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Rapid Fire! Random Thoughts on the 2019 NFL Season

-Biggest surprise of the season must be how good the Baltimore Ravens are.  I think most people figured that Lamar Jackson was going to be more of an average QB with a good season sprinkled in here and there.  Yup. Average. The guy has been unstoppable.  You can’t contain him, and even if your coverage is good, he uses his feet to either buy time until a receiver inevitably gets open, or he will just pick up the first down himself. I’m always surprised at how fast the ball comes out of his hands with minimal effort for 20-30-yard gains even when his feet aren’t planted.  I knew the Ravens defense was already good and with the offseason addition of Earl Thomas it got better.   It seems that after the blowout loss to Cleveland, they have been on the warpath.  I watched him destroy my beloved New England Patriots with relative ease and my gut says that when they meet in the Playoffs, they will do so again. 

-Well it finally happened; the Kansas City Chiefs defense is so damn bad that even the offense can’t bail them out anymore.  When is Andy Reid going to learn that you need a defense?  Not every game should be a sprint on the scoreboard.  They were my AFC pick to make the Super Bowl this year.  Wha..? I didn’t pick the Patriots?! More on that later.

-What the hell happened to the Rams?  One season after they made the Super Bowl and they look awful.  The offense just can’t get anything going and the defense isn’t good enough to keep them in games.  Goff looked like the next big thing last year and at this point looks like a very, very average QB. My working theory is that whoever faces the Patriots in the Super Bowl falls off the Max Kellerman trademarked “cliff” going forward.  Think about it! Rams? Suck. Falcons? Suck. Eagles? Kinda Suck. Seahawks? Well they slightly sucked for a couple of years after that horrific goal line call in the 2014 Super Bowl, but they are looking decent this year.  Maybe the curse wears off?

-I’m still shocked at Marcus Mariota being benched for Ryan Tannehill. Even more shocked that Tannehill is actually playing decently.  What happened to Mariota?! He was a world-beater in Oregon! I think sometimes that college-level talent doesn’t necessarily translate to the NFL. Don’t get me wrong, I still think he’s better than a lot of the QBs in the NFL, but he’s just not consistent.

-Buffalo Bills are for real.  Yeah.  Let that sink in.  Josh Allen is not a draft bust like I thought he would be.  In fact, for the most part, has been getting better and better as the season goes on. Even more surprising is the fact that they have a really good defense.  Only thing going against them is that they are in New England’s division so the most they can hope for is a Wild Card spot.

-San Francisco 49ers are also very much for real.  Jimmy G hasn’t always been stellar this season, but he’s done enough to keep me playing the “What If” game.  As in what if the Pats didn’t trade him for essentially nothing.  Yeah, I’m still crying over that. Also, the 49ers’ defense is ridiculous.  At only 1 loss this season, I can see how they are the NFC favorite to make the Super Bowl.   I don’t think so though…

-My Super Bowl pick?  Well as I stated above barring any injury to Lamar Jackson the Ravens will represent the AFC.  NFC? Well part of me thinks that the 49ers avenge their only loss this season to the Seahawks BUT I think Russell Wilson is just too clutch and the Seahawks knock the 49ers out of the Playoffs in what should be a close game.  Ravens vs Seahawks.  Ravens win 31-17.

-The New England Patriots Offense. Yikes.  I know a lot of people are blaming a very green receiver roster for the offensive issues this season but as much as it pains me to say it, Tom Brady is also responsible.  I can hear the cries of blasphemy from my fellow N.E fans already, but I do think it’s true.  It’s taking him longer to get the ball out of his hand and his accuracy seems to be off.  He’s missing a lot of easy throws on screen passes that he used to make with no problem.  And we’re talking a lot of missed throws in soft coverage.  His awareness in the pocket also seems to be an issue.  Ok, enough picking on Brady, the receivers also seem to have a ton of drops on what should be easy uncontested catches. Hopefully they find their rhythm in the next couple of games or they’re screwed.  While I think their #1 defense can continue to win games for them, that same defense struggled mightily against Baltimore. 

-Speaking of N.E’s defense, Stephon Gilmore is a beast.  Best cornerback in the league by far.  I knew he was insanely good, but to completely shut down Amari Cooper was mind-blowing.  0 catches.  To be fair Dallas should have won that game since Ezekiel Elliot finally had some momentum going and was picking up 5-6 yards per carry. But Jason Garrett is going to do Jason Garrett things like throw the ball on 3rd and 1 against the best secondary in the league.  Jerry Jones really needs to grow a pair and get rid of the guy. 

-On the subject of good ol’ Jerry, during yesterday’s (Thanksgiving) game against Buffalo, I loved that every time Dallas completely crapped the bed, the camera would zoom in on the owner’s box to get his reaction.  It’s like the network wanted to either catch old man tears on film so very badly or they wanted him to hold up sign that read “Jason, if you can read this, you’re fired”. To be fair, it would have been understandable if he did either.  I missed it, but I heard that he literally did have tears in his eyes during an interview after the game.  Jason Garrett, you are a total dumpster fire of a coach and you also made Jerry cry. I couldn’t help but laugh when he goes for it on 4th and 1 on the 19-yard line when it was a close game, but then when they are down 2 scores in the 3rd quarter, he kicks the field goal.  What?!

Completely Ignorant 2019 NFL Week 11 PReview

Introduction

Welcome to 2019 NFL Week 11. What did we learn in Week 10? The NFL is bad. Like, really, really bad. Like, I don’t understand how people are fans of this game. Let alone how this sport has become the national past time instead of baseball. Sure, they aren’t any better and their games are boring. I guess all this talk of American exceptionalism are just a fairy tale that people tell themselves and our legacy is racism and violence.

