Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

PIC OF THE DAY


Mistress Angela: "if I could be a woman of any other race it'd be japanese. even over indian. they're gorgeous."
FRIDAY NIGHT LYRICS

Sophie B. Hawkins
No Connection

I’m tired of waking up
I’m sick of rolling off the bus
I want to sleep forever
In the lies I’ve made
The checks have bounced
But the bills got paid so far
On the Jaguar
I call myself
The lines get crossed
On the short wave
I get cut off
’Cause I can’t behave
Very well
You think you know me
But you don’t know my way around

Hell

Is just below me
And that’s why I keep falling down

I’m praying to resist temptation
Staying within my constellation
Weighing every intonation
Betraying alienation

I quit sobriety
I joined up with insanity
I want to pull the lever on the hatch I built
Escaping truth and avoiding guilt
So far
In the family car I get away
The border’s nearer than I thought
I’ll drive all day and I won’t get caught

Anyway
The light is fading
And I haven’t had time to call
You must be waiting
For someone whose engines
Won’t stall

I’m feeling the strings of your rejection
Kneeling in the wrong direction
Sealing my heart to your neglection
Revealing no connection
DESKTOP WATCH

For the last 3 months at work my computer desktop has featured the left half of Masaccio's Tribute Money. This fresco is located in Florence and appears in the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria della Carmine. Masaccio painted it about 1424-27 and it appears as part of a cycle based on the life of St. Peter that he painted with Masolino.

Historically this painting was a huge step forward as it revolutionized perspective and in the Greek and Roman style of the ancients reintroduced classical compositions back into painting. Over the next century the great artists would cross the Arno and study the works in the Brancacci Chapel as they learned the art of painting. However, The Rendering of the Tribute Money remained the most popular.

I thought this painting was rather appropriate because in many ways it represented my job in the mortgage industry. In real life the painting was meant to justify tax reform to assist the Republic. In a similar way it was to serve as inspiration as I charged my own tribute money for originating mortgages. In the end ole Tondar ended up going the way of the Brancacci. For when Cosimo Medicci returned to Florence and forced Felice Brancacci into exile about 1435, he was later declared a rebel in 1458. This seems even more fitting as Tondar goes into exile at a better job. However, it remains to be seen whether I will be declared persona non grata.
JAMES GOES TO BOLLYWOOD

If you missed the Youtube of the week, it actually came courtesy of James. It seems our man in Madison has fallen in love with Indian Cinema...

I could watch this all day. The sweeping panoramic shots, the well composed dramatic angles at the beginning, the incredibly tight choreography…it all comes together.


I'd have to agree. James now has me watching clips of this stuff too. Of course he is right about Chaiya Chaiya...

"He that walks in the shadow of love will have heaven beneath his feet."

Friday, April 06, 2007

QUADROPHENIA PROJECT

Bell Boy



















The beach is a place where a man can feel
He's the only soul in the world that's real,
Well I see a face coming through the haze,
I remember him from those crazy days.














Ain't you the guy who used to set the paces
Riding up in front of a hundred faces,
I don't suppose you would remember me,
But I used to follow you back in sixty three.















I've got a good job
And I'm newly born.
You should see me dressed up in my uniform.
I work in hotel all gilt and flash.
Remember the place where the doors were smashed?














Bell Boy! I got to keep running now.
Bell Boy! Keep my lip buttoned down.
Bell Boy! Carry this baggage out.
Bell Boy! Always running at someone's heel.
You know how I feel, always running at someone's heel.


Some nights I still sleep on the beach.
Remember when stars were in reach.
Then I wander in early to work,
Spend the day licking boots for my perks.


A beach is a place where a man can feel
He's the only soul in the world that's real,
Well I see a face coming through the haze,
I remember him from those crazy days.


People often change
But when I look in your eyes,
You could learn a lot from
A job like mine.
The secret to me
Isn't flown like a flag
I carry it behind
This little badge
What says...


Bell Boy! I got to keep running now.
Bell Boy! Keep my lip buttoned down.
Bell Boy! Carry this baggage out.
Bell Boy! Always running at someone's heel.
You know how I feel, always running at someone's heel.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

DESKTOP WATCH

So it has been a while since I have blogged about my computer desktop. Since this painting has been on my desktop at home for several months, I will say a few words about it and move it along to something a bit more ideal for the current state of Tondar.

