Monday, January 15, 2018

Setting the Right Example

On Martin Luther King Day, President Trump played golf. It's something he often does; by some accounts, he's already been on a golf course about sixty times since becoming president, far more times than President Obama was in his first year.  Of course, Republicans were outraged every time Mr. Obama played golf, yet strangely silent when Mr. Trump does the same thing. But that's to be expected:  each side loves to complain about the other, whether it's something relatively minor like supposedly playing golf too much, or something more substantial like a serious policy disagreement.

But my problem wasn't that Mr. Trump played golf again; it was that he ignored an opportunity. For the past several decades (since 1994), at the request of Dr. King's family, presidents and others have spent some time performing volunteer work, helping in their community. It was a non-partisan activity:  Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all did it.  Yet Mr. Trump chose not to.

No, I don't plan to spend yet another blog post expressing my dismay about what this president said or tweeted recently. I'm simply going to suggest that Mr. Trump seems unwilling (or uninterested) when it comes to performing acts of public service.  I find that disappointing.  Part of being president is the ceremonial aspect, the role model aspect.  But what he seems to be modeling is being self-centered. He evidently didn't feel it was important enough, or he didn't feel it was necessary, so he didn't do it. He played golf instead.

The problem is that Mr. Trump's behavior affects others, and people (especially kids) may imitate how he acts.  I worry about his young son, for example. What is Barron learning from watching his dad act in such an egotistical way? What lessons is he drawing from his father's vulgarities, his pettiness, his grudge-holding, and yes, his unwillingness to be charitable? Barron may be the beneficiary of wealth and privilege, but money is no substitute for having a father who sets a good example.

Like him or hate him, Barack Obama taught his children to be compassionate and to treat others with courtesy.  Are his kids perfect? Of course not, and neither were any of us at that age. But he and Michelle insisted upon performing community service and their kids were expected to participate.  The same was true for George and Laura Bush, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, all of whom raised their children to think about others.  Perhaps you too do volunteer work; and perhaps, like me, you were apprenticed into volunteering by your parents. (We didn't have much money, but we could always help a worthy cause by giving our time. It's a valuable lesson for any kid to learn.) 

Whether or not you agree there should even be a King holiday (President Reagan did not, although eventually he accepted it), the fact remains that it's a great opportunity to reach out to those in need; in fact, almost any day is a good day to do that.  So, in the new year, my hope is that the president will take his obligation more seriously and make time to help those who are less fortunate-- it will not only benefit the country, but it will teach his young son a valuable lesson: money and power may come and go, but in the end, people will judge us by how we treat others.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Year to Remember, A Year to Forget

I admit it:  I've never been a big fan of New Year's Eve.  For one thing, I'm not much of a party-goer, and I don't understand the custom of going out and getting crazy.  Believe it or don't, I'm shy, and I much prefer hanging out at home and watching old movies (or the annual Three Stooges marathon on a local TV station).  And looking back on the year, I can always find things I wish I had done better, or said differently.  There's a lot of second-guessing, and I've always been my own worst critic.

When I was growing up, New Year's Eve used to depress me because it reminded me of how frustrated I felt:  back in the 1950s and 1960s, opportunities for women were still very limited and people kept telling me I had to learn to be like everyone else: marry young, have kids, be a housewife. But no offense to those who chose that-- it wasn't the life I wanted.  I wanted to be on the radio. It's what I wanted from the time I was a kid-- except back then, I couldn't imagine how I would ever be able to follow my dream.  I would listen to the deejays and wish that somehow I could do what they were doing, having fun on the air and playing music that cheered people up.  I'm glad I was finally able to get into radio, and I hope I made my listeners happy.  (I recently found some old fan mail from my deejay days, and evidently some folks really did enjoy listening to me on the air.)

Anyway, so here we are at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. I still am not a big fan of New Year's Eve, but at least I can look back with some satisfaction on what I've managed to accomplish.  In 2017, I had the honor of speaking at a baseball history symposium in Cooperstown (I discussed the work of five women sportswriters who worked in baseball's early years); and I also spoke at a conference at the Library of Congress in Washington DC about preserving recorded sound.  I wrote a number of articles, got quoted in some newspapers, and was a guest on several radio shows, including on Boston's WBZ, where I talked about Boston's radio history (of course).

