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by Andy Brownfield 08.06.2009
Posted In: Life at 04:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Pull Something Cool

I just found out that tractor pulls aren’t nearly as cool as I thought they were. I, being a city boy, had no idea what they were all about. Turns out, a tractor pull involves a tractor — get this — pulling shit.  

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Now, correct me if I’m wrong, like I said, I’m just a poor city boy, but isn’t that what tractors are supposed to do? Pull shit? And there are 21 different organizations (as recognized by Wikipedia) devoted to this “sport?” I am supremely underwhelmed.  

Forgive me for stereotyping, but I envisioned some big, buff, corn-fed good-old-boy pulling a two-ton tractor with his fucking teeth. Or at least jumping a herd of flaming cattle while Farmer Dan shoots skeet (not that kind of skeet — I mean the one with shotguns and clay pigeons where people yell “pull!” and work out their sexual inadequacies by shooting really big guns). That’s like using a “brass knuckle paperweight” as a paperweight, or Google Image Search to look up something other than porn. I mean, using something for what it is intended for is incredibly passé. I’m boycotting all state and county fairs until they make tractor pulls significantly more awesome.

- In other news, Americans take their Harry Potter very seriously. If you’ve ever been to a midnight book release or showing of one of the movies, you know what I’m talking about.  Hundreds of virgins enthusiasts dressed up as their favorite magical persons, directly flouting the authority of the Holy See and all of those other people who want to destroy my childhood.

But the British … don’t fuck with the British when it comes to their favorite angsty, sexually repressed, greasy, hung-like-a-grape (yeah, I saw Equus. Or at least the pictures. What? I was curious!) national hero. In Britain, across the pond, where they speak the queen’s English and actually think Hugh Grant is a good actor, some punk kid (no doubt a greasy, angst-ridden teenager who identified with our pasty-faced hero) threw bleach on a woman, harshly burning her for “disrespecting” him during the newest movie. Apparently she was telling him to be quiet for making out too loudly with his girlfriend (left hand).  

- Speaking of sexually repressed, Vladimir Putin is fucking buff. In a flashback to the Cold War, after seeing online photos of President Obama shirtless, Former Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in his own version of one-upmanship by displaying his (old ass) weapons of mass destruction in shirtless photos from his vacation. The photos included Putin fishing, riding a horse and chilling by a stream. The Times Online reported that, “The photos will inevitably trigger mass swooning by women all over Russia — as well as unfavourable comparisons of their husbands to Mr. Putin’s manly physique. They will also confirm the Russian Prime Minister’s status as a gay icon.” America quickly responded with “our president could beat up your former president and shadowy-seat-of-power-behind-the-current-administration.”

Image: A tractor trying really hard to do what it was built to do. 

 
 
by Blake Hammond 10.26.2012
Posted In: Music Video, Playlist at 09:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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All Hail Satan!: The Devil's Favorite Songs

A playllist of Beelzebub's favorite songs, just in time for Halloween weekend

Whether you call him Beelzebub, Satan, the Prince of Darkness, Mephistopheles, or just the plain ole devil (it’s all about your preferred nomenclature, man) there is no denying the big guy downstairs has been a huge influence on Rock & Roll.


There have been a plethora of songs written about the dark lord (no I’m not talking about Voldemort, you posers) but the real question iswhat are Satan’s favorite songs about himself?

 

So, like the top-notch investigative journalism team we are at the CityBeat music department, my editor Mike Breen and I bought some pig’s blood, drew a pentagram on the floor, lit some candles, recited some Latin and summoned the fallen angel himself.

 

After a long discussion on various human subjects — how Mitt Romney is in fact not the antichrist, but just an idiot; the state of Gene Simmons' soul and why he is going to hell (apparently, it’s not for his satanic look or the thousand acts of pre-marital sex, but for turning KISS into the biggest whore in the music industry) — Mephistopheles disappeared back into the hell mouth as quick as he came. (Who said real journalism was dead?)

