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Dave Barry's 2010 Year In Review
January 5, 2011 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Let’s put things into perspective: 2010 was not the worst year ever. There have been MUCH worse years. For example, toward the end of the Cretaceous Period, the Earth was struck by an asteroid that wiped out 75 percent of all the species on the planet. Can we honestly say that we had a worse year than those species did? Yes we can, because they were not exposed to Jersey Shore. Dave Barry reviews 2010, the worst of all years, ever.
posted by hippybear (63 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I had forgotten that Dave Barry sucks and therefore this was of value to me.
posted by mightygodking at 1:39 PM on January 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


I enjoyed this a lot.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:44 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dave Barry doesn't suck; he died in 1989. You're mad at AutoDave.
posted by griphus at 1:44 PM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


I can't believe I'm typing this: I agree with Dave Barry.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:44 PM on January 5, 2011


Barry won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1988, "for his consistently effective use of humor as a device for presenting fresh insights into serious concerns".

Hence, 1988 was the worst year ever.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:45 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow that was like the longest Reader's Digest "Laughter, the Best Medicine" of all time.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:45 PM on January 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


Dad used to read Dave Barry's column aloud to the family every Sunday morning. I thus have great memories of a great humorist—which memories are, sadly, no match for the speed and dedication of a MetaFilter threadshitter.

Shit on, mightygodking. Shit on. You're a credit to us all.

(Thanks for the link; I wouldn't have remembered to read this otherwise.)
posted by pts at 1:46 PM on January 5, 2011 [34 favorites]


Read this a couple days ago and felt bad about laughing so much because, yeah, Dave Barry is so corny. But still.

In sports, yet another major-league pitcher pitches yet another perfect game, and the baseball world wets its collective pants, because there is nothing more exciting to a true baseball fan than a game in which one of the teams can’t even manage to get on base.


It's funny.
posted by torticat at 1:47 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Getting back to reality: The 2010 election season enters its final days with polls showing that Congress enjoys the same overall level of voter popularity as hemorrhoids. Incumbents swarm out of Washington and head for their home districts to campaign on the theme of how much they hate Washington, in the desperate hope that the voters will return them to Washington.

Those clowns in congress did it again. What a bunch of clowns.

also:

Slow Down, Technology!
posted by Ratio at 1:48 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


How does it keep up with the news like that?
posted by Aquaman at 1:51 PM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Man, I used to love Dave Barry when I was around 11 or 12. I don't mean that snarkily; I am genuinely impressed he is still at it after all these years.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:51 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Better than usual Dave Barry, occasionally chuckle-ably funny, with a few insights that every other 'topical humorist' hadn't already beaten to death, which is DAMNED HARD TO DO anymore.

And I am not making this up.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:51 PM on January 5, 2011


Screw you guys, I like Dave Barry.

It might help that I haven't read him much in like twenty years though, nobody stays very interesting if you're constantly being reexposed.
posted by padraigin at 1:53 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I remember Dave Barry being a lot funnier twenty years ago. I do, however, thank him for adding "I am not making this up" to the cultural lexicon.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:57 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Okay, I was unduly influenced by his reference to “a truly heroic manatee named Wendell.”
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:58 PM on January 5, 2011


I do, however, thank him for adding "I am not making this up" to the cultural lexicon.

That's his bit?

That reminds me of when I learned that a single identifiable person had coined "Yoink!" It seemed like something that would have always just been there.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:59 PM on January 5, 2011


A USENET search reveals this repost of a Dave Barry article from 1985, in which he uses the phrase "I swear I am not making this up" in reference to a videotape he had seen.

Yes, the phrase was around before then, but I think Barry popularized the dead pan usage of "I am not making this up" as a separate sentence in reference to a weird news article or public statement.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:22 PM on January 5, 2011


Leave it to mefites to dismiss Dave. This was entertaining!
posted by VicNebulous at 2:24 PM on January 5, 2011


ERROR: Expected poster oneswellfoop. A/R/F?
posted by Eideteker at 2:27 PM on January 5, 2011


Dave Barry was pee-my-pants hilarious when I was eleven. Now he's good for the occasional chuckle, which is Just Fine By Me. I'm happy to see he's still working, good for him.

Also:

a challenge that we, as a nation, will have to meet, as we have met other challenges, with a combination of photo opportunities, lawsuits and tweeting
posted by jnrussell at 2:30 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


arf?
posted by item at 2:31 PM on January 5, 2011


In other air-travel news, the boards of directors of United and Continental approve a merger that will create one of the world’s largest airlines, with a combined total of 700 planes, 88,000 employees, and nearly two dozen packets of peanuts.

