Saturday, January 31, 2009

EW's rank of Super Bowl halftime shows

Think the Boss will be the best halftime show yet? Check out some other top-ranked performers from Entertainment Weekly.

(photo courtesy EW)

Super (Puppy) Bowl

The one day of the year that I watch the NFL is tomorrow—the Super Bowl

I haven't decided who I will root for between the Cardinals and the Steelers, however, I will be screaming on the inside for Jennifer Hudson's national anthem rendition. It will be her first public appearance since the horrible murder of her mother, brother and nephew in October. 

I am also excited to see Bruce Springsteen at halftime and the million-dollar commercials.

Along with the big game, another competition will take place on Animal Planet—the Puppy Bowl! Gotta love all the puppies! Be sure to tune in too!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wis. Sen. Russ Feingold on Rachel Maddow!

Illinois Senate: Blago out

The Illinois State Senate has formally impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Though he has not been formally convicted in a criminal court, the evidence against his wrongdoings is strong.

The Senate voted 59-0 to remove him from office and to ban him from office in the future. Blagojevich was immediately replaced by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. 

Making sense of LOST

Being a true LOST fan (completely devoted each and every week), I have to say that last night's episode blew my mind. I'll be watching it again tonight on digital re-runs.

It was awesome, and to check your own LOST knowledge, visit's Totally Lost recaps, videos, etc.

"Watch with Kristen" from E!Online has great coverage too!

There's some awesome theories happening on Huffington Post as well. 

Blago makes his case

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is set to defend himself against impeachment this morning. All eyes are on Springfield, Ill., where he will testify.

Update: All the action has gone down and the Chicago papers are all over it. In the most basic of terms, Blagojevich said he has "done absolutely nothing wrong" and in all this non-wrong doing "never, ever intended to violate the law," according to reports from the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Dark Knight has compared Rotten Tomatoes critiques of Best Picture nominees this decade, and the verdict is in. "The Reader" is the worst reviewed Best Picture nominee of the decade, according to its analysis. 

As it created one of the worst Academy Award snubs in this category by booting "The Dark Knight" out of the race (which received excellent reviews and made lots of $$$), the Web site claimed in its headline that the snub is "unforgivable."

I have yet to see the film, but hope Kate Winslet's performance is worth her nomination in the Best Actress category, which likely edged out her performance in "Revolutionary Road" that is worth a nom and win.

Oscar noms get personal

Newsweek's Actors Roundtable features Oscar noms Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) and non-nom Sally Hawkins (who won the Best Actress - Musical or Comedy Golden Globe for Happy-Go-Lucky).

The Roundtable took place prior to the announcement of the noms last week. The actors are candid and show lots of personality. 

VF did their own analysis of it.

No DTV delay

There will be no delay in making TV broadcasts digital as the House voted against the bill Wednesday.

The Senate voted unanimously Monday to push the switch from February to June.

Any American with an analog TV must prepare for digital, otherwise they will have a television blackout come late February.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

VF's 2009 Oscar Pool

The Academy Award noms have been announced, the stage is set for Feb. 22 and now you can keep track of your Oscar predictions with this Vanity Fair scorecard.

DTV delay?

Looks like the switch from analog television broadcasts to digital will get a four-month delay—from Feb. 17 to June 12, according to the Associated Press

Following the Senate's unanimous approval of the extension Monday, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on it either Tuesday or Wednesday. 

The bill is supported by the Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers, who have said many Americans would not be ready in time for a February switch, as reported by the AP:

"The Nielsen Co. estimates that more than 6.5 million U.S. households that rely on analog sets to pick up over-the-air broadcast signals could see their TVs go dark next month if the shutdown is not postponed. People who subscribe to cable or satellite TV, or have a newer TV with a digital tuner, are not affected."

Are you ready for the switch?

Extra, Extra

Want to know what's on the front page of your hometown newspaper? What about the cover of the NYTimes or the Detroit Free Press? Newseum has PDF copies of all the major U.S. metropolitan newspapers. Check it out here!

