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Summer’s Zenith in Seattle…

August 12th, 2014 · No Comments

Ah, how time flies by, and I feel somewhat guilty to have been sitting inside on what was a brilliantly sunny and relatively HOT day in Seattle… Hey! 88+ degrees Fahrenheit is pretty hot for us Western Warshintonians’, having just endured either the second or fourth hottest July on record, depending how Yuhs slice it. Especially since the majority of us don’t have AC. Which is pretty funny, compared to Indianapolis having just had its coldest month ‘O July, albeit still warmer than Seattle; but I digress…

July finishes as 2nd warmest on record at Sea-Tac

And ironically, whilst ex-Seattle Seahawks All Pro Walter Jones was wearing his gold jacket upon being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, along with the NFL’s Hall of Fame game commencing Pre-season action, the day in question is affectionately known here in the Northwest as Seafair Sunday, traditionally capped by the Navy’s vaunted Blue Angels performing over Lake Washington, where thousands jam the log boom and shores nearby Stan Sayre’s pits to watch the Unlimited Hydroplanes dazzle us with their monstrous rooster-tails!

Yet Seafair is more than just the Blue Angels and Hydroplanes - with the cities annual summer festival filled with yearly traditions such as Solstice Day parade, the arrival of the Seafair Pirates, the Torchlight Parade, Milk Carton Derby, etc, along with now including the 4th ‘O July fireworks celebration.

Seafair is presided over by its royalty, which features King Neptune and Queen Alcyone, primarily selected in regards to their philanthropic work, as I recall that former Seattle Supersonics great Slick Watts was chosen as King Neptune last year, with this year’s King being ex-Seattle Seahawks defensive standout Marcus Trufant, while this year’s Queen is our former Governor Christine Gregoire, while there’s also a Miss Seafair crowned…

But back to what I’ve taken to calling the “Blower Boats” in deference of their utilization of Lycoming T-55 turbine engines, which have unfortunately replaced the iconic World War II piston aircraft powerplants of Allison and Rolls Royce’s Merlin and the ‘Uber powerful and dominant Griffon, as I previously previewed this year’s Seafair regatta over at No Fenders in;

Seafair 2014: Blue Angels return Sparks renewed interest on shores of Lake Washington..

Yet the carnage that began a week prior in the Tri-Cities Columbia Cup, (July 27th) held on the eastern side of Washington continued on at Seafair - with the most controversial part being the sport’s winningest driver excluded from competition after another collision with arch-nemesis Jimmy Shane and the sport’s current top hull, the Oh Boy Oberto.

Dave Villwock suspended for rest of Seafair after collision

And having read the story about Kip Brown’s rough goings the past year, fighting back from a broken leg and broken boat, I was surprised when hearing the news whilst watching the final preliminary heats; 3A & 3B - had been pushed back due to Brown’s Spirit of Qatar boat being involved in another nasty Blow-over accident; YIKES!

Kip Brown seeks Seafair victory in new Spirit of Qatar

As the Seafair weekend was somewhat bittersweet for the Brown’s, as Kip’s uncle Nate Brown, owner of the U-17 Our Gang Racing Unlimited Hydroplane, which featured Kip’s brother-in-law Jeff Bernard at the controls, was running its last race under Nate’s ownership - going out in style by having had fans sign the boat during its final two race outings in Washington…

Brown provides final hurrah for fans at Columbia Cup

As I’ve never seen such a chaotic ending to a Seafair Sunday finals, as first the F1 boats, the warm-up finale for the B-I-G boats, nee Unlimiteds was Red-flagged after one of the competitors boats disintegrated in a mighty crash! Which delayed the Unlimiteds race, which was even more wild, as both “the Voice of the Unlimiteds” and local Unlimiteds legend Chip Hanauer claimed that the first three boats had jumped the start! As it would take an agonizingly long 15mins after the finale to decide that the winner had indeed won the race, while pondering if he’d driven the Oberto too wide…

Graham Trucking wins Seafair Cup for second straight year

Meanwhile, not all of the local racing action was happening on the water, as simultaneously on Seafair Sunday, (August 3rd) the Floppers’ (Funny Cars) and their Top Fuel nitro-methane Dragsters plus Pro-Stock cars were contesting the NHRA’s Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA.

