January 20, 2006 - January 13, 2006
Monday, March 21, 2005
You Can Get Away with Everything
Do you know this man?
His name is Jim Davis, that would be, "Congressman
Jim Davis" to you. Congressman Jim Davis was elected to Congress in 1996, and, he tells us via his website
that he "brought a wealth of legislative experience and a common sense approach to the House of
Representatives." Not only that, before his fourth year of service was complete, the Tampa
Tribune thought it wise to report that he is
"a moderate lawmaker of unimpeachable character, an unpretentious man his colleagues naturally look
to for leadership." Naturally.
Well, in a bit of irony, we looked up Congressman Davis. And, the first thing you see when you get
to his website is this:
Of course, if you happen to be the parents of a desperately disabled child who is about to be denied
the basics of food and water, well then, Congressman Jim feels it would be a "clear threat to our
democracy" to get you any kind of empowerment. Thankfully, for the Schiavos, Congressman Jim's colleagues
did not look to him for leadership -- naturally or otherwise -- The House
voted 203 to 58 (Source Archive) for the bill
that would empower the Schiavos to have their case heard in Federal Court which would require that she
at least be given food and water while all this gets sorted out.
Maybe next time, Jimbo.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
He Grew to Boyhood in his Stepfather's Carpentry Shop
On St. Patrick's Day we received a request via the comments section to remember St. Joseph's Day. But,
unless Guinness is planning some late promotions around St. Joseph's Day
like they did with their St. Patrick's
Day commercial, I
doubt you'll hear a peep out
of the Chain Gang about it.
But, I thought it was a good request, so I thought I'd post something for St. Joseph today.
From the Roman
Breviary, a hymn for the day:
Joseph, the praise and glory of the
Sure pledge of life, and safety of the
As in our joy we sing to thee, in
List to our praises.
Thou by the world's Creator wert appointed
Spouse of the Virgin: thee he willed to honour
Naming thee father of the Word and guardian
Of our salvation.
When the Redeemer, whom the Prophets' chorus
Long had predicted, lay within the manger,
Glad was thy spirit, whilst in adoration
Lowly thou kneeledst.
God, King of kings, and Governor of the ages,
He at whose word the powers of hell do tremble,
He whom the adoring heavens ever worship
Called thee protéctor.
Praise to the Triune Godhead everlasting,
Who with such honour mightily hath blessed thee;
O may he grant us at thy blest petition
Joys everlasting. Amen.
It is a bit more subdued day, but important nontheless. Thanks to Alfa for pointing it out. We'll see
what happens around here on St. Andrew's
Friday, March 18, 2005
Romantics were Brits who Thought that it Might
be Possible to Feel Emotions
From BBC News, some Georgian insouciance . . .
3 of 5
PSAYINGS.5Q.27. It seems that John Kerry is now trying to rewrite
the story of his failed presidential bid. At some kind of award
ceremony covered by P.
J. O’Rourke, the senator was asked about his defeat and responded:
"There has been," he said, "a profound
and negative change in the relationship of America's media with the
American people. . . If 77 percent of the people who voted for George
Bush on Election Day believed weapons of mass destruction had been
found in Iraq--as they did--and 77 percent of the people who voted for
him believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11--as they
did--then something has happened in the way in which we are talking to
each other and who is arbitrating the truth in American politics. . . .
When fear is dominating the discussion and when there are false choices
presented and there is no arbitrator, we have a problem."
"We learned," Kerry continued, "that the mainstream media, over the
course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning. But
there's a subculture and a sub-media that talks and keeps things going
for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information. And
that has a profound impact and undermines what we call the mainstream
media of the country. And so the decision-making ability of the
American electorate has been profoundly impacted as a consequence of
that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"
Mr. O’Rourke does an excellent job of deriding Kerry’s argument and so
it needn’t be done again here, but we did want to suggest that this
article should be read (or reread) specifically in the context of the
recent interview John O'Neill gave to American
Enterprise Online. Most of us know the highlights of the Swiftboat
Vets' campaign to counter Kerry's self-aggrandizing account of his
military career. What's new in the interview is the details of what the
Swiftboat vets had to overcome to get their story out, details that
cast an ironic light on Kerry's pronouncements about the mainstream
media and, by implication, himself.
TAE: At the Swift Boat veterans' May 4
press conference you had an open letter calling Kerry unfit to be
Commander in Chief. It was signed by virtually all of John Kerry's
commanders in Vietnam. Yet the story fell flat. The media ignored it.
How did your group react to the media blackout?
