Wednesday Reads: A Bare Chestnut Tree grows in Washington DC

Portrait by Nico Jungmann

Portrait by Nico Jungmann

Good Morning

We have a variety of links for you today, shall we just get down to it?

By the way, the images are from the Sketchbook of Nico Jungmann… enjoy them.

They have heard another series of pings, this time it lasted longer than 7 minutes, via USA Today: Official: Plane may be found in ‘matter of days’

Meanwhile: Ukraine says separatists hold hostages; activists deny charge | Reuters

Congrats to UCONN: Another National Championship for Connecticut Women’s Basketball

Out of all the news hitting the internets this past day or so, the one story that was more moving to me was this one…about the sapling that is being planted at the Capitol.

A very special sapling it is:  WASHINGTON: Sapling from Anne Frank’s “bare chestnut tree” coming to the Capitol

Congressional leaders will plant an Anne Frank Memorial Tree on the U.S. Capitol’s west front lawn April 30.

The sapling was taken from a chestnut tree that stood outside the Amsterdam annex where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II.

51RpgWALCVLIn her February 23, 1944, she talked about the tree:

“From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the sea gulls and other birds as they glide on the wind…I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”

The tree itself collapsed in 2010, but its stewarts crated saplings. Eleven have been given to sites throughout this country.

Isn’t it a pretty thought to have a connection to  a little girl who equated “solace in all troubles” to the very branches that brought forth this sapling? What I am yearning for right now is solace in all troubles, bet you are too.

Here is an picture of the tree viewed from inside the attic where Anne Frank hid, it was taken  before it fell back in 2010: Anne Frank tree knocked down by storm

In this Nov. 14, 2007 file photo the chestnut tree which comforted Anne Frank while she hid from the Nazis during World War II, as seen from the attic window in the secret annex at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands The monumental chestnut tree has fallen over on Monday, Aug. 23, a spokeswoman for the Anne Frank Museum says. Peter Dejong/AP/File

In this Nov. 14, 2007 file photo the chestnut tree which comforted Anne Frank while she hid from the Nazis during World War II, as seen from the attic window in the secret annex at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands The monumental chestnut tree has fallen over on Monday, Aug. 23, a spokeswoman for the Anne Frank Museum says.
Peter Dejong/AP/File

 

As I was saying, we could all use some solace now, with this kind of shit going on: Los Angeles Times Was Wrong to Retract Article on Rape at Occidental

 

On March 14, 2014, The Los Angeles Times issued a retraction of an article in which reporter Jason Felch stated that Occidental College failed to disclose 27 sexual assaults in its 2012 Annual Security Report (ASR). The retraction states that “Occidental representatives approached the Times early this month to seek a correction. Documents reviewed by The Times this week show that the 27 incidents did not fall under the law’s disclosure requirements for a variety of reasons.”

However, The Los Angeles Times did not perform due diligence in their investigation of the numbers, and they never should have issued a retraction. Felch had incontrovertible evidence that the College did not include anonymous cases in their 2012 ASR and had verification that the college could not lawfully account for 27 missing cases.

51HPaG-TJ5LGiven the evidence, The Times should issue a mea culpa, and especially after Occidental spokesperson Jim Tranquada recently admitted to the LA Weekly that Dean of Students Barbara Avery ignored federal Clery reporting requirements that year. “In 2012, out of concern for student confidentiality, the Dean of Students office did not always communicate to Campus Safety when a student initiated the sexual-misconduct process or otherwise reported a sexual assault.”

Harrumph…I think Jezebel is on to something there, don’t you?

Since we are talking about issues of “due diligence” or maybe somehow having the wool pulled over one’s eyes, there is an update to a little news story regarding a former Star Trek actress and a Scientist who had No Clue How He Ended up in Holocaust-Denier’s Creationism Documentary

A new documentary titled “The Principle” is the latest from creationists and geocentrists.  The film perpetuates the long disproven notion that the sun revolves around the Earth. It is narrated by “Star Trek’s” Kate Mulgrew, who starred as Capt. Kathryn Janeway in both “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Nemesis.” From the looks of the trailer, this film is the antithesis of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s scientific look at the universe in “Cosmos.”

