Thursday, April 30, 2009

Eloquent Guitar, Quiet Man

Not that I'm a fan but I had this from some weeks back about Jeff Beck:
The covenant between guitarist Jeff Beck and his audience is the same as it's been for most of his four-decade professional career. With little concession to show business or shifting musical trends, Mr. Beck mounts the stage, as he did here on Monday night, plays brilliantly, says good night and leaves. What we get for 80 minutes or so is his perfect attack, impeccable control, diverse sonic palette, and music that's both savage and beautiful. Would that everything in life were so direct and so thoroughly achieved.

This is from some weeks ago so the original appeal of the article is lost on me. Maybe I just liked the thought of a 64 year old rock guitar god who became that rock guitar god by hard work. A good old-fashioned story of continued success. That and he seems like a polite man. Reason enough to bring him to your attention.

Obama's Popularity

Obama celebrates his first 100 days in office but before things get too out of hand, we might want to take a closer look at his poll numbers:
President Obama's media cheerleaders are hailing how loved he is. But at the 100-day mark of his presidency, Mr. Obama is the second-least-popular president in 40 years.

According to Gallup's April survey, Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969. The only new president less popular was Bill Clinton, who got off to a notoriously bad start after trying to force homosexuals on the military and a federal raid in Waco, Texas, that killed 86. Mr. Obama's current approval rating of 56 percent is only one tick higher than the 55-percent approval Mr. Clinton had during those crises.

Good numbers, to be sure - with Bush, it was a case of been down so long it's beginning to look up - but not great and when compared to other presidents, not even that good.

It's important to keep in mind, Obama's only the President. He's not King or anything else. If you don't like how things are going for you, the only person you can count on to really change things is yourself. Good luck to Obama, of course. But stand back. We've got work to do.

American Idol’ Gets Down to Final Four

So it's so long, Matt Giraud. He had a good run but of the remaining five, he was my least favorite. Not to take anything from him - they're all astoundingly good and though none of them are Carrie Underwood, I have to agree this seems to be the best batch American Idol has fielded ever. It's all about votes and I think Matt split the "cute guy" votes with Kris and Danny. Alison has the rocker chick vote so I don't think she'll last for much longer as Matt's voters run to either Danny or Kris. I dunno what group votes for Adam - Rachel and Emily squeal for him and though I don't like him I have to say he brings something interesting to the table. I'm not sure if his being in the bottom two was hype or true but it was another surprise from a show that always delights.

Natalie Cole looked as hot as she ever does. Good to see Taylor Hicks looked fit and trim and working it out; it's too bad he hasn't been as popular as the other winners. Missed Jamie Foxx's performance - had to dash out on Dad duty - but somehow I survived.

Didn't catch next week's theme but I'm already counting the days.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flaming Lips Are All Smiles

It's official:
With more than 300 people at the Oklahoma History Center, Gov. Brad Henry signed an executive order Tuesday proclaiming the Flaming Lips’ "Do You Realize??” the state’s official rock song.

"The Flaming Lips are great ambassadors for the state of Oklahoma, all over the world, and they are fiercely loyal to the great state of Oklahoma,” he said before signing the order.

"Fiercely loyal." I like that phrase.

Despite the controversy and lead singer Wayne Coyne's silly slap at religion, the group has never given off anything but good vibes about the state of Oklahoma. A class act, all the way.

Good for them. Good for us.

(BTW, my first link about this story was going to go to The Journal Record until I remembered how they make their stories go down the memory hole after only a few days. That's no way to reach readers, Journal Record.)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Flaming Lips' Song Update

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips does pretty well about the controversy over naming his group's song, Do You Realize?, Oklahoma's state rock song:
"This didn’t get put into law because we know some rich lobbyist,” Coyne said on Friday.

"This was voted on. It was overwhelmingly voted upon, and we won. It wasn’t like we were handed this or anything. This was a vote that happened. So we’re just simply going by what the majority of the people that voted in Oklahoma wanted.

