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For the last two years, St. Olaf College Professor of Music James McKeel has worked on bringing Canadian author Mark Frutkin’s award-winning novel to the stage.
Next week, a group of St. Olaf student actors and musicians will help him do just that — shortly after they have the opportunity to meet Frutkin himself at the show’s final rehearsal.
The ensemble will present Fabrizio’s Comet, a two-act operetta based on Frutkin’s award-winning novel, Fabrizio’s Return. The magical, time-bending narrative follows an Italian priest’s quest for sainthood and the Devil’s Advocate sent to investigate his candidacy.
This project is part of St. Olaf’s Lyric Theater season, a Music Department program that offers training and performance opportunities to undergraduate musical actors.
McKeel, who co-founded the Lyric Theater program at St. Olaf with Associate Professor Emerita of Music Janis Hardy, received a Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council grant to complete the second act of Fabrizio’s Comet.
McKeel and Frutkin spent a two-year period exchanging ideas about the operetta’s adaptation, libretto, and musical numbers. And while it was a time-consuming process, McKeel says it wasn’t hard to migrate Frutkin’s work to an operatic setting.
“Fabrizio’s Return already had a musical quality to it,” says McKeel. “Mark Frutkin is a very poetic author, skilled at creating colorful characters that naturally come to life on the stage.”
The production features a cast of 20 St. Olaf students, an orchestra led and formed by Natalia Romero ’15, and an undergraduate Creative Team.
Fabrizio’s Comet incorporates students from McKeel’s Advanced Acting for the Lyric Stage course, alongside other students who auditioned for the show. Members of the class will engage in a musical theater outreach program at local elementary schools after the St. Olaf premiere.
The October 18 performance on campus will also be streamed and archived online.
Alicia Flatt claimed a match-best 47 assists and added 10 digs to lead the Carleton College volleyball team in a key Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference five-set win (17-25 28-26, 25-20, 19-25, 15-12) over Saint Mary’s University on Wednesday.
St. Olaf College is one of the nation’s top producers of physics degrees, according to a ranking by the American Physical Society (APS).
Granting an average of 24 physics degrees per year, St. Olaf ranked third among all undergraduate institutions in the nation and is the top-ranked liberal arts college on the list, coming in behind the United States Naval Academy and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
“Our program is thriving, and students clearly find it attractive,” says Associate Professor of Physics and Department Chair Brian Borovsky ’94. “I think it reflects the energy we devote to the program, the attention we focus on students, and the high levels of interest in physics among St. Olaf students.”
The degree data the APS used in the ranking is representative of the most recent three years of available data. The APS is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics. Representing more than 50,000 members, the APS is the second largest society of physicists in the world.
The air was crisp and the wait was long. Folk band Rivers, along with Minneapolis-based solo artist Siri Undlin, played at the St. Olaf Art Barn on Friday, Sept. 26. Since its opening in the Fall of 2013, the Art Barn has hosted a range of events from a Norwegian Folk School Interim course, to yoga classes, to the DNNR PRTY Album Release Party. A year of these events at the exciting new venue has led students to recognize the potential and value of having a more intimate, consolidated space for shows. However, at the Rivers concert, space was a bit too limited.
The security was strict about not exceeding the capacity of the Art Barn. The anxious crowd, eager to join the small group already gathered inside, stood on tip-toes to peer through the small rectangular windows in attempts of catching a glimpse of the musicians. However, because this wasn’t the most ideal view, patience faded quickly for some Oles.
“My friends and I waited to get in for about five minutes but then decided to go to the Astrophotography event at Stogrow instead,” Megan Ecker ’15 said. “I think the Art Barn is a cool venue, but it was slightly frustrating that there was a capacity limit.”
The atmosphere seemed relaxed inside the Barn while calming folk music filled the air, but tensions ran high outside where MEC staff passed out cups of cider to frustrated students clumped around the door, peering over each other in hopes of being the next person let inside. The cider, though a cozy autumn touch, was not enough to convince the crowd to wait.
“We couldn’t see that cider was coming anytime soon, and we didn’t want to wait outside for very long, so we stayed a total of maybe four minutes,” Rory Anderson ’15 said.
