Saturday, August 31, 2013

One of the things that irked the living hell out of me a while ago was when a friend of mine had a legitimate accident.

OK, the truth is that he took a stupid pill shortly after he woke up. That in itself is not against the law because if it was then an awful lot of people would be in jail, including the guards which would make things interesting.

Anyway, he had a 5 gallon can of water seal. The can was made out of steel and was thicker than most five gallon cans.

He was trying to pour the water seal into a garden sprayer and because there was no air vent much like government mandated gas cans he decided to make one. Most of us that work with stuff like that even once in a while know the trick. You poke a hole in the lid on the side opposite the spout. 


On heavy duty steel cans I generally use an old steel marline spike or a punch and a hammer. On lighter weight cans I'll sometimes use a quick stab with a strong bladed knife.

My neighbor that morning misjudged the thickness of the steel, fished his Buck knife out and gave the can a hard stab. The knife glanced off the top of the lid and stuck into the wrist of his other hand that was steadying th can.

Simple accident.

It doesn't get a whole lot simpler than that. It involved a knife and a five gallon steel can. There were no power tools, electricity, gas powered engines, ladders, ropes, chains or whips. Just a knife and a can.

Of course he was bleeding like a stuck pig and the effects of the stupid pill that he had taken to get into this mess in the first place had started to wear off. Instead of wrapping the wrist up with a T-shirt and driving himself to the hospital he got a neighbor to drive him. I stuffed him into my truck and off we drove.

It proved to be the only thing that kept him out of the booby hatch as things later turned out.

They took him straight into the emergency room, managed to stop the bleeding and started the inevitible mass of paperwork that has probably killed more people than it has saved.

Hospitals ought to have the symbols of the Cross, the Star of David, and the Crescent intertwined and engraved on a wall somewhere as a memorial to those that have died while filling out hospital paperwork.

"In memory of those that died filling out insurance forms and hospital form 653-a-1, form 308-c-4 and form 953-2A."

Let's not get into anything the government asks for here because I am writing a blog post and not trying to write a bigger book than 'War and Peace'.

Anyway, I guess because my neighbor had cut himself in the wrist the nurse questioned him regarding the possibility of the accident being a suicide attempt. She had a job to do and I won't hold that against her.

What I do hold against her is that she started to act like she was a junior G-man and started playing word games with him. I was outside  and heard some of it and it was downright rotten.

This was a simple accident and she was doing her all-time best to twist it around into a suicide attempt.

He shouted my name and I stepped in. He was angry and actually so was I. He asked me to tell the nurse what happened.

I looked around a quick second and saw there were two nurses and a security guard there and decided how to handle this situation.

My neighbor has been good over the years at keeping me posted on sneak attacks and flanking movements. I tend to help him when he faces a frontal assault.

One time we were getting coffee and some pushy broad tried to elbow him out of the way. She was wearing a 'Guess' T-shirt and had a pretty good sized rack under it.

My neighbor read the shirt, looked at her, reread the shirt, looked up and guessed.

"Implants?" he asked. Everyone within earshot busted up.

I saw the upcoming horror show and headed it off. I pulled out a wad of cash and shouted, "I got $20 that says my friend is right! I worked in a strip club and can tell a boob job from 250 yards!"

"I'll take ten of that!" shouted the older woman behind the counter. She was a character. Someone else shouted they'd take the other ten.

The pushy broad started to try indignation but figured that wouldn't work so she left post haste.

Anyway, I had looked around in the emergency room and said to the security cop who was black, "You guys get beat up too often." I looked at the quieter of the two nurses, "You're Asian of some kind and don't cause trouble." I looked at the troublemaking nurse, "You're just a dopey white girl so you don't count."

"OK, I snapped, "Here's what happened. We got in a knife fight with six Hassidic Jews!"

She turned purple. The security guard started outright laughing, the Asian nurse looked confused, recovered and tittered a bit.

The nurse shot back, "You did NOT get into a knife fight with Hassidic Jews!"

"Mighta been Amish?" suggested the cop, helpfully. The nurse glared at hem.

"If a simple accident isn't good enough for you, then that's our story and we're stickin' to it!" I shot back. Then I turned to the security amused guard. I looked like I was thinking about something. "Might been Amish," I said. "Nah. Had to be Hassidic Jews."

"Why's that?" asked the guard.

"They didn't smell like they had been around horses," interrupted my neighbor. 

"Good point," said the amused guard.

The nurse stormed out and returned with someone in a white jacket, most likely a junior doctor or an intern.

He seemed mildly aggravated.

"What's going on here?" 

"I had an accident," said my neighbor. A plain and simple accident and the nurse here is playing word games to try and make it look like a suicide attempt."

"What's this about a knife fight?" he asked.

"If she won't accept a simple accident, then we got into a knife fight with six Hassidic Jews," I interrupted. "But you might want to accept our word that it was an accident. Insurance doesn't pay for fighting and you want to get paid. This guy is raising six kids on minumum wage."

The doctor looked at the security guard and got everything he needed to know from his totally expressionless face. He knew what was going on and didn't look too pleased.

"Hassidic Jews, my ass!" he said. "They don't start trouble on the streets!"

"Ahem," coughed the security guard. "I suggested that they might have been Amish, but the men said they didn't smell like horses."

The doctor or whoever he was looked up at the security guard sharply and softened immediately and smirked for a second. He turned and started to leave.

The nurse was standing outside and as the doctor walked out he spoke to her in a well deserved snotty tone.

"The man had a simple accident," he snapped, and stormed off.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

The road less traveled

One of the things that I get a certain amount of negativity from people I grew up with is because my life was entirely different than theirs.

I often get called either a Republican or a Tea party member, of which I am neither. I am just a person that has shaped his life from my experiences.

After I got out of the service I spent the next 20 years of my life in far-flung remote outposts in places like Wyoming, eastern Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

Most of it was in Alaska on Kodiak Island which was then and is pretty likely now a place that breeds fairly self reliant individuals.

