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What is the difference between breakdancing and Parkour? – History and Video Blog

The definitions:

Parkour: (French pronunciation: ​[paʁˈkuʁ]) (abbreviated PK) is a holistic training discipline using movement that developed from obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to quickly and efficiently overcome obstacles in their environment, using only their bodies and their surroundings to propel themselves; furthermore, they try to maintain as much momentum as is possible in a safe manner. Parkour can include running, climbing, swinging, vaultingjumping, rolling, quadrupedal movement, and the like, depending on what movement is deemed most suitable for the given situation. 
Parkour is non-competitive. It may be performed on an obstacle course, but is usually practiced in a creative, and sometimes playful, reinterpretation or subversion of urban spaces. Parkour involves seeing one’s environment in a new way, and imagining the potentialities for movement around it.
Developed in France primarily by Raymond BelleDavid Belle, and Sébastien Foucan, during the late 1980s, Parkour became popular in the late 1990s and 2000s through films, documentaries, and advertisements featuring these practitioners and others.
Parkour’s training methods have inspired a range of other activities, includingfreerunning and l’art du déplacement. Although their creators define them as separate activities, practitioners and non-practitioners alike often find it difficult to discern the differences between them.


B-boying or Breaking, also called Breakdancing: is a style of street dance that originated among Black and Puerto Rican youths in New York City during the early 1970s. The dance spread worldwide due to popularity in the media, especially in regions such as South Korea, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and Japan. While diverse in the amount of variation available in the dance, b-boying consists of four kinds of movement: toprockdownrockpower moves, and freezes. B-boying is typically danced to hip-hop and especially breakbeats, although modern trends allow for much wider varieties of music along certain ranges of tempo and beat patterns. 

A practitioner of this dance is called a b-boy, b-girl, or breaker. Although the term “breakdance” is frequently used to refer to the dance, “b-boying” and “breaking” are the original terms. These terms are preferred by the majority of the pioneers and most notable practitioners.

The History of Parkour

Trying to pinpoint the exact moment of the birth of Parkour is no easy task. In fact, it may actually prove to be an impossibility. Something as nebulous and indefinable as this thing we practice tends to defy classification. Already it boasts several names, in more than one language: Le Parkour, the Art of Movement, Freerunning, L’Art du Deplacement, to name but a few. And even if you do settle on a name, there is then the tricky little problem of what that name refers to – Is it a sport? Or an art? Or a philosophy perhaps? Or maybe it is better termed a discipline?


Truth is, there is no consensus on this. And – which really hefts a giant spanner into the works – you can’t just go and ask the founding father because this great movement is pretty damn far from being a nuclear family, 2.4 kids and all the rest. No. This child has had a whole host of surrogate step-parents influencing its development down through the years, the centuries, indeed even through the millennia. It has drawn on many sources, supped on inspiration from all over, and drunk from a hundred different cups as it has evolved – and by no means is this process over.
So where do we start in an attempt to get a grip on all this? Not at the beginning, because the gods only know where that was. Not at the end, because that isn’t even in sight. Seems the best we can do is to start somewhere in the middle, and give credit where it’s due to a certain little town in France.
The French Connection
To the south of Paris rest the sleepy, suburban towns of Evry, Sarcelles and Lisses, places no different from any other of the hundreds of satellites orbiting the French capital, save for one small fact: these places were home to a group of nine young men widely acknowledged as having crystallized a number of influences to create something then called l’Art du Deplacement, sometime in the 1980s. At the core of this group were Yann Hnautra and David Belle, who drove much of the early training and have since become known as the originators of the art. These childhood friends formed the group which called itself ‘Yamakasi’, a Lingala word meaning ‘Strong man, strong spirit’, and for over a decade they practised their discipline together and alone, reviled by the French authorities and seen as wildmen by the local public.
What style of dance is Parkour?
 
Parkour, as we have seen, is not something easily categorized. Perhaps inevitably however, as the community grew and numbers swelled, attempts to define and classify became commonplace. By nature an art that encourages freedom of movement and individual expression, it is difficult – if not impossible – to formalise a structured system that contains it whilst at the same time allowing for the subjective approaches of its practitioners. Matters were further complicated by the simple fact that David Belle – acknowledged as one of the gurus of Parkour – chose at first not to release any succinct and clear definition for others to refer to, and so the debates raged and schisms between the different perspectives ensued.
 
History of Breakdancing
 
Many elements of b-boying can be seen in other antecedent cultures prior to the 1970s. B-boy pioneers Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon and Kenneth “Ken Swift” Gabbert, both of Rock Steady Crew, cite James Brown and Kung-Fu films as influences to b-boying. Many of b-boying’s more acrobatic moves, such as the flare, show clear connections to gymnastics. An Arab street dancer performing acrobatic headspins was recorded by Thomas Edison in 1898. However, it was not until the 1970s that b-boying developed as a defined dance style.

Beginning with DJ Kool Herc, Bronx-based DJs would take the rhythmic breakdown sections (also known as the “breaks”) of dance records and prolong them by looping them successively. The breakbeat provided a rhythmic base that allowed dancers to display their improvisational skills during the duration of the break. This led to the first battles—turn-based dance competitions between two individuals or dance crews judged with respect to creativity, skill, and musicality. These battles occurred in cyphers—circles of people gathered around the breakers. Though at its inception the earliest b-boys were “close to 90 percent African-American”, dance crews such as “SalSoul” and “Rockwell Association” were populated almost entirely by Puerto Rican-Americans.

