Thursday, July 31, 2008


One of my primary sub-goals when I write is to avoid being blatantly offensive or vulgar. If a child somehow stumbles upon this website, I don't want the parents to have to answer any uncomfortable questions.

Which is why it is hilarious that my mom responded to my post from yesterday with the following quote:

"You have to be careful because if you run for president in 30 years the phrase butt snuggling may come back to haunt you." Moms are hilarious.

I can not imagine how on earth butt snuggling could come back to haunt me, unless she misread snuggling and replaced the 'n' with an 'm' - which is an entirely different thing altogether.

Good Family Fun, If "Family" Means "Not at all intended for the family"

For one reason or another, I have never really been much of a drinker. When I weigh the calorie/taste ratio, I prefer to utilize my calories on something scrumptious like cake, or beer-flavored ice cream. As a result, I am sadly unaware of many of the more party oriented activities taking place on a regular basis here in Michigan - which is why Alex deserves some appreciation for this post.

Every year on Houghton Lake (about 2.5 hours north of Detroit on I-75), the world throws a party called the Bud Bash. If the name does not clarify enough the goals and themes of the day, it is mostly a drunken party mess with tons of boats anchored just off the shore - so technically the party takes place "on" the lake. With that said, you're in luck. The party is this Saturday!

The website includes such useful insights as "Do NOT pee on school grounds." I guess the police have a boat on it with a few benches and people who do pee on school grounds spend their day floating around in handcuffs. They take this rule very seriously. If you are free on Saturday and have somewhere between 24-36 hours available to detoxify post-Bud Bash, the people I know who head to Houghton Lake have a ridiculously good time.

When you're there, make sure to come up with ironic and hilarious nicknames for everyone. For example, call the fat guy "Slim" and the dumb guy "Braniac." Irony is delicious.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Girl from Florida

Tonight after softball (that's right, league champs), several of my teammates and their family and friends went to dinner at a local pizza establishment and general eatery in Troy called Shield's. This restaurant also happens to sponsor my softball team and our championship ways. A college friend of a friend named Sarah is visiting Michigan from Chicago and also joined us at dinner. Early in the meal, she mentioned that while she is originally from Florida, went to school in Notre Dame, and currently lives in Chicago, she is quite a big fan of Michigan and the Detroit area. In fact, when she was considering where she wanted to live post-college, her top two choices for geography were Chicago and Detroit. Back at the time when she was making this decision, some of her friends chided and teased her for even CONSIDERING moving to the metro-Detroit area.

First - to all those people who share a similar viewpoint based on no actual facts or life experience - shut your word hole. Unless you are speaking from life experience, I feel comfortable declaring that you have no idea what you are talking about and, like most people with whom I disagree, I would like to punch you in the face. Alternatively, we could sit down to tea and I could explain to you the errors in your assumptions and the extended detrimental effects of your fallacious negativity. I can not speak for Sarah, but your words may have had a profound and direct affect on her decision to not live in Michigan, thereby taking away one energetic and enthusiastic resident.

Second - Despite it being only one point of view from one person, it is incredibly uplifting to hear that a non-native with no particular ties to Michigan thinks this is a great place to be. Now if we could only figure out how to convince others to visit and experience many of the great things going on (I find it very difficult to avoid ending every sentence with a preposition. Sometimes I will need to resort to this grammatical error and you will somehow have to find a way to deal with it.)

Third - I typically enjoy sleeping slightly more when I am not faced directly toward Maureen. I think it is because I feel a little less warm when I am pointed away and I prefer to be cooler when I sleep. This sleep methodology typically results in some bum-to-bum touching, which Sarah coined as "butt snuggling". She declared a verbal copyright on the phrase butt snuggling, but I wanted to share it with the world for extended dissemination. Go forth and butt snuggle.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Not Everyone Should Be Saved

At the request of my friend Scott:

Two weekends ago, some of my friends got together in the Petoskey area when a couple of them were kind enough to open their house to us. We decided to spend part of the evening in downtown Petoskey so that the dairy-lovers amongst us could purchase and consume a dairy product that is mixed with flavorings and sugar (iced cream or something like that) and frozen. Petoskey is located on a bay that feeds directly into Lake Michigan, so after we consumed the frozen dairy treat, we went for a walk along the shore and out onto some of the peers and other cement outcroppings.

The night was getting late and we decided to head out on one more cement outcropping with a small lighthouse on it. We sat and talked there for awhile, then decided to make our way back. There was also a couple near the lighthouse, and at the same time we decided it was time to leave, the guy was somehow compelled to jump into the bay. The weather was warm so it didn't seem like a terrible idea at the time, until we heard an "Oh Crap" emerging from the waters.

As it turns out, the guy was a complete and utter moron and jumped into the water with both his cell phone and his cigarettes in his shorts pockets, which, I have to assume, have not fully recovered to this day. It is exactly situations like these that make me question the validity of the much-respected Survival of the Fittest theory of evolution. All life is precious, but some life is...less precious. I may not agree with this guy's decision to jump into the water with easily-damaged things in his pockets, but I will defend to my dying day his right to be an idiot (as long as he is paying taxes to the state).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Crazy Idea #2 - Dr. Strangelove

The above still is from a movie called "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Atomic Bomb". If you are like me and do not watch movies when you can make a decent guess as to what the movie is about based on pictures from the movie, than you also know that this movie is about a man who somehow learns to bring bombs to life and then ride these bombs around like flying horses. And that is my second Crazy Idea - figure out a way to bring atomic bombs to life and then ride them around life flying horses. How did we not figure this one earlier? It is a clear formula for success. Living bombs+horses = economic success. I also like formulas. They break things down to their simplest essence.

OK, so this is the most terrible idea ever. If we did figure out how to bring bombs to life, then how do we know that they would let us ride them around like flying horses? Maybe they would just sit in the corner like cats, and when we try to pet them, they keep putting their butts in our faces. You're not in charge of me, bomb. It just can't be guaranteed, so there must be some other way to harvest the power of nuclear energy to our great benefit...

Crazy Idea #2 - Evolve Michigan into a nuclear-power providing Super Power

Now this idea might even be more controversial than my now world-famous Crazy Idea #1 - Make Michigan the "Gayest Place on Earth", though I do have to admit that at the time, I didn't think I would be able to top that one. In fact, I'm not even entirely convinced that I approve of this idea, but it does have some extremely significant potential upside.

