It took Amy Heckerling a while to realize she’d written an Emma homage. Her TV pilot script centered on a rich, sunny young woman who approached the world with a can-do attitude—a savvy dumb blonde in the vein of Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. When Heckerling’s agent suggested the project might work better as a feature, she sought narrative inspiration in one of her favorite Jane Austen novels from college. Only then did she realize that her meddling but well-meaning 16-year-old Beverly Hills princess protagonist was really just a riff on “handsome, clever, and rich” Emma Woodhouse, an heiress who “had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.” Thanks to an 1815 novel, an iconic 1990s teen movie got its structure.
Clueless, which turns 25 this week, is actually a remarkably faithful Austen adaptation. Not in setting, of course; Austen’s characters were far from computerized closets and “loqued out” Jeep Wranglers. But in terms of tone, character, and even detailed plot points, writer-director Heckerling translates Austen’s prose for a modern audience with remarkable fidelity. What she understands—and what too many casual consumers of Austen’s work miss—is that in addition to her romantic aims, the author wrote hilarious satires of the moneyed world of England’s landed gentry. Clueless transports that satirical eye to Beverly Hills, with a glossy opening montage in which Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) earnestly explains, “So okay, you’re probably thinking, ‘Is this, like a Noxzema commercial, or what?’ But seriously, I actually have a way normal life for a teenage girl!”
Heckerling lets the cheeky social satire take center stage without the historical trappings that can prove alienating for some modern audiences. So while Emma would get period adaptations in a 1996 Gwyneth Paltrow film, a 1996 Kate Beckinsale TV movie, a 2009 Romola Garai miniseries, and this year’s charming Autumn de Wilde adaptation starring Anya Taylor-Joy, none have as perfectly captured Austen’s dry comedic voice as Clueless. In fact, Clueless is an ideal primer for those looking to understand Austen’s signature blend of romance, comedy, and social commentary. So it’s only appropriate that it hit theaters a few months before Andrew Davies’ Pride And Prejudice miniseries and Ang Lee’s Sense And Sensibility officially kicked off the Austen mania of the ’90s.
Of course, you don’t need to know anything about Emma to appreciate Clueless as a comedic masterpiece in its own right. It became a sleeper hit and a cultural phenomenon in 1995—the rare film that connects with both audiences and critics and then goes on to be embraced by every subsequent generation that comes across it. Clueless singlehandedly revived the teen movie at a time when that genre seemed all but dead thanks to the glut of sex comedies and John Hughes high school romances that had filled the previous decade.
Though Heckerling had kicked off that trend in the first place with her debut feature, 1982’s Fast Times At Ridgemont High, by the mid ’90s she couldn’t find a studio interested in a teen comedy with multiple female leads. Never mind that Heckerling had a proven track record with big hit comedies like National Lampoon’s European Vacation and the nearly $300-million grosser Look Who’s Talking. It took producer Scott Rudin to rescue Clueless from endless turnaround and give it a home at Paramount Pictures.
As Clueless evolved the teen rom-com into its ’90s form, Heckerling took one unexpected point of inspiration from the previous decade. “The most successful character in anything I’d ever done was Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times,” Heckerling told Entertainment Weekly in 2012. “People think that’s because he was stoned and a surfer. But that’s not it. It’s because he’s positive. So I thought, ‘I’m going to write a character who’s positive and happy.’ And that was Cher.”
Though Austen once joked that Emma was “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like,” the key to the novel’s success is the affection Austen clearly feels for her serenely self-delusional protagonist. And that’s exactly how Heckerling feels about Cher, the queen bee of Bronson Alcott High School who wields her powers (mostly) for good. She looks after her father’s health. She fully intends to break for animals. And she views makeovers as the ultimate act of charity. Like Emma, Cher wants to help people. And like Emma, she lacks the humility to keep her worst meddling impulses in check. “The real evils, indeed, of Emma’s situation,” Austen wrote, “were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself.”
Clueless subs in teen cliques for class distinctions and high school ragers for balls, but it otherwise keeps most of Emma’s plot intact. Cher adopts a charity case in the form of a lower-status woman (Brittany Murphy’s brassy transfer student Tai), steers her away from a guy who’s clearly perfect for her (Breckin Meyer’s sweet stoner Travis), and ultimately comes to realize that she’s actually the one who’s totally clueless about matters of the heart, especially her own. Much as Emma discovers “with the speed of an arrow” that she’s in love with her haughty neighbor Mr. Knightley, a glowing fountain punctuates Cher’s own revelation that she’s “majorly, totally, butt-crazy in love” with Josh (Paul Rudd), her pretentious one-time stepbrother.
To her credit, Heckerling goes all-in on the inherent weirdness of the Emma/Knightley pairing—something other adaptations often try to smooth over. In the book, Knightley is not only Emma’s brother-in-law, he’s also 16 years older than her and has served as a sort of paternal figure since she was born. While Clueless shrinks the age gap, it keeps the vaguely incestuous setup by having Josh and Cher be even more closely entwined in pseudo-siblinghood. It’s a testament to Silverstone and especially Rudd that they’re able to sell the romance despite the strangeness of the setup.
For her teen cast, Heckerling wanted actors with both a worldly maturity and a childlike innocence. She hired 17-year-old Silverstone (then best known for starring in Aerosmith music videos) after a single lunch meeting because she was charmed by the way the young actress kept leaning down to her straw instead of bringing the drink up to her mouth. Though the hippieish Silverstone originally struggled to connect to a character she found materialistic and annoying, Heckerling could see there was an innate Cher-ness to her. Silverstone’s real-life mispronunciation of the word “Haitians” (and Heckerling’s savvy instinct not to correct her) led to one of the film’s signature comedic moments as Cher demonstrates both her empathy and her privilege while arguing a pro-refugee stance in debate class.
While Clueless adds some archetypes from the teen movie handbook, like Cher’s loyal bestie Dionne (Stacey Dash), frenemy Amber (Elisa Donovan), and Dionne’s puppyish boyfriend Murray (Donald Faison), characters like Jeremy Sisto’s entitled Elton come straight from Emma. (There he’s Mr. Elton, a social climbing vicar.) Elsewhere, Heckerling seamlessly subs in a photo shoot for a painted portrait and some mall hooligans for a gypsy attack. The burden of attending an event thrown by social inferiors becomes Cher scoffing at an invite to a party in the Valley.
In one smart adaptation choice, Heckerling plays around with the novel’s structure a bit. Though Emma opens with its heroine having already made her first successful match, Clueless follows Cher as she conspires to pair her debate teacher Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) with her world history teacher Miss Geist (Twink Caplan, also an associate producer on the film), the better to get some lighter grading. Watching the rush of that first matchmaking success helps us empathize with Cher as she continues to deploy her powers of persuasion with varying degrees of selflessness. Plus it cleverly allows Clueless a traditional Austen wedding ending without sending any of its teen characters down the aisle. (“As if! I am only 16, and this is California, not Kentucky.”)
It’s a testament to Austen’s insightful story that some of it doesn’t need updating at all; sexual harassment in a car is much the same as in a carriage. The hilarious scene where Tai burns mementos from her brief crush on Elton also comes directly from the novel. As does the sweet moment where Josh saves Tai from social embarrassment by asking her to dance, the same way Knightley gallantly does with Emma’s protégé, Harriet Smith.
Heckerling’s most interesting update comes in the form of Christian (Justin Walker), the fashionable, Rat Pack-loving transfer student Cher initially tries to seduce before learning he’s gay. He’s a stand in for Frank Churchill, the dashing visitor who publicly flirts with Emma to cover up the fact that he’s secretly engaged to the lower-born Jane Fairfax. In a way, however, Christian reflects aspects of both Frank and Jane (who doesn’t get a direct counterpoint in the film). Like Frank, Christian is an object of desire for the heroine’s ultimately not-all-that-intense crush. But like Jane, there’s a sympathetic set of high stakes for why he might not immediately reveal where his heart actually lies.
Clueless’ matter-of-fact treatment of Christian and his sexuality is one of the many places Heckerling maintains the spirit of the novel but updates it for the 1990s. While Emma learns to accept some humility and stop meddling, Cher’s arc is more explicitly about becoming a better, more socially conscious person. She commits to a “makeover of the soul” and volunteers to captain her school’s Pismo Beach disaster relief effort. Even then, however, Heckerling doesn’t lose her satirical bite. The first thing Cher thinks to donate to the disaster victims are her skis.
Of course, Clueless didn’t really reflect the ’90s so much as create a funhouse-mirror version of the decade. Heckerling invented a whole new vernacular with the film’s nonstop slang—some of which she pulled from actual teens but much of which she made up herself. Meanwhile, costume designer Mona May created an unforgettably bonkers high-fashion aesthetic at a time when shapeless grunge fashion was all the rage with real-life high schoolers. As May explained in a great 2016 interview with Harper’s Bazaar, “Amy’s vision really was to make this movie a girly movie… This movie to me is really a celebration of the girl in all of us—feminine, sweet, fun, flirty, adorable.”
In many ways, the “girl power” branch of ’90s feminism shares a lot in common with the proto-feminism of Austen’s early-19th-century novels. Austen and Heckerling subversively celebrate the intelligent inner lives of young women who society might be inclined to look down upon. (Cher’s knowledge of Hamlet may come courtesy of Mel Gibson, but she knows her Polonius quotes.) Yet Emma and Clueless also tell stories of women who are happy to live within their prescribed social roles, rather than challenge the system.
Though there’s a progressive edge to the way Austen’s heroines assert their independence in their determination to marry for love, the fact that they’re rewarded with financially prudent, socially acceptable matches means Austen’s satires are ultimately loving and a little conservative, rather than caustic and rebellious. That’s very much how Heckerling approaches Clueless’ over-the-top world of teenage privilege too. Unlike the darkly satirical Heathers, there are no real villains in Clueless. Even Cher’s terrifying litigator father is a sweetheart when it comes to his beloved daughter. (Heckerling wanted to cast the role with “someone who might play a hitman in other movies,” which eventually led her to the pitch-perfect Dan Hedaya, who considers the project one of his favorite moviemaking experiences.)
Ironically, the sunniness of Clueless was literally manufactured. It rained for four weeks straight during the shoot, so cinematographer Bill Pope (a go-to collaborator for Sam Raimi and the Wachowskis) had to fake the California sunshine. It’s an apt metaphor for the loving, can-do spirit that fueled the whole film, which served as a launching point for pretty much all of its young stars. Brittany Murphy’s untimely death in 2009 has given Clueless even more poignancy now, as her effervescently guileless performance is key to so much of what makes the film work. (In a 10th-anniversary featurette, Murphy laughingly revealed that at the time she delivered Tai’s iconic insult, “You’re a virgin who can’t drive,” both of those descriptors applied to her.) As Breckin Meyer sweetly recalled during a 2012 reunion, “I didn’t have to act being in love with her. Once you met her, you couldn’t help it.”
As a touchstone for everything from Halloween costumes to Iggy Azalea videos, Clueless is at no risk of losing its exalted place in pop culture history. Yet even so, it doesn’t always get the credit it deserves for its massive influence on the next two-and-a-half decades of pop culture. You can most obviously see its impact in the subsequent wave of literary-inspired teen comedies like She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s The Man, and Easy A. But Clueless also helped launch a whole new subgenre of upbeat, sneakily smart “girl power” comedies like Legally Blonde, Josie And The Pussycats, Bring It On, Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion, and Mean Girls. Heckerling proved a lighthearted comedy aimed at teenage girls didn’t have to speak down to its audience. That had a ripple effect that’s still ongoing today.
Just as the romantic comedy genre would look a whole lot different without Jane Austen, movies, TV, and even fashion would look a whole lot different without Clueless. In the same way that Emma subconsciously seeped into Heckerling’s initial script, Clueless has no doubt influenced generations of filmmakers who grew up watching and rewatching it. Like so much of Austen’s work, Clueless is both deeply of its time and yet somehow entirely timeless. It’s “classic,” to quote Cher, and, most importantly, you don’t have to be a snob and a half to appreciate it.
