Thursday, September 29, 2005

Always becoming

Becky says I'm a lucky duck, and I have to agree. After the St. Louis Jazz Festival last summer (the festival that made me feel lucky for the chance to see and hear one of my very favorite composer/musicians, Dave Douglas), C. asked me who I most wanted to hear next. I didn't have to think very long to come up with my answer: Wayne Shorter. So you'll excuse me if I think I really am living some kind of charmed life: the next morning (still in St. Louis), we stopped for coffee, looked at a newspaper someone had left at a table, and saw an ad announcing Wayne Shorter's upcoming appearance in St. Louis.

If you're into jazz, I don't need to tell you who
Wayne Shorter is. Wayne Shorter: saxophonist / composer extraordinaire. Wayne Shorter: member of Miles' classic quintet in the late '60s. Wayne Shorter: co-founder of fusion ensemble Weather Report. Wayne Shorter: acoustic revivalist with new quartet in the new millenium.

Wayne Shorter:

"Life is so mysterious, to me," says Shorter. "I can't stop at any one thing to say, 'Oh, this is what it is.' And I think it's always becoming, always becoming. That's the adventure. And imagination is part of that adventure.'"
Last night's adventure at the lovely Touhill Performing Arts Center (an I.M. Pei creation): Shorter and his quartet (Brian Blade, John Patitucci and Danilo Perez) with a small group from the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. I was sceptical, I admit. Jazz "with strings"? No thanks.

This was not jazz with strings. This was one of the most creative jazz quartets in recent memory joined by a robust new instrument composed of some 20 people. The orchestra sometimes took on the role of a horn, laying down the melodic line. Sometimes they were another rhythm section, keeping time, adding percussive flourishes. And they never, never got in the way of the main quartet's improvization: they would stop playing while the quartet improvized, the conductor (David Robertson), looking on with an expression of sheer joy. At the end of each piece, Wayne Shorter gave him a thumbs up.

Wayne Shorter: I was close enough to see the lines on his face. (Though its a remarkably young face, considering his 72 years.) His posture is slightly stooped, head slightly bowed, as if constantly ready to play. It gives him, though, the look of a very shy person. Or maybe a Zen priest.

And he said not a word to the audience. He let David Robertson do the talking, which consisted almost exclusively of announcing the titles being played. (And they were: Angola, Our Shadow Hill Way, Orbits, Joy Rider, Midnight in Carlotta's Hair, Novus, Vendiento Alegria.) Someone in the balcony kept whooping out calls during the applause: "Wayne Shorter!" His eyes moved a little toward the noise, but he didn't respond.

It was glorious, my friends. Truly glorious. And if one of the pleasures of live jazz is seeing the physicality of the music, another is seeing the joy in their bodies. Lord, that John Patitucci can make some expressive faces. As can Danilo Perez. I couldn't see Brian Blades' face very well (it was obscured by his drum set), but C. assures me he was doing it, too.

Wayne, though. Oh, Wayne. Zen priest Wayne. He stood patiently, usually holding his soprano sax. His notes were spare. On one solo, he let it rip, and John Patitucci laughed. I'm pretty sure he played the tenor for only one piece. At the end of another, he put it on, waited. Started to play. Then took it off. Took off the neck piece. Picked up the soprano. Put it to his mouth a time or two. Never played. He didn't feel the need. There were sounds enough.

But the encore. Mmm. The encore. He played a wonderful, long, seering solo for the encore.

Sure, we had to drive the two hours there and back. Who cares? I've heard Wayne Shorter live. The sound of becoming.

[And as a bonus: I sat by a man named James who told me McCoy Tyner will be at a club in St. Louis next week. McCoy Tyner! Can you believe it? And then James proceded to tell me that years ago he heard Tyner play with Coltrane (and the rest of the classic quartet) in East St. Louis. After the set, James was hitchhiking, looking for a ride to the city's segregated hotel. A station wagon pulls up: it's Coltrane behind the wheel. Mmm. Hmm.]

{post ends here; ignore the link below}

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Shorter blog

Wednesdays have often been my day to really blog, but not today. No, today, I have one meeting after another, not to mention a host of details to attend to. But if I can just get through them all, my reward will be sitting down tonight to hear Wayne Shorter live in St Louis.

