Quotes of the day: Peter Yarrow

Published Saturday, May 30, 2015 @ 8:32 AM EDT
May 30 2015

Peter Yarrow (b. May 31, 1938) is an American singer who found fame with the 1960s folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Yarrow co-wrote (with Leonard Lipton) one of the group's greatest hits, "Puff, the Magic Dragon". He is also a political activist and has lent his support to causes that range from opposition to the Vietnam War to the creation of Operation Respect, an organization that promotes tolerance and civility in schools. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


I can't help but react to the painful realities of the two-tiered society we live in, where the signs of poverty and inequity are everywhere. Almost twenty five percent of our children live at or below the poverty line. We expect the no-option life cycle of the poor to be interrupted by the weak social safety net and then wonder why building more jails doesn't solve the problems.

Most of my work for the past 25 years has been devoted to organizing demonstrations, benefits and campaigns, many of which have had the effect of bringing a policy debate to public focus or moving a political agenda forward. It's become a cliché to say 'think globally and act locally,' but it works.

People can overcome their differences, and when united, move toward a world of greater fairness and justice. As in folk music, each person has a unique role to play.

People may say 'What can I do? I'm only one person.' But we've proven that when we come together demonstrate, and speak our piece, there is no way the power structure can avoid being attentive.

Puff (The Magic Dragon) became metaphorical for a certain spirit because of its proximity to the era or idealism and hope in the '60s. If it had been written in a time of cynicism and selfishness such as this one, perhaps 'Puff' might not have resonated in the same way, save for those who were bemoaning the loss of innocence of their own time.

Such honesty comes with a price, but when you get past the hurt and shock of realizing that you're faulted and frequently wrong, you also realize that you are really loved and respected for who you are, and you become a better person.

Such times of crisis have inevitably brought 'music of conscience' to the fore and I expect we will be hearing more and more of it in the immediate future. When people feel empowered to come together and raise their voices, also will mean raising their voices in song as well.

The ethic behind songs of conscience doesn't change, even though the issues are altered from generation to generation.

The songs we sing invite the participation of the listener, who is central to finding a way of creating the life of the song at that listening. It's the difference between poetry and didactic writing. One tells you, 'This is it,' and the other says, 'Let's find this together.'

The songs worked as a different kind of rhetoric, one that could reach the fence-sitters.

The Village in the early 1960s was a crucible of creativity. Involvement in music was a matter of joyous discovery, not business. We knew that folk music was having an enormous impact in the Village, but was a couple of years away from being embraced on a national scale.

We're part of a long train ride.

We've lived through a time in which people have felt they could forge their own future and make a better world. We may not have achieved our dreams in the time frame that we once believed was realistic, but the magnitude of what is yet to be achieved only confirms the importance of our commitment. Knowing this, we can't stop now.

When people sing together, community is created. Together we rejoice, we celebrate, we mourn and we comfort each other. Through music, we reach each others hearts and souls. Music allows us to find a connection.


(May 31 is also the birthday of Fred Allen, Norman Vincent Peale, and Walt Whitman.)

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Quotes of the day: Hal Clement

Published Friday, May 29, 2015 @ 10:24 AM EDT
May 29 2015

Harry Clement Stubbs (May 30, 1922 – October 29, 2003) better known by the pen name Hal Clement, was an American science fiction writer and a leader of the hard science fiction subgenre. He also painted astronomically oriented artworks under the name George Richard. In 1998 Clement was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and named the 17th SFWA Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


As a trader, he naturally enjoyed being taken as a fool. It was usually profitable.

Human beings are prone to believe the things they wish were true.

I guess I've been wrong all my life, but so have billions of other people... Certainty is just an emotion.

Maybe we've been taking nova precautions for a red dwarf.

No one likes to be watched constantly by someone he can't see.

Some things are to hard to believe, however entertaining they might be to hear or read.

Speculation is perfectly all right, but if you stay there you've only founded a superstition. If you test it, you've started a science.

Walking is essentially coordinated falling forward.

What's the use of a high school education if you can't recall it when needed later on?

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Quotes of the day: Patrick Henry

Published Thursday, May 28, 2015 @ 11:51 AM EDT
May 28 2015

Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was an American attorney, planter and politician who became known as an orator during the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel.

Honor is a gift a man must give to himself.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past.

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty?

Suspicion is a virtue as long as its object is the public good, and as long as it stays within proper bounds.

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.

The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers and New Englanders are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American.

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.

United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.


