Category Archives: personal

new squareONE: experiential toolmakers web site in progress

BAsic Goal

 

And, the fundamental approach is to intentionally take wrong turns. 

The squareONE web site, my professional web site, is published but will remain for the next several months a kind of swirling work-in-progress.

My hope is to make 2014 the year squareONE finds its beneficial grip on the diffuse, and difficult-to-grab clientele of persons who could benefit from building their ability to explore, discover and transform.

Linked-In experiential toolmakers

from the home page:

SquareONE combines innovative and accessible experiential processes with keen facilitation skills to provide powerful applications for professional and personal development, and, for open-ended collaborative exploration.

squareONE’s goal is to guide learners to remarkable insights using playful exploration and collaborative discovery. Once realized, such discoveries often provide a way to address a wide variety of everyday or unusual human challenges.

Other times, truly intrepid learners may simply enjoin squareONE to capture what arises from unique and creative forms of open-ended experience.

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New Music From Kamelmauz – Apparently

Apparently

My music making alter ego is: Kamelmauz. He does sonic experiments and lets me produce and issue them on Duty Free Records. Finally, these records are issued on Bandcamp, in one of two locations.

Got it? There today exist fourteen different audio productions. Each can be downloaded or auditioned at Bandcamp.

The vein of music I create is variously reduced to categories–experimental/avant-agarde/ambient/industrial/dark ambient–which miss the personal point of my efforts. Oh well. ‘we’ make music for the sake of my enjoyment of the process of making music, and, to actively support my enthusiasm for learning, novelty, and experience.

Full length: Kamelmauz.bandcamp
EP’s and single tracks: Kamelmauz-soundz.bandcamp

As you should know by now, my musical activities and interests are documented on the blog of noguts noglory studios.

no guts no glory

I go meta about my creativity. Meta means: I make stuff and I reflect on making stuff.

There’s a video for the new ep, Apparently There’s More.

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Who Are Your Luminaries?

Reed Song

In my studio, on the wall with the window, I tacked up pictures of ‘mission-critical’ luminaries. The poster-like reminder above–using an original photo collage–tops the construction.

luminaries

I’m well-aware of my own personal pantheon of influential persons. One question I sometimes pitch for the sake of understanding better where a person has been is: who are your luminaries?

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Sweetened

laurie-lou

To our neighbors:
What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all that incredible soft light. Water surrounding us.
Lou and I have spent a lot of time here in the past few years, and even though we’re city people this is our spiritual home.
Last week I promised Lou to get him out of the hospital and come home to Springs. And we made it!
Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature. He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air.
Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life. Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us.

- Laurie Anderson. his loving wife and eternal friend

Lou Reed remembered by me, but mostly a post recounting how long it took me to find my way to his artistry: The Murshid of the Underground

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Sonny & Steel

Sonny & Steel

 

A member of the Pedal Steel Guitar Forum asked lap steelers to post pictures of his or her herd. I obliged, although Sonny apparently wanted to be in the picture.

 

Sonny

 

Sonny turns two in January. Here’s a pick from the old studio, taken when he was about three months old. Sonny came into our lives because we happened to have an appointment at our vet the day after somebody left a box full of kittens in their parking lot. Sonny, named after Sonny Rollins the jazz saxophonist, was playing in a waste basket of shredded paper when one of the assistants pulled him up and out so Susan and I could see “The kitten nobody has spoken for yet.”

“We will take him off your hands.”

(Incidentally, this was a very good example of serendipity, and, in technical terms, this exemplifies the requisite structure of dependent realized contingencies that interlock (or conjoin,) to construct a ‘fortuity.’)

 

 

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Each a Posit, Each a Tale Unto Itself

Vegies

Each posit being a plant.

Begonia

Tending my very own garden for the very first time was a learning experience. My prior learning and experience helped, but next year will demonstrate a great deal of learning from mistakes.

There were three focal points: first is the gardening set-up left to us by the previous owner; second was a small plot of vegetables and berries I planted; third was a lot of potted flowers we bought or I planted. The first garden–what was already here on the lot of our new house–came in surprising and delightful waves, starting with the five rose plants and right now building to a culmination out of black eyed susans and plants I do not know the names of.

The big successes in a vegetable garden, that turned out in June and July to be a grocery store for squirrels and rabbits, were cherry tomatoes, blackberries, green peppers and salad greens. The potted flowers for the most part did well, although a great deal of newly gained experience will come into play next year as I better tune the potted flowers to the changing rhythm of sunlight.

Front of House

June

Bee Balm

Bee Balm

Snow Frond

I took a lot of photos with secondary goals in mind. Photos of flowers lend themselves to being used to create color maps, masks, and I’ll use photos as source material for visual experiments.

