Boston Celtics return the ECF for the first time since 2012; Celtics get the #1 Draft Pick in the NBA Lottery   Leave a comment

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…The rich get richer as the Boston Celtics got the #1 Draft Pick in the 2017-18 NBA Draft. The NBA Lottery took place last night in New York. The Celtics went in with a 25% chance of getting the #1 pick. Not only are the Celtics back in the Eastern Conference Finals (ECF) for the first time since 2012, they will have the means to challenge LBJ and the Cavs next year in the ECF. The Celtics secured the #1 seed this year by luck. Next year will surely be different.

Last year’s draft was a 2-man draft (Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram). The Celtics lucked out when they drafted Jaylen Brown third: Simmons missed the season due to injury while Ingram and the Lakers tanked hard enough to get the 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft due to the very public Family Feud at the top.

Now the Celtics have the #1 Draft Pick which means they will likely go with the best prospect available: Markus Fultz. Speaking of the NBA Draft, everyone knows about LaVar Ball and his son Lonzo Ball. I’ll be blunt: Best-case scenario, Lonzo goes undrafted. That’s what he deserves no thanks to his outspoken father.

The 2017-18 NBA Draft will happen on June 22.

Let us all take a moment to thank the Brooklyn Nets, who we got us this pick from the trade that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston to Brooklyn back in 2012. As of last night, history will probably record the trade as the worst trade in NBA history. The Celtics have had the rights to the Nets pick ever since.

Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Evan Turner (now with the Blazers), Jared Sullinger (now with Toronto), Terry Rozier, Jae Crowder and many others drafted since then. Would people be talking about them if they were drafted by Brooklyn instead of Boston? Nope!

 

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The other big Celtics-related news is of course, the ECF. Game 1 is tonight in Boston. As usual, the pundits say the Celtics have no chance. They said the same during the first round vs. Chicago. The Celtics won in 6 games. They said the Celtics had no answer for John Wall and Bradley Beal in the Second Round. the Celtics sealed the deal in Game 7.

This brings us to the Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics vs. Lebron James and the Cavs in the ECF. LBJ and the Celtics have quite a history going back to the 2008 playoffs that ended with the Celtics winning their last NBA Championship. The Celtics denied LBJ again the following year, leading to him taking his talents to the Miami Heat. Backed by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, LBJ won two titles with the Heat before returning to Cleveland. He fulfilled the promise he made when he returned by leading the Cavs to the franchise’s first title last year.

The odds heavily favor the Cavs. Some even say the Cavs will sweep the Celtics. Many of the same chatter said the Bulls would win in 7 (Boston won in 6) and the Wizards would win in 6 (Boston won in 7).  Do the Celtics have a real shot at beating the Cavs? Yes they do but it will take a team effort. We saw Kelly Olynik step up and help get the Celtics past Washington when they shut down IT4 in games 3, 4 and 6. Gerald Green’s sure to see alot of minutes in this series. Possibly Jaylen Brown.

Boston getting swept? Not gonna happen. My prediction is this: Each game will be decided in the 4th Quarter. IT4’s going to remind everyone why he’s called the King of the 4th. I also see 4-7 other players having big moments, too. Among them Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Avery Bradley. I think the Washington series–and especially Game 7–was the confidence builder the bench needed to know they need to step up big time if they want a real shot at getting past the defending NBA Champions.

I know they can.It’s just about making it happen ^_^

Trump’s first 100 days should have made one thing clear: The GOP wants to rule, not govern   Leave a comment

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…When you keep this in mind, everything that’s happened since Trump won the White House should make perfect sense. For those who don’t know, Henry Wallace was the 33rd Vice President of the United States opposite Franklyn D. Roosevelt during World War II. Now more than ever, his warning against the Oligarthy is painfully relevant. We are seeing what he warned about 70 years ago: What will happen when the rich and powerful control the government, rewrite the rules in their favor and put the squeeze on everyone else. It’s an exaggeration to call it a form of enslavement but it’s not that far off from the reality either.

