And Sweet, Sweet Valentines My thanks to the many readers who e-mailed last week wondering why MUGGER was aced out of the issue. A plausible explanation would be that production manager Jeff Koyen, in a typical tantrum of totalitarianism, a moment when he imagined he was still a blue-collar hillbilly instead of a somewhat respectable yuppie, was exacting revenge for my making fun of his adolescent tattoo by erasing the column around midnight. Not true: I was sick, laid up for several days from sheer exhaustion. Staying in bed, reading and watching videos has its benefits. I saw a CNN report on Richard Nixon's funeral and watched Bill Clinton shamelessly talk mostly about himself during his nauseating eulogy. I followed that with Primary Colors and was just amazed it was directed by Clinton bud Mike Nichols: The film made me retch, and reaffirmed everything I've always thought about the hypocritical, lying scumbag who's inhabited the Oval Office since '93. Kathy Bates turned in a spectacular performance as Betsey Wright and Emma Thompson was far more fetching than the real-life Hillary.
I returned to the office last Tuesday, in a suit and shaved, with wingtips instead of my Paul Stuart slippers, which stunned slobola Koyen, who thought I was living in a Howard Hughes bubble for the remainder of the year. I told him it was back to school, the day after Labor Day. "Oh, right, I forgot that's what you white people do in September," he chortled. Koyen, as Dirty Sanchez might say, is no longer my nigga.
I received a kind note from my friend David F.X. Mandel, who wished "A sweet and happy 5760 to you, Russ, to Mrs. M., and those fine boys of yours." David's holiday greeting sure beat a cranky letter from a local reader who trashed my kids, calling them "greedy and materialistic." Up yours, bitch. She went to say that her own daughter shows "acts of kindness of every day." No doubt a fat, guilty liberal who doesn't let Precious watch tv and buys toys that would meet with faux-environmentalist, animal-killer Al Gore's approval. And a few other snippets of correspondence were less than friendly. Mildred, no doubt writing from some trailer park in the Midwest, had this comment: "Thanks for the sample copy of NYPress. Your paper is worse than I thought. I sent you an e-mail complaining of one word [reading MUGGER online]. Now I see nearly every other word is vulgar. I am sorry that you lack the intelligence to express yourself without resorting to such obscenities. Do you really have a following for such trash? You will receive no further comment from me." Fuck you, Mildred: get back to churning butter and making quilts for the state fair. Pat Buchanan will be thrilled to have you as a Reform Party volunteer; maybe you'll meet him and trade reminiscences from the War of 1812.
As for the Buke deserting the GOP, I say let him go. If he becomes a semi-serious candidate, his friends in the press will stop calling him "Pat" in their articles. (Funny, you never read about "Al," "Bill" or "George.") Buchanan's a charismatic speaker, the best in the business, and I admit that when he makes jokes about chopsticks, I laugh. But he's a bigot, a protectionist and anti-Semite who appeals to the very worst instincts of the American people. He might start high in the polls, after Ross Perot rigs the Reform Party nomination for him, but when he's exposed as a 19th-century kook, those numbers will slide. And he'll have to tangle with Jesse Ventura, a far better choice for the Reform Party (his promise to Minnesotans to serve his full term as governor can be easily finessed). On Meet the Press last Sunday, Buchanan indulged in this fantasy: He said that in debates against George W. Bush and Gore next fall, he'd argue his positions on "an American foreign policy that puts our own country first, on a trade policy that puts our workers ahead of the global economy, on an immigration policy that says we need a time-out, on a constitutional republic versus an empire-where they agree almost 100 percent-I genuinely believe I could win the presidency of the United States." So did John Anderson, George Wallace and Perot, Pat-Pat the Water Rat.
And then this charming missive, unsigned: "Mr. Smith: George W. Bush possesses neither the intelligence or the required education to be president. He is too dumb like Ronald Reagan, and too ugly like his father to be president. Furthermore, he lacks sex appeal. It is laughable to think that any woman would want to be fucked by this governor. Finally, how could poverty-stricken Mexican-Americans vote for Bush, who does not like Hispanics, speaks lousy Spanish, and would like to put them on a reservation?" Unsigned, you a damn riddle. I do know that Bush is far more popular with women than Al Gore or Bill Bradley, reversing the gender gap that Clinton benefited from in his two successful elections. As for Bush's Spanish: no, it's not perfect, but I have a hunch it's better than your command of English.
