Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Year in Music 2009

...at least according to DJ Earworm.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Soon We'll Be Living in the Future

Hey-o, blogosphere! It's been too long. I've been busy with lots of interesting developments, but I'm here once again. I know I've posted a lot of interesting (to me, anyways) stuff on here, but this just might be the coolest thing I've come across. I can't even describe to you how amazing this device is. I guarantee within the next 10 years every single person in the developed world will have this on them. Mark my words. Dig it...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bringing the lolz

Want to see something funny? I've been cracking up daily while checking out Look at This Fucking Hipster. Oh, and this video, which I found courtesy of some friends and I Love Local Commercials.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Man Who [Told] the World

I've always been the kind of person that likes to look at life from different points of view. Occasionally, I find people who like to show them to me. The latest eye-opener has been Current TV's program, Vanguard. What a great show! They are putting together stories about things that I never knew about or that have been overlooked by the mainstream media and treating them with the care and attention that they deserve. To get a taste of what they're up to, check out this video in which one of their correspondents gets waterboarded!



Craziness! Another, albeit much less serious, view of our modern world comes courtesy of Sophie Blackall, an artists from Brooklyn whose creations are based on the missed connections she reads on the New York craigslist. Check out here art here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"The actions of the intelligent, rationally antirational man may be the greatest danger" -Sol Yurick

Wow. I actually wrote on here two days in a row! Not that this is anything especially long, but I was just thinking: How can America produce technological advances like this and people like this? Also, lol at this:

Monday, September 28, 2009

"That's what you get when you let your heart win"

There's some really good music coming out tomorrow, including the new album from the Avett Brothers, which I am eagerly awaiting as my gatefold double 180 gram vinyl should be on its way in the mail. As much as I love those North Carolina boys, it's a band from neighboring Tennessee that's really got me going this week. You might have heard about them. They released a little album called Riot! in 2007 and catapulted into the music stratosphere on the tails of their single "Misery Business." Hell, it even scored them a Grammy nomination. Yea, I'm talking about Paramore.

Sure, these guys don't need any hype from me, as I'm sure their album will debut in the Billboard Top 10, but I'm really writing because these guys are a bit of a phenomenon in my life. On the verge of turning 22(!) one would think that I would be over the pop-punk phase of my life. Hardly! I'm constantly on the lookout for new talent, but, in the past, when a band got as big as Paramore, I would have been quick to dismiss them as sellouts. I would spin their old albums and talk about how much better they were back in the day, which, in all likelihood, was no more than 2 years ago. Yet, on the eve of Paramore's brand new eyes hitting shelves I find myself as excited as any of their tween girl fans.

Paramore are an honest, hard-working band. They write music they're proud of and it shows. Moreover, they're talented. The boys can all play and Hayley Williams is an excellent singer. Check out their MTV Unplugged session right here if you want proof, especially "Brick By Boring Brick." I'm glad that, among all the crap that's getting airplay, a band like Paramore is playing to kids all across the world. It reminds me of how and why music became such an important part of my life, going to VFW hall shows and hoping that the bands I was hearing would be the next big thing, going to the record store every Tuesday to pick up new releases. So, in light of this, I hope that some of you will go pick up Paramore's new album tomorrow or at least sneak a listen on your little sister's iPod. I'm willing to bet you'll be singing along in no time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"First of the fall and then she goes back/Bye bye bye bye there/Them summer days, those summer days ..."

So I spent the better part of the last 3 weeks sans internet, which is why I haven't been around here at all. I never realized how much of my life was tied to my computer until I was basically without it for that long. Scary stuff. However, I'm back with a treat. This is a little video directed by Marc Webb starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel for the phenomenal She & Him song "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?". If you haven't caught this trio's work in (500) Days of Summer, I suggest you do so right away because it's fantastic. So, without further ado, enjoy...



(Video courtesy of USA Today)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We Are the Industry

Is this the idea that will save the music industry?? It seems interesting, but, as the article states, it will only work for a certain kind of band, one with an "entrepreneurial energy." However, it does give artists a greater stake in and more control over their product, which is a great thing. With the old major label system failing, though, it's cool to see what people are coming up with.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Onion Never Ceases to Amaze Me



I found this thanks to Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish.

