Kevin Durant steals the show in Charlotte, wins second All-Star MVP


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In Stephen Curry‘s homecoming, Kevin Durant stole the show.

Durant scored a team-high 31 points for Team LeBron, helping to lead his team of All-Stars back from a 20-point deficit in a 178-164 win over Team Giannis and winning All-Star MVP for the second time in his career.

Durant, who last won the award in 2012, shot 10-for-15 from the floor (6-for-9 from 3) as Team LeBron set an All-Star Game record for most made 3s in a game with 35.

“We just didn’t want to lose,” Durant told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols after accepting the MVP trophy on the court after the game. “We know we had a lot of talent over there that can do multiple things. We just wanted to turn it up a bit on the defensive side. I think the group closed the third quarter really changed the game for us. It is fun being around such greatness. Seeing how these guys operate on the day to day. I’ll miss my time here.”

He added 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks as LeBron James improved to 2-0 as a captain since the NBA All-Star Game changed to a draft format last year. Durant paid off as James’ No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

“It’s all sweet to me,” Durant said when asked to compare the award to his other career accomplishments. “I mean, it’s hard to rank. Everything’s special. But it’s cool to be out there with some of the best players to ever play the game, and to win an MVP here in front of my family and friends is pretty sweet. I just keep trying to rack them up, I guess.”

The 11-year veteran’s trophy case is getting mighty crowded these days after he took home back-to-back NBA Finals MVP awards for the Golden State Warriors’ championships the last two years.

Durant, who is not expected to opt in to the final year of his contract, worth $31.5 million, with the Warriors and instead test free agency this summer, was asked if there were any teammates in particular he enjoyed playing with on Team LeBron.

Several of his teammates — Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson — are also expected to test free agency this summer. James’ team, the Los Angeles Lakers, will have the salary cap space to sign a max free agent of Durant’s caliber.

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Kevin Durant explains how Team LeBron turned it on after halftime and appreciates all the great players competing on the floor together.

“Every one of them,” Durant said, not offering any clues. “I think every one of these guys, you can relate to them on a different level. A lot of these guys come from the same background and same circumstances, so you relate to them on a different level. All our skills match with each other. So you’ve got guys that can play four positions out there. So you don’t mind sitting in the corner waiting for the ball to come to you for a 3.

“So you don’t really have to do too much when you’re playing with so many great players. You can do what you’re just best at.”

Durant went 4-for-4 from the field (3-for-3 from 3) in the fourth quarter as Team LeBron pulled away.

At halftime, with Team LeBron trailing by 13 points, James asked coach Mike Malone if he and his teammates could leave the locker room to see rapper J. Cole perform his halftime set out on the court.

“I said, listen, I’ll let you go watch the concert if you promise to get your ass back in transition,” Malone said. “LeBron made my words known, they watched the concert, and they came out and played great.”

Team LeBron allowed 69 points in the second half after giving up 95 points in the first two quarters.

“Coach Malone said the record [for points allowed] is 194, and we don’t want to get that put on us,” Durant said, revealing another motivation tactic of the Denver Nuggets’ coach. “So I think guys just buckled down and wanted to win after a while.”

Curry, who played for Team Giannis, scored 17 points on 6-for-23 shooting (4-for-17 from 3), adding nine rebounds and seven assists.

Damian Lillard, who scored nine of his 18 points in the third quarter to aid in the comeback alongside Durant, was asked to assess Durant’s performance considering how much he has been in the news this season — from commenting that stars didn’t want to play alongside James to sniping at a reporter for speculating he could join the New York Knicks this summer.

“I don’t think the news had anything to do with it,” Lillard said. “I think we all know the kind of player he is. Down the stretch of this game, he’s hitting big shot after big shot. I think that’s the most important thing. We know he’s a very, very high-level basketball player, and from being around him, you see that he’s just a regular dude. He comes off pretty genuine to me.