Indeed. Nice populist take there, Mr. Coyne. But why couldn't you just leave it there?
"Me, I just say look, it’s a little minority of some small-minded religious wackos who think they can tell people what kind of T-shirts and what kind of music they can listen to, and the smart, rational, reasonable people of Oklahoma are never going to buy into that,” he said.
(Emphasis mine.)


Where is the love, Mr. Coyne, for us religious folk?

Of course, Coyne knows more about what was said than I so maybe there was something religious bandied about in all the hoo haw but otherwise, I don't get the gratuitous kick at religion. You know what? I'll bet religious people like his group's music, too?

Next time, Mr. Coyne, in your victory speech, in the spirit of reconciliation, try painting with a little narrower paintbrush.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Oklahomans Are Arming Themselves

Yahoo! If this don't make us the most rootin' tootin' son-of-gun shootin' state in the Union, I don't know what will:
A record number of Oklahomans are seeking permits to carry concealed handguns.

More than 21,000 people applied for concealed-carry permits in 2008, the most since the program began in 1996, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

There have been twice as many applications so far this year as the same point last year, said Felicia Jackson, who manages the permit registry.

"This is kind of a nationwide phenomenon,” Jackson said.

Some firearm instructors attribute the increase to a rise in violent crimes or concerns about President Barack Obama’s policy plans, but OSBI officials refused to speculate.

"It’s probably anyone’s guess, quite frankly,” agency spokeswoman Jessica Brown said.

An armed society is a polity society.

I don't know if I favor an open carry policy over a concealed carry - carrying a pistol on your hips leaves little doubt of what you're do if you have to do it, but the unbearable tension a criminal must feel when they don't know for sure if you're armed or not is worth something.

Singing Lips' Praise Despite Opposition From Oklahoma House

I heard about this first on Twitter:
Oklahoma House members, upset by what some said were inappropriate attire and a filthy mouth, rejected a tune by The Flaming Lips as the state’s official rock song only to be trumped by the governor.

The House rejected a resolution Thursday to name "Do You Realize??” — which won by more than a 2-1 margin in an online contest as the state’s official rock song — because one of the band members wore a T-shirt bearing a symbol associated with the Communist Party while at the state Capitol on March 2 when the resolution was passed by the Senate.

Soon after Thursday’s vote, Gov. Brad Henry said he would issue an executive order that would declare the song as the state’s official rock song.

Good for Governor Henry. Sure, the hammer and sickle t-shirt is in bad taste but most rockers dress in bad taste. At least it wasn't a Che t-shirt.

I doubt the group endorses communism; they showed up at the Capitol, for goodness' sake, and though they dropped the F-bomb at the dedication of the street named after them, they showed up at the dedication to the street named after them. So they seem pretty okay to me.

The song? Here are the lyrics:

Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize - we're floating in space -
Do You Realize - that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize - Oh - Oh - Oh
Do You Realize - that everyone you know
Someday will die -

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize

No, it's not Inna Godda Da Vida but it's not bad. Quite pleasant, actually. And you've heard snippets of it on a car commercial on television so it's already entered the mainstream through other venues besides radio airplay.

Not an earth shattering occurrence down at the Capitol but a bone-headed move to be sure.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Obama Vows to Reform Monstrous Tax Code

Have at it, my friend:
President Barack Obama promised Americans his administration would reform the "monstrous" U.S. tax system as millions faced the dreaded annual deadline on Wednesday for filing income tax returns.

Obama used Tax Day, a national ritual of public frustration due to the confusing tax code, to underscore his drive to cut taxes for many Americans while increasing spending to jolt the United States out of its worst recession in decades.

Opposition Republicans seized the chance to rail against what they see as wasteful spending by his new Democratic administration, and some of Obama's grass-roots critics staged "tea party" protests in several U.S. cities.

Obama is pushing a $3.5 trillion federal budget plan that Republicans and some Democrats say carries too much deficit spending and too few tax cuts.

The rest of the article is political boiler-plate with no details about how the Tax Code will be reformed. The truth is, it won't be. Sure, we all want a simpler tax code - Hey, let's just make it a straight across the board 10% tax after a certain exemption, based on household numbers. Oh, but that wouldn't be fair to the poor when the rich could afford to pay more than 10%. And what about ways to encourage good behavior like charitable donations or owning a home or contributing to a retirement fund or purchasing health insurance? What about credit for additional children under a certain age? College expenses.