And several times, I was asked to do a podcast: in fact, I was genuinely shocked when my friend Matt Cundill told me that my appearance on his Sound Off podcast back in October was his most listened to episode of the entire year. ... That was certainly a big highlight of 2017.  Another was finding out that nearly 13,800 people read one of my blog posts, about why Neil Peart decided to retire.  And then there was the best news: I had my three-year checkup, and my doctor tells me I'm still cancer-free.  There's no substitute for getting positive news from the doctor, and I remain eternally grateful.

But there was also plenty of bad news-- hurricanes (more than a million folks in Puerto Rico still don't have power), a mass murder in Las Vegas and another in Texas, and we lost some amazing people from the music industry, including Fats Domino, Gord Downie, J. Geils, Tom Petty, and Chuck Berry. And then... there was the year in politics.  (Don't get me started.)  This was not a great year for many of us, in large part because of the person in the White House.  No, it's not because Mr. Trump is a Republican-- I didn't always agree with Barack Obama, and he was a Democrat.  No, what continues to bother me about President Trump is how crude, how uncivil, and how petty he is. I can disagree with anyone on policy, but if you know anything about me, you know that courtesy and kindness mean a lot to me. Mr. Trump is proudly discourteous, and equally proud of being cruel to those with whom he disagrees.  I am mystified that his base actually loves this about him:  there should never be a time when casual cruelty is acceptable, nor a time when being rude is considered a mark of strength. And yet this is what 2017 was about-- watching the leader of our country be rude and unkind to people while his supporters cheered.

It was also not a great year to be an immigrant (even a legal one-- hate crimes are up, according to every survey I've seen); and there were moments when I wondered if it was okay to be Jewish in America:  if you remember the folks with the torches marching in Charlottesville (the folks Mr. Trump said included "some fine people"), perhaps you recall their chant of "Jews will not replace us" as they surrounded the synagogue in that city (and the police stood by and did nothing, sad to say). I still remember it.  I found it frightening-- it reminded me of another time, not that many decades ago, when similar chants were heard on the streets of Nazi Germany. I never thought I'd see such things in America in 2017.  But that's the kind of year it was.      

I noticed a lot more people seemed tense, irritated, and short-tempered in 2017-- even some of my students. I talked to a lot more people who seemed worried, even in the red states. And while the economy continues to improve (let's be honest-- it started in President Obama's second term; Mr. Trump, like most presidents, tries to say he did it all by himself, but that's not true), most people I know are all too aware that the gap between the super-wealthy and everyone else continues to widen. As many of us see it, Mr. Trump is not draining the swamp-- rather, he is using the presidency to enrich himself and his wealthy friends; and yet his supporters continue to believe in him.  Getting through year one of a Reality Show presidency has been disconcerting, to say the least.

And yes, the year had some good moments too, and I'm thankful for every one of them. I made some new friends, and reconnected with a few folks I hadn't spoken to in years. My husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, and I celebrated my 70th birthday.  And politics aside, I'm still happy to be alive and well and able to enter another year of blogging (my third). To all who read my postings, even when they don't agree, I appreciate it. To all who reach out on social media and engage with me in discussion, I welcome hearing from you.  And I'd also be glad to hear what you'll remember from 2017... and what you'd like to forget.  Happy new year and much love.

Friday, December 15, 2017

In Praise of the Moody Blues

When I first began blogging in early 2015, I was taking an online course about political campaigns, and the professor (a campaign consultant) asked us to blog every week. I had never blogged before and wasn't sure I'd be good at it, but I gradually got used to doing it.  Since the course ended, I've generally blogged every other week, and that still seems like the right number for me. When I blog about politics or sports or popular culture or religion, I average between 200-300 readers, for which I am grateful. (I never expected to average more than the students & the professor in that online class!)

