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Where did "piss poor" come from ?
Received via email | OldDog

Posted on 11/20/2011 5:11:29 PM PST by Jim Robinson

Where did “piss poor” come from ?

We older people need to learn something new every day...

Just to keep the grey matter tuned up.

Where did "Piss Poor" come from? Interesting History.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot.

And then once it was full it was taken and sold to the tannery...

if you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor". But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot...

They "didn't have a pot to piss in" and were the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature Isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the 1500's

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May,

And they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell, Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.

The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water,

Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children.

Last of all the babies.

By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.

Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath.

It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.

When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs." There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.

This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings

Could mess up your nice clean bed.

Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection.

That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.

Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery In the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, It would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.

Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables And did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers In the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.

Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while.

Hence the rhyme:

“Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old”. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.

When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off.

It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon."

They would cut off a little to share with guests

And would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter.

Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death.

This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status.

Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle,

and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.

Hence the custom; “of holding a wake”.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people.

So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave..

When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive.

So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.

Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, “saved by the bell” or was "considered a dead ringer”.

And that's the truth.

Now, whoever said History was boring!!! So get out there and educate someone! ~~~

Share these facts with a friend. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering,

'What the heck happened?'

We'll be friends until we are old and senile.

Then we'll be new friends.

Smile, it gives your face something to do!

Soon we'll all be Piss Poor

Love>>>OldDog


TOPICS: Chit/Chat
KEYWORDS: humor
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Disclaimer: Unsolicited email. To be taken with a grain of salt.
1 posted on 11/20/2011 5:11:30 PM PST by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson

He came from Kenya.


2 posted on 11/20/2011 5:13:32 PM PST by ThomasThomas ( If you can't laugh at your self, I will for you.)
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To: Jim Robinson
Confucians say, girl who drink beer naked on beach gets sand in Schlitz.

5.56mm

3 posted on 11/20/2011 5:16:37 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: Jim Robinson

It has some grains of potential truth.

Some I have heard before, some passed as lore, but I haven’t seen or heard of any of these being debunked...


4 posted on 11/20/2011 5:17:14 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Herman Cain 2012 -- the man we need at the time we need him)
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To: ThomasThomas

The secret truth behind Terra Nova: THEY’RE ALL DEAD!!


5 posted on 11/20/2011 5:18:11 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Herman Cain 2012 -- the man we need at the time we need him)
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To: Jim Robinson

Now I know where that saying, “I’m so poor that I don’t have a pot to p*ss in or a window to throw it out of”... comes from. Thanks!


6 posted on 11/20/2011 5:19:49 PM PST by momtothree
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To: Jim Robinson
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May

Occupy Middle Ages?
7 posted on 11/20/2011 5:20:57 PM PST by GQuagmire ('Don't Piss The Lady Off'...)
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To: Jim Robinson

Piss poor is from the chamber pot. If one did not own a chamber pot, one would have to get up and go outside to relieve oneself at night.

There’s an addendum: “or a window to throw it out of”.

In towns, chamber pots were typically emptied by simply throwing the contents out the window. The streets also served as sewers.

One who had no home at all was that poor, not a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.


8 posted on 11/20/2011 5:22:25 PM PST by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves.)
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To: Jim Robinson

I’ve got one. Why are very light blond haired children called tow heads?

Anyone have an answer because I certainly don’t know.

Love the thread, Jim. Many interesting ‘factuals’.


9 posted on 11/20/2011 5:22:37 PM PST by mplsconservative (Impeach Obama Now!)
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To: Jim Robinson

Full read post. Thanks for the education.


10 posted on 11/20/2011 5:23:34 PM PST by rawcatslyentist (It is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; ~Vattel's Law of Nations)
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To: Jim Robinson

I think that much of this makes sense.

“Saved by the bell” comes from boxing, but it could have had earlier roots, I guess.

And I don’t think that many peasants with thatched roofs had canopy beds. They were more upper class, from before the days of central heating. You could pull the side curtains closed and keep a bit warmer and more private.


11 posted on 11/20/2011 5:24:18 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius.2)
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To: ThomasThomas

Where did the phrase, ‘Taken with a grain of salt’ come from?

