Saturday, January 13, 2018

Its Official I Guess

Okay ........ Hmm ....... So I guess I cannot say I am not retired anymore.  A year without a paycheck is either being out of work or retirement. I have had no interest in pursuing gainful employment since my bike shop sold, and saying "unemployed" offers a promise that I might be looking for work.  I certainly do not want to give the wrong impression. So "retired" it is.

So what have I done to fill my days for the last year?  While some nagging honey do chores have been addressed, the additions to the list I made a year ago with the best of intentions, created an even longer list.  The list will never be broken.  I need to come to terms with this and be grateful I have so much more to avoid than I used to.

One of my regular blog visitors, Pipe Tobacco, commented in my last post about Trump. He was surprised I hadn't focused my attention and ire more on our fearless leader.   Well, I guess it is a case of being over exposed to the asshole.  I can't watch or listen to a broadcast without Dimwit in Chief being thrown in my face.  Frankly I am tired of him, tired of the Republicans, tired the spineless whiners on the Left, and absolutely have had it with the media enabling all those assholes.

I am just fucking fed up with the noise.

Instead of bitching about his Royal Highness, I decided to throw my energy in a new direction - Local Politics. 

If you do not want to be frustrated and bored at the same time, don't just go to weekly selectman meetings or committee meetings.  What you need to do is join a committee.  Do that and you can be frustrated, bored, and occasionally pissed off.

I joined the newly formed marijuana committee set up last September.  Seven members tasked with providing information to the selectmen and citizens regarding the commercial and retail side of legal marijuana in town.  Myself and two others represent the Pot smokers and the rest want to bring back the 1950's.  It has been a very contentious experience.  Tempers have flared, feelings hurt, and you know what?  I fucking love it.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .........................................
____________________________

New Flash Fiction over to BoZone Too

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Being, Like, Really Smart

...... Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard, as everyone knows, went down in flames.  I went from VERY successful businessman, to top TV Star. .......

I have up to this moment, been able to resist commenting on the latest dumb ass tweet from the Donald.  There have been so many pointing out his inadequacies so far, why now do I bring it up? Maybe I have had it up to here, or I just couldn't resist the irony of this particular tweet. ........ If he wasn't so dangerous, I might enjoy this clown's buffoonery.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .....................................

Friday, December 29, 2017

Limits

1/28/12 - Carrot Ranch Challenge
99 Words - Prompt - wishing star

Maybe a tad irreverent.  All I can say is, it is what came to mind. ......... Oh well.

"Limits"

“Wish I were, Wish I might……… Ah, screw it.  This doesn’t work anymore.”

Crestfallen, Jesus stood on the Mount and stared up at the night sky.  Moments passed as he wallowed in self pity.  Off to his left, a brighter star than the rest seemed to come closer.

“Boy, I told you there were limits. “

“But Dad, how can I turn this planet around if you won’t cooperate?”

“Well son, I’ll tell ya.  No water walking, leper healing parlor trick is going to upstage that damn Free Will clause I enacted ………… Time to pull the plug.”
________________________

Contrary to my write from the hip style, instead of going with my first effort, I tweaked this one into three slightly different takes.   This was the third version.  And though I am still on the fence somewhat as to which one I like the best, I felt this one told a more complete story.

Regardless, seems I have gotten over that awkward period of re-acquainting myself with Flash. Cool. Trying to make it better is a good next step.

Oh Yeah - I wrote the first draft to the tune "Honey Dripper" as performed by Dr John, the Night Tripper.   Some of the Devil's music.


Enjoy 

Later Gator ..............................................

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Conquering Hero

This was a piece I wrote for a flash fiction challenge awhile ago.  I wrote it in memory of a friend who did not die in Vietnam.  He died because of Vietnam.  

Found it again and thought it might be appropriate to re-publish it here with a new year looming and all.  What can we do to keep this kind of legacy from repeating itself in our future?
______________________

His eyes were full of the things he had seen.  His mouth, full of stories better passed over than passed down.  Memories caught in his craw and woke him sweating cold in the dread of his nights and left him staring into his darkness til Dawn’s early light.


