Home Depot LED Tree Lights

Word to the wise:  when you smell something smoldering, the power goes out in the room you’re in (thank God for GFI), and it’s still there when you throw the breaker…UNPLUG THE CHRISTMAS TREE! 

Had I not been home we’d have had a fire last night with a 5 day fresh tree, new double wire strand of 150 lights and water in the stand.

I’d noticed half the lights flickering occasionally while I was decorating the tree and wrapping gifts, but it had stopped.  I thought I had a loose bulb and didn’t give it a second thought when the lights stayed on after tapping a light.

Hours later the entire wire fried, was sizzling hot and was starting to heat up the tree…keep a watch on your tree lights people!

Made for Home Depot in China.  Home Depot might want to consider spending a bit more on having their branded lights manufactured to safer standards.  Perhaps it would be wise to sell lights that don’t endanger people by burning up in 15 hours instead of lasting the “15 holiday seasons” advertised on the box. HMMM!

  • LED
  • Uses 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs
  • Energy Star Compliant
  • Supposed to last 15 years (not 15 hours)
  • Connect 30 strings on 1 outlet!  I used 1 string ūüė≥

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Lighten Up People!

blazingsaddlesBefore special interest groups¬†began dictating the tenor of the news, the 24 hour cable news cycle, cell phones (with instant video to internet upload ability), and social media’s ability to take a story worldwide in milliseconds, things that weren’t politically correct were funny. ¬†It’s okay, you can admit that you laughed at the off-color humor of the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s everyone did.

  • Whose dad didn’t come home from a night out with the boys with a bad joke or two?
  • Who didn’t laugh at the dozens of “Revenge of the Nerds” type movies that filled the theaters?
  • “Blazing Saddles” and it’s blatantly racist humor?
  • What about the “Cheech and Chong” movies?
  • How about the very raunchy stand-up routines of Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Bobcat Goldthwait, Andrew Dice Clay, Richard Pryor and others of the era?
  • Who didn’t see (and die laughing at) the VERY R-rated Eddie Murphy “Delirious” and “Raw”?

Today¬†if you admitted to laughing hysterically at any comedy of that type, at minimum, you’d be accused of being (depending which comic you were describing) any one of:

  • Racist
  • Sexist
  • Xenophobic
  • Anti-Establishment
  • Discriminatory (Against the disabled or intellectually “challenged”)
  • A Pedophile
  • Abusive (Spousal or otherwise)
  • Homophobic
  • Alcoholic
  • A Drug Addict (or finding the practice/behavior acceptable)

babes-of-the-sunset-stripEnvision your 1980’s party-girl bestie, who years ago would have been laughing beside you. ¬†Now she’s among the modern-day helicopter parenting, wine drinking /judgment passing disguised as women’s bible study night, soccer-moms who, rather than just ignore jokes or delete things they’ve decided they “can’t” publicly find funny anymore:

  • Spread emails publicly shaming a person who shared an off-color joke or meme
  • Encourage mutual friends to cut a person from social circles for the same
  • No longer allow their children to associate with the person’s ¬†children at or after school
  • Have contacted Human Resources to report the “inappropriate” behavior at work as harassing, gotten them reprimanded, and even fired
  • Have spread the gossip to their places of worship, children’s sports teams and other participatory organizations, making the person and their family feel so unwelcome they leave and even more from their home.

All of this stemming from having the nerve to have a sense of humor and realizing that there is still a First Amendment. ¬†How one person’s right to share and enjoy humor has gone from people just deleting the offending or not funny email or just giving the person a courtesy laugh or politely asking not to hear that type of joke/language to the extremes above is everything that our society was never intended to be. ¬†Our Constitution and protections of the many rights allowed to us within the Bill of Rights¬†is exactly why we have gone to war. ¬†#PeopleNeedToLightenUp

You might wonder what made me go Hmmm about this today. ¬†Well, it was seeing another stupid headline about Donald Trump’s Twitter war with the way that he is being characterized on Saturday Night Live. #SatireIsProtectedSpeech


When Saturday Night Live was actually funny (from 1975 through the 1980’s) everyone tuned in to see the double entendres that Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radnor, John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Phil Hartman, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, and dozens of others over the ensuing decades tossed out that danced just below the censor line.

trumpsnlBased on the personal offense that the President-Elect is taking to the lampooning Alec Baldwin’s almost weekly Saturday Night Live performances are giving him, he must have forgotten the very nature of the show he admitted to enjoying before he actually won enough electoral college votes to earn the job he was seeking. ¬†Saturday Night Live has always made its laughs at the expense of the folly of politicians (including past Presidents), celebrities, sports figures and other notorious media personalities.

For a while (read that, when it served his benefit) Trump was in on the “joke.” ¬†Trump appeared as a host on SNL multiple times, largely to take the wind out of SNL’s ¬†anti-Trump sails. ¬†He refused to poke fun at himself and was only interested, when he hosted in 2015, in an appearance that was¬†widely criticized,¬†in downplaying his inflammatory campaign trail statements about Mexican and Muslim immigrants. ¬†Now he seems much more interested in wielding whatever power he retains at NBC by making veiled threats that SNL, which has survived 42 years and 7 Presidents, is on the way out.

This quote from the June 10, 2015 edition of  Salon Magazine perfectly sums up my feelings on critical opinions of satire and comedy:

