Wednesday, November 16, 2005

How to Remove Nail.exe.

The following is a detail page of Virtual Grub Street's Adware & Malware Identifier Index:

The information in the Adware & Malware Identifier Index is the result of thousands of web searches. It can not, however, possibly be complete. The subject is vast and constantly changing. Moreover, vendor uninstall tools and other removal tools do not necessarily remove all of an infection from your computer. Vendor uninstall tools, for instance, may silently leave cookies or other tracking software installed. It is suggestible to follow up a removal with one or more adware scans and/or to do an inspection using a HijackThis log. The information on the page is not guaranteed correct and any use you may choose to make of it is entirely at your own risk.





ABetterInternet, ABetterInternet.transponder, Aurora, Nail.exe.

  • Associated Worms/Trojans: Trojan.Win32.Stervis.b, Win32.Afrootix, Troj/Dropper.Agent.AG, Trojan horse Dropper.Agent.AG, TROJ_AGENT.QW , Trojan.Aurora, Trojan.Bolger, Dloader.LI, Trojan horse Generic.CZ, Trojan horse Generic.EA, Troj/Generic, Hacktool.Rootkit, Trojan.Win32.Madtol.a, TROJ_MADTOL.A, Troj/Nail, Trojan.Nail
  • Executable Files: adbltzun.exe; aurareco.exe; aurora.exe; aurora-wise1.exe; bho_prob.exe; biprep.exe; buddy.exe; morphrec.exe; nail.exe; newdevin.exe; polall1b.exe; poller.exe; svcproc.exe; thnall~1.exe (thnall1b.exe; thnall1p.exe; thnall2r.exe; thnall2r.exe); uacupg.exe; and many more.
  • Dynamic Link Libraries: aurorahandler.dll; banner.dll; bi.dll; bolger.dll; ceres.dll; drpmon.dll; imgiant.dll; zserv.dll; and many more.
  • Directory/Search Page: http://www.abetterinternet.com/
  • Uninstall Page URL:
  • Related Articles: Important Removal Tool Note. Fighting Malware with Standard Windows Tools (February 25, 2007). You may have more in your bag of tricks than you realize.
  • Notes: Aurora.ABetterInternet and Nail.exe are two separate items that are generally bundled together -- so generally that they are widely addressed as the same infection. BI.dll, ceres.dll, host.dll and newdevin.exe have been identified as transponder files.

    • Nail.exe can be removed by running the NailFix.exe tool followed by the Ewido Security Suite. This should be followed by running CCleaner or CleanUp! (on prefetch files and recycle bins for all users). All tools should be run with Windows in Safe Mode.
    • The Nail.exe file itself can be removed by NailFix.exe or the Ewido Security Suite. Many or all of the active components of Aurora or ABetterInternet can be removed by the Ewido Security Suite. Again, all tools should be run with Windows in Safe Mode.
    • Trlokom claims that its 15 day trialware product, SpyWall, can remove Aurora. This presumably includes the file Nail.exe.







Also See:

Monday, October 17, 2005

Elite Toolbar Remover Information Page

The information in Virtual Grub Street's computer postings is the result of thousands of web searches. It can not, however, possibly be complete. The subject is vast and constantly changing. Moreover, vendor uninstall tools and other freeware removal tools do not necessarily remove all of an infection from your computer. Vendor uninstall tools, for instance, may silently leave cookies or other tracking software installed. It is suggestible to follow up a removal with one or more adware scans and/or to do an inspection using a HijackThis log. The information on the page is not guaranteed correct and any use you may choose to make of it is entirely at your own risk.


*

Intro: The Elite Toolbar Remover was created by an Italian male named Gian Carlo Calo who is very careful to keep his personal information off of the web. Calo would seem to be one of several Italians who have formed the company Simply Tech. The company offers the freeware Elite Toolbar Remover as well as freeware encryption programs. Paypal donations are requested on a discrete location at the bottom of the page.

Latest Version. SimplyTech's new Elite Toolbar Remover has just announced another update (to Version 2.1.2) that removes SearchMiracle.EliteBar [a.k.a. YupSearch (see YupSearch Addendum), Elite Toolbar, Elitum, ETBrun, LQ, etc.] even without putting the computer in Safe Mode.

vs. PokaPoka. The site JayLoden.com, however, recently reports (Oct 14, 2005 01:20AM) that the tool is presently unable to remove variants of PokaPoka above pokapoka75:

"There is a new version of the ETRemover from SimplyTech out, so if you're experiencing problems with EliteBar and/or PokaPoka I suggest you try that. I gave it a go on the most current pokapoka variant I could get (pokapoka76) and it didn't remove it at the time of writing. However, I will be sending the author of ETRemover a dump file of pokapoka76.exe and hopefully he will be able to update ETRemover."

vs. EliteBar.d. As VGS reported, on May 22, the Elite Toolbar Remover can not remove adw_elitebar.d. This variant utilizes entirely random files names. The variant is not common.

Removes other malware. Calo claims that the tool can remove the following other infections, as well: EliteBar; EliteToolbar; EliteSidebar; BargainBuddy; Browser Aid; CashToolbar; FreshBar; GameSpy; MoneyTree; Nail.exe; NaviSearch; navpsrvc.exe (also known as: W32/Forbot-EF, worm); SearchMeUp; SideStep; Spybot - Randex; SupportSoft; SurfSideKick; Win32.RBot; Winmon.exe (also known as: W32/Agobot-KA, trojan); WinMoviePlugIn; and InternetExplorer Plugin. Limited searching on these claims indicates that the tool does in fact remove these adware/malware items.

EliteBar fights back. The creators of SearchMiracle.EliteBar have specifically attempted to develope new variants to target the Elite Toolbar Remover (a fine recommendation of Calo's skills). Newer versions of the Remover have involved features and instructions in order to overcome these counterattacks:


The variants in circulation [since] the end of January 2005... do a cache detect of the words: "EliteToolbarRemoverV10.zip" which was the old name of our previous version 1.0.

