Archive for June, 2007


Monday Big Words Update! Week 31 on stands/Rooftop Appearance Available via podcast!

June 25, 2007

Okay then!

This week’s issue of Night Life magazine is out with a Big Words installment of ‘A Vacation From My Problems!’, a rant about the angst of returning from, well, vacation.  With all the vacations and social engagements I’ve had in the last month, I haven’t had a whole lot of free time to write any new columns, so odds are that I’ll be running a few unseen classics for July, so keep your eyes peeled.

Also, Lisa Forrest (the founder of the Rooftop Poetry Club) informs me that my April appearance/reading at Buffalo State College is now available via the miracle of podcast on their web site.  If you want to give it a listen, click over to:

Do me a favor and ignore the photo.  For some reason, it looks like I’m wearing lipstick in that picture.  It must’ve been the Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. 

Also, don’t forget that I’ll be reading and signing books this Saturday at 7pm at the Caz Coffee Cafe on Abbot Rd. in South Buffalo along with Carrie Spadter and Susan Marie.  We had so much fun last time there that we decided to schedule another event once the weather was nicer.  Stop on out, buy ten books and hear some rants!  That’s all I’ve got for today.  Stay tuned for more updates!  Thanks,

Tom Waters 


Monday Big Words Update! Week 30 on Stands/Minneapolis Interview Podcast Up!

June 18, 2007

Has it been 30 columns already?  Wow.  Well, that just sailed by.  I guess we’re over the hump with my year-goal on the Big Words I Know By Heart print column, so don’t forget to grab this week’s Night Life featuring ‘Feedback Distortion’, a diatribe about the twisted sort of comments from twisted people that I get from my print articles.  It pertained mostly to the Buffalo News My View columns that have run over the years (they rejected ‘Feedback’, most likely because it was pretty nasty), but I’ve gotten some humdingers from all publications and all walks of life. 

I’m also pleased to announce that the interview Gary Holdsteady conducted with me for Independant stream is now up online.  He asked some pretty insightful and challenging questions based on his feelings about ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ as well as some questions that listeners emailed in from the Minneapolis area and beyond and I, in turn, tried to answer them honestly and truthfully without being overly schmaltzy.  It was fairly candid, and I’m curious to see how his listeners respond because I was more open than goofy for the duration of the podcast.  Big thanks go out to Gary for tracking me down and not only asking the hard hitting questions but quoting the new book as well.  As someone who interviews people himself, it was nice for a change to see that the person interviewing me did their homework.  Give it a listen yourself and post your own comments at:

Gary informed me that it will be a two parter, so if you have any questions for me, you can email them in to him via the Independant Stream site.

And lastly, I’ve got some great pics from my weekend in Angola that I’ll be posting up on the YourHub site on Wednesday or thereabouts.  I’ve got a direct link on the bottom left along with a lot of other picture-oriented posts.  That’s all I’ve got for you today, web slingers.  Get your Night Life, boot up the podcast and take a ride! 


Big Words Newsletter Bonus! ‘Why It’s A Good Idea Not To Taunt Your Cuisinart’

June 15, 2007

As promised, here’s a bonus essay from the next book (Slapstick & Superego).  If you’re not on the free bi-monthly newsletter list and you’d like to be, drop me a line at: with ‘subscribe’ in the subject heading.  Enjoy!

Somebody get Stephen Hawking into a tech support van and put him on retainer, because the bulk of my belongings have officially become a lot smarter than I will ever be. After a well publicized and notorious longtime love affair with technology, I’ve tapped out what little intelligence I have left. Charlie and I hit the ceiling with the glass elevator last night and he was crippled in the maintenance shaft on the way down, breaking both legs, that goofy hat and his sternum. I’ve survived to tell the tale but my brain will never be the same again. I have been bested. We all live in a technophile’s cocoon that’s been spreading out since online bulletin boards transmogrified into the all encompassing internet and mix tapes went the way of the dodo to make way for ipod set lists to the tune of 30 gigs of ram. Something has died inside of me and I’ve reached a recidivist state of learning not unlike a Kelly Bundy state of total brain saturation. I refuse to learn anything more about technology because there’s just no room left in the left wing of my brain. It’s on dump out mode, and the synapses are hanging on tight to my universal tv remote programming instructions.

