Dip

March 16th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Food | Soapbox | Whining - (0 Comments)

In which I don’t understand.

Why do store-bought dips suck?

I bought a huge container of artichoke-jalapeno dip last weekend, and while it isn’t exactly inedible, it’s really not good.

You can safely buy salsa — well, many of them, at least — and those sort of 70’s-style chip dips (like French onion or whatever), and a few bean or cheese dips, from, like, Tostitos.

But guacamole? Awful. Creamy spinach or artichoke dips? Bad. I’ve never bought a hummus that wasn’t mediocre at best, and bitter at worst.

Which is so weird, because it seems like pre-made dips would be really easy to get right. Especially hummus! Or spinach and/or artichoke dip, or guacamole!

Hating holidays is juvenile

February 14th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which I lecture. (Because fuck it, I pay the hosting fees here AND I CAN.)

You hate holidays. I get it.

You’re woke and clever and can’t be taken in by money-making corporate holidays. You’re totally too smart to fall for any of this shit.

So you reject the few celebrations your culture observes, and deliberately alienate yourself from one of the easiest ways to feel connected with other human beings.

You trot out childish tropes about how giving someone flowers is only meaningful if it happens randomly, rather than on a specific date. You blow off eating celebratory meals with your family. You can’t be bothered to make it to a friend’s birthday party. You think Christmas is too commercial and that decorating as an expression of celebration is tacky.

Well, guess what: you misunderstand human nature to a fantastic degree. Celebration has existed in every human culture ever. We need to celebrate. We’re hard-wired to celebrate.

Are holidays perfect, ideal, without flaw, impossible to improve? No, of course they’re not. Nothing humanity does is perfect, and we all know this. Stop being a twat.

Buy her some fucking flowers. It’ll make you both happy.

On the incoming POTUS

January 15th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which I make political commentary.

I try to do my research. Even if I really, really don’t want to.

I’ve read several long-form think pieces about this man’s upcoming presidency. And the weird thing is that they exist: there are persons, educated persons, DC insiders, who are writing long-form think pieces about this man’s upcoming presidency as if he were just another incoming POTUS, and not the shrieking shitshow that he is.

It’s mind blowing. They talk about his indications of future policy, as if he had ANY policy. They talk about his cabinet choices as if the choices were made by a person who had any motherfucking idea of what he was doing.

Conclusion: there will be enough press behaving as if he weren’t a rolling goddamned disaster that he’ll be able to get all the attention he wants without ever having to acknowledge the massive preponderance of press calling him a moron.

It’s fucking insane, basically.

Vaccine safety deniers are weird, man.

January 14th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which Facebook gets far too much of my good material, so I’m cross-posting some here as well.

My original post, on Trump’s appointments, and specifically about his meeting with Kennedy:

Now we’ve got anti-vaxxers, climate change denialists, a rich bitch who has a weird hatred for schools. Absolute opposite of ‘brain trust.’

It received several responses. In one, somebody (from Fairfield, naturally) tried to call me out, as it were, on labeling Kennedy (who still believes in the thoroughly-debunked Thimerosol-autism theory, fer Chrissake) as anti-vax, because nowadays they call themselves “pro-vaccine safety.”

My response:

My interest in “debating” so-called “vaccine safety” with anti-vaxxers is zero, because one cannot have meaningful exchanges with conspiracy theorists. But what the hell, once more into the breach!

Your posts are just like every other anti-vaxxer’s posts. I never claimed to be an expert. I never claimed to be an expert. I tell you three times: I never claimed to be an expert. I claimed to accept the consensus of current scientific knowledge, which tells us that vaccines are reasonably safe and effective and do not cause autism.

And no, there are not “plenty of experts who disagree”: there are a few persons (every single one making money off of their anti-vax fame in some way or another) and a few papers that have been (or will be) retracted, upon which your movement bases all of its provably and measurably harmful views.

In the real world, the preponderance of evidence and the majority of experts all say the same thing: vaccines are safe and effective and do not cause autism. Vaccines are safer than cars by orders of magnitude, and yet none of you are lobbying to have cars banned.

As for being invested emotionally: I don’t sell any product or service that claims to help the so-called victims of vaccines or persons with autism. As they say: follow the money. You’re the one with a horse in the race.