If you are trying to download it from a mirror site you will receive the following error:

''Cannot copy file, Cannot read from file source or disk''

This is not a message from your operating system, but a stupid message from the malware that is actually running in your PC.

The new variants of the malware also completely conceal the presence of the EliteToolbarRemoverV10.exe, so that if you are opening the archive you can only see the readme.doc file that is attached to that and you cannot see the *.exe even though it is
[actually] there! After all, these are very clever programmers, aren't they?

Anyway, it is
[certain] that these people will also blacklist the new name of the zip we are using now, so if this occurs... we suggest you to download the software to another PC and [put] it on a diskette or a USB pendrive and run it on the infected PC in Safe Mode, as usual.

It is not clear whether or not these instructions are continue to apply to the newer versions of the tool. The instructions regarding running the tool in Safe Mode are not supposed to be necessary as of Version 2.1.2.

Special Offer. For those who find the 2.x.x. series does not work for them, SimplyTech is also continuing to download a 1.3.2 version from here:


In the words of Giancarlo Calo: "[W]e have decided to take the old v.1.3.x and fill it with the latest malware definitions, so we can now offer the v.1.3.2 that is more stable but is and remain a discontinued Beta product.It will no longer be supported, however, nor does SimplyTech have any specific plans to update its definitions in the future."

VGS on the Remover. The successive updates of the ETR can be followed by reading the following articles previously posted in the pages of Virtual Grub Street:


Downloads:

Latest Version. Version 2.1.2 of the Elite ToolBar Remover can be downloaded from the following locations:



Previous Versions. Previous versions of the Elite Toolbar Remover can be downloaded from the following locations:

Special Case Software. When downloading the Elite Toolbar Remover, the user may get an message indicating that she or he needs to install the following files: Msinet.ocx or Comctl32.ocx. Should this be the case, it will be necessary to download one of the following auxiliary files:

Calo recommends using the "Setup Kit" over the "DLL.zip" option.




Other VGS Freeware/Trialware Information Pages:




Also see:



[re: SearchMiracle.EliteBar Search Miracle Elite Bar EliteToolBar Elite Toolbar Elite Tool Bar Elitum ETBrun YupSearch Yup Search.]

American Life in Poetry #29: Debra Nystrom.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Many of you have seen flocks of birds or schools of minnows acting as if they were guided by a common intelligence, turning together, stopping together. Here is a poem by Debra Nystrom that beautifully describes a flight of swallows returning to their nests, acting as if they were of one mind. Notice how she extends the description to comment on the way human behavior differs from that of the birds.




Cliff Swallows
--Missouri Breaks


Is it some turn of wind
that funnels them all down at once, or
is it their own voices netting
to bring them in--the roll and churr
of hundreds searing through river light
and cliff dust, each to its precise
mud nest on the face--
none of our own isolate
groping, wishing need could be sent
so unerringly to solace. But
this silk-skein flashing is like heaven
brought down: not to meet ground
or water--to enter
the riven earth and disappear.


Reprinted from "Torn Sky," Sarabande Books, 2004, by permission of the poet. Copyright (c) 2004 by Debra Nystrom, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia. This weekly column is supported by
The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.





Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Musings on Computers, Nature and Stuff.

I'm plodding today. Building Virtual Grub Street's family of blogs is oppresive at times. Wrestling with the various computer equipment involved (all of it in pretty marginal condition, to begin with) is regularly disheartening. Between designed obsolescence and poor product design it verges on the miraculous when one manages to get anything done.

Of course, without computers an undertaking like VGS (or, for that matter, freelance writing at large) would be impossible. Each new dilemma adds just a bit more to a skill package which one's friends can call upon one to provide (along with however many hours) for free. Well, you get the idea.

One source of respite is nature. When I first came to the Lake Worth, Florida, area, some eleven years ago, there were perhaps as many as a dozen Swainson's Hawks (Buteo swainsoni) within a ten mile radius -- generally two mating pairs in the immediate neighborhood. The last of the hawks retreated several years ago, the local woodlands having given way before the walled communities that are constantly being constructed in the area.

To check out my book, Henry David
Thoreau and Two Other Autistic
Lives
, click here!
It was a surprise, then, when I saw a fine, large specimen, in the rufus stage, alight, in the tiny remaining swatch of woodland nextdoor, two weeks ago now. I do occasionally hear the cry of the Swainson's, in the distance, when the noise of passing traffic is momentarily stilled (although, it is difficult to be sure whether a single cry has come from the far more vocal Osprey or from the Swainson's) and suspect that there may be a mating pair as close as a mile or two inland.

Several years ago, I noticed a young Swainson's swoop from a tree, at the corner of Lake Worth and Kirk Roads, and take a Starling in flight. He flew with it into a nearby fenced yard. Generally there is an aggresive dog in the yard, but, apparently, the hawk knew its schedule, and, when I did not hear the dog chase off the hawk, I peered over the fence to see the prey clasped securely and pinned to the ground. The hawk, however, noticed me, after a time, and chose to fly off in order to prepare his meal in privacy. When I turned around to leave, I noticed myself being glowered at very intently by a gentleman who had stopped perhaps twenty feet behind me, in his pick-up truck, to ask why I was staring over other people's fences into their private yards. I explained that a Swainson's Hawk had taken his prey into the yard which explanation was lost upon him.












Other Nature Topics:


American Life in Poetry #28: Ron Rash.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Although this poem by North Carolina native Ron Rash may seem to be just about trout fishing, it is the first of several poems Rash has written about his cousin who died years ago. Indirectly, the poet gives us clues about this loss. By the end, we see that in passing from life to death, the fish's colors dull; so, too, may fade the memories of a cherished life long lost.



