Showing posts with label Sharing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sharing. Show all posts

September 11, 2019

Family and Friends

So I heard this interesting saying yesterday, which goes like this:
Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother that is far off.

I looked it up and saw that it is actually from Proverbs 27:10.

Thinking about it a little, I understand that obviously people that are close by can more easily be there and help one another than someone else who is far away. 

At the same time, I always learned growing up that:
Blood is thicker than water.
Family is family, and friends are friends.  Family is forever, but friends can come and go. 

Yet you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. 

There are some friends that go back decades to childhood and they are almost like family. 

Also, there are sometimes family that are disassociated or even "black sheep" of the family. 

I guess in the end what's most important is how we feel about each other, treat each other, and are there for each other.  

Whatever the designation--family or friends--we need each other.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 3, 2019

Relax, It's Just Sex

Just thought this was a really funny-sad display in the window of this store in Tel Aviv. 

It says:
Relex It's Just Sex
Forget that Relax is spelled wrong. 

But advertising for sexual items in such a casual way...like it's sex and what's the big deal.

Maybe I am old school, where sex actually meant a deep personal relationship and emotional intimacy. 

...Where you partner was also your spouse and best friend.

Now--unfortunately--it's just sex!

I think as a society that we have lost something here. 

...Something important. 

If it's just sex, and it's just with anyone, then what does that leave for us with that someone truly special in our lives? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 5, 2019

Why We Chase Love

Being a heart alone in this world is very lonely, indeed. 

Chasing another heart, so that we can pair together makes two less lonely hearts.

Two hearts that beat as one making beautiful music together. 

When the hearts are in harmony, we sway and are uplifted flying away into the heavens.  

And when the music is discordant, we are forced to retune and to grow wings that we never even knew we had. 

Hearts that complement each other, help us face the questions we often fear to ask ourselves. 

When these hearts meet, they touch so gently, and like silk they dance a perfect dance.  

What is meaningless alone is all of a sudden meaningful with another. 

What is too painful to bear by oneself is manageable when shared between two. 

And what is joyful is magnified in sweetness when there is someone else to enjoy it with. 

One heart chases another until they embrace that long blissful embrace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 10, 2018

Synagogue, To Laugh And To Cry

So I am learning that synagogue is more than a place to worship G-d. 

It is a place of and for the people to express their full range of emotions. 

Frankly, I think it is a place for people to laugh and to cry. 

Rarely, a week goes by when not one or both of these emotions/actions happen. 

Yes, we cry out to G-d in supplication and also are joyous in his holy majesty and presence. 

But more than that, as a community, we come together to share of our week and ourselves with each other. 

One one hand, we laugh with each other at the funny and ridiculous things that happen to us and at the joy we feel for the blessings that G-d bestows on us daily. 

On the other, we cry on each other's shoulders at the pain and loss that we (G-d forbid) at times must face and endure in the face of illness, evil, and tragedy.

Just today, both things happened in the synagogue and my heart was at one time uplifted with gladness and then at another greatly saddened with the hurt shared--occurrences of each in just a short span of time. 

Yes, we laugh and we cry together--alone, it is at once empty and at the other unbearable. 

We need to support each other; there is no other way that is not extreme madness. 

Put your arms around another to embrace them in great happiness and to let them cry mightily on your shoulder. 

Sharing with each other at our houses of worship--that is how we show G-d that we are bound to Him and to each others' souls--all children of G-d trying to make it together to the next service. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 18, 2018

Together 4Ever

In elementary school, the children sing about love and romance. 

"The spades go.
Two lips together.
Twilight forever. 
Bring back my love to me."

When 2 people are together, it's as if the angels in heaven themselves are dancing and singing. 

Love seems to make everything in the world right again. 

Recently, an old person from my building lost his wife of over 60 years!

I see him around and while he continues to go about doing his everyday things, I can see that he misses his wife so much. 

He is broken, and his strength is gone. 

I remember my grandfather and father the same way when they lost my grandmother and mother, respectively. 

Completely devastating to them--their wives were their lives and what made them complete-- afterward, they were never really the same. 

Our companions are truly our other halves. 

When someone asked the old man from my building how he was doing late last week, he simply responded:
"I'm getting along the best that I can."

He said it was such sadness and loneliness for his wife who passed that his words literally cut right through me. 

People need each other--no one is an island--and especially loving couples who have been together for decades and decades--they are for each other and with each other, even if "together forever" is just a song that children sing...it is what we all ultimately wish for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 4, 2017

Wow 4th of July Flowers

Wow, these flowers were made for 4th of July, right?