 

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…Keep this in mind: We may never know who ordered the hit on JFK (everyone agrees James Earl Ray wasn’t acting alone) but we do know why. The timing for this quote is just like that of Martin Luther King’s last speech the night before he was killed. JFK learned about a conspiracy by some very powerful people who had no problem having him killed to keep power. The elite ruling class who now control this country care only about power and profits. They could care less how many lives are destroyed or killed along the way.

Nevermind Donald Trump. Like I said before in past blog posts, he’s the distraction they’re using to keep the public and the media’s attention. Now, it goes without saying Trump himself is not a Republican. Everyone knows that. Trump himself proved something very important that he said during the second debate last fall. He proved beyond reasonable doubt Democracy in America is a lie. He proved an admitted sexual predator and con artist can become POTUS. He proved it by actually becoming president.

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…The irony of quote goes without saying: Originally used by racists and the GOP as justification for their personal attacks against Barack Obama during his presidency, it has taken on a whole new meaning in light of the 45th President. Trump has made it no secret he’s an egolomaniac who can’t handle criticism from even his own base of supporters. He was one of Obama’s loudest critics during the past 8 years. Now, he only surrounds himself with Yes-Men and conspirators who have their own self-interests in mind.

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…Folks need to keep in mind Capitalism by its very nature means anything including an idea has a price that can be bought snd sold. The irony of the board game Monopoly is it’s no longer just a “game”. Laws and Regulations were passed in the 60 years after the Civil War to stop the Tycoons and Barons of the era from having dominating the economy. The Great Depression says hi. After the country collapsed and faith in the state was at an all-time low, newly elected president Franklyn D. Roosevelt introduced policies and reforms that helped prep the U.S. for World War II: A Socialist Economy. If not for this policy, the U.S. wouldn’t have been as prepared as it was to commit fully to the war effort in Europe and the Pacific.

The obvious question to be asked: Why is a Socialist Economy so vehemently opposed now? I’ll tell you. It’s because it’s a threat to the interests of men and companies who only care about money and greed. It is for this same reason they are so against welfare programs and social services aimed to help the most vulnerable. Their logic is “Why should I have to give a starving child a free bowl of soup or a homeless man a free pair of shoes when I can sell them and turn a profit?” Even worse, they brainwash those who don’t see the big picture into believing “You don’t want to pay taxes to help the homeless. They’re lazy bums who don’t want to work.”

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…This is the logic of the GOP and the Elite Ruling Class. This is also why they not only ensure public school students are denied a proper education AND force college students into debt for life but continue to perpetuate the lie “This is the way it should be”. No, what they’re doing is ensuring future generations will be easy to fool, control and exploit is all. The most effective form of slavery is convincing the slave they’re “Free”.

It’s as MLK said:

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America has been morally bankrupt for decades. That much is certain. The difference is now it’s simply more clear and apparent. The question to be asked is how long will it be allowed to go on?

 

 

 

Social Media’s Rich Owners Becoming Doomsday Preppers   Leave a comment

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I read a very interesting article on The Free Thought Project’s website. Read it in full here. Due to the subject matter, I decided to post this on both my main blog and my faith-based blog.

…It goes without saying the world is a far more dangerous place than it was even 6 months ago. As I’ve said for the last two years now, World War III is about to begin. The irony is those of us who live in developed nations, or first world countries are far less prepared than those who reside in developed and underdeveloped nations.

The reason is rather simple: Globalization.

While yes the world is more interconnected, this is a double-edged sword. Take a look ar how The Great Recession from 10 years back had a ripple effect across the world. It’s not like it was 100 years ago when the U.S. could afford to ignore what was going on in Europe. It’s not like it was during the 1930s when the U.S. learned to become self-sufficient while Europe and the Pacific were at war. Even today, the words of the sitting POTUS has the world on the brink of war once again. We are in an era where The State (the federal government) not only lacks the willingness to keep the country together (partisan politics) but is seeking every opportunity to tear the country apart from the inside out (eliminating funding to support services and infranstructure).