As the legendous’ John “Elvis” Force, 16-time NHRA national champion was the top Funny-car of the entire weekend, capping his astounding 150th fastest qualifier (P1) position over daughter and team-mate Courtney, the winningest female NHRA Funny-car driver, with five career wins to date with another win light.

As the elder Force, at 65 met up with 67yr old Gary Densham in the NHRA’s oldest ever finals, which John Force won for his record extending 141sth victory!

Tony Sarge’ Schumacher was tops in the Dragsters, while in the Pro-Stock ranks, Alan Johnson was quickest in cars with the Bikes’. nee motorcycles not racing.

Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalita took the victory at Pacific Raceways over No Fenders ‘Straightliner favourite Antron Brown, while an intra-squad scrum between Summit Racing’s Jeff Line and Greg Anderson saw Lime taking the win light, while current Pro-Stock Cars points leader Erica Enders-Stevens breathed a sigh of relief over second placed Johnson not surpassing her tenuous points lead over the weekend.

As Enders-Stevens didn’t make the trip to the “Jet City” due to financial constraints, thus missing racing at Sonoma, California and Kent, WA - which I personally feel is a travesty! Although her team owner claims it was always in the plans since they’re running on limited sponsorship.

But even more baffling is the fact that longtime supporters Ford and Castrol of John Force Racing are leaving the sport at the end of this season - as the 16-time NHRA Funny-car champion will be left without anything to drive, unless somebody else steps up to the plate; Hmm? Perhaps the “Motormouth” of Floppers’ would look good underneath the skin of a Dodge Challenger? Just speculatin’ here though…

→ No CommentsTags: Racing · Misc · Uncategorized

As the World watches Football King James holds court…

July 18th, 2014 · No Comments

Ah, it must definitely be summertime now, right? Having just logged into my Newsline for The Blind telephone newspaper service, I was surprised to hear my first National Weather Alert advisory in months about an expected “Heat Wave” for the weekend of July 12-13, with Seattle expecting the mercury to hit 90-degrees Fahrenheit; YIKES!

And while I myself bask in the glory of Germany’s crushing defeat of host nation Brazil to advance to the World Cup finals, I also find it most amusing the furor over what I’m calling duh “LeBron Sweepstakes,” as haven’t we already seen this movie before?

Y’all know how the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James original NBA team, where he played his first seven seasons watched in agony as their star basketball player hosted a mesmerizing hour’s made-for-television Hypefest to announce his decision to move to the Miami Heat.

As James & Co. have been ‘Uber successful in Miami, as the Heat have gone to the final the last three years, being victorious twice. As the Cavs’ have just jettisoned multiple players to make way for offering King James a maximum Greenbacks’ (Dollars) contract in their attempt to lure him back home again.

Cavaliers clear salary cap space in three-team trade

Yet on a different court in La-La land, an actual honest-to-goodness courtroom, 80yr old eccentric Donald Sterling combatively attempts to quash his estranged wife Shelly’s taking control of the beleaguered LA Clippers, which she’s tentively sold to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a record price of $2b!

As Mr. Sterling attempts not only blocking the sale, but also being determined of sound mind to retain control of his team in Donald v Shelly Sterling, along with his one billion lawsuit against the NBA and its commissioner Adam Silver, to which all I can say the sooner Donald’s gone from the league and our collective consciousnesses, the better!

Meanwhile, I noticed that the NFL media, or is it marketing machine? Doesn’t want to be forgotten and hence, a story about its seven newest Head Coaches has been dispatched toot sweet…

Change it up: How 7 new coaches are shaping tone

Yet, Me Thinks the NFL should do like Dan Patrick’s doing right now, and just go silent, as Messer Patrick is on a three week Holiday whilst his network airs nonstop TV coverage of this year’s Tour de France.

Likewise, the NFL should take a break, since after all , European Football is all the rage right now, as the world cup is down to the finals, with Germany playing against Argentina, while a Neymar-less Brazil will play Netherlands for third-place honours, as surely this world cup will be forever remembered for the smack down Germany gave Brasilia with an unheard of 7-1 Semi-finals defeat!

