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Level Up!

Level Up! is a game about personal growth. This indie platformer game from Nifty Hat is a unique one using the Flixel framework. You must upgrade your abilities to defeat a boss and to gain full control of your abilities and memory. I will try to introduce you this game that you may enjoy. So welcome to "John's Blog Space!"






Level Up!


"Level Up!" is an independent game that has you take control of this girl as she collects gems to regain her abilities. The game was built on the Flixel framework- a free, open-source programming language good for personal and commercial projects. The game I am mentioning is a game on Newgrounds released in 2009.

In this game, you play as a girl who noticed something strange happen- her fence being damaged. A certain male figure is there. There is one problem with this girl- she has memory issues. Performing various tasks and collecting gems will help jog her memory. This is one of the most unique platformers in which you must try to keep doing certain tasks and gain various abilities to successfully clear the game. As you store your abilities in the Codex, you will be able to learn all of your surroundings and abilities.

Everything you do- even standing still- equates to experience. The more you jump and run, the better your abilities are improved. You will need to go around the world collecting gems that can be exchanged for learning various abilities and even boosting some aspects of your leveling. Visiting all points of the game world also help add to your overall completion of the game. If there is one thing you must do, it is to try to max out all of your abilities once you find a major computer. There is also a certain figure whom you must defeat to complete the game and gain 100% completion. If you fail to defeat this boss, you must go into the world again and upgrade all of your abilities to the best of their ability.


The Abilities.

There are a number of abilities you must try to upgrade.

• Idle - simply standing still can be upgraded.
• Relationship - flirting with the guy who broke your fence will help give you more health.
• Run - you run faster at higher levels.
• Jump - you can jump higher at higher levels.
• Collect - you can collect gems better and easier at higher levels.
• Interact - your ability to interact with objects and entities can be upgraded.
• Healing - when you learn to Regenerate, you heal energy faster.
• Fortitude - when you learn Fortitude, your recovery from being stunned improves at higher levels.

These are among the many I immediately remember. The rest is up to you!


Other Things to Remember.

Meeting all of the individuals and visiting all of the different locations are also part of getting 100% completion. You even will need to take damage from the various monsters and certain hazards to get full completion.


Final Thoughts.

"Level Up!" will really take your time as you try to acquire as many abilities as possible and even try to defeat that one boss character. The game is very unique as a platformer. There are a lot of silly moments here. Despite this, I think the game is very funny and unique. Once you get the hang of it, a lot of the game becomes fairly easy. The best bit of advice I can provide is to try to upgrade your abilities as best as you can. Then, try to beat the boss character to retain your abilities rather than have to try all over again to upgrade everything.


For More Information...

So, do you want to try your luck with "Level Up!"? Here is where you can play it: "Level Up!" on Newgrounds. I hope you enjoy it!





That's all for this blog post. Glad you could be here to enjoy the ride... or hopefully enjoy the ride. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Death

At some point, we will face death either from our own deaths to being killed in some way. Dealing with death is never easy. Understanding and accepting death is surely never easy. "John's Blog Space" is a positive space. With that said, I open discussion in this blog post on one of the most difficult topics anyone can discuss- death. I will discuss this topic on a number of fronts and with various insights. It is a tough subject, but I'll do what I can to discuss it properly.

Please understand that this is not an easy topic to discuss. I surely didn't create this blog post without considering the various nuances of this issue. Some aspects of this blog post may lead to future blog posts on different subjects.






Death in General


Time to discuss the difficult topic of death. To identify this post, here is a picture...

death
^ from: www.wpclipart.com - Death is inevitable for all of us. It is as natural as living. The Grim Reaper will always win.

And now, a quote...

"Absence and death are the same - only that in death there is no suffering."

-Theodore Roosevelt

There is a saying of what is guaranteed are death and taxes. We all try to live our lives as best as possible. A number of different factors seek to deter our lives and limit our life expectancy. As much as we all can give life and live, we also can die from any number of situations. Even mothers who are pregnant could have their babies stillborn or miscarriage. Sad but true- you could even die in your own sleep! Some people even believe in the saying of "death comes in threes." This is the case where it seems as if death hurts in three ways. No matter what, death is that hard-to-accept reality we all must face and accept in some manner.

Death can surely hurt in the case of murder. There are often news reports of people who get killed by other people whether it's one person or multiple people. Even worse are terrorist acts where many people are killed by heartless and uncaring individuals. Then, there are times when people are killed by nature or by various accidents. These are times like when floods kill people or even wildfires. Accidents can relate to things like plane crashes, boats sinking, buildings collapsing, and any number of factors.

