Do you eat organic only?

  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Jan 15, 2010 11:07 PM GMT
    Do you eat organic food only. It more expensive, harder to find and your choice is limited. Organic concept is something new in my country, so we dont have much choice and variety as you guys in the West. BTW, it organic really good and better for us. It is worth all those extra cost and effort to get them?
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    Jan 16, 2010 3:29 AM GMT
    What possible good could having pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones in your food do you?

  • turbid2wenty

    Posts: 74

    Jan 17, 2010 4:37 PM GMT
    If speaking specifically of produce, I'd absolutely 100% say yes. From a culinary perspective, flavors are only enhanced by using the best, freshest ingredients.

    Though, another thing to consider -- say you were making a burger. Does it really make a difference to put a fried meat patty on an organic, whole grain bun? Saturated fat, cholesterol, salt...not sure there's really a good benefit there in using organic bread.

    For me, it's about moderation and discipline.
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    Jan 17, 2010 4:46 PM GMT
    Caslon12000 saidWhat possible good could having pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones in your food do you?



    Sadly in some areas you have no choice unless you want to be a farmer.
  • Neon_Dreams

    Posts: 352

    Jan 17, 2010 4:58 PM GMT
    ORGANIC ONLY! I try to eat as clean as possible, whenever available!! It IS much more expensive because it is more expensive to grow and distribute. GRR.

    Grass-fed beef, organic fruits and vegetables, and whole grains taste so great- especially if you do not eat toxic food.

    Fast and processed foods are loaded with MSG, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives which contribute to our taste buds becoming desensitized to Truly Natural flavors-like the sweetness of an organic fruit.

    Our bodies' sugar levels are disrupted and destabilized by White Processed Sugar and Chemical Sweeteners.

    And, preservatives often add to the High Sodium factor, leading to elevated blood pressure. Canned foods are terrible because of the high levels of salt.

    GIVE ME MY ORGANICS NOW!!! icon_exclaim.gif


    Joe
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    Jan 17, 2010 5:05 PM GMT
    Organic can be good, and it can be bad, especially if it a store brand that is probably transported way too far. Big store brands also tend to push small family farms out of business. I always pick local over certified organic. A lot of small farms here in central CA grow organically anyway, but can't afford the certification to put a stamp on their food, but I don't sweat it. It's just a label when you buy it off a store shelf. Go to a farmers market and get to know the people who grow your food!
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    Jan 17, 2010 5:19 PM GMT
    I'm sure I ingest more chemicals each month, than it takes to keep Bob Barker alive. But I do fine. I got nothing against organics, but there are plenty of pesticides out there that are safe for consumption. Especially in the small quantities that are left over in processed foods. icon_razz.gif
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    Jan 17, 2010 6:13 PM GMT
    GreenEyedGuy79 saidOrganic can be good, and it can be bad, especially if it a store brand that is probably transported way too far. Big store brands also tend to push small family farms out of business. I always pick local over certified organic. A lot of small farms here in central CA grow organically anyway, but can't afford the certification to put a stamp on their food, but I don't sweat it. It's just a label when you buy it off a store shelf. Go to a farmers market and get to know the people who grow your food!


    exactly what i was going to say.

    and there's all the racket of various certification agencies, some with
    a very very loose definition of "pesticide free" .

    i buy local, we have a big garden in summer but the rest i buy at the supermarket . I watch where it comes from but i don't obsess over it anymore than i do about my drinking water, the air i breathe the electromagnetic pollution from my wifi, wall plugs, tv etc. ( i don't have a microwave).
    I have to be pragmatic . If i were a millionaire i would probably by 100% organic, have a LEED self sufficient home etc. but that's in my dreams .
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    Jan 17, 2010 6:29 PM GMT
    turbid2wenty saidIf speaking specifically of produce, I'd absolutely 100% say yes. From a culinary perspective, flavors are only enhanced by using the best, freshest ingredients.

    I remember my first organic banana...no snickering! ...the taste blew my socks off!

