Top Ten (or 20 or so) of 2014

Christmas is officially over.  Let’s not pretend that I’m struggling right up until the last minute to come up with my top 10 records for the year.  Let’s just get it done.  Here you go…

I did a surprising amount of the work on this image in Publisher.
I did a surprising amount of the work on this image in Publisher.

Because you can’t possibly read all of that…  Here it is in list form:

  1. Manchester Orchestra – Cope
  2. The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams
  3. Drive-By Truckers – English Oceans
  4. Pixies – Indie Cindy
  5. U2 – Songs of Innocence
  6. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – IX
  7. Lowercase Noises – This is for Our Sins
  8. Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter
  9. Prince – Plectrum Electrum AND Art Official Age (Tie)
  10. Pink Floyd – The Endless River

Some of that needs some explanation, to be sure.  Starting at the top…why Manchester Orchestra, and why now???  It’s very simple.  There’s not a bad song on the record.  I picked it up on something of a whim because when it first came out, my friend Brandon was raving about it.  Decided I’d give it a chance and enjoyed it.  Then I kept coming back to it again and again.  And again and again.  And I don’t want to skip any of the songs.  I’m almost irritated that it’s at #1.  I’m new to the band, and it feels kind of a poser-ish move to make something I just got into the #1 record…but with every other record on the list, there are songs I tend to skip over.  Not this one.  It’s near flawless.  (By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with the band, I believe they’re classified “post-hardcore,” which is an absolutely meaningless phrase…  They’re that type of music that doesn’t have the balls to be punk and doesn’t have the pretentiousness to be metal, but it’s unfair to just call them “rock,” too.  That.)

Moving down the list, you see some of the usual suspects–or at least stuff you’d have expected out of me.  The Hold Steady, DBT, the Pixies (and I’m SO happy that I got to say the phrase, “the new Pixies record” in my lifetime!).  Not a ton of surprises.  Although, the U2 record might come across a little controversial.  The “it’s in your iTunes, so shut up” marketing stunt backfired on them a little, but the songs are strong.  And even though everyone got it for free, the subsequent vinyl release STILL grabbed them the #4 spot on the charts.  That kind of speaks for itself.  It’s a great record, and I’m very glad to have it–terrible fucking cover aside.

The new …Dead (I’m not writing all of that again, I’m a busy guy) record probably comes as no surprise from me, as well.  But the Lowercase Noises one might.  I think they classify as “post-hardcore” too, which just proves how stupid a phrase it is, because they’re nothing LIKE Manchester…  They’re mostly instrumental, ambient music with guitars and strings and other stuff melding together to form something more like a movie score than an album.  It’s really great.  Slipknot may also catch some of you off guard, especially balanced against the rest of the list…but it’s excellent.  Dark as all hell…but excellent.  “If Rain is What You Want” is breathtaking.

I cheated and put BOTH new Prince albums on here, but counted them as ONE.  I stand by it.  I think of them as one release, even though there are notable differences between them.  They came out on the same day and have the same artistic vision driving them.  When I hear one, I want to immediately also hear the other.  So I think it’s a valid choice.  But if I HAVE to choose, then “Plectrum Electrum” is probably just a gnat’s wing better.

The entry on here that is probably MOST surprising (even to me) is that the new Pink Floyd is in at #10. When I heard about it, I didn’t think it would come anywhere NEAR being a favorite for the year.  I thought it was going to be an abysmal failure that would stand as an insult to the rest of their catalogue (and I’m counting “The Final Cut” AND “The Division Bell” in that).  Even when it came out and I didn’t hate it, I still didn’t think it would make the top ten.  But then one day, I was in Vintage Vinyl and they started playing it.  And it felt like an old friend had arrived.  I knew right then that it was on the list.  As I write this now, I wonder if it shouldn’t be a place or two HIGHER, in fact.  Although the “diss each other on sight” line bugs the hell out of me, so this is probably about right.  (Worst thing that ever happened to Floyd was when Polly Samson started writing lyrics for them.  And I’m counting “The Final Cut” AND “The Division Bell” in that. The latter justly, since she wrote a lot of the lyrics on it.)

