For my birthday, I wish for my mother to be alive and well.

Yes, more than I wish to lose 30 lbs or get that proverbial pony.

More than I wish for Mandy Patinkin to sing to me and with me.

If Mom could read that last one, she would be ... well, not surprised, but definitely a little wowed and she'd say something funny about it, which I can't replicate because Mom's humor was on point and not predictable.

From a message to a friend:

Saturday is my first birthday without my mother. And my therapist canceled our Friday appointment. Normally I love my therapist, but I think it is time for a change. We are outgrowing each other, at least for now. She's great with my marriage, but the grief not so much. It comes in waves. The extreme UNRIGHTNESS of a world without my mother in it echoes - it doesn't make sense. It's similiar to how I felt after Bankrupt Apprentice Host won the U. S. Presidency ... like reality as I knew it altered and I was trapped in a funhouse, mirror after distorting mirror, no escape. Except with the political thing, the hits kept on coming, and in a world without Mom, the worst hit already happened. 


And now, politics ...

MSNBC hired former RNC Chair and current election unreliability conspiracist Ronna McD.

What is bad about MSNBC: They hired Ronna McDonald, making all of us Grimace.

What is good about MSNBC: they have not, as far as I know, suppressed any of their talking heads from expressing their own (not the network's) opinions about having her on their air and therefore legitimizing the lies that come out of her face. At least, they didn't gag my girl, Rachel Maddow. Nor did they gag Chuck Todd, and on this issue, gagging Chuck Todd would actually be a bad idea.

Democrats, liberals, leftists ... we don't all speak in one voice. We are bad at lockstep. Often that hurts us - the "big tent" party has too many squabbles under the canvas and we can't win for losing. I hate not winning, especially in regard to Roe vs. Wade, which MOST OF AMERICA WANTS AND YOU KNOW IT, YOU STUPID JUSTICES, FUCK!!!! BUT ... I would hate moving in lockstep even more.

During this election season (and yes, it's March and the election is in November) it's time for that balancing act. It's the same juggle, slice and sort that it has always been, but for some reason it's different every time too.

Different groups, different issues, different prejudices ... different crazy conspiracy theories and now the Web instead of a mimeographed overtyped "mag" to bring them to the world.

When my father was in high-school, he was interested in journalism, but he didn't write for the school newspaper. He and some friends published an "underground" high-school newspaper with the "real news" in it. Connection with above being mimeographing, not conspiracy theories.

My father is one of the coolest humans on earth. Maybe the world "cool" is dated (and in some ways so is my Dad!), but the man who had lunch with the priest who inspired The Exorcist and who met Malcolm X (had a conversation with him) twice, who was programming an ATARI 800 for fun in the early '80s ... the list goes on. My Dad is extremely cool.

Tangent Woman, out!

CORRECTION: Ronna McDonald works for NBC, not MSNBC. 

Grief is so specific an experience, and such an awful one. And such an uneven one, yes. I sympathize. <3
Thank you. Xo
I think I remember being in your parents' house, just once, a million years ago, though I don't recall why. I knew I was in the presence of great cool and great intelligence.
You fit right in.

1. The French always surrender.

No, moron, without the French we wouldn't have a "United States of America", we'd be a British colony. God Save the Queen.

2. America was "great" and now it isn't. 

Pick a year and I will tell you at least one horrible thing Americans did to each other or the American government did to its citizens. As Howard Brenton said, "Ever since the first man sat on the first chair, he has been hitting the second man on the head with it." Brenton himself was not American, and I don't know if he was "great", but he wrote some plays I like.

Or, to quote a famous American writer, "It's man devouring man, my dear, and who are we to deny it in here?"

(Stephen Sondheim)

3. The Founding Fathers were all "great" men. Owning slaves was a common practice in their time and we shouldn't hold them accountable.


Yes, owning slaves was a common practice in their time, that is true.

People are complicated, but dehumanizing other humans is not complicated or nuanced, it's just wrong. 

Did they know it was wrong at the time? There are MOUNTAINS of evidence that yes, they did, including Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of Independence, not to mention his mixed-race children, some of whom he sent to France to be educated. Jefferson is by far not the only example, he's just an easy one to cite.

They knew it was wrong and they did it anyway. 

