Let it grow. Or not…

Yesterday I made “an announcement” to 3 friends as we traveled the back roads from Pittsburg, KS to Springfield. Maybe only 2 of them heard me; Bruce mighta been snoozing at the time.
We were coming home after a fantastic house concert by Paul Thorn at the Coda Concert House in Joplin and a fabulous Sunday morning brunch whipped up by Rob&Carol at their place.
The 6 of us met for a bite before the show, had a drink after at a hipster bar, and then sat around until past the witching hour telling yarns.
The vittles; the tunes; the libations; the conversation; the drive.
Smile and Smile again and again.

My “announcement”?

It was a resolution based on something that popped into my head right after Paul Thorn sang my favorite song (“you might be wrong”)…and I wasn’t sure if I would even share my thinking with Shelly. But as we looked for the camel farm (Jeanette swears it’s somewhere out there in western Missouri….someday we’ll find it!!) the thought popped into my head again, and my internal conversation was: “if I keep this idea to myself, I’ll never carry through!”
Right then and there I decided to share it with my blue highways chums.

Now I’m going public…with the exception of one detail.
That detail is political. Some people who I love will judge me for it. I understand that. (Listen to Paul Thorn’s “I don’t like half the people I love.”)
So I’m keeping that detail on a “need to know” basis….

My “resolution”?

It’s all about my hair….and when to cut it.
I have never been all that fond of barber shops or clip joints. (And that was even before I lost a LOT of money in a hair cutting franchise, which included a legal battle with the Faux Cowboy Franchisor….)

In the past couple of weeks a few people have commented on the length of my locks.
My next door neighbor: “this is the longest your hair has been since I’ve known you.”
My Dad: “your Mom and I didn’t care about how long you boys let you hair grow as long as you kept it clean.” (My memory of those pre- and post-Army conversations re my hair length are a tad bit different. Just sayin’)
Another friend in the building: “I think you’re about ready for a ponytail. My son has one.”
None of the comments came across as complaints…

Keeping an electronic journal has some advantages, e.g. I know that I got my last haircut at 2 pm on Wednesday, March 15 at the Supercuts at 1306 E. Battlefield from my “regular stylist” Whitney. She has given me my last 3 cuts. Before 3/25/17 she took the shears to me in May of 2017 and April of 2016. (I really don’t like barber chairs….)

So here’s my announcement/resolution:
I am not getting a haircut until either:
(1) my hair is long enough to donate to Locks of Love without having to get a buzz cut, or
(2) a certain event takes place.

Re the latter, I did say that it is political…and I will say this much: it has nothing to do with someone else sitting behind the desk in the oval office. (That will be cause for letting my hair down, for celebrating and for partying like mad….but it is not the condition that will result in me finding out if Whitney is still wielding the tools of her trade.)

I’m expecting to have my first ponytail sometime in 2019.
Shelly is talking about me wearing a man bun.
So far nobody has said anything about me getting dreads.

I’m at 349 days and counting.

The Righteous Path

I’ve seen the Truckers several times in the past few years. I had never listened to them before I moved into The Abbey in fall of 2011. I’m sure glad that I took a friend’s recommendation and gave them a listen. (Thanks Gray!!)

The Truckers can be profound & loud. I like that. Loud is a good four-letter word much of the time. Sometimes it’s not. Just like many other “four-letter” words.

If I had to pick my Top 20 songs by DBT, this one would make the list…even though very few of its lyrics describe my present or past circumstances. Might even make my Top 10, because the refrain describes me perfectly.

It would NOT be on the setlist if the band would let me come up with 22 songs the next time I see them. The three times I heard it live, I liked it each and everytime. I never “Loved It!!!” live.
But they did play it LOUD! That compensated. (And I gotta admit that I listened to the live version in this YouTube video a bunch of time…and sung along each & very time, especially to the refrain.)

Now about those lyrics:
My car is a Prius IV…getting 54mpg.
Don’t have a house. Never expect to own R/E again.
No dog or cat. I’m too irresponsible and impetuous.
Don’t have a couple of hundred channels. But have too many. TV is a vast wasteland.
No wife….but I do have more than 2 secrets that I’d like to keep hid.
Don’t know if there is a god. I do believe in Karma. Wrath? Not so much.

