The Lines and Scenes
The Character of Ares (02-13)
As Other Characters Saw Him (14-15)
MY FAVORITE MOMENTS OF ARES ON XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
Ares, in his natural habitat.
 To pay tribute to Kevin Smith, I have listed Mr. Smith's entire body of work from Xena: Warrior Princess, followed by my personal favorites [see Ancestrina Benson's, "Kevin Smith Episode Guide: Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," this issue, for synopses of these episodes]. Next, I have described my favorite scenes and lines and further consider how Kevin Smith molded the character of Ares. Finally, I have mentioned how two other characters have referred to Ares, the god of war.
Season 1(06/106) THE RECKONINGSeason 2
(20/120) TIES THAT BIND(31/207) INTIMATE STRANGERSeason 3
(32/208) TEN LITTLE WARLORDS
(34/210) THE XENA SCROLLS(47/301) THE FURIESSeason 4
(49/303) THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN
(50/304) THE DELIVERER
(56/310) THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER
(58/312) THE BITTER SUITE
(63/317) FORGET ME NOT
(67/312) SACRIFICE I
(68/322) SACRIFICE II(90/422) DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN
Season 5(92/502) CHAKRAMSeason 6
(99/509) SEEDS OF FAITH
(102/512) GOD FEARING CHILD
(103/513) ETERNAL BONDS
(104/514) AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE
(109/519) LOOKING DEATH IN THE EYE
(112/522) MOTHERHOOD(113/601) COMING HOMEMy Top Six Favorite Kevin Smith Episodes
(122/610) OLD ARES HAD A FARM
(124/612) THE GOD YOU KNOW
(125/613) YOU ARE THERE
(126/614) PATH OF VENGEANCE
(132/620) SOUL POSSESSION(56/310) THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER
(32/208) TEN LITTLE WARLORDS
(99/509) SEEDS OF FAITH
(113/601) COMING HOME
(47/301) THE FURIES
The Lines and Scenes
 THE DELIVERER (50/304), written by Steven L. Sears. Xena moves off to a clearing somewhere and tells Ares to show himself. He does. Right in front of her, where she is holding her sword out, and him appearing neatly impaled on it. The scene dialogue:Xena: Show yourself. I know you're there. Ares.
Ares: You wanna move this so we can talk?
Xena: Oh, I don't know. I kind of like the look of it there.
Ares: Hmm, still miffed about the insanity thing, huh? Oh, get over it. Even the Furies have forgotten about it by now. There's no real damage done.
Xena: You wanted me to kill my mother.
Ares: No, I wanted you to join me. Why do you always look at the effect, and ignore the goal? Anyway, that's not why I'm here -- at least not to moan about the past. I am excited by your future! Your near future.
Ares: You're going up against Caesar, huh?
Xena: I am helping a friend.
Ares: Oh yeah, sure, sure. That must be great for the masses, but we really know, don't we? You know, Caesar and I -- talk, now and then. But don't get jealous, I don't always answer him. He's got this temple. I told him he should destroy it, but he hasn't yet. Sure must be important to him.
Xena: Caesar doesn't care about temples. If he has it, it's just for strategic value.
Ares: Either way, it'll really humiliate him if you destroy it. Go, Xena. Lead your army to victory, and make me proud.
 THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER… (56/310), written by Hilary J. Bader. Ares and Gabrielle are becoming chummy much to their surprise. This is a comedy where Ares and Aphrodite lose their god powers. Gabrielle, Ares, Aphrodite, and Joxer spend the episode figuring out how to reverse that. Gabrielle and Ares are walking along talking easily.Gabrielle: These ruts are deep, as if he's carrying a load of dinars.
Ares: Where'd you learn to read trails like that?
Gabrielle: Xena, of course. You know, you hang around her long enough, you're bound to pick up something. You just have to focus.
Ares: Oh, yeah. I taught her that. When she came to me, she was just another lost warlord, hungry to kill. I gave her a purpose.
Gabrielle: Well, she has a different purpose, now.
Ares: I know. She is so darned good at it. You know, what she did when I had her on trial for her life, It, it was amazing.
Gabrielle: Well, how about what she pulled off with the Furies?