My remarks are limited this time around, as next week we'll publish the 12th annual Best of Manhattan issue. While most of our writers have put that chore behind them, the in-house staff is still struggling: I've been sorting out the research I've collected over the past six months and so my office is a wreck. Research editor Beth Broome wandered in last Saturday, during the Bosox's nail-biting win over the Yanks, looked at all the clippings that covered the floor and screamed like a lady who'd just seen a mouse. Judging by her splendid "First Person" piece last week, I'd thought she was made of stronger stock; then again, the later I turn in copy, with a million facts to check, the harder her job is. Beth, you're a doll, but this week I have just two words for you and the staff: hard cheese.
Dan Quayle cracks me up. Two weeks ago, after deciding to put all his marbles on the New Hampshire primary, he told an AP reporter, "The campaign has been quite boring, frankly. We're going to turn the temperature up." Granted, a bitter Quayle was dealt a bad hand: He's a fine candidate for the presidency, with serious ideas about foreign and domestic policy, but he'll never recover from his term as George Bush's vice president. For some reason this year, the mainstream pundits can't stop using JFK's famous quote, "Life is unfair," but it's certainly true in Quayle's case. Gore has fumbled and fibbed far more often than Quayle but he generally gets a bye from the liberal press; he has no honor left after serving the felonious Bill Clinton, and famously remarking, on the day of the President's impeachment, that his boss would be remembered as one of America's greatest presidents. That clip will be seen on television commercials endlessly next year-if Gore isn't defeated by Bill Bradley.
Take a look at Quayle on any of the talk shows and you'll see a mature, thoughtful man; had he run for governor of Indiana after vacating the vice presidency, I think he would've had a better shot in the 2000 race. Instead, he's at the bottom of the heap in the GOP contest. Imagine how galling it must be to trail the automaton Elizabeth Dole (who, if she minds her manners, might get a reasonable job in the Bush administration); the lunatic John McCain (who's really running for secretary of defense); Mr. Vanity, Steve Forbes, who, if not addicted to presidential politics, would wise up and run for the Senate in New Jersey and win in a landslide; and even Gary Bauer, the only candidate this year the Times' Maureen Dowd says she wouldn't fuck.
On Chris Matthews' Hardball last Thursday, Quayle waffled on the obvious need for Janet Reno's resignation-an event that should've taken place over a year ago-but he still had a few excellent comments. "But if it's just bad judgment, that's not a reason for resignation. If you're going to have poor judgment as a reason for resignation, the entire Clinton Cabinet ought to resign..." On Clinton's impeachment, he said: "At least the members of Congress have voted for impeachment on that in the House... The votes were not there [in the Senate] to remove him from office and he's still there, even though I do believe that he was involved in the obstruction of justice. But that's the political process, and he won that one."
I'll have a lot more to say about the left-leaning New York Times next week, but here's just an example of their transparent bias. On last Friday's front page, there were two political stories: at the top left, the headline read "Bush Is Detailing All Contributions On Internet Site: Critics Call it Public Relations Gesture-Rivals Are Not Likely to Follow Suit"; the lower left saw "Selling Books and Stumping, McCain Defines His Message," a puffball piece on the Republican "maverick" Democrats are gooey over, unless lightning strikes and he wins the nomination.
Now what is Bush supposed to do? He's the only candidate to reveal donations-daily-on the Internet, but that's not good enough. Common Cause's Don Simon gave lukewarm approval to Bush's unnecessary gesture, but still said, "What he did is a step in the right direction, but only a small one," complaining that the site wasn't user-friendly. Hmm. Here we have all the Democrats, and honorary Dem McCain, ranting about campaign finance reform and Bush is the only candidate to provide full data about his contributions. Bradley and Gore are incredible hypocrites: They've both raised a ton of money-and not all $1 donations, Jerry Brown-style-and yet they have the hubris to claim that Bush is trying to buy the election. As for McCain, whose platform is a mess of contradictions, I doubt he'd be so strident if he'd raised even a quarter of Bush's total. What will next be required of Bush? Have his rivals, and public-interest groups, most of them on the government dole, measure his dick and say, "Sorry, it's just not big enough"?
