Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Film Music

Terry Teachout's always estimable About Last Night features a quick look at a favorite topic of mine today - film music. He maintains within that "Generally speaking, a score is something you shouldn't notice until the second time you watch a film. If the score jumps into the foreground on first viewing, it might mean the film isn't good enough to hold your attention."

I'm not sure I agree. He's positing the theory as a generality to begin with, to be sure, and for many folks the score is just an ancillary part of watching a movie, something that works its magic without you noticing. But many people watch films closely, both noticing, on some level of concsiousnes at least, supporting elements like music and lighting and being affected by them. For those folks, the score always jumps out as a tangible element.

In any event, here's a quick list of some of my favorite film scores. Please note that this list is in no way meant to be definitive; I'm hardly a film buff and, as recently noted, am woefully uneducated about the world of film older than I. So that I'm missing just tons of wonderful film music is a given.

I tend to get myself fixated on composers, so here's the best of the bunch I tend to listen to:

John Williams
Star Wars
Schindler's List

James Horner

Thomas Newman
Shawshank Redemption
Meet Joe Black

Danny Elfman
Edward Scissorhands

Tan Dun
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Again, just a handful.

Until Whenever

Monday, August 25, 2003

Played It Too Much, Sam

Saw Casablanca this weekend, and while for most people that might not be much of an
event, for me it was the proverbial first time. Won't go on about the movie itself (which
was pretty much as good as advertised, just wonderfully spiky dialogue and an all-time
great character and performance, I thought, in Captain Louis Renault), but did want to
address an odd phenomenon I noticed.

As I said, I had never seen Casablanca. I'm in my late twenties. (Yes; it is a shame, but
expect more shames, I'm woefully and criminally underexposed to films older than I).
So, while I hadn't seen the film, I have heard its more famous lines (and, as everyone but
me knows, it has oodles) hundreds of times. The result was that during some big
moments, the ending speech by Rick in particular, the lines, good as they were, sounded
like clich├ęs. I know; this happens to everyone when a film gets this big. But more than
that, the lines, and their familiarity, had a weird double effect on me, in that the lines were bigger than their
meaning. In other words, it was impossible to hear the line as it was intended and not hear
the weight of its notoriety on top of it.

I've had a very similar thing happen with film music. If I know a score really, really
well, through listening to it on CD (like I do with, say, Legends of the Fall), and have
only seen the movie, at most, once (like I have with, say, Legends of the Fall), then if I
happen to see a bit of the movie (as I recently did with, oh, you get the idea) it's as if the
normal layers of dominance are reversed. For me, given how ingrained the score is in my mind, it's as if the action is accompanying the music, and not the other way around. It's an
odd sensation.

It was the same thing with Casablanca. I heard echoes of all the parodies, all the bad Bogey imitations, all the quotes, instead of the words themselves and what they meant to the characters at that moment in the story. Like I said, odd.

Anyway, none of this is meant to take away from just how good Casablanca was, of
course - just an observation of what pop culture aturation can do.

Until whenever.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Of Course, the Real Question Is, Can I Sit in a Theater for That Long?

Today's indicates that the first two Lord of the Rings films will be relased back into theaters along with the final piece of the trilogy. This is, of course, very excellent news. That they will only be limited releases, 150 screens or so, dampens the news, of course, but still - the opportunity to see the entire film (for it truly is one long film) in the theaters is to be cherished.

Until whenever.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Batman on Broadway

Actually, this is not about the oft-reported efforts of Warner Brothers to get a stage property out of their Batman rights (last I heard it's still a go). Actually it's about my discovery, through the wonderful world of the Internet, that my dual enjoyment of comic books and musical theater is not nearly as rare as I might have once believed. The most recent case in point I've stumbled across: Forager23 has an excellent post discussing the similarities between opera and comics, and a fine rebuttal of a reader who had written to decry the non-realism of musical theater. Good stuff.

Until whenever.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Fall Movies, or What I Have to Get Through Before Return of the King

Entertainment Weekly just put out its Fall preview, a look at upcoming films from Sept.
through year's end. Here, then, is a quick tour through some of the films coming our
way. I've indicated for each whether or not I personally think I'd like to check it out
(which should not be taken as an indication if I'll actually see it; the ratio of films I'd like
to see to films I actually get to the theater to see is not that high a one).

