Video-Philes: April 2008: Archives
In the following video, Jon Stewart tackles the question of abstinence-only sex education (with all of the appropriate sarcasm) and the fact that it has proven ineffective in reducing teen pregnancies and the transmission of STD's.
He first offers us a look at some of the techniques used and some of the arguments being offered by those opposed to comprehensive sex education. You're bound to love the dirty toothbrush example as well as the "god stick and shame cave" analogy that Stewart attributes to the likes of Senator Brownback. It's a good thing we've advanced from more primitive deterrent strategies and adopted these advanced measures of preventing children from exploring their sexuality.
He closes the segment with a pubic service announcement promoting dry humping as a reasonable alternative to getting 'dirty'. Stewart tells teens that dry humping is safe...it avoids the need for those disgusting condoms...and it allows you to still get into heaven.
Tagged as: Abstinence-Only Education, Condoms, Humor, Jon Stewart, Pregnancy, Religion, Senator Sam Brownback, Sex, The Daily Show
Daniel DiRito | April 30, 2008 | 2:16 PM |
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In the following video, The Onion reports that the vast majority of praise (compliments) is not sincere and is actually offered with sarcasm.
It reminded me of a Seinfeld episode titled The Good Samaritan. In the episode, George jumps the gun on acknowledging the sneeze of a woman in the presence of her husband. The husband is angered because George didn't allow enough time for the husband to issue the first "God bless you".
As the show progresses, the Seinfeld crew continues to debate George's alleged faux pas. During the discussion, Jerry decides that telling someone "God bless you" after they sneeze isn't really all that meaningful. Instead, Jerry suggests it would make people feel better if we said, "You're so good looking".
Since virtually everything on Seinfeld had to do with sarcasm, it seemed to perfectly complement the tongue-in-cheek satire offered by The Onion. With that said, next time you hear someone sneeze, give Jerry's suggestion a go and see if you get a thank you or a glare that tells you your smart ass sarcasm isn't appreciated.
Tagged as: George Costanza, God Bless You, Humor, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarcasm, Seinfeld, Sneezing, The Good Samaritan, The Onion, Video
Daniel DiRito | April 30, 2008 | 1:01 PM |
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A sad day indeed. This Friday was the end of the season for HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher. What will I do with my Friday nights now? Well I guess The Daily Show and The Colbert Report provide a safety net for those in need of irreverence...but it's still difficult to see Bill Maher drop off the scene for a few months. OK, enough with the lamentations...it's time for this weeks New Rules.
Bill starts out with a swipe at the high price of gas...call it the nine tenths rule. He then argues that psychedelic screen savers are a gateway drug...which may explain his reference to all things prickly.
Maher shifts to the upcoming wedding of Jenna Bush to remind our president that he's not losing a daughter...just a war. He knocks the obsession with cosmetic surgery and the need to bring our children to work, and he suggests those who think that Obama is a Muslim might want to be sure they haven't married their cousin.
Maher takes a jab at liberals and their oil burning and bumper sticker laden vans. He then closes with a segment on the lingering Democratic nomination in which he points out that the obsession with everything Jeremiah Wright may be Hillary Clinton's secret weapon...though I doubt the Reverend will provide the Clinton campaign with the offense Maher suggests will be needed to put her over the top.
Tagged as: Barack Obama, Bill Maher, Cosmetic Surgery, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Humor, Jenna Bush, Jeremiah Wright, New Rules, Religious Fundamentalists, Religulous, Screen Savers
Daniel DiRito | April 28, 2008 | 9:41 AM |
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The following video is one of those cool mind benders. All you have to do is stare at the center of the image, keeping your eyes still and steadily focused on the image while the video plays. You will eventually be instructed to look away. When you do, the strange man behind the curtain will have taken control of your mind. Good luck with taking it back.
Tagged as: Humor, Mind Bender, Mind Control, Visual Distortion
Daniel DiRito | April 23, 2008 | 7:15 PM |
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Drinking stories are clearly a part of our culture...especially on college campuses. In the following spoof, The Onion provides the "research" on the most popular phrases 18-24 year olds use to describe their state of drunkenness to their roommates from a weekend of partying.
Ironically, little has changed over the years with regards to getting trashed. When we're young, the goal is to be the most outrageous drunk...the one everyone talks about the next morning. Wearing that badge becomes the objective. Then as we get older, the goal seems to shift to being able to drink the most without showing any tell-tale signs of impairment.
On the one hand, the unedited is celebrated...on the other, masking one's actual status becomes preferential. Perhaps it's all a result of societal expectations. We're willing to allow youthful indiscretion until the point at which we require adult inhibition. Makes one wonder if either approach makes any sense. I find that realization to be a downer..but then again, we're talking about drinking, eh?
