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WHAT’S PRAYER GOT TO DO WITH IT?

DEAR READERS:  These are desperate times, and because I increasingly wonder what or where God is in the mighty scheme of things (does he care, is he on vacation, or is he just late to the party?), I’ve decided to harangue God more than I usually do via persistent phone calls—so far my calls have gone straight to voicemail. What follows is the second installment of a “voicemail message to God” which is a very short essay on a universal question I wish God would answer about life: “What’s Prayer Got to Do with It?”

Praying for things Meme

GOD’S VOICEMAIL GREETING:  “You’ve reached the voicemail box of Jehovah at 1-800-PRA-TOME. I am experiencing a high call volume at this time—especially from the United States—but I will return your call as soon as is heavenly possible.  Please note that I operate on a triage system (‘the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition’). Leave your name, number, and your prayer request, and I will get back to you at some point.  May I bless you!”

***

HELLO, GOD.  IT’S ME, ELEANOR.  Looks like I’ve missed you again. Where are you, Jehovah-Jireh (my provider)?  I need to talk to you about something really, really important!   It’s about prayer and its efficacy—whose prayers you answer and why.  It’s about why conversational prayer always seems to be one way:  I talk, but you don’t say a word.  Oh, I know there are people who say you talk back to them (like you drop in for tea every Tuesday morning exactly at 10 o’clock), but have you noticed that they tend to be nuttier than a fruitcake?

I think most things I’ve been taught about prayer are all wrong.  I’ve had preachers tell me that you, God, are in control of all things, but I can change your mind by how specific my prayers are—the more specific I am, the more specific your answers will be to me.  (As if you are a divine waiter and I just need to bark: “Garçon! A raspberry LaCroix, straight up, with a splash of vodka and a twist of lime, mon dieu!”)   I used to know a preacher who prayed whether to put on shorts or long pants on any given day, whether to carry an umbrella that day, if he should part his hair on the left or the right, or if he should fast or gorge on the leftover pizza in the refrigerator.  (As if you hadn’t given us brains, weathermen, or the Keto Diet.)  I’ve known preachers who prayed for parishioners to win the lottery, just so long as they tithed 10% of their winnings, of course. (As if you were the Big Kahuna casino boss in the sky just waiting to “bless” your followers with ill-gotten gains.)

I can’t tell you how many fat-ass Christians I have known who prayed for a parking space up close to the front of the mall so that they wouldn’t have to engage in some much-needed exercise.  Can I say that if that is truly the level of prayers you’re answering these days, then I need a new God.  Just sayin’!

Jesus take the wheel prayer meme

Anyway, I know you answer my prayers (sometimes).  (Barack Obama didn’t get assassinated, served two terms, and had a scandal-free administration, didn’t he?  On the other hand, Hillary lost and Satan’s spawn became our President.  What happened there?  Wrong number?)  But recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of crazy people crowing about how great they are because you answered their prayers regarding Earth-shattering events that destroyed others.

Case in point:  Pat Robertson and Hurricane Florence.

In case you weren’t home at the time when Robertson did his warlock incantation in your name, he said:

“I don’t want that thing [Hurricane Florence] to come in,” Robertson said. “I don’t want it to hurt Regent [Robertson’s University], I don’t want it to hurt CBN [Robertson’s Television Network], I don’t want it to tear up the beautiful campus, I don’t want it to tear these trees down, I don’t want to see any damage, I don’t want a bunch of glass flowing, and I don’t want [damage] all over this area that is counting on us to pray for them.

“We declare in the name of the Lord that you shall go no farther, you shall do no damage in this area. We declare a shield of protection all over Tidewater and we declare a shield of protection over those innocent people in the path of this hurricane. In Jesus’ holy name, be out to sea!”

…and the next day, North Carolina and South Carolina said:  WTF, God—we prayed, too!?!

Florence Final Landing Dave Granlund PoliticalCartoons com

Cartoon used by permission: Dave Granlund, PoliticalCartoons.com

Then Pat Robertson said:

“We asked the Lord to take it [hurricane Florence] out of here [Virginia] and he did,” Robertson boasted. “It’s like a shield that God has put around us [the coastal region of Virginia].”

“God’s people prayed,” he opined. “This is a miracle, ladies and gentlemen.”

“We’ve had a hand of protection over this area, and when we pray, God does miracles.”

