Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Still circling Moose Jaw

... er, Amsterdam. My office has been working to get me on a flight tomorrow instead of the Friday one that United re-booked me on, but it's already 8 pm in AMS so I told the office to call off the hunt. On an earlier flight I'd have had to return via the dreaded Frankfurt airport, with all sorts of possibilities for further delay. I'd rather hang out in AMS another day and take a nonstop flight back to Washington Dulles.

I'll have more to write about Amsterdam, but probably not before this weekend.

I haven't forgotten about the election. Vote for Romney. This isn't the best of all possible worlds and you don't get to choose your ideal. The incumbent, Hussein, is an anti-American, socialist, Muslim-appeasing, teleprompter-reading dimwit affirmative action president who would speed up the disastrous course he has set us on for the past four years. He would find ways around any law limiting his power, as he has done by appointing "czars" to issue bureaucratic regulations with the force of law and giving illegals amnesty in absolute violation of democratic process. Plus, although you won't read about it in the Soviet-like mainstream media (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press), there is that little matter of Benghazi.

On any account, Romney will be better and there is a bare chance he'll rise to greatness.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Greetings from sunny Amsterdam

Well, there's no bloody hurricane here, anyway.

Of course my flight is cancelled, and United Airlines isn't answering the phone in its Netherlands, U.S., or India call centers. Everybody must be taking a bathroom break at the same time. And, beyond letting me know about the cancellation, the web site is mute about what to do.

So it looks like my visit will be extended for x days. That's a minor inconvenience compared with being flooded and sans electricity if I were back home. But since airline computerized yield management means every flight these days is full or almost full, it's going to be tough re-booking even if UA does decide I'm worth the trouble of speaking to. I hope I don't have to return via Finland or something.

Speaking of far more serious matters: If you haven't been following the bouncing ball in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack, Lawrence Auster sums up the stunning developments. We can't know all the facts, but I have found him to be reasonable in discussing the "known knowns" concerning even people like Obama whom he loathes.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Worth a detour

Jacob van Ruisdael

Actually, Haarlem is worth more than a detour. It's worth a visit in itself. Oh, sod it, I'm starting to sound like I toil for the Dutch convention and visitors bureau.

All right, let's pause to look at the gray side for a minute. Haarlem is chaarming, but getting there isn't. You take a tram to Amsterdam's Centraal Station, okaay? I mean, okay? Right through the heart of Amsterdam's grotty moron-IQ-tourist district. Cup your ear and I'll whisper a secret: don't ever harbor a moment's thought about staying in this area. Close your cranium to guidebooks telling you how convenient it is. Unless you are so twisted I don't want you reading my blog, stay away. Amsterdam has so many fine districts there is simply no need to kip anywhere near the railroad station.

Right, so Centraal Station is in Holland, which means it's no more than 75 percent as hideous as U.S. or U.K. big city stations. Still, unless you have a Euro-style credit card with a chip on its shoulder -- most machines won't read U.S. plastic without an embedded chip -- you are condemned to queue up to buy your ticket to Haarlem with caash.

Now, after a wait of from 0:00 minutes to 0:30 on a cold windy platform, you get to ride second class (the only class) in a commuter train. If you are very old and decrepit, you might be offered a seat by a kindly soul. I was not that old and decrepit. When I boarded.

I mention these trifling details only in the far-fetched hope that James Howard Kunstler, the apostle of public transportation and population density, happens on these words. James, here is your Nirvana.

You arrive at Haarlem and the world looks brighter. It was described to me by several people as like a smaller Amsterdam, and there's something to that: at least one canal, streets of those picture-book gabled houses, neatly lettered signs for the residents and occupants.

A taxi ride and we're at the Frans Hals Museum, with a detour (again worthwhile) around the corner for some sustenance before tackling the long museum corridors. I'm here to tell you that the Ristorante Napoli makes the best pizza ai quattro formaggio in the universe. As their sign says, Een Klasse Apart.

I love Dutch painting of the 16th and 17th centuries, but Hals least of all. Sure I appreciate from a vanishingly long distance his technique, quasi-impressionist before it was revolutionary and then a bore, but still -- how many pictures of black-robed, Sphinx-faced dignitaries can a body stand to see at one sitting, or sit still for at one standing?

