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H.L. Mencken

I never smoked a cigarette until I was nine.

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Finding Oneself......... [EXTREMELY LONG; Growing Up; Relationships; Humor

Part One

When Bri was 13 and in grade 8,
he noticed classmates beginning to date.
At school (other) boys got their way with the girls with a kiss.
But Bri didn't have the urge; he thought 'what's this? '
He decided he should give it a try,
but each time he tried, the girl would cry.
Not only would she cry; she would run away and hide.
Bri felt between himself and the other boys a great divide.

Back home after school he'd seclude himself in his room and cry.
Through his mind was repeated the question 'why? ' 'Why DO they cry? Why? '

Bri was a straight A+ student with no flubs.
He played football but (except for 'Cooking') he joined not clubs.

After a few months Bri gave up (on girls) . He had NO close friends to set him right;
his parents should have known the problem, but they weren't bright.

In high school he took AP courses, and took 3 courses at a nearby college.
He ignored girls and sports and concentrated on gaining knowledge.

He got a full scholarship to Harvard, but his advisor looked at him funny.
By age 26 he had his PhD in psychology and started making money.
But he still asked 'why? '
It still bothered him and at times he'd cry.

Then waking up one day from a dream, Bri suddenly asked himself 'were they shy?
And if so, why with ME and not the other boys? Why DID they cry? '
The answer could be that his brain and looks were superior.
Were those girls only uncomfortable with boys that were inferior (to him) ?
If that really was the answer, he could now save face,
and could pursue women with HIS high level of brains, looks, and grace.
(But WAS it the answer? He was still not SURE why they did cry.)
For now he would work hard, avoid girls, and try to keep his eyes dry.
In two more years would be a second high school reunion. Thoughts of attending gave Bri a fright. (He'd skipped the first,5 year, reunion.)
But by going this time he might find out if his answer to his 'why? ' was right.

PART TWO

For two more years he waited anxiously for invitation he was dreading.
At times he'd awaken at night from a 'reunion dream', profusely sweating.
Finally it arrived in mail; it would be in June, before it got TOO warm.
He kept his calendar free for the whole month, doubting, at work, he could perform.
He got out the yearbooks his Mom had bought, and he studied each girl's name.
Would he have the nerve to ask them 'why? ' ….OR would he be too scared and lame?

He lived on sedatives for a week. He picked his favorite tie, and a light grey business suit.
Would he find out if the girls had just been shy, or would they give him 'the boot'?

[...] Read more

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Medley: Fool For A Cigarette/feelin Good

(sidney bailey)/(j.b. lenoir/jim dickinson)
Uhm, Im a fool for a cigarette
Lord, Im fool for a cigarette
When youve finished choke it cause I wanna smoke it
Lord, Im fool for a cigarette
Mind when you throw your cigarette
Mind when you throw your cigarette
When youve finished choke it cause I wanna smoke it
Lord, Im fool for a cigarette
Lord, Im fool for a cigarette
Uhm, Im fool for a cigarette
When youve finished choke it cause I wanna smoke it
Lord, Im fool for a cigarette
Feelin good, feelin good
All the money in the world spent onl feelin good
Well, the wino met me on the streets
Said, help me on to some sneakin pete
Please, help me brother, I wish you would
cause I feel so bad and I wanna feel good
Feelin good, feelin good
All the money in the world is spent on feelin good
Well, you see them folks all dressed so fine
Dancing, drinking champagne and wine
Theyd pinch your pockets now if they could
cause they aint doing nothing but feelin good
Feelin good, feelin good
All the money in the world is spent on feelin good
Red, yellow, black or tan
Makes no difference: a mans a man
They oughta live together now if they could
Then the whole wide world would be feelin good
Feelin good, feelin good
All the money in the world spent on feelin good
Feelin good, feelin good
All the money in the world spent on feelin good

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Herman Melville

The Scout Toward Aldie

The cavalry-camp lies on the slope
Of what was late a vernal hill,
But now like a pavement bare-
An outpost in the perilous wilds
Which ever are lone and still;
But Mosby's men are there -
Of Mosby best beware.

