Sunday, March 23, 2014

Big Money, No Whammies

Hey gang. I'll pretend you both noticed and cared that this entry is late and apologize accordingly. I just got back from a fun show at the Bucks County Playhouse in quaint New Hope, PA. I had the pleasure of working with my good buddy and frequent comedy co-star, Kelly Terranova, the funniest comedian in his price range. A good time was had by most.

Everybody dreams about having a dump truck full of cash emptied in front of their house. Sure, earning money is fine, but we're a nation of dreamers, and dreaming takes no effort. Over the past couple weeks, I've missed out on a possible $1,400,001,500. Let me break that figure down for you. Many of you may have heard that Warren Buffett has offered up $1 billion for anyone who can fill-out a perfect bracket. Through the first four days of the tournament, only one bracket is still eligible for the prize. Some guy named Biff Tannen. That guy has a bright future.

I filled out a bracket, hoping to take my 1 in 9.5 quintillion shot at the contents of Scrooge McDuck's couch cushions. My chances disintegrated after the first game, when Ohio State lost by one point to Dayton. $1 billion out the window. I'm horrible at picking these games. I had a couple 12 over 5 upsets, but those are easy to pick when 3 of the 4 5-seeds crap in their hat and get bounced. The tournament is great theater. The plucky underdog vs. the national powerhouse, over and over again. Once my brackets got busted for gambling purposes, I just started rooting for chaos. If I can't be right, let's see if I can be the least wrong. And sometimes it's great to be wrong. I had Duke getting out of the first round and I've never been happier to watch my incorrectitude. The sun shined just a little bit brighter after the Duke, the Cobra Kai of college basketball, took a crane-kick to the mush and got ousted by a 14-seed. Yeah, so what if UMD didn't even make the NIT? Shut up!

One digit down from the billion, the $400,000,000 was the size of the recent MegaMillions jackpot. I'm starting to think the numbers you get from fortune cookies don't mean anything at all. And it turns out the numbers of my anniversary and my birthday aren't that special after all. It's hard to maintain a sense of self-importance when the universe seems so oblivious to your demands.

A couple zeroes down the line was my most realistic missed opportunity to cash in. I meant to bring this up in the previous entry. A couple weekends ago, I got a call from a comedian buddy of mine. Someone had cancelled last-minute for a show at a synagogue and he thought I might be a good fit. Unfortunately, I was already booked that night, so I told him I couldn't do it. His reply, "That's too bad, because they're paying $1500 for 30 minutes."
"Give me the number," I said. "I'll find a way to make it work." I gave the lady organizing the event a call and, unfortunately, they had just filled the spot before I got to her. I was still in disbelief, so I asked her, "How much were you offering again?"
"We have a $1500 budget. Why, how much do you charge?"
"Significantly less," I said. I told her to keep me in mind for anything they have going on in the future. Congrats to the lucky bastard who snagged it. It's just crazy how much people outside of comedy think our services are worth is in stark contrast to the money we get at actual comedy venues. Just sayin' is all.

 For those of you who enjoy pro-wrestling, do me a favor and mark June 19th on your comedy calendar. I'll be opening for the hardcore legend, Mick Foley when he comes to the DC Improv. The stage will be surrounded in barbed wire. Have a nice day.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Triviera

Hey gang. I had the day off from work today after helping to manage two massive events for the trivia company I work for, District Trivia. I don't know if I've mentioned that before in the blog, but I write trivia questions for a living. We've been holding a four month long city-wide trivia tournament which culminated on Tuesday and Wednesday, giving away cash prizes totaling $6500. Not bad for answering the ridiculous questions that germinate in my noggin.

Bar trivia tends to attract an odd cross-section of humanity. People who aren't typically social go to a bar and compete with Asperger's level intensity over the tangential minutiae that infests the brains of most thirty-somethings like if Hoarder's did a cross-over episode with I Love the 80's. So basically I facilitate the social lives of nerds. That's not fair to classify all of our players like that, it's just one end of the spectrum, but the one's that made it to the Tournament Finals might as well have been anthropomorphic cerebral cortexes. Anyway, they're smart the way LeBron James can dribble a basketball and when their intellect is challenged, they like to argue. One of the bonus questions was, "Who is the only Muppet to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated?" I had more than a few people try to argue that Big Bird, which is the correct answer, is not a Muppet. I counter-argued that these people are soulless monsters.