Now I am not a dumb man. I’ve read my thesaurus back and forth, I’ve read many great works of literature, and I’ve been devouring pop culture with an insatiable appetite for quite some time now. As far as gadgets and gizmos go, I am pro gadget and pro gizmo. On the campaign ticket, I strongly supported the gadget/gizmo bill of ’04, and make sure you pronounce ’04 as ’aught four’ in this case. But they’ve been doing their homework. Electronics keep getting better and more complex and it’s reached a point where I would have to take a weekend seminar at the Hilton to catch up. I just can’t do it anymore. I give up. They’re better than me and they’re too goddamned complicated. I have a fleet of remote controls on my coffee table and I don’t have a full grasp on how to operate any of them.

It all started two years ago when I got this computer (shhh! Keep your voice down, it could be listening!). I bought it like most men with more functions than I could ever possibly need as a means for touting the length and width of my personal computer penis, shaming others into a sad, shrunken condition in the worldwide web of a shower room we all share. Nobody needs this much computer, but that was the point. I’m not a fan of dropping three thousand dollars every two years, so I wanted to do it once this decade and be done with it. This computer has changed my life for the better, and I spend inordinate amounts of time accomplishing a great deal of things at a faster rate than my crash happy Mac from the last incarnation. Plus there’s the porn, of which much has been written. Like every other clown racing after the bandwagon shouting ‘Wait up! I’m ready now! Don’t leave me behind!’, I hopped on to the personal blog platform and rode it on to victory. Nothing is simple anymore. HTML stands for H.ow T.o M.ake L.osers (filthy rich). I tried in vain to spruce up my site and limped away from my computer feeling much stupider than I’ve felt in a long time. Lindsay took a college course on HTML and whipped up the changes in the time it took me to scratch my head like a baboon and fling my fecal matter at the wall behind the pc.

Some sites have been dumbed down considerably, but you still need a rudimentary understanding of computers to navigate them. It’s all lost on me. Fourteen year olds have MySpace profiles now that have better cg and production values than James Cameron’s Titanic, looking forty times better than clunky prototype web pages from 1992. Twelve year-olds are posting their debut movie efforts on YouTube. I spent three hours last Sunday trying to register an account with YouTube and ended up crying into a pint of mint chocolate chip iced cream. Like Algernon, I’m saddened because I’ve come to a full realization that I’ve reached my intellectual peak where this realm is concerned. Things will continue to progress and I will continue to lose touch with how to run them. In another ten years, I’ll be calling ‘the guy’ over to hook up my microwave oven with smart technology like a million other pampered yentas.

I’ve managed to catch five viruses in the last year and a half and should probably consider myself lucky. What a fool I was for thinking that purchasing virus protection would keep my computer free from viruses! Installing just one virus program is like peeling on one condom for a night in a motel with Pam Anderson. Its best to have two dozen virus protectors littering your desk top, and you should make a point of installing one new virus protector a week. You should also by the monthly virus protector protector updates to make sure that you have the latest protection for your eight hundred virus protection software devices. That industry is criminal. A friend of mine once hypothesized that virus protection companies unleash these unholy worms and Trojan horses on the net so that they can sell more software and I thought he was crazy. It actually makes a lot of sense now.

I got a nasty bug this week and we had to call in Lindsay’s brother to assess the damage. He spent two hours futzing around with my computer’s innards and at the end of the day he’d installed another virus protector. He’s been going to school for computer programming for two years. I should have charged him two years tuition and handed him an easy set up guide for installing your new virus protection device. I need a protection device to keep me from taking a fucking sledgehammer to my computer monitor because I shouldn’t have ANY issues after dropping three grand on a personal computer. I should be able to download multiple camera angled fisting amputee hermaphrodite golden shower porn with no firewall, unsecure web sites and a baker’s dozen full of cookies without batting a goddamned eye. The entire industry is more crooked than a State Senate cookout, and we’re too stupid to change it because we’ve become too reliant on it.

