Cherry's Blog

"The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them." Hosea 14:9b

Thursday, July 31, 2003

My friend Mary Williams Ulmet, an excellent food geographer/folklorist/socioligist in the field, summarizes her findings from her cottage cheese study. I think you'll be impressed and surprised by the results. Mary writes:

Interesting results? Well, I have to say that my initial hypothesis was not proven true, but I did find some interesting data:

1. I assumed that fruit eating with cottage cheese is culturally a southern phenomenon and that vegetable eating with cottage cheese was a northern phenomenon. My research did not find this to be the case. People from everywhere can and do eat cottage cheese with fruit.

2. On the other hand, I did not find anyone whose roots were in the deep south who ate cottage cheese with vegetables...interesting.

3. Several interviewees did not grow up eating cottage cheese for various reasons, but have discovered it on their own and usually eat it plain or with salty things vs. fruit.

4. One ethnic minority interviewed grew up eating cottage cheese, the rest did not - even if they had southern roots...interesting.

5. The spread of people who eat cottage cheese plain, with vegees, or with fruit is pretty even.

6. Most people who have grown up eating cottage cheese with fruit think the vege/salt&pepper eaters are weird and vice versa. There were just a few exceptions of those who grew up eating it both ways.

SO...what does this all mean???

You can eat cottage cheese any way you like.

If you love cottage cheese, keep eating it with whatever makes you happy- If you don't love cottage cheese, that's okay...I still love you. The marital semi-dispute that sparked this research has come to a close and we now happily eat cottage cheese with the knowledge that yummy cottage-cheese eating is in the eye-of-the-beholder (or ingester, in this case.)

Now you know. Btw, I like my cottage cheese three ways: plain, with pineapple, or on top of a potato mixed with salsa, corn and black beans. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The stupidest statement of the week:

"The drug war has replaced the poll tax as the way to keep African-Americans from voting." --Je$$e Ja¢k$on

Has America's anti-French movement gone too far? This article seems a bit unfairly prejudiced.

That's confidence for you!

Dissent is rising from certain conservatives over whether or not "moral" laws--like the recently passed Partial Birth Abortion Ban--should be out of the federal government's jurisdiction. These dissenters are avid federalism proponents, as am I. I must, however, disagree with their conclusion that abortion laws should be off-limits to national legislators. Abortion is a right-to-life issue, not merely a "moral" issue.

NRO's Kimberly Hendrickson writes:

There is something important to be said for local control over moral issues — namely that the Constitution grants no moral authority to the federal government. Indeed, it is silent on this and related topics, like kicking dogs or being respectful of your mother. The student of The Federalist reasonably assumes that moral instruction, like trash collection, was too mundane to be taken up by the Founders ("the regulation of the mere domestic police of a state," reassured Hamilton in No. 17, "hold(s) out slender allurements to ambition"). Of course, there are constitutionally recognized national rights that cannot be ignored by local legislators for ostensibly moral purposes (Massachusetts can't eliminate property rights even if a majority of residents find them immoral).That list, being finite, invites a great deal of local legislative action.

Yes, Hendrickson, the Constitution mentions property rights as fundamental. It also affirms LIFE as a fundamental right. While I agree that sodomy laws and the like should be legislated by local governments only, I strongly believe that when these local and state governments do not affirm life as a fundamental right, the federal government has the duty to stand up and defend this right for its people, citizens or not (see 14th Amendment).

As my friend Scott Tibbs kindly put it in an email to me, "If the states won't prohibit murder, the feds must."

Monday, July 28, 2003

Are you a gay high school student in New York? Now you can go to your very own gay public high school.

This is utterly ridiculous. It's called segregation, reverse discrimination, preferential treatment. Whatever you call it, this is offensive on a number of levels. Can Christians get their very own public schools? Can Creationists get their own public schools? Can pro-lifers get their own public schools? No way, Jose!

This gays-only school, called the Harvey Milk School, says:
"We believe that success requires the ability to respect and value the diverse human community."