But the halls of Hals aren't the only paintings to greet the eye. There are three Jacob Ruisdaels, not among his best, just better than those of any other Dutch landscapist.  And those great genre artists such as Jan Steen: you don't know whether to be fascinated by the details of life of the gentry and peasantry, astonished by the staggeringly assured technique, or laugh at the sardonic humor. So you do all of that at the same time.

Speaking of humor, there are a couple of delightful satirical paintings (circa 1640) about the famous tulip mania that made and destroyed fortunes, always cited in economic history surveys as an early example of a "bubble," a term we've become all too familiar with. One portrays the whole tulip industry, including richly dressed salesmen, aristocratic customers, tulip stockbrokers, bankrupts, and one figure indicating his contempt for the maniacal bidding war by pissing on a bunch of tulips. The characters are all monkeys.

One more day for me in Amsterdam (my wife will say a few more days), then Schiphol and home.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Further musings on Amsterdam

Herengracht, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

These are of course only mental snapshots; I don't think you really know any place until you have been there for six months or so. Still, one can't help gathering impressions.

I continue to be impressed with this city. It almost overcomes my distaste for cities in general. The famous Dutch fondness for the neat and orderly seems alive and well, and although those are hardly the most important virtues -- maybe not virtues at all if pushed to extremes -- they do cushion some of the sharpness when too many people in an overpopulated planet converge.

In fact Amsterdam would be even more enjoyable without a lot of its visitors. And I don't mean Ugly Americans -- the Yanks (judging their nationality from accents) are by and large well behaved. No, the lager louts from the U.K. and Russia constitute a lot of the undesirables.

But the locals seem easygoing and content. I would think that's hard when your home city is endlessly inundated with dozens of nationalities who can't speak your own language. (I don't know Dutch, but even offering a thank you in the local lingo -- dank u wel -- seems always to draw a smile.)

The streets and, especially, the major intersections belong equally to pedestrians, cars, bicyclists, and lethal-looking trams. You'd think it would be a recipe for anarchy and confrontation. Yet everything flows with balletic grace.

I'm almost tempted to take seriously the idea that a workable society can exist without religious urges, of which Amsterdamers have precious few. The Protestant churches have been refashioned for museums and other secular duties. Amsterdam is where churches are closed on Sunday.

It seems not so much enmity to spiritual life as indifference: not worth weighing. The Western world's modern gods are here in abundance -- sex, consumerism, entertainment. Who could ask for anything more?

But they're sleepwalking into a trap. Like Europeans (and not a few Americans), they assume everyone else shares their values. When they wake up, too late, they will understand that (for instance) the Turks and Africans don't.

Case in point: today we visited the Begijnhof, a cluster of houses around a courtyard that has existed since the Middle Ages as residences for Beguines, women with a religious vocation who are not quite nuns. (Typically for Dutch tolerance, there is a Catholic chapel and a Scottish Presbyterian church.) The oldest house, dating from the 15th century although "much restored," in the guidebooks' usual phrase, is now some kind of library or study hall open to the public.

When we went in, there was a black man seated at the reception desk, who offered us no reception -- didn't look up from his newspaper. Well, no big deal, I've seen surly caretakers of all racial persuasions. But, take my word for this, there were four or five Africans including one with the complete dreadlock get-up and all looking like they were at a reggae concert. Which in a sense they were, one playing reggae music on his MP3.

No doubt the Catholics are reaching out to their African brothers by turning an obsolete sanctuary over to them.

The Dutch, except for Geert Wilders and his party, are doing something similar vis-a-vis Muslims. In so doing they risk their indigenous culture, still admirable in so many ways, still alive a little longer.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I find myself in Amsterdam

Can't recall where I was when I got lost. Never mind, here I am.

Actually, I'm at a conference at a hotel near Schiphol Airport (the Steigenberger, nee Dorint) -- a pleasant, well-run meeting-cum-sleeping factory. After tomorrow I'll be done with work (for the time being) and will move to the old city and really be in Amsterdam.

