BEST (AND WORST) OF 'O7!
Yes it's that time of year again when I scour through everything I've written and just downright experienced o'er the past 365 and lay it on the line as to just what the highlights and lowlifes of this year we call 2007 were for all you gathered ginchies out there! A fun task for sure, though not as much fun as I'm sure Richard Meltzer had when he was putting together his 77 things about 1977 for PHONOGRAPH RECORDS MAGAZINE way back when...at least that guy hadda lotta good shovellin' ahead of him with not only the lousy moments of that year, but all the stellar commodities to make it out thirty years back. Thirty years...sheesh, when we were talkin' thirty years back in '77 it was all just-post World War II times and Ameriga and the world was just waitin' with anticipated breath for alla those great things that the fifties and sixties gave us like tee-vee, rock & roll and best of all fun teenage jam-packed LIVING!!! (You know, all those things that intellectuals and self-obsessed bloggers just loathe!) Jet forward sixty years to 2007 and all I can see are the dregs of the worst aspects of Baby Boomer (a)morality comin' at us, and with lousy music, tepid tee-vee (not to mention political thunkness) and extremely snoozeville music to match! Some "future", eh?
But '07, despite being so far from the original high energy taproot of it all, was a good enough year for me. First off, I managed to get that turntable I received for Christmas last go 'round set up thus re-introducing myself to a lotta old vinyl as well as newies I've snarfed up throughout the days. Not only that, but there have been no major catastrophes wreaking havoc in my life and for that I am thankful, plus the music and television situations weren't a TOTAL washout. Of course it ain't like it was back in the sixties when fun television shows and great rock & roll were just BURSTING FORTH from the ozone and all normal healthy teenagers hadda worry about was where to get the kopecs for the latest Seeds album, but if you knew where to look (mainly via the internet) you probably could find what you wanted more'n anything else in the world!
So settle back because here's the top of the tippy-toppest and the scrapings from the barrel...the best and worst of 2007 as designated by none other than the team of me, myself and yo! Anyway, hope you like it, and if you wanna compare notes you know where you can leave your little missive for all to see!
***BEST ALBUM OF '07!-A hard choice, but then again such is the life of a blogger. Does Lou Rone's PLASTIC PISTOL count even though it's only available via download (y'know, i-Tunes and Napster!)??? I might also stick the oft-loathed Stooges comeback album entitled (in case you've already forgotten) THE WEIRDNESS but frankly even though I've been only one of two people on record liking this disque (the other being Iggy's mother) I haven't played it at all since reviewing it way back in the spring of this fine year. Ditto George Brigman's RAGS IN SKULL which is a bona-fide (heee!) winner yet not exactly one of my all-time pre-beddy-bye spins since this disque would get me so pumped up that I wouldn't be able to head off into slumberland until at least five inna morning!
Gotta also admit that I haven't been playing ex-Shangri La Mary Weiss' comeback disque DANGEROUS GAME very much, but that's probably because I tend to get preoccupied with a lotta other discs both old and new and things like that tend to get shoved aside in the shuffle. But that doesn't mean it's not a top pick to click, and I still luvvit very much!
So what's it gonna be? Howzbout this: for best vinyl album, the Day Care Center's JUMPING JACKPOT OF MELODY, best CD release, the Stooges' THE WEIRDNESS (which I know will grow on all of those fickle naysayers who were expecting RAW POWER PART TWO) and for best download album, Lou Rone's PLASTIC PISTOL! Howzat for wigglin' my way outta a potentially big controversy, only to get myself into an even bigger one!
BEST SINGLE OF '07!-None other'n the Figures of Light's "It's Lame"/"I Jes Want to Go To Bed" on the Norton label. When I ordered a batch of singles from this long-lived and esteemed company last summer a note from none other than Miriam Linna was included amongst the goodies saying I'd probably like this one the best. Naturally she (as usual) was right even though it is probably easier to "read" me than it is to read GO DOG GO! Sounding like a long-forgotten 1966 garage band raver that Tim Warren somehow missed back when he was compiling his BACK FROM THE GRAVE series of long-forgotten punksters, this rec was, despite the primitive sound quality and performance, actually recorded and released a whopping six years later in the year of our Nixon 1972 which makes it a time-warp disc par excellence we coulda used more of back in the age of singer/songwriters! Sure doesn't sound like what a punk rock record was supposed to sound like back then (that is, if there were that many punk platters to begin with for us to compare this one to!), and the fact that it even exists only goes to show you that despite their cultured backgrounds even child prodigy underground film-makers and Rutgers University rabble could come up with a solid garage rocker while everybody else on campus was suffering from post-riot stress syndrome! And yeah, I know this Norton release came out in '06 but remember, we're talking BLOG TO COMM-time which can stretch the boundaries sorta like...well, don't wanna use that anal-ogy regarding Matthew Sheppard's hiney yet again!