Ares: Oh, it was brilliant. Yeah. And she does it all with that, that steely gaze, you know?
Gabrielle: Oh, yeah, I've seen that one a few times. Ah, it looks like he's heading for the caves.
Ares: Yeah. We were starting to warm up to each other there, weren't we?
Gabrielle: Yeah, we were.
Ares: I didn't like it.
Gabrielle: Right back at'cha.
 BITTER SUITE (58/312), written by Steven L. Sears and Chris Manheim. After Xena kills Gabrielle.Ares: Nothing more need be said. Ding, dong, the b*tch is dead.
 TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208), written by Paul Robert Coyle. Ares, after losing his godhood in the form of his sword, becomes a down-on-his-luck-drunk who has just the right amount of apathy. Kevin Smith does a good pratfall, too. I have heard it said that playing humor is harder than serious, so to see Kevin Smith change character was rewarding and refreshing. Yet, drunk or sober, Ares is still the same old Ares and gets his powers back at the end, yet is his same old deceitful self.Ares: If I had my sword, I could settle this in a heartbeat.
Xena in Callisto's Body: I know where Sisyphus hid it. This is what everyone's looking for.
Ares: Strange, this is the first time I've had blood on my hands.
Sisyphus: Xena, use the sword. Slay Ares before he slays you, and you win.
Xena: What about that monster, Sisyphus?
Joxer: The monster's dead! I killed it! Meet Joxer, the new god of war! You may bow.
Xena: Gabrielle, Joxer. What are you doing here?
Gabrielle: It's a long story. Now, Xena, are we gonna fight, 'cause I'm ready. And I wanna taste blood. Now, forget the monster, it's a big noise-making thingamajig, like him!
Joxer: Whatever, I conquered it.
Gabrielle: Conquer this!
Xena: I knew it. All you ever wanted to do is pit warlord against warlord.
Ares: You wanted my sword for yourself, didn't you?
Sisyphus: "Send me ten of the very best warriors," Hades said.
Ares: Hades! I'm gonna have a word with him when I get back to Olympus.
Sisyphus: "When the last dies and replaces you, then, and only then, will you win Ares' godhood."
Xena: Ares, duck!
Ares: You saved me. I won't forget.
Xena: Yes, you will.
Gabrielle: He's ba-ack.
Ares: Sisyphus, give my regards to Hades. I couldn't have done it without you, Xena. But as for mortality, you can have it.
Xena: It's your loss, Ares. For a while, you weren't just mortal. You were human.
Gabrielle: Wait a minute. You promised that Xena would get her body back if she helped you.
Ares: I did, didn't I? [Laughs]
Gabrielle: Wait! You can't betray her! Come back! Oh, Xena.
Even after hundreds of years in a tomb, Ares still has a thing for Xena.
 THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210), written by Robert Sidney Mellette, Adam Armus, and Nora Kay Foster. This scene is where Ares awakens from his sarcophagus.Jacques: Hmmm. We will be safe in here. Qu'est-ce que c'est? What did I tell you? This place is cursed.
Janice: There are no curses. This was obviously a case of dormant embers being hit by oxygen, resulting in spontaneous combustion. Jacques: What? Embers don't lie dormant for thousands of years! Obviously, some sort of curse. What are we going to do? I know. We'll stand with our rear ends facing each other. That'd-- no. Curses don't know fronts from rears. We'll counter-curse it. You must know some kind of a curse. My grandmother -- she was a witch, um -- Boil, boil! No.
There's no oxygen in here. I can't breathe! I'm starting to panic uncontrollably!
Janice: Pull yourself together, man!
Smythe: Enough games. I want the scrolls and the chakram now.
Ares: Mmmmm! Ahh. That feels good.
Jacques: Would you mind slapping me again? I'm hallucinating.
Ares: I've been expecting you. Welcome to the prison that has held me for centuries.
Smythe: Oh! Ah, excuse me, my good fellow. I think you'll find that this tomb is mine.
Ares: Go ahead, take your best shot.
Smythe: Ah, eliminate him.
Smythe's Men: Huh? Huh?
Smythe: Who are you?
Ares: The last sight you'll ever see.
Smythe: My God.
