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On the passing of Mel Farr

When I was in elementary school, I remember going to Cranbrook and watching the Lions practice during training camp. Among the players I remember seeing were Mel Farr and Charlie Sanders, both of whom died recently, Farr on Monday.I was hooked on football from that point forward to the point, where even to this day, I look forward to the start of Lions' training camp, which happened to be Monday

Detroit Lions — Five top position battles in training camp
(image)When Detroit Lions training camp starts on Aug. 3 questions will start to be answered. Some players have their positions nailed down, but several others do not.

Here are five of the top position battles in training camp:

  1. Kellen Moore and Dan Orlovsky will fight it out for the No. 2 quarterback spot. It was Orlovsky’s in 2014, but Moore had an impressive showing in the preseason games and throughout practices last season. The two were basically splitting reps with the second group through OTAs and mandatory minicamp. It will likely come down to who plays best in the preseason games.

  2. Manny Ramirez and Laken Tomlinson are the favorites to start at left guard. This coaching staff treats players equal once they are on the field. They will not hand the job to Tomlinson because he was the first-round pick. In minicamp, it was Ramirez that mostly worked with the starters.

  3. It’s a young group at defensive tackle hoping to start beside Haloti Ngata. Caraun Reid appears to have the edge heading into training camp. However Tyrunn Walker and Gabe Wright could have something to say about that.

  4. The Lions kept six wide receivers (including the Jeremy Ross, the returner) out of training camp a year ago. They’ve got more talent now which could put Ryan Broyles, Lance Moore, TJ Jones, Greg Salas and Andrew Peacock in a battle just for a spot on the 53-man roster. Plus, it’s not a given they will keep six again this year.

  5. While Jeremy Ross returned kicks and punts last season, that is not a given. This will be played out in training camp but the crucial tests will be in preseason games. Competitors include Ryan Broyles, Ameer Abdullah, TJ Jones and Lance Moore.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
The most difficult aspect to understand about the current state of the Tigers

The Tigers have had a lot of issues this season as they've floundered to a .500 record, even after the All Star break.The most tangible explanation is their pitching is just mediocre. Ah, that was before they were one-hit Saturday night by the Orioles and lost despite an excellent start by David Price.One thing I'm perplexed about is why the Tigers aren't better at home. They have a 23-24

Actor Jared Padalecki talks about mental illness: 'Always keep fighting'
(image)Photo from TwitterThis has been one of those weeks where my anxiety has gotten the best of me. This has been a week of heart racing panic attacks, difficultly falling asleep, nearly unbareable self consciousness and probably really desperate sounding text messages to my friends (I'm sorry about that, by the way).

In the back of my mind, I know that these feelings aren't logical. But when I think to myself, "Snap out of it," I only end up feeling worse.

So, after reading an article about actor Jared Padalecki's openness about his mental health and his fans' support of him, my anxiety finally began to dissipate.

At Sunday's Comic Con, more than 7,000 fans showed their support of the "Supernatural" star by lighting candles.

Two months ago, Padalecki cancelled his appearances at two conventions because he was "in desperate and urgent need of my family." He tweeted to his fans, "I need all of the love I can get right now. Please please give me a few seconds of your time and write me." And his fans definitely showed him the love last weekend.

On Monday, he posted on his Facebook page, "To everybody who held a light for me, please know that I hold my light for you. Though I happened to be the one sitting on stage, I am but one small light in a sea of thousands. TOGETHER, we can and will make a difference! Keep letting your light shine. I will do the same. And, keep fighting. Always Keep Fighting."

In a March interview with Variety, Padalecki said he was diagnosed as clinically depressed while filming the third season of CW's "Supernatural."

"Maybe a lot of people don’t know this, but Season 3, we were shooting an episode, and I went back to my trailer to get changed and just kind of broke down," he said. "I was 25 years old. ... I was happy with my work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; it doesn’t always make sense is my point. It’s not just people who can’t find a job, or can’t fit in in society that struggle with depression sometimes."

He'll probably never read this, but I wanted to say — "Your bravery to speak up about your struggles with depression have made me and thousands of others feel less alone. Thank you."

Detroit Lions — Three reasons Travis Swanson likely to start at center
(image)It’s not a complete certainty that Travis Swanson will start at center for the Detroit Lions, but from all appearances he will replace Dominic Raiola who started there for the last 14 seasons.