This school is not's exclusionary. It doesn't teach kids to respect or value diversity; it teaches them to look for exclusivity and to avoid their "oppressors". Such segregation teaches students to hate any straight person who happens to disagree with the homosexual lifestyle. Rather than explaining the merits of a homosexual lifestyle (which no one it seems, is quite able to do), students can hide in their own school and enjoy their alternative lifestyles without a whimper of dissent from the offended majority. How nice, and yet, how cowardly.

Segregation for leftist special interests is just one more ridiculous misuse of taxpayer money and constitutional intent.

An excerpt from the July 15, 2003 Women Deserve Better than Abortion welcome address by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL):

It is crucial that as a society we strive to address the real challenges facing pregnant women, and focus on promoting women-centered solutions to significantly reduce abortion and protect women's health.

In a country which espouses the importance of protecting the inherent rights of every person, abortion denies the rights of our most innocent and vulnerable members, our children. We, as legislators, must strive to uphold the truths upon which our great nation was founded, especially that every individual is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Abortion is not a sign that women are "free to choose." It is a sign that women have been abandoned. They have not had the support and care that they so desperately need. Rather, abortion is the only option offered.

We must strive to ensure that each and every person is guaranteed the most basic of human rights, the right to life. Women deserve better than to endure the physical and emotional pain and suffering associated with abortion, and children deserve the chance to live.

I ardently support efforts to protect the dignity of women and children. As women, we have a unique role in society, to nurture and protect that dignity. Such dignity is only possible if it is promoted on every level.

It is time for abortion to stop. We must have the courage and the strength to fight against the greatest of all human rights violations - abortion. Women deserve better than abortion.

Interested? Read more about why women deserve better than abortion.

Someone asked Plain Truth magazine the following question:

There appears to be conflict between people who call themselves conservative Christians and those who support laws protecting the environment and endangered species. On one hand, I believe that God created resources for humans to use and consume so we could survive and flourish. On the other, I believe that Jesus taught us to respect the smallest forms of life and to avoid unnecessary abuse of the earthly creatures and plants provided to us. The Christ that I love and understand, wanted humans to thrive and utilize natural resources and animals, but many things I see done for the sake of material prosperity appear cruel and wasteful. When I bring this up I am sometimes pegged a tree-hugger. I find myself being criticized by supporting the Endanged Species Act. I don't believe that Jesus intended us to pillage. Do you have any analysis that could help me understand why some of my right-wing friends (their label not mine), don't have much regard for what I believe to be our duty to tend the Earth?

Plain Truth's Answer:

The dilemma about which you speak is just as you describe it. Interestingly, both groups of Christians often take their marching orders from the first few chapters of Genesis. The "conservative" group looks to Genesis 1:28, as God tells Adam and Eve to "subdue" (NIV) the earth -- or, in the KJV, "have dominion" over it. This text has been used for several centuries by Christian industrialists and captains of industry to justify any means necessary to rape and pillage from the earth. It would seem that only a miniority of those who seek to "have dominion" over the earth have done so responsibly. In the main, the earth has been abused, especially since the industrial revolution, and sometimes in the name of God.

The other passage that reflects the view about Christian responsibility to the environment you seem to favor, and the one generally espoused by PTM, is found in Genesis 2:15 -- some 18 verses after the "have dominion" passage. This passage records God putting Adam and Eve in the Garden, with instructions to "work it and take care of it" (NIV) or in the KJV, "dress and keep it." God gives us the charge to take care of the resources he has entrusted to us.

PTM believes that some middle ground is possible, which means that Christians may both have dominion over and subdue the earth while working it, taking care of it, dressing it and keeping it. No generation of humanity should diminish the earth's assets so as to leave future generations without adequate resources. We should replenish, restock, reseed, rebuild, restore and regenerate this earth. This view is not "worshipping mother earth" as some critics may say, but simply a matter of being careful stewards of the blessings God has given us to watch over, use and enjoy.

A word from the Federalist:

PatriotPetitions.US, the nation's leading public opinion advocate for Constitutional integrity, has embarked on its newest campaign, entreating the President and Congress to Repeal the 16th Amendment and Abolish the Income Tax.

