Who I'm Voting For

I guess everyone is writing about this so I will too. I hope I get to vote. I'm not sure I will because we are leaving very early on Tuesday and if the polling places aren't open, I won't be able to vote. That stinks because I'm into politics but I only have myself to blame for not doing absentee and the state of California for not having early voting. Maybe we'll still be able to vote.

However, I will explain to you who I am voting for. I am not a one issue voter. If you are, that's fine because you're you not me (but if you were me then I'd be you and I'd use your body to not be a one issue voter). Sorry about that. I have always believed in looking at all of the issue and then going with the candidate who is most aligned with my views. This has taken me to both sides of the aisle in past elections and I think that is healthy. I am not willing to pledge my support to any one party because I do not always believe what they believe and it strikes me as a bit anti-democracy. It actually reminds me of West Side Story...without all of the silly dancing.

Because of my belief in voting for the best candidate FOR PRESIDENT (notice I didn't say spriritual leader, father figure, law maker, or most popular), I will always vote for the best candidate. So that's who I'm voting for...the person I believe to be the best candidate and you should too. I always go back to a quote I heard on Jason Boyett's blog, "If I had a family member in need of life-saving surgery, I wouldn't choose my doctor based on whether he was Pro-life or Pro-Choice (pro-welfare or anti-welfare, pro-gay marriage or anti-gay marriage), I would chose the best surgeon." That's how I will (or won't) vote this year.

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Go Vote

I heard a quote today from Mark Beeson at Granger Community Church in Indiana. He told his staff, "I don't care who you vote for... but if you value your position on staff, you'll want to vote." That's good leadership. I hope everyone out there is planning to vote even if its for Ralph Nader. This will likely be one of the largest voter turnouts in history. Don't be that guy (or girl) who missed out. Check out this video from some very rich people. By the way, to "The Donald," there may be a few more important things to do but voting is important.

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Its Really Happening

As I look around my house at the bare, patched walls and the boxes in every room its really starting to hit me that this is my last week at Bay Hills, and possibly in Norther California. Sure, we'll come back to visit but they always see, "if you leave California, you can never afford to come back." I'm not sure if this is true because we never really could afford to live here in the first place but I get what they mean. We are packing up and hitting the road a week from today to head to Myrtle Beach by way of Vegas, the Grand Canyon, probably somewhere in New Mexico, Fort Worth, Rayville, LA, Montgomery, AL, and Atlanta. How's that for a road trip. The total mileage will be somewhere in the 3,000 range so we'll get oil changes for both cars before we leave and then as soon as we get there. Its going to be sad to leave all of our friends here at Bay Hills. We've grown up so much and I've really learned a lot about how to do ministry here. I've had a great team of volunteers for setup, sound, media, lighting, and our worship team. Bay Hills has truly been blessed with a lot of talent. Most of all we will miss the friendships. Those who have come alongside us to make the fact that we're 2000 miles away from any family much easier to bear.

We are also very excited about what God is going to do in and through us in Myrtle Beach. I know that God has huge plans for Wellspring Church and that things are ready to take off. I'm excited about the new friends we'll make and the new experiences we will have. I'm excited to build a church around the awesome vision that God has given Pastor Trey and that I have wholeheartedly bought into. There is no doubt in my mind that as long as we are faithful to our calling, God will be faithful to his promise.

So be in prayer for us this week as the stress of packing up our lives and moving them across the country will be great. As my parents fly in to "roadtrip-it" with us and as Beth's my flies back to Fort Worth with our two crazy kids. Pray that as we drive across this beautiful country we will enjoy God's creation each others' company. Most of all, pray that our hearts will be prepared and expectant for the great things God WILL do at Wellspring and in Myrtle Beach. Now, its coffee time.