BEST REISSUE of '07!-Boy whadda tossup this 'un is! Could it be the Afflicted Man collection, or maybe those once-obscure Moby Grape albums that I hope will finally solidify their status in the rock & roll world? Of course there are the recent Coloured Balls reissues for those of us who are more heavy metal minded, but given where these guys originated from perhaps they do suffer from guilt by assholeciation.
Maybe the Home Blitz CD, an interesting slice of moderne-day garage rock schenanigans that somehow flew under my radar (not that I was looking!) these past ten or so years? And while I'm at it, how could anyone forget the Screamin' Mee-Mees and Hot Scott Fischer's WARP SESSIONS 1972-1973 which coupled the two Slippytown CD-Rs into a professional silver-disc package with liner notes and everything you the discerning rockism fan would love, and STILL you ignore this stuff like a plate of spinach!!!
But for the best of the year, the award definitely goes to the Afflicted Man. True none of the Accursed sides ended up here (perhaps another volume is on the way?) but what we do get is pretty boss hoss stuff especially considering how its all low-grovel psychedelia in a Deviants/Pink Fairies/Hawkwind vein being played by a buncha punk rockers (of the '77 English variety) who reportedly had connections with the National Front which certainly wouldn't endear them to some of the more leftoid people in the Cee-Dee buying community! And I still gotta mention just how lovely those liner notes are! Gee, you just can't find writers like that anymore, or any less for that matter!
BEST ARCHIVAL DIG OF '07!-There have been many great long-forgotten albums and singles discovered by me this past year such as the Exuma one not forgetting French faves Rotomagus, but if you ask me (at least judging from all of the pre-nightie-night spin-time I've given it) the best old-timey discovery of '07 for me was none other than Sandy Bull. INVENTIONS was not only a top spin throughout the spring/summer of '07 but one of my faverave sixties-oriented platters even earning more than a few "turn it downs" which is always a good sign of eternal punkitude if you ask me! And the way Bull (with the help of drummer Ed Blackwell) tackled everything from Indian raga to country and western, medieval sacred songs and rock & roll and mixed it up w/o looking like Windham Hill quap is certainly a plus in my book! Later disques are nice although iffy, but the earlier offerings along the lines of INVENTIONS and FANTASIAS (which was recorded in '62 when the rest of the folk music movement was more concerned with giving their lovers cherries!) really set the stage for a whole lotta good things to happen later in that decade!
BEST BOOTLEG OF '07!-Given how bootlegs have become as rare as intelligent thoughts on a BOSTON GLOBE editorial page it's not like I have a whole lotta examples to choose from like I might have back in the glory days of the mid-seventies. But hey, the recent spate of Velvet Underground wares has gotten my attention span extended past the usual two minutes with a number of nice packages that true, might rehash the same old we've heard for eons awlready but oh the way those leftovers get stretched out into nice three/four CD sets with boffo packaging and superior sound that makes a lotta these current look-backs look about as feh as they can be! AFTER THE WHITE HEAT was a good enough collection of the Velvets at their '70 dancitudest true, but for the best of '07 the award just has to go to LIVE AT THE BOSTON TEA PARTY (CD division) and A SYMPHONY OF SOUND (vinyl)! The former has four whopping performances from the group's early/mid-'69 Boston Tea Party gigs cranking out a whole load of energy that's oh so pleasurable, giving credence to the fact that Boston in fact was the group's second home (Cleveland was its third, and suggestions for fourth and fifth place will be gladly accepted). A SYMPHONY OF SOUND captures the group playing at the Factory with Nico banging on a bass guitar with a drum stick and Ari romping all over the place without any adverse affect from the high-volume being churned out by the band as Warhol rolls film. Beautiful cover, immaculate pressing and a clarity that's a big improvement over all of the other SYMPHONY OF SOUND recordings that are flying about...if only I could send this one back in time to my 15-year-old self would the world be a much better place today!
