January 30, 2006

Quote For The Day

“Some people are interested in having the experience of being disappointed.”
My mother was like this. For her, the best part of going to a restaurant, even one of her own selection, was finding a fault she could point out. There was one stretch when she was into being a grandmother, and Emrack was spending one day a week with her. We made a point of always putting a dirty or wrinkled shirt on him, so as to deny her the pleasure of seeking out something new to complain about.
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The Last Straw

This time, the food nannies have gone too far. I know what I'm having for lunch today.

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January 28, 2006

Sure, Why Not?

Rather than selecting people to tag, Rocket Jones is inviting anyone reading his responses to consider themselves invited to do the Four Responses variant of the Let's All Answer The Same Questions so I reckon as how I might as well do so.

Four Jobs That I've Had:
Collater and stapler of ammonia process bluprints
Machine setup and operator in a marijuana pipe factory
Secondary operations (drilling holes in fittings) in a car wash brush factory
Shovelling mildewed newspaper out of the basement of a packrat's house

Four Movies I can watch over and over again:
Miracle on 34th Street (the original)
Alexander Nevsky
Much of this collection

Four T.V. Shows I love to watch:
Not applicable

Four Website's I read Daily:
My Hotmail Page
Dean's World
Boots & Sabers

Four Places I've Been on Vacation:
Barris Kustom City, when they were doing the bodywork on the XR-6 and the car he made the Batmobile from was rusting in the back lot.
The church where Arlo Guthrie partook of a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat.
The Jackson Mississippi airport back when they had drinking fountains for the "colored" and water coolers for "White Only".
Many of the places I go now around Milwaukee back before we lived here.

Four Favorite Foods:
Just about anything but eggs which haven't been cooked to excess and McDonald's burgers.

Four places I’d rather be:
A hot shower
The other house three blocks from here
Someplace rural enough and large enough that I could set up a serious metalworking shop including a small foundry, but not much over an hour out of Milwaukee or similar city
The purple dimension

Rather than tag anyone in particular I'm going to suggest that anyone scoping out my blog after coming here for the Carnival likewise participate.

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76th Carnival of Recipes - Pot Luck

A subscriber to one of the recipe mailing lists my wee wifey runs cited an obscure Bible verse, apparently found in Second Thomas, which reads "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, eat." Many churches operate on this principle; indeed many cookbooks containing recipes of shareable recipes call themselves Church Supper cookbooks. The potluck is not, however, a Biblical event. We've attended Wiccan and New Age potlucks, G-dless Communist potlucks, and even plain old neighborhood potlucks. In a sense every week's sharing of recipes is a virtual potluck, but I've made a dish to pass this week's theme.

Wenchypoo posted an essay on The Dying Art of Scratch Cooking If the power went out, many people would starve to death--they are so dependent on microwaves and drive-thru windows. These are the people who bring the soda, the cheese trays and the frozen Belgian mini-eclairs. Take these people in hand and share some of the easy recipes found in the Carnivals with them.

Christine Torres at Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea brings Baked Sausage & Egg. One church my household attended held a brunch potluck every Easter at which the participants rang the changes at this concept, but if you're weird like her and love eggs for dinner there's nothing wrong with that.

I posted a Mexican-style Chicken and Rice dish which has always been a hit. We've also served some of my previous postings, hummus, elotes corn salad and dragon wings at potlucks. These are the sort of dishes where you have to tune the seasoning to the taste of the crowd. My son wants the dragon wings to be hot enough to jump over for luck on Samhein, but I have to remember that many of my neighbors up North here in covered dish country think highly seasoned means putting dill in the sour cream.

Shawn Lea at Everything and Nothing posted her recipe for jambalaya, a traditional throw-together get-together dish.

Riannan of Riannanworld brings us Susan's Hamburger Casserole. It is patently not a low fat dish but that's ok. You can worry about those fat grams when you're at home.

Jennifer at Keewee's Corner brings a Hot Chicken Salad. If your butcher is out of the rare hot chickens, the boneless skinless ones make a good substitute.

Joan at Oasis of Sanity brings an easiest rice pilaf which is no doubt much better than that stuff from a box!

Mensa Barbie welcomes us with Risotto Delicata with Sage

Jane Dough at Boston Gal's Open Wallet brings Easy Curry Chicken and Rice

The rightwingprof of Right Wing Nation submitted two different posts full of Mexican goodies. One way to organize a potluck would be to split these recipes between the participants.

