Archive for the ‘Coronavirus/COVID-19’ Category

Happy Independence Day!   Leave a comment

Above:  John Adams

Image in the Public Domain

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On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to declare the independence of the thirteen rebellious colonies from the British Empire.  They approved the finalized text of the Declaration of Independence two days later.

On July 3, John Adams, full of enthusiasm, wrote Abigail regarding the previous day.  He predicted that July 2 would become a great holiday:

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

I propose that we of the United States should, in a responsible manner, of course, celebrate July 2.  We can read from that letter, at least.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 2, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Posted July 2, 2020 by neatnik2009 in Coronavirus/COVID-19, July 2

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Coming Eventually: “New” Saints with Feast Days in July   Leave a comment

Above:  All Saints

Image in the Public Domain

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The COVID-19 pandemic has granted me much more free time than I anticipated I would have when 2020 dawned.  I have spent that free time in a number of ways, including the following:

  1. I have watched some entertaining and poorly made science fiction movies from the 1950s and 1960s.  I have watched the entire run of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who serials (1970-1974).  (By the way, critics of “wokeness” in current Doctor Who would have strong emotional and physical reactions if they were to watch the Jon Pertwee serials closely.  Barry Letts made his positions obvious.)
  2. I have transferred the contents of PUNS BLOG to SUNDRY THOUGHTS and deleted PUNS BLOG.
  3. I have written about many saints at this weblog and posted many lectionary-based devotions through the end of the next liturgical year at spinoffs of this weblog.
  4. I have blogged my way through The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (2001-2002).
  5. Off-blog, I have been taking notes for Revised Common Lectionary-based discussions for Sundays through the end of this liturgical year.
  6. This morning, I started taking notes for Propers 23-25, Year A, otherwise known as October 11, 18, and 25, 2020.  (I intend to complete those notes today.)
  7. I have been leading weekly discussions of lectionary readings via Zoom since May.
  8. I have applied for employment in four cities, all of them sites of universities.  (I would starve intellectually outside of a college or university town.)
  9. I have started reading two books by E. P. Sanders.  I have been reading Jesus and Judaism for my book group.  I have been reading Paul and Palestinian Judaism because I want to do so.
  10. I have been avoiding other people as much as possible since some time in March.  Some days, I have seen other people only through windows.

I have also been working on saints with feast days in July.   I have taken notes on some and drafted posts in ink and longhand on most of those.  I have made plans to take notes on more saints and to draft more posts in ink and longhand.  I have yet to decide when to start writing posts based on these drafts.

More saints are on the way, O readers.

Shalom!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH AUGUSTUS SEISS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF ALFRED RAMSEY, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF CHARLES COFFIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HANS ADOLF BRORSON, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOHN SPARROW-SIMPSON, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND PATRISTICS SCHOLAR

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Disenfranchisement in District 6 of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

The State of Georgia has disenfranchised the residents of District 6 of the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County.

Until a few weeks ago, my councilman was Jerry NeSmith.  He ran for a third term, and I voted for him.  Why not?  NeSmith was a man who did much to build up the community, especially vulnerable members thereof.  He was, according to his colleagues, a bridge-builder.  And NeSmith was responsive to his constituents.  He even sent out nightly emails about COVID-19/Coronavirus, including the most recent numbers for Athens-Clarke County.  NeSmith died suddenly at home on the weekend before the election.

I understand that a dead man cannot be my representative.  However, I insist the fair course of action after a dead candidate has won an election is to hold a new election, not to do what state law specifies:  declaring the losing candidate the winner.  Per state law, the votes of the majority who voted for NeSmith are void.  The losing candidate will join the council forthwith and start his full term in January.  There will be a special election for the last two months of NeSmith’s second term this November.

I resent the State of Georgia for disenfranchising all of us in the majority of voters of District 6 who supported NeSmith.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 19, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Remaining Positive and Focused on the Morally Justifiable   Leave a comment

Above:  The View from the Camera Built Into a Computer on my Desk, June 14, 2020

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We live in times of rapid social and political change.  Change–even that which is morally proper–causes disorientation and disturbance.  Sometimes we ought to be disturbed.  Injustice ought to disturb us. The root word of “conservative” is “conserve.”  Whether one’s conservatism is morally defensible depends on what one seeks to conserve.  Sometimes one should conserve x.  In certain times, reform is proper.  On other occasions, however, only a revolution is morally defensible.  Yet, even in those cases, nobility must extend beyond the cause and encompass the methods, also.

Call me politically correct, if you wish, O reader.  Or call me a radical or a fool.  If you call me a radical and a revolutionary for justice, I will accept the compliment.  I support what Martin Luther King, Jr., called

a moral revolution of values.

