Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Matthew Grasso and his newly designed 25 String Raga Guitar!

Here is Matthew Grasso, a local San Francisco native, presenting his band members and his newly designed 25 String Raga Guitar. The band is called the Nada Brahma Ensemble and this performance was presented by the Sangati Center in the City. Matthew graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he focused on Western Classical music, and then later studied with Ali Akbar Khan in San Rafael where he became enamoured with Eastern Classical sounds.

Born of New Yorker Italian Father, and Chinese Mother, Matthew brings together those two worlds in a variety of records. You can find him at his website for more information and bookings.


Music to follow shortly... as soon as I am back from Holiday!
Two angle edits of two hours of great sounds!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Three new international artists make the top twenty so far this month!

I am so thrilled about how Ear Candle Productions is making its way around the world. Our own "Democracy" is listened to more than 1500 times a month and we have artists sending us music all of the time for airplay on Ear Candle Radio!

Just this month, three unique artists have sent their recordings, two of whom have Halloween themes!

Marson Ramos, from Brazil, sent us "The Halloween Theme" which is now number 17 on our top twenty, which is a delightful promise from a ghost to be nice if he gets some candy! Well! Isn't that what we do on Halloween? The song is a playful and jaunty piece that makes you smile as you listen. We could use some smiles here in this political climate! Thank you Marson!

The second one offering a Halloween theme is Dean Farnell, from England called "Ghost on the Stairs", which currently sits at lucky number 13 on our top twenty. Ghost on the Stairs is a jangly indie rock song based on a true story that his mother told him about! Hmmm.... cool. Given that energy cannot be destroyed, something of our human energy must be around lingering but I would be scared to see it! But not Dean! He is quite sure that ghosts are a certainty! Check it out!

The third artist hails from Japan and his name is Takeshi Murata and his song is called "Decipher". Takeshi has his own podcast in Japan and requested a PSA from us about how we described his song, and something about our station which he will upload. So J Neo created a really cool 30 second PSA, and Takeshi is really happy! We like to make people happy, especially real gentlemen who reciprocate! Thank you Takeshi, your song is now #20 on Ear Candle Radio. Get some of your friends to vote the next time you are on so we can make sure you are one of the top twenty in your first month out!

Starting next month we will be sending out Ear Candle Radio buttons for those who make the top twenty. And for those who have in the past, we will send you one with your request, which will keep us from having to go back three years and track you.

Give us a listen. Send us your music. Airplay for the underground sound!


PS gee this is fun!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Mountain Goats and Kaki King, The Fillmore, 10/24/08

The very idea of The Mountain Goats headlining the Fillmore would have been hard to imagine not so long ago. I started paying attention to John Darnielle in the late 90s, when the Mountain Goats consisted of one intense guy sitting in a chair, thrashing at an acoustic guitar and blurting out compact tragicomic short stories with folk chords, punk energy, and unreliable narrators. John always knew how to carry off the solo-artist-with-a-group-name paradox, sitting in his chair, fixing his laser beam eyes on the crowd, and shouting jovially, "Hi, we're the Mountain Goats!"

The records (and there were truckloads of 'em) came out on various small indie labels, all recorded on a cheap cassette boombox with a loud motor that sounded like another instrument in the mix. The songs themselves, though, were conceptually ingenious, full of telling details, outrageous hyperbole, literary references, and moments of heart-rending humanity. To put on a Mountain Goats disc was to be in the presence of a mind teeming with ideas that had to get it out there, right now. This was the lo-fi revolution that bands like Sebadoh promised but never delivered. (It helps to have material, not to mention something interesting to say.)

This is the stuff of cult stardom for sure, and a devoted audience was already growing. One thing about Mountain Goats gigs: they were always tremendous fun. You got a funny, wired, engaging guy up there who loved to banter with the crowd and could veer at any point into a hilarious, spontaneous, breathless monologue about just about anything, a catalogue of songs with outrageous wordy titles that are fun to shout out loud, and there was always a good chance John might actually play them if you did.