While on the other side of the ladder, Argentina and Netherlands played to a Nil-Nil’ (0-0) extra-time draw before Argentina was victorious 4-2 in the sudden death Shootout…

As Y’all know, King James wisely made “Decision 2.0″ in a less mocking way by simply announcing on Sports Illustrated that he was going Back Home to Cleveland, having chosen to return to the Cavaliers, thus leaving Miami with a giant roster void to fill, as it’ll be interesting to see if the Heat can retain their winning ways?

And although I didn’t watch the game, I’m happy to note that I did correctly pick Germany to win this year’s world cup over Argentina, as I felt that they simply played as a team, a collective unit with no solitary Star on its roster, while Lionel Messi had the weight of his entire country upon his shoulders, as although Argentina played to a very respectable Nil-Nil (0-0) draw in regular time, Germany would be victorious when substitute Mario Goetze scored the winning goal in the 23rd minute of extra time to give Germany its fourth world cup victory with a One-Nil’ (1-0) defeat of Argentina.

As now the world will await to see if Brazil can pull off hosting the 2016 summer Olympics as successfully as their world cup, while Football fans around the world will wait four more years to do it all over again in Russia…

→ No CommentsTags: Misc · NBA Basketball

With Hockey and Basketball Finals over, the World’s attention shifts to Brazil…

July 4th, 2014 · No Comments

As stated before, Senior Sportyblog Scribe “Touchdown Tommy” isn’t a real big fan ‘O the NHL or NBA, etc, although I did watch the clinching moments of the two finals final game’s, just the right way. First having tuned-in to Game-5 of the Stanley Cup at the start of the third period and watching all of the way thru to the LA Kings crushing double overtime defeat of the New York Rangers, who’s goalie should have been awarded the Con Smythe trophy for his exemplary play throughout the finals.

Then I dropped in for the majority of the fourth quarter of Game-5 upon learning that San Antonio was giving the Miami Heat another good ‘Ol Fashion Smack-down en route to the Spurs claiming their fifth NBA championship!

thus, my Attenzione has now been focused for the last few weeks upon this year’s world cup Football in Brazil, as in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, albeit I haven’t been watching all of the games, nor paying extreme focus to the round-robin group play, to see who advances out of the first stage, although I did catch a bit of Brazil’s somewhat controversial win vs. Croatia, which now seems like such a long time ago.

And have since watched the first half of Germany pummeling Portugal, who simply melted down, while naturally having to watch the entire USA v Gauna match, which was ‘Uber exciting! Hey, how ’bout that Seattle Sounders FC star player named Clint Dempsey’s Blitzkrieg goal in just an astounding 34-seconds; Ja Volt! And have since been dropping in daily to catch bits ‘N pieces of the first round matches, as I’ll try summing up my most unscientific thoughts upon the group play en route to the single elimination rounds…

Brazil, Cameroon, Croatia and Mexico.
Group Winner: Brazil; 2nd: Mexico.

Was very happy to tune-in to the latter portion of the second half of the match whilst rooting for Mexico to score a Draw vs. Brazil, which is exactly what happened. Then Brazil’s “Poster Boy” Neymar’ flexed his muscles with two goals in Brazil’s final game rout vs. Cameroon 4-1, as Neymar’ has scored four goals to date, yet their next opponent Chile will surely be a tougher match, while Mexico gets the daunting task of taking on Netherlands…

Australia, Chile, Netherlands and Spain.
Group Winner: Netherlands; 2nd: Chile.

Was quite happy to see that the reigning World Champions Spain were eliminated from advancing out of the Group stage after their second loss vs. Chile Two-Nil’, (2-0) after being pummeled by the Dutchies’ 5-1! As Netherlands advanced quite easily with their two victories over Espana and the Aussies’ (Australia) 3-2, with their next opponent being Mexico, who played to a draw vs. tournament darlings Brasilia, as how far can the Dutchies’ go?

Columbia, Greece, Japan and Ivory Coast.
Group Winner: Columbia; 2nd: Greece.

Expected Columbia and Ivory Coast to advance to the knockout stage of 16, which isn’t exactly what happened, although Columbia easily advanced to the Round-of-16 for their first time since 1990, Ivory Coast fell to Greece on a final minute PK, enabling Greece to move on after a stunning One-Nil’ (1-0) victory.

