Jokes Not Ready For Late Night (Holiday Edition)

Christmas, The Nite Show, monologue jokes, humor, Modern PhilosopherChristmas is almost here, Modern Philosophers!  Holiday specials are showing up on every channel, and last night, The Nite Show with Danny Cashman aired its Christmas episode.

I write monologue jokes for the show, and every taping, I turn in dozens, but there’s only a limited amount of space on the cue cards.

As a result, many of my jokes never know what it’s like to be delivered by Danny, and then laughed at by a live studio audience.

Since Christmas is a time of giving, I thought I’d give some of my rejected jokes their moment in the spotlight.  Do you mind if I share a few that didn’t make it onto the air?

Here are a few holiday themed jokes not quite ready for late night…

Christmas, The Nite Show, monologue jokes, humor, Modern PhilosopherI don’t think it’s a stretch to say it’s been a rough year for President Trump, but now that Christmas is fast approaching, there is a bit of good news for the beleaguered President. He made a campaign promise to re-invigorate the coal industry, and recent reports show that coal sales are at record highs.  Turns out Santa Claus needed more coal than usual this year to fill the stockings of Trump and his cronies…

Anyone else buy an official White House Advent calendar?  There’s a big picture of the White House on the front, and each day of Advent, you open a little door to reveal a prize.  The only difference is that instead of finding a piece of candy, you discover a new indictment against President Trump or one of his associates…

American Movie Classics will be airing “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” several times this month.  Is it just me, or is AMC playing it fast and loose with the term “classic”? Don’t get me wrong, “Christmas Vacation” is a great holiday flick, but it’s no Christmas classic like “Die Hard”…

Christmas, The Nite Show, monologue jokes, humor, Modern PhilosopherBecause Thanksgiving fell so late this year, the amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the shortest it will ever be.  That barely gives your racist, drunk uncle enough time to sober up and come up with new offensive things to say at Christmas dinner…

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” airs on Thursday.  I don’t know about you, but I’m really hoping Santa Claus finally brings that poor kid a full head of hair this year…

NBC aired “A Trolls Holiday” earlier tonight.  It’s about complete strangers who harass you, and make fun or everything you post on social media.  But with a holiday theme…

Disney’s “Shrek The Halls” airs this week on ABC.  You know it can’t be any good, though, because if it was, they would have saved it for Disney+

Hanukkah starts tomorrow and last for eight nights.  Intriguing Hanukkah Fact: The holiday last longer than any relationship I had in high school…

Christmas, The Nite Show, monologue jokes, humor, Modern Philosopher“The Ultimate Hanukkah Challenge” aired aired earlier tonight on the Food Network.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always thought the ultimate Hanukkah challenge was putting up with your family for eight crazy nights…

Christmas is Wednesday, and if that’s news to you, I REALLY hope you’re not my Secret Santa…

Thank you for letting me grant the Christmas wish of these rejected monologue jokes by finally allowing them to find an audience.  I hope they made you chuckle, or maybe even shook your belly like a bowl full of jelly.

And then you read me type, as I posted this blog, Merry Christmas to all, enjoy your Yule log…

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The Shortest Day of the Year

winter solstice, Christmas, humor, Modern PhilosopherHappy Winter Solstice, Modern Philosophers!

The shortest day of the year is upon us, which means things are only going to look up from here.  We’re also on Day 82 of the 182 Days of Terror, aka Winter in Maine, so we have almost reached the halfway point.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first “official” day of Winter, if Snow Miser didn’t do something to celebrate the occasion.  That being said, the temperature was 0 degrees when I awakened.

I guess if it’s going to be the shortest day of the year, it might as well be the coldest one, too.  Way to multitask, December 21!

I would normally do a long run on Saturday, but I decided to hold my annual mandatory seminar on common sense this morning instead.  That means I did an indoor workout after watching a few power point presentations on making smart decisions (there was also one on the horrors of frostbite, but I don’t know how it got mixed in with the others!)

Observant readers might pick up on the fact that I’m in a better mood that usual this close to Christmas.  A gold star for that group.  Perhaps you can place it atop your tree.

winter solstice, Christmas, humor, Modern PhilosopherAs I mentioned last week, Christmas usually gets me down, but this year, things are a tad more perky at The House on the Hill.