You get my drift by now…most of the lines aren’t me. And I only commented on the first verse; the trend continues, except for a few lines.
If you wanta read the lyrics, here is one of many places that you can find them:
https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858704386/

These lines do apply:
I do have a couple of opinions that I hold dear. More than a couple actually…
I do have the need to blow it out on a Saturday night. Other nights too…
I’m all about hanging out and hanging on….loosely.
Trying my best to keep on keeping on. (Be. Just Be….doncha know?!)

And then there is that Refrain. That is what IT is all about. What I’m all about. Seriously.
“Just trying to hold steady on the Righteous Path.”
Amen & Amen.

You are what you recommend…

“You are what you listen to…” appears in the title of 3 of my blog posts.
Assuming there is some validity to those 6 words, what you recommend REALLY must say something!!

The other day I mailed a flash drive to the first person who became a friend after moving to Orygun in 1976. Kevin and I have been through a lot together. Lots of good times. Lots of stories. My favorite is probably the road trip we took in May, 1980, when I attended his 10 year high school reunion….but the story of that trip, and of the big guy who wanted to kick my ass ass at the reunion shindig, are for another day.

Kevin and I don’t talk nearly as often as we should. When we talked six days ago, music was the only subject of the 17 minutes. I promised to send him something. There was a note in the envelope a couple of days later, and earlier today I sent him an e-mail.
-=-=-=–

hey kevin,

I’ve always been a fan of “under promise and over deliver.”
I promised you a flash drive with 10 albums and the one I mailed has 30….and about ¾ of storage is still available. (that’s pretty crazy….i remember the IBM XT with a 10 meg hardrive.)

here are the ten i’d leave on it if someone held my feet to the fire and forced me to strip off twenty.
they are in alpha order, based on the title of the album.

1. “Acoustic at the Ryman” by Band of Horses. I love this band. saw them at roots&blues&bbq in columbia in 2017. (already got my ticket for this year’s festival…sept 28-30.) hope to see band of horses in a small venue near me in 2018…

2. “All your favorite bands” saw Dawes twice in 2017. the two best shows I saw all year. (cains ballroom in tulsa and the madrid in kc.) small venues. “evening with” shows. 2 sets. awesome front man. I have a man crush on taylor goldsmith. my blog is named after the first cut of this album.

3. “American band” saw Drive-by Truckers friday jan. 26 at the truman in KC. they’re on the wheel of soul tour with the best band on the planet, tedeschi trucks. seeing 3 shows of the tour in a 4 day period. thurs, 7/26 at the fabulous fox in STL. sat and sunday, 28th and 29th at Red Rocks. if I had to pick 10 songs from the flash drive it would be “what it means.” the song would probably make the top 3 songs from these 30 albums. POWERFUL song.

4. “Battle born” by the Killers. brandon flowers doesn’t like the album. that puzzles me. it is my favorite Killers album, and I have 5 of them. i’ve had several cuts “on repeat.” give deadlines and commitments, heart of a girl and from here on out a listen.

5. “Folk Hop ‘n Roll” by Judah and the Lion.  I had never listened to this band until my niece asked if we’d meet them at the show at The Pageant in STL on 3/24. I said i’d get back to her. easy decision after hearing just the first song….love the lyrics to it. my friend david baker would say “more banjo!!!”….and this dude can pick it!

6. “Men amongst mountains” by The Revivalists. this band is on my short list of shows that I want to see in 2018….ideally in some place like cains in tulsa. or a small venue in orygun the first 2 weeks of september.

7. “Old forests.” Jeanette calls this her “favorite young band.” my friend joe manlove says “mumford and sons have nothing on these guys.” National Park Radio is good stuff.

8. “Only by the night” by Kings of Leon. if I could only have one KOL album, it would be this one. one of my “first time tunes” is on this album. I wrote about “use somebody” in my blog. love this song. be sure to listen to alum cranked to 11….play it LOUD!

9. “Revelator” by Tedeschi Trucks Band. this is the best band on the planet. (or maybe it’s Santana….shelly and I banter about it.) we are seeing TBT three times in 4 days in late July. if shelly doesn’t get to hear “Midnight in Harlem” live in 2018….she and I will be both disappointed.
hear it once: happy. hear it twice: thrilled. hear it at all three shows: ecstatic. stay tuned.