Thus, I’m not sure how far either can go from there? Having not watched any of this group’s matches, but I’d expect Columbia to have a better shot at advancing since I’ve heard they’ve got quality depth on their squad, whilst Greece is playing in unfamiliar territory…

Costa Rica, England, Italy and Uruguay.
Group Winner: Costa Rica; 2nd: Uruguay.

Really haven’t paid any Attenzione to this group other than hearing that Bloody England got defeated by Italy 2-1, and then eliminated from advancing with an identical defeat against Uruguay. While for Mwah, Costa Rica is the surprise of this group (and tournament so far) as Italy and Uruguay scrapped over who else would advance, with Uruguay moving on after edging Italy, who played one man down One-Nil’ (1-0) with Uruguay’s Captain scoring the lone goal in the match’s 81st minute.

Having discovered this after the match, as now I definitely wish for Uruguay to be eliminated immediately, after its Mike Tyson “impersonator” has struck again… C’mon FIFA, this dude should be thrown out!

Luis Suarez bites Italian defender at the World Cup, Uruguay advances

Ecuador, France, Honduras and Switzerland.
Group Winner: France; 2nd: Switzerland.

The biggest noise about this group seems to be over France having finally turned the page upon their disastrous 2010 debacle, when the players pulled a mutiny against their coach en route to their swift departure from group play, with France defeating Honduras Three-Nil’ (3-0) in their first match this year before trouncing Switzerland 5-2 in their second match.

Thus France easily advanced to the Knockout round-of-16, albeit not sure why they’re not already listed as advancing, as apparently I’m jumping the gun; Huh?

Meanwhile, as I type this riveting story, I’m awaiting learning who’ll be advancing as the runner-up of this group, as I’d guess that the honours would go to Switzerland?

Thus I made a pretty good guess on Switzerland, right? As I only caught the final moments of the Group E finale’s, choosing to listen to Casey Kellar’s call of the Switzerland v Honduras game, where the Swiss’s player Xherdan Shaqiri scored a Hat-trick to advance Switzerland to the Round-of-16 by defeating Honduras Three-Nil’, (3-0) while France clinched winning the group by playing to a Nil-Nil’ (0-0) draw vs. Ecuador. With Shaqiri’s Hat-trick being the 50th scored in world cup history…

Argentina, Bosnia, Iran and Nigeria.
Group Winner: Argentina; 2nd: Nigeria.

Arguably one of the world’s greatest current Footballers is none other than Lionel Messi, who’s naturally leading Argentina’s attack, as Messi, also known as “The Flea,” for his frenetic playing style and diminutive body stature has taken his country’s squad upon his back, advancing Argentina to the round-of-16 with two goals, the latter being a stoppage time One-Nil’ (1-0) winner vs. Iran, albeit Argentina hasn’t looked overpowering to date.

Only greatness at the World Cup will end Messi argument

Meanwhile Nigeria also advances as the runner-up of Group F, although somewhat quietly since they’ve been somewhat overshadowed by Messi and Argentina naturally, not to mention I didn’t catch any of this group’s matches, with just Group’s E, G and H waiting to be decided when I typed this…

(GROUP G) Gauna, Germany, Portugal and USA.
Group Winner: Germany; 2nd: USA.

Obviously with TEAM USA in this group, it’d be my main focus of the world cup’s Group-stages play, as although the furor over the USA’s Football Squad is well deserved, nevertheless, putting their soccer prowess into context whas the tidbit doled out during their most riveting first match of Group-play against their arch nemesis Gauna, where the statistic regarding the US Men’s National Team’s success since continuous involvement in world cup play from 1990 onwards; have won only 4-of-22 matches, (prior to Game-2 v Portugal) while Group of Death opponent Germany has won 26 in the same time period.

Germany crushes Portugal Four-Nil’ (4-0) leading Three-Nil’ at halftime, having scored its first goal at the eleven minute mark on a PK (Penalty Kick) taken by Thomas Mueller, who’d eventually finish the match with a Hat-trick, scoring the second of his three goals in the first half - with Germany going into the lockeroom ahead by three goals, as Portugal’s meltdown was complete when they’d go down one man after receiving a red-card in the first half, which should benefit Team USA who’s second match was against Portugal.