A good time was had by all, but it was a stressful undertaking by the entire staff and I'm glad it's in our rear view mirror. If you're interested in trivia, you should check out one of our 25+ in the DMV area. Follow the link above for all the info.

I'm not sure what else I wanted to cover in this installment. I'm slowly but surely getting back into regular comedic activities. I had a fun time headlining the show over at Benny's Bar & Grill on the mean streets of Potomac, MD. I've got a show tomorrow night at a country club in Avondale, PA on Friday. I've been trying to pepper in some new material at these gigs, but my brain is so hard wired with my current routine that when I try to shake things up, the needle skips a groove.

I'll leave you with this very cool conversation between Rainn Wilson and the late Harold Ramis. It's ten minutes well spent. Enjoy...

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Twelve Years a Comic

Hey gang. Welcome to March. I'm usually good about celebrating arbitrary milestones, so I'm happy to tell you that this past weekend marked roughly 12 years as a stand-up comic. *throws handful of confetti in the air* I've slowed down in these last six months, but I've got some shows coming up this month and I can promise I'll return to the slow grind of showbiz soon. Following through, is another story, but the promise is the first step on the road to sincerity.

Hey, have the Oscars ended yet? What a steaming pile of dreck that was. I normally like Ellen DeGeneres, but the best thing she delivered all night was the stupid pizza. The writing was lazy, costume changes took the place of clever segues, and it felt like she just decided to wing it at some point. The "this person needs no introduction" gag was cute but tired the first time, but why would you need to use it again? Maybe the rest of America gives a damn about how you're pals with these superstars, but the patter was awkward and forced. Sure, the star power of the selfie that broke Twitter was huge, but we're there to celebrate these people in moving pictures. And why did they not give the winners the musical hook? The self-important yammering was endless. It's fun when these guys talk over the music to thank their kids, but you can't let these egos go unchecked altogether. What I'm trying to say is it was mildly ironic that a night dominated by Gravity was so heavy and tedious. Ellen will not be winning the Emmy for the Oscars, but whoever worked on Goldie Hawn deserves one for special effects.

Luckily, I didn't watch this celebrity tribute to the Bataan Death March in real time. My wife and I had tickets to see Book of Mormon at the hungry hungry Hippodrome in Baltimore that night. I had plenty of lead time on the DVR to fast forward past the dumb technical awards. This Oscars had no pop. Say what you will about Seth MacFarlane, but at least it felt like he put some effort into it. Also, if you're tasked with handing out one of these awards, could you learn to read a a goddamn teleprompter or *GASP* memorize the three lines of cliches before you take the stage? Your purpose on this planet is to make us believe that you're not a stammering idiot when cameras are rolling. The theme of the night was also half-assed. Heroes. Three stupid montages is all they could muster up. Tell you what, Oscar producers, if you want to celebrate movies and make things fun to watch, play this next year...


And don't get me started on the In Memoriam segment. Harold Ramis deserved his own tribute for his contributions to movie comedy and kudos to Bill Murray for giving him the extra shout out while he was presenting.

I mentioned that I've got some shows coming up. The first of those is this Saturday, the 8th at Benny's Bar & Grill in Potomac. They made a fancy poster and everything...

Also, if you're a fan of pro wrestling, I'm filling in for my buddy Justin Schlegel on The Rough House Podcast. That should be available for your consumption on Thursday afternoon.

So, enjoy those avenues that the Mild Amusement Express will be traveling on. See you next time.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

What Goes Up...

Hey gang. I wanted to get another installment of the blog up just so I can put it in the "trend" category. The last two could've been a mere coincidence, but this one proves I really mean it. What "it" is, I have no idea. In any case, here we are. Before I kick this off, let me take this final opportunity to lobby for your vote in the 2014 Washington City Paper Reader's Poll. Go ahead and click the big orange button on the right and help keep my ego afloat for another year. Polls close at midnight. If I get this thing done in time, that should give you mere minutes to validate me in this giant parking lot we call life.

