Last week I posted a blog about the President and remarked that, having blasted at the FBI as best he could, the he would now go after the intelligence agencies who tried to chill his passion for Putin. I was sickened to be proven correct when he went after Mr. Coats as having “gone rogue” and now threatens to vacate security clearances for several (retired) officials. We’ll see more of that because we’re living in our own cult of personality landscape. If we had an American in the office of President, we’d destroy anyone who attacked our democracy as Putin has. If we had an American electorate with any sort of concern for their own well-being (and that of their children), we’d demand an immediate end to this regime’s intentional pollution of our air and water. If we were the people we keep telling ourselves we are, we wouldn’t be watching our government employees participate in the destruction of helpless families. If we had a real sense of our place in the world, we wouldn’t have a President who adores international murderers. Our opposition party leaders wouldn’t continue to offer a limp hand of peace to the President’s mob the same way he offers submission to scum like Putin and Kim.

Our elite made the President possible. Millions of people voted for him because the alternative was the same stagnant twaddle we’ve been handed for decades. It wasn’t hatred or ignorance that drove them; it was contempt. The American middle class has seen its proud nation reduced to placating tin hat dictators, begging for cooperation from its allies, and led by ninnies who simply haven’t the guts to fight for anything like middle class values. My television set – and yours – is jammed with 6-figure-paid journalists parading out the same 8-to10-figure-paid gurus reassuring us we’ll be magically transported to a new golden era if we’ll just elect one more tired plug from the DNC stable. I admire the press for getting after the President. We need them desperately. Unfortunately, none of them – and their Richy Windbag guests – knows anyone who’s plain old middle class. Much of what’s left of that middle class, after decades of crummy leadership, is in revolt. The President and his Republican lick-spittles know how to make them drink his Kool-Aid. He’s turned our towns and cities into one huge knife fight. In response, the Democrats have risen in counter-attack, flogging all evil-doers with the twin pom-poms of sweet reason and impeccable manners. Not that all the President’s supporters are evil. He is. They aren’t. But they want leaders who understand that the common man in this country is now a servant, his pride and status reduced to something called minimum wage. The Americans I know hate that, be damned sure. They won’t vote for someone who doesn’t have a clearly stated plan to help them. Instead of someone who does have a plan, our press persists in serving up the same overcooked turnips who burble about returning us to the good old days. They’re too isolated from America to realize they’re responsible for destroying our middle class and with it, our vaunted shining city on a hill. And now they want us to vote for them so they can continue the good work. But don’t blame the Democrat leadership exclusively for the state of our union. The Republicans have been right beside them, their insulation from American reality as complete as any Middle Eastern sheik’s.

We need fighters. Young men and women who come to the party with the gloves already off. We don’t need Hitler’s Brown Shirts or anything like it. But has anyone here ever heard of the CCC? Or the WPA? The TVA? How about the Golden Gate Bridge? When the great depression knocked this country flat we had a leadership that fought ferociously to build and work our way back up. The President is doing his malevolent best to destroy our institutions and our economy in his lust to become Dear Leader. Don’t kid yourself that his goal is another term in office. He’s working for dictatorship and the old order has no chance against him. Fortunately, the press has given us some acquaintance with politicians like Seth Moulton and Ted Lieu and Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez, people itching for a chance to tear up the pig in our parlor. We need that new blood and clear-eyed view of what we’ve become and how we can change it.

I’m going to say one more thing. If you care to infer a racist tint in it, you just enjoy yourself, but I’ll tell anybody that, unless your skin’s as white as Ivory soap, the President and his core will never consider you more than a second class citizen. He thinks of a lot of white people that way, but if you’re a person of color, his election was the day your future disappeared. He’s got a scatter of judas goats in his pack. Disregarding them – as he will, when they’ve outlived their usefulness – he’s your mortal enemy, and if you don’t vote him and his servants out of office – and you don’t get your friends and family to vote with you – it’s time to reserve your seat in the back of the bus. Or worse.

Can We Expect Another White Flag?