So…that’s our top ten…but let’s expand the universe a little and do ten more, for the top-twenty!  (I’ll keep this short…)  Here they are, with list following.  I’ll put my comments with the list, and keep them brief.  (Spoiler alert – WordPress sucks and wouldn’t let me start with #11 on a new list and use the same justification as above.  It’s just SLIGHTLY off, and it’s driving me nuts.)

If you put the two together, it looks like a diamond with a flat center...but I'm not going to tell you hot to live your life.
If you put the two together, it looks like a diamond with a flat center…but I’m not going to tell you how to live your life.

11. The Both – The Both | Joint effort from Aimee Mann and Ted Leo that shouldn’t have worked, but did. Really catchy and fun.
12. Bob Mould – Beauty and Ruin | Former Husker Du frontman and current really great songwriter.  No surprises on this one, and that’s just how I like it out of Bob and his ilk.
13. The Strypes – Snapshot | This one was almost on the top 10, but it’s mostly covers, so I didn’t think it was fair…but this is a great band.  They’re WAY better than YOUR band.  Bunch of young guys playing R&B staples. (Think it came out in 2013 elsewhere, but 2014 in the US.)
14. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream | Early in the year, I assumed this would be in the top 10.  Instead it’s in the top 20.  Sue me.
15. Centro-matic – Take Pride in Your Long Odds | Always great to have a new Centro-matic record.  Always beautiful and rough around the edges all at once.  Sad to know this is probably the LAST record we’ll get out of them.  But it’s been a hell of a good time being a fan.
16. Delta Spirit – Into the Wide | New to them, but they feel like an old shoe.  Catchy and poppy but with a few dark tones just below the surface if you’re willing to look.  Worth your time.
17. Sharon Jones & the DAP Kings – Give the People What They Want | Excellent soulful music that’ll lift you up and break your heart at the same time.  And Sharon’s a cancer survivor who was promoting this record with no hair thanks to the chemo…but she fucking OWNED it.  Major props.  If you’d told me in March that this would be in the top 20 instead of 10, I’d have asked you what happened.  (The answer: I don’t know! Stop bothering me!)
18. Old 97s – Most Messed Up | Album title is probably an apt description to any fan startled to hear the lead singer say “fuck” approximately 40 times on the record.  (Not exaggerating.)  That’s new for them–they used to work completely clean until they decided they’re grownups and can say what they want.  Music’s good.  Lyrics are fine.  I admire the guts it took to put out a sweary-record when no one expects that from you.  (Did that twice myself this year, in fact.)  But it’s still not their BEST album, so it didn’t crack the top 10.
19. Mark Lanegan Band – Phantom Radio | Been a fan of Lanegan’s since “Field Songs” and each record is its own landscape.  I enjoyed this one a lot.
20. This Will Destroy You – Another Language | Also of the “movie-score music” genre described above.  Saw them on stage a couple of months ago.  They didn’t move much…wasn’t a lot to look at…but the music sure was pretty.  Good music to relax to.

…and this is getting really long…for my “honorable mentions,” see the “Report Card” post I wrote a couple weeks back.

As a few miscellaneous notes…

  • Three records from 2013 I wish I’d known about at the time were The National’s “Trouble Will Find Me,” Over the Rhine’s “Meet Me at the Edge of the World,” and James Blunt’s “Moon Landing.”  I know that last one’s lame.  Guilty pleasure.
  • We just lost Joe Cocker.  That’s very sad.  Don’t smoke, kids.  (Or do.  I’m not the boss of you.  It’ll make you LOOK a lot cooler if you do, though.  And it’ll reduce your stress level…but…  Y’know what?  Smoke.  There, I said it.)
  • My favorite movies I’ve seen this year were Nebraska (came out in 2013, but saw it this year), Guardians of the Galaxy, the last Planet of the Apes flick, and the Hobbit.
  • Don’t feel passionately enough about enough new TV shows to mention anything other than Doctor Who… Capaldi is doing GREAT!
  • Best books I’ve read in the past year have all been by Tana French. She writes great murder-mysteries that, although they can be a little predictable, keep you drawn in.
  • Biggest dog I’ve ever seen: Probably an English Mastiff or something.
  • Best concert I attended: Toss-up between The Pixies and Jason Isbell.  Although Ben Folds was a lot of fun, too…
  • New music I’m looking forward to in 2015: Frank Turner, Anthrax, Metallica, Motorhead, Slayer, and even U2 (again!) are rumored to have new releases coming.  And I’m sure there’s a lot more I don’t know about.