David Limbaugh, in his syndicated column last Friday, had the smart suggestion that Bush should take advantage of his popularity and intervene in the budget showdown between Clinton and the chicken-little Congress. Limbaugh: "Bush should seize this unique moment and assume de facto leadership of the GOP, indeed of Congress itself, by using his campaign bully-pulpit to: urge Congress not to break the spending caps; stick to their guns following Clinton's veto of their tax cut bill; and make the case the that education is not, as Clinton says, a federal matter."
I think Bush should do exactly that, but in the context of a larger economic platform that throws down the gauntlet. The Bush campaign needs to draw lines in the sand (against Clinton/Gore) so that voters can measure success or failure. The whole purpose of going "up top" on issues is to (a) create distance from your intra-party rivals and (b) engage the opposition on terms favorable to you. I would go after the tax cut, blaming it on Washington and Clinton, and lay down markers for what is minimally acceptable. Clinton, of course, will fail to meet the markers.
Back to the Times, the New York Post ran a ridiculous item on Sept. 2, grousing that the city's leading broadsheet will now charge a whopping $.75 per copy. Lisa Brownlee, an awful writer, complains: "It's going to get more expensive to wake up with the Old Gray Lady. Scrambling to make up for sinking classified advertising, New York Times Chairman Arthur 'Pinch' Sulzberger Jr. said the paper's newsstand price will jump to 75 cents beginning Sept. 13." She said that represented "a whopping 25 percent increase." What baloney. I can't stand the Times, but newspapers are a bargain: there's more to read in the Times and Wall Street Journal on a given day than any magazine, most of which charge at least $3. To put it in perspective, a cup of coffee, almost anywhere in the city, costs about a buck; newspapers are probably the best deal in the current marketplace.
I don't always see eye to eye with has-been Post columnist Jack Newfield, but when he strays from his nostalgia for Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella, he can still work up a lather. Especially about the Clintons. Newfield rocked on Hardball last Thursday, excoriating the First Couple. Just a sample: "I think [Hillary Clinton] is really one of those backstage manipulators. She's really more like George Mathers or Strauss or Vernon Jordan. She has no beliefs. She just wants to stay behind the scenes manipulating, and now because of some incomprehensible politics within her marriage, her husband has decided [that] instead of bringing home a diamond ring or flowers, he's trying to bring home a Senate seat. But my view is that a Senate seat is not an adequate substitute for couples therapy... Everything she's done has felt bogus. You can see Ickes and Mandy Grunwald sitting in a room in Washington writing the script, assuming that we're stupid. The Clintons can't even get a conventional bank mortgage. They're political gigolos. Their whole career is seducing rich people to keep them in public life."
Terry McAuliffe, the shady fundraiser who lent the Clintons the money for their suburban house, will get his. In court. Meanwhile, I think it's doubtful that Hillary will actually run for Pat Moynihan's Senate seat. Considering the FALN atrocity-as if she didn't know all along what her husband was up to, her phony protestations notwithstanding-her flip-flop on Palestine, the patronizing "listening tour" and Rudy Giuliani's lead in the polls, I'd say she pulls out sometime around Christmas. She'll lie again, telling the press that she's decided to put her own political ambitions on hold, that she needs to ensure the Democrats take back the House, blah, blah, blah. Now what if Bradley-right now a 50-50 shot for the Democrats' nomination-is running for president instead of Gore, a loyal man whom the Clintons have constantly shit on? What does the White House war room do then? With Bradley as the standard-bearer, Dick Gephardt can kiss his speakership goodbye. Doesn't matter how much money puppet Patrick Kennedy raises; without the White House's involvement, the entire Democratic machine will be in disarray.
There's no doubt that Ty Warner's cryptic message on his website a few weeks ago that all his Beanie Babies will be retired on Dec. 31 is simply a marketing ploy to clean out his current inventory. I'm sure the clever entrepreneur is currently producing his next line of lucrative toys. Nonetheless, he got Junior back on his hook: Suddenly, Pokemon is "uncool" and collecting Beanies, calculating their worth, takes several hours of his day. The local beneficiary? Why, Balloon Saloon, on W. Broadway, where my eldest son has added Valentina, Twigs, Stinky, Stilts, Spangle, Pumkin', Mac, Kicks, Glory, Erin, Almond and Holiday Teddy to his collection. Most of them aren't worth squat, save the entirely rare Britannia-on the block for $330, according to Ty's Collector's Value Guide-that we scoured most of London for last March. I don't get it, especially seeing how a stuffed toy like #1 Bear is available for no less than $10,000, but that's the 1999 economy for you.
