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Here's One For The Ladies...

Hi ladies.  We need to talk.

I gotta tell ya gals, I've been single for a bit now.  I've tried various methods of meeting single women, and I've had more than my fair share of first dates.  In most cases, it simply boils down to a matter of chemistry (or lack thereof). 

But I've noticed some very alarming trends with a lot of you out there.  It used to be the minority.  But it seems to becoming more and more prevalent out there, and it's time to address some things with you all.

First off, disclaimer.

I consider myself a nice guy.  I appreciate family, education, honesty, and would like to think I can be funny.  I'm also insanely loyal.  Moreover, I'm not the average jerk who's just looking to get laid. 

Having said that, in spite of what I think are some pretty good qualities, a lot of you have treated me like some second-rate citizen, either before or after meeting.  I know dating is tricky, and I can understand that because of the enormous number of assholes out there, you might be a little gun shy about opening up to someone even if they do seem like a decent human being.

But that doesn't excuse you from basic human decency.  Especially if you really are dealing with a good person.  So, here are some basic tips for dealing with a nice guy.

  • Be honest.  You don't have to pour your soul on the table, but don't hold your cards so close to the vest that the other person doesn't even know if you're aware of what cards you have.  I'm not saying to give yourself away at all, but if you get the impression either before or after meeting a guy that it's not gonna work out, say so.  We're adults.  Personally, I get it if there's no spark.  And I would honestly say that it's about a 50/50 break on how many times I've been on the receiving end of that talk or the initiator.  Don't drag things out.  Just be genuine.  Don't fabricate stories or make up excuses.  Just be honest.  You didn't feel a connection.  You're not ready to date again.  You've met someone else.  These are all valid.  If you're dealing with a mature man, he'll get it.  He may get bummed out (I do sometimes), but he won't try to force it.

  • Keep an open mind.  I've had people cut things off before meeting.  And sometimes that's alright.  If you've talked over the phone a few times and you don't feel there's anything there, then be polite and honest.  But if you barely know this person, give it a chance.  Seriously.  I had someone pull this with me one time, and I questioned it.  She ultimately admitted she had met someone (this ties into what I said about being honest), which is a different story.  And I told her so.  But had she simply stuck to her original line, I really would have questioned it.  I wouldn't have fought her on it, but I would have made it clear that I don't get it.

  • Communicate.  This one is baffling.  I don't get why some people are adverse to communicating.  We live in a society where we have thousands of ways to reach out to one another.  I get that we're busy adults.  We have careers, personal lives, interests, etc.  But it takes two seconds to send a text.  Two.  If I write you to ask how your evening is going, don't wait until the next morning to write back.  Unless you see it very late and don't want to wake me up, just write back whenever you can.  If you disregard my attempt to reach out to you for that long, you're disregarding my interest in you.  What does that say about you?  As a person, as a woman.  Women wonder why they get bad reputations sometimes.  It's shit like this, ladies.  Straight up. 

  • Don't become a ghost.  Quick story.  I was supposed to meet someone for a first date.  We'd been communicating for nearly a month, and we were looking forward to it.  However, the weather was less than friendly, so we had to cancel and reschedule.  But before that could happen, this girl went dead silent.  Everything changed.  Short answers.  No affection in the communication.  And eventually, no communication.  I don't know what changed, because I didn't do anything.  And if I did, she didn't say a word to indicate that something was amiss.  Remember what I said about communication?  About being honest?  Consider this a dotted line to those bullets.  Do you want to know how you look when you suddenly just "shut off" like that?  Not good.  You look like an ice queen.  Or a coward.  Maybe even dishonest.  Before you go all monastic with the silent treatment, ask yourself if you want to look like any of those things.  You pull this stunt, and I guarantee you will have guys thinking they know exactly why you're single.

