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2012 April

The Last Monday of Classes

It’s a drizzly gray morning, Deac families.  It’s warm outside, maybe in the mid-60s, and supposedly the sun will come out a little later today.  We need a little brightness to perk up your students, who are no doubt dragging with classes ending and finals looming.

Here’s a bit of brightness for you:  college pranks.  Last week, my colleagues at the Wake Forest magazine stumbled upon this story of a Mickey Mouse prank pulled on Wait Chapel.  Written by alumnus Kerry King (’85), this is a fun story.  While Wake Forest cannot claim the elaborate college pranks (also known as hacks) of MIT, this is certainly one for the ages.

In more serious news, Wake Forest celebrated an important milestone this past week, kicking off a celebration of fifty years of integration.  Called “Faces of Courage,” the University is embarking on a yearlong celebration and reflection of how Wake Forest became the first major private college in the South to accept non-white students.

One of the events associated with the Faces of Courage series will be with the Deacs Read online book club (while advertised for Wake Forest alumni, Wake Forest parents are also welcome!)  In September, the Deacs Read group will read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.  I have read this book myself, and it was fascinating, painful, and deeply interesting.

The Warmth of Other Suns is getting some play in many different arenas of Wake Forest life.  Each year, we offer a list of suggested Summer Reading books on the Parents’ Page section called “Information for First Year Parents.”  You don’t have to be a first year parent to read this section – and I particularly recommend our Summer Reading list if you are looking for new books and new ideas.  We solicited suggestions from the crack team at the ZSR Library as well as the President’s office.  I have read many of these myself, and have found some delightful reads within this list.

Ending this Week, Looking to Next

We’re closing out on the last full week of classes, and ending this week on a good note.  After a couple of days of miserable rain and colder weather, today is going to be sunny, low 70s, and gorgeous.

This morning as I was coming across campus, I saw a slew of young men, all wearing blue blazers and khakis, some carrying what looked like gym bags.  It was not clear whether they were all members of the same fraternity who were being asked to all dress the same way for some reason, or if they all were going to a class where they had to make a presentation that required dressing up, or if they were student-athletes who had to dress that way for a road trip.  I doubt the Blue Blazer Parade was accidental – my guess is most of those guys would rather have been asleep since it was before 8 am.

We did have an exciting announcement on campus this week in our men’s basketball program.  Randolph Childress (’95) was named director of player development for the basketball team.  What’s the big deal, you ask?  The big deal is that it is Randolph Childress, who was one of the most legendary and beloved Demon Deacons ever.  Here’s the official press release summary of his achievements: “Childress is the school’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals and ranks fifth in ACC history with 329 3-points field goals made. His 2,208 career points ranks second in Wake Forest history. Childress’ No. 22 jersey is one of 10 numbers retired by the basketball program.”  If you are a committed fangirl like myself, this doesn’t begin to capture all he did for our team.  In addition to his basketball acumen, this guy had icewater in his veins and nerves of steel.  Nothing ruffled him.  His face never gave anything away.  He was tough as nails, a feared competitor, and an incredible leader.

Two of his best known feats:  1) hitting the winning shot in the 1995 ACC Tournament, giving us a win over a much-loathed Carolina team.  He made this ridiculous bicycle kick shot, nailing it at the buzzer.  In Wake Forest parlance, it became known as “The Shot” (in the same way of “The Drive” or “The Immaculate Reception”).  As I frequently say about The Shot, robbing from John Keats, it is “a thing of beauty and a joy forever.”  See it here.  2) In that same game, he completely schooled Carolina’s Jeff McInnis by faking him out on a crossover dribble, which caused McInnis to fall.  Randolph paused – motioned for him to get up – and then drained the 3.  Watch it and be dazzled.  He was like an assassin that tournament.  He took everyone out.  Probably my best basketball memories.

And now he is back, and will bring that skill and will and hunger to our basketball team as part of the official staff.  I know our team has been a bit beat up this year, but look out.  You’ve been warned.

Climbing down off my fangirl soapbox, we’ll close today’s Daily Deac with a summary of some of the activities coming up this weekend (thanks to the Provost’s office for making this handy summary below, and to Campus Life for their Wake the Weekends listing for students!)  Hope you and your students have a great weekend.

