Friday, November 30, 2007


It's November 30, which means my failed NaBloPoMo is over. And it's Friday! Together, the two things call out for something special, don't you think?

And what could be better than a photo of Gabe and Simon, sleeping like angels?

Gabe and Simon sleep

Nothing. Nothing could be better.

Happy December!

Thursday, November 29, 2007 this about me or about them?

A few weeks ago, Spencer posted a link to this site that will measure the reading level of your blog.

Like Spencer's blog, this blog you're reading right was rated at the elementary reading level.

Hmmph! I thought. What does it take to get a higher reading level?

So I put in the url for my graduate class's blog.

That blog has a high school reading level.

So I guess if I posted almost exclusively about academic articles, I might boost my blog's reading level. Or if I imagined an authority figure was always reading.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

TV, 1970s style

Dan, taking a cue from Jeff, talks about memories from the 1970s, including a television show. I'm thinking I watched a lot of TV in the
1970s. Maybe more than I've ever watched since then, even. What was I
watching? A sample below.

Ah, yes. Little House on the Prairie. I remember being pretty excited when it started up. And even though I was irritated when it was less than faithful to the books (Pa should have a beard! Mary never got married!), I still watched it faithfully. Or did I? Seems like maybe I was less than faithful at one point. Then the Laura/Almanzo romance got me hooked again.

The Cyborg. That was the name of the novel on which The Six Million Dollar Man was based. Who knew many years later I would be reading "The Cyborg Manifesto" in graduate school? I was totally into the bionic man and woman. I even had, yes, action figures. With arms that made a noise mimicking the distinctive sound of the bionics-in-action on TV. I've not watched the recent incarnation. Not planning to, either.

I actually thought Fonzie *was* cool. But only with the leather jacket. The blue canvas jacket in the very early episodes is pretty funny. (And it's set in Milwaukee! Where I would later live. As was Laverne and Shirley, the spin-off.)

Yep. That's right. Donny and Marie. Donny Osmond (along with Jack Wild) was the object of my earliest crushes. I felt that I would marry him one day. After he switched from being Mormon to being Baptist. I mean, I knew he would do it. For me. We practically had the same name. Come on.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another composing process of the body

Chris has written on more than one occasion about his bodily composing process. He tends to write about it as an active, conscious process, something he works on through lifting weights and such.

But there's an unconscious bodily composing process, too, one that speaks to the importance of such things as yoga and bodywork.

For example, last week I shared the 12-hour drive to my ancestral home in Texas with C. I was pretty impressed that at the end of the 12-hours (both going and coming back) I felt ok. Usually, by upper body feels pretty crunched up. I've rarely been able to drive for more than two hours at a time: within two hours, my neck and shoulders are usually sending me pretty intense messages. But since I've been doing more yoga and have discovered the wonder of myofascial release, I don't get the messages so much anymore. It's made me complacent. It's made me think all is well with my body, that I don't need to treat it so gently. It's open! It's not all tied up in balls!

Then I went for a massage today. (I hesitate in calling it a "massage," since it's so much more than what I used to think of when I would think of massage. It's bodywork. It works the body: it, dare I say, affects the body's composing process.

And, yes, I went in with some issues: that cold has collected itself in my sinuses, so I knew I had pressure there and tension down the side of my neck and shoulder.

But, wow. There was so much tension I hadn't sensed into, because, yes, some of the more familiar tensions were gone. I was pretty crunched up, but my body had (intelligently?) found new ways of crunching up, of getting tense, since I have in fact changed my body in certain ways. Certain parts of my body don't get tense in the way they used to. So other parts are kicking in. Getting tense instead.

So how about that? The bodily composing process, like the writerly one, is fraught with unconscious holdings, parts we just can't "see" as yet. It's a humbling realization.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A list! Give us a list!

Please, stop clamoring! Here's your list, a basic set of whatever:

1. I have a cold. My second in less than a month. It seems unfair. But, then, who is being unfair? The cold genie?

2. I had enchiladas for dinner. At a nabor's house!

3. I've found a new way to spend all my extra time on the internet: www.freerice.comIt's a vocabulary game that rewards you with rice that gets donated to the United Nations. I worked hard and donated a whole cup today.