Speckled Trout

Water-flesh gleamed like mica:
orange fins, red flankspots, a char
shy as ginseng, found only
in spring-flow gaps, the thin clear
of faraway creeks no map
could name. My cousin showed me
those hidden places. I loved
how we found them, the way we
followed no trail, just stream-sound
tangled in rhododendron,
to where slow water opened
a hole to slip a line in
and lift as from a well bright
shadows of another world,
held in my hand, their color
already starting to fade.



First published in "Weber Studies," 1996, and reprinted from "Raising the Dead," Iris Press, 2002, by permission of the author. Copyright (c) 1996 by Ron Rash, a writer and professor of Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University, whose newest novel is "Saints at the River," Picador Press, 2005. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.



Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

Friday, September 30, 2005

Observations on Leiocephalus carinatus armouri and Other Stuff

I am not sure whether it is because of the drought of recent years, from which Florida has yet to completely emerge, or human intervention, but the Northern Curly-Tail lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus armouri) just isn't what it used to be. I saw an unusually large specimen, just the other day, and it was half the size of the behemoths of several years ago.



The Curly-Tail is an import from the Bahamas, intentionally released into Florida during the 1940s. (No one seems to remember just why.) It is a sand lizard, rarely seen around the omnipresent Palm Beach County canals, ponds or lakes. Only a few years ago, it was everywhere else in the landscape. It is much less common since. It is rare, now, to see a specimen as much as eight inches long from nose to extended tail.

It is quite possible that steps have been taken to reduce the population. Eradicating aggressive imported species of flora and fauna has been on the state's agenda in recent years, and the rise of the Curly-Tail has been paralleled by a precipitous drop in the populations of the green and brown Anole (also imports).

The Anole receives better press than do other imports. They are much more interesting to watch. (The Curly-Tail is a blunt fellow with little personality.) During mating season, the males extend a bright orange pouch, beneath their chin, and do push-ups to show the ladies that they have what it takes. Combat is frequently the outcome of these displays. They are also pseudo-chameleons: always a favorite party-trick.

*

I've posted a number of extracts, recently, from well-known naturalists and intend soon to gather them together onto theme pages. Most will appear in the pages of the Treasure Coast Review, as have the following:


Florida locales will figure prominently in line with the TCR's regional slant.



Prior to the nature/naturalist pages, I'd set to work on pages of extracts relating to the Romantic poets. One such page is here on the main blog and the remainder are posted at the TCR. The first pages are on John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley:

Edward John Trelawny was a personal friend of Shelley and Byron and his extracts are drawn from the edition of Recollections of the Last days of Shelley and Byron published in 1858.

The Treasure Coast Review has also gained indexes of Virtual Grub Street's poetry and book reviews over the past week. On the computer side, the Computer Archive's "How to Remove ISearchTech.SideFind" page has been updated. The Archive has become a hit in a little over two weeks time.

American Life in Poetry #27: Angela Shaw.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

In this lovely poem by Angela Shaw, who lives in Pennsylvania, we hear a voice of wise counsel: Let the young go, let them do as they will, and admire their grace and beauty as they pass from us into the future.


Children in a Field

They don't wade in so much as they are taken.
Deep in the day, in the deep of the field,
every current in the grasses whispers hurry
hurry, every yellow spreads its perfume
like a rumor, impelling them further on.
It is the way of girls. It is the sway
of their dresses in the summer trance--
light, their bare calves already far-gone
in green. What songs will they follow?
Whatever the wood warbles, whatever storm
or harm the border promises, whatever
calm. Let them go. Let them go traceless
through the high grass and into the willow--
blur, traceless across the lean blue glint
of the river, to the long dark bodies
of the conifers, and over the welcoming
threshold of nightfall.

Reprinted from "Poetry," September, 2004, Vol. 184, No. 5, by permission of the author. Poem copyright (c) 2004 by Angela Shaw. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.



Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

A Word Association Test.

by Gilbert Wesley Purdy

Words Brushed by Music ed. by John T. Irwin.
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
200 pp. $12.95 paper. ISBN 0-8018-8029-7. $27.50
hardcover. ISBN 0-8018-8028-9.


In 1979, while the poetry world as a whole was marching with ever greater determination towards quote-unquote free verse and one or another variation of anti-poetry, Johns Hopkins University Press staked out its own territory. Its new Poetry Series would provide a haven for poets who had chosen to write the only truly alternative poetry that remained: a poetry which stayed connected to the tradition of the craft.... [Go to the review>>>][Go to the Book Review Index>>>]

Saturday, September 24, 2005

American Life in Poetry #26: Claudia Emerson.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Descriptive poetry depends for its effects in part upon the vividness of details. Here the Virginia poet, Claudia Emerson, describes the type of old building all of us have seen but may not have stopped to look at carefully. And thoughtfully.



Stable

One rusty horseshoe hangs on a nail
above the door, still losing its luck,
and a work-collar swings, an empty
old noose. The silence waits, wild to be
broken by hoofbeat and heavy
harness slap, will founder but remain;
while, outside, above the stable,
eight, nine, now ten buzzards swing low
in lazy loops, a loose black warp
of patience, bearing the blank sky
like a pall of wind on mourning
wings. But the bones of this place are
long picked clean. Only the hayrake's
ribs still rise from the rampant grasses.



Poem copyright (c) 1997 by Claudia Emerson Andrews, a 2005 Witter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress. Reprinted from "Pharoah, Pharoah" (1997) by permission of the author, whose newest book, "Late Wife," will appear this fall; both collections are published by Louisiana State University's Southern Messenger Poets. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.





Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Claudia Emerson:

Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

From the Mailbag: Joseph Bednarik, June Jordan, W. S. Merwin, Dan Wilcox, Lyn Lifshin.

The following two letters may be of interest. First, Joseph Bednarik, of Copper Canyon Press, sends word of tributes to June Jordan and W. S. Merwin:


Dear Friend,

Please join us for--and help spread the word about--two extraordinary tributes that will take place in early October:


A Tribute to the Work of June Jordan
Thursday, October 6, 7:30 pm

With special guests Adrienne Rich, Yusef Komunyakaa, Cornelius Eady,
Laura Flanders, Bob Holman, Joy Harjo, and others; emcees are Jan Heller Levi and Sara Miles, the editors of June Jordan’s new collected poems, Directed by Desire.

