Life Is A Beach

Two people  with cooler at Durand Eastman Beach
Two people with cooler at Durand Eastman Beach

The park was especially quiet today. Odd for Labor Day weekend but then the forecast was for rain later in the day. Only one of the picnic pavilions was occupied. 

We headed for the beach and found a holiday’s worth of vehicles parked along the lake. A woman’s arm was hanging out of the first car window. She had a long cigarette between her fingers and the second hand smoke was nice. I noticed quite a few people just sitting in their car looking out at the lake. A young guy in a t-shirt was starting a fire in one of the metal barbecues. He was using Briquettes, lighter fluid and one of those long, slim, gun-like lighters. His girlfriend was taking hits off a vaping device. A guy with beard got out of a car with Maryland plates, dropped his skateboard on the path, and took off with perfectly silent bearings.

We watched some kids playing in the water while their young mothers were eating sandwiches on the beach. There was more sand than we had seen all summer so we tried walking down the beach and we made it all the way to where the big private homes of Rochester’s Gold Coast start.

We passed a goth couple sitting at a picnic table. The woman had bright red hair and she was wearing a long black skirt. A group of Indians or Pakistanis were shaking sand out of their clothes. A guy who looked like a classic hippie was sitting on one of those tree trunks of driftwood. He was all alone, long hair and beard, shorts and no shirt. We passed a large woman in a bathing suit sitting alone in one of those really low beach chairs. She looked up from the book she was reading and said hello. A man in a wet suit was in the water, up to his waist with a metal detector and net in his hands. And at end of the public beach this couple sitting on either side of their cooler. He was drinking Genny from the can and she was sipping wine.

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Minor League Wonder Of The World

Chimney Bluffs, near Sodus Point 2019
Chimney Bluffs, near Sodus Point 2019

Chimney Bluffs, just beyond Sodus Point, is a one of the minor league wonders of the world. We hadn’t been here since a Personal Effects photo shoot back in the eighties. We met friends yesterday for a picnic and we walked the trail along the ridge where I took this photo.

I don’t now if my mother even subscribed to House & Garden. We certainly don’t subscribe but we’ve been getting it for the last couple of years. We had my parents mail redirected to our house at the end and we’ve been getting it ever since. The cover story promises to help you “Find Your Creative Spark.”

Our garden, for the past six or seven years, has been down at our neighbors’. They converted their old tennis court into a garden and it comes with a fence to keep the deer out. They get a lot more sun than we do too. The new born fawns found a way in through the gate so Jared spent the afternoon rebuilding it.

We came back with a bounty of lettuce, kale,  jalapeños, basil, tomatoes and cilantro. Tonight we watch “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.”

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One Big Loop

Small statue of VirginIn Mary at base of tree in Irondequoit Cemetery
Small statue of VirginIn Mary at base of tree in Irondequoit Cemetery

I updated the PopWars architecture months ago. My default template wasn’t mobile compliant and I was in the habit of posting small cropped versions of my photos, ones that would link to a larger version. After the update, my old posts looked awkward so I began chipping my way through them, going backwards in time, inserting the full sized photo into each post. I was determined to get through August 2009, ten years, and I made it last night. I read the entry from the last day of July 2009 and was struck by how familiar it seemed.

PopWars entry from last day of July, 2009

The gauzy reminiscing, the Catholic baggage, another opportunity to mention Buñuel. It is all there. Peggi just finished “My Last Sigh,” the autobiography of Luis Buñuel. She read parts aloud and we dove into another Buñuel movie binge. Just watched Exterminating Angel” and “Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” should be in our mailbox later today. Duane read the book as well and told us, “Buñuel may be a better writer than he is director.” “I’m still an atheist. Thank God.”

I’m realizing my life is like one big loop.