Potholes to the Rescue?

This is an interesting opinion about public services and what they could mean for our way of life, courtesy of Matthew Yglesias. Highlight:

"...you could really go nuts with this stuff. Smaller buses could run more frequently. Libraries could stay open longer. Playgrounds could be better-maintained. Not as 'stimulus' but as a permanent decision to say 'hey, we’re a rich country, we should provide public services at a reasonable level.'"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Just Some Cool Stuff to Share With You Guys

First: A view from the international space stations of a volcano erupting.

Next: The Man Wall courtesy of one of my new favorite sites, Uncrate. Yes, it's everything you thought it would be.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Football? No, Futbol.

Sports this time of year are generally pretty boring. The NBA playoffs are over, the novelty of baseball returning has officially worn off, and thoughts of linemen and tailbacks dancing in my head are still at least a month away. Golf and tennis usually provide us sports fans with some interim entertainment but the US Open was a rainy affair (to say the least) with no big push from Tiger, and sure the French Open saw Federer win his 14th Grand Slam title but it's not like he beat Rafa or anything. Thankfully, the FIFA Confederations Cup has kept me going the past 2 weeks.

Now, I haven't been a soccer fan for very long, but, since the '06 World Cup, it's quickly risen to become one of my favorite sports. As any real patriot should, I watched all the United States' matches in the Confederations Cup, and here are the 5 biggest things I took away from the last couple of days...

1) South Africa is definitely ready to host the 2010 World Cup. After a lot of setbacks, including reports of FIFA searching for an alternate host country and a lot of arguing about funding, it seems as if everything has gone according to plan for the host nation. The stadiums looked great and the fans were insane. Sure, those horns were kind of annoying during all the telecasts, but at least it shows that these people are out there having a good time and are ready and willing to display their culture on one of the world's biggest stages in a year's time. Not too long ago, FIFA retracted their ruling that the Cup would rotate every 4 years among each of the 6 Confederations, which I thought was a terrible move. These kinds of events put countries on the major world stage and bring money and life to areas of the world that many people would not otherwise visit. If they, and Brazil in 2014, can pull it off without any hitches it will be a great victory for developing nations when it comes to hosting major sporting events. June 11, 2010 cannot come soon enough.

2) The United States has a long way to go. Players were sent off in 4 of 5 games played. Once we were up we passed and cleared the ball very sloppily, nearly costing us the game against Spain and finally aiding Brazil in their win. Compared to the top-level teams we faced (Italy, Spain, Brazil twice), our conditioning was poor. All things we need to work on. However...

3) ...we will contend in the 2010 World Cup. After 2 very sub-par games, the team dug deep and bounced back in a big way when they needed to. They played as hard as they could and they played with great chemistry. With a lot of young talent and a few guys coming back from injury the future, both immediate and long-term, bodes well for both players and fans.

4) Landon Donovan should be the captain for our World Cup campaign. The bottom line is: as he goes, the team goes. He's fast, knowledgeable, and a great veteran presence on the team. Despite only 2 goals to his name in the Confed Cup, his play in key moments was outstanding.

4) Tim Howard must be mentioned in every conversation about the best goalkeepers in the world right now. If you watched him play, you can't argue otherwise. Period.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kicking Ass and Tallying Votes

Greetings from the land of continued unemployment. Since we last spoke I have been to Disney World. It really is the most magical place on Earth. I don't get how I, at 21, can be just as excited to go on Star Tours or The Haunted Mansion as when I was 6. Mind-blowing but true.

Speaking of getting your mind blown, I watched Street Fight last night. Now, if you're asking why I would blog about this, then a) you need reading glasses, and b) I'm not. Street Fight is a documentary about the 2002 mayoral campaign in Newark, New Jersey that pitted the 4-term incumbent Sharpe James against the young, vibrant city councilman Cory Booker. I love to watch documentaries, but it is rare that one of them amazes me like this one did. Street Fight is one of the most important films made in the past decade.

