Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Adrian Peterson Helmet Cam - Being AP

Footage which gives you the first-person perspective of the best running back in the NFL today.

Cool stuff

 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Staples MN Fire Department's Gas Lesson

My nephew is the Chief of the fire department in Staples, Minnesota.  Recently they conducted a joint exercise with the Eagle Bend, Minnesota fire department to show the power of propane.

The filled a house with the equivalent of two 20 pound tanks of gas (the size that run your typical gas grill), then ignited it.

The results speak for themselves

  KMSP-TV

Amazing.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hunter Mahan, Real Man

Leading the Canadian Open after three days, and going into the final day looking for his first 2013 Tour win, Hunter Mahan got the call that his wife was going into labor.  It was coming a month before her due date, but she was heading to the hospital.

And leaving his two-stoke lead and potential million dollar payday behind, Hunter Mahan withdrew and sped the airport to catch a flight to be with his wife.

Perhaps that kind of behavior should be expected and not lauded.  But in an era where husbands send naked pictures of themselves to young women and still expect fame and fortune, it is refreshing to see a man leave fame and fortune behind to be a man.

I have a new favorite golfer.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Death of Shame

The Anthony Weiner campaign underscores a current in American society - where has shame gone?

The guy resigned once already for tweeting his junk to a woman that was not his wife.  Then, in the middle of rehabbing his "brand," he's caught sexting filth to a number of women; some young enough to be daughters.

But this time he's not going away, and there remains a small but staunch group that still support him.

At what point do your actions cause shame anymore?  And at what point will society - as a whole - condemn you for your actions?  

Maybe it is the Catholic in me, I don't know, but I still see the world in right and wrong.  And every day it appears that such a worldview is becoming smaller.  

In the meantime, I find it interesting that the GOP is still considered to be anti-woman when this pig can operate the way he does and still be supported and adored.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Drumming Grandma

When I first saw this, I felt it had to be fake.  She's too good, and appears too old, for this to be anything other than somebody dressed up,  but she's been identified and definitely had the pedigree to pull off the solo that got captured.

Keep on rockin'

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cabela's Grand Opening Sneak Peek in Green Bay

I use only one credit card to consolidate my "rewards" as much as possible, and that's my Cabela's card.  As such, everything goes on that card, and I do mean everything.  Given the amount of transactions I make in a year, I've earned the most elite status a Cabela's cardholder can have - a black card.

Thus, imagine my thrill, after driving past the under-construction Cabela's store twice a day for about the past year, to receive this in the mail:


I felt like Charlie Bucket and I finally had a Golden Ticket to get me into Mr. Wonka's wonderland.

And a wonderland it was.  Here are some photos:


While smaller in square footage than the stores that I'm used to in Rogers and Owatonna, the layout, mounts, and decor are much nicer.  This is a beautiful, beautiful store.


Wisconsin's record whitetails


One of two displays for Wisconsin decoy manufacturers.  Neither of which were George Herter.  This was a massive miss by Cabela's - if there was no Herter's, it would be doubtful there would have been a Cabela's.  They bought what was left of the company and had tons of opportunity to tell the Herter's story.  Huge miss, and the one big thing they did wrong.


The gun library.  Not much there that impressed me.  Was surprised they'd open with a weaker selection.  Compared to other stores (I've visited six different Cabela's stores in my life), this assortment was the worst, and by a large amount.


The requisite taxidermy mountain.  The mounts were scattered all over the store, and they all were incredible.  Very well done.


This picture does not do this mount justice, so click on the photo to see a larger image.  In it, you'll note that the mountain lion is not connected to anything - it is not touching the mountain, nor is it suspending by wires.  The lion just has its left paw on the back of the sheep.  Look even closer and you'll note that the sheep has only one leg - it's rear right leg - that is touching the ground.  Two full animals, one of them suspended in the air, are balancing on one leg of the mount!  I've never seen anything like it, and as such, this is the most impressive mount I've ever seen in my life.  A trip to this store is worth it just to see this mount.  Seriously.

Overall, the store is beautiful.  It is well stocked, the employees were fairly knowledgeable (and will only get better with experience), and the decor gorgeous.  This is easily the nicest outdoors store within a two hour drive (Bass Pro in Gurnee Mills).  Given how nice it is, its proximity to Lambeau Field (about four blocks away) and Lambeau's ability to bring folks into town for a pilgrimage regardless of the season, this store will be a license to print money.

It is a huge addition to the community of Green Bay.  Hats off, Cabela's team.  You guys hit a retail home run.

See you soon. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kickstarter Project for Suburbs New Album


I've committed to my first Kickstarter project.  For those unfamiliar with it, Kickstarter is a platform that provides tools for creative projects to be funded by crowd funding.  In my example, the Suburbs (a beloved Minneapolis band from the '80's) are looking to launch a new album, but need to raise $65,000 to do so.  You can see their Kickstarter page here. 

With three days to go, they're short, and I'm not sure if they'll be able to get there from here.  And the way Kickstarter works is that if the endeavor doesn't get fully funded, those that committed to invest are under no obligation.  

Personally, I hope they make it.

Here's a release from their new album if they can pull it off

Monday, July 22, 2013

What is the Song in the Kia Cadenza Commercial?

You may have seen the following:



The remix of David Bowie's Let's Dance is incredible!  The remix is by InFiction, and if you want a listen or a download, you can grab it here:




Great remix from a great artist of a great song.  Well done, Kia.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Top Things I Took for Granted in My Youth

Getting older isn't easy.  Little things that I'd never considered now have manifested themselves to be big deals in my middle age.  

Some have been coming on for a while, and others hit me like a bolt of lightening.  But the changes did come, and all of them are substantive.

For those of you of a younger age, here are a couple of things to embrace while you still have them:

  • Eyesight - The good Lord didn't bless me with much from a physical gift standpoint, but one thing I enjoyed my whole life has been outstanding eyesight.  Then, two years ago, a switch got flipped and I can't read a damned thing anymore without cheaters.  It sucks, and I hate it.
  • Hair - I don't mind being bald from a looks perspective, but hair makes for an outstanding sun screen.  Hence, hats are now mandatory for any time spent outdoors.
  • Sleep - Oh, how I miss a good night's sleep.  Maybe one day a week I get one, and what a difference it makes to my mental and physical energy.  The rest of the week is spent tossing all night and slugging caffeine all day.
  • Friends - I used to have a ton of good friends.  Then life got busy.  Careers took a ton of time, and kids changed lives for all of my buddies.  Now we communicate infrequently, and get together even less.
  • Weekends - What used to be reserved for fun has now been changed to a much needed period of time that is used to get caught up on work that was not able to be addressed during the work week.
It's crazy how quick life has changed, and how you can so miss things that you didn't even know you were taking for granted.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

2013 Duck Forecast

The good folks over at the US Fish and Wildlife Service have released their waterfowl survey for the year, and numbers look great again.  Some highlights:

  • Mallards remain 36% over the long-term average.  Great news for greenhead hunters
  • Wigeon increased by 23% last year to get to their long-term average
  • Canvasback, a species that was so low that they could not be hunted just a number of years ago, is now at 37% over their long-term average
  • Scaup remain a concern.  They dropped 20% in the past year, and are 17% below their long-term average
See below for the full details
Looks to be another good year in the swamp.

Friday, July 19, 2013

What Kids Can Teach Us About the Trayvon Martin Situation

The case of the assault of George Zimmerman and subsequent shooting of Trayvon Martin has brought out the worst in people.  Black America, their grievances on a medium boil since the Civil Rights era, have boiled over.  Liberal America, seeking inroads both to the race and gun situation, stirs the pot.  Traditional media, sensing a bigger story at hand, has time and again sought to pour gasoline on the fire.  And social media is awash with abject racism and overt threats of violence.

In the wake of all of this, you might feel like we've made absolutely zero progress in race relations.  Indeed, our country can elect (and reelect) a black man to the most powerful position in all of human history, and still one isolated assault threatens massive violence in our streets. 

We seem to be unable to stop hating each other.

Then I bumped into this video:



I know it's long, and I also know portions of it are almost sickeningly politically correct.  However, if you can get past that and get to what the kids are saying, and how they're reacting, there's cause for hope.

Families are doing it right.  Churches are doing it right.  The kids are getting it.  So where are we breaking down?

We break down in the exact places where we should not - Higher education.  Government. Entertainment.  Media.

All of those areas continue to judge the world by race.  They continue to keep score as to who is what, and who's owed what.  They don't see our commonality.  They only see our differences.  They perceive massive debts left unpaid.  They loathe our history, and in some instances, our country.  Thus, the anger, resentment, and violence continue.

The harm that has been done to this country by these groups under the auspices of "doing good" is tangible.  I won't go into a laundry list of what's wrong with race relations right now - this list is too long and too obvious.  But it is safe to say that it, based on the actions and opinions of some of pillars of our society, we've made basically no progress.

But then I look at a video of some kids - untainted by those institutions that are rewarded for perpetuating racial strife, and I feel like maybe we have a chance.

We'll see.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rolling Stone Starts the Time Bomb Ticking

For someone that has loved music forever, there was also a period in my life in which I loved Rolling Stone.  From my high school days through college I kept a subscription, and was thrilled when each issue arrived.  It was always fun to see where my favorite albums were in the rankings in the back, who some of the new bands were (and if I knew them already or not), and, most importantly, who was on the cover.

Ah, yes.  To be on the cover of the Rolling Stone.  The thing rockers have dreamed of since its launch in 1967.

But times have changed, as has the magazine.  While it has always had a liberal bent, for its latest issue, it went and did this:


Since its launch of the latest issue, Rolling Stone has tried to explain away why they chose to use a glory shot of a mass murderer on their cover.  And despite all of their efforts at explanation,  they still chose to use a glory shot of a mass murderer on their cover.  

And by glory shot, I mean exactly that.  When I first saw the cover, I felt it looked familiar.  Then I remembered this:


We now live in a culture in which youth have a self-important, narcissistic, reality show, "look at me," psyche.  A simple review of the social media habits of that group prove it out.  Need a great example?  The All Star Game of two nights ago was delayed while a person ran on the field because he got 1,000 retweets of his proposal to do so.   

Mark my words, some unstable youth has looked at this cover treatment that Rolling Stone has provided, and sees a great way to infamy.  

And when they commit their mayhem, when the dust clears and the bodies are carted off, when the society mourns yet again, and when the blood is all wiped up, Rolling Stone will have that blood on their hands.

Imbeciles.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Forge Video

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote of my friend Dan who took his own life.  

I bumped into this video, and could not help but think of him.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

12 Classic Rock Tunes to Turn Up, Not Off

While fishing at the cabin, I'll typically listen to one of the local "classic rock" stations.  Given my age and my love of music, the tunes played by the stations are ones that I've heard hundreds, if not thousands of times before.

There are some that, upon hearing the first couple of bars, have me running to switch over to the next station.  But there are others that, upon recognizing, I'm reaching for the volume.  Seems that while I've heard them all my life, I still can't get enough.

Here they are, my top 12 songs to crank up, regardless of how many times they're been heard previously:

Baba O'Riley - The Who.  No matter how many times I hear this song, once it starts, I simply cannot wait for the piano chords to kick in, followed shortly by Keith Moon's impeccable drum work, and Roger Daltrey's power vocals.  Pete Townsend always had a fantastic flair for the dramatic in his songwriting, and this is an awesome example.  

Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones.  To me, this song captures the Stones at the height of their powers.  Keith Richards guitar playing is off the charts, and Charlie Watts drumming absolutely makes the song.  I think this is the finest song in the Stones library, and by a long shot.

Surrender - Cheap Trick.  It could be the quirky lyrics, Rick Nielsen's guitar work, Robin Zander's power vocals, or the ending where "we're all all right!" but this is an awesome song. 

Fame - David Bowie.  My goodness, has this song aged well.  It is funky, gritty, and session player Dennis Davis' drum playing is out of this world.  Plus the close where John Lennon sings "Fame" at fast, normal, then slow playback speeds is still something that cannot get old to me.

Dreams - Fleetwood Mac.  This is the quintessential Fleetwood Mac song - strong rhythm laid down by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, truly artistic guitar work by Lindsay Buckingham, and haunting vocals by Stevie Nicks.  This song is still best heard at night. 

Barracuda - Heart.  Perhaps the simplest guitar riff in all of rock and roll, but you cannot argue its effectiveness.  This song stills kicks ass.  

Black Dog - Led Zeppelin.  "Hey hey momma said the way you move, gonna make you sweat gonna make you groove."  That's pretty much anybody needs to know.

Cinnamon Girl - Neil Young.  Perhaps the best bridge in all of classic rock.  "Pa send me money now, I'm gonna make it somehow, I need another chance.  You see your baby loves to dance - yeah, yeah, yeah" followed by the "woo" in the guitar solo.  And if you ever hear a band cover this song and they don't do the "woo," then they really didn't cover the song at all.

Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd.  In a vastly impressive catalog, this is by far the best Pink Floyd song ever.  It is that way because it is equal parts Roger Waters (who does the gruff first vocals and drives the song via an awesome bass line) and David Gilmour (who does the airy second vocals, and absolutely kills on the two guitar solos).  This song, when done either by just Waters or just Gilmour, just misses.  It misses the synergy these two giants, combined, bring to it.   

The Spirit of Radio - Rush.  Classic Rush, as all three players are spotlighted.  Really listen to this song the next time you hear it and listen to the musicianship you hear.  It will blow you away.

Breakdown - Tom Petty.  This is Petty's signature tune (while most of the other ones above are not), but I don't care.  The funky vocals, power chorus, and soulful keyboard make this a song to turn up.

Black Cow - Steely Dan.  To really appreciate this song, you really need good acoustics to appreciate the musicianship.  That's hard to get that trolling on a lake while chasing walleye, but it is still enjoyable.

La Grange - ZZ Top  But only if it is the original version of La Grange

OK, which ones did I miss?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Top 5 Tips to Improve Your Odds of Avoiding Travel Delay

Flying nowadays has become a real challenge.  Airlines have optimized flight schedules, plane types, demand modeling, and pricing to ensure that just about every seat is filled.  Airports now sprawl across multiple buildings; sometimes in multiple locations.  And for the traveler trying to arrive at their destination, any slight upset in this environment can mean a missed flight, delayed arrival, a night in a hotel, or worse, a night in the airport.

While there are no foolproof ways to ensure that you will arrive where you're travelling on time, there are some things the you can employ to improve your odds of getting where you're headed as soon as possible: 

  • Fly in the Morning - This is just a function of simple math: the earlier you fly, the more options you have during the day in the event you need to re-book due to something going wrong.  Likewise, weather tends to be less severe during the morning hours, hence morning travel give you the best chance of avoiding weather-related travel delays (and the ripple effect those delays cause).
  • Pay For Premium Seating - Some airlines offer the ability to pay a fee to set closer to the plane's exit.  When connections become tight, that extra ten minutes you gain by exiting the plane quickly can mean the difference of making your next flight or rerouting.  
  • Get the App - Download and use the app of the airline that you're flying.  It will provide you with the most up-to-date information on your flight schedules and departure gates.  Immediately launch it upon touch down and you will know exactly where to go and what to do before the plane has stopped taxiing.  No more wasting critical minutes looking for monitors or asking questions.
  • Fly Through Hubs - When faced with choices of where your flights will connect, always take the flights that connect through major hubs of the carrier you're taking on the next flight.  Hubs are where the planes are stored and serviced, so if the plane you're supposed to take develops a mechanical issue, there is a full mechanical crew to work on it and/or additional planes that can be called into service.  Likewise, many pilots and crew live in hub cities, which also affords better chance to work around situations where the crew for a given flight is delayed or has worked their legal shift.
  • Know Your Geography - There may be times where you become delayed for an extended period, however you may be only a couple hour car/bus ride from your destination.  By knowing where you're at and it's proximity to where you need to be, you can give yourself options.

Clearly there will be times and conditions that cause delays - some simply can't be avoided.  But by employing the above, you mitigate your chances of being delayed.

Good luck!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sum Ting Wong with KTVU's Reporting of Asiana Airlines Crash

I know this is a tragedy.  I know people died, and it was a terrible accident.  I know I shouldn't find this funny.

But I think it's funny as hell:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Budweiser Buddy Cup

A very interesting bridging of branding and social media.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Aussie Beatbox Tom Thum Blows Ted Talks Away

This is long, but stay with it.  It really is incredible.

Somewhere, I have to believe that Bobby McFerrin is smiling broadly:



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Facebook Word Cloud

WolframAlpha has an extremely powerful tool that helps users understand data around a given Facebook engagement.  You can try it out for yourself here.

One of the more powerful analyses is a "word cloud" generator based on words used on your Facebook updates.  For those unfamiliar with what word clouds are, an abridged definition from Wikipedia is as follows:

A word cloud is a visual representation for text data, typically used to depict keywords on websites, or to visualize free form text. Keywords are usually single words, and the importance of each keyword is shown with font size or color. This format is useful for quickly perceiving the most prominent terms and for locating a term alphabetically to determine its relative prominence. 

With that as the background, here is my word cloud for all of my Facebook posts:

Things that make me happy:
  • "Vikings" is my #2 keyword!  Note there is no mention of the Packers
  • "Please," "Great," and "Good," all positive, are prominent
  • "Friends" are well represented
Things that make me sad:
  • "Work" is my #1 keyword
  • The only mention of family is a very small use of the term "brother"
This little tool can sure tell you a lot.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Elbert Guillory on Why He Became a Republican

This is somewhat old, so forgive me for getting to it so late.  

While it does have it's weaker moments, picking up at the 1:45 mark Senator Guillory starts throwing rhetorical hay-makers, and those punches land.  Hard.  Right on the chin.

For thirty years on now, the Democratic party has owned the black vote, and as the Senator so clearly points out, that is exactly the most appropriate word about the relationship: owned.

Think about that.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Carry On, Part Two

The most uplifting story you'll see today.  A little long, but worth it:


Monday, July 8, 2013

"Happy Folder" Example

I still use a Franklin planner.  I know, for someone in the ecommerce industry, I should have found a way to go completely electronic.  However, for me the act of taking a physical, written note is just more powerful than typing on my iPad.  Plus, I've been using the Franklin system since the early '90's.  Old habits...

On of the things I keep in it is a page written by a person who used to work for me.  The occasion for the note was ahead of a major presentation to our private equity group.  I was stressed out, worried, and even a little intimidated.

The P.S. of the note meant (and means) the world to me.  It serves as a reminder that I don't completely suck, that things always tend to work out in the end, and that I'm not in it alone - I have people that have my back.

I've saved this note ever since it was written 10 years ago.  I still refer to it on bad days.

It took MC about 30 seconds to write it, and it has provided me with support and inspiration for a decade.  Powerful stuff.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The "Happy Folder" and the Power of the Written Word

In the past 13 years, I’ve reported to 10 different people across 4 different jobs.  That’s a lot of bosses; each with their own styles, strengths, quirks, and attitudes. 

I happened to receive a note from one of those bosses last week – the 1st of the 10 listed above.  The note came completely out of the blue.

In it, he told me he was rummaging through some old documents and happened to stumble across a note I had penned to him on the occasion of his leaving the company.  He told me that the words I wrote in that note meant so much to him that he held onto it for over a decade.

I was struck by his communication.  First, how generous of him to share his sentiment with me. Second, isn’t it amazing the power of the written word?  Words, when they’re cemented in a physical note, email, or a post become tangible to the recipient.  They can be saved, savored, or act as the ultimate pick-me-up on days in which it appears the entire world is against you.

At work, I keep and maintain a “happy folder” – a folder of files and emails from others to me in which they’ve taken the time to pay me a compliment.  And on really tough days, that’s were I go to confirm to myself that I don’t completely suck. 

I think other people likely do that as well, hence when it comes time to recognize someone for a job well done, I try to always do so in a written format that can be saved.  Saying “great job!” and offering a hearty handshake is so fleeting.  A heartfelt, honest, and eloquent written compliment can last for a long time.

In the case of my former boss, it can last over a decade.  And that out of the blue note he wrote to me?  Oh, yeah, it’s currently in my “happy folder.”

Friday, July 5, 2013

Liar for Hire

Need someone to cover for your fake employment history, offer a false renter's reference, or provide an alibi to your spouse on where exactly you spent last night?  Look no further than Paladin Deception Services.

As was recently featured by the Pioneer Press, Paladin will help to concoct a story, will set up and email address and phone number to give the story plausibility, and will lie for you.  All for a low, low fee of $59.

While they don't do anything illegal (e.g. no lies to government or police), they will do unethical.  And immoral.  All one needs to provide is the cash and the desire to deceive someone.

What is happening with us?   

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day

It seems important, now more than ever, to dust this off:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pick a Side

Wendy Davis' filibuster has been hailed by the left as one of the biggest political stances since Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat.  As such, it has turned traditionally conservative Texas into a national flash point for the abortion debate.

On one side reside the traditional pro-life crowd.  The religious.  Their protest constitutes things like praying and singing Amazing Grace. 

On the other side is the traditional pro-abortion crowd.  Their protest constitutes drum circles and shouting out "Hail Satan."  

Really.
   


OK you Independents: there's your choice.  Choose.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Blitz #1 Pet Book on Lulu.com

Though some great support of family and friends, It's, It's a Dog Named Blitz is currently the #1 book in the Pets category on Lulu.com.

While it clearly is not the New York Times Best Seller List, it is still something.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Wedding and the Five Card Studs

Mrs. YDP and I attended the wedding of a good friend this past weekend in Sheboygan.  It was a fantastic affair.  The reception was held at the John Michael Kohler Art Center, which was a gorgeous facility.  There are many successful businesses in the area, and they definitely believe in giving back to the community.  It was obvious in this building.

How nice was it?  Well, for the most obvious example, here's the men's bathroom:



It wasn't just me considering it nice, either.  This thing was written up as the best bathroom in America:



I kind of hated using it.  But use it I did, as the wine flowed easy in celebration of the happy couple's nuptials.  The food was also outstanding, as was the dinner conversation among the guests.  I'm not one to use the word often, but I can only describe it in one word: lovely.  From start to end.

But the end - ah, that's where things got good.  Entertainment was provided by the Five Card Studs, and it could not have been any better.  Playing a really funky mix of soul, pop, and disco - mostly from the 70's, and mostly more obscure songs - the band had the crowd eating out of their hands.



The band has a unique style and look - part Vegas lounge act, part old-school wedding band, part disco throwback band - but don't let the act fool you.  These are very good musicians and vocalists.  Just note the harmonies they hit on this brief video I snapped last night:




For a better, and longer representation of the band, check out the following:




I can't imagine a better wedding band.  Hell, I can't imagine a better party band, period.  Reminded me a lot of the Twin Cities Johnny Holm.

What a great wedding!  And what a great lead on a party band.  Consider me officially on the lookout for the next Studs' show near us.
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