Monday, May 30, 2016
This weekend, PBS broadcast a short documentary about The Telling Project, which uses theater to help military veterans talk through their experiences, from losing a limb, to being raped, to PTSD, to contemplating suicide. One of the veterans remarked that 'there's no bigger pacifist than a deployed serviceman.' Rather than letting our national discussions of war be hijacked by the braggadocio of the insecure, the cruel, the calculating and the delusional, we'd benefit from considering the harsh realities of war instead. Rather than letting tough guy (and tough gal) fantasies reign, we should seek out true stories. Rather than letting another bombastic speech from an irresponsible ignoramus dictate the terms of discourse, we should give time to veterans and civilians affected by war, and quietly listen.
Sunday, May 08, 2016
David Dayen, an excellent blogger based in Los Angeles, has a book out, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud. His Tumblr blog links his articles and appearances (Salon, The Intercept, The Fiscal Times, The New Republic), but if you've read his work over the years, you're aware of the time and effort he's spent covering this subject. A summary:
In the depths of the Great Recession, a cancer nurse, a car dealership worker, and an insurance fraud specialist helped uncover the largest consumer crime in American history—a scandal that implicated dozens of major executives on Wall Street. They called it foreclosure fraud: millions of families were kicked out of their homes based on false evidence by mortgage companies that had no legal right to foreclose.
Lisa Epstein, Michael Redman, and Lynn Szymoniak did not work in government or law enforcement. They had no history of anticorporate activism. Instead they were all foreclosure victims, and while struggling with their shame and isolation they committed a revolutionary act: closely reading their mortgage documents, discovering the deceit behind them, and building a movement to expose it.
As a first-time author, David Dayen depends on getting the word out and generating early sales. I've ordered the book but haven't read it yet, although I've read plenty of Dayen's other work, and you can check it out yourself through the Tumblr link above. I'm admittedly biased because I know the guy, but if you have the money to spare, ordering a copy is a great way to support a liberal writer and get a good book to boot. (Here are the links for Amazon, Powell's and Barnes & Noble.) He'll be doing book signings in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, New York, Washington, St. Louis, and Philadelphia. If you're on that Facebook thing all the kids are doing, you can get more details from the book's FB page. Thanks.
Saturday, April 30, 2016
This year, I thought I'd post one of my favorites:
By Marianne Moore
I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a
high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to
eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse
that feels a flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician--
nor is it valid
to discriminate against "business documents and
school-books"; all these phenomena are important. One must make
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
insolence and triviality and can present
for inspection, "imaginary gardens with real toads in them,"
shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.
(Some of the formatting is lost here; you can see Moore's indents here.)
The line that always sticks with me is "imaginary gardens with real toads in them." For me, it nicely expresses the goal of much art – trying to capure some piece of real life in an invented piece.
Feel free to link or post a favorite poem in the comments.
Friday, April 01, 2016
Thursday, March 17, 2016
I've featured some of my favorite Irish tunes in previous years. Feel free to link any of yours in the comments.
Saturday, February 06, 2016
It's Blogroll Amnesty Day again, a tradition started by skippy and the late Jon Swift. Be sure to head over to read skippy's post for the event, but the basic idea is to give some link love to good blogs that don't get the heaviest traffic. Several from my blogroll:
Bark Bark Woof Woof: Mustang Bobby offers short, sharp political takes and good music picks.
Cheyanne's Campsite: Cheyanne (Shy Ann) has redone her home page with a neat tile format for her posts.
The Hunting of the Snark: I never get tired of reading Susan of Texas' dissections of the odious Megan McArdle and other hacks.
Infidel753: Head over for good political analysis.
I Spy With My Little Eye: aimai posts infrequently, but her work's well worth catching.
Mikeb302000: Diligent coverage of gun deaths and gun control issues.
Onyx Lynx: Providing some great roundups.
P3: Persuasion, Perseverence, and Patience: If you appreciate fine editorial cartooning, you'll want to read Nothstine's roundups.
Poor Impulse Control: Head over for Tata's cool photos and musings.