Here are three reasons Swanson is likely to be the man in the middle:

  1. Even though he’s a second-year guy he has experience on the line. Because of injuries, Swanson started five games last season. Four of them were at right guard and one at center when Raiola was suspended. Game experience is huge and the third-round draft pick has it.

  2. He was the starting center at Arkansas for three seasons. It appears he was drafted to eventually fill Raiola’s shoes.

  3. During mandatory minicamp in mid-June Swanson was in at center along with the starting group. Early in organized team activities Manny Ramirez took some snaps at center with the starters. But it looks like Ramirez will line up at left guard.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
Perspective about what the Tigers got for being sellers at the trade deadline

I thought the Tigers did well in their role as "sellers" at the trade deadline, considering the circumstances. All three of the assets they "sold" (David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria) are eligible for free agency after the season, and the teams that acquired them can't get a draft pick in return should they leave as free agents.But the degree the Tigers have helped their farm system

Detroit Lions LB DeAndre Levy takes another wild trip
(image)Levy skinny dipping in the Amazon.
From the looks of DeAndre Levy’s Instagram account, he’s not too concerned about signing a contract extension with the Detroit Lions.

The linebacker posted a photo of himself skinny dipping in the Amazon today (Tuesday).

(image)DeAndre Levy sledding down a volcano in Nicaragua.
 His post suggests (in adult terms) that he's no fan of pool parties and that a candiru wouldn't dare attack him. (Thanks to Wikipedia -- a candiru a toothpick fish or vampire fish -- 
is a species of parasitic freshwater
catfish native to the Amazon Basin.)

A few days ago it was sledding down a live
 volcano in Nicaragua.

The guy sure knows how to vacation.

At least both of those activities seem somewhat safer than wing-walking which he did in the spring.

Levy’s contract expires after this season and there has been interest from both sides for an extension.
(image)Levy's earlier adventure, wing-walking on bi-plane.

Lions’ veterans report on Sunday and start training camp on Monday. Rookies reported on Tuesday.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-
order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

VIDEO: Watch J.D. Martinez take Max Scherzer deep on a tape-measure shot

J.D. Martinez, who hit a tape-measure home run Tuesday, already had one that ranked among the longest in Comerica Park history.

On May 15, 2013, when Martinez was still a member of the Houston Astros, he hit a two-run blast off Max Scherzer that went 464 feet, off the honor wall in left-center field, under the Willie Horton and Ty Cobb signs.

It's ranked as the longest home run by a visiting player in the park's history.

Here's the video:

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Detroit Lions — Five possible immediate starters from 2015 draft
(image)It’s never smart to judge an NFL draft class until at least a few seasons have passed. 

That said, the Detroit Lions’ 2015 draft class could provide five immediate starters. It's expected that the top picks should be ready to start, but there are also late-round picks who stood out in OTAs and minicamp.

It’s not a given, but here are five 2015 draftees who have a chance to start:

  1. First-round pick Laken Tomlinson was penciled in as the starting left guard immediately after his name was called. He still has a chance to start but he’ll have to earn it in training camp by playing better than veteran Manny Ramirez.

  2. Running back Ameer Abdullah, the second-round pick out of Nebraska, could not have looked much better in minicamp. The big test will come when they put on pads in training camp. But so far Abdullah has impressed running the ball and catching it too.

  3. Cornerback Quandre Diggs has legitimate chance to start in the slot in the nickel package. He has football instincts with a high football IQ.

  4. Defensive tackle Gabe Wright is not a favorite to start beside Haloti Ngata, but that vacancy left by the departure of Nick Fairley is still up in the air. He’s a longshot, but he’s in the running.

  5. Cornerback Alex Carter got a late start missing time in OTAs because he was finishing classes at Stanford. He’s very much a longshot to start at outside cornerback. That is where he’s worked and Slay and Rashean Mathis seem to have the starting roles nailed down. We will see.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
History and what it suggests about the Tigers reaching postseason

The Tigers are 42-42 after 84 games. Does it give them a realistic shot at making the playoffs as a wild card now that there is a one-game playoff between two teams? The past suggests they are fighting an uphill climb. This is a breakdown of where the wild card teams stood after 84 games since the one-game playoff was implemented in 2012:2012 - NL Cardinals (44-40) Braves (45-39); AL Rangers (

Detroit Lions trade Mohammed Seisay to Seahawks
ALLEN PARK — Cornerback Mohammed Seisay has been traded from the Detroit Lions to the Seattle Seahawks for a sixth-round 2016 draft pick, according to Rob Rang of

Seisay was undrafted in 2014, made the practice squad out of training camp and then landed a spot on the 53-man roster in September after the team lost Bill Bentley and Nevin Lawson for the season with injuries.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound corner  played in 13 games and had five tackles.

