Monday, 17 June 2019

Klaus Schulze: Beyond Recall (1991)


Klaus Schulze - Beyond Recall

KS Canon 23

Track Listing:

1. Gringo Nero 26:54
2. Trancess 12:50
3. Brave Old Sequence 11:02
4. The Big Fall 11:35
5. Airlights 14:34

Rating: 3 Stars

This is the 23rd solo album recorded by Klaus Schulze. An LP was released at the same time, with "Gringo Nero" omitted. In the 1990's the trend was to move away from LP's. In my local record store the vinyl section shrank steadily, and by 1995 only CD's were on sale. It wasn't until the late 2000's that the vinyl fetish became widespread.

"Beyond Recall" sounds like a new age album. I don't know whether this was intended. It's pleasant and relaxing, but for me it's just not Klaus. Only "Brave Old Sequence" gets close to being the music I love so much.

Like "Dresden Performance", this album has never been re-released. It's the second of five albums for which Virgin Records refused to sell the copyright and then allowed them to go out of print. Luckily I bought all five of them while they were still available. The only blessing is that these albums are available to download as MP3's.

This is a subject that I argued about with KDM, Klaus Schulze's publisher, in a series of emails. He's against the illegal copying of music, in which I agree with him. I have physical copies of all of Klaus Schulze's CD's, as far as they're available. I dread to add up how much I've spent on them over the years. Though I agree with KDM in principle, we disagree strongly in the details.

KDM says that by downloading MP3's the musician is losing money. To this I reply that by buying a second hand CD the musician is also losing money. If the CD is out of print and considered a "collector's item" I might have to pay a large amount for the second hand CD, in which case the seller is making a profit at the musician's expense, for which he should morally pay the musician a percentage. KDM never understood this. He just took the standpoint that downloading MP3's is wrong and buying second hand CD's is right. The law might be on his side, but morally I'm right. By downloading MP3's nobody is making a profit at the musician's expense.

Naturally, I'm only talking about albums that are no longer available. If Klaus releases a new album I'm willing to pay for it to support him and his music. But what about albums like "Beyond Recall" that are deliberately being kept off the market? It's not the people who download MP3's who are stealing from Klaus, it's Virgin Records. Every time this album is downloaded, Virgin is taking money out of Klaus Schulze's pocket. They're the criminals, not the downloaders.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Thor: Ragnarok (4½ Stars)


Normally when I rewatch a film I read my old review(s) first. I failed to do that today. After watching the film I sat down, wrote a few sentences, then finally checked what I wrote in January. Oops! I was writing the same things all over again. I don't want to bore my readers, so I scrapped it and started again. Let's write something new!

This is a very good film. At first I thought it was lightweight, compared to the other MCU films, but that's not the case. The film has a complex plot, but it seems light due to the amount of humour.


In this review I'll just treat you with photos of Cate Blanchett as the Goddess of Death and ignore all the minor characters. Death has never looked so good.


And she has a cute dog. My dog always used to sit on my lap when I was watching films, but I don't think the Hellhound would be so affectionate. I hope not.


Was Hela killed in "Thor: Ragnarok"? Seemingly. I don't see how it could be permanent. You can't kill death. I'd like to see her in a future MCU film.

Which reminds me... when will the MCU be rebooted? I'm not saying that I want a reboot, but it's inevitable. The actors are getting older and have to quit their roles. There can be new phases with younger actors playing new super-heroes, but this can't carry on indefinitely. The core characters of the Marvel universe can't be allowed to disappear. Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America, Thor, just to name a few. Marvel wouldn't be Marvel without them.

Success Rate:  + 2.7

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Saturday, 15 June 2019

All Babe Network (4 Stars)


"Boobies! I see boobies!"

That's probably one of the best lines of dialogue ever spoken in a film. It's all the more profound when you consider that it's spoken by Mary Carey, and she's not talking about herself. Throughout the film she's pushing her breasts into men's faces, so that's all they can see. Except for Tony Marino. When she pushes her breasts in his direction he closes his eyes. I guess some men don't want to see boobies.


