Holiday Red

Inflatable Penguin Family  on Culver Road
Inflatable Penguin Family on Culver Road

If we had taken Peggi’s sister’s suggestion we would be on our way to Miami for Christmas. Our nephew and his girlfriend have a restaurant down there, Boia De, and we’ll have to check it out but not over Christmas. We walked up to Wegman’s today and stopped on front of this house grab a picture of the inflatable penguin family. By the time we returned it was dark enough to turn on the blue lights which line our roofline.

Our neighbor across the street works from home and they do most of their shopping online so there are delivery trucks there throughout the day. I watched as he accepted a delivery and then saw the driver walk up to our door. He had the MX-80 album we ordered, “Crowd Control.” I helped Rich prepare the mechanical art for the re-release and Rich offered to send me a copy but I said no. We already have the album. But from time to time I would wonder how the thing came out. I simplified the 4 color formulas thinking the reissue would be a more electric combination of the red and yellow and when I thought of MX80 for some reason I found myself working about the result. So I ordered one from Ship to Shore. It’s being offered for $6! Red vinyl and a bonus track, the Theme from Halloween. And who doesn’t want a clean copy of “Obsessive Devotion” or “More Than Good?”” As a holiday gift it is guaranteed to please the most discerning taste.

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A World Away

Gnarly Willow along Lake Ontario
Gnarly Willow along Lake Ontario

“Here Denonville’s French Army landed to invade the Seneca Country; July 12, 1687. ” So reads the historical marker on the lake side of Lake Road in Webster. We walked over there this afternoon, across the seasonal bridge, and we stopped across the street from this sign for a salad and sandwich at a place called the Bayside. It is out of time and a world away.

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It’s A Family Affair

View from inside the big tent in Roc Village downtown Rochester
View from inside the big tent in Roc Village downtown Rochester

This post has been uppdated:
In my original post here I stated the Roc Holiday Village was constructed by the City. Martin contacted me to say a private company is responsible for the winter paradise. This makes a lot more sense. It is too well done,

Our friend, Kathy, recommended we check out Roc Village. The area between between the skating rink and jungle gym in Martin Luther King Jr Park is elevated on a giant wooden plank patio. Fire pits are scattered about. Vendors and transparent hospitality tents are lined up. We bought some olive oil and handmade soap and after watching the kids skate we had a beet salad and a Space Kitty in the big tent. It was great to see so many people outside in the winter.

We were in Ottawa a few years back for their Winterlude, skating through downtown on the canal with hundreds of other people and wondering why Rochester doesn’t do something it. They have.

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A Collection Of Wonders

Jeremy Irons in The Prado Museum: A Collection of Wonders
Jeremy Irons in The Prado Museum: A Collection of Wonders

Why did they pick Jeremy Irons to narrate The Prado Museum: A Collection of Wonders? Because he is so damn dramatic! And he rises to the challenge of talking about some of the most dramatic paintings in the world as the Prado celebrates its two hundredth anniversary. The documentary played for just two showings this weekend at the Little and we were lucky enough to catch it.

Marina Saura also narrates and talks of first visiting the Prado with her father, the painter, Antonio Saura. When we were in Madrid in October we saw a show of Saura’s work at Antonio Macon where the gallery owner, Margarita, encouraged us to visit The Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca . We saw more Saura there along with Tapies and the champions of Spanish abstract art in Spain. We were blown away and when we returned to Madrid we found even more of his work in a show at the Reina Sofia. The worlds are colliding.

We visit the Prado each time we visit Spain but my favorite was the first time. After flying overnight we rented a car at the Madrid airport and drove directly to the Prado. We sat in the car until the Museo opened and we had coffee in the basement café. I remember people smoking in there, in the museum. We went upstairs and were blown away.

