Sometimes, the days of the week just line up perfectly. Like the years in which Halloween is on a Saturday or the 4th of July is on a Friday, everything just falls into place perfectly. For me, who identifies as both a comic book fan and a Star Wars fan, a year when new comic book day falls on or the day after May 4th is just too perfect.
For those of you who don’t know, May 4th is also known as Star Wars Day. It’s an annual celebration of the stories we love about a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. If you were on social media at any point yesterday, you likely saw people saying something like “May the 4th be with you.” That’s just Star Wars fans celebratory and being coy. It’s a beautiful thing.
The fact this is happening right before new comic book day this year just makes it even more special. Like many other Star Wars fans, I have more than my share of Star Wars comics in my collection. I also rarely need a reason to go back and watch my favorite episodes of shows like “The Mandalorian” or “The Clone Wars.” If I can do that and read a new stack of comics, then that’s a day well spent.
So, if you’re either a Star Wars fan or a comic book fan, today is a special day. If you happen to be a fan of both, it’s extra special. Find a way to celebrate and enjoy it. It’s not often the calendar works out this way. Cherish it as best you can. May the Force be with you all and here’s my pull list for this extra special new comic book day. Enjoy!
The following are a couple of new videos for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. These videos are actually an experiment, of sorts. Since I’ve started my channel, I’ve explored all sorts of topics to discuss. I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll focus on with this channel, but I do want that focus to be on something I love.
As it just so happens, I do love video games. One game, in particular, is a mobile game called “Marvel Strike Force.” I’ve been playing it for years and I really enjoy it. I’ve also seen a number of other channels stream themselves doing various types of gameplay. Having just recently learned the right kind of video editing software, I thought I’d give it a try.
The two videos below are me making my way through the Dark Dimension IV levels of Marvel Strike Force. These are some of the hardest parts of the game and it took a long time, just to develop my team to a point where I could manage. I do plan on sharing the gameplay from other nodes. I didn’t include any commentary, but if you’d like me to add that in future videos, please let me know.
Here is me completing Node 11. This one was trickier and I forgot to turn off notifications, so you’ll see some graphics here and there. To those playing this game at this level, I hope it helps!
Recently, I finally took the plunge and bought some Bitcoin. I even wrote shared the experience. Overall, it wasn’t that groundbreaking. It didn’t involve a radical rethinking of how I used or thought about money. It was not that different from depositing money in a new account from an ATM. The account in this case just happened to be Bitcoin.
Since then, I’ve bought more Bitcoin. To date, I have a couple hundred bucks in my lone Bitcoin wallet. I’m still using BRD, which is one of the simplest wallets you can get. I have looked into getting others that have more features, but many of them seem to be more trouble than they’re worth.
That may change. I am quite interested in what BitPay has to offer with some of their services, but for now, I’m content to stick with BRD.
However, since I bought my Bitcoins, one issue has come up and I suspect it’s still the primary issue that most people face when they first get involved in this. It’s probably the same issue that prevents a lot of people from getting into it to begin with.
How do I spend my Bitcoins once I have them?
It’s the main issue that all these cryptocurrencies face. Getting them and securing them is challenging enough. Actually spending them like real money is still a challenge. While there are some noteworthy merchants that accept Bitcoin, most major retail outlets do not. You cannot use Bitcoin at Amazon or WalMart or even a standard grocery store just yet. Until that changes, its use will be limited.
This is what kept me from buying much of anything with my Bitcoins. Then, I discovered a useful tool that has helped make that easier and I think it’s worth sharing. While it’s true that companies like Amazon and Apple don’t accept Bitcoin directly, you can still use them. You just have to do it indirectly.
One way to do this is to use a site I found called Bitrefill. What it does is simple. You just use your Bitcoins to purchase digital gift cards for popular retail outlets. It works like this.
Step 1: Go to Bitrefill.com and browse the various gift card options, which includes the likes of Amazon and Walmart.
Step 2: Pick a gift card, choose an amount, and enter your Bitcoin account information for the desired amount, which is usually around $50 to $100.
Step 3: Complete the purchase and wait for the gift card code to come in via email. Then, just add the amount to your existing account.
For those who buy most of their stuff on Amazon, this is a quick way to turn your Bitcoins into something spendable. There are a few other workarounds, like Moon and Purse.io, but I’ve found this to be the easiest. There’s even a similar website called CoinsBee that allows you to do the same to your Apple iTunes account.
Basically, if you know how to send or spend gift cards, you can spend Bitcoin. Does it require a few extra steps from traditional cash? Yes, it does, but you can still spend it.
