13

Ranger Bob – Conclusion

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So far: Four raccoon kits have met a bear at the park. The bear turns out to be the beloved Ranger Bob. Somehow the school has lost track of its former safety adviser, and he is living across the river with his daughter. Upon discovery, Ranger Bob is invited to visit the school. You can start the story here.

Ranger Bob steps onto the stage and hugs John The young animals clap and sit down.

Ranger Bob:  Hello, everyone! It’s nice to see you.

Students: It’s nice to see you too, Ranger Bob.

Ranger Bob: I want to thank Ms. Porcupine for inviting me to speak. I used to come to the school a lot. I know most of your parents.

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Timmy Chipmunk: My mom was really excited that you’re here She says you know everything about safety in the woods.

Ranger Bob (embarrassed): Well, I don’t know everything. But I’ve learned a lot over time.

Ms. Porcupine: I invited Ranger Bob here to share some of what he knows about forest safety.

Ranger Bob: What’s the most important thing to remember in the woods?

The children shout out answers:

Don’t get lost!

Don’t eat poison plants!

Don’t eat poison bugs!

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Don’t eat each other!

Everyone laughs.

Ranger Bob: The most important thing to remember is to be prepared. Be sure you have enough water available. Know how to get back to where you started. Questions?

Wally Weasel:  Is it OK to go out by ourselves?

Ranger Bob: I recommend that you always take at least one friend with you. But if you do go alone, be sure someone else knows where you’re going and when you plan to be home.

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Becky Beaver: What do I do if I get lost?

Ranger Bob: If you’re sure you’re lost, find a safe spot and stay there until someone finds you.

Rikki Raccoon: I’d climb a tree to see if I recognized anything.

Ranger Bob: Excellent idea!

Sheila Squirrel: I’d use the squirrel chatter network to tell my parents where I was.

Ranger Bob: Wonderful!

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Louie Wolf: I’d howl to give my position.

Ranger Bob: Another excellent idea! You children are doing great!

Mama and Papa Raccoon are sitting at the back of the room with Ms. Porcupine.

Ms. Porcupine: He really gets along well with the children, doesn’t he?

Mama: Oh, yes. He always has.

Ms. Porcupine: He’s so big. I wonder why they aren’t afraid of him.

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Papa: They know he won’t hurt them. I don’t think they even think about his size after a while.

Mama: He’s very gentle. And talks to them as if they were all the same size.

They watch Ranger Bob and the children for a while.

Ranger Bob: Kids, I’m having a great time, but I think it’s about time for me to go. Any last questions?

Anna Raccoon: Are you going to come back soon and teach us more?

Ranger Bob: That’s up to your school.

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The children turn to look at Ms. Porcupine.

Ms. Porcupine: What types of things did you have in mind, Anna?

Anna Raccoon: I don’t know. Safety stuff. Like swimming.

The others join in.

Forest fires

Snakes

Floods

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First Aid

Building shelters

Finally, Ms. Porcupine holds up her paw, laughing.

Ms. Porcupine: Ranger Bob, it seems that the children have become very interested in safety all of a sudden.

Ranger Bob: They were very good listeners. And it is important that they know how to stay safe. We want them around for a while.

The children giggle and nod.

Ms. Porcupine: You seem to get along well with them and enjoy teaching them.

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Ranger Bob: I’ve enjoyed teaching kids about safety for as long as I can remember.

Ms. Porcupine: Would you be available to come in one afternoon a month for a presentation?

Ranger Bob: I’d be honored.

Ms. Porcupine: Just tell me the subject ahead of time so the parents will know. They might want to come too.

Ranger Bob: Of course.

Ranger Bob turns to the children.

Ranger Bob: OK, kids?

They race up and hug him. It looks like there might be tears in Ranger Bob’s eyes.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

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11

Ranger Bob – Part 3

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So far: Four raccoon kits have met a bear at the park. The bear turns out to be the beloved Ranger Bob. They go back to invite Ranger Bob to dinner, but he is gone. The family finally finds him living with his daughter across the river. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Ranger Bob: James Raccoon! How are you? It’s been a long time.

Papa: I know. I know. I didn’t realize how long until my kits said they saw you at the river.

He points to Jimmy, John, Anna, and Sally.

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Ranger Bob: James, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare them. I just didn’t want them to get hurt in the river. You know I wouldn’t hurt them.

Mama: Of course not. We all love you, Ranger Bob.

Ranger Bob: Maria! How are you?

Mama: Life is good. How are you?

Ranger Bob: I guess I’m getting old. It seems that all you kids I knew have grown up and had kids of their own. You can pass on what I’ve taught you. You don’t need me around anymore.

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Mama: That’s not true! We still need you.

Ranger Bob (sadly): I didn’t help your children. I scared them.

John: Only because you’re so big and have such a deep voice.