Finally, the second issue of Talk was released with little fanfare. Liz Taylor's on the cover-Johnny Depp was ditched at the last minute-and I happened to see editor Tina Brown on some mindless entertainment tv show, speaking, in grave tones, about the mummified Liz as if she were Margaret Thatcher. Brown likes to say that Talk is a "picnic" of literary treasures. Fine by me: self-deception is an understandable reflex when your picnic is overrun by red ants. It can't help that co-owner Miramax is feeling the pinch from parent company Disney and just laid off a slew of employees.
I was at a local newsstand the other day and the owner told me that in contrast to the debut issue, which had the White House-vetted story on Hillary Clinton by Lucinda Franks, the second number is a dud. "No one, all week, has asked for the magazine. It's very curious," the proprietor told me. A few days later, she reported that Vanity Fair is outselling Talk by a wide margin; no surprise, since VF is a far superior magazine. And, unlike the first issue, there's been none of Brown's patented buzz over the Taylor cover. One local media critic told me last week, "Yeah, I guess I'll pick up a copy. If it stops raining." Another well-connected journalist, when told of the poor newsstand performance, said, "Not surprising. And I'm afraid the report does give me a small ungenerous jolt of schadenfreude. According to reports from inside [Brown] is still overworking her staff like a crazy person." That journalist still hasn't bought the current Talk.
I didn't read much of the issue, but what I did was simply dreadful, starting with "First Talk," a photo essay about the magazine's Statue of Liberty party on Aug. 2. Along with too many celebrity snapshots, here's a sampling of the embarrassing prose: "But on this night, as temperate and soft as dusk in Miami, who were we to argue? It was Talk's first night, and guests had come calling. Here was Paul Newman, profiling like a Brooklyn deckhand on tugboat-man's holiday, and Natasha Richardson in magic-hour necklace, while Demi Moore strode purposefully toward her ship. Here was Fab Five Freddy under Robert Isabell lanterns, and stylish George Plimpton getting ready to emcee Grucci fireworks off a barge. Here was Hugh Grant in perfect suit, and Elizabeth Hurley in something quite a bit more than that-and very much less... In the distance, beneath Madame Liberty, feline Kate Moss, fearsome Robert De Niro, bronze-bonded Pierce Brosnan in open shirt. Here was John Waters wiping a hint of grease from his tiny mustache."
This is what some $50 million buys? I'll stick to Fishwrap, Marty Wombacher's cash-starved quarterly that doesn't have the flash or stable of retread writers of Talk, but a lot more passion and humor.
Tucker Carlson, supposedly a monthly political columnist, didn't appear in the second issue; nor did George Stephanopoulos, an overexposed, mediocre "journalist" who's probably being paid handsomely to satisfy Brown's outdated sense of masthead glamour. Max Boot, editorial features editor at The Wall Street Journal, contributes a phoned-in puff profile of George Pataki, based on interviews that took place in August, when the New York chief executive announced his endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for Senate. Pataki's a good governor, far superior to Mario Cuomo, but Boot wildly exaggerates his political future, suggesting that he's on George W. Bush's short list for a running mate. Ain't gonna happen. Boot: "But New Yorkers in the last few years have caught on to the fact that while Pataki may act like Gomer Pyle, he's actually got the political instincts of Lyndon Johnson... The New York Observer, the biting, iconoclastic weekly, even dubbed him, half seriously, a 'political genius.'" We'll leave Max's 1995 assessment of the Observer alone-he must not read many periodicals besides Scientific American-but a comparison to LBJ? Please. Pataki's a run-the-mill pol who got swept into office in 1994, a year when no Republican could do anything wrong.
Any guesses for Talk's next cover star? Milton Berle's not a bad pick, since Brown seems intent on raiding National Enquirer readers, but I'll go with Rosie O'Donnell, interviewed by the "stylish" George Plimpton. After all, an unintelligible conversation about gun control would be sure to meet with Sidney Blumenthal's approval.
And despite current wisdom that Bush will have to pick a pro-life veep, that's just not so. It's Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. Period.