Well meaning people wearing blue scrubs and white coats did what they could.  As it was with so many others, it did not work out.  Scarred and broken, he was sent back to a homeland that would never be the same for him.  His innocence pooled bloody on too many foreign plains.  Feeling forgotten, discarded and alone with his demons, he sought solace in barbiturates, whiskey and gin.  He could never forget his role in the premeditated chaos of Man killing Man in faraway lands.

One day he gave up, double hit China White, laid down and he died.  Before his curtain closed, with one final sigh, the untold stories and nightmares at last said goodbye.  Our conquering hero had finally found his peace.
___________________________________

Later ..............................................

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tread on Me

Being a member of the Masses always bothered me.  Not that I was a card carrying member, it was the use of the word "Masses".  The word leaves no room for individuality or self expression.  And just what is a single member of the "Masses" called?  A Mass?  A Masshole?  The possibilities are not endless.

Well, I do not need to worry about it anymore.  Among the many improvements the Donald has made around our landscape, he has, if unwittingly, given us a new name now that we are officially the largest Banana Republic in the World.

We are now Peons tending the toilets and gardens of the rich and famous, not just "the Masses".  Peon sounds so much more important.  Better than "minion", as minion leads one to believe we are all willing participants in Donald's quest to "Make America Great Again".  This does not mean a Trump minion is not a Peon.  They are just the stupid Peons.

Anyway, just some of what stumbled across my mind this morning with my first coffee.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ..................................

Monday, December 25, 2017

Red Sky in the Morning


This is a shot of the southwestern sky from my door yard at Dawn, yesterday, Christmas Eve morning.  No better proof of the old adage, "Red Sky Morning, Sailors Take Warning".   Because today, Christmas 2017, we have been getting over an inch of snow per hour since breakfast.  Looks like a solid seven to eight inches of more white crap out there.

About as white a Christmas as anyone could wish for I guess.  But I tell you what.  It is kind of wasted on Mainers.  Snow on the ground is just another day on the planet during Winter up here.  I would have been pleased as punch if  Christmas had just opened up with a nice clear frosty day.  A Winter Sun up here makes everything pop when it is able to bounce its rays off the snow cover.

Hope everyone's holidays pan out as planned.

HO!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Paisano

99 words exactly – Prompt – “White Flowers”

During a season that is supposed to be about the joy of life, giving and goodwill to Man, we should also take a moment to reflect on those who have lost, are lost, and will continue to lose in the future. 

Paisano

Hovering over Pauper Grave #242, uninhibited tears fell onto the single white Chrysanthemum Jack clutched in his hand.   Six inches of snow had found its way into the cast off Bean boots someone threw at him from a Lexus.  He did not even notice.

It was six Christmas Eve’s ago he had identified the body of his hard times friend.   Closing his eyes, Jack could still see Rodney’s gap toothed grin after they had constructed their last blue tarp cardboard palace together.

Jack tossed the Chrysanthemum on the grave and watched it disappear into the fresh snow. 

“R.I.P. Rodney”.
_____________________________________

Maybe it was my recent re-read of Steinbeck’s “Tortilla Flat”.  Or maybe it was today’s NPR piece on the Homeless Vigil held in Portland, Maine around Christmas every year.  Toss in some white flowers and there you have it, something to write about.  

Whatever reason ya’ll have for celebrating, please enjoy it, savor it, and carry it as far into 2018 as you can. 

Ho …………………………………………….
________________________________________


Cross posted at  Lostin the BoZone, Too

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What the Hell Happened to Us?

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was proud of the Boomer Generation I was part of.  We made up a majority of the citizen soldiers whose resistance created so much change for the better.  Civil Rights, Anti War, Environment, all benefited from our efforts.

That was then, this is now.  Today, I am ashamed of my generation.  We had claimed we did not want to become our parents.  And we didn't.  We became something worse.  We shed all the good character traits of our parents and absorbed all their flaws.

Sure, there are many of us who have kept the flame burning, but for the most part, Boomers have become a generation of cynical, self absorbed assholes who don't give a rat's ass about the next guy. 

We created the extreme partisanship we all live with today.  What the Hell happened to us?

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Big Bang

This Kodak moment I snapped a few weeks ago was a rather pedestrian image that did nothing for me until I messed around with it.  Once I had it at this point, I considered what it reminded me of.

