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The Stars Come Out in Philly

phila stars.detail2

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By Phil Hecken

I had planned on a mellow column for today, it being the holiest of holy days (Masters Sunday, dontcha know), but earlier this week I was contacted by my buddy, Morris Levin, who asked if he could pen a column about a very special event taking place on Jack Roosevelt Robinson Day (next April 15), the day everyone will wear “42” in the bigs.

So, a full column it will be today, beginning with Morris:

Philadelphia Stars Negro League Baseball in Philadelphia
April 15, 2012, 10:30am to 3pm

By Morris Levin

I asked Phil if I could pinch-hit today to write about a Philadelphia Stars Negro League baseball event next Sunday, April 15, here in Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia in the 1930s and 1940s, the Philadelphia Stars played Negro League baseball at the P.R.R. YMCA Athletic Field in the West Parkside neighborhood. The field and grandstand was at the intersection of Belmont and Parkside Avenues, and came to be known as the “44th and Parkside ballpark”.

The Stars affiliated with the Negro National League, and played at 44th and Parkside from 1934 to 1948. Baseball Hall of Famers Oscar Charleston, Biz Mackey, Satchel Paige, Turkey Stearnes, and Jud Wilson all played in West Parkside for the Stars.

Today, this part of West Philadelphia is organized as the Centennial District, extending from the Mann Center, down to the Philadelphia Zoo. It encompasses the Please Touch Museum which is housed in Memorial Hall, built in 1876 for the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Athletic Base Ball of Philadelphia plays its home games in the shadow of Memorial Hall on Picnic Area B. Across Parkside Avenue from Memorial Hall is the Stars’ former ballpark site, and a number of public signifiers celebrating the site.

Today at Belmont and Parkside Avenues is the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park, a Pennsylvania historical marker recognizing the site’s significance to African-American baseball in Philadelphia, and the prominent Philadelphia Stars mural.

In the early 1900s, this neighborhood was home to a Pennsylvania Railroad train-yard and roundhouse. The Young Men’s Christian Association established a YMCA building and resources for the railroad workers. In May 1903, the Railroad YMCA dedicated the athletic field for use by company baseball and football clubs. Seating for 6,000 was built in 1920, and lights were erected for night games in 1933. The ballpark was rented to area amateur and professional clubs. The Stars were founded in 1933 and played their first year at Passon Field, the current site of West Philadelphia High School. The next year, the Stars moved to the larger YMCA field.

Former Stars players would later recall how the coal smoke from the roundhouse and yards often clouded games, left soot on players and patrons, and led the team to wear their gray road uniforms at home. Jackie Robinson integrated professional baseball in 1946, and African-American ballplayers signed with the better capitalized National League and American League teams. The Negro National League folded after the 1948 season, and the Stars after the 1952 season.

The neighborhood has grown and remade itself in the past forty years. The 44th and Parkside ballpark grandstand was razed in 1954, and a warehouse built on the site of the field. The tracks were pulled up in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1990s, a coalition of local groups, led by Marjorie Ogilvie and Miller Parker and the Business Association of West Parkside, began to bring recognition to the ballpark’s history and site’s significance.

The Business Association is hosting a series of events next Sunday. I came to be involved in organizing the event last year. One area of personal interest for me is Philadelphia’s historic stadiums ”“ ballparks like Temple Stadium, JFK Stadium, Passon Field, the Jefferson Street Grounds, and 44th and Parkside.

(In the long term, those of us involved in celebrating the Stars are putting together a not-for-profit to support ongoing commemoration and education activities; you can purchase a cool t-shirt, and support our effort by ordering a Stars logo t-shirt here, or Memorial Park t-shirt here.)

Events next Sunday the 15th are free and open to the public. They are adult friendly and child friendly, wallet affordable, with lots of good baseball. I will be happy to welcome all Uni Watch readers. Former Philadelphia Stars player Harold Gould will join us. He has not been in the best of health, and I am excited that we will have him and his family with us.

Here’s the schedule for the day ”“ please come as your schedule permits.