I’ve read your site. You claim that the glorified hammocks you manufacture and sell are nearly panacea. Your idea of “research” that “proves” that motion while sleeping has any measurable, non-placebo, non-subjective effects on any condition is weak, and utilized specifically to earn yourself income.

Your beds are cool, absolutely, but there is no proof they’re medicine. Implying otherwise makes you no better than the charlatans who sell chelation therapy or chemical castration to the parents of autistic children! (Therapies that are effectively abuse, I must add, as there is no evidence the theories behind them are at all relevant or sound.)

A big round bed is far less abusive to an individual than chemical castration, clearly, but you’re still at least attempting to accept money from people on false pretenses. You may have anecdotal stories from mums who say the beds eased symptoms; I have anecdotal stories from people who swear that Rescue Remedy cures their panic attacks. These claims don’t mean that Rescue Remedy isn’t just water, which it is, or that the results aren’t placebo, which they are. Placebo is profoundly powerful. As is the mind.

And as far as Kennedy: I mean, come on. Thimerosol! That horse has been dead for a decade now. Autism continued to happen after it was removed from vaccines. Ergo Thimerosol is not implicated in autism.

Finally, experts agree that the phrase “pro-vaccine safety,” in the mouths of persons who do not work in applicable fields, equals being anti-vax. Your movement thinks it sounds more reasonable and less crack-pot (now that so many people frown upon being “anti-vaccine”) to be “pro-vaccine safety.” But if you’re merely a layperson, the distinction is merely a semantic ruse and nothing more.

My only interest in the anti-vax movement is this: kids are getting sick and dying again. Diseases that were under control are resurfacing in the general population. I myself am aging, and will one day wake up as a member of a vulnerable population.

And if I die from something PREVENTABLE because of the ignorant, fact-denying, anti-vax hysteria of persons like yourself, I’m going to be seriously pissed off.

I won’t be reading any replies, because there’s no point in engaging. But damn, just… damn. Climate change is real, vaccines are safe and effective, Big Pharma not only bilks us all out of billions but also keeps countless persons alive every single day, and humans have walked on the moon!

“Gut-churning sanctimony.”

January 11th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (2 Comments)

In which I’m a vegetarian, but not an idiot.

Click on the image below for a really great #longread about zoo animal management, that really makes you wonder how anybody can get so fucking freaked out and upset about professionals doing their jobs.

Professionals. Experts. People who know way more than you do about managing animals. (It’s especially, uh, poignant, when considering that these same “protesters” probably had factory-slaughtered dead animal on their plate at their most recent meal.)
 
zoo

Go read it. They take animals they were going to cull anyway, and turn them into science lectures. It’s fucking great, is what it is, rather than hiding the facts of life to placate a ridiculously emotional populace.

…. … .. . .. … ….
Back now? Good. Great read, wasn’t it? Real reporting. Balanced and neutral. Loved it.

Well, if you care, which you shouldn’t, here’s my hippie, vegetarian, pacifist rant:

Billions of perfectly healthy, viable animals are killed every year to fill plates. And how many death threats does that generate? A few, I’m sure, but nothing like Harambe, or that dentist and his lion, or this giraffe.
 
Everything dies, people. Everything. I put my dog down after she’d had a few dozen heart attacks to save her more suffering; this zoo put down an extra male — and then used him for education and lion food — to save him being savaged by other male giraffes and for the ultimate genetic diversity of the herd.

Like most of us, he was neither special nor rare. The zoo declined to rehome him because the outcry was fucking absurd and they refused to buckle… and to avoid “what Holst likes to call the ‘Disneyfication’ of nature.” I applaud.

“An editorial in the Los Angeles Times argued that Copenhagen had broken an “inviolate if unwritten contract” prohibiting the killing of zoo animals.”

What the fuck? One, the LA Times knows shit about zoo management, and two, there’s no such ‘contract;’ anybody managing animals at an expert level culls. And if you’re, say, a backyard chicken-keeper who is too squeamish to cull, well, nature culls for you. Usually after the animal has suffered more than it would have had you manned up and killed it. I once let a terminally savaged duck die slowly under a tree, bleeding and broken and in horrific condition after a dog attack, because I was too much of a pussy to put her out of her misery. I still regret it.
 