Master and Commander
Russell Crowe as a British Sea Captain fighting on the high seas. Not something that
would normally hit my buttons, but director Peter Weir's presence is intriguing. Maybe.

The Human Stain
Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman in an adaptation of the Phillip Roth novel, which
I've read. The preview piece quite cavalierly gives away what, in the book, is a pretty
big, Crying Game-esque surprise. (A surprise I won't give away here). Very curious.

Cold Creek Manor
Sharon Stone and Dennis Quaid in a haunted house story. Not doing anything or me.

Secondhand Lions
I'm curious, if only to see how Haley Joel Osment (who deserved the Oscar for his work
in A.I.) is aging.

Intolerable Cruelty
What appears to be a mainstream George Clooney-Catherine Zeta-Jones comedy from
the Coen brothers. That right there gives it definite interest.

Runaway Jury
Grisham, but Grisham with Dustin Hoffman, John Cusack and Gene Hackman – nice
ensemble, that. Maybe.

In the Cut
What promises to be heavy and relatively explicit sex scenes from Meg Ryan, in a movie
directed by Jane Campion, of The Piano fame? Very curious.

Kill Bill

So curious to see if Tarantino is still interesting or if he blew his metaphoric wad with
Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs.

Brother Bear
Disney desperately tries to prevent traditional animation from being slaughtered by the
CG variety; I hope they succeed (but this limp-seeming picture about a human turned
bear doesn't give me much hope)

Cat in the Hat
The Grinch was bad, and that had a real story at least. And the trailer leaves us with no
hope that Mike Myers is doing anything but Mike Myers. Ugh.

Matrix 3
Well, I have to see Matrix 2 on video first, but I hope to see this one.

Will Ferell's first starring role, as a human raised by elves, actually looks very promising
– call me crazy.

Love Actually
Big ensemble piece from the writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill,
both fine movies. Very curious.

Cuba Gooding Jr. playing a true-life mentally handicapped (read: retarded) football fan. Be very afraid.

Haunted Mansion
Eddie Murphy in an adaption, a la Pirates of the Caribbean, of the Disney ride. Looks
very, very lame; but I said that about Pirates. (I have a hunch this time I made the call).

Big Fish
Tim Burton doing circus freaks. I am so there.

Black comedy with Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore directde by Danny Devito. Death to
notwithstanding, DeVito can do good black comedy – remember War of the
and Throw Momma from the Train. Curious.

The Last Samurai
Had zero interest in this historical Tom Cruise sword-player, but seeing that it's from the
same folks who brought us Glory, as well as Once and Again, easily the best family
drama of the last decade, if not ever, has me very interested.

Not doing anything for me at all. Pass.

Stuck on You
Can the Farrellys make a Siamese twin comedy work? I'm curious to see.

Mona Lisa Smile
Julia Roberts doing Dead Poets (not in the dirty way). Meh.

Something's Gotta Give
A Jack Nicholson comedy where the joke is that he falls for the mom (Diane Keaton) of
the pretty young thing he's squiring? Now that's a high concept I can get behind.

Lord of the Rings 3
Most looking forward to this, out of any release in 2003. 'Nuff said.

Affleck in a memory-twisty sci-fi thriller by John Woo? Doesn't look all that intriguing.

Cheaper by the Dozen
Steve Martin in a kid comedy (a dozen kids). But Bonnie Hunt is also involved – always a
good sign. If anyone cam make it work they can.

Those are the biggies, although I'm sure I skipped more than a few others would judge as
biggies. Looks like a not-bad Fall. Bring on the Oscar talk! ;)

Until Whenever

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Star Wars Geekiness

Might as well admit it early on - I am a Star Wars geek. Yes, I liked The Phantom Menace, and Attack of the Clones and saw each in the theater more than once. On the other hand, I've never dressed as a character, waited in line to see a SW movie, and only sporadically check out SW websites - so it could be much worse.

