Sunday, December 20, 2009

I admire you…

…who can blog each day. Oh I could easily write regularly but I think it would just be rambling, most of it negative (I call it reality) and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it. However… since it’s been so long since I’ve posted you’ll just have to take what you get this time.

Have you ever noticed that you’ll find some of the worst car parkers in downtown Manitowaning? I’ve driven in places that have some crazy drivers…Toronto (get out of my way, I’m special), Montreal (Red lights? Hah! Pedestrians? Hah! Laws? Hah!), Saskatoon (very narrow streets with most of the signs hidden), Sudbury (What speed limit?), Sherbrooke (Montreal is just a bunch of pussies!). Anyway, parking… I’ve noticed it many times and just the other day four out of five cars at the Post Office were parked illegally… two facing the wrong way, one in the handicapped zone, one beside the fire hydrant with its butt sticking out into the side street. In front of the grocery store? Two out of four illegal… one beside the fire hydrant and one on the sidewalk. Ahh… what do I know.

Oh, and just to mention Sudbury again… I’ve decided never to go there again if I don’t really have to unless I can be absolutely certain that the painted lady from Canada’s Worst Driver has moved far, far away.

Everyone has been screaming about some adopted Canadian citizen who is sitting in a foreign jail. What’s the problem? If someone from the other side of the world committed a crime here would we not expect them to be subject to our laws? What’s the difference?

Now on a positive note… the sky is clear, no snow to shovel for several days now and Gloria made a big batch of butter tarts today… life is good.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ain't that pretty?

Feel free to add your comments to this, one of the finer things in life.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I wasn't quick enough...

So I'm sitting here checking my emails and doing a little surfing and just happened to glance out the window. This is basically what I saw circling up the lake shore...


Unfortunately this isn't my photo as I wasn't quick enough to get out the door with my camera so I thank the photographer and you can find the original photo posted HERE under "Creative Commons" license at Flickr. Good thing the neighbors cats were under cover as one of them would have made a nice lunch for this fellow.

Friday, November 06, 2009

I haven't been pulled over in weeks...

And no, I don't mean for speeding (who, me?) or any other moving violation. Could it be that my Jeep is almost identical to some "vehicle of interest" to the local constabulary?

Since the day I got it last summer I have been regularly followed by both cruisers and unmarked cars, sometimes for miles. Now tell me... if you are driving the speed limit and a police car comes up behind you how long does he stay there? As soon as you hit the first straight stretch he's gone around you right? These guys would ride my back for the longest time and you could almost hear then calling in the plate number to check me out. By the way, this never happened with my previous vehicle so I can only assume they are not looking for me personally. :-)

The other day I saw this cruiser with a motorcycle pulled over beside the road and the officer is just getting back into his vehicle. I slowed way down and moved over into the other lane as is required and the officer waved me by. A couple miles farther down the road I see him coming up behind me and yup, the lights come on. Law abiding citizen that I am I immediately put on my blinker and moved to the side of the road. The nice officer comes up to my window and says "Oh, just wondered who was driving because we couldn't see through the tinted windows." It seems to me that if they were looking for someone else then running the plate would tell them it's my Jeep and not some other persons. There could also be other differences like no cover on my spare tire and there is on his?

Anyway, it's nice to see that the local force is out there doing it's job and I'm sure I'll see them again and that we'll still be on friendly terms. Yes sir, I'd be happy to buy two tickets to the policeman's ball and thank you very much!

PS: The person in town who has the almost identical vehicle to me was nice enough to say "Thank You" later on. Anytime buddy!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I've got to sell a lot of pepper...

It's been an expensive couple weeks. First there was putting the winter tires on the van for $72.00 Then the same for one of the SX2. Now I just put four new winter ones on the Jeep to the tune of $901.49 taxes, installation, balancing and the government imposed stewardship fee. At least I saved the $3.00 per tire disposal fee as I took them to our local tire dump instead for free. I could have gotten a better deal a week or two earlier but of course I left it just a couple days too long and the less expensive models were sold out.