Next time: From Austen to Shakespeare: Kenneth Branagh made The Bard a hit with 1993’s Much Ado About Nothing.
How Las Vegas became the world’s casino capital
These days, it’s impossible to think of Las Vegas without the image of the lights on the strip and glamorous casinos coming to mind. But the Vegas we know of 2020 wasn’t always that way; and it took a long, long time to get its reputation for being the world’s casino capital. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get to the root of how Las Vegas became the city that never sleeps.
A historical journey
It’s hard to believe these days, but the Las Vegas region was once an abundant marshland stock full of rich vegetation. That is, until the marsh receded, and the waters disappeared, transforming the landscape into a desert, with the trapped water underground sprouting life and forming an oasis.
It was during the 19th century that the explorer Antonio Armijo from Mexico foraged the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan. It was a member of the group, Rafael Rivera who rode west to find water and venture through the desert, setting his eyes upon Las Vegas Springs. Las Vegas was therefore named ‘the meadows’ after the grasses found growing there.
Years went on and both Mormon and Mexican settlers began to filter through. In 1890 it was decided by railroad developers that Las Vegas would serve as a spot along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles railroad route as well as connecting to major cities along the Pacific Coast. From there on, Vegas boomed with stores, boarding houses and saloons popping up around the area. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas as we know it — with railroad workers and ranchers enjoying the gambling and drinking through illegal speakeasies and bootleg casinos operating despite the ban on gambling in Nevada in 1910.
In 1931 gambling once again became legal in the state, with new casinos and showgirl venues opening up along Fremont Street to entertain the thousands of workers who flocked the city during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first hotel, El Rancho Vegas, opened up in 1941 along Highway 91. Its success inspired others to open up their own hotels along the highway which would one day become the strip. Tourists began to flock to the city over the next few decades to enjoy the casino scene and see incredible artists like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra perform.
The birth of the mega resort
It was in 1966 the businessman Howard Hughes purchased the Desert Inn hotel; this was followed by over a dozen more hotel purchases, pushing out the mobster-owned hotels that had previously dominated Las Vegas. The concept of the mega hotel came about in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage as the first hotel resort in the city. By 1994, Las Vegas was the home of more than 86,000 hotel and motel rooms with 13 of the 20 largest mega resort hotels in the world. It was during this era that the Strip became populated with more hotels and casinos, with developments inspired by the iconic cities and countries of the globe including Egypt, Paris, New York and Rome.
Las Vegas in the 21st century
The Las Vegas of today is well and truly established as a home for entertainment and casinos — which remain the biggest source of income for the city. However, there’s no doubt that Vegas faces more competition than ever before from the virtual world, with more people than ever before opting to play at an online casino, rather than play in the old fashioned way, but Vegas will always have the advantage. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime trip that an online casino can’t replicate, but do the online equivalents help to increase interest in Vegas?
The bright lights of Vegas is attracting billions of dollars in investment as many try and get a slice of the revenue that the sector has to offer. During 2019 over 42.52 million people came to visit Las Vegas from all around the world. Domestically, it was shown to be the second most popular destination for U.S. traveller’s dream spots after New York.
These days, Las Vegas continues to thrive and be a source of entertainment for millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience what the city has to offer. With new generations becoming interested in casino games — and some incredible musical residencies continuing to be announced — Las Vegas surely will continue to be one best places to go for a unforgettable dream destination for many.
What can people find at some of the biggest land-based casinos in Canada? From Niagara Falls to Toronto, there is something for everyone at casinos in Canada, including table games, slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games. There are also many poker and blackjack tournaments held throughout the year and it is easy to find jackpots or slots with free spins at the casinos. Many casinos also have hotels, bars, and numerous restaurants which are perfect for players seeking some comfort. A relaxing casino experience for all ages can be found in many different places in Canada. Choose one from below.
Choosing a casino depends on your tastes and location within Canada. Do you want to experience the grandeur and splendour of nature while placing a bet? Then head to Niagara Falls. Do you want to see a show? Choose a casino with a show that will be perfect for you. If you are looking for pure relaxation, then check out some of the casinos with spas and world-class dining. Entertainment is also a large part of the casino experience in Canada. Musicians, bands, comedians, and other types of entertainment continue to be found at all of the biggest casinos.
Some Big Casinos Near Nature
Casino Niagara is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and the world. People from all around the globe come to experience the best of both worlds at Casino Niagara. Players have access to beauty and scenery while spending time at one of the biggest casinos in Canada. The casino has two floors with over 1200 slot machines, poker, and other table games. There are also many different restaurants and even a comedy club. The sports bar and casino was refurbished back in 2017, meaning that it has not lost any of its charm and shine.
ST Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies is a golf and nature lovers’ paradise. The location could not be any more splendid. People can find the casino between the Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Furthermore, the casino has an interesting history after it was converted from an Indian Residential School. It was then opened in the early 2000s. St Eugene has table games, electronic roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. There is also a golf course, restaurant, bar, spa, and hotel that is highly rated in Canada. Overall games are limited so most people come for golfing and betting fun.
Caesars Windsor is famously located on the riverbank in Windsor, Ontario. Visitors from both Canada and the States frequent the casino and hotel. Players can see the Detroit and Michigan skyline from the area. There are two floors of slots, table games, and plenty of poker tables. Blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are also available at the casino. It has beautiful restaurants, a gym, bars, slots, and live sports. Check out the Titan 360™, a 10-foot tall slot machine with 5800 pounds of wins at the click of a button. It’s the largest slot machine in the world and great fun.
- Enjoy the size of Casino de Montreal and Hard Rock Casino
- Enjoy the big and beautiful Casino Niagara or ST Eugene Golf Resort
- Enjoy High Culture at Elements Casino Brantford
River Rock Casino Resort – In Transit
Are you passing through Vancouver Airport and have a long transit? Hire a cab and spend some time enjoying slot machines at River Rock Casino Resort. There are slots galore and the different themes make it an enjoyable visit for all. There is even a Dungeons and Dragons slot for gamers. A fourteen-table game room can be found at the casino and international poker tournaments are held regularly. Other features include a VIP area, spa, live music, 24-hour food and drink, as well as other entertainment. Richmond is also worth a quick visit, especially for some delicious seafood.
Casino de Montreal – The Big Gun
Casino de Montreal is 526,488 square feet of casino excitement. The casino has around 20 thousand visitors each day and is one of the biggest casinos on the globe. If you are still unconvinced about the size of the place, then imagine five floors of slots and table games. 3,000 machines and 111 table games make the casino seem even more mammoth. Casino de Montreal games can be played in a smoke-free environment and many players comment on the user-friendly games and helpful staff. Complimentary drinks and top-rated gourmet food is all part of the experience at Casino de Montreal.
Hard Rock Casino – Another Big One
Hard Rock Casino is another large casino located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The casino is over 80,000 square feet, making it a big one in Canada. Hard Rock has gaming tables, slots, baccarat and a poker room. The casino includes 70 casino tables and 1,000 slots. Private rooms and high roller areas are also available. However, the Hard Rock name is known for excellent food and this is what people love about this casino. Many players comment on the quality of the food here. It even has a 1,000 seat theatre, making it great for dining and a show.
Elements Casino Brantford – Enjoy High Culture
Elements Casino Brantford is a historical gem for culture in Ontario. It is a charity casino that was established last century. It includes the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a high society entertainment venue in Ontario. The centre is well known to performing arts enthusiasts in Ontario and Canada. Players come to see a show, enjoy some gourmet food and a game. The casino also has plenty of slots, table games, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, three card poker, roulette, and other games. There is also a 14-table Texas Hold ‘Em poker room. Enjoy all the excitement.
River Cree Resort and Casino – Sports Lovers
River Cree Resort and Casino is a sport and gaming venue located in Edmonton that should not be overlooked. It has 39 tables of various money limits and over 1,000 slots. There are also a few different places to dine while enjoying a bet and other things to experience. There is a fitness centre, spa and a 200 room resort. However, the most interesting feature of this casino is the two hockey rinks, which are often used by the Edmonton Oilers for practice. It is possible to watch the team practice and go for a meal and some gaming fun.
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Top 8 Online Games That Kids Can Play Without Much Parental Supervision
The gaming industry has been quite widespread since its inception. With the advent of globalisation and technology, this industry is reaching new heights. Kids these days are more inclined to the internet than they are to books.
The internet has more information about everything than anywhere else and is very easily accessible. This further makes some parental control necessary. Most parents are worried about their kids playing violent video games that can further affect their mental health.
Nevertheless, you cannot stop a kid from finding ways to log in to the internet, nor can you keep them away from playing video games. You can always supervise them on their media consumption. But that also gets tiresome after a point. This is when it gets necessary for you to introduce them to games that are not only kid-friendly but are also of their liking.
If you are in a similar situation, looking for a way out, this article will surely help. Further mentioned are a few games that you can let your kid play while you concentrate on your work and well-being.
1. Gummy Drop
Finding games that you can let your kids play without supervision is quite a task. With games like Gummy Drop, you do not have to worry one bit. With beautiful graphics and interesting gameplay, it does not take long for your kid to get hooked to the game.
With new cities and interesting content being added almost every day, this 3 puzzle game is a good choice for your kids to play. It also connects to your Facebook account, letting you play with your other friends. It is also a nice way for your kids to improve their general knowledge and problem-solving skills.
If you were a fan of Pictionary when you were growing up, you should definitely introduce your kids to this game. While the rules of Pictionary remain the same, this game improves on the visual aspect. With all of their friends in the same server, your kid can easily get hooked to this game.
Easy and fun to play – once the server is set up, each player will get a word that they have to draw on the screen. The motive of the game is to help the other players guess your word. Each round chooses players at random. While it is advised that you use a tablet and a stylus to play this, you can always sketch with your finger.
3. Ludo Supreme
A classic in every sense of the word, online ludo needs no introduction. There are some new features that are added in the game version of this app. It lets you connect to your Paytm account and earn real money while playing the game.
Along with such amazing features, you can also play it for fun with your family or friends. It has other versions as well that come in different languages, especially in India, given the diverse nature of the country. You can download the LUDO for your android phones.
There is no doubt that Houseparty has been one of the most popular downloads this pandemic. This is a networking app that lets you add as many as seven friends and play different games face-to-face via video calls.
The novel approach of phone gaming made this a very widely chosen app. While playing games with your friends is always fun, this app lets you see and talk to them as well. Some of the most played games in this app include Heads Up!, Chips and Guac, Trivia and Quick Draw. With such amazing features and games, this is a worthwhile download for your kid.
Monopoly is a very interesting game, which you can get your kids. Along with being fun, it can be played by any age group and is always stimulating your brain. This board game is an all-time classic that is now available on mobile platforms.
The good thing about it being on the phone is that now your kids can play it with their friends as well, and all from the convenience of your home.
6. Rocket League
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to play soccer but with cars, this game is exactly that. You get to pick a car at the beginning of the game in an oversized field with an oversized ball. Then start the five-minute matches where you have to score goals against them.
To make it even more fun, this game allows the player to add up to three friends on the same server. It also has options where you can choose between casual play and ranked online play. Nevertheless, in both gameplays, you can earn new cosmetic looks for the car and get a chance to score more goals.
Another all-time classic, UNO has been a very celebrated game all these years. The original company of UNO came out with the online version that is available on both iOS and Android devices. Since they are the copyright holders, you already know, the gameplay cannot get any better than this.
Nevertheless, since it is a multiplayer game, you can play it both against your friends or strangers. It’s fun aesthetics, and new rules make it more interesting. It now has different modes of play and tournaments as well. You can also partner up and play 2v2 to win together. With servers available all around the world, you can connect to anyone you know.
8. Guess The Word
Very obvious from the name itself, this game is known to be one of the most popular downloads in this list. It not only helps your kids spend some unsupervised time with themselves but also ensures that they learn new things in the process.
The game contains different levels which get harder as your kid progresses, further making it more interesting and attractive. If you have some free time on your hands, you can also jump in and play with your kids.
So, these are the 8 games that kids of all ages can play without any tension. Above all, parents don’t have to panic or keep an eye on them all the time.