Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Great Flavours of Our Age

People who feign disbelief at the CBC's ever having hired George Stroum- boulopoulos and commissioning his show, The Hour, are being disingenuous.

If they loathe the man so much then it is rather more than likely that they are rational creatures, and that they are provided with good imaginations (as evinced by their ability to envisage a culturally rich world without Strombo or The Hour), and they are thus precluded from the type who didn't, immediately, piece it together in his mind's eye when he first heard the news:

A gathering of 30-something producers around the corner from 250 Front St. sometime in 2004, Flirtini-fuelled, pillaging their collective creative resources for an answer to the question ... The question of which hip "young" thing could be found to balance the incisive, intellectual, statesmanlike and, ultimately, just too conservative face given to the Mother Corp by such as Evan Solomon.

Of course they should've chosen Strombo!

Anyway, so, Robert Cushman has a rather good piece about the man and the show in today's Post, and it's worth the read.

He recommends this to watch which, actually, he is quite right to do:

And no, it should make no difference that this was also produced by the CBC. Odds were that something of quality had to come out of all that subsidizing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Week Audio: The Snack

My apologies to those of you who have been salivating for the next installment of EMG and EMG, but it seemed a little tacky posting this particular one during Holy Week ... But now that Christ's safely risen I think it should be okay.

This week's episode: a flippant reference to the Eucharist inspires a discussion of the apparent demerits of orthodox Christian faith. (Click the image, press play)

While I--as, no doubt, you will too--consider this dialogue to be something along the lines of satirical genius, I couldn't tell you who I thought less of in it: coolly pig-ignorant EMG or squirming, ineffectual EMG.

(Warning: one shit and one f-bomb--both rhetorically employed.)

As with before, if the file size proves to be too big for you and your crappy computer, a smaller one can be found here.

The Fool Cherniak

Jason Cherniak is very young and very silly.

I should prefer to leave him alone for these reasons, but the hysterical shrillness of his pubescent pieties has reached such a pitch that I'm finding it difficult to concentrate on other things.


To your contention, Jason, that Kate McMillan "might be trying to let Nazis off for their disgusting ideological beliefs" because she said "The Nazis Didn't Carry Out The Holocaust. The German state did that"--can I please ask you to yank your pin-head out of your ass for a second and familiarize yourself with the concept of the banality of evil. Far from obviating the responsibility of the Nazis for the Holocaust, the theory goes rather further in implicating every single German in that crime who did not actively oppose the Nazi regime. This was Ms. McMillan's point and it is fully in keeping with mainstream analysis of the Holocaust. (Indeed, I'm trying to imagine what the likes of Primo Levi would think of you for suggesting that this is somehow a hateful idea. Very little, I suspect. He took a considerable antipathy for the Germans (as quite distinct from Nazis) with him to the grave for what he saw as their shrugging complicity in his suffering.)

And, Jason, did you really write this as a reply in your comments section: "... the Nazis used their personal freedoms to take over the state and use [sic] it [sic] take away the freedoms of others. That is even more obvious in Italy, where they never even got themselves elected a first time"?

Do you actually believe that anybody has the "personal freedom" to "take over the state"? This is so embarrassingly stupid, I'm shocked. The Nazis were criminals, Jason! It's the crime that's the problem, not the personal freedom! What the hell's wrong with you?!

For God's sake, take a break, Jason, learn your craft. You don't want to carry the label of "fool" into your dotage because of a couple of goofy thoughts you had when you didn't know any better. C'mon now. For your own sake.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

... Yet e'en the lifeless stone is dear
For thoughts of Him who late lay here;
And the base world, now Christ hath died,
Ennobled is and glorified.

No more a charnel-house, to fence
The relics of lost innocence,
A vault of ruin and decay;
Th' imprisoning stone is rolled away:

'Tis now a cell, where angels use
To come and go with heavenly news,
And in the ears of mourners say,
"Come, see the place where Jesus lay:"

'Tis now a fane, where Love can find
Christ everywhere embalmed and shined:
Aye gathering up memorials sweet,
Where'er she sets her duteous feet ...