Tagged as: Alcohol Consumption, College, Comedy, Drinking, Humor, Impairment, Research, The Onion
Daniel DiRito | April 22, 2008 | 9:56 AM |
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This week Bill Maher argues that mailing our tax returns shouldn't require a stamp, that the airlines provide such dismal service that they ought to start loading us in the cargo hold, and that the Pope ought to wear a slip under his holy garments...especially in light of the church's long history of cover ups. Maher then blasts Blockbuster's plan to takeover Circuit City...calling it an effort to create the worst retail experience in America.
He closes with an excellent observation on the latest Barack Obama bitter-gate brouhaha. Maher isn't buying into the manufactured maelstrom when he seeks to understand how in the hell one defines an elitist in America. He then insists that those who think Obama is an elitist need to reconsider what lies behind the candidacy of John McCain and the presidency of George W. Bush. Instead, Maher suggests it is he who should be bitter at the fact that "shitkickers voted twice for a retarded guy they wanted to have a beer with".
Tagged as: Air Travel, Airlines, Barack Obama, Bill Maher, Bitter-gate, Blockbuster, Catholic Church, Circuit City, Elitism, George W. Bush, Humor, John McCain, Pope Benedict XVI
Daniel DiRito | April 19, 2008 | 7:48 AM |
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Anyone seeking the skinny on the battle between evolutionists and creationists would be well served to watch the following presentation by Ken Miller, a biology professor at Brown University. Miller, a Catholic, maintains his belief in faith while arguing in favor of the science behind the theory of evolution.
Miller speaks in laymen's language and presents his arguments with an understanding of the political and cultural battles that underlie the conflict. He does an excellent job of describing the objective and the strategy of those who promote Intelligent Design. In fact, he contends that they seek to portray Darwin as an enemy of religion...attempting to cast him as a virtual purveyor of atheism.
Miller's treatment of the subject is one of the most comprehensive I've seen. It has the added benefit of being balanced as a result of his allegiance to both science and faith.
Ironically, many of those who support Intelligent Design aren't so inclined. I find it rather amusing that those who support the acceptance of a divine creator often do so with disingenuous or downright deceitful tactics...tactics that are contrary to the Christian teachings of his son.
Tagged as: Darwin, Dover Trial, Evolution, Faith, God, Intelligent Design, Ken Miller, Monkey Trial, Religion, Scopes Trial
Daniel DiRito | April 17, 2008 | 10:00 AM |
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It's clear that the pundits in the mainstream media prefer to stir the pot. Doing so generates the ratings they seek but it also serves to bolster the talking points of the political campaigns they cover. This symbiotic relationship does little to inform voters and likely accelerates the partisanship and division that has come to typify our political terrain.
I found the following interview with Dr. Cornel West a refreshing alternative from a number of perspectives. Regardless of his support for Senator Obama, he's able and willing to offer a critique that places knowledge and truth ahead of political pursuits. In fact, his statement (at 3:00 - 5:00 minutes into the first video) on the tendency of political objectives (the attainment of power) to clash with the dissemination of the truth is a refreshing assessment. His candor, absent the partisanship we've come to expect, ought to inform us.
When West explains the similarities between the recent words of Senator Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and those of Martin Luther King, he points out the degree to which candid critical pronouncements are often rejected at the time they are delivered. Such is the nature of a nation's (collectives of human beings) reluctance to come to terms with the mistakes it makes and the injustices it embraces.
My suspicion is that America is struggling with the possibility of entering another phase of introspective analysis similar to the one that existed during the timeframe occupied by the civil rights movement and the opposition to the Vietnam War. I would compare it to the process that unfolds in psychotherapy. The therapist is akin to the political visionary in that his or her role is to facilitate reflection that might otherwise be avoided or ignored.
At the same time, the therapist or the political visionary can easily lose the ear of the patient or the nation should he or she push too hard. When West points out that Dr. King exuded more unconditional love than Reverend Wright, he's simply talking about the effectiveness of the therapist to persuade the patient to look within.
In the jargon of psychoanalysis, since the election of Ronald Reagan, we (the American public) have been in a period of reticent resistance. In fact, if one looks at some of the words spoken by President Carter...words that often focused on sin and redemption...one begins to see that his presidency marked the point at which the nation reached saturation and opted to enter a new phase.
We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon.
Speech - March 1976
Martin Luther King, Jr., was the conscience of his generation.... He and I grew up in the same South, he the son of a clergyman, I the son of a farmer. We both knew from opposite sides, the invisible wall of racial segregation.
