Archive for mighty ducks

history 101

the old adage says that history repeats itself.  more specifically (and in the words of the great george santayana), “those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”  it happens rather often.  whether it be something as big as hitler marching into russia only to retreat in a giant failure after napoleon had done the same less than 200 hundred years prior or something as small as trying the dining hall food everyday in the hope that it will be (magically) delicious, which it never really is.  either way, history is quite repetitive.

and though i’m sure you’re sitting there singing such praises as “good point”, “well done”, and “bravo”, you may also be asking yourself why the point was made.  and it’s a valid point to question the point, i assure you.  basically, it’s quite simple.  history is repeating itself.  in a big way.  and it’s happening in china.  ooh, china.  so exotic.  so foreign.  excitement for sure.

sadly for all of you exotic thrill-seekers out there, the chinese history isn’t what’s repeating.  it’s american history.  in china.  american sports history, to be precise.  if you’d care to read about it, you should probably take a look at the article right about here.  the story goes a little something like this:  the united states women’s soccer team (which is praised [for lack of a better term] in their current fifa world cup television ad campaign as “the best team you’ve never heard of”) is playing against brazil in the semifinals of the 2007 fifa women’s world cup later today.  they’ve played the entire tournament (and the majority of the past few years) with one goalkeeper (namely hope solo [and yes, her name really is hope solo]), and they’ve won every game in this tournament with the exception of a tie to north korea in the opening round.  their coach, however, has made the decision to switch goalies for the upcoming game against brazil.  why?  well, just because.  it’s not because of bad play or injury or anything.  he’s just kind of bringing in the new girl (who is named briana scurry and is actually the old girl, as she used to be the starting goalie on the team for several years but then took a few years off from the team and when she came back had to assume the role of backup).  now, the new/old girl is definitely good.  that’s not a question.  she’s proved her skill in many big time games for the team in the past.  but regardless, this move has quite a few soccer aficionados stumped.

the question, of course, is whether they should be stumped.  does this make any sense at all?  thankfully, i happen to have the answer (and basically, the result of the upcoming game to go along with it).  that answer is found deep within history.  this move may seem crazy and unprecedented to some, but in actuality, it has happened before.  if you’d care to join me in my figurative time machine, we can go back and take a look.

very interesting. “in a surprise move, bombay has gone to his bench.” sounds familiar. “i don’t know about this move by bombay. putting in a cold goaltender to face the leading scorer in the tournament.” cold goaltender, check. leading scorer in the tournament, check (it just so happens that two players from the brazilian team [marta and cristiane] are in first and third place, respectively, on the goal scoring list). and why did coach bombay put julie in? “julie, you’ve got the fast glove.” (though, i think emilio estevez is much cooler than me because it sounds like the actual line is “julie, you got the fast glove.” if it had a “yo” on the end, it would be perfect.) and why is coach ryan (of the u.s. women’s team) putting in briana against the brazilians? well, in his press conference yesterday, he stated, “i think the way the brazilians play, in terms of creating off the dribble in the penalty box and making the goaltender make reaction-type saves, i think [scurry] is the best goalkeeper in the world in those situations.” now that may not be grammatical perfection, but when push comes to shove, you could probably simplify it down to “briana’s got the fast glove.” or hand, in this case. though soccer goalies wear gloves too. just not big baskety ones.

personally, i see these two scenarios very much as one and the same. coach greg ryan is just the next coach gordon bombay, and briana scurry is just the next julie “the cat” gaffney. i haven’t thought far enough into the metaphor to tell you who the next charlie, ken wu, and gunnar stahl are, but trust me, they’re there. it runs deep. and the result of the soccer game? well, that’s easy. the usa ducks won. after putting in a new goalie. against the best goal scorer. so logically, when the u.s. soccer team puts in a new goalie to go against the best goal scorer… well, i’ll let you create your own logic on that one.

so what was the best part about this post? well, you thought you were in for a history lesson and instead you got to watch “d2: the might ducks”. that’s pretty much as good as it gets. and so with that, i leave you. but always remember, “greenland is covered with ice, and iceland is very nice!” with that in mind, you can never go wrong.

update:  oops.  apparently they should have considered changing into duck jerseys at halftime. 