 
To most Americans, even to casual fans of hip hop, breakdancing was a fad whose moment passed before the end of the ’80s, tossed into the decade’s time capsule along with acid wash and decent John Hughes movies.

And in some sense, they’re right. Breakdancing burst onto the national scene in the early 1980s, fueled by a media obsession with hip hop, enjoyed a love affair with the spotlight that lasted a few years, and then fell out of the glare just as quickly as it had located it.
Breakdancing may have died, but the b-boy, one of four original elements of hip hop (also included: the MC, the DJ, and the graffiti artist) lives on. To those who knew it before it was tagged with the name breakdancing, to those still involved in the scene that they will always know as b-boying, the tradition is alive and, well, spinning.

Breakdancing seems so different from all other kinds of dancing that the first question people ask when they see it is: “Where did these kids learn to dance like that?” To many people, this dance seems to have come out of nowhere. But like everything else, Breakdance did come from somewhere, something and someone. In the case of Breakdancing, the someone is the great superstar, James Brown, and the something is the dance, the Good Foot. In 1969, when James Brown was getting down with his big hit “Get on the Good Foot” the Hustle was the big dance style of the day. If you’ve ever seen JamesBrown live in concert or on TV, then you know he can really get down. And when he preformed his hit, he did the kind of dance you’d expect James Brown to do. High Energy. This almost acrobatic dance was appropriately enough known as the lot of kids around New York City.

Compiled By: Josh Martin

Sources:

Wikipedia

Parkour Generations

NPR

Global Darkness

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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History of The New Jersey Shores Food and Boardwalks

Home Made Jersey Shore Video:

Tastes of the Jersey Shore

new jersey lobsters, new jersey crabs, old advertisment, old image, funny, crab suit

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By: Tom Wilk
From saltwater taffy to seafood dinners, the Jersey Shore has always offered vacationers plenty of options to satisfy any appetite. Author Karen L. Schnitzspahn takes a look at the foods that lined the boardwalks and filled the dinner plates at Shore restaurants in “Jersey Shore Food History: Victorian Feasts to Boardwalk Treats” (American Palate/The History Press; 2012).

“Food is a big part of the Shore culture,” she says, in explaining the inspiration for the book. A New Jersey native who lives in Little Silver, Schnitzspahn fondly recalls visiting her grandparents in Margate in the 1950s.

“I remember going to Hackney’s and ordering lobster as a child. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world,” she says. The Atlantic City restaurant accommodated up to 3,200 patrons and featured waitresses in lobster costumes at the Miss America parade and in promotional materials to highlight its signature dish.

Schnitzspahn shows how Shore cuisine has evolved from the 19th century to the present. An 1850 breakfast menu from Congress Hall in Cape May offers standard fare, such as scrambled eggs and fried potatoes. However, the first four items listed are unlikely to grace most breakfast tables today: beef steaks, mutton chops, fresh fish and tripe. “I think that was the European influence,” she says, as the breakfast offerings also included kidneys, liver and clam fritters.

Other popular dishes fell out of favor with the passage of time. Celia Brown’s, a Belmar drive-in, offered a pineapple with cream cheese sandwich for 20 cents in the mid-1930s. And restaurants were not above adding a side of hyperbole to their meals. “We make the best Chocolate Ice Cream Soda in the World or any other place,” Celia Brown’s menu proclaimed.

alan brechmna, 1979, atlatic ciyt, dip stix

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Schnitzspahn offers short profiles of Shore institutions, including Kohr Brothers ice cream, Max’s Famous Hot Dogs in Long Branch and the Knife and Fork Inn in Atlantic City. Interspersed through the book are 90 photographs and illustrations. Some demonstrate the visual element in marketing food and drink.

After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Atlantic City celebrated the occasion with a merry-go-round bar that made it stand out from other watering holes. The WindMill restaurant in Long Branch remains a landmark that creates a lasting impression with its white vanes.

To give readers the opportunity to sample Shore cuisine through the ages, Schnitzspahn has reprinted more than 20 recipes. They range from an 1873 recipe for mock turtle soup served at the West End Hotel in Long Branch to a recipe for funnel cake, the popular boardwalk snack.

“I like to eat, but I don’t consider myself a foodie,” says Schnitzspahn, who tried out some of the recipes with her two grandchildren, including one for blancmange from the 19th century.

Today, she sees the Shore adapting to keep up with culinary trends, such as the farm-to-table movement and the growing demand for organic food. “There are now more vegetarian options and vegan restaurants,” she says.

Schnitzspahn believes Shore restaurants can handle all tastes. “There’s something for everybody, whether you want to hold a meal in your hand or sit down to a spectacular five-course dinner.”

View A Slide Show of 1900s New Jersey photos here.

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History of the New Jersey Board Walk

atlatic city, 1942, us army airforces

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Nothing is more New Jersey than its boardwalks. Hundreds of thousands of visitors and residents enjoy the unique entertainment that these iconic wooden pathways provide along the Jersey Shore.

Many towns along the state’s 130 miles of ocean coastline boast a boardwalk and each one has its own individuality. Family-friendly, bustling, romantic or sophisticated, Jersey Shore boardwalk towns have dozens of distinct styles that appeal to all ages.

The boardwalk as we know it today – a raised promenade of plank boards straddling the sandy coastline – first appeared in Atlantic City in 1870, making it the world’s first. Today, it’s also the world’s longest.

Its initial purpose was pragmatic, intending to minimize the amount of sand trafficked into seaside hotels and train cars, but it wasn’t long before the boardwalk was inserted into the public consciousness as a symbol of good times and easy living.

