Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Songs for Soldiers Christmas Campaign

After the Kopel holiday bash and the Jarvis island outing, not to mention company parties, jam sessions in the music room, and all the other weird things one does at Christmas time, I’m exhausted and there is still four days to go.

So I thought I’d share a little project we are doing here at Ivy Hollow. For those of you that don’t know, when he’s not doing anything else Jim Putnam writes music, and he even has a band in Nashville called Nashville Bound that records some of his songs as country music.

The past 2 ½ months he has been market testing some of the songs on the Internet at a site called and he met with some surprising success. So far 19 songs have been released in five different categories of music, though all have their roots in country. The songs were released in Country, Rock, Pop, Blues and R&B and in 14 different genres within those categories. Here are the positions they reached on the national internet charts.

Songs © by Jim Putnam

Margarita You're Such A Cheater
Highest chart position # 1 (26,257 songs in Rock > Rock General)

Highest charts position # 9 (12,348 songs in Pop > Pop Rock)

Goodbye Hello Old Friend
Highest charts position # 10 (3,070 songs in Country > Country-Pop)

On My Way To Be A Man
Highest charts position # 11 (33,146 songs in Urban > R&B/Soul/Pop)

I Walked Away
Highest charts position # 12 (528 songs in Country > Country Swing)

What Life's All About
Highest charts position # 12 (1,904 songs in Blues > Country Blues)

Last Night I Wondered Why
Highest charts position # 13 (9,325 songs in Rock > Rock n Roll)

No One's Left Keeping Score
Highest charts position # 16 (3,828 songs in Rock > Folk Rock)

Take Me Back Again
Highest charts position # 16 (991 songs in Country > Rockabilly)

Always Same Old Game
Highest charts position # 21 (8,052 songs in Country > Country General)

Something Was Wrong
Highest charts position # 22 (6,920 songs in Pop > Contemporary Christian)

Daddy's Gone
Highest charts position # 23 (6,237 songs in Blues > Blues Rock)

The Cowboy Walks Alone
Highest charts position # 23 (1,128 songs in Country > Country and Western)

That Someone Isn't Me
Highest charts position # 23 (7,946 songs in Blues > Blues General)

Take A Chance
Highest charts position # 25 (1,281 songs in Rock > Southern Rock)

Only Me
Highest charts position # 26 (2,115 songs in Country > Traditional Country)

Here I Stand Alone
Highest charts position # 28 (1,361 songs in Country > Bluegrass)

He Fooled Himself Again
Highest charts position # 34 (219 songs in Country > Cajun/Zydeco)

Of Thee I Sing
Highest charts position # 39 (3,208 songs in Country > Christian Country)

So what you might ask? Well the minds at Ivy Hollow decided someone must like the stuff or they would not all be in the top 40. The competition was tough as the following number of songs were fighting for the same top 40 positions against the Nashville Bound sounds.

(117,085 songs currently listed in Rock)
(25,534 songs currently listed in Country)
(18,422 songs currently listed in Blues)
(57,120 songs currently listed in Pop)
(33,146 songs in Urban > R&B/Soul/Pop)

So we decided to honor the members of the armed forces by giving away for free copies of all 19 songs to them, their families and friends, who can send the soldiers copies wherever they might be. On Christmas Day all of the songs will be available on the Internet for free downloads as the following press release states.

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Nashville Bound offers free mp3 downloads of 19 top 40 hits
In Songs for Soldiers National Christmas Campaign

Nashville Bound, the powerhouse band from Nashville is now offering an exceptional Christmas gift in honor of those fighting in Iraq, the Songs for Soldiers National Christmas Campaign with free downloads on Christmas Day of all 19 Nashville Bound hits. The band has an astonishing range of music from country to pop, rock to blues, and has reached the Internet top 40 with 19 straight releases in the past two months. The free downloads will be available at the following web page.

Families and friends of those fighting in Iraq and stationed throughout the world, and fans of the band are urged to download the music and send it to soldiers for Christmas. Free downloads on include the #1 hit Margarita You’re Such A Cheater, 3 songs reaching the top 10, 9 songs in the top 20, 15 songs in the top 25, 17 songs in the top 30, and all 19 songs in the top 40.