I’ll be honest, this is a pretty big topic of interest to me. Not the collapse of civilization but surviving the aftermath. While I was downtown Friday afternoon I spotted some Mennonites and Amish with guides traveling by rail at South Station.  They’ve been living the same way in North America for the last 500 years. I visited the Amish community in Lancaster, PA several times when I was a teenager. The Amish live a modest lifestyle compared to the rest of the U.S. Survivalists and Preppers worldwide unanimously agree the Amish will be prettymuch unaffected should infrustrature elsewhere collapse.

The reason is simple: They are self-sufficient, isolated communities that rarely interact with the outside world for religious reasons (which I will discuss more on my Faith-based blog). Non-Amish are referred to as “English” by the Amish Communities. There are stores, shops, restaurants and education centers for the general public where they can interact with Amish who are allowed regular contact with outsiders. Yes, they strictly regulate how much they interact with the outside world to resist temptation. They take pride in their simple lifestyle and view our dependence on modern technology as a hinderance and an addiction.

…The interesting thing is they’re not entirely wrong about that. Think about it. When you wake up in the morning and get ready for school or work, you will sometimes catch the weather forecast on TV or the radio. What if you didn’t have access to that? What would you do? What about something as “simple” as putting the trash out every week? What would you do if the garbage trucks stopped coming? Let’s say the leg of your favorite wooden chair broke but since it’s unique, you can’t buy a new one. Would you try to fix it or throw it away?

These seem like small things but they are things to think about. The thing about being a Prepper and a survivalist you need to be mindful of is the point isn’t be be 100% self-reliant but enough to be able to sustain yourself or your household as well as help others in need. The former is the biggest myth most who research becoming a survivalist or Prepper misunderstand. Even the Amish don’t life entirely off the grid: A common sight in almost a quarter of the U.S. is seeing horse-drawn carriages sharing local streets and interstate highways with modern vehicles.

Getting back on topic, here are a three big things you should think about in terms of planning ahead during difficult times:

  1. Secondary Dwelling: Until about 50 years ago, owning multiple homes wasn’t that uncommon in the U.S. Of course, times have changed. If you live in the U.S. Northeast alone–New York and Boston in particular–you’re lucky if you can keep ONE roof over your head, nevermind a second. Even so, it could be life-saving to secure a secondary living space outside your area. For example if you live in the U.S. Northeast or Southeast you should think about securing your second home much further inland. If you’re in the Boston area for example, you should look at Western MA, Southeastern Vermont, Upstate New York and points further west. Why? If a tsunami or Category 5 hurricane hits the Boston area, everything from Worcester should expect to be drastically effected. The closer you are to the coast, the more likely your home will be underwater. The same idea applies if you live in Western California: Secure a location in Nevada, Utah, Arizona or eastern Oregon. I am working on this myself (LOL!).
  2. Local Secondary Dwelling: Same idea as the above only much closer to you. This local Dwelling would be a place where you could go if you needed to leave your home but it’s either too dangerous to leave town or just not possible for whatever reason (blocked roads, you’re badly hurt, etc.). A situation where it would make sense to use this would be a man-made disaster such as your area becoming a battlefield or war zone. It would also make sense if your home suddenly became unsafe due to fire or carbon monoxide. Ideally, you want to have at least two possible options in case your route to one is blocked. I have identified one such location within walking distance of my house. Not saying where it is but it’s an outdoor area with shade where tents could be set up. I plan to talk to community organizers of the matter further. I am also working on securing a second location south of Boston.
  3. Emergency or Survival Supply Cache: Goes without saying you want your Secondary and Local Dwellings to be well stocked with enough food, clothing and supplies for you and your household to survive for at least 3 to 6 months. Some preppers are even renting space in a storage buildings and storing supplies in those. In any case, you want your Supply Cache to be away from your home. I’ll talk about what you might want to be in your Supply Cache in just a bit.