New Jersey boardwalks are very distinctive. Writer Jeff Schlegel put it best in an article in the Washington Post, when he stated candidly, “With all due respect to Coney Island and Virginia Beach, no place in the country matches the breadth and depth of boardwalk culture found along the Jersey Shore.”

atlatic city, black and white, 1967, tram car

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In addition to Atlantic City, Jersey Shore boardwalks offer something for everyone. The mile long boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach is a super family-friendly promenade with tons of rides and arcades for kids, a wide beach, restaurants, bars and even an aquarium.

To the south of Point Pleasant Beach is the Seaside Heights boardwalk that features the Casino and Funtown piers amusement parks. The mile long boardwalk is action-packed and one of the most popular and most visited in the state and is a magnet for young people. It’s full of game stands, rides, arcades and even a waterpark.

Near the southern most tip of New Jersey Wildwood has a total of five amusement piers, dozens of carnival games, souvenir shops, food stands, waterparks and world-class roller coasters. This bustling boardwalk draws tons of visitors to enjoy all the amusements, the expansive beach and the many special events.

For those seeking a quieter setting Spring Lake offers residents and vacationers alike an unhurried and peaceful atmosphere that has made the town a highly-desirable destination at the Jersey Shore for more than 100 years. Along with its uncluttered beach, the two-mile long boardwalk is the longest non-commercial boardwalk in New Jersey and provides a unique atmosphere for all visitors.

So, when in New Jersey, don’t miss out on the unforgettable experience of visiting our state’s boardwalks.

Compiled By: Josh Martin

Sources:
visitnj.com
Philly.com
NJ.com

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in History, Music Video, Uncategorized, Video Blog

 

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Benedictine, a short history and the original recipe.

History:

temp[Benedictine or Benedictine Spread is a condiment made with cucumbers, onions and cream cheese. It is used to make cucumber sandwiches and was invented around the turn of the 20th century by Jennie Carter Benedict, a caterer and restaurateur in Louisville, Kentucky. Benedict opened her restaurant in 1893. It was there that she invented and originally served benedictine. Originally used for sandwiches, benedictine has in recent years been used as a dip for chips and filling for potatoes.

“Louisvillians quiz guests and younger family members on the origin of Benedictine. The famous cucumber spread was, of course, created by one of our city’s most famous residents, Jennie C. Benedict. Setting the highest of culinary standards, “Miss Jennie” was also a successful businesswoman, a writer who for a time served as editor of The Courier-Journal’s Household section, and an important community volunteer.

The University Press of Kentucky has republished Jennie Benedict’s The Blue Ribbon Cook Book, from the fourth edition, 1922.” Susan Reigler, former restaurant critic and travel editor of The C-J, has written the Introduction, and for the first time the recipe for Benedictine Spread is published. The wonder is that it was never included in the other five editions, or in Benedict’s autobiography. Maybe she considered her recipe as secret as Colonel Sanders did his herbs and spices for chicken.

Reigler writes lovingly of her own youth when young ladies wore white gloves and munched cream cheese-and-nut sandwiches, based on Benedict’s concoction, in the restaurant of the old Stewart’s Dry Goods department store. She recounts the influence of recipes on today’s restaurants and home cooks as well.

A close variation of Miss Jennie’s “Stuffed Eggplant” has been on the menu of Simpsonville’s Old Stone Inn for many years. Louisville’s Kathy Cary at Lilly’s serves her own version of Benedictine, as do Chef Matt Weber at the Uptown Café, and Ouita Michel at Holly Hill Inn in Midway. Holly Hill’s sous-chef, Lisa Laufer, supplies her recipe for this book.

Reigler gives an interesting picture of the woman who, in 1893, started a catering business from her home. Benedict soon began defining Louisville’s tastes as she catered parties and weddings of its most prominent citizens and fed the middle class in her tearooms.

Miss Jennie’s menus became musts for Derby Day celebrations. Through the decades her cookbook remains popular. Reigler says, “I had many, many calls from readers trying to locate a copy. …”

The Blue Ribbon Cook Book contains a Glossary that is a cooking lesson in itself. The large sections on “Entrees” and “Desserts” are complemented by interesting advice in “Sick Room Cookery,” and practical kitchen tricks.

Probably the most intriguing recipe of all is that which keeps Miss Jennie’s name on Louisville lips. Here is the version supplied by cookbook author and former Courier-Journal food editor Ronni Lundy. It is the one that Jennie C. Benedict would most likely have included in her book:

Benedictine spread

· 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
· 3 tablespoons cucumber juice
· 1 tablespoon onion juice
· 1 teaspoon salt
· a few grains of cayenne pepper
· 2 drops green food coloring

To get the juice, peel and grate a cucumber, then wrap in a clean dish towel and squeeze juice into a dish. Discard pulp. Do the same for the onion. Mix all ingredients with a fork until well blended. Using a blender will make the spread too runny.”

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(Above) The interior of Jennie Benedict’s restaurant at 554 S. Fourth Street in downtown Louisville. The establishment opened in 1900 and was sold in 1925 for $50,000. Benedict was trained in New York by Fanny Farmer.

Weekend Edition Saturday Transcript:

temp[Cream cheese, cucumber juice and a touch of onion. That may sound like an unlikely combination, but Benedictine is a Kentucky favorite. Gwynne Potts, a self-proclaimed aficionado, says it’s delicious.

“The best thing to eat Benedictine on is just white bread,” Potts says. “No special bread; it only takes away from the Benedictine.”

