Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day in Canada

 Greetings Friends,

So much for downtime between deadlines. Alas, it could be worse, I could have no work at all; or writers block.

I just wanted to check in to say that, in addition to my wish for a burger, a dog, and a beer, I wish for the safety of all the troops, both American and Canadian. I'm not going to use this space for political pontificating or soapbox climbing, etc. It's just a simple wish: safety and peace; for us all.

See you Wednesday.


Friday, May 28, 2010


Greetings Friends,

Why exactly is a DEADLINE, a deadline? Or should that be the other way around?

Maybe it should be LIVELINE, as in, After my DEADLINE, I'll be able to get back to my life.

But then, if I didn't have a DEADLINE, I wouldn't get paid, and I would have NO life to get back to.

Another conundrum to contend with.

Have a great weekend.

Happy Memorial Day to my American friends. Have a hamburger, a hot dog and a beer for me!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Don't Blog Angry

Greetings Friends,

If it wasn't for all the online surfing I do, I sometimes think I'd have nothing to write about. How lame is that? At least give me credit for choosing relevant topics like celebrity milkshake-making and defunct, 20 year-old cartoons. I'm working my ass off to keep it interesting. Or maybe I'm not; I at least want my posts to appear interesting, instead of sounding like some of the bitter, angry, dirty laundry-airing I've run across lately.

The Internet has become the place to air your grievances. Instead of gossiping with your girlfriends or colleagues around the proverbial water cooler, the new water cooler is the Internet. That's why there is literally nowhere to hide if someone's got some dirt on you:

     Caught the boss getting some nookie on top of his desk? Snap a pic with your cell phone camera.
     Caught the transit clerk napping in the token booth? Snap a pic and alert the media.

     Broke up with your significant other? Take to your blog and rip that bastard a new one.

OK, the first two are deserving of the "gotcha". The third one, I'd rather not know about. Really. What goes on in people's personal relationships is their business, not the world's. Especially if the relationship in question is between a public figure and her jilted lesbian lover. I won't mention names this time (I'm not angling to be the second coming of Perez Hilton; besides, pink hair would not be a good look for me), but she's a well known singer/musician who busted up a famous actor's marriage by pairing off with his wife and having a couple of kids with the help of another famous singer/musician, who was more than happy to provide his "essence".  Then, after that relationship ended, she hooked up with a Midwestern nobody, had a couple more kids, and now, their union is apparently kaput. So, what does "Midwestern nobody" do, now that her high profile relationship has hit the skids? Bitch on her blog, like countless other jilted individuals.

I'm not begrudging "Midwestern nobody's" right to take to the great electronic void and blubber about her broken heart. Who am I to judge another person's pain and suffering? It's just that I wish she would have thought about it first, before she put it all down for the masses to read. I've written hate letters, hate e-mails, paced around the house with the phone in my hand...9 times out of 10, I cool off and reconsider what the ramifications of that angry letter/e-mail/phone call would be. The one time I recently acted out in anger wasn't pretty. It taught me a very valuable lesson, but that doesn't mean I'll never do it again.

People, please don't blog angry. Read what you write at least 50 times before you hit that "Publish" button.

Coincidentally, "Midwestern nobody's" blog host is the same as mine, so I know she can go back and edit or delete whatever, whenever she wants. But, I have a feeling she won't. When you get jilted by a famous person, you want the world to know about it. It's all part of the game; the game I'm so glad I play no part in. I have no desire to be famous; I just want a certain segment of the population to know I'm a good writer and a good person. And, I'll never, ever blog angry.


Monday, May 24, 2010

A Writer Invokes her "Canadian-ness"

Greetings Friends,

In observance of Victoria Day, there will be no new post today.

Since I am also an American citizen, there probably will not be a post next Monday, in observance of Memorial Day. I'll see how American I'm feeling before I decide.

Hope all my Canadian friends are enjoying their day off.  See you on Wednesday.


Friday, May 21, 2010

A Tale of Two Countries

Greetings Friends,

This weekend is the "May Long Weekend" here in Canada. Really, it's Victoria Day on Monday, the celebration of Queen Victoria's birth, in addition to the celebration of the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth's, birthday. I'll say it this once and get it out of the way: "God Save the Queen". Do I have to turn in my US passport now?

