Street Art in the Time of Corona Virus

Many of the businesses forced to close in Seattle have literally boarded shut. I assume this is from the very real chance of people trying to break windows and loot what is inside.

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The Boards went up pretty quick around Belltown.
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Just as quickly, they became interesting.
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What I imagine Corona looks like in your lungs.
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My favorite by far.

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Hey Asshat, don’t scribble over an actual artist’s work.
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Big fan of Elephants and this Mural. 

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“Meanwhile Pizza” might as well be my lifestyle.
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Great Gatsby Imagery on Mushrooms with some Topical Medical Symbolism.  I approve.

These are just in a one-block radius from my building, who knows what I will find if I ever venture further.

Stay Safe. Watch Tiger King.

Marrying Modern Hip Hop & The NBA

The NBA is the best league in professional sports, and the start of the season has cemented their alpha-league status. Hip Hop is the best musical art form ever created, and the recent releases have once again distanced its excellence from the likes of country (NFL), indie music (NHL), EDM (MLS), and modern rock (MLB). What better time for PBM to cross-culturally compare the stars of the National Basketball Association with their Hip Hop equivalents? Each comparison is based on their musical success seemingly measuring up to their comparison’s on-court performance (sales/downloads and wins/per-game stats), their personalities aligning, and their flow / lyrical capabilities matching with on-court style and demeanor. The last measurable will be rooted in whether or not the two individuals are “battle-tested” (the great Joe Budden would consider this the most important measurable of all). Without further adieu, let’s get to the most obvious pairing first.

LeBron James is Drake.

LeBron’s regular season totals? They’re the equivalent of Drake’s sales and streams. LeBron’s continued stardom? Drake was also a child star / prodigy. LeBron’s “steadfast” loyalty to Akron and Ohio despite leaving the state for greener pastures multiple times? That would be Drake being the “biggest Raptors fan alive” while trying to celebrate titles with the Heat, rocking rival jerseys while performing in other cities to pander to the fans, and getting the stars of the Warriors names tattooed on his body.draketat

Each man is the self-proclaimed “GOAT” when they’ve been bullied, disrespected, beaten, or outright ignored by their peers and their industry’s respective legends. Each man also has groups of diehard STANs that refuse to cite anything other than their individual numbers to fuel their arguments – this is where the “battle tested” component comes into play. How can both of these dudes think they’re the best of all-time when they both consistently lose to their peers (both young and old)?!? Think about it…

LeBron has consistently taken L’s to Kawhi, Steph, Durant, Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, and Dirk in the playoffs. He’s lost MVPs to Steph, Durant, Harden, Giannis, and Westbrook! Right now, he’s not even the best player on his own team. He has one title that stands out as memorable and/or due to this contributions, and his overall NBA Finals record is 17-32.

Drake has been lyrically or conversationally DEMOLISHED in beefs with Common, Budden, Diddy, Pusha T, DMX, and Kendrick Lamar. His wins? Meek Mill and Tyga. Pusha T’s evisceration of him last summer stands out the most, as he even found a picture of Drake in blackface for the single’s artwork.

Wanna know what this makes this even better? LeBron and Drake talked about Drake’s defeat on LeBron’s shitty HBO show.

Listen to the language they use! Drake calls his non-response to Pusha’s brutality his “decision!” He said he didn’t want to let LeBron down by said decision! Who better to discuss how decisions can let people down other than LeBron James, right?

Lastly, each man has left behind no legacy in their respective professions. LeBron has nurtured ZERO young teammates in his career. In fact, he’s traded them all away for dudes who could help pad his stats in the moment. Drake has ZERO young men directly tied to his legacy in Hip Hop. There is no Roc Nation, there is no Death Row, there is no TDE, and there is no Dreamville for Aubrey. While each dude has their diehard admirers, their fellow professionals rarely stand tall for their skills. When they do, it is behind a microphone for clout and/or on a feature to get paid.

I nailed this one, people.

Kawhi Leonard is Pusha T.

Obviously, right? Both men ruthlessly slay the false prophets of their kingdoms in H2H competition. Each man was groomed for success by the legends of their respective fields. Each man has multiple styles to attack their crafts with, and both tend to be extremely enigmatic in their approach. They raise their levels when the stakes are highest, and are ruthless when they do it. What made this comparison fit the most for me was a defect that each man possesses – we don’t get enough content from either one. Kawhi’s “load management” routine is painfully detrimental to his legacy. King Push put out a slamming “album” last year – his first in a minute – but it wasn’t really an album. DAYTONA only had seven tracks and in actuality was more of an EP.

Ultimately, they’re both all-time legends of their craft. Unfortunately, we may remember each one for leaving too much on the table. Here’s their finest moments for posterity:

Stephen Curry is J. Cole.

Two Carolina-raised, soft spoken dudes. Two insanely intelligent dudes who cherish collaboration and love to foster the growth of their younger peers. Two men who don’t tout their individual accomplishments and whom don’t give any weight to individual awards – shit, Cole doesn’t even go to the Grammy’s. Lastly, two dudes who will be remembered as two of the most skilled individuals to ever hoop / rap – Steph is the GOAT shooter, and Cole just might be the most diverse / skilled lyricist to ever rock the mic.

The biggest connection for me is how they each make their fellow players / rappers better. Steph has brought up Klay, Draymond, Looney, and Quinn Cook. He saved or extended the careers of Livingston, Iggy, Bogut, JaVale, and David West. J. Cole’s Dreamville label made arguably the most complete album of 2019, and his labelmates carried the torch. Bas, Lute, J.I.D., EARTHGANG, and Cozz have flourished under J. Cole’s watch. All have ascertained individual success, respect, and relevance while consistently representing J. Cole’s standard for Hip Hop.

Here’s Klay on Steph and a collaboration from the Dreamville core MC’s:

Zion Williamson is DaBaby…I hope.

Nice Segway from that last video to this comparison. It’s actually more of a prediction, because Zion hasn’t shown us anything yet in the league. Stay tuned to see if he can match “Suge” on the floor.

Freddie Gibbs is Kemba Walker.

