VALENTINE'S TRADITIONS BECOME COMMODITIES

by Christen Hanlon

Daily Cougar Staff

Chocolate candy, scented perfume, red roses and hearts are all a special part of Valentine's Day. Do you know why? Have you ever stopped to think about where, when or how this holiday came about?

Numerous ideas and opinions exist about which story is the actual account of the birth of the holiday, but there is one that many people have agreed upon.

Long ago, in folk and village customs, the festival of Feb. 14 originated. No one knows precisely how. The Valentine festival appears to have been a day of fun, dedicated to the little fellow with the bow and arrow whom we call Dan Cupid.

Susan Sellers, a junior English major at UH, says she is not sure how the holiday actually began. "I read about its history a few years ago. I know that it started with St. Valentine, but besides that, I don't remember too much," Sellers said.

Lynn Mitchell, coordinator for Religious Studies at UH, said there are actually many legends of how Valentine's Day began. "There is one tradition that boy and girl birds pick their mates on Feb. 14. Certainly Shakespeare has even talked about this in some of his works," Mitchell said

The other legend, according to Mitchell, was that a Roman Emperor ordered men not to marry so they could be 'better' soldiers. "The legend goes that a St. Valentine secretly married couples and then was eventually killed for it," Mitchell said.

Many people agree that the festival is named for St. Valentine, known as "the lovers' saint." Although there is argument that St. Valentine ever existed, there appears to be ample proof that he was a Christian Bishop in the third century after the death of Christ. Valentine suffered martyrdom under the Emperor Claudius on Feb. 14, A.D. 271.

The story is believed to be as follows:

Emperor Claudius, in Rome, issued a decree forbidding marriage. Married men were loathed to leave their families for war and, according to the Emperor, did not make good soldiers. Since only good soldiers would be helpful in warfare, he decided that marriage must be abolished altogether.

Valentine, the good priest, was very sad about the news. He secretly invited young lovers to come to him and he would marry them in private. The Emperor heard about this and had Valentine dragged off to prison. There the "friend of lovers" languished and died, a martyr to love.

The church was busy during that era replacing heathen divinities by ecclesiastical saints, and it was not surprising that they made a saint of Valentine. Thus, the day of his death, Feb. 14, was allotted to him. St. Valentine's Day came to be known as "the day for all true lovers."

Gradually, the approach of Valentine's Day came to be heralded by the exchange of pretty sentiments, written with flourishes upon scented paper and profusely decorated with hearts, arrows, doves and various other love tokens.

Just a few generations ago, our great-grandmothers received beautiful scraps of ornamental paper with trembling hands and blushed as they read pretty verses. These were not mere sentiments, but actual declarations of love. Valentine's Day, once considered as important as Christmas and Easter, is rapidly becoming less important to us. Because of the popularity of the manufactured valentine, and because it was less trouble, many men have purchased their valentine favors instead of writing them by hand. Consequently, the valentine has lost much of its true significance over the years.

Why not try something original this year and write a poem to your loved one? Besides returning to the true tradition of the holiday, you will more than likely impress the one you love (or the one you hope will love you) with your own words, not someone else's. And you never know ... it may be just what that certain someone was waiting for.

 

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FRESHMAN STRESS INCREASING STEADILY SINCE '80S, POLL SAYS

by Catherine Cykowski

Contributing Writer

Being in college for the first time can be an exciting experience for a college freshman.

Along with the excitement of a new environment, freshmen sometimes feel overwhelmed as they deal with the demands of college.

In a national survey of 333,703 freshmen recently conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, a record-high percentage of freshmen reported they are under stress.

In the survey, a total of 24.1 percent of students said they are under a high amount of stress, compared with 23.3 percent in 1993 and 16 percent in 1985.

The students answered the questions as part of a four-page multiple-choice survey.

Some UH freshmen agree the transition from high school to college is difficult.

"College can be stressful academically. In high school, you do not have to work as much," said freshman psychology student Linda Nguyen.

Nguyen said she tries to pace herself in order to keep up with the requirements of her full-time course load.

