Friday, August 27, 2004

Swing for The Fences

My teammates called me, Professor CrazySwing. It was a name my Coach gave me and it stuck throughout the season. I was 12, trying to play my last year of baseball in the minor league. The coach looked at me standing there, skinny, tall, mouthy and very very bright. I couldn't hit, I couldn't field, and I could irritate the heck out of anyone with long discussions of TV shows, girls, politics, girls, quantum theory, girls, music, girls, the meaning of life and girls and I could run. He knew I was there to run somewhere and that if he washed me out, I would never get my chance to be on the team.

So he didn't wash me out and for that season, I was the eternal benchwarmer. Next to me on the bench sat Jerry Mosley. The Moz was also a talkative guy and while he could hit the ball more often than me, it wasn't that often.

As the song goes, "the 142 fastest gun in the west and looking for number 143."

It was the last game in a series in which we had become the number 1 team in our league. The coach knew with his young talented tormented blonde pitcher, his big gangly 13 year old hitter, and pretty good guys in the outfield, he was winning the season. He had given me the rule book, told me to memorize it, and when he needed to know what the rule was, he would come ask me.

My coach was a lawyer. It explains much.

In the last game of the season, with no particular reason to think the worst team in the league could take us, knowing he had the season, the coach pointed to me and said, "Professor, you're up." So the benchwarmer who had the worst batting record in the league, mine own true self, would step up to face the worst pitcher.

As I walked past the coach he looked up at me and said with a big smile, "Swing for the fences." Just that. No pressure. No worries.

The first pitch went past me and noticed my big hazel eyes. It said, "Gotcha sucka." The second pitch came past me like his brother. I blinked. As the worst pitcher in the league unloaded his third pitch, I said, "I'm cooked." Then it hit me. What the hell? I'm the worst batter but I'm on the best team. Swing for the fences. I heard the crack of the bat and for one instant, I thought, "It's a homer!" I made it to first base. But I was on base. Wow! The Big Time.

Then I saw the coach motion to the Moz. Jerry picked up his bat and came to the plate. He looked scared. The second worst hitter on the best team was stepping up to meet the worst pitcher. I could see it in Moz's eyes. He knew he had a chance. When that first pitch spit past, he swung hard and missed. The Moz was bummed. Then he got mad. On that second pitch, he smacked it solid and I took off. I made it to third and turned. The Moz was standing proud on first base smiling.

The Coach smiled too. He was proud. His worst players made the bases.

He motioned to his best hitter. I smiled. The best hitter on the best team was stepping up to bat against the league's worst pitcher. I knew this man could bring me home.

He struck out. Game over. Season over. No homeplate for Professor and The Moz.

We walked in from the field heads down, when all of the team gathered round us and smiled. We had made the bases. That was the thing.

My father lay in the emergency room bed waiting for a doctor, knowing the mass against his prostate was going to kill him. We were watching "Some Like It Hot" on the TV hanging in the corner of the small portable room covered in white linen. He kept asking Momma for his pills. She snuck him one. He started to talk about the war. Daddy has once slapped me for asking about what he did in the Navy, but as he aged he told me more stories. Daddy liked to tell stories but until he was old, he didn't talk about the war. It haunted him. When he would see actions he was in on the History Channel, he'd just say, "I never saw any cameras."

My father served as a Seabee. He rode in small rubber boats smong the reefs between the landing crafts as the Japanese fired on them. His job was to restart the Hall-Scotts when some 18 year kid who had played baseball one year before in high school, now a scared Marine hoping the brother of the shell that had just gotten his guys wet wouldn't find him where he stood, hands choking the throttle on the twin-diesels, had killed the engines and left the LST to the mercy of the screaming demons of death falling around them. Get the kid's frozen hand off the throttle, hope the battery was still alive, pull like hell, start it, then jump back in the rubber boat and get to the next stalled boat drifting over the coral toward hell.

He had ridden a destroyer through Halsey's typhoons. He said it was the worst of it. On deck, he could fire a gun and he enjoyed that. In the water, he could dodge, but down in the ship listening to the engines howl and the screws cutting in and out of the water as the ship slid up, over and down the mountains of cold smothering rage around them, he could do nothing. He said it was the most scared he would ever be. When the kamikazes came, he got the one coming for him, but not the one coming for the carrier, so they tied up to it and fought the fires from their own decks.

