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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Weird news

This rather bizarre story from New York turned up in a recent issue of the Daily Dunklin Democrat.
Was this some sort of prop, or did someone zombify a reborn doll (yes, peeps do do that) and then leave it in the park as a gag?  Either one is possible, especially in NYC!  When Coworker A read the story she turned to me and asked "Are there really baby dolls that are that lifelike?"  I replied the affirmative and we had a hearty chuckle over the darkly humorous tale.

Much love (and laughs) to all,

Friday, June 21, 2019

Love-a-Bye Babies are NOT for children!!!

Yesterday I spoke of the Love-a-Bye Babies, cute little Hasbro dolls that...sat there and looked adorable.  Here's a reused picture of my Aster.
At the end of the review I gave this doll and her cronies my stamp of approval for modern-day children...and that proved to be a mistake!  Treesa, one of our loyal followers, pointed out that the reason for the Love-a-Bye Babies' short run...was a RECALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Had I done a bit more of my homework I would've known about this!  Apparently these dolls have parts that are choking hazards.  I could've guessed that the bottles and the combs that accompanied the dolls could be choked on, but apparently the arms can pop off too.  According to the link, 3.75 million of these dolls were produced (I'm rounding that number up to two decimal places) between December of '87 and March of '89.  The recall apparently went into effect on April 3rd of 1990.  So based on that info I rescind my endorsement of these dolls as playthings for kids.  DO NOT GIVE THESE TO YOUR KIDS!!!

Big thanks to Treesa for calling me out on this.  In the future I will indeed look a little closer at the history of the dolls I review, for the safety and education of all of us, and also because I find information like this morbidly interesting.  No children appear to have been hurt by the Love-a-Bye Babies, but that isn't always the case.  The case that I tend to remember occurred before I was born, and it sadly resulted in the death of a four-year-old.  So PLEASE do a better job of researching than I did, and mind what you give your kids!

Y'all are a fabulous group of followers and I thank you for following our posts!

Much love to all,

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Throwback Thursday review: Hasbro Love-a-Bye Baby

RagingMoon1987 again, and it's another baby doll!  LOL, I already knew ahead of time that this one would be a girl, since I think all of this particular line was female.  Anywho, I'm up to my old tricks, being as unoriginal as humanly possible.  Seriously, I think Tam at Planet of the Dolls is going to kill me if I don't quit stealing her ideas, as this is...I think this is like the fourth doll she's featured on her blog that I've copied.  What can I say, Tam has a great blog and she picks super-cute dolls to review, and I see them and I get the galloping greedy gimmies.  Tam's Love-a-Bye Baby made her debut on New Year's Day, and I fell in love with the little doll's charming expression, petite size, and unusual complexion so I got one of my own.  Meet Aster, whom I've named after a type of flower that I'm fond of.  In terms of appearance Aster is pretty different from Tam's flaxen-haired doll.
Aster and her Love-a-Bye sisters are/were more children of Hasbro, the same crew that brought us My Little Pony, the Moondreamers, Maxie, and Jem and the Holograms.  They were available in 1987, meaning that Aster here is the same age as me, or maybe a bit older depending on the month that she was introduced (I'm a loud, proud October baby).  Skin tones, hair colors and styles, and eye colors all varied, as did accessories.  Some Babies came with naught but the clothes on their backs plus a comb and a small bottle, while some came with toys or furniture that were made out of honest-to-God wood.  Not plastic, not cardboard, but WOOD that comes from trees.  As I said above not all dolls came with toys or furniture, but Aster is one of the lucky ones, having a chest of drawers.  More often than not I seat Aster on top, just because I think it's cute.  Never let your kids do this unattended, folks!
Seriously, when's the last time y'all saw real wood used for doll accessories???  I personally can't remember the last time, but then there are times when I have the memory of a goldfish so who knows?

