Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“How the story of David and Goliath relates to us”)

Yesterday evening I had two gigs to play and the very first one was at my church. I have been playing at church for years now and during that time I have heard a LOT of different preaching sermons. I usually take a lot of them in stride because while the messages make sense it still takes a “lot” to actually “inspire or motivate me.” We had a guest preacher and he managed to speak about a relatively well known story entitled “David and Goliath.” For those of you who don’t know the story, David was someone quite normal with not much strength and Goliath was a towering giant of a man who seemed invincible. David was slated to combat Goliath with “very little” chance of winning against his much bigger foe. As the story went, David managed to create a “slingshot” that actually “felled” the massive giant, thus making David the “victor.” The guest pastor said that in life we “all” will encounter “Goliaths.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that we all will have to fight extremely huge people but it does mean that we will encounter some type of foe that will seem “invincible.” That foe could be “Traffic Court, The IRS, The Government, your cable company” or ANY big institution that is known for dominating “normal” people. The true measure of our lives is whether we “allow” these giants to “intimidate” us or whether we have the courage to face and fight them head on like David versus Goliath. The pastor made a lot of sense in saying that just because the opponent seems “invincible” doesn’t necessarily mean that “he, she, it, or they” can’t be beaten. For instance, if you don’t like the shows that are being shown on your television then you don’t have to wait for them to “offer” better programming. You can formulate your “own” channel and if people love what you are offering then you can actually “compete” against those big conglomerates who “run” the industry. Yes, they are “huge” but if you take the chance to offer a “viable alternative” then you can “make a difference.” The same can be said for your radio station, the company you work for, or anything in life where your choices are “few or none.” Often we take for granted that no one can beat the IRS, when there “are” people who have taken this institution “on” and actually “won.” I am not trying to say that now you should go out and fight every big company out there, but if you feel you can do things better then “why not take them on?” You may not be able to guarantee victory but that doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed defeat either. For a while now I have been realizing that I am trying to make great things happen in an industry (music) where it has been a monopoly for so long. While I have had many “small” successes I have still not been able to claim a “major victory” yet. After hearing the pastor’s sermon yesterday I am now motivated to “take on Goliath.” It may take some time but I promise to keep you appraised of my “progress.” In the meantime, I sincerely hope that “you” can conquer your “own” Goliath” in life. In this life we have the right to “accept” the few choices we have or we have the power to “make changes.” We don’t have to be a punching bag for anyone, and with a creative plan we most certainly can “hit back.” I hope today’s Daily Thought reaches or inspires you to reconsider and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer…

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Brett Jolly and actress Holly Robinson Peete

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought… “Public harassment… How should women feel about it?”

