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Welcome to the final installment of the For Aslan Christmas Gift Guides.  This guide will help you find a great gift for your evangelical theology nerd loved ones. This list is a mixture of really great books you can get for cheap and multi-volume collections that most theology nerds are too poor to buy for themselves.  These are all great gifts for your pastor, youth pastor, poor seminarian, theological blogger, or armchair theologian.

THEOLOGY NERD GIFTS – $0-$25

A Little Exercise for Young Theologians by Helmut Thielicke$7.19

Thielicke Young Theologians

(http://www.christianbook.com/a-little-exercise-for-young-theologians/helmut-thielicke/9780802811981/pd/2811981?product_redirect=1&Ntt=2811981&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP)

If you know someone in seminary or Bible college, I implore you to buy them this book.  This book is a swift kick in the gut to pride that can swell up when people get a semester’s worth of theology and Greek under their belts.  Thielicke provides a great reminder that the study of God produces humility when done properly.

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler$8.99

Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler

(http://www.amazon.com/The-Explicit-Gospel-Re-Lit/dp/1433530031/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354111467&sr=8-1&keywords=explicit+gospel)

Matt Chandler is one of my favorite preachers alive.  He is an excellent example of biblical preaching, and he has glorified God throughout his suffering with cancer (Don’t Waste Your Cancer an Interview with Matt Chandler).

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney$10.87

Whitney Spiritual Disciplines

(http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Disciplines-Christian-Pilgrimage-Growth/dp/1576830276)

Most young Christians that ask their youth pastor how to grow “deeper” in their faith will receive an answer somewhere along the lines of “Pray and read your Bible.”  This is true, but Donald Whitney provides very real and practical steps in this modern classic.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer$11.99

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

(http://www.christianbook.com/knowing-god-j-i-packer/9780830816507/pd/1650X?item_code=WW&netp_id=101130&event=ESRCG&view=details)

Other than the Bible, this is my favorite book on earth.

Martin Luther Bobblehead$18.95

Luther Bobblehead

(http://oldlutheran.cybrhost.com/oldlutheran/page.php?page=store&Screen=PROD&Store_Code=OL&Product_Code=800&Category_Code=HO)

Does anyone really need a Martin Luther bobblehead? No.  Would many people appreciate it as a gift? Yes.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones$19.48

Sermon on Mount by Martyn Lloyd Jones

(http://www.amazon.com/Studies-Sermon-Mount-Martyn-Lloyd-Jones/dp/080280036X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354112352&sr=8-1&keywords=sermon+on+the+mount+martyn)

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a brilliant expositor of the Bible.  This is a very long book, but it is worth the price and the time needed to read it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography by Eberhard Bethge$32.34

Bethge Bonhoeffer

(http://www.amazon.com/Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Biography-Eberhard-Bethge/dp/0800628446/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354111563&sr=1-2&keywords=dietrich+bonhoeffer+biography)

This is the exemplary biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Everyone loves Bonhoeffer, conservative evangelicals and theological liberals alike.  If you want to get them an actual Bonhoeffer book, go for Discipleship or Life Together.

THEOLOGY NERD GIFTS – $25-$50

Spurgeon’s Sermons, 5 Volumes by Charles H. Spurgeon$49.99

Spurgeon's Sermons

(http://www.christianbook.com/spurgeons-sermons-5-volumes/charles-spurgeon/9781598568325/pd/568325?en=google-pla&kw=church-and-pastoral-40-60&p=1167941&gclid=CL2b7Mfr8bMCFQU5nAoduikAXg)

Spurgeon was amazing.  All theology nerds get a bit geeked out about Spurgeon.  Plus, this set looks great on a bookshelf.

THEOLOGY NERD GIFTS – $50-$100

God, Revelation, and Authority, 6 Volumes by Carl F. H. Henry$96.99

Carl F. H. Henry God, Revelation, and Authority

(http://www.christianbook.com/god-revelation-authority-6-volumes/carl-henry/9781581340563/pd/40567?product_redirect=1&Ntt=40567&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP)

Carl F. H. Henry founded Christianity Today.  He was one of the great evangelical voices of the 20th century, and this is the pinnacle of Henry’s scholarship.

