Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lefty accused of cheating

With Tiger Woods on the shelf for a while the spotlight is shining on Phil Mickelson and some tour players are not happy with a decision he made to circumvent the rules. I think it is safe to say that golf is in for a bit of a wild ride with no tiger on the prowl.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Haiku

He's on the porch,
to escape the wife and kids-
how hot it is!

Buson (1716-1783)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Another side of the Winter Olympics

This WSJ article talks about the danger inherent in the Winter Olympics and posits that this is one of the main reasons we watch the winter games.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

SAAB saved

It's official. The quirky Swedish "oddball" SAAB has been saved and there is much rejoicing by SAAB enthusiasts. The Dutch sports car maker Spyker has agreed to buy the ailing Swedish firm from GM for $74m cash and $326m in shares.

I previously owned a couple of SAABs and loved them so I was very disappointed when it looked like SAAB was done. Shortly after buying my SAABs I received a package in the mail from SAAB-SCANIA. I opened it and inside found two coffee mugs with the SAAB logo and inside each one was a packet of instant coffee, two packets of sugar, a packet of creamer and a stir stick. On the other side of the mug this message was inscribed.

"Make this your one for the road."

It was signed by Robert Sinclair, then President of SAAB-SCANIA of America, Inc. Pretty cool huh? You can read my other post about my SAAB memories here. Now I'm glad that they will still be around.


Perpetuum Jazzile covers Toto's Africa. I really like a cappella music and these ladies and gentlemen are good! I love the rain storm introduction and ending. It's a clever, creative touch. Also, check out the beatboxer. Like everyone in this choir, he's individually miked and he's good!

My money is on the Death Star

From the Daily Show, your moment of Zen, Darth Vader rings the NYSE's bell.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen - Star Wars Characters Ring Bell
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The ShelterBox

I just returned from a Rotary lunch where they raised enough money ($5,000.00) for five more of these ShelterBoxes to be sent to Haiti. They had one set up and you could go inside and see all the contents that each ShelterBox contains. The main thing is the 10 man tent, but more than that each one provides emergency shelter and relief (with a bunch of supplies) for 10 people for a period of time long past the immediate days after the disaster.

Conceived and developed by Tom Henderson, a member of the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, Cornwall District, U.K., the ShelterBox is a self-contained emergency shelter unit, complete with emergency survival supplies. Each ShelterBox is designed for up to ten people.

The international relief agency Feed the Children, has called Tom's Shelter Box "the best disaster relief tool they have seen in their 20 years of experience." It even brings an implement called the life straw (10 of them in each box) which a person can dip into the foulest, most disease ridden water and suck through to drink clean, purified life-sustaining H2O. The life straws last up to a year.

They really are a cool idea and a wonderful way to help those in need.

The Winter Olympics

This columnist suggests that British Columbians in the city of Vancouver are getting grumpier and grumpier as the games approach. It seems as if the games will cost more than planned to put on and bring in less revenue than anticipated. Sound familiar?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oh my goodness, that pesky teleprompter strikes again!

Remember this post, or this one? Well here Jon Stewart mocks Obama for using his trusty teleprompter in a sixth grade classroom. The White House was quick to point out that the teleprompter was for a press conference and not to speak to the kids, but my question is ... at a press conference doesn't the press ask random questions and the interviewee respond with impromptu, not teleprompted answers? Or is the teleprompter just for the introduction?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Obama Speaks to a Sixth-Grade Classroom
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Who is Ellie Light?

Is she a traveling nurse and a devious, prolific writer or is it just a case of astroturfing? When I was in my youth Astroturf was an artificial playing surface for football reviled by players because of the numerous injuries it supposedly caused.

Today the verb astroturfing has a different meaning and many are wondering whether our esteemed Ellie Light is another conjured up astroturf initiative. Let's face it, the administration has had a rough couple of weeks and could use the support. More about Ellie here at Patterico's Ponitifcations and if you want to hear someone who purports to be Ellie Light speak so you can decide you can go here.

