An old man, MURRAY, sits in a tent. He is writing on a scroll of parchment and speaking along with the words.
And. Then. Gladys. Puked. On. My. Goat.
Murray dips his feathered stylus in a bowl of ink.
So. I. Said. "Gladys! Why. Did. You. Puke. On. My. Goat?"
Murray dips his stylus again.
And. She. Said...
Before he can continue, a light flashes on from above him. Murray glances up into the light, shields his eyes, and can’t speak.
A booming voice, the voice of GOD, comes from everywhere.
Are you Murray Abram?
Murray takes a second to answer.
Good. My name is... Um... Well...
God trails off into mumbling.
I’m sorry? What was that?
Well, some people call me El Shaddai. But, then some call me Jehovah. And some call me Yahweh. Then, in the distant future, some will call me...
I’m sorry, again. I just... What are you?
I am your God.
See, we’ve got a few, so...
No! No you don’t! You only have one, and I’m Him!
Yes, really! Am I not speaking to you from a beam of light?
You’re damn skippy! Now, where was I...
You’re my God?
Yes. I am. I am that I am.
Murray starts to say something, then stops.
What was that?
I’m sorry, it’s just... What does that mean?
What does what mean?
"I am that I am?" It doesn’t make any sense. It’s like saying, "A tree is a tree."
Oh, don’t be stupid. I am that I am because I am. I’m, like, everything. I’m you, a little bit. Except not so questiony...
So, you created me?
In a roundabout way.
I’m sorry, what?
Why am I here? Why did you create me?
Oh, well, I... You know... I, uh, created you for a purpose.
To... Live long and prosper.
To live long and prosper? Hey, sounds good to me.
No, wait! How about, "be fruitful and increase in number." I’m gonna save the other line for later.
So, is there anything else?
Um... You’re the one who came to me.
Oh, I didn’t just come to you, I... I chose you.
To... To spread my word.
But all you’ve told me is that I’m chosen and you want humanity to, I’m guessing, have a bunch of sex.
I didn’t say that! When did I say that?
"Be fruitful and multiply?" Yeah, sounds like sex to me...
Fine, sex it up, then. Just, here’s the thing. I want you to...
God stops. Murray waits.
Yes? Um, Mr. God? Sir?
I’m sorry, I had to let my dog in. Look, don’t worry about what I said before. Oh yeah, and your name is Abraham now.
How about "Because I’m God."
But my mother will kill me!
You want I should bump her off for you?
No! She’s my mother!
Then deal with it. Look, just sit here and wait for me to contact you. I’m gonna be dictating my ultimate message of authority and whatnot and so forth.
But... But why do I have to write it down? Can’t you...
Stop. Just... Just stop. Let me reiterate. I... Listen carefully now. I am God. I am telling you to sit here and write things down for me because I am God. What am I?
Who am I?
Murray pauses. God does the same. When Murray speaks, God cuts him off directly...
Because I don’t have freaking arms! OK? No arms means no hands which means no writing. Just do it, OK?
Is that all? If it’s not, make it quick, I’ve got a city about 40 kilometers north of here that needs to be destroyed, so...
Well, there is one thing...
Could you tell Gladys to stop getting drunk and puking on my goat?
So shall it be.
No problem. But, when you continue writing, you’ve gotta cut the part about puking on a goat.
If you say so.
Call it editorial oversight. Be here in an hour. I might want to dictate some laws or something.
So... Hey, take it easy.
Same to you. God.
The light blinks off. Murray looks up to his normal ceiling, then looks around. When he realizes he is alone again, he shakes his head...
Of all the gods in the world, I’ve gotta get the crazy one.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
An old man, MURRAY, sits in a tent. He is writing on a scroll of parchment and speaking along with the words.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
I am thusly rated...
Mingle2 - Online Dating
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
The list is funny until it gets to the last item, then it gets asinine.
Holy fucking murder-pain-hurt shit! I said "Gay!"
Aaaah! I said it again!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Not surprisingly, I was greeted with the vacuous Glenn "Fuckface" Beck and decided to see what sort of tripe he was prattling on about. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to see that his topic was "The End of Days?" and his guests were none other than Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the professional doomsayers and amateur human beings who wrote the eschatological "Left Behind" series of Fundamentalist Christian novels.