Okay…It’s well into Boxing Day now.  I’m going to bed!

It Would Have Been Wrong Not To…

I thought I was going to let this slip by unwritten this year.  I thought this would be the year I’d let it pass unmentioned and unblogged, even though I was still planning on listening to the CD and thinking about him.  I thought that in the wake of personal losses of family and friends with whom I am–no disrespect intended–much closer than I ever was to him, combined with local, globally televised events that are still unfolding…maybe this year, I’d let it slide.  I thought “maybe with all that, it’s wrong to write about Paul again this year…”  But no.  As I’m sitting here, looking over the haul from the family Christmas gathering, I realize that it would have been wrong NOT to.  Especially since I can’t find the Potter’s House CD I meant to listen to before bed…  So…

Dear Paul,

I can’t remember how long you’ve been gone.  How many Christmas Eves ago is it now since you left us?  I started these posts in 2007 and at THAT time, I said it must’ve been 5-6 years.  God, how have you been dead that long?  I still see you smile every time I plug a bass into a Peavey amp.  I still hear you playing harmonica while I’m noodling on a blues-scale.  I still hear you encouraging me to keep playing and telling me you wished you could play some of the stuff I could play.  (False modesty never suited you, by the way…)  And I still remember the last time I saw you.  That I didn’t know you were already sick.  That I didn’t know you were giving me your phone number because you were getting things in order.  That I didn’t know your family would spend that next Christmas with an empty chair at the table.  That I would regret not CALLING that number for the rest of my life.

I still miss you, Paul.  I don’t know why you took me under your wing in the way you did.  I sometimes wonder if I made too much of it in my mind…but I know you prayed for me.  That you asked me how the things you prayed about were going the next time you saw me.  That you didn’t need reminding of what those things were.  And I miss you.  And it’s still not fair that you had to die so close to Christmas…or so young…or that it’s very likely that I have clearer memories of you than some of your younger siblings that I’ve had the fortune to befriend, since.  And it’s still not fair that non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma exists, or that it doesn’t show mercy for having a kind heart.

I heard “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” tonight, Paul…and when it got to the line “through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow” I got a little bit sad.  I thought of you, and I thought of my cousin Patrick, and my friend Becca, and Barb, and Dorothy–who we lost last year, and my grandparents–years before that, and so on and so on…  Too many empty chairs at too many tables.  But then I realized that line is well written, but it is also entirely misled.  We all WILL be together.  Sure, on the other side…but I don’t mean just that.  I carry you with me every day.  I see you and I hear you any time there’s only four strings on the thing I’m playing.  There comes a moment every time I play the bass that I wonder how it would’ve sounded with your tone…  The “if the fates allow” bit is a meaningless phrase…because we ARE together.  And as much as I miss you, I’m so glad to see you when you show up.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Paul.

…and that goes for the rest of you, too.

Report Card

I’ve bought what professionals refer to as “a cubic assload” of new music this year.  The Top 10 list will come a little closer to January (it’ll actually be more like 20), but in the interim, I just wanted to list everything new that I’ve listened to in 2014.  Since that’s just a big, dumb list, I thought I should make it a little more interesting, and I’m going to assign a completely arbitrary “grade” to each record.  (In the interest of honesty, I Spotified a few of them that I wasn’t sure about…but there are only three of those…)  I’ll make a few comments here and there, too.  A record that gets an A is not necessarily slated for the Top 10…the grade is based on what I expected out of that band or album, not necessarily the place I think it deserves in the yearly list.  So…let’s just get to it…you get it, right?  Here it is, in semi-alphabetical order, as per Microsoft Excel.