BEST PACKAGE OF '07!-The Stooges' HEAVY LIQUID six-CD set which captures Iggy and crew during their '73 sumburst finish as they nova their way to immortality, while making some of the best scar-laden sounds to ever be committed to vinyl...er, Cee-Dee for nabobs like us to peruse and study like pimples on our butts for years on end. A verifiable classic, especially with the revealing Dick Clark interview tagged on at the end!
BEST JAZZ ALBUM OF '07!-The hands-down winner obviously has to be the Sirone/Bang Ensemble's CONFIGURATION, which is a few years old anyway but like I said, I live in a time of my own! And frankly, as far as jazz in this decade or in fact this century goes it's still great to see that the form hasn't totally prostituted itself to rap and disco and other substandard forms of communication like way too many other types of musics trying to be "with it" have these days! And not only that, but this quartet plays just fine especially with Charles Gayle's Ayleresque lines meshing with Bang's great Jenkins-ish violin playing. Sheesh, I really liked it back when jazz and punk rock were making their twains meet, and in some ways this one still proves that such combinations work fine since this was recorded at the late CBGB Lounge which should bring a tear to the eyes of people who you thought never had a sentimental bone in their heads!
BEST JAZZ EXHUMATION OF '07!-The Art Ensemble of Chicago's LIVE two-LP set on Affinity, which may or may not be available in the here and now via Sunspots or any of those Italian labels reissuing the BYG rarities, or via some Japaneses label for that matter. Frankly how this one missed the radar all these years is pretty srtange since I find both of the discs included, especially the second one with that incredible wall of percussion and Fontella Bass' frightening vocalese particularly engaging. And its more representative, more enveloping than any of the other Art Ensemble live albums you will chance upon making it an all-out killer!
BEST NEW RELEASE FEATURING PREVIOUSLY-UNRELEASED WOWZER MATERIAL OF THE PAST!-
ELLIOT MURPHY-THE MURPHYS (Red Lounge, Germany) A surprisingly energetic set of demos recorded for AQUASHOW and sounding better'n the official platter, with Murphy and the remnants of Elliot Murphy's Aquashow band trying their darndest to get that recording contract even though the rest of the guys left in disgust! The minimal drummerless sound here actually succeeds better (as far as recalling that feral side of the sixties) than all of Murphy's subsquent (and varying) official releases, and if you still think of the guy as some second-rate Dylan-imitation Springsteen wannabe, then these songs might just do something to change your mind even a tad li'l bit!
Also worthy of note (and your buying power!), the Sonics' BUSY BODY which upchucks a whole load of previously-unreleased 1964 hard-edge radiowave-captured mania from these Northwest Mounters and naturally has you begging for loads MORE! Could it really have been a good 27 years since I first spun ORIGINAL NORTHWEST PUNK in my knotty-pine basement thinking it was one of the greatest platters (even the slow schmoozer "Love Lights"!) ever to grace my ears??? Boy, was that a lotta albums, worries, and hair ago!
BEST BOOK OF '07!-Gotta say that as far as good ol' downhome book readin' went, '07 was a pretty snaz year for acquainting myself with a number of reads that I know will stick around in my beanie for a lifetime, if not longer. And perhaps it should be of no surprise to you that the books what got me all excited and hub-bubby this year weren't any of the rock reads that I may have graced eyes upon (mainly because there were so few of them), but the ones devoted to comics! In particular newspaper comic strips and panels which goes to show ya that no matter how old and crotchety I get, there's still a nine-year-old kid inside of me who's more'n anxious to read a comic page right inna middle of the living room floor as long as it's filled with classic strips dating from the twenties! And as far as the collections that are out there go, I found myself especially taken in by the OUT OUR WAY book that not only has been a constant bedside treat ever since its arrival here last June but something that sure dredged up a lotta happy memories of my great comic strip obsession that overcame me back when I was like nine going on ten and at least until I discovered comic books a good year or so later. I still recall with fondness looking through the want ad section of the old SHARON HERALD for this long-running panel which the paper sometimes would not print in order to publish a few more ads, and that one along with OUR BOARDING HOUSE were great lookbacks into an antiquated style of cartooning that still had relevance for the older readers who were in on the game ever since these cartoons debuted in the early-twenties! But given how my parents and relatives were always telling me just how great things were then compared with the hippydippy then/now, I too had a great admiration for both of these panels that amazingly enough lasted into the early-eighties and an age when the post-DOONESBURY style of art and storytelling had pretty much taken over the comics page to the point of nada.