THEOLOGY NERD GIFTS – $100+

Church Dogmatics, 14 Volumes by Karl Barth – $129.99

Karl Barth Dogmatics

(http://www.christianbook.com/church-dogmatics-14-volumes/karl-barth/9781598564426/pd/564426?kw=karl%20barth%20dogmatics&event=PPCSRC&p=1018818&gclid=CISj0eTq8bMCFQkFnQod9EUAVQ )

I love Karl Barth. True, we have some major theological differences, but I respect him a ton.  This work usually costs upwards of $400, however, in recent years this publication has come out for much cheaper.

The Early Church Fathers, 38 Volumes – $229.99

Early Church Fathers

(http://www.christianbook.com/the-early-church-fathers-38-volumes/9781565630819/pd/30815?event=CF)

So…this is wicked expensive.  Most of these works are available online now.  But we all know reading a book on real paper is 1,000 times better than reading on an e-reader or computer screen.  This would be a great gift for someone if a bunch of people pitched in, but I personally think it’s a crazy amount of money to drop by yourself.

Until later friends…

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Coffee and Coffee Snobbery are recurring themes on this site.  As you know, I work for the nice guys at Prima Coffee.  Naturally, I have a fair amount to say about coffee equipment.  Many coffee snobs find themselves (to their chagrin) receiving Starbucks cards for Christmas.  While I am thankful for such gifts, because Jen really likes their hot apple cider, I think it helpful to provide a list of good gift ideas for your favorite coffee snobs. So, here’s my list of great Coffee gifts divided under: $0-$25, $25-$50, $50-$100, and $100+.

GIFTS FOR COFFEE SNOBS $0-$25

DCILY KeepCup$14.50

DCILY Keepcup

(http://dearcoffeeiloveyou.merchmo.com/products/detail/oz_DCILY_Mission_KeepCup_6087)

This is a sweet reusable travel cup featuring one of my favorite coffee blogs – DCILY.

Clever Coffee Brewer$16

Clever Coffee Brewer

(http://prima-coffee.com/brewer/clever-coffee-dripper-abid)

I have said multiple times before that the Clever is the best entry-level manual brewer on the market.  I absolutely love this brewer.  It is a great gift.

Intelligentsia Gift Card$25

Intelligentsia Coffee Gift Card

(http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/product/merchandise/intelligentsia-gift-card)

Intelligentsia is one of my absolute favorite roasters.  Their coffee subscription service on their website, however, is confusing. Thus, I recommend a gift card.  Intelli ships all over the place, and you can find great coffee (and sweet mugs) on their site.

Sweet Maria’s Green Coffee – $$$

Sweet Maria's

(http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.greencoffee.mvc.php?source=side)

These vary in price, but if you know someone that does their own roasting, Sweet Maria’s is a great resource.

GIFTS FOR COFFEE SNOBS – $25-$50

Aeropress$25.95

Aerobie Aeropress Coffeemaker

(http://prima-coffee.com/brewer/aerobie-aeropress-coffee-maker)

The AeroPress is a great little brewer.  A little more effort than a Clever, but it makes a great cup of coffee.  Mind you, it only makes one cup, but it does it well.

Hario Metal Coffee Press$27.75

Hario Metal Coffee Press

(http://prima-coffee.com/hario/coffee-press)

If you’re into French Press coffee, this is a good little brewer for you.  Prima is also selling it dirt cheap for Black Friday.

Hario Mini Mill Manual Coffee Grinder$31.95

Hario Mini Mill Grinder MSS-1B

(http://prima-coffee.com/grinder/hario-coffee-grinder-mini-mill-slim)

The best little hand grinder out there.  Gives you a good workout while grinding your coffee.  Functional for espresso to French Press, which is quite versatile…trust me.

Jennings CJ4000 Scale$38.75

Jennings Coffee Scale

(http://prima-coffee.com/catalog/jennings-cj4000-scale-29075)

I find that I brew coffee best when I am exact with the weights of both the grounds and the water.  The Jennings scale is precise.  It also has an AC adapter so you don’t have to buy batteries every six weeks.