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That’s what we are doing for Christmas. You can listen to the songs right now by clicking on the web site mentioned in the release or download them for free on Christmas Day. If you know any soldiers or families of soldiers you might mention they can get the songs for free and forward them. Back in the days of Viet Nam music was incredibly important to the soldiers and it still is today. Hope you all have a great holiday and watch for updates from the Coltons Point Times.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kopel Kouple Kristmas Kaper

Last night was another of those legendary Coltons Point parties as King Bob, Ink Spot, Polar Pam, Auntie Joyce and all the rest of the Kopel family who were last seen in The Wizard of Oz, hosted the Kopel Kouple Kristmas Kaper and it was a stunning success as you can see from the scene gathered around the front porch waiting to get in.

The food, all prepared by the caring hands of the little people of Kopel family fame, equaled the best of the Baileys secret stash (the really good stuff they hold back from events). Being the Kopels have been Pointers a long time and done their best to populate the Point their extended family has developed some rather tasty recipes which were rapidly absorbed by the overflow crowd.

Early traffic jams at the bar and kitchen area were quickly overcome and the Pointer people rapidly took over the entire Kopel compound where the most unusual conversations could be overheard. If you missed out on this holiday gathering it was probably a good thing since not a single person more could have been wedged in to this body bumping bash.

Those Kopels sure do think of everything. There were doctors and vets in the crowd in case anyone got sick, Padre Berry in case they got real sick, really tall neighbors like Colorado Chris to look out over the crowds for trouble, politicians in case people had nothing better to talk about, and a constant array of trays being circulated filled with delectable delights.

Typical conversations ranged from Haughty Helen telling someone from the Gass Line that your family may have been one of the first to settle in this area, but my family was on the first boat that came from England! (Weren’t they the ones that landed on St. Clements Island, looked across the water at the Point, and immediately packed up and headed down river?) We just knew she had a Checkered past as well as present.

Speaking of the Gass line, it seemed like every other person I met was from the Gass house gang so maybe the annual event should be renamed the Kopel Kouple Kristmas Kaper and Gass Line Holiday Reunion.

If you looked close you could see Harley Tom talking to a mirror image of himself, Sweet Sue sampling sweets, Carpenter Joe and The Rose trying to figure out how to be polite and eat for the second time that night, and some people talking in hyper speed as if the proud owner of a bionic tongue, while others sat in stunned silence knowing they did not have the courage to try and get a word in edgewise.

King Bob and Inky may be the nicest couple around to put up with the cast of characters that crash their annual party. And people must like them since there were three times as many people at the party as live in the Point.

Thanks to our gracious hosts Inky, King Bob, Polar Pam and Auntie Joyce along with any other family members who were lost in the crowds for a very heavy happy holiday send off.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Ultimate Politically Correct Holiday Greeting Except for Die Hard Atheists

( Why does Santa get all the good stuff?)
For all people of the world we offer prayers and hope for world peace and wish you happy holidays for (Christian) Christmas, (African) Kwanzaa, (Hispanic) Las Posadad-Noche Buena-Navidad, (Jewish) Hanukkah-Rosh Hashanah, (Persian) Yalda, (Islamic) Eid al-Adha-Muharram, (Buddhist) Rohatsu, (Hindu) Sankranti, (Celtic) Winter Solstice and (Chinese) New Year.

Holiday Time – Ugh…

Christmas time, the number one commercial holiday in the states, is the time when people exchange tons of treats, maybe gifts, maybe even fruitcakes if they don’t really like you. We send cards and presents, attend at least ten parties to celebrate one holiday, get lit up on eggnog and whatever gets put in it, and put on a happy face for all we encounter.

Now are we really being honest with ourselves let alone everyone else? Treats are nice but they make you fat. Is that any way to treat someone you care for? As for gifts, why are they expected on Christmas? Birthdays, sure give them whatever you want, but rampant commercialization on a sacred holiday like Christmas seems an inappropriate way to honor the meaning of Christmas.

As for the fruitcakes, long ago I learned to beware of those bearing 10 pound fruitcakes. You eat one of them and your body will scream out in pain not only because of the added weight but for whatever that load is doing to your innards. My advice, re-gift all fruitcakes, in other words give them to someone else as soon as possible.

