Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: 50th anniversary (page 1 of 3)

And Then It’s On To Chicago

Set 2 – Mississippi Half-Step >Wharf Rat> Eyes Of The World >He’s Gone >Drums w/ Sikiru Adepoju>I Need A Miracle >Death Don’t Have No Mercy >Sugar Magnolia

E: Donor Rap>Brokedown Palace > Mickey’s Prayer for Peace

As always: not a review of any sort, just kinda thoughts. On the…well, you know.

  • There will be a meeting about microphone privileges.
  • If the trend continues, July 5th will be capped by Jeff Chimenti thanking his parents for piano lessons and his Christopher Walken impression, which is not great.
  • Sometimes in life, you’ll turn away for just a second and when you look back: black guy.
  • His name was Spiro Agnew or something and he whomped on some stuff.
  • Mickey brought him along; he is not Mickey’s Benjy, though.
  • White guys cannot have black guys as their Benjies.
  • Black guys can be Benjies, of course: Puff Daddy had a Benjy.
  • Morris Day and Jerome.
  • White guy can’t have a black Benjy.
  • The whole point of a Benjy is that he’s your property.
  • Gotta have a Benjy the same as you; why have the internet write about how problematic you are?
  • Billy might be about to murder someone, and it’s going to be whomever is singing at the moment, I think.
  • Bobby seems to have recently shifted to a more Willie Nelson-type of phrasing.
  • Don’t get me wrong on this one: TotD loves the Redheaded Stranger.
  • But what Willie sings and the music being played has no bearing on one another.
  • They’re two separate and unrelated things happening at the same time in the same place.
  • Like getting a tugger in the stands of a minor-league hockey game: the players don’t know about your potato salad getting whipped; the jerk-job doesn’t, say, go faster if your team is up.
  • And that works fine for Willie, because Willie either accompanies himself with Trigger or tells the band ahead of time, “Do not listen to me; actively ignore me or this will go poorly. Especially the drummer. Who wants to smoke weed with Willie?”
  • But Bobby and Billy have no such understanding, it seems, and Bobby is torch songing the fuck out these tunes and Billy keeps getting thrown off the horse and Im afraid Billy’s going to stab Bobby. I’m sure Mickey has a knife somewhere in there.
  • “It’s not a knife: it’s a drum shaped like a knife.”
  • Thanks, Mick.
  • Treyvon is killing it.
  • Someone needs to tell him that he has tenure.
  • Trophy Alfaromeo is less fire-able right now than Joe Biden.
  • There’s an old saying about how you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t it drink, but that’s not true.
  • You just have to torture the horse.
  • Horses are just like anyone else: if you torture them, they will do things.
  • Next time, you must not pretend to not notice Bobby trying to get you to stop jamming.
  • Look him in his eyes.
  • Then, redouble your efforts towards the jam.
  • The jam ends when the jam ends.
  • Is it not written?
  • A long time ago, a man named Bear addressed Garcia, Bobby, and Phil. “You can sing, you can sing, you can sing. You cannot all sing at the same time.”
  • The players change, but the song remains the same.
  • I don’t know what that last sentence means, either.
  • We learned during Miracle that Jeff Chimenti has been authorized to sing; from what I could make out, he has a fine voice.
  • There are five vocalists onstage and the very laws of probability and music theory say that at least one or two combinations should be pleasing to the ear.
  • These combinations have not been found, but hope springs eternal.
  • There was a visible on ramp to Dark Star after Half-Step, which would have been perversely awesome: Dark Stars every night.
  • First set Dark Star.
  • “YOU get a Dark Star, and YOU get a Dark Star!”
  • Instead, they downshifted to Wharf Rat.
  • I’m pretty sure if you asked Jeff Chimenti to do you up an arrangement of Wharf Rat with the only musical direction being “Break my heart, Jeff Chimenti: fuck my shit up with song,” then Jeff Chimenti could give you what you’re asking for and stuff you didn’t know you wanted.
  • If he didn’t already have that shit in his pocket.
  • Jeff Chimenti prepares.
  • The sight of a sold-out football stadium set up for a concert–where the field is full as well as the stands–is halfway between glorious and terrifying.
  • These shows are a big deal for the stadium, and not specifically these shows: summer concerts at football stadiums.
  • A stadium’s a business: it needs customers and their main patrons take three-quarters of the year off for the ridiculous reason that adding even one more game to the NFL schedule would kill all the players the first year it was implemented.
  • There aren’t a ton of acts that can pack the house anymore so when, say, the Kinda Dead or Taylor Swift decide to play your venue, it’s a big deal.
  • You celebrate and, of course, everybody takes pictures and there are gifts and it gets in the paper and the wheels of show business go round and everyone feels like a big shot.
  • One of these gifts is a personalized jersey from the home franchise.
  • Most stars get a “1” on the back, because they think highly of themselves and enjoy when others follow suit.
  • I would guess that when Taylor Swift did this, they gave her number 89 because of her record.
  • The Dead, obviously, got 49ers jerseys with 50 on the back to celebrate their 50 years as a band..
  • There was a small ceremony and there was one made for every band member.
  • Unlike the old days, when Phil would scowl at the record executives and Garcia would simply refuse to come out of his room, people were polite and even if football jerseys weren’t their thing they gave thanks all around and took pictures and were just generally pleasant human beings.
  • Bobby will never wear his; Bruce is wearing that fucker around the house.
  • Only Mickey fell in love.
  • He caressed the shiny, slightly tacky letters: H A R T. 5 0.
  • Fifty years. The band didn’t exist for 20 of those years, and Mickey himself was only a member for 26 of the other 30 years, but still: 50 years.
  • It was so much more than just the symbolism: it was what the symbolism represented.
  • This was not just a free t-shirt.
  • A free t-shirt was designed, created, etc., with the intent of being sold; it only becomes a free t-shirt upon contact with Mickey.
  • Not this.
  • This jersey was made for the specific purpose of being given away: it had never had value attached to.
  • Other than the value generated by the fact that it’s free.
  • Mindfuck, right?
  • Mickey saw it instantly, though, and in his mind he ran through his underground fireproof t-shirt bunkers with hatchet and bleach, damning his formerly beloved garments.
  • Calling them whores.
  • “I love you for you are pure, Football Jersey With My Name On It,”
  • (Mickey had begun referring to the shirt that way immediately and it was clear that the words were capitalized and maybe you don’t want any piece of this one.)
  • “I shall use you to hide my nipples from society and God.”

