Monday, July 28, 2008

NYPD and bicyclist

I don't know enough about this story to comment, but just from the few seconds on video... it just doesn't look right.

I also know little about the "Critical Mass" event(s), but from what I understand, it's a bunch of people who own bicycles, that want to "promote" riding bikes. But, some of their methods may be "controversial" in that they foul up traffic.
Again, I'm just basing this on comments I've read online.
Wikipedia to the rescue!

Argh... I just read this news report via and it makes it sound like what it appears on video. Officer Patrick Pogan has lost his badge and gun and is on desk duty pending an investigation. But here's the part that burns me...
Pogan told officials that Long was obstructing traffic and that the biker was actually trying to run him down.

I'm sry, but the video clearly shows Officer Pogan making a calculated intercept to knock him off the bike! THEN to turn around and charge Mr. Long with attempted assault?! Resisting arrest?! Disorderly conduct?!

Funny side note: So the camera person towards the end says something like "Bita, Bita Move" trying the get the woman in front of him to stop blocking the video. When the other man gently grabs here elbow to pull her aside, she shrugs his hand off like "get your stinkin hands off me!" :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Impeachment hearings

I should have blogged about this sooner while it was still fresh in my mind, but I'll do my best here. Friday, There was a hearing on Capitol Hill for, that was originally called an "impeachment hearing" but was later re-named to "Hearing on Executive power andits constitutional limitations".
I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of this hearing was for, or what is to come of it, now that it is over.
It was a LONG hearing! Coming in at around 5.5 - 6 hours long. I actually watched most of it. (I missed the beginning). I'd guess that I saw about 4.5 hours.
It is difficult to sum up a 4.5 hour meeting in one blog post. So just a few thoughts.
There were some REALLY interesting gems scattered about the hearing. The person I most enjoyed listening to (yes, I said enjoyed), was Bruce Fein (A former Reagan admin assoc) - wikipedia. I had to seriously overlook the resemblance (both in physical appearance and sounding like) to the nerdy cop from the original "police academy" movie, and former actor on SNL - Tim Kazurinsky - sry, it had to be said ;) Mr. Fein gave the most direct and informative answers that really made a lot of sense to me. In addition to quoting some famous historical figures that really helped me understand how important this was.
In keeping with my humorous approach to this serious hearing... Rep. John Conyers, who was the chairman of this hearing, was so laid back, I had to wonder if he was taking some medical marijuana :) At times he seemed to just be having fun up there. I admire though, this clear headed thinking, and his approaches at dealing with some of the Republican's tactics on disrupting the hearing. (for example, in the clip above, during Mr. Fein's opening statement, the Republican Steve King, interrupted him and said "Mr. Chairman, the gentleman's time has expired". To which Rep Conyers just ignored him, and let Mr. Fein continue to finish.
Link to a segment by Rep King.
Speaking of Republicans... They did just about everything they could think of to make this hearing sound like a waste of time. Even to pointing out (several times) that this was Not an impeachment hearing.
My BIGGEST complaint though on some of the lines of speeches and questioning raised by the Republicans, was in the way they re-worded the argument. Let me demonstrate...
The main issue of Kucinich's reason for impeachment proceedings is this:
The President, while having intelligence reports from various intelligence agencies, that said (In a nutshell), that we do not feel that Iraq poses an imminent threat. But, what the president did, in approaching the congress while looking for them to authorize him to go to war, he did NOT MENTION this opposing view point. Instead, he picked out only certain parts of the reports, that said things like "Sadam had weapons of mass destruction", and only told congress that side of the story. So, it boils down to this... did the President, knowingly and willfully withhold important intelligence reports, at the time that he presented Congress with his arguments to go to war? That is the main focus here.
But here's an example of what one of the Republican's did...
He pointed out that the President did in fact say there were "weapon's of mass destruction" based on some reports. When the USA finally invaded Iraq, they didn't find any WMD's. So, the President may have made a mistake, but he did not intentionally make that mistake.
Grrr... that's such a gross misrepresentation of the argument here. It's a perfect example of being "intellectually dishonest" to present the argument like that.
At one point, Rep. Trent Franks, suggested that none of the witnesses should even use the term "impeachment" since it was not an impeachment hearing! (about 1 hour and 5 minutes in).
Moving on...
It also became clear to me, that there were certain witnesses on this panel, who were on the Republican side of things. And guess who the Rep's asked their questions to? Yep, mainly those two witnesses. Mr. Stephen Presser I think was the name of the one.