DEATH OF '07!-Naw, the ones who shoulda died didn't, but there's always next year! As for the biggest celeb death that I can think of, I'd say that the passing of Ike Turner was perhaps the most important one of the past planet revolution, not only for his "pioneering" (as they say) rock & roll work but for the way he handled Tina so she wouldn't get out of line! A credit to his manhood!
BEST ROCK MAG OF '07!-In the absence of any new issues of BLACK TO COMM the best rock & roll rag of the past sun-twirl just has to be none other than UGLY THINGS, a read that has been improving as of late with a more varied approach to...well, music that I really like to listen to! How Mike Stax managed to tap into my brain and write about all this great music and general kultur I'll never know. The latest takes me back to those great days of reading CREEM and ROCK SCENE at the newsstand, where unfortunately you won't find UGLY THINGS but then again no matter how hard I wish 1975 will never come back so why cry about it???
Honorary mention should go to PUNK magazine, yet another blast from the past we could all use a lot more of. And true, a mag like this would obviously be a "trip back in time" as they all say, but can you think of a better place to be than the raw and exciting past as opposed to....2008?!?!?!?
BEST POLITICAL COLUMN OF '07!-Justin Raimondo's counterattack against the various anti-Ron Paul machinations going on as we speak, which you can read here. As someone who knows about these smear-mongers firsthand I can appreciate the effort Raimondo put in to discrediting a whole slew of pre-thought human beings who are out to shoot down Paul's should-be-rising star with some of the lamest lies directed at the Good Doctor one can imagine! Kinda makes me wish someone the caliber of Raimondo was around to give this humble scribe an uplift back in May '04, but frankly I think I did a pretty good job of throwing the turd back inna toilet, if you know what I mean.
BEST POST OF '07!-Boy, has my writing been a rollercoaster of creative ups and doof-esque downs but hey, I gotta admit that there were a few goodies to come out amidst the crankouts and generally uninspired offerings. Personal fave of mine, the "Spotlight on FLASH" history that not only earned me some good feedback regarding something I threw my heart, soul and perhaps liver into but an actual response from the "elusive" Mark Shipper and promise of an interview that unfortunately never materialized (see below). That FLASH piece was a doozy that I would have published in the pages of my own fanzine in better times, but since these times are more or less worse I guess you get stuck reading it for free so don't complain! Also something I think you'll remember as the years go on...the unexpurgated BLOG TO COMM interview with George Brigman!
BIGGEST JOY OF '07!-I know what you're thinking, that the fizzling out and eventual death of the "Detailed Twang" blog was certainly cause for celebration. And in a different time and mood I probably would have said that, especially since whatzizname's new and mp3-improved blog lasted barely a year. Well, although I must heartily bellow out a hefty "GOOD RIDDANCE" to Mr. H and his postpunk bleatings especially after all the ruination he bestowed upon me really, of what consequence was his exit from the world of music blogging anyway? Just one less pest to worry about in my book, and nada more. And may you get alcohol poisoning from your microbrews, my man!
No, the real highlight of the past year was the grand return of DENIM DELINQUENT to the internet scene. Now that more and more people are hooking up with WWW access, high energy rock & roll lovers can also get into the nitty gritty of seventies rock & roll fandom on line now by accessing pages from this legendary mag that really helped pave the way for a whole slew of like-minded reads throughout that decade. If you wanna absorb something SMART yet FUN with regards to the seventies rock scene (as well as some ALL NEW/ALL NOW!!! scribblings of great importance) then give Jymn and his site a try. You'll never have to read Greil Marcus again!