The cards are a real sentimental touch. Remember when a personalized often corny family photo was the card? Now billions are spent to send loved ones images and words created by someone else and intended for anyone. Gift spending this holiday season will reach $457 billion, over $700 for every American. Mindless gift spending, buying gift cards rather than making a gift decision, will total nearly $25 billion.

No matter what you celebrate for the holidays, I doubt it was anything even remotely linked to the blizzard of money thrown away during the holiday season. The baby Jesus sure wasn’t born in designer clothes in a condo on Long Island. Yet the price of being an average American at Christmas carries a $700+ tag. What are we thinking?

Oh well, sing, drink, eat and be merry. It’s the American way.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

National News Round up 12-14-2006

Breast Cancer Breakthrough.

After all the years doctors and pharmaceutical companies pushed hormone therapy treatment for women, at least up until 2002 when the government said the hormones might be causing breast cancer, there is finally a downturn in breast cancer statistics. However, it was not because the government issued a warning or the doctors recommended women reduce their use of the hormones but because 15 million women said enough is enough and stopped taking the treatment.

In 2003 breast cancer dropped 7%. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical companies or government don’t want you to really know what impact those 15 million women had as the year 2003 is the most recent statistics available. Three years ago, hummmm. Isn’t it stupid that the most technological advanced society in the world runs three years behind in breast cancer statistics?

So instead of 211,000 new cases of breast cancer in 2003 there were actually 186,000, which means breast cancer today could easily be down 20-25% and no one wants to admit it. How will they all make money if the cancer rate is dropping? When 15 million women take life into their own hands and away from the doctors, drug companies and hospitals, the earth shakes.

Dr. Kervorkian Released from Prison.

The famed assisted suicide doctor who claims to have helped 130 people die illegally was released from prison today. It’s reassuring to know his services are now available again. Whenever my mother used to threaten suicide to get my attention I would send her a Kervorkian Gift Certificate for one treatment. I told her it would be a better way to go.

Another New Disease Discovered.

Thank God the pharmaceuticals have been busy because we now know another disease we didn’t know existed can be effectively treated with new drugs. It is called, believe it or not, the Restless Leg Syndrome. Only drug companies could relate a restless leg with a disease and come up with a cure. Now I know why my leg used to bounce up and down in school. All this time I thought it was boredom.

What could possibly be next in the Disease Discovery and Drug Dealing business plans for the drug companies? The old 4-D magic worked again. How about the Broken Nail Syndrome, the Split Hair Syndrome, the Boil on the Butt Syndrome or the Forgetting to Put the Toilet Seat Down Syndrome? Surely drugs could be found to help out those things. If not prescribe something stronger to make us forget about them.

Weather News.

2006 is the third warmest year on record which certainly doesn’t explain the increase in oil prices this winter. Of course we only have about 50 years of records out of 4.5 billion years the earth has been around so I’m not sure the records are being interpreted properly. There have been a few Ice Ages in that history so maybe the warming really is cyclical.

Flu News.

Once again the flu is back. Once again the flu vaccine doesn’t work. But at least this time there is more than enough for any fool that might want it.

Capitol Quiz.

In an earlier article I told you a Socialist party member is the deciding vote for Democratic control in the new US Senate. With all the fuss over the brain problems of the Democrat Senator from South Dakota if something should happen to him the Republican Governor of South Dakota would probably appoint a Republican to replace the Democrat and poof, the Senate is back under Republican control. Which is worse, the Democrat majority dependent on a Socialist or the Republican majority dependent upon VP Dick Cheney? Contrary to the reports of the national news media, right now there are 49 Democrats and 49 Republicans, one Independent and one Socialist. The Independent and Socialist are supporting the Democrats.

Sports Roundup.

The Washington Redskins lost, the Baltimore Jaguars lost less, the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles lost a lot more, the Washington Capitols lost the hot shot kid, and no one cares what any other team lost or won.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I wonder why?

Why is the news media so silent about the $33 million already paid in fines by the record companies in the USA for bribing radio stations and disc jockeys to play their favorite artists? Now there are hundreds of radio stations under investigation by the FCC and still no press. Is corruption so accepted that it is not even noticed?

