Alice's Restaurant
A few years ago MD and I were in a product development meeting with a handful of thirty something people.  During a break, she and I were huddled together having our own little discussion about something when the meeting got started back up.  In an effort to get our attention, one of the other people said, ‘Hey, you two, we need to get going again.’

I looked up and said, ‘Sorry, we were just having fun fillin’ out the forms and playin’ with the pencils on the bench there.’

Blank stares all around.  ‘What forms?’

Huh?’ says I.

‘What forms are you talking about?’

‘There are no forms.  I was just quoting that line from Alice’s Restaurant. You know, from where he was on the Group W bench’

More blank stares.

‘You know’, I explained, ‘the song, Alice’s Restaurant.’

Still more blank stares.

‘By Arlo Guthrie.’

‘Who’s Arlo Guthrie?’

It finally dawned on me that these kids hadn’t a clue who Arlo Guthrie was or anything about his famous song, Alice’s Restaurant.  Their parents I’m sure knew, but the kids didn’t.  I tried to explain that the song was a huge Vietnam war protest song.  That it was hilarious.  That there had been a movie made of it starring all the characters in the song, including Officer Obie.  And that the real Officer Obie played himself in the movie.  And that Arlo Guthrie was the son of the famous folk singer Woody Guthrie.  But my efforts were all sort of like performing a card trick for a dog.  They seemed interested, but they really didn’t have a clue. It was a total generational disconnect.

So, for those of you who remember the song with the infectious melody, here is the original recording below.  Listen and feel the waves of nostalgia wash over you.  For those of you who, like the thirty somethings in that meeting, have never heard the song, sit back and listen.  It’s not something that won’t appeal to you.  All of our kids are now 30-40-50-something, and they all love the song.  And can quote parts of it.  And would have known exactly what I meant.

And today is the perfect time for this song, which has become a Thanksgiving tradition for about 50 years. You’ll see why when you listen.

Here’s to hoping that you, too, can get anything that you want. And that you have a Thanksgiving dinner that can’t be beat.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is an illustrated version of the original recording.  Enjoy!

If you want a more recent version, the YouTube below show Mr. Guthrie (who did not inherit Huntington’s disease from his famous father) singing his beloved song 40 years later at Farm Aid.  Still pretty good. And pretty close to the original.


Photo at top by Ahmad Omari on Unsplash


  1. I absolutely agree!!! It’s the perfect song for today….especially for us “50-Somethings”.
    As a matter of fact, last night on KLOS, they usually play the “Five O’clock Funnies”, which is a stand-up comic doing their thing for you to enjoy on the drive home from work. Helps to ease the pressure for the drive home. Don’t always listen too closely…
    But then they started playing Alice’s Restaurant and I turned the volume WAY UP and it had to be the best drive home ever!!! I got to sing it in “4-part harmony with feeling”!…while watching out for “mean-nasty ugly things”!
    Glad you enjoyed it. Once you start listening, it’s hard to quit.

  2. Dr Eades, I know you remeber your kid”s age. You said 30 something, is that an expression? By the way I was listening to the interview of Dr Barry Sears on his new book ” toxic food’ on Jimmy Moore website. He caught my attention really fast. I was still kind of in a sleeping mode when he said ” there are no contraindications ot taking fish oil and the only problem is that you get smarter taking it! He did recommend his fish oil, because they are the most refined and contaminant free. Others, he claims is just sea’ s sewer. I would motion to object, I know there are other good companies that sell good, quality fish oil product as well. i like Carlton fish oil in bottles. I took Barry; s fish oil, they are fine too, but a bit more expensive then Carton and I love Carton’ s a lot. But it was funny the way he said the only problem with taking fish oil is that you might get smarter. Why is it a problem? Dr Eades are you a big fan of fish oil and if you are, which ones do you take? Are you also a beiever that silent inflammation caused by a combination of higher insulin and ingestion of cheap vegetable oils, will lead to heart attacks and premature death? By the way, nice clips, awesome song. Even thogh I am 36 and wasnt born here, I appreciate it just as much as someone who was. I am sorry that even on my favorite Holiday, I cant stay away from asking you question. Its your fault. Thats what happens when you are an icon, ok a role model, ok may be not that strong, I dont like icon or role models. But you are a doctor that I love and respect a lot. I have a friend who is a professional hockey player, I wont mention his name, and every time we get together, which is once a year or so, all my buddies talk sport with him, which he cant stand, understandingly so. I hope you dont mind that I do the same to you! Dr Eades again I wish you and all those who are close and dear to you, the very healthy and happy Holiday season! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do, I am sure others will join in on the sentiment!
    There are a lot of good fish oils. Nordic Naturals is the one we take. But, I don’t take fish oil every day anymore. I take one every now and then. I do take krill oil every day, however.
    And I do agree with Barry, who is a good friend of mine, that the combination of refined carbs and vegetable oils are disastrous. His comment that the only problem with fish oil is that it might make you smarter was a joke. Or, at least, his attempt at one.
    You have a happy Thanksgiving, too.