This week in TotD: more from Santa Clara, plans for Chicago, and the dramatic origin story of Mickey’s gloves.

The Crowd Pressed Round

You haven’t thought about weaponized stampedes, have you? You’ve probably barely given a second thought to stampedes in general, let alone ones pointed at specific targets for military/political reasons. How would one even weaponize a stampede, anyway? Sharp shoes?

What about artificially generated weaponized stampedes? How much prepping have you done when Obama begins Operation: Mob Rule and artificially generated weaponized stampedes start popping up left and right? Just want some Sbarro’s? Sorry, you’re getting trampled by an AGWS.

Well, Enthusiasts, your inattention–criminal though it may be–can continue unabated because someone has done your thinking for you. A gentleman somewhere outside of Wheeling has come up with a plan.

OBJECTIVE:  Try to convince one of the band members to explicitly inform fans that… legitimate emergency stadium evacuation orders would NEVER be delivered via their personal phones.

Yes, fellow Enthusiasts: this summer’s Chicago shows are under serious threat of AGWS attack. Terrorists (one would assume) are planning (or PREPARING) to call or text a significant percentage of the crowd (during the show, when phone conversations will be easy) and tell them about an emergency, thereby inducing panic and generating (artificially) a weaponized stampede.

This plan has flaws.

Even our assumptions must be questioned: can a stampede be weaponized in the first place, and, digging to a more primal place, can humans stampede in a deadly enough manner to even be used as a weapon?

People are good at smushing each other against fences or trampling one another at concerts or retail superstores, but these are more rightly called crushes, rather than stampedes. (This New Yorker article by John Seabrook from 2011 is a great primer.)

Bison stampede, and they’re good at it. Besides ruminating and being on nickels, stampeding is the thing bison are best at. Anything in the way of the stampede will be obliterated, because bison weigh a million pounds and run a million miles an hour for a million hours straight. They also travel in very large packs, but I don’t want to guess the exact size.