If you have ever been to the Louvre, one of the greatest periods in art history is the time leading up to the French Revolution and the following decades of instability. Since France could not put together an effective government, they ocsillated between several violent extremes. One of the greatest artists that captured the plight of the citizenry during this tumult was Theodore Géricault. Not only did Géricault have a classical respect for the history and form of painting, but he also had a contemporary conscience that inspired him to paint both scenes and characters of great violence and emotion.

Of course Géricault is best known for his accurate and journalistic-like depiction of the Raft of the Medusa. However, shortly afterwards he painted The Derby At Epson.

At first glance one might merely see a bunch of horses racing in unison and move on in the Louvre. In fact, I really don't even remember this painting during my last trip in which I saw EVERYTHING in that palace of a museum. In this case, the horses are not the glorified specimens one might see in a renaissance painting. However, upon deeper analysis, Géricault was laying the foundation for future romanticists such as Casper David Friedrich, Edouard Manet, and Gustave Courbet.

Notice how the grass takes on that yellowish green tint as if it has recently rained. This can also be surmised from the dark clouds that are beginning to part in the distance. Sunshine is peaking through to cast uneven light upon the four racers. If you look closely at the clouds there are hints of yellow, and green that mirror patches of black upon the ground. This playful use of light was contemporary to Goya in Spain and was most certainly studied by future artists as it influenced the Romanticists which evolved into its own movement called impressionism.

Personally, I was drawn to this painting because at the time it reflected my views on working in the mortgage industry. The job is constantly a race. And for Tondar it meant the clouds were breaking as I surged out of the storm of the dark night and back into the professional world so that i could start making some money again. Of course, I was hoping that it would be a delightful contest in which there would be plenty of wealth to go around. However, these lofty ideas came before the collapse of subprime lending. Oops!
THE NEW NHL

While Seth comes up with a thoughtful plan to fix the NHL, Gary Bettman shows the same savvy that led to the strike, lock-out, and ridiculous Southern expansion...

"The poll was conducted last week, just after NHL vice president Colin Campbell said he was willing to discuss a ban on fisticuffs.

"No one is saying we should get rid of fighting," Campbell told Hockey Night in Canada. "I'm just saying we should ask the question, because before everyone was afraid to ask the question."


In addition, the NHL will be banning checking, scoring, skating, touching, passing, padding, sticking, and northern teams. Gary is betting on reducing the sport to a bunch of half nekkid men clutching and grab-assing to increase appeal among female fans (the original fans will watch regardless).
FIXING THE NHL

Lately Seth has been talking quite a bit about his alternate NHL and his league wide playoff system. Here is the latest...

I'm now one step further in my proposal for an overhaul in the NHL's division system.

My five-division proposal keeps the schedule at 82 games, with each team's schedule including the following:

Patrick-Adams Division (Northeast):
NY Islanders
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Buffalo
Ottawa
New Jersey

Dixie Division (Southeast):
Nashville
Atlanta
Washington
Florida
Tampa Bay
Carolina

Heartland Division (Midwest):
Columbus
Colorado
Dallas
Phoenix
St. Louis
Minnesota

Gretzky Division (Pacific):
Los Angeles
Anaheim
San Jose
Vancouver
Edmonton
Calgary

Norris Division (Original 6):
NY Rangers
Montreal
Toronto
Detroit
Boston
Chicago

2 games (home and away) against every other NHL team (58 games)
4 extra games (2 home, 2 away) against each divsion opponent (20)
2 "rivalry" games against (home and away against each) (4)

The rival puzzle is subject to change. Where non-division rivalries didn't exist, I tried to find "travel-able" cities in other divisions with which to match teams. In some cases, the rival is also in the same division, particularly in the Gretzky (Pacific) Division, where the three California teams play extra games against each other and Phoenix, and the old heart of the Smythe Division (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary) face each other and old rivals from the Northwest Division like Colorado and Minnesota.

I figured, since your total record, not your division record, ultimately decided your division championship, it didn't matter so much if you played each other or other teams. I'd really really like to keep the number of division games even, or at least have parity within divisions (i don't care if the Gretzky div plays each other exclusively while the Norris has both rivalry series outside the Original Six).