  • Know the performer you are watching on TV, listening to or seeing live
  • If you’re in the public eye and don’t like what’s being said about you, especially if the truth hurts, #ChangeTheChannel
  • If you don’t enjoy raw, politically honest, racial, sexual, vulgar and other taboo topics that might be in a show, DON’T GO SEE THAT COMEDIAN OR ANYTHING THEY ARE IN! #FreedomOfChoice
  • If people you know enjoy that type of comedy you don’t have to stop being their friend, but you don’t have any right to pass judgement on their taste in entertainment. ¬†They have no right to choose your shoes, your home, your car or your husband/wife – the same logic applies: #ToEachTheirOwn

lisa-lampanelliLisa Lampanelli, ¬†“The edgy comic wrote a piece in the Hollywood Reporter titled ‚ÄúHow Political Correctness is Killing Comedy,‚ÄĚ writing ‚ÄúHere‚Äôs the problem:¬†Comedy, probably more than any other art form, is subjective.¬†What jokes crack up your mom, your little brother, and your gay best friend will be completely different ‚ÄĒ unless it‚Äôs a video of a guy getting hit in the gonads with a pi√Īata stick.¬†That‚Äôs funny to everyone‚Ķ.If you like safe, generic comedy, that‚Äôs fine.¬†Go on a cruise ship and crack up listening to the comedian point out the hilarious differences between loafers and shoes with laces.¬†But don‚Äôt go to one of my shows and be outraged by what you hear.¬†Going to my show and expecting me not to cross the line of good taste and social propriety is like going to a Rolling Stones concert and expecting not to hear ‚ÄėSatisfaction.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

fpbaarClosing with a return to¬†the theme of #PeopleNeedToLightenUp,¬†if my kid were still small and asked for this toy, I would totally buy it if it was real! ¬†As kids we played house in a real playhouse. ¬†Mom and dad left for work during the day and went out on dates at night. ¬†Well, it’s 2016, dates are now happy hour after work and my girlfriend owns two of the bars I like: that’s real life small business ownership in today’s society people! ¬†I couldn’t care less if people agree with my humor or not.¬†¬†#IWouldBuyTheFisherPriceHappyHourPlaySet

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“You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!”

kennedysIn January of 1961, President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, moved their young family into the White House.  Instead of a lavish mansion, the new First Lady was horrified to find that once beautiful artifacts were worn or broken, furnishings were badly in need of repair, and that the Truman administration had used modern fabrics and commissioned cheaply made knock-offs!  Believing that the appearance of class, elegance and grandeur at the White House must be restored immediately, Mrs. Kennedy made it her top priority.  She would have extremely limited funds, but was sure that her upbringing, fine arts education and social ties would make that a minor obstacle.  In her mind it was paramount that the White House be restored as authentically as possible so that once again the White House would be seen:

  1. Befitting the residence of the sitting President of the United States of America
  2. Honoring Past Presidents of the United States
  3. As an ever evolving, living, breathing testimony of American history

Mrs. Kennedy used her wits and wiles to retrieve era appropriate artifacts and raise the needed funds to restore the White House as she set out to, and did it in record time. ¬†She brought glamour into evenings at the White House and helped move protocol out of the stoic 1940’s style and¬†into the modern times.¬† The White House¬†became a place that intellectuals, artists, entertainers, and¬†leaders of the world all wanted to be invited.

ST-218-1-62 (crop)Mrs. Kennedy stepped out of her husband’s shadow and created a position of power for herself as First Lady that lasted well beyond her years in the White House. ¬†Although she relished the spotlight the role she created for herself provided, it wasn’t for political gain. ¬†Jackie Kennedy was shrewd. ¬†She¬†sought connections with people of wealth, influence and international notariety that they would be able to call upon and leverage in the years to come, never knowing, of course, that their time in the White House (and time together) would be cut so dramatically short.

national_organization_for_women_logoThe end of the Kennedy era ushered in the Women’s Right’s Movement of the late 1960’s / early 1970’s. ¬†Over the next four decades glass ceilings of corporations and governments around the globe shattered and the¬†emergence of women as international executives and world leaders became the norm.

2016 was going to be the year that Americans finally joined the rest of the world in recognizing and rewarding the most qualified and prepared person to ever be in competition for the highest office in our land, President of the United States, and that person was female: Hillary Rodham Clinton!

  • She’d proven more than worthy of the job by showing strength in International political circles as Secretary of State;
  • She’d proven she could and would cross the aisle to get things done as a two-term Senator from the state of New York;
  • She’d proven tenacious when fighting for women and children’s causes in her long law career;
  • She’d proven a supportive, forgiving and loyal wife when tested beyond the limits most women could take, when publicly lied to and humiliated by her husband’s infidelity under the harshest spotlight one could ever imagine, as the First Lady of the United States; and
  • She was running against a non-politician, a racist, a liar, a business failure, someone defending himself against many lawsuits including one for fraud (that he lost and paid tens of millions of dollars to settle), a man accused of sexual assault, a man awaiting civil trial for rape, a man on camera admitting to sexual assault – there was no way she could lose to this baffoon…Hmmm

We all know what happens to expectations and assumptions.

  • Only half of those eleigible to vote in the United States turned out
  • Of that 1/2: 2.5 Million more than that 50% voted FOR Hillary Clinton BUT
  • The Electoral College electorates are not distributed equally amongst the states and more electoral college votes were awarded (as of today, but are not yet official) to Donald Trump¬†(the electorates from each state cast their votes on December 18th)

This President-Elect is known to live in homes adorned with self portraits, gaudy trumpapartmentfurnishings and walls covered in gold, he refuses to sit for daily intelligence briefings, he refuses to follow established Presidential protocol, he has named a white supremacist to his cabinet, is flying by the seat of his pants into one political landmine after another, he is Tweeting bald-faced lies to the American public, he still has multiple lawsuits pending against him, and, to top it all off, he has a wife who isn’t intending to live with him and perform the many daily and ceremonial duties as First Lady at the White House! ¬†All of this in less than a month after the election and just six weeks before he is officially to take office! ¬†WTF? ¬†Will no White House traditions survive?

That sound you hear is Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis rolling over in her grave in Arlington National Cemetery.

Because men have held¬†a majority of the elected positions of political power since the inception of the United States as a Nation,¬†fashion’s influence hasn’t been one of the more focused upon aspects of politics.¬† Of course it has received passing historical commentary that was appropriate for the era and/or if there was an obvious show of poverty or wealth during the campaign, but essentially, aside from times when shown in their military uniforms, men have¬†generally worn some version of the standard tailored formal suit and tie combination and women (mostly in their roles as spouse or hostess) whatever the popular gown of the era.