Irvin Tyler, a freshman engineering student, said keeping up with classes is hard. "Everyone wants all your attention. Sometimes everyone wants something done on the same day, so I make sure I assign so much time for each thing," Tyler said.

On campus, a number of programs offered by the Counseling and Testing Service can help students who have trouble adjusting to college.

The center offers workshops dealing with academic skills and stress management.

Patrick Daniel, director of Counseling and Testing, said students can use these services to build problem-solving skills.

Learning Support Services, Daniel said, provides free tutoring for students.

"At the Counseling and Testing Center, we have counselors trained to work with students who are in stressful situations," Daniel said.

 

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NO FILERS FOR SA ELECTIONS YET; FRIDAY DEADLINE CREEPING UP

by James V. Geluso

Daily Cougar Staff

Candidate filing for the Students' Association elections began Friday and continues until the end of the week.

Although no one has filed yet, several prominent SA figures, including senators Giovanni Garibay and Hunter Jackson, are expected to run.

Candidates must fill out an application available from the SA office, located in the University Center Underground behind the Campus Activities Office. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday, according to the election calendar set by the SA Senate at its Jan. 25 meeting.

Jeff Fuller, speaker of the Senate, encouraged students to get involved in student government by running for office.

"If students don't get involved, they have no reason to complain," Fuller said.

Candidates are encouraged to attend one of three seminars to learn the rules under which the campaign will be conducted. Candidates will be held responsible for violations by their supporters.

Candidates for office are bound by an election code that was heavily revised for last year's elections. The code limits the amount a candidate can spend to $75 for college-wide seats and $250 for university-wide seats.

 

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3-24-1 (ed. note, leave in nonjustified type)

NEW NBA SUPERSTARS NOT SO 'FANTASTIC'

O.O.C. with Chris P.

Oh, how times have changed. I grew up watching the NBA on CBS as Magic Johnson baby-hooked the Lakers to another title and Larry Bird hit shot after shot to defeat the Pistons again.

I was a big fan of the NBA, but after watching this year's boooooring All-Star game, I'm convinced the new generation of superstars are more concerned with image than anything else.

The NBA is all about flash now. From Shaquille O'Neal on down, the league's younger players are worried about only two things: contracts and endorsements.

Shaq has made it obvious that he is not just a basketball player. He is a corporation.

There is Shaq the rapper, Shaq the actor (if you consider Blue Chips a real movie), and there is Shaq the endorsement machine. But we have yet to witness Shaq the champion.

Hey, there's nothing wrong with making movies and CDs and tons of money, but Shaq is out of control. And does all this extra work lessen a player's desire to win basketball games at all costs?

This might sound like something my parents would say, but I remember when times were simpler. When Magic, Bird, Dr. J. and Kareem played.

Basketball players wore Converse shoes in their team's colors back then, with little or no ankle support. Nowadays players wear shoes that cost more than it did to raise me, and they only wear them once.

In the 1980s, guys wore their shorts halfway down their thighs. Today, Anfernee Hardaway and Chris Weber look like they're wearing pajamas as their shorts extend halfway down their shins.

Basketball trading cards were virtually unknown in the last decade. The only cards I ever had were detention cards and baseball cards. Now, I sometimes have nightmares about a hologram Larry Johnson Grandmama card coming to life and making me play one-on-one with him/her.

For one, players are now running the show. They seem to think they decide if and when they show up to practice. Players feel they can get away with this because they make four times as much as their well-dressed coach.

The NBA's new breed of player is concerned with getting respect, but at the same time they forget how to earn it and give it to others. Modern players are increasingly concerned with making money and hording it.

Even during the huge rise in players' salaries, it still amazes me that Michael Jordan was making only $3 million a year. During Jordan's prime, there were plenty of other players (clearly less deserving) that were making much more than his Airness.

Jordan could have exacted any amount of money he wanted out of Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, but he chose not to. Why? Not because he didn't want the cash, but because that left a great amount of money left over to sign good players that could win a championship together.

And therein lies the modern basketball problem. Players are only concerned with getting theirs, and in the process the whole team concept is being lost.