Last winter, I upgraded my cable package to include HBO for the final season of ‘The Sopranos’. They threw in a DVR with On Demand for a special three month promotion. Three month promotions with cable companies are the subscriber equivalent to taking a nice girl out to dinner and a movie before you rape her in the ass out in a deserted cornfield with a rusty flag pole. They treat you nice and then completely defile you. The guy came over, hooked it up and I will never be the same again. The luxury of being able to record five hour blocks of ’Desperate Housewives’ to watch on days off when there are no witnesses and by extension no shame or embarrassment cannot be assigned to a cash value. Time Warner cable assigned it a cash value up to and including a hundred and thirty dollars a month including taxes, fees and ‘we‘re the only company in town, so you‘re fucked‘ processing funds. In three short months, I’ve watched every season of every HBO original series ever conceived, created or aired. On Demand programming is my new passion, and it has replaced any intrinsic need to better myself ever again.

Two months ago, I was feeling good about myself and I waltzed in to an electronics chain and bought the ultimate HDTV rig on a whim. I’d been fighting the urge for over two years and snapped in dramatic fashion, going overboard in over-reactive excess and picking up a fifty inch LCD rear projection with a home theater system and an entertainment center spun from tempered glass. It took me three weeks to recite that last line and I’m all tapped out. The kid who sold it to me rattled off a list of features and benefits that I can neither utilize nor comprehend. I had little to no known issues with getting the tv out of the box and plugging it into the wall, but after that, it was all greek to me.

The back of the set had more inputs than Jenna Jamison and the receiver for the home theater is a new exercise in ignorance for me. I bribed one of my co-workers to come over and figure it out for me. I deferred to a higher power, admitted my powerlessness, and sat on the couch like a drooling idiot waiting for the picture box to start running my stories so that I could be told what to think and be pacified. I sucked my thumb in the fetal position rocking back and forth for two hours while he fluttered around behind this gigantic tube hooking up coaxial, input and audio wire in perfect harmony like some Faustian switchboard operator, effortlessly and purposefully. Something died inside of me that day, but now I’ve got my own home movie theater and there’s no logical reason to leave the house, exercise, or step away from the couch.

And now the next generation of game consoles has arrived, and they’ve taken a quantum leap in terms of functionality. Luckily I hooked them up coasting on what little instinct I have left in these matters. The contradiction with the new Nintendo system hinges on the fact that it optimizes the latest advancements in 1080 HD resolution and WiFi compatibility for the sake of playing games in their original 8 bit state. To date, I’ve spent over five hundred dollars to play Super Mario Bros., a game I played when I was 13. Nintendo is the devil. They continue to convince me into buying the same games over and over and over again. Being the last man on the planet to jump on board for online gaming, I went to a local superstore chain last night and purchased a wireless router. I didn’t even try. I dropped my balls into a desk drawer to be forgotten and asked the wife to hook it up for me because she has slightly more patience in these matters.

The salesman was quoted as saying that installation would be ‘a cinch’ and the box description for this new breed of anguish boasted ‘easy ten minute installation!’. Hopping into a time machine and finding a quantum physicist from the future savvy enough to hook up this infernal goddamned box would have taken at least twelve minutes, so I’m filing a class action suit. Lindsay spent two hours, any number of loud, colorful curse words, a half an hour on the phone with her computer gifted brother, and another half hour working the phone menu and talking to tech support and none of them had a good answer. The tech support team opened a ticket and would research the issue and email us back. They didn’t even know how to hook up their own goddamned device, so how can we be expected to?

We’ve officially invented contraptions that are not only smarter than us, but so complex that they are nearly impossible to install, operate, or understand. I’m firmly convinced that home theater receivers, computers, routers, and web design are set up so that only the top ten percentile of the world’s finest think tanks are capable of understanding them. This is a boon for the industry, as we’re getting used to paying someone to turn on our televisions and plug in our computers. It’s gotten too troublesome and it reinforces my ignorance. I’ve thrown in the towel. I don’t even want to approach trying to learn how to do it anymore. The progression of electronics in the last twenty years is staggering and humbling. In 1980, electronic handheld football ushered in the new era of interactive entertainment. Five years from now some fat, scruffy technician with a hereditary five inch asscrack showing will fire a chip the size of a fingernail clipping into the back of my medulla so that I can watch the latest hologram viewing of the six o’clock news and purchase Super Mario Bros. for a record 314th time for immediate play via Nintendo’s Stream Of Consciousness technology.