That may still raise the question as to why bother with Bitcoin in the first place. If it’s just adding an extra step between you and the retailers you prefer, then what’s the point? Well, this is where I’d like to share another part of my Bitcoin experience.
After buying my first batch, the price went up. I don’t know why, but it did. Suddenly, the first hundred bucks I put in was worth $125. That was great. It was downright thrilling. Granted, it did go down to around $103, but it was still impactful in a major way.
That’s because Bitcoin, unlike traditional money, fluctuates in value. Many see it as a reason why they don’t buy in. It’s just too volatile. I can understand that, but I also understand the impact of inflation.
If you go to your bank account right now and look at your money, you won’t see it change much in terms of value. However, inflation does ensure that its value goes down. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s just basic economics. Over time, most fiat currency loses value. That has been the trend for nearly a century.
With Bitcoin, it fluctuates. One day, it has more value. The other, it has less. You’ll win on some days, but lose with others. With regular cash, though, you always lose. You don’t lose nearly as much. Most of the time, it happens so slowly that you don’t even notice. Even so, losing is still losing.
The Bitcoins I have now may only be worth a few hundred bucks. By this time next year, they could be worth a lot more. That’s even more money I can convert to Amazon or WalMart gift cards. There’s also a chance the price could crash, as it has before, but given the finite nature of Bitcoin, there’s more incentive for its value to increase rather than decrease.
That doesn’t mean its value will always go up. There’s still a non-zero chance that Bitcoin’s value could stall or outright collapse, as other currencies have in the past. That’s why I’m not converting all my money into Bitcoin anytime soon.
For the time being, though, I’m satisfied and encouraged by my Bitcoin experience. I also encourage others to get into it as well, if only to get a feel for it. Hopefully, the sites I’ve listed here will help you get some use out of your Bitcoins. Money is a powerful force in this world. So long as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies keep operating as such, they’ll have a part in our future. Now is as good a time as any to carve your place in that future.
Football fans are a special breed of fan. I can say this because I’ve been a football fan all my life. I also come from a long line of passionate football fans that include my dad, my grandfather, my uncle, and my siblings. For us, watching football on Sundays during the fall isn’t just something we do on the weekends. It’s a genuine passion.
There are those who just watch football because it’s something to watch on the weekend and there isn’t much else happening on a Sunday afternoon. That’s perfectly fine. Then, there are the fans who keep following the game closely, even after the end of the Super Bowl. Those fans often start paying attention to the NFL Draft before the confetti stops falling.
I am that kind of fan. As such, the NFL Draft is an exciting time.
Yes, it’s mostly just people in suits announcing the new players they’ve selected from college. There’s no football actually being played and no choices they make actually guarantee any improvement for any team. Just look up Ryan Leaf for proof of that.
It doesn’t matter. It’s still exciting. For passionate football fans like me, these past few days have gotten me more hyped for the upcoming season. That’s the biggest selling point of the draft. It gives fans of every team hope that their team will improve and compete for a Super Bowl. There can only ever be one champion, but the draft makes us all feel just a bit closer to that goal.
It may not be the sexiest event in all of sports, but for football fans, it’s a step closer to more football. For us, you can’t get much sexier. In celebration of the 2021 NFL Draft, here are some Sexy Sunday Thoughts to help add to the hype. Enjoy!
“When you think about it, rebound sex can be both an anti-depressant and a victory lap.”
“A janitor who can still get laid is more impressive than anything celebrities do.”
“Staying married to the same person for a lifetime requires that two people channel both their passions and their horniness.”
“Couples who make out in public are either very much in love or very poor at impulse control.”
“To some extent, foreplay is a form of reconnaissance.”
“Genital piercings are humanity’s way of complicating evolution.”
“The fact that a woman can sell her used panties and a man cannot do the same with his jock strap implies that we’ll never have true gender equality.”
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s the latest entry in my ongoing Jack’s Comic Gems series in which I highlight a quality gem from the world of comics. This one brings to light a gem from the world of Duke Nukem, a video game character who hasn’t been relevant since the 90s. However, he still managed to be part of an unexpectedly good comic. I was surprised too, but in a good way. Enjoy!
Believe me, I had opinions on a number of issues, but I didn’t think sharing them would be very productive. Even with the benefit of hindsight, I think that was the right choice.
Now, the election is over. I know some people still haven’t accepted that, but the votes are in. Like it or not, we’re moving forward and a number of issues are not going away. Some are bound to get worse. One issue, I believe, that is almost certain to get more touchy is abortion.