If the 1995 All-Star game is any indication of what is to come in the league's future, I'm flipping the channel, because, to me, the NBA is starting to mean Nothing but Bad Attitudes.

 

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G3-30-1

COUGARS RUNNING TO FORT WORTH

by M.S. Ameen

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston track and field teams, holders of five Southwest Conference titles, will look to add to that total in Fort Worth Thursday and Friday at the SWC Indoor Championships.

At the 1994 Championships, Houston's Paul Lupi took first in the 800-meters as a junior.

In addition, junior Ubeja Anderson (55-meter hurdles), junior Katrina Harris (high jump), and senior Kenneth Bigger (men's high jump), all carry 1994 titles into this year's championships.

Lupi will match up with a youngster from Rice, sophomore Brian Klein from Gonzales, Texas.

"I'm gonna have to run a perfect race to win it again," Lupi said.

Anderson said he's ready to take another title despite sitting out last week's meet. He has been recovering from a bruised bone in his left foot, which happens to be his plant foot.

Since most of the pressure from jumping hurdles is on the landing foot, Anderson said he feels recuperated and relaxed.

Harris will also defend her hill from unwanted squatters in the long jump.

The 1994 champion has jumped consistently all season, and placed ahead of all other collegiates in the Oklahoma Classic last week.

Cougars seniors De'Angelia Johnson and Drexel Long return half of the women's 1994 championship 4x400 relay team.

Bigger won the 1993 SWC long jump title and will try to regain it. The long jump championship should catch a huge amount of attention.

Sheddric Fields, who flew 26 feet earlier this year, will take on Rice senior Kareem Streete-Thompson, the world's second-rated long jumper.

"I feel good. I'm looking forward to the challenge," Fields said.

UH head coach Tom Tellez said he feels comfortable with his team's outlook. He expects strong competition from Texas and Texas A&M.

Tellez said, "We are as prepared as we're going to get. I'd like another meet, but we're ready."

 

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1-22-3

'TANK' LOOKING TO TRY HARDBALL

by Ryan Carssow

Daily Cougar Staff

Freshman point guard Tommie "Tank" Davis has been stealing opponents' basketballs for the Houston Cougars all winter, but come spring, he may be stealing bases.

Davis said he wants to try out for first-year head coach Rayner Noble's UH baseball team after basketball season ends in March.

"I basically don't plan on playing a lot," Davis said. "I just want to go out there and steal some bases, 'cause I know I ought to at least be one of the fastest people on the team."

Noble said he has talked with Davis about playing, but he won't make a decision until the 5-8, 180-pounder tries out.

"I'm sure he'll probably come out," Noble said. "I've got to see him play before we make a decision."

Davis played baseball in high school and has two uncles that played professional baseball, including former Los Angeles Dodgers star Tommy Davis.

"Whatever the team needs, I can do. I play outfield and infield, but I don't back catch," Davis said.

"If (Noble) needs me to cut the grass, I'll cut the grass."

Basketball head coach Alvin Brooks said he has no problems with Davis' two-sport aspirations.

"As long as he's serious about it, and it doesn't hinder his progress as a point guard, that's fine," Brooks said.

"I'm a baseball lover. My only regret as an athlete was that I never played (baseball). I've got season tickets, so I'll be out there to see him play."

 

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4-40-1

SWC HOOPS RACES TAKING SHAPE

by William German

and Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

With five regular-season games to go, the Southwest Conference men's basketball picture is finally looking the way it was supposed to all along, but the women's race could be full of surprises.

Texas and Texas Tech have pulled to the front of the SWC at 7-2, while turnaround Texas Christian is now lagging behind at 6-3. All three teams won Saturday, UT and Tech enjoying blowouts of Texas A&M and Baylor respectively, and TCU comfortably defeating Houston.

Although the Longhorns and Red Raiders (both preseason favorites) are on top now, neither team has it locked. Tech still has to play on TCU's home floor in its regular-season finale March 4; Texas must still play the Raiders in Lubbock Feb. 23.

"I don't think you can see yourself in the driver's seat," Tech head basketball coach James Dickey said. "There are four teams that have a chance to win it, and there are a lot of other teams that are going to have something to say before it's over."