Alrighty, let's do this!  Aster is six inches tall like a great many of my baby dolls are.  I thought she'd fit in pretty well with Hattie, Tiny Cheerful Tearful, and Suzy Cute, but she's quite a bit smaller than they are.
Indeed, I grossly overestimated Aster's size.  I thought she'd be close to Penny Brite in height when I extended her legs, but in truth she's not even Jan's size!
As I mentioned above, Aster has a full head of bright red curls.  These dolls could have straight or curly hair in a number of colors and styles, but Aster has a very curly single ponytail.
Oh Lordy, this is the kind of hair that's a nightmare to deal with after a kid has played with it.  Thankfully a lot of these dolls had straight hair, but plenty of them had these curls and those can't have fared well given the age bracket these dolls were intended for.  Luckily Aster's curls are in reasonably good shape; indeed, the original style is intact, right down to the little hair ribbon that is barely visible in this buoyant hairdo.
Aster's hair is soft and fluffy with no huge tangles that I can detect, though I haven't looked for too many tangles lest I mess up her curls.  The root job, as far as I can tell, is not the greatest, as there are big gaps between some of the rows.  Note that part of Aster's scalp is painted in a color that sort of matches her hair.  I think this was unnecessary in this case, as thick as her hair is.
Lastly, Aster has a full set of bangs that sometimes obscure parts of her face.
I've seen better doll hair, particularly in terms of rooting, but I've also seen much, much worse.  As long as I don't brush it or try to take the ponytail down it should be fine.

Tangent time!  I have a point to it, I promise.  At some point during the creating of this review I got bitten by the Steffie bug and dragged out two of my Steffie-faced Midge dolls, and I couldn't help but notice that Cool Times Midge has hair that's very like Aster's.  It's red, it's curly, and part of it is worn up in a ponytail.
However, as similar as this hair looks it's strangely not the same.  Midge's hair is much softer than Aster's, enough so that I could salvage her curls if they got terribly mussed.  Honestly I could probably salvage Aster's 'do as well, but her stiffer fibers would make it very tricky.  I just thought I'd throw that out there.  Midge's hair feels more suitable for baby hair, but for some reason Hasbro didn't use the softer stuff.

Brief picture of Midge now, since she's so stinkin' cute.  She's wearing one of the semi-new SpongeBob SquarePants outfits plus her own leggings.  Her shoes fell off in her storage box and I wasn't in the mood to dig for them, LOL.
I love Midge dolls with Steffie heads, and I think it's a shame there were only a handful made that way (Cool Times, California/California Dream, and Life in the Dreamhouse).  For that matter I just love the Steffie head; it made my list of favorite head molds a few years back.  I'm still waiting and hoping for Steffie to appear in the Fashionistas line, by the way.  Kira has made a comeback, and there are a lot of great new molds making appearances, but no Steffie so far.  No Mackie either, from what I can tell, and that used to be one of Mattel's more popular molds.  Patience is a virtue, I guess.

Oh me, start a review on a Hasbro doll and start bloviating about Mattel's selection of Barbie heads.  Speaking of faces, Tam pointed out in her review that Love-a-Bye Babies are notorious for fading to this unusual yellow-white tone, and indeed that appears to be the case with Aster.  I'm unsure what her skin tone was once like, but now it bears an uncanny resemblance to resin that has aged about a decade.  See how Aster and Wozzeck are a similar color?  They're not the same, but they're not far off either.
I kinda like it, actually.  Mama says she thinks the yellowing looks like jaundice, but I like it.  I do wonder though, if the black and Latina Love-a-Bye Babies are bad about discoloring?  They don't appear to be from the pictures I've seen.  Anywho, these Love-a-Bye Babies have a little bit of variation in their expressions.  Tam's doll has a calm, slightly intent look, while my Aster looks shy and a little afraid of her surroundings.
Maybe she's wishing Wozzeck wouldn't fall asleep on her!
"How does he sleep standing up like that???"

I dunno, Aster.  I haven't figured that one out either.  Silliness aside, Aster's eyes glance shyly off to her left, and they have a fair amount of detail painted in, like lines in the irises and light clusters.  I have no idea what color these eyes are supposed to be, though.  They were probably meant to be green, but they look gray.
Maybe they're green-gray, like Stan Crandall's eyes in the old Beverly Cleary book?  LOL, there's an obscure reference for y'all!  Obscure or no, Fifteen is a good read, especially if you like juvie lit (which I do).  Y'know, Aster's eyes look familiar!  Now where have I seen eyes like this before???  And no, it isn't in Fifteen, as the pictures in that book are not colorized.  <pauses to look back through the blog>  Oh yes, it's my Stilettos doll, Kikki!
Kikki's eyes are brown, but the paint job is similar.  I daresay that Kikki's paint is executed a little better, with the lines being sharp and clean, but the resemblance is there.
Come to think of it, Kikki and Aster favor each other a fair amount with their fair skin, soft eyes, and curly red hair.  Aster's hair is MUCH nicer than Kikki's is, though, in both texture and in style.  Kikki's hair is brighter, but that's the only way it's superior.
Seems like all the dolls I get with bad hair are redheads.  First Meygana, and then Kikki.  I wonder why that is?

