Monday, January 27, 2014

Grammys Round-Up

Where do I begin?  The Grammys was a mixed bag of low moments, who cares moments, and high moments.  It started off with a bang with Beyonce, looking unbelievable in a revealing body suit, but yet tasteful and her husband Jay Z.  Don't love the song but a great way to begin the show.  LL Cool J as the emcee again is just fine.  He's on a CBS hit series NCIS: Los Angeles and has music credibility so perfect combination.  He's very safe and sweet.  Can I go back to the red carpet?  Madonna scared the piss out of me.  She has jumped the shark.  She looks so old and ridiculous.  Did you see her grill?  Really, Madonna?  You already got slammed about it wearing it the last time you went public with it.  Now, your son, David, says you owe him one for his birthday.  I think he's around 8.  Ugh!  She looks like a fool now.  Okay, I digressed.  Pharrell Williams chose a Smokey the Bear hat.  Why, Pharrell?  Why?  You are exceedingly talented and why choose to look so amusing.  It isn't fashion, it's silly.  Okay, the great and long lasting band Chicago performs and a producer thought bringing Robin Thicke into the mix was a good idea.  Chicago didn't and doesn't need Robin Thicke.  It was unnecessary for him to be up on the stage.  He needed to sit down and clearly his people are trying to reignite his fizzling popularity.  He needs a new song.  Social media all thought Robin Thicke should have sat his butt down. 

I have to admit something.  I don't have a clue who Charlie Wilson is.  He was honored earlier in 2013 and I don't know who he is and I am so uncomfortable with that.  I'm thinking if I heard a Gap Band song I might know him, but by name, not at all.  I also, do not get the DJ world.  I really don't.  What are DJ's creating?  Aren't they taking other people's music and remixing it or some such thing?  I just am not sure about it.  I am not saying it's too late to learn, but it has escaped me.  Those are my two big admissions.

Okay, maybe there's more.  I don't understand Pink and her rope acrobats.  It is phenomenal the control and strength but she can't possibly be singing live and doing that, can she?  AND, isn't it time to try a new schtick? She has done the acrobat routine before on awards shows.  I am completely mystified by Lorde.  I first heard the song on Ellen DeGeneres' show and though Ellen promoted the hell out of her and her song was #1 somewhere, I didn't think she sounded great.  I also have heard the song a million times since and it does get under your skin.  So, it's become a bit catchy, but to win a Grammy over Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Sara Bareilles, and Katy Perry???  And she won two awards.  She needs a makeover desperately, too.  I hate to judge by looks, but she is a teenager and looks old!  Fire her stylist immediately. 

I am one of those.  I will never be over The Beatles ever so to see Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr together was  fantastic.  I admit it.  I am desperate for any glimpse or glimmer of what was the greatest band of all time.  I loved Ringo singing Photograph and didn't realize until later that Peter Frampton was playing along side of him.  I'm old and I love it!  

Best acceptance speech: Jay Z hands down.  But where was JT?  I wish he would've said because Justin Timberlake is always at the music awards show. Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar performed Radioactive and I didn't realize that so much of the song had to be bleep.  I hate that.  I am not a fan of a lot of "bad" words in song.  I'm not. I don't like it no matter who does it.  I think it's unfortunate lyric writing.  So I didn't get into their performance at all.  

Bruno did win best pop vocal album which is so deserved.  The only thing about the Grammys is that I never understand what the categories are, but thrilled that Bruno walked away with a Grammy.  I think that's one of the best albums in years.  Do you think JT knew he wasn't winning so...?

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' song, Same Love, is fantastic.  The lyrics are deep and I am a big fan of Macklemore.  He may be the Bob Dylan of his generation. We shall see.  Queen Latifah came out on stage and they had 30 plus couples getting married right there in the aisle.  It was beautiful, deep, and moving though CBS couldn't go all the way.  The couples right down front were heterosexual couples instead of gay couples who were mixed in.  I would've liked the network and the producers to have not been afraid, particularly since it was during Same Love.  After that great moment, and it was, Madonna came out in a white tuxedo and cane looking really old and scary.  Anybody see Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?  