John Keble, The Christian Year

Friday, March 21, 2008

Chesterton on the Delusion of Liberty following from Progress

It is not necessarily an indefensible thing that the state grew more despotic as it grew more civilised; it is arguable that it had to grow more despotic in order to grow more civilised. That is the argument for autocracy in every age; and the interest lies in seeing it illustrated in the earliest age. But it is emphatically not true that it was most despotic in the earliest age and grew more liberal in a later age; the practical process of history is exactly the reverse. It is not true that the tribe began in the extreme of terror of the Old Man and his seat and spear; it is probable, at least in Egypt, that the Old Man was rather a New Man armed to attack new conditions. His spear grew longer and longer and his throne rose higher and higher, as Egypt rose into a complex and complete civilisation. That is what I mean by saying that the history of the Egyptian territory is in this the history of the earth; and directly denies the vulgar assumption that terrorism can only come at the beginning and cannot come at the end. We do not know what was the very first condition of the more or less feudal amalgam of land owners, peasants and slaves in the little commonwealths beside the Nile; but it may have been a peasantry of an even more popular sort. What we do know is that it was by experience and education that little commonwealths lose their liberty; that absolute sovereignty is something not merely ancient but rather relatively modern; and it is at the end of the path called progress that men return to the king.

Egypt exhibits, in that brief record of its remotest beginnings, the primary problem of liberty and civilisation. It is the fact that men actually lose variety by complexity.

G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Odds and Sods

Item 1

The Post reports that there is an increasing trend of parents suing teachers for exorbitant sums of money, usually along the lines of damages caused to the given child's self-esteem.

Now, I know that I'm not saying anything new here, but the more often repeated the better, apparently:

That extremely rare, and vastly over-estimated condition known as low self-esteem bears a striking resemblance--it's true!--to the behaviour exhibited by a child so spoiled that the disproportionate inflation of his pride has drawn directly for its sustenance from the thickness of his skin. But we confuse the two at our peril ... And at the child's, needless to say.

(Related: The view, such as it is, from England. Best line: "Children suffer anxiety as the test looms and the rise in mental health problems cannot be divorced from their status as the most tested in the world." Yes because, as adults, the likelihood of their having to deal with anxiety is just so remote ... But how, one wonders, do we explain a rise in mental health problems as the quality of education in England is well known to be in free fall?)

Item 2

A Canadian study has just been released measuring the use of health care by the differently sexualled (to coin a term--one gets a little sick of having to list them all every time). The findings aren't even remotely surprising, but the various analyses on offer are some of the most stunning instances of politically correct prevarication and pussyfooting you're likely to find.

Tell me if this surprises you:

Gay men go to the doctor a lot more than heterosexual men; lesbians go to the doctor a lot less than heterosexual women; bisexuals (of both sexes) are more likely to have a poor estimate of their mental health than either homosexuals or heterosexuals. On the whole, it would appear that homosexuals and bisexuals go to the doctor far more than do heterosexuals.

Why? Well, it seems to me that given that homosexual intercourse between men is of a far higher risk than heterosexual intercourse, then it stands to reason that gay men should go to the doctor more. And given that sex between women is less risky even than heterosexual sex (what with the absence of that intrusive old penis and all the considerations it entails), it stands to reason that they should go to the doctor less. And given that bisexuals have exactly double the problems of your average rutting cruiser, it isn't straining credulity too much to assume that they might be feeling the strain a bit more than is average.

Make sense? Yes?

But see what's made of these rather boring facts:
The higher proportion of gay men who are HIV-positive is likely a factor in their use of the health care system, along with the fact they know where to find a "gay-positive" physician, said Anna Travers, director of the Rainbow Health Resource Centre at Toronto's Sherbourne Health Centre.
Ooookaaaayyyyy ... But how exactly does that square with this:

But gay women tend to have more fear they will face homophobia or "heterosexism" -- the assumption by doctors and others that they are straight. For example, a woman might be asked whether she is sexually active. When she answers yes, the doctor might launch into a discussion of birth control that would be irrelevant and embarrassing.