The film was funded by the ultra-conservative, ultra-Roman Catholic Robert Sungenis, who also appears in the film. Sungenis is also known for denying the Holocaust, and for his  anti-Semitic articles, which his bishop demanded he stop writing.

According to  Raw Story, the film features several scientists — some without permission. Clips from the trailer show Michio Kaku, Lawrence Krauss and Max Tegmart. Krauss is incensed, and tweeted:

For all who asked: Some clips of me apparently were mined for movie on geocentricism. So stupid does disservice to word nonsense. Ignore it.

— Lawrence Krauss (@LKrauss1)  April 8, 2014

K51XDDYMu9tLrauss also wrote a piece for  Slate to explain his complete bewilderment at being included. He is also unsure the means taken to get the clips. Krauss will probably not take legal action, in order to not further stoke the publicity for the pseudo-scientific doc. He also lampoons the idea of geocentricism, saying, “The notion that anyone in the 21st century could take seriously the notion that the sun orbits the Earth, or that the Earth is the center of the universe, is almost unbelievable.”

Okay, so this in the lack of due-diligence I was referring to: OH THANK GOD: Kate Mulgrew Is Mad About the Geocentric Documentary, Too

Yesterday, we ended the day on a major bummer when we learned that Kate Mulgrew, the actor best known for playing Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager, would be narrating a documentary backed by geocentrists and Holocaust deniers. Today, she’s set the record straight.

Mulgrew took to her official Facebook page about an hour ago to address growing concerns that her involvement with The Principle, a documentary about how NASA is totally trying to hide the truth that the Sun revolves around the Earth from us or whatever, in some way reflected her own views.

“I understand there has been some controversy about my participation in a documentary called THE PRINCIPLE. Let me assure everyone that I completely agree with the eminent physicist Lawrence Krauss, who was himself misrepresented in the film, and who has written a succinct rebuttal in SLATE. I am not a geocentrist, nor am I in any way a proponent of geocentrism. More importantly, I do not subscribe to anything Robert Sungenis has written regarding science and history and, had I known of his involvement, would most certainly have avoided this documentary. I was a voice for hire, and a misinformed one, at that. I apologize for any confusion that my voice on this trailer may have caused. Kate Mulgrew”

51+e-aOLdfLSeems to me that she needs to, along with her assistants…agent, be a little more diligent when it comes to accepting offers to narrate a documentary as batshit crazy as this one. Unless the producers of the documentary have fraudulently re-edited her voice over to fit their agenda…but I believe she was a voice for hire as she states and just did not do the proper homework on the matter, and only seeing a check at the end of a day.

Speaking of crazy, have you seen this? Baby Accused of Murder Plot Goes Into Hiding in Pakistan

A 9-month-old Pakistani baby accused of raiding a state-run gas company and plotting to murder police has gone into hiding following his first court appearance last week.

Alleged infant criminal mastermind Muhammad “Musa” Khan was charged with conspiracy to commit murder Feb. 1, along with his father, grandfather and around 30 others. The group was protesting an increase in gas prices and a lack of available electricity in their area.

Baby Musa was granted bail in a Lahore court last week, and has another court appearance scheduled for April 12. His family hasn’t decided whether he’ll show up.

“Police are vindictive. Now they are trying to settle the issue on personal grounds, that’s why I sent my grandson to Faisalabad for protection,” the baby’s grandfather, Muhammad Yasin, told Reuters.

I guess the reasons for his arrest are being explain as, guilt by association?

A police sub-inspector apparently claimed in a report that Yasin’s entire family beat him up during the protest. That sub-inspector has since been fired.

What else would we expect when they also will stone women for adultery when they are raped.

41MkHYQX+9LWith all the talk on equal pay these days, Researchers: More U.S. mothers staying at home because of unemployment | The Raw Story

More mothers in the United States are staying home, but the increase is linked more to unemployment and demographic changes than to choice, a study published Tuesday suggested.

In 2012, nearly one in three mothers, or 29 percent, did not work outside the home, up from 23 percent in 1999, said the study from the Washington-based Pew Research Center.

Most of the homemakers, 85 percent, indicated they stayed at home to look after their children. However, six percent said they did so because they could not find employment — up from one percent in 2000.

