Since the editor of the site is the same as the publisher, I am given tremendous latitude in who I endorse around here.
In Saskatoon West where I live, I have a choice between:
- Randy Donauer: Conservative
- Lisa Abbott: Liberal
- Sheri Benson: NDP
Of the three, the NDP were the only ones that knocked on my door. A gaggle of Conservatives walked by my door, looked at the address, checked their database and kept walking. Apparently they were not interested in either Wendy or my vote in this election. I wasn’t even robo-called called by the Conservatives or the Liberals. So yeah, thanks for the effort teams.
For me the decision comes down to the Liberals and the NDP, both parties are outside of my federal comfort levels. I have serious problems with both of their platforms but nothing compared to the problems I had with the Conservative campaign.
I also have been poorly served by Kelly Block’s office. When I used to contact Carol Skelton’s office, I always got a personal follow up from Skelton, even when she was a minister. The one time I contacted Kelly Block’s about a serious issue, I was sent Conservative Party talking points by an assistant.
I have watched Randy Donauer as a city councillor and I was greatly disappointed in the change I saw from the time he announced his candidacy until now. He was always a fiscal conservative which is needed but to see him pander that almost exclusively in council meetings was frustrating. From the time that he announced his candidacy, I called on him to resign his seat on council (just as I did when Councillors Paulsen and Hill did when the ran for the Liberals) which is the same as other some other cities require.
As for the Conservative record.
- Bill C-51 when the United States has proven that local police will abuse powers.
- Elimination of the Mandatory Long Form Census
- Botched military procurement (which to be honest, isn’t all their fault)
- Seeing military procurement as a job builder rather than equipping the Canadian Forces with the best gear possible.
- The Mike Duffy debacle
- The Pamela Wallin debacle
- The decision to shut down the senate without making a serious effort at reforming it.
- Lack of participation with the Premiers
- Cutting funding to the Homelessness Partnering Program
- The feud with the Supreme Court of Canada
- The lack of desire to fix unsafe water conditions on Canadian reserves.
- Muzzling of scientists then lying about it.
I grew up in a Conservative household. I was part of PC Youth. I still defend Grant Divine when push comes to shove but I can’t defend this record. Part of me thinks that if another Conservative government had acted like this, Stephen Harper would start his own party… oh right, that is exactly what he did do.
I thought Lisa Abbott has run a great campaign. So great that it may cause an unfavourable vote split between the Liberals and the NDP but that it the first past the post system. She has run the best Liberal campaign I have ever seen in Saskatoon West since I moved here in 1984. Her candidacy (and the Justin Trudeau campaign) have made Liberals relevant in Saskatoon West for the first time ever. I can’t speak highly enough of how she carries herself in this campaign.
As for Sheri Benson, she has been working on issues that political parties ignored during this campaign. Poverty and homelessness for years through the Saskatoon United Way. She has brought different social agencies together (it’s like herding cats but harder) and brought focus to issues that few care about. If Lisa Abbott has been helped by the Trudeau campaign, Benson has probably been hurt by the mediocre NDP campaign (the phrase “You NDP’d that up” for when you should win but don’t is now entering our lexicon).
If I lived in Saskatoon Grasswords, I would vote for Tracy Muggli and in Saskatoon University I’d vote for Cynthia Block. Both are excellent candidates that deserve to be in Ottawa.
Living in Saskatoon West, I am going to endorse Sheri Benson. She has shown the ability to move local issues that few cared about forward and that is what we will need in Ottawa. In a minority government, all parties will need people who can bring people together. Sheri will do that for the NDP.
That being said, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lisa Abbott for her campaign. She would also make a great MP from what I have seen and if either one of them are unsuccessful, I hope they run again either provincially or federally.
I was asked a few times today if I was going to run for Mayor in 2016. The answer is no. I have no political aspirations and have no desire to be a politician. That and I don’t like ties or suits. Even if I did, big boned and balding politicians generally don’t do that well… wait a minute, we do really well in politics.
I have very little respect for career politicians. There are many people I know (and we all have our lists) that desperately want to be elected to something and want to remain elected for financial, prestige, or even retirement reasons (I have heard of politicians whose entire retirement planning is based on getting elected and then government pension). They see politics as a career and as a path to greater political power. I don’t aspire to that. I have control of the both the TV remote and the Apple TV remote at home. I’m good.