:-)


12 posted on 11/20/2011 5:24:18 PM PST by arkady_renko (I want to believe.)
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To: Jim Robinson

When you pulled the trigger on your flintlock rifle and only the powder in the pan went off without igniting the main charge, it was called “flash in the pan.”

If you sold your entire rifle, and not just the parts, you sold it “lock, stock and barrel.”

And of course “straight as a ram rod” came from the the loading rod used to stuff the powder charge down the barrel.


13 posted on 11/20/2011 5:27:16 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (My greatest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them)
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To: mplsconservative

I think that tow head refers to flax or hemp, light colored fibers used to make rope.


14 posted on 11/20/2011 5:27:29 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius.2)
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To: Cicero

That’s a very plausible explanation. Thanks!


15 posted on 11/20/2011 5:29:56 PM PST by mplsconservative (Impeach Obama Now!)
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To: Jim Robinson

Folk etymologies are fun!....and in the words of Cecil Adams, “some day one of these cute stories will actually turn out to be true!”


16 posted on 11/20/2011 5:32:25 PM PST by me1og
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To: arkady_renko
Supposedly "with a grain of salt" comes from Pliny the Elder, Natural History 23.149, where he tells of an antidote to poison which included a grain of salt (discovered by Pompey among the papers of Mithridates, and supposedly written by Mithridates himself...of course Mithridates is famous for having acquired immunity to various poisons).

In Pliny it reads addito salis grano but the formula cum grano salis is better known.

17 posted on 11/20/2011 5:34:54 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: mplsconservative

“Don’t let the cat out of the bag.” is said to refer to the time of the tall ships, they kept the cat of nine tails in a bag and it was only taken out when someone on board was to be flogged.


18 posted on 11/20/2011 5:35:02 PM PST by mware (By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West)
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To: Jim Robinson

With the most vulnerable getting the nastiest water of all, it’s no wonder so many babies died.


19 posted on 11/20/2011 5:35:18 PM PST by autumnraine (America how long will you be so deaf and dumb to the tumbril wheels carrying you to the guillotine?)
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To: Jim Robinson

Great! Some stuff is just meant to be read, snopes is a bunch of libs anyhow!


20 posted on 11/20/2011 5:36:50 PM PST by bigbob
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To: arkady_renko
"Where did the phrase, ‘Taken with a grain of salt’ come from?
21 posted on 11/20/2011 5:37:18 PM PST by ThomasThomas ( If you can't laugh at your self, I will for you.)
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To: Jim Robinson

In Mexico they still piss on the hides to tan them!

If you buy mexican shoes, don’t get them wet, they will smell just like their tanning fluid!


22 posted on 11/20/2011 5:37:46 PM PST by dalereed (uity wise!)
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To: ThomasThomas

After the defeat of that mighty monarch, Mithridates, Gnaeus Pompeius found in his private cabinet a recipe for an antidote in his own handwriting; it was to the following effect: Take two dried walnuts, two figs, and twenty leaves of rue; pound them all together, with the addition of a grain of salt; if a person takes this mixture fasting, he will be proof against all poisons for that day.


23 posted on 11/20/2011 5:38:52 PM PST by ThomasThomas ( If you can't laugh at your self, I will for you.)
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To: Jim Robinson

:-). Very cool! Thanks Jim!


24 posted on 11/20/2011 5:39:07 PM PST by GOP Poet (Obama is an OLYMPIC failure.)
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To: arkady_renko

To take a statement with ‘a grain of salt’ or ‘a pinch of salt’ means to accept it but to maintain a degree of skepticism about its truth.
Origin

take with a pinch of saltThe idea comes from the fact that food is more easily swallowed if taken with a small amount of salt. Pliny the Elder translated an ancient antidote for poison with the words ‘be taken fasting, plus a grain of salt’.

Pliny’s Naturalis Historia, 77 A.D. translates thus:

After the defeat of that mighty monarch, Mithridates, Gnaeus Pompeius found in his private cabinet a recipe for an antidote in his own handwriting; it was to the following effect: Take two dried walnuts, two figs, and twenty leaves of rue; pound them all together, with the addition of a grain of salt; if a person takes this mixture fasting, he will be proof against all poisons for that day.

