OK, Mrs. God……..I won’t……I promise. But I can’t help doing some pretty serious coveting about my friend Spencer who has just sent me photos of his new house in the green pastures of Surrey in the UK. It’s a stunning Georgian house set in 15 acres of beautiful gardens and has stables, an indoor swimming pool, and a huge pond full of crap………..sorry…….. I mean carp. He also has his own indoor cinema and 4 garages to park his Aston Martin, Bentley GTC and his wife’s pimped up Porsche Cayenne. His neighbour…………..is Eric sodding Clapton.

I met him some years ago and we became friends. And when he sent me photos of his new mansion I wrote back saying how stunning it all was and how I couldn’t wait to see it for myself. What I really wanted to write was “BASTARD!”…………but I didn’t.

And I met a guest yesterday who wanted to talk to me about his unhappiness at the quality of food on the ship. It was a strange conversation because not only he should be having this talk with the hotel director but because rather than tell me what he felt we could improve on, he spent the most of our 20 minutes together telling me how rich he was.

I learnt that he had his own catering business that supplied on location food for the film and TV industry. He told me that he was a multi-millionaire and during telling me that he thought I had over sold the steakhouse and that it wasn’t nearly as good as I had said during my announcement, he produced an exclusive Black American Express card saying “With this card I have instant access to the best restaurants in the world.”

I was going to show him my Visa card with a $1,000 credit limit on it……but I doubt he would have seen the funny side. I also didn’t mention that out of the 503 people who have eaten there this week we have only had two negative comments and one of those was that it was too cold in the restaurant.

I guess the moral of both these stories is that money can’t buy happiness.

Many people, I think, including myself want to believe that is the case. It explains why we enjoy being outraged when sport stars move teams so they can earn $1,000,000 a week rather than $90,000 a week. And why we all enjoyed seeing the fat cat bankers having to turn in their Latvian Lap Dancing Membership Cards and swap their private jets for economy class.

But of course the truth of the matter is that the more money I have had, the happier I have been. It’s ridiculous to pretend otherwise.

This came home to me very forcefully when Heidi and I were spending a few days in Miami back in 2007. When Carnival pays we stay in a Marriotthilton type hotel but usually when we have to pay we will stay in one of Sleep Inns and Days Inns and Relax Inns and Comfort Inns and Travel Inns and Country Inns and the odd Holiday Inn. However, this time we booked into a hotel on Ocean Drive which wasn’t calling itself an Inn and which we couldn’t really afford.

I remember that when we went up to our room……..rooms, rather…….on the seventh floor…well, it was just breathtaking. Outside was the Atlantic and the beach and what we in the cruise industry call a wraparound balcony. Inside there were plasma TV’s and bathrooms everywhere. “And look, Heidi,” I called from one of those bathrooms, “They’ve got a bumwasher.”  I then came across something called an Intimacy Kit, complimentary, a new one on me. In it, besides sewing gear and toiletries and whatnot, were two contraceptives. “Bloody hell,” I said to myself ………….. “So this is how the other half lives.”

That night we went for a meal with friends at my favourite restaurant in Miami, Prime 112 where the rich and tanned come to dine on simply the best food in Miami. Staying in that hotel in Miami and dining at that restaurant, I experienced a real urge to have more money than I do. Not a silly amount more; twice as much would suffice. Perhaps three times as much to be on the safe side. I couldn’t for the life of me think in what way I would be corrupted if I could afford to stay in places like that more often. Money can buy happiness and it could buy Heidi a business class ticket so that Heidi and Kye don’t have to spend 11 hours in coach and it could buy me an Aston Martin in which to drive off at 192 mph after I have shoved that condescending sod’s Black American Express Card right up his bottom.

Time for today’s questions………………away we go.

Preston n Judy Asked:
John, Please Reply

Good to see you on the west coast, but your on the wrong ship. You should be on the Carnival Spirit cruising Alaska.

Could I be so bold as to ask you for a table for 2? I will offer you many thanks up front and after. I see many now demanding and offering no thanks for your help.

We will be on the Carnival Spirit Sept 7, 2010 Glacier Bay Cruise. Our room number is 4154.

Thanks for any help.
Preston n Judy

John Says:
Hello Preston n Judy

Alaska is on my list for sure because even if I only get to see it for a week or two, I know my time as a CD with Carnival will not be complete without seeing the Last Frontier and working on the Carnival Spirit. I will certainly ask the Maitre D to help with your reservation request.

Have a brilliant cruise.

Best wishes to you both.
John

Ian Lavender Asked:
Please Respond!

I have read on Cruise critic recently that you will ensure that we will get a table for 2 on our next cruise. What will I need to do to implement this scenario as I do not want what happened on our last cruise to happen again where we were placed with passengers who did not have the same social standing and values that my wife and I have.

Please acknowledge my request by return
Ian Lavender

John Says:
Hello Ian Lavender

I will be happy to try and organize a table for 2 for you and your wife. Please send me your sailing date, ship and cabin number. Please remember that I will need at least 3 weeks before your sailing date. Best wishes to you both

John

Sally Owl Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY

John, I was looking forward SO much to writing to you today … and now I feel SO sad, thinking of Kye, and of how sad you must have felt as you left her, waving at you. However, on the good side, it’s one month today until we leave Australia on our way to our b2b2b on the Carnival Spirit – to Alaska on 7 September, then to Hawaii on 14 September, and back to Mexico on 26 September. We are aiming to have visited all 50 US states by the end of 2010, and this is our way of visiting Alaska and Hawaii – we can hardly wait!

When you kindly helped sort out our booking problems early in the year, you asked me to contact you before we leave. I know that this is a little early, but please can I ask some questions, and possibly two favours?

The questions – does the Carnival Spirit have the Chef’s Table experience on board? If so, would it be suitable for my husband, who is allergic to shellfish?

The favours – firstly, is there any chance that you could please request table seating for us at a table for four on all three of these voyages? My John is quite deaf, and finds that he can hear best with just four people at a table – we don’t want a table for just for the two of us, as that’s what we have all the time at home!

Secondly (and he doesn’t know about this), could you possibly send John some sort of greeting (or a letter of commiseration) on 28 September? That day will be our 25th wedding anniversary – very special to us as we were in our 40s when we married – and I’d really appreciate a message from you, if it was possible to arrange -Thank you! We’re celebrating on the day with a cruise on the Wailua River, where, we’re told, local musicians will greet those celebrating honeymoons or anniversaries with a special song – Thanks, Carnival for a wonderful excursion like this! I’ll put all our details at the end of this, so that they can be recorded without appearing in your blog.