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Virgin Mary To Appear in Rochester

One square inch Refrigerator ads from Issue 14
One square inch Refrigerator ads from Issue 14

The first Refrigerator was an 8 1/2 by 14″ broadsheet, offset printed and available in restaurants and bars in Rochester for free. The circulation grew from 500 to 3,000 and the number of pages climbed to twelve. I did most of the graphics and wrote some, Peggi Fournier was the production manager. Ted Williams, Martin Edic, Chuck Cuminale, Carol Bradley, Chris Schepp, Rob Tyler and Frank Petronio all contributed content. The late Norm Davis hysterically surveyed the shops on Monroe Avenue. This was back in the nineties, before the internet, and all of this work was done anonymously until the D&C did a story about the Refrigerator..

With front page tag lines like “Does Caffeine Make You Smarter?,” “Love World’s Mental Heath Tipsheet,” “Recycle The Earth Issue,” paid for by the advertisers With a tag “George Eastman Is Dead,” “My Funeral,” “Bad Acid Trip,” “Because You Don’t Need an Entertainment Guide,” (a dig at Freetime Magazine), “Rochester’s Only Demolition Derby Fanzine” and “Virgin Mary To Appear in Rochester” we attracted a faithful readership. The “Why Are You Here? issue was especially popular as was Pete LaBonne’s “Dream Breakfasts.”

Lead-ins to pieces like “Rewriting Rochester’s Cultural Heritage,” “Readers Are People Too,” “Dealing With Denial,” “The Difference Between Right and Wrong,” “The End of the World,” “Thel Sound of Doom,” “Virtual Rochester,” “Finally, The Future,” “The Tediousness of Facts,” “I Live Next Door to a Genius” and “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” were often the whole story.

The back page of “The Refrigerator” carried ten dollar, one square inch ads like those shown above. Pyramid Arts Center, The Village Green, The Bug Jar, The Cadillac Hotel, Squires Of The Subterrain, the Rochester Club and City Newspaper were all regulars. Nicholson Baker, the author, was an advertiser. 

Peggi skiing with Refrigerator Hat
Peggi skiing with Refrigerator Hat

All 28 editions are available in pdf format here. There is also a PayPal button for $10 Refrigerator hats.

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Bittersweet

Bittersweet against early snow on Hoffman Road in Rochester, New York
Bittersweet against early snow on Hoffman Road in Rochester, New York

With the temperature near fifty today I got up on the roof and blew the leaves off. And then we raked those same leaves out of the pachysandra and out on to our so called lawn. I only mowed once this year. We don’t get all that much sunlight through the trees. When all the leaves are out in the lawn I use the mower to mulch them and we just let those chopped leaves turn into dirt. It takes about a year for that to happen and then we start all over again. This cycle is bittersweet.

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Showtime

Music Man, Professor Jim Porter, in Penn Station
Music Man, Professor Jim Porter, in Penn Station

We were kinda late for our train or I would have stopped to talk to this guy in Penn Station. He looks like a one man band with his stage gear on and his equipment case advertising a Funky Percussion Machine, Country, Irish, Polka, Zydeco and something called Bachata. I wanted to go where he was going but our train was boarding in the other direction.

Maybe it was the cup of coffee we had up at Starbucks but I had a hard time getting with the program in our yoga class tonight. Jeffery usually starts by going around the room asking people what they want to work on. I always say “anything.” Someone suggested shoulders so we got on our backs and stayed there the whole class, opening our spines, breathing deeply in three stages, stretching our shoulders and putting tennis balls under our piriformis (butts).

That was another problem. We walked up to Target this afternoon and ate rather hurriedly before class . Jeffery talked about being in the moment, how the class was just for this group at this time but my food was still settling. I must have stared at the ceiling lights o long because when we closed our eyes I kept seeing a small dancing bear, like one of those little Grateful Dead figures, moving from right to left.

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Cheap Seats

Bleachers on beach in Portugal
Bleachers on beach in Portugal

We saw the Elton John movie on Netflix and then Pedro Almodovar’s new one at the theater and now I’m getting them both mixed up. They both had similarly dysfunctional upbringings and both were clearly gifted. We put the subtitles on for “Rocketman” and I was amazed at how good Bernie Taupin’s lyrics were. As good as Elton John’s amazing melodies. I woke up singing Tiny Dancer.

Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory’ is his best yet. Having just been in Spain it was visually sensational but that is just scraping the surface. The movie was deep. Aging, mortality, futility, all that stuff. Check it out.

I put a photo in the annual RoCo Member’s Show. I came home with so many good ones from the Iberian Peninsula. I had Joan down at Frametastic cut a piece of glass for me. Visiting her is always a treat. She and her husband built the business but he is long gone. Joan, at 87, is the only employee. She had Jazz 90.1 on when I walked in and she was cutting nine holes in one piece of matt board. Each opening was a different size. She showed me the boxes of glass that she starts with, sheets that are 32″ by 40.” “i used to be able to handle a bigger sheet but not anymore.” She only takes cash.

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Evidence

Suspended tree along Lakeshore Boulevard
Suspended tree along Lakeshore Boulevard

This tree was not as close to the lake last year. And its roots were underground.

At one time the Memorial Art Gallery had a biennial show of a half a dozen local artists’ work. They handed the show off to Rochester Contemporary, a good move, and two years ago RoCo had their first Rochester biennial, a three pronged affair with two artists at three different sites. My father and I were chosen to show our work at RoCo. The exhibit was entitled “Witness.”

This time around the biennial, entitled “Current Seen,” is spread all across town in nearly twenty venues. We were in Spain when the shows opened and we’ve been scrambling to get up to speed since our return. On Friday night we met a group at Joy Gallery on West Main where the graffiti show celebrating 30 years of work by the collective known as FUA is on display. Our group walked further west to 540 where Siena Pullinzi is showing her prints of women’s bodies, a show called “Not Your Object,” and then down King Street to the Douglas Auditorium where Mara Ahmed is showing her beautiful collage/paintings, photographic imagery of family members in painted fields that illustrate the displacement imposed on people in India at the end of British colonialism. Thankfully our city is so much broader than the East side.

There is a guide book (5 dollars) for Current Seen, one designed by Tate Shaw at Visual Studies that is packed with insightful articles about the shows and some solid history of our fair city. In the opening Bleu Cease asks, “Can the visual arts connect people across a divided city?” I think it can.

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Only A Vehicle

Owen Butler image at Warren Philips Gallery
Owen Butler image at Warren Philips Gallery

We had to start early on First Friday in order to make the rounds. The season is in full swing. I loved the way Owen Butler hung his large graphic digital prints in Warren Philips’ space. Steve Piper told us Owen was his favorite teacher ever when he took a photo journalism class from him forty years ago at RIT. I really liked the charcoal drawings at RoCo but it was odd to see all the homeless people smiling. Colleen Buzzard has curated a great little show in the temporary space created when Warren Philips moved his frame shop to the Hungerford Building. And we had fun with Roberley Bell’s household items partially encased in organic shapes at Colleen’s studio gallery.

El Camino, the so called Breaking Bad movie, would have been a snooze of an episode if it was part of the long running show. Jessie was only a vehicle for Walter White. I don’t care enough about him to even root for him. And putting Brian Cranston in the movie for a few minutes only threw salt in the wounds. And for all the money they made and then spent you would think they would have introduced some new scene stealing characters the way the show continually did. The best thing about the movie was Jim White’s song in the closing credits.

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So This Is Our Hometown

Wall at Lumiere Photo on College Avenue in Rochester, New York.
Wall at Lumiere Photo on College Avenue in Rochester, New York.

We’ve been reacquainting ourselves wit our environment by taking long walks in different directions. Along the lake where we see the beach has returned. Next time we’ll walk on the new sand. Through the woods to Kathy’s house where we checked up on her backyard project. Along the river from downtown to the UR and across the river to the coffee shop on Brooks Avenue where they had Jefferson Starshit on sound system while the only employee wore earbuds with his own music. And then back down the river on the west side a beautiful stretch. Today we wandered through our woodsy neighbor looking for downed trees fro last night’s wind storm. Not much but big branches and one dead end with no power and generators running.