I've long been contemplating the differences between my two countries and I've found the more similar they become, the more different they are. Does that make sense?

Years ago, my relatives used to lament, "Everything is better in the United States". I would strenuously argue the point, because having spent most of my life in the "States", as they're commonly referred to here in Canada, I know differently. Don't get me wrong, each country is far from perfect; there are things I miss about the US, and things I'm very happy to have left behind. The same goes for Canada. But, for right now, Canada is the country I'm happiest in.

Americans can be pretty serious "navel gazers" as Bill Maher likes to say. I think some Americans honestly believe they would fall off the face of the earth if they left the well-fortified shores of their land. On the other hand, Canadians always want to be somewhere else. Everyone's always travelling somewhere; be it for vacation, to further their education, or to take a job in an exotic locale, like Tanzania, for example. I admire this about them. Back in New York, I knew people who would pack a lunch before they left Long Island for Manhattan. The suburbs were bucolic; the city was where one had the potential to get raped, stabbed or pick-pocketed (not to mention car bombed); all while standing in line for half-price tickets to a Broadway show.

The only place you encounter navel gazing here in Canada is at the border. When you drive to the US, you have to deal with Homeland Security agents, who view every individual wishing to gain access to their glorious land as a potential terrorist. On the flip side, we have Canada Border Services agents, who sometimes resemble Rottweilers with badges. They, too are fiercely protective of their land, but for very different reasons - reasons Americans fear, but are more than happy to partake of when it suits their needs. You know what I'm talking about...don't make me say it.

When you live in the Toronto area and want to go to the "States", the ideal place to cross is the Peace Bridge, which connects Fort Erie Ontario with Buffalo New York. I've crossed that bridge many times in my life and it always strikes me as the perfect entry/exit point for both countries. On one side you have Fort Erie, the gateway to Niagara Falls, some of Mother Nature's finest handiwork. On the other side, you have Buffalo, quite possibly the ugliest city in America. It's a paradox, but lately, it's less so; developers have turned Niagara Falls Ontario into a doppelganger of Las Vegas, and I hear Niagara Falls New York is not that far behind. Now, not only can you take in the fabulous scenery, you can leave behind some disposable income in your casino of choice. How wonderful.

At centre span of the Peace Bridge, there are three flags flying: An American flag, a United Nations flag and a Canadian flag. When I reach that point in my journey, I always want to stop the car, get out, and gaze at both lands from that vantage point. My mother used to call that spot "no man's land".  I've felt a lot closer to "no man's land" lately, and I would love to just take in that vista (before one of the border agencies comes to arrest me), for a few minutes. Maybe I'll add that to my personal bucket list of things to do before I die.

Yeah, I could go to one of those Vermont/Quebec border towns and dance back-and-forth across the undefended border for a few minutes, but I'd much rather stand at mid-span of a bridge. I grew up crossing bridges, so it would be much more meaningful. And a much bolder statement.

Enjoy your long weekend. Have fun at the cottage.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Shaven Yak

Greetings Friends,

Does anyone remember the cartoon series The Ren and Stimpy Show from the early 90s? It was the precursor to today's "cartoons for adults" genre, which includes Family Guy, South Park, King of the Hill, etc. I won't include The Simpsons in my list because that one is in a class by itself. Reams of text can be, and have been written about The Simpsons, but they're not the topic of my post.

I fell head-over-heels for Ren Hoek, the nasty little animated Chihuahua, and his sidekick, Stimpson J. "Stimpy" Cat, the first time I saw their show in a local bar I used to hang out in near where I was living. It was 1991 and I spent a lot of time in this place (It was on the way home from the commuter train station). The owner of said bar was completely enthralled with Ren and Stimpy as well, and would tape the episodes and show them continuously during business hours. He was an ex-Pan Am employee who opened up his drinking establishment with the proceeds from his golden parachute after Pan Am flew off into the sunset. I had some fun and interesting times in that place, and it was walking distance from my apartment, so I never had to worry about getting behind the wheel in a drunken stupor - not that I ever would have.