There you see the problem.

No, the Tax Code is a tangled mess and for good reason. I suspect when it comes down to it, no matter what we say, we'll much prefer the Code the way it is to what it could be if we tried to make things more simple and fair. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

Cezanne Exhibit: A Father of Modern Art and His Many Progeny

I don't pretend to understand modern art but I like the impressionists. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has an exhibition of Cezanne that sounds interesting:
For many modern artists Paul Cézanne was a talismanic figure, the shadow of his painting as impossible to escape as his achievement was to define. Throughout the 20th century, as scholars labored to construct a viable history of modern art, Cézanne (along with Manet, Courbet and a handful of transgressive others) was posited as its fountainhead, the protean begetter whose countless artistic progeny shaped a new aesthetic that placed vision and touch above traditional formal and narrative concerns.

Both Matisse and Picasso would claim Cézanne as a father, and almost every variant of 20th-century art could trace some aspect of its origins to his painting. Cézanne's effect on later artists has become the stuff of exquisite exhibitions, heated debate, and a linear notion of modernism. Without thoroughly disrupting that tidy critical trajectory, the Philadelphia Museum of Art's current exhibition, "Cézanne and Beyond," moves it onto more fluid and fertile ground, and the results are highly satisfying and visually thrilling.

Um, okay. I just think his pictures are purty. (My preference is Van Gogh and Monet; they manage somehow to convey powerful emotions.) More importantly, my favorite writer, Hemingway, set out to write like Cezanne painted and that's reason enough for me to enjoy Cezanne. Hemingway's "Big, Two-Hearted River" is nothing if not an impressionistic painting of a deceptively simple fishing trip that manages to convey emotion through the terse descriptions of the landscape and action.

Go ahead. Treat yourself to both Hemingway's story and Cezanne's pictures. You'll thank me for it.

Getting Back To It. No, Really

Yes, yes, I know, I said I'd be getting back to it but despite the end of filing season, it still feels like I'm smack dab in the middle of it. I'll dig out from under eventually but for now I still have old news to share with you. Hang tight.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tearful Underwood Takes Top Honor at ACMs

More old news:
Carrie Underwood captured the entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards, the first female act to win the honor since the Dixie Chicks did it back in 2000 and only the seventh to do so in the show's nearly four-decade existence.

"I've had a lot of good moments in the past four years. This one takes the cake," the tearful former "American Idol" champ said. "Thank you God, thank you fans, thank you to ACM for nominating me in the first place. I never thought I'd be nominated and never thought I'd win. I'm shaking. I don't know what to say."

Good for her.

Wanda Jackson, Along With Metallica, Run-DMC Inducted into Rock Hall

Rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson was inducted as an early influence.:
Dubbed the 'Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice,' the 71-year-old Jackson got her start as a country singer. She was a flamboyant dresser, and her choice of skirts and high heels rankled some hardcore fans. It was Elvis Presley, whom she toured with the 1950s, who persuaded her to sing rock songs.

'She could really rock and still kept her femininity intact,' said presenter Roseanne Cash. 'She's the prototype for so many of us.

Wanda Jackson. Oklahoman. Member of our church, Southern Hills Baptist Church.

Who says Christians don't know how to rock?

Friday, April 17, 2009

CPA Firm Adopts 'Value Creation' Revenue Model

Oh, brother:
One Kansas accounting firm is attempting to rid itself of the traditional billable-hours revenue model in favor of one that its top executive said is based on the value the client thinks it's getting.

The new revenue model is called "value creation," and it is one Kennedy and Coe has slowly adopted starting more than a year ago and hopes to complete implementation of next year, said Kurt Siemers, the firm's CEO.

"When you talk about pricing you ought to be talking about value," Siemers said. "Pricing is really driven by what the customer thinks (a service) is worth."

Why do I get the sense that there were many meetings held about the adoption of this model, all of them concluding with the hearty endorsement of this new model of creating revenue?