United State of Pop 2009

DJ Earworm's mashup of the top 25 most popular hit songs of 2009, according to Billboard Magazine. You can read all about him and his mashups (including which 25 songs comprise this 2009 pop retrospective) at his site by clicking here. I must confess, I don't think I heard any one of these songs in its entirety last year, but according to Billboard a lot of people did. Here's the mashup.

Citi bonus watch

From comes some information about the bonuses being paid out at Citi. Not sure how much of it is factual, but there it is.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Seven year old the next Picasso?


Etta James

Happy birthday to the blues, soul, rythm and blues, rock and roll, gospel and jazz singer. She turns 72 today.

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. This next manager is a complex character and can be perilous for one's career. It is easy to question this manager's motivation, but the best strategy is simply to be on high alert all the time, as one never knows what quite to expect.

MOTW: Independently Wealthy Manager

A very rare species indeed, sighting an Independently Wealthy Manager is something to boast about and working for one is like riding an unsafe roller coaster in a condemned amusement park. This manager constantly reminds one that he/she doesn’t need the job and is so unpredictable in his/her behavior that coming to the office is like working in a theater of the absurd crossed with an independently produced film noir. Unfortunately his/her staff members do need their jobs and are constantly scurrying to undo Independently Wealthy Manager’s most recent fiasco in order to have a movie set to return to the following week.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What will happen today in the NFL?

Today the AFC and NFC championship games will be played to see which teams will face each other in the Super Bowl. Here are predictions from the Wall Street Journal of all places. I'll be curious to see how this pans out. While the New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts prediction seems a safe one the Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints one surprised me a bit. I usually turn to the WSJ for my finance news and to ESPN and for my NFL news, but we'll see. Maybe they are using a Black-Scholes model or something similar to predict the outcomes.

Anti Chavez TV station shut down

This is no surprise. The man can not abide anyone being critical of him or his regime. Venezuela has been going down that slippery slope for a long time and things have only gone from bad to worse during his tenure in office.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend Haiku

Light of the moon
moves west, flowers' shadows
creep eastward.

Buson (1716-1783)

Friday, January 22, 2010

One year under the belt...

Today is the one year bloggiversary of The Night Canopy. So first of all, thank you to anyone and everyone who has ever stopped by this blog and read a few lines. I appreciate it and hope you enjoyed what you found here. When I started this thing in 2009 I did not know how long I would be able to keep it going and more importantly, how long I could go on before I ran out of MOTWs, or Managers of the Week.

Well, here we are, one year later and I have faithfully posted one manager description a week, every Monday. I still have many more so I guess I will have to keep the blog going for at least another year. Once again, thanks for reading and enjoy the MOTWs as they keep on coming. Cheers!

New bank rules sink stocks

The headline is from The Wall Street Journal article. Of course the proposal sinks stocks. Why wouldn't it? It smacks of government intervention. There was a post about this on this blog yesterday right underneath this one.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here it comes

The anti-business Obama administration is expected soon to propose limits on how banks can run their business. The proposal is expected to include limits on the amount of risk banks can take on and also limit propietary trading.

This is huge and will affect Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. Placing limits on propietary trading will hurt banks like Citi, which despite its losses is still effective in this arena and traditionally has had an excellent track record at making money from these trading activities. This is not a way to help banks recover, but rather a way to show main street that Obama can tame Wall Street's bankers. It will only slow the recovery more.

"Mr. Obama is also expected to endorse, for the first time publicly, measures pushed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, which would place restrictions on the proprietary trading done by commercial banks, essentially limiting the way banks bet with their own capital."

The tenor turns 69

Happy birthday Placido Domingo. You have given us much joy over the years with your powerful voice.

