August 25, 2015 - Leave a Response

…”Eating Horses Don’t Die.” The title of a book Scott was writing. Wish he’d lived to finish it. Would love to read the manuscript. My interest? I hope there are many horse and Scott lovers reading this because I’d like to write about an ‘eating horse’–my beloved Aristotle–who Scott operated on  several years ago. I could write about that time, that incredible surgery, that experience–Ari’s life and times– but I’ll try to stick to the subject.

Ari was bon on Kauai in September, 1987, which makes him 88 and a half horse years old in people years, three years older than I. As a colt he was sent to Honolulu where he was badly abused.  A very proud horse, but spooky, he hated everyone. He was rescued by a lady and her family who loved horses–Scott would’ve loved that story–and I first met him, bought him for a song,  at her barn in May, 1993. There was something about that big roan– the way we looked at each other–that touched my heart.  I brought him home.

The first ‘eating horse’ story: he came at me striking. A big horse coming at you, walking on his hind legs, forelegs boxing the air, is a formidable sight. Taught by a Canadian Mountie, ‘always ‘leave ’em laughing’,  I calmed him down, fixed him a bucket of food and walked over the hill. Sadly.  My horses always have  full run of the land and I could not live with a horse that might attack me.  Several minutes later–I’d left Ari with a full bucket–I heard hooves clopping behind me. I didn’t know what to expect. I turned.  We met eye ball to eye ball. Face to face,

The look in his eyes  said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” We bonded.

Fast forward to his homecoming after the surgery. Scott had put him on  antibiotics, which Ari hated. He fought me.  Came at me striking. I took him off the drug and offered him Vitamin C. He loved it and healed quickly. I gave Scott  the drugs and told him the story. “He even ate oranges,” I said.

“Horses don’t eat oranges.”

“Don’t tell Ari,” I replied, “he hasn’t read that part of the book.”

Today my long- in- the- tooth beloved friend, eats like a horse. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I cook for him in the barn. He watches, making sure I do it right. No skimping. He counts: one large measuring bowl of oat alfalfa soaked in warm water, sprinkled with salt and tossed in his bucket. Another bowl of same dimpled with raw carrots. And one more bowl flavored with bran and laced with molasses on the top.  He licks the bucket. Scott would have loved the sight, but he would have said, as he always did, “Horses have no sense of taste.”

And, once again, I’d have replied, “Don’t tell Ari.”

I hope Scott’s right and Ari never dies.




August 23, 2015 - Leave a Response

On Saturday, September 5, 1992, I heard about Iniki that morning. It was a hustle and a half  ‘battening down the hatches’ and getting my zoo–three horses, one dog and four cats–to safe shelter.

Once again I stayed home with the animals. (I’d spent Ewa in the barn with two horses on property surrounding the house on the Alexander Dam Road.) “We’ll all go together when we go,” I said then. And now. We cuddled up in the barn as hurricane winds brought down branches and stripped every leaf off every tree as far as the eye could see.

A nude tree is a very strange sight to behold.

The next day was so beautiful–swept clean of dirt, dust and debris–it blossomed like an hibiscus  in the hearts of all survivors. Across the street cattle, that had gathered at the bottom of my green valley, rose to their feet and sauntered back up the hill to graze.

The rest of the island looked like a war had stormed through. Houses at the top of the hill appeared  perfectly normal, until you caught on their roofs were missing. A house without a roof is a strange sight, too.

We’d been hit, darkness dulled the light, and passed through the eye–sunny, cloudless and clear blue sky–and been hit again. I think everyone who went through that remembers the morning after. That glorious glorious day. The air smelled sweet. The sound of no traffic a welcome silence.

In front of my house hundred of birds had feathered down–an animal knows instinctively where to find haven–and they began singing at first light, their tweets and twitters and bird lyrics an ode to joy. A peahen in a bare tree screeched as only a peahen can screech and livened up the party.

I think most of us were unprepared for Iniki. We swallowed our fear, took a deep breath, and rode it through.

Times are different.

We watched Kilo form south of us. We know that El Nino has gone berserk and may continue its berserkness until April. I’ve heard that because of climate confusion–global warming, whatever you want to call it–to follow the path of our storms is unpredictable. They can go anywhere.

