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Quick Hit Friday . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, February 29, 2008 24 comments

"Thanks for coming, please stay for the end credits, if you're wondering who the best boy is, it's somebody's nephew, um, don't forget to validate your parking, and to all you good people in the Midwest, sorry we said fuck so much." - Val Kilmer, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"


Fuck is a good word to use judiciously, although rarely if ever, at work. I don't plan to use it at all today, and instead, will focus on wrapping things up for the week and leaving early. Why not? But before that happens, let's examine the tough stories this week like:

Angelina Jolie has yet to confirm reports she is pregnant, however, you'd be a fool to think otherwise after the actress displayed her growing belly in a black dress at the recent Screen Actor's Guild Awards show.

The couple's spokeswoman, Cindy Guagenti, offers a firm "no comment" on the rumors.


On the other hand, Brad Pitt was heard exclaiming that "you're damn right I impregnated Jolie and I will do it again and again and again. Wouldn't you?" I tend to agree.

Sean Penn, who recently split from wife Robin Wright-Penn, stayed very close to model Petra Nemcova at Elton John's AIDS Foundation screening party during Oscar weekend. The model told People.com that she met Penn through altruism.

"Yes, we are friends," Petra said. "He is on the advisory board of my charity."


Penn is one lucky dog to make it through the screening process for the Board because my application - which included a full-frontal shot tastefully set against the backdrop of a bearskin rug - was soundly rejected.

Speaking of marriage issues, Valerie Bertinelli says despite her girl-next-door image, her marriage to Eddie Van Halen was hurt by infidelity and drug use — by her, too.

"I wasn't an angel, either. I cheated, too," Bertinelli said on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" broadcast Monday. "He claims to this day that I cheated first, but I don't know. I don't know about the timing."


Bertinelli may have cheated first, but I'd wager serious money that Eddie Van Halen cheated much better considering his status as a rock star guitar god.

Expectant mother Jamie Lynn Spears has passed her GED and is looking forward to college, reported People.com this week. The younger Spears, 16, is said to have taken her high school equivalency exam about a month ago -- scoring well on reading comprehension.


Her next mission will be to teach Britney how to read, a service which Britney will pay back to Jamie Lynn by giving her parenting lessons. It's a vicious cycle.

Naomi Campbell was hospitalized in Sao Paulo this week and is being treated by one of Brazil's top specialists in infectious disease, the hospital's press office said Tuesday.

"Naomi Campbell was admitted to hospital ... to have a small cyst removed," her publicist, Jeff Raymond, said in a statement. "Following the successful procedure, she is now resting and is looking forward to getting back to work. She would like to thank the doctors who have kindly looked after her."


Calls to Campbell's room to wish her a speedy recovery could not be connected because staffers took out her phone due to the model's long history of throwing them at people who work for/on her.

Pop star Michael Jackson could lose his Neverland ranch if he fails to pay nearly $25million that he owes on the sprawling California property. The Ranch is scheduled to go to auction on March 19th if this amount is not paid, a Santa Barbara official told the BBC.

The reclusive singer has not lived at the property since his acquittal on child molestation charges in 2005.


In a brochure for the foreclosure sale, the house is described as "sprawling, yet discreet with lots of room for children to run and run and run" - if they're lucky.

But let's not end with any nasty business today, and instead, we'll go with this:


Here's a nod to those readers requesting a guy to crop up in these parting shots, so here is an olive branch extended as well as a display of art that I can certainly get behind (pun intended).

With that in mind, remember that art is very much subjective, the human form should be religiously studied and . . . Happy Friday!

-BDS

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Bathing With The Drunken Viking . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, February 27, 2008 21 comments

{This is the seventeenth in a recurring series that will only happen when I have consumed far too many spirits with my brother. Last night, more than a few bottles of Red Stripe were consumed which triggered strange thoughts, candid insights and pure horseshit. Selah.}



* The only certainty in driving is that you'll make every green light when you're in no particular hurry, and miss them all when you're late for a movie.