The Ren and Stimpy Show was fairly controversial back in those days; granted, there were no irate Muslims issuing fatwas against its creator, John Kricfalusi, but the show did ruffle a few feathers with its storylines and questionable language. When the only real animated competition was MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head, I'd say Mr. Kricfalusi was a bona-fide visionary.

The Shaven Yak was one of the ancillary characters, and I believe Kricfalusi was mocking the king of all mythical childhood heroes: Santa Claus. The above image is an action figure you can purchase at, and I've thought about getting one. I've long since pitched my VHS tape collection, and would also love to replace my Ren and Stimpy tapes with DVDs. Especially now that you can obtain the episodes in all their uncensored glory. 

You can view the clip of "Gilden Yak's Shaving Day" here. The audio is a little wonky, but it's definitely worth a look. And, almost 20 years later, I still find it as funny as I did after 2 Bloody Marys (served in pint glasses with extra Tabasco).

I hope my little trip down memory lane has livened up an otherwise dull Wednesday. Now, don't forget to leave some hot lather on the bathroom counter tonight, and you, too could wake up to a nice sinkful of shaving scum!

I intend to be back on Friday with something a little less juvenile. But, I make no promises. 


Monday, May 17, 2010

My Perfume, Along with Other Things, is Killing Me!

Greetings Friends,

After a puzzling 15-minute power outage wrought havoc in my technical life, I am happy to say, all is well and functioning; for the most part.

My daily Internet travels unearthed this "interesting" article today: Five things you use every day that may be killing you. And, to further induce paranoia, read this, too. Then, you can make a fully informed decision as to whether you ever leave the house again, or choose to live as a full-blown agoraphobic.

Look, something will eventually kill you. It's a fact of life. If you choose to live your life in fear of perfume, non-stick cookware, cleaning products and plastic bottles, then go with God. If you can manage to exercise some common sense and good judgment, then maybe things won't be so bad. I often think we're all floating around like a feather, which Tom Hanks thought in the movie, Forrest Gump. I say that because we all know one or two people who seemingly manage to "float" through life. They may be dizzy, clueless, completely ignorant, or just prone to the occasional "blonde" moment; you don't need to be blonde to have a "blonde" moment, by the way.

The fifth item that puts the fear of God into people is mobile phones. I share that fear. I see too many people behind the wheels of cars completely distracted because they are yakking into a mobile device. Plus, the statistics for accidents caused by phone use while driving are climbing at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, no amount of diligence on the part of law enforcement is ever going to solve this problem. They can pull over countless guilty drivers and slap them with astronomical fines, but the the truth is, the offending individuals will likely not learn their lesson until it is too late. Another fact - a sad and unfortunate fact - of life.

In the meantime, I'm just going to fly by the seat of my pants; I'll wear my perfumes, use my non-stick cookware and occasionally drink out of plastic water bottles. However, I do make it a practice to avoid talking while driving, and I NEVER text while driving. My brain function has sufficiently evolved to recognize the jeopardy I'd put myself, as well as others in, by doing something so profoundly irresponsible. I hope others can do the same. I'd look really stupid going out and about dressed head-to-toe in bubble wrap. That's a look only Lady GaGa can pull off; and even that's debatable.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Dressing Up: Pain or Pleasure?

Greetings Friends, 

Is that not an absolutely stunning picture of Audrey Hepburn? Why is it that some women are able to make beauty look so effortless, and others just look so out of sorts - you know, the old silk hat on a pig scenario? Like that Twilight girl, Kristen Stewart: in every photograph I've seen of her in "fancy dress", she has such a look of agony on her face, you'd think someone was plucking out her toenails with a pair of needle-nose pliers.

I don't know - maybe AH was getting woozy from sucking it in, or her feet were killing her; you'd never know it from that serene expression on her face, and her flawless posture. It's a 60 year old image and I doubt airbrushing technology was as good then as it is today. My guess is that she really was that beautiful in person, pain and suffering be damned. It was part of her job, and she did it so well.

I hate getting dressed up. I do so as infrequently as possible. Give me a pair of jeans, a nice t-shirt and I'm set. I love my shoes and purses, but I'm not part of the scarf wearing minions who can't go anywhere without  wads of fabric wrapped around their necks.'s not that cold. I keep it as simple as possible and that's how I like it. I always say I would have been completely miserable in the days of bustles and bone-crushing corsets. If I was playing Scarlett O'Hara in one of those get-ups, there'd be barbecue and pie exploded all over my voluminous frock, because I never could have passed up two of my favourite foods for the glory of having a 17-inch waist.