Monday, January 26, 2009

No good can come of this...

A sad day for job seekers. The NYTimes reported that 62,000-65,000 jobs were cut Monday in the United States and abroad.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

EW's Oscar Cheat Sheet

Haven't been following the awards this season? Check out's Oscar Cheat Sheet which breaks down all the winners and nominees.

How will SAG affect Oscar?

Because the SAG Awards are voted by the actors themselves, it is not necessarily a sign of Oscar success. The Academy could vote for completely different people, though I think some categories are already in the bag:
  • Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire—after securing Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at tonight's SAGs, a Golden Globe and countless other "bests" this awards season, I think it's safe to say that this film should garner the year's most coveted movie prize.
  • In the Best Actor ring: Sean Penn (Milk) v. Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)—Sean won the SAG, but Mickey won the Golden Globe. It will come down to how the Academy votes to decide which performance comes out on top.
  • In the Best Actress ring: Meryl Streep (Doubt) v. Kate Winslet (The Reader) v. Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)—Meryl won tonight's SAG, but Kate's performance for "The Reader" also won the SAG (in the supporting category) and she garnered two Golden Globes, actress for "Revolutionary Road" and supporting actress for "The Reader". Then consider that Anne and Meryl tied for Best Actress at the Critics Choice Awards. I'm hoping for Kate to win this tango.
  • On the Best Supporting Actor pedestal: Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), no doubt about it. It's Heath's year, despite the tragedy that he passed too soon.
  • On the Best Supporting Actress pedestal: No clue. With Kate's win in this category for most of the year, it's hard to know which actress will take home the Oscar. 
The big Academy Award showdown is in less than one month. Can't wait!

(photo courtesy AP)

A Very Duggar Wedding is also on

"A Very Duggar Wedding" is also on TLC right now. Five things one needs to know about this couple:
  1. Josh Duggar gave his fiance, Anna, a side hug after he proposed
  2. They saved their first kiss until their wedding day
  3. Josh has 17 siblings ... his family is from the TLC show "17 and Counting" though his mother gave birth to her 18th child in December 2008
  4. All of the Duggar children are home schooled
  5. Josh and Anna consistently wear matching outfits
Aside from many other things I could say about the couple who didn't kiss until their wedding day, the one thing I will ask: You can't say "sexual intercourse" on TLC??? It was bleeped out.

Oh, and there's singing!!

Kate looking great!

Kate Winslet, already one winner at tonight's SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for "The Reader," looks fabulous in blue. (E! said it was purple, but it looks blue to me).

Side note: I still don't understand how she can be Oscar-nominated for Best Actress for her performance in "The Reader" and not for "Revolutionary Road" when every award show has her nominated twice. It is against Oscar rules to nominate someone twice in the same category, however, she was still snubbed in my opinion. Kate talks about her nominations and more below:

Access Hollywood - Kate Winslet's Awards Show Luck - Click here for funny video clips

SAG awards

The Screen Actors Guild Awards are on now (TNT, TBS). And the actor goes to ...
  • Cast in a motion picture: "Slumdog Millionaire"
  • Male actor in a leading role: Sean Penn, "Milk"
  • Female actor in a leading role: Meryl Streep, "Doubt"
  • Male actor in a supporting role: Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"
  • Female actor in a supporting role: Kate Winslet, "The Reader"
  • Life Achievement Award: James Earl Jones
  • Male actor in a TV movie or miniseries: Paul Giamatti, "John Adams"
  • Female actor in a TV movie or miniseries: Laura Linney, "John Adams"
  • Ensemble in a drama series: "Mad Men"
  • Female actor in a drama series: Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters"
  • Male actor in a drama series: Hugh Laurie, "House"
  • Ensemble in a comedy series: "30 Rock"
  • Male actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
  • First award of the night, Female actor in a comedy series: Tina Fey, "30 Rock"

Carl Bernstein's reaction

Carl Bernstein, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist most famous for exposing Nixon's involvement in Watergate with Bob Woodward, on Rachel Maddow's show talking about the alleged wiretapping of journalists during former President George W. Bush's term.