  • Give and take.  This is just a rule of thumb.  It has to be balanced.  Remember that there is another person at the table with you on that first date.  That person also has interests, hopes, dreams, and stories to share.  Don't monopolize the discussion.  A few years back, I went on a first date with a girl; drinks only.  I kid you not when I tell you that this girl had more stories than Aesop.  Every story had a subplot.  Every subplot required exposition.  That exposition led to another story.  She dominated 85 percent of the conversation.  There was a point where I had to go to the bathroom.  Bad.  Cross your legs bad.  I couldn't find a way to interrupt her verbal onslaught without being a jerk.  I waited 15 minutes (I'm not exaggerating) for her to complete this never ending story (cue the song) before I could finally excuse myself.  It ranked in the top five pees I've ever taken in my life.  Look, we all have lives and tales to spin.  But don't make it all about you.  Make sure it's justly laid out and not one-sided.  Show a guy that you actually care about things like his career, his family, his interests, and you'll be more likely to become one of his interests. 

  • Be sure you're ready.  This is for those of you who are coming off a recent split.  Either a long-term relationship, or a divorce.  Heartache sucks.  We all know that.  Especially if the last person was incredibly difficult.  And there's no timetable on how long it takes to get "well enough" to throw your name back in the dating hat again.  So for God's sake, take your time.  Don't force it.  Reconnect with the people in your life first and foremost; your family and friends.  Be with them, get your head on straight, and if you need professional counseling to get through the hard times, there is zero shame in that.  An objective third party helps a lot.  There are bound to be conflicting emotions of a wide variety swimming through your head and through your heart.  It's OK, really.  Take care of them before you prepare to mingle again.  Rebounds do not work.  If it's been a month after a two or three-year relationship detonated in your face, you probably shouldn't be on  Take some time and figure things out.  Then, when you're comfortable, get back out there if you see fit.  You'll be less likely to find yourself in another complicated situation, and much less likely to impact an innocent bystander just looking to meet a nice girl.

  • Know what you want.  Take stock of your values.  Does religion matter to you?  Do you want a family?  Are you willing to move?  Would you change careers if necessary?  These are all valid questions that you should ask yourself.  And y'know something?  Whatever your answers may be, they're right.  It's your life.  You have every right to feel the way you do about the things you want.  Unless you're completely out there and insist on working in a traveling sideshow or something bizarre, there is no wrong answer to any of the above.  Just be aware of how those answers might affect your ability to meet and be with another person.  But know them going in so the risk of surprises and misunderstandings is minimized.  You'll avert disaster every time.  Promise. 

  • Be guarded, but don't be in a shell.  Like I said, it's OK to be cautious.  Guys are jerks.  We've all been burned.  So don't go bearing your soul off the bat.  But don't keep your guard up so high that the guy you're with can't see your face.  If a guy thinks you're not willing to open up after a reasonable amount of time, he's gonna try harder to get you to open up.  Guaranteed.  Sooner or later, you have to.  Because if not, problems are going to emerge in one way, shape or form.  And if a guy thinks you're "turtling up" way too much, there's gonna come a point where he considers leaving you that way, because there's little he can do.  And if he does, I'm sorry, but it's on you.

  • Don't be cold.  Seriously gals, do not be frosty when you're dealing with a guy.  Short, one-word texts, snarky responses, dodging questions, all of this adds up.  And all of it is unappealing.  For the love of Christ, show some warmth once in a while.  Throw in a smiley face, an exclamation point, a friendly comment.  If a month has gone by and things are going well, take initiative once in a while.  I'm not saying cook a three-course meal or something like that.  Once in a while, you be the one to say good morning.  You be the one to say "I miss you," or "have a great day."  Show a guy you care.  Show him you're interested.  Show him his efforts to get to know you and make you happy are appreciated.  It'll go a long way.

  • Don't be hyper-aggressive.  This is in contract to my previous statement.  There's a happy medium here.  If you're too forward, a guy will definitely run.  I went on a first date a few years ago that was pleasant.  Attractive girl, good conversation, things were looking decent.  I go to the bathroom.  She texts me from the bar, and says, "I like you," punctuating the statement with a smiley face.  How am I supposed to react to that having spent a mere two hours in this girl's company?  It's one thing to like someone, it's another to come on too strong.  When I got back to my seat, she asked me if I got her text.  I'm not making this up.  This was just too much.  There was no second date, and I was polite, but honest in explaining why I didn't want to see her again.  You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so be careful about what you're willing to share.