I really wanted to make Gibbs and Giannis work – especially because Freddie dropped a banger in the Greek Freak’s honor this summer.

Unfortunately, the styles and circumstances don’t quite fit. Freddie and Kemba though? Here’s why I went there:

  • Both are proven winners with All Star stats – even when they are supported by dipshits. Kemba won titles in UCONN and is currently leading the league’s #1 offense in Boston + dominated individually for the hapless Bobcats / Hornets. Gibbs has made two of the best Hip Hop albums in my entire collection when partnered with the genius of Madlib. He also managed to churn out bangers despite being minimized and ignored while on Young Jeezy’s BMF label.
  • Kemba is probably the best pure point guard in the NBA. He might even be the only one left in the mold of Zeke, young CP3, Deron Williams, Young Marbury, Nash, Kidd, and other 90’s-00’s legends. Gibbs is definitely the best rapper to be actively recording Hip Hop music. That isn’t saying he’s the biggest star, people. It’s saying NO ONE raps better than him when handed a microphone in 2019. Just like no other PG’s are leading the best offenses in the NBA like Kemba Walker.
  • No one will ever fuck with either one of these dudes. Kemba is a real one from the Bronx. Gibbs is a real one and a native of Gary, IN. They’ll beat the shit out of their foes if necessary.

Time to enjoy the masters at work:

Other comparisons to come if I have the time later on today…

James Harden is Travis Scott.

Kevin Durant is Kendrick Lamar.

Lou Williams, Pat Beverly, and Montrezz Harrell are Westside Gunn, Conway, and Benny the Butcher.

Giannis is Dave East.

Kyrie Irving is Chance the Rapper.

Anthony Davis is Logic.

Jimmy Butler is Jay Rock.

 

 

LeBron James IS more than an Athlete…and Nothing Beyond his Brand.

 

After ya let Jeru’s poignant words sink in, turn to this random Twitter user’s tweet that was cited today in several Apple News articles:

“No more King James – Chairman James from now on.” 

Sheeeeesh! What a rough week for LeBron James, and what an even worse week for his now-defunct “Global Icon” blueprints. In case you missed it, LeBron called Daryl Morey “misinformed” following Morey’s tweets in support of the criminally oppressed people of Hong Kong. Morey did this right before the NBA’s pre-season trip to China (which included LeBron’s Lakers), and it turned to be quite disastrous for the league’s relationship with the Chinese government. Morey’s tweets, albeit ill-timed, were poignant and directly aligned with the thinking of anyone who steadfastly advocates for social justice, equality, and for essential individual freedoms to be available to all of mankind . They were the tweets of a man with a moral code, and someone whom choses civil liberties in favor of big government and/or big corporation’s agendas.

For those who aren’t in the know about what’s happening in Hong Kong, I suggest you read this piece: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9414104/relationship-conflict-between-china-hong-kong/

What’s transpiring between China and Hong Kong is one of the few bi-partisan issues allowed by the insanely contentious nature of the modern social scene. In today’s radically divided and fanatically argumentative global political climate, there is almost always two unwavering sides to every major sociopolitical issue. This is what a social systems theorist would call “the divide of two warring factions.” The way to find balance in two warring factions? It’s quite simple, actually. You must try to find or establish a single deviant party – i.e. a person or group of people who’s public sentiment and/or political motivations are indefensible when dissected underneath the cognitive microscope yielded by either side of the equation. LeBron James, by his own hand, has become a single deviant party.

Upon receiving the appropriate backlash for his idiotically insensitive and morally bankrupt stance on the nature of Morey’s tweets, LeBron backtracked his original remarks and stated Morey “could’ve waited a week” to press the send button.

He did not specify whether Morey waiting to send the tweets would’ve been better for his team’s safety while playing in China, been better for the NBA’s revenue agreements with China, or been better purely in relation to his own commercial interests. The unwritten contextual importance of that tweet is that it aligns with wanting Morey to keep quiet in order to allow LeBron, his Lakers, and the NBA to collect funds now presently unavailable to them for the foreseeable future. It appears as if NBA’s business dynamic with China is seemingly forever altered, which is the negative commercial result generally associated with radical efforts for social change in an extremely capitalist society.

With all of these developments taking form, LeBron STILL hasn’t quieted himself when it comes to this issue. Today on ESPN’s “First Take,” a press conference aired where he once again poorly addressed his verbal miscues! LeBron ate more crow while astonishingly coming across as even more grossly intellectually / socially incompetent. He voiced his growing desire to avoid a “word or sentence feud with Morey,” and did nothing to silence a rather large mass of humanity that is calling him out for his heightened usage of tone deaf, uneducated, and irresponsible language.

Side Note: I believe the expression you were searching for LeBron is a “war of words.” Despite butchering the common tongue, this was the smartest thing you’ve done yet in your most recent, self-created PR nightmare. A “sentence feud” with the MIT-educated Morey is as one-sidedly geared for his strengths as a game of 1-on-1would be for yours.

When searching for a pop culture comparison, I went to back the well of “The Wire.” I’m pretty sure I’ve cited this scene before. I think I did so in terms of either LeBron or Kanye West (my LeBronye blogged has aged really well, BTW) being a corporately designed false idol, but that’s neither here nor there. The fact at hand is that I can find no better on-screen equivalent to capture the current embattled nature of Chairman James. His insatiable ego coupled with his obsessive desire to be proclaimed a “king” and a “global icon” caused him to drift way too far out of his lane one time too many, and most people aren’t watching idly this go around. In the quote below, the socially conscious, self-aware sect of the world is playing the role of Avon Barksdale as LeBron James seamlessly steps into the shoes of the morally reprehensible Stringer Bell:

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Side Note: It pains me to compare LeBron to one of my favorite evil characters of all-time. But think of it in these terms – I LOVE great villains. My love for great, self-aware villains is matched only by my HATE for hypocritical, self-righteous “good guys.” LeBron is what I loathe, and his recent missteps finally provide concrete proof his true colors. Also, I feel like I’ve already written this side note in another one of my many anti-LeBron blogs…

Avon’s words are just too damn perfect. They summarize exactly where LeBron rests in his poorly conceived quest towards being remembered as not only the “GOAT” hooper, but also as a brilliant artist, a socially conscious leader of men, and as a globally renowned commercial “icon.” LeBron, by his own hand, is going to be remembered as none of these things by the educated masses. Who are the educated masses, you ask? Those whom generate critical analysis rooted in a sound educational foundation and read critically constructed commentary from a variety of sociopolitical angles fit the bill. Apologies to those only read “practical shit,” but we don’t take to your kind here. It just so happens that PBM fits the lowest of these standards, and I also have appropriately sized platform at my disposal. Tough breaks, Bron.