Jacques: Fear not, ladies. I shall not go down without a fight. Did I not tell you, that I was captain of my boxing team in my division? Ah, you like it? Oh, you're not ready for the duck, duck, weave, huh?
Ares: Oh, please. Does the brush salesman from New Jersey think he can defeat the god of war?
Janice: Ares. Brush salesman?
Jacques turning into Jack: [Laughs] Ah I, uh, I li -- I mean, ah-- I lied. Ow, ow, ow! How are ya? Jack Kleinman, Victory Brush Company, Hoboken. I tried to enlist to fight the Fuhrer, but I got 4F'ed, you dig? So I came here to fight the Nazi b*st*rds, so they wouldn't get the scrolls.
Janice: How did you find out about the scrolls.
Ares: My guess is from the family tradition passed down from ancient times.
Janice: You're related to Xena?
Ares: [Laughs] No, no, not Xena.
Joxer: You wanna fight, huh? Fine with me. You made me mad, now, little girl. [Laughs, then screams.] You've just made a serious mistake. You broke my crossbow! That does it. I'm gonna rip you apart with my bare hands! Hahhhhhhh!
Ares: His kind give warriors a bad name. I see you've kept your family's reputation for undiluted idiocy intact. For thousands of years, my spirit has been trapped here in this tomb, waiting for a certain someone to claim the chakram and make it whole. Now, I am flesh again, and it feels so good! Janice: What do you want from us?
Ares: A simple favor. It is written that only a descendant of Xena can release me back into the world. I want out.
Janice: Of course, I'm a descendant of Xena. You can forget it, Ares. The world doesn't need any more of you.
Ares: Silly girl, I don't need you.
Jan: You just said--
Ares: Oh, you are related to someone in the scrolls, but it's not Xena.
Ares: I'll give you a hint -- think 'irritating blonde'.
Callisto: You want it? Come and get it!
Ares: Wrong blonde.
Xena: You all right?
Gabrielle: I'm great. I-- I can't see, but-- I'm good.
Xena: Try using both eyes.
Gabrielle: Ah-- Oh yeah, that's better, uh-huh.
Xena: Think you can stand?
Gabrielle: You mean, I'm not?
Xena: Come on! There you go.
Gabrielle: By the gods!
Xena: What is it?
Gabrielle: You are beautiful!
Ares: Ah, heir apparent. It's time, Melinda. Release me and I will regain all my powers, my godhood. If the world thinks it knows death and destruction now, wait 'till they get a load of me!
Melinda possessed by Xena: Think again, Ares.
 SUCCESSION (93/503), written by Steven L. Sears. Ares waves laughingly "bye, bye" to Xena and Gabrielle as they are pulled into a vortex he created. Say what you will about Ares, you cannot deny that Ares has a sense of humor.
 SEEDS OF FAITH (99/509), written by George Strayton and Tom O'Neill. Ares is a b*st*rd in this episode and he show no compulsion to hide it. Before this episode, there were several seasons of him trying to seduce Xena back to her "Dark Side", and her repeatedly refusing him. In SUCCESSION, we had seen him go after Gabrielle, the same old psychological sweet-talking we came to understand from him over the years. With SEEDS OF FAITH, the seduction continues, as does his ruthlessness, with his merciless killing of Eli. Kevin Smith was Ares at his best and his "worst".
 TIES THAT BIND (20/120), writeen by Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster. This wonderful moment is toward the end of the scene when Ares is circling Xena. He had pretended to be Xena's father, to win her back to her dark side. The camera follows him circling her from his perspective, interspersed with being circled by hers, like a predator circling his prey. Seductively, trying to convince her, he attempts to humiliate her in front of others, about how she got sucked into his scheme to turn to her "dark side", all "for daddy". How he could give her "everything". Which she neatly turns down again, saying she would rather die. Ares angrily kicks her sword up towards her, but it stops millimeters from her throat. He lost again.Gabrielle: Xena?
Village Leader: Run for your lives!
Gabrielle: Wait, no! She won't hurt us! Xena! What are you doing? Xena's my best friend!
Warrior: Yeah, yeah, and Zeus is my uncle.
Xena: You'll be all right. Who did this to my father?
Village Leader: He brought it on himself. He tried to escape from our guards.
Xena: Hush, now. You're gonna be all right.