We hope that you enjoy your time on the Carnival Splendor, and that you enjoy it as much as we did on our trip around South America – it’s a wonderful ship! Hope too that Heidi and Kye DO get to join you.

Thank you so much, John, for bringing Carnival to life for us – a day without reading your blog seems second-rate.

Sally-Owl

John Says:
Hello Sally Owl

Thanks so much for the kind words. Leaving the girls was heartbreaking but I didn’t think that writing about that experience would make others sad too. My apologies for that. The Chef’s Table is not yet up and running on the Carnival Spirit and I am told it will start sometime soon. I don’t have an exact date yet but as soon as I do I will publish here on the blog thingy. I will make sure that your husband and you have a fantastic table for your back to back to back to back to back to back to back……..oops……..got carried away then……..but I will ask him to seat you as requested. And of course you can expect something from me as well. Have a fantastic time and a very happy anniversary to you both.

Best wishes
John

Kathy M. Asked:
Hi John,Please Reply,

I am sorry that the start of your West Coast experience got off to a bad start with the overbooking at the Hilton Hotel. I have stayed at that Hilton the night before I got on the Carnival Splendor, Carnival Spirit and the Carnival Paradise. One reason is because it is so close to the Queen Mary (in fact you can walk over to the ships from that hotel as well as the Hyatt).

I was wondering since Carnival is going back to Europe, will that be your permanent location. Will you ever be coming back to the states or even the West Coast?

I got a really nice email from Carol Lyman of the Bon Voyage Dept about the room decorations. She said that she would clarify with you that passengers can order online and have the rooms decorated before they embark. Thank you so much for having her get in touch with me, I really appreciate it and to anyone who reads this blog, if John says he is going to have someone contact you, I can vouch for it because it happened to me.

THANK YOU John for everything you do for the Carnival passengers. It is employees like you that make the Carnival Ships the best in the cruising world.

Give my love to Heidi and Kye,

From your #1 Bloggy Thingy Fan,
Kathy M.

John Says:
Hello Kathy M

Well Kathy you were right, I am having a great time here on the Carnival Splendor and hopefully the west coast folks are enjoying my silly sense of humour. I am going to be on my Carnival Magic for her time in Europe. And it is my intention to bring her across the pond and back to Galveston. I will host the first few cruises before turning her over to the next cruise director. I have no idea what 2012 will bring and a lot of that will depend on Kye and Heidi and my family commitments. I don’t know if Carnival will return to Europe in 2012 or where I might be. I am glad that Carol sorted that out and thanks again for bringing it to my attention. As always thank you also for your kind words and support of the blog thingy

Best wishes
John

Vanguard Man Asked:
Response requested

Just discovered your blog after being told about it on Cruise Critic and that you are always reserving tables for people. Well that screws it up for the rest of us who use the normal ways to get what we want. A poll was put on Cruise Critic that shows that everyone agrees. It is unfair that we go to the ship and find all the good tables are taken by the people who have begged on your blog.

John Says:
Hello Vanguard Man

I have been made aware of this poll by other Cruise Critic members and as I said to them, while I am sorry that it has upset some readers I am not going to stop. I actually help maybe a dozen or so guests a week who have asked me for something here on the blog thingy. So in the grand scheme of things it should not stop anyone who does see the maitre d onboard hopefully getting the help they need. If there is anything I can do for you will be happy to do my best for you.

Best wishes
John

Peggy222 Asked:
JOHN PLEASE REPLY

Ah John, sending you a huge hug. It is not one of your sweet Kye’s, but hopefully she and Heidi will be with you soon when Kye is feeling better. Perhaps they can sail to the states then fly from there?

What a flight you had. It really is not surprising though, you seem to always have some kind of story. Maybe it is just your lot in life, you get to tell us all about it.

I love that you are back on the Carnival Splendor, my favorite Carnival ship for several reasons. I got to meet you on our September 11, 2008 cruise, Jaime was the first of your crew that we met and she always greeted us by our names when she saw us, Ken was our MD, the ship is gorgeous and we were so excited when we first saw her in Dover, we were in Europe for the first time and Mike and I were celebrating our 45th anniversary. It was a fabulous cruise and made so; mostly because of you John. I have such fond memories of that cruise. I still have my sold gold plastic SOAS ;) and hope I will get one when we are on the Carnival Magic. Anyway, on to my question. Do you have any idea just who will be on your staff on the Magic? I am hoping that Ken will be the MD. There is also a fabulous DJ in the Karaoke Room that we met on the Carnival Ecstasy in January 2010. I am afraid I do not remember his name but he really WOWed the crowds. The room was always full and he always had someone up on the stage singing. You would love him, truly love him. He would always say this saying when the guest ended their song – ABSOUTLY BRIALLENT. I do not know if he would be the right fit on the Carnival Magic, but he sure would bring in the crowds.

Keep smiling John; you truly are one of the good guys

John Says:
Hello Peggy 222

Yep, anytime I get on a plane I sort of know that something will happen that is worthy of a blog story. It is certainly wonderful to be back on this ship and you are right, there are so many happy memories for me here as there is of course for you. Well. The good news is that after some persuasion the one and only Ken Byrne has decided that he will join me on your Carnival Magic. It’s official……..and I am very, very happy indeed as of course will many, many guests be as well. He is incomparable. The Karaoke Host you mentioned sounds intriguing and I will have to do some investigation into who he is. I will be choosing my staff during the next few weeks and am waiting for some of the other cruise directors to send me their recommendations. Thanks for writing and for the kind words and I will see you soon on your Carnival Magic ………………….. more of which I will be writing about shortly.

Best wishes to you both
John

Amy Asked:
John, (Please Reply)

My husband and I are cruising on the 8/26 sailing of the Fascination from Jacksonville with some great friends of ours. I wonder if it might be too much to ask for a window seat at the late dinner seating for the 4 of us. I know if anyone can make it happen it would be you! Our cabin numbers are M94 and M100. Thanks so much!

Amy

John Says:
Hello Amy

I will send your request to the Maître D and I am sure he will be able to help with your seating request.