“So I think you hear people saying stuff about he’s sensitive and all those types of things, but you also want a genuine person. So I think people got to choose. But that’s the way he comes off to me when I’ve been around him.”



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Brightening Banana Primers : Face Primer



Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Face Primer is Instantly Illuminating

Following the launch and the immense success of its Banana Bright Eye Crème, Ole Henriksen is introducing its first-ever makeup product in the form of its Banana Bright Face Primer. The new product is touted as a Vitamin C-powered illuminating primer that helps to instantly boost radiance, extend makeup wear, blur imperfections and hydrate the skin.

Naturally, this product was inspired by the brightening, color-correcting “banana powder” used by makeup artists and has the potential to be worn in a wide range of ways, including under makeup, mixed into foundation or worn on its own to create a healthy glow thanks to its sunny tint.

Thrifty consumers have been integrating banana into their beauty routines for years with DIY concoctions of their own, and now, a number of banana-infused skincare and cosmetic products are emerging to share the fruit’s beautifying benefits.



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Shamima Begum: IS teenager to lose UK citizenship


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Media captionShamima Begum: ‘The poster girl thing was not my choice’

Shamima Begum, who joined the Islamic State group in Syria aged 15, is to lose her UK citizenship.

Whitehall sources said it was possible to strip the 19-year-old of British nationality as she was eligible for citizenship of another country.

Her family’s lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, said they were “disappointed” with the decision and were considering “all legal avenues” to challenge it.

Ms Begum, who left east London in 2015, had said she wanted to return home.

She was found in a Syrian refugee camp last week after reportedly leaving Baghuz, IS’s last stronghold, and gave birth to a son at the weekend.

In an interview with the BBC on Monday, Ms Begum said she never sought to be an IS “poster girl” following her journey to Syria with two school friends from Bethnal Green, and wished to raise her son in the UK.

ITV News said Ms Begum’s mother had received a letter from the Home Office on Tuesday.

The letter said Home Secretary Sajid Javid had taken the decision to remove her daughter’s British citizenship and the order to do so had subsequently been made.

It asked her mother to let Ms Begum know of the decision and inform her she has a right to appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

Under the 1981 British Nationality Act, a person can be deprived of their citizenship if the home secretary is satisfied it would be “conducive to the public good” and they would not become stateless as a result.

Ms Begum said she travelled to Syria with her sister’s UK passport but it was taken from her when she crossed the border.

She is believed to be of Bangladeshi heritage but when asked by the BBC, she said did not have a Bangladesh passport and had never been to the country.

A child born to a British parent before they are deprived of their citizenship would still be considered British.

While it would theoretically be possible for the UK to then remove citizenship from the child, officials would need to balance their rights against any potential threat they posed.

A Home Office spokesman said while he could not discuss individual cases, “we don’t leave people stateless”.

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PA

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Ms Begum was 15 and living in Bethnal Green, London, when she left the UK in 2015

Mr Javid told MPs he would not “hesitate to prevent” the return of Britons who travelled to Syria to join IS.

He said more than 100 dual nationals have already lost their UK citizenship after travelling in support of terrorist groups.

Last year, two British men, accused of being members of an IS cell dubbed “The Beatles” were stripped of their citizenship after being captured in Syria.

‘Willing to rehabilitate’

Ms Begum has said she does not regret travelling to Syria and was partly inspired by videos of fighters beheading hostages, as well as by videos showing “the good life” under IS.

However, she said she did not agree with everything the group had done.

“I actually do support some British values and I am willing to go back to the UK and settle back again and rehabilitate and that stuff,” she told the BBC.

She admitted she was “shocked” by the 2017 Manchester Arena attack, which killed 22 people and was claimed by IS.

“I do feel that is wrong. Innocent people did get killed,” she said.

But she also compared the attack to military assaults on Syria, saying: “It’s one thing to kill a soldier, it’s fine, it’s self-defence.

