Michael Brown’s Murder: 10 Days Later

It’s been 10 days since 18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down in cold blood. On Saturday, 9 August, he was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson just after noon and left in the street for hours afterwards. Justifiable anger has grown with each passing day, especially since the name of the officer wasn’t released until Friday, 15 August. On top of that, the racist police chief of Ferguson decided to release a surveillance video from a convenience store the day the officer’s name was made public, which allegedly shows Mike Brown shove an employee of that store before walking out. The release of the video was a pathetic and obvious attempt to distract people from the fact that a cop shot an unarmed youth for no reason. Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson has been a visible presence since Monday, 11 August, after being brought in by local authorities to be “the face” of law enforcement – at the same time, any good he has tried to do has been undermined by the same local authorities who called for his aid in the first place.
An independent autopsy, which was requested by Mike Brown’s parents, shows that he was shot six times – the four body shots could have been survivable, but the two shots to his head were the fatal ones. From Al-Jazeera:

“An autopsy conducted on behalf of Brown’s family showed he was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. The path of one bullet indicates he may have been lowering his head in surrender when the fatal shot hit, according to Brown family attorney Daryl Parks.

Parks told a news conference one bullet hit Brown in the very top of his head and another shattered his right eye.

“His head was in a downward position,” Parks said. “Given those kind of facts, this officer should have been arrested.”

There were no signs of struggle with the officer and no gunshot residue on the body.”

Protests during the day have been peaceful, yet escalate into chaos after dark – more so after curfews were enacted and SWAT team storm-troopers began their patrols. Citizens and journalists have been tear-gassed and sprayed with rubber bullets. Supposed “criminal elements” in the crowds are being blamed for the after-dark violence. The curfew was lifted yesterday and the Missouri National Guard has been deployed. Approximately ten members of Amnesty International are now in Ferguson, as are 40 or so FBI agents. The investigation continues, even though the identity of the murderer is known. The killer cop is on “paid administrative leave,” meaning that he sits on his arse at home and draws a paycheck – meanwhile, the KKK is collecting ‘bounty money’ to reward him further…how sickening.

The amount of news coverage varies by source: The Huffington Post and Al-Jazeera have been fairly detailed from the beginning. International sites such as BBC News and Oslo-based NRK actually have reporters in Ferguson, while Tokyo-based NHK had one tiny blurb on their site – you can read it here.

View image on Twitter

This makes the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown so powerful. It’s sad that some people have taken it to another level. pic.twitter.com/oZnLDRRDhN — Sammie. ™ (@LordSWVP) August 11, 2014

As expected, some people are blaming the victim for his death – this happens time and time again when the murder victim has brown skin. It happened with Trayvon Martin. It happened with Eric Garner. It happened with Oscar Grant. It happens all. The. Fucking. TIME. Justice won’t be served until the murderer in arrested. Will the grand jury findings make any difference? Time will tell…but I’m not holding my breath. Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr. are still asking what more needs to be done before their son’s killer is arrested. I’d like to know as well – and so does anyone with any shred of intelligence and sanity. We shall see what transpires in the next few days…we shall see.

AP Photo: Charlie Riedel, posted on The Huffington Post

Remembering Robin Williams

Robin McLaurin Williams: 21 July 1951 – 11 August 2014

Ah, me…. My heart aches today, following the news of the untimely death of actor, comedian, and comedic genius Robin Williams at the age of 63. The funnyman who was beloved by many and who made countless people laugh, took his own life yesterday. From the BBC:

“US actor and comedian Robin Williams took his own life at his California home, police have confirmed.

Marin County Sheriff’s Lt Keith Boyd said Williams, 63, had been treated for depression and killed himself by hanging.

The entertainer was last seen alive by his wife on Sunday evening, and was found dead at about noon on Monday, Lt Boyd said.

Tributes have poured forth from President Barack Obama and others.”

Words fail me at the moment…Robin Williams has been a screen presence for me during my entire lifetime, and I’d just heard that he was working on a sequel for the film Mrs. Doubtfire – I’d idly wondered out loud to my husband what the premise would be. Would ‘Daniel’ reprise his role as the matronly Brit for one of his grandchildren? There were three kids involved in the first film…IIRC, ‘Liddie’ was the oldest of three, so it isn’t a far stretch to presume that ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ would reappear to help her with her own marriage and child-rearing issues. The end of the original film had him hosting a children’s show at the end, so anything’s possible in the land of make-believe.

Digressing…I grew up watching Mr. Williams in his role as the alien named Mork, from the planet Ork, in the series Mork & Mindy. I admit to having had a tiny, 6-year-old crush on the guy with the twinkling blue eyes; the shaggy, unruly mop of brown hair, who sported rainbow-coloured braces (also known as suspenders) and would declare “Nanu, Nanu!” in a semi-robotic voice – that statement was essentially like ‘Aloha’ is to Hawai’ians.

The first movie role I saw him in was when he starred in the movie Popeye, which was what we call a “live-action” film in these modern times. For the nimrods out there, “live-action” is essentially when a fictional character, depicted only in animated cartoons, graphic novels or ‘comic books,’ is brought to life and “made real” with living actors and specific special effects. Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Superman, Batman, and X-Men are but a few examples of this. I thought that the movie was good, and Robin perfectly captured the essence of the squinting sailor with the bulging forearms and obsession with spinach.

The next role I saw him in was The World According to Garp, which was a fairly obscure rendition of an equally obscure book; I read the book not long after I saw the movie, which came out in 1982 – the book was originally written in 1978, but the cover was updated to show Mr. Williams as the title character after the movie was released.

I haven’t seen a lot of the movies he was celebrated for, such as Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, Patch Adams, or Birdcage, but I thought that he was great in Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, and of course, the voice of the djinn in Disney’s adaptation of Aladdin. I thought he did some fantastic work in other small-screen roles, including some notable appearances in Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: SVU.

He was one of few celebrities that I found likable in a completely human way, beyond the lights and cameras of Holly-white. He was open about his struggles with cocaine, alcohol, and depression. That is the price of being a genius: we creative sorts want to rise above the pain and chaos of humanity by offering something joyful and beautiful, but we are only too human ourselves and aren’t immune to the ugliness and hatred that surrounds us. Thus, we try to escape like Icarus and strive to touch the sun – but end up paying a terrible price.