These days I'm thankful I don't have to make any appearances in a corporate setting with dress codes and enormous dry cleaning bills; jeans and t-shirts rule...hopefully for a very, very long time.

Have a glorious weekend.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You've Got to be Kidding Me

Greetings Friends,

I've seen a lot of cultural change over the course of my life, some of it significant, some of it worthy of the most vigorous head-scratching. Nixon resigning: significant. The first launch of the Space Shuttle: significant. President Reagan getting shot by a guy who wanted to impress Jody Foster: significant. The end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall: significant. Bill Clinton getting "serviced" by an intern in the Oval Office: significant. 9/11: significant. The US electing its first African American president: significant. Dozens of photographers falling all over each other taking pictures of "celebrities" making their own milkshakes: you've got to be kidding me.

I'll be the first to admit I spend way too much time cruising around online. But, out of inertia comes inspiration. If I didn't dally over some of the choicest celebu-sites, I'd have no idea a place called Millions of Milkshakes existed. Thus, I'd have nothing to write about, and no cultural phenomena on which to unleash my biting sarcasm.

Is making your own milkshake at some West Hollywood ice cream parlour really worthy of worldwide attention? Apparently; if Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian and throngs of reality show attention whores are doing it - then yeah - fire up your digital photographic and video equipment and erode some more Internet bandwidth if you please. Much as I hate to admit it, it's a bona fide cultural phenomenon; one for the 21st century, not at all like attempting to breach the velvet rope at Studio 54 in 1978. At least there, you could hobnob with real celebs; Steve Rubell was one picky MoFo. I doubt he would have let the likes of Jon Gosselin or Spencer and Heidi rub elbows with Princess Grace, Halston and Bianca Jagger. The man was a coked-up fraudster, but at least he knew how to separate the cream from the curds (or should that be turds?).

Over 30 years later, people still talk about Studio 54. I doubt anyone will be talking about Millions of Milkshakes in 5 years. If they are, they'll be conversing with tourists from Lower Armpit Nebraska; the same people who lined up outside Magnolia Bakery on West 10th and Bleecker, in the West Village neighbourhood of New York City, waiting to buy the fabled cupcakes made famous in a Sex and the City episode. Where will the trend go next? This definitely is not the last cultural phenomenon that will have me scratching my head and exclaiming, "You've got to be kidding me!"


Monday, May 10, 2010

A Writer Encounters a Mohel

Greetings Friends,

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a bris. For those of you not familiar with the terms "mohel" and "bris", let me give you a little background:

 A bris is the ceremonial circumcision of a newborn Jewish male child. It is a celebration of the birth of the child, along with his entrance into the Jewish faith. It is performed by a mohel, who can be a rabbi, a doctor, or in some cases, both. In most cases, a bris takes place in a synagogue or someone's home (usually the home of the parents or grandparents). The one I attended was in the home of the paternal grandparents.

As you could probably imagine, there was food, liquor and of course, the requisite screaming 7 day old male infant who has no idea what he's in for. Thankfully, said male infant will have no recollection of this procedure, unless his yenta relatives choose to remind him of it later on in life.

This was my first bris in almost 8 years. The last one I attended was for my best friend's son. His was a more low key event and I had a front row seat for the "procedure". This time around, I promised myself I would not get that close. It was pretty easy since there were many more people in attendance yesterday, and I was able to stay well back from the proceedings. But, my conscious geographic positioning did not preclude a chance encounter with the mohel.

Upon his arrival, I noticed Mr. Mohel seemed a bit nervous. Maybe he was stressed because he was running late, or maybe he does not like to "perform" in front of large gatherings. Either way, he seemed somewhat agitated. At one point, I found myself next to Mr. Mohel, as he attempted to make his way towards the "stage". When he realized he was not able to circumnavigate the gathering to get to his destination, he said, "Oh, I thought this would be a shortcut." He then proceeded to head back from whence he came. After he was out of earshot, I said to the people standing next to me, "That's really not something you want to hear from a mohel." Peals of laughter ensued and we had a hard time containing our giggles even after the call for quiet went out. Thankfully, all went well; I think.