Airport hotels are said to be the same everywhere, and in my limited experience, that's true. Everything I've seen so far on this visit could be on Long Island. There are no windmills out front (which I am grateful for -- if there were, it would be the most cynical tourist play imaginable).

Yet subtle things already tell me I'm not in the U.S. or U.K. Even in a very 21st century setting, lacking the overtly traditional, there is a feeling of neatness and orderliness. The chaps who drive the hotel vans from the airport either like their work or give a flipping good imitation of it. Same with the people at hotel reception; there's that indefinable air of professionalism that seems hardly to exist anymore in the U.S., where you are greeted with a mechanical smile and a bored intonation, or in the U.K. where you will probably find a student or immigrant desk clerk -- yeah, clerk -- proficient in several languages, none of them English.

I can't discuss the conference, not because it is secret but because I don't mix work and blogging. As usual, most of the interesting stuff comes in one-on-one conversations during the breaks and after the day's presentations are done, down is let hair and loosened are collars.

When I'm in Europe I can at least understand why people have somewhat different attitudes about globalism, the EU, and such than Americans (other than pseudo-Europeans) do. Here everybody lives not far from another nationality; they usually have some language in common (the Dutch almost all speak English, of course -- even other Europeans, except maybe Germans, can make no sense of Dutch). It is tempting to believe they're all one big happy family. But they confuse courtesy with shared values.

That's the story so far, from your blogger whose head is still in mid-Atlantic.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

On the road again

This time, with the office's Mac laptop. I should be able to do some postings from ... no, I'll let it be a surprise.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sign of the Times

Leftist radicals are smarter than conservatives.

Not intellectually, but tactically. They are more clever in grafting their agenda onto the society they're determined to remake.

Radicals understand the power of the fait accompli. They know that each time they attain a goal, by fair means or foul, the chances of a rollback are slim. Then they move on to the next goal. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Most people aren't driven in the way leftists are. I don't think Yeats got it quite right ("the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity"). The best are full of passionate intensity about the best things -- and that doesn't include the politics of totalitarian utopias. Their deepest values tend to be human ones: family, friends, spirituality, work, hobbies, sports, arts, science. Those are more real to them than power trips.

Humans are adaptable. Very. That's useful in many cases, but a poor defense against the creeds of madmen. At a certain point ordinary people's anger dulls, the sense of urgency dissipates. They learn to live with the new normal. Eventually they don't much notice. They have kids, the kids grow up with no concept of how it was before the revolutions large and small. And the ratchet gear turns another notch.

On the home page of the Los Angeles Times today:

Los Angeles, California is really a second Tijuana, Mexico, and it is becoming more so every day. Los Angeles, California, may have as many as three million hardy souls who at some time crossed the border illegally and have remained together – maintaining their native tongue and lifestyle above all else. There are more people of Mexican descent in Los Angeles than in any other place on earth except Mexico City. There are even more Spanish speaking radio stations in Los Angeles than there are English speaking stations. When Mexican politicians want to reach their second largest national constituency they leave Mexico and come to Los Angeles. Yes, the Mexican illegal alien population in Los Angeles makes it the second most populous Hispanic city in the world and their votes do count. 

That's from, which is, needless to say, "privately managed and not subject to the direction of the United States Border Patrol." It's a candid and powerful description of what de facto open borders have created, by people who are in a position to know. 

For example: "The violence of Tijuana, Mexico often sends AK-47 rifle fire over the border and into U.S. Border Patrol vehicles. To limit the mayhem, many Border Patrol vehicles used in dangerous areas -- even a quarter mile north of the border -- are fully armor plated.

Is this cross-border gunfire not an act of war? But our Attorney General approved a dim-witted scheme that exported automatic rifles to Mexico. We can't even get him impeached. We should tell Mexico that they will stop sending their gangs and surplus population to the United States -- or else. But we don't. We adapt to "reality."

The United States is today scarcely more than a geographic expression and a legal system that perverts the original spirit of the Constitution. It will split up in the next 30 years, destroyed by the progressive and globalist capture of the government, media, and academia.