Great trees the troopers felled, and leaned
In antlered walls about their tents;
Strict watch they kept; 'twas Hark! and Mark!
Unarmed none cared to stir abroad
For berries beyond their forest-fence:
As glides in seas the shark,
Rides Mosby through green dark.

All spake of him, but few had seen
Except the maimed ones or the low;
Yet rumor made him every thing-
A farmer-woodman-refugee-
The man who crossed the field but now;
A spell about his life did cling -
Who to the ground shall Mosby bring?

The morning-bugles lonely play,
Lonely the evening-bugle calls -
Unanswered voices in the wild;
The settled hush of birds in nest
Becharms, and all the wood enthralls:
Memory's self is so beguiled
That Mosby seems a satyr's child.

They lived as in the Eerie Land-
The fire-flies showed with fairy gleam;
And yet from pine-tops one might ken
The Capitol dome-hazy-sublime-
A vision breaking on a dream:
So strange it was that Mosby's men
Should dare to prowl where the Dome was seen.

A scout toward Aldie broke the spell. -
The Leader lies before his tent
Gazing at heaven's all-cheering lamp
Through blandness of a morning rare;
His thoughts on bitter-sweets are bent:
His sunny bride is in the camp -
But Mosby - graves are beds of damp!

The trumpet calls; he goes within;
But none the prayer and sob may know:

[...] Read more

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A Man

George was lying in his trailer, flat on his back, watching a small portable T.V. His
dinner dishes were undone, his breakfast dishes were undone, he needed a shave, and ash
from his rolled cigarettes dropped onto his undershirt. Some of the ash was still burning.
Sometimes the burning ash missed the undershirt and hit his skin, then he cursed, brushing
it away. There was a knock on the trailer door. He got slowly to his feet and answered the
door. It was Constance. She had a fifth of unopened whiskey in a bag.
"George, I left that son of a bitch, I couldn't stand that son of a bitch
anymore."
"Sit down."
George opened the fifth, got two glasses, filled each a third with whiskey, two thirds
with water. He sat down on the bed with Constance. She took a cigarette out of her purse
and lit it. She was drunk and her hands trembled.
"I took his damn money too. I took his damn money and split while he was at work.
You don't know how I've suffered with that son of a bitch." "
Lemme have a smoke," said George. She handed it to him and as she leaned near,
George put his arm around her, pulled her over and kissed her.
"You son of a bitch," she said, "I missed you."
"I miss those good legs of yours , Connie. I've really missed those good
legs."
"You still like 'em?"
"I get hot just looking."
"I could never make it with a college guy," said Connie. "They're too
soft, they're milk toast. And he kept his house clean. George , it was like having a maid.
He did it all. The place was spotless. You could eat beef stew right off the crapper. He
was antiseptic, that's what he was."
"Drink up, you'll feel better."
"And he couldn't make love."
"You mean he couldn't get it up?"
"Oh he got it up, he got it up all the time. But he didn't know how to make a
woman happy, you know. He didn't know what to do. All that money, all that education, he
was useless."
"I wish I had a college education."
"You don't need one. You have everything you need, George."
"I'm just a flunky. All the shit jobs."
"I said you have everything you need, George. You know how to make a woman
happy."
"Yeh?"
"Yes. And you know what else? His mother came around! His mother! Two or three
times a week. And she'd sit there looking at me, pretending to like me but all the time
she was treating me like I was a whore. Like I was a big bad whore stealing her son away
from her! Her precious Wallace! Christ! What a mess!" "He claimed he loved me.
And I'd say, 'Look at my pussy, Walter!' And he wouldn't look at my pussy. He said, 'I
don't want to look at that thing.' That thing! That's what he called it! You're not afraid
of my pussy, are you, George?"
"It's never bit me yet." "But you've bit it, you've nibbled it, haven't
you George?"
"I suppose I have."
"And you've licked it , sucked it?"
"I suppose so."
"You know damn well, George, what you've done."