    Though, another thing to consider -- say you were making a burger. Does it really make a difference to put a fried meat patty on an organic, whole grain bun? Saturated fat, cholesterol, salt...not sure there's really a good benefit there in using organic bread.

    Well, it does make a difference if the cow was grass-fed or grain-fed. Corn is high in omega-6 fatty acids....the fatty acids that promote inflammation...and hence the grain-fed cows produce meat with way more omega-6 in the meat. Not good.

    Also, commercial meat is shot up with antibiotics and growth hormones...not good for YOUR body. If I had to choose between organic veggies and organic meat as the only organic food I could eat, I would def. pick organic meat. I think the growth hormone in particular is bad for the body.


    For me, it's about moderation and discipline.

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    Jan 17, 2010 6:38 PM GMT
    tomk7 said
    Caslon12000 saidWhat possible good could having pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones in your food do you?



    Sadly in some areas you have no choice unless you want to be a farmer.

    Is there no Whole Foods in your area? I know WF is 80% commercial, but if you look at the little sticker on the fruits and veggies for example and the number on the sticker (not the bar code) starts with a 9, then it is a genuine organic food.
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    Jan 17, 2010 7:42 PM GMT
    I buy organic a lot of the time, especially with the dirty dozen veggies and fruits that are most likely to have a lot of pesticide residue. But, there are some non-organic foods that I don't worry about, like lemons, limes, and avocados. I do use organic lemons when making preserved lemons because I'll be eating the rind.
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    Jan 17, 2010 7:52 PM GMT
    There is no agriculture that does not use pesticide. In "organic" farming the pesticides used are less specific and are more problematic to the environment, more dangerous to humans, and require more applications which raises the carbon footprint to be much higher for "organic" farming. Newer, synthetic pesticides, are more eco-friendly, and require less frequent application and have a lower carbon footprint. Diesel fuel costs money, and the less diesel you use in your cost of production, the less expensive the product. Clearly, none of you are farmers, nor have a farming background, because if you were, you wouldn't be so very ignorant.

    Because the pesticides are better in regular commercial farming, there's less of an eco-system impact, more specificity, less cost of production, a much lower carbon footprint, and the food that arrives to market is of higher quality.

    Some of you need to examine this much more closely.

    For the record, commercial meat does NOT use growth hormone. Growth hormone is used in MILK production. Trenbolone is widely used in livestock production because it lowers costs by nearly 30%, and decreases time to market, as well as makes for leaner beef. Some of you don't have your facts straight here. Because trenbolone increases feed efficiency by 30%, and increases the quality of the beef, as well as lowers time to market, the carbon footprint being lower, and lowers the amount of food used in the beef where it can be utilized elsewhere. By buying organic beef you increase costs, lower quality, and make less real food available, but also create more environmental pollution by increasing the time to market by 30%. Is that what a good person should do?

    "Organic" is simply a marketing term used to prey upon the less educated folks.
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    Jan 17, 2010 7:55 PM GMT
    ideally yes! Organic does taste better, but it isn't always available.
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    Jan 17, 2010 8:05 PM GMT
    The natural plant or bacteria based pesticides used in organic agriculture biodegrade in a day or two. Synthetic pesticides do not. Our town used to get its water from a deep well and a couple reservoirs. They had to dig a second well and stop using the reservoirs because the reservoirs were too polluted with ag chemical runoff.
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    Jan 17, 2010 9:56 PM GMT
    The sort of runoff you're talking about in groundwater is usually nitrates / MANURE.

    Again, the newer, evolved, engineered, pesticides have less impact both on groundwater, and on, especially upon, carbon footprint. You'll want to study up on it.
  • camfer

    Posts: 892

    Jan 17, 2010 10:31 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidThe sort of runoff you're talking about in groundwater is usually nitrates / MANURE.

    Again, the newer, evolved, engineered, pesticides have less impact both on groundwater, and on, especially upon, carbon footprint. You'll want to study up on it.