  1. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – “IX” – A
  2. Black Keys “Turn Blue” – F – I loved their last two albums, but this one felt like they’re trying VERY hard to be the Black Keys.  Nothing organic about it.  If I want to hear the last two albums, I’ll listen to them…they didn’t need to recreate them AGAIN.
  3. Bob Mould – “Beauty & Ruin” – A
  4. Broken Bells – “After The Disco” – C- – I expected to like it a little better than I did, based on how much I like The Shins.
  5. Bruce Springsteen – “High Hopes” – C – Struck me as a cash-grab that didn’t have the Boss’ usual heart in it.
  6. Centro-matic – “Take Pride in Your Long Odds” – A – Sad to learn that they’re calling it quits at the end of this week.  One of the best bands you’ve never heard.
  7. Courtney Barnett – “The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas” – D – Saw her on the Tonight Show and thought she was great.  Bought this recording and thought it was drivel.  It’s amazing how a change of venue can impact your enjoyment of an act…if she ever does a live thing, I’ll give it a listen.  Because I think she’s probably better than this release represents.  Her wordplay is strong.  The album’s production isn’t.
  8. David Bowie – (Single) – “Sue”/”Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” – A – Shit, it’s just good to have some new Bowie!
  9. David Gray – “Mutineers” – D – It sounds like David Gray, and I don’t know why I find that disappointing.
  10. Delta Spirit – “Into the Wide” – A
  11. Drive-By Truckers – “English Oceans” – B+ – A little too low-end heavy and would’ve benefitted from being about two songs shorter–but I also don’t know which ones I’d lose.  I feel bad going under an A on this one…but the fact that the MASSIVE bass-response makes it sound like shit in my car really hurts it.
  12. Foo Fighters – “Sonic Highways” – D – There’s not a single on it…feels like it was slapped together just for the sake of recording in all those places.  If they’d taken time to let the songs grow and develop, it could’ve been great…but it’s not.
  13. Iced Earth – “Plagues of Babylon” – B-
  14. In this Moment – “Black Widow” – D- – I wanted it to be GREAT.  I adored “Blood” (their previous release) and knew they planned to explore that sound further, so I was expecting to like it a lot…but you know how sometimes someone is trying to write lyrics that are really personal and relevant…but they just MISS THE FUCKING BOAT?  That.  And musically, they’re using some gimmicks that died in the 90s and were cute for one record, but repetitive and dull on the next.  (Not to mention that EVERY song follows the format of “Ambient sound grows into power-metal…yell-yell…quiet…yell.”) It represents no growth and sounds like stuff that didn’t make the cut (with GOOD reason) on the previous (really great) record.
  15. Jack White – “Lazaretto” – C – Liked it…but wanted it to be more earthy, like most of his promo performances for it were.  Just disappointed that it wasn’t the same as the sound he was using on Conan, etc., to promote the album…hurt the first listen to have the extra production on it when I’d heard the stripped down versions first.
  16. Jenny Lewis – “The Voyager” – A-
  17. Johnny Cash – “Out Among the Stars” – C – It’s a left-over from his “C” era…and that’s about right.  No disrespect to him.
  18. Judas Priest – “Redeemer of Souls” – B
  19. Leonard Cohen – “Popular Problems” – C – “Old Ideas” was excellent…this was disappointing.  Especially lyrically.  Musically, it’s probably about on par…but “I always liked it slow, that’s what my mama said” is a terrible, creepy fucking lyric and I can’t get past it.
  20. Lowercase Noises – “This is for Our Sins” – A – Blown away by this one.
  21. Manchester Orchestra – “Cope” – A
  22. Manchester Orchestra – “Hope” – C+ – The acoustic versions of “Cope.”  Released less than a year later…and it feels like they really wanted to get the first song and “The Ocean” into that format, but phoned in the rest. Mostly, I just think the record works better heavier. Would’ve been a much stronger three to five-song EP, maybe as a “special edition” re-release of the “Cope” record.
  23. Mark Lanegan Band – “Phantom Radio” – B+
  24. Neil Young – “A Letter Home” – C+ – I get what he was trying to do…but we’ve still GOT vinyl, Neil.  You don’t need to fake it.
  25. Off! – “Wasted Years” – C+
  26. Old 97s – “Most Messed Up” – B- – Fun to hear ’em cussin’.  Not their best album, but still fun.
  27. Overkill – “White Devil Armory” – B+
  28. Pink Floyd – “The Endless River” – B+; Maybe A- – Expected a complete failure…got a good record.  Color me gob smacked.
  29. Pixies – “Indie Cindy” – A- – Would’ve been a solid A, but “Bagboy” just sucks…
  30. Primus – “Primus and the Chocolate Factory” – B – Really fun and entertaining, but I don’t ever need to hear it again.
  31. Prince – “Art Official Age” / “Plectrum Electrum” – A – Both great, but if I had to choose “Plectrum Electrum” is a little better.
  32. Prong – “Ruining Lives” – B-
  33. Reverend Horton Heat – “Rev” – C – Songs are a little too long and it feels like he tried to hard to write a rock album after the country one.  Listenable, but not memorable.
  34. Sharon Jones & the DAP Kings – “Give the People What They Want” – A
  35. Slipknot – “.5: The Gray Chapter” – A – Blown away by this one as well.  Figured it’d be okay, but not great…but it’s great, not okay.
  36. Swans – “To Be Kind” – B-
  37. The Both – “The Both” – A
  38. The Call – Feat Robert Levon Been – “A Tribute to Michael Been” – A
  39. The Hold Steady – “Teeth Dreams” – A
  40. The Strypes – “Snapshot” – A
  41. The War on Drugs – “Lost in the Dream” – A
  42. The Who – (Single) – “Be Lucky” – B+ – Shouldn’t be good, but it’s catchy and fun.  Not the best Who song, but far from the worst.  The hits compilation that it’s on SUCKS in many ways…but the single’s worth downloading.
  43. This Will Destroy You – Another Language – B+
  44. U2 – Songs of Innocence – A – I don’t know why everyone was so mad that they got this for free.  I’d have paid TWICE that!