Have a brilliant time

Best wishes to all
John

Cheri Bolchoz Asked:
John

Cheri & I would like to take this time to express our sincere heartfelt appreciation to you, one of the 343 Stephanies (Stephanie Herrera), and all the cruise directors responsible for replacing my VIP ship funnel pins, lost when my hat blew overboard on the Carnival Fantasy, somewhere in the Devil’s Triangle. It is this type of act that truly lets one know how Carnival cares, and will go that extra mile for members of its family. It really softened the blow of losing something very special and years in the making. Carnival did the same thing for my sister-in-law, Julie Mendenhall sometime ago. I have my new hat now, and am placing the new pins for the ships we have been on as I write. We considered it an honor to finally meet you on the Carnival Fantasy on its Inaugural cruise out of Charleston, SC. As with all the guests, you truly made our cruise memorable, and justified our total loyalty to Carnival. Also I’d like to express my honor of being called Mr. Carnival by you, Todd Wittmer, and the Carnival employees. It is something I do not take lightly, and will represent the title with respect and pride. We look forward to seeing you again, if not before, on the Inaugural cruise of the Carnival Magic in Europe this coming May. By the way, I will be wearing my chinstrap when on the Lido deck from now on! God Bless you, Heidi, & Kye and please extend our thanks to all again who had a part in my trademark replacement.

Carnival is truly “Fun For ALL, All For Fun”

Mr & Mrs. Carnival
Michael & Cheri Bolcho

John Says:
Hello Michael and Cheri Bolchoz

I saw how sad Mr. Carnival was when your hat blew overboard and thanks to my colleagues and the wonderful Stephanie Herrera we were able to put a smile on his face once again. I am glad we got to sail together on the Carnival Fantasy and it will be great to see you and your chin strapped hat on your Carnival Magic. Stay out of the wind.

Best wishes to you both
John

Charlene Bartlett from cruise critic Asked:
Hello There. I would love to make reservation for myself and 15 year old son for the Captain’s dinner.

My son is mature and has a life-threatening, chronic and fatal illness. He has a great love of cruising. We started sailing in Dec. 2008 after his health stabilized, after 300 admissions to hospital.

My son likes cruising more than Disney World. In fact, he prefers Carnival over Disney cruise lines!!!!

We sail on the Carnival Miracle on December 21, 2010. We are in cabin 5238. Could you help make this a Christmas Cruise to remember?

Many Thanks
Charlene Bartlett (Charley)

John Says:
Hello Charlene Bartlett from Cruise Critic

You know Charlene, I just got a huge telling off my another Cruise Critic member about helping people and then I read your posting which once again is proof positive that I should, when I can, help as many people as I am able.

I am so sorry to hear about your son and obviously we will do all we can to make this a cruise and a Christmas that he won’t ever forget. I am not sure what you mean by Captain’s Dinner. If you mean the captain’s table then that may be difficult because during the Christmas cruises all the dining room tables are used due to the high count of guests. But what I will do is ask the Captain to meet your son and have a special photo taken with him. So, as it is a little early can I ask that on November 10 you send your name, cabin number and sailing date again and I will arrange something special for him. It will be an honour to do this so please don’t forget to write.

Best wishes to you both
John

That’s all for today and thanks so much for a great week of comments.

It looks like shopping is going to be a very exclusive experience on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth…


Cunard Announces Fortnum & Mason at Sea and Other Luxury Retail Firsts for Queen Elizabeth

Iconic Partnerships Also Include Chopard, Hackett and Harris Tweed

19 August 2010 - Ever since Queen Mary entered service in 1936, Cunard’s Queens have been famous for offering the best on board shopping featuring some of the finest luxury brands and gifts from around the world. The new Queen Elizabeth, which enters service in October 2010, will be no exception.

Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Arcade will feature iconic products from Fortnum & Mason. Since 1707, Fortnum & Mason has been the quintessential English store situated in the heart of London’s Piccadilly and issued with two Royal warrants. On board, Fortnum & Mason will offer unique teas, preserves, biscuits and gifts.

“Decades of experience have told us that on board shopping is important to our guests and Cunard has an unrivalled reputation for providing the finest shopping at sea,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “Queen Elizabeth will be no exception in this regard and I am very excited with the range that will be offered by high-quality world-famous brands that are a perfect fit for our brand and our guests.”

In addition to Fortnum & Mason, shoppers on board Queen Elizabeth will be able to purchase other brands that have never before been available at sea. The new Cunarder will be the only ship in the world to feature the following luxury products:

  • Hackett: Men’s Designer Clothing by Hackett of London, producers of the finest authentic and classic menswear and “The home of the essential British kit”
  • Harris Tweed: World-renowned for their genuine hand-woven Scottish woollen fabrics
  • Anya Hindmarch: English fashion accessories designer who always had a passion for bespoke details; Queen Elizabeth will feature the latest bespoke designs on board

Queen Elizabeth will also offer:

  • Chopard: For 150 years, Chopard has offered watches and jewellery of exceptional quality, exclusively created to the highest standards in Geneva. To celebrate the launch of Queen Elizabeth, the company has produced the Chopard Queen Elizabeth watch – a limited edition watch combining the dual branding of Chopard and Cunard and available at $18,000; both luxury and heritage brands.
  • Penhaligons: Fragrances and gifts for men and women including perfume, aftershave, cologne, eau de parfum, body lotion and bath oil. Issued with two Royal warrants and made in England using the finest rare ingredients from bergamot to jasmine.
  • Aspinal of London: Founded on the fundamental premise of offering their customers the most beautiful objects of unsurpassed quality and design for home and living, Aspinal of London is best known for their hand-made leather photo albums, leather wallets and purses, leather journals, wedding albums and guest books in both classic and contemporary designs. The signature collection on Queen Elizabeth will capture the Cunard luxury trademark.

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s introduction, three brands have launched special items:

  • Clogau: The jeweller to The Queen has produced a gold Queen Elizabeth limited edition pendant exclusively for Cunard.
  • Rotary: A specially-commissioned Queen Elizabeth watch will only be available on board the new Cunarder.
  • Halcyon Days: The company has commissioned a special pill box that links the heritage of the brand with luxury at sea.

Now that is some very special shopping indeed. There are three famous stores in London. Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason and the only one with a Royal decree is the Fortnum and Mason which will now be found on the Queen Elizabeth…………absolutely spiffing.