With that in mind, I must go and do.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The unbearable lightness of teaching

Not that it's always that way: no, not at all. I'm trained to be critical and turn that training on myself at the drop of a hat.

Sometimes, though, the conversation flows, connections are made and unmade, my own cherished ideas are simultaneously extended and challenged, and I leave class feeling absolutely giddy.

It's nice and appropriate, wouldn't you say, that a class on affect might generate this feeling? Thanks, all. I'll do my best to slap some actual notes up here soon.

[This blog post ends here: ignore that link below]

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Fixed it

So I think I fixed the hidden posts problem, but I'm still rather unhappy with the overall look of my post template. Blah.

And now I will endeavor to write more interesting blog posts that don't simply recount what I've done with my blog.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Something seems to have gone wrong...

Some posts are missing, though they appear (and seem to be accessible) on the sidebar. So, will try to fix things. Later.



Thanks to my exemplary research assistant, I am now perusing a real honest to goodness original (second) edition of Charles Babbage's On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures (1832). I started reading it a few years ago (though I don't remember SIU's library copy looking so very old, so I'm not sure what edition I had) after noticing that Harry Braverman (in Labor and Monopoly Capital) references Babbage as a proto-manager. At the time, I was working through connections between Braverman's ideas about divisions of labor and regulation of power and similar ideas (but applied to words and writers/readers) in Herbert Spencer's stylistic economy as set out in Philosophy of Style. At one point, a chapter on Spencer opened my book, but after much agony trying to make that chapter work, I decided to abandon it as unusable and unnecessary. Now, though, I'm trying to work a bit of Spencer back in. And so I'm back with Babbage.

Babbage interests me, though, because, as the Charles Babbage Foundation explains:

The calculating engines of English mathematician Charles Babbage (1791-1871) are among the most celebrated icons in the prehistory of computing. Babbage’s Difference Engine No.1 was the first successful automatic calculator and remains one of the finest examples of precision engineering of the time. Babbage is sometimes referred to as "father of computing."

Father of computing/division of labor/conservation of energy --> most of the first true "managers" (of the railroads) were trained as engineers (Chandler) --> Spencer was also trained as an engineer --> both A. S. Hill at Harvard and F. N. Scott at Michigan (not to mention many others outside of comp history, like Jack London) were fans of Spencer's treatise on style.

So: differencing engine --> emergence of first-year comp? (ie, how to make sense of that vector?)


The incomplete hacker

Aargh. I didn't notice this at the bottom of blogger's hacking guidelines:

However, the "read more" link is in the template, so it will appear regardless of whether a post has been truncated or not. (Modifying this feature is left as an exercise for the reader.)

So there it is, down below, on all my posts. But only one post so far actually offers more. Blah. I'm not a real hacker. I can only take hacking instructions from others. So now I have this silly "Keep reading" thing as the mark of my shame.

and blah again!

Adam Smith: propriety of sentiment

I told my grad class that I would continue to post my class notes (ie, the notes I bring with me to class) but have been rather lax in doing so. It feel strange to me because they "sound" different from blogging in general and because I never think of my notes as being other than for my reference: they represent starting points, not fleshed out. They are topoi for talk: mine and the rest of the class members'. But I really need to get over myself and do what I said I would, in the hope that they might provide a potentially useful grid for mapping some of the conversation. So, here's this week's notes on Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments (and other things).

Notes for Monday Sept 19
Adam Smith

common sense
current traditional
Scottish Enlightenment

A beginning: why?
• Why read Smith? Because of the rhetoric/capitalism/emotion link. Capitalism needs a certain kind of emotion. That emotion gets instilled through rhetoric, but not through formal rhetoric (not through public address, primarily). Think of emotion management, as in the Kent State article.
• Why read Smith? Because he was part of the Scottish Enlightenment , which historically was important for the writing of essays in the newly required fy writing. (Agnew helps us with that connection, and also looking back to the connection with Greek and Roman era thought, though any connection is also a misreading of sorts)
• Why read Smith? Because his ideas on sentiment and commerce were important in Revolution-era America, and so they help us to get a new context on that part of our history (conduct books as rhetoric? Hemphill will help us think through that question and its implications)
• What can we do with Smith? More than: oh, now I see something I didn’t see before? (Though that can be useful start.) Does Smith offer familiar ways of thinking about emotion? If so, what does that tell us? Why is Smith’s approach to rhetoric different from Aristotle’s, and what can that tell us about rhetoric? What happens when we view rhetoric as Aristotle did vs. as Smith did? How do both views fall short when thinking about today?