“But to kill people like women and children just like the women and children in Baghuz who are being killed right now unjustly by the bombings – it’s a two-way thing really because women and children are being killed back in the Islamic State right now.

“It’s kind of retaliation. Their justification was that it was retaliation so I thought, okay, that is a fair justification.”

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Robbie Potter was injured in the Manchester Arena attack

Robbie Potter, who was seriously injured in the attack while he waited for his children in the foyer of Manchester Arena, said he felt “angry” and sickened by Ms Begum’s comments.

“People have lost their kids, their family members. How must they feel seeing this, that we would even consider bringing someone else back?

“Let her come and meet the victims and people who lost their kids. If that’s the way she wants it. Would she go in a room with them and see what their justification is?”

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Met Police

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Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum (l-r) in photos issued by police after they left the UK

Ms Begum left the UK with two other school friends, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase in February 2015. Ms Sultana is thought to have died when a house was blown up, and the fate of Ms Abase is unknown.

Ms Begum gave birth to a baby boy last weekend, having previously lost two children.

Her husband, a Dutch convert to Islam, is thought to have surrendered to a group of Syrian fighters about two weeks ago.





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Bitcoin Price Skyrockets, But BTC Faces Growing Resistance Around $4,000


Bitcoin has been able to maintain its upwards momentum that it incurred a few days ago and BTC has now pushed up to $4,000. This upwards price move has been fueled by a surge in trading volume, but one analyst is now importantly noting that trading volume over high-time-frames must improve in order for an upwards price move to be sustained long-term.

Other analysts are also importantly noting that Bitcoin is now beginning to establish $4,000 as a level of resistance, which could prove to be a critical level that must be broken through in order for further gains to ensue.

Bitcoin (BTC) Continues Climbing, But Faces Resistance at $4,000

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up nearly 3% at its current price of $3,985. Bitcoin began its recent push on February 17th, when its price dipped to $3,600 before surging to its current price levels.

Following this move, BTC traded sideways for less than a day before continuing to climb until it hit approximately $4,000, which has proven to be a level of resistance.

Lucid TA, a popular cryptocurrency analyst, spoke about this resistance level in a recent tweet, noting that he believes BTC will rest around its current price levels before continuing climb.

“$BTC is hitting the first significant resistance since the breakout, I think we’re likely to rest a little while here.”

Hsaka, another popular analyst, shared a similar sentiment in a recent tweet, telling his followers that he will begin looking to short Bitcoin when its price reaches the low-$4,000 region.

“$BTC Not looking to short until the demarcated zone. Meanwhile, here’s an alternate way to find confluence with your S/R levels. Divide up a range/swing into quarters.”

Because Bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency markets are fresh off of a large price surge, it is likely that they will range sideways, or drop slightly, before garnering enough buying pressure to propel them higher.

Analyst: Bitcoin Trading Volume Must Increase in Order for Price to Surge Higher

One notable feature of this latest BTC price surge is that its 24-hour trading volume has climbed significantly, surging from weekly lows of under $6 billion to its current levels of roughly $10.5 billion.

Josh Rager – another popular analyst – explained that over a longer time frame, Bitcoin’s trading volume is down significantly and an inability to continue increasing may lead BTC’s price back down to its support levels in the low-$3,000 region.

“$BTC Chart: Bitcoin currently at resistance level with a break and close above $4100 is bullish… But… Volume continues to decrease on high time frames: the decreasing volume w/ rising price = bearish. If the volume doesn’t pick up, I foresee $BTC price dropping back to support,” he explained.

As Bitcoin begins picking up steam and recovering much of its recent losses, analysts will likely gain further insight into whether or not this is a sustained movement, or if a drop back to its strong support level of $3,000 is inevitable.

Featured image from Shutterstock.