And another article dealing with numbers: This Map Shows The Deadly Aftermath Of War Right Here At Home

In 2008, The New York Times compiled a list of 121 cases in which veterans were charged with a killing after returning home, and Current TV, GOOD and MGMT.design collaborated to update the research in 2010. The Huffington Post collected data from these sources and more recent news articles to create the infographic below, which shows that at least 194 veterans have been charged with killings after returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. It also shows that there has been a concentration of such incidents around military bases. Our research may not be a complete tally, but these were the cases we could confirm.

Infographic at the link above.

Alright then, the rest of the links are all dealing with shit, whether it be bullshit…fish shit, Japanese print fart shit, or GOP dipshit(s). (yes plural)

First the GOP assholes…GOP Candidate Wants To Get Elected To Keep His Daughter From Learning Evolution

I don’t know where the hell these people come from and yet…they keep getting elected or in this guy’s case, backed by those politicians already in office.

Aaron Miller, a Republican congressional candidate in Minnesota, said a big reason he’s running is to end classroom instruction on evolution, according to the Mankato Free Press.

Miller, a hospital account manager and Iraq War veteran, said during the congressional district’s Republican Party convention in Albert Lea on Saturday that Minnesota needs more religious freedom. He cited an incident in which his daughter was forced to learn evolution in school.

According to the Mankato Free Press:

He also called for more religious freedoms. He repeated his story about his daughter returning home from school because evolution was being taught in her class. He said the teacher admitted to not believing in the scientific theory to his daughter but told her that the government forced him to teach the lesson.

81xX07cI-QL._SL1500_Miller first mentioned his daughter’s evolution lesson at the Blue Earth County convention in March, according to the Mankato Free Press.

“We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington, D.C.,” Miller, who won the Republican endorsement for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District on Saturday, said during his speech.

Despite Miller’s attacks on Washington’s influence on education, Minnesota’s academic standards in science are set by the state Department of Education.

Not only is this guy a dipshit, he is a dumbshit.

Eric Holder got in some good jabs yesterday, Eric Holder to Louie Gohmert: ‘Good Luck With Your Asparagus’ | The Daily Banter

Gohmert brought up the “Operation Fast and Furious” scandal (because of course he did) and reminded Holder that he was hit with contempt of Congress charges by the House two years ago for failing to turn over Justice Department documents which the House had subpoenaed. Holder warned Gohmert, “You don’t want to go there, buddy.”

But that wasn’t the really good one. At the end of Gohmert’s time, Holder got the last word. As the chair recognized a different committee member, Holder said to Gohmert, “Good luck with your asparagus.”

This was an hilarious reference to an exchange between Holder and Gohmert last year when Gohmert inexplicably said that Holder “cast aspersions” on his “asparagus.”

Yes, Louie Gohmert said “cast aspersions on my asparagus.” What?

Oh Gohmert, you round-headed nincompoop. You’re lucky that’s all Holder said to you regarding that. If I was Holder, I’d make it a point to work the word “asparagus” into every other sentence. Why? Because this is exactly how a nutbag like Gohmert deserves to be treated.

Videos at the link.

51pmFCaSmxLOh, be glad we don’t have this kind of trouble to deal with: Carnivorous piranhas found blocking sewers in Shropshire

Residents in Telford have been informed “fishy smells” erupting from sewers in the area were actually thanks to the presence of sharp-toothed, carnivorous piranhas.

The fish, which are known for their voracious appetites and are commonly found in slightly more tropical climates than Shropshire, had been blocking the sewers after a resident chose to dispose of the dead fish down their toilet.

Matt Final and Jay Slater, who went to investigate the blockage for Severn Trent said: “We’ve certainly seen some weird things in the sewers over the years but we were a little shocked to remove piranhas.

Yeah, dead piranhas down the drain is a bit strange indeed. But at least they were not let out into the local pond or river while alive…I know it isn’t much of a news story, but fish down the shitter is only a segue to the final link: Today We Learned: Japanese “Fart Battle” Scrolls Exist

Let’s talk about farts. Specifically, fart battles as depicted in these hundreds-of-years-old Japanese “he-gassen” scrolls. They’re a real thing, and they might be the best real thing we’ve seen today. Check out some more examples below.