We are still sort on Spanish time so we decided to stop in Parkside Diner for an early dinner. The newspaper rated their fish fry highly and we felt for it. We could have sold the fried dough casing at a carnival. The fish itself was ok but the cold slaw was as bland as you could imagine and the mash potatoes were the reconstituted kind. Peggi asked our server a question and instead of answering the server asked if she go take some one else’s order. The worst part though was the tv with Fox News on. Dana somebody was interviewing a guy with a cowboy hat who playing an upcoming Patriot’s Bash while streamer ran across the bottom of the screen with “Sticker Shock” teasers for Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare For All and something about Ocassio Cortez. I’m not sure if it was the tv or the food that gave me the indigestion.

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El Pueblo Español Tiene Un Camino Que Conduce A Una Estrella

What’s left of a poster on the the streets of Madrid.
What’s left of a poster on the the streets of Madrid.

The quote in my title is the name given to a sculpture by Alberto that stands in front of the Reina Sophia in Madrid. We had plenty of time to study it as we stood in line to get in.

Just yesterday we were introduced to Sara Ramo and today we saw another of her shows at Madrid’s contemporary art museum. This one a video installation, a dreamy short play that was staged behind her beautifully composed tapestry-like curtain. The curtain never rises fully so many of the characters are only seen from the waist down. There are overtones of violence against women but of course the women win the day with their resourceful feminine earthiness. And just as the show yesterday was weighted equally with playful pieces, a room here was lined with cabinets which had all sorts of surprises behind their doors.

A second show here called “The Poetics of Democracy” featured a hilarious video send up of Franco by Antonio Mercero from 1972. All of the work in this show was done by leading Spanish artists (Tàpies, Saura) during what is know as the Spanish Transition. Franco was a far worse monster than Trump and he evoked an equally strong reaction. If only Americans had it in them to react we would have a creative outburst.

The third act at Reina Sofia was Dephine Seyrig‘s “Defiant Muses.” Seyrig starred in Bunuel’s Milky Way and Discreet Charm, Robert Frank’s Pull My Daisy, The Doll House with Jane Fonda and Stollen Kisses by Francois Truffaut but she was an outspoken feminist and directed her own films.

This was a meaty show and it set the stage perfectly for a long walk in Retiro Park.

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Pimientos De Padron

Turquoise chair in Pontreveda Spain
Turquoise chair in Pontreveda Spain

We fell in love with Pimientos de Padron the first time we had them. And it was so long ago we can’t agree on where it was that we first experienced them. They are unique to Spain and it turns out they originated in this town, Padron. We walked here today, in a continual rain, from Caldas do Reis. There was a sameness to the route. The surface was mostly crushed stone, otherwise it would be a mud pit. They get a lot of rain here and the forests look more like jungles.

But the peppers are only a small part of Padron’s import and significance to our Camino. Legend has it that it was here that Saint James the Apostle first preached the gospel in what was known as Hispania. And when he was beheaded in Jerusalem nis disciples brought his body parts back in Padron in a stone boat! The boat was found tied to a big Celtic stone, something called a padron. We visited the stone today where it now sits, at the base of the alter in the church of Santiago de Padron.

.The story has it that Saint James’ remains were transported to Santiago, the city that was named after him, and they are kept in a vault below the cathedral. Tomorrow we reach our destination, Santiago de Compostela.

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Crushing Our Goals

Bridge over Ria de Vigo in Arcade España.
Bridge over Ria de Vigo in Arcade España.

We were having a beer in a restaurant on the outskirts of Pontevedra when I got a prompt on my watch. “Margaret, you’ve crushed your Move goal.“ My watch is tethered to Peggi’s phone and neither one of us has ever set any goals for the app. It’s sort of annoying, all the “Looks like you’re exercising. Do you want to record your workout?” stuff. I just ignore it. It records our movement anyway. I can’t complain. Everyone in Europe takes Apple Pay, the cafés, bars, restaurants, supermercados. I don’t have to fumble with my wad of Euros.