As the witching hour approaches, let me tell you of some of my recent exploits. I am 38 years old, but I like to put the emphasis on the 8. As my childhood spins away from me like Sandra Bullock in Gravity, I'm doing my best to stay tethered to it, lest I be permanently grounded in curmudgeonly adulthood. To that end, I joined my buddy Seth and his family at the SkyZone Indoor Trampoline Park for an hour of escape from the confines of Newton and his laws. Here's something I quickly learned: Bouncing is for the young. They don't have as far to fall, they haven't been calcified by time, and they lack the mechanism in their brains that tell them they're mortal. As I was jumping up and down, I could feel my innards undulating and my spinal column compressing. And I was sweaty. You wouldn't think some as simple as jumping would tucker you out so much. Not only were there trampolines on the floor, but there were wall trampolines as well. These were tempting. You always imagine yourself being able to pull off moves like Spider-Man, with the agility of a gazelle. I, it turns out, have the agility of a cinder block. I discovered another law of motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite injury. Luckily, the foam pit allowed for a soft landing...


Some crappy news recently in the world of comedy. We lost two giants, Sid Caesar and Harold Ramis. Without Sid Caesar, TV comedy as we know it wouldn't exist. Sid Caesar pioneered televised comedy and paved the way for the modern day sitcom and shows like SNL. And Harold Ramis was as important to comedy in the movies. Without him we would've never had Animal House or Caddyshack or Ghostbusters or Groundhog Day or Groundhog Day or Groundhog Day. If they don't get their own private In Memoriam segments at the Emmys and Oscars, respectively, it would be a mockery, and not in the good way these guys did it. Sid, Egon, we hardly knew ye...

Again, vote for me, while you still can. I promise to stop bugging you about it. Next time.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Quacey Frimpong

Hello neglected readership. Last week was a fluke, this week is a coincidence, and hopefully I'll turn this into a trend. I want to tell you about the muse for this week's blog. His name is Quacey Frimpong. At least I think that was his name. It was the name on the placard next to his teller window, so I assume it was him. I'm unsure because it doesn't sound like a person's name. It sounds like a style of underground Vietnamese table tennis. Do you train in a dojo on a mountain top to learn the essence of Quacey Frimpong? Does the fate of humanity hang in the balance of a Quacey Frimpong tournament? If so, to all of the players who are Quacey enough to play Frimpong, thank you for your sacrifice so that our way of life may remain untouched by the void of evil that seeks to unseat the champion of Quacey Frimpong.


I will never know the glory that comes with hoisting the Quacey Frimpong Golden Championship Skull.
Speaking of elite athletics, we are in the midst of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. I've watched bits and pieces of the games, but I haven't gone full Quacey Frimpong about it. With the time difference and the constant flow of information, it's tough to maintain suspense with every result being spoiled hours before broadcast. I do love how we treat every American victory over the Russians like the last five minutes of Rocky IV. It does give new meaning to the term "Cold War," but Russia is hardly the superpower they used to be, no matter how many bears Vladimir Putin bludgeons with a shark on horseback. One event that has captured the ever-dwindling imagination of Americans is the story of Ice Dancing gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. The plucky youngsters who have been skating together for 17 years skated into our hearts and caused a lot of internal damage because ice skates are very pointy. They're very talented but, since the surface of figure skating is inherently shallow, I find myself taking them, or rather her, at face value. What the heck is up with her face?


It's kinda flat. It looks like she was the love child of the dish running away with the spoon. It's very distracting. Every time I see her skate, this is what runs through my head...

Yes, I realize I'm a horrible person. Please to encourage me by voting for me in the 2014 Washington City Paper Reader's Poll! It's kinda like my Sochi, except without the stray dogs, the athletic achievement, or shoddy infrastructure. I think we can all agree that I deserve another term as Best Comedian in DC. Last year's reign was cruel, but fair. Don't do it for me. Do it for Quacey Frimpong.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

But Enough About Me...