I'm playing around with it still, though I had a workable unbalanced version before. My problem is that some teams have multiple rivals outside their division (the Rangers have FOUR) while a lot of teams, being new or new to their cities, don't have any rivalries at all. Do I count Edmonton/Dallas, which used to meet every year in the playoffs but got more sick of each other than excited about it? That's why I experimented with having Norris and Patrick-Adams teams play two non-div rivals, Dixie and Heatland teams face one div rival and one non-div, and maybe just let the Gretzky keep to itself, separating the division into two sets of 3-team playoffs between the Smythes (Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver) and the Californians (San Jose, LA, Anaheim). The other option is to make the Heartland Division another 2-out-of-division rival scheduler. Play around with it yourself if you like. Once I have the rivals set, I can get to work on the really hard part: the actual schedule algorythm.

Soon, my friend, soon I will reinvent the NHL. So shall it be blogged, yada yada.
PIC OF THE DAY


I don't understand why we had to go home so early this night.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

SETH REPORTS, YOU DECIDE

From Seth...

Baseball Writer Closing In On Record

When the 2007 baseball season commences this April, many eyes will be on ESPN's Jim Caple, as the sportswriter approaches one of journalism's most coveted records. Coming into this season, the baseball beat writer has 700 articles written on Barry Bonds' use of steroids, the second-most prolific career tally by an individual writing about a single topic. Caple now stands just 14 articles away from the prolific mark of Albie Silverstein, set from 1923 to 1939 while covering the relationship between Lou Gehrig and his mother.

Caple also holds the record for most Barry Bonds stories in a single season with 73, passing the previous record set by Rick Reilly in 2001. He also trails only Jayson Stark for most mentions of the word "steroids" in a journalism career, with 3,042,101.

NOT A LINKY DINK

It turns out that Tondar is not the only blogger out there. Be sure to check back with this site periodically for updates. He may be a man of few words, but they are profound.
YOUTUBE OF THE WEEK

I really don't know what to say about this one...

"Super, Super, Super, Superman"
HOW DID I MISS THIS STORY?

Dominic Rhodes drunk driving arrest isn't that big of deal in the great scheme of things. However, I don't know how I missed this little detail...

Hafez said he clocked Rhodes at 82 mph in a 55-mph zone and watched the Colts player's GMC Yukon drive onto the shoulder briefly just after 3 a.m. Tuesday on northbound I-65 near 71st Street.

After failing two field-sobriety tests, Rhodes told Hafez he had consumed two or three alcoholic drinks. While sitting in the police car's front seat, Rhodes urinated on himself, the report said.


Speaking of rock-bottom, nothing like pissing yourself to make you rethink that whole drinking thing. Though it suddenly makes sense why he was going 82 in a 55. When you gotta go, you gotta go!
DR. GREEN JACKET OR HOW I STOPPED WORKING TO SEARCH FOR ME LUCKY CHARMS

It's a strange time at the office these days. While the subprime market is collapsing the company is continuing to expand. Recently they have just partnered to have an in-house title company generating another source of revenue. Furthermore, they have been expanding the number of employees. However, along the way there have been a few bumps along the road. A great example was "Homeboy." He was a recently discharged veteran and he showed up for about 4 days. On his 4th day he exclaimed how he wanted to join the Coast Guard. I mentioned how that would be cool. And shortly thereafter he went on an appointment, never to return again. Office assumption: he joined the Coast Guard!

Well Tuesday, we had a new chap start at the office. Now I've said it before and I will say it again: If you can't trust a guy wearing a green polyester jacket, who can you trust? Well this guy was a complete trainwreck, and I have to seriously question how in the world he ever got hired. Right from the start at the Tuesday morning ABC meeting (Always Be Closing), he was jumpy and kept rubbing his nose. I took note of this and commented to my friend, a former Marine that the Green Jacket was cool though I didnot think he was wearing it to be ironic. To which he replied how much he looked like the Notre Dame leprachaun. To this my other coworker, straight outta Dickson commented "Theys always be after me lucky charms!"