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF '07!-Along with the highlights of this momentous year there were a few bummers to go along with the unbridled joy. None of the email interviews that I had going and planned either for the blog or the next issue of my magazine panned out...the one with NEXT BIG THING editor Lindsay Hutton was terminated by myself because it just wasn't going right and reminded me of one of those painful bowel movements you have after eating half a jar of Planter's Peanuts. And besides, I think he was taking offense at some of the questions I was lobbing his way, like whether he was a Celtics or Rangers fan and if he wore anything underneath his kilt! The one with Scott Duhamel was axed rather quickly because of the same reason, though at least I had the good sense to quit with that 'un after a few questions given my general duncitude was evident even that early in the process. Unfortunately the biggie I had planned with Mark Shipper of FLASH magazine fame didn't even commence, with Shipper at first all excited about it to the point where he even emailed me to say that he'd be giving me a ring-a-ding one Sunday afternoon before he committed anything to type, only to drop all connections as if somebody out there did a little name-smearin' (mostly mine!) as some sick sorta "getback" for a prior humiliation! (And it does get worse...yet another email interview, this time with Paul McMahon of Daily Life, A Band, the Bluebirds etc., was unceremoniously dumped because the guy was told by "higher ups" to cut off all no wave discussions with me lest a lotta the mystique go outta the movement. In udder words...I just cain't win!!!!!)
Of course the most humongous of all of these letdowns just has to be the fack that none other than Dave Lang, our old pally down Orstralier Way, couldn't keep control of his basic inner needs and reproduced, thus cluttering up the gene pool even more than it is already! Sheesh, as I mused at the time, why is it that these snobby elitists who are so hip to and want to force birth control down everybody's throats don't practice the thing themselves, or better yet why did't Dave have the smarts to cut the worm off at the end and get his tubes tied like a good li'l liberal anyways? And now we have more of his evil sputum to contend with which doesn't exactly do my stomach any good! And the fact that he survived his recent bout with the AIDS virus that gave him so much discomfort and near-death trauma (which the pagan side of me must admit brought a little bit of holiday joy since I really love it when bad things happen to bad people!) was rather disappointing although it sure is nice to think of all the agony the man suffered through...if only I could have seen it firsthand! And yes, I would wish the worst illnesses I've gone through on my worst enemies, and knowing that this slur-monger was pretty much on death's door only gives me more HOPE for his next bout with Mr. D!
But the bastard having offspring...what a revolting development as El Schnozzola would have said. How this 'un passed the state eugenics board I'll never know!
BEST BLOG OF '07!-Guess! All the other ones (even the good ones!) took a drastic nose-dive in '07, not counting the one that mercifully took a self-inflicted hit between the eyes to the joy of all true rockism fans out there! (See "Biggest Joy of '07!")
BEST TEE VEE VIEWING OF '07!-Someone (and you can guess just who it was!) on another blog has recently made the oh-so-astute comeent that "TV blows", and if anyone should know about blowing it's this Southern Hemisphere blowhard/suckup who probably still holds the record for Aboriginal humm jobs extant! Actually, TV does not blow, but 99.999...% of the programs on it do and that includes all of those tiresome "made with the rancourous adult in mind" thangs like THE SHIELD, SIX FEET UNDER, THE SOPRANOS and other illegal immoral and fattening offerings that seem created especially for the champion felchers who live amongst us and their blogger wannabes who continue to keep this world in the sick sad shape its been in for the past thirtysome years!
As for me, the only real tee-vee joy this year outside of the occasional old movie, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER re-re-rerun and once-in-awhile Britcom has been watching the long forgotten Hanna-Barbara cartoons of the early/mid-sixties that are appearing on Boomerang and seemingly nowhere else on this globe of ours! And given how the old indie stations and general cheap UHF outlets at least around here are more content on running infomercials than the old reruns that used to make up their bread and butter (though the local MY-TV station is airing MY THREE SONS, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and other olden goldies during the AM hours when most of us honest citizens are up and working!) and even TV Land is starting to pump their schedule with horrible eighties/nineties sitcoms like DESIGNING WOMEN, WINGS and JUST SHOOT ME, it's like the only way to get any heavy duty early-sixties fixes these days is to tune into the old YOGI BEAR and YAKKEY DOODLE cartoons that air with a nice enough frequency! Heck, Boomerang is even running the obscure BATFINK cartoons that Bill Shute told me about ages ago and given how little we have in the way of great sixties trash to wallow in these days be thankful for small favors such as this! Y'know, when I'm dictator, first thing we do is run nothing but fun stuff like this on TV and all dissenters will be shot!