Hello to my abandoned readers. My blogging muscles have atrophied from overuse of Twitter. All of my pithy blurbs are available to you on the right-hand side of the blog, by the way. I'm not even sure if I have much else to say, but I felt the need to put a fresh post on here. Let me update you on what's happened in my world since last you strained your eyes and feigned interest...

I got married. That was pretty big. As I type this, my lovely wife is looking over the mass of pictures of the blessed event. We're coming up on six months, so it's about time we get albums made. Here's one of the better ones...

Aren't we adorable? Anyway, I'll stop boring you with that so I can bore you with this: I ended up winning the Best Comedian in D.C. in the 2013 Washington City Paper Reader's Poll. Thanks to everyone who voted. I won the fabulous blue widget, suitable for mounting on the right-hand side of the blog, and expectations I can never reach. Winning was a gift and a curse. Sure, it's great to be validated after nearly 12 years doing stand-up, but I hate using it to promote myself because if it gets mentioned before I go on-stage, I feel like everyone is waiting for me to prove it to them. I like to keep everyone's expectations super-low, then nimbly step over them. The cool thing about it was that was the first time that category was awarded, so I set the standard low for the next winner. Speaking of which, voting is open for the 2014 Washington City Paper Reader's Poll, so please to click on the giant orange button on the right-hand side of the blog for all of your voting-for-me needs. Help make me the first two-time winner. I'll be able to add "coincidental" to my list of potential adjectives. I'm at least as funny as I was last year.

I'm also waiting to hear back about another potential opportunity to beg for votes on a national level. I'm ready to take my pandering to the big time. We'll see if it pans out. I'm not holding my breath, but I had a positive experience auditioning for a reality TV show. I'm just waiting for them to tell me whether or not I have talent. Stay tuned.

So, my goal is to hopefully put together an entry once a week for as long as either of us can stand it. In the meantime, go ahead and follow me on Twitter @FunnyJared. I'm at about 210 followers, which is okay until I realized that's only 30 followers on Dog Twitter.

I promise the next installment will be slightly less self-centered. Maybe. 

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Inbloguration

Hey there 'Redheads... It's cold outside. The kind of cold that makes people deny global warming because they're personally freezing. Remember kids: Think Globally, Bitch Locally. I don't even need to step outside to know it's cold, because everyone on Facebook is instagramming pictures of their thermostats with captions like, "Wow, that's cold!" Kind of an Ansel Adams by way of Topper Shutt. C'mon, people, show me, don't tell me. Snap me a picture of a bobsled on the beltway or a penguin migration down Pennsylvania Ave. Your numbers are not interesting. Snow is in the forecast for Friday, which will no doubt send people screaming frantically to loot grocery stores for necessities, lest they never see the sun again. A word of advice for those of you who plan to ransack your local Harris Teeter for bread, milk, and toilet paper. If they're out of toilet paper, just buy more bread. I'm not easily fazed by the idea of snow, since my gal left town for a business trip, I've been playing a ton of Skyrim, so 3 to 5 inches isn't terribly impressive unless I'm absorbing the soul from a dragon husk.

This past weekend, I took my first comedy road gig of 2013 up to scenic Harrisburg for a slate of shows at the 2nd St. Comedy Club. I had the privilege of working with Caroline Rhea, who could not have been nicer. It's rare when a big name headliner takes a genuine interest in the feature's set and offers advice in a non-condescending (nondescending?) way. She was also very gracious to the 4 sold out crowds that came to see her, taking pictures with half the population of downtown Harrisburg... and me...


I also had another unexpected brush with celebrity. Apparently, Caroline met up with a friend who she hadn't seen in 10 years who now lives in Harrisburg. That friend was none other than Terry Farrell, who played Dax on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine...

This sent a Trill down my spine...

While I was sitting in the downstairs lounge between shows, I took a moment to check out the pictures of some of the comedy greats they had adorning the walls. There was Steve Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Cosby, and there was this curious picture...