The Rectification of Names: Check Yastreblyansky's blog before you rectify yourself.
Strangely Blogged: How can you say no after reading Vixen Strangely's Woody Guthrie reference in the blog header?
World O' Crap: Good cultural posts and dissections of the nuttiest of wingnuts.
You Might Notice a Trend: You might notice a trend of regularly reading Paul Wartenberg after you check him out.
Zen Comix: What is the sound of cartoons clapping?
Don't forget Crooks and Liars, where every day is Blogroll Amnesty Day thanks to the feature Mike's Blog Round Up. Awesome founder Mike Finnigan passed on management to the indefatigable Blue Gal, and I'm honored to be one of about a dozen bloggers who run it for one-week stints.
Thanks again to skippy for keeping this tradition alive, and if you choose to participate, make sure to link your post in his thread here!
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
It is terribly easy for one group to strike another group off the roster of humanity, to see others as vermin or pests, as an affliction that must be destroyed. It happens again and again. And once it does, people are capable of inflicting terrible hardship and pain on others and to feel they are righteous in doing so. None of the SS officers who ordered me – a starving teenager – to carry heavy steel rails up a hillside thought of themselves as monsters. They were adhering to their beliefs and they were serving their country. We must be constantly vigilant for the descent that takes us from self-righteous beliefs, to the dehumanization of others and into the sphere of violence.
The consequences of bigotry aren't always violent, and bigotry doesn't always get organized (thankfully), but it's always harmful in some fashion. We know how these stories can end.
It's a fashionable conceit in some circles that expressing bigotry, being "politically incorrect," is a badge of honor and somehow bold and courageous. It is instead an act of intellectual, moral and personal cowardice, an attempt to assert power and preemptively – lazily – shallowly – dismiss other human beings outright. Embracing bigotry may not be a natural path, but it's an easy one, not a sign of toughness (and certainly not reflection).
Klein moves on from "the sphere of violence":
While we are capable of all of this, we can also rise to amazing heights in the service of others. For two weeks I had the good fortune to have a respite from hard labor while I was assigned to work with a civilian German engineer who was surveying the landscape where future roads would be built. He saw the terrible conditions I was living under and decided to help. Everyday he hid food for me from the SS kitchen where he ate lunch. Chicken, milk, rice and cheese left under a bench in the back corner of a barracks. He cared, he took a risk and he saved my life. He deserves to be remembered too.
No one should be judged because of his or her nationality, religion or race. We were sent to the camps because propaganda was believed, individuality was erased and hate was rampant. When asked if I am angry with Germans, I think of the German engineer and know that individuals must be judged by their own personal actions. If I can hold this as a guiding principle after what happened to my family and me, then you can, too.
Last week was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and King often spoke about meeting hate with love. That may be too high a moral bar for some of us (or most of us) to reach with any regularity, but Klein's piece essentially suggests tackling dehumanization and bigotry with humanizing stories and tales of connection. And while hyperbolic, inaccurate invocations of the Holocaust definitely aren't helpful (and that's the real point of "Godwin's law"), some more serious comparisons prove valid, and a commitment to basic human rights remains valuable.
You can find several videos of Gene Klein online, and in this one, he speaks movingly of the German engineer he credits with saving his life. The engineer saw Klein as a fellow human being, and acted to alleviate his suffering. That story continues to be worth remembering.
Monday, January 18, 2016
If you've written a post celebrating the day, feel free to link it in the comments.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
Our late and much missed comrade in blogging, journalist and writer Al Weisel, revered and admired across the bandwidth as the "reasonable conservative" blogger Modest Jon Swift, was a champion of the lesser known and little known bloggers working tirelessly in the shadows . . .
One of his projects was a year-end Blogger Round Up. Al/Jon asked bloggers far and wide, famous and in- and not at all, to submit a link to their favorite post of the past twelve months and then he sorted, compiled, blurbed, hyperlinked and posted them on his popular blog. His round-ups presented readers with a huge banquet table of links to work many of has had missed the first time around and brought those bloggers traffic and, more important, new readers they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.