Anyway, I’m sure it will be worth it as the summer tires that were on the Liberty when I bought it were getting pretty bald and lately I’ve been all over the place on the gravel road to the house. This new “Arctic Claw” rubber just refuses to spin or slide at all and they will for sure save me from a ditch or two or three that I would be in this winter without them.

No snow yet but most of the leaves are on the ground around the house and the bird population has changed. The Chickadees are staring in the window full time if I haven’t put the seed out yet. The Snowbirds are circling, a couple Sparrows I haven’t seen since last spring are back along with the Purple Finches, Juncos and a Cardinal spent the day today munching on the sunflower seed I put on the table out on the deck. Even "Woody" stopped by to see what I was offering!

Haven’t seen my families of Geese or Loons for a few weeks now… come to think of it I haven’t seen the Geese since hunting season. I miss my hunting days when I used to disappear after work or for entire weekends into the bush. Sometimes I’d hunt with the rifle or shotgun and sometimes just with the camera. I don’t even have a license anymore and it’s probably not worth the trouble of getting one again. A good “sakabaun” would be really great right now though and I can just see the fat dripping off the bird twirling on a string over the campfire. That’s it…. I’m hungry, guess I’ll settle for a peanut butter sandwich for now… sigh.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Time to let go you think?

I’ve now been retired for 1 year and 25 days and I still track the company aircraft on a daily basis, still keep in touch with former workmates, still say “we” when talking with pride about the people and stores… and still in my heart know that for a brief time (35 years, 10 days) I was a small part of this country’s history. I was an apprentice, a fur trader, carving buyer, manager, leader and a trainer of others in the oldest company in the country (dating back to May 2, 1670 to be exact)… and it’s still very hard to let go and move on.

Maybe it’s time I take down and burn that map that hangs above my desk serving as a reminder of it all… that map that I gaze at for a few minutes each day re-tracing the lines… remembering the sights and stories of each one of those communities…

Yes, I gave up many things when I headed north… but look at what I gained in return. From Mistassini and Chibougamau to Pangnirtung, Igloolik, Baker Lake, Old Crow, Yellowknife and dozens of others I’ve seen all three of Canada’s coasts many times, met thousands of people and learned a few words of Cree, Inuktitut, Dene and Odawa. I’m truly one lucky guy for having the life I’ve had and even with the occasional uncertainty, hassles and all that freight to move…I wouldn’t have traded one minute of it. Guess maybe it’s time to sit on the deck and get that book started…

Monday, September 14, 2009

Could it be a plot?

I don’t know about you but ever since grocery stores stopped giving out free bags at the checkout I’m shopping more often. I certainly don’t mind bringing my own bags and I admit that I always felt a little bit guilty about all the plastic I used and discarded before, but I can’t help but wonder if there is a hidden and secondary agenda to this growing practice.

Before now I would go to the store and fill up a cart with what we needed plus a couple of the special bargains and deals on display. We’d sail through the checkout and come out the other end with 10 or more bags and flimsy or not, they would still have a landfill, roadside or lakeside life of a thousand years or so. Now I go shopping with an idea of what I need to take us through the next couple days, trying to be careful to not pickup more than will fit into whatever cloth bags I have with me at the time. Of course I still check out and pick up a few of the extra sale items that we don’t necessarily need but are just priced too good to overlook.

There lies my suspicion… Before this I was only getting one or two sale items at a visit maybe once a week. Now that I am shopping every couple days I’m still picking up one or two sale items but you’ll note that it’s now maybe three times a week. So you’ll calculate that the two or three items we didn’t really need before have now become six or seven. It makes me wonder that since the stores know that we’re now shopping more frequently have they decided to take advantage of our thriftiness to tease us with all these extra sale items on display. It’s a plot, I tell you!

Seriously now… I don’t mind taking my own bags and I happy to not contribute to the landfills unnecessary plastic that will stay there just about forever. I also don’t truly think that the stores are in a conspiracy to push items on us that we don’t really need… or are they? 

PS: Ever start into the store and realize that you left your bags at home? Do the store managers giggle when they see shoppers enter without an armload of empty bags because they know we'll then have to add to their bottom line by purchasing even more? I wonder…

Friday, September 11, 2009

The news as I understood it this week...

The union that is on strike in Sudbury is accusing the company of stealing money from little old ladies.