I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said by countless others: he was one of the few true, comedic geniuses that come along once in a blue moon. He is in the pantheon of artists that include Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and George Carlin. You never knew what to expect when he was a guest on any show – but you could guarantee that it would be fucking hilarious and you’d be laughing until you cried. One of the best guest appearances I saw Robin Williams in was when he was on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, when Conan was still on network television. There was a power outage which caused some sort of studio malfunction, so the scheduled band couldn’t perform. Robin went off the chain with some impromptu comedy which resulted in him scampering across the stage like a chimpanzee, acting like he was hurling feces in every direction! That was too gawddamned funny…on top of that, he was wearing one of the craziest-patterned suits I’ve ever seen – but it worked. It fit. It was perfect! Few people could have pulled off that look and made it seem like…just another suit! “Weird Al” Yankovic is one in that category, as is Katt Williams. I searched for that clip, but couldn’t find it…but there are so many others that are just as hilarious, so it was worth the search.

*SIGH*…I’m speechless. Still processing it all. So many unexpected, senseless deaths have occurred in the past few days in all corners of the world – it’s overwhelming. He was one who made so many laugh…yet, the sorrow inside was too much and he felt so utterly alone that the endless emptiness of death was somehow more alluring than the boundless joy of life. Life that he seemed to embrace so fully and so completely, with his entire heart and soul. All I can say is: “Ah, me…”

Rest in peace, Robin – you will be sorely missed. I will remember all of the times you made me laugh and cry with your talent for just being. I know I’m not alone in that.

So Much Senseless Death… *** UPDATED ***

My thoughts are turbulent at the moment…it would seem that Sunday’s ‘supermoon’ has tugged at the fluids surrounding my cerebrum and cerebellum! The skies were clear so we had a fantastic sight of that beautiful orb.
*** Updated Thursday, 14 August 2014: I wanted to add to this post and make a correction – those will be indicated by three asterisks. The correction involves the ages of people who hold CWPs; I inadvertently transposed the numbers so the low age was 12, not 21. Apologies for my error. ***

Another sickening murder has taken place; another brown body lifeless under a sheet, shot down like a dog in the street by a so-called “officer of the law.” Another young man with his life brutally and senselessly cut short; another mother filled with helpless grief and rage as cameras roll, another father stoic as he requests that true justice be served. 18-year-old Michael Brown, days away from attending college, was shot multiple times for reasons unknown at high noon on Saturday, 9 August. The murder occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, which is a suburb of the city of St. Louis.

Michael and a friend were walking along when police decided to “stop and question” them for one of the most asinine reasons I’ve heard yet – they weren’t using the sidewalk. The murdering cop, who is being protected by the “thin blue line,” stated the usual bullshit claim that he was attacked and assaulted by Michael so the shooting was justified. Never mind the fact that Michael had his hands in the air AND was facing the officer when he was shot! It seems that “stop and question” is akin to “stop and frisk,” no?

Protestors have filled the streets, marching and demonstrating in righteous outrage, while a few people engaged in acts of “rioting” and “disorderly conduct.” You ever notice, when PoC gather together and march for a cause, it is deemed a ‘riot’ regardless of actual events – officers dressed in ‘riot gear’ and acting like storm troopers certainly don’t help matters any. When whites gather or march, it’s a ‘peaceful rally’ or a ‘prayer vigil,’ even when property damage and trespassing occur as they did during the WTO in Seattle, or the 99% “rallies” across the country.

A Monday morning press conference was supposed to be held by the Ferguson PD, but was cancelled and the police chief blamed the protestors. His smarmy, ignorant statements made me want to vomit with rage! The FBI announced that it was taking charge of the investigation later that day – I won’t hold my breath waiting for their findings, as I have no respect or regard for that organization…we’ll see what happens when they begin covering up investigating this murder. Idiot talking heads express surprise and dismay that “the simmering resentment in the African-American community” hasn’t “erupted before now.” Acting as if PoC are thoughtless animals, driven solely by emotions and instincts.

This repulsive crime, perpetrated by police in broad daylight, occurred a little over two weeks after another act of police brutality resulted in the death of Eric Garner, also in broad daylight. He was the gentleman in Staten Island, New York who had his life snuffed out via choke-hold for the dastardly (alleged) crime of selling cigarettes tax-free. Between these two incidents, there was some small justice for the family of Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old woman who was shot on the front porch of Theodore P. Wafer. She had gone to his Detroit-area home in the early hours of the morning of 2 November 2013, seeking assistance following an automobile accident. She was supposedly “incoherent and out of control,” causing the homeowner to “fear for his life.” In closing statements, his attorney claimed that “the walls of his home were shaking,” supposedly from violent pounding on the front door. He said that he “wasn’t going to cower (in fear) like a victim.” That’s the icing on the cake – that statement right there.

See, people who carry CWPs tend to be of the same ilk who feel the need to carry AK-47s and AR-15s, so can be painted with a fairly broad brush. Yes, there are VERY few exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, they will be white males between the ages of *** 21 – 92 *** who have been sorely and flagrantly uneducated. They tend to reside in “red states” (one exception being rural areas of so-called “blue states”) and selectively follow biblical scripture and doctrine. They are fans of NASCAR, Duck Dynasty, and Turd Nugent, who wrap themselves in the Confederate flag and sport the ‘Iron Cross’ as a fashion statement. Mindless rage and excess paranoia are common personality traits. Their main sources of current events are FauxNews on television and Alex Jones on YouTube, and they will declare with the utmost sincerity (without even being asked) that they only hate disapprove of President Obama “for his ineffectiveness as a leader of this nation, not because he’s a BLACK!!!” Anyway, the classes given to qualify for a CWP basically direct anyone who kills another to give that (or a similar) statement to the one that her killer made: “I feared for my life and had to defend myself; I didn’t want to kill anyone but I wasn’t going to be a victim!” In reality, these shitbags are just looking for a reason to “take down some criminal” and be a fucking hero in their own twisted minds and realities – they WANT to take someone else’s life and see if they can get away with it. Period.