“Public Harassment…” How should a woman feel about it? The other day I talked to a woman who told me that she was walking around downtown and a couple of guys tried rather “lamely” to hit on her. She did what most females would probably do and just ignored  the guys and kept on moving. She also heard one of two of them call her the “B” word in response to her rejection. She told me that things like that happen to her a lot and she said that she is really “not” trying to get that kind of attention. It makes you wonder if men “really know” just how often a woman endures harassment in public. Now, in all fairness I need to declare something on behalf of “some” men. A LOT of men don’t even realize what women go through. They don’t consider themselves to be “just another number” when making a lewd cat call to a woman walking down the street because they don’t know just how many men she has “already” encountered. Also, it needs to be noted that “one woman’s compliment” could easily be “another woman’s harassment.” In other words, if a man makes a catcall to one woman walking down the street and she smiles back at him then he will probably “think” it is “okay” to do the same to the “next” encounter that comes along.  For harassment to do have  legal definition there needs to be “set’ boundaries in place to define it, and this is why it is often difficult to determine harassment. What can a woman do curtail it? Probably not much. Until ALL women set the same standards there will be “no true way to determine it (with the exception, of course, of “extreme cases”). Should a woman “dress down” in public to  avoid or lessen the “male shout outs” she gets? It is a woman’s “right” to look and feel pretty in public, and even though she may look good enough to “warrant” attention that doesn’t mean she deserves some of the “crude and disrespectful” comments she may get from the wrong element. Last night I took my son to one of those Halloween Haunted Houses in my area. It was a warm night and we usually go each year. In front of us was a lady who had jeans on. There was nothing wrong with that, because many women will wear jeans in public. The issue with “this” particular woman was  that she “forgot” to wear a “belt.” She had “7” kids with her (all boys and they all looked alike,  which led me to believe that they were all brothers and all belonged to her). As she walked through the lines, her pants kept on falling down “so much” that a lot of guys were “applauding and making vulgar statements.” She tried to keep her pants up but even at night you could “easily” see “crack for days.” I felt sorry for her, and I almost wanted to offer her  my own belt, but considering the fact that it was nighttime and she probably had those pants on all day I felt she just “had” to know that they didn’t fit properly. Plus her boys’ pants seemed to fit so I am sure she could have borrowed a belt from one of them (if she truly wanted to). Women do not deserve to be harassed, but it is also important to note that “certain types of clothing” will ignite more catcalls than others. If you show more “skin” than “class” then you “already know” what kind of attention you will receive before you leave your house. It “should never excuse” guys from harassing you, but even men can make the distinction between “a woman of class from a woman of trash.” Women need to be respected in public (and anyplace else). Hopefully we all can get together and come up with “set guidelines” so that we can not only determine harassment but also public decency.  As long as a woman “respects herself first” then she should “never” have to worry about a man disrespecting her. I thought this would be an interesting topic for today, and I would love to know other opinions on this matter. I can be emailed at Brettjolly@aol.com. Thank you and as always I wish the very best that life has to offer.

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Actress Gabrielle Union and Brett Jolly

Gabrielle Union and Brett Jolly

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “Should age stop us from enjoying life?”)

I did a photo shoot with a woman the other day who had a really good spirit. The session went well but she said that she didn’t believe she would be a good model because of her age. She was 50. I told her that there is a market for people over 50 and that as long as she still looks great and feels great about herself then that is all that mattered. She still seemed to think that her life was on the decline. My topic for today is based on whether “age” should stop anyone from having fun and still living life. I have heard people say that once they reached 30 that life was basically “over” for them. I say that life is “what you make it” and that is at “any” age. True, if you are 70 or 80 you may make a big mess when trying to “twerk” or dunk a basketball on the court, but it never means that you are not entitled to have some fun. I am  the first to admit that when I play my music I often feel like a little boy (at least in the beginning of the set). I will  joke, laugh,  and even make fun of the audience if I am the head of the band for that day. When I played my gig last night I was truly obnoxious and I readily admit that. Some lady requested that she wanted to hear this song called “Brick House” by the Commodores. I “hate” this song and if I had a dollar for every time I had to play it I could have retired by now. However, last night we played the song and I sang it for her. When the song was over I asked her while on the microphone if she liked it.  She said out loud that she wanted the “longer” version. I immediately seized that opportunity to say “Yeah, ALL women do…” and the audience cracked up laughing, including her. I say this because if I allowed age to dictate my life, my life would not feel fun anymore. I absolutely hate it when someone tries to tell me that I can no longer do this or that. People age at different rates, so just because someone may be biologically over 50 doesn’t mean that this is how they are physically. For today I hope that those that read my Daily Thought gain the feeling that there are “No limitations” to what you can accomplish once you set your mind and heart to your task. Feel free to do whatever you can to make life fun. You deserve it and this is the “only” shot you have… Thank you for reading my Daily Thought as as always, I wish the very best to you and yours.

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Chubby Checker (“The Twist”) and Brett Jolly

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “Ebola no longer a death threat?”)