As the global standard of living continues to increase, there are two things that the developing and developed world will probably need more than anything else: energy and water. Michigan has water in spades and this is an important issue for discussion at a later time. The global hunger for energy can easily be highlighted by the stomach-churning increase of the cost of a barrel of oil over the past couple years. The word 'overwhelming' probably doesn't do this price increase the appropriate amount of justice. Everyone is actively seeking a solution to the energy problem. Wind, water, solar, cellulosic ethanol, and nuclear are all being considered by many nations with a ferocity never before seen when the cost of oil was so much lower.

Nuclear energy was discovered in 1934 and was first generated by a nuclear reactor in 1951, so it is not new by any standards. In the absolute simplest terms possible, to create nuclear-based energy, you drop a rod of uranium (or some other element) into a vat of water, chemical reactions between the uranium and the water produce steam from heat, and then this steam turns turbines, thereby creating electricity. In a nutshell, you are creating steam and harvesting the power from this steam.

The downsides to nuclear energy are not actually specific to nuclear energy, but rather from the byproducts of this process. First and foremost, you create a certain form of plutonium that can be turned into atomic bombs. Second, if the plutonium is not properly cooled and stored, radiation from the plutonium can have very detrimental health effects (simple things like death or near-death). As a result of these possible byproducts, Americans are TERRIFIED of nuclear power and have not turned on new any nuclear power plants since 1996.

Here we are; our world craves energy, Michigan already has 3 nuclear power plants (Cook, Fermi, and Palisades), and building, operating, securing, and selling the actual energy are all multi-billion dollar industries. As in more than ones-of-billions. There are probably thousands of positives and negatives that I was unable to encompass here, but I've already gone on too long and have probably lost most everyone's attention.

At the very least, Michigan requires and deserves a forum to discuss the possible pros and cons of expanding our nuclear power capacity. Texas, the state most tied to oil, is doing pretty well in the difficult economic times ongoing in our country. Our potential ability to provide more energy to the world could insulate the state from the economic pressures currently buffeting the US, and continue to drive investment, job creation (construction, maintenance, nuclear scientists, etc.), and enable Michigan to fulfill an unmet need for the world.

Michigan: The Texas with Water and No Stupid Hats

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Welcome to the Technology of 2007?

A couple of different people have mentioned to me that there are better ways to utilize Facebook for blog promotion than just me screaming over and over again on my status message "HEY, GO TO MY SITE." Thus far I have found this brute-force method to be decently successful, but not as...elegant as I might hope. Plus, it has the disadvantage of taking my shame level from a 9.8 to a full 10.0 as I keep trying to explicitly hock my writings. I don't mind being at a 10.0 on the shame scale, but I would be a little happier if I could get it back down to a 9.8. Dream big kids.

My main question to those of you kind enough to be reading this right now - do you think it makes sense to automatically update Facebook with a post every time I update my blog? The main thing that I dislike about this method is that it will almost certainly make it harder for me to track whether or not my general audience is growing via Google Analytics, and I do find that very useful information. I don't think I can get any sense of readership if someone reads the material on Facebook. I'll somehow need to figure out when daily visits drop to ZERO so I can euthanize the blog. Also, I don't know if YouTube or Hulu videos would transfer over to Facebook, and I really like having those available as they can truly make it look like I've done more than I have actually done. I win because I'm lazy, and you win because I've fooled you into thinking I've worked on something worthwhile.

Any comments or thoughts in this area would be greatly appreciated!

End of an A.S.I.I.D. Trip

Other clever pun titles I was considering for this included:

"Carbonic A.S.I.I.D. is composed of 2 Hydrogen Atoms, 3 Oxygen Atoms, and 1 Carbon Atom"
"I'm going to throw this A.S.I.I.D. in your face"
"A.S.I.I.D. Danced and Then Lost and Now I'm Sad"

I figure that since over 1.5 weeks have passed and no one cares that I am not spoiling any competition show results for anyone. My hometown dance heroes, the group formerly (and probably still) known as A.S.I.I.D. lost Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew to a break dance group called Super Crew on July 17th. Sometimes I think to myself, "If only more people than my mom and dad read this blog maybe I could have made a difference." Let us all take a moment to mourn for the loss and remember the good times, perhaps in the form of a dance montage. It makes me feel like the episode of Saved By the Bell called "Breaking Up is Hard to Undo" when Zack and Kelly, as well as Slater and Jessie break up in the same episode!!! That was hard to take. See, Zack made an ultimatum that Kelly couldn't go out with an ex-boyfriend and Slater and Jessie had a fight over whether they were attending the ballet or a football game. No one was willing to compromise and in the end, the hearts of 10 to 14 year-olds everywhere were broken. What was I originally talking about? Oh yeah -

Never before have I actually given the slightest care with respect to who or what was eliminated from a reality show, but this one actually hit me pretty hard. I love the show (I still recommend everyone watch it - Thursday nights, 10pm), and I really loved the group, only partly because of their Michigan ties. They danced their hearts out and served as energetic, positive ambassadors for their home state.

Thank you A.S.I.I.D. - you done us proud.

Friday, July 25, 2008

When We Meet Again

Almost everyone has a song that takes them back to a particular period of time or a special place and makes them ache inside for that time or a good way. In the spirit of my last post regarding my memories, this is my "that song". It is called "When We Meet Again" by an artist called G. Love. Here is a version of the song that he posted on YouTube. I don't know why he's not wearing a shirt, but I assume it must have something to do with the fact that he is too cool for clothes. I only hope you enjoy the song close to as much as I do. I have also included the lyrics immediately below the video.