I favor the building of a society in which people matter more than money and property.  I favor social and political standards that brook no discrimination and bigotry while granting violators of those standards the opportunity to repent.  I favor altering society and institutions, inculcating in them the awareness that keeping some people “in their place,” that is, subordinate, underpaid, poorly educated, et cetera, harms society as a whole.  I support building up the whole, and individuals in that context.  I oppose celebrating slavery, discrimination, racism, and hatred, whether past or present.  I stand (socially distanced and wearing a mask, of course) with all those, especially of the younger generations, who are rising up peacefully for justice.  The young will, overall, have an easier time adapting to morally necessary change than many members of the older generations will, no matter how devout and well-intentioned many older people may be.  To quote a cliché,

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

St. Paul the Apostle offered timeless advice for confronting evil:

Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good.

–Romans 12:21 (The New Jerusalem Bible, 1985)

May all who seek a more just society pursue that goal with shrewdness, courage, and goodness.  To create a better society without incorporating goodness into methodology is impossible, after all.  May all who reshape society remain positive and focused on the morally justifiable.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN ELLERTON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CARL HEINRICH VON BOGATSKY, HUNGARIAN-GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY FRANCES BLOMFIELD GURNEY, ENGLISH POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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Feast of Clara Louise Maass (June 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Stamp of Clara Louise Maass

Image in the Public Domain

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CLARA LOUISE MAASS (JUNE 28, 1876-AUGUST 24, 1901)

U.S. Lutheran Nurse and Martyr, 1901

A martyr is a person whose lived Christian faith led to death.  By this definition, Clara Louse Maass was a Christian martyr.

Maass comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saint’s Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Our saint’s work was an expression of her Christian faith.  She was the first of nine children of German Lutheran immigrants Robert and Hedwig Maass.  Clara, born in East Orange, New Jersey, on June 28, 1876, studied at the Christina Trefz Training School for Nurses, Newark German Hospital, Newark, New Jersey, from 1893 to 1895.  After graduating, she became a private-duty nurse at that hospital.  Our saint, the head nurse at the Newark German Hospital at the age of 21 years, volunteered for service in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War (1898).  The Army stationed our saint in Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Santiago, Cuba.  Then the Army discharged Maass in February 1899.

Later that year, Maass returned to Army service.  She arrived in the Philippines in November 1899.  The following October, our saint answered the request of Dr. Carlos Juan Finlay, sanitary officer in Havana, Cuba.  He posited that mosquito bites spread yellow fever.  (He was correct.)  Maass volunteered for mosquito bites.  The first mosquito bit her in June 1901.  Maass came down with a mild case of yellow fever.  After she recovered, our saint volunteered for a second bite on August 14, 1901.  She died ten years later.  Maass was 25 years old.

Our saint’s death was crucial.  The resulting outcry terminated human experimentation in that medical research project.  Her sacrifice was not in vain; it helped accelerate the pace of research that saved the lives of many people.

Medical professionals frequently risk their lives for the sake of saving lives.  I draft this post during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, a time during which news stories of dedicated doctors and nurses are plentiful.  Also, some people are volunteering to become test subjects for possible vaccines.  They are risking their lives, too.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALCUIN OF YORK, ABBOT OF TOURS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS COLUMBA OF RIETI AND OSANNA ANDREASI, DOMINICAN MYSTICS

THE FEAST OF JOHN ELIOT, “THE APOSTLE TO THE INDIANS”

THE FEAST OF MARIÁ ANGÉLICA PÉREZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROSE HAWTHORNE LATHROP, FOUNDRESS OF THE DOMINICAN SISTERS OF HAWTHORNE

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Gracious Lord, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives for the message of your love.

Inspire us with the memory of those martyrs for the Gospel

[like your servant Clara Louise Maass]

whose faithfulness led them in the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with

our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Blogging Update–May 15, 2020   Leave a comment

Above:  The View from My Desk, May 14, 2020, According to One of My Laptop Computers

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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BLOGGING MY WAY THROUGH SHELTERING IN PLACE

A consistent theme in my life since 2016 has been being either well-informed or well-adjusted.  I have chosen the latter.  I have reaffirmed my choice since the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic began.  While reckless politicians (many of whom mockingly identify as pro-life) on all levels of government place our lives in danger in the name of the Almighty Dollar (their deity), I opt not to turn into General George C. Patton‘s ideal man, one who can swear consistently for three minutes without repeating a word.  The Almighty God will render a verdict in a court beyond any human jurisdiction.  May voters render the proper verdict in elections and otherwise hold those who risk their lives recklessly accountable, constitutionally.  Regardless of whether voting is a feasible option, may government officials in a position to ensure responsible government for the common good do so.  As the Law of Moses teaches, we are all responsible to and for each other, and we all depend on each other, as well as entirely on God.

