The Thought for the Day – Thomas Jefferson

It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness. -Thomas Jefferson


Thomas Jefferson, among other things the founder of the University of Virginia and the third president of the United States, is an interesting animal. Or. rather, his legacy is an interesting animal. Jefferson, as he should, will live down the ages as the author of the Declaration of Independence, one of our species most significant written works. He served his country honorably and well for many years, even when he would rather have been at home.

On the other hand, he owned slaves. Not only that, Jefferson was an innovative slave owner, one of the first to use his slaves as collateral and to teach them trades, further cementing their bondage. Even modest reading into Jefferson’s life shows the author of the line “All men are created equal” never did much of anything to end slavery either in his country or on his plantation.

We decline to let this diminish our admiration for Jefferson’s written works, and today’s Thought cuts right to the heart of our human experience.  

It is neither wealth nor splendor…

Wealth and splendor are outside influences and, as we’ve discussed here before, we can’t spend our lives answering to outside influences. Outside influences are superfluous and have no bearing on who we are and what we were meant to do with our lives.

But tranquility and occupation…

One of the earliest lessons we can remember learning at school was that every one of us can do something well. All of us were born with different talents and ambitions and our lives – and this planet – work best when we are on our path and answering to them. Wealth and splendor may come the way of people on their path. Good for them. Or bad for them because they can be demanding masters.

But if they don’t, that’s OK, too. For the person on their path, the peace that comes from getting the most out of their talents, of living the life they were meant to live and making their time serve them transcends wealth and splendor.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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The Daily Dose – September 26, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

HUT, HUT PROTEST: The Great NFL National Anthem Protest Saga continues, with the number of players protesting this past weekend going from a trickle to a stream.

Anthem protests in the NFL started last season when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling when the anthem was played. After the season Kaepernick voided his contract with 49ers, became a free agent and, despite having the requisite skills to ply his trade, still has not found a job.

I  Do Solemnly Swear To Draw Attention To Myself: President Trump – utterly incapable of keeping his mouth/Twitter account silent when there’s attention to be had – brought it on with a speech Friday night calling for owners of NFL teams to fire players who do not show what he feels is proper reverence for the anthem  Trump also referred to such players as “sons of bitches” which in some contexts is actually funny, though a number of players chose to interpret this as an attack on their mothers, which it really wasn’t. It was merely an arrogant white male acting the part.  

Dry, Technical Matter: According to the Associated Press, which counted, some 200 NFL players – about 14 percent of the total of 1,472 – protested the national anthem in some way before this week’s games, up from a handful the previous week. Some players knelt, some sat on the bench, some locked arms while some teams said screw it and stayed off the field entirely. Some NFL owners, some of which have financially supported Trump, also participated by locking arms with their players.  

An Army Of One: Alejandro Villanueva, a tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger entitled to wear, among other things, the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman Badge, was the only Steeler on the field during the anthem. He stood outside the tunnel and saluted, although he would later say it was an accident he was on the field. Villanueva had gone out to see how long until the anthem would start and when it did start he did what any good soldier does, he snapped to and saluted. 

Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: We’re veterans here at the Daily Dose and, personally, we issue the hand salute when our anthem is played, but others can knock themselves out. We served to defend your right to do that. There is a lot to protest in this country and we are glad to see our fellow Americans drawing attention to some of them. We protest by occasionally running for the United States Senate or House of Representatives.

The Bottom Line: 50 years from now, when NFL stadiums are used for National Lacrosse League games because the NFL is gone, this period will be looked upon with significance, the beginning of the end. Between kids who stop playing football and fans who stop watching it, the NFL will be gone in a generation or two.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: The city council of Amsterdam, then the seat of a world power, votes to support their prince of Orange, William, to invade England on this date in 1687. Protestants in England were open to an invasion because their current king, James II, was an evil Catholic. 