When We Meet Again - G. Love

Springtime is sprung, and the wind from the south
Blows strong and warm to clean out your house
The sun has arisen and the lies that are told are
Driven outside with that freezing cold
I can remember a spring just like this
I was 19 yrs. old
Now the time is sorely missed
The first year that I left my mother's house
Out to make my way in this world somehow

I can't believe how the times they have changed
All the dreams that came true still seem so far away
I remember the days sittin' on the front porch
With the sun beatin' down in my neighborhood

I'd sit out all night singin' songs to the moon
Or try and get some sweet honey back to my bedroom

My friends they were few but to me they was true
All we was trying to do was to just make it through
Always thought for the future, but we shouldn't have cared
All the best things in life we shared them right there

So to all those old friends God be with them
I wish, I wish I could see you again
In the same corner bar where it all started from
Dig your plow so deep now the stars have all gone
So wherever they shine may it be warm and bright
Out to ease my mind on this worried night
It all seems so simple and good tidings I send
I'll never forget that one year that we spent...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our Memories

Over the past month or so, I have absolutely done more non-graded writing than the cumulative sum of all the other non-graded writing in my entire life. On a personal level and beyond the message of the writing, I wanted to prove to myself that I am capable of more than doing my job, jogging, and watching reruns of The Simpsons. I am really, really good at watching reruns of The Simpsons.

This blog has its fair share of failings, but I think that the most significant shortcoming to date is that I haven't done a good enough job yet to answer the question 'why'? Why does Michigan matter to me? Why do I care? Why do I think you should care? Why I am spending my time and effort writing and writing and writing in the hopes that somehow, in some way, I can impact the way you feel about our home.

The unfortunate thing for an untrained writer is that when I try to develop a cohesive answer to this fundamental question, the mind instantly explodes out into thousands of directions and I can't reign in the different threads. Maybe that is the answer, and trying to answer the 'why' in a cohesive series of paragraphs does a disservice to the many 'whys'.

Instead of directly answering the why - something I have convinced myself I am absolutely incapable of doing - I am going to take a bit of a self-indulgent path. I don't really know if this will appeal to everyone or anyone, but I am going to use this space from time-to-time to reminisce and reflect on the prior Michigan events of life that have brought me to this place and this time and this blog.

With some luck, these reflections will serve many purposes - but for anyone who takes the time to read them, I hope with every hope brain cell that I have that my memories will reconnect you with your memories of this place, remind you of the reasons why you are or were happy here, and will continue to strengthen your ties to your once, current, or future home.

Take It From the Bottom

Why, hello. I did not notice you there. Thanks for dropping by. I will be away from my computer from Thursday to Saturday of this week and will thus be unavailable to respond to any urgent Michigan matters that may spring up, but I have put together some material that will be auto-posting over the next few days. I'm proud of these auto-efforts and the direction I think they are leading me in, and I really hope that you swing by to check those out as well. I've said it before and will say it many more times, but I'm very thankful to every individual who happens to come here to read my thoughts, and even more thankful to those who come back for more.

In the meantime and in addition to the auto-posts, I sincerely urge you, if you have some free time, to go to the very bottom of this website and read your way up to the present. Some of the things I write about are sincere, some are dumb, some are sincerely dumb, and I hope that all three of these viewpoints are realized by someone who might find themselves on this webpage. For example, someone could read my post from yesterday about eating 1.25 pounds of canned pineapple and not think I am serious about this blog, or someone else could read one of the heavier posts and think that the whole thing is boring. Maybe it is, but at least I can say that wasn't the goal.

Thank you for your time!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jealous Much

I guess now that I'm famous, it is only logical that I start to hang out with famous people. So, it was only sensible that as I walked around the streets of Ann Arbor last evening, I happened upon Mr. Jimmy Fallon strolling in the opposite direction. That's right, Jimmy Fallon. I can sense your jealousy through the computer screen.

In truth, it was actually pretty cool, regardless of your opinion of him or his humor. I only talked with him for a brief few moments, but I wished him luck regarding his eventual takeover of Conan O'Brien's show and he referred to me as a "cool guy". I'm not sure what that means - must be some sort of hip California lingo. I also suggested that he give a shout out to Michigan in future endeavors and he said that he is having a great time in Michigan so far. Meeting famous people is weird. Even the most insignificant but slightly famous person can make me giddy like a schoolgirl. When I shook his hand, all I could think was "wow, this is the hand that touched Rachel Dratch." He seemed like a pretty nice guy.

I have no idea what he was doing in Ann Arbor, but I have to assume it has something to do with the recent tax credit law passed in Michigan. I don't have a proficiency for tax law, but my basic understanding is that Michigan will provide to a production company a tax credit up to 42% of total production costs if that company produces a movie in Michigan. There has been some debate as to whether or not this law hurts Michigan or helps Michigan financially, and I am going to do my best to clear up the confusion.

Any business in a state owes taxes to that state. This is also true with movie production. Let's say for a movie with a $100,000 budget, that movie owes $50,000 in taxes. Under the new state law, Michigan will provide a tax credit of $42,000, so the production company only owes $8,000 in taxes. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that the cost of the tax credit, by law, cannot exceed the actual taxes owed, so Michigan can not "lose" money in this situation. The biggest downside is that, using my current example, Michigan will only "make" $8,000 in taxes instead of the full $50,000. Advocates (including myself) argue that the new system is not losing Michigan $42,000, but rather bringing in $8,000 because the production companies would do business elsewhere without the new incentive. It is a difficult balancing act.

The hope is that the increased number of movie projects will offset the cost of "lost" taxes, as well as foster the development of businesses related to movie production. I guess only time will tell, but it is the type of idea required to spark new and creative industries in a state that is in great need of such development. As I type, Clint Eastwood is filming a movie in several metro-Detroit locations (or he would be if he wasn't asleep) called Gran Torino and Drew Barrymore is filming a movie called Whip It, not to mention a series of other projects that I can't remember offhand.

Plus, I got to meet Jimmy Fallon - or Jimbo as I now call him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Things I Learned Today #1

Today I learned that it is not a good idea to eat 1.25 pounds of canned pineapple and then go for a four mile run within half an hour of consuming said pineapple - especially if it is 80 degrees and sunny outside. Most upsettingly, this is exactly what big pineapple advocates in their latest ad campaign.  You remember the popular jingle - "Do you know what is fun to do? Eat one and a quarter pounds of canned pineapple and immediately go for a four mile run."  Lies.

I wonder if it would work any better with mandarin oranges...tomorrow I can find out! Note to self: remember to go buy groceries.