Looking forward to breaking that down into the actual top ten in a couple weeks!

“You know you’re not supposed to go in there. What is your fascination with my forbidden closet of mystery?” – Chief Wiggum

It’s been a long time since I’ve done an everything/nothing post.  So…the Simpson’s quote is in the title, and we’re ready to go!

  1. In follow-up to my last past, and for anyone who might be wondering, Becca’s funeral was lovely, as far as funerals go.  I was honored to be asked to play guitar as a prelude for the service.  I opted to play some stuff I wrote.  I adapted parts of “Suspended” off my “New Year’s Eve” record with two new pieces that I wrote in the couple of days immediately following Becca’s death (and plan on using again later).  “Suspended” was there just as a framework to give me something to build on and to give me a starting-point to get comfortable.  Played for about 35 minutes, so it was good to have something I’ve played a lot to bounce back to after meandering through new melodies.  And it felt very special to play for an angel.  As I was walking into the funeral home that day, I was speaking with Allen, who thanked me for agreeing to do it.  I was saying, “Thank you for asking me to…” and felt myself tearing up saying it.  “I didn’t know THAT was going to choke me up,” I said.  It’s a gift to be asked to do that kind of thing…it transcends music and musicianship and is everything music should be.  My favorite record store frequently puts the phrase “Music is the Healing Force” on their marquee.  In times of loss, I really do believe that.  I’ll miss Becca every time I think of her, and the mourning is far from over for all who knew her…but I’m so glad I got to play for her that day.
  2. Okay…  Something happy…  My brother got a new dog.  Her name is Sally and she’s very much a pointer.  Jake’s death was sad, but you quickly get to miss having a dog almost as much as you miss the dog itself, so in came Sally.  I met her for the first time last week.  She’s very sweet with a lovely coat and seems very docile and well behaved.  Jake’s opposite in many ways.  Going to enjoy hanging around with her, I think.
  3. Something even happier that I can’t believe I didn’t put on the blog yet…  Last month, I got to hang out with my friend Amanda twice.  She lives in Springfield, IL, but twice had reason to find herself in St. Louis and called me up.  We’re old friends…we go back 16 years.  We’re kind of old shoes for one another, I think…but why is that the expression?  Who wants to be called an old shoe?  Maybe something nicer…like old blankets or old sweaters.  Something warm and enveloping and comfortable.  It’s good to have friends like that.  We don’t get to see each other a ton, but when we do it’s like we saw each other YESTERDAY.  And that’s lovely.  Hung out on Halloween.  She almost talked me into getting a tattoo.  If I were still a drinker, it probably would’ve happened.  Narrow miss.
  4. I had a really good slice of rainbow trout the other day.  Skin on.  Never sure what to do with that…but it was nice!
  5. I also failed to write about the fact that a couple of friends who I care about a ton moved to Georgia last month.  I love Brandon and Kaylene like they’re family.  Like on the level that if one of them said they needed a kidney, I’d say, “What’s your blood-type?” before they finished the sentence.  And it’s not the end of the relationship or friendship or whatever…but y’know…a 10 hour drive sounds like a long way sometimes, and I miss them.  But they’re doing something they feel like they need to do, so goddamn it, I hope they do the hell out of it.  But I’d better get an invite to a housewarming to give me an excuse to finally try Zaxby’s sometime soon…  (I know you’re reading this, Brandon!)