I’m happy we were forewarned. Those of us who had computers watched Kilo–a strange critter–strengthen and weaken and lolligag around like winds on LSD. It couldn’t make up its mind. Did it have a mind? A destination? Or was it just on a spree?

What I do think is: if this is the way it’ll go until April, we’ll all be nervous wrecks.

I hope we get honest reporting. Not headlines to sell papers or religion. Please Editors–newsmen, talking heads–don’t become little boys who cry wolf. We need to be prepared. You need to be prepared. But we don’t need Tom Foolery.

I think Kauai can show the world how well we can handle reason, truth and disaster.




Eighty Freakin’ Five

August 20, 2015 - One Response

As a writer– and a Mick– I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from writer’s block. I’m filled with words to put on paper or shout or whisper to the wind. But I’m often at a loss as to what to write about.

I’m told I have a tendency to lecture. More truth than fiction. I’m sort of a half assed philosopher. Don’t get me started, we’ll be here ’til rapture. Speaking of which…

…Okay, I’ll steer clear of another religious harangue.Boy oh boy do I love to give the fundamentalists hell. A great guy said, “Fundamentalism is Christianity gone berserk,” and ain’t that the truth? I love to tweak its nose and pull its tail. I love to get ’em so hot under the collar it melts the baloney they spout, utter, and preach. I love to remind ‘them’ that to spend all eternity with them would be the hell they sell to the sinner they send there.  Us guys got that place air-conditioned and spend all eternity playing strip poker with Marilyn Monroe and May West,  if you’re a guy. With any good looking’ young hunk, if you’re a girl–which I will be again when I get there.

Anyhow, I got orders from my Editor, ‘Write something funny about yourself.’ That’s not hard to do. Essentially I’m  a kind of funny character. Funny looking. Eccentric as all get out, always was and always will be. There’s something funny about eccentricity and eccentricity in public is a hoot and holler. To wear tennis shoes with a tux will earn you a giggle or two. Howard Hughes did it and got away with it. If you’re rich you can be as eccentric as the dickens and get away with it. But most of us aren’t Howard Hughes.

It used to be eccentrically outrageous  to dye your hair green but that’s not so eccentric anymore. Few heads  turn when you wear it to the mall, or  charity ball, or down the red carpet, either. Red carpets? Hey, buddy, get a load of that. Funny is funny, and humor is humor, but that stuff’s just plain silly.

Okay, I’m a chicken– a scrawny old hen, if the truth were know–but I choose to be eccentric at home.  Out in public I pretend I’m normal. Normal’s not funny. Fact is, normal is dull.

To be dull at eighty freakin’ five–which I am, in years–is a crime against posterity or prosperity or persnickety wicket.

As a writer, I love to make up words like brillig and the slithy toves.  I jabberwacky. I’m jealous of Lewis Carrol.

I must admit my sense of humor has aged a bit, but I love to laugh. Make people laugh. I wanna die laughing with a glass of Charddonay in one hand, a magic wand in the other, wearing tennis shoes made in China dappled with red sequins. The  Lion, the Tin Woodman,  the  Scarecrow and my dumb Editor will escort me.

Now that’s funny.


August 12, 2015 - Leave a Response

Isn’t that a beautiful word? So simple. Three letters–JOY– They roll trippingly off the tongue.

Walt Whitman wrote: ‘O the horseman’s and the horsewoman’s joy.’ All of us who love horses and rides in the early morning cool, or late afternoon shadows, or under a full moon’s power know joy. One is never alone on horseback. The greatest joy comes from the warm comfort of a horse’s bareback. “The outside of a horses is good for the inside of a man.” Or woman.

“Sweets with sweets war, joy delights with joy.” That’s Will. Neat!

“Have you found joy in your life? Have you brought joy to others?”

Kind of a sticky wicket, isn’t it? I hope everyone in the world has found joy. I have. The best I can do on the second question is: did it balance? I hope so.

Then there’s music. Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Listen to that and feel joy in every cell.  It captivates vitalizes the senses. The best piece of music ever written. Think of Beethovan’s joy in creating this masterpiece. It’ll never die. Imagine…

I think joy’s the emotion most sought after.