Spring Student Choreographic Concert
Sunday, April 29, 2:00 P.M., Scales Fine Art Center, Mainstage Theatre
The WFU Dance Company will present work by 11 student choreographers. Adults, $10; senior citizens and students, $5.  Tickets available at the Theatre Box Office, at 336-758-5295.

University Wind Ensemble Concert
Sunday, April 29, 3:00 P.M., Scales Fine Arts Center, Brendle Recital Hall
The University Wind Ensemble will perform the world premiere of a commissioned piece by Nathan Daughtrey (percussionist, composer, and native of Greensboro, NC). The concert concludes Daughtrey’s week-long visit as composer-in-residence. Kevin Bowen and Philip Morgan, conducting. More information.

University Orchestra Concert
Wednesday, May 2, 7:30 P.M., Scales Fine Arts Center, Brendle Recital Hall
Featuring winners of this year’s Concerto Competition:  Jacob Eichhorn, clarinet; Mary Beth Freitag, soprano; Harrison Grunwald, alto saxophone; Cecilia Kucera, violin; Matthew Martin, trumpet; Jorge Mendez-Estrada, double bass; George Story, trombone.  David Hagy, conducting.  More information.

From Self to Other Opening Reception
Thursday, May 3, 8:30-10:30 P.M., START Gallery
START Gallery invites faculty, staff and students to the opening reception of From Self to Other, an exhibition featuring video art projects produced by students of Professor Joel Tauber. The videos explore local sites and people, as well as concepts of identity. More information.

Coffee and Conversation
Thursday, May 3, 2:00-4:00 P.M., Benson University Center, Room 218
Cookies, coffee, and tea in the LGBTQ Center. Everyone is welcome. More information.

A Very Thoughtful Editorial on Honesty

In this past week’s edition of the Old Gold and Black, there was a very thoughtful editorial on honesty from our Chaplain, Tim Auman.  I’ve copied the content from the online edition of the Old Gold and Black below.

Tim is one of the people I respect most on this campus.  I have seen him at work in both happy occasions and during terrible tragedies, and he is amazing.  A safe haven in a time of trouble.  A person you can trust.  If your student ever needed help or a listening ear, he/she could go to him and find compassion and comfort.

It is worth your time to read this.


Twelve steps from the past lead to honest future

Posted on April 20, 2012 by Reverend Tim Auman

When I was a student in divinity school, I remember reading about a civil rights murder that took place in 1966 in Hattiesburg, Miss.  What happened was this: on January 10 civil rights activist Vernon Dahmer was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan.  At about 2 a.m., Dahmer’s home was firebombed.  Reports suggest that two or three carloads of Klan members forced their way into the Dahmer home and ignited 12 one-gallon containers of gasoline.  Dahmer’s wife, Ellie, and their small children survived the attack by escaping through a rear window, but Vernon Dahmer did not.  Why were Dahmer and his family targeted?  His mission had been to assist the African-Americans of Forrest County in registering to vote, and this infuriated the local Ku Klux Klan chapters.

Fourteen Klan members were eventually indicted.  Four of those involved in the murder were found guilty and sentenced under federal law, another entered a guilty plea.  Three were sentenced to life terms, but each served less than 10 years.  Few people were convinced that justice was done.  Yet, for over 30 years, the case remained mostly dormant in police files, until finally someone came forward.

Twenty-eight years had passed when the local police received a phone call from Bob Stringer, a middle-aged man who at the age of 19 had sometimes run errands for the local Klan.

Stringer offered eyewitness evidence that the Klan’s then-leader, Sam Bowers, had ordered the hit on Vernon Dahmer.  Seven years after Dahmer’s murder, Bob Stringer had left Forrest County, eventually moving to Mississippi’s coast.  For much of his life, Stringer had lived with the guilt of knowing the truth about Dahmer’s murder and remaining silent.  At one point, out of work and out of options, he had begun attending a 12-Step program for addicts.  He credits the program with saving his life.