Hunter College, New York City
The Kaye Playhouse
695 Park Avenue
(68th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues)
Admission is $12 ($7 for Poetry Society of America members and
students)

Tickets available at The Kaye Playhouse Box Office: 212-772-4448


* * *

A Tribute to W. S. Merwin
Monday, October 10, 8:00 pm

With special guests Lucille Clifton, Edward Hirsch, Naomi Shihab Nye,
Gerald Stern and W. S. Merwin

92nd Street Y, New York City
Kaufmann Concert Hall
(Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street)
General admission $17

Tickets available through the 92nd Street Y: www.92y.org or
212-415-5500


* * *

We encourage you to forward this email to those who may be interested.


Next, Dan Wilcox sends an announcement, via his Topica list, regarding Lyn Lifshin, who, it would appear, has returned once again to live in New York's Capitol District:


LYN LIFSHIN TO READ AND SIGN HER NEW BOOK: THE LICORICE DAUGHTER: MY YEAR WITH RUFFIAN AT OPEN DOOR BOOK STORE, 128 JAY STREET (DOWNTOWN) SCHENECTADY OCTOBER 6 AT 7:00 PM

Lyn Lifshin, prolific poet and award winning poet and editor and Niskayuna resident, will read and sign copies of her new book about the famous, tragic race horse, THE LICORICE DAUGHTER: MY YEAR WITH RUFFIAN, prize winning manuscript from Texas Review Press at The Open Door Book Store, 128 Jay Street, October 6 at 7 pm.


This one reminds me that I have an old piece about an Open Door reading, some years ago, that I've considered on and off for the pages of VGS. Anyway, the events all sound like they will be well worth the time and money.

Dan's Topica list can be subscribed to by contacting him at dwlcx@topica.com.

Dueling Mythologies.

by Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

Extracting Appalachia: Images of the Consolidation Coal Company 1910-1945 by Geoffrey L. Buckley.
Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2004. xxiv+216 pp.
$46.95 cloth. ISBN 0-8214-1555-7. $22.95 paper. ISBN 0-8214-1556-5.


In the process of working toward his doctorate, in Geography, Dr. Geoffrey L. Buckley informs us, it was his “good fortune to stumble upon a truly remarkable collection of coal-mining photographs.” The photographs — some four thousand in all — were taken for the Consolidation Coal Company, the largest of the various consolidated mining interests in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. That collection is the subject of Extracting Appalachia: Images of the Consolidation Coal Company 1910-1945. Various historical studies and the Consolidation Coal Company Mutual Monthly, the company organ in which many of the photos appeared, provide the immediate context from which it is viewed.

Buckley is not unaware of the validity of the analytical/semiotic perspective. The reader is warned that photographs are not the purely objective records they may seem to be. The author defers to Mona Domosh, a colleague in his field of Historical Geography:


Visual material — photographs, advertisements, and newspaper images — are discursive forms, and need to be interpreted as documents of culture, or as “texts.” These images are not transparent conveyors of “truth,” but instead participate in the creation of meaning.

All reference to the need for a rigorous analytical machinery, however, remains in a chapter set aside for the purpose of making general observations relating to the matter. The pictures themselves are queried almost entirely from an historical perspective.

The fact that historical perspectives can be highly problematical has earlier been made clear, in the Introduction, by dint of a prophylactic statement:


My purpose here is not to write yet another history of coal mining in Appalachia. That task has been carried out ably by others. Nor is it my intention to excoriate the coal industry for its poor safety record, its abuse of individual liberties, its antiunionism, and its use of heavy handed tactics during the first three decades of the twentieth century. No doubt these are valid criticisms, even if sometimes we have carried the generalizations too far…. Rather, my purpose is to critically examine the photographs in the Consolidation Coal collection, place them in historical context, and try to understand why they were taken and for whom.

The presence of such a disclaimer suggests a wider context within which Extracting Appalachia resides, limitations under which its author necessarily labors. Any attempt at detachment will run the risk of appearing revisionist about historical matters which are resoundingly considered to be settled, and which, like all “resoundingly settled” historical matters, have for their proof a fierce emotional certainty. It is not the best environment for critical examination.

Nor does this fierce certainty exist only among the audience that Buckley imagines for his book. The above disclaimer is written for himself, as well. The detachment which he seeks — and within which he intends to examine the photographs — is every bit as much a myth as the prevailing history. There are few observations in this book that are not imbued with its author’s affinities. Those affinities are a product of the prevailing histories. His intention not to “excoriate” ends at just that. While he has sought to set aside the popular accusatory tone for a more muted one, his narrative is always mindful of his obligations.

To say that the claims of historical verity and scholarly detachment, which the reader is provided, are myths is, of course, not to suggest that they do not arrive at meaningful results. It merely describes how they arrive at their respective results. In the case of Extracting Appalachia, it also explains the limitations that Geoffrey L. Buckley has chosen — or felt compelled to choose — for his book.

Some ninety black and white photographs, chosen from the Consolidation collection, are reproduced as the subject of Dr. Buckley’s examination. The four photos in the first chapter — “Reading Historical Photographs” — are wide-angle shots intended to be representative of common themes in the collection and otherwise undergo no inspection. No photos appear in the second chapter, in which the reader is provided a brief, well turned historical overview of the mining of coal in the U. S. and the formation and rise of Consolidation Coal:

In 1927, Consolidation became the largest commercial producer of bituminous coal in the United States. In that year, the company operated ninety-two mines, employed over twelve thousand workers representing forty-three nationalities, and possessed an estimated 2.7 billion net tons of unmined mineral resources.

This ascent came by way of means that today might be considered questionable. In states such as West Virginia and Kentucky coal was king. Its representatives served as senators, congressman and governors, regularly voting the needs of their industry, it being, to their minds, synonymous with the needs of the citizens of the states they represented.