I am a proud member of the Pantsuit Nation group on Facebook, but I do admit to laughing at the jokes made by and about Hillary and her attachment to the non-descript (but obviously well made and expensive) pant suits she wore¬†on the campaign trail. ¬†I also admit that the sometimes frumpy and shapeless pantsuits paired with the vicious¬†#FalseNews stories that the real press wouldn’t de-bunk as loudly as the Trump campaign, the internet, and Fox News/CNN and others spread them, might just have been what ultimately cost Hillary half the public’s trust and the election.


hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_cropI truly believe that Hillary Clinton not appearing as she did at all three debates, beautifully made up and glamorously styled as she showcased her intellectual and political strengths, contributed to her issues in connecting with people.  The likeability factor, that I dismissed, mattered a whole lot more to middle america than I realized.  Had she appeared everytime we saw her looking as she did at the debates, there might have been some who would have given her ultimate truths more of a chance to be heard instead of listening to the continual lies Trump-eting from other sources.

Unless there is a great moral and ethical shift within the voters who comprise the Electoral College on December 18th, in which they could decide that what they have seen and heard so far, in the first 6 1/2 weeks since the election, is just more than the United States bargained for or can sustain for 4 years, and decides to #VoteTheirConscience and swing their votes to the better qualified Hillary Clinton, I’m afraid that the long way that we appeared to have come from 1960 to 2016 might just take some steps backward. Hmmm indeed.

Are you on Facebook? ¬†If you’re interested in the occasional product that intrigues me or something I’ve bought that’s a waste of time or money, things that make me wonder, piss me off, tickle my fancy, scream like a maniac, giggle, or yell in frustration, you can receive an email each time I’ve got something new to ponder or you can join the¬†more than¬†2,800 people who find me engaging or amusing at the Facebook page dedicated to this blog: https://www.facebook.com/extremeblondemoments

Organize This Chaos


This Blonde has had enough of the hateful personal attacks coming out of the woodwork, the attic, crawling out of the sewers and the swamps, falling from the skies, and everywhere else.

Many people who claim to be your friends aren’t.¬†They hold racial, gender, sexual, and religious¬†biases that differ with your beliefs. Deal with it, erase them from your life or learn to agree to disagree if that’s possible, but you are not going to change them anymore than they are likely to change you.

America, because tens of millions of people seem to need a refresher course in U.S. History, was founded on a few basic principles that are stated quite clearly in The Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.‚ÄĚ

The government of the people, by the people and for the people¬†is¬†clearly outlined¬†in the¬†Declaration of Independence, ‚Äúgovernments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.‚ÄĚ

All that said, this Blonde has a few things to get off her chest:lamarch

  1. Peaceful protest is a First Amendment right
  2. Vandalizing property, assaulting citizens and committing other crimes of opportunity are not
  3. Peaceful protests and petitions can result in desired change: A Texas Electoral College Member (a state that was awarded to Trump) has publicly stated he is considering a change in his vote on December 19th, and a petition circulating on Change.org, asking the Electoral College #VoteYourConscience and follow the will of the Popular Vote to award the election to Hillary Clinton, has (as of 12:30 PST) gathered 3,620,136 signatures.
  4. Protests that stray from the intended purpose and spiral into lawless riots turn people against your cause

Police in the cities where days of protests have been happening are being supportive of Constitutional rights and doing what they can to keep the protestors safe, but when they turn the switch and become thugs and criminals they are playing right into the playbook of the voters whose votes they are protesting.


Instead of inflicting damage which will cost cities money to clean it up, think about other ways to protest that may get the point across.

  1. If a company where you regularly shop, dine at¬†or otherwise patronize supports values, laws¬†and lawmakers that you don’t, then change your spending habits. Shop, dine and spend your money with companies that share your values.
  2. If the house of worship you pray in has deviated from the righteous path that you try to follow, then join another congregation that more closely aligns with your beliefs.

Major sports leagues, the NCAA, corporations, organizations, recording artists and others have moved their events away from states that enacted legislation that was Anti-LGBTQ. By doing so, hundreds of millions of dollars in spending was directed away from those economies. In the end the almighty dollar is a much greater sword to wield when the intention behind the loss of revenue is known.

The estimate in lost revenue to North Carolina alone was a HALF A BILLION DOLLARS. Several companies intending to move their corporate headquarters or build regional facilities canceled their contracts costing jobs, tax dollars and they still did not, and have not, changed their Anti-LGBTQ legislation.¬† In fact, they have diverted $500,000 from the state’s disaster relief funds (funds that are sorely needed to repair massive storm damage) to fight litigation against their Anti-LGBTQ legislation!¬† HMMM

If you don’t like that your City, County or State voted to elect a Councilman, Mayor, Commissioner, Assemblyman, Senator, Representative or yes, President, then let your money, as well as your voice and future vote do your talking.

  1. Enough with causing chaos in the very cities you claim to be speaking for
  2. Don’t contribute to your party the next time they come calling
  3. Write letters to your representatives
  4. Send letters to the editor of your local and regional papers
  5. Start a grassroots movement “Bernie-Style”
  6. Remember that mid-term elections are only 2 years away

In 2018, 33 of the 100 Senate seats are up for re-election. Currently Republicans hold 52 seats and 8 of those will be up for grabs: Arizona, Nevada, Mississippi, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, & Wyoming.  If any Senators die in office or are otherwise unable to serve before that, there can be special elections, so there is no reason to wait until then to get involved if this really matters to you.

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Benefits of Backing In

cars-in-parking-lotHow much time do you spend in your car circling to find somewhere to park?¬† If you live in a crowded state, like California, where people tend to drive everywhere, it’s probably a lot of time.

Inevitably, once I find a spot, there are cars like me waiting, turn signals findingspoton, anxious to zip into any empty space to get¬†on with whatever task, appointment or meeting has caused the need to fight for parking.¬† Once the spot opens up in we head, nose first, squeezing in to a spot barely large enough for the car, let’s not even talk about the need to open a door to get out or unload anything or anyone that may be accompanying you from the car.