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Handle With Care

Hi-Tech's lyrics "Handle With Care" by Paul Dodd
Hi-Tech’s lyrics “Handle With Care” from 1980 by Paul Dodd

Peggi and I brought a beer down to the pool and put the umbrella up. I was reading my Chillida book and Peggi was reading “The Collector” by John Fowles. Time slipped away and the pool was entirely in shade. We swam and and were drying off when our neighbors came in with their two grandkids. The little girl asked if I wanted to see her do a cannonball and I said I did. She is so tiny it wasn’t much of a splash. I told her, “Us skinny people have to can openers to get good splash.” I toyed with demonstrating one for her but wasn’t sure I could still do one.

Her grandfather had just come back from chemo treatment. He had a small portion of his colon removed and they found some cancer in his lymph nodes. He was wearing a bag that distributes the chemo though a port that he had put in his chest a few weeks back. He is scheduled for twelve treatments, one every other week and he already has two down.

He goes to an office and they give him a few drugs through the port. Something to jack up the red cell production and anti-nausea drugs and there may be a steroid involved. I did not follow it all and Peggi was talking to his wife at the same time so I missed some of the details. None of it sounded good but he was in good spirits. He spends a little over two hours at the place and then comes home with the bag which continues to distribute the poison for two more days. As he talked I thought I could smell the stuff. When it is empty a visiting nurse comes out to pick up the bag. I was trying to imagine sleeping with the thing on. I’m back and forth from stomach to back all night long. He said if you knock it on the floor and the tube comes out you have to call them immediately because the chemical is too toxic to clean up yourself.

I turned to Peggi and she said, “Sue (his wife) has Lyme disease. She checks herself regularly and never saw a tick, just a red rash on her knee which spread. Her doctor looked at it and sent her home. At a friend’s house she started losing feeling in the right side of her face and then found that the rash had spread. She went to a dermatologist and he started her on antibiotics right away saying you don’t want to mess around with Lyme.. He did a Lyme biopsy and it came back positive.

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Nut Case

Julianna Furlong Williams Untitled Painting at Monroe Community College
Julianna Furlong Williams Untitled Painting at Monroe Community College

This luscious painting, by Julianna Furlong Williams, presented itself to us as we stepped off the elevator at MCC. We met with our financial advisor there while stocks were having their worst day of 2019 because of Trump’s escalating trade war. Our advisor teaches Economics here and he told us “If that nut case was in my Economics 101 class I would fail him.”

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Let’s Go To The Zoo

Zebra at the Seneca Park Zoo2019
Zebra at the Seneca Park Zoo2019

The road at the end of our street didn’t always dead-end at the berm. It used to continue right into the park where it became Zoo Road. The road is still there but the zoo is gone. They had fifty or so buffalo, elk, goats and deer who all roamed together in a big, fenced-in big valley, just south of where the Park’s service area is now. It closed in the early sixties but the deer are still here.

We get our car serviced at B&B on Saint Paul and usually walk home while they work on it. This time we walked up to Seneca Park and along the river. They used to have a big outdoor public pool here. My parents would bring the whole family, or what there was of it back then. We’d swim, picnic and visit the zoo. Rochester had two zoos!

We had not been to Seneca Park Zoo since they added the new Savannah section with the giraffes, rhinos, elephants, lion and tigers and these zebras. They tore down the big old brick building, the one that housed the lemurs, and moved them temporarily while they build a new tropical environment for them. Peggi was planning on shooting some lemur footage for her long-in-the-works video for “Love Never Thinks.”
Personal Effects – Love Never Thinks

The zoo seemed plenty busy. I was glad to see that. Mostly young kids and caregivers. The kids were really taken by the shaved rear ends of the baboons. They pointed to the piles of poop and got really excited when one of the baboons relieved himself. One of the males, visibly excited, tried mounting a female baoon right in front of where we were standing. A mom, just behind us, said, “Let’s get going kids,”

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Cruz Roja

Light pole, pavement, concrete, spray paint and shadow on Mount Hope Avenue
Light pole, pavement, concrete, spray paint and shadow on Mount Hope Avenue

Donating blood is not exactly painless. There is a mind-numbing series of questions to be filled out on a barely responsive portable tablet. And then there is the interview, blood pressure and pulse readings. They prick the tip of your finger to determine if you have enough iron in your blood. And there is a bit of a wait regardless of your appointment time. But the toughest part is all those eighties songs that you never wanted to hear again. “We Can Dance If We Want To.” Sally, who works fifty hours a week at the Prince Street collection facility, makes all this near painless. 