In addition to my serendipitous one-liner, I had yet another encounter with Mr. Mohel. After his part of the ceremony was completed, he managed to catch my eye over the throng gathered around him and motioned for me to get him some water. I obliged by sending a bottle of water through the crowd in his general direction. Eventually, I saw him grab it, open it, and bring it shakily to his lips. For the rest of the day, all I could think was, I was at a bris performed by "Shakey the Mohel".

Click here for a hilarious video of the classic Seinfeld episode, The Bris. All the dialog is dubbed over in Yiddish (subtitles are in English). It turns out, there are a bunch of these on YouTube. If you want my advice (spoken like a true yenta), put down your cup of coffee before watching any of them.

Mazel Tov to Michael, Nicola, Abigail, and baby Miles.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Seriously Social

Greetings Friends,

The one technological advancement I have the hardest time wrapping my brain around is the concept of "Social Media". Here in Canada, Rogers Communications just introduced a slew of new "Social Networking" phones, claiming they will make it that much easier to keep up with all your Facebook and Twitter pals. So, cough up $150.00 and sign your life over to the evil empire for 3 years, and you too can become a more efficient texter, twitterer, and virtual pal to your 476 Facebook "friends". By the way, does the number of friends you have on Facebook validate your existence? At present, I only have 49, so in the grand scheme of things, I am virtually non-existent. That's all I need; as if not being in the cool crowd in high school wasn't enough of a trauma.

Since I have borne witness to the birth of all this technology in my lifetime, I sometimes wonder what it would be like if none of it existed. Having gone from the black-and-white TV to having a satellite dish on the roof of my house and a high definition television in my living room; a PC in my home office to a 17" laptop literally in my lap, a phone I can talk anywhere on without worrying about stretching out the get the picture. So many devices have evolved beyond what they were originally intended to do...I sometimes find it scary; like in the Terminator movies: will computers really be able to think for themselves one day soon? I don't doubt it. In the meantime, I wonder: what would George Orwell think of Google? "Big Brother" has definitely materialized. And, I don't mean the 24 hour news cycle. Google watches every move you make in the great electronic void. I know that sounds paranoid, but it is true.

It would be foolish of me to not embrace today's Social Media. Not only would it be foolish, it would be profoundly hypocritical. After all, the first thing I do after I publish a post here is go to my Facebook page and alert my anemic list of 49 friends that I have a new post up on my blog. Every time I do, I remember someone I knew back in my community college days who was one of the first people chatting on those "bulletin boards". There were no fancy graphics, no FarmVilles or FarmTowns, or pages to become a fan of; just lines of text on a screen. That's where it all started. Now we have online "webinars" telling us how important this realm is, not only for business, but for individuals like myself, looking to spread the word about our talents (or lack thereof as the case may be). No more Sunday Times Classified section required. On one hand, you're saving money on stamps, not to mention trees. It's a virtually paperless world we now live in. For me, that's both a comfort and a conundrum. Maybe I don't want the great electronic void to know every minute detail of my life. Alas, it seems I really don't have much choice; Evolve or die.

Gone are the days of the anonymous resume; at least you won't find any pictures of me in compromising positions involving an ill-fitting bikini and a bottle of tequila. Thankfully, I've evolved past that part of it. In the meantime, you'll just have to imagine that I really do look like Jessica Rabbit!

Enjoy your weekend.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Writer Celebrates her Birthday

Greetings Friends,

At what point does a woman of a certain age, and of Eastern European Jewish descent, turn into a pierogi?

A pierogi is a lumpy, squishy, delicious little potato dumpling that is universally loved. You can boil them and serve them with tomato or some other type of sauce, saute them in oil and onions, or, if you want to go the suicidally unhealthy route - deep fry them. Any way they're prepared, they're yummy. You can even get them on a pizza here in Canada - walk into any Boston Pizza locale and order up one of their Spicy Perogy pizzas. It's my favourite.