I’m so touched by the Christmas presents that keep magically appearing under the Snowman Tree on my desk at work.

At first, I thought it was the doings of one coworker, but it is now clearly a concerted effort by many.  The other day, I was headed outside for my break.  I passed a counter, and on it, was another present with my name on it.

So now the presents are materializing everywhere.  I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m loving it.

I was just remembering this morning, when I finally ventured outside for a walk to the library, that when I was contemplating this job change back in July, I was worried that I wouldn’t make any friends at the new position.

What if they don’t like me?”  I asked myself multiple times as I pondered my decision.

That turned out to be ridiculous.  My new work colleagues are awesome, and the non-writing part of my day is much more tolerable.

This whole “Secret Santa directed at one person” incident is simply the whipped cream on a giant mug of Christmas eggnog.

My morale has also been buoyed by my new writing project.  I’m trying to turn the blog’s Halloween short story into a novel, and so far, things are going well.  I’m three chapters in, and the ideas are flowing like a runaway river.

Just like when I was working on my TV series (hoping to have some news to report on that project soon!), my thoughts are consumed with this story.  I wasn’t sure if I could come up with enough to turn a 1000 word story into a novel, but I was so wrong about that.

New characters keep popping into my head, as do their detailed backstories.  The characters have conversations in my head constantly, and I’m always scrambling to write down as much of them as I can remember, so they can be used in the novel.

Right now, my table is covered in post-it notes.  Each one holds an idea that will eventually make it into this novel.  Which reminds me, I need to buy more post-it notes.

winter solstice, Christmas, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’m always happiest when I’m writing, but when you throw in a higher than normal level of Christmas Spirit and an unexpected anticipation for opening presents on Christmas morning, Modern Philosopher Morale is at an all-time high!

I haven’t even mentioned that Die Hard is on tonight, which means I can curl up on the couch and watch my favorite Christmas movie after a day of writing.

Does it get any better than this?  Ironic that all this positivity should hit on the shortest day of the year. Take that, Snow Miser!

Do you do anything special to celebrate the Winter Solstice? (If not, might I recommend a viewing of Die Hard?)

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The Methodical De-Scrooging Of Austin The Grinch

Christmas, humor, Modern PhilosopherSanta Claus was telling me the other day, Modern Philosophers, that part of the magic of Christmas is that it means something different to everyone.

The big guy tends to get philosophical when the eggnog is flowing, but I had to concede that he had a point.

After all, Christmas has always been a very confusing time for me.

It is my favorite time of the year.  I love the lights, the songs, the movies and TV specials, the way everyone is so kind and generous, the food, the love, and the hope.

It truly is a magical time, especially when you consider how cold and bleak December can be.  During the Christmas Season, the world just becomes warmer and brighter.

I’m not much for gossip, but the word around the yule log is that Christmas is the most wonderful time of year.  Additionally, I hear there’s no place like home for the holidays.

And yet, Christmas can also be very sad and lonely for me.  The House on the Hill is dark and empty, there is no tree, no lights, no carolers, and no presents.

So even though I love Christmas, I also hate it because it makes me feel all alone.  Something like this…

Christmas, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe thing is, I love doing Christmas stuff.  In the car, I listen to the station that plays all Christmas songs.  I decorate the office and plan work Christmas events.  I walk around the neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights.  I try to watch the Christmas classics every year: It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, Elf, Bad Santa, and Die Hard.  I will happily devour whatever holiday treats are placed within arm’s length.

It’s a different story, however, when I’m home.  I don’t want to decorate.  I don’t want a tree.  Why put in the effort since there’s no one in my life to share all the experiences?  There are no presents to open.  There’s no one there on Christmas morning.

In fact, Christmas morning is always a huge letdown.  Once I wake up in the empty house with no gifts, I realize that the holiday is over.  The lights will come down.  The music won’t be on the radio.  People will go back to being grumpy.

So Santa was right.  Christmas is different for everyone.  It’s different things for me.