There's much more to go into here, but It's getting late and this post is going way too long.
I just want to say one last thing...
I am not sure that having the witness Vincent Bugliosi there was such a good idea. Yes, he was passionate. Yes, he made good points, but at times it just seemed like he was trying to simply plug his book in a shameless way. And to use words like "murderer" was to me inappropriate at this time. (speaking of which, There seemed to be a lot of book plugging going on here, that seemed inappropriate to me). See his youtube clip here.

IF you are a glutton for punishment as I am, and want to watch the ENTIRE 6 hour hearing, you can see it on C-span's website here. (not sure how long this link will work).
It might be best though, to pick and choose through some of the clips on youtube. You can find a lot of shorter clips here.

I am hopefull that those who have made mistakes will be held accountable. I am not overly optimistic though that actual impeachment hearings will take place, but I hope that those in power who are proceeding, will continue to proceed with everything they can. Go Dennis!

[edit: Wow, I really shouldn't post at 2am in the morning. I just re-read my post above and found a bunch of typo's. I've since fixed them. My apologies to all editors and writers out there.]

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oil question...

The other day, while surfing the internet, on one of my news websites I saw the horrible news that there was an oil spill at the mouth of the Mississippi River. I then heard a small report on NPR explaining a bit more of the details... Now, forgive me for possibly getting some of the facts wrong, as I didn't have a notepad to write on while I was driving home and listening to the radio. The ship has spilled 419,000 gallons of fuel oil. (now here are the facts I heard, but can't seem to find confirmation of in some of the online news reports). They mentioned that the ship had just picked up the oil from a local distributor and was headed to some country, when it got hit by a tugboat.
Then it hit me...
Wait... did he just say that the ship was headed for another country?
We are currently in an Oil crisis here at home (USA).
There are talks of offshore drilling.
There are talks of drilling in the Alaskan wildlife refuge area.
If we need oil so bad... WHY are we exporting it then to other nations?
I googled it this morning, and according to this chart, the USA is the 17th ranked nation for exporting oil! (this isn't the same chart, but it still shows USA at 17th).

So can someone explain this to me?

[update: 7/27/08]
This news item just appeared on tonight that goes to answering this question! I'm glad other people are paying attention to this.
Short answer if you don't want to read the whole article (which is short).
Large multi-national firms like Exxon-Mobil are not US property. They sell to the world and their allegiance is to corporate profits.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Bike Thief

Why does this not surprise me.q

Sunday, July 20, 2008


WARNING! This blog post contains some material that is gross. IF you are about to eat breakfast lunch or dinner any time soon, DON'T CONTINUE READING THIS!
Ok, still with me? So you like gross stories? ewww... why would you want to read a gross story?!
Why would I want to even re-tell this story?! I'm not sure, I guess to point out the fact that I will never understand some people in this world. I'll spare all the gory details that I had heard...
So after my movie last night, I was really hungry. I actually had dinner earlier at a Japanese Restaurant, but what a let down that was... I ordered a Miso Soup, and an Unagi Roll (That's eel by the way - I know, that's gross right there! But they taste good). I ended up getting a little tiny bowl of soup (more like a cup), for $2.50, and the Unagi Roll was around $7.50! Then I had to tip the waiter, so for $12.00 I had this measley meal. It tasted good, that's for sure, but I still felt hungry (and cheated).
So after I watched the movie "Wall-e" and waited for about another 40 minutes, I decided to leave the movie theater and head home. I realized, just down the road is a roadside diner, that I've always wanted to try out. I decided to stop in for a cheeseburger.
So, I place my order with the waitress, and waited for my food to arrive. A couple of women had come in after me and sat down in the booth directly behind me.
Soon, the waitress emerges from the kitchen and sets down my cheeseburger. I thank her and proceed to start to enjoy my hot fries. The waitress, takes a few steps over, and starts to interact with the two women behind me.
I'm not really making an attempt to evesdrop, but she's standing right behind me when inbetween the neural impluses to my brain of enjoying the fries, my brain starts to pick up on the conversation behind me...
The waitress is talking about how she used to be a hairdresser, and that one of the things they taught her was to never try to pop a pimple on your face! UGH! Pimple discussions?! While I'm trying to eat here? I cringe and figure ok, that's the end of that story...
But NO... The waitress continues to describe this big pimple that she got and how she decided to pop it anyway...
At this point, I can't take it...
I turn around and give her te meanest "stink-eye" I can muster and without actually saying a word (that shouldn't have to be said anyway!) she sees me looking at her, and says, "Oh, Sorry sir" - End of story right? NO!!!
She proceeds to lower her voice - obviously still at a talking level and not a whisper, and proceeds to finish her story to the other two women.
I couldn't believe it. She obviously knew it was wrong of her to tell this story as I'm eating otherwise she would not have apologised, but then to CONTINUE her story!?! And that it somehow makes it better that she had lowered her voice?! ugh.
If it were not for the fact that I was so hungry, and had a nice cheeseburger sitting right under my nose, I would have - and should have got up, and walked out!
But no... I tried to wipe my mind and tried to enjoy my burger.
I will say, that I did NOT want to touch anything that the waitress handed me, all I could picture was her in the bathroom while on break messing with her pimple.
ok, I think I'm gonna be sick now.
Sorry I had to share this story with you all... but misery loves company - and I DID warn you.
Needless to say, I'll NEVER go back to that diner!