Although it follows what most people outside of NJ (heck, even outside of Newark) might deem an insignificant political race, the movie is about so much more. It is a look into the changing social, political, and racial lives of American people. By following around these two very different candidates, producer, director, cinematographer, and editor Marshall Curry has given this country the kind of gritty look in the mirror that it needs. It is not the glossy, airbrushed cover of a magazine. It is a portrait of this nation in all its grimy, underhanded nakedness. Everyone in America needs to see this movie now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Because Explosions Are Awesome: Summer Movie Round-Up...So Far

So it's been a while and for that I apologize. I have been wasting a lot of time since graduation, sitting on my couch, playing video games, and watching ESPN. I have tried to find some kind of summer employment but that has proved fruitless and it's kind of pissing me off. But that's not what I'm here to talk about. No, in between all the sitting around I have found time to visit the movie theater and, I must say, I've yet to be disappointed.

Let me backtrack a minute here and say that I LOVE movies. I'll give just about anything a chance. As much as I love Casablanca, every time I hear John McClane say "Yippee ki yay, motherfucker." I get a chill down my spine. When the summer comes around, I'm not looking for classic cinema, I just want to see explosions. So let's take it from the top...

X Men Origins: Wolverine was pretty good. The storyline was ok, the acting was good (Liev Schreiber as Sabertooth was a great casting choice, but I'm baffled as to why they even paid Ryan Reynolds to be in the movie because he has such a small part), and the effects were standard. Definitely a good lead in to the summer blockbuster season, as I knew what to expect going in. After all, I did see the trailer where he jumps onto the helicopter.

My next stop brought me to Terminator Salvation. Now this was more like it. Everyone has got to catch this on the big screen, if just to hear it. I know that sounds odd, but this is definitely the kind of movie that needs to bee heard as much as seen in a theater (there is probably an Oscar on the horizon). I have always liked the Terminator series (save for Rise of the Machines, which was just a joke, although likable for its unintentional hilarity) and this was no different. The script was a good continuation of the storyline and was well-written enough to keep the audience interested between explosions, which is really all you can ask for when it comes to stuff like this.

Finally, there was Star Trek. This was one of my most anticipated movies of the summer and it absolutely delivered. I geek out about a lot of stuff, but I'm definitely not a Trekkie. It just never grabbed my attention, which might have something to do with this, but who knows. Either way, this is a movie for long-time Stark Trek fans and for people that do not know anything about the series or characters. The action sequences were great, the acting well done, and the story excellent. As a non-Trek fan I wholeheartedly approve and will say that this is absolutely in the running for movie of the summer.

The trailers attached to these have also been quite good: Inglorious Basterds, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and, probably the one I'm most excited for, Sherlock mother-f'in Holmes with Iron Man himself Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role and Rachel McAdams in a really sexy corset. On the horizon there's also Harry Potter 6, and Public Enemies. This probably means I'm going to spend all my graduation money on movie tickets, but whatever, because, at the end of the day, explosions are awesome.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This is so sweet...

So I was watching the Yankees lose to the Red Sox yesterday (which sucked) and I came across this commercial. Now, I'm often astounded by the stupidity of the ads that appear on TV, but this was totally awesome. Not only is it cool-looking but they used an awesome song from a band that I have recently grown fond of, Matt & Kim. You should probably watch it.

Did you miss me?

The end of the semester kept me so busy I could barely think. Bah!! Thankfully I'm done now, though. I spent very little time focusing on stuff other than schoolwork but a few things did pique my interest.

I have loads of thoughts on this topic, but I'll spare you the details. To say the absolute least, I'm super excited about Obama's movement towards building a national high-speed passenger rail system. Listen to him talk about it here. This is going to be a great way to create skilled and unskilled jobs and could be the springboard for a great leap forward for domestic tourism possibilities, both of which are excellent stimuli for the economy. If you don't know what I'm talking about, dig it:



It's gonna be awesome!