As the size and scope of the central government spirals out of control, we ask all American Patriots to join us in support of
a critical bid to repeal the 16th Amendment and abolish the personal income tax, in accordance with Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution and the original Federalist Papers. There is current legislation before the house, H.J. Resolution 15, "abolishing personal income, estate, and gift taxes and prohibiting the United States Government from engaging in business in competition with its citizens." Yet given the limited influence of constitutional constructionists and fiscal conservatives in both chambers of Congress, H.J. Resolution 15 will likely not succeed. Still, it is critical that we citizens register our collective support for this important legislation as a matter of principle.

Please join your fellow Patriots on the frontlines in defense of our liberty and national sovereignty. Link to --
http://www.PatriotPetitions.US/noincometax (If you don't have Web access, please send a blank e-mail to:
< sign-noincometax@PatriotPetitions.US > Each e-mail sent to this address will be counted as one signature for the petition.)

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Want to know who's funneling their wealth into the abortion industry?

The top donors (you'll be surprised, I think, of the donor as well as the amount of donation):

Total giving
Percent of total

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
$133 million
$1.15 billion

David and Lucile Packard Foundation
$85.2 million
$428.9 million

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
$34.3 million
$119.9 million

Ford Foundation
$31.1 million
$829.2 million

Buffett Foundation
$21.9 million
$29.1 million

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
$11.4 million
$167.9 million

Turner Foundation
$7.1 million
$68.1 million

Shocking, isn't it?

My friend Terry Record comments on the surcease of Viequen bomb testing:

Though I do not agree with the bombing of U.S. soil against the desires of the local magistrate and citizens, it appears that the nay-sayers and critics of the Viequen protests were correct: at its essence the decision/protest was between having a paycheck on one hand, and having a sense of homeland for the Viequens on the other. Let us just hope, however, that the loss of one of Puerto Rico’s largest employers does not further destroy an already overly strained Puerto Rican economy.

My friend Scott Tibbs opines on the BibleGeek controversy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Democrats have all the answers, don't they? Their silly platform against bomb tests (a way of symbolically opposing national defense) is detrimental in that it has taken countless jobs away from poor people and devastated Vieques' economy.

Can a Christian seeking to save those who are truly lost minister inside of a nudie bar? Better question to ask: Would Jesus posit himself inside of a nudie bar if he could save more souls that way? Tough question. What does it really mean to become all things to all men?

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The Patriot Act rationalized by our Attorney General:

"We use these tools [i.e. spying, monitoring--the usual methods for invading one's privacy] to secure the liberties of our citizens. We use these tools to save innocent lives," Ashcroft said.

That's the wildest argument I've heard yet for spying on U.S. citizens. Invading people's privacy so they can be free? I don't think so. Ashcroft, just be upfront about your rationale. You think U.S. security is more important than certain individual freedoms. Let's discuss the merits of that argument.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Cause of Two Shuttle Disasters: Enviro Dogma. Sweep! That's the sound of this story going right underneath the rug.

If this had been conservatives' doing, it'd be blown out to Watergate proportions. Instead, don't count on hearing anything about this on primetime news.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

One of my friends--Hootie-- was recently threatened with a lawsuit by another "Christian" for a matter I consider to be quite trivial. It's really bothered me, but luckily my friend has received an overwhelming show of support. My first impulse was for someone to teach this guy a lesson, but I think shame is a much more effective method of disapproval. Martin Roth writes (notice the trademark sign!):

Dear Bible Geek™,

I recall somewhere in the Bible that Paul said that believers shouldn’t initiate lawsuits against other believers. Do you know anything about this?

Yours expectantly,


PS: Dear Bible Geek™,

I also seem to recall something about Paul saying that lawsuits among believers show that they – the believers - have been defeated already. Any thoughts on how we prove Paul wrong on this one?

Friday, July 18, 2003

Blair holds firm to his averment that the U.S.-led Coalition was justified in invading Iraq.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

It's not uncommon for mainstream non-politically oriented magazines to slant left occasionally. It's to be expected. Not appreciated, mind you, but expected. Yet Shape's decision to blast Catholic hospitals for their views on abortion is uncalled for.