This foundation lain, the remaining four chapters are devoted to placing the photographs in socio-historical context. Coal company towns and their mines are shown in various stages of construction. In particular, the environment surrounding the miner’s life on the surface attracts Buckley’s attention. This environment necessarily includes the company magazine, the Consolidation Coal Company Mutual Monthly, from which extracts are freely quoted.

A great many observations are made upon the Mutual Monthly throughout Extracting Appalachia. The following, though more direct than most, may fairly be called “representative”:

In a very real sense, the photographs in the Consolidation Coal collection abetted the Employment Relationship Department’s efforts to achieve the company’s goals. When we gaze at rows of freshly painted company houses, merchandise at the company store, group photos of miners, and impressive gardens, we must ask ourselves why the company selected these images for publication in its magazine. We must recall that company towns were carefully planned places designed to maximize production and enhance surveillance. We must remember the company store’s reputation — deserved or not — for price gouging and debt peonage.

Nothing in the historical overview lays sufficient groundwork for these observations, and, as much as the reader may agree with many of the claims made here, the use of terms such as “abetted,” inferring that the company and its Employment Relationship Department were engaged in a quasi-criminal enterprise, is problematical. It is unclear why, in reference to these ninety photographs, we must remember the company store’s reputation “deserved or not”.

We may see these as — and they are represented as — attempts to counterbalance the company’s unquestionable intention to use the photographs to enhance its image with potential stockholders, government inspectors, its workers, the general public and itself. Hence the reader is presented with dueling mythologies: competing attempts to establish the real history of Consolidation Coal. In the words of Roland Barthes:


…what causes mythical speech to be uttered is perfectly explicit, but it is immediately frozen into something natural; it is not read as motive but as reason.1



Through the apparent transparency of the photograph, the company had sought to make its case. Its officers were subtle enough not to resort to obvious tactics. The photos are simple. Any arrangement — any posing — stayed well within recognized limits. Buckley utilizes prevailing historical perspective, lightly seasoned with observations garnered from the field of semiotic analysis, to combat one myth with another.

The company did use “selection” to an extent that may be considered indicative. Buckley’s argument to this affect is strong:

Comparing the pictures in the Consol collection with images taken by Farm Security Administration photographers, as well as those found in private collections such as the Mary Behner Christopher archive, we find sharp differences with respect to content. Unlike the Consol photographers, the FSA photographers show us the grim side of life in a coal-mining town — the unpaved streets, the poor condition of company housing, the inadequate facilities for drinking water and for waste disposal. The government photos, in particular, remind us that it was not uncommon to find children working in and around the mines. Government photographers also take us into the homes of the miners so that we can view the condition of company owned houses and gain valuable insights into the daily lives of the mining families.

Consolidation Coal clearly chose its model towns as the subjects of most of the ninety photos in Extracting Appalachia. Within the context of the historical period represented by the photos, its photographers chose, in them, subjects calculated to impress. Those photos that do seem uncomplimentary are generally of subjects that would have seemed favorable in the early twentieth century, impressed as it was with industrial scenes, and the wealth they implied, and unimpressed as it was with the natural environment, there seeming to be inexhaustible tracts of unspoiled land.

But it is important to recognize that Consolidation is not the only source of selectivity here. Buckley himself has selected these ninety photographs out of some 4000+. He, too, necessarily has an agenda to advance. The reader is provided no description of the 3910+ remaining photos. The Farm Security Administration selected its subjects in order, as Buckley himself points out, to support President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. Furthermore, the FSA photographs Buckley describes were taken during the depths of the Great Depression, while all but a very few of the pictures he has selected from the Consolidation collection were taken during the boom years that preceded the Depression, the company magazine having ceased publication in 1928.

Moreover, the desegregation that existed only within the mines proper, correct as our author is to point out the hypocrisy of it, was more than was generally available elsewhere below the Mason-Dixon line (and in much of the North). The mines had already long provided a greatly improved lifestyle for Eastern European laborers — whose place had been taken by African-Americans due to reduced immigration, from that region, during World War I — and a ready route to assimilation. For all the problems that have historically inhabited company towns, the better Consolidation towns had postal, telephone and electrical service, well before they were generally available to the rest of the rural United States. The laborer for Consolidation Coal was not entirely naive when he thought that life was good.

Simplifying matters to the more direct question as to whether the photos are “untruthful,” we may begin, at least, to avail ourselves of the advantage of the more objective criterion of semiotic analysis. Those provided (however paratactically) by Winfried Noth, in “Can Pictures Lie?”, are simple and compelling:


The question of truth or lie in pictures has a semantic, a syntactic, and a pragmatic aspect. From a semantic point of view, a true picture must be one which corresponds to the facts it depicts. From a syntactic point of view, it must be one which represents an object and conveys a predication about this object, and from the pragmatic point of view there must be an intention to deceive on the part of the addresser of the pictorial message. 2

The transparency of the photograph stems from its perfectly satisfying the first criteria. The photographs in question employ various predicates, satisfying the second. As for the pragmatic aspect, there would seem to be no reason to believe that the management of Consolidation had undertaken a systematic program of disinformation. It is arguable, in view of these ninety photos, that the collection may simply reflect the normal social constructs and exigencies of the times.

Geoffrey L. Buckley would presumably reply that the conditions in these towns were an exception rather than the rule, that both the model towns and photos were predicated upon the highest possible profit structure and the lowest possible wage structure. Even in photos of these models towns there are indications that problems abounded. At this point in our history, when unions are in retreat and ever larger portions of the U.S. population face low wage employment stripped of health and retirement benefits, when the concept of Affirmative Action is under attack, he might add, corporations can not be allowed to think that the convenient excuse of “the times” is available to them, that sophisticated public relations can expunge a multitude of sins. We all bear a responsibility to strive to overcome our “social constructs and exigencies” — particularly those of us who possess wealth and power.