Potts, who grew up in Louisville, Ky., has been enjoying the creamy combo for six decades. And for the first 18 years of her life, she says, Benedictine was like ketchup. She assumed it was eaten everywhere until, as a college student, she took a spring break trip to Florida.

“We couldn’t imagine having lunch without Benedictine,” Potts says. “We went from store to store, saying, ‘Where’s your Benedictine?’ And they just looked at us. It was the first time I realized the whole world didn’t know about Benedictine.”

Years later, that’s still pretty much the case. But this creamy, cool cucumber spread has persisted in Kentucky ever since Jennie Benedict, a famous Louisville caterer, invented it around the turn of the 20th century.

Benedict opened a tearoom on downtown Louisville’s South Fourth Street in 1911. Back then, that was the city’s bustling commercial center, packed with stores, cafes, theaters and hotels. Today, it’s a few boutiques and several wig shops.

Susan Reigler, a former restaurant critic for Louisville’s newspaper, The Courier-Journal, wrote the introduction to the re-release of Benedict’s Blue Ribbon Cook Book in 2008. Reigler says Benedict’s role in the city’s culinary history was huge and that the roots of many of the city’s flavors can be traced back to her recipes.

Of course, some of Benedict’s concoctions have fallen out of favor — like calf brains and peptonized oysters for the sick. But Reigler says Benedictine has endured.

“I think it’s just very different. It’s very refreshing. It’s a light spread,” she says. “What could be more light and delicate than cucumber juice?”

temp[One source of contention among Louisville chefs is whether to include the two drops of green food coloring that Benedict used in her recipe. The dye lets people know that it’s not just a plain cream cheese spread, but the practice is no longer popular with chefs like Kathy Cary, who prefer more natural ingredients. Cary has owned Lilly’s, a restaurant that specializes in Kentucky cuisine, for the past 25 years. For her, the dish is truly a way to showcase both local cucumbers and local traditions.

“Mine is really about … celebrating the cucumbers,” Cary says. “Obviously, no dye, no food coloring. And it’s filled with texture, and sort of the crunch of the cucumbers.”

Some cooks serve Benedictine as a dip, others as tea sandwiches with the crusts cut off. But Cary usually puts hers into a hearty sandwich with homemade mayonnaise, bacon, bibb lettuce and sprouts.

However you serve it, Benedictine is best accompanied with another Kentucky signature: bourbon.

Sources: Wikipedia, NRP.org, The Courier Journal
Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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The History of Fathers Day – Video Blog


Video Produced By: iLS TV News

Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June, but it is also celebrated widely on other days. Father’s Day was created to complement Mother’s Day, a celebration that honors mothers and motherhood.

Father’s Day was inaugurated in the United States in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting.

After the success obtained by Anna Jarvis with the promotion of Mother’s Day in the US, some wanted to create similar holidays for other family members, and Father’s Day was the choice most likely to succeed. There were other persons in the US who independently thought of “Father’s Day”, but the credit for the modern holiday is often given to Sonora Dodd, who was the driving force behind its establishment.

Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. After hearing a sermon about Jarvis’ Mother’s Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.

It did not have much success initially. In the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying in the Art Institute of Chicago, and it faded into relative obscurity, even in Spokane. In the 1930s Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level. She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present to fathers. Since 1938 she had the help of the Father’s Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the commercial promotion. Americans resisted the holiday during a few decades, perceiving it as just an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother’s Day, and newspapers frequently featured cynical and sarcastic attacks and jokes. But the trade groups did not give up: they kept promoting it and even incorporated the jokes into their adverts, and they eventually succeeded. By the mid 1980s the Father’s Council wrote that “(…) [Father’s Day] has become a ‘Second Christmas’ for all the men’s gift-oriented industries.”

A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized.US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress. In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus “[singling] out just one of our two parents”. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.[14] Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

In addition to Father’s Day, International Men’s Day is celebrated in many countries on November 19 for men and boys who are not fathers.

Source: Wikipedia
Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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The History of Easter, the Easter bunny, and Easter eggs- Video Blog


Video Produced By: History Channel

Easter Bunny

temp2The Easter Bunny or Easter Rabbit is a character depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs. The Easter Bunny is sometimes depicted with clothes. In legend, the creature carries colored eggs in his basket, candy and sometimes also toys to the homes of children, and as such shows similarities to Santa Claus, as they both bring gifts to children on the night before their respective holiday. It was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Frankenau’s De ovis paschalibus (About Easter Eggs) in 1682 referring to an Alsace tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter Eggs.

Rabbits and hares

The hare was a popular motif in medieval church art. In ancient times it was widely believed (as by Pliny, Plutarch, Philostratus and Aelian) that the hare was a hermaphrodite. The idea that a hare could reproduce without loss of virginity led to an association with the Virgin Mary, with hares sometimes occurring in illuminated manuscripts and Northern European paintings of the Virgin and Christ Child. It may also have been associated with the Holy Trinity, as in the three hares motif,representing the “One in Three and Three in One” of which the triangle or three interlocking shapes such as rings are common symbols. In England, this motif usually appears in a prominent place in the church, such as the central rib of the chancel roof, or on a central rib of the nave. This suggests that the symbol held significance to the church, and casts doubt on the theory that they may have been masons’ or carpenters’ signature marks.

Eggs, like rabbits and hares, are fertility symbols of antiquity. Since birds lay eggs and rabbits and hares give birth to large litters in the early spring, these became symbols of the rising fertility of the earth at the March Equinox.
Rabbits and hares are both prolific breeders. Female hares can conceive a second litter of offspring while still pregnant with the first. This phenomenon is known as superfetation. Lagomorphs mature sexually at an early age and can give birth to several litters a year (hence the saying, “to breed like bunnies”). It is therefore not surprising that rabbits and hares should become fertility symbols, or that their springtime mating antics should enter into Easter folklore.