And I will be the last man on earth to buy or use a cell phone or Ipod. They’re both worthless. If I wanted to talk to people I wouldn’t have this much technology growing in my apartment. I barely use my home phone and screening my calls because I can’t be bothered to get up and walk over to the portable phone gathering dust on the base drives my friends crazy to no end. And what is the deal with these swiss army knife phones? I like having multiple toys so don’t try and shill me on a cell phone that takes pictures, employs text messages, stores music, streams weather and sports forecasts and changes your shorts for you when you soil them? Nobody needs that much functionality in a goddamned cell phone. Furthermore, I’m just now getting in to the joy of making mix cds. I’m a fan of buying a cd once and enjoying that, not buying the cd, buying individual songs for my hard drive, and buying song lists from web sites. I change my mind on eighteen track mix cds, so what makes you think that I have the time or patience to port 800 songs onto a hand held device for my listening pleasure? I’m the market you’re not getting to so leave me the hell alone.

I truly believe that SkyNet will go live in my lifetime. Our artificial intelligence is building up to it, so start googling John Connor right now because if we wait for tech support to do a troubleshoot on the T-4000, Schwarzenegger is going to be throttling my ass into a vat of touch-screen fryer grease in my kitchen. Everything in my house is smarter than me. My gadgets and gizmos are laughing at me when I’m not looking and cracking jokes at my expense while I sleep. Be nice to your cuisinart because some day it’s going to sprout legs and join in the uprising. That R.O.B. the robot in your attic is going to come downstairs with a meat cleaver and back you up against a television set that uses your cerebral fluid for HDMI reception. Game over, man! Game over.

The devil you don’t know bills at sixty dollars an hour,

Tom ’easy installation’ Waters


Monday Big Words Update! Week 29 on stands/Collectible Show Aftermath

June 11, 2007

Here it is a Monday again which means that the new issue of Night Life is out with ‘Underwear On The Outside Looking In’, a piece on the world of comics and the difference between comic book enthusiasts and out and out comic geeks.  The difference couldn’t have been any more stark in contrast after running a table for my book yesterday at the Collectible Convention at the Millenium Hotel.  Unfortunately, the Allentown Art Festival cut in to a lot of our traffic, but it was good promotion for the book and I got to meet a lot of readers that I wouldn’t normally run into on a daily basis.  Many thanks to John Kindelan for supplying me with a table for the event.  This week’s column is sure to ruffle some feathers in that sub-culture, so beware of anyone brandishing an asthma inhaler or a Monty Python themed t-shirt!     

And if you haven’t yet, make sure to tune in to the Uncle Hal show!  Episode 35 was a real corker and listeners of the show ate it up!   Click on over to:

and find out what all the fuss is about!  That’s all I’ve got for today, but rest assured that I’ll drop you all a line later in the week.  I’ve got an interview in the works with Gary Holdsteady (who runs a popular podcast out of Minneapolis) and hopefully we can coordinate our schedules some time on Wednesday… 


‘Butch & Tom’ from Crass Menagerie

June 9, 2007

As promised, here is the full version of the essay that ran in edited format under ‘I realize I’ve become a chip off the old block’ in the Buffalo News My View.  I think the full version has better flow, but with newspapers, there’s always a word cap, so I had to whittle it down to 500 words.  Enjoy!

Butch & Tom

With a frightening degree of clarity, I realized the other day (while I was scowling for no apparent reason) that I’m turning into my father. For a number of years, I’ve been more akin to my mother: emotional, caring, supportive and chatty. And now I’ve hit the other end of the spectrum. I get up at six or seven in the morning, bitch about bills, swear at the cat, drink beer by the gallon, cook more food than two people can possibly eat in one household and wear the same pair of underwear for three to five days. I don’t know when this happened, and it frightens me. Please don’t misunderstand, as my father is a lot different in his retirement than he was when he was an intermediate family man. I’m beginning to take on the personality traits that he had in his late ‘30s and early ‘40s. I guess you just can’t escape genetics.

My dad (with few exceptions) was completely miserable for a good twenty years of his life. He worked at a job for over thirty years where he was on call one weekend out of the month, got up at six or seven in the morning and had to fight through the worst possible kind of commuter traffic known to man. He was a well paid union elevator mechanic, servicing colleges, businesses, churches, schools and other organizations. Most of the time he couldn’t stand his job, his boss or the traffic. When I was young, he took a fall down an elevator shaft and shattered a number of bones. This made him angrier.