As I understand the news reports... The company had very definite plans to double the xmas bonus to the widows of former workers. The company is now saying that they may not be able to do so because of lack of funds. They are NOT going to cancel or take away the existing bonus that has been paid for years which still stands and is guaranteed.

The reason that the company doesn't have the funds to help these people is that 3,000 workers went on strike (quit, if you ask me) and therefore there is not enough money coming into company coffers to pay out the additional bonus amount.

Doesn't it seem to you that it's the strikers and not the company that have caused the cash shortage? Do they expect the employer to just print out money whenever they need it like the Government does? If no funds are coming in how do they expect there to be anything to pay out? I wonder how they balance their personal cheque books with thinking like that? Perhaps if they don't want to do an honest days work they should go take a course in Accounting 101 and then maybe they'll understand cash flow a little bit better.

Yesterday the foolishness was continued... Since these strikers haven't gotten their way they have decided to act like spoiled brat children and not let anyone else play in their yard either. In other words they are now harassing workers of other local companies because these other companies are not helping the strikers hurt their employer and the entire community.

Grow up children! I bet you there's lots of people out there who would love to have a full time job. If you don't want to work get the hell out of the way of people that do.

Comments? I do love a good discussion...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My Political Comments, Continued...

I've had a suggestion that my recent Facebook entries be carried over to this blog so here goes, from the start...

ME: Political terms are supposed to be 4 years, right? I think anyone who wants to have an election at any other time in between should have to pay all the expenses for it themselves. How do these idiots think anything will ever get done when it all comes to a halt every few months? As long as there's nothing illegal going on let the term run it's course and stop whining.

MM: "likes this"

M: I asked my MP that years ago and was told I simply didn't understand partisan politics.

ME: So why does the 4 year term work in the US? If they want to play games they can use their own money to do it and not waste my tax dollars on their kids games. How about actually spending the cash on the people they are supposed to be serving and not on themselves. I think I'll continue this in my blog where I can rant properly. :-) Have a great day!

M: Did you ever ask a politician a question and get a sensible answer that wasn't loaded in their favor? Looking forward to reading your blog.

B: I hear ya, Murr! Apparently, politics is the 2nd-oldest profession in the history of man - and it closely resembles the 1st...

H: sorry but this will keep up until we get a majority gov. witch doesn't look likely this time. besides the other parties have a duty not to support a government that is not acting in the peoples best interests.

ME: Now how did I know I'd hear from you on this... great! :-) I agree that we need a majority under our present system but (as we've discussed before) we need a true Independent system where the elected can actually work for their areas and not have to grovel and follow direct orders of the head of the party who may not have the least idea (or care) what is happening anywhere but on Parliament Hill.

Now, to continue to try to get people riled up simply because I enjoy a good argument...

There is a great article in the National Post suggesting that at the recent meeting in Sudbury the mood was "near unanimous" AGAINST a fall election. It was even reported that one MP said "We might have well have stayed in bed" which implies to me that the leader wasn't the least bit interested in advice from those in the know but just wanted to get his name in the paper.

Just goes to prove my point that we'll never have an effective political system under a party system where the elected members are ordered to do, think and say whatever the head honcho orders under threat of expulsion. Who would dare try to do any good under those conditions.

By the way, did you see where the Conservatives are up 5 points in the polls since the Liberal leader announcement? Mr. Ignatieff... the people of Canada do NOT want an election at this time, especially not to blow close to $300 million in expenses to the taxpayers just to sooth your ego by making you feel important for a few weeks.

There... that's my rant for the day... I'll be the first to admit that I'm no political whiz kid but I hate to see taxpayer money that could better be used elsewhere wasted on childish games...comments are welcome everyone!

PS: I have to point out that if the party roles were reversed then I would still be saying the same thing. Let's not waste taxpayers money over and over again on the same ratings dog and pony show... It just seems like more outrageous reality TV with the same silly plots with the acting just as bad and I'm getting very tired of it.

I Am a Modern Day Gunslinger...

Along with a high percentage of the male population I carry my trusty cell phone on my belt. My own leather holster is suited for function more than quick draw and therefore fits my personality well.