The second tier of the conference has been a little more comfortably defined with TCU's defeat of the Cougars at Hofheinz Pavilion this weekend. An upset by Houston would have put it in a three-way tie for third place with the Horned Frogs and Rice.

"Saturday's game was critical because, had we won, we could have finished as high as second," Brooks said. "We could still finish third or fourth."

Houston had originally looked like a last-place finisher with its 0-4 start, but at 4-5 is in the thick of it once again.

"Clearly, we can ride the momentum (of the last five games) until the conference tournament, maybe through the tournament," Brooks said.

On the women's side, the Lady Cougars (12-9, 6-3) continue to be the league's hottest team, having won their last six in a row.

Houston can set a new school record by winning its sixth consecutive SWC contest Wednesday when it hosts No. 4 Texas Tech (22-3, 8-1) at 7 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion.

Speaking of Tech, the Raiders will come into Wednesday's contest having lost star forward and 1994 All-SWC player Connie Robinson for the season.

Robinson suffered a leg injury in the second half of the Raiders' 78-73 loss to Texas A&M Wednesday. A magnetic resonance imaging test revealed a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament and damage to leg cartilage.

The Aggies (15-6, 6-3), on the other hand, appear to have recovered from their two-game slide following wins over both Tech and the Lady Longhorns (86-79) last week.

Texas (5-4, 9-11) is still without star sophomore guard Danielle Viglione (bone spurs in her ankle) and has dropped five of seven.

But SMU (5-4, 14-7) just might be the dark horse. Other than Houston, no team in the SWC is playing better basketball.

The Mustangs have won three in a row and four of their last five. A key matchup with Texas in Dallas Wednesday may determine SMU's conference position.

Rice (4-5, 7-12) has lost its last four SWC games and is fading fast from a conference race that had the Owls near the top at 4-1 on Jan. 28.

 

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STARS MAKE <I>MURDER<P> A FIRST- RATE FILM

by Joey Guerra

Daily Cougar Staff

Friendships can form in the most unlikely places, at the most unlikely times, between the most unlikely people. Such is the bond formed between two men in the powerful new movie, <I> Murder in the First <P>.

The year is 1938 and one fateful night, four prisoners unsuccessfully attempt to escape the facility known as Alcatraz. Among them is Henry Young, played by Kevin Bacon. Henry is a young man led to criminal life out of desperation. He is sent to Alcatraz in order to populate the prison, thus justifying its incredible costs. Henry spends more than three years in solitary confinement, slowly transforming into an almost inhuman creature. He lives in total darkness, accompanied by only rats and spiders.

After being released from solitary, Henry's actions cause him to be charged with murder in the first degree.

Enter James Stamphill, played by Christian Slater. James is a novice attorney whose first case is to defend Henry. He is told to blow the case off as pure job experience but decides to help Henry after meeting him.

Aside from Henry and James there is Milton Glenn, associate warden at Alcatraz, played by Gary Oldman. Oldman's usual over-the-top theatrics work well in portraying Milton, who is responsible for many of the horrors at Alcatraz.

Apart from being a movie about the horrors of prison and the search for justice, <I> Murder <P> is primarily a film about the growing trust and love between Henry and James.

More than anything, <I> Murder<P>, which is based on actual events, excels in illustrating the complex relationship first between lawyer and client and then between friends.

As Henry, Bacon gives a quietly compelling performance. His fascinating portrayal of Henry shows that his pain was emotional as well as physical. Despite his crimes, Henry is an innocent, a victim of Alcatraz.

Slater's performance is also strong. Through Henry, James learns that victory isn't about winning it all, but winning what is needed to carry on in life. Slater leaves behind his previous roles as a wisecracking heartthrob with this performance, which he handles with grace and sincerity.

Director Marc Rocco has made an unforgettable movie that does not rely on sex or violence to move the plot along. Fred Murphy, director of photography, also adds dimension by his effective use of lighting, reflection and odd camera angles.

Rocco brings out the best in his actors, especially Bacon, whose work in this picture should not be ignored by the Academy Awards. Ultimately, all the elements come together to create a moving and emotional film.

<I>Murder in the First<P>

Stars: Christian Slater, Kevin Bacon

Director: Marc Rocco

***1/2

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GET ROMANTIC WITH PUNK MUSIC

by Stephen Stelmak

Daily Cougar Staff

If your girlfriend already has 12 body-piercings, and you just don't know what to get her for Valentine's Day, there is a compilation CD that is the perfect romantic gift for her. <I>Cupid's Revenge; The World's Most Romantic Punk Songs<P>, from Continuum Records, is a diverse collection of romantic remakes and originals from the Circle Jerks, Black Flag and others.

With songs like the Dead Milkmen's "If You Love Somebody, Set Them On Fire," the punk gathering is for those who are tired of the sickly sweet trappings of Valentine's Day.

The beginning song lags with The Dictators' horrible rendition of "I Got You Babe," horrible even compared to the original Sonny and Cher or the Beavis and Butthead remake.

However, with romantic and timely lyrics from Black Flag like "I won't beat you up and I won't push you around, because if I did that the cops would get me for doing it," the album quickly picks up. The unlimited energy of punk music is unleashed in the Simpletons' "I Have a Date," Circle Jerk's "In Your Eyes" and Black Flag's "Jealous Again." Untalented lead singers, backed by strained instrumentals, may encompass much of punk music, but <I>Cupid's Revenge<P> contains a surprising amount of talented punk bands.

The Vandals' remake of "Summer Nights" is amusing and fast-paced, and true to punk form, it more than makes up for the lousy Dictators' remake that opens the album.

"Do You Want Me on My Knees?" is the only song on the album with a female lead singer. Not included simply for variety, the song fits well with crass lyrics sung by the throaty Nuns' singer, backed by her band with heavy power cords.

The album ends on an upbeat with The Rotters' "Sit On My Face Stevie Nicks." Crass and humorous, the British punk song is a befitting end for <I>The World's Most Romantic Punk Songs<P>.

The biggest problem with the album is that it is too short. The compilation contains a good selection of romantic punk songs from the early '80s and '90s. Those looking for a great gift for that special punk in their lives should pick up a copy of <I>Cupid's Revenge<P>.

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17TH CENTURY LOVERS VISIT OPERA

PYNKOSKI

Pullquote: The tale of the lovelorn Carthagenian queen and wandering Trojan prince is told through music, dance and song.

by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

When Virgil wrote of Aeneas and Dido in the <I>Aeneid<P>, his eyes could not have foreseen The Houston Grand Opera in Dido and Aeneas' future. However, this season HGO has brought these star-crossed lovers' fate to Houston with Opera Atelier's production of Henry Purcell's <I>Dido and Aeneas<P>.

Baroque music seems to escape the fame and glamour of 19th century romanticism. With Verdi, Strauss and Puccini reigning over opera theaters, it is difficult for 17th and 18th century music to have a chance at the limelight. But HGO has given the Canadian company, Opera Atelier, a shot at bringing baroque opera to Houston.

Marshall Pynkoski, director of Opera Atelier, and his wife, choreographer Jeannette Zingg, produced a most creative and magical <I>Dido and Aeneas<P>. The tale of the lovelorn Carthagenian queen and wandering Trojan prince is told through music, dance and song.

Conductor Mark Minkowski and the Parisian orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre, performed some of the most beautiful baroque music with perfection. This orchestra, along with the wonderful talent of the chorus, defines the magic of music.

Linda Maguire sang the ill-fated Dido. Although her voice rang with clarity, it never reached the emotion and sadness Dido was in need of.

Brent Polegato sang Aeneas. His voice lacked the masculinity and power that Aeneas well deserves. Aeneas was a conqueror, not a Romeo. Polegato's role as Aeneas was one easily forgotten.

Belinda, Dido's loving sister, was sung by Shari Saunders. She kept the opera from falling apart in the vocal department. Her talent, along with that of Jacques Francois Loiseleur des Longchamps (Sorceress), Meredith Hall and Laura Pudewell (Witches), created the atmosphere that <I>Dido and Aeneas<P> should have had with the lead singers as well.