That disclaimer out of the way, I post the following query. At the end of Episodes I and II a scene is struck that matches closely the ending image from each film's original trilogy counterpart. The ceremony at the end of Episode I strongly mirrors the ceremony at the end of Star Wars. And the image of Anakin and Amidala with the droids by their side gazing out of a large window mirrors a very similar final image from The Empire Strikes Back. So - how will the final image of Episode III, which we know will end in a bit of darkness, mirror the image of Luke and Lea fondly gazing at the ghosts of the departed Jedi in Return of the Jedi?

Any theories?

Star Wars geek-out over.

Until whenever.
Martin for Malone, Sounds Like a Song

Team USA update - may or may not have alluded to it yet, but I'm a pretty big (but not intense, stat-spewing, fantasy-league playing) NJ Nets fan. So the news that Kenyon Martin will take Karl Malone's place on the squad (Malone's mother has died and he's passing on the qualifying tournement that starts Wed. night), upping the number of NJ reps to 3 (he joins Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson) is exciting. I only wish the games were on TV, and not pay-per-view. (No, I'm not a big enough fan to pay to watch a game).

Until whenever.

Monday, August 18, 2003

As a movie music fan, I found the headline to this San Francisco Gate article somewhat alarming: "What's that sound? You may think it's an orchestra, but most movie music is scored electronically." However, after reading the article, that headline seems awfully misleading. The article is really more about how many composers today use software and sequencers to write scores and first hear how they sound. Nowhere in the article does it really say that the actual, final score to many films isn't played on "real" instruments any more. Actually, apart from Hans Zimmer explaining that his scores tend to be performed by mostly electronic instruments, there's no mention of films using "virtual" orchestras. What's worse, by mentioning electronic coummnication methods used by Howard Shore and Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings series, the article makes it seem, at first blush, that the Rings score is performed electronically, when I'm pretty damn sure it's almost all acoustic instruments and voices - real.

Anyone getting anything different from the article?

Until whenever.

PS - As I get more used to this whole blogging thing, and I start to build up more posts, I, naturally enough, am starting to wonder if anyone is reading this. Lacking the desire/will/know-how to see how many hits this experiment is actually getting, I'd love to hear from any readers, should any exist - there's an e-mail link in the upper right hand corner; I'd love for some feedback from anyone who might be out there.
So I’ve heard the new Lynyrd Skynrd song, "Red White and Blue," several times now, while driving up and down the East coast on several trips. I intensely disliked the song pretty much from the git-go, bit it wasn’t until a friend expressed his enthusiastic love of the song that I felt compelled to really examine why I disliked it so. The fruits of those "labors," or my lyric-by-lyric examination of what about the song bugs me so:

We don’t have no plastic L.A. friends, ain’t on the edge of no popular trends
Ain’t never seen the inside of that magazine GQ

"That magazine GQ?" "Plastic LA friends?" And what does being on the "edge" of a popular trend mean? Who are they comparing themselves to; who are they mocking? These are, presumably, relatively rich people.

We don’t care if your a lawyer, or a texas oilman,
or some waitress bustin’ ass in some liquor stand
if you got soul we hang out with people just like you

The implication that Bush has soul is pretty terrifying; it basically negates any meaning the word has, had or will ever have. Not to mention that "if you got soul we hang out with people just like you" is just a clumsy, awkward-as-hell lyric.

OK, and now that god-awful chorus:

My hair’s turning white, my neck’s always been red, my collar’s still blue

These are rock singers and musicians, rich rock singers and musicians; by no reasonable definition are their collars "blue." What offends me the most about the song is that it so blatantly panders; they’re sucking up to a blue-collar base they know will lap up this reverse-elitist drivel and pretending they're just the same as them – just the same as the miner, or the truck driver, or the farmer. It’s an out and out lie designed to sell a record, not any kind of genuine statement.

We've always been here just tryin’ to sing the truth to you
Guess you could say we’ve always been red white and blue

The implication here is that they're patriotic, they're American and always have been. They’re positing themselves against some unnamed "other" who is by implication NOT "red, white and blue." Just who exactly is the implied other who's been singing "lies?"

We ride our own bikes to Sturgis pay own own dues smoking camels’
and drinking domestic brews

What dues? "Drinking domestic brews?" Why is that a mark of honor?

If you want to know where I've been just look at my hands

To see the guitar-playing blisters?

