• GlobalGrind Gift Guide: The Perfect Presents For Mommy Dearest (PHOTOS)

    And when we say hell or high water, we mean fight off other crazed Christmas shoppers for that damn Furby that gives you the creeps just thinking about it? Nope, it wasn’t Santa. It was your mom, that’s who. You’re all grown up now and that was many …

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  • Hearthstone: Goblins vs Gnomes class combos to look out for (part 1)

    With Goblins vs. Gnomes out now, Shacknews begins examining some class-specific combos to look out for.

    Hearthstone’s Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion has been out for a little over a week. With Android owners just starting to catch up with everything, the time seems ripe to break down some of the expansion’s more potent combinations. Before starting off, it should be noted that there are dozens upon dozens of lethal combinations involving GvG cards, so this will be a bit of a starter column. We’ll offer up one combination to try out for each of the game’s nine classes before returning next week with input from our expert players in the Chatty community.
    With all that said, let’s dive in!

    Illuminator + Ice Block/Duplicate
    The 3-mana Illuminator is available for all classes, but it plays best with Jaina. The Illuminator’s effect restores four health to any hero with a deployed Secret card, acting similarly to the Shaman’s new Vitality Totem. At worst, she’ll restore a whole 4 health before the opponent even has a chance to act, barring any disasters like a Hunter’s Snipe Secret. That’s good, because with a meager 2/4 stats, it won’t stay on the board for long.
    On the off chance that you can keep Illuminator alive, the best Secrets to play her with are Ice Block and Duplicate. Since Ice Block waits until fatal damage is inflicted, it will always remain active, meaning Illuminator can restore health for as long as she’s alive. Some may want to consider playing Illuminator alone with a Duplicate Secret, because if the opponent decides to wipe her out, Jaina will now have two copies of her. Play two Illuminators with an already-deployed Ice Block secret to restore a quick 8 health.
    Some players may opt to play Illuminator side-by-side with Mad Scientist and kamikaze the latter, but this is a risky move, since the opponent can simply target Illuminator first. If you’re going to play this combination, it’s best to play your Secret early before laying Illuminator down, especially if you have Kirin Tor Mage to back it up.

    Knife Juggler + Imp-losion
    On the surface, Gul’dan’s Imp-losion spell appears to be a weak play. At 4 mana, it’s an expensive gambit for only 2-4 damage on an opposing minion, especially given that the 1/1 Imps that it yields are easily wiped out by almost any area of effect spell.
    However, combine this play with Knife Juggler and it’s downright brutal. On top of its initial spell damage, the Knife Juggler will toss a knife for each Imp summoned, for a potential extra 4 damage. This has the potential to wipe opposing boards cleaned with a little strategy and even greater luck. Also, keep in mind that even if the opposing minion has 3 health or less, if Imp-losion hits for 4 damage, it will still summon 4 Imps, along with 4 knives from Knife Juggler. It’s a more-than-decent Turn 6 attack, but it’ll be even better if you can manage to keep Knife Juggler alive and get Imp-losion off on Turn 4.

    Assassin’s Blade + Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil + Deadly Poison
    This one has a potential to get nerfed, because this combination is sickeningly good. Woe to your opponents if they have an empty field, because this Turn 10 play is a potential game changer. Assassin’s Blade, at 5 mana, is already a powerful weapon in itself with 3 attack power and 4 durability. Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil, at 4 mana, will buff it up another 3 attack, while also boosting another minion’s attack by 3. Add in some Deadly Poison at a lowly 1 mana and there’s a frightening 4 durability weapon with 8 attack power. Those that were lucky enough to draw a Coin could even add in a second Deadly Poison to buff it up to a staggering 10 attack.
    That kind of attack power is enough to wipe out most Legendaries, assuming your beefed-up minion doesn’t do it for you. Your opponent can try and counter with Taunt minions, but a Blade Flurry spell can simply lay waste to everything in its path on the next turn. This is almost an instant win combination and may be the latest in a series of brutally unfair Rogue tactics.