Also, the gentlemen in the North may not have owned slaves, but many of them profited from the slave trade (who do you think owned the ships?).  

Where it gets "nuanced" is whether we judge someone only by their worst acts. That's more of a philosophical conversation - can someone who was a slave-owner be "great" or perhaps have "done great things"? *

4. Forcing Americans to get vaccinated is either a) a violation of our freedom, b) socialism, c) fascism, d) all of the above.

First of all, socialism and fascism are two incompatible philosophies of government, so pick one. 

Second of all, we have a United States of America and the freedoms herein due to the efforts of the French (see point 1) and a guy named George Washington who led our continental army. Also to a portly bookseller named Henry Knox who was a total nerd about cannons, but I digress.

Here's the comment I want to leave on every stupid website with stupid people whining about vaccine mandates:


(Inoculation = same purpose as vaccine, more primitive mechanism)

Who mandated the smallpox inoculation for the entire continental army?

George Washington. The Father Of Our Country. The General who won the War of American Independence.

So if you think vaccine mandates are anti-American, please stop typing right now and read some American history. Ideally from a book, but the History Channel's website is okay too. Also, look up why Mitch McConnell limps and why no one you know has polio.

History Bitch, signing out.


* I'd discuss over drinks in person, but only if I respect you.

** Not in "The USA" because the USA did not yet exist, and if the continental army had all come down with smallpox, even with all of the aid of the non-surrendering French, we'd all be British citizens, God Save The Queen!

2/25 '22 9 Comments
I've read that in the 1790s, Jefferson seems to have realized how wealthy he could become through slavery, and that 4% "capital gains" could be expected due to population increase. He may not have liked to personally inflict brutal treatment, but he definitely didn't mind hiring people to do it for him. Now I'm pondering the levels of indirection between everyone else and brutes.
Jefferson loved fancy things and was terrible with finances. Included in the “fancy things” were his long list of inventions (the portable folding chair was one) and a lot of French culture, cuisine, art, literature and philosophy that he brought over to the colonies/USA with him … which he financed with the profits from his plantation. Ugh.
More to your point, though, remember that Charles Manson never physically committed murder.
Molasses to Rum to Slaves...Oh what a beautiful waltz....
God I love you. Especially when you get salty.
Thank you for this! I want all my history lessons coming from you.
Thank you! Any time. :)

Stephen Sondheim, who was still actively working on new projects at age 91, is dead.

(I know he died a few days ago, he's still dead now)

"Are you working on something new?"


"That isn't like you, George."

Edited to add: the intersection between Sondheim and Seurat is a musical called Sunday in The Park with George.

Today is George Seurat's 162nd birthday, and Google has doodled him.If you google "Color and Light Sunday" you get the good version. At least I do. If your algorithm doesn't deliver Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, here you go ...

Rabbit and I were talking about versions of musicals and how she can appreciate > 1 version of a show whereas I have traditionally listened to the one version I liked and found all others unacceptable. That has changed for me over the years in many cases. Here are some examples:

Sweeney Todd - Len Cariou (Original Soundtrack) and George Hearn (original filmed stage version) are both great Sweeneys. Ken Jennings (OST) and NPH (revival) are both great Tobys.  Also, I enjoyed the casts of Sweeney in two local productions I saw. So I am expanding my horizons.  Johnny Depp's attempt at Sweeney - still unacceptable.

Gypsy - my favorite Mama Rose is Bernadette Peters, but I also like classic Ethel Merman and the two local Mama Roses I saw.

Jesus Christ Superstar - Murray Head (Concept Album) is still my favorite Judas (I know, I know ...) but I like Carl Anderson (Original Movie Cast)'s performance. Ted Neely (OMC) as Jesus can go sing country somewhere else, Ian "Deep Purple" Gillan (CA) is my Jesus! Though I have seen local performances with good Judases and Jesuseseses ... I don't know where to stop, it's like banana ...

There are more, but is already TL:DR ...

So, ok, long list of progress with the open-mindedness, yeah?

But let's get back to my complete LACK of progress, the hill on which I am sure I shall die.

The Mandy version is always the best version, with one and only one known exception.