On the island, he made friends with a pilot who flew patrol bombers. My Daddy loved anything that had an engine, and flying caught his fancy. He was younger than the pilot and the pilot liked that. He taught Daddy to fly. Daddy would go on patrol with him. In those days before pressure suits were common, it was not uncommon for older pilots to lose consciousness pulling out of a dive. The pilot preferred a younger man behind him who could take the Gs better. Wrapped in a towel because a dive makes blood run from his nose and ears ruining his prize jacket, the pilot would tell Daddy, "If I pass out, you gotta bring us home, Bullard."

Dad looked up at Marilyn on the screen in a clinch with Tony, and said, "Yeah, we were flying back that afternoon when we looked down and saw it laying there just off the coast. It was clear and we saw that sub waiting. After dark, he would surface and he would give us hell. I saw the pilot point down and I knew what he would do as he came round and started down. He was going all the way to the water before he dropped that bum. A bum has to hit hard and square on the water to get down to where that sub was at. So he flipped over and headed straight down, engine screaming, my guts all over me, and his face drawed up like a fish. I could see the top of that sub coming faster and faster until he let that bum go. As he was pulling up and the engine was groaning and the wings was cracking, I managed to look over. He hit 'er square on the tower and it blew up. We killed those barstards but they wuz gonna kill us that night. Made me glad. I looked around and I saw the red all over that towel, but as he was slumpin' down, he took the mike and said, "Bring us home, Bullard."

Then Daddy looked at me and Mom and said, "I can beat this." I knew it wasn't so, but I knew he would swing for the fences.

The back of the room of the Tralee museum was packed with a mob of people who had all come to see the Great Man. The man was Neil Armstrong who had flown every kind of plane there was to fly, who had first stepped on the Moon, and was now kneeling next to my seven year old son, Daniel. The Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland listened attentively next to the Great Man, as Daniel told him about the virtual reality epic before them on the screen.

Pushed into the crowd and the back of the room, Paul Hoffman and I and our wives watched as the cameras rolled and Daniel with complete poise told them about our work. An hour before that, Paul and I finished a 24 hour shift doing the final assembly of a work that had been made in 95 days out of beta technology by men all over the planet, none of whom except Paul and I ever laid eyes on one another. And Paul and I had only met a day and half ago.

It was reallllll close.

It was the finest moment of my life. For those men, all volunteers, only email buddies, mostly Dads for all the right reasons built that VR for the children of Ireland. Our team risked much but we were on base.

The next day, it was much quieter and we were back at the exhibit. Children playing around us, and Irish mother came up to me and asked, "Why did you do it?" I said, with pride, "For your children." but Paul, who sat making a few more tweaks, said, "For the fun." The redhaired girl from Kerry leaned into my shoulder and cried.

Around us the Gateway computers hummed. The children were laughing and living in the worlds of Hoffman, the genius who had pulled the project together, Kahuna who proved he was the master builder of ships, Dennis who created his magical worlds using only an Ascii editor and the beta browser, Niclas who would tell us of his days and his loves while he made the final mystery, Rev Bob who always replied with humor when Paul told him he needed to take just a few more triangles out of Bob's perfectly engineered and stunning International Space Station, all these good men who had heard the call to do the impossible, who had made the world's first virtual reality epic, had swung at the fences, and on the only pitch, knocked it all the way out of the park.

And my Daniel was there, his first time on a world stage showing our work to the Great Man who had been to the Moon first, and was there to see what we could make of the dream of space travel for the children of Ireland. Magic is attention focused by belief. We speak it into being and act. The whisper makes the word. The word is the act. Love is the reward. I couldn't have loved my son more than at that moment watching him swinging for the fences.

The night my father died my younger and my oldest brother sat in the room playing the music he had played with us so many Sundays for so many years. As he lay in the next room, we played with all the heart and all the love and all the mistakes we had learned while he had played with us. I sang his favorite, Gentle On My Mind, and we played all the blues and country and rock and folk and classical guitar songs we knew. When we stopped, he died. While now the grieving would begin, the deep sorrow of watching this Seabee join his mates was over. At Daddy's side was a very worn Bible with the signature of a man we did not know dated, 1943.

Two days later, at his funeral I read the elegy, and then I, my brothers, and my cousin played the song I had written ten years earlier knowing even then it was for this day, the song that got me into the Bluebird past Amy's pen years before. When I had told him that I was going to go take a swing at the audition in Nashville's home for songwriters, he told me, "Son, I know you like rock, and you write good songs, but for Nashville, you have to play a country song." So I went back to the studio to write a true song because as Harlan Howard said, "Country is three chords and the truth."