A secret. You can be joyful at any moment of the day or night, if you’re awake and breathing. You don’t have to beg, borrow, or steal it. You don’t need a mansion, a Rolls, a yacht, fame, or beauty. You don’t need money in the bank. You can’t buy it. It’s the most priceless thing in the world, nobody can put a price on it. Wherever you are, whatever your circumstance, joy can be yours. You can be shoveling horse manure or digging a ditch.

What was the most delightful moment in your lifetime? I hope it’s a difficult decision: you’ve had so many, you can pick and chose.

Think of that moment. Be there. Now. Go there. Now. Taste it, touch it, smell it, hear it, see it. Play it back in your mind like Beethoven played with sound.

One of my favorite moments was on horseback. A country horse show. The class in the ring, at the bottom of an amphitheater, was a clown act. One cowboy rode a horse. Two cowboys played the front end and the back-end of a calf. They cavorted. They rumbled. They danced. I was on a dapple gray Arab at the top of the amphitheater when suddenly my horse–Joy Ride, that was his name– had a horsey moment. His ears perked. His tail went up and his neck arched He snorted. He pranced his way down to the ring rattling spectators and folding chairs. No one seemed perturbed, except my mother. Who was hysterical.

Joy went nose to the ring. The cowboys loved it. Played along. When Joy caught on, he sneered and walked back  through the throng, who roared with laughter and applauded.The crowd loved us. Joy and I stole the show.

Thinking about it makes me happy. Joyful. You, too, I hope. Gotta share and make it balance.

His name is Scott Sims

July 28, 2015 - Leave a Response

The ruckus began on Saturday. What a racket. Ari, my beloved old horse, was tossing his feed bucket around like an angry housewife tosses pots and pans.Bang bang. Crash crash. Jangle. Jangle.

He’d had his breakfast: oat alfalfa, salt, carrots, bran and molasses served up with love and kisses on the nose. The bucket tumbled empty. Not a crumb left untouched.  He licks the inside with his long pink tongue, sniffing out the carrot bites, bran and the sweet dark syrupy surprise he loves so well. My father taught me to make a warm mash in the winter and this was the winter of our lives together. Horses have an incredible sense of taste and smell.  Well, look at the size of that nose. It seems to go on forever. Dimpled with kind intelligent eyes–on either side of his noble head, he is prey not predator–  crowned with pointy beautiful ears at the poll and bedecked with long silky hair called a forelock. I’d combed and brushed it this morning.

When I reached his feeding block, he dropped the noise maker–crash, bang, jangle, plop–and gave me that look.

Now any horseman–or woman–worth his salt knows a horse is telepathic. “Never let them put their heads together,”  I was taught by a beloved teacher, ” because they’re plotting.”  I’d experienced that little phenomena, with my own eyes, many time.

But I’d learned, years ago–I live with my horses –that if put my forehead smack against their forehead I can hear what they’re thinking. They understand  English, have their own language, but will communicate with you if you will only listen. “Okay, what’s up?”

Ari is 88 and half years old. 28 in human years. He was born in 1987. He’s three and half years older than I. I was born in 1930. We grow old together and enjoy the process.

“He’s gone to horse heaven.”


“The human who cut me open. Sewed me back. Years ago. Remember?”

“Of course I remember. I was there.”

He nodded. ” Left his body.  Gone to horse heaven.”

“Are you talking as about Scott Sims?”

“That’s what you called him.”

“But Ari, we just heard from him…”

“… I know. They cut him open.  Sewed him back. Four fingers and a thumb are handy.”

With my fingers and thumbs I messaged his ears.

“You did that when I was on my back with my feet in the air. Strange feeling. You have good hands,” he said.

“Thank you. I didn’t know horses believed in heaven.”

“You never asked.”

“Okay, I ask,” A theocratic lecture from a horse?

“There is not only a horse heaven. there is a horse God.”


“Don’t be silly.”

When a horse calls you silly, you can be certain you’re pretty silly.

“But why would he go to horse heaven? If horses have a God and heaven, and humans have a God and heaven– and Scott was human–why wouldn’t he go to a human heaven?”

“Because ours is better.”

“Can I go?”


“I’ll work on it.”