Yeah I’ve driven by the White House spent some time in jail
mamma cried but she still wouldn’t pay my bail
I ain’t been no angel but even God he understands

What does God understand? That down-to-earth blue collar types are good people even if they did stupid things? And that "even" in "even God understands" makes no sense; it’s a clear placeholder, a word that means nothing (actually, worse, a word that means something they don’t want it to mean) just to fill out the meter. Rock lyrics are, as a rule, sloppy, but still.

Yeah that’s right

My daddy's worked hard and so have I, we’ve paid our taxes and gave our lives

"Gave our lives?" The singer is dead? The song is clearly about the band themselves; this is no character, so who exactly "gave their life?" Didn’t some Skynrd members die in a plane crash? That’s not "giving" your life; to "give" a life implies sacrifice, not tragic accident.

To serve this great country so what are they complaining about

Who served the country, and who is "complaining?"

Yeah we love our families, we love our kids
You know it’s love that makes us all so rich

As opposed to the millions of dollars? Again, they’re implying that the unnamed "other" doesn’t love their kids. ?

That’s where we’re at and if they don’t like they can just get the hell out

Who should "get out?" The song is an unspecified attack by "the blue-collared, red-necked" on no one in particular, and is designed to appeal to the Proud to be an American crowd’s worst instincts – that they are "real" Americans and "others" aren’t.

That’s why the song is bad.

Until whenever.
The August 13 edition of that most pleasurable blog, Reflections in d Minor , ruminates a bit on the ability, or lack thereof, of music to make people cry. The very enjoyable entry got me to thinking about my own experiences. Music can, on rare occasion, bring me to literal, actual tears, but, for me, at least, it's not necessarily sad music, but simply music that I find powerful in some way. The example that sticks with me most is the finale to Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures, as performed by the English National Opera on their 1987 recording of the score. That cast recording was my first exposure to the show, and I distinctly remember listening to it in the car one day and becoming overwhelmed by the dramatic finale. That last song, "Next," just pushes some emotional buttons for me; and not because it's a "sad" song - it's not. It is a song that climaxes in the kind of explosive, drum-laden, exuberant and loud rattle and hum that Sondheim almost never indulges in. Even better is that, as it climaxes, at the height of its frenzy, the music is cut off suddenly to be replaced by a quiet Japanese instrument softly plucking away. The Reciter (a narrator character) states some lines, quietly, and then the frenxy comes crashing back in again all of a sudden, with no warning, back at its thrashing height. It's powerful stuff, and it's the kind of music that can get me in the gut. The show, score, recording - all of it - comes highly recommended, for whatever that's worth.

Until whenever.

Monday, August 11, 2003

The Rent story is replaying - that is, the young, photogenic composer of a small, very off-Broadway-scaled musical has died just before its premiere, leading to all sorts of interest, interest that, to be charitable, was probably not existent while the unfortunate composer was alive.

Let me first say that I know nothing of Ms. Wing or her music. But isn't it, technically at least, unfair, if not, in the end, understandable (I know I'm much more interested in her musical than I was a day ago), that she, out of God-knows how many aspiring composers and lyricists trying to break into the increasingly atrophied musical theater game should now succeed, simple because her tragic death has created a "story?" It's an odd confluence of luck, a vicious crash between the tragic and good (in a horrible sense) kind. Her musical, and name, will undoubtedly be much more remembered now than the odds say it would have been previously. But, of course, death is easily too high a price to pay for such "luck."

Until whenever.
The USA Basketball Team started practice just the other day, in preparation for the opening game of the qualifying tournement, against Puerto Rico. Team USA needs to finish the tourny in the top three to make next summer's Olympics, and after last year's dismal results (a team of lesser NBA stars did pretty badly in last year's World Cup-esque competition), the stars came out. The roster:

Ray Allen, Mike Bibby, Elton Brand, Vince Carter, Nick Collison, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Richard Jefferson, Jason Kidd, Karl Malone, Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O'Neal.


My starting five? Kidd at the point, of course, with McGrady at the other guard. Tim Duncan in the middle. Those are the gimmees. Who do you put at the forwards? Carter and O'Neal? Malone and Carter? Brand and O'Neal? Or do you go small and avail yourself of Iverson? I'd go with Malone, for the experience and the better understanding of the kind of team ball global play is about, and Carter for versatility. So that's Kidd, McGrady, Duncan, Malone and Carter starting. Still leaves one hell of a bench.