Pete Monacelli has talked many times about the letters between Thomas Merton and Ad Reinhardt. I had them open on my iPad while I sat in the big chair pumping my fist until the blood bag was full. There is a currently a critical shortage so stop by if you can.

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Open Big

Flooded boat launch at Sea Beezee, New York
Flooded boat launch at Sea Breeze, New York

My regular dentist is shy about telling me to open wider. He is so gentle it seems like he tip-toes into the room. I’ve never had a bad experience there and he has done some grisly work. In high school I went to his father in the very same building. I went out with the receptionist. His father introduced me to Novocain, a god send. 

Our childhood dentist, who worked out of the sixth floor of the Medical Arts building on Alexander, would just say, “Hold on.” And then he would grind away with his low speed drill. He would make a fist and act like it was my tooth. He’d say, “I went in here and it opened up and the cavity went this way.” He would take a break while I was in the chair and smoke a cigarette in the other room.

While I was going to school in Bloomington I went to a dentist on Kirkwood, a jovial older guy. His wife was the receptionist. I had a tooth pulled there. He gave me a sedative with instructions to take it twenty minutes before arriving for my appointment. I was on my bicycle and I barely made it there. I came to while he was struggling to extract my tooth. I remember helping him yank it out.

When I moved back to Rochester I started seeing Rocco Cupolo, a dentist my mom recommended. He remarried and had a second family so he worked a long time. Rocco’s, the Italian restaurant on Monroe Avenue is owned by his son and is named after him.

I had a root canal yesterday from a specialist. He worked furiously and continually asked me to “Open Big.” I was afraid to say anything to him for fear he would break one of those long skinny files off in my tooth. Other than asking his assistant for tools the only other thing he said was “What nice long roots you have.”

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The Eternal Light

Kenny Rogers Yard Sale
Kenny Rogers Yard Sale

Maybe it was the hot sun but this was a particularly strange yard sale. We were only here because we were walking right by it. I can’t figure out what the advantage of using those Perfect Push-Up handles would be. And ten dollars for the John F. Kennedy plate is crazy.

The “Kenny Rogers” photo, in a brown envelope previously used for “Paid Bills” was intriguing. I pulled it all the way out of the envelope. Kenny was photographed at the Rochester Airport wearing short white shorts. It was hard to tell whether the woman proprietor was suggesting you put it on eBay or whether she had researched the photo there and determined it was worth five dollars. The skinny old man figure at the bottom right was missing some fingers. The masking tape called our attention to them. But the missing fingers were taped to the base of the figurine.

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Morning Dove

Morning Dove on pool cover
Morning Dove on pool cover

We were down at the pool before the sun was up this morning, forced out of our house while Town & Country treated the perimeter for carpenter ants. It is supposed to be non-toxic, a synthetic concoction of chrysanthemum and oyster shells. He doesn’t even wear a mask. But that’s not saying much. We brought the papers, our devices and a pot of coffee down here while he did his thing.

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Perfect Dream

US Women's Nations team at Red Bull Stadium in May 2019. Rapino, Heath, Sonnet, Lavelle, Lloyd and Mewis
US Women’s National team at Red Bull Stadium in May 2019. Rapino, Heath, Sonnet, Lavelle, Lloyd and Mewis

Close-ups of the US soccer players were on the NY subway station walls when we were down there in May. Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh. FIFA printed giant posters that were displayed on each surface of a kiosk in Red Bull Stadium when we saw the team play their last friendly before France. We had already fallen in love with Rose Lavelle, watching her play portions of matches leading up to the World Cup. I walked all around the posters looking for Lavelle but there was none. But we were thrilled to see her start. In fact it was the same lineup that started today. Lavelle is now marketable.