Pat Robertson's prayer for the Supreme Court seems to some Christians to be un-Christ-like.

robertson's prayer smacks of personal politicking, but worse, it speaks of a broad trap that politically-minded Christians often fall into: the tendency to see the other side in a political debate as the Enemy. i don't care if your earthly opponent is a gay, atheistic, abortion practicing supreme court chief justice. he isn't your enemy. in fact, you're supposed to pray for him, not against him.

If you're interested in better understanding the Christian's role in the political arena, I highly recommend Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson's book, Blinded by Might.

Generation S bloggers are exploring spirituality in new and insightful ways. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

WMDs Gone MIA: The administration's crucial argument as to why it had no choice but to launch the first preventive war in American history is collapsing like a sand castle in a rising surf.

The Vanishing Black Undergrad: racial aftermath of the Michigan affirmative action ruling.

As an English major, I'm sufficiently embarassed for the editor who let this title go to print.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Disillusioned with institutional, man-made religion? I'm going through that stage and it looks like this guy did too. Am I advocating disfellowship from a church family? Not at all. But I think it's time we mimicked Jesus' lifestyle: mingling more with dirty, sinning "real people" and less with hollow, "pious" hypocrites.

"It's counter-intuitive, but we must find ways to disconnect from the church way of thinking, feeling, and living so that the pre-Christians in our community stand a better chance of being influenced by Christ and the church." --Chad Hall

The Bloomington, IN city council recently voted to give Planned Parenthood corporate welfare. Some citizens protested the audacity of local goverment for taking taxpayer money and giving it to a controversial, national, and political organization that has net profits in the millions. Here are some exact figures from Planned Parenthood's website:


2000 -- $31,040,722

1999 -- $57,208,344


2000 -- $23,531,702

1999 -- $44,508,362


2000 -- $7,509,020

1999 -- $12,699,982

Planned Parenthood doesn't need local goverment handouts. Bloomington city council members should be ashamed at themselves and should resign for their inability to responsibly handle the taxpayer money with which they have been entrusted as public servants.

Is this a hoax or could this boy really see angels?

Monday, July 14, 2003

Brendan Nyhan, in his Spinsanity article entitled, "Screed: With Treason, Ann Coulter once again defines a new low in America's political debate", argues that Coulter's over-generalization reaches a nefarious culmination in her new book, Treason. He says:

In short, Ann Coulter has once again revealed herself as one of the most destructive forces in American politics, repeatedly making outrageously irrational arguments and demonstrably false claims. Treason is the culmination of a dismaying trend toward factually misleading and inflammatory books from pundits such as Michael Moore, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. These authors may delight partisans and make their publishers rich, but their work impoverishes our political discourse.

Sometimes, Coulter is right on the mark. Other times, I think she borders on hypocrisy. If I ever get around to reading her book, I'll let you know whether Treason deserves readership or boycotts.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Friends with the celebrities: My good friend Josh Claybourn is the star of this editorial regarding brain drain. I hope he'll autograph my copy of the Evansville Courier.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Whoa--Michelle Malkin is going to get a flood of letters over this one. Malkin argues that child deaths from parental neglect are characteristic of a larger, pervasive disrespect for life in general. She's daringly blunt in her commentary, and I admire her for her opinion as well as her audacity. She's right! Here's what she says:

"Every summer, the stories come. And the tiny bodies pile up. "Toddler trapped in hot van dies." "Kids die from heat in SUV." "Baby boy dies in hot van."

.....there is a need to look deeper. I believe Dakota, Nehemiah, David, Amber, Brandon, Darnecia, Dominique, Zaniyah, Chloe and Alan are not merely victims of isolated day-care accidents. They are also symptoms of a culture where parents treat children as disposable as their diapers. Some of these kids probably spent more of their brief lives in their deadly car seats than they did in their own parents' laps.

"It is absolutely unfathomable to me that anyone could leave a child forgotten in a car, like an old umbrella or a fast-food wrapper. But then again, we live in an age where teens dump their newborns in toilets and junkies sell their offspring for drugs and "liberated" women pick up and drop off their kids at day care as nonchalantly as their dry cleaning.

"Why must it take the unforgettable suffering of innocents, stifling to death in sun-baked cars, to remind mothers and fathers of the sanctity of life?"


