Idol Speculation

This week, the men and women did a flip on quality. The men were outstanding, and the women were… eh. I mean, come on, they were amazing, but not as good as last week, am I wrong? Plus, with a few noteable exceptions, I thought the fashion decisions were a tad off. I actually thought Simon dissed the wrong outfits, but whatever…

But this isn’t a fashion show, it’s a singing/dancing/performing show. At the top of the singing game is unquestionably Melinda, who blew the everloving doors off of “My Funny Valentine.” I hope that her choice of song won’t prejudice voters against her; she made it pretty fresh and contemporary, so hopefully it will pay off. Then you’ve got LaKisha, the season’s vocal powerhouse – she’s not going to win any dancing awards anytime soon, but the girl’s got pipes. She’s also got a really old-fashioned sound, though, and lacks those “pop star looks” that the judges occasionally talk about, so she’s not liable to win. Stephanie had me worrying that we’d be finding out the color of her underwear as she straddled the stage in that high-slit dress, and I didn’t care for her song, but you can’t argue that she can perform her butt off. Sabrina closed off the night looking and sounding fantastic.

Gina and Jordin are both very good as well, if not as good as the other four. If Melinda is a 10, LaKisha is a 9.5, Stephanie and Sabrina are 9s, and Gina and Jordin are 8s. I’d like to see Gina do something more, y’know?

Then you’ve got my two 5s, Leslie and Haley. I keep expecting Leslie to be really good, and then she does something like that really gargled attempt at scatting. Haley is so pretty (although you wouldn’t know from last night) but there’s no real finesse to her performances.

Finally, you’ve got the girls at the bottom of the barrel, the girls that wouldn’t embarass themselves in a karaoke bar but who got into Idol on the merit of their hottie status. I begrudgingly give Antonella a 3 for last night’s performance, if only because she really nailed the high notes. I can’t stand this girl and the fact that Vote for the Worst is keeping her and her nekked boobies on the show drives me batty. Then you’ve got poor Alaina, undoubtably the prettiest girl on the show, who just really isn’t up to snuff. She’s scared, she’s unready, and she’s just not as talented. Tonight she earned herself a 2 and almost certainly a ticket home.

(Of course, if Alaina’s a 2, I shudder to think how far into the negatives I’d fall.)

If it were up to me, Antonella would be run out on a rail (wearing baggy sweats over her chastity belt, but that’s another story altogether), Alaina would be gently escorted out the door where a modeling agent would be waiting to rescue her and her gorgeous hair, we’d say good-bye to Sanjaya and his flowing locks, and Nick would whisper something in a quasi-sultry voice and slip off into the sunset.

I still say my American Idol is Simon.

UPDATE: Dial Idol, a remarkably accurate website that predicts winners based on busy signals to the voting lines, predicts that the top four are Melinda, LaKisha, Sundance, and Sanjaya. Sanjaya? What on earth? There’s too many people in the mix for it to accurately predict the bottom four, but it looks like Haley, Leslie, Stephanie, Gina, Nick, and Brandon are all in trouble. I’d be horrified if Stephanie or Gina got the ax. Well, as horrified as appropriate for a television show.

Did anyone else see the commerical tonight for tomorrow’s results show? They’re all “Thursday the results will be announced, and all we can say is brace yourself!” Next thing you know, there’s a clip of Simon pronouncing that the American voters have lost their minds. It’s all supposed to indicate that the results are shocking and we’ll be scandalized by the eliminations… but the results shows are live. They couldn’t possibly have that clip of Simon. And voting was still taking place for the women, so they didn’t even know what the results were going to be. It was all clips from previous years. What a scam!

Popcorn! Peanuts! Tickets, only 50 cents!

At the tender age of eight I was initiated as an acolyte of the dread goddess Orthodontia, and I was molded under her tutelage for the following seven years of my young life. The manipulation of teeth was a central theme of my childhood, and to this day I can visualize every detail of the clinic, every mile of the drive there and back – I can trace the outlines of phantom implements long gone from my choppers.