 

…Anywho, those are the three big ones. In terms of how you secure a second home or shelter prettymuch, there are some practical options available to you. The most logical to me is finding a land owner with enough land for you to build a home on and making a deal with them. Either you buy the land you want to build on from them or you ask them for permission to build a home on their property. If they agree to let you build on their land, it goes without saying you will cover all expenses and compensate for an inconveninces from the construction. Same if they agree to sell you enough land to build a home on. What kind of person would have land like that to spare? I’m thinking of farm, ranch, orchard and vineyard owners. As a bonus, you get access to a renewable food source =O

Moving on, here’s an overview of what your Supply Cache should have:

  • Large First Aid Kit (Containing Bandages, Sterilizers, Clean Water and various  Medicines)
  • Two Medical Textbooks–one on Human Anatomy, the other on Medicines
  • 3 to 6 months worth of drinking water (for drinking and cooking)
  • 3 to 6 months worth of Clean Water (For bathing and cleaning)
  • 3 to 6 months worth of non-perishable foodstuffs
  • 3 to 6 months worth of Baby Formula and/or Baby Food*
  • 3 to 6 months worth of Disposable Diapers*
  • 2 to 4 sets of clothing per season
  • 3 to 6 months worth of hygenic care items (Soap, deodorant, toothpaste and so on)
  • Pillows and Blankets
  • A tent or a sleeping bag
  • A portable stove (for cooking)
  • 2 to 4 flashlights and electric lamps + batteries
  • Retail Electric Generator (Can be bought in a Micro Center or other electronics store)
  • 2 Portable Power Banks (If you have a JBL Charge, they double as one)
  • Cooking and Eating Utensils
  • An Axe or a Sledgehammer (For breaking open a door or window and Protection)
  • A Machete, Short Sword or other bladed weapon (For Protection)
  • A Firearm + Ammunition (For Protection but not reccommended)
  • Notebooks and Pens or Pencils

 

* If a member of the group is pregnant or there is a baby under 3 years old in the group.

…Pretty sure that will cover most, if not all of your survival needs. Depending on your area or who’s in your group you may need put other things in the kit.

The reason getting a gun is not reccommended is because you will run out of ammo eventually. That’s the main one. Another is the noise firing a gun will make. You don’t want to attract unwanted attention. Finally, if you’re forced into a skirmish with people using melee weapons you’re at a big disadvantage. Handgun or rifle, you will need to be in a fixed position to get a clean shot off. Melee weapons don’t have such a handicap. Even if the hostiles are out of melee range they could rush you before you can aim and fire. This is just assuming you’re against one person. Two or more, you can’t watch all of them at the same time.

Moving on, one of the biggest fantasies people have about surviving a cataclysmic event is becoming a lone wolf and living off the land, sleeping in the wilderness and foraging what you need as you go. Big mistake. The real trick to surviving is finding a safe place to shelter in place. Ideally, your own home. If that’s not possible for whatever reason you’ll want to find a preferably abandoned or unoccupied house to take shelter in and fortify. You’ll want to secure the premises be it your own home or one you find.

This went on much longer than intended but it was an overview more or less. I’ll get into specifics across my two blogs over time.

 

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The Boston Celtics end the 2016-17 Season on top of the East; Playoffs begin April 15   Leave a comment

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Here are the 16 teams that made the cut. The Heat became the odd team out in the East with the Pacers and Bulls both winning their final games of the season. The Celtics clinched the top spot in the East tonight after the Cavs lost their final game of the season (LBJ, JR Smith and Kevin Love all sat out the game). The Celtics, on the other hand won their last game and yes Isaiah Thomas played (LOL!).