Once your tasks are completed and the time comes to leave the same perilous journey begins again in reverse.¬† You are virtually stalked by drivers who, anxious to acquire your parking spot, creep along behind or beside you as you make the trek back to your car.¬† God help you if you do not immediately load your car, get in and, as fast as possible, start and slam the car into reverse so that they are not caused any delay in getting their car into your spot.¬† It’s amazing how much road rage you can encounter when you don’t move quickly enough in to or out of a parking space.

blind-zone-chartSometimes, if I am not in my large SUV where I can see over everyone, or in my husband’s larger sedan with it’s myriad of cameras, it’s really hard for me to know that it’s safe to back out of a spot.¬† If I am in my very small sports car and there is a large truck, SUV or other longer vehicle beside me, I am virtually blind when backing out.¬†¬†Other drivers can become quite impatient and nasty as I creep out to make sure that I don’t get hit by anyone and don’t hit pedestrians or any vehicle that may be darting by without looking for me.

Not surprisingly, ¬†a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2001 and 2002 found that 14 percent of all damage claims involved crashes in parking lots. More seriously, there is a whole category of crashes, often fatal, tracked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, called ‚Äúbackover crashes‚ÄĚ: These typically occur in driveways and parking lots, often involve children, and happen most often to drivers of SUVs.

Considering all of that, it occurs to me that backing in to parking spots is a far safer way to park than head in.  Apparently there are many reasons to consider backing into spots instead of parking head in:

  • 1 in 7 vehicle accidents occur in parking lots
  • There is a smaller field of vision when backing up
  • If you are at work, or at home for that matter, and there is a need for emergency evacuation, it’s much quicker to get into your car and drive straight out.¬† You can also see the faces of other drivers parked similarly and can wave to each other and maintain order.
  • If your car won’t start it’s easier to get a jump when you are backed in
  • If you back into your garage at home, there is far less likelihood of backing over a bicycle (or God forbid a child) in the driveway, because you have a larger field of vision through the windshield

In my own experience, I much prefer backing in:

  • Spots are particularly narrow in a business parking structure – this way I can put the passenger side of my car closer to the passenger side of the car on my right so that I can give myself more room to exit my car and give the same to the driver of the car on my left.¬† With any luck this will cut down on the risk of me getting a ding from the door of the car beside me.
  • If there is a solid (especially concrete) wall that I will be parking against.¬† My parking assist will help guide me close enough and, with the very narrow spaces and very large cars that generally park on either side of me, I will feel more secure pulling straight out of the spot.
  • If there is no parking barrier in between two stacked spots.¬† I will pull straight through to make exiting easier.
  • If¬†I am attending a sporting event, concert or other event where there will be a large crowd and traffic exiting at the same time, which could make backing out difficult.

Had my husband taken the time to back into his parking space, or even done a pull through to be facing forward in the spot in front of him, he could have avoided being hit by a FedEx truck¬†which resulted in $19,000 worth of¬†damage to our car.¬† Even more distressing, had a friend backed into his driveway, he might have been able to see his child playing¬†there¬†and could’ve avoided backing over him.¬† His son survived, but his injuries were severe and the incident was terrifying.

It’s worth the few minutes of time it takes to¬†have the best view possible when you are leaving to assure your¬†safety and that of¬†others you might not even know are there.


It takes only a couple of seconds more and goes a long way to making everyone safer – especially by keeping you safer from those who aren’t paying attention!¬† Hmmm

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Post Vacation Stress Busters

protect%20your%20home%20while%20on%20vacationI love traveling:

  • Seeing parts of the world, or even the country I live in, that I haven’t seen before;
  • Unplugging from my¬†far-too-technological¬†existence;
  • Disengaging from my¬†too-many-things-to-do not-enough-time-to-do-them days;
  • Escaping reality for days in the sun and sand with a cocktail just a waiter call away

But there are so many things about coming home that can make me hate traveling too:

  • chaos that occurred in my absence
  • pets that weren’t cared for in the manner that I care for them
  • chores or tasks that weren’t tended to
  • mail or deliveries that went askew
  • perhaps a weather or other catastrophe occurred
  • break-in, theft, vandalism or other casualty related property¬†loss

I don’t know about you, but every time I get back into whatever mode of transportation will be returning me to “the real world” I instantly begin feeling less relaxed and begin wondering what “treat” will be awaiting me at home.

Some past coming home mishaps have included:

  • Returning from a weekend in Oklahoma to find the entire living room and master bedroom under 2 inches of still running water with my brother sound asleep on the living room couch amid the flood!
  • Returning from my 2 1/2 week honeymoon to find that my wine rack had been raped & pillaged (including a bottle we’d saved for our 10th anniversary), my son had spent most of the time next door instead of with the person I’d hired to stay with him at our house, and that my cat had disappeared for 3 days!
  • Returning from a 2 week trip to Hawaii to find out that my girlfriend had left my son “on his own” for 3 days during which time power had gone out (unbeknownst to anyone?) and food in the freezer and refrigerator had gone bad.

pvsdThere have been many more experiences like these (and a few worse) and we’ve certainly learned our lessons on who to call for travel caretaking help.¬† Thankfully I’ve also come across some really handy¬†things we can all do to make coming home to the inevitable post-vacation surprises¬†a little less stressful.