"It's less often 'Oh, you're a lesbian, how disgusting.' It's more often a series of questions or a series of assumptions that make people feel 'I just don't fit here.' " Travers said.
Oh woe! What hardship! Oh cruel, cruel world that lesbians should feel as though they don't fit in at the clinic! God knows, all the rest of us with our problems of just the single hue couldn't feel more integrated every time we go to the doctor for our Paps or our prostate exams ... Still, I'm a little confused. If gay men are so successful in finding "gay-positive" doctors, why aren't lesbians? Are we to assume that there is a trend amongst "gay positive" doctors to favour gay men over gay women? A kind of a homosex-sexism? And if this is the case, then why isn't it reflected in the mental health statistics with lesbian women having a disproportionately higher rate of psychological issues than gay men?

Well, because it's nonsense, that's why. Just as this is:
"It is well known that there's increased depression in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community because of dealing with widespread societal homophobia and transphobia," [Cherie MacLeod, executive director of PFLAG Canada] said. "The fact that our community is looking to obtain these services is not surprising at all."
That is: homosexuals take full advantage of the health care available to them because of the homophobia that prevents them from seeking health care ... Glorified if they do, glorified if they don't. (We won't even touch on this idea that, apparently, it's impossible for a homosexual to be depressed for any other reason than homophobia. God forbid we do that, and introduce the possibility that they are just plain old, mostly stupid and ugly human beings like the rest of us.)

... If only smokers were given this kind of saccharine, mincing consideration of their health care draining activities.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Old People Vindicated as Not Necessarily Conservative

A heck of a report here:
Contrary to common belief, aging seems to make a person more liberal and tolerant, not more conservative or rigid, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Vermont and Pennsylvania State University found that people over the age of 60 become more liberal, more quickly as they age compared to younger people.

"We still hold these age stereotypes about older people becoming more rigid in their thinking or becoming more conservative," said Nick Danigelis, a professor of sociology in Vermont who headed the research team.

"It's a false stereotype, and in fact, the evidence suggests that older people in some cases appear to be moving at a more rapid rate towards a liberal position than younger people."

... At this point, I suppose, we're all meant to breathe a great sigh of relief. Because we all know what conservatism entails (apart from mere "rigidity," that is):
The research, which was published in the American Sociological Review, included feelings about political and economic roles of groups such as woman [sic] and African-Americans, as well as the civil liberties of groups such as atheists and homosexuals, and privacy issues including premarital sex.
It's true. Conservatism isn't so much a point on the liberal democratic spectrum as it is a collection of the most clichéd "bigotries" imaginable by your average 13 year old. (And I just love how strong views on premarital sex are lumped in there with racism and sexism.)
The study showed attitude changes in both 18-39 and 60 and older age groups, with the latter tending to grow more tolerant rather than more conservative.
Hmm, interesting. But I can't help noticing the absence of any mention of that other consequence of old age that might've confounded a bit this hypothesis. That is: a radical deterioration in judgement known as senility.

Friday, March 14, 2008

They're shitting me, right? (UPDATED)

I just happened to be over at where it would appear that there is an online panel of experts actually discussing the following question: Where is our Barack Obama?

And as if that wasn't enough, there's this unbelievable exchange:

Pauline [Couture]: I think all the parties are operating from a rational, objective perspective right now: Their priorities are whatever will protect their immediate electoral interests.

The interests of the rest of us are simply being ignored, hence the widespread cynicism. That's exactly why the American electorate and media are responding to Barack Obama so strongly.

He has found a way to rise above the sniping pettiness that passes for public discourse in both countries at this time. Can we do that? I don't see any sign of it right now, but wouldn't it be nice to hear it here: Yes we can!

Sarah [Albertson]: Yes we can!

Well, I certainly hope we can. I don't see this happening here yet. All of the major politicians seem very tired to me.

They don't have the energy or the fearlessness required to do more than respond to what is immediately in front of them [...]

Nik [Nanos]: I think we are moving towards a watershed — away from divisive negative politics to aspirational ones.

In the old paradigm, pioneered under the Republicans, voters were divided and "hot button/wedge issues" were crafted to influence voting behaviour. This added to the negativism in our political discourse.

I think we are approaching a tipping point on the negativity front and that there is an opportunity for more positive "unification politics."