People can also die of natural causes or certain diseases. I once blogged about cancer, which is absolutely one case of diseases causing deaths. Some people die from things like heart attacks, diabetes, or certain other diseases and chronic illnesses. And then... some people simply just die of old age. You may be completely healthy or in great shape, and you just die eventually.

Even though provided for entertainment purposes, I hate when I've seen material such as "how would you like to die?" or "when you will die?" from certain entertainment websites. I think (I know it's entertainment) this violates the heavens and faith to think of how you're going to die. There are sometimes doctors who talk about how long you could live. Everything that could be done to save your life could ultimately mean your life could be extended as much as possible... but not too much further.

Having pets also has its own sense of death. Certain animals have to be put down. Some animals could have serious health issues no matter how much you try to take care of them. Trying to help animals live as long as they can is almost as telling as trying to extend human lives as much as possible.

No matter what, organisms will live and die. Humanity may eventually even be eradicated leaving mostly animals to rule. Death is a scary thought. What is most important is to try to make the most of what time we have rather than constantly worry about no longer being able to live. If we do die, at least being able to honor what all you've been able to accomplish is fairly positive thinking.




Near-Death Experiences


Ever heard of the expression of having your "life flash before your eyes?" This is a moment where you feel you are going to die, and you are given some kind of summary of the life you've led. Enter the near-death experience (also called NDE's).

One woman got some national attention about her near-death experience. When I think of near-death experiences, I think of Mary Jo Rapini. Mary Jo Rapini is a psychotherapist who operates here in the Houston-Galveston area. She usually can be seen on TV here in Houston on FOX 26 here in Houston usually on Mondays and Thursdays. She usually provides insight on relationship issues along with life issues. Anyhow, Mary Jo was once exercising when she suffered a brain aneurysm. Mary Jo was somehow able to remember what she could see and feel in this moment of near tragedy. It was chronicled in this segment recorded by ABC News in 2011:


^ Mary Jo Rapini Sees the Light

To say "near death experience" is almost a way of saying you cheated death. Almost as if to say you were supposed to die, but something prevented you from death. Divine intervention, perchance?

If you want to think about going after a near death experience and making the most of time afterwards? Look to Mary Jo Rapini. She lends her expertise and advice to help others. She is a fine example of taking negatives and turning them into positives. If Mary Jo Rapini interests you, here is her website: www.maryjorapini.com. I have full respect for Mary Jo Rapini and all she does.


Near-Death Experiences vs. Faking Death.

There is a big difference between near-death experiences and simply faking death. Faking death is simply where you try to provide a situation where you get people to mourn your loss for entertainment purposes. I find nothing funny or "cool" about faking your death. It is almost basically a method to either bring cheap attention to yourself, a cheap way to have people show sympathy for you, or both. I surely wouldn't want to tempt the heavens by faking my death.




Death: Is There an Afterlife?


Is there an afterlife? Do we go somewhere after we pass away? Could we possibly die in one form and end up taking the form of something else (reincarnation)?

While I do not dabble in any religious matters, there are those who believe that our spirits leave our bodies and live forever. So when we die, we may live forever even if our own human lives cease to exist. Where do we go from death is a mystery in itself. For those who believe in reincarnation, it is possible we take the form of something else apart from our previous life.

Again- I am NO expert in anything religious. So don't take any of this information for gospel.




Death: Is There Life BEFORE Death?


Those who question whether our own existence is really real. When we sleep, we usually are in a subconscious state and perhaps in a different reality apart from our own. I even once heard of a saying that "sleep is the cousin of death." It is a truly convoluted thought to even imagine if we really exist and if the lives we live are real. This is one of those deep thoughts things that I don't necessarily dabble in. Just like the previous section, I'll leave this up to you to discuss.





Now that I have discussed death in general, the next part is in discussing dealing with death. So consider the next sections to be Part 2 of this blog post.






Dealing With Death: Instances


There was once a hip-hop song that had someone say "six million ways to die... choose one." Well, here are a number of situations regarding death and how to deal with certain instances.


Death: Natural Causes and Diseases.

As much as you try to be healthy, there are times when nature and health simply take you over and lead to your death. I am not talking about only things like cancer or diabetes or anything. Some people just naturally die, and there's nothing you can do about it.


Death: Murder.

One of my alums from my graduating class in High School was killed by about four men. So the case of murder is especially hurtful for me. Closure and justice is certainly something anyone wants in the case of a loved one being killed by someone else's negligence or disregard. Murder usually occurs in the case of someone wanting to take someone's life out of hate, revenge, or anything like that.