It’s Sunday morning here, a little after 7 AM. I’m literally at the center of our small town where I live in a Merrill Gardens senior living facility. My apartment’s on the third floor, so I have a nice view of our library and city hall. Both are in the same building. I think it’s a nice touch. Our seniors community flies our flag at the edge of our property. Just beyond, the national and state flags swirl in a light breeze. Two cars just went through our major intersection. A lone woman strides the sidewalk across the way. She moves slowly, but somehow cloaked in an aura of purpose. I watch her and find myself wondering what she’s thinking. In this small, still corner of our country, what’s decided her course, her goals, her hope?
Tomorrow my President will enter a room inhabited by Vladimir Putin and two interpreters, creating a grand total of two humans.  I say “my President” because it’s important to be constantly reminded that both men are elected. Those who elected them are now in the peculiar position of watching those same individuals slash all restraints on their personal power to assure that no one is ever elected in their stead. Or anyone is elected anywhere who does not adhere to their every whim. In the words of our President, when he speaks, everyone is to sit up straight and pay attention. In his defense, he didn’t add “or else.” Similarly, Josef Stalin never said out loud “Eastern Europe is Russian,” but he gave the effort to make it so his best shot. That’s because people like Stalin, our President, Putin, and Kim understand these things. They have an unspoken language that has no need of “us” because the whole rest of the world is “them.”  Unfortunately for him, our President is a ridiculously slow rookie in the Major Tyrants League. Our President, who advertises himself as the greatest deal-maker in history, proved that in his Singapore meeting with Kim, a creature who’d never stepped foot out of his disaster of a country until a few weeks prior to said meeting. Kim, whose biggest negotiation ever was an argument over how to tie one of his enemies to a cannon in order to blow him up. Kim won that argument – we must assume so, because the victim and his rope are presently buried here, there, and yonder – and he left Singapore the winner once more. He pantsed our President like a schoolyard bully working over the class nerd. Stripped our President down to his socks and sent him strutting back to us to brag about Asian tailoring. Our President gave Kim everything he asked for and more; we can’t even schedule joint military maneuvers with (what used to be) our South Korean allies because Kim finds the exercises offensive. Of course he finds them offensive: The theme is always resisting an attack from the north. The high-heeled tub of guts has been scheming how to pull that off all his life. And the evidence of nuclear proliferation keeps coming on. Our President just doesn’t have the weight to tangle with a Kim. He got out-lied at every turn and the President never landed one tiny fib on him.
Now we have this meeting with a truly accomplished dictator. Be sure our President will speak to Putin about the proven effort by the Russians to interfere with out electoral process. I would imagine that’s second only to providing a detailed account of his tax returns. One shouldn’t be too eager for our President to indulge in criticism of his pal, however. We have his assurances that the goal is to cultivate a friendlier relationship between the leader of the free world and a rabid monkey who murders people who vex him. In that regard, we have no proof that Putin ever personally killed anyone, nor should we misinterpret some off-hand remark like, “Get rid of that sonofabitch,” as sinister. Mistakes of this order are common currency. We have an exceptionally skilled, professional FBI agent who foolishly used email to compare some of the President’s core group to ignorant hillbillies. This could easily be misconstrued as critical of all hillbillies, which is manifestly inaccurate unless, of course, we’re referring to Congressman Go-whatever who’s both those things, one by birth, the other by sheer force of will. What we must do presently is take the President’s word that the meeting is not a prelude to surrender. And why should we not? He’s told us stranger things. And then told us he didn’t tell us. Anyhow, this may be the President’s only chance to properly lick Putin’s boots. Certain political acts require deep state secrecy. Just ask Stormy.
The most important thing is that our President’s scared spitless. I think it’s apparent Kim and Putin are role models. The President doesn’t fear them as enemies of America, he’s afraid he doesn’t have the juice to become one of them. Like any garden-variety coward, he’s kissing up. He wants to be the closest friend of the biggest thug. The President knows you can’t trust democracy. Those damned fools vote, and we have living proof of how wrong that can go. So while he’s got his international romancing on, here at home he relentlessly attacks America’s ideals and institutions. He has help. There are people here who’ll say or do anything to grab power, all the while assuring us that, once they have total command, they’ll right all the wrongs. Wrongs, incidentally, which they committed in order to seize power, such as kidnapping children and holding them for ransom to assure the immigration program of their choice. Wrongs such as polluting our waters and the very air we breathe to benefit lobbyists and the corporations they pimp for.  Wrongs such as enlisting young men and women to our military as their path to American citizenship only to discharge them for no reason other than they’re immigrants. No one, military or civilian, is identified as responsible for this illegal and shameless performance. Worse, we get this outrage from the administration of a person who sniveled out of possible military obligation by claiming he had a bone spur or some such. We can be pretty sure it wasn’t a backbone spur. In any case, the patriotic fervor of our Commander In Chief apparently shuts down cold at the prospect of personal involvement. Or confrontation with someone who’s risen to the heights of his own desire.
I’m willing to bet that soon after this meeting with Putin, the President will be looking for where to stick the knife in either the CIA or NSA. He won’t take kindly to Americans exposing the GRU and he’ll lash out at someone, for sure. I think the attack on the FBI has lost most of its charm for the President’s supporters. The enclosing walls of the investigation into who was snuggling up to the hackers are inching ever closer. One could get scorched, perhaps badly burned, and the President can’t pardon everyone, can he? The supporters desperately wanted us to believe – as they themselves pretended to – that an indiscreet FBI agent and a young lawyer were a powerful cabal determined to corrupt a national election. The failure of that effort would’ve been comedy were it not so craven. Now they need another villain. Enter the CIA. Or NSA. Logic decrees that someone was spying on our friends, the Russians, because we have proof they were spying on us. Bingo. Problem solved. Directly we’ll be hearing that those agencies must reveal all sources and techniques, just like the FBI, to the proper authority. That could be Deputy AG Rosenstein, but, truth to tell, his neck’s stretched out like the last banana on the tree. He may not be around long enough to receive anything more than a coup de grace. As a nation we’ve watched several countries pervert democracy into tyranny. This would be a very bad time to assure me it can’t happen here.