Impatiens

Hydrangea; photo repurposed using CIF/FX in OSX.

Summer Blues

Model ship set in garden in April and photographed and then photo-manipulated.

Ship wrecked

Garden Ship Wreck

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Of Cats & Flowers

Cat Thought

Kliban

Sonny Watching

Sonny on top shelf of records

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right
forefoot

carefully
then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flower pot

Poem (As the cat) by William Carlos Williams

Blue Petunia

Petunias rock.

Kizzy & Soony

Kizzy & Sonny, hangin’ out

 

 

Fire Lilly

Lillies also evoked some FX-driven visual experiments.

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Sathima Bea Benjamin 1936-2013, African Songbird

Sathima Bea benjamin

After negotiating a very short hallway, Abdullah Ibrahim and Sathima Bea Benjamin‘s suite at the Chelsea Hotel opened up to a living room with a window, and off to the left a small table mediated the entryway to the small kitchen.

Several times, while waiting for Abdullah Ibrahim to return or (other times)  materialize through a doorway on the other side of the main room, I would take tea with Sathima Bea Benjamin at this table. We chatted. I would attempt to inspire her to go on at length about any subject whatsoever because I loved the sound of her lilting, singer’s voice, I loved the way her eyes would sparkle, and, I loved her light and easy consciousness. In a way, those moments constituted some of the most beautiful experiences of waiting I ever experienced.

Sathima Bea Benjamin passed away over night on Tuesday in Cape Town, South Africa. (Article by Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen) (Wikipedia)

I have a handful of diamond-like memories (from 1987-1990,) yet the main thing for me was how deeply magnanimous and optimistic was Sathima. (She once said, after I was recounted some jejune story about crappy characters in the music business, “Remember, they’re God’s Children too.”) She was very warm and welcoming and possessed an unforgettable vibe. Thank you Sathima for those precious moments hanging out.

Another memory etched in my mind is of Sathima and Tsidi, her daughter–today, the gifted storyteller and rapper Jean Grae–getting ready to go shopping. I remember Sathima spelling out the parameters and plan. I also remember everybody getting dressed up and then, with Sathima and her sister in the crowd, everybody going out ‘after hours, African style’ in NYC. Either the drummer Brian Abrahams or family friend Camara told me that evening, ‘Everybody loves Sathima.’

I saw her perform once, at Town Hall in NYC in, I believe, 1989. Town Hall was not an intimate enough space, although the concert was fine. Sathima, no doubt the finest jazz-flavored singer Africa has produced so far, struck me as being very close in vibration to Abby Lincoln, whom I would call her American counterpart. Their outstanding, shared qualities were the tremendous vulnerability and intimacy and unalloyed ‘heartfeltedness’ they achieved in opening up their humanity, and setting in their distinctive ways utterly direct communiques upon honest wings of song.

Sathima’s artistry was completely grounded in Africa at the same time she inhabited the American songbook. Again, She was in complete sympathy with the profound conjunction of words with music. When Sathima sang a standard she transformed it into universal spiritual soul music. Her own music crystalized this integration.

Over at the noguts noglory, I have set down some fantastic resources to help people dip into the deep well of Sathima Bea Benjamin’s music. Fifty years have passed since she made the Paris session with Duke Ellington. The most startling situation was that Sathima was celebrated in Cape Town in a series of performances in mid-July. As Matsuli Matthew Temple writes, this turned out to be her swan song.

Sathima, Peace Be With You (resources and music at noguts noglory blog)

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Nashville

elvis2-nashville

NAshville-Bebos

Susan is in Nashville for work. She said she would send me photos that I might dig. Thanks, honey! These are cool.

Here’s Connie Britton and Charlie Esten performing as themselves in a sweet meta moment touching upon their network, shy-of-a-hit, show, Nashville.

The TV show is an hour long grown-up soap set in Music City. It’s interpersonal dramas touch upon romance and career jostling in the country music business, so it counts as the first prime time drama about the music business. When anybody in its cast sings, all is good. Connie Britton, playing a veteran country super star, Rayna James, turns out to be a serviceable singer and her stage presence is stellar. Clare Bowen, who plays Scarlet O’Connor, is a find. We already knew Hayden Panettiere, who plays a Miranda Lambert type, Juliette Barnes, can sing. The female songbirds are balanced out by handsome crooning male counterparts. When people sing, I dig Nashville.