Josh Cohen at Multiple Mentality presents a collection ofSpam Recipes. Not so much a recipe as an interesting -- and unexpected -- place to find them.

David Needham of Third World Country brings a Quick Quasi Stroganoff which sounds plenty good enough. Save the prime flank steak chilled and angle sliced across the grain for another occasion.

Virgil Rogers, the Redneck Gourmet, shares his recipe for moussaka, with enough detail that it isn't eggplant lasagna, not that there would be anything wrong with that.

Trouble at Dubious Wonder brings the Easiest and Best Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip. Easiest and best are important parameters for any recipe, especially for a potluck.

Soups are a hearty and satisfying dish for a food-sharing meal. Do keep in mind that they are not practical for an event where people nibble whilst socializing.

DeputyHeadmistress at The Common Room brings two versions of Split Pea Soup (which she has taken to a potluck before) and a muffin recipe.

Dave Schuler at The Glittering Eye brings Pork Soup (Potée bourguignonne)

Marsha Hudnall at A Weight Lifted brings a Southwest Grilled Chicken Soup

Taleena at Sun Comprehending Glass brings Oxtail Soup

Cathy at Chief Family Officer brings Colleen's Bread Machine Recipe for Whole Wheat Bread which will be perfect for mopping up the last of everything else.

muse at me-ander announces The Very First Kosher Cooking Carnival! and includes some recipes suitable for sharing with everyone.

And for dessert, Punctilious, who has graciously taken over administering this Carnival from its creator, Beth Who Will Be Obeyed, threw together some yogurt sundae bars.

By the way, where we used to live in Chicago, potlucks weren't very common, but when the dominant nationality was West Virginian, some of this would show up now and then and get passed around.

Enjoy it all, and share with your friends and neighbors.


Brian B of Memento Moron showed up late with his Savory Wild Rice. That's OK, it happens a lot at potlucks and people are still hungry. Besides, his dish wouldn't fit the chocolate theme of next week's Carnival.

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Handy Helpful Household Hint

I always took it for granted that everyone absorbed this along with their mother's ammonia and water solution, but I had occasion to share it this week and figured some of my readers might find it usefull as well.

When washing windows, wipe the inside up and down and the outside side to side. That way you'll know which side the remaining streaks are on.

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January 27, 2006

Mexican-style Chicken And Rice

I asked the wee wifey to send me this recipe, because it is perfect for the potluck theme I set for the Carnival. It turns out she had never written it up in Mastercook format, so I got an entire blogpost out of her:

This is one of my potluck, as well as at-home, recipes. Easy and cheap to make. Everyone loves it & asks for the recipe. The nurse I work with at night made it for her family and EVERYONE including the picky eaters AND her mother-in-law went for seconds & thirds. She came back grinning ear to ear and said "that's a keeper" and her family normally doesn't like rice. I originally got this off of Christian TV years ago and it was originally made with instant rice but I've adapted it a bit.

Chicken Broth (may need, may not)
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast -- cut up in about 1" pieces
Frozen Corn
Onion -- diced
Green Pepper -- diced
Garlic -- minced
a bit of oil
Cheddar cheese
ground chili pepper -- optional

You will need 2 cups of salsa per 1 cup of rice. If you don't have quite enough salsa you can use chicken broth to get the 2 cups liquid to 1 cup rice ratio. I generally bake my rice in the oven or the microwave. I find stove-top cooking tends to burn. If baking in the oven place in a 9x13 pan & cover with foil. Bake for about 45 minutes at 325-350 stir 2-3 times during the baking to keep the top rice from getting crunchy. You can make 3 cups rice & 6 cups salsa in a 9x13 pan. To make in a microwave put your ingredients in a microwave safe container (I use a rubbermaid storage container). Loosely put a top on or wax paper on top. Microwave on high in 5 minute increments. Stir after each 5 minutes. It should take about 15-20 minutes to cook up. After 15 minutes, if the rice is still a bit soupy I would recommend recommend microwaving at 60-90 second increments until done. Once you have done this once you will know what the total cooking time is for your amount of rice/salsa in your microwave. You will still need to cook in 5 minute increments because you will want to stir.