Finally a bit of “great” news: The nurse who had been diagnosed with the Ebola disease, Nina Pham, has now been declared “totally free” of the virus and to showcase the authenticity of the cure she was filmed embracing President Obama. To me, that is awesome news to hear, and I am extremely happy for her and any others who are now making a “full recovery” from this deadly disease. While I am exuberant about these particular situations, I am a little puzzled as to why there seemed to be “no cure” for it until it was transmitted to someone here in the United States. We “quickly” managed to find a cure to treat this lady and we all should be very happy about that. However, the 3,500 people in Western Africa who died from this got “no” remedy whatsoever. Is it because our medical technology is just so much superior or did it have to do with us being “selective” in “who, when, and how” to treat it? The other nurse who worked with Ms Pham also contracted the disease and at last word I heard that she was also making a remarkable recovery. If indeed the cure has now been discovered, then I would like to know how long it will take before it is distributed and administered to those in need in Western Africa. This epidemic was a great scare and panic seemed to run rampant when this thing was initially announced. At first it was something that seemed to be attributed “solely” to the Western Africa part of the world, and while we all noted the severity of it, we didn’t really take it to heart until the disease started to hit “close to home.” I always say “Better late than never” but in this case I only wish we could have found a way to treat it “before” all those people lost their lives. I will also be anxious to see “what is done” now that we know this disease “can” be treated. Will we help those abroad? As we now see, “their” problems can easily become “our” problems when left unchecked. ALL human life should have value, and while I am by “no means” accusing anyone of being “selective” as to who should get cured, I felt the question needed to at least “be asked.”I would also like to know if anyone else feels the same way? The Ebola scare was about as bad as the AIDS scare was when it first came on the scene. Now AIDS is no longer a death sentence. Can we now say that Ebola is not far behind? I just wanted to raise this issue today, and I am not pointing fingers at anyone. I believe we ALL deserve the “right to know.” Thank you for reading my Daily Thought and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “Formulas for a making a positive day”)

On occasion I wake up and check out the news, and most times I usually find a “lot” of negativity in the headlines. If it isn’t about some celebrity breakup or massive  shootings  some place or the outbreak of Ebola, it just seems sometimes like negativity dominates most of our lives when it comes to the media. With that being said, is there an actual “formula” for ensuring a great day? From what I have gathered, a LOT of people wait to see if a “good day comes to them.” I say that you actually can help your chances “significantly” by putting measures into place that will “increase” the possibility that your day will be great. For instance, if you don’t get enough sleep at night, you won’t be “well rested enough” in the morning and already starting off with a “disadvantage.” You may “think” that you are just fine (and for the moment  you just might be) but when this happens continually over time it will catch up to  you. Also, knowing your workload “ahead of time” could also help you to have a better day. Even if you can manage to get “psychologically prepared” for the upcoming massive task you have to endure then it can “still” make a big difference in your success ratio. Sometimes “having a great day” can also involve your own  mindset. If you wake up in  the morning thinking “a whole lot of negative thoughts,” then in essence your are bringing about your own “negative energy.” Have you ever noticed how people with confidence seem to make things happen? That is because they bring about an “air of security” in their faith that they “will” get the job done. Just imagine this scenario: Two people are hanging from a cliff with a ten thousand foot drop to the ground below. One of them continually says to himself, “I’m going to make it…. I’m going to make it.” The other one says to himself, “I’m going to die…” Which one would YOU put your money on? Of course, NOTHING is guaranteed in life, and no matter how positively you may start your day, there will always be circumstances that are not within your control. Those factors you can’t do much about, but you “can” at least manipulate the part of your day that you CAN control. People who win money at gambling are usually people that we consider “lucky.” However, how much of that is their own belief and faith that they can hit it big? YOUR day starts with what you bring to the table. If you have a positive outlook then chances are your day could turn out to be a lot better than someone who can’t do anything else but accentuate the negative. While reading my Daily Thought how are YOU feeling right now? Do you feel as though you have a long day ahead of you while feeling too tired and just want to get it over with or are you psyched up an ready to take on ALL challenges? Your day can be as great as you want it to be if you just alter your outlook on your own responsibilities. Being lucky doesn’t always have to involve “just luck.” Why not try out a more positive approach and “see” if it makes a difference in your world? Thank you for reading my Daily Thought, and as always, I wish you the very best this weekend that life has to offer.