[...] Read more

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Wish my pain was a cigarette

Wish my pain was a cigarette,
It would have been touch by you

Wish my pain was a cigarette,
It would have had the comfort of your hand

Wish my pain was a cigarette,
I would have been on your lips

Wish my pain was a cigarette,
It would have been consumed with time

Wish my pain was a cigarette,
It would have ended in an ashtray

Wish my pain was a cigarette,
It would have been thrown away

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I'm Sick Of It

I'm sick, sick, sick of cigarette addiction
I'm sick of movies and their dishonest depiction
That smoking is glamorous, sophisticated and cool
When what it really is is something that rules

The cigarette addict from morning to night
And all the hours in between, they can never take flight
From the constant nagging fear that they must inhale the fumes
Of a deadly poison that will lead them to their doom

A cigarette addict can barely do a thing
Without a cigarette, it's got them on a string
They have to smoke it now, it just cannot wait
And then, another and another, they've really taken the bait

A cigarette addict is as helpless as a lamb
On a frosty hillside with no mother to keep it warm
Their mind is so confused that they actually believe
A cigarette is their saviour, they are so deceived

(Sydney, Australia - 2003)

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Smoke

Last summer, lazing by the sea,
I met a most entrancing creature,
Her black eyes quite bewildered me---
She had a Spanish cast of feature.

She often smoked a cigarette,
And did it in the cutest fashion.
Before a week passed by she set
My young heart in a raging passion.

I swore I loved her as my life,
I gave her gems (don't tell my tailor).
She promised to become my wife,
But whispered, 'Papa is my jailer.'

'We must be very sly, you see,
For Papa will not list to reason.
You must not come to call on me
Until he's gone from home a season.

'I'll send you word, now don't forget,
Take this as pledge, I will remember.'
She gave me a perfumed cigarette,
And turned and left me with September.

To-day she sent her 'cards' to me.
'My presence asked' to see her marry
That millionaire old banker C---
She has my 'presents,' so I'll tarry.

And still I feel a keen regret
(About the jewels that I gave her)
I've smoked the little cigarette---
It had a most delicious flavour.

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I Dreamt Of My Father Last Night

I dreamt of my father last night
with an indifferent boy to his height
out from a hazy meadow into my sight

on his face was this grave grin
as he paused a little for me to join
while the boy looked away in vague pain

I might have been curious who he was
but father took out his cigarette case
that exuded its old taciturn wince

humbly I took the cigarette
though we both had long since quit
and leaned forward for father to light it

somehow my rusty puff snuffed out father’s light
the only inexplicable one for the night
while my apologetically lit cigarette was alright

I handed it over for father to light his cigarette
which he puffed hard but could not manage it
even if the two were closely joint tête-à-tête

knowing it was a dream I did not want daylight
in that haziness my cigarette was only thing alight
I waited and waited for father to get his light —

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Joint At Deathbed

I smoked a joint
at my granddad’s deathbed.
In the living room of
childhood memories
Inhaling and Exhaling
blue plumes of smoke
Hours before he
drew HIS
last breath.

And
sitting at his deathbed.
as the grandfather clock struck
and the streetlamp outside the window
was turned on
and later off
I made my peace with God
and all consuming time

I smoked a joint
at my granddad’s deathbed
Putting my hand on
his
he spoke, his voice a pale whisper.
“Nothing can be done about it”
These last words to me
from a dying old man.

I smoked a joint
At my granddad’s deathbed.
Sweet soothing numbness
Held sadness and sorrow at bay.
Unspoken words of gratitude
milling around inside
but alas
a day too late.
and “nothing could be done about it”

I smoked a joint
at my granddad’s deathbed.
in cold cool contemplation
alone in the darkness, I understood:
All you hold dear will perish.
summer holidays,
friendships,
love,
life.
And no,
“nothing can be done about it”

[...] Read more

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The Ballad Of Salvation Bill

'Twas in the bleary middle of the hard-boiled Arctic night,
I was lonesome as a loon, so if you can,
Imagine my emotions of amazement and delight
When I bumped into that Missionary Man.
He was lying lost and dying in the moon's unholy leer,
And frozen from his toes to finger-tips'
The famished wolf-pack ringed him; but he didn't seem to fear,
As he pressed his ice-bond Bible to his lips.