Firms already use the "value creation" revenue model. They do it everyone time they perform a service for a client and bill for it. The client decides upon payment of the bill if they received good value for their money. If so, they stick around; if not, they walk.

Billing is an art, not a science. It's good to spend some time analyzing your billing practices but if it's taking you over a year to implement whatever method you use, well, maybe the problem isn't your billing practices.

But this could be the wave of the future. Firms may be turning to this kind of thing and I may end up eating my words. But for now, I've got services that I need to get done for my clients. That's where a firm's emphasis should be.

A Walkable Oklahoma City

More about making Oklahoma City walkable in a minute but the coverage of a recent talk by Jeff Speck, expert at the walkablization of cities, gets a mitebreathless:
The presentation proved a real eye opener for most audience members as Speck concluded Oklahoma City is not a walkable community, nor will it be, unless changes are made.

Yes. Changes. They must be made. If we're to change. You can just about see the audience move closer to its collective seat edge:
Speck warned that a city’s success is tied directly to whether the city is walkable – or pedestrian friendly – in order to attract younger people to the area.

Warnings now. Ominous. Making a city more walkable must be important. Very important.
This is a crisis we need to change, we want to change,” Speck said. “I’m here because your leadership wants to change.

Oh, then it's a crisis. Goodness. Time to wring our hands.

Look, I'm sure living in a walkable city is a very important issue to many people but there's a reason why Oklahoma City isn't as walkable as, well, let's just say it, Manhattan, since that's seems to be the model cities that aren't Manhattan want to emulate, and that's freedom. We have no natural boundaries, like rivers or tidal estuaries, to contain our growth and so we've spread out. Cheap, plentiful fuel, and cheap, plentiful automobiles allowed for highways to carry us out of the city and into the suburbs where we seem to like it just fine, thank you very much. It would be nice to have a more walkable city but let's not kid ourselves: we're as we are because that's the way we want to be.

And if we never become more walkabe, it'll hardly be crisis.

FASB Eases Fair-Value Accounting Rules Amid Lawmaker Pressure

Talk about old news: FASB, which decides on what the rules should be for Generally Accepte Accounting Procedures, has decided to ease the mark-to-marketrules:
The Financial Accounting Standards Board, pressured by U.S. lawmakers and financial companies, voted to relax fair-value rules that Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. say don’t work when markets are inactive.

The changes approved today to fair-value, also known as mark-to-market, allow companies to use “significant” judgment in valuing assets to reduce writedowns on certain investments, including mortgage-backed securities. Accounting analysts say the measure, which can be applied to first-quarter results, may boost banks’ net income by 20 percent or more.

Much wailing ensued in the Accounting field; FASB should be independent of politics and the breezes of financial fortunes. Whatever. Critics ignore the fact that FASB changes the rules all the time. They hold hearings, weigh the evidence, then decide. Nothing's etched in stone. It's the way the process works. At one time, mark-to-market rules were different than they were before they were changed. They'll likely change again.

The good thing about this is that FASB is looking for ways to improve accounting. When it's clear a rule change may have made a large contribution to the present crisis, it's time to take a look at that rule.

Will this turn the economy around? Hardly. But you can't ignore the fact that since this announcement, the stock market has stopped its steady plunge downward. Is this the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? Hard to say, of course. But it appears we may have hit bottom. Nowhere to go from here but up.

Old News

If it seems that some of the upcoming posts link to what's old news it's because, well, they do. Though I haven't had time to post lately, I manage to set aside a few things that I thought might be of interest. I hope you'll find them interesting, too.

But I gotta get 'em posted first, don't I?

Bear with me. I'm still getting caught up.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Getting Back to It

Tax season's behind us but the path ahead is hardly clear. What sense of accomplishment there might be of getting through the season is tempered by the number of tasks that are still uncompleted and the long list of promises made. Nothing to do but take a breath and get back to it.