As he is wont to do, Beck proceeded to verbally fellate LaHaye and Jenkins with credulity, treating their visions of flying Christians, a "one world government," and the Antichrist as if they were talking about something as concrete as the GDP of New Zealand. I didn’t get to watch the whole debacle because my brother finally interjected with, "If you don’t change the channel, I’m gonna put this liquor bottle upside your head."
The whole "End Times" thing has always fascinated me, not because I believe any of it, but because so many other people believed and still believe it. Back in my Christian days, I was lucky enough to belong to a church that never discussed such things, so I never gave any serious thought to the Rapture, the Antichrist, or any of that jive.
And, for further clarification, this rant isn’t directed at a majority of Christians, the ones who take a more progressive view of the Bible and eschew all this Apocalypse craziness. The religious folks I’m friends with laugh off the "End Times" as fantastical malarkey, and rightly so. This is solely directed at the assholes who believe that Revelation is a literal version of true future (or present) events.
What these literalist Christians don’t realize is that we’ve been living in the "End Times" ever since before the man called Hay-Zeus supposedly walked the Earth. Hay-Zeus was, if anything, an apocalyptic preacher (he believed he was living in the "End Times"), as were his followers, as were their followers, as were blah-blah-blah-yakkity-schmakkity right up to the present day. The problem with all this "The End is Nigh" talk is that, so far, it’s been all smoke and no fire and, if I may employ my own acute powers of prognostication, it will continue to be so.
The very concept of the "End Times" is like Fundie porn; or, more accurately, the "Grandpappy of All Snuff Films." Of course, the uber-faithful see it as the greatest possible thing that could ever happen; the good people fly up to Heaven, those "left behind" have to convert or die, Hay-Zeus comes out of the sky to slaughter everyone else, and this horrible, awful, sinful planet is turned into some kind of "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" paradise where, presumably, people just sit there and love God all day. Or something. Because, see, the psychotic, ultra-violent, fever-dream/acid-trip "prophecy" in Revelation is, like all other "prophecy," kind of vague and completely open to interpretation (unless you’re one of those literalist schmucks). In fact, the only specific prophecy I can think of is found in a book called "Good Omens," which is much more interesting (and better written) than the Book of Revelation.
Of course, LaHaye and Jenkins are convinced that we are living in the "End Times" because, I don’t know, the world is a crazy place and people are fighting wars. And "them damn gays" want to marry. And Richard Dawkins is a best-selling author. And whatever else they don’t particularly agree with is happening somewhere, maybe, possibly, and they sure as shit don’t like it. So they long for the day when a majority of the world’s population will perish in a horrific battle while they sit on a cloud in Heaven and look down on the damned with smug grins.
In keeping with his propensity for unmitigated insanity, LaHaye (who looks like a cross between a slimy used car salesman, Ron Popeil, and the Crypt Keeper) also believes in the Illuminati. Got that? The fucking Illuminati. He thinks it’s some kind of liberal conspiracy, which fits in perfectly with his "one world government" deal, so he can point to an invisible enemy and yell, "See! One World Government! They run the United Nations! If a Democrat is elected president, the Seventh Seal will be broken! Massachusetts is Megiddo!"
So, the moral of the story is this. LaHaye, Jenkins, and their ilk are amusing in some respects but... Anyone who actively seeks the abject destruction of our planet and cares little about the eternal torture of well over a billion people is someone you should always keep a very wary eye on. Oh, and Glenn Beck sucks, too.
And here's a little something for people who are constantly looking for the Number of the Beast.
Friday, June 15, 2007
One of these is the Belgian act Hooverphonic, a trip-hop/pop group fronted by the sexy and sulty Geike Arnaert, who has, as far as this guy right here is concerned, one of the most beautiful voices in music today. They have a new album coming out this fall (Glee!), so, until then, here are a few select cuts...
Club Montelpuciano (From "Blue Wonder Power Milk")
Gorgeous! From the simple, ascending chimes to the James-Bond-Like guitar line, it's the kind of song that makes people involuntarily sway from side to side. As Ron Burgundy would say, "This is baby-making music."