Okay, a few other magnificent combos:  Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Blake Shelton.  Country music royalty.  Carole King and Sara Bareilles was great.  A torch being passed?  They were beautiful together and you could tell that Sara Bareilles was thrilled to be singing with Carole King. That was a big highlight, but by far the best....Pharell Williams, Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers, and Stevie Wonder.  Only people of a certain age knew the riff to Le Freak, C'est Chic.  It was fantastic.  Stevie was great, the mystery of Daft Punk is intact.  Pharell came out in a different stupid hat.  Musically a great sequence.  

I guess, I'm done on the Grammys. I didn't touch on everything, but these had the most impact on my brain/heart.  Hope you watched and if you didn't, I hope this gave you a glimpse.  

Sidebars:  I hate that Citibank card commercial where the young daughter rushes up and says something like, "Daddy, my friends and I all want to go see Katy Perry, please, please, please."  And then he says, "well, your sister has to go too."  "Yippee."  And the father's adult friend asks to go, too.  Come on, whom are you kidding?  You can't get tickets.  I don't care what card you are using.  Tickets aren't available, so they are selling something so untrue.  I am calling them out on it.  Willie Nelson was featured on Bill Maher's show this past Friday.  He's such a delight and you can still catch the show before Friday.  Jay Leno on 60 Minutes.  Always been a fan, always took his "side," never understood the hate.  It was a good interview.  Seeing Mavis, his wife speak out for the first time was interesting.  Seeing his airplane hangar of vintage cars and motorcycles was something else.  That's what he spends his millions on.  Okay, that's it.  Temperatures in the 30's so I am going out.  Tomorrow 12 degrees.  Ugh!!  

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Big Thumbs Down

Mayor DiBlasio has been in office for 22 days.  He has "managed" two weather events.  I put manage in quotes because the winter storm that hit NYC this week was so mismanaged, it's unbelievable.  Maybe it's his Chris Christie moment.  The upper east side went to a complete standstill yesterday afternoon for hours.  People couldn't get around, couldn't get out of the city, couldn't move.  Friends had horror stories of ridiculous cab rides to nowhere with hefty meter amounts and still didn't get to their destination.  His campaign consisted of the "tale of two cities."  Maybe this is his payback to the people that didn't support him. Do you understand that we, the people, already are paying upwards of 50% in taxes with federal, state and city all in?  Running on a tax increase isn't a winning sentiment for many voters.  Mostly it doesn't go far because at a certain age, we become realistic, cynical, and pessimistic that anything happens the way our leaders campaign rhetoric goes.  

Mayor DiBlasio, if this is payback, you are wrong.  Whether you think it's fair or not fair that Manhattan gets plowed first, it is necessary.  Manhattan is the hub of this city.  This borough is the economic center of both New York City and the Country. Many people are here on vacation, work, go to school, and live. The island of Manhattan is the heartbeat of this city.  There are bridges and tunnels from top to bottom, east side and west side.  Deliveries need to be made.  We need access.  DiBlasio hasn't given any satisfactory answers.  He treated all five boroughs equal.  That is ridiculous.  It may be noble, but it's not practical.  Misplaced nobility.  He made the public school kids go to school today, but the transportation wasn't running smoothly. Less than 50% of the kids went to school today.  How did that work out, Bill?  

We are only on day 22 of the new Mayor's administration.  There is nothing yet that feels comforting or focussed.  We hear that the Mayor's wife, Chirlane McCray, wants an office and position.  If you want support, you better make her qualifications clear.  No one voted for her.  Oh, Bloomie, I really am missing you.  You definitely had your failings, but you were passionate and foreword thinking.  DiBlasio, I think you are more complicated than you want to appear.  A wolf in sheep's clothing?  I find him very unsettling and he needs to understand that his beliefs or BS has consequences.  And people, no one would be happier to be wrong.  I hope in a year I am singing his praises, but I am not feeling it at all. 

Sidebars:  A friend of mine has made me start watching the Wendy Williams Show.  He knew that I'd given up The View a few years ago and thought I might like her Hot Topics segment.  I must say, he may be right.  She's bright, funny, attractive, and authentic.  It's a one woman The View of yesteryear!  The Biggest Loser makeover episode was last night.  It's always astonishing.  The transformation is unbelievable.  They bring in Tim Gunn for fashion and Ken Pavis for hair.  I don't think Tim Gunn does as good a job as his reputation would lead me to believe.  They look great, but the clothes don't always fit perfectly.  Tonight is American Idol.  If you have tuned it out for awhile, maybe give it another try.  Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban are doing great!  The Polar Vortex is going to be here awhile.  Good luck to the Super Bowl.

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Monday, January 20, 2014


Oy, what a weekend.  Sitting through the AFC and NFC championships aged me plenty.  First game, great weather, mile high stadium...Broncos vs. Patriots.  Great game.  Good football.  Broncos came out on top.  A much more uneven game than expected by the bettors.  I was rooting for the Broncos. Can't root for the Patriots as long as Bill Belichek is the coach.  Can't do it.  Peyton Manning is NFL royalty and led his Broncos to a resounding victory.  Second up, the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle.  Much talk all week about the 12th man, which is great for he Seahawks but is irksome for the rest of us.  The 49ers got off to a quick start, but throughout the game the Seahawks came back.  The 49ers couldn't shake them.  Calls went to the Seahawks from beginning to end.  The 49ers had 3 serious injuries occur during the course of the game to the Seahawks 1.  It is a terribly violent sport.  The Seahawks roared back and prevailed to top the Niners in a literal bone crushing victory.  For me and "my people," it was a bitter pill to swallow.  Don't like losing.  Certainly don't like losing on questionable referee calls. So Super Bowl XLVIII is set.  The Broncos and the Seahawks.  No chance any Niner fan will be rooting for the Seahawks.  No one liked the outcome or the unsportsmanlike winners. Read that Seahawks fans were tossing things at a 49er that was being carried off the field.  Classy.  Let's go Broncos!!!!  May the media mayhem begin.

Did you hear the story about University of North Carolina?  They hired a learning specialist to help the basketball and football players.  Guess what she found out?  The majority of the players can't read at their age  level.  They are reading at elementary school level.  They are uneducated athletes.  They were accepted to the University for one reason and one reason alone.  They are there to win and bring the big money to the school.  Are the kids making money?  Are the kids getting an education?  Most of the players won't go on to make the millions that they are so hoping to make in the pros.  It's a very small percentage that go on.  They sidelined the learning specialist without pay while the University looks into her allegations.  Seriously?  No big surprise there.  I am guessing most big profitable athletic programs aren't concerned about the players education.  They don't like to use the word, but college athletes are more and more like indentured slaves.  The upside is all for the institution.  That the NCAA goes after individual players because they got a helping had from a booster is ridiculous.  Reggie Bush was wiped out of the annals of USC.  Just like that.  Though Jameis Winston who has been accused of rape goes on to fame and glory.  We are teaching the young people the worst set of values.  The worst.

Finally saw Dallas Buyers Club, August: Osage County, Captain Phillips, Twelve Years a Slave, and Nebraska.  Dallas Buyers Club...great, great, great, great.  Jared Leto's performance is nothing short of brilliant.  Truthful, real, and sensitive.  No stereotype. August: Osage County a comedy?  That's how they are marketing it.  Not a comedy in any way shape or form. Bleak, bleak, bleak.  Great acting. Captain Phillips...good, not great.  Best scene of the movie is the end.  Tom Hanks was so authentic.  Very moving. Twelve Years a Slave....I think that the people are selling it poorly. Everyone said how important it was to see it, but how brutal it was.  I don't agree with that.  I think it was incredibly valuable to see it.  The acting was first rate from everyone.  It was intense.  There was violence but nothing unexpected in a movie about slavery.  It was very moving.  The injustice throughout was painful and well highlighted, but with all that said, go see it.  Don't be afraid.  Nebraska is very slow and snoozy.  Do not be tired when you go.  Interesting performances.  Stacy Keach was a huge surprise.  The cinematography is beautiful.  After seeing August: Osage County and Nebraska, I can cross off many States that I never have to see.  Unless you are born there, no reason to go.

Sidebars: Justin Bieber has got to go away.  Just be gone.  Go back to Canada and get one with nature.  Maybe, just maybe, you can make a comeback in five years.  I don't want to hear anything more about your juvenile, ridiculous, criminal behavior.  The new young lady, Shameer Zamata, to grace Saturday Night Live is a welcome talent.  Long overdue and Lorne Michaels was shamed into searching for an African-American female to be part of the ensemble.  Seems to be a great pick.  Time will tell.  Drake hosted and was the musical guest.  I'd say 80% of his skits were pre-taped. I'm just saying.  It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. So, though it's a day off from school, banks are closed, and there's no mail, take a moment to look back and look forward.  There have been changes.  Are they enough?  My brain is going back on brain freeze.  Two words I wish I never heard in my lifetime and now have heard them twice in three weeks...Polar Vortex.  It's on its way to NYC.  Below freezing temperatures again in much of the northern United States.  Stay warm people.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Bronze Globes

The first awards show of the 2014 season has come and gone.  The Golden Globes my favorite event in all arts awards shows; this season seemed a little lackluster.  I'm not exactly sure why?  Could it be the sewage laden red carpet accident before they started?  Was that foreshadowing of things to come?  First up, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler opening the show with a fantastic dialogue.  They were beautiful, smart, funny, and refreshing.  Okay, great start, right?  Then first award goes to Jennifer Lawrence for best supporting actress for American Hustle.  Love her, love her, love her.  She can do no wrong.  Second, Jacqueline Bisset won for best actress in a mini-series, comedy, series or some such category for Dancing on the Edge on Starz.  Did anyone see it?  Does anyone get Starz?  Clearly, the producers didn't think she'd win.  Took her forever, and in TV time, that's two minutes or more to get to the stage.  It was ridiculous.  Once she got there, she could barely speak between the hike, the nerves, and the drink.  They gave her an unbelievable amount of time and though it was great to see her be honored after a 50 year career, her "speech" was a big fail.  Wanted a big hook and it was only the second award given.  

The producers of the Globes needed to check with the Vegas prognosticators.  Their seating chart was a huge miss this year.  Far too many winners had to maneuver and jog to get to the stage because they were seated so far away.  In all the years of watching, I've never seen or witnessed a worse seating chart for the winners.  They always sit the movie people in front and the television people in the back, but seriously?  Either they are selling too many seats or the event planners have no clue.  It was embarrassing.  

And to continue onto the production failures, never before did they need  somebody on the chyron machine more.  There were far too many female presenters that were not recognizable and if you missed the announcers introduction, you were out of luck.  The women presenters looked all the same, gorgeous, foreign/American, but indistinguishable and needed captions underneath.  There are a lot of actresses that are doing American accents in film and television, when they get on stage with their true voices, who the hell knows who they are?What would it hurt to have a quick chyron underneath as they stand chatting at the mike?  

I'm sure there was a reason Sean Combs was there, but he was tacky and narcissistic.  He came on stage with Usher and a very attractive brunette.  Needed the chyron.  Thrilled about Jon Voight, even though we didn't ever get to finish the season of Ray Donavan because of the Time Warner/CBS dispute.  Jon Voight was the best part of that series.  Couldn't have been happier about Matthew McConaghey and Jared Leto getting the Globe for each of their performances in Dallas Buyers Club.  What incredible performances and a very worthwhile story!  Amy Adams won for American Hustle.  She looked fantastic and though I didn't love the film, I did think the performances were all way above par.  Leonardo DiCaprio truly deserved his win for the "comedy" Wolf of Wall Street.  It's laughable what the Hollywood Foreign Press calls comedy....

The television awards escaped me for the most part.  As much as I watch TV, there are far too many shows using other avenues to air.  It's the future, but I'm not there yet.  Accessing Netlix and Amazon costs money, is not second nature and I'm sure many people can't even do it yet, but it's not slowing down productions.  I missed Breaking Bad.  Tried the first episode or two when it started and couldn't get into it.  Clearly, I missed out because it's the most binged watched series.  I am going to glom onto Brooklyn Nine Nine and see if I can get into that.  What a big night they had with the Andy Samberg win and the best comedy series!  It's easy to access; it's on Fox.  