Second, I have been listening to a TON of the Avett Brothers lately. Just listen to "Colorshow" and tell me it's not beautiful music. I dare you! They're playing at my favorite venue in NYC (Irving Plaza) in June and I want to go really, really badly. Yes, the South has totally rubbed off on me...

Lastly, I have really rediscovered my passion for a great movie lately. It had been a while since I watched any movie and just in the past few weeks I have watched some really good shit. It started when I was gearing up for my wine project and I watched Sideways. I had forgotten how much I really liked that film Then, I rewatched American Beauty. The first time I saw this it struck me so powerfully that I went out and bought it. I hadn't seen it since. I can understand why (because it's really, really, really messed up!), but I also wonder why not because it's such a great film in every aspect. However, this does not take the cake in my recent viewings.

After neglecting my Netflix for about two weeks while I was doing schoolwork I finally sat down and watched Chinatown. All I can say is: wow! That is one of the greatest scripts ever. Period. My mind was officially blown.*

So yea, that's basically what I've had on my mind lately, although thoughts of graduation and leaving Columbia have started to take over the last few days.

*Side note: I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine today and it got me so amped for blockbuster season, because I also love to watch movies where shit just blows up.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wow

This plan sounds very interesting! However, it's quite late right now and I have things to do tomorrow so more thoughts coming soon...

Obama unveils high-speed passenger rail plan

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Inspiration from an Unlikely Source

On Sunday afternoon I found myself glued to my television watching the Masters. Now, there was a time not too long ago when I wouldn't have been caught dead watching golf. I'm not white and I grew up in an area considered inner city. Golf and I were destined to never get along. My recent interest in golf probably stems, in part, from my internship last summer at a country club, but I also think that it's because I have matured as a sports fan. I can now appreciate what it takes to play certain sports and, the more I thought about it, the more I wished I was there, walking the course of Augusta National Golf Club, watching Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson battle their way up the leaderboard and Kenny Perry miss that putt on 18 by a hair, all but sealing Angel Cabrera's eventual playoff win. The course was beautiful and the excitement of the fans was palpable through my television set. Afterward, I sat down and began thinking about some of the great sports venues that, as a fan, I would love to visit, and here's what I came up with:

Baseball
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY - home of the 26-time World Series Champions. Even as the new stadium gets set to host its first game, nothing will ever beat the original. Just think about how many greats have occupied that clubhouse!

Runners-up: Fenway Park, Boston (just to sit atop the Green Monster and catch a home run), Wrigley Field, Chicago (first row of the bleachers so I can touch the ivy)

College Basketball
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC for a Duke-UNC game - I HATE Duke basketball, but I can't think of a better place to be than in the student section, amongst the Cameron Crazies, as Coach K leads the Dukies in a close one over the Tar Heels

Runner-up: Allen Field House, University of Kansas (I would love to watch my favorite team play at home. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!)

Rugby
World Cup Final between New Zealand and South Africa - if you know anything about rugby, you know that this is the ultimate match-up of traditional powerhouses. Plus, to see the haka performed live would be intense.

Runner-up: Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland (Ireland v. England in the final match, whoever wins takes the Six Nations crown)

College Football

Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI for the Ohio State-Michigan game - they don't call it "The Big House" for nothing. It's the 4th largest stadium in the world! This was probably the hardest decision to make, because I've spent the past 4 years of my life watching SEC football religiously and think the Big 10 is overrated, but this rivalry is too intense and the setting is too perfect. Plus, I love college football, so the list of stadiums I would like to visit is pretty long.

Runners-up: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH (see above), The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA (for a USC-UCLA game when both schools are fielding equally matched teams), Beaver Stadium, State College, PA (the largest stadium in college football and third largest in the world, I just want to be there at the beginning of the game when the crowd chants WE ARE! PENN STATE!), whatever stadium they play the Red River Rivalry (University of Texas vs. University of Oklahoma) in because that would just be nuts

NBA Basketball
Tie between Madison Square Garden, NYC and the Staples Center, Los Angles - only if I could score seats next to Spike Lee or Jack Nicholson, respectively.

Tennis
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London - the site of Wimbledon, the oldest of the sport's four Majors, and the only one still played on grass.