It may not have been the most heroic endeavor, but it was kind and generous and a lot of us owe our continued presence in the blogging biz to Al.
If you're not familiar with Al Weisel's work as Jon Swift, his site features a "best of" list in the left column.
Thanks to all the participants, and apologies to anyone I missed. (As always, my goal is to find the right balance between inclusive and manageable.) You still can join in, by linking your post in the comments. Whether your post appears in the modest list below or not, feel free to tweet your best post with the hatchtag #jonswift2015.
As in Jon/Al's 2008 roundup, submissions are listed roughly in the order they were received. As he wrote in that post:
I'm sure you'll be interested in seeing what your favorite bloggers think were their best posts of the year, but be sure to also visit some blogs you've never read before and leave a nice comment if you like what you see or, if you must, a polite demurral if you do not.
Without further ado:
The Professional Left Podcast
Episode 295 (July 31, 2015): "Is Cecil the Lion a Proxy War?"
Blue Gal: "Cecil the Lion – Environmental crime and misplaced rage."
A Blog About School
"Standardized tests and your cat’s body mass index"
"Long war, decisive battle"
Infidel753: "Why does the right wing invest the fight against gay rights with such existential importance? Deep down they know it's a crucial part of a much longer and more fundamental conflict over the essential nature and identity of our civilization."
You Might Notice a Trend
"Insanity Is Repeating the Same Shooting Over And Over Again and Expecting a Safer Gun-Happy Result"
Paul Wartenberg: "The United States is under attack from itself as a minor group of gun-worshiping sociopaths allow – and in some ways encourage – shooting deaths on a daily basis just so they can proclaim their devotion to a metal god of death."
Mad Kane's Political Madness
Madeleine Begun Kane: "3-Verse Limerick mocking the so-called "sacrifice" John Boehner made in giving up his Speakership."
World O' Crap
"World's Worst Toys R Us Spokesmodel"
Scott Clevenger: "Who can forget Sabrina Corgatelli, the sultry, seductive Idaho accountant who went to Africa, wrapped a dead giraffe around her body like a mink stole, and sang "Blood Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"? "
The Debate Link
"Anti-Semitism as Structural and the Iran Deal Debate"
David Schraub: "Many critics of the Iran Nuclear Deal have contended that deal proponents have engaged in anti-Semitic rhetoric; proponents have roundly rejected the charge. Both camps, I argue, are mistaken in the processes by which anti-Semitism operates and has its effect in contemporary society."
"When Things Fell Seriously Apart & The Center Didn't Hold"
Shaun D. Mullen: " We'll motor past how the brilliant Yeats, as prescient as he could be, foresaw this political season and the coming of Donald Trump nearly 100 years ago in his classic dirge for the decline of civilization, but today even the best in the overcrowded Republican field seem to lack all conviction, the worst are full of passionate intensity, and surely some revelation is at hand. Or so we should fear."
"Beyond Here There Be Dragoons"
Dave Dugan: "Watercolor, Pen & ink on handmade paper, about 8 cm x 11 cm for each image, contained in a small gift box with a velcro closure, decorated with white exterior house paint and india ink, marking 70 years of goddamn nuclear weapons..."
"On the sorry state of American fascism"
Dan: "A look at some of the more hyperbolic claims about so-called 'PC culture.' "
David E's Fablog
"Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa"
David Ehrenstein: "It's about how Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" is as valid today as it was in 1960 in showing how the media actually works."
Syrbal/Labrys: "A brief memory that proves 'the more things change, the LESS they stay the same' – at least for a female."
"With the Wind it Shall"
Mark Prime offers a poem.
"Sellin' the big nothin' "
Tom Sullivan: "In the military we hold up as representing America's highest ideals, it's all esprit de corps and teamwork. Yet outside the base perimeter in Anytown, USA, it's screw you, I’ve got mine. (Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)"
"47 Dumbass Ronin"
Vixen Strangely: "The idea that 47 actual US Senators got together to show this particular letter and their behinds off to the world struck me as a suggestion that perhaps they hated President Obama more than they even liked their country."