Hario V60 Pour-Over Set-Up$43

Hario V60 Coffee Brewing Set-up

(http://prima-coffee.com/brewer/hario-v60-pour-over-set)

I have this set-up at home (except with a ceramic brewer).  I love this system. Although you will need to purchase a pouring kettle as well (see below).

Bonavita Electric Pouring Kettle$49.99

Bonavita Electric Pouring Kettle

(http://prima-coffee.com/bonavita/electric-pouring-kettle)

This is the kettle I rock at home.  It is also helpful for warming up my daughter’s bottles.

GIFTS FOR COFFEE SNOBS – $50-$100

AeroPress and Mini Mill Combo$57

Aeropress Mini Mill Travel Combo

(http://prima-coffee.com/catalog/coffee-travel-kit-aeropress-and-mini-mill-17033)

Put two items from the list above and get ’em for cheaper. Enough said.

Hario Buono Pouring Kettle$53

Hario Buono Pourover Kettle

(http://prima-coffee.com/hario/buono)

Pours better than the Bonavita kettle, but it costs a bit more and doesn’t heat up water automatically. Your call as to which is better.

Counter Culture 3-month Coffee Subscription$64.95

Counter Culture Subscription

(http://my.counterculturecoffee.com/coffee/subscriptions/)

I love Counter Culture Coffee. They have a good subscription service for varying durations.

GIFTS FOR COFFEE SNOBS – $100+

Tonx Coffee 3-Month Subscription (2 12oz bags per month) – $114 ($38/mo)

Tonx Coffee Subscription

(https://tonx.org/7dd531b4)

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder$129

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder

(http://prima-coffee.com/grinder/baratza-encore-conical-burr-coffee-grinder)

My favorite entry-level electronic grinder.  It is very flexible and reliable. We use it everyday in the office.

Six-month Craft Coffee Subscription$134.94

Craft Coffee Subscription

(http://www.craftcoffee.com/products/artisan-coffee-tasting-box)

Great subscription service. Craft coffee sends you great coffee from several great roasters.

Prima Tamp$140

Prima Tamp

(http://prima-coffee.com/prima/prima-tamp)

Just talked about this yesterday. It still rocks.

Bonavita Thermal Carafe Automatic Brewer$149.99

Bonavita Automatic Coffee Brewer with Thermal Carafe

(http://prima-coffee.com/brewer/bonavita-automatic-coffee-brewer-thermal-carafe)

The only automatic coffee brewer I recommend.  Great gift for anyone at half the price of a Technivorm (another good automatic brewer).

Until later friends…

Christmas shopping season has begun

Black Friday Hysterics

I fully believe that you, my readers, are healthily sane people that do not wish to risk being trampled for the sake of cheap electronics.  I want to help you meet your Christmas shopping goals, as well as your life goal of not dying at Wal-Mart.  So, I will be sharing with you some Christmas Gift Guides for various demographics covered in this blog.  All of these gifts will be things you can buy online, without risking life and limb with all those crazies out there.  So, keep an eye out for the following:

Christmas Gift Guides

And this is for some laughs at the craziness that is Christmas shopping season:

Dear World,

I love Christmas.  I love the Christmas season.  I love music.  Christmas season provides some great music (I blogged last week about three of my favorite Christmas songs).  Sadly, however, every December some really awful Christmas songs make the rounds.  According to an informal poll I took last year (Vote for the Worst Excuse for a Christmas Song), the top three worst Christmas songs are:

1. “Santa Baby” – 25.81% of Popular Vote

Santa Baby Eartha Kitt

Santa Baby” is an absolutely horrible song.  Trying to seduce Saint Nicholas in order to get more bling is just trashy.  For real, leave the old man alone Catwoman.