Then something shifted around the turn of the century. 4AD signed the Mountain Goats, and suddenly, all the atmosphere implied in those stark strums became fleshed out. Suddenly, Mountain Goats recordings were being created in studios, with budgets, sympathetic musicians, and attention to sonic detail. John seized the opportunity and has created a whole second career and a string of intriguing song cycles, the third of which, The Sunset Tree, shattered the mold he has created from the start, abandoning his character-driven songs for a set that drew directly from personal experience as a teenager with an abusive stepfather biding his time until he can step out and be a free adult. ("I am gonna make it/through this year/if it kills me!") Then, just to keep us all on our toes, he followed with Get Lonely, in which the very happily married Darnielle put himself in the shoes of a bereft soul recovering from the aftermath of a breakup and left you wondering whether he was OK. (Sure he's OK. He's also empathetic as hell, which is why his lyrics work the way they do.)

And Mountain Goats fans have stuck around through all this, and their ranks have grown enough to fill the Fillmore last Friday. Joining the bill was Kaki King, a virtuoso acoustic guitarist who has come up recently and has a big fan in John Darnielle. We hadn't been to a Mountain Goats show in several years, and intended to bring a copy of Freedom Fried to give to John, so he can hear how our cover of "Twin Human Highway Flares" came out. No video cameras for this one, this is the Fillmore.

We staked out a place up front and chatted with a family who came together, a young son in his early 20s who brought his out-of-town mom to show her a good time. An unannounced opening act came on (I can't find their name anywhere online...The Invisible Frames, or something like that?) [UPDATE: The band is called INTERSTELLAR GRAINS. We will be adding some of their music to the station as soon as they send it.] and plunged into some psychedelic fusion funk. They were all right. Short songs are a good quality for a jam band to cultivate. The best part was when they brought a fifth member on with a solid body electric sitar and they took off into classic San Francisco acid-rock territory. Otherwise, they were a pleasant, skilled warmup for the main event.

Kaki King strolled onstage, a tiny, dark-eyed woman with a piercing stare, accompanied by a three-piece band. Starting solo, she performed a piece that showed off her hammer-on technique, her hands flying all over the fretboard and drumming out melodies, countermelodies and mesmerizing patterns on the strings until the band eventually joined in for a climactic pow. From there, she was all over the place, sometimes churning out more intricate, hypnotic instrumentals, sometimes switching to electric guitar (she switched guitars between every song, from roundbacked Ovation-like acoustics to hollow body electrics, all Hamers...I wonder if they're giving her any sponsorship money? They certainly ought to.) and singing original indie-rock flavored songs with vigorously strummed circular chord patterns and bitter lyrics. (Several songs were prefaced with "This song is about breaking up with an Israeli girl", which probably fed into the fantasies of her many adoring fans of both genders in the crowd who undoubtedly would have jumped at the chance to soothe her furrowed brow.) It's very nice to see a guitarist who is equally at home with stunning viruosity on a John Fahey or Matthew Grasso level or spirited Sterling Morrison or Stephen O'Neill hyper-strumming, and throwing herself into both with equal gusto. The backup band did well, as did the very busy guitar tech, tossing her one Hamer after another.

The Mountain Goats are a true band now. Along with dapper longtime bassist, close friend, and occasional early contributor Peter Hughes (a full-time Mountain Goat since 2002), Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster, who first appeared on last year's album Heretic Pride, is now a live member. John Darnielle did not hide his joy one iota; for him, this Fillmore show was clearly a victory lap. At one point, he testified to the crowd about the importance of San Francisco in his life. The first shows he and original bassist Rachel Ware played outside of his then-home in Southern California were here, and he found a simpatico audience immediately. Now headlining at this famous historical rock ballroom, he gushed to his audience, thanking us for supporting what was once a peculiar, quixotic lo-fi project and helping nurture it into what it is now.

Most but not all of the songs were drawn from the 4AD releases, but there were a few flashbacks to earlier times like "The Mess Inside" and "Going To Bolivia", where Wurster's drumming locked into the urgent patterns of the old cassette-recorded acoustic strums and inhabited them with explosive concentration. I can't think of any other drummer who could fit into the Mountain Goats' music as perfectly as this guy has. The songs didn't sound rearranged so much as we finally got to hear the drum parts that had always been there in our minds.