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Comedian Chris Tucker, Brother Bill Jolly, and Brett Jolly

Chris Tucker

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “An extremely frantic phone call”)

I got a call the other morning from a woman that I “rarely” talk to. She was “emotional, frantic, and highly upset.” She was borderline screaming and obviously she had been through something “extremely traumatic.” She informed me that her daughter, who was severely depressed, had just “committed suicide…” When I am really tired I am not at my best with my thought process, but I could tell from the sound of her voice that she was at a very “dangerous state.” I did have enough awareness to let her “speak and vent first.” From the way she was going, I doubted I was going to get a word in anyway (nor did I even try to interrupt her while she spoke). She went through a “slew” of emotions in a relatively short period of time, and while she was venting I was trying to figure out what I could possibly  “say” to her to bring her back. When it comes to a situation like this, what can you “really” tell someone? Are there any “appropriate words” what should be used? I had to think fast even though I was extremely tired. Finally, when I got the chance to speak, I asked her some questions in a very “calm” manner. I did not want to ask her “any” details of ‘how” it happened, because I did not want to make her “re-live” any of this event all over again. However, I did ask her just “how close” she was with her daughter. At that point she said that they did just about everything together. She also said that she “knew” her daughter was depressed but didn’t think that it was “this bad.” I told her that if her daughter could speak now, would she blame you for the path she took? She replied “No, she wouldn’t blame me at all.” I then told her at that point that if that was the case then you “don’t need” to blame yourself. I then asked her if her daughter would want her to feel as desperate and frantic as she was. She replied “No” to this question as well. I then informed her that if she truly loved you, then she would NOT want you to follow in the same footsteps as her. I also informed her that “if she truly loved her daughter then the best way to live out the rest of your life is in MEMORY of her.” You see, this woman sounded “suicidal” herself while on the phone, and for those of you who have every dealt with someone like that, it is very “tough” to reach through to him or her. I let her know that “trying to erase it from your mind will never work” but trying to utilize what happened to bring about any type of positive change “would.” You see, just like this poor unfortunate girl, there are “many more” on this planet that are feeling the same way right now. They are “giving up the will to live, because at every turn of their lives they are getting blocked from making any progress. Nothing I could tell her would be able to bring her daughter back, and nothing I could say would make her feel any less unhappy. I was willing to settle for “calm,” so while I couldn’t get her to settle down for the sake of herself, I tried to get  her to do so for the sake of her “daughter.” I let her know that if the “memory of your daughter means “anything” to you, then it would be imperative to live out your life as your daughter would have wanted you to.” After I said that, I got a fairly “long silence….” She then said in a very soft tone, “You’re right…” Somehow I managed to get someone in a highly traumatized state of mind to calm down. I cannot guarantee how long that will last, but I “did” tell her that “whenever” she needs to talk to me, make sure and do so… “ESPECIALLY” before contemplating “anything drastic.” She said she would and she thanked me. She said that she had a lot of people that she could have called, but she needed to speak to me first. Since we “rarely” talk to each other, I was surprised to hear her say that, but as long as we “ended” the conversation in a better state than how it was started then I could live with that. For the record, I do NOT feel as though I “rescued anybody.” Truth be told she could have gone an jumped off a cliff right after I talked to her. However, I did manage to feel good about her disposition when we finished our conversation. I have no idea of how it feels to lose a child and I hope I “never” find out. One day you may encounter someone going through similar circumstances. If they called you for help, would you know what to say? “Nothing in life is guaranteed and no one lives forever…” I just hope that she can pick up the pieces of what she has left… and continue to strive forward… Thank you for listening today, and as always, I wish the absolute best that life has to offer you today. Have a blessed one.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

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Brett Jolly and Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts and Brett Jolly

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “What instrument should you buy for your child?’)