One of the things that I remember is the time they were analysing an xray of my head, presumably in an attempt to determine how much trouble my future wisdom teeth would eventually cause. The orthodontist pointed to one of many large black smudges and told my parents that I had abnormally large sinuses. That meant less to me than it did my dad, who knew someone who had had his nose temporarily removed during sinus surgery, but I think the discussion addressed things like whether I was a mouth breather (I was) and whether I played a wind instrument (not yet). The orthodontist also touched on the subject of future problems with my sinuses, but I honestly can’t remember if the scope of my skull-hollows was supposed to bode well or ill for my adult relationship with congestion.

Little did I know that I had already experienced what the future held for me. As a small child – old enough to know better, little enough to forget – I had been lying on a sofa drinking Coke through a straw. Something went wrong – a cough, a hiccup – and next thing I knew I had Coke burning its way through my nose.

And my tear ducts.

And my ears.

Nothing (well, not nothing, but few things) feels worse than carbonated cola being forced at high velocity through foreign channels. I thought I was going to die, and not just from choking.

I would later come to realize that my enlarged sinus cavities provided for all kinds of inappropriate diversions of misdirected fluid. Sadly, I have yet to put this to good use, such as being able to smoke a cigarette and blow smoke out my ears. (Then again, I only recently figured out how to raise a single eyebrow, so there is hope for me yet!) My childhood was punctuated with episodes wherein one beverage or another escaped through my eye sockets. Memorably (and that “memorably” would certainly be prefaced with “unfortunately,” were it not a crime against nature to use a double adverb) I once suffered the indignity of barfing through my tear ducts, learning in the process that vomit was in fact more acidic than Coca Cola.

I have always been an overachiever. Any kid can have barf come out his nose.

Recently, my prodigious cavities developed a new trick. About a year ago, I began having real trouble blowing my nose. I was a late bloomer in the nose-blowing category, not really mastering the good ol’ nose-trumpet until midway through high school, but since then I really have been a master. It’s hard, however, to really devote your full energies to dislodging nose sediment when you know snot is going to come out your eyes.

“Welcome to the Freak Show, ladies and germs. Step right up and witness the Amazing Phlegm Girl! Stand back, kids, she shoots snot out her eyeballs….”

Okay, I don’t shoot anything anywhere. No one would ever know that my noseblowing efforts had the unfortunate side effect of forcing a layer of thin mucus into my eye, blurring my vision and creating sticky tears. Although, come to think of it, shooting snot out my eyes might be a handy trick in and of itself. Talk about your party tricks!

It’s not as gross as it sounds, and it doesn’t happen every time, but when I’ve been blowing my nose a lot (think cold season) something inside my head weakens and opens up the hatches. The whole “snotty eyeball” thing is something I’ve come to accept.

Is it too much to ask, then, that that be the extent of my sinus weirdness? Is it necessary that the Amazing Phlegm Girl also be subjected to her own private symphony of creaks, whistles, gurgles, whines, and pops as the goo in her cranium shifts and settles? Must the air pressure that fails to shoot snot out nostril or tear duct make its way to the ear, causing short-term hearing loss and dizziness? Is this just?

Apparently the answer is yes, yes, yes, and yes.

It’s going to be a long day.

Today is going to be a crazy busy day. Not only was I out sick on Thursday and Friday, but this is the week when everyone turns in their tokens, which means that I’m basically the company store for 500+ employees. That doesn’t even factor in my spacy state of mind, mild inability to focus my eyes, or irrational fear of checking my voice mail.

My day will not be any worse than my poor puppy’s, though. Paisley is spending the day at the vet getting microchipped, vaccinated, and spayed. (I understand the term “neutered” but I can’t figure out what “spayed” is supposed to mean. I mean, I know what it is to get spayed, but where did that word come from?) This is the first time that a pet under my direct care has had major surgery – sorry d’Art, I don’t count your neutering – and I suppose it’s only natural that I be worried. Poor little curly girl.

I’m not liable to have two minutes to rub together today (it’s taking me twenty minutes in between other things to type this entry in a Notepad document) so if you don’t hear from me, that’s why.


My cold progressed from my lungs to my nose yesterday, and today has made the exceedingly painful step to my ears. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cold in my ears before. It hurts. A lot. I don’t think it’s an infection (yet) as I’ve proven historically immune to ear infections, but if this doesn’t let up by the morning I’m going to get to blow another $15 copay somewhere – likely to be told that I’ve got a cold, drink some orange juice and cowboy up for pete’s sake.