John was great to watch, a superb example of how to approach live performance. He was so un-self-conscious, so unconcerned with looking cool, and so totally in the moment and in his body. Jumping around, shaking his head, grinning from ear to ear or opening his mouth wide, closing his eyes and enjoying himself, the obvious pleasure he was taking in this whole experience was an odd contrast with the sad, desperate characters in his songs. But those characters were not slighted in the least: from the dying Prince Far-I in the heartbreaking story of his murder, "Sept. 15, 1983" ("Try your whole life/to be righteous and be good/wind up on your own floor/choking on blood"), to the raging, comically hateful Alpha Couple in the over-the-top rant "No Children", to the fatalistic yet defiant speedfreak from Chino getting carted off to jail in "Pigs That Ran Straightaway Into The Water", all of them were given their voices, their dignity, and their humanity. This is the core of what the Mountain Goats are and have always been all about: come for the catchy tunes and the humor, stay for the empathy.

Mid-set, Kaki joined John and company to run through the songs that make up their newly-released vinyl EP Black Pear Tree, which we will soon be (via our USB turntable) adding some cuts from to Ear Candle Radio. On one song, Kaki was on her knees assaulting a lap steel like I have never seen before. The six songs ran the gamut of both artists' ranges, and you could tell John was having the time of his life, announcing "Kaki King is so awesome it takes 18 guitars to contain her awesomeness!" It was a mutual admiration society between two extremely different talents (who share one quality: focused intensity) finding a way to collaborate. What a night.

I asked my mother for 15 cents to see the elephants jump the fence

Avedon Carol of The Sideshow, an expatriate yank in the UK (though no relation to our blog pal Expat Yank...one might ponder what caused these Americans to pull up stakes for the land of mushy peas in the first place), offers up a neat summation (in the midst of eviscerating the latest obnoxious piffle from New York Times columnist David Brooks) of why the tide is starting to turn in the US:

The real reason, of course, is that conservatives finally tipped their hand by winning and doing what they'd been promising all along - imposing the "liberty" of being gouged by "the marketplace" and leaving the rest of us on our own, while using our own tax money to do it.

Follow the link. It's all well worth your time.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Bunnies album coming up

We have settled on the track listing for the second Experimental Bunnies digital album, Biology And Physics, which will be available through iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody, and other distributors by the beginning of the New Year. Once again, we have drawn on our vast archive of exploratory jams and soundtrack music for the Noodle Brain Productions TV show which aired on channel 29 in San Francisco from 2005 to 2006, and we are busy re-editing, remixing, unearthing lost outtakes, overdubbing a few tracks, and forging a complete instrumental statement for these transitional times.

The core lineup of multi-instrumentalist/producer J Neo Marvin (who also contributes a couple of solo tracks), keyboard impressionist Davis Jones, and guitar wizard Stephen Abbate is augmented on one song by Baltimore studio prodigy Trevor Simpson adding some sweet guitar of his own.

The track listing for Biology And Physics:

2) QUAGMIRE (Marvin-Jones-Abbate)
3) GOLD STAR MOM (Marvin-Jones-Abbate)
5) WAITING FOR A BAD IDEA TO DIE (Marvin-Jones-Abbate-Simpson)
8) RESCUE REMEDY (Marvin-Jones-Abbate)

We are beside ourselves with excitement and looking forward to sharing this music with all of you!

DVD of the week: The Triplets Of Belleville

Revealing too many details of the movie might spoil it for you; it's best experienced with as few expectations as possible. The basics: it's a modern, almost dialogue-free French/Belgian/Canadian animation feature from 2003 that combines lovingly detailed, often stunningly grotesque hand-drawn characters with some amazing effects that could only be generated by a computer, resulting in the best of both worlds. (The art, storyline and attitude would make it a perfect fit for our friends at Ideas In Animation, who scour the world for bizarre and poignant cartoon shorts from all over for Nik Phelps to apply his musical magic to.) The movie is probably too much for small children (the Fred-Astaire-eaten-by-his-own-shoes bit at the very beginning will be enough to give the more sensitive little ones nightmares...not that I haven't seen far worse and less clever stuff on Adult Swim), but both artistically-inclined adults and teenagers who enjoy a good gross-out joke (and vice versa) will dig it.