Why did oil prices go up when we have the warmest winter on record, there were no hurricanes to destroy oil facilities, oil inventories are at high levels, and the American consumer has changed their driving habits by stopping the purchase of gas guzzling vehicles?

What happened to the promise of politicians to pull our troops out of Iraq if elected? Do they really think we will forget the promises just because committees and specialists are being consulted about a new war policy? Will the consulting amount to anything new?

How can the Bush Administration continue to refuse to talk to Iran and North Korea about issues of world significance just because they are the bad guys? Presidents Nixon and Reagan had no problem with direct talks with Red China and the Soviet Union when they were our enemies.

Why is Congress only in session four days during the month of December if we are facing so many critical issues like budget approval, immigration reform, Iraq policy, oil price gouging, corruption and a host of other matters?

Why does our government continue to insist other countries of the world must adopt a system of democracy like ours in order to get our help when only 25% of the eligible voters elected the new Congress in America? A government backed by 25% of the people means 75% don’t agree or don’t care and is that the kind of government we want for everyone else?

America faces an immigration crisis not from the flood of people who want to come to America and work but from the inertia in Congress at being able to address the issue. About 98% of all Americans are direct descendents of immigrants. The percentage of immigrants in America is less today than it was the first half of the 20th century. There is no indication immigrants are taking jobs from Americans. So why can’t we welcome the immigrants who are tax paying and productive members of the work force rather than stigmatizing them with an “illegal alien” designation?

Today, Tuesday, the government announced it raided Swift Meat Packing plants across the country and captured 1200 illegal immigrants, some with forged papers resulting from identity theft of Social Security numbers and real names to match. It means the company was duped, the government was duped, privacy laws passed by Congress prevent the SS Administration from notifying the real card holders that their Social Security numbers were stolen and the illegal immigrants were duped by the bad guys who stole the numbers and sold them to the illegals.

What they didn’t tell us was how 1200 illegal people found jobs that no one else seemed to want and they worked for an hourly wage that paid less than welfare, yet they still paid taxes and paid into the Workmen’s Comp and Social Security funds but would never benefit from their payments. The 1200 people being questioned were out of 15,000 employees of Swift & Company and 500,000 employees nationwide in the meat processing industry.

Oh yes, the raids also temporarily halted production in 15% of the meat processing plants in America which could result in shortages of meat and poultry inventory in grocery stores, price increases, hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased government costs to process the cases and deport the families if warranted, and the replacement of 8% of the meat packing workforce at Swift before full production is achieved. Does that really make sense?

Why are some people trying to adopt English as the only language allowed in America when even some of the English speaking Americans are impossible to understand? If we mandate English we should mandate that all current Americans speak English properly and read at minimum achievement levels. Neither is true today. When I was in Russia I was astounded to learn over 250 languages and dialects are spoken in the Russian federation. It doesn’t seem to keep them from functioning. And we can’t even handle two languages.

Why do the television networks continue to run so much garbage on TV and call it quality programming? Better yet, who are those millions of idiots watching the junk that show up in Nielsen polls? Remember my article about how many commercials are on TV? Well now I will tell you how much time you are wasting watching those commercials.

According to Nielsen the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV per day, 28 hours per week, 2 months nonstop per year and 9 years per lifetime. The average American youth spends 900 hours a year in school and 1500 hours per year watching television, and that does not even count the internet use. Who is teaching our children?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Coltons Point Lighthouse

We've poked a little fun in the CP Times at the Million Dollar Lighthouse at Bailey's but this picture shows the real deal as 15 year resident Marie Guidry walks the foundation of the original Lighthouse at St. Clement's Island that is being rebuilt. More later on that exceptional project but it's rather obvious it is in need of substantial repairs.

Catholics Finally Arrive

About 372 years ago the Catholics first landed at St. Clement's Island and refused to come to the Point. Now almost 400 years later, they have finally arrived as the flock of Flying Nuns can be seen above floating past the Museum.

The Guardians of Coltons Point

Holly, the Queen of Coltons Point, was abandoned over 5 years ago and has been raised by the Pointers ever since. While she floats from house to house she has a warm greeting for all the residents and a sharp bark for all strangers. If you hear this Golden Retreiver at night it will be to drive away any intruders, aliens, skunks, foxes or politicians.