  • Don't be a social media crybaby.  I've seen some girls on Facebook who constantly bemoan their lot in life.  Or they post these cryptic messages about trusting other people, or how happy they are, etc., etc., ad infinitum.  Girls, here's a tip: keep your private stuff private.  If you're not willing to spill your guts to a total stranger, don't spill them all over social media, either.  Say you meet a nice dude.  You go out a few times and become Facebook friends.  If he sees you're forever posting this kinda stuff, he's going to start wondering two things: 1. How stable is this girl?  And 2. How long before I become the subject of one of these posts?  You're only as good as how you're willing to portray yourself.  So don't pin the blame on everyone else and don't go sounding off like that every other day.  Massive turn-off.

  • Be mindful of how you represent yourself.  Selfies.  Gang signs.  Duck faces.  Red Solo cups.  Scantily clad photos.  If your profile or Facebook page has nothing but the above images plastered all over the place, it is a turn-off for a nice guy.  Maybe you'll attract some juiced up meathead with a million dollar body and a ten cent mind who's just looking for something quick and easy.  If that's what you want, fine, I guess.  But if you're serious about attracting a nice guy with values and ethics, think twice before you post all those pics from your Vegas trip with the girls.  And if every pic is taken from an upward angle looking straight down at your well-displayed cleavage, guys are gonna make assumptions.  Just or not, they will.  Oh, and please smile.  A permanent puss is such a turn-off, no matter how "sexy" you think it looks.  (And if you're wondering why I put that in quotation marks, just stop reading right now.)

  • Be mindful of the fact you're dealing with another person.  This is the golden rule, plain and simple.  Unless a guy proves himself to be an outright piece of garbage, don't treat him like an afterthought.  For that matter, don't treat any decent human being like an afterthought.  Karma exists.  It'll come around and bite you in the ass sooner or later.  Here's a little tip about nice guys: they have hearts.  Some are sensitive.  Don't treat him any differently than you would like to be treated, no matter what the situation.

And if you really want to know what a nice guy is looking for, I'll tell you.

A warm personality.  Strength.  An open mind.  A love of family.  A sense of humor.  Self-respect.  Dignity.  Honesty.  Loyalty.  The willingness to compromise.  And maybe a dash of affection from time to time. 

If I'm looking at a profile, I take notice of a girl who smiles.  Maybe she posts some pictures of her and her girlfriends, but there are also shots of her with her family.  Parents, nieces, nephews, hell, even pets.  I like it if she has more than a paragraph written about herself and what she's looking for.  I like it if she's a little goofy in some of her pics; no one wants someone to take themselves too seriously.  These are the facts.

Remember gals, it's a big world out there, and there are lots of fish in the sea.  But despite the metaphor, that doesn't mean you should treat them as a fisherman would by gutting them or throwing them aside if they don't fit the bill.  Treat a man with respect, and he will respect you, even if it doesn't work out. 

When in doubt, ask yourself, "how would I want to be treated?"  Be fair, be genuine, and don't play games.  Because when you fail to meet any of the above bullets, you're officially doing just that, whether you realize it or not.  It doesn't look good, ladies.  Never. 

And before you go trampling us with that one big unified chorus of "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)," hold back on your battle cry and remember that a guy will gladly put a ring on it if he feels you're the right match for him.  Trust me.  I'm all for feminist beliefs and empowering women, but that does not equate to diminishing men. 

So please, be thoughtful.  Show us you deserve to be cared for, and wooed, and above all else, loved.  Because many of you do.  But if you put the wrong message out there, it's going to be a while before your single days are a thing of the past.  And I'm sorry, but that's no fault of mine.


One Nation, Under The Gun...

I try to add a sense of acerbic humor to my entries here.  I try to temper my opinions with a little bit of rough laughter in hopes of making this a more engaging read, and also lightening the mood a little bit.

This is not going to be one of those entries.

One day short of the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting in my native Connecticut, and a mere eight miles away from Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, the news pages were again graced with the sad, senseless news that another school in our country fell victim to a shooting.

It doesn't matter to me that there was only one innocent shot as opposed to the 26 who perished in Newtown.  There is no way to quantify these incidents.  There's no scale to "measure" tragedy.  It's tragic.  It's senseless, painful, and heart-breaking.

I'm not going to get into a debate about gun control here.  Let me say that.  I have heard impassioned arguments from both sides of that argument, and I can see reason to both sides.  I've read heated Facebook posts which I swear could have led to fisticuffs and broken friendships.  Not only that, I don't know all the fine points about this issue, so I'm not even going to pretend to be an expert. 