 
At first glance, it didn't seem out of place. That's Richard Pry...oh, wait. Yeah, whoever decorated their lounge thinks Smokey Robinson was hilarious. They probably think he was the star of Smokey and the Bandit. He did sing Tears of a Clown, so maybe that's the connection. Either way, I'm sure none of the drunk Harrisburgers noticed.
 
Before I sign off, I'd like to call your attention to a couple things that are very me-centric. First, please VOTE FOR ME FOR BEST COMEDIAN IN DC in the CityPaper's Best of DC 2013 Reader's Poll. It was an honor just to nominate myself, really. Please feed my ego. It hungers.
 
Also, I've got a very cool show coming up on Feb. 2nd in the DC Improv Comedy Lounge with three hilarious friends of mine, Tim Miller, Rob Maher, and Jon Mumma. Do yourself a favor and get your tickets now. 

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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

One Way

Hey there, 'Redheads... As you can see, the resolution to resurrect the blog is 1080p. As for content, a babbling stream of consciousness will do for now.

Andrea and I are looking at potential caterers online for our impending nuptials. As much as I enjoy eating food, reading about it is a bit tedious. To make things more interesting, I started reading fancy menu items out loud in the shrill Monty Python Old British Woman voice. BURMA!

I've got the 1960 version of Ocean's Eleven on in the background while I'm typing. Despite having the Rat Pack in it, it's not quite as slick as the remake. A bit more musical too. Also, I noticed that Mr. Roper from Three's Company is in it. And Cesar Romero a.k.a. The Joker from the old Batman TV show too. He's taller than I remember.

Spotted this walking through DC...


Better than seeing a Dead End sign in front of a funeral home, I guess...

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Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Blog Rises

Hello, 'Redheads... It's been too long. I apologize for my dormancy and I can only hope that you can find your way to pretend to care about my musings again. I realize those muscles have atrophied in the year and change of my negligence. It's 2013, and with a brand new year I figured why not resolve to bring back the blog and give my imaginary fan base a chance to once again splash around in the refreshing waters of Lake Me. I'm going to be taking baby steps, so this installment will be to serve the main purpose of rehashing some of my pithier Facebook statuses as a half-assed year in review. I promise to provide fresher blog innards as we move forward... If we move forward.

Before I get to that, how about that 'Skins/Seahawks game? The story of that game was downright Shakespearean. Two rookies carrying their teams to the playoffs. The 'Skins started off quickly, gutting the vaunted Seahawks defense for two quick scores. Then the Seahawks managed to hobble RG3 and they began to creep back into the game. By halftime, the score was nearly even, with the momentum in Seattle's corner. The legendary sports surgeon, Dr. James Andrews was on the Redskins sideline and I was hoping he'd be able to clap his hands together and pull a Mr. Miyagi on RG3's knee. The final turd in the Redskins' playoff punch bowl came when RG3 fumbled when he twisted his knee on a muffed snap. The Seahawks picked up the ball and scored on the ensuing possession. Kirk Cousins came in, but he just didn't have the juice to bring Washington back. Fittingly, Seattle took a knee to end the game. I'll be rooting for Seattle to beat Atlanta in the next round, so the NFC Championship game will hopefully be a rematch of the replacement ref debacle with the Green Bay Packers. If I can't have Peyton Manning vs. the Colts, please let me have this.

Ok, as half-heartedly promised, the best of me (as judged by me) from 2012:

I'm trying to make more adult decisions, like going to the gym, but it's hard to feel like an adult when I see Bullwinkle Moose in the sweat stain on my shirt post-workout...

Just had lunch at Five Guys... On my soda cup, one of the accolades reads, "Voted Best New Restaurant in Cincinnati"... I think that says more about Cincinnati...

I'm confused by Paula Deen's Diabetes diagnosis because I thought she WAS Diabetes, the buttery 5th horseman...

Irony: Getting trapped inside your Ford Escape...

Irony: Filling up your TiVo with episodes of Hoarders...