Without giving too much away, here are some of the things you will see: a devoted grandmother, a deadpan cipher of a grandson, a strange trio of aging avant-garde Andrews Sisters types, the Tour De France, a breathtaking ocean journey, many entertaining violations of the laws of physics, a hint at what Pink Floyd's abandoned Household Objects album might have been like, a glimpse into a horrific underworld of sadistic exploitation, a look at Americans as the French see us* (perhaps we should cut back on the hamburgers a bit), a dog's increasingly mad and nightmarish dream sequences, and a truly ridiculous chase scene. Oh, and the frogs.

*Considering the year that it was made, the jab at American culture from a French animator is probably not so surprising.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's food for thought, monsters

Commenter Owlbear1 argues this morning on Sadly No that, rather than reviving the Fairness Doctrine, perhaps we could introduce (and enforce) this simple rule:

News must be clearly separated from commentary. Song or Jingle to announce the News. Announcer who is not one of commenters, announcing that he is reading the News. The News. Announcer telling you that was the News and now back to commentary.

That little bugger right there would solve tons of issues.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Let It Be Clear!

Ear Candle Productions does NOT work with people who lie, cheat, steal, attempt to diminish others, or cannot keep their word.

So, if you are privy to some nastiness regarding our work or our persons, please consider the source.

In this economy, people like us are unstoppable.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

DVD of the week: Auntie Mame

We do keep a lot of old 40s, 50s and 60s movies in our Netflix queue. A lot of them are there because they conjure up memories, either of childhood experiences in movie theatres or watching the late show in the living room, or maybe catching some old flick in a distracted haze on the tube at three in the morning sometime in my twenties. It's interesting to retrace one's cultural steps and say, "OK, is this really as good as I thought it was once?" And sure, we like to be entertained too, but part of our idea of entertainment is to play amateur sociologist and follow the first question with, "So, what can this fun, corny old movie teach us about the times it was made in?"

Case in point: Auntie Mame. Made in 1959, based on a popular novel in the guise of a memoir, the basic story is: stuffy old businessman kicks the bucket (no real explanation of what happened to mom), leaving his young, impressionable son in the care of his eccentric sister, who in her lovably goofy, semi-responsible way, strives to raise the boy to appreciate life, culture, craziness, and the world, and not grow up to be so damn stuffy. A close call ensues later when the boy falls for a vapid, boring rich girl whose obnoxious, bigoted nouveau-riche parents want to set him up in the family business, but Auntie Mame saves the day by pulling out all the stops to shock the small-minded bourgeois family by being her extravagant, bohemian, transgressive (She likes Jews! She takes care of unmarried pregnant girls who've been ditched by their asshole one-night-stands! Oh, the impropriety!) self. Rosalind Russell is gorgeous and likeable, playing Mame as a good-hearted, if slightly flaky, woman who is devoted to her nephew and sincerely wishes to open his mind.

Right off the bat, the movie made me think about the ridiculous Presidential election season we've had to suffer through this year, particularly the shifting definition of "elitist". When Mame meets would-be in-laws the Upsons, a rich-but-ignorant couple in a "restricted" gated community who turn out to be nasty anti-Semites, it's like a confrontation between the old definition of "elite" (those who have all the power and keep those whom they look down on out of their circle and away from all opportunity) and the new one (anyone who dares to show any uniqueness, personal taste, education, or curiosity beyond what is presented by the mainstream). The question is raised: who is the real snob? The one who barely tolerates bad drinks and worse jokes, or the one who lobbies to keep the "wrong" kind of people from buying the property next door?

OK, so for all its good intentions, this is still a Fifties movie, and even while it's making extravagant statements about tolerance, there are other bits that make you stare in disbelief. Number one of these is Ito, the Japanese butler. What's the deal with this guy? Is he meant to be a gay stereotype or an Asian stereotype or both? After a while his incessant giggling got so distracting that I found myself inventing a backstory for him where every time he wasn't in a scene, he was in another room smoking a giant bong, which made his behavior appear somewhat more explicable. I suppose, in the years following World War II, a Japanese man portrayed as a giddy queen spouting broken English was an improvement from previous stereotypes. Still annoying though. (At least Ito was played by an actual Japanese actor rather than Mickey Rooney with bad makeup and prosthetic buck teeth. Could've been worse.)