The Lions have plenty of cornerbacks heading into training camp on Monday. They drafted two — Alex Carter and Quandre Diggs. Also, they signed two veteran corners in Josh Wilson and Chris Owens.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 37

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Our question concerns Cecil.  Cecil has gotten a great deal of attention in the news.  Many are outraged and enraged and even the President of the United States is so troubled by Cecil that he has vowed to "get to the bottom of it".

What is this Cecil matter about?

The dangers of playground equipment?
Hostmaster:  fascinating response.  However.  The issue is Cecil.  Not seesaw. 

Oh!  Cecil!
  I have a friend who's a
Leader Dog for the Blind.  Cecil means
blind.  Was someone mean to a blind
Hostmaster:  probably.  But that isn't what the current Cecil outrage is about.
Is Cecil that cabinet member who
 used a private server to handle
sensitive classified emails? 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  That would be Hillary Clinton.
Is Cecil the name of the abortion
doctor that was caught on tape
negotiating higher prices for
aborted baby parts so she could
buy a Lamborghini?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  That charmer's name is Debra Nucatola.
Cecil the Lion was a totally innocent
majestic beloved creature who was
 murdered because of the gun culture.
That dentist should be made
accountable for his heinous crime.
Planned Parenthood is being attacked by
right wing religious zealots that
are against women having
health care.
It's all a lie that they
are selling body parts. 
Besides, it's legal.  Anyway 
abortion is only 3%
of what Planned Parenthood does.
Hostmaster:  sigh.  You are correct.  Cecil the Lion is what's news.  It seems some guy, a dentist, wanted to go big game hunting and his "guide" told him Cecil was a legitimate target.  Turns out Cecil the Lion was mild mannered thirteen year old tourist attraction at a Zimbabwe Park. 
That this innocent lion's death has created more outrage than the 125,000 or so innocent babies killed by abortion every day is a surely a testament to our culture.
So ends another round of Pop Culture Frenzy.
Round 37
Fluffy/Molly  16
Bryan/Cyndi   14
Detroit Lions — Nate Burleson part of preseason broadcast crew
(image)Nate Burleson, a  fan favorite during his four seasons with the Detroit Lions, will return to Detroit  not as a player but as a broadcaster.

Burleson will join Rob Rubick and Matt Shepard in the TV booth for  three of the Lions preseason games on FOX2 (WJBK): Aug. 13 vs. New York Jets, Aug. 20 at Washington Redskins and Sept. 3 vs. Buffalo Bills.

Burleson was cut by the Lions after the 2013 season. Always a talker, he found a good home working as an analyst on the NFL Network. That gig included a visit to Detroit to interview his former teammate Calvin Johnson.

Rubick, a 12th-round pick by the Lions in 1982, and he served as the Lions studio analyst on the Detroit Sports Report and later on Lions Live on FSD. In 2010, he became the color commentator for preseason games on the Detroit Lions Television Network.

Shepard, a reporter and host for FOX Sports Detroit, has previously worked as the the play-by-play announcer for Detroit Lions preseason games and as the host of The Ford Lions Report during the regular season on the Detroit Lions Television Network. Shepard also has a morning show on WDFN.

“All of us at FOX Sports Detroit are excited to welcome this trio of Nate, Rob and Matt to our Lions broadcasting team,” said Greg Hammaren, senior vice president and general manager of FOX Sports Detroit.  “We’ve had the pleasure of working with Rob and Matt for a number of our other live events and think Nate will bring his unique perspective as a former wide receiver and energy to enhance our show.”

The Detroit Lions open training camp on Monday, 10 days before the first preseason game.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

Detroit Lions single game tickets on sale Wednesday
(image)Detroit Lions single game tickets for this season go on sale at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Tickets will be available through or 877-212-8898. Tickets can also be purchased at the Ford Field ticket office between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Lions open their home season schedule on Sept. 27 against the Denver Broncos in a Sunday night game at 8:30 p.m.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
Detroit Lions — Five reasons defense will be fine without Ndamukong Suh
(image)While there may still be a few Detroit Lions fans lamenting the loss of Ndamukong Suh, the team has moved on.