From 10:30am to 11:15am, we are going to gather at the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park at Belmont and Parkside Avenues. This is the southwest corner, opposite the Philadelphia Stars mural. It is outside, free, and there is parking. There will be Franklin Fountain ice cream, peanuts, popcorn, and Cracker Jack, and a good gathering of people. We will make brief public comments recognizing the significance of the site, and then we will walk up the street.

At 5070 Parkside Avenue, three blocks up Parkside, is Le Cochon Noir, a barbeque restaurant which serves Sunday brunch. From 11:30am to 1:00pm, we will have the “Jackie Robinson Day Talk” at the restaurant. This year’s speaker is Rebecca Alpert from Temple University. She wrote the book, Out of Left Field, on Jews in black baseball, exploring the complicated history.

I am also a member of Athletic Base Ball Club, Philadelphia’s 1864-rules base ball club. Many guys from the club will be attending (in full uniform). Following the brunch and talk, Athletic will proceed across the street for a scrimmage. This will be an open scrimmage; we welcome viewers, fans, and as an open scrimmage, all are welcome play 1864 ball with us that afternoon. Don’t bother bringing a glove.

I hope to see many readers there. I will be back here on Uni Watch this summer assisting Phil while Paul is on vacation. If anyone has thoughts on the Stars, the event, or articles or pics to contribute, be in touch.


Thanks Morris! Great event and nice writeup. I’m about to place an order for this sweet tee — how about you?


vilk 5&1

MoVi’s FINAL NC2A 5 & 1

The NCAA hoopster season ended last Monday (UK!!!!) and it certainly provided ample evidence of some primo uni matchups…and a bunch of duds.

Everyone’s favorite Zip is back today to give his Easter wrap of the best (and worst) of the tourney. But you haven’t heard the last of Akron’s finest scholar and gentleman…no siree…he’ll be back with a few Olympic 5 & 1’s of the beautiful game this summer. However, until that time…what happens to Jimmer when he has no more lists?


Here’s something for you to listen to while you read the list.

Honorable Mentions to Ohio/Michigan — And not because this was one of the few bracket picks I actually got right.

And to VCU/Indiana — Variations of VCU’s template were prevalent in the earlier rounds, and I liked all of them.

5. Kansas/North Carolina — Name On Backside isn’t very cool, though, Carolina…

4. Gonzaga/Ohio State — …but Name Down Leg is.

3. Ohio State/Kansas — Bonus: you got to see both team’s home and road sets here.

2. St. Bonaventure/Florida State — Nice to see some brown in the tourney!

1. Long Beach State/New Mexico — One shining uni moment.

And the bad one: South Dakota State/Baylor — *Sigh*…what could have been if both teams stuck with school colors…

Well, I’m list-less now. And no Bill Raftery until at least November? That makes me listless as well. So long, college hoops!


Thanks Sunbowlker! Now, go find some eggs.


all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks Concepts

We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.

So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.

Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.

And so, lets begin:


We start with Brent Hatfield, who you may remember from the Seahawks concepts contest. He’s back with an entire set of NFL unis and helmets:

Hello there,

I recently launched a website with my uniform/helmet concepts. If you remember I finished 5th in the SEAHAWKS contest recently held on UNIWATCH.

Feel free to share it.




Next up is Dan Wohl, with a neat Spurs concept:

Hi Phil,

As I’m sure most Uni Watch readers know, the Spurs’ logo throughout the ’90s featured “Fiesta colors” of teal, pink, and orange, despite there being no trace of such colors on San Antonio’s uniforms. The colors are like those associated with Fiesta, San Antonio’s yearly spring festival. I wish those colors still had some small presence, so why not have Fiesta-accented uniforms to wear for a few home games every April?


Dan Wohl


We close today with Christian Cisneros, who has some changes for the 49ers:


I’ve always wondered what the 49er logo would look like without a drop shadow, so I removed the shadow, and outlined the white SF with gold. I actually really like how this looks. This was just an experiment at first. My second photo is how the logo would look on the helmet with the gold background. Sorry about the uneveness in some parts, I tried my best in a time limit.

Hope you like it,

That was followed quickly by this:


Sorry, I completely forgot to add in the uniforms. (thanks to Tim E. O’Brien for allowing me to go off of his designs)

Home: Same as now, just with a red facemask.