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the quack attack is back jack

so the mighty ducks trilogy is tied for my favorite movie trilogy of all time (with none other than the back to the future trilogy). d2: the mighty ducks, which is the second of the three, is tied for my favorite movie of all time (with none other than back to the future [the first one]). and it just so happens that the movie theater in the student union was amazing this weekend, and on friday night it played d2, which was basically the greatest thing ever. so i went. and it was awesome.

as i watched (and thoroughly enjoyed) the film, however, i realized something. hollywood is ridiculous. i’m sure you all know that, but i figured i might as well reiterate the point. and it’s not always over the top ridiculous either. sometimes it’s just plain dumb. or simply lazy. there is a cornucopia of possibilities when it comes to the absurdity. and i can tell you, d2 did not disappoint on the ridiculous scale. several times i found myself in somewhat disbelief over the general “silliness” of a lot of things. so i figured i’d share. basically, this is what you could call a brief plot summary of the movie (with wonderful visual aids and evidence) that leaves out most of the important plots assets. enjoy.

it all started rather early in the movie. for those who don’t know (and yes, this is going to be one giant “spoiler” as the professionals would put it, so if you haven’t seen the movie, go watch it and then come back and read. you won’t be disappointed. i promise. [by the movie at least. i offer no promises about the blog post.]), gordon bombay (played by the ever dapper emilio estevez of “breakfast club” fame) has been chosen to coach the usa hockey team at the junior goodwill games. at this point, he’s recruiting charlie (one of the players of the peewee team he coached in the first movie played by the nearly as dapper joshua jackson of “dawson’s creek” fame) to track down more of his old players. charlie is in his room when he hears bombay calling him from outside the window. in the next shot, we later see charlie skating away through the street to go find the players. the crazy, or ridiculous as some might say, part is what he’s wearing when that happens. in the first shot, they show his old mighty ducks jersey hanging in a frame on his wall behind some super thick (no, actually not but that’s okay) glass. as he skates away, he’s magically wearing that same jersey. it’s possible, yes. but he seems pumped to be told that he gets to play hockey again with his old buddies. so why would he waste the time to unframe the jersey and put it on before leaving. maybe he thinks his puberty changes have been so intense that they won’t recognize his without it. who knows.

jersey 1
jersey 2

as we continue enjoying the film we come across another interesting point. basically, the usa team is formed of a bunch of old ducks and a couple “ringers”, as they’re called, from around the country. why they didn’t fill the roster with all ringers, i don’t know, but we live with it. five of these national players are selected. four skaters and a goalie. now to play a full game of hockey, you need to have five players and a goalie (or six players if you pull the goalie, but we’re not getting into that). interestingly, when the ducks have their first practice with these other players, coach bombay has them all scrimmage with the ringers against the ducks. nobody happens to mention that they don’t have enough players. they all just play…and the ducks get owned, even with more players.

scrimmage team

okay, so this next one isn’t important or ridiculous. it’s just a cool picture. and the first scene with russ tyler (played by kenan thompson of “good burger” [yes, “good burger”. not “all that”. or “kenan and kel”. or “saturday night live”.] fame). so yeah, here’s the picture.


that wonderful lip picture happened to take place in the middle of the game that team usa played against trinidad and tobago. t and t (as they will be referred from here on) gets crushed, but they do manage to score twice (though only one goal is shown). after their onscreen goal, their fans get darn excited, and we hear some sweet caribbean music on steel drums. we then get to see those drums and everybody is grooving. but how did they get the steel drums in? would the security staff really let these caribbean forgeigners in tie-dyed shirts bring in giant canisters? i’m thinking no, but you can have whatever opinion you’d like.

t and t

not to move on too quickly, we have another scene from that game. this one is during a team usa goal. the team scores (one of its nine goals from that game) and everyone is happy. the awesome part, though, is when the camera shows the crowd. everyone is jumping in excitement, and we see russ tyler again. but forget him. it’s the girl next to him that’s important. she’s wearing the sweetest shirt ever. just take a look at it and you’ll agree (and yes, i am too sexy to be right handed as well).