As a Christian I was horrified by Robertson’s claim to a prayer hotline to you, oh God, and that you would do what he had demanded at the expense of other human beings.   Then I thought I heard a faint word in the wind (“Bullshit!”) when I was walking yesterday, and wondered if that was a message from you, and I remembered a Mark Twain quote when thinking about eighty-eight-year-old Robertson that day:

“I’ve never wished a man dead,

But I’ve read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

Robertson sleep by God Meme

Of course, I remembered that you don’t like “ugly,” so I quickly asked forgiveness (did you get that text message?)  I turned my meditation from wishing an old man dead to how many so-called Christians don’t believe in science, climate change, global warming, and the fact that the sea level is rising along with a growing population along our coastlines which gave me a very unoriginal “aha” moment about the Earth:  We’re so screwed!

Extreme Weather Sites Paresh Nath The Khaleej Times UAE

Cartoon used by permission: Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE

Anyway, I’ve got to run.  I’ve got a first-world problem that needs tending to:  The grass seed I put down several weeks ago is not germinating, and my lawn looks like a weed farm that is moonlighting as a swamp.  (I thought about praying and asking you to heal the soil in my yard and give me a putting-green lawn, but then I remembered prayer doesn’t work that way, and you’re not a divine Mexican gardener on my staff named “Jesús” who is at my beck and call.)

Please call me back about this prayer thing.  I know you know that you’re my G-O-D no matter what, and I’ll keep on praying even if you never answer me.  I tell anyone who will listen that “in you I live and breathe and have my being.”  However, it’s not me you have to worry about. It’s my atheist brothers and sisters.  They are really having a hard time with the concept of you, and this prayer thing is a huge stumbling block.  Especially when there are Neanderthals like Pat Robertson running around pretending to have a hotline to you and spewing all sorts of verbal chaos in your name.

Robertson on Do not call list Mike Keefe San Miguel de Allende Mexico

Cartoon used by permission: Mike Keefe, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

***

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR?  Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com

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Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Nature’s Mom

Do you know what I’ve discovered this week?  I am at war with a woman who has really set my teeth on edge.  She is older than I am and has absolutely no respect for me.  The heifer is constantly all up in my grill with her attitude and unpredictability.   She throws shade at me every chance she can get and disregards my needs, my wants, and my desires.

Today was 70 degrees outside and yesterday wasn’t half bad either.   DC has had two days of spring-like weather after a hellish winter, and all is right with my world.  As I ran errands without a coat, I spontaneously broke into a dance in front of the grocery story as I sang Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” song at the top of my lungs:

“It might seem crazy what I’m about to say,

Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break…

Because I’m happy…”

Warm Pic 1 funnypicturesutopia dot com

Meme courtesy of www.funnypicturesutopia.com

But when I returned home, “Nature’s Mom” (a.k.a. Mother Nature) had  left me a calling card:  the Capital Weather Gang’s report in The Washington Post about the demon weather that is coming my way within the next 16 hours or so—courtesy of this chick who claims to be “nature.”

“Roller coaster Wednesday: Temps to spike then crash, with storms and howling winds . . .”

 “Temperatures plummeting from roughly 70 to 25 degrees in 6 hours in Washington area . . .”

I went out into my backyard and screamed at the heavens:

NATURE’S MOM—SPRING IS ON ITS WAY!  BUDS ARE ON THE TREES IN MY YARD . . . CROCUS (CROCUSES, CROCUSI?) ARE PUSHING THROUGH THE SOIL AT MY FEET.  MY DAFFODILS ARE POKING THEIR LITTLE HEADS UP AND WAVING AT ME.  A BUNNY JUST HOPPED BY.  THE VERNAL EQUINOX STARTS ON MARCH 20TH AT 12:57 P.M. EDT WHICH MEANS SPRING WILL HAVE OFFICIALLY SPRUNG!  WHAT MORE EVIDENCE DO YOU NEED TO CEASE AND DESIST?

Spring Expectations www dot slapcaption dot com

Meme courtesy of www.slapcaption.com

NATURE’S MOM:  Climate change.

ME: Say what?  Who just said that?  Show yourself?

NATURE’S MOM:  Oh, I’ll show myself Wednesday night—don’t you worry about that, Chica.  Right now you’ll just have to put up with my voice in your head. Climate change is driving my agenda.

ME: I don’t even know what climate change is.  I’m just trying to get my mental health to survive here.  Causing these extreme temperatures and horrid wind patterns are a personal issue between you and me, bitch.  I just got over a bad sinus infection; I’ve been stuck in the house for weeks—I need sunshine and warmth—not a lecture!

NATURE’S MOM:  Well, you should know what climate change is—it is your responsibility to know, and it is why I’m out of control all over the Earth—I’m trying to get you and your peeps to WAKE UP!  According to your own EPA site, climate change refers to:

“. . . any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.”

mother nature al gore

Cartoonist:  Mike Luckovich, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ME:  Listen, Heifer, this is personal! I have had to escape your clutches ever since I was born.  I wrote about some of your mayhem in my new book Monsters’ Throwdown.  Have you read it?