Wow, that just got deep there. Allow me to elaborate. The Steelers showed some promise last week by decimating the Rams, who were supposed to be a legitimate contender this year. They were then, in turn, destroyed by the Browns this past Thursday. The league is two or three “good” teams and everyone else is just mediocre or terrible. How is that entertaining. And, now an awkward transition. Let’s pick some games for 2019 NFL Week 11!

Toilet Bowls (Some HQ terrible content this week)

New York Jets at Washington – Speaking of racism, we have the Washington team headlining this section once again. I would say that their awfulness is indicative that karma works, but I no longer believe in such niceties. Apparently Jeff Bezos is rumored to be the next owner of the racists. That’s exactly what is needed to make this team even more detestable. I hope the Jets destroy them.

Cincinnati at Oakland (Vegas? ) Raiders – Is Cincinnati still winless? Are the Raiders still in Oakland? Find out the answer to these and probably other burning questions if you watch this terrible game, which I won’t be doing. But, the Raiders win, I guess.

Atlanta at Carolina – Atlanta beat the Saints last week, which is just another data point in how terrible this league is. I actually looked at this game and thought it was the game that was played last week. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for the league, either. So, let’s get on the Falcons bandwagon because why the hell not?

Chicago at Los Angeles Rams – This is one of those games that might have been considered a marquee matchup. Now, though, it is just another game that will inexplicably sell out and get huge TV ratings. I guess the Rams bounce back from the embarrassment of getting beaten by a terrible Steelers team.

If They’re On, I’ll Watch (As usual, probably not, but this week I have an excuse. We’re decorating for Christmas)

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (at London?) – I know it isn’t in London, but that’s like a new running gag her on the page. Hey, they can’t all be winners. Wow, I thought the Colts were good and the Jags terrible. Only one game separates them. I really need to just assume that every team is around .500 unless proven otherwise. Still, I feel like the Colts can roll them.

Denver at Minnesota – Okay, my new assumption has already been disproven. Minnesota is 7-3 and Denver is 3-6. That means that the Vikings should destroy them. What it actually means is that Denver will somehow win and invalidate the first 10 weeks of the season.

Dallas at Detroit – Both of these teams play on Thanksgiving. It would have made sense to give them both Sunday off. Detroit gets that luxury. Because they’re America’s team, Dallas has to play the Patriots the Sunday before. That makes perfect sense.

New England at Philadelphia – Speaking of the Patriots, I have had an extra week to glory in the tears of Pats fans at their beloved undefeated season going up in smoke once again. Wait, what do you mean I didn’t pick the last game. Who knows? This whole league is a coin flip. I may need to come up with another shtick instead of picking games.

Okay, now I’m interested (in decking the halls with boughs of holly)

Arizona at San Francisco – I noticed a couple of weeks ago that San Fran was somehow undefeated. I’m not sure how that happened, but it’s no longer relevant after they lost to Seattle. Still, Kyler Murray is fun to watch even if Arizona stinks. San Fran wins.

Buffalo at Miami – I just noticed that the Bills are only 2 (I guess technically 3 because they already lost to them) games behind the Patriots for the division. I knew they had been doing well, but it seems like less well the past few weeks. They will at least hold serve and hopefully gain another game this week by destroying the Phins.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay – The Saints seemed to be rolling right into the Super Bowl to make up for getting robbed last year. Then, they ran into the buzz saw that was the *checks notes* Atlanta Falcons. Um, okay, sure, and that game was in New Orleans. Tampa could steal this one.

Houston at Baltimore – As a Steelers fan (of which I claim not to be anymore), I should hate Baltimore. I don’t. Lamar Jackson seems to be the real deal and their defense is pretty dang good again, too. I considered this one for Game of the Week. Baltimore wins.

Game of the Week

Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers – At this point, Patrick Mahomes is like a character in a Greek tragedy. Except his fatal flaw isn’t actually his. He’s playing for a subpar coach with a terrible defense. He’s more like Lebron James, carrying this corpse of a team on his back to glory. Let’s go Chiefs!

The Verdict

Well, 2019 NFL Week 11 isn’t all bad. There are actually some games that I might sit and watch if they were on. The problem is that they won’t be on because we are decorating for Christmas. Still, I don’t have much else to be excited about. Tua got hurt and the insane bowl season doesn’t start up for a couple of weeks. See you next week.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

Thank ****! It’s Thanksgiving! (What I’m Thankful For)

It’s that time of year; where we get fat on dead bird and reflect on things in our lives that make us not want to swing from our shoelaces from a ceiling fan.  Don’t know about you but that sentence gave me the warm and fuzzies.   Well, in the spirit of the holiday season I’ve decided to share, with our loyal readers (bots), the things that I’m most thankful for this year.

Shawn’s Hate of the New England Patriots:  He’s hated them before it was the thing to do.  Eff the Pats indeed.  Can you blame him?  They have essentially ruined the NFL for him for the past decade.  All I know is that it makes the diehard N.E fan in me cackle manically whenever he voices his utter contempt for them.

Comic Books: The beginning of the year was rough for me.  Work was really wearing me down and making me depressed, but I dove headfirst into my comic collection and it worked wonders.  Between reading them, hunting them, buying them, sorting them and talking with Shawn daily about them, it kept me sane as well as kept my shoestrings in my shoes.   Just having that escape when I didn’t necessarily have the time to play MTG or play a video game made a huge difference and really got me through.  Dying media? Maybe, but I’ll go down with the ship.

