Welcome to the latest installment of Question Time, where you get to ask me anything and I do my best to answer. Let’s get started!
How do you manage to avoid doubling things up in the Ticker from day-to-day? I’ve noticed the occasional doubled entries within a few days of each other, but it feels like a pretty rare occurrence. It’s extra-impressive, considering how many different people contribute to and compile it. I was just curious what the underlying method is, if any. Kudos to you and your staff!
We all read the entire site every day, so we know what’s already been covered — or at least that’s the idea. I’m the last line of defense (at least on weekdays), because I edit the Ticker before it gets published. Sometimes I catch and remove redundant items — and sometimes I miss them — but for the most part we’re all pretty good about keeping the content fresh.
What advice columns do you read regularly, or even frequently/often?
In terms of written advice columns, I no longer read any of them.
I do listen to Dan Savage’s weekly Savage Lovecast sex-advice podcast, but that’s about it.
When I was younger, I loved reading Ann Landers. I quite enjoy the fact that Dan Savage owns her old desk.
I feel like there used to be an “I Miss Cole Field House” Naming Wrongs T-shirt. Was this just a fever dream or did it actually exist and is not available anymore?
Yes, it did exist. UMd asked us to remove it. I think we had a good legal basis for keeping it, but I wasn’t interested in getting into a fight with them, so we withdrew the shirt. Sorry.
I coach at a high school that signed a school-wide uniform contract with one of the big sports apparel companies. The result has been horrific: different fonts, mismatched color combos, variations of the primary logo, etc. What is your reaction to high school athletics (and lower school levels) becoming more about the maker’s mark and less about the team name across the chest?
As you can probably guess, I’m not a fan. Even without the issues you mention (i.e., even if the colors and logos were consistent, etc.), I always find it disappointing when children — especially in the context of a school — are essentially being taught to be consumers. Not sure what to do about it, though. Increasingly seems to be where we’re at as a society.
I’ve noticed you rarely mention movies, and when you do they tend to be documentaries. Is it fair to infer from this that you are not a big movie guy? Do you have a favorite movie or a few favorites?
Hmmm. I feel like I’ve mentioned lots of non-documentary movies over the years. I love movies! And I go out to see a lot of them, in part because I don’t have Netflix (I work at home staring at a screen for most of the day, so the last thing I want is another excuse to stay at home staring at another screen).
However … the Tugboat Captain and I were saying just the other day that we haven’t seen many really good movies lately. We sort of mentally catalogued the movies we’d seen over the past year or two and agreed that only a handful of them were special, while most were sort of meh.
As for favorites: Depending on which day you ask me, I’ll tell you that my all-time favorite movie is either His Girl Friday, Days of Heaven, or Time Indefinite (a documentary, but a very atypical one). I have many hundreds of other favorites — Jaws, Life Is Sweet, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Dead Ringers, Faces/Places, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, and so many more.
Do you have a book in you? Maybe an essay compilation. I’m a big fan of Shea Serrano, and his most recent book about basketball (and likely the new book he has coming up about movies) is in the format of answering one question each chapter — maybe a macro-format like that might help. I read a book years ago about baseball where the author wrote about everything at a major league stadium except the game: one chapter was on turnstiles (I learned what a stile is), one as on the field (the Chisox groundskeeper would cut the grass according to Nellie Fox’s recommendations), etc. Maybe something like that about uniforms..?
Here’s my feeling about doing a book: I only want to do it if I don’t have a steady journalism/blogging gig. I know some people (including some friends of mine) are able to juggle a book project with their existing workload, but I just don’t see how it’s possible. So if I did a book, it would probably mean shutting down this blog, stopping my SI work, etc.
I actually had a good idea for a book during my “free agent” period (i.e., in between ESPN and SI) and spoke to some publishing people about it. There was some interest, and it might still be viable at some point down the road. But for now, I’m working pretty much at capacity.
Also: To be fully truthful, I don’t have a burning desire to do a book. Part of this is because I worked in publishing during my 20s and have no romantic illusions about the industry, and part of it is that the first six issues of my 1990s zine were already compiled into a book and it didn’t change my life in any appreciable way.