'Twas the limit of my trap-line, with the cabin miles away,
And every step was like a stab of pain;
But I packed him like a baby, and I nursed him night and day,
Till I got him back to health and strength again.
So there we were, benighted in the shadow of the Pole,
And he might have proved a priceless little pard,
If he hadn't got to worrying about my blessed soul,
And a-quotin' me his Bible by the yard.

Now there was I, a husky guy, whose god was Nicotine,
With a "coffin-nail" a fixture in my mug;
I rolled them in the pages of a pulpwood magazine,
And hacked them with my jack-knife from the plug.
For, Oh to know the bliss and glow that good tobacco means,
Just live among the everlasting ice . . .
So judge my horror when I found my stock of magazines
Was chewed into a chowder by the mice.

A woeful week went by and not a single pill I had,
Me that would smoke my forty in a day;
I sighed, I swore, I strode the floor; I felt I would go mad:
The gospel-plugger watched me with dismay.
My brow was wet, my teeth were set, my nerves were rasping raw;
And yet that preacher couldn't understand:
So with despair I wrestled there - when suddenly I saw
The volume he was holding in his hand.

Then something snapped inside my brain, and with an evil start
The wolf-man in me woke to rabid rage.
"I saved your lousy life," says I; "so show you have a heart,
And tear me out a solitary page."
He shrank and shrivelled at my words; his face went pewter white;
'Twas just as if I'd handed him a blow:
And then . . . and then he seemed to swell, and grow to Heaven's height,
And in a voice that rang he answered: "No!"

I grabbed my loaded rifle and I jabbed it to his chest:
"Come on, you shrimp, give me that Book," says I.
Well sir, he was a parson, but he stacked up with the best,
And for grit I got to hand it to the guy.
"If I should let you desecrate this Holy Word," he said,

[...] Read more

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9 Miles On A Dirty Futon

I spent nine miles with her.
in a cheap apartment.
Boxed wine and cheeses with exotic sounding names.
Eaten on a blanket on the floor as we had no table.
we had no couch,
we had no television.
But we had music.

At night we would lay on a futon matress
that layed on the floor.
The streetlight outside the bedroom window playing shadows across sections of her.
First her eyes were lit, the rest of her awash in shadows,
then,
when she turned,
her mouth was visible,
but her eyes were shadowed.
A breast, a thigh, her hair all illuminated
then darkened
according to her movments.

Sometimes she would lie on her back and light a cigarette.
Her whole face would light with the flash of the lighter,
like hand held lightining,
then darken again.
We would talk for hours on that futon,
I don't remember what was said...
I remember her in pieces of light and shadow.

When she smoked the light would turn the smoke in to a slow
languid serpent
escaping from her body through her mouth and nose.
I have never seen anyone smoke like that before or since.
Her face half lit by the streetlight.

She would speak and the words would drift out of her
entwined with the smoke.
She smoked like Garbo.
slow and seductive.

9 years with her and all my memories are of shadows, soft sodium streetlights, and orange cigarette glow.

9 years with her and all I remember are the lights and shadows
across her body.
On that futon matress
on the floor.