No matter how hard Chairman James has tried to star as the heroic protagonist of an impossibly uphill personal success story, a journey unlike any before his time, he has succeeded only in creating a confused brand identity that is strikingly similar to a number of other great athletes. In LeBron’s misguided efforts to be remembered as an amalgamation of Ali’s impeccable moral standards and MJ’s iconic commercial value, he has merely become a legendary hypocrite. LeBron tried as hard as he possibly could to be an extension of the legacies of Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul Jabaar, and the aforementioned Muhammad Ali – I truly believe he did. Unfortunately, due to his lack of self-awareness and the absence of a legit, foundational education, he wasn’t afforded the wisdom to understand that in order to be mentioned in the same breath of social justice pioneers, you have to sacrifice an inordinate amount of personal commercial gains. Quite simply, in order to be “more than an athlete,” you cannot be driven by your “brand.”

As an athlete and as a brand, LeBron is bound to specific regulatory bodies. These regulatory bodies form “the system.” The system’s governing forces are the NBA’s operational modalities (including ethical principles, financial bylaws, and more) the personal viewpoints of the owners of the NBA’s franchises, the NBA league sponsors as well as the individual team sponsor’s stated revenue goals, and lastly the way in which the objectively biased media outlets covers LeBron’s contributions to the NBA (both on and off the court). The athlete LeBron obsessively compares himself to, Michael Jordan, did not transcend these impenetrable, commercially controlled systemic boundaries. He became a stakeholder within them.

Jordan’s form of the impossible (his escape of corporate puppet strings) was never and will never be truly grasped by LeBron. It’s something that is wholly unique to MJ as an athlete (thus making him an “icon). Jordan’s star power and on-court dominance was so incredible that he was able to ascertain enough wealth to become a member/facilitator of the regulatory system described above. That said, there is a largely ignored yet inherently vital component of Jordan’s unparalleled rise to iconic status. Jordan kept his mouth shut in relation to any subject matter outside of what recently transpired on his field of play. He used the system’s respect of that steadfast loyalty to maximize his personal financial gain, and thus allowed for the system to absorb him as one of its cogs. The same system that Brown, Ali, and Kareem consistently advocated against with righteous political actions and social justice advocacy, was and is wholly adhered to by Michael Jordan. This adherence bred MJ’s iconic place within in said systemic constructs, just as being advocates for infrastructural change bred iconic statue for Brown, Ali, and Kareem.

As a reference point, Shaq, Magic, Kobe, and other NBA greats have thrived in or “sold out to” the NBA’s regulatory system in ways similar to Jordan. They have not nor ever will join MJ as a governing member of system that created them. Each accomplished too little on the court, all haven’t matched MJ’s earning potential, and all have done too much in the way of documented public controversy. LeBron also isn’t going to match MJ’s basketball achievements (despite what ESPN or several NBA talking heads will have you believe). MJ dominated like only Russell before him, and had no peers come close to his performance as a winner or his loyalty as a leader. LeBron is ahead of his peers only in terms physical gifts and the cumulative statistical dominance available to him via those gifts. LeBron’s loyalty issues need not be mentioned here…

From a purely financial standpoint, LeBron most certainly can’t match MJ’s iconic earning potential – compare their shoes’ values on StockX or just try and think of the national ad campaigns both men have starred in. Jordan has/had Nike, Hanes, Coke, Gatorade, McDonald’s, Wheaties, Chevy, and more. LeBron? I can think of Sprite off the top of my head. Ultimately, a universal understanding that MJ dominates LeBron as an earner is punctuated by acknowledging Jordan’s 1.9 billion dollar net worth. LeBron’s personal fortune, while impressive, is less than a 1/4 of that and rests at 450 million (nestled in between Kobe at 500MM and Shaq at 400MM).

All that information brings us back to the quote from Avon Barksdale, because as of today, both literally and figuratively, LeBron James is both an athlete and a brand without a country. He isn’t smart enough or hard enough to do all of his talking on the court (despite his unmatched physical tools), and he most definitely is not smart enough or hard enough to embody an action-oriented existence built on sacrificing personal gain for socially significant, positively oriented systemic change. In the words of the kids, unsuccessfully trying to trademark Taco Tuesday “ain’t it, bruh.”

Wow. Having rested my case in terms of the basketball court’s verdict on “The Case of the GOAT” months ago, it feels awfully good to finally close his case in the court of public opinion as well. I’ll let you determine your own verdict – PBM’s prosecution rests.

 

The Ringer’s “Rewatchables” Podcast STINKS.

This headline comes as no surprise when coupled with the live action shot above of “The Sports Guy” attending a baseball game. Seriously – who can value the opinion of a man who still wears undershirts with his Polos (picture taken in 2016) + allows for a hat to sit on his head that way? A man of his celebrity status leaving the house looking like Steve Bartman sans headphones is patently absurd, and I shall not turn to his recommendations for anything other than Los Angeles Chinese Food.

Side Note: Simmons and “his buddy” House put me on to Yang Chow when I lived in SoCal. Amazing spot, even if House tried to ruin it for me by savagely and joyfully slurping the squiggly remnants of his Hot ‘N Sour soup. Fortunately, the grotesque evidence of this act seems to be deleted from the internet. RIP, Grantland.