I would hazard to say that the federal leader who could pull together a positive, aspirational message about the future will have the upper hand in the next election.
Jesus Christ! What a bunch of milksops!

And never mind this hysterical idea that Barack Obama's entire campaign doesn't depend on divisive politics of the most basic sort, what about the verbiage coming out of this Nanos character? I mean: a watershed, a paradigm, pioneering, a wedge issue, a tipping point? Divisive negative politics, aspirational ones, negativism, a negativity front, positive unification politics, and positive, aspirational messages?

In four bloody sentences?!

Yes, indeed. It's such a shame that our politicians haven't risen to the level of pure political wind that Mr. Obama and our own positive, paradigmatic, watershed-aspirational classes have.


ADDENDUM (March 15th)

Mapmaster writes to add:
I'm resigned to the unctuous platitudes that form the trite and vapid analyses in any discussion at the CBC, but this flip historical revision managed to steam my blood. Never minding that the contemporary meaning of "divisiveness" is inscrutable to begin with, of which he takes full advantage, this Nik character really ought to read a little twentieth-century American history to discover that the calculated strategy of pitting various interests against each other both in the manufacture of popular sentiments and in electoral contests was, if not precisely discovered, refined and exploited to an unheralded potential under FDR's Democratic administration, accounting for much of its success. But that might introduce just a little qualm before tossing off such glib fabrications. Gah! The CBC needs to have some drywall in place before it puts up the panelling.

ADDENDUM 2 (March 16th)

Mapmaster digs further and discovers this treasure of a takedown of Barack Obama's much lauded and audaciously hopeful message:
... No one who's wandered through an Obama rally and heard the war whoops and seen the cheerful, vacant gazes would come away thinking, "These are the smartest people ever." I'm sorry, they just aren't. What is unmistakable is the creepy kind of solipsism and the air of self-congratulation that clings to his campaign. "There is something happening," he says in stump speeches. And what's happening? "Change is happening." How so? "The reason our campaign has been different is about what you, the people who love this country, can do to change it." And the way to change it is to join the campaign, which, once you join it, will change America. Because this is our moment. The time is now. Now is the time. Yes, we can. We bring change to the campaign because the campaign is about change. We are the ones we've been waiting for. Obama and his followers are perfecting postmodern reflexivity. It's a campaign that's about itself. The point of the campaign is the campaign.

They don't put it this way, of course, which just confirms a suspicion that's been creeping up on some of us for months: As a speech-giver, a man who has wowed the nation with the power of his language, Barack Obama is getting away with murder. Rhetorically, he is a master of le baloney.

It's not clear that Obama himself is even aware of this. His sincerity is self-evident and is one of the qualities that draw people to him, along with those eloquent hands, the grin, that voice as smooth and rich as molasses. His speeches are theatrical events, not intellectual excursions. On his website the videos of his most acclaimed speeches have proved much more popular than the transcripts. As a candidate he fits a public that prefers the sensation of words to the words themselves. His speeches are meant to be succumbed to rather than thought about.

But what if you do think about them?

Highly recommended reading.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Belly Button Lint

More hijinks from that hilarious duo, EMG and EMG!

This week's episode: a playful prank inspires a discussion of the limits of civilization. (Click the image, press play)

(Short of a bitchin' and a bitch, there is no swearing in this one. Run time, as with the last, is just under seven minutes. But those are laugh-packed minutes, so it'll seem more like just under six.)

If the file is too big for you, there's a lower res version here.

David Mamet's Conversion

… As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that govern- ment is corrupt, that business is exploita- tive, and that people are generally good at heart.

These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied them in my life. How do I know? My wife informed me. We were riding along and listening to NPR. I felt my facial muscles tightening, and the words beginning to form in my mind: Shut the fuck up. "?" she prompted. And her terse, elegant summation, as always, awakened me to a deeper truth: I had been listening to NPR and reading various organs of national opinion for years, wonder and rage contending for pride of place. Further: I found I had been—rather charmingly, I thought—referring to myself for years as "a brain-dead liberal," and to NPR as "National Palestinian Radio."

This is, to me, the synthesis of this worldview with which I now found myself disenchanted: that everything is always wrong.