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Dirt Rally 2.0 Review – Staying Focused


Efficiency is the goal in rally racing, from your co-driver’s no-nonsense pace notes (while under duress, I might add) to the fix-only-what-needs-fixing-now scramble of repairs between stages. Even when you’re hurtling down a country road in Poland reacting at speed to the semi-unknown, moving the steering wheel only as much as you absolutely need to is the difference between surviving to the next turn and sending yourself into a race-ending skid. This model of efficiency gives Dirt Rally 2.0 focus, channeling your efforts in the right direction and guiding you when you need it most.

Codemasters’ titles from the last few years have presented their own career mode wrinkles. Dirt Rally 2.0 certainly features a more fleshed-out racing organization than the first title, complete with staff to hire and car upgrades, but it isn’t the same as those in the F1 series or even the core Dirt franchise. Dirt Rally 2.0 is not as involved as those other Codemasters titles, but I appreciate that it cuts to the chase. Upgrading your staff gets you tangible improvements. Instead of a nebulous two-percent increase in performance, for instance, an upgraded staff takes time directly off your repairs and penalties for flipping off the track. That kind of specificity spurs you to put your credits where you need it most. 

Upgrading your car parts centers on each car individually. For instance, your rallycross car in particular wears through the clutch and dampers faster, so those are the areas you can upgrade first. While there’s something to be said for the freedom to do whatever you want, at the end of the day I had more credits in my bank to spend on getting other cars and upgrades because I didn’t feel pressured to spend them on stuff that didn’t make a material difference in the end.

I like how the game approaches how your car parts wear down, allowing you to quick fix them during an event at the cost of imparting more wear (something upgrades decrease). Wear also factors into the used cars (which you can test drive beforehand), which come needing their own repairs – something which would be helpful to know before you bought them.

 

As prepared as I was with upgrades and repairs before an event, I was always nervous when starting a stage, even if I’d done it before. The track degrades in career events, which influences your tire compound selection and adds another variable to consider while driving. I tended to make my big mistakes at the beginning of a stage; even in the long, 10-minute-plus stages, I became more confident the longer I drove. I attribute this to both getting in a driving rhythm and with understanding how the car feels on the different surfaces. It’s also the game doing a good job in giving consistent feedback so I can subconsciously take into account the pacenotes, weather, surface, car handling, braking power, and other variables in an instant and usually make the right decision. Perhaps the outlier in this is the tarmac surface, which I struggled to get a handle on and was more slippery than I expected. I also would have liked more vibration through the gamepad to further differentiate the racing surfaces and conditions, adding another dimension.

While the staff setup and gameplay are Dirt Rally 2.0’s strengths, it’s only adequate in other areas. The multiplayer has timed events and championship sessions you can construct, but that’s the minimum you’d expect. The FIA World Rallycross Championship licensed season has no bells and whistles (and frankly I tire of going through all the successive heats in rallycross), and the random stage generation of Dirt 4’s Your Stage has been removed, cutting down on the number of stages you can race.

Dirt Rally 2.0 doesn’t have every feature under the sun, but I trust it. I know I can put together a good team that’s going to help me win events, and the gameplay delivers, letting me skate that line between confidence and foolishness without knowing the difference.



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Breaking! BLM Drops Wild Horse Sterilization Experiments, Plans To Return Some Horses & Burros To The Range


Wild horse advocacy groups are hailing an announcement last week by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to officially abandon any plans to use mares rounded up from Oregon’s Warm Springs Herd Management Area (HMA) for cruel surgical sterilization experiments. Now the BLM is seeking public comments on its plan to return a portion of the wild horses back to their home range, after removing the entire population in a mass roundup last fall.

The American Wild Horse Campaign, the Animal Welfare Institute, The Cloud Foundation and its Executive Director Ginger Kathrens (a member of the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board) and photographer Carol Walker sued to stop the sterilization experiments, which involved performing an outdated surgical procedure—ovariectomy via colpotomy—described by veterinarians as unscientific, inhumane and dangerous.