 *** UPDATED PORTION ***
While searching for information for this post, I came across some articles which succinctly address the issue of gun ownership in this country. I also uncovered some news stories about other Black people, young and old, who have suffered abuse and/or death at the hands of the police.
“Look online and you’ll find pictures of white people proudly carrying guns into churches, bars, and grocery stores thanks to the “open carry” laws passed in nearly every state recently. Black people don’t have that right.When a white teenager named Steve Lohner was stopped by the police last month and refused to show his ID after carrying a loaded shotgun on the streets of Aurora, Colorado (the same city where a mass murderer killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a packed movie theater in July 2012), the teen walked away with nothing but a citation.But when a 22-year-old black kid named John Crawford picked up a mere BB gun in a Walmart store in Dayton, Ohio last week, customers called the police, who then shot and killed him.

Here lies a racial disparity that’s difficult for honest people to ignore. How can black people openly carry a real gun when we can’t even pick up a BB gun in a store without arousing suspicion? The answer in America is that the Second Amendment doesn’t really apply to black people.”

The majority of the comments following the article display deep ignorance and ingrained racism, but I’m not surprised by it. Check out this other article titled “America Is Not for Black People” – it is a worthy read.

Next, I wanted to add the names of some of the people who have been abused or murdered by officers in the past two months. They are young and old; male and female…and they are all Black people.

Ezell Ford

*** ADDED FRIDAY, 15 AUGUST 2014 *** : Dante Parker

John Crawford

Eric Garner

Marlene Pinnock

Denise Stewart

Finally, I wanted to put in three songs that convey how I am feeling about it all. Some tension has been relieved by “putting it to paper,” so to speak; but, music is the universal language…even if you don’t understand what is being said, you can feel it in the music. Listen…and feel.
Gary Jules: “Mad World
Maximum the Hormone: “What’s Up People?!?!?”
Sepultura: “Chaos A.D.”

1st Friday…August 2014!!!

Happy 1st Friday! August 1st rolled in cloudy this morning on the southwest coast of Washington state, but by 10:00 a.m. it was sunny and beautiful.

Bees, ladybugs, dragonflies, butterflies, grasshoppers and moths are prolific during this time of year. The bamboo has been creeping along and finally shot up in different places in the yard this year.

I can’t say that I have a lot to say in this post…because I don’t! I’ve never claimed that my blog is completely about social/world/human/personal or any other issues; I talk about what I feel like talking about at any given time. If you like it, great! If you don’t, fine! I do what I want when I want because I’m an adult – and I’ll use ‘adult’ language whenever the fuck I want to, thank you very much! Here’s some music for the hell of it. Enjoy!

“Weird Al” Yankovic: “Tacky

Alice Cooper: “Sick Things

Apache Indian: “Boom Shak-A-Lak

The Cult: “Sweet Soul Sister

Rainbow: “Since You Been Gone

Multitudinous Musings…

A musing gargoyle…

National and world events over the past couple of weeks have been stewing in the back of my mind. A weekend wedding interrupted my planned posting, so…here it is, better late than never.

The violence in Gaza is horrific and terribly one-sided, as always. Innocent Palestinians are blasted by Israeli rockets on a daily (oft-times hourly) basis, while Benjamin Netanyahu excuses the civilian death toll by blaming Hamas. Why Israel gets whopping, unconditional support from many nations is beyond me…their ‘Iron Dome’ ensures relative safety, while Palestinians aren’t secure in hospitals, schools, or refugee camps set up by the United Nations. Reporters in Tel Aviv wear polo shirts; the ones in Gaza City wear flak jackets. The disparity is glaring and has been for years.

Gaza reporter wearing a flak jacket – no ‘Iron Dome,’ here!

Vladimir Putin keeps on with his unique brand of brutal jackassery by virtually ordering his rebel scum to shoot down a passenger plane over Ukraine, then hindering the investigation of it by having his thug squads harass and intimidate the workers. Even if he didn’t give a direct order, he is still to blame – so why are people claiming that President Obama is responsible? News flash, morons: PUTIN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOWNING OF MH17. Too many people believe the ridiculous propaganda being shat out by FauxNews because every other station picks up on it and re-broadcasts it as facts, then people tweet it and keep repeating it. Propaganda has nothing to do with facts! It was a Malaysian airliner that was blown out of the sky – for that reason alone, the conspiracy theories have been flying – bad pun unintended. No, this plane was shot down over a war zone by people who have the same mentality as neo-nazis, separatists, and Teabaggers in the U.S. Keep an eye on that ilk so that you know what to expect from them!

The schoolgirls in Nigeria are still missing; they remain captives of Boko Haram, but few people give a rat’s arse about them anymore. It’s testament to the brief attention-spans of many: “They aren’t being talked about so they must not be important…but let’s see what the Kartrashians are doing!” I feel for their families – I really do. Anybody who has experienced the horror of a missing family member, especially if that family member is your own child, knows that pain. Why is nothing being done? Can anything really be done? We heard about the teens in Norway who were slaughtered and terrorized by Anders Brevik immediately after he set the bombs off in that summer camp. That tragedy played on the airwaves far longer than the disappearance of the girls, who had been missing for two or three weeks before they were given small air-time on international media. The attention lasted for a week, if that, and has now fallen by the wayside in favour of the illegally-detained Al-Jazeera reporters. To top that off, another Ebola outbreak is making a new, widespread emergence in the area…very sad and disheartening.

Please…let’s not forget about them.

Back to the U.S.A.: Another person of color has been murdered under the guise of being “detained” by police. Eric Garner was hassled by cops because he was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes. Three officers took him down, one applying a lethal (and illegal) choke-hold. You can clearly hear him pleading with them: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” No medical attention was provided, and I was disturbed to see his clearly lifeless body being loaded onto a gurney like a sack of potatoes – no breathing mask, no CPR being applied, nothing. To top that off, the cop who applied the death-grip had the temerity to wave smugly at the person who was recording the incident on their cell phone. Repulsive and disgusting, but sadly, not surprising. We know the drill.