10. “The Nashville Sound” by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.
maybe it’s because i’m gonna have a “zero birthday” in september, but since I heard it the first time I have been calling “If we were vampires” the saddest love song ever. this one is a no brainer for the 2018 desert island disk list.

there are multiple albums on here from several artists who made this Top 10 list: Dawes, Drive-by Truckers, Jason Isbell, Kings of Leon and National Park Radio.

there’s a pair each from couple of Missouri bands: Rainmakers and Bottle Rockets.

the others are a mix: people i’ve seen fairly recently, people on my bucket list. there’s a band that has never toured as a band. there is one from my all time favorite singer songwriter.

give me a call sometime to talk about the music on this flash drive…or about the past…or the present…or the future.

call me sometime.

love you Kevin.

steve

“What was your favorite thing?”…Part 2

It was another weekend with LOTS of favorite things. This time it was me asking Shelly the question: “What was your favorite thing this weekend?
Before she could answer I gave her my answer: “My favorite thing was glancing over at Tom and Gloria at Piney River as Bob&Jeff sang ‘Like Dogs.’”

It coulda been a tough choice. It wasn’t. The weekend including June 3, 2017 was gonna have plenty of fun things even before I found out that Tom&Gloria were coming in from Atlanta:
…The 13th Annual Rock House Summer was Saturday 6/3/17 {my 6th one…it is always a blast}
…the headliners were The Rainmakers; the Nace Brothers were playing right before them; the 2 bands would close out the night on stage together {great bands individually…awesome together!}
…we were gonna spend a couple of nights at a cute little place called “Shady Acre” and our friends from Pittsburg, KS would also be staying at the 15 room family owned motel {we sat around the pool and talked until the wee hours of 6/4/17}
…Shelly and I were gonna take the Prius on it’s first road trip. A short road trip for us at 100 miles each way, but a roadtrip nonetheless. We were heading for the Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus, MO…a few miles east of Houston. {Nobody…other than beer drinkers….has EVER heard of Bucyrus. It is the middle of nowhere! We loved it.}
…the reason to head for Piney River was because Bob&Jeff were playing for a couple of hours. {awesome as always}
-=-=-=
This was always going to be “brownie and hot fudge sundae” kind of a weekend…and then Gloria tells me that they are thinking about coming!!
Their visit turned it into a “Double Devil.” I had one at my recruit lunch when I interviewed with Arthur Andersen in Portland in 1981. It had to be at least 1500 calories: brownie, ice cream, hot fudge, more ice cream, more hot fudge, whipped cream, nuts, a maraschino cherry on top.

Having Tom&Gloria at the festival was the second scoop and more hot fudge.
Sunday afternoon at Piney River was a double helping of all the toppings.
-=-=-=

I met Gloria in 1989 when I transferred to Sarasota with AA&Co…changing careers but staying with the same employer. We quickly became friends. Gloria was the first babysitter during those rare times that Paula would leave Joseph.

Tom came to work at Andersen in 1991. I interviewed him on campus, and then had to fight for him when staff was assigned. Tom was exactly the kind of person I wanted on my team: smarter than me, and only gonna get smarter. I seriously doubt if he has ever worked for anyone who didn’t learn from him.

They both had different spouses when I met them, and might already have been divorced when we moved back to Oregon in 1996. I don’t know for sure. It doesn’t matter. They will have been married for 20 years in 2018.
-=-=-=
When my life was in the toilet in early 2011, Gloria was one of the 4 people who were my rocks. We spent lots of time on the phone. She listened. She inquired. She advised. Gloria was there for me. I can never thank her enough.

Tom&Gloria don’t just like dogs….they love them. Both been very active in “Adopt a Golden Atlanta” which is a volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to finding warm, loving permanent homes for Golden Retrievers. (Gloria has finally quit asking me when I’m gonna get a dog. She knows that I’m serious when I say that I’m too irresponsible and impetuous to be a dog owner…)
-=-=–=
Before the festival, I messaged Bob Walkenhorst with a few of Gloria’s requests. “Like dogs” was at the top of the list. On Saturday she heard if from the parking lot, due to “nature calling” at the wrong time. Sunday we were sitting about 15 feet away when they played it. I wiped away tears of joy as Tom&Gloria mouthed the words to this classic song.