2. “Last Christmas” – 22.58% of the Popular Vote

George Michael Last ChristmasLast Christmas”  is quite possibly the most annoying song ever sung by a man.  George Michael really did the world a great injustice by recording this number. (Not to be confused with this George Michael)

George Michael Bluth

3. “Little Drummer Boy” – 16.13% of the Popular Vote

Bing Crosby and David Bowie "Little Drummer Boy"You have to give props to “The Little Drummer Boy” for bringing together such diverse people as David Bowie and Bing Crosby.  This song, however, is not a good Christmas song.  One reason: there was no little drummer boy at the nativity.  As I said last year, “If you can give me definitive evidence that there was a kid with a snare drum at the nativity, I will move to Minnesota in a blizzard.”

Now for the main point of this post.

Same Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg is not a Christmas song.  This may be apparent to you based on the name (an obvious New Year’s reference).  Yet, apparently all radio stations believe this to be an appropriate contribution to the Christmas music genre.

Catchy song. Sad that ole Dan died, but please stop playing this alongside “O Holy Night” and “Jingle Bells.”

Until later friends…

Dear Readers [i.e., Mom and bored facebook friends],

I apologize for taking so long to write a new post.  I last posted November 10th.  I have been incredibly busy since my last post.  I finally finished my master’s thesis on the German Baptist experience under the Third Reich.  It was great fun, but a lot of work.  My duties at work have also been consuming, which have made it difficult to find time to blog.  I have a few minutes today to blog, so I thought I’d just share some exciting things going on in my life (and random thoughts that pop into my head).

  • As you may know, we announced on October 10th that we’re going to have a baby. We found out yesterday that we’re going to have a little girl.  Here is her pictureMy first baby picture
  • I am pleased to announce that I am graduating from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I have enjoyed my time at SBTS, but I am excited about taking a semester off from school to hang out with Mrs. For Aslan and prepare for our little lady.SBTS - Honeycutt Seminary Lawn
  • Mrs. For Aslan and I are planning to attend Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb tour again this year.  This is one of our favorite Christmas traditions.  It is a great concert, based on a great cd.  Here’s a fun taste of it.  This is Andrew Peterson singing the genealogy of Jesus found in the book of Matthew:

.

  • I love this time of the year.  I love music, and the Christmas  season is full of great music.  Here are some songs that I really enjoy during this time of year that you might not know:

I used to sing “What Sweeter Music” with the Union University Singers.  I loved my years in a great choir, and I miss them.  This song is gorgeous.  John Rutter is spectacular.

Andy Gullahorn has written a wonderful song focused on communicating what Immanuel means.  He is an excellent songwriter, and he has a real way with words. Go buy his Christmas album recorded with his wife Jill Phillips. This song is well worth listening to.

You might already know this song, but I have to include it.  I absolutely love it.  It has a hauntingly rich melody, and it explores the mystery of the incarnation.

  • I am excited about getting to spend time with family during Christmas without any concern about finishing research or writing a paper.
  • I am excited about giving gifts.  I’ve found my lovely wife some great stuff, and now I am shopping for my lovely daughter.  I like these:Chicago Cubs Girl Onesies
  • I am also super excited about huge news in the coffee world.  The introduction of a solid electric pouring kettle:Bonavita Electric Kettle
  • Lastly, I’m excited about reading some books for fun.  Here are some books I have on my shelf and I plan to read in the next several months:

Guns Germs Steel

Hunting Eichmann

Tim Keller Counterfeit GodsYa’ll have any other reading suggestions?

Until later friends…

There are only 43 days left until Christmas (Christmas Countdown)!  Throughout this holiday season, I will be sure to share with you brilliant gift ideas.  If you have ever read this blog before, you know that I talk a lot about coffee and coffee equipment.  If I become aware of any sweet coffee deals I will let you know.  If you are into Specialty Coffee, then I have some good news for you.  During this holiday season, Prima Coffee is offering some sweet deals on coffee equipment.  I recently saw this in Roast magazine.

Merry Prima Coffee

That jolly red-bearded fellow is not a young Santa, it is my friend Lee from Prima Coffee.

Red Bearded Santa

Ole Redbeard (as I like to call him) has been keeping me in the loop on some sweet deals Prima Coffee is offering for the Christmas season.  If you are into the whole Twitter scene and you like specialty coffee, you should follow Prima Coffee.  Check out the sweet deal they had yesterday.

Prima Coffee Able Disk Deal

That’s right free Able DISKs.  Word on the street is that there will be even more discounts and giveaways in the coming weeks.  Get yourself in the Christmas mood. Be generous and buy the coffee nerd in your life something cool.

A little Christmas/Sting and the Police music video for you:

Until later friends…

It has been a while since I have written anything on this blog.  I have had a great Christmas break.  I have been very busy, and haven’t found much time for blogging.  Since there has been a rather large outcry from my readers (and by that, I mean my wife and a couple of my co-workers asked why I haven’t blogged in a while) I figured I could at least throw up a quick post. And the best way to do a quick post is to have no trail of thought. So…here’s a blog list:

  • Christmas was great.  Jen and I made our way through Tennessee.  It was like our own little Tennessee version of the Oregon Trail, except I didn’t shoot anything, no one got sick, I wasn’t a banker, and we were in an Altima, but other than that, very Oregon Trail-ish.

Oregon_Trail_Tennessee_Style

  • We really enjoyed all the time we got to spend with family over Christmas.  Living far away from family presents its challenges, but it sure does make seeing everyone all the more special.
  • I learned that playing Kinect is different than other video games, it requires stretching.

Xbox Kinect

  • We had a great New Year’s weekend. We didn’t do a whole lot, and that was a good thing.  I have really enjoyed getting to just hang out with Jen.  Last semester was so crazy, it has been such a blessing to have free time with my wife.  We’ve also had enough time to hang out with several different friends, and that has been cool too.
  • We went back down to Tennessee this past weekend to spend a little more time with Jen’s family and to see some old friends and spend some time with my parents.  We had a good time, and it was a lot less rushed than most of our Tennessee excursions.
  • I got to meet up with a close friend that I lived with for four years during college.  We went to a little shop in Memphis that was sporting a La Marzocco Linea. Unfortunately, this Linea was paired with illy coffee beans…to quote Captain Hook, “Bad Form.”  Despite the lackluster coffee selection on the part of the store, the conversation was great.  I love how you can truly just ‘pick up’ with old friends in a way you can’t with other people.

La Marzocco Linea

  • Our Tennessee Trail excursions have been accompanied by the soundtrack of Harry Potter audiobooks (since November I think).  I expect we will be through the series by the end of this week.  Then, we will go see the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 with some friends.
  • I start a 4-day class next week entitled “Head and Heart in Augustine, Anselm, Calvin, and Edwards.”  I’m really excited about the class, although I am not excited about the 8:00am-8:00pm duration of it. Too bad I don’t have a Mypressi Twist.
  • My penultimate semester begins on February 1st!
  • I like the word “penultimate.”
  • I  begin in earnest my research for my Masters Thesis on the Kirchenkampf this semester.
  • We have a lot of opportunities before us, and we are really excited about the future.  It does not seem like we have been in Louisville for over 2-1/2 years.  I am thankful for our time here, and I like it here in Louisville (aside from the general yankeeness); yet, we are excited and hopeful for what the future holds.

That’s really all the time I have for now.  I hope all is well, and hopefully I can post again soon.

Until later friends…

 

Once again I am taking a detour from restaurant equipment blogging.  I promise not to make any Chemex sales pitches in this blog.  Today I want to talk a little bit about Christmas.  Not the commercialized American shopping Christmas, but Christmas.

Rossetti Annunciation

This is one of my favorite paintings in the world.  It is Dante Rossetti’s depiction of the Annunciation (interestingly he used his sister Christina Rossetti – author of “In the Bleak Midwinter” –  as his model for Mary).  The Annunciation depicted here is when Gabriel told Mary that she would give birth to Jesus although she was a virgin.  I love this painting.  Part of the reason I love it is the terrified posture of Mary.  Mary was a regular person like you and me, and she was shocked by the angel Gabriel. Yet, somehow in all the years of confusion about Mary in the Christian Church, she has somehow been mostly depicted as immune from the natural terror wrought by the presence of an angel.  Throughout the Bible whenever an Angel appears to people, they either fall over, stand petrified, or are in need of new underpants (and sometimes all three).  Angels always have to tell people, including Mary, “Be not afraid.”  I love that in this painting Mary is scared but humble and full of grace.   She is young and unsure of what is going on, she “wonders” at these things said to her.  It is amazing that God chose to enter the world through the virgin birth from a peasant girl.  This painting depicts the announcement of the most miraculous thing in the world.

