Screen time.

Sunday night, watchin’ the Oscars — at least until “True Detective” comes on. I hate most of this red-carpet silliness, but I have to say, just the glimpse I caught of Charlize Theron in that snaky black number is probably worth all the bullshit.

People get bent out of shape about fashion, and I’ve been among them from time to time, but I think I’ve finally learned to appreciate it for its own sake. I no longer get irritated that the dresses are too expensive or can’t be worn by anyone other than human hangers; I just enjoy them, knowing I’ll never wear one.

Who does buy those things, anyway? Actors get them free, but most are only loans. So who pays $14,000 for a dress? Russian mobsters’ girlfriends? I’m baffled.

Oh, Jared Leto, what a nice speech. But I just realized I’ve been mispronouncing your name for years.

And enough of that, I think.

So, we had snow over the weekend. Because we really needed it, you know. The landscape is positively Siberian; the giant heaps of snow at the end of every driveway and block have been hazards for weeks now. Now they’re 4.5 inches more dangerous. And yet. We’ve had some thaw-y days here and there, and enough has melted to start exposing the winter’s detritus, trash and dog poop and other grossness, so in spite of my thorough done-ness with this winter, when a fresh blanket falls on top of the gray, honeycombed drifts, part of me always says: Sure is pretty.

Current temperature: 2 degrees.

Siberia is probably more pleasant this time of year. They have their winter culture down pat — the glasses of tea, the steaming loaves of black bread, all that stuff. Whereas we have the green banners heralding St. Patrick’s Day, a day for planting peas, as the gardeners say. Not this year.

Sorry for excessive lameness. It was a lame weekend, spent cleaning bathrooms and watching “House of Cards” and on Saturday night there was this:


That’s the exceedingly creative Creative Jazz Ensemble, which this season consists of three violins, four or five guitars, drums, vibes and my little girl on bass. They do mostly original compositions, as I expect it’s difficult to write charts for “Take the A Train” for that particular lineup. Not one horn this year. Fortunately, they’re very creative.

I don’t have much linkage today, but I will say this: “House of Cards” tried my patience this season, even as it whipped me on and on. There were moments of humor, however, among them, spoiler-free:

Claire selecting a dress for her CNN interview from her closet, which is a mass of black, white, beige and navy. “Maybe something less neutral,” she says. As though she owns anything that isn’t neutral. She ended up in black. I guess because it’s not beige.

Claire entertaining the first lady, and she brings a bottle of red wine to where they’re both sitting, on the Underwoods’ white couch. Everything in the Underwoods’ house is neutral, like Claire’s closet, and it’s really weird how not only do they dress to match the furniture, so does everyone else in the show. Anyway, Claire picks up the wine bottle and, no shit, pours them both glasses while holding them OVER THE COUCH. This was a moment far more suspenseful than any plot twist. Don’t spill a drop, Claire!

If autoerotic asphyxiation pays that well to the prostitutes who do it, I may have to consider a career change. That’s serious bank.

I’ll think of some more, just as soon as I take all the red, orange, cerise and other jarring tones out of my wardrobe. I have a takeover of the U.S. government to plan.

So let’s head into the week, and hope we can get to the end without freezing to death or seeing war in the Crimea.

Posted at 7:49 am in Movies, Television |

38 responses to “Screen time.”

  1. beb said on March 3, 2014 at 8:13 am

    There being nothing else on TV at the time I watched part of a re-broadcast of Meet the Press by David Gregory. He had on Sec of State Kerry. I was amazed how he kept badgering Mr. Kerry about whether we’ll militarily intervene in the Ukraine.

    Then Hregory had on Rubio to rebut. Why do we need to rebut the Secretary of State. It’s not Rubio or Congress makes foreign policy? Rubio was calling the president weak for not already dropping bombs on someone. As if we need a third middle eastern war. And Rubio totally failed to see how Pres. Obama’s negotiating skills got Syria to abandon chemical weapons and Iran to moderate its nuclear program. It’s so hard to tell who’s the bigger dickhead on MTP, Gregory who never asks insightful questions or the Republicans who have been wrong about foreign policy for thirty years.