Yet, left in his place was an evil list compiled by the demon of his Top 10 favorite songs about himself, with the instruction to print them without changes. (Satan’s actually a very polite guy but super narcissistic.)  So, in honor of his wishes (and extra conscious of our agreement that riches will be bestowed on CityBeat if we completed the task), here are the Top 10 songs about Satan. 

10. “Baptized in Flames” – Skeletonwitch

You ever wanted to know what Antichrist’s birth would be like? If so, you’re in luck because Athens, Ohio, natives Skeletonwitch give us a pretty vivid description of the scene.

Minus the death of the mother, inverted crosses burning, men dying and the overall end-times vibe, this birth isn’t all that different from a normal one. But let’s be honest, no matter who’s being popped out, the birthing process is pretty disgusting.

9. “Super-Charger Heaven” – White Zombie

If I had never seen an interview with Rob Zombie (he seems like a really nice guy), I would truly believe this guy had some serious demonic connections. From his grade-A horror films to his music riddle with witches, blood rituals and general spine-chilling terror, he is the poster child for all things evil.

Although his later solo work is a little campy at times, White Zombie always brought the hellish vibe to their brand of Groove Meta and they showcased it no better than on their 1995 single, “Super-Charger Heaven.”


8. “Beezleboss” – Tenacious D

Did you know it’s in the demon by-laws to never turn down a rock-off challenge? I didn’t either. Not until the cataclysmic disappointment, “Pick of Destiny,” came out in 2006 at least.

Even though this movie was shittier than the end of The Human Centipede, Satan’s gut-busting drum solo (although impressive) wasn’t enough to outmatch Tenacious D’s power of Rock and friendship, not only saving Kage’s eternal soul (and anal virginity) but sending the devil back to hell and finally finding a way to pay their damn rent. (Satan says he found it "cute" that the band would write a fictional song about defeating him and picked this song because he's angling for a part in Kung Fu Panda 4 with Jack Black.)


7. “Con Clavi Con Dio” – Ghost

Sweden probably isn’t the first nation you think of as a hotbed for satanic music (I know, ABBA was scary but definitely not satanic), but when Ghost’s Opus Eponymous came out in 2010, the band took another step towards making that a reality.

This whole album is just one big love letter to the prince of darkness and the first four lines of “Con Clavi Con Dio” says it all: “Lucifer/ We are here/ For your praise/Evil one.”

Overall, I don’t know what’s creepier this band’s all-inclusive scare factor or their borderline stalker obsession with Satan. (Lucifer, if you’re reading this, you may want to consider a restraining order against these guys. I know they’re from Sweden, but I don’t think they are messing around.)

6. “Mean as Hell” – Johnny Cash

Besides making a star out of Honey Boo Boo and working as an investment banker on Wall Street, Satan says all he really ever wanted was a land to call his own. So God, like the sly dog he is, tried pull a fast one on his old nemesis, giving him the poorest land he had, the Rio Grande.

The Devil, being the mean son of bitch that he is, took God’s offering and riddled the area with scorpions, thorn trees, tarantulas, rattlesnakes and 110-degree weather, making the best hell on earth he could (take that God!).

In the end, Satan proved God wrong, but what’s more interesting is who is meaner, Johnny Cash or Satan? Sure, Satan made the Rio Grande hell on earth, but Cash lived in it. My money’s on the “Man in Black.”


5. “Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones

The devil has been a busy man over the years. He was “’Round when Jesus Christ/Had his moment of doubt and pain” and “Held a general's rank/When the Bliztkrieg raged/And the bodies stank.”

Even though I’m not that particularly puzzled by the nature of his game (am I the only one seeing the trend of death here?), it’s definitely one of the most iconic and politically-driven songs Satan ever inspired.


4. “The Oath” – Mercyful Fate

Kind Diamond is like the satanic equivalent of Pat Robertson. Sure, this guy isn’t actually a Satanist but over his illustrious career, his distaste for organized religion, overtly satanic lyrical content and general creepy demeanor has surely put him in good standing with the minions of hell’s army and their general.