* Nobody else on Earth tans quite as well as rich girls.


* Dogs only fart about 1 time for every 27 instances that they are blamed for by their owners.

* Riding a mechanical bull is always better in theory than in reality

* Nobody in America has a girlfriend in the Niagara Falls area, and don't believe any stories that tell you otherwise.


* Never trim your pubic hair while drunk

* No man looks anything other than ridiculous in a Bolo Tie.


* Sex on the Beach - neither the drink nor the act - works out particularly well

* Pussyfoot is a phenomenal word that is far underutilized these days

* I think a man ought to get drunk at least twice a year just on principle, so he won't let himself get snotty about it. ~Raymond Chandler

-BDS

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The Air Up There . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Tuesday, February 26, 2008 17 comments

"Finally, Big Ern is above the law," - Bill Murray, "Kingpin"


While it's impossible to move entirely beyond the laws of the land, in some cases, you can elevate yourself through money, power or title to an elevated position which offers you a glimpse of the edge.

I was reminded of this theory when I recently saw a picture of Prince Charles at the English premiere of "The Other Boleyn Girl," a forthcoming film starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.


This blatant breast-staring session comes on the heels of last year's shot concerning the military:


Obviously, the Prince feels no shame in hiding his breast infatuation, and his title seems to allow him this viewing pleasure on a regular basis with no repercussions. It must be a fine feeling to know that you can meet and greet women, and if you so choose, to eye them like pieces of ripe pastrami.

Prince Charles certainly has come to terms with his elevated position, a place in the world where the air is thin and there aren't many people around to reign you in from your vices. I wish I was there too.

-BDS

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Red Carpet Blues . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, February 25, 2008 16 comments

Per usual, I watched most of the Oscars last night while alternately reading magazines, drinking wine, working on my taxes, using the bathroom during nearly all the sleep-inducing montages and power-napping through the categories I knew nothing about.



I generally enjoy the Oscars despite the fact that they are always far too long, a marathon that might be a reasonable length if they cut merely half of the montages as well as the musical numbers. Regardless, the whole affair appears permanently coated with money, glitter, expensive fabrics, spray tans, and skin - a powerful combination that I can embrace from afar during viewing parties.


The main problem I have with the entire event is the pre-show Red Carpet interviews. I loathe this portion, which typically airs as people are arriving at my loft and not yet drunk enough to laugh off the buffoonery. I don't mind watching people arrive, however, it's the interview charade that makes my skin crawl.

This is mainly a selfish view because I cannot stand watching some nitwit from E! asking celebrities questions which are often awkward, uninformed and vaguely insulting for 3 minutes at a stretch. The actor/actress in question attempts to look happy to be talking to anyone with a microphone without displaying utter contempt for being asked to perform like a circus animal.

At best, the exchange is innocuous, but usually, it is painful for everyone involved. I hate this nonsense with a passion, but my objections are nearly always overruled. The only decent thing that happened this year was when a crazed Gary Busey damn near assaulted Jennifer Garner while she talked to Ryan Seacrest.


You can always count on Busey for some serious amount of crazy as the man proves time and again just what an amateur lunatic Britney Spears can be. But watching Busey burst onto the scene couldn't justify watching the rest of interviews for me.

I think the only way to go next year is to watch the pre-show on Mute because I get enough meaningless banter at work to last me a lifetime.

-BDS

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Quick Hit Friday . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, February 22, 2008 27 comments

"You still hungry? Then feast on that," - Mark Wahlberg, "Boogie Nights"


I watched this movie again earlier this week, and it's pretty damn hilarious even when things get dark during the 80s. But let's ignore the dark side of human nature today as the weather is great in Austin, I feel strong enough to push through my workload, however, I can't even begin until the major stories of the week have been addressed like:

Heidi Klum jumped on the Help Britney Spears bandwagon this week as the 34-year-old model says she'd be willing to open her home to Spears while the troubled pop singer puts her life back together.