    Oh, and it’s bitter cold, the snow is too damn high. I’m beginning to fear that this will be a Year Without A Summer!

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  2. brian stouder said on March 3, 2014 at 9:07 am

    That is a marvelous photograph; like the New Orleans images that were shared here, definitely worth a thousand words.

    I’m enjoying the cognitive (or perspective-shifting) aspect of getting older. It isn’t that one knows (much less even understands) so much more; really quite the opposite.

    I’m getting a much clearer idea of the enormity of what I don’t know, even as I get a relative idea of (at least a few) things that are genuinely consequential, and which things are not.

    But, once again, we digress!

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  3. Jeff Borden said on March 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

    It’s in single digits and there is lake effect snow falling right now. The high promises to be 15 degrees. I’m beyond sick of this winter. It’s not the worst I’ve lived through, but it’s bad enough to have induced a terrible case of cabin fever. I just want to be able to go outside without a shovel or six layers of clothing.

    Neil Steinberg had an excellent column yesterday about our national hard-on to go to war. . .how we are always ready to declare hostilities. . .which has been reflected by the usual rightwing douchebags from Linsey Graham to Marco Rubio to the Quitta from Wasilla calling on President Obama to quit being such a pussy and start makin’ some war. They’ve learned nothing from Iraq or Afghanistan, but hey. . .they get to bash the black guy in the Oval Office. The usual suspects also beat him up for not intervening in Syria, of course.

    As one who once passionately argued for an all-volunteer military, I now believe it has been a mistake. When only 1% to 2% of our population is put at risk by going to war, it’s just too easy for the armchair generals to send them into battle. Perhaps if more of our citizens –including the sons and daughters of the powerful– were drafted into military service we would be more circumspect about military force.

    Putin is a horrible man, but war in Crimea isn’t the answer.

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  4. Scout said on March 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Human hanger is worth co-opting. It’s a perfect description for people who can wear clothes I never could and never will.

    We binge watched House of Cards this weekend. We have one ep left of Season 1 and will watch it tonight, and maybe start on Season 2 if I’m up to it. I barely slept a wink last night. I’m blaming the chicory blend with cacao that I drank in the late afternoon. Just can’t do that. It’s going to be a long day at work today. Anyway, Kevin Spacey is compelling and creepy and brilliant in this role. Big props to Robin Wright too.

    We tried to watch the Oscars but our antenna couldn’t pick up the local ABC affiliate. All we ever watch is Netflix and Hulu. Oh, and PBS, which we can get for some reason.

    Reading the interwebs yesterday, I was struck by the sheer idiocy of the mind set that we need to start dropping bombs right now or else it means the POTUS is weak sauce. I wouldn’t mind it so much if these ass clowns weren’t the ones getting all the air time. What ever happened to respecting the office no matter who was in it, and presenting a unified front to the world? Oh that’s right, OITPOTUSIAR.

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  5. Judybusy said on March 3, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I’m seeing occasional criticism of why there is so much news coverage about Ukraine, and so little about what’s happening in Venezuela. Well, in one word: Russia. The implications are so much more vast. I am reading the Guns of August right now, about WWI. I hadn’t realized how much build-up there was to the war. Barbara Tuchman is such a great writer, too.

    Jeff, I’m right there with you about winter. You know you’ve been utterly, completely vanquished when you look at the current conditions and breathe a sigh of relief when the windchill’s just -10. Yesterday, it was -30. I stayed indoors and worked on a presentation on spring bulbs for the local master gardener program. What a balm!

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  6. Dexter said on March 3, 2014 at 10:37 am

    People asking you why True Detective is so compelling? Why, easy! It’s Rust Cohle’s cheeriness!

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  7. coozledad said on March 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Once Russia moves to try and put out this fire, they’ll have another one elsewhere. Chechnya? Georgia?

    The collapse of the Soviet Union was just the beginning of a continuing Balkanization of the entire region. Putin can kill a shitload of people (many of them the poor bastards in his armed forces) trying to stop it, or he can do the decent thing and step aside, and permit the inevitable to happen slightly more peacefully.

    He wont, because he’s KGB, same as if we had another CIA freak or one of his preppy offspring in the White House. The big downside to having a violent creep in power who has stoked so much resentment among the various ethnic entities that make up the whole idea of Russia is this: Nuclear weapons will go on the world market, and their sales will be targeted to grievance mongers.

    If anything, Putin needs to be begging the US to save his ass. But a douchebag is going to swing them balls every goddamned time.

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  8. coozledad said on March 3, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Is that an Ibanez sunburst archtop, or what?

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  9. Dexter said on March 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Meanwhile, since all of us north of Florida are shuttered in (here it just made 5 above) , let’s have a longest ash contest.×540.jpg

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  10. Jenine said on March 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I enjoyed seeing Charlize Theron, one of those people I cannot *not* watch, presenting next to Chris Hemsworth. Chris (Thor) was only a hair taller than Charlize. Ellen did a bang-up job hosting, I wandered off at the end but enjoyed the parts I watched.

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  11. nancy said on March 3, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Not sure what that instrument is, Cooz. It belongs to the conductor, who played a short set with the mentors of the group before the kids came out. Kate’s is your standard black-over-white Fender jazz bass, made in the USA in 1996, just like her.

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  12. LAMary said on March 3, 2014 at 11:39 am

    It’s not freezing here but we got about a half year’s worth of rain in 36 hours. At one point my garage could be used as a wading pool. The river of water running down the street breached the berm in front of the garage door and the water was pouring in. Luckily all the strapping males were present so with buckets and mops and old towels it was taken care of. Living on a hill with no storm sewers can be exciting. At the bottom of the hill the street is covered with mud and junk and lots of rocks big and sharp enough to tear a nice hole in your radiator if you misjudge their size. Did that once and it was expensive.

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  13. Dave said on March 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Did Ellen just wing it last night because her material was weak and she wouldn’t do it or was it because last year’s host was embarrassing and she wanted to stay far from that. OTOH, who am I to criticize, I wouldn’t have a clue as to how to host the Oscars.

    Grateful to be reading about the winter from Florida, we left the last week of January and have no set date to return. Glad to be missing it, glad that I no longer work in it.

    MichaelG, so sorry to read about your health issues and such a time for it to come, as if there’s ever a good time. Sorry and best thoughts your way.

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  14. basset said on March 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Twenty-two and light snow right now in Nashville, lots of rain and then a freeze overnight though so schools are closed, city buses didn’t run this morning, and I got a call on the way to work saying turn it around, the office is shut today. Still plenty to do online in between checks of nn.c and other sites.

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  15. brian stouder said on March 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Michigan food for thought:

    The lead (plus one):

    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A freshwater channel that separates Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas is a premier Midwestern tourist attraction and a photographer’s delight, offering spectacular vistas of two Great Lakes, several islands and one of the world’s longest suspension bridges. But nowadays the Straits of Mackinac is drawing attention for something that is out of sight and usually out of mind, and which some consider a symbol of the dangers lurking in the nation’s sprawling web of buried oil and natural gas pipelines.

    Stretched across the bottom of the waterway at depths reaching 270 feet are two 20-inch pipes that carry nearly 23 million gallons of crude oil daily. They are part of the 1,900-mile Lakehead network, which originates in North Dakota near the Canadian border. A segment known as Line 5 slices through northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula before ducking beneath the Straits of Mackinac and winding up in Sarnia, Ontario.

    The pipes were laid in 1953. They’ve never leaked, according to the system’s owner, Enbridge Energy Partners LP, which says the lines are in good shape and pose no threat.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on March 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    The Year Without Summer is a book I don’t want to read.

    We’re too ancient to stay up as late as the Oscars, so we’ll watch the rest tonight. I did see the inspirational speech from Lupita Nyong’o, but missed the butchering of Idina Menzel’s name by John Travolta. That’s why you go to rehearsal, Johnny.

    Kate’s group is unorthodox in its mix, but it should be a great chance to stretch and grow. Our daughter wanted to be in jazz band, and since there are no charts for flute, she learned to transpose on the fly. Later she learned to play bass and sing harmony at the same time, which blows my mind.

    And speaking of mind blowing, the pest control guy came through the office a little bit ago, and I asked if he was extra busy with restaurant business. (Lots of news lately about the Board of Health shutting down places due to bugs and rodents.) He believes that Obama is telling the BoH to shut down small businesses. I believe he’s inhaled too many chemicals.

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  17. Sherri said on March 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I almost never watch award shows, but when I finished watching something I had recorded last night, the Oscars were on, so I watched the last half of the show. (An advantage to being on the west coast: the Oscars are shown live, so you don’t have to stay up late to watch them.) Lupita Nyong’o, Darlene Love, John Ridley, and the couple who won for best song were my favorites. Matthew McConaughey was…different. Pink surprisingly didn’t totally suck singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but as my husband said, I wish pop singers learned how to breathe properly. She had the voice, but she kept taking breaths in the (obvious, even to my untrained ear) wrong places. It really stood out compared to Bette Midler and Idina Menzel, who sang after her.

    The hero montage was terrible.

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  18. Deborah said on March 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Julie, what do you say to a someone like your pest control guy? Why in the world would he think that Obama was trying to shut down small businesses? Where do people get this stuff? Craziness.

    I watched the beginning of the Oscars then switched to True Detective, then stayed on HBO for Girls, then switched back to the Oscars. That was a lot of TV watching for one night. I was disappointed that Dern didn’t get Best Actor. I thought most of the montages I saw were not up to what they have been in years past.

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  19. brian stouder said on March 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    We started late on the Oscars, and had a nice cushion on the dvr, with which to FF through commercials and oddball stuff.

    I really liked the Over the Rainbow performance and montage, despite also noting the odd breathing that Sherri pointed to (but then again, nobody can top Judy Garland anyway, so it’s all good)

    Ellen-in-the-audience was good stuff, as you could see people who were NOT red-carpet “get”s, but who still put out the dogs (or in at least a few ladies’ cases, the ‘girls’; during here pizza thing, Pam and I both remarked about the enormous breasts sported by an older woman near Martin Scorcese)

    And you hafta like that song from Despicable Me II

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  20. alex said on March 3, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    That pest control guy sounds like one toxic personality. Anymore, I’m ballsy enough to say “Yeah, well I voted for him.” Usually shuts them up.

    I suppose there have always been a fair number of Archie Bunker types, but I don’t ever recall so many being so outspoken (and in many cases so vile).

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  21. brian stouder said on March 3, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I think this level of vitriol is new in our lifetimes, but not new in American history.

    I think the late-’60’s and early ’70’s “Silent Majority”, if it really existed, was really political fatigue.

    After the catastrophic wars of the teens, and then the ’40’s, plus Korea in the ’50’s, American idealism in the ’60’s was always a blossom in a crack on a busy street; and Vietnam + Watergate ran that blossom over.

    But, maybe the difference was that whereas we had cynicism and then malaise in the late 60’s and through the ’70’s (a sort of resigned-to-chuckle-with-Archie Bunker default), now we have a true-believing, full-throated, loud and proud neo-Know Nothingism….again.

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  22. Jeff Borden said on March 3, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Brian, you speak the truth.

    The culture wars during Vietnam were loud, ugly and sometimes violent. You can Google an egregious example of this when anti-war protesters were marching in New York City and were set upon by construction workers while the NYPD looked the other way. It was a slaughter. Anyone with shaggy hair and a beard was automatically considered a liberal freak. Conversely, anyone crew cutted was automatically considered a war mongering bastard. Ronald Reagan grabbed plenty of headlines by describing California protesters as looking like Tarzan, acting like Jane and smelling like Cheetah. Spiro Agnew the veep dropped some asinine bomb almost every day on those who disagreed with Tricky Dick. Those days stand out to me as unbearably horrible. . .one of the reasons I’ve never fallen victim to rhapsodizing about the good old days ala Mitch Albom and Bob Greene.

    What was missing then, I think, is the network of professional aggrievment. Fox is the most powerful player in this world, of course, feeding a steady diet of hyped up bullshit anger, followed by the titans of AM radio and their twisted hatreds. Stir in the Internet and you have a self-sustaining environment, a place where someone can honestly reach the conclusion that in a nation that identifies 86% as Christian, the Christian faith is under heavy bombardment. Or that in a society where fully half of all marriages fail, allowing same sex marriage will destroy the institution. We could go on and on and on.

