Life on Mars

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Mr. Sobell: B | Grade It Now!
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Don't Go Chasing Butterflies

But we're interrupted by this breaking news bulletin from Brother Lover Butter: Angel Ramirez was spotted in an alley on A and Fifth. Sam and Fletcher make like Starsky and Hutch and peel on out of there, arriving at the alley in no time flat. "I know your face," someone says to Sam. Why, it's the creepy old derelict from the squad room. He's holding a sign that says, "If this is Purgatory, how do I get to Heaven?" Practice, practice, practice. Sam stares at the derelict while the Machine That Goes Ping begins doing its business on the soundtrack.

Fletcher reminds Sam that they don't have time for his little mental freak-outs right now, not with Angel reportedly skulking in nearby alley. But when they get to the alley, there's no Angel to be found; there is, however, a leather jacket-clad black man who's soon joined by half-a-dozen or so of his armed friends. Sam orders the rapidly advancing men to stop since he and Fletcher are police officers. Everyone finds this very funny. "We know," the leather jacket-clad leader says. "Why do you think we put out that false Angel sighting over the airwaves?" 'Cause you like to mess with people? "Consider yourselves Prisoners of the BLA," he adds. Well, that too.

Oh, and our leather-jacket-wearing friend? That's the guy who played Cutty on The Wire, meaning we've now picked up the ex-Wire cast member Hat Trick. Those of you who had the Freamon-Sobotka-Cutty trifecta, please turn in your tickets to collect your cash prize.

After the break, Militant Cutty is removing the hoods from the heads of Sam and Fletcher -- they're in BLA headquarters now, as the silky sounds of Brother Love Butter continue to rile up the listening audience. Militant Cutty explains the reason for their capture: The BLA is having a devil of a time tracking down Angel, so they figured they'd let the police do all the hard work and then swap him for some hostages. The part of the hostages in tonight's performance will be played by Sam and Fletcher, in case you haven 't put two and two together. "You'd be better off trading us for a color TV," Sam snorts. "Because odds are, the police are going to kill Angel themselves." In that case, Militant Cutty counters, perhaps the BLA will just have to sate itself by killing two police officers. "Woke up this morning, looking for some cigs," Militant Cutty semi-sings. "Roll with my black posse, find us two real pigs." That... did not scan at all. Nevertheless, Sam observes that Militant Cutty has some promising rhyming skills, while Fletcher tries vainly to shush him. "There's no Seals & Croft here," Militant Cutty snorts. "No Three Dog Night. Only rhyming." Ah, you mean freestyling, then, Sam observes. "Look at you, inventing words," an unimpressed Militant Cutty retorts. "You think you can 'freestyle?'" Sam does not think he can. Well, how's about if Militant Cutty holds a gun to Fletcher's head and threatens to shoot him unless you comply -- feel like busting a rhyme then? "All right now, stop!" Sam shouts when Militant Cutty loads the chamber. "Collaborate and listen. Ice is back with his brand new invention. Something... grabs a hold of me tightly, flowing like a harpoon daily and lightly. Will it ever stop, yo?" Sam, who up into now has been unnervingly into reciting the lyrics to "Ice, Ice Baby," pauses. "I don't know," a nervous Fletcher offers. "Turn off the lights," Sam resumes. "And I'll glow. To the extreme, I rock a mic like a Vandal. Light up the stage, I'll wax a chump like a candle. Ice, ice, baby, too cold, too cold." The BLA is duly impressed which either means that music has come a long, long way since 1973 or that Vanilla Ice has the timeless soul of a poet and no one ever acknowledged it. I lean toward the former. Incidentally, if I found myself in Sam's shoes and forced to recite rap lyrics to early 1970s black militants, I would have gone with either "Fight the Power" ("Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant shit to me.") or "Baby Got Back" ("My anaconda don't want none, unless she has got buns, hon). And that's about it. If my knowledge of rap seems paltry, that's at least two more songs I'd be able to recite than if militant hillbillies kidnapped me and forced me to come up with country-and-western lyrics.

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Life on Mars

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