When the work day resumed Green Jacket was riding a tremendous wave of energy. However, when he came to introduce himself to me, I became terrified. Not only were his teeth all brown and in the process of checking out of his mouth, but his breath was kicking foul like booze and cigarettes. Pardon my language but basically he creeped me the fuck out. What made it worse was how he got all touchy feely and commented on my Spartan ring. When I mentioned this to the hot receptionist she told me how he was touching her arm during the interview and on the first day bent ALLLLLLL the way down to touch her toes and comment on her toe ring. We were mutually creeped out and declared this guy to be one of the biggest trainwrecks we have ever seen.

Now yesterday was special as the owners took the office out to celebrate the opening of the in-house title company. There the wheels fell off Green Jacket as he pounded back the beers. Not only did the cute blonde waitress have to take him to task for handing out beers to the homeless that approached the balcony, but she too commented in a goofy accent how she "Threw a potato at the back of his big Irish head." This guy just didn't get it. In the end he supposedly took home the ex-wife of a coworker to his crack house on 12th. However, it is factual that he did not even make it into the office today. The best speculation came from my drunken boss where he supposed that ole Green Jacket took off for Augusta in an attempt to get free beer from the Masters since he already sported the green jacket and could most certainly play like a champion.

Let this be a lesson to you kids. No matter how bad your life seems and no matter how close to rock bottom you may be. Just remember this guy and consider that it could most certainly be worse.
LARRY BROWN'S LATEST DREAM JOB

While rumour has it that Rick Carlisle is on his way out in Indiana, there seems to be somebody else waiting in the wings according to this Yahoo story...

Dear Indiana Pacers,

My name is Larry Brown and I want Rick Carlisle's job again. Just look at my resume. This would be my dream job. I made the Pistons, Clippers, 76ers, Spurs, Knicks and the Pacers the successful franchises they are today. Oh wait, I already coached here and my hip is hurting.


The funny thing about Larry Brown is that for all he knows about the game he also has had a tendancy to rub people the wrong way and have a career of diminishing returns. He brings focus and intensity and gets teams to "play the right way." (Even Iverson still uses the LB rhetoric from time to time.)

However, his success has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way so you need to find the perfect home with minor egos and hard working stars. This has directly led to success in Philadelphia, Indiana and Detroit. But it has also led to conflict in San Antonio, Detroit, and New York.

Looking at the NBA today, I think he would be a perfect fit in Charlotte or back in Philadelphia. And he would be frightening in Cleveland.
SETH REPORTS, YOU DECIDE

From Seth...

Report: WoW Players May Be Addicted to Life

Gnome scientists and health specialists working in Ironforge, a city near Dun Morough in Khaz Modan, have released a study this week that suggests many players of World of Warcraft may be addicted to the "Real World," and that the addiction could be having negative effects on the progression of their characters.

"It's perfectly healthy if people use the real world for a temporary escape -- to get a few hours of sleep before grinding to Level 70 or something," said the research team's director, Trinkle Spricklesprocket. "What's disconcerting is when players start living out their lives in this so-called 'real world,' ignoring their duties and relationships within the World of Warcraft."

The Real World, or "The Game of Life," as it is sometimes called, is an alternate reality -- players are split over its actual origins and creator -- that mimics many aspects of the Warcraft world. Players can earn and spend money, learn skills and professions, accumulate goods, develop interpersonal relationships, and participate in any of several in-game leisure activities. Similar to completing quests, Real World players set and attain a number of "life goals," which are largely defined by the players themselves.

According to Spricklesprocket's report, many World of Warcraft avitars spend as much or more time playing in their Real Life personas as they do as their World of Warcraft characters. "We found that some players can spend several days, or even weeks in the real world in one sitting. Meanwhile, their quests are not getting completed, their armor isn't getting upgraded, the mail is accumulating in their in-boxes, and nobody's even feeding their pets," said Bopple Tumtigtiggory, Gnomeragnan Exiles Minister of Health and Human Services, who commissioned the report.

"I understand the allure of this 'real world,'" admitted the dwarf king Magni Bronzebeard. "They still have war and strife, but Real World players usually can walk down any street without worrying about a group of Bloodband Orcs with axes hiding around every corner, which must be nice. But players should remember that while you’re off doing 'jobs' or 'visiting girlfriends,' or ‘attending your sister’s wedding,’ you shouldn’t let such functions interfere with your life in World of Warcraft."