(May 29 is also the birthday of G.K. Chesterton, John F. Kennedy, and T.H. White.)

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Quotes of the day: Baseball

Published Wednesday, May 27, 2015 @ 2:11 PM EDT
May 27 2015

Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand.
-Leo Durocher

Baseball is the only major sport that appears backward in a mirror.
-George Carlin

Baseball is very big with my people. It figures. It's the only time we can get to shake a bat at a white man without starting a riot.
-Dick Gregory

Baseball is what we were, and football is what we have become.
-Mary McGrory

Baseball players are smarter than football players. How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?
-Jim Bouton

Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are crated equal.
-George F. Will

Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in.
-Casey Stengel

Cricket is baseball on Valium.
-Robin Williams

Hollywood is like baseball: Hit three good ones out of ten and you're a Hall of Famer.
-Denis Leary

I am convinced that God wanted me to be a baseball player. I was born to play baseball.
-Roberto Clemente

I think there are only three things America will be known for 2,000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music, and baseball.
-Gerald Early

I'd be willing to bet you, if I was a betting man, that I have never bet on baseball.
-Pete Rose

If baseball were any slower, it'd be farming.
-Roger Rittenhouse

If it weren't for baseball, many kids wouldn't know what a millionaire looked like.
-Phyllis Diller

In the final analysis, opera is a poor substitute for baseball.

Let there be joy in baseball again, like in the days when Babe Ruth chased an enemy sportswriter down the streets of Boston and ended up getting drunk with him on the waterfront and came back the next day munching on hotdogs and boomed home runs to the glory of God.
-Jack Kerouac

Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.
-Yogi Berra

Monday, n. In Christian countries, the day after the baseball game.
-Ambrose Bierce

Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian.
-George Jean Nathan

Saying that men talk about baseball in order to avoid talking about their feelings is the same as saying that women talk about their feelings in order to avoid talking about baseball.
-Deborah Tannen

Studio executives are intelligent, brutally overworked men and women who share one thing in common with baseball managers: They wake up every morning of the world with the knowledge that sooner or later they're going to get fired.
-William Goldman

The difference between politics and baseball is that in baseball, when you get caught stealing, you're out.
-Ron Dentinger

The French don't have a baseball team. And if they did, there'd only be a left field, and no one would be safe.
-Robin Williams

The highlight of my baseball career came in Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium when I saw a fan fall out of the upper deck. When he got up and walked away, the crowd booed.
-Bob Uecker

The Maker of the universe with stars a hundred thousand light-years apart was interested, furious, and very personal about it if a small boy played baseball on Sunday afternoon.
-Sinclair Lewis

Things could be worse. Suppose your errors were counted and published every day, like those of a baseball player.

Three strikes, you're out. I don't care if you hire Edward Bennett Williams to defend you; three strikes, you're still out. Baseball is an island of stability in an unstable world.
-Bill Veeck

Watching baseball under the lights is like observing dogs indoors, at a pedigree show. In both instances, the environment is too controlled to suit the species.
-Melvin Maddocks

You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. (In the book "Ball Four")
-Jim Bouton


(May 28 is also the birthday of Ian Fleming. )

Categories: Baseball; Quotes of the day; Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: Dashiell Hammett

Published Tuesday, May 26, 2015 @ 7:58 PM EDT
May 26 2015

Samuel Dashiell Hammett (May 27, 1894 – January 10, 1961) was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories, a screenplay writer, and political activist. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A lot of fancier yarns come from people trying to tell the truth. It's not easy once you're out of the habit.

All successful bunko men come in time to believe the world, except for themselves, is populated with a race of human sheep who may be trusted to conduct themselves with true sheeplike docility.

But where knowledge of trickery is evenly distributed, honesty not infrequently prevails.

Did it ever occur to you that everybody is more or less afraid of nearly everything, and that courage isn't a damn thing but a habit of not dodging things because you're afraid of them?

Emotions are useless during business hours.

Feed the lettuce to the bunny and eat the bunny.

I don't like eloquence. If it isn't effective enough to pierce your hide, it's tiresome, and if it is effective enough, it muddles your thoughts.

I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble.

I have not killed anyone. They will not let me.

I haven't any sort of plans for the future but I reckon things will work out in some manner.

I once knew a man who stole a Ferris Wheel...

If a man says a thing often enough, he is very likely to acquire some sort of faith in it sooner or later.

If you have a story that seems worth telling, and you think you can tell it worthily, then the thing for you to do is to tell it, regardless of whether it has to do with sex, sailors or mounted policemen.