Wait. This isn't funny?
posted by JaredSeth at 2:32 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to make tapes of myself reading Dave Barry columns aloud for my first serious girlfriend, so he's always had a special place in my heart. I also haven't read him regularly for a long time, and this made me laugh, and I'm glad it's here.
Thanks, hippybear.
posted by yiftach at 2:41 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dave Barry is very formulaic. I sort of tune out and have a hazy fun time enjoying the formula, and periodically really enjoying particularly well-put lines like this one:

3. Apple released the hugely anticipated iPad, giving iPhone people, at long last, something to fondle with their other hand.
posted by gurple at 2:47 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't find it online right now, but Barry's column about the killer tortilla chip nearly made everyone in my entire senior class of over 600 people wet themselves laughing when it came out.

I actually had no idea he was still writing when I came across this column, but it's pretty classic Dave Barry material, so I'm glad some of you enjoyed it.
posted by hippybear at 2:47 PM on January 5, 2011


Dave Barry was one of the great modern humorists at one point. In the 80's his columns had fantastic narrative structure and his style was innovative. If you care about this sort of thing, check out "Bad Habits."

I took "Intro the Art of Film" in college and my professor described Orson Welles and "Citizen Kane" in a way that made a lot of sense-- the innovative techniques used in Welles' films, specifically "Citizen Kane," are hard for later generations to appreciate because they became conventions of the craft and we see them everywhere. Welles changed the genre so dramatically that nearly everything that came after "Kane" was influenced by it. Now, I would have to be a huge philistine to place Dave Barry on the same level as Welles and humor columns on the same level as great film making, but there is something of the same effect going on. Many, many modern writers of a conversational style are influenced by Dave Barry. I detect a whiff sometimes in some of the longer funny comments on Metafilter, actually.

The troubling thing is how quickly he lost it. He really devolved into formula rapidly and mailed it in for much longer than he was great. I first learned about him when the columns in "Bad Habits" were several years old. I was disappointed when I found his column in the local paper and the quality was already in severe decline, and they continued to get lazier-- relying on reader contributions much too heavily and writing stories (even if they were tongue-in-cheek) about his minor-league celebrity. Worst of all, he relied almost exclusively on that AutoDave format-- recent pop-culture note followed by predictable one-liner or variation on an analogy he had used before.

Oh well, nothing lasts forever. RIP.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:54 PM on January 5, 2011 [20 favorites]


Metafilter: nobody stays very interesting if you're constantly being reexposed.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:13 PM on January 5, 2011


Agree Dave used to be really funny. I read his American History book around the time I was taking AP US History (this would be like, 15 years ago?!) and I remember finding it hysterical. I think it would probably still hold up, I mean I remember still laugh thinking of his extended joke about the Smoot-Hawley Tariff.

That said, I stopped reading him a long time ago. Best quit while you're ahead nawwitmean
posted by jcruelty at 3:19 PM on January 5, 2011


I think it may be more that Dave berry is only funny if you're a dweeby 14 year old, and not so much that he was funny twenty years ago.

Because I would have laughed like hell at this when I was in ninth grade.
posted by empath at 3:26 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


jcruelty: A Sort-Of History of the United States mostly holds up, except he has a running gag about how in order to be purchased by school boards, history textbooks now have to be sure to mention the important contribution of women and minority groups, which he lampoons by occasionally writing, "And of course, during this period, women and minority groups were making many important contributions."

Which now just comes off as incredibly dismissive, patronizing, and tone-deaf, at least to me.
posted by pts at 3:31 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Many, many modern writers of a conversational style are influenced by Dave Barry.
> I detect a whiff sometimes in some of the longer funny comments on Metafilter, actually.

"i am not making this up" site:metafilter.com


...one of which is dhartung's

> Yawn. Succa, don' t you realize that this is the 2,061st thread posted to Metafilter
> where someone has said "I am not making this up"? and that's just since Wednesday last.
> posted by dhartung at 1:24 AM on November 15, 2000 [+] [!]
posted by jfuller at 3:45 PM on January 5, 2011


We've replaced Dave Barry with a computer algorithm designed to sound like Dave Barry. Let's see if anyone can notice!
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:48 PM on January 5, 2011


OK, it finally took Dave Barry for me to join the blue. Longtime listener, first time caller. Who knew?

First, even though Dave's been around forev, he's still pretty funny...

Elsewhere abroad, terrorists in Yemen attempt to send mail bombs to the United States, confirming the long-held suspicions of U.S. intelligence that there really is a country named "Yemen."

Second, he has pretty much nailed the Nicholas Bradford haircut on a grown man look for the past 25 years or so, and, as a result, has been the bad haircut poster boy for the same time period. Rod Blagojevich could be so lucky.