Fart-Battle-640x426

Besides just being incredibly fun to look at, because farts being funny is as much a universal constant as the speed of light, he-gassen scrolls also served some political function in their day. They were sort of like New Yorker cartoons—but with farts. The joke, according to Dangerous Minds and The Daily Mail seems to be that at the time, Japan’s view of foreigners wasn’t a favorable one.

When I saw that headline I immediately thought of Monty Python’s….I fart in your general direction..and it seems that the person who wrote the post thought the same thing.

This, but in Japan.

 

More pictures of Japanese prints at the link, as well as more info on the artwork.

That is all I have for you this morning. Have a good day and please share your thoughts with us today.


Wednesday Reads: Dizzy, Ditzy, Link Dump

chapa2

Good Morning

This is going to be exactly what the title says…nothing more to say about that.

I have saved these links over the last few days, they may be a little stale but hopefully you will still find them somewhat interesting.

And since I am completely out of it, this link dump is in no particular order.

D.H. Lawrence Righteously Rages Against Misogyny in Newly Discovered Essay

A lost D.H. Lawrence essay in which the famed author issued a major takedown to a misogynistic contemporary has been found in a library in New Zealand.

Dr. Andrew Harrison, an English professor at the University of Nottingham, discovered the essay while doing research in the online archive of the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington. The essay was buried among the papers and correspondence of John Middleton Murry, a writer and editor who was married to the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield. Murry’s papers were recently acquired by the library. Lawrence had written the 185-word essay in a letter to his friend Murry. It was never published, and its existence was unknown to scholars until now.

You can find more information about the essay here, but check this out….

Lawrence wrote the piece some time in late 1923 or early 1924 in response to an essay published in Adelphi, a literary magazine Murry edited. That essay, which ran under the byline “JHR,” was a viciously misogynistic treatise called “The Ugliness of Women.” Its author argued that “in every woman born there is a seed of terrible, unmentionable evil: evil such as man — a simple creature for all his passions and lusts — could never dream of in the most horrible of nightmares, could never conceive in imagination.”

Continued JHR, “No doubt, the evil growth is derived from Eve, who certainly did or thought something wicked beyond words.”

Murry invited readers to respond to JHR, and Lawrence — a regular contributor to Adelphi — did so.

Lawrence argued that JHR was projecting, basically:

The hideousness he sees is the reflection of himself, and of the automatic meat-lust with which he approaches another individual…Even the most ‘beautiful’ woman is still a human creature. If he approached her as such, as a being instead of as a piece of lurid meat, he would have no horrors afterwards.

Meat-lust! The revolutionary idea that women are human! Advice about how to approach the opposite sex that would still work today!

Ever wonder about, What Happens to Your Email When You Die? Google’s Got a Solution Google Announces Inactive Account Manager | Geekosystem

And another item from Geekosystem, this is a picture and I absolutely love it!!!!!

Pen and Paper, that dude takes my breath away! I think you could find a couple more kids using paper and pens in that picture, but the yellow shirt just stands out.

Another picture for you, the fiber artist in me had to save it:

Image of the Day: April 10 – NYTimes.com

An artisan hanging freshly dyed strands of multicolored thread used in Hindu rituals, at Lalgopalganj, a town in Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

An artisan hanging freshly dyed strands of multicolored thread used in Hindu rituals, at Lalgopalganj, a town in Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

Speaking of Fiber Art: A Box of Sheep – NYTimes.com

This week, a sheep arrived in a box. Not the whole sheep, which is still, I hope, grazing happily in a pasture somewhere in northeast Washington State. Only its fleece. I’ve raised many animals but never sheep. My dad, who raised them as a farm boy, left me with a vicious prejudice against them, and the only sheep I saw as a boy did nothing to counter it. They stood — a dim, ghostly flock — in a grove they had denuded entirely of grass and undergrowth. It occurs to me now that this was the fault of the farmer, not of the sheep, who have no more interest in eating bare dirt than I do.

