July 21, 2003

Summer Mondays are somehow worse, because of the options.

July 20, 2003

Hitting the various towns today with the not-oft-mentioned Brother-of-the-Donk Dave, followed by some quality time with the oft-mentioned Little C-Za. Maybe some mini-golf, maybe some skeet-shooting, maybe some stand-up comedy...who the heck knows? While I'm out, though, I just wanted to pass along word of the following extravaganza:
4 or 5 Stories About "Doing It"
a solo comedy written and performed by Bob Powers (of Girls Are Pretty fame)
Monday, July 21st, 9:30 PM
at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater
307 West 26th Street, @ 8th Ave
Reservations are bitchin': 212-366-9176
I've seen him perform once before, and it was a laff riot, lemme tell you! And in my position as the official GAP sponsor, I'll treat two people out there to this sure-to-be-fine performance. That's right, I'm Mr. Moneybags today! Just leave a comment saying "I wanna go!" and then shoot me an e-mail; we'll take care of details later.

Oh, and as long as we're all here: if you love The Illuminated Donkey but have thought, "It's good, but I sure wish that Ken was even more of a gambling degenrate," then go and check out Jeremy's Love & Casino War. Tons of poker content, bad beats, tournament reports, gambling news, bestseller charts, and just about anything else related to those games of chance.

July 16, 2003

Folks, let's all give a big Illuminated Donkey welcome to our newest blog-neighbor, Boro 6: Jersey's Bridge & Tunnel Blog. Located just a mile or two down JFK Blvd., Boro 6 promises to offer everything the world needs to know about such vital Jersey topics as Springsteen and the PATH train.

July 15, 2003

Now that was a heck of a baseball game!
Still More Baseball. One interesting sidenote I found in the course of my Game 7 research below is that visiting team victories in Game 7 are far more likely to be blowouts than Home Team wins. The margin of victory in the 16 visiting team wins was 4 full runs, while the home team MOV was only a little more than 2 (and much of this came from St. Louis' 11-0 win in 1985).

And heck, as long as it's All-Star day, I figured this would be a good time to pass along news of U.S.S. Mariner, an excellent blog devoted to my favorite baseball team. Check out the First-Half Review for great lines like "If there was an actual Jeff Cirillo bandwagon, it has officially hit a tree." and "It’s the Willie Bloomquist Show! He’s cute, he’s white, and he’s from Port Orchard! Ignore the years of evidence that shows that he can’t hit! We Love Willie!" Granted, after reading it, you won't believe for a second that they'll be able to hold off the A's.
Home-Field Advantage in the World Series. With all the hullaballoo over the new plan of awarding the All-Star Game winner home-field advantage in the World Series (which is shockingly creating even more buzz than the powerhouse matchup of Esteban Loaiza vs. Jason Schmidt), FOXSports went and did a quick check to find out just how much home-field really means in the World Series.

Interestingly enough, they found out that it means a lot. In the 98 World Series played since 1903, the home team has a 56-42, for a .571 winning percentage. Continuing the theme, I did some research on my own and found that in the 35 Game 7's (one of them was actually a Game 8, caused by a tie in the Series), the home team has a 19-16 record, for a similar .543 winning percentage. This slight but not overwhelming advantage seems in line for a sport where home-field advantage probably means less than it does for any other major sport.

Now, these stats are actually hiding a fairly massive shift in the game during recent years. From 1903 through 1981 there were 78 World Series played (there was no Series was played in 1904), and the teams with home-field advantage were actually at .500, 39-39. Continuing this theme, for the first 31 Game 7's the visiting team counter-intuitively had a winning record, 13-16.

I hadn't actually heard too much about this subject before the last few weeks, when people began to really think about the ramifications of the new All-Star Game rules, and it got me to wondering just what could have caused such a massive shift in the very foundations of the game. And once I started looking into it, the answer was fairly obvious: the Designated Hitter.

The DH was first introduced in 1973, and made its World Series debut in 1976 (Dan Driessen of the Reds holds the odd distinction of being the first NL DH). For the first ten years of its World Series existence the DH was alternated like home-field advantage (though, perhaps in an attempt to even out the factors, it was only used in seasons when the NL had the advantage). Starting in 1986, however, the rules changed, with the DH being used in all of the games played at the AL team's park.