Here are five reasons the Detroit Lions defense will be fine without Suh:

  1. Teryl Austin, the defensive coordinator, seems to get the best out of each player on defense. He knows their strengths and uses that knowledge in building the defense. Suh had his best season in 2014 and it was not a coincidence that it was under Austin. Last year Austin was forced to be flexible due to injuries — losing Stephen Tulloch, Bill Bentley and Nevin Lawson early in the season. Not only did the defense survive, it thrived and finished as the second-best defense in the NFL.

  2. Haloti Ngata was signed to replace Suh, sort of. Ngata is a different player and never would boast about replacing Suh snap for snap. But he’s a solid, veteran defensive tackle that was only available because the Ravens could not afford his salary cap hit.

  3. Ngata, of course, won’t do it alone. A few young defensive tackles like Tyrunn Walker, Caraun Reid and Gabe Wright (who wears Suh’s No. 90) look like they could be ready to take the next step.

  4. Word is that Ngata, who did miss some time at OTAs, has displayed leadership. This is key and it was not a strong suit for Suh.

  5. Ziggy Ansah at defensive end has continued to show improvement. He could really step up his game this season and make fans forget about the loss of Suh.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
Detroit Lions — How five offensive line positions are shaping up
The Detroit LIons coaches could have a starting offensive line written in pencil, but there are plenty of questions heading into training camp. LaAdrian Waddle’s health is an issue. He had ACL surgery in January. 
Will he be ready for training camp or preseason games? No one is saying. If he’s healthy he seems to have the lock on starting at right tackle.

Here’s how the starting roles along the offensive line are shaping up:

  1. Left tackle — This is Riley Reiff’s job.

  2. Left guard — This could get interesting. Veteran Manny Ramirez, who was acquired during the draft in a trade, was with the starting group during the mandatory minicamp. First-round pick Laken Tomlinson is in the conversation for the start here but will have to earn it in camp.

  3. Center — It seems likely that Travis Swanson will get the start. There are three other centers on the roster at this point — veteran Taylor Boggs, Braxston Cave and Darren Keyton (Central Michigan). One of those three will have to step up big time in camp to over-take Swanson.

  4. Right guard — Expect Larry Warford to start for the third straight season. He’s humble and says he knows he has to earn his spot back as a starter, but he is the favorite.

  5. Right tackle — Again, if LaAdrian Waddle is healthy he probably will start. If not, Cornelius Lucas who started three games in 2014, is likely the favorite. They’ll all be pushed by Xavier Proctor (who moved from defensive end), Michael Williams (who moved from tight end) and seventh-round pick Corey Robinson.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
VIDEO: Watch new Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris make a spectacular diving catch

Daniel Norris' Tigers debut started well, with a 1-2-3 first inning, and got even better in the second, when he made a spectacular diving catch.

The rookie left-hander, acquired in the deal for David Price, made a diving lunge off the mound to catch a popped-up bunt attempt by the Orioles' J.J. Hardy Sunday afternoon.

Watch Norris' play here:

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Detroit Lions — Jim Caldwell comfortable with right tackle options
(image)ALLEN PARK —  Because LaAdrian Waddle will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, there is a question for the Detroit Lions at right tackle.

Coach Jim Caldwell does not seem too concerned about the position.

“I think all in all we’re going to be all right (at right tackle). (Cornelius) Lucas played a lot of football for us and played well. He had ups and downs but he played well for us. We have some young guys who are going to be alright too,’’ Caldwell said on Friday.

As a rookie, Lucas started three games at tackle last season due to injuries to Waddle. He didn’t name the young guys but Michael Williams, who made the transition from tight end, could be one and rookie Corey Robinson could be another.

Waddle underwent ACL surgery in mid-January. There is no timetable for his return according to Caldwell.

While there were reports that former Lions right tackle free agent Gosder Cherilus had visited the Lions, but Caldwell would not comment.

Overall Caldwell can’t wait to see the new-look offensive line go to work in pads.

The Lions open training camp on Monday and will don pads later in the week.

“Very interested in seeing how they work together, it’s a great group of guys who have the kind of attitude and work habits you like to see,’’ the Lions coach said.

With Dominic Raiola and Rob Sims gone, there are openings at left guard and center. Travis Swanson is expected to start at center with Manny Ramirez and Laken Tomlinson battling at left guard. Riley Reiff will be at left tackle and Larry Warford is expected to start again at right guard.

“We have a veteran that’s in the mix with Manny (Ramirez). We have a young player that has an immense amount of talent in Laken Tomlinson and on down the line there are a number of guys who have some potential,’’ Caldwell said. “We want to see how they jell, how they work together. How Larry (Warford) works with the rest of the crew and Reiff, etc. It’s going to be a lot of fun watching those guys develop and some pretty good battles against the defense as well. You’ve got a defense that’s out to prove itself.’’