Only one question matters about the transition: will we have a constitutional amendment setting the rules for peaceful secession by states, or will we have another war of federal suppression à la 1861–65?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This is the way the free world ends

This is the way the world ends 
This is the way the world ends 
This is the way the world ends
 Not with a bang but a whimper.
T.S. Eliot
The story will probably have disappeared from the web site of the Telegraph by the time you read this posting:

Thousands of Muslims have pledged a series of protests against Google HQ for a "hateful and offensive" anti-Islam video, saying they now live in an "age of mockery".

A protest by 10,000 Muslims outside the offices of Google in London today is just the first in an orchestrated attempt to force the company to remove an anti-Islamic film from website YouTube in Britain. 

Thousands had travelled from as far afield as Glasgow to take part in the demonstration, ahead of a planned million-strong march in Hyde Park in coming weeks. Anger over 'The Innocence of Muslims', an American-produced film which insults the Prophet Mohammad and demeans Muslims, according to protesters, remains available to watch on the website YouTube, a subsidiary of Google.

UPDATE 10.15.12: I was mistaken that the Telly would quickly bury the story. They still have a link to it today. I was correct that otherwise no major U.S. or U.K. news medium would notice it. The only other story I could find was in something called RT.

I suppose you have to give the Telegraph credit for a little courage. A little: you will notice that they do not dare allow comments from all the "fascists"/"racists"/"neo-Nazis" (i.e., ordinary English people). A quick check of the pathetic Daily Mail and the leftist Guardian reveals no articles about the demo.
Organiser Masoud Alam said: "Our next protest will be at the offices of Google and YouTube across the world. We are looking to ban this film.  

"This is not freedom of expression, there is a limit for that. This insult of the Prophet will not be allowed. 

The group's next action was a march Mr Alam hoped would be "a million strong" would take place in Hyde Park "in the next few weeks", he said. "Until it is banned we will keep protesting," he added.
Muslims represent 4 percent of the British population according to one estimate. Obviously they are feeling their power. 

So far the U.S. Muslim population is about 1 percent. Their wombs are busy, however. It won't be long.

Unless we stop and reverse Muslim immigration now.

Your move.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Second-hand news

With a mixture of embarrassment and satisfaction, I admit I have not watched or listened to the Romney-Obama or Ryan-Biden matches. Maybe it's my duty as a citizen, but what am I a citizen of? A post-American America, a corporate-political class oligarchy, a Marxist egg busy hatching. The truth is, getting close enough to the election farce to perceive it directly makes me so ill I want to take to my bed.

But I have exposed my tender soul to written accounts of what passes for debate in this year of grace (or disgrace) 2012. Most recently, this opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

As someone said, let me be perfectly clear. The efforts of Emperor Obama and Sub-Emperor Biden to pretend they bore no responsibility in the grand debacle of Benghazi are beneath contempt. As is so much about the reign of the teleprompter organizer and community reader elevated far beyond his feeble intellectual means.

But while I would cross the street to avoid Joe Biden, I think he made more sense in a few things he was quoted on than the Journal's neocon writer would acknowledge.
To hear Mr. Biden tell it, the Obama Administration now has a new red line on Iran. The mullahs can enrich as much uranium as they wish as long as they "don't have something to put it in." This isn't the red line Israel's Bibi Netanyahu had in mind during his recent speech before the United Nations. Nor are Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others looking for proof of an Iranian ICBM before they decide to go nuclear themselves. Iran becomes a regional nuclear power when it demonstrates its ability to get the bomb at almost a moment's notice, which is when it has developed enough fuel for it.
No, I don't want the mad mullahs able to fling nukes around like Zeus tossing lightning bolts. If it were not for Papa Doc Obama's feckless leading by appeasement, we probably could threaten Iran with utter and total devastation should it loose a single atom bomb anywhere, especially on the Little Satan in its backyard. 

The mullahs can bang on about Imam no. 12 and having it away with 72 virgins or goats, according to taste, but they are human and I suspect they really aren't that eager to be vaporized. More importantly, if we announced a credible policy of massive persuasion on the model of our calling cards on Japan in 1945, the Iranian population might well decide to pull down the temple on their demented leaders' heads.