I seldom venture out among people.  (I do, however, enjoy walking alone in the nearby woods.)  When I do venture out among people, I wear a mask and stay as far away from them as possible.  I have used a hair trimmer to give myself one buzz cut.  I have decided to do that again, whenever I will need another haircut, indefinitely.  I also feel nervous as I strive to behave in a socially responsible and moral manner.  Just as what I do affects others, what others do affects me.

I have been spending much time blogging.  As of today, I have scheduled 50 posts to publish here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  I have scheduled new posts about saints to publish through June 6.  I have decided to give the saints a rest until after July.  (I do plan, however, to revise the July calendar of saints very soon, create its reset mode, and make a list of people to consider adding for the time I will return to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.)  I have also scheduled the transfer of material from the former PUNS BLOG to continue daily through June 12.  Furthermore, I have written and published lectionary-based devotions for church year 2020-2021 at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS, and LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS.  I had already published the first set of these devotions at ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS.

The Chronicle Title

Above:  The Title Card of The Chronicle:  News from the Edge

A Screen Capture

I have also decided to begin a new project at this weblog.  The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (2001-2002) was a series the Sci-Fi Channel aired for one season.  I delighted to find all 22 episodes at archive.org then to binge-watch the series as I took mental notes.  I have decided to blog my way through the series, episode by episode, and to consider each episode in the context of the other 21 episodes.  The setting of The Chronicle was the World Chronicle, based somewhat on the Weekly World News.  The premise of the series was that the stories were true.  I watched some episodes from 2001 and 2002, but missed many of them at the time.  My memory of the series was vague; I remembered isolated scenes and pieces of dialogue, however.  After watching the series from beginning to end recently, I have concluded that it was a combination of Kolchak:  The Night Stalker, The X Files, and Northern Exposure, tonally.

Writing about The Chronicle should be fun and wonderfully distracting.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Dr. Fauci, Public Servant   Leave a comment

Dr. Anthony Fauci is a dedicated public servant, an expert in public health, and a teller of the truth.  He is a teller of uncomfortable and inconvenient truths.  He seeks to save as many lives as possible.  Fauci deserves as much support and praise as possible, especially during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

Donald Trump and his lackeys in some media outlets oppose Fauci.  Trump wants Fauci fired.  Rush Limbaugh and others are trying to discredit the good doctor.  Trump would be happiest if only sycophants surrounded him as he evades his responsibility for his decisions.  This tendency works against the common good.

I sympathize with the desire for the pandemic and social distancing to end.  I want many people to be able to get back to work immediately, but safely.  When governments lift necessary disease-related restrictions prematurely, diseases return.  I also want public policy to have its roots in objective reality and to be responsible regarding human lives.  Is that too much to ask?

I hope not.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 13, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Blogging and Writing Update   Leave a comment

Above:  My Writing Desk, April 4, 2020

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 AND SHELTERING IN PLACE

Samuel L. Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, said that there are

lies, damn lies, and statistics.

While certain elected government officials have been telling damn lies daily in front of cameras and compounding their errors by denying their previous, documented damn lies, I have been avoiding other human beings almost constantly.  I have been following the advice of people–medical and public health officials, mainly–who refrain from telling damn lies about Coronavirus/COVID-19.

I have spent much of my free time working on hagiographies and lectionary-based devotions.  I have been adding posts about saints here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  I have also been taking notes on saints and drafting posts about them long-hand, in a composition book, as I have been working through my list of “new” saints with feast days in May.  Furthermore, I have drafted 16 of 24 remaining posts for Year C of the Humes lectionary, a four-year reading plan I found online years ago.  I have been publishing posts tied to the Humes lectionary at LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS and BLOGA THEOLOGICA most recently.  I have been drafting the newest posts for ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS and BLOGA THEOLOGICA.

What remains in the short-term, for however long shelter-in-place orders remain?

  1. Publishing already-drafted posts for Easter season in Year C of the Humes lectionary,
  2. Drafting eight more posts for Year C of the Humes lectionary,
  3. Publishing all twenty-four remaining posts for the Season after Pentecost in Year C of the Humes lectionary,
  4. Completing and publishing a few more saints with feast days in May,
  5. Beginning work of “new” saints with feast days in June, and
  6. Drafting and posting twenty-seven new posts,to round out Year 1, based on the lectionary from A Book of Worship for Free Churches (1948).

