sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

February 28, 2013

Van Cliburn, RIP

Filed under: music, Soviet Union — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:15 pm

Americans might have given him a ticker-tape parade, and he was a rock star the world over, but I suspect Van Cliburn was best loved in Russia.  High-minded Russians love classical music, and they all (absolutely every single one of them!) fell in love with Cliburn in 1958 when the musician won the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow.  The iron curtain lifted a bit, and a refined Texan with a wild head of hair wowed the country with his masterful execution of Russian Romantic composers.  The way his fingertips touched the piano, one would believe that he spent his formative years committing to memory Pushkin’s and Yesenin’s verses and playing in the snow besides birch trees.  Vanya Cliburn!

And please note, Cliburn was not a creation of any kind of centralized system designed to nurture virtuoso musicians.  He was just a guy who loved music and who came from a family that loved music.  The Soviets, on the other hand, scouted out talented children.  Turns out, classical music can strive in the culture of individualism.

If Cliburn’s performance showed the nation that America had a soul, American Exhibition in Sokolniki Park, Moscow the following year offered something different.  Two million Russians attended the installation that featured the wonders of the day-to-day capitalist existence.  Had Americans with their Coca-Cola and dishwashers lost track of what’s important in life?  After Van Cliburn there was no way to convincingly argue that the United States were too materialistic.

Van Cliburn’s entry in the Tchaikovsky competition was one of the iconic moments of Khrushchev’s Thaw of the 1950-60’s, a period of relative freedom following the death of Stalin.  My parents’ generation that came of age during the Thaw absolutely idolized the pianist.

Van Cliburn passed away yesterday at the age of 78.  Please enjoy the recording of his extraordinary performance in Moscow, one of the few hopeful moments in Soviet history:


February 25, 2013

Michelle Does Oscar

Filed under: fashion, Middle East, politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:03 pm

I didn’t watch the Oscar’s, but I did take a peak at the fashion as the event was happening.  i didn’t know there was anything else to it.

Imagine my surprise when the following morning I found out that Moochelle presented the picture of the year.  Enter Rush:

Well, the movie Lincoln?  That’s about Obama, everybody knows that.  Who won the best movie?  Argo.  The Ben Affleck movie.  And I’ll tell you why it won.  It won because Hollywood was portrayed as heroes, about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. […]

And, see, this was a snub for Obama because his campaign ad was Zero Dark Thirty, how he got bin Laden.  Didn’t win.  For some reason Hollywood’s mad at Steven Spielberg. I think it’s Steve Jobs syndrome. […]

Now, one thing we do know is that Moochelle’s appearance, her hijacking the Epidemic Awards last night, was Harvey Weinstein’s idea. So the consensus is that Weinstein wanted to show everybody that he’s bigger and more powerful than Spielberg. Speilberg got Clinton, but Clinton’s a has-been. Clinton’s yesterday. Harvey was able to get Moochelle. So Harvey called the White House; they planned it. The White House agreed to it, and I think one of the reasons is, again, they got snubbed. They got snubbed. Obama’s campaign ad didn’t win, and his autobiographical movie didn’t win. […]

There was some real irony last night that zipped by and blew by a lot of people. It might not have blown by you in this audience. The best picture award last night went to a movie named Argo, which was about what?

The rescue of embassy personnel under attack in Iran. The wife of the commander-in-chief who failed to rescue four Americans at an embassy/consulate in Benghazi presented it and talked about how important it was and how necessary it is and how great it was and all that. Now, I don’t know how many people got that, but this bunch — this administration — failed in rescuing Americans under attack. And the wife of the president who failed presented the Oscar to the movie who won the best picture award about a successful rescue of embassy personnel from Iran in 1979.

Not to mention that Iran is going nuclear.  It’s as if the Screen Actors Guild is asking the movie-goers if the ‘Bamster worse than Carter.  It doesn’t end there.

The shine of the dress is picked up by the silver lipstick and the gold detail on the uniforms of the military personnel behind Ma’am. That’s what I call attention to detail!

Iranian TV ‘shopped short sleeves on Mrs. O’s trademark sleeveless gown.  If they were to draw Khomeinista wrist-covering sleeves it would be one thing.  I would happily take it to mean “Cover up, you Hollywood whore!”  But they didn’t, so it’s more of a “give it up already” kind of fashion b*tch-slapping.