Movie: Wall-e

Last night was another hot summer evening. What better place to spend it than a cool air conditioned movie theater! I chose to go for a Double Feature! Start the evening out with a light hearted kids movie called Wall-e and finish it up with a topping of "Dark Knight" (aka: Batman).

Wall-e > imdb
I liked this movie. Granted, it's def a kids movie, so I won't go into any sort of heavy plot analysis, but basically just sit back and watch the cute robots is how best to enjoy this movie. If I had one complaint - it was that it was too cute. I mean they even made the Cockroach look and act cute! But, all in all, that's what I had expected.
I was aware of some minor controversy over this movie also... The "president" they claimed made one single statement something like "Stay the course", So some people were saying that this was a "dig" on Pres. Bush. Yeah, it probably was! But in my opinion a well deserved dig. I can't see too many people getting upset over that.
There was another controversy over some people getting upset about how the humans were portrayed 700 years in the future - as being over weight. Um, not to sound crass, but have you looked around lately? We're almost like that now! I can understand how some people might get upset over this, but I don't think this is a fault of the film. I don't think they were making any sort of mean spirited comment over being over weight.
One item that I had NOT heard as being controversial... (which to me seemed like it should have raised an eye brow), was the corporate take over issue! It almost alarms me more that people would overlook that issue, and be worried that humans were portrayed as being over weight. Almost like saying "oh, corporations like Walmart - controlling the political process? No problem!"
As an adult, there were some political underlying themes in this movie. I happened to agree with those themes, so it didn't bother me, but if I were on the other side of the fence, I might have a problem with this movie. I actually thought - Every kid should see this movie as a warning against over consumption, and lack of physical activity! But that's for another blog post I guess.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. The corporate side jokes bothered me just a little bit in the sense that Steve Job's owns Pixar (who also owns Apple computer). There were defintely some nods to apple computer in this movie, which skated on the edge for me as being a commercial endorsement, but if you didn't know these things, it's not a big deal. (For example, when Wall-e gets a full solar charge, and starts up, he "chimes" - this chime, is the same sound that Macintosh computers make when they start up.)
Not sure how much longer this film will be in the theaters, but I recommend it, and at least rent it. Another winner in the portfolio of Pixar - who in my opinion, has not made a bad movie yet.

As for the double feature of seeing "the dark knight" - I had gotten to the theater at about 6:45pm. The three evening shows up until the 9pm show were all sold out! When I got out of the Wall-e show around 9pm, I went in line and bought a ticket for the 10pm show. A long hour wait, but they have nice comfy leather chairs there, and I was having fun doing some "people watching". Well, buy about 9:30, there was a LINE going out the main doors! I thought, this is rediculous! I actually went back to the ticket booth, and asked for a refund of my money. I don't want to see a movie in a PACKED theater. I could have waited around and tried some of the later shows (10:30, 11, 11:30, or 12am), but I didn't want to spend my entire night at the theater waiting! So, perhaps next week, or maybe I'll go mid week to see it. MAN They must be raking in the money on this movie!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I expect more from Marty...