I bought the fleece because I’ve been away from the farm for a couple of months and because it’s just the right amount of commitment. No feeding, no herding, no vet bills; no wondering: What have I done? If I were home, it would have been all too easy to drive up the road, pick up a few lambs and turn them loose in the pasture — the beginning of another trial-and-error episode in livestock management. These episodes get easier and easier because the pigs, horses, chickens, geese and turkeys have taught me so much. Still, none of them are sheep.

I set the box on the kitchen table, opened it with a knife and folded back the newspaper inside. The scent of sheep rose like a genie from a bottle — a genie who used a lot of lanolin.

There is something so comforting and joyful and soothing in the smell of lanolin.

Of course you have to click these links to read the rest of the stories, I mean, that goes without saying.

Did you see this crap?  Albany Teacher Gives Pro-Nazi Writing Assignment – NYTimes.com

Or how about this idiot? Justin Bieber at Anne Frank House: ‘Hopefully She Would Have Been a Belieber’

…Bieber wrote in the guestbook: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”

I found this image on Pinterest and there was no information available. The website page it went to was no longer loading so I wrote to Lawrence University (the only clue I could sort out) to find out more about it….it was thrilling to get an email back from Leslie Walfish, Director of the Galleries, Wriston Art Galleries. I am quoting the email below with the image…

Otto Wirsching, 1919

Otto Wirsching, 1919

Dear JJ Lopez Minkoff,

Thank you for your interest in our Otto Wirsching print from Vom Totentanz Anno 1915. The particular print you have asked about is part of a portfolio created by Wirsching in 1919.

The following information was previously on the website that you mentioned, please let me know if you need more information:

Otto Wirsching

Born, Nuremberg, January 29, 1889; died Dachau, December 1919

While Wirsching’s life and career were short, he left behind several notable sets of graphic works that demonstrate his devotion to the tradition of German woodcut. The son of a Nuremberg pharmacist, Wirsching studied for three years at the School of Arts and Crafts there. In 1907, he came to Munich, where he worked with Hugo von Habermann (1849-1929). In the summer of that year, he walked to Italy and Corsica; during this time he made copies in the Uffizi. He continued his travels through Spain and North Africa, living as a vagabond. Despite his thorough knowledge of Mediterranean art, Wirsching’s greatest artistic inspirations were the paintings and woodcuts of the great German masters of the Renaissance; he studied these works avidly at Munich’s City Library. When he returned to Munich at the beginning of 1913, he moved to the nearby village of Dachau, since the 1980s an important artists’ colony of the naturalist school. When war broke out, he served in the artillery, but was back in Dachau by 1916. Here he painted and also perfected his skill as a graphic artist, creating a fanciful style that translated his knowledge of the German Masters into a modern idiom. He became a leading artist of the new Dachau school, which took on a more Expressionist mode. He supported himself by making woodcut ex-libris and greeting cards for members of Munich’s artistic circles. He married in Dachau the Hungarian painter, Ankara Kowatsch. Signs of the mental instability–no doubt exacerbated by the unrecognizable presence of a brain tumor–began to appear in 1916 or 1917. He continued nonetheless to produce woodcut series and illustrations for books, as well as paintings which incorporated traditionally religious and mythological motifs into contemporary settings. While placing a new print into the press, he fell dead to the ground, the victim of a stroke. A dissertation on his woodcuts was completed in 1923, evidence of the strength of his artistic vision and its influence on Munich artists immediately following World War I.

The Death-Dance Anno 1915/10 Pictures (Vom Totentanz Anno 1915/10) 1950

According to Theime-Becker, this portfolio was the most significant of the many “death dances” produced during the First World War. In its style, one recognizes immediately Wirsching’s international allusion to the medieval German masters of the woodcut. His choice of images, however, is distinctly modern: the figure of Death, in the traditional form of a skeleton, confronts a variety of contemporary figures who will meet their doom as a result of the devastation of this new war. The first plate shows a peasant in the field learning of the declaration of war from his newspaper; Death appears over his shoulder and steals the farmer’s scythe. In another plate, Wirsching shows Death leading a spy by a rope, depicted as the obvious Jewish stereotype of the moneylender–evidence of the prevalence in German society of this anti-Semitic view. Perhaps the most griping image is that of the corpse-fleecer, one of the vandals who ransacked the bodies on the battlefields for gold teeth and anything else of value. In Wirsching’s depiction, Death surprises the fleecer himself in the field of corpses. As a whole, Vom Totentanz is a grim indictment of the evil of war and man’s innate inhumanity to man. By alluding so directly to the hallow stylistic tradition of the German Totentanz, Wirsching’s philosophical message is all the more damning.