  • Fill a cup with water, put it in the freezer until it‚Äôs solid, then pop a coin on top. Leave it in there, and when you get back, check.¬† If the coin is on the bottom of a now-frozen cup of ice, the power went out‚ÄĒlong enough for the ice to melt back to water in your freezer, the coin to fall through, and then the power came back and the water re-froze. If the coin is where you left it, the power stayed on, or only went out for short periods. Obviously if the coin is at the bottom, you need to throw out all of the perishable food in your freezer and refrigerator.¬† Thanks Lifehacker!
  • Let’s face it, our friends and family are well intentioned, but can be flakes!¬†catgenie Guarantee that your furry friends won’t be neglected by buying a self cleaning cat box (they have one that self-cleans, uses the toilet to rinse/dispose and you don’t d anything with it except refill¬†bio cartridge¬†every 3 months!) and¬†automatic pet feeders of all kinds that guarantee¬†your furry friends aren’t left to starve in your absence.¬†If they show up and provide companionship, exercise and empty the collection bin/scoop the yard, that’ll just be a bonus!
  • Although it’s always nice to have your kids in the comfort of their own beds, but leave them at the grandparents or at the home of the person responsible for them.¬† It¬†makes it much more likely¬†they are being supervised.
  • Leave your lights on timers that are set to different times on different days and have radios set to come on loud in rooms near the front door as well. Many home security systems have this option in their user panels.
  • Let the newspaper, post office, UPS/Fed Ex and any other routine delivery services know that you will be away.¬† Tell the drivers in the weeks leading up to your vacation so they can¬†note¬†it on their route charts.
  • Take a bottle of wine or two to a trusted neighbor and ask them to check your driveway/porch and mailbox daily for any errant deliveries. Ask them to also put your trashcans out on trash day and to return them to your storage spot so things look normal.
  • Invest in a RING or other doorbell system that allows you to “answer” your door from your smartphone. I have one at two of my homes and swear by it!¬† I have answered my door in LA from hundreds of miles away as if I was just cooking there in the kitchen and couldn’t get to the door.¬† No one was the wiser and the people left. It does interface if you are an ADT customer, but you do not have¬†to be. ¬†Do it for your peace of mind!
  • Have your gardener come on the regular schedule and arrange to have your housekeeper come the day you are coming home, have her make sure trash is emptied, plants watered, and dishwasher emptied¬†so you return to a clean house.

Keep a video inventory, as well as a digital camera photo disk inventory of your valuables, what the inside and outside of your home looks like and update it when you make any major purchases, receive any expensive gifts, get a new car, boat, or RV that you may store at home.

  • Put both in a fire and waterproof safe/document box. You can get these kind of boxes at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Amazon.com, or other stores of this type.
  • Also¬†include in this box irreplaceable jewelry, spare keys to all vehicles, RVs, boats, all properties you own, etc., take pictures of the bottles of all prescriptions your family takes, insurance policies, passports (if you aren’t traveling abroad) photocopies of all credit cards, ID for all family members, social security¬†cards, original birth/death/marriage certificates, military¬†records, etc.
  • Put that box in your attic or in the rafters of your garage.¬†The idea is to put it someplace that burglars wouldn’t look.¬†This is not something you are going to access very often at all. ¬†Do not put it in a closet.¬† Also put some cash in case banks are temporarily affected by power outages and ATMs are unavailable.
  • Engrave your Name and Cell Phone Number on the Box, and that of your emergency contact as well, in the event the box is separated from your home (i.e. flood or hurricane).¬† Do not use ink!¬† Even permanent ink can wash away with high pressure fire hoses and lashing storm waters.¬† Engraved letters and numbers are a much better option.
  • In the event of a break-in, catastrophic¬†fire or other home damaging disaster while you are gone, there is every likelihood that the box will survive and you will have proof for insurance adjusters

If these also look like good ideas for¬†things to do in case of a natural disaster where you might have to evacuate, it’s because they are – they’re a great reminder as we enter the stormy winter months.

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I’ve Had it With The 2016 Election!

election2106I have had all I can stand of the¬†2016 Presidential campaign!¬† There were stories today that the people of America needed to hear more about before they make a moral and ethical¬†call on the candidate who will be best suited to lead us into the next four years and beyond, but the television media didn’t cover them.

Yesterday the media uproar was¬†all about Donald Trump calling Miss Universe 1996 a slob, pig, etc., and how he¬†fat shamed her well before it became a “thing” on Twitter and Facebook, instead of covering Newsweek’s bombshell on Trump sending an advisor to Cuba and spending money there during the embargo then trying to cover it up after the fact¬†as a catholic charities trip.

Today, instead of continuing on the illegal Cuba spending coverage, the media has shifted to Donald’s intent to smear Secretary Clinton with the decades old story of her responses to getting blindsided by her husband’s affair (s), instead of covering another bombshell that hit the wires last night regarding the legitimacy of The Trump Foundation.

Two weeks ago all any news channel was doing was hunting up John & Mary¬†Q. Public to see how they feel about Hillary not sharing that she went to the doctor, got antibiotics to clear up the nagging cough¬†& congestion in her chest (a.k.a. the “walking pneumonia”) Friday, then ignored her doctor telling her to take the weekend off,¬†so John/Mary Q. Public¬†went on the record stating “that” makes her untrustworthy.

Hour upon hour¬†of coverage¬†listening to pundits interpreting “what she was thinking not telling America she has what is equivalent to a really bad chest cold!” We have HIPAA people! ¬†With her permission, her doctors have given the results of her most recent physical, which was obviously before her doctor appointment last Friday, and he provided the press and all interested parties a report¬†of overall good health.¬† Sometimes people are going to get sick, sometimes people go to the doctor because they have an infected ingrown toenail, sometimes they need an antifungal cream,¬†¬†Viagra,¬†prescription strength vitamins, etc.¬†¬†There is no reason that routine visits to¬†or by the doctor are anyone’s business but hers and her¬†doctor.¬† Once Mr. Trump’s doctor has given his report of his overall health and fitness, he is under no obligation to¬†hold a press conference every time any minor ailment comes up for him either.¬† HIPAA protects us all from those intrusions in our privacy!

Married or single, gay or straight, and with or without children, women in the 21st Century wear many different hats.  They can be:

  • stay at home mothers or homemakers;
  • members of the 9 to 5 work force;
  • members of the military;
  • single parents working multiple jobs;
  • students;
  • owners of corporations or small businesses;
  • politicians;
  • volunteers, or community activists;
  • part time employees;
  • unemployed and looking for work;
  • unemployed by choice;
  • or retired and loving it.

No matter what hat they wear, they all are highly likely to have one thing in common: they burn the candle at both ends to make sure that everyone they are responsible for is clothed, fed and happy before they even consider taking care of themselves. Does no one consider that this is likely the case with a woman who happens to also be running for president of the United States of America?

Apparently Donald Trump, Mike Pence, the vast majority of the media covering this Presidential election don’t want you to consider it to be the case and they want as much doubt to be cast Secretary Clinton’s way as possible so they have just a tiny bit more hope that they can somehow convince the voting public that someone who has¬†easily handled¬†the responsibility of being, among many other things:¬† Lawyer, Children’s Advocate, wife, mother, grandmother, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of The United States of America, Senator for the State of New York and Secretary of State for the United States of America; somehow is just not mentally qualified or able to stand up to the physical requirements of being President of the United States of America.