and now the last t and t related picture. this one actually happens after the game, though. right after the game ends, they go to a shot of a newspaper that flips open to show an article about the team’s big time win (don’t tell anyone, but the article shown actually has nothing to do with the game. the movie crew definitely just superimposed their own headline and picture on a real issue and hoped no one would ever pause and check). before the paper starts flipping, however, we see the front page. and what is on that page? nothing other than a uconn headline. yeah, i thought it was cool too. for all those that are wondering, the headline states “uconn edges georgetown” and refers to the game on february 28, 1994 in which the huskies, playing on the road, beat the hoyas 66-62 in the usair arena. you can look here if you want the full boxscore (just scroll almost all the way to the bottom).


the next fun little thing i came across happened in the scene where gordon is schmoozing with all the rich people in los angeles. it’s quite humorous to see how awesomely short emilio estevez is when we’s standing next to kareem abdul jabbar, but that’s not the part i’m thinking about. i’m referencing the waitress that bombay and mr. tibbles (played by michael tucker of “diner” fame) ask about what she really wants out of her life. she only has about two lines, but the cool part isn’t what she says. it’s who she is. the name of the actress is leah lail, and she is also the nurse is the amazing movie “heavyweights”, which also happens to include kenan thompson (who, as we’ve noted, plays russ tyler in d2) and shaun weiss (who plays greg goldberg in d2). such connection.


as we continue our little photo montage of the movie, we have to skip ahead a bit. basically, team usa beats italy and then gets destroyed by iceland, which was the team heavily favored to win the whole tournament. luckily, it’s a double elimination tournament, so they stay in it even after losing once. bombay gets ticked at them for losing and becomes a ridiculous (notice the key word of the day) nazi-esque coach. so everyone, in the movie and in the theater, starts to hate him. the team skips practice one day (instigated by their team tutor miss mackay, played by kathryn erbe of “what about bob?” fame), and while they’re out and about, they get themselves into a schoolyard hockey game against russ tyler and his “boys” (who are basically all his brothers friends). during the game, fulton reed (played by elden henson [or elden ratliff, he uses both names] of “she’s all that” and “cast away” fame) gets the puck and is skating down the middle of the pavement toward the goal, which is a metal barrel turned on its side. he rips a shot that ricochets off the side, flies out of the fenced in “rink”, and smashes the windshield of a nearby car. the owner is cool with it though, as apparently it “happens all the time”. the crazy part for me, though, wasn’t the windshield smashing. it was the shot. fulton is skating directly toward the goal, but then when he shoots it, the puck appears to be coming from the side when it hits the side of the barrel. clearly, it would be rather impossible physics-wise to hit the goal where it did and then fly the way it went. ridiculous. but hey, it’s a movie.

windshield 1
windshield 2
windshield 3

the next ridiculousness, once again, isn’t actually all that ridiculous. the more ridiculous part is the fact that i would feel the need to talk about it. after showing up for practice and having his entire team be conspicuously mia, bombay goes back to the plush malibu estate that he’s being housed at during the tournament. i could talk about how illogical it is that jan (who is gordon’s elderly mentor in the movie and is played by jan rubes of “witness” fame) is magically inside the house even though he doesn’t have a key and gordon has to unlock the door to get in. but i won’t. i’ll instead focus on the apples. yes, the apples. i was very intrigued by the fact that even though he’ll only be there for a short period of time, the sponsors have provided bombay with this rather large bowl that is full of apples. it’s a lot of apples for one man to handle. but i guess if anyone can do it, it’s emilio estevez.


gordon then feels the need to do some soul-searching (probably in hopes that his team will stop calling him “captain blood”) and ends up being late for their next game, which happens to be against germany. the team needs a coach to play, however, so miss mackay steps into the role at the last second, dropping the best line in the whole movie: “well what are you waitin’ for, the ice to freeze? let’s play!” it’s pretty great. and equally ridiculous, which makes it all the better.


now, the mighty ducks trilogy is great because it’s a sports comedy. those don’t come along all that often. there are many sports movies. and there are many comedies. but few have harnessed both together as well as the ducks have. and while d2 has many, many humorous moments, it’s during this germany game that we witness the funniest moment in the whole film. basically, coach bombay comes back, apologizes, and all is well again. the team then needs to go out and win to stay in the tournament. during one of the more intense moments in the game footage, we get a classic shot of a few choice members of the crowd. the camera shows russ tyler (in possibly the most amazing headwear ever shown in a movie) and jan standing next to each other in absolute suspense. don’t tell the filmmakers, but yes, it is absolutely ridiculous that these two completely unrelated characters from different plotlines in the movie have now become best buddies, standing next to each other. i guess you can’t really blame jan, though. who wouldn’t want to be hanging out with kenan?