I loved that they got to: meet my friends; meet my sister and her husband; have a few slices from the Reeds Spring Pizza Company; spend a day at the festival; get a tour of the Rock House on Sunday morning…while all 4 of The Rainmakers were in the house; and top it off with two plus hours of Walkenhorst&Porter.
-=-=
What a great weekend! I’m a lucky fella. Life is Good.

Be. Just Be.

“What was your favorite thing this weekend?”

It is right up there on my list of favorite “questions from Shelly.” There have been some doozies. The one at the top of the list has been there since our first date. (What’s said in the Corolla on 10/13/12, with The Rainmakers album “25 on” playing, stays in the Corolla….)

When she asked the latest question, at a little after 2 on Sunday afternoon 5/7/17, a bunch of things flew through my head at high speed. It had been an awesome weekend.

The subject of this piece isn’t the question she’d asked a minute earlier on Sunday: “You’re awfully quiet. What’s wrong?”
That answer was quick and easy: “Nothing is wrong. So many things are right. Everything is right….”

She smiled. Said that made her happy. She smiled that smile again…and then she asked: “What was your favorite thing this weekend?”
-=-=-=
Between the time we headed downtown for the Gillioz on Thursday and Shelly’s Sunday afternoon question, I had enjoyed lots of things. It had been a stellar 66 hours. It coulda been a tough question; it wasn’t.
In no particular order I flashed on all of these and a few more before I replied:

…the Jason Isbell concert at the Gillioz on Thursday.
Chatting with friends at Dublins Pass before heading to our seats.
A great show.
An earworm; six days later and I’m still listening to and caterwauling along with “Codeine.”
…the first ever solo visit of Shelly’s firstborn, Amber.
It has always been either Jordie and her, or lately it has been the three of them crashing at our place. (Cecily is their 3 year old.)
…Amber hung out with us on Friday evening, first at Lindberg’s then at the wine bar 3 doors east.
Then it was just the two of us, as Shelly had to get to bed.
…the rickshaw story.
…spending time with several friends at Lindbergs…starting with Ginger, who is responsible for me meeting all the others.
had a variation of “the george thorogood trio”….rather than the usual one bourbon, one scotch and one beer I had one tequila, another tequila and a PBR.
…harvested green onions and lettuce; planted two tomatoes
…a Cinco de Mayo plus one party at Ginger’s
met some new folks there and spent time with Bruce & Jeanette.
experienced an unknown number of frogs drowning out the conversation of a deck full of humans.
…spinning the “mix CDs” from the last couple of years of live music we’ve seen….good memories….good tunes….good times.
-=-=-=
Here’s how I answered Shelly.
The answer was short and sweet: “Bob.”

Friday, May 5, 2017 at Lindberg’s Tavern was the first time I’ve ever seen Bob Walkenhorst solo. I’ve written lots on here about his music. There’s the first time I saw Bob & Jeff at The Rock House. There’s our first date. There will be the 13th annual Rock Summer Festival on June 3rd….the Rainmakers are the headliners.
-=-=-=
A few things made this evening special, beginning with a song I’ve loved since the first time I heard it. It was 2011, and I was in transition. My marriage was over. The relationship with 2 kids was complicated. And I heard this:
If I go down, I’m gonna go down swinging
If I grow old it won’t be gracefully
I’m gonna trip and fall
And pass it off as dancing
I’m gonna croak and moan
Say it‘s a new kind of singing
I’m gonna go down swinging..”

Then I heard:
Given time I’ll get it, let me go around
Let me go around, let me go around again”

As I drove home that first night back in 2011, after hearing Bob&Jeff the first time, I played “Go down swinging”, “Given time” and “Like Dogs” a few times each.
-=-=-==
After Bob’s soundcheck last Friday, I made a request, asking him for “something by Dylan.” Bob asked if I had any song in mind. I didn’t. We’ve only managed to see Bob&Friends on a Wednesday at the Record Bar in KC three times. I’m pretty sure he snuck in a Dylan tune each time. It always made me smile.