Regarding the lower part of Aster's face, she has a wide, very flat nose and full, blushed cheeks with no dimples or fat rolls.  Her lower lip is painted in a fairly bright pink that looks better from a distance.  As I noted above, she has a very slight smile, almost like she wants to be friendly but is afraid to do so.  Her lower lip is more prominent than her upper lip.
Not a bad little face!  I love the personality that it shows, and I love the colors that Hasbro used (except for those eyebrows), and I particularly love those eyes.  They're a very unique color for doll eyes.  Some might be put off by the yellow tone of some of these dolls, but I'm not bugged by it.  I do wish those eyebrows were a different color, but then again it's kind of tricky to get eyebrows right on a red-haired doll.  Eyebrows are tricky, PERIOD!!!  At least Aster's eyebrows aren't off-center like Xenia's or Wendy's, or too pale like Jem's.

Down to clothes now.  Like most small baby dolls, Love-a-Bye Babies came simply dressed in a diaper and a bib, though Hasbro found a way to make things more interesting by playing with shapes, colors, and the animals depicted on the bibs.  This is true for Aster.
Aster came dressed in blue, and her bib has some sort of rodent on it...I'm thinking a squirrel or a hamster or maaaaaaybe a beaver.
One of the little dolls I saw on eBay had an elephant on her bib.  I toyed with the idea of buying her since she'd have made a good twin for Aster (she had red hair) and because I like elephants, but I managed to show a teensy bit of self control and not buy her.  Anywho, the bib is sewn into the diaper, creating a onesie of sorts.  The waist is elasticized.
The bib is made of some kind of fuzzy material that I like to rub with a fingertip, and the diaper is made out of fleecy stuff.  The bib required no hemming, and the diaper has finished hems that are a bit bulky.
I can tolerate the bulky hems since diapers are supposed to be bulky anyway.  There's just no way around it!  Diapers are bulky when they're clean, and they're bulky when they're loaded, LOL.  Anyway, this whole little outfit fits Aster so well that there's no need for a lot of fasteners.  There's just this pink satin tie that holds the bib in place.
This is attached in the middle of the bib by a few blue stitches that I don't fully trust.
I hate having to tie that thing, by the way.  Such a task is tricky enough when a doll doesn't have a lot of hair, but Aster DOES have a lot of hair and it inevitably gets in the way.  That's the only thing I don't like about this ensemble though...well, that and it doesn't have booties.  I love baby booties!  Those are easy enough to make, though.

Being a baby, Aster has a chubby little body with curved limbs and flat feet that point down at a bit of an angle.  Normally I'd call these high-heeled feet, but Aster doesn't wear high heels so there's that.  She can't stand on her own.
Her little torso is rounded with a bellybutton and a gluteal cleft, plus a few creases here and there.  Her hands can probably hold some small items.
Aster is jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips, and these joints have simple rotational movement.
She can't tip her head, which is a bit of a shame but not surprising.  I always like it when baby dolls can tip their heads some.

That's the doll completed, so let's have a looksie at the chest of drawers now.
As I noted above it's made of real wood, painted and varnished.  The paint shows no signs of peeling or flaking, and it shows very little wear, though it did come NRFB and thus SHOULDN'T have any wear.  The drawers pull out...
...and they have enough room to store small items, like Aster's comb.
The other items of furniture were a crib, a rocking horse, a high chair, a rocking chair, a bear-shaped tricycle, a duck-shaped walker, and a duck-shaped baby carriage.  These all came in bright colors and could accommodate one doll except for the crib, which could hold two comfortably and three uncomfortably.  The big bummer for me was that if one wanted a new piece of furniture one had to buy another doll since there was always a doll packaged with the furniture.  Not a bad idea for sales, but suppose some little kid only wanted one doll!  I doubt any little kid thought that, but you never know.  It WAS possible to buy a doll without a piece of furniture though, and the ones that came without furniture had little plastic bottles tied to their wrists.  My Aster didn't come with that, unfortunately; bottles are always welcome accessories for baby dolls whether they have a bottle mouth or not, but Aster had to do without.  Never mind; if I suddenly get a wild hair to play House with Aster she can use Suzy Cute's bottle.