When almost anything else happens, I’m reminded how needlessly horrible the show is, how ludicrous is its treatment of the music business, and how wasted are its cast members. Britton obviously is one of the most appealing and most charismatic of all current TV stars. The show is well acted even if the scripts are humorless and the pacing is painful. In the new season, I hope the new showrunners give some velocity to much better dialogue. This could make one of prime time’s sexiest and songful hours shoot up the charts.

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The First and Last Surfing Video of This Summer

Theatre of Sport: Bali from SURFING Magazine on Vimeo.

Hey, while surfing Vimeo…

In prior posts. (here and here,) I tell of my very brief surfing moments during the summers of 1968 and 1969.

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Roses

Rose-8

Roses-1

roses

Roses-3

Our new neighbor on the south side asked me over the fence why I liked to garden and I told her it’s not appreciably less absorbing than the sonic and visual worlds of creativity I’m devoted to. The new landscape is rough in spots and my vision is rustic, but my big advantage is that the previous owner also loved to garden. Thank you Eleanor.

Her house’s back yard has five rose bushed tucked by the crab apple tree. The one highlighted in these pictures has sixty plus blossoms. In March I cut the roses back just a tiny bit. I don’t know anything about roses. My late mother abandoned rose gardening because it was so hard to figure out how to meet the numerous challenges from blight to bug. Obviously, our rose bushes are healthy. Bless ‘em.

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Screening Needs

Maslow's Internet Needs

 

Ummm, cats.

Last May, when Sonny, our male cat, was five months old and a lithe leaper, I constructed a video and posted it to youtube. Since then 62 people have viewed the video. Thank you. I did my part. The video did not go viral.

Sonny, grown-up, apparently.

Sonny 14 months

Yeah, now he’s a big lad; 15lbs. He cannot really elevate like he used to be able to do, but when he gets up a head of steam he can get himself up five feet. As always, he doesn’t stick the landing as much as try to wrestle his ‘touch-down’ momentum back down to zero.

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Crawling Into 2013

Krar-at-home

It’s six weeks after our move, and I’m sensing in myself small urges to publish stuff on the Explorations Blog. Probably, on some morning in the near future, I will climb the stairs into the new third floor studio-in-progress, sit down at the screen, and, keep this endeavor lurching into the new year.

It is likely that there will be a “flurry” of activity.

For the moment, I am ticking off tasks on the formidable master list, re-acclimating to the demands of home ownership, printing and framing the results of visual experiments (and littering our fresh walls with these,) and, building strength to set up shelving and unbox the darn music collection.

I’ll have something to express about our finding a kome almost exactly one mile from the house I group up in between zero-seven years of age in good ol’ Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

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Now Returning to Our Irregularly Scheduled Programming

Kizzy

Kizzy. Looking over the wash of posts oriented to the recently past political season, and the interjections of Freeplay Softball reports and a few postings of my art, I see right away the points of emphasis will soon be shifting. I don’t plan much out, still, I’ve been collecting teaching cartoons, and interesting captures from the web tubes, and, other stuff, while I neglect packing up for the big move into the new house–except I’m remaining behind in important respects until the current house is sold!

Sassy

Sassy.

People who know me well might find it amusing to learn my preoccupations aren’t throwing me all about as they usually do. Ironically, the research project into Strategic Serendipity is on hold just as the whole field blows up on the breath of several best-selling, albeit non-technical, treatments of the subject.

Occupy Me.

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Phew!

Basement Before and After

Before packing up 18,000+ records and discs, and, after emptying out the basement record library, prior to the excellent Pure-O-Clean coming in to remove the Pergo. I’m still sorting out the damage from the August water tank leak. It is what it is.

 

 

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Water Heater & More Hiatus

record-collection-mini-flood

In fairly short order between August 6 and 17th, first the apple tree’s main limb parted ways with the trunk and fell five or so feet onto the garage roof, and ten days later the water tank for the upstair’s suite sprang a leak and over forty-five minutes several hundred gallons poured on the floor and migrated over to the music library.

Luckily, I was home at the time. It could have been worse. The bottom rows of vinyl records actually served as a dam and prevented the water from reaching the walls. A laminate floor was destroyed, and a lot of vintage record covers were trashed too.

…trivial problems in the scheme of things. My blogging activity is going to be even more reduced as I manage some repair and insurance situations, and figure out with Susan where we’re going to move to in–most likely–Cleveland Heights later in the fall.

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Mystery of Dad

Crede Calhoun & Son Tim 1954

This photo of my dad holding my twin brother Timothy likely taken close to the day we came home after a little incubation at the beginning of 1954 surely has a companion picture with yours truly in the same position.

I couldn’t find it. Going through family pictures today I quickly realized my dad is the one taking almost every picture. I didn’t find any pictures with us both in the frame.