Atrius: I'm dying. They did this to me. All I wanted was to be with you.
Xena: I know. I know. Kill 'em all!
Gabrielle: No! Wait!
Gabrielle: Put it down, Xena.
Xena: They killed my father. Now, they'll die, too. Get out of my way.
Gabrielle: No! Look at me! I'm standing up to a murderous warlord, like I saw you do against Draco. But this time, the warlord is you!
Atrius: Xena -- the villagers. You're not going to kill them?
Xena: No, it's over.
Atrius: Where is your anger, Xena? Look what they've done to me. Don't you want to strike them down? Of course, you do! Come! Join me! We'll kill them all!
Xena: What? No.
Atrius: You defeated Kirilus! Now use his army and fight for me!
Xena: Fight for you? Ares.
Atrius morphs into Ares: Yes, Ares. I thought about it for a long time. What could I do to win you back? Money? Power? What was your weakness? And then it came to me -- Daddy! It was so glorious. You did everything I wanted. You killed soldiers. You even left your pesky little friend for me. I knew that ruthless warrior was still inside you. And now you're back where you belong. This is your army, Xena. I had it created, for you. And it feels good, doesn't it? Leading an army into battle for the glory of Ares.
Xena: Give up on me, Ares. I'm never coming back.
Ares: I know what's in your heart. There's a reason why I play the part of Atrius so well.
Xena: You're not my father.
Ares: What is a father, Xena? A man who guides you, who teaches you how to live your life. I did it all for you. And I'll never let you go.
Ares as Atrius: Take your place with me now!
[After a fight, Atrius morphs back into Ares]
Ares: So foolish! Wasting your talents on these pitiful villagers! I'll make it easy for you. Join me or die.
Xena: Go ahead, kill me. I'd rather be dead than come back to you.
Gabrielle: Don't do it, Xena!
Xena: Stay out of this, Gabrielle.
Ares: Oh, Xena, you could of had it all. I think one day you will. Until next time, Xena, until next time.
 COMING HOME (113/601), written by Melissa Good. Driven crazy by the Furies, Ares forces Xena to drown. Yet, when he believes he has killed the one person he has ever professed love for, Xena, his anguish is entirely moving and caring.Ares: Hey, Xena! Where're ya goin? I got som'in' for ya! Are you ready to die, Xena?
Xena: Been there, done that. Yah!
Ares [Laughs][Sighs]: I tried, ya know? Real hard. And you know what? I'm all tried out. So, what am I saying here? I guess I'm sayin', it's over.
Fury's Voice: Kill her.
Ares: Does this give you pleasure? Do you like this? You're like a snake! You're li -- you're like, like one of those three-headed dogs! I don't know what-- ! You're mean! If I could open you up, I would show people the mean inside you! And I will! I will! Yeah! Yeah!
Xena: Uh! Uh-h-h-h!
Ares: Yeah! You -- are makin' this -- wa-a-a-ay too easy!
Xena: I'll try harder.
Ares: Oh, would you?
Xena: You might be mortal, Ares, but you will never be a man.
Fury's Voice: Kill her. Kill her.
Ares [Yells]: A-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r! Huh? You like that? Speak up! I-I-- I can't hear you! Xena-a-a-a-a-a! Where are you? Don't hide from me. Oh, there you are. So beautiful.
Xena [Muffled pleas]: Ares!
Ares: I can't hear you. You tried to fool me, me, the god of war. Well, that is what you get, Xena! That is what you get! You were right! I am not a man! I am the man! Xena-a-a! [Sighs]
Furies [Snicker]: You just killed your beloved, Ares. How does it feel? We have avenged the death of the Olympians. Now the Furies will r-r-rule in their place. [Laugh]
Ares [Whispers]: Xena. [Normal Voice] Xena! Oh-h-h! [Yells][Whispers] I loved you, Xena.
Ares: I killed her.
Gabrielle: No, you didn't. Not yet. We just have to get her warm. Her body drowned in cold water. Her organs are still alive. Xena. Just keep her warm.
Eve: OK. Come on.
Gabrielle: We just have to get her breathing. Xena?
Eve [Whispers]: Come on. [Normal Voice] Come on.
Gabrielle: Wake up.