Sally: Jimmy would have done something stupid if you hadn’t stopped him.

Jimmy: It wasn’t stupid! I was hot.

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John: You could have drownded.

Jimmy: Well . . . Maybe it wasn’t really smart.

Ranger Bob: Your brother’s right. It’s not safe to swim alone. Didn’t your parents tell you that?

Papa: We thought he knew.

Mama: I knew it was a bad idea to let them go to the park by themselves.

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Ranger Bob: They’re old enough, Maria. They just need to follow the rules. Kits, who’s teaching you about safety?

Anna: Mama and Papa teach us stuff.

Papa: And we thought you were still around the school and parks.

Ranger Bob: The school hasn’t called me in a long time.

Mama: Susie Squirrel and I just heard about that from the principal. It seems that no one told her that you ran the safety program. She feels terrible about it.

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A smaller bear walks up.

Bear: Daddy, who are all these raccoons?

Ranger Bob: The parents are friends from across river. The others are their kits. Maria and James, this is my daughter Alicia.

Alicia: Nice to meet you. I hope nothing’s wrong. Daddy was pretty attached to quite a few animals over there.

Mama: Not at all.

Sally: We wanted to invite Ranger Bob to dinner to thank him for keeping Jimmy from doing something stupid.

Jimmy: Grrr

Ranger Bob: Really?

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John: And apologize for running away.

Ranger Bob (to John): Could I have a hug?

John runs up and tries to hug Ranger Bob. His arms only go a little way around the bear. Ranger Bob laughs.

Ranger Bob: I guess I do look pretty big to you.

John: That’s OK. You’re a nice bear.

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Sally: Will you come to dinner? Please?

Ranger Bob: I’d love to.

The next week, Ranger Bob and Alicia visited the raccoons. Ranger Bob entertained them with stories about his adventures and the time he met Smokey the Bear. A few days later, he called to thank them for dinner.

Mama: I’m glad you called. I talked to Ms. Porcupine. She’d like you to come and talk to the students.

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Ranger Bob: Are you sure?

Mama: She said the kits were telling everyone about his stories, and they want to meet him.

Ranger Bob: That would make me very happy.

A few weeks later:

John: We like to introduce you to our friend, Ranger Bob.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

14

Ranger Bob – Part 2

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So far: Four raccoon kits have met a bear at the park. The bear turns out to be the beloved Ranger Bob. However, when they go back to invite Ranger Bob to dinner, he has disappeared. You can read the details here.

Mama: Did you find out when Ranger Bob is available for dinner?

Sally: We couldn’t find him at the park.

John: And they made me go into the forest to look for him.

Anna: It wasn’t dangerous. We hid from all the big bears. We talked to a cub.

Mama: Did the cub take you to Ranger Bob’s den?

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Anna: No. He said that Ranger Bob had gone away and didn’t tell anyone where he was going.

Sally: It sounded like he was sad when he left.

Mama: That’s too bad. I hope he’s OK.

Sally: We still want to find him to thank him. Where do you think he might go?

Mama: I’m not really sure. He was always around when I was little. We didn’t need to look for him. Let me talk to Papa and some of the other parents.

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Mama and Papa talked to some of their friends. They were embarrassed to realize that no one had noticed that Ranger Bob wasn’t around much anymore. In fact, no one could remember the last time they had spoken with him.

The parents wondered when the last time was that he had given a safety talk at school. Mama and Mrs. Squirrel decided to talk to the principal.

Mama: Thank you so much for seeing us, Ms. Porcupine. We won’t take up too much of your time.

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Ms. Porcupine: It’s no trouble at all. How can I help you ladies?

Mrs. Squirrel: We were wondering if you know why Ranger Bob doesn’t visit the school anymore?

Ms. Porcupine (puzzled):  Who is Ranger Bob?

Mrs. Squirrel: You know. The big black bear who explains safety to the school children.

Mama: You didn’t grow up around here, did you Ms. Porcupine?

Ms. Porcupine: No. I moved when I got this position.

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Mama: Ranger Bob taught us all about safety when we were little. We recently discovered that our children have never met him. In fact, he startled my kits a few days ago.

Ms. Porcupine: Was he an employee at the school?

Mama: No. They invited him to speak at the beginning and end of the school year. We all loved him. He was particularly popular at the “Fun in the Sun Day” at the end of the school year.

Mrs. Squirrel: Yes, and we’d see him all summer at the beach and river.

Ms. Porcupine: I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I’d been overlooking such an important part of the teaching team. If you’ll tell me how to reach him, I’ll explain what happened and invite him in.

Mrs. Squirrel: That’s the problem. We can’t find him. We thought maybe you’d have some ideas about where to find him.

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Ms. Porcupine: I’m afraid not. But let me talk to some of the teachers. I’ll let you know what I find out.