I’d even go so far to say there’s a good chance that Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion in the United States, will get overturned in the next two years. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s much more possible now than it was at this time last year. When that happens, the whole abortion debate will shift significantly.
However, the implications of that act is not what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to highlight one particular aspect of the abortion debate that never seems to get raised. I think there’s a not-so-subtle reason for that, but that’s exactly why I want to highlight it. It comes down to a simple question.
Why don’t anti-abortion advocates talk about vasectomies?
It’s not an irrelevant question. I would even argue it’s a question you can’t avoid if you’re primary goal is to reduce the number of abortions by any means necessary. I understand why making it illegal is the primary goal for the anti-abortion/pro-life crowd, but that cannot be the end of the debate.
Again, we have real-world examples of what happens when abortion is banned. They’re not pretty.
I’m still willing to set that aside for the sake of this question. I’ll even work under the assumption that those who identify as pro-life/anti-abortion are sincere when they say that abortion is the taking of a human life. I have reasons to question that assumption, but I’ll go with it anyways.
If you’re really serious about reducing abortion or just flat out ending it altogether, why not discuss vasectomies? By their nature, they eliminate the need for abortion.
A man with a vasectomy is exceedingly unlikely to impregnate a woman. It doesn’t matter how reckless and irresponsible they are with their sex life. The way vasectomies work ensure no sperm will ever come close to an egg. Even if you believe life begins at conception, this is critical. It means no abortion happens and no life is harmed.
Now, why am I singling out vasectomies instead of tubal ligation, which is the female equivalent? There is a reason for that and I promise it has nothing to do with sexism. It has more to do with logistics.
It’s simply cheaper and more effective. In addition, there’s also the matter of women being the one who bear the brunt of child-rearing for nine months at a time. Compared to that nine months of rigor, I think it’s also just more fair that men endure a few days of discomfort. That’s just my opinion, though.
Those opinions aside, I bring this back to the question at hand. Why aren’t anti-abortion activists talking about this? If they wanted to reduce abortions, shouldn’t they push for more men to get vasectomies? Should the male anti-abortion activists lead by example and get them as well?
That’s not to say this advocates full-blown sterilization. Both vasectomies and tubal ligation are reversible. Granted, it means undergoing another invasive procedure, but that will essentially guarantee that they’re serious about having children. They want a child and that matters a lot in the abortion debate.
In the not-too-distant future, men won’t even need to freeze their sperm. They can just provide a cell sample, let a lab make sperm from that, and proceed to utilize standard in vitro to conceive children. Thanks to genetic screening technology like CRISPR, it might even produce healthier children overall.
All this would reduce, if not eliminate, the need for an abortion. This isn’t new technology. Vasectomies have been around a long time and, if anti-abortion activists were to push it, they could also support the development of technology like Vasalgel, which is basically a less invasive method that achieves the same result.
So, with all that being said, why don’t anti-abortion activists ever mention vasectomies? Why do they focus so much on the woman getting the abortion rather than the man who made it necessary?
There are many reasons for that, some more obvious than others. Many are mostly unspoken and indirect. There are those who simply oppose abortion because it removes consequences from promiscuous sex. If abortion had nothing to do with promiscuity, I doubt they would be as vocal.
In both cases, the issue isn’t entirely about abortion. It’s about the effects it leads to.
It’s understandable why that component of the anti-abortion stance don’t mention vasectomies. It’s for that reason I feel the question should be asked to those who don’t fall under that domain.
If abortion truly is a matter of life and death, as many anti-abortion activists sincerely believe, then shouldn’t any measure be on the table? A vasectomy, in this context, could both save life and ensure that no life is unnecessarily lost. Why not be more vocal about it?
For men concerned about fathering unwanted children, it wouldn’t be too hard a sell. If anti-abortion organizations even offered to pay for men in poverty to get vasectomies who wanted them, then wouldn’t that reduce abortion?
I don’t ask these questions to be facetious. With the abortion issue sure to face upheavals in the next few years, I think these sorts of questions are worth confronting. The longer the go unaddressed, the worse the abortion debate will get, along with the myriad of effects that surround it.
I’m a long-time romance fan. I hope I’ve made that abundantlyclearby now. I’m also still striving to become a romance writer. Between the books I’ve written and the sexy short stories I’ve told, the ideas are there, as well as the effort. This passion of mine has not changed, despite the deeply demoralizing impact of 2020.