Surrey International Writers Conference

I spent a lot of time thinking about the Surrey International Writers Conference this week after attending 20-22 October. It’s been a long while since I last attended. I always thought it was a great opportunity for writers of all kinds to get together and discuss art, craft, technique – the beauty of writing and the blunt facts of earning money at it. If I were asked to give a quick evaluation of noticeable changes in the event, I’d say it’s even more nurturing than ever. I’d really like to name all the board members here and compliment them – and their corps of volunteers – in order to thank each one specifically. In truth, however, that would defeat the massive teamwork involving all hands who create the structure; everyone deserves full credit for all of it. Nor is that team alone in providing such a welcoming environment. The presenters are unique in their accessibility. Maybe the usually glint-eyed attendees are instantly afflicted with acute polite canadianitis when they register; one can only wonder. In any case, they treat the presenters as mentors and advisors, not as ogres hoarding all access to treasure and fame. I’m sure there are fevered pitches delivered in obscure corners, but not once did I hear the grisly squeal of agent/editor tendons being twisted.  As a result, the presenters are affable and helpful and the attendees seem to respond by discussing their writing reasonably and sensibly. When you see authors of such talent (and fame and there are plenty I’m not naming, unfortunately) as Diana Gabaldon, Bob Dugoni, Rhys Bowen, Jack Whyte, and Mary Robinette Kowal standing around in impromptu discussions, encouraging the newbies, you realize this outfit’s different. And, in my frequently-wrong-but-never-humble opinion, the best.


I recently found myself in a part of town that’s always had a bad reputation. It’s one of those places that doesn’t really grow; it just sort of accumulates. It’s like it popped out of the ground, fully formed and crumby, and never got off the downhill track. If you wanted to buy sleaze of any order, that’s where you went to get it – and you knew you’d be overcharged. People who couldn’t afford better or had lost interest in better lived there. As soon as they could, they moved out. Or, if hope somehow forced its way back into their lives, they packed up and went looking for a place where hope might survive. The thing that was most depressing about it, though, was the sense that people living there believed that’s the way things had to be. Not how things should be, but had to be. It was if every member of that particular community heard the same voice telling them You’re not like regular folks. You deserve the gangs, the dealers, the pimps, the streets full of trash, and the gunfire. Don’t bother trying to clean up the joint, either, ’cause the guy next to you’s going to mess it up faster than you can push your broom.

What I saw this last visit was so small a change it could easily go unnoticed. In fact, the major impact was from something I can’t describe. It’s just a sense of things, of something different. It’s still no Disney movie set and there are a lot of guys on the street you wouldn’t ask to hold your briefcase while you feed the parking meter, but you know something new is happening. The only solid evidence of change is the graffiti. It’s not gone. No one’s sent workers around to scrub off the gang signs and the other tags. Someone, though, has very deliberately and blatantly painted them over. Not all of them (I don’t think there’s that much paint in the stores), but a surprising – and very encouraging – number are just flat-out eliminated.