I love the theatres on the Carnival ships but………..I would relish the chance to perform in the theatre on the Queen Elizabeth…………..here’s why.

As I have said many times before, the entertainment director Alistair is one lucky chap and what a feeling it must give him to know that very soon that stage will be his to perform on. It doesn’t look like I will be going to attend the naming ceremony. It’s all a little complicated and would mean I would have to be off the Carnival Splendor for two weeks as the ceremony will be on a Monday. I would love to go, I mean, who wouldn’t want to be there to witness the launch of the ship carrying the name of our Monarch and flying the flag of the world’s most famous ocean liner company?

But I work for Carnival Cruise Lines and this is where it gets a bit complicated and ……. well ……… I understand that they want me here……..entertaining the guests on this ship. So, I will have to rely on our man in London and Cunard’s President Mr. Peter Shanks for a first hand report on what is sure to be an incomparable event.

It’s been one of those cruises. One of those where I spend too much time worrying about the guests who have made comments and complaints and not the vast majority that have had a brilliant time. There have though been a few more complaints than last week and in fact more than I can remember in a long time. Just being honest with you.

It seems that the guests who sail on the Carnival Splendor are generally speaking very much more vocal than the guests I encountered on the Carnival Conquest and Carnival Fantasy. It’s not been one thing, just lots of little things that guests seem to want to tell us about. OK, this is maybe 10% of the guests at the very most but you know me, I want everyone to be happy all the time.. Anyway, that aside the shows have gone well although I felt sorry for the many, many Spanish speaking people who obviously haven’t got a clue at what any of the comedians or indeed I am saying. And while the weather has been great in Mazatlan and Cabo it was pretty awful in PV which didn’t help the mood.

One group who has had a brilliant time has been the kids. Everywhere I walk the children have been high fiving me and saying some of the catchphrases that have sprung up during the cruise. Because of the very high Spanish speaking count this week I decided to call myself “Julio” during the second night show. And now all the guests, especially the kids are calling me Julio. This morning I was walking to the coffee shop when a 10-year-old stopped me and said “Can I have a photo with you Julio?” I told him of course he could upon which he reached into his pocket and pulled out his Eye Phone and gave it to my assistant Stephanie to take……..10 years old….with an Eye Phone…………California…………..gotta love it.

So on Thursday night I hosted the talent show. One of the acts was a 13 year old young lady who played the violin. Now……..normally our age limit is 16 to take part as we offer a Camp Carnival/Circle C talent show as well. However, I had no choice but to let this young lady in the show……….not because she insisted but because her mother did. Trust me………there is nothing worse than a “stage mum.”

OK, there are lots of things worse than a stage mum including realising your French and being eaten alive by a pack of rabid dogs. However, pretty high up on the list of nasty things is a mum who wants her sibling to be “a star.” And so right from the start of this cruise I have been bombarded with letters and messages and phone calls from Mrs. Stagemom. I had originally told her “no” but then came the shouting, the screaming, the tantrum and the tears……….that’s the mum by the way…….not her daughter. And so because the mother told me between the sobs and the hysterics that “I had ruined her daughters cruise” and that “I would regret it when she became famous that I hadn’t allowed her on stage,” I gave in and allowed her daughter to perform.

I felt so sorry for her daughter. She was lovely and you could tell that she would have been happy not to have performed and just hang out with her friends as she nervously stood in front of 1,500 people and played a piece of music by Mozart. It was nice…..and the audience appreciated it. Was she spectacularly amazing …… nope…..but it made her day and her cruise….not hers of course …….her mother’s. Also in the talent show I did my bedtime story……and honestly ………I am really getting too old to do this and if it wasn’t for the fact that so many expect it of me and because the audience for some reason roll on the floor laughing hysterically I wouldn’t do it anymore. It would be less painful to stick my thingy in a live electrical socket. I will prepare a video of what happened to me last night and post it sometime next week.

I see that some of you asked to be my friend on my Facebook thingy page and that is very flattering. When my friend and colleague Stephanie “Tofu” Leavitt told me she had started me a Facebook page thingy my only worry was that someone might post a photo of me naked with a rose sticking out of my bottom, with a pencil up my nose. Or that an ex-girlfriend would tell the world that my thingy was the size of a golf pencil………..so far this hasn’t happened.

However, last night I received an e mail from someone else at Carnival that told me that there are apparently more formidable risks attached to social networking on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. That’s because this email showed an article by a Dr. Aric Sigman who blames social networking for narrow arteries, heart disease, cancer, genetic alterations, dementia – and death.

Bugger………well that’s me dead then because I have 6,930,000 hits on the blog thingy and 3,600 friends on my Facebook. Hopefully he is talking bollocks but……….I can see the compulsiveness in sitting behind the computer………..in a pair of underpants …… Facebooking …… Twittering …… Blogging…………E Mailing ……….and searching the web for photos of naked Latvians. But there are other dangers as well………especially for the middle aged person like me who understands bugger all about computers. I also don’t understand that if life is so wonderful …….. why did God create French people………………but that’s another story.

There are certain things a middle aged fat bloke from Essex can do to humiliate himself. You can dance in public. You can try to buy fashionable clothes in a department store, only to be told by the wafer-thin 18-year-old salesperson “They aren’t made in your size, sir.” I can fart ….. Loudly ……… when you’re sitting opposite that attractive girl from Carnival’s marketing department or indeed my arse could explode during my one and only ever massage. You can be overtaken by an 80-year-old when you are walking around the jogging track. And, you can try to get involved in the backstage conversation with the 20-something dancers who are talking about Lady Ga Ga and end up looking a total and utter plonker (www.urbandictionary.com)…….look that word up ………….it’s a great word.

But is there any humiliation more likely to make your buttocks clench together and sweat drip down your inner thigh………than a visit to a computer shop?  The last time I had to buy a Lap Top I felt such a total arse. “Is it wireless-enabled?” I asked, using a form of words I had memorised from a conversation with one of the 344 Stephanies.

“Of course,” the spotty youth behind the counter answered as if I had asked if he had ever had rumpy pumpy…………… “These days they all are.”

Well I had taken the thing home and I remember telling you on the blog how the sodding thing wouldn’t work and how I had to go back to the store.  And when I did another spotty kid had already decided I was an idiot. Whatever happened to the old saying: “The customer is always right”? The youth picked one of his zits, looked me over, made a swift judgment about my age, gave a weary sigh, and said: “You’re just not connecting it right. Let me show you.”