But a preventive strike, however satisfying it might seem in imagination, could well precipitate a Middle Eastern Götterdämmerung. It's a tough situation, with no assurance to be found in any action. You ask me, we're in no position to do anything but watch and deliver a meaningful threat of colossal retribution for nuclear misbehavior.
The Veep made a spirited case as well for doing nothing in Syria—no "no fly" zones, direct arms supplies to the rebels, or any U.S. political lead in an intervention. "If, in fact, it blows up and the wrong people gain control, it's going to have impact on the entire region, causing potentially regional wars," he said of Syria. News stories suggest this is happening already without any U.S. involvement, as the Syrian war pulls in Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.
I agree. No "no fly" zones, no direct arms supplies to the rebels, &c. Let Syria be Syria, which is to say, let its factions blow each other to hell. Not our problem. We still have the dregs of a Cold War mentality: we think any rotten dictatorship anywhere (like any Commie regime back in the day) is a clear and present danger. 

The past 10 years have made it obvious that the United States and whatever unwilling allies we can drag into our schemes haven't a clue about tribal cultures and the prevailing mentality in the Bedlam that has descended on the long-ago cradle of civilization. Above all, we are rocks-in-the-head stupid about the nature of Islam -- or we wouldn't be inviting Muslim colonization. (The other day I made one of my very rare visits to a big-time shopping mall. The sales ladies in Macy's were almost all wearing headscarves. It was like I was in Iran.)
Mr. Biden appeared to preview another Obama policy shift on Afghanistan. With a 2014 deadline to transition the security lead to the Kabul government, the discussion will shift to how large the American military footprint will be afterward—with up to 30,000 U.S. troops left behind to ensure the Taliban don't overrun Kabul again.

But Mr. Biden said something different: "We are leaving in 2014, period, and in the process we're going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion." He added that Afghan forces are ready to defend the country themselves and lead the fight in the difficult east, another piece of intelligence that's news to us.
Why do we need a footprint in Afghanistan? We've lost the war, we're playing tennis with the Taliban anyway. What if 30,000 troops can't stop the Taliban overrunning Kabul again? Will we replay the boots-on-the-ground movie?

As for saving $800 billion, that would be at least a down payment on reducing our national debt of $13 trillion, or perhaps $20 trillion by 2014. Seems like a better use for the dough than slaughtering a bunch more Taliban savages and U.S. soldiers.

Of course the Afghan forces aren't ready to defend their country (if you can call it that) and "lead the fight in the difficult east." They probably never will be ready. It's hard to think of a better rationale for making our own presence absent in Afghanistan.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Who knows where the time goes?

Across the purple sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

Sandy Denny,
"Who Knows Where the Time Goes?"

Speak, Memory, Nabokov titled his autobiography. His memory spoke to him right enough, but in the way it speaks to us in the latter half of our lives -- not as a connected narrative, but in flashes, images imprinted so strongly that they exert a hold on us after decades and decades.

In Nabokov's case, memories were probably especially uncoupled. The Russian revolution interrupted his youth and his family had to flee from Russia to Germany; needless to say, that required further emigration later. His father was killed by an anti-Communist Russian, in a mistaken assassination. Nabokov became the eternal re-settler.

If he wasn't just rationalizing experiences he couldn't have helped, Nabokov professed to find psychological advantages in discontinuity.
I wonder, however, whether there is really much to be said for more anesthetic destinies, for, let us say, a smooth, safe, small-town continuity of time, with its primitive absence of perspective, when, at fifty, one is still dwelling in the clapboard house of one's childhood, so that every time one cleans the attic one comes across the same pile of old brown schoolbooks, still together among later accumulations of dead objects, and where, on summery Sunday mornings, one's wife stops on the sidewalk to endure for a minute or two that terrible, garrulous, dyed, church-bound McGee woman, who, way back in 1915, used to be pretty, naughty Margaret Ann of the mint-flavored mouth and nimble fingers. 
The break in my own destiny affords me in retrospect a syncopal kick that I would not have missed for worlds.
Still, it's a strange business to look back on a life that seems to have been lived in water-tight compartments. There isn't a soul, aside from relatives, that I've known for more than 18 years. (At my age, that's not so long.) How much of what we "remember" is spiked by reminders from other people? From photographs and recordings?