“Denmark’s largest pig slaughterhouse is open to the public, and a hundred and fifty visitors tour it each day.” I can’t even imagine what would happen if some American city kids were bused to a slaughterhouse for an educational field day; the press would probably explode! CHILDREN EXPOSED TO REALITY, the headline would read. SOME ATROCIOUS ASSHOLE SHOWED THEM WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM. COMPLETELY HYSTERICAL FILM AT ELEVEN.
 
American zoos freqently “send surplus animals to roadside zoos,” where the level of care is unknown. Is that really better than just culling them? Sometimes, sure. Others? Fuck no. Caring well for animals, especially exotic animals, requires expertise. Merely thinking you love them is not expertise.

America’s folksy model is symbolized by Jack Hanna, the former director of the Columbus Zoo. He noted that he’d made six hundred television shows about wild animals and had never shown a kill. “There’s enough going on in the world — I don’t need to have a family with children sitting watching a lion take an animal apart.”

How is this anything but bullshit? Animals kill and eat other animals. Humans kill and eat animals. This is a fact. Pretending otherwise is weird.
 
And this little gem:

Tom Stalf, Hanna’s successor at Columbus, suggested to me that the children who viewed the autopsy at the Copenhagen Zoo “might be horrified but unaware of it.” He said that they might realize their distress only in middle age.

The fuck? They eat chicken nuggets for lunch, and seeing an animal autopsy will cripple them for life? If it does, we’ve utterly failed to teach them rationality.

I was disgusted at frog dissection in school; I’m still squeamish handling the meat I cook for others because I see it as body parts rather than food; I’ve turned away from kill scenes in animal shows. But I know that my feelings don’t alter the reality, which is that animals die and others eat them. I also know that humane animal handlers cull. (My aunt, who is the softest of softies, will have her vet come out to put down a horse in terminal distress, because that’s what ranchers do. It makes her cry, but she does it anyway. Because she’s not a cunt.)

We have a touring museum show that is nothing but human bodies. If you see that, will you be “distressed” for life because you find reality unpalatable?
 

“Asked several times if culling occurs in American zoos, Rob Vernon, a spokesman for AZA, said, variously, “No,” “Yes,” and “That’s a good question.” He made the candid observation that his own discomfort reflected the industry’s discomfort.” 

American zoos do cull. They’d be remiss if they didn’t. And yet, in American zoos, the preferred term for culling is “humane euthanization.”

Because we’re pussies, apparently, in spite of our Wild West ancestors.
 
I mean, shit, human beings in multiple enclaves world-wide are fighting for the right to euthanize themselves. Everything dies. Killing an unnecessary animal, or a food animal, or a suffering pet: it’s unbeautiful, yes, but it’s a fact of life.

Pretending otherwise is ridiculous.

‘Twas the night before Christmas

December 26th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Family | Love - (0 Comments)

In which we each opened a present on Christmas Eve.

I got a ring!

Oooh! Pretty!
Terrible picture brought to you by low light and my cell phone.

According to the listing, it’s a “created Alexandrite pear ring, set in .925 sterling silver with rhodium finish.” I have no idea what rhodium is.

When my grandfather came home from WWII, he brought back a small collection of unset gem stones. When each of his kids, including my mother, graduated from high school, they got to choose a stone and have it set into a ring.

So they’ve all got these rings set in white gold with giant pink stones (pink sapphires? I’m really not sure what they are, but they’re HUGE and they’re PINK) that are unique, and yet still sort of part of a matching set. They’re all different shapes: square, round, rectangular, etc. And my aunts all wear their rings to this day.

When I graduated high school, I got a small Alexandrite — there were no huge pink rocks left, after all five of his kids — and my grandmother had it set in white gold for me. It was so cool and I loved it! A custom-made ring, just for me! And it was a color-changing stone, with tones of purple and aqua. It was my first piece of ‘real’ jewelry and I should still fucking have it.

Buuuuut I don’t. It got stolen out of my bathroom during a party in junior college. (I’ve always been bummed about that. It should have become a fucking heirloom, but my dumb ass lost it. God only knows where the ring is now.)