Home Alt: Red facemask, just experimented with the white pants to see how it looked.

Away: Red facemask again, white socks with red stripes.

Away Alt: Experimented with white pants again, white socks with red stripes and red facemask again. Sorry for how fake the socks and facemask look.

Hope you like it and thanks to Tim again!


And there you have it. Back next time with more.


Benchies Header


by Rick Pearson


Just another example of extravagant thinking…

4-8-12 s-Home Opener

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Contest reminder… I’m currently running a contest to redesign and rename the Cleveland baseball and Washington football teams. Full details here. I’ve already received several dozen entries, with a few coming in each day. Contest is open until April 15th (JRR day, dontcha know), so you have one more week.


And Finally…

• In case you missed it yesterday, Tim Brulia and Bill Schaefer, our resident AFL historians (along with Ricko), put together a wonderful historical recording of when nameplates were added to AFL jerseys (it wasn’t right from the get-go, as many had incorrectly assumed).

• I’d actually forgotten about this, but a couple weeks ago, Thomas Moore of the interviewed me and Paul about the Re-name the Indians contest and other uniform queries.


And that’s all for this fine second Sunday in April — Happy Easter to those celebrating, and GO PHIL! Green is such a good color for you. See y’all next weekend.


Much as I loved the year I lived in Wrigleyville, the best thing about Chicago was the food. The worst thing about Chicago was the “pizza.” Meat and cheese casserole, indeed.

— Robert Scott Rogers

Comments (67)

    I’ve wondered the same thing for years, but I haven’t read or heard anything that suggests they name the football team after the baseball team (But it would be very cool if they did).

    Great rundown today. Love that t-shirt. That looks like a lock to join my hat and jersey.

    I have not come across any research suggesting the USFL Philadelphia Stars’ were named for the Negro League team. Other Negro League team used the nickname “Stars” including Detroit and St. Louis. Other professional teams used it including the ABA Utah Stars, and NHL Dallas Stars. I think the Philadelphia Stars and Philadelphia Stars is a happy coincidence.

    OK, so vintage base ball teams generally let women and people of color play, because although it’s anachronistic, to do otherwise would be evil. Raises the question for me, though: it’d be great to have amateur teams commemorating local Negro Leagues teams with period unis & even gloves and bats – plus style of play, as far as possible. But I’d be uncomfortable if such a team had racially discriminatory membership rules to prevent non-black players. On the other hand, would it be kind of weird to have a Negro Leagues-commemorating team with a bunch of white guys, too. Or would that even be an issue these days?

    good questions, arr

    1) depending on the year/team, the arbitrary color barrier hadn’t been established if you’re harking back to vintage base ball, no? because the descendents of moses fleetwood walker might like to have a word with you; ergo, having people of color play on vintage base ball teams might not be *anachronistic*

    2) wouldn’t your “play” be determined by how authentic you were trying to be? im not into civil war reenactments, for example, but i know there are people who seek to be as accurate as possible, with those who strive for perfect accuracy getting uniforms exact, right down to the buttons and using authentic repros for weaponry; others aren’t so fastidious — if one is striving for perfect accuracy, then no gloves and no women would be accurate, but is it a problem if 100% accuracy weren’t achieved?

    3) if one is striving for perfect accuracy, then it would probably be incorrect to allow white players in negro-league reenactments, but would it be wrong? would it be wrong to have native americans or asian-americans?

    4) are the participants simply *commemorating* the event, in which case they’d merely be actors playing roles — or would the participants be playing actual players/teams? in other words, would the participants be playing say, jackie robinson, josh gibson, pop lloyd, satchell paige, etc. … or just generic players from the era? i would think in the former case you’d not only want accurate uniforms but also correct #s etc.

    5) would it be an issue? possibly, but i doubt it would be because of racial implications, but more of historically accurate ones…anachronisms are what they are; you’d be reenacting history, not seeking to correct it

    I think it’s cool Philly is remembering those days. It would be neat if there was an event like that here in Pittsburgh, we have as extensive a negro league history.

