Another Gun Crazy Boston Athlete?

DATELINE: HUMOR!Image

Call to the Bail Bondsman: Terrence Williams, formerly a Celtic

If you happen to be a Boston athlete up on charges involving a gun, you are dead meat.

Presumption of innocence went the way of pressure cooked bombers when it comes to sports and public safety.

Case in point: Terrence Williams of the Celtics. He’s the one with the smug mugshot.

On a team facing Decimation Row, the street-wise basketball guard and forward allegedly threated his girlfriend/common law wife (they are never married nowadays) with one of his handguns.

He is still awaiting disposition of the case in Washington state and faces time in prison. So, it’s no surprise that the Celtic ownership faced a distasteful option of signing the man to a million dollar contract for the upcoming season, but instead decided to cut him.

No doubt some dimwit owner will pick him up and hope Williams staves off a jail sentence, but suddenly professional athletes with guns are regarded as the latest incarnation of John Wesley Hardin.  That wanted poster does not include being sought for a pro team.

The media is shooting first and asking questions later. If you want to be a millionaire athlete, the first step of modern civilization is to divest yourself of deadly weapons.

Though this seems like an infringement of constitutional rights, it has more to do with good business sense.

The most dangerous game nowadays is the player with unlicensed pistols and a habit of flashing them in anger.

Though fans are not likely to be shot by the player at the stadium, a player is more likely to be plugged during his duck-boat victory parade by a fanatic.

Serving as Rondo’s backup is a thankless job, but Terrence Williams has shot himself in the foot and now hits the unemployment team, hoping for a free throw. Chances look slim to none.

 

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Slicing Up the Boston Cream Sports Pie

DATELINE: HUMOR!

Let us count the times we have linked Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard, albeit as the butts of our jokes.

Now we hear that the Dallas Mavericks want Rondo to dangle like the proverbial worm before Dwight Howard, free agent who has yet to find a point guard he can play with.

You can’t catch a whale unless you dangle Jonah before its eyes.

For years we were the only one in Boston who wanted to match Rondo and Howard. That is, unless you count Rondo. Then we were two.

We admit we are selfish. Rondo and Howard never guaranteed a championship, but gave us material for an endless number of “DATELINE: Humor” columns.

You’d think someone in Boston who needs inspiration for humor would be drowning in the sublime and the ridiculous. We don’t need to make things up in Boston: the sports media does it for us.

After all, we now hear that Tyler Seguin, our slob of the year, is now trade bait. We see Andrew Ference, the all-American boy who we could never make fun of, is leaving. Our other Bruin target, Tuukka Rask may also take a jet plane out of town.

We have accepted for a year or so that Jacoby Ellsbury is departing for the west coast. Of course, Jose Iglesias has taken up the slack, but then we hear he may go too, traded for a new starting pitcher.

What’s a punster to do?

Soon, every inspiration for a joke, a jest, a jibe, and a jolt, will be moving elsewhere.

What would Mark Twain do?  Well, humor fans, be still. It’s New England. He’d wait a minute for a change in weather. Tomorrow is another day full of gales, fury, and noise.

 

 

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Jose Iglesias: Here to Stay?

DATELINE: HUMOR!

 

Now that Jose Iglesias is the new position playing potion, we wonder how long before he is criticized for being  a singles hitter with no power.

 

The malcontent media and their enabling fans control the airwaves and cable wires of Boston sports. Thus, the Will Middlebrooks to the Top movement suddenly went crashing to the ground.

 

Alas, poor Will, we knew you were doomed when they had an injury-prone second year player coming in as the man of the hour. The media pushed out Kevin Youkilis from his job with a constant barrage of criticisms about how he was blocking the new Sox star from emerging.

 

Now the latest star is in eclipse, and the latest star is in epigee.

 

Iglesias should not be too comfortable with his new cadre of supporters. They can turn on a dime.

 

Pete Runnels, long ago singles hitter, even won batting titles, but had to make way for the ugly duckling, Dick Stuart. Home runs trump singles in Boston.

 

Iglesias is batting over .400 in late June and batting ninth. Only in Boston does a player provide the light and the Red Sox the bushel to hide it.