But in my life, a brief review revealed, everything was not always wrong, and neither was nor is always wrong in the community in which I live, or in my country. Further, it was not always wrong in previous communities in which I lived, and among the various and mobile classes of which I was at various times a part.

The Constitution, written by men with some experience of actual government, assumes that the chief executive will work to be king, the Parliament will scheme to sell off the silverware, and the judiciary will consider itself Olympian and do everything it can to much improve (destroy) the work of the other two branches. So the Constitution pits them against each other, in the attempt not to achieve stasis, but rather to allow for the constant corrections necessary to prevent one branch from getting too much power for too long.

Rather brilliant. For, in the abstract, we may envision an Olympian perfection of perfect beings in Washington doing the business of their employers, the people, but any of us who has ever been at a zoning meeting with our property at stake is aware of the urge to cut through all the pernicious bullshit and go straight to firearms.

What about the role of government? Well, in the abstract, coming from my time and background, I thought it was a rather good thing, but tallying up the ledger in those things which affect me and in those things I observe, I am hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow.

But if the government is not to intervene, how will we, mere human beings, work it all out?

I wondered and read, and it occurred to me that I knew the answer, and here it is: We just seem to. How do I know? From experience. I referred to my own—take away the director from the staged play and what do you get? Usually a diminution of strife, a shorter rehearsal period, and a better production.

Prior to the midterm elections, my rabbi was taking a lot of flack. The congregation is exclusively liberal, he is a self-described independent (read "conservative"), and he was driving the flock wild. Why? Because a) he never discussed politics; and b) he taught that the quality of political discourse must be addressed first—that Jewish law teaches that it is incumbent upon each person to hear the other fellow out.

And so I, like many of the liberal congregation, began, teeth grinding, to attempt to do so. And in doing so, I recognized that I held those two views of America (politics, government, corporations, the military). One was of a state where everything was magically wrong and must be immediately corrected at any cost; and the other—the world in which I actually functioned day to day—was made up of people, most of whom were reasonably trying to maximize their comfort by getting along with each other (in the workplace, the marketplace, the jury room, on the freeway, even at the school-board meeting).

And I realized that the time had come for me to avow my participation in that America in which I chose to live, and that that country was not a schoolroom teaching values, but a marketplace ...

David Mamet, Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal'

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Philistines of Gath vs. Philistines of Gaza

Okay. So apparently a Pennsylvania family is filing a federal freedom of speech lawsuit against Penn Manor School District because their 14 year old whelp of a son refused to remove a silly t-shirt he was wearing (bearing something like the image shown):

Donald Miller III, 14, went to Penn Manor High School in December wearing a T-shirt he said was intended to honor his uncle, a U.S. Army soldier fighting in Iraq.

The shirt bears the image of a military sidearm and on the front pocket says "Volunteer Homeland Security." On the back, over another image of the weapon, are the words "Special issue Resident Lifetime License — United States Terrorist Hunting Permit — Permit No. 91101 — Gun Owner — No Bag Limit."

Officials at the Millersville school told him to turn his shirt inside out. When Miller refused, he got two days of detention.

As a matter of principle--taking into account the deeply muddled state of affairs it betokens--I guess I am on the side of wee Donny 3's family. Mostly because the school board's reasoning in defence of its actions, i.e. that "school must create a safe environment for students in the post-Columbine era, and bringing even the image of a gun to school violates the district's policy," is patent wankery. (I mean! The post-Columbine era?! As a rhetorical trump for post-9/11 era hysteria, is it? Give me a flipping break! And anyway, aren't these people capable of thinking in terms that haven't first been run through the social scientist's word mill?) There is, one gets the distinct impression, far more of political partisanship than sound educational principle at work here, and I don't think it would be straining credulity too much to suggest that the same teachers who are responsible for Donny's punishment wouldn't bat an eyelash at t-shirts depicting Che Guevera or Patty Hearst, or, I don't know, that advocated Planned Parenthood's opposition to the Pennsylvania abortion laws ... I could be wrong in this, of course, but speaking as a former public school teacher (albeit in Ontario) I think it is a very reasonable supposition indeed.

'Thing is, the shirt really is stupid.