Oh, I'm so giddy! Possibilities for the 2004 election look promising. The ideal: Bush v. Sharpton v. Nader. Although Bush v. any democrat candidate would make for an entertaining, glued-to-the-TV-set debate, adding Nader into the mix would make the whole ordeal even more enjoyable. I imagine that Sharpton and Nader would get into it, Bush could walk off the stage and a comical pay-for-view boxing match could ensue. Who knows?

Just a reminder to environmentalists and Democrats alike that "It ain't easy being green".

What do rich Republicans and ultraliberals have in common? They're both working to keep poor kids stuck in failing schools!

Are military tribunals for suspected terrorists unjust? Should America's commitment to justice transfer to non-Americans? This is a touchy subject. America's integrity is called into question. I think we should bend over backwards to demonstrate to the world that justice is not just an ideal, it's a way of life. Justice does not fail us, even when a terrorist deserves torture and intensive interrogation. We will stand by Justice and it will stand by us.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

It is my personal belief that legalization of abortion instigated a cultural disregard for life in general. Its stories like this and this that reinforce that belief for me.

Thought I'd share an IM session I had with one of my friends (initials P.S.) about his town's recent bout with Jesse Jackson:

PS: here's the story

PS: this gentleman decided one monday afternoon to go riding his motorcycle down the interstate at well over 100 mph

PS: a state trooper sees this and remembers that the speed limit on that particular stretch of interstate road is not well over 100 mph as this gentleman decided that it should be, but in fact, only 70 mph

PS: also noting that his job is to make sure that people know the correct speed to travel on this particular road, he decides to pull over this speeding motorist in order to ticket him for breaking the law

PS: however, the motorcyclist decided that he didnt want a ticket on that specific monday afternoon and tries to speed away - because that always works.

PS: so he exits the interstate and procedes to the city of Benton Harbor, MI... maintaining his chosen 100+ mph

PS: he is traveling through neighborhoods this fast, he is traveling through comercial zones this fast

PS: so the police officer who wanted to tell him that this was against the law notices that he is endangering a lot of people and that he should call for back up

PS: so other officers offer to help him

PS: well, the motorcyclist crashes... because he was driving too quickly


PS: so obvioulsy the officers were racist and people rioted


PS: so jesse jackson hears about this

PS: and he gets in his rainbow-mobile and races to the scene as quickly as CNN will let him

PS: and talks about the horrible attrocity caused by white people

PS: and meets with our CEO and tells him to give benton harbor people more jobs so that they will stop burning down their houses

PS: and when we told him to.... uh.... do stuff, he marched down the street

PS: and opened a major branch of his mafia

PS: i love it

PS: the people stopped rioting when it started to rain, like 4 days later or whatever

PS: so we were all looking at the weather expecting to see "82 degrees, partly cloudy with a 30% chance of riots"

PS: anyways... yes, it is a big headache

PS: especially when they hang out in the middle of a highway and get mad at you for almost hitting them

PS: like- that is what benton harbor people do for fun i think

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Running America is a hard job indeed. No President could do it perfectly. Bush has done a superb job given the international circumstances. Yet, he's taken a hit in the opinion polls, only garnering a 60% approval rating. I ask this though, name me one person, especially a Democrat, who could have done better. Or can do better. You won't find anyone.

Sounds like a sick trend is forming.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Go-along First Lady shows she can go it alone

"She's very happy to do this for us and the president."

Friday, July 04, 2003

Last week Supreme Court justices re-affirmed racial discrimination, renounced federalism and legitimized child molestors. For seemingly unexplicable reasons, America seems to be willingly heading down the road to depravity. Thanks to the wonderful concept of checks and balances, however, America's ruin is not inevitable.

Another shocker from court
By Joseph Farah

A message from a man named Jack:

Why do we allow elected representatives who support abortion to do so without any justification for their position? Why exactly do they believe that it is acceptable, given the equal protections due all persons in the 14th amendment of our constitution, for one person to kill another person for their own benefit?