A decade or more in places like that tends to change a person. Generally for the better although some people do not seem to think so.

The time I spent both on the road and in Alaska taught me to pretty much rely on myself and that if I wanted something done I had best plan on doing it myself.

Alaska was a harsh place to live in ways. The penalty for screwing up was often paid at the cost of one's life as many found out.

By the time I was 35 I had been to maybe four or five weddings and over 50 funerals and memorial services. It was one hell of a way to live and the fact that I even reached 35 was nothing much less than a miracle.

If death didn't come early to one of my peers in a boat, it was in a small airplane. If it wasn't in either of those it was in one of about a million little insideous ways. None of it was very pleasant and when the time came it was generally a pretty horrible way to go. Being eaten by a bear, as one guy I knew was one way to go that must have been unpleasant.

One  of the things I learned early in the onset was the value of making good decisions. It didn't take long after I arrived to find out that a newly made friend had accepted a job with a skipper of dubious reputation and had paid for his decision with his life.

My friend had wanted the fishing job so bad he let his emotions take charge. It was then that I decide to do my best to rely on logic. Doing so has done me well.  

Still, there was money to be made, adventures to be had and interesting things to do. I was constantly learning and I was drawn to that sort of life like a moth to a candle flame.  

Generally speaking, when a day was over it was pretty much used up.  It was seldom difficult to achieve sleep after a long day. It didn't take long to become both physically and mentally tough. 

Many of my skills were self taught.

I learned to sail a sailboat simply by buying one in Everett, Washington and sailing it up the inside passage to Yukatat. From there I had gathered enough experience to sail her from there across the Gulf of Alaska to Kodiak where she stayed for about a year until I took her south again. I spent a glorious winter living aboard her.

I didn't really have to worry about getting something to eat, though, as salmon, venison, King crab, halibut and a lot of other things were readily available if you were not too lazy or stupid to take advantage of it. A crab pot off of the fuel dock could keep a number of people fed for a lot of the year.

I learned to be patient and shoot straight because a head shot ruined less meat and a gutshot deer did nobody any good because the animal generally died a horrible death somewhere seldom to be found and the meat went to waste.

It is truly astonishing how much of my diet did not come from various stores. I caught or shot much of it. Some of it was traded for what I did catch or shoot.

I learned the value of tools and how to use them.

I learned to trade and found that more often than not, payment in kind was a pretty good deal. An example of which was when I traded an afternoon's work for a lightly used Genoa for my sailboat. The Gennie retailed for about $750.

I also learned that the bank will generally work with someone a couple of days after they have stored a two or three pounds of shrimp in their safe deposit box.

My first seven or eight years in Alaska I suppose by stateside definition I would have been considered to be homeless as I had no fixed base of operation other than a local ginmill I checked into daily. Yet I always seemed to have a roof over my head and a warm place to sleep and a full belly which was all that mattered.

I learned the value of being trustworthy and that led to relationships with families and individuals that would generally shock most people stateside. There were a number of homes I could simply walk into and use the shower to get cleaned up in simply because I left it cleaner than when I found it.

I learned about the kindnesses and cruelties of small town living. I also learned when to leave some things well enough alone which is something a lot of people don't know these days.

I learned that kindness, patience, respect and generosity pay pretty damned good dividends to most people. I learned to slap down ruthlessly those that would take advantage of someone's good nature.

I learned that the guy managing the city dump was more useful and more important to know than the mayor by a long shot. 

Many of these lessons came hard, many came easy. Still, all in all I am a product of the lessons I learned on the road less traveled.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

I think it is time

 to replace a serpentine belt in my truck as I am getting a squeal when I turn on my A/C.  I heard this a few days ago and now don't run the A/C figuring that the pump might be acting up.

However when I fired the rig up today I heard a brief belt squeak and now I figure it is either time to replace the belt or adjust the tensioner. If I adjust the tensioner I'm going to replace the belt anyway as thing has about 53,000 miles on it and they don't last forever.

We'll see what happens and act accordingly. 

I really don't think the A/C pump is on the fritz because Toyota does a pretty good job of building a solid product. 

We'll see what happens.

Until I get home it looks like I am going to have to use the 2/60 A/C unit. Two windows open and drive 60 mph.

Update: The A/C pump is shot.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Someone once asked me

                            how I managed to have known so many of the people not generally associated with polite society.

I pointedly asked him what he meant by that as he was kind of a snobby type. He said I seem to have known a lot of druggies, hookers, strippers, little guys living alternative lifestyles and things along those lines.

A big part of it is that I was living on the streets myself, so to speak. My home was either a camper/trailer or a sailboat in the small boat harbor.

Yet another part of it was that in a small town like the one I spent my late 20s and 30s in was just that. It was a small town and everyone in it shared a number of things.

Everyone has to eat and the restaurants there catered to everyone as did the supermarket, the drug store, the hardware store and the basic department store.

We were all pretty much in the same boat, so to speak.

Not being a homebody, I was out a lot and met a lot of people. I knew just about everyone and was welcome just about everywhere as I wasn't too judgemental about what someone did unless it was out and out wrong.

Like everyone else I had to eat and did a lot of odd jobs to get by. I worked in the local strip club from time to time either remodeling things or simply doing a few repairs. I had a reputation of doing pretty good work and being easy to get a hold of.

A couple of times the strip club owner would hire me as an ID checker/doorman. I met a lot of interesting people there just as I did when I did a job for a local church. 

Speaking of working for churches, they were for the most part cheapskates. After you turned in your bill they would want to barter and tell you that the wages of sin are death.

When I pointed out that the wages for working at the strip club were union scale plus they'd throw in a half-dozen free drinks  they'd generally get pretty indignant. Finally they'd grudgingly cough up what they owed you.

I also worked for a local night club every so often doing work for the owner, again either repairs or remodels. This was a pretty good gig when it came up because the owner was a great guy to work for. I met a few people there, people of all walks of life.

Being a fisherman/sailor/carpenter introduced me to a compete cutaway of the entire town from the mayor to the guy that ran the dump. In reality the guy tht ran the dump was more useful to know than the mayor, though.