I was up early this morning (well, early for me, not for most people), so when my alarm clock went off I was already up and conscious. At around 10am I hear Marty Moss-Coane start her show "Radio Times". Much to my surprise (and dread) her topic for today... The "controversial" New Yorker comic regarding Barak Obama. I won't even go into describing the comic on the cover as by now I'm sure the entire world has seen it. I like Marty's shows for the most part. She's def one smart cookie, but this show was just horrible to listen to. An entire hour involving guests (other comic artists) and call-ins from the listeners that can be summed up in one or two sentences. It was a COMIC! Was it controversial? Absolutely. Was it in good taste? Debateable but in my opinion it was in poor taste. But what Marty did was try to analyze what makes a good joke. You either get it, or you don't. You either think it's funny, or not.
Not to mention, I felt like all of this was SO yesterday's news. Arn't there more interesting topics out there to choose from? Why not do a show on how Karl Rove has been called upon to appear before the Senate, and decided to just give them a big "kiss my ___" and THEN decides to FLEE - Er, I mean Go on vacation out of the country! That would make for an intersting show.
I know... it's my own fault... I should have just turned the radio off. Next time I will.
Sorry Marty, I expect more from you. I hope the next show is better.
I don't know why, but I'll link to the show's mp3 file on the website. I don't know if this is a permanent link, or if it will change when the next show airs. IF you want to listen to this be my guest :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Movie: The Great Debaters

It's late here (just after 1 am), but I just finished an AWESOME movie that I had to post while it was still fresh in my mind...

The Great Debaters (imdb)>
I really don't know where to start in praising this movie. The actors (and actresses) were all TOP notch. Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker in the same movie?! That's pure genius. One of the main characters was played by "Denzel Whitaker" I had to check imdb to see if he was in fact Forest's son, but no, there is no relation... but in an odd twist of fate, he was named after Denzel Washington. He too was awesome in his role of the child prodigy. He had just the right balance of determination, and yet child like naiveté. The actress Jurnee Smollett played the role of "Smantha Brooke (with an e)" and she too was incredible. Why have I not seen more of her in movie roles (imdb shows her career as having done a lot of television - someone in hollywood needs to give her more substantial roles like this!)
Perhaps more important than all these fine actors, was the story.
Set in the 1930's and it shows us a glimpse into another world. Something that strangely was not that long ago and at the same time feels like it was hundreds of years ago. The movie deals mostly with issues of race and human rights, which to me are still subjects we need to be mindful of in 2008. To often we forget our past.
I couldn't help but think of how far we have come in issues of race to be entering into a political race where one of the candidates is a person of color. Yet, we all know someong I bet, who is struggling with issues of race. My hope is that in a few more generations, this thing called "equality" will be much more prevalent.
Please... go rent this movie.
(note: in the dvd specials, there is some footage of actual interviews with some of the characters in the film, and people who knew the people first hand. This was also just as priceless as the movie itself. be sure to account for another 20-30 minutes after the movie to watch this special feature.)

PS: I feel bad for not mentioning the actor Nate Parker, who played one of the leads "Henry Lowe". He too did an awesome job, but I think because his character was a tad less likeable than the others, I think I left him out of the above praises. Good job Nate!

one more thing...
What you say? Not one complaint?
ok, there was one scene that did bother me...
At one point James Jr. Gets in trouble with his father. The father grounds him, and tells him he's not allowed out of the house until he tells him where he's been. James Jr. Responds "but what about school?" - to which his father starts to get even more mad at him for talking back. James Jr. Runs to his bedroom and slams the door.
The VERY next scene... James is at school! No explanation. This was just a big slip of continuity in my opinion.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Movie: The Spiderwick Chronicles

Another summer evening with nothing on TV but mind numbing gameshows and repeats. Really? A Game show for dogs? ugh.