Christmas, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt’s because of this duality of Christmas that I continue to put up a stocking on my desk, and bring in the Christmas CDs.  I want my time around others to be merry and bright.

I was pleasantly surprised last week when I noticed a gift in my stocking.  Then pretty much every time I’d go on my break, I’d return to find my stocking a little more full.

Until it got to the point that it was overflowing.

Of course, no one will admit to putting gifts in my stocking, but they are clearly there.  As you can see from the photo on the left, this is not all in my imagination.

I started a new position in July, and my new coworkers have been absolutely amazing.

So it’s no surprise really that my stocking is suddenly bursting at the seams.  The new colleagues definitely seem the type who would call Santa Claus and demand to know why he’s bypassed The House on the Hill for the past several years.

I decided not to open any of the stocking gifts because I wanted to save them for Christmas morning.  Thought it might make for a nice change to my Christmas routine.

And maybe, my heart grew a size or two because of the anonymous gift giving.

However, it was certainly time to call the cardiologist earlier this week.  Because when I arrived at work, I found this on my desk…

Christmas, humor, Modern PhilosopherYes, Modern Philosophers, there was a Snowman Christmas Tree set up on my desk!  It was all lit up, and the snowman was smiling slyly as if to remind me that Christmas was for everyone who believed, even a quirky introvert like me.

Over the course of the week, presents began to magically appear under the tree whose origins are still a mystery.

It pretty much all seems to fall under the heading of Christmas Magic.

You know, because none of my amazing coworkers claim to have any idea as to how the tree got there, or how the presents found their way into the stocking or under the aforementioned tree.

Star Wars, Christmas, humor, Modern PhilosopherI really do like this one gift that wasn’t wrapped.

The Star Wars Nerd in me couldn’t love it more unless it had been hand delivered by Daisy Ridley.

And the way the Christmas Magic is flowing, maybe such a personal delivery is possible.  I mean, nothing seems off the table at this point.

Yes, Modern Philosophers, I’m as giddy as a school boy on Christmas morning.  And that’s a feeling I haven’t had this time of year in ages.  Christmas Magic must be pretty powerful if it can silence my inner Scrooge…

Are your coworkers as cool as mine?  Has anyone ever completely surprised you at Christmas?

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Searching For Motivation In The Snow

running, fitness, Maine, humor, Modern PhilosopherMy love/hate relationship with running has taken on an “I think we should see other people” status recently, Modern Philosophers.

Winter is always a difficult time to stay motivated with my running program.  I always used to take winters off, which meant I then spent the entire spring and summer trying to take the winter weight off.

So I’ve vowed to keep hitting the road despite the snow, ice, cold, wind, creepy Snowmen stalkers, and Snow Miser.

But this year, it’s been rough.  And it’s not even technically winter yet.

In Maine, however, winter starts on October 1, and there is plenty of snow on the ground as a result of a big storm, that didn’t quite live up to its hype, but still left a mess in it wake earlier this week.

This is my first winter running down on the river walk, and it’s been a challenge already because of the way the frigid wind blasts in off the water.

running, fitness, Maine, humor, Modern PhilosopherNow, it’s gotten even more difficult because the city has chosen not to plow the path, despite the fact that so many people use it on a daily basis.

Being the wellness activist that I am, I decided to call City Hall on Thursday to complain about this stupid decision.

I was told that Parks & Rec has decided not to plow it because they were afraid people would slip on the path, and then slide into the river.


I countered that it was more likely that people would go the slip and slide route if the path wasn’t cleared of snow and ice.  I argued that the river walk was much safer than trying to run, walk, or bike on the roads where vehicles had to be factored into the equation.

So far, there has been no response from Parks & Rec, and I have no doubt in my mind that this is a “Ron Swanson hates helping tax payers” type of situation.

Needless to say, my runs have been challenging this week.  My first day out after the storm, I could barely make it along the path.  It was rather discouraging, my feet took forever to thaw, and I felt like I could make better time just by walking.

running, fitness, Maine, humor, Modern PhilosopherThis morning, I didn’t even want to go for my run.  I knew the path wouldn’t be plowed, it was 17 degrees, and I didn’t feel like going back to my old route, which would be busy with weekend traffic.