No, the exception is NOT Evita. Mandy singing "High Flying, Adored" is the reason I am obsessed with musicals. Eight year old me understood what it was like to hear the voice of an angel coming from my friend's parents' record player ... 

The exception is the 1990 studio cast version of Man of La Mancha.  It's fine but not great. Mandy's performance is excellent and he is a strong contender for my "favorite Sancho Panza", but Placido Domingo just doesn't deliver Quixote as well as Brian Stokes Mitchell. You can survive with an okay Sancho or a so-so Aldonza, but a Quixote who doesn't knock it out of the park deflates Man of La Mancha like it was poked by the lance of the Knight of Mirrors.

Right, where was I?  Happy Birthday Georges Seurat!

The Mandy version of Sunday in The Park With George is the best version, but it's not exclusively because of Mandy. Bernadette Peters also makes it great - she glows like a Seurat painting and each of them individually and the two of them together make this musical, which, admittedly, has some serious flaws in its plot/construction ... iconic. 

"There are only two worthwhile things to leave behind when we depart this world of ours: Children and Art." - James Lapine, book, Sunday in the Park with George

I included the clip above. Just listen ...

We'll miss you, Mr. Sondheim. So much.


Recommended listening if you want to hear some Sondheim ...

Sweeney Todd, OBC

12/2 '21 5 Comments
I also mostly like really random, short, obscure songs in musicals, so for me, it helps that Timothy Spall was probably born to play Beadle Bamford, even if Depp sucks.

And to be fair, I am insanely picky about A Little Night Music. Only the 1990 Lincoln Center performance will do, but that has to do with how bad the OBC Desirée is.
You probably know this, but: today I learned that after a failed show, he considered turning to video game design before rallying and creating Sunday in the Park with George.

Yes, video game design. Yes, in '84 or '85.

I'm glad he changed his mind, but I would definitely like a peek at the universe where he designed video games.
i was completely obsessed with Sunday in the Park back in the day... i wanted to be bernadette peters soooooo badly. god, sondheim left such a legacy...
But…Colm Wilkinson!!!

You mean Jean Valjean? ;)

This morning's soundtrack, because when I am happy, I sing showtunes.

One Day More, Les Miserables, OBC

Do You Hear The People Sing?, Les Miserables, OBC

Everything's Coming Up Roses, Gypsy revival w/Bernadette Peters

Comedy Tonight, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to The Forum, OBC

Free!, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to The Forum, OBC

Love Makes The World Go 'Round, Carnival OBC

Direct From Vienna, Carnival OBC

Yorktown, Hamilton OBC

Here's Anna Maria Alberghetti singing "Love Makes the World Go 'Round":

"OBC" = Original Broadway Cast (Album)

Trump is not President. I will be able to hug my parents in 2021.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been inagurated as President and Vice President of the United States of America.

Other sources of happiness:

  • The odds that no one I love will die of COVID-19 have dramatically increased. 
  • The odds that no one else I love will be permanently affected by the after-effects of COVID-19 have also dramatically increased.
  • No one will be inside the Capitol of our United States wearing Nazi fashion ever again. The leader of the free world will not tell anti-Semites that they are "good people" and that he loves them.
  • A competent government will handle vaccine distribution and injection. Said government will not prioritize people based on "red state"/"blue state" or who they voted for.
  • My sons will be able to safely go to school in person.
  • My sons will be able to hang out with their friends again.
  • My college boy will be able to get up to normal college shenanigans. (yikes!)
  • I will be able to hang out with my friends again! In groups! 
  • When the President speaks, he will tell the truth (to the best of his knowledge) and he will speak in full, coherent sentences.
  • The President of The United States will speak of progress, not of grievances.
  • We elected our first female, Black Vice President of Indian Descent. Also, her husband and kids will be the first Jews to be a Veep's family.
  • I won't be embarassed to be an American. At least, not mostly. We Americans are very talented at embarassing ourselves.
  • If I want to watch a train wreck reality show, I can choose to, but I won't be forced to watch one because it's our government.
  • Vacations!  Remember traveling?  Maybe Europe will even let us in again.
  • Archer will be able to improv again and I will be able to watch him perform in person!
  • Hunter will finally be able to take his archery lessons!
  • My mental health will be at its normal level of fuckery.
  • And ... and theatre will be back. 