And if I’m being really truthful, the big issue may be that I now read so few books myself that I’ve probably lost the ability (if I ever had it) to tackle complicated subjects in a long-form format. I consume a huge amount of short-form journalism and related writing but very few books, and that has almost certainly had an effect on my own ability to conceive and execute a book-length project. I’ll admit that the very idea of it scares me a bit.
Name three things you look for in a welcoming bar/tavern/saloon environment.
Good neon sign, friendly bartender who’s more interested in being a bartender than checking his/her phone, and interesting regulars who, ideally, are nothing like me.
Are there any “sports” that shall not appear on Uni Watch, like bowling, NASCAR, F1, cricket, golf, cornhole, sailing, fishing, archery?
I’m pretty sure I’ve covered all of those at one point or another (sometimes just as Ticker items, but in most cases with full-blown articles) and I’ll gladly do so again if there’s a uni-relevant reason to do so.
I pretty much draw the line at pro wrestling — I won’t cover that because it’s not a sport.
There are a few other things that I’m theoretically willing to cover, but only if there’s a really compelling reason to do so. UFC, for example, is more legitimate than pro wrestling (i.e., it’s more than just choreographed theater), but I’d rather not be associated with it. Also, while we’ve occasionally run Grab Bag items on e-sports, I can’t say I care about covering that either.
Do you have a preferred location to sit when going to a baseball game?
I will always trade altitude in return for centrality. In other words, I’d rather be sitting in the upper deck, near home plate (which is in fact where I usually sit these days), than way down the baseline on the field level.
A perfect seat, for me, is in the second or third row of the first level above the field level, one section to the first base side of home (i.e., just off-center). Of course, given what tickets now cost, I can’t afford to sit in a good seat like that anymore, which is why I’m usually in the upper deck nowadays!
For a while there was a ’Skins Watch logo in the Ticker where the Native American was face-palming. Where did that go? Why discontinue it? It was a cool way to indicate the nature of that portion of the Ticker.
I don’t think we’ve ever used a face-palming Native icon for ’Skins Watch (or if we did, it was inadvertent). But now that you bring it up, I see that it’s a thing — I didn’t know that! I agree that it would be good for ’Skins Watch, so maybe I’ll start using it. Thanks for the tip!
When you announced your new deal with SI, you mentioned, as an aside, “There are certain places I would never work for under any circumstances because they’re just too toxic.” Which ones?
In terms of sports media, I cannot imagine a circumstance in which I would work for, or otherwise contribute to, Barstool.
As for the larger media world, I also cannot imagine a circumstance in which I would work for, or otherwise contribute to, Fox News. (I had to think about that one recently, because I thought there was a chance I might have been invited onto one of their shows if my “Mistaken for MAGA” article had gained significant traction. That ended up not happening. But if they had asked me to come on, I would have declined.)
Of course, there are also lots of fringe-y media outlets (sports-related and otherwise) that I probably wouldn’t want any part of. And whenever I’m asked to appear on a radio show, I try to make sure that it’s not a shock-jock show, because I want no part of that.
Love the site. I noticed at the bottom it says “Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties.” What does that mean? Is it a financial arrangement? Are you linked from the USAT website somewhere?
USAT’s ad network is one of several networks that serves ads onto the site. For some reason they’re the only one that wants us to include our affiliation with them in the fine print, so we do. We could (and maybe should) remove it and they likely wouldn’t care. Not a big deal either way.
As the NBA transitions away from the traditional uniform assignments of wearing white at home and colors on the road, I feel less of a connection to the uni-verse. Here’s what I mean by that: If I saw an old game photo of Reggie Miller wearing a white uni, I would have a fairly high degree of certainty that the game was played in Indy; based on whether it was the Flo-Jo design or the pinstripes, I would know an approximate sense of which season the game occurred in. Now that the teams wear several different designs at home and several different designs on the road, and because those designs change so often, my uni knowledge no longer helps me when I look at photos.
Do you see this as a problem for people connecting to the uni-verse? Do you see it as a problem when future uni-researchers try to solve mysteries about the uni-verse?
It will definitely make it harder for history mystery sleuths. And based on what people have told me, many fans do feel less of a connection to the new revolving-door uni-verse. Younger fans who grow up with this new state of affairs, however, may feel just as connected as ever, because it’s what they’re used to. We’ll see.