If a person is in the way of a bison stampede, that person is getting fucked up by bison: first off, the size and speed and number thing. Second: bison have feet the size of dinner plates, and they will step on you. Third: as the bison are stepping on you, their lumpy buffalo genitalia will smack you in your face, and American bison have dicks made of razors, and balls made of lemons with their peels removed, and pubes made from salt. You will be hurt very badly.

People stampeding, though, is a pass. It’s just not workable from a physiology and physics standpoint: for a stampede to develop any force, it needs a certain density/weight and speed. F=MA, y’dig? Picture the bison – a solid line hundreds of yards deep with two-ton beasts running at 35 mph. That’s power.

People just aren’t heavy enough and fast enough to do any real damage, especially in a stampede when around half the participants will have tripped over one another ten feet into the chaos.

(A stampede is a mobile riot; a riot is a stationary stampede. Discuss.)

And that human stampede I just thought-experimented at you was (I’m declaring after the fact) made up of athletes and the fit and the young. The stampede (weaponized) at the Dead show is going to be made up of, you know: old fuckers, mostly. Most people will have kept themselves in shape, but time marches on, and this stampede (weaponized) will be hampered by the pace, which may be described alternately as an “amble,” a mosey,” or “just settin’ one foot front o’ the other, brother.”

A bunch of bearded dudes in carefully-chosen vintage t-shirts bumping into things does not a stampede make.

So, I don’t think we have to worry about the effect, but what about the cause. We are warned that the stampede will be started via smart phones. The terrorists (one would assume) would hack into the mainframe and call a large number of people in the stadium during the show. The terrorists (one would assume) would then communicate scary messages to the recipients, causing them to freak out. Soon, a critical mass of people will have freaked out, and boom: your weaponized stampede has been artificially generated.

Leaving aside the sad, weird silliness of this whole thing – what if? To make the calls, you’d need live people because you can always tell a recording over the phone. So, you’d need a whole call center of people doing this and they would have a script, right? “Help me,” or “You need to leave the stadium,” or whatever and the day comes and all of the callers have their script memorized, except for Jenkins.

“Hello? Who is this?”

“Yeah, hi? You at the Dead show?”

“Uh, yes. Who is this, please?”

“You should get out of there. Bad shit, man. Gonna get all freaky up in there.”

“Who is this? What?”

“Never mind who this is: an authority figure. Or something. RUN. YOU GOTTA LEAVE THE STADIUM. YAAARRGH!”

“You panicking?”

“No. Who is this?”

“Dude, I’m the guy out in the parking lot keying your car and fucking your wife.”

“We didn’t drive and my wife is right here next to me.”

“Dammit. Listen, man: you don’t know me, and you don’t owe me anything, but it would really help me out if you could lose your shit and, like, run people over.”

“Lose my shit?”

“Yeah, you know: panic.”

“Full-on, hands-waving, frothing at the mouth and pushing old ladies out of the way panic? That’s what you want?”

“Could you? It would be huge for me.”

“The thing is: I don’t think anyone would notice. Most of the people at this show are higher than they’ve been in decades.”


“Literally decades. Lord Ganesh could waltz in here and make love to a terrordactyl and half the crowd would be ‘Oh, shit, man,’ and that’s about it.”


“Y’don’t know ’til ya try, huh? Kid, I like this attitude of yours. Hold on.

“No go.”

“No? You did the arms?”

“Yeah. People thought it was a cool variation on the noodle dance and now the whole section’s doing it.”

“What about the running around and screaming and pushing people out of your way? That didn’t work.”

“Oh, I didn’t actually do that: it’s rude.”


“Now, son: stop working for nefarious call centers catering to shady organizations  run by evil terrorists (one would assume) and fomenting lunacy and maelstroms of whatnot when people are trying to get their boogies on. Go back to school, learn a trade, and find Jesus. I saw him in Calgary, but it was an acoustic tour. Good day to you, sir!”

So, you know: no real danger. It might rain, or be real hot. It’s gonna be real hot.

Questions Asked Frequently Since Last Time Questions Were Taken

So, what’s going on with the Grateful Dead?

Nothing. They disbanded twenty years ago.

Are you gonna start being a dick this early in the FAQ?

Sorry. I take your opening question to mean “What’s happened lately in specific offices, rehearsal studios, websites, football stadiums, 1100 movie theaters, and the Kauai bar and grill known as Shooter’s?”