O'NEILL: We were shocked. We couldn't believe it. I haven't been
involved in politics or media relations, and I thought the job of the
media was primarily to report the facts. It was obvious to me that many
hundreds of his former comrades coming forward to say that he lied
about his record in Vietnam and that he was unfit to be President would
be important information for Americans. I only then became aware of the
bias of the media.
TAE: How do you explain the media's response?
O'NEILL: The establishment media was very pro-Kerry. They were opposed
to any story that was critical of Kerry, and I believe that they were
captured by their own bias. We met with one reporter around that time.
We told a story to him relating to Kerry's service. He acknowledged it
was true and terribly important. And he told us he would not print it
because it would help George Bush. That's when we began to realize we
had a real problem on our hands.
Would this be an example of "a pretty good job of discerning?"
TAE: Did your group consider giving up?
couldn't give up because in the end our objective was to get our facts
out. We had to be able to look at ourselves the day after the election
and know we had done everything we could. If we were simply shouting in
the desert, we would still have to shout.
after the press conference was that the three major networks, the New
York Times, and the Washington Post would under no circumstances carry
a story like ours, no matter how well documented. The strategy we
devised first involved use of a fifteenth-century method of
communication; that is, writing a book, which may sound strange in the
telecommunications age. But that book, Unfit for Command, sold over
850,000 copies. I've often mused how funny it is that the New York
Times had to list it as No. 1 on its bestseller list. The second thing
we did was run, with the small amount of money we had, our ad, which
featured 15 of us.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
St. Patrick's Lorica
I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Hunter Thompson Shoots His Head
Gosh, we read all the eulogies and apologias by the aged survivors of
the hippie era. We (that is, I, InstaPunk) read his two books once upon
a time -- Hell's Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I
thought Hell's Angels was
good, because it taught me a lot about the Hell's Angels. Fear and Loathing did not strike me
as good because when I eventually visited Las Vegas it didn't seem
anything like the place Thompson described. Ever since, I have been
wondering whether what I think I know about the Hell's Angels is as
wrong as his description of Las Vegas.
When I heard that Hunter Thompson shot himself I had no reaction. I
keep waiting for a reaction, but it just isn't happening. You know how
you don't really have a reaction when someone tells you that the guy
who reads your meter for the electric company shot himself in the head?
It's the same kind of thing. By inference, I guess my reaction is that
as an author, Hunter Thompson always struck me as the meter reader of
Except that the guy who reads my meter for the electric company isn't a
prematurely senile adolescent who throws tantrums and hotel furniture
all over the place.
I promise I will try to have a more lyrical reaction when Norman Mailer
dies. But I can't promise that it will be more lyrical than the thought
that occurred to me when I heard about Thompson: "...but Keith Richards
isn't dead yet, is he? Cool."
Hugh Hewitt and his Book
It's called Blog.
The Chain Gang sent it to me with a postit note telling
me it was a must-read. They didn't say why, but that's okay because Hugh
Hewitt did -- several times in the preface, several more in the
introduction, and every few pages in the brief text shoehorned in
between the front matter and the appendixes.
It's a great book. Really. Without it, most of us wouldn't ever be able
to understand just how important and revolutionary lawyers blogs are.
Instead, we'd keep on writing our little entries in a kind of
shamefaced silence, convinced that the famous mainstream journalists
are, in fact, better than the right-wing lawyers bloggers who
accidentally defeated John Kerry and Dan Rather last November in their
Thanks to Hugh, we can now all take pride in the fact that the BEST of
the Internet lawyers
bloggers are as smart, well educated, and well dressed as Peter
Jennings (high school dropout), Tom Brokaw (South Dakota State or
something), and Dan Rather (East West Texas State Teachers Agricultural
Seminary). The really really good lawyers bloggers, like
Hugh Hewitt, Scott Johnson, John Hinderaker, Andrew Sullivan, and Glenn
Reynolds all have Ivy League degrees unless they're from England and at
some point became homosexual or liberal or something like that.
Which is why the whole lawyerblogosphere
is like the Reformation, which was the time way back in the middle ages
when the famous lawyer
Gutenberg brought down the Pope by printing the Bible for a lower
retail sticker price than the family car, which made Martin Luther the
most successful heretic
revolutionary in history.
And now we can do the same
thing. All we have to do is go to an Ivy League law school
and start a blog that has plenty of links to Hugh Hewitt.com. And maybe
recommend him to a consulting gig with our favorite Fortune 500
company. (We sent an email to the CEO of this one. We mentioned Hugh
twice and ourself only once. That's what great lawyers bloggers like
ourself call modesty.)
Wow. Wasn't that easy? Now we're a revolutionary too.