What are your three favorite sporting events to watch?
I assume you mean on TV, yes? I’d go with the World Series (assuming a four- to seven-game series counts as a single “event”), the NFL’s conference championship Sunday (although I liked it better when both games took place during the afternoon, instead of having one game at night like they do it now), and a really good high-stakes, top-level boxing match — preferably middleweight or heavier.
Coming from a fellow Mets fan reflecting on the 11-10 debacle loss to the Nationals: Is it really character-building to be a fan of this franchise, or are we all just delusional?
Who ever said it was character-building? It’s brutal! But at least the uniforms are good.
You’ve said the reason you can’t use Paypal is a “long, annoying story,” but I’d be interested in hearing it if you’re willing/able to share.
I’d rather not get into it. The short version is that I tried to do something nice for someone and it ended up biting me in the ass.
How would you feel about more on field/ice/court advertising in place of ads on uniforms? I think I could live with a few more ads on the ice to keep hockey sweaters ad-free.
This is a false choice. It’s like saying you’d rather eat puke than eat shit. I’d rather not eat either of them. Keep advertising where it belongs and keep it away from where it doesn’t belong, the end.
You weren’t too optimistic about the AAF’s survival from the outset (nobody was, really), but I was wondering, would you have been a little less vocal about it if your friend Todd Radom created all of the logos for the league (like his did for the Big3) instead of someone you don’t know?
Actually, lots of people were optimistic about the AAF’s survival, and I got a lot of pushback from people who thought I was too dismissive of the league’s chances.
If Todd (or any of the other designers I know) had designed the uniforms, I would’ve done what I always do: assess the designs on their merits and assess the league on its merits.
I also know enough about Todd to know that he doesn’t get involved with fly-by-night operations (well, except maybe Uni Watch). His involvement with AAF would have translated to a certain amount of credibility right there, although I would still have been very skeptical.
(And for those who are no doubt wondering: Yes, I’m also skeptical about XFL 2.0.)
I’m a New York pizza hound. Whenever I am in the city, I always want to try a new place. Last time I was there, I went to DiFara. What’s your favorite pizza place around where you live in Brooklyn?
I actually live a short walk from DiFara! But I’ll tell you a little secret: I’ve never loved DiF. Everyone else thinks it’s the bee’s kneecaps, but I think it’s just decent, fine-but-unremarkable pizza. I’ve never understood all the fuss. Meanwhile, it’s way overpriced and there’s always a line. No thank you.
The Tugboat Captain agrees with me. It would probably be overstating things to say that our shared indifference to DiFara’s is the glue of our relationship, but only slightly. We have a less celebrated slice/pie joint not far away. It does us just fine.
For Brooklyn pizza that goes above and beyond, I prefer Lucali, Grimaldi’s, Sam’s, and Paulie G’s. In Manhattan, I like Arturo’s and Prince Street. But my favorite NYC pizza is in Staten Island: Joe and Pat’s. Whisper-thin crust, great toppings.
Hmmm, now I’m hungry.
(Meanwhile, here’s a funny story about my contrarian view of DiFara’s: I used to be friends with the great food writer and raconteur Josh Ozersky (R.I.P.), who loved DiFara’s and especially loved Dom DeMarco, the elderly pizzaiola who runs the place. At one point I was telling Josh how I wasn’t that into DiFara’s, and he basically waved me off and said, in his endearingly pompous way: “Paul, the most powerful electron microscope in the world is located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It can detect things as small as a hydrogen atom. That microscope could not detect how little I care about your opinion of Dom’s pizza!”)
Did you have any favorite children’s books when you were growing up?
Yes! I loved (and still love) Where the Wild Things Are, Just So Stories, The House at Pooh Corner, The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel), Charlotte’s Web, A Wrinkle in Time, Harry the Dirty Dog, Green Eggs & Ham (and lots of other Dr. Seuss books), The Velveteen Rabbit, and probably a bunch more that I’m forgetting. I still have my childhood copies of most of them.