Nintendo Switch Lite: I’m getting married next fall and since both my parents and my soon-to-be bride’s parents are not swimming in money like ****ing Scrooge McDuck <insert Ducktales theme song here>, we have to foot the bill for the entire thing.  Which means less money on nerd stuff, so I haven’t been able to run out and get a Switch yet. All I’ve heard for the past year is how awesome the damn thing is but yet the price hasn’t dropped on it.  BUT Nintendo has taken mercy on the nerds on a budget and announced the Lite version of the Switch for $199.  Yeah, it doesn’t connect to a tv, but screw it, I play mostly handhelds anyways (insert joke here), and highly doubt I would even use a switch on my tv.  I can justify 200 bucks for a Switch, but the cheap gamer in me is holding out for a Black Friday (AKA Materialpossessiongeddon) deal on one. Either way, I will be a proud owner by the end of the year.

Madden Football:  I don’t think I ever laugh as hard as when I play Madden against Shawn.  Between our obvious inability to throw a completed pass without it getting picked off, the crappy commentary (specifically when they talk about Tom Brady, even though neither one of us are playing as the Patriots), and our own completely inappropriate commentary which will never see the light of day, it’s always a good time.

DCBS (Discount Comic Book Service): Although their shipments can be a bit wonky (I’m still waiting for a book that was released in August and a few from September), I can’t complain about the prices and with the aforementioned wedding expenses they’ve allowed me to stay current in the hobby instead of trying to play catch up via Midtown Comics and paying twice the amount.  Sorry, I still like Midtown Comics for their exclusive autographed books, but the shipping times are always ridiculous.

Teflon Trump’s Fat Fingers of Twitterin’ Doom:  We tend to stay away from politics on this site since it tends to be a divisive subject. Also, our readership is basically all Russian bots and we all know that Trump+Russians=Besties. Hey-OH!  Seriously though folks, sometimes the s*** this guy tweets out makes me laugh due to the sheer unfiltered stupidity packed into those 280 characters.  It’s both amazing and horrific entertainment all wrapped up into one fat spray-tanned package.  What are all the late-night hosts going to do if he’s actually impeached/loses the next election?! Someone is going to have to do daily wellness checks on Colbert.

Alright that’s it for this year folks! I hope that you and yours have a fantastic holiday season! 

Why Pioneer Will Stick/Why Pioneer Will fail

Howdy gang! Today I wanted to touch on the subject of the newest format of Magic the Gathering that’s gaining steam; Pioneer.  For those of you who are scratching your virtual heads (looking at you Sergei), Pioneer is basically Modern but with the restriction of only being able to use cards from the Return to Ravnica block forward. Being more of a Modern player this format resonates with me.  I got back into the game during the RTR block and while it holds a special place in my heart, I kick myself for not getting back into the game years before when the staples of Modern were first released.  Yes, unfortunately, I’ve always gone to modern feeling underpowered as I stared across the table at Tarmogoyfs, Lilys, Emrakruls, Karns, Fetches,  ..you get the point, while I played mostly budget decks as I’m a responsible (ish) adult who refuses to spend a grand or two on a Tier1 Modern deck.  With this format, it feels like equal footing.  It’s Modern for the new guys.  While giddy on the inside, I’m cautious on the exterior.  Why? Well I’m glad that you asked, voice in my head, I’ll tell you why I think this format could already be in trouble and why, on my soft caramel and nougat inside (Mmm Milky Ways), I think this might stick.

Fail!

WOTC has already made it clear that there will be weekly bannings as the competitive scene meta comes to light. I think a big reason why this format has caught on fire in the last few weeks is the fact that all the overpowered cards from Standard-Ghosts past are now playable again.  Emrakrul, The Promised End, Deathrite Shaman, Aetherworks Marvel, Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, Saheeli Rai and that damn Felidar Cat..the list goes on and on.  It’s actually been interesting to track the card value spikes online while giggling to myself knowing that there would be a crash on a lot of the cards due to the Ban Hammer being swung around every week.  Right off the bat, WOTC banned Fetches (thank you!), and just last week dropped the hammer on the Felidar Beast, therefore killing the Saheeli infinite combo, Oath of Nissa and Leyline of Abundance (to kill mana fixing right out of the gate).  While, personally, I rather play fair games that last more 4 turns, I think there a lot of players that get a rush from pulling off infinite combos, playing overpowered cards, and just generally breaking the system and sticking it to the man. Once the bans keep coming, I can see a lot of players dropping the format and crying into their playset of Treasure Cruises. (C’mon we all know that is going away!).

Here to Stay!

Simply put; everyone is ****ing tired of getting their collective ***es kicked by the same Modern decks over and over again.   Jund, Tron, Lantern Control, Burn, Bant.  We’ve all at one time played against them either in person or online. If you haven’t, then consider yourself lucky.  Next person who plays Lantern Control against me will get dropkicked in the ****ing throat. Try me m*******r. Ahem..er..anyways..How many times have  you watched SCG Modern streams just to see the same decks over and over and over?  How many times have you perused the Top 8 decklists just to see the same decks over and over and over?  This is a fresh start! The meta is constantly in a state of flux as WOTC bans what they deem as unfair, so the top decks haven’t been decided yet and probably won’t be for awhile until the bans have subsided.  This format feels different as Wizards is pushing it hard in the competitive scene.  I fully expect a Pioneer Masters set next year. Write it down.   I’ve never felt this sense of excitement from players when it came to any other format.  Brawl? Meh. Wizards is still pushing it but not as hard. Tiny Leaders? Who gives a tiny crap? Pioneer? Hell yes! People instantly reacted to the announcement and singles prices went haywire. My gut tells me Pioneer will be a winner due to Modern Fatigue and the uncreative deck brewing of that format, as well as people having tons of old Standard cards just sitting in binders that are not Standard-legal but also not powerful enough to compete in Modern.  The possibilities are endless right now and I think people are picking up on that. It’s not often that you can get in on the ground floor of a format.