 

You can’t expect Iglesias to hit .400 in September, but he won’t hit .400 then if he isn’t hitting it now. With a few more at-bats Iglesias may drop to .350 for the year. But is it enough for the Boston media?

 

Iglesias is unusual. He simply steps into positions like third base and shines. He plays an occasional second base and has even offered to pitch mop up in catastrophic losses. Yet, he was meant to be the starting shortstop at a position the Sox have had no luck with in ten years.

 

The media will pay him compliments today, but the track record of fan support is dubious as the season rolls into September.

 

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Read about the past two seasons with a twist of lemon and bittersweet humor: RED SOX 2011 and RED SOX 2012 trace the funny and unfunny days. Now available on Amazon.com in softcover and e-book.

Clippers Discover Celtics Disease!

DATELINE: HUMOR!Image

The NBA has quarantined Doc Rivers from all things Celtic. Boston will not be allowed to spread its pestilence across the NBA.

Apparently in David Stern’s odd universe, ‘Ubuntu’ is something without an antidote coming out of the DNA of Boston basketball players.

Someone may have told Stern that Ubuntu is black magic from the bowels of voodoo practitioners and could be found in one of the subplots of True Blood in its last season.

Yes, the league will allow Doc to find another banner in the Los Angeles Basin, but he will not be allowed to use his time-tested players from his first championship team.

Stay away, KG and PP.

The Boston Celtics will not be able to deal any players to the Clippers for one year, or until someone finds a loophole or an inoculation to circumvent the latest craziness from the outgoing Commissioner.

There is contagion in Kevin Garnett. That mad dance he does during every game may make him a Typhoid Mary of the NBA.

If he finds himself wanting to play for Doc one more year, he could infect the younger players with something akin to a winning attitude, which is deemed an unfair advantage by the other Los Angeles team.

By the same token, Paul Pierce has been slapped with “Do Not Touch,” sign to prevent him from considering the idea of returning to his hometown in Los Angeles for a season or two.

Trader Danny Ainge may pay lip service to the antiseptic rules of the NBA, but he knows how to spread that kissing disease while looking like a man of upright morals.

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Old Man Doc Rivers Rolls On

DATELINE: HUMOR!

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With Doc Rivers taking the same road out of town that Terry Francona used, Boston is a poorer place. You can tote that barge and lift that bale. You might as well get a little drunk.

Two of the masterful team leaders in dozens of years are now plying wares elsewheres. Francona took a year to go to Cleveland, and Rivers will go to the Los Angeles Basin.

Discard all the press conference explanations where nary an honest word is ever heard.

Francona did not let on that he was actually fired (asked to leave) till later. He said much what Doc states now: it was time for a new voice, and that perhaps he was not reaching players as he once did.

Did you hear that, Rajon Rondo?

Doc knows that all his favorites would be gone within months, and he would be faced with the most mercurial player unleashed.  Rondo may be the most frightening monster to run amok since Doc Frankenstein let his point guard down.

Rondo may be recovering from knee problems, but his biggest problem is the personality transplant no Doc could give him.

Should we be surprised to learn in two months that Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, have joined Doc Rivers as Old Clippers (with Chris Paul) find rejuvenation?

You can count on the fact that Paul is the point guard the Big Three really wanted for the past four years: not that persnickety Rondo guy.

The good news for Rondo is that he will now become the proverbial kid in the candy shop. He likely will drool over the return of Kendrick Perkins and squawk that he wants Josh Smith at his side.

As the old song sort of hums along: “Whatever Rondo wants, Rondo gets—and Big Man, Rondo wants you.”

Danny Ainge will be the new poster boy for enabling general managers.

 http://williamrusso.us/

Go East of Eden to the Land of Nod

 

 DATELINE: Homage to the Movies

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With James Dean fresh in our minds in the person of James Preston in the kinky homage called Joshua Tree 1951, we thought how long it has been since we actually looked at James Dean the Original in one of his three major movies.

A few years back we had written a book on the subject of James Dean, one of several hundred tomes of varying weight and importance on the actor. Ours had the distinction of protected interviews with those who knew Dean and would not speak openly. It damned the book for its wink and nod. We sliced and diced the dozens of imitators.