The inspiration for this blog comes from ATrain (sharing my disdain for the options/results) sending me the following poll yesterday:

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Couple things grinding my gears here…

  1. Don’t even put this up as a poll. “The Program” is the only rewatchable one of the bunch, and it’s a damn classic.
  2. If you’re going to do this poll, you have to include “Necessary Roughness,” “Little Giants,” and “School Ties” ahead of the other three. “Titans” is an ok flick, but it’s far from rewatchable when compared to my choices. Plus, I’d rather watch Denzel in at least three other roles. Plus plus, I’d rather watch Opie and Avon in their natural habitats on “SOA” and “The Wire.” Plus plus plus, the white coach’s daughter in “Titans” is an annoying fucking twerp. Plus plus plus plus, Gosling can’t be taken seriously as an Alphamale in any role after his turn as the white DB who can’t cover anyone. I’m officially out on “Driver” after having the revelation that Gosling’s athlete role was a HS version of a past his prime Jason Sehorn. Not to mention the dude who takes his starting job is played by none other than Donald Faison. Gosling, you’re out!
  3. America is getting collectively stupider and “The Replacements” beating out “The Program” is concrete evidence of our ongoing intellectual crisis.
  4. “Draft Day” being a part of this poll confirms my belief that Simmons feels about Kevin Costner the way Louis C.K. feels about Ewan McGregor. CK’s bit is below for those whom don’t get that reference, and I firmly believe this because “The Rewatchables” has done at least four Costner movies (including “Four the Love of the Game”) while still not covering “Cliffhanger,” “Demolition Man,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Rock,” “Aliens,” “In the Line of Fire,” “Surviving the Game,” Karl Urban’s “Dredd,” “Caddyshack,” “Slapshot,” “Miller’s Crossing,” and many more flicks that never get old.

This poll is only the tip of the iceberg for The Ringer’s bastardization of the criteria for “rewatchable” flicks. They’ve done “Titantic,” “The Notebook,” “Gone Girl,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Dave,” “The Hangover,” “Ocean’s 11,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Creed,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “Moneyball,” and FUCKING “INCEPTION” before the flicks I listed above.

Side Note 2: PBM hates “Inception” as much as any movie that’s ever been made. If you like it, you’re a moron whom has never tried their hand at being a creator in their life. I’d rather watch Ned Beatty get fucked in “Deliverance” on a loop for two hours than watch “Inception” again.

Sure, they’ve gotten some selections right. “Point Break,” “Diehard,” “Lebowski,” “The Town,” “Con Air,” “True Romance,” “Blue Chips,” “Face / Off,” “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Old School,” “Step Bros,” “Reservoir Dogs,” and “Major League” have been discussed by Simmons ‘n Chumps. However, with their glaring omissions and those omissions being replaced by the likes of “Dave” and fuckin’ “Titanic,” I really don’t care what Simmons has to say about tried and true rewatchable classics.

But hey, since I’m forgiving a guy who has started a pursuit of a career as an educator, I’m going to help out ‘ol Sports Lad and his team. Here’s a few lists sorted by category that those mutts can turn to the next time someone suggests “Draft Day” as an actionable item for their shitty podcast.

Sports Rewatchables

  1. “The Program”
  2. “Necessary Roughness”
  3. “Kingpin”
  4. “School Ties”
  5. “Slapshot”
  6. “Mighty Ducks”
  7. “Little Giants”
  8. “Days of Thunder”
  9. “Warrior”
  10. “Caddyshack”
  11. “Happy Gilmore”
  12. “Mr. Baseball”
  13. “Hoosiers”
  14. “Dodgeball”
  15. “Side Out”
  16. “The Air Up There”

…..1,075. “The Blindside”

Borderline Sports Rewatchables

  1. “The Last Boy Scout”
  2. “Sudden Death”
  3. “Talladega Nights”

Absolutely Essential Rewatchables

  1. “Pulp Fiction”
  2. “Cliffhanger”
  3. “Die Hard 3”
  4. “Demolition Man”
  5. “The Rock”
  6. “Surviving the Game”
  7. “The Client” (Simmons and his merry bad of idiots did “The Firm.” Because of course they’d pick the wrong Grisham adaptation.)
  8. “Big Trouble in Little China”
  9. Urban’s “Dredd”
  10. “My Cousin Vinny”
  11. “No Escape” (Liotta, not Owen Wilson. Fucking duh.)
  12. “Miller’s Crossing”
  13. “The Ref
  14. “In the Line of Fire”
  15. “Boogie Nights”
  16. “Bad Boys”
  17. “Bad Boys 2”
  18. “Trading Places”
  19. “Coming to America”
  20. “Tropic Thunder”
  21. “Captain America: Winter Soldier”
  22. “Bridesmaids” (how do they pick “Best Friend’s Wedding over this?!? Oh yeah, I know how. Simmons has the final say.)
  23. “Knocked Up”
  24. “Gone in 60 Seconds
  25. “Spiderman: Homecoming”
  26. “Goonies”
  27. “Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom”
  28. “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade”
  29. “The Other Guys”
  30. “A League of Their Own”
  31. “Burn After Reading”
  32. “Fargo”
  33. “Shotcaller”
  34. “Fury”
  35. “Minority Report”
  36. “Go”
  37. “Under Siege”
  38. “The Equalizer”
  39. “John Wick”
  40. “Guardians of the Galaxy”
  41. “Thor: Ragnarok”
  42. “Overboard”
  43. “Rushmore”
  44. “Out of Sight”
  45. “Lockout”
  46. “Mrs. Doubtfire”
  47. “Se7en”
  48. “Mallrats”
  49. “Sicario”
  50. “Hell or High Water”

1,324, 761. “Proof of Life”

Wait…shit. Fucking Simmons already did one on “Proof of Life!” This blog will self-destruct in 5…4…3…2…1!

Shit, again! That’s what I get for using a “Mission: Impossible” reference. Luckily, their is an episode of The Rewatchables on that forgettable as fuck movie for those who didn’t get my joke.

I gotta end on a high note…here’s the best of Alvin Mack to send you into Saturday Night. He’s the stud linebacker from “The Program,” and you’ll see why he deserves his air time.

Adios, rail riders. Don’t forget to tip your servers.