There will be two more shows in Santa Clara with the lineup from the Chicago shows.

I thought the Chicago shows were going to be it.

No. Not “it.” No one ever said that Chicago was “it.” They said Chicago was “final.” And the Santa Clara shows are before Chicago, which means they’re still the final shows.

Well, if a lawyerly distinction isn’t the essence of rock and roll, I don’t know what is. No shows on the East Coast, though?

Not unless they announce them tomorrow. Or at least before May 1st, because they’re going to sell a webcast package of all five shows.

Ah, yes: the webcast.

Right. Just announced today, along with pay-per-view through your cable provider on your big ol’ 60″ screen and subwoofers. Plus Bill Walton and a guy named Steve doing the commentary.

Uh-huh. Why does a concert need commentary?

Because it’s not a concert to the people getting pay-per-view: it’s a TV show. And to the people watching it on the webtubes, it’ll be an internet.

That’s a deep thought under the silliness.

Oh, I guarantee I’ll become astonishingly pretentious about it in the coming weeks.

Yeah, I can see that happening. Wait: weren’t they gonna do closed-circuit?

They still are, I guess. The only thing that makes sense is that the contract with Fathom called for a week to try to sell some tickets before announcing the infinitely better options.

Watching the shows in a movie theater sounds terrible.

I know: it’s like something from a Japanese game show. Without the tentacle rape, unless you’re in San Antonio.

I haven’t heard that.


The tentacle rape thing.

Yeah: up to 30% of all San Antonio-ites have been tentacle raped at one time or another.

Who do the tentacles belong to?

Some say the ghost of General Santa Anna–

Stop this. Stop this now. It is not right and it’s not okay. It is the opposite of that Whitney Houston hit.

So young.

Be free, Whitney.

I need you to either do the FAQ and help people machete through the jungle of nonsense that is the world of the Grateful Dead nowadays, or just be quiet. Either one.

I got into this to help people.

Sure. Me, too.

Okay. Continue.

How much the webcast gonna set a fellow back?


That’s not bad, I guess.

Five nights of entertainment; fifteen hours of live music; two straight weekends in the company of Jefferson Davis Chimenti.

I did not know that was his full name.

Direct descendant.


Well, you have to mix the genes up a little.

Wait. I don’t get what the difference between pay-per-view and a webcast is anymore. Can’t you view anything you want anywhere you want now? Isn’t that the point of 2015: our digital swaddle?

They will both come into the house via the same cable, or to your computer/device/watch/retinal implant over the same invisible beams, I suppose. The webcast might have one of those chat boxes, or an ability to switch between views, or some other nifty stuff.

The chat box is not nifty. The chat box is proof of God’s indifference

I agree. The only way I would be in favor of a chat box is if it were rigged somehow, Saw-style, and if you chatted in the chat box, your computer would snap shut, crushing your hands and possibly eating you.

Changing views is cool, though.


And the pay-per-view?

I think bars and groups and parties and people with big honking theater systems will go for that.

Y’think Bill Walton will say some goofy shit?

That’s like asking if he’s gonna breathe, or convert food into energy, or tear his MCL. Of course he will.

