1911 was a very good year for writers: best Brittanica ever, birth of the Colt Model 1911, “the most referenced firearm in 20th Century literature”

1911 was a very good year for writers:
best Brittanica ever,
birth of the Colt Model 1911,
“the most referenced firearm in 20th Century literature”

R. Doug Wicker, who always stands ready to advise other writers on firearms, and see also, has several articles up and coming soon on the most common US pistol, and one of it’s putative “replacements”. Doug says:

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“In a run-up to next week’s shooting review of the Colt M1991A1, yesterday I posted Historical Firearms — The Colt Model 1911.  If you’re a purveyor of fiction that involves firearms then you may want to take a look at this brief history.  The M1911 is probably the most referenced firearm in 20th Century literature, and is ubiquitous in almost any movie or television show in which handguns play a major role in the storyline including pretty much anything dealing with the U.S. military.”

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“And next I’ll present a post on what it’s like to actually operate and fire one of these classic pistols.

 

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SATURDAY NIGHT SACRIFICE AT THE PARTHENON (followed by the village bop)

As I was writing to Alitogata about phi, the golden ratio, and the Parthenon, my eye caught a vignette sitting on a drying rack in the window, a painting I made a while ago. So here, just for you Alitogata, SATURDAY NIGHT SACRIFICE AT THE PARTHENON:

Andre Jute: Saturday Night Sacrifice at the Parthenon

Andre Jute: Saturday Night Sacrifice at the Parthenon

I have no idea whether at the relevent time there were orange groves, or cattle, or geese, on the hill below the Parthenon, but they must have kept the sacrifices somewhere. And oranges at the time would have been much smaller than the uniform size Euro-monsters (with zero taste <tm>) that we get today.

SATURDAY NIGHT SACRIFICE will be followed by the village bop.

Bookmark this blog for painting tips, tool and and material reviews, and, of course, paintings, books, controversial articles on any subject under the sun, and general amusement for the intelligent. If you’re a visual artist you may like to know that Andre is often to be found at the Sketching Forum.

Images and text copyright © Andre Jute 2014

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A Plein Air Painting Expedition by Bicycle: a photo essay by Andre Jute

A Plein Air Painting Expedition by Bicycle
a photo essay by Andre Jute

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This looks like something I could paint!

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There’s even an appreciative audience. In the bicycle basket the complete kit of easel, black bag with paints and tools, and shooting stick to sit on.

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Set up is quick. Once the easel is set up and the canvas clamped, the repurposed leather messenger bag is just hung open on the easel and the shooting stick opened to lean against or sit on. The paints in the bag are oil bars, which is pigments in wax. I don’t use a palette with oil bars, just holding the oil bars in my hand and digging out as much as I want with a silicon colour shaper, which saves on cleaning brushes. The entire process is solvent free, odorless, non-toxic.

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The painting I made.

For more on Andre’s bicycles, see Bicycling.
For more on Andre’s painting see Painting

Text & images copyright © Andre Jute 2014

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A heartshaped pin of tiger’s eye

 

Tiger's Eye Pin by Roz Jute

Tiger’s Eye Pin by Roz Jute

The beautiful and talented Mrs Jute has no need to write on the envelope enclosing a birthday card. The stickpin with tiger’s eye heart (my favourite stone) is enough to announce both the intended recipient and the sender of the card within. Look at my halo shine on the edge of the cushion of tiger’s eye!

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Buggins’ Turn reviewed: “quirky, humorous and downright terrifying-to-the-funny-bone”

buggins__turn_cover_800pxhBuggins’ Turn reviewed: “quirky, humorous and downright terrifying-to-the-funny-bone” — see the full review

$2.99 and equivalents at all good bookstores.
All formats including Kindle to sample & buy at Smashwords
Also at iTunes Kobo B&N

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“The hilarious crossover read”: Buggins’ Turn the original screenplay by André Jute

CoolMain Press Proudly Announces
publication of
“The hilarious crossover read”

Buggins' Turn by Andre Jute

Buggins’ Turn
the original screenplay
by André Jute

W. S. Buggins is the nerdiest wimp ever, an embarrassment.
A poet, for crying out loud.
Now the rappa-revo Bloody Raztuz Razzamatazz has recorded his poems.
And Buggins,
with only a little prodding from Celia
— the beautiful stockbroker —
is blossoming into a guerilla consumer advocate.
With violence and destruction of property.
A rock’n’roll romantic comedy we all wish would come true.