After all, the guy running the dump would sometimes save me some of the better throwaway items from time to time. I wound up with some pretty good hand tools from him as well as some other odds and ends. All the mayor ever did for me was give me a headache.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

We are living too fast

way, way too fast.

memorial day was yesterday and tomorrow is Labor day, or so it seems.

Summer is vanishing so fast you cannot keep track of it. The day after tomorrow we will be up to our knees in snow.

It is fearful as I get older and see how short life really is.

I do not know where the days go..

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Monday, August 26, 2013

All I have to say about AL and Jesse

And that is all I have to say about those two.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Allen West on SYG

Interesting man here.

Unfortunately I do not think you are going to see Colonel West running for the Oval Office because he was disciplined and his career in the army brought to a screeching halt after an incident where he was looking out for his troops.

At his disciplinary hearing he was in-contrite and instead of being apologetic he said he'd carry 2 buckets of gasoline through hell for his troops.

I wish I had served under such a man.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

If any of you watch Pawn Stars

 on the History Channel you might learn a thing or two from Chum-Lee.

Now most people think that Chum-Lee isn't the sharpest tool in the shed and maybe he isn't but he's not entirely stupid, either.

There was a trivia contest sponsered at a local bar and the rest of the shop put together a team and left Chum-Lee out saying that they wanted to win and that Chum wasn't any good at trivia.

Chum was upset at being left out so he decided to form his own team. The pawn shop from time to time brings in experts to appraise things people bring in to sell or pawn.  Chum simply rounded up three of them, formed his own team and they won the contest in a route.

I suppose it cost Chum Lee a round of drinks.

It was a humorous sidebar in a mildly entertaining TV show but there was something to be learned there.

When you don't know something and want to know just hunt out someone that knows.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Years ago I had a shipmate that had a scar

 on his torso that looked like it came from a Chain saw. He was an old salt and had sailed deep sea during the 50s and early 60s as an Ordinary seaman.

The scar was a product of an emergency operation performed at sea by the chief mate and an engine room guy that had taken a 12 week course in emergency medical proceedures in the army a decade or  more earlier.

In truth it was a desperate hack job performed on a galley table in heavy seas. He survived and without the operation he would have died.

A few years ago I listened to a newsman on a satellite television station triumphantly state that "The storm has blown safely out to sea!"

Guess who got the daylights kicked out of him by the so-called safe storm? Safely out to sea, my ass. I was right in the middle of it. It was brutal, I had to hit the deck in the middle of it to secure a few things and got knocked cleat to the end of the tether I had tying me to the boat a couple times.

One night when I was on the road sleeping in a camper I had to load a shotgun to run an intruder off.  There were no police departments to call because it was long before the days of cell phones.

Back in the army I learned that when push came to shove we only had ourselves and each other. Government was not too likely to help us. More likely we would have been in a rotten position because of government.

Many moons ago when I had a pump fire on a barge containing 30,000 barrels of gasoline. I closed the pump drain, slowed the pump down to idle, fought the fire and loosened the packing to cool the shaft before shutting down.

There was no fire department standing by. I had myself and only myself to take care of things.

I learned early along that when you go to sea or take the road less traveled that the only things you have out there are yourselves and each other. It holds true on shore, too.

I learned at an early age that when push comes to shove we only have ourselves. Anyone that thinks that having the government take care of them is a good deal ought to take a long, hard look at the American Indian.

Truth is that when you get down to it if you want to have any kind of life you have to look to yourself.

I took an entry level job a quarter century ago and instead of staying there I educated myself and got promoted into a gig that's been very good to me and for me. Nobody did it for me, I did it myself.

President Obama can't say that I didn't do it myself because I did. I was the guy sitting at the kitchen table boning up for Coast Guard tests.

I have listened to more than one self employed person griping about the cost of private health insurance and what it costs them. Some guys gripe about what a rip-off it is, some are grateful for the coverage.

Some are out there praising Obamacare because it will lower their rates. They are somewhat mistaken in their thought process because the truth is that the quality of medical care is simply based price. The top dogs in the medical business don't generally work for cheap insurance companies.Why should they?

You pay a little, you get a little. You pay a lot, you get a lot. When you look to government for medical care, you get government medical care. 

Bet you don't find a whole lot of top medical people working for what the government decides to pay. They'll stay in private practice. I sure would if I were in their shoes.

I've said this before and I will say it again. Before you are fooish enough to trust the government with such an important part of your life take a long, hard look at the American Indian.

Incidentally, over the past few years some groups of the American Indian have started to get things together and start getting things off the ground. While a lot of people may sneer at the casinos, smokeshops or whatever, one thing remains true.

The Indians that have gotten involved in free enterprise seem to have a lot better lives than their counterparts that are content to sit there taking the government handouts.

Bet you another thing, too. Bet the Indians that are managing these various enterprises are using private health insurance, too. Likely they're pretty tired of government handouts.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

A BS story or three

Someone asked me about the biggest Bravo Sierra story I have ever told a woman regarding what I did for a living.

I was out having a beer with a single guy once and he was busy yakking with some babe. on the other side of him. When he got up to pee she asked me what I did for a living.

I told her I worked for the Federal department of highways putting shoes in the breakdown lane.

She looked perplexed.

"Ever see one shoe in the breakdown lane? One single shoe?" I asked. She replied that she had.

"Then for the next thirty or forty miles you wonder where the other shoe is, right?" I asked. She said that from time to time she had wondered where the other shoe was.

"I put those shoes there for the PennDOT," I explained. "They do that to keep drivers alert and it saves a number of lives every year because it wakes people up."

"Really?" she asked.

"Absolutely," I assured her.

Another time I was sitting at a table at the same joint with the same guy with another babe he was in the process of grabbing by the hair and dragging back to his cave. She asked me what I did for a living.

I told her I was an investigator for the Federal Department of Permanent Records. She looked perplexed.

"Didn't you ever hear that something would go on your permanent record?" I asked.