While the rice/salsa is cooking ... cook the frozen corn. Use as much as you like. I tend to use the biggest bag of frozen corn I can find, but let your taste be your guide. Obviously, when done, drain the corn.

Saute the onion, green pepper, garlic & chicken. I generally use 2 onions, 1 green pepper (sometimes 2), 1# chicken breast and 1/4 cup diced garlic (yes you read that right, let's just say that Dracula isn't stopping by for a visit to our house any time soon). I prefer very little chicken, but sometimes I'll put in quite a bit of chicken, so it really depends on how much chicken you want in this dish.

When everything is done, mix everything including the cheddar together. We like cheese here so I use a good sized bag. Stir until the cheese melts.

I don't use salt & pepper in this dish as there is salt in the salsa & chicken broth. If you want salt, add some, although no one I have given this recipe to, does add additional salt. If you like things spicier add some ground chili pepper to taste.

This re-heats really well.


She is correct that it reheats well. She'll make as large a batch for the two of us as for the entire third shift at work. I've found that if I sprinkle a little water on it and put it in the nukerwave for a couple three minutes in a closed container it steams up good as new.

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January 26, 2006

Senior Moment

The Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa came up with the notion that requiring me to prove I'm really 55 and not a 20 year old who combed Naicerg Formula into his beard will reduce underage drinking. The most noticable impact of this ordinance is that I rarely buy my beer anywhere inside 'Tosa, but last night the grocery there was uniquely convenient. When the checker keyed in a birthdate for me as required (she presumed to do so without checking my ID) the red stripe coupon printer generated one for me for Ensure nutritional beverage. I hope she arbitrarily put in a birth year much earlier than mine, and neither she nor the marketers of Ensure actually think I'm ready for the stuff.

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January 24, 2006

Might Be...

But actually I'm not. I'm neither Jewish enough nor redneck enough for any of these to apply. Gefilte fish made from carp and gar would be a redneck thing to do, but the grits would be substituted for the matzo meal filler, rather than served along side.

Many where that one was found deal with negative stereotypes, and thus would be offensive if told by anyone else, even if they are jokes which get told in more than one culture. In the long run, sharing ethnic humor could lead to greater understanding.

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Talking Back

Talking back to the blues:

They're on the rack on the back of the door, where you always put them.
Talking back to the conspiracy theorists:
Not reaching the melting point is irrelevant. Steel starts losing strength around 900F, becomes flexible around 1800F and starts to decarb and become crumbly around 2500F.
Talking back to bumper stickers:
You can whirl your own peas, but I don't like mine mushy.
Talking back to the wee wifey:

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January 22, 2006

Going Too Far

It is common to refer to one's ex as "an old flame" but this should not be taken literally.

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Blastoff At Cape Carnivala

The 75th Carnival of the Recipes is up. Being as it at the Coffeeworks, the invitation was for coffee or tea based recipes. I don't drink coffee, it keeps me awake. One recipe I linked last week contains a bit of coffee to heighten the chocolate flavor, but that wouldn't count. I tried doing tea-smoked Cornish hens one time, but it turns out the actual procedure is far more complex and thus my attempt wasn't worth sharing.

To make up for skipping this week, I'll be hosting a potluck next week. In a sense, every Carnival entry is a dish to share, but in keeping with the theme, do offer up a dish suited for such an event.

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January 20, 2006

Simple Solution

My first thought as to Wal-Mart's response to the Maryland bill of attainder was that they should close a sufficient number of stores, and lay off a sufficient number of employees, as to bring their workforce below the number specified in the law. It has, however, come to my attention that Wisconsin's Governor Doyle is contemplating a similar measure. The gambling syndicates wouldn't care about this, so he is no doubt doing it for the teachers' union. Not only would it punish Wal-Mart for not enriching union bosses with their payroll, but it could be a payoff to the healthcare providers which entered into a non-compete agreement with the unions own insurance outfit.

I do not want to lose any of the multiple Wal-Marts and Sams Clubs in my area. They serve different demographics and thus stock different merchandise. I also do not want to lose the Big Lots and Dollar Trees which spring up around Wal-Mart (altho I could do without the Always 99¢). What Wal-Mart needs to do is set up their own health benefits corporation. Maryland has already set a profitable rate for them. They could purchase reinsurance on a massive scale and their only cost would be administration. To add insult to injury, this seperate corporation could be closely held by the members of the Walton family, who could then pocket all the profits.