Philip Bennett & the Washington
The toe was throbbing, and yet there was still time to read the
between the Washington Post's Philip Bennett and the China
NY-Washington Post-Times or whatver the hell they call that rag.
We're reluctant to quote the actual interview at length because despite
the world-class-ness of world-class publications like the China
Intelligencer and Tribune-Blatt or whatever it was, the translation
really did sound a lot like a laundry ticket delivered by extras in
HBO's Deadwood. For example,
we can't help thinking that the following translation of an exchange
between the Chinese interviewer and the American Harvard graduate
interviewee isn't word-for-word accurate:
Yong Tang: The most glorious
period for The Washington Post was during the Watergate days. When
could the Washington Post regain that glory?
Bennett: We like that
glory. Reporters should try to reach for something important. The
chance to change the history is a huge burden for you if you don't have
the courage to take it. That episode is extremely important for the
Post and even the whole country. Investigative reporting is still a big
part of what this newspaper does.
I think the Watergate is important to us
and it is a present to us. Because that was also a very difficult
period for the newspaper. The newspaper was under great pressure to
conform, to drop the investigations and to give up. The Post showed
that courageous ownership, courageous editors and courageous reporters
could prevail. That is a value hopefully we have not lost.
I think the Watergate is important to
us and it is a present to us. All right, call us western-biased.
We're biased to think that a Harvard-educated editor of a major
newspaper knows when to use definite and indefinite articles in oral
On the other hand, maybe it's like the United Nations, where everything
that's true is true is because it's always been true, because the
foreigners always know better, what with having been around for several
thousand years screwing up their people's lives before America was ever
even a gleam in some racist autocrat's eye. It's on this chance that we
present the following "quote" from Bennett's interview:
Yong Tang: Is the circulation
of your newspaper falling down?
Bennett: It is not
falling by big number. But after many many years of growing, it is
going down in a gradual way. It is alarming. We are trying to figure
out ways to keep that from continuing.
It is not falling by big number.
Even InstaPunk with his throbbing toe can recognize that there's
something off about the language of this exchange. Yet it also reminds
InstaPunk of something that some people out there in America may never
have experienced. Because -- and it pains him to admit this in so many
words -- InstaPunk is also a graduate of Harvard College, in which
place he occasionally ran into what what were called Foreign Service
Brats. And he suspects that Mr. Bennett is one of this breed. Why?
Bennett joined The Post in 1997 as a
deputy national editor for coverage of national security, defense and
foreign policy. He came to the paper from the Boston Globe, where he
was a reporter on the metro staff, a foreign correspondent covering
Latin America and later the Globe’s foreign editor. He has written
about Latin America for a variety of magazines. He started in
journalism as a reporter for The Lima Times in Peru.
Oh yeah. Equality. The sexes equal each other. Then they flip. Or
Kinsley was never what we Jersey boys would have called a "guy." He was
always a feminized, self-congratulating wit who had lots of book
education and an all-too-apparent lack of real world experience. Would
you ever ask him to look at your carburetor?
Estrich, on the other hand, was the classic proof of a Freudian theory
that was obviously wrong until you looked at her. You could meet dozens
of women who exhibited no signs of what Freud called penis-envy. Then
you saw Susan Estrich on a talk show. AHA! A chick who's never gotten
over not having a penis and testicles. That's why she's trying to sound
like Wallace Beery.
Another sign of convergence. An Estrich runs headlong into a Kinsley.
Why should she acknowledge any difference but gender? She can't. She
therefore holds him accountable for every sex performance difference --
including the fact that female commentary generally is less original,
less effective, and less insightful than men's.
And what of him? He is similarly handicapped. He is unable to specify
the difference, because he does not think of Thurber's The War Between
the Sexes. He is looking for originality, effectiveness, insight, and
liberal scripture. Convinced that the right scripture should appeal to
both men and women, as it appeals to him, he feels betrayed to be
attacked from the left. When he counterattacks, it is with all the
vitriol and condescension at his disposal.
What would have happened on the right? Women on the right know that if
they are good at thinking, they are in the minority for their sex.
(Sorry. I know the truth may hurt, but it is still the truth.) They
also know that they are tremendously valued for such ability. They are
drawn to the possibility of becoming goddesses, which is what all women
want, including Susan Estrich, who would receive the acclaim she needs
if only she could change her affiliations.
The bottom line. Kinsley is an ass. He wishes he were George Bernard
Shaw, but he's Paul Begala with an education instead. Estrich is an
ass. She wishes she were Ann Coulter. She thinks she could manage it
with a combination of plastic surgery and a lobotomy. All she'd really
need would be the plastic surgery and a quit-smoking regimen. The
lobotomy would turn her into Bella Abzug. Sorry.