Slightly problematic also is the comical portrait of genteel Southern plantation life where Mame meets the family of the Southern millionaire who (conveniently) falls for her and saves her from destitution during the Depression. (Though she never seems to risk losing her huge New York apartment.) It would admittedly put a damper on the comedy to notice who exactly was picking the cotton on said plantation. (Unless maybe it was a sort of theme-park plantation built on the husband-to-be's oil fortune, that didn't actually grow any cotton, but just adopted the look, but that would be weird, wouldn't it?) The pre-Civil Rights Movement Hollywood fantasy of Southern aristocratic life carries on as usual here. Pay no attention to the black guy in the background; he's cool with all this, honest he is.

We'll file those last two paragraphs in the Product Of Its Times file for now, though. Auntie Mame is a great character, the sort of sweet, loopy, adorable aunt many of us would love to have brightening our childhoods. Interestingly for a Fifties movie, the nudist schools, drunken actresses, and wacky endless-party atmosphere are portrayed as good influences on the young boy. A lot of the comedy and conflict comes from the fact that the kid is dropped into this environment and learns from all his new experiences, all the while shadowed by a disapproving banker/conservator with his own plans for the boy's future.

Making her an aunt allows the story to unfold this way, but I just had an odd thought for a completely different movie: what would it be like if the Mame character was the boy's mother instead? That would be interesting. Would she be considered even more inappropriate by society then? Maybe she'd be widowed, or better yet divorced, with the Mr. Babcock character as the father and ex-husband, now turning the conflict into one between two parents with radically different ideas on how to raise a boy. Now make the story otherwise the same. How do the relationships look now? A fascinating mental exercise, hmm?

Davis had her own interesting take on Mame. She saw her as a shallow, frivolous character until her husband (the aforementioned Southern oil millionaire who happens to be a really sweet guy who loves her...how's that for good luck?) dies in a freak mountain accident, leading her to retrace all of their steps, revisiting every country they had traveled together in their marriage. Davis argued that after she took this journey and got complete with her past, Mame has more of an air of seriousness and idealism about her, and cares far more about other people. That's another, equally intriguing way to read it, definitely.

None of this should take away from the fact that this is a warm, fun and sometimes hilarious piece of entertaining fluff with a decent message overall: get out there and learn about the world, have a sense of humor, show compassion for others, and to hell with jerks who try to restrain your self-expression. This is one of those movies you ought to see before you die, but be sure to avoid that godawful musical remake with Lucille Ball. Loooooo-cy, you got some 'splainin' to do.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

This whole thing has sure been a lesson to me...bang, you're dead!

R.I.P. Nick Reynolds.

At a time when so many musical acts once considered kitsch are suddenly being re-evaluated as cool, we're still not seeing much love for the Kingston Trio. Well never mind those bollocks, I say. As I've said on the station before, if you stop judging them by folk purist standards and instead hear them as a pop group who played folk songs, it's clear how brilliant they really were. As my first exposure to harmonies, guitars, hooks, and songs that told a story, I have to tip my hat to them as the doormen to a million musical experiences. Even Dylan gave them props in his Chronicles book.

Nick Reynolds was the boisterous, enthusiastic high-harmony guy who balanced out Bob Shane the romantic balladeer and Dave Guard the snide intellectual. (Also, he was a fairly good conga player on the side and helped steer the group to try the occasional African number, which they would do very, uh, whitely, but they planted a seed in my 5-year-old mind that made Soweto township jive sound intriguingly familiar to me when I heard it much later.) The mix of personalities was a template for folk groups and later, rock bands, of individuals making up a whole and retaining their individual identity. On the documentary DVD that came out a couple years ago, Reynolds did not look well, slurring his words as if he had had a stroke. Maybe he did, but he held his own, contributing his story to the record.

Hard to remember now that there was a time when they were the most popular group in the country until the Beatles came along, but it was true. Call them bland and commercial if you must, but you'd be missing the context: in 1959, just as rock & roll was shifting from the abandon of rockabilly and doo-wop to bigger production numbers, three guys with acoustic guitars came along and made music look easy to the general public, inspiring countless amateurs to give it a go themselves and serving as the perfect gateway drug to the heavier stuff that the folk tradition had to offer. So, here at Ear Candle, we are lowering the flag to half mast in honor of the guy who sang lead on the first version of "Sloop John B" I ever heard.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Holidays in the sun

Our friend Jill forwards us this story from a UCSC professor one Ana Dubey:


It was just before John McCain's last run at the presidential nomination in 2000 that my husband and I vacationed in Turtle Island in Fiji with John McCain, Cindy, and their children, including Bridget (their adopted Bangladeshi child).