Side Note 3: I wish I’d covered “Necessary Roughness” more. Both Mack and Latimer (juiced up DE from “The Program” seen in the third clip above) take on supporting roles, and Robert Loggia + Larry Miller put on Tour de Force performances as a coach and the villainous dean respectively. I think Train and I are going to do a combo “The Program” / “Necessary Roughness” podcast to make up for me glancing over the Fighting Armadillos in this blog. Stay tuned.

Reviewing “Far From Home” + Adoring Jake Gyllenhaal & Tom Holland

If you haven’t see most films in the MCU and plan doing on so, you might want to stop reading. I’m going to talk about them in detail that could be considered “spoiling” them, and it’s necessary. In fact, if you’re behind in your plans to watch all of the MCU and haven’t read / have an understanding of the comics then you’re clown shoes. Viewing these films without having the slightest idea of Stan Lee’s true vision for the characters is how the Tobey Maguire Spidey got love and TOPHER FUCKING GRACE PLAYED VENOM. It’s how James McAvoy butchered Professor X while Mystique became a hero instead of a ruthless assassin, and for just to further enrage me, had zero attention given to her being Nightcrawler’s mom despite her saving a young Crawler in “Apocalypse” AND sharing the screen/aligning with his father Azazel in “First Class.” It’s how Oscar Isaac is merely the second worst bastardization of an iconic villain on film…his Blue Meanie styled Apocalypse was only bested (worsted?) by the second antagonist of Andrew Garfield’s Spidey run.

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Who was that, you ask? Jamie Foxx. His acting and the atrocious costume design turned Electro into a bright blue, evil blend of the main bad guy from “Blade 2” + Ray Charles + Vincent the cab driver from “Collateral.” How does the comic book’s dopeness get supplanted with an aqua “Walking Dead” extra?!?!?

electro

Now that we’ve established my belief that peeps who don’t have a shred of comic book influence + rep Marvel films are the worst, let’s dive into Spiderman: Far From Home via Jake Gyllenhaal’s masterfully designed Mysterio costume.

jakeg

For the nebs of the world – Mysterio’s real life name is Quentin Beck. His backstory differs in how its presented in Far From Home, but the changes make sense when weighed against the current political climate. His villainous ways are nearly identical to the source material – Mysterio controls super advanced illusion tech and displays hyper intelligence. He manipulates the world’s reality with the purely egotistical and maniacal thought processes in order to present himself as a hero. Sound familiar, rail riders? Gyllenhaal channels Quentin Beck’s charismatic, superficial persona with ease. Lots of modern stars probably could. It’s the “reveal” that he’s the villain of this flick that separates Jakey G from his peers. If I spoiled him being the bad guy of this movie for you, I hate you and I’m glad I did.

I’m going to get back to JG’s place among his contemporaries after I chuck some praise the way of Tom Holland. Holland’s Spidey is VASTLY SUPERIOR to Tobey’s and Garfield’s. Tobey couldn’t convince us he was a kid, and Garfield has one of the stupidest, ginger/emo faces in the world. In order to play Peter Parker aka Spiderman, it is paramount to be able to age yourself down. Spidey is a teenager! Imagine your 16 year-old self getting insanely awesome super powers and then figuring out how to handle the next day(s) of your life – it’d be awesome, but most teenage dudes are bumbling morons. Tobes and Garfield didn’t convey this even for a minute in their Spiderman renditions…Holland NAILS IT. Spiderman: Homecoming, his first full-feature appearance as Peter Parker, is just as good as Far From Home. Keaton’s performance as The Vulture is truly epic, but it’s Holland who ends up stealing the show. He seamlessly and effortlessly hooks you into the belief that he’s a teenage doofus, and he does so in the face of source material plot changes that shouldn’t enhance his on-screen presence. The MCU WAYYYY over emphasizes Ironman / Spiderman’s relationship. I believe they did this as a way to ease Holland into the part. It was a strategic, albeit silly decision to have him on screen with Downey’s perfected, almost too good portrayal of Tony Stark. Holland didn’t seem to mind in the slightest, and managed to sway me in FAVOR of the Stark / Parker paternal bond that I was witnessing unfold on screen. The kid has chops. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say he’s peerless among the new crop of leading males. His versatility, musical ability, and genuine charm has him running laps around Garfield, Miles Teller, Tye Sheridan, and Ansel Elgort. Taron Egerton is his closet competition, but him doing an Elton John impression isn’t nearly as impressive as what Holland has done with Parker (side tangent: Garfield, Elgort, and Egerton have all be sabotaged by Jamie “Trash Heap” Foxx. Garfield and Electro, Elforgt and his absurdly terrible gangster role in “Baby Driver,” and Egerton via the shitshow that was Guy Ritchie’s “Robin Hood.” Interesting or nah?).

holland

If you don’t get the “Dunny” usage, you need to get way wiser. Parker is from Queens, Mobb Deep is from Queens, and bad asses from Queens use “Dun” instead of “son.” You’re welcome.

Last note on Holland’s performance that I have to crush on – he CRUSHES a scene where he officially steps into Ironman’s shoes as the lead dog super hero alive. It got dusty, folks. Ya know, because Ironman died in “Infinity War.” I’d be remised if I didn’t throw some love Jon Favreau’s way. He’s really great as Happy, Ironman’s best friend and assistant. He’s even better as Spidey’s new father figure.

Now…back to my mainest man, Jake G. This movie cemented something for me that I’ve believed for a long time. Jake Gyllenhaal is the greatest actor of the LOADED Generation X / Millennial crop. He’s better than Leo, Pitt, Hardy, Bale, McConaughey, Cooper, Fassbender, Damon, both Afflecks, Gosling, Idris, Wahlberg, Joaquin, and Emeka Okafor. The one thing missing from his resume was ownership of a true blockbuster role, and that mission was expertly accomplished. His resume now contains standout performances with unparalleled range. Donnie Darko, Moonlight Mile, Brokeback Mountain, Jarhead, Zodiac, Love & Other Drugs, Source Code, End of Watch, Prisoners, Enemy, Nightcrawler, Southpaw, Demolition, Nocturnal Animals, and Far From Home. No other modern actor touches that variety or sniffs the consistent excellence within it. I’m not any other actor in history can do it, but I won’t go that far. I don’t give a flying fuck how many statues he has, because he should’ve gotten one for at least three of those roles. 2014 was the biggest robbery, as he didn’t get nominated for Nightcrawler ahead of DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort, Bale’s turn in the absurdly overrated American Hustle, and Wooderson’s coronation via Dallas Buyer’s Club. If ya didn’t appreciate JG before this blog, please do so now. And don’t be like Train and avoid these two excellent Spidey flicks. Hopefully this blog will finally get him to watch some supremely entertaining, surprisingly touching, and damn near perfect summer movie action.