Eggs

The precise origin of the ancient custom of decorating eggs is not known, although evidently the blooming of many flowers in spring coincides with the use of the fertility symbol of eggs—and eggs boiled with some flowers change their color, bringing the spring into the homes. Many Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day typically dye their Easter eggs red, the color of blood, in recognition of the blood of the sacrificed Christ (and, of the renewal of life in springtime). Some also use the color green, in honor of the new foliage emerging after the long dead time of winter.

German Protestants wanted to retain the Catholic custom of eating colored eggs for Easter, but did not want to introduce their children to the Catholic rite of fasting. Eggs were forbidden to Catholics during the fast of Lent, which was the reason for the abundance of eggs at Easter time.

The idea of an egg-laying bunny came to the U.S. in the 18th century. German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the “Osterhase” (sometimes spelled “Oschter Haws“).Hase” means “hare”, not rabbit, and in Northwest European folklore the “Easter Bunny” indeed is a hare, not a rabbit. According to the legend, only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter.In 1835, Jakob Grimm wrote of long-standing similar myths in Germany itself. Grimm suggested that these derived from legends of the reconstructed continental Germanic goddess *Ostara

Theological significance

temp2The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith. The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God and is cited as proof that God will judge the world in righteousness. God has given Christians “a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. Christians, through faith in the working of God are spiritually resurrected with Jesus so that they may walk in a new way of life.

Easter is linked to the Passover and Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper and crucifixion that preceded the resurrection.According to the New Testament, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning, as he prepared himself and his disciples for his death in the upper room during the Last Supper.He identified the matzah and cup of wine as his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed. Paul states, “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed”;this refers to the Passover requirement to have no yeast in the house and to the allegory of Jesus as the Paschal lamb.

One interpretation of the Gospel of John is that Jesus, as the Passover lamb, was crucified at roughly the same time as the Passover lambs were being slain in the temple, on the afternoon of Nisan 14. The scriptural instructions specify that the lamb is to be slain “between the two evenings”, that is, at twilight. By the Roman period, however, the sacrifices were performed in the mid-afternoon. Josephus, Jewish War 6.10.1/423 (“They sacrifice from the ninth to the eleventh hour”). Philo, Special Laws 2.27/145 (“Many myriads of victims from noon till eventide are offered by the whole people”). This interpretation, however, is inconsistent with the chronology in the Synoptic Gospels. It assumes that text literally translated “the preparation of the passover” in John 19:14 refers to Nisan 14 (Preparation Day for the Passover) and not necessarily to Yom Shishi (Friday, Preparation Day for Sabbath) and that the priests’ desire to be ritually pure in order to “eat the passover” refers to eating the Passover lamb, not to the public offerings made during the days of Unleavened Bread.

In the Early Church

temp2The first Christians, Jewish and Gentile, were certainly aware of the Hebrew calendar, but there is no direct evidence that they celebrated any specifically Christian annual festivals.Christians of Jewish origin were the first to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Since the date of the resurrection was close the timing of Passover, they likely celebrated the resurrection as a new facet of the Passover festival.

Direct evidence for the Easter festival begins to appear in the mid-second century. Perhaps the earliest extant primary source referencing Easter is a mid-second-century Paschal homily attributed to Melito of Sardis, which characterizes the celebration as a well-established one. Evidence for another kind of annual Christian festival, the commemoration of martyrs, begins to appear at about the same time as evidence for the celebration of Easter. But while martyrs’ days (usually the individual dates of martyrdom) were celebrated on fixed dates in the local solar calendar, the date of Easter was fixed by means of the local Jewish lunisolar calendar. This is consistent with the celebration of Easter having entered Christianity during its earliest, Jewish period, but does not leave the question free of doubt.

The ecclesiastical historian Socrates Scholasticus attributes the observance of Easter by the church to the perpetuation of its custom, “just as many other customs have been established,” stating that neither Jesus nor his Apostles enjoined the keeping of this or any other festival. Although he describes the details of the Easter celebration as deriving from local custom, he insists the feast itself is universally observed.
Source: Wikipedia

The White House Easter Egg Roll

temp2Since 1878, American presidents and their families have celebrated Easter Monday by hosting an ‘egg roll’ party. Held on the South Lawn, it is one of the oldest annual events in White House history. Some historians note that First Lady Dolley Madison originally suggested the idea of a public egg roll, while others tell stories of informal egg-rolling parties at the White House dating back to President Lincoln’s administration. Beginning in the 1870s, Washingtonians from all social levels celebrated Easter Monday on the west grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Children rolled brilliantly dyed hard-boiled eggs down the terraced lawn.

Soon a concern for the landscape led to a bill that banned the rolling of eggs on Capitol grounds. In 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill into law. The new edict went unchallenged in 1877, as rain cancelled all the day’s activities, but egg rollers who came in 1878 were ejected by Capitol Hill police.
Source: White House.org

Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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History of St. Patrick’s Day – Video Blog

St. Patrick’s Day in the United States:

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St. Patrick’s Day, although not a legal holiday anywhere in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognised and celebrated throughout the country. It is primarily observed as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture; celebrations include prominent displays of the colour green, feasting, copious consumption of alcohol, religious observances, and numerous parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century.

Saint Patrick Himself:

20130311-090303.jpg Little is known of Patrick’s early life, though it is known that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest.