A continuing: what’s rhetoric, and what’s Smith got to do with it? And why emotion?
In order to think about how Adam Smith fits into or doesn’t fit into a discussion of rhetoric, we need to consider some more where we are in our thinking about rhetoric:
• definitions handout from last time
• Brummett: rhetoric as a function with various manifestations (a kind of agentless art?)
• rhetoric: ancient, modern, postmodern (orality, literacy, electracy; city-state, nation-state, globe; agora, “public” sphere; mass media)
• why do I keep talking about Foucault? Who is he and how does he fit into rhetoric? (Understood that history changes things: not about a smooth evolution, but looking at how things were different: a way of seeing how our own circumstances lean us in a certain direction)
• “common sense” as starting place of rhetoric? (Aristotle says something similar: how is it also not the same?)

[rhetoric doesn't light up one part of my brain but many linked parts: thus, a handouot: "rhizomes of rhetoric" (rather than the more popular tree/forest, which can still be a useful reference)]

Conversing: questions from blog
My questions:
One thing I'll be interested in talking about tomorrow in class is the discontinuity between Aristotle's approach to emotional appeals and Smith's approach to moral sympathy. (Why might discontinuity help in thinking about emotion/affect?)
• For one thing, what happens when the focus is on appeals vs. sympathy?
• My first thought: one focuses more on an agent doing something to reach an audience, while the other focuses more on how an observer is moved to feel (not necessarily act). What do these differences suggest?
• How might they be explained (in part) by changes in the space/time, in the social contexts of these two writers?
• And what happens when we notice these differences? How do they enable us to view emotion in new ways? What (else) can we do with them?

Here's some more Foucault to inspire (or repel?):

History becomes "effective" to the degree that it introduces discontinuity into our very being--as it divides our emotions, dramatizes our instincts, multiplies our body and sets it against itself. "Effective" history deprives the self of the reassuring stability of life and nature, and it will not permit itself to be transported by a voiceless obstinacy toward a millenial ending. It will uproot its traditional foundations and relentlessly disrupt its pretended continuity. This is because knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting.
("Nietzsche, Genealogy, History" 154)

So: how can we make these historical works "effective"? How can we ask not just what do they say, but what do they do? What did they do? And how can we use them to "introduce discontinuity into our very being"--and why would I want to ask you to do such a thing?


Sunday, September 18, 2005

It's all about management, friends

You might not think so, but in fact I've been contemplating this metaphor for blogging (or essaying, as Jeff suggests) and wondering how to make sense of A.S. Hill, (the progenitor of required first-year comp at Harvard) in the last half of the nineteenth century, worrying over "onanism" and the wasting of words (see Charles Paine's The Resistant Writer, p. 213). That is, does Hill (and what has come to be called "current-traditional" composition: though I find that term un-useful in the extreme, I'm nonetheless using it here for shorthand) represent a discontinuity, a shift from laissez-faire to better watch yourself (or someone will be glad to watch over you)?

The thing is, watching oneself seems to have been a pretty central message in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, published first in 1759 and then in five more editions through 1790 (the year Smith died):

Nothing is so mortifying as to be obliged to expose our distress to the view of the public, and to feel, that though our situation is open to the eyes of all mankind, no mortal conceives for us the half of what we suffer. Nay, it is chiefly from this regard to the sentiments of mankind, that we pursue riches and avoid poverty. (Section III, Ch. 2)
Of course, this is a different kind of watching oneself: this is a matter of what Smith will call "vanity," which is nonetheless important to the capitalism that Smith would later write a whopping big book about. But vanity is essential to the work of the Invisible Hand that keeps everything, market and society, harmonious and productive.

By the time A. S. Hill gets to Harvard, though,managed corporations are emerging as dominant economic powers. Hill (and other elites) were critical of corporations: what they wanted were manly-men who could manage themselves.