Some students were lucky enough to get in at the beginning of the show, while others got in one by one only as other members of the crowd left the building.
“I understood that the band wanted to create a calm, low-key atmosphere inside, but it was really annoying to wait outside for so long. Once I got in though, it was a pretty neat time,” Chris Hager ’16 said.
It seems that a band would want a large crowd to interact with, yet the audience was kept at bay just outside the door. The free show succeeded in drawing in the masses, but the restricted entry cost the band potential Olaf fans.
“It was a pretty standard Art Barn concert, but I think they lost a lot of the crowd by being so exclusive initially,” Eileen McNulty ’16 said.
Eventually, security allowed everyone inside at once to enjoy the music. Though some students left before this happened, those who waited had positive reviews of the show and space.
“I had to wait for about 15 minutes after arriving 20 minutes late, but it was worth it,” Elizabeth Branscum ’18 said. “The music was awesome and the atmosphere of the Art Barn made the whole experience even more fun. Eventually they let everyone still waiting in at once, which was a little frustrating since I had been waiting due to an occupancy limit that was apparently not that important. But overall I really enjoyed the concert, and I would love for there to be more events like it.”
While the show ended up being an unexpected test of patience, it seems that the music was worth the wait and left students with excitement at the prospect of future Art Barn shows. Students hope that a larger crowd can gather together at the next Art Barn event to support the musicians coming to campus and better utilize this unique space.
Photo Credit: MADISON VANG/MANITOU MESSENGER
The Ebola virus outbreak of 2014 is the largest in history. The only Ebola epidemic ever to occur in multiple countries has now killed over 3,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. All of the countries seriously afflicted with Ebola lie in West Africa, specifically Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
First, let’s take a brief look at the history of Ebola. Ebola is a deadly virus that is spread from wild animals to humans, who then spread the Ebola virus among other people via human-to-human transmission. When the 2014 epidemic began, Ebola’s fatality rate was dangerously close to 100 percent. At the moment, Ebola has a fatality rate of 50 percent within those diagnosed and is spread through contact with contaminated clothing and bodily fluids.
While this fatality rate is still atrociously high, it is better than the death sentence Ebola previously predicted. The main symptoms of Ebola include the onset of fever and fatigue, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, impaired liver and kidney function, internal bleeding and eventual death.
The first outbreak of Ebola occurred simultaneously in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976, near the Ebola River, thus granting the virus its name. In the current outbreak, countries such as Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have been especially vulnerable due to their weak healthcare systems and slow recovery from civil unrest in the past decades. Along with the enormous death toll and the psychological human impact, another concerning aspect of the Ebola outbreak is its economic ramifications.
Between private donations and those from nations and local governments, millions of dollars have already been dedicated to preventing the spread of Ebola, with a projected expense total of billions of dollars to contain the virus. However, these costs do not represent the only economic impact of Ebola; these are only the direct costs. It’s what will not be done due to fear of the outbreak that will severely damage these West African economies.
What won’t be done? For one, people will travel less due to closed borders as well as fear of the contagious disease. Countries that haven’t even experienced cases of Ebola — such as Ghana, which has devoted more resources than ever to the monitoring and awareness-raising of Ebola — are losing human productivity by focusing time and resources on the possibility that Ebola might spread to their nations. Nigeria, which has only experienced a few cases of Ebola, is expected to lose $2 billion in the third quarter of this year, due to cuts made to airline services, the hospitality industry and trade.
Nonetheless, there are positive aspects to the precautions taken against the spread of Ebola. Hopefully, with more people educated about the disease, it will be less likely to spread. This mindset works to limit the death toll. After all, it is preferable to lose money rather than human lives. So while action is necessary to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus, I would urge less affected countries of West Africa to keep in mind the strong words of FDR during another economic crisis: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Scott Johnson ’18 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Gladstone, Mo. He majors in history.
What's the first few hours like at Carleton? We follow Francisco Castro '18 from Houston as he moves into his residence hall, hears advice from President Steve Poskanzer and meets his New Student Week group.