Spying on journalists? I hope not.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oh I am ready!

The fight is over. We didn't break records but it was very fun!

(photo courtesy The Capital Times)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscars on my mind

I must make a confession before I opine about the nominations that were announced earlier today—I love the Academy Awards: the red carpet, the ceremony, the speeches, the movies. I am a huge fan. It must come from my overall love of movies. I get lost in the movement, story lines and for those Oscar-nominated few—the compelling performances. So, I was incredibly excited for the nominees list. 

With that said, I must also confess that I was somewhat disappointed by the list. My points of contention are as follows:

  • The Dark Knight's non-nomination for Best Picture: Though the movie is based on a comic book, it takes movies in this genre to a new level and, in my opinion, creates an even greater expectation for comic book movies—even action movies—in the future. 
  • Kate Winslet's one nomination: I have not seen The Reader yet (though I am currently reading the book and plan to see it because of my love of Winslet's performances) but her performance in Revolutionary Road was by far one of the best I've seen all year. 
  • Leo DiCaprio's snub: Similar to Winslet, DiCaprio's performance was one of the best of his career. 
  • No love for Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight's director should have been nominated—end of story.
  • Bruce Springsteen: I'm a fan of recognizing as many original songs as there is space alloted. There is no reason two songs from Slumdog Millionaire (though I love them) need to be nominated over Springsteen's song from The Wrestler, especially when there are only three noms in this category currently and his song won the Golden Globe. It reminds me of the year three songs from Dreamgirls (a musical) had three noms in this category and did not win any of them ...
I think that covers just about everything. Congrats to the first time noms! I'll be crossing my fingers for Kate Winslet, Heath Ledger and Slumdog Millionaire come Oscar night. 

Oscar rundown

Now that the nominees have been announced, the Oscar buzz is nearly over for the year.

Lots of reaction from those nominated, including Kate Winslet nominated only once, and for Best Actress, but in The Reader not Revolutionary Road; those surprised The Reader kicked out box office blockbuster The Dark Knight in the Best Picture category; those asking who is Melissa Leo?

I will post my list of predicted winners soon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oscar nom's announced tomorrow!

Nominations will be listed here at 7:30 a.m. CST.

Oath of Office: Take 2

After stumbling on the words of the oath of office Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath for a second time to President Obama Wednesday night.

So, in case he didn't officially become the president yesterday, let it be known in the history books that Obama was the president—no questions asked—at 7:35 p.m. Jan. 21, 2009. 

Little ladies

Very lucky girls, Sasha and Malia Obama, had a sleepover at the White House yesterday. These two are so adorable. 

(photo courtesy NYTimes)

This is what I like to see...

Newspapers as commodities 

Fashion-able for sure!

After posts today and yesterday (can I help it that the inauguration was on everyone's minds?) I'm feeling more political in nature than I have yet on this blog, so I'll try to mix it up a bit with First Lady Michelle Obama fashion.

She looked amazing at the inaugural balls in her Jason Wu gown. And her outfit for the swearing-in ceremony was great too!

But I've got to give the A+ in fashion to 'Lady in Red' Jill Biden.

(photos courtesy E!Online)

Totally in agreement

I've never been a fan of the political Oscar acceptance speeches, so it is my hope that with a new president in office Hollywood will stay off the topic during this year's awards in February. 

As illustrated in the "No Politics Please, We're Oscars" Vanity Fair post today, much of America doesn't like those speeches either.

(photo courtesy VF)

Youth celebrate Obama

The question on most people's minds (and the NYTimes) after the election season and inauguration of President Barack Obama: will the activism of the youth generation carry on?

Interesting piece from the Daily Princetonian

A profile of Josh Bolten, a Princeton alumnus, who served as chief of staff for former President George W. Bush after Andy Card.

U. students share thoughts as Obama takes office

(video courtesy UWIRE)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mexican billionaire WILL invest in NYTimes

It was mentioned earlier this week that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu may invest in the NYTimes Co. 