Sincerely,

Leslie Walfish

Leslie Walfish

Director of the Galleries

Wriston Art Galleries

Lawrence University

Last week Legendary ballerina Maria Tallchief died at 88

Born in 1925 to a father from the Osage tribe and a mother of Irish-Scottish descent, Tallchief was one of the first Native American ballerinas to achieve such prominence with major companies.

Her pride in her heritage led her to refuse pressure common at the time to change her name to a more marketable, Russian-sounding version — for example turning Tallchief into Tallchieva.

She grew up initially on the Osage reservation in Oklahoma, where her family’s life had been revolutionized by the wealth that came with the discovery of oil on tribal land.

Highly musical, she took piano and ballet lessons, and at eight, when her family moved to Los Angeles, her dancing turned serious.

In 1942, she joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, a leading touring company, and it was there that she grew close Balanchine, who was the choreographer. They married in 1946 and divorced in 1950.

She was the prima ballerina at New York City Ballet, where Balanchine was also choreographer. Her appearance in the “The Firebird” in 1949 assured her stardom.

This is video of Tallchief dancing The Firebird.

Hey, I was happy when I saw this little headline last week: The pros and cons of going braless

Scientific research on the effect on bras on the sagging of boobs backs up the old feminist call for women to ditch the harness

I don’t care if this next study is done by a male professor, I never wear bras anyway…and I could care less if they sag all the way down to the floor.

Anyway, Bras: a male professor is no expert

Bras being flung in the air in Paris

French professor Jean-Denis Rouillon has said ‘breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity’. Photograph: Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty Images

Jean-Denis Rouillon, a professor of sports science at Besançon university, has spent 15 years studying the anatomy of 330 women, and come to the conclusion that bras are a “false necessity”. So, clever him and stupid women.

Except, wait. Rouillon isn’t any kind of expert at all, because he doesn’t have breasts. He reckons that “medically, physiologically, anatomically breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity”. But women don’t wear bras for medical, physiological or anatomical reasons. We wear them for psychological, aesthetic and practical reasons. Bras stop our breasts from wobbling about in a Don’t Forget for a Second You’ve Got Breasts manner, allowing us to forget them. Otherwise we’d be cupping them in our hands every time we broke into a trot to catch a lift.

Rouillon says that his research shows the nipples of women aged 18-35 rose by an average of 7mm when they went braless. He fails to understand that one of the many comforting things about bras is that you rarely have to think about where your nipples might be. Women are encouraged to fret about their breasts enough. The last thing we need is some fool telling us that we need to think about them, and their welfare, a great deal more.

Gotta give you a link on prehistoric dwarfism: BBC News – Study backs ‘hobbit’ island dwarfism theory

Plus a little history: Speaking up for women’s voting rights: From the archive, 15 April 1892 | From the Guardian | guardian.co.uk

And, a bit of nature: Spring flowers along the Appalachian Trail | Today’s Image | EarthSky

Photo credit: Jane Wildoner

EarthSky Facebook friend Tom Wildoner posted this photo yesterday. He wrote:

Spring flowers along the Appalachian Trail and Swatara State Park in Pennsylvania. What a great weekend for hiking in PA.

Thanks so much for posting Tom!

Last week I went to Atlanta for my EEG and on the way back we stopped at the Walasi-Yi Center, on Blood Mountain which is a stop on the Appalachian Trail…here are some pictures I took, the shoes are from folks who have put at least 500 miles on their boots. There are also some pictures of hikers just starting out on the trail:

No spring flowers yet, we must be at a higher elevation.

Since I am sharing pictures, here is one from last week….early in the morning facing east, looking out at the farm next door.

041120131494

Pretty isn’t it?

Have a wonderful day….think of this as an open thread.