  3. They played it today on our local Philly classic rock station, it’s a tradition. Can’t do Thanksgiving without it! A happy one to you and yours. And I just turned 60 last week and it reminds me of why I am so happy being my age 🙂 🙂
    A happy one back to you. With age comes something one can’t get any other way.

  4. Lol, I think it was a joke too. But it was funny the way you said at least an attempt at a joke. He does seem to be a very stoic, seriuos guy. I wouldnt attempt a dirty joke around him. I wouldnt try it around Dr Feinman either for that matter. Ok, I am almost ready to watch a football game, Titans vs Lions. i know it is a tradition to play Detroit and Cowboys on thanksgiving day, but lions are really bad. Hope it wont be such a bad game. Then it is off to Turkey. I let my sister entertain us with cooking this year. Usually she is Detroit Lions of cooking. She scares me every time she cooks. She reminds me of a joke I know about turkey. A new russian ( we call rich people in russia New Russians since they accumulted wealth over night ) goes into an expensive restaurant and asks for something extraordinary to impress his newly acquired girlfriend. The waitor recommends chef”s special roasted turkey in an equisite french sause. Minutes later the New Russian calls on a waiter and sais ” Mr your turkey is not properly roasted’ The waiter replies’ Sir but the chief has been roasting those turkey for so many years, why do you say it needs more roasting? New Russian replies ” Becuase while I and my girlfriend turned around to speak with a friend of mine your roasted turkey ate all of our salad! So I hope my sister’s turkey wont be that bad. Happy Turkey Day everybody!

  5. I just watched both videos, and now my husband is watching them on his computer. What fun! Whoever put this together had a lot of imagination. Thanks for the memories.
    You’re welcome. Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. That’s hilarious! I had just mentioned Alice’s Restaurant to my husband about half an hour before I read your post. He’s not familiar with it except from hearing me talk about it, but I can certainly sing along. And I’m always saying something about having to pay $50 and pick up the garbage, lol. The Hartford CT rock station used to play it every year on Thanksgiving when I lived there. I think I need to play it now.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Glad you enjoyed it. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

  7. That’s funny. I know those blank stares.
    I quote A’s R. as well… everytime anyone says “What did you get?” to me. Out of habit I respond “I didn’t get nuthin. I had to pay 50 bucks and clean up the garbage.” Blank stares. I don’t bother explaining. 🙂
    Beautiful. I’ll have to remember that one, too.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Dr Eades, you responded above that you don’t take fish oil every day anymore. Why is that?
    When I originally started taking fish oil I was taking it along with krill oil and circumin to replace the tons of ibuprofen I had been taking to prevent aches, pains and stiffness from all the golf I play. At this point I can completely control all my symptoms with a single krill oil softgel and a circumin capsule per day. I throw back a couple of fish oil capsules a time or two a week when I think of it, but I don’t take it regularly.