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Amazon mp3 Store

Well its been such a busy week and I haven't been able to blog much but I definitely wanted to blog today about something I have recently discovered. I might be the last one to figure this out but if you are not using the Amazon mp3 store to buy your digital music you are throwing your money away. Generally I go with Apple on anything they put out but in this instance, the iTunes store is ripping you off. Amazon has most of its albums for $8.99 or less and always has great deals. Example, the day I discovered that Amazon was far superior was when I downloaded the new Keane album for $1.99. That's right 2 bucks. It was a "deal of the day" thing but they have great albums for low, low prices everyday. So, stop using the iTunes store. If you have iTunes, Amazon's download program (you will have to install this, takes about 30 seconds) will automatically add all of your Amazon downloads to iTunes. You have nothing to lose.

I'll take my check now Amazon.

Have a great weekend.

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Today is The Day

Well, its been out for a while but I just got the one I pre-ordered (a lot of good that did) so I'm going to right about it now. Today is the Day is the new album out by Lincoln Brewster. This CD is definitely Lincoln's best to date. The variety of styles and sounds on this is different than anything he's released yet. I actually talked to a mutual friend (that's right Lincoln and I have a mutual friend) and asked if he'd been listening to some John Mayer because there are definitely some Mayeresque moments on this album. He said he absolutely did, on purpose. I'm totally fine with this because I want to be just like John Mayer or Lincoln Brewster (musically).

If you don't have this CD yet, go ahead and buy it today. You won't be sorry.

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Hey Joe the Plumber, Can I Borrow Some Money?

So I'm reading and hearing all about old "Joe the Plumber," oddly enough his real name is Samuel Wurzelbacher (Joe is his middle name), and I'm wondering if this is the final confirmation we need to show us that politicians are completely out of touch with reality. "Joe" was the entire focus of the debate on Wednesday night. John McCain was obviously concerned about his financial well being and Barack Obama actually addressed him directly.

Here's the problem I have with this. McCain is right, Joe will have his taxes raised if he buys his plumbing company...if his personal income exceeds 200,000 dollars. Hello, did you read that? 200 large! Not only is it ridiculous that we're worrying about a guy with a 200K income but he lives in Ohio, one of the most affordable states in the country. These politicians have lost touch with the "average Joe." Maybe we should shift our focus to normal people who can't even think about buying their business because they have to pay their power bill.

I may not say this ever again but I'm with Sarah Palin on this one when she said "Don't make me say Joe the Plumber, please, in any speeches." I don't want to hear about the problems of a guy who's income is $160,000 higher than the average American (that figure is for people who are 64 years old, 25 year olds only make $28K).

So to you guys in Virginia with your plungers and "I Am Joe the Plumber" shirts I say, YOU WISH!

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Fact Check on Debate Number 3

I thought the debate was pretty good last night.  There was definitely some thought-provoking things said but also some misleading things said.  So, here is the fact check for last nights debates brought to you by FactCheck.org. 

Sorting out fact and fiction in the presidential candidates' final debate.
Spin and hype were apparent, once again, at the third and final debate between McCain and Obama:

  • McCain claimed the liberal
    group ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the
    greatest frauds in voter history ...
    maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”
    In fact, a Republican prosecutor said of the first and biggest ACORN
    fraud case: “[T]his scheme was not intended to permit illegal voting.”
    He said $8-an-hour workers turned in made-up voter registration forms
    rather than doing what ACORN paid them to do.

  • McCain said “Joe the plumber”
    faced “much higher taxes” under Obama’s tax plan and would pay a fine
    under Obama’s health care plan if he failed to provide coverage for his
    workers. But Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher would pay higher taxes only
    if the business he says he wants to buy puts his income over $200,000 a
    year, and his small business would be exempt from Obama’s requirement
    to provide coverage for workers.

  • Obama repeated a dubious claim
    that his health care plan will cut the average family’s premiums by
    $2,500 a year. Experts have found that figure to be overly optimistic.

  • McCain claimed that Obama’s
    real “object” is a government-run, single-payer health insurance system
    like those in Canada or England. The McCain campaign points to a quote
    from five years ago, when Obama told a labor gathering that he was “a
    proponent of a single-payer health care program.” But Obama has since
    qualified his enthusiasm for Canadian-style health care, and his
    current proposal is nothing like that.