Until whenever.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Arts Journal links today to a wonderful article on the Newsweek site on the current state of newspaper comic strips. The article is notable simply because comic strips don't get much play in media commentary these days, if they ever did. It's worth checking out, even if its big premise, that the current decade (the 00's) hasn't found it's breakout Doonesbury or Bloom County-level hit yet, seems a tad premature.

I did particularly enjoy, however, the piece's fine appreciation of my current fave, Get Fuzzy. What it doesn't mention, and what I will, is that perhaps Fuzzy's greatest atribute is the art. The strip isn't based on the quick set up and delivery of jokes, the way most strips are, and has a very different rhythm than your typical strip, especially your typical talking-animals strip. What makes it funny, for me anyway, is the art - there's an indefinable something about the way Darby Conley, who writes and draws it, has designed his characters, in particular the acerbic Bucky the cat, that's funny all on its own. It's that rare strip that would elicit a chuckle without any dialogue, and is probably my current favorite.

Until whenever.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Because it's something I do often, and something my father always (and still does) insisted I shouldn't, I post the following stat on beginning a sentence with "and," taken from an article in the New York Times today.

The new one is the most significant revision since the 12th edition in 1969. It is the first edition, for instance, to address electronic publishing seriously. It also has the manual's first chapter on grammar and usage, written by Bryan A. Garner, with instructions on whether it is all right to use "and" and "but" at the beginning of a sentence. "And" has been O.K. since Chaucer's time, Mr. Garner said.

"The shibboleth persists that it isn't," he said. But the great grammarian H. W. Fowler, author of Modern English Usage, called it "a monstrous doctrine," he said. Mr. Garner, himself the author of A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, did a study on the issue. "Ten percent of sentences in first-rate writing begin with `and' or `but,' " he said.

Take that, Dad.
All Dylan fans, a club to which I am only a very recent convert, must check out Greg Sandow's most excellent article on Dylan, here.

Sandow is the classical music critic for The Wall Street Journal, and also has just started writing a superb blog on that very same subject for

The Dylan piece is great precisely because of Sandow's background as a classical critic; indeed, the piece is primarily about the odd dissonances Dylan, particularly early Dylan, employed, and why they work. It may sound dauntlessly technical, but my knowledge of theory is tenuous at best, and I loved it. If you need another reason to check it out, the following sentence should do it:

To represent Dylan's harmony in any kind of formal musical analysis, I'd have to write out the chords and then crumple the paper, spill coffee on it, carry it around in my pocket for a couple of weeks, wipe my mouth on it, and sleep with it..

Good stuff.

Until whenever.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

On his excellent blog, News From Me, Mark Evanier discusses the 11 o’clock charges leveled at the Episcopalian nominee for bishop, the Rev. Gene Robinson. As anyone who’s glanced at a newspaper or newssite this past week or so knows, Robinson is about to become the first openly gay Episcopalian made bishop, an arguably historic moment for the gay rights movement.

Just as the vote was about to come down, the proceedings were put on hold so that the powers that be could examine two charges made against Robinson. The first, that he is connected to a group whose Web site can indirectly link users to pornography, is ably ridiculed by Evanier. The thrust of his quite right argument is that the site in question, which Robinson has nothing to do with, apart from originally founding the group whose site it is, is several links away from porn – and what web site isn’t “several links away” from porn?

The second charge concerned “inappropriate touching” of a man. Evanier digs up the following, from The San Diego Union Tribune, concerning this charge:

Scruton said he spoke with Lewis by phone Monday afternoon and Lewis told him that, at a public church event in November 1999, Robinson "put his left hand on the individual's arm and his right hand on the individual's upper back" as Robinson answered a question Lewis had asked. Scruton said the other encounter occurred when Lewis turned to make a comment to Robinson and the clergyman "touched the individual's forearm and back while responding with his own comment."