So, we feel we have an interest in the rebel icon that transcends most fans and took a look at a new DVD version of East of Eden, the first major Dean role and the one that catapulted him into the stratosphere.

James Dean did not start quite at the top, but he was not a bottom feeder either. When Elia Kazan handed him the reins on a key role in an important movie, there is no doubt or worry that the young Hoosier actor was in charge.

For decades we have seen an army of young actors all in humble imitation of the original. And now, as we look at an actor who’d be over 80 today, we tried to see him freshly.

Dean, at once, seemed too old and yet too young in the part. He again struck us as diminutive, almost elfin in size, not so threatening, but smaller, like visiting a childhood house that once seemed immense.

Today every actor from two or three generations plays his role in the Dean mode. But, here, he is the only performer throwing away lines, bobbing and weaving away from the camera and fame, thereby stealing every scene.

 

His contemporaries did not know what to make of him as a psychological study and certainly did not think much of his work as a professional. They seem exasperated in this movie and work hard to keep the verisimilitude, which gives the film something of an unusual patina.

In scenes with Jo Van Fleet as his mother who abandoned him as an infant for a career as the madam of a brothel, Dean and Van Fleet seem almost to mimic each other’s genetics to create a sense of mother and son separated since birth.

There are moments in the film that make it timeless and memorable, even so many years later, after so many viewings.

 

We again give a nod to James Dean.

 http://williamrusso.us/

 You may read THE NEXT JAMES DEAN about the original and his clones. It’s in softcover and e-book on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Doc Rivers as Hamlet: On Stage and Live!

 

 

 

DATELINE: HUMOR!

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Look out, Olivier! The New Hamlet is Coming Soon!

After a half dozen seasons as understudy to Rajon Rondo, the veteran coach Doc Rivers is ready to take his own version of Hamlet: Prince of the NBA on the road.

Fans are expected to pay big bucks to hear Rivers recite the famous soliloquy:  “To Clip or not to Clip, that is the question….”

Few Celtics fans ever expected the reliable and affable coach to give up his juicy role as Polonius season after season to go for the starring role as the indecisive prince seeking revenge.

It takes a special man to hold up the skull of Kevin Garnett in the graveyard and lament, “Alas, poor Garnett, I knew him well…”

Old Man Rivers is expected to keep on rolling along in the new West Coast production in time to be ready for the 2014 NBA Finals.

Rivers has been heard practicing some of his notable speeches, like: “Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I to work only for $7million per year…”

For some the highlight of the production is the scene in which Rivers tells Danny Ainge where to go:  “Get thee to a nunnery!”

For years Doc has been saying,  “The play’s the thing in which to catch the conscience of the Heat…”

And Doc has no remorse at all at sending his latest aides, the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the Celtics, into oblivion.  So long, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee.

Showtime for the new production of Prince Hamlet will open in the Fall at the Los Angeles Forum. In the meantime, Danny Ainge is rehearsing a revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum…

Be sure you have your copy of RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR!  It’s available in softcover and ebook at Amazon.com. 
http://williamrusso.us/

Bob Lazar & Edward Snowden: Whistleblowing Past the Secrets

 DATELINE: Deja Vu

 

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Lazar and Snowden: Government Overseers?

 

If the latest whistleblower (and some claim traitor) seems to ring a familiar note, you may be thinking you’ve seen this guy before.

 

Indeed, you may have if you followed the 1990s face of Bob Lazar who claimed to have worked at the notorious Area 51, a secret government base where captured flying saucers were being back-engineered.

 

The face of Edward Snowden, the man who revealed the secret government program to monitor your phone calls, bears a resemblance to other whistleblower.

 

One is dismissed as a crank, thoroughly discredited for the silliness of his claim. The latest has won recognition at the presidential level as a man who exposed Mr. Obama as the new Nixon.

 

Most interesting about these two men, born a generation apart, is that they insist that the government has the power to render individuals into dog meat. Lazar and Snowden both attended, but never graduated from, junior colleges. They seem to have climbed into positions of power and authority without qualifications.

 

Perhaps the biggest scandal is how the NSA, CIA, or other secret programs recruits its workers.