I have a lot of respect for those that are public servants. Those are people who are drawn to the service of their city, province, and country and that is the main motivating factor for them. The problem is that most politicians start out that way but it’s a fine line until you transform into a politician where re-election comes before doing what is right. Some public servants can be elected for decades and serve only the public. I think of the Joe Clark’s, John Crosbie’s, or the countless MP, MLAs, and councillors that care far more about constituent issues and the big picture than party politics or personal gain. They avoid the meanness that defines many politicians and they genuinely love their jobs. I think they are great but I still wouldn’t want to be one. I simply lack the desire to compromise on things and in our system, it is based on compromise and doing things you hate.
Then you also have the campaign fight. That can’t be a lot of fun. I remember door knocking a couple of decades ago and a guy came to the door with a shot gun, I was bit by a stray dog, and some naked women answered her door. No wonder Atch stands on the streets and waves at cars. Who can blame him? If I was him I’d have a small portable fence with me at all times. If someone from the media questioned me, I’d have them stand outside the fence and deal with the dogs.
I was out with some candidates and councillors years ago and they were talking about lawn sign stake storage and what a pain that is. So let me get this straight, you win office and instead of celebrating, you have to clean out your shed and build extra storage for the stuff you need for the next campaign. Wendy would not be pleased with that. We have a small house, we don’t have a lot of storage. She’d be out campaigning for Atch or Charlie Clark on the provision that they took all of the lawn sign stakes when I lost.
I’d be going, “How does the other campaigns get all of these leaks from?” and Wendy and Mark would be avoiding making eye contact with me as they easily moved stuff in and out of our shed. Okay, that would be hilarious but still.
Also, the being recognized in public part is both good and bad. Bad when someone tells me how stupid I am in front of my kids. Good when they say nice things to me but I still find myself going, “please don’t punch me in the face” when someone goes, “Aren’t you Jordon Cooper?”. Of course I could just be like one councillor who makes me go, “I thought they quit council” the rare time they speak.
I guess I could run against Darren Hill but here is a list of his accomplishments in office and my position on them.
Darren Hill’s Record in Office
Jordon Cooper’s Position
Avenue B Diverter in Mayfair
Thought it was a good idea
Thought the Cosmo deal was a costly mistake
Disagrees with 33rd Street Bridge and says it would be built over his dead body.
We agree with that too although I hope no one has to die to stop it.
Wears colourful socks
Wears plain socks
Wears colourful ties
Has a tie just like Rob Ford’s NFL tie but has NHL logos on it. Wishes he had a tie like Rob Ford’s NFL tie. Would also wear a MLB tie. Now that I think about it, that is a solid three tie rotation.
Suggested that we wait a few years to buy a new city website when prices were lower.
Tweets at celebrities
Does that actually work? (update: Darren says it does.)
Tweets at City Council Meetings
Tweets about confidential in-camera meetings that he read about in The StarPhoenix.
Ran for the federal Liberal Party after two terms as councillor.
Criticized Hill, Paulsen, Olauson, and Donauer for doing the same thing and not resigning their seat.
Non committal about in Council Twitter Wall.
Totally in favour of Twitter wall. Really, really in favour of a Twitter wall. Have I mentioned how badly I want City Council to have a live twitter wall.
That would be a riveting debate. I can see the moderator saying, “So the only area where you truly disagree is men’s socks. Well let’s go back to that issue once more and Mr. Cooper, could you tell us where you got that NFL logo tie from?”
So after reading that chart over, I am not running in Ward 1 or anywhere else in the city since I live in Ward 1. Darren is doing a fine job… well there was the vote where he voted to “right size the bridge” that was waste of tens of millions of dollars. Nor do I ever aspire to being on Saskatoon City Council not now and not in the future. Here is why.
Outside of Wendy and the boys, not many people have seen how sick I have been this summer. It has scared Wendy and even made me wonder from time to time if I was going to make it. I have never been so sick in my life and it hasn’t been fun. Today my vital signs were so out of whack, the nurses freaked out and that happens all of the time. There is no way I am strong enough to make it through a campaign even if I did want to. I have never seriously considered it but I need get rid of the MRSA infection in my ankle and then get healthy again.