There are more reasons to be happy. And more work to do.

We have a Republic, America. We may even be able to keep it.

1/20 '21 5 Comments
I'm with you.
You can annoy me any day xx
Well said.

Ok, all I can think about right now is election day, which will begin with Ms. Toad's Wild Ride (go to Gettysburg, get kid so he can vote), continue with standing next to my son as he votes in his first election ever (when it's time to go big or go home, we never go home ...) and end hopefully with returning him safely to his dorm sans whatever fresh hell erupts once the results start coming in.

As disruptive as this all is, the drama is exciting. Like the Women's March in Washington (yes, we were there), except more virus. Eek.

And you'd think that by mailing in his absentee ballot application on Oct 6, he would have received his ballot by now. Mail in PA usually takes three days at the most to be delivered to other places in PA. Usually it arrives the day after you send it. The Dept of Elections got his app on Oct 21, then they mailed his ballot to him ... also in PA ... still hasn't arrived. Insanity.

Here is a riddle.

Where is the one place in the United States where the mail is being delivered on time?

Answer: Mudville.


10/30 '20

The Folio Society is having a 50% off sale on over 160 titles!  It ends on July 12th.

Thinking of you, Beth Adele!

I finally bought the book I have been vulturing around for over a year ...

African Folktales collected by Roger B. Abrahams.

When I was a kid, one of my teachers from kindergarten through first grade was a professional African Storyteller.  Her name was Linda Goss, and not only did she involve us in the interactive process of listening to her stories (call and response chants, answering questions), she also directed some of us in a performance of one of the trickster tales.  We performed it at the local childrens' museum (the Please Touch Museum). Ever since then, I have felt a particular attachment to African folk tales, particularly stories about Anansi the Spider, the trickster who'd put all tricksters to shame ... if only he'd been able to get out of his own way.

I don't remember where Linda's stories originated - if they were tied to a particular country or region.  I was a shy little kid and I was excited to play the Rabbit in the show.  My friend Jenny played the Monkey. I remember crouching on the floor covered in a brightly-colored print and being rabbity, and I remember Anansi.

I've been looking for books of Anansi stories or of just African Folk Tales for years, and they are surprisingly hard to find.  Or maybe not surprisingly.  Anyway, I found one, and the table of contents is maddeningly NOT on the website, but the description gives me hope that Anansi will be inside, eating himself sick and trying to pull one over on his animal friends.

7/4 '19 5 Comments
Oh that looks amazing! The book and the sale!
TIL : Founded in London in 1947, The Folio Society publishes carefully crafted editions of the world’s finest literature. We believe that great books deserve to be presented in a form worthy of their contents. For over 70 years we have celebrated the unique joy to be derived from owning, holding and reading a beautiful printed edition.

Beautifully crafted, imaginative editions of the world’s great works of fiction and non-fiction, Folio Society books offer a rich literary experience to readers of all ages. The books we select for publication are timeless – we know they will be enjoyed and appreciated now and in the future. Because each book is considered as an individual object of value in its own right, there is a variety to our aesthetic – the only uniformity is in the quality of every single book.
This makes me want to Buy All The Books.
I loved reading this post. Really really.

I voted.  I am nervous and my sinuses are exploding, but I voted.

I hope the rain didn't discourage people from exercising their civil rights.

I have broken apps at work that are confounding me, probably because the issue is on a machine that I don't have access to, but it's hard to convince the people who do have access that it might be one of their settings that's breaking my apps ... story of my life.

If you are in the USA and didn't vote early, I hope you voted today too.

11/6 '18 12 Comments
I love your face.
Wolftown Mercantile? What is that magical place? I am picturing an old-fashioned five and dime run by werewolves in carpenter's aprons.
Hmmm. I think I should write about it in a real post. Stay tuned, True Believer.

Also - a random dude approached me at a Wawa yesterday and asked me where Wolftown was - that he wanted to visit. I smiled my toothiest grin and told him.
Assure you, I have NO idea what you're talking about.

*cough* *cough*



2:04 PM - Nov 14, 2016
I may or may not have done that IRL. Well, minus the gym part, but...
Who hasn't eaten an entire rotisserie chicken?
Miles voted! Hunter voted twice, once with Mom and once with Dad. Illegal voting!
Attaboy! Vote early, vote often!
I voted too!
They were giving out hot roast pork sandwiches and meatball subs to anyone who voted at my polling location.