    I'm afraid you're mistaken, and maybe you want to research it further yourself. We've pointed out the OG studies before on other threads, but I guess you didn't care to read them.

    The runoff nitrates are typically ammonium nitrate and potassium nitrate from conventional ag. They are applied in water soluble formulations, which is why they run off. Composted manures used in organic ag are incorporated into the soil and tend not to be water soluble. The soil biota digest the manures and make the nitrogen bioavailable. Organic soils have higher soil organic matter (SOM) and can bind many nutrients so they are not leached out. UNcomposted manures are generally not used in organic production because of long restrictions on when you can harvest after applying them.

    Organic ag is a carbon sink while conventional ag is not. Organic pesticides are non-persistent and are only allowed as a method of last resort. Newer conventional chemical pesticides are safer than their older conventional counterparts, for sure, but they are often applied preventively. They are not safer than organic pesticides such as pyrethrin, azadirachtin, etc. Name me one conventional pesticide with even close to a similar half life. I don't know of any.

    Eat what you will, but please don't spread misinformation. I train organic inspectors and have run a certified organic farm for over a decade, so I feel qualified to talk about the realities of organic.
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Jan 17, 2010 10:37 PM GMT
    The craze for so called "organics" baffles me. It seems to me little more than a pop-cultural fad.
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    Jan 17, 2010 10:56 PM GMT
    Nope, I generally don't buy organic anything.

    Regular milk is $2.39 a gallon...Organic milk is over $5 a gallon.

    I randomly guy organic stuff such as ketchup because I don't like high fructose corn syrup. I just bought some organic granola bars last night because they looked yummy, not really because they were organic.

    My friends have an organic farm in downstate Illinois, they grow corn and soybeans.

  • camfer

    Posts: 892

    Jan 18, 2010 1:25 AM GMT
    Delivis saidThe craze for so called "organics" baffles me. It seems to me little more than a pop-cultural fad.


    All agriculture was organic for 10,000 years. Then in the 1940s chemical agriculture began. Chemical ag should last about 160 years total, until the end of fossil fuels, at which point you don't have any raw materials to create the chemical fertilizers. So which one is the fad? US sales alone of organic are over 24 billion dollars and experiencing double digit growth annually. Can there be a 24 billion dollar pop-cultural fad?

    If you want a very detailed rebuttal of the negative allegations around organic see my post from this other thread:

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/640067/
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    Jan 18, 2010 1:52 AM GMT
    Ah ha! I just read your post! Very eloquent, and it's obvious you know what you're talking about, camfer. It's always fun to learn something. Were I you, I would copy and paste your post into this current thread. icon_wink.gif
  • camfer

    Posts: 892

    Jan 18, 2010 2:13 AM GMT
    zarin saidAh ha! I just read your post! Very eloquent, and it's obvious you know what you're talking about, camfer. It's always fun to learn something. Were I you, I would copy and paste your post into this current thread. icon_wink.gif


    Well, I guess if others can beat their tired old drums then I can too!

    If you think feedlot beef is the same or better than grass-finished beef, check out http://www.eatwild.com/

    To save you a click and a scroll on my old organic post, here's what I wrote back in August 09:

    I farm organically for a living. My operation was first certified organic in 1999. So I've been at this a while and have first-hand knowledge. Clearly I have biases.

    The term organic in the US is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture under the rules of the National Organic Program. All it means that the grower conforms to a certain set of production practices. Making general comparisons between conventional growing systems and organic growing systems, and drawing a conclusion that one is better than another feels like a false dichotomy and an oversimplification to me.

    There are a lot of claims made for and against organic and conventional. Here's what I know.

    Fertilizers and topsoil
    Organic farming tends to increase soil organic matter and create more topsoil over time. Much of the fertility comes from growing "green manures" or crops that you grow just to turn in and feed the soil which in turn feeds next year's crops. Conventional farming uses chemical fertilizers which feed the crops directly and has the unintended consequence of killing off soil microorganisms and changing the structure of the soil,leading to topsoil loss through both erosion and soil collapse.