Al From Baltimore Reports Aug. 31: Hey, why'd you call me Gary Bauer? Was it me calling you on your apoplexy over the Time's caption error in their article about Baltimore's mayoral race?
Also, Paul Gigot really is the best political columnist. His insights seem right on the fucking money.
It was a good, fairly mellow, MUGGER this week. Good change of pace.
Sept. 2: Of course it's a marketing ploy. Who would have thought Ty Warner could have pulled it off for as long as he did? I say, sell into strength. These things will be worthless in three years, but maybe will come back in 10 or 15.
Britannia, of course, is not for sale.
Got back from the new-parents orientation at Park School. Park was founded in 1912 by Jews because they couldn't get into the existing private schools because of discrimination. Now, the school's head informs us, we want to make sure we don't discriminate on the basis of religion (a major concern, I'm sure), and are open to "all races, social classes [this is the latest in diversity] and genders." Am I out of it, or are there more than two genders now? I'm not kidding about the "genders."
The tricky part, he continued, is even though we're trying to be diverse, because we're (white folk) not diverse, we can't help but insult you. So we're fostering diversity when we're accidentally insulting you, because we don't understand you. It was exactly the same argument put forth by the Time essayist against David Horowitz: We're racists precisely because we don't know it. The only difference is at Park, they take the very sincere posture, "Yes, I worry."
Very nice people, and I think the school will be great. But they're so wacky and misguided. Do you think I'll be appreciated for the diversity of my views? Not likely, since I'll be keeping them to myself. Low profile all the way.
Sept. 3: I read Michael Olesker in The Sun. Lame as usual. What can you say? Except for calling Druid Hill Park David Hill Park, everything in the article is true. The only thing missing from the Time article was "Will the last person to leave please turn out the lights." I saw the mayoral debate on tv. None of these guys were very good. Schaefer has endorsed O'Malley and is doing commercials for him, which should help in Mt. Washington, Roland Park, etc. No one is saying what a pitiful job Mayor Smoke (the black candidates still call him that, just like Du Burns did-obviously the debate highlight) has done, and it would be helpful if someone would have said it, and then said, this is how things are going to be different. O'Malley can't say it, for obvious reasons. Bell has been at odds with Schmoke for at least eight years, but now is looking for endorsements and support from his people, which I interpret as a very bad sign about Bell. The news this morning reports 50 O'Malley lawn signs were stolen from Northwest Baltimore. Huge surprise. They call it Mobtown for a reason. And don't call me Gary Bauer! Forward to Strausbaugh for invective purposes.
Sept. 6: Just read Rodrigue's letter about Szamuely. Rodrigue is so right, Szamuely's piece was ridiculous. I thought his line of reasoning was strained with respect to Kosovo, and he's trying to continue it with China where it completely falls apart.
I think the most interesting political story of the last four years is how Clinton turned conservatives inside out. Pod Sr. touches on it in the latest Commentary, saying how repugnant Clinton is to conservatives, but admitting that his foreign policy has been consistent with Bush and Reagan's. Ten years ago Cockburn, or someone like him, would have written Szamuely's piece.
Ernie, my father-in-law, admitted he would have felt differently about Kosovo if Bush or Reagan had been in charge.
Sounds like time for a much-needed you know what, for you. I can't remember the last time you skipped a MUGGER.
Bush's education speech was pretty good, but it was just one part of what was a very good week for Republicans.
I was initially tepid when you told me about Bush's education proposal-I'm supposed to be excited about federal tinkering with schools? Well, he's got some good speechwriters on the payroll, and his proposal is a shot across the bow of the liberal establishment, a la welfare reform. I saw about 40 minutes of Sam and Cokie, and the priggish George Will heartily endorsed the proposal. His most significant comment, though, was something like, "This isn't 1995 anymore," recognition that Newt's era is ancient history and that a conservative third way is the best we're going to get right now. In addition, the man born with the bowtie, when asked about Hillary's denying she was in on the FALN pardon deal, replied with resignation (approximately), "Why try to parse the words of recidivist liars?" No one else in the media, especially a bigshot, would casually drop that kind of shot at the Prez and his missus.