Revised ...

I kept a Dreamwidth account for reading/commenting.  It's here, come say hi if you have one too:

I deleted all of my imported LJ entries after I saved them as a PDF via BlogBooker, so Dreamwidth is empty, and my life story is here on OPW.

Why did I keep Dreamwidth?  I have some people in my life that I want to be in touch with wherever you go to write, so if it's there, I'll dip a toe in.


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Katie, can you clarify what you're looking for a little bit?

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Oh I see. A way to view posts that are public, or locked with a particular key, would be useful. I'll open a ticket so I don't forget the idea.

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Hmmm. If you paste a link to an individual Instagram post in an article, you do get a serviceable view of it in your post, although I should look at styling it to be more instagrammish.

Or are you looking to link to your instagram feed in general? Like "for more see my Instagram" on everything?

This comment has been deleted.

I don't think that's unreasonable to ask at all.
I just attempted to log into my lj only to be told it had been purged and deleted. Whatevs.
Alas, they have a six months idle and you're out policy now.
Well I haven't logged into that account in about 8 years. I wasn't really surprised. Just love the way the message this lj has been purged and it was some kind of ritual cleansing or exorcism! 😆
The Russians have deleted your work during the great LJ burning of the 20-oughts. Like Bear.
My livejournal is still around for a bit so I
Can backup my communities, but as soon as that is done- yeah.

“At that moment, in the sunset on Watership Down, there was offered to General Woundwort the opportunity to show whether he was really the leader of vision and genius which he believed himself to be, or whether he was no more than a tyrant with the courage and cunning of a pirate. For one beat of his pulse the lame rabbit's idea shone clearly before him. He grasped it and realized what it meant. The next, he had pushed it away from him.”

― Richard AdamsWatership Down

For "General Woundwort", substitute "The United States of America".

I grieve.

11/9 '16 2 Comments
I'm going to miss Hazel-Rah.
You aren't alone.

Copied from FB, because I want to save this for myself.  Writing this made me so happy.

 I'm not asleep. I like Hillary Clinton and I am thrilled that she got the nomination. I voted for her and I will be proud to vote for her again. I'm watching the DNC and I am moved by all of the speakers and their genuine regard for her - not only politicians and stars, but also Americans who she has helped over her many years of public service. I realize that I am opening myself up to bashing because I stated my opinion here, and I expect it, but I am not going to ruin my evening fending off personal attacks. I read news, I listen to political podcasts (all liberal, but not all pro-Hillary Clinton), I dig in and find out facts. I am not uninformed or foolish, and I am not looking for a debate or an argument. When Bernie Sanders emerged as a candidate, I read about him exhaustively, and when the accusations of corruption emerged, I researched them, using multiple sources, and I don't deny that the DNC did some shady shit, though I question whether it is new or same shit as always, just exposed. I am not insulting Bernie Sanders supporters, though I am sad that some progressives are so angry at Hillary Clinton that they will not even read her true, provable progressive record or her positions on the issues before voting against her in protest. I am a progressive liberal with an independent mind, and I'm with Her.

7/27 '16 8 Comments
I'm just saying hi. (This is to remind me to go back and read this later. I am currently studying and on a roll, so I will be back, but OPW pinged up and I had to peek. Judging from a quick skim, I need brain engagement big time for this post and my brain is currently occupied elsewhere.)
I'll be back

This comment has been deleted.

So, if you want to hear my take on why I enthusiastically support Ms. Clinton, I will be happy to tell you ... okay it may end up as an OPW post anyway, but let me address the Trump issue.

I understand that the last thing people want is "more of the same" and that is why Mr. Sanders on the left and Mr. Trump on the wrong ... I mean right got a lot of support.

When I watched the debates, I watched the Republicans partially because I like drinking games and partially because I wanted to know which R candidate was the least of the evils, who would I not mind as President, who would I be least scared of. Trump was a possibility - he was not an evangelical like Cruz, he is from New York which has a diverse population, he knows a lot of entertainers (who tend to be liberal or at least socially inclusive), he wasn't anti-teacher like Scott Walker or a train wreck like Carly "HP layoffs" Fiorina.