Well, the company announced today that he will invest $250 million, which will give him an eventual 17 percent interest in the NYT. 

The financier was named the second richest person by Forbes in 2008.

Kate on InStyle

'Golden Girl' Kate Winslet beautifully graces the cover of this month's InStyle.

Her five tips on acting:
  1. Be confident
  2. Persevere
  3. Trust your instincts
  4. Commit
  5. Try hard


Lost Season 5 starts tomorrow! It's going to be awesome. 

For those who seek sneak peeks, click here.

Sneaking a peek of the action

Unfortunately for me, class starts today, so I'm sneaking peeks of the Inauguration between classes. It's so exciting!

Among the cheers of "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma" and TV glimpses of the new first daughters taking pictures, other political figure heads are there, including former presidents and former first ladies.

I'm following the NYTimes coverage.

Spotted: President Bush making his way down the hallway... I wonder if the crowd will cheer or boo... Oh, VP Dick Cheney in a wheelchair spotted too. I think they're about to make their entrance.

I think there were boos, however, the music picked up and I couldn't fully make out the sound.

Spotted: VP-elect Joe Biden—looking great in a bright blue tie.

Spotted 10:38: President-elect Barack Obama—looking dignified in a red tie! Flags waving, the millions in Washington are excited! Again, shouts of "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma"

And the crowd goes wild as Obama is announced! Michelle is looking amazing too.

It's finally here...

It's officially Barack Obama's Inauguration Day!

Follow live coverage here

(photo courtesy NYTimes)

Monday, January 19, 2009

A rare move of cooperation

In a rare move of cooperation, the competing Pioneer Press and Star Tribune are joining forces to deliver the latter paper to Washington County in MN and to areas of Wisconsin. 

STrib's publisher Chris Harte said Monday the PPress will start distributing STribs to help save the company money, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy less than one week ago.

With the last post in mind...

U. Wisconsin's newspaper competition to the North, the Minnesota Daily, will officially cut to four papers a week—cutting its Friday print edition, while expanding its content on the Web. 

There had been rumors of this happening for some time with Minnesota's state deficit threatening to cut university funds—where much of the Daily's budget comes from. According to the Star Tribune, cutting Fridays will save the student publication $10,000 a month in printing costs.

In addition to cutting a print edition once a week, the staff at the Daily cut bonuses, will now pay per story instead of per hour, and will combine the sports and news sections.

The Daily is not alone in the move toward expanding coverage to the Web. Among many national papers, including the Capital Times of Madison, other student newspapers have cut publication, namely the Daily Californian at UC-Berkeley and the Daily Orange at Syracuse.

Its a tough time out there for newspapers. No word on how the economy may or is affecting the Daily Cardinal and the Badger Herald, the two competing student daily papers at UW. But, it is my hope that a balance will be found soon between print and online.

MSP's 'Meet the New Press'

I don't typically like things University of Minnesota (given that I attend UW-Madison), however, this article in this month's issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine speaks volumes to how I feel about the current state of the journalism world.

I agree with a lot of what the interviewees say about the future of newspapers and digital media.

Inauguration history

Click here to read the NYTimes interactive feature "Inaugural Words: 1789 to the Present", which outlines the most used words of inaugural addresses. 

Cable news—who will win the war with O in office?

An article in the NYTimes today analyzes how the new presidency of Barack Obama may affect the ratings of cable news networks (Fox News, CNN, MSNBC). 

During the past seven years (aka the Bush presidency), Fox News has had the highest ratings among the demographic coveted by advertisers:

The media world will watch carefully to see whether Fox receives the same treatment from an Obama White House that it received from Mr. Bush's. And it will wait and see whether Fox can stave off its two primary competitors, CNN and MSNBC, in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic that matters most to advertisers.

Fox easily leads the other cable networks in that demographic on a total day basis. But for a couple of important hours, the gap has narrowed. On at least 10 days since the election, Fox's 9 p.m. program "Hannity & Colmes" has been surpassed in the competition for viewers in that demographic by Rachel Maddow, the new MSNBC host.
It sounds like Fox is shaking up their programming for the new administration, but I certainly hope Maddow's quick-fire wit and sense of humor will ultimately win the day.