THE "WHA' 'APPENED" OF THE YEAR AWARD!-The virtual vanishing of the It's All Meat CD (with additional tracks!) on the Hallucinations label! Talk about here today and gone tomorrow, and frankly the only copy I was ever able to locate of this Canadian Classic was via ebay, where my (or so I thought so) high bid of $15 vanished a few minutes before the auction was up! Gee, I didn't think that many people remembered this very good late-sixties Toronto group and for the sake of It's All Meat's memory thankfully they do, but who would've thought such an item would become a much-desired disque to the point where it would be garnering such high prices only a year or so after its release! As they say, whatta bummer!
BIGGEST PISSOFF OF '07!-Rick Noll making fun of my syntax!
BEST BUZZ OF '07!-When Jymn Parrett said on his DENIM DELINQUENT site in the spot where he links up this very blog that I am, if you can believe it, a "solid" writer! Let's just say that this was a compliment that really made me feel as if perhaps there was some meaning in my quarter-century-plus "career" of writing screeds on music most people could hardly give a whit about! Twas a compliment from a true rock & roll legend (fanzine division) which I certainly never will forget! And for a guy who thought my writing had the consistency of oatmeal, let's just say that I was jazzed all the more!!!
'n OK, maybe you don't think its any great shakes, but my year tops your minute ANY TIME (hee!), and don't let anyone tell you different!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!And now, because you didn't ask...my NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR 2008!!!
Yes, the dawn of a new 365 (or in this case 366 since it's leap year) always symbolizes a fresh new start, and as you all know that means it's time to make amends with your evil side and start acting like a goody two shoes for once in your miserable existence! So in order to get the ball rolling and hopefully inspire a whole load of you lumpen proles out there to do the same, I will now list my resolutions for 2008 just so's I can be a good example and hopefully get some of you readers motivated enough to make amends in your own lives, or whatever's left of them. I should add that in order to be realistic about it all I'm only going to make resolutions I know I can keep, so none of this "help save the planet" or "lose some weight" or "remember to say 'please' and 'thank you'" quap that you know I never will be able to do past day one! Naw, this is gonna be the real deal and with zeal as to how I am gonna make a better man outta me once midnight starts ticking away. Until then, call me a cro-magnon par-excellence...
I RESOLVE to have even more misspellings, grammatical and factual errors and a general piss poor attitude in my postings this year. True I should be working in the opposite direction when it comes to improving my blog, but then again I'm trying to keep in that great crudzine style of putting out the cheapest, most unreadable excuse for a blog just like I did with my own fanzine and why should I buck tradition anyways?
I RESOLVE to slip even more gratuitous, biting, cutting and downright inflammatory remarks concerning Dave Lang, Jay Hinman, Ken Shimamoto, Chuck Eddy, Anastasia Pantsios and sundry other types of people who have wronged me in some way into my blogs. True this may turn off some of the more casual readers, or perhaps even those misguided few who actually have affinities for the above rock "critics" but the way I look at it, the more I chip away the more these tall icons of filth will crumble into dust. And true, one of the above "bloggers" has shut down his second on-line attempt to be hipper than the rest of us, but personally I won't be satisfied until the whole lot of 'em, ex-blogger included, are swinging away from the rafters like they should have been ages back!
I RESOLVE to name drop the Velvet Underground, Stooges, BACK DOOR MAN, DENIM DELINQUENT, CAN'T BUY A THRILL, CBGB, Max's Kansas City, various 60s/70s rock kultural references and obscure groups that nobody even remembers outside of offhand mentions and club listings as often as my posts will allow. True it only makes me look even more repetitive and obscurer-than-thou mentioning these things ad infinitum, but the way I look at it maybe somebody from one of those old obscure groups, now a broken-down shell of his former self, will out of frustration do a word-search at the homeless shelter computer and see his former group mentioned, thus writing in expecting to finally get a little bitta that fame that was due some thirtysome years back! Or maybe even a handout or two!!! So you see, there is some madness in my stupidity!
(and finally)...I RESOLVE to deliver more action-packed, info-filled and high-paced blogposts this year for you, the eager and faithful BLOG TO COMM reader! Not really, but could you think of a better way to shut down this year end post other'n with some cheap ploy to make you all feel a little special yourselves???