    Note to numerous PGA players. Might want to reconsider this whole white/light-colored belt thing…

    Way to go, Morris. Good on Philly, too.

    PS Rick is so very right about those Masters belts.

    “Dontcha know” might just be the most annoying phrase to read in print. My brain can’t help but read it in a nasally minnesotan accent. ugh.

    On the 5 & 1 List, the unis shown as having VCU’s “template” actually don’t have the same unis or template as VCU. VCU’s side panels came down to a point at the bottom of the shorts and weren’t blocks like the other schools pictured on that entry. If anything the BYU uni in the pic depicting Iona as having the same template is closer to VCU than Iona. Just my two cents.

    Yeah, that’s why I had to throw the word “variations” in there. VCU’s pants were slightly different from the other teams’, but I think all of the jerseys were similar – big numbers and lettering, especially.

    Iona’s uni was probably the best, but overall VCU/IU looked superior to Iona/BYU.

    It was a bit of a stretch, I know, but I wanted to find a way to showcase all those unis without adding a ton of honorable mentions. The 5&1 version of poetic license, I suppose.

    I’ve been considering doing an entry with that name. Tribes are not limited to Native Americans, and given that this has been an unnoficial nickname of the Indians for years it would make the transition to a new identity much easier to stomach for the locals. I was hoping that there was a Cleveland Tribune so I could keep a feather in the design (as a quill), but that is not the case.

    In order for it to be seriously considered you’d have to eliminate all Native American imagery, so it would seem that using strictly letters would be the way to go. I might get around to doing a concept but I’m not the most adept at the software (I would have to rely on free services such as Gimp and Inkscape, which I have self-taught myself how to use).

    William & Mary was able to convince the NCAA that it was not a sanctionable name, so I suppose it’s fine. Aside from my using the NCAA as a model of decorum, of course.

    I like Brent’s Arizona Cardinals helmet redesign, but have to wonder if that franchise would be open to change at this time. Regardless, it’s a good look, and more intimidating than the longstanding helmet.

    And it’s not like you can’t get thin crust pizza, the place closest to me has thin crust as their main choice and the closes they come to deep dish is a double-dough option, which is like a 50/50 blend of Connie’s Deep Dish and NY style pizza.

    Chicago-style thin crust (it is its own style here & there are many different styles of pizza) vastly outsell deep dish by a general ratio of 100:1 in restaurants. Besides, from the story of Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza came about in the early 1940s based on something the G.I.’s in WWII found in Italy. So it’s not unprecedented.

    You can’t trust people’s opinions anyway. When that greasy shit from Pizza Hut is the #1 selling pie in America, then you know people have shit for brains.

    Seconded. If you lived in Lakeview for a year and couldn’t find a good thin-crust pizza, you weren’t even trying.

    In agreement with you guys. I love the NewEra commercial. Nothing is better than a friendly Cub-White Sox debate. We don’t have to compare the deep dish to the thin slice. The bottom line is we love our pizza — it’s great, it’s tasty, and it’s ours. Nuff said.

    on Brent Hatfield’s helmets:

    Some very interesting ideas on there. But a few are just downright awful (Bears, Dolphins) and not really feeling the Bills, Titans or Patriots but many of them are nice. And I’d lose the chin strap on the helmet – it’s too obstructing.

    I may be opening a whole can of worms here, but…

    A lot of children’s summer camps in the U.S. and Canada are named after Indian tribes, Indian historical figures, or otherwise have Indian themes. In the northeastern U.S. we have a Camp Lenni-Len-A-Pe, Camp Wah-Nee, Camp Eagle Hill, Camp Pontiac, Camp Indian Head, Camp Wicosuta, etc. I worked at a camp with an Indian name/theme for a number of years; the campus is filled with Indian imagery and artwork, the camp’s logo (and hence most of its branded apparel) includes an Indian head in profile with feather headdress. The camp I attended as a child, which doesn’t exist anymore, also had an Indian name and Indian-themed logo, and one of our annual events was called “Tribals” which was an abbreviated Indian-themed “color war” that took place at the end of the first half of the summer.

    Are we OK with this or is this something that also has to be changed for the same reasons that the Cleveland MLB and Washington NFL clubs have to be renamed?