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I'm Getting Suspicious

I'm starting to wonder if that fershluginna armadillo really even knows how to dance.

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January 17, 2006

Bling It On

Velociman wants a grille. It could be worse. He could want a bumper.

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The New Criterion

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has announced that he will veto the Personal Protection Act "because it won't make Wisconsin residents any safer". A review of the statistics across the country shows this justification to be in error, and I'm pretty sure he knows this. I believe he opposes licensed recognition of our right to bear arms because it would make us less dependent on the government.

Be that as it may, I agree that "because it won't make Wisconsin residents any safer" is an excellent reason to veto legislation, and I expect Doyle to veto all other bills crossing his desk about which this can be said. Furthermore, I call on the State Legislature to repeal all laws currently on the books which do not make Wisconsin residents any safer. A good place to start would be the cold medicine ID law. Not only does this inconvenience everyone, and unfairly disadvantage the same handful of people as the Voter ID bill would, it also serves to give a methamphetamine monopoly to large-scale criminal organizations.

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January 14, 2006


The Carnival of Recipes is up at The Common Room. The Headmistress Zookeeper deserves kudos for a fine job done promptly by a first time host. I hope I can get my next one up as early. It will be a potluck on the 28th of this month, bring a dish to pass.

Of particular note this week is Ellison's contribution. It would appear that is associate Mr. Debonair is familiar with the old college fight song:
Well it's cold roast duck
That makes you want a sammich...

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This Time For Sure

The chocolate chip cookie recipe is one of the great urban legends. The recipe itself has at various times been attributed to Mrs. Fields' cookie stores and to the Nieman Marcus department store. In reality, restaurants either won't reveal a recipe for love nor money or will gladly share it (altho, as did my mother, they will sometimes omit a subtle detail). Nieman Marcus prides themselves on customer service (they once ran an ad in the New Yorker describing how an out of town customer used their charge card to post bail after a post-college football game drunk and disorderly arrest) and have responded to the legend by making a recipe freely available.

Debbi Fields has been even more generous. In The Expert's Guide To 100 Things Everyone Should Know How To Do Well she supplies not only the recipe, but instructions on how to bake them well.

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees - confirm temperature with an oven thermometer, even a cheap one is more accurate than the knob.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, blend the sugars at medium speed. Add the butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. You could do this with a hand mixer, dragging the blades on the side of the bowl, but a stand mixer and rubber scaper will be easier on your arms. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix at medium speed only until just blended.

Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips and blend at low speed until fully combined. Do not overmix.

Press the cookie scoop (Mrs. Fields recommends the Hamilton Beach #40 from a cookware or recipe shop) into the dough and then against the side of the bowl so cookies are consistantly packed. Release the cookie onto an ungreased, light-colored rimless cookie sheet (so they bake evenly - the lip traps heat so those near it overcook), 12 per sheet. Place the cookie sheets in the center of the oven, one above the other, and bake 18 to 22 minutes, till the cookies are golden brown and firm to the touch at the center. If your oven has a window and light (lah-de-da) use them to monitor progress so you don't need to open the oven door).Transfer immediately to a cool surface with a flat metal spatula. Serve to your friends, and tell them you used the genuine Mrs. Fields cookie recipe you found on the Internet.

Surplus scooped balls of cookie dough can be frozen on a cookie pan covered with plastic wrap and then stored in the freezer in a zi-ploc. If you bag them before freezing they will mush together and freeze into a mess.

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January 13, 2006

Hooda Thunk?

When the information about NSA monitering of international communications leaked out, my first thought was not, as it was during similar discussions during the Clinton presidency, that I could set off alarms by discussing reefers with my model railroading friends. Instead, based on what I've learned working in the cellular field about the data attached to every call, I thought about how many places within walking distance of my home I could purchase a phone anonymously for cash. It turns out that I'm not the only one to think of doing this.

On a somewhat related note, in a post about the possibility of America being a fascist state, Kevin Drum, along with some of his commenters, once again demonstrates that it is possible to be a left-liberal foe of the current administration without being a moonbat.

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January 11, 2006

I've Been Bored

Not exactly. I maintain that boredom is a decision, not a condition. I've just had some time and connectivity on my hands.

The number one link at the National Archives.

An alternative to all those eevil SUVs?