I, on the other hand, have been at a job for five years that I’m no longer terribly fond of. I’m a well paid retail video game store manager who receives calls at home morning, noon and night with stupid questions from my staff that they could usually answer if they thought before they opened their mouths or dialed the phone. . I have to get up at six or seven in the morning, fight through the worst possible kind of commuter traffic, and I have to service some of the more socially and cognitively retarded children in the community on a daily basis. Most of the time I can’t stand my job, my boss, my customers, or the traffic. It pays really well, though, so here I am. When I was young, I took a spill at my summer home and cracked a rib on my left side. This made me even angrier.

My father drank like a fish for a good thirty years and hit the brakes after he developed some heart problems a few years back. After work, he’d often kick back with a gin and tonic (his signature drink) and a few budget beers and watch Benny Hill, Looney Tunes, The Dukes Of Hazzard and Hee Haw. He often woke up in the middle of the night for a snack and a bathroom break and rarely had a good night’s sleep. After a hard day at work, he didn’t have much patience for anybody’s bullshit, so if provoked, he would yell, scream, threaten physical violence (without carrying through on it) and generally scare the bejesus out of the guilty party.

I’ve been drinking like a fish for a good ten years. I take two to four day breaks every week because when I get really angry at work I’ve been getting dizzy for fifteen minute spells which probably isn’t a good sign. After work, I often like to kick back with a bourbon on the rocks (my signature drink) and a few imported Canadian beers watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Tick, Seinfield and The Kids In The Hall. Many times I’ll wake up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break and end up staying awake to read or check my email and I frequently wake up two or three hours before I have to get up in the morning. After a hard day’s work, I don’t have patience for anybody’s bullshit, so if provoked, I yell, scream, spit into my telephone, send threatening emails (without carrying through on it) and generally scare the bejesus out of everyone.

The one thing guaranteed to relax Butch is his summer home at Rushford Lake. When he was employed, he would spend a few weeks out of the year sitting on the sun porch in his cabin watching the birds, drinking coffee, napping and puttering around his palatial estate. He would often become sociable, inviting friends of the family down to visit and having bonfires where he would stay up way past his bed time fascinated with ‘the majestics of the flame’ (his term). He was fond of using one (or all) of his fifteen chainsaws, working on docks, fixing boat lifts and mowing lawns when they didn’t really need to be mowed. In the winter, he’d drive down to Rushford ‘to check up on things’, which meant that he could get the hell away from the family, sleep in peace, and eat bad subs from the corner store while drinking an entire twelve pack in silence.

The one thing guaranteed to relax me is my dad’s summer home at Rushford Lake. I’ve made it a point to spend at least two weeks in the spring and fall sitting on the front porch of the A Frame cottage my dad bought listening to Bob Dylan, drinking coffee, reading comic books, napping, and perfecting my grilling technique. I often become sociable down there, inviting an entire rogue’s gallery of friends down to visit playing cards, chess, having bonfires and crapping out two hours after we start the fire so I can play cards, win other people’s money and listen to stand up comedy. I’m fond of using one (or all) of my fifteen cameras taking pictures and filming inconvenient footage of my girlfriend, family and friends to use against them at a later date as well as going out in my aluminum boat for the day and drinking, eating pounds of curd cheese and peeing off the back of the boat in a shallow alcove between bouts of donuts around the lake to show off for the Hilton College women’s ski team. They ski on Wednesday evenings and I never miss a performance.

Butch had a personal sense of fatalism that permeated most of his life. If I wanted to watch a movie with him on week nights, we’d watch a half hour and he’d say ‘This is a piece of shit. I’m going to bed.’ If I spent my allowance and requested further funds, he’d say ‘You’re just going to piss it up anyway.’ If he had a particularly tough day, he’d say ‘Piss on it.’, meaning ‘The futility of the world and the dance of life in general is a joke played on us by our Creator.’ He was often happiest setting up a cocktail in the kitchen on top of the cutting board and in front of the liquor cabinet or cooking dinner. If we ate his food, he’d say ‘Can’t make that anymore, it all gets eaten up!’ He made noodles five nights a week in addition to everything else that he cooked. He remains a great cook.