In (I guess) my early 20s, I briefly reconnected with a high school companion. He recalled an occasion when I was giving a "speech" in class. He said I'd stood at the front of the room, mumbled for 15 minutes, then finished, "Well, uh, I guess that's all." I had completely forgotten (repressed?) that gormless performance, but I recognized my younger, even more insecure personality.

Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Ah, but then you know it's time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

Just the other day, in a mood of bottomless boredom, it occurred to me to see if Google could dredge up anything on the Web about my misbegotten tenure as a radio personality in Santa Fe in the '8os. It seemed unlikely -- that was, of course, pre-Internet -- but I did once find a newspaper piece about the chap who'd been my best friend in college, with whom I'd long since lost touch. It was his obituary.

Even Google, no surprise, took me through pages and pages of irrelevant and peripheral Web material. Eventually, it brought up an article in Billboard, dated July 21, 1984, quoting my good self as I was then.
Short concertos are often played complete, but symphonies rarely. Most likely just the quicker movements are aired, with largos or andantes felt to dissipate the upbeat ambience sought by the station. Some purists are displeased, confesses music director Rick Darby, but these dissenters have KHFM [an Albuquerque classical station] to listen to. 
Still, says Darby, "We treat the music with respect." All selections are identified on the air, but historical analysis is eschewed. "We're not out to educate our audience," the music director adds.
What was odder than finding that on the Web was, I had zero recollection of it. You understand, in the music business, of which music radio is a part (much more in those pre-YouTube days), Billboard is the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New Testament. How could I have obliterated all conscious traces of being interviewed for, and my words appearing in, the publication?

That brush with transient fame means nothing to me now, but how many "significant" moments vanish to some Hades from where they cannot be precipitated into the present?

Montaigne, who confessed to having a lame memory, found a benefit in time canceling the past:
I find some consolation, first because I have derived from this evil my principal argument against a worse evil, which might have taken root in me: the evil of ambition. For lack of memory is an intolerable defect in anyone who takes on the burden of the world's affairs. .. 
Then, as several other examples of nature's workings show, she has generously strengthened other faculties in me in proportion as this one has grown weaker. I might easily have let my intelligence and judgement follow languidly in other men's footsteps, as all the world does, without exerting their own power, if other people's ideas and opinions had ever been present with me by favour of my memory.
Physicists tell us that energy can never be created or lost, only changed in form. The Vedantic tradition of India, and its modern Western derivative of Theosophy, say the same of all past experience. We can forget, but nothing is lost: it resides forever in our individual souls and in the metaphysical Akashic Records.

And I am not alone while my love is near me
I know it will be so until it's time to go
So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
I do not fear the time

For who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes?

Occasionally when the conversation seemed to warrant it, I've mentioned the idea of the Akashic Records to people who had never heard of it. My experience is that after a moment while it sinks in, they are surprisingly open to it, as if it's a kind of archetype we all grasp by intuition. Most of our time is lost to our conscious minds down the years, but something insists that eternity has a place for it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

How I know cats can love


When I play with my cat, who knows whether she is not making me her pastime more than I make her mine?
Michel de Montaigne

Cosette likes to be massaged all over. Especially her head and tummy. Sometimes she even purrs in anticipation. 

Often when I'm lying in bed reading, she settles down next to me and reaches for me with her paw to signal she wants attention. If she doesn't get it immediately (which she usually does) she curls up and rests her head against me.

These appear to be loving gestures, but of course they could be no more than peremptory demands for sense gratification. They are not evidence that cats can love. But there is other evidence.

It occurred to me the other day that there is nothing I can do for her in the way of stimulation that she couldn't do for herself. Cats are liquidly supple. She could caress her own head, knead her back or stomach. 

Why should she so crave my touch? I can think of only one reason: she wants the knowledge (and for a cat, touch is absolute knowledge) of connection with someone close to her. Another being to whom she is deeply attached. 

Am I stretching a point to say that she loves? Some might think so. I don't.