Bonus Section! Coming to a Banned List Near You!

  1. Aetherworks Marvel
  2. Oko
  3. Dig through Time
  4. Treasure Cruise
  5. Fabled Passage

Completely Ignorant NFL Week 5 2019 Picks

Introduction

So, I picked Week 1, never followed up, picked week 3, and never followed up. Now we are at the NFL Week 5 2019. Honestly, though, I treat the first four weeks of the season like the players do. Ever since preseason was shortened and summer practices are less intense, the first four weeks are like an unofficial preseason. Week 5 is when the season really starts.

In following with Simmons and Sal (I know, big shock, right?), I’m going to split the games into categories. There are a million early Sunday games, almost no late games, and one Monday game, as usual. So, it doesn’t make sense to batch them by time. Without further ado, let’s start this season over with NFL Week 5 2019 picks.

Toilet Bowls

Jets at Eagles – Jesus, that’s how little I care about these games. I just did an entire preview on the Jaguars playing in this game. Most of what I said in that can be repeated and the payoff is the same. If the Eagles hope to hang with the Pokes this year, they need to destroy the Jets.

Jags at Panthers – I heard that there’s a London game this week. It’s gotta be the Jags, right? We always send the Jags and the Raiders to London and then wonder why the UK can’t get into American football. Oh, it’s not this game? Still, a potentially terrible game. Panthers better roll if they have any hopes of hanging with the Bucs and Aints this year.

Falcons at Texans – I was high on the Falcons to start the season. However, it would appear that Matt Ryan has forgotten how to play American football. Who knew that Kyle Shanahan was that good of a coach. I guess I’ll take the Texans because they’re at home.

Cardinals at Bengals – If Miami didn’t exist, these two teams would be the worst teams in the league. This is a true definition of a toilet bowl. I hope the Cards win just to extend the Bungles misery.

If they’re on, I’ll watch

Vikings at Giants – This is a game that might have interested me more later in the season. It all depends on how the rookie Giants quarterback performs over the next few weeks. As it is, this Viking defense is solid, so I think they contain the kid.

Patriots at Racists – Well, Buffalo almost pulled of the miracle win last week against the Patriots as I golfed with a bunch of Pats fans. 2 years ago I watched as the Panthers beat them in the same situation. None of that matters here, but I’m having trouble mustering much of an interest in a game where the Pats roll.

Bears at Raiders: Okay, so I wasn’t completely wrong about the possible London game because the Raiders are in it. The Bears defense is solid and I still can’t get behind whatever it is that the Raiders are doing. Bears win.

Browns at 49ers: This might actually be a good game. Imagine going back a couple of years to say that to your past self. They’d have you locked in a loony bin. I mean, that might happen anyway because you’re claiming to be from the future, but never mind that. I’m not as fond of the Browns as I was at the beginning of the year. Still, I think they can win this.

Broncos at Chargers: What even is this game? Why even is this game? I would have put this into the toilet bowls, but I would probably watch it if it was actually on a television near me. No, I wouldn’t. It belongs with the toilet bowls. Who knows? Flip a coin.

Okay, I’m Interested

Buccaneers at Saints: This is rapid overreaction, but the Bucs looked like they had a ton of fun last week. The Aints haven’t missed much of a beat with Teddy Bridgewater in there. I think the Aints can win at home.

Bills at Titans: So, a couple of years ago Chris and I were texting during a game that the Bills were beating the Patriots. They messed up by fumbling a kickoff or something like that to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. My comment: “That’s why you’re the Bills.” Now, it would appear that they might be for real. I think they win.

Colts at Chiefs: I might be off the Baker bandwagon right now. The new kid for the Giants hasn’t done enough to register on my radar. But, Patrick Mahomes, my original man crush of the younger QB generation is still out there turning heads. I’m not sure what to think about the Colts, but I think the Chiefs keep rolling.

Packers at Cowboys; The Pokes have a good defense and a decent offense that is a bit hamstrung by having Dak Prescott at quarterback. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers. You shouldn’t bet against Rodgers, but I just think the Pokes win this one at home.

Game of the Week

Ravens at Steelers: I won’t say that I’m happy that Big Ben got hurt. But, I’m not all that heartbroken about it. He’s a scumbag and one of the reasons that I just can’t root for the Steelers with the same passion I did when I was younger. This game could go poorly for them with a young QB against the Ravens, but they can win this one. They will need to if they have any hopes of doing anything this year.

The Verdict

Overall, NFL Week 5 2019 isn’t gangbusters. The Steelers/Ravens game would usually be enough to get me excited, but I’m just having trouble mustering anything but resignation that the Patriots are just going to win the whole damn thing again. Eff the Pats.

Note: I realized that I wrote this and then never hit publish. That’s a new one for me. Know, though, that it was written before the games happened. See you next week.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

Rapid Fire!..Random Thoughts 2/19

-To buy a box of M25 or not? I wish the spoilers were flowing a little more freely since the boxes are below $200 at the moment and while the thought of possibly pulling a Jace, the Mind Sculptor out of a pack is dancing in my head, ita��s not quite enough to make me jump and preorder. My prediction for the big ticket cards in the set: Enemy fetches, Tarmogoyf, Aether Vial, Liliana of the Veil, Wurmcoil Engine, Force of Will, Mana Drain and Crucible of the Worlds.

-The first DLC characters for Dragonball FighterZ have been announced; Borly and Bardoc. Bardoc is Gokua��s pops so ita��s essentially another Saiyan which is a little disappointing. While I have gushed uncontrollably about the game, I do wish they would bring in some more non-Saiyan characters. On the other hand Borly should be the largest character in the game so ita��ll be interesting to see how powerful the character actually is.