Rapino came through big time with a perfectly struck ball in the sixty first minute. She has an amazing amount of confidence in high pressure situations. But nobody wants to win on penalty shots.

The US’s long ball approach to the first half took the play right by Rose Lavelle time and again. But with the ball at her feet in the second half she was able to work her magic. This was an absolutely perfect dream finish! Fox won’t let me embed the video but if you follow this link to YouTube you can see the five foot four inch Lavelle take on the Dutch side herself.

Thank god for Rose Lavelle!

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Roller Coaster

Dome inside St. Mary The Protectress Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Rochester, New York
Dome inside St. Mary The Protectress Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Rochester, New York

Wonder Windows was having their company picnic in the park this afternoon. Their trucks were lined up on Log Cabin Road. They were in the same shelter that we used to have the Earring Company picnic in. We stopped to look out at Durand Lake. Someone was out in the middle with a small boat. He had his pole in the water and it looked so idyllic and then BOOM! Someone set off a loud fireworks.

We plan to blow up our last package of Roller Coaster Firecrackers tomorrow in honor of Earl, the founder of the company. He is the one pictured on the right on their storefront in Nevada in this photo. He died in a car accident a few months ago and we told his brother we’d toast him with this ceremonial mini blast..

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iNaturalist

Fallen tree on Hoffman Road.
Fallen tree on Hoffman Road.

Our backpacks were full., a lot of can goods this time, mostly beans and peanut butter and jar of tahini so they were heavy too. But we soldiered on, down East Ridge to Aman’s, on the chance they had fresh strawberries. We spotted Bob, who runs the place, and he said he had just talked with the farmer, who told him “this is the first time in fifty years that he didn’t have strawberries by Father’s Day.” Bob added, “Too wet, too cold.”

To get out of our neighborhood and up to Wegmans we have to walk by a dog at the end of our street. There are many dogs on the street but this one does not like us. He comes at us barking loudly with his teeth showing. I had a dog take my hand in and it bit down so hard I couldn’t get my hand out without shredding my fingers so I’m a little gun shy. The dog has come at us five or six times now and if the owner see’s what happens she says she’s sorry.

Today we got by the dog without a hitch and we ran into a young woman who told us she was also terrorized by the dog. She showed us the scar on her leg from a dog that had come after her while she was walking a few years back. While we were talking a large branch fell across the road. It hit the power lines and a crackling bolt of electricity shot down the line that ran just above our heads. We continued on up to Wegmans and by the time we returned the power company was restoring our electricity.

I got up on the roof to blow off all the stuff that has fallen from the oak trees and the power went off again. A large Hickory tree fell across the road behind our house. I know its a Hickory because I took a photo of the a leaf cluster and used the iNaturalist app to identify it. The same power company crew and tree surgeons came down to address this problem. We asked for the firewood and they told us we had until Monday morning to pick up the wood.

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I Love Rose

USA team in warm-ups at Red Bull Stadium, the last match before the 2019 World Cup. Rose Laverre is shown with red USA tape on her hamstring.
USA team in warm-ups at Red Bull Stadium, the last match before the 2019 World Cup. Rose Laverre is shown with red USA tape on her hamstring.

Finally coming up for air after the World Cup’s twelve opening matches. Yes, we watched all twelve matches. We only manage by time shifting most of them. Our recording of the Sweden Chile game, which was 0-0 when thunder caused a delay, ran out before the game was resumed. Sweden should have run away with that one but the fact that they didn’t made it all the more exciting. Japan Argentina went scoreless in a thrilling match where technical expertise was stuffed by a brilliantly stubborn defense. 

Brazil, with almost the full squad returning, is the most colorful and one of our favorites, even with Saint Marta on the bench.. We are partial to Spain but realistic. France and Germany both look tough and Canada could get to the final four. The Italy Australia matchup has been the most fun to watch but the Cup is still in the early stages.