Stringer also credits the program with leading him to confess to the Dahmer family, since one of the 12 steps encourages participants “to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves” and to “make amends” to people they have harmed.  He eventually contacted the Dahmer family, saying, “I had to tell them what I knew.”  On August 21, 1998, due primarily to Bob Stringer’s testimony, Sam Bowers was convicted of Dahmer’s murder.  Said Vernon Dahmer Jr. at his father’s grave:  “Dad, we’ve come to the end of a long journey.  You can rest in peace.” I thought back to this story from seminary because it reminded me of the unsolved hit-and-run incident that took place on the campus back in December.

I don’t know who was responsible for this tragic accident.  What I do know is that Colleen Brehm has been out of work for almost six months and has lost nearly 40 percent of her income.  Many of my friends who have been in 12-Step programs will tell me that Step 4 is the one that really changed how they lived their lives.  They faced, with integrity and honesty, the choices that they had made.  They did not hide behind excuses or invent fantasy stories to fill in the gaps — they simply opened their hearts and minds and took ownership of their behavior.  No blame, no pity party and no excuses.  They honestly evaluated themselves, developed the courage necessary to admit their fault, and decided once and for all what kind of person they wanted to be from then on.

I will never forget a letter I received from a woman who graduated from Wake Forest many years ago.  She was in a 12-Step program and had come to Step 4.  This is what she said: “I do deeply regret that I dishonored myself and Wake Forest University through [my] actions 30 years ago, and I do ask you and the university for forgiveness.  I also am very aware that such a confession puts my degree in jeopardy, but I am more concerned with being honorable now to the university and being righteous before God than I am about protecting my degree.” Powerful things happen when we take ownership of our poor choices.  We take the blinders off and see ourselves for who we really are and realize, “This is too much to carry.  I can’t keep this up.  My spirit won’t bear it.”

And this is where confession steps in.  Most of us know that making mistakes is part of the human experience. We often forget that the trajectory of those mistakes often separates us from the ones we love the most, and perhaps most significantly, separates us from our most authentic selves.  Step 4 asks us to stop and think, to take ownership of our actions.

It puts us in the right place to begin again, to stand a bit taller, and to assess our character, so that we can decide what kind of person we want to be now and in the future, beyond our time at Wake Forest.

Hey Girl, It’s the ZSR

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the staff of the ZSR Library.  They are student-focused, committed, creative and innovative, and on top of their game technically.  Wake the Library will be coming in time for finals week, and it gives students a safe place to study, eat, and blow off some steam.  It’s awesome.

Just this morning, I stumbled on something new, and I have no idea if I can credit the ZSR staff for this or if it’s the work of a student.  But it is culturally-relevant and what the heck, it’s a rainy cold Wednesday so why not brighten it up.

Let’s start with a  little background on the Internet, Millenials, and digital entertainment.  We all know this generation is YouTubeing, Tweeting, and Facebooking its way to all sorts of online fun.  Among the various social networking pleasures is the Internet meme.  If you’re new to memes, they are concepts that spread rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based email, blogs, forums, Imageboards, social networking sites, instant messaging and video streaming sites such as YouTube.

Actor Ryan Gosling (who made legions of girls swoon for his romantic role in the movie “The Notebook” and has been more recently in “Drive”), has been the focus of an Internet meme that has created lots of sensations.   The Ryan Gosling meme includes a picture of him, and always begins with “Hey Girl…” followed by a very appealing and sensitive statement designed to make women swoon, Notebook-style.  There are tons of Gosling meme derivatives – about feminist theory, arts and crafts, libraries.

And now some creative soul has created the ZSR Ryan Gosling page, which recreates the meme, only with Wake Forest ZSR Library references.

This is Millenial generation clever. So if you want to slide in a cultural reference with your student, you now can.  I’d be curious if this is as funny to parents and families as it likely is to our students.

Paying It Forward

Today’s Daily Deac blog was written by David Cox (’11)

Do you remember how pristine the campus looked when you moved your child into their freshmen dorm on move-in day? There was not a single blade of grass out of place, all cut within millimeters of its neighbor. The paint looked like it might still be wet and the smell of a thoroughly cleaned dorm room awaited them.

Fast forward four years.

Soon, the stage will be set and chairs put out for the other bookend of your child’s collegiate career: graduation. Flowers will be blossoming, faculty and staff will be nostalgically looking back at their time with this year’s graduating class, and (most importantly) more than 1,000 Demon Deacons will have their degrees conferred and will be released into the world.