This is the fourth film directed by Dean McKendrick, made in 2013. All of his early films are comedies, and this is one of his most amusing films. It also has more in common with the "bikini films" of the 1990's than most of his other films.

Mary Carey is the head of a struggling cable network station. None of her shows are doing well, but the worst of the worst is "Hoax Hunter", a late night show about the investigation of supernatural occurrences. Judging by what we see, the show presents its own hoaxes, because they're easier to solve than other people's hoaxes. In other words, it's not just a show about hoaxes, the show itself is a hoax. But whatever it's supposed to be, the ratings are so low that it's an embarrassment to the station. Mary would fire the show's host, but he's the nephew of the network boss. The only way she can see to get rid of him is to sabotage the show herself and make the ratings so low that his uncle will take him off the show.


This is where we get the boobies. The host, Alexandre Boisvert, invites his girlfriend to take part in the show in a sexy costume. Jazy Berlin's breasts aren't as big as Mary Carey's, but a push-up bra can work wonders. And Alexandre really ought to do something about his hair!


That's not all. Jazy shows what she has to offer on a live broadcast. Alexandre misses it because he's busy looking for ghosts, goblins and leprechauns, but Beverly Lynne looks on admiringly.

Mary is so angry about the display of boobies that she wants to fire Alexandre, but his uncle is overjoyed. The show has got the highest ratings ever. Alexandre replaces Mary as the head of the station and is allowed to change the programmes in order to raise the ratings.


There's a cookery programme with naked boobies...


... and an exercise programme with naked boobies...


... and even the newsreader has naked boobies. This is a channel that I'd watch 24 hours a day.


I felt sorry for Mary when she lost her job, but don't worry, there's a happy ending. Alexandre is so successful that he's promoted to a national network station, so Mary gets her job back. I just hope that she'll learn her lesson and broadcast more boobies in future.

And maybe Alexandre will be able to afford better hair gel.

This is an amusing little film. It's out of print now, unfortunately, but if you can find a second hand copy it's worth buying.

Marvel Years 08.09 - September 1968


The Avengers #56

Title: Death be not proud!

Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema

Avengers: Captain America, Hawkeye, Goliath, Wasp, Black Panther

Villain: Baron Zemo

Guests: Bucky Barnes


This is a two-part story that begins in Avengers #56 and continues in Avengers Annual #2.

Captain America summons the Avengers to join him in Doctor Doom's old American castle, which is now deserted. He has a suspicion that his World War Two teenage sidekick Bucky Barnes wasn't really killed by Zemo, so he wants to use Doctor Doom's time machine to go back and see what really happened.

It seems like Roy Thomas has made an error in his story. We first saw the time machine in Fantastic Four #5, but in Fantastic Four #23 we found out that Reed Richards had taken it back to the Baxter Building. So why is it now back in the castle? In a later comic (Fantastic Four Annual #11) Roy tries to excuse his error by saying that Reed Richards left Doctor Doom's time machine where it was after making a copy. Let's read the exact words from Fantastic Four #23:


Reed doesn't say that he copied the time machine, he says that he captured it. That's clear enough, isn't it? Added to this, Captain America says that he asked Reed Richards for advice before going to Doctor Doom's castle, so Reed would have told him, "Don't go all that way. You can use my copy". Roy Thomas rarely made mistakes, even less often than Stan Lee, but he ought to own up to them.

After that preamble, let's get back to the story. With the exception of the Wasp, who remains behind to operate the machine, the Avengers travel back in time to Captain America's last meeting with Baron Zemo shortly before the end of the war. The Avengers are all non-corporeal, because they were already alive at this time, and they shouldn't create a time paradox. They can only stand and watch. Then the Wasp accidentally presses a button in the future which makes the Avengers become solid in the past. Confusing, huh? There's a brief fight with Baron Zemo while the past Captain America and Bucky Barnes are tied up. The future Captain America frees them, but he doesn't kill Baron Zemo for fear of creating a time paradox.

The Avengers begin to fade away, returning to the present, and the last thing they see is the events that led up to Bucky's death.




The Avengers Annual #2

This 44-page special is a landmark issue in the history of Marvel. It's the first time that a parallel universe is shown. As time goes by, this concept will be expanded on, and eventually it will be pushed to exaggerated extremes.