Friday was quite a day for the Carleton College women's cross country team and junior Ruth Steinke. The Knights defeated a total of five nationally-ranked Division II and III teams to win the UWEC Blugold Invitational, and Steinke ran to a first-place individual finish to lead her team to the impressive victory. For her performance, Steinke was honored Tuesday with her first-ever MIAC Women's Cross Country Athlete-of-the-Week award.
Hillary Clinton has often inspired global conversation with her actions, whether through her speeches as First Lady, her many pantsuits or the photos in celebrity magazines of suggested “texts” she might be sending. Americans have been especially interested in her activity after she stepped down from her position as Secretary of State last year.
In most recent news, Clinton visited Iowa for the first time since her 2008 caucus loss to our current president, Barack Obama. This has led to a flurry of commentary about the potential for another presidential bid in 2016. Despite the outpouring of public sentiment about whether or not Clinton should have her eyes on the Oval Office, she has publicly maintained a completely neutral stance on the idea. All of this begs the question: why does Clinton want to run for president again?
Whether you agree with Clinton’s political policies and viewpoints or not, she is an undeniably seasoned politician. As a former First Lady, United States senator and our 67th Secretary of State, Clinton has traversed the depths of Washington and come out the other side relatively unscathed. From the impeachment of her husband, Bill Clinton, to the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Clinton has endured some of the worst political fights of the past few decades — not to mention the incessant slandering and public criticism that naturally came with her last presidential campaign.
In many ways, Clinton has begun to enjoy a life outside of Washington politics. It has been about a year and a half since she stepped down from her role as Secretary of State in Feb. 2013, and she doesn’t seem the be jumping at the opportunity to get back into the political arena. Honestly, who can blame her?
But Clinton hasn’t completely ruled out a presidential campaign yet. If she had, she would probably laugh off questions pertaining to a 2016 bid, but she hasn’t done that. There is probably still a small part of her that is considering going back to the cruel, unrelenting political arena.
It seems as if Clinton is asking herself whether the best option for the country is to have her as president. The neutrality that she has maintained appears to stem from an internal conflict between her enjoyment of semi-retirement and questioning if the U.S. wants and needs her expertise and talents.
Clinton’s last presidential bid was often described as a desperate attempt to take the White House. People seemed to think that Clinton only wanted to prove that she could do what her husband did before her. She was shown as willing to do anything to become president, and that hurt her image in comparison to Barack Obama, who was portrayed contrastingly as a man concerned for the people.
This is where Hillary’s potential 2016 bid could be different. The effect Hillary has created is that she doesn’t seem to want the Presidency, but will take command if she feels that Americans want her to. It is no longer even about her, as it seemed in 2008; it is about the United States of America. No matter your stance in regards to Hillary Clinton, this is an undeniably huge change in perspective.
Regardless of Clinton’s last run for presidency, if she chooses to run for president in 2016, it is clear that it will be a very different campaign than her previous one. This will no longer be about pride, self-image, or even about the Oval Office; it will simply be about the U.S.
Sage Fulco ‘18 (email@example.com) is from Wayzata, Minn. He majors in physics.
St. Olaf hosted the North Central Council of Latin Americanists (NCCLA) on Sept. 26 and 27, celebrating 40 years of Latin American study at St Olaf. John Tutino, a professor at Georgetown University, gave the keynote address, entitled “The Americas in the World, 1500-2000: Toward a New Understanding,” and also led a workshop about teaching courses in Latin American studies. Tutino taught for 11 years at St. Olaf and said he learned how to teach here.
President of NCCLA Nancy Paddleford received the Award of Merit at the annual meeting for her many years of work in Latin American Studies.
Roderic Camp of Claremont McKenna College, who received an honorary doctorate from St. Olaf in 2010, and other distinguished visitors also participated in the conference.
NCCLA was founded in 1966 by a group of experts on Latin America from Wisconsin universities. They later expanded their organization to universities across the upper Midwest. The NCCLA is one of eight regional Latin Americanist organizations in the country.
John Tutino and Nancy Paddleford are pictured here.
Photo courtesy of Leon Narvaez.