 

Both men are individualists who answer to the greater public knowledge—to the utter destruction of their personal lives. Indeed, Snowden seems to think a Jason Bourne-style assassin may be hot on his trail.

 

The theme here is one fiction writers love: a government so powerful and so secretive that we will never believe the worst because it enters the realm of fantasy and lunacy.

 

Whistleblowers are never popular—and seldom much heralded even by supporters. Just ask John Dean who brought down Richard Nixon.

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Fame, Adoration, All Fail Marilyn Monroe

DATELINE: LEGEND OF A GODDESS!

Love, Marilyn builds its subject out of her own words, based on recently discovered diaries, jottings, poetry, and other musings written by Marilyn Monroe.

A dozen actors read her words and the words of those who knew her—those friends and associates usually caused her great consternation and pain.

Marilyn Monroe still today plays heroine and victim at once, misunderstood still, and exploited at every turn.

The footage of her acting, both on and off screen, grows more desperate. She herself regarded Marilyn as a separate creature she had to play for the media and public.

In fact, Marilyn created her own Frankenstein’s Monster out of body language and platinum blonde hair that ran amok out of the Hollywood studios and was chased down by the media with cameras instead of pitchforks.

Director Liz Garbus does her best to take the luminous star and catch it falling from the firmament. Only in death has Miss Monroe touched more people than in life as a movie star.

No one who tied his wagon to Marilyn comes out of this documentary unscathed. Her two husbands, Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, knew her better than anyone else in the world—and knew her not at all. In later years they regretted the way they treated her.

No one attempts to explain why Monroe wrote down so many feelings in couplets and free verse on dozens of pieces of paper. Was she planning to write a script? Did she plan an autobiography later in life? Was it merely an attempt to exorcize her demons by putting them on paper?

No one in 20th century America comes close to her iconography and her ability to become a goddess walking in our midst for a few years. (We see James Dean as a male counterpart.) She glowed on screen with some magic that defies explanation.

This little documentary, using her own words, may be the closest attempt to doing her justice and giving her the platform she may have hoped to employ if her life had not been snuffed out so young.

Marilyn herself pegged the trouble to trusting too easily, too many, too often. How sad indeed.

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Celtics Putting Caligula in Charge

DATELINE: HUMOR!

 

ImageThe most daring trade since the Red Sox dumped half a billion in losers may be on the horizon.

 

The Boston Celtics are about to unload millions for aging superstars and superstar coach.

 

Whatever happens, the idea of losing the hearts and soul of the team for the past decade is one that some unsentimental fans are eager to pursue.

 

The greater cost will be alienation of affection. There are many fans, the silent majority that will be disaffected by the callous move.

 

Beloved status and loyalty will bite the dust in the world of Danny Ainge’s rebuilt Celtics. The Human Growth Hormone may be blamed: the team must rejuvenate to grow. The march of time on old stars, set to shine on another alternative coast, leaves a taste of bitter alms.

 

The fans on the worn out eastern seaboard shall cry into their seventeen banners for a season-to-come.

 

If the deal causes a long drought of losing teams and seasons of rebuilding, the curse of Danny Ainge will be worse than any made toward the Bambino at Fenway.

 

Many experts believe such deals are madness personified on all sides, and wiser heads will refuse to participate.

 

Others know that when such a deal is consummated, the Los Angeles Clippers will have a season of Celtics fans following their every game.

 

As eras go, the Big Three of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen, is already gone. The beloved players take their coach with them—and leave the Celtics version of Caligula in charge.

 

Whether Rajon Rondo will make his horse a senator, or just execute any player that does not execute according to his plan, we expect to be quaking under Rondo’s reign.

 

 

 

 

For more on the Celtics and their mercurial point guard, read RAJON RONDO & THE GREEN NEBULA, now available on e-book or in softcover on Amazon.com.

To Catch a Thief, New England Patriots Style

 

 

DATELINE: HUMOR!

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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is fond of telling stories. So, one of his favorite hoary old tales is about how Vladimir Putin stole his 2005 multi-jewel Super Bowl ring.

As the story goes, Kraft visited Moscow after the victory and took the ring off, handed it to President Putin to show him the high quality. Putin then put it in his pocket and meandered off into the bowels of the Kremlin.