"They told that to you when you were little to make you behave yourself," she said.

"Don't believe that. There really is a Department of Permanent records," I said. 

"Really?" she asked.

"Yes, Ma'am," I replied in my Joe Friday voice. "Most people have one."

"Do I?" she asked.

"We can find out fast enough," I said.

"Could you find out for me?" she asked.

"Be glad to," I said, dialing my kid sister on my cell phone. My kid sister is as sharp as a tack and pretty damned quick.

"Snip, Agent Piccolo," I said into the phone. Run a check for me." 

I turned to the woman and asked her name, she gave it to me and I repeated it into the phone. Then I asked for her social security number and did the same thing. Then I waited a minute or so.

"No record, huh? Better start one," I said. "Thanks, Snip. Later." with that I hung up.

The woman was speechless for several seconds. Then she went into a panic. She was upset, of course that Big Brother now had her number. She started to get upset with me and I simply downed my drink and left the pair of them alone.

Later I heard my friend scored with her after he told her I owed him a favor and could make her new record disappear.

I once had a woman sit mext to me a few years ago and ask me about men. I suppose she thought I was like her father or something. She was young enough to be my daughter.

She wanted to know what guys talked about when they were out drinking.

I looked around like a Mafioso getting ready to bump someone off, lowered my voice and spoke quietly.

"Young single men talk about women, middle aged married ones talk about their kids and old men talk about their prostates," I said. Then I looked around again to make sure nobody heard me.

"Really? She asked.

'That's about it," I said.

"I thought thay talked about sports," she said.

I looked around again. "That's only when their wives are within earshot," I said, softly.

Hook, line and sinker.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

There is a place I eat at from time to time that is owned by Egyptian immigrants

The food is pretty good and the place is on somewhat of a crossroads. You never know who you are going to meet.

Last night I was seated next to an interesting family that was traveling. A husband, wife and a couple of kids. I chatted with them briefly. The kids were very well behaved and my curiosity got the best of me. I sensed they were not native to this country.

It was a Kenyan father, an Indian mother and a pair of typical American kids with good parents. Actually I was surprised to find the father was from Kenya as he looked more Arab than what I expected a Kenyan to look like.

It was an interesting family and I wish them well.

The Egyptian born owner was sitting in a corner with his family and saw me head to the men's room. On the way out he asked me how I was doing. He knows I am a ham and asked me if I had made any middle east contacts lately. I had and he seemed pleased. 

He's got a great son who busts his ass in the family business like he should in addition to being a full-time engineering student. I knew he was sharp the minute I set eyes on him a couple of years ago and I'd bet that if he gets a full time job when he graduates he's still going to pitch in on the family business.

They are that kind of people. They work hard and they're grateful to be in business. 

For many immigrants the American dream is to own one's own business and these guys are doing it, and doing it well.

The woman that seated me was a Palestinian and had been in this country three months. I asked her where she had learned English and she replied, "On the job" which shocked me because she was already fairly fluent. 

It is interesting to note that I have dealt with a number of people of Arabic ancestry here and for some reason they learn English well and don't drag an Arabic accent along with them. 

On the way out the guy next to me was finishing a cell conversation and when he hung up he said to himself, "Glad I have a good flight crew." I grinned at him and asked him if he was an officer or enlisted man.

"Flight attendant," he replied. "What do you know about Paris?"

"I don't like them," I said. "They hate Americans and in your case they will likely hate you on two accounts. What part of Africa can you tell them you are from?"

"I suppose I could pass as a Nigerian," he said. "They don't like Americans, do they."

"Nope," I answered. "And don't bother speaking a single word of French because if you don't speak perfect Parisian they'll snub you."

"Incidentally, try passing yourself off as a Nigerian doing business there. It'll likely make it a little more palatable. If you can get out of that city go to Normandy where they like Americans."

"They like us there?" he asked.

"Yeah, they do," I replied. "I wore a 4th ID pin and they assumed I was the son of a GI that came ashore there in June of '44. They treated me well."

"Thanks," he said.

I travel frequently and this type of experience is not new to me. I am constantly running into people of different backgrounds when I travel and I have noticed one thing. We all seem to get along pretty well.

There's actually a pretty good reason for this. It is because someone malicious jerk like like Al Sharpton or some governmental idiot isn't there to show us how different we are.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Doc says I'm OK, I guess

The specialist I saw was working out of a hospital which was good and bad. He ordered a couple of tests and I got them done there but it did blow a lot of an entire day.

I wonder how the quality of care is going to be after Obama care kicks in. In truth is already seems to be on the way down even though I like this doctor. 

They had a dietitian speak to me, which I understand he does with everyone. This was another one of those people that make me wonder. I read the literature she gave me and I suppose that as an old guy with a sedentary lifestyle the diet would fit, but not for a working outside kind of guy. Especially in winter.

I'd bet she's never had a day when she burned 3500 calories in her life. Back when I was commercial fishing I was burning 5000-5500 calories a day and sometimes still losing weight.

The literature said the 3 ounces protein part of the meal should be the size of a deck of cards. Yeah, right. Two farts and that's gone. Any steak under 28 ounces isn't really worth firing the grille up for.

Still, I am older and not as active, but the fact remains that a lot of these people have no clue and are just spouting off what they heard in school. Their teachers are spouting off what THEY heard in school and the research is being done in labs with what THEY consider to be normal people.

A lot of these people have no sense of reality and what goes on behind the scenes to make their lives easy. They tend to think everyone has it the same way they do.

They forget that there are line men out there that bring them electricity, and oil guys that wrestle oil out of the ground to fill the tanks of their BMWs. They forget these things and suggest that guys like that go on the diet of a person that sits on their ass all day.

One thing this doc has going for him is that he has a former Navy corpsman working for him as a tech of some sort. When I griped to him about the dietitian he grinned and told me that part of his job was to go to bat for the guys like me and said he'd have a quick word with the Doctor.

