Thursday, November 22, 2007

This is the End

Suffering through the Lions' performance against Green Bay was like watching Marlon Brando getting hacked to death by Martin Sheen with a machete at the end of Apocalypse Now.

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again

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Pagilia's November Column

One of the things I'm thankful for is Camille Pagilia's rational and insightful take on a myriad of current issues. Here are some highlights from her November Salon column (link):

Hillary Clinton:
Hillary's stonewalling evasions and mercurial, soulless self-positionings have been going on since her first run for the U.S. Senate from New York, a state she had never lived in and knew virtually nothing about. The liberal Northeastern media were criminally complicit in enabling her queenlike, content-free "listening tour," where she took no hard questions and where her staff and security people (including her government-supplied Secret Service detail) staged events stocked with vetted sympathizers, and where they ensured that no protesters would ever come within camera range.

Global Warming:
The recent horrific wildfires in California set off a gratuitous series of maunderings (from Jamie Lee Curtis to Thomas Friedman) about human culpability in global warming, the new liberal theology. Man is evil! Natural disasters are escalating! The world is coming to an end!

Good lord, were all these people in a coma through the gigantic storms like Hurricane Camille in 1969? The destruction wrought by that Category 5 storm is chronicled in Philip D. Hearn's book, "Hurricane Camille: Monster Storm of the Gulf Coast," published three years ago. With winds of 200 miles per hour, Camille devastated 26 miles of Mississippi's coastline and killed 170 people. The tidal surge reached 35 feet, while the barometric pressure approached an all-time low. One of my prized possessions is a poster torn from a London newsstand (I was traveling as a grad student in Europe): "HURRICANE CAMILLE WREAKS HAVOC!"

...This facile attribution of climate change to human agency is an act of hubris. Good stewardship of the environment is an ethical imperative for every nation. But breast-beating hysteria merely betrays impious tunnel vision. Thousands of factors, minute and grand, are at work in cyclic climate change, whose long-term outcomes we cannot possibly predict. Nature should inspire us with awe, not pity.

On the pop front, Ellen DeGeneres' cringe-making on-air meltdown over a dog, leading to her overwrought cancellation of several days of her show, should get a Raspberry Award for worst performance by a lesbian icon. Following Rosie 'Donnell's professional collapse amid lunatic rants and operatic kvetching, this has been a terrible year for Hollywood lesbians' public image. It's as if when the butch mask drops, there's nothing inside but a boiling candy kettle of infantile rage and self-pity. And now Ellen, the professed liberal, is narcissistically flouting the Writers Guild strike. Great going, gals!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I Don't Heart NY

Okay, NOW I am getting nervous.

Here's the rest of the season:

  • Thursday, November 22 GREEN BAY PACKERS
  • Sunday, December 2 at Minnesota Vikings
  • Sunday, December 9 DALLAS COWBOYS
  • Sunday, December 16 at San Diego Chargers
  • Sunday, December 23 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
  • Sunday, December 30 at Green Bay Packers

    (Home games in CAPS)

I have a feeling about them beating the Packers on Thursday...(whistling past the graveyard perhaps).

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Generation Mii

Question: Who are the Millennials?

Answer: Born between 1980 and 2000, this generation is as large or larger than the Baby Boomers generation.

From 2007's Connecting to the Net.Generation: What higher education professionals need to know about today’s college students (by Reynol Junco and Jeanna Mastrodicasa). In a survey of 7,705 college students:

  • 97% own a computer
  • 94% own a cell phone
  • 56% own an MP3 player
  • 76% use instant messaging (IM)
  • 15% of IM users are logged on 24 hours a day/7 days a week
  • 34% use websites as their primary source of news
  • 28% own a blog, and 44% read blogs
  • 49% download music using peer-to-peer file sharing
  • 69% of students have a Facebook account

From Sixty Minutest: (link)

The Millennials Are Coming
Morley Safer reports on the new generation of "millennials." They are in their late teens to early twenties and could be ill prepared for a demanding workplace.

Some of the Culprits:

  • Mr. Rogers - "You're special"

  • Sport leagues for children where score is not kept, but EVERYONE gets a trophy


  • More than half of college seniors move back in with parents after graduation

  • Millennials schedule work around yoga classes

  • Career service departments report that it's not uncommon to have parents of millennials come in to update their children's resumes

  • Millennials think it's okay to change jobs four and five times in one year

Advise to Employers:

  • Speak like a therapist

  • Dont be harsh

  • Don't tell them that you're disappointed with them

  • Sent their PARENTS an "atta-boy" letter when millenials do well

Advice to Millennials:

  • Cover up your tattos when dealing with public

Read more!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Tao of Steve

I finally saw The Tao of Steve, directed by Jenniphr Goodman, a much heralded independent film, and, I must say, I was disappointed.

It's a romantic comedy about Dex Logue (Donal Logue), a character actually inspired by one of the film's writers, Dunco North (who makes a cameo). Despite mediocre looks and weight issues, Dex manages to be rather successful with the ladies.

He does this by following the Tao of Steve, a code of life named for famous "Steves" such as Steve McGarrett (Hawaii 5-0), Steve Austin (The Six Million Dollar Man), and, of course, Steve McQueen (nuff said). Briefly, this philosophy holds that the more disinterested you act around women, the more they'll want you. As opposed to the Tao of Stu, where males pine and whine over their women, only to be treated like the doormats they really are.

A neat concept to be sure. Unfortunately, we never REALLY see an effective demonstration of the Tao of Steve in action. The technique isn't really displayed when Dex lands the ancillary female characters (if it was, I missed it). For a guy who portends to land the babes by acting like he could care less, Dex constantly wears his heart on his sleeve.

This is especially true when it comes to Syd (Greer Goodman), Dex's main love interest, who he's reunited with at his ten-year college reunion. As far as I can tell, He NEVER even tries to use his Steve technique on her. Unless you count cooking a fancy mahe mahe dinner from scratch as a Steve move (which I don't).

Of course, Syd is a different kind of girl. She plays the drums. And we all know from Pretty in Pink , oops, I mean Some Kind of Wonderful, that only really COOL chicks play the drums.

Midway through the film, there's a boring camping sequence, where in one horridly predictable scene, a tentless Dex looks so pathetic that Syd let's him share HER tent. HARDLY a Steve thing (more like a Man's Favorite Sport or Brokeback Mountain thing).

Okay, maybe the point is that NO ONE can really live up to the Tao of Steve. I get it. Unfortunately, they didn't convince me.

It would have been far better if the film had introduced us to this incredible prick who REALLY does practice what he preaches and then chronicled his successes. Sure, he could have an epiphany at the end about the shallowness of that life and jettison the Tao for a more meaningful code (or not).

Instead, we have this fat guy who tells the main romantic interest that he loves her by their third or fourth scene. Steve wouldn't do that, would he?

Oh, AND did I mention that Dex works with kids. Awww, how cute? If there's anything worse than when a mainstream Hollywood movie uses kids as emotional props, it's when an inde film does it.

In the end, I felt that The Tao of Steve wanted me to like it SOOOO much that I just couldn't.

Pretty much a Stu move.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sour Grapes

Keith Olbermann (the most overrated personality in cable "news") spent at least ten or fifteen minutes on last night's show criticizing Bill O'Reilly's campaign against Redacted (Brian DePalma's Iraq movie).

His complaint against O'Reilly could be summed pretty quickly:

Bill O'Reilly's tirade is a bit on the bombastic side. Perhaps he should at least watch the movie before being so over the top.
There. That took me about five seconds to say. So, why devote TEN or FIFTEEN MINUTES??

As usual, Olbermann comes off as bitter because Countdown regularly get it's clock cleaned in the ratings by the Factor.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mr. Potatohead

The New Yorker - Cartoon Caption Contest # 120 (link)

My entry:

"So I happen to like french fries -- that doesn't make me a freak...does it?"

The first one is pretty good (and should win), but the other two are lame.

  • "If I start to drink too much, just pull off my lips."
  • "My wife left me for Mr. Peanut."
  • "I should have stopped after the Botox."

Read more!

Rearranging The Deck Chairs?

From today's Freep : (link)
Quicken to bring HQ, 4,000 workers downtown

Grand vision is of another Silicon Valley

After two years of speculation and negotiations, Quicken Loans and Rock Financial founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert told the Free Press on Monday that he will move the mortgage firm's headquarters office and 4,000 people from Livonia to downtown Detroit.

They're calling it "Detroit 2.0." That assumes there was actually a working "Detroit 1.o" version (okay, I'll give them some points for cleverness).

My favorite quote from the Gov:

Granholm said, "Dan Gilbert could move his company to any state in the nation, but he is choosing to stay right here in Michigan, and that should send a signal to other new-economy companies that this is a great place to do business."

Well, I guess that it's too much to hope for NEW business to come into the state, so, we just get excited when they don't leave!

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Trouble With The Base, Eh?

Strangely funny and almost surreal video clip from a Hillary Clinton news conference (which took place in a city named, of all things, "WATERLOO"). At one point, Clinton, who had just gotten through a bad campaign week, comments that the "bases are not weighted enough."

From I-Caught on ABCNEWS.COM: (link)

Kind of a bizarre moment in Waterloo, IA. After a very presidential-looking news conference with reporters, Clinton stood in front of a dark blue curtain with four flags standing behind her. After answering questions - a Clinton staffer opened the curtains to escort the Senator away. One flag fell and the rest followed. Chaos ensued while Clinton, her chief of staff and advance members attempted to grab all of the flags that were falling.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh The Humanity

The Cardinals excommunicate the Lions 31 to 21.

They're now 6 and 3. Just two more wins is ALL I need, so I'm not nervous (yet).
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Gratuitous Cover-Up

Andrew Sullivan (an Obama supporter, BTW) analyzes TipGate.

It boogles the mind that in an open election where the GOP is very vulnerable (mainly because of Iraq) Hillary Clinton is the one the Dems want to go with.

Joe Biden, who's been the most consistent on Iraq and, I think, would WIN regardless of who the GOP nominates, is running third behind Clinton and Obama (whose "surrender at all costs" message won't carry a national ticket).

A Classic Clinton Lie? (link)

...Why? It's an absolutely trivial story - bu t its triviality is what's telling.

It is simply unsurprising that a story like this pops up with the Clinton machine - especially that quintessential Clinton touch of the ready $20 pressed into Esterday's hand the day after the story. A classic bribe to keep quiet perhaps? The kind of petty, cheesy sleaze that Clinton engaged in for decades, as he wove his way through every skirt in Arkansas and beyond.

I covered the Clintons for eight years. The one thing I learned about them is that they lie. It's reflexive to them; after decades of the lying that tends to infect the households of addicts, they don't have a normal person's understanding of truth and falsehood. They have an average sociopath's understanding of truth and falsehood. They lie about big things; they lie about small things; and they lie about things that are so trivial you can't believe anyone would bother lying about them. But the Clintons do. They did for eight years. They put the entire country through a trauma because they have no sense of what's true and false any more. Living in a relationship where lying has been integrated into its very essence will do that. They can't help it. Lying is their entropic state of being - big lies, small lies, and everything in between.

You can't trust a word from them. If that's what you want in a war leader, go ahead and vote for her.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

But She Still Won't Do Windows

From (link)

Vacuum screamer

A US mother-of-three has invented a sex toy that connects to a vacuum cleaner to give an orgasm in just ten seconds.

The gadget, called Vortex Vibrations, works by concentrating the air flow to create a rapid and gentle vibration, reports the Sun.

Inventor Joanne Drysdale claims it can give multiple, back-to-back orgasms lasting up to a minute a time - and it does not even touch the skin.

The 49-year-old former toolmaker was cleaning her carpets when she came up with the idea for Vortex, which sells for £35 through

She saw how a piece of rubber that had got caught in the nozzle was gently resonating in the air flow. She also felt a soft stimulation to her fingertips as she tried to remove the rubber.

At the time Joanne, from Utah, had not had sex for 15 years following her divorce.

She said: "In my attempts to alleviate frustration, I began to think what I could do. I noticed how the rubber moved in the top of the vacuum.

"After several hours, I came up with the prototype. The first time I tried it I reached an orgasm within 10 seconds.

"That was when I knew I was on to something that could potentially bring pleasure to all women."

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Friday, November 09, 2007

The Dog, Lenny and the N-Word

I'm not sure why anyone is SHOCKED to hear Duane "The Dog" Chapman, a former biker, drug user, and convicted murderer, use the "n-word."

While, I he's FAR from your typical skinhead racist and has done a lot to atone for his past behavior, his recent apology tour has an insincere ring to it. He sounds like someone desperatly trying to save their job.

Then again, he's an over-the-top kind of person, so this could be his real reaction.

Every time one of these "scandals" comes up, I think about Lenny Bruce's bit on the power we assign to words, the "n-word" in particular:

Well, if all the niggers started calling each other nigger, not only among themselves, which they do anyway, but among others...If President Kennedy got on television and said: 'I'm considering appointing two or three of the top niggers in the country to my cabinet' — if it was nothing but niggers, niggers, niggers — in six months nigger wouldn't mean any more than good night, god bless you... — when that beautiful day comes, you'll never see another nigger kid come home from school crying because some motherpopper called him a nigger.

I'm honestly on the fence this. It makes sense that Chapman lost his show. A&E doesn't really need that kind of PR and bailed.

I understand why the "n-word" has become s a vulgarity. BUT if The Dog had referred to her as a "c*nt", would this national debate even be happening?
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and the Holy Spirit

I toyed with the idea of hosting a "Christ-Figure-In-Film-Blog-a-Thon," (subtitled "WWETD"). I still might. But in the meantime, the "Film and Faith" blog-a-thon hosted by RC at Strange Culture caught my attention.

I've always had a genuine interest for ostensibly "non-religious." films that evoke Christian imagery and yet tell a conventional story. Often, these are more insightful and less melodramatic than movies specifically ABOUT Jesus.

It's not an uncommon element in many films. Some of the more the obvious have been: Klautu from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). The title characters from Hombre and Cool Hand Luke (both from 1967 - wow, Paul Newman did it twice in one year). Even Little Miss Sunshine (2006) has a Christ-figure in it. Sure, he's a drug snorting old degenerate (Alan Arkin), but his death does lead the family out of Hell.

The tricky part is how to fully incorporate a Christ-like character into a storyline, complete with all the New Testament elements, such as the Resurrection (the tricky part in real life too), and still have a plot that stands on it's own.

Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966) is an example of one such film. While loaded with Christian imagery, it still holds up as a traditional Western.

On the face of it, TGTBaTU has a standard Western plot; a trio of desperadoes are all after a stash of stolen gold. But at it's heart, I think Leone was telling a story about man's redemption.

Before you think I'm reaching, hear me out.

The Characters:

  • Christ - The Good (TG) = "The Man With No Name"/Blondie (Clint Eastwood)

  • Death/Damnation - The Bad (TB) = "Angel Eyes" (Lee Van Cleef)

  • Humanity - The Ugly (TU) = Tuco (Eli Wallach)

Tuco (TU) is by far the most irritating character. Self-centered and devious, he's far less sympathetic than "Angel Eyes" (TB), even though the latter is a cold-blooded and sadistic killer. While TU dominates much of the film, he ends up being a the minor player in the contest between "Blondie" (TG) and TB.

The Trinity

In TGTBaTU, the number three comes up a lot:

  • there are three main characters
  • three gunfighters at beginning
  • TG kills 3 bounty hunters
  • TB remarks that "3's a perfect number"
  • Arch Stanton died Feb 3rd


At one point, TU tries to hang TG (it was humanity that put Christ on cross). An explosion from above rescues TG. The shot of the empty noose has a supernatural feel to it.

Later, TG suffers in desert at the hands of TU. One can argue that TG "dies" in the desert and is brought back to life at the monastery.

During the monastery sequence, there's a interchange between TU and one of the monks. In the background is a CLEAR view of a painting depicting Christ on the cross. The way it's staged, TG happens to be in the room that's DIRECTLY BEHIND THE PAINTING (this can't be accidental).

In the first scene after TG's "recovery," we oddly don't see his face right away. Instead, his back is to us. An interesting choice that suggests some sort of transformation has taken place.

His recovery seems to have altered TG morally as demonstrated throughout the remainder of film. For example, TG is the only one of the three main characters who reacts to the horror of war and shows compassion for others. At one point, TG gives wine to dying Civil War captain (absolution?) and tends to him during the final seconds of his life. This is a definite a shift from his persona at beginning.


The final showdown between good and evil takes place AT THE VERY CENTER OF A CEMETERY (should I repeat that?).

Some have seen TGTBaTU as a statement against greed (like Treasure of Sierra Madre). But, if that's the case, then the film is severely flawed because both TG and TU profit at the end without any apparent moral implications.

I'd argue that the theme of greed is a minor part of the story.

In their search for the gold, they dig up Arch Stanton's tomb and only find his corpse. For me, this highlights the fact that DEATH is the real issue the film's characters are grappling with. The battle to find the cache of gold coins equates to the struggle for man's salvation and the ultimate victory over death/damnation.

The gold, as it turns out, is really buried in an unmarked grave.

Since TG is "the man with no name," one could say that it's HIS tomb which is dug up. No corpse is found, just the gold. Therefore, death is conquered via his grave (which is the main point of New Testament).

In the final showdown, as the three men square off, it turns out that Tuco's gun has no bullets. This is because the real battle is between TG and TB (Christ and Death). TU, humanity, is only a spectator.

Tuco is morally corrupt and deserves to die (damnation) as much as "Angel Eyes." Yet, TG ultimately saves him from death. TU is literally STANDING ON A CROSS when rescued by TG and allowed to collect his share of gold (clear symbolism that could have been TOO obvious if not handled so well by Leone).

Furthermore, in that last scene, TU is redeemed only AFTER he has called out to TG for "salvation." This is pretty straightforward Christian dogma.

The final shot of TGTBaTU shows TG on horseback climbing towards high mountains (Christ ascended to Heaven after his work on Earth was finished).

Tuco may be "saved", but (with apologies to Ann Coulter) he's not "perfect." He curses at TG, still demonstrating all the human failings he started with at the film's begining.

To reiterate something I said earlier, for me, this version of "The Good News" is just as powerful in it's presentation as more traditional tellings in films such as Nicholas Ray's King of Kings or George Stevens' often overwrought The Greatest Story Ever Told.

In the latter two, the main character has no texture and humanity doesn't quite seem to NEED His sacrifice.

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It's Called Karma

After losing to Michigan, it sounds like the folks at MSU can dish it out, but can't take it.

From (link)

Dantonio to U-M: 'It's not over'; Hart's words sting Spartans

EAST LANSING -- The already heated Michigan-Michigan State rivalry has gone nuclear, even though the teams don't play again for 354 days.

Yes, coach Mark Dantonio is counting them.

"Can you tell my tone?" Dantonio said at his Monday news conference, time usually spent looking ahead to the next opponent.

"This game is an important game. If they want to mock us, I'm telling them, it's not over. They can print all that crap all they want all over their locker room -- it's not over. It will never be over here. It's just starting."

No, it's over.

...Dantonio was asked if he was amused by Michigan players pausing for a "moment of silence" at midfield at the end of the game, an action intended to mock a statement Dantonio made after U-M lost to Appalachian State. When informed of the loss, Dantonio jokingly asked if he should have a "moment of silence" for the Wolverines.

"I find a lot of the things that they do amusing," Dantonio said. "They need to check themselves sometimes. But just remember, pride comes before the fall."

But, didn't Coach Dantonio start the whole thing by making the "moment of silence" remark in the first place?

I'll answer that, yes.

..."We don't have to disrespect people. We'll come to play. We don't have to be disrespected. But if they want to make a mockery of it, so be it. Their time will come."

Oh come on, pretty much the entire country was ALL over Michigan after their debacle with Appalachian State. So, it's laughable for MSU people to act as though they've always taken the high road.

...Quarterback Brian Hoyer took a similar tone.

"If anybody hadn't taken this personal up to this point, it's personal," Hoyer said. "Sooner or later, the little brother -- if you want to put us that way -- you get pushed around, and little brother fights back and kicks the other brother's ass.

Since this is Hoyer's last year, it'll have to be never.

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JibJab 2.0

"Starring You" is the latest neat idea from the folks at JibJab, who made it cool to be a "right-wing nut-job" or a "liberal wiener" in "This Land"and "It's Good to be in D.C."

Basically, it allows anyone to add pictures of themselves, family or coworkers to prepacked animated vignettes (with the usual JibJab sense of humor).
The image rendering tool takes a little practice, but anyone can master it. You don't need Photoshop or any other graphic software. Just photo files of the people you want to add into the animations.

Proving that they're non-partisan, my personal JibJab favorites are the "Night of the Living Republicans/Democrats."

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Sunday, November 04, 2007


Now the Lions are 6 and 2. It looks like .500 is going to be easy. Should I go double or nothing on a playoff spot?

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Who Controls the Facebook, Controls the Future

What's the best route to world domination?
  • Brainwash high level government officials
  • Spy on members of Congress
  • Blackmail people in the Department of Defense
No Pinky, the best way to take over the world is to closely monitor people who have nothing better to do than play in their Facebook account all day.

The Facebook "whistle blowers" have even put together a Flash presentation that outlines how the various government and Internet agencies are interconnected in this plot. I love the org charts that they use to connect the dots.

As they state:
Who knows where the information they collect about these three million college students, alumni, and professors is going, or what they intend to do with it. The fact that these companies and agencies are all so closely related, and that The Facebook has almost no organizational transparency are all cause for concern. Hopefully we can soon uncover the truth.
Be afraid...very afraid.
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Friday, November 02, 2007

Maybe There IS Such a Thing as "Bad Press"

If a press secretary falls in the the forrest, and no one's around to talk about it, does it still get discussed? I guess so.

From the Freep. (link)
Kilpatrick's press secretary arrested

Matt Allen, the press secretary for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, was arrested overnight on domestic abuse charges.

Detroit police spokeswoman Yvette Walker said Allen was taken into custody at 2:30 a.m. at his home on the 2100 block of Seminole in Detroit's Indian Village. She said police responded to a domestic disturbance run at the home.

Allen attended the Detroit Press Club Steak Out media event last night that served free beer and wine at the Marriott Hotel inside the Renaissance Center. Walker said Allen is still in custody and the situation remains under investigation.

She said she was unsure about the extent of injuries to Allen's wife, who is the complainant. Walker wasn't sure who called police.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

He Shoots...He ZZZZAP

Funny video of some jackass walking around to TVs where crowds have gathered to watch soccer and then shutting them off with a remote. (link)

He's annoying, but less annoying than the laser-pointer people.

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