So I’m playing this gig the other day and afterwards a mother comes up to me and tells me that she wants to get her young boy into music. She said that she wanted to buy him a flute, but her son seemed to be more into playing drums. She asked me what she should do. I told her that while a flute is a great instrument, when it comes to musicianship it is “limited” in opportunities.  For instance, it is “extremely rare” to find a flute in rock,  R&B,  reggae, or even gospel. However, just about “all” of these groups will “need” a drummer. I have always found that kids are fascinated whenever they see musicians play, but when getting your child an instrument you need to keep “modern technology” in mind. Most flutes are usually found in “orchestras sections.” Performing in an orchestra is a great honor, but it probably won’t get you as many gigs as being in a smaller and more popular type unit. When most people hire bands for functions, the less the amount of musicians the less amount of money that has to be paid out to those musicians. When it comes to recording in the studio, a lot of today’s keyboards have a “flute patch.” What that means is that you can get the exact sound of a flute on the keyboard, so instead of hiring a flute player  you can just let the keyboard player “play” the flute part and most people would not be able to tell the difference. The same can be done for harmonica, violins, trumpet, sax (some patches are more realistic than others) and  yes, even bass (Argh). Technology is so great now that in the studio you may only need a keyboard player to play all parts (and in some cases they won’t need a musician AT ALL). I know because when I write my own tunes I play mostly all of the instrument parts through the keyboard. I don’t have to hire anyone else for my own music. I just put the different parts down one instrument at a time on different music tracks. So when it came to this mother I gave her some advice that I hope she takes to heart. The musicians who will get the most work are usually those that play either lead guitar, drums, keyboards or bass. This group is called the rhythm section, and just about all live performance concerts will feature  this setting of musicians. After that, it would be great to play a sax. When I was younger I was inspired by a group of musicians that performed in my school. I remember saying to myself, “I wish I could be like them.” Well, today… I “am.” If your child seems to have an interest in music,  you just might be contributing to the next BB  King, John Coltrane, or Dizzy Gillespie. A child will only learn from what is “available” to that child, so getting that child an instrument just “might” keep that child from wanting to roam the streets with the wrong element. My parents brought home pool tables, ping pong tables, baseball equipment, art supplies, basketballs  and a piano, and I learned how to work “them ALL.” Your child’s greatest asset is “you.” When a parent contributes to a child’s inspiration then that child has a great chance to accomplish great things. Is “your” child worth it? Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

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singer Anthony Hamilton and Brett Jolly in concert

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “What most aspiring singers should know”)

A little while ago, I played for a singer who performed a rather popular song. That is usually no big news, because  many singers love to sing songs that the public already knows, but what should you do when a singer is “literally off key?” This particular singer was an accomplished vocalist, but she couldn’t find the pitch of the song and was  no where  close to being in tune. During my career, I have encountered “many” performers who were “way off” the key of the song. For those who have not had a lot of experience in singing, they often “blame the band” for changing their key or for playing it wrong. The truth of the matter is that even the greatest of singers can have difficulty hearing themselves if the sound is not adequate. Most professional concerts will have “monitors” onstage so that the artists can hear themselves singing. A monitor is usually a little wooden box looking thing that transmits the sound back to the performers onstage. They are used “only” for the performers to hear themselves. Depending on the professionalism of the sound man (and the quality of your sound check) that problem “should” be rectified if all went well. However, “things happen” and there is no guarantee that you will be able to hear yourself when performing a show. So if a singer is off key, how should he or she handle it? You may have seen this a couple of times at professional concerts, but when a vocalist wants to hear their vocals a certain way, they will look out towards the sound man (or to the monitor technician) and ask for more volume or more reverb (or anything related to how they hear). A sound man is “extremely” important because he controls what the audience “actually hears.” You could be the most awesome performer on the planet, but if your sound man is not on top of his game then your entire show could be ruined. EVERY professional artist should have a good relationship with his or her sound man. Singer Anita Baker used to fire sound men left and right, because she would have bigger expectations for what she felt they were supposed to provide. Her reputation for dealing with sound men has not been very good. The sound men cannot make magic, and  they can’t make you a better singer. However, if your relationship with your sound man is a great one then it will help to enhance your show. The voice is a delicate instrument. It can go out on you if you scream and holler too much. Vocal training can help you “learn” the strengths and weaknesses of your voice, and help you to give strong performances without going hoarse in the process. When someone sings off key it is important to let him or her know (in a nice way, please) that the singing was a little off pitch. If the singer thinks that he or she is singing the song great then the next audience may not be as “lenient.”  Most times when  you are singing a song, if your notes don’t “feel” right to you then chances are they’re “NOT” right. Small things such as your closeness to the microphone, the softness of your tone and other things can be adjusted to give you better control over your singing. Criticism can be  helpful as long as you are not too sensitive to it. We ALL have to learn as we grow. If you are a vocalist, then I hope you find this information  helpful.  Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and I wish the absolute best to you and yours.