Comment Machine with Hugs

A brief thank you to my buddy Dave. Today he left not one, not two, not three, not 62, but four comments! If you see Dave on the street, give him a hug. If you're not sure whether the person you're looking at is Dave or not, I recommend also giving that person a hug - just in case. When you see everyone hugging tomorrow, remember where it started, and then you should think to yourself "I should visit Ken's website". Then, remember this quote from Mitch Hedberg:

"My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana, I said 'no, but I want a regular banana later, so ... yeah.'"

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm a Serial Murderer

A weekend in northern Michigan initiates all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings. You know what else is warm and fuzzy (and by warm and fuzzy I mean dead and on my windshield)? The millions and millions of bugs that met their bug maker on my car while I drove back from up north on a humid evening at 10pm. When did they invent windshield wiper fluid and the corresponding jets that shoot the fluid onto the windshield? Furthermore, were these people inspired by exploding bugs? Many automotive inventions did originate here in Michigan, and I wouldn't be entirely surprised if someone told me this was the case. This is one of those things that I could easily find out through a bit of online research, but I'd rather pretend that exploding bugs were a source of world-changing inspiration. That'll teach those insects to exist.

While on the subject of bugs, several of my friends recently got together to celebrate the end of bachelor life for one of the guys. I've recently discovered that my friends enjoy suggesting additional subject matter for this blog (which I greatly appreciate), and at this event one of my friends suggested an idea for my burgeoning "Crazy Idea Series". I'm up for some pretty crazy ideas, but this concept mainly consisted of Michigan residents moving to a diet consisting primarily of insects. He then proceeded to prove to us (multiple times) that insect consumption would not result in immediate death - and I'll let you speculate on how he convinced us of this.* If I remember the plot of Jurassic Park correctly, I think he's pregnant with a Tyrannosaurus Rex baby.

*As an aside, he also spent most of the evening wearing a baseball batting helmet, so that may help to set the scene for his suggestion a bit better.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is This Your Card?

Every day blogging is a new adventure. I just figured out that it is possible to publish a post when I am not actually at my computer. Magic. Another friend told me that I don't need to carry a cell phone around in a big leather bag anymore. When did that happen? What's next - bracelets that are straight and then when I slap them on my arm they somehow curl around my wrist? Unbelievable.

At this very moment, I have the good fortune to be traveling to beautiful Walloon Lake for a weekend with a subset of my family at a place called Michigania (formerly Camp Michigania, but the word Camp at some point was deemed not quite upscale enough). As a result, I will be unavailable to update the website prior to Monday. Clearly that excludes this post through the previously mentioned POWER OF MAGIC. Speaking of which, please enjoy this clip from Arrested Development (just give it a moment to load):

Friday, July 18, 2008

What a Weekend!

Thus far, I've touched on the Ann Arbor Art Fair and the National Baby Food Festival both taking place this weekend in Michigan, but I would be remiss if I did not also mention the 33rd Annual Antique & Garage Sale taking place in downtown Royal Oak. Why travel from site-to-site in an effort to purchase others' treasures/garbage (trarbage) when they will just bring all of their trarbage directly to you...assuming that you are located at the Lafayette Avenue parking structure between 5th and 6th street in Downtown RO. Admission is $1 if you happen to be over the age of 12, but can you really put a price on excellence?

Yes you can. $1.

At a yard sale up north my brother recently purchased a children's Renaissance costume as well as a massive comforter embroidered with Disney characters. He was reluctant to purchase the items at the joint cost of $0.50 because of general lack of need, and the woman tried to negotiate with him at $0.25. He was like "You don't quite understand. It's not exactly the cost of the items that is the barrier in this transaction."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Art vs. Baby Food

So apparently, there is another major Michigan festival going on this weekend that I have neglected to this point. Wait for it - The 18th Annual National Baby Food Festival. Apparently, this festival is in Fremont, MI. Google Maps informs me that Fremont is approximately one hour north of Grand Rapids, and further research indicates that Fremont is also the home of Gerber Products Co. The fun and games run through Saturday night.

If you're a fan of the country music, Lonestar is performing at the festival Friday evening at 8pm. A quick perusal of their website also highlights the following gems: "Gerber Life Insurance Baby Crawl", "Hula Hoop Contest", "State Farm Child Safety Seat Inspection", and "Pizza Hut Presents The Adult Baby Food Eating Contest ". What's not to like?

Throw your babies into the trunk or lash them to the roof rack and hit the road for Fremont. One thing to keep in mind - if you tie your baby to the roof rack it will probably reduce your mileage by 3-5 MPG, so the trunk may be your best bet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Let the Art-ing Commence!

Hopefully there will be more time to expand on this later when there are a few more free moments, but today marks the start of the 49th Annual Ann Arbor Art Fair. If you like Anns, Arbors, Arts, or Fairs, then you should try all four of these things put together into one. It is like the first time I ate a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup while watching television and surfing the internet. I called it "The First Annual Reese's Internetivision".

Ann Arbor is a rich and uniquely thriving environment in Michigan and for the next four days, its streets will be teeming with people from far and wide to enjoy the art fair. Fair warning - some of these people will be pretentious jerks, but most of them are just there to have a good time. These four days are marked by extensive artist exhibitions, performances, workshops, and the opportunity to enjoy many of the other attractions in the city (I recommend taking some time to stroll into Gallup Park and walk around the central lake/pond. This is also the first place I learned that geese hiss at you when they are angry). Ann Arbor is closer than you think or may remember - only about a 45 minute drive if you are close to I-696, 60 minutes if you live a bit more remotely.

It is incredibly easy to spend an entire day there, so remember when packing to keep your potato salad cold. You don't want to mess with potato salad that hasn't been properly refrigerated. No joke.

An Almost Month in Review

James Earl Jones once told me "If you build it, they will come." Except he didn't actually say that to me, and I'm pretty sure that he doesn't even say that at all in the movie Field of Dreams. In that movie, he just plays a writer who is grumpy for most of the time and in the end he disappears into the corn in the outfield. That man must really love corn. Post-spoiler spoiler-alert!

I have been at this blog thing for almost exactly one month now. In that time, including these thoughts here, I have posted exactly 30 times - which I'd like to think is halfway decent for a team of 1 when the guy writing the things also has a full-time job. Also thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I have a small program called Google Analytics that is embedded into the site that keeps meticulous track of things like # of unique visitors in a day, time each visitor spends on the site, and even the browser each reader is using. Google Analytics is informative, insightful, and depressing.