But if I write about Rush, the fans flock to my blog and suddenly readership soars: my two most-read pieces this year were about the band-- one refuted the rumors of a Lee-Lifeson reunion (2977 readers) and the other was about Neil's retirement (13,648 readers-- an all-time high total for my blog). I could read these trends two ways-- nobody cares what I have to say unless I'm talking about Rush; or people do care, but they know they can get views on those other topics in many places, while the views I can share about Rush are unique to me (and to my experiences as someone forever associated with the band's history).  Either way, I came to the blogosphere with no expectations, and I'm happy that some of my blog posts have really resonated with readers.

This week's post could easily have been about political upsets (kudos to Doug Jones for defeating Roy Moore) or my views on the Republican tax plan (big giveaway to the wealthy, guaranteed to help Mr. Trump and his family more than it helps you and me) or how upset I am that a partisan FCC repealed Net Neutrality (while the mainstream media waited till after the vote was taken until they finally covered a story that will soon affect us all).  But instead of controversial topics, I'd like instead to focus on something that unites us, rather than divides us--music, and in this case, classic rock.

As you know, I've had my share of disagreements with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, whose animosity towards Rush was well-documented.  When they were finally inducted, I felt as if a wrong had been righted.  And to be honest, I feel the same way about the Moody Blues.  I've been a fan of their music since "Go Now" (which I played when I was a college deejay).  Although their music is very different from that of Rush, the two bands have several things in common: a passionate fan base, and critics who treated them dismissively.  I'm among the many who have spent years writing and petitioning and asking for the Moody Blues to be inducted, but until now, they were ignored by the judges (much like how the guys in Rush were ignored for years).

Personally, I've always loved the kind of music the Moody Blues did; sometimes it was progressive, sometimes it was pop, sometimes it blended genres unique for that era (like doing an album with a classical music orchestra).  The band's creativity always impressed me:  "Nights in White Satin" (which wasn't a hit the first time it was released in late 1967, but scored big the second time around in mid-1972) was one of my favorite romantic ballads.  I still love "Ride My Seesaw," "Never Comes the Day," "Gypsy," "I'm Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band," "Question," "Your Wildest Dreams," and Justin Hayward's solo tune "Forever Autumn," just to name a few.

As a former deejay, music director, and radio consultant, I met a lot of musicians over the years. Many were a disappointment-- conceited, crude, caught up in the "rock and roll lifestyle." That's what made Rush so special to me-- as I've said many times, success never spoiled them.  So, after being a Moody Blues fan (and playing their music) for years, I finally had the privilege of meeting them circa 1986, when I was consulting a Rhode Island radio station then known as RI-104. I admit I'd had a crush on Justin (he was definitely a hottie, and female fans all agreed), but it was gratifying to find out that he was not just another good-looking rock musician.  He was also a kind and down-to-earth person, not arrogant, and not taken with his own fame (again, the parallels to the members of Rush).

So for now, let me put politics and other topics aside and just say that I am really happy the Rock Hall decided to honor the Moody Blues. For more than three decades, they gave us listenable and interesting pop songs and creative album tracks.  Most of their music has aged well, and in fact, some of the original members are still performing.  There are some other bands and solo artists in this year's class of inductees who also deserved to get in, but growing up during the 1960s (a contentious time when so many things in society were changing), albums like "Days of Future Past" and "In Search of the Lost Chord" still bring back memories for me.

I will never forget that period of time-- 1968-1969, long before I went to Cleveland, long before I met Rush, when I first got my chance to be on the air; when album rock was becoming the dominant music on many college campuses, and FM was gradually gaining in popularity.  It was an incredible era for music, an incredible era for radio, and an incredible era for being a fan of rock and roll.  I'm glad I was able to play some of those songs back then; and I'm glad that now, some of the bands who were part of that era are finally getting the respect they deserve from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Who Are the Role Models These Days?

First, a comment or two about politics; but it's related to something that has been bothering me:  famous men behaving badly.  Yesterday, President Trump, who often complains about "fake news," tweeted out some inaccurate videos that claimed to show Muslims in acts of violence; he got the images from a far-right British organization known for spreading anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant messages. The president never bothered to find out if the videos were fact-based (several were not) before he sent them to his many followers, much to the dismay of some members of congress, American diplomats, and even the Prime Minister of England.  As might be expected, Mr. Trump's press secretary defended his sending out false videos, because "the threat is real."  The threat of what, I wanted to ask:  as I see it, the threat is from a president who regularly sends out inflammatory messages, just to please his base and perpetuate his own biases.

