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Published: Tue, 22 Feb 2011 09:26:42 -0600


The Rape of Lara Logan: The Exception, or the Rule?

Tue, 22 Feb 2011 09:26:42 -0600

Who Attacked Lara Logan, and Why? - Andrew C. McCarthy - National Review Online

Andrew McCarthy deliver's another great commentary on the realities of Islam, as practiced by many in the world. His point about Lara Logan? This is not an isolated incident caused by "passions of the mob" in Egypt. Rape of non-Muslim women by gangs of Muslim men is standard across Europe, the middle east, and Indonesia. The reason for these gang rapes? They are just following the Koran, and sharia (the religious law).

The Koran says that men are superior to women, and the sharia creates rules and laws that enforce that belief. If a woman accuses a man of rape, but then cannot prove so satisfactorily to the religious court, then she will be stoned to death for "adultery" or "fornication" by virtue of her own testimony. The rules are so stringent on proving a man guilty of rape that this a guaranteed method for a woman to get herself killed.

Islam really is the religion of "peace", assuming you are a Muslim, and a man. Otherwise it is the Pax Romana of our time: join us, or die. Or in the case of women, join our harems, or be raped.

Article Excerpt: The Hazards of Nerd Supremacy: The Case of Wikileaks

Mon, 14 Feb 2011 15:34:02 -0600

Whom does Cablegate harm? This issue has been debated extensively elsewhere, but I do want to point something out about how to interpret the question. The details that are prematurely revealed in Cablegate are not essential knowledge for me, since I am not immediately involved in the events, and the contents of the leaks thus far haven't disrupted my worldview or my politics.

They are, however, potentially consequential to American diplomacy, which is often, if we are to believe the cables, both trickier and better intentioned then we might have feared. The contents might be extremely consequential, even deadly, to a hapless individual on the ground -- and we'll once again invoke the canonical unfortunate fellow in Afghanistan who translated for a US diplomat and counted on the USA to keep it secret. I don't know if he exists, but it seems to me that there must be analogs to him, at least.

Julian Assange, in defending his actions sees a vindicating contradiction in this difference: How can information be both dangerous and inconsequential, he asks? He sees information as an abstract free-standing thing, so to him, differences in perspective and circumstance mean nothing. This is how nerd supremacists think.

Excerpted from

The 10 Fitness Domains; General Physical Skills

Thu, 10 Feb 2011 15:21:09 -0600

I don't remember where I copied this from, but it's CrossFit stuff. CrossFit works, and it's great fun, but what has really sucked me in is the theory behind their workouts. This section is from one of the foundational articles by CrossFit co-founder and CEO Coach Greg Glassman. /dwb ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- 10 FITNESS DOMAINS; GENERAL PHYSICAL SKILLS If your goal is optimum physical competence then all the general physical skills must be considered: 1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance - The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen. 2. Stamina - The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy. 3. Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force. 4. Flexibility - the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint. 5. Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time. 6. Speed - The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement. 7. Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement. 8. Agility - The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another. 9. Balance - The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base. 10. Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity. --------------------------------------- Crossfit’s First Fitness Standard There are ten recognized general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. (See “General Physical Skills”, pg. 4, for definitions.) You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills. A regimen develops fitness to the extent that it improves each of these ten skills. Importantly, improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come about through training. Training refers to activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body. By contrast improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come about through practice. Practice refers to activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system. Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice. Crossfit’s Second Fitness Standard The essence of this model is the view that fitness is about performing well at any and every task imaginable. Picture a hopper loaded with an infinite number of physical challenges where no selective mechanism is operative, and being asked to perform fetes randomly drawn from the hopper. This model suggests that your fitness can be measured by your capacity to perform well at these tasks in relation to other individuals. The implication here is that fitness requires an ability to perform well at all tasks, even unfamiliar tasks, tasks combined in infinitely varying combinations. In practice this encourages the athlete to disinvest in any set notions of sets, rest periods, reps, exercises, order of exercises, routines, periodization, etc. Nature frequently provides largely unforeseeable challenges; train for that by striving to keep the training stimulus broad and constantly varied. Crossfit’s Third Fitness Standard There are three metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human action. These “metabolic engines” are known as the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway. The first, the phosphagen, dominates the highest-powered activities, those that last less than about ten seconds. The second pathway, the glycolytic, dominates moderate-powered activities, those that last up to several minutes. The third pathway, the oxidative, dominates low-powered activities, those that last in excess of several minutes. Total fitness Total fitness, the fitness that CrossFit promotes and develops, requ[...]