Speech In LA - 1976
I think those Southern writers [William Faulkner, Carson McCullers] have analyzed very carefully the buildup in the South of a special consciousness brought about by the self- condemnation resulting from slavery, the humiliation following the War Between the States and the hope, sometimes expressed timidly, for redemption.
New York Times Interview - 1977
I've looked on many women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times.
Playboy Interview - 1976
A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It's a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity.
Speech In New York - October 1976
We live in a time of transition, an uneasy era which is likely to endure for the rest of this century. During the period we may be tempted to abandon some of the time-honored principles and commitments which have been proven during the difficult times of past generations. We must never yield to this temptation. Our American values are not luxuries, but necessities - not the salt in our bread, but the bread itself.
_Jimmy Carter, in his 1980 farewell address _
The final Carter quote seems amazingly prescient and profound. He sounds like a man who recognized the passing of an era and the perils that the nation would face as it attempted to embrace its future. Given the tone of the 1980 election, it would have been obvious to Carter that the nation was about to embark upon a different path.
A look at the words of Ronald Reagan, his successor, evidence a dramatic shift and the subtle rejection of the restive and sometimes radical reflections of the 60's and 70's. His election signaled the start of a new paradigm.
The glistening hope of that lamp is still ours. Every promise every opportunity is still golden in this land. And through that golden door our children can walk into tomorrow with the knowledge that no one can be denied the promise that is America.
Her heart is full; her torch is still golden, her future bright. She has arms big enough to comfort and strong enough to support, for the strength in her arms is the strength of her people. She will carry on in the Eighties unafraid, unashamed, and unsurpassed.
In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America's is.
RNC speech - August 1984
Clearly, Reagan ushered in a new period of pride...a forceful step beyond the contemplative critiques of his predecessor. His presidency signaled a tacit refusal to entertain doubt. Instead he fostered an unapologetic trumpeting of America and her values. Note the use of the words "unafraid, unashamed, and unsurpassed"...words that reflect a confident nation that had arrived and no longer needed to explore the inner depths of its identity. George W. Bush's presidency simply attached a religious stamp of approval on the "Reagan Revolution".
Strange as it may seem, President Carter's willingness to incorporate his faith into his presidency is not that dissimilar from George Bush. If one tracks the period from Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 to the present, what we actually see is the completion of a cycle. In effect, we have traveled from the Carter era...a period in which faith served as the mirror in which we looked to find the means to purify our souls...to the Bush presidency...a period in which our actions are extolled as a reflection of the degree to which our faith has purified our souls.
Returning to Dr. West's observations, perhaps we're on the precipice of another introspective period...one that reopens the wounds that subsided but never fully healed. If history unfolds repetitively...and I suspect it does...it would seem that turbulence may soon trump tranquility as we engage in the dialogue of discovery.
With that said, reaching a new plateau is apt to be a lengthy journey. It's doubtful we'll be able to predict the time of our arrival...and while we may eventually reach our destination - a better place...it's likely that the historians of the following generation will be the first to document the distance we traveled. Many believe that 2008 will be a change election. History tells us the easy part will be casting our ballots in November. Electing to change will be a far more daunting task.
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Cornel West, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Media, Partisanship, Politics, Poverty, Punditry, Racism, Religion, Ronald Reagan
Daniel DiRito | April 16, 2008 | 10:32 AM |
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During election years, it's easy to get lost in the pettiness of the political battles that we think are important. Unfortunately, that partisan focus often leads us to lose sight of the issues that really matter. While we are asked to evaluate who is best prepared to answer the phone at 3:00 AM, millions of our fellow citizens are pondering how to feed their children breakfast in the morning.
When I watch programs like the following, I can't help but think about the huge amounts of money we are spending on the war in Iraq. Time and again, our president tells us the war is necessary to protect America. Somehow, I don't imagine the folks who are struggling to make ends meet are all that worried about a terrorist attack.
In fact, I suspect that many of the people referenced in this video live with the terror of being unable to find their next meal or surviving until the next handout is available. Our politicians talk about the need for health insurance while millions aren't even eating the food they need to insure their health.
Frankly, I can't imagine what the next president will have to do to right the ship. It's easy for voters to lock onto an issue, believing that it's a non-negotiable necessity. Some of us won't vote for a candidate that supports abortion...some of us won't vote for a candidate that won't support an amendment to ban same-sex marriage...some of us won't vote for a candidate because she is a woman or a black man.
In the midst of our absolutism, we ignore the neighbor who simply needs a decent meal or the elderly woman with high blood pressure who can't afford the medication she needs. For all the talk of this being a Christian nation, I am astounded at the lack of Christian compassion.