Like the last two years, it’s question of who can upset the Warriors and the Cavs–the odds-on favorites to return to the NBA Finals for the third year in a row–which as of right now appears to be nobody. Remember: The Cavs went full-power and curb-stomped the Celtics in Boston last week just to assert their dominence in the East and remind everyone they are the defending NBA Champions. It quickly made you forget the fact the Celtics beat both the Cavs and Warriors on the road last season (Ending the Warriors’ then 34-game win streak in the process).

Speaking of the home team, at the very least they should make it out of the first round this year. It pleases me greatly to know the third overall pick of the 2016-17 NBA Draft–Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown–will be going to the NBA Playoffs while Brandon Ingram (LA Lakers) and Ben Simmons (76ers), who were drafted ahead of him will watch the playoffs from home. I delight in the irony given the 2016-17 draft was viewed as a 2-man draft in referral to Simmons and Ingram. Simmons got hurt during the preseason and missed most of the season while mismanagement within the Lakers front office ensured they would have a losing record once again. LOL.

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….Back to talking about Celtics Basketball though.

Despite the criticism the Celtics received for “only” getting Al Horford, keeping two of their six Draft picks (Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier) and stashing the three they kept in Europe or the D-League (Ben Bentil, Gerchon Jabusele and Ante Zizic) the Celtics are in the same position they were last year: Having the assets to literally get anyone they want.

Looking at the playoff picture (and assuming Avery Bradley doesn’t get hurt like he did the last two years LOL), they should get past the Bulls in 5 or 6 games. It helps they have Homecourt advantage. This will make it the first time the Celtcs get out of the first round since Brad Stevens became head coach of the team (falling to the Hawks the last two straight years).

The Wizards are predicted to advance to the second round so they would play the Celtics after their series with the Hawks. The Raptors and Cavs will have their rematch of last year’s ECF in the second round. The Celtics would be looking to get some revenge on John Wall and Bradley Beal in the Second round series. If the Celtics can get past the Wizards in the second round they’ll likely face the Cavs in the ECF.

…Celtics vs. Cavs in the ECF would be a huge draw =O

Once the NBA Playoffs ends, the big question to be asked is “Will the Celtics pull the trigger on getting a superstar this time?!” Only Danny Ainge knows. Many signs point to yes ^_^

Anime Boston 2016 Full Recap   Leave a comment

Anime Boston Banner

Up to now, I did each day in a separate post. AB2016 was more of a blur for me mostly because of how I decided to use my time at the convention and the fact that I was a panelist for the 5th year in a row. This was my first time doing the convention with no budget. The only reason I was able to get through the weekend is because I commuted from home. I can’t imagine I would have been able to get through the weekend if I was in a hotel room because of the added expenses that comes with that. I digress. My financial problems aside, overall I had a pleasant experience.

Anyone who was there and/or followed the goings-on via the Anime Boston Social Facebook Group–which by the way is run and maintained by congoers, NOT the convention itself–was quickly made aware of the lines to get into the Hynes, which were an unfortunate side effect from the increased security presence in the Hynes Convention Center. For those who didn’t know, there was an incident at the Hynes last summer involving a mass shooting plot. Due to this and the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013, security was stepped up for Anime Boston 2016.

Before I continue, the rest of this recap will be broken up into several categories. Those who are familiar with my Video Game Blog know when I review things, I rate them on a scale of 1 to 10. The same will be done for each category I score below.

Line Flow – 4/10

Easily issue #1 at AB2016. It was atrocious. I heard two particular horror stories that struck a nerve from two folks who gave their experience at the Convention Feedback on Sunday after Closing Ceremonies. For those who don’t know, Convention Feedback is held after Closing Ceremonies in room 208 from 4:00PM to 5:00PM. The heads of all of Anime Boston’s departments, the chair and vice chair are there to listen to your feedback and answer any questions you may have. I’m giving this its own section so I’ll leave it at that for now.