I sang about my Daddy making up after a fight with me when he had been drinking. He asked me what he could do. I was seven, but I said without hesitating, "Teach me to play the guitar." The song was true and it was enough to pass her test. Six months later, I sat on the stage of The Bluebird on a Sunday night and sang my song. I hit it over the fence. Daddy was proud. Hits didn't matter. It was about respect for a good song.

You only play the games you sign up for, and I had already decided that a life at home loving my wife, raising babies, and taking care of them was the best life. Music would always be my friend and like the Moz, if I could get to first base, it could get me further. I decided that home was far enough.

So now the time had come to play it for the family who always asked for that song, a song that would make Daddy cry. Without tears, I played the hardest song of my life, and the sweetest, and the truest. It was not written for the 'natch; it was for loving my Dad. In sadness and courage and practice and patience like the low tapping of a foot on a floor to start a song, we played as he had taught us: to bring it home.

A month ago I played for Kelly, my beautiful boo, the baby, the girl whom I've loved without reserve since her Mother first gave her to me. Before her grandparents and family friends and the assembly of her church, she sang her first solo. A month earlier, my best girlfriend when I was a teen-ager had given me her harp before she left for Israel to become a cantor. Knowing I loved the harp and would learn to play it, she told me to restring it and keep it until she could come back again. In a life time of music and love, this was an iridescent moment on stage with my little angel. As we both stepped up to the plate, her to sing for the first time in public, me to play a new and mysterious axe, we were there together swinging. With my Daddy's hands and my daughter's love, we hit it out of the park.

For all the times you think you cannot do it, for all the times you are scared and you can't see that ball coming, know that it is and when it gets there, you can swing for the fences. You can strike out when you're the best, you can hit when you're the worst, and you can bring someone home that made it to base. There is courage even in the most frightened heart, and there is will in the most frozen hand. I hope for you, that in this life, you will swing for the fences and know how wonderful the moment is when you hit it out of the park and bring it home.

Shreddin' The 'Natch

The title phrase comes from a Doonesbury cartoon in which Gary Trudeau's archetypal musician, Jimmy Thudpucker, returns to the studio after a long hiatus only to discover that his bandmates and the session musicians have all been replaced by midi-driven synthesizers. The producer tells him that employing real musicians is 'too many ways to shred the 'natch' which in mortalSpeak means, he would have to pay them union wages and that given the high costs of doing business, automation is cost-effective. Accepting that, Jimmy asks how the tracks will be 'sweetened' and the producer replies, "I got strings that'll give you diabetes."

Cost and quality have become the battleground in the wars between open source and proprietary systems. Insidiously, the one thing these competing systems shared in the technological ecosystem has been open standards. Now we see corporations beginning to walk away from the consortia who sponsor these efforts as the impact of policies regarding royalty-free contributions are measured against the price drops in software driven by open source systems, commoditization pressures from these very standards, and the intellectual property wars where the strategy to hold off predatory lawsuits using the tactics of pre-emptive patents is acceleration.

Ecosystems are about competing for energy. Tactics vary but the goals are always survival and growth. Species within these systems will apply tactics that will cause them to evolve towards symbiotic relationships or parasitic ones. In a technological ecosystem, a company or product can be one or both of these at the same time depending on the tactics applied in response to various conditions in an environment made up of themselves, their customers, and the ever present press all of whom can be contributors or predators.

Understanding the effect of one's tactics is essential to self-directed adaptation. The Hindus call this karma, but in this model, it is just the effect of feedback into a system that by virtue of its complex relationships strengthens or weakens the aggregate effects of acts selected by operations over those relationships. In other words, you aren't exactly what you eat, but the supply of what you eat is determined by how well you care for it. Basically, tend the garden or watch it go to weeds. Smart farmers know how to rotate crops, keep certain crops near or far away from each other relative to pollinization and predator control, how to select by markers for crops to cross-breed, which fertilizers cause rapid growth but burn the soil, and so on.

