Politics, Uncategorized

How America Sees Sally Yates

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As a damn hero.

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Reviews, Science, Toys

Lite Poppers Light Up Kids’ Imaginations

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Lite Poppers are fun for the whole family! Even the cat! (Don’t really give your cat Lite Poppers.)

You may not have heard about Lite Poppers yet, but it’s a fascinating new construction toy line that really stands out. It’s connective system is unlike any I’ve seen before, original and innovative.

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These are the basic building components of Lite Poppers.

The colorful building units, not blocks exactly, but look like globes when connected up, can be moved around. So what you get here is a toy that can be moved and morphed as your child completes it.

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The units click into one another to form globes.

It’s a new kind of connective toy. That means that sussing out how the globes connect up may take your child a minute, but once they catch on, and they will, Lite Popper toys can inspire your children in creative ways other building toys can’t. So don’t worry if the system looks complex, Lite Poppers has THIS VIDEO to help you out in case things seem daunting.

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When figuring out the connective system, the basic units reminded me of the atomic models from science class, used to create, say, water molecules.

Think Lego crossed with Meccano crossed with a Rubik’s Cube, throw in a dash of Lite Brite, and you’ll get close to the ideas Lite Poppers can inspire.

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Here the globes are connected to each other and the light up platform provided in each set.

But wait a second. Lite Brite? Where’d that come from? As the name implies, Lite Poppers, well, pop with lite. Each set has a base that lights up and flashes. I dunno about you, but my kid loooooves toys that light up. So now, whatever gets built with Lite Poppers will glow, flash, reflect, and move as the toy does.

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Here we have the Lite Poppers Plane, with “Zef.”

Oh, and you don’t need batteries for the toys either. You can use a phone charger or USB cable to power them up. Each set also comes with plenty of reflective stickers as well, to enhance the effect.

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And here it is all lit up!

Now here’s the part you don’t tell your kids. Lite Poppers are officially classified as STEM toys. That stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. So what we have here is a opportunity to sneak some learning in for your kids. They won’t know it, but as they play with the toys, they’ll be grasping fundamentals of science and math!

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Trading cards, back stories, and interactive games are included in every set.

And they won’t know they’re learning because Lite Poppers provides back stories, comics and trading cards for their characters and toys. Learning disguised as fun! Win win.

As parents, it’s our job to challenge, coax, and encourage our kids to explore the depths of their imaginations, to reach beyond what they think their limits are. So when a toy comes along that is capable of helping us do that, it’s a toy our kids should have.

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Lite Poppers Plane with “Zef” and the Loader with “Xena.”

For the kid who likes LEGO, but you aren’t sure which sets they’re into; for the kid who loves toys who light up; for the kid who loves school, and the kid who doesn’t; Lite Poppers will make fun, unique, and memorable gifts.

Find Lite Poppers HERE.

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Playmobil NHL Hockey Arena
Parenting, playmobil, Reviews, Sports, Toys

Playmobil’s NHL Hockey Arena Perfect for Family Fun!

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When I was growing up, tabletop hockey games were a big part of life. We had one of those sets with the two-dimensional players for everyday use, but the really nice set with the detailed hockey figures was saved for the holidays. So when Playmobil sent me their NHL Arena to review, I was going to either really love it or really hate it. As the headline spoils, it was clearly the former.

As with my previous review, I’ve uploaded a video playlist as well, linked HERE.

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My first impression when I opened the box was that this would be an easy set to put together. If you know anything about Playmobil, you already know that they pride themselves on being hyper-detailed. While that’s an overwhelmingly good thing, that means some of their bigger sets have many small pieces, and can take a while to assemble. Well, I’m happy to report here that although Playmobil’s attention to detail is still greatly evident with their NHL Hockey Arena, it is very easy to assemble. It will only take a few minutes, shown in this video.

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The Arena comes with four players, two skaters and two goalies. While none of them wear official NHL team colors (don’t worry, Playmobil still has you covered, we’ll get to that) they do sport the official NHL Shield logo on their jerseys and helmets.

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Still, the colors the teams wear are wisely chosen, and mirror some official NHL teams closely. The blue team could easily pass for the Winnipeg Jets, for example, and the white and red team could easily become the Detroit Red Wings or Carolina Hurricanes. It would only take a few stickers to accomplish that.