Places I’d Rather Watch The Farewell Shows Than A Movie Theater

  • Haunted house.
  • On a JetBlue flight to Vancouver to pick up my estranged brother’s remains. Middle seat.
  • Waffle House at 3 a.m.
  • A sad zoo with sad animals in sad cages and sad children watching them stand there sadly.
  • A weird zoo made up of only wallabies and a dead camel named Albert.
  • An exciting zoo that employed as keepers anarchists, animal-rights activists, and the forgetful.
  • Any zoo, really. Zoos should be outlawed.
  • On a Duck Boat tour of Boston. Quack quack.
  • On a Fuck Boat tour of Bangkok. Cock cock.
  • In Marriott Hotel convention room B with a bunch of cosplayers.
  • Maricopa County jail.
  • Rura Penthe.
  • Azkaban.
  • Bedlam.
  • Arkham.
  • At a Discount Shoe Warehouse the week before school starts.
  • A Generation Ship bound for the outskirts of the Felis system that got intercepted by the Death Poets of Knar’r and ritually destroyed for the glory of the Holy Limerick.
  • A basement in Saigon with Christopher Walken and a revolver.
  • An abattoir.
  • An oubliette.
  • Bricked up in the walls of a church like a Medieval nun the Mother Superior caught humping the gardener.
  • Tokyo (during Godzilla attack.)
  • Eritrea (anytime.) (Sorry, Eritrea: your shit’s fucked up.)
  • One of those cruise-ships full of diarrhea.
  • FOB 211, Afghanistan.
  • The locker room of the team the Harlem Globetrotters always beats, the Washington Generals. It has to smell like bad choices and balls in there.
  • A CVS in the middle of the night with tweakers wandering up and down the aisles for hours.
  • An old-time movie theater. Not a romantic, grand motion picture house: just a rundown Loews in the exurbs that hadn’t been redone since it was built and the sound’s shitty and the hot dogs are old and there are two or three drifters having sex in the men’s room.
  • While accompanying Ray Lewis on his errands, which take three to four hours because of all the times Ray Lewis stops to yell about Jesus–and commitment and teamwork and other things but mostly Jesus–to fellow shoppers.
  • A failing Unitarian church in Newark, Delaware.

I’ve Got A Tie-Dyed Ticket

Before settling on the seemingly-obvious-from-the-start decision to “just call Trey’s guy” to distribute the tickets to the newly-added Fare Thee Medium Well shows in Santa Condor, the surviving members of the Dead who aren’t Mrs. Donna Jean considered many alternate methods to get those precious tix in the Deadhead’s hand.

  • Tickets hidden in bars of chocolate, Wonka-style; winners get to see the Dead, plus probably diabetes.
  • Leaving the tickets in the Nevada desert and setting groups of Hollywood celebrities against each other in a wacky sprint across the sand.
  • “Racist Olympics.” I’m not even gonna say whose idea that was, because you know.
  • I have no idea what it means, either.
  • Requiring Deadheads to make videos about how big a Deadhead they are and how big their Dead boobs are and how hard their Dead boners get and whether or not they love ducks and all about their sister who is a crystal meth junkie who is transitioning to pills and stabbing people; so, Grateful Dead: please let me come to wherever the fuck Santa Calafragilistic is and boogie to your choogly-type music.
  • Kill for them: blood in, blood out.
  • Use an antiquated request system. Accept only the most arcane method of payment. Process via middle-aged hippie sitting at a table with a show from ’73 playing in the background.
  • Bobby wanted to just leave them under people’s windshield wipers at the mall. He had not worked out how to get the money beyond a vague mumbling of “honor system, man.”
  • Mickey suggested they go back to their hippie roots and ask for donations and people could pay whatever they wanted.
  • Everyone rejected that, not partially because Billy would stand at the entrance shaking down fans.
  • I totally would do that, Billy said.
  • Phil, pretending not to be reading a text from Jill, asked if it were possible to play for one guy–or maybe two, three, whatever–and charge that guy $14 million. We could do it at the restaurant.
  • And Bobby said, Fourteen? Fourteen million American dollars?
  • And Phil said, Yeah, Bob. Conservatively.
  • And Bob let out a slow, sweet whistle while Billy openly grabbed at himself in an animalistic fashion.
  • And think about it, Phil said. We jam for this rich guy for three hours, say some bullshit about Garcia wanting it this way, and we’re in Marin before the evening news. Also, since it’s my place, your meals would be half-off.
  • Plus, Billy said, speaking for the first time since the “Racist Olympics” suggestion, we can make this rich asshole pay us in krugerands and hire a helicopter to fly over the city and we could piss on people in suits and the Irish and when the cops and the taxman comes looking, we take off for Hawaii and they can’t touch us.
  • Why couldn’t they touch us?
  • Hawaii has no extradition policy with America, Billy explained.
  • Because it doesn’t need one because it is America, Phil explained more correctly. Hawaii is a state.
  • Nah.
  • Phil became agitated and went in the corner to text with Jill and Peter Shapiro; he also drank a kale smoothie from the place Bobby had told him about; he was enjoying it.
  • Hawaii’s a state, Mickey said.
  • Yeah. State, Bobby nodded.
  • So, Billy asked, they honor American currency?
  • Yup.
  • Absolutely.
  • They don’t use seashells for cash?
  • No.
  • Absolutely not.
  • Godammit, the guy exchanging my money has been ripping me off for twenty years.