The greatest miracle of Christmas is not the Virgin Birth.  It is perfectly logical that an all-powerful God that is the Creator of all life could cause a pregnancy without the normal means.  The greatest miracle of Christmas is the Incarnation – God’s taking on of human flesh.  It is beyond mysterious that Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, would become a man – let alone a baby!  I plan on reading again AthanasiusOn the Incarnation this week.  Aside from the Bible, this is my favorite book. It has been a paradigm-changer for me, and I love reading it.  I think it will be especially fitting to read it as we celebrate Advent.

Athanasius - On the Incarnation

Also, Jen and I have discovered a new favorite Christmas CD.  I do not have a #1 favorite Christmas CD, but the new Christmas CD by Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn has solidified itself within my top three within the past several days.  This CD is completely focused on the Incarnation (aside from one hilarious re-wording of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”)  The songs “I Will Find a Way,” “You Came Down,” and “Nations That Long in Darkness Lay” have been on near-constant repeat on my ipod.  I highly recommend this CD to all people.

Gullahorn and Phillips Christmas

This will probably be my last post until after Christmas.  I will soon be headed down to the glorious Volunteer State.  Merry Christmas to all of you.

Until later Friends…

Related Posts

The end of the semester is fast approaching.  I only have two more exams and a translation of a German flyer from the White Rose standing between me and Christmas break.  I have been greatly anticipating this for awhile.  So, here is my top ten list (in no particular order) of things I am excited about that are coming after finals.

1.  Spending a heck of a lot more time with my super cool wife.

2. The upcoming Prima Coffee Barista Bash (which I posted about here).

3. Watching some great Christmas movies with my wife:

The Muppet Christmas CarolErnest Saves ChristmasElf Movie

4. Finishing the Harry Potter books and seeing the first installment of Deathly Hallows with Jen!

5. Not parsing a single Hebrew verb from December 3rd until the end of January.

6. Going to see Behold the Lamb with Jen.

7. Using my Bodum French Press for the joy of it – not for mere caffeine consumption.

Bodum Chambord French Press 8. Seeing the new Narnia film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader (For Aslan!)

Dawn Treader 9. Sleep

10. And many other fun and exciting things!

Until later friends…

Today’s Post Sponsored by

Welcome to Friday my friends.  Between finishing a paper, talking trash with a yankee, and hanging out with my wife, it’s been a good week.  I am looking forward to next week, and getting to travel back to the homeland.

At work, throughout our daily conversations about restaurant equipment, specialty coffee equipment, and frequent coffee breaks (using a Chemex or Aeropress usually), we play a little game – and by “we” I mean the marketing department.  We don’t really have a title for this game, but the concept is pretty simple: if you sing, hum, or whistle a tune, and later on someone else starts to sing, whistle, or hum that tune, you earn a point.  We don’t really keep track of the points, but it does bring a little bit more joy to our days.  One of our favorite tunes to pass around the office is the theme from Jurassic Park.

We are a very musical office.  All types of music are mentioned in our office from Carman to Ray Wylie Hubbard to the Avett Brothers to Lecrae to Notorious BIG to The Temptations.  We have talked about Christmas music more often recently (even though one weirdo has been singing Christmas songs since March).  We were specifically talking about poor excuses for Christmas songs (or awful Christmas songs in general).  Some songs are played at Christmas just because they are about snow and stuff.  Others attempt to be more Christmas-like by talking about a baby being born, but when compared to the biblical Christmas narrative are found wanting.  So, here is the weekly Friday poll.  Please participate and tell your friends.

There are many bad Christmas songs out there.  If you think there is an even more awful Christmas song that I missed, please make your argument in the comments below.

Until later friends…

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