I have never understood why Mr. Trump thinks rudeness is a good thing. He uses Twitter to name-call, stoke resentment and outrage, spread conspiracy theories, and insult anyone he personally dislikes.  I find this behavior very disconcerting, and very un-presidential.  In all the years I've been alive, I've never seen a president act this way, just like I've never seen a president curse in public (as Mr. Trump did when expressing his anger at NFL football players who kneel during the anthem) or accuse the media of being "the enemy of the American people," or say that news networks like CNN, and more recently NBC, deserve to be investigated. Third-world dictators talk this way, not American presidents.  And yet, his supporters love and defend this behavior, for reasons I truly don't understand.     

But before some of my readers claim I'm just another "lib" who hates the president, this isn't just about President Trump.  Yes, he's the most recent example of famous men getting in the news for all the wrong reasons.  But as I mentioned in my previous blog post, this is absolutely NOT partisan, and it's not entirely political. Consider all the stories over the past several months about various indiscretions and outrageous behaviors by men in both political parties, as well as some members of the media. The biggest names recently were Al Franken, John Conyers, Matt Lauer, Russell Simmons, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose, Joe Barton, and Roy Moore, but there were plenty of others. Some of them, sad to say, have had their defenders; but for the most part, large numbers of us have become frustrated at the wealthy and privileged men who feel they can do whatever they want and get away with it.

It all started me thinking about if there are public figures we can still look up to.  Many of us grew up admiring some of the folks we saw on TV-- I remember my parents admired Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow, for example.  I personally admired Pope John 23rd for taking a strong stand against antisemitism in the church.  Perhaps you recall Justice Thurgood Marshall or Senator Jacob Javits, or pro athletes like Roberto Clemente and Ted Williams, all of whom devoted much time and energy to causes that helped the less fortunate.  And although I didn't agree with Ronald Reagan's politics, I thought his devotion to his wife Nancy (and hers to him) was commendable.

Okay fine, perhaps if there were 24/7 cable TV and social media back then, we might have learned that some of these folks had many more faults than we were told about.  But my point is that these days, we're at the other extreme: every day, we learn that yet another famous person or political leader isn't what we thought they were. So many movie and TV stars, athletes, talk show hosts, and political figures turn out to be crude, petty, greedy, and self-centered, or they're in the news for sexually harassing someone.  Now and then, there's a feel-good story (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle seems to be one lately), but these past few months have given us example after example of high-profile folks who were brought down by their own bad behavior.

I'm generally an optimist, so I'd like to believe there are some famous people who really do take their marriage vows seriously, or don't claim to be religious while secretly breaking the majority of the ten commandments, or who really are compassionate and it's not just an act.  One of the things I've always admired about the rock group Rush was that success never spoiled them, and they remained family men, rather than getting caught up in the "rock star lifestyle."  So, I'd be interested in your suggestions for famous people you respect and admire, not because they're in your political party or you loved their latest hit movie; but because they have a history of trying to make the world a better place. I hope you can give me some names, as I'd like a little good news for a change!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Al Franken, Roy Moore and the Dangers of Partisanship

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that my Republican friends were almost gleeful about the accusations leveled by a female talk show host against Senator Al Franken. Given all the negative reports about Alabama Republican Roy Moore, I'm sure they felt a sense of relief. Now, they could say "See? Your side does it too!!!"

But that's exactly what's wrong with the conversation up to this point. It's become a predictable exercise in tribalism: my guy couldn't possibly have done such a thing, but your guy is absolutely guilty.  Republicans want to re-litigate Bill Clinton, or point the finger at Al Franken.  Democrats want to demand a reckoning for Donald Trump or focus on the many sins of Roy Moore.  Too many folks on each side are certain that the other side is lying, or that the women speaking about what was done to them are not victims at all-- they're just frauds with partisan motives.

Unfortunately, lost in all of the partisan defenses of "our guy" is this fact:  a lot of powerful men, in politics and entertainment and even the clergy, have behaved in a disrespectful way towards women; and up to a couple of months ago, most have gotten away with it.  Many professions have been dominated by men who regarded women as intruders-- these guys wanted to run the company like their own boys club, and women were not welcome (or were grudgingly tolerated). Yes, women who were pretty and knew their place could get hired; but they could also be subjected to crude comments and rude behavior-- and nothing would be done to help them if they complained.