Lives in the Balance

Jackson Browne performs Lives in the Balance in concert, the title track from his eigth album which was released in 1986. The album is one of those solid albums which is good from start to finish with nary a bad tune on it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The NYT will charge online readers a fee for frequent use

I received the email below from the New York Times today. Although this fee procedure will not begin until early 2011 I question whether this will approach will work. Since the New York Times Company can not answer even basic questions about the plan yet I think it is safe to surmise that the plan is still in its initial phase. I question the wisdom of announcing something like this so far ahead. Too many users have become accustomed to reading their online news and content for free and my guess is that this move will alienate readers no matter how and when the NYT communicated it.

Perhaps the way they will make it work is by including a link to the article in the alert announcing the change and charging readers when they click on it. Oh wait, that is what they are doing in this message, but of course there is no charge yet. Go ahead, click the link to read more. After all, it is still free.

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Wed, January 20, 2010 -- 9:19 AM ET

The Times to Charge for Frequent Access to Its Web Site

Starting in early 2011, visitors to will get a
certain number of articles free every month before being
asked to pay a flat fee for access.

Read More:


Citi reports earnings

Citigroup reported a $7.58 billion loss in the fourth quarter and a loss of 33 cents per share.

"Analyst John McDonald of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. wrote, "Citi enters 2010 with strong capital and reserve positions, but the company's timeline for a return to profitability" and true earnings power "remain key uncertainties for investors."

Is it magic or is it training?

Watch his chat and find out. With quite a bit of humor, some emotion and a lot of factual explanation, magician David Blaine explains how he set the world record for holding one's breath at 17 minutes and 4 seconds. It's fascinating to listen to him talk about some of the prior feats he has accomplished, the process he went through to set this new record and his rationale for doing so.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hard to believe

France is accusing the U.S. of occupying Haiti. There are so many things wrong with this statement that I don't know where to begin. Perhaps France, the country which was Haiti's original occupier, would like to send aircraft carriers, military transports and troops, civilian aid workers, tons of medical supplies, foodstuffs and millions of dollars of aid to Haiti so we can stand down from our "occupier" role.

Countries that have the ability to help should work together and no one should be bickering at a time like this. What is important is coming to the aid of the poor devastated people of Haiti. If any country should want to level that accusation (which they should not) it should certainly not be France. Finally, I thought electing Obama and his brilliant international diplomatic ability was supposed to end this kind of criticism. Mais non.

UPDATE: From the U.S. Army's official site, a recent report on the "occupation." Read the whole thing.


A pair of bongosImage via Wikipedia

The other day someone I recently met told me she wants to play the bongos. Although I have no idea about her musical ability in general, I know for a fact that she has never played the bongos. This got me to thinking. How does one go about learning to play the bongos? Are there certified bongo instructors and if so, what are their credentials? Are there schools where you can sign up to take bongo lessons? Are there instrument specialists who advise you as to what bongos to purchase given your corresponding skill level?

I had a roommate once who was an excellent bongo player. He was so good that people would try to get him to play under the flimsiest of pretenses. Looking back I never once asked him where he acquired his bongos or where he learned to play them. I was just happy when he did.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two extreme men

The world's tallest and shortest man, together in one place.

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. Working for this next manager is a problem because their lack of power and influence extends to you. When confronted with this situation the best thing you can do is become a close ally of the Chief of Staff.

MOTW: Figurehead Manager

Just like in the political arena, Figurehead Manager is usually a non-entity who has no real business being in the position he/she is in. Holding no real power, ambivalent in decision making and having nothing important to do or say, Figurehead Manager shuffles about aimlessly and incoherently until the staff can no longer stand it. They then recur to Figurehead Manager’s Chief of Staff, who everyone knows exerts the real managerial control by proxy, said Chief of Staff being a puppet master who deftly pulls the office strings with the precision of a renowned concert violinist.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Planned blackouts in Venezuela

Living the fruits of Chavez. Venezuela will be switching off lights in major cities on a planned schedule due to energy shortages. This from a country that is part of OPEC and oil-rich. Meanwhile, Chavez blames El Niño.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekend Haiku

Even a fleabite,
when she's young,
is beautiful.