Another interesting thing that happened to me while grub shopping is the woman in front of me was a college kid and she said she was trying to work her way into the Physician's assistant program.  I asked her if she knew about the army program at Ft. Sam Houston and she did. It's her plan B if she can't get into the program at her college.

Truth is I like medical people with military backgrounds because they practice medicine differently. There's less bull$hit and faster results as a rule. When I lived in Kodiak my doctor had a pair of them working for him and they were great.

Solid, practical and down to earth. What's important is they knew people and the way they really were and took that into consideration.

Some of them didn't have a real good bedside manor, though.

One time I was practically carried into the office. The PA took one look at me and simply said, "You got the crud. Drop your pants."

He turned me into a pin cushion and gave my shipmates instructions to get a bottle of whisky and plenty of hot Gatorade and make me sleep and sweat for a day.

Thirty hours later I was on the fishing grounds working gear and felt like a million bucks.     

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Busy today. Have Dr's appointment and tests

which I have to take today.

In other news, yesterday I bagged a new one (Greenland( and 2 reworks that have never confirmed  (Peru and Macedonia)

A day of tests and that means a long screwed up day.

I have an odd opinion about getting old. As we age we try and fight the inevitable which is death. Some people go to ridiculous extremes to avoid the unavoidable.

When you get over your fear of death and accept it as a part of life you can then get on with the remaining part of it. After all, every life has a beginning, a middle and an end.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

The cat is writing today's post.

I have left the laptop on the desk with the notepad open and have decided to let the cat write today's post. Here it is:


And that is what the cat has to say.

I really don't have a whole lot to say today except that a couple I know has sold their house and is living in an apartment for a while while they ready the new house. They got smart this time. 

Instead of moving right in they are having the floors sanded and stained, the place painted and a bunch of things done. They put their stuff in storage and when everything is done they will move.

Anyway, I guess the wife has befriended a newly married couple and the young wife has said to my friend that her husband now has several pairs of light pink underwear. 

Sometimes people don't think and all sorts of problems arise from this. Several people are not thinking here.

First of all the young husband is likely an idiot and has never been taught to do laundry. Second, the young wife and my friend are not thinking. They should recognize what is happening. 

When my friend, Glo, asked me for advice to give the young wife I looked at here and in a serious tone of voice told her that men wearing pink underwear was a cry for help.

Glo looked concerned. "Suicide? Is he going to run away with a gay lover? What kind of help?"

"Help by teaching him to do laundry," I replied. "Most likely the idiot kid has never been taught that you don't throw burgundy or red things in with whites," I replied.

Glo blushed. "You're probably right," she said. "I have to give Jack's mother credit. She taught him how to do laundry. When we were first married, he taught me a few things!"

Stupid stuff like this can cause a lot of problems and stupid tends to pile on top of stupid and growing until it causes a real problem.

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Last night we trolled 14.313 which is a frequency that some Canadian thinks he owns.

There has been a Canadian for quite some time that has used the frequency of 14.313 as his personal frequency to spout off profanity, hate and general discontentment on the air.

Sometimes he calls himself Radio Canada and a few other things, claiming to be the voice of Canada. To check him out go to

Anyway, a lot of things do not go as planned and the key to success when things go sour is flexibility and taking the initiative.

I was supposed to be the central operator and that fell apart fast as it didn't take long to find out that I wasn't the center of propagation. My signal wasn't getting out very well and it looked like the whole thing was going to fall apart.

However, another ham down south heard me and knew he DID have propagation and simply jumped in and started fielding calls. I was glad to have him do this because it instantly turned the operation around.

Most of us were running simple barefoot rigs, 100 watts and less, although one guy had a 600 watt amp which promptly died and he gets kudos for getting it up and running to jump back into the fray.

There were not really enough of us to create a big enough pile-up but we used the old Indian Trick to make it seem like we were bigger than we really were.

We've all seen an old western where the Indians walk between 2 trees and are spotted by the beleaguered settlers and they sneak back and walk between the 2 same trees again and again to make the settlers think there's more of them than there really is.

Once we established contact with mission control we waited a brief period of time and checked in with him using different power settings, accents and voices.

What we were doing is creating the illusion of a pile-up and waiting for people to jump in and join the fray. People will often join a pile up because they think there is something important going on.

Seeing we were all pretty much running barefoot rigs, we were trying to get some of the big guns with powerful linear amps to join in and add some power to the fray.

Last year the group had an emergency communications drill and got a message to a guy across the country in about an hour, which ain't bad seeing we used no infrastructure. It was a case of relaying a message.

It was chaotic and while about half the guys were in a dither running around in circles wondering what to do, this time things were different.

I was in the position where I could add to the pileup but could not hear too many other people so in effect I had a ringside seat because we had an open internet chat board in addition to our radios.

The Canadian bigot spooled up and tried to jam us bet we ignored him and because he was too far away he really couldn't silence us. We just kept going through the QRM (Man made noise) he created.

The internet chat told me a lot about this group. Unlike last year's drill, these guys started to think on their feet and started taking action on their own. I saw a couple posts like "How do I get this on the cluster...never mind. I'll get it." and a few minutes later I checked the cluster and there it was!

The clusters are internet reporting stations, generally for DX activity. You can report your findings there and when the clusters started reporting that some group of nuts is taking back 14.313 things slowly started taking off.

These guys were great to work with because they jumped in and took responsibility to make things happen.

The event ran about an hour and a half before we burned out but I stayed on frequency listening and later heard a couple of powerful stations on the air trolling the Canadian bigot. The US cavalry had come to the rescue.

It was interesting to see the guys had evolved and that instead of about half of them wondering what to do next, virtually all of them jumped in and added something to the effort.

I'll bet next month's emergency communications drill will be pretty good.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

A class act in Kuwait.

One of the things I have learned to love about ham radio is the paradox that goes with it.
It is one of the hobbies where people of all walks of life enjoy trying their luck and skills trying to communicate with each other over the airwaves.

We try and throw all of the bullshit of religion, politics, social standing out the window and just get on the air.