Eric Garner reaching out for help as his life is choked away…

“Open-carry” seems to be very popular in many states now, with some strange movement that has caused places such as Target and Chipotle to request that people leave their guns at home, or at least leave them in their vehicle before entering their business establishments. I find it interesting that all of the idiots carrying their AR-15s and AK-47s around are your typical inbred, white-trash rednecks, making this yet another “whites-only” movement. I personally don’t own a military-style assault rifle, and see no need for one as a civilian. I own plenty of guns: rifles, shotguns, and pistols, only two of which are semi-automatics. I also possess two concealed-carry licenses – one for the state of Washington, and one for the state of Oregon. A multi-state license is the next step.

Personally, I LOVE Chipotle – in small doses!

Idiocy abounds in ‘entertainment,’ per usual. Shitty-looking movies such as Sex Tape, 50 Shades of Gray, The Expendables III, and Defenders of the Universe are currently being advertised. 50 Shades has me laughing because it is based on some soft-core ‘novel’ that has women frantically jilling off over it. How lame and how tame – if you can’t rely on your own imagination for erotic fantasies, then you have problems! At any rate, the only movie I’m waiting for is the third (and final) installment of The Hobbit, which hasn’t had any trailers yet…as far as I know! Another re-hashing of Hercules is coming out, with ‘The Rock’ starring as the demigod hero. I wanted to see the sequel to How to Tame Your Dragon, but I think it was here and gone already! I’ll have to check showtimes for the beer-and-pizza cinemas to see when they pick it up.

it’s coming…soon…

On the small screen, two shows that I happened to see advertisements for just had me scoffing in derision: Utopia and Naked & Afraid. Look them up if you’re so inclined! Because they look so moronic to me, that’s a guarantee that they will be hit shows that go on for at least five seasons, if not more. I simply don’t like the shitty shows that the majority of people gravitate to! My scorning those shows means that people will be watching them and talking about them incessantly…I feel it in my bones.

I’ll close this post with a bit of good news – sanity does still exist! Wretched, racist puke Turd Nugent, the so-called ‘Motor City Madman,’ has had a couple of concerts cancelled by the venues where he was supposed to appear. The Coeur d’Alene tribe in Idaho was the first to do so, followed closely by the Puyallup tribe here in Washington state. From KGW.com:

“TACOMA, Wash. — Emerald Queen Casino will cancel two Ted Nugent concerts that were scheduled August 2 and 3 over allegations of racist remarks by the singer.

Puyallup Tribe officials said the decision came after learning that Nugent has said racist remarks.

“The first amendment gives people the right free speech, but I think racism is intolerable and not acceptable here,” said Puyallup Tribal Council Vice President Lawrence W. LaPointe. “We’ve been getting lots of complaints from the community and other organizations.”

“I don’t want to take away his right to say what he wants to say, but we don’t need it here.”

Nominee for ‘Dickhole of the Decade!’

Can you believe the gall of that paranoid pants-shitter?!? “There’s a conspiracy to shut me up because I speak the truth and tell it like it is!” No, dude, the only conspiracy is the one in your muddled cranium. Using white-supremacist terms to describe and deride the current POTUS doesn’t go over well with some people, especially when you’ve insulted those same people in your lyrics and in every interview you rant in. Claiming that you aren’t a racist, simply because you were partially influenced by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, is a laughable cop-out. You feel that freedom of speech means that you can say whatever the hell you want, whenever and wherever the hell you want, about anyone. Fine. Just be willing to take the same shit you dish out, m’kay? Whinging and whimpering about a couple of cancellations is infantile – suck it up, go suck an egg, and take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut while you’re at it! Douchebag.

A pair of old, haggard, racist fuckwads – how charming!

I need some good old-fashioned head-banging music after this…enjoy!

Alice In Chains: “Again

Drowning Pool: “Bodies

Rob Zombie “Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn)”

Tribute: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins: 18 July 1929 – 12 February 2000

Today marks the birth anniversary of a very influential musician: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Best known for his song “I Put a Spell on You,” his over-the-top theatrics and stage antics influenced many singers who are popular today, including Alice Cooper, KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, and Marilyn Manson, to name a few. From Biography.com:

“Singer, songwriter and musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was born Jalacy Hawkins on July 18, 1929, in Cleveland, Ohio. One of rock and roll’s original madmen, Hawkins was as famous for his music as he was for his stage antics. He spent the first year and a half of his life in an orphanage before being adopted. His mother reportedly gave him up because she already had too many children to care for. Hawkins’ interest in music emerged at an early age. He taught himself to play piano and could read music by the age of 6.

While in his teens, Hawkins took up boxing. He had some success in the ring, winning a Golden Gloves championship in 1943. Still, Hawkins maintained an interest in music. Inspired by Paul Robeson and Enrico Caruso, Hawkins studied opera. But he left school to join the U.S. Army to fight in World War II in 1944. As part of his service, Hawkins entertained the troops. When he returned, he continued to box for a time before pursuing music full time.”

“I Put a Spell on You” wasn’t an immediate hit when it was first released on Okeh Records. It took a drunken session at Columbia Records to get the sound that was needed! More from Biography:

“In the early 1950s, Hawkins worked such artists as Tiny Grimes and Fats Domino before striking out on his own. It took two tries to score a hit with his best-known song, “I Put a Spell on You.” The first version for Okeh Records failed to attract listeners.

During his next attempt for Columbia Records, he and the studio musicians drank heavily during the recording session. The result, which Hawkins claimed not to remember recording, was a bluesy, voodoo-tinged single filled with boisterous vocals, including moans and other sound effects. This version gave him his first hit in 1956.

After some encouragement and a little financial incentive from disc jockey Alan Freed, Hawkins enhanced his stage persona to project a more macabre image. He made his stage entrance from a coffin and often dressed as a vampire. Besides his coffin, Hawkins used other creepy props, including a skull perched on a stick that he named “Henry.”