I can still vividly remember my first experience with fantasy football. I was 10, and my football-obsessed math teacher created a league for our class. Admittedly, it was not the best mathematical education strategy in which I have ever been involved. Our league was comprised of 25 nerdy, mostly female, pre-pubescent children. I know my reaction was along the lines of, “Football? The one where they wear the tights?”
Despite how misguided I was at the beginning of my extremely short fantasy football career, I was just as addicted as any middle-aged man after a month. It was intoxicating. The thrill of being able to call these big–name players “my players,” and to watch them score points for “my team” was incredible. I essentially became a 10-year-old gambling addict.
Fantasy football is just one of a multitude of fantasy sports you can play. The first fantasy league was actually baseball, started in the 1950s by statistics-savvy fans. With the advent of the Internet in the 1990s, fantasy football moved online and became much more accessible to millions of people, most notably on ESPN, NFL and Yahoo.
Over 28 million people played fantasy football last year. The basic premise of fantasy football is that you get to manage your own team, making it a “fantasy” for many. With a Wikipedia page longer than St. Olaf’s, fantasy football is clearly not going anywhere. Unfortunately, it can turn into a nightmare.
At its root, fantasy football is gambling. Most, although not all, leagues have an entry fee and a payout. However, this always comes with a chance to win. In fact, The National Football Championship offers prizes of up to $150,000, with a minimum entry fee of $150. The average fantasy sports player spends $467 per year, adding up to a $15.7 billion market for an imaginary pastime. Fantasy football is a lucrative and widespread business. It is no wonder that there are no limitations on it. In 2006, legislation was passed to limit gambling; however, there was a specific exception made for fantasy sports.
Along with the monetary commitment many participants make, the average fantasy football player spends three hours a week managing his or her team and a further nine hours reading or watching something about fantasy sports. This all-encompassing passion costs the United States an estimated $6.5 billion a year in lost productivity.
Not all the resources associated with fantasy sports are intangible. ESPN has television shows devoted to fantasy football. Estimated advertisement revenue, per year, is $2–5 billion. Fantasy sports are so popular, websites can charge $2-10 to advertisers per thousand page views. Fantasy football has become deeply embedded in our culture.
After coming off my forced fantasy football high, I realized it wasn’t for me. I got too obsessed for my own good; it was more about my ego than enjoyment of the actual game. However, if fantasy sports are not consuming too much of our energy and time, they can be one of the most rewarding practices. They not only give you an excuse to watch your favorite sport, but also allow you to be actively involved.
Graphic Credit: ETHAN BOOTE/MANITOU MESSENGER
“Some nights you don’t wanna wake up from, like tonight. It’s like a dream,” said Lykke Li on Sunday during her concert at First Avenue before beginning to sing “Just Like A Dream,” a song from her latest album I Never Learn. The 2014 album reveals a sadder, darker side of Li, as most of it was written after a difficult break-up and a move to L.A. from Sweden in 2012.
The Swedish indie-pop singer-songwriter performed in the Mainroom at First Avenue on Sunday night. Opening for her was soul-pop artist Mapei, who is a natural pairing with Li for a concert. Both perform distinctly different styles of laid-back, earthy pop, bringing something new to music that will hopefully have people thinking of them in addition to – or instead of – ABBA when someone mentions “Swedish music.”
Mapei energized the audience with “Don’t Wait,” her well-known single from 2013 and arguably the brightest diamond in the crown that is her performing career to date. The general mood of her set was captured by a sense of newer, mature love, while sticking to the idea of maintaining one’s autonomy. Her lyrics, “If it wasn’t for you, I’d be alone/You won my heart, without a question/When I shine, you shine,” set the stage for Li’s contrasting tone perfectly.
The overall theme of Li’s set was focused on moving on from a major heartbreak. It contained songs predominantly from I Never Learn, but also featured some of her older hits from Wounded Rhymes (2011) and Youth Novels (2008), including “Dance, Dance, Dance,” “Get Some” and “I Follow Rivers.”
Throughout her performance, Li’s physical stage presence was quietly unapologetic. She was dressed in black and surrounded by her five band members on a relatively small stage arrangement for First Avenue (especially compared to a Tickle Torture show, where Elliott Kozel and his scantily clad dancers strolled and gyrated across the Mainroom stage and lounge on a large couch, drinking bottles of champagne).