I simply can't imagine why we need to spend millions of dollars on initiatives to ban gay marriage in the midst of such great need. Why on earth would anyone care about what happens in the bedrooms of their neighbors when they don't give a damn about the neighbor's empty refrigerator? No, we've become a hateful nation filled with animosity and resentment for all things different. Those who rail against gay marriage argue they're simply protecting the family. I'm still trying to decide which families they're trying to protect. It sure as hell isn't the family next door.
Tagged as: Abortion, Bill Moyer, Compassionate Conservatism, Food, Food Banks, Food Pantries, Gay Marriage, Hunger, Inflation, LGBT, PBS, Poverty, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage
Daniel DiRito | April 15, 2008 | 9:25 AM |
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We've all heard the expression, "Her floor was so clean, you could eat off of it". In the following video, Mo Rocca wants to know how many people would actually give it a go. OK, he doesn't ask them if they would sit down and have their meal served on the floor...but he does explore people's views on the infamous five second rule.
I suspect the number of people who will eat something they've dropped on the floor is higher than one would imagine. I could be wrong, but I'd bet the number of individuals who throw away absolutely everything that falls on the floor isn't all that large.
Feel free to share your own rules, regulations, and rituals with regard to eating off the floor. Unfortunately, when I saw this video, all I could think of was David Hasselhoff lying drunk on the floor and eating a burger. That's enough to make anyone reconsider the five second rule.
Tagged as: 180, Cleanliness, David Hasselhoff, Five Second Rule, Food, Germs, Humor, Mo Rocca
Daniel DiRito | April 14, 2008 | 8:54 PM |
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Bill Maher walked a fine line tonight...and he may have even crossed it a couple times...so much so that Jason Alexander tells him (while holding two fingers close together), "You've got to be just this far from madness at all times".
Regardless, tonight's New Rules was one of the best Maher has delivered since the end of the writer's strike. He starts off with the obvious...you can't protect the Olympic torch (or much of anything for that matter) with security forces on roller blades. He follows that with a comment on astrology and boring children's birthday parties...neither of which drew much laughter.
Next he nails a segment on Virgin Airlines' new ad campaign which touts a woman blow drying her hair at her seat. Maher laments the decision to turn already dismal flights into flying locker rooms and he finishes by sarcastically suggesting he'll now have time to shave his balls.
In a segment worthy of the title of his prior show, Politically Incorrect, he criticizes the Aetna Insurance decision to appoint Magic Johnson as their spokesperson. Amidst moans from the audience, Maher essentially states that he refuses to take health tips "from an HIV positive fat man" (ouch!).
As if that weren't enough, he pivots to offer a lengthy and scathing indictment of the Pope and the Catholic Church. While referring to the raid on the Texas polygamist sect, Maher sets the table for the evisceration of the Catholic Church when he tells us that the combination of a secretive compound, religion, and weirdos in pioneer outfits is bound to result in children being molested. He closes by drawing an insightful analogy between the bail out of Bear Stearns and the free pass given to the leadership of the Catholic Church.
While I've only included a clip of the New Rules segment, the entire show was noteworthy. If you have the time, head over to YouTube and have a look.
Tagged as: Aetna Insurance, Astrology, Bill Maher, Catholic Church, Jason Alexander, Magic Johnson, New Rules, Olympic Torch, Pope Benedict, Virgin Airlines
Daniel DiRito | April 11, 2008 | 10:02 PM |
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Should we laugh at the fact that The Daily Show provides a more accurate version of the facts that underly the news than does Fox News? Here's your chance to decide by watching John Oliver's documentary on the two faces of Fox News.
Funny as it is to watch this piece in which the many Fox News correspondents spin an issue one way if it favors the GOP and another should it cast a positive light on the Democrats, it provides a frightening commentary on the degree to which Fox News is neither fair or balanced.
It really is amazing to see the blatant partisanship that has come to typify much of what is disseminated by Fox. It is even more amazing that they are able to attract the formidable audience they do.
I'm reminded of my one of my favorite quotations. Horace Mann once stated, "We go by the major vote, and if the majority are insane, the sane must go to the hospital". As it now stands, I'm currently scheduling my exploratory visits. If Fox News wins over many more viewers, I'll soon be seated at the admissions desk.
Tagged as: Bill O'Reilly, Comedy Central, Democrats, Fair & Balanced, Faux News, Fox News, George W. Bush, GOP, Humor, John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Partisanship, Sean Hannity, The Daily Show
Daniel DiRito | April 11, 2008 | 4:51 PM |
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In these political times, every day brings a new endorsement. In the following video clip, Lewis Black gives us the skinny on the value of celebrity endorsements. Once Black finishes skewering the merit of endorsements from the likes of Kal Penn, Dick Van Patten, Heidi Montag, Rosie O'Donnell, Tom Cruise, and Donald Trump, he moves on to the creme de la creme...Oprah Winfrey. Black shows us a few Oprah clips to make his point that Oprah's exuberance for Obama may not be all that...well...exuberant.