When I think of my dad, I reflect on a number of amusing incidents, and, in reflecting on myself and my endowment, consider the several ways I am much like my father, besides sharing his perfect Calhoun nose. I’m grateful for the positive aspects, and so I’m thankful for being intelligent, charming, fearless, and, until recently, for replicating to a great extent his tidy, athletic physical stature.

On the other hand, I am really quite different too, and count my lucky stars I’m not messianic or a warrior, not quick to anger, and not enthusiastically certain about very much. That I’m not like him in these ways are the highlights of my opposing compensation.

There aren’t pictures of us together after a specific point because I finally begged off being trained into a crew member–sailboat racer–and so after 1967, my dad left me alone. Scroll ahead twenty-six years. He’s sixty-nine and I’m thirty-nine. He and I are sitting in his home office–I had returned to Cleveland the year before after eighteen years elsewhere–and he’s asked me what I’m interested in, only to answer,

“Psychology is crap, Stephen.”

Nevertheless, he and I spent some quality moments together in what turned out to be the last decade of his life, and I guess I forgot to say we both possessed an often puerile and bawdy wit. So, we laughed together a bunch.

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(poems) Tim Calhoun – The Foretopman’s Vision; No Way Out

Tim Calhoun 1984

Tim and his son jesse, circa 1984

The Foretopman’s Vision

I don’t know who they are–
those two with arms
paddling through a sea of drifting wheat,

I’ve forgotten
how love tacks
against the course of passion.

Their hands collapse on faces
like falling sails.
She arches over him
a human wave.

Then dusk-shadow of the barn’s rotting hull
covers them like a cloud
as they sink in deep
predatory gulls.

The wind beats my face A
making all these metal shrouds lonely swing.

Chants For the Root Cutter (1983; Burning Press, Cleveland)

No Way Out

In the far suburbs
when windows go black
and moon brings gauze
down to the rooftops,

while strangers cruise
listening for happenings
unable to sleep
because of neon,

I saw in a vision Theseus
lost and without his gold thread
running in backyards like a burglar
while in every bed

the minotaurs slept peacefully
knowing the maze had conquered.


In the aftermath of our mother’s passing, a lot of documentation comes to the surface. Well, we’ve been going into the archives.

My late brother was a father, poet, philosopher, communitarian, street prophet, Christian, lady’s man–this is my own reckoning with his personal hierarchy. He was a ‘vertical’ personality, and was so in almost–seemingly–reaction equal and opposite to my own horizontal personality. We were fraternal virgo twins.

As a poet he was prolific and self-critical, and it is now clear enough that his opus was created from 1971 until his death in 1993. His output is, today, residing in two crates and a collection of floppy discs. I didn’t live in Cleveland between 1974 and 1991, so I learned of his stature as an artist only upon returning, and this was just a small, brighter, part of the saddened learning.

Stephen and TimothyCalhoun (1958)

Stephen & Timothy - 1958

The Calhouns of Cleveland Ohio

Tim, Crede, Carol, Jean, Stephen

The only photo I’ve seen of the five of us, taken at my brother Crede and sister-law Carol’s wedding in July 1992.

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Salaam, mom

Jean S. Calhoun - Caileigh Raine Calhoun

Jean S. Calhoun, March 20-1927 – January 25, 2012 (with her granddaughter, Caileigh Raine Calhoun, daughter of my brother Crede and sister-in-law Carol)

With me holding her hand, streaming into the last seconds of a four month long, unwinding process, my mother passed away last Wednesday, at 1:00pm, and, did so in her home, as she had both wished and planned for.

There is a great deal I could say about my relationship with Jean, who I usually just called mom. I spent a great deal of quality time with her over the twenty years here in Cleveland, after I returned. We were both Fabian Social Democrats–although she would tell you she remained an “Adlai Stevenson Democrat,” whereas I would harken farther back to the 17th century and tell you I am a Digger. We managed to eat up great gobs of our time together in our lamentations on the state of current events; oh, and decrying also–whatever–year’s dashed Cleveland sports hope was then unfolding.

Even a neutral observer could pick out the extraordinary nature of our mother-son relations–for the simple reason that such an opportunity is likely to be realized when two fiercely intelligent, and curious, and sophisticated, sensibilities are set upon each other as friends in adulthood. (Then, you put in the time.) I had occasion many times to remind her I was like her, and was, like her father, self-taught and a lifelong student.

(Because the process of interpersonal knowing is one of a handful of subjects I am most focused on, and its procedures are enacted as a matter of course, almost everything else about my mom is in the context of the vigorous inquiry I waged over two decades.)