The audience was very responsive to her performance, singing along to the chorus of “Dance, Dance, Dance” and raising lighters and cell phones in solidarity during “Never Gonna Love Again.”
“She is a goddess among mortals,” said Melissa Nyberg ’18 of the concert. “Her somber and yet still upbeat songs were as stylish as the black pleather kimono she wore on her tiny Swedish frame,”
Li played a beautiful cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” and ended hopefully with “Get Some,” a playful song off of Wounded Rhymes. She and her five band members returned to stage to perform a two-song encore consisting of a Swedish love song (because the Minneapolis audience was her “best yet”), followed by “Heart Of Steel.” The band concluded with a walk off stage to the Beatles’ “Don’t Get Me Down.”
Lykke Li put on a beautiful performance that would break your heart and put it back together again. She acknowledged that we all experience heartbreak, but it’s a fact of life and we will continue to move on.
Go see her perform if she is in a city near you and check out her music videos. Lykke Li’s music has been and will always be innovative and captivating.
“It’s a misconception that singing is about having a beautiful voice,” Patricia Caicedo, a world-renowned soprano and musicologist, said to the crowd at Christiansen Hall of Music on Monday, Sept. 22. “It’s not about having the most beautiful voice. It’s about communicating a story.”
Dr. Caicedo is an M.D. who sings in five different languages. She abandoned medicine in her twenties and devoted her life to raising awareness of, and bringing new life to, Latin American and Iberian art songs. Her voice has reached the far corners of the globe, and she has even founded her own annual musical festival: the Barcelona Festival of Song. Despite her immense success and global popularity, the St. Olaf community holds a special place in Caicedo’s heart.
Almost ten years ago, St. Olaf Associate Professor of Music Alison Feldt met Caicedo at the International Congress of Voice Teachers. Caicedo was lecturing about Latin American and Iberian repertoire and its vast number of beautiful but undiscovered songs. Feldt decided to buy her songs to be kept at the Rolvaag Memorial Library; the CD remains in our library today.
“St. Olaf has always been here with me,” Caicedo said, motioning to her heart, “and now I’m finally here.” Since then, she has lectured and recited at many U.S. and European schools and universities. She believes that, in a way, St. Olaf was at the start of her musical journey, despite this being her first time on campus.
Caicedo gave a series of lectures and recitals throughout the week. She held a master class on Monday, where five students came up one by one on stage to recite their carefully-chosen soprano Spanish songs. Caicedo gave each of them live feedback.
Caicedo had each student explain the lyrics of his or her song in English, as well as give some background about the composer. She explained how important it was to listen to music in the context it was written in.
Katerina Middeldorp ’15 was first up, singing “La Majo Dolorosa No. 1.” She explained that the song told the story of a woman whose lover has died, and she is asking God to bring him back. Middeldorp filled the room with her powerful voice.
When the song ended, Caicedo got up on stage and asked Middeldorp to imagine that her boyfriend was suddenly taken away from her. She encouraged her to communicate that emotion to the audience. It was enlighteining to hear this sort of advice in such a public setting, as it is the sort of advice that is normally only spoken of in practice rooms or backstage.
Caicedo pointed out all the nuances that make a great performance, including examples such as altering the tempo and volume of her voice as she went through the various stages of grief. On Middeldorp’s second try, the audience did not even have to understand the lyrics to percieve the emotions of love and loss.
The performance took a lighter turn as Kristen Overdahl ’15 stood up to sing “El Vito,” which means “The Dance.” While it was a beautiful song that sounded like it might have been played for some royalty or nobleman, Caicedo mentioned that it was actually an old Spanish folksong.
“Imagine that you are a young boy,” said Caicedo, “all roughed up and singing to attract all the nice young girls.” The song was quite different the second time.
Maria Coyne ’15 sang the third piece, “Rima,” which tells the story of a shape-shifting angel trying to seduce a man. Afterward, Eric Broker ’15 sang “Encantadora Maria,” and Sarah Hammel ’15 finished the performances with “Pampano Verde.”
All of the students had incredible and powerful voices, and admitted that getting to where they are has not been easy.