"She can call me and come live in our house with us for a couple of months," said Klum. "I would help set her straight."



Unfortunately, Klum's invitation does not extend to non-celebrities based out of the Austin-area as my calls for help have gone unanswered by the Victoria's Secret model.

KISS star Gene Simmons is angry after a video allegedly showing him having sex with a model was posted on the Internet.

The rocker, who has been dating long-term partner Shannon Tweed for over 20 years, is alleged to have made the tape while carrying out promotional duties as a spokesman for Frank's Energy Drink.


The winner is all of this is obviously Frank's Energy Drinks because I doubt Simmons would have had the stamina he displays without aid from the beverage in question.

Pictures of Lindsay Lohan playing Marilyn Monroe between the sheets – literally – were released in the new spring fashion issue of New York magazine this week. Recreating Monroe's legendary 1962 final photo shoot for Bert Stern with the veteran lensman himself, Lohan said the nudity didn't bother her.

"I was comfortable with it," said Lohan, 21 – though Lindsay did admit to having done "250 crunches" the night before the shoot.



If Lohan is the best modern-day equivalent to Marilyn Monroe that we could find, then I think we should all be worried about the utter dilution of the planet's talent pool.

Kirstie Alley and Jenny Craig ended their weight loss relationship this week, but the one-time "Fat Actress" isn't giving up on the industry itself.

"After lengthy negotiations, regretfully the Jenny Craig Company and I did not come to an agreement to continue as their spokesperson," Alley said in a statement posted on People Magazine's Web site Tuesday.

Alley said she intends to develop her own weight-loss brand with plans to launch in 2009 "to create something new that will help millions of people end the seemingly never ending fatty-roller coaster ride."


In response, Jenny Craig called Alley "a large woman with no willpower, and we're better off without her," a stance that I felt was somewhat petty.

In other weight loss news, a company suing Jessica Simpson and her manager dad, Joe, over blocking the release of a fitness tape she made is saying, "they are hurting millions of fat people in America," the New York Post reported.

The "Dukes of Hazzard" star made the video in 2005, but despite signing a multimillion-dollar contract with Speedfit, she later nixed the release by not giving final approval, the Post reported.


The suit made no mention of the millions of people who's ears have been impacted by her over-the-top singing theatrics as they focused solely on the stomach region.

Celebrity bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman is set to return to television after his reality TV show was pulled from the air three months ago in a controversy over his use of a racial slur, cable channel A&E said on Tuesday.


The revamped series will focus on Chapman's ambassador role in upcoming meetings of the United Nations council.

Pink and motocross racer Carey Hart have separated after two years of marriage it was announced this week.

"This decision was made by best friends with a huge amount of love and respect for one another," Pink's representative, Michele Schweitzer, said Tuesday in a statement. "While the marriage is over, their friendship has never been stronger."


Hart's representative stated that the marriage is over because "ironically enough, Pink has a cold, Black heart."

But let's not end with divorce and decay as we'll focus on the positive with this image:


I love whipped cream and using the bathroom, but I rarely mix the two pleasures. This picture, however, makes me reconsider this stance, so get outside your comfort zone, don't be afraid to combine odd mixtures and . . . Happy Friday!

-BDS

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Business Cards & Bullshit . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, February 20, 2008 20 comments

I had to step away from Cyberspace yesterday to do one of my least favorite activities - entertain business clients.

The marathon session lasted from 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., and by the end, I simply wanted to flee the scene to avoid any more business small talk. I loathe small talk in general,and business small talk with a passion that borders on unhealthy anger, a stance which has gotten progressively worse as I've gotten older.

Time is too precious to discuss the humidity in Houston or the relative merits of rental cars or skiing in a town that I know I will never visit.

The funniest thing that happened all day occurred at the beginning of the session. There were ten people sitting inside our largest boardroom, and before anything could start, the business card exchanged HAD to happen.