That’s courageous. If you haven’t lived in a place where you can get shot dead for wearing the wrong color clothes – or skin – then you might want to consider the bravery of a person who does live in that environment and refuses to be intimidated. That disappeared gang tag said “We rule.” That paint blob covering it says, “Like hell you do.” What’s taking place is civilization. It’s ordinary, decent people affirming their right to live ordinary, decent lives. The man or woman wielding the paintbrush is scared spitless; you can bet on that. They know they’re confronting a tyranny no less vicious than any other. Brute mentality operating on a cash basis is pretty much indistinguishable from brute mentality exercised in the name of a higher cause. If you think facing down the people who work that way aren’t dangerous, give it a try. As a nation, we’d rather just make sure the doors are all locked, twitter, and fulminate about sweeping social changes and noble goals. In fact, however, those neighbors breaking the bonds that have constricted their neighborhood for so long are the ones making progress. Tiny steps, for sure, but progress. They know more about self-government and honest democracy than all the deal artists we send to D.C.


For those who don’t already know, Stephan Pastis created Pearls Before Swine, a wickedly funny cartoon strip. He constructs long, intricate puns that make me laugh out loud. This disturbs me because everyone knows puns are the product of devious, disturbed minds. If I point out that Mr. Pastis also likes to tweak those who’d censor his rather pungent view of humanity, we can all assume the combination is no coincidence.  As a case in point, one of the strips recently dealt with a man in fear of a kick in the hoo-hahs. One assumes this is a euphemism; no search of respected literature shows any anatomical feature remotely like hoo-hahs. In that regard, Mr. Pastis has been exceeded. A recent article in our local paper declared Woman kicks attacker in Snohomish, escapes. Disregarding the fact that the woman is courageous beyond description and the crime is the sort that begs the reinstatement of flogging, we now have another wink-wink-nudge phrase for Mr. Pastis to dance with. Can we anticipate harsh language wherein one is dismissed as He ain’t got the Snohomish for the job?  Or (for better or worse) praised as The Snohomish-y kind who gets things done?  Perhaps. Worse yet, however, can the inventive Mr. Pastis create a pun involving the word Snohomish?
Forget that.


I’ve been reading about the North Korean antics and wondering if the little freak really wants to see his entire country under glass. Even though I have no doubt he’s as crazy as spit on a hot stove, I doubt he’s suicidal. Even less do I believe that the trolls around him are suicidal. After all, the elite in North Korea know they’re living a life as close to Heavenly as they’ll ever get; they’re not anxious to swap that for terminal radiation.

What’s really puzzled me is the literally non-responsive outlook by our local newspaper, and I was talking about it with my son yesterday. I think the press here is remarkably attuned to the natural hazards of this part of the world. Our weather-guessers get full rein to analyze and report on our weather conditions. We’re not just told there’s a bad storm coming, we’re afforded information on why, how, and what, as well as when. We get constant input about earthquake and volcanic threats – what actions to take to minimize the effect, what supplies we should stock to get past the initial breakdown of infrastructure, and so forth. But no one’s addressed the fact that a lunatic creating a nuclear power has plainly said that the US is in his sights and it might be a good idea to consider steps to at least help us survival such an attack.

Amazingly, the Seattle Times article that appeared on this very subject today explains that it’s against the law for us to do that. However, Seattle, the most likely target, has “an all-encompassing disaster plan called the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan” and a wary eye out to “…pay more attention if it (nuclear attack) becomes a more imminent threat.” We had a similar plan back in my day, albeit at a much lower level. Our plan consisted of someone yelling “Incoming!” and we’d all dive for cover. It was elegant in its simplicity, but  the sound of the explosion sometimes overwhelmed the shout (not to mention the shouter), so it wasn’t always as effective as we wished.

I have no idea how one could even hope to minimize the effect of a nuclear attack on a city like Seattle, barring burying it under our hills. I’m not a community planner and I’m simply unequipped to criticize the lack of any specific measures in the matter. I do believe, however, that it’s beyond passive to look out at world where a maniac can threaten nuclear war as if it was the equivalent of walking on your grass and not take whatever steps the community can manage. Personally, I believe the whole mess will blow over. If it doesn’t, however, and I’m one of the ones who doesn’t come out the other side to tell everyone “I told you so,” I’m going to be really peeved.