Having nothing substantive to say about their candidate, the Trump campaign pounced on a grainy video showing Secretary Clinton losing her footing getting into her vehicle as she left the 9/11 15th Anniversary gathering at the former¬†site of the World Trade Center.¬† She’d been battling the cough, as we’d all seen reported, for a few weeks and, the warm day, large crowd, highly emotional¬†retelling of the terror and sorrow of September 11th, 2001, combined with dehydration¬†made her feel dizzy, so she sought out her secret service team after 90 minutes so she could go to her daughter’s nearby home to rest.¬† Obviously, she waited just a few minutes too long, as her dizziness caused her to stumble as she stepped off the curb to step into the vehicle and the stories spun from there.¬† Once she reached her daughter’s home¬†drank some water and cooled off she began feeling much¬†better.¬† Conspiracy theorists suggested a body double replaced her. COME ON!¬† Maybe her hair looked different because she¬†took a cool shower to refresh.¬†¬†WTF People?

It’s no big news that people get sick occasionally.¬† But, according to the Trump Campaign,¬†Mike Pence, some within the Republican National Committee,¬†many¬†of the talking heads on the cable news networks and pundits across¬†the internet, Hillary Clinton is not only not allowed to get run down and catch a common cold or the flu, but if she¬†says she has,¬†the RNC says there must be¬†a giant Democratic Party conspiracy to hide a much more serious ailment (cue the body double LMAO).¬† This woman, the first in modern history to be the candidate of a major party for the highest office in the land, is under a¬†scrutiny that is unprecedented and bordering on violating her¬†rights!

If¬†Secretary Clinton’s¬†campaign, when announcing her weekend schedule,¬†had simply made a statement mentioning the visit to get a prescription to¬†knock out the lingering cough and¬†mild related upper respiratory irritation,¬†the stumble getting into the vehicle might have been a non-story.¬† The truth, that she was dehydrated (antibiotics can be very hard on the body while helping it heal) and just needed to get out of the sun and get something cool to drink, might have helped to avoid the¬†excessive speculation and¬†negative coverage today.

If, on the other hand, Mr. Trump had been overheated/dehydrated, showing signs of¬†fatigue from the grueling schedule that is being maintained by both candidates for President in this election, and had lost his balance stepping down from a curb and¬†up into his vehicle, it would have been highly unlikely that¬†there would have been the wild speculation that he has some unrevealed or terminal illness.¬†¬†He’s a man and an excuse would have been made that he tripped, it would have been laughed off,¬†lampooned by the late night hosts, and the topic would have been dropped.¬† We saw that truth when Trump sniffled and gulped water during the first Presidential Debate when he was getting schooled by Secretary Clinton.

The late night guys got their jokes in, the mainstream media suggested he was coming down with a cold, internet conspiracy theorists deduced that he had “obviously” snorted Adderal or Cocaine, and then a couple of days later the subject was¬†dropped.

Secretary Clinton has been campaigning on her merits as a stateswoman of experience and knowledge of the players and situations that are challenging the World and the United States, while Mr. Trump’s campaign has utilized attack ads,¬†negativity and divisive social issues that bring out the hate and ugliness in his supporters.

Trump focuses on racist fears, he¬†accuses others of improprieties without concrete proof: he implied that¬†Bill Clinton’s extramarital¬†affairs (like those perpetrated by the thrice married Mr. Trump himself,¬†about which he pled the 5th 97 times during his 1st divorce deposition, and documented in a recent book ) are somehow a negative reflection on Hillary’s potential as a President, he goes off on rants and makes wild accusations, and he applies ugly monikers (“Crooked Hillary“) hoping that his ugly reality show performance will keep the attention of the¬†haters and “conspiracy theorists” long enough to get them to come out to the polling places and cast their votes for him in November.

His campaign’s lack of¬†clear agenda¬†& his frequent change of message and campaign staff turnover has been a sideshow:

Because they don’t want to defend the actions noted above and have nothing to say¬†defend their candidate’s¬†lack of knowledge of world affairs, experience with international diplomacy, or ability to lead¬†our nation¬†with 6 weeks to go before election day, the Trump Campaign is¬†instead heading back into the gutter and continuing to fight for electoral votes as if they are lobbying for viewer votes on a reality show.

In the end, I have to believe that knowledge of what is morally right vs wrong is going to lead Americans to make a decision against hate, racism, sexism, and every other ugly thing that Trump stands for, by voting against him.  I do know that I am done watching another minute of the horrific media coverage that is attempting to sway voters by refusing to give viewers an unbiased, unsensationalized look at the candidates!

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They Will Literally Be Swimming in Human Crap!

I feel really sorry for the athletes from around the world, who have spent years busting their asses to master their sports and make their countries’ Olympic teams,¬†only to have to go to, what can only be described as, a gigantic¬†cesspool, (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) to showcase them.filthrdj

Dead fish, dead animals, and even rotting corpses¬†& body parts can be seen along the, what used to be¬†picturesque,¬†shorelines of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.¬† Even the most posh areas (Ipanema and Leblon Beaches) with steel and glass high rises cannot escape the filth.¬† The lagoons that¬†snake around them (and also around the nearby Olympic Village), “regularly sees massive pollution-related fish die-offs and emits an eye-watering sulfuric stench.”

Fisherman Jose Rubens told how he watched children¬†haul a dismembered woman‚Äôs body from the waves of Guanabara Bay.¬† Standing beside a gaping pipe spewing raw sewage straight into the bay, Jose, 56, unflinchingly shared, ‚ÄúThey found a woman‚Äôs severed buttocks and upper legs three months ago.¬† She was already starting to decompose.¬† We didn‚Äôt tell the police. It‚Äôs not what people do here. We just pushed the remains back into the water.‚Ä̬†(Source: Oliver Harvey, The Sun)¬†These are the very waters that Olympic yachtsmen and wind-surfers will soon be competing for their countries in!