Simply Left Behind
"How to Defeat Terrorism"
actor212: "Thirty years of war (going back to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan) has done nothing but make more rabid dogs. That's a failed policy. This is not a war against people, it's a war against an ideology – the ideology of jihad – and every time we've bombed a country, we created more enemies as we've attempted to wipe out that ideology."
Real American Liberal
"Diving into the Abortion Debate"
John Sheirer: "I tried to have a civil, reasonable discussion about abortion on the Internet. The results were even more disturbing than I anticipated."
Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I
"Republicans May Be Perfidious Bastards, But the Democrats Are Still Idiots"
Comrade Misfit: "Essentially, why the Democrats' focus on gun control will hurt them."
"Jeanie Bueller's Day of Feminist Killjoying"
Melissa McEwan: "In which I reconsider "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" 30 years later and discover that I'm rooting for little sister Jeanie Bueller, who huffs and eyerolls and shouts indignantly through the film, a perfect picture of injustice in a pink cardigan."
"Mr. Robot Will Scratch The Corporate Justice Problem in Your Brain"
Spocko: "Mr. Robot was the most fascinating TV show I watched this year. The lead, Elliot, is a cyber-security engineer by day and vigilante hacker by night. His target is "Evil Corp" a sort of BofA, Goldman Sachs, Monsanto, JPMorganChase combo. In this post I reviewed the pilot and anticipated the ethical, technical, financial and human issues it will grapple with over the season."
"The Songs Our Mothers Sang to Us"
Ellen O'Neill: "The news of the BBC's discovery of Diana Rigg's Desert Island Disc lead me to their wonderful website. Where I stumbled on Yoko Ono's desert selections, and her anecdote about a particular song & her mother poignantly, surprisingly linked her to me and my mom."
Kathleen Maher's Pure Fiction
"If He Wished"
Fiction by Kathleen Maher.
Poor Impulse Control
"The World Is the World"
Tata: "You can be a different person every day, and by you, I mean me."
Mock Paper Scissors
"Hell Hath No Fury Like A Boomer Scorned"
Tengrain: "MoDo writes a poisoned pen letter to Hillary Clinton using Joe and Beau Biden as the ink."
The Rectification of Names
"What's to stop me from marrying my television?—Ross, I think you did."
Yastreblyansky: "Back in May, as we were all awaiting the Obergefell decision, Monsignor Ross Douthat, Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street, decided to show us how marriage equality was going to lead to polygamy for all, and then how are you liberals going to like that? Spoiler: He was wrong."
"American Exceptionalism? ISIS and the Christian Right are More Alike Than Different"
Chauncey DeVega: "The American Christian Right-wing and ISIS are much more alike than different. This truth is upsetting because American Exceptionalism is based on a lie. On matters of violence, extreme religion, anti-Cosmopolitanism, and a yearning for End Times battles between countries ruled "god's law" ISIS and the American Christian Dominionists and Reconstructionists are in almost total agreement."
"At The Pillory Clinton Hearing"
driftglass: "An experimental, real-time, free-form, impressionistic interpretation of the Hillary Clinton Benghaaaazi show trial in October."
The Way of Cats
"The difference between dogs and cats"
Pamela Merritt: "Dogs do sports. Cats do theater. They are two very different kinds of pets, and require two wildly different approaches for care and training."
Anibundel: Pop Culturess
"Good Morning and Welcome to Force Friday"
Ani Bundel: "In case you haven't heard, today the 4th will be with you. But it's not May the 4th, the organic holiday that sprung up in the Star Wars community in the last decade. Today is a different fourth. One invented by Disney, to go along with their marketing department's plans for total Star Wars world domination."
"Claude Rains: An Actor's Side-Eye"
Farran Smith Nehme: "My posting rate slowed considerably this year, but this was by far the most popular thing I wrote for the blog. Sifting through stills from all stages of the career of the great Rains was a wonderful experience."
"Sorry, Jeb. Your Brother Did Create ISIS."