Third, he wrote a huge year-end humor story without once saying "...which would be a great name for a rock band".

Lastly, huzzah to Dave as well as Gene Weingarten and Tom Shroder for running the enormously awesome Post Hunt every summer in DC. We went last year and couldn't recommend it enough. Dave does the Herald Hunt in Miami as well.
posted by ga4ry at 4:04 PM on January 5, 2011


The only reason his columns aren't funny is because he isn't really trying. His novels are hysterical; his YA novels of Peter Pan, although not humorous as such, make excellent reads. The man has a bite. He just knows he's not paid to bite too hard in his columns, so he doesn't, and he punches in with his professional Baby Boomer voice, and punches out again.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:16 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, come on, that was pretty funny (this coming from somebody who really loved his stuff as a kid). Humor's just one of those things Metafilter doesn't do well. Every time there's a post about a comic or a humor writer, the first few responses are always from people who feel the need to proclaim that they don't think so-and-so is funny.

It brings to mind the Ambrose Bierce definition of a critic: A man who boasts himself difficult to please, because nobody has ever tried.
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:35 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, the phrase was around before then, but I think Barry popularized the dead pan usage of "I am not making this up" as a separate sentence in reference to a weird news article or public statement.

I'm pretty sure he started using it as a way to let us know that what follows is not one of the usual weird events presented as if they were fact.
posted by JHarris at 4:59 PM on January 5, 2011


which he lampoons by occasionally writing, "And of course, during this period, women and minority groups were making many important contributions."

Which now just comes off as incredibly dismissive, patronizing, and tone-deaf, at least to me.


I'm guessing that you didn't have a high school US History textbook with the minority achievements obviously shoehorned in. "Patronizing" is the word I would use to describe that practice-- mine even segregated the women/minorities in a blue box towards the end of the chapter. You'd read about white men building this wonderful nation, then you got to go back to the box and learn how Rubella Sourface made the candles for the first church in Providence. The economic and social forces that oppress are never really discussed. The effect is to make it seem like women and black people ARE inferior-- white guys do all the cool stuff, minorities do laundry.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:03 PM on January 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


I will always owe him a debt of gratitude for his "worst song" contest.
posted by acrasis at 5:05 PM on January 5, 2011


Dave Barry doesn't suck; he died in 1989. You're mad at AutoDave.

Sounds about right.
posted by clarknova at 5:21 PM on January 5, 2011


I owe Dave Barry an eternal debt for all the times he made me laugh until I cried.

And this piece isn't bad -- ranging from smile producing to some chuckle-worthy cracks. I also appreciate his bipartisan approach and seamless merging of ridiculous truths (O'Donnell , plus the utter insanity of many other Tea Party candidates, and Palin's tweeting, for example) with the silly things based on real life he made up (like Korea decking the President in a basketball game.)

But hey, I admit my bias. He had me from the moment I read:

This is not to say that 2010 was all bad. There were bright spots. Three, to be exact:

1. The Yankees did not even get into the World Series.

posted by bearwife at 5:23 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: something to fondle with your other hand
posted by bwg at 5:30 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Resolved: the French surrender joke must surrender. It has played itself out. It's funny value is now negative. I propose some alternatives like: my iPhone dropped the call. For example north Korea invades: iPhone drops call. Blizzard meanaces Europe; iPhone drops call. Or perhaps we should follow our recent American military history and use: US military bombs some brown persons house. Cause you know any shit happens anywhere we are fucking bombing some brown person's house amIrite? And probably someones iPhone dropped the call.
posted by humanfont at 5:35 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


This writer is no good anymore is the grown up, more pretentious version of "your favorite band sucks."
posted by Patapsco Mike at 6:13 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was actually much funnier than I thought it was going to be. However, I have to disagree with one comment pointed out by bearwife:

This is not to say that 2010 was all bad. There were bright spots. Three, to be exact:

1. The Yankees did not even get into the World Series.


This is not a good thing. This is a bad thing. If the Yankees do not get into the World Series then the Yankees can not lose the World Series.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:40 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


> For example north Korea invades:

France surrenders.


Like France itself, funny forever.
posted by jfuller at 7:02 PM on January 5, 2011


C'mon, this was funny:

(talking about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill)... "President Obama, eager to show that he is on top of the situation, develops severe forehead cramps from standing on the shore and frowning with concern at the water"
posted by bitteroldman at 7:18 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe his humor is constant and you just turned into an old fart.
posted by digsrus at 7:22 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the month’s most dramatic story, the 33 trapped Chilean miners are all brought safely to the surface, only to be sent right back down because they failed to bring up any copper — which, as the mining company points out, “was the whole point of sending them down there in the first place.”