Titles: And Time, the Rushing River
The Avengers must die.

Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Don Heck, Werner Roth

Avengers: Captain America, Hawkeye, Goliath, Wasp, Black Panther, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk

Villain: Scarlet Centurion (Rama Tut, Kang)

Guests: Watcher

Guest Cameos: Fantastic Four, X-Men, Spider-Man, Sub-Mariner, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones

Villain Cameos: Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, Mandarin, Electro, Baron Zemo, Melter, Black Knight, Radioactive Man, Unicorn, Enchantress, Executioner, Red Ghost, Moleman, Beetle, Mr. Hyde, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Red Skull, Magneto, Sandman


This is a single story, divided into two parts with different titles. Don Heck created the layouts, Werner Roth drew the artwork.

The Avengers return to the present after watching Baron Zemo kill Bucky Barnes in the past. When they return to New York they're surprised to see that nobody recognises them.

When they go to the Avengers Mansion they find the original Avengers, as the group was made up in the first two issues, before the Hulk left and Captain America joined. Both the old and the new Avengers consider each other to be impostors.

Captain America uses a computer recording device called the Herodotron (TM) to learn what has happened in the recent past. The timelines diverged at the end of their battle against the Space Phantom in Avengers #2. A being called the Scarlet Centurion approached the Avengers and told them that the Earth could only be saved if they suppressed the number of super-powered beings on Earth. The Avengers defeated (and imprisoned?) all the other super-heroes. Then they did the same with the super-villains, of which only a few escaped. The Scarlet Centurion warned the Avengers that their job would be complete after they defeated five last super-powered beings who would arrive; by that he meant the new Avengers.

The Avengers blame themselves for creating a new timeline by changing the past, but it was all engineered by the Scarlet Centurion himself. After the Avengers defeat the Scarlet Centurion, the Watcher appears to explain everything. He was really the Pharaoh Rama Tut. After being defeated by the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #19 he travelled into the future, meeting Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four Annual #2. He veered off course, and he changed events in 1963, creating a new timeline. He manipulated the Avengers to conquer the world for him. After being defeated by the new Avengers he travels to the 40th Century and becomes Kang the Conqueror. I hope I got all that right!

The Watcher sends the Avengers back to their own universe. This leaves the alternate parallel universe unchanged, so the question is whether the old Avengers will realise their mistake after the departure of the Scarlet Centurion.


Here's a pinup of all the heroes who were ever Avengers. Did they forget Wonder Man? That's a matter of opinion. See Avengers #9.


After showing us the Avengers defeat various super-heroes, Stan Lee asks us why Captain Marvel isn't among the defeated heroes. The answer to that question is easy: he only came to Earth because the Fantastic Four defeated the Kree Sentry, which didn't happen in this parallel universe. It's a shame that my answer is 50 years too late to win a No-Prize. But here's a more difficult question: why isn't the Silver Surfer shown? He was exiled to Earth because he betrayed Galactus by helping the Fantastic Four, but if he never betrayed Galactus the Earth would have been destroyed. Galactus was only driven away with the assistance of the Watcher. Did the Watcher aid the Avengers in this universe? That seems doubtful.




Captain America #105

Title: In the name of Batroc!

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

Villain: Batroc, Swordsman, Living Laser

Guests: Buffy Barnes (flashback)


The story opens with Captain America watching film footage of when he was in action with his teenage sidekick Bucky Barnes. Though not stated, it's possible that this is the reason why he went to Doctor Doom's castle in this month's Avengers #56.

Captain America is given a mission to retrieve a Seismo-Bomb (TM) that an enemy agent has smuggled into New York City. Three enemy agents are also looking for it, but they don't know that the bomb has already been charged and will soon trigger an earthquake that will destroy the city.

The three enemy agents are Batroc the Leaper (last seen in Tales Of Suspense #85), the Swordsman (last seen in Avengers Annual #1) and the Living Laser (also last seen in Avengers Annual #1).

Captain America fights with the Swordsman and the Living Laser while Batroc retrieves the bomb. They stop fighting when Captain America convinces them they're in danger. When Captain America reaches Batroc, he doesn't believe that the bomb is about to explode, so Captain America has to fight to take it away from him.




Fantastic Four #78

Title: The Thing no more!

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

Villain: Wizard

Regulars: Crystal


The Fantastic Four return from the microverse after defeating the Psycho-Man in the last issue. Reed Richards announces that he's invented a machine which can turn Ben Grimm back into human form. He's attempted this many times before, but this time he succeeds.

Susan Richards is in hospital waiting for the birth of her baby. The doctor warns her that the cosmic rays in her body might affect the baby.

The Wizard attacks, using newly constructed Wonder Gloves (TM), which increase his physical strength. We last saw the Wizard attacking the Human Torch in Spider-Man Annual #4. The Fantastic Two (Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch) barely defeat him. Reed Richards removes the Wizards gloves, and then he flees. Ben Grimm feels useless and asks if he can be given the power to change back and forwards at will. Reed warns him that if he changes back to the Thing he can never be human again.

According to the Crazy Credits, Sam Rosen's lettering is lethargic. I find it just as exciting as everyone else's work on the comic.




Daredevil #44

Title: I, Murderer!

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Gene Colan

Villain: Jester (Jonathan Powers)

Regulars: Foggy Nelson, Debbie Harris


The Jester is still at large, who we last saw in Daredevil #42. He's so similar to DC's Joker that I'm surprised Marvel wasn't sued for plagiarism. Considering that he was only an actor before becoming a criminal, he's a scientific genius. For instance, he's built mechanical robots that react to voice commands. As a real madman, he's not interested in becoming rich, he's just thrilled when the police pursue him.

In his civilian identity as Jonathan Powers, the Jester says he will reveal Daredevil's secret identity at the stroke of midnight on the George Washington Bridge. Doesn't this sound strange? It must be either a hoax or a fiendishly evil plot. In this case the reader knows which. Matt Murdock hears on the radio that his secret identity will be revealed at midnight, so he arrives early to see what's happening. Jonathan Powers fights with him, and when the press photographers arrive he pretends to fall to his death. Nobody knows that he can escape in his miniature submarine.

Daredevil is considered to have murdered an innocent man to protect his secret identity. The next day the Jester appears on television and says he will make amends for his crimes by capturing Daredevil.

There's more brilliant artwork by Gene Colan. By now you must be tired of hearing me say that.

The Crazy Credits claim that Irving Forbush is applauding. I hope he's applauding Daredevil, not the Jester.




Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #4

Title: And now it begins

Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Frank Springer

Villain: Hydra

Guests: Tony Stark


The artwork on the cover is unmistakably drawn by Jim Steranko, but the artist for the comic's contents is a new arrival at Marvel, Frank Springer. During the 1960's and 1970's he was a popular free-lance artist for both Marvel and DC. The unusual splash page was probably Frank's idea. You might not be able to recognise the novelty without reading the comic yourself. The splash page is on page three, after a two-page prologue.

I have no idea why Jim Steranko didn't draw this issue. Was he on holiday?

This story retells the origin story of Nick Fury from Strange Tales #135.




Doctor Strange #172

Title: In the Shadow of Death!

Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Gene Colan

Villain: Dormammu, Umar

Regulars: Ancient One (flashback), Clea, Victoria Bentley

Guests: Eternity (flashback)


Dormammu has drained Doctor Strange's occult energy, and is keeping him prisoner next to Clea and Victoria Bentley. Dormammu explains how he avoided being destroyed in the clash with Eternity in Strange Tales #146.

Dormammu sits on his throne planning the destruction of Earth. He's accompanied by his sister Umar, who we last saw in Strange Tales #156. Gene Colan's artwork is excellent, but in the flashback tale he forgets that Doctor Strange's arm was in a sling when it happened.

Doctor Strange defeats the guard left to watch him. He has no more mystic energy, but the Eye of Agamotto is powerful enough to win the fight for him. He retrieves the mystic energy, which the guard has been using.

I apologise to Roy Thomas for saying that he didn't have a feeling for Doctor Strange. He probably just needed a few months to warm up. This issue is excellent.