Too bad the Persians didn’t trimmed her bangs

And Mooch, by the time your husband is done unilaterally disarming *his* country (is it the 80s revival or what?) you might just need more cover.

Get with the program!

February 24, 2013

Fashion Pick-Me-Up: Whimsy

Filed under: fashion — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:03 pm

Whimsy is what I love about Anthro.

DH says that this one is kind of like me: bittersweet. BUT I’m not going to drop $200 on a decorative sweater

Let alone on a blouse

And the kind of blouse that had to be take to dry cleaners every time an offspring of mine puts sticky hands on my arm

But some dry cleanable items might just be worth it

…Once they go on sale. Although, unfortunately, not all Anthro dresses get to the sale rack

At $300 I’m not buying this one unless they seriously reduce the price:

The back is peek-a-boo

Full length and midi florals… I dono… If we are not careful here we might see the revival of the cool 90s (so far they’ve been reviving the granny 90s.  Of course, the cool 90s were already ironic because the floral dresses were to be worn with various clunky shoes.  And this gown is pretty unironic, thank you very much.

And speaking of gown, being a big fan of Gustav Klimt, I loved the one Nicolle Kidman wore to the Oscar’s tonight.

It’s rare to see a tasteful and unironic sequins dress without a granny feel. This is one

There was a bunch of Deco-ish dresses at the ceremony.  This is Nouveao, but it kind of sort of fits with the trend.  Cheaper knock offs of the Klimt idea are likely to be disastrous.  Pity.

February 21, 2013

Alienation Nation

Among the reasons to study history two stand out: To avoid repeating past errors and to hold on to the great accomplishments of our civilization.

Now, my kindergartener doesn’t take any history classes.  She is, however, exposed to some sort of soulless union-approved social studies-like curriculum.  Our first taste of it was the MLK Day last month.  She came home impressed by the lesson on segregation and the freedom rides.  I had to cringe at the fact that this was the way the CA educational behemoth chose to introduce her to American history.  Yet slavery and segregation were a reality, and children should know about them.  Her second encounter with American history was right before President’s Day when her music teacher taught the class “Yankee Doodle”.

Our local library also commemorated MLK Day, and for the whole month of January books about the Civil Rights leader were displayed prominently in their children’s section.  When we came back to the library last weekend to check out a book about George Washington, the same kind of books were still on display, now for the Black History Month.  Since it was Presidents’ Day weekend, three books about the US Presidents were also prominently exhibited — about 20% of all promoted literature.

I got a few tips on how to talk to a 5-year-old about George Washington and made up something like a lesson plan.  I wanted a colorful book to use as an illustration.  My idea was to go through the book editing out some details and filling in here and there, and I figured A Picture Book of George Washington would do.  That’s how we ended up with a candidate for the dreariest book on the subject (save for the pictures, which were charming, although, on the second thought, I should have used something from the period).

Unfortunately, this day and age telling children that George Washington couldn’t tell a lie is tantamount to child abuse.  Instead David Adler, the critically acclaimed author of many children’s book on multiple historical topics, penned a short story with a flair of a middle-school textbook.  We learn, for instance, that:

George learned to read and write in school.  He practiced his handwriting by copying lists of rules such as “Keep your fingers clean” and “Think before you speak.”  But his favorite subject was arithmetic.

Handwriting… arithmetic…  We have computers now and our minds are freed to do exiting creative things!  The pupils of 2013 should be happy that their enlightened elders developed subjects like finger-painting.  Although, I have to say, 5 y/o DD loves to copy writing.  For instance, if I make a to-do list, she will copy my entries in the open spaces, making it all but impossible to figure out the errands.  I guess I need to move more into the 21st century direction and discourage her from learning cursive.  And seriously, if Washington’s schooling was so dumb, how come he turned out to be so wise?  Adler doesn’t tell.

I ended up skipping that part about the rules, even though DD could benefit from doing more of that “Think before you speak” thing — beloved historical figures can make good role models.  I enjoyed stopping to explain certain paragraphs in greater detail.  We talked of the 13 colonies that were all on the East Coast and set up by the Englishmen, and the fact that the 18th century life expectancy was short and many kids were forced to grow up early (Washington’s father died when he was eleven).