  9. Funny, funny, funny! I was too hesitant to lauph though, all that Thanksgiving feast! I was kind of squeezing a lauph not to burst lauphing . Didnt want to upset my digestion process any further. I am so proud of myself, I stayed off the pumpkin pie and my favorite sweet potato with marshmallow. Oh, marshmallow! I did have 99% dark Lindt chocolate with few grapes instead. Oh, marshmallow! So I was a good girl today! Dr Mike and all your blogger followers ” Happy and sane Thanksgiving day and a day after! Stay strong, stay sober and help out your spouses!
    I helped a lot. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

  10. Thanks for bring that all back. I was required to study that song way back in middle school (late 70’s). I’d forgotten all the great quotes.
    Did you know that Guthrie was a supporter of Ron Paul? 🙂
    I hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving. I would like to mention that we had a funny moment today, as my sister made a beautiful low carb pumpkin pie for us, and I made a beautiful high carb sweet potato souffle for them. None of us knew what the other had done. So we all ate both.
    Didn’t know Arlo’s current political affiliation, but I’m not surprised.
    Thanksgiving dessert at your place sounds like something right out of the famous O’Henry short story, The Gift of the Magi.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  11. Used to be a family tradition to listen to Alice’s Restaurant every Thanksgiving on the local radio station that’d play it at noon. Just the length it took to get to Granny’s house. Sadly it hasn’t quite worked out that way in recent years, but your post sure made me think of it.
    By the way, I want to say what lovely friends and family I have — they made sure to prepare steamed cauliflower as a potato substitute and make a pumpkin cheesecake with Splenda. Add turkey (gravy made with arrowroot, which isn’t really any lower carb, but I’m wary of gluten anyway), snap beans and spicy herb zucchini — this diabetic did okay. Yum yum. Perhaps by the weekend I’ll feel up to eating again.
    Sounds like a great dinner. Glad you enjoyed the song.

  12. Good Day! I saw that you helped your wife a lot, in what way other than eating, lol! Thats how I helped my sister. Her turkey wasnt all that bad after all. I didnt know that nowadays you can buy turkey bags that come with a popup thermometer that pop ups when a bird is ready. All you have to do is add a tablespoon of flour into the bag and wala! Wow, that simple! So even as cooking challenged as my sister is the bird was good! I am off to Atlantic City this morning with my sister as per request, more like begging. Not that I needed a lot ofpersuasion. I like playing poker at the table and some slot machines, within reason off course. Plus free liquor! I usually choose wine, usually. So Dr Eades what are good snacks to take while going away? I am packing on packaged nuts, chocolate protein shakes ( which taste like melted chocolate ice cream, I was finally be able to find the best combination to make low carb protein shakes taste really good) and some rolled up turkey with cheese, avocado slices and roasted pepper. I am also packing fresh mozarella slices roleed with proshutto and basil. I found the best proshutto on earth ! I am aslo packing sardines wrapped in Nori seaweed wrappers, which make my sardines taste better! By the way I still havent figured out how to make sardines not stink up the whole car. Boy do they stink! Ok, wish me luck, I am off to the wild, wild west everyone!
    Good luck! Sounds like your travel snacks are a lot better than mine. I usually take beef jerky and that’s about it. As far as I know, there is no way to keep sardines from stinking up a car. Much as I like them, I would even consider taking them as snacks on a car trip.

  13. Although I’m not a big fan of protest music I do have a liking for “Alice’s Restaurant”. It’s done pretty well and has some wry humor to it. My favorite part is where they ask him, “kid, have you rehabilitated yourself?” while he’s registering for the draft. I understand the blank stares, I get them myself from time to time, so I sympathise. I turned 55 the day before Thanksgiving and wouldn’t want to be in my 20’s right now.
    We managed to have a pretty low-carb Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and enjoyed it greatly, so I’m proud of us both (especially Carol, my wife, who did the cooking).
    Happy Thanksgiving to both of you and all who comment on your blog.
    Same back to you, Jim, and all your family. Glad you enjoyed the song.

  14. My sister, Elsa, is to blame for bringing that ¢*&%$! LP into my preteen consciousness, and it’s been following me ever since. I have even attended the annual Thanksgiving concerts that Arlo and family (and company), a truly an extended family, give each year at Carnegie Hall, for more years than care to remember. Still, AR is a song that connects past and present, beyond the generational divide. Like the concert, it convenes graying hippies and postmodern folk acolytes who believe that Arlo (and Woody) Guthrie is a link to the grandeur of American folk music. I look forward to it this Saturday night LIVE!
    Happy post-Thanksgiving!
    I never watch SNL. Is Arlo going to be on this week?

  15. I’m at work and was listening to your UTube item. My thirty-something nurses clustered in the doorway listening. They’d never heard of Arlo Guthrie or the song. At the end one (younger) nurse rolled her eyes and said, “That is SO 1960’s”. Of course they’e never heard of Woodie Guthrie either. To them, Vietnam is no more relative than the Civil War. Every generation ignores the previous.

  16. Wow.. this brings back memories! I’m a 30 something, but my parents had this album and played it often when I was a kid. Alices Resturaunt was my favorite song for a long time. Just seeing the album cover took me back to my childhood. (My kids barely know what a record is. I had to explain they were not huge CD’s. LOL)Thanks for sharing and I hope you and MD had a fabulous Thanksgiving!
    Thanks. We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Hope you did, too.

  17. Fantastic! You’ve given me a great Thanksgiving gift. I haven’t thought of or heard that song in years. Thanks.
    Glad you enjoyed it.

  18. But the blind judge didn’t even look at the 27 color glossy pictures with the circles ‘n arrows…
    We are barely forty-something but were corrupted early in life. The glossy pictures line, the “didn’t get up until the next day when we had to go to court” line and several others are heard at least once a month around our place. Thanks for reminding me that I forgot about this, since we were hiding from thanksgiving. We did have a Game Hen and a Surry Sausage with a clear soup for dinner and home-made low carb brazil nut ice cream for dessert.
    You TG dinner on the sly sounds delicious.

  19. Dear Michael and Mary D., i’m writing to ask where I can watch you on t.v. as my neighbor does. She gets a PBS station that we don’t get at our house. She enjoyed your low-carb Thanksgiving. She says you are looking good and very trim. I repeat what the others said, funny comment “card tricks for a dog” and I know that look also. I get it whenever I start reminiscing about any decade before the 2000’s. Health and happiness from Adrienne Hirschfeld, St. Louis, MO.
    Good to hear from you.
    I don’t know what to tell you about how to find us on PBS. Each of the 150 or so affiliates has its own scheduling, and the PBS website is a nightmare to navigate. These are just a couple of the reasons we are bolting from PBS at the end of this contract year.
    Give our regards to Rebecca.

  20. “If you want to end a war and stuff you have to sing it loud.”
    It must have worked. 🙂
    Another of my favorite lines, especially if I show up to a store or something that is unexpectedly closed:
    We’d never heard of a dump bein’ closed on Thanksgiving.

  21. what a thanksgiving treat, thanks so much! haven’t heard this in years and it was always a favorite. and speaking of generational disconnects, on thursday i made a reference to haldeman, dean and erlichman in a business meeting and NOT ONE of the twenty/thirty somethings i work with knew who they were….
    best of holidays to you and yours!
    A sad state of affairs. You know what they say about those who forget history…

  22. I still dont understand how people claiming preposterous medical facts for a reason to make economical gains are allowed to do that? Dr Mike can you explain how it works. I watched that clip that someone sent to you about reasons we are fat featuring some doctor claiming ugly clusters of whatever those things are called. So if I decide to create some absolutely bogus claim and send it all over the net using scary statistic and sensational claim I will be able to do that> And then I will sell sugar water to treat it. How is it legal? What are the loopholes that allow these scam artists to operate? I am sure there are desperate people that are willing to do anything to loose weight. I just dont get it!
    It’s a bizarre situation. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is supposed to be looking out for these kinds of things, but they don’t. Not unless these folks start to sell a lot of product will the FTC do anything. The whole marketing of bogus products and plans and how the FTC works would require many pages to explain.

  23. It just boils my blood, really does! I can at least let it slide a bit if someone does sell sugar water and claims mysterios results, at least it might have some psychosomatic effect if nothing else. But some of these people sell some dangerous staff or give dangerous recipes. For one that comes to mind is Kevin Tradeu, I cant believe he became a health expert after other scams were stopped. i know some people that read his book and almost ended up in emergency rooms. I mean you cant stop people from themselves, at least some, but these guys need to be handcuffed. How can you be so irresponsible and take advantage of the most desperate and weakened? Just escape my reasoning!

  24. To lighten up a mood a bit, I just mixed soem staff and oh my God! I recently read a book by Jonny Bowden, called 150 best food on earth! So I always try to add one meal into my busy day that would incorporate the most healthies foods into one and quick meal and taste good. I wont bore you with all my experiments up to date. Some were better then others. But today I made one and it came out just short of orgasmic. At least for me, lol. I mixed half of cup of frozen organic blueberries and oraganic blackberries with 1 cup of almond milk. I stirred 2 packets of truvia ( which is mixed stevia with erythritol I dont know if you heard about it, its pretty good ) and cinnamon. Then I also mixed in few almonds and half and half. Oh my God! I kept whisking it until it bacame an ice cream conssitency. It was dark blue ice cream. I gave it to my 14 years old nephew and he said it is eatable. Mind you, he eats nothing, I repeat nothing but junk food! So when it passes his palate, i knew found something special! I am happy as a kid!
    Sounds good to me. Of course, anything with blackberries in it sounds good to me.

  25. “To them, Vietnam is no more relative than the Civil War. Every generation ignores the previous.”
    Amen! I am well and truly in my 50’s and as I age I have observed that every generation believes it invented sex and social justice. Ours was no different. Our children and grandchildren will do the same.
    How true. I’m contemplating a short essay on this very thing as it relates to Alice’s Restaurant.

  26. It isn’t Thanksgiving until you hear “Alice’s Restaurant.”
    I had my own moment a couple months ago with a young co-worker who was putting together a shipment going to Clear Lake, Iowa. I mentioned going there a few years ago and seeing the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly played his last show.
    “Who’s Buddy Holly?” asked my co-worker in dead seriousness.
    “Oh, come on, everyone knows Buddy Holly. He was huge. ‘American Pie’ by Don Maclean was written about him dying in a plane crash, the day the music died.”
    Co-worker blinks. “Who’s Don Maclean?”
    I went back to my desk after that, feeling very old.
    Yes, indeed. It does make one feel old. Don’t these people have parents who shared their music. All of our kids know Alice’s Rest and Buddy Holly and Don McClean. A funny story. I was sitting in our local coffee shop a couple of days ago having a cup with our middle kid when Gary Busey (the actor who played Buddy Holly in the movie) drives up, gets out of his car, and walks in. I see him when he gets out of the car and recognize him. I say to my kid, ‘Look, do you know who that is?’ My kid looks and says, ‘It looks like an old Buddy Holly, but it can’t be because I know he’s dead.’

  27. Couple of things:
    1. Loved the video!
    2. Isn’t krill oil a type of fish oil?
    3. Several acquaintances have either gone low-carb or showed a lot of interest in low-carb after seeing how Wil and I are doing on LC. Of course, my immediate family hasn’t noticed anything……
    Krill oil is oil from krill, what are tiny, shrimp-like creatures that make up most of the biomass of the ocean. Fish oil is from fish, which are, well, fish. Cold water fish, typically. The fatty acids in krill oil are hooked up differently than those in fish oil, making krill oil easier to take, easier to absorb, and more potent for a given amount.
    Glad you’re serving as a good example.

  28. “At this point I can completely control all my symptoms with a single krill oil softgel and a circumin capsule per day.”
    This interests me because I have taken so much acetomeniphen (sp?) and ibuprofen for joint pain over the years that I am really beginning to worry about toxicity. The krill oil is familiar, but not the circumin. What is the typical dosage for inflammation? Is it relatively common? Any side effects?
    Circumin is from tumeric and has been used in Indian medicine for centuries. More and more studies are finding that circumin is a great all-around anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer supplement. I use the one listed in our product catalog. You can look at this one and get one that’s similar and give it a try. At first I used a couple of fish oil caps per day along with a couple of krill oil caps and a circumin capsule. I’ve worked down to the single krill and the circumin. I would take the circumin, though, even if the krill oil alone helped the inflammation. Here is the first post I did on krill oil talking about my original regimen. I posted on krill several times. If you enter ‘krill oil’ in the search function on the upper right of the blog, you can find all the posts.