I really could have picked almost any song from the King Diamond catalog, but this one — from the band he fronts, Mercyful Fate — really showcases his unconditional love for Lucifer. Really though, Diamond’s undying love for Satan is only comparable to the love Ryan Seacrest has for hair gel and being a douche. If the song weren’t so damn evil, it would almost bring me to tears.


3. “Hell Awaits” – Slayer

As if this song wasn’t scary enough running normally, apparently if you play “Hell Awaits” backwards, about two minutes in there is a hidden message that repeats "join us" over and over again. Joining what exactly, I’m not sure. Slayer fans? An indoor soccer league? The wait staff at the Olive Garden? Who knows?

What’s really funny, though, is that people freak out when they hear Slayer has a “satanic message” when you play it backwards. Really? If you listen to the song forward, the “satanic messages” are even more explicit. Jeez people, the whole thing is about Satan! It’s Slayer, what do you expect?


2. “N.I.B.” – Black Sabbath

Aside from “Sympathy for the Devil” this is the only other song on this list written from the perspective of Lucifer. Besides the monster riff and Black Sabbath general early awesomeness, what makes this track phenomenal is that it's about Satan falling in love and trying to become a good person.

Though knowing that information makes this song seem a little less evil and is slightly reminiscent of a Joss Whedon plotline (no dig there, it’s just true), it exemplifies why Black Sabbath will always be the best Metal band of all time its creativity.

Personally, I wish Ben Gibbard would do one of his so cute (it makes me want to puke) acoustic covers of this song so I can play it at my wedding (like that’ll ever happen).


1. “Number of the Beast” – Iron Maiden

I’ve always been a bit confused when it comes to the actual logistics of this song. I mean, did he see this satanic ritual happening or not? My personal belief is that Steve Harris (lead guitar/writer) took one too many hits of LSD, watched The Omen II and had the most terrifying trip known to modern man.

Either way, “Number of the Beast" solidified Bruce Dickinson as Maiden's new lead singer (even though I’m more a Paul Di’anno fan myself) and made Maiden titans in the Metal genre.


Remember — I’m just the middleman here. If you have a problem with this list, I’m sure Satan would be willing to hear you out. (Here’s his contact email: somelikeithott666@hotmail.com.)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This morning I sent Blake's write-up to Satan for approval (we usually don't do that, but, hey, it's Satan), he responded with a curt, all caps message: "WHERE IS MY FAVORITE BAND HOGSCRAPER!!! I WILL BRING YOU DOWN HERE EARLY IF YOU DON'T ADD MY THEME SONG!!! THANKS!!! HAIL ME!!!" He's referring to the mysterious, undead Cincinnati "Satanic Bluegrass" band Hogscraper and I can only assume his "theme song" is the one below. When I texted him just before posting I informed him that Hogscraper was back from the dead and headlining this Saturday's "Grand Opening Redux" concert at the new Southgate House Revival. "NO SHIT. I'LL BE THERE WITH SCARY BELLS ON. PRE-GAMING @ HOOTERS BEFOREHAND IF YOU WANNA HANG OUT!"


 
 
by Jen Lee 07.08.2009
at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Bruno: It’s OK to Laugh If You Get the Joke

“Sadly, I kind of liked it,” I hear the guy behind me say to his friend as the closing credits of Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest outrageous, tongue-in-cheek (and that’s the most appropriate of places) social satire begin to roll. “Is that bad?”

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by German Lopez 09.20.2012
Posted In: Courts, News, Business at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Procter & Gamble Sued for Religious Discrimination

P&G and contractor allegedly fired Muslim worker who was humiliated by coworker

Two Cincinnati-based companies are facing a lawsuit over the termination of a former Muslim worker. The lawsuit, filed in an North Carolina court Monday, claims a woman named Safa Elhassan was fired from Procter & Gamble facilities after facing discrimination in the workplace.