Last stop, family! Tip your servers.

A Better Ending to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Part 6.

Welcome back to part six of the new and better ending. We are poised for a battle to the North. The Night’s King having just suffered a three-headed-dragon attack now has to re-think his strategy of freezing out the enemy. It certainly seems like a major battle is coming.

I’ll tell you what we WON’T do in my version is waste an entire episode having characters yak about inconsequential bullshit while “preparing” for battle.

To the south, the word is out about The Night King’s army. There is panic, cold and hunger. The small council is trying to keep King’s Landing under control with Dany and Tyrion away. Sansa and Robert Arryn are on the council, having led the refugees all the way to King’s Landing. Danerys has brought Illiryo Mopatis over from Pentos to act as the Queen’s hand in place of Tyrion and sit the Iron Throne while they are both away. With Sansa and Cersei on the council, we get some solid repartee between the two as they now equal. Sansa gets to tell Cersei off in fantastic fashion.

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Remember Mopatis? This guy fucking gave Dany the dragon’s eggs as a wedding gift. The show just totally forgot about him. Pepperidge Farm Remembers.

The Queen of Thorns is still alive, and she didn’t take kindly to Cersei killing Margery and Loras. She has her spies watching Cersei’s every move. As Cersei plots how she will take back control of the throne, the Queen of Thornes knows what she is up too. It will be the Queen of Thorns who exposes Cersei in the end. Cersei will get a final laugh as one of Qyburn’s assassin’s gets to Lady Olena and kills her.

What is creepy Bran up too?

We last left Bran at Moat Cailin, where the great battle is set to take place. HBO gave this kid absolutely nothing to do, then they made him fucking king. I say we do the opposite, give him something to do, and don’t let a creepy crippled kid be king.

Bran is wheeled over to the heart tree, Ghost is with him. We see Bran look into the red eyes of the tree, then the red eyes of the dire wolf. Bran wargs into Ghost since the show decided to never set up John as a warg. As Ghost, Bran becomes the scout for the army of men. Stormclouds have made it hard to scout by bird or dragon, but the white wolf can get his eyes on the enemy without being seen. He gets right up to the Nights’ King’s Battle array and Bran is able to see what is coming.

What is coming is an almost endless army of the deadmen, zombie giants, ice spiders, and dead mammoths. Ghost turns and bounds off. At the last second, the Night’s King notices the dire wolf and he tries to raise more dead around the wolf to stop him. Ghost is able to escape ripping off a few zombie limbs in the process.

The news of the coming attack gets to the dragon riders. This is what they wanted, the plan to draw him out appears to be working.

Grey Worm forms up the Unsullied in a defensive position. Jorah has the Calvary ready for when they need to flank the enemy.

Jamie and Brienne are reunited. Podrick is knighted. Brienne has the command of an elite group of warriors, the people we love to see fuck shit up. They all have Valerian Steel, and they are meant to locate and kill the Nights’ King’s generals.

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You know what would have been pretty sweet? To see these guys fight the Warriors we have been watching for 7+ seasons. Instead, they did nothing, while the Jamie and Brienne types would just fight 10 zombies at a time.

The fighting really bothered me in S8E03 of the show. You would see a character get washed over by enemies and then somehow they would be fine. None of that in my version. Let’s see some swordplay otherwise what are we doing here?

Seven is a sacred number so I will end it for good in Part 7 coming up next.

A Better Ending to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Part 5.

Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback I’ve been getting on these. I will admit it’s been much more fun trying to reshape this mess than it was watching the actual show for me. It is an assignment you can’t get wrong because no matter what I come up with, it’s going to be better than what we got from HBO.

I’m not even saying my ideas are great, they just make a lot more logical sense than the dog shit HBO fed us. I’m really just taking the plot the show gave us and moving logically from where the story was pointing before it unraveled completely.

Shout out to Brooke, who sent me a bunch of #GotMemes. I’d like to post a relevant one here:

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The people didn’t forget. You were turning babies into White Walkers, dude. You made it a big deal one episode and we never saw anything about it ever again.

Cut to The Frozen Throne: This is what I’m calling the Night King’s throne at Winterfell.

The human children held captives by the White Walkers are gathered and presented before the Night’s King. They are shivering.

It’s revealed little Lyanna Mormont is among the captives. She is brought before the king and queen.  The Other White Walkers the Night’s King included have a language undiscernable to human ears but The White Walker queen (Lyanna Stark) still has the language of men. She asks the child her name. You were named after me, the queen tells Lady Mormont. She tells him this man is our King now. (gesturing towards the Night’s King.) 

Lady Mormont reiterates her words from Earlier “I know no King, but the King in the North whose name is Stark” She pulls a dragon glass dagger and rushes at the king. As she closes in the Queen catches her and wrenches away the blade. “Foolish girl.” she says, “I am a Stark.”  Then she brushes away black ice and grime from her King’s frozen breastplate a Black Direwolf Sigil is revealed on his chest.

“And so is the King.”

So the lore of the White Walkers as far as the show goes is that the Children of the Forrest created them from men to fight men? It’s pretty stupid and they are not portrayed that way in the books. In fact as far as the books go the White Walker’s and the “Night King” are still very unknown. The Night’s King is just one of old nan’s tales. So if I’m going to follow that the Walkers were created from men, what if the patient zero the Children of the Forest used was a Stark? A Stark from 5,000 years ago or whatever.