I had to introduce my own topics because Adler mentioned neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution by name.  The following was said about the outbreak of the Revolutionary war:

The English won their war against the French.  King George III of England wanted the American colonies to help pay the cost of the was, so he taxed them.

American colonists refused to pay the taxes.  In Boston, colonists dumped tea into the harbor rather than pay the tax on it.

It doesn’t matter so much that the tax was to pay for the war (Adler is practically obsessed with wars, paying for wars and avoiding wars).  What matters is that the colonists felt that they are being taxed without having a say in it.  It’s a shame that the Boston Tea Party, a truly fascinating event by any measure, was short-changed in Adler’s treatment.  I understand that children’s books have word limits, but a little more excitement and a little more detail can inspire lifelong love of history.

About the Constitution:

The thirteen colonies became thirteen states.  They joined together and formed a government, but it was weak.  In 1787 a new government was formed with a congress, a supreme court and a president.  George Washington was the best-known, most loved leader in America.  He was elected the first president of the United States of America in 1789.  He was reelected in 1792.

Separation of powers is a good place to start talking about the Constitution, but where, for instance, is the Bill of Rights?  Or federalism?

Of Washington’s terms in office:

President George Washington signed treaties with the Indians, Spain and England.  There was war in Europe, but George Washington kept the United States out of it.  When some farmers in Pennsylvania refused to pay tax for whiskey, George Washington sent soldiers to force the farmers to obey the law.

If children read this book sans a commentary by an informed adult, they are bound to be confused.  What is a youngster to think when he finds out that the colonists refused to pay the King’s tax, and that wars are bad, but yet our very first President waged the war on his own people for refusing to pay taxes?  Is he going to conclude that disobeying the law is no big deal?  I couldn’t think of a good way of relating “no taxation without representation” to my 5-year-old, so I skipped the page altogether.  We did talk about fairness and self-government.

I can see a child walking away with an impression that George Washington was some sort of a monster who lived in dreary times, and giving up on both the country and the discipline of history.  Adler conveys no excitement, no sense of glory.  Although A Picture Book of George Washington was first published in 1989, many of today’s teachers and parents were raised in 70s and the 80s on similar literature. (And many parents, like me, were raised abroad.)  They wouldn’t know how to talk about American history.  As a result, we have a second generation of kids growing up alienated from their heritage.

Take the case of my daughter who, if I were to leave it up to her public school and Adler, would know about segregation, but not the Constitution.  Count me among those who think it’s strange that Martin Luther King is the only historic figure who got a whole day dedicated to him.  He is an important person to know about, but not of the caliber of, say, Ben Franklin.  I always thought that Franklin really personified the American spirit — an inventor and a self-stater, a free spirit with a keen sense of humor and a sense of justice.  Why is he short-changed?

Maybe we can have a Freedom Riders Day and a Presidents Day on top of the Founders Day all occurring within the school year?  This way the teachers union can bargain for an additional day off while music teachers get to drop in a few words about the likes of Franklin.  Venerable Jimmy Carter, Millard Fillmore, Chester A. Arthur and Woodrow Wilson can still celebrate the fact that they were elected, and I can have my children at home with me.

This 4th of July I’ll attempt something different.  We will look at the Constitution together, and maybe look at some 18th century American art.  This way my children will be real historians, working with primary sources.  I will report the outcome.

February 13, 2013

Sandbox State of The Union

Filed under: education, fashion, parenting, politics — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 2:17 pm

I didn’t watch SOUT last night, and not necessarily by choice; we are just too busy here.  Leslie Loftis alerted me to another FLOTUS get up that lived up to the expectations:

This is our 21st century Amazonian beauty ideal — or something: upper arms dwarfing breasts and the lower body looking ever-ginormous thanks to too tight skirt and sparkles. Sparkles?

This is a cocktail dress.  She wore one for SOTU 2012, too; that gown was shiny and blue.  The First (if I may call her) Lady has a tendency to wear cocktail dresses all day long.  I know, I love to dress  up too.  Unfortunately, by not looking serious when seriousness is called for, Moochelle is sending a message — that she’s not taking her husband serious.  And if she doesn’t, why should we?  No need to be nervous, Marco.