NATURE’S MOM: Oh please, surely you jest . . .

ME:  Don’t call me Shirley—my name is Eleanor (hee, hee, hee)!

NATURE’S MOM:  What are you, 13?

ME:  WHAT EVER! I’m trying to draw your attention to the times you almost killed me because of your excesses.  I am only concerned about me and the fact that I’m fucking sick of winter—I WANT SPRING TO SPRING!  Do you remember when I was two years old, my hometown of Cleveland was hit with 30 inches of snow from you, and I was stuck in a rat-trap of a house for weeks on end with a schizophrenic mother and barely any food?

NATURE’S MOM:  You remember that?  I thought you were just two years old then. Have you been lying about your age?

Mother Nature memecrunch dot com

ME:  No, others told me about it.  But that’s not the point.  In 1959, you caused so much rain to fall on top of mountains of snow that most of Ohio was flooded.   I had to be rescued from my school via a second floor window into a row-boat.  Do you wonder that I’m afraid of water in my old age?   Oh and here’s a good one:  remember that freak snowstorm you sent to upstate New York in late April during the 70s (late freakin’ April, no less!) that dropped several feet of snow on the region?  WW and I were coming back from his sister’s wedding, and we went into a tailspin in the middle of the night and almost careened off the edge of a cliff.  What is it with you that you can’t stay within your natural boundaries?  You almost cost me my future. Repeat after me:  winter is from December to February—spring is from March to May, summer is . . .

NATURE’S MOM: Are you getting cheeky with me?  Because I still have Wednesday night up my sleeve.  When’s the last time you experienced lightning in winter aimed directly at your house?  Remember the storm a few years ago that knocked out your electricity for two weeks, and the power surge that fried your microwave, your ceiling fan, and your computer?  Well, I can do that again.  Instead of throwing a hissy-fit over the delayed advent of spring, why don’t you tell me your plan as an individual to help fight global warming?

ME:  Uh, did I hear that House of Cards is back on and ready for binge watching? Gotta go!  Let’s do lunch when you usher in summer (80 degrees, calm breeze, sunshine galore, and gin and tonics on the deck).  Cheers!

America Reacts Horsey Cartoon

Cartoonist:  David Horsey, LA Times

I am discovering that I can’t mess with Mother Nature—I just have to get out of her way and grab some extra blankets to stay warm while I grumble.  I also must confess that other than recycling, eating less meat (I loves me some steak, so that’s not going very well), and using energy-saving appliances, I’m pretty clueless as to how to really be effective when it comes to course-correcting our planet’s environmental illness.  As a Christian, I believe the scientists that detrimental climate change is happening—which is a start—but I must confess the magnitude of the subject overwhelms me because it requires governments (from the USA to China), industries, and individuals to modify their behavior in major ways, and it makes me inert.

***

“That’s the thing about Mother Nature, she really doesn’t care what economic bracket you’re in.”—Whoopi Goldberg

“As human beings, we are vulnerable to confusing the unprecedented with the improbable. In our everyday experience, if something has never happened before, we are generally safe in assuming it is not going to happen in the future, but the exceptions can kill you and climate change is one of those exceptions.”—Al Gore

“I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle as complex a situation as climate change. The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”—James Lovelock

PLEASE CHECK OUT MY NEW WEBSITE:  www.eleanortomczyk.com

Spring is coming End keepcal dash o dash matic dot co dot uk

REFERENCES

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/03/11/shock-drop-temperature-may-fall-from-70-to-35-wednesday-evening/?hpid=z3

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/basics/

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Temperature Is Rising

Do you know what I’ve discovered?    Flies are sex-crazed, and they do it doggy-style while hanging upside down on light chains, the ceiling, TV screens, treadmills, and Tiffany lamps.  I should know because scores of flies invaded my family room July 4th weekend, and their onslaught overpowered my fly swatter maneuvers.  I had no choice but to study their sex habits while I waited for the exterminator three days after my S.O.S call (apparently bug zappers don’t think a fly invasion is an emergency).  I kept telling my husband that between 2012 being the hottest summer on record and our winter being the mildest that Washingtonians could remember in a long time, the insect population was going to kick our collective asses this summer.  As I watched scores of flies (too many to count) take a stay-cation in my family room as they did the wild thing in front of me, all I could think of was this was one more piece of anecdotal evidence of climate change caused by the “global warming hoax.”  But I’m getting ahead of myself . . .