If I had to pick only 8 Dylan songs it would be tough. The song Bob picked would be on my Dylan DIDL (desert island disk list). From the first time I heard the last verse of “Positively 4th Street” the song has been one of my favorites. Is there a better way to say “Fuck you” than this?

“I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment I could be you
Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is to see you”

The song starts with a jab at a lot of greedheads walking around wearing flags on their lapels but not giving a shit about much more than money and power:
“You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend,
When I was down you just stood there grinnin,’
You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you got a helping hand to lend,
You just want to be on the side that’s winnin’”

Bob’s song choice was Perfect.

Then Bob made it better by playing a song (“Small circles”) that I had requested when he and Jeff played The Rock House 10/29/16.
There was no dancing on 5/5/17. Unless you count “table dancing.”

I damned near cried in happiness.
In a room with music and friends and a singing poet.
Listening to our song.
My arms around a woman who loves me.
My arms around a woman I love.

Thanks Bob.
Thanks Ginger.
Thanks Bruce & Jeanette.
Thanks Shelly.

Thanks. Just Thanks.
Be. Just BE.

More DIDLing….

DIDL: 2017-4 Chicago

The first time I saw Chicago in concert I was a PFC, stationed at Ft. Bragg. It was just after they had released their third album. Their count now is 31, including a bunch of double albums.

Our seats back in 1971 were up in the rafters and behind the band at about 10 o’clock in a 10,000+ seat building in Charlotte with gymnasium acoustics. That building is long gone….and so are some of the data points from that night. (It has been awhile. I was a tad toasted that night.)

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There will be DIDLing….

Well, that was the best show I’ve seen in awhile. Dawes at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. March 21, 2017. David Letterman got it right: “if you’re looking for a rock-n-roll band, this is pretty much all you need…”

Tight band, with a fellow who is Duane Allan’s namesake and Dicky Betts’ son sharing lead guitar duties with a damned good picker: Taylor Goldsmith, the front man who brought it every second.
Lyrics that make you think or smile or think. Or whatever.
Just under 3 hour show, with a short break.
Left wanting more.
And oh yeah: The ticket was 20 bucks…and worth several times that!! Holy shit. What a deal!!

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TBT redefined….

The acronym usually means Throwback Thursday, but it might also be short for truth be told, today’s big thing or turn back time….

On 3/9/17 it had a different meaning for me: “Ticket Buying Thursday.”

I’ve never been much on making resolutions, but last weekend I decided that 2017 should be the year of LOTS of live music. I already had tickets for 5 more 2017 concerts, but that was not enough to be truly committed, so on my March 9th TBT I added 4 more shows in 4 different cities to this year’s calendar.

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First day of Winter 2016: Let there be music

The first evening of winter (meteorologically speaking….a story for another day) was pretty special this Dec. 1, 2016: the Bottle Rockets at Lindberg’s…a Great band at the oldest tavern in Springfield. Several friends in attendance to share the evening with made it an even more special night.

Marshall Crenshaw was there too, but the evening belonged to a band that has been together for over 23 years.

Sadly, I only discovered them within the last year. Man, have I been missing out….Bigly!! And if you’re someone who only listened to the band in it’s early days, you are missing out too. Their recent releases are excellent.

Their albums from the 90’s are pretty awesome stuff. If you’ve never heard “Wave that flag” you need to do it now….seriously. Whether you know the song or not, you owe it to yourself to read this piece about the song.

This is truly an AWESOME song:

-=-=-=-=
The title cut from the 2006 album “Zoysia” makes me feel the way that this guy did when he wrote a note and left it on the band’s ride after Thursday night’s show:

-=-=-==
I’ve been back to MO for over 5 years, never expecting to live in the midwest again. Here in Springfield, MO in “the buckle of the bible belt” the first four lines of “Zoysia” accurately describes a lot of these United States:

“In my neck of the woods, the town where I live
It’s out in the sticks and conservative.
Got lots of churches, we’ve got lots of bars
And the kids round here, they fight our wars.”

Overall the song is optimistic…especially in 2016! Listen to it. Then listen to it again.