Results were quick. William landed with his army in October and James and his wife Mary were gone by December and William and his wife Mary would become king and queen of England the following January.

FunFact: History refers to this invasion as the Glorious Revolution. Not everyone was thrilled by it, with a small number of malcontents spending several decades trying to restore the throne to James II and his heirs.

Great Moments In Something Or Another: Albert Einstein, then a 26-year old citizen of Switzerland, publishes his first paper on his special theory of relativity on this date in 1905. We don’t understand this any more than you do.

Lights…Camera…Action: Vice President Richard Nixon and United States Senator John F Kennedy hold the first televised debate between United States presidential candidates on this date in 1960.

Oh Yeah: Though radio listeners were impressed with him, Nixon did not come off particularly well on television and the experience would lead him to refuse to do televised debates during the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections.

FunFact: Watching the Kennedy/Nixon debates is interesting, with one struck by how cordial and substantive they are, a far cry from we get today.

That Was Close: The world narrowly misses nuclear war on this date in 1983 when a Soviet army officer decides a warning that incoming US missiles are a false alarm.

Stanislav Petrov, then a Lieutenant Colonel in the air defense forces of the Soviet Union, was on duty in a bunker near Moscow when his satellite early warning system advised there were five United States missiles incoming. Petrov was suspicious from the start. One, the system had proven unreliable in the past. Two, five missiles was a far cry from the hundreds the evil Americans would have been expected to launch during an attack. Three, their radar warning system did not show an attack.

The incident left Soviet leaders in a box. One the one hand, they hated to admit weakness and failure. On the other hand, Petrov had saved the world from nuclear war. Petrov would later say he was neither punished nor rewarded for his actions, probably about what you would expect from the Soviets in this situation. Petrov died this past May at the age of 77.

Whoops! Our Bad!: Eventually it was determined the Soviet’s warning system had misidentified reflected sunlight as incoming nuclear missiles.

Quotebook: Towering genius disdains a beaten path. – Abraham Lincoln

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Edmund Randolph of Virginia was the first United States attorney general, taking office on this date in 1789.

Today’s Stumper: Who was the moderator of the first Nixon/Kennedy debate? – Answer next time!

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September 24, 2017

The usual suspects today, dear readers, The Daily Dose and The Thought for the Day. 

The Daily Dose
It’s hardly even news anymore, really, the innocent being released from prison. It’s kind of like shootings in this country, there are so many of them you tend to become immune to feeling all that much.

That was our reaction when we read about a man being released from prison in Maryland after serving 13 years for a murder he didn’t commit.  In today’s Daily Dose we talk about Lamar Johnson and how convicting the innocent is something we should all take an interest in because it really should not be happening in a nation conceived in liberty.

Also, the On This Date segment features Benedict Arnold, Babe Ruth and Dwight Eisenhower, plus there’s Trivia and a selection from the quotebook.

The Thought for the Day
John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach, talks getting ready and then, maybe, your time will come.

Scroll down to read today’s columns.

Have a good day,
Gaylon

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The Thought for the Day – John Wooden

I  will get ready, and then, perhaps, my time will come.  – John Wooden


John Wooden was a college basketball coach, known primarily for his work at UCLA, where he won ten national championships, a record for a men’s  team coach. Coach’s influence on us over the years has been profound. Though our modest talents hardly warranted this type of training, Dad shipped us off to his basketball camp a couple of times as a kid and long after we’ve needed to box out or set a screen the lessons we learned about work and patience influence us today.

I  will get ready…

It doesn’t matter who we are, or what we are trying to do with our lives, we must prepare. Whether it’s preparing for a career or to start a family or to chase a dream, we must put ourselves in the best possible position to succeed. We can only do that if we know ourselves. We must know what we want and what we can and cannot do and then we must put the work in to get the most out of the talents we were issued at birth. 

We must use ambition with finesse and skill because ambition is a blade with two edges. On the one hand, it’s how things get done. It provides the inertia to go and make something happen. But ambition can be a hindrance, too, limiting us to what we want to become rather than what we can become.