Checking the news from home we saw that Luna played at the Haunt in Ithaca last night. Personal Effects played a gig there with Grandmaster Flash back in the day. Would have liked to hear Luna.

We are below the 100 kilometers to Santiago mark and so we’re starting to see more pilgrims. When we did the big one, the Camino Frances, last year, we experienced the same influx near the finale, people with day packs who hopped on at the last stop. They have their bags sent ahead. They remind me of what we used to call weekend hippies back in the sixties. They test your patience,. They call you on your judgmental steak. They remind you there is virtue called temperance and an ideal revered to as acceptance.

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Antolin Is Long Gone

House in Redondela Spain with beautiful flowers.
House in Redondela Spain with beautiful flowers.

Our shoes were wet and soggy from yesterday’s rain so I stuck the hotel room’s hair dryer down in our shoes. I left it in one of mine and got sidetracked. I managed to melt the Merrill insert that was glued to the sole of my shoe. It was detached and about three quarters of its original size. To my surprise the shoe felt more comfortable walking without it.

We originally planned on stopping in Redondela but we got there so early, after maybe five hours of walking, that we decided to move on to the next town. We stopped for a beer and Peggi found a place online right on the Ria de Vigo, which is really more like a bay off the Atlantic Ocean. Rio is river in Spanish and Ria is a salt water river. We arrived in time for dinner just before four and we sat in the glassed in dining room overlooking the Ria and the bridge to Vigo.

The Hotel Antolin is like something out of an old movie. The employees seem like they have been working here their whole lives. The furniture is dark. It is well past it’s prime but still able to attract groups of businessmen for lunch. The chef waited on us and left the table while taking our order to blow her nose. There is a bar downstairs which we plan on visiting before bed. Antolin is long gone.

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Hay Angulas

Snail crawling along the Ecopista in Portugal.
Snail crawling along the Ecopista in Portugal.

The rain brought these lovely creatures out. They are delicacy here. You often see them announced in a bar with a small sign that reads “Hay Caracoles.” We have not seen them advertised here yet but we have seen signs reading “Hay Angulas.” Eel. 

The Camino de Santiago gets you well out of the well worn tourist areas. When you walk on country roads and paths though tiny towns you wind up shopping where the the locals do. The receipt from the bakery we stopped at on the way out of town, a place called Petinga Doce Pastelarias on Rua de São, shows we paid 0,80 for Abatanado (espresso) and 2,30 for a tall glass of “Sumo Nat Lara”  (fresh squeezed orange juice) and most astonishingly, 0,85 for two delicious pieces of apple pastry. That was our last breakfast in Portugal.

Mid morning we stopped at the smallest grocery store we have ever set foot in and came out with a four pack of strawberry yogurt, two bananas and a liter of bottled water for 1,83 Euros!

In Tui, Spain, this afternoon we had sea bass, the whole fish cooked on the grill and served with boiled potatoes with Ensalada Mixta (a hearty salad (greens, tomatoes, onions, carrots, eggs and tuna), a bottle of house red and flan for desert. 23 Euros for the both of us. 

When you walk all day you enhance your appreciation of food.

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Walkin’ 9 To 5

Sign saying something along coast in Portugal
Sign saying something along coast in Portugal

I have to thank Peggi for that title.

We watched Portugal win 3-0 over Luxembourg in the UEFA EURO Qualifiers in our room last night. Ronaldo scored the second goal.

Tonight we’re staying at a place on the town square in Caminha. We had some vegetable soup at the place next door. We were too tired to walk any further. Our room faces Santa Tecla Mountain in Spain. It is right across the Rio Miño But we won’t enter Spain until the end of the day tomorrow when we cross the river. We’ll follow the river inland from the ocean to Tui where we will hook up with the Central Caminho Portuguese.