A decomposing corpse found floating in the waters where some Olympic competitions will be held.


In 2009, Brazil used the¬†awarding of the 2016 games as¬†the motivation needed to “regenerate Rio’s magnificent waterways.”¬† They pledged a¬†billion-dollar investment meant to cleanup the tar-black Rivers; the lagoons near the Olympic Park with fluorescent green algae thriving amid sewage;¬†the Guanabara Bay teeming with thick sludge that nearly swallows¬†fishermen’s wooden boats;¬†and to eliminate the giant brown stain that surfers must paddle out through to reach¬†the beautiful blue surrounding waters.

This is where the elite Athletes of the World thought they would be competing when they heard they were coming to Rio de Janeiro


Open water swimmers could very well have the worst of it though. ¬†Rio medic Dr. Daniel Becker said, ‚ÄúForeign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from micro-organisms.‚ÄĚ

Biologist Mario Moscatelli has spent the last 20 years studying Brazil’s polluted waterways. ¬†Every month he has flown over them by helicopter to note changes good or bad.¬† “It’s been decades and I see no improvement,” laments Moscatelli. ¬†“The Guanabara Bay has been transformed into a latrine … and unfortunately Rio de Janeiro missed the opportunity, maybe the last big opportunity” to clean it up. (Source: Jenny Barchfield; AP)

Opening Ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games are just 4 days away.

300,000-500,000 foreigners are expected to descend on Rio for the Olympics.¬† They are likely in nowhere near the physical conditioning of the world class athletes they are coming to cheer on, and are much more likely to succumb to the viral illnesses that are the result of off the charts contamination of the most popular Rio de Janeiro beaches. ¬†Testing at several of the city’s world-famous beaches has shown that in addition to persistently high viral loads, the beaches often have levels of bacterial markers for sewage pollution that would be cause for concern abroad.

  • In June 2016,¬†Copocabana and Ipanema Beaches¬†both had alarming readings for rotavirus, the main cause of gastroenteritis globally, with 7.22 million rotaviruses per liter detected in the waters of Copacabana, while 32.7 million rotaviruses per liter were found in the waters of Ipanema Beach.
  • The testing also revealed alarming spikes in fecal coliform levels ‚ÄĒ the very measure the state government uses to determine the safety of Rio’s recreational waters.

“If these were the reported values in the United States, let’s say in California, there is definitely an indication of a problem,” said Dr. Kristina Mena, a waterborne virus expert at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

  • According to California’s bacterial tests standards, 400 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters is the upper limit for a beach to be considered safe for swimming. AP’s tests revealed that Copacabana Beach, where the marathon and triathlon swimming are to be held and thousands of tourists are likely to take a dip, exceeded California’s limit five times over 13 months of testing.
  • Nearby Ipanema Beach, which is not playing host to any Olympic sports but is among the city’s most popular tourist spots, exceeded California standards five times over 12 months, once spiking to nearly 50 times what would be permitted in California. One of two testing spots along the beach in the Olympic hub neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca once hit more than 60 times that limit over the five months testing was conducted there.

The beaches even violate Rio state’s own standards, which are much less stringent than those in California. ¬† In California these beaches would be closed to the public until the source of the contamination¬†was found and fixed¬†and the water treated until tests came back with the water testing safe for the¬†public to be in it again.

If you are a Tourist planning to attend the Olympic games in Rio beware:¬† Water quality warning signs used to dot showcase beaches, but they’re no longer there.¬†The water may¬†not look infected but it is.¬† Remember that the water flows across,¬†carries, and deposits sand along the shoreline, so the sand¬†is contaminated too…HMMM

The World Press has been paying close attention and has already reported a number of troubling things that the Athletes, Media, and those Tourists who may decide to travel abroad to witness the games, may encounter when they visit Brazil:

  • A broken main caused untreated raw sewage¬†and human waste to pour into the¬†Olympic Village, where the World’s¬†athletes are being housed and¬†fed, over the weekend;
  • Rotting corpses have been spotted floating at the rat-¬≠infested sailing and wind-surfing venue of Guanabara Bay;
  • Athletes competing in events in the polluted Guanabara Bay are being told to ‘close their mouths’ for fear¬†of contracting viral¬†infections from waters poisoned by human excrement;
  • Athletes have been robbed at gunpoint on the streets of Rio;
  • Gun-toting thugs¬†robbed Australian Paralympic sailor Liesl Tesch and team official Sarah Ross of their bikes while they were cycling in a Rio park;
  • Between January and April of this year, there were 1,715 homicides in the city, a 15 per cent increase on the same period last year;
  • A fire in the basement of the Australian team barracks overnight, forced all to evacuate the building.¬† The alarms had been disabled and the only alert to the team was the smell of smoke!¬† While they were out laptops and protective long sleeved anti-Zika¬†clothing were reported stolen.
  • Around 300 tons of¬†trash are dumped in¬†Guanabara bay every month ‚ÄĒ including condoms, discarded syringes,¬†used toilet¬†paper, old fishing nets, mangled furniture and¬†other household trash;
  • The spread of the Zika virus (now officially reported as having spread from infected male to female) has resulted in the top 4 golfers in the world, as well as many tennis¬†players and other athletes,¬†pulling out of the games;
  • Body parts were found strewn on Copacabana Beach, right below the Olympic Beach Volleyball Venue.

As if threats to the health of athletes, media and tourists from the environment wasn’t enough, there are the threats of violence from the drug gangs and other thugs that rule the streets of Rio de Janeiro and now some scary threats reportedly coming from ISIS:

  • After the Paris attacks in November a jihadi sent a tweet saying: ‚ÄúBrazil, you are our next target.‚ÄĚ
  • In May, ISIS launched a new social Portuguese-speaking media channel in a bid to attract new recruits.
  • Brazil, used to dealing with armed drug gangs, has¬†no experience in dealing with ISIS assaults.
  • On July 15 Brazilian authorities deported a French-Algerian professor who had been convicted in France in 2012 of providing logistical advice to ¬≠terrorist groups.
  • Last week dozens of alleged IS sympathizers were held¬†after claims they had discussed an attack on the Games.