The reader of Extracting Appalachia will find a book that walks the line between topical non-fiction and scholarship. Accordingly, no attempt is made to analyze the photographs as photographs. None to utilize them as a means to add to our knowledge of period or place. No higher level myth is sought from which to resolve the competing mythologies that inform the book and photos.

Dr. Buckley’s advocacy for the rank and file coal miners of the early twentieth century, and, by extension, the rank and file workers of all industries and periods, is laudable. Mythologies are not, it bears repeating, necessarily untrue. His intent, by however circuitous a process, is to place ninety photographs into an existing framework and to free them to say what they have to say within it. Toward the end that they may speak freely, within that framework, he has sought to avoid stridency and overt politicization. On that basis, it seems a fair surmise that Extracting Appalachia: Images of the Consolidated Coal Company will justly occupy an honored place within Geographical and Labor History collections.


1 Barthes, Roland. Mythologies, trans. Annette Lavers (New York: Noonday Press, 1975) 129.
2 Noth Winfried. "Can Pictures Lie?" Semiotic Review of Books, Vol. 6, No. 2 pp 10-12. Canada: University of Toronto, 1995. http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/epc/srb/srb/pictures.html.



Gilbert Wesley Purdy has published poetry, prose and translation in many journals, paper and electronic, including: Jacket Magazine, Poetry International (San Diego State University), The Georgia Review (University of Georgia), Grand Street, SLANT (University of Central Arkansas), Consciousness Literature and the Arts (University of Wales, Aberystwyth), Orbis (UK), Eclectica, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Links to his work online and to a selected bibliography of his work in paper venues appear at his Hyperlinked Online Bibliography.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Eudamus Proteus and Blogging Insanity.

This morning I saw a Long-Tailed Skipper (Eudamus proteus a.k.a Urbanus proteus) out sampling the verbena again. It was early enough that the plants were still in the shade, being on the south side of the building, and only a single bee was interested itself in sipping. The verbena (verbena horata) beside the main door is a deeper purple than seemed to be common, almost a dark blue. It's the bees' favorite flower here. Each evening the half-dozen or so tiny flowers of the day fall off of the spike. Each morning new, nectar laden flowers emerge from another spot along the length of it. The spikes are probably four inches long and slightly curled with their own weight.

As pleasant as the beginning of the day may have been, the rest of it was busy and frustrating. During the last couple of months, I've been able to post little more than the weekly American Life in Poetry column (and that not always on time). I've otherwise spent the time trying to overcome serious fluctiuations in search engine ratings for several of my top pages. During its first four months, VGS's search engine ratings were a model of statistical consistency, but, beginning in June, the correspondence between page-traffic and search rating became a thing of the past. Several of VGS's best pages disappeared from the engines altogether. Search engine traffic, which had been climbing in leaps and bounds, suddenly and understandably plummetted.

At the same time as I was watching the aforementioned fiasco I was building two new blogs. The 300 page limit on editing Blogspot postings was clearly going to be troublesome for a blog growing at the pace of VGS and the evolution of the blog into a combined computer, arts and literature blog was presenting logistical problems. The Virtual Grub Street Front Page blog was created in order to provide a portal into politcal and news content and the Treasure Coast Review to provide an arts and literature portal. Because the search-engine problem continues to be serious, I have spent the past week creating a fourth VGS blog, the Virtual Grub Street Computer Archive, on the MyBlogSite server, and will be transfering content, that disappears or is suddenly driven deep into the pages for its respective key-words, on to it as the need arises.

While there will soon be one more blog, today I begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The Computer Archive now has four pages posted and has already had its first 40 hit day. I've managed to get my Friday postings up on the base blog (here) and I've added a new posting - Trelawny Burns Shelley's Body - to the Treasure Coast Review. A news and commentary piece should soon be posted on the Front Page portal. All that remains to do is to post regularly, create specialty pages and build one more category blog! A piece of cake! Aaaaaaaaah!

American Life in Poetry #25: Rodney Torreson.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Emily Dickinson said that poems come at the truth at a slant. Here a birdbath and some overturned chairs on a nursing home lawn suggest the frailties of old age. Masterful poems choose the very best words and put them in the very best places, and Michigan poet Rodney Torreson has deftly chosen "ministers" for his first verb, an active verb that suggests the good work of the nursing home's chaplain.


The Bethlehem Nursing Home

A birdbath ministers
to the lawn chairs,
all toppled: a recliner
on its face, metal arms
trying to push it up;
an overturned rocker,
curvature of the spine.
Armchairs on their sides,
webbing unraveled.
One faces the flowers.
A director's chair
folded, as if prepared
to be taken up.



From "A Breathable Light," New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2002, and first published in "Cape Rock". Copyright (c) 2002 by Rodney Torreson; reprinted by permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.




Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

Also at Virtual Grub Street from The Poetry Foundation:

From the Mailbag: 18th Annual Jack Kerouac Festival.

The following forwarded message recently arrived in my mail box from Dan Wilcox's Topica list:

From: teresa costa
Date: September 13, 2005 9:42:14 AM EDT
To: teresa costa
Subject: [poetrybay] lowell celebrates kerouac/check this out:


The 18th Annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! Festival will occur October 6-9, 2005 in Lowell, Massachusetts. This year the theme is 'Jack's Roots.' The festival will examine the rich multi-ethnic, and literary heritage that influenced his work as well as his association with classical culture and contemporary events.

This year the festival coincides with the biennial University of Massachusetts Jack Kerouac Conference on Beat Literature.

The keynote speaker is Sam Kashner, author of the book, 'When I was Cool,' his account of being the first poetry student at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute. Kashner will speak on Friday afternoon at the O'Leary building, room 222, South Campus, which is located on Wilder Street.

Kerouac was a track and field athlete and a preliminary lead-in event that will occur the preceding Sunday, October 2, is the third annual running of the Kerouac 5K road race beginning near Kerouac Park and ending on Worthen Street.