Ouch. Probably a little too close to true. Also, he realizes that the best way to lampoon the Tea Party is to simply report what they say and do without exaggeration. There are some clichés I could live without, but there were other good points, like the Corolla that shows up over & over again. No hate from me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:52 PM on January 5, 2011


yes, yes, but what does Erma Bombeck have to say about the Deepwater Horizon?
posted by Miles Long at 7:53 PM on January 5, 2011


I thank Dave for his "24" blog, for treating as (most typically unwitting, although sometimes you had to wonder) comedy what fans and critics alike took entirely too seriously.
posted by raysmj at 8:37 PM on January 5, 2011


I thank Dave for his "24" blog

Why have I never heard of this until now?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:59 PM on January 5, 2011


Wow that was a compendium of what Jay Leno viewers all think.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:00 PM on January 5, 2011


Love Dave. Read him to my kids, who fell in love with the concept of having a "...small back-up dog."

But mostly cause I got to hang backstage with him a dozen or so years ago and brought a book for him to sign, which he did at once, chatting and smiling and being very Dave Barry. Later I noticed that while he was smiling and chatting he had been writing,
Dear Umberto
Don't read this...
I'm serious...
Jeez, what an asshole.
--Dave Barry--
posted by umberto at 11:01 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A friend gave me A Sort Of History Of The United States for my 17th birthday, and I remember really enjoying it. He might not be an incredibly biting and edgy humorist, but he isn't exactly Bill Keane, either. He's been doing this for decades, and for that alone his ability to still make me chuckle now and then allows me to forgive that tired peanuts on airplanes joke.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:04 PM on January 5, 2011


Dave Barry is one of the many likable Republicans of my childhood. Right there with Alex P Keaton. Personal favorite page.

"You put the seeds in the ground," explained Squanto. He couldn't believe what kind of morons he was dealing with.
posted by zvs at 11:49 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


As one of my future post's subject put it:

"You wanna know why everyone is collectively disinterested in New Years Eve?

Because fuck 2010, that’s why."

posted by fantodstic at 12:08 AM on January 6, 2011


Oh man, Dave Barry! Such an ardent fan I was, circa fifth grade (about eighteen years ago?) and I have many fond memories of Dad reading his columns aloud on Sundays and of the worst-song contest and the holiday gift guides. Mmm, nostalgia.

This was pretty funny. I liked it.
posted by Neofelis at 12:10 AM on January 6, 2011


The words "Rubella Sourface" made me laugh harder than anything in that Dave Barry column.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:57 AM on January 6, 2011


In case you think Dave Barry is a hack, read this and tell me you do not get just a little bit choked up.
posted by Aizkolari at 4:52 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've always been a Dave Barry fan - and while I don't disagree with some of the more reasoned analysis of the change in his style noted above - I still remember a lot of his best work quite fondly. I have always hoped some day to find a way to pay my own bills by writing, and if I ever do, Dave is one of the people I will credit with any meager success I might come into.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dave twice, and I can confirm that he is a legitimately nice dude.

The first time was during the Republican National Convention in NYC a year or two after 9/11. I was living / working in the city at the time and had friends from college who worked for a few political think-tanks in DC who were up in town and had passes to a lot of the events (I've never been a Republican myself, but I'm deeply infiltrated in their ranks). We were at a bar in midtown to hear Karl Rove (of all people) speak to a group of College Republicans or something. I was standing there having a beer when my friend Rebecca sitting at the table next to me starts kicking me and whispering fiercely at me "That's Dave Barry!"

And there was Dave Barry, standing shoulder to shoulder with me, listening to Rove and scratching notes on his note pad. I saw one of the notes, it said "red meat." He had just walked up and stood right next to me, his greatest fan. He didn't even know it. I looked back at Rebecca, for guidance - I was more than a little star-struck. I was fumbling in my pocket for a pen, and Rebecca told me to ask him to have drinks with us.

I had to stand there and wait for probably another 30 seconds of Rove wrapping up (none of which I actually listened to), but it seemed like 5 minutes. I was afraid Dave would walk away, or be too busy, or see somebody important to talk to, I don't know. Rove finally ceased his incessant ranting and I immediately introduced myself to Dave. I told him I was the same David K. that had written him regarding the use of wheelchairs to cut in line at amusement parks. He had published what I wrote on his blog and it had gotten a LOT of heated feedback. He knew who I was! I asked him to have drinks with us. He said he'd love to! I asked him what he wanted to drink. He said Sam Adams! I got Dave Barry a Sam Adams.