Issa (1763-1827)

Friday, January 15, 2010

How much football is there in an American football game?

This weekend there is a virtual marathon of football being served up by the National Football League, four playoff games in two days (about 12 plus hours of viewing). An NFL football game is separated into four quarters of fifteen minutes each to bring the fan an hour of football. This becomes anywhere from 3 to 3.5 hours of viewing time with all the breaks and stoppages in a game. The question is, how much is the ball actually in play during an NFL football game. The answer, which may surprise you, is after the jump.

According to this WSJ article, the mean amount of time the football is actually in play in an average NFL game is approximately 11 minutes.

Citi bonuses

Rumors are flying but Reuters is reporting that Citigroup's 2009 bonuses, which are scheduled to be paid out in the upcoming weeks, will be similar to 2008 levels.

The Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings have taken an unorthodox route to competitiveness. This organization has never won the Super Bowl although they have been to the big dance multiple times. Once again they are in the playoffs searching for that elusive championship.

This WSJ article
explores the manner in which owner Zygi Wilf, a New Jersey real-estate developer who bought the Vikings in 2005, has worked tirelessly to build the team into a challenger that can win it all. Let's see if the team can do that this year. Their first challenge, beating the Cowboys on Sunday.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to help Haiti

Our boy's school is collecting for a 40 foot container they will be sending so we have already donated. Here are some legit State Department resources and charities to go to in order to help.

The best wine experiences are deeply personal

Have you ever had a glass of wine that seems perfect? It's a beautiful night. You are out to dinner with a dear friend you haven't seen for years. You have picked an outstanding restaurant and the ambiance, conversation and food are all excellent. You choose a middle of the road wine because you don't want to exponentially increase the bill, but everything is going so well that you don't want to cheat the evening either - and ta-da, the wine is perfect! No, it's better than perfect, it's heavenly. Is it the occasion, is it the wine, is it your long lost friend or is it an exercise in synchronicity where all the pieces blend together to create an all round quasi-magical experience?

But wait, that merlot you had in the plastic cup on the beach at that party you were looking forward to all month was perfect too...

The duo at the WSJ write about precisely this point, that the best wines for one's palate are deeply personal and that while the wine is definitely a big part of it, many factors play into one's memories of the perfect wine experience.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Terri Dial out at Citi

And it seems like she just got there. Now she is leaving Citi's day to day operations, having been stripped of her leadership of Citi's North American Consumer Banking operation. She is leaving ostensibly for "personal reasons." Hmmm, another Uncle Vik casualty, with Emperor 3M (Manuel Medina-Mora) getting the spoils. Her goodbye email after the jump.

From: Terri Dial

Date: January 12, 2010

Every journey faces twists and turns. My decision to move to a Senior Advisor role at Citi marks an important, unexpected shift in direction for me. As much as I have enjoyed my time leading North America Consumer Banking, I must now focus all my energies on my family. That is my top priority. Fortunately, I make this change with complete confidence in the direction of our consumer business for North America and the progress we’re making to put customers at the center of everything we do.

As you continue to journey forward, now under the direction of my talented colleague Manuel Medina-Mora, I ask you to always work to earn the right to serve our customers’ lifetime financial needs. We’ve ushered in a new era of simplicity, honesty and transparency in our consumer business. So remember to SHINE every day. Keep striving to get the fundamentals right for our customers and exceed their expectations.

I am honored and humbled to have served with you. We have accomplished great things together. But it has truly been the teamwork - each of you working together on a mission for customers - that will always be my greatest source of pride. I wish all of you continued success and thank you for your support and friendship along our journey together.

Don't Push Love Away, The Hardest Things and To The Tune Of 5,000 Screaming Children

A triple shot of TJT (The Juliana Theory), from mellow to hard. First up, the mellower Don't Push Love Away.

Second, the in between sound of The Hardest Things.

And third, the in your face sound of To The Tune Of 5,000 Screaming Children.