Eve: Come on. You can do it, you know? Xena, come on. Please. Wake up.
Gabrielle's Voice: That's it. Yeah, you did it. Good plan.
 THE RECKONING (06/106), written by Peter Allan Fields. Shortly into the seductive scene in the jail cell with Xena chained up, Ares tries, for the first tim, to convince Xena to give up her good ways.Gabrielle: Are you all right? That was quite a blow you took.
Xena: I do have a throbbing headache. It's not my biggest worry right now.
Gabrielle: Why did you just give up? Why didn't you fight them?
Xena: They're not warriors. It would've been a slaughter. Gabrielle, I told you to get away from here if anything happened. I meant it. Save
yourself. We're up against more than you know."
Gabrielle: I understand you may be feeling a little negative at the moment. You can't give in to that! Justice prevails.
Xena: (wearily) Well, that'd be nice.
Gabrielle: I'll get you out of here.
Xena: (as Gabrielle exits) No, Gabrielle, leave. Get away from here.
Ares: (voice over) Look at you.
Ares: (appearing) Hardly a suitable situation for a warrior princess. You're probably wondering who I am.
Xena: No, I know who you are, Ares, god of war.
Ares: Very good. I should have known you'd figure it out. Who else could outfight your sword?
Ares: Behold, your former mentor, and still greatest fan, at your service.
Xena: I used to wonder what you look like.
Ares: Ah, now that's the problem. You used to wonder. I can't tell you how disappointing that is. (massaging Xena) Better? Of course it is. Take my hand, Xena. Give me your hand and come with me out of yourself into what is wonderful.
[Cut to Ares' fabulous bachelor pad]
Xena: You slaughtered those four villagers.
Ares: Only three so far. That one you ministered to might actually recover. By all the gods, you are a beauty. You must know I've missed you.
Xena: What do you want?
Ares: I want you back, of course. My warrior princess living as my warrior queen. We were once a great match.
Xena: I didn't know any better then. I thought your ways were all there was for me.
Ares: I think you'll be more comfortable in this. (puts a robe on Xena) Now that you do know there is another side to life, now tell me, are you really having more fun these days?
Xena: I'm fighting for a better world.
Ares: My dear Xena, you were always fighting for a better world. You were going to conquer it and then you were going to rule it. The perfect way to bring order -- out of chaos. And you were doing very, very well.
Ares: Take a look at these documents on the table here.
Xena: (reading first document) Each village taxed only on its profits. (reading second 2nd document) Comfort for the elderly. (reading third document) The teaching of medicine.
Ares: They need only your signature.
Xena: I can pass these decrees?
Ares: If it'd make you happy. Your destiny is to rule the world with me. Fulfill your destiny. And fill me again with the delicious sight of you, the warmth, the strength of you. Go look out the window. What do you see?
Xena: Warriors-- thousands of them.
Warriors: Xena! Xena! Xena! Xena! Xena! Xena! Xena! Xena!
Ares: All of them yours. Trained, ready, willing to die if you command it. With an army like that, you could mold the world anew -- eradicate injustice. You can't tell me that all this holds no attraction, even maybe a slight fascination?
Xena: What's in it for you?
Ares: The world at peace under a great leader, you. And to bring all this about, you need only call out my name. Call upon me to help you, and I shall be there instantly.
[Cut to the cell]
Ares: I seriously doubt you're gonna get a better offer. Just call for my help, Xena, and you'll hold the world. And you better hurry. That crowd doesn't seem as fond of you as I am.
Ares as a tarot-cardish god of war.
 THE BITTER SUITE (58/312), written by Steven L. Sears and Chris Manheim. The seductive dance between Area and Xena.
 AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE (104/514), written by Chris Black. The seductive love scene with Xena.Xena: Hello, Ares. Thought I might find you here.
Ares: Oh, yeah.
Xena: So, are we going to seal this deal? Or what?
Ares: Sounds like a plan.
Xena: One thing. Can I trust you to keep your end of the bargain?
Ares: Yeah, sure.
Xena: Because I wouldn't want there to be any confusion.
Ares: No, no confusion. Uh, I side with you, against gods, save Eve. Gotcha.
Xena: Uh, didja hear something?
Xena: Uh, no, no -- no, I heard fighting.