A small crowd gathered to watch what is probably a daily ritual at these Best Buy type stores ………………  the Public Ridiculing of a Stupid Old Git.

And it’s the same on the ship and I imagine it’s the same in the office in Miami. You call the HELP desk and even as you listen to the on hold stuff about Carnival’s fun for all vacation, you are already dreading the conversation with the IT guys who will be able to fix your problem in a second while scribbling the words “thick as sh*t” on their work pads.  If we knew how to mend it, we’d do it. Most of us haven’t a clue about computers and faced with malfunctions will press every control in sight and only when all hope is lost will I give in and call the IT beards. If men are from Mars then Bob the IT man is from the planet Patang!

Oh and one more thing……..am I the only one who wants to beat Bill Gates over the head with my keyboard when that bloody paperclip man pops up on my screen?

Next week is going to be very exciting for those of you who have been awaiting more news on the Carnival Magic. If you are one of those…….I think you may like next week……starting on Monday’s blog.

Goodnight

Your friend
John

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50 Responses to One of the Ten Commandments is Thou Must Not Covet Thy Neigbour’s Ox

  1. Linda Hernacki says:

    John, You are far more richer than anyone who has millions or billions of dollars. You have a beautiful wife, adorable daughter, a family that loves you, and all your Carnival and Blogger friends who adore you. That is what happiness is all about. Forget the money, you have it all! And just think whenever you do retire from Carnival you can become a comedian like your buddy Al Ernst and travel on Carnival ships and make LOTS of money! HA! HA! Have a great weekend. We all need some new pictures of Heidi and Kye, and possibly a blog from Heidi as well. And please let us bloggers know if we will be lucky enough to have these 2 beautiful ladies on the bloggers cruise 2/27/11. Can’t wait to see you again John! Two of your #1 fans and friends, Mike & Linda

  2. Jan "Peaches" Silvius says:

    Reply if you have time.

    OK, John, today’s blog was a blast from start to finish!

    #1. The ‘same social standard and values as my wife and I’……perhaps my Ricky and I were that other couple. But guess what? We didn’t hold it against them that they had never had a good time before and didn’t know how to act. At least usns in Texas know how to injoy everbody, no matter what ther credut card shews…LOLOL. Welcome to CCL, folks, it’s a great mix of people from all walks of life. I have never ever had bad tablemates and I have some former TM’s that I will be cruising with again. But then, you are a lot nicer than I am.

    #2. The CC poll? Well shoot. I wasn’t even asked about it. Dang it all, I would have been able to tell them that what you do is a wonderful service for those that are in need of it. I thought that was what nice people did for others. It’s not begging, and I’m not asking for anything, but I think it is wonderful that you do this.

    #3. The family with the ill son? That’s the reason that you do this. Perhaps I should tell them on CC to check their ego’s at the door and get on that CCL and be nicer and kinder, for you just don’t know what others are going through.

    My heart goes out to you, missing your Heide and Kye. I cannot imagine it, but I hope also that you don’t leave us. Looks like I may, after 23 cruises with CCL, be able to meet you on the first cruise out of Galveston on the Magic! My fingers are crossed, I would like to tell you in person that I think you are doing the best of jobs..

    Oh, that ‘rich’ man?? If his happiness is tied up in the amount his black card brings him, then he is a poor man indeed.

    Peach

  3. Mary H says:

    Hi John,

    Best news for a long time. Ken will be on the Carnival Magic. Looking forward to seeing you both.

  4. Astros77 says:

    Vanguard Man, do you know that your comment made you sound like a 5 year old. “I’ts not fair that Johnny got a good table and I didn’t….WHAAAAH”. I love the pole that you are referring to, the one that said that “everyone” wants John to stop the requests. First of all it was not “everyone”, not even close. Second of all, the pole did not ask “SHOULD John grant requests” it asked “would YOU ask John for anything”. I recall a lot of the respnses in the comments said that they would not, however don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t. Its people like you that make Cruise Critic such a miserable site. Its unfortunate that I site dedicated to relaxing on a cruise is full of a bunch of uptight whiners who have a problem with a helping people. I know not everyone on Cruise Critic is like that, but there are some that really need to get a life.

  5. Dave says:

    Can’t wait John! Let us know what’s new on the Magic already. :)

  6. Big Ed says:

    Ian Lavender,

    I sure hope your cruise is to close for John to “ensure” you get a table for 2. I can see why you want a table for 2 to avoid sitting at a table with others that don’t have your “same social standing and values” because there are very few a$$holes like you sailing on Carnival.

    BIG Ed

    • Dana T says:

      Hahahaha. I was just wondering if the folks he ended up sitting with thought as highly of him as he apparently thinks of himself. Or…..maybe his table mates were just too high class for his comfort level (the more likely scenario)!!!

    • Maurie Morgan says:

      I hope Mr. Ian Lavendure got his table for 2, because I don’t think any of the other guests should have to put up with HIS “social standings and values.” And for crying out loud ask to be moved if you have problems, don’t whine about it afterwards.

    • Janey - (OKGIRL) says:

      I suspect Ian is just a blog troll…………..

  7. Big Ed says:

    I HOPE NO ONE TELLS JOHN HE CAN TURN THE “BLOODY PAPERCLIP MAN” OFF.

    ROFLMAO

    BIG Ed

    • Ballardite says:

      oops! ;-) I think there was also a way to change the paper clip into a different looking thing. but honestly, poor John has enough on his plate from the ‘high stress’ passengers and missing his family, that I figured, “why make John suffer the agonies of the unwanted paper clip thingy?’

  8. Karen Sperling says:

    John, please reply

    Love reading your blog. I still remember being surprised on my first cruise back in 95 at how many fellow Brits were on the entertainment staff. Although I now live in San Diego I still miss London from time to time.

    My next cruise on Carnival will be my 15th with them. I will be on the Carnival Spirit leaving from Hawaii on September 26th. I would really appreciate it if we could have a table for 2. We are already confirmed for early seating. Our room number is 1194.