I know things got quite bleak last year. I don’t deny all that bleakness got to me. There really was no guide to how to deal with a once-in-a-century pandemic. Once things started getting locked down and people I knew fell ill, it really hit me hard. This was bad. This was historically bad. Naturally, it seriously undermined my ability to enjoy romance.
Romance is about connection, hope, and intimacy. The events of the pandemic were the complete antithesis of all of that. It was not easy to navigate, to say the least. That’s coming from someone who was lucky enough to not get it.
To that end, I’d like to share a real life love story that captured all the right feels for romantics and non-romantics alike. On top of that, it’s a love story that played out during the worst parts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s quite possibly the least romantic setting imaginable, but love still found a way.
This story comes courtesy of NJ.com and involves an elderly couple who’d known each other for years, but found love during the worst possible times. Check out the story for yourself. If it doesn’t warm your hardened heart, then I question your humanity.
This is a story on how it is never too late to find love, and how even the worst of times can serve as the catalyst.
Bill Biega is 98. Iris Ivers is 91.
Their longtime friendship was blossoming into romance by March 2020. That’s when the coronavirus pandemic prompted a stay-at-home order at the Applewood continuing care retirement community in Freehold, where they resided in separate apartments.
Bill and Iris quickly realized they couldn’t stay apart, resulting in an awkward encounter more befitting a college dorm.
“A security guard caught me sneaking back into my apartment,” explained Bill Biega, who will turn 99 in July.
The guard told him that everyone on the floor knew what was going on and gave the furtive couple a choice: Move in together, or stay apart indefinitely.
Iris packed up her belongings and joined Bill in his apartment the next day.
Just over a year later, both are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The stay-at-home order has been lifted but Bill and Iris are still living together, a choice prompted by a pandemic that neither could have imagined. A ray of light, amid so much loss.
Iris described Bill’s one-bedroom apartment as “cozy for two.”
“I can’t imagine us not being together, as long as we can be. We’re also realistic, and we know that we’re not getting any younger,” Iris said.
I’ll say it again. Love is a beautiful thing. It’s also powerful. Even the worst pandemic in a century can’t stop it. At a time when we’re all starting to emerge from this year-long nightmare, we need stories like this. We need to be reminded that love is real and people can find it, even during the worst situations.
Let’s take comfort in that as we build a new normal.
To Bill and Iris, thank you for sharing this story. We all needed it.
I’m a morning person, by nature. I know that makes me a freak to some people and I totally get that. I’ve met people who just can’t function properly before eight in the morning. I’m just not one of them. Ever since high school, I’ve been wired to get up before six and start doing whatever I need to do for my day.
That hasn’t just helped me with school, work, hobbies, and what not. It has nicely supplemented my love of comics, especially since Comixology entered the picture. I’ve lamented before how agonizing it was in ancient times before the internet. Back then, if you couldn’t get to a comic shop, which rarely opened before ten in the morning, you had to wait for your comics to arrive in the mail.
Except, they almost never arrived on time. In fact, a comic arriving on a Wednesday afternoon was something to be celebrated.
I don’t miss those days. Being a morning person, New Comic Book Day was less an event and more a test in frustration. That’s why Comixology has been such a godsend. Now, when I wake up early like I always do, I have my new comics waiting for me on my iPad. It’s a beautiful thing and I just love starting my Wednesday mornings with coffee and comics while watching the sun rise.
Even if you’re not a morning person, these are good times to be a comic fan. It has never been easier to get into. If you have an internet connection or a smartphone, you can immerse yourself in the world of comics. You don’t have to take in everything all at once. It can start with one Wednesday morning. Why not make it this one?
To assist, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It is my full review and reaction to “Falcon And The Winter Soldier,” which just finished its first season on Disney Plus. I know reviewed multiple episodes of “WandaVision,” but I had a hard time stopping myself from speculating after every episode. I didn’t want to do that with this one, so I waited until the series was complete.
Overall, I’m glad I did. This show was really something. It also got me plenty excited for the future of the MCU and yes, that means more wild speculating in this video, as well as plenty others. Enjoy!
For years, it was difficult to get too excited about movies based on video games. To say the track record of those movies is sub-par would be exceedingly generous. Unlike superhero movies, there weren’t any real gems that set too high a bar. There was no classic 1978 style “Superman” to point to as a gold standard or even a high point from a previous era.
By and large, video game movies have always sucked. I say that as someone who saw multiple “Resident Evil” movies in theaters. Trust me. That money would’ve been better spent renting the old games.