Elhassan worked for P&G through XLC Services, a Cincinnati-based company that provides manufacturing services and warehouse management to other companies, at P&G facilities in Guilford County, N.C. 

The lawsuit charges P&G and XLC with religious harassment, religious discrimination, failing to accommodate after religious discrimination in the workplace, national origin discrimination, sexual discrimination, two counts of retaliation, negligence, unfair and deceptive trade practices, assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The lawsuit tells the story that led to the charges as follows: Elhassan, who wears a hijab and wedding ring for religious reasons, was employed at P&G’s facilities through XLC between 2004 and Sept. 16, 2011. During her employment, Elhassan followed P&G rules and regulations and kept “a performance record which was satisfactory or better.”

However, Elhassan was unaware of a company policy that banned jewelry in the workplace, even jewelry of religious significance. This policy was mostly not a problem for Elhassan because, as the lawsuit claims, “Other employees of different religions and national origins routinely wear jewelry under clothing and/or protective wear and are not punished or searched.”

That is until a woman named Ernestine Wilson allegedly approached Elhassan, forcibly searched Elhassan for her wedding ring and removed Elhassan’s hijab in front of coworkers, including men, according to the suit. Under Islam’s rules, a woman uses a hijab, which is a religious head and neck wrap, to maintain sexual modesty, and being exposed without a hijab to men who are not family is a major offense and source of humiliation.

Elhassan reported the forced search to higher-ups at XLC. After a few meetings, Wilson provided an apology, according to the lawsuit, but Elhassan claimed the apology was insincere because Wilson kept telling coworkers that she hoped Elhassan was fired. After Elhassan refused to accept the apology, she was suspended then fired, allegedly under the orders of P&G.

The lawsuit suggests that Wilson's actions were potentially connected to another workplace incident. The lawsuit says Elhassan was sexually harassed in the past by George (no last name provided), a man with whom Wilson was allegedly “engaged in a friendly, physical, and/or romantic relationship." Elhassan reported the incident, which got George fired. The lawsuit claims Wilson’s actions were in retaliation to George’s termination.

Since Wilson did work for P&G through XLC, Elhassan blames both P&G and XLC for the damages. The lawsuit claims she was unfairly fired in retaliation for not accepting Wilson’s apology. It also alleges that XLC forced Elhassan to sign a document she did not understand upon her termination without her lawyer present, even though Elhassan asked to have her lawyer read the document. The document, which P&G officials were supposedly aware of, allegedly sought to release P&G and XLC of any wrongdoing related to the termination.

Mary Ralles, spokesperson for P&G, responded to the lawsuit in an email: “As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on pending litigation, but I did want to make one correction. The individual was not (or ever) a P&G employee.”

The distinction Ralles made is that Elhassan was not officially employed by P&G, but she did work for P&G through her employment at XLC.

XLC could not be immediately reached for comment. This story will be updated if a comment becomes available.

 
 
by Rick Pender 04.03.2009
Posted In: Theater at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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33rd Humana New Play Festival Shines in Louisville

For its 33rd iteration, the Humana Festival of New American Plays offered as many works that were based on ensemble and imagery as it did traditional dramatic plays. By the luck of the schedule during the weekend I recently attended at Actors Theatre of Louisville (ATL), I saw three works (Wild Blessings, a selection of writings by Kentucky poet Wendell Barry; Ameriville, a piece of performance art by UNIVERSES, a Hip Hope ensemble; and Under Construction, a script by avant-garde writer Charles Mee performed by the equally experimental SITI Company directed by Anne Bogart) that lacked traditional narrative form.

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by 01.22.2009
Posted In: Television at 09:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

Mother Knows Sex

Now here’s a reality TV show that will probably raise a few eyebrows. And the good news is that it doesn’t humiliate anyone in the process.

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by Ashley Thomas 07.31.2009
Posted In: Fashion with Ashley at 01:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

Buried Treasure: A Chain/Department Store Shopping Guide

As a final installment for this shopping guide adventure, I leave you with the Greater Cincinnati area's chain and department store options. If you aren't new to the city, many of you probably already know of these locations — but, hey, it's always nice to be reminded!