And so it goes. Just some thoughts as I'm thinking about that chapter of mine alongside Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, the topic of my grad seminar tomorrow.

Some more: Because, see, Tom Miller says that the bellestristic essay was all about propriety. It was hardly an essai in the French sense. So maybe changing that i to a y at the end signals a more profound change? Here's Miller:

As with Blair and other belletrists, Smith's stylistic criticisms of the personal sentiments that motivated essayists such as Addison reduced the essay to a univocal instrument for instilling sensibility and divorced it from the heteroglossia of the periodical press . . . . In this way, the essay was taught as a means for instilling polite proprieties rather than as a
self-reflective genre that had the potential for social critique. This pedagogy was consistent with Smith's concern for the internalization for prevailing norms and with his lack of concern for the political purposes of rhetoric. (The Formation of College English 192)
But it isn't all so neat, of course, and Charles Paine does a nice job of complicating the history of composition in his book. Still, one hears in A. S. Hill, a century later, a similar concern for propriety and stylistic hygiene, lamenting that "editorial articles" in newspapers "though far from being models of good English, suit, nevertheless, the intelligence and taste of their public, . . . written in language that would make Addison turn in his grave, containing the facts which people want to know, and stating them in such a fashion that a hasty reader understands them at once" (qtd. in Paine 138). (And that last bit--doesn't it sound reminiscent of what some say about blogs?)

CATEGORIES: managerial

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Without walls

Kathryn Flannery has described what she calls the "women's-university-without-walls" that flourished from 1968-1975 as feminists wrote and distributed manifestoes, little magazines, poetry--all outside of the mainstream publishing industry.

The internet, of course, is another university without walls. Will Richardson suggests that we're teaching ourselves right out of a job. Because the internet provides easy access to information, what students need is not so much information but ways of using that information, of finding and connecting. In other words, we all need a new job: digital teacher rather than lecture-note teacher:

For many teachers, the idea of teaching kids to be able to access information and find mentors and communities of practice basically means teaching themselves out of their jobs, at least as they know it. I mean, at some point, we're going to have to let go of the idea that we are the most knowledgable content experts available to our students. We used to be, when really all our students had access to was the textbook and the teacher's brain. But today, we're not. Not by a long stretch. And we don't need to be. What we need to be is connectors who can teach our kids how to connect to information and to sources, how to use that information effectively, and how to manage and build upon the learning that comes with it.
Alex Reid also takes up this idea of the anachronism of the classroom-with-walls, or at least of the affective problem of classrooms that fail to engage because of a misunderstanding of their mission. He talks about students' lack of engagement within walls, reflects on his own lack of engagement as a student ("I was bored probably 95% of the time I spent in a classroom as a student K-Grad school. Maybe more."). But:

Then I think about that internet-thing. There's more intellectual activity going on there that interests me, more interesting folks for me to interact with if I wish, than I could ever find on campus. Obviously there was a time when the campus was a necessary physical location for intellectual behavior. The books and journals were there. All the intellectuals that you might have daily contact with worked there.

In short, the campus is no longer necessary as a physical site for intellectual behavior and increasingly cannot compete with the broader, distributed resources of virtual communities. When you factor in the corporate-administrative-bureaucratic shape of higher education, the campus does become more plainly what it always fundamentally was: a housing and processing center for the production of professional workers. And who would want to spend any more time at such a place than one absolutely had to?

One thing that I grapple with in my teaching is the fact that I actually really, really loved being in school. Why do you grapple with that, you ask? Well, because I realize that a lot of people, including a lot of smart people, didn't/don't love it. I loved it because I didn't otherwise have contact with a lot of intellectual ideas. And even though I did often find class "boring" in a certain sense, like John Berryman, I had been told "Ever to confess you're bored / means you have no / Inner Resources," and so I put up with a certain amount of boredom.

But, since becoming a professor, oddly enough, I've been intellectually bored. Not with teaching or with anything in particular, just with the realities of institutional life. I suppose that's part of what Richard Miller is talking about when he talks about facing up to the inevitable bureaucracy in our work. I thought being a professor would involve constant intellectual interaction with colleagues and students and, well, it doesn't. And now that I've been in three different tenure-track jobs and three very different universities, I'm pretty confident that it doesn't have anything to do with the specific institution or with specific colleagues. (In fact, I quite like my colleagues and find many of their scholarly projects, insofar as I know about them, interesting.)