More when time allows. But I'm getting there.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blog Darkness

Sorry for the darkness. Filing season, ya know? Back when I'm able. Carry one without me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tax Court Cuts IRS Agent No Slack on Penalties

Ouch. A $30,000 fraud penalty because the petitioner worked for the IRS:
Petitioners' deemed admissions of facts evidenced numerous badges of fraud: (1) Petitioner fraudulently understated income and overstated deductions for all years at issue with respect to the nail kit business; (2) he failed to maintain adequate records for all 3 years; (3) he used his home copier to alter bank statements which he provided to the IRS in an attempt to evade tax; (4) he failed to cooperate with respondent and was nonresponsive throughout the litigation, failing even to appear at his own hearing; and (5) he possessed greater than average knowledge of the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code because of his years of employment with the IRS.

Hiring a CPA: Smart Move or Waste of Resources?

A good take on the unfairness of the Estate Tax but, really, is this shot necessary? (Emphasis added.)
If you're rich enough, however, you can hire professionals who can, for a price, show you how to avoid estate taxes. Many of the very largest estates are so tax-sheltered that the inheritances go to their beneficiaries having paid little or no taxes at all. And all the costs associated with these tax shelters and tax avoidance schemes are pure wastes for the country as a whole and exist solely to circumvent the estate tax. The estate tax in and of itself causes people to waste resources.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on there, friend. Hiring me to help you save taxes is hardly a waste of resources. It's an investment. And like all monetary transactions, what moves from one party's pocket to another party's pocket - commerce - what may be lost by the one party is a gain for the other. In exchange for the fee I charge, you get a quality work product. I take your fee (Thanks!), pay my staff, my overhead, myself, and then pump that money right back into the economy.

How exactly is that a waste of resources?

This is an argument that's often trotted out when the idea of simplifying taxes is batted about; it costs taxpayer's money to comply with the tax law and that makes the tax law that much more inefficient. Those who make that argument fail to acknowledge my point that money spent on tax compliance is, in turn, spent on groceries, rent, clothing, transportation. In short, money's never lost.

So, let's show some love for your CPA, okay?

Suspending Mark-to-Market: Bad Policy, Bad Time - DealBook Blog

Though this is old news now (I'll be posting something about the new FASB rules about mark-to-market in a few days. I'm a little behind here so cut me some slack.) the New York Times is opposes a change to the FASB rules:
The timing, moreover, is troubling in three ways: first, its proximity to the grilling the FASB chairman, Robert H. Herz, received in Congress earlier this month; second, the short time given for discussion and debate; and finally, the possibility that financial institutions could suddenly paint a rosier picture of their balance sheets in the midst of an already volatile period.

Over all, it seems like a recipe for weakening, not increasing, investor confidence.

Their logic doesn't quite play in that last sentence. Everything about the proposed rule change is intended to increase investor confidence. Investor's don't want the truth, they want a rosy picture. If the rules are changed and the stock market rallies, isn't that rally an act of investor confidence?

I'll have more to say about this later - I disagree that the FASB rules alone were responsible for the crash but it certainly added fuel to the fire - but once upon a time, FASB didn't call for mark-to-market accounting as we understand it now. The rules changed once, they can change again. The NY Times talks about bad timing but what better time would there be than now to change these rules?

Besides, if the NY Times is against it, I'm automatically for it.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Frightful Kindle

Due to poor time management skills, I've fallen out of the habit of reading books; I'm lucky to get a book completely read, as I've noted here before, so I'm not sure a Kindle is just the thing I need right now. Still, from what I've heard about it, it's tempting. Josh Marshall, though, sees its frightful side:
I hope it's clear that I don't view this as a good thing or something I welcome. When I had the realization I described above it felt like a sock in the gut, if perhaps a fillip on the interior decorating front. All the business model and joblessnes stuff aside, that's how I feel about physical newspapers too. There's a lot I miss about print newspapers, particularly the serendipitous magic of finding stories adjacent to the one you're reading, articles you're deeply interested in but never would have known you were if it weren't plopped down in front of you to pull you in through your peripheral vision. Yet at this point I probably read a print newspaper only a handful of times a year.

When I think about it I kind of miss it. In a way I regret not reading them. But I just don't. I vote with my eyes. And I wonder whether I'll soon say something similar about books.