As a newbie to this whole "make your own website" thing, it is impossible to tell how a typical blog grows, how many readers a standard blog has, and whether or not you want tomato and mayo with your blog. Over the past month, I have been fortunate enough to have 125 unique visitors and 623 pageviews. It is exciting to have any readers at all because as of one month ago, I had ZERO unique visitors and ZERO pageviews, and the outlet for my thoughts was pretty much entirely limited to my puppy, Echo. I guess any progress is good progress.

On the depressing end of the spectrum: only 125 unique visitors? I could make more of a difference using my time recycling pop cans that I find in the garbage. Plus, I'm pretty sure that 25 of those unique viewers were me as I periodically need to use a different IP address. On top of that, yesterday I pore some decent time and emotional energy into my thoughts regarding how hard but necessary it is to admit that we care about our home, and I can clearly see (again thanks to Google Analytics) that 299,999,991 people in the United States don't care, and 300,000,000 don't care enough to leave a comment. For all the case-study fans out there, this assumes a US population of 300M (M stands for million for all those numerically disinclined).

For all those who have read my blog before, are reading it now, and will continue to check in from time-to-time in the future, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking a few minutes of your time. For the 299,999,875 who haven't - if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

My guess is yes and that the tree is insulting you for not being around to hear it. Please tell a friend if you find anything here remotely interesting.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Caring is Not Easy

Most all of us have experienced, in some form or another, the sadness resultant from being dumped, or at least being rejected. Being dumped sucks. The Earth also revolves around the sun and humans require water to not die.

Others are free to disagree, but I contend that a primary reason it is so hard to get dumped is because we have failed at something about which we have explicitly, outwardly declared "I give a poo." Clearly there are several other reasons why a breakup is such a difficult time, but losing something you care about is one of the most difficult experiences anyone ever has to go through.

As a former 2-time student, I am an above-average fan of Michigan Wolverines football: me and the other one hundred zillion former U of Michigan alumni. Some years are phenomenal, some years are less than phenomenal, but in almost every single game that the Wolverines fall behind in the score, the entirety of the fan base lets out a collective sigh and contemplates going out for an early dinner to avoid the remainder of the game. It is simply easier to eliminate emotional over-investment in the team because if we don't throw our whole hearts into the game, then the assumed loss will be that much easier to bear. It is simply easier not to care because the prospect of failure is an easier reality to accept if we claim indifference. In addition to this, it makes it much more difficult for the external world to insult us regarding our failure.

And that brings me to Michigan and this blog. In putting my thoughts down into typeface and declaring my pride and love for the state, I am setting myself up for the heartbreak of failure if Michigan continues and completes its slide into relative obscurity. I am admitting this truth to myself, to anyone who reads these words, and to the children who read this post in holo-textbooks while driving in flying cars three hundred years from now.

Most locals I talk with and overhear, when discussing Michigan, seem to refer to the economy, politics, and events of the state with a vague indifference, or even hostility. Every response to an issue is touched upon in a tongue-in-cheek fashion and very few people, at least outwardly, are willing to admit that they genuinely care about the outcome of state-related events and the long-term survival of their home. Admitting a passion opens the door to potential failure. A breakup. U of M or MSU losing a football game. The ice cream melting before you get home from the store.

If no one cares, no one will be spurred to action, and yet again, no progress can or will take place. I refuse to believe that most people who front indifference are truly indifferent, and if I am wrong, I will see you in Phoenix when we all move there. If you love our home, if nothing is more beautiful to you than Michigan trees swaying overhead on a 75 degree June day, we need you to acknowledge and accept the possibility of a painful defeat and embrace, protect, and declare the fact that our collective outcome means something to you. It means something to me.

We give a poo.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Randy Jackson Presents: The Return of AC Slater

Now this really burns my frijoles. Quite sadly, I did not have the opportunity to flesh out this monster thought freight train yesterday as was originally intended, and somehow The Detroit Free Press entered my brain a-la Minority Report and stole my idea - kind of. I always heard that big media controlled our thoughts, but to literally take the thoughts out of our heads is just not fair.

This post is primarily a television recommendation, but with a heavy metro-Detroit slant. Thursday nights at 10pm, MTV (R.I.P. music videos) airs a truly bombastic show called Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew. This show is nothing like Dancing with the Stars, but I would say it is the spiritual successor to Dance 360, hosted by Keenan of All That and Fredro Starr of Moesha fame. I may have just lost you there, but if you are familiar with Dance 360, I would like to be your new best friend. Furthermore, ABDC (what the in-the-know call America's Best Dance Crew) is hosted by Mario Lopez. It takes me back to the episode of Saved By the Bell where there is that ridiculous dance-off at The Max and Screech jumps around on one foot the whole time.

Back to the point: when I first saw commercials for this show, I was extremely skeptical, but after I gave it a shot, I really was shocked at the quality and originality of the dance crews. This is true modern street dance, and the athleticism, precision, and creativity of the crews is fascinating to watch. This season, a group hailing from Detroit called A.S.I.I.D. is doing its hometown proud and serving as excellent ambassadors to Michigan. Even more impressive, a member of the group named Joey is 100% deaf, and can barely hear bass beats with two hearing aids. They deal with his deafness in an overly heavy-handed fashion on the show, but even with that, Joey is a natural inspiration.

Crew success is based partly on viewer voting and partly on the in-show judges. I could not give a higher recommendation for everyone on planet Earth to watch this show, and if you are in the mood, perhaps send off a vote for the hometown favorite. Michigan isn't known for its dance prowess, but A.S.I.I.D. is ready to rock Randy Jackson's world (note: Randy Jackson has almost nothing to do with the show. He pretty much just shows up in the first and last episode to say "Whattup this show is hot yo")

Friday, July 11, 2008

Proof of God - A Brief Diversion

Every once in awhile, something so wonderful happens that there is no doubt in mind of the existence of God.