Here we have the far better designed prototype. Jason Wu Pre-Fall 2013. We can observe Mobama’s fashion sense maturing in her fifth year of FLOTUS-ship.  There is a clear trend for shiny sci fi villain looks

The President’s favorability is down — not that it matters at this point.  He’s in the black on national defense only, and that’s probably because of droning.

All this SOTU news is coming against the rough LAPD ex-cop with some sort of racial grievances on a murder rampage.  Don’t you just love how Barack Hussein Obama personally solved all our race problems?  And did you know that Christopher Droner loved Michelle Obama’s bangs?

Sarah Palin already fact checked O’s speech, so I don’t really have much to add.  If you are not too busy figuring out why all of a sudden you paycheck is smaller, you might notice that in 2010 we surged in Afghanistan for some reason, and now we are for some reason leaving.  In the meantime, a recent Medal of Honor recipient former Army Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha politely declined an invitation to sit next to the Flablulous Buttness during the speech.  Three years ago, Kimberly Munley, the hero who helped stop the terrorist attack at Fort Hood, was a Presidential guest at the State of the Union.   Now she is on record saying that she felt betrayed by Obama who classified the attack as “workplace violence” thus denying proper benefits and military honors to heroes and victims.  Currently BO is making further plans to take on our military.

The two MO’s guests who did show up, and were seated right next to the Flabulous Buttness were the parents of the teenage victim of Chicago gang violence Hadiya Pendleton.  Their prominent placement signals the centrality of the anti-gun agenda to the President’s policies — nothing new here.  This morning when we were packing lunchboxes DH said that he’s glad BO keeps talking about guns.  You see, we own stock in Smith and Weston, and every time the Prez opens his mouth about guns, the stock goes up.  It’s up 3.5% today.

I did scan the text of the speech this morning.  President BO conceded that he’s waging class warfare.  Thank you.  Blabbed on about the middle class (see my notes on FLOTUS MO’s opinions of her hubby above) and called for more spending on hip grown-up toys, like windmills.

‘Bamster wants to get the states to subsidized babysitting, potentially edging out private (and often religious) pre-schools, or, as he put it politely, “high-quality preschool available to every child in America”.  In real world, a “high quality pre-school” is the one where the teachers are nice.  The wee ones don’t need any more than that.  Oh, and a mommy will do.  Anyhow, this might be a Nancy Pelosi’s idea.  Not sure how her bankrupt home state of California is supposed to afford it all, or how the millionaires in Congress will be affected.

He also feels that all state should mandate high school graduation.  While this sounds nice, universal high school graduation is not a hot idea.  Many students simple don’t have the ability, or the drive, or respect for the system.  I gather drop outs don’t care much for your little mandates, that’s why many of them drop out.  When I went to a junior college, I had many classmates who oped out for the GED, and then went the community college rout, and were doing fine.  Instead of mandating graduation, how about designing a challenging curriculum that makes their diplomas meaningful?  He topped off his education chat with call for further inflation of the higher education bubble.

The Prez believes that the state of the Union is strong.  OK.  Then perhaps we can deal without universal pre-school.

February 11, 2013

Cotton Mather Parenting

Filed under: Bay Area politics, parenting, politics — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:59 pm

With the push for gun control under way the stories about children punished for pretend play involving guns are pouring in.  Iowahawk calls it what it is, government-sponsored and media-promoted hysteria:

Lefties are fond of lecturing (and writing books, and plays, and movies) about the famously dark days of McCarthyism, where right wing Bircher paranoiacs supposedly were looking for a ‘Red under every bed.’ I suppose to a certain extent they had a point, but the sum total impact of that brief 50’s reign of terror seems to be that a couple of Hollywood writers lost screenplay deals.

Contrast that with our new age of left wing paranoia. Now that the national boogie men are Gunnies rather than Commies, there ain’t no bed, or closet, or playground safe to hide from our brave safety crusaders. No one is above suspicion, and so holy is their cause that even crayon-scrawled representations of Demon Gun must be banned. Obviously, we have to arrest children precisely because it’s For The Children. Welcome to New Salem, with the Reverend Piers Morgan as our new Cotton Mather.