…and then, perhaps, my time will come.

No matter our talents or goals, we must realize there is an awful lot out of our control. For example, we have some zero control over what others say, think or do. It is also useful to remember that there are several billion people on this planet, all of us leading random lives, and there is an awful lot that is out of our hands.

But if we prepare ourselves, and if we become what we were meant to become, the life we want is there for the taking. Our time will come.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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The Daily Dose – September 24, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

YAWN…HERE WE GO AGAIN: We weren’t completely thrilled with our reaction to the headline proclaiming Lamar Johnson, a black man, of course, had been released from prison in Maryland after serving 13 years for a murder he didn’t commit.

This isn’t news of course. Black men are released from prison for crimes they did not commit left and right in this country. Which is the problem because when we saw the headline we merely shrugged at the length of time he served: 13, almost 14, years. Regular readers of this crap know – know! – this isn’t all that long for a black man in the United States to be incarcerated for a murder he didn’t commit.

Johnson, of course, got off easy. Some innocent people who have been released were barely getting their sea legs after 14 years.

We remember when the innocent being released started making news a few years back when men were being released after 20-25 years behind bars. Wow, we thought, that sure is a long time to be locked up for something you didn’t do. Then the time served started getting longer. Soon 30 years became the standard and earlier this year we wrote about two men – Cleve Heidelberg and Ledura Watkins – who were released after 47 and 41 years respectively behind bars for murders they didn’t commit.

Dry, Technical Matter: Johnson was found guilty of shooting a man in 2004 despite the utter lack of evidence and motive. Johnson was convicted based on testimony that said he resembled the shooter.

Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: Unfortunately this issue is not on most people’s radar. We made it one of three pillars  – along with minor details like peace and low taxes – of our 2016 campaign for the United States House of Representatives, but we appeared to be the only ones that cared. It’s understandable because voters like to talk about issues that affect them and, frankly, most of us don’t have to worry about going to prison for something we didn’t do.

The Bottom Line: But convicting the innocent should be on the radar of every single one of us. Convicting the innocent has no place anywhere and especially not in a nation conceived in liberty. That it happens regularly should cause all of to go stand in the corner and hang our heads in shame.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! Benedict Arnold, his plan to turn the fort at West Point, New York over to the British exposed, flees to the British a bit earlier than planned on this date in 1780.

British army Major John Andre, a compatriot of Arnold’s, had been arrested by the Americans the day before and Arnold had received news of Andre’s arrest that morning while he was, of all things, waiting for General George Washington to join him for breakfast. Arnold fled, taking a barge down the Hudson River to a British warship. Arnold would be commissioned a brigadier general in His Majesty’s army and would return to England after the war. He died in 1801.

All Rise: The Congress passes the Judiciary Act of 1789 on this date in 1789. Among other things, the Act provided for a chief justice and five associate justices of the Supreme Court and created the office of the Attorney General as, well as assorted judicial districts and circuit and district courts.

Get Out Your History Books: Babe Ruth, then of the Boston Red Sox, breaks the major league record for Most Home Runs in a Season, hitting his 28th of the season at the Polo Grounds in New York City on this date in 1919. Ruth broke the record of 27 established by Ned Williamson of the Chicago Cubs, then known as the White Stockings, in 1884.

The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: Ruth’s home run came in the 9th inning and tied the game 1-1, though the New York Yankees would win the game 2-1 in 13 innings. Both teams were safely out of the race for the American League that would be won by the Chicago White Sox.

Oh Yeah: Ruth would break the single-season home run record two more times, the following year, 1920, when he would hit 54 and in 1927 when he hit 60.

No, I  Guess We All Just Can’t Get Along: President Dwight Eisenhower sends the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas to help integrate Central High School on this date in 1957.