After some contemplation I decided that it reminded me of what scientists describe as "The Big Bang" theory of the beginning of the Universe.  Everything inside the circle getting organized while the outer wave swallows all the loose matter in its path. 

I know the theocratic views favor different scenarios, but they all seem to indicate no matter what happened, it was a sudden event and everything we know expanded from this beginning.

I have no clue why the various takes create so much friction, hate and discontent.  The beginning seems such a stupid thing to squabble over.  But then humans aren't happy unless their panties are bunched up over something.

Keep 'tween the ditches .......................................
_____________________________

BTW, for anyone interested, I posted a piece of flash fiction over to "BoZone Too".

Friday, December 15, 2017

Enjoy the Decline

So I have been M.I.A. for awhile now.  The better part of a year or so I'd say.  In that time much has transpired, gone down, happened to, happened because, and resulted in more negatives than pluses.  Actually too many incidents and accidents to mention in one blog post.

I delayed my re-entry into the blogosphere because there was just too much to cover.  I felt fucking overwhelmed.  Where does one start when all that surrounds them seems to have gone down the shitter?  Fires, Hurricanes, Pedophile candidates, and nuclear confrontations have surrounded my small spot on the rock.

And then there is Trump.  Mix him into all the madness and what we have is not a world that seems to have gone insane, but a world that has definitely lost its mind.  The lowest point Humanity has hit in my lifetime.

Regardless, one recurring tendency seems to have become obvious to this untrained observer.  While the USA has managed to slip out of top billing among World Leadership, we have become the number one, with a bullet, the largest Banana Republic on the planet.  And since the horse has already left the barn due to the self interest of the Right and their owners, there is no sense in pissing and moaning. ............

...........................  Just sit back, spark up a doob or sip on a cocktail with an umbrella in it and Enjoy the Decline.


On a personal note, this past year without a job to go to everyday or worry about every day has been very interesting.  I thought I would get so much more done at home.  I guess I did get more done than I would slogging to a job every day, but that Honey Do list just does not seem much smaller.  Had some health issues I now hope I have on the run and my wife came up with breast cancer.  Thankfully we now have a plan and are dealing with that optimistic first phase of the disease.  I'll tell you what, Life outside my small circle seems so petty and meaningless once Cancer entered.  Yeah, my perspective has changed fer shur.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .............................................................

Monday, February 13, 2017

Low Key Resistance

Okay so the title is political in nature.  So sue me.

Seems we all need to be more attentive.  I had obviously become complacent and satisfied that while the Planet was in a world of shit, right here in America, we were stumbling in the right direction.  Seems we have been poleaxed back some recently, what with the ascension to the throne of the 45th President of the USA.  All I will say is, he is a joke, but what he is trying to pull is definitely no joke.  Millions of critical eyes need to be on the lookout.

But ..........

That is not why I came here today.  It is so damn easy for me to get side tracked from that early morning clear as a bell thoughtful idea for a post to the 4 hours later here and now.  A lot happens in 4 hours in my world you know.  Coffee to make, cats to yell at as I clean up their daily leavings in and out of the litter tray.  Then there is the gazing out the window into my afternoon future that will surely create more wasted sound waves of fussing about blowing snow without a cab around me or how those plow guys just love to plow me in. ............ Bastards.

All that aside, my original thoughts were about the current hip go to word for the pinko liberal commie socialistic losers who won't stop whining and get on the bus driven by a crazy man.

RESIST!  ............If there is any time I feel proud to be hanging out Left of Center, it is now.  You Pinkos rock.

My first conscious act of resistance was after I smoked that first joint in 1965 or so.  I knew within the first minute of those rushes and giggles, the law against Nature's best herb was absurd.  At least it was absurd in my 13 year old mind, given what my reaction was to my first over indulgence of alcohol.  That was not a pretty picture, me being drunk, on my knees and puking up vodka taken straight from the bottle.  If Alcohol was legal, then the Doob should be too.

One conscious act of resistance led to another when I found myself marching against the Vietnam War.  And then it became easier for me to smell something wrong in Denmark and I made low key resistance an integral part of my life.  Where I saw Absurd rules, I broke them when possible.