    My real fear has been stoked by the Sunday NYT piece about how the Koch Brothers and others of their ilk are sidestepping the Karl Roves of the world to finance their own jihad against politicians who don’t toe their corporate line. The brothers have dropped $9 million of their own money to destroy Kay Hagan in North Carolina and that is just the beginning.

    Thanks John Roberts and your rightwing clique for making it so much easier for the plutocrats to own our country and its institutions. You fuckers.

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  23. Julie Robinson said on March 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Well, I’m not into confrontation, so I just raised my eyebrows skeptically and said I didn’t know about that. But I’ll remember the conversation the next time I try to understand how some of these guys get elected.

    And I’ll just smile politely the next time he comes in instead of engaging him in conversation.

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  24. coozledad said on March 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    And I’ll just smile politely the next time he comes in instead of engaging him in conversation.

    While backing away slowly.

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  25. Dexter said on March 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    JeffBorden: And you speak the truth as well, and I can vouch for it, having been called a “bleeding heart” by Spiro Agnew as he pointed a finger (truly) right at my mug. All I had done was asked him how many bombs Nixon had dropped that day. This was October, 1972, in Fort Wayne, just seven weeks before Nixon ordered his special “Christmas Bombing” of Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi. You may think it’s ludicrous to say the hospital was targeted, right? Four days of dead-on bombs culminating on December 22, 1972, when over one hundred bombs obliterated the hospital to a pile of bricks and dead children. Fun times. I was in New York City visiting a friend and every edition of The Times progressively accented the slaughter as the days went by.

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  26. Charlotte said on March 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Warm weather coming your way all — went from -20 + 2 feet of new snow blowing sideways at 40mph on Saturday, to +11 on Sunday when I got back from Seattle (which was good, my car started), to 45 today. Slop and melting everywhere …

    Only watched the beginning of the Oscars — saw Jared Leto’s touching (his mom) and ridiculous (Ukraine/Venezuala) speech before Himself came home and we switched to the end of the Bruins game, then some Monty Python on Netflix.

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  27. Joe Kobiela said on March 3, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Best take on the oscars?
    Read ken Levine.
    Had a quick trip to Daytona Beach Sunday morning arrived at 4:30am took a nap and got up to sun and 65 had my running gear with me so I took off running, ran to the speedway no gates or guards so I went pass the ticket stand down the tunnel under the first turn and out into the infield, all I can say is wow, week before 100,000 plus, Sunday just me, I felt kinda small. Ran back quick shower and airborne at 9:am got home 4 more inches to shovel.
    Pilot Joe

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  28. Bill said on March 3, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Like Dave, I’m grateful to be in Florida for the next 6 weeks after leaving the weather in Chicago. The Oscars were meh. Temp here was 78 today.

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  29. Little Bird said on March 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Too funny!!

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  30. Deborah said on March 3, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    From Little Bird’s link my Travoltafied name is Rebecca Bezzette.

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  31. sg said on March 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I’m new to Netflix, so I rushed through House of Cards. Feel like I’ve watched 26 hours of MacBeth.

    Nancy, you must read Bill Blass’s autobiography. He explains who the women are that spend all that money on clothes and why. He also says lots of mean (and true) things about Ft. Wayne, in a nice way with a lot of panache.

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  32. Sherri said on March 3, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Sophie Nicheems here. I like it; maybe I’ll have to use it as a nom de plume.

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  33. Minnie said on March 3, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Maisie Freezmaz.

    Always hankered after a name with a z in it. Now I have two.

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  34. Suzanne said on March 3, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Yep, Bill Blass never returned to Fort Wayne once he got the heck out. I’ll have to put his bio on my “to read” list.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 3, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Jake Greez. Hmm, I may use that.

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  36. LAMary said on March 3, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Malachy Smotchkins. My son is Preston Poweem.

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  37. Bill said on March 3, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Blair Rozz. I have two z’s, too.

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  38. brian stouder said on March 3, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Blair Shunter.

    Well, I still have the ‘BS’, anyway

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