-A Japanese bike company (Khodaa-Bloom) designed a really cool Megaman themed bike. It can be yours for the low, low price of $2700 USD. For that price, it better come with a friggina�� Buster Shot on the front.

-Not sure where Ia��ve been, but somehow I missed the fact that Gamestop managed to swing a deal to have a Secret of Mana remake for the PS4 be a Gamestop exclusive. Interesting to see if this becomes a thing, (i.e. Target gets exclusive games, Walmart gets exclusive games,..).

-Only 59 more days until God of War 4 is released. But whoa��s counting?

-For all of my Star Wars fans out there, you can preorder the largest Star Wars toy that Hasbro has ever made, Jabbaa��s Sail Barge, for a mere $499.99! This monstrosity is 4 feet long, a little over a foot wide, and a 1 A? feet tall, and comes with either divorce papers or a letter from your child expressing their undying love and gratitude. There is a catch, Hasbro will only start production if they get 5,000 preorders by 4/3 (currently, as of this post, they have 1,259 orders). You can place your preorder at www.hasbrolab.com.

-Finally, I want to thank everyone who follows us on Twitter and/or Instagram!

Rapid Fire! Random Thoughts 1/29

-Ca��mon UPS, bring me my copy of Dragonball FighterZ. Ia��m tired of watching all of the gameplay videos on Youtube, I just want to play the friggina�� game!

-Scott Snyder is taking over Justice League after the next Justice League event. How the heck are they going to fit all of the those character in that book with all of those text boxes?! Hah! I kid, Ia��m sure ita��s going to be really good. Ia��m definitely adding it to my pull list. I am a little confused as he and Greg Capullo kept teasing fans on Twitter about working on a Swamp Thing series. Hopefully thata��s something thata��s still in the works. I personally think his cerebral style of writing would fit Swamp Thing much better than Justice League but hey, what do I know?

-Speaking of the next Justice League event, it starts up after Dark Nights Metal concludes and during the event the title will be going weekly. Much like the Avengers: No Surrender storyline. Hey, Ia��m all for more comics and competition is healthy but how about a price break? I would have to think that having an expedited deadline on each book would cause the quality to suffer a bit. Do you really want to spend $20 a month on just The Avengers or even $12 for just the Justice League? I know I dona��t.

-Looks like Rivals of Ixalan has lit the fire of 2 Guys Gaming again. This weekend we will have a sealed draft and Ia��m pretty excited for it. Quite a few cards in the set have my brain churning out some deck lists.

-I know that my random thoughts are supposed to be rapid but something has really bothered me today. Usually I listen to Boston sports radio station WEEI maybe once a day for an hour or so just to see what the topics of the day are. I tuned in this morning just in time for Tom Brady to call in and, in a really restrained way, tell them that he felt disrespected and that he was going to evaluate whether he wanted to continue his weekly interview with them. This was apparently due to a comment that a host, Alex Reimer, had said about his 5 year old daughter. Last Thursday night, after watching the Brady Facebook documentary series, he decided that he would call Bradya��s little girl an a�?annoying little pissanta�?. Dude. Really? A 5 year old who is just excited about playing a soccer game? What the hell is wrong with you? Of all the things he could have talked about pertaining to the first episode thata��s what he came up with? Thata��s his hot take? No, thata��s his cry for attention and notoriety in the world of sports media. My guess is that he wanted to go for a�?funnya�? shock value but it ended up ruining his career. Or at least it should. He has since been indefinitely suspended as the big dogs of WEEI tear out their hair since Tom Brady basically flipped them the verbal bird this morning and hung up. Tom Brady is a public figure so he is under the media’s microscope at all times, but to sink to insulting his kid? That crosses a line.

I dona��t blame the guy at all, to be honest he probably should have done so a long time ago. The morning guys he talks to are two of the biggest idiots in radio with one of them, Minihane, always going for the hot controversial take in order to keep his name in the papers, keep the ratings up and foster this new culture of shock value that is becoming more pervasive in the halls of WEEI. At this point, the morning show doesna��t even talk about sports, they talk about other journalists, politics, and most of all other hosts of the station. WEEI has turned into nothing more than childish in-fighting between shows with younger hosts saying dumb crap in an attempt to emulate Kirk Minihane. Ia��m essentially done with the station at this point, let me know when it gets back to sports instead of hosts calling each names and criticizing each other. It reminds me of my days working in a warehouse with each shift claiming to be better than the one before it.

This is the reason why I stopped watching ESPN. I cana��t stand Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, both of which personify all that I cana��t stand about sports media. Mindlessly shouting a�?hot takesa�? at each other and arguing over each other for an entire show and collecting a paycheck for it doesna��t take talent, it takes the masses approving of this kind of a�?reportinga�?. a�?Hey! Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless like to yell and say dumb stuff too! Leta��s give them a show!a�? Good idea Fox! Not that I should expect anything less from you.

Arena��t we better than this people? Do you think these hosts really believe half of the garbage they are spouting? You dona��t think ita��s fabricated?! Is watching Stephen A. Smith/Max Kellerman trying to form words to eloquently debate their points and shouting them at each other really entertaining? Whatever happened to just reporting the news and reporting it accurately in order to make a name for yourself instead of always going for the hot take that will get your name out there? It seems like having journalistic integrity is no longer important in our society as all of these shows have decent ratings. Apparently I just need to stay away from sports media all together.