    Thanking you for your help,

    Karen

  9. retirementman says:

    John , it’s so amazing that the rich thick that their lives are so great. Oh don’t get me wrong but I would like to have more money, buy my corvette, membership to my golf course and so on and so on. But I find that those have a great deal of money have a great deal of problems. I have enough problems of my own so I don’t need anymore. Happiness is being able to get up every morning, my heart is still beating, enjoying my children and grandchildren and believe it or not the one cruise that I’m able to go on each year. Yes, I would love to go on more but I do not have enough finances to do so. My life is great and yes I would like more like any other person but realistically if I had 10 billion dollars what I really do with it but cause problems or buy my own Carnival ship maybe. Ha,ha,ha.

    Paul F. Pietrangelo

  10. Stuart Zaikov says:

    John please reply

    I am a very active member of CC (golfadj) and would like to say that the vast majority of us are not at offended when you do things for other people.

    I prefer to earn my plastic sticks on a ship and would never think to ask you for one. In additon we like to sit at a large table and meet fellow cruisers.

    As a result I would not think that I would ever need to ask you for anything. We are fortunate to be able to go on three cruises per year and reached Platinum several cruises ago.

    Please feel free to ignore the CC people who claim they are speaking for the majority of CCers.They are not.

    CC is an outstanding resource for learning more about cruising and most of us seem to be normal well adjusted folk. Please do not let a few fools spoil it for the rest of us.

    I am still shaking my head over the person who complained there were too many kids on the ship while sailing during the summer.

    Happy cruising
    Stu

  11. Carolyn Jane says:

    Dear John…Please reply:
    Rather than subject Heidi and Kye to that 11 hour flight in economy, why don’t you send them across the pond on the QM2, and then it would be a much shorter flight to CA. I’m sure Kye would be in a much better mood when they arrive…Carolyn

  12. Emily & Jerry says:

    Here, here! I completely agree with you that money does make a difference. Which is why, for the third time since we married, my husband and I will be cruising with Carnival out of Galveston on the Ecstasy. For the money, you can’t beat the fun and to be honest, I’m not sure you could beat it with more money! We’ve enjoyed every Carnival cruise we’ve been on and I have to give credit to both the cruise directors and the cruise shoppers. We purchased my engagement ring on a Carnival Cruise and I couldn’t be happier with our purchase. (I’ll give a quick shout out to Kiwi who was on the Ecstasy back in 2007 and got us the best deal we could have dreamed of!). So, when the lack of fame and fortune get you down, remember on Oct. 25th, in Galveston there will be a couple boarding in room e157 who is thankful for cruise directors and happy to see the entire Carnival staff!!!!!!

  13. Lauren in Oregon says:

    Once you give a ‘no’ anwser – stick with it! Otherwise they will never respect your authority. Remember, once you bend the rules for someone, there’s always another in line :)

  14. Sally Hardeman says:

    John, Please reply

    Love your blogs, I can hardly wait for our cruise!

    This is my second sailing with Carnival, my 6th cruise overall. I was just wondering how you go about getting to dine with the captain? I have heard it was possible, but have never heard of anyone doing this. I, along with my best friend, Ann, will be sailing with you on the Carnival Splendor Oct 17, 2010, cabin 1058. Would it be possible to dine with him? What a thrill it would be for both of us! Looking forward to our cruise and meeting with you.

    Thanking you in advance,
    Sally Hardeman

  15. Valerie says:

    Icing on the cake. Mr. John Heald as CD on our Carnival Magic 12 Mediterranean Cruise and Transatlantic and Mr. Ken Byrne as MD. What a combination. You have made my day. Also spending another anniversary as on the Carnival Dream just two years later. Where will the Carnival Breeze take us for our 50th.??

    Love to you and Heidi and Kye. Not forgetting the wonderful Ken.

    Val.
    Ontario,Canada.

  16. Alexandra says:

    sailing on the Dream in less than 70 days so can’t wait. Will Carnival be doing anything for Halloween the week before? We are on the Oct 23 sailing.? I think in this day and age people think they are entilted to better service. Wethere that is on a plane, themepark, cruise ship or even in the hospital. As a nurse this is frustrating. I am just happy happy to be on vacation and spend time with my family and friends. All the best to your girls.

  17. Ballardite says:

    I think if you do a ‘right-click’ on the paper clip thingy, a menu will pop up or something. It’s been such a long time since I turned off the paper clip, I’m not sure that I really remember how I turned it off for good. Rest assured John, it CAN be turned off. Maybe you should pay a visit to the place where the kids hang out, and give away a ‘ship on a stick’ to the first kid who can show you how to turn it off for you (in a way you can understand, just in case the paper clip shows up again).

    • lilof98 says:

      John,

      To turn off the Office Assistant:

      1. Click on the Paper Clip guy (Office Assistant), then click on Options.
      2. Remove the check mark from the “Use the Office Assistant” box at the top left of the menu.
      3. Click OK. The Paper Clip guy will go away FOREVER!!!

      An IT girl (no beard),
      Laurie F.

  18. Lesley says:

    Dear John, (reply or not)
    I just wanted to thank you for all you do. My daughter and I sailed with you on the Liberty in the Med (May-June 2006)and enjoyed it! DH and I will be celebrating our 28th anniversary on a short cruise from Charleston in Sept. We plan to sail on the Pride to Bermuda Oct 2011 which will be my first Platinum cruise! I don’t get to read your blog very much but enjoy it when I do! Have a great fall.

    Lesley

  19. hostmach says:

    Well, my friend, folks from all over Texas and even a few adjoining states are headed toward Cedar Park for the annual Central Texas Gathering! It’s a wonderful event and it wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for the hospitality of the Pirate and his Princess, two of the best Crazies there are.

    Looking forward to talking to you a bit later! Keep those complainers in line!!!

    Ciao!

    Host Mach

  20. Amy says:

    & again remind us why somone with a black Am Ex chose Carnival? (No slight intended, but if you can afford First Class, you don’t generally opt. for Steerage…)

    On the other hand if someone out there can choose a $20,000 (each, double occupancy) cruise but chose Carnival instead, then I made a GREAT choice, right?

  21. Bill Heck says:

    Hello John:

    Some folks are just jealous and unhappy most of the time.

    For instance, “a poll was taken on cruise critic and everyone agreed…” I took this poll and said John Heald should knock himself out helping people have a good time on Carnival.

    I figure north of 40,000 folks sail Carnival each week. The few that ask for a favor each day could hardly keep someone from getting what they want through “normal” channels.

    I am happy for people that have more money than I, there seems to be enough to go around.