Paramore - The Only Exception

Tue, 18 Jan 2011 20:24:41 -0600

The Only Exception
(object) (embed)
paramore | Myspace Music Videos

Isaiah 50: the danger of walking by firelight

Tue, 14 Dec 2010 14:27:00 -0600

10 Who among you fears the LORD
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on their God.
11 But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.

The Yellow Wallpaper - a short story

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 10:55:34 -0600

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Gilman

What a creepy, seductive, crazy story. The power of words never ceases to amaze me, how a master artist can arrange a few carefully chosen words and create a feeling or an emotion inside of your mind and body. Thought it was a fitting followup to the stroke story from yesterday. The story reminded me of the movie Shutter Island, where the end of the movie makes you question the earlier events in the movie. What is real?

And perhaps the same sense of the confusion of reality in the movie Inception, or The Sixth Sense (or pretty much anything by M. Night Shyamalan
for that matter). The mind is a powerful thing. The scene where the woman starts to become possessive and defensive of the wallpaper made me think if Bilboa Baggin's lashing out in jealous rage at his nephew, "My Precious!" And that makes me wonder, did these stories get their ideas from this short story? Or did this stories author get her ideas from others before her? Where do the good stories even come from?

Anyway, I won't look at wallpaper the same ever again.

So, there won't be any problems with the wallpaper now. Just keep away from it, please. Stay back! Its mine! ... Of course I'm joking, I'm kidding! But seriously, keep away from the yellow wallpaper...


7 Essential Skills You Didn't Learn in College, from

Tue, 09 Nov 2010 15:22:32 -0600

Basically, just some suggestions to encourage people to "get smart" again through self study and amateur experimentation. Very enjoyable. A full course of study for anyone interested, as it would take years to study all these things. Reminded me of the "Great Ideas Program" I am currently doing.

7 Essential Skills You Didn't Learn in College

I especially recommend this TED talk from a brain neurologist who suffered a severe stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. Very interesting, and quite emotional. The brain is fascinating. How much of our personalities are pre-programmed by biology, and how much is spirit? I don't know.

And, Adler's "Great Idea's Program", for anyone interested. I'm reading through each of the 10 sections as a personal project, using each section for one semester (fall, spring, summer...guess that would be 1 trimester). I'm not the first, and I won't be the last, but I am learning a lot from the "great authors" of our western civilization, and joining the "great conversation."


The Invitation - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Fri, 22 Oct 2010 10:30:29 -0500

Canadian Teacher and Author

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

© 1995 by Oriah House, From "Dreams Of Desire"
Published by Mountain Dreaming, 300 Coxwell Avenue, Box 22546, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4L 2A0

10/05/10 9:09AM

Tue, 05 Oct 2010 09:09:21 -0500

Quote: 'i gave half-a-crown to a beggar bc i saw him yawn: he was a fellow-sufferer.' - the 39 steps

The Men That Don't Fit In

Fri, 27 Aug 2010 17:10:35 -0500

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.

- Robert W. Service

Along the lines of the poem above, you may enjoy the following speech given to the plebe class at West Point Military Academy in 2009. The speaker, an intellectual, discusses true leadership, and not just being a "hoop-jumper" as most college graduates end up becoming. Really good speech. We need leaders, thinkers, and truth-seekers, not bureaucrats. Unfortunately, most college grad's are only learning bureaucracy, and losing their soul, and their truth-seeking, in the process.

The Science of Stress

Thu, 12 Aug 2010 09:40:52 -0500

Very interesting article about stress. Read the article.

Learning to think; how language, cigarrettes, and freaks are selling cancer.