This is not a political statement.  This is a musing about the world in which we live.

I heard a newscaster yesterday compare this situation to Columbine, saying the two were not similar in that minformation was quickly dissiminated regarding the Arapahoe shooter, whereas Columbine was more chaotic.  I respectfully disagree.  They were similar enough for my tastes.  One unstable individual with a gun with the intent to hurt innocent people in an educational institution.

I want this to end.  I want to never hear about this again, in any city, in any state throughout this country.  I hope and pray I never have to endure watching another reporter interviewing shaken students and parents mere hours after their world was violated in such a heartless, mindless way. 

I'm not a parent, but I hope to be one day.  And I can't even begin to fathom what this kind of situation does to one with children.  Even if you're miles away from where the story breaks.  How can you feel comfortable sending your kids to school?  How can you feel OK leaving them alone for eight hours a day or more?  How do you ever stop being scared?

And as someone who lived through it, how do you recover?  How do you move on and sleep comfortably at night? 

I didn't know anyone affected by Sandy Hook personally.  What I know is how I felt when I heard the news.  Driving back to work from my lunch break, I had the radio on a local AM station to hear the latest.  I remember somber, serious voices reporting the news.  I remember feeling violated that this happened practically in my backyard. 

And I remember crying.

And it's not just our schools.  Ever since April 20, 1999, public shootings throughout our nation have become all too prevelent.  Don't believe me?  Ask Gabby Giffords.  Or the folks in Aurora, CO who just wanted to catch a midnight showing of that hip new Batman movie. 

If it's not a problem, then why do I know the names Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Seung-Hui Cho, Jared Lee Loughner, James Eagan Holmes, and Adam Lanza?  How sad is it that I only needed Wikipedia to jog my memory on less than half of those names? 

I don't know what the answer is.  I don't know if there is a way to succinctly, accurately address this trend.  But we have to admit that it is a trend.

We fixate on stupid stuff in this country.  We focus on Miley's twerking, Kanye and Kim's racy new video, how awful Homeland has become, and Bob Barker turning 90 years old.  Hell, I'll admit probably 90 percent of the stuff that I've written about on this blog is beyond trivial. 

This is serious.  If it's not already an epidemic, it will be if we don't start having serious, sensible, and above all else bipartisan dialogue about what needs to prevent these kind of incidents from happening again. 

I remember a story about a student who attended Virginia Tech during that shooting who was actually a graduate of Columbine High School and lived through that tragedy.  Think about that.  One girl had to endure two shootings that left people dead in the double-digits.  What are the odds?

In this country, not that bad, apparently.

I'm not saying it's easy.  It's not.  But it's important.  I hope we wake up soon.


So Much For Retirement...

Now I am well aware it has been nearly four years since I wrote in this damn thing.  And in all honesty, while that annoying thing called "life" has taken precedent in that time over writing and expressing my opinion, this blog has never been far from my heart.  I still visit it every once in a while and look back on my old posts, pleasantly reminiscing about what an angry young man I could be at times.

In truth, it takes a lot to piss me off these days.  You could say I've mellowed quite a bit.
But sometimes, dude's gotta rant.  This is one of those times.  Strap in...

There's a cancer that has been plaguing pop culture all year long.  It's been poisoning my eyes, ears, and permeating my fucking soul.

Miley Cyrus. 

It's been ages since an entertainer infuriated me to this level.  No matter where I turned, there she was this year.  Ready to shamelessly self-promote her "adulthood."  And from the end of August on, it seemed like this bitch was completely unavoidable.  Not only was she all over the damn place, but every media outlet with a pot to piss in was all too ready to report about her every move.  Her "twerking" (for fuck's sake, that's not really twerking), her media appearances and performances, her controversial music videos.


Dear members of the mainstream media, I know it's your job to report the news, and that is sometimes a subjective thing.  We as human beings in the 21st century are drawn to controversy like a moth to a flame.  We love it.  We get hard thinking about it.  But there reaches a point where it's overkill.  We passed that point two months ago.  Time to stop.

Speaking of time (how's that for a segue, kids?), I found out today that Time magazine nominated Miley Cyrus as one of their candidates for Person of the Year.