Back to this though: Unlike years’ past, the line problems were exclusively around getting into the con. AB’s had a crapton of bad luck in recent years with the security subcontractors the Hynes hires. This year was possibly the worst yet. I followed the goings-on via Facebook on my cellphone. It was painfully clear most of the security detail didn’t want to be there. After the Prudential Center as usual made noise about the mall entrance to the Hynes being so backed up it became a fire hazard, AB Staff closed the entrance at intervals and moved everyone to the Boylston st. Entrance.

The root cause of the problem, of course was the security checkpoints. For many, it took them 30 minutes minimum to get into the Hynes. It goes without saying those who got in avoided leaving the Hynes unless they had to in order to avoid the line that oftentimes wrapped around the side of the building. I want to again stress the root cause of the lines is the security checkpoints which Anime Boston has no control over.

Unfortunately, they will remain until enough people decide they don’t want to live like that anymore. You will need to contact State Lawmakers and the Hynes and let them know how much the security checkpoints effected your ability to enjoy the convention. Increased security has become the norm since 9/11 but the problem is it’s never lowered once raised. If you don’t speak out, the powers that be see no reason to lower them. That’s the trick, actually.

Here’s some food for thought for those who don’t see this as a “problem”: I have attended the Boston Marathon in the 3 years since the bombing in 2013. Boston Police has security checkpoints all over Copley Square, which is the finish line. As you can probably guess, hundreds of thousands of spectators converge at the finish line–easily much more than Anime Boston’s 25,000 to 30,000 attendees each year–to watch the runners finish the race.

How long does it take to pass through security? 5 minutes max. No metal detectors. No one yelling at you. They check your bag, wand you and you’re on your way in 30 seconds tops. Same city. Same area. Different mindset. I posed the question on Anime Boston’s forums a short time ago to see if changing who does security would help.

Dining Options – 4/10

…For those who didn’t know, the Prudential Center’s food court was closed in the summer of 2015 and was replaced with an Eataly, which is a hybrid Supermarket and Restaurant. Still under construction at the time, this slashed the dinining options for congoers, the majority of whom were either on a budget or like me had no food budget (LOL). This is actually outside Anime Boston’s juristiction but I felt the need to mention it anyway as a Boston native myself.

 

Video Selections – 8/10

As in years past, AB2016 offered a mix of mainstream dubbed anime, mainstream subbed anime and new anime of both types being introduced at the con. All courtesy of the industry of course. One Punch Man was a huge draw of course. Most of the anime, I’d say most Congoers had at least heard of overall. It was nice to see Summer Wars, Angel Beats, Ouran High School Host Club, Spice & Wolf and The Last: Naruto the Movie among the featured anime. I say that because I own ALL of them ^_^

My Panels – 7/10

I decided to mark my 5th staight year as a panelist by doing two panels I’ve done before. One was of course my Clannad panel. The other was my Persona 4 Panel, which I also did at AB2014. Attendance at both was pretty good. Unike AB2015 there were no delays with the start times (WOOT!) and even better, no major technical problems (LOL!). Steam randomly decided to do an update when I did a demonstration of the Clannad VN on my laptop. One lucky Congoer got to play the first 15 minutes of the Clannad VN =O

…Fortunately, I had planned to do my Q&A at the same time so it was a minor delay. It was my 5th and likely final time doing my Clannad panel at Anime Boston. Now that the Clannad VN has (FINALLY!) been released in North America, I felt it was a good time to retire the panel. Even though most of the friends I made because of Clannad have since moved on to other fandoms, it will always be my favorite Anime of all time.

My Persona 4 panel is why I rated this secfion a 7/10: I ended up having to change a few things on the fly. I DID allow two Congoers to sample Persona 4 Golden and Persona 4: Dancing All Night during my Q&A session (As a reminder, I have two Vitas). I also gave away my Persona Arcana deck at the end of the panel. I consider myself lucky even though I had an hour I only used 45 minutes. I feel like with my Persona panel I did a bit too much improvising. In comparison, when I did my Clannad panel the next morning I was feeling extremely comfortable.