I have been married with 18 years this week to Wendy and for the first time since we have been married, her depression and mental health issues are under control. You have no idea how many times I have said, “next summer” will be better (well actually about 16 summers). To actually have a summer trip go well and her depression be managed was a huge thing in life but we have a lot of catching up to do.
Those lost summers have come with a price of me being there for Wendy and not having the time to spend with Mark and Oliver. It’s why next summer is being spent in the backcountry of Banff and Kootney National Parks. The only door knocking I plan to do is at the door of a mountain tea house at the end of a long hike (I hope I don’t get bit by anything)
I don’t know how politicians handle their commitments to the public and family. Is there a less family friendly job then being a politician at any level? For this I am not being sarcastic, I can’t imagine how hard it is to juggle all of that well. I enjoy being a dad.
So my plans are set for election night 2016, vote and watch Monday Night Football while writing about those that did decide to run. That is my goal for 2020, 2024, and 2028. It is also my goal for any and all provincial and federal campaigns. I have even a less of a desire to be told how to vote by a government or opposition whip who got the job because they are difficult to deal with in Question Period.
So yeah, I am never running for public office but thanks for suggesting it. Throw your support behind someone that wants the job, there are some good ones out there, support them.
I posted this photo this morning and was surprised by the feedback. After writing over 25,000 words on homelessness here, for the The StarPhoenix, and other publications, I had long ago thought that very few cared enough about homelessness to care enough to respond one way or the other.
The background of the photo is pretty boring. Wendy and I were simply taking the 6 p.m. cruise on The Prairie Lily. It was smoky last Friday and I debated bringing my Pentax K-3 with me at all. I did and I took some photos of the downtown and River Landing. As we approached Victoria Park I was looking at the east side of the river when a hush fell over the top deck and I heard someone say, “Oh My God, someone is living over there.” I looked and took a couple of photos. Someone actually cried a bit. Here we were basically taking the Saskatoon equivalent of a luxury cruise down the river using the very definition of disposable income and there was someone living in a tent surrounded by garbage. The top of the deck got very quiet as we sailed by and then as we passed it again on the way back.
The boat holds around 75 people. Let’s say it averages 50 people a cruise so at least 100 people a day see what I saw. It is directly across the river from the homes on Saskatchewan Crescent E. (some of which have asked that I remove the photos of their property despite it being in full site of Victoria Park and the Prairie Lily). Rather than cause problems. I took their photos down.
Over the last several years I have written several columns a year on homelessness and housing issues. I have written about the cost to society, best practices on how to stop it, the impact on children, and the impact of living in a tent. The Saskatoon homelessness count came out and there are 500 people living in some state of homelessness.
When I have written about encampments in the city before, people always tell me that they must be voluntary, when I have taken photos of the tents, I have had it suggested that they could be camping. I decided to include a person in this photo because that is where she lives and to be honest, the angle of her head makes it impossible to identify her from anyone else.
This is what homelessness looks like. A $80 tent from Walmart looking at multi-million dollar homes on Saskatchewan Crescent. It is also multi-million dollar homeowners looking back at a tent and no one is moved to change a thing.
A view of downtown Saskatoon late at night taken with with my Pentax K-3.
Some of you have asked me if I was going to write about Donald Trump in The StarPhoenix. The answer is no and I’ll get to the reason in a minute.
People are outraged that Donald Trump can get away with what he is saying unchallenged and that people still like him. They want to know why this is happening. My answer is that it has always been happening, we just expect more from a Presidential candidate.
Look closer to home. Of course there was Rob Ford but in Saskatoon we had Jim Pankiw who gained a lot of support when he ran for Mayor and had late in the race, a realistic chance of winning and beating Donald Atchison.
After being elected in 1997, Pankiw wrote a letter in 2000 to the president of the University of Saskatchewan, Peter MacKinnon, condemning the university’s affirmative action policies and comparing its supporters to those of the Ku Klux Klan. After attacking the most respected institution in Saskatchewan and it’s President, he was re-elected by largely rural voters in the next election.
Jim Pankiw was kicked out of Reform Party caucus by Stockwell Day in 2011 and then when Stephen Harper won the leadership of the Canadian Alliance, was the only member of the caucus revolt that Harper didn’t allow back in as he was alleged to have assaulted a local aboriginal lawyer.