$2.99 and equivalents at all good bookstores.
All formats including Kindle at Smashwords
Also at iTunes Kobo B&N

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Olden Times, Modern Language

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 Olden Times, Modern Language
Uvi Poznansky explains why her hero, the biblical David,
speaks in modern vernacular

My new trilogy, The David Chronicles, presents a surprising contrast before you: the story harkens back to biblical times—yet by design, it is expressed in modern language. Why? Because such is my way to suggest to you that this is no fairytale. It is happening here and now. I invite you to step into the skin of my character, become David, and look yourself in the mirror.

Readers often ask me, “Were you quoting the bible or paraphrasing? I’m used to read the King James version, and I’m certain you aren’t.” To which I say, “All the English versions—King James included—are translations. Therefore, they are interpretations of the original Hebrew, in which I am versed to the point of knowing it by heart.”

In this trilogy, the choice of modern language is intentional. The entire book is greatly informed by art through the ages, including modern art, which adds multiple viewpoints to every moment in the story. This artistic versatility is reflected in my writing. Here is but one example, that was inspired inspired by a painting of David and Bathsheba by Chagall

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I try to take control of my desire by playing my lyre and writing poetry, but notes and words fail me. Everything I compose these days seems to be but a pale shadow of a shadow of what Bathsheba means to me. 

And the one image that keeps coming back to me is our reflection in the glass, where our faces melded into one. My eye, her eye, and around us, the outline of a new, fluid identity. A portrait of our love, rippling there, across the surface of the wine.

I feel great responsibility for all my characters. My utmost wish is to convey their voices and their experiences in a faithful manner. However I take none of them as a sacred, perfect figure, which to my surprise may offend some readers. Please keep in mind, I do not claim my story as gospel.To me, perfect characters are boring and unreal. I am interested in mining the internal conflicts in their souls. In an era of cruelty, when destroying the enemy is deemed a divine directive, David’s search for a path to power leads him in ways that are, at times, scandalous. Notorious for his contradictions, he is seen by others as a gifted court entertainer, a successful captain in Saul’s army, a cunning fugitive, a traitor leading a gang of felons, and a ruthless raider of neighboring towns who leaves no witnesses behind.

Rise to power frontcover- 1mHow does he see himself, during the first phase of his life? With his hands stained with blood, can he find an inner balance between conflicting drives: his ambition for the crown, his determination to survive the conflict with Saul, and his longing for purity, for a touch of the divine, as expressed so lyrically in his psalms and music?

Not only is David a conflicted character, striving to find his better self—but so are other characters, each bearing her anguish. Take Michal, daughter of king Saul, as an example. My story springs out of very few lines given to her in the bible. You may remember that when David dances in front of the arc, she despises him in her heart. Such is the bitterness of love that has turned to hate.

In the first volume of the trilogy, titled Rise to Power, Michal is a tragically conflicted figure. Because of her royal upbringing, her pride makes her look down upon David. To her he is an outsider and a commoner. And yet, in spite of herself, her heart is consumed by love for him.  She is doomed, in the end, not to have children. This is something I explore from the beginning of their relationship. Here is a glimpse of how he sees her on their wedding night:

I glance at her as she climbs up over me into her bed and tucks herself under the blankets, and I remember what Joav told me about girls, just a few days ago. It’s all just flesh, he said, no matter how fancy their garments. In bed, they’re all the same. 

I must tell him he made a mistake. This girl is different.

With her narrow hips and her flat belly, which is matched by an equally flat chest, Michal looks like a boy. And trapped in that skinny body, pounding there with palpable longing, is the heart of a woman, a proud woman, cursed with love.

What I want most of all is for the characters that have sprung from my mind onto the paper to continue their journey, and spring from the paper into your mind. That, for me, would be the best reward.

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***

Uvi Poznansky

Uvi Poznansky

For more about Uvi, visit her blog, follow her on Twitter @UviPoznansky and like her Facebook page.

Also, check out her Amazon page, which includes her bio, her animations (under the title Author Video) and the list of her books. Most of them are available in ebook, audiobook, and print editions.

The David Chronicles includes volume I, Rise to Power, and volume II, A Peek at Bathsheba. Volume III, A Search for Redemption, is still on the drawing board.

© Copyright 2014 Uvi Poznansky. Published on Kissing the Blarney.

CLICK FOR MUCH MORE ENTERTAINMENT!