Iron Man #5

Title: Frenzy in a Far-Flung Future!

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Artist: George Tuska

Villain: Cerebrus


Tony Stark is pulled into the future to be put on trial for a crime he hasn't yet committed. He's charged with creating a computer system called Cerebrus, which has enslaved the human race. The sentence is death. Cerebrus is an advanced defensive system which calculates the optimum means to help humanity, and over the last 400 years it has judged that humanity is best served by not being allowed to make its own choices. The execution will stop it ever happening. That means that he's being put on trial for a crime he will never commit. I'd like to hear Matt Murdock's comments on this.

The trial is interrupted when Cerebrus attacks the judges, attracted by the energy of the time machine being operated. Luckily, Iron Man's armour has been kept in a museum for the last 400 years, so he can suit up to battle the computer. Cerebrus is unable to continue the battle when it finds out that Iron Man is really his creator, and Iron Man destroys the computer. He returns peacefully to his own time.




Sub-Mariner #5

Title: Watch out for Tiger Shark!

Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema

Villain: Doctor Dorcas, Tiger Shark (Todd Arliss)

Regulars: Dorma, Vashti, Warlord Seth


This story takes place shortly after last month's Captain Marvel #4. Prince Namor staggers onto the shore of a small island near the coast of New York. He's attacked by a robot, which he manages to defeat, but it explodes, leaving him unconscious. He's taken prisoner by a scientist called Doctor Dorcas. He's attempting to heal a former Olympic swimmer called Todd Arliss, though it's obvious that he also has other sinister aims.

Todd is put into a Morphotron (TM) with Prince Namor and a collection of sharks. The machine transfers the energy of Namor and the sharks into Todd's body. He emerges as an amphibian creature who calls himself Tiger Shark. Machines can give you power, but you have to think up a corny name yourself. Todd's personality has also changed. He immediately attacks the weakened Sub-Mariner. In the water he accidentally collides with the underwater vessel containing Lady Dorma, who is seeking her beloved Namor. Tiger Shark threatens to kill her as well. After a short battle he's buried beneath a rockfall.




Captain Marvel #5

Title: The Mark of the Metazoid!

Writer: Arnold Drake
Artist: Don Heck

Villain: Sub-Mariner (flashback)

Regulars: Ronan the Accuser, Yon-Rogg, Una, Carol Danvers


The story begins with Mar-Vell on trial before Ronan the Accuser. Yon Rogg accuses him of deliberately losing his fight with Sub-Mariner last issue. Ronan judges that the evidence is inconclusive, so his future acts should show whether he's loyal to the Kree. He's told to return to the Earth and erase the memory of the hotel owner who suspects that the hotel guest Dr. Walt Lawson is really an alien.

A Russian accused of being involved in anti-state activities has been transformed into a hideous monster called the Metazoid. He's been ordered to capture America's leading missile expert, Dr. Walt Lawson. He doesn't know that the real Dr. Lawson is dead and Captain Mar-Vell has taken his place. The Metazoid attacks Mar-Vell when he's in his civilian clothes in hospital, visiting the hotel owner. He manages to change into his Kree uniform and engage in battle. Captain Marvel wins the battle and erases the hotel owner's memory.

The Crazy Credits say that Artie Simek is angry. I'm not surprised, after Stan Lee has been insulting his work for years.




The Incredible Hulk #107

Title: Ten rings hath the Mandarin!

Writer: Gary Friedrich
Artist: Herb Trimpe

Villain: Mandarin, Yuri Brevloy

Guests: Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones


Yuri Brevlov continues to attack the Hulk, even though he's holding a small child. SHIELD shoots down Brevlov's aircraft and captures Brevlov himself, but we still don't know who he is.

The Mandarin transports the Hulk to his castle in China and tests him with a series of attacks. When the Hulk survives all the attacks, the Mandarin offers that they become partners. The Hulk refuses.

We last saw the Mandarin in Avengers Annual #1.