Preceding the hour-long <I>Dido and Aeneas<P> is the <I>Ode on the Death of Henry Purcell<P>, by Jeremiah Clarke, performed in honor of Purcell. This year marks the 300-year anniversary of the composer's death. Purcell died Nov. 21, 1695, at the age of 36, as England's symbol of national pride. It is Purcell who made England's music a part of the European tradition.

<I>The Ode<P> is a short piece showing the great losses suffered by artists, gods and people, because of Purcell's death and is an interesting interpretation of a 300-year-old misfortune.

<I>Dido and Aeneas<P> is perhaps the most interesting opera of HGO's season. With outstanding costumes, nearly perfect music and a tale of mythical tragedy of ill-fated romance, <I>Dido and Aeneas<P> is a song of love, death and opera that should not escape the Wortham Center's Cullen Theater without being seen.

The performances are at 8 p.m. today and Friday, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday with discount tickets available for students. Call 227-ARTS for more information.

What: <I>Dido and Aeneas<P>

Where: Wortham Center, Cullen Theater

When: Tuesday, Friday, Sunday

Phone: 227-ARTS

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WHERE TO WINE AND DINE YOUR DATE

by Frank McGowan

and Valerie C. Fouche

Daily Cougar Staff

Are you lost in the maze of romance?

Are you inept at planning an evening out?

Has Valentine's Day crept up on you, leaving you without a clue as to what to do for your significant other?

Never fear, help has arrived. As a public service message we have compiled some suggestions for good dates. They range from intensely romantic to casual and moderately expensive to cheap. Above all, these recommendations come with the Dr. Dan seal of approval.

For those who equate good food and drink with good lovin', the following are restaurants that serve romance as well as great cuisine.

Restaurants

Michelangelo's (307 Westheimer) serves fine Italian fare in a casual but elegant atmosphere. Try to sit close enough to the pianist to make requests. If you are a serious romantic, this is the place for you.

Bistro Vino (819 W. Alabama), while somewhat pricey, is tough to beat in terms of style. Just make sure your date likes continental cuisine.

Thai Pepper (2049 W. Alabama) is cozy, dark and different. Most of the tables are so small that you will likely be nudged up against your dining companion.

La Mora (912 Lovett) is a small Italian restaurant (in other words, make reservations) with a quaint bar. The food is excellent and this place is tops in the romance department.

Bars

Marfreless (2006 Peden Ave.) is tough to locate unless you call for directions, but it is well worth the search. Go upstairs and find a love seat (there are plenty) and get close to your main squeeze.

La Carafe (813 Congress) is a classy bar that draws an eclectic crowd. One of the best jukeboxes in town is located here. So pick some tunes, get some wine and unwind together.

The Black Labrador Pub (4100 Montrose) has a fantastic selection of coffee drinks, seats around the fireplace and piano. If you're into games, they have possibly the largest chess board outside on the patio. Perfect for the Anglophile in your life.

Coffee Houses

Empire Cafe (1732 Westheimer) is great for a first date. This is a good spot for people- watching, and if you are having an awkward time with your date, watching your fellow coffee drinkers might just save the evening.

Cafe Artiste (1601 W. Main) has a wonderfully quiet atmosphere with possibly the best frozen cappuccino in Houston. The coffee and desserts are reasonably priced.

Try this

For those who like to play games, Dave and Buster's on Richmond could be the place for you.

To get the most out of your dining dollar, go to Star Pizza. Order your pizza and get a seat upstairs where you can watch a movie on their big-screen TV.

When the weather is right, Beck's Prime on Augusta has perhaps the best deck in town. Enveloped by massive oaks, you soon forget that you are at a burger joint.

Take your date for a stroll by the Transco Water Wall. It's free, it's romantic and if you protect your partner from raving street lunatics, you will look like a hero.

Finally, remember that depending on the chemistry between two people, romance can blossom as easily over a cup of coffee as a bottle of champagne.

But we say go for the champagne.

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