4. I made an apple crisp! With gluten-free flour on the top.

5. I watched the second half of the big Missouri-Kansas game Saturday night. I think it might have been the first time I voluntarily watched college football in, oh, 20 years or so. (There's a story there, but I'll spare you.)

6. I don't want a failed (but extremely rich) businessman to be the president of my institution.

7. Nor do I want the Ministry of Magic to infiltrate the universities, for real.

8. How long does this need to go on? I think I've done enough.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My always-viewable writing planner

Twenty days ago, Krista requested that I provide pictures to illustrate my entry called "How to write a lot." I promised to do so, but since it's taken so long and the entry has now entered the archives, I'm putting the picture here, in its own post.

Writing planner

Writing down project goals, according to Paul Silvia, should be the second step of the planning process. (The first step, he says, should be realizing that "goal setting is part of the process of writing"--seems like maybe we've left that out in academic writing instruction, having set the goals for the students.) I like what he says about the project goal-setting process:

What do you want to write? When reformed binge writers first set writing goals, one`project always leaps out--usually the dreaded project they had been avoiding for the past 3 months. Certainly write that goal down, but don't stop there. What else would you like to write during the next few months? Is there a grant proposal deadline on the horizon? Does your file cabinet have any unpublished experiments that deserve a good peer-reviewed home? Is there a review article you always meant to write? Put down this book, get some paper, and make a sprawling, discursive list of your project goals.

After you settle on a list of project goals--and it might be a long list--you need to write these goals down. It's a waste of your writing time to rehash the planning process. Get a whiteboard or a bulletin board, put in near your writing space, and proudly display your list of goals. A binge writer would feel anxious when confronted with this long list of projects, but you have a schedule. Binge writers ask, "Will I get all this done?"; disciplined writers idly wonder how many weeks it will take to write everything on the list. It's gratifying to cross a project goal off the list. (How to Write a Lot 30-31)

Since I didn't have a whiteboard or bulletin board handy but still wanted to get that second step under way, I used the oversized post-it notes that I picked up on sale a few months back and stuck them to the closet doors in my office. On the far left, I have projects that have a deadline more than three months in the future or are iffy. In the middle are projects with upcoming deadlines or on which I am actively working. On the far right are completed projects (completed since I began this). And, yes, it does feel nice to have something over there.

It also feels nice to see that I have multiple things in play. The third step in the planning process is to use these project goals to set concrete daily goals. For this week, my concrete goal is to write 10 revised pages on my second book chapter. That's just something in my head. Silvia recommends spread sheets and such for tracking daily progress. I haven't set one of those up, but perhaps I will. I do have a couple of writing groups I'm accountable to on a daily and a bi-weekly basis, and those are helpful. There's also the book blog, which I haven't been very faithful to, alas. But, still, I have been writing. Not binging. Writing. It's a good thing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving week

So, yeah, I've pretty much failed on the blog every day of November thing. But, really, I didn't have internet access most of this past week. It was an eventful week. In some wonderful ways and some not so wonderful. I'll tell you about it below the fold. With pictures!

First, we drove to Texas. Every year around the holidays, since we moved to Columbia, we drive through Oklahoma on the way to visit my family. Near Ardmore, OK, there's an elaborate display of lights. I tried to capture it, but you can't tell much. Still, I'm going to force it upon you.

Holiday Lights in Oklahoma

That's a reindeer? I think?

But down home, things were a little iffy. My newest great nephew was being born as we drove, but my father had been in the hospital since Saturday. Dizziness. Shortness of breath. He was being kept for tests, tests, and observation. Despite all that, and despite a deteriorating memory (when asked which holiday was approaching, he guessed July 4th), he remembered that my niece's baby was coming. And he wanted to see him.

Happily, my dad was able to leave the hospital Tuesday night. So we packed up my parents and headed to my sisters' places for Thanksgiving. But we made a stop, just in time to see a homecoming:

Baby Jay coming home

My first glimpse of him was something like this. The next day, he got all bundled up to enjoy his first Thanksgiving at his other great aunt's house:

El osito chiquito

And then it snowed! On Thanksgiving! In Texas! I've never seen such. It mostly melted, but I caught a little lingering the next morning above the bedroom window of my youth.