Sat, 07 Aug 2010 18:00:44 -0500

Does language effect the way we think about the world? The Wall Street Journal's Lera Boroditsky says, 'probably.' In her article, Lost in Translation, she says, "New cognitive research suggests that language profoundly influences the way people see the world; a different sense of blame in Japanese and Spanish." 'The Tower of Babel' by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, 1563. This article was a nice tie in to the other subjects I have been studying lately. I've read both Freakonomics and the sequel Superfreakonomics. Superfreak was a tremendous, hard hitting, and humorous follow up to the first installment, and the authors double down on some strongly held, emoutional subjects of the media and the masses. The two that stick with me are child car seats, and man-made global warming. Car seats, it turns out, are an overpriced safety devise that has made a fortune for it's marketer's by playing off people's fears. The authors of the book commissioned a study on the differences in impacts of a child in a car seat, and a child in a lap belt, and found that the child in the lap belt is slightly (although the difference could be considered negligible) safer. What's really interesting is that people are so emotional about the subject. After Freakonomics, in which the authors discuss the same subject, but only from statistical analysis of traffic deaths, they were bombarded with angry citizens saying that the value of car seats for childrens health was obvious, so they should be ashamed of themselves for being against car seats. This reaction, as the authors note, reveals how human beings don't care about reality, as much as their emotional reaction to their perception of reality. We all do it, it's just refreshing to see some authors who don't care, and in fact double-down, when the emotionally immature attack them with political correctness. Global warming? Well, read the book. Fascinating discussion with some of the top scientists in the world. The point that the authors make is, with many refrences to other hysterical, seemingly impossible to remedy environmental disasters, that often the solution to solve the problem is both simple and cheap. Global warming, while minimally influenced by human activities, will most likely be handled by the complexities that are the earth's ecosystem and place in the universe. But, even if man is the source of upcoming doom and destruction, it turns out that simple, relatively cheap solutions are already available to reverse the warming (or the cooling!). Who is against these fixes? Algore, and company. The very environmental wacko's, and political opportunist's who stand to make a killing off of the resulting taxation they want to 'fix' man-made global warming. Again, the authors point out that the arguments are all emotional, and go against all rational thought and practical usefulness. Anyway, along with those fantactic books (I didn't even scratch the surface of the stories and studies discussed by the authors) I watched a movie titled Thank you for Smoking!. It is a satire film whos hero, Nick Nahlar, is a lobbyist for "big tobacco", and one of three founding members of the "M.O.D. squad" (Merchants of Death) with other lobbyists from "big alcohol" and "big firearms". What is this lobbyists gig all about? Well, answering a similar question from his son, Joey, Nick tells us that even the worst criminals deserve a fair defense, and so do successful, international corporations. Joey is a slick, smooth talking, likeable man, who uses his gift of gab and spin to make you reconsider what you think about the accepted 'groupthink' against cigarrettes. Witty, fun, entertaining movie. What does it have to do with languages controlling how you think, and about bo[...]

Another tough as nails conservative woman running for congress

Wed, 30 Jun 2010 18:26:12 -0500

Pamela Gorman, a Republican from Arizona, is running for the US congress. She is a free-market conservative. She is in the news right now for a video showing her shooting a bunch of guns with her son. The left is very agitated, and it would be very easy for her to buckle under the pressure of all this outrage. What is her response? She laughs! That is exactly the reaction that she should have. She says in her blog post on the subject that of all the things for people on the left to be upset about this video is the least of their problems. She is against everything that does not promote free-market economics and a free society. This is the kind of politician we need to elect! I'm very excited about the elections coming up in November.

Mark Twain; "My First Lie, And How I Got Out Of It"

Tue, 29 Jun 2010 08:51:56 -0500

Excerpt from Mark Twain's My First Lie, And How I Got Out Of It:

For ages
and ages it has mutely laboured in the interest of despotisms and
aristocracies and chattel slaveries, and military slaveries, and
religious slaveries, and has kept them alive; keeps them alive yet, here
and there and yonder, all about the globe; and will go on keeping them
alive until the silent-assertion lie retires from business--the silent
assertion that nothing is going on which fair and intelligent men are
aware of and are engaged by their duty to try to stop.

What I am arriving at is this: When whole races and peoples conspire to
propagate gigantic mute lies in the interest of tyrannies and shams, why
should we care anything about the trifling lies told by individuals? Why
should we try to make it appear that abstention from lying is a virtue?
Why should we want to beguile ourselves in that way? Why should we
without shame help the nation lie, and then be ashamed to do a little
lying on our own account? Why shouldn't we be honest and honourable, and
lie every time we get a chance? That is to say, why shouldn't we be
consistent, and either lie all the time or not at all? Why should we
help the nation lie the whole day long and then object to telling one
little individual private lie in our own interest to go to bed on? Just
for the refreshment of it, I mean, and to take the rancid taste out of
our mouth.