This is where Trump lost me - when he talks about forcing Muslims to "register", he is talking about discriminating against American citizens based on their religion. As a Jew, I know what that looks like from the other side, and I am not just talking about the Holocaust, I am talking about the Inquisition, about the attacks on synagoges in Paris that happened in either 2015 or 2016 ... recent. Once religious discrimination starts, it doesn't end well, and if "they come for the Muslims and I say nothing", I have no illusions that the Jews will be safe - that's me and my children, that's my family.

Also, I know we vary on gun control, but Mr. Trump has stated that one of his first actions as President will be to eliminate gun free school zones. That's a zero-sum thing for him to say - his children are either too old to be in school or are in private schools and have bodyguards. My children are in public school and while yes, they are in a very safe community, eliminating gun-free zones in schools is a terrifying trend. It makes me think of Elle in lockdown when the Stanford shooting happened, Leah, terrified, texting and praying. No, this man cannot be allowed to lead our country, he cannot be allowed to dictate policy.

Also, last night at the DNC was basically "security/defense" night. Republican military officers spoke and said that they trusted Ms. Clinton as commander in chief and that they were deeply concerned that Mr. Trump bragged that the military would torture people if he told them to - the military is all about order and discipline, about following the rules and being the good guys, and this retired naval officer (a Republican) was so horrified ...

Here's the video:

Also, Michael Bloomberg, who is a self-made billionaire and richer than Mr. Trump, and who was the Republican Mayor of New York City (he took office right after 9/11) when Ms. Clinton was the Senator from New York, he spoke in praise of her. He's now an independent, not a Dem. He ran on his record as a businessman.

Mr. Bloomberg, speech text:

Speech video:

The speeches blew my mind - these are the guys I used to hate, the party of Ronald Ray-gun, the guys who wanted prayer in schools and women in the kitchen, the don't ask, don't tell guys, the keep women out of the military guys (these are generalizations about the Republican party, not specifics - it's what people like Hutson and Bloomberg represented to me), and they spoke in full-throated support of Ms. Clinton. It's fascinating and a little terrifying - because you know they'd be up at the RNC if the nominee were Jeb Bush or John Kasich.

Republicans think a FEMALE DEMOCRAT will be a better, safer Commander in Chief than Donald Trump. Holy shit.
My friend Olympia, who recently returned to Australia with her American husband (after 15 years away) is also a huge Bernie Sanders fan.

I find American politics is something I am not quite so up with...(at first, I thought Trump running was just a huge gee such luck.) And lately I am so tired of the political climate in my own country that I can barely be bothered to look elsewhere...(Political apathy, I am currently wallowing in it. I will snap out of it, but right now I just done with it all.)

Very brave indeed. But then being a woman and expressing any kind of opinion has always had to be undertaken with courage. I wonder if that will ever change?
Excellent point. I updated the post to use both candidates' full names. I think Ms. Clinton gets called by her first name because her spouse is an ex-POTUS and people associate the last name with him, like they called Bush II "W" to distinguish him from his Papa. Still, Ms. Clinton works nicely and I LOVE that you are calling her Ms. not Mrs.

My mother HATES being called "Mrs. Marvin Klein", and when I was growing up, I didn't quite get it because I am an unashamed over-the-top Daddy's girl, even at age 44. She explained to me that she was her own person, not an appendage of my Dad, and that resonated. I got a card a while ago from my Aunt, Susan and it was addressed to "Ms. Michelle Houser". Houser said, "It should be Mrs. - you're married." I educated him on why "Mrs./Miss" is unacceptable and Ms. = Mr.

So, Ms. Hillary Clinton - HELL YEAH!

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When I got really annoyed at conservatives disrespecting Mr. Obama, I started calling him "Our President". :)
That happens a lot here. All our female pollies seem to be addressed with their first names and the men with their last. It's a bugbear that crawls right up my arse too. At best they use both names for women but generally speaking when Gillard was PM she was constantly referred to as Julia.
(Whilst I am not a fan of Julia Gillard due to certain personal dealings with her, she was a very accomplished and capable politician who never got the respect she deserved.)