July 24, 2015 - Leave a Response

It is my ardent belief that pigs can be pets. Spoiled pets. Swine are quite intelligent. Clean, polite and well-bred, they wallow but prefer pools. Fresh, clean, blue water pools. Not mud puddles. They must wallow. It’s the way they stay cool on hot dry days which, as we all know, went hand- in- hand with global warming. Today, I would be interviewing an eclectic couple who raise the finest pedigree swine, the Poland China, on their land. I look up to these people. They represent, to me, the future of the human race.

By their very nature, pigs can create an entirely new way of living. A better way of living. Put villagers back to work. Food on the table–some pork, don’t be greedy–and keep the children busy and entertained by their antics and upkeep which is a much healthier life style than playing war games and envying Lords and Ladies of the manor, who have nothing but their best interest at heart.

“Children should be out planting trees. Climbing trees. Worshipping trees. We need more trees. These animals can be taught to watch and snuffle and oink. Snuffles and oinks are calming peaceful sounds. Unlike dogs that bark and roosters that crow,” the Lord of the manor took a breath. “They are omnivores Like us. Eat both animals and plants. Drink great quantities of water and have an extraordinary sense of smell. We’re trying to grow and teach our large snouted friends to hunt Truffle mushrooms. The children have fun grabbing them before the animals eat them. It’s a game…”

“… Calm in disposition,” his Lady smiled. “They are a joy to behold. A delight to live with. More swine, fewer children, is what we wish for. Plan for. Hope to obtain.” A happy black sow with a white snout and white patches on her feet and a spray of white on her back ambled by. She had a pleasant and friendly demeanor. She was followed by a litter of 10 dashing piglets. They followed in a line, but bunched up as they drew closer.

“They’re shy,” the Lady of the manor whispered. “Keep your voice down. Don’t startle them. They’re just babies. She had a litter of sixteen. These lived. Those that die end up in the kitchen. Mind, they’re healthy. A bit underweight but tasty.”

I whispered. Stood frozen in my tracks and watched them pass. “How much does she weigh?” I whimpered.

“Probably six or seven hundred pounds. They can weigh up to 800 but we prefer the diminutives.”

“Designing and building shallow pools and meadow huts is a creative and wholesome endeavor…”

“…and they are the last of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. They represent happiness, honesty, fortune and virility. Surely most honorable human qualities.”

“The best.”

“Swinophobia was so senseless.”

“And raising, starving, tiny pet pigs was so stupid. Genetic modification is the answer.”

I looked up at this giant of a man. Twelve feet tall and 1600 pound of male perfection. He excited my senses.

Ms Pink Orpington

July 22, 2015 - One Response

I don’t suffer fool lightly. I’m outspoken. I speak my mind.

I’m President of our local exclusive–select, picky, proud– Women’s Club. We do golf and an occasional Fashion Show. I’m in charge of selecting models.  Do not approve of anorexics. We’re full-blown women. In our prime and proud of it.

I’m the wealthiest woman in my Bible Study class. I can write a check for  four figures. I’m a member of our local Tea Party group and volunteer to do all the paper work and keep files on local events and personalities. This town’s riddled with locals, liberals,  progressives, atheists and left-wing radicals. Dreadful. Well,  I can produce when need be. It’s dirty work, but someone has to do it. I also vet books allowed in the local library.  Dare  mention Steinbeck, that horrid Hemingway, Tony Morrison!! I dare you…

I shop at a local Macy’s–they know me there–but purchase fashionable attire at Neiman’s.   I’m proud to be known as narcissistic. I never wear the same outfit twice. Sometimes, when I travel, I take the pick of the lot with me. I can, and do, wear things I wear here at some fine hotel in distant cities.  I sell most things, for a fine price–believe me– at a local Second Hand. Giggle inwardly and point– surreptitiously–at they who dare buy my discards here and show  them off in public. My friends and I enjoy this small  whimsy. I live alone. I’m a widow. And the master bedroom in my three bedroom high-rise– on the top floor, what a view– is my wardrobe.  I read about the lady in Texas with the three-story wardrobe and did so envy her. She did it for charity, of course–people pay to visit and envy and covet–and serves champagne.  She  has a champagne floor. We are truly kindred souls. One of a kind. Sisters under the skin.  I think of doing the same here on a smaller scale, of course. I think she would approve. I think I’ll write a perfumed note and tell her of my great admiration.

