Don’t ever change, Cleveland.

Dammit, I always miss the big anniversaries. First I missed June 3 and a chance to blog about “Ode to Billy Jo,” and now this: The 40th anniversary of the Cleveland Indians’ 10-cent beer night fiasco was Wednesday.

Fortunately, Michael Heaton remembered — he’d better — and brings us a Q-and-A with Dan Coughlin, a Plain Dealer sportswriter who covered it in 1974:

Q. When did it turn from silly to nasty?

A. Late in the game fans started throwing cherry bombs on top of the Rangers’ dugout. That’s when things got menacing. A fan ran out and grabbed Ranger player Jeff Burroughs’ hat. Burroughs went to kick the kid and fell. From the dugout Billy Martin thought his player had been attacked. That’s when the whole Ranger team charged the field with bats. The Indians even defended the Rangers as a form of professional courtesy. The game was called then because fans had stolen all three bases. The game couldn’t continue.

Alcohol and drunkenness is not inherently funny, but every time I read about this dark day, I crack up. Fans literally stole the bases. A woman ran onto the field and flashed her breasts, and a father-son team did a double moon, then slid into second base. That’s funny.

I read a deeper dive on this a few years ago, from the bloggers at Lawyers, Guns & Money, which provides some historic context:

The 1960s and 1970s were an awful time for northern Ohio, as the departure of heavy industry and the frenzied flight of white residents to the suburbs helped cut the city’s population nearly in half from its post-World War II high of 900,000. By 1974, Cleveland was five years past the infamous Cuyahoga River chemical fire and four years from declaring bankruptcy. For those who were able to struggle out of bed on June 4, the opportunity to drown in cheap alcohol must have seemed like an instance of divine intervention.

I’m a little wary of throwing the Grand Sweep of History into these things, but they’re right about the preceding years not being kind to the region. The detail about the Kent State shootings in 1970 that only locals remember was the wildcat Teamsters strike that the Ohio National Guard had only recently been called off of. It was a nasty one, with striking truckers dropping heavy objects onto Guard convoys from highway overpasses. From that exhausting duty, the troops were called out to police student demonstrations at Kent. So: Deindustrialization, white flight, urban decay, the national shame of a student slaughter. To this, just add beer; what could possibly go wrong?

Not funny, I know.

Even less funny: A beer in today’s MLB facility will cost you about $8.

And I should also add that despite today’s headline, I like Cleveland very much. I always have a good time there.

OK, so: I must rush today and crash a deadline on the book project, but I have one thing I want you to look at, completely without comment from moi. The photo is set for Public on Facebook, so I’m hoping you can all click through to see three Michigan legislators showing how well they understand women.

A great weekend to all, and I’ll be less-crushed on the other side.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Popculch |

42 responses to “Don’t ever change, Cleveland.”

  1. Dexter said on June 6, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Ten cent beer nights were really fun. I never went to one in Cleveland, but at the old race track in Maumee, where a baseball stadium had been thrown together after Swayne field had been razed, the Class AAA Toledo Mud Hens held dime beer nights frequently. We’d get there an hour before the game and already many young men were stacking their cups, saving their dead soldiers, and drunkenness was pervasive. This was 1975 and 1976, and after the game I would drive back to Indiana or to my girlfriend’s in Montpelier. I’m not saying everybody drove drunk like that, but back then a lot of us did. Oh well, what’s done is long done.
    One thing I learned in my study of beer and beer sales, most ballpark beer was specially brewed with an alcohol content well below the “low beer” number of 3.2%. I read where special runs of 2.0% beer were brewed just for the ballparks. Aside from staggering young drunks, I don’t remember any mayhem at the Mud Hens’ 10 cent beer nights.