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A spectacular performance of La Boheme on Lake Massaciuccoli

puccini_s_lake_800pxhThe hard life of an editor just doesn’t let up.
Lisa Penington is a stalwart of the Editorial Menagerie, where she edits books byDakota Franklin, Andrew McCoy and Andre Jute for CoolMain Press.
Every year in July and August Lisa takes a break at her house near Nice, with side trips to the open-air opera in Tuscany.

lisa_waiting_out_rain_at_outdoors_opera_800pxhPUCCINI FESTIVAL
TORRE DEL LAGO, TUSCANY, AUGUST 2014
by Lisa Penington

We missed out on a visit to the Puccini Festival last year but my daughter and I made it again this year. Torre del Lago was buzzing as usual at this time of year and our first visit was to Turandot, an opera I have seen eight or nine times but which never ceases to enchant. The production was spectacular, beautifully dressed and well sung. Surprisingly for August in Tuscany the night was chilly and a great commerce was done by blanket sellers! We had not expected rain on the Thursday but literally five minutes before the end the conductor signified that the orchestra should stop and we all rushed for cover in the foyer of the arena as the deluge started.

At least that was better than my Verona experience some years ago when it rained for an hour in the first interval, then after the second break we waited in vaIn for the forecasters to announce an end to the bad weather. We left without seeing the last act, the one everyone is waiting for with the wonderful aria Nessun Dorma.

toasting_clear_weather_800pxhWe had expected bad weather on Friday but to our surprise we were warm and comfortable during La Boheme with no sign of the expected rain despite the threatening clouds you can see in our shot of Lake Massaciuccoli taken as we walked to the arena. This was a new production by the veteran film director Ettore Scola and it was very beautiful. The Cafe Momus scene was outstanding with a great atmosphere as the set had a second floor where you could see waiters serving customers while the action was proceeding in the street outside. Both Mimi and Rudolfo were excellent, experienced singers from the famous opera houses of the world. Daniela Dessí is apparently the first singer to perform an encore of ‘Vissi d’arte’ at the Teatro Comunale in Florence since Tebaldi in the ’50s. It was nice to be able to stay to give them the applause that was missing due to the rain the night before.

This time we stayed on a great little B&B right next to Puccini’s villa/museum so there was no rush for the cars after the performance.

A perfect stay!

More from Lisa:
The hard life of an editor
Three days in Tuscany

Text and photographs © Copyright Lisa Penington 2014

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The 10 most beautiful bicycles, according to the editors of the hoon’s automobile magazine, Top Gear

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The 10 most beautiful bicycles, according to the editors of the hoon’s* automobile magazine, Top Gear, starts with the bike above… That abomination is indicative of most of the rest of their choices.

One has to wonder whether any of them cycle.

They aren’t too hot on auto styling either.

Andre Jute

*a hoon is an Australian road hooligan

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Cycling history personified! On his 90th birthday, my bike builder is honored by Volkswagen.

Henk Kluver, the master craftsman who built my everyday bike, a Utopia Kranich, and made the coachlines on it, is 90, and in recognition of his lifelong dedication to quality transport, has been given a brand-new VW Transporter for being a “real craftsman” — that’s the “egte vakman” they’re searching for near the beginning of the touching video.

Among other things the video shows Meester Kluver assembling a near relative of my Kranich crossframe by hand, and, most interesting of all, coachlining it with a special tool.

90 and still working!

See my bicycle page  for my other bikes. This photo essay on my Utopia Kranich includes more images of Meester Kluver at work, and also of the 1930s version of my bike.

Andre Jute
Riding history

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SuperWhooper Escapes the Isle of the Damned

The Bandon River, on which I live, is one of the places the Whooper Swans overwinter. I often ride out on either of the two roads that flank the field on which they sit. You can get very close on one road, where cars have accustomed them to noise and people, and on the other you can look down on them with binoculars. But you shouldn’t conclude from this painting’s name that it is a realistic rendition of a Whooper; it isn’t, it is an allegory, a Whooper crossed with Dante’s Inferno, and I’ve crossbred it with a snow goose from some vague notion that a snow goose wouldn’t like the heat of Sodom & Gomorrah. The mind of a literarily inclined artist is awfully confused— er, I mean subtle.

Andre Jute: SuperWhooper Escapes the Isle of the Damned, acrylic on canvas, 2014, 6x8in

Andre Jute: SuperWhooper Escapes the Isle of the Damned, acrylic on canvas, 2014, 6x8in

I enjoyed making the Isle in the background so much in acrylic with a colour shaper that I’m ordering an oil bar (a thick stick of pigment mixed into wax that one applies directly to the canvas) of burnt sienna to slash at a larger canvas. I’m not ordering a set of oil bars because I really like working with water soluble oils and have plenty of other media, including normal solvent-based oils; we’ll see how I like one oil bar, then perhaps I’ll buy a set.