Also, I’m wiling (whiling?) away the afternoon reading through the Dooce archives, and I have just one question: why can’t I write a blog that gets advertisers that will completely pay for the livingfulness of myself, my husband, my pets, and any future children? I mean, did you know that Dooce’s website generates that much income? How is this possible? This sounds like a good gig to me.


Feel like utter crap, but at least I’m at home in bed feeling like crap and not sitting at work feeling like crap. I’m watching some sort of Animal Planet show about hippos, and have come to the conclusion that they are definitely dinosaurs. Crocodiles, too. There’s a crocodile stalking a baby hippo right now – which can only end badly – and they’re certainly dinosaurs.

Aw, crap. One dead 13-day-old hippo. That’s awful.

Okay, so I threatened some IDOL SPECULATION, and I’m going to deliver, so here we go.

Stephanie blew me off my feet. I wasn’t expecting much from her, and man was I surprised. She was so comfortable on the stage, too. Very impressive.

Amy’s performance was sincere, but littered with bad notes and capped off with a very shaky end. She definitely seemed like she was scared to move.

Leslie is kind of odd. She had some good body language – man did those boots ever make her legs look eight feet long – and good performance chops, but I didn’t think her singing performance was great.

Sabrina has an amazing sense of drama and control. The only blight was the ending, which still wasn’t bad.

I don’t like Antonella, and she did nothing to change my mind about that last night. She chose a terrible song, obviously didn’t know said song, was shaky, scared, and out of tune. Go home, topless girl.

Jordin’s arrangement of one of my favorite songs turned me off, but once she got into the swing of the song she was amazingly good. Not good enough to win at this point, but good enough to stay in.

Nicole sang with a weird voice, had bad notes, and made scary faces. On the other hand, she was very intense and powerful. If people aren’t scared of her she might survive the week.

Haley seemed to be trying to do a Katharine McPhee tribute there. It wasn’t bad at all, except I hated the vibrato in the chorus, and it wasn’t at all unique. She seems very professional, though.

I like watching Melinda sing because she’s so joyful, so beautiful when she takes the stage. She loves to perform and it shows.

Poor Alaina may be cute, but that was abysmal from start to end. The only thing she did better than Antonella was to look confident throughout.

Gina also has a good sense of drama, and she really let it loose even though she picked a song that I thought wasn’t quite right for her. I like her chemistry on stage.

Finally, LaKisha was extraordinarily powerful and has an amazing natural talent. Will her looks – and I’m not really even talking about her weight – hold her back?

There’s a lot of potential shuffling in my top six, and I’m not completely sure I’ve got them in the best order yet, but here’s what we’ve ended up with:

My Best-to-Worst Picks

Ryan’s Best-to-Worst Picks

Ryan and I seem to be much more on the same page with the women than we were with the men. We have the same top five, just in a different order, and most of our other choices are only one off.

Seems to me that it’s a good thing for the guys that they force six of each gender onto the show, because otherwise they’d all be in trouble…

Shoot Me?

I’ve decided that I’d like to give up germs for Lent. No germs, no viruses, no infections – no kleenex, no ‘quil, no (please, God) pukebuckets.

Oh, I know I’m being sacreligious. I’m a Methodist, I’m allowed from time to time. Leave me alone.

Note to self: Mucinex isn’t worth it. I felt clearer for an hour or so, but twelve hours later I’m so dry I could nearly cry. My eyes are dry, my throat is dry, my mouth is dry. Not my nose, though. It’s in no way dry. And while the medicine may have jostled up those green guys in wifebeaters in my lungs, it hasn’t improved my ability to actually get the mucus out when I cough. I cough until the muscles in my back and stomach scream, until I’m sure I’m going to throw up without benefit of Ryan’s virus, and still nothing comes out of my lungs. It is teh suxor.

I look like unholy hell, too. I really don’t know if I’m going to have it in me to go to work in the morning, and I’ve got a meeting tomorrow afternoon.

I have IDOL SPECULATION but I’m too tired to deal with it right now. Tomorrow. Man, if they didn’t force six eliminations of each gender, this season would be an all-woman show…

Review: Blood Canticle

I’m not much of one for horror movies or stories, and the one time I tackled Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire, probably a decade ago) I had to put it aside fairly quickly. It was just too dark for me right then.