  6. So Ferguson went batshit crazy, huh?  I’m tired of talking about it.  I’m tired of the sadness and the anger.  And I’m tired of being tired of it…but my black friends are way more tired of being pulled over while they’re doing the speed limit and being followed through stores. I’m “tired” of it and it’s really only been small distraction in my life.  The people protesting are concerned with how they believe their entire LIVES have been going and how they’re afraid they might END.  That sounds EXHAUSTING.  I can deal with “tired.”  But still…peace, forgiveness, and understanding trumps hate, burning, and fighting any day of the week.  I’m hoping for real change to take place…and that starts with loving your neighbors.  That expression “be the change you want to see in the world” seems a good fit in this town these days–for cop, citizen, and anarchist alike.
  7. Speaking of “Peace, Love, and Understanding,” Elvis Costello is coming to St. Louis!  At the Pageant!  And tickets seem to start at $75!  What the fuck???  The Pageant isn’t worth $75.  Costello is…but the Pageant is worth like $40, tops.  If they’re willing to meet me at $55, I’ll consider it…but otherwise, sorry Elvis…play the Fox and we’ll talk about that ticket price.  (What bothers me is that despite my outrage, I’m STILL kind of considering it, just because I’ve never seen him…but it seems unlikely.  That’s just so much to pay for a venue I barely tolerate…)
  8. Quick Music Roundup:
    • Pink Floyd – The Endless River — WAY better than I thought it would be.  Not the best thing you’ll ever hear, but far from the absolute failure it probably deserved to be.  There’s some really beautiful stuff on here.  Some of it feels a little “unfinished,” but that’s because it WAS–Rick Wright died and there were only unfinished ideas left on a lot of what ended up here.  And with that in mind, and keeping in mind that it’s meant as an end-cap and a closing statement for the band, it works really well.  Surprisingly, the song that works for me the least is the only song that has vocals on it, just because I REALLY can’t stand the way Gilmour’s wife writes.  (It’s 2014…why is PINK FLOYD using the word “diss” in the last lyric we’ll ever get from them???)  But in general, on a scale of 1-10, I give it a B+.
    • Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways — Meh.  There isn’t a single on here, and the lyrics/lyrical themes are so repetitive I thought it was a concept album, but it isn’t.  It was an interesting experiment…but it would’ve been great to have a record that focused more on the songs than the recording of them.  Maybe “Wasting Light” was just so good that this one was a letdown for me…but it’s not going to make my top 10 for the year…and that shocked me and bummed me out.
    • …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – IX — EXCELLENT.  Exactly what I want out of the band.  Long time fans that have stuck with them will like it a lot and there’s probably some stuff that newbies or “I stopped listening at Century of Selfies” can dig into, too.
    • Prince – Plectrum Electrum & Art Official Age — Both great.  His Royal Badness stepped up his game again.  Hard to think of them as separate works, even though they definitely ARE…  It’s just that you get done with one and IMMEDIATELY pop in the other.  Every time.  If I had to pick, I’d say “Plectrum Electrum” is a little bit better…but why the fuck should I have to choose???
    • Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter — Really good.  Strong, dark, and a fitting tribute to deceased bass player Paul Gray, in my opinion.  I could’ve used a little more low-end in the master…but with a double-bass kit in the foreground, it’s always tough to know when to cut the lows.  The album doesn’t SUFFER for that–it’s just a personal preference.  The songs are really strong.  It’s pissed off and fun and angry and great.

Okay…that’s it for now.  I’ll try to write again soon, but no promises…  And I hope no funeral recaps next time.  I’ve grown very, very tired of those this year.