The President of Harvard forgot himself for a moment and believed that
he and his university were an academic institution. HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
James Thurber: The War Between Men
The ability of women. It's the single most lied-about subject in
western civilization. It's not that women don't have ability. They do.
It's that there's never been one female Homer, Socrates, Plato, Christ,
Buddha, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Newton, Shakespeare,
Jefferson, Napoleon, Edison, Einstein, MacArthur, or Churchill.
InstaPunk once committed the irretrievable error of writing a book on
this subject. It was turned down by every publisher in existence. Using
humor, he made up a plausible (as any other) social science to explain
the discrepancy. A key finding of his fake science was the discovery of
a difference in performance curves between men and women, one which
purported to explain why the worst of men are dumber, meaner, and
generally less accomplished than women despite the fact that the best
of men are smarter, more spiritually adept, and infinitely more
accomplished in every regard than the best of women. The
activating idea was that men are thrown into a "sink or swim" genius
pool. They prosper and they achieve, or they fail and tumble to the
depths. The point of the exercise was to lampoon politically correct
social science, which has for so long attempted to equate the sexes --
explaining away the superior accomplishments of less than 50 percent of
the population while making up virtues and superiorities in the greater
than 50 percent that nowhere appear in the record. (Women are verbally
superior to men? Shakespeare. Blake. Yeats. Pshaw. Women are better at
securing cooperative effort? Jesus Christ. Ghandi. Eisenhower. Pfui.)
Meanwhile, women excel at the the most important mandate of the culture
as a whole -- raising children until the age organizational systems
begin to exert their amoral or antimoral claims on them. InstaPunk's
notion was that all morality resides in individuals, as raised by their
fathers and mothers, before organizations begin the process of
perverting them for group imperatives. Compassion, consideration,
empathy, sacrifice, and a sense of home and the "now" -- these flow
from women. Justice, objective analysis, self-discipline, fairness,
honor, duty, accomplishment, and "posterity" -- these flow from men.
Organizations reflect none of these virtues, only their rationalized
simulacra -- conformism, obedience, status displays, materialism,
physical comfort and satisfaction, and "fame." Note that the female
contributions represent the most personal core, the male contributions
the necessary bridges between that core and the world at large, while
the organizational contributions are almost invariably negative and
Also note that none of this predicts a role for women in science,
business, law, or other professions extending into the world of
business and competition. Obviously, many women do possess such aptitudes, and even
InstaPunk believes the world is better off for their participation. But
where do we get the idea that the right level of participation is 50
The Democratic Party
Official and unofficial pundits -- read TV journalists and bloggers --
have been using up firkins of ink decrying the sorry state of the
Democratic Party. They've lost the Senate, the House, and the
Presidency, they've got no ideas, their prime spokespeople say nothing
but "No!" to every policy initiative and judicial or executive
candidate, their most vocal leaders and advocates are elitist
millionaires from Hollywood, New York or Boston, their rank and file
are out of touch with the mainstream red states, they court atheists,
they despise Christians and
Jews, they defend the rights of Islamist barbarians who want to destroy
the land of their birth, they celebrate as ecumenical virtue the murder
of unborn children, they continually engage in anti-American,
anti-patriotic, anti-religious demagoguery, and they've nominated as
their newest party leader a man who is both unhinged and impolitic in
his avowed hatred of the Republican opposition.(Not to mention
umpteenth generation Yale.) All true.
Pardon me if I'm not gleeful, triumphalist, or anything but frightened
to death. These idiots got 48+ percent of the national vote in the last
presidential election. If their leadership were anything above the
level of a moron, they would have won. (Oh yes, they would have; that's
why even conservatives should care about 130,000 votes in Ohio.)
Republicans keep conveniently forgetting that the polls show American
people agreeing with the Democrats on "the issues" -- health care (fix
us for free), education (pay the teachers more money and quit talking
about parental responsibility), campaign finance reform (end freedom of
political speech if you have to, but make sure we can get all the tits
and ass and Howard Stern we want), and peace (send anyone but me and my kids into harm's way to save
The only thing keeping Republicans in power is the personal sincerity
and credibility of people like George W. Bush and his wife. Democrats
are the party of the majority viewpoint, as they keep telling us. The
day the Democrats learn how to state their case without making the
fencesitters feel like the corrupt cowards they are, they will regain
all the power and authority they wielded in the period between FDR and
In other words, if the Republicans don't realize that the only thing
protecting them from a new regime of Democratic idiots is the idiots
who run the Democratic Party, then the worst idiots of all are the
The Broken Toe Blues
PENNSYLVANIANS.3.26-31. InstaPunk has been doing
a lot of work around
the house, playing Mr. Fixit and painting every flat surface he can
find, in addition to waiting on the sighthounds and other critters.
These kinds of activities tend to make questions of politics and
cultural affairs seem moot, or at least remote from any need for timely
attention. But fate has a way of taking a hand, even in the most
pastoral of locales. Mr. Fixit was loose in the household with a
cordless drill, prefatory to hanging some etchings, etc, when he
stumbled over a dropcloth some idiot had failed to put away in its
assigned place. His right foot skidded, his left swung deftly to create
a balancing counterweight, and his exrtreme leftmost toe was
interrupted in its arc by a door jamb.
[OFFICIAL TIMEOUT: InstaPunk is not
notably fond of the profane, which he recently learned causes blog
readers to shy away in embarrassment, but Mr. Fixit is volubly obscene
when the leftwing sort of door jamb attempts to de-toe him at the root.
Therefore, the immediate aftermath of this incident is hereby deleted
from the narrative.]
Thankfully, Mr. Fixit
Instapunk did not die of the pain. To date, he has successfully
negotiated the phase called "denial" and is currently ensconced in the
phase called "anger" or, more precisely, "immobility." After a weekend
of books, TV, the Internet, and two hogsheads of aspirin, he now finds
the temptation to blow off steam well nigh irresistible.
So, to begin at the beginning, the writer's first peek at the Internet
in quite a while turned up the following:
InstaPunk, put down the Bengal cats;
let the Scottish Deerhounds outside; and sit down at your desk and get
your work done. Basically, we're waiting for your take on the state of
the Democratic Party and the odd rumblings between men and women on the
left -- like, Kinsley-Estrich; and President Summers against the
faculty at Harvard University. Also, Hunter Thompson shot himself in
the head. Anything?
Put down the Bengal cats? Put the deerhounds outside? You come here and
try it, Chain Gang. I doubt if you'd sound so tough in the same room
with such beasts.
Put the Bengal down.
Put the deerhound out. You and what
Still, I'm prepared to discuss your questions and a couple of others as
long as I don't have to put in a bunch of superfluous links to other
bloggers. (More about that later.)
Monday, March 14, 2005
The Danger of Guns -- Part II
Our previous comments on Suspected
Terrorists buying guns received a lot of commentary and
discussion. Excellent. However, for those that disagreed with our comments we need to clarify a few things.
Our point seemed, to us, to be a simple one -- The current rules and regulations, which are innumerable,
cannot stop listed terrorist suspects from purchasing guns. These rules and regs. have created an unimaginable
bureacracy and tons (literally, not figuratively) of paper. We're obscure on the particulars, but let's just
say that there are only two copies of BATF
Form 4473 (some of us think it is three -- but that caused a big argument over whether or not the third
copy is sent into BATF, which there was a big stink over many years ago, so we're going with two) AND there
are 192 million firearms in the U.S. -- that makes 2 x 4 x 192,000,000 (not counting unsuccessful purchases, which
require the forms to be filed and retained for five years or forms that were discarded for one reason or
another). Anyway, that is 1.536 Billion, with a 'B,' pages of paper. With 500 sheets
in a ream, that is 3,072,000 reams of paper. And, at five pounds per ream, that is 15.36 million pounds of
paper -- or, 7,680 tons of paper.
This is an unimaginable amount of paper. It is an unimaginable amount of signatures and answers to questions
that are not intimidating, as some suggested in their responses, but patently ridiculous. A point we
attempted to make with our reference to the question regarding whether or not you are mentally impaired. What
lying criminal would answer any of the questions honestly? The only people that would answer the questions
honestly are honest people with nothing to hide, the rest would lie their asses off to get a gun.
We summed up our comments by saying that with such an unimaginable amount of rules and regulations -- going
so far as to point out that there are actually regulation of potato
guns -- that, perhaps it had all been for naught. Although each step in the journey from a robust
frontier to today had been taken with the utmost care and reason, the result is so obsurd that a reasonable
man just might consider doing away with the system in its entirety.
Yet, still we hear things like, "Well, we don't want just anyone to have access to firearms . . . " Or,
"The founders never invisioned modern weaponry . . ." And, things like this. All very reminiscent to us
of "Gun Control" debates we participated in fifth grade in the 1970's. So, as much as we hate to enter into
the fray at this level, we feel compelled to list our responses to the most common arguments for gun control.
If you don't want to read them, we'll understand, but for those who are interested, we make the following
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