The suggestion is that injurious effects can be moderated by the taking of a grain of salt.

The figurative meaning, i.e. that truth may require moderation by the notional application of ‘a grain of salt’, didn’t enter the language until much later, no doubt influenced by classical scholars’ study of Ancient Greek texts like the works of Pliny. The phrase has been in use in English since the 17th century; for example, John Trapp’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, 1647:

“This is to be taken with a grain of salt.”

The ‘pinch of salt’ variant is more recent. The earliest printed citation that I can find for it is F. R. Cowell’s Cicero & the Roman Republic, 1948:

“A more critical spirit slowly developed, so that Cicero and his friends took more than the proverbial pinch of salt before swallowing everything written by these earlier authors.”


25 posted on 11/20/2011 5:39:37 PM PST by mc5cents
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To: Jim Robinson

That’s a piss poor analysis to a piss poor question, on a piss poor Sunday.


26 posted on 11/20/2011 5:47:27 PM PST by ImJustAnotherOkie (zerogottago)
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To: Jim Robinson
During colonial times innkeepers would tell the girls serving tables to “mind their Ps and Qs” or Pints and Quarts. A cocktail was a hot drink with a rooster's feather sticking from the top of the glass. Just for looks.
27 posted on 11/20/2011 5:50:10 PM PST by 4yearlurker (I've been dipping into my jar full of Hope & Change just to buy gas!!)
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To: Jim Robinson

I thought it’s performance had been prevented with proper prior planning.


28 posted on 11/20/2011 5:52:08 PM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: mc5cents

Does anyone know what made Bus wiser?

(ans: His wife came home with Schlitz in her pants.)

Baba ding!


29 posted on 11/20/2011 5:52:51 PM PST by basil (It's time to rid the country of "gun free zones" aka "Killing Fields")
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To: basil

Well—I screwed that one. Should have read:

Does anyone know what made Bud Wiser?


30 posted on 11/20/2011 5:54:20 PM PST by basil (It's time to rid the country of "gun free zones" aka "Killing Fields")
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To: me1og

That’s what I’ve always heard. If a phrase origin has a “tidy” or “cute” explanation, it’s probably made up. Like “Mafia” coming from the words ma and fia meaning “my daughter!” in Italian. Not true. Nor is it true about “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”. Although I’m not sure about “In like Flynn”. Supposedly referring to Errol Flynn’s sexual escapades. Maybe.


31 posted on 11/20/2011 5:54:43 PM PST by boop ("Let's just say they'll be satisfied with LESS"... Ming the Merciless)
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To: Jim Robinson

I always enjoy these tales about the history of your language, our sayings and customs.


32 posted on 11/20/2011 5:55:02 PM PST by Baynative (The penalty for not participating in politics is you will be governed by your inferiors.)
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To: Jim Robinson

BTTT


33 posted on 11/20/2011 5:56:18 PM PST by verga (I am not an apologist, I just play one on television.)
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To: 4yearlurker
Mind your p's and q's is a printer's warning.

The type for both p and q are almost identical and can easily be mixed up.

Learned that in printing shop, circa 19 early 60's

34 posted on 11/20/2011 6:01:46 PM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Jim Robinson

****So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. ****

An old boy named Bateson made small belfreys with bells to do this work. People called him nuts, and the term “Bats in the belfrey” meant someone who was not quite right.


35 posted on 11/20/2011 6:10:23 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: Jim Robinson

I knew of a snake who was so poor he didn’t have a pit to hiss in.

(rimshot)

Mind your “Ps” and “Qs” also was a caution to the printers who used hand type. Lowercase Ps looked awfully close to Qs but usually were caught by the proof reader.

“Worth his salt.” Roman soldiers (and probably others) were paid in salt (salarium), so if he was good at his job, he was . . . Hence our word “salary”.

[Distantly related to thread]

“The Earl’s Bastard” referred to a commoner’s firstborn. On the wedding night, if the woman was good looking, the Earl got first dibs.


36 posted on 11/20/2011 6:10:57 PM PST by Oatka (This is the USA, assimilate or evaporate.)
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To: Verginius Rufus

In an unrelated note..Pliny the Elder is the greatest beer I’ve ever had and the #1 ranked beer out of EVERY beer in the world on Beer Advocate....


37 posted on 11/20/2011 6:11:54 PM PST by JoshuaLawrenceChamberlain
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To: PieterCasparzen

I think the chamber pot was also called a thunder mug.


38 posted on 11/20/2011 6:12:02 PM PST by antidemoncrat
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To: mware

In the middle ages salesmen would sell pigs in a poke sack to farmers. Often the farmer found he had bought a dog or cat.
So, Don’t Buy A Pig In A Poke!


39 posted on 11/20/2011 6:14:40 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Forgot this! The item was known as Bateson’s Belfry and from there the term Bats in the Belfry meant someone who was not quite right.


40 posted on 11/20/2011 6:18:30 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: mplsconservative
I’ve got one. Why are very light blond haired children called tow heads? Anyone have an answer because I certainly don’t know.

As it happens, I can provide this one! I figured it out while reading up on the making of bowstrings. It turns out that "tow" is a name for a grade of linen fibers. I'm sure it's a low grade, as we still call burlap bags "towsacks" around here.

41 posted on 11/20/2011 6:20:06 PM PST by TexasBarak (He who pays the least- wins!)
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To: Jim Robinson

Take it with a lot more than just one grain of salt:

http://www.snopes.com/language/phrases/1500.asp


42 posted on 11/20/2011 6:22:46 PM PST by olrtex
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To: Jim Robinson

I’ve never found the definitive reason a jon boat is called a jon boat. It bothers me.


43 posted on 11/20/2011 6:23:32 PM PST by Crawdad
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To: ThomasThomas

LOL!


44 posted on 11/20/2011 6:24:05 PM PST by ColdOne (I miss my poochie... Tasha 2000~3/14/11)
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To: basil
Does anyone know what made Bud Wiser?

The Schlitz in Pearl's pants made Bud wiser.

45 posted on 11/20/2011 6:28:02 PM PST by Arrowhead1952 (Dear God, thanks for the rain, but please let it rain more in Texas. Amen.)
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To: antidemoncrat

Nope a Chamber pot is larger and has a lid. A Thunder mug is smaller with no lid, One you get out of bed to use the other is for those who could not get out of bed. Before Bed pans.


46 posted on 11/20/2011 6:31:14 PM PST by Venturer
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To: Crawdad

http://thelibrary.org/lochist/periodicals/wrv/V37/N3/w98d.htm


47 posted on 11/20/2011 6:35:00 PM PST by Keith in Iowa (Hope & Change - I'm out of hope, and change is all I have left every week | FR Class of 1998 |)
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To: PieterCasparzen

” The streets also served as sewers.”

Hence the term, zuccoti park is a cesspool of despair.


48 posted on 11/20/2011 6:38:24 PM PST by EQAndyBuzz (To fix government, we need a rocket scientist. Oh, wait we have one!)
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To: Jim Robinson

Slop jar contents were also collected for use in gun powder manufacture. In a final step black powder is “corned” by moistening it into a paste, then it is dried and ground into grains of the various sizes. Black powder corned by moistening with stale urine gets an extra boost from the nitrate content.


49 posted on 11/20/2011 6:44:03 PM PST by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: Jim Robinson

Down south there is a phrase, “I’m fixin to go to town.” meaning “I am about the go to town.” The phrase ‘fixin’ or ‘fixing’ came from the fact that going to town was a relatively uncommon event, especially for the country people. They might go to town only every two or three months. During that interval, it was not uncommon for the wagon to be used for gathering food, repairing fence, or other jobs on the farm and it was not uncommon for the wagon to be in disrepair. In order to repair the wagon it had to be ‘fixed’. Thus when someone came to the home where a wagon was in the process of being repaired, the phrase, “’fixing’ to go to town”. ‘Fixing’, originally meant repairing, has taken on the meaning of ‘about’ or ‘preparing’.


50 posted on 11/20/2011 6:50:49 PM PST by Texas Songwriter (Ia)
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