Lately, I’ve been reading some fun, extremely light-hearted little mysteries featuring all kinds of crazy characters, particularly vampires. And you know how it is when you get “into” something – you want more, even if more is not forthcoming. I ran out of books in the series, and while browsing the discount shelves at Barnes & Noble came across a copy of Anne Rice’s Blood Canticle on the cheap. A quick flip through the introduction caught my interest, and the book came home with me.

I’m coming into the saga of Lestat near the end, so I don’t know anything about his backstory beyond what I’ve picked up from movie clips and cultural reference. But the Lestat of Canticle didn’t have the same horrifying feeling that I got from the Lestat of Interview. This was a basically decent creature, a good soul struggling to overcome several lifetimes of accumulated sin. Not once throughout the entire book did I feel horror.

The resulting narrative was fascinating for a number of reasons, the primary one being the complex dance of morality. Are these creatures of the night inherently evil? Do they have souls? If so, can they be saved? Does the fact that they feed on only “bad” people in any way redeem the fact that they hunt humans – and can you truly be condemned for doing what you have to do to survive? Is the road to Hell paved with good intentions, or might there be a detour along the way to Heaven? Lestat’s character development, even seen in this limited scope, was what kept me thoroughly engrossed in this novel.

I was drawn in by the unique voice of our narrator, Lestat, and the way that Rice chose to use that voice. It’s a book that is very much self-conscious of being a book; in fact, it starts out by chastising readers for not better embracing the immediate previous book in the series. Bold? Distasteful? Amazing? Hypnotic? All of these things…? Throughout it all we are continually conscious of the fact that we are reading a book “by” Lestat, written to be sold and read. It’s a very odd and somehow enchanting conceit.

It’s evident, of course, that Anne Rice is working her way through the loss of her husband in this book. From what I understand, after her husband’s death she moved away from her horror fare and started writing much more Christian texts, and this is clearly a part of that transition. The over-arching theme of salvation and sainthood feels like Rice’s argument with herself – can these terrible things that I wrote in the past be redeemed? I created a sinner, an entire world of sinners, and spread darkness into the world – can I turn that around into a vehicle of light?

This book (and presumably the rest of the series) is made especially interesting to me by the fact that it takes place in New Orleans. Having been there makes an enormous difference in my mental painting of the scene, and even helped me visualize the characters more fully. I’m not sure anyone could ever really understand the French Quarter and the odd people who dwell there without having seen it, and I wonder if they will ever see what I saw – what Rice saw – again. I know that particular part of New Orleans wasn’t as heavily affected, but it’s all the same organism…

There’s a little branch-plot in this book that seemed wholly unnecessary to me, but I suppose Rice felt the need to have some sort of goal/quest/climax in there. Pshaw. 🙂

I own Rice’s Violin from another bargain sale, and I may give it a shot sometime soon. I’ve heard that it’s very, very strange – more autobiographical, more uncontrolled, seemingly insane. Some people claim it’s unreadable. I don’t know that I’ll be a fan of the earlier vampire books or not, but I’m intrigued by this seemingly unfettered glance into the mind of a genius writer going through massive life changes.

Overall, Blood Canticle wasn’t a tremendous book, and it’s not the sort of book you’d find on a Top ___ list, but it was a fascinating read. Not for everyone – it’s still a fantasy/horror, and the writing style is definitely unique – but it might be for you.

Discussion Fodder

Last night I was trying to let the Nyquil take over and, as I drifted in a half-asleep half-drugged state, half-heard a newsy investigation sort of show on prostitution in Los Angeles. They were basically following cops around while they caught and arrested prostitutes, with little asides where they talked with “escorts,” etc., about their lives.

While in this state, my addled brain half-thought, “Now wait just a minute. Except in the cases of underage people – which is obviously deplorable – and where women are being sold against their will – which is horrifying – why exactly is prostitution illegal?”

I mused on modern courtship. How many one night stands rest on the purchasing of alcoholic drinks for a woman? How many short-lived relationships hurry to the bedroom, fueled by a stream of gifts and dinners? Is that really all that different from just handing someone a fifty?

Several hours later, I’m not sure I have a good answer to that question. I mean, obviously I find prostitution deplorable, but is there any reasonable legal grounds for prohibiting it? Things are illegal because they cause harm to people or property, for the most part…

Is this just a remnant of our Puritan past? Should victimless crimes really be crimes? Is prostitution really victimless, even if all parties are consenting? What do you think?