 Ms. Porcupine asked for any information available about ways to reach Ranger Bob. The only thing she learned was that he had a daughter on the other side of the river.

She left a message at the number listed, but got no response.

Mama: I guess we’ll have to try going over there.

Papa: I would like to find him and make sure everything is OK.

Sally: Can we come too? Please?

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Papa: All right. But we have to stick together.

The raccoons left early the next morning. They weren’t sure how to find a bear among strangers, but hoped for the best.

The animals on the other side of the river were all friendly. One of the local raccoons said that a strange male bear had passed through a few days earlier looking for a female named Emily.

Papa found a bear and explained the situation. He asked for directions to Emily’s den. The raccoons walked on, paws crossed.

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Before long, they saw a bear sitting on a rock with his head down.

Papa: Excuse me, sir.

The bear looked up. Papa ran up and hugged him.

Papa: Ranger Bob! We’ve been looking all over for you. Why did you leave?

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Next week: What the future holds for Ranger Bob.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

12

Ranger Bob

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Mama Raccoon called the family to dinner. The four kits raced to the table. After everyone had settled down, she brought out the food and the dipping bowls.

Mama: How was your day?

Sally: Great! After school, we went to the park to play ball and run around.

John: It was great until this huge old bear started yelling at us.

Papa: What huge bear?

John: I don’t know. I ran away when he started coming toward us.

Mama: Why was he yelling? Was he growling too? Do you think he was trying to eat you? I knew I shouldn’t let you go there by yourselves.

Anna: Calm down, Mama. John’s just being a scaredy-cat.

John: I’m not a cat! I’m a raccoon!

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Anna: I just meant that you didn’t need to run. He wasn’t coming after us. He didn’t want Jimmy to jump into the river.

Papa: Why were you going to jump into the river?

Jimmy: I was hot.

Papa: What was the bear saying?

Jimmy: He said that it wasn’t safe to swim by myself because an adult needed to be close in case I got a cramp or something. Besides, the river has a current.

Anna: The bear was afraid that since we’re so small, he might not be strong enough to swim against the current if we needed to.

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Papa: Wait a minute. What does this bear look like?

Anna: He was tall with glossy black fur. And tan all around his muzzle

Papa looked at Mama, and they both started to laugh.

Sally: What’s so funny?

Mama: John, you don’t have to worry. That’s Ranger Bob.

John: Who’s Ranger Bob?

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Mama: Ranger Bob has been keeping the children of the forest safe for years.

Sally: Why does he do that?

Papa: Years ago, there was a big fire. A lot of the children got separated from their parents. They were frightened because they didn’t understand what was happening.

Mama: Ranger Bob gathered them together and made sure they were safe. Then he explained the fire and how dangerous it was. He also told them how to tell when a fire was approaching and what to do.

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Anna: That’s a great idea. And it was so nice of him.

Mama: He was a hero to all those parents and children. He loved being around the children. He made sure nothing happened to them.

Papa: The children loved him too. He’s been protecting us for years. I’m surprised he hasn’t been to your school.

Jimmy: Some of the other kids talk about Ranger Bob, but I didn’t know who he was.

John: He’s still a little scary. He’s so big. And he yelled at us.

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Anna: He yelled because Jimmy was going to do something stupid, and he wanted to make sure he got our attention.

Jimmy: Hey! It wasn’t stupid. I was hot.

Anna: OK. You were going to do something unsafe. It’s the same thing.

Jimmy looked offended.

Sally: I’ve got an idea. Let’s invite Ranger Bob to dinner to thank him for stopping Jimmy from doing something stupid.

Jimmy: It wasn’t stupid!

Sally: Whatever.

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Mama: That’s an excellent idea. After school tomorrow, you kits can ask him when he’s available.

The kits really didn’t know where he lived. They started at the park. No luck.

They decided to get up their courage and go into the woods to find the bears.

John: I am not going into the woods. It’s too scary.

Jimmy: Fine. Stay here.

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John: By myself?

Jimmy: Yes. By yourself.

John didn’t like that idea either. He looked at Anna.

John: Anna? Will you hold my hand?

Anna: Of course.

The raccoons went into the woods. They ran across several bears. But they all seemed so big that the kits hid. Finally, a cub came along.

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Jimmy: Hey, can we talk to you?

Cub (surprised): We don’t get many raccoons in this part of the woods now that you guys are semi-domesticated.

John: That’s because you guys are so scary.

Cub: We’re not scary. We’re just big. We wouldn’t hurt you.

Anna: We’re looking for Ranger Bob.

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Cub: Good luck. He left this morning. He seemed pretty upset.

Anna: Where did he go?

Cub: He wouldn’t tell any of us.

The kits thanked him and left. They were disappointed. How would they find him now?

Sally: We need to go home and think about this. Maybe Mama and Papa know where he might go.

The kits went home to talk to their parents.

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Next week: Why did Ranger Bob go, and why did he leave?