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Verdine White (on the right… bassist for Earth Wind and Fire) and Brett Jolly

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “An evening performing with Dionne Warwick”)

Reminiscing on a gig with Dionne Warwick… I forget the date, but it was a few years back at Dover Downs in Delaware. I was on a hit (gig) with Dionne Warwick, the legendary singer who has had some of the biggest hits ever while experiencing the most adverse of circumstances. In fact, while I was performing with her, she was actually going through “one of those really tough times” then. For the record, I have performed with quite a few big name celebrities, but I have to take my hate off to Dionne Warwick. Her music, produced by Hal Davis and Burt Bacharach, was purely “genius” in arrangements, content and creativity. For any musician, it would be a challenge to learn her material because the parts were extremely intricate. Of course, her voice is not the same as it was years ago in her prime. Time (and the fact that she smoked) had taken a toll on her vocal chords, even though she still sounds great now. As I said, learning her music was tough enough, but then we had to actually “change the keys” of most of her tunes to fit her range.  She had charts, but that didn’t help me much because I don’t read music. I did, however, learn the songs, and I learned them “quickly.” On this particular gig, Ms. Warwick was the true professional. She had “just” lost her sister, Dee Dee Warwick (who had fame of her own with her hit single “You’re no good”), but somehow, someway, Dionne still managed to do this show. I don’t think anyone would have blamed her if she had decided to cancel, but it actually felt as though she was doing the gig “for” her sister. Then in 2013 it was reported that this great singer filed for bankruptcy. It was alleged that she owed $10 million while her assets only totaled about $25 thousand. People wondered how a singer with “so many” hits, like “Anyone who had a heart would love me too, Say a little prayer, De Javu, Then came you, We are the World, and Do you know the way to San Jose (just to name only a small few)” could end up in these circumstances. To me, this is yet “another” example of how the music industry will often “eat you up alive.” Obviously, the people who got rich off of her voice were probably “everyone else BUT her.” Record labels fleeced a lot of artists out of their rightful royalties, and just because an artist may be famous doesn’t necessarily make him or her “rich.” When it came to big time entertainers, she was nice, cordial, friendly and genuine. Not all of them are like that. Today I just wanted to spotlight her with my own personal story. The truth of the matter is that this was my second gig with her, but for the first one we only did about 20 seconds of “Do you know the way to San Jose” and we did the song with “absolutely no rehearsal at all with her.” In fact, we never even met her until they called her name to come out onstage and we did the song right there on the spot. True professionals can do that, and to me it was a privilege, pleasure and honor to have worked onstage with Dionne Warwick. If you get the chance I invite you to Google her music and career, and as always, I would like to with you the very best that life has to offer you today.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

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Dionne Warwick and Brett Jolly (in background)

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