Soccer

Final match of the FIFA World Cup - there are no more vicious supporters in sports than soccer fans, especially when it comes to national teams. The feeling of being there, even if it wasn't to cheer on a favorite team of mine, would be too exhilarating to pass up.

Runner-up: UEFA Champions League Final (the best players in the world play for European club teams and, in theory, the two teams matched up here are the best on the continent), Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain (for Barcelona v. Real Madrid. Having been in this stadium before when it was totally empty, I can only imagine what it would be like full. The largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 98,772.), Stamford Bridge, London (home of my favorite team, Chelsea FC)

NFL Football
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI - the Frozen Tundra on a snowy Sunday afternoon in December is what football is all about. Also, if I could sit in the end zone and witness the Lambeau Leap first hand that would be bad ass!

Runner-up: Soldier Field, Chicago (DA BEARS!), the new Dallas Cowboys stadium (just to check out all the amenities that $1 billion can buy)

Finally, I also really want to go to the Olympics, both winter and summer. There are a lot of sports there that don't get much publicity otherwise, but these people are all competitors of the highest caliber. I would love the chance to spend the full two weeks there, from closing to opening ceremonies, watching everything from track and field to swimming, fencing, curling, biathlon, and gymnastics.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

White Castle Wedding is (G)Astronomically Depressing?

I love White Castle. I would say it's in the top 5 things I've missed most while living in the South. There's just nothing that compares to scarfing down those tasty, little burgers. I'm salivating just thinking about it. If you don't trust me, just ask these guys:

However, the buck has to stop somewhere, and I think I've found it. Click the link to see what I'm talking about. Also, if the guy was wittier, he would have come up with a better title for his post (see above).

White Castle Wedding is Unutterably Depressing

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Injecting Some Art into These Rough Times

I hate to be a downer, but everyone obviously knows that the world is in the grips of a very serious recession. I stumbled across this today and I think it's a pretty cool spin on the whole situation. Apparently the New York Times has set up a photoblog of sorts documenting what's going on all over the world. The cool part? All the pics are submitted by readers. Some really nice (albeit depressing) shots in there. Check it out here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"This is concrete warfare we're talking about. If you're going to ride you gotta get on that shit."

Being a young lad at the turn of the 21st century, I was subject to some interesting pop culture trends (Furby, Tomagachi, Tickle Me Elmo, Britney Spears, etc.). As I grew up, most of these came in the form of TRL and its firm grip on my pre-teen mentality. However, one of these cultural phenomena that still holds my interest to this day was the explosion of extreme sports. I continue to enjoy most of them, but skateboarding is my hands down favorite. As I was doing some Internet-scouring before writing this, I think that I can trace the specific spot skating has in my heart to the year 1999.

This year sticks out for three reasons. One of them was most definitely this, the second was this, and the third was this. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is still one of my favorite games. Sure, the graphics are comparatively terrible to what we've got now, but the gameplay is totally awesome. As an 11-year-old kid, these were the kinds of things I wanted to be able to do, which is why Tony Hawk's doing the first 900-degree spin was equally important to me. As for blink-182's Enema of the State, it led me deeper into a whole new type of music and culture of which I had only a vague prior knowledge (more on this in a later post, I'm sure). A large part of the "punk rock" culture of the late 90s/very early 2000s also happened to be skateboarding. So these three just happened to pass into my cultural radar at the right time to make me a skateboarding fan.

While my own foray into skating was (extremely) short-lived, the sport still has an effect on me, considering that I still listen to some of those same bands from when I was 12 or 13, and also because my closet is full of apparel from companies like Element, Globe, Volcom, and Quicksliver. Since I also love history, I recently Netflixed Stacy Peralta's Dogtown and Z Boys, a documentary about the Zephyr Skate Team of which he was a part.

I had previously seen Peralta's Riding Giants, a documentary about the history of surfing, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and had been meaning to catch Dogtown and Z Boys for a while. The Z Boys, who came together at the Zephyr surf shop in Los Angeles during the 1970s, are skateboarding legends, as they were the first to ride in pools, thereby inventing vert skating. The team also played host to some of the very first world-renowned skaters, many of whom are still prominent in these circles today (Peralta, Tony Alva, Jay Adams). So, for skateboard enthusiasts, this is a must-see.

