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Archive for the category “Everybody’s Critic”

“The Best Man Holiday ” Was Truly The BEST!

Every-so-often as a writer you run across something that brings tears to your eyes and rouses your spirit.  A piece that makes you say, ” This is why I write, I wish I could write like that, or Thank God for writers!”

This morning I was surfing the internet looking for inspiration. I have a couple things pending, and I always like to either publish something positive to follow-up or even neutralize a negative. I came across a movie trailer for “The Best Man Holiday”.   I was in a nostalgic type mood and recalled how much I enjoyed the first film  as I found myself laughing aloud at this current trailer. It was early and I decided, I would go.

The theater was rather full for a Friday morning. The audience was well mixed. I expected different in Gwinnett County Georgia. Picking up years later you felt like you were going home for the holidays. You watched these endearing, intelligent diverse, funny characters maneuver around LIFE happening to them.  The wonderful familiar faces, charming personalities, and a smart script made you laugh, cry, and warmed your heart.

If you want to do something for yourself today, treat yourself to a quick visit to the forthcoming holidays, that will remind you what “the holidays ” are all about. A film that will help you reflect on sharing with friends, family, and gives tribute to the human spirit. Don’t take my word for it, go see it!!!

What Richie Can Learn About Being INCOGNITO

As I read a little about this controversial player, the first impression was loud mouthed-attention-hungry scumbag. He has all the necessary pieces to qualify for that label in my book. He is from New Jersey, he has Italian heritage, he attended school in racial/diversity insensitive areas (Nebraska and Arizona), he has been referred for Anger Management repeatedly, he gropes and molests women at will,  he was named NFL “dirtiest player”  in 2009  are among his accomplishments.. hummmm He hasn’t been looked upon in a positive manner, since high school sports were a part of his life. Get the picture? Now of course I am being extreme with the reference to Italian heritage,  everything else I stand by.  We cannot overlook or ignore the horrid impression  and impact “Jersey Shore and Snooki “ have had on two of my points of reference though. However, I am NOT that narrow-minded. I have no issue with Italians; I believe many of them do have issues about certain characteristics, but all-in-all who among US in this great big human family is NOT in denial on one level or another? Big, bad, and over-the-top. Richie you went too far, it appears(“p.c. alert”). I, in spite of myself listened to this man speak about the incident(s) briefly. He seemed to be doing a very good well rehearsed job of explaining himself. The “Blue Fairy ” in me wanted to believe this guy is JUST a dumb-ass, but my better judgment said,” How naive; how long, how many excuses can you give a 30 year old MAN to make this behavior forgivable?!” I rummaged through interview snippets from players on his team and in the league trying to make this  seem blown out-of-proportion. I was especially critical of the African-American players siding with him. I lost ALL ability to justify or excuse when the “n-word” factor came into play. For that word in and of itself is subject for many and another dialog.  The”n” word also is a source that breathed life and fanned the flame of this controversy of Richie Incognito.

Is Richie a racist, perhaps. Did he make bad decisions, CERTAINLY! Can he recover, possibly. Did he learn anything, TIME WILL TELL! Now here is a little something. His name suggests mystery, subtlety, and NOT drawing attention to oneself. However, his behavior is the antithesis and now it has ONCE AGAIN gotten him in trouble. There are people,and we all know at least one, who would rather have a light shone on them in a bad way than no light at all. Richie Incognito exhibits those characteristics. Now that he has time off, the possibility of his bank accounts being relieved of some of their “weight”, and exclusion from the club he wants so much to be a part of; Richie, you may want to re-think that persona of yours. Research that last name of yours and practice some of the defining traits of someone who exists “INCOGNITO”. Also while you are expanding your horizons and enlightening yourself take note of another word, the word whose malicious and careless use by YOU probably will be the source of your career’s demise and life as you know it. Next time you decide to drop the “n” word think before you speak, and realize had you done this before you may not be where you currently are. Here is a pearl of wisdom for you; IT IS NEVER OKAY TO USE THE “n” WORD! NEVER!

“The Butler” A Review and Beyond

A couple of days ago, I saw The Butler. No matter how much one thinks they know about history, there will inevitably be something that rises to the surface to let you know you haven’t scratched it.