Kraft embellishes that the Bush Administration wanted to avoid an international incident and sloughed off the matter—telling Kraft the better judgment was to shrug it off.

The ring, according to Kraft, had his name on it and had sentimental value. It must have. As owner of the team, he paid for the ring and had it made. In the years since, we presume he had replaced it or received some insurance compensation.

Yet, with the height of discretion beyond his bounds, Kraft continues to accuse Putin of stealing the ring. This week the Russian leader heard the accusation—and fired back that it was presented as a gift. It has been placed in the official archives of the Kremlin, with most such gifts.

The Russians are less able to show a whimsical sense of humor when they are made into the butt of a billionaire sports owners’ joke.

If Kraft was dumb enough to remove his ring and hand it to a man surrounded by armed guards, he showed uncanny judgment not befitting a self-made billionaire.

In the meantime, we expect Robert Kraft will remove the funny thing happened on the way to the Kremlin story from his repertoire of comic anecdotes.

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Read the latest book by William Russo on the Patriots:  NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS UNDRESSED, covering the 2012 season, now in softcover and e-book on Amazon.com.

From The Birds to FDR’s Mother: Elizabeth Wilson

 DATELINE: Homage

 

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  Centerpiece: Elizabeth Wilson is back on screen in Hyde Park on Hudson!

She almost slipped by us this time.

 

While watching the movie Hyde Park on Hudson about FDR and his whimsical meeting with the King and Queen of England in 1939, a delightful old lady with pure white hair stole every scene she was in. She was feisty, combative, and gave a sterling accounting of FDR’s mother.

 

Sometime in mid-movie, she had a closeup and the face’s old familiarity jumped out.

 

It was Elizabeth Wilson. We had not seen her in a movie in a dozen years or more, thinking she was long retired—or worse.

 

In a career going back to the years James Dean was a meteor on screen, she played loyal secretaries, hard-working waitresses, and kindly spinsters. She made one of her earliest impressions on us in Patterns, the Rod Serling business drama in which she played the put-upon and highly loyal secretary to Ed Begley, being driven to death in the boardroom.

 

She had a small and unforgettable role in that one—and it seems as her career now is nearing midnight, she took another featured character role and made it buzz.

 

Oh, she had her time: Mike Nichols appreciated her and gave her roles in all his heyday movies like Day of the Dolphin, Catch 22, The Graduate, but perhaps her style of character had just fallen out of favor in the past twenty years.

 

Perhaps it is no coincidence that she returns in an old-fashioned film like Hyde Park on the Hudson. She never had quite the limelight like this, and we are so thrilled it comes at the end of a distinguished career.

 

If for no other reason, this film will keep its spot in our memory than to see 92-year old Elizabeth Wilson one more time.

Joshua Tree 1951 Chops James Dean Down to Bite Size

 

 

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DATELINE: Joshua Tree 1951 & James Dean

 

We cannot tell a lie: this movie falls atop the James Dean legend with the splat of Godzilla meeting Bambi. The trailer gives a full sensation.

 

After years of teasing, the black and white art film that depicts an impressionistic version of James Dean hits the streaming market like Dean taking a public leak on the set of one of his movies.

 

Finally there is an arty biographical movie that does to James Dean what he did to art. From the opening and disquieting images of “The Human Ashtray” to Arthur Rimbaud’s bedroom, director Michael Mishory ties Dean into some heavy-duty angst and some lightweight Hollywood orgies of the early 1950s.

 

We first saw a trailer several years ago and have been teased endlessly about the film’s ever-postponed premiere. Now it has arrived on DVD with little fanfare outside of a Mexico theatrical showing.

 

As director James Franco learned with his towering small budget biography of Hart Crane, period movies are difficult, but this flows with ease in its pre-rock world of Joshua Tree where the old rocks don’t change for centuries, or at least since Dean stayed there.

 

Evocation of film noir and beat symbolist poetry seems to knot Dean’s roots as the film jumps back and forth in an impressionistic frenzy.

 

James Preston’s James Dean comes across as preformed, waiting to hatch out of a chrysalis. As Dean biographical features go, this one tries to be the be-all and end-all.