I keep two pets. hairless cats–Warm and Fuzzy–they keep me company. Registetered Sphynx, they’re beautiful, awkward, and rare. The only ones in the entire town. I disdain common cats. Mine are pink and long-eared and they play on the terrace. Pink is my favorite color. Thus my nickname.

I admit I shop at the local big box. I buy in bulk. My cats and I could survive for three months without leaving our residence. In case of a disaster I keep a pantry. That’s what I do with my second bedroom. It, like my closet, is well stocked and orderly.

This morning, as I sauntered down the aisles, I discovered, to my dismay, the idiots in charge were out of cat food. I hailed a workman, “Where is the cat food?” I demanded.

“It’s over by the beer.”

“By the beer? is that to imply cat lovers drink beer? We drink Dom.” Guess I told him off.

Shirley TempleToday

July 17, 2015 - One Response

Grandmother Trump loved Shirley Temple.  The dance routines. The songs. She shared her bed with three Shirley Temple dolls. Had several stored in her closet and one in a chair by a window overlooking Central Park. Though ragged and frayed  and covered with dust they stand staunchly in the  glass enclosed curio I inherited when  my mother died. The thing’s baroque as all get out. We’ve spent a fortune hauling it  from base to base.  It also holds  an entire collection of Shirley DVDs. Plus albums and other memorabilia. Three generations of us us have contributed, and my hope is the fetish will be passed on. All of us, for years, have polished the glass weekly.

I’m Shirley. My daughter’s  Shirley. She’s ten.  Like me, she learned about the original from the get go. When I was three my mother bought  me a ruffled white, red polka dot dress  like the original wore in Stand up and Cheer.  I dressed my Shirley in it when she was three. I read recently the real thing sold for $75,000. Wish I could’ve bought it.  Just as my mother taught me, I taught my daughter, the original was a symbol of happiness and hope.

Neither my daughter nor I excelled at singing and dancing,  our hair was neither gold nor curly, but we loved to pretend. Like me, my Shirley likes the Littlest Rebel movie  best. The original  made that movie in 1935 and was about the Civil War.  Appropriate for the times, don’t you think? Her staircase dance with BoJangles delights us. My husband often releases blacks and brings them home  to watch the film. We laugh out loud as they try to imitate Bo.

The real Shirley died on February  11, 2014. This year we mourned all day– and mourned all night– trying to get all of the misery right.

Wonder how my husband–who’s  West Point proper– puts-up with our idiotcyncracy? He loves us. We make him happy. I think he loves the curio cabinet, too. Sometimes I think that’s why he married me. He loves baroque. He saw grandmother laid out in pink satin–uplifted and rich–and fell in love. He says she was the greatest baroque he’d ever seen. He brings fellow officers home to see her picture–young and  beautiful –and show off the Michael Amini Chateau Beauvais.

We’re big on birthdays.  So this year Shirley and I plotted. We talked our favorite  BoJangles into teaching Shirley how to shoot. Found some  Woodland Camo Fatigue pants and a vest. Also a great Xploderzgun that shoots jell balls. Our Bojangles taught her how to use it and set her in a tree. Then he loosed a rabbit at which she took aim. Turned out she was a natural.

On his birthday, we  talked her daddy into taking a walk. The stage was set. Shirley was treed. The rabbit was loosed. One shot got him.

“If that’d been a real bullet, long ears’d  be  dinner.”

“Next time,” we cheered. Proud. Our Shirley was the Littlest Sniper.






July 14, 2015 - One Response

“The moon belongs to everyone, the best things in life are free.

The stars belong to everyone, they shine there for you and me.

The flowers in spring, the robins that sing, the sunbeams that shine, they’re yours, they’re mine.”


“Old song. Bing Crosby sang it.”


I sighed.  I tried. “An old proverb?”


“A  pithy saying.  A general truth. A piece of advice. Think: saying, axiom, adage, precept, word of wisdom.”

“Socialistic crap. Very un-American. We  buy our way to happiness. The more stuff we have, the more money we have, the happier we are.”


“And, more important, the healthier we are.”


“A healthy economy is a happy economy. A happy economy is a healthy people. Everybody knows that. Spend your way to prosperity.  Kennedy said that. Good advice. I’m headed out to buy an  iPod.”