Even the lopsided US Thailand match was fun to watch. Especially because Rose Lavelle got two! We have the best team ever by a long shot but the whole world is getting better. 

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Big Picture

Mary Rouse artwork in Colleen Buzzard Studio
Mary Rouse artwork in Colleen Buzzard Studio

My cousin showed me the family tree data base that she is building on Ancestry.com. She did their DNA test, they confirmed she was 100 percent Irish and they have been providing hints as to further family connections. She found some real surprises, relatives she didn’t know we had. I don’t like the idea of having to subscribe to a service. There is completion, 23 and me for instance, but if I do Ancestry she can share all her work with me.

My father built a family tree the old fashioned way, by going to court houses, libraries and cemeteries, and his database is on a hard drive. I wish there was a way for all these databases to share information with each other but then that would be too much like Big Brother. I’m not looking for a new hobby but I would like to see the big picture.

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Helicopters And Tumbleweed

February 8th tree at the end our street
February 8th tree at the end our street

I positioned our sledge hammer in from of this stump so you could get some idea of the scale. This oak tree fell on Peggi’s birthday. It took down the power lines and trapped our whole neighborhood. The power company cleaned it up but there was three log lengths of good firewood still on the base so Peggi and I went down there with our chainsaw, the one we bought from John Gilmore when he retired. It has a sixteen inch blade and it wasn’t quite long enough to cut halfway through. We wrestled with this one for a few hours.

In our neighborhood it is all tumbleweed. We have a lot of oaks and they are dropping the male flowers called catkins. It gathers in big clumps. One block over it is all helicopters from the Maple trees.

We are addicted to walking and always looking for a destination. Today we took Peggi’s sax over to Carl’s place. He used to run the musical repair shop next the Little but works from home these days. We caught him just before his busy season, when high schools drop off horns that have taken a beating. Peggi’s sax needed a new cork, the lining between the brass horn and her mouthpiece. Carl did it while we waited.

We estimated he was an hour away but it was more like an hour and twenty minutes. And we were wrong about which route was quicker. We went down Center Entrance, through the park on Log Cabin and along the lake to Colebrook and then up Oakridge to Carl’s place. We guessed that was the quicker route but coming back by continuing on up Oakridge and then down Pinegrove to the end where we picked up what’s left of Edgerton Road, behind the sewage treatment plant and across the golf course to Hoffman Road was much quicker.

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A Bigger Desire

More town infrastructure work with orange cones on Hoffman Road
More town infrastructure work with orange cones on Hoffman Road

The horseshoe pits are just getting broken in. My neighbor and I have only played three times this year so the earth is still a little firm. We play best of three and I have not won a set yet. The stakes are higher this year. My neighbor suggested that the loser bring a beer for the winner to the next match. I am running out already.

The pits are in my front yard and we have been playing for about ten years now. We are pretty evenly matched but he has a bigger desire to win and I’m realizing how important that is. I can’t remember what the score is so he keeps it. All I have to do is concentrate on that post but it is not as easy as it sounds.

Margaret Explosion plays the Little Theater on Wednesday. Here is a song from last week. Pete LaBonne plays piano.

"Rosary" by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre Café on 05.15.19. Peggi Fournier - sax, Ken Frank - bass, Pete LaBonne - piano, Phil Marshall - guitar, Paul Dodd - drums.
“Rosary” by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre Café on 05.15.19. Peggi Fournier – sax, Ken Frank – bass, Pete LaBonne – piano, Phil Marshall – guitar, Paul Dodd – drums.
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We Are On The Edge

Dandelions and Forsythia in bloom on walk to Wegmans.
Dandelions and Forsythia in bloom on walk to Wegmans.

We went a graduation party yesterday in my parents’ old neighborhood and drove by their house before settling in at the party. This is the time of year I would usually help them hang their canvas awnings, something I called the “Awning Ritual.” The awnings are still up in the garage and their house looks empty of life.