    Pesticides
    Both systems may use pesticides, but in organic systems you cannot use synthetic chemical pesticides. I don't know of any older pesticides that are allowed in organic production, if someone wants to give me an example of one I can look it up and see if it is allowed or prohibited. In organic we tend to use pesticides only as a last resort, and I know on my operation most years we use none on our produce. We use beneficial insects to eat the bad bugs, so using strong pesticides would be killing the good bugs I spent so much time, money, and effort on introducing and cultivating in my operation. When bugs get totally out of control, we spray horticultural oil, soap, plant extracts, beneficial fungi and/or bacteria. These are not very dangerous substances. Organic produce has been demonstrated to have fewer pesticide residues than conventional.

    Herbicides
    Organic farms use cultivation practices and mulches to prevent weeds. Conventional farms do that too, but they also use chemical selective herbicides. I believe these have been shown to be mutagens. Ever read about 5 legged frogs? The suspicion is minute doses from the adjuvants in conventional herbicides. Here we use vinegar.

    Yields
    When a conventional farm converts to organic, there are generally lower yields for a few years while the soil transitions back to an organic state. Once the soil organic matter is back up to a good level and the farmer is experienced in organic growing, studies have shown the yields are about the same in terms of salable pounds of produce per acre.

    Energy use
    Hard to generalize here, but conventional farms use off-farm inputs of chemical fertilizers derived from fossil fuels, most notably methane. It takes a lot of energy manufacture and ship that around. Organic tends to create fertility on site through growing of cover crops turned into the soil. If the organic operation is importing lots of fertility, it might have higher energy costs only in the shipment of those fertilizers. As for the claim that organic ag releases a lot of methane, I don't understand how, please elucidate. Other than fertility, I would have to state that energy use would be a wash between the two.

    Quality
    Two places to look at it, as it leaves the farm and as it gets to your house. Leaving the farm the quality is a good as the farmer and what's happened to the produce once harvested. By the time it gets to your house, the quality is generally determined by the distribution and retail system and how the produce got treated there. I've seen some really sad looking organic produce at conventional supermarkets, and I've never thought that was the farmer's fault. If you want the freshest produce, get it direct from a farm if you can, or better yet grow it yourself if feasible. Barring that, if you want to buy organic, buy it from a store that moves a lot of it, so the freshness is there. Quality to me also includes taste. I know my organic tomatoes taste better, because when I go to the farmers market, customers tell me this every week. There are conventional tomatoes at the market at a lower price, and the people shopping for taste often choose mine and gladly pay more.

    Nutrition
    There are studies demonstrating much higher antioxidants in organic tomatoes compared to conventional. There was a recent review of all the nutritional studies comparing the two systems that concluded no difference in nutrition. This was quickly debunked for a number of reasons, that are not in my head at the moment, but I can find the reference if anyone's interested. There are studies showing that the nutrient density of conventional produce has dropped considerably in the last 60 years. Personally, I feel there are more a lot more trace elements in organic food, because they are added through the organic fertilizers and are not ingredients in conventional fertilizer.

    Ecology
    In organic systems, we are inspected annually to ensure that we are improving the soil, providing habitat for beneficial organisms, and safeguarding the water. Since a lot of our fertilizers are not easily water soluble, we don't have the fertilizer runoffs that conventional ag has. There are huge dead zones where rivers flow into the ocean, caused by the runoff of pesticides and fertilizers from conventional ag.

    GMO
    Conventional ag can use genetically modified organisms, while organic farms cannot. Conventional corn, soy, canola, and cotton are almost exclusively genetically modified now. Some people feel GMO is safe, some feel otherwise, some haven't decided. Conventional beef is fed GMO corn.

    The best food is food you know how it was produced and that is freshest. There is so much space along the spectrum between conventional and organic, Conventional can use lots of the organic techniques. Then there's biodynamic, certified naturally grown, etc etc.