Jon Perr: "Jeb Bush got schooled by a 19 year-old college student who informed him, "You brother created ISIS." Or to put in terms even Republican myth-makers can understand: ISIS? George W. Bush built that."
The Rude Pundit
"America Has Become a Second Amendment Death Cult"
Lee Papa: "The United States is on the same road as the Mayans and the Aztecs as we shoot ourselves into oblivion."
"As Long As There Is A Constitution, The GOP Can't Win"
Ramona Grigg: "So the crazies won the 2014 midterms. What, me worry? Yes, me worry."
[this space intentionally left blank]
"I Read Only Books by Women For a Year: Here’s What Happened"
Dallas Taylor: "Post details the experience and results of a year spent reading only books by women: why I did it (as both writer and reader), what it was like, what I learned from it, and how it changed me. Concludes with encouragement for the reader to try the same, or at least examine the reasons for refusing to do so."
"Winnowing the GOP Field with Jane Austen"
Doctor Cleveland AKA Jim Marino: "Demonstrates the Pareto principle with the five sisters in Pride and Prejudice and then applies it to the crowded GOP primary field, showing which candidates have never been in the running. A post so crazy it just might work."
The Hunting Of The Snark
"Guts And Glory: The Story Of Ross Douthat"
Susan of Texas: "This is a review of Ross Douthat's book about his years at Harvard, Privilege: Harvard And The Education Of The Ruling Class. In this book we see how the son of "ex-hippies" reshaped himself into an authoritarian thought leader without becoming either thoughtful or a leader."
The Inverse Square
"We Have a Problem With Guns"
Tom Levenson: "Guns are not toys. They’re profit centers. As long as we accept that, we get the culture — political and more — that might be expected. This post is another way of writing how sick I am of having to say In Memoriam…."
Show Me Progress
"The Bill of Rights applies to everyone, right?"
Michael Bersin: "An interview with anti-Obama open carrying teabaggers flying large Confederate battle flags (among others) in an overpass protest on U.S. 50 in west central Missouri."
Lotus – Surviving a Dark Time
"Only the poor face drug tests to receive any public aid or benefit"
LarryE (Larry Erickson): "The content should be clear from the title: Drug testing of the poor – and only of the poor – to qualify for a public benefit is expanding."
Ole Phat Stu: "Some of the consequences of time travel."
Bark Bark Woof Woof
"Gay Day at the Supreme Court"
Mustang Bobby: "Written on the morning of oral arguments for marriage equality before the Supreme Court in April: 'If I cannot be treated the same way as everyone else for no other reason than an innate quality such as sexual preference, then the rest of those rights, however noble, are meaningless.' "
Empire Of The Senseless
"Hold my Life"
zombie rotten mcdonald: "A review of the recent Replacements reunion shows, and reminiscence…"
and that's the way it was
"Don’t help ISIS get what it wants"
Derek Davison: "I'm my own worst critic when it comes to evaluating my writing, but this piece, written in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attack, is the most widely-read and shared thing I've ever written for my own blog. I try to explain why overreacting to ISIS's terrorism—by rejecting refugees, by turning on Muslims living in our own communities, by panicking—is giving the terrorists exactly what they want and what they need to perpetuate their message"
This Is So Gay
"Onward, Christian Soldiers"
Duncan Mitchel: "If you're using the Bible to hurt people, you're using it wrong: you should be using a sword, or a battle axe, as the Lord intended. You can't do any serious, God-breathed damage with a floppy leather-covered book!"
Checking Out Your Shorts
"Behind the Politics – Scott Walker"
paleotectonics: ""VH-1 Behind The Music meets the Scott Walker Campaign, takes much acid."
"Climate Change, the "Free Market" & the California Drought"
Gaius Publius offers an overview of the situation.
"No small potatoes: Dept of Natural Resources requires EAW for pinelands to spud fields project"
Sally Jo Sorensen: "When the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced a discretionary environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) for an area where the R.D. Offutt Company, America's largest potato company, been buying forest land and converting it to potato fields, bushels of money set the stage for a later withdrawal of the study."