Farmers are the original ecologists, and not surprisingly, originally most were women because the men had manly pursuits such as whacking buffalo and deer for protein. Animal husbandry came later because mammals do the herd trick naturally and any male can follow a herd. So men eventually came to own most of the money, and like a herd, money follows fashion. Thus began the extinction of species. At the same time, the numbers of crops bred for food slimmed down to a very few. According to the August 2004 edition of Scientific American, no new cereals have been domesticated in more than 3000 years and today's population of mammals is fed by 24 plant species with corn, rice and wheat accounting for most of the calories consumed.

Meanwhile, further down in the system, the mammalian sex drives increased to replaced units damaged by war, famine, pestilence and bad beer. Sex is a means to repair damaged DNA and evolution, a friend of mine tells me, made it as much fun as possible to ensure we keep on having it. This increased the mammal supply, so increased the need to feed more mammals, and because no new cereals were being domesticated, we've cleverly learned to increase the yields of the few plants we use. In effect, the mammals bred the diversity out of the plants and increased the yield of the chosen few. From time to time, genetic breeding experts go into the wild and find a plant with markers indicating some desirable trait and introduce the gene responsible for that trait from the wild plant into what is known as an elite cultivar, essentially, the template plant for a new strain. The original population of plants from which all of today's corn crops are descended was likely less than 20 plants. Consider that next time you sit down to eat a bag of popcorn at a movie. There are more kernels in the bag and more people in the first two rows than all of corn's original ancestors. Grass fire anyone?

What does this have to do with music, standards, and source code? Glad you asked.

In the music world, open source is not the mp3 files people are busily swapping. That is the harvest of the crops grown by musicians. Midi is the open source. I am a musician. Musicians make and swap midi files with wild mammalian abandon. We often take old recordings and laboriously notate them in midi format so we can perform these with approximately the same sounds as the originals. Yes, like Jimmy Thudpucker, we'd rather use our fellow musicians but given that the pay for a gig has not increased in real or virtual dollars since 1972, we can't take the nine to fifteen people required to reproduce a 70s Motown hit to a gig that pays $300. It is simply too many ways to shred the 'natch. We'd like to make that up in CD sales but the real costs of producing a marketable CD even with all of the neat technology which includes midi has settled at the optima of about $10 a copy. Yes, a CD can cost less, but all megabytes are not equal so the geek math some use to criticize the industry doesn't reflect the reality of the costs of the harvest.

What midi really does is give us a chance to share open source music in the form of reproducible notes and orchestration. We pull these into cheap editors (thanks to the musical geeks) and study them to learn orchestral and composition techniques. We steal from each other, taking a drum part here, a lead lick there, and we compose new music. We've been doing this for centuries but midi made it cheap and fast. The quality of production actually can go up because we are as Paul Graham notes in his excellent article on Hackers and Painters, learning by example. It's a good thing. We found a way to make the bad effect of shreddin' the 'natch work for us. Now three guys can go play a decent sounding gig and still feed their kids. Where we resisted midi initially, we eventually embraced it and manage to live well in a shallower money pool.

Now we come to the issue for the geeks. If you want to keep open source open, you have to confront the dilemma of standards and code versus the reality that as you drive down the price of software, you force the system to get energy elsewhere. The powers of companies large and small found it in intellectual property cross-licensing. They also discovered that it could be used as a weapon against other competitors, so they are amassing it as fast as they can file it knowing full well that they are overwhelming the patent inspectors around the world and failing to meet the due diligence requirements. They use the tactics of the goombahs; as long as you can't resist them, the legal niceties don't matter because they have found a way to shred the 'natch in their favor.

The tactic coming into favor is pre-emptive patents. Pick a technology that you think is on the rise at some time in the future (to surf, you swim ahead of the wave), and get as many patents as you can. This works. Corporations today are defending themselves from IP suits with twenty and thirty year old users manuals dragged out of the garages of engineers who held on to them for keepsakes. Not being dumb, companies who see that trend are now building documentation repositories because they now know they need to keep all of the code they write, the documents they manage, and the contracts they sign just in case. Meanwhile, they are securing patents at a furious rate.

This won't stop because it is working.

Coming back to cereals, languages that we use on the web have been increasing steadily, but my bet is that at some tipping point, this will reach a steady state. It will winnow down to a handful of languages that we all use for the majority of our work. The bad part is that we haven't yet reached that state and some niches are being fought over furiously by old consortia and new faux consortia sponsored by BigCos who need to both justify their future products with a patina of cooperation while establishing their patent libraries as hegemonic over these faux standards. Meanwhile, champions of languages in the open source world are at war with each other over which languages shall be the elite cultivar of the future. This is bad because it means that very soon, two or more languages or systems that have to interoperate can't be bundled together because the licensing for each is incompatible with the other.