But the internet--and, specifically, blogging--has opened up a new sense of interaction. I told someone the other day that blogging has been the most intellectually stimulating thing I've done since I left graduate school. Well, not done, since I am after all interested in my own work, both scholarship and teaching. But one of the really wonderful things about graduate school was the intellectual atmosphere: the over-arching sense that my peers were doing interesting work, the way that ideas would become part of my thinking almost through osmosis (ie, exposure), the challenge that smart peers posed to my own thinking. And blogging, yes, blogging offers for me much the same atmosphere.

But without walls.

This is a long post, so I'll end it, but I do want to agree with Alex that
some will tell you that face-to-face experience still counts for something. And I am one of those people. It's not a matter of better or worse, just materially different. The campus cannot compete with the net, but it can be otherwise.



No one talks much about their surveillance practices, do they? Sometimes it comes out when talking/writing about other things: about portfolios, for instance. Large-scale portfolio assessment is a good way of monitoring teachers, not just students. And some programs ask adjuncts to keep a teaching portfolio for "professional development." Both kinds of portfolios, while not primarily adopted as surveillance tools, can function in that way.

But there are all kinds of silent surveillances that are adopted primarily as surveillance mechanisms: monitoring of course syllabi, observation of classes, etc.

But these things aren't touted when programs trumpet themselves. Even so, the more programatic a program is, the more likely they are to have lots and lots of surveillance mechanisms in place. And the more hidden and silent they are, the less likely they are subjected to criticism and revision.

Hmm. How to get a sense of the surveillance practices in use at programs? A nation-wide survey? I've never been much for surveys. But maybe that's the only way to get at this?


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Trying that again

So now I've used a bookmarklet to generate the script for tagging. Better? Hmm.

Update: Truth to tell, I think I liked my other low-tech system better. I really only want tags so that I can find related entries on my blog. But maybe I'm thinking too small.


Tagging, finally

Just testing, really, this tiny addition of tagging to my blog.


Monday, September 12, 2005

For later reading

Just saw this in the current Critical Inquiry table of contents and want to read it later:

"The Cuteness of the Avant-Garde," by Sianne Ngai

Some of you might remember the discussion around the use of the word "cute" on a certain professional list earlier this year. Ngai writes:

the subject’s awareness, as she gazes at her little object, that she may be willfully imposing its cuteness upon it, is more likely to augment rather than detract from the aesthetic illusion, calling attention to an unusual degree of synonymy between objectification and cutification. (816)

Cutification. Now there's a concept to play around with. (Although Ngai focuses on cuteness as necessarily connected to the visual, which doesn't at first thought seem to be what the "cute" comment, in that it was related to pedagogy, suggests, it still might be related: cute pedagogy as pedagogy that draws attention to itself, to its appearance, style.)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Collin, my hero; or, why blogging is good

I had a bit of a public outburst Friday afternoon when a colleague, during a department colloquium, referred to blogging as "wanking." (And if my colleague happens to read this, I hope he'll find it interesting. A little private joke there, since he told me later that he doesn't read my blog much because he doesn't find it so, given that I talk little about my private self here. So there's a bit of my private self to spice things up.) I tried to talk about blogging as generative, that simply reading blogs doesn't give a full sense of what blogging does, but ended up not really saying what I wanted to say.

But my purpose here isn't to talk about that so much. Rather, it's to reaffirm that Collin is my blogging hero, and that if only I had had today's post I might have been more coherent in my defense of blogs last Friday. In part, he's re-asserting good points he's made before about how blogging changes the rhythm of writing to something one does every day rather than in binge-and-purge cycles. You must read it all if you haven't already, but here's the last bit:
Maybe one of the things that disturbed me the most about the Tribble flap was that there was no room in his "analysis" for an awareness of the contribution that blogs might make to a person's development as a writer. For all of our consciousness about blogs, both in and out of academia, that's something that still goes largely unremarked. It shouldn't take us until well into our careers as writers to unlearn the implicit assumptions that we take with us from graduate school, and if weblogs can help in that process, more power to 'em.