While most of our contacts are brief. We exchange call signs, signal reports and first names, there are a number of operators that are laid back and spend a few minutes with each contact.

I'm going to mention one here that I simply enjoy listening to. 
He's a Kuwaiti and has a wonderful station that is the antithisis my favorite ham activity.

My favorite ham activity is setting up my little PRC 320 with a crude wire antenna hastily thrown over a tree or an 8 foot combat whip.

He has a powerful fixed station and I have a small portable one. I wouldn't trade stations with him and I doubt he would trade with me. Still, instead of letting our differences divide us, guys like him permit our differences to compliment one another.

This man has a really nice station that he ought to be proud of. He has a specialized antenna and a lot of power. It is really a powerful station.

Still, when he is taking calls he seems to keep his ear open and try and field calls from the QRP (reduced power) operators. He's a gentleman.

We have swapped emails and some night when propagation is good and he is busting my ears with a strong signal I am going to try and contact him using only the 8 foot whip. We'll see what happens.

There is a saying in the hobby that it is not the class of the license that matters, but the class of the operator holding the license.

This guy is a class act.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Looks like today is going to be a pretty day

and I will be out in it.

Yesterday was unseasonably cold for August and it makes me think we are in for a hard winter. Yesterday Neighbor Bob said he's going to fire up the snow blower come 15 October and I don't blame him.

I hate snow with a passion.

I just went into the garage for a minute and noticed the canteen cups there. They get issued in the rare times one of my relatives visits. I issue one of them to their kids and put their name on it with grease pencil. It saves a lot of work as kids are always drinking something. Water, juice, something. I issue a 20 ounce thermal mug to their parents.

It's a practical thing and although is is unusual, it seems to work out fine.

Hey, the cat just passed in front of me and walked AROUND the keyboard!!  That's a first..

I think that maybe today I'll put out a salt lick for the deer or maybe get one and put it out in the late fall.

Tomorrow or Saturday I'm going to have to chase down one of the neighborhood kids and pay him for doing a job for me when I was out of town. He weeded my marigolds and I owe him a couple of bucks but before I could pay him his folks Shanghai'id him and took him out of town to see his fat aunt in Illinois for a week.

When he agreed to do the weeding he told me he was going to visit his aunt.

"You really don't want to go, do you?" I asked.


"Let's see. she's old, fat, wears a lot of makeup and gallons of cheap perfume, slobbers all over you and it takes hours to get the lipstick off of your cheek after she kisses you." I replied.

He looked suspiciously at me. "How did you know?" he asked.

"It's in the manual," I replied. "Page 46, article 2, amendment
8, subsection D-2. paragraph B-12."

"Where's the manual?" he asked.

"On the shelf in the living room," I replied.

He started to go into the garage to go upstairs to find the manual and stopped. "You're teasing me," he said. "There's no manual."

"You're getting smarter now, Kid." I answered.

"C'mon, Mr Pic. How did you know?" he asked.

"Every family has one," I replied. "They pinch you cheeks at weddings and say 'You're next!'"

"She did that to me last spring when my Aunt Gail got married," he replied. "I hate that."

"Do it back to her at a funeral and she'll leave you alone," I replied.

"Think so?" he asked. 

"Yeah. I did it to my grandmother and she left me alone after that," I answered. "Works like a charm."

He started across the street and I folded my arms and watched with deep satisfaction as the monster I had just created headed home.

Some time in the future I will get a visit from his father who will not know whether to beat me senseless or buy me a bottle of Jim Beam.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I slept in for the first time in quite a while

And I'll be damned if the cat didn't let me.

I woke up feeling pretty good, actually.  I won't say like a million bucks, but $999,999.99 ain't bad.

I was out late last night because I had to pick someone up from the airport and their plane landed at about 2200 and on the way home we grabbed a rare beer. I seldom drink anything out of the house and the odd times I do it is never more than a single beer.

By the time I got the person home  and dug in it was past midnight so I played with the cat a bit and sacked out.

Chile and Crete confirmed on paper yesterday and it made me wish for a minute that I had waited a couple of days to file for my award because I really have only one extra for insurance in case something is wrong with a couple of the cards.

I just figured out that it takes about 2 weeks for a letter to arrive from Spain as the Chile card came from a QSL manager in there and he sent email out when he sent a card out.  For what it is worth, I made the QSO with Chile on 21 September, 2012. Eleven months ago.

My recent flurry of well over 100 cards sent out likely means that a few of them will trickle in over the next couple of years. My card checker tells me he had one come in after 8 years which makes me wonder.

In other news Jesse Jackson and spouse are being sentenced today. My guess is that they get a wrist slap when they really ought to be tossed into a dark, dank cell and have someone throw away the key.

There ought to be a special sentencing guide for politicians that break the law but seeing how politicians are the ones that make the law it isn't too likely.

Beheading comes to mind. It isn't cruel, as it is painless and it isn't unusual as places have been doing it for years. We need someone bearded in a turban with a big scimitar or maybe someone in a WW2 Japanese army uniform with a katana.

I suppose some guy named Igor with a big axe, a black hood and a hairy chest would suffice. 

Whatever we do, we ought not get a guillotine. It's too French.

Anyway my guess is the Jacksons get off with something light.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Of policemen and doughnuts.

The stereotyped police officer eats a lot of doughnuts which is a crock because if they did they would all weigh 600 pounds.

While there certainly are overweight police officers out there, the average cop I run into is in halfway decent shape.

I am in and out of convenience stores and Dunkin' Donuts places fairly frequently and from time to time a policeman comes in and generally it's for a cup of coffee or a beverage of some sort and generally the guys that don't drink coffee drink sports drinks.

It has been quite some time since I have seen a cop eat a doughnut and maybe there is a reason for this, maybe not.

I know that if I were a cop I wouldn't be caught dead eating a damned doughnut by anyone out of my immediate family just to avoid the crap that comes with the stereotype and I'd just bet there are a lot of cops that feel the same way.

I just thought I'd say that it has been an awful long time since I saw a cop eating a doughnut. So long that I don't remember when it was.