The final countdown

As the final hours of the Bush presidency pass today, I am again drawn to an incredible article in the current issue of Vanity Fair—"An Oral History of the Bush White House".

The magazine did the same type of article during the summer about the history of the Internet in which they talked to several key players who launched the World Wide Web. Basically, this style of writing is like a Q&A but the questions are omitted and several people tell the story—a perfect fit for an article with some of the people closest to the current president. 

When I say the article is incredible, I don't mean that it is necessarily about an extraordinary man or that it was written particularly well, but that it gives a view from the inside in a way that hasn't been published before. 

So, as the final hours of the Bush presidency pass today, I hope you will take the time to read it too.

(photo courtesy VF)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

College Dance Nationals

Though many students have been following their schools' basketball and hockey teams, or the NFL playoffs, I've been keeping tabs on the 2009 UDA College Dance Team Nationals (Mascots and cheerleaders also compete, but the dancing is much more enjoyable to watch!) 

Results have just been announced for Division IA dance finals:
1. University of Tennessee (3rd straight championship)
2. Florida State University
3. University of Minnesota (AG, that dance was amazing—definitely #1 worthy)
4. University of Cincinnati
5. University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!)
—for complete results click here

Division IA Hip Hop finals:
1. University of Cincinnati
2. Louisiana State University
3. University of Memphis
4. University of Wisconsin-Madison
5. Florida State University
—for complete results click here

(photo courtesy

Awesome 'tools' for journalists

The Society of Professional Journalists have launched the Journalist's Toolbox, an awesome resource for reporters and editors to do research.

EW's tribute to Heath Ledger

Nearly one year after his death, Entertainment Weekly speaks with friends and colleagues of Heath Ledger. In "Heath Ledger: The Untold Story," some of his closest friends open up and share memories about the late star. 

Ledger died Jan. 22, 2008—fast-forward one year later, and the actor will undoubtedly receive his second career Academy Award nomination for his (already award-winning) performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Having won a posthumous Golden Globe last Sunday and many others this awards season, Ledger will likely win the award on Feb. 22. At least I certainly hope he does. Aside from the fact that he deserved an award during his short lifetime, Ledger gave his entire self to play the Joker and made me and countless others believe his performance completely. 

If Ledger does win in February, he will be only the second to win an Oscar posthumously—the first went to Peter Finch, who died weeks before the awards aired in 1977, for his role in Network. 

RIP Heath. You are missed, but will not be forgotten. 

(photo courtesy EW)

Mexican billionaire may invest in NYTimes

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the NYTimes Co. is talking to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu about investing $$$ in the newspaper. 

According to the Associated Press, the NYT was $1.1 billion in debt, with $46 million in cash at the end of September. A $400 million credit facility expires in May, the Journal reported.

Though the newspaper's value has decreased significantly, the billionaire could help with finances. Forbes named Helu the world's second richest man in 2008 (higher than Bill Gates) with a net worth of $60 billion.

'A Father's Sadness'—one terribly sad goodbye

For those of us at the University of Wisconsin, two tragic stories have plagued the last year—the homicides of Joel Marino and Brittany Zimmermann. While one case has been solved, the other remains a mystery. 

Though the Joel Marino case ended with the conviction of Adam Peterson, it took an even more tragic turn last week when Peterson committed suicide in jail. In a letter in the Capital Times, Peterson's father, Melvin, writes about the agony of losing a son to mental illness—apologizing to Marino's family for their loss as well.

Countdown to Inauguration Day!

The GW Hatchet, George Washington University's student newspaper, is one of my favorites week to week, but they have spectacular Inauguration Day coverage. Check it out here.

Oscar buzz

Five questions about the Oscars I found intriguing from Vanity Fair's Mark Lisanti.