Nine students, whom History refers to as the Little Rock Nine, had been enrolled at Central High School but had been prevented from entering by Governor Orval Faubus, who earlier in the month had mobilized the Arkansas National Guard.

Times were not easy for the Little Rock Nine. They were beaten and spat on and one had acid thrown into her eyes. Governor Faubus was so pissed off he shut down all Little Rock high schools for the following school year.

Be All That You Can Be: There would be a military presence at Central High School until May 1958.

Quotebook: The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in the person’s determination. – Tommy Lasorda

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The English and French monarchs at the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453 were Charles VII of France and Henry VI of England.

Today’s Stumper: Who was the first Attorney General of the United States? – Answer next time!

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September 23, 2017

Greetings Readers,

Back at it after a couple of days off with our usual Saturday fare: The Daily Dose and The Thought for the Day. 

Today’s Daily Dose deals with the two children that are the chief executives of North Korea and the United States and their bickering this past week. Rare for instances like this, it’s the dictator that is talking sense.

Also, there is some solid On This Date action, plus Trivia and Francis Bacon has the quotebook selection.

In The Thought for the Day Louis L’Amour teams with Thomas Edison and George Carlin to talk about how us humans are not getting as much out of our human experience as we could be.

Tomorrow on The Daily Dose we’ll talk about how spending 14 years in prison for a crime you did not commit isn’t really news anymore.

As always, many thanks for reading,

Gaylon

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The Thought for the Day – Louis L’Amour

I do not believe man has even begun to realize who he is or what he can become. So far he has been playing it by ear, following paths of least resistance… – Louis L’Amour, Education of a Wandering Man


Regular Thought for the Day readers are familiar enough with Louis L’Amour, so we won’t bother with the introductory paragraph, though we will say it is a typical L’Amour quote because he followed paths of significant resistance and withdrew every possible benefit from the talents he was born with.

I do not believe man has even begun to realize who he is or what he can become…

The sentiment in today’s Thought has shown itself in various forms throughout history. Inventor Thomas Edison said us humans would astound ourselves if we did what we were capable of. Comedian George Carlin said our species could have been so great but instead we settled for salad shooters and shoes with lights on them.

… following paths of least resistance.

It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance, to stray from the life we were meant to live. It might seem easier but, really, though, a life on your path has the least resistance. It may not seem like it at first. You have things to accomplish and after the first hopeful, optimistic moments pass you are faced with a mountain that must be climbed and the courage and patience required to reach the summit seem daunting. The specter of both failure and success await you.

But once you muster the courage to go and climb and you find the patience to stick with it, you will find that all things will come to you, that what was meant to happen in your life generally will happen. You will look back and realize that everything you wanted was and is on your path. All you had to do was to go and get it.

Those who say we really have no idea what we can accomplish are right. We may not live down the ages like Thomas Edison. Or we might. It’s of no particular consequence. What matters is that we answer the calling that is inside each of us.

The biggest obstacle to this generally looks us in the mirror every morning. If we can overcome that obstacle and make our time serve us, the results we get might astound us.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

 

 

 

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The Daily Dose – September 23

Notes from around the Human Experience…

USA! USA!: For the all of my life, and probably all or most of yours, the United States has been sparring verbally with dictators, from Eisenhower to Trump, from Khrushchev to Saddam Hussein to Kim Jong-un. It’s the way the game is played.

Mine’s Bigger! It’s rare, however, when the dictator has been the one talking sense. Let’s examine this past week’s prattle between the two children leading the United States and North Korea:

This Is Why You Don’t Get Invited To More Parties: As you might expect, we read the president’s speech to the United Nation’s General Assembly. Parts sounded presidential, as Trump can do when he feels like it, parts were a campaign speech and parts were tasteless and gauche.

Tip Your Waitresses, I ‘ll Be In Town All Week: We actually chuckled at this:

The United States will forever be a great friend to the world…

Oh please, Mr President. Right now America is a great friend only to those who have managed to consolidate wealth and power. This is not an indictment. Wealth and power are necessary offshoots of a free market. Actually, they are offshoots of every form of government since time immemorial. It’s the way the world is built.