Still, the stereotype remains.

I do remember back in the early 60s my dad commenting that if I was ever in trouble that I could find a cop simply by pulling into the nearest doughnut shop so I guess the stereotype has been around a while.

My guess is that my grandfather told my dad the same thing so I'd bet it goes back to the event of the movies, but that is just a guess.

Still, the stereotype stays and isn't likely to go away in the near future so I suppose if you're a cop you simply have to live with it.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Yesterday while shopping

I was putting my groceries into the back on my pickup and the couple in the car beside me arrived with theirs, which was only a small bag. I was on the starboard aft side of the bed and the couple spread out. He headed to the passenger side, she to the driver's side.

When she neared me she said, "Excuse me sir."

I replied in a charming voice, "Why, certainly, young lady." and her face lit up a bit and she smiled.

The couple was in their early 40s and I knew she liked being addressed as 'young lady' by the look on her face.

"What did you call my wife," demanded the husband.

"I called her 'young lady,'" I replied. "She is certainly younger than I am."

"Yeah, well I don't like it." he snapped.

I switched right over to my butler voice. "I see, sir. You are obviously one of those men that likes sleeping on the couch."

He flushed, the woman outright laughed. He started doing a slow burn.

She turned to her husband and said, "The man paid me a compliment and you want to fight about it. Get in the car!"

Then she noticed the 'Minister' sticker in the back window of my pickup.

"You're a minister?" she asked.

"Yes, I am," I replied.

"Where's your church?" she asked.

"I have just retired as a chaplain to Legion Etranger, the French Foreign Legion," I replied, simply. "Sixty years old is a little long in the tooth to be jumping out of airplanes, being deployed to every far flung remote outpost on the planet and breaking up bar fights in third world whorehouses."

Of course, it was an outright lie, but I knew I could get away with it as my life at sea has weathered me so it is obvious I didn't make my career in an air-conditioned office.

"Interesting. Thank you for your kindness," she said and got into the car.

As soon as the car door closed, the wife lit into him. It was not pleasant.She said something like not wanting to spend the afternoon bailing him out of jail or sitting in an emergency room as he got sewn up.

One thing was obvious, though. That jerk was sleeping on the couch for a while.

There is another side to this episode and it took place earlier.

I was going through a checkout and the woman ringing the register looked like she wasn't having a very good day. When I got to her I said, "Hiya, gorgeous! Where ya been all my life?" As she rang up my goods and garbage, I gave her a few cheerful pleasantries. She smiled.

I also noticed a man standing off to one side smiling as he heard me. As I left he followed me.

"Thank you for cheering my wife up," he said.

You can bet your ass HE ain't sleeping on the couch.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Shamelessly stolen from a website I frequently visit.


I refuse to be a victim. 

I will protect myself from punks and thugs, no matter their color. 

I refute those that call me racist, since they themselves are the racists. 

I look out for my community, because that makes us stronger. 

I believe in equal protection for all against those that would harm us. 

I feel sorrow for those that have lost someone to a thug or other criminal. 

I have hope for America as a color blind society, in spite of those that only see color. 

I recognize my right to bear arms, as recognized by the Second Amendment. 

I recognize my responsibility to protect myself, others and my country against criminals and tyrants. 

I pity those who allow themselves to be victims of a society instead of changing things for the better. 

I refuse to be a victim. 

Thank you to the person that posted it.

I, too am George Zimmerman.

Over the 20 years I have lived here I have either checked something out myself or have been called by a neighbor to check something out and have responded.

Generally these have been situations that did not merit calling the police, but I have called the police a couple of times over the years.

I have generally been armed, opting to toss a pistol under my coat or shirt in the unlikely event that the someone in question wanted to assault me. It has been like an insurance policy and I have been fortunate never of having been forced to use it.

While I am grateful I have never had to use deadly force, I will if I am forced to. I do not consider it the be my choice, but the choice of someone that endangers me. 

There is no reason a person should willingly permit themselves to be a victim of some greasy little thug.

And that is all I have to say about that.

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

So it is Satiddy.

and pretty soon some Grammar Nazi will come and tell me that I spelled Saturday wrong. Screw him.

I came home to a stack of QSL cards and spent yesterday morning getting my DXCC award paperwork squared away because when I scratched the incoming cards off the list I saw I had hit 100 and I am eligible for the award.

I'm not going to send in for it for a few days, though. There are still a bunch of incoming QSLs due and I do not want to go in with a scant 100. If one or two get rejected I'll have to refile and I do not like doing things like that twice. I'll wait until I have, say, 103 that I feel are good and if one or two get rejected I'll still be good to go.

On something like this there is always something that can go wrong. For example there are two Russias and I have them both. There is Asiatic Russia and European Russia but my Asiatic Russian lives close to the dividing line and can likely be questioned.

Anyway as I am typing this I checked my email and the card checker wants to meet me today. So much for waiting. Still, it's OK because he lives nearby and if I get shot down likely I can call him when I have what he needs.

I'm actually not a paper chaser but I do want the two basic awards to shut someone up that has already been shut up pretty good after I waved my WAS (Worked all States) award in his face.

I want to do this again. The person in question is someone that I know that generally tells people why they CAN'T do this or that and I have made a career of making him look foolish.

I do not know why people are like that. I suppose it is forgetfulness. They forget that if there are a million and one ways you can't do something, that's fine. All you have to do is find ONE way to get it done.

My sailboat back in the day brought me a lot of satisfaction for this same reason. A lot of people didn't believe me when I said I was going to have a sailboat in a year and like to about $hit when I returned from Washington with pictures of the boat I bought.

The next step was a bunch of people telling me I couldn't sail it to Kodiak and predicted dire results if I did.

It took three months to get there and I had a blast en route and left a wide trail of empty bottles and soiled doves along the way. I also had the dubious honor of walking in on my own memorial service which is another story.

Truth is the only part that was risky at all was the Gulf of Alaska crossing and we timed the weather for that one.

In other news, my niece is getting pretty sharp these days.