It was not our intention, but it was our misfortune to be in close quarters with John McCain for almost a week, since Turtle Island has a small number of bungalows and their focus on communal meals force all vacationers who are there at the same time to get to know each other intimately.

McCain arrived at our first group meal and started reading quotes from a stack of William Faulkner books with a forest of Post-Its sticking out of them. As an English Literature major myself, my first thought was "if he likes this so much, why hasn't he memorized any of this yet?" I soon realized that McCain actually thought we had come on vacation to be a volunteer audience for his "readings" which then became a regular part of each meal. Out of politeness, none of the vacationers initially protested at this intrusion into their blissful holiday, but people's buttons definitely got pushed as the readings continued day after day.

Unfortunately this was not his only contribution to our mealtime entertainment. He waxed on during one meal about how Indo-Chinese women had the best figures and that our American corn-fed women just couldn't meet up to this standard. He also made it a point that all of us should stop Cindy from having dessert as her weight was too high and made a few comments to Amy, the 25 year old wife of the honeymooning couple from Nebraska that she should eat less as she needed to lose weight.

McCain's appreciation of the beauty of Asian women was so great that David the American economist had to move his Thai wife to the other side of the table from McCain as McCain kept aggressively flirting with and touching her.

Needless to say I was irritated at his large ego and his rude behavior towards his wife and other women, but decided he must have some redeeming qualities as he had adopted a handicapped child from Bangladesh. I asked him about this one day, and his response was shocking: "Oh, that was Cindy's idea - I didn't have anything to do with it. She just went and adopted this thing without even asking me. You can't imagine how people stare when I wheel this ugly, black thing around in a shopping cart in Arizona . No, it wasn't my idea at all."

I actively avoided McCain after that, but unfortunately one day he engaged me in a political discussion which soon got us on the topic of the active US bombing of Iraq at that time. I was shocked when he said, "If I was in charge, I would nuke Iraq to teach them a lesson". Given McCain's personal experience with the horrors of war, I had expected a more balanced point of view. I commented on the tragic consequences of the nuclear attacks on Japan during WWII -- but no, he was not to be dissuaded. He went on to say that if it was up to him he would have dropped many more nuclear bombs on Japan. I rapidly extricated myself from this conversation as I could tell that his experience being tortured as a POW didn't seem to have mellowed out his perspective, but rather had made him more aggressive and vengeful towards the world.

My final encounter with McCain was on the morning that he was leaving Turtle Island. Amy and I were happily eating pancakes when McCain arrived and told Amy that she shouldn't be having pancakes because she needed to lose weight. Amy burst into tears at this abusive comment. I felt fiercely protective of Amy and immediately turned to McCain and told him to leave her alone. He became very angry and abusive towards me, and said, "Don't you know who I am." I looked him in the face and said, "Yes, you are the biggest asshole I have ever met" and headed back to my cabin. I am happy to say that later that day when I arrived at lunch I was given a standing ovation by all the guests for having stood up to McCain's bullying.

Although I have shared my McCain story informally with friends, this is the first time I am making this public. I almost did so in 2000, when McCain first announced his bid for the Republican nomination, but it soon became apparent that George Bush was the shoo-in candidate and so I did not act then. However, now that there is a very real possibility that McCain could be elected as our next president, I feel it is my duty as an American citizen to share this story. I can't imagine a more scary outcome for America than that this abusive, aggressive man should lead our nation. I have observed him in intimate surroundings as he really is, not how the media portrays him to be. If his attitudes toward women and his treatment of his own family are even a small indicator of his real personality, then I shudder to think what will happen to America were he to be elected as our President.
Mary-Kay Gamel
Professor of Classics, Comparative Literature, and Theater Arts
Cowell College
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California 95064

Update: The original e-mail contains her phone and e-mail. We have removed these to keep bots, spammers and trolls out of the good professor's hair. Speaking up these days is hard enough as it is.

Bonus update: Prof. Gamel did not write this; she forwarded it from Ana Dubey.