However, even as a non-skater, I could appreciate Peralta's tale of friendship and sport. I actually think this is one of the best sports movies I have ever seen! Being such an active piece of this period of time helps Peralta tell the story about like very few others could. He is unafraid to touch on the more rocky subjects (commercialism, the break-up of the team) and you can tell that the interviewees, most of whom were his teammates and very close friends, were very comfortable letting the director know how they really felt. Peralta also makes sparse use of Sean Penn's excellent narration and lets these frank interviews really tell the story. The soundtrack is also top notch, making use of timely tunes by Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix just to name a few. I really suggest you check this out.

On a related note, I have been listening to Odd Nosdam's T.I.M.E. Soundtrack a lot lately. The hip-hop producer created the album to be used in the This Is My Element DVD for the Element skate team. The sweet thing is that he apparently created each song to coincide with the style of the individual skaters. While I have never seen the video, this album is great. The production is highlighted by the kind of fuzzy, washed-out tape loops that make me absolutely love a lot of the beats on the Beastie Boys' first four records. Amid these soundscapes there are also some really great samples and excellent detail to these songs that has kept them in heavy rotation in my iPod. For instance, my favorite track, "We Bad Apples," has an opening drum part that sounds like it came right off of a Kinks record. Or how about those sweet sitar-like lines drawing you into a trance throughout "Top Rank"? If only commercial hip-hop were more like this, I probably would really like 50 Cent.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

First Victim

Apparently John Mayer isn't very fond of Twitter, calling it "inherently silly and...dumb." As I scanned Yahoo! news the other day, the reason I clicked on the link for this story is because I, too, have a distaste for Twitter. So on top of being a pretty good songwriter and a sweet guitar player he has given me another reason to like him.

You know what, distaste is probably not the word I was looking for before. I think this sentence better illustrates my point: I hate Twitter. I just don't know what people see in it. My first problem with it is that there was already a service out there just like this. It's called updating your Facebook status. However, another of John Mayer's quotes from the article gets down to why I really despise Twitter, as he goes on to say that Twitter is "one step away from sending pictures of your poop." [Note: I found this especially funny because a few weeks ago I said that I was going to start a Twitter dedicated solely to letting everyone know every time I went to the bathroom.]

In all honesty, what makes you think that I want to know what you are up to at every minute of the day? I really don't care. And yes that goes for all of you. If something is that important, you'll remember to tell me next time we see each other. Sitting in front of your computer? Send me an e-mail about it. Am I sitting in front of my computer, too? Hit me up on G-chat. On the go? Call or text me about it. Keepin' it old-school? Write me a letter. Want to be really 21st century? Use your iPhone to post it on my Facebook wall in between texting your best friend and your mom while listening to your favorite album . Just please don't direct me to your Twitter.

On a larger scale, what makes you think the world wants to know your every move? I'll take a shot in the dark and give you an answer: they don't! The only reason you would subscribe to a service like this is because you want as much of the world's population to see it as possible. Why would any of the world's population care about the trivial details of your everyday life? This is especially poignant when you consider that we're friends and I don't really care. It makes you less attractive because it takes away the mystery if I know what you're thinking all the time. Even if you're famous, why does the whole world have to know your business? Just go act, write music, or get back on the court. You say you hate the tabloids and gossip columns, but you're only perpetuating that kind of culture by letting everyone into the details of your personal life.

Anyway, rant over, and, if you'll excuse me, I'm picking up a book and heading for the bathroom. I might be a while...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And they're off...

So I've finally decided to take the plunge into the world of blogging. I know, I know, I'm like 10 years behind everyone in the world, but whatever. If you don't like people that talk a lot of shit, then this is probably not the place for you. If you're still hanging out after that last sentence then welcome to my thoughts. I'll be reaching into the deepest depths of my brain to pick out only the biggest, juiciest thoughts that are up there. Let's see how this goes...