I was able to convince myself to get out there, but I didn’t have much hope.

The motivation to run was gone, and I was fairly certain I’d trudge down to the water, see all the snow, and head right back to The House on the Hill.

But something about the view this morning took hold of me.  The Penobscot River was frozen over, and I could’ve run across it to visit Stephen King in Bangor.  I felt like I was in a postcard, and that silly idea gave me all the motivation I needed.

Clearly, my fellow exercise enthusiasts had not been deterred by the city’s refusal to plow.  So many people had used the path in the days since the storm that I could see a trail of snow flattened down by all the foot traffic.

So I ran along that makeshift path, which made my run less difficult.  Sure, it was still slippery in places, but running is more exciting when you throw in the occasional pitfall.

I soon learned that some plowing had been done by the restaurant at the end of the path, so I extended my run along the restaurant’s parking lot and the street in front of it.

running, fitness, Maine, humor, Modern PhilosopherObviously, I wasn’t setting any speed records, but I did complete my longest run of the week, which made me feel much better about the activity again.

It’s not like I’m in love with running, but we’ve decided to start seeing each again.

And that’s better than nothing, especially now when it would be so tempting to just stay inside under the covers, and eat all the comfort foods.

I went out expecting to find an excuse not to run, but instead found renewed interest in the snow.  I guess that’s why we shovel, because we never no what we might find once we clear away the mess Snow Miser has left behind…

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Just Be Thankful

Thanksgiving, gratitude, philosophy, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt really is a very simple concept, Modern Philosophers…

Just be thankful!

It’s almost ridiculous that we need a holiday to remind us to express our gratitude, but I don’t mind being nudged towards a certain emotion as long as there’s stuffing and pie involved.

Honestly, though, how hard is it to be thankful?  I know life can be stressful and overwhelming at times, but no matter how rough it gets, there’s always something for which we can be thankful.

The mere fact that you are reading this post means you have your health, access to the internet, and some decent taste ( Ha, ha!).  Be thankful for that!

Last night, after a long day at work, I drained my bank account a bit by making the mortgage payment.

There are so many things in that sentence which could elicit complaining and bring on a stress attack.  You know what I did after making my mortgage payment?  I turned to the kitty, who was curled up next to me on the couch, and I told her, “Looks like we get to live here for another month!”

I’m not sure my cat even acknowledged my existence in that moment, let alone my words, but the fact that I chose gratitude rather than negativity made me happy.  So I pet my little purr ball, and didn’t give a thought to how much money had just left my account.

I used to be the poster boy for stress.  I was constantly bitching about my life, but doing nothing to make it better.  I’d rather rant and rave about how I was getting screwed over, than take a breath and consider all that was right in my world.

Needless to say, I was very unhappy.

Thanksgiving, gratitude, philosophy, humor, Modern PhilosopherThis morning, I went for my usual run.  It was very cold, there was frost on the ground, and the road was slippery, but all I could think about was how beautiful the sky was, how glad I was that I was motivated to run, and how lucky I was to have a warm home waiting for me.

I’ve never been a fan of having to work a full day before Thanksgiving, but this morning, I was happy to go to work.  When I arrived, there was a text from a coworker advising me to show up for work hungry.

When I entered the break room, there were two pies on the table, and a note thanking us for our hard work.  When I got to my office, there was a breakfast casserole and homemade oatmeal cookies waiting to reward me for showing up hungry.

My coworkers were laughing, everyone was in a good mood, and there was music playing.  Ever since changing positions in July, I’ve been much happier with the job that pays the bills until I can write full time.

Sure, I’m not thrilled that I’m not a successful writer yet, but I’m thankful that this new position came along to make my days brighter, less stressful, and more rewarding.

Tomorrow, I’ll spend Thanksgiving alone.  Man, did that used to bother me.  Now, however, I genuinely look forward to it.  I’ve got a day of delicious meals planned, writing to do, football to watch, and a quiet house in which to enjoy all of it.

I’m thankful that the dark clouds that used to follow me everywhere rarely make an appearance.  I’m grateful that somewhere along the line, I decided to take a more positive approach to life.

