The Double M News - 2003

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Note to Travolta:
Dude, What were you thinking?

John Travolta tries to build a Fun House knockoff.
Doesn't he know that it's not a real Fun House
if the airplanes can't fit inside? Duh! What was he thinking?

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Friday, December 12, 2003

Big Chill at Fun House!

Click on the photo above for details on the new SubZero refrigerator,
at Mikie's Fun House #4.
This model 650G has a glass door, and I can now prove beyond any shadow of doubt,
that the light DOES stay on when the door is closed!
Click on the photo or headline to see more photos of the Fun House...

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Saturday, November 22, 2003

New Pool Table for The Fun House

Click on the photo above for details on the new pool table,
at Mikie's Fun House #4.

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Saturday, November 15, 2003

(click to enlarge and read the sign)

Biplane Archive Treasure

I'm still moving stuff out of storage, and into the new condo, throwing out tons of junk, and selling some other stuff that's useful, but not for me anymore... like a couple of parachutes!!

In the muddle of it all, I came across this photo of me and my brand new biplane, at the big air show in Oshkosh, WI where it was displayed by the factory for the week, and where I had taken official delivery, in the summer of 1993.

The factory was very proud of this particular one, as it was the 50th one they built in 8 years. When they first started the company, everyone thought they were completely crazy to build a biplane designed more than 50 years prior. The bets were that they would never find even 3 buyers.

They showed them all... Now they have built more than 100.

I particularly like the grin on my face, which seemed to stay there for 7 more years!

I still can't believe I did it....

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003


There is a tradition in military aviation that when a man enters the fraternity of pilots,
he is bestowed a call sign (name) by his instructor.
Click on the name to read the story about how
I accidentally discovered how to make multiple sunrises, sunsets, moonrises and moonsets,
all natural, and all within less than half an hour.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2003


The wildfires have befouled the air to such an extent that the normally blue air and ocean are obscured with a veil of brown. The photo above is an unretouched view from the balcony, facing the ocean. To see this same view on a normal day, click here.

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Thursday, October 2, 2003

I finally located my first Waco biplane (N50YM), which was in a February 1994 crash when my instructor, flying alone, landed with the parking brake on and it flipped over on the runway. He was unhurt, but the biplane was completely destroyed. I traded the insurance payoff and some extra cash for a brand new biplane (N250YM). The first one was rebuilt by the factory and sold to Germany where it is now living a good life giving rides at the Hamburg airport.
Click here for photos and ride info

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Monday, September 22, 2003


A short short story in which the author learns the true answer to the question:
Of What Do Frisbees Dream?
Click the headline for more.

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Friday, September 19, 2003

Big Guy Moves Into Fun House

Click on the photo to supersize it, and visit the webpage,
where you can learn more and hear it in action!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The Distance To The Horizon

I've been living on the oceanfront for the last quarter of a century.
During that time, I have often stood on some cliff near the beach,
and wondered how far it was to the horizon.
Many a friend I have asked, and many a friend simply shrugged their shoulders.
Now that I've moved to a new place (Mikie's Fun House #4) on the edge of the Pacific
I got to wondering again...
Click on the heading above to learn how to figure the distance to any horizon.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The Tourists are Gone!

At long last, the tourists are gone from Del Mar.
The schools have opened and soaked up all the kids.
And today, the racetrack closes for the season.

This is the best time of the year,
the beaches are empty,
the weather is absolutely spectacular,
the weirdos are gone, and only the locals remain.
And, once again, Del Mar is a sleepy little seaside village.

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Sunday, September 7, 2003

A Most Excellent Day!

Frisbee on the beach with good friends,
gathered together to celebrate the day of my birth.
The weather was absolutely perfect, the water was warm,
and the food was awesome!

Did you ever wonder how far the earth travels in a year?

I got to wondering that on my birthday, because I was really wondering how far I have traveled in my life so far...