Comic Haul! #1

Comic Haul #1 (Midtown Comics)

Note: Most of my hauls come from, and will come from, Midtown Comics. Being cheap, something that I proudly admit, I refuse to pay full price for a comic as cover prices have become ridiculous (lookina�� at you, Marvel). Since Midtown sells brand new books at 15% off cover they are usually my go-to guys for my comic fix. Plus, every comic you buy comes with a resealable bag and board, which again saves money since you dona��t have to buy the bags and boards yourself. When I first started collecting comics again I would drive to the two comic stores about 10 miles away once or twice a week to see if they had the issues I was looking for, and probably 70% of the time, they were sold out by the time I got there. After a month and a half of not being able to get Batman #24, along with multiple conversations with Shawn about how cover prices were pricing him out of the hobby. I just gave up completely and decided to go with Midtown since they have more buying power than my LCS and essentially had everything in stock along with variants that only they can get. Shipping is reasonable too, from my experience anything up to a dozen books is $3.99, and up to 20 is $4.99. I actually did a cost analysis (I believe I mentioned Ia��m an analyst for a large company), and Midtowna��s shipping charges were actually 7% cheaper than the gas I was burning up driving to the comic stores. All told by buying from Midtown I was saving between 22%-30% depending on the quantity I purchased. I know that this sounds like a blatant sales pitch but at this point in time 2GuysGaming is not affiliated with Midtown Comics, this is me just being honest with my experience of doing business with them and also want to keep this awesome hobby alive for those who currently read/collect and I dona��t want to see anyone else get priced out of it like Noob. So, sorry, LCS, ita��s not you, and ita��s not me, ita��s Marvel Comics. $4 bucks a book is ridiculous in a declining industry, and especially when your main competitor is a buck less. Ia��ve included the Midtown Comics link below.

Ok, onto the haul! This one was a shipment of books that I ordered during their Black Friday sale, most back issues were a whopping 75% off. Yes, I know ita��s almost February and Ia��m referencing Black Friday. There will be frequent a�?haula�? articles being posted while I get caught up to date.

a��68 Last Rites #1 (Image Comics)

Awful. Seriously awful. I took a chance because I have become played out on The Walking Dead and wanted to try another zombie book. This is what I get for taking a chance. Ita��s just mindless violence with a weak story and multiple f-bombs sprinkled in for good measure. At least it was on sale for $1.65 so I didna��t blow too much money on it. I give this one a 0 out of 10. Wait, thata��s not fair, I *did* get a free bag and board out of the deal. 1/10

a��68 Last Rites #2 (Image Comics)

I thought that maybe the first issue was a fluke, a horrible fluke, and that the next issue would solidify the story a bit without relying on gratuitous violence to sell the book to the masses. I was wrong. Just as dumb as the first issue and the art got worse. Even the free bag and board cana��t save it. 0/10

a��68 Last Rites #3 (Image Comics)

Ya��know what? I didna��t even read it. Ia��m sorry but if the writer cana��t sell the book to me in the first two issues then Ia��m done. But hey, at least I cana��t give it a 0/10 since I didna��t read it, right? That wouldna��t fair. Wrong, ita��s my article dammit! 0/10

a��68 Last Rites #4 (Image Comics)

See above. Or dona��t. Maybe the other a��68 miniseries might be better but Ia��m not going to find out. Ia��ll just go ahead and assume ita��s a 0/10.

Batman: The Drowned #1 (DC Comics, 1st printing, Foil cover, Metal tie-in)

I really like the cover on this one. Jason Faboka��s artwork keeps getting better and the overall foil cover design looks really cool. Yeah, I definitely just marked out over a foil cover, ..I feel dirty. The origin story itself is one of the better ones of the Dark Batmen one-shots. I kind of hope that after Metal concludes we still see some of these characters, namely the Batman Who Laughs and The Drowned. 8/10

Batman Vol.2 #41 (DC Comics, New 52)

Ita��s Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and it was on sale for only a couple of bucks. You cana��t go wrong. Ia��m actually trying to collect all 52 issues of Batman Vol.2, but ita��s proving to be an expensive endeavor so I was pretty pumped to find back issues on sale. This issue debuts Bruce Waynea��s replacement as Batman. Spoiler alerta��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��..ita��s Gordon with a bad haircut. Regardless, ita��s a really great read. 7/10

Batman Vol.2 #43 (DC Comics, New 52)

Another book I needed to fill a hole in my Batman New 52 run. This issue is the first appearance of Mr. Bloom, which is one of the better storylines of the series in my opinion. Not as good as Death of a Family but better than Zero Year. You really feel like Gotham City is going to straight to hell and how the flip is Bat-Gordon going to save the day?! 8/10

Batman Vol.2 #47 (DC Comics, New 52)

Bat-Gordon vs Mr. Bloom. Will Bruce Wayne return and retake the mantle of Batman? Good god, leta��s hope so because Bat-Gordon sucks out loud at being Batman and has become Blooma��s personal punching bag. 7/10

Batman Vol.3 #1 (DC Comics, Rebirth, 1st printing)

I missed the chance to pick up the 1st issue of the newest Batman series (Rebirth) and had to settle for the 3rd printing instead. As a collector as well as a reader this bothered the crap out of me as I had a feeling the 1st printing would increase in value much like the New 52 first issue skyrocketed. Well my feeling wasna��t quite right as the 1st issue did in fact, rise to $10 but then plateaued. Still, this whole series has been really decent so I had finally made up my mind that I would make the $10 investment and see what happened. Thankfully, Midtown had this issue on sale for $2.75 before I could pull the trigger. Ok, now let me remove my collector hat, the story was a pretty solid start to the series. It was a classic fun Batman action story (missile gets fired at a plane), but then evolved into the introduction of Gotham and Gotham Girl. Like I said, solid start to the series and immediately hooked me. 9/10

TMNT Vol. 5 #48 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)