Thanksgiving, gratitude, philosophy, humor, Modern PhilosopherYeah, my life’s not perfect.  Yet.

I’m thankful that I believe I will achieve everything I want in life.  And I’m grateful that I have the wisdom to turn my past failures and shortcomings into the fuel that drives me to reach my goals.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you all have an awesome holiday…

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Sasquatch Thankful For Trump’s Impeachment Hearings

Thanksgiving, Sasquatch, Trump, humor, Modern PhilosopherWith Thanksgiving so close, Modern Philosophers, people are crawling out of the woodwork, or in this case, hiking out of the North Woods, to share that for which they are thankful.

Today, I had an unexpected visitor at The House on the Hill, who wanted to tell me his Thanksgiving story.  I’m not often I’m surprised when I open my door, but I never expect to see a Sasquatch towering over me on my front porch.

After all, the Sasquatch is one of the most highly protected Otherworldly Beings in Maine.  They confine themselves to the safety of the North Woods, where they can live in relative obscurity because Mainers know to avoid the area, and horrifying rumors are spread to prevent tourists from visiting that portion of the state.

Before you ask, I did not take a photo of my visitor.  It is against the law to photograph a Sasquatch in Maine without its permission, and my guest was very particular.

“No offense, Austin, but if I’m ever going to allow myself to be photographed, it’s going to be by a professional photographer, in a studio, with perfect lighting, and an expensive camera,” he explained apologetically.  “I know you went to Film school, but the picture quality on a cell phone doesn’t improve just because the person taking it has a BFA.”

Trust me, no offense was taken.

My guest introduced himself as Sid, and asked if we could talk out on the porch because he was afraid he’d shed all over my floors if he entered the house.

Sid explained that he sought me ought for this conversation because I have an excellent reputation for telling the story of Maine’s Otherworldly Beings.  The mere fact that he was able to leave the North Woods and trek down to The House on the Hill was the main reason he decided to visit.

“For so long, Maine’s Sasquatch population has lived in obscurity in the North Woods,” Sid told me with a sad shake of his hairy head.  “We don’t want to be weirdo, introverted loners, but people have made that a necessity.  How would you feel if people followed you everywhere, tried to take your photo constantly, and attempted to capture you to bring you in for scientific analysis and experimentation?”

I had to agree that I would not be a fan of that lifestyle.

Thanksgiving, Sasquatch, Trump, humor, Modern Philosopher“Our brethren in the Pacific Northwest, Asia, and Europe have it a lot worse than we do,” Sid admitted.  “Maine has given us a great place to live, assured us our privacy, and has run a great disinformation campaign to keep most of the looky loos out of our hair.”

So why risk it all by coming out of hiding to talk to me?

“First off, a change of scenery is always nice,” Sid replied as he struggled to get comfortable in a chair designed for puny, less hairy humans.  “More importantly, though, for the first time in a long time, I felt safe.  With all the conspiracy theorists in the country so focused on Trump’s impeachment hearings, there’s no one lurking just outside the woods trying to take my photo, or kidnap me to whisk me off for testing.”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this,” Sid chuckled, “but thank heavens for Donald Trump!”

Nothing can prepare you for the sound of uncontrolled Sasquatch laughter, Modern Philosophers.  My ears wanted to bleed, my head was set to explode, my skin crawled, and every window on The House on the Hill rattled.  There is still a slight ringing in my ears, and I’m not sure the headache will ever dissipate.

“It’s true,” Sid insisted when he saw the look of doubt on my face.  “The people who are obsessed with finding proof of me and my kind, are the same ones obsessed with either proving that the Democrats are trying to frame Trump, or that Trump is in bed with the Russians and trying to destroy America.”

Thanksgiving, Sasquatch, Trump, humor, Modern PhilosopherI had to admit that I never would have made that connection without the help of my friendly neighborhood Sasquatch.

“This is the first time I’ve been out of those woods in almost eight years,” Sid informed me.  “I’m thankful for the chance to take in the world around me, and see how much it’s changed since I was last able to roam the streets.  I have to admit, though, not much has changed, but I guess that’s the beauty of Maine.”