  • Obama incorrectly claimed all
    of McCain’s ads had been “negative.” That was true for one recent week,
    but not over the entire campaign. And at times Obama has run a higher
    percentage of attack ads than McCain.

  • McCain
    described Colombia as the "largest agricultural importer of our
    products." Actually, Canada imports the most U.S. farm products, and
    Colombia is far down the list.

  • Obama strained to portray
    himself as willing to break ranks with fellow Democrats. His prime
    example was his vote for a bill that was supported by 18 Democrats and
    opposed by 26. Congressional Quarterly rates him as voting with his
    party 97 percent of the time since becoming a U.S. senator.

For details on these and other misleading claims, please read on to the Analysis section.

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Fantasy Football Is Unspiritual

Yesterday, I got one of the funniest emails I've gotten in a long time. It came from a good friend of mine who is involved in our "Bay Hills Tithers" fantasy football league. It brought me to the conclusion that Fantasy Football is unspiritual. Read this, and you will come to the same conclusion.

As some of you are aware, I have been on a long personal journey to clarify my beliefs in the Lord. Some of you reading this note have assisted me, including suggestions of people I should speak to, books I should read, sermons I should listen to, etc. I have also been told I should specifically seek out some fellow parishioners to observe how they have been able to interpret the facts of the Bible, the stories of Jesus' trials & His followers descriptions, & come to the conclusions that have made them strong believers.

Encouragingly, I was also invited to join this fantasy league, which includes none other than, the Lead Pastor, the Worship Pastor, the Youth Pastor, a Worship Band member, an Elder, and other high-ranking Bay Hills loud-mouths. Surely, I should be able to learn from this gathering of unwavering, sensable Christians.

Alas.... this same group took the following facts...

He has won 5 in a row...
...eight in a row dating back to last season.
He has won 14 of 16 going back to last year.
He is the two-time defending champ.
Pastor Dave is in 1st Place this season.
He is the overall points leader this season.


If half of my spiritual mentors can look at the facts, decifer the trends, then predict the odds so mistakenly, then I can only come to one conclusion myself.... POKER AT MY HOUSE THIS SATURDAY!!! BRING CASH

This is absolutely true but my defense for my vote is that I had faith that God would make Dave (Fasold: our lead pastor) lose if I believed. The way to show I believed was voting against him. It literally took miraculously terrible play from Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs for Dave to win. So, apparently our ways are not His ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts. I think I read that somewhere at some point.

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Big Things Ahead

We are excited to finally be able to share our Big News about things to come in the Goff family. We will be joining with our friends Trey and Danielle Kelly in planting Wellspring Church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. You can check out Trey's blog to learn more about who he is. This is not a decision we came upon lightly but after much prayer and consulting with those we trust the most, we made the decision to leave the life we love here in the Bay Area at the church we love, Bay Hills, to move 2700 miles across the country to follow the clear call of God to make Jesus more famous in Myrtle Beach.

We will be leaving the Bay Area on November 2nd and making our way across the country and eventually to Myrtle Beach. We are sad to leave our church and our friends here in the Bay Area but are so excited about what God is going to do in Myrtle Beach. We know that God is moving in our lives and we are willing to do whatever it takes to follow wherever He leads us.

This will absolutely mean sacrifice. We will be raising support for Wellspring because as of right now counting my family of four and Trey's family of four we have eight members. We will be developing a leadership team in Myrtle Beach as well as challenging our friends and family to make a sacrifice to join what God is doing at Wellspring. That may mean a one time gift, a regular gift, or even packing up and moving to Myrtle Beach to get in on the ground floor of this awesome movement. For more information check out our Wellspring Partners Blog.

We ask that you please join us in praying for Myrtle Beach and Wellspring Church as we chase after this great vision God has given us. We know that "the One who has called us is faithful, and HE WILL DO IT."