Then I saw this ring and it reminded me both of my own ring and the rings of my aunts and uncle, so I put it on my wishlist and GOT IT FOR CHRISTMAS! Yay!

He got fuzzy plaid lounge pants.

In which there’s another rant about politics.

Absolutely do not vote third party. It is TOO LATE to vote your so-called consciences.

You want to fix democracy? Then why didn’t you third-partiers do it last year? The year before? The five years before that, or the decades before that?

I’ll tell you why: because you did not give a fuck about politics then. Not enough to participate. But now, suddenly, you’re all, “Oh, I have such strong FEELINGS about how corrupt this all is, and I absolutely must be true to myself and vote my CONSCIENCE!”

Because you’re privileged as fuck. Privileged enough to feel entitled to WASTE A VOTE. A vote — a right so important that human beings have DIED TO GET IT FOR YOU.

You will fuck this election up. You will put a shallow, incompetent man into the Oval office, and you will do it because you do not understand that your rights come with responsibilities. Responsibilities you have failed to carry out. You’ve stood with a bucket of water in your hands watching the building burn down and said, “Not my building, not my fire.” But now, suddenly, you care? You care so much that you just have to cast a meaningful vote that represents who you are?

You are being idealistic, ignorant children. You lost your right to vote your feels each of the billion times you did not participate in your own government in the past decade. You are dabblers. You are passers-by. Yes, you have a constitutional right to bitch and moan while doing nothing, but you also have a duty to use your vote wisely. Yes, there is corruption, but your vote is still a vote. And nobody cares about who you are or how you really feel; you’re an adult with a vote. Use it to keep your country somewhat intact. It’s your duty.

If the orange man of reality TV and pro-wrestling fame should, God forbid, win this fucked up disaster of a presidential election, I will blast every one of you “vote third party!” nerds with the most enormous goddamned THIS IS ALL YOUR NAIVE, RIDICULOUS, IDEALISTIC, DUMB ASSED FAULT rant you have ever seen. It will make those times your mom was so mad she nearly de-manifested seem like a pastel Easter basket on a gentle Spring morn. If you decide to use your enormous privilege to FUCK THIS UP, I will be incandescent with actual, genuine — not fake-internet — rage.

DO NOT VOTE THIRD PARTY IN THIS MOTHERFUCKING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Jesus Christ, can’t you people tell how desperately important this is? If you really wanted a viable third-party system, YOU WOULD HAVE BUILT ONE LONG BEFORE THIS HAPPENED. But you didn’t. Your lack of participation, along with my own, is WHY WE’RE HERE NOW.

So STFU and vote for the bitch, and once the huckster’s been safely gotten rid of, YOU MAY MOTIVATE YOURSELVES TO FIX THE SYSTEM THEN, and with my blessings. THEN, you may participate your asses off. THEN, you may feel all the feelings and vote all the consciences you want. Then, you may go to local, county, state, and federal events, you may write letters, you may vote however you wish, and you may participate to your hearts’ content.

But if you do it in THIS presidential election, you’re a naive, selfish, childish, wasteful, and privileged idiot.

In which there are a variety of reversible, seasonally appropriate motherfucking handmade placemats!!!

When your mom is psychic:

IMG_20160923_161114

You buy a table and you think, damn, some placemats sure would be great.

AND THEN YOUR MOM SENDS YOU A BOX OF THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE BLUE, AND THERE’S, LIKE, DIFFERENT ONES FOR MAJOR HOLIDAYS AND SEASONS AND STUFF, AND SHE MADE THEM HERSELF, AND NOW YOU’RE LIKE FUCK SEPTEMBER, IT NEEDS TO BE OCTOBER ALREADY SO I CAN USE THE HALLOWEEN ONES!

Place mats

They’re like little blankets for your table, really.

In which I feel both uplifted and awkward.

Once in awhile, I fall accidentally into a religious conversation with a devout Christian about the experience of the practice of religion. And she says stuff, and I say stuff, and she’s pleased with my insight and depth of understanding, and we’re really grooving and having a meaningful chat about life and love and suffering and learning and keeping covenant and watching the mind and all that grooviness, and then suddenly I realize I’m fucking trapped.