But what goes in between this Alpha and Omega of a student’s life at Wake Forest?

Football games. Late Night Studying in the ZSR. Early morning divisionals. Hit the Bricks. Shag on the Mag. A Taste of Winston-Salem. Traditions Council Old Campus Trip. D.E.S.K. Lunch with a Professor. Walks in Reynolda Garden. Lilting Banshee Shows. Basketball Games. Sunday morning Pit brunch. Long naps on Davis Field. CHARGE. Carnivals. Concerts. Expansion of intellectual boundaries. Tailgating. Wake ‘n’ Shake. Date Functions. New Friends. Homecoming. Family Weekend. Convocation. Social Dance Class with the infamous Robert…the list goes on.

These are just a few of the staples of Wake Forest life, things that every generation of student looks forward to experiencing at some point during their college career. In fact, one might be willing to bet that many of these events are things that even parents look forward doing each year.

Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior parents, no need to start the waterworks just yet, you have a few more years to go before these will be memories. Senior parents, you aren’t quite as lucky.

Senior parents, we at Wake Forest are, and have been since their arrival, very proud of your students. They have continued a very important tradition that started in 1834; leaving Wake Forest better than when they found it. The Wake Forest legacy goes generations deep, and spans across the world. Who knew that a tiny Manual Labor Institute in Wake Forest, North Carolina would become a top 25 National University like it is today?

The fact that the Wake Forest of today is as good as it is is because of generations of students, parents, and alumni that have graciously given back. Whether it was $1 or $1,000,000, it has all added up to help the University in some way to make sure that each generation of student gets to have the quintessential Wake Forest experience.

I want to make a special appeal to parents of seniors—please encourage your students to develop philanthropy as a part of their life after Wake Forest—and there is no time better to start than now.

We’re asking our seniors to give to the 1834 Student Giving Campaign. This campaign is designed to help students understand the importance of giving back now, in hopes that they will be good stewards of Wake Forest in the future. By giving a gift of $10 to the 1834 Campaign, seniors are showing their support of their alma mater, how it has helped them grow, and how much their Wake Forest degree means to them. Students can give this small gift to the Campaign via our website via Deacon Dollars, Debit, or Credit.

The 1834 Campaign has been hosting events all year, but in case your senior has missed our messages to them, we hope as parents you will encourage them to give a gift before they graduate to show their appreciation for this wonderful place they have had the privilege to call home for the past four years.  (If your student is a freshman, sophomore or junior, we want you to encourage them to make a gift too and begin to make philanthropy a part of who they are.)

And parents, if you haven’t supported the Parent’s Campaign, we need your help too! As parents, you can show your faith in the Wake Forest degree that your child will be getting with a gift to the Parents Campaign. You can even dedicate your gift to your senior—and they can dedicate their gift to you.

All in all, time keeps ticking off the clock until May 21. Ask your seniors to honor their alma mater with a gift, and consider making one yourself. Generations of Wake Foresters have left this place better than they found it, and we hope you will encourage your Demon Deacon to do the same.

My Very Best,

David W. Cox (‘11)
Student Giving Fellow

The Morning Report

The report from the northeast side of campus this morning is that it is cool.  High today is only supposed to be in the low 50s, and it is going to be windy.  There are puffy cotton ball clouds in the sky and they are moving along at a pretty good clip even as early as 8 am.

Classes end on Wednesday, May 2nd – a mere 9 days from now – and then final exams start on Friday, May 4th and run through Thursday, May 10th.  Following finals, there will be a long and steady stream of cars heading 4ish hours to our south and east to the various beaches of NC and SC.  Myrtle and North Myrtle, Holden, Carolina Beach, Ocean Isle and all places in between.  For those students who are seniors, they will take a week or so and soak up the sun and making the most of the final days before graduation.  They will arrive back the Friday or Saturday before Commencement, with tans (or sunburns) and sunglasses and a look that is somewhere between delight and shellshock at the prospect of graduation and The Next Step Forward.

But that’s a long way away.  For right now, for most of our students, all they can think about is the next 9 days and finishing up with their papers and projects.  This is a very ‘in the moment’ generation of students.  So they’ll press on with what they must, and pack for the beach just a few hours before they actually depart.