-=-=-=-=

Bottle Rockets most recent album (“South Broadway Athletic Club”) was released in 2015. Seriously good stuff. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite song from the 11, but I do have a favorite lyric from the album. The winning song is simply titled “Dog.” Sometimes it really is just that simple….

The lyric:
“I love this song
It’s my song
If you don’t love this song
That’s okay
I don’t want you to
This isn’t about you
It’s about my dog…”

“This isn’t about you…..” I LOVE that line, especially in these narcissistic times.

Heroes and Villains

I’ve had had a few “heroes” in my life. Not so much anymore. I’m old now, but I do still have a hero or two…in addition to the fellow whose picture just took that “place of honor” on FB once again as my Profile photo.

Many of my childhood heroes were sports figures, and most of them are gone. RIP to Mickey, Stan the Man, Muhammed.

Some of my heroes were politicians. Rest in Peace JFK, Martin, Bobby…and now Tom is gone.

There were a few others in both categories.

Some of my heroes touched me and millions of others with their music. We keep losing them, but thankfully their music lives in.

One night many years ago on a phone call, my friend Gray asked me who I’d like to see in concert. Someone I’d never seen before.

I had two quick answers: Marvin Gaye and Roy Orbison. Gray was surprised that I immediately named a couple of dead guys.

I never had a chance to see Marvin. None that I know of anyway.

For some reason that I don’t remember, I did NOT go see Roy Orbison at the Schnitzel on October 22, 1998. Roy had made this fantastic come-back. He had dubbed himself “Lefty Wilbury” in the super group The Traveling Wilbury’s. Roy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 1987. Lefty Wilbury was quoted as saying “It’s very nice to be wanted again, but I still can’t quite believe it.”

I couldn’t believe it when his gig at The Schnitz ended up being one of his last shows. He was dead 40 some days after he left PDX. The man with the magical voice was dead at 52.

The lesson I learned from that: YOLO.

If you’re my friend, or have read any of my ramblings, you know that Warren Zevon is one of my heroes. This excitable boy still gets fired up when listening to Warren’s songs. Like Roy Orbison he came back from some valleys. I can empathize with that.

My twist on what Warren said that night 14 years ago, when he was the only guest on the 10/30/2002 David Letterman show: Enjoy every bite of every sandwich.

=-=-=-=-

None of these folks have ever been my Facebook profile picture. The only other “hero” that I’ve ever had as my Facebook profile picture is my Mom.

At some point in my career at Arthur Andersen, I was picked for some personal profile piece in a AA&Co publication. One of the stock questions was to name a hero. When I named the guy who is my current FB profile pic, they wouldn’t use it. I honestly didn’t expect them to…it hardly fit the Firm’s image. (See “The Lone Ranger: Part One”)

So I settled for Warren Buffet, instead of my real hero: Alfred E. Newman.

His motto has been mine since I picked up my first Mad Magazine as a 7th Grader at Reed Junior High here in Springfield, MO.

“What, me worry?”
-=-=-=

Before the series started I told the wife of my best friend in Oregon, who is a lifelong Cubs fan and who bleeds blue, how I’d like to see a couple of things go.

“I want to see the Cubbies come from behind with 4 in the bottom of the 9th. And I want to start partying in earnest at about 8 pm the night of the election when the flimflam fascist gets BURIED!!”

Joyce wanted a sweep by her Cubs…and a win of any degree of magnitude on Tuesday.
-=-=-=
The 7th game starts in a couple of hours. The election is in 6 days.

The world will go on no matter who wins tonight in Cleveland. It’s just a game.

I understand why many people want the system blown up. I wish I could vote for Bernie a second time in 2016. There are a number of “outsiders” who have run successful businesses and never filed for bankruptcy or stiffed contractors and employees. They also don’t randomly grope women “because they can” or do deals with mobsters and Communists. They may not be George Washington…but their pants are NOT constantly in flame from bald face LIES. They also know about The Beatitudes.

The world will go on no matter what happens next Tuesday. I have faith in our system of checks and balances.

But thinking of what the future could hold, it’s hard to eat and keep a sandwich down sometimes.

Things happen…that’s all they ever do. Hoping for some good things.