    Hope you and yours are well, say howdy to Heidi and Kye from:

    Your Friend

    Bill Heck

    • Katarina of Cruise Critic says:

      Agreed!

    • cruisin'lovebirds says:

      Agreed – I took the poll too, so NOT everyone agreed you should stop!

      The funny thing is: the arrangements made for one guest frees up a spot another guest might be waiting for! We love late seating, so moving two of us to late seating might leave the much-desired early seating for others. We love being on the middle platform: moving us might leave the much-desired windows for others.

      Thank you John for making our cruises special, and here’s a please and thank you that you can apply to someone else’s letter. Someone who has “forgotten.”

      xoxoxoxoxoxo Janet and Gary

  22. Merrill says:

    John just want to thank you for making me laugh. I agree money would make me happy to. John I am looking forward to my cruise on September 9, 2010 on the Splendor. I am sailing on my 10th cruise and can’t wait. I hope I have the chance to meet you and say hi. Again thanks to Carnival for always giving me a wonderful time. Please keep up the good work John.

  23. Merrill says:

    sorry i ment 19th of September.

  24. elizabeth says:

    I have several requests:

    1. More pics of Kye and Heidi.

    2. Stay on the Magic for a long time!

    elizabeth

  25. SandyTXTX says:

    HI John, Just found your blog and I love it. I have to ask one thing. All of the past years that I have sailed with CarnivalI have always got a Carnivall pin. I have a Carnival jacket that has 5 ins on it. Last Sept. we did a cruise to the Virgen Ilands and when I ask for a pin, I was told that Carnival doesn’t do them any more. I was offered a ink pin instead, lol. It is hard to pin a ink pin on my jacket, lol.How am I to keep up with my cruises without my pins??? Please let me know what is going on. Every time I would were my Carnival jacket some one would ask me about my pins. That would give me a great time to tell them alllll about cruiseing. Carnival, please bring back our pins. John I read you every night, please respond, thank Sandy

  26. Mike Bridges says:

    John
    I left a comment late in your “In the event of a rude passenger” entry,was just wondering if you had seen it.
    I love reading your blog and Mike and Linda are right on about your wealth
    Thanks Mike

  27. I want to go on the Carnival Magic sailing Oct 16, 2011 from Barcelona cruising the Med. I NEED a handicapped cabin. There does not seem to be an distinction on the deck plans. I have talked to the reservation people and all they can say is “maybe, should be, perhaps, there are handicapped cabins. Put down your deposit and we will see what we can do. I am frustrated. I want to see a FULL layout of the handicapped cabins available and then make the reservation, not the other way around. Please help. PJ

  28. wil-da-beast says:

    Hi John..So excited to see the list growing for the bloggers cruise. How are you going to handle all these people. How do you feel knowing all these people are going on this cruise because of you? This will be our first bloggers cruise and Feb can’t come soon enough. Hope the California people are treating you okay. Sure enjoy the stories. You think you’ve heard it all and then someone comes up with another out of this world request or complaint, but then it gives you something to write about. Always good to hear from you. My very best to you and the girls..A&W

  29. Katarina Kirkpatrcik says:

    JOHN PLEASE REPLY!!

    John,
    I really love reading your blog always makes me laugh. Its so kind of you to help out cruisers! I was wondering if you could help me??(Pretty please!)

    My mother,finance,sister and I will sailing on the Carnival Liberty on September 25th this is all of our first cruise and is very bitter sweet. This trip was orginally planned to include my grandparents as a celebration that my grandmothers cancer had been “cured”. We were planning it well over a year in advance. Well in January(right after booking) her cancer came back much more aggressive than before.We lost her April 19th 2009. My mother wanted to cancel saying “it would be very hard to go on this cruise without her.” I begged her to give it a shot since my grandmother had expressed how much she wanted to have us go with her. I was wondering if you could do something special for her? I looked into buying something from B.V Dept. but since I won’t be 21 until a month after the cruise I can not. I’m at a loss for what to do and I thought you could help out!! I really want her to enjoy this cruise the same way my grandmother would have!

    Thanks in advance. This would mean the world to me! We are on the Carnival Liberty September 25th in cabin #2351.

    Thanks again!

    PLEASE REPLY!

    PLEASE REPLY!

  30. John, happiness is to be debt free. I have no desire for a big house with an indoor pool and a four car garage and a Bentley or whatever inside. If I won the lottery or wrote a bestseller and got a lump sum I could shove into a mutual fund, I wouldn’t buy my own boat, I would just take more Carnival cruises and maybe upgrade my room. More money only means one thing to me, not having to be accountable to anyone. As far as a black AMEX card or whatever color is in vogue these days, who cares, I took a sissor to all mine and pay cash. It works just as well as the AMEX. Namaste John, you need to read more Wayne Dyer and be in the now.

  31. lauren d. heyn says:

    accidentally came upon your blog posted 07-29-08 entitled “the cure for the common cold…is not a massage.” this is the funniest piece i’ve read/heard/seen in a long time. thanks for the many laughs. then shared it with my 18yr old daughter and we laughed together.
    i’m going on a back-to-back princess cruise 09-05-10. the food is tasty and like the fact i can “dress-up” for the evening and not feel out of place.

  32. Ellen Jones says:

    John, Please Reply

    Hi John,
    My husband and I will be on our first cruise on the Carnival Liberty 09/11/10 sailing to celebrate both my birthday and our 2 year anniversary on 09/14. And yes, you did read that correctly – I got married on my birthday. I’m still trying to figure out if I got a good deal or if he ran a con on me. It’s still too early to tell. LOL. I blame Vegas!! Anyway, he’s a wonderful man and I’m very lucky to have him. We are both very exciting about our cruise.

    I’m hoping that you can help me out with our plans for the big day. At first, I did think of the Steakhouse but we may be a little too distracting for some of the other guests who paid extra want to enjoy a quiet meal. Therefore, I ordered an anniversary cake thru Bon Voyage to be delivered in the dining room so we can celebrate amongst our tablemates. Other than that, I’m not quite sure what we can do to make this an exciting day for us. We are celebrating during a day at sea so we have the entire day on the ship. Any suggestions?
    Thanks,

    Ellen

  33. Stephanie aka Hockey Addict says:

    Hi John!

    (Please reply)

    Hubby and I can’t wait to get onboard our Carnival Fascination again! Just 55 more days from today! I am so happy that hubby loves cruising as much as I do. I know you don’t remember but it took me 13 long years to talk him into cruising!