Speaking of Suzy Cute, I was hoping she and Aster could share clothes, but given the fact that Aster is so much smaller I'm not going to bother even trying.  Not to worry though, because the Love-a-Bye Babies had their own ensembles.  Back in the eighties and nineties Hasbro and Mattel actually believed in making separate outfits for their doll lines, and Love-a-Bye Baby was no exception.  I have none of these to show y'all since I'm trying to watch the ol' el dinero, but said little outfits are easy to find on eBay.  They usually come with two main pieces and two accessories with which to mix and match, so they're on my wish list.

I believe that's all I have to say about Aster, so time to wrap it up!

*Hair has the potential to be a living nightmare.  I can only imagine what played-with examples of the curly-haired dolls look like now.
*Can discolor.  I'm not bothered by this, but keep your eyes peeled just the same.
*I'm not in love with the eyebrows on this doll, but that's strictly personal opinion.
*Posing isn't great, though a baby doll's posing never is.
*Can't share clothes with any of my other dolls.  That's always a bummer.

*Very cute.  I love these dolls' expressions.
*Hair, despite being very curly, is reasonably nice.  It's well rooted and it's not a mass of knots like the hair of certain other dolls.
*Those eyes are lovely.  They're not as pretty a color as the eyes on Tam's doll, but they'll do.
*Sturdy.  Except for the ribbon ties on the outfit this doll could take a lot of punishment.
*Accessorized, with REAL WOOD FURNITURE!!!
*The particular piece of furniture I got is useful, and no shortcuts were taken in construction.
*Modern-day children could still use this as a toy.  That's not always the case with old dolls.

Well!  That turned out to be a more positive review than I thought it would!  I thought I'd say "these are cute" and move on, but Aster has a lot of virtues that she kept concealed until I started working with her.  I'd hesitate to call her collectible, but she's fine for someone who likes small baby dolls (I do), and she also could make a good prop for larger dolls like American Girls or ball-jointed dolls.  These are also good dolls to give to a small child (NO I DON'T, please read my addendum), but if you do plan on using these as a toy I wouldn't get a curly-haired one like Aster.  Curly hair looks nice, but in the hands of a child it's usually...NOT nice!  I like Aster though, much more than I do her older sister Kikki!


Monday, May 27, 2019

Time to gripe followup: finally a boy?

Yep, it's Monday again!  I don't think I'll ever outgrow my hatred of Mondays, despite the fact that Monday is my day off.  Getting the day off takes the edge off of my Mondays, but there's still that...just that Monday taint over the whole day.  On the plus side, today is Memorial Day, and when a holiday falls on a Monday I get the next day off as well...so I get to stay home tomorrow!!!  Thus this Monday is a little less Monday than other Mondays...but it's still Monday.  Opener over, I'm gonna cut right to the chase with this post.  In the last post I said that I'd bought a mini Cabbage Patch Kid, and it came last Saturday (real quick, in other words).
I was surprised that eBay didn't have a lot of these.  Indeed, there were only two of the single dolls (mine and a cute little Oriental that would've cost forty bucks) plus a set of triplets that came with a bunch of extraneous crap that I didn't need.  Maybe these weren't that popular???  Miss Emily had several, but then again maybe the small size was off-putting for children.  Or maybe everyone who has one is holding on to them!  LOL, I dunno, but there aren't a lot of these running around, especially sealed in the box.

I didn't pay much attention to the images on eBay when I bought my doll, so though I knew s/he had brown eyes, I didn't see his/her hair.  Thus I was pleasantly surprised to see that I got a brunette with tan skin!
Ah yes, dark hair like my sister and I both had when we were first born.  It's weird, because she and I were both born with dark (almost black) hair, and then it turned blonde, and then it turned dark again.  Human physiology is weird innut?!  Indeed, my sister and I both had vaguely Oriental features when we arrived, except for the blue eyes!