This was semi-hilarious as everybody circled the room, reaching for wallets or suit pockets, trying to procure a business card to slap down on the table in front of every seat like some game of perverse dominoes.

I felt like I was in that film, "American Psycho," where Christian Bale is sweating at a business lunch because someone might trump his business card with one of theirs.


What are you supposed to do with business cards anyway? Collect them? They seem to exist solely to prove that you have a job and a title that you can pass onto someone else as a form of currency.

These days, most people use email for contact information anyway as nearly all businesspeople have an electronic version that travels far easier than the paper kind.

This charade took roughly 15 minutes before everyone had 5 brand spanking new business cards in front of their seat. It was all downhill from there, however, as there were presentations and small talk galore to fill the remaining hours.

Oh well, I obviously survived the ordeal, and now, I am back to my usual routine. The only difference is that I have the office administrative assistant coming by at 1 p.m. to discuss new business cards.

-BDS

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The Perfect Breakfast . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, February 18, 2008 20 comments

"Breakfast is the only meal of the day that I tend to view with the same kind of traditionalized reverence that most people associate with Lunch and Dinner. I like to eat breakfast alone, and almost never before noon; anybody with a terminally jangled lifestyle needs at least one psychic anchor every twenty-four hours, and mine is breakfast. In Hong Kong, Dallas or at home — and regardless of whether or not I have been to bed — breakfast is a personal ritual that can only be properly observed alone, and in a spirit of genuine excess.

The food factor should always be massive: four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crepes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned beef hash with diced chiles, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of Key lime pie, two margaritas, and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert….

Right, and there should also be two or three newspapers, all mail and messages, a telephone, a notebook for planning the next twenty-four hours and at least one source of good music…. All of which should be dealt with outside, in the warmth of a hot sun, and preferably stone naked." - Hunter S. Thompson



An absolute reverence for breakfast is one of the strongest shared perspectives I have with Dr. Thompson.

Luckily, the weather was perfect yesterday in Austin, and I was able to accomplish nearly the entire list sans cocaine, which I've never found to be a particularly enjoyable drug and especially not with breakfast.

It started around 10:30 a.m. on my rooftop deck. The sun was shining and there was little to no wind with a temperature near 70 degrees.


The menu consisted of: 3 egg omlette with onions & green peppers & salsa & cheese, 3 strips of turkey bacon, 2 sausage patties, hash browns, 2 pieces of toast, 1 small croissant with homemade strawberry jelly (via grandmother), 1 grapefruit, 1 slice of Banana Nut Cake, 1 dark chocolate rasberry square, 1 large pot of Kona coffee, 1 glass of orange juice, 1 glass of milk, a Sigg-bottle full of water, a small bottle of Baileys, and two newspapers - the Austin-American Statesman and the New York Times.


It was damn near ideal as I got to indulge in a long, quiet breakfast with an entire day ahead of me.

Now, I can only think back on the greatness as it's Monday morning, the weather is still holding firm, but I'm chewing on a protein bar and drinking weak coffee from the break room at work.

I should have called in sick.

-BDS

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Quick Hit Friday . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, February 15, 2008 18 comments

"Now he said, "Sic'em, Boy", but what I heard was, "Chopper, sic balls!" - Wil Wheaton, "Stand by Me"


Now that was a phenomenal coming-of-age movie, but today, I'm less concerned with adolescent shenanigans and more focused on adult worries like making money, staying away from injury and avoiding paternity suits. Then again, it's Friday, so all those concerns can fall by the wayside, and we'll focus on celebrity stories from the week such as:

Britney Spears is reportedly preparing to embark on a new world tour as the recently hospitalized pop star is planning to take her recent album, "Blackout," international, according to the New York Post.

"Britney will be leaving the country in the next few weeks, after training in privacy for a month. She is planning a global tour," a source close to the pop star told the Post.