In November of 2018, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction to stop the federal agency from its cruel and controversial plans. The plaintiffs said they were pleased by the BLM’s official abandonment of the experiments as part of the Warm Springs HMA management plan. The plaintiffs have also advocated for the return of some of the 845 horses rounded up from the Warm Springs HMA in October. Now that the BLM plans to return some of the horses to the range, the agency will administer PZP fertility control to the mares before they are released.

“The BLM’s decision to end its misguided ovariectomy experiments on wild mares in the Warm Springs HMA, and instead employ humane immunocontraceptive vaccines to curb population growth is a welcome outcome for these federally protected horses,” said Joanna Grossman, Ph.D., Equine Program Manager for the Animal Welfare Institute in a statement. “We are heartened that these wild and free-roaming animals will not be subjected to an invasive surgical procedure that would put their lives at risk. The agency should, however, return a significant number of the horses back to their range on public lands. With the proper use of PZP, their population can be kept in check.”

“The BLM made the right decision to abandon these barbaric experiments and to return wild horses to the Warm Springs HMA, where they have a right to live in their natural habitat, protected under federal law,” said Brieanah Schwartz, Government Relations and Policy Counsel for AWHC. “It’s time for the BLM to focus on humane, publicly supported and scientifically recommended population management methods, such as the proven PZP fertility control to keep wild horses wild and free on our public lands.”

“We are pleased some mares will regain their freedom and will be managed humanely with PZP,” said Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation. “However, releasing to a low population level of 111 horses seriously endangers the genetic viability of this herd. Leaving only one horse for every 4,000 acres is ridiculous but certainly not unusual and speaks to the unfair allocation of forage for our wild horses.”

“Although I am relieved that the BLM will be releasing a small number of the wild horses removed,” Walker said, “I am very concerned about the fate of those who will not be released and face a very uncertain future. Wild horses and burros are always better off in their homes on our public lands where they belong.”

The post Breaking! BLM Drops Wild Horse Sterilization Experiments, Plans To Return Some Horses & Burros To The Range appeared first on World Animal News.



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Jaguars name Dom Capers senior defensive assistant


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired veteran defensive coordinator Dom Capers as a senior defensive assistant.

Capers, 68, will work on all aspects of the defense, which will be in its fourth season under coordinator Todd Wash. Capers spent the 2018 season with the Jaguars as an unpaid consultant after spending the previous nine seasons as the Packers’ defensive coordinator.

“Dom Capers is one of the most respected defensive coaches in the game today, and he has been for many years,” head coach Doug Marrone said in a statement. “His defenses have long been among the most effective and productive in the NFL. He has career experiences and accomplishments that will benefit our coaches and our players. He adds a unique perspective and veteran presence that will be valuable assets to immediately help us. I look forward to working with Dom and having him on our staff.”

Capers spent two seasons as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator (1999-2000) under then-head coach Tom Coughlin, who is now the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations.

Capers also was a head coach with Carolina (1995-98) and Houston (2002-05). He has a 48-80 record as a head coach and made one playoff appearance, guiding the Panthers to the NFC Championship Game in 1996.

Capers has been an NFL defensive coordinator for 16 seasons: two with the Jaguars and Miami (2006-07), three with Pittsburgh (1992-94), and nine with Green Bay.



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France anti-Semitism: Jewish graves desecrated near Strasbourg


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Media captionFrench President Macron visits desecrated Jewish graves

Nearly 100 graves at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France have been desecrated with swastikas.

The damage was discovered on Tuesday, ahead of nationwide marches against a rise in anti-Semitic attacks.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the cemetery, in a village near Strasbourg, telling community leaders: “It’s important for me to be here with you today.”

France has the biggest Jewish community in Europe, about 550,000 people.

What happened?

The damage was discovered on Tuesday in Quatzenheim, a village in Alsace close to France’s border with Germany. Nazi symbols and anti-Semitic slogans were spray-painted on the graves.