Ia��ll admit that nostalgia played a part in choosing to buy a few TMNT issues. I was a huge fan when I was a kid and had heard really positive things about the series. I remember reading the original series growing up and being a fan of Kevin Eastmana��s art, so while Midtown had several issues on sale, I decided to only get the Eastman variants, hence why I grabbed random issues. After reading this issue and a few other ones (listed below), I texted Shawn, my go-to when I feel the need to make a comic/gaming observation and told him that I actually enjoyed the title. While this issue was weaker than the rest that I bought, it was a fun read and even though it takes place in the middle of an story arc, I had a general idea of what was going on and didna��t feel lost. 6/10

TMNT Vol. 5 #58 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)

Leatherhead Part 3. I knew it was the final issue of the Leatherhead story arc when I bought it but unfortunately the other issues were not on sale. Hey, I said I was cheap. I told myself that I wouldna��t read it until I picked up #a��s 56 and 57, but that promise lasted about 20 minutes after the box of comics arrived at my door. As with #48, I wasna��t lost as far as what had happened in the previous two issues and Leatherheada��s origin story was pretty neat and far different from the Cajun gator that I remembered from the original cartoon (Do you remember that awful Louisana Cajun country accent?). This version of Leatherhead is a hundred times better and has a much darker origin. 7/10

TMNT Vol. 5 #73 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)

The Trial of Krang Part 1. Yes! I finally grabbed an issue that wasna��t in the middle/at the end of a story arc! Ia��ll be honest, this story sold me TMNT going forward. Krang finally gets brought to justice to answer for his many, many crimes. You would think it would be an open and shut case, but not so fast. Really great story, I highly recommend all 3 parts. 8/10

TMNT Vol. 5 #74 (IDW, Kevin Eastman variant cover)

The Trial of Krang Part 2. See above. Ita��s good, okay, ita��s really good. The trial begins and as the surprise witnesses show up to testify against Krang, ..SPOILER ALERTa��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��a��..an invasion begins that forces the judge to postpone the trial until things calm down again. 8/10

Okay guys na�� gals, thata��s it for this haul!

Midtown Comics Link:
www.midtowncomics.com

Rapid Fire…Special Edition

Hey guys n’ gals! It’s your old buddy, Blond! Usually, my Rapid Fire (Random Thoughts) articles tend to focus on what’s making news in assorted nerd circles. This article will be a little different as it will be about what’s new with me as well as what nerd hobbies I’m into and which ones I’m currently a little “meh” about.

-First things first, as Shawn has mentioned, I’ve semi-successfully started an online business selling Magic the Gathering. One of the things that bothered me about buying boxes of cards is all of the clutter left behind once I parsed out the cards I was excited to include into my decks. One of the closets in my place was essentially packed with boxes and boxes of singles that I didn’t know what to do with. Now that I have an avenue in which to unload my unused singles, I can once again justify buying boxes again. Plus the money I’m making goes towards…

-Comic books. I love ’em. But you already knew that. I briefly considered going the trade paperback route due to the amount of money I was spending each month on them, which was one of the reasons Shawn stopped collecting, But then I figured out that if I just ordered from Midtown Comics (cheap plug.), I never had to pay full cover price again and didn’t have to waste time and gas money driving my LCS hoping that they had my titles in stock (which most of the time they didn’t). I know, I know, I’m supposed to support the little guy, but damn, I was tired of leaving the store disappointed.

-As far as MTG goes, well I would like to play it more than I do but since the frequency of games has decreased with time and the group I played with has lost interest/free time so most of my time with the game is now spent selling it. I’m down to just a few decks at this point, but they’re my favorite ones. Not to worry, I’ve saved the deck lists of the ones I sold and will start to share them with you guys. Even though I don’t play as much, Ixalan still peaked my interest, so clearly the game is not completely dead for me at this point.

-Ok, onto the big non-gaming news, I’m getting married! After 12 long years I broke my bride-to-be’s will and she agreed to marry me. I’m beyond excited for our wedding, and with that in mind, I figure that I’ll test Noob to see if he reads my articles when I actually write them. Shawn has been my best friend, and an honorary brother to me for the last 16 years and I can’t think of anyone else who I would rather have as my best man for the big day. Cue the collective “aww”. Sigh..screw you guys.

That’s all from me, as always thanks for reading!

Comics Round Up: Make Mine Marvel! (8/27)

(Editor’s Note: A�Initially, we were going to include issue 9 of Secret Empire in this review, but since the final issue is releasing this week, I decided to do one article dedicated completely to that. A�Look for that one Friday or Saturday.)

Edge of Venomverse

The Good: A�I already covered #2 and #4 in my last review. A�Honestly, though, they remain the only good thing about this series with #1 as an uneven honorable mention depending on your opinion of X-23.

The Bad: A�I was worried about this issue. A�The uneven pacing of the series saw a pattern of meh, decent, ugh, good bordering on great, and then finished with meh again. A�While not as bad as #3 (honestly the worst comic I’ve read in a long time), I just don’t like the traditional character of Deadpool.

The Ugly: A�Maybe my mistake, but I read this book while eating breakfast. A�The graphic depiction of parasitic monsters being surgically implanted into people and then cut to pieces, smashed to bits, and squished almost made me physically sick. A�Even thinking about it now is making me a bit ill. A�Perhaps only my overactive imagination and a recently developed weak stomach are to blame. A�Still gross.

The verdict: A�After a great issue #4, I was looking forward to the main Venomverse event. A�After this let down of an issue, that excitement is tempered some. A�I will still give it a chance, but it won’t be at the top of my list. A�Hey, I’ve been proven wrong before.

