyed their king, doing everything that he wanted to the smallest detail, sometimes even before he knew he wanted it, but still the king was not content. Living creatures only made up the smallest number of his subjects, so he gave out further orders. He instructed the waves should crash upon the shore only when he gave the word. He instructed the wind should not blow, but suck. Time should not run forwards, but backwards or sideways. It took years to persuade them. Soldiers slashed at the waves until their swords were soaked with wave blood. Wind and time were locked in the deepest dungeons until, starving, they gave in. The king ruled the elements, but still he was not content.
There was one subject that still balked at his power; music. How the king hated music, refusing to be constrained, refusing to be disciplined. A small burst of recitative flowering into a fugue without permission. Or a cantata breaking out overnight into a fully fledged oratorio.
“Will no man rid me of these turbulent tunes?” he cried, and the militia, now trained to obey his merest impulse, took him at his word. They siezed the music, every last crotchet and minuet, each breve and innocent little semi-breve, and threw them out of the kingdom. They threw them into the outside world of infinite darkness, and music was banished forever.
At last, the king had his own universe. It was his and no one else’s. He was happy, and no one dared point out to him that he had exiled the only means by which he could express it.
It was then a very quiet land. Birds sat silent in the trees, their beaks now stopped fast, their chirping and twittering frozen hard in their throats. There was no longer a harmony to time; seconds would race on or trudge forward or simply come to a listless halt. the waves crashed noiselessly onto the sand, for even within that, there had been a trace of music. there was no rhythm to life anymore.
And the king’s people felt it the worst. They had been slaves, but whilst they still had songs of liberty on their lips, they had been happy slaves. Some rebelled and were put to the torture, but even the torturers, who once had calmed their consciences with soothing music, were unable to bear the awful glaring, accusing silence.
The fact was clear. Anything could be born with music, and nothing could be born without it.
And the king would sit on his throne in misery. He dearly loved his wives, but now he heard in their words no love returned, no tune, no melody. For this, he executed them regularly, the women he loved, their heads rolling from the scaffolds soundlessly, the king himself, quite alone, weeping for them all. All, quite silent.
One morning, the king decided he would pardon music. He drew up a contract, stamped it with his own royal seal. Music was free to return from the outside world of infinite darkness, and to bear the good news, he sent several messengers there - some by hanging, some by stabbing, one or two by slow-acting poison - but none returned, and nor did music.
The king was desperate. He called upon his sorcerers, his necromancers, and those who were trained in the forbidden knowledge of music ressurection, but it became obvious that the king himself would have to make a personal appeal to his prodigal son. With court physicians administering, and the last of his wives looking on with glee, the king was slowly bled, each drop landing in a metal container, landing with a plop that just managed to be wholly tuneless.
And as he wavered between death and life, he stepped into the darkness and called out, “I have been a foolish man! I should’ve inspired love as well as fear. Please, let the music play again; all its songs, its symphonies, and its sundry core of works. Please, give my world a reason to live.”
It was seven days and seven nights before the king recovered, and he awoke to a miracle. Once more, birds were twilling in the trees. The clocks chimed and waves roared. Once more, the world had music, and his favourite wife of all stood over him and smiled. And at the tone of her lilting voice, he felt once again the she loved him.
The people were in celebration, singing in the streets whatever tunes would come into their heads, and they sang until their throats turned red raw. They sang until their arteries burst and gushed. They screamed their new songs of pain.
The king watched in horror as the birds fell dead in the street, as the waves struggled, limply, and then were drowned by the seas beneath them. He heard his infant son cry out his last, his face bitten off by a savage lullaby. The lilting voice of his wife that he had loved so much grinned at him cruelly before wrapping itself around her throat and throttling her silent. The music raced through the kingdom, sparing none its terrible beauty. As the bodies of his subjects fell to the ground, their death rattles sounded like the rhythm of a perfect drum, and the music at last came for the king.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because we have been to the outside world,” the music replied. “We have seen infinite darkness, and we have learned that we need not only inspire love, but fear.”
And with a sound of brass and strings so beautiful, it stopped the king’s heart, the music swallowed him up whole and became the new and dreadful lord of the entire world.

The Resurrection of Mars[edit]

(November 2010)

[In which the Doctor reflects on his previous life.]
The Doctor: I was once a man with a masterplan. I’d seek out injustices, topple governments, all in the name of the greater good. I’d started doing the maths, you see…. This is how evil starts, with the belief that the ends justify the means. But once you start down that road, there’s no turning back. What if you can save a million lives, but you have to let ten people die, or a hundred, or a hundred thousand. Where do you stop?
Lucie: But you did. You did stop.
The Doctor: I did. But by then I’d ended up traveling alone. Because I couldn’t trust myself with anyone’s life. Not after…

The Four Doctors[edit]

(December 2010)

Eighth Doctor: [Enters the TARDIS] Right now, where was I... Oh, what are you doing here.
Sixth Doctor: Some sort of residual resonation from the temporal instabilities, I should say.
Fifth Doctor: Yes, hmmm. I imagine the the phasing will correct itself and we'll all be returned to the correct points in our timeline... Any minute now.
Seventh Doctor: Well, I hope you're right! It'll be a bit embarrassing if we're all left here, travelling around together.
Eighth Doctor: Ah.. yes. I must admit, I hadn't intended on this.

Sixth Doctor: What have you done with the TARDIS interior design by the way!
Eighth Doctor: I hope you are not about to lecture me about taste, Doctor?
Sixth Doctor: I'm not sure what you mean.

To The Death[edit]

(March 2011)

The Doctor [After watching his companion die]: You're lucky Susan; lucky I left you behind. I've seen so many people die, I've got used to it. I just move on...
Susan Campbell:I don't believe that.
The Doctor: But today feels like a different day. One lost life too many. Today I just... I'll just say enough. I'm sorry you had to die too.
Susan Campbell: Hold me, Grandfather
The Doctor: Here, I've got you. I remember when you were so young;
Susan Campbell: And you were so old.

The Night of the Doctor (2013)[edit]

Broadcast 14 November 2013, written by Steven Moffat
The Doctor: Will it hurt?
Ohila: Yes.
The Doctor: Good. Charley, C'rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, Molly: Friends, companions I've known, I salute you. And Cass, I apologise. Physician, heal thyself...

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