One (From "Jackie Cane")
Another flowing, easy-going song that should serve as a template for all the other pop bands out there. A great beat, some more of that trademark "Spy Guitar," and, unlike a lot of other pop songs I've heard, amazing back-up vocals. How often do you listen to a song and sing the back-up vocals instead of the lead?
Vinegar and Salt (From "The Magnificent Tree")
This song is a bit slower, with a delicious piano, and it really lets Geike loose to show off her pipes. Lovin' that chorus...
Thursday, June 14, 2007
It's been an interesting season, albeit with lots of stupid Reality TV-type BS (which most people who watch the show could give half a shit about), and the most exciting, vicious, and enterprising fighter we've seen thus far has been 22 year old Joe Lauzon.
In his fight against Brian Geraghty, Joe put a little ground and pound on him and, when Brian managed to get out of it and stand up, Joe jumped on his back like a nimble and violent monkey and choked him out.
My man is a beast, a goddamn monster.
But Joe's also a hep cat. He's not a cocky fuck like a few other pricks who've been on the show and, outside of his fighting life, he's obviously an intelligent, stand-up guy. The kind of guy who would kick your ass only if you really fucked with him.
So, now you know that Joe Lauzon is going to be a fighter to watch. And knowing is half the battle.
UPDATE: Well, he lost, as did his teammate, Gray, both of whom I predicted to win their respective matches. C'est la vie, n'est pas? Oh, well. Look forward to seeing ya fight in the future, Joe.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
If that offends you, you might want to stop now. On second thought, keep reading; I might just learn ya something.
Signs of abject ignorance are, unfortunately, all too abundant in our fair country. Presidential candidates dismiss evolution as if it’s the Loch Ness Monster; the general populace would rather vote for "American Idol" than keep up with politics or world events; smarmy "journalists" spew their unqualified opinions as hard facts.
One of the longest running bits of insanity, one that still infects people to this very day, is the notion of "bad language."
For the purposes of clarification, we’re not talking about the simple concepts of manners, tact, and cordiality. Even those of us who cuss like angry, drunken sailors are decent enough to refrain from doing so in front of people we’ve just met, people we barely know, or people that we, for whatever reason, don’t want to anger or upset. Most times, at least.
For example, I don’t cuss around my grandmother because, well, she’s my grandmother. I love her and respect her and, since she (for some reason) doesn’t want to hear "bad language," I honor this simple request.
That doesn’t mean I agree with or even fully understand this moronic societal aversion towards words which are, essentially, synonyms for other words, phrases, and concepts we use all the time.
I was brought up knowing about "bad" words and was instructed never, ever, ever to say these words. When I asked why these words were considered "bad," I was given the standard answer any parent gives when they either have no idea what they’re talking about or simply don’t want to discuss the issue; "That’s just the way it is."
That was never a satisfying answer for me, especially after I heard my father say "motherfucker" for the first time. I understand that that’s just the way my parents thought; they raised my brother and I in the only way they knew how, in the way they were raised. Since they were told not to indulge in the "bad" language, they taught their own children as such. Of course, once they got older, they cursed whenever they felt like it, so... I see where the initial idea comes from but I still think it’s a steaming wok of shit.
Language is one of the main things that set us apart from the other animals, the catharsis that set into motion the entirety of human society and culture. It is, quite literally, the most useful of all human inventions.
So why do people insist on handicapping our greatest tool for no good reason?
Take "fuck," for example. Though we ingenious moderns have pushed the boundaries of the word "fuck" into every conceivable grammatical or contextual use, the primary meaning of "fuck," the one everyone thinks of first (because you’re all dirty and sinful) is "sex." But, somehow, referring to the act as "fuck" is worse than referring to it as "sex."
If I was on Nancy "Hyper-Bitch" Grace’s poor excuse for a "news show" discussing some lurid murder trial where a husband was murdered by his wife’s lover, I’d be hard pressed to avoid mentioning sex. So, I could say, "Yes, we believe that the wife and lover had been having sex (or the more acceptable "sleeping together") for four months before the murder," and no one would flinch. But if I say, "Yes, we believe that the wife and lover had been fucking for four months before the murder," I’d be chastised and, most likely, levied a hefty fine.
It’s ridiculous. Everyone knows "shit" as a substitute for "feces," "poop," "crap," and other scatological designations. I understand that this taboo comes from some kind of weird human embarrassment of natural bodily functions, so why should one synonym for feces be more socially acceptable than another?