It is the beginning of the end when you discover you have style.

It's awfully easy to be in love in jail.

It's sometimes better to pretend I don't hear the sound of somebody in the nearby woods with a shotgun.

My way of learning is to heave a wild and unpredictable monkey-wrench into the machinery.

People always say things like, Oh, well, he was suffering so much that he was better off dying. But that's not true. You're always better off living.

She keeps trying and you've got to be careful or you'll find yourself believing her, not because she seems to be telling the truth, but simply because you're tired of disbelieving her.

Strictly speaking, there are no real substitutes for sexual satisfaction.

The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.

The people who lie the most are nearly always the clumsiest at it, and they're easier to fool with lies than most people, too. You'd think they'd be on the look-out for lies, but they seem to be the very ones that will believe almost anything at all.

The problem with putting two and two together is that sometimes you get four, and sometimes you get twenty-two.

What disturbed him was the discovery that in sensibly ordering his affairs he had got out of step, and not into step, with Life.

You got to look on the bright side, even if there ain't one.


(May 27 is also the birthday of Isadora Duncan and Rachel Carson.)

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Quotes of the day: John Wayne

Published Monday, May 25, 2015 @ 3:45 PM EDT
May 25 2015

Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director, and producer. An Academy Award-winner, Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades. An enduring American icon, he epitomized rugged masculinity and is famous for his demeanor, including his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A goal, a love and a dream give you total control over your body and your life.

A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him.

A man's got to do what a man's got to do.

All battles are fought by scared men who'd rather be some place else.

Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.

I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.

I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.

I'd like to know why well-educated idiots keep apologizing for lazy and complaining people who think the world owes them a living.

I've always followed my father's advice: he told me, first to always keep my word and, second, to never insult anybody unintentionally. If I insult you, you can be goddamn sure I intend to. And, third, he told me not to go around looking for trouble.

If you've got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.

It's getting to be ri-goddamn-diculous.

Life's hard. It's even harder when you're stupid.

My hope and prayer is that everyone know and love our country for what she really is and what she stands for.

Never apologize, mister, it's a sign of weakness.

Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much.

Thanking people is dangerous business. A name always slips your mind.

The hyphenated American is ridiculous. But that's what we have to put up with. I think that any person that's in the United States is better off here than they would be where they came from.

Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.

Well, f*ck you too, little lady.
(In response to a student heckler)

You're short on ears and long on mouth.

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Quotes of the day: Summer

Published Sunday, May 24, 2015 @ 10:13 PM EDT
May 24 2015

A man says a lot of things in summer he doesn't mean in winter.
-Patricia Briggs

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.
-Russell Baker

Every man makes his own summer. The season has no character of its own, unless one is a farmer with a professional concern for the weather.
-Robertson Davies

How ungenerously in later life we disclaim the virtuous moods of our youth, living in retrospect long, summer days of unreflecting dissipation.
-Evelyn Waugh

I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days- three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.
-John Keats

I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.
-Edna St. Vincent Millay

I was thinking that we all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school.
-Peter De Vries

In the depth of winter I finally realized that there was in me an invincible summer.
-Albert Camus

Many a person has been saved from summer alcoholism, not to mention hypertoxicity, by Dostoyevsky.
-Roy Blount, Jr.

Memory can glean, but never renew. It brings us joys faint as is the perfume of flowers, faded and dried, of the summer that is gone.
-Henry Ward Beecher

One swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.

People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, all life for happiness.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
-John Lubbock

Sound loves to revel in a summer night.
-Edgar Allan Poe

Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.
-George R.R. Martin

The climate is just like it always was. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter and brainless in Washington.
-Steve Goddard

The quarrels of lovers are like summer showers that leave the country more verdant and beautiful.
-Susanne Necker


(May 25 is also the birthday of Bennett Cerf and Ralph Waldo Emerson.)

Categories: Quotes of the day; Quotes on a topic; Summer

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Quotes of the day: Harry Emerson Fosdick

Published Saturday, May 23, 2015 @ 3:15 PM EDT
May 23 2015

Harry Emerson Fosdick (May 24, 1878 – October 5, 1969) was an American pastor. Fosdick became a central figure in the "Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy" within American Protestantism in the 1920s and 1930s and was one of the most prominent liberal ministers of the early 20th Century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All Fundamentalists are conservatives, but not all conservatives are Fundamentalists. The best conservatives can often give lessons to the liberals in true liberality of spirit, but the Fundamentalist program is essentially illiberal and intolerant.