Right then, back to my brown-eyed, dark-haired poppet.  By now the Baby Born Brigade is itching for a boy just as badly as I am.  But first...look how small this Cabbie is compared to them!
The Baby Born Surprises are close in size to an L.O.L. Surprise figure, while the mystery Cabbie is about the size of a Lalaloopsy Mini.  I love how the shape of this box mimics the shape of the full-sized boxes, by the way, with a slanted front.  Good ol' Cabbage Patch, always sticking with what works, no matter the holding company!  Now...did I finally, FINALLY get a boy???  Pop the box open.
Miss Emily's dolls all had white diapers that were a little TOO transparent, but my doll came with a green one that conceals the diaper pretty well.  The baby also came with a bib and a bottle that do a good job of further concealing the gender.  I love the combination of green and yellow, by the way.
The green cloth diaper does a good job of covering this doll's front, but it doesn't cover everything.  In the back the painted diaper is visible...and it's blue.
I GOT A BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  A brown-eyed brunette boy named...
...Graham!  Very original!  Graham's birthday is June 12th, right around the corner.  According to the Zapf leaflets that would make him a Gemini like Riley.

Oops, I forgot to tell y'all that these dolls sit in front of their birth certificate, effectively concealing their names?  Yep, that's the way it went with these mini dolls.  Taniyah Yasmin also had a surprise name, but usually Cabbies have names that are visible without opening the box up, like Elsie Penelope here.  I wish Elsie Penelope was mine, by the way!  Wicked Cool Toys has some neat Cabbies available, but Elsie is my favorite because she has a cute face  Most Cabbies aren't that cute in the face, but Elsie is. 

Now that Graham is out of his box y'all can see a little more clearly how small this doll is.  The Zapf babies dwarf him...
...while the Quints are closer to him in size.  LOL, as fond as I am of my Quints I'd forgotten that I have two boys in that family!
These guys might be able to share clothes!  I'll have to try that out and let y'all know how it goes.

I really was certain that I'd get another girl, so Graham's presence here is truly a delightful surprise.  I also like that his skin tone is different from the Zapf crew and from my Quints set.  Quints only came in black or white.  The Zapf babies do come in a medium skin tone that's lighter than Addison's and darker than Quinn's and Peyton's and Riley's, but I haven't gotten one yet, and since the Zapf babies are almost thirteen bucks a pop I've been trying not to buy any more.  Now that I finally have a boy in my miniature nursery I can hold on to that promise a little better.

Warm regards and happy Memorial Day,

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Time to gripe: where have all the boys gone???

Well, ladies and germs, it's hotter than hell in the Bootheel again (the storms on Tuesday fizzled out and did NOTHING to cool things down), and my AC is on the blink again, and waiting for the repairman to come is taking forever.  I'm thus hot and itchy and tired of watching leftist Missourians' heads explode over the new abortion laws, so being the escapist that I am I've thrown together a post for y'all's enjoyment...or eye-rolling, take your pick.  I haven't done a griping post in awhile, so that's what I'm going to do.  My post on the Baby Born blind bags was not a popular one, but I did comment on those fairly recently.  Here's my first girl, Riley.
If y'all bother to reread my post about that you'll see that I was desperately hoping for a boy.  I also was hoping for a boy when I deboxed my Cabbage Patch Surprise Newborn, but that one too turned out to be a girl, albeit an adorable little smirky girl named Taniyah Yasmin.
Miss Emily got one boy with her Surprise Newborn Twins, but she notes in a later post that Howard Edwin was the only boy she got in any of those blind bag/blind box things.  Cabbage Patch Kids are usually good at representing both genders, and yet with their blind bags they fall a little flat, producing a plethora of girls and very few boys.