Deadpool

The Good: A�I’ve often said that “less is more” when it comes to Deadpool. A�The character always has been parody, but it reached that rarefied air of being a parody of a parody. A�The current book is none of that. A�There are still the core principles that make the character Deadpool. A�However, they are balanced to make him more human. A�I know that’s not what Deadpool fans want, but I like the multi dimensional aspect of the character.

The Bad: A�While this arc has been both entertaining and fun, it has been absolutely heartbreaking at times. A�His decision to kill Coulson, the result of manipulation by Captain Hydra, has caused a domino effect that has led to the loss of almost everything that tethered him to this new Deadpool personality. A�I can see the writing on the wall. A�Speaking of…

The Ugly: A�Rejoice, traditional Deadpool fans! A�I’m only going by title, cover, and description, but it sounds like he is goint to be back in full force for Legacy. A�Prepare your butts for off color jokes, ultraviolence, gratuitous nudity, and breaking that fourth wall. A�Fun! A�*sigh*

Doctor Strange

The Good: A�It has been fun to watch Stephen Strange and Wilson Fisk essentially switch bodies freaky Friday style. A�Dr. Strange got evicted from the Sanctum and lost his magic ability. A�Forced to accept the help of Kingpin, who was taken over by a demon and imbued with magic, the two work together to try to lift the Darkforce dome from New York along with a rag tag group of B-listers. A�It is a silly premise that paid off in a big way. A�This was one of the consistently fun books during Secret Empire.

The Bad: A�They still hadn’t lifted the dome by the end of this issue. While some of the other books, including the main title, have started to turn the corner from “despair” to “hope”, winning the battle, but seemingly no closer to winning the war. A�Oh well, there’s always hope. A�It looked for a while like the space heroes would never break the bubble and they finally did.

The Ugly: A�Nothing. A�Literally nothing. A�As I said earlier, this has been one of the most consistently fun books from the whole of Secret Empire. A�I hope they can keep up the momentum into Legacy.

The Verdict: A�Dr. Strange has always been one of my favorite heroes and books. A�While many considered his movie to be filler, I knew better. A�If they are going to do a Thanos and Infinity Gauntlet/War event in the cinematic universe, they have to include Strange in that story. A�However, I didn’t know how they’d include Strange in the events of Secret Empire, but I’m glad they did. A�It reminded me what I liked about the title. A�I know that I’ve talked some about dropping titles, but this is one that I’m going to be collecting for the long haul.

Weapons of Mutant Destruction

The Good: A�I may have already mentioned in my previoius Marvel review that Greg Pak is one of my favorite Hulk writers. A�I was not a huge fan of his Hulk: A�Generations, but I understand the reasons behind the book. A�Since this book has revolved around Totally Awesome Hulk, he has been able to explore the “softer” side of the Hulk. A�It has been especially fun to watch that butt heads with the likes of Logan, Sabertooth, Domino, and Deathstrike.

The Bad: A�While the characters were well fleshed out and their interactions fully realized, the story didn’t quite live up to the expectations. A�I know it’s becoming a cliche that I follow criticism with the caveat, “It isn’t bad”, but it really wasn’t a bad story. A�I just thought that a story revolving around a “Wolverhulk” created by a secret government organization would have more action.

The Ugly: A�Aside from the slow pacing and massive set up for not much of a pay off in the event itself, some of the failed experiments in the Weapon X attempts to make the “Hulkarine” were the ugliest thing about this series.

The Verdict: A�I usually don’t like the “Hulk Smash” version of Hulk and prefer the Hulks that are more introspective. A�Also, I’ve been on board with most of the reimagined heroes that Marvel gave us. A�However, I initially didn’t like the idea of Amadeus Cho becoming Hulk. A�I think it was mainly the title that turned me off. A�This book, series, and, to an extent, the Generations book has changed my mind. A�The Cho Hulk has both the intelligence of Banner and the struggle of Hulk in a new and refreshing way.

Generations

The Good: A�These books continue to get better and better. A�After a slightly uninspired Hulk book and a very good Jean Grey book, the Wolverine book was amazing. A�The Thor book was slightly less so, but it still had some good moments. A�Marvel got a bit of a dig in on those who were screaming about a female Thor, the Odinson had some other great one liners as a meathead “teenager” Viking without much direction or worthiness, and I can’t wait to see how his story progresses. A�The Wolverine book showed the relationship between the two characters evolve in a very real and touching way. A�Seeing Wolverine show tenderness as he slowly worked through the mystery was fun to read.

The Bad: A�I know that characters don’t stay dead in comic books or soap operas, but I’m just getting to know some of these characters and it has been strongly hinted, if not outright stated, that several of them won’t survive the Legacy switch. A�Female Thor and X-23 are both characters that I’m just meeting and they’ve made a good first impression. A�At least one of them is rumored not to make it.

The Ugly: A�The silly grin on my face as I read these two books wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t exactly flattering. A�These books are bringing up fond memories of being a teenager and reading comic books simply for the joy of it. A�Consequently, and not surprisingly, they are reminding me why I like comics, cementing my interest in the books again, and driving me to buy more. A�None of this is ugly except, as I said last time, to my budget.

The Verdict: A�Unlike some of the other events/series that Marvel has produced recently, this one has consistently gotten better with each book. A�The Hulk book was not bad, but it wasn’t my favorite style of Hulk writing. A�The Jean Grey book illustrated a flash point in that characters history. A�The Wolverine book dealt with the sometimes complicated relationship between parents and children. A�Thor dealt very nicely with some of the elephants in the room as a result of changing heroes and angry nerds not able to deal with the changes. A�I can’t wait to see what the rest of the books do, how it all joins in with Legacy, and what fun awaits us on the other side.