Yesterday, I responded to the request from a major figure in the development of open standards for 3D systems to introduce him to the editor of an up to now well thought of online magazine who's founder is a well-known champion of open source and open standards. The idea was to launch a series of technical articles about X3D, the only open source, open standard for 3D on the web. Here is the reply:

"Sorry, but from my perch, SVG is several orders of magnitude more used than X3D. *That's* what warrants series of articles, rather than inherent technical merit."

After swapping a few gratuitous insults, I realized this bird on his perch simply doesn't get it. SVG as an open standard and open source system isn't in as good a shape as he thinks in the market. X3D being a new language isn't either. What he also doesn't know is that patents and closed standards for 3D on the web are being pursued by invitation-only consortia with furious speed. In effect, the door for open systems based on 3D and 2D vector graphics is slamming shut while this guy is worried about the two formats competing. This isn't the first time I've heard this in the SVG camp, and it worries me. None of this stuff is new.

It is likely that one of the X3D vendors will implement 2D extensions to X3D for layers where 2D is a better and more efficient authoring and rendering technique. Think HUDs, data displays, 2D controls and the like. The work being done on shaders and a CAD Distillation Format will make this a powerful cross-bred set of capabilities. Some would like this layer to be SVG or at least a reasonable subset. That may well be the way this goes. Some in the SVG community want to
extend SVG into 3D and have done work in that direction. Graphics experts tell me that this is futile because the object model for SVG isn't designed to support real time 3D.

Why wouldn't these groups work together?

If the number of languages and elite cultivar are going to shrink, and if we as information farmers want to get more yield out of these virtual fields while protecting them from the predators on the near horizon, that would seem to be the best strategy. Yet in all my years of doing this kind of work, I am constantly amazed how the focus is on trying to get more yield from the field rather than improving the crops. This kind of bad planning dominates the thinking of some of the open source, free range designers and standards authors.

If we want to be able to feed ourselves in a time when the pay for the gig is falling, we need to learn from the musicians about creating formats that work together instead of fighting over who is paid to be in the studio. Our resources aren't that many and our products aren't that strong. Technical excellence still has a role to play on the World Wide Web, but for this to work, we should learn how to better shred the 'natch. X3D and SVG should be allies instead of competing alleles because extinction is just two releases away given increases in the parasitic qualities and a failure to breed symbiotes in the graphics ecosystems.

Why do it? Because Flash will give you diabetes.

Monday, August 23, 2004

The Hounds of Love

"When I was a child:
Running in the night,
Afraid of what might be
Hiding in the dark,
Hiding in the street...
The Hounds of Love are hunting" [1]

Mammals are relentlessly innovative. That's a good survival trait. Given the capacity for the environment to go wonkers when some hidden force like a volcano erupts, a disease silently begins to whack the babies or a kid hits puberty, relentless innovation claims the prize for doing before done unto. Some mammals are herd mammals and others aren't. This is also a survival trait but it isn't ubiquitous among the furry warm bloods. Some float with the crowd that has the best looking Others as members, and some just float until other mammals invite them to a party. Then there are the loners. Some of them go on to become top corporate executives and others, psychopaths on the six o'clock news. Why one becomes or chooses one or the other is a tough call, but because mammals are relentlessly innovative, theories abound.

"Take my shoes off and throw them in the lake
And I'll be two steps on the water." [1]

Then came the Internet: a product born of the extraordinarily relentness innovation of North American mammals and their Cold War paranoia by which it was empirically demonstrated that successful executives and psychopaths could be the same people at the same party. The brilliance of it was that it was like water: reusable, simple, fundamental and recyclable. Once the PsychoMammalElite were done worrying about their Cold War, they offered the 'Net up for FREE at the Thrift Shop of Unclaimed Military Baggage. The genius of its design eeemmmmmeerrged.

The same features that made it theoretically possible to point a command and control droid to another droid after the first one was turned into unaddressable storage (say write only memory) that glowed regardless of whether the grid was up or down made it possible to get really good photos of mammalian pulchritudinousness without the postage or the brown paper bag. One click; some waiting, and there it was: nude mammals with all the parts. For FREE.