Off-label use of a device. Hat dip DeDoc

The ultimate Fisking, found by Lileks.

Not quite what science-fictions foresaw as the communications implant.

She says "I am actually not that interesting." No, she isn't, but I'd love to know her motive.

One of the things I love about my son's canine is that she wouldn't put up with this sort of animal abuse.

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January 10, 2006


It would appear that a disarmed society is an impolite society.


And here's another place facing behavior problems.

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January 09, 2006

Best Drinking Game Ever

I believe a large batch of Bloody Marys would be in order when watching this movie with your friends.

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Naming Rights

The oddly named Club For Growth (who ever heard of encouraging something to grow by clubbing it?) has a link to a news story out of Prague regarding the Czech government's reaction to parents daring to name their son Eliot. When I encounter online debates in which Europeans insist that they are more free than Americans, usually because the cost of their healthcare is hidden in the overall weakness of their economy instead of being visible and because they get to take the exact same long vacation as everyone else, I think of this kind of insidious oppression and shudder. I like living in a country where I can know people named Auntwanette and Penney. When I was growing up, I had a friend name Ethan and knew a couple of young women named Sidney. No government bureaucrat told their parents they were ahead of their time ind they would have to wait a generation.

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January 08, 2006

Ain't Carnivals Great?

Technogypsy is back from taking his kid hunting (we have a similar program in Wisconsin, but it's run by a private individual and his dog, Rocco) and has posted the 73rd Recipe Carnival. It turns out I was not the only one to contribute a borscht recipe. The version from In The Headlights includes the one detail missing from mine. It turns out that the correct bone, the one with a joint on the end, is a shinbone. Had Beth not launched the Carnival I might never have known that.

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January 07, 2006

Russian Cabbage Borscht

Altho most people think of beets when borscht is mentioned, when I was growing up it always meant this hearty beef and cabbage soup, which was one of the best things about winter.

1 lb. beef bones
1 lb. soup meat
6 cups water
1 can tomatoes
1 small head of cabbage, chopped into chunks
1/4 cup raisins
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 lemon, the juice therefrom
2 tbsp sugar

Where we buy our meat, they sell packages of beef bone, sawed into segments 1-1/2 inches thick. We actually buy them for the canine to crunch on, but they are almost perfect for soup. I remember there always being a joint end in the kettle but I don't see those now. The butcher also sells soup or stew meat, already cut into chunks. The cheaper the cut of meat, the better the flavor. Boil the bones and meat in the water for an hour and a half, skimming the stuff which rises to the top every so often. I don't recall that my mother removed the bones at this stage but you might as well. People aren't that understanding any more.

Add everything else but the lemon and sugar, and simmer for at least an hour. Leaving it on the stove while shoveling the snow would be perfect. Add the sour and the sweet, cook a few minutes more, and serve in big bowls with a dollop of sour cream.

You could just use canned beef broth and water, and put everything in the crock pot. My mother would look down her nose at you but the meal would be just about as satisfying.

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January 06, 2006


More evidence that we are approaching the time of science fiction, especially when you consider the progress which has been made cloning sheep.

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January 05, 2006

Live To See It

I wouldn't have expected to find a link to the funniest blonde joke ever at the Speculist.

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Ahead Of His Time

I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
Thomas Jefferson
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Flame Hardened

One of the most amazing discussions in the history of online debate is going on right now in the comments to a post by Bill Quick. It started out with the spewing of filth and despite of server problems which make posting and reading difficult it has evolved into a civil debate. In ten years online I've never seen the like of it.

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The Holiday Has Arrived

As suggested by a song which somehow stopped getting airplay way too early, have yourself a merry Little Christmas.

Posted by triticale at 08:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Way Kewl

Actually, for this particular geekish bit of hackery, cool would be the appropriate spelling.

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January 04, 2006

Quote For The Day

"In a real life, it's better that your story have no plot."

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January 03, 2006

Manay Are Called...

It really isn't a war against Christmas.

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Not Yet

While scanning the new arrivals shelf at the Milwaukee Central Library, I noticed a book entitled Quick & Easy Flower Design. It turns out to be about arranging flowers, not designing them.

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January 02, 2006


We recently received our first-ever senior discount. Altho we had mixed feelings about it, how could we pass up a savings of 35 cents on a couple of blice and a handbag for the wee wifey from Sally?

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