A few summers ago, my sister lived in Baltimore for an internship at Johns Hopkins hospital. Baltimore is a place much like Detroit in many respects -maligned, racially segregated, but very proud and working toward a better future. I had the good fortune of being able to visit my sister a couple times that summer. There are many wonderful things about that city and I will definitely touch on them at a later point, but perhaps the best of those things is a life-changing food product called Berger Cookies. These cookies are made in Baltimore and are only directly sold in and around that city, but they can also be purchased via the internet. Twice a year, I indulge in my favorite and most ridiculous purchase of the year when I buy about 15 boxes of these cookies and have them sent via FedEx. A typical Berger cookie has about 1/2 an inch of cookie, and another 1/2 an inch of frosting on top of the cookie. Yesterday, though, as I tore into a new box, I came upon the greatest food-related blessing of my lifetime.

The bottom picture is a typical Berger cookie. Delicious. The top picture is some sort of super-Berger-cookie-freak-of-nature: frosting on top AND on bottom. I had to sit down for a couple of minutes to regain my breath after catching a glimpse of this natural wonder. No other entity but a generous and benevolent God could be responsible for this perfection.

Bottom line: appreciate the little things in life. Also, try Berger cookies.

Taking Root

As a result of shameless self-promotion on Facebook, a friend of mine from high school named James was kind enough to click on my link and also took a few minutes to read through this site. As usual, I was quite surprised and thankful that anyone took a minute to read my writings. More importantly and excitingly, James is affiliated with a group called DetroitIntern, and he is the moderator of their blog. He was kind enough to put a link on his website to me and encourage his readers to head my way because he felt my website was worthy of reading.

I am not trying to make money or become famous (though I'm already pretty close) through writing in this space. As I have stated previously, I, like James and his group, am trying to start a movement that reshapes and enhances the way that we look at, promote, and stand up for our state. James' organization is actually doing something tangible to improve the local situation by connecting potential employers with prospective employees - sounds like a great idea to me, with a more regional and personal focus than a Monster.Com or In the struggle to turn around a difficult situation, it is encouraging that there are others out there who also care enough to make a positive impact. If you are looking for a job or just want a better sense of some of the hidden opportunities in the Michigan area, please check out their website.

It is incredibly corny to actually write these words down and hurts my sense of manly pride, but if we don't force a change, nothing will ever be different.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

And Finally

Aren't you enthralled by the email saga? I'm typically too bored to read my own emails, let alone other people's emails. I think you should read this and then his final response below. I guess I learned something from this whole process - writing a personal email maybe really does make some small difference. Wow (no sarcasm intended whatsoever).

Mr. Tamny,

Wow, first, let me say that I am shocked that you wrote back to me, and so quickly. Thank you very much for your additional thoughts. If you do not mind, I would like to post your response to my email on my Michigan-related blog at:

(you don't need the link, you're on the site right now!)

I guess my main point is that it is very hard for those of us who care to continue to deal with the non-stop negativity regarding our native industry. It is not as though these companies and their employees are actively attempting to fail. As you must be acutely aware, we have more than a few problems, and a prominent writer from Forbes seemingly-declaring "Hey GM, You're Going Down" can easily negate some of the good turnaround effort that my home team is actively pursuing.

Finally, you are certainly correct in saying that talent has left the state for greener pastures, and that depresses me to no end. Again, though, I would argue that in this area, media can drive perception as much as reality. I don't expect you to take back your words, but calling Detroit an economic mistake is imposing your negative point of view on any and all potential incoming talent. If I am considering moving somewhere and every media outlet refers to that place as a disaster area, that place is going to be instantly removed from my short list. Why not take a more measured approach to referring to cities or states? You do not wish GM to fail on their own merits, so why not also include that brief sentence in your thoughts? It would make more of a difference than you might think.

Again, thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing your viewpoints in the future.


And finally from him:

It was my pleasure to write back. You had a point. I wouldn't, however, worry too much about media perception. If Michigan turns out the old in favor of the new (look at Las Vegas - there are no sacred cows there and as a result, very low unemployment including lots of ex-Michiganders), entrepreneurs will return.
And by all means post my reply. Have a great day.

One Part Shocked, One Part Hungry for Lunch

Maybe it is time for my cynical worldview to start to dissipate. Less than 5 minutes after the email that I sent to Forbes, I was amazed to receive this response from the article's author:

Mr. Agacinski:
Points well taken. Let me stress I don't live in New York or San Francisco. Understand that I wrote fast and made the wrong point.
The better one you might agree with: a lot of smart people have left Detroit and Michigan generally over the years for better economic opportunity. And with Michigan's decline (I have relatives from Milford who lived through turndown, my mother went to MSU) so has it reduced the number of top executives who might choose Detroit over other cities. I think this is problematic in that companies today are reliant on the people running them daily. With a lot of talent leaving Michigan (I'm sure some of your friends have), it will be harder to find the talent to turn around the autos.
So let me apologize for the tone of that sentence. It came out wrong. The rest of the article I stand by. I'm not for GM failing, but I am for it failing if it can only stay afloat on the backs of others.

Does Writing a Personal Email Do Anything?

For the very first time in my life, I actually had the enthusiasm and emotion to personally respond to an article that I read online. I read this article written by a very tanned writer from Forbes, and could not help but respond via email. I will keep the world informed as to whether I receive any response, but in the meantime, I wanted to share my email here as it is pertinent to my blog. Enjoy the reading.

Mr. Tamny,

This email is in regard to your email titled "Memo To Washington: Let GM Fail". I am a 26 year old who was born, raised, and educated (shocking, I have an undergrad AND grad degree despite my Detroit-area backwater upbringing) in Michigan. While I appreciate and respect the financial market-related implications of your article, I am deeply, personally offended by the many low blows that you have decided to impart to not only the economy of Michigan, but also the people who have chosen to live here.

As a high-flying, jet-setting coastal type, it is quite pleasant of you that you have continued to stoke the negative stereotypes regarding my state and those who have chosen to chase their dreams here either because they love where they were raised, they want to remain close to their family, or they truly want to make a difference and help to turn around the state. Personally, I chose to remain here because of all three of these reasons. I also do not deny that the leaders in the domestic auto industry have made some very poor decisions along the way, but why must we doom them, as well as the corresponding fortunes of Michigan residents and those employed by the US auto manufacturers and their suppliers, to the scrap heap of history? Perhaps you should write another article titled "Memo to Washington: Let the State of New York Fail Because Greedy Investment Bankers and Mortgage Securitization Ruined the Housing Market and the Global Economy". I think that would be equitable.