I think it depends on the logo. The Flyers’ logo looked good in the dual configuration, because it’s horizontal. Ditto for the Canadiens. The horizontal logo fits well into the semicircle. But a less horizontally oriented logo — the Rangers’, say — doesn’t look as good in the dual configuration, at least to me. Case-by-case basis!
Airplane seat choice: window, middle, or aisle, and why?
If it’s daytime, window (because I like seeing out the window); at night, aisle (easier restroom access).
I hatehatehate the middle.
You’ve documented several trips to Wisconsin, which is great because it’s the best state in the union. But to my knowledge, most of your Sconnie travels have taken you to the southern/eastern parts of the state. Have you ever headed into the forests of northern Wisconsin? Or followed the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers along the western border?
Au contraire — I’ve done several northern-Wisconsin trips! Here’s a trravelogue of one of them, from 2011.
In 2001, a friend and I drove the entire length of the Mississippi River (the Great River Road, as it’s known), from Minnesota to Louisiana. I ended up writing about it for the travel column I had at the time in Money magazine. Great trip, including the Wisconsin portion!
You’re an admitted traditionalist when it comes to uniforms. Do you think this view ever limits your ability to do balanced commentary on uniforms that veer towards the hyper-modern like the Seattle Seahawks, Oregon football, and Dallas Mavericks?
Correction — I’m an admitted classicist, not a traditionalist. What’s the difference? A traditionalist says, “Don’t ever change anything because change, by definition, is bad.” A classicist says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if it is broke, then let’s improve it!”
As for your larger question about “balanced commentary”: My job is not to provide balanced commentary; my job is to say what I think and explain why. My tastes and standards are what they are. I try to apply them consistently and fairly, and to explain the bases for them, which is all any critic can do. Your mileage may vary.
If you could live in any other state besides New York, where would you live and why?
This question was asked in a slightly different form in the last installment of Question Time. I’ll let that answer speak for me here.
Most NBA teams wear the city or state name on their standard dark uniforms. With the move away from road and home designations, and more teams wearing dark uniforms at home, do you think more teams will start wearing the team name on the dark uniforms?
Interesting question! It definitely seems plausible that city/state designations might be relegated to the City alternate designs. Then again, it’s hard to imagine, say, the Knicks without “New York” arched across their chests, no? Hmmmm.
We all know you are an avowed carnivore. If you were hosting a dinner party for vegan or vegetarian guests, what would you serve?
Interesting that you phrase this as a hypothetical! In fact, I have several vegetarian friends and have had them over for dinner many times. My usual default is pasta, but sometimes I make pizza.
What are your favorite sandwiches?
This is the part where I’m supposed to say, “Hot dogs,” and then Phil comes and kills me.
I love the idea of sandwiches. In practice, though, I’ve never been a big sandwich guy. Didn’t grow up eating PB&J, didn’t live on subs/heroes in college like some of my dorm-mates did. I do love a good hot pastrami on rye, which I always order when going to Katz’s in Manhattan, but I usually go there only once or twice a year. And I’ll find myself ordering a BLT (with butter instead of mayo) at a diner a couple of times a year.
Does a Wisconsin double-brat sandwich count? Or is that more like a hot dog?
If you were to pick one uniform from each of the Big Four pro leagues to be your favorite, which one would you choose from each league?
I get this question a lot, and my answer tends to vary depending on my mood. For today:
– MLB: Cardinals home white
– NFL: Packers green
– NHL: Rangers road white
– NBA: Warriors white
My question is the same as always: Any plans for traveling to the Seattle area or the northwest in general?
Not at the moment. Sorry!
You’ve often spoken about how you fell in love with uniforms as a child in the 1970s. Do you think if retail uniform merchandise had been widely available during those years that you would have worn such merchandise then and/or now? Or could the glut of it possibly have had the opposite effect and curtailed your passion for uniforms?
Interesting question! Impossible to know for sure, of course. I can tell you one thing: There’s no way my parents would have sprung for pricey jerseys, and there’s also no way I could have afforded them myself on my allowance. But would I have wanted to own and wear such items? Quite possibly! It’s interesting to ponder. But I’m glad I grew up in an era when I was able to appreciate uniforms just as uniforms, not as a consumer goods.