Sometimes he appeared wearing a turban with a bone through his nose or wearing a loincloth and carrying a shield and spear. While audiences enjoyed his wild antics, others, including the National Association for Colored People (NAACP), were concerned that his actions reflected badly on the entire African-American community.”

Screamin’ Jay moved to France in the late 1990s. He dabbled briefly in acting, appearing in Mystery Train (1989) and Perdita Durango (1997). I’ve not seen either of those movies, so I might give them a look-see one of these days…I guess I’ll check what is said about them on IMDb! Married six times, he is believed to have fathered over 57 children – both in and out of wedlock. According to an ABC newspiece, some of those kids attempted an “Illegitimate Family Reunion” in February 2001:

“With bones up his nose, a vampire cape, and a cigarette-smoking toy skull named “Henry,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins put the cool in ghoul.

Now, the legendary blues man and womanizer is being celebrated posthumously in a way only he could have appreciated: His illegitimate children — and he claimed to have more than 50 of them — are getting together to throw him a party.

Call it the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Illegitimate Family Reunion. At least 12 of his offspring are coming to Los Angeles — making pilgrimages from as far away as Paris, Cleveland and Honolulu — to celebrate the bizarre showman Feb. 12 at L.A.’s House of Blues.

Hawkins, best known for the hit “I Put a Spell on You,” died in Paris last February of multiple organ failure — a condition presumably not related to supporting his prodigious extended family. His was a storied life of stage antics and skirt chasing. One girlfriend even stabbed him in the back when she found he was cheating on her.

But that episode occurred some 40 years ago, and the Cleveland native lived to the ripe old age of 70, singing, dancing and dressing like a ghoul, right up to the very end.

“He led a fast life, a hard life — and he said without exaggerating that he had 57 children,” said his friend Maral Nigolian, a banker and film producer who is working on the singer’s life story.

“He wasn’t boasting,” she said. “He was just sad that he didn’t get to know many of the people who should have been more present in his life.”

Hawkins left behind a 31-year-old French widow — his sixth wife — and thousands of admirers, who packed European venues for his concerts up until his final years, when he was residing in Paris.”

Of course I’ll put a link to “I Put a Spell on You” here! I’ve loved that song from the first time I heard it – and it wasn’t the Credence Clearwater Revival version I heard; it was by this legendary musician. The late, great Nina Simone also covered it during her career, so I’ve included her version as a bonus link. I’ve also included a few other choice songs by Screamin’ Jay for your listening pleasure…enjoy!

Nina Simone: “I Put a Spell on You

I Put a Spell on You

Old Man River

Alligator Wine

Constipation Blues

Game Review: The Elder Scrolls Online

Ah – here it is; my first gaming review in some time, and my first review of an online game, ever! As mentioned before, I used to play Ultima Online, which was the online version of a game that I played for years, beginning in the 5th grade. I think playing Ultima is the main reason I never noticed the Elder Scrolls series – the other reason was because I was going through a divorce and had relocated, so I was without a computer for about two years – and this was when the Elder Scrolls was first released. Back to UO: I didn’t willingly cancel my account; it was cancelled for me by the oh-so-helpful fuckwads at Electronic Arts (EA Games), who were unable to help me make one tiny change to my account – so 13 years of enjoyment went down the drain. When that happened, I swore that I would never get sucked into another online game. EVER. NEVER AGAIN!!! Well, you know the old saying, “Never say never?” Um…yeah, about that…have I mentioned that I have a semi-addictive personality? I keep it under control for the most part, but I got sucked into the MMORPG world once more. The culprit this time? The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO), brought to you by Bethesda and Zenimax. It brings the genius of the entire Elder Scrolls series to life; if you’re a fan of that specific game, then you’ll know what I’m talking about!

First off, the graphics are fantastic. I love running my character through the countryside and battling, but I also enjoy the scenery when strolling through the towns, villages, and cities. The armor worn by the avatars of others is wonderful to see, and I have fun mixing and matching armor pieces to let my style and fashion sense shine. My husband and I always play together, and our play style is quite complementary to the other in almost every way – I say ‘almost’ because I played games on a strictly solo basis; now, with a partner, I have to allow for certain aspects. For instance, there are prime times for gathering crafting resources, and prime times for adventuring. He wants to gather resources CONSTANTLY, whether it’s a good time or not, and that tendency interferes with my single-minded, straightforward quest-completion. Otherwise, our character class and skills nearly always contain something that benefits everyone in any battle we enter, because that’s just the way we are!

Speaking of other players, I’ve busted a gut laughing at some of the names that others have chosen for their characters. Some are clever and some are stupid – and unfortunately, yes, some are outright racist, even though the Elder Scrolls series has long been a game that features non-white human characters. The game also allows for same-sex partnerships, and makes mention of same-sex unions as far back as Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, but the intolerance of others is widespread and unavoidable. Anyway, I love the nods to books; it’s nice to see other avid readers running around advertising their favourite writings. I’ve seen ‘The Metal Rat,’ ‘Polgara the Sorceress,’ ‘Rikki Tikki Tavi,’and ‘Skillgannon the Legend.’ Obviously there will be Star Wars and LOTR geeks, evidenced by names like ‘Sith Lord,’ ‘Smeagol,’ and ‘Gandalf Stormcrow.’ I’ve seen the names Awesome-O, William Murderface, Toki Wartooth, Lemongrab, and a Khajiit named ‘In Boots’ (good pun, I thought). Other names I’ve seen are Evel Kneivel, Ugg Me Ork, Bigfoot it is, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The pot-smoking contingent is well-represented, with names such as Herbhauler, Wakenbake, Smokes-Herb, FourTwenty, and Heals-with-Weeds. The silly and stupid, but freaking hilarious names that I’ve seen, include Squats-on-face, Hugh Jayness, Slaps-with-Tail, Pleasurus, Farts-in-Lair, Squats-in-Reeds, Fart-Splitter, Osama Bin Inyomomma, Huge Caulk, Are You Kidding Me, Swims-in-Muff, Thunderkunt, Schwettyballz, and Bulgeinmapants. I think I got some screenshots of other names that just begged to be preserved for posterity, so I’ll post ‘em if I find ‘em!