Even back in my hunting days I very seldom made a snap shot as my preference was to properly identify my target, make certain of my surroundings (particularly the background) and only then ready the weapon for use. I always figured that if during those extra few seconds of contemplation the quarry disappeared then that was just the way it was meant to be and good luck to you my furred or feathery little buddy. (There was also that one time that Steve Day stood up suddenly in front of me in a goose blind and it would have been his own fault if I hadn't been double checking, right?)

Back to topic... do you remember the scene in Hook when Robin Williams is challenged by a co-worker to see who can get their cell phones out and fired up first? I enjoy this exchange of machismo as it conjures up thoughts and feelings of the "Battle" similar to Vinnie Barbarino (aka John Travolta) facing off against the bull in the movie Michael.

Anyway, in the absence of legitimate high noon type street duels this public display of cell phone use seems to keep civilized people content.

Hmmm... wonder how I can fit Bluetooth into this scenario?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Moonlight over Smith Bay…

I don’t think this photo needs any words to take away from the view off our deck this evening. Ain't life grand at times like this?

Voices From the Past...

This year seems to have a definite theme to it. In the past 12 months I've become reacquainted with a dozen or so people from my past. Old friends, school chums and even a cousin I haven't seen probably since the late 60's. A few days ago another one surfaced because of a blog entry I made many months ago.

Roddy was a young fellow from Oban, Scotland who had been brought over by the Hudson’s Bay Company as an apprentice contract clerk. When I was sent to my first posting with HBC it was to Mistassini and to fill the position left vacant by him when he went on to other things. (Roddy is the fellow in the back on the right in this photo but I have no idea who the long-haired gentleman wearing the tie in front of him is. Wish I could remember that party, looks like it must have been a good one).

(I just have to pause here for a moment to mention that Oban where Roddy was from produces one of the finest scotches in the world. Please try it if you ever get the chance.)

He must have been searching through the internet for some of his old locations and ran across my entry about Mistassini and my first Store Manager, Glen Speers.

Anyway, I've replied to his comments on my entry and I hope he gets back to me. For some reason the people I knew years ago are getting more and more important to me. A sign of old age, you think?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Late Evening Tones...

So I’m almost caught up on all my projects again and at the point where I can start thinking about this blog and of what could be posted here. After making 28 calls to prospects tonight and then sending them follow up emails I plugged the headphones into the laptop, cranked up my playlist and did a little web surfing.

During this vegetating process up popped the mellow sounds of Glenn Miller in my ears. What a talent and genius he was with musical arrangements and the smooth sounds of Moonlight Serenade reminded me of an old acquaintance of mine. I think he would have become a good friend had I remained in that area for very long but the whims of fate and life dictated otherwise. I’m told that he was passionate about the big band sound and would sit for the longest time directing orchestras playing over the radio or stereo and you know what? I used to do the same when no one was watching...haven’t we all?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Wise Old Curmdgeon...

I just found a great new web site called the Wise Old Curmdgeon with all kinds of advice, trivia and other goodies on it. Here is an example of what I'm talking about...

It takes your food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.
One human hair can support 3kg (6.6 lb).
The average man's penis is three times the length of his thumb.
Human thighbones are stronger than concrete.
A woman's heart beats faster than a man's.
There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.
Women blink twice as often as men.
The average person's skin weighs twice as much as the brain.
Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.
If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.
Women reading this will be finished now.
Men are still busy checking their thumbs.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm not ignoring you...

I've just been too busy to stop and think up anything to post here.

Anyway, I'm pushing to get caught up this week on all my odd jobs and hope to get back to normal next week so I can go sit and relax for a few hours.

Meet you on the bench? We can just relax for a while, watch the world go by and grow old content and happy. Wow... wouldn't that be great?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog...

It seems to me that this type of online diary is completely contrary to my nature. I like my privacy and expect it to be respected as I will respect others.