    Is there a clear distinguishing principle between naming a summer camp after an Indian tribe and using Indian imagery and themes in that context, and naming a professional sports franchise the “Indians”, “Braves” or “Redskins?”

    In my experience at the two camps, with the exception of events like “Tribals” the camp experience overall had little or nothing to do with American Indians or Indian culture. Not that that’s a bad thing; both camps were/are wonderful places with a great deal to offer the kids, even though the latter one in particular has become more of a resort/country club for children, with the Indian theme only there in the background (name, logo, artwork, t-shirts, &c.). Does this change the analysis?

    I never really had a problem with either camp having an Indian name and Indian theme. But in the end a summer camp is just as much a commercial product as a pro sports franchise, albeit not really similar in any other way. Summer camps seem to have always had Indian names; even in the movies we’ve had Camp Tamakwa, Camp Chippewa, Camp Arawak, etc. This is the only business besides sports that regularly makes use of Indian names and imagery. I was just wondering how everyone felt about it.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with using historically accurate Native American names. Chicago, Milwaukee, Illini, Pontiac, Sioux, etc. are all (Anglicizations of) Native American words and none of them necessarily have anything to do with sports in and of themselves.

    The distinction here is the exploitation of racist epithets and caricatures for profit. Now, one could argue to banish all such names from sports, but it seems a bit hyperbolic.

    But this is just a sports blog, not a camp blog, so the question itself is a bit of a moot point.

    Well, OK, it’s a sports uniform blog and the issue is whether it’s appropriate to use American Indian names, imagery and themes on sports uniforms and logos. Whether it’s appropriate for other businesses to do that is, I think, germane to the issue, viz., if it’s not OK to use them on sports uniforms, is it OK to use them for a similar purpose in a different business? And if so, why? And if not, why are we not seeing the same clamor for the camping industry to abandon and replace Indian names and imagery as we are for the Indians, Redskins, et al. to do so?

    Much of the discussion I’ve read on this blog about this issue over the past couple of weeks has little to do with sports; I would note that this is also not a history blog, a political blog, a law blog, an anthropology blog, a sociology blog or a morality blog. If you’d prefer not to answer the question that’s fine, but it serves no purpose to declare unilaterally that “this is a ___ blog” and that the entire topic is therefore “moot”.

    I think you miss understand me.

    A moot point is a topic in which an idea may still be worth debating and exploring academically but the idea has been rendered irrelevant for the present issue.

    The present issue is sports design/uniforms and Paul and Phil have defined the topic in those terms.

    Any discussion outside of that realm is totally valid, but just not in the wheelhouse of this blog, so opinions and thoughts on the topic might be skewed by peoples view on the topic because of it’s relation to their favorite sports team.

    Specifically I am one of those people. I am a HUGE Blackhawks fan, but I realize that the indian head logo and the name of my favorite team might ought to be changed by my standards for other teams. But because of peoples passion for these teams, I’m not sure expanding the topic beyond athletics is wise or germane.

    There is a time and a place for the discussion of Native American naming and imagery in non-sports identities, but this website isn’t that place.

    You could dedicate an entire website for such discussion and not have run the course of good discourse after a few years.

    That’s all I’m saying.

    (and obviously from the lack of comments to your post, others seem to agree…)


    It is a case by case issue. The use of the Vancouver Canucks’ Haida inspired logo is fine by Paul and Phil’s standards. In this same fashion, if a camp near Pontiac Michigan was called Camp Pontiac, I would have no issue.

    But if there is a camp in France called Camp Kock-a-Homer and it usesa caricature of a native hitting a white man over the head with a tomahawk, then I would probably consider that amoral.