    Sneed’s Old Shredder + Ancestral Spirit + Reincarnate
    You had to know this one was coming. Ancestral Spirit and Reincarnate have already worked wonders with Stalagg and Feugen, so it’s only appropriate that it work the same magic on Sneed’s Old Shredder. Shaman players can either roll the dice on Turn 10 and hope Sneed’s survives the next turn for a Baron Rivendere/Ancestral Spirit/Reincarnate hammer or they can simply play Reincarnate right away.
    The randomness element might be a bit of a turnoff, but the possibility of rolling a Ragnaros or an Ysera may be too good for some to pass up. Shaman doesn’t have a lot of inspired combinations coming out of Goblins vs. Gnomes, but this is at least a play worth considering.
    That’s four classes out of the way, but there are still five more to go. Come back tomorrow when we hit Paladin, Priest, Druid, Warrior, and Hunter.
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  • The Free Comic Book Day Silver Titles are Pretty Awesome

    By: Alexander Jones
    After revealing the first wave of Free Comic Book Day titles, it was only a matter of time before the rest of them started to pop up. This next batch is very exciting, and full of fun offerings from all your favorite publishers with the big guns like Marvel and DC, along with Valiant, Comix Tribe, IDW, Image, Oni and the mysterious new Legendary Comics imprint that kicked off with Grant Morrison’s Annihilator. DC still has their titles blocked out with the letters ‘TOP SECRET’ sitting on the front page, it’s likely whatever these comics are will be revealed closer towards Convergence. Of course, Marvel is launching Avengers material close to their upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron film. Included in this silver collection of titles is a lot of material from other media, meant to turn you non-comics reading friends completely addicted to this medium. See if Attack on Titan, Avatar, or Sonic can hook your non-reading friends. Free Comic Book Day is on the first Saturday of May. CBR broke the news this morning with covers, and quick description information. All these titles are considered silver comics, with the gold titles being the first wave of books.

    2000 AD Special–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    And Then Emily Was Gone–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Avengers #1–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Bodie Troll & Friends–FCBD 2015 EDITION

    Captain Canuck–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    CBLDF Defend Comics–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Comics Festival–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Dark Horse All Ages Avatar PVZ Bandette–FCBD 2015 EDITION

    DC Comics Silver Book–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    GFT Wonderland Special Edition One Shot (MR)–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Graphix Spotlight Cleopatra In Space–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Gronk and Friends–FCBD 2015 EDITION

    Hatter M Love of Wonder–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Hip Hop Family Tree 3-in-1 Featuring Cosplayers (MR)–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Ice Bayou Blackout–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Jojos Bizarre Adventure and Yu Gi Oh–FCBD 2015 EDITION

    Jurassic Strike Force 5 One Shot–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Kodansha Comics Sampler–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Lady Justice–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Legendary Comics Sampler–FCBD 2015 EDITION

    March Grand Prix–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Mercury Heat Debut (MR)–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Motorcycle Samurai–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Overstreet Comic Book Marketplace–FCBD 2015 EDITION

    Phantom Special–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Rabbids–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Sonic the Hedgehog Mega Man Worlds Unite Prelude–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Stan Lee Chakra The Invincible–FCBD 2015 EDITION

    Steampunk Goldilocks–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Street Fighter Super Combo Special–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Stuff of Legend Call to Arms–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Supermutant Magic Academy Step Aside Pops Combo–FCBD 2015 EDITION

    Tales of Honor–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Terrible Lizard #1–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    The Tick–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    TMNT Prelude to Vengeance–FCBD 2015 EDITION

    Valiant 25TH Anniversary Special–FCBD 2015 EDITION
    Worlds of Aspen–FCBD 2015 EDITION


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  • Spreading ‘Joy to the Kids’

    A nonprofit brings superheroes and fairy princesses to patients at Inova Children’s Hospital.
    Wearing a golden tiara and a bright yellow ball gown flowing down to her toes, Rachel Gray opened the door of a patient’s room at Inova Children’s Hospital in Fairfax and peeked inside.
    “Are you up for a princess visit?” she asked the young patient.