Other NPCs were even less understanding of real world addiction, and questioned how much avatars were exaggerating their lack of control: "These people have no excuse," said Thorin Stoutlager of southwest Loch Modan. "All I know is that while they're out having ‘meaningful relationships,’ or ‘traveling to Paris,’ or whatever, I'm stuck standing here with a big yellow exclamation point over my head while level 15 gnolls respawn all around me. I need 10 Stonesplitter Bandannas, 15 Boar Intestines and 15 Mangy Bear Claws, and I need them TODAY. This is not the time to be dillydallying in alternate realities."

RETURN TO RESPECTABLE

Wolverine basketball has seemed to have taken another step in the right direction as they have hired John Beilein away from West Virginia. I like this move after the Ellerbe Debacle and the Amaker Dissapointment. Not only does Beilein have a respectable track record, but he also has an exciting style of play that should give the Big Ten pipe hitters some fits in the coming years. Defensively, Tondar is most intrigued by the 1-3-1 defense. But for all you slamma-jamma kids, you will like his trigger happy use of the three point shot.
MEANWHILE IN SETH'S NHL

From Seth...

"If you think the playoff races are intriguing now, wait till you put the current standings into Seth's formula.
The playoff teams right now:

Team Wins Losses OTLs Pts.

Detroit 49 19 12 110 Norris Division Champion
Buffalo 51 21 7 109 Patrick-Adams Div. Champs
Nashville 49 23 8 106 Dixie Division Champion
Anaheim 47 20 12 106 Gretzky Division Champion
New Jersey 48 24 8 104 at-large
Vancouver 48 24 7 103 at-large
Ottawa 47 24 9 103 at-large
Dallas 48 25 6 102 Heartland Division Champion

With two games left, Detroit, Nashville and Buffalo have their divisions locked up, but Anaheim (106) must fend off Vancouver (103) and San Jose (102), while Dallas (102) can feel Minnesota (100) breathing down their necks.

The battle for the President's Trophy, and home ice and first pick of opponents for each round, is as tight as can be. Buffalo is down one point, but has a game in hand and more wins, so they're the favorites for the top spot at the moment.

The Patrick-Adams division has accounted for a lot of at-large excitement, with the division threatening to take all three at-large positions. New Jersey (104), Ottawa (103) and Pittsburgh (101) are all in the hunt for a playoff spot. Also in the mix are the Gretzky Division's San Jose (102), and Vancouver (103). Minnesota, 2 points behind Dallas (but with fewer wins), has an outside shot at the Heartland Division Championship or passing Vancouver and Ottawa.

There are 11 teams with 100 points or more, and only 8 playoff spots. And for those already in, the next few games are still an audition, as teams hope to look strong enough that Detroit or Buffalo chooses to face someone else."
BACK IN BUSINESS

After 7 months in Tennessee, things are finally starting to turn around as I have landed a good job back in the foreclosure industry. Considering the current collapse of the subprime market and the fact that my boss is an abusive drunk, this move was a no-brainer. However, I am particularly delighted that it has worked out so well. I have my big boy house, my big boy job, and things are settling down by the day. It took a while but things are finally starting to come up Tondar.
DEMOTIVATION

Not that I am in this kind of mood at all. However, Miss Jill recently pointed these demotivational posters out to me again, and I figured I would pass them along so that everybody could enjoy the chuckle.
CARPE DIEM


It's a big day for the Dar. Cliche. Cliche. Cliche.
SINCE YOU ASKED

Stoi bene. Grazie mille per la tua domanda.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

PIC OF THE DAY


Sometimes capturing a person's photograph at a slightly different angle can accentuate different features and totally transform that person's personality. Kelly's a sweetie, but here she totally looks like a cold-hearted bitch.
BEATIFYING JOHN PAUL THE GREAT?

James sent me this story out of France that could be the miracle that leads to the beatification of Pope John Paul II...

"The 46-year-old, speaking in a clear, poised voice, said she was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2001. Her symptoms worsened with time: Driving became practically impossible, she had difficulty walking, and her left arm hung limply at her side. She also could no longer bear to see John Paul on television, because he, too, was stricken — more seriously — with the disease.