The tour is tentatively being called "Increasing Crazy On A Global Scale."
Paris' little brother, Barron Hilton, 18, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving early Tuesday morning, although there are reports that he might also be charged with Reckless driving, Operating to endanger, and Vehicular assault.

The latter charges stems from an allegation that Barron struck a garage worker at a 76 Gas Station in Malibu after drunkenly pulling in. The worker, Fernando Pellez, was not seriously hurt, but he insisted on calling the cops.

"I was knocked to the ground," Pellez claims. "The Mercedes lost control as it was turning into the gas station and Barron got out of the car and he was totally drunk and couldn't walk straight."


After being released, Hilton released a statement saying he was "unsure whether he was more embarrassed about the arrest or simply being known as "Paris Hilton's brother" in the press."

A screenwriter has sued Mel Gibson and his production company, claiming he was misled by the actor-director into accepting a small payment for writing "The Passion of the Christ," and was refused extra money when the film became a blockbuster.

The screenwriter, Benedict Fitzgerald, also claims that Gibson promised him that he wouldn't receive any money from the film and any profit would be distributed to people who worked on it. Gibson stated he didn't want "money on the back of what he considered a personal gift to his (Roman Catholic) faith," the lawsuit said.


In a related story, the Lord Thy God has filed suit against Benedict Fitzgerald for plagiarism.

Rapper The Game was sentenced Monday to 60 days in jail after pleading no contest to felony possession of a firearm in a school zone. Two other counts were dismissed under a plea agreement, the district attorney's office said.

The 28-year-old entertainer was accused of pulling a gun on a player from an opposing team during a pickup game at a South Los Angeles school nearly a year ago.


In handing down the verdict, the presiding Judge reminded the Game that "it seems ironic that you would forget that basketball is just a Game, which is why I don't feel bad about sentencing you to jail time."

Dolly Parton's breasts appear to have caused the singer, 62, to postpone her upcoming North American tour after doctors told her to take it easy for six to eight weeks to rest her sore back.

"Hey, you try wagging these puppies around a while and see if you don't have back problems," said Parton.


The last time I tried wagging Parton's puppies around I was banned from Dollyland forever.

Billy Ray Cyrus says he and his daughter, "Hannah Montana" actress Miley Cyrus, simply forgot to buckle up for one of their scenes in their new hit movie, "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert." The gaffe was noticed and called out by Consumer Reports magazine.

"We got caught up in the moment of filming, and we made a mistake and forgot to buckle our seat belts," the country music star said Wednesday on People magazine's Web site. "Seat belt safety is extremely important."


While Cyrus repeatedly discussed feeling bad about the seat belt issue, he offered no apologies for "Achy Breaky Heart."

But let's not end with law-breaking, and instead, focus on the positive like this:


I often like to sit half-naked in a see-through chair to collect my thoughts for the day, which sometimes causes problems with my HR department at work.

So, pick your spots to undress today, think deeply on the state of the universe and . . . Happy Friday!

-BDS

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Corporate Etiquette 105 . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, February 13, 2008 13 comments

{The workplace is a jungle filled with jackals, wineheads and bosses with mouths like a crocodile. There are also decent people, but I'm starting to question the percentages. This is the fifth in a series of corporate encounters which offer no easy resolutions.}

I took the office elevator down two floors to my car yesterday after lunch.


Mainly, I was interested in stretching my legs and trying to shake the afternoon grogginess from my head, so taking an unnecessary trip to my car seemed reasonable. I made a quick phone call, shuffled through some dry cleaning receipts and then headed back inside the building to return to work.

I was feeling better until the elevator arrived - empty yet stinking of perfume and gas.

This murderous combination was brutal on the senses. Every breath brought an intense uptake of a sickly-sweet aroma of perfume commonly found in low-rent flophouses with an undercurrent of sulfur from the bowels of hell. Ugly. Who could have produced such a rank smell I wondered? Or was there more than one person involved in the production?

Questions.

Luckily, I only had two floors to ride in this noxious environment, however, when I stepped off the elevator, a Vice President from my company stood waiting to enter.