If a rule makes no sense, then do what you can to change it.  A first step has always been to break that rule.  Seems it was a logical place to start.  Of course one soon realizes there is a cost to breaking rules.  I learned early on.  But I have no regrets.  50 plus years of living a slightly less stressful state of consciousness has been well worth the wrist slaps I dealt with back in the day.

They can make something illegal.  But it won't do them any good if enough folks ignore it.


Keep it 'tween the ditches ...................................................

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Machines of War

Those of us who survive are left to shed the tears as we remember our dead.  When the departed die for no good reason other than to advance a country's selfish policy, those tears are filled with rage and sadness.  There are no worse tears I can think of.

The young go willingly.  They throw themselves into harm's way with nary a thought.  But contrary to their posturing, their bravado, they are not indestructible.

The Machines of War are arbitrary and will always finish what they begin. ..... No matter how long it takes.  No matter if there is a victory.  No matter if the machines leave thousands lying in contorted poses in their wake.  The Machines of War always win and Humanity always loses.

For my nephew on this US Navy remembrance day.  He didn't make it home...........

RIP Bobbie.  1983 - 2005

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Things Do Go Bump in the Night

When I was a child I was sure there were indeed things that went bump in the night, monsters under the bed, and closet creatures just waiting with bated breath to snatch me up and take me to their lairs.  My parents would be understanding  but firm about it being my problem, not theirs.  My dad would grunt, "Go back to sleep Bug, there's nothing to fear."

Nothing to fear?  Who was he kidding?  Sinister Evil hung out in every nook and cranny of my room.  But I would suck it up and cringe under the covers until the need to sleep overcame the need to be scared.

Eventually I learned to not fear the figments of my imagination.  Rather, I embraced them,  let them play out their worst case scenarios and then parked them in the dusty file marked "Get a Grip Mike".

Yet even now, when the flashlight is on, those figments often find its beam.

Later ........................................

Friday, February 03, 2017

Yeah, Why is this Even a Debate?


For someone who claims to not care about Religion, I sure spend a lot of time thinking about it.  It is not a top tier issue for me, but it pops into the middle of conversations I have with myself on a regular basis.  .................  Damn Facebook.

The Image to the right popped up in my FB news feed the other day.  And it pissed me off.

I was not angry because of what either the secular view or the theocratic view represented.  I am at the point now where I am just tired of Religion  and anti- religion wasting so much of our time by distracting us from the act of living the best life we can.  Both sides are unwilling to accept that they are possibly not the final answer.

Neither one is the final answer.  You cannot prove the non provable without more evidence from either.  One side uses "Faith" to support their claims.  The other uses theory.  Neither one  is or can be the final answer at this time.  Definitive answers do not exist, and something tells me they never will.

And does it matter in the big scheme, the plan, this trip our species is taking through the flow of Time?  This is a petty and stupid disagreement, God or no God.  Yet because of both, millions have lost their lives over the millenniums.

Religion was created by Man for Man.  Science was created by Man for Man.  Both offer explanations for the why,what and where we came from, where we are now, and where we might be headed.  And both are nothing but throwing darts at a dartboard.  Score is kept by who can shout down the other the best.  Its all bullshit.

Later .................................................

Monday, January 30, 2017

No Lester, It is not Complicated

Lester Holt of NBC News tonight was summing up happenings surrounding the Trump Regime's recent Muslim Ban order.  He tried to appear neutral in his summation by finishing with and I paraphrase,  "Many in America are upset of this perceived violation of basic human rights, while others are understandably concerned over the threat of terrorism in this country.  It's complicated ....."

No Lester, it is not fucking complicated.  Rather than calling out Trump's obvious manipulation of people's unfounded fears, instead, you feed the flames by intimating the fear has some validity.  You sir are as bad as Fox.  Asshole.

Unfounded fear is unfounded fear and should never be given any consideration other than it is unfounded fear.  Instead of just giving us the news, you are helping to create it and keep the fear at a fever pitch.  You did your viewers a true dis-service tonight and also lost my respect.

Jerkwad ..........................................

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Not Just Another True Story

So I'm cruising around Facebook this AM, not paying attention to what roads I am on.  Come across a post with the image at the right.  Something about Trump being not only the first hybrid of a Pig and a Human, but the first blend of an animal with a human ever.