Like any veteran of the Point, and she has lived here all her life, she is a waterman prepared to jump in at a moments notice to save someone, cool down, fish or enjoy a nice swim.

Coolin, formally known as CuChulainn Deo Irie, (the Warrior Dog of Ireland), is a classic Irish Wolfhound measuring 41 inches at the shoulders and 7 foot 3 inches from nose to tail. Known as the Gentle Giant, intruders of any size and shape better beware. Every day Coolin makes the rounds of the Point checking for strange scents and visiting our senior citizens to make sure they are alright.

Images of Coltons Point

Things Pointers do at the Point
Play football

Ride Bikes

Punch Out Someone

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Professor Ray Lands in Iran

No he is not the Absent Minded Professor who got lost on his way to class at the University of Maryland. Maybe President Bush and his Administration can’t talk to Iran but Professor Ray, our Premiere Point Professor sure can as he is now in his second of four days of speaking in Tehran, which is the mangled star on the map close to the Caspian Sea. He is the designated Ambassador from Coltons Point to Iran.

Of course we may not know how it went until he gets safely to Beijing, China. Beijing is the big black cross on the map of China. What was that you might ask? How could he be safe in Red China? Well the Professor loves Chinese cooking, speaks a little Chinese, and is busy setting up a school of journalism over there so those Communists can figure out what is wrong with the American media. He’s our Ambassador to China as well.

Stay tuned for more reports on the Big Adventure of Professor Ray if he can find internet access in Iran and China or his wife Sheila perfects the telepathic communication technique in time.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Coltons Teenage Love Birds Reach 25th Plateau

Believe it or not the percentage of high school lovers who marry and get divorced is well over 50% but we have a couple who have beaten the odds in more ways than one. Colorado Chris and Sweet Sue, high school sweethearts in Arizona have just reached their 25th year of marriage, a significant achievement you should not underestimate.

Did you know only 1/3 of married couples reach their 25th anniversary, and only 20% reach their 35th anniversary? I’d make a big deal out of the 50th anniversary which is reached by only 5% of married couples but the primary cause of not reaching it is far more permanent than divorce like the others.

Colorado Chris, a native Pointer, can trace his local roots back to about the beginning of settling the area. Sweet Sue on the other hand, being from Arizona and all, seemed to appear without a trace out there in the desert just in time to capture the heart of our Maryland transplant in high school.

They married, moved to Texas, started their own empire, moved back to Maryland with the business to employ all the relatives, got a place in Colorado to go hide, and lo and behold Chris is now back in the Point where he began.

It was a nice anniversary according to reports leaked to the media except for the little incident with the earrings Colorado so painstakingly picked out. Seems the pierced earrings came with their own security system to prevent being ripped from the ears or something by thieves. There was a locking device on the thing that pokes through the ear.

Try as they might they could not figure out how to get them to release so until Sweet Sue gets to the jeweler to have her earrings unlocked don’t be surprised if on a sunny day you see the reflection of a spectrum of brilliant colors bouncing along Beach Road as she walks her dog Kahlua.

Have a great 25th anniversary year and may you reach the 5% club.

Coltons Critic's Corner

People swarming to get to art show
Went to the Art Show for Sassy Sharon and the Wolf Woman and I’m beginning to develop an appreciation for the finer aspects of fine art. The lines waiting to get in to the Left Bank studio were so long I had to wait until later to see the stuff but it was the best time to arrive as the guests and artists had been busy sipping a few bottles of wine to their success.

Now you may question my qualifications as an art critic in as much as I was the guy in 5th grade who took 8 bars of soap and carved them into nothing before I figured out I was not intended to be an artist. I only passed the soap carving test because I took the 9th bar, shaved off the corners, and called it a bear in hibernation.

But I’ve learned a lot since then. Like most artists are oddballs and the Coltons Point artists colony is no exception. Sassy gave me a hyper speed education in art appreciation as a means of explaining her penchant for abstract expressionism. I told her it reminded me of the graffiti I used to see in the NYC subways.

When I asked what she was saying in her paintings she nearly tore my head off saying something like abstract art is whatever you want it to be and if you don’t see anything in it you must be stupid, brainless, or a Republican. I asked why she didn’t say I was insane and she said "they" would understand the paintings.