At very best, a person wrapped up in himself makes a small package.

But real Christians do not carry their religion, their religion carries them. It is not weight, it is wings.

Christians are supposed not merely to endure change, nor even to profit by it, but to cause it.

Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.

Don't simply retire from something; have something to retire to.

God is not a cosmic bell-boy for whom we can press a button to get things done.

Hating people is like burning down your own home to get rid of a rat.

He who cannot rest, cannot work; he who cannot let go, cannot hold on; he who cannot find footing, cannot go forward.

He who chooses the beginning of a road chooses the place it leads to. It is the means that determine the end.

He who knows no hardships will know no hardihood. He who faces no calamity will need no courage.

Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind's eye and you will be drawn toward it. Picture yourself vividly as defeated and that alone will make victory impossible. Picture yourself vividly as winning, and that alone will contribute immeasurably to success. Do not picture yourself as anything and you will drift like a derelict.

I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.

Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.

Life consists not simply in what heredity and environment do to us but in what we make out of what they do to us.

Life is like a library owned by the author. In it are a few books which he wrote himself, but most of them were written for him.

Mysterious though it is, the characteristics in human nature which we love best grow in a soil with a strong mixture of troubles.

No existent theology can be a final formulation of spiritual truth.

One of the widest gaps in human experience is the gap between what we say we want to be and our willingness to discipline ourselves to get there.

Peace is an awareness of reserves from beyond ourselves, so that our power is not so much in us as through us.

Real Christians do not carry their religion, their religion carries them. It is not weight, it is wings.

Self-pity gets you nowhere.

The best conservatives can often give lessons to the liberals in true liberality of spirit, but the Fundamentalist program is essentially illiberal and intolerant.

The stars are not so strange as the mind that studies them, analyzes their light, and measures their distances.

Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.

Whatever the situation and however disheartening it may be, it is a great hour when a man ceases adopting difficulties as an excuse for despondency and tackles himself as the real problem. No mood need be his master.


(May 24 is also the birthday of Bob Dylan.)

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Quotes of the day: Mitch Albom

Published Friday, May 22, 2015 @ 4:18 PM EDT
May 22 2015

Mitchell David "Mitch" Albom (b. May 23, 1958) is an American best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, dramatist, radio and television broadcaster, and musician. His books have sold over 35 million copies worldwide. Having achieved national recognition for sports writing in the earlier part of his career, he is perhaps best known for the inspirational stories and themes that weave through his books, plays and films. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Accept who you are; and revel in it.

All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time.

All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.

Behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begin.

Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time.

Death ends a life, not a relationship.

Don't cling to things because everything is impermanent.

Don't let go too soon, but don't hold on too long.

Each affects the other, and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.

Every family is a ghost story. The dead sit at our tables long after they have gone.

Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.

Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.

Holding anger is a poison... It eats you from inside...

Life is a series of pulls back and forth... A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. Most of us live somewhere in the middle.

Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that's all. You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.

Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.

One day spent with someone you love can change everything.

Parents, if they love you, will hold you up safely, above their swirling waters, and sometimes that means you'll never know what they endured, and you may treat them unkindly, in a way you otherwise wouldn't.

Sacrifice is a part of life. It's supposed to be. It's not something to regret. It's something to aspire to.

So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half- asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things.

Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else.

The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone.

The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

There are no random acts... We are all connected... You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind...

We think that by hating someone we hurt them... But hatred is a curved blade... and the harm we do to others... we also do to ourselves.

When someone is in your heart, they're never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times.

You have peace... when you make it with yourself.


(May 23 is also the birthday of Margaret Fuller.)

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Quotes of the day: Arthur Conan Doyle

Published Thursday, May 21, 2015 @ 10:06 PM EDT
May 21 2015

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KStJ, DL (May 22, 1859 – July 7, 1930) was a Scottish writer and physician, most noted for his fictional stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. He is also known for writing the fictional adventures of a second character he invented, Professor Challenger, and for popularising the mystery of the Mary Celeste. He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.

Any truth is better than indefinite doubt.

Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.

Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him.

For strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination.

From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other.

I have frequently gained my first real insight into the character of parents by studying their children.

I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner.

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.

My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation.

Of all ghosts the ghosts of our old loves are the worst.

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

Some facts should be suppressed, or, at least, a just sense of proportion should be observed in treating them.

The most difficult crime to track is the one which is purposeless.

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.

We can't command our love, but we can our actions.

Where there is no imagination there is no horror.

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