Because by understanding her subtlest spiritual work, I’ve more or less “led” her to believe I’m also a Christian, which I’m really, really not, and it’d be awkward if I revealed that I’m a so-called heathen, and I end up feeling kinda bad about it, and then I start fearing I’ll be asked when I was saved or born again or baptized or whatever, because I won’t know what to say without ruining the fine fellow-feeling that I feel and know is well and truly earned.

I enjoy talking to devotees of any stripe, but Christians can get upset to learn that their little two-thousand year old, truncated, gutted religion’s precepts are not exactly philosophically hard to get one’s brain around, or that the work they’re doing — everything from forbearance to surrender to love in action to devotion to all the rest of it — is known to earnest followers of every religion ever, even the religions they hate or believe to be false, and that the only things unique to Christianity are irrelevant not only to all non-Christians but to the actual practices of religion itself (because most stuff unique to Christianity is actually politics, not spirituality, and everybody knows it. Same for the other Abrahamic branches, and a variety of other traditions, as well).

What’s most interesting, really, is how a philosophy as broken as modern western Christianity still has such passionate, fervent followers with so much bhakti (loving devotion toward God) and intimacy with their guru, whom they call Lamb of God, without irony, realizing not at all that God takes birth repeatedly because He’s fucking INFINITE and unbounded and can do literally everything, and does. (That in and of itself essentially proves the fundamentals of Vedanta, really, but you can’t say that because it would be more unkind than useful.)

I mean, really. The very idea that God mandated only one opportunity is contrary to the concept of a loving God entirely. You can’t have it both ways: either your God is loving and absolute, or He’s a jerk who wants to damn entire swathes of His own creation.

I got into a big ol’ conversation with a customer at work tonight after I fixed her system and alleviated her worries about how it was functioning. I learned about some big parts of her life, of what she’s going through now, from marriage problems to serious health issues, and we had some really deep conversation about right action, ego, spiritual work, fear, and love. I felt really grateful for the connection with a total stranger, and she averred she did, too, but at the end of conversation I knew she was just this close to asking me when I found Jesus, which, in the sense she means, as far as I understand “finding Jesus,” I haven’t.

Well, actually, I have, but not in a way that I could articulate without using language not typical to Christianity. Have I had an experience of Christ? Sure, yes, but I consider Jesus to be but one flower on an entire tree of enlightened avatars of God, born of Self-effort to reach us all, where and when and as we are, for the purpose of revealing, through their lives’ example, our own indwelling nature as That. Persons who have never been exposed to knowledge of Christ — for instance, every human life that occurred before His own, and millions since — are not doomed to “hell,” a metaphorical, and not literal, place. To think they are is to limit the limitless, to project upon God the flaws of our own self-made minds, and to reduce the infinite into our finite.

I’ve spoken intimately with several Christian women over the years, and their astonishment at my grasp of subtle concepts is very near universal. It blows their minds that a religion with thousands of icons knows things they thought were Christian Mysterees, because their religion teaches them that all other religions are fundamentally wrong.

I’m pretty sure that any religion that calls itself the only path is deeply suspect, because it’s obviously ridiculous to posit an infinite, all-knowing God The Creator And Source Of All, and then say there’s only one way to get to Him because he wasn’t clever enough to allow for the foibles of all the souls in his His beloved creation.

Some day I need to figure out how to indicate, without sounding like a pompous jerk, that I’m not Christian but do know (though I’m not a proper scholar by any stretch), a bit about the fundamentals of religious philosophies. Hmm.

Link roundup

August 18th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Nerd | Soapbox | Social | Web - (0 Comments)

In which it’s so political out there that it’s just better if I bitch here, where nobody but, like, five people and a couple of bots will ever see it.

This article just showed up in my timeline. Being a woman, I clicked on it.

The Reality That All Women Experience That Men Don’t Know About

Oh. My. Fucking. GOD. Don’t click through. It’s awful. Let me summarize it for you:

“Men have libidos and they look at us, beginning as soon as we go through puberty. We’re totally TRAUMATIZED by this and expect to be protected from ever being looked at or desired, ever. Because we’re inherently weak victims by nature.”

I am so sick of this idiot “narrative” that can’t tell the goddamned difference between evil (murderers) and horniness (young males), between actual danger (ISIL) and vague interest (a guy who looks at you), and which remains so completely convinced of its intrinsic worth and right to a voice that its adherents complaint-blog about men everywhere, constantly, all the time.