Similarly, how can one word for "feces" be more disgusting or unacceptable than another? We are talking about shit, after all, and no matter where it comes from or what you call it, it’s still shit. So how is "shit" worse than anything else?
Even small children are affected by ignorant adults who insist on foisting their ignorance on those who are already (through no fault of their own) ignorant enough. A small child saying, "I have to go poopy" is cutesy; often the adults will laugh about it and say, "Oh, little Billy has to go poopy!" But if Little Billy says "I have to take a shit," he can look forward to a mouthful of soap, an assful of paddle, or some other form of physical or mental punishment. Why? It’s just a fucking word!
Most people who are anti-profanity are not only ignorant but highly arrogant as well. The most-used sentiment I’ve heard from this group is, "People who use bad language aren’t as intelligent as those who don’t."
To that, I can only offer a hearty and robust "Horseshit!" In fact, I’d argue the exact opposite.
Those who believe in such a thing as "bad language" are doing nothing but unquestioningly obeying things they were told. Nothing more. These people were taught that "bad words" shouldn’t be said and, like the good little sheep that they are, they don’t dare utter (Gasp!) a word that someone else said was bad. And these are, usually, the same people who try to use the, "Well, if your friends jumped off a bridge" argument and skip gleefully and obliviously over the irony.
Critical thinking is often discussed under the auspices of science and skepticism, but it should be applied to these sort of common sense issues as well.
The stark-naked facts of the matter are that no human being, dead or alive, could or can provide a single reason why "bad" language is actually "bad." No one can even come close to offering a common sense reason as to why the concept of profanity even exists, much less why we shouldn’t say these words.
"So," the prudish killjoy may ask, "why say them?" Well, here are our profane reasons, shitheel...
A. For emphasis. If you say, "Someone’s a jerk," they’re a jerk. If you say, "Someone’s a fucking jerk-ass bitch-bastard," they’re a fucking jerk-ass bitch-bastard. One of these is mild, the other denotes a more scathing tone.
B. For humor. Using the above example, calling someone a "jerk" might be apt but it doesn’t... It doesn’t pop. It has no cadence. There’s no delivery involved. But call someone a "fucking jerk-ass bitch-bastard" and you might get a chuckle. Do it with a great Bronx accent and I guarantee someone will laugh. Do it with perfect delivery and in the proper context and you’ll kill...
C. Why the fuck not? Language is like a living thing in that it evolves over time, on a micro and macro level (for you creationists and intelligent designers), and does so constantly. We introduce new slang, lingo, and colloquialisms on an almost daily basis, and who’s to say that today’s benign terms won’t end up being tomorrow’s vulgarities, or the other way around? Besides, language is meant to be used, else it wouldn’t have ended up in our lexicon in the first place.
D. Your taboos and superstitions have no power over intelligent, rational human beings. Once again, unless you can make any convincing argument for profanity actually being a bad thing, we ain’t buying what you’re selling. We’re not your children to brainwash and boss around. If we want to say a word, we’ll fucking say it. Fucking proudly.
E. It pisses you (the prudes and morons) off. If all it takes is a throwaway "fuck" to get you riled then, hey, "Cry me a deep fucking river." Because, seriously, adult humans shouldn’t be stupid enough to believe that a word is "bad" or "cursed."
We’re talking about words. Words! Remember that "sticks and stones" expression? Sure, it’s a cheesy saying, but it’s also true. "Words will never hurt you." Unless you’re really fucking sensitive. Or an asshole. Or a really fucking sensitive asshole.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Of course, they gave him a head start but... Hell. We humans will take what we can get.
To further complete the total domination of the animal world, Chad will next...
-Fistfight a bear.
-Headbutt a ram.
-Wrestle a silverback.
-Punch Chuck Liddell in the junk.
-Bite a shark in half.
-Out-soar an eagle.
We must all begin worshipping him now. When the despotic alien warlords invade our fair planet, he will be our only hope.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
What my fellow actors ("Big Up Yourself" to P.T., Lambo, and Ty) and I had concocted was a frenetic, free-flowing, sketch-comedy-type show. It was to feature crazy original music, musical-theatre-parodies, absurd sketches (including a Satanic creative writing seminar), and other bits of random comedy. The fabled "Fourth Wall" was virtually non-existent (like "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged") and we even had some weird, existential bits like a lengthy introduction/disclaimer for a scene never intended to be performed.