I don't know about the first one, but I know Trump is not a hybrid of a pig and a human.

........ The true story ........

70 plus years ago in the Bronx, a real estate broker and his wife wanted a child.  Sadly, he and his darling wife could not have children.  He was shooting blanks or she was barren.  Not sure, cuz back then, well, nobody checked, it just depended on who was talking.

Well, this real estate guy knew a guy who knew a guy who was a janitor at the biology building at NYU.  He told them he could fix them right up.  He had been paying attention while sweeping up around the egg heads gazing into microscopes and such.  He just needed a quiet place to get it done.

The real estate broker fixed him up with a locked room in the basement of one of the tenements he owned in Queens.  Bought the supplies and equipment the janitor wanted and the janitor performed his magic.  Before the year was out, the Donald crawled out of that dark tenement basement room.

Real estate dad was at first concerned.  Donald didn't look normal.

The janitor calmed real estate guy down, " Yeah, the hybrids always look a tad odd when they're young.  He'll grow out of it."

Not quite sure about his young son turning out fine, real estate asked why did his son look the way he did.

"You know I couldn't trust yours or your wife's DNA.  And since you were in such a damn hurry, I used what was handy."

"Oh", Real Estate Guy's concern grew.  "And what was handy?"

"Well, I used some DNA of mine and some from a nag's ass I moonlight with on weekends in Central Park ."

"So you're telling me my son is part shit room cleaner and a horse's ass?"

"That about sum's it up.  But fear not, one or the other will become dominant by puberty."

And that is the first and only, though undisclosed until today, successful Human/Horse's Ass to date.

True story.  Add it to your quiver of alternate facts.

Later ......................................................

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Friends

I have been on Facebook maybe a week or so.  In that time I have accumulated some friends and as it turns out, lost some too.  The whole friend thing is odd to me.  Many of my Facebook "friends" are indeed friends from my life story, but many are not.  The concept of calling someone a friend or not a friend based on bandwidth swapped back and forth is a hard concept for me to get my head around.

I consider the folks who have been consistent in their visits to my blog as friends.  That took some time however.  It did not happen with the request button at one end and the accept button at the other. I figure I will accept a friend request from anyone, but reserve the right to not consider them friends, but more as folks I exchange words and ideas with.

I haven't paid attention to my "friend count". I know it is higher than when I gave FB another chance a week or so ago.  I have no idea who has "unfirended" me, with the exception of one fellow from my high school days who took the time to send me a message that he was indeed "unfriending" me and why.

It was not that we are politically opposed to each other, though we are definitely on opposing sides.  It was because I somehow was able to place a comment on one of his other friend's pages that apparently was not held in high regard.  Remember, we don't look at the world through the same rose colored glasses.

First of all, the offending comment was nothing to get panties in a bunch.  I just disagreed with the circle jerk this crew was having while they beat up on Liberals.  I was accused of bypassing some FB filter and intruding on their choir practice.  Please.  I barely know how to navigate from the home page to my page.  The post I responded to was in front of me so I responded.

Regardless, I do appreciate that this fellow gave me his reasons for casting me into his unfriended pile.  But not because I would then be heart broken I had lost a friend on Facebook.  It was just the polite thing to do as he saw it, and I respect that.

Which brings me to my point.

The word "friend" like so many other words is over used, abused, and taken for granted.  I do not care how many  Facebook friends I have.  Matter of fact, true friends are hard to find.  When I find them, I know it.  Everyone else is just someone I have conversations with.  A true friend of mine is someone who allows me to be an asshole, yet still comes over for a beer.

Later ...............................................

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tomorrow Never Arrives

I was probably about age 6 when I first took notice of one of my father's favorite sayings.  It may have been that first Eureka moment in my life when I realized my parents might claim to have all the answers, but not always the right ones or ones that were unassailable.  I guess I discovered logic, or at least became aware of its existence.

"Tomorrow never arrives. "

"Sure it does Daddy."

"No.  No, it doesn't.  By the time tomorrow comes, it is today."