Dealer’s Room – N/A

As I mentioned at the top I was broke going into AB2016 so I basically avoided the dealer’s room like The Plague. The one time I remember setting foot in there was for a pre-arranged item swap with a friend of mine working one of the booths. I did chat with the owner of Comicopia for a few minutes on Sunday now that I’m thinking about it.

Convention Feedback – 10/10

Convention organizers did not shy away from the widely reported horror stories involving Line Flow and the Security Firm hired to handle security for the weekend. It goes without saying it took up almost all of the alotted time. AB was in full-on damage control, which when you think about it was pretty unfair since they have no control over the security checkpoints. I was impressed but unsurprised the feedback session had a large turnout. Most of those who provided feedback either shared their experience in what’s been dubbed LineCon 2.0.

Huge props to event organizers on a job well done. They knew going in what the main topic was going to be and they handled the criticism like professionals. On that note, it’s worth pointing out NONE of AB staff are paid including the department heads. It’s all a labor of love ^_^

 

Overall – 8/10

Despite the bottleneck at the security checkpoints things went pretty well. Despite being broke, I had a good time. Of course, being broke meant I had no reason to leave the Hynes until I was ready to go home. I didn’t mind not being able to go in the Dealer’s Room but I DID mind not having the money to buy food. Never again. LOL.
…And there you have it.

Ironically, I posted this 5 days before AB2017. I seriously forgot about it due to problems in my personal life before, during and since AB2016. As it happens, for a while I faced the reality I would not make it to AB2017. Then I got my tax return ^_^

This year I have a little bit of money so I’ll be able to eat, travel and do a little shopping in the Dealer’s Room. I actually entertained getting a hotel room for Saturday night but in the end I have decided not to. Instead, I’ll take a cab from Forest Hills Saturday night like I’ve done in the past. It also helps my birthday is the Thursday of pre-registration so…yeah. LOL.

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Review: Power Rangers (Movie, 2017)   Leave a comment

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Yours truly got the see the movie the morning of its launch March 24, 2017.

To get the 3 biggest things out the way now:

  1.  Amy Jo Johnson (Played the original Pink Ranger) and Jason David Frank (Played the original Green and White Rangers) make a cameo appearance together after the Power Rangers beat Rita Repulsa and Goldar. They’re standing with the crowd of people gathered to take pictures of the Megazord.
  2. Speaking of cameos: Alpha 5 says the iconic “Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!” a few times in the movie, which was the catchphrase of the original Alpha 5 in the 1992 TV series. Rita also says “Make my monster grow!” and laughs maniacally as Goldar makes his appearance.
  3. The post-credit teaser confirms there WILL be a second movie and Tommy Oliver will presumably play a key role then.

 

Speaking of the Green Ranger, remember this?

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In the movie, it’s comfirmed Rita Repulsa was the first Green Ranger. 65 Million Years Ago, Zordon was the first Red Ranger. He and the other Rangers battled Rita Repulsa, who betrayed the team and killed them all. Everyone including Zordon would fall to Rita, who betrayed the other Rangers because of her lust for more power. Using the last of his strength, Zordon seals away the Power Coins just as a blast of power rips Rita’s body apart and hurls her into the sea. The place where this epic battle took place would later be known as Angel Grove (of course).

A huge nod to the TV series only those familiar with the original franchise would have caught: Rita sought the Zeo Crystals (!), which had been hidden somewhere in present-day Angel Grove. At the end of the Mighty Morphin’ storyline, The Rangers were sent back in time to retreive the five Zeo Crystals. They would harness their power to become the Zeo Rangers. In the reimagined storyline, the Zeo Crystals are connected to the Morphing Grid. Whosoever possesses them will gain unimaginable power.