A running gag throughout the production featured two fictional candidates campaigning for the mayorship of a fictional city in Virginia. The fake campaigns were to comprise a multimedia extravaganza, with fake posters all over the theatre, college, and town, a slide show accompanying a dramatic voice-over, and, in the end, an actual debate between the candidates which would quickly devolve into petty name-calling and slander.
Just because I always thought they were amusing and they will likely never be performed, here are the first ads from each candidate...
WALTER WILLOUGHBY AD, #1
(The projection screen is blank. A faint instrumental version of "God Bless America" plays.)
(A stereotypical "rich white guy," WALTER WILLOUGHBY, in a conservative black suit and blue tie, walks to center stage.)
(SLIDE: "WILLOUGHBY ‘05.")
I’m Walter Willoughby, and I approved this ad.
(WILLOUGHBY leaves. An ANNOUNCER comes over the PA; he sounds like the guy who does every movie trailer, just a bit softer and more reverent.)
(As the ANNOUNCER narrates certain things in VOICE OVER, corresponding slides are projected...)
Walter Willoughby has served the public as a prosecuting attorney...
(SLIDE: WILLOUGHBY lectures a jury; he wears the same suit and tie.)
A health and physical education teacher at Madison Falls Middle School...
(SLIDE: WILLOUGHBY, standing in front of a class of kids, uses a yardstick to point to posters of male and female genetalia taped to a blackboard; he wears the same suit and tie.)
And the chairman of a children’s charity, "Kidz Be Ballin’", which provides culturally-significant sports equipment to underprivileged, inner-city, non-white youths.
(SLIDE: WILLOUGHBY, shooting a sky-hook, plays basketball against a group of young black kids less than half his size; he wears the same suit and tie.)
(The strains of "God Bless America" transition into a darker, more menacing instrumental.)
(SLIDE: Another man, who looks similar to WILLOUGHBY, TUCKER LEE THOMPSON, wears an identical suit with a red tie instead of blue; THOMPSON also wears elbow-length, yellow rubber gloves and a surgical mask pulled down below his chin. He holds a vacuum cleaner extension in one hand and gives a "thumbs up" with the other; he looks to be caught in mid-laugh.)
(The ANNOUNCER takes on a darker, more accusatory tone.)
His opponent for Mayor of Madison Falls, Republican Tucker Lee Thompson, works in abortion clinics for fun.
(SLIDE: "VOTE WILLOUGHBY: ABORTIONS AREN’T FOR FUN.")
(SLIDE: "PAID FOR BY FRIENDS OF FAMILY VALUES FOR WALTER WILLOUGHBY")
And now, the other side of the race...
TUCKER LEE THOMPSON AD, #1
(The projection screen is blank. A faint, instrumental version of "America the Beautiful" plays.)
(Another "rich white guy," TUCKER LEE THOMPSON, in a conservative black suit and red tie, walks to center stage. He greatly resembles WILLOUGHBY in mannerisms, demeanor, and accent.)
(SLIDE: "THOMPSON ‘05.")
I’m Tucker Lee Thompson, and I approved this ad.
(THOMPSON leaves. The same ANNOUNCER comes on and treats THOMPSON with the same reverence once reserved for WILLOUGHBY. Once again, corresponding slides are projected with the narration.)
Tucker Lee Thompson has aided his community as the Dean of the Stonewall Jackson Military Academy...
(SLIDE: THOMPSON salutes a line of teens in military school uniforms; he wears the same suit and tie.)
A volunteer at the Madison Falls YMCA...
(SLIDE: THOMPSON floats underwater with a few kids in the background and gives an enthusiastic "thumbs up;" he wears the same suit and tie.)
And president of the non-profit Spragen-Michner group for underprivileged, inner-city, non-white, mentally challenged, bedridden children.
(SLIDE: THOMPSON performs a crappy sock puppet theater for a sickly-looking black kid in a hospital bed; he wears the same suit and tie.)
(The strains of "America the Beautiful" transition into the same dark instrumental played during the WILLOUGHBY ad.)