speaking of comedy, one thing that every movie really needs, regardless of the genre, is some comic relief. in the mighty ducks movies, the man who provides this situational, slapstick humor is lester averman (or dave averman as he’s called in the original mighty ducks [even though he’s billed as “les averman” in the credits], both of which being played by matt doherty of “home alone” fame). unfortunately, averman doesn’t tend to shine as much with the hockey playing as he does with the humor. but miracles can happen, and the end of the germany game provides that miracle (as ridiculous as it may be) for us. the team needs a goal and decides to pull out the good ol’ “flying v” to do it. once again, we’ll skip right past the obvious fact that in performing the “v”, offsides should have been called and wasn’t. instead, we’ll harp on the fact that against all odds, averman scores the game winning goal. incredible. amazing. ridiculous. all of the above. oh and by the way, that dude in the front of the first picture is guy germaine (played by garette henson [or garette ratliff, he also uses both names] of “casper” fame, who unthinkably happens to be the younger brother of elden henson/ratliff, even though they look nothing alike, who as we’ve found out plays the one and only fulton reed). why is smiling so much? maybe he can see the future and knows that averman is going to score. or maybe it’s just awful acting. oops.


the next one is kind of ridiculous. it’s only kind of because it’s pseudo-plausible. basically it’s a national pride thing. we find out that adam banks (played by vincent larusso of “one episode of law and order: criminal intent” fame) has an injured wrist from a slash that he took after scoring in the iceland game, and becuase of that there is a roster slot open. of course, the spot goes to russ tyler (apparently, bombay was jealous that jan got to hang out with kenan so much) and his amazing (dare i say ridiculous) knuckle-puck. he uses the shot to score the game winning goal against russia, and after the game, the celebrating team is congratulated by wayne gretzky. the newspaper (the director must have really liked the whole newspaper concept) that they show of the picture taken with wayne has the headline “gretzky blesses u.s. effort”. this is the slightly weird part. you see, wayne gretzky, “the great one”, is straight up canadian. and while the movie doesn’t show a game with team usa against canada, there is a quick newspaper shot (again with the newspaper thing) later on that shows that they did beat the canadians. so why in the world is gretzky “blessing” the us team instead of the canada team? i smell something fishy.


so they won all of the games except the game against iceland, and iceland (somewhat ridiculously, after having demolished the second ranked team usa so badly) was upset by russia, and all that leads to a winner take all hockey final between the united states and iceland. first, though, they must have a final practice, and in bombay’s new “let’s just have fun” mood, he decides to make it a fun one. so they’re all knocking around a beach ball, and out of nowhere the entire iceland team appears of the ice. ridiculous? yes. someone logically should have seen or heard at least one of the twenty or so people getting out there. but no. the iceland coach is a big jerkface (yeah, i said it) named wolf “the dentist” stansson (played by carsten norgaard of “gods and generals” fame), and he challenges gordon to some one on one action. bombay picks the game “three bar” (in which the winner is the first to hit both posts and the crossbar), and they play. gordon almost wins before he is slashed down (literally) by stansson’s cheating ugliness, but for me the coolest part of the whole scene is wolf’s first shot. i don’t know the exact rules of the game they were playing, but if you’re allowed to hit more than one bar with a single shot, then his first one was pretty incredible. he basically came a few combined inches away from winning the whole thing with one swing of the hockey stick. it nails and inside of the right post, bounces up and hits the “ceiling” of the net (just barely missing the crossbar in the process), and then falls back down hitting the inside of the net on the left side (just barely missing the left post). in all honesty, it was a pretty ridiculous(ly amazing) shot that was completely downplayed in the movie. but whatever. i thought it was cool.


a sports movie is only as good as it’s final game, and in my opinion, d2 doesn’t disappoint. the beginning of the game just looks like an extension of the last usa/iceland match. the iceland team starts it off by scoring four unanswered goals, the first of which being scored by olalf sanderson. why is that important? it really isn’t. i just thought i’d throw it in because he has the same last name as geoff sanderson, who happens to be my favorite hockey player ever. he used to wear number 8 for the hartford whalers (who are coming back, just wait and see) and was a speedy left winger. olalf just wishes he was as cool as geoff.