Are there any uniforms that you’ve changed your mind about over time? Just to be clear, I don’t mean unis that you’ve gradually acclimated to and now think are apt representations of their team (even if you still personally dislike). I mean instances where once you may have thought, “Team x’s use of polka dots is a crime against humanity,” but now, however many years later, you genuinely like it.
The example that springs most readily to mind is the Diamondbacks’ original purple/teal/cream vest design. Initially, it seemed like a boilerplate example of the then-current purple/teal trend, but I think it’s aged remarkably well and now feels like a classic. I wish they’d go back to it full-time.
(Yes, it’s true — I just praised a purple-inclusive uniform.)
You road trip a lot but have you ever done a long distance train trip? If not do you have any desire to?
In theory, I would love that; in practice, I wonder if I’d get restless.
The great Caity Weaver recently wrote a really good article about taking a cross-country train trip. Recommended!
I love cooking and absolutely love when Culinary Corner is included in the blog. Is there any method of cooking that you have recently (in the past year or so) begun to use that you wished you would have discovered 10 years ago?
You know, when I moved in with the Captain about a year ago, my moving-in gift to both of us was one of those sous vide sticks. I was certain it was going to revolutionize our cooking and eating lives and that we’d be saying, “We should have started doing this ages ago!”
A year later, we’ve used it only twice. Hmmmmm.
Why does a royal blue script on a black Jersey or shirt always look purple to me?
Tenth circle of Hell?
Soup or salad when ordering with your main course?
Depends! On so many things — what is the main course, for example? If it’s heavy and/or fried, I might go for a salad. If the main is light-ish, I might go for the soup! And what kind of soup is it? And is this the kind of place where the salad is gonna be just a few sorry-looking lettuce leaves and two croutons? So many variables to consider!
What colors do you feel are most underrepresented in sports, and which Big Four or college teams would benefit from adopting those colors?
I’ve always maintained that green (which happens to be my favorite color) is badly underrepresented in the uni-verse. I can sorta-kinda understand it in baseball and football, where teams understandably don’t want their uniforms blending in with the field of play, but there’s no reason basketball and hockey can’t have more green. (As for which teams should switch to green, uh, maybe all the teams currently wearing purple..?)
I also love orange as an accent color and would love to see more of that. In fact, green with orange accents is particularly good, as the University of Miami demonstrates on a regular basis.
That’s it for this round of Question Time. Thanks for all the queries! You can see all the previous installments of QT here.
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Daily double: One day after Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun wore injured teammate Christian Yelich’s jersey underneath his own (as detailed in yesterday’s lede), he did it again in yesterday afternoon’s game against the Marlins.
And this time Braun hit a home run — an improvement over his first two-jersey game, when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a GIDP.
The Brewers are in St. Louis tonight. I’m assuming Braun will be doubling up once again.
And the seats will be replaced by black leather sofas: Amusing promotional stunt yesterday by the pornography studio Bang Bros, which formally submitted a $10 million bid to secure the naming rights to the Miami Heat’s arena (whose name, as noted in yesterday’s Ticker, will no longer be an ad for an airline and is therefore once again up for sale).
Obviously, there are lots of jokes one could make here (let’s please not post any of them in today’s comments, thanks). Just as obviously, the bid will be declined. But it’s worth noting that the porno folks wouldn’t be able to use the Heat as a vehicle for free publicity if the Heat hadn’t decided to sell their arena’s identity. When you lie down with dogs, as the saying goes, expect to get fleas. And when you make anything and everything available for sale, don’t be surprised if some of the prospective buyers are scumbags who are only too willing to publicly embarrass you. You get what you pay for? Sometimes you get what you sell for.
In short, this is just the latest example of why naming rights always suck (pun fully intended).
I know I said we should never speak of this again…: … but I’ve been laughing all week at one particular aspect of the OBJ watch saga, which is that no two media outlets seem to agree on what the watch cost or is worth.
Depending on which story you happened to read this week, the watch’s value and/or sale price is $189K, $189.5K, $190K, “around 190K,” $191.5K, “more than $200K,” $250K, “over $250K,” “nearly $350K, $350K, “around $350K,” “$350K-plus,” or $425K.