Having said that, why do I make these entries sharing my thoughts? If I believed that “therapy” sessions did anyone any good then maybe this is my personal form of it. Of course if you ask me… “therapy” and all such other nonsense does nothing more than reinforce the weakness of a person by telling them that all will be better in the morning. Heck people… if you have a problem step up to the line and deal with it. YOU are the one that has to work out and correct whatever it is messing up your head so just go ahead and do it without indulging your faltering confidence by running for a shoulder to cry on. If you go to a professional remember that their bottom line goal in life is to make money, and if it's to a friend... why oh why would you want to dump your problems on them if you are a friend yourself? They probably have enough worries of their own without being expected to solve your problems too.


(For the record I have not and will never be in “therapy” nor do I know anyone who has been involved with this… or at least no one who has ever admitted it to me. I guess they know they wouldn’t get much sympathy from my direction. )



Back to topic… There are still lots of tidbits and ideas floating around my head that are no one else’s business and will stay locked up there forever. (Darn… might have made a good book too.) Other thoughts that prior to my starting this blog would have been difficult to mention now flow easier to an anonymous audience. The downside is that if I sometimes spoke out when I shouldn’t have before then it’s much worse now. Just ask my wife!

Oh well... live, learn and evolve, for better or worse, right?

(P.S.: The comments, observations and rants in this blog are most definitely not endorsed, accepted or condoned by management. But she still loves me... I think. Oh dear... maybe I need to check with my support group on that?)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

It isn’t about selling…

… well, maybe for me as an anti-social character it is. I’ve been set up at the Manitoulin Flee Market for several weeks now and have made a few observations. These seem to indicate that a very large number of visitors are not there to buy, but just to visit and get caught up on events. Apparently the weekly market rounds make up a very important part of their social life and it almost makes sense to me.

If I’m not at the market I’m sitting in front of my computer (probably on Facebook) and pretending to myself that I am doing something worthwhile. After all, Farm Town teaches me valuable lessons about crop rotation and animal husbandry. Fish Wrangler allows me to interact with my other crew members and seek out new and different undersea creatures. Nations teaches me the hows and whys of making proper political decisions. Poker teaches me logic and when to fold and run. Bingo teaches me patience and Twitter keeps me in touch with current events. Who am I kidding… I’m just playing around!

On the other hand the market has taught me communications skills, polished my sales pitch and taught me to listen to people (customers) and help them choose the right product for themselves. Selling isn’t about making a buck, it’s about helping people by allowing them to obtain products that are actually of use to them. If I sell them crap they won’t come back, right? By selling them a quality product that they actually need and at a fair price I have created a loyal customer who thinks of me and keeps coming back when they need something.

Hmmm… sounds corny but I’ve been selling one product or another for over 40 years… and it’s still fun!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Balcony....

How many of you are fans of Boston Legal as I am? My favorite part is always the scene at the end of the show where Alan and Denny enjoy a single malt and cigar while discussing the events of the episode. This appeals to me because of the sense of camaraderie and friendship that you can feel through the television screen.

I don’t take friendship lightly and while I have my own fair share of acquaintances that fall into this category I find there are only a handful that fit on a very special shortlist. It goes without saying that on the top of this list is Gloria, my wife of 31 years and 3 days now. We had some very special chemistry going from the day we first met, or at least I did, I think she needed a little more convincing! I’m sure she thought I was just another Bay clerk passing through but many months later when I was promoted to Store Manager sure enough, she followed me down the coast and has been putting up with my many idiosyncrasies ever since. THANK YOU!!!

Of the remainder of the handful there was one I thought I had lost years ago for various reasons, but it turns out that the problem was all in my head and just my imagination. I’m happy to report that the rare friendship we had has been renewed and that an exploratory (and very welcome) email a few months ago has resulted in my now playing host for the next week to a family from Ottawa. They met up with me at the Manitoulin Flea Market today and I was able to install them in a cabin at Wee Point where they will be until next Saturday. I’ll give them the deluxe tour of the island Monday or Tuesday and perhaps we’ll hit the dinner cruise on Thursday.

Anyway, here’s to the past and the future. It’s nice to reconnect again and I hope to continue this thread later on. Right now it’s time for bed… another early morning coming up at the Manitoulin Flea Market tomorrow. See you there!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What a Feast!

Gloria and I had our annual Anniversary Dinner Celebration yesterday and this year chose the Garden’s Gate Family Restaurant as our place to be. Normally we take the Chi-Cheemaun Dinner Cruise for the event, but the timing wasn’t right this year and we certainly picked a great substitute.