Let’s get a couple of things straight right up front.
1. Most activists give me the cold robbies, as Pogo would have put it.
2. The only political party that interests me is the one where the winning candidate sets up an open bar to celebrate.

Which clears the decks for me to comment on Congressman Nunes, (R) of California’s 22nd District. He’s a duly elected representative. He’s also a couple of centuries out of place. Congress Nunes is actually Courtier Nunes, somehow or other transplanted from the court of the Bourbon kings to California. He’s proven he owes allegiance to no one or nothing beyond his master. He has literally betrayed a sacred trust. A man in his position is sworn to uphold the national interest. His actions do not suggest blind partisanship, they suggest treason. I’m not suggesting he actually committed treason. For all I know, he and his secret source discussed nothing more dangerous than a recipe for secret sauce. I suspect otherwise. Nevertheless, unfounded suspicions are without merit. “Without merit” obviously brings us back to Congressman Nunes. Sidestepping his own panel members in order to give his master time to set up damage control is, at the very least, as unethical as larceny. But secret conversations with an unidentified source about the Russian efforts to subvert our electoral process? In the face of certain knowledge already in existence that Russia meant to influence that election? What is that if not treachery? What assurance do we have that Courtier Nunes wasn’t the secret source himself, rather than the other way around? If he received information, what did he impart in return? In the midst of all the ragblag about Nunes covert creeping about, where is the suggestion he be denied access to any further meetings? Forget his voluntary recusing. Kick the bum out. Then investigate him like the conniving sneak he is.

In the meantime, what’s a poor activist to do? If you don’t actually own Hogwarts’ Sorting Hat, you can forget headgear entirely. No hat’s going to trouble no congressman. Send him letters containing sharp language? Do you really believe he reads them? How could he? It’s dark under his rock. His staff will welcome the scratch paper. But the Congressman lives in a real world, where real people vote. And earn a living. If it became apparent to those voters that sponsoring – electing, if you will – Mr. Nunes leads to a loss of customers, how long do you think they’d continue to support him? Mr. Nunes depends on donations from corporations and such to pay for election campaigns. How many of those entities are going to stand by him if activists boycott them? Every politician in this country owes his/her office to wealthy donors, usually corporate. If you want to rid yourself of people like Nunes – not to mention those who want to poison our water or turn our crops into cancer vectors – do what any good detective does; Follow The Money. Then dry it up.


We had a really interesting Small World moment concerning the re-release of TARGETS. Granddaughter Caitlin enlisted a friend to pose for the cover illustration photo and, during the shoot, the young man’s girl friend was involved as consultant and perfectionist-in-chief to assure he looked his best. ( Cultural Note: No male should ever have his picture taken without a woman present to tell him what’s wrong. Two women is even better, although not mandatory. Yet. ) Anyhow, when the book came out, Cait gave a copy to the girl friend, who read it and then recommended it to her mother, who looked at it and said, “I already read that.” Then she pointed at her bookshelf and added, “I’ve read all his books; they’re right there.”  A person doesn’t have to be a writer to be gratified and energized by that sort of confirmation. Still, sometimes we get caught up in numbers  and forget that it’s the approval of one reader at a time that determines the public perception of our efforts. I’ll permit myself a quick brag here: TARGETS is doing nicely on Amazon’s charts. ( Way to go, Cait!) I’m truly grateful for the reminder that my audience – every writer’s audience – is made up of individuals engaged by the story. I’d wish every writer a similar Small World moment. I’d wish every reader authors who make you glad you picked up his or her book.