At first I did not pay close attention to the demographic of the people in the theater. However there was a delay due to technical difficulty, which gave me an opportunity to actually look around and see who was there.  My friend and I went to an mid-morning show; it was very balanced by gender and race, the age range was (in my opinion) across the board 50-somethings and you can imagine why.

Based on the life-story of Eugene Allen; the movie had all the intensity and impact of that which is genuine. It grabs you within the first five minutes and jars your soul, then it slowly brings you back with astounding and amazing experiences. You will be oblivious to the fact, this is not a real person. End credits and research afterwards brought this back into my recollection.

I tried to think as I watched the story unfold; overcome with emotion I abandoned any hope of connecting facts and information, the objective now was for me to allow myself to simply feel. How must one feel to be opinion-less in an environment of the opinionated, colorblind in a sea of color coded reality, silent and invisible all the while wanting to scream.

The movie began when the character Cecil was a child, the era when my own father was a child; my heart ached as I came to terms with what was probably my father’s reality during that period in America. I tried to escape my emotions as I watched the Presidents, I was aware of, and the events that were taking place during their terms in office. Civil Rights Movement, Assassinations, Vietnam War, Impeachment and “Reganomics”. I reflected on how these historic events touched my life and affected me. I could not fathom what it would have been like, right there at the pulse of these very same events and be stifled. Life does not allow spectators, you HAVE to be an active participant and there are no exceptions. The film did a great job of depicting the turmoil and challenges of an individual placed in a position that went against numerous natural and human reactions.

I wondered what went on in the hearts and minds of an overall unjust people, in the presence of the people their group actively oppressed and harmed. I questioned if they had any idea about what risks they took, entrusting their very lives and lives of their loved ones, with people who had nothing but  overwhelming reason to want to destroy their very being.  I thought,” what a sad, sick society we live(d) in.” Then I related to the “two faces” one must display(and generally does) in the presence of the group in power.

I wondered what the audience in the theater with me thought of the film. All of my friends and family who have seen “The Butler“heralded it wonderful, in short. It is a box office smash, therefore it can be deemed a success. The movie made a tremendous mark upon me and I only hope it has the same effect on all who see it. If that happens it then can be said, “mission accomplished”.

“All-Out” Pregnancy

It’s not spring but it feels like a good time for this “Autumn Baby” to talk about having babies. While our group has long passed the age of reproducing or as only nature says and defines(i.e. menopause); we are still being affected by child birth and babies, mostly as grandparents. Two of my friends are expecting new grand-babies within a few months; one a seasoned veteran, the other a novice, but  the excitement, anticipation, shopping, party planning is evidence we are enjoying this role.

She walked into Kaiser’s pharmacy,  in between what appeared to be six to eight months “along”. She wore the morphed version of platform styled shoes with stiletto heels, figure hugging leggings, hair perfectly coiffed (weave and all), her top was well coordinated and showed off ever curve and bulge of her pregnancy. I tried not to stare, I am not certain I was successful. My initial reaction was reduced to internet lingo “SMH”, but my mind would not allow me to stop there.  As I studied this young woman and wondered was I feeling this disapproval because I am beyond the child bearing years and jealous(because my hormones make me crazy), am I out-of-touch, am I old and judgmental,  or was this mother-to-be just inappropriately dressed. I concluded that many of the prior cited thoughts, could very well be applicable.

I was researching my thoughts when I came across an article in The New Yorker from two years ago titled “Parents Of A Certain Age”. It was a remarkable piece, I was enlightened and amazed by it. Covering everything from the bliss of being first time parents at the half-century mark with financial stability, to the the possibilities of having a debilitating stroke during or right after giving birth. I kept going; now I was on a mission, looking up fashions and cultural aspect of pregnancy. Why was  this grandmother so intrigued and involved with this natural phenomenon? Be certain I was not trying to join the ranks of the older mothers from the New Yorker article.

I was seeking understanding. I wanted to know why this  redefining of pregnancy  was happening. Fashion was only one aspect of it, although it was taking a very interesting turn.  Now I am a mother, so I have been pregnant. I went though my childbearing years with Demi Moore”gracing” the cover of a magazine nude. Fashion’s cutting edge suggestions for the 1980’s was to use your husband’s dress shirts and a opened front vest, in opposed to a frilly, childish, or matronly top. We ever wore over-sized tee shirts designed to drape over the “baby bump“. Maternity fashions have historically been expensive and down right ugly; it is easy to see why women would look for alternatives, but pregnant women should look carefully.