So I looked up abstract expressionism in Webster's and it said, “a post-World War II m0vement in painting characterized by emphasis on the artist’s spontaneous and self-expressive application of paint in creating a nonrepresentational composition.” What? An artist’s nonrepresentational composition? Isn’t that the same abstract expressionism technique the politicians use in Washington, D.C.?

I wonder if abstract expressionism is an artistic style or a mental disease? Either way it makes for some interesting things on the wall. Now Sassy is a quite gifted sculpture and in these works the abstract part is subdued for the most part. I did see a little of it in the Lincoln bust as part of his head seemed to be missing. Until I understood abstract work I would have thought the statute had been dropped before it was fired in the oven or the fuse blew halfway through the drying process kind of like bread that is taken out of the oven before it finishes rising.

Wolf Woman was also on exhibit and her stuff I could understand a little better except for the prices which were the steal of the century for an art show. I tried to interview her but she just seemed to laugh at all my questions and then I met her husband, Wolf Man, and I understood. Even the little Wolfette was there to support her mum, though she was anxiously awaiting the chance to go out with her friends.

While the charter plane from the UK that I was expecting didn’t make it as the weather was a bit nasty two old friends from the Point, Rosemary and Diane, from my Bald Eagle swimming days, did make it. They hopped into their cute little RV and made an 8 hour trip down from their witness relocation site up north near the Canadian border. They certainly traveled the farthest to support their friends in the Point. Once a Pointer always a Pointer.

Many of the Pointers did show up when they heard there were free drinks and snacks and a good time was had by all. For those who didn’t show up and had no excuse, well, you missed a chance to meet your neighbors, share a few laughs, and check out some mighty fine pieces of clay and genuine abstract graffiti.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Do You Trust the Weatherman?

This has been a banner year for the weatherman, both locally and nationally, as they have finally demonstrated beyond doubt that weather reports are pure hogwash. Even the dumbest amongst us could match the success of the weather reports with a bottle of White Lightning and a dart board.

Ever since the television networks decided to make weathermen or women celebrities the quality of the reports has gone downhill, you might say they washed away with the latest unpredicted rain storm. About all we can really expect from the weatherman is they might know what is going on outside their studio at the time of their report if they take time to look out the window.

American productivity has decreased because of their constant warnings of another hurricane, or tropical storm, floods, high winds, lightning storms or whatever. Once they realized if they sensationalize the weather with dire predictions and warnings they could get more air time with the constant updates. But now these characters have cried wolf so many times their credibility is shot.

Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on satellites, weather stations and computer modeling and the result is a much faster and more graphic way of making mistakes. People are glued to the latest storm warnings when they should be out working or getting the eggs from the chicken pen.

Grocery stores and oil companies should name weathermen heroes since sales spike as a result of the multitude of mistaken warnings. Wrong weather reports mean more to grocery and gasoline sales than the needs of the family blowing the money while waiting in lines.

Lost productivity, line rage, price gouging, increased tension, cancelled outings, closed schools are all the direct result of the miscues from the weatherman. Why doesn’t a weatherman ever say they simply don’t know what is going to happen, or is the truth that hard to bear?

The last reliable weather reports came from George Carlin when he did the “Hippy Dippy Weatherman” routine stoned, because his reports, though they were the same every night in every venue he appeared, were always right. There will be light followed by dark. It may or may not rain.

I say put the satellite picture on the screen and silence the weathermen. Let us decide what the pictures mean since the experts have no idea. When they tell us we are going to have the worst hurricane season ever, land prices drop along the water, gas prices go up for fear of refinery damage, and people live on edge. Weathermen are a major disruptive force in America. Since there were no hurricanes to hit the USA this year it means they were not wrong once but over and over since about eight major storms were supposed to hit.

Make them personally liable for the billions of dollars they cost us in erroneous forecasts. Throw them off the air. Better yet, use them for a lightning rod in a thunderstorm and let them see how it feels messing with the public. But for Pete’s sake do not take them serious. The so called meteorologists with their weather bugs and space age technology should use their heads, not their machines and models, and if they do they will get out of the weather business.