Summertime insects Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

Used by Permission:  Cartoonist, Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

WW and I were watching a movie in his man cave when we started getting dive-bombed by a train of flies from the ceiling.  It was so systematic that I could swear it looked like an organized game.  As I got up to get a fly swatter to terminate what I thought were a couple of flies that had slipped by me when I opened the sliding glass door, I reached to turn off the Tiffany light that was causing a glare on the TV screen so that I could properly see the two or three skydivers.  As my hand reached up inside the multi-colored glass shade, a swarm of about fifty flies flew up into my face, down my arm, and sent me twirling and flailing my arms and body like a  whirling dervish.  Screw the movie.  Operation Fly Swat became our entertainment as we waited for the exterminator to arrive on Monday.   Although, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how the flies were getting into the house. I should have seen the handwriting on the wall the day before when I stepped out on my deck during 95 degree weather after two weeks of non-stop torrential downpours.  There was a brief break in the clouds on July 4th, and the sun was mercilessly bearing down on the house while steam was pulsing up from the ground like a carnival of dry ice.  As I glanced over to the backside of the house, hundreds of flies were hanging out on the white siding as if they had just flown in for a fly convention.  It looked like a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” only with black flies.  Not knowing what to do about them, I left the convention of black-winged creatures undisturbed figuring they were outside where they belonged and another rain storm—imminently on its way—would wash them away.  Big mistake—huge!

Grumpy  Toad meme pandawhale dot om

Monday couldn’t come fast enough.  We couldn’t eat, we couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t concentrate to write because the flies were using my head as a jungle gym and the entrance of my nose and ears as hide-and-seek playgrounds.  As soon as possible my husband, WW, fled into work with a quick:  “Keep me posted on the exterminator’s verdict—byyyyyeee!”  By the time Ernie (the Dan Aykroyd of the two) and Jorge (the undeniable Bill Murray-type) rang my doorbell, my eyes were rolling around in my head as if I were demon possessed, and my right arm (permanently attached to a red fly swatter ) was slicing the air at 90 miles a minute to strike down winged foes that weren’t anywhere near me.  They had become very, very smart in their coexistence with me and had developed a tag-team assault mission from behind and out of eyesight causing me to get a nervous tic in my left eye.

Ghostbusters

Ghost Busters (Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray) | Image Credit: Everett Collection

ERNIE:   “How’d-yu-do, Ma’am?  My name’s Ernie and this is my side-kick, Jorge.  We’re from the Die You Despicable, Disgusting, Deplorable, Bug-eyed Pest Terminators, and we hear you’ve been invaded by ‘Musca domestica ’—what you civilians call the ‘common housefly.’”

ME:        “Come in, come in . . .You guys are a sight for sore eyes.  I’m completely beside myself.  I’ve  killed hundreds of these damn flies since I called you four days ago.  The basement is littered with their carcasses.  Apparently, quite a few of them up and committed suicide when they couldn’t find anything to eat or drink or maybe they were just bored.   All I know is that I’m about to lose my mind.  No wonder God used a plague of thousands of flies to defeat Pharaoh.  I would have let his people go too after what I experienced with just these few scores of goddamn Musca whatevers.”

ERNIE:   “Well, no offense Ma’am, but you’ll have to let me and Jorge determine just what type of fly we’re dealing with.  You’re a civilian and can’t possibly know what you’re up against.  There are five different categories of Earthly flies:  you’ve got your filth flies, small flies, overwintering flies, biting flies and gnats and midges.  The Musca domestica only accounts for 91% of all the flies in the world, but according to Wikipedia, they’re responsible for 100 pathogens because they walk, vomit, and feed on human shit (pardon my French, Ma’am) and the food we eat.   Those little devils will kill you off in a heartbeat with the salmonellosis, the bacillary dysentery, the tuberculosis, and the cholera—just to name a few.”

JORGE: “Don’t forget the parasitic worms, Ernie.  The common housefly can fuck you up with them parasitic worms—oh, yes they can.”

ERNIE:   “Right you are, Jorge, my man.  Right you are.   Now Ma’am, as you can see, Jorge and I have our guns ready and cocked with our patented spray that will rid your home of these nasty invaders, ‘tout suite,’ but we need to know what we’re dealing with here.  Know your enemy is what I always say, ain’t that right, Jorge?”

JORGE: “You bet your ass, Ernie!”

ERNIE:    “Now, as I was ruminating on, your fly families fall into five categories, Ma’am.  If you don’t mind me asking, what color and size are your intruders?”