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)
Detroit Lions — Golden Tate on deflategate, integrity of the game
(image)Golden Tate speaks to media at his football camp on Thursday.
ROCHESTER HILLS — Golden Tate admits that he’s not entirely educated on the situation with Tom Brady and the four-game suspension handed down by the NFL for allegedly deflating footballs.

Perhaps, no one is.

Still the integrity of the game is key for the Detroit Lions wide receiver, so if Brady's punishment is deserved he has no problem with it.

“I’m not totally educated on the situation. I don’t know what’s real and what’s not. I think if you violate the integrity of this game you must be punished,’’ Tate said on Thursday.

“We’re always trying to gain more fans — nationally and internationally — when you threaten the integrity of the sport as a whole, you’re threatening the integrity of the people who are inside it also.

“If it’s legit and he had actually did have something to do with it, he deserves every bit of that punishment. If he didn’t have anything to do with it, they need to look into it more and be more factual. That’s not for me to really dip in. I hope it works out for the best for both parties. I hope justice is served,’’ Tate added.

Tate made the comments at his football camp at Rochester Hills High School. He didn’t bring up Deflategate, but answered the question when asked.

The Lions open training camp on Monday.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

The Giant Hole

There is no filling the hole Mabel left when she left us.

Well, life goes on and all that.  Grieving is a time consuming process.  Why not fill it with something worthwhile.  Like training a puppy?  Or two?

So.  We've taken in a couple of baby giants that would probably cause Mabel to roll her eyes.

Lily is a Great Pyrenees.  Clover is an Irish Wolfhound.

Meanwhile, Lois is not the sort of gal who rolls her eyes.  Sweet Lois is ten and starting to feel the years.  Still, no.  She didn't roll her eyes.  She sighed though.  Sweet Lois wasn't thrilled about the appearance of  these two wild babies.  But Lois being Lois, sweet Lois, has warmed up to them - a bit. 

Perhaps she remembers when Mabel was a pup.

Things have a way of working out.
Detroit Lions — Three reasons Tahir Whitehead is key to defense
In the third game of 2014, when Stephen Tulloch was lost for the season with a knee injury, Tahir Whitehead got the call to go in at linebacker.

Mind you, he had never taken a snap on defense — although he excelled on special teams. He stepped in at middle linebacker and made it look easy which, obviously, it is not.

Here are three reasons Whitehead is so important to the Lions:

  1. He is good at what he does on defense. With Tulloch returning, Whitehead will be in the mix for a starting outside linebacker spot opposite DeAndre Levy. Because of experience Whitehead probably has the edge. It could be a training camp battle between him and Kyle Van Noy, a pass-rushing specialist.

  2. Whitehead might even be better on special teams. He was greatly missed on special teams last year when he played so much defense. Because the Lions run the nickel package so much, as the other outside linebacker Whitehead wouldn’t get as many snaps on defense which would give him more opportunity on special teams.

  3. He has emerged as a leader on defense as he enters his fourth season. He was a fifth-round pick in 2012.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

A member of the Woodpecker family, there are two types of Flickers in North America: the yellow shafted Flicker and the red shafted Flicker. 

Shafted?  This refers to the tail feathers (shafts).  The color of the shafts are visible when the bird is in flight.

The red shafted Flicker's range extends from Canada to Mexico.  The yellow shafted Flicker is found in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico.
Some red shafted Flickers migrate to northern parts of their range in spring where they mate, raise a brood or two before heading south in the fall.
Individual birds typically return to the same area year after year and often to the same tree where they drilled a hole for a nest the previous year (sometimes they use the same hole, sometimes they drill a new one).
The males and the females travel in separate flocks of up to one hundred birds.  When they get to the breeding grounds, the males drum their beaks on trees and sing to call to his mate.  Flickers usually mate for life but the couple are only close for a few months of the year, during breeding season.
After mating has been accomplished,  the female lays 7-9 eggs.  Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the young.  Unlike other Woodpeckers who feed the nestlings live bugs, the Flicker feeds by regurgitation.
Flickers eat bugs mostly- ants and beetles are favorites- which the Flicker digs out of the ground with his bill.  When the youngsters are a couple months old, they are able to dig their own bugs.
The Flicker's habitat is open woodlands, suburbs (red shafted) cactus country, desert woodlands (yellow shafted). 
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