I think the truth of the matter is that celebrity endorsements do very little to influence politics and more likely serve to influence the appeal of the celebrity making the endorsement. Then again, given the propensity of politicians to mouth the lines of their handlers, who better to judge actors than fellow actors, eh?
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Celebrity, Dick Van Patten, Donald Trump, Heidi Montag, Humor, Kal Penn, Lewis Black, Oprah Winfrey, Political Endorsements, Rosie O'Donnell, Sean Penn, The Daily SHow
Daniel DiRito | April 9, 2008 | 8:57 AM |
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Who would have ever thought that Jimmy Kimmel could be a Richard Simmons' protege? In the following video, Richard does his best to save Jimmy from the ravages of a life of leisure...and poor hygiene. Try as he might, Richard can't seem to get Jimmy to shed his bad habits...or his extra pounds.
In the end, Jimmy can't change his ways and his fancy pants makeover is a total failure. Turns out Jimmy would rather remain "a piece of s@#%". Richard, on the other hand, will be forced to kick his way out of another celebrity's closet while waving his magic wand. And so goes the work of a fitness fairy...not that there's anything wrong with that.
Tagged as: fitness, humor, Jimmy Kimmel, LGBT, Richard Simmons, Sam Elliott
Daniel DiRito | April 7, 2008 | 2:55 PM |
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Bill is on a tear in this episode of New Rules. He begins with an assault on the TSA and their plans to make the screening process more comfortable - Maher just wants them to get him through the line well before his shoes are out of style. He takes a swipe at Bubba Clinton's extracurricular activities with an picture from the campaign trail - let's just say that Monica won't like the inference.
Next up, I'm with Bill when he says he's sick of Heidi and Spencer. When he asks, "Who are they and who cares", that pretty much sums up my sentiment. Maher then shifts to bowling and suggests Barack borrow a "ball" from uber alpha-male wannabe Ann Coulter. Oh, he also tells us Bush is quite the bowler...especially when it comes to preemptive strikes.
Maher closes by admonishing those Democrats who are whining that Hillary needs to drop out to save the party. Simply stated, he suggests Democrats take one of their children's chill pills and allow democracy to unfold. Instead of lamenting the close contest, Maher suggests Democrats "grow a pair" and cease with the pompous circle jerk alliances that have infected a number of well known web sites. After all, as Maher suggests, why all the fuss when everyone knows that elections in America are decided by the Supreme Court?
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Ann Coulter, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bill Maher, Democrats, Hillary CLinton, Humor, Monica Lewinsky, TSA
Daniel DiRito | April 5, 2008 | 8:56 AM |
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It's one thing to be uneducated; it's another to be stupid. If a new report on drop out rates in major U.S. metropolitan cities is to be believed, fewer Americans are educated. If the following video represents a cross...
Tagged as: 2008, Australia, Diplomacy, Education, High School Drop Outs, Humor, Intelligence, Iraq, Israel, John Howard, Preemption, Tony Blair, War on Terror
Daniel DiRito | April 3, 2008 | 12:51 PM |
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With the Bush presidency coming to an end...with talk of a lame duck administration...and despite the negative reviews on George Bush's ambitious yet seemingly endless epic, The Iraq War...GWB Studios, in conjunction with GOP Tax Cut Productions, is moving...
Tagged as: Alfred Hitchcock, Depression, Economics, George W. Bush, Humor, National Debt, Ownership Society, Recession, Tax Cuts, The Birds
Daniel DiRito | April 2, 2008 | 4:25 PM |
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If you're going to attempt an April Fool's prank, it ought to be good. In the first of two videos that follow, the BBC has created one that definitely meets this criteria...flying penguins. In the second video, the BBC...
Tagged as: April Fools, BBC, Corona, Guinness Beer, Humor, Penguins, Rain Forest, South America
Daniel DiRito | April 2, 2008 | 9:33 AM |
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The Onion has some fun with the work of Christian charity groups in foreign countries. In the following faux video, the Onion anchor interviews, Josephine Bates, founder of "God's Hands", a Colorado Springs based charity. They proceed to discuss...
Tagged as: Abortion, Africa, Christian Charity, Evangelical, Heaven, Humor, LGBT, Muslim, Pro-Choice, Religion
Daniel DiRito | April 2, 2008 | 9:01 AM |
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