So does this mean that we should expect many more Sasquatch sightings in Maine over the Holiday Season?

“I doubt it,” my guest answered with a shake of his hairy head.  “The public will lose its interest in the impeachment soon enough, and then all those conspiracy folks will be back at it, looking to bag Big Foot.”

Does even this little amount of freedom mean that America’s Sasquatch population will back Trump in 2020?

My reply was a Sasquatch laugh so loud and long that I’ll need to replace three windows as soon as I’m done with this post.

Happy Thanksgiving from Maine’s Sasquatch Community.  They’d be super grateful if you’d turn your attention to the Loch Ness Monster for a while…

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What’s Your Thanksgiving Ratio?

Thanksgiving, humor, philosophy, Modern PhilosopherThanksgiving is so close, Modern Philosophers, that I can totally sense the cold, judgmental glares from the uptight Pilgrim ghosts that haunt these parts.

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that really gets the Deep Thoughts flowing.  There’s a whole theme of gratitude right there in the name, and yet I feel that is overshadowed by all the food, football, family, and fun also associated with the day.

So I’ve been wondering if I could calculate the equation for how to properly celebrate Thanksgiving, or at the very least, figure out my personal philosophy towards the holiday.

Well, this is exactly why I keep a team of scientists on retainer at The House on the Hill.

I told the brainiacs in the basement to don their lab coats (like they ever take them off!), put away the Dungeons & Dragons paraphernalia, and clear their chalkboards because they had some serious Good Will Hunting time ahead of them.

Their quest was to come up with a formula, equation, theorem, or whatever form of gibberish they could create to calculate how to best observe Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, humor, philosophy, Modern PhilosopherThey came up with (and I’m not sure why I’m paying them so much if this is the best they can do!) The Thanksgiving Ratio.

The Thanksgiving Ratio basically tells you what you find to be the most important part of the holiday.

You take the basic categories:






Then you figure out what percentage of your Thanksgiving is devoted to each category.  After that, you put it all into a ratio.

Here’s mine:

Gratitude 10: Food 60: Football 20: Family/Friends 0: Fun/Frivolity 10.

So my Thanksgiving Ratio is 10:60:20:0:10.

Thanksgiving, humor, philosophy, Modern PhilosopherTruth be told, I was surprised to see that so much emphasis was put on food, but then again, it’s the only time of the year I cook a turkey, and I rarely have stuffing.

Plus, the mere idea of several days’ worth of Thanksgiving leftovers makes my stomach growl.  And how could I forget my Dad’s holiday appetizer tradition of pepperoni and cheese?  And the apple pie?  Yum!

Football might be higher if the Jets were playing, but all three games will be on the TV over the course of the day.  I might not watch the action intently, but it’s a Thanksgiving tradition to welcome the Lions, Cowboys, and whoever else is playing into my home.

The family and friends number is at zero because Thanksgiving is a holiday I prefer to celebrate in isolation.  I can’t allow people to see how ravenously I consume my Thanksgiving feast.  I don’t think they’d ever look at me the same after that.  I’m grateful for the two invitations I’ve already received for Thanksgiving dinner, but going solo for Turkey Day is really the best idea.  Trust me.

Since I’m alone, there won’t be much fun and frivolity other than a morning run and some writing.  This is out of respect for the Pilgrims, who had it pretty rough, and would not be amused by my laughing it up when a harsh, deadly winter awaits the settlement.

Sure, I do take some time to think about that for which I’m thankful.  It’s not like there’s anyone around to hear it, but I do go over the list in my head before I consume my feast.  There’s a lot to be thankful for this year, which isn’t usually the case, so I  bumped my number up to ten percent, from the usual three.

Thanksgiving, humor, philosophy, Modern PhilosopherIt’s not an exact science, but what my Thanksgiving Ratio tells me is that this my stomach’s favorite holiday.

Let’s face it, Thanksgiving is there to help us fatten up ahead of a long, harsh winter, so I’m really just keeping it real and celebrating the day like the Pilgrims intended.

So what’s your Thanksgiving Ratio?

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