“I’ve been taking weekly lessons and practicing daily for the last five years,” Broker said. Coyne agreed.
“It’s taken many years to get to the place vocally where I am now. I feel very lucky to have had such wonderful voice teachers throughout my life,” she said. “At Olaf, I study with Jim McKeel, and he has been a wonderful mentor to me not only in technique but in interpretation of song, which is equally important.”
They were all passionate about this beautiful and unique repertoire, and each had a different approach to delivering a brilliant performance. Coyne relies deeply on her emotions.
“I allow myself to be vulnerable to experiencing the sentiments expressed in the song and immerse myself completely in the moment. It makes it more meaningful to me and to the audience,” she said.
For Broker, surprisingly enough, emotions tend to hinder his performance, and he has his own mechanism for separating what he feels and what he wants the audience to feel.
“I try not to feel the emotions of the music when singing because it’s very easy for emotions to complicate the functions of the vocal mechanism,” he said. “I try to portray emotions, but not be caught up in emotion.”
Caicedo is an amazing singer with a rich cultural background, but perhaps above all, she is a very inspiring woman. She has proven that it is never too late to do what you love, and has shown just how far you can go doing what you’re really passionate about.
“I just felt that music makes me happy, and I wanted to express myself that way,” Caicedo said. “Besides, I was too sensitive to be a doctor anyway.”
She hoped that these performances would spark the students’ curiosity to learn more, not only about Spanish art songs and repertoire, but about the diverse set of peoples who pass on their culture through the art of music.
Acclaimed poet Brian Turner to appear in conjunction with Weitz Center Exhibit, “Always Lost: A Meditation on War"
In conjunction with the national touring humanities exhibit, "Always Lost: A Meditation on War," on display through October 24 in the Carleton College Weitz Center for Creativity, renowned war poet Brian Turner will appear on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weitz Center Room 236. The recipient of numerous literary honors, Turner's poetry appears in the award-winning volumes "Here, Bullet" (2005) and "Phantom Noise" (2010), and his memoir "My Life as a Foreign Country" (2014) has just been published by W.W. Norton. His work has been featured on National Public Radio, The New York Times and in The New Yorker.
Carleton Hosts Screening of Acclaimed Conservation Film Chronicling the Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon
In commemoration of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon over a century ago, Carleton College will present a special screening of the acclaimed film, “From Billions to None: Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction,” on Monday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Boliou Hall Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.
Jazz all-stars “JazzAx” will appear Sunday, Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. in the Carleton College Concert Hall. Featuring Dr. David Milne (Alto Sax), Mike Walk (Alto Sax), Pete Whitman (Tenor Sax) and Greg Keel (Bari Sax)—along with jazz pianist Laura Caviani—the group will perform works by such jazz pianists as Ellington, Monk, Williams, and Brubeck, along with a Caviani original inspired by Basie.
Visual artist and alumna Christina Seely presents “Changing Time: an Artistic Inquiry into Climate Change”
In conjunction with the Carleton College art exhibit “Marking Time,” which addresses the impact of climate change through photography and other new media, featured artist Christina Seely ’98 will make a campus appearance to discuss her work and muse upon climate change from her perspective as an expeditionary artist. Seely will present “Changing Time: an Artistic Inquiry into Climate Change” on Tuesday, Oct. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Weitz Center for Creativity Cinema. This event is free and open to the public.
In school they never teach you about
Homosapien natural selection.
Or about how in one lifetime
You better adapt or fall to
Survival of the fittest.
Evolution better bless you
With the correct phenotype
So you can advance.
Find a niche,
Because the one thing everyone hates
Is ecological variation.
Nice guys are endangered
Because compassion isn’t hereditary.
Smooth edges are common
Victims of sexual selection,
Which is why selective breeding results
In jaded offspring.
It’s a dog eat dog world,
Where, logically, the evolutionary trait
For survival is
Being a bitch.
If we lose sight of Eve’s thievery
How are we supposed to progress?
We arose from disobedience,
So bending the rules should come naturally, right?
To get to the top you have to teach yourself
To scrap the remnants of lesser beings
Off your shoes and onto the opposition.
Is it greed if you ask nicely?