True story:  I worked at a radio station where the guys would go off to the conference room to watch porn.  True story:  I worked at another radio station where a drunken rock star grabbed my breast and laughed (he will remain nameless because he did apologize years later, after he got sober); unfortunately, the guys standing there watching also laughed... I didn't think it was so funny, but there was nothing I could do about it.  When I hear women telling similar stories, I don't think "Wow, they must be lying." I think "Wow, a lot of us really did endure the same things." 

I don't know (nor did I even think about) the political party of the music business executive who tried to force himself on me during what was supposed to a job interview. But I do know that even 40 years later, talking about it is painful.  Defending Roy Moore, a right-wing provocateur, Dinesh D'Souza, said on Twitter that any woman who still cries about something that happened forty years ago is performing (or lying). I was doing neither, Dinesh. I was reliving something I hadn't talked about in years, and remembering it was not pleasant.  Being as partisan as you are, I wouldn't expect you to understand.

But some things aren't partisan, or they shouldn't be.  Some things are wrong.  They're wrong if a Democrat does them, and they're wrong if a Republican does them.  They're wrong if the guy thought he was being funny, and they're wrong if the guy thought he was the boss and had a right to act this way.  We can ignore the women (or demonize and mock them), we can pretend everything is fine and someone from "our side" would never do such things; or we can think about ethics and values:  many folks claim they care about morality, but they make excuses for men who think fondling a woman without her permission is funny, as long as those men are in the right political party or working in the right position of power.

So, before everyone retreats to their corners, I hope folks, especially the skeptics and doubters, will recognize what is happening in this moment-- why are so many women, in all walks of life, deciding it's okay to tell their story?  And ask yourself honestly if your company, and your workplace, is a safe and welcoming place for female employees.  It's nearly the end of 2017, and too many of us have suffered in silence for far too long.  If some folks continue to see this as just a bunch of lies from women with partisan agendas, we'll still be having this conversation next year, and the year after that; and an important opportunity to create positive change will have passed us by one more time.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

So, I Got A Letter from the KKK

This has been a truly bizarre month.  Nearly everyone I encounter seems tense, short-tempered, in a perpetually dark mood.  Yes, there are moments of calm and moments of beauty, but then something sets people off and we're back to that same negative energy.  At first, I thought it was my imagination. But when I asked, a number of folks said they'd noticed it too.  So either we're all having a group delusion, or something is making people really, really irritable. I have a few theories about what could be causing it. Perhaps you have some theories too.

When I say it's been a bizarre month, consider this:  four days ago, I got a letter in the mail (yes, some people still send letters). It was addressed to the editor of the school newspaper at Lesley University, and right now, that's me. The sender included no return address, but it was post-marked from Tampa FL. (Since our newspaper is online, we have readers from almost everywhere.) I opened it, and got a surprise: it was on letterhead that read "The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan."

The writer, who signed off as "Loyal American Patriot," wanted me to know that the KKK is being treated unfairly, and they're not happy about it.  For example, said the writer, some people call the KKK a hate group.  But, be assured, they're not. "Nothing could be further from the truth. We follow the teachings of the Bible, and only wish to keep the white race pure, as God intended."

Dear readers, I used to teach Comparative Religion, and I used to be a chaplain.  The alleged purity of the white race (whatever that means) is not discussed in either the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) nor the Greek Scriptures (New Testament). Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jesus, the Apostles, none of them took a stand about white purity. Rather, they talked about helping the poor, feeding the hungry, living a life of ethics and compassion.  But in whatever bible the KKK reads, it evidently has a different set of instructions.

The letter went on to say the Klan has a new book that will tell me more about their views. They gave me a chance to get the book and have a student review it for the school newspaper.  (Sad to say, there is credible evidence that the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and other White Nationalist groups are actively recruiting on college campuses.)  After I got over the initial shock of receiving mail from the Klan, which I must admit has never happened before, I talked about it with my journalism students and decided there was no benefit to sending for, or reviewing, their book.  I pretty much know what the Klan believes, and I see no point in giving them free publicity-- even if we trash it, we're still giving them publicity. Frankly, I'd rather not.