On Thursday, October 6, Lowell's, Destination World will feature food, film, music, and readings in cooperation with Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! and the University of Massachusetts, with a focus on Franco-American culture with origins in Canada.

Numerous non-conference related events are happening in a number locations. Please check listings and schedules available from the Lowell National Historical Park and the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau for times and locations.

--Saturday will feature tributes to Hunter S. Thompson, Lucien Carr, Robert Creeley, and Philip Lamantia. Poetrybay editor George Wallace is among those who will speak at the Lamantia tribute.

--There will be a talk on Allen Ginsberg by Bill Morgan as part of the Parker Lecture Series, following David Amram's Cairo to Kerouac music extravaganza at the Pollard Library.

--John Ventimiglia, widely known for his role in the film Jesus' Son and the character Artie Bucco on The Soprano's will be joining Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! with David Amram on Saturday night for an evening of Jazz in Jack's Town. Neil Cassady's son, John Allen Cassady, named after Jack (John) Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg will be joining Ventamiglia for an evening of Jazz that also celebrates the DVD release of a performance done by Cassady, Amram, and Steve Edington, at the 2004 LCK! Festival in Lowell. There will also be a raffle at the event for one (possibly two) of the now Baseball Hall of Fame famous Kerouac Bobbleheads!

--In addition to several Lowell National Historical Park (LNHP) hosted Kerouac-related walking tours and a boat tour, LNHP will host a bus tour and an evening walking tour led by Roger Brunelle. Also, there will be a Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! hosted tour of local establishments where Jack socialized with friends and family while living in Lowell during the mid-1960's.

--There will be open mics, a high school poetry contest, book signings, film showings, including one on Michael McClure and one on Charles Olson, nearly 30 events over four days. Admission is free to the vast majority of these events and minimal, or a small suggested donation, at the few that are not free.

For more information see the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! website http://lckorg.tripod.com/, or dial 877-Kerouac. You may also contact Lawrence Carradini, President of Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! by email at lcarradini@earthlink.net.


If you would like to subscribe to Dan's (largely Albany, N.Y.) literary mailing list, you can contact him at dwlcx@topica.com.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

American Life in Poetry #24: Martin Walls.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

In this poem by New York poet Martin Walls, a common insect is described and made vivid for us through a number of fresh and engaging comparisons. Thus an ordinary insect becomes something remarkable and memorable.


Cicadas at the End of Summer

Whine as though a pine tree is bowing a broken violin,
As though a bandsaw cleaves a thousand thin sheets of
titanium;
They chime like freight wheels on a Norfolk Southern
slowing into town.

But all you ever see is the silence.
Husks, glued to the underside of maple leaves.
With their nineteen fifties Bakelite lines they'd do
just as well hanging from the ceiling of a space
museum--

What cicadas leave behind is a kind of crystallized memory;
The stubborn detail of, the shape around a life turned

The color of forgotten things: a cold broth of tea & milk
in the bottom of a mug.
Or skin on an old tin of varnish you have to lift with
lineman's pliers.
A fly paper that hung thirty years in Bird Cooper's pantry
in Brighton.



Reprinted from "Small Human Detail in Care of National Trust," New Issues Press, Western Michigan University, 2000, by permission of the author. Poem copyright (c) by Martin Walls, a 2005 Wytter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress. His latest collection "Commonwealth" is available from March Street Press. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.



Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

American Life in Poetry #23: E. G. Burrows.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

In this fine poem about camping by Washington poet E. G. Burrows, vivid memories of the speaker's father, set down one after another, move gracefully toward speculation about how experiences cling to us despite any efforts to put them aside. And then, quite suddenly, the father is gone, forever. But life goes on, the coffee is hot, and the bird that opens the poem is still there at its close, singing for life.


Camping Out

I watched the nesting redstart
when we camped by Lake Winnepesaukee.
The tent pegs pulled out in soft soil.
Rain made pawprints on the canvas.

So much clings to the shoes,
the old shoes must be discarded,
but we're fools to think that does it:
burning the scraps.

I listened for the rain at Mt. Monadnock,
for the barred owl on a tent peak
among scrub pines in Michigan.
I can hear my father stir

and the cot creak. The flap opens.
He goes out and never returns
though the coffee steams on the grill
and the redstart sings in the alders.



Reprinted from "Passager," 2001, by permission of the author. Copyright (c) 2001 by E. G. Burrows, whose most recent book is "Sailing As Before", Devil's Millhopper Press, 2001. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.



Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

American Life in Poetry #22: Jean L. Connor.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

In this short poem by Vermont writer Jean L. Connor, an older speaker challenges the perception that people her age have lost their vitality and purpose. Connor compares the life of such a person to an egret fishing. Though the bird stands completely still, it has learned how to live in the world, how to sustain itself, and is capable of quick action when the moment is right.



Of Some Renown

For some time now, I have
lived anonymously. No one
appears to think it odd.
They think the old are,
well, what they seem. Yet
see that great egret

at the marsh's edge, solitary,
still? Mere pretense
that stillness. His silence is
a lie. In his own pond he is
of some renown, a stalker,
a catcher of fish. Watch him.



Reprinted from "Passager," 2001 by permission of the author. Copyright (c) 2001 by Jean L. Connor whose first book of poetry, "A Cartography of Peace," is published by Passager Books, Baltimore. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.



Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

American Life in Poetry #21: Karin Gottshall.

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

How many of us, alone at a grave or coming upon the site of some remembered event, find ourselves speaking to a friend or loved one who has died? In this poem by Karin Gottshall the speaker addresses someone's ashes as she casts them from a bridge. I like the way the ashes take on new life as they merge with the wind.


The Ashes

You were carried here by hands
and now the wind has you, gritty
as incense, dark sparkles borne

in the shape of blowing,
this great atmospheric bloom,
spinning under the bridge and expanding—

shape of wind and its pattern
of shattering. Having sloughed off
the urn's temporary shape,

there is another of you now—
tell me which to speak to:
the one you were, or are, the one who waited

in the ashes for this scattering, or the one
now added to the already haunted woods,
the woods that sigh and shift their leaves—

where your mystery billows, then breathes.