If the distance from earth to the sun is 92,000,000 miles (normally used as the "average" distance), and the orbit were circular, then it would be easy to calculate the total orbit using the formula for finding the circumference of a circle, which is Pi * diameter = 577,760,000 miles (the diameter is twice the distance from earth to sun).... But the orbit is elliptical, not circular, so that would throw off the number there must be some formula for calculating ellipses, but I have no idea what it is... And then, the answer just appeared...
one of the questions on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" (for 250 thousand bucks) was "what is the speed of the earth in its orbit around the sun?" Of course I knew the answer (67,000mph), and then it became obvious how to solve the question above... the math is simple:
67,000mph * 24 = 1,608,000 miles in one day
(1,608,000 * 365 = 586,920,000 miles traveled in a year)

And then, to find how far I have traveled life to date:
(67,000 * 24 * 365 * MyAge) + (67,000 * 24 * LeapDays) = 35,826,240,000 miles.

The first part of the equation is for my age, the second is for the leap days added during my lifetime. (MyAge divided by 4)

Now you can figure out how far you have gone in your lifetime.

I'm not even tired yet. I figure I'm good for another 35 billion miles. I'll probably get dizzy before I get tired...

In an interesting comparison, Mars was recently only 35 MILLION miles from earth. So my distance traveled life to date is about ONE THOUSAND TIMES the distance to Mars, or 500 round trips. Of course Mars was recently closer than it has been in 59,000 years, but it's still an interesting thought.

Has your head exploded yet with all these numbers?

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Friday, August 29, 2003

Moving Day

Here's my horoscope for today,
the day that I move into my new home,
(Mikie's Fun House #4).

Groups thrive where individuals would falter.
In spite of this populist trend, you're in a league of your own,
a category unto yourself.
Others recognize your skills even as you share and teach.
Somehow, you keep your own house in order
while guiding everyone else through his or her personal maze.
A busy environment won't compromise your vision.
You can start new projects even as you multitask.
Promises and projections are worth their weight in gold.
When you say that you'll deliver, you really will deliver,
and it's going to be far better than expected, too.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Historic Letter from the Archives

On my recent trip back to Philly, to visit with my parents on their 87th & 88th birthdays (same week), I was helping them pack for a move when we found a letter I had written home to them almost 40 years ago. It was my first week at IBM's basic training, where they took raw geniuses and taught them the secrets of how computers work. Check it out!

Page One
Page Two
Page Three

Here's the straight text:

Dated 6/22/64

Dear Mom & Dad

It just occurred to me that yesterday was Father's Day. Sorry I forgot about it, Dad, but I hope you had a good day (on the boat?).

I have learned a lot so far. I think my brain will explode soon. Even this basic stuff is so beautiful that I might become a specialist in the aesthetics of Data Processing.

Seriously, though, I never had electricity, magnetism, selectors and that stuff in school (ever). But it's really beautiful. Some of the E.E.s in my class think I'm crazy but I think this is some of the greatest learning around.

You take a few hundred little wires, put them into a little board with a few hundred holes in it, put the board in the machine and I'll be damned if it doesn't do exactly what you told it to. And the best part of it is I know where to put the wires, what happens, why it happens, and why I want to do it, and it's all so beautifully logical I still have a hard time believing that a bunch of gears tubes and switches does it. I feel like a little kid in Fantasy land.

To date I haven't even touched a computer but I saw one thru a glass door. The way I get so excited about these little machines I'll probably faint when I get near a computer.

Today we had our 3rd test. #4 is Wednesday. Marks so far: Test #1=75; #2=98; #3=90. But none of these have counted so far. The first one to be counted will be Monday.

It will be very hard. The pressure is starting to get to me every once in a while, like when I look at the 50 or more manuals with thousands of different possible operations on several different machines that all have to be committed to memory before I can make an analytical decision about anything. When this happens I just sit back, take a deep breath and wonder How in God's Name Did I Ever Get Here, or What Am I Doing Working for IBM, this material is Impossible. Then I think if I got the job without really working a day in my life, just think what I can do if I really work.

Like I said 6/3/64 (Graduation Day): "Watch Out World!" I was thinking last night that even if I got a 99 in this course, there is no excuse for not getting 100. I doubt if teaching methods could be better. I've never been so impressed with any group of people in regard to sheer intelligence.

In a word, I love it. But I still won't wear a hat.

Write if you can,


F. Michael (boy wonder)

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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The Gesture of Maximum Leverage

Today, on this Full Moon, a cosmic condition which has so many times accompanied some of my more significant thoughts and deeds, I have at last realized the Holy Grail of Human Endeavor, something which I have been pursuing for many years, and which I felt could be my greatest legacy. Read on...

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Monday, August 4, 2003

Federal Government Decides
Not to Exercise Disapproval Authority!

In a bold move by our Federal Government,
they have decided to Not exercise their disapproval authority
in regard to my serving as a Director of Landmark National Bank,
which, along with 14 others, I helped to start from scratch.

Read the letter!
It's a classic.

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Sunday, June 22, 2003

Summer Solstice

Yesterday was the longest day of the year,
the day when the sun is the farthest north in the year,
but it has nothing to do with how far we are from the sun.

All the science involved can be learned at this link.

But the best part of Summer Solstice is that summer is really here!
Proof? Frisbee on the beach, in surf deep to the knee,
and truly spectacular running, flying, diving catches.
It just can not get any better!
Read "A Good Way to Die", on my Frisbee Page.

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Monday, June 16, 2003

(click to enlarge photo)

Airshow Archives Opened,
Historical Document Found

It was the summer of 1997. I was flying my biplane throughout Europe.
Somehow I lucked into being invited to fly an airshow at historic Duxford (England) airfield.
Best of all, it was scheduled for my birthday! What better present could I imagine?
But Reality had other plans. I was stuck on the ground in Donegal Ireland,
with high winds and rain, and cold beyond bearable.
So I missed the airshow, but I still have this great document to remember what could have been!
It would have been my first and only airshow performance!
Read the entire story... click here! Click on the photo or headline to enlarge the photo.

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Sunday, June 1, 2003

Man Parks Car Up Front, Every Time!

Click on the link above for the latest short story. It's all true, of course...

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Friday, May 30, 2003

The New Fun House

Click on the link to check out the Before and (proposed) After
floor plans for the New Fun House in Del Mar.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2003

Looking for Answers

My home was a very welcome place last night.

It was sooooooo good to be back in my space again,
and to eat the foods that my body wants,
and to feel the amazing comfort of the waves.

For the last 8 days I have been in the alien environment of Philadelphia,
a continent away, a city far from the sea,
subsisting as a transient, in a common hotel, living among The Populace,
all to visit Mom, who was receiving Intensive Care at the very hospital
where she volunteered for 30 years.
Pneumonia got her, again.
Complications from Parkinson's.
And in her 87th year.

A saint of a woman, married to my father for 60+ years,
raised 6 kids to be good people,
and this is her cruel Fate?

So many questions when Death is at the door.
So few when he's down the road and out of sight.

What is it, this Ultimate Adventure we call Death?
What happens when we die?
Where do we go when we die?
Do we go back to where we came from? Or some other place?
Is there the possibility that we can control what happens to us after we die?
If so, what fate would we choose for ourselves?

Is there just one "lifetime" here on earth, as a human,
and then there is something completely different?
If so, then where would we want to go after the next one?
(and so on, for infinity?)

How different would the next life be?
Would we keep our same memories, intelligence and emotions,
or do we lose all of that too?
Would then all of us be "perfected"
and therefore all the same?
Would we be able to recognize each other when we get there?

Can these answers be found with our best thinking?
Is this why we are here, to find these answers?
How could computers be used to find these answers?

If we could know these answers,
how would our behavior, Here/Now, be optimized
to benefit us in the next lifetime(s)?

Can we find a way to be ready for Death at any moment,
like Miyamoto Musashi, the great Samurai warrior,
who wrote of the Way of the Sword in his Book of Five Rings?

Is there One Answer to All Questions?
Who among us could have such an answer?

Or are there many Paths to Enlightenment?

What answers have you found?

I like to walk on the beach while I think of these things.

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Saturday, April 19, 2003

On the Move: The Fun House is SOLD

The legendary Mikie's Fun House has been sold, and is now in the hands of of the new owners.
This past week was focused on moving the accumulated "stuff" of ten years in Fun House mode.
Needless to say, I couldn't have done it so well without Carol's awesome assistance.

The fun thing about moving is finding lost treasures.
See the Winged Woman sketch at the bottom of my Art page for one such example.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2003

Photo Op

Olivia D. is escorted to lunch by yours truly. Her mother chaperoned the event.
Click on photo to enlarge.