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If We Cant Have You

Hang a picture up on your wall
Tighten all the nails so it dont fall
In this picture, could have been a picture of my face
Something painful, went and took its place
If he cant have you, guess that no one else will
Watch him think a while, smoke a cigarette and smile as I frown
If he cant have you, guess that no one else will
Watch him think a while, smoke a cigarette and smile as I frown
Drink your coffee in the morning,
And at night, go and drink your beer
All along you dont feel so welcome here
And I walk by, and you steer clear
You always said, itd come passionate here
Dont like what you see, you dont like what you hear
If he cant have you, guess that no one else will
Watch him think a while, smoke a cigarette and smile as I frown
If he cant have you, guess that no one else will
Watch him think a while, smoke a cigarette and smile as I frown

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Julie and You in Trafalgar Square

Julie sat on one
of the fountain walls
in Trafalgar Square
and lit a cigarette

she looked about her
as if she were onto
something harder
as if she had some one

looking at her
from some secret place
you gazed at her
unused to seeing her

not in her hospital
dressing gown
and slippered feet
her hair had been brushed neat

and makeup applied
and she said
I was picked up here
some months back

by some guy
who wanted sex
he thought
I was a pro

and the things
he asked for
god that was the worse
and with that

she paused
and stared at the Square
at the people
and the pigeons

and she inhaled deep
and then exhaled
blowing the smoke
out of the corner

of her mouth
like you'd seen done
in the movies
what did you say

[...] Read more

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Serene Saturday

Serene Saturday

It's Saturday
and I’m listening to the football
on the radio
It's Saturday
and I’m listening to the football
while slurping my coffee
and having a cigarette

It's not my team who are playing
they play tomorrow
I'm on the brink of falling asleep
but I’m fighting it
My leg is twitching, must be the coffee
I’ve drank too much of it today
Meanwhile my cigarette has burned out in the ashtray

The football has just finished as I wake up,
the classified results are being read out
I light up a cigarette and lie back with my eyes closed
and I remember my dream, 'I’ve had weirder' I think to myself
taking a drag of my cigarette
I wonder, should I get some beer tonight? Decisions, decisions,
yeah, I probably will, maybe cider, yeah, beer and cider...yeah

Andrew Matthews
01/05/2002
16: 26: 01

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Grandpa Was A Carpenter

Oh, grandpa wore his suit to dinner nearly every day
No particular reason, he just dressed that way
Brown necktie with a matching vest and both his wingtip shoes
He built a closet on our back porch and put a penny in a burned-out fuse
Grandpa was a carpenter, he built houses, stores and banks
Chain-smoked camel cigarettes, and hammered nails in planks
He would level on the level, he shaved even every door
And voted for eisenhower, cause lincoln won the war
Well, he used to sing me blood on the saddle and rock me on his knee
And let me listen to the radio before we got tv
Well, hed drive to church on sunday and hed take me with him too
Stained glass in every window, hearing aids in every pew
Grandpa was a carpenter, he built houses, stores and banks
Chain-smoked camel cigarettes, and hammered nails in planks
He would level on the level, he shaved even every door
And voted for eisenhower, cause lincoln won the war
Well, my grandma was a teacher, she went to school in bowling green
Traded in a milking cow for a singer sewing machine
Well, she called her husband mister, and she walked real tall and proud
She used to buy me comic books after grandpa died
Grandpa was a carpenter, he built houses, stores and banks
Chain-smoked camel cigarettes, and hammered nails in planks
He would level on the level, he shaved even every door
And voted for eisenhower, cause lincoln won the war

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How the Revolution Started

The bearded amoeba
Quietly smoked his pipe.
The servant came in
And said:
The crocodile is ready
But the president cannot make today
The apple pie.

The bearded amoeba
Quietly smoked his pipe.
Yes, the dentist is in Venice
To make the root canal,
The servant said.
The crocodile was looking
At the sky.

Then suddenly
An angry cat
Began to puff and pant.

An orchestra was playing
In a distant café.

The bearded amoeba
Quietly smoked his pipe.
It is time to start the revolution
Mao said,
Rising from a chair.

A portrait of Lenin
Began to shine
On the wall.

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The Smoking Frog

Three men I saw beside a bar,
Regarding o'er their bottle,
A frog who smoked a rank cigar
They'd jammed within its throttle.