 

With so many of those who knew Dean gone and a few ancient leftovers not spilling their beans, the film will have no challengers. Nearly 60 years after James Dean’s car crash into mythomania, this film gives us the 21st century Dean.  No doubt that Dean would find the latest followers still lagging far behind his path.

 

This film requires acceptance on levels that are not standard for typical movies. It’s far beyond Eden, planetarium explosions, and belligerent oil tycoons that defined Dean’s movie legacy. He’s now ready for his close-up on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

 

We know that Jimmy Dean would have approved.

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William Russo is author of THE NEXT JAMES DEAN, featuring insights from a few who were there and demanded anonymity for their stories. The book is available on Amazon.com in softcover and e-book formats.

Hyde Park’s In London

DATELINE: MOVIES TO SEE

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Hyde Park on Hudson: FDR greets King and Queen of England

 

So complains Queen Elizabeth, wife of Bertie, when told that FDR’s home is called Hyde Park.

 

In Hyde Park on Hudson, we have another film about the stuttering King of England who grows on people. And, we have too another tale of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, previously the domain of actors Ralph Bellamy and Edward Herrmann.

 

Now comes the movie version of a weekend visit of the King and Queen in 1939 to the United States, looking for help against Hitler. This time Bill Murray is FDR, a man of whimsical charm and surrounded by smothering women. We almost didn’t recognize the marvelous and unheralded Elizabeth Wilson as his mother.

 

The film is not so stuffy as most depictions of the Royals. This film likely wouldn’t have happened if not for Downton Abbey and The King’s Speech. Most critics did not see this movie as any great shakes, but it is charming in a 21st century way.

 

This is the FDR for the new century: smutty inferences about the President and his wife’s female companions. Mostly it is about how the formal British are brought down to earth by hot dogs and apple pie.

 

King George and President Roosevelt were men protected by the media for their physical handicaps (stuttering and polio), and despite their problems, they were highly public figures with sensitivity and the power to transform the world.

 

We couldn’t look away from this movie and felt like we should—if only out of good taste and respect. Alas, we have a fondness for historical drama that pulls back the curtain, showing how the little man at the levers is no wizard of Oz.

 

Hyde Park on Hudson may not be what The Queen scenarist Peter Morgan would give us, but we surely would put it on our shelf with admirable movies that have appeal to a select crew of film aficionados.

 

You may be interested in more reviews of films worth seeing in MOVIES TO SEE–OR NOT TO SEE, available in e-book and in softcover on Amazon.com.

Doc Rivers About to Clip the Celtics?

 DATELINE: HUMOR!

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The rumors don’t become uglier than this stepsister of a fairy tale ending.

Doc Rivers wants to leave Boston—and he will take Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett with him. They will leave the heavy luggage and Rajon Rondo to spin in his own juices.

Like Terry Francona, Doc has had enough of the Boston merry-go-round. He’s taking his act on the road.

If rebuilding and losing is your pat-a-cake, then you are about to give the old men a pat-a-whack. Garnett and Pierce would surely be happy to take the hike with Doc.

Whatever could the Los Angeles Clippers give the Celtics? How about a Rondo toy named Blake Griffin? Not since Norma Desmond found her young companion in Sunset Boulevard would there be a tandem like Griffin and Rondo. It would be enough to make Rondo forget Kendrick Perkins and Dwight Howard.

Alas, the Rondo juggernaut would race out of control without a strong coach.  Of course, Rondo himself could be on the block if another guard like Eric Bledsoe shows up to point the way.

Two options remain for the Celtics as coach—and one of them is NOT Rondo as player-coach.

GM Danny Ainge could step into the hot seat himself to show his critics that he is the new Red Auerbach. His second choice would be to ensconce his best friend and former teammate Kevin McHale in the job.

However the patty cake is sliced, the Celtics franchise will roll on with its devoted fan base and obsessed lunatic fringe.

A new era was on the horizon any respect within the next season or two. It’s coming now: inexorable.

 http://williamrusso.us/

To read a comprehensive and mad account of the Celtics with Doc Rivers, take a look at RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR in ebook or softcover. It’s available at Amazon.com.