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Letter To Bay Hills

Below is the letter that I sent out to all who attend Bay Hills.

Dear Church Family and Friends,
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing that Beth, the kids and I will be leaving Bay Hills Community Church. Quite honestly this is the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. Nothing in this world could ever drag us away from Bay Hills but God saw fit to call us to start a brand new church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Both Beth and I have sensed the unmistakable call of God in our lives to go join our close friend from Seminary, Pastor Trey Kelly and his family in planting Wellspring Church.
We will be leaving for this new adventure on November 2nd and covet your prayers as we are leaving everything here to start completely over. I assure you that there is nothing about the staff, people, or any other aspect of Bay Hills that has pushed us into this decision. If we had our selfish way, we would stay at Bay Hills. However, when Beth and I decided to give our lives to Jesus Christ and serve in full time ministry, we gave up our right to determine where we would be. We will be moving to a state in which neither Beth or I ever imagined living and for the first year will likely be living off of the support of our friends and family. We will be developing a team in Myrtle Beach with which to launch the church. We will likely begin meeting in houses and then hopefully be able to move into a temporary facility.
I have truly treasured the three plus years I have been able to spend getting to know many of you, developing friendships, watching people grow both physically and spiritually, and watch Bay Hills grow into one of the most influential and effective ministries in the Bay Area. I will always look back fondly on my experience and can easily point to the growth that I have experienced while being a part of Bay Hills. This will not be an easy thing for our family or Bay Hills on any level so I ask that you be in prayer for our family as well as for those who will be going through the process of finding a new Worship Pastor.
Dave, the elders, staff, and I have been in close contact over the past few weeks shoring up all of the areas that I am coordinating and have developed a plan that Dave will share with you. One thing is certain, God’s hand is on Dave, the staff, elders, and congregation of Bay Hills and He has great things in store for the Bay Area as this church continues its mission of “Radically Reaching the Unchurched in the Bay Area for Christ…”

TJ Goff

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We Have a Winner

Well, another successful book giveaway has come and gone. We have a winner and it is Jessica Herbert. Its always nice when the winner lives in the same area and goes to the same church because it saves me shipping cost.

Keep on the lookout for more book reviews and giveaway contests. Also, we will be making a fairly big announcement next week on all of our blogs.

On a side note, thanks to Matthew Paul Turner at JesusNeedsNewPR.com for the link on his blog. I had my first international visitor today. They were visiting from the Netherlands. I would just like to say that I love Robin Van Persie and love watching the Netherlands national soccer team play. Those guys are good.

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Churched: Be the Fifth Comment and Win a Free Copy

Have you ever read a book and felt like the person writing it could be writing about You. That's how I felt when I read Churched: One Kids Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess by Matthew Paul Turner.

This book really is a fun and insightful read about what its like growing up fundamentalist. Now I will admit I didn't have it nearly as bad as he did...I was only a Southern Baptist...but I remember hearing a lot of the same things and having a lot of the same questions as he describes in this book.

Matthew does a great job of pointing out the weirdness of being a fundamentalist without necessarily lampooning his subject matter. It is obvious that his experience helped to shape his spiritual life as my experience shaped mine. Sometimes that showed up as rebellion but other times it showed up as a new way to view a situation.

If you grew up "churched" or if you know people who did, this is a great way to really understand what you or those you know experience and why you or they are the way they are. I think the best aspect of this book is that it gives people like me, who are involved in the ministry, a better understanding of what some of our congregation has experience, and also can help us to better see some of the things that we are doing as a church that maybe are more about us feeling good about ourselves than us giving glory to God.

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Fact Check for Last Night's Debate

Just want to make sure we know when politicians lie...and they ALL DO! Don't think they don't know that what they are saying isn't completely true.