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Painting with bicycle found. Unfortunately, it’s a fraud!

Geocycle on the Thorn forum found the exact image I was thinking of. This is what I was looking for:

Fake bicycle poster with "Vincent van Gogh" background

Fake bicycle poster with “Vincent van Gogh” background

And this is what made me think of Vincent van Gogh, because he did paint the background.

Vincent van Gogh, Langlois Bridge at Arles

Vincent van Gogh, Langlois Bridge at Arles

Someone added a rider and a bicycle over a crude copy of a van Gogh scene. No wonder I couldn’t find it in the Musée d’Orsay!

Thanks to all who helped solve the puzzle for me by suggesting avenuses of investigation. Give Geocycle the big cigar!

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Painting of artist with bicycle? Who knows where to find it?

I’m looking for a painting of an artist with a bicycle.  He’s standing on an angle, perhaps coming up from a river, fields and maybe factories in the background. The bicycle is a Pedersen. Can you help me find it?

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Here I have  Robert Rosenblum’s beautiful book of the paintings in the Musee d’Orsay open on my treadmill and am paging through it, looking for the “missing” painting of the artist with a bicycle. I’m also in the photo; you can see my halo.

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But it’s slow work. There are about 900 pages in the book: here it lies on a box for a 100 canvas panels, so you can see how thick it is. Stewart, Tabori and Chang, who published it, give real value for money! More books of paintings from our shelves to follow until I find it, because it’s needling at me to know the painting exists and not be able to put my finger on it.

— Andre Jute

 

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Desiree (a dromedary) yawns, or perhaps intends to spit on the sketcher

Andre Jute, The Circus passes (without incident): Desiree (a dromedary) yawns, or perhaps intends to spit on the sketcher, 2014, approx 8x4 inches, acrylic on wax paper

Andre Jute, The Circus passes (without incident): Desiree (a dromedary) yawns, or perhaps intends to spit on the sketcher, 2014, approx 8×4 inches, acrylic on wax paper

There was some paint left over after I made a painting in my book of canvas sheets. It was still wet, so I couldn’t turn a page to make a new sketch. But I had the wax paper from my sandwiches… It pays not to be a litterbug!

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Andre Jute: Carpet of Flowers, Mishells, June 2014, Watercolor in custom sketchbook, A5

Where I cycled, and stopped to paint the carpet of flowers.

Andre Jute: Carpet of Flowers, Mishells, June 2014, Watercolor in custom sketchbook, A5

Andre Jute: Carpet of Flowers, Mishells, June 2014, Watercolor in custom sketchbook, A5

 

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If you can decipher Dakota’s cryptic message, you don’t want to miss this book!

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If you can decipher Dakota’s cryptic message, you don’t want to miss this book!

#iomtt #TouristTrophy GOD’S SCOFFLAWS by #Dakota Franklin now out. Get your #free sample! http://t.co/cjRKo4uSzT

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Bluebells from Ireland, pen and wash by Andre Jute 2014

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Bluebells from Ireland, pen and wash by Andre Jute 2014

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Andre Jute: The Fire that Ate Poacher Tom’s Cottage

Andre Jute: The Fire that Ate Poacher Tom's Cottage; acrylic on canvas, 6x8in; 2014

Andre Jute: The Fire that Ate Poacher Tom’s Cottage; acrylic on canvas, 6x8in; 2014

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IDITAROD by Andre Jute, reviewed by LeAnn Neal Reilly

IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth by Andre Jute

IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth by Andre Jute
Reviewed by LeAnn Neal Reilly

I very much enjoyed this tale of adventure, romance, and danger on the Iditarod Trail. Set in 1985, the heart of the story is an impetuous bet between one Rhodes Delaney, a sled-dog racer from Colorado, and James Whitbury, an Olympic gold-medal skier who also happens to be an MIT-trained engineer and inventor with a trust fund. (Yes, James is a bit too-good-to-be-true, but I’m happy to let that slide. After all, I actually know a few young men who could satisfy at least some of these traits. Mostly it’s the trust fund part that doesn’t convince me.)