We ended up talking for over an hour, just chatting and having drinks. We had a very cheerful waitress who kept bringing hors d'oeuvres until nobody wanted anymore, but she kept coming with them. Dave reacted to this quite comically. He told us a lot about Athens and the DNC, and his other travels - a lot of the stuff we talked about was stuff that he had already written in recent articles, but it was really cool to hear it from the actual man himself. I think he may even have tried out some material on us for one of the pieces he was writing that week. He gave us the bit on Dreier having carnal relations with a llama which was published in that morning's piece - it was quite funny.

After a while, Dave had to go. He graciously took a few more pictures with us and signed a couple autographs. He was one of the nicest guys I've ever met, hands down. He really seemed like a normal dude. But his humor is on another level - that was plain to see. There were jokes thrown into the conversation that some in our group didn't even catch. I probably missed one or two myself.

The second time was a couple years later at a book-signing in NYC. Unfortunately that night at the bar the half-wit who was taking the pictures left his camera in the cab and we lost all evidence, but when I explained this to Dave at the book signing, he said he didn't really remember but if I promised I had actually bought him a beer at some point, he'd be more than happy to take a picture with me.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:00 AM on January 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Dave's still got it. I don't seek out his humour as actively these days, he's still a skilled humorist, but he's a bit gentle for my tastes. I can't blame the guy for phoning it in sometimes, it's one of the perks of having a distinctive voice, and being consistently successful for 3 decades. I admit I may be biased though: it mostly has to do with my mom.

I am about a year or two younger than Dave Barry's son. I know this because growing up, my mom would relate some of his "Wit's End" columns that centered around his son. The one I most vividly remember was the one from when I was little; he explained how his son seemed to have "Idea inverters" installed that would reject the concepts he put forth to him, something like "and there was my son, playing outside barefoot, though I'd yelled out into the back yard PUT YOUR SHOES ON so many times that I noted a small line of ants on the deck, each putting tiny ant shoes on their many feet." My mom loved this sort of thing.

Because she was a fan, she had the book Claw Your Way To The Top which I read, despite being 16 and not having much interest in the corporate world just yet. I found it hilarious and insightful. There's a bit about hiring subordinates: (I'm paraphrasing) "Give the applicant three forms, marked A, B, and C. Tell them to fill them out, and once they are done, to throw form B into the trash. A good subordinate will ask questions like 'which one is Form B?' or 'Is the trash can alright?' However, if they ask questions like 'gee, why do I have to fill out this form if I'm only going to throw it away?' Fire them immediately." A simple thing that illustrated both the ludicrousness but also the necessity for employees who can follow orders without question.

I also remember when I was a senior in high school, and Dave started writing about moving his son into his college dorm, and the emotions associated with that. As usual, my mom would share the column with me, but this time she was in tears. She was sad because over the years Dave Barry's insights into his own son reminded her of me, and the looming threat of having to say goodbye to me in that fashion, the youngest of her 5 kids and last to leave home. I realized that in a small way, Dave Barry's columns were not just a funny column, but in a small fashion, an entertaining voice to articulate the things she felt; specifically regarding being the parent of a young boy (I have naught but sisters). I want to say that sounds a bit messed up, but I can't really argue that the work of Bill Hicks, George Carlin, or U2 didn't do the same for me. I gave her a hug and reassured her by saying that I'd probably end up going to NOVA (community college) and living at home, so by the time I left she'd be happy to be rid of me. She laughed, and as it turned out, that's exactly what happened (she wasn't happy to be rid of me, her celebrations after I moved were pretty low-key).

And I guess after everything else the Dave Barry cycle has inverted, as now I think of my mom when I read funny Dave Barry columns, in fact, I'll be sending this one along to her.

Maybe I'm wrong, and he really has been phoning it in, saying Dave Barry sucks is like saying my mom sucks, and I simply cannot.

(Incidentally, "The Dave Barry cycle" would make an excellent name for a rock band.)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:12 AM on January 6, 2011


It's so weird to me how much people worry about if some public figure happens to be polite when you run into them out in the world. If Dave Berry was the nicest person on the face of the earth, that wouldn't alter reality and make this funnier, it would still be the same dry crust that it would be if he happened to be a total jack ass to you that one time when he was out minding his own business and you bothered him about some shit.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:38 AM on January 6, 2011


If the Yankees do not get into the World Series then the Yankees can not lose the World Series.

True. But a) the earlier and more profoundly the Yankees lose, the better and b) if they don't go, some other team that has been waiting forever does get to go.

Hope us Yankee-haters can unite on these key points.
posted by bearwife at 12:07 PM on January 6, 2011


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