FactChecking Debate No. 2
October 8, 2008
Nonsense in Nashville

McCain and Obama debated for the second time, in Nashville. We noted some misleading statements and mangled facts:

* McCain proposed to write down the amount owed by over-mortgaged homeowners and claimed the idea as his own: “It’s my proposal, it's not Sen. Obama's proposal, it's not President Bush's proposal.” But the idea isn’t new. Obama had endorsed something similar two weeks earlier, and authority for the treasury secretary to grant such relief was included in the recently passed $700 billion financial rescue package.

* Both candidates oversimplified the causes of the financial crisis. McCain blamed it on Democrats who resisted tighter regulation of federal mortgage agencies. Obama blamed it on financial deregulation backed by Republicans. We find both are right, with plenty of blame left over for others, from home buyers to the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

* Obama said his health care plan would lower insurance premiums by up to $2,500 a year. Experts we’ve consulted see little evidence such savings would materialize.

* McCain misstated his own health care plan, saying he’d give a $5,000 tax credit to “every American” His plan actually would provide only $2,500 per individual, or $5,000 for couples and families. He also misstated Obama’s health care plan, claiming it would levy fines on “small businesses” that fail to provide health insurance. Actually, Obama’s plan exempts “small businesses.”

* McCain lamented that the U.S. was forced to “withdraw in humiliation” from Somalia in 1994, but he failed to note that he once proposed to cut off funding for troops to force a faster withdrawal.

* Obama said, “I favor nuclear power.” That’s a stronger statement than we've heard him make before. As recently as last December, he said, “I am not a nuclear energy proponent.”

* McCain claimed “1.3 million people in America make their living off eBay.” Actually, only 724,000 persons in the U.S. have income from eBay, and only some of them rely on it as their primary source.

For full details, and additional quibbles, please read our Analysis section.

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Another Free Book: Churched

Just finished the book Churched on a plane yesterday. I will be doing a book review on my blog about the book which will be released next week. If you comment on that particular blog you may have a chance to win a copy of that book. More to come on that soon.

Today is my birthday so I won't spend a lot of time blogging. I will likely post a Fact Check on last nights debates later today. Don't forget to look for the Churched review.

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Your Twitter Influence

So after being on Twitter for a couple of months I have come to a very profound realization. You can measure how influential you are by your ratio of followers to those you are following. If you are like me you are following more people than follow you. That means you are able to see "what they are doing" but they don't necessarily care to see what you are doing. There are people who have ridiculous follower to following ratios. Generally these people are some sort of celebrity type in their field. There are also people who have a very low ratio. You will see this a lot with what basically amounts to a spammer.

I have become fairly conscious of of this as some people (who I am friends with) still do not follow me even after I have begun to follow them. This can be disappointing but I generally try to check out their number of updates and then make a judgment. If someone doesn't update very often or only when their blog updates, you can assume they have automatically set that up and don't actually check Twitter very often. I call these people Quasi-Tweets (in a Minnesota accent, in honor of Sarah Palin).

My ratio currently is about 2 to 3, meaning for every 3 people I follow, two follow me. That's okay but my much more popular and cool friend Bill Jones has a little better than a 1 to 1 ratio so I need to work on it.

Finally, I have figured out that sometimes people follow you based on who else follows you. There are some "Christian Semi-Celebrities" who follow me just because they are cool guys and follow us regular folk. I believe it is because of this that I have people I have never met or even spoken to following me. There is no way they follow me for any other reason than they saw a few people they look up to were following me. I've done the same thing.

So, that's your lesson on the politics of Twitter. Now go out there and Tweet away...and follow me while your at it. I need to get that ratio up.

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I Love My Wife

Well it was this day six years ago that Beth and I were married. It doesn't seem like that long ago but I guess it was.

I have the best wife. Smart, funny, great mom, selfless, and beautiful. She's a five tool player (only baseball fans will understand that one). I remember the first time I noticed her (I had seen her before just wasn't trying to notice other girls at the time). I told my fried Jeff Huey to "hook me up." He did, we did, and here we are 6 years thousands of miles, 4 homes, a dog and two kids later. Thanks God. You did a great job.