I have a friend who's a mystery writer, but to pay the bills, he works for a pharmaceutical company... He wrote a twist ending to the side effects on a bottle of Tylenol... "Wow... Violent diarrhea... I did not see that coming..."

Someone asked me why there's no Russia-themed casino in Vegas... I'm guessing the roulette...

Here's my idea for Fajardo, Puerto Rico's new tourism slogan: Hey, who Fajardo?

Encyclopedia Britannica has announced they will cease production of hard copies... Someone should update their Wikipedia page...

Today, I'll be getting a Spaceman Spiff t-shirt and a Muppets lunchbox... Age is relative and, right now, that relative just happens to be my 5-year old nephew...

Someone at my show last weekend commented that my comedy was "top drawer"... I keep my underpants in the top drawer, so that's a fairly accurate description...

Now that Andrea and I are engaged, there are some serious decisions to make... I've been giving it a lot of thought... I think we're going to register at SkyMall...

A friend of mine said he saw Kathleen Turner on Californication and that she "looked terrible"... I told him, she didn't look terrible, she was just drawn that way...

I wish I figured this out before I ordered my current batch of comedy business cards, but I know what I want on the next batch: Jared Stern, Antidepressant...

Just got done with a Mother's Day mini-bbq on the roof deck... As my parents were leaving, my mom said, "Thanks for having us." No, Mom... Thanks for having me...

A headline in the Washington Times reads "Woman Killed in Love Quadrangle"... So, that's four people involved... I think I would've gone with "Love Rhombus" or "Para-love-ogram"... Maybe if two of the people were in a long distance relationship, it could be a "Love Rectangle"...

North Carolina has voted to further amend their constitution to redefine Words With Friends as Words Between a Man and a Woman...

Robin and Maurice Gibb are gone and Barry is living with the irony of the group's biggest hit...

The Department of Education has announced that all History textbooks will now contain the phrase, "Spoiler Alert"...

Toyota has announced a recall for all Highlanders... Except one...

I've run into so much road construction lately, it feels like Orange Cone Pride Week... I saw a big orange "END ROAD WORK" sign and assumed it was a protest sign...

There's a place in Bethesda called Stop Aging Now that offers "natural solutions" to halt the aging process... I can think of one natural way to stop aging and I'll only charge half of what they're asking, but I'm gonna need that money up front...

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise are getting a divorce... That's what happens when your storybook marriage is written by a crappy sci-fi author...

So, we're packing up the tent and the sleeping bags and other equipment, and I remarked to Andrea, "That's a lot of stuff, honey"... She replied, "Well, we want to be comfortable"... THEN WHY ARE WE GOING CAMPING?

Harrison Ford is 70 today... HE BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!

When I get really bored, I like to go to the Hirshhorn museum, put an empty McDonald's cup against the wall, then sit back and count how many people try to interpret it...

I read a study that said mothers can pass on neuroses to their children... I have a friend who's pregnant that's claustrophobic... That kid must be going nuts...

Man, it's hot outside... I walked past the outdoor display over at Madame Tussauds... Abe Lincoln looked like he opened the Ark of the Covenant...

Kids are growing up too fast these days... The other day, I saw a little girl doodling in a coloring book called 50 Shades of Crayola...

It's getting late and cut and paste carpal tunnel is starting to set in, so I'll leave you with an audition video that my buddy Joe and I made for a food challenge show last year. Bon appetit...

 
 

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Shiva H. Vishnu

Hey there, 'Redheads... The internet is a strange wonderful cornucopia stuffed with all kinds crazy crap... That metaphor kind of lost steam there, but trust me, the guys operating the "Batshit Crazy Video" chute at the Internet Factory have churned out a glorious nugget of awesome. Enjoy...




I, for one, welcome our new Indian overlords. It's like someone took Blue Man Group, Jackass, and the cast of Slumdog Millionaire, put them in the Street Fight match between Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle at the 2001 King of the Ring (google it). The sheer terror on the female judge's face looks like she got a glimpse of the Ark of the Covenant. Speaking of which, the only thing that would've made this video better is if this happened at the end...





Bravo, Internet... Bravo...

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