Sadly, because of major label problems these guys are no longer together making music. Which of the three tunes, if any, do you prefer?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Uneasy Rider

An article about Ivan Pisarenko, an Argentine attempting to ride his motorcycle 17,000 miles from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. He's not done yet, but has become a minor folk hero during his quest.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. We welcome in the second MOTW of 2010 with this next manager. As the description says, try to limit contact as much as possible which may be hard to do if this is your direct supervisor. If you have ever known someone like this you know that if you are around them too long the odds that something bad will happen to you tend to go up exponentially.

MOTW: Dark Cloud Manager

Although he/she may be a good person nothing ever seems to go right for Dark Cloud Manager either in his/her professional or personal life. Extreme caution should be applied when dealing with this manager. Care should be taken to limit contact as much as possible. Avoid meetings, work groups or any other situation where Dark Cloud Manager is present as contamination with this type of karma can occur due to overexposure, as well as the ever-present danger of guilt by association. As Cliché Manager would undoubtedly observe, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The decade's 10 most dastardly cybercrimes

From Wired come this list of the 10 most dastardly cybercrimes of the decade. As they say, it used to be about the mayhem, but it seems these had a profit motive behind them.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekend Haiku

The prostitute's shack
at the edge of town
in the autumn wind.

Issa (1763-1827)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Of fish pedicures and Wesley Mouch

Back in February of this year I posted this little nugget, which reported that sales of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged were soaring. Well, John Stossel is finally getting around to doing a show on the subject. His central question, not who is John Galt, but who is Wesley Mouch? Oh, and the fish pedicure reference, it's his and you have to read Stossel's article to find out what that's all about.

Thirteen story building on its side

Check out this 13 story building laying intact on its side. Here is what happened.

(1) An underground garage was being dug on the south side, to a depth of 4.6 meters.

(2) The excavated dirt was being piled up on the north side, to a height of 10 meters.

(3) The building experienced uneven lateral pressure from south and north.

(4) This resulted in a lateral pressure of 3,000 tons, which was greater than what the pilings could tolerate. Thus the building toppled over in the southerly direction.

They built 13 stories on grade, with no basement, and tied it all down to hollow pilings with no rebar. This is in Shanghai. I guess 13 is an unlucky number after all.

KK wants his cash

Kevin Kessinger, former head of Operations and Technology for Citigroup has decided to take Citi to arbitration, a form of out-of-court dispute resolution, to try to recoup his severance package. Citi has frozen severance payments to him and other downsized top executives due to the negative publicity that making these payments during the TARP debacle was causing for its image.

How Norway is beating MRSA

The Norwegians are battling MRSA ( Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) with a simple, low cost solution which initially might seem counter-intuitive, but has been very successful for them.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Stone Flower and Mirage

Two gems from Santana. First up, off the Caranvanserai album comes Stone Flower.

Next, from the Borboletta album, Mirage. That is Leon Patillo on lead vocals. Enjoy.

America Rising

All I can say to the current administration is ouch!

Motivation for the new year

Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind is interviewed here by Barbara Chai of the WSJ about his new book Drive, which explores the concept of human motivation and what he calls "the surprising truth" about what motivates us.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

C-SPAN wants in on the meetings

Brian Lamb, CEO of C-SPAN, has sent a plea to leaders of congress to allow cameras in to the meetings set to craft the final consensus version of the healthcare bill that President Obama wants so very badly. If you are going to spend a gazillion dollars of taxpayer money, shouldn't the taxpayer be allowed to see what you are drafting. After all, as you can see from the video below, transparency was one of the pledges Obama made in relation to these very same meetings.

Words are nice, but action is better. Under our current government processes that should be kept secret become transparent, and dealings that should be and have been promised to be transparent are kept secret. Come on guys, let C-SPAN in.

Who was the highest paid executive at Citigroup in 2009?

It was this gentleman. He was paid 8.97 million dollars last year although less than 500,000 of that was cash. He received the rest in 2.7 million shares of restricted stock. Good luck with those.