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Friday, February 28, 2003

Mustang Moves Into Fun House

Here's one of the last photos from the Fun House, now in escrow.
Shown is my '65 Mustang convertible, sitting in the space where my biplane once rested,
in my bedroom. Also notice the 4 poster bed, and the neat Waco Airplanes neon sign.

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Thursday, February 19, 2003

Segway Reality Check!

I guess I wasn't the only one to have second thoughts
after coming out of the euphoria of the Segway hype.
Click on the title to read the Wired story of "Segway's Breakdown".

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Thursday, February 13, 2003

Muddy Waters, Fog & Rain

Two days of rain runoff have muddied the waters of the Pacific.
The photo shows the dark, brownish sea water extending to just beyond the surf,
and then the turquoise clear water, followed by darker blue deep water,
which is almost obscured by the advancing fog.

All morning one wall of fog after the other rolled in and blanketed everything
then just as quickly vanished, giving way to clear air all the way to the horizon.

Freestyle beach frisbee at low tide (~2pm) today, with Mark, in the rain.
It was slow going... my leg is still recovering from the last time.
Tore it up real good in a sprint and dropped like a sack of potatoes. Hurt awful.
Joey and Mark push/pulled me up the cliff path, then drove me back home.
Three days on crutches, then hobbling for several more before walking resembled normal.
Now, two weeks later, it is still tender to the touch. But it is healing.
I would like to avoid dwelling on this minor misfortune, as it is my style to Seek Positives
so it needs to be reframed that way in order for it to be fully News worthy...

"Frisbee player hurt!" Hardly an earthshaking headline.
However, the core of the story is that
it has been at least 20 years of play since the last injury,
and that is the News we are celebrating!
The headline should be "Twenty Years of Injury-Free Play"
Or, even better: "New Record Attempt Starts".

That was two weeks ago. It's getting better every day!
End of Rainy Day story.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003

(click to enlarge)

Low and slow, over the surf, sunset, Del Mar, CA

This painting of my Waco biplane, by John Dormer, is one of my favorites.
I knew early on that I would not be flying forever,
and I wanted something that would be portable, personal, and hopefully outlast me,
so that I could simply look in its direction and
it would bring back the thousands of memories of the
wonderful adventures I've had in this amazing airplane.

I have been wanting to take a photo, or scan, this painting
for as long as I've had this website (many years),
and have always wanted the result to be first class,
so I hesitated to just walk up to it and take a simple photo.
But that's what I finally did!
Last night.
And it turned out just fine.

The painting was intended to capture the moments
of carefree flying along the beach
just before sunset.
On this flight I discovered what has become known as
"The Mikie Mooneuver"
in which a skilled and playful aviator can create
3 Sunsets, 3 Sunrises, 3 Moonrises and 3 Moonsets
within 30 minutes.

I'm sure it can be done more quickly,
but why would you want to?


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Monday, February 10, 2003

(click to enlarge)

What's On Your Desktop?

If the world's richest man, Bill Gates uses only one monitor on his PC (true!),
how long would it take you to surpass him if you had THREE monitors?

Well, this is my desktop monitor setup, three 18" flat screens from Mass, Inc.
I have been using this setup for about 6 months
and have found a few ways to improve it, but
this is absolutely a much more productive way to use a PC.

Click here for complete details of my computer system.

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Sunday, February 9, 2003

Fun House in Escrow!

Mikie's Fun House is now in escrow.
The end of an era.
I haven't met the owners-to-be yet, but I hear they are nice people
who have an appreciation for what an extraordinary home it is.
I hope they enjoy it as much as I did.

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Thursday, February 6, 2003

"To Fris Is To Be"

This graphic is a scan of a detail of an original work of art by Kate Van der Wende,
who was my Frisbee partner for many years, as well as a talented artist, of course.
This painting has been on my wall forever,
and I have always been meaning to scan it and put in up on this website to share with my friends.
Kate also hand made a one-off T-shirt with this design,
which I still wear on special beach Frisbee days,
when the wind is just right, at low tide, late in the afternoon, around sunset.
Kate is credited with the philosophical awakening summed up in 5 words: "To Fris Is To Be".

After all these years, I still can't say it any better.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Another Perfect Day

The ocean was unperturbed this morning. A glassy surface with small, mellow waves, following the high tide. Sea ducks fat from a recent breakfast, lazing just beyond the surf. Crisp air. No wind. Silence, except the clear sounds of each breaking wave. Joggers on the path below. Mockingbirds building nests in a nearby flowering bush.