Back to the review: gameplay is very intuitive and fluid, and the tips and hints that pop-up at crucial times are invaluable. From my experience, the learning curve of your skills depends on what type of character you play. I usually like playing a fighter or tank-mage that goes toe-to-toe with bad-ass beasties, so it’s a challenge for me to be a complete mage that only uses a staff and wears light robes…but it’s doable, and I enjoy dabbling with different spell attacks. I love to bring down the thunder on an enemy, slap them away with a flaming staff, or bring down a blazing nova to crush and burn them to Oblivion!

The dialogue with the NPCs is entertaining, as are the random statements and conversations you hear from same as you wander around. For instance, part of one little side quest requires you to take a bottle of special brew to a drunk in a specific inn. The gentleman is so happy with what you give him that he “feels like singing.” The song he sings is hilarious and causes him to get punched out by the innkeeper, because he sings in a high, screechy falsetto – too funny! The details given to the maps and books in-game are fantastic – the designers outdid themselves in that regard, and I enjoy how finding books is an important part of gaining experience levels in a particular skill line…I love finding the tomes and reading them! Kudos to the brains behind this epic game – TESO is a masterpiece.

Of course, there are downsides to any MMORPG, and TESO isn’t immune to those. For instance, the insidious ‘bot’ – an account created for the sole purpose of spamming others with offers for crafting materials that can be found with a lot of time and patience. Some people want to be the first to find certain items, and they are easy prey for the ‘bot’ that offers those items – online via Craigslist or PayPal, for example, and for a cash amount. People were prone to do that in Ultima as well: I recall seeing many adverts in chat-rooms and forums offering 100,000 Ultima gold for $25 (USD); not sure what the comparable amount would be for other countries, but I’m sure those similar offers were out there.

Other annoyances caused by ‘bots’ is the way they and their ‘clones’ will take over a dungeon and repeatedly kill a boss, stacking the bodies so that reaping a reward is virtually impossible for the honest gamer. The reporting system has improved somewhat since the launching of TESO, so bots are fewer and farther between…they still slip through, though!

I would ask if any of my readers are into games, but only a couple of you have stated that you are. Of the two, games such as GTA or Call of Duty are listed as tops but those types of games aren’t my thing. I like the swords-and-sorcery, Dungeons & Dragons-type RPGs first and foremost and always have! I will be adding some select shots from TESO to my PhotoBucket account soon…no definite ETA on that. In the meantime, here are some links to the trailers for the game – check them out and see what you think! If any of you ARE currently playing, what character(s) do you have, and what levels are they at? Are you a PvP master in Cyrodiil or Craglorn, or, better yet – have you attained the Emperor’s throne? Let me know – I’d love to hear about it!

Elder Scrolls Online – Cinematic Trailer

Elder Scrolls Online – “Live Another Life” E3 2014 Trailer

One side note before closing: very belated congratulations to Ms. Lupita Nyong’o for being the first REAL Black woman to grace the cover of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People.” It’s about fucking time us dark-skinned sisters get noticed in a positive light! I was happy to hear her send a message to all of the chocolate-skinned little girls out there to hold their heads high – white women or pale-skinned mulattoes aren’t the sole epitomes of beauty, regardless of the skin-bleaching, face-butchering freaks out there who believe otherwise! She’s beautiful, intelligent, talented, and gracious…a far cry from the usual gang of idiot celebutards that are worshipped by the mindless masses. I hope that she doesn’t get sidelined like every other dark-hued actress has been, and is able to get roles that don’t limit her or her acting abilities. Hey – maybe she will be an ass-kicking character in a movie based on a computer game! That would be a refreshing change from the Lara Crofts and other ridiculous white female characters that are prevalent. One can dream, eh?

Well, shut my fat ol’ mouth and call me corn pone…Lupita has been cast in the newest ‘Star Wars’ film! Well done, young sista…well done.

***** STANDING OVATION *****

A Little Bit About Aries!

April would have been the perfect month to commence my series on Western astrology, but I was neglectful and untimely. With that, we’ll start late in the year with my favourite sign, which is my sign and the first in the zodiac – Aries, the Ram!

Aries individuals are usually born between March 21st – April 20th, but some years that changes to March 20th – April 19th. This is due to the time and day that the Spring Equinox and Ostara fall on the calendar, since Aries is the sign of Spring. Yes, any ‘April Fool’ is an Aries, and they should be proud of it, given how that day came to be! Aries is a Fire sign with a cardinal aspect and a masculine gender, ruled by the planet Mars. The glyph for Mars is the one universally recognized as the one which indicates male gender, which is said to represent the spear and shield of Mars (Ares), who is the god of war. The glyph for Aries shows the curled horns of the Ram, which are quite useful in battering down those silly doors and irritating walls that get in the way!

In mythology, Aries is the ram whose golden fleece was sought after by Jason and the Argonauts. From Heavens-Above: (full article can be found there)

“Aries, The Ram, is the first of the twelve zodiacal constellations, and in Greek myth represents the animal whose fleece was sought by Jason and the Argonauts. Legend has it that when King Athamus of Boetia took a second wife, Ino, she was extremely jealous and resentful of his existing children, especially his son, Phrixus. She therefore deviously plotted the failure of the corn crop, intercepted and bribed the messenger sent by her husband to consult an oracle on the matter, and instructed him to say that he had been told that Phrixus had to be sacrificed if the people were to escape starvation. Despite pleadings from the boy’s mother, Nephele, King Athamus agreed to the sacrifice but, at the very last minute, the boy and his sister, Helle, were saved by a magnificent ram with a golden fleece, sent by Zeus in answer to their mother’s prayers.

According to astrology, Aries individuals are fiery, feisty, fearless and funny. We have big hearts that we sometimes wear on our sleeves and will give people our shirts and shoes if we think they could use them. If a person fucks us over, we will get it out of our systems in a beautiful, brilliant fireworks show of anger – and then we roll on down the road. Nothing keeps us down for long! We are quick to anger but don’t hold a grudge; however, you will be met with a wall of ice if you show that you can’t be trusted. The Aries shunning can be generational!

There are many notable Aries folks out there, past and present, in many different fields. Famous Aries musicians include Johann Sebastian Bach, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Cliff, Al Green, and Chaka Khan. Many have acting chops, both comedic and serious – Sir Alec Guinness, Marlon Brando, Jackie Chan, Charlie Chaplin, and Robert Downey, Jr. are some names on that list. Brilliant minds lie protected under those great horns – Dame Jane Goodall, Booker T. Washington, Robert Frost, and the Buddha, for example. As an active sign, many Aries individuals shine in sports: Felix Hernandez, Richard Sherman, Mike Zunino, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Morse, and Hisashi Iwakuma, for example. Other famous Aries people include Chico Marx, Akira Kurosawa, Harry Houdini, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Merle Haggard. A notable, albeit fictional Aries character, is the irrepressible Bart Simpson!

Understand that it’s only astrology, and my series is strictly for fun – it’s a pleasant diversion from the inanity and bullshit that others engage in. For now, enjoy two clips from my favourite Aries comedian, Conan O’Brien. In the first one, he tests out sidekick Andy Richter’s podium, which has been modified to perform  like a mechanical bull. In the other, he tests out some video games at A T & T stadium in Dallas on the massive DiamondVision screen – that’s a nerd’s dream right there! I’d love to play Skyrim or ESO on that thing…anyway, I’ll do a post on Taureans very soon…promise! I’m determined to start posting more often, and you should know what Aries determination can do!

Conan O’Brien rides Andy Richter’s podium

Conan O’Brien Clueless Gamer: A T & T Stadium Edition

Saturday / Sunday Supermoon…July 2014!

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know, I’ve been bad! Writing plenty but blogging little; gaming and puttering around the house, and enjoying my sanctuary – those things consume my time. Doesn’t mean that I’m clueless and disconnected…no, I’m just not interested in jumping on every single bandwagon that happens along.

I planned on doing a consolidated post at the beginning of May, but distractions got in the way – so here I am, late to the game in the second full week of July! What’s been going on in my little world? I’m glad you asked! Let me fill you in…pull up a chair, won’t you? Let me pour you a drink. What’s your pleasure? I have ale, mead, or wine…no beer, that’s piss-water! Oh, you don’t drink alcohol? Okay, let’s see…I have coffee (cream and sugar is available for it), there’s tea (green, chamomile, peppermint, or lemon ginger), orange or grape juice – mix it if you want fruit punch – and if you want a soda I have ginger ale, ginger beer, or Hansen’s mandarin-lime. Sorry, the hard alcohol is locked away…the ‘special stuff’ is for me and mine; guests can only imbibe on special occasions.

Let’s see…where to begin? For starters, Tuesday, 8 July, marked ‘Green Day’ here in my home state, which became the second one in the nation to sell ‘recreational’ marijuana to the public. I have mixed feelings about that…suffice it to say that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ really isn’t, and never was! The shops, licenses, and clientele of ‘the green’ all seem to be exclusively white – go figure. Colorado is a white state, obviously, and I guess Washington is as well…when you get out of King or Pierce counties, you might as well be in Idaho or Montana! At any rate, I had to laugh at the morons who lined up early to get their faces on the news. Quelle surprise, one guy whose face was shown might lose his job because he failed a UI requested by his employer. Uh, DUH, what did you think would happen? You think you’re special because you want to toke up on television? Sheesh…

In June, my eldest nephew graduated from high school so we went out of town to attend the ceremony. I was also able to visit with my dad and my brother on Father’s Day and had a nice dinner with them and two of my nephews. I have five nephews and one niece, and they keep me laughing whenever we go to visit! Much love to my fam…every day and always.

I’ve been quite pleased with the performances of my Seattle Mariners; they have been playing some fantastic baseball of late (well, not against the Twins), and seeing them put a beat-down on the bearded boys from Boston a while back was a joy to see! Four Mariners made the All-Star team, but at least five others were deserving of a spot, IMHO. In other sports news, it was interesting to note the half-assed attempt to rebrand the football team from Washington, D.C., but that seems to have fallen off of the radar. At least NFL players will get more care for their concussions when their careers are over, eh?

I didn’t jump on the soccer bandwagon like an arseload of people seem to have done. Those of you who went gaga over the Copa Mundial, especially the fair-weather fans in the USA, strike me as being a little disingenuous and a lot pretentious! Case in point: since the U.S. soccer team was shut out of the competition, there hadn’t been one story on the local or national half-hour ‘info-tainment’ broadcasts, save for the final match between Argentina and Germany. Before, you couldn’t get away from hearing about every match, provided the U.S. team was competing; now, it’s *crickets* and only the Google doodle, BBC, or Al-Jazeera keeping a small spotlight on the matches. Seriously – if you have always loved the sport and can recite Pele’s career verbatim, then you’re fine in my book. It’s the late-comers who think they’re special because they like ‘futbol’ that are an irritation!

What next…ah, yes – I completely missed doing my blessings for Beltane and the Solstice, didn’t acknowledge Juneteenth, and missed out on the birthdays of Bob Marley, Malcolm X, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Colbert, and Mr. T. And I completely dropped the ball when it came to doing a post for the full moon Friday the 13th in the second week of June – such unforgivable sacrilege!

Three notable people passed away within days of each other: actress and activist Ruby Dee, baseball great Tony Gwynn, and radio legend Casey Kasem. I will devote posts to those three in a moment – they were giants in their respective fields, and deserve some personal recognition for their life endeavors.

The 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer was being observed during the final week of June. In 1964, Mississippi was the worst state in the south with regards to segregation and civil-rights injustices. Lynchings were all too common as the KKK was fully supported by local (and federal) officers, who turned blind eyes to beatings, rapes, hangings, and cross-burnings. Means used to intimidate PoC to keep us from voting. Being treated as a third-class citizen was the order of the day. Medgar Evars’s murder. The three young men slaughtered. The horrors of that era are not that far behind us, but the SCOTUS seems to feel that upholding the civil rights of certain people just isn’t necessary anymore. Case in point: the bullshit involving Hobby Lobby stores and a certain Xian university, combined with removing the buffer zones from family-planning clinics, should prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the SCOTUS is, and always has been, just another arena for political volleying. They aren’t interested in upholding any sort of real justice!