As for me, I've bought a few more Baby Born Surprises since I think they're cute and since I'm still hoping for a boy, and guess what?
From left, their names are Peyton, Addison, and Quinn, and they're all GIRLS!!!  Every danged one of them!  They all look different and they all came wrapped in different snugglers (Quinn's is a bee!), but they're still all girls.  Boys are a little more prevalent among the still-popular L.O.L. Surprises, but again I've yet to get a boy in any of my pods.
I do tip my hat to MGA Entertainment for making a nice range of ethnicities though, and for not getting stuck in an eternal "dogs and cats only" rut for their pets.  I ended up with two dogs for my first two cracks at the pet pods, but there are other options too, like this horse.
Her name is...<pauses to read her leaflet>...Neigh Majesty.  Neigh?  Neigh???  That is arguably the most uninspired name for a horse I've ever heard!!!  Anywho, Neigh is one of those "fuzzy" pets available right now.  Here's what she looked like when sheathed in her fuzz.
I much prefer the fuzz to the jelly that the little extra outfits are still stored in.  But as usual, I digress.  Speaking of cats, dogs, and blind bag babies, here's a relic from my childhood.
Kitty Surprise!  Miss Emily reviewed a couple of these too, and if I recall correctly most of the babies she had were girls.  There WERE a few boys mixed in there, but not a lot.  I think I also read that if any twins happened to be born, they were always girls.  Sheesh, that's a lot of estrogen!  Anyway, I bought Toffee here as a complete set with three kittens, and...
...girls outnumbered boys here too!  I got two girl kittens and one boy, not counting the pink and purple "foster."  By luck of the draw, I managed to get a boy that time, though it did help that I could see the color of his ribbon; blue is for boys (of course) and pink is for girls.
The Magic Nursery dolls of the early nineties were also largely female.  Boys DO exist and they're plumb cute (this one reminds me a little of Leo Sayer with that mop top), but I've yet to see one opened up in any of the blog posts, or in any of the videos on YouTube.  I refer y'all once again to Miss Emily's series of posts (first one is HERE), and to this YouTube video, and this one, and this one.  The woman in that last video notes that she had a ton of Magic Nursery dolls during her childhood, and the only boys she ever got were in the miniature sets that were available.  No stuffed boys at all.  This collection does have a few, but the boys were probably hand-selected by the collector rather than unwrapped, and they're STILL outnumbered!  If the boy dolls were sentient, I wonder if they'd all feel like this little boy did when he learned he was getting a third sister?  I know I would've felt that way if I'd been surrounded by brothers!

What gives?  Some little girls happen to like boy dolls!  I liked boy dolls when they were given to me; indeed, one of my favorite dolls as a kid was a boy.  As a child I was not a dolly lover, as I've established ad nauseum, but one day after school (I was a first-grader at the time) Daddy hauled off and surprised me with a baby doll.  It was a little bald boy, clad in pajamas and a soft blue bathrobe.  He did everything that baby dolls of the mid-nineties did:  he drank, he wet, he went to sleep when I reclined him, he smelled like talcum powder, he had the sweetest little smile, and he was all-vinyl for bathing.  I was delighted with him and I wish I still had him.  I think I should point out that William, as I called him, was NOT a blind bag doll, but the fact that he existed at all pleased me.  I guess modern-day toy companies assume that little girls would prefer a doll that's a girl like them, and that makes sense.  However, blind bags and blind boxes that advertise boys ought to make boys a little more prevalent, just as boy babies are more prevalent in real life.  Indeed, baby boys seem to outnumber baby girls a little every year, and that appears to be a completely natural process...or it appears to be the natural thing in the British Isles.  Other parts of the world...well, let's just say that some countries do bad things to baby girls, because a lot of families want a boy to carry on the name.  But anyway, I hope that the doll companies will take note and start making more boys.  It's just...more fun to have that element of surprise, ESPECIALLY when the gender is supposed to be a surprise to begin with!

Ah well, can't have everything, I guess.  I suppose I should cheer up and be pleased that the Hairdorables are releasing a line of boys.  The Hairdorables are the absolute LAST line that I would've predicted to have boys, but they appear to be doing just that.  They're going to be named the HairDUDEables, which is almost as stupid a name as "Neigh" is, but they look like they're going to be a lot of fun like the girls are, complete with real rooted hair and real fabric clothes in bright, splashy colors.  I haven't bought as many Hairdorables as I have Zapf babies and L.O.L. Surprises, but I still am quite fond of them and I hope the boys are as popular as the girls.

As a last little addendum, I found a Jakks Pacific Cabbage Patch Kid Babyland Mini on eBay.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it too will be a girl, but...we'll see.  When s/he arrives there'll likely be a postscript put in.