“An electronic gizmo. The latest. For playing and storing digital audio and video files. You stick it in your ear. Ever done that?”

“Stick it where?”

“You can watch movies, hear music,  walk around.”

“…and chew gum at the same time?”


“I think that was Lyndon Johnson. Yes, it was. ‘He’s so dumb he can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.’ He said it about Gerald Ford. Goodness knows what he’d have said about George Bush.”

“You’re so smart. When?”


“How in the hell did we get here?”

“Well, I had six honest serving men…”

“You’re nuts.”

” Not so nuts. I always loved Rudyard Kipling. Did you read The Jungle Book?”

“No but I saw the movie in 1974. Walt Disney. Wasn’t he the greatest? Rich, I tell you. Had his body cryogenically frozen. Now that’s class.”

“No, he didn’t. Died of lung cancer, though, and contributed to anti-communist hysteria. Big time.”

“Smart man. I’ll bet he wouldn’t claim the best things in life are free.”

“Probably not.”

“So what else is new?”

“Here we go again.”

Unfortunately we were seated in the same car. Front seat. I drove. There was no escaping this moron. “Where are you headed? I mean after we get to town and go our separate ways.”

“Why do you ask?”

I felt like responding, ‘so I’ll be sure and go in the opposite direction’, but I was polite. “I’m just making conversation.” I still had three honest serving men left to help me out of this miserable quandary.

“I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I knew. Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.”

“Servants? You got six servants named Where and Who and…?

I named those left.

“They gone?”


“When? How?”

” When iPods came along, they vanished down the memory hole.”

“The memory hole?”

” Orwell. 1984.  An incinerator that destroys inconvenient truths. Al Gore was  correct, too. We rewrite history to suit the party line. Truth vanishes. Poof.”

“You’re weird and you’re gonna get in trouble.”

“No doubt. How is the hammer.”

I hummed. Journeys end. We parted.























July 7, 2015 - Leave a Response

Sticky wicket subject for a brief column. It’s Tuesday in Paradise. A heady blooming perfumed day. Always a beautiful day in paradise. I owe my editor a column and  really don’t feel up to it. The bank behind my house is alive with walking iris. Their little white heads are cheerfully bobbing in the early morning light. My feral flock is scratching and munching on bugs and other juicy chicken delights. A light breeze sets leaves dancing on the bank and slipping silently through the iris I see one kitten stalking. Reba. It’s a game. She never catches anything, but I love to watch her hunt. She think she’s a big deal. Head honcho feline in this neck of the woods. The chickens trickle off with a flutter and a wink. They blend in so well they disappear in plain sight.

So, what has this to do with the heavy theme: Love and hate? Well, at that  moment, I felt very loving, until a sudden sodden thought awry leaped in my mind and spoiled the revery. Is it true that love and hate are opposite sides of the same coin, my mind queries? Is it true  you can never really appreciate–or feel–these deep human emotions without experiencing the other? Can one  know what it means to love, if one has  never known what it means to hate?

Love and hate are powerful–and potent–emotions. Love can be gentle and kind. It soars the human condition. I don’t think hate can ever be gentle and kind. I think it must always be aggressive and nasty. It sours the soul, if you believe in such a mysterious entity. It hammers the beating heart flat with bludgeoning blasts of red hot steel. The mad iron monger in the sky’s murderous obstruction heaved beneath the feet  of the human travelor.

One of my favorite people, my feed store man, made a  profound statement,  “Atheists just love everything,” he said one day. Out of the blue.

Think about it.

Can that be true?

And, anyway, what’s it got to do with chickens and kittens and walking iris? What does it have to do with a fragrant day in paradise? With a column over due?

Everything, I think.

I quoted a Biblical passage recently and sent it to the paper in response to a Christian teacher’s letter to the Forum in which he quoted a  passage concerning his interpretation of what his God had to say about gay marriage.

Here’s my quote:

“If any man comes to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sister, and yea his own life also, he cannot be a disciple.” (Luke 14:26) It’s writ in red. A direct quote  in the New Testament.

Well,  fortunately,  Jesus  didn’t say anything about loving kittens and chickens and walking iris and an editor who’s going to be cranky receiving a late column.

To wrap it up, may I say? “If you must hate, hate cancer.”





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