My sister went to San Francisco and her daughter sent me a picture of Alcatraz. I sent back that I had escaped there by swimming across the bay having been given a 5-7 stretch for bank robbery. I told her the guy in the cell across from me was Al Capone.

She was smart enough not to simply call BS on it, but to prove that it couldn't have happened. 

She pointed out that I am 62 years old and that Capone was out before I was even born. The also pointed out that the place was closed when I was a teenager and that teen aged criminals were not sent there.

Then she told me that I had taught her to count and that the numbers didn't add up.

I'm pretty proud of her for that.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

I found the rest of the roll of these stickers and it is a rainy day.

and I am bored.

The produce department of a local supermarket had a little cafe in sight of it and a few of these on cucumbers will likely cause a little hilarity.

We'll see what happens.

While most people will take one look at the cukes and laugh, there are always a few people that take life too seriously and will go into a total dither and flip out.

Oh, well. I am easily entertained.

A police officer once told me that the reason he wasn't going to throw me in jail was because I'd likely find something interesting to do there and enjoy it too much.

In a way the cop is right because back in the day a couple of us got an overnight stay in the local clink and just sat there singing 'the sun rises over the jailhouse bars' and a few other things including sea chanties. After a couple of hours they told us to leave because we were having too much fun.

While it is embarrassing to admit you got thrown into jail, it has been a source of pride to admit that I have been thrown OUT of jail.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

I just got back in to town

and had a lot to come home to.

First the packages were there. There was a laptop battery I ordered on eBay, 2 microphones, a beret flash and a unit crest from my old army outfit.

One of the microphones is a desk model I can use when I am at home. The other was a hand microphone that I had modified by a friend. It came with a radio I own and was never used because it was junk to begin with.

Seems since ICOM went to China to get their microphones they have been lacking and I had a genius friend pull it apart and get it up to snuff. I owe him one for that.

The flash and crest are going on my red beret which I wore briefly in the service. Red is the artillery color and I was issued a red beret at Ft. Sill and a set of acting corporal's stripes because they screwed up my orders and I spent a week there as a teacher's assistant.

Later after I was at Carson I was told to wear it for some short-lived program to identify myself as being an artillery person. 

The other thing was a stack of QSL cards and I started digging through and scratching them off of my list and now I am over the top for a DXCC award.

I'll spend today organizing things and tomorrow or the day after I'll deliver the package to the card checker and start the process of getting the award.

Of course, the best part of coming home is the cat and his doings.

He jumped up on me when I opened the door and started purring. I carried him to the kitchen and put him down on the counter and put some of the gourmet cat food in his dish and he started eating it. As he was eating it I went into the living room and sat down and he left the food in the dish and jumped up on my lap.

You don't see a cat put people before food very often but he did and often does when I come home.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wednesday,7 August 2013 00:20Z Early post.

Wednesday is going to be pretty busy so I am posting a bit early but it is Wednesday for ham operators, celestial navigators and a lot of other people that get taken for granted. 

Well, well, well. Look what the NAACP is doing now.

They want a 'Treyvon's Law' enacted. Yup, they want a law named after a thug that got shot while beating someone senseless.

Most likely the law will say that it's ok for a young, angry black man to pound someone into spaghetti sauce with impunity. Let's think about this a minute.

How about no?

How about a law that says that it is not OK to pound someone senseless for no real reason and that it IS OK to use deadly force to  prevent it from happening?

Oh, wait a minute. They already have one. Let's leave it alone.

On the other hand we could rename the law that enables a person that is under the threat of emminant death or serious injury to use deadly force to defend himself. We could rename guessed it...

Treyvon's Law.

Named after a thug that attacked a neighborhood watchman and got shot for his efforts. 

That would be a lot closer to the truth.

What would also get closer to the truth is the NAACP looking for someone that is at least not a violent felon to support.

Of course, I will be dumped on and dubbed a racist for speaking poorly of the sacred cow of the NAACP. I expect that and I expect there are people out there that will hate me for it.

Remember this: The further we get from the truth the more people will hate the person that speaks it.

Update. I just found an email in my spam from Ma and Pa Martin asking me to sign a petition to get the Stand Your Ground laws repealed. I didn't sign it.

Instead I sent a message back that I support Stand Your Ground laws and had the Martins done their job of parents they would not be asking me to sign the petition.


A couple of years ago some thug stole a car and destroyed it in an accident, suffering traumatic amputation of both legs in the process. The subject came up at a neighborhood barbecue.

Of course, there was no shortage of shyster lawyers out there looking to help the thief sue the owner of the car for damages.

The case did get thrown out which it should have but one of the neighbors called me insensitive when I pointed out that the plaintiff didn't have a leg to stand on.

If someone would be kind enough to post a link to this on Arfcom that would be nice.

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Things get beat up over time.

I just took some degreaser to my cell phone and noticed that the face of it is pretty scratched up in spite of me trying to take reasonable care of it. It's about a year old,having been replaced about a year ago.

I believe the average for cell phones is about 16 months and in another 4 or five months I would imagine mine will look like hell. However, if it still works well I will likely not replace it if it is only superficially scuffed up. As long as it works and I can read things on it I'll continue to use it.

I suppose if I were some kind of an office type that my phone would be in better shape but I am not an office type. I am an active workingman that works with both his half of a brain and his hands and feet. The phone often gets dropped into a pants pocket where it sometimes shares space with whatever else I have in there.

Generally it is either nothing or maybe a scrap or two of paper but once in a while it gets to share the pocket with a small amount of loose change or maybe a set of keys.

While I try and avoid this, sometimes there are times where I have to pick up and go and get a tad forgetful. The phone gets stuffed int whatever pocket is available.

Still, it's surprising how tough the little phone is. Mine has taken a few pretty good raps and still works like a charm. I't hit a steel deck of pavement a few times and still keeps on ticking.

I figure that with any sort of luck I might get another year out of it and when you think of the beating it takes, two years for what I paid for it isn't all that bad of a deal considering how I manage to beat mine up.

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