Death: Suicide.

When you are alone or are mostly reserved, it is scary and sad when you take your own life. You have to hate yourself so much to where you feel you don't belong in society any longer. Suicide is scary because you can take your own life and have certain loved ones not even know you're still alive. Death is surely a negative in regards to entrepreneurs and self-proprietors. Once an individual who owns his/her own business is dead, so too is that business. Suicide is essentially giving up on life, thinking nothing good is ever going to come and that trying to live happily ultimately means nothing.


Death: Murder-Suicide.

A murder-suicide happens after one person ends up killing one or more people, then eventually killing himself/herself. Having blogged about this once, here is a case where someone knowing that the weight of killing someone is overbearing, ends up killing himself/herself to either mask the incident or not have to face any extreme punishment by law. So this is basically a serious cop out to try to avoid facing harsh justice having already committed such killing.


Death: Bullying and Other Enablers.

You probably have heard of people killing themselves thanks to excessive bullying. This is where people get teased so much that people are almost seemingly convinced to kill themselves or have someone tease someone so much to where they are killed. It is also why I tend to hate Internet memes and trolling, because chances are, such teasing can ultimately lead to someone wanting to kill himself/herself due to constant teasing. People can become easy to break down when they are heckled to an incredulous degree.


Death: Martyrdom.

A martyr is someone who dies or is killed because of something he/she believes in. Common instances of such can be like when homophobic or transphobic types kill people over LGBT matters. Hatred of certain religions and certain functions of religious groups are also part of this form of violence.


Death: Unusual Deaths.

Some people suffer unusual circumstances that lead to death. I am talking about freak accidents and people dying in unusual ways. Even things you wouldn't think would kill people obviously leads to death.


Now for perhaps the most distressing aspect of death:

Death: Mass Killings.

Dealing with one person's death is sad; dealing with the death of many is even more sad. These are cases perpetrated by terrorism, natural disasters, or absolute accidents. Massive loss of life perpetrated by natural disasters is surely forgivable. An example would include people who have died in tornadoes or wildfires. Another natural example would be people who died from being struck by lightning. Then you have absolute heartless people who commit mass killings. This is the classic case of "humans, but no humanity" where someone decides to kill many people for whatever reason. It seems as if you hear about these cases just about each month. Finally to end this section, there are various accidents which lead to many lives being lost. Common examples include plane crashes, building collapses, and other incidents where multiple peoples' lives in a certain location are threatened.


The next kind of death is warranting of its own section.




Death: Self-Defense and the Death Penalty


We often times need to defend ourselves from the likes of others. To prevent certain people or entities from threatening our peace, we often feel the best way to ward off threats is to kill them.


Death and Self-Defense.

I blogged once about self-defense, which you can read here: "Self-Defense" (John's Blog Space). Violence of any kind is not easily condoned or justified. However, there are times where the best form of justice is to kill anyone or anything who threaten us. Taking the law into your own hands can land you in some serious trouble.


What About the Death Penalty?

For people whom have committed atrocious crimes against society or humanity, convicted individuals face the death penalty. This is where law enforcement and government decide the best form of justice is to simply kill that individual. We have the death penalty here in Texas. People could face lethal injection or getting electrocuted in the electric chair.

In regards to the death penalty, I am reminded of the movie "The Green Mile." I rarely discuss movies because I don't usually watch movies. However, I do remember some of the many issues involved with "The Green Mile." It's been so long since I seen the movie that I can't really recall much about it except for the element of the electric chair in that movie.

Whether or not you feel the death penalty is a good or bad thing is your call. I am not here to debate this issue or anything. I just wanted to bring this up among the different topics of death.




Dealing With Death: Funerals


If you think death is uneasy as it is, imagine having to pay for a ceremony to remember the loss of life? My mother and I once talked about funerals. A funeral is a sad occasion because someone dies or is killed. However, as sad as funerals are and as tough as it is to mourn one's passing, funerals are celebrations of one's life. These are moments to remember the lives of someone and what all he/she has meant to the world and to the people whom have known and loved deceased individuals. To have a proper funeral, it can be tough trying to acquire enough money to have a proper funeral when one's life is lost. I remember one time I saw people on the street trying to ask for money to pay for funeral costs. A proper burial is the best way to properly send off the deceased.




Dealing With Death: What To Think About Right Now


The idea of death is a difficult situation. You want advice from me in these situations? Here is some advice you can take from me:

• Cherish everyone who comes into your life that you love. Chances are you may never get to see that person or those people ever again.