Before the Year Comes to a Close

I looked at the Deacademics blog yesterday and they have a ticker that shows how many days of classes are left.  Yesterday it was 13, which seems hard to believe.  This semester has sped by.

Because time is running out, and the weekend is upon us, here is a list of some things I hope your students might do before they leave Wake Forest.  I realize at this late date that all these things cannot be done before the end of *this* semester – but hopefully sometime during their student years.

(Parents and family members, when YOU come to campus, you ought to do some of these things too!  There are certainly times when you are here and your student is in class/asleep/otherwise occupied, and you could take advantage of some of these things.)

Walk the path from behind Winston Hall to Reynolda Gardens.  Be sure to walk through the rose garden.  Continue up past Reynolda House  and walk the vast expanse of lawn in front of the house.  If you have time, wind around the side of the house back through the trails.

Take a blanket and do your studying somewhere in Reynolda Village or Gardens.

Go through Reynolda House, Museum of American Art.  Find the piece of art you like best.  Be sure to visit the top floor and the historic clothing section.

Visit the Start Gallery and see the artwork there as well.

Go to Wait Chapel and sit in the balcony when it’s empty.  It is silent and vast and wonderful.  A good place to think.

Stop by and see a favorite professor during his or her office hours.  Have a real conversation – not just about grades or the course content, but make an effort to get to know the professor, and to let him know you.

Walk through the Benson Center and look at the artwork on the walls.  Many of the pieces are from famous artists.

Swing on the swings outside Scales Fine Arts Center.

On a nice sunny day, eat lunch on the Mag Patio, at one of the teak tables with umbrellas.  Take your shoes off and relax there.  Trust me, it feels good.

Speaking of taking your shoes off, walk across the Quad grass barefoot.  There is no better grass than in the weeks leading up to Commencement.  Like a green velvet blanket.

Sit on the steps of Wait Chapel – or, alternately on the balcony of Reynolda facing Wait Chapel (by the entrance to the Mag Room) – at twilight and watch the sun set.

Go to a WFU athletic event you have never been to before – and cheer loudly and proudly.

Pick up a paper copy of the Old Gold and Black and read it from cover to cover.

Go to an artistic event on campus – a music, theatre or dance performance, or visit the art gallery in Scales.

Walk behind campus through Faculty Drive, Royall Drive, etc.  See where some of the professors and administrators live.

Make a midnight Krispy Kreme run.

See a movie in the Benson Center on a Friday or Saturday night.

Get rid of your t-shirts with other schools’ names and logos on them.  You’re a Demon Deacon – don’t advertise some other school.  Extra points if you get rid of Duke and Carolina shirts 🙂

Say thank you to your favorite Pit, Shorty’s, Starbuck’s, Benson Center Food Court, Mag Room employees.  Tell them you’ll miss them over the summer.

Buy that thing at the Deacon Shop or the Bookstore that you’ve been eyeing for months and just haven’t bought yet.  Extra points if it is kitschy.

Go to Skippy’s downtown and eat a hot dog.  It’s worth it.

Go to an academic lecture or seminar hosted by a department.

Go to your favorite places on campus – be they outdoors or indoors – and take some pictures.  Even better, take pictures of the same place at various times of day, as Monet did in his series of Rouen cathedral paintings.

Write each of your closest friends a real note or card.  Tell them what you love about them, share some of your favorite memories of things you’ve done together.  Say the things you don’t normally say, but feel in your heart.  Your friends will treasure those 20 years later.  You must trust me about this.

Websites and Links of Note

There are a lot of great blogs and websites within the WFU community of which one should take note.

President Hatch has a video message about Commencement and his plans for the summer.  View it here.

The Deacon Blog is written by my friend and colleague Maria Henson (’82), a Wake Forest alumna and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.  The Deacon Blog brings news about alumni, activities on campus, and more.  You should bookmark it, parents.

The Office of Academic Advising has a web page that is another good one to bookmark.  It includes information and deadlines about registration, has a GPA calculator, resources for students, and more.

The website for Wake Forest College is also rich in information.  I especially like the section at the bottom that shows visiting professors and faculty awards, because parents can see some of the great teacher-scholars who are instructing their students.