Several months ago, at the Catholic church my wife and I attend, we waited to be blessed by the priest after a mass, a blessing for the family done annually by the Church. When our turn came, the priest, whom we had never met before, him being new to the parish, hugged us both, tightly, and kissed me on the cheek, as he welcomed us. It sickens and saddens me to realize how easily that wonderfully warm and open gesture of welcome from a man who, after all, has chosen a profession dedicated to helping people, could be turned into a dark and dirty accusation. Shame on those attempting to tar Reverend Robinson with such flimsy accusations, and let us hope that we don’t inadvertently create an environment where the priest I encountered is forced to keep his infectious joy of life to himself.

Until whenever.
Caught a bit of American Juniors last night, and don't have much to say except - ew. The predominant reaction I had, to every number, to every performer, to every backstage clip and pre-arranged "bit," was just that - ew. It was creepy.

I followed the second American Idol nominally, and had separate issues with that program's grim insistence on horrible singing as a model to aspire to. It dawned on me as I followed AI that the producers and judges really do believe that Mariah Carey and Celine Dion represent a pinnacle of singing, and as a devotee of the form I was, quite frankly, nauseated. While each of the aforementioned women have undeniably powerful instruments, neither has any idea as to how best utilize that instrument - and this was the same disease I saw in the AI finalists.

AJ had a very different problem, at least from the bits I caught last night, and it's that these are, in the end, kids, and they're simply not very good. Weak, thin voices with very wobbly pitches put to serve really, really (really) bad songs in awkwardly, forced up-with-people presentations. The real problem is that, as kids, they shouldn't have better voices or more polished stage presences - those are the tools they should be developing at their ages. But the show puts them out there, and will presumably put out the group that's formed, as real singers, real entertainers, that real people will be expected to pay real money to see, and that's just wrong. Perhaps the "ick" factor I felt came from this juxtaposition - the juxtaposition of inexperienced, unformed talent and professional presentation. Whatever the reason it was distinctly uncomfortable seeing these kids up there, and, while of course it wasn't nearly as morally reprehensible as the real thing, it had the same unpleasant aftertaste of real, nasty child exploitation.

Until whenever.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Greetings and salutations, as that wise and eminent sage Charlotte the Doomed Spider said (or at least I think she did; haven't read that puppy in many a year). Assuming the relative techno-dunce that is I can get this thing to work properly, this is the inaugural post of Tosy and Cosh, my virgin entry into the remarkable world of blogging. The plan, such as it is, is to use this space to spout off on any number of things that interest me, and, the hope would be, others; said things to include all things pop culture, with an especial focus on movies, comic books, musical theater, TV, the odd book; the occasional entry into politics; random commentary on the news of the day; a little NBA talk - you get the picture. No real guiding principle, no real credentials to spout off, no - in the end - real reason for you to read at all. The hope is that folks who may stumble upon this blandly designed, blogspot-faceless site will return because they found the conversation, one-sided as it may (certainly at first) often be, engaging.

The other, ulterior, motive is that, as a fledgling and still-hopeful writer, this blog will enable (and, more crucially, force me) to flex those writing muscles on a near-regular basis. The obligatory background on me would indicate that I am, in a technical sense at least, a professional writer by trade; I write business proposals for a financial services company. I've dabbled in the odd bit of commentary and criticism out there in the web ether and have pie-in-the-sky hopes of parlaying what, thus far, has been a pretty much private and unshared (apart from the classmates and family who've read my stuff (under obligation, of course) career as a fiction writer into a real thing, whatever form that might take. So, if writing on a regular basis my thoughts on a wide range of topics can make me a better, more versatile writer, then, well, I'll take it, won't I?

One last thing - that title. Tosy and Cosh is the title of a song from the musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, music by Burton Lane and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner (of My Fair Lady fame). Sung by our heroine, the song details her desire for a man to "set (her) feeling all tosy and cosh," by which she means, not a strong man, not a heroic man, but a cozy and warm man. The connection to the spirit, intent, take your pick, of this blog is pretty much non-existent; I've just always liked the sound of the words “tosy and cosh“ - take of that what you will.

That's about it for a beginning. Time will tell how much (if at all) this thing of mine progresses, in the meantime I, by all means, encourage any stumblees to write with thoughts, questions, criticisms - pretty much anything but spam will do.

Until whenever.