When I look at pictures of famous women who are in my age range, I can't help but think my ethnic background and gene pool has predetermined me to morph into a bean bag chair later in life. I'm not going to look like Demi Moore at 47, or Christie Brinkley at 56. I certainly won't have legs like Tina Turner at 70, or perky cleavage at 75 like Sofia Loren. No, I'll probably end up looking like a Joan Rivers drag queen wanna-be. I am Pierogi Woman, and this is my destiny. Instead of a bullet proof tiara and bracelets, I'll have cement matzo balls and the repellent sheen of schmaltz to protect me from harm. Again, it is my destiny, and no amount of expensive face cream or plastic surgery will ward off what is bound to happen.

In the meantime, today is just another day; it will drift away into tomorrow and for the next 364 days, I won't have to acknowledge the day of my birth. I'm far enough away from another milestone number that I don't have to concern myself with being feted for getting older. Instead, I plan to accumulate more of that "wisdom that comes with age", while simultaneously avoiding turning into the proverbial "old fart". This is just another example of chronology that I willfully choose to ignore, except when someone calls me "ma'am"; that's been happening a lot lately.

If you happen to be reading this in the US, have a Corona and a burrito for me today. Cinco de Mayo has become, like St. Patrick's Day, an occasion for drunken celebration. So go ahead - get plowed in my honour. You'll be the one with the hangover. At my age, a hangover would probably last a week. Cheers!


Monday, May 3, 2010


Greetings Friends,

Sneeze. There's a word. It's May, there's pollen everywhere, and I'm sneezing my head off. I don't suffer from typical allergy symptoms, but I can be felled by debilitating sinus headaches on occasion. I pop Tylenol Sinus like candy, but sometimes the best cure is sticking my head in the freezer for a few minutes. Try it; and try to ignore that six month old container of Haagen Dazs you never got around to finishing.

Obviously, words are the most important part of a writer's raison d'etre. What types of words? Big words, little words, complicated words, simple words...words. Not a day goes by where we all don't have an encounter with them.

I have memories of learning my letters in kindergarten with the help of weird looking letter "people". There was Miss A, Mr. B, Mrs. C (not Mrs. Cunningham from Happy Days) and so on. We would sit in a circle and stare at a large picture of Mr. or Miss whoever, and my teacher would give us examples of words that started with the particular letter. We also got little take-home pictures of these letter people and were eventually supposed to wind up with the entire alphabet. This was kindergarten in the early 70s so chances are, I never had possession of the entire alphabet. But, who can remember back that far?

I personally don't have patience for people who try to use fancy words in everyday conversations. Instead of proclaiming, "My, he is quite duplicitous, isn't he?", please keep it simple and just tell me, "He's a goddamn liar!" I know "duplicitous" is far more refined than "goddamn liar", but I'm usually more appreciative of the honesty, if it is in the proper context. Maybe you don't want to call someone a "goddamn liar" in a boardroom, but if we're just hanging out having a beer or a cup of coffee, please leave "duplicitous" packed away in your vocabulary suitcase. There will be plenty of occasions for its use; trust me.

I used to be a huge fan of William Safire's On Language columns in the Sunday New York Times magazine. I've learned a lot from Mr. Safire, as well as from all the books I've read. When I immersed myself in Syracuse University professor Mary Karr's wonderful memoir, The Liars Club, I noticed she had a penchant for the word "hork". There was a lot of "horking" going on in that book, and the word made me chuckle every time I read it. She could have used "vomit", "barf" or "upchuck", but "hork" had exponentially more comedic value, considering hers is probably one of the worst childhoods on record. Former New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, Rick Bragg, wrote three memoirs about his impoverished youth in rural Alabama in very precise, straightforward language. All three reduced me to tears.

I'm not suggesting there is no place for the long-winded and intricate. I love that, too; especially nowadays when communication is reduced to 140 characters or less thanks to Twitter, and people who have yet to evolve past the standard mobile phone. At least now, all those "texting" phones have "full QWERTY keyboards". I've always loved the QWERTY grouping on a typewriter or keyboard, but I never thought I'd live to see the day when "QWERTY" would actually mean something. Go out and get those "QWERTY" keyboard phones, folks; I am sick and tired of all your abbreviating. "C U L8R" is not proper English!

So, what are this writer's favourite words? "Hork", of course; "flummox" and "peccadillo". Am I sometimes flummoxed by my peccadilloes? You bet your ass I am.