So, all in all, it was a good night, but definitely not the best Golden Globes show.  If it weren't for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, it would have been a big fail from years past.  There's still time to catch up on all the movies you haven't had time for.  

Sidebars:  Stories to watch for in the sports pages....The Seattle Seahawks intentionally blocking California residences from buying tickets to the Seahwaks/49ers NFC championship game. How is that possible?  How can the NFL tolerate that?  The San Jose Mercury News is all over this story.  California readers, please keep me in the loop.  Figure skating national championships held this weekend to determine who will be representing the USA in Sochi.  For the first time, the skating committee isn't taking the first, second, and third place finishers.  They dumped the third place for the fourth place.  Shocking.  Disgraceful.  Their right for some reason.  Chris Christie has really stepped in it.  There are so many investigations for so many things that this story will keep us going for months. Episodes began last night for its second season.  The Good Wife is without doubt trying my patience and commitment to watching. The Bachelor and The Blacklist tonight.  

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Thank you, Thank you, Governor Christie!

Nothing picks up the doldrums than a political scandal.  If you don't live in the New York City tri-State area, we have a situation here that rose to the surface this week.  Higher ups in Governor Christie's administration in New Jersey have been exposed to have manipulated the traffic pattern to basically shut down the George Washington Bridge.  There were four days of unbearable gridlock in September.  Shutdown the town of Fort Lee, New Jersey.  Emergency vehicles were slowed.  Children were late for school.  Commuters suffered for hours idling in their cars.  Why did this happen?  Well, lo and behold, emails surfaced.  My favorite combination of words. Emails surfaced.  Chris Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff had ordered/discussed that it was time for payback to the Mayor of Fort Lee.  Mayor Sokolich, a Democrat, wasn't backing Chris Christie in his re-election, so retribution.  Ka-pow!  The people in and around Fort Lee paid dearly for the Christie administration's revenge.  Bam!

Now, at the time, no one seemed to question the shutdown. It was shocking, aggravating, and painful, but everyone believed the Jersey Port Authority's pronouncement that there were dangerous conditions on the bridge that needed repair.  It was an emergency.  Trust.  Now, the trust has been broken.  The one thing that Governor Christie had that other politicians didn't was integrity.  He crossed party lines, but what we didn't know is that line has an albatross around it.  He stood up in front of reporters for two hours apologizing and saying he knew nothing, he saw nothing, people lied to him, he fired his Deputy Chief of Staff, what more could he do?  Well, Governor Christie, what it shows is, yet again, things aren't as they seem.  Whether we find out if he knew or not, the shine is off the big guy.  How could he hire people that would be so "evil" to their own constituents.  After a record landslide re-election, what else will we find out? This story has legs.  There are thousands of pages still to be combed through.  Here's the thing, if the administration was green lighting retribution to politicians that didn't support the Christie re-election, what did the administration give to those that did support their efforts?  There's no way that there aren't more stories to be told, more facts to be found, more depositions to be taken.  

A Republican pundit yesterday said that the liberal media won't let this story die.  The liberal media will be all over this like a dog to a bone.  Seriously?  As if the right-wing media wouldn't have glommed onto this story until there was nothing left to chew....Hypocrisy, again.  Speaking of clay feet....There are reports all over that Mayor DiBlasio is banning the horse and carriage rides as his first big policy change. As I've made clear, I hate that decision and does seem absurd that he chose this as priority.  Lo and behold, again, it isn't as it seems ever.  There is always another side to this.  A big campaign contributor is a real estate mogul and really wants the 68,000 square foot stable land that houses the horses.  Ah-ha.  So, everyone has an angle.  The left and right media would do the people a favor if they would discuss both sides of every issue.  There are facts.  It's not just opinions.  I hope I am wrong about DiBlasio, but he seems smarmy and fake to me.  I really hope I am wrong, but this doesn't help.  