Anyway the FALN thing looks like it has legs, and reinforces a lot of the traditional Clinton themes: dissembling, ruthless political deals, etc. As a bonus, the Terry McAuliffe mortgage guarantee got more coverage than I thought. Here, again, I paraphrase the much reviled Mr. Will: "This is what these people do. They take private money so they can lead a public life."
And whoever thought Waco still had legs, too? Very good scandal brewing. If Janet Reno were forced to leave office in disgrace, I could find that an acceptable consolation prize for Clinton's ability to hang on to his job. That would be justice, since she bought her absurd reputation for integrity with her "tough" and "emotional" testimony about Waco in Congress. The more I think about it, Reno's canonization by liberals after that speech foreshadowed everything else to come. It doesn't matter what happened or who did it, just as long as you can present the right image for that moment (tough, caring and lesbian).
More likely Louis Freeh becomes the fall guy, which serves him right for not resigning after Reno refused to appoint an independent counsel for campaign finance. My paranoid side says it's a setup by Clinton for fighting them over that issue. The Republicans are going to raise a ton of money, but what can the Democrats say? They're neutered on the issue because they've been so sleazy. Can we still hope for a McAuliffe indictment for his laundering of the Teamsters' money?
Gave a brief perusal of the paper, looks very strong. I'll have to respond to Cockburn (I love Commentary), but two quick thoughts: First, it's amusing that he uses a Hillaryesque conspiracy amongst Milken, Podhoretz and the Israeli government to discredit the article (after having lost his position at the Voice for accepting Palestinian think-tank money) and, second, Said, as the article explains, has been the one to use his personal story as representative of the Palestinian experience, and it is therefore fair game to attack its inaccuracies in the same way the press (including Cockburn, no doubt) attacked Gore for using his sister's death to score political points at the expense of the tobacco industry. We're playing by the Clinton Rules, these days.
I enjoyed Strausbaugh's piece a lot, though the last paragraph is kind of mealymouthed, especially for my taste.
Sept 8: Can't Reno just resign because of her MS/Parkinson's/whatever?-no, that wouldn't be p.c., she'd be letting down everyone who soldiers on with the disease/very un-ADA. She is the worst AG since John Mitchell. Do liberals still defend her?
Glad things are on the mend on the health front. If you're drinking a lot of coffee, get off of it for a couple of weeks-that helps. Green tea, while very trendy, is nevertheless great stuff and a good mild stimulant that doesn't mess with sleep. It's also good for a bad stomach. I'm very new-age these days, as you know.
As for East Timor, can we just send in the Marines today, rather than agonize and debate for months? Looks like it's inevitable. Being the world's policeman is becoming a full-time job.
And, have you begun to recover yet? Are you staying home?
Sept. 10: Forgot to tell you. Had no power at home last night, so haven't read any more of this week's issue.
Sept. 12: It's late Sunday afternoon, and this is my first chance to go online since Friday. I was out all afternoon tying up loose ends for the opening of our Cross Keys store Thurs. Monday, I'll be doing the permit tap dance, getting everything set with the city regulatory authorities. I'm sure the mayoral primary Tues. is going to screw me, somehow.
Obviously, I had a very full Rosh Hashana calendar, consuming way too much brisket, for starters. I'll let you know about Oct. 1, but we're moving on the 5th, so it's doubtful.
As for Waco and Reno, once again the Republicans are completely discombobulated-ooops, company's here, more later. As I was saying (what an interesting evening I just had), once again Republicans have been turned inside out by Clinton.
As happy as I am that Clinton and Reno are in the hot seat, and are continuing their efforts to emulate Nixon and Mitchell, Republicans have gone nutty in a way that's very destructive about Waco. Again, this is Cockburn/hard-left territory, being peremptorily suspicious of any police actions by the state. Koresh and his followers had killed four federal agents. How much more serious does it get? Is it possible that government agents unwittingly made things worse? Certainly. Had Koresh methodically killed everyone while the police waited outside, what would the reaction have been? The authorities waited 51 days, a pretty long time. With hindsight, it was a disaster. How could anyone have known going in?
To the extent that there was a cover-up, that should be exposed, and punishment meted out. But for conservatives to try to raise doubts in the minds of the people-like conspiracy nuts-regarding the conduct of the FBI, is stupid and weakens our society. They may as well be marching with Al Sharpton in NYC against your mayor.
More tomorrow. Bed time. And make sure I tell you about my visit with "Crystal."