Pictures courtesy of Google

18

Animal Playground Forced to Close

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“It seemed like such a good idea at the time, said Marcus Fox. “After all, animal playgrounds have worked in other cities. Why wouldn’t it work here?” Mr. Fox is part owner of the Templeton Animal Park and Fun Fair. He and his partners are shuttering the park at the end of the month due to skyrocketing maintenance and insurance costs.

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We decided to walk around the park ourselves to see if things were really as bad as they sounded. They were. And the cause was easy to understand. Most animal parks are built in developed areas for domesticated animals; usually smaller species. Templeton, to put it politely, is in the middle of nowhere.

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Because of it’s location, the park attracted all types of wildlife. Once the bears took over the swimming pool, the only animals who weren’t afraid to use it were the otters. Apparently pool filters aren’t equipped for bear fur, because they clogged every few days and needed to be replaced. And bears do not like chlorine, so keeping the pool clean required a full-time attendant.

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The moose wanted to try out the skating pond. The problem was that moose are heavy and are known for either breaking through the ice or slipping and not being able to get off by themselves. Either way, they have to be rescued, and that is really expensive.

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Cats are usually a good source of income for the parks. It allows them to go outside and play in a safe environment. But they left once they saw the bears. Apparently bears don’t use parks as much as cats, so it was a significant drop in revenue.

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The beavers were absolutely adorable and loved the park. Until someone realized they were chewing down all the young trees. They were using the wood to create a dam which ended up flooding the meadow. The rabbits and deer didn’t want to visit a park that didn’t have a meadow.

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The small dogs went wild over the merry-go-round running track. But then some of the bigger dogs wanted to try it. One of them got stuck and had to be rescued. The owners wanted to put a size restriction up. But the insurance increase was too much, and they had to close down the ride. The dogs started boycotting the park.

The loss of the dogs was the end of the park. Without the large number of cat and dog memberships found at other parks, there wasn’t enough money to keep things running. Word is that the closure is good news for the wild animals. They thought there were too many restrictions at the park.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

19

Limerick Lunacy

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(Limerick, Ireland)

Ed.Comment: Every once in a while, we like to let Cat write something for the blog. (It lets her feel like she’s part of the team, not just the site owner.) So here’s her contribution. We will be back to regular content next week.

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The young wolves were ready to howl.

They had spent the night on a prowl.

But the moon was not bright,

So they started to fight;

And were left in a mood quite foul.

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The kittens loved to play and romp.

On rubber mousies they would chomp.

They never stopped,

Or exhausted, flopped,

While trying to find things to whomp.

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The laughing bear cubs slid on the ice.

The slick ice on their paws felt quite nice.

Then one started to fall

And his mother did call,

Because he needed her ice advice.

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Sometimes our dear cats become jealous,

And may use many means to tell us

That they want to play

Or in our laps lay.

And on that point become quite zealous.

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Is the panda really a bear?

Or another species quite rare?

He’s adorably cute

In his black-and-white suit.

Relatives? He hasn’t a care.

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(not related, but very cute)

 

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

19

Animal Resolutions for 2018

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Greetings furry and non-furry friends. We at Cheeseland have discovered that humans do something called “making New Year’s resolutions” this time of year. We weren’t sure what that meant since most of us track time by food or sun. When we looked it up, it said that humans make promises to themselves to improve something about themselves. It also said that most of these promises were broken in a short period of time.

So that explained the shortage of pizza everyone once in a while. And the strange furniture that appeared with the Christmas tree and then went downstairs. It would make funny noises for a little bit and then make a great bed.

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We weren’t sure that animals needed to make resolutions. After all, most of us are pretty close to perfect the way we are. So we send our renowned cat-on-the-street team to interview various animals to see what they could find out.

As expected, most of the animals had no idea what we were talking about. However, a few decided to think about things that would make the humans happier. Names have been changed to prevent ridicule from friends and family.

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Cliff (cat) – I resolve to not to put anymore mice into the human’s shoes. Unless she starts wearing those tail-crunching high heels again. Or irritates me.

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Beverly (hedgehog) – I resolve to not prick my human anymore. Unless she puts her cold hands on my tummy. Or puts a costume on me.

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Josephine (llama) – I resolve not to spit at people. Unless they get too close. Or do annoying human things, like try to pet me when I’m relaxing.

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Ralph (bear) – I resolve not to try to scare campers. Unless they have really yummy food. Or try to catch my salmon. Or try to camp near my berries.

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Mollie (raccoon) – I resolve not to break into people’s houses. Unless it’s really cold. Or they leave food near an open window or door.

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Max (dog) – I resolve not to chew up the pillows. Unless the humans won’t let me sit on the sofa. Or I get bored.

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Those resolutions all sound reasonable to us. And it will be the humans’ fault if they fail.

Perfect.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images.