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See that little grey arrow behind the player in the white jersey? That’s the spring loaded mechanism that pulls his hockey stick back and releases it for the shooting action. The goalie is attached to a lever and swings back and forth to try and stop the shot. Playmobil captured hockey’s play action just that simply and effectively.

The skaters snap easily into platforms that make them look like they’re skating, and it also allows them to shoot pucks. While they still have that iconic Playmobil aesthetic, the players are definitely unique additions. The NHL Hockey Arena (set 5068 for the sticklers) can either fit into an existing Playmobil theme or stand alone.

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The goalies are amazing. Underneath their equipment, they look like a more traditional Playmobil figure. Their accessories include skates (which connect to the lever that moves them), leg pads, a blocker, a trapper, a goalie stick, and, of course, an awesome facemask. Combined with the puck shooting action of the skaters, the ability of the goalies to go post to post in the crease really makes for a lot of fun hockey gameplay.

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And here’s something I discovered that I’m not even sure Playmobil thought of, you can put the goalie on his action feature sideways. Now he can stack the pads and make exciting kick saves just like in the real NHL! Not to mention this covers a lot more ice and makes scoring much harder. It’s a way to level up to a harder difficulty in game play.

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“But waaaaaaaaait a minute,” says the sharp-eyed reader, “Where did those New York Rangers players come from?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Playmobil also has official team players available, and as I’m a huge Rangers fan, I naturally had to have them.

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Each skater comes with a sheet of decals with numbers and their team logos. You can customize them any way you like. So for the Rangers goalie, I gave him number 30, for Henrik Lundqvist. The skaters got 19, because I liked to wear 19 when I played, and 36, because I think Mats Zuccarello kinda looks like a Playmobil figure.

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Image courtesy NY Rangers Fanatics.

I kid you because I love you, Mats. Seriously. ZUUUUUUC!

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But to the point at hand, Playmobil allows you to customize not just your players, but the NHL Hockey Arena itself. As we’re a New York Rangers family, the rink will be New York Rangers home ice.

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But you can choose whatever team you like. Playmobil includes three sheets of decals, including every NHL Team logo and the NHL Shield logo as well, in case you’d rather stay neutral.

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“But, wait,” you might say, “I don’t know anything about hockey!” Don’t worry, Playmobil thought of that too. They include a booklet explaining everything you need to know about the sport. Don’t worry, it’s not very complicated. If your child likes hockey and you don’t, then here’s a quick and fun way for you to catch up.

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As for gameplay on the NHL Arena itself, it couldn’t be simpler. There’s a slider on the boards behind each net to keep score. First one to ten wins. You’re all set to play games immediately.

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The rink also features removable side boards revealing ramps, as Playmobil also offers a Zamboni ice cleaning tractor. My full video review of the NHL Hockey Rink is HERE, by the way.

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With the NHL Hockey Arena, Playmobil will let you trick out your rink with players from your favorite NHL team, as well as the aforementioned Zamboni, referees, and even the presenters of the Stanley Cup. For those of us who love hockey like I do, these are the toys we’ve been waiting for. It’s a serious upgrade from tabletop hockey.

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It was symbolic that my father was visiting for Thanksgiving when I gave the Arena to my son. Hockey’s a family thing with us. That’s why I wore the number 19 when I played, because my father wore it before me.

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When I was growing up, tabletop hockey games were a big part of life. I played it with my family and friends, with the extra special nice tabletop game with the cool figures saved for the holidays. Thanks to Playmobil, I can pass on this tradition to my son, and we’ll play hockey games just like my father and I did.

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And while we may have picked up this tradition for the holidays, I think we’ll keep it going all year round.

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Opinion, Parenting, playmobil, Reviews, Toys

Toy Review: City Action Space Rocket with Launch Site (Playmobil Set 6195)

One of the things I’ve always wanted was a toy representation of Cape Canaveral. I’ve always loved all things NASA and space exploration, and of course, I’ve got a deep affection for science fiction because of it. Playmobil has finally provided me with just what I was looking for.

Oh, and I’ve created a playlist of videos examining this playset for you to check out as well.

The Space Rocket with Launch Site (or Playmobil Set 6195 for the sticklers) is a hefty addition to anyone’s toy collection. When assembled, the whole thing stands at over two feet tall, so it’s a hard piece to miss.