Sometimes it’s not even about “sexual harassment” (aka being human in public); they’ll blog about males simply being nice to them, because their victim-as-identity mentality is so deeply embedded in their psyches that they can’t tell the difference between a male with bad manners and a male that is trying to be helpful. Literally.

Any time a male interacts with them and doesn’t cower and grovel and spew “feminist” platitudes, it’s “harassment.” And if a man tries to help them, they’re instantly pissed off and insulted because they don’t need help from men and are perfectly capable, and being offered assistance is an insult!

Ladies: you’re not “feminists.” Feminism died before most of you were born. Actual feminists fought for equality and had legitimate academic clout. “Feminism” has degraded into a male-hating pogrom and it’s ugly, unbalanced, ignorant, privileged, immature, selfish, sexist, and wrong.

I loathe this article. It’s simple, petulant, and privileged, and sounds like it was written by an indoctrinated twelve-year-old still struggling with puberty and the measurable, demonstrable fact that boys and girls are different.

If I were more attached to my sex than my humanity, I’d be embarrassed by it, and go on apologetically about how most women aren’t nearly half as stupid, self-obsessed, and immature as the author appears to be, and I’d say that most of us are quite capable of rational thought and can tell the difference between being looked at and the legal definition of harassment.

Except judging by the massive volume of complaint-blogs about males and re-posts by women, apparently it’s not true.

This kind of thing isn’t groundbreaking, it isn’t useful, and it isn’t feminism. It’s privileged whining as a wrapper around full-on hatred of the masculine. It’s sexism.

I can’t believe how many otherwise intelligent women are applauding this article. Wives of husbands, mothers of sons! And if they’re instilling this kind loathing into their boys, well, it’s no wonder they’re all transgender. (Three of the women who reposted the link are mothers of boys who want to be girls.)

+~+~+~
This was posted, in earnest I believe, on Facebook yesterday:

Smithsonian Admits to Destruction of Thousands of Giant Human Skeletons in Early 1900′s

Really? Are you not even gonna use any part of that university education you paid tens of thousands of dollars for? I won’t even bother to say that both Nat Geo and Snopes say “hoax,” because it’s obvious.

Filed under chemtrails. Ye gods, people.

+~+~+~
http://www.salon.com/2016/03/03/my_gen_x_hillary_problem_i_know_why_we_dont_like_clinton/

A more mature rant, but still about the same shit: ZOMG SEXISM IS EVERYWHERE, ENTRENCHED AND RAMPANT!

Please. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Women abandoned tech because they didn’t want to be there. I personally spent my career — what there was of it — in tech. Women don’t like tech for two reasons: they don’t like being on call all night because they have families to deal with, and nerds expect them to be competent. The ones who aren’t competent find that using feminine wiles on (most) nerds is an epic fail, because (most) nerds either don’t notice or don’t care but they definitely know you have no idea how to configure a border router or do subnetting in your head.

Being annoyed once in awhile by an idiot who happens to be male and says dumb shit does not equal rampant, entrenched sexism. The rest of your male employees and clients were capable of behaving normally, but the occasional reject proves “sexism” to you? Really?

Sexism is “prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination on the basis of sex.” It’s when someone says, “I do not believe you are capable of doing this because of your chromosomes.” Not getting a job in the engineering department because you don’t know how to subnet is not sexism.

40

‘And then I turned 40 in the office,’ and confused sexism with ageism. Any idea how many males get let go because they’re “old”? Our culture is obsessed with youth.

And let us not forget that our culture undervalues motherhood as a whole and half of “our culture” is voting women who haven’t bothered to do shit about it. If you chose housewifery over a job that undervalued home and family and valued only itself, that was capitalism, not sexism.

It’s not men who say that making money at work is so important that it must take precedence over caregiving, it’s all of us. If women wanted it fixed, they’d get it fixed. Our society in general feels, if pay rates are anything to go by, that being the CEO of a successful corporation is valuable, being a doctor is less valuable, being a teacher is even less valuable, and being a mother is worth nothing at all.

Don’t like it? FIX IT, LADIES. YOU HAVE THE VOTE.