One tombstone was defaced with the words “Elsässischen Schwarzen Wolfe” (“Black Alsatian Wolves”), the name of a militant far-right group active in the 1970s and 1980s.

The group burned down a museum at Natzweiler-Struthof – a former Nazi death camp – in 1976.

In a video statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the “shocking” attack by “wild anti-semites.”

“I call on the leaders of France and Europe to take a strong stand against anti-Semitism. It is a plague that endangers everyone, not just us,” he said.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Thousands turned out on Tuesday for rallies against anti-Semitism

The attack came ahead of dozens of rallies against anti-Semitism scheduled to take place across France.

Tuesday’s demonstrations are being organised by 14 political parties and are expected to take place in as many as 60 cities.

Is anti-Semitism on the rise in France?

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has warned that anti-Semitism is “spreading like poison” in the country.

Statistics published last week showed a rise of 74% in the number of anti-Semitic attacks in France, from 311 in 2017 to 541 in 2018.

Several high-profile recent incidents have brought the issue of anti-Semitism into focus in France.

Post-boxes featuring a Holocaust survivor’s portrait were daubed with swastikas, while a Jewish bakery in central Paris had the German word for Jews (“Juden”) spray-painted on its window.

Last weekend, police also stepped in to protect the philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut, after he was reportedly bombarded with anti-Jewish taunts by a group of “yellow vest” protesters in Paris.

Jewish groups have also been warning that a rising far right across Europe has been promoting anti-Semitism and hatred of other minorities.

Crime data from Germany released last week revealed that anti-Semitic offences had increased by 10% over the past year – including a 60% rise in physical attacks.

Attacks have been blamed on both the far right and Islamists.



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Criminals Will Be Only Ones To Use Cash in Five Years : CryptoCurrency


Depends, a lot of countries are behind on technology but the transition over to apps, phones or cards to pay for stuff is invitable. It’s the norm in Northern Europe already, China is transitioning to a digtial payments with stuff like WePay. I haven’t used cash regularly in over a decade and I think the few times i’d use cash would probably be to buy drugs lol. I think 5 to 10 years is a realistic goal for the world to catch up.

Do I think the world will use crypto in 5 years though instead of cash? Fuck no but paying in cash will decline naturally simply for the reason that it’s less practical, convinient, slower and secure than pulling out your phone and scanning a code or using an app.



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Super Replay – God Hand Episode 8: Asura’s Wrath Episode 2


After a festive holiday season, Game Informer’s annual 12.31 Super Replay usually brings suffering. In years past, this day has kicked off complete playthroughs of stinkers like Overblood, Overblood 2, Blue Stinger, Illbleed, Raw Danger, Martian Gothic: Unification, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Vampire Hunter D.

Figuring out which game will be honored with this spot is a stressful decision that usually takes a full year to figure out. That wasn’t the case this year. The community figured it out for us. We had the somewhat official I Watched the Entire Overblood Super Replay group vote for a Super Replay earlier this year. With hundreds of votes cast, the poll ended in a tie between Killer 7 and God Hand. Rather than just flipping a coin to see which one we would do, I decided to record both of them. We knocked out Killer 7 earlier this year, and almost rolled right into God Hand, but couldn’t find a window to get it done in a productive way. I shelved the Super Replay until 12.31. It was one of the games I was considering years ago for this spot anyway.

Now it’s here, and I think the community made the right choice. This game is absolutely bonkers and is a sheer delight to take in. God Hand was created by Clover Studio for Capcom and released in America on October 10, 2006 exclusively for PlayStation 2. Enjoy the Super Replay. I know it was a long time coming. We haven’t produced as many as we have in the past, but it isn’t because we are slacking off. The recording of the Game Informer Show takes up considerable studio and editor time, and we just haven’t had the window to crank the out like we used to. I’d like to say we’ll try to do more in the future, but I’m always thinking that, and the stars just haven’t aligned.

You can watch the latest episode up above, or click the arrows along the side of the video to see the rest of the series!



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