When seeing him, "I saw myself in the years to come, to be honest, in a wheelchair," she said.

Her cure came on the night of June 2, 2005, exactly two months after the pontiff's death, she said. In her room after evening prayers, she said an inner voice urged her to take up her pen and write. She did, and was surpassed to see that her handwriting — which had grown illegible because of her illness — was clear. She said she then went to bed, and woke early the next morning feeling "completely transformed."

"I was no longer the same inside. It is difficult for me to explain to you in words ... It was too strong, too big. A mystery."

"I realized that my body was no longer the same," she added. "I was convinced that I was cured."

She said that she has not taken medicine since. Before her cure, her fellow nuns in the "Little Sisters of Catholic Maternities" had been praying to John Paul for her recovery, she added."


It's interesting that as we get deeper into the reign of Benedict XVI we see the differences between these two Pontiffs and how their individual strengths highlight the weaknesses of the other. However, I pray that in both cases God has helped the Cardinals elect the man most necessary for the time. John Paul II was the perfect representative of Christ to stand up to the godless barbarians of the East. In addition, it seems that Benedict XVI is saving the Church in the West by maintaining the integrity and virtues of righteousness instead of bowing to the calls for liberal reform that have corrupted and splintered the Anglican and other protestant churches.
BIG BOY HOUSE OVERLOAD


So tonight will be my 3rd night in the big boy house. It is my first night all alone and I am having problems deciding how to spend it. Of course, much of my time is spent unpacking and putting the Dar touch upon the place. But having twice the space and excessive household items is creating efficiency dilemmas. For example, I have 4 sinks and I can't decide where to brush my teeth. Should I shower and sleep in my own bed? I don't have any hot water so maybe I should just sleep dirty in the guest bedroom. Finally, which bathroom do I use? Do I divide the duties between the Dook and the Baron? Compared to my coworker that is so lazy that he will pee in his driveway instead of going upstairs, I am doing alright in that respect. However, I cannot decide between using the one off the master bedroom or the one on the other side of the house. Will there be future cleaning advantages to leaving one off limits?

It seems silly, but I have never really been faced with so many options with respect to how I handle myself around the house. It's a strange time for Tondar and I haven't even mentioned the job interview where I got a hug yet.

Monday, April 02, 2007

SPELLING IT OUT FOR THE KIDS

It seems that some of the kids have taken issue with M&M Tondar...


To set the record straight, no that is NOT A TIARA! Since propaganda is only effective when the kids know how it relates, I will explain the M&M Tondar...

First the blue represents the Barony of Atlanta. Originally the blue on the flag was navy. But Tondar needs to put his own touch on it, thus it becomes a bright metallic blue to represent the bright future that shines forth leading the way to a better tomorrow.

Secondly, for those of you not familiar with the works of Jacques Louis David, the crown up his head is a direct reference to Napoleon. If one is to be an emperor or king of a nation, then he needs a place for the crown to rest. And since I am the rightful heir to the Throne of Spain, that is where my crown shall rest. So as you can see it is not a "tiara," but a reference to another great leader and his symbols of power. Trust me, if I could place M&M Tondar in the Cathedral of Granada, I most certainly would.

Finally, as you may have guessed, the teddy bear represent's Tondar's position as the source of all babies. Babies need toys and Tondar takes care of his babies.

Now tell your friends and revel in the reflected glory that is M&M Tondar.
FRED THOMPSON FOR PRESIDENT?

There's been a lot of talk lately about actor Fred Thompson running for president from the great state of Tennessee. According to Bob Novak, Thompson seems serious and may just be the conservative that the right has been waiting for...

"Thompson's political origin as a protege of Sen. Howard Baker, leader of the Tennessee GOP's more liberal wing, prompted hard-line Senate conservatives to consider him a little too liberal. Actually, his lifetime Senate voting record as measured by the American Conservative Union was 86 percent. It would have been close to 100 percent except for his repeated votes supporting McCain's campaign finance reform. None of the big-three Republicans has been so consistently conservative as Thompson on tax policy, national security and abortion."

Of course Tondar is still digging on Ron Paul, but it's nice to see some other candidates out there that don't represent the authoritarian, or the Democratic wings of the GOP.