At the same time, it’s complicated too: we worked through a lot of our ‘stuff’ at the beginning (in the early nineties,) moved as a family through the suicide of my twin brother Tim, got through her first cancer year, went through other intense stuff. And: then there was the time I dropped by to visit on a whim and ended up saving her life. Our relationship was, for her, at exacting moments, bittersweet. I suppose it had to be so for one of us.

So, yup, it’s complicated, yet our relationship was complicated in the way poetry and music come to be deeply summed. This was very cool and the consequence is that I can access my mother’s sensibility by accessing her resonant facts, facts which remain easily found in myself.


This is the true joy in life being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. George Bernard Shaw

Speaking of Shaw, my mom sorted her own version of the hundred versions of the one religion, describing it to me one day as being, in the main, sensual and oceanic.


Jean Calhoun

My mom in 1952. Activist in the 'Constitutional Party' Project

Jean S. Calhoun, a trailblazing college administrator and educator, passed away at home after a short illness on Jan 25, 2012. Mrs. Calhoun was the first female Vice President of Case Western Reserve University, serving as Assistant Vice President of the University between 1974-1982. She finished her career as Associate Vice President For Academic Affairs, retiring in 1988 after being named the university’s first female Vice President Emerita.

She began her career as a teaching fellow at Western Reserve University, earning her masters in English there in 1959. Later she was a lecturer on the faculty of the English Department until 1966. At that point she served as a senior associate on The Heald Commission, and co-wrote and edited the final report that recommended the merger of Western Reserve University with Case Institute of Technology. From there, she became a special assistant at the new university, and later Assistant Dean, and then Vice Provost.

She graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College in 1948, after graduating as Valedictorian of Batavia High School in Batavia, New York.

She and her former husband moved to northeast Ohio in 1951. She was active in the humanities and libraries, and served on the Ohio Humanities Council from 1972-1979, including a term as its Chairperson between 1976-1979. She served on the board of the State Library of Ohio between 1985-1992, and served as Chairperson between 1986-1990. She was invited on several occasions to participate on the Grant Review Panel of the National Endowment of the Arts. She was an Advisory Trustee of the Cleveland Music School Settlement between 1979-1992.

After co-authoring the Final Report of the Heald Commission in 1967, Mrs. Calhoun contributed to various studies in the humanities, and she gave the Jennings Lecture in 1975 for Martha Holdings Jennings Foundation. In her retirement she wrote for Shaker Magazine, where she resided after 1977. She also published on a wide range of topics in CWRU, the alumni quarterly. She co-authored and edited The Library and Its Future on behalf of CWRU in 1989.

She traveled widely, and remained in special affinity with the country and people of Greece. A sportswoman, she loved golf and tennis. She was an optimistic enthusiast of the Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers. Retirement freed her to become a very fine chef and flower gardener. Above all she was a lifelong devotee of the arts and classical music. She was a decades-long patron and supporter of The Cleveland Orchestra and Musical Arts Association. (Stephen Calhoun)

Plain Dealer news story

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Foliage

Fall Foliage

Lovers of Truth- rise up!
Let us go toward heaven.
We have seen enough of this world,
It’s time to see another…

No, no- don’t stop here.
The gardens may flow with beauty
But let us go to the Gardner Himself.

Let us go,
Bowing to the ocean
like a raging torrent.

Let us go,
Riding upon the foaming waters
of the sea.

Let us travel from this desert of
Hunger and tears
To the feast of the newlyweds.

Let us change our expression
From one of saffron
To the blossoms of the Judas tree.

Our hearts beat fast
We tremble like leaves about to fall.
Let us become the immovable mountain.

There is no escape from pain for one in exile;
There is no escape from dust
For one who lives in a dustbowl.
Let us be like the birds of paradise,
That fly about drinking sweet water.

We are surrounded by the forms
of a formless creator.
Enough with these forms!
Let us go to the Formless One.

Love is our steady guide
On this road full of hardships.
Even if the king offers you his protection,
It is better to travel with the caravan.

We are the rain that falls upon
a leaky roof-
let us miss the holes
and fall smoothly down the spout.

We are crooked bows
With strings that run from our head to toes;
Soon we will be straight
like an arrow in flight.
We run like mice when we see a cat -
yet we are the lion’s roar.
Let us become that Lion.

Let our souls
mirror the love of our Master.
Let us go before Him
With a handful of gifts.

Now let us be silent
So that the Giver of Speech may speak.
Let us be silent
So we can hear Him calling us
Secretly in the night….

We are surrounded by the forms
Of a formless Creator.
Enough with these forms!
Let us go to the Formless One!

(version of Rumi by Coleman Barks)

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