Nothing Much

It’s snowing. Last Friday it was warm and beautiful, totally a spring day. Saturday was very much the same. A little bit of rain came in on Sunday, and yesterday was cool – but today it’s snowing. Big, wet, cluster-flakes that make it very hard not to act like a second grader at recess. I didn’t realize until I went to open the front door to leave, but fortunately was wearing snow-appropriate duds nonetheless.

I’m still sick. Once my immune system takes a hit, I’m usually a mess for the rest of the season. My lungs are full of gunky goo, and my torso muscles are full of strains after many hours of bodywracking coughs. The worst is when you’re lying down and you cough, but your stomach muscles are in just the wrong place and you can almost feel them tear. We’ve got the basic nasal malfunction going on, too, and this vague sense of having had a bit too much to drink that is making it rather difficult to type.

However, I got promoted to Healthiest Person in the Household this morning when the Mr. came down with the Happy Funtime Stomach Vomitbug. I’ve successfully avoided vomitbugs for the past several years and am currently bemoaning several facts:

  • That Ryan works with people who have small children who bring home vomitbugs
  • That my immune system is in a shambles
  • That Ryan cooked dinner last night
  • That we mix germs in our mutual airspace all the time because, y’know, we cohabit

Speaking of making people sick… it’s that time of year again, the time we all hate to love: American Idol time. (This is all I’m going to talk about for the rest of this post, so feel free to stop reading if this turns your gills green.) We’re down to the final twelve of each gender which means that some halfway serious evaluation can begin to take place and that we’ll be spared the horror of more humiliating audition reels.

Before I get into my IDOL SPECULATION, I wanted to say something in my defense. There’s a lot of people hatin’ on American Idol, and, well, the part of me that grew up spurning popular culture embraces that. For the record, I don’t like it because I’m “supposed” to like it. I haven’t watched it from the beginning and honestly couldn’t tell you who the early winners were other than Kelly Clarkson and the odd Ruben/Clay hybrid. I’m not obsessive about the program – I’m obsessive about the competition. I’m a musician, and I’m not ashamed to say that I like popular music. In fact, I really like popular music. I also have a very strong drive to help young people succeed at stuff, and a strong competitive streak, and I get kind of a vicarious rush out of this. Having been, and been around, competitive musicians my entire life, I enjoy watching this odd little version of the “audition” process. Plus, it’s fun to sit there and critique this poor souls as if I could do any better. What can I say?

Well, I can say what I thought about last night’s battle of the boys. Overall, I really thought song choice was appalling and/or weird…

Rudy – who I swear looks like Adam Sandler – drew the short straw and had to perform first, becoming susceptible to the First Performer Curse. I initially said that his performance reminded me of a wedding singer, and then realized that was probably the Sandler look influencing me. It was a little cheesy, though, but he had good energy and was generally inoffensive. Going first, though, and getting tough criticism from the judges – he’s in trouble.

Brandon the Backup Singer is obviously just a pro. He knows what he’s doing, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

I like Sundance, I really do, but that was just horrible. It was offkey and he looked creepy scary – a creepy scary song like “Nights in White Satin” didn’t help. He’s just done, and it’s too bad.

Paul got me to thinking, and I honestly can’t think of any Asian-American pop stars. What’s up with that? His performance wasn’t great, but it was definitely passable. I’d like to see him really make the songs his own rather than try to just cover them – he was much better when he loosened up a bit halfway through.

Chris R. is probably very good. I can acknowledge that. And he’ll get a lot of ladies voting for him (although, I’d wager, very few men). But seriously. A suit, a tie, an awkward white-man dance, and THAT song? It didn’t do much for me, I’m afraid.

Nick isn’t cut out for this and he knows it. He was petrified. It didn’t feel like he even knew his song, and when his Mama watches the footage she’s going to raise hell with him over his abysmal posture.

Blake may have been my favorite last night. I like the quality of his voice – clear, straightforward. His singing felt effortless, and it was nice to see him being laidback rather than being the manic beatboxer we’ve seen before. He’s going to be interesting to watch.

