Tag Archives: Research

TechCrunch Squirrels Have Blogasm Counting Tweets

More ranting. Step back so no one gets hurt. I realize that this is useless for those at TechCrunch. They won’t listen. They’re confident they know everything. But, it is at the very least therapeutic for me. I’ll also be able to use this as just one more case study example of the cluelessness my students should avoid in sites like TechCrunch.

Does anyone else get really turned off by these lame attempts of people trying so desperately to assign rankings of authority to all things blog, Twitter, etc.? I do. And, I’m fed up.

First, let’s consider the term authority, please.

An authority is “a person or body of persons in whom authority is vested” and/or the authority is an “accepted source of information, advice, etc.” (Source, and isn’t it sad that we have to share a definition for something like this?)

Techorati has been touting authority in their indexing of sites for some time. They still put the technorati-authority image in their results. You have to click the lil’ “?” to see that it is only Technorati’s version of authority. Translation? They need to have a good word to try and make their results look legitimate – even when they are not legitimate. And Technorati’s claims of legitimate authority is ridiculous.

At least they have now decided to label it “Technorati Authority” in their definition, but they don’t use the “Technorati Authority” label throughout their site. This makes Technorati continue to be a laughing stock with regard to rankings and research.

What’s the problem with these uses of the term authority? Technorati, for instance, does not actually vet the sites and links they are using to assign these labels of authority and ranking. Gee, come to think of it … even Google doesn’t vet incoming links/clicks either. Hmmm? They are, quite simply, just counting things. Is counting enough? No. “In counting tests, an African Grey Parrot, Magpies, Ravens, and squirrels can ‘count’ up to 6.” (Source) Maybe the parrots, magpies, ravens, and squirrels are running some of these sites.

Yes, I’m sorry to tell you this but … squirrels are in charge of TechCrunch. Meet the co-editor squirrel at TechCrunch. Squirrel #2 put paws to keyboard and tapped out this little gem: It’s Not How Many Followers You Have That Counts, It’s How Many Times You Get Retweeted.

Squirrel boy is all excited. I think he had a blogasm. Seriously.

[blawg az-uhm] –noun

the physical and emotional sensation experienced at the peak of blog comment excitation, usually resulting from stimulation of the social media link-bait blego (blog ego) and usually accompanied by (mostly males) commenting, tweeting and blogging with idiotic glee. Synonym: ignorance (is bliss)

Some people have created a few little toys that count things. Woo Hoo!. This has sent squirrel boy (and his friends; the parrots, magpies and ravens) into an apoplectic frenzy of sycophant reach-around joy. See Full Metal Jacket, if you’re not familiar with the phrase.

You see, they’ve found a new link bait post topic that will likely carry them through a few days of the startup downturn and holiday “we can’t find any real news” vacuum that exists today.

What these tools are doing (yes, the scripts & the people) is counting what is sort of an exponential shell game. Certainly the Twitter users with the most followers have a greater potential to be retweeted. That doesn’t mean they are influential. It doesn’t mean they are writing interesting content, either.

Has anyone followed back to see who the retweeters are? Has anyone followed back to see if the retweeters are making fun of the post? These are just a few of the possibilities. You see, the most influential and/or interesting retweets might well be taking place between a group of just three or four people. Has anyone looked into that? No. So, we now have just the simplest examples of why these simple counting scripts are pretty much worthless as a research tool.

One person is making some ridiculous claims with his lil’ toy, too.

My comment, which I chose to post here instead, is as follows:

Well, it is an interesting script that counts stuff. However, it really has very little meaning, now does it. In research, we tend to compare similar variables. When you write, “They are the once (sic) producing most interesting content across the twittersphere” you’re stating a falsehood. No, they are (at best) posting content of interest to their audience. That’s all. You have not vetted the content in each retweet instance. Therefore, you don’t know if they are making fun of the person or retweeting it because it is interesting or any number of other possibilities. You are, quite simply, counting RT. That’s it. This is nothing more than an exponential shell game and/or fetish with assigning ranks.

We won’t waste time by discussing independent, status and/or dependent variables here. The squirrels may be able to count, but they sure won’t understand the concepts behind research.

Folks, when you see people all excited about their new abacus (that’s a compliment, by the way … these guys probably couldn’t work an abacus) run the other way. They are clueless. It is more TechCrunch self-absorbed nonsense.

Would a more powerful and useful version of search for Twitter be welcomed? Yes. Do these new tools do that? No.

Yes, I realize this is perhaps the beginning of development of useful tools. But, don’t get all hyped up with terms like authority and rank when your current toys don’t accomplish the feat. Please, stop the insanity. I beg you.


Was Joe Biden Right? :: What Drives Me Crazy About “Journalism” Today

Sorry. Danger, Will Robinson. Robert’s ranting again … Stand back. I don’t want anyone to get hurt.

I blame myself, really. I watch, listen to and read way too much news. Yep, there – I said it. And, I’m not ashamed.  I’m a news addict.  No, the drugs and therapy sessions are not working.

This kerfluffle about Joe Biden’s statement that Obama, if elected, will be tested in some manner during his first year (six months, whatever) in office – it just spins your head, doesn’t it.  What will be the next lame issue these goobers beat like a dead horse. Someone call PETA, please!

Well, it is quite silly all the back and forth of the talking heads out there in our pseudo-journalism world today.  Where did journalism go?  Do you know where I can find it?  I miss journalism.

Why don’t they, instead of featuring talking (and often shouting) heads going back and forth on the matter … just do a wee bit of research to answer the question for their audiences?

Hey, if I can do it … don’t you think they can, too?

So, you decide for yourself. Here is a list of some major events from the first year of each President’s inaugural year, all the way back to good ‘ol Woodrow Wilson. You remember Woodrow, don’t you? :o)

Let’s look at these events (go ahead, if you’re tired of the ranting) – courtesy of InfoPlease.com – and you tell me, was there just one major event that tested the mettle of each U. S. President?

Why don’t these previously vaunted news organizations do this kind of research?  They have staff and resources. I have a dog, cat, computer and an internet connection. (George & Shekiya did the research. I just sat here and … watched news). You’d think the news organizations would want to offer a few facts mixed in with all their ratings seeking nonsense. ~sigh~

No, it isn’t a perfect list.  (Hey, they’re a dog & a cat.) I haven’t combed it completely – nor put them in perfect order.  Still, I seem to recognize at least one event in the first year of each President that seems like it could have been a challenge to their mettle.  How about you?

Did I mention that I miss journalism?

Yes, it was a stupid thing for Biden to say, given the environment of this election. He spun away from the message. He caused (as he is known to do) a stupid controversy to spin out of control. Still, he wasn’t really telling an untruth. Was he? And why in the world don’t CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the NYTimes.com and so many other ‘news’ organizations just do their damn homework! Hello?

1913 – Wilson

  • Suffragettes demonstrate in London and Washington, D.C. Background: Woman Suffrage
  • London peace treaty partitions most of European Turkey among the victors of first Balkan War.
  • In second Balkan war, Bulgaria attacks Serbia and Greece and is defeated after Romania intervenes and Turks recapture Adrianople (June).
  • Garment workers strike in New York and Boston; win pay raises and reduced hours.
  • Sixteenth Amendment (income tax) and 17th (popular election of U.S. senators) adopted. Background: Amendments to the Constitution
  • Bill creating U.S. Federal Reserve System becomes law.
  • World War I begins (June 28, 1914): Austria declares war on Serbia; Germany on Russia and France; Britain on Germany

1921 – Harding

  • Um, Teapot Dome.
  • Major treaties signed at Washington Disarmament Conference limit naval tonnage and pledge to respect territorial integrity of China.
  • Congress passes Budget and Accounting Act, which creates the Bureau of Budget (June 10).
  • U.S. Congress, in a joint resolution, declares WWI ended (July 2).
  • First burial is held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery (Nov. 11).

1923 (August) – Coolidge

  • Adolf Hitler’s “Beer Hall Putsch” in Munich fails; in 1924 he is sentenced to five years in prison where he writes Mein Kampf. He is released after eight months.
  • Earthquake destroys one-third of Tokyo.
  • Occupation of Ruhr by French and Belgian troops to enforce reparations payments.
  • The second Ku Klux Klan movement in U.S. history grows, stirring widespread controversy and violence.

1929 – Hoover

  • Um, the Depression started!
  • Trotsky is expelled from U.S.S.R.
  • First large-scale Jewish-Arab violence caused by a clash at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
  • St. Valentine’s Day gangland massacre in Chicago (Feb. 14).
  • Stock market prices plummet (Nov.-Dec.). U.S. securities lose $26 billion, marking the first financial disaster of the Great Depression

1933 – Roosevelt

  • Um, the Depression … still goin’ on!
  • Reichstag fire in Berlin; Nazi terror begins (Feb. 27).
  • Hitler becomes German chancellor (Jan. 30).
  • Germany and Japan withdraw from League of Nations.
  • Giuseppe Zangara executed for attempted assassination of President-elect Roosevelt in which Chicago Mayor Cermak is fatally shot.
  • Roosevelt inaugurated (“the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”); launches New Deal.
  • Prohibition repealed. OK, that doesn’t cound. Good news!
  • Glass-Steagall Act bans banks from dealing in stocks and bonds.

1945 (April) – Truman

  • FDR dies (April 12) and Harry S. Truman becomes president.
  • Hitler commits suicide (April 30); Germany surrenders (May 7); May 8 is declared V-E Day.
  • San Francisco Conference establishes the United Nations (April–June).
  • Potsdam Conference (Truman, Churchill, Stalin) establishes basis of German reconstruction (July–Aug.).
  • US drops atomic bombs on Japanese cities of Hiroshima (Aug. 6) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9).
  • Japan signs official surrender on V-J Day (Sept. 2).
  • Manhattan Project tests first atomic bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico (July 16).
  • A B-25 bomber flies into the Empire State Building, damaging the 78th and 79th floors and killing 13 (July 28).

1953 – Eisenhower

  • Joseph Stalin dies (March 5). Georgi Malenkov becomes Soviet Premier; Lavrenti Beria, Minister of Interior; Vyacheslav Molotov, Foreign Minister (March 6).
  • East Berliners rise against Communist rule; quelled by tanks (June 17).
  • Korean armistice signed (July 27).
  • Moscow announces explosion of hydrogen bomb (Aug. 20). Background: nuclear weapons
  • Tito becomes president of Yugoslavia.
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed in Sing Sing prison (June 19).
  • Alleged Communist Charlie Chaplin leaves U.S. for good. Justice Dept. warns him any attempt to reenter the country will be challenged.

1961 – Kennedy

  • US breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba (Jan. 3).
  • 1,200 US-sponsored anti-Castro exiles invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs (April 17); the attackers are all killed or captured by Cuban forces.
  • East Germany erects the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin to halt flood of refugees (Aug. 13). (Here’s a hint: The Cold War)
  • USSR detonates 50-megaton hydrogen bomb in the largest man-made explosion in history (Oct. 29).
  • There are 2,000 US military advisers in South Vietnam. You do remember the Vietnam War, right?
  • OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) formally constituted.

1963 (November) – Johnson

  • There are 15,000 US military advisers in South Vietnam.
  • 1964

  • Nelson Mandela sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa (June 11).
  • Congress approves Gulf of Tonkin Resolution after North Vietnamese torpedo boats allegedly attack US destroyers (Aug. 7).
  • Khrushchev is deposed; Kosygin becomes premier and Brezhnev becomes first secretary of the Communist Party (October).
  • China detonates its first atomic bomb.

1969 – Nixon

  • Nixon begins “Vietnamization” in Southeast Asia.
  • The United States, USSR, and about 100 other countries sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT).
  • Russian and Chinese troops clash along the Ussuri River.
  • 27-year-old Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi deposes King Idris of Libya and establishes a pro-Arabic, anti-Western, Islamic republic.
  • Stonewall riot in New York City marks beginning of gay rights movement (June 28).

1974 (August) Ford

  • Um, Nixon resigns.
  • Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is deposed. A collective military dictatorship assumes power (Sept. 12).
  • Ford grants “full, free, and absolute pardon” to ex-President Nixon (Sept. 8).


  • Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge take over Cambodia (April).
  • The city of Saigon is surrendered and remaining Americans are evacuated, ending the Vietnam War (April 30).
  • American merchant ship Mayaguez, seized by Cambodian forces, is rescued in operation by US Navy and Marines, 38 of whom are killed (May 15).
  • John N. Mitchell, H. R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman found guilty of Watergate cover-up (Jan. 1); sentenced to 30 months to 8 years in jail (Feb. 21).
  • President Ford escapes assassination attempt in Sacramento, Calif. (Sept. 5).
  • President Ford escapes second assassination attempt in 17 days (Sept. 22).
  • Carter pardons Vietnam war draft evaders (Jan. 21).

1977 – Carter

  • Deng Xiaoping, purged Chinese leader, restored to power as Gang of Four is expelled from Communist Party (July 22).
  • South African activist Steve Biko dies in police custody (Sept. 12).
  • Nuclear-proliferation pact, curbing spread of nuclear weapons, is signed by 15 countries, including US and USSR (Sept. 21).

1981 – Reagan

  • US-Iran agreement frees 52 hostages held in Teheran since 1979 (Jan. 20); hostages welcomed back in US (Jan. 25). Background: Iran Hostage Crisis
  • Pope John Paul II wounded by gunman (May 14).
  • Israel annexes the disputed Golan Heights territory (Dec. 14).
  • Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat is assassinated by Islamic extremists during a military parade in Cairo (Oct. 6).
  • President Hilla Limann is overthrown in Ghana as Jerry J. Rawlings seizes power.
  • President Reagan wounded by gunman, with press secretary and two law-enforcement officers (March 30).
  • US Supreme Court rules, 4–4, that former President Nixon and three top aides may be required to pay damages for wiretap of home telephone of former national security aide (June 22).
  • Reagan nominates Judge Sandra Day O’Connor, 51, of Arizona, as first woman on US Supreme Court (July 7).
  • Air controllers strike, disrupting flights (Aug. 3); government dismisses strikers (Aug. 11).

1989 – Bush (41)

  • US planes shoot down two Libyan fighters over international waters in Mediterranean (Jan. 4).
  • Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini declares author Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses offensive and sentences him to death (Feb. 14).
  • Tens of thousands of Chinese students take over Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in rally for democracy (April 19 et seq.). More than one million in Beijing demonstrate for democracy; chaos spreads across nation (mid-May et seq.). Thousands killed in Tiananmen Square as Chinese leaders take hard line toward demonstrators (June 4 et seq.).
  • Mikhail S. Gorbachev named Soviet President (May 25).
  • P. W. Botha quits as South Africa’s President (Aug. 14).
  • Deng Xiaoping resigns from China’s leadership (Nov. 9).
  • After 28 years, Berlin Wall is open to West (Nov. 11).
  • Czech Parliament ends Communists’ dominant role (Nov. 30).
  • Romanian uprising overthrows Communist government (Dec. 15 et seq.); President Ceausescu and wife executed (Dec. 25).
  • US troops invade Panama, seeking capture of General Manuel Noriega (Dec. 20).
  • Ruptured tanker Exxon Valdez sends 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound (March 24).
  • US jury convicts Oliver North in Iran-Contra affair (May 4).
  • Army Gen. Colin R. Powell is first black Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff (Aug. 9).
  • A San Francisco Bay area earthquake measuring 7.1 in magnitude, killed 67 and injured over 3,000. Over 100,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. (Oct. 17)

1993 – Clinton

  • Twenty-two UN troops killed in Somalia (June 5).
  • Yeltsin’s forces crush revolt in Russian Parliament (Oct. 4 et seq.).
  • China breaks nuclear test moratorium (Oct. 5).
  • Israeli-Palestinian accord reached (Aug. 28).
  • Federal agents besiege Texas Branch Davidian religious cult after six are killed in raid (March 1 et seq.). Fire kills 72 as cult standoff in Texas ends with federal assault (April 19).
  • Five arrested, sixth sought in bombing of World Trade Center in New York (March 29).
  • Two police officers convicted in Los Angeles on civil rights charges in Rodney King beating (April 17); sentenced Aug. 4.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg appointed to Supreme Court (June 14).
  • US agents blamed in Waco, Tex., siege (Oct. 1).
  • House of Representatives approves North American Free Trade Agreement (Nov. 17); Senate follows (Nov. 21).
  • Clinton signs Brady bill regulating firearms purchases (Nov. 30).

2001 – Bush (43)

  • Congo president Laurent Kabila assassinated by bodyguard (Jan. 16). Son Joseph Kabila takes over amid continuing civil war.
  • Ariel Sharon wins election in Israel (Feb. 6). Right-wing leader chosen overwhelmingly as nation’s fifth prime minister in just over five years during worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years.
  • The long-simmering resentment of Macedonia’s ethnic Albanians erupts into violence in March. The rebels seek greater autonomy within Macedonia. After six months of fighting, a peace agreement is signed (Aug. 13). British-led NATO forces enter the country and disarm the guerrillas.
  • U.S. spy plane and Chinese jet collide (April 2); Sino-American relations deteriorate during a standoff. The 24 crew members of the U.S. plane were detained for 11 days and released after the U.S. issued a formal statement of regret.
  • Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is delivered to UN tribunal in The Hague to await war-crime trial (June 29).
  • Without U.S., 178 nations reach agreement on climate accord, which rescues, though dilutes, 1997 Kyoto Protocol (July 23).
  • In response to Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. and British forces launch bombing campaign on Taliban government and al-Qaeda terrorist camps in Afghanistan (Oct. 7). Bombings continue on a daily basis.
  • Irish Republican Army announces that it has begun to dismantle its weapons arsenal, marking a dramatic leap forward in Northern Ireland peace process (Oct. 23).
  • At a UN-sponsored summit in Bonn, Germany, Afghani factions meet to create a post-Taliban government (Nov. 27). Hamid Karzai is selected as head of the transitional government (Dec. 5).
  • Taliban regime in Afghanistan collapses after two months of bombing by American warplanes and fighting by Northern Alliance ground troops (Dec. 9).
  • Israel condemns the Palestinian Authority as a “terror-supporting entity” and severs ties with leader Yasir Arafat following mounting violence against Israelis (Dec. 3). The Israeli Army begins bombing Palestinian areas.
  • In final days of presidency, Bill Clinton issues controversial pardons, including one for Marc Rich, billionaire fugitive financier (Jan. 20).
  • U.S. submarine Greeneville sinks Japanese fishing boat, killing 9 (Feb. 9).
  • FBI agent Robert Hanssen is charged with spying for Russia for 15 years (Feb. 20).
  • Race riots in Cincinnati continue for several days following a shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer (April 7 et seq.).
  • Four are declared guilty in 1998 terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (May 29).
  • Balance of the Senate shifts after Jim Jeffords of Vermont changes his party affiliation from Republican to Independent. The move strips Republicans of control of the Senate and gives Democrats the narrowest of majorities (50-49-1) (June 5).
  • Bush signs new tax-cut law, the largest in 20 years – due to an economic downturn (costs him his future re-election bid) (June 7).
  • Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh executed (June 11).
  • Budget surplus dwindles. The Congressional Budget Office attributes this rapid change in the nation’s fortunes to the slowing economy and the Bush tax cut (Aug. 22).
  • Terrorists attack United States. Hijackers ram jetliners into twin towers of New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane crashes 80 mi outside of Pittsburgh (Sept. 11). Toll of dead and injured in thousands. Within days, Islamic militant Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network are identified as the parties behind the attacks.
  • Anthrax scare rivets nation, as anthrax-laced letters are sent to various media and government officials. Several postal workers die after handling the letters (throughout October).

‘Nuff said? Yep.

Don’t even get me started on the new round of red baiting that’s going on, either.

I was raised in quite a liberal household. My parents supported McCarthy. No, I don’t mean Joe, either.

It often suprises me that, having grown up in such a liberal household, I turned out to be so conservative. Still, conservative or not – I pray I can tell the difference between facts and BS! Sheesh!


The 3rd Annual Excellence in New Communications Awards :: The Society for New Communication Research

Please allow me to do my due diligence. These awards are truly significant. Your participation will, with the receipt of an award, add luster and – even better – share your work with a large interested audience. I hope you will both consider submitting your work for an award and consider joining the Society for New Communication Research. Details of this year’s awards program follow.

The final submission deadline for the 2008 Excellence in New Communications Awards. is coming up soon! Submit your entries now – the final deadline is Monday, September 8th.

Each year the Society for New Communications Research presents the prestigious SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards. These awards honor corporations, governmental and nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, media outlets, and individuals who are innovating the use of social media, ICT, mobile media, online communities and virtual worlds and collaborative technologies in the areas of business, media, and professional communications, including advertising, marketing, public relations and corporate communications, as well as entertainment, education, politics, and social initiatives.


Myopic CBS Analyst Bashes PR and Should Gerber Open A Baby Face School of PR

Two interesting PR issues come to light today.

Is PR Inherently Unethical?

Jennifer Milikien raises the question at PROpenMic, Is PR Inherently Unethical?

The discussion revolves around “a commentary on “CBS Sunday Morning” by legal analyst Andrew Cohen in which he challenged the integrity of the public relations profession.” Source: PR Tactics and The Strategist Online.

It has spilled over to the CBS Web site, too. The issue has, as of this writing, generated 14 pages of comments. The Flak Over Flacks, In The Wake Of Scott McClellan’s New Book, Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen Says PR People Are Aghast At The Truth – CBS News. PR practitioners are coming out in droves for this one.

K.D. Paine takes Cohen to task quite well.

Having been both a journalist and a reporter, I”ve found equal amounts of ethics in both fields. Do the words Jayson Blair ring a bell. Does the fact that there are 459,000 entries in Google for “Lying Journalist” mean that I should now assume that all reporters are liars. Of course not. I have stacks of stories, research and statistics that show that when the PR people try to stand up for the truth and for being transparent, its the lawyers that get in the way. All too frequently my PR colleagues are trying to do the right thing, but are unable to because of the chief counsel or the CEO.

Are you suggesting that the good people at CBS who put out all those press releases touting new shows or new staff are in fact lying? That we shouldn”t believe them when they state its a hit? I”m happy to do that, since with idiots like you on the air, I certainly won”t be watching CBS in the future.

Posted by kdpaine (On the CBS Web site. Note: I’m pretty sure Paine meant to write “Having been both a journalist and PR practitioner.”

A part of my take: You know, I see this latest example of PR bashing (from a news network that feeds off of media relations) to be just another in a long line of foolish, ignorant (and a bit arrogant) people. Even funnier, regarding this happening on CBS – of all places, it was their network that recently wanted to farm out some of their coverage to CNN and not do it themselves. Plus, their network has had many recent highly publicized problems with failing to get the facts straight. Cohen is just one more example. Read more …

Update: There is even video of it from CBS.com. Yes, they allow you embed it … but, only with their commercials. Still old school, CBS. ~sigh~ Seeing it again just brought more disappointment. Cohen ends with saying, “That’s the truth.” No, Andrew, it is not. Bless your heart, you pitiful boy, I fear you’re a lost ball in high weeds.

Should Gerber Open A School of PR? Baby Faces Often Work Best

Colleague and friend Debra Worthington, at Auburn University, shared this recent article from Science Daily’s News section. Researchers Gerald J. Gorn, Yuwei Jiang (both at Hong Kong University) and Gita V. Johar (Columbia University) pose an interesting bit of what seems to be, in some instances, common sense.

Saving Face With A Baby-face? Shape Of CEO’s Face Affects Public Perception

ScienceDaily (2008-05-30) — When a corporation has a public relations crisis, the news media splash photos of the company’s CEO around the world. According to new research the shape of the CEO’s face evokes judgments about the person and the situation.

If nothing else, this is a great conversation starter.