Let that sink in.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  Barack Obama.  Pope Francis.  Gay rights activist Edith Windsor.  Miley goddamned Cyrus.

I won't pretend to know much about the current sociopolitical landscape these days.  I'm not gonna try to make like I intimately know the works and efforts of any of the names listed above.  (Although some are certainly more prominent than others)  But to even consider listing her name with these others is criminal.  I don't care that she didn't win.  She was nominated.  She didn't even get nominated for a Grammy (rightfully so), but you're gonna consider her a contender?  Don't you people realize you are validating her? 


Has she fought for gay rights?  Has she tried to amend the reputation of the Catholic church?  Has she attempted to make changes in health care? (For better or for worse.)

No.  None of the above.  Not even close.  She's gone onstage with her horrible tattoos, her Tinkerbell haircut, and she's winked, stuck out her tongue, and wiggled her sorry excuse for a posterior back and forth while attempting to sing.

OK, let me backtrack a bit... I'll retract the "attempting to sing" comment.  If pop music has proven anything over the last four decades, it's that talent is optional.  Sure, sometimes you get a genuine entertainer out of the fold like a Justin Timberlake.  But by and large, it's a mixed bag.  For every ultra-successful JT, there's a pitiful reject from 98 Degrees we used to think had a decent singing voice.  So let us immediately put talent aside.  How sad is that?

With that said, let's get a few things out of the way right now.

1. I didn't used to have a problem with this child.  Back in her days as Hannah Montana, I knew she existed, but could care less how popular she was.  It was music for kids, and it was what it needed to be for that demographic.  Upbeat, bubbly, and cute.  No harm, no foul.  But...

2. This attempt to be "adult" is as transparent as her wardrobe.  Trying to pass off her attention-grabbing performance at the MTV VMA's as artistry, or a call to adulthood is laughable.  Say what you will about Lady Gaga and her appearance.  The woman is A) talented and B) genuinely artistic.  There's always a method to the madness.  What Miley did was simply an attempt to get everyone's attention and say "look at me."  Stupid ass us, we gave her just what she wanted, and she hasn't turned back since.  Because in that time, we've been exposed to...

3. Her tongue.  Bitch, stop it.  Gene Simmons's tongue doesn't see the light of day in a single KISS concert as much as yours does in a single TV performance.  It's not attractive.  It looks ghastly.  Stop it.  Now.  Along with...

4. The "twerking."  It's not legitimate twerking.  It's sad that I even know what constitutes "legitimate twerking."  This is really just a sorry wiggle of a sorry ass.  Oh, by the way...

5. You don't have a knockout body, so stop showing it.  I'm not trying to be chauvinistic here, but I know an attractive feminine form when I see one.  This is what drew people to Britney Spears back in her earliest days.  Girl had a bod.  Miley does not.  She doesn't have a great ass.  She's fit, for sure, but there are far better looking female bodies out there, in music, and in other forms of entertainment.  Hey, y'know what else many people have that's better than what you have?

6. Tattoos.  I don't have a problem with ink in general.  I don't own any, but if you do, go for it.  But by God, these are some of the worst tattoos I've ever seen.  What kind of idiot gets "ROLLING" tattooed on the bottom of one foot, and "$TONE" on the bottom of the other?  And for the record, this is one of the most unforgivably ugly pictures I have ever seen in my life.  (Incidentally, why is this "outrageous?"  Disgusting, yes.  Stupid, of course.  Outrageous?  Not so much)  Nothing says "sexy" like a closeup of the browning bottom of someone's feet.  Yeah, that's what gets me going.  But here's the thing that really bothers me...

7. The drugs.  Miley-poo clearly has no problem lighting a joint in public.  (By the way, how calculated was that?  I'll say this much, as scummy as this broad is, she knows how to market herself.  Don't think for a second that anything she does is "just because."  Everything is to generate a buzz.)  But she also doesn't mind endorsing the use of psychedelic drugs.  This legitimately upsets me.  Miley's fan base is mostly comprised of 20-something girls, maybe even younger.  This is a highly impressionable age.  My dad's goddaughter is a freshman in college, and I know she digs Miley.  But it concerns the ever-loving shit out of me when I read something like this, because while she is assuredly a smart girl, anyone can be susceptible to the ringing endorsements of figures in pop culture.  And while this is the most egregious item on this list, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention...