Y’all know ’bout USA finally defeating Gauna, as another trivial stat was tossed out ’bout how no team has lost three times in-a-row to the same team in world cup play. As I’ve already noted Sounders FC and USA Captain Clint Dempsey’s amazingly quick goal, with the game being very nerve wracking as Gauna tied the match with just eight minutes remaining before USA’s memorable 2-1 victory over their rivals with a late game goal, the first ever scored for a U.S. substitute player.

Cristiano Renaldo, one of the sport’s other best current players who was locked out in the opening match vs. Germany, and his health being questioned throughout the USA match, as apparently his knee wasn’t 100%, nevertheless showed why he’s such a valuable player upon making a brilliant assist to level Portugal 2-2 in the dying moments of the extricably long five-minute stoppage time play; SHEISA!

And after USA licked their self-inflicted wounds of allowing to be scored on in the first five-minutes of the game for a record sixth time, the U.S. Men’s National Team settled down, along with the brilliant goalkeeping of Tim Howard, who’ll eclipse ex-Seattle Sounders FC original goalkeeper and home grown product Casey Keller’s 102-Caps when he steps onto the pitch vs. Germany.

Already have extolled the virtues of Stud Sounders FC and USA Captain Clint Dempsey, who the announcer triumphantly chortled “Captain Marvel!” upon Dempsey’s go-ahead goal vs. Portugal in the 81st minute, which I believe was from an assist from the talented youngster DeAndre Yedlin, the 20yr old also being another home grown Sounder FC player!

Went to a local Pub that I like calling “George & The Dragon,” although its real name is Georgian Dragon, and the place was absolutely PACKED at 7:30AM when we arrived “Just-in-Time” to grab one of the final remaining tables; YIKES! As I’d have NO idea of the monstrous crowd standing the entire match outside in the parking lot until we left at the end of the game.

And while the Seattle crowd was naturally Pro-USA, as I got a little tired of the USA-USA-USA chanting, having decided to wear an ‘Ol Michael Schumacher black Ferrari racing T-Shirt in support of Germany, as I’m told my smile was quite broad upon Thomas Mueller’s game winning score, as it was enjoyable hearing the entire crowd go deafly silent for a few minutes time! As it all worked out fine, as Germany and USA both advanced, thanks to Gauna’s 2-1 defeat of Portugal…

Algeria, Belgium, Korea and Russia.
Group Winner: Belgium; 2nd: Algeria.

While apparently Belgium is being called a “Dark Horse” in this year’s world cup tournament, having done itself no shame by quietly winning the Group, also haven’t managed to catch any of this group’s matches, whilst I’d assume that Russia should be the other team advancing?

Thus, after reveling in Germany defeating the U.S. One-Nil’, (1-0) I didn’t pay any further Attenzione to the day’s final matches, only having discovered after the second day of Knockout play, that Algeria advanced, and will hope to seek revenge upon its round-of-16 opponent…

(Round of 16: Single Elimination)

Prior to the A-L-L important “Group ‘O Death’s” rubber-matches, with then Group G co-leader’s Germany and USA tied at four points apiece, with Gauna and Portugal fighting off possible elimination tied at 1-point apiece; eight teams had advanced to the first Knockout stage, as it appears the brackets are weighted with the winners of the groups playing the second place teams and visa-versa.

As home country Brazil will take on Chile, while Mexico faces an uphill battle vs. Netherlands. Argentina somewhat scraped by and now awaits playing the Group E runner-up, while upstart Costa Rica takes on Group D’s second place team.

and then a further two team’s advanced, as France made a mockery out of its Group F opponents, but will potentially be tested vs. Nigeria, while its second place counterpart Switzerland will square off against Argentina.

Belgium has been patiently awaiting the second place team of Group G, while the previously unknown Group ‘O Death winner Germany advances along with USA.

As the final Group match play, saw the clinching of the runner-up spot in Group H, also taking place on Thursday, June 26th when Algeria won its spot in the Knockout stage during the finale of Group match play. As Algeria gets the daunting task of playing Germany, while USA takes on Belgium. Costa Rica takes on surprise Group C runner-up Greece, while Columbia squares off vs. Uruguay, albeit minus Luis Suarez, whom FIFA rightly banned from all further world cup play, amongst other disciplinary actions resulting in a further nine matches play and $100,000 Swiss Francs fine.