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by Mike Breen 10.23.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Music News at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (27)
 
 
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Smartphones Piss Off Neko Case

Acclaimed singer/songwriter's Taft Theatre show last night got a bit contentious

So what the heck happened at the concert by the always dazzling Neko Case at the Taft Theatre last night? Case's biggest show ever in the Cincinnati area was musically solid, but didn't go as smoothly as planned thanks to flared tempers, the proliferation of smartphone cameras and some angry and/or obnoxious audience members. It's safe to say that you can add Case to the increasingly growing list of performers who are losing their patience with omnipresent smartphone use at concerts.

Case is fairly prolific with her Twitter account, but her tweets from yesterday showed no clear indication of the kerfuffle. Earlier in the day, she praised Iris Book Cafe for their hospitality and good grub and, post-show, she tweeted "Thank you, Cincinnati, you are kind folks," followed by some heart symbols. (Sarcasm?)

CityBeat contributor Keith Klenowski was there to photograph the show (not on his phone; he was credentialed) and says the problems started during the second song of the night, when Case stopped the show and asked everyone to stop taking photos with their phones because the flashes were bothering her. Things calmed down, people seemed to oblige and the show picked up again.

Several songs later, according to Klenowski, Case stopped the show again and appeared to be talking to a fan near the front of the stage about putting their phone away. Case made a comment about happily refunding tickets, adding, "Just put away the cameras. It isn't going to kill you, but it might kill me" and "You can boo and call me a spoiled Rock star. I am." Case claimed there were signs about cameras posted around the venue, though Klenowski says he didn't see any.

Case's reaction was met with a mix of cheers and boos; some people got really bent out of shape about her protestation. "I (saw) people put on their coats and walk out," Klenowski says. "One guy (flipped) her the bird and storms out."

He says that not long after the second stoppage, a woman came down the aisle towards the stage and took a photo before immediately being escorted out by security. Before the band returned for an encore, Klenowski says he saw another skirmish that involved a man arguing with security as he was being kicked out.
 
"Neko looked tired and even admitted at the start that it was time to wake up or something like that," Klenowski says, adding that the singer was apologetic to the non-heckling/non-photo-taking fans throughout the show and at the end of the night. "I got her frustration, but I have never seen anyone threaten to leave and stop a show because of it." 

Click here for Keith's photos from Case's Taft Theatre performance.

 
 
by 01.17.2009
Posted In: 2008 Election, News at 09:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

More Inauguration Coverage and Profiteering

CityBeat's inauguration page now includes a link to our alt weekly colleagues in D.C., the Washington City Paper, which features a huge inauguration guide for the millions of people already descending on their city. City Paper staffers are sending out constant updates on Twitter and a group blog, Inbloguration, including this multimedia gem from about an hour ago: "Here's a semi-live feed from my basement in Petworth, where whiskey-swilling guests collaborated on an unconscionably patriotic version of 'The Weight.' "

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by Hannah McCartney 07.25.2013
Posted In: Guns, Gun Violence, Police at 04:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (23)
 
 
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The Unexpected Death of Jeremy Ramundo

Thirty-two-year-old shot by police in Clifton was mild-mannered, acquaintances say

Who was Roger Ramundo?

First of all, those who knew him called him by his middle name, Jeremy. On Wednesday, July 24, Jeremy was shot and killed by a Cincinnati Police Officer in what the CPD is describing as a violent, “life or death struggle,” with a mentally ill, violent and heavily armed man. Those who knew Roger Jeremy Ramundo, however, remember him very differently.


Thirty-two-year-old Jeremy lived in a Clifton gaslight home with his mother, Peggy, and he liked to eat on the patio at neighborhood bar Arlin’s Bar and Grill, the same place where he lost his life in a struggle with police just blocks away from his home.