In such a bizarre month, so filled with vague uneasiness and tension, I guess a letter from the KKK is just one more example of how crazy life has become.  It certainly seems that more haters are feeling emboldened-- they see an opportunity to get their message out, via rallies, or via social media, or via old-school snail mail.  I don't like any of this:  when I saw the Neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, part of me thought they looked silly, but part of me feared for my country.  Seeing folks marching with swastikas also brought back some very unpleasant memories.

I'm noticing over and over how easy it is to stir up anger and animosity, especially online; these days, even folks who aren't haters seem ready to argue at a moment's notice.  As for me, I filed the KKK letter in the appropriate file.  But I found myself unable to forget about it. No, I don't think my students will be joining the KKK any time soon; but the fact that this group and others like them believe now is a great time to recruit is profoundly disappointing... and it should worry us all.   

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Culture of Hypocrisy, Harvey Weinstein Edition

There's a line in a Rush song ("A Farewell to Kings") that says, "the hypocrites are slandering/ the sacred halls of truth," and it's come to mind a number of times in the past several weeks.  I've never been fond of hypocrisy:  if you're going to complain about others who do X, you shouldn't be doing X yourself.  I was very impressed with my father, for example-- he quit smoking (not an easy thing for him to do) so that he could set a good example for his kids, and not be a hypocrite when he told us not to smoke.

This has been quite a week for hypocrisy, and I could give so many examples.  But let me focus on one: all the guys in the entertainment industry who are now shocked, shocked about (former) movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.  They can't distance themselves from him fast enough.  Yet many of these same guys were just fine about going to his parties, and taking his donations for their pet causes.  And before some of my readers get all self-righteous about Harvey being a Democrat, how about all the guys who defended and applauded Republicans like Roger Ailes, or made excuses for Bill O'Reilly?  Republican politicians and celebrities are every bit as guilty as Democrats when it comes to power: they will hang around with anyone who can help them to advance their career or provide some favorable publicity.

But the issue of sexual harassment has never really been about politics, although some folks seem eager to turn it into "my side good/your side bad." And I also don't want this blog post to seem like a rant against guys in general (nor even guys in the media). I spent nearly four decades in broadcasting, and I met some amazing guys, who were wonderful to me.  But on the other hand, there are some guys who should have been called out long ago, and they never were.  It's an open secret that many powerful men have long been able to get away with treating women shamefully; and what helps it to keep recurring is the colleagues who look the other way, or the boards of directors who don't care about sexual harassment as long as the profits keep rolling in.  But when one of them gets caught, instead of addressing the issue, it's treated as an isolated incident with one guy who behaved badly.  The wagons get circled, excuses get made, perhaps the guy in question is fired.  But the culture that made it all possible continues, and the hypocrites who benefited from it go back to living their lives.

The victims have no such luxury however.  When it happened to me in the mid-1970s, the advice I got from the men who knew him was to keep quiet and accept the fact that "this is how some guys are."  But none of his male colleagues seemed surprised and none condemned his behavior; I was told that I alone had to adapt.  It took a while before I stopped being angry, and I never entirely got over the feeling of helplessness. (If you've been through it, that's the worst part-- you know what happened, you know who did it, you know he'll probably do it again, and nobody in his circle of friends and colleagues is willing to do anything about it.)

And here we are in 2017, and it seems not much has changed:  women who were harassed are still asked why they didn't come forward sooner.  In many cases, the reason is self-preservation, a reaction to a system where the cards are stacked against you.  If you complain, you're branded as a trouble-maker and nobody will hire you.  If you come forward in a public way, you're often accused of lying, or blamed for what took place (as if harassment or sexual assault is somehow your fault, not his).  It's no wonder many women keep quiet. So, now Harvey Weinstein will be driven out, as Roger Ailes was. But I fear that we still won't see an end to the culture that allows such men to have so much power over women's lives.  And I fear that those who enable these men will now decide their work is done. They'll return to doing what they've always done: looking away, or pretending it doesn't happen... until the next time...