Is the only solution for all struggling companies in the United States to pick up shop and move to San Francisco or New York? My goal here is not to rant and rave about how or why you are wrong or to declare "you just don't understand us." Instead, I want to let you know that you have cast yet another negative pall over the place that I love and in the process, have personally offended me.

Thank you for your time and have a nice afternoon,

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Face-Punching Clarification

After my classic article "Why I'd Like to Punch that Guy in My Neighborhood in the Face", I have received some pretty hilarious feedback, and I also think that a large portion of the message was either poorly communicated by myself or poorly received by those reading it. Of course for the time being I will assume the latter, but that is open to debate.

There are a couple things I would like clarify regarding this post. First, I have never punched anyone in the face (or anywhere else for that matter), nor has anyone punched me in the face. In fact, I am a strong anti-violence advocate. Furthermore, if I were to punch someone in the face, there is a good chance that there would be some degree of face-punching retribution, and I need to keep my Polish nose as straight as a whistle (which is a weird statement because most whistles are kind of oddly shaped). I just can't risk the damages. I had to clarify this because my future mother-in-law (who is a very peaceful woman) became concerned that her daughter was engaged to some sort of face-punching maniac. It is really more the sentiment of displeasure I was going for here...

Second, I have no desire to "rip off someone's face" - as was also somehow misinterpreted. I'm not entirely sure where the miscommunication came from there. Ripping someone's face off is a pretty extreme response, if even in jest. Just writing the phrase makes me a bit uncomfortable - kind of like the first time I ripped off someone's face. So to summarize - no face punching, no face ripping off.

Finally, to boil down my entire prior series of paragraphs into one paragraph, I bear no ill-will or animus toward anyone who chooses to purchase and drive a new or used vehicle from any manufacturer from any area of the globe. It is your money, and you are free to buy anything that you like. BUT, and this is the whole point here, I, as one individual, strongly feel that if you live in Michigan and you want to continue to live your life in a prosperous and successful Michigan, you have a responsibility to add GM, Ford, or Chrysler products to your list for consideration when you are thinking of opening the wallet for a vehicle. If you do not even consider these cars during the purchase process, there is absolutely no way that these companies can convince you that the quality, design, and fun-factor have made them deserving to be on your short list.

Now I need to go punch a puppy in the face.

Come On In and Join the Comments

After a few requests (seriously, more than one, I was shocked too), I have opened up the comments so that you don't need to have a registered Google account to add a comment.

With that in mind, I request that comments remain in the relatively family-friendly realm (not a necessity, but try not to get too offensive). Also, I do reserve the right to veto a comment if I find it to be completely irrelevant or seriously unfunny, like this gem from the good folks at Laffy Taffy:

"What kind of bean can't grow? -- a jelly bean" See how they did that? Wordplay is amazing!!!

That's Gotta Hurt

Ever wonder how Japanese manufacturers in all industries seem to be killing the US manufacturers? Well, apparently it is also killing them. Ouch.

Jim Cramer on Auto Leaders

Last night as I returned from Ann Arbor, I caught a couple minutes of Mad Money hosted by Jim Cramer on Sirius satellite radio. Some people love the guy and some people hate the guy, but if you're interested in finance, then you probably find him entertaining either way. At the end of certain episodes, Jim addresses or answers reader email, and yesterday someone from Michigan sent him an email ripping into Rick Wagoner, current CEO of General Motors. Jim disagreed with the email, saying that he considers Rick Wagoner, along with Alan Mullaly of Ford, to be pretty decent chief executives. Jim stood up for the CEOs, saying that the skyrocketing cost of oil and commodities (mostly steel), depreciating home values, and poor consumer sentiment were largely responsible for much of the trouble currently experienced in the automotive industry.

It was nice of Jim to stand up for the local guys, but this segment very much reminded me of the clip at the top of this post from an episode of possibly the funniest sitcom of all time, Arrested Development. If you don't understand anything at all about the stock market, you may not find the clip funny, but it seems to be an almost perfect analogy for the challenging state of the auto business.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Crazy Idea #1 - The Gayest Place on Earth

It probably would not be a stretch to say that more than anything else, Michigan needs something to set itself apart from the rest of the riff-raff to drive job creation, population growth, and the corresponding increase in tax base that these two things would bring. Most states and countries struggle with these issues as they are two of the most important precursors to state success and profitability. Profitability is not exactly the proper word to use in this context, but the money is diverted back (in concept) into state programs, road and drain improvements, and state policing forces to ensure your security and mine. State programs include things like maintaining state parks, subsidizing the cost of higher education, providing legal aid, and even drivers' education. At this time, Michigan is struggling with these issues more than most states as a result of the rapid changes and globalization in the automobile industry. Something must be done to spur population growth and a change in perspective for potential residents and investors in the state economy. I do not claim to be a political scientist, but I would like to share some of my crazy ideas that may have some of the desired positive effects of job and population growth, and, just possibly, hear some of your unique ideas and feedback on mine. Thinking along the usual lines does not seem to be working, so it is time for some fresh perspective.

If I ever attempt to become a politician, it is precisely articles like this that may make it impossible for me to develop a successful career in that field. Alternatively, articles like this may be what set me apart as a unique and independent thinker who might actually be able to motivate change. I don't expect everyone to agree with me morally, socially, politically, or anything else, but the point here is original and unique ideas to set Michigan apart for long-term survival and success. With no further ado...

Crazy Idea #1 - Make Michigan the "Gayest Place on Earth"

If you have a TV, computer, radio, or same-sex significant other, you must be aware that California recently approved same-sex marriages. Instantly, California further cemented itself as the most progressive, forward-thinking state in the United States. Within a relatively short period of time, same-sex couples came pouring out of the woodwork to take advantage of their long-desired opportunity to marry the individuals they loved.

I say Michigan take this 10 steps further. First, legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The goal here is multi-fold. Michigan will become the Midwest gay living destination. The west coast and Northeast are generally considered progressive places, but the Midwest and South are not exactly known for their pro-gay attitudes. Studies claim that anywhere between 1%-10% of the US population is gay. 10% is way more people than 1%, but 1% of 300M (the approximate population of the US) is 3M people. That is an impressive number, and just think, the gay population can claim us as their chosen state of residence. So what else can we do to attract this group of people?