  29. That reminds me of a two dollar bill story I read:
    On my way home from work, I stopped at Taco Bell for a quick bite to eat. In my billfold are a $50 bill and a $2 bill. I figure that with a $2 bill, I can get something to eat and not have to worry about anyone getting irritated at me for trying to break a $50 bill.
    Me: “Hi, I’d like one seven-layer burrito please, to go.”
    Server: “That’ll be $1.04. Eat in?”
    Me: “No, it’s to go.” At this point, I open my billfold and hand him the $2 bill. He looks at it kind of funny.
    Server: “Uh, hang on a sec, I’ll be right back.”
    He goes to talk to his manager, who is still within my earshot. The following conversation occurs between the two of them: Server: “Hey, you ever see a $2 bill?” Manager: “No. A what?”
    Server: “A $2 bill. This guy just gave it to me.”
    Manager: “Ask for something else There’s no such thing as a $2 bill.” Server: “Yeah, thought so”
    He comes back to me and says, “We don’t take these. Do you have anything else?”
    Me: “Just this fifty. You don’t take $2 bills? Why?”
    Server: “I don’t know.”
    Me: “See here where it says legal tender?”
    Server: “Yeah.”
    Me: “So, why won’t you take it?”
    Server: “Well, hang on a sec.”
    He goes back to his manager, who has been watching me like I’m a shoplifter, and says to him, “He says I have to take it.”
    Manager: “Doesn’t he have anything else?”
    Server: “Yeah, a fifty. I’ll get it and you can open the safe and get change ”
    Manager: “I’m not opening the safe with him in here.”
    Server: “What should I do?”
    Manager: “Tell him to come back later when he has real money.”
    Server: “I can’t tell him that! You tell him.”
    Manager: “Just tell him.”
    Server: “No way! This is weird. I’m going in back.”
    The manager approaches me and says, “I’m sorry, but we don’t take big bills this time of night.”
    Me: “It’s only seven o’clock! Well then, here’s a two dollar bill.”
    Manager: “We don’t take those, either.”
    Me: “Why not?”
    Manager: “I think you know why.”
    Me: “No really, tell me why.”
    Manager: “Please leave before I call mall security.”
    Me: “Excuse me?”
    Manager: “Please leave before I call mall security.”
    Me: “What on earth for?”
    Manager: “Please, sir.”
    Me: “Uh, go ahead, call them”
    Manager: “Would you please just leave?”
    Me: “No.”
    Manager: “Fine — have it your way then.”
    Me: “Hey, that’s Burger King, isn’t it?”
    At this point, he backs away from me and calls mall security on the phone around the corner. I have two people staring at me from the dining area, and I begin laughing out loud, just for effect. A few minutes later this 45-year-oldish guy comes in.
    Guard: “Yeah, Mike, what’s up?”
    Manager (whispering): “This guy is trying to give me some (pause) funny money.”
    Guard: “No kidding! What?”
    Manager: “Get this … a two dollar bill.”
    Guard (incredulous): “Why would a guy fake a two dollar bill?”
    Manager: “I don’t know. He’s kinda weird. He says the only other thing he has is a fifty.”
    Guard: “Oh, so the fifty’s fake!”
    Manager: “No, the two dollar bill is.”
    Guard: “Why would he fake a two dollar bill?”
    Manager: “I don’t know! Can you talk to him, and get him out of here?”
    Guard: “Yeah.”
    Security Guard walks over to me and…… Guard: “Mike here tells me you have some fake bills you’re trying to use”
    Me: “Uh, no.”
    Guard: “Lemme see ’em.”
    Me: “Why?”
    Guard: “Do you want me to get the cops in here?”
    At this point I am ready to say, “Sure, please!” but I want to eat, so I say “I’m just trying to buy a burrito and pay for it with this two dollar bill.
    I put the bill up near his face, and he flinches like I’m taking a swing at him. He takes the bill, turns it over a few times in his hands, and says, Hey, Mike, what’s wrong with this bill?”
    Manager: “It’s fake.”
    Guard: “It doesn’t look fake to me.”
    Manager: “But it’s a two dollar bill.”
    Guard: “Yeah?”
    Manager: “Well, there’s no such thing, is there?”
    The security guard and I both look at him like he’s an idiot, and it dawns on the guy that he has no clue.
    So, it turns out that my burrito was free, and he threw in a small drink and some of those cinnamon thingies, too.
    Made me want to get a whole stack of two dollar bills just to see what happens when I try to buy stuff. If I got the right group of people, I could probably end up in jail. You get free food there, too!

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