Meanwhile, on a more entertaining note, Brazil fans are quickly mocking Rolling Stones Front-man Mick Jagger over his supposed “curse” of picking teams in this year’s World Cup, who then quickly afterwards make their exodus…

→ No CommentsTags: soccer

Radar Technology In Sports

June 25th, 2014 · No Comments

In competitive sports, performance is measured with numbers. Statistics are compiled during official games in order to evaluate the physical capabilities of players. Digital technology has helped athletes and coaches in plenty of ways when it comes to improving performance. Radar speed guns are available for use in amateur and professional competitions.

There are multiple sports in which the speed of the ball plays a vital role in the outcome of a game. For example, the pitch of a baseball is often measured in order to get an idea of the effectiveness of the throw. Some of the most talented pitchers in professional baseball can pitch fastballs at just above 100 miles per hour. The only accurate way to estimate the speed of a baseball is to use professional quality radar equipment.

A speed gun uses traditional radar technology in order to measure the velocity of an incoming ball. This hand held device is simply pointed towards a ball in order to get a precise reading. Radar technology is widely used to track the speed of moving vehicles, people and even aircraft. Surely, this technology is valid on small objects that fly through the air.

Baseball training requires a lot of emphasis on the speed of the ball. First and foremost, it is important to know a pitcher’s throwing capabilities by measuring each fastball or curve ball with a radar gun. On an amateur level, there are pitching cages that are equipped with radar technology. A speed pitch game and other installations are examples of baseball training structures that are loaded with radar guns. For example, a pitcher can throw baseballs onto a target within a cage. A radar device is programmed to focus on a particular spot where the pitcher stands inside the practice cage.

Modern radar devices may also be compatible with external computers and electronics. For the sake of analyzing performance, coaches and players may be interested in generating reports and graphs about the speed of each pitch thrown during practice and game play. Similarly, the trajectory of pitches may also be devised to a certain extent. Radar technology can trace out the path of a ball’s position as it flies between a pitcher and hitter. These days, it is also easy to sync data from radar guns with mobile devices such as smartphones. Mobile applications may allow coaches and players to improve capabilities in real time.

→ No CommentsTags: NCAA Baseball · Racing · Misc · Nascar · MLB Baseball · Uncategorized

Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Soccer Shoes

June 19th, 2014 · No Comments

At first glance, there may seem to be little difference between men’s and womens soccer shoes. They are often brightly colored with whimsical decals, shoe string colors and designs to indicate the team of the player. They are also cleats because of the nature of the game: Soccer plays have to dig in to get leverage on the playing field. There are some subtle differences for men and women who are shopping for shoes to play this sport.

Of course, most women’s shoes tend to run in smaller sizes. Men’s feet are generally larger and have a wider toe spread. Soccer cleat manufacturers have to make wider shoes for male players to accommodate for the typical biological differences between genders. Still, some women soccer plays prefer to buy male shoes. This is especially true for women who naturally have broad feet. They like having a little more room in the shoe when they play. Shoe salesmen and footwear experts advise women soccer players to buy their shoes a size and a half smaller than their normal shoe size if they are buying men’s shoes.

Because soccer is a multi-directional game with many unpredictable movements, shoes must also be designed to accommodate for this. While all soccer plays must buy shoes that properly support the physical twists and turns of the game, men must also shop for shoes that can support the force with which they play.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine has reported that men tend to put more pressure on their feet when they have to suddenly change directions on the soccer field. Because of this, they also tend to be at a greater risk for fractures. Men’s soccer shoes are designed to allot for this bigger pressure. Manufacturers make men’s soccer shoes more stable than women’s so that they can significantly reduce the possibility of injury.

There is also a fashion conscious element to shopping for these shoes. Some women have complained about the availability of colors for women’s soccer shoe lines. According to some players, the colors for women are just too limited.

Often women players are choosing between baby blue and pink. Some women buy men’s shoes so that they can have a wider variety of color choices. Of course, comfort should always come first when shopping for cleats, but it makes the player a bit more confident when she walks onto the field wearing the shoes in the perfect color and design.

→ No CommentsTags: soccer · Misc · Uncategorized

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