But America is waging too much war and causing too much despair and tragedy – both here and abroad – to be considered a friend to the world.

LOL: The fun began with this statement:

but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. 

Oh dear me, this was not presidential at all, it was childish. Trump, as he showed in his inaugural, parts of which were brilliant, can never seem presidential for too long.

By Jove, I Think He’s Got It: Kim actually issued some accurate statements. He called Trump’s speech:

…unprecedented rude nonsense.

And We Wonder Why People Flew Airplanes Into Our Buildings: Which it was, of course. Dear me, a president of the United States called the leader of a sovereign nation an insulting nickname in front of the world. We are calling people names, we are torturing people, we are now the bad guys, friends.

Nailed It…Dead Solid Perfect: Kim’s thoughtful analysis continued when he said Trump was:

…unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country.

It could be noted that Kim isn’t particularly suited to the prerogative, either, but we digress.

The Bottom Line: Towards the end of his speech Trump noted:

History is asking us whether we are up to the task…of a future of dignity and peace for the rest of the world…

USA! USA! No, we’re not. Right now America is taking a flier on being up to the task of anything more than causing war and destruction. We will not have a future of dignity and peace – for ourselves or anyone else – until we have an America at peace.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! History’s first naval battle using artillery, the Battle of Arnemuiden, occurs on this date in 1338. It was also the first naval battle in the Hundred Years’ War   

Bloody Hell: Though the English ship Christopher had three cannons and a handgun, they English were outmanned by the French and the English squadron commander surrendered at the end of the day.

FunFact: The Hundred Years’ War would actually last 1337-1453 and while a complete recap is beyond the scope of this column, it began when Charles IV of France died in 1328 and his closest male relative was his brother-in-law, England’s Edward III who saw no reason why he shouldn’t possess the French throne as well. The French had other ideas and for nine years a cousin of Charles ruled but then he had the nerve to interfere with England’s war with Scotland.

Dry, Technical Matter: History refers to this war as the Second War of Scottish Independence because England was really intent on Scotland being independent.

Oh Yeah: The Hundred Years’ War actually lasted 116 years and resulted in a French victory.

We Don’t Know What The Future Holds, But We Know Who Holds The Future: Harvard College, the oldest college in the United States, holds its first graduation ceremony on this date in 1642, even though it first held classes in 1636.

Nine graduates, then called ‘commencers’, were foisted on the real world, with three immediately fleeing to Europe.

FunFact: The tradition of issuing a diploma didn’t start until 1813 and class rank was determined by the social status of your parents.

More Great Moments In British Warfare: British spy Major John Andre is arrested by three American soldiers near Tarrytown, New York on this date in 1780. Andre was returning to British lines after meeting with Benedict Arnold, who was planning to flee to the British.

At about 9am Andre was met by three American soldiers. Based on how they were dressed Andre thought he was addressing British soldiers, so he told them he was a British officer but when the soldiers said they were Americans Andre changed his tune and said he was actually an American, too.

Two of the American soldiers were illiterate but they weren’t complete idiots and arrested Andre, who had papers from Benedict Arnold detailing how to take West Point in his sock.

Hilariously, he was almost to Benedict Arnold for further questioning, but he ended up in front of a board convened by General George Washington and Andre was executed on October 2.

Quotebook: If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end certainties. – Francis Bacon

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Mariano Rivera started ten games in his major league career, all in his rookie season of 1995. He had a record of 3-2 in those games.

Today’s Stumper: Who were the English and French monarchs when the Hundred Year’s War ended in 1453. – Answer next time!

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September 20, 2017

The Week 4 NFL Bottom Ten is up and there is a new #1!