How amazing that G-d (maybe with some man adjustments) made these beautiful red, white, and blue flowers--all-in-one! 

Go USA!

It's truly fantastic to have independence, freedom, human rights, democracy.

We have so much to be grateful for. 

And there is so much that the world can learn and benefit from America.

We're not perfect--nobody and nothing (but G-d) is. 

But we stand for some really amazing things--and these values are worth sharing and defending. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 18, 2017

Classified Nuts

Something about this advertisement seemed perfect for this week:

"I didn't realize these nuts were classified."

So said the chipmunk.

This was posted the same week that intelligence about ISIS was shared with the Russians from the oval office.

The Prez is entitled to share whatever he wants and maybe he didn't realize "these nuts were classified." 

My bet is this was all sort of innocent, but either way we don't want to jeopardize critical intel sources and methods in our fight against our enemies and terror. 

It's their nuts that should be on the line and not ours. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 7, 2017

Sharing The Loaf

So I am continuing to learn so much about who is good and who is not so good. 

Some people are literally so amazing--giving and caring of others--if they literally have just a single loaf of bread, they will share that willingly with others.

- Their perspective in grounded in a faith that whatever they have, they see it as a gift from G-d and it is only given to them as an opportunity to do good with it. 

Then there are others that no matter how much they seem have--and it could be millions of $$$--yet they still can't stand to see others with even half a mouthful of bread.

- In their narcissistic view, what's theirs is exceedingly and deservingly theirs, and what's yours, they believe should also be theirs!

Yet sometimes we misjudge people out of fear or just not knowing enough about them.

We don't know which category they fall into. 

Will they give you the shirt off their back or would they rip the shirt off you blind?

These are some of the challenges we face when confronting others in this scary world of souls being perfected and those that are still all too sullied. 

But the righteous will inherit the earth and more importantly, the Heavens...because the truth becomes known and is always absolutely clear to The One Above--and the evil ones, they will wither and die. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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February 5, 2017

Kiss One Another Day

So with all the divisiveness and hate in this country (and the world) lately...

I thought we need a day to celebrate, accept, and love each other.

Let's call it: 
National Kiss Day!

Liberals and Democrats - give each other a kiss.

Christians, Jews, and Muslims - give each other a kiss. 

Men and women - give each other a kiss. 

Straight and LGBTQ - give each other a kiss.

Old, middle age, and young - give each other a kiss. 

White, black, yellow, and brown - give each other a kiss. 

Races and nationalities of all kinds - give each other a kiss.

Those with and without illnesses and disabilities - give each other a kiss. 

We are all G-d's children, so it's time to stop the crazy hate and fighting.

Love each other, work together to advance the world for everyone, and give each other a big, fat, heartfelt kiss - and maybe we can make the day into a lifetime!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 1, 2016

The Unmarried

So I know like everything, marriage is a choice. 

But more and more people are choosing to be unmarried. 

Today, in the Wall Street Journal, 48% (almost half) of American eligible voters are unmarried. 

And almost 40% of births are to unmarried couples. 

The average age for getting married for women is 27 and for men 29.

While of course, it is tough to find (and keep) your soulmate and a lot of it has to do with mazel, it seems like there is not enough appreciation for marriage. 

Everyone who is or has been married, I am sure, has had their share of disagreements and fights with their "better half," and certainly some abusive and cheating relationships are way better off undone!

But for the most part, I believe that life is greater and fuller with someone special to share it with, and it is part of our learning and growth to couple, care, give, and love. 

I remember when my Opa (grandfather) lost my Oma (grandmother) and when my dad lost my mom and those where some of the most heart wrenching traumas, I think I have ever witnessed. 

"What G-d has joined together, let no man break apart." 

When I got married, the Rabbi blessed us that we should be Ra'im A'huvim or best friends, and that is a very beautiful blessing to have. 

My advice is to try it and hopefully like (or love) it--I think it's worth even all the I Love Lucy moments.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 27, 2016

Coupling, The Beauty Of

So just a couple of birds, right?

Not to me!

There were a number of reminders to me today about how special and fortunate it is for any of us to be with someone we love.

It's not just that two heads are better than one. 

Pretty much, everything is better with a partner who looks back at us and smiles. 

We magnify the joy and we share the sorrow, together.

What my dad used to call my mom, his "better half!"

What we are lacking in, often our soulmate can fill in the blank. 

And planning and executing is as a team, rather than flying solo. 

There is someone who keeps our lofty ideas in check and at the same time challenges us when it's time to think bigger. 

We learn from the other person, at the same time that we teach them maybe a little thing or two from our repertoire. 

Strategically, divide and conquer makes everything from routine tasks to complex projects easier to achieve, especially when we agree on the goal and the approach. 

Even the "occasional" disagreements and fights helps us to learn to control our temperament and to work things out or when to take a break and think things through afresh. 

Someone to reach out to.

Someone to hold unto. 

Someone to caress.

Someone to buttress. 

Someone who makes us a better person than the one we see in the mirror naked and mortal. 

Like 2 by 2 in Noah's Ark or in the birds and the bees, we are committed to that special someone. 

The Bat Kol calls out "so and so shall be married to so and so" like only the L-rd in heaven can decree from the rib of man to the flesh of a women. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 28, 2015

Indians and Palestinians

September 4, 1886, Geronimo, the last American Indian warrior surrenders to the United States and later after some time in prison, Geronimo converts and becomes a successful farmer. 

November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly votes 33-13 in favor of a partition from what was land prior under the control of Britain leading to the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948 at which time the surrounding Arab nations attacked and were defeated, and this replayed many times in 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 and subsequent Intifadas.

Recently, I had a conversation with a lady who is a Lacota Indian and who happens to be a proud supporter of the State of Israel.

This is what she told me: 

"The Indians and Palestinians have a lot in common in that we both have to share land."

But, what is different is that we [American Indians] don't act like some [extremist] Palestinians teaching endless cycles of hatred and violence.

We don't go around knifing people, throwing stones, shooting, or blowing people up."

I had understood many people think this, but I had never heard anyone actually come out and say it--let alone a Native American Indian. 

Even now-a-days, I think we must admit that American Indians live in a challenging state in this country and certainly they deserve more and their standard of living should be vastly improved, but at the same time, they manage to live with all the immigrants that came to the United States from all over the world, and they do this in peace.  

Perhaps, in Israel, where there is tacit agreement towards an even better scenario--a two-state solution--with the real potential of peace, prosperity, and security for both Jews and Palestinians--the cycle of hatred and violence can end and should end. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Maryland GovPics) 

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July 28, 2015

When Your Pants Are Down

Yesterday in the news was how a drone was used to fly over and take pictures at a nude beach

So at a nude beach, even those that advertise privacy protections, let's face it your walking around in the buff. But still, the use of the drone with a camera was a violation of people's expectations not to be photographed and by those outside the facility.


And about a week earlier, a five year old finds a camera phone in the lady's bathroom in a Starbucks


Yesteday, I had a similar lesson about people's warped sensibilities or perversions (but without the drone or smartphone--this was the low tech version). 


I'm at the pool for a swim after work. 


There are 2 locker rooms for men and women, of course.


But at one point, I see this LADY get out of the pool and head straight for the MEN'S locker room--she actually proceeds to go in one side--through and past the bathrooms, showers, sauna, and lockers--and out the other side to exit the facility. 


So trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, when I get out of the pool, thinking maybe the locker room wasn't clearly marked, I check it--and there is a big sign with a picture (the symbol for men) and you couldn't miss it!


Also, this lady was clearly not new as she gestured a friendly hello to the lifeguard, and she wasn't the slightest bit confused (she had actually made some small talk with me in the pool)   


When she left, as she headed into the men's room, she didn't hesitate, knock on the door or anything, and obviously didn't care whether anyone was in there--dressed or naked.


Perhaps, because the men's locker room is closer to the exit, she was just taking a shortcut--for her, how convenient!


Then again maybe she was a true perv and this was her way of getting some cheap thrills regardless of other people's right to privacy and safety, including those of children. 


In a sense, this is more than just about generalized privacy (such as with information), but even extends to your very privates!


We live in an age when it is a balancing act between sharing and privacy, between openness and modesty, and between doing what's right and pure self-gratification. 


Unfortunately, to put in bluntly, some people just don't seem to give a sh*t about respect for other people's decency or rights, and they will do what they want regardless of the social balancing act or the necessity to use common sense good judgement in public and private.  


The lesson is that when your pants are down, as creepy as it sounds, it's best to assume that someone is always looking or at least may be on the prowl, so be careful out there. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 10, 2015

Helpless And Helping

The following is all true.

So I dreamed last night a scary dream...

I was lying prone in a horizontal but bent position.

My clothes were tattered rags and my legs bare.

I could see my legs, but could not move them--at all. 

The bottom of the legs by the ankles were completely skinny, diseased and bright sore red (like burnt), and the skin was falling off them.

I knew I was in immense pain, but could not feel anything.

My legs completely useless, in hopelessness, I looked upward and called out:

"Father! Father! Father!" 

I was looking for my dad (who I know deeply loved me and vice versa), and hoping for him to come and help me somehow. 

Then, my voice turned and called:

"Father that art in heaven" and repeated this again. 

I was turning to G-d as the only one who could help me when everything else was stripped away. 

Then I awoke, and I was very afraid and yet somehow comforted--I had turned heavenward and found G-d. 

Later this morning, I went to the pool for a swim and as part of my post surgery rehabilitation. 

As I was swimming, I saw an old somewhat hunchback lady come to the pool.

I recognized her from other days when she does a little self-defined exercise routine against the side of the pool. 

But today, her lane at the sides were taken. 

Seeing that she was upset and couldn't do her exercise in the center of the pool, I stopped swimming and went over to her.

I said, "Why don't you share with me (there is plenty of room)?"

She hesitated and I could see maybe she needed help getting under the swim rope that divides the lanes, so I lifted it for her and told her reassuringly, "It's no problem."

And then she went under and did her exercise thing--and we shared.

It was such a small thing for me, but yet I could see it was a big deal for her--she was old and I could tell that she needed her routine.

Sort of funny but, when I offered to help, I could practically here the angels of heaven let out a little song of joy--seriously, I did. 

And I thought to myself...Andy, you can learn!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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June 22, 2015

Self-Aware Graffiti Artist

So got to hand it to this graffiti artist. 

He/she is quite introspective. 

They wrote on this pole in D.C. "Writes his problems away!"

Thus, it's not just any old graffiti that often desecrates public or private property, but in this case it is an emotional and psychological catharsis for the artist.  

Sure when you write, you can express yourself and your feelings--you can think things through and work them out in your head. 

Also, you can share of yourself with others and influence them too. 

On the lamp pole, bus stop, or building wall--ah, not the best place to work these things out. 

But on paper or the computer, if you have something important to say, get it off your chest--go for it--and you can feel better too! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 5, 2015

Comfort In Mourning

While sitting in mourning (Shiva) for my dad (as previously I did just last year for my mom), people come and say the ancient Jewish words of comfort:

"May the Almighty comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem!"


The experience of sitting Shiva is humbling, being in mourning, sitting on a low stool, unshaven, and with torn garb, and reciting the words of the Kaddish (mourners prayer) out loud. 


"...May He who makes peace in the high places, grant [in his mercy] peace upon us, and upon all Israel, Amen."


But more than anything, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring from so many good people in the community. 


People have come to pray with me, tell me wonderful stories about my dad, and generally share with me in my mourning for him. 


I have been truly taken by the many people who have come both in good health, but also from people that were blind and with everything from broken arms to walking canes and to those who called thinking of me while they themselves are sick or even wheelchair-bound. 


People have shared their own stories of grief to let me know I wasn't alone, and they brought food so I definitely wouldn't be hungry. 


Others have told me how wonderful my dad was as a friend and in the community, how he made people smile and was always in good spirits (even perhaps when he had good reason not to be), and how he did so many good deeds (some that were known and many others that were not). 


I have been amazed how people stay not just for prayer services, but take the time to really talk to me, to give selflessly and generously, even from their own busy family and work lives and schedules. 


Some of the people I know from the community, some just knew my dad, but I realize how these good, giving people are really worth knowing as human beings--not because they were my dad's friends or gave to me at this time of mourning, but because they are truly spiritual people, who just desire to do some good in the world--like my dad who did this for others (and how he taught me all my life and especially as a child). 


I hope that this time of mourning is not just one of finding comfort and healing, but also a re-awakening of my own feelings for community, spirituality, and selflessness. 


I have much room for personal growth for myself, but also many role models around who have set the bar very high. Also, my dad has left some VERY big shoes for me to fill. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 6, 2014

Lock Or Peephole

So is that keyhole in privacy for a lock and key or as an exhibitionistic peephole?

The New York Times had an excellent article on this yesteday, called "We Want Privacy, but Can't Stop Sharing."

We are compelled to share online to demonstrate that we are:

- Important
- Interesting
- Credible
- Competent
- Thoughtful
- Trustworthy

The problem is when you inappropriately overshare online, you may leave youself little to properly disclose in building real-world intimate relationships in a normal give and take of "opening and closing boundaries."

Moreover, being like a lab rat or in a house of glass walls for all to watch indiscriminantly can leave us with feelings of "low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety."

Being under observation--even when it is voluntary--implies being open to judgement and this can drain us of our ability to be ourselves, creative, and take calculated risks.

We don't want to become too busy brushing our hair back and smiling for the camera and making everything (artificially) look like made for reality TV (e.g. Kardashian) perfection. 

The key to privacy is to disclose what needs to be shared, put a lock on what's personal, and not arbitrarily leave the peephole eyes wide open. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to g4ll4is)
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May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day To My Very Feminist Wife

Just want to wish my lovely wife a very happy Mother's Day. 

My wife is a big feminist!


She doesn't like to do too much cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. 


More for good 'ol hubby--me--to do.  


For example, today I am painting my daughter's room. 


I did the heavy lifting on this. 


Now my wife and daughter and doing the corners and touch up. 


Hey, it's all in a day's work for a modern-day husband. 


But I love my wife and family. 


Even if there's a little more for me to share in. ;-)


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

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December 25, 2013

The Lie Of The Open Workspace

There are so many workplace liars—the problem is many of them are experienced and good at selling you a bunch of malarkey.

Often, they tell you what they want, either to save the company money or to make themselves look innovative, but either way it’s inevitably at your cost. 

One of these lies is from chieftains that tell you’ll be better off working in an open workspace--i.e. thrown into a corporate bullpen.

Oh, by the way, vacate your office by Friday!

Sure there are a plethora of benefits to having common spaces to share ideas and open up communications—and these should be plentiful and stocked with comfy sofas, energy-inducing munchables, and ample white boards and tech gear to facilitate collaboration.

But when the pendulum swings all the way to the other side, and your personal office space become a hoteling situation, you know you are losing out to penny-pinching executives, who want to save on leasing office space, furniture, and the like in order to boost their personal bonuses at the end of the year. 

Just ask yourself:

- Do people need privacy to handle sensitive personnel, budget, contracting, and strategic planning and execution issues (as well as occasional family or personal issues—we are all human)?

- Do you need time to close the door for some quiet time to think, innovate, and catch up on work?

- Is there a genuine human need to have a place to put your work and personal things to be productive and comfortable?

The truth is that people need and deserve a balanced work environment—one where people can move healthily between closed and open spaces, individual work and teamwork, privacy and sharing, creativity and productivity, individualism and conformity, comfort and cost-savings. 

Anyone that tells you that people work better in a fully open environment where you have to book up a desk and computer is selling you on short-term organizational cost-savings at the expense of longer-term human capital satisfaction and productivity.

Next time, a “leader” tries to convince you of the merits of your not having a professional workspace, desk, computer, and so on—ask yourself whether you want to work in a Motel 6 every day or for a stable organization that values and invests in it people. 

An appropriate blended environment of open and closed work spaces, where it shows that you are empowered and valued is a career, and not just a job;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to epochgraphics)
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September 26, 2013

Social Networks--Online and At The Beach

There was a comical editorial in the Wall Street Journal about Social Networks. 

This guy, Farhad Manjoo, is addicted to Twitter. 

He writes: "I check it first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and about a billion times in between."

And he admits he doesn't understand his own addiction: "I've never been able to explain what I get out of Twitter, or exactly why I find it so enthralling."

Manjoo is afraid of what an IPO will do to Twitter--will they have to advertise more, become more like Facebook, favor pictures over text, lose it's strength in the area of breaking news--hopefully, he is referring to more than what he ate for breakfast!

People are spending inordinate amounts of time on social media--friending and following people they don't even know!

Perhaps, it's the fantasy--compliments of virtual reality on the Internet--of being associate--"friends" or "connected--with the rich, famous, powerful, and wise or with the kids who would beat us up in the schoolyard only years earlier. 

Online--we're all sort of friends, aren't we? 

Our avatars or online profiles don't differentiate much between those we really like or not--we are free to pretty much follow anyone, anytime--unless they block you because you are annoying!

Virtual reality in social media--perhaps the great equalizer--the freedom fighters in the Middle East can post videos of the Sarin attacks as easily as the President can post his inaugural message. 

The material is there and free for the ingest by everyone.

Social media has a purpose in bringing us together and spreading the word, videos, and pictures of the times--it make the big world smaller for us to get our arms around. 

Then again, a social network of a few close family members or friends on the beach--also good, maybe better for the soul. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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