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  2. Dexter said on June 6, 2014 at 3:38 am

    The comments after The Minister of Culture’s story are pretty damn funny and interesting. One guy reports that the ten cent beer was served in six ounce Dixie cups and the limit per trip was six cups. Also, it was sold out of a beer truck in just one location, out behind center field. Something I had forgotten was the fan-behavior was egged-on by crazy hot-head radio show guy Pete Franklin for days before the event, as he called for retaliation against the Rangers for attacks against the Tribe down in Arlington during their dime beer night. Ah, memories! From the comments: [ Donnie Muscatello ] :

    “I was at that game, the organist actually helped cause a lot of the chaos , a man ran on the field, the cops started chasing him, and the organist started playing the Lone Ranger song, the chase song and everyone went nuts after that stirred the crowd up ….”

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  3. coozledad said on June 6, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I pity whoever has to clean the swamp crack off those leather chairs in the legislative building, because there are at least three of them covered in old man douche.

    That photo is three Cliven Bundys who are about to tell you about the negro woman.

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  4. beb said on June 6, 2014 at 8:18 am

    The Free press (24 cents) is also hosting that picture along with an editorial:

    also in the Freep — slut-shaming by Rochelle Riley. She thinks she’s giving good advice to young girls, ie, don’t have sex, but that’s liking an asthmatic not to breathe. Breathing only makes the asthma worse, right? Except that breathing someone one does. Teenagers – not all of them, but a lot – are going to have sex. Better to teacher them about birth control and make birth control freely available.

    Also, another great moment in slut-shaming…

    The girl was told she can’t wear leggings to school. I can’t of agree. It’s borderline too sexy for school. But they required the girl to fill out a self-criticism form like some Maoist re-education camp, and the girl response was … boingboing has a photo of the sheet and everything.

    Finally, I am shocked shocked to learn that baseball beer really is piss water. True no one likes a drunken baseball fan but calling 2% beer “beer” is just plain false advertising.

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  5. Judybusy said on June 6, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I am more bothered by the incorrect grammar in Chloe’s statement. Shouldn’t it be “my wearing leggings” not “me wearing leggings?” I’m far too lazy to look this up, but is wearing in the instance a gerund, requiring the possessive?

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  6. Julie Robinson said on June 6, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Are those Michigan legislators the “diversity” committee?

    It’s a beautiful day and after the rains all those weeds are nicely loosened and calling my name. Have a great weekend, all!

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  7. Bob (not Greene) said on June 6, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Leggings bad. Piercings … the more the merrier!

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  8. Jeff Borden said on June 6, 2014 at 10:13 am

    It is interesting how the Teamster strike has been largely lost to history. There might not have been a Kent State if the governor at the time, Jim Rhodes, who wanted to burnish his credentials as a “law and order” guy while pursuing the Republican senatorial nomination, had decided to send a fresh unit of National Guard to KSU. Instead, these poor men –who largely had chosen a stint in the Guard over a trip to Vietnam– were sent to watch what they probably saw as a bunch of petulant assholes preventing them from returning to home and family. The killings were/are all on Rhodes, who refused to listen to the college presidents from Toledo to Athens, from Youngstown to Oxford, who begged to be allowed to close the campuses for a few days to let things calm down. Rhodes argued that “Communists and brownshirts” were behind the campus riots and, by god, he would keep the schools open even if at bayonet point. Four lives were lost, dozens were shattered and Rhodes did not win the nomination. Hopefully, he is enjoying the full hospitality of Old Scratch even as we speak.

    Those days of the trucking strike were a big like living in a totalitarian nation. There were four Guardsmen with M-1 rifles on every interstate overpass. . .truck convoys were escorted by military vehicles and the Ohio Highway Patrol. . .it was fucking ugly.

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  9. alex said on June 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    . . .it was fucking ugly.

    So was the pop cultural detritus it spawned:

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  10. Jeff Borden said on June 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    True, Alex, true. A rare Sam Peckinpah movie I cannot watch.

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  11. MichaelG said on June 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Here are some great pix:

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  12. brian stouder said on June 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    MichaelG – those ARE marvelous photos; real, consequential women, in the moment.

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  13. Kirk said on June 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Jeff@8: I often surmise that Rhodes and George Wallace are probably roomies in the fiery shit pit.

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  14. Dexter said on June 6, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Marlene…I admired her on old film, removed by two generations of time, and although Frankie Valli isn’t singing about her here, I always think of her when I hear this old tune, which itself is forgotten by now. Dietrich has been gone now for 22 years.

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  15. Deborah said on June 6, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    I’ve been to Cleveland a couple of times and quite like it. I had a project there that was part of a building my husband designed for the Federal Reserve Bank. He designed the addition, I designed these modern interpretations of eagles that are sort of keystones above some openings. Hard to explain, we originally wanted them to be carved out of the same Georgia marble as the building but that turned out to be way too expensive so instead they were cast in Terra Cotta clay and glazed to look like the marble. They were made in Sacramento and at the time they were the largest pieces these folks had ever cast and fired. They were about 4’in diameter. I don’t remember how many of them there are.

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  16. Deborah said on June 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    In case you’re interested here is a link to the Cleveland project

    The marble was gorgeous, it was used on the orginal building too, and was quarried from the same spot, too bad the eagles couldn’t have been carved from it too. You can hardly see the medallions in the photos but you can get the idea.

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  17. Deborah said on June 6, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Ok never mind, you would have to scroll down and find the bank and then click on it to see images. Too much trouble.

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  18. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 6, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    It doesn’t enlarge to where you can make much out, other than the “wow, those are big” factor:

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  19. Deborah said on June 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Jeff, thanks but I think you are confusing the large light fixtures with the eagles. The eagles are the round medallions above the light fixtures’ which are grey. The eagles are the color of the marble. If you could see the eagles close up they’re very contemporary, very minimal.

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  20. alex said on June 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Well, I went to the trouble, Deborah, and I think it’s a cool building.

    My absolute favorite thing about Cleveland is its art museum. It’s world class and well worth the time if you’re ever there with time to kill.

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  21. Sherri said on June 6, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve only been to Cleveland a few times, when we would get tired of seeing the local bad baseball team (the Pirates in the 80’s) and hop over to Cleveland to see a different bad baseball team. Not that Three Rivers was a beauty, but Municipal Stadium was a real dump.

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  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 6, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Yep, the round medallions, but that’s a bigger piece of art than I’ve ever hung on a gallery wall! Or *they* are. Anyhow, I’ll give them a look the next time I’m up there.

    Wait, didn’t that building get destroyed in the Avengers movie? (The New York battle scenes were filmed just down the block.)

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  23. Sherri said on June 6, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Good thing this guy’s 2nd amendment rights were well protected:

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  24. Dexter said on June 7, 2014 at 12:29 am

    sherri, I didn’t hate the old stadium, but I only went rarely, as “my gang” were hardcore White Sox fans and we went there a lot, but after we all grew up and scattered and I ended up in Ohio in my 30s I did go over to Cleveland once in a while. My favorite Municipal Stadium story is from Bill Veeck’s “Veeck as in Wreck” and details a 1948 game from the tight pennant race. Ole Wil had signed Satchel Paige and when Satch’s scheduled turn came around, a night game was scheduled in Cleveland. Anticipating a large crowd, Wil opened the gates a little early and the crowd kept swelling, all to see Satch. Finally the joint was packed and the gates were closed, leaving thousands outside milling around. As I recall there were over 90,000 crammed into a park that was huge but had an 80,000 capacity. All the concessions were sold out early but there was no trouble. The Tribe won it all that year.

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  25. Dexter said on June 7, 2014 at 1:38 am

    For any who might be travelling to or through Cleveland , here’s a place I ate at a couple times , but sheesh, it’s been 15 years. Apparently it is still there, flying in fresh food from Spain and Portugal frequently. It used to be really great. I wonder of it still is.

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  26. coozledad said on June 7, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Bergdahl’s release is part of an ongoing administration test of the strength of local Taliban leaders in coming through on negotiations. The Taliban is not a designated terrorist organization. They are, as is clear in the mandate under which they are held at Gitmo, enemy combatants.

    We have a long history of direct negotiations with the Taliban, including Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a man described by the CIA as a “Fascist”,and “dictator material”
    His shtick is throwing acid in women’s faces who won’t wear the veil. Here’s one of his early supporters:

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  27. alex said on June 7, 2014 at 8:51 am

    “We’re the party of equality, freedom and opportunity. It’s the other side that has a shameful history, not us,” Priebus said, applause drowning out his last words.

    And Fox is fair and balanced. And down is up. And a woman who says no means yes.

    For as simple-minded as most of them are, it takes some serious mental gymnastics to be a Republican.

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  28. brian stouder said on June 7, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Alex – I was struck by that one, too; particularly the It’s the other side that has a shameful history, not us.

    Why doesn’t that “other side”/”us” paradigm apply when the subject is Voting Rights, or getting the damned stars-and-bars battle flag off of Mississippi’s state flag, or women’s rights, or practical immigration policy (versus 21st century Know Nothing-ism).

    While it’s tempting to say that Priebus and Huckabee and all the rest can just go to hell, the scarey part is that they’re actively working to do just that, and drag the country back there, too

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  29. Jolene said on June 7, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Priebus and his ilk like to trot out the historical link between Abraham Lincoln and the Republican party, as if the current crop of Republicans would have anything to do with Lincoln’s ideas and the policies he enacted.

    They want to ignore the reasons that the formerly Solid (Democratic) South has become a collection of solidly red states. If LBJ hadn’t pushed through the Civil a Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, they’d be Democrats still.

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  30. Sherri said on June 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Or there’s this lovely “joke” from the Senator from Kentucky who’s running for President:

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  31. coozledad said on June 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    “I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve been a little bit annoyed with the president,” he said, as quoted by Politico. “Releasing five Taliban senior officials is not only against the law, it’s illegal and wrong and he should never have done it.”

    -Rand “The Headpiece” Paul.

    Ha ha durr durr you stupid son of a bitch. Tell me again how deep Bush’s balls were in your ass in 2002? That’s the thing about Republicans- just because they can’t read makes them think no one else will.

    The highest ranking member of the Taliban to be apprehended was captured in 2002 and released in a prisoner exchange during the Bush administration.
    Mullah Obaidullah Akhund (1996 to February 2008): Akhund served as the Defense Minister in the Taliban Government from 1996-2001. As a member of the Mujahideen Shura Council beginning in 2003, Akhund was the third highest-ranking commander in the Taliban insurgency, and was one of only two people with direct access and communication to leader Mullah Omar. He was initially captured in 2002, and released as part of an amnesty agreement shortly after. In February 2007, Akhund was detained again. He was subsequently released in November 2007 in exchange for the release of 200 prisoners held by the Taliban in Pakistan. Following his re-arrest in 2008, he died of a heart disease in prison in Kirachi, Pakistan, in 2010. To date, Akhund is the highest-ranking Taliban member to have been arrested.

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  32. Dexter said on June 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    For the New Jersey Turnpike to be closed for hours for wreck clean-up is almost unheard of, but it happened 14 hours ago as a Peterbilt rammed a limo. One death, some escaped injury, but comedian Tracy Morgan was heli-lifted out of the carnage and is critical. I think Morgan is a pretentious bastard who is not funny “somebody gon’ get PREG-nunt here to-NITE!” but that’s just my perception. I hope he gets all healed up quickly.

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  33. Deborah said on June 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Picking up my husband at the airport in Albuquerque, on a roadside there was a group of “Christians” with signs that said “Jesus loves you”. One young woman was screaming her head off telling every car “he loves you” and pointing at her sign. Her face was all scrunched up, she looked mad as hell. It made my throat hurt just watching her as we waited at a red light. What makes people think that kind of behavior is going to seem inviting?

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  34. Dexter said on June 8, 2014 at 12:18 am

    Deborah, the first time I walked down Sunset Boulevard in LA I was met on the sidewalk by a horde of young people who stopped me cold by blocking my pathway and they began yelling at me to get right with Jesus or I was going to hell. I wasn’t intimidated but after a minute I had had enough. Somehow I got away from them. Like I wrote a couple weeks ago here, the Hare Krishnas at the airports were more interesting, and they entertained people with their chanting and singing. I wonder if they still try to crash the airport scene.

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  35. coozledad said on June 8, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Every mammal that has to establish a pecking order in order to fuck or get fucked will eat a corpse when they find or make one. I was shocked to catch my cows at it, standing there chewing , strips of a deer carcass hanging from their mouths. At first I thought it was for the salt.
    Then it began to occur to me the supposed human distaste for carrion is a cultural affectation.-cured meats ready when the maggots hit the floor, buildings constructed to monitor the decomposition, murder squads dressed in mortuary black crowned with death’s heads, We eat our dead the scent of death so strong in us that it requires hushing away, yet never really is. More than anything, it’s a scent that says We’ve been here. Our kind is here.

    Humans are carrion animals. It’s the only explanation for their apparent suicidal stupidity, and the shit stink of death that clings to them and their ugly-ass history.

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  36. MichaelG said on June 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Dexter, I haven’t seen the Hare Krishnas anywhere for years. Nor the Moonies. Back in the ’70s there were lots of Krishnas at airports along with those pro-nuclear/anti Jane Fonda people. Anybody else remember them? They were pretty vocal, I particularly remember them at Atlanta. I can’t imagine any of them in the current high security airport environment.

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  37. alex said on June 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    And the state GOP convention wouldn’t be complete without a keynote address from the intemperate buffoon who snatched away Richard Lugar’s senate seat in the primary only to hand it over to the Democrats. He managed to rein in his penchant for oratorical excess until fairly late in the campaign and would have won handily if not for a televised debate where he felt it necessary to articulate his primitive views on rape.

    Evidently he also believes that Godwin’s Law takes a holiday on the occasion of the D-Day anniversary.

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  38. brian stouder said on June 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I was gabbing with my fine young 18 year old son – and 2014 South Side graduate – about how funny (odd) politics can be. When I was his age, I was definitely certain about my political views, and as conservative and Republican as they come. Jeane Kirkpatrick was a hero to me, because she went to colleges to do commencement addresses (and so on), and got booed and heckled off the stage – much as Condi Rice now does.

    By way of saying, I see the collection of….personages….in downtown Fort Wayne right now, and all I can do is look on in wonder.

    This morning’s paper had a good article about the horrible train wreck that an otherwise pretty good (as in “not crazy”!) Republican named David Long advocates for: a new Constitutional Convention.

    I really, truly do believe that lots of not-crazy people will simply drive us right over the cliffs, if they get the chance…let alone the malevolent rubes like Mourdock or our rabble-rousing right-wing radio blow-hards.

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  39. Suzanne said on June 8, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Yes, yes, and yes, Brian & Alex. I hear otherwise sane people say “we need a revolution!” I’d challenge those advocating a complete overhaul of government to do some historical research and see how that usually turns out. Read Dr. Zhivago. Read a Tale of Two Cities. This is what happens when everything is turned upside down.

    As for Mourdock, he seems to have a bad case of Mark Souder-itis which means he can’t stop talking. But then, this is the state treasurer who “lost” $300 million (or something close) but it’s all good, because he found it!!

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  40. Dexter said on June 8, 2014 at 6:47 pm

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  41. alex said on June 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    I think the con-con is just a big con, a carrot for Mr. Long to dangle in front of the rubes to distract them from wanting to skin him alive for being “establishment” and not a true believer. He hatched the idea to appease the nutters when they came for his scalp after the gay marriage vote didn’t go the way they wanted it to go. It should buy him immunity from charges that he’s a RINO and not fit to lead the state senate for at least a little while until he starts acting all uppity and statesmanlike again.

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  42. brian stouder said on June 8, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Great link, Dex – and right on that page, I also followed this link –

    to Country Joe’s Vietnam song – which got me laughing.

    A year or two (or maybe three) ago, Country Joe McDonald and Tom Rush came to IPFW as part of their marvelously good (and free to the public!) Omnibus Lecture Series, and Shelby (then 12 or 13) came with me.

    He began by doing the “Give me an F…..Give me a U…” etc – and when he got to the ‘c’ and then the ‘k’, Shelby turned to me in amazed bemusement and (quite earnestly) said that she thought he was going to spell “fun”..!! – which gave me my laugh of the day, and week, and month…and probably year and decade, too!

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