our next little oops is actually a double oops and happens during that four goal barrage that iceland pours on. the fourth goal that is scored comes off a quality defensive play (though nobody would want to admit it, because it’s ruins the magic of the “flying v”). basically, the “v” is shut down for the first time ever. team usa tries to use it to get a little momentum back but iceland just creates a wall of players and knocks it down. it’s actually quite a simple strategy and makes you wonder why no one else had thought of it before (possibly shooting up another ridiculous flag in your mind). but my focus is on the post-“v” scenario. after the iceland players knock down all the team usa players, they have this monster breakaway. you can clearly see that all five iceland players are skating in the breakaway down the ice, but the announcer states “and here’s a four on none break for iceland”. oops. apparently, he didn’t pass counting in kindergarten. the craziness doesn’t end there though. as you can expect, a hefty break against a mediocre goalie like goldberg is going to lead to a goal. and it does. the second oops, though, comes out of this goal. and once again, it’s the announcer. on the breakaway, the iceland player and leading score in the tournament gunnar stahl (played by scott whyte of “tequila sunrise” fame) has the puck and passes to another player who scores. the announcer proclaims “gunnar stahl to sanderson. wide open net and he scores!”. the picture we have witnessed above clearly shows that sanderson is number 27. the player who scores, however, is number 32. an interesting thing to add in, i think, is that only a second or two after the goal, sanderson does skate into the scene to join in the goal celebration. also, if you look back to the first picture, it actually should have been sanderson that scored. he was the player that was skating down the right side where the pass ended up, whereas number 32 was skating down the left. there just so happened to be a magical player flip when the camera angle changed that messed things up. ridiculous that they got everything right except for an illogical flip that should have never happened? yeah, i’d say so. i also found it kind of humorous that in the two times that the “flying v” is utilized in the movie, the first is blatantly offsides but doesn’t get a whistle and leads to a goal, whereas the second is performed well and is completely legal but fails miserably and leads to the other team scoring a goal. such irony.


the ducks may have been down (seriously down), but they weren’t out. ken wu (the figure skating convert played by justin wong of “i’ve never acted in anything of merit that wasn’t a mighty ducks movie” fame) pulls off a magical (and pretty ridiculous) spin that leads to a goal. then all mayhem breaks loose, with ken getting in a fight with the iceland goalie and the bash brothers (fulton reed and dean portman [played by aaron lohr of “rent” fame]) going bananas and getting misconducts for excessive cheering. the craziness comes full circle with what may be the most ridiculous moment in the whole movie. connie moreau (played by marguerite moreau of “wet hot american summer” fame) is on the ice and gets caught in the corner trying to dig out the puck. this is the first question mark of the situation. she’s all by herself. she’s played hockey for years. why can’t she figure out how to push the puck with her stick to get it to move? it’s not rocket science. but anyways. while she’s busy picking her nose or whatever is slowing her down, olalf sanderson (still not as cool as geoff) starts skating toward her, ready to smash her into the boards. he’s a mean guy and doesn’t mind hitting a girl. he even does a maniacal laugh to cap if off. unfortunately for olalf, dwayne robertson (played by ty o’neal of “wild wild west” fame) is a texas boy who hasn’t caught on to the fact that chivalry is dead, and he grabs his rope and jumps onto the ice to save connie. wait. what? did you just say “grabs his rope”? yes. yes, i did. now they’ve shown the rope previously in the movie, so it’s not a heart attack causing shock when he grabs it. but are you serious? they’re in the middle of the biggest hockey game of their lives, and dwayne has his cattle herding rope sitting next to him on the bench. it’s the most ridiculous thing i’ve ever seen! and you don’t even have to ask what happens next. he’s obviously going to get a penalty for “roping”. duh. he could have been penalized for the team having too many men on the ice or for being out there without a helmet, but no. roping. actually, the writers do salvage their creative lives slightly at this point, having the announcer make a joke about the craziness of the “roping” call. but seriously, dwayne robertson is ridiculous. entertaining, certainly. but absolutely ridiculous.