Amazing Spider-Man #64

Title: The Vulture's Prey

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: John Romita

Villain: Vulture

Regulars: Aunt May, Anna Watson, Mary Jane Watson, Captain Stacy, Gwen Stacy, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe Robertson, Betty Brant, Ned Leeds


The Vulture continues to attack Spider-Man, who's suffering from an injured arm. The fight is taking place next to the offices of the Daily Bugle. J. Jonah Jameson takes several of his staff onto the roof to watch Spider-Man's defeat. Joe Robertson is hurt by falling bricks.

The Vulture has to flee after Spider-Man damages his flight pack. Spider-Man falls unconscious onto the road, surrounded by crowds of people.

In this issue Captain Stacy tells his daughter Gwen that Peter Parker didn't really attack him in Amazing Spider-Man #60.




Thor #156

Title: The Hammer and the Holocaust!

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

Villain: Loki, Norn Queen, Mangog

Regulars: Odin, Sif, Balder, Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg, Heimdall

Guests: Recorder


Thor battles the Mangog, aided by Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg. Well, at least Fandral and Hogun are helping him. They are unable to stop him on his path towards Asgard.

Loki, the acting Lord of Asgard while Odin is sleeping, is begged to aid Thor in the fight against the Mangog, but he refuses.

Balder is being attacked by Karnilla's warriors to prevent him returning to Asgard.

Sif is watching over Odin, accompanied by the Recorder. When she realises that the Mangog is approaching, she leaves Odin to protect the Odinsword.




X-Men #48


Title: Beware Computo, Commander of the Robot Hive!

Writer: Arnold Drake
Artist: Werner Roth

X-Men: Cyclops, Marvel Girl

Villain: Quasimodo

Jean Grey seems to have forgotten about her college studies. Or maybe Arnold Drake forgot. When's the last time she was in college? It was months ago. Now she's working as a fashion model. Scott Summers has a job as a radio reporter. New transmitters being delivered to his station are stolen by giant robots. They pledge allegiance to someone called Computo, who turns out to be Quasimodo, who we last saw battling the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four Annual #5.

This is one of the weakest Marvel stories I've read in a long time. Giant robots are boring. Bring back Roy Thomas!


We're promised that the Beast and Iceman will meet Metoxo next issue, but it's an empty promise. The story has never been written. Maybe Arnold Drake forgot again. Stan Lee should have a serious word with him.

This issue contains a Beast featurette, in which Hank McCoy explains his powers to the readers.




Marvel Super-Heroes #16

Title: The Phantom Eagle

Writer: Gary Friedrich
Artist: Herb Trimpe

Villain: Germans


This one-off story introduces the Phantom Eagle, a masked fighter pilot from World War One.

Karl Kaufmann was a highly skilled test pilot who owned a flying circus. Before America entered the war he was asked to volunteer to fight with the British against Germany. He refused, saying that he only did jobs that paid well. This was just an excuse. The real reason was that his parents lived in Germany, so he was afraid that there would be reprisals against them if he fought against Germany.

While flying near the American east coast he was surprised to see German war planes making a surprise attack. This persuaded him to become a fighter pilot. He wore a mask so that nobody, neither his friends nor his enemies, would know who he was.



Other comics published this month:

Mille the Model Annual #7 (Stan Lee, Stan Goldberg)

Millie the Model #162 (Stan Lee, Stan Goldberg)
Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #58 (Arnold Drake, Dick Ayers)
Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders #6 (Gary Friedrich, Dick Ayers)

Mean Girls (4 Stars)


Gretchen: "Ex-boyfriends are off limits to friends. That's just like the rules of feminism".

Cady: "The limit does not exist!"

Many thanks to my friend Crystal Berry for hosting a watch party, even if she kept me up all night.

It's been eight years since I last watched this. I'd forgotten the plot, and all I could remember was the mean girls in their short skirts. In my last review I hardly wrote anything to remind me what it was about. But yikes! There was a horrible spelling mistake in that review, which I just corrected, so there's no point in looking for it. I'm so ashamed! There was a spelling mistake for EIGHT YEARS and I never knew!

I enjoyed the film today, despite being tired and hardly able to concentrate. I'll have to watch it again soon.

Success Rate:  + 5.6

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