06/28/10 4:39PM

Mon, 28 Jun 2010 16:39:18 -0500

Very interesting. David Dunning and his grad student come to the conclusion that some people are literally too stupid to know that they are stupid. The interview below quickly turns to a discussion of intelligence, and the reporter is shocked, "so you're saying that intelligence is acknowldeging you don't know anything?!" That what the Preacher said some thousands of years ago.

Enjoy the excerpt from an article in the NYT:

DAVID DUNNING: There have been many psychological studies that tell us what we see and what we hear is shaped by our preferences, our wishes, our fears, our desires and so forth. We literally see the world the way we want to see it. But the Dunning-Kruger effect suggests that there is a problem beyond that. Even if you are just the most honest, impartial person that you could be, you would still have a problem — namely, when your knowledge or expertise is imperfect, you really don’t know it. Left to your own devices, you just don’t know it. We’re not very good at knowing what we don’t know.

ERROL MORRIS: Knowing what you don’t know? Is this supposedly the hallmark of an intelligent person?

DAVID DUNNING: That’s absolutely right. It’s knowing that there are things you don’t know that you don’t know. [4] Donald Rumsfeld gave this speech about “unknown unknowns.” It goes something like this: “There are things we know we know about terrorism. There are things we know we don’t know. And there are things that are unknown unknowns. We don’t know that we don’t know.” He got a lot of grief for that. And I thought, “That’s the smartest and most modest thing I’ve heard in a year.”

Internet site of the day

Thu, 10 Jun 2010 12:36:00 -0500

Sheppard Software.

Learning made fun! Don't try, you'll be there for hours trying to figure out countries and capitols, etc.

Biogas; a way to stop the vicious cycle of poverty?

Tue, 08 Jun 2010 09:20:21 -0500

Michael Yon, the war correspondant, as an interesting dispatch. He tells us of Nepal, and how the poor there have begun the steady march towards wealth through the revolutionary technology of "biogas". Biogas burning stove in use in Nepal. It's very simple, really. You put all your waste products (manure, feces, rotten food, etc.) into a large container, let it putrify, and the result is a fertilizer slurry and a burnable gas. He states that the benefits are tremendous, as the slurry does not stink as the gas is seperate, and the gas is used to power the stove and lights. An hour of stovetop use requires 10 kilos of waste, and a cow produces 12 kilos of waste a day (approximate numbers, lots of variables in the real world). If that's true, a family with a single cow and an outhouse can produce enough gas to power their home all day, and produce enough enriched fertilizer to put in the fields. The women he interviewed loved the system because it saved them hours of foraging for fuel for cooking. Instead of spending 2-4 hours a day collecting wood, and working all day in a smoke filled kitchen, the kids can go to school, and the women can be more efficient in their cooking chores. There is not as much eye and respiratory problems in these families. The kids have time to go to school. The mom's have time to focus on other economically beneficial activities, like growing extra vegetables for sale (due to extra time free from gathering fuel and enriched fertilizer). It's a classic solution to poverty; it ends the nasty cycle of poverty by allowing a few more hours for each family to enrich themselves through profit producing activities. Sketch of a simple biogas system as often constructed in Asia. (From Wikipedia.) Anyway, no solution is perfect, but its the simple things that make the biggest differences. Yon points out that in 3d world countries batteries are still charged by simple generators or motorcycles engines. These poor countries are usually too wracked by war and lack of laws and stability to produce electric companies and other big business that we take for granted. By providing technology that the individual family can make and use on it's own, the people are empowered to succeed despite an innefficient or non-existent government. It is a great thing that these 3rd world countries can benefit from the technological innovations of the first world. We developed cell phones through a long line of inventions including the harnessing and production of electricity and the telegraph. The early systems were bulky, unweildly and expensive compared to today's achievements, but they were important steps in the process. But now the poorer countries have the benefits of our experience, and can jump straight from no communications to satelite communications. A town just needs a tower, a dish, and a generator to get internet and cell phone coverage, if it wants it. Now, with biogas, a family can go from burning wood and using lamps, to having a gas stove, and a gas burning lantern in their homes. From 3rd world to 1st world in a single step. Anyway, very fascinating and interesting, from both a technological and an economic point of view. We live in very interesting times, my friends. Enjoy it![...]