This is an older article but still fun given the fact that admissions decision letters just went out a few weeks ago.  It’s from the Washington Post and is about how Wake Forest is one of the few schools that still sends admissions decisions by US Mail.  I have to admit I am very old school about this sort of thing.  I have my admissions letter from Wake Forest and am proud of it every time I see it – on official letterhead, signed by our late and much-mourned Dean of Admissions, Bill Starling.

Finally, in the “what your students should do this weekend” category, this one is external to Wake Forest, but downtown Winston-Salem is hosting the RiverRun Film Festival.  There are many opportunities to see great films and enjoy the ambiance of downtown Winston.  The festival runs through April 22.

Reminders and To-Dos

It’s the home stretch of the semester – and most of our students have an enormous case of Spring Fever – so it might be a good time for a couple of reminders, to-do list style.

Think about summer school – The online phase of registration for summer school will end this Friday, April 20.  However, summer school registration will continue through the morning of the first day of classes in both late May and early July.  If your student wants to attend summer school at Wake Forest, be sure he or she gets in touch with the Summer School office.

Determine plans for shipping items home/storing them in Winston-Salem. There are options to pack and ship via a local service.  Students will begin seeing more information in the residence halls as the semester ends.

Get in the Office of Personal and Career Development pipeline.  If your student has not taken advantage of the tools and resources in the OPCD, don’t let the semester end without it!  The more your student knows about his/her interests and strengths, the better able he/she will be to conduct a career or graduate school search that plays to the best strengths.  There are handy buttons at the top of the Career and Professional Development page that links to pages showing action items for each year of your student’s time here.

Spend some time reflecting: on the academic classes he/she has taken, which experiences he/she has liked the most (or the least) and begin trying to think about where his/her passions lie.  Again, the OPCD has some great tools to help identify that.  And to begin thinking about what is on his/her “Wake Forest bucket list” – those “must do” experiences before college is finished.


Yesterday was the five year anniversary of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.  For those of us who work at college campuses nationwide, the safety and security of our students is paramount.  In light of what happened to our sister ACC school just to the north,  both in 2007 and again this past December, I am especially thinking about safety today.

Parents, there is an excellent web site called Wake Ready that has information that you and your students should be aware of in case of an emergency.  It covers weather-related issues as well as other emergencies.  Please take a few minutes and read it so you know what Wake Forest would do in an emergency – and make sure your students have seen this as well.  Parents and family members have enormous influence over their students, and if you suggest to them that they ought to take a look at this website, it will mean more than if the Parent Programs office does.

One of the emergency terms that students may not be aware of is the concept of “Shelter in Place” – staying put during an emergency vs. venturing out somewhere else.  The Shelter in Place page describes the do’s and don’t’s of sheltering in place.  Again, hopefully this information would never be needed, but with the tornadoes of this weekend in the Midwest, it’s not a bad reminder.

Finally, a few times a year, it is probably a good idea for you to talk with your student about good general safety practices and precautions he or she should take.   These are quick and easy things a student can do to minimize his or her risk of crimes – not just at Wake Forest, but anywhere.  The ones that come to mind most immediately to tell your students are:

Keep your residence hall room locked, even when you are there.  While it is tempting not to lock your door if you want to step down the hall and visit a friend, if you keep it locked you greatly increase the security of both your property and your physical person.  Do not agree to leave your room unlocked at night because your roommate is going out and doesn’t want to take his/her keys because they are too bulky.   Do not prop doors open in the residence hall.

Do not leave valuables unguarded. This goes not just for the residence hall room, but any public spaces.  I frequently see ladies leave a purse or a backpack on the counter of the restroom sink when they use the restroom.  Any one could take that bag and make a dash for it.  Similarly, people leave laptops, cell phones, or iPads in the library while they go grab a Starbucks.  Again, it only takes a moment for that to be gone.

Do not walk alone late at night. Try to plan your trips across campus with a buddy, or plan to do y0ur errands earlier in the day.

Be cautious about alcohol consumption. We all know people’s judgment becomes impaired with alcohol use.  Be sure you do not put yourself in a risky situation because you have had too much to drink.

Each family will have its own ideas about personal responsibility and expected behavior, but we all want to keep our kids safe.  Next time you talk to yours, think about talking about safety and sharing some of these web sites and links.  The Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” is a good one.