An acquaintance of the family, who asked to remain unnamed, described Ramundo as a gentle, bright and mild-mannered young man with good social skills.

Ramundo formerly worked up the street at Bruegger’s Bagels, where current CityBeat arts & culture editor Jac Kern worked with him from 2007-2008. “I always knew him to be a kind, gentle person,” she says, recalling his fondness for discussing politics and attentive listening skills.

According to Kern, Ramundo was in a car accident years before that left him with debilitating vision and hearing problems. He had also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, both of which he’d been prescribed medications for.

But nobody, it seemed, suspected he’d be the type of person to be involved in a deadly police shootout. The Cincinnati Police Department today held a press conference on the incident, during which Cincinnati Police Interim Chief Paul Humphries described the actions of the five officers involved in the shootout as by-the-book, even heroic.

What Humphries accounts began as an argument between Ramundo his mother at their home on Thrall Avenue, a few blocks from Arlin’s, which escalated shortly after Ramundo refused to go to his doctor’s appointment, according to a 911 call made by a health care representative from the medical facility where Ramundo’s appointment was scheduled. According to the health care representative, Ramundo’s mother called her looking for help, explaining he’d become belligerent following her requests to go to his appointment. She said he had been willfully not taking his psychiatric medications, although it’s unclear for how long.

In the 911 call, the health care representative says Peggy told her Ramundo had begun threatening her, saying that if she called the cops, there would be a “bloodbath.” She saw him take off up Ludlow Avenue and said on the phone call she believed he was carrying his registered gun, a Sig Sauer .40 caliber pistol, and guessed he might be on his way to his go-to hangout spot.

Officers Jayne Snelling and William Springer followed the mother’s tip and found him sitting on the back patio at Arlin’s. 

An Arlin’s bartender named Jocelyn was working that day and recalls Ramundo coming in somewhat agitated. “He was asking about his glasses,” she says. “He seemed frustrated about losing them, and he had me call another bartender to see if they were here somewhere. After that, he asked for a glass of water, walked outside and that was that."

Jocelyn continued: “I’m in total shock. He was just a sweet kid,” she said, although she couldn’t remember seeing him in the bar for about three months prior.

In total, five CPD officers were dispatched to the scene, two of whom have had past positive experiences with Ramundo, including Officer Snelling and Officer Bryan Gabel, who later fired the shots that killed him.

The physical struggle began after peace-making efforts failed, Humphries says. Officers reported they saw Ramundo reaching toward his waistband, where he held his pistol.

Gabel was the first to make physical contact with Ramundo, trying to “control his arm,” according to Humphries. That led the other officers to become involved in a scuffle that shortly thereafter prompted Officer Kelly Jackson to deploy a five-second Taser sting to Ramundo’s back, which they say sent Ramundo to the ground.

Jackson again deployed her Taser onto Ramundo’s back, which, according to Humphries, had little to no effect after the initial five-second deploy. On a third attempt, the Taser failed to work, according to Humphries, at which point Jackson signaled another officer to deploy another Taser.

Snelling attempted to do so, but mistakenly Tased another officer in the struggle, who was on top of Ramundo’s back. Gabel allegedly saw Ramundo raise his gun, when he fired his first and only shot. Officer Reginald Lane had taken the Tased officer's spot on top of Ramundo, attempting to subdue him and retrieve his gun. That's when Humphries says all five officers saw him trying to bring the gun up again, this time aimed toward the officers.

Gabel fired two shots into Ramundo’s lower left back. He died in the hospital three hours later.

Humphries says Ramundo was also carrying two magazines, mace and a folding knife.

His mother, the acquaintance says, is an outspoken advocate on mental health issues, particularly Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), on which she’s published a book. Peggy “always spoke preciously” of Jeremy, the acquaintance notes.

Bipolar disorder, when untreated, can cause those affected to experience “mood episodes,” which, in severe cases, sometimes result in impulsive, violent behavior. An estimated 2.3 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder.

 
 

 

 

 
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