Karin Gottshall works at the Middlebury College library in Vermont. This poem first appeared in "Tar River Poetry", Vol. 44, No. 1, Fall, 2004. Reprinted by permission of the author. Poem copyright © 2004 by Karin Gottshall. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.




Also at Virtual Grub Street by/about Ted Kooser:

Also at Virtual Grub Street from The Poetry Foundation:

Saturday, August 27, 2005

In the Mailbag: Saltonstall Grants and Moving Comments.

The following information on the Saltonstall Fellowship and Grants for New York State residents has recently been received from Dan Wilcox. Dan manages the Poetry Motel foundation newsletter and can be contacted at dwlcx@topica.com should anyone wish to subscribe to the newsletters. Fresh information arrives as often as several times a day.



Dear NYS arts groups,

Please help us spread the word about the Saltonstall
Summer Fellowship and Grant opportunities for
individual artists and writers who live in NYS. (SEE
our call for entries below.) Please list our info in
your newsletters, e-announcements, web sites, blogs
and any other communications you have with the artists
and writers in your region.

Please note: Our summer fellowship competition is open
to all artists and writers who live throughout New
York State; our grant competition is open to artists
and writers who live in the central and western
counties of NYS. Eligible list of counties is at
www.saltonstall.org.

I am available to make presentations about the
Saltonstall Foundation in your county. Please contact
me at 607.539.3146.

Many thanks,
Laurel Guy
Program Director

Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts
www.saltonstall.org

CALL FOR ENTRIES
2006 Summer Fellowships and Grants available to
Artists and Writers of New York State

APPLICATION DEADLINE: January 15, 2006
Applications on line at www.saltonstall.org

SUMMER FELLOWSHIPS
Artists and writers who live in New York State are
invited to apply for month-long summer residencies at
the Saltonstall Arts Colony in Ithaca, New York.

2006 Summer Fellowship Categories
· Poetry
· Prose (Fiction and Creative Nonfiction)
· Photography
· Painting, Sculpture and other visual arts

Each artist has a private apartment and bath with
ample working space (including large studios for the
painters and a black and white darkroom for
photographers.) All studios include a balcony or a
patio.

Five artists are in residence in each session: One
poet, one prose writer, one photographer and two
painters and other visual artists. Our colony chef
serves delicious vegetarian meals on weeknights and
the kitchen is kept stocked with basic supplies so
that residents may make other meals for themselves.

The stunning 200 acre Saltonstall Arts Colony is
located in Ithaca, New York in the heart of the
beautiful Finger Lakes region. The summer fellowship
competition is open to all artists and writers
throughout the entire state of New York (including
NYC.)

GRANTS
The Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts
annually awards grants of $5,000 to writers and
artists who live in the central and western counties
of New York. See www.saltonstall.org for list of
eligible counties. Grant categories change annually.

2006 Grant Categories
· Poetry
· Creative nonfiction A prose form that, while
dependent on observation of the actual world and often
on personal memory, also dependslike fictionon the
imaginative abilities of the writer. The genre
includes the personal essay, the memoir, the
meditative reflection, and other examples of writing
capable of transcending mere fact to provide aesthetic
pleasure and insight. Often confused with journalism,
creative nonfiction celebrates the integrative and
revelatory. Recent examples of the form can be found
in the prose of James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, Andre
Dubus, and Stephen Jay Gould.
· Works on Paper Includes printmaking, drawing,
painting, collage and other two dimensional media on
paper (excluding computer generated images.)
· Photography Digital and traditional

INVESTING IN CREATIVITY: Who We Are and What We
Do The Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts
(CSF) is committed to serving the individual artist
(especially in the Finger Lakes region) through all
stages of the creative process -- from research,
development and creation through distributing and make
their work more accessible to the public. We serve NYS
artists and writers with grants, professional
development seminars, access to free studio space, and
summer fellowships that place them in residence at our
art colony. The general public benefits from cultural
programming with individual artists.

A diverse population of emerging, mid-career and
established NYS artists and writers have been in
residence here. The artists are given time, space and
support for their own creative research and risk
taking. As Edith Isaac Rose said, "The spacious,
comfortable live/work quarters are perfect. The size
of the group and our particular group formed a
community very quickly. All of us cherished having
continuous time to explore our work. When I think of
the Saltonstall I think of a place I came to and
didn't want to leave." Indeed, past Saltonstall
Fellows have said that our Colony provides one of the
best residency experiences in the country. Over 150
outstanding NYS artists, including photographers,
writers and visual artists have participated in our
summer fellowship program to date.

There are an estimated 300 artists' communities in the
U.S., and they are rapidly gaining recognition as the
largest network of direct support to independent
artists.

Some of our most enduring classics have been created
at artists' communities: Thornton Wilder's Our Town,
Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, James Baldwin's
Notes to a Native Son, to name a few.

The Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts is
committed to supporting the voices and visionaries of
our own time. Visit www.saltonstall.org to learn more
about our programs and how you can get involved.

Mail: 435 Ellis Hollow Creek Road, Ithaca, NY 14850 Phone: 607.539.3146 Web: www.saltonstall.org E-mail: http://us.f503.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=info@saltonstall.org&YY=7316&order=&sort= -- The Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts 435 Ellis Hollow Creek Road * Ithaca, New York 14850 telephone: 607.539.3146 * fax: 607.539.3147 http://www.saltonstall.org/ http://us.f503.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=info@saltonstall.org&YY=7316&order=&sort=




The Virtual Grub Street main blog has recently been returned to Blogger's "Next Blog" button tour. Having found the comments enabled on the newest "American Life in Poetry" column, the following fellow bloggers took the opportunity of a little free advertising. I've left these ads in the comments section for several days and now transfer them to this mailbag column. They will otherwise be deleted. I will endeavor to remember to disable the comments on all future ALP columns.


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