So begat the downloading that begat the desktop that begat the ISP that begat the two line home that begat the world wide wait that begat the DSP and the cableMowDem that begat the monthly bill that begat the taxless product that begat the urge to tax that begat the urge to mark that begat XML by which all things could be marked

"It's coming for me through the trees." [1]

That's a geek joke but I digress.

First, it was pictures and those were easy to find and get. Then came the music files, and those were easy to find and get too but the musicians who lived off royalties objected. Then came the movies but only to the mammals with broadband, a way of saying I can afford a big phone bill but won't take my kids to the cinema. All of this was justified by a fanciful notion called 'the frictionless economy'.

Among mammalian lifeforms, self-lubricating systems aren't all that innovative, but given one that takes, another one is making out, up, or do, or otherwise, negotiating.

This is called product for value. It isn't a terribly complicated idea: I make the original and a copy. You can get the copy if I tell you where it is. Now with a certain amount of excitement, some systems will self-lubricate, that is, if you can excite them enough, they are ready to receive or take. In others, if you want access, you grease the port. The problem comes of wanting without having the grease when using a system that isn't self-lubricating or excited.

"I found a fox caught by dogs.
He let me take him in my hands." [1]

Free has a way of conflicting with unavailableByDesign. While the Internet, really just a big set of data plumbing pipes, can enable exchanges of all kinds, those that want everything for free are not compatible with those that want to grease the 'natch. It is easy to dress up the 'should be free' with lofty words but these tend to obscure the negotiation. On the other hand, there are those who insist that the only proper exchange is one that is monitored and taxed to support the infrastructure. If mammals bred like that, fish would rule the world.

"Do you know what I really need?
Do you know what I really need?" [1]

The Internet, whose rise to public prominence was driven by that mammalian urge for pubic places is now caught smack in the middle of the herds of nerds that love it, the loners that build it, and the successful executives and psychopaths who want to control it. A rising tide floats all boats except the ones tied to the dock. If we ignore the need to grease the web, that sucking sound you hear could be your local commodity tax base collapsing only to be buttressed by your rising property taxes. If we don't stop the psychoExecs from using their authority to inspect and tax every item on it, that sound you hear and picture you see will start to look just like that reality series on cable that you just can't watch but TVLand is still running Andy and Barney and you already know the end of every sitcom on the Hitler Channel.

"Do you know what I mean? Do you know what I really mean?" [1]

They say the Internet routes around censorship. It's a good theory but like the theory that it could route around a nuclear fireball, it's never been tested so it remains yet another theory.

"The Hounds of Love are hunting, and I don't know what's good for me." [1]

Doc Searls says he does. Do give this a read.

To Barlow, I say, "J.P., I've been to a few of Uncle John's Band's
gigs. The tickets weren't FREE, the t-shirts weren't FREE, and even if I had a tape recorder, I couldn't get close enough to Captain Trips to get a worthy sound. But it was WELL worth the price of admission and still will be even without Jerry (Miss the Man? Yes I do.). Just be factual about the cost of the Marin Lifestyle, Dude. It ain't virtual."

To Doc, I say, "I don't want to restrict your choices or mine and we do need to fight those who do, but the truth is, it IS just another medium even if it has a Google number of channels and the TV talks back. Different parties have different party rules and those who don't want to stick to them will be visited by Master Jack and His Hammers who will pound their profits into plowshares to sell at the next county auction. I'm all for diversity, but I'm against the pedofile who wants to pick up a kid and the kid who wants to redistribute someone else's property like Robin Hood. I gave away recordings for free only to watch the dot.bomb that was to send me an occasional shekel keep changing the points and then selling them to the Frogs. So if someone is going to give it up for free, it will be me...excited by the prospect of a lady with five kids in Australia and a big farm to run driving her rig across her fields listening to my music. Let the lubing begin."

I suspect freedom of choice means we choose among options offered freely. So we better get busy figuring out what's good for us before those options are gone. The Hounds of Love are hunting. I can't tell if they're sniffing for a treat or a bite, but I'm still waiting for a new Kate Bush album, likely will until retirement, and as much as I love her music, I know it won't be free, but it will be worth the lube... with no problems.

"And I'm ashamed of running away
From nothing real.
I just can't deal with this,
But I'm still afraid to be there,
Among your Hounds of Love." [1]

[1] "The Hounds of Love" Kate Bush
Copyright 1985 - EMI America

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