Oh and then Lyanna Mormont is turned into a white walker child by the Night’s King and basically adopted by him as his daughter and princess of winter. Sorry, everyone who loved her, she’s demon spawn now. But guess what she’s a side character who didn’t appear till well into the show. It’s cool to have her made bad. Making Daenerys into the “Mad Queen” with the flip of a switch is heinous: she’s the main character.

In fact, the Night’s King is gonna turn all the captive children into white walkers. That’s what you get for not keeping up with your parents.

Now we cut back to the three-headed dragon of Jon, Dany, and Tyrion. They are descending on Winterfell from Dragonback but they do not attack directly. They circle the castle from a great distance. Then they unleash the flames.

They build a giant burning ring of fire spanning miles around Winterfell. They circle round and round spitting flame.

Then each flies dragon to a different section of the ring of fire. They begin to fan the flames with their wings.

At Winterfell, you see some of the ice that has frosted around the castle begin to thaw.

The Night’s King sees the thaw as well and a look of anger and rage flashes across his face. One of his Walker-Brother comes in to give a warning but the King is already preparing a counter attack. Except the attackers are gone, it was a hit and run attack. His giant Ice Spider has come out of its lair and is going crazy trying to spit frozen webs to put out the fire.

You can see in Night’s Kings’ Eye that this aggression will not stand, man.

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You made him a whiney emo bitch.

Hey A-Train what about Jamie Lannister?

I didn’t forget about the precious King Slayer.

In Part 1 of the rewrite, you will recall Cersei uses diplomacy to get out of trouble. In truth, she bore her soul to the queen. She told Dany how she was in love with Rhaegar. How she wanted to marry him. Well, Jamie hears this. He’s heartbroken to learn his sister loved someone else. While he’s grateful for Dany’s pardon, he also knows that Cersei was telling the truth about her love for Rhaegar. He leaves King’s Landing but we as the audience don’t know exactly where he is yet….

Part 6….. tomorrow if I have time. Thanks again for reading and for all the feedback.

A Better Ending to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Part 4.

Welcome back to the Game of Thrones rewrite, where we last left off the North was being evacuated through the Neck and through White Harbor. The Night’s King is descending through the North, killing the people who didn’t evacuate in time. The children are held in cages as prisoners for now. He leads his army of the dead into an empty Winterfell. First, he goes to the crypts and raises the dead Starks. When he raises Lyanna Stark he uses a different kind of magic and she rises more like him. She rises now a white walker.

He takes the Walker Lyanna Stark as his queen of winter and sits on the high lord’s chair as the castle frosts and freezes around him.

(end whatever episode that is…)

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(Savage move by the Night’s King. He knows that Jon Snow is one of his main rivals. So what does he do? He makes Jon his stepson when he raises his mom from the dead.)

Next Episode should start with some notion of a passage of time. At the choke point of the Neck, the army of defenders has built a winter fortress. They have been waiting for an attack that hasn’t come. What has come is cold and starvation. Most of our important cast members gather around to discuss the dire situation. Jon, Dany, and Tyrion for sure but also Brienne, Tormund, etc.

The options are:

  1. Attack. Most people think this is really stupid to attack blindly into an enemy they know little about.
  2. Retreat South toward better provisions. You lose the favorable defensive position
  3. Get more intelligence and continue to wait. Risk running out of food or freezing.
  4. Figure out a way to lure the Night’s King to attack into a trap of their own. (This is the most agreed upon option but how do they pull it off?)

There is one other MAJOR PROBLEM. The Dragons are not doing well in the cold. They appear to be suffering. Dany wants to take the Dragons south to try and heal but they are afraid to remain undefended by Dragons. Tyrion and Samwell begin to dig back into the dragon scrolls to try and find an answer, but Mellisandre has just arrived and says there is no need.

The Red Woman has come to the Neck from White Harbor. She has joined the defenders. The Red Woman tells Dany to remember what she knows about Dragons. She asks Daenerys “What are Dragons?” Daenerys remembers and answers “Dragons are fire made flesh”

A giant bonfire is made specifically for the dragons and they begin to heal under the warmth. The Red Woman tells Dany she has a gift in the fight against the Night’s King. It’s a box with three large rubies in it, similar to the magic ruby she wears around her neck.

The Rubies will protect the dragons from the cold and makes their fires burn hotter. They just need to wear them around their necks.

OMG, I finally have something for Gendry to do! He’s making dragon necklaces!

Maybe dragons rocking ruby chains is a bit odd but it is still 100x better than what this show gave me, and I feel like this shit is making way more logical sense.

The Ruby Necklaces are like crack for these Dragons they are now operating at 110%

Mellisandre advises Jon, Dany, and Tyrion that fire is the mortal enemy of ice. Start a big enough fire and the Night’s King will come out to extinguish it. They like this idea….the are Targaryen’s after all.

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You ever see a lizard in a blizzard? Get me a damn jacket!

Part 5 coming at ya soon. Stay Tuned.

A Better Ending to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Part 3.

There was this huge build up to John Snow’s true identity. He’s not Ned Starks bastard, he’s the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna. Yet on the show we saw, that didn’t seem to matter AT ALL with the way things turned out in the end. Do not fear or worry here it WILL matter. Tyrion has taken his Dragon to warn Dany of what’s coming from the North. He tells her that there is something else she needs to know.

Dany, John Snow, and Tyrion meet with Bran by the heart tree. John Snow and Dany are meeting for the first time. Dany tells John her dream is a Kingdom united under her rule, Jon tells her “If we live through this I will happily bend the knee.”

Dany also meets Bran for the first time. Bran tells her that she THINKS she is alone, that she THINKS she is the last Targaryen…she isn’t. She has a living half brother and a living nephew. Bran puts his hand on Dany and is able to pass to Daenerys a true vision of the past. The imagery she needs to see to know the truth.

Tears are running down Daenerys cheeks, she thought she was all alone. The Last Targaryen. I will never have children she says but now in you, I know our family’s bloodline can go on. Dany is not mad, she’s happy! She has a family again. The Targaryens can go on through either John or Tyrion.

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Dany likes this ending more. High Five!