Jute carefully establishes the main characters, including a monstrous wolf pack, before the actual Iditarod race begins, deftly weaving in details with a light hand. Initially misunderstandings and unfamiliarity color the nascent relationship between Rhodes and James (they met by chance at the outset), who train for the race of a lifetime in very different ways. Rhodes, the daughter of a Colorado rancher, will eschew corporate sponsorship to keep her father’s hand-carved wooden sled unspoiled with advertising; instead, she’ll work 12-hour days in a salmon-processing factory to raise the $20,000 to compete. But at least she’s bred and trained her own dogs and has half a lifetime’s experience racing. James, on the other hand, can afford to train and race, but he accepts sponsorship from Frontier Construction, getting dogs, training, and other elite help in return for designing and testing a lightweight alloy sled. He spends the better part of his training-year prototyping and testing a sled for production, but that’s okay. He’s got an experienced dog breeder and coach, along with the best nutritionist and gear that money can buy.

Once the race begins, so too does the story. Jute skillfully paces the writing to match the events. Though it moves quickly, the story never gets ahead of itself. At first, the story is told from Rhodes’s point of view, but at a critical, terrifying moment, it switches to James’s and then to a third-person view of the wolf pack, a distant but clearly festering problem. As the two racers face growing dangers and challenges on the 1200-mile trail from Anchorage to Nome, the wolves circle just outside their awareness but never far outside the reader’s. The viewpoints continue to alternate until settling down with Rhodes’. Jute ups the ante as the race draws to a close, heaping exhaustion and terrifying danger upon his two main characters. The final harrying sequence of events, while not nail-biting, does require sitting up straight, scooting to the edge of the seat, and paying attention very closely.

I particularly enjoyed the story because of its realistic, and thorough, description of the Iditarod race, its history, the trail, and what it takes to compete. For a brief (and irrational moment), I wistfully wished I could experience the thrill of riding on the runners behind a sled pulled by a dozen well-trained dogs. However, I’m not so keen on facing angry moose, bear, or wolves, nor do I wish to ride into the teeth of 40-mile-an-hour wind. And I’d prefer to sleep more than a few hours at a time, especially on a soft, warm bed.

I must also say that I found the romance between Rhodes and James both charming and a bit quaint (though I don’t mean anything pejorative by this). James has a gentleman’s manners from another era: he politely requests permission to be excused by an elderly woman at the beginning, and he gallantly charges into a blizzard to help Rhodes, then camps chastely with her.

It isn’t simply the romance that calls to mind a different, more genteel, era. There is a clear sense of propriety and duty throughout, a stiff-upper-lip sort of stoicism in the face of grievous difficulty, the understanding that the race takes precedence over everything else for Rhodes and James because they have said that they will run it, and their honor and sense of self are bound up in completing it to the best of their abilities. I personally am attracted to such characters.

IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth by Andre Jute
eBOOK iTunes Smashwords Kobo B&N
PAPERBACKS Createspace Amazon USA UK

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On Winsor & Newton’s Bijou Paintbox, my Little Postcard Pocketable Pochade Tin, and bicycling in the bitter Irish Spring

Last year for my birthday one of the gifts I received was the last Winsor & Newton Bijou Box from Green & Stone in London. I never actually received the brush supposed to go with this box but would in any event have chucked it out to fit in four more half pans, new total twelve, because the standard eight is one short of my minimum palette and a more normal palette for me is twelve colors. I have one of those WN travel brushes that came with another WN kit, and it is uselessly small, except I suppose to people who want to paint the eyes on gnats. The Bijou Box, about the size of a visiting card, now lives in my Little Watercolor Pochade Tin, a pocketable traveling watercolor kit kept on the hall table by my glove chest to grab whenever I go out. Today I went out on my bike, and the first thing I saw that I wanted to sketch was a well kept hedge, the pride and joy of some farmer’s wife.

andre_jute__painting_the_hedge 800pxhMy favorite bike, a Utopia Kranich, and my Little Watercolour Pochade Tin, caught in action on the ten minutes in which it was pleasant to stand painting outside on a miserably cold spring day in Ireland.

andre_jute_painting_the_hedge_w_n_bijou_box_800pxhAndre Jute: The Hedge, 230g rough paper, 6x4in.

The photo shows that the Bijou Box is Winsor & Newton’s most compact paintbox, about the size of a visiting card. The box itself isn’t well made or finished, and will soon rust, starting at the bubbles and pinholes in the so-called “enamel”; with eight half pans of color it is grossly overpriced at 55 Euro, say about eighty US dollars. I’m not surprised that WN have stopped selling it if Fome cannot supply a better quality box.

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