His federal political career dashed, he decided to run for Mayor of Saskatoon, despite not living in Saskatoon and was going to sit as a MP and be mayor. That too was against the rules. The rules for being Mayor of Saskatoon are clear. You have to live in Saskatoon. He did not and there was the epic cover of the The StarPhoenix that showed him getting his paper outside of the city limits one morning. The electoral officer said he didn’t meet the qualifications to be mayor and of course it is against the law to be a MP and part of another elected body at the same time. Pankiw thought it would be a swell idea.
His main issue was a stance against aboriginal rights and that attracted a lot of supporters. In the end he finished in third place,behind the incumbent Jim Maddin.
In 2010, he decided to run again. Here is how CBC covered it.
Pankiw is known for his controversial comments about aboriginal people, some which have resulted in human rights complaints.
He didn’t back away from those comments Thursday, saying he would be campaigning against "race-based" government spending policies. He also called Saskatchewan First Nations chiefs "racists."
"I don’t think Indians should have special race-based privileges," Pankiw said. "I think we should all be equal. Do Italians have special race-based privileges? Chinese people? Ukrainians? Germans? Not that I know of, but Indians do."
After all of that and almost no campaign, he finished with over 7,000 votes.
So explain that too me. For years people summed it up as some people in Saskatoon are stupid but we saw it again in Toronto with Rob Ford getting elected and even after all of the scandals, Doug Ford doing reasonably well in the election. So what gives?
One word. Resentment.
Jim Pankiw, Rob Ford, Donald Trump and to a degree Sarah Palin and other Tea Party candidates represent those that are resentful and frustrated where they are in life and their desire to blame someone. They supporters are almost all white, lower middle class, and struggling. They are thrilled that someone is speaking their language and frustrations at being left behind. More importantly they are giving them someone else to blame.
In Saskatoon, it is aboriginals. With Rob Ford, it was City Hall and bureaucrats, and with Donald Trump, it is “illegal immigrants” and now women.
Why does it work? It unlocks this deep down racism and biases in many voters, especially when times are tough. I heard it all through the Pankiw mayoral campaign about all of the advantages that aboriginals have. Free housing on the reserves, lots of money from the federal government, free education, free dental. It’s almost as if Caucasian males are the ones that are disadvantaged.
This is why it works when times are tough and things like unemployment is high or there is income disparity in a region or country. People see someone of a different race and immediately blame race for why they have that job they want. It ignores the fact that the person is probably better qualified than they are.
I used to think it was education based but I have even heard University of Regina social work graduates complain that all of the jobs in their field “are reserved for aboriginals”. Breaking it down, that isn’t true and often the situation is that we have too many graduates for the amount of jobs in Saskatoon and they are frustrated and angry but the racism comes out.
So instead of owning up reality, people act like treaty rights or hiring practices like affirmative action are are unfair advantages. For those that are never going to look past that what Pankiw or Trump is spewing, sounds great. It isn’t their fault that things are tough, it is aboriginals or illegal immigrants that are making it bad. By cracking down on them, then the problems of a bad economy, lack of training, or an unwillingness to adapt will go away.
Of course the fact in Pankiw’s case, none of the aboriginal issues were municipal jurisdiction and he couldn’t do anything about it if he was elected or in Trump’s case, cracking down on illegal immigrants and villanizing Mexican workers would hurt the U.S. economy is irrelevant. What matters to so many voters is that it isn’t their fault and someone else can be blamed.
It came out that Fox News backed down because they thought that the feud with Trump was hurting the network. Almost overwhelmingly people who wrote and tweeted were supportive of Trump’s remarks rather than Megyn Kelly. I am no Kelly fan but those were incredibly crude remarks to say or even think about a women and yet Trump doubled down on them.
Why doesn’t this hurt Trump? Well because the people that support him, believe that stuff.
Wendy reminded me of people we know that brag that he kept track of menstrual cycles of women employees because he thought they were unstable. Sexism and misogyny is alive and well in parts of this country as well. Look at the response to the Bill Cosby or Jian Ghomeshi allegations where the women were initially blamed, the FHITP clips online and live television, and just some of the vile comments that women experience on their weblogs. Last week I saw a guy with a FHITP hat on while in the mall. What kind of lack of self awareness does that?
There are many men out there who are afraid of strong women leadership. It may not show up on polling because someone doesn’t always want to come across as sexist on the phone but it does come out in the polling booths and it will hurt Hilary Clinton on election day.