A Pasha frog it must have been
So big it as and bloated;
And from its lips the nicotine
In graceful festoon floated.

And while the trio jeered and joked,
As if it quite enjoyed it,
Impassively it smoked and smoked,
(It could now well avoid it).

A ring of fire its lips were nigh
Yet it seemed all unwitting;
It could not spit, like you and I,
Who've learned the art of spitting.

It did not wink, it did not shrink,
As there serene it squatted'
Its eyes were clear, it did not fear
The fate the Gods allotted.

It squatted there with calm sublime,
Amid their cruel guying;
Grave as a god, and all the time
It knew that it was dying.

And somehow then it seemed to me
These men expectorating,
Were infinitely less than he,
The dumb thing they were baiting.

It seemed to say, despite their jokes:
"This is my hour of glory.
It isn't every frog that smokes:
My name will live in story."

Before its nose the smoke arose;
The flame grew nigher, nigher;
And then I saw its bright eyes close
Beside that ring of fire.

They turned it on its warty back,
From off its bloated belly;
It legs jerked out, then dangled slack;
It quivered like a jelly.

[...] Read more

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I Told You I Was Ill

I'm lying on a cold wet slab,
I seem unable to breathe,
Is it because I smoked too much?
That thought just makes me seethe.

The pathologist said as he went in,
The cause of death I think,
Is the fact this guy smoked far too much?
He also enjoyed his drink.

I'm trying my best to answer back,
I want to make it clear,
That what he's saying is rubbish,
I should not be lying here.

I've never felt like this before,
Could someone tell me why?
Is it something that I've said?
I didn't ask to die.

The last thing I remember was,
Sipping whisky and having a smoke,
As I inhaled my cigarette,
I started to bloody choke.

As I stood up to clear my throat,
My chest felt really sore,
I careered at speed across the room,
Then landed on the floor

I then looked down upon myself,
As I lay flat on my back,
The people all around me said,
Of breath there is a lack.

As my relatives stand over me,
They're saying I look quite void,
What do they expect of me,
To be looking overjoyed.

One of them said he's now at peace,
He's looking really well,
I'm dead you stupid imbecile,
I hope you rot in hell.

I cannot move my arms or legs,
I'm feeling pretty rigid,
My wife is telling all out loud,
I told you he was frigid.

[...] Read more

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Cigarettes and Me

It's really strange to me, I fault the companies
Tobacco companies, Big Cancer
For their inefficiency. All my life
I never smoked a cigarette, not a single one
Nor even a sweet toke - in that respect
Hash cookies did for me, once and decisively.

My Mum smoked occasionally, sort of socially
But Dad, he never did, though he was in the war
I wonder what he did for comfort
To relieve anxiety and pain, when members of his crew
Disappeared without a word and were not seen again.

I must have had a rather stress-free life, how come
They failed to hook me, reel me in at school
No ciggies in the playground. Why? At college
I was mildly into alcohol. That didn't last too long
It was travel, close encounters with the continent
Called Africa that made me wild and high.

I ended up with Big C anyway
But I'm not coughing out my guts at least
Unlike the original Marlborough men
With damaged lungs, cancer of throat and tongue
I managed to escape all that, fell through the cracks
Neither macho nor gay, bohemian, sophisticate
And now it's so much easier. Every place you go

'No Smoking' signs proliferate. For me at least
They do not come too late.

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An Ode to Greybeard

After leaving the convenience store, we smoked cigarettes insatiately, and were approached by a man with a long grey face, pink from the chilled wind.
Homeless, the man made due with a pile of jackets.

Spare a cigarette? He asked, like clockwork. And received what he bade for.
Without breaking his sight of his caretaker's eyes, he bit the filter out of the end and inhaled so deeply, he must have drank the smoke.

Thanks, pal - crept out from under his mustache and snuck by his cigarette.
His eyes turned slowly to meet mine and were as grey as his beard.
- Remember me when I die

He spoke also - with his eyes.
And mine spoke back - he knew I would
A legacy is only memory.

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