From the article...

"The Obama administration's pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg, who had a say over compensation for the top 100 employees at Citigroup for 2009, reviewed the structure but not the dollar amount of Havens' pay package, the paper said, citing a person familiar with the matter."

Blackadder and Mr. Bean

Happy birthday Rowan Atkinson. The man with the rubber face turns 55 today. I have always enjoyed his comedy.

Were The Doors really a blues band?

According to this box set they were.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This may explain everything

This may explain his precipitous drop in the polls. From the Onion comes this breaking story...

White House Reveals Obama Is Bipolar, Has Entered Depressive Phase

Easy wine resolutions

I wonder if I can keep them. Here are some wine resolution suggestions for the new year from the duo at the WSJ.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weill bemoans Citi's fate

In this article Sandy Weill waxes philosophically about Citi's demise and its lengthy sojourn in the financial doldrums.

From the article...

"During a series of recent interviews, Mr. Weill spoke candidly about the loss, frustration and humiliation caused by Citi’s fall. “I feel incredibly sad,” he says."

Let's all cry a river of tears for Sanford Weill. I feel just terrible that the man feels sad. After all, he is still baronially wealthy and while the article refers to him as Citi's creator my humble opinion is he is more like Citi's destructor and that Citi's downfall began the first day he set foot inside the building.

Also, never a man to shy away from the limelight, he is very quick to throw both John Reed and his hand-picked successor, Chuck Prince, under the bus. Whichever way you look at it, Citi is indeed living his legacy.

Dolphins end season with number four quarterback under center.

And not by choice either. The NFL season is now in the books for the Miami Dolphins and the team ended with a 7 - 9 record one year after winning the AFC East. Miami lost yesterday to the Pittsburgh Steelers 30 – 24 and ended the game with Tyler Thigpen from Coastal Carolina University playing quarterback.

Chad Henne played the entire first half and then did not answer the bell for the second half due to a mysterious eye injury. Enter rookie Pat White looking thoroughly overwhelmed by the situation and the end result of his play was that the offense was stagnant and ineffective. White left the game on a stretcher after a very scary helmet to helmet collision which paved the way for Thigpen to enter the game. He rallied the team, threw for a touchdown and moved the offense well enough to set up another score on an end around by Hartline. From there Miami looked in charge of the game, but alas, Thigpen threw two critical interceptions which sealed the game and thus the season’s fate.

Although head coach Tony Sparano has called the result of this season’s campaign mediocre it is hard to find a lot of fault with the Dolphins record given the injuries the team sustained during the year. The team lost its starting quarterback (Pennington), tailback (Brown) and nose tackle (Ferguson) at different points in the season, never to return. The team also lost its versatile number three back (Cobbs) and its top cornerback (Allen) also not to return to play during the season. There were also other more minor injuries.

I’m not making excuses for Miami. I would have loved to have seen the team play better and be in the playoffs, but they were competitive in just about every game. Although the defense gave up some big plays at critical times and the offense didn’t always move the ball effectively the Dolphins played hard throughout the year and never quit. There need to be some changes in the off season and in my view acquiring Pat White was a waste of a draft pick, but the current management has built a solid foundation for the future considering the team is only two years removed from a 1 – 15 record.

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. People eventually tire of working for this next manager and move on, but the manager remains, and remains, and remains. If you have a manager of this type, hanging in there will not get it done for you.

MOTW: Hang In There Manager

While the optimist sees the glass of water half full and the pessimist half empty, Hang in There Manager adds some scotch and waits for the inevitable. This manager is invariably a grind it out type of creature who tends to motivate his/her staff alternately with “doom and gloom” or “things are looking up” type speeches depending on scientific variables such as the weather and/or his/her significant other’s mood that morning.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Weekend Haiku

Wrapping the rice cakes,
with one hand
she fingers back her hair.

Basho (1644-1694)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy new year! May 2010 bring you only good things. Cheers!