So, here we are again, politicians being less than we want or expect.  Money is ruining our politics and government.  Did you read that some ridiculous percentage, like 75%, of former government workers (politicians) crossover into the private sector to become stinking rich.  Disgraceful.  If that's the case, they don't need all their lifelong benefits that they so richly don't deserve.  Okay, okay, enough.  But Governor Christie, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I love this story.  I love this scandal.  

Sidebars:  Oh, my.  As I have bemoaned before, Sunday nights have become the hotbed for television shows.  There are too many things on that mean that there aren't enough DVR's to cover it all.  First and foremost, this Sunday my absolute person favorite...The Golden Globes.  Without doubt, the best Awards show of all!!  Movie stars, television stars and booze! Great combination.  They are relaxed, not uptight, and you never know what may happen.  Downton Abbey episode two Sunday night.  The Good Wife, The Mentalist, Revenge, new show: True Detectives on HBO, and so much more.  That's just what I know from my memory.  There's a famine on other nights.  Don't know why they pile on on Sunday Nights.  Saw the Wolf of Wall Street.  I give it a thumbs up, but I would have to warn anyone about all the degrading, misogynistic  portrayals of women.  They are all sex objects except maybe one minor role.  The amount of sex and drugs is repetitive, but it is still worth the 3 hours.  Just be prepared and if your teenage/young adults see it, maybe have a conversation about it.  I wouldn't see it with them, personally.  We are out of the polar vortex.  Who would've thought we'd be cheering at 25 degrees?  It's the weekend.  Take a moment for yourself.  TGIF.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Frozen Tundra 2014

Oh, my goodness.  It is freezing.  It is below normal temperatures in parts of all States except Hawaii.  Seriously?  It's just January 7, 2014 and weather has wreaked havoc on airports, trains, cars, pedestrians, etc. Not to make this political, but anyone noticing the huge temperature swings?  We dropped 50 degrees in a day.  We hit 55 yesterday, today record breaking 5 degrees.  We are not alone but that is little comfort.  If we can't turn to our legislators to help, what are we to do?  It's ridiculous, outrageous, and irresponsible. Pass regulations and laws to err on the side of caution.  Err on the side that scientists may be right to you naysayers,  just in case....

The other group that should be slapped silly...the NFL.  Seriously, Roger Goodell all you hear is how dangerous it is outside and stay in doors. So what does the NFL do?  They schedule the indoor game, Kansas City at Indianapolis first on Saturday, and the outdoor game second...New Orleans at Philadelphia with 18 degree temperatures.  Then not to be outdone, Sunday the first game was San Diego at Cincinnati and the late game was San Francisco at Green Bay where the temperatures were hovering around 3 degrees with -15 wind chill.  The NFL knew far enough in advance that they could've flipped the games for the safety of players and patrons, but no.  The NFL went for ratings bonanzas rather than the well being of all.  Just a disgrace.  Also, so ridiculous that the players had to be macho and not where Under Armour.  Most of the 49ers wore their short sleeves, even though the team travelled with more than 2500 extra pieces of clothing for the game.  So silly.  The 49ers and Packers got over 49million viewers, the most watched show since last year's Super Bowl.  The freezing temperatures definitely boosted those numbers so the NFL and Fox were big recipients of the climate change. 

Sidebars: I got so off course with the football stuff, but honestly, it has been a very tough beginning to 2014.  I am sure that I will ruminate more about that another day.  The highlights since the beginning of the year:  Niners are still in the playoffs, Downton Abbey began its 4th season, new episodes of The Good Wife, Revenge, The Mentalist.  Downton Abbey never disappoints.  Maggie Smith always stellar.  Startlingly moving. The Good Wife is so bizarre and uneven.  WTF? Peter Bogdonavich.  Completely random and nonsensical.  Can't imagine it gets flushed out; just someone's private joke? I can't go without a nod to the 18th season of The Bachelor.  Juan Pablo is perhaps the hottest and nicest Bachelor ever.  Ladies, a tip, don't cry the first night.  When will you learn?  Though I may be able to give it up, it is cherished bonding time with my daughter.  Not many more seasons until college....Before my keypad and fingers freeze in place, I will sign off.  Again, looking forward to many interesting conversations for 2014. Stay tuned.

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