Sanjaya needs to not let his sister pick out his songs. It sounded like grandma music, and not very good grandma music at that. I’m not sure what to think about this kid, other than that he needs a haircut. As the only young ‘un, will he get the teeny bopper vote? Personally, I found this performance terrible.

Chris S. is the most fun when he’s interviewing, but something about his performance felt off to me. I liked his song choice but I didn’t like his hair. Isn’t that shallow of me? Hey, it’s a shallow show, so sue me.

Jared did a good job of covering this song, with only a few minor pitch issues. It didn’t do much for me – I think the more of this show I watch, the more I crave creative interpretation – but it was well executed.

A.J. freaked me out for no good reason, and in retrospect I think it was the insatiable grin. To me, it was inoffensive and ignorable… but I played it again and couldn’t argue that it wasn’t very good, musically.

Phil started off in the wrong key entirely and it took him ages to fix it. I can’t help but think that a decent musician would have gotten his feet back underneath him much more quickly than that. Once he found the key he was pretty awesome, and I bet the average viewer/voter forgave and forgot his horrific start. I’m a meanie, though, and won’t let him off that easy.

As per usual I tried to rank the contestants from best to worst. I tried to really make it based on quality rather than my personal taste, but that’s always going to be somewhat subjective. The guys in the middle could be shuffled around a little bit, but here’s what Ryan and I’ve more or less settled on:

My Best-to-Worst Picks
Chris S.
Chris R.

Ryan’s Best-to-Worst Picks
Chris S.
Chris R.

If you’ve gotten this far, and watched – what did you think? Which two do you think will go home? Who’s your favorite?

Cookies and Sickies

The winner of our President’s Day quiz is MADHOUSEWIFE who got six right and two half-right. My monkeys suspect there may have been shenanigans, but all they know for sure is that she paid attention in history class. Without further ado, here is her prize:

The correct answers are as follows:

1. How many Presidents have there been thus far? The correct answer is 42. George W. Bush is #43, but Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms. There have only been 42 different Presidents.

2. Which President said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”? This line comes from John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech.

3. Who was the oldest person ever to take the office of the Presidency? Ronald Reagan, 69.

4. Who was the youngest person ever to take the office of the Presidency? Theodore Roosevelt, 42. This is a tricky question as most people will answer John F. Kennedy – the youngest person (at age 44) to ever be elected as President.

5. Which President was never elected? Gerald Ford

6. Which Presidents were assassinated in office? Okay, this is where I get to make gentle fun of someone (sorry, hon, but I can’t resist). If I use the word “assassinated” then yes – death is a requirement. 🙂 The correct answer is Garfield, Kennedy, Lincoln, and McKinley.

7. Who was the first President to live in the White House? John Adams

8. How many Presidents were not both American citizens? The first eight. I gave you half credit if you said anything greater than four. These eight were born British subjects.

9. Who was the only President never to get married? James Buchanan

10. Who were the tallest and shortest Presidents? :Lincoln, at 6’4″, was our tallest President to date. Madison was our shortest at only 5’4″. George W. Bush is 5’11”.

11. Who was the only President to get elected twice without ever winning the majority of the popular vote? You’ll notice I’ve reworded this question, because I wrote it misleadingly earlier. The correct answer is Bill Clinton. He won the popular vote, but did not get a majority of it due to Ross Perot.

12. Who were the 10th, 20th, 30th, and 40th Presidents? In order: John Tyler, James Garfield, Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan

In other news, I’m sick. And I’ve officially added METH ADDICTS to my red crayon list. It’s not fair that a law-abiding gal with a chest cold can’t get over-the-counter medication without being harrassed by check-out personnel and door alarms. It’s ONE BOX OF GENERIC DAYQUIL. I’m in a SUIT and I have ALL MY TEETH. Just let me go and suffer in peace…

So yeah, sick, and at work, and it’s Mardi Gras, so I’m wearing beads. Whoo hoo!

I promise I didn’t sneeze in your cookies, Mad.

Here’s what’s been happening in my little corner of the workplace. First, a quick-and-dirty map of my department.


Between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day (assuming that what I had for the Fiesta Bowl counts) the following parts of my department got the flu (a.k.a. CREEPING DEATH PLAGUE):


Now that we’ve all gotten that out of our system, a nice little fill-your-lungs-with-crud germ has wormed its way in as follows: