Game Day; Honoring a Coach

Saturday, well, for many of us it will be game day. Something about the NCAA, isn’t there? Compared to the NFL, it just seems a friendlier game, more enjoyable, somehow, and if you went to school amongst the red bricks, there were some memorable people. For me, it was Coach Jack Mollenkopf, and the trip to the 1967 Rose Bowl (and unlike some more storied programs, we won.)

A generation or so later, it happened again with Joe Tiller as coach, a man that Rockne, Wooden, and yes, Mollenkopf would have recognized, as their sort of guy. In any case, Joe Tiller died last weekend, at his home in Wyoming, and it matters somehow, just as it always does. Maybe you didn’t play Purdue Football, I didn’t and yet, the way Mollenkopf coached made me a better man. I dare say it was the same in 2001 for those guys as Tiller took his Boiler team back to Pasadena.

And now there is Jeff Brohm, in the same place as Mollenkopf, and Tiller were, perhaps even worse as he tries to revive a program that was almost destroyed over the last few years. Purdue is no football school, and yet, once in a while, it gets done, and done right. So, we’ll see.

Today, P.J. Fleck’s Minnesota Golden Gophers will row their boat on down to West Lafayette, many will be thinking of Joe Tiller, and whether Purdue is back for a time. I hope so, I still remember the magic back in the 60s, there is simply nothing like it.

And Fleck is a class act, this Tweet is from him, and that helmet is what Minnesota will wear today, Purdue has some things planned as well, but Fleck is a class act. Thanks, Coach.

Just because we can, here is the AAMB, from the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day parade, in Dublin, of course.

And something else new today, There’s a new Boilermaker X-tra Special to be seen. Seems appropriate somehow, since the one that is retiring is the one that led Joe Tiller’s teams onto the field, now that Jeff Brohm is trying to write a new chapter in this saga, a new special seems appropriate. I think we’ll like the new one, just like we like winning again. The video is rather long, and all you’ll really see is the tarp, but if you’re like me, you’ll also see some familiar places that haven’t been seen in quite a while. Enjoy.

Boiler up, and you guys in Nate’s way, stay safe!

Update: via ‘Hammer and Rails‘.

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Vegas

That’s from the White House moment of silence for the victims in Las Vegas. You can find a video of it if you want. It’s moving and appropriate. The video has a close-up near the end where Melania looks like she is about to cry, where the President looks sad and determined. Both are appropriate. Far more so than most of the reactions around the country or the world. As usual, I was watching British news yesterday morning, and the instant, insistent, and arrogant drumbeat for gun control angered me nearly as much as the massacre itself. It will be a long time before (if ever) I tune in again. From what I read the American media, and a good many politicians weren’t any better. It’s a time to mourn the dead, succour the wounded, and attempt to comfort the bereaved, then it will be time to see if we can figure out what happened, and what, if anything, we can do to prevent a  repeat.

I know essentially nothing. To me, it sounded too mechanical to be semi-automatic fire and too slow to be fully automatic fire. (Actually, it sounded like an old BAR). There are reports that he modified an AR 15 and/or an AK version to bump fire, or with a trigger device. Sounds about right to me. But there are reports out there supporting anything you want it to be. Nobody knows, but everybody is riding their hobbyhorses for all they’re worth. In sum, it is simply disgusting on all sides. Funny that of all of us, Donald Trump is nearly the only one to get it right.

I have little to add to that. In time we will know more, and perhaps there is a way we can make a repeat less likely. But it is also possible that, as Bill O’Reilly said yesterday, this is one of the prices we pay for freedom. Today, and as it was almost 250 years ago if so, it is worth it.

Eventually, the police will have more information for us,   as will the Federal agencies. The cause isn’t helped because they squandered their reputations one and all over the last few years, but that is where we are. God help us all.

God bless the victims, their family and friends, Las Vegas, and us all.

Conservatives Rising

Kurt Schlichter lays it out on Townhall just in case any of our so-called representatives would be interested in what the people that elected them think. I admit it’s unlikely, the gravy train and cocktail circuit in Washington is so much more fitting to their self-image. Here be ground truth or if you’re a Washington insider, monsters on the horizon, and they may be closer than you think.

I guess now we’re not supposed to be fighting culture wars anymore – man, it’s so hard to keep up with these ever-changing new rules! I’m old enough to remember way back to 2016, before Trump got nominated, and I could have sworn Conservative Inc., was gung-ho for the whole culture war thing. But then Trump actually fought it, taking on the big, soft target that is the spoiled, semi-literate athletes who like to rub their contempt for the flag we love in our faces in the guise of woke wokedness. Now we suddenly discover that fighting back is horribly uncouth and déclassé and “Oh, well I never!

Gosh, I would have thought from all those cruise panels about how our crumbling culture is slouching toward Babylon and the need to resist the liberal onslaught that maybe we ought to actually resist the liberal onslaught, but see, that was my mistake. I took it seriously when Conservative, Inc., promised to fight the leftist blitzkrieg against normal Americans. It was all a scam, a lie, a pose for us rubes. The Tru Cons didn’t actually mean it.

Jokes on them though, we meant it when we elected them, they’re replaceable, and I think some (maybe not enough) will be. We’ll find out soon enough. Yesterday, Alabama voters told us what they think.

Conservativism forgot about the real world conservatives we expected to line up behind us. While we were talking about free trade, we were ignoring that GOP voter who fought in Fallujah, came home, got a job building air conditioners, raised a family, and then one day watched the video of the oh-so-sorry CEO – who looked remarkably like Mitt Romney, because all these guys look remarkably like Mitt Romney – sadly informing his beloved employees that their jobs were getting shipped to Oaxaca. And our response to the 58-year old Republican voter who asked us how he was going to keep paying for his mortgage and his kid in college? Pretty much, “Well, that’s how free enterprise works. Read some Milton Freidman and go learn coding.

That’s not a response, not for a political party that requires people to actually vote for it. That’s an abdication, but what did Conservative, Inc., care? Priorities! “There’s this new tapas place in Georgetown everyone is talking about – the other night, my buddy from the Liberty Freedom Eagle Institute for Liberty, Freedom and Eagles saw Lawrence O’Donnell there getting hammered!

How about the guy who wanted to be a roofer in Fontana but he couldn’t because the contractors were only hiring illegals? What was our answer to him? “Oh well, the big corporate donors need their serfs, and if some pack of tatted-up MS-13 dreamers gang-rapes your daughter that’s just a price we’re willing to pay!

They try to crush our religion and Conservative, Inc., cowers because Apple’s CEO might say mean things. “Just bake the cake,” they say – it’s not worth the fight! They demand our tax money to kill babies and Conservative, Inc., passes the spending bills – “Gosh, we can’t risk the WaPo saying we’re mean!” They diss our National Anthem, we react, and Conservative, Inc., wags its soft, spindly fingers – “So, so very unpresidential! My word!

You know what is (not very) funny? I’ve got a lot of British friends who feel exactly the same way about the Tories, especially as led by Mrs. Dismay. You should hear them, some of them make Col. Schlichter sound very mild, indeed. They envy us though, because they’ve known enough Americans that they know we’ll do something about it, one way or another, and that we have the tools, and the experience, and yes, the guts to actually do it, not talk about it. I’m not calling them wusses, mind. They’d walk through fire for a conservative government that would tell the Frogs and the Krauts, not to even mention the Islamic terrorists, to sod off. That why they voted for Brexit. They envy us Trump, as well, and can’t see how such a figure could get to be their Prime Minister. Sadly, they have much right in that belief.

What’s coming after is militant normalacy, the not-so-polite demand that the lackwits and failures who style themselves as our betters stop dumping on us normal Americans who work hard and play by the rules (Gosh that sounds familiar, like it used to be a winning electoral recipe, if only I could remember where I heard it before).

Who are the normals? The Americans who built this country, and defended it. When you eat, it’s because a normal grew the food and another normal trucked it to you. When you aren’t murdered in the street or don’t speak German, it’s because a normal with a gun made those things not happen. We normals don’t want to rule over others. We don’t obsess about how you live your life, but also we don’t want to be compelled to signal our approval or pick up the tab. We are every color and creed – though when someone who is incidentally a member of some other group aligns with normals, he/she/xe loses that identity. The left drums normals who are black out of its definition of “black,” just as normal women get drummed out of womanhood and normal gays get drummed out gayhood. In a way, the left is making E pluribus unum a reality again – to choose to be normal is to choose to reject silly identity group identification and unite. Instead of saying “normal Americans,” you can just say “Americans.” [..]

That’s why the shameful abdication of Conservative, Inc., in the cultural fight is both important and irrelevant. It demonstrates that the first loyalty of many folks in the conservaracket is to the ruling caste to which they belong, and it also demonstrates that these wimps’ absence from the battle means nothing. […]

But we’re not giving up, and we’re not going to sit back and just take it. Militant normalcy is the result of normal people roused to anger and refusing to be pushed around anymore. We prefer a free society based on personal liberty and mutual respect. But if you leftists veto that option, that leaves us either a society where you rule and oppress us, or one where we hold the power. So let me break this down, both for the left and for their fussy Fredocon enablers: You don’t get to win.

Not for nothing did General Creighton Abrams, back when he was a Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 37th Tank Battalion, in the 4th Armored, as it led Patton’s 3rd Army to the relief of Bastogne, when he was informed that Bastogne was surrounded, say,

“They’ve got us surrounded again, the poor Bastards” 

 

Bare Ruined Choirs

In Sonnet LXXIII Shakespeare wrote

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long

Not one of his happiest, but it accords well with my feelings, this fall. It hasn’t been a year I would wish on anybody, but this is the season when I understand why All Hollow’s is sometimes called Totenfest by those of German heritage. Tomorrow is the Feast day of Our Lady of Walsingham, and for me, that has significance as well. Six years ago, I had never heard of Walsingham, let alone this representation of Mary, but One summer day in 2012, Jessica became my dearest friend at almost the moment she lit a candle for me at the shrine. The main part of the story begins here. I have ever since found Mary a worthwhile conduit for my prayers. But for me, it’s specifically the Walsingham representation. Earlier this year,  Fr Matthew Pittam wrote in the Catholic Herald about his feeling for the Shrine.

 

Whilst visiting this year I met some other pilgrims who were unfavourably comparing Walsingham to other well-known European Shrines that they had visited. It is true Walsingham is no Lourdes or Fatima but for me that is part of the appeal of the place. It seems right that the English National Shrine is understated, reflecting the character of the English themselves.

The story of Our Lady’s Shrine and the meaning of its message demand a much tenderer charism than Walsingham’s more flamboyant European cousins. Above all Walsingham is a memorial to the Annunciation. The whole place speaks softly of Our Lady’s ‘Yes’ to God. Mary’s encounter with the Angel Gabriel was abundantly full of humility, generosity and peace. The quieter pace and rhythm of our National Shrine really can take us to the heart of this life changing and life-giving moment.

The location of Walsingham is also understated. It is not set amidst mountain grandeur but nestles within the pleasant rolling meadows of the Stiffkey Valley, echoing the gentleness of the shrine’s own spirituality and Our Lady. The whole place seems to be set apart for peaceful encounter.

He nails it for me. Without the slightest intention to be offensive, much of Roman Catholicism is too ornate, too baroque, and the decoration, like some of the verbiage, is over extravagant for me. That’s not a knock on it, it simply doesn’t fit with this working guy of Lutheran Scandinavian heritage. I’m no iconoclast, but enough is enough. Both the Roman Catholic and the Anglo-Catholic shrines at Walsingham have a northern European feel about them, which I find comforting. I’m still of my roots, I have found it comforting to talk with Our Lady, as Jessica once said, it feels rather like talking to Mom, which in a sense it is.

And then there is the relief, that I have felt on several occasions, after talking with Her, usually not the formal Rosary, although I do that sometimes as well, mostly sitting here, meditating silently directed towards Her. The old man’s knees aren’t really up to kneeling much anymore, anyway. 🙂

Strangely, it is only 3 years, nearly to the day, since the Abbess from Walsingham came to Jessica’s hospital bed to pray over her and sprinkle her with Walsingham water, giving her some ease, and then again a mere two weeks later, just after she received the last rites, she again prayed over her and sprinkled her. Two days later she was out of her coma, without pain and cancer free. A remarkable testimony to the power of prayer.

A year after that Mary Katherine Ham lost her husband,  Jake in a bicycle accident while pregnant with their second child. It was one of those things that shocked many of us, this young vibrant couple, and him suddenly gone. She wrote about it this week at The Federalist.

I love the idea of the divine spark. It crosses a lot of cultures and religions, the idea that you carry a bit of the Creator inside you, that it animates your life.

Jake’s life always brings to mind a spark and then some. Jake’s soul, to me, was a bonfire. He was here and he was in your face and he was warm and bright. He roared with enthusiasm at the beginning, even the hope of something new, sometimes a little too much. His glow was infectious, throwing sparks into the night air, silhouetted against a dark sky before they landed on everyone in his vicinity. He mellowed to embers as the night wore on, usually over a glass of bourbon or a beer.

I lived seven years of my life looking into a bonfire. I warmed my hands and found comfort in its flame. There were times when I damn near burnt myself or got a giant waft of smoke at exactly the wrong time.  Because that’s life. And that’s fire. It’s not all s’mores and sweetness.

Everyone who’s loved someone knows that light and warmth. Everyone who’s lost someone knows the feeling when it goes dark and cold one day.

When that happens at any time, it’s jarring. When it happens without warning, even more.

The light went out. This fire I’d stood next to for seven years just went out, like a flood light on a switch. Boom. Imagine staring into a fire, and then suddenly turning 180 degrees to survey the woods behind you. I couldn’t see. I was standing in what otherwise was my life, and I knew all the other parts of it were there, but I couldn’t understand its contours anymore. I was standing in my own life, blinded, blinking away those disorienting shimmery green spots.

Brilliant, simply brilliant. But you know when we lose someone we love, not even always to death, it’s like that as well. It was for me when my marriage broke up, and even though my sisters, parents and brothers-in-law lived full lives, in truth as much as could be expected, they have left a hole, that cannot be filled.

And so it was for me, a year ago today, when I received the last email from  Jessica, who as far as I know is healthy, happy, and busy. Too busy or some other unexplained reason, to maintain the friendship that turned to love on my part, more than I ever felt for another human being. And get your mind out of the gutter, yes she is beautiful, but I loved her before I knew that, far more a case of Agape than Eros. She was my friend, the best one I’ll ever have. And even Our Lady of Walsingham has found no way to comfort me. I’m reconciled that I must go on more alone than I have ever been, but have little appetite for it. Which is why that sonnet speaks loudly to me.

Walsingham, and Our Lady are her legacy to me, and I thank God for them everyday. But it does make me think of another poem.

Weepe, weepe O Walsingham,
Whose dayes are nightes,
Blessings turned to blasphemies,
Holy deeds to dispites.

Sinne is where our Ladie sate,
Heaven turned is to hell,
Sathan sittes where our Lord did swaye,
Walsingham oh farewell.

But it is true that while Eliot was writing of Little Gidding, I’ve always thought that this applied as well to Walsingham

           If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always.

We merely have to trust God that Dame Julian of Norwich was correct.

‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’

In the Belly of the Beast

So President Trump spoke to UN General Assembly yesterday. It was very good to watch the world as they saw once again what an American president looks and sounds like. One of my favorites along this line, roughly quoting from memory, “I will do what is right and proper for America, first, and the rest of the world second, and I expect all leaders of countries to do the same.” In any case, here’s the speech.

There’s a lot to like here if you’re an American patriot or a friend of America, and I found almost nothing to dislike. From “Welcome to New York” to “Rocketman” and all the way through it was pretty much a speech that should make us proud that “We, the People” chose this man, against the advice of those who would mislead us to lead us. Do I agree with everything? In this speech, pretty much. Day to day, not so much, but that’s life. Like St. Peter, I’m sometimes a bit quick with the sword, sometimes a helping hand is more appropriate, but the sword must be kept at hand.

You’ll note that there is some bleating from the purveyors of fake news sometimes called ABC at the end. The main point I’ll make about it is this. Yes, war in Korea would be a horrible, expensive, bloody mess, and we should try very hard to avoid it. But a nuclear attack on the United States, Japan, and South Korea, would be far worse. Yes, our military would take, perhaps, many casualties, and you’ll find no stronger champion of the US soldier, sailor, marine, and airman than I am, but in the last analysis, that is their job, to protect the United States and our allies. They knew that when they signed up, almost all of them, by now, when the United States was already at war. That is a price that many of our men and women have been willing to pay, from Crispus Attucks on down. And that willingness is also why we admire them so, often calling them the best of us, because they are.

But we cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed because some people might die, all people die, someday. And any cause worth living for is also worth dying for. It’s wrong to throw away their lives for little reason, but it’s also wrong to be paralyzed by the fear of taking casualties.

Too often we (especially cossetted civilians) forget:

First: The Mission

Second: The People

In fact, sometimes the military itself forgets, especially in the press of events, and dealing with not enough people to do what needs doing. That is not to say our people (and their families) are not important. They are, critically so, but we cannot consider them more important than the mission, for without succeeding in the mission, their lives (and ours) are forfeit.

But for me, at least this speech marks the return of a recognizably American leadership, after an interregnum that was quite worrying on many levels, one of them well stated by General MacArthur, back in 1933, when he was Chief of Staff of the Army.