However, that finally seemed to change last year with the success of “Sonic The Hedgehog.” For the first time, a movie based on a video game was genuinely enjoyable for both casual movie-goers and fans of the game. It captured the spirit of the characters, told a compelling story, and was generally entertaining from start to finish.
Now, video game franchises have an example in which a movie based on a game didn’t suck. It gave me real hope that this could start a large trend. Finally, when Hollywood decides to make a movie based on a popular video game, we don’t have to assume it’ll be awful, underwhelming, or a wasted opportunity.
That’s why I dared myself to have high hopes for “Mortal Kombat.” When I saw the first trailer, I felt like this movie had the right look, effects, and story capture everything that makes this franchise so iconic. It was distinctly different from the previoustwo movies that came out in the 1990s. Those movies were cheesy as hell and did plenty to water down the violence.
This movie had a chance to embrace the bloody, brutal aesthetics to the utmost. As such, this legendary fighting game, known for its graphic violence and pissing off certain politicians, was in a good position to further the trend that “Sonic The Hedgehog” started. I made it a point to set up my living room, just as I did for Zack Snyder’s “Justice League,” to take it all in. I went into this movie with a hopeful optimism that I never once dared for a video game movie.
Unfortunately, I think I might have been too optimistic.
I’ll even go a step further. I may have let my love of “Sonic The Hedgehog” make me forget how difficult it is to translate a video game franchise into a movie.
That’s because, by and large, I was very underwhelmed by “Mortal Kombat.” It wasn’t awful. This movie was certainly no “Super Mario Brothers.” It was just so frustratingly mediocre. The basics are there, but not much more than that. If you were expecting something bigger, bolder, or innovative with this movie, you’re going to be disappointed.
In terms of the story, there won’t be any surprises to those with a passing familiarity of Mortal Kombat lore. For centuries, there has been a secret tournament featuring the best fighters in all of Earthrealm and Outworld. The forces of Outworld, led by Shang Tsunge and Shoa Khan, seek to invade and conquer Earthrealm. In order to achieve this, they need to win one more tournament.
There’s actually a lot more history and complexity to that story, which the games have masterfully fleshed out over the years. However, there’s none of that in this movie. For the most part, it only tells first parts of that story with just a handful of familiar characters.
Plenty of the classics are there, such as Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Sonya Blade, Jax, Kano, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Raiden. The problem is they’re really no the driving force of that story. It’s mostly driven by Cole Young, who is not a character from any of the games. While he is a descendant of Scorpion, his story is just so plain and generic. He’s basically a Diet-Scorpion, minus the flaming skull and hell-warrior persona.
In other words, Cole lacks pretty much all of Scorpion’s most awesome traits. Yet, the movie gives him the most screen time?
I’ve got nothing against Cole. He was a decent catalyst for the events of the movie. He just was not that interesting. He was not someone who would get lifelong Mortal Kombat fans excited. If anything the opening sequence that told Scorpion’s origin story comes off as an elaborate misdirect.
You thought you were going to see Scorpion’s story play out in this movie? Well, you’re mistaken. He doesn’t show up again until the end and he’s basically just a Deus Ex Machina for the plot. As someone who wasted many quarters playing Scorpion in the arcades back in the 1990s, I felt like he deserved better.
On top of that, Cole being the protagonist basically ensured this movie did a lot of telling rather than showing. He just gets dragged along the plot with other characters basically telling him everything he needs to know about Mortal Kombat. There’s not much in terms of world-building or exploration. It’s just some exposition followed by some brutal fight scenes.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Those fight scenes are awesome. They’re probably the best part of this movie. They’re much better done than previous Mortal Kombat movies and the R-rating ensures nothing is watered down. You do get to see blood, gore, and bodily entrails, not unlike those of an appropriately brutal fatality from the game. That much, this movie gets right. It just doesn’t get much more right beyond than that.
It’s also very clear from the ending that this movie is meant to set up future movies. At this moment, no sequel has been confirmed. Given the scale and breadth of Mortal Kombat, as a franchise, I think it needs to be multiple movies. You just can’t fit the whole story into one film. This movie didn’t try to do that, but it still feels like it could’ve done a lot more to stand on its own.
After watching it, it still left me wanting to see the sequel. However, I doubt I’ll go into that movie with the same hopeful optimism I did with this one. If I had to score “Mortal Kombat,” I would give it a 2 out of 5 at most. It’s one of those movies that’s not worth going to the theaters to see, but still worth watching on premium cable or a streaming service.
In that sense, I’m very thankful that HBO Max made it available. That saved me the cost of a movie ticket and overpriced snacks.