Second, develop additional programs that further encourage the gay influx. Homosexual adoption is a hot-button issue, but what if Michigan had a state-sponsored office that eases, assists, and possibly even expedites the adoption of children to gay families? People will leave places they are not considered equal and will go places where they are at least on par with equality.

Third, continue development of gay-friend enclaves in Detroit and the metro-Detroit area. Areas of cities like Ferndale are already moving in this direction, so why not continue this trend?

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, continue to promote and educate the current Michigan population on the values of equality and treating others with respect. Those who are currently anti-gay (the Old Testament-types) can be tripped up on the many contradictions in the Bible with respect to how to treat others as well as the overarching state benefits, and the gay-blase (there should be an accent over the 'e' but I can't figure it out on this program) and the pro-gay have no reasons to feel negatively about this movement.

The world is a different place than it used to be, and it is time to consider some new ways to make things work. If this crazy idea would become reality, think of all the additional florists, bakery owners, softball players, and Broadway shows that would come to our state. I could be the mayor of Gayville and my gay cabinet could rule with a velvet hand stretching over the gayest stretch of roads in the world. Sorry - it is hard for me to be consistently serious without trying to occassionally break it up with some levity. But I do genuinely think that this is a good, albeit controversial, idea.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Full Disclosure and Words

Under intense pressure from no one, I am forced to admit that I did have to use to verify that I used the word ebullient correctly before I added it to the permanence of the internet. Now I know how Dan Rather feels.

While on the subject of words, my brother thinks that the word "underpants" is 30% funnier than underwear. I'm inclined to agree, but I'm wondering how the general public feels about this.

Finally, most people link to articles or websites that are interesting or funny. Right now, I would like to buck this trend and link to the least funny website that tries to be funny ever. My blog is a close second place, but reading through this website reminds me of Laffy Taffy jokes: "What does a car run on? -- wheels" I mean seriously, what the hell is that? It seems more factual than anything else.

"where do pigs park their cars? -- in a porking lot" That is not appropriate for Laffy Taffy.

I'm Ebullient

Over the past few days, I had the pleasure of driving through the Midwestern states of Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota with my parents and fiancee en route to visiting my sister and her husband in Rochester, MN. Driving through the Midwest provides some fertile ground for idea development for a blog with subject matter like this blog, and I aim to have several new posts in the not-too-distant future regarding thoughts from these travels and other unarguably hilarious insights. One of the best parts of my holiday weekend, though, was sifting through my emails upon my return to Michigan.

Two things in particular happened that really made my week, and I sincerely hope that these two trends will continue. Calling them trends, of course, is a complete falsehood as a trend requires more than one data point, but I need to hold on to the little victories so that I can actually start to believe that I am making some tiny difference in the world.

First, a friend of mine from high school named Jason sent me a link to a poem written by Jack White of The White Stripes that was printed in The Detroit Free Press over the weekend. I am a vociferous reader of the local news, but it is nearly impossible to catch every pertinent article, and I happened to miss this poem both online and in print. Jack White is from Detroit, and some negative Detroit-related quotes have recently been attributed to him in Rolling Stone Magazine. He felt that his quotes were misconstrued and this prompted him to write a love letter in the form of a poem to the city of Detroit. Much more on this poem later, but I could not be more thankful to Jason for sending me the link. These are the little things that make for a successful and consistently updated blog, and if you happen to read these words and find the material interesting, I heartily encourage you to direct me toward relevant links in the comment sections or to send me an email if you know me directly or indirectly.

Second, another friend of mine named Dan actually contributed multiple comments to the blog. Again, these are the things that make for a successful blog. I have known Dan a long time, but there was no incentive for him to take his time and effort to add a few of his own words to flesh out the material beyond my own self-indulgence and universally disappointing attempts toward humor. He also mentioned in one of the comments that he is a regular reader and he is directing some of his friends toward the site. It may sound ludicrous, but having just one regular reader (I know of) makes me obscenely happy. If you find it in your heart to add comments and, just possibly, point a friend toward the blog, I will be honored.

Thank you Jason and Dan.

And no, I did not have to use a thesaurus to write the title. I'm an ebullient product of the ebullient Michigan education system...ebullient.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Brief Vacation

Normally, an important blogger would have to set up some sort of automated update process to update the website with some pre-written material to feed the hungry masses.

Fortunately for me, I am completely irrelevant and don't need to work my way through this process. Hooray! On that note, I'll be traveling from 5am tomorrow (Friday) until late Sunday evening, and probably won't be able to write any updates until that time. Irrelevance has its depressing advantages.

Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Holy Cow!

I guess I am getting more important than I thought. Who knew that even CNN would start to read my blog when I have a total of 29 unique visitors over half-a-month? Fame. How does one go about de-listing from the Yellow Pages?

Take a quick look at the title of this article from CNN and breeze through the content if you wish, but I think it would be a way better idea to read this post that I knocked out yesterday. I have the time stamp in there and everything. Is it possible to sue for copyright infringement of a title? Fame.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Even Bad News Can Be Good

The first of every month, assuming it is a weekday, is the day upon which automakers report their monthly sales. Today, July 1st, was a day of great concern to stockholders, analysts, and other stock market prognosticators as auto industry-wide sales were expected to tank, largely driven by the death march of oil prices, the decrease in housing values, and is the pope Catholic (whoops, wrong retread saying). This expected massive decline would reflect on a weak US economy and further signal the end of the universe as we know it.

In many respects, the analysts' projections were on the right path. Industry sales were down significantly, including a 28% drop at Ford, an 18% drop at Nissan, and a 21% drop at the almighty and God-blessed Toyota. This was also to be the month that GM relinquished its crown as the largest US auto manufacturer to Toyota with an expected sales drop of 28%-30%. For one brief not-shiny-but-not-dull moment, GM beat the poor expectations with a drop of 18.5% and retained its position as #1 in the US. Also in this moment, the stock price shot from a daily low of $10.71 to (current) daily high of 13.12, a whopping temporary increase of almost 23%. Make no mistake, a drop of 28% at Ford and 18.5% at GM is bad news for the automobile industry and the economy, but it looks like some people may have prematurely counted GM as down and out.

Maybe these people will win out in the end, but GM is not going to go down without an is the pope Catholic (did it again).