(SLIDE: WILLOUGHBY, wearing his black suit and blue tie, holds a blender in one hand and a bottle of tequila in the other. An adorable kitten sits in the blender; WILLOUGHBY seems caught in mid-laugh.)
(Again, the ANNOUNCER takes on a darker, more accusatory tone.)
The Democratic candidate for Mayor of Madison Falls, Walter Willoughby, drinks kitten margaritas.
(SLIDE: "VOTE THOMPSON: NO KITTENS IN MARGARITAS.")
(SLIDE: "PAID FOR BY FAMILIES FOR FAMILY VALUES FOR TUCKER LEE THOMPSON.")
Friday, June 8, 2007
Wow! Angels! Legions of them! And they help us with specific things in our lives, even things that have no real bearing on anything else at all!
I have much in common with the Angel Lady; for instance, we both offer good, clean, family fun. And like the Angel Lady, I, too, enjoy making shit up. So, here are some of the pertinent angels for modern living...
Julius, Angel of Bad Stand-Up Comedians: Entire set consists of jokes about Britney Spears not wearing underwear and Paris Hilton in solitary.
Mervin, Angel of Console Video Game Systems: Causes your $500 Xbox 360 to die six months after purchase. Somehow, keeps your Sega Genesis running to this day.
Mary, Angel of Advertising and Marketing: Has an open disdain for stupid people, i.e. "you."
Edward, Angel of Misogyny: Wonders where his goddamn dinner is, why you can't fix yourself up every now and again.
Will Wheaton, Angel of Nerditry: Big on the Internets. Tends to kick ass. Was on some sci-fi show.
Herman, Angel of Reality TV Shows: Next season's biggest hit, "My Baby Wants a Sex-Change."
Laura, Angel of Punditry: Contends that everything you've ever believed is wrong. Can prove it using only appeals to emotion and uncompromising smarm.
Caroline, Angel of Performance Art: Spends an hour and a half inside a glass cube humping a medicine ball while reciting the owner's manual for an '87 Ford Escort in German.
Marshall, Angel of Basketball: Hopes you brought a number two pencil, bitch, 'cause he's 'bout to take you to school. Face!
Tommy, Angel of Animal Rights: Eats dolphin-safe tuna. Throws paint on fur coats. Wears leather shoes.
Henrietta, Angel of Recreational Drugs: Can hear colors, pluck the stars from the sky and eat them. Also, thinks you're pretty fucking rad.
Morgan, Angel of Elective Surgery: Has calf implants, tail.
Roger, Angel of Skateboarding: Can totally gnar-dog that death gap, brah.
Lorraine, Angel of Angry Feminists: Hates men. Hates women who like men. Hates gay men because they like men. Really hates Manfred Mann.
Remember, the angels are all around us; they shadow us and help us decide our destinies, or some such shit. So, keep on the lookout for these winged harbingers of triviality and thank them for, I don't know, prying the lid off a jar of dill strips or helping you pick the perfect set of matched luggage.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
I know a fair amount of older folks, in their 40's and such (older than me, don’t get sensitive), who are also music junkies, and I’ve gotten an eerily consistent answer from them when I ask "What’s the best live band you’ve ever seen?" Surprisingly, most of them say, without hesitation, "Heart."
Even the guy who works at the convenience store down the road admitted, "They’re the best bar band the world has ever seen."
Unfortunately, I was born a bit too late to catch the most classic of the classic rock bands in their respective primes. I’m forced to either catch the husks of once-great bands (the present Skynyrd touring line-up) or live vicariously through those who were actually there.
I know people who saw Zeppelin, the Who, the Stones, and other such legends. And all of these people, save for one (who never saw Heart live), agree that Heart was a better live band. It’s not so amazing to me, really, because Heart is a versatile, fun, and supremely riffy band, I’m just amazed that people who live and die by that little mouth with a tongue hanging out will flat-out say, "Yeah, Heart would blow them off the stage."
Heart - Bebe Le Strange (From "Bebe Le Strange")
This is a great cut all around, but the guitar line could teach more than a few bands how to turn a simple riff into a perfect, borderline-metal hook.
And, might as well get it out of the way. Yeah, I’ve got a thing for Nancy Wilson; always have, always will.