And, not only that, but he (along with Derek and Madeleine) has done a truly remarkable job with CCC online, making into a wonderful, flexible tool for research. And it, too, is based on blogging software and digital logics.

So yea to Collin, and yea to blogging. My glass is raised.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Why are there so many songs about Texas

I've been wanting to take up Jenny's call to write about place and myth, but haven't. Perhaps that's obvious. At any rate, some days ago while at the rec center, I watched a program on the country music video channel that featured what they billed as the top 100 songs about cities and have been intending to write about that, and so now propose to connect these two intentions, if only briefly. (Or was it the top 20? I may be confusing things.)

First, let me clarify: I don't exactly choose to watch the coutry music video channel. It's just always on at the rec center (along with Fox news, Oprah, and ESPN), and sometimes the equipment I want to use is right in front of the TV displaying that channel. So it often happens that I'm watching it. And so am exposed to a part of American culture that I'm seldom otherwise exposed to.

At any rate, one thing that struck me was how many of the songs were about Texas (Galveston, Luchenbach, Amarillo, Fort Worth, etc.). Cowboys and Texas go together like peanut butter and jelly, it seems.

Except, of course, it's all a myth. My memories of Fort Worth (growing up some 20 miles to the west) aren't of the Stock Yard: they're of the mall.

Sure, my senior class photo shows a number of guys wearing big ol' hats, but they weren't cowboys. Not really. I mean, one of them was the son of an insurance executive. Come on. He wasn't a cowboy. Not if by cowboy we mean someone who spends his days ropin dogeys.

But myth and personal history bleed: my uncle was a rodeo clown. And how many times while I was growing up did I wake up in the middle of the night to find my two cousins, his children, had been transported to our house because their dad was in the hospital with a horse kick to the gut, a bull's goring. And my cousin, his son, followed in his footsteps until a bum knee ended that career. Still and all, with all due respect to my relatives and their messed-up internal organs, is a professional rodeo person a "cowboy"?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Back to yog-ah

Back in the day, I was quite the yoga enthusiast. I took my first class as an undergrad at Baylor.(We had a textbook--I kid you not--called something like "Christian Yoga." We never used it, so I'm guessing my teacher felt she needed to put up a good cover for anyone who might be looking over her shoulder.) Then, during my first grad school experience, I went to a lovely yoga studio in downtown Bloomington before finding a more permanent guru of sorts in Laura Stone. Laura was (still is) primarily a T'ai Chi Chu'an master, but she was doing a good bit of yoga in her studio right across from the IU campus. She's now in the Netherlands, and her studio in Bloomington has since become, I think, an architect's office.

In Milwaukee, for my second bout of grad school mania, I had a hard time locating good yoga. So since I had already taken to teaching a bit under Laura's guidance, I started offering informal classes for my fellow grad students. It was fun, but I missed being a student of yoga. After I left Milwaukee, though, I just stopped yoga outside of my home altogether.

Tonight, thanks to the prodding of my wonderful new colleague, R, I've returned to yoga. And what I want to know is: what took me so long? I mean, all those years of hunching over a keyboard have really done nothing for me but give me a big pain in the neck. And there's nothing, really nothing, but yoga that takes that away.

So, yes, yes: yog-ah. I recommend it to all you people out there staring at your monitors. It's the antidote you need, I promise.

Friday, September 02, 2005

My administrative philosophy?

Well, actually, not really. It's just that I was deleting old (really old) email because I'm running out of room on my faculty email account and found this message that I sent last year to a professional listserv and had completely forgotten. I'm posting here really just as my own aide-memoire for future writing:

I would like to join Carol in suggesting that the dichotomy in the field between "Berlin" (theory) on one side and "Drucker" (management) on the other is not so clear as that. After all, don't Berlin's theories also imply a way of doing work? And doesn't Drucker (or the management guru of your choice) need tempering with some good social consciousness? I would argue that our field has suffered from too often ignoring the "Drucker" that is implicit in our field, but I think it would suffer more from separating the Drucker from the Berlin, from trying to formalize management strategies without committing to ongoing social critique of those strategies.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Blogging disaster

Watching it all unfold, in excrutiating slowness, I'm at a loss for words. Thanks, blogging friends, for saying it better than I could.