In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop, to Christianise the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish church.

Wearing of the green:

denver-st-patricksOriginally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick’s Day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase “the wearing of the green”, meaning to wear a shamrock on one’s clothing, derives from a song of the same name.

The first festival:

temp3The first Saint Patrick’s Festival was held on 17 March 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long; more than 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade. Overall 2009’s five-day festival saw close to 1 million visitors, who took part in festivities that included concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks. Skyfest forms the centrepiece of the festival.

The topic of the 2004 St. Patrick’s Symposium was “Talking Irish”, during which the nature of Irish identity, economic success, and the future were discussed. Since 1996, there has been a greater emphasis on celebrating and projecting a fluid and inclusive notion of “Irishness” rather than an identity based around traditional religious or ethnic allegiance. The week around Saint Patrick’s Day usually involves Irish language speakers using more Irish during Seachtain na Gaeilge (“Irish Language Week”).

As well as Dublin, many other cities, towns, and villages in Ireland hold their own parades and festivals, including Cork, Belfast, Derry, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, and Waterford.
The biggest celebrations outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, County Down, where Saint Patrick is rumoured to be buried. In 2004, according to Down District Council, the week-long St. Patrick’s Festival had more than 2,000 participants and 82 floats, bands, and performers and was watched by more than 30,000 people.

Christian leaders in Ireland have expressed concern about the secularisation of St Patrick’s Day. In The Word magazine’s March 2007 issue, Fr. Vincent Twomey wrote, “It is time to reclaim St Patrick’s Day as a church festival.” He questioned the need for “mindless alcohol-fuelled revelry” and concluded that “it is time to bring the piety and the fun together.”
United States

Source: Wikipedia
Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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American Voting History

Regardless of you political opinion, it’s extremely important that you vote. Knowing your history is the best way to predict the future. In the spirit of voting and democracy, I’ve provided a brief history of the American voting process. If you’re not a history buff, just watch the video and VOTE!

Video Produced By: Rock The Vote

Voting in Early America

Written By: Ed Crews
Published By: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Election day brings, from left, Colonial Williamsburg interpreters Dan Moore, Jay Howlett, Star Galloway, Barbara Tyler, Phil Shultz, Tom Hay, Jack Flintom, Lyndon Howlett, Greg James, Alex Clark, John Needre, Christine Diffel, and Hope Smith to the Courthouse steps.

Election day brings, from left, Colonial Williamsburg interpreters Dan Moore, Jay Howlett, Star Galloway, Barbara Tyler, Phil Shultz, Tom Hay, Jack Flintom, Lyndon Howlett, Greg James, Alex Clark, John Needre, Christine Diffel, and Hope Smith to the Courthouse steps. Requirements shifted by place and time, but in the eighteenth century, the right to cast a vote belonged largely to white, male property holders. Even John Adams, in 1776, opposed broadening the franchise.
First order of business at Jamestown was the 1607 council president election.

First order of business at Jamestown was the 1607 council president election. Shown here, in the church at Jamestown, colonists gathered for the first representative body in the western hemisphere, the House of Burgesses, in 1619. Darin Tschopp reads the ballots.
Liquid cheer, in the pursuit of votes, was supplied by candidates on election day.

Liquid cheer, in the pursuit of votes, was supplied by candidates on election day. From left, interpreters Shultz, Flintom, Smith, Needre, Moore, Lyndon Howlett, James, Galloway, Tyler, and Jay Howlett gather round the keg.
William Hogarth’s Election series unmasks the follies of democracy.

William Hogarth’s Election series unmasks the follies of democracy. A tub full of beer made sober political judgment hard to come by in An Election Entertainment.
In William Hogarth’s Canvassing for Votes, a farmer is besieged by Whig and Tory solicitations.

In William Hogarth’s Canvassing for Votes, a farmer is besieged by Whig and Tory solicitations.
In William Hogarth’s The Polling, candidates argue to the side as collegians of the asylum surge in to cast ballots.

In William Hogarth’s The Polling, candidates argue to the side as collegians of the asylum surge in to cast ballots.
A manic fiddler leads the victory lap for a Tory candidate, surrounded by a free-for-all of pigs and pugilists, in William Hogarth’s Chairing the Members.

A manic fiddler leads the victory lap for a Tory candidate, surrounded by a free-for-all of pigs and pugilists, in William Hogarth’s Chairing the Members.
Tom Hay, as the sheriff, posts notice of an upcoming election.

Tom Hay, as the sheriff, posts notice of an upcoming election.
English jurist William Blackstone, in Gainsborough’s 1774 portrait, thought the temptations of bribery too great for the poor and supported property requirements for voters.

English jurist William Blackstone, in Gainsborough’s 1774 portrait, thought the temptations of bribery too great for the poor and supported property requirements for voters.
On election day, candidates gave refreshments to all voters, friendly and hostile, in the attempt to win favor at this and the next polling

On election day, candidates gave refreshments to all voters, friendly and hostile, in the attempt to win favor at this and the next polling. Shultz, Tyler, Needre, Moore, Flintom, and James conduct business and greet neighbors during the day of voting.

Among the first things the Jamestown voyagers did when they set up English America’s first permanent settlement was conduct an election. Nearly as soon as they landed—April 26, 1607, by their calendar—the commanders of the 105 colonists unsealed a box containing a secret list of seven men picked in England to be the colony’s council and from among whom the councilors were to pick a president. Captain John Smith, reporting from Jamestown, wrote that about eighteen days later, “arriving at the place where wee are now seated, the Counsell was sworne, the President elected, which for that yeare was Maister Edw. Maria Wingfield.”