    The purpose of the organic seal is a shorthand so that when you're a consumer in a store, you know that some set of standards have been followed, and an independent agency has been on that farm checking for you. You may or may not agree with the standard, but that's what organic means.

    If you shop at a real farmers market, you can just ask the farmer about his or her practices. In a supermarket setting, you have the organic seal telling you something, or little to no information at all. Would I rather eat a conventional apple from a grower I know or an organic apple from China? Easy, give me the local apple. In real life it's usually not some either/or proposition like that.

    Sorry for the long post, and I only scratched the surface, but maybe this will help people understand organic a little better. There are people who have strong opinions about this topic, to be sure. Perhaps I am one of them!
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    Jan 18, 2010 2:22 AM GMT
    I found this:

    "When you look at the small label placed on a piece of fruit or vegetable: If it starts with the number 9 and has 5 digits, it is organic. If it starts with 8 and has 5 digits, it may be genetically modified. Four digit numbers starting with 4 or 3 are conventionally-grown."

    If anyone find more info on this numbering system, I would like to know more about it
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    Jan 18, 2010 2:36 AM GMT
    If you're eating vegetables that are't organic, you're probably from another planet or eating rocks. For some reason, the use of "organic" when applied to foods makes me nuts, because it's a silly misuse of a word. Granted, it's in the popular usage now, but in generally, when you're calling something organic, you're saying it has a carbon backbone (to simplify it somewhat).

    "Organic" when applied to farming is misleading, because it is generally understood to mean "pesticide free." Which is not the case. The world is addicted to pesticides, and without them, millions will starve, so there isn't a farm that doesn't use some kind of them. And the natural ones (pyrethrins, nicotine) are no better than the unnatural ones (organophospates, etc). Anything that ends in "..cide" is deadly, no matter what it's source is.

    I've been learning a great deal about environmental pollution and chemistry, and I gotta tell you, buy whatever. It really doesn't matter, and you've already got plenty of pesticides in your tissues, many of which come from the simple act of breathing. IE: It's too late.

    PS: I read someone up there saying pesticide free farms are carbon sinks, which isn't true. It's not a sink unless the carbon is sequestered; that would require burying or lithification, thus removing the carbon from circulation.
  • camfer

    Posts: 892

    Jan 18, 2010 3:51 AM GMT
    jimbobthedevil said
    ..."Organic" when applied to farming is misleading, because it is generally understood to mean "pesticide free." Which is not the case. The world is addicted to pesticides, and without them, millions will starve, so there isn't a farm that doesn't use some kind of them. And the natural ones (pyrethrins, nicotine) are no better than the unnatural ones (organophospates, etc). Anything that ends in "..cide" is deadly, no matter what it's source is.

    I've been learning a great deal about environmental pollution and chemistry, and I gotta tell you, buy whatever. It really doesn't matter, and you've already got plenty of pesticides in your tissues, many of which come from the simple act of breathing. IE: It's too late.

    PS: I read someone up there saying pesticide free farms are carbon sinks, which isn't true. It's not a sink unless the carbon is sequestered; that would require burying or lithification, thus removing the carbon from circulation.

    If you don't believe me regarding OG ag as a true carbon sink, would you perhaps believe Cornell University?

    Organic corn grown with no pesticides using less energy and sequestering 3,500 pounds of CO2 per hectare:

    http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/July05/organic.farm.vs.other.ssl.html

    Saying all pesticides are identical in their dangers ignores neurotoxicity, bio accumulation, half lifes, biodegradability, etc. I've grown plenty of crops entirely pesticide free and certified organic. I find it hard to believe that soap and organophosphate are identically bad for humans and the environment.

    And yes, we're all contaminated by environmental toxins. So let's produce and use less of them.
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    Jan 18, 2010 4:34 AM GMT
    camfer said
    jimbobthedevil said
    ..."Organic" when applied to farming is misleading, because it is generally understood to mean "pesticide free." Which is not the case. The world is addicted to pesticides, and without them, millions will starve, so there isn't a farm that doesn't use some kind of them. And the natural ones (pyrethrins, nicotine) are no better than the unnatural ones (organophospates, etc). Anything that ends in "..cide" is deadly, no matter what it's source is.