So I popped in a movie from Netflix.
The Spiderwick Chronicles (imdb) >
I basically liked this movie, but it was a bit of a struggle. If it were not for the fact that I liked the idea behind the storyline so much, I'd probably advise you all to pass on this movie.
First, let me say - The Cast of this movie was the oddest mixture of actors I've seen in a long time.
Nick Nolte plays an Ogre?! Ok, I can go with that. (must resist urge to make a joke about his CA mug shot).
Seth Rogen as a character voice?
But then to see Andrew McCarthy as the Father? Wow, where has he been for the past 20 years? (according to imdb, he has been busy, I just don't recall seeing him since the 80's).
And lastly, Freddie Highmore - who I really liked in "finding neverland" but he played the role of twins (which I didn't even realize was the same kid until about 20 minutes into the movie!)
The actress who played the older sister (Sarah Bolger) was so-so... I just couldn't stand her character is all. I think the first half of the movie was just listening to the brothers and sisters and the mother all yelling at one another and fighting! All the bickering and yelling was gettin on my nerves.
I enjoyed all the monsters and effects, but on several occasions, I feel like they were cutting some corners with the effects. They just looked too fake.
Lastly... The movie at some points was pretty intense (Like the mole monster chasing them through the tunnel) I wouldn't recommend this movie for younger kids.

I ended up rating this a 3 out of 5 stars on my netflix. I liked certain parts, but others I found annoying. I'm going to make a mental note now, to maybe attempt to read the book(s) for this series.

Oh for what it's worth... I WISH they showed more of the book illustrations. They were fantastic! I felt like I've seen that artist's work before. Really nice watercolor illustrations.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Garden help?

I just uploaded 3 photos of my Cherry Pepper plant in the hopes that someone out there in the internet land, can offer me help of advice.
(Note: The same exact thing happened to my tomato plant last summer!)

I live on the second floor apartment and I have a small balcony. It gets full sun from the morning sunrise until about 11:30 or so. I have the plant(s) in plastic pots about 8-10inch diameter.
As you can see from the photos here. The plant appears to be very healthy. Leaves are nice and green, etc. I've got LOTS of buds. BUT... the buds eventually burst open into the flowers which also appear to be healthy. Then after a day or so, the flower starts to wither. Eventually, the flower drops off of the plant at the point where the stem of the flower joins the main stem (approx half inch from the base of the flower).
As I said, this same behavior also happened last summer to a tomato plant that I had, and although I had lots of flowers, and what I though was a nice healthy plant, I did not get ONE tomato at all. It appears to be happening again with my Cherry pepper plant too!
( I did try pollinating the flowers too on the tomato plant with a brush, to no avail).

I'm posting this in the hopes that someone with a little more gardening knowledge than I can offer some advice. As of this Saturday though, I plan on donating this plant to my mom's garden in the hopes that in a new environment where the plant will get full sun all day long, perhaps I can get ONE red hot cherry pepper out of this thing.

For what it's worth, both the tomato plant and this cherry pepper plant are ones that I started from seed from the previous year.

Any advice would be appreciated. I'd like to have a small garden on my balcony, but so far the only thing I can seem to grow successfully is basil.

Monday, July 07, 2008

board balancer

I just twittered this, but I feel it needs more than 140 characters to explain.
I apologize because this is just a bitter rant.
Yesterday, I was enjoying a Lazy Sunday afternoon and flipping through the TV channels to see what was on (pretty much nothing). I happened upon some coverage (I think it was for the Olympics?) of a young woman on a balance beam. She was awesome! She had one little stumble where she lost her balance, but was able to recover quickly. I admit, there is NO WAY that I could do anything close to what she did. But then it hit me... The idiocy of this event! Here's a girl who spends hours and hours of her life so that she can compete with lots of other girls who have also spent hours and hours to balance on a 4" wide piece of wood. What on earth for? In stepping back a little you can pretty much say that about any sport. There is very little "benefit" in the grand scheme of things in putting a ball in a hoop, hitting a ball with a stick, kicking a ball, driving a car really fast, swinging from a bar, or balancing on a beam. But some of those skills you can make really really ungodly amounts of money doing! But something tells me that this young woman on a beam doesn't get paid that much money to do so.
She might get a medal, or bragging rights, etc... but when all is said and done, all she can claim is that she can balance on a stick much better than most people.
Oh well. Just a rant I had to get off my chest.
The human race just really puzzles me at times.