The sun hasn’t even set and I’m ready for bed. It was an eight hour walk today and tomorrow’s Is longer, about thirty two kilometers. I just watched a fellow pilgrim walk across the square. Not that we’ve seen him on the Camino, I could Just tell he was a pilgrim by the way he was walking. I know how he feels.

We have not run into many others on thIs Camino. For the first few days we crossed paths with a mother and daughter. They were really cute and fun to see. Not sure where they were from but they didn’t speak English. And we met a couple from Australia this morning. They were about our age. We talked to a young guy from Germany who was walking with a woman from Austria but we saw both of them walk by later, when we were sitting in a café, and they weren’t together anymore. We passed others but they we’re unmemorable. We had coffee this morning with a woman who told us we were the first pilgrims she saw back in Porto. English was not her native tongue but I gathered we were somewhat memorable.

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Abstract And Beautiful

Windows on tiled wall in Portugal.
Windows on tiled wall in Portugal.

Approximately half of my photos from Portugal, or Spain for that matter, are what I guess you would call architectural details. Point blank shots of window treatments or old doors or stone walls. They border on abstract paintings. I take the same sort of shots in Rochester but not as high a percentage.

Walking is a meditation. Most of an hour can pass without speaking a word even when you’re traveling with a partner. But traveling by foot from one town to the next, with everything that is important on your back, is both exhilarating and immensely satisfying. Twenty miles is a long walk. The rewards are abstract and beautiful.

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Good Walk

Old wind mill along the coast of Portugal.
Old wind mill along the coast of Portugal.

The locals in towns along the way, Caminho da Costa, can spot pilgrims a block away. Most, though, don’t pay any attention. When we pass someone out for a stroll and make eye contact they usually greet us with “Bom Caminho.” So many people here speak some English, the de facto international tongue, that a few have simply said, “Good walk.” I like the way that sounds.

We like eating early which means we have get a meal in before 3 o’clock when everything closes. Otherwise we have to wait until seven when the restaurants begin to open again. You would think we are in Spain.

We left Vila da Conde and continued up the coast, keeping the ocean on our left. Wind technology is not new. There are plenty of old windmills still standing along the windy coast of Portugal. Although their blades, if they are still attached, don’t turn anymore.

We passed though fragrant eucalyptus groves and stopped in the town square of Póvoa de Varzim for coffee. We’ve discovered that if you just ask for café you get a small cup of espresso. That’s what the locals drink so we have jumped on board.

On the way out of town we stopped at the church of San Rogue, a popular saint along the Camino as he is said to have given away all his belongings before setting out on his own pilgrimage to Rome. Along the way he attended to the the sick so he has plenty of devoted followers seeking his intervention.

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Following Our Nose

Clothes on the line in small town on coast of Portugal.
Clothes on the line in small town on coast of Portugal.

My watch says we walked 24.3 miles today. We left Porto at 9 AM and proceeded to walk for twenty minutes only to wind up where we started. Instead of following directions we should have just followed our noses. We’re taking the Coastal route, instead of the interior route, to Santiago but it turns out there are two Coastal routes. We’re taking the one that is referred to as the Literal Coastal route. It is no exaggeration to say that fifteen of the 24 miles we walked were on a boardwalk that runs parallel with the beach. The wooden boards, covered in sand in places, were an ideal surface for a long distance walk. We arrived at our destination just after dark but in time to find a grocery store where we bought yogurt and bananas for tomorrow.

It was windy today so the ocean was rough. We could barely keep our hats on at times. It was hazy most of the day which was a godsend. When the sun came out it was uncomfortable. We stopped in Angeiras at a seaside restaurant for a late lunch and started with a Bohemian Beer (Original), the first we have had of those, and a plate of olives. The waiter recommended the mackerel. There were three of them on the platter he brought out and it came with a bowl of boiled potatoes, yellow from all the olive oil, and perfect Mediterranean green salad.

Tomorrow we walk again. The Camino in Portugal is not as well marked as the one in Spain so we will just, keep the ocean on our left” as they say. Our life is getting simpler.

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