It’s rare when last week’s top team loses and does not retain the top spot, but that’s what happened to Indianapolis, as Cincinnati – still the worst franchise to never win The Dan Henning Trophy, symbolic of NFL Bottom Ten supremacy – takes over at #1.

Click here or scroll down to read The Bottom Ten.

The Daily Dose and The Thought for the Day will return.

Thanks for reading,

Gaylon

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The Bottom Ten/NFL Week 4

The Bottom Ten/NFL Week 4
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

Lead, follow or get out of the Cincinnati Bengals way.

If there’s one thing Bottom Ten fan(s) have learned over the years, it’s never count out the Cincinnati Bengals. Even with some recent winning seasons, veteran Bottom Ten watchers know the Bengals are never too far away from contending for The Dan Henning Trophy, symbolic of NFL Bottom Ten supremacy.

And while Cincinnati glories in its return to the medal stand, Bottom Ten fan(s) everywhere are eagerly anticipating the first Bottom Ten showdown game of 2017, as Cleveland invades Indianapolis this Sunday.

This week’s mess, as the nags pass the grandstand for the first time:

1. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2; lost to Houston 13-9) – Bengals appear ready to shed Worst Team Never To Win B-10 Title tag with first 0-2 start since 2008…Offense showing the way with zero (0) touchdowns and nine (9) points in two (2) home losses…Next Loss: at Green Bay

2. Indianapolis Colts (0-2; lost to Arizona 16-13) – Colts fan(s) filing official protest, as last week’s #1 team dutifully loses yet drops to runner-up spot…Fan(s) also pointing out they are missing starting quarterback, but QB spot not responsible for already giving up 62 points in 2017..Next Loss: Cleveland

3. Cleveland Browns (0-2; lost to Baltimore 24-10) – Defending B-10 champions off another 0-2 start…Browns using tried and true formula in quest for B-10 glory, refusing to rush for 100 yards and turning ball over five (5) times…Next Loss: at Indianapolis

4. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2; lost to Miami 19-17) – Almost a sellout in town that neither wants nor needs them, almost a win and almost a B-10 medal stand berth…Chargers have NFL-best seven (7) game losing skid and are showing type of mettle that generally leads straight to B-10 glory, losing 13 of 14 games decided by seven (7) points or less…Next Loss: Kansas City

5. Houston at CincinnatiFirst 2017 Game of the Year nominee with teams showing mastery of fundamentals with 16 penalties and 16 punts…B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” this is first 1:1 Penatly/Punt ratio in “like, dude, a really long time”.

6. AFC South (3-5) – One of three divisions with teams lacking winning records, AFC South earns prestigious, weekly Pete Rozelle Award, issued NFL’s worst division by virtue of, well, being the AFC South.

7. Chicago Bears (0-2; lost to Tampa Bay 29-7) – Bears earning quiet respect for consistency around league with their third straight 0-2 start…Offense sets strong early tone with two (2) interceptions, fumble on first three (3) possessions…Bears have lost NFL-best seven (7) straight…Next Loss: Pittsburgh

8. San Francisco 49ers (0-2; lost to Seattle 12-9) – 49ers have yet to score touchdown in 2017, already losing games by an average score 17.5-to-6…With both 2016 wins coming against Rams, Niners eager to strut B-10 stuff in front of prime time audience Thursday…Next Loss: Los Angeles Rams

9. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0; lost to ) – Jaguars recover from opening week win with clutch home loss to always tough Titans…Jaguars owner Ghengis Khan subjects coaching staff to beating for not achieving goal of being on B-10 medal stand Islamic New Year..Next Loss: Baltimore

10. Thursday Night Football Forget the fact players don’t like playing on Thursday, that they aren’t physically ready and they would rather be home, Thursday games usually aren’t any good…Already bored by last week’s Texans/Bengals clash, nation standing by to be mesmerized by this week’s Rams/49ers instant classic.

Game of the Week: Cleveland at Indianapolis
This Is Don Criqui Reporting: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco

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