Dany and Tyrion tell John he needs to learn to Dragon ride and they teach him in an empty Winterfell as everyone has fled south. From the skies above Winterfell, they see the coming storm of winter.

The plan now is to try and defend against the Night King at the next choke point. This would be the neck. White Harbor however isn’t fully evacuated yet, there have not been enough ships to get everyone out. Bran tells John that he sees through the raven a pirate fleet nearby that can help…Salador Saan (remember him!)

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How are you not gonna close this dude out proper?

Danerys will fly to convince Saan to help the people of White Harbor evacuate.

Tyrion, John and Bran head to the choke point. They are meeting the Unsullied and Grey Worm to plan the defense. Lots of the big names are gonna be here. Jorah is fucking half dead from greyscale Sam failed his surgery because he’s a fat idiot. Jorah just wants one last chance to kill for his queen and die with a sword in hand.

The Plan will be to have an actual plan, a plan for the dragons and how to use them, a plan on how to use Calvary not like total idiots…pretty much the opposite of what we saw in the show.

Cut to Salador Saan’s flagship: We see The Red Woman is on board. (what you thought I’d forget about the firestarter?) The Red Woman told Saan that if he sailed towards White Harbor the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen would come to him out of the sky on a dragon and that he would help her for nothing more than a kiss. Saan in starting to appear skeptical but then he hears the dragon’s wail and sees the wings through the clouds. Drogon lands on the giant vessel as gentle as a sparrow and Dany greets Saan with the greatest courtesy. She tells of the peril and will do anything for his help. Saan says he will do it for nothing more than a kiss but when Dany leans in he stops her. “Not here,” he says as he points to the sky “Up there” And without hesitation, she hails Drogon and they both fly high into the sky. Saan gets to mile-high first base. The people of White Harbor get the ships they need. White Harbor saved by a Black Pirate isn’t it ironic?

I have no clue how many parts this will be but I don’t want them getting too long so I will end here. Look for Part for 4 coming soon.

 

A Better Ending to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Part 2.

Hey A-Train, what about Sansa?

Hey A-Train, what about Arya?

Hey A-Train, what about Hot Pie?

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I’ll get to this beautiful boy.

Hey A-Train, what about Brienne of Tarth?

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Some people want to know more than others.

I’m getting to them, Jennifer!

We pick up with Sansa I think somewhere around when she makes Ramsay dog food. Sansa is becoming the woman her mother wanted her to be, a true lady. Littlefinger (who in my version would have never sent Sansa to Ramsay in the first place but I can’t rewrite everything) is urging her to wed Robyn Arryn the Lord of the Vail. She is skeptical because the first time Littlefinger urged her to wed it failed miserably. Littlefinger has turned  Rob Arryn into a catch, a guy Sansa would really like. Sansa in intrigued, with John King in the North, Lady of the Veil is a nice title. In fact, the young Lord is so unlike he used to be Sansa thinks it’s possible Littlefinger either killed the boy and replaced him or he died of natural causes. The courtship is cut short by the coming doom and Sansa takes a leadership role as does the young lord Arryn in helping the people flee south.

Arya is not killing the Night King with a pencil in my version sorry, but she knows to flee south like everyone else, except she has more purpose. She still has a name on her list: Cersei Lannister.

Not to get too far ahead of myself in the timeline I really quickly want to outline how this confrontation will go down. Arya in typical faceless-man fashion studies her victim before deciding how to kill her. Arya sees the queen’s plots to kill Tyrion and Daenerys to usurp the throne again. But she’s been watching her so closely that Arya knows Cersei’s schemes will unravel around her and she will be caught.

If you will permit me some imaginary screenwriting: 

Arya sneaks up on the queen like a thief in the night. The queen is alone in her bedchamber lit only by candlelight.

Arya: I’ve been watching you, I came to King’s Landing to kill you. Do you remember me?

Cersei: You’re the Stark girl, the other one. It was your wolf that bit my Joffrey.

Arya: That was a long time ago, a lot’s happened since then. I made a list you know? At one point it had a lot of names on it. It had your son’s name on it. It was more than a list actually. It was a prayer, I said it every night before I slept. I’ve slain many a man on my list… I would have killed Joffrey, instead, Littlefinger did it with the Queen of Thornes.

(The Queen who was certain her brother Tyrion poisoned Joffrey with the help of Sansa has a look of shock and disbelief on her face, she moves her lips to speak but Arya cuts her off.)

Arya: You still think the Imp killed Joffrey? C’mon Cersei I thought you were smarter than that. Littlefinger planned the whole thing and freed my sister, it’s the only reason HE’S not on my list. In fact, there’s just one name left. Queen Cersei. Except you’re no longer a queen are you?

Cersei: I am the Lady of Casterly Rock and I will be a queen again!

Arya: You are the last name I whisper at night, and I’m not even going to kill you. I am going to watch your plots and schemes unravel and swallow you up and I’m going to laugh when it happens. I need to learn to laugh again,

(Arya fades into the shadows)

Cersei’s plots do unravel around her, she was going to try and kill Tyrion and Daenerys she is brought before the queen and demands a trial by combat. Everyone knows she’s guilty but Daenerys allows it. Cersei’s Champion is Ser Robert Strong, so obviously the Hound is going to be the Champion for the Crown. The Hound wins and Cersei is guilty.

Tyrion strangles his sister to death, in the same manner, he killed Shea. He’s not even thinking about Cersei as he does it, he’s thinking about the first woman he strangled. In doing so he fulfills the last part of Cersei’s prophecy.

I could see doing this part in the final episode, or just before the last showdown with the Night King.

Lot’s of people want to know what my boy HP is up too? Hot Pie is slanging bowls of brown to everyone in flea bottom. “Best Brown in the Bottom” is his Tavern’s catch phrase.

Brienne of Tarth takes on a role in John’s Snow’s king’s guard. Tormund immediately also gets on John’s king’s guard and Brienne wonders if she just made a huge mistake. Tormund still tells the Giants milk story. (That’s cannon from the books.)  More on John’s Elite Guard later.

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A-Train Taking a break from fixing this mess…Part 3 is coming and faster than the Winds of Fucking Winter.