8. The giant kitten.  What the shit?

Look, I'm not even going to pretend that I dig on modern music.  I can't turn on the radio without hearing the same song eighteen times over.  And it's always a shitty song.  It's almost never listenable by my standards.  And it pretty much always makes me angry.  You know what two albums have been on endless rotation for me since the end of August?  No joke.  "Master of Puppets" and "Reign in Blood."  Yup.  The two greatest thrash albums of all time, both of which are 27 years old.  They have become my "go-to" albums in 2013.  And it's not just Miley that singes my ass.  Every time I hear that goddamned "Roar" song, I immediately want to stab my radio repeatedly.  So I'm not gonna say that she is the sole offender of awful music in this day and age.

But she is certainly the most visible.  And the most shameless.  And the most widely covered. 

And by far, the least respectable. 

You have musicians out there who, regardless of talent or merit, have been vocal advocates for gay rights or anti-bullying campaigns.  Then you have cats like Bono who champion every cause under the sun and work to genuinely raise awareness.  What has Miley Cyrus done in 2013 for anyone other than herself?  Seriously.  Everything she has done has been with the intent to raise her own stock and line her own pockets.


Y'know what I want for Christmas?  Santa, I hope you're listening.  I've been very good this year.  I've given to the homeless, I've moved furniture for people, I even gave my favorite dog some meat from my plate.  I think I deserve something nice, since I never ask for much these days.

I want a time machine.  That's right.  I don't care if it's a phone booth or a DeLorean.  It could even be a cardboard box like in "Calvin & Hobbes."  I'll squeeze in.

Why?  Because I want to save the world from this cancer.  I want to go back in time and prevent Billy Ray Cyrus from procreating.  Oh, I'll let him keep his life.  Maybe I'll even be magnanimous and perform a chemical castration as opposed to using a tetanus-infused penknife.  But he cannot breed.  He cannot.  I won't allow it.  For the sake of all mankind, his achey-breaky ass must not be allowed to have children.

Once again, proof positive we should have listened to Bill Hicks.   That cat was onto something.  For that matter, so were the cats at South Park.

And y'know what?  Shame on Billy Ray.  Shame on him for allowing his daughter to sink this low.  Shame on him for even letting his daughter get into entertainment in the first place.  He should have known better.  He should have heard enough of the cautionary tales to know what was possible. 

I hope he's happy.

I hope he's happy that his precious little girl is now the most visible female in the public eye.  I hope he's happy that her every little move is scrutinized, analyzed, and dissected to the point of absurdity in the third degree.  I hope he's happy that for as much money as she earns the Cyrus clan, she is widely criticized and reviled by pundits across the board.  And above all else, I hope he's happy that she's handling her fame so poorly. 

I hope he's happy, 'cause I'm not. 

I'm not happy that a dimwitted little trollup who proudly sings about partying, drugs, and being a cocktease is getting more notoriety than women like Malala Yousafzai.  I'm not happy that this insipid little tart is still grabbing headlines mere days after the passing of Nelson Mandela.  I'm not happy that this child has made a name for herself in the name of being sexy when she is, in fact, anything but. 

I made a comment on Facebook a few days ago about how I was happy that Miley Cyrus wasn't nominated for a single Grammy Award.  I don't normally agree with conventional definitions of what makes "good" music.  In fact, I'm still resentful over Jethro Tull topping Metallica in 1989 for "Best Metal Performance."  But I'll say this: the Grammy's made the right call.  There is nothing special about Miley's music.  More than that, we should not give her any further attention.  She's gotten more than enough. 

I sincerely hope in 2014, we move on.  I hope we forget about Miley's nonsense, as we have with so many other prominent media whores.  And look, we know the climax is coming.  It's a matter of time before she hits the wall and has some kind of public meltdown. 

Don't acknowledge it.  Don't sensationalize it.  Don't feel sorry for her, because she will have brought it all upon herself.  And if she really is an adult, she will have to deal with it like an adult.  Plain and simple.

Just let her go.  Let her become a distant, unpleasant memory.  Let her slip into the deepest recesses of our collective mind.  Let her go out not like a wrecking ball, but like the crying kitten she is. 

And if you like her, soak it up while she's still around.  'Cause it's gonna be a very ugly wreck.