Some individuals were living this hysteria for years if not decades.  Here is last year’s advice column from J, the Bay Area Jewish weekly.   First the question:

We thought we’d skirt the issue with our pro-peace, “use your words” and gender-neutral parenting, but alas, our 4-year-old boy wants a gun.  We cringe at the thought, but can also see that he has never wanted anything else with this kind of intensity. Help! Puzzled in Piedmont (Piedmont is a tonier East Bay suburb, – ed.)

Being pro-lasting peace, pro-gun and into gender-functional parenting (I made this one up), I would advise the PIPs to think about the nature of their son’s intense emotions and question their own deeply ingrained assumptions about society.  This would be an honest thing to do because leftists profess to believe that babes have a lot to teach us about the world and that it’s always good to question received opinions.  The columnist Rachel Biale, however, issued a different verdict:

On gender issues, I advise parents to offer, as I did with my children, a full spectrum of toys and activities without gender-pegging: boys with dolls, girls with hammers, etc. I have never encountered parents flummoxed because their daughter wanted a gun. (Please let me know if your experience is different!)  I myself remember vividly how I insisted on playing soccer with the boys and wanted a bow and arrow for Lag B’Omer.  My father was a carpenter and physicist; in those days in the kibbutz you could be both. So he made me a beautifully carved bow and explained the laws of physics governing the arrow’s trajectory and speed.  I even announced in third grade that my name was now Danny and I was going to be a boy.  It lasted till fourth grade, but never in that whole period (nor before or after) did I want a gun.

All snark aside, her dad sounds cool.

I grew up in a culture where toy weapons were commonplace.  I was a girly girl, and I don’t remember myself wanting plastic guns, but I’m pretty sure I played with them every now and then.  If Robert Louis Stevenson is any authority on the subject, boys and girls do play together, often exploring marshal themes.  His absolutely cheek-pinchingly darling poem Marching Song from “A Child’s Garden of Verses” features “great commander Jane” who gayly leads the boys on a war pass.  I take it Ms. Biale’s childhood was not much different.  For one, she implied that it would had been normal for a kid in her community to ask for a toy gun.  And for another:

Our kibbutz was on the Jordanian border and guns were part of everyday life. This is still the case in Israel today. Soldiers on their way to and from home carry a gun, as do other security personnel. But when it came to raising my children here in the United States, without even noticing, I adopted the common American Jewish aversion to guns. (Jews have the lowest gun ownership rate in America.) I, too, felt very uncomfortable with the idea of my son playing with guns.

Whatever happened to multiculturalism?

I do believe boys love toy guns so much because they offer an important avenue for mastering aggression through play. Pretend combative play — cowboys and Indians, space aliens and humans, cops and robbers and superheroes armed to the teeth — is important for  the maturation and “civilizing” of boys.  Allowing opportunities  for play that channels aggressive fantasies reduces the amount of actual aggression toward other kids.

Do tell.  It probably helps to reduce the amount of inwardly aggression as well — if am to take a guess.

That said, it’s important to uphold your values and recognize when something is too uncomfortable and disturbing for you.  It’s perfectly fine to let your child know there are things you find objectionable and don’t want in your house. For example, some parents feel this way about pet rats.  We told our son: “We really, really don’t like guns.  They hurt and kill people.  We don’t want one in our house, not even a play gun.”

The antiquated United States Constitution tells us nothing about the rodents, but, for all I know, the vastly superior founding document of the European Union might have something to say on that subject.  I can see not wanting a rat, but, on the other hand, what if there is a near-extinct specie of rat, and a family gets both a male and a female vermin and tries to get them to breed?  What do we think about that?

But we did let him get a  sword. Why?  Mainly, because it didn’t make us cringe in the same way a gun did and let him deal with aggression through play.  We explained: “Swords are a bit like old tales from ‘Once upon a time.’ A long, long time ago, people used them to fight. But, nowadays, people don’t use swords to kill.” No doubt there is a bit of rationalizing here, but this offered a middle ground we could live with.  Our son, after graduating from swords to the World Wrestling Federation, abandoned these pursuits and grew into a very peaceful, unaggressive person, who does his “fighting” for justice and civil rights in the court of law.