    This will be our 3rd cruise and all three has been on the Carnival Fascination. We are looking at the 7 day she now offers for next year! Carnival answered my dreams by putting a 7 day voyage out of Jacksonville! We live here and it is perfect to sail from here. We feel so at home when onboard this beautiful ship!

    Sorry, I am rambling already. On to my point….

    This is the first time the Behind the Fun tour will be available. We want to do this so badly. We plan on going to the excursion desk right away to try to secure a spot! We also plan on getting a cabana this time as well.

    I am running into a bit of a dilemma. On Cruise Critic is seems that the Behind the Fun tour may be when we are in Half Moon Cay! Please tell me it isn’t! Is there a way to find out for us if it will be held while we are in Nassau, Half Moon Cay or our sea day? If it is HMC then we sadly would not be able to do it. We want to spend every possible minute on the island with all it’s beauty! We LOVE HMC!

    We sail on October 16th. October 17th is a sea day, October 18th is Nassau, October 19th HMC, October 20th is a sea day and sadly, the day before my birthday we disembark. It’s going to be such a sad day and I will probably be crying all over myself on my birthday wishing I was still onboard! At least I will have the memories, right?

    Thanks for any answers you can give me! As always I love your blog and I hope that Heidi and Kye will be joining you soon! I almost hate to mention their names because I know you miss them so much, but you have 2 beautiful girls! I can’t believe how big Kye is getting. I also hope the Californians ease up on you!

    Thanks again….

    Steph

  34. sandy pickett says:

    Hello John please reply We are going on a back to back cruise on the Carnival Glory in January and I have a question.I know when we embark on the ship we are allowed to bring one bottle of wine per person. I understand if we purchase any wine at any of the ports the ship keeps it till the cruise is over.My question is if we do purchase any wine at a port during our first week will they give it back to us at the end of the first week or would we have to wait till the very end of the second week?Also just wanted to say I have no problem hearing about your family in fact I think it is very nice.I think this is your blog and you should be able to say whatever you want.Thanks. Sandy

    • Big Ed says:

      Sandy,

      that’s a good question but repost it and put on the very top of the comment.

      JOHN PLEASE REPLY

      Stephanie will then send it to John to reply and you will not see it here for about 3 weeks when John puts it in his Q&A section.

      BIG Ed

      • Katarina of Cruise Critic says:

        Really? Oh poop I thought my post wasn’t going thru and posted it twice.sorry John!!

  35. MaryAnn says:

    John, (Please Reply)
    I hope your wife doesn’t mind that every weekday I spend breakfast with you! Your blog is my work morning break & I try not to laugh out loud so I don’t have to explain to my co-workers. Thank you for a great start to my day.
    I do have a question for you & I am hoping you can answer it for me. My husband & I will be on the Carnival Dream for Halloween (my favorite holiday) and I’m hoping that you would be able to provide me with the dinner/activity schedule for that week. I have made (thanks to you) reservations for the Chef’s Table & I’m hoping that it is not going to conflict with the Halloween costume party. I am disappointed that Butch is not scheduled for that week (I so enjoyed having him as CD on the Liberty last year), but hopefully he is getting a break that week.
    Keep up the good work and please keep writing your stories, I need those morning smiles.

    Thank you
    MaryAnn

  36. peggy222 says:

    Hey Julio, now that is a great sounding name, maybe you should consider it It sounds very sexy :lol:

    Thank you for answering my Dear John letter and for the fabulous news that Ken will be the CD on the Carnival Magic. I am so excited. In 398 days Mike and I will be on the Carnival Magic, or so says Carnival :D I am looking forward to your news about the Carnival Magic next week. I will let our friends that we are on the cruise with know about it.

    To be that rich, I can not even imagine. I am sorry that you have had so many complaints. How can you complain when you are not only on vacation but a Carnival Cruise?

    Keep smiling John, no Julio ;) you truly are one of the good guys.

    My best to Heidi and Kye

  37. themnms says:

    John(please reply)

    Hello again…after our wonderful cruise on the Miracle in May we have converted the grandparents into cruise lovers. We want to suprise them with another one the end of October and would love to be on a cruise with Ken Byrne as we know they would adore him. Is there a list of the MaitreD’s for each ship such as you have for cruise directors? We would certainly book whichever ship he is on..Also…now I have read that both of you will be on the Magic I am off to figure out a sailing for us. We loved the Dream last oct so I am sure the Magic with both of you aboard will be beyond perfect!!
    thanks in advance
    Mel

  38. Robert says:

    Dear John (please respond)
    We are booked on the MAGIC’s TA in Oct 2011. I know you will be aboard. We also did the TAs on the FREEDOM in 2007 and the DREAM in 2009. On both of these cruises we passed the Straits of Gilbrater (sp?) around 9 or 10PM. We could see the lights from Africa but that was all. I know this is crazy but, can Carnival change the schedule so that it can pass thru the Straits during “daylight” hours?

  39. Bob Aulgur says:

    Good Morning John. Please reply to my question when time permits. My wife and I will be on Carnival Dream on January 1, 2011. I would like to see if I can use the Thermal suite and Thalassotherapy Pool on a daily or cruise only basis. If so, how do I sign up for it and can you estimate cost. Looked at Carnival’s website for this information, but could not find it. Thanks for your attention. This will be our 3rd Carnival cruise and my wife and I are looking forward to getting our 20th wedding anniversary year off to a great start. Thanks for the blog, I have read it for years and I would not change a thing if I were you!!. Bob Aulgur

  40. Kerri T says:

    Hello John,

    I have been reading your blog thingy for quite sometime and quite enjoy your humour. I also am a cruise critic thread reader and noticed that there was more than one conversation about getting assistance from you with booking the Chef’s Table experience. Your kind assistance would be appreciated. I will be sailing the Carnival Dream on January 22, 2011 celebrating my birthday (on the 21st), and our anniversary (on the 17th). Cruising is not my husband’s favorite activity but he was over-ruled by the children and I. I would like to make this trip extra special for him by arranging the Chef’s Table. If I am posting this in the wrong place, please forgive me and have one of your lovely assistants put it where it belongs so you are sure to see it. AND – no table for two please – How boring would that be?

  41. Carrie says:

    Missing you today John!!!!

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