Because Smith was at first denied his seat on suspicion of concealing a mutiny, six men—less than 6 percent of the population—participated in the choice of President Wingfield. From such moments in early American history, when the franchise was limited to a special few, grew the vote’s extension to broader ranks of individuals with a stake in their government. Derived from English practice, and refined by American experience, from them evolved our belief in the ballot and our ideas about who is entitled to cast one.

Those beliefs and ideas we have reexported to such places as Afghanistan and Iraq. What may become of those endeavors, time will tell. As we wait to see, we might recall that Americans have been experimenting with representative government for 400 years and are still tinkering with the mechanics. As Hofstra University law professor Grant M. Hayden put it in the Oxford Companion to American Law: “The history of voting in the United States has not been characterized by a smooth and inexorable progress toward universal political participation. It has instead been much messier, littered with periods of both expansion and retraction of the franchise with respect to many groups of potential voters.”

The first representative assembly in English America convened in Jamestown’s church July 30, 1619, with two burgesses from each of Virginia’s twenty-one plantations and corporations. From the 1600s to the 1700s, the republican approach to polity spread along the seaboard and developed. By the mid-1700s, Hayden wrote, representative government had become a tradition in the thirteen colonies that became the United States. Voting was commonplace, though not uniform. Each colony pursued its methods, policies, restrictions, and exceptions. But, by modern standards, the right to vote in colonial America was narrow, and there were fewer opportunities for its exercise.

Before the Revolution, colonists generally did not vote for their governors—the chief executives of what they thought of as their countries. The English king appointed most governors, though there were exceptions. Connecticut and Rhode Island voters elected governors. Many colonists did not choose their local officials. Some governors, like Virginia’s, appointed justices of the peace, sheriffs, coroners, and clerks. Some towns in such colonies as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, however, had local elections.

Colonists could vote for legislators to the lower house of their assemblies. In 1730, the number of those legislators ranged from seventeen in New Hampshire to ninety-one in Massachusetts. Legislatures tended to pass few laws. Their greatest power was their power to tax. Governors needed colonial politicians to provide funds for their initiatives, government administration, and their salaries.

Typically, white, male property owners twenty-one or older could vote. Some colonists not only accepted these restrictions but also opposed broadening the franchise. Duke University professor Alexander Keyssar wrote in The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States:

At its birth, the United States was not a democratic nation—far from it. The very word “democracy” had pejorative overtones, summoning up images of disorder, government by the unfit, even mob rule. In practice, moreover, relatively few of the nation’s inhabitants were able to participate in elections: among the excluded were most African Americans, Native Americans, women, men who had not attained their majority, and white males who did not own land.

John Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence and later president, wrote in 1776 that no good could come from enfranchising more Americans:

Depend upon it, Sir, it is dangerous to open so fruitful a source of controversy and altercation as would be opened by attempting to alter the qualifications of voters; there will be no end to it. New claims will arise; women will demand the vote; lads from 12 to 21 will think their rights not enough attended to; and every man who has not a farthing, will demand an equal voice with any other, in all acts of state. It tends to confound and destroy all distinctions, and prostrate all ranks to one common level.

Colonial Voting restrictions reflected eighteenth-century English notions about gender, race, prudence, and financial success, as well as vested interest. Arguments for a white, male-only electorate focused on what the men of the era conceived of as the delicate nature of women and their inability to deal with the coarse realities of politics, as well as convictions about race and religion. African Americans and Native Americans were excluded, and, at different times and places, the Protestant majority denied the vote to Catholics and Jews. In some places, propertied women, free blacks, and Native Americans could vote, but those exceptions were just that. They were not signs of a popular belief in universal suffrage.

Property requirements were widespread. Some colonies required a voter to own a certain amount of land or land of a specified value. Others required personal property of a certain value, or payment of a certain amount of taxes. Examples from 1763 show the variety of these requirements. Delaware expected voters to own fifty acres of land or property worth £40. Rhode Island set the limit at land valued at £40 or worth an annual rent of £2. Connecticut required land worth an annual rent of £2 or livestock worth £40.

Such requirements tended to delay a male colonist’s entry into the voter ranks until he was settled down and established. They reflected the belief that freeholders, as property owners were called, had a legitimate interest in a community’s success and well-being, paid taxes and deserved a voice in public affairs, had demonstrated they were energetic and intelligent enough to be trusted with a role in governance, and had enough resources to be independent thinkers not beholden to the wealthiest class. English jurist William Blackstone wrote in the 1700s:

The true reason of requiring any qualification, with regard to property, in voters, is to exclude such persons as are in so mean a situation that they are esteemed to have no will of their own. If these persons had votes, they would be tempted to dispose of them under some undue influence or other. This would give a great, an artful, or a wealthy man, a larger share in elections than is consistent with general liberty.

Colonies also restricted opportunities to serve in their legislatures. Immediately before the Revolution, five insisted on significant property requirements for officeholders. But candidates tended to be wealthy anyway.

By twenty-first-century standards, colonial assemblies did not conduct much business. They passed few bills and dealt with a narrow range of issues. They tended to linger, however. Legislative sessions lasted weeks, sometimes months. Tradesmen, merchants, and owners of small and medium farms could not afford to neglect work for extended periods. The wealthy could.

Holding office yielded few immediate benefits and some real costs. Men ran for office from a sense of duty and the prestige associated with a legislative seat.

Colonial elections little resembled today’s. Election intervals often were irregular. Governors called for polls whenever they seemed necessary—though Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania, for example, conducted them annually. Sheriffs posted notices of elections in prominent places throughout their bailiwicks. On the appointed day, voters traveled to a courthouse to cast their ballots.

Campaigning by candidates was different from today’s. There were no mass media or advertising. Candidates talked with voters in person, walking a line between undue familiarity and aloofness. Prospective officeholders were expected to be at the polls on election day and made a point to greet all voters. Failure to appear or to be civil to all could be disastrous. In some areas, candidates offered voters food and drink, evenhandedly giving “treats” to opponents as well as supporters.

Some highborn Virginians thought meeting the electorate and making campaign promises were demeaning. In 1776, Robert Wormeley Carter lost an election. His father said his son was defeated even though he had “kissed the of the people and very seriously accommodated himself to others.”

Elections often provided an excuse for people to visit neighbors and to conduct business. Behavior was not so restrained as today. A visitor who arrived by stagecoach on election day 1778 at the courthouse in Virginia’s Hanover County wrote:

The moment I alighted, a wretched pug-nosed fellow assailed me, to swap watches. I had hardly shaken him off, when I was attacked by a wild Irishman, who insisted on my “swapping horses” with him; and, in a twinkling ran up the pedigree of his horse to the grand-dam. Treating his importunity with little respect, I was near being involved in a boxing match, the Irishman swearing that I did not “rate him like a jintleman.”

Diversions aside, the main election-day business was to vote. A few colonies, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, and North Carolina, employed some form of ballot. Others, like Virginia, relied on public voice votes, an English tradition. Voice voting made ballot counts harder to rig and, cast in the presence of friends, neighbors, local officials, and candidates, left no doubt about a voter’s intention. In Virginia, voice voting was a spectator event, every voter occupying center stage for a few moments. In his book Gentlemen Freeholders: Political Practices in Washington’s Virginia, Charles S. Sydnor wrote:

As each freeholder came before the sheriff, his name was called out in a loud voice, and the sheriff inquired how he would vote. The freeholder replied by giving the name of his preference. The appropriate clerk then wrote down the voter’s name, the sheriff announced it as enrolled, and often the candidate for whom he had voted arose, bowed, and publicly thanked him.

Apparently, voter turnout usually was low. Voting, especially in rural areas, took effort. Voters might have to travel a long distance to a courthouse and sometimes paid for food and lodging. The effort and expense, coupled with lost time from shops, inns, and farms, meant some men stayed at home election day.

The Revolutionary War stimulated a desire for reform. Advocates of change said that the conflict was about liberty and representation. They believed in a voting system that embodied those aims for more people. Debates were most intense between 1776 and the adoption of the federal Constitution. The range of disputes was too vast and too complex to cover in depth in this space. The chief concerns, however, focused on extending voting rights to veterans, the implications of a broader electorate, and the validity of property requirements. Property requirements seemed to attract the most attention. They came under attack almost as soon as the Revolution began.

Benjamin Franklin lampooned them when he wrote:

Today a man owns a jackass worth 50 dollars and he is entitled to vote; but before the next election the jackass dies. The man in the mean time has become more experienced, his knowledge of the principles of government, and his acquaintance with mankind, are more extensive, and he is therefore better qualified to make a proper selection of rulers—but the jackass is dead and the man cannot vote. Now gentlemen, pray inform me, in whom is the right of suffrage? In the man or in the jackass?

Property restrictions gradually disappeared in the nineteenth century. Tax-paying requirements replaced property ownership, though they too waned after the 1820s. By the 1850s, most economic barriers to voting had disappeared.

Some Americans hoped the Constitution would clarify, unify, and perhaps expand voting rights nationally. It did not. Hayden wrote: “Under the constitution, then, the breadth of the right to vote for both state and national elections was fixed by state law. And at the time of ratification, this meant that many people—including most women, African Americans, Native Americans and propertyless white men—could not vote.”

By not addressing the suffrage issue more broadly, the Constitution’s authors fostered a long-running battle over voting rights. This struggle lasted well into the twentieth century, forming a focal point for the civil rights and women’s rights movements.

Twenty-first century perspectives on the restrictiveness of early American voting ideas miss a point. By eighteenth-century standards, Americans enjoyed considerable voting rights, according to Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, a University of Virginia history professor specializing in the Revolutionary period.

The 1700s were the time of absolute monarchs in continental Europe. Centuries of skillful political maneuvering by kings had concentrated power in their hands at the expense of their subjects. “All European countries had something like a parliament at some time, but, these began to disappear in the late Middle Ages through the early modern period,” O’Shaughnessy said in an interview. “These groups lost control of the power to tax. Kings found ways to tax without calling an elective body.”

Britain was an exception. Parliament retained the power to tax, ensuring elections and representative government. British voting practices, however, tended to be unfair, uneven, corrupt, and far more restrictive than America’s. Some towns and cities, for example, could not vote, and growing urban areas went underrepresented, though rural areas with declining population retained parliamentary seats. This system, created in the medieval period, remained unchanged in the 1700s. It begged for reform, which came in 1832.

So by comparison, America with its voting imperfections offered a broad-minded and healthy attitude toward the franchise. O’Shaughnessy also argues that representative government and its voting practices served America well in the post-Revolutionary period.

“One reason that the United States was stable after the war was that it did not need to revamp its system of government, and the men in charge had experience in governing,” he said. “This made the country far more stable than places that did not have this tradition and later went through dozens of constitutions and revolutions. In short, when it came to government and voting, Americans had a model to build on.”

Compiled By: Josh Martin

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2012 in current events, History, Video Blog

 

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