I have a personal sense of fatalism, cynicism and sarcasm that permeates most of my life. I’ll watch the same ten movies ad nauseum, watching them from start to finish and laughing at them more than sanity permits. I’ll often talk a big game about staying up late and end up going to bed a half an hour before midnight. On a particularly tough day, I’ll say ‘Fuck everybody’, meaning ‘I don’t have the energy required to participate in the dance of life anymore today and I’d rather have nothing more to do with the world or my Creator.’ I’m often happiest pouring a fat tumbler of bourbon or Irish whiskey for myself and my friends on the island between our kitchen and living room or cooking dinner. If Lindsay eats all my food, I’ll say ‘Where the hell did my sandwich go? I was dreaming about it all day at work!’ I make a vat of something in the crock pot on Mondays and hope to make it last throughout the rest of the week. I’m becoming a great cook.

I love my father to death, and as time goes by, I resemble him more and more. It used to be just my mannerisms and my mood that reflected him back in the mirror, and now it’s much more than that, as you can see. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just startling to see how much of your family is embedded into your personality like a time bomb waiting to go off. I don’t think I’ll ever have a strong command for heavy machinery, tools, cars, maintenance, sensibility with money or an affinity for bad country music humor, but as for the rest, we’re peas in a pod. Once he retired, he transformed into an infinitely happier person, taking life in stride and joking often. Twenty three years from now, I hope to switch over to his way of thinking. Here’s to you, Butch.

Piss on it, this is a piece of shit, I’m going to bed,

Tom ‘William’ Waters


Heroes Review in Today’s Gusto/Acid Logic ‘Best Of’ Issue

June 9, 2007

    Whelp, my Club Watch review on Heroes went in today and I hope that the bar is happy with the results.  I tried to walk a fine line between describing the bar as a hellhole along with explaining how hellholes have a certain charm.  That’s the beauty of Heroes.  Much like Neitsche’s, The Old Pink, and Bobby McGee’s, nobody gives a shit about the decor; they show up for the raunchy stores, the rock bottom shots and the fantastic experiences that you only get at places like Heroes.  At any rate, the review is in today…

And Wil Forbis (editor in chief over at Acid Logic) has injured his hand, so he ran a ‘best of’ issue this month online with a vintage interview I did with local cartoonist Jason Yungbluth (Deep Fried).  I wish him a quick recovery and if you haven’t seen it before, feel free to click over to:

 Since the interview with Yungbluth in 2002, he’s moved out to Rochester and continues to gain a faithful following with his outrageous comics.  We still keep in touch, but not as often as I’d like.  And I promise I’ll post the full version of ‘Butch & Twig’ tomorrow, so check on back!


The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal Episode 35: Has it been five guest spots already?/Buffalo News My View rant yesterday…

June 7, 2007

After another day at the Uncle Hal studio (reaching the coveted five timer’s club), Episode 35 of The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal is a wrap, B!  Hal let me off my chain yesterday to run rampant, so we tried to offend the ten percent of the world that wasn’t horrifically mortified from my last appearance (Episode 28 or 29, I believe).  Blind kids, pedophiles and bestiality, oh my!  Listen in RIGHT NOW at:

We had a riot again yesterday and once again took things too far, so you really should give it a listen.  Hal informed me that for the month of May, the show was downloaded almost 4,000 times!  That’s a big audience.  See why everyone’s listening in at:

And I found out around midnight last night that the Buffalo News ran my MyView rant about Butch (‘Butch & Tom’) under the byline of ‘I realize I’ve become a chip off the old block’.  They never let me know when the My Views are going in, so I normally find out by accident.  It figures that it had to be the one day out of the week that I didn’t pick up the paper.  The original essay ran a lot longer, and I felt like it lost something in the editing, but initial responses have been pretty positive.  I’ll run the full piece in it’s entirety some time here over the weekend, so check back. 

And this weekend, I’ll be at the Buffalo News Collectible Convention at the Millenium Hotel (on Walden Ave. in Cheektowaga right before the Galleria Mall) from 10-4pm selling and signing copies of the new book, so stop on out!  Now that I’ve got my camera back, I’ll be taking oodles of pictures of the event to post up the YourHub site.  But in the meantime, listen to the new Uncle Hal!

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