What this means is that starting in 1986, for perhaps the first time, the team playing at home actually has a real advantage in the World Series, since fundamentally different games are being played in AL and NL parks. The home team gets to use players and play a style of game they are intimately familiar with, with the visiting team being forced to learn a new game at precisely the most important time of the year.

Perhaps because of this, in the 16 World Series played since this rule went into effect, the team with the home-field advantage has a 14-2 record, including an 6-0 record in deciding Game 7's. And for this reason, the fact that home-field advantage has become such an important part of the World Series, I can't be in favor of it being decided by an exhibition game. In this case, I think that alternating is fairer.

July 12, 2003

Oh, but before I go, if anybody wants Jahna's work number so they can leave fun messages like this, just drop me a line.
Here, I'll combine both of my posts today into one:
David Arquette, Joe Pantoliano and Stephen Dorff weren't the only celebrities at the Borgata opening last week.

Actor Vincent Gallo, who starred in the great Abel Ferrara film "The Funeral" as well as "Buffalo 66," said he was "just hanging out with his friends" as they rolled the first dice at the new casino. Gallo said he liked the new casino "very much" and was very approachable as he stood in a crowd of press and executives.
There was actually a great photo of the group in the Post or something, but I can't find it online. And now I'm gonna get drunk.

The staff of The Illuminated Donkey, trendsetters. It was one thing when Gawker jumped on the NJGuido bandwagon, but when they start horning in on our Vincent Gallo action, well then we're (and by "we" I mean my sister Nancy, originator of GALLOrious) gonna have some words, especially when Vinnie leaves Gawker a voicemail message!
"It's Vincent Gallo. Ri-chard John-son goes traveling...and this is the best you guys can come up with? An unknown looooser band from Brooklyn's insults about a guy who's made oooooone or twoooo indie films and hasn't been in New York in six months. Remember New York when it was good? And Page Six was good? You guys should stick to your gossip about parties in the Hamptons or something—whatever crap you guys write about. And can't you use photos that look a little like the people you're gossiping about? [Reading slowly] A Brooklyn band...named Wide Right...has a gripe...with Gallo. Wow. That's where we are."
We're not so much jealous as we are extremely envious.
Yep, more gambling. Took a quick ride down the Parkway to check out the Borgata, Atlantic City's first new casino in 13 years. Located away from the main boardwalk strip, on the marina, the Borgata easily fulfills its not-that-difficult task of being the swankiest casino in AC. With a "wagon-wheel" design and muted earth tones, the casino is reminiscent of the finer qualities of Connecticut's Mohegan Sun and the Bellagio in Vegas.

There was a definite buzz in the air, with the casino floor crawling with Guidos (the new hipsters) and the music system was playing tunes by such rarely-heard-in-casino artists like Radiohead and Belle & Sebastian. I was having a fine time just walking around the casino floor, which is good, since the blackjack dealers were apparently playing some sort of special no-dealer-busts-allowed form of the game. The slot machines work on a much-publicized "no coins" system, where the machines print out vouchers that players cash in at several centrally located machines. I'd explain this further, but I never actually took any money out of a machine.

The design of the poker room is especially similar to the Bellagio: attractive, roomy, comfortable chairs, though unfortunately at least 10 degrees too cold. The poker room, along with the race book, is located downstairs away from the main casino, which I liked but others at my table thought was too isolated. The staff was obviously still getting used to the new space, and there were a number of annoying glitches. The dealers' trays were almost empty and fills were extremely rare, while at the same time the cashier windows weren't selling chips, meaning that players basically had to buy from other players (and let me tell you, there's few things that make you feel worse than losing a big hand and then having to immediately pull out your wallet to buy your chips back from the winner).

The staff also seemed to have difficulty handling the computerized waiting lists, starting a new must-move game (meaning that players "must move" into the main game when seats become available) while our main game had two open seats. Frequent calls to the floor to bring new players went unanswered, though this lack of communication will hopefully be remedied as time passes. And, of course, a lot of these small problems are more than offset by the extremely hot waitresses.

Rumors that the room (and the casino as a whole) was to be a haven for high-limit players were untrue, at least during these first few weeks. There were several 3-6 and 6-12 games in the room, while constant calls to get higher-limit games going seemed to go unheeded. Of course, it takes a while for a room to build a high-limit clientele, and these players might be sitting out a few rounds until all the glitches are worked out; word is that the Taj Mahal's room will be most hurt by the Borgata.

Allen Baruz is more of a trendsetter than me, so check out his Borgata notes from last weekend. I didn't check out the decor nearly as closely as he did, largely because I'm a filthy degenerate, so that might have to wait until Little C-Za goes down to AC with me.

July 08, 2003

Daily Negation: Well...nope.
Daily Affirmation: Maybe today will turn out to be the best day of my entire life!
The Social Security Administration's annual update of America's most popular baby names has been compiled and released, and while Peggy Orenstein of the New York Times has already nicely covered the big-picture angle ("Where Have All the Lisas Gone?"), she seems to have ignored one of the most shocking revelations from the survey: namely, the continuing and shocking collapse in popularity of "Kenneth."

This venerable name, which ranked 16th for the entire decades of both the 40's and 50's, 21st for the 60's, 31st for the 70's, and 46th for the 80's, has now actually fallen completely out of the top 100, lagging behind such pretty-boy names as Bryce, Hayden, Devin, Trevor, and — god help us all — Dylan. Seriously, in about 40 years when you need to see a doctor, would you rather put your life in the hands of a Kenneth or a Dylan.

It's almost enough to make me pull my life together both physically and mentally, try to become capable of maintaining an adult relationship, meeting a woman I can share my life with, then fathering a child I can name "Kenneth" just to reverse this trend even a smidgen. And then I can go back to whatever the hell I'm doing now.

July 07, 2003

This is the summer of The Guido.

And we're all just living in it.

July 06, 2003

And now it's all over....*sniff*

July 05, 2003

You know, I just realized I made it through this entire day without speaking a single word to anybody.
But you know, as fine a time as Frankie and I had yesterday, I can't help but feel I'd be standing a little taller and feeling just a tiny bit better about the good ol' U S of A if I had been able to make it back down to the Summer Redneck Games, which were held again today down in East Dublin, Georgia.

Straight from the mudpit belly-flop, the future-Ex-Mrs. Goldstein.

Folks, you still don't know just what in the hell you missed...
Happy Birthday, America!

I always take off my hat to show respect to kickass fireworks.

July 03, 2003

Happy, happy vacation!
Stupid, stupid work.

July 02, 2003

A Modest Request. Folks, I don't ask you for a lot, but when I do ask I sure as hell expect you to do it. And right now I'm expecting you all to head over to the Glamour Job website to learn about official Friend of the Donk Juliette, AKA Jewlez, and vote for her to appear on their TV show. I ain't asking for a lot here, you know. Sheesh. Would you just do it already?
Can it be?!?! Yep, it's Wednesday again, and that means it's time for another episode of Nancy Goldstein's GALLOrious!

This week my sister Nancy has tracked down an oldie but still GALLOrious bit of sniping at his former co-star, Christina Ricci.
When the [New York Post Page Six columnist] mentioned Ricci to [Gallo], he snapped, "It was OK when she wasn't drunk on the set. I think she's an alcoholic — it was either that, or she was on cough syrup the whole time."

Gallo, who also snidely claimed that Ricci lost weight on the set because he limited her diet, seemed to spit fire. "I don't like her," he continued. "She's an ungrateful c--t. But it was OK. She's basically a puppet. I told her what to do, and she did it."
Some brief notes on the subject:Anyway, this has been another excellent installment of GALLOrious! Thanks, Nancy!

July 01, 2003

Click here for the shocking story of how Jahna D'Lish knocked me right out of bed.
Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian friends out there! Even though I once spent a Canada Day in Vancouver with honorary Canadian Little C-Za I'm not really sure what exactly it is, other than some sort of "day" that "Canadians" like to have. Fortunately, actual Canadian Angua is back to blogging, checking in with a special Canada Day Super Linktacular! Enjoy.

June 30, 2003

It's probably not a good sign when two dead cats have a poor opinion of your literary magazine.
"With Ken, I just had to say come and play poker and he came." On June 18, at the behest of Friend of the Donk Little C-Za, I appeared in the WFMU studios on the quite excellent radio program "Seven Second Delay with Ken and Andy," (it's a different Ken) where I played an exciting hand of Radio Poker. If you've ever wanted to hear my apparently reedy, Muppet-like voice bantering with the creator and Executive Producer of Monk, as well as witness a bluff that completely fails, then you'll definitely want to head over to the Archives page and check out the June 18 episode. I show up at around the 43:00 point, but feel free to listen to the whole show to get in the swing of things.
Maybe if I hadn't been so busy last Wednesday at Lot 61 trying to inhale all the free Johnnie Walker Black in a ten-foot radius, like some kinda alcoholic Supermarket Sweep, I would have noticed that there were single women there on a "How Not To Be Single crusade." I don't know what Paul's excuse was, though...
Argyle, NY is the next Hamptons! I mean, why go to the crowded, filthy Hamptons and have some skanky Hilton sister cut in front of you on line, when you can drive up to scenic, remote, tiny (population: 290!) Argyle and stay at the Josh London compound, eat like giant kings, drink beers by a bonfire under the stars, and play with the cutest damn baby anywhere (Oscar London, born exactly 30 years after me)? Well, maybe my sister, but other than that, nobody!

I'm too wiped out from a crazy weekend roadtrip and a stressful deadline day to get into too much detail, but suffice it to say that, in an unprecedented display of restraint, Jahna D'Lish and I managed to spend 48 straight hours in close proximity without any threats being issued. Unfortunately, the trip was 52 hours long. Anyway, the Unsinkable JD has already begin to recap her side of the story, and it's already illuminating to see the lies and distortions. Anyway, for your entertainment, I present a list of some of the stuff we ate! Mmmmm....
Circus Peanuts. Beef Jerky. Sausage and Pepper Subs. Tiramisu. Bacon and Egg Tarts. Salad. Bonfire-Roasted Marshmallows. Ice Cream Cones. Fresh Berries. Barbequed Chicken Wings. Bacon and Eggs. Lentil Salad. Fresh Bread. Chicken Sandwiches. Licorice Ropes. Vermont Cheddar Cheese.
I have to stop now; the drool is gumming up the keyboard.

June 26, 2003

Regular readers of this blog will certainly remember my February 19 post (okay, I don't really believe this), where I typed in awe at ESPN.com's use of an amazing paragraph stopper to create some bone-chilling suspense in a story about Ted Williams, the Hall-of-Famesicle:
Williams' close friend, Buzz Hamon, said the last time he spoke with The Splendid Splinter, Williams said, "I need a lawyer ... Because I made a mistake."

Then the phone went dead.
At the time, I suggested that this closing line should be used more often, in a wide variety of stories, to liven up some otherwise boring pieces. Well, the sharp-eyed Mike Whybark has passed along word that a New York Times reporter, in a story about bounty hunters, may have — and I am shocked, shocked! — borrowed my idea:
She said that Mr. Chapman had devoted the past six months to hunting Mr. Luster, "and this is how he's repaid, by being thrown in a Mexican jail." She said he was giving her a blow-by-blow description of his capture of Mr. Luster — "I've got him, honey, call the federales!" — when his cellphone suddenly went dead.
I feel a bit proud but also somewhat dirty about my apparent contribution to American journalism, kind of how I felt like after my prom.

Okay, now I'm on vacation, off to Manhattan to drink free Scotch with my newly unemployed sister. Ta!
Wait, I'm not on vacation yet... By this time tomorrow, the charming and talented Jahna D'Lish and I will be heading up the highway towards Saratoga Springs to enjoy a weekend of wholesome farm living. No, the track isn't open yet, but perhaps JD and I will stop by the legendary Yaddo Artist's Colony, the supposedly peaceful, out-of-the-way resort that is actually smack-dab between the ponies and a busy interstate.

Anyway, before I left I still have a few things to post for your reading pleasure...
Special Summer Report from the Guido State!

After what seemed like months of unbelievably horrible weather, the summer has hit New Jersey like a ton of really hot bricks, and the Jersey Shore is jumping jumping. And though it's only been in existence for a little more than a year, NJGUIDO.com has fast become the ultimate site for those who know and love the Jersey Shore and everything it stands for, as well as those poor folks who live in some godforsaken place like Seattle and can only Party Like A Rockstar vicariously.

To learn a little more about this excellent site and the NJGuido scene, I asked Mr. Anthony "The Moo" Moussa, the site's main man, a few questions. I hope you enjoy it, and maybe learn a little something. And when you're done, I hope that you take The Moo's advice and PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR!

How long has NJGUIDO been around? How and why did it get started?

NJGUIDO.com has been around since Memorial day weekend 2002. Back in the summer of 1999, I bought myself a video camera to capture the fun and funny moments at our shore house in Belmar. I proceeded to video record different moments of the summer for the entire summer of 1999. These recording where solely at the Belmar shore house which was a summer weekend home to 10 guys. At the end of the summer, we all sat around and watched the two-hour long tape and laughed and enjoyed memories. We even invited the female friends over to watch...censoring the parts they did not need to see. We watched this video a couple of times and archived it away. I burnt it onto a CD and gave it out to friends as well.

The summer of 2000 came and I was now 21 and able to get into the Belmar clubs. Unfortunately you are not allowed to carry a video camera nor would I want to carry one. I proceed to buy myself a digital camera which in the year 2000 was something that just came out. I had the little LCD display on the camera and when I took pictures and showed them instantly to people, they where amazed. So it was very easy to take loads of pictures in D'jais because most people had never really seen a digital camera and realized that they could see how they looked instantly. I also took the camera with me to Temptations in Seaside on Saturdays and took pictures there as well all summer long. Each weekend everyone wanted to see the pictures. At the end of the summer each one of my friends harassed me for the summers' pictures. There where about 1600 pictures to go through. Each person wanted their pictures, they wanted to come over and look at them or have them emailed or printed out. It was a big hassle. I made a slideshow and put it on CD for everyone. The slideshow took over an hour to go through as well. During this summer, we fell in love with the club Temptations and decided to get our 2001 shore house in Seaside Heights rather than Belmar.

The summer of 2001 came and I found myself doing the same thing, taking pictures all summer long. It was the same end result. A big hassle from everyone to get the pictures from the summer.

Last year in 2002 I decided to make a little web site for my friends so that they can see the pictures that were taken each weekend. I sat and thought of a website name that would pertain to the Jersey shore and would be catchy enough for my friends not to forget. That is when I came up with NJGUIDO.com. It was great, I was not hassled each week by my friends for pictures, they went to NJGUIDO.com and saw them and did whatever they wanted with them. But to my surprise, the website name NJGUIDO started to get around during the summer of 2002. It all started when I created a small message board that my friends would post on to discuss the weekend or the pictures. It was soon bombarded by intruders and haters and it attracted so much traffic that it would crash every day. Throughout the summer of 2002, NJGUIDO.com started to get really popular, people now wanted us to take their picture so that they could remember their weekend as well. By the end of the summer, NJGUIDO.com was getting so much traffic that we were kicked of our web hosting company. Their words were..."I'm sorry but you are bogging down our servers, we can't host your site any longer." It was at this time that I had to buy a dedicated server with one of the worlds' top dedicated server companies. Now NJGUIDO.com was indeed popular and people became addicted to the site. I had to dip into my pocket and busy schedule to make this site enjoyable for these people every single day. It wouldn¹t be right to let people down, I had to keep the site going. So I continued to do so and found time on side of my daily computer consulting job.

Can you explain the "Guido" thing to anybody who might not be familiar with it?

The "Guido Thing" is what makes NJGUIDO.com a little on edge. Most people do not know what a guido is and I really can't define it. I can only tell you what it means to me and a good percentage of our fans. The late 80's and early 90's where a time that freestyle music was popular, there was also a style that went along with it. It was the people that followed that style that I grew up knowing, older cousins and such. It was a time the dance "freestyle" music was hot up in North Jersey and at the Jersey Shore come summer. These people where referred to as guidos because of their designer clothing and often Italian decent. They had a love for clubs and club music and girls in little clothing. The guidettes had "big" hair and maintained a certain style. It was in essence a negative term that the people looking into this culture labeled them. These people disliked guidos because they appeared to be self indulgent in the enjoyment of nightlife and sex and partying. This would make any working class man envious or jealous. It is this misunderstanding that NJGUDIO.com is in fact changing. Yes we party like maniacs but we also get up for work every morning.

Yes, most guidos are in fact college grads. The difference is that we don¹t feel the need to shorten or youth, our years of partying and our desire to stay in shape. The reason we get away with this is because the women we hang with, or the "guidettes" do it too. Even after marriage guidos still enjoy the Guido nightlife, style, and culture. What rush is there to grow old? I often get feedback from what we call "haters" saying, why don't you guys grow up? Or: you are such losers, put your shirts back on!! Here is my answer to them. I am grown up, proof is in the fact that I can party like a rockstar and be responsible enough to maintain a good job. Do you think it's free to party? Losers are the people who are ignorant enough to point their fingers at us attempting to point out or flaws.....and they are going to say "put your shirt back on?" The only flaw from that feedback is their insecurity....Here is my answer to that....Are you afraid your girlfriend is going to see a man that cares about his body....If she is on the computer late at night....you know what she is looking at. LOL So the bottom line is that the word guido is what we make it.

Outsiders don't really know about guidos but they think we're poor, lazy, unemployed. Rest assured, haters, that just about any driveway in a Guido shore house has enough gorgeous cars to make a hip hop video. And their response to that is usually...and they don¹t have enough to buy food....but we have enough to have a bar tab every weekend. The flaws that Haters point out are the flaws they can't see....they make them up. The Conclusion....Guido to them is everything that their uptight selves can't get out to do. Guido to us is living the good life and completely enjoying our youth, it is prolonging our youth and being free of all the things that make uptight people soo damn uptight.

Describe your perfect NJGUIDO moment.

The perfect NJGUIDO moment is being in Surf Club surrounded by hot women in Bikinis with the DJ playing a club classic from summer of 1999 like Sal Dano's "Hands Up" while sipping on Ketel on the rocks in my Dolce and Gabana Jeans and Tank Top while dancing with the beautiful ladies one at a time on a Sunday afternoon in July. And this is exactly what happens...

In terms of weather, at least, it's been a pretty lousy run for the shore, going back to last Labor Day. As far as you¹ve seen, has this affected the crowds and clubs?

The weather has affected the outdoor clubs a great bit yet the indoor clubs that go at night are doing OK. There is nothing that's going to stop clubs like Temptations, yet it has slowed them a bit.

What common misconceptions about New Jersey do you think people would lose if they hung out with you and your people for one night?

One night with the NJGUIDO crew and I think people not from Jersey would realize that we are really just out to have a good time. We are not trying to brag about our lifestyles we in fact are just defending them against haters. They will realize that we are normal responsible adults that have come across something we love. We are all well educated responsible workers that know how to enjoy our youth and make it to work. They would understand that a Guido is really a misconception in negative terms and a popular and positive way of life in true Jersey terms. New Jersey is known for people like us, people that live and work for the weekend yet make it through life happily with lots of friends, family and success.

I'd like to thank you for helping my non-Jersey readers understand a little of what they're missing.

June 25, 2003

Well, I guess I'm on vacation.
Every once in a while, when I really regret leaving Seattle, I take a look at the extended weather forecast and then I feel a tiny bit better...
Mar 08 Snow to Rain 90 %
Mar 09 Rain / Wind 100 %
Mar 10 Showers 40 %
Mar 11 Showers 30 %
Mar 12 Showers 30 %
Mar 13 Showers / Wind 50 %
Mar 14 Light Rain 60 %
Mar 15 Light Rain 60 %
Mar 16 Showers 40 %
Mar 17 Showers 60%
I mean, I know the weather `round here ain't been nothing to cheer about, but that endless gray of Seattle does get to a person after a while. I remember when I first moved there, how during those first few months I explored my new city and met great people and was as happy as I've ever been in my life. Then, around February, I started to feel really down about things, would just wake up in a funk that lasted all day. At first I thought it might be lingering doubts over leaving Jersey or a simple comedown after the adrenaline high I'd been on, but then I realized it was that I hadn't seen even the tiniest hint of sunlight for about two months and my body was just really sad and confused.

Anyway, Murph and I managed to stave off further depression by holing up in (the since-closed) Ileen's on Broadway pretty much every night for the next three months, finally peeking our heads out when summer arrived. (Review taken from the indispensible-to-about-six-of-my-old-friends Drunk in Seattle site, featuring writeups on a good half-dozen or so bars that swallowed my paycheck whole and have since vanished into the ether.)
Angry, Bitter, Unemployed Superhero Seeks Partner in Battling The Forces of Darkness.

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