    Ashley Matamoros, 12, nodded curiously, so Gray — or “Princess Sunshine” — opened the door wider and began her song: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”
    Gray is the founder of Joy to the Kids, a nonprofit that brings some fun to the lives of children in hospitals through visits from costumed superheroes and princesses. Joy to the Kids was the winner of the Catholic Herald’s 2014 “Nominate a Charity” contest. In the spirit of the Christmas season, Catholic Herald staff members chose Joy to the Kids from a number of reader-nominated charities. As the winner, Joy to the Kids received coloring books, crayons, journals, fairy wings, Disney Princess Barbie dolls and other donations from the Catholic Herald staff.
    On a recent visit to the hospital, Gray made the rounds to about half a dozen rooms, singing songs and asking the young patients questions about themselves. When Ashley said she missed being in school, Gray pulled out a wand.
    “This is a magic wand, but it’s not just any magic wand,” said Gray. “It’s a pen. So you can do all the homework you’re missing.”
    She handed Ashley a journal. “It’s not just any journal,” said Gray. “Because it’s what I call a joy journal. You can only write things that make you super happy in it.”
    The idea behind the journals goes hand-in-hand with the idea behind Joy to the Kids. Patients, especially kids, need something to think about besides the hospital and the treatments ahead of them. While making visits dressed as a princess or a superhero is fun, Gray said that she wants to “give them just a little bit of joy to hold onto” after she’s gone, too. She hopes the “joy journals” fill that gap.
    Gray, who is also a professional actress, first came up with the idea for Joy to the Kids while working with a party company. A young girl’s birthday party had been delayed because she was sick in the hospital. The girl told her that while she was in the hospital, the one thing that she wanted was a princess party. “I thought, ‘Well, gosh, I could have done that,’” Gray said.
    It took Gray a year to act on the idea, though. “I thought it would be too emotional,” she said. “I cry at commercials.”
    During the fall of 2013, Gray reached out to the staff at Inova Children’s Hospital, who embraced the idea. By May 2014, she had gone through the legal process of incorporating Joy to the Kids as a nonprofit.
    “One visit and I was completely hooked,” she said.
    As it turned out, the young patients “were so happy to see me I didn’t have time to be sad,” she said.
    Gray, who is the primary volunteer entertainer for Joy to the Kids, also occasionally has enlisted other performers, sometimes dressed as superheroes, to come with her during the hospital visits.
    Having a visit from a costumed character can be “a magical experience” for some kids, said Christine Comer, a volunteer chaplain at Inova Children’s Hospital and a parishioner of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington.
    “Kids are kids. Even when they’re sick, they just want to play,” she said.
    Gray tries to give them an opportunity to use their imagination during her brief visits, such as during the 15 minutes or so she spent with Ashley. At the end of the visit, Princess Sunshine sang a “healing” song, put a hand on Ashley’s head and dubbed her “a princess.”
    Stachyra Lopez can be reached at mstachyralopez@catholicherald.com.

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  • Here are the top 10 toys Irish kids are asking Santa for this Christmas

    Santa asked his elf assistants to crunch the numbers to find out the toys that most Irish kids have asked for in their letters this year.
    An Post’s contact in the North Pole, Nollaig, is the Chief Elf in charge of operations and told them that Santa really enjoyed reading the many thousands of letters he received from Ireland. We’re reliably informed that Mrs Claus even put some of them on the mantelpiece.
    Nollaig has compiled a list of the top 10 toys, and we got a look at it. While the top five are relatively new, a few classics found their way on to the list.
    Here are the top five:

    2. Monster High Dolls

    3. Frozen (Elsa Dolls, Olaf, DS Game)

    4. Disney Princess Rapunzel Deluxe and Go Glow

    5. Irish Fairy Doors

    Santa has written a reply to approximately 130,000 Irish children this year, which are set to arrive in Ireland from the North Pole tomorrow and will be delivered in the days following.
    Here’s the full top 10 of 2014’s most popular toys:
    iPhone (with accessories)
    Monster High Dolls
    Frozen (Elsa Dolls, Olaf, DS Game)
    Disney Princess Rapunzel Deluxe and Go Glow
    Irish Fairy Doors
    Samsung Galaxy tablet
    Mine Craft games
    Sylvanian Families
    Farm sets and tractors
    It’s a Christmas miracle! 13 puppies stolen from pet shop recovered by police
    What to watch on TV tonight: Wednesday

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  • The Most Popular Toy In All 50 States!

    4. The Furby is still alive . . . it’s number one in Alabama. 5. And finally, a huge shout-out to Nebraska, keeping it the most real of any state . . . the number one toy there is a John Deere tractor.

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  • Entrepreneur Barbie doesn’t need to wear pink to get the job done

    As a business school professor and the mother of a young daughter, I am always on the lookout for toys that can inspire girls. When I learned about this year’s girl-oriented entrepreneurship toys, for a few moments I was excited.
    There is Entrepreneur Barbie doll, dubbed the 2014 “career of the year” Barbie by Mattel.
    And for the tween set, Fashion Angels offers It’s My Biz, a set of kits designed to help girls start businesses selling bead jewelry, cupcakes and manicures.