I think he's right. The Kindle is the camel's nose under the tent; before long we'll have the whole camel and bookstores will become relics of the past, like records stores. That may seem unlikely now but 10 years or so ago, shuttered record stores would have seemed just as unlikely.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. I love browsing iTunes though I miss browsing music stores, too. Still, how many record stores did I patronize regularly? Few. Though it's different for me with bookstores - I just like to look, thanks - I can see the same thing happening. When I ever decide to finally plunk down money for a book, I look for the best deal and that's usually found online. The Kindle sounds like it'll make that easier, and cheaper to do. And like the invention of moveable type, it could actually bring more books to more people. That ain't no bad thing.

So, are we at the beginning of the end of bookstores? I don't know but I intend to enjoy my few sojourns into them even more so, just in case.

Maurice Jarre Has Died

So what, you say? Here's a reminder that, as the writer says, giants walked the earth.

Only a film composer but what films!

Etruscan Treasures From Tuscany

This exhibit looks like the one that was at St. Gregory's in Shawnee not too terribly long ago but since it's now in Dallas, it's OpinionJournal-worthy:
True to form, the Lone Star State manages to defy ordinary expectations. And in the midst of it all, a spectacular and unpredictable show, 'From the Temple and the Tomb: Etruscan Treasures from Tuscany' (until May 17), has just opened at Southern Methodist University's Meadows Museum. It bills itself as the largest such exhibition of Etruscan art and artifacts in the U.S. Why a museum based on the Spanish paintings collected and loved by its eponymous founder, a Texas petro-millionaire who died in 1978, should be sponsoring such an enterprise remains something of a mystery. But it's no more mysterious than much about Texas ways or, more important, about the Etruscans themselves, of whom we know very little.

My carping about unfairness of Texas media coverage over Oklahoma's aside, it's a fascinating exhibit. Well-worth making the trip to see.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bacardi Moves From Its Cool Building

This isn't huge news
but it is a good excuse to get you to follow the link for some pictures of a beautiful building. The Herald's site is a slide show and I can't figure out how to embed it here so a quick 'net search turned up this picture:

Click on through to the article for some better pictures.

Republican Tax Travesty

It used to be that Republicans were the party of lower taxes. Not anymore:
On March 19, the House of Representatives voted to impose a 90% tax on the incomes of certain executives of financial institutions receiving federal funds. What was remarkable about this vote is that 85 Republicans voted for this travesty. The consequences will be felt for years to come.

The history of tax policy is that it tends to go in one direction until there is a key event that establishes a new direction. Thus the vote by a Democratic Congress in favor of a lower capital gains tax in 1978 set the stage for the Reagan tax cut of 1981 and a decade of lower tax rates. When Republican George H.W. Bush switched gears and supported higher taxes in 1990 it presaged Bill Clinton's 1993 tax increase and many years of rising taxes.

A quick look at the list reveals no surprises. You'll find the usual suspects - Alexander, Hoekstra - but most are unfamiliar. They must think this following the tide of bonus resentment will serve them well at election time but more likely they'll come to regret it. That is, if the voters have a long enough memory.

Lackluster Night for American Idol Lacks Luster

Quite a let down on American Idol this week. Where just about everyone nailed their song choice last week, just about everyone missed it this week. The problem: they sang songs they liked rather than songs they could sing well.

My man Anooooop let me down. Good enough, I suppose, but his desire to be a hip-hop artist leaves me cold it's like he's trying too hard. Same for Matt. He was just trying to impress me and I wasn't. Maybe this'll be the week that Megan goes home because this was just another in her string of lazy performances. Danny finally opened it up with a good performance of a song I liked. Allison was only so-so, her first slip, in my view, but I thought her outfit was kinda cute. Shame on Randy for bringing it up. Scott was okay but I wonder if he wasn't blind if he would have made it this far. Still, I liked the song and I like him, blind or not. Poor Li'l is just not living up to her potential. Didn't like the song, didn't like the way she sang it. On the other hand, I don't like Adam but, boy, did he knock it out of the park last night or what? Again! Darn him. And, finally, Kris' version of Ain't No Sunshine was a good take on a good song. He did himself proud.

So three performance I really liked, one I didn't at all and the rest merely okay. Let's see what the voters say.