1. Does Mickey Rourke really stand a chance at beating Sean Penn?
2. Who the hell is Sally Hawkins again?
3. Do I have to start paying attention to Gran Torino for Best Picture?
4. Will Kate Winslet win zero, one or two Oscars?
5. Can anything beat Slumdog Millionaire?

(graphic courtesy VF)

Friday, January 16, 2009

S.Trib files bankrupcy

It's a sad day for MN journalism as the Star Tribune filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Thursday night. 

The Star Tribune is MN's largest newspaper.

"We intend to use the Chapter 11 process to make this great Twin Cities institution stronger, leaner and more efficient so that it is well positioned to benefit when economic conditions begin to improve," Chris Harte, the paper's publisher, said in a statement.

The paper is owned by Avista Capital Partners, who bought the paper less than two years ago for $530 million. Through mergers of various Twin Cities publications, the paper has been in operation for more than 140 years.

In an open letter to Star Tribune readers, Harte wrote the filing was "necessary to reduce [the paper's] operating costs, restructure [its] debt and create a financially viable business for the future."

Harte wrote that the filing will allow "business as usual," including print and online editions.

This filing comes about a month after the Tribune Company filed for bankrupcy—another sign that print journalism is a dying breed. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Plane crashes in Hudson River

A US Airways plane carrying nearly 150 passengers and five crew members crashed into the Hudson River earlier this afternoon. Miraculously, all on board escaped safely.

The plane, which took off from LaGuardia Airport five minutes before it descended into the icy waters below, was a twin jet Airbus A320 bound for Charlotte, N.C., the New York Times reported:

According to the Fire Department of New York, initial reports from the aviation agency said they thought that a flock of birds had hit the engine and caused the crash.

"It made this huge, gigantic splash, and I actually thought it was a boat crash at first," said Fulmer Duckworth, 41, an employee at the Bank of America who watched the incident unfold from the 29th floor of his building at West 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue. "It didn't occur to me that it was a plane in the water."


"The plane was totally intact," Mr. Duckworth said. "Everybody thought it was a sea plane. I kept trying to tell them no."

Thank God everyone is OK! 

(photo courtesy Reuters)

EW's First Look at Lauren Graham's 'Guys and Dolls'

Here's a shoutout to all Gilmore Girls fans—

Lauren Graham, famous for her role as Lorelai on the WB/CW hit, will soon make her way to Broadway starring as Miss Adelaide in a revival of the musical Guys and Dolls. This is what she had to say about singing in the production:
"Lorelai was drunk," she told Entertainment Weekly. "Don't gauge my singing ability by Lorelai singing drunk in the seventh season."
Graham's character serenaded diner-owner Luke at a bar during the one of the final episodes of Season 7, and while the performance was moving in its double meaning, "I Will Always Love You" probably should have been kept to Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston. 

You've gotta love her anyway—acting talent, humor and vocal pipes. Catch Graham in Guys and Doys, opening March 1.

(photo courtesy EW)

A salute to Kate

As I watched the Golden Globes on Sunday, I teared up as Kate Winslet finally, FINALLY won her first and second Globes. Here is a salute to her fantastic achievement at winning two in the same night.

The acceptance speeches:

Intro lede

I think it takes a certain kind of person to start a blog—a certain personality that I'm not entirely sure I possess. But, being a journalism major in a time when newspapers are going bankrupt and staffs are cut in half, I suppose it's time for me to create one. So here it goes:

Lately, I've been really into pop culture, mostly because it's award season and I just happen to love the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards (nominations to be announced here on Jan. 22). I've also really gotten into Vanity Fair lately, and the interesting musings that the VF editors post like this one about what news on iTunes might look like—iNews if you will. As a subscriber of the magazine, I thoroughly enjoy the articles as well.

I've always been a fan of the university news (working for a college newspaper somehow does that to you), so I'll be posting stories from the higher education scene every now and again.

I will likely use this blog as an interpretation of news and infotainment that is produced daily throughout the country, posting things of interest that have too quickly flooded my Facebook wall. 

Be sure to keep up as some days will have more posts than others. But for today I'll start with the basics—thanks for following along.