"It’s a Giant Fucking Mystery Wrapped Inside A Riddle Inside an Enigma"
John Cole sounds off about the "enigma" of the Planned Parenthood shooting.
p3: Persuasion, Perseverance, and Patience
"Sunday morning toons: Fear of a Trump planet! And other horrors."
Nothstine: "A December 2015 edition of p3's weekly round up of political cartoons (with a dash of Golden Age animation). This week the theme was Fear!"
Gary, a relative of Mister Tristan: "Liars' pants should actually burst into flames. Brian Williams paid a price for lying about Iraq; Dick Cheney, not so much."
Roy Edroso: "It’s less overtly political than most of my stuff, but also (I hope) funnier."
"Now THAT's something to ponder"
Brendan Keefe: "Since I haven't been writing much at length lately, I'll pass along one of the most fun things I read this past year."
Schrodinger's Cat: Many Worlds and One Cat
"Bihar Gives India a Diwali Gift: An In-Depth Analysis of the Assembly Elections"
schroedinger's cat: "I analyze the state assembly elections held in the Indian state of Bihar where Prime Minister Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a humiliating defeat. I explore what this means for India now in the context of the recent past and in the historical context."
"Nobody's unbreakable, not even Kimmy Schmidt"
Lance Mannion: "The premise of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt isn't comic. It's tragic. A real evil has been inflicted upon Kimmy and her friends from the bunker and, whatever the outcome of the trial, the villain has gotten away with it. What he did to the four women cannot be undone. The comedy is in Kimmy's determination to survive the evil."
"Blogiversary X: 10 Posts That Shook the World (or Slightly Amused a Dozen People)"
Batocchio: "I didn't write much this year, but this post links the best pieces of my first decade by category."
Thanks again, folks. Happy blogging (and everything else) in 2016.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Earlier this year, this blog turned 10. I haven't had much time to write this year (or the past few years), but I'm still keeping the blog lights on as a repository for my infrequent posts.
As usual, I'll be recapping major posts and categories since the last blogiversary, and in this case, all 10 years. This is mainly so I can find the stuff later; I don't expect anyone to read through this entire post, let alone all the linked pieces, which amount to far more than 10 posts. However, if you've got a load of free time to read long blog essays, you're in, um, luck?
The Nature of Liberalism
I suppose this section could be more robust, but I always think this stuff should be fairly obvious.
The Nature of Conservatism
Trying to suss things out.
Our National Political Discourse
Media critiques of why political coverage is often inaccurate and shallow.
The War Series
I've done a fair amount of research on torture and wrote a number of posts (if not as many as some others, and not as many as I wanted to). It's an essential subject but it also burnt me out a bit, given all the maddening obfuscation by culpable parties and their apologists. The full category is here, but the most significant posts are:
Tolerance and Freedom
Several of these posts were written for the (mostly annual) Blog Against Theocracy.
Specific Political Analysis
Satire and Humor
I've written several hundred reviews (most of them short, some more expansive) generally as part of a post-Oscars roundup, a preblog tradition. Those are easiest found by scrolling through the Oscars and film categories. (A post examining the conservative ideologue's approach to film is linked above.) Some obituaries and retrospectives of note:
I try to write a post for Banned Books Week every year (and comment on current events, if relevant). To date, the most extensive posts in this category are:
Each year, I write a post for International Holocaust Remembrance Day and sometimes write related posts about current events. The most significant posts in The Holocaust category are:
For the past several years, I've continued a tradition started by the late, great, Jon Swift (pen name of Al Weisel) – the best posts of the year, picked by the bloggers themselves. The category is here.
I've also cross-posted or guest posted at Crooks and Liars, Hullabaloo, the Campaign for America's Future, and the dearly departed Blue Herald. (At times I miss the series Right-Wing Cartoon Watch that ran there, but it was a ton of work.)
That's about it. At times, the site name "Vagabond Scholar" strikes me as stuffy or pretentious – and it doesn't fit my sillier nom de blog – but I picked it in the spirit of curiosity and searching, not pretending to know all the answers. (More background's here.)
Thanks to everyone who's stopped by over the years, and happy blogging.