    But the Free Market (for the most part) dictates amorality. If the place is profitable, why change the name. I would argue that we should hold ourselves to a higher standard, but then again, I am liberal and believe that I should do what is best for the common good rather than self interest (which is not a statement of slander against conservatism AT ALL, because they define their beliefs as free market self interest, which is a noble belief system but one that I think people corrupt too frequently).


    quickly — and two things

    whatever ones feelings are towards native names for geographic locations and the subsequent naming of camps (using native imagery etc for logos), that has nothing to do with the two teams in question for the contest

    and while i appreciate young timothy’s spirited defense, i do want to make clear one distinction between paul and myself in this regard — im not as vehement in my aversity (is that a word?) towards teams with names like “braves” or “blackhawks” as i am towards indians and redskins — since one is at best insensitive and the other is outright racist

    i do not like the braves use of the tomahawk and im am particularly mortified by the use of the “tomahawk” chop … i also don’t necessarily agree that teams who do gain explicit consent of tribes such as the seminole and the utes should be give a free pass

    one may say, “well, ‘Indians’ isn’t racist or offensive,” to which i say, no, but chief wahoo as an icon most certainly is…keeping the name allows for far too much latitude when it comes to offensive images and marketing — and, as long as the cleveland team keeps that name, you will have fans pulling shit like this and this (note the by-line — i’m pretty sure vince had nothing to do with the splash photo)…or even this from 2012

    well, then i have to conclude that maybe “Indians” just isn’t the best name for that team

    and i’m pretty sure if the team were named for actual, ya know, inhabitants of the subcontinent of India, you wouldn’t see fans dressing up like that or holding signs like that

    is that the team/player/owner’s fault? maybe not, but if you’re going to encourage (or certainly do nothing to discourage) abhorrent behavior like that, then i’d say maybe it’s time for a new name


    with regard to the camps and place names and other such things? not for this blog to debate

    South Dakota State’s shorts look like the 1997 Denver Broncos pants are now influencing the design of basketball shorts:


    Are there any other basketball teams rocking shorts with that distinctive stripe?

    Actually, that’s the Michigan State SoD (System of Dress) template that MSU had from I think 2008 to around February 2010. It was the “Mizzou” template of college basketball, since so many college hoops teams were using it. So to answer your question… yes, and a lot more than you would think.

    It’s amazing how much the 1997 Denver Broncos pants influenced not just the football uniforms that came after it, but also the uniforms in other sports.

    I wasn’t aware of basketball shorts being influenced until today, but I have vague memories of seeing photos on Uni Watch of hockey pants with the same distinctive stripe, and maybe even women’s softball pants too?

    Brewers announcers just announced that CF Nyjer Morgan wears he pant legs down only on Sundays. They said he calls it his “Sunday best”. I beg to differ, but can’t believe I didn’t know that tidbit before today.

    This is for the rename the Redskins. This is a real fast one. Leave the name and the colors. Get rid of the Indian logo and replace it with a potato. I think redskin potatoesshould be ok.

    Nice job on the Ravens and Patriots helmets Brent! Somehow, the gradient on the face mask I usually hate, don’t hate so much.

    Didn’t want to awkwardly butt in on an above thread, but has anyone ever noticed that people from Minnesota and Alaska have similar accents? Or is it just me?

    Not just you. It’s the same. Had a university buddy from the Midwest who could do a bang-on Sarah Palin impersonation without any effort at all.

    there have been some suggestions to leave the redskins name and change the logo…why not do that with the cleveland indians, too…?

    i came up with design this quite some time ago, as a way to show how ridiculous the cleveland indians name/logo really are…i wasn’t going to share this or get into this discussion because of the political implications, etc. (and probably will now bow out of the discussion from here), but, change the logo so it “honors” people who are actually indians, and you end up with something like this…


    I got a kick out of “John Wayne” throwing out the first pitch in today’s Benchies.

    Does provide an interesting photo op for all the media at the game, don’t you think. ;)

    The kazoo anthem was my favorite. I may have to borrow that idea for wiffleball Opening Day.

    Ya gotta admit, “Bubba from the woods” just doesn’t sound much like a moment in history from the Masters.

    I don’t frequent the comments very often so I don’t know if anyone’s already mentioned this, but Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals is a gloveless batter. Interestingly, the picture I attached shows him losing his bat last season, and just today the same thing happened again and his bat ended up in the stands.

    Unless Tim E. O’Brien is secretly Frasier Davidson, you don’t have to thank HIM for the templates. Here is a link to all of “Timmy O.B.’s work


Comments are closed.