Very Important

TotD has tried to teach. On the subject of drugs, I have always maintained that by avoiding powders and pills, and not doing all your drugs at once, harm might be reduced. We know that life is short, and that we must therefore listen to ’73.  If you’re going to take your dick out at the mall, then it should be at a Foot Locker.

But there’s one overriding theme to all of this silliness and slapdash sentimentality, and it is this: Time is a cunt.

Time doesn’t pass because it has to: it wants to. There is a glee time takes in every minute ripped from us while we sleep or when we weren’t paying attention. Time was paying attention. And counting. Always counting.

Time pisses on all of our fires.

Time turns acid tests into the Acid Tests into The Acid Test into the line outside Winterland into the lot outside the Greek into Shakedown Street into an All-Access Luxury VIP Shakedown Experience and Barbecue©.

This is not my beautiful house.

What Is This? A Concert For Ants?


Preparations for the Farwell Shows are off to a smallish start. In keeping with Dead tradition, however, the above diorama cost half-a-mil.


To build excitement for the Farewell Shows in July, the promoters thought it would be a good idea to give each of the Core Four Twitter accounts. Billy tweeted “The #Dead50 shows will be gluten-free, and by “gluten,” I mean “Puerto Ricans.”

The account was terminated and the intern who came up with the idea was fired.

Send Six Copies To My Mother

Things are happening, Enthusiasts. People are meeting and rehearsing and signing things and arguing with Phil: the Grateful Dead show is back on the air and one of the most important members of the cast is the new boy.

Trey sat down with a reporter from Rolling Stone, a magazine that–like certain choogly-type bands–has been coasting on its reputation for almost 40 years now. It is a good interview and Trey says the only thing that matters: that he’s taking this seriously and wants to do nothing other than make some good music this July Fourth weekend.

Trey did say some other things that were unfortunately left out of the article, but–due to TotD’s vast network of spies–we can now present Things Left Out of Trey’s RS Article:

  • He’s already started soloing.
  • Bobby keeps measuring his inseam and talking about how hot it gets in Chicago in the summer.
  • Trey won’t be playing Garcia’s guitar, but he will be wearing Garcia’s underwear. (There are holes and stain. To be honest, everything that’s not a hole is a stain.)
  • Just as he’s been spending his days learning the Dead’s repertoire, Billy has been listening to Phish. This is, Trey explains in the interview, part of Billy’s program of “every time you think you’re fucking clever and try to slip some of that Gamehenge bullshit in, you get punched in the dick.”
  • Mike Gordon keeps calling him and not saying anything and then hanging up.
  • Bobby keeps offering him pain pills to “take the edge off” and it’s going to end poorly.
  • The openers are (in order) Feel Like a Stranger, Bertha, and Shakedown. That wasn’t in the article: I’m just guessing, but I’m right.
  • Billy’s way of teaching people songs is to throw half-empty tall boys at them.
  • That is also Mickey’s preferred teaching method.
  • The rehearsals are going to be at Bobby’s studio. Phil had a great idea to hold them at his restaurant and charge folks $300 to eat short ribs while they watched, but everyone hated that idea, and it was Jill’s idea.
  •  Bruce Hornsby is a brutal and sadistic man who may or may not belong to ISIS.
  • There are actually no shows planned: the Dead will be cashing all the mail order MOs, fleeing the country, and resettling in places without extradition treaties or taboos about senior/teen fox humping. It’s all been a long con.
  • Mickey professes to dislike Indian food, yet aways smells of chutney, and it’s driving Trey mad.

Pays My Ticket


Dear Deadhead,

As in days of the past, we have had an overwhelming demand for tickets, and, regrettably, have not been able to fill your order.

We have, though, cashed your money order and used the money to buy pizza and running shoes. It’s what Garcia would have wanted.

This isn’t the end for you, though. A large assortment of VIP packages is available. Or, you could just blow Parish. That always got you in th show in the old days.

There is also the chance that more seats may become available: we are turning the entire floor into GA, and, as doing that can only lead to every jackass in the stands leaping down onto the field, we are thinking about selling each lower deck seat twice, maybe three times.

The seats behind the stage may also be made available, but only if everyone promises not to look at Bobby’s bald spot.



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