Thanksgiving snow Wford 07

Then we left Friday morning, for the 12-hour drive back. But we made one more stop, at a Starbucks in Fort Worth, for a very cool blogger meet up!

When bloggers meet

And, that, dear readers, was my week. Mostly wonderful, I should say.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Forgot to blog yesterday. Am very unlikely to blog tomorrow. So 28 out of 30 days is still something. Just not blogging every day for a month.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007


It isn't April.

But C. found a website that has poets reading their works (specifically, poets in response to Emily Dickinson). And he is currently playing a reading by Mary Oliver, who used to be my favorite poet in the whole world and whose poetry in fact was the subject of my undergraduate honor's thesis. At the time, no one else had done a critical study of her work. I was the first!

I didn't know then that such things as summer writing workshops existed. But one of my professors told me Mary Oliver would be at one in Washington, and I determined to go. How amazing, I thought, to be able to go where a poet is. What an amazing, unbelievable idea.

Turns out the Honors Program had money for travel and research expenses. Who knew! I think I was the first person to ever use it. I got on a plane for the first time ever in my life (I was 21) and flew to Seattle, sat in a bus station for several hours, took a bus (which got on a ferry) to Port Townsend, up in the Olympic Peninsula. It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. Fog hung low every morning. It was July, but every night I got cold as I tried to sleep in the dorms. Finally, a nice woman loaned me her sweats to wear.

One afternoon, I walked by a field where Mary Oliver was flying a kite.

It was all magical. Completely magical.

And when Mary Oliver read her poetry one evening, I snuck in a recorder. On the tape, when she says she's going to read "Blossom," you can hear me gasp. It was my favorite poem. And she just read it now on the recording C. is playing, and when she said she was going to read it, I gasped again.

It's more of a memory of loving it now. If you're curious, you can read it below the fold. (Blogger, however, takes away the indentation. It's in quatrains, with each line in the quatrain indented from the margin of the previous line.)


In April
the ponds
like black blossoms,
the moon
swims in every one;
there's fire
everywhere: frogs shouting
their desire,
their satisfaction. What
we know: that time
chops at us all like an iron
hoe, that death
is a state of paralysis. What
we long for: joy
before death, nights
in the swale-everything else
can wait but not
this thrust
from the root
of the body. What
we know: we are more
than blood-we are more
than our hunger and yet
we belong
to the moon and when the ponds
open, when the burning
begins the most
thoughtful among us dreams
of hurrying down
into the black petals,
into the fire,
into the night where time lies shattered,
into the body of another.

Mary Oliver

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Face to face with academic capitalism

OK, so, maybe this is a fiction.

Maybe someone wrote an application for an externally funded fellowship. It's a modest grant, about 1-10% of the numbers she's heard bandied about for things like NSF grants. It's to develop a course to teach at her university.

And then she realizes, oh! This is supposed to go through the campus grant-machinery. And she learns that she has to ask for a kickback: some funds (almost 50% of her budget) to go to the college. You know, to pay for all the wear and tear she's going to put on the university just by her presence. (Of course, she would be present even without the grant.)

And then she says a little offering of gratitude. Because now she's really seen it. The machinery of academic capitalism. And she understands, better than ever, why the sciences get so much attention. Cause their grant kickbacks are way more than 4 figures.


Just saying.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


You all have heard, I suppose, about the recent Robert Plant/Allison Kraus collaboration. They were on NPR a few weeks back. I mean, what a hoot, huh? Mr. Heavy Metal Man meets Ms. Bluegrass. I'm a total sucker for odd combinations, so I've been thinking from the minute I heard about it (even before the NPR interview) that I would probably want to get it.

So the other day I was talking to C. about it, and I found myself "treating" him to my version of "In the Mood" from Plant's Principle of Moments (circa nineteen-eighty something or other). C. claims he's never heard this song. And he isn't much impressed with my rendition of it, either.

So I went online to listen to it, thinking I might play it for C. Then I thought, why not order it? It's cheap! And I'll order Raising Sand, too. And, heck, I've always had a soft spot for "Stairway to Heaven." (Cause I used to be a geeky lover of Renaissance and Medieval music, and it reminded me of that. OK. Maybe I'm still geeky. Whatever.) So I ordered Led Zeppelin IV, too. (It's even cheaper than Principle of Moments!)

C. said we could listen to them on the way to Texas next week. But! I ordered them via "Super Saver Shipping." And they haven't shipped yet! So they probably won't arrive on time!

It makes me sad.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Revolved, not shaken

Some time ago, my local yoga teacher asked the class to name their favorite pose, the one pose we would do if we could do only one yoga pose.

Many people named Downward Facing Dog as the one.

It’s a great pose, so I can understand. The shoulders open. The spine lengthens. The head and neck point down, bringing some of the same benefits as an inversion like headstand.

It’s certainly on my top ten list. Maybe even my top five.

But my “one pose,” the one I couldn’t do without, is Parivrtta Trikonasana: Revolved Triangle Pose.

I love twists. This is a twist. They lengthen and massage the spine. I love that. But it’s also a standing twist, and so requires some attention to balance. Standing poses are foundational, creating a sense of stability. Twists do their lovely work of opening and massaging. Stability and opening. Attention and concentration. That’s what I can’t do without.

Plus I kind of like the sound of it. Parivrtta. Trikonasana. Especially the "vrtta" part.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Breads, pies, etc.

OK, so, I didn't actually bake any bread on Saturday. Things came up (including a whole house of cats--not mine--needing some care). I did go over to R's place, and she had made some bread. I got to sample it. Freshly baked bread. Nothing like it.

At any rate, I have no bread making pictures to share. Instead, I will tell you about a trip C. and I took a few weeks back to Rolla, MO.

Rolla is mostly known as the home of Missouri's tech university. But that isn't what drew us to Rolla. Instead, we went for the sake of going (we had heard the road was lovely), and we went to get a piece of pie.

While entertaining a visiting rhetorician a few weeks back, colleague A. revealed his love of pie and his own trip a few years ago to Rolla, solely for the sake of pie. Since C. and I were already planning to drive down to Rolla when we thought the leaves would be at peak color (turns out, they were ok, but not really at their peak), we decided a piece of pie would be a nice way to mark the end of the road.

A Slice of Pie, as it's called, has what may be the best pie I've ever tasted. We got two slices, one apple and one pumpkin. The apple was unbelievably delicious. We had it a la mode, and it's always served with a cinnamon sauce. The pumpkin was also wonderful--not the nasty watered down stuff that passes for pumpkin pie at some establishments. Hearty, spicy, delicous.

So, yeah, highly recommended. Worth the 2 hour drive down a lovely, hilly road.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Reluctant rhetor

I love the story of the Buddha’s reluctance to teach after his enlightenment. (It’s recorded in the sutta called “The Noble Search.”)

He recognized that his experience was subtle, and would be hard to understand, especially among people “delighting in attachment,” and that teaching it to others, consequently, would be difficult:
if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me

So he leaned toward avoiding the trouble that sharing his teaching might bring to him:
my mind inclined to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma

Then, the story goes, a heavenly being came down to him and told him the world would be lost if he didn’t teach. He appealed to the Buddha’s sense of compassion, and he assured him that “There are beings with little dust in their eyes” who would be able to understand the Dhamma.

So the Buddha was persuaded, through what we might (if we move west to ancient Greece, which would, in the following century or so, produce Aristotle) call pathos.

There’s also what we might call propriety or even kairos. Sure, the heavenly being said, it might be that everyone won’t understand. But some will. There are those with little dust in their eyes.

Something like kairos became important to the Buddha’s teachings on right speech. One should speak only that which is “factual, true, beneficial, and endearing.” And even then, one must have “a sense of the proper time for saying them.”

Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings. (MN 58)

There’s something dynamic about pathos and kairos, compassion and timing in the suttas. Speech isn’t a contest; it isn’t about winning. So the attention to timing isn’t strategic so much as it’s simply thoughtful.

But what I love, really love, is the humanity of the Buddha. That initial reluctance. The inclination to avoid the difficulty of addressing an audience that just isn’t ready for you. Then the change of mind, the realization of the benefit that could come from giving words to what he knows, to teaching.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday cat litter blogging

I have more than one cat. More than one litter box. And so accumulate in a given day a goodly amount of used litter.

Now there's a use for it. Flushing expired drugs down the toilet is bad for the environment. Instead put them in, yes, a "yucky bag" that mixes them up with soiled litter.

And I was wondering what to do this weekend.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

O wad some Power the giftie gie us

OK, all you new and relatively new parents out there. I need your input.

Like I said, I've got a new great nephew coming in a matter of days. I have yet to buy a gift for this new nephew. Why? Call it gift anxiety.

My niece (the mother of said great nephew) has had FOUR (count 'em, 4! 4! 4! 4!) baby showers. So she's received a lot already. I want to get her something that she'll like AND that will be distinctive.

So...any suggestions? Maybe something you didn't register for but that you're really glad you got? Or something you registered for but no one gave you? Or just something?

(I was thinking at one point of something like this hoodie swaddling blanket, but someone out there suggested the hood might pose a breathing hazard. So I'm thinking maybe not.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Saturday, I'm going to learn to make bread. Maybe I'll take pictures!

I tried making bread long, long ago when I first took to cooking on my own (when I first started grad school). I was all about whole grains, so that's what I tried first. It came out like a brick. I'm thinking that might have been my mistake: trying whole grains. In fact, if I remember correctly, I think I might have made some successful white loaves. But that wasn't good enough for me, so I gave up. I decided I couldn't make bread.

So Saturday I'm getting with colleague R, and she will help me. However, it will be white (French) bread.

And the complicating factor now is that C was recently diagnosed as being highly allergic to all gluten-containing grains. We don't really know what that means (he doesn't break out, have breathing problems, or any of the usual things associated with allergies.) Still, he avoids them on the whole. (A few weeks ago, he started the day with pancakes and continued to eat wheat-based foods throughout the day. He didn't sleep so well that night, but his allergist thinks wheat was not likely to be the cause.)

So what I really need to learn is how to make rice bread. Or tapioca bread. Or something on that order.

And I have a feeling that if whole grains were hard, gluten-free grains are another thing entirely.


No! Onward! Face the challenge! Develop those skills.

All righty, then.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Being great-aunted

As reported earlier on this humble blog, I became a great aunt this year.

And, well, it's turned out to be quite the year for great nephews, because another arrived last month and still another is coming in two more weeks. Yes, I know the date. My niece has an appointment. Conveniently, it's during Thanksgiving Break. So I'll get to go down to Texas and visit him when he's just a day or two old.

In the meantime, let me share with you this amazing photo of my second great nephew, grandson to my brother. (Yes, my siblings are grandparents. How bizarre is that? Remember, if you will, that I'm the youngest by an average of 10 years.) This little guy came forth with a whole head of hair. You can see him below the fold.

Monday, November 05, 2007

How to write a lot

That's the name of a book I ordered a few weeks back. It came up as a recommended title for me on Amazon, and I decided to order it, thinking I might use it in a class I'm cooking up for next year.

I probably won't use it in my class (its target audience being psychology scholars, though it's pretty applicable to any academic audience). But it did have some useful hints.

Hint #1?
Write every day. I knew that one already, having picked it up from my new hero/guru Robert Boice. (I really want to use his book, How Writers Journey to Comfort in Fluency, in my class, but look at that price tag! 100 bucks! How can one book cost so much?) Boice recommends writing in what he calls "Brief Daily Sessions" of 15-60 minutes a day. Good advice. I used to believe I couldn't get anything of quality done in 15 minutes a day, but, in fact, it helps a lot to keep a writing project in mind by spending at least that much time on it daily. (Silvia, the author of How to Write a Lot, prefers about 2 hours a day.)

At any rate, the major hint I took from Silvia is to write out all your projects in a visible space. I think that's in part what Chris was doing here, back in July. Silvia recommends a white board. Not having a white board and not feeling like going right out and buying one, I opted to use oversized post-it notes, which I do have. (The white board would probably be more environmentally sound in the long run, so I'll switch to that eventually.)

It's nice to have all the projects (even the potential ones) up where they can be seen, rearranged according to priority, marked off. I never have to wonder what to do.

Update: Picture forthcoming, per Krista's request. :)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Begin the week with a list o' randomness

(1) The Bee Movie gets mixed reviews. I really wanted it to be good. It's Seinfeld! I love Seinfeld!

(2) I finally picked up a copy of An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World this weekend, after having seen a review of it in the NY Times a few years back. It's a good read: part travel narrative, part intellectual history of India, part reception of Buddhism in the West, part meditation on poverty and suffering in the contemporary world.

(3)C. says Mizzou Football has become too much this year. I'm not sure what he means.

(4) I wrote something in August and it's already in print. I've held it in my hands! What wonders.

(5) After almost a year, my newest cat, Hansel, still lives segregated from the other cats. He seems to be capable of only dysfunctional relationships: he's either hiding under the bed from Gabe or scaring Casey with his over-zealous romping.

(6) Two words: Myofascial release. It's good.

(7) November? Already?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bodies of information

Over at Post-December, KR writes about the effects of the information economy on bodies. On graduate student bodies, at any rate.

She notes that the time to complete a PhD in her field seems to increase by a half year or so every year, just because of the increase in knowledge. More past knowledge, more time sitting and stuffing it into the brain cells. She wonders about the physical effects of all this consumption:
The immediate consequence of having to go over the sheer volume of material, is the exponential increase in time you spend sitting, reading, straining your eyes, and writing your fingers to the nubbins. I have succumbed to the pains of being serially sedentary, sacrificing for the knowhow. I have gained physical mass, as well as intellectual mass. It seems that the two can be connected all too easily.

So what comes next: the physical limit--in which our body mechanically fails to deal with this job? Or the time limit, where we literally won't have enough time to learn it all? Or the limit of thought?

Her question about the physical limit of the job reminds me of those studies done of college composition teachers back around the turn of the last century. The famous (well, in some circles) Harvard Report of 1892 estimated that 38,000 separate writing exercises were handed in to the composition faculty each semester. This work, according to the Report, overextends the limits of body and mind:
Few persons not intimately connected . . . with the existing Department of Rhetoric and English Composition . . . have any conception of either the amount or nature of the work now done by the instructors in that department. In quantity this work is calculated to excite dismay; while the performance of it involves not only unremitted industry, but mental drudgery of the most exhausting nature (qtd. in Brereton 75).

The information society is often connected to the virtual, to things we can't see. But the load of information is exhausting. The load of teaching students to work with information (which is what composition classes do, I would say) tests the physical limits of teachers, not to mention students.

Of course, there's the idea of "pathways, not things," that what we need to teach (and learn) is how to store, categorize, and work with information. And so that might lead to a more problem-based curriculum, as is used often in medical schools.

Does that work for all disciplines? And what about KR, who is educating herself to be a scientist (as if she isn't one already)? Is it possible to use pathways to avoid the physical breakdown? Or does the physical necessarily strain with information, no matter the path?

Friday, November 02, 2007

I like pumpkins

A colleague at a reception this late afternoon told me he doesn't like pumpkins. He doesn't like pumpkin pie. He doesn't like pumpkin anything.

Now, I don't understand this. I like pumpkins. I write this every year at about this time. I love fall. I love the increasing availability of all things pumpkin.

Which is why, you see, I've been bidding all week on an Alsatian feast.

Every year the graduate student organization here at MU hold a fund-raising online auction. Last year I got the most delicious cookies ever. This year, I set my sights on a feast promising pumpkin custard as dessert.

We were encouraged to take pseudonyms. Mine is the perhaps all too obvious: Aspasia. My nemesis in the bid for the pumpkin-finaled feast? Oracle. Pretty funny, huh?

I think I may have won. Rhetoric over prophesy.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

It's a great badge, after all

Clancy reminds me that it's National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo)!

It worked last year. I blogged daily! For a month! And some of you out there did it, too!

Not only that, but this year, there's a cat.

Let's do it! Post! And post some more!
And, hey, look at this other version of the badge:

It's got a good badge. If that's not persuasive, well, I'm throwing in the towel on that rhetoric thing.