When awarded the games, officials pledged to treat 80% of the raw sewage pumped into Rio’s Guanabara Bay, promised only to use the very cleanest sections of the Bay for competitions, and that there would be only minimal risk to sailors and other athletes.¬† Now that the Opening Ceremonies are less than a week away and the proof of their inability to live up to their promises is being seen, smelled and reported worldwide, officials have had to admit that they have only been able to reach a sewage treatment percentage of 40%.¬† That is obviously not acceptable for a city with a population of¬†more than 12 Million, let alone one that is putting itself¬†under the world wide microscope by hosting the Olympic games.

Additionally, Rio officials pledged that the athletes and visitors to their country would be safe, based on the reports of robberies within the village and in the surrounding areas, they are already failing on that front as well.  It remains to be seen how Brazil is going to remedy the situation with just 4 days left before Opening Ceremonies, but I know one thing, the ravenous world press will not pull any punches in letting the rest of the world know just how deplorable conditions are.  HMMM Indeed!

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Do You Really Love Your Dog?

dogsinhotcarsI am shamelessly cutting/copying and pasting the article below (thank you American Veterinary Medical Association) because of a story a friend shared today that really pissed me off! ¬†“Today at Target/Diamond Bar as I was going to my car, I saw a dog in a car in the parking lot. It was panting heavily and trying to stick its head out the couple-inch opening in the window so I went back in to ask the manager to page the owner. It had been half an hour since I walked by the dog!! When the owner came out she said it wasn’t that hot! SMH! Please remember dogs have a higher temp than us and cars get hot fast! PLEASE DON’T LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR!”

Thank you for the inspiration for this blog post Simone!

TV, Internet and Newspapers all share stories just like this, often with tragic consequences.¬† Still people leave pets, and babies, in the car.¬† WTF?¬† PEOPLE NEED TO SMARTEN UP!¬† Please read the article below and keep in mind that, even on a cool day, a car is up to 40¬į F hotter inside.¬† If your pet or baby can’t go with you, wherever you just must go, then leave them home in another’s care.¬† It’s just not worth the risk and potentially deadly consequences.

You can see this article “Pets in Vehicles” at the highlighted link.

Every year, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion because they are left in parked vehicles. We’ve heard the excuses: “Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store,” or “But I cracked the windows…” These excuses don’t amount to much if your pet becomes seriously ill or dies from being left in a vehicle.

The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20¬ļ F in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30¬ļ F…and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60 minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. Even on a 70-degree day, that’s 110 degrees inside your vehicle!

Your vehicle can quickly reach a temperature that puts your pet at risk of serious illness and even death, even on a day that doesn’t seem hot to you. And cracking the windows makes no difference.

Want numbers? An independent study showed that the interior temperature of vehicles parked in outside temperatures ranging from 72 to 96¬ļ F rose steadily as time increased. Another study, performed by the Louisiana Office of Public Health, found that the temperatures in a dark sedan as well as a light gray minivan parked on a hot, but partly cloudy day, exceeded 125oF within 20 minutes.


Estimated Vehicle Interior Air Temperature v. Elapsed Time
Elapsed time Outside Air Temperature (F)
70 75 80 85 90 95
0 minutes 70 75 80 85 90 95
10 minutes 89 94 99 104 109 114
20 minutes 99 104 109 114 119 124
30 minutes 104 109 114 119 124 129
40 minutes 108 113 118 123 128 133
50 minutes 111 116 121 126 131 136
60 minutes 113 118 123 128 133 138
> 1 hour 115 120 125 130 135 140
Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University

Watch an animated video about in-vehicle temperatures.

This study also found that cracking the windows had very little effect on the temperature rise inside the vehicle. This is definitely a situation where “love ’em and leave ’em” is a good thing. Please leave your pets at home at home when you can…they’ll be safe and happily waiting for you to come home.

…but wait, there’s more!

The risks associated with pets in vehicles don’t end with heatstroke. Just as you should always wear your seatbelt to protect you in case of a collision, your pet should always be properly restrained while in the vehicle. That means a secure harness or a carrier.

A loose, small pet could crawl down in the footwell, interfering with use of the brake or accelerator pedal. A small pet sitting in your lap could be injured or killed by the airbag or could be crushed between your body and the airbag in a collision, and a large pet leaning across your lap can interfere with your view of the road and can be injured by the air bag in a collision. Unrestrained pets could be thrown out or through windows or windshields in a collision. And not only could your pet be injured in the collision, but it might also increase your risk of collision by distracting you and taking your attention away from where it should be ‚Äď on the road.

To learn more about the importance of restraining your pets, visit Paws to Click.

Most of us smile when we see a dog’s face happily hanging out a window, digging the ride and the smells wafting on the breeze, but this is a very risky venture for the dog for three reasons. One, it means your dog isn’t properly restrained ‚Äď and we’ve already told you why that’s so important. Two, your dog is at high risk of eye, ear, face and mouth injury from airborne objects when it’s got its face hanging out the window. Three, letting your dog hang any part of its body out of the window increases the risk that (s)he could be thrown out of the vehicle during a collision, lose its balance and fall out of the open window during an abrupt turn or maneuver, or jump out of the vehicle to threaten another dog or a person.

And let’s not forget the severe dangers of driving with your dog in the bed of a pickup truck. Dogs can fall or jump from the truck bed and be injured or killed on impact, or be struck by other traffic. And just as letting your dog hang its head out of the window puts it at risk of injury from debris, a dog in a truck bed is even more exposed to airborne hazards. Using a appropriate-length tether may reduce the risk that your dog will exit the truck bed, but the tether could tangle, injure, or even choke your dog. If you must transport your dog in the bed of a pickup truck, use a secured and appropriately sized and ventilated dog kennel. (For more information, read our Dogs Traveling in Truck Beds literature review.)

Before you put your pet in the vehicle, ask yourself if you really need to take your pet with you ‚Äď and if the answer is no, leave your pet safely at home. If you must take your pet with you, make sure (s)he is properly restrained so the trip is as safe as possible for both of you.

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