The man had me stumped.  I began chewing on this notion, that tomorrow never arrives.  It had to.  In my bones I knew it had to.  So I retreated into my elementary school mind and worked the notion hard for quite awhile. In kid's time, it seemed like it took forever to come up with a way to one up my ole man.

One day when I was sure I had it.  I found Dad doing Dad stuff.  I squared my shoulders and blurted, "Tomorrow does too arrive."

He stopped doing his Dad stuff and turned to look at me.  He looked at me for some seconds.  "Oh, really?  How do you figure that?

Standing a little straighter and trying to marshal up more bravado, "Today is Yesterday's Tomorrow."

Well, my ole man smiled.  He didn't say a word for what seemed like forever.  And then, "Well you know what Bug? You have me there."

As I walked away, he said to my back,  "Good job."  I remember immediate pride.

While this trip down memory lane is nice and all, my point of this post is I haven't quit chewing on Dad's original saying.  I have tried expanding it this way, that way, and eventually tried to accept that that was all there is.

It would not stay down.  Haunted me on a regular basis.  But then Time, Existence , and what it all means has had me puzzled since I first stumbled upon them.  They will most likely continue to do so I guess until the light has left my eyes and my meat's gone cold.  But I do have my latest opinion on the subject.

What happened yesterday and will happen tomorrow are intrinsically tied up, wrapped up, entwined with the events that unfold today.  It is a complicated flow of the passage of time, the actions of today  and yesterday that dictate what happens in our future tomorrows .  And often it takes the passage of many todays before we understand what happened in all those yesterdays.  And though we might have the answer today, it most likely is one we should have had yesterday and we will now pay the price for it tomorrow.

Later .............................................

Friday, January 20, 2017

Facebook

So now what do I do?  All my comments on the previous post, which appear to be veterans of the retirement gig, suggest I slow down and enjoy what time remains.  Good plan I am sure.  One to strive for.  Unfortunately, being a life long loose dog, go it my own way kinda guy, I just cannot predict where this all ends up.

Its not a case of what to do now that I am free and clear of my "day job".  Rather, I know myself well enough that when faced with uncertainly or multiple forks in the road, I will usually pick the one I didn't notice in the first place.

So anyway, one of those forks I have already walked down.  Because I wanted to use my shop's Facebook page to say goodbye to the area that used my shop over the years, I decided to update my personal page.  Damn, if I did not get sucked in.

Like I said, it started with using Facebook to button up business related issues and ended with me deep into the belly of the Facebook Beast.  And Facebook is a beast.  Maybe more akin to the Sirens from the Odyssey.  Seductive ego boosting taunts abound everywhere.

Once I became trapped with countless numbers of people demanding I "like this, or comment on that, I realized I had to set some boundaries, or create some counter sanity in order to deal with it.  My counter sanity is this blog.  Here I am able to slow down as my blogging friends have suggested without the constant red icon informing me there is something, someone new I need to pay attention to.

Don't get me wrong.  I am enjoying my re-entry into Facebook.  I have exchanged niceties and some good ole boy insults with people from my past.  And it has been a blast.  When the newness wears off, I hope I will have reestablished some old friendships with little maintenance on my part.

As to the Inauguration - Fuck the Inauguration.

Later ...........................................................................................

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A New Chapter


So, it has been awhile since I last visited my blog. Normally my periods of MIA are filled with nothing of interest to relay.  Same ole boring day to day crap that fills my life like it fills the days of everyone else. ........ SSDD and all that.

Well, my recent absence has been filled with excitement, stress, anger, elation, and any number of things not found in the basic make up of SSDD.

I have sold the bike shop.  The gyrations and emotional garbage that accompanied the early January transition are now safely in my rear view.  Because it was not a friendly transition, but one filled with hurt feelings and anger, I came out of it fired up and ready to do battle again.  This old dog is pissed and will re-mark his territory in the near to distant future.  Count on it.

I would get into specifics but why?  Let's just say a long friendship and mutual respect I thought existed does not exist anymore.  The bridge between us may not be burned down, but it is indeed on fire.  I have heard that Time heals all wounds. .......................... We'll see.

In the meantime, I have moved on for the moment, tabling any plans for the long term.  I won't call it retirement, though it may indeed turn out that way.

As one chapter ends, another begins.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ...................................................