Ares: Perfect. Now, where were we?
Cyrene: Are you all right?
The Character of Ares
 Another "I've heard it said" was that playing a villain well enough for us to hate him/her takes talent. One of my favorite such villains was Komarofsky in Dr. Zhivago, played by Rod Steiger. I hated the guy. I felt similar with Ares. Except for Atyminius, Ares to me was the worst of the "bad guys" ever on Xena: Warrior Princess: conniving, seductive, manipulative, and power-hungry. Anything he could do to get Xena back to him, anything to get what he needed for himself, was okay. Yet, Ares was never played strictly as a villain. We saw nuances of other aspects of his character: love, hate, greed, passion, control, power-over, even humor and pathos were all there. By the final seasons, we could see Ares as his more vulnerable self. In MOTHERHOOD, for instance, for love of Xena, he gives up his immortal powers to save Gabrielle and Livia. He shows crushing anguish in sixth Season's COMING HOME, after he believes he has killed Xena. Lucy Lawless' touching portrayal of Xena at the end, coming to him and carefully checking out his wounds (she had given him quite a knockout in an earlier scene) was wonderful. As Xena said, he found out his own humanness. So did we.
 First season's TIES THAT BIND was the second episode where we saw Ares, the first being THE RECKONING. In THE RECKONING, Kevin Smith played the character slightly differently. Sly, seductive, and deceitful, yes, but a bit different. Perhaps more mean or grim. Even the beard cut was different. By TIES THAT BIND, the character change, along with the beard cut, came closer to what I consider the quintessential Ares. More sarcastic, almost a bit more modern like a biker gone bad, with an underlying sense of humor. More, "Heh, heh, heh. I'm the BAD guy. I got power!"
As Other Characters Saw Him
Minya describes the meat, Aphrodite eats the meat.
 THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER… (56/310), written by Hilary J. Bader. Ares, after getting his powers back, played a practical joke on Gabrielle.Minya: You know, I expect more from the God of War. I mean, without his powers, he's just another man. (throatily) Just another big ol', leather-clad, well-muscled, gorgeous, hunk of, bad-boy, mannn.
 COMING HOME (113/601), written by Melissa Good. Xena and Ares, after Ares recovers from being taken over by the Furies. Xena is checking on his injuries.Xena: Hey.
Ares: Mortality stinks-- not to mention hurts.
Xena: Yeah, it does sometimes.
Ares: You have got a wicked right jab.
Xena: Sorry about that.
Ares: [brief sigh] It's not the end of the world. Who knows? Maybe as a mortal I can experience something I never could as a god.
Xena: Like what?
Ares: Like you.
Xena: You never give up, do you?
Ares: Ow. I guess I'm finally gettin' to ya.
Xena: You always got to me -- but you were bad for me, Ares. You still are.
Ares: Xena, is there even a chance we could be together one day? I don't know, maybe, you know, one in a thousand?
Xena: More like one in a billion.
Ares: So you're sayin' there is a chance.
[Xena leaves and Ares tries to disappear out of the scene as he used to do as a god]
Ares: I gotta stop tryin' that. I'm gonna rupture something.
 However, I will always see Ares disappearing in flash of white light, saying, "Later".
Lilli Sprintz, "BETWEEN THE LINES, or, Back To The Future". WHOOSH #64 (01/02)
Lilli Sprintz is a 52-year-old former Philadelphia, PA (USA) woman who likes Star Trek, bats, raises butterflies, listens to birds, and watches Xena. "I live in the Northern USA. Beautiful snow and the cold reminds me to stay in and be with people, read books, and know what is going on with my community. I am presently disabled with Fibromyalgia and chronic back problems. I like to be pleasant, but sometimes growl when I do not mean to. Finishing my undergraduate work at the university in Women's Studies and Computer Training (I do not make 'em; I just teach how to use 'em). I do watercolor and computer-generated art for fun, do genealogy research for joy, and like the idea of maybe getting paid for some of this in the future."
Favorite episodes: THE RHEINGOLD/RING/RETURN OF THE VALKYRIE
Favorite line: Xena: "I have many skills". First said in THE BLACK WOLF
First episode seen: THE WARRIOR PRINCESS (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)
Least favorite episode: MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS