Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Twelve Days of…or, Ten, or…oh, hell, you guys got it already

Dang, I almost forgot today’s Ten Or Twelve Days installment. Here ya go: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Way better than that godawful, lugubrious Springsteen version, wherein he…well, I already told y’all how I feel about that one. This one is another A-lads barnburner, although I cannot for the life of me remember who did the vocal on it. Previous installments here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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Another Christmas song

Okay, while I’m hipping y’all to some good Christmas tunes, might as well share one of my all-time favorites:




From 1939, Kay Kaiser. Can’t explain just why, but I totally love this song. Maybe it’s all those ting-a-ling-a-lings. I mean, come on, what’s not to like?

But I tell you folks, if I have to hear limousine liberal Bruce Springsteen moaning and groaning his way through Santa Claus Is Coming To Town one more time like a sick hound, I am gonna kill something. There’s a tune in there somewhere, Bruce; please do us all a favor and find it, all right? Lord knows you’ve meandered around it enough. Ugh.

Look for this post to be updated for the next little while, until I get tired and go to bed. I’ma go find you guys some good Christmas music, I promise I am.

Update the First! The greatest of all possible versions of this one, which is also one of my favorites.




Just classic. Shall I play for you? Why yes. Yes, you shall.

Update the Second! Another favorite of mine, and the most perfect version I know of. Don’t say I never gave y’all nothing.



Update the Third! One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard in my life, from wonderfully eccentric guitar genius John Fahey. I can’t find a version of this to embed that even comes close to this one, so you’ll just have to trust me and hit the link. I promise you won’t regret it. I attempted this one once onstage in New York, and failed miserably. But I play it at home all the time, and every once in a rare while I get it very nearly right.

Update the Fourth! Another of my favorites. And I mean, come on guys. It’s Sinatra.




Nicely done, Frank. Would that all these present-day hacks had the good taste to just sing the damned song straight, without all the warbling, meandering, self-indulgent discant crap they’re apparently compelled to throw in for some reason.

Update the Fifth! Pretty sure I’ve presented this one here before, but what the hell. How do you go wrong with Canadian Brass? You can’t, that’s how. If this one doesn’t make you smile, well dammit, I can’t help you.




And one more from Canadian Brass. Because, that’s why.



Finally, probably my most-loved Christmas carol of them all: Silent Night, impeccably done by Chanticleer. Just gorgeous. Again: if you don’t like this, well, I can’t help you.


So far past gorgeous you can’t even see gorgeous from here.

One last update! Oh, and I don’t care a whit what Rush may say: Mannheim Steamroller? Trans-Siberian Orchestra? No. Just…NO. Not now, not ever. Call me old-fashioned, call me a stick in the mud, but I prefer my Christmas music way less sinister-sounding and without synthesizers and laser light shows, thanks.

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12 Days…or, y’know, NOT

Today’s installment: I’ll Be Home For Christmas, featuring the Oso Grande himself, Rodney Lanier. He’s the fellow the whole benefit project was conceived for, an excellent musician in his own right, who died shortly before its release.

And I only just realized something, to my tremendous embarrassment: I’ve been saying 12 Days Of Etc, because I had it in my head for some reason that there are fourteen tracks on this record, leaving me two extras for alternates. I was wrong; there’s only ten. But 12 Days is the traditional formulation, so I’m gonna stick with it. Sheesh, I’m a dope. Previous installments here, here, and here.

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Christmas bonus!

So I just got internet service back after a pain-in-the-ass outage caused by some local hardware upgrades by AT&T, with the result being that things seem a helluva lot faster now, which is probably just my imagination. But to celebrate a rare pleasant delusion (as opposed to my usual kind), I’m gonna upload a few tunes from a Christmas album I was privileged to appear on a few years ago.

The thing was conceived by my friend Jimmy King as a benefit album for a friend of his, another local musician I didn’t really know who had contracted some rare and horrible disease. Jimmy is in a great surf band called the Aqualads, and his friend unfortunately died a mere few days before the benefit album even got released. This track features a truly soulful vocal performance by my bud Bob Nelson, with a lead guitar track by yours truly. I’ll post one of these per day for the next few days, or until my internet connection shits the bed again. If you like it enough to want to buy the whole album, you can do that here (download only, I think the hard copies are all sold out).

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

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Publick notice

I only just realized I have not updated Ye Olde Blogrolle in a while, and since there are scads of new guys out there that I’m checking in on frequently and excerpting, I needed to get on the stick. In fact, I’ma put the newer ones in their own category, although maybe some of those folks might take some small issue with it. Either way, be on the lookout for: Alt-American.

And now that I dive into it, I see that A) I need to weed out a good few now-inactive links, and B) the WP Social Blogroll widget hasn’t been updated in, like, years. Since a good many of you have let me know how useful you find that feature, I’m just glad it hasn’t been broken by any WP upgrades and still functions properly.

Update! Okay, those of you who pay any attention to the blogroll in the first place may notice that I’ve weeded out plenty of the inactives, but did leave one or two in. Like, in particular, Billy Beck’s Two-Four. There’s a reason, in his case especially: Billy was so perceptive, his perspective so unique, and his writing so damned deft and incisive that even though it may not be current, he’s still worth a look, and I think keeping a link to him here might be of no small value. The man saw so much of the hideousness we’re currently trying to deal with coming way before just about anybody else. He was sharp and sometimes grouchy; he did NOT suffer fools gladly. But he was also almost always dead on the money.

Billy used to comment here now and then, and we had a quite enjoyable and enlightening (well, for me) e-mail correspondence going for a while there too. Truth is, I miss the guy, and I wonder what he might have to say about current conditions. I think I’ll shoot an e-mail to the old address and see if I can raise him. If I do, I’ll let y’all know; maybe I could even entice him into co-blogger status here, which would thrill me no end. Either way, his place is well worth a click, and I can’t recommend his work highly enough.

And I betcha I can name at least one other old-school OG, another good old long-time friend, who will know just what I’m talking about, and will be commenting enthusiastically here on the matter in a mere trice. No, I shan’t name any names. Ahem.

Updated update! You all knew where that update had to lead, right?

I reply to this post because you pose implicit questions which I have long regarded as important and more pressing as each year goes by.

In my view, the very fact that these questions arise in my lifetime is historically significant in a way which cannot responsibly be dismissed. For example: the very idea of armed resistance against the government would have been perfectly alien to my grandfather’s view of America. It simply would never have occurred to him, and the sound of any such discussion in the terms that we hear today would have fallen very strangely on his ear.

I believe that the most divergent of outlooks might yet agree that something is terribly amiss in our country. This is not to say that everything was just peachy in 1953. To cite a single example: my grandfather (a second generation German-American railroad engineer in the northeast) was well aware of the problem of race relations vis-a-vis civil rights – that was a big problem which was going to be a struggle to solve. He knew it wouldn’t be pretty, and Birmingham and Little Rock confirmed his apprehensions. However, he believed that Americans and their institutions would come to their senses, and their sense of justice, and that the pain of those times would bear fruit.

As I said; any discussion of armed resistance would have been absurd to his political outlook.

Bear with me.

I make this point, and cite this single example, in order to illustrate the scope of political challenge in America today. Without diminishing (please!) the importance of, or blood-sweat-&-tears investment in, the civil rights movement, it seems clear to me that it cannot compare to the urgency of the problem which is manifest in the very existence of a “militia movement”. I will stand corrected if I am mistaken, but I think that the last time so many people seriously uttered the words “civil war” in America (outside of history class), we actually fought one. Today, lots of people on every side do their best not to utter that phrase out loud…and they are less successful as time passes. Many people don’t make the pretense of circumspection.

It has long been my view that American political affairs were necessarily bound for such straits. I began studying politics (both as a branch of classical philosophy and the modern practice of “public policy”) at an early age, in 1969. My attention was necessarily drawn to corollaries of economics and history. I grew to adulthood casting a fishy eye at the disintegration of a culture, worried over it. Call me doctrinaire, but I have always been a libertarian, which is to say (without any partisan affiliation); I am convinced of the truth and imperative of human freedom. There is no other way for a culture to thrive and flourish to the greatest possible happiness of its inhabitants, than for each of them to make their own way by their own lights.

The past thirty years or so have been a case-study of the opposite course.

The most cursory glance at this period shows us two things: 1) Government of every species has steadily waxed large and prevalent. There can be no rational denial of this. 2) A general “Index of Dismay” has steadily increased. (I use the term loosely to denote a mixed bag of cultural symptoms which indicate decay, without specific references. Everyone, I think, could point out their favorites; crime rates, rising economic class disparities, decline of morality, declining civility of discourse, appalling new species of corruption and their flagrance, etc. Take your pick.)

I maintain that there is a direct correlation between these two observations.

See what I mean? Prescient, well-reasoned, well-argued. If Bill Beck could be said to represent a type, then we need all of his type we can get.

I don’t even have to say it, do I?

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Publick notice!

So yesterday I screwed around a bit with some old Halloween themes but couldn’t get any of them working without undertaking a major overhaul, which I simply didn’t have time to do; they were all designed years ago for way-earlier versions of WP, and the newer one would require some truly aggressive (read: time-consuming) tweaking to get them barely functional. All that got me to thinking I’d go ahead and activate our traditional holiday theme here a little bit early.

What the heck, I figure we’re all going to need all the help we can get dragging ourselves into the good old Christmas spirit this year anyway. And although Trump makes a damned excellent symbol and figurehead for the Fed Up/This Far, No Farther Brigades, who could possibly argue that Scrooge Picard isn’t a most excellent one in his own right? I don’t know about you, but just imagining a DC establishment stooge cringing under the threat of that stick in Picard’s upraised, wrathful hand—weeping and begging for a mercy that is neither forthcoming nor deserved—fills me brimful with a warm, fuzzy holiday glow. Why, it’s better than eggnog and the merry laughter of children where that’s concerned.

So, y’know, enjoy, y’all.

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No free ice cream!

Sorry about that, gang, but my internet connection has become so unreliable the last few days as to be considered almost non-existent: slow, intermittent dropouts, and the like have rendered sitting down to do a post or three pretty nearly unbearable. That said, though, it seems to be behaving itself for the moment, so for as long as that happy condition lasts, I’ll try to get some fresh posts up here quick. If I should suddenly disappear again, you’ll know why.

Update! And now I see that for some reason the third-party blog editor I use is throwing up the same posts repeatedly for some reason. Crap. Crapcrapcrapcrap.

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Heads up

Another thank you to my good friend and brother-in-arms Bill Quick for allowing me posting privileges over at Daily Pundit during the outage here. For those of you who didn’t know—and I can’t imagine that there are that many readers here who aren’t also regulars at DP—I posted several items over there while the domain-name issue was sorted out. Looks like Bill and I will continue doing some crossposting on both sites—which, as I told him earlier, ought to result in tears of outrage and horror from just about everybody on the internet. Hey, it’s a feature, not a bug.

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Thanks!

Many, many of them to all of you who participated in Ye Olde Fundraiser. I’m having problems with e-mail since last week’s server migration, so the personal thank-you’s are slow going out, but we’re getting there. As I’ve always said (but probably not nearly enough), you guys all rock, and I’m most grateful for your attention here, be you contributor, commenter, lurker, or just occasional drop-in visitor. Thanks again to each and every one of you.

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Hoodwinked, bamboozled!

In the course of digging through the archives for an old post I can’t seem to find, I ran across one from last year that I think is worth a repost, on Western civilization and its loss.

What the hey, we had a good run. And what the Left has replaced it with is not only not worth defending, it’s wholly indefensible.

Think of it: Western Civ gave us Huck Finn. Post-Western Civ banned it.

Western Civ gave us Mozart, Bach, Beethoven. Post-Western Civ saddled us with Beyonce, Fitty Cent, and Miley Cyrus.

Western Civ gave us internal combustion engines, hot rods, Harleys, a Ford in every garage, and plenty of cheap gas to run ’em all. Post-Western Civ gave us helmet laws, high gas taxes, the “peak oil” lie, impossible CAFE standards, and the seventy thousand dollar Chevy Volt.

Western Civ gave us central heat and air conditioning. Post-Western Civ gave us brownouts and windmills. Although actually, it was Western Civ that gave us the windmills many centuries ago; Post-Western Civ just brought ’em back as “cutting edge” “green” technology. They’re so goddamned feeble even their “new ideas” were stolen from their betters.

Western Civ gave us the Concorde. Post-Western Civ would rather force you to walk, or ride a bicycle you don’t even own. Yes, even to Europe.

Western Civ gave us modern agriculture capable of feeding a hungry world, the tulip gardens of Amsterdam, and staunch, stout, stoic farmers as both benefactors and admirable role models. Post-Western Civ foists on us urban hothouse flowers copiously weeping to their shrinks over the trauma of discovering that the organic bok choi at Trader Joe’s was slightly wilted this week, and their insuperable anxiety over GMOs.

Western Civ gave us Charles the Hammer, King Leonidas, Charlemagne, Churchill, and Reagan. Post-Western Civ brought us Obama, the Clintons, LBJ, Slow Joe Biden, and John Effing Kerry.

Western Civ gave us Newton, Einstein, and Goddard. Post-Western Civ hoodooed us with Michael Mann and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Western Civ gave us William Wallace, the aforementioned Leonidas, Robert E Lee, George S Patton, and Audie Murphy. Post-Western Civ gave us Vagina Warriors, Hashtag Armies, flash mobs, and Bradley/Chelsea Manning.

We certainly got a raw deal on the exchange, and ought to be looking for a way to get our money back.

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Oops!

Sorry ’bout the outage there, folks. A database issue that was my fault entirely, fixed now with the help of the great Stacy Tabb and her team at Hosting Matters, which is simply the best hosting service out there as far as I’m concerned. Many thanks to them; for any of you who have ever thought of trying your hand at this blogging business, I can’t recommend them highly enough.

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Fundraiser!

Remember when I mentioned not long ago that another fundraiser was imminent? Well, here t’is, folks. The A/C is still out, I’m behind on the rent—and the hosting service and internet access bills too, among other things—work continues to be slow, and…well, no need to belabor it, times are tough here on the fag-end of summer at Casa CF. If you enjoy the work I do here (and make no mistake, although I do enjoy it, it IS work), please consider helping to keep it coming with whatever material expression of support you can manage.

There’s always the subscription links over in the sidebar too; with around 4,000 daily readers, if everybody kicked in for a one-dollar sub instead of the eight or ten of you who actually have, I’d be caught up financially and banging away at the ol’ keyboard in air-conditioned glory again in a mere trice. Heck, if even half of you did I’d be well on the road back to financial solvency. In fact, it would amount to a damned substantial monthly income, one approaching Andrew Sullivan levels. And that would surely be nice. Although the psychological toll of paying attention to and writing about politics full-time in this frustrating day and age would be steep, and the medication required to maintain some semblance of sanity would probably be expensive enough to eat up most of said income.

Oh, and speaking of banging away at keyboards, I actually managed to fix the MacAlly one mentioned in the above-linked post, so we’re all good there. Just in case anybody was interested in that at all.

As always, my sincerest and humblest thanks to all of you, contributors and non-contributors alike, for your kind attention to my rantings and ramblings. Without y’all, this place wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as it truly is.

NOTE: post is sticky and will remain at the top for a few days. Just scroll down for the new stuff.

Update! We’re up to about 400 bucks here on the old fundraiser so far, which is a good bit shy of a new A/C compressor but is plenty enough to cover the back rent on server space and internet access. Many, many thanks to all who have kicked in so far; I can’t tell you how much your support means to me, and that’s the plain truth. A lot of other bloggers say they’re uncomfortable with doing fundraisers, and I do understand the sentiment. But there’s nothing better for making you realize the obligation you have to your audience—your connection to them—than direct, material expressions of appreciation like the ones you get from a fundraiser. I’ve done ’em about once a year for a long while now, and I always more or less forget how humbling they are until I do another one.

It’s easy to get a sort of disconnect going with this blogging stuff; nobody, not even Glenn Reynolds, has anything near as many commenters as they do readers, and sometimes it can seem as if you’re throwing your thoughts out into a vacuum. A fundraiser brings you down to earth again, informs you about and puts you in touch with your readership, and lets you know just what impact you’re really having on people. That’s a good thing, I think.

Okay, enough navel-gazing, right? Direct e-mail thanks will be coming to each of you contributors starting first of the week, but in the meantime please accept my more general expression of gratitude yet again. Y’all rock, you truly do.

Anniversary update! A few further reflections on fundraisers and such, which I’ll tuck below the fold: Continue reading “Fundraiser!”

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Publick announcement

Apologies for the complete dearth of posting this week, gang; a couple of minor but expensive calamities knocked me offline and kept me there until now. It ain’t as if there’s not been plenty enough to rant about, right?

The least minor and most expensive of said calamities was the loss of central air conditioning at Casa Hendrix last Friday. Any of you who have lived in the steamy South in August know what a disaster that is; after working all week and spending money I didn’t have replacing the cheaper and more readily replaceable components, along with consulting with various friends-of-friends in the HVAC business, it’s clear that the compressor is shot. Those of you who have survived the financial exsanguination that accompanies replacing one of those won’t be surprised when I tell the rest of you to expect another Hail Mary fundraiser around these parts very soon.

And none of you ought to be surprised when I inform you that, according to one of said HVAC guys, the federal G has mandated a switch to a different kind of coolant next year—a coolant that’s both lots more expensive and way less effectual than the current R410. But at least Gaia will be saved…until the year after that, when they’ll most likely do it again. Some things never change, whether I’m here to post about ’em or not.

At any rate, for now I have a borrowed portable A/C unit cranking away in my living room, which is keeping things down to a cozy 85 degrees during the day, dropping to an entirely livable 78 at night. And that’s bearable enough to strip down to boxer shorts, grab a cool beverage (side note: one of the more minor catastrophes was spilling orange juice on my nice MacAlly keyboard, forcing me to recall its battered old Logitech predecessor from its retirement from service), insert myself between monitor and chair, and post a bit between bouts of catching up on the paying work I’ve also been neglecting while trying to restore a modicum of civilized comfort around here. So off we go!

Side note to the side note: the Logitech board is battered enough that there are a couple of barely-functioning keys that have to be pounded violently to make them respond at all, and the spacebar sticks sometimes too. So just ignore the annoying typos that are bound to slip by me here and there, ‘kay?

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Publick Notice

Sorry about the dearth of free ice cream this week, folks. Been sick as a damned dog, among other damned things. Gonna be an extremely busy weekend too, with four gigs in two days. But I’m back among the (relatively) living now, so we’ll see what I can squeeze in (or squeeze out, some would say) in between my occasional pauses for breath here. Onwards!

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A tip of the ni…no, I can’t say it

Many, many thanks to our good friend Chris Muir for that smokin’ hot custom image accompanying the DBD strip in the sidebar. I intended to start running it horizontally in a sticky post up top, but had trouble getting the embed script to work for reasons I can’t figure out. So to heck with it for now; I just stuck it back in the sidebar the way it used to be until I can get things sussed rather than continue depriving y’all of his always-excellent work. Enjoy, y’all.

Update! Holy crap, are you kidding me? I try the horizontal embed code just one more time for shits and grins, and all of a sudden it WORKS? Jeez. Okay, clearly I have work to do here. And some more self-educatin’ right along with it.

Updated update! Okay, I’m leaving that image over in the sidebar as a link back to Chris’s DBD site. It’s just too good not to use. Now y’all get your daily dose of the funny papers right up top to start you off, and the added bonus of some…ummm…stimulating visuals in the sidebar to boot. Don’t anybody say I never did anything for ya, hear?

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Publick Notice

Yes, I’m playing with the themes here. Expect weirdness, with my apologies for any inconvenience.

Update! Yes, yes, I know, I know. But I kinda like the theme otherwise. I’ll fix it, I promise. No hippies on the main page. Hell of a way for a swinging’ bachelor like me to spend a Saturday night, ain’t it?

Updated update! Okay, hippies gone, hopefully for good. Now to figure out the rest of it.

Update to the updated update! Just about done fooling about with this, I think. Everything seems to work except Day By Day, and I just sent Muir an e-mail to see if we can get that sorted out. Hope y’all like this look; it’s a theme I’ve used before here, with a few little tweaks. I think it’s pretty readable and easy to navigate, and hell, I was tired of the old look and just wanted a bit of a change without having to dig too deep and revamp the whole site. As always, if anything ain’t working for ya let me know and I’ll try to get it fixed.

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DIY, baby!

It occurred to me that at least a handful of you might be interested in–or may even find useful yourself–some info on the process by which I brought my beloved 24 inch iMac back to life this past week. I’ll just say this: the videos, forums, and links at this website are indispensable if you have a Mac (or just about anything else) that needs some attention and don’t want to endure the hassle of wading through the Genius Bar process, don’t have a good repair shop close by, or are just one of those masochistic lunatics like me who just generally prefers doing things yourself. In my specific case, this video was most helpful: clear, easy to follow, and with the added benefit of featuring a totally hot and personable geek babe who is in no way difficult to look at and/or listen to. in fact, I’d say it’s worth watching the vid just for her, whether you even own an iMac or not.

And on another DIY topic, Bill posts this, on restoring a great-looking Barbour jacket. Never have had one of these things, but I’d sure love to. Ah well; given the price, I’ll be sticking with good old Carhartt, at least for the foreseeable future.

Update! And for a preview of the next DIY project I’m working on this week, God help me, check this out: Camber, Caster and Toe: What Do They Mean?

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Publick Notice

Blogging will once again be sharply curtailed for a few days, while I deal with the power source having crapped out on the trusty old iMac. Not a horribly difficult swap to do, mind, but it ain’t entirely a day at the beach either–especially considering the presence of capacitors on the board that store enough voltage to kill a man–and first I gotta get the dang part.

Sorry ’bout that, folks. Apple power supplies are generally known for being extremely sturdy and well-built, from what I’ve read in researching the problem on my phone; in all my years of using ’em this is the first one I’ve ever had go bad, I must say. But go bad it did, yesterday morning as I was preparing a rant ripping into the GOPe’s utterly clueless and counterproductive move: sending out ever faithful and obedient perennial loser Mitt Romney to do their dirty work for them. The third-party blogging software I use on the iMac has an auto-save feature that I usually spend more time cussing at than praising, but in this fateful instance it proved itself useful.

Anyways, back when I get things straightened out here.

Update! The Mittens post is now up. And if you think it was fun finishing that post out on a cellphone after cutting and pasting it from the WP editor and e-mailing it to myself, I urge you to try it sometime. Ahem.

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Comments are back

Note the updates to the post below; I got the things working again, although I ain’t real pleased with how I had to do it, since it’s gonna amount to an open invitation to spam comments on old posts. But what the heck, they’re back for now, and I can figure a better method out later.

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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