I wanted to warn him about the toxic environment. I also wanted to disavow my association from the offending odor with a "I swear that wasn't me" line, however, I thought that argument might have fully convicted me of a crime I didn't commit.

There was no good solution, so I gave the standard corporate head nod, walked away and never looked back.

-BDS

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Red Light Dimming . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Tuesday, February 12, 2008 13 comments

I've traveled to Amsterdam twice.

One time was with my parents, and the other time I barely remember. I enjoyed both trips for reasons such as: most people spoke English, the canals, the Van Gogh museum, legal dope, generally friendly people, good walking paths and of course, the Red Light District.




But now, Amsterdam's (in)famous Red Light District seems to be on the brink of retail extinction. A new plan to clean up the zip code would erase the peep shows, sex shops and prostitute-laden windows. They would be replaced by boutiques and upscale restaurants. Fashion and galleries would line the streets instead of the warm red glow of exposed vice.

The driving force behind the project is Lodewijk Asscher, a rising member of the Dutch Labour Party and deputy mayor of Amsterdam. Asscher has taken it upon himself to deliver his hometown from sleaze. He appears to have strong support as the Amsterdam City Council approved the new plan by an overwhelming 43-2 majority.

This news saddens me.

I've never stepped inside one of the Working Girl windows, however, I would much rather live in a world where the Red Light District existed than one where it was driven underground to make way for yet another boutique that wants to charge me $250 for a pair of jeans and $100 for a t-shirt.

There are too many of those places in the world already.

The Red Light District is an anomaly, a haven that allows desire to be bought and sold in the open instead of hiding it away to fester. I never felt any danger while walking through that part of town, and regulating the $100 million-a-year business struck me as a good idea for nearly everyone involved.

I'm sure Vincent Vega from 'Pulp Fiction' wouldn't have hung around Amsterdam for so long had the District been extinct. And while it won't make me cross Amsterdam off my places to visit again list, this impending change does lessen the appeal in a vague way.


{Editor's Note: This feeling has nothing to do with the fact that I did attend one of the live sex shows during my last trip - strictly for research.}

-BDS

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Thoughts on "In Bruges" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, February 11, 2008 14 comments

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Matinee or rental. February is generally a barren month for movies, and in that case, you could do far worse than paying to see "In Bruges" at the theater. However, the film would not lose much impact by waiting for it to hit DVD.

Will I Own It On DVD: No. I might watch it one more time if it came on cable, but that's not enough to justify purchasing it.


1) "In Bruges" is a dark comedy concerning two hitman (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) who are holed up in Bruges, Beligium after a botched job which results in the death of a young boy. In general, the hitman genre has been nearly throttled to death (pun intended) by now, but this film does manage to add a fresh enough take to warrant a look.

2) The film does feel rather "stagey," which makes sense because it was written and directed by Martin McDonagh, who I believe is a playwright by trade. "In Bruges" is one of those extremely self-contained movies where nearly every character introduced - no matter how big or small the role - winds up factoring in the plot later in the story. It's a credit to McDonagh that these interconnected renderings only occasionally seem too far-fetched to be believable.

3) Colin Farrell is the film's main star, and he gives a likable, if somewhat underwhelming, performance as a hitman riddled by guilt. His partner, Brendan Gleesan, works very well alongside Farrell and brings a quiet dignity to his role as the veteran gunman with a strong moral code.


4) There is a pretty damn funny scene involving Farrell, Gleeson, a dwarf, two hookers and a lot of cocaine. Then again, if you have those elements in play, it would be hard not to have an amusing story or two.


5) Despite some comic undertones, there is also a fair amount of death and a whole lot of blood during "In Bruges." In between the bloodshed, the city of Bruges itself does look like a nice destination for a quiet vacation. This is played for laughs in the film as various characters either love or loathe the town, however, it looked like a decent place to spend a relaxing weekend to me.

-BDS

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