Now you see painted bellies, outfits that accentuate(like that is needed) the bellies, and yes bare bellies many with protruding belly buttons. Celebrities are known for being out there, but we everyday people are supposed to know better. Seriously anyone, these days, three years old and above knows what that protruding abdomen means. Are young women so obsessed and pressured about their looks that they still need validation in pregnancy.  Whose attention are you trying to get?

When I read an excerpt from a fashion article  encouraging women to display their “baby bumps in form fitting materials is so sexy”, I thought I would scream(and vomit). Now we are turning the bellies into a fetish? Great, objectify a woman in a state that should ONLY be appealing to HER mate. Wait a minute this woman is not only unavailable she is not alone (i.e. with child???)! Please understand I am not saying pregnancy is sickening, embarrassing, or something to hide; I am saying modesty, health, and safety are things women in the condition should consider. You are having a baby, not prepping for a bikini photo shoot. Tight clothing can slow the digestive process causing heartburn, those beautiful high heels and your expanding out of balance body may have a propensity to stumbles, trips, and falls(which could be devastating in “flats” let alone 3 and 1/2 inch stiletto heels).

Expectant mothers are beautiful, glowing and full of new life. Realize your pregnancy is a personal experience, unique to YOU and your partner. As we weren’t audience to the beginnings of this impending blessed event, we should not be “knee deep” in this aspect of the event either. Therefore beautiful, proud, elated “mothers-to-be” take one more look in the mirror before you step outside; realize that precious cargo you carry within you, will be exposed to the world soon enough.

Now That’s Cute?

In the wake of Miley Cyrus’ crash and burn performance at the  2013 VMAs I started looking at what we deem to be cute. Our society likes to look, we enjoy the” finer” things and are obsessed with celebrity and celebrities are obsessed with being in the limelight. However, our youngsters are getting the wrong message. Partially because “we” are sending them flawed information.

I remember as a child watching the Mickey Mouse Club (in black and white no less).  I wondered what one needed to do to be a kid on television. I don’t think I was alone but in Kansas, well that task would be a bit more difficult. The early 1980’s brought forth a new revamped and a bit more diverse Mickey Mouse Club. Mickey was now quietly competing with MTV. Nowadays my granddaughter enjoys the Disney Channel; 24 hours of Mickey Mouse, Princesses, Doc McStuffins, Little Einsteins and an array of talented “tweens” coming to the adult world faster than you can quite frankly”wish upon a star” for.

However, there seems to be a new epidemic surfacing, or should I say resurfacing. These kids are being thrown into growing up on screen before they actually have time to grow up. Now this is not new to the harsh world of reality for child stars, but we see some really bizarre reactions to no longer being cute. Why, because being cute just isn’t enough. They long for, crave, no they demand an enormous amount of gratification and attention.  When they do not get this attention they do what any child would do, they throw a tantrum and they are doing it in the most public way.

I cannot point my finger at them(the kids) exclusively, what of the adults who are cashing in and exploiting them. When Miley did her version of what many are describing as a “g-rated sex show”(oxymoron anyone), did we forget that Robin Thicke was on stage with her? If he was surprised, he sure did a great job of improvising his way through it. Surely the producers of the show saw where this was going and could have pulled the plug at any time, but what happened, nothing.

There is a little movie starring Lindsey Lohan, another casualty of the Disney Empire, called “Mean Girls”; it addresses a host of problems children in our society deal with growing up in the seemingly normal life. It is hilarious, but there is a particular scene that comes to mind where the spotlight is shone on the younger sister of one of the main characters. This little girl is depicted as PERHAPS a second grader watching a sexy music video and imitating the provocative moves.. sound/seem familiar?

These little girls are most definitely cute, but it is clear that no matter how the industry tries to disguise it, there is the underlying power of the corporate big-wigs to sell sex, and it doesn’t matter if they use kids who are ready, or mature, or legal. They are another drop in the bucket and   if they get out of hand they simply switch to the next “flavor of the month”.

Therefore when you are watching your little angel grow up and shine, carefully cultivate her talent and beauty. Then if you feel compelled to share her with the world on this level  and in this particular forum, be wary of exposing her to too much limelight all at once. Her delicate self may not be able to withstand it.

So, You’re Trying NOT To Be Excellent

Seasons are drawing to a close, seasons are rapidly approaching;I am talking sports seasons here folks but this piece encompasses life.

I am both a golf enthusiast and a football FAN(atic)! I have written about my favorite “hate to love him” golfer several times while only giving a group nod to the sport I truly love,FOOTBALL. Today in the midst of mediocrity (my opinion) this post came to me. I struggled through Pre-season football  and I watched Tiger Woods.

One week ago Tiger played a tournament as though he was the only participant; there was Tiger and then there was the rest of the field, and this week I saw a display of what felt like a woman during her monthly cycle, not all there and no visible sign of concern. His scores at the respective tournaments reflect as much too.  I saw him gain a substantial lead last week and basically coast into his victory, while this week he looked tired, disinterested, and ready to get off the course to have lunch/dinner/sex/whatever.  Forgive the sarcasm but I HATE THAT!

It made me think back to a couple of years ago when the Indianapolis Colts(not my favorite team either) came painfully close to matching the perfect season  of the Miami Dolphins and instead decide to sit Payton Manning down one game after the first quarter. Why, because they knew they were going to win, but if they didn’t their playoff spot was secured. They were wrong.  The decision resulted in a loss for the Colts.Afterwards the  front office issued a statement that let you know the record wasn’t important to THEM!  What did they mean “not important to THEM”, what about US, the fans? Don’t we count? Apparently not and I hated that too. I have been pulling AGAINST the Colts ever since.

As a fan I wonder do these professional athletes, teams, and owners decided we have to divvy out wins and losses so the fan base will remain and be interested. There is no reason to display the prowess and superb talent. THE MONEY FACTOR has become so vast and important that everyone who has control of these respective sports and their respective selves have forgotten; without US the FANS, no matter how many sponsors you have, you will ultimately have NOTHING!  Tell me why you would squander God Given talent anyway? That which sets you apart, that which makes people take notice, filling grandstands and stadiums alike; you would randomly toss  aside. Really?

Anyone can have a bad day; but it is insulting to be treated as though we cannot tell the difference between a bad day, and a day when  you just don’t give a damn. I suppose that is why I feel the way I do about Tiger Woods, he is the best but he doesn’t always bring the best with him; he doesn’t care, he doesn’t have to care, AND it shows. Each tournament I pull for him in I am asking that I be put out of my misery, for there is nothing WORSE than having so much available to you and  to treat it as though it is nothing. I need him to break a couple more records and then I shall be free!  Football I will once again site football because of my love for it, but this applies to all team sports though; shouldn’t there be a group effort that move you toward the unifying feeling of conquest and accomplishment?

Now we parlay all of this into life in general; what is it that you do, and do you put forth your best effort every time you do it? Don’t you owe it to the ones who love, adore, and count on you, to deliver to them your very best no matter what that may be. When and why does it become okay NOT to be excellent, when you have demonstrated excellence and know there is still more to give. I mean left-overs are what remains after the planned/thought out meal concludes. They are the extra to be used or eventually tossed out, but by the time you get to them, the memory of what they once were has faded. What do you want to be; the well thought through plan, or the extra remains thereof.

Tiger’s …Oh My

I am reminded of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; the scene is Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow are walking through a dark part of the forest and they are reciting, “Lions and tigers and bears oh my, lions and tigers and bears, oh my…” Suddenly the lion jumps out at them!!!

Well this time it was a Tiger who jumped out, and he was on the golf course in Akron, Ohio. When will we NOT be shocked and amazed at the things he does. We have come to expect no less than perfection from him. He is supposed to win and when he does not… we are taken aback in such a fashion that we forget that he is but a mere mortal. How can he miss a put inside 8 feet when he makes them on a regular basis outside of 20? Sand-traps,water, trees and any other hazard seems like common everyday play for one who possesses all that he has.

As one goes down the list of analyst, former pro greats or simply sports reporters who have never played the game on his level, but wait, who else has actually played the game on HIS level? one realizes they must pay homage take notice to others  on the PGA Tour. Oftentimes the reports and comparisons of other pros on the tour seem unrealistic and unfair, to Tiger. It seems like they forget he has 79 PGA Tour Victories,14 majors, is one of five players to achieve a career Grand Slam(winning all four majors) IS the only play to win all four majors in one season(Tiger Slam) set the record for the most consecutive starts.. I could go on.  Well of course they don’t forget. Simply one must realize there are others on the tour and furthermore golf is a difficult game; it is precision and deliberate actions, even when your naked eye tells you that tiny ball got into the hole by luck or chance.

I, not unlike the typical fan, wait for the golf superstar to chock up his next win, to break yet another record, and go down in the annuls of history. As I sat glued to the television for the past four days, I laughingly realize how quickly I abandoned  my vigil once Tiger won. I didn’t care what he had to say, I was not impressed by his picking young Charlie up on his way to sign the winning score card, I was done and ready to move to the next venue, Oak Hill. I want all of Tiger’s victories to come and to come frequently, but once they are over I do not want to be bothered with the personal details of his existence.

In conclusion, I love the game of golf and he brings something to it that no other has managed to do, at least at this magnitude.  Realizing there was golf before Tiger and golf will continue after he is gone, but you cannot help taking notice of one who has made so many marks on a game, in the fashion he has all along the way. With Oak Hill in the very near future you have to wonder, will Tiger give us fans and the golf world yet another reason to say “Oh my!”

That’s How He Does It

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger… will you hurry up and smash those records?! I want this man to play until let’s see he needs to beat Jack Nicklaus’ record and Sam Snead, he needs three more green jackets, he needs to walk on water.. what is this mess?!

He is  not nice to play with, he cheats, he is no gentleman, face it there is no room in the world of golf for the likes of him. Well of course there isn’t. He is taking the fun out of the game right. Hey listen most games, sports, competitions are much more fun when you are winning. It stands to reason; if he is winning like he is, if he is shattering records one after another, he must be cheating.

What happened to the days of champions being loved and adored? Well welcome to the age of the self-assured athlete, but wait it is not limited to the athlete this is a world of self-assured people. Women are now lesbians criticized for being “ballsy”, African Americans are “uppity” and don’t know their place; “mama-mia” what a world and I thought our society was evolving and moving forward.

The next time we will have an opportunity or have to endure Mr. Woods is May 30th at “The Memorial” where he is the defending champion. He has probably done or is planning something unscrupulous as I write this. We won’t know until the tournament is played. Well at least Byron Nelson’s record and legend will remain intact, 11 back to back PGA wins and a GENTLEMAN, lets see Tiger top that this year.

You see unlike other sports golf applauds good manners, behavior, and etiquette. You don’t see those guys on the tour spitting or cursing, none of them are alcohol abusers, or have marital problems. In case you MISSED the sarcasm, Tiger is not the only member of the PGA who is not perfect, he just happens to be one who is in the spotlight preparing to make more history in the sport of golf.

It is odd to think of oneself as cheering for the underdog when cheering for someone with a record such as Tiger Woods, but you have to admit he is golf’s “whipping boy”. They cannot take away from his true talent and skill so they attack his character. I doubt seriously any one of us would be able to stand unblemished by such a vast and multiple assault. Therefore once again I have to go against how I feel about an individual, outside of his notable profession, and cheer him on for the only thing most of us have the ability to judge first hand, his athletic prowess. Admittedly, that is what is a joy to watch. Once again I say, “Geaux Tiger”!

Tarantino… Now He Should Be Chained

Let me begin with the only thing I have ever liked that Quentin Tarantino had anything to do with was “From Dusk Till Dawn” in which he played the mentally challenged deviant brother of George Clooney. I have never watched Pulp Fiction in it’s entirety, Reservoir Dogs no interest, and Jackie Brown was not impressive. Suffice to say I am not particularly impressed with Quentin Tarantino’s work.

Which brings us to Django Unchained. I heard so much clamor about this film. A really good friend suggested and encouraged me to see it. My friend thinks I am quite the rebel, for some odd reason, and thought sure I would love this movie. Anyway it came and went from the theaters. I finally picked it up at my local “RedBox” about a week or two ago. The main reason I resisted seeing the movie was the association with Mr. Tarantino.

I won’t say I hated the film, but when I saw Jamie Fox in the blue “Little Lord Fauntleroy” get-up I was lost forever. I tried to watch it but it was so corny and campy I found myself falling asleep. I faded in and out of consciousness, mostly because I was watching it in bed after a long day at work.  What I did see of it made me say,” It’s a Tarantino movie what did you expect?” I fully intended to rip this film to shreds when I started this piece. However, because I was going to rip the film and Quentin apart I said, ” To do YOUR work justice, YOU must actually watch the movie”. Off to RedBox I went to rent Django Unchained for a second time.

My son asked me what are you going to do, and wouldn’t it be funny if you ended up liking the movie. I laughed it off with, “It’s a Tarantino movie that’s not gonna happen”. Well as I take my first bite of crow, let me say I have to admit I enjoyed it. After I put aside my preconceived notions about Quentin, I was able to see the interesting twist on his film. It had all the flavor of a 1970’s western/black exploitation film the underlying influence. I do not like the way Tarantino pays homage to black films nor the arrogance of him suggesting he has an inside track to understanding black people and their portrayal in film. The “n” word is used entirely too much in most of his work; at last here was a film that it truly could go virtually unnoticed and it was. He did a good job with this movie, I was  thoroughly entertained.

It was not predictable in obvious ways. There is a great deal of blood and violence, along with animated showmanship. The characters were both interesting and unbelievable. Samuel L. Jackson was, however, brilliant as Stephen your “Uncle Tom” prototype. I would watch it again just to see him. IT is mindless entertainment and every-so-often we need to slip ourselves a small dose of just that. I give Quentin a “stay of execution” because of Django Unchained, I am sure there will be other films in the future that will allow me to confirm my opinion of him and his work prior to Django. However, until that time I have to give credit to him for scoring and scoring in a rather big way with me on this particular project.

My changed opinion made me have to ponder renaming my piece, or to at least search for a new title and note I did as much here at the end. Having to find a suitable title after the fact was just hard, and my heart wasn’t in it. I mean it was enough to admit the film wasn’t the horror I fully expected, but to have to change the title to possibly say something else positive about Quentin.. well it was just out of the question. My entire opinion of him has not changed, I just had to be honest about this particular work of his. If you manage to read through the entire piece, you will get the reasoning behind the title and you will also know why the title change did NOT take place. “Jury is still out” regarding the man and his overall talent. Therefore, even in spite of the fact he did produce something I liked, his overall record still leaves a great deal to be desired, and it is because of that I still say he(Tarantino) should be “chained“(restricted).

“I Hit It First….”

Wow! What have we been reduced to in the world of entertainment? The title alone was a sad testament, but then when you delve deeper you have to ask what is going on with an individual who would publicize something like that.  You have to ask what is the character of the individual himself, the woman and the audience he is pandering to. I think too much of my work and my readers to write the initial thoughts I had of this verbatim, it would be filled with blank spaces and blocked out words. Use your imaginations for it would go something like this; “What a f%@$in piece of s&%#, Ray J and the song.”

We have to demand more, we are more, therefore we should not allow this world of entertainment to insult us like this. Clearly I am not a “Ray J ” fan; as a woman I questioned his morals and ethics long before this particular travesty  he  is calling music emerged, but to effectively assassinate the piece and him as an artist, I forced myself to view/listen to the thing. Pathetic attempt to regain the spotlight/limelight is all I can say. It resonates the attitude and mindset of a 16 year old boy and his desired first sexual conquest, after he is dropped by the girl of his dreams without reaching his ultimate goal.  I will not go through a frame by frame dissection, for he may actually possess some talent on some level, but this video renders all of that and all possibilities NULL and VOID.

“Ray J” get a life, find a hobby! Please don’t bother supporting this garbage; it is not worth the time, and certainly not the money. Unless “Ray J” is donating all proceeds to Up and Coming Artist Who Do NOT Want To Suck seminars, where he is the featured example of what NOT to do. My vote puts this “song”into the Stupidity Hall  of Fame with OJ Simpson’s “book” If I Did It” . Who can forget that literary genius. “OJ”, “Ray J” is there something missing in the brains of so-called artist/entertainers with “J” at the end of their names? Well judging by what these two have produced  most recently, there is no doubt in my mind. I can only hope the two of them don’t get together and come up with a compilation, “If I Hit, Then I Did It..First”.

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