Be and remain well, everyone.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 4, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BENEDICT THE AFRICAN, FRANCISCAN FRIAR AND HERMIT

THE FEAST OF ALFRED C. MARBLE, JR., EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MISSISSIPPI THEN ASSISTING BISHOP OF NORTH CAROLINA

THE FEAST OF ERNEST W. SHURTLEFF, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER, AND MARTYR, 1968

THE FEAST OF SIDNEY LOVETT, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND CHAPLAIN OF YALE UNIVERSITY

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Posted April 4, 2020 by neatnik2009 in Coronavirus/COVID-19

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Perilous Times   1 comment

Above:  Cain after Abel’s Murder

Image in the Public Domain

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A CALL FOR MUTUALITY IN SOCIETIES AND POLITICS

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“Am I my brother’s guardian?”

–Cain, to YHWH, in Genesis 4:9, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

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Principles matter.  One of these vital principles is the high value of human life.

Wishful thinking will imperil, not save, us from Coronavirus/COVID-19.  All of us–from average citizens to world leaders–must act for the common good.  Necessary and proper actions may be more than inconvenient; they may involve sacrifice.  Good choices are scarce at best and absent at worst these days.  Given bad options, individuals, families, communities, leaders, societies, et cetera, need to act according to the least bad options in a woefully imperfect world.  Perhaps, then, we will not make a bad situation worse, and may improve it, in time.

I lower the boom, rhetorically, on all irresponsible people.  These include politicians who contradict medical and public health experts who are following the data.  Governments must not, for example, ease restrictions prematurely.  To do so would make a bad situation worse.  These irresponsible people also include individuals who disregard social distancing rules and have “Coronavirus parties,” for example.  Other irresponsible people include college and university presidents and chancellors who permit students back on campus prematurely.

I understand the desire to return to life as it was.  That, however, is a form of wishful thinking.  Reality is harsh; we cannot return to life as it was.  Even after this pandemic has ended, we will not return to life as it was.  Whenever that time will arrive, may it find us–as individuals, families, communities, leaders, societies, et cetera–better than we were before the pandemic started.  May we think more about our responsibilities to and for each other, and how much we depend on each other and on God.  May we have a stronger sense that, when we keep any segment of the population “in its place,” we harm the whole.  May we be faster to eschew all bigotry, especially racism, xenophobia, and nativism, and to realize that we, as people, have more in common than not.  May we adjust our economies in ways that are necessary and proper to adapt to the new reality and to decrease poverty.  And may we, collectively, hold leaders and ourselves to a higher standard relative to the common good and replace those we ought to replace.

We all belong to God and each other, after all.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 25, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT DISMAS, PENITENT BANDIT

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/perilous-times/

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Governance and Rhetoric, Responsible and Irresponsible, in the Age of COVID-19   Leave a comment

The following statement should never be controversial, but it is, unfortunately.

NO PUNDIT OR PUBLIC OFFICIAL SHOULD CONTRADICT THE BEST EVIDENCE OF MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH DURING THIS PANDEMIC.

Yet some do.  This week, a Congressman from Alaska, addressing elderly people, dismissed Coronavirus as a “beer virus.”  Donald Trump, after having initially dismissed the threat of COVID-19, has continued to contradict medical and public health experts and to lie about related matters, from treatments to his own documented track record.  He knew about the threat in January and February, but dismissed it.  Recently, however, he has insisted that he has always taken the threat seriously.

As John Adams said during a trial in the 1770s,

Facts are stubborn things.

This is especially true in times of recording technology.

Besides, what passes for Trump’s character is unseemly, racist, nativistic, xenophobic, and unfit for public office, especially during a crisis.  He likes to claim credit for what he has not done and to evade responsibility for what he has done.  He dislikes objective reality, fosters a cult of personality, thinks that people should be loyal to him (not the United States and its Constitution), prefers dictators to democratic leaders, and encourages objectively false conspiracy theories.  The man is a threat to the United States of America and the world.  The Constitution works only when people in a position to make it work act to make it work.  I, a Consitutionalist, call upon people to act accordingly.

This is a time at which we Americans should be able to trust what the President of the United States says.  Unfortunately, we have Il Duce with bad hair.

I live in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, a unified government.  (The City of Athens merged with Clarke County.)  When Mayor Kelly Girtz releases a video message (available on YouTube), I believe him, for he bases his statements and decisions on objective reality.  The unified government is consulting medical and public health officials then taking their advice.  My local government is governing as it should–responsibly–during this pandemic.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

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