    My excitement was soon cut short. No doubt these toys are well-intentioned, but ironically, they perpetuate the same gender stereotypes that discourage many women from becoming entrepreneurs.

    Let’s start with the Entrepreneur Barbie Doll.
    We aren’t told what her business is or what kind of education or work experience it took to get started. But we do know that she wears “a sophisticated dress in signature pink that features modern color blocking and a sleek silhouette,” according to the product description.
    Also this Barbie has “luxe details, like a glam necklace, cool clutch and elegant hairstyle,” which are “smart, professional touches.”
    In other words, what it takes to become an entrepreneur is apparently wearing the right outfit.
    I’m guessing that would be news to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
    “It’s My Biz” provides a similar message, with its implication that girls should be interested in businesses related to fashion (jewelry and T-shirts) and physical appearance (nail art).
    A more subtle problem is the marketing of the kits, which highlights the idea of “aspiring SHE-E-Os.”
    Rather than suggesting that entrepreneurship is a natural career path for women, this wording has the opposite implication: like the antiquated “lady lawyer” and “lady doctor”, the qualifying “SHE” reinforces the idea that CEOs should be assumed male unless otherwise specified.
    In the real world, women are underrepresented in entrepreneurship.
    They are less likely than men to be self-employed, and when they do start companies, they are less successful in raising capital.
    One study found that only 1 percent of companies that issued initial public offerings (IPOs) were headed by women.
    Another recent study found that less than 3 percent of companies receiving venture capital had a female CEO. Only 15 percent had any female executives at all.
    Other research shows that entrepreneurs are associated in the popular imagination with stereotypically masculine characteristics like competitiveness and assertiveness, and that entrepreneurship is portrayed in the press and even in academic materials as a career more appropriate for men than for women.
    So I’m certainly in favor of toys that encourage girls to consider entrepreneurship as a career.
    I admit that Barbie Entrepreneur is, well, better than most Barbies. And “It’s My Biz” may actually teach some good lessons about how business works.
    Perhaps toymakers think they are giving consumers what they want.
    But really, is this the best we can do?
    The evidence suggests otherwise.
    Even Disney, the company that gave us the exasperating “Disney Princesses” phenomenon, has managed to create some good role models for girls with its “Doc McStuffins” cartoon on the Disney Jr. channel (a big hit with my five-year-old), which features a young African-American girl with a gift for fixing toys.
    Doc’s mother is a physician and her father cooks dinner. The toys (which can come to life) defy stereotypes too. In one role-reversing episode, a brave princess rescues a knight in distress. Doc McStuffins has been a ratings homerun with both boys and girls.
    GoldieBlox, a company founded by a female Stanford engineering graduate, has had huge success with its line of building toys aimed at girls – but also, as it turns out, appealing to boys.
    Surely there would be a market for entrepreneurship toys that don’t reinforce outdated clichés about girls.
    In the meantime, how can parents encourage their daughters to become entrepreneurs?
    The key is to encourage girls to BE smart, not dress smart. One recent study examined entrepreneurship among a set of innovative young scientists and engineers (nearly all of whom have Ph.D.s), and found that in this elite group women and men were equally likely to start businesses.
    And education matters not just for starting businesses, but also for making them successful. Moreover, the effects of education on new venture performance are especially strong for women entrepreneurs.
    So the lesson for parents this Christmas: if you want to open entrepreneurial doors for your daughter, don’t buy her a Barbie. Buy her a book.
    Melissa E. Graebner, Ph.D., is an associate professor of management at The University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches entrepreneurship and strategy. She is a Public Voices Fellow with The Op-Ed Project.

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  • 7 retro toys and games making a comeback

    We know Furby might be a bit controversial to include in a story about “retro” toys since it was first introduced in the 1990s, but as any vintage store or classic rock radio employee knows, many items from the 1990s are “back” — and that …

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  • 7 retro toys and games making a comeback

    We know Furby might be a bit controversial to include in a story about “retro” toys since it was first introduced in the 1990s, but as any vintage store or classic rock radio employee knows, many items from the 1990s are “back” — and that …

    [Read More...]
  • 7 retro toys and games making a comeback

    We know Furby might be a bit controversial to include in a story about “retro” toys since it was first introduced in the 1990s, but as any vintage store or classic rock radio employee knows, many items from the 1990s are “back” — and that …

    [Read More...]