It is time to expose this undemocratic practice of representation without justification. I would like to invite you to a new pro-life web site called:

..where elected representatives are put to the test and where they fail miserably. It is time to demand more from those who claim to represent us. This new site has two purposes:

1) To show how politicians undemocratically refuse to engage the abortion debate.
2) To provide sample correspondence to others to encourage their own representatives to engage this debate.

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held 7 public debates totaling nearly 20 hours of detailed political discourse centering on the most contentious social issue of their day: slavery. Today politicians find it acceptable to repeat bumper sticker slogans but this is not sufficient and it is time that we demand more.

"I have a right to claim that if a man says he knows a thing, then he must show how he knows it. I always have a right to claim this, and it is not satisfactory to me that he may be 'conscientious' on the subject." - Abraham Lincoln in debate with Stephen Douglas, August 21, 1858

Please help spread the word on this new site and encourage others to demand rational explanations from their elected representatives on just how they can support both abortion and the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

"Supreme Court Malady: By striking down a ban on gay sex the Supreme Court has validated the road to perdition. Total depravity is the supreme law of the land....."

Some interesting quotes regarding the Supreme Court's recent ruling on affirmative action:

"[The Supreme Court] has dignified 'diversity' -- a flag of activist convenience, a wily obfuscation -- as a compelling state interest, and on its promoters' terms. 'Diversity' means 'more blacks.' That's why traditional African-American colleges are exempt from its strictures: as 100% black schools, they're already as diverse as you can get." --Mark Steyn

"How does it benefit anyone -- especially minorities -- if they know that regardless of their performance a way into a university will be made for them, based not on the content of their character and achievement but on the color of their skin?" --Cal Thomas

"No one, and the liberal cognoscenti least of all, wants to look at why, after decades of throwing money at a rotting educational establishment and years of racial preferences black students are worse off than ever." --Wesley Pruden

"Clarence Thomas is my color, but he's not my kind." --Al Sharpton

The debate between the hippies and the scientists continues: is pot (cannibis) bad for you? In this case, does it increase the chances of having a psychotic episode? The experts say yes, and the pot-smokers, as expected, say no.

Strom Thurmond goes to a black heaven: what a sobering, sardonic cartoon.

The picture in this article about Palestinian and Israeli peace is so uplifting to me. But I know, though, that the only true reconciliation on this Earth is from Christ.

A survey of capitalism and democracy: The Economists's 160th Birthday prompts reflection of capitalism's past and prediction of its future. Read an excerpt:

[Pressure to reform capitalism] has many causes. Economic crises in the poor world have reminded people of capitalism's inherent instability. Unemployment in the rich world has reminded people of its inherent tendency to create inequality and of the disruptive effect on existing jobs when poor countries such as China or India succeed in growing richer. Political tensions between America and Europe as well as between the few rich countries and the many poor, especially (though not only) in Muslim countries, lead many to doubt whether further international integration is viable. Some blame globalisation, some a lack of democratic control; others hope and pray that liberal capitalism has had its time in the sun and that now something else will be tried.

Luckily, the Economist author notes that if any such capitalist reform (i.e. "protectionism") does take place,:

... it will be a shame for the rich world but a tragedy for the poorer countries, for it would choke off their best hope of raising their living standards and of defeating poverty.

I agree.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

A convicting post from Fred Peatross of

Our Prayers Tell On Us


Too many churches function as if their primary role is to minister to the sick and dying. Ministers/preachers have little time to “go into all the world” when their primary role is to drive from one hospital to another so they can hold the hands of the brethren.

I challenge you to start paying attention to the prayers in your assemblies. Notice how often our prayers center around the sick, the dying, new births, those traveling, or good news from a doctor. Would I be within range if I said in a twelve month period you could count on one hand the number of times someone prays (by name) for a friend or family member’s spiritual conversion?

Is the government ever responsible for religious persecution? Leftists love to say Christian fundamentalists run the government, but this recent bout of legal discrimination says otherwise.

Frankly, Planned Parenthood's "take over the world" aspirations scare me. Think they're just a nice little organization giving condoms out to kids to keep them from getting pregnant? Think again. This group wants total domination and complete elimination of any opposition by any means necessary. Reminds me of a scam they got away with last year: bribing teens with taxpayer money to recruit their friends as customers.