JORGE:   “Well, Ernie, just look down on the floor where she’s just killed a legion of the suckers while we’ve been standing here—they are most definitely the Musca domestica of which we know covers the filth fly.  No offense Ma’am—we’re not accusing you of being a terrible housekeeper or anything—it could be caused by you or your neighbor’s garbage cans being too close to the house.  Not to mention the fact that global warming affects everything and has probably affected last year’s heat wave, this year’s heavy downpours, and the rise in the population of Musca domestica in this area.  I mean the sea levels are rising and everything—it ain’t just about polar bears on shrinking ice caps anymore—no siree!”

Global Warming Effects Everything Paresh Nath  The Khaleej Times  UAE

Used by permission: Global Warming Effects Everything—Cartoonist Paresh Nath|The Khaleej Times/UAE

ME:   “Gentlemen, I’d love to stand here and chat with you, but can we get on with “Operation Death to Musca domestica” before I run screaming out into the street?  My nerves are shot, and I still can’t figure out how these demons got into my house!” (SWAT! SWAT! SWAT!)

ERNIE:  “Good one, or should I say good three, Ma’am!  Love the swat you just landed upside my head.  You’re fearless!  Now it doesn’t take much of an opening for house flies to squeeze themselves into a home.  You’d be amazed.  Anyway, I think we spotted the culprit of your fly invasion on the way in.  Looks like a bunny rabbit died underneath the canopy tree right next to the wall where you first saw the fly convention.  I thought I caught a whiff of decaying  Mammalia Lagomorpha, didn’t you Jorge?”

JORGE:  “That I did, Ernie—that I did.  Ol’ Mr. Bunny Rabbit must have gotten sick in all the torrential downpour over the last two weeks and crawled up under the tree that is shaped like a canopy to die.  Just a matter of time before the maggots would have arrived on the scene to start their harvest.”

ME:  “Gentlemen, please!!” (SWAT!)

ERNIE:  “Excellent aim, Ma’am.  Damn, you’ve got the natural swat-arm of a killer.  We’ll just give a good ol’ once around with our super-duper spray and you will be fly-free before I can say ‘ipso facto.’  Ha!  Just be glad we don’t live in Africa.  The flies rule there, and I hear they’re getting even worse (along with the mosquitos, the fleas, and the tsetse fly which causes three million deaths a year).  Doggonit, Jorge, we forgot to tell her about the Tsetse fly!”

Trachoma baby endtheneglect dot org

African child susceptible to trachoma from flies | photo credit http://www.endtheneglect.org

I am discovering that there are many places in the world where flies are inescapable.  The same flies I banished from my house with one quick spray of the foundation of my home and surrounding grounds are the same pests that cause trachoma—the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world.   But I am beginning to think that if the reports are true that 65% of white evangelical Americans (the main base of the Republican Party) think global warming and climate change alarms are a big hoax, then they need to give up the ghost about being pro-life, because there won’t be a planet worth living on for all the babies they are trying to “save” if we don’t act now.

Think about itWhat if all the hoopla about global warming is a hoax?  Then what is the worse that could happen:  we’d clean up the air, the rivers, and the oceans, develop alternative energies, and discard less human waste if we ate less meat—thus reducing the population of Musca domestica and the proliferation of diseases.  Then again, to Hell with global warming—this isn’t what Jesus meant when he said to “love your neighbor as yourself”—right?  Those fly-covered kids aren’t my kids—they don’t live in “God Bless America”—and the last thing I want is more government interference and taxation regarding what is my shit and mine alone.  C’est la vie!

Climate change Pat Bagley  Salt Lake Tribune

Used by Permission:  Climate change Pat Bagley| Salt Lake Tribune

“I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I’m going to buy a Suburban next time.”—Jerry Falwell,  American evangelical Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and a conservative political commentator (died 2007)

“The point is that there is tremendous hypocrisy among the Christian right. And I think that Christian voters should start looking at global warming and extreme poverty as a religious issue that speaks to the culture of life.”—Al Franken,  junior United States Senator from Minnesota, serving since 2009

“If we take all this action and if it turns out not be true, we have reduced pollution and have better ways to live, the downside is very small. The other way around, and we don’t act, and it turns out to be true, then we have betrayed future generations and we don’t have the right to do that.”― Tony Blair, British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

REFERENCES:

http://www.scidev.net/global/policy/feature/climate-change-and-insect-borne-disease-facts-and–1.html

http://mentalfloss.com/article/49237/whats-difference-between-climate-change-and-global-warming

http://digitaljournal.com/article/349388

http://www.salon.com/2013/07/11/do_doomsayers_care_about_climate_change_partner/

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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