“The unfailing formula for production of morale is patriotism, selfrespect, discipline, and self–confidence within a military unit, joined with fair treatment and merited appreciation from without. It cannot be produced by pampering or coddling an army, and is not necessarily destroyed by hardship, danger, or even calamity. Though it can survive and develop in adversity that comes as an inescapable incident to service, it will quickly wither and die if soldiers come to believe themselves the victims of indifference or injustice on the part of their government, or of ignorance, personal ambition, or ineptitude on the part of their military leaders.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg and Absolute Morality

There has been a bit of commotion over in Britain the last couple of weeks, caused by a Member of Parliament that I’ll bet most Americans have never heard of, and that’s a shame. His name is Jacob Rees-Mogg. His father was William Rees-Mogg who was a former editor of the £ Times newspaper and created a life peer in 1988. Jacob was educated at Eton and in History at Trinity College, Oxford. (Can you say “posh”? I knew that you could.) He created his own financial services company and is the Member for North East Somerset (since 2010). Quentin Letts dubbed him the “Honourable Member for the early twentieth century”. It’s rather humorous, and yet, his accent and manner of dress, and yes his manner of acting play into it. As does that he is proud of being both Catholic and English, something we see far too seldom these days. And that’s why the commotion. The other day he was on Good Morning Britain and some of what he said shocked the hosts rather profoundly.

It’s rather fun to watch Piers Morgan taken apart, apart from the fact that Rees-Mogg is entirely correct for the Catholic Church as well as any orthodox Christian. It is simply what we have always believed everywhere, at all times. Here is exactly how far our churches have descended since the beginning of the twentieth century. And that leads us to something else. Steven Bullivant writing in the Catholic Herald, tells us something about how secular Britain, even its Catholics, are becoming.

How many Catholics actually share Jacob Rees-Mogg’s beliefs?

He is already in a minority simply by attending Mass regularly

Today’s Times carries an interesting – though for many Herald readers deeply dispiriting – article: “Most UK Catholics back right to abortion”. (It’s behind a paywall, but a quick and free registration can get you access.)

I won’t repeat the full thing here – and besides, you can read the full report from the 2016 Brithish Social Attitudes survey, on which the article is based here. But the essential statistics are these: In 2012, 39 per cent of British Catholics thought that abortions should be legal on the simple grounds that “the woman does not wish to have a child”. Now, fully 61 per cent of British Catholics think so.

This is, it must be said, a huge leap in just four years. By comparison, in the 27 years prior to 2012, the proportion of similarly pro-choice Catholics increased by only six percentage points (from 33 per cent in 1985). Personally, I’d suggest regarding the specific figures in play here – i.e., 61 per cent of British Catholics; a rise of 22 percentage points – as being illustrative, rather than pin-pointedly precise. (This is due to all the usual caveats regarding sample size, margins of error, etc.) Nevertheless, the general tenor of the statistics, and indeed of the direction of travel, are likely to be trusted.

These figures come at a time when Catholic attitudes to critical moral and social issues are already very much in the news. This is thanks to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s straight-talking statement of the Church’s, and therefore his own, opposition to both abortion and same-sex marriage. It is not surprising, then, that these new BSA data are being used to cast Rees-Mogg’s views as being out of touch even among Catholics themselves.

I addressed the general question of “How odd is Rees-Mogg?” in terms of British social attitudes as a whole on the Spectator’s website over the weekend. How representative, though, is he among his fellow Catholics?

First of all, he is already in a minority of Catholics simply by virtue of being a regular Mass attender: fewer than one in three of cradle Catholics (a good chunk of whom now identify as ‘no religion’, of course), and only about two in five of all those who currently identify as Catholics, say that they attend Mass even as often as once a month (see here).

Accordingly, it would be interesting to see what difference there is between practising Catholics and non- or irregularly-practising Catholics on attitudes towards abortion and other subjects. I suspect that among them Mr Rees-Mogg’s views would find much greater (though not at all unanimous) agreement.

Even so, these new statistics are a sobering indicator (as we didn’t have enough of them already) of just how far British Catholics have secularized. So too, for that matter, is the furore surrounding Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Part of what I find disheartening in this is that even as we, in the US, appear to be winning the battle on abortion, and we have public opinion on our side on same sex marriage as well. It was simply established by a federal court acting extra-constitutionally, if not quite unconstitutionally. But the United Kingdom appears to be still sliding down that slippery slope. But we know that we have seen some very dark places in this battle here as well. And one of the things that is winning for us, is the steadfastness of many Catholics in this battle, who have shown some of us Protestants what we must do to achieve the proper result.

And so, real conservatives in Britain have found someone who speaks eloquently for them, and for us as well. There is a boomlet for him to become the leader of the Conservative Party. It is, at best, very premature and unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

Because a lot of what is happening in Britain these days are very much like those things that have caused us to say here, “That is why you got Trump”. And nothing in my lifetime was more unlikely than that.

He also reminds me of this, from Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream- -and not make dreams your master;
If you can think- -and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on! ‘

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings- -nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And- -which is more- -you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rees-Mogg certainly is, and a most admirable one, as well
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