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Who's With Me on This: This is for the Keystoners

My friend from Keystone Church and a fellow Auburn University grad, Rob Patterson, is to Peter Patrelli what Sarah Palin is to Tina Fey. Anyone else notice this? There's a good chance Rob plays Peter Patrelli on TV.

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Fact Checking the Debate

Well, last nights debate was pretty good. I think both candidates represented themselves fairly well and neither made the fatal slip some thought they would. However, what we have to understand is that at their core, both of these people are politicians and politicians tend to bend the truth. The problem is, most people will not try to figure out what the truth is, they will just believe whatever candidate they have sworn their allegiance to. This is what I call Yellow-dogging it. Just like anything else, we have to seek out information for ourselves to make a good decision. If we choose not to, we will be surprised by the consequences. So, here are the corrections from FactCheck.org from last nights debate.

FactChecking Biden-Palin Debate
October 3, 2008
The candidates were not 100 percent accurate. To say the least.
Biden and Palin debated, and both mangled some facts.

* Palin mistakenly claimed that troop levels in Iraq had returned to “pre-surge” levels. Levels are gradually coming down but current plans would have levels higher than pre-surge numbers through early next year, at least.

* Biden incorrectly said “John McCain voted the exact same way” as Obama on a controversial troop funding bill. The two were actually on opposite sides.

* Palin repeated a false claim that Obama once voted in favor of higher taxes on “families” making as little as $42,000 a year. He did not. The budget bill in question called for an increase only on singles making that amount, but a family of four would not have been affected unless they made at least $90,000 a year.

* Biden wrongly claimed that McCain “voted the exact same way” as Obama on the budget bill that contained an increase on singles making as little as $42,000 a year. McCain voted against it. Biden was referring to an amendment that didn't address taxes at that income level.

* Palin claimed McCain’s health care plan would be “budget neutral,” costing the government nothing. Independent budget experts estimate McCain's plan would cost tens of billions each year, though details are too fuzzy to allow for exact estimates.

* Biden wrongly claimed that McCain had said "he wouldn't even sit down" with the government of Spain. Actually, McCain didn't reject a meeting, but simply refused to commit himself one way or the other during an interview.

* Palin wrongly claimed that “millions of small businesses” would see tax increases under Obama’s tax proposals. At most, several hundred thousand business owners would see increases.

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A Pet Peeve of Mine

So I was watching the debate last night and I thought my head might explode. It reminded me of the story (maybe true, maybe not) of how people in Spain began pronouncing words with a lisp. Basically they had a king with a lisp and so in order to make him feel better about it, everyone began to pronounce words with a lisp. This is what has happened with the word NUCLEAR.

I'm sorry but the word is N-U-C-L-E-A-R not N-U-C-U-L-A-R. Let's get this right people. It drives me nuts and I had to hear it last night and many times before from politicians, and even from Jack Bauer on 24. Let's get this right. Let's say the word the way it is spelled. Here is a dictionary listing. Let's all practice it.


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Just Had a Panic Moment

I just had a bit of a panic moment. Will the debate tonight be on cable only? Is it going to interfere with my Thursday night TV viewing?

Now let me explain myself. I will watch the debate (thanks DirecTV DVR) but I will also watch The Office, 30 Rock, My Name is Earl, etc. Also, there are baseball games on tonight. Two will be over by the time the its prime time here on the left coast but it will make for some interesting channel surfing and most likely more than one TV on in the house all night.

I know what you're thinking, doesn't TJ have anything better to do than worry about TV viewing but I'll have you know that Beth and I are going out of town this weekend and I'm not leading at church on Sunday so that's about a day of planning and preparing I don't have to do. I'm pretty much caught up to Christmas with my graphics and can't think of much more to do. I'm sure there's more to do but I can't think of it.

If only there was a magazine, website, or channel where I could find out what comes on tonight. Someone should invent that. We'll call it TVMap.

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