    I've been learning a great deal about environmental pollution and chemistry, and I gotta tell you, buy whatever. It really doesn't matter, and you've already got plenty of pesticides in your tissues, many of which come from the simple act of breathing. IE: It's too late.

    PS: I read someone up there saying pesticide free farms are carbon sinks, which isn't true. It's not a sink unless the carbon is sequestered; that would require burying or lithification, thus removing the carbon from circulation.

    If you don't believe me regarding OG ag as a true carbon sink, would you perhaps believe Cornell University?

    Organic corn grown with no pesticides using less energy and sequestering 3,500 pounds of CO2 per hectare:

    http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/July05/organic.farm.vs.other.ssl.html

    Saying all pesticides are identical in their dangers ignores neurotoxicity, bio accumulation, half lifes, biodegradability, etc. I've grown plenty of crops entirely pesticide free and certified organic. I find it hard to believe that soap and organophosphate are identically bad for humans and the environment.

    And yes, we're all contaminated by environmental toxins. So let's produce and use less of them.


    Soap isn't a pesticide. Don't be silly. Organophospates are, and are quite deadly to human beings, even at low concentrations. They're neurotoxins (see Baytex. Nasty stuff).

    I'm familiar with the study you cited and misquoted perhaps unintentionally. Thank you for the link just the same though. The word "sequester" isn't used anywhere in the report or the original study. Sequester has a specific meaning in environmental science, which you may not be aware of. The carbon isn't actually sequestered in farming, OG or otherwise, and the study doesn't make that claim. It's taken temporarily out of circulation, absorbed or incorporated into the plant tissues until the plants die and decay, when it is re-relased into the cycle (to say nothing of aerobic respiration, which plants do to a limited degree). Generally speaking, it's good to have more plants because it does remove atmospheric CO2 temporarily, but, again, unless the material is buried or lithified, it's not sequestered, but rather returned to circulation upon decay or utilization. In order to be sequestered, it must be removed from the cycle, which essentially means it must be lithified, although buried oil deposits are another way to do so. It's the difference between short-term and long-term removal. The excess CO2 comes from pulling it out of the sequestered reserves.

    Half-lives and biodegradability studies are done in controlled laboratory environments, and those studies generally don't address degradation products or persistence. IE: DDT to DDD to DDE (I may have my last two backwards). Very often, the degradation products are as lethal if not more so than the original material. Not all pesticides are neurotoxic either, but work in some other way. Many of them, especially the natural ones, are "environmental estrogens" and sterilize the pests that feed on them. But they're all dangerous to people to some degree, whether acutely or chronically, immediately toxic or sterilizing the next generation or two. And yes, as you can probably figure, I'm well versed in bioaccumulation and biomagnification, etc, etc.

    Most pesticides don't biodegrade since they aren't energetically favorable to do so, and most of them are persistent in the environment for decades or longer, including the natural ones. Natural does not equal safe. What's more, the half-life may be altered by the environmental chemistry either antagonistically or synergistically, depending on the conditions. But even then "half-life" means only half the material is degraded, if it's a reactive substance. Since most of them are chlorinated, fluorinated or bromonated, they're not very reactive. The organophosphates can breakdown quickly if the environmental conditions are good enough, but they're lipophilic and don't degrade in the fatty tissues of anything until the fat is mobilized (if they can be metabolized).

    I'm not saying anything about your particular farming methodologies, but what I am saying is that the term "organic" is very much misleading throughout the industry. Not all "organics" are pesticide free, including many that are certified. And all corn is organic. Sorry, it's a scientific pet peeve of mine.

    What do you use to keep pests away? Insect or other biological controls (I'm actually interested to know). How big is your farm? Do you think your farming techniques would be effective with large scale operations? You can email me your technique directly rather than on post if you want. I'd really like to know.