That aside, Rita says something really interesting just before she’s literally slapped into space by the Megazord: “Others will come after me.” While the movie’s plot was a closely guarded secret (props to Saban and Lionsgate for that), there were rumors Lord Zedd might make a cameo appearance. On that note, apparently the plan is to make the Power Rangers movieverse a 6-movie franchise. The right tone was set in this one if you ask me.

Anywho it’s probably fair to say Tommy Oliver will be a prominent character in the second movie (which Lionsgate has apparently already greenlit to happen) which obviously means Elizabeth Banks will reprise the role of Rita Repulsa. Speaking of, she did one hell of a job. All questions about weather or not Banks could pull it off were answered by her performance. She made Rita a twisted character and gave you plenty of reasons why she’s one bad…well, you know.  Remember the clip released last year of her throwing Trini around her bedroom? One of her lines during that encounter was “I’ve killed Rangers before.” This isn’t just in referral to the opening minutes of the movie. I won’t spoil what happens about 15 minutes later but someone kinda kicks the bucket.

…At the end of the day, if you are a fan of the original series I think you can rest easy. Don’t go by objective reviews. See the movie and judge it for yourself. On that note, I give the film a 9/10. Only reason it didn’t get a 10 is because there was no remixed Power Rangers theme music.

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Rap and Hip Hop’s Dark History: Hijacked by Greed   Leave a comment

 

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…Right.

This is the first of what will probably be a monthly series on the subject of Rap and Hip Hop’s evolution. I’ve thought about doing this for some time and more so after I wrote that blog post on why I never liked BET. I plan to write on this topic through June ^_^

Before we can talk about Hip Hop’s history over the last 30 years, we first need to talk about its origins. For those who do not know, Rap is basically poetry over beats. Rap as a genre dates back hundreds of years. Like Rock & R0ll, Blues and Jazz, its origins are African. The difference is unlike those three genres, it was not white-washed when it became popular in the U.S. Not until very recently, anyway.

Before it was…”re-discovered” in the Bronx in 1983, Hip Hop was lost to time. Much of that was due to the slave trade in West Africa that saw over 15 million Africans forced from their homes, packed on boats and sent to The Americas as slaves against their will. Before Slavery ravaged Africa, Hip Hop was used as a form of spoken word to preserve the histories of families, tribes, nations and traditions. Written literature did exist but it was far more efficient to use hip hop and rap to preserve and convey important and practical information.

When Africans were brought to the U.S., they used music to keep the old traditions alive as well as to communicate in secret under the watchful eyes of their new masters and overseers. The rise of Abolitionist Movement during the 19th Century saw most African American Slaves stripped of what was a way of life for them. They would begin to regain that lost knowledge before and during The Great Depression. As time marched on, old traditions long lost to time began to resurface.

 

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…It would be fair to say that Hip Hop was re-discovered in 1983 in the Bronx. Talk to anyone in the Bronx today and they will tell you that what Hip Hop was in the span of time from 1985 to about…I wanna say 2009 was not what Hip Hop was back then. What happened? Greed, that’s what. The Music industry wanting a piece of the pie and the allure of fame were the main reasons but they weren’t the only reasons Rap changed so suddenly and drastically in the mid-80s.

The message and Hip Hop’s purpose were what changed. Remember what I said at the top: Rap is basically poetry over beats. In the early years Hip Hop was used as a way to talk about politics, where you came from, who you are and what you’re about. You had rappers and artists talking about real issues, empowerment and learning from the mistakes of others. NWA’s “Express Yourself” is pointed to from that era as a song with positive messages though of course you had your occasional diss tracks. They were nowhere near as direct and person as they would become a few years later though.

Starting in 1985, we would see a dramatic shift in how Rap and Hip Hop would be used and how it would be viewed and consumed. People like to blame Public Enemy and later NWA for the dramatic shift but it would be more accurate to say the intentions of those who got into “The Rap Game”–and I will talk about this in a separate blog–were motivated by fame and fortune more than anything else.

…To Be Continued.

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