We’ve had lots going on around here. Anyone who’s seen the FB postings lately knows that my granddaughter, Caitlin, has my first novel ready for re-issue. She put the whole effort pretty much in perspective a bit ago. A friend asked her how it all works and she told him, “He writes the books. I do everything else.” She nailed it. My understanding of all things electric is that the less I mess with them, the less likely I am to get knocked on my butt. Electricity is not my friend. We nod in passing. We’re civil. I rebuff all attempts to narrow that gap. (I’m madly in love with my defibrillator, but that’s whole ‘nother thing.) Anyhow, as the official do-er of everything else, Cait’s put together a stellar new book jacket, worked out all the kinks in print-on-demand, scanned and proofread pages to within an inch of her life, etc.etc. What’s surprising and really amusing to me is that I’m almost as excited about this re-release as I was the first publishing. There won’t be anything like the fanfare, but the hooraw that accompanied that initial event involved all manner of people I didn’t even know. This is family, and it’s a lot more fun. When TARGETS came out the first time, I hustled up the best bottle of Champagne I could find for Carol and me. Come to think of it, that moment was precursor to the present system, only sort of mirror-image; whereas Cait does all the heavy lifting on getting the book out, I did the hard work finishing off the bottle after Carol had her sip. And because there’s so much family involved in this effort, there’s a warmer, richer feeling of accomplishment that goes with this.

Time has a lot to do with that, as well. When TARGETS was first published, the Vietnam war was still an open wound on the American body politic. Everyone assured me that no one wanted to think about it, much less read a novel about it, particularly one that dealt with the even darker underside of that piece of misery. It’s hard for me to grasp that that was almost two entire generations ago. Even so, the novel went on to be the first one about that war to be selected by the Book Of The Month Club and be granted generally favorable content in other quarters. What excites me about this re-lease is how pertinent the story is to the events of the present. I watch the fumbling, confused behavior of my country in this apparently endless Middle Eastern inferno and I see every stupid mistake from the Vietnam era repeated – not occasionally, but incessantly. It also fascinated me to learn that Ken Burns, a man I believe is the most distinguished maker of historical documentaries ever, is releasing his examination of the Vietnam war in September. Perhaps – perhaps – enough people will watch it and learn from our history so we don’t have to keep repeating it. The original intent of TARGETS was to illustrate that war, no matter how many people are affected, is a matter of individual involvement. When we hear of armies clashing we see only furor. It’s when you get down to one man killing another (or woman killing woman, in our modern equal-opportunity savagery) we confront the truth. When death is given numbers it becomes mere arithmetic. It’s face-to-face where the work gets done. No one comes away from it the same as he went in. I tried to write a novel that gave war a human context. In that worst of environments, we fall in love, we laugh, we win and lose petty, pointless arguments, we exult, we writhe. The second release of TARGETS gives me one more chance to go to readers and say, “This is what it was like for the people who lived where steel met steel every day, every night.” I want them to experience that place and, hopefully, find a way to prevent people living like that ever again.

Different Path, Different Times, Same Old Hell

In a couple of weeks or so we’re releasing the first novel I published. It’s about the counterintelligence war in Vietnam. Today not many people are even aware that battle was fought, much less the constancy and intensity of it. That underscores the fact that the Vietnam war is as misunderstood today as it was then. I’m convinced that historians of the future will look at the swamp that is our present-day state of the nation and trace it directly back to that debacle. The book, TARGETS, is a microcosm of the times and the actions of those caught up in them. I haven’t changed a word of it for this new release. It wouldn’t be fair to me, much less to the reader. I want people to read the book in order to know the thoughts of the participants of that time. For anyone who lived through all that worldwide tumult, our perception of everything, including ourselves, was forever changed. I hear constantly that America lost its innocence in WWI. Similarly, I’m told America became a world power in WWII. I believe the Vietnam War stripped America of its sense of community. The novel explores how the characters change, just as the culture that produced them was changing. We seem to have shifted from a nation of individuals proud of our ability to work together into a nation of factions determined to rule. In that sense, TARGETS may present a clearer image of the war and the times than would a novel of firefights and massed troop engagements. The thoughts of a man advancing through hostile fire do not linger long on (nor do they probe deeply into) mankind’s role in the universe. Stalking another human being, on the other hand, provides one far too much free time to consider not only that man’s dreams, but one’s own.

Essentially, that’s the goal of the work, an examination of how professionals and amateurs, Americans and Vietnamese, responded to the cauldron of the Vietnam experience. In reviewing it for this release I was surprised and excited to recognize several themes paralleling today’s political upheaval. The decisions made by our most recent leaders are almost perfect replications of the stupidity that created the Vietnam war and led to our eventual loss there. Perhaps someone will read the book, recognize that rather nasty coincidence, and do something about it. That’d be nice.