We started with an appetizer of the Country Mushroom and Nut Pate and this is one of the most fantastic things I have ever eaten! It's a creation of owner Rose herself and the menu description is “A combination of mushrooms, onion, garlic, almonds, hazelnuts, cream cheese, thyme are blended together and served with French Stick.” WOW! WOW! WOW! It was all I could do to NOT lick the bowl clean! There has to be one ingredient not listed though as there was a very definite and pleasant bite to the palate and I’m thinking there had to be a touch of jalapeno or some other hot pepper added in also. Not overpowering at all but just a very nice finish to it.

Following a wonderful potato soup as main courses Gloria opted for the Manitoulin Whitefish while I had the Manitoulin beef, both of us with superb mashed potatoes with yams, fresh carrots and string beans.

Sorry, I can’t comment on the desserts other than to say there was a great selection because neither of us had room to try them. I don’t believe I actually passed up a chocolate cheesecake! We’re already planning a return visit but will skip the main course next time and go straight from the appetizer to dessert and coffee.

The Garden’s Gate has been listed in many publications and touted on CBC as being one of THE places to eat in Ontario and I now know why. As many of the ingredients as possible are from Manitoulin itself including a great variety of herbs from their own gardens. Other items such as fresh blueberries may come from as far away as Sudbury but you know if something is available here on the island then that is where it is obtained.

So… all you out there that have recommended this establishment in the past all I can say is… you’re right, and why did it take me so long to try it out. We’ll be going back up that path to their door again, and it won’t wait until our 32nd either!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I know, it's just a Pigeon...

... but it's the biggest darned Pigeon I've ever seen, much larger than any you see in the cities. I mean, this guy is the size of a large chicken and just huge compared to the Mourning Doves that hang around the house. It's also the first time one has ever shown up at our feeder and you'll notice that he has an orange band on one leg and a yellow band on the other. Wonder where he blew if off course from?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Centre of The Universe...

It's great to see the unselfishness and charitable side of the people of Toronto. I've never been impressed by the city or much of its population but the fact that 24,000 have said "I don't want my job any more" and have willingly walked away is just fantastic. These wonderful people with great salaries and all kinds of benefits have decided it's not enough and have walked away from their positions even though their employers would like them to stay and are very willing and eager to keep on handing them a regular paycheque. This sound like a voluntary resignation to me.

So... hats off to these citizens and any others out there who are nice enough to vacate their positions to make room for someone else. I can guarantee that there are hundreds of people in Canada that would love to fill your abandoned spot, and thousands of individuals around the world that would jump at the chance to move here. Thank you for considering others, and as I’m crawling over rotting, plague infested garbage on the street corners it would be great to have your address so I could stop by and thank you in person.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Systems Check...

Attitude... adjusting.
Business... going strong.
Family... well, and tolerant of me.
Future... coming, ready or not.
Health... let's skip that.
Home... content.
Life... interesting and busy.
Reality... understood.
Retirement... recommended.
Tolerance... no improvement.
Wonder... more wow each day.
World... start all over again as this one is not working.

Some or all of the above are subject to change without notice and the listing may be adjusted as required. As you probably know I have LOTS of opinions about just about anything you'd care to suggest... but don't ask unless you are prepared for the answer. Talk at 'ya later people! :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hawbear & Friends!

Another great Manitoulin product and project. Check out their BLOG or FACEBOOK page today.

Thanks for shopping Manitoulin!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Manitoulin Woods....

I've been busy trying to do 14 things at the same time again but I had to take a few minutes out the other day to snap a few photos of the Trillium's down Beach Road. There must be millions of them all over Manitoulin at this time of the year. Too bad all the summer visitors miss this fantastic view of our island.


Monday, May 18, 2009

See... I'm not "completely" hooked...

Watkins at Fort Sheg!

The Fort Sheg Flee Market is now open for the season. Come and see me and all the other booths every Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am to 4:00pm right through the summer and into October.

There is still space for vendors and others at very reasonable rates. Why not think about holding your next yard sale here and inside where you won't have to worry about it raining all over you!

See you soon!