Lunch with a good friend who has been gone for too long.
The New Moon sets into a clear night sky.
The day begins and ends with yoga. And gratitude.

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Sunday, February 2, 2003

The Last Low Pass

On this first day of the New Moon, in what surely marks the end of an era,
my lovely Waco open cockpit biplane is SOLD,
and makes its last low pass at The Fun House
before heading back to the Waco factory and out of my hands forever.
I have close to 1000 hours in that awesome machine, and I will miss it.
The bond between a man and his biplane is very strong.

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Landmark National Bank

What makes Landmark National Bank special is the people.
Real human beings with lots and lots of banking experience.
People you can talk to.
The road to success is a lot easier to travel when you have Landmark National Bank on your side.

Call 858-509-2700 today.

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Monday, January 20, 2003

The Collected Works

A page with links to several bits of my writing
which were heretofore scattered all over this website and beyond.
Includes short stories, book length, free verse, and "other".
This brings it all together, for whatever it's worth.
Your feedback is welcome.

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Thursday, January 16, 2003

Frisbee On The Beach

The Full Moon coming the day after tomorrow
is causing extra low tides in the afternoon,
revealing lots of new fresh sand on the extra wide beach
and giving lots of room for some running freestyle Frisbee.

The sunset image is one frame from today's webcam looking out my front window,
down to the beach where we played Frisbee in the late afternoon.
The wind was sweet, the sand was the consistency of brown sugar,
and both Mark and I were "in the zone".
Check out the Frisbee page.

In other, unfortunate news,
Ron Bird, the vice chairman and fellow founder of our bank,
died suddenly a couple of days ago.
He will be missed.

Stay well, friends. Play more Frisbee.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Santa Ana Big Waves

Monster waves with great form were a gift
of the dry, warm Santa Ana winds blowing in from the desert in the east.

Click on the photo or headline for the featured video (3.7mb), and/or see these videos:
Santa Ana Big Waves - a (3.7mb)
Santa Ana Big Waves - b (3.7mb)
Santa Ana Big Waves - c (3.0mb)

Check out how the off-shore winds hold the waves up longer,
and blow the spray back in spectacular displays.

There is no way you can get the full experience with these feeble videos.
What's missing is the thunderous sounds of these big waves finally falling over.
And these videos only show a small portion of the scene.
What you should see is the huge sweeping 180-degree vista.

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Monday, January 6, 2003

B2 - On the Deck

That's the kind of flying i like...
down on the deck, over the beach.

It's more fun in my open-cockpit biplane
because you get to feel
the wind on your face, and in your hair,

and the subtle changes in humidity and temperature,

and hear the wind singing through the wing-wires...

You'll never have those physical sensations in a B2.

Give me my open-cockpit biplane, any day.

It's surreal.

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Friday, January 3, 2003

Pong Photo Found

This long lost photo just found and scanned.
It's one of my favorites!

It was the summer of 1982,
living on Ocean Avenue in Del Mar, CA.
I maxed out my Sears credit card
to buy a low cost particle board ping pong table,
and put it in the driveway behind the house.
I knew it wouldn't last any more than a year if it was going to be stored outside,
but that was all I could afford at the time.
Joey, Vince, and Ray were all worthy players, and the summer went by quickly.

We had been playing some extremely fun pong,
in perfectly clear weather.
We went inside for water, and when we came out,
this is exactly what we saw!.

It was just one of those "Kodak moments".

(click on the photo to go to my new Ping Pong page)

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Weather Station Returns to Service

My personal, online weather station is back on duty
after being serviced by the great folks at RainWise.
Click on the link above and check it out!

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New Year, New Moon

Happy New Year!
May you have Good Health, Peace and Prosperity.
Celebrated the new year with my favorite play:
Frisbee on the beach. What a great workout!
Also did some "Spring Cleaning" around the office
and put some brushstrokes to the website
(made this News link run lots faster
by archiving into separate files)
to help out the dialup visitors.

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The Double M News - 2006 to current - Blog "My Other Life"
The Double M News - Archive 2005
The Double M News - Archive 2004
The Double M News - Archive 2003
The Double M News - Archive 2002
The Double M News - Archive 2001

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