We arrived at the party when the band pulled up. I asked the drummer what kind of music they played and he said, “Americana.” They set up in the backyard and sounded really good. But it is curious to me that in 2019 so many bands play the same batch of old songs, a mixture of the Band, Hank Williams, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Statler Brothers, etc. It’s as if they are trying to enshrine some heritage instead of developing something new. Maybe all this devotion will lead somewhere. I loved all that stuff in the day but comfort food makes me nervous.

During Jeff Spevak’s book release party at the Record Archive, while the Americana band was playing, I wandered around the store. I had read a review of the Art Ensemble’s new record that morning and looked around for the Jazz section. In the “A’s” I found a row of Louis Armstrong cds about a foot and half deep. And then tucked behind that one. the Art Ensemble cd, “We Are On The Edge, A 50th Anniversary Celebration.” I love the record and marvel at their forever forward movement.

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Walking Club

View from eastern side of Genesee River in Rochester, New York
View from eastern side of Genesee River in Rochester, New York

I’m so happy Kathy suggested walking the eastern bank of the Genesee yesterday. It was a perfect day and the perfect time of year to take in views of the river since the tress are just beginning to fill in. We parked the car in Herrema’s on Pattonwood and walked directly to the river. The path has a variety of surfaces and is obviously tended to but not fussed over. No signage and plenty of places to get dangerously close to the steep banks.

We walked up to the Zoo and turned around at the pond in Seneca Park. The river banks here are remarkably free from development There are dreamy views of backyards on Van Voorhis in the Flats and a giant Budda overlooking a pond near Sagamore Drive. Salmon are swimming upstream to lay their eggs and we crossed a small tributary running into the river where fish, two and three feet long, were trapped in tangled cables. I wish someone would address that situation.

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Black Label

Mike Caramana, Paul Dodd and Dick posing in Domas home in Greece, New York. Photo by Burr Lewis for Democrat & Chronicle
Mike Caramana, Paul Dodd and Dick posing in a Domas home in Gatese, New York. Photo by Burr Lewis for Democrat & Chronicle.

At Wednesday’s Debbie Kendrick gig I was chatting with Frank and his friend Jim about some plumbing that Jim was doing on his mother-in-law’s house. Frank said something that indicated he didn’t think I was very handy. I was a bit taken aback but mostly I was thinking how it was that I project that image. I’ve known Frank since high school.

It was the summer before my junior year when I worked for Virgila and Sons. We framed houses, the rough carpentry as opposed to finished carpentry. Plywood had not taken over. The walls, floors and roofs were constructed with three quarter inch, tongue and groove boards. We’d stop for coffee in the morning and have sweet rolls toasted on the grill. On Fridays we’d drink beer at quitting time. They asked me what kind of beer I liked and I said, “Carling,” probably because I like the Mabel, Black Label commercials. They laughed and called it, “nigger piss.”

After I dropped out of college, around the time I met Peggi, I worked for Mitchell Construction in Bloomington. I wanted to do carpentry but they needed someone on the concrete crew. The company wanted to do work for the University but all thirty of their workers were white. They had to hire a black person to get a contract. Wayne had just got out prison for accidentally sandwiching someone between the car he was driving and another. Involuntary manslaughter. Three of us spread stone around and poured and finished concrete sidewalks, garage floors and basements. After the first week one of the carpenters asked me what it was like to work with a nigger.

When we moved back to Rochester I got a job for another, small family run construction crew, Caramana Construction, a father and two sons. We built a hundred or so Domas tract homes in Gates and Spencerport. There were three models with slight variations, a center entrance Colonial, a split-level and the cheapest, a raised ranch.

Mike, one of the sons, took on some the homes himself while his father worked on another home with a few other guys. The three of us, above, would put up a house like this in three days! And then we’d come back and plop in the windows. A photographer for the D&C happened to be there this time and we wound up in the paper. Proof for Frank.

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