Just about every family I know is cool with plastic swards, but wants no gun toys.  Why, what’s the difference?  One is a lethal weapon and another can shoot blanks?  Nothing against swords or wrestling, but target shooting does promote patience and concentration.

I have no idea what Ms. Biale means by “‘fighting’ for justice and civil rights in the court of law”, but countless books were written on the subject of verbal aggression in Ashkenazi diaspora.  No amount of verbal aggression absolves a man (or a woman) of the moral responsibility to defend himself, his friends and family.  And by “defend” I don’t mean “litigate”.

What does the sword-and-wrestling diet do to children anyway?  I’m not claiming to know what the youth of today think about the 2nd Amendment, but it’s useful to turn to the guardians of the illicit, namely Urban Outfitters, for clues.  Here, at Edge of the Sandbox, we don’t pretend to understand where irony ends and self-loathing begins when it comes to Urban, but the firearms-related gimmicks, currently occupying their sale racks, are hard to ignore.

Shot glasses — Get it? Get it? — are on sale for $7.99

A cooler. I don’t know about that one.

“Freeze!” ice tray is my personal favorite. On sale for 7.99, accompanied by a very interesting video

For a good measure they had a grenade decanter. Being a middle age vino, I don’t know about this one either.

Either the kids sense that guns are not as bad as their parents told them, or they are being defiant or both, but they are not indifferent to the allure of fire arms.

Here is my previous post on anti-gun agenda placement in Parents magazine.  Koch brothers, either one of you, where art though?

UPDATE: Linked by Legal Insurrection — many thanks to Professor Jacobson.

February 7, 2013

Canto Talk!

Filed under: Jewishness, music, politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 3:42 pm

UPDATE: Here is the podcast.

I’m going to appear on Canto Talk radio tonight at 7:15 Pacific.  I will be talking with the executive producer Leslie Eastman and the host Silvio Canto about parenting, politics and life around here as well as Michelle Obama’s fashion sense or lack of thereof.  I want to thank both Leslie and Dr. Canto for the opportunity.

Canto Talk is mostly a political show, but last week Dr. Canto mentioned that Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the seminal swing band Andrews Sisters, had passed away at age 94.  Being a fan of mid-century American pop, I’d like to celebrate Patty’s life with one of the Sisters’ greatest hits, Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen:

It was one of the songs we played at our wedding, and it has an interesting history:

The story of this tune’s stratospheric rise is as unlikely as that of Yiddish swing itself. “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” was composed by Sholom Secunda for a 1932 Yiddish musical that opened and closed in one season. Fast-forward to 1937. Lyricist Sammy Cahn and pianist Lou Levy were catching a show at the Apollo Theater in Harlem when two black performers called Johnnie and George took the stage singing “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” — in Yiddish. The crowd went wild. Cahn and Levy couldn’t believe their ears. Sensing a hit, Cahn convinced his employer at Warner Music to purchase the rights to the song from the Kammen Brothers, the twin-team music entrepreneurs who had bought the tune from Secunda a few years back for the munificent sum of $30.

Cahn gave “Bei Mir” a set of fresh English lyrics and presented it to a trio of Lutheran sisters whose orchestra leader, oddly enough named Vic Schoen, had a notion of how to swing it. The Andrews Sisters’ debut 78 rpm for the Decca label hit almost immediately.

The song became a hit not only in America, but Europe as well, and that included Germany.  The Nazis initially thought the title lyric was in a South German dialect, but when they discovered that they were dealing with a Yiddish tune, they had to ban it.

Bei Mir was translated into many languages.  During World War Two, Soviet jazzman Leonid Utesov recorded an anti-Nazi Russian version Baron Fon Der Pshik:

Utesov was also Jewish, born 1895.  Many American popular musicians of early/mid 20th century hail from the Russian Empire.  Utesov stayed in Russia where he fell in love with jazz.  He was one of the few entertainers who, during the Stalin years, was allowed to perform American-inspired music.

Speaking of Jews and mid-century American music, here is a video of the funeral of New York Mayor Ed Koch’s (via The Last Tradition).  His casket is carried through Temple Emanu-El to the tune of New York, New York.  Way to go, Mr. Mayor:

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