Quote of the Day / Painting of the Day

Fri, 04 Jun 2010 15:44:53 -0500

"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."
- Jonathan Swift, from Thoughts on Various Subjects; Irish essayist, novelist, & satirist (1667 - 1745)



- The Singing Butler (1992), by Jack Vettriano OBE born Jack Hoggan (born 17 November 1951), is a Scottish painter. (He was also a mining engineer first, who painted as a hobby.) Check out his other paintings here.

BP oil spill - Gulf of Mexico response

Thu, 03 Jun 2010 23:05:48 -0500

BP, the company responsible for the oil spill in the gulf, has a fantastic website describing the recovery and response operations. There are links to watch the live feed from up to 12 seperate remotely operated vehicles (ROV's) working at depths down to 5,000 feet below sea level. I've been glued to my monitor all day fascinated by the attempts to cut the pipe and to install the new cap onto the broken well head. There are also great graphics depicting what methods to cap the well are being attempted. It's a very good site, and I recommend you check it out. BP simultaneous operations overview It's kind of humorous that the company is being destroyed by it's own PR, as it has been required to share these live feeds with the public, and they are being used by every news agency to futher villianize BP. It's a very nice PR page, though, and it's good for them to be co-operative and try to make the best of the situation. If nothing else they are illustrating in a very good way how difficult, dangerous, and costly deep sea oil extraction can become. Watching these video's all day it occured to me that this is more fascinating than the lunar landing's in the 1960's. We are fighting to contain a firehose of hydrocarbons at over a mile deep in the ocean. Aside from the environmental disaster (which is terrible; however, in perspective there have been some that are much worse, just not on the southern Gulf coastline) this is an extremely daring and interesting expedition into one of the final frontiers on earth. We are sending remotely operated vehicles to depths of 5,200 feet below sea level. They are operated by 5,000 foot tethers from ships held in position by GPS controlled thrusters. The logistics required for this operation are enormous! The atmospheric conditions are extreme and difficult. The ROV's are operated by men sitting on a boat rolling on the ocean waves by a controller and a monitor. They have no depth perception from the screen, yet are trying to control elements in a very real, and very dynamic 3D environment. The ROV's are operating in extremely cold water at extreme depths with very limited visibility. In one video the ROV is actually attacked and mauled by a giant squid for over 2 minutes. The ROV operators (on different ships) have to coordinate complex movements a mile deep to connect haulage lines, cut pipes, and install the well cap. They are essentially trying to place a garden hose on a fire hydrant at an extremely cold and crushing 5,000 feet using a video feed and a remote control submarine with T.Rex arms while being tossed about on the waves at the surface, and the whole time knowing that the eyes of millions around the globe are critiquing your every mistake. It's amazing. Where are is the commentary on how amazing it is that we have the ability to do these things? Where is the astonishment that we can watch this in real time from home; life video feed from 5,000 feet under the Gulf of Mexico to your living room? Instead outrage (I'm personally outraged that there is no audio from the operators; I want to know why they are picking up lines and dropping them repeatedly!). Instead of finding a way to help, the president is planning to sue the company (and the joke gets worse when one considers that this event may bankrupt the company anyway; what happens when the lawsuits damage the stock so badly that the company simply goes away, who will attempt to stop the well then?). What we could use now is a little leadership to force the government bureaucracy to move a little faster, an[...]

"His Way"; pink plate; vw bug = just wrong

Thu, 03 Jun 2010 20:33:17 -0500

The first question you should be asking is "why?"


I had to witness the other day. Yes, there was a man driving. Yes it looked very wrong. Several drivers saw me taking a picture and they all were laughing out loud (yes, LOL). What would inspire a man to get a VW Beetle in pastel in the first place? Then, even more disturbing, get a plate that say, "His way". And then, just plain wrong, order it to be placed on a special pink license plate? If I was hired to drive that car from point A to point B I would cake the plate in mud to avoid people taking my picture as I drove by. I have very limited amounts of pride, but for me this is just crossing the line. Unbelievable. I could barely eat lunch after I saw this; just sick and wrong.

Here's to having it your way, friends, right or wrong!