Edit: 7/8/08:
As JDE pointed out in her twitter response, "But you can ask that of any sport. Or art, really. Isn't it a celebration of what the human body is capable of doing?"
Yes... I too thought of the connection here to art in general. But imho I don't think the two compare overall. Granted, some "art" does absolutely fall into the category of "what's the point!" No argument there at all :)
There are also many different reasons for why a person attempts to create art, and like sports, some do it for the medal, or for the money... But I see one important difference between sports and art... Art (in general) is about creating something tangible. (I'm not talking about dance, or performance art). But things like drawing, painting, photography, even music. In the end... art is something that produces something tangible - and hopefully - makes the world a better, more beautiful place. We could go into a great debate (as many have) as to opinions on what art is, and or what is "beautiful" but that's not really the point of this rant.

Point taken though :)
Perhaps... The line between art and sports is not as clear or defined as I had thought. Like dance, or performance art, sports do create memories, and there's something to be said for that.

Thanks for the response and getting me to think a little deeper. :)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

movie: Songcatcher

I just finished watching a good movie called "Songcatcher" (imdb).
My mother had recommended this movie to me and I thank her for that.
First, lets get this out in the open right at the beginning - it's a chick flick :)
No car chases, no gun fights (though guns were drawn several times!), etc...
But this is one of those movies that I like because it had a storyline.
The acting was well done (though Janet McTeer who played Prof. Lily was a tad bit one dimensional, though I think that was supposed to be how her character was). I've always been a fan of Aidan Quinn too. I was also impressed with Emmy Rossum (Deladis) performance, I think she stole each scene that she was a part of.
Lastly... Almost like the actors themselves, a very important character in this film was - The music! A lot of "old timey" back woods bluegrass style songs. It's been a while since I've listened to my bluegrass collection, but this movie sparked that interest again.
Not to mention, that It helps reinforce my unexplained draw to visit the south (Tennesse for some reason is calling me - though the movie was filmed in Asheville, North Carolina.)
Go rent this movie if you like a good story about country/bluegrass music.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The last Templar and Spook Country - books

I've put way too much pressure on myself to write something of substance! I should just go in and delete that previous post. But I won't I'll leave it there as a reminder to myself that I should never do that again! Rather, I'm going to go back to just posting about whatever I want and whenever I want! So take that my previous self!

Well, unfortunately I waited too long to post a meaningful review of a book I recently finished. The book was called "The Last Templar". First off... this book was NOT what I was expecting it to be. I thought it would be about the history of the Templars, maybe a little "da Vinci Code" thrown in, etc... But instead it was a sort of modern day cop thriller with only hints at the Templar story. Granted, the book did eventually get into a bit more of an explanation on the Templars, but still. So once I got over this initial dissapointment, I decided to stick with it and see where the author would take me. The first sign to me enjoying a book... actually FINISHING it! So that says something right there. It overall was a good story. It had a few "hollywood style" coincidences but I was able to overlook those. One of the pivitol points in the book invovled a slam against religion (Catholicism and Christitanity to be specific), and although I don't agree with everything the author (or character in the book) said, I will grant them, that it was good information to ponder.
Bottom line... If you're looking for a summer read, I'd recommend this book. If you're sensitive to having an athiest question your beliefs, you might want to skip this book.

So, in having finished that book, I'm met with the unfortunate task of deciding which of several books to read next! Yes, I have several books here on my shelves already, waiting for me to read them. I decided to go with William Gibson's "Spook Country." I saw Mr. Gibson speak several months ago at the Philadelphia Free Library (I thought he gave a poor presentation for what it's worth). But, I did buy his book and have it autographed. So I feel somewhat obligated to read this. MAN... I am having such a difficult time getting into this book! First off, he seems to write with a sense of A.D.D. He tends to wander in his descriptions of events and places. I keep wanting to shake the book and say "get a hold of yourself, and finish one train of thought!" The other problem I'm having is the many different names and characters he's introduced. I can't keep them all straight! Lastly, I have a real problem with some of his "fanciful" writing. For example, this random quote:
The Flagellant Messiah, as Milgrim imagined him, was a sort of brightly colored Hieronymus Bosch action figure molded from some very superior grade of Japanese vinyl.

Well, I'm about a quarter of the way into this book and I still feel a sense of obligation to reach at the very least the half way point. I can only hope that it picks up eventually.