• Let me take some lines from some feminine stuff: love much. Hug longer. Just hold on longer to things and people you love because you may never see them again in the future. Appreciate what all you have in your life and never take anything for granted.

• Never believe you are invincible or impervious to danger. As much as you've avoided death or avoided something that could have taken your life, don't ever think you can ever be killed or catch some disease that ends up killing you.


These are calming thoughts to help you realize the nuances of death. Here are more calming thoughts...




Death: Calming Thoughts


Especially in 2016, we have lost a lot of famous people. Just hearing about some of the many people whom have died makes us all feel sad and concerned. Times are going to be rough. All you can do is live life as best as you can for as long as you can. The moment you feel as if you could be next to die, that is when you begin to feel worried and concerned. Tough as the inevitable will be, there's nothing you can do but simply live life to the best of your ability. You have only one life. Make precious use of it.

Times like these are especially why I try to promote positive thinking. We can only control so much of our lives. A negative vision of the world and life only makes us feel terrible inside. If we forget what all positive there is out there, many more of us will begin to feel more like living to live rather than living to die. Death is inevitable; what matters most is making the most of the life we have and for what we are given. Even if we don't have long to live, at least we should make the most of what is offered to us.




Dealing With Death: Grief Counseling


The loss of a loved one or certain peers is tough to bear. When someone dies, the transition from remembering a loved one to trying to live without someone is troubling. So there are individuals who try to offer counseling to help grieving individuals and families.

One time in my High School days, one of my classmates killed herself. I didn't really get to know her, but I knew I heard a lot of things about how she died. One of the counselors came to my 9th Grade Science class to offer some grief counseling from losing a classmate. Losing peers of a certain community is just as bad as losing a family member. It can be helpful to have someone try to ease the pain by helping offer some guidance and help. All the crying in the world is not going to bring back the deceased, but trying to move on and live life without certain individuals is certainly tough.




Death: Final Thoughts


Death is never a comfortable or easy topic to discuss. It is even more something we don't want to experience, but it is something in the back of our minds even as we are even remotely healthy. Life has its high moments and its low moments. The world we live in offers its share of positive and negative moments. While we have no control over what goes on in the world, all we can do is live life as best as we can. There will be a moment where will face death. Even if we do not have as much time to live any longer, these are moments where you must learn to appreciate what all we have and never take it for granted.

It becomes sad when we hear of people dying or being killed for whatever reasons ranging from health-related issues to murder. Times like these are moments to really think about what matters most in the world. Death changes everything. You know what they say- you never know what you have until it's gone. And when "it" is someone's life, you now have to think about how to move on without a loved one. You may need to seek grief counseling to think further about how to move on after a loved one dies or is killed. Things like death help you to appreciate how much people mean to this world and society. If there is someone or something you love dearly, take full advantage of the opportunity to caress and care for whomever and whatever means the most to you. Being loved won't protect you from death, but it at least gives you something to be assured of and to be thankful of for no matter what journey(s) you take in life.

No matter what the case, death is never easy to handle or move on from. Everyone takes death differently depending on who is deceased and how much that person or that being means to someone. Regardless, it is a natural reality we must all accept.


In Case Anyone Suffered a Death Recently...

I would like to offer my condolences to all of you if you have recently experienced or suffered the death of loved ones. This may involve either someone dying or someone being killed. Do your best and try to find ways to accept something as harsh (yet realistic and natural) as death. It is never easy dealing with death, but it isn't impossible.





"John's Blog Space" is a personal blog with a variety of topics. That even includes difficult subjects such as this one. I am glad you stuck with me in my discussion of death and the various nuances of it. There are many topics I discuss in my blog and in other forms of media. So make sure to Subscribe and Follow my work if you enjoy it. Regardless of whether the next topic to this blog is pleasant or unpleasant, I still want to thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Pixel Arrow

Pixel Arrow from @HomeWorldArts continues the pixelated medieval fantasy adventure from Pixel Sword and Pixel Staff. As the name of the game implies, you assume the role of an archer in a dangerous realm. Things will be much different this time around. You may not have the platforming goodness featured in Pixel Sword, and you won't have the kind of run-and-gun in "Pixel Staff." What you WILL have is a different kind of experience that involves archery. Can you get through this realm of evil and defeat the major boss? I'll offer my thoughts on this game based on my experience playing it.

This game is only available for Android devices as of this post. So I will base my review of this game based on my Android experience.






Pixel Arrow


This is my look at Pixel Arrow from HomeWorld Arts.

Pixel Arrow HomeWorld Arts
^ from: (Google Play) - "Pixel Arrow" is