I’m getting off-track…this post isn’t for getting on a soapbox, it’s for being happy that summer is here and the weather has been spectacular! A doe and her new baby fawn have made regular appearances around the house, as have a couple of rabbits and two raccoons – Mr. Fluffypants has a buddy! I’m still watching my Saturday night / Sunday morning anime, with two new series in the lineup: Blue Exorcist and Attack on Titan. Attack on Titan is intense, brutal, and awesome to watch – similar to Deadman Wonderland, Ghost in the Shell, and Deathnote – give it a look-see if you’re so inclined! I’ve also been indulging in a new MMORPG…yes; I said ‘never again,’ but…never say never, right? A post about my ESO adventuring is in the works as well.

With that, I’ll end with some songs – enjoy!

Jim Stafford: “Wildwood Weed

Mutabaruka: “Dis Poem

King Harvest: “Dancing in the Moonlight

Bob Welch: “Ebony Eyes

Muddy Waters: “Champagne & Reefer

Brewer & Shipley: “One Toke Over the Line

Quicksilver Messenger Service: “Fresh Air

Belated Memoriam: Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou (née Marguerite Ann Johnson): 4 April 1928 – 28 May 2014

I literally shed tears when I saw the news…Dr. Maya Angelou – author, poet, songstress, honored recipient of multiple awards, and renowned “Global Renaissance Woman” – passed away on 28 May, at the age of 86. She died in her sleep at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Words still can’t convey the sadness I feel, even after watching re-airings of some of her many interviews – part of that sadness is due to the fact that I hoped to meet her and have her read my book. At the same time, I know that I should honor and celebrate the fantastic, rich, full life that she led. I feel blessed that I had the privilege to read her writings and glean some life-altering lessons from them. My most important personal motto, “Everything in moderation – including moderation” was learned from her.

I watched the live presentation of her memorial service that was held just this past Saturday, 7 June – the most touching eulogy was given by Maya’s son, Guy, who eloquently stated that “I did not grow up in her shadow…I grew up in her light.” His voice broke when he mentioned her failing health, and the physical pain she endured from chronic respiratory failure. Other wonderful memories were shared by First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, former President Bill Clinton, and Maya’s personal pastor – his commentary was amazing.

Dr. Angelou is one of very few females that I’ve ever admired, past or present. I looked up to her with reverence the day I learned her name, and she instantly became a woman that I aspired to emulate in many ways.  Such talent! What grace! Few people know first-hand the brutality that she endured, but there are many of us who were forced into similar experiences. Do I know why the caged bird sings? Oh, yes…yes, and yes, and yes again. She wrote that book before I was born, and I read it when I was aged 10. It resonates with me now, just as much as it did those many years ago. To not speak for close to six years…I understand what drives one to do that. I was a voracious reader who lost (and then found) herself in books and music after my own violation…we sensitive, creative types do what we must to shelter our tender selves from the sicknesses of others.

Digressing…I devoured Dr. Angelou’s poetry and books whenever I got the chance, but had only recently learned of her early singing career – what a voice! That powerful, orator’s tenor was perfect as a contralto singer of calypso. She appeared in the 1977 movie “Roots” and the 1993 film “Poetic Justice,” but her film career began long before that. From her website:

“In 1954 and 1955, Dr. Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in 1957, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady. In 1958, she moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, acted in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom.

In 1960, Dr. Angelou moved to Cairo, Egypt where she served as editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer. The next year, she moved to Ghana where she taught at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.”

Dr. Angelou was a Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest Park University, and has received over 50 honorary degrees. She delivered the powerful poem, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at President Clinton’s first inauguration and served on two presidential committes. She travelled around the world, spoke five languages (besides English), and worked closely with Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – I can imagine the conversations they all must be having with each other in the afterlife! More from her website:

“During her years abroad, Dr. Angelou read and studied voraciously, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and the West African language Fanti. While in Ghana, she met with Malcolm X and, in 1964, returned to America to help him build his new Organization of African American Unity.

Shortly after her arrival in the United States, Malcolm X was assassinated, and the organization dissolved. Soon after X’s assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked Dr. Angelou to serve as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King’s assassination, falling on her birthday in 1968, left her devastated.”

One of the television interviews I happened across was Dr. Angelou speaking with Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC. Ms. Harris-Perry apparently worked for Dr. Angelou shortly after graduating in 1994, so was one of many women fortunate enough to know her personally – Dr. Angelou even hosted Melissa’s wedding reception, from what she stated. Anyway, the words that struck close to home were these – apologies for my clumsy paraphrasing:

“Courage is the most important virtue one can possess…When you find the courage to stand up for yourself as a human being, then you find the courage to stand up for other human beings…Imagine what this country could be like if people allowed themselves to be truly intelligent…Being a woman doesn’t mean that I’m a ‘B’; being Black doesn’t mean that I’m an ‘N’, and being an American doesn’t mean that I’m a fool or a criminal.”

 

Those are wise, true, and powerful words from a strong, wise, courageous, powerful woman. She refused to be embittered by her past experiences, and that is something I strive to attain for my own personal growth. I’m not completely bitter, but I am cynical…and that is a trait that stifles growth. Too many people say, “This, that, and the other happened to me so I’m going to blame X and hate Y and wrap myself in self-pity to justify being a stunted, bitter, miserable individual.” I don’t have time for people like that, and I don’t want to be a person like that. It isn’t easy, but nothing worth having comes easy!

Maya Angelou was another amazing Aries dynamo! Actress, singer, activist, artist, professor, teacher, warrior, author, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother…the list of her accomplishments is long. I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t already been stated by the many other people who knew her best, so I’ll close with some notable quotes written and spoken by this beautiful, talented, intelligent, vibrant, forgiving, shining star of a woman and a genuine human being. Rest easily, sweet sister…you were truly golden. Phenomenal woman…your logic and wisdom is needed more than ever these days.

 

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