This type of moving-target bullshit goes on all the time in the world of celebrity gossip, which is basically the world that OBJ now lives in. Am I the only one who thinks he’s really wearing one those toy watches that used to come in a box of Cracker Jack?
LAST CALL for the Teespring sale: Teespring’s latest 10% sale runs until midnight tonight. To get the savings, order anything from the Uni Watch Shop and/or the Naming Wrongs Shop and use the checkout code S3PT3MB3R (yes, Teespring seems to have a knack for cringe-inducing codes). You’ll save 10% but Uni Watch will still receive our full profit — a win-win.
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Cap reminder: In case you missed it on Monday, we have a new cap! If our wool Uni Watch Classic Cap is either too expensive or too warm for you, this new cap might be more to your liking. It’s made of really nice cotton twill, and we’re selling it for $24.99. It’s a strapback, so one size fits all.
We’re only planning to keep this one available for a month or two, so move fast. Additional photos and ordering info here.
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: In case you’ve never seen it, here’s a bit of video showing one of A’s owner Charley Finley’s gimmicks: Harvey the Rabbit, a mechanized rabbit that delivered baseballs to umpires at A’s games in the ’60s. This is amazing, why don’t teams still do this? (From Todd Engle). … Mets radio announcer Howie Rose lambasted MLB for not allowing the Mets to wear first responder caps on Sept. 11, throwing in a criticism of the Players’ Weekend unis as a contrast (from Steve Hom and David Dahl). … The Nats’ Single-A affiliate in Fredericksburg, Va., formerly known as the Potomac Nationals, will announce their new name and logo on Oct. 5 (from William F. Yurasko). … A Brooklyn Cyclones employee is growing tomatoes in the team’s bullpen, a throwback to the days when the Mets bullpen coach Joe Pignatano had a bullpen vegetable garden at Shea Stadium (from Ebin Sandler). … The Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters are wearing “Come And Take It” jerseys for the Atlantic League postseason, based on this flag. The Skeeters are the defending Atlantic League champions, and are daring the rest of the league to come for their crown (from Ignacio Salazar). … Mets 1B Pete Alonso because the latest MLBer to shave his mustache in the middle of a game (from Phil).
Pro Football News: Most of the original AFL franchises revealed 60th-season logos earlier this year. For some reason, the Chargers waited until yesterday to reveal theirs (from Brian Taylor). … Pats wideout Antonio Brown is now wearing No. 17 after being temporarily given No. 1 at practice Wednesday. No. 17 was worn by his father, Eddie, in the Arena League. … Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has custom thigh pads with his uni number on one leg and the Cowboys logo on the other (from multiple readers). … The Titans are going navy-white-light blue on Sunday (from Heath Carignan). … Here’s a great shot of two female pro football players from the 1973 Dallas Bluebonnets (from a contributor who didn’t give his name).
College Football News: Johnny Manziel’s Texas A&M uni has been stolen from a museum (thanks, Paul). … TCU is going mono-white tomorrow (from @RadiusAthletics). … Louisville is going red-white-red tomorrow (from M. Brinston Berry). … UNLV is going red-white-red against Northwestern (from @CFB_design). … Houston is going white-black-black this weekend, a debut for their BFBS unis (from Ignacio Salazar). … UCF is going gold-black-white against Stanford. … Penn State is still trying to trademark “Happy Valley” (from William F. Yurasko).
Hockey News: The Oilers have unveiled their new alternate uniforms (from multiple readers). … Here’s our first look at the entirety of the Canucks new unis — not just the jerseys, as we had previously seen (from Wade Heidt). … The ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen have unveiled their new alternate sweaters (from James Chandler).
Soccer News: Mexican side Pumas has unveiled its 65th anniversary logo (from @cesarcu52). … New sleeve ad for Premier League side Watford (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Celtic FC Women have a new back-of-shirt advertiser (from Ed Żelaski). … Josh Hinton‘s daily download can be found on his Twitter account.
Grab Bag: Australian bowler Mitchell Marsh is going FNOB for the final Ashes test. His brother Shaun plays for Australia but wasn’t in the squad for that tour (from Tom Snee).
Raffle results: The winner of this month’s Vintage Brand raffle is PJ Chu, who’s chosen this Mets cutting board — congrats! More raffles coming soon. — Paul