the period ends moments later, and the team is pumped in the locker room until bombay reminds them that they’re being manhandled 4-1 with only one period left. then there’s a wonderfully inspirational speech, and jan saves the day by showing up with new uniforms (thank goodness for there being “no rule against changing uniforms”) that turn team usa into the new and improved mighty ducks. the team goes out and with queen tearing up the soundtrack, they score a quick but awesome goal. and all five players on the ice (not including goldberg) celebrate. while this is a sweet moment in the movie, especially the part where connie moreau (yes, the same girl that was completely incompetent only a few minutes before) starts the period by slamming her opponent to the ground in the opening faceoff (fittingly, she’s the one to score at the end of the play), it’s also a faulty moment. including the goalie, the ducks have six players on the ice (the normal amount). right before the period ended though, dwayne was put into the penalty box for the crazy “roping” call. so they should only have five players out there when the period starts. oops. either that or the sense of time in the game is super bizarre, which wouldn’t really be much better.


and now, after reading for about a year, we’ve finally come to last truly ridiculous moment in the movie. we’re going to skip over charlie’s “nba” play, because it works perfectly well and is actually really cool, and jump straight to the last two minutes of the game. at this point, a few more goals have been tacked on, and the score is 5 – 4 with iceland in the lead. when push comes to shove, bombay knows that with such little time left, it’s not likely that his overmatched team will be able to put together another quality scoring play. his only hope is with one of his two sharpshooters. fulton’s (ridiculous) blast shot has already somehow been stopped by the iceland goalie the first time the teams played, so you can’t take that change again. that leaves it up to russ tyler. bombay sends him out, and immediately he’s smothered. three guys jump on him against the wall instantly. three other ducks are taking care of the other three skaters on the ice, but russ can’t handle so many guys. and even worse, the referee must have failed math in elementary school. three guys on top of russ + three guys fighting off the other ducks = six guys. and you’re only allowed to have five. smells like ridiculous to me. this one is actually kind of subtle. i only picked up on it recently after having seen the movie many times. but it’s clearly there and clearly not right. but hey, the ducks pull the good old fashioned inconspicuous uniform switch on the ice and apparently nobody notices that either, so whatever.


because it’s a movie (and a disney movie at that), the crazy uniform switch trickery ends up with russ scoring on probably the longest knuckle-puck shot he’s ever taken. this ties the game and all is good in the world. and after an hour and a half of ridiculousness, it all comes down to a shootout. personally, i’m a large fan of the fact that out of the five players that get to shoot, gordon chooses to use four original ducks (jesse hall [played by brandon adams of “sandlot” fame], guy germaine, fulton reed, and adam banks). to put the icing on the cake even moreso for the original ducks, the only one of the five that doesn’t score is the new duck dwayne robertson. i have to admit that the entire shootout sequence, for me, is pretty much the most amazing cinematic experience ever. the background music that is played throughout it is “the mighty ducks suite” by j.a.c. redford (which is found on track five of the d2 soundtrack), and it’s just so cool. plus, it includes what is probably one of the (if not the) cheesiest dramatic moments ever. adams banks is back. and he gets to redeem himself my scoring the shot that will put them in the lead before the final iceland shooter. the shot itself is awesome, banking (get it? banking, banks) off the goalie’s leg pad and in (with a dramatic musical moment perfectly on cue). the pre-shot, though, is even better. the camera is on him as he twists his wrist, proving it’s okay and ready to go. then there’s an uber-dramatic pan shot that goes from charlie to miss mackay to coach bombay, each one nodding their head as the camera gets to them. it’s so corny that it’s awesome. and because of that, i will break the photographic meld of this post and jump to video. it’s just too good to keep to myself.

i don’t want to spoil the ending for you. but i will tell you that julie “the cat” gaffney (played by colombe jacobsen-derstine of “rookie of the year” and “men in black ii” fame) finally gets her chance to show the world what she can do. and it gives me goosebumps each and every time.

so that’s it. a photo (and now video) montage of d2: the mighty ducks and all the ridiculousness that it entails. i hope you’ve learned a bit about the intricacies of the movie or of hollywood or of ducks in general. and if you ever need someone to watch any of the mighty ducks movies with, give me a call. i promise not to get into the fact that the ending sequence has a bunch of ducks quacking while it shows eight geese flying in a “v” through the beautiful blue sky.


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