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Behold! Playmobil Set 6195 aka Space Rocket Launch Site

As is their wont, Playmobil went all out in the details of the set. They don’t miss a trick, and the result is a completely immersive play experience that really brings your imagination to life.

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Now, the downside of this means that there are plenty of small pieces, and the set takes some time to put together, but the end result is more than worth the effort, as the completed Launch Site will be nothing short of awe-inspiring to your little ones.

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Playmobil included three figures with the set, female and male technician/scientists, and the return of the really cool little robot we’ve not seen since the SpaceMo days in the 80s. Click this video for more information.

The Space Rocket alone is worth the price of the entire playset all by itself. It lights up; makes three different noise sets, at a not-too-loud-volume as well: has a detachable capsule meant to fly on its own; and includes a satellite, tucked away in the capsule, which unfolds to reveal spectacular and reflective solar panels. As this video shows, that’s a whole lot of play value!

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The literal spine of the toy, the Launch Site portion of the playset is also no slouch. The Space Rocket connects to and detaches from the tower, and you can also connect fuel and power lines from the base of the Launch Site directly into the Space Rocket.

A radar dish can be spun at the top to ensure the coast is clear for a successful launch, and a communications array is available to send and receive data from the satellite, its matching reflective solar panel twirling in whatever direction you like.

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The main platform of the Launch Site contains all the controls and monitor screens. It also features a microphone for your figures to simulate the countdown (that the rocket can sound out for you as well), a phone to contact Houston, and doors that swing open and closed. The platform itself also acts as an elevator in and of itself, sliding up and down the entire height of the tower, demonstrated in this video.

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But that’s still not all. Two smaller platforms, similar to the buckets operators ride in as seen with cherry picker cranes, can swing out and away from the control platform, carrying your Playmobil figures around the front of the Space Rocket for any repairs or maintenance that might be required. Handles extend below the buckets which the robot can click onto as well, in case the need for repairs is pressing enough to require all three figures to work on them at the same time. All of this is shown in this video.

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From top to bottom, Playmobil has delivered a solid playset, that should keep your children occupied for hours. The play options unfold seemingly exponentially. The figures go up and down on the platform, and out and around the rocket in the buckets. The robot wheels and spins about, sometimes gripping onto the buckets to be lifted high into the air.

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Your Space Rocket lights up and creates sound effects, and what kid doesn’t like that? It also launches a smaller vessel, the capsule, which in turn launches a satellite. Or even the robot. Why not?

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Oh. One more thing. You know how the Space Shuttle gets lifted into the sky by booster rockets and a fuel cell that highly resemble Playmobil’s Space Rocket? That’s no coincidence. Playmobil’s own Space Shuttle set (number 6196 for the sticklers) can attach directly onto the Space Rocket from this set, adding ever more play options for your child. And yourself. Let’s be honest.

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This is what Playmobil sets 6195 and 6196 look like together!

We’re lucky enough to live in New York City, and even luckier to live close to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum. Featured on the Intrepid, to which we have memberships and visit often, is the Space Shuttle Enterprise. My son and I love it. Just as I know he’ll love these Playmobil sets.

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In short, the Playmobil Space Rocket Launch Site is loads of fun for both you and your kids. It’s a fantastic gift idea with its multitudes of play options and its ability to spark your kids’ imagination and curiosity. And don’t tell them this part, it’s educational as well! Shhhh!

Keep an eye out for my future reviews.

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Coming up next is the Playmobil NHL Arena, which I tease in this video.

 

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Uncategorized

When Hope Is Engulfed In Flames: Ferguson On The Night of The Darren Wilson Grand Jury Decision

Virally Suppressed - Muckraking For The Modern World

Hope is like an appendage that hangs from your soul. It is flexible and it is lithe. It reaches out to grab hold of the things it needs to sustain it. And, like any other limb, it doesn’t grow back if you saw it off. Once hope has been thoroughly severed from the soul it is gone. The wound may heal and cover itself in striated scar tissue and the person might find some sort of prosthetic to take up the space in which that hope used to live, but it will never come back. People who have had the hope completely ripped away from them are left only with a ghost limb; a faint memory of what it used to be. They can never truly believe in whatever goodness that surrounds them for fear that it will be snatched away just as it was before and that this time…

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