So what do you do about it? I have been thinking of Atchison’s comments a couple months ago to the report of racism in Winnipeg. His answer to CBC was Atchison like but he mentioned the economy is dealing with racism. Atch wasn’t right but he wasn’t wrong either. When does racism or things like anti-Semitism get worse? Periods of recession and depression when people are losing their job or their place in life. As long as insecure people feel threatened, crazy politicians will try to exploit it with some success.
The other thing about this phenomenon is during those times, the media is ignored. The StarPhoenix kept reporting on Pankiw and even Fox News is critical of Trump but when someone has biases towards a race or for a candidate they think is speaking the truth, it doesn’t matter what the paper or a television network says. That is where guys like Pankiw or Trump find their appeal, the voice the thoughts that racist people with common sense know not to say and then Trump, Ford or Pankiw go and make it sound legitimate. That is why it is so disheartening to not hear the rest of the GOP stand of up to Trump. His campaign will hurt a lot of minorities for a lot of years because they are giving credibility to racists and misogynists everywhere.
I don’t think Donald Trump is that serious about running for President. He has a skeleton staff, isn’t running any TV ads, and isn’t even trying to get his name on the ballot in some areas. It seems like he is using the GOP bully pulpit to make a name for himself and make his own brand worth more more than trying to become President of the United States. In the last debate when he said that he wouldn’t rule out running as an independent which means that Hillary (or as I hope for, Larry Lessig) would become President.
This seems much more about the massive Trump ego than public service. As long as the fans keep showing up, he’ll keep running.
Hey, I am pretty much sitting out this campaign. I’ll wait to see how the campaign platforms come together to decide if I will write a local endorsement but until then, it won’t be that political around here. I have friends who are candidates for different parties and I respect them for making the effort of going to Ottawa to do what the PMO tells them what to do and when to do it.
I did great a quick election guide for all candidates in Saskatoon. You can find it here. It lists all of the campaign contact information for all of the campaigns, except for Kevin Waugh (and I can’t find his yet). So if you want to check out a campaign in Saskatoon, it’s all there for you.
- I was at the Peace Bridge tonight. A couple hundred people crossed it while I was there. Lots of tourists and families taking photos of their “accomplishment” and documenting the bridge. Name me one place in Saskatoon where that happens. It’s infrastructure and a tourist attraction. Even Mark and Oliver thought it was the greatest thing they had ever seen.
- There was an open air concert near there and yes, there were cars parking all over the place but there were hundreds of bikes down there. a) Can you imagine the carnage that would happen if you didn’t have bike and pedestrian infrastructure in place to get people downtown. b) How much vibrancy would you lose without it as people said, “I’m not driving downtown?” World class cycling infrastructure means less congestion for those that have to drive.
- The Peace Bridge is wide, a lot wider than Saskatoon’s under bridge sidewalks. Wide pedestrian lane and a wide cycling lane one each side. In Saskatoon we talk of pedestrians vs. cyclists but in Calgary their multi-use path are 3x larger than Meewasin or twice as large as the path along 33rd. Cycling infrastructure is more than just protected bike lanes, it means building all sorts of things so cyclists can use it.
- The Cycle Track is busier (I took some time to watch it) than I expected. It also isn’t perfect and has some design flaws as it begins and ends but it is being used by a lot of people. I (and others) have always said, “build it and they will come”. It is happening in Calgary.
- When I was in Banff, I was shocked by how little parking there is downtown. Only a few spots and then they use parkades. Like in Calgary and even in some malls, it gives you a real time update of how many spots they have left. In Chinook Centre, they even had lights to tell you where there were open spots . Saskatoon could do that kind of stuff but first we would have to invest in some parking garages. I can’t see it happening but it would totally change downtown and give designers so much flexibility into making it into a people centric place again.
- In downtown Saskatoon, we have this idea that since we have Meewasin, we don’t need any downtown parks while in Calgary, there is the river and guess what, several amazing downtown squares and parks. One of the most interesting ones was a temporary park put up by where the Telus Sky will be. It’s just a placeholder for a future development but it looks really good and isn’t surface parking. I’m assuming there is a tax incentive for doing this but why can’t Saskatoon do the same thing. Why does everything torn down have to be turned into the Impark Empire.