As are all t-shirts that have slogans of any description on them (including the manufacturer's logo). They are, and always have been, beneath the dignity of the human being wearing them; at best they are vulgarly (which is to say, unnecessarily) provocative, at worst they serve as a substitute for actual thought and actual conviction. And, I should just like to remind you, the whole t-shirt culture (if it can be called that) sprang from the staunchly brainless, anti-square, anti-establishment, anti-tradition bollocks of the 1960s. It seems to me that adding conservative (or, anyway, pro-war) content to an inherently anti-conservative medium is about as useful to its desired ends as, say, Christian Rock is in promoting a genuinely Christian faith.

But there's also this to be considered: little Donny wasn't given two detentions simply for wearing his goofy shirt, he was given two detentions for refusing to take it off. Now, much as I'm convinced that it would take no more than five minutes of chat with the staff concerned before I was thinking of stabbing myself in the eyes with a Bic, to the extent that these people were punishing the boy for refusing a reasonable request (at least as they understood it) made by adults, they have my full support. Let little Donny lecture his betters on patriotism and free speech when he's of an age that he can vote or, better yet, actually serve his country. Until then the rule's in loco parentis, y'little shit! If you've got a problem with that, then take it home to Mommy and Daddy and we'll have a chat with them. In the event, maybe they can explain to you that order in this place is just a little bit more important than the sartorial political statements of pubescent boys.

But I do acknowledge that there is a genuine dilemma here. Namely: how do we determine, fairly, what is and isn't acceptable dress for secondary school students?

Some of my conservative brethren might balk at this, but the solution strikes me as being quite simple. Given that the American Constitution defends only free speech explicitly, then the more complicated (and worthless in my opinion--but whatever) value of "expression" should be treated as off-limits until students have reached the age of majority. That is, in the interests of a rigourous education, Donny should leave his "Terrorist Hunting Permit" t-shirt at home, as should little Dylan his "George W. Bush International Terrorist" shirt.

Instead, let the nation's young--when they are in the nation's classrooms anyway--wear button downs and a sturdy pair of dungarees. Unencumbered by embellishment. If they have something to say then let them actually say it, and let there be some serious expectation that they should be able to do so reasonably, articulately, dispassionately. That is, responsibly.

Leave the frivolous lawsuits and beburnholed "Who farted?" tank tops to those who have earned them.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

He once was lost, but now, apparently, is found

I can only assume that, as we enter the fifth week in Lent and I have still not received the (long-overdue) reply Jay Currie owes me from our Lenten debate of last year(!), that the man has seen the error of his ways, and has converted to the Christian faith.


I should like to commemorate the occasion with this (via CaNN):

Friday, March 07, 2008


Has anybody else noticed that those on the right side of history tend, too too often, not only to be illiterate, but simple? Now don't get me wrong: being a true democrat I do not hold their illiteracy or their simpletonhood against them. They are entitled to their opinions, and they are entitled to give them voice. I just wonder how it is that the toxic combination of those two things seems to qualify the sufferers, in the collective consciousness, for positions of authority.

Case in point:

Meet Nadia Bello, the 29 year old trustee for Ward 22, Scarborough East. Marvel at her quest for "learning beyond a wider scope"! Furrow your brow at her identification of skepticism as an emotion! Revel in her coining of the phrase "incidentally enough"!

... This is not an egalitarian society, it is a worship of middle- stumpers society.

Of Entertainments Humanist and Satirical

Watching Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man recently, I had the same feeling as when I read Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk:

I was extremely impressed, but had the uneasy feeling that this was the product (or, indeed, the by-product) of an adept masturbator.

Would that I could say I meant this with respect.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Toothbrush

EMG presses EMG on a particular feature of his hygiene. (Click the image, press play--it'll probably have to download ... Eventually it should work. Anybody with any suggestions as to how to make this process a little easier is keenly encouraged to email me.)

With apologies to any of you who thought I was above this sort of thing. You get some sense of the appropriateness--as it were--of the site's motto. (Poo-poo is mentioned often, by the way, and rather less preciously. You've been warned.)

NOTE: I had to reduce the quality of the recording enough that the file was of a manageable size, so you'll probably have to turn the volume up on your speakers a fair amount.