- Banff has a pedestrian bridge. It isn’t even for tourists but locals but it looks great. Think about that, Banff has a bridge for pedestrians.
- Speaking of Banff, they integrate cyclists really well despite no protected bike lanes. They are so natural there that you expect bikes (and elk) to be everywhere. Drivers accommodate them. I believe in excellent cycling infrastructure but drivers who respect cyclists goes a long way. I think Saskatoon and SGI could do a lot more to educate people. It would take decades but it could make a big difference.
- Does anything think that Saskatoon’s North Commuter Bridge will look anything other than the cheapest design that can be built? Why can’t we have any signature infrastructure at a time when it is increasingly part of the urban fabric?
- Saskatoon will never be the next Calgary. There is a boldness and arrogance that has long been a part of Calgary that has always demanded to be seen on the same level as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. It has always punched above it’s weight, even in times of deep recession. Saskatoon doesn’t have that kind of leadership and spirit.
- I don’t think that is entirely our fault. There is a different business culture with agriculture, uranium and potash then with oil and natural gas.
- Calgary has much higher design standards than Saskatoon. The architecture is better in Calgary in part because they demand it. The result is that the city has incredible design even for things like parkades while Saskatoon has the Sturdy Stone Centre. It’s not just the market that is different, city design standards are higher. If companies want to play in Calgary, they have to pay. Proponents of build cheaply say that the costs are passed on and they are right but the entire wage structure is different in Calgary so it can absorb it. Great cities are expensive, Saskatoon is trying to become one by being cheaper than everywhere else. It isn’t going to work. For this I blame Lorne Calvert who recruited people to come back to Saskatchewan because it was cheaper than everywhere else.
- You know, Lorne Calvert probably isn’t responsible but still, it bugged me when he did that then and it still bugs me now. You don’t invite people to come back because of cheap utility and insurance.
- Macleod Trail is as ugly as street as I have ever seen anywhere outside of Winnipeg. Luckily Calgary is trying to fix it.
Here are some longer pieces I wrote for the Don’s Photo Blog this summer.
- The Best Cameras for Street Photography
- Essential Gear for Wedding Photographers
- The Best Locations for Photo Shoots in Saskatoon
- The Best Locations for Photo Shoots in Edmonton
- Improve Your Photography With These Tips This Summer
- Instant Photography 101
Those that can’t… write tutorials about how to do it.
Speaking of photography, I finally went out last night with my new Pentax K-3. It was dark before Wendy and I left the house so using a new camera with only the light of street lights was fun but I was happy with the results… you know the results that I could see.
Some random thoughts…
- I really should not have filed a column for The StarPhoenix this week. Typing 800 words with a pic line in your hand hurts. It doesn’t start out that bad but after 200 or so words, it is agony. So when you read it Monday, envision me in pain and ignore the fact that it felt mediocre and forced to me.
- I don’t know how it happened but these arrived in the mail today. Well actually I do. Mark has been out with his Pentax K-x and now with his Pentax K-30 for up to six hours a day taking photographs of the city. He went down to the Lion’s Skatepark and instead of guys being upset that he was taking their photos, they were excited and all wanted to know where they could see his photos. Mark asked if I would help him design up and print out some business cards on blank stock. In the end it was cheaper and easier to do some cards up at Vistaprint so we did. This is what he came up with. He is thrilled with them.
- Mark is also talking about joining the Royal Canadian Navy for a three year tour after high school. To say that Wendy is unimpressed by this idea is an understatement. The phrase “rising tensions between NATO and Russia” does not go over well in our house.
- I haven’t really talked about it but I did order a new Pentax K-3 with a 18-135mm lens last week. I have been too sick to go out and use it but it did allow me to give my Pentax K-30 to Mark.
- Mark is thrilled with his “new to him” K-30 and I am looking forward to trying out my K-3 around town. First I need to get rid of the pic line in my hand.
- Everyone asks if I am going to make it. It’s been a week of injecting saline solution and antibiotics into my arm and the cellulitis is clearing up but it does that with oral anti-biotics. The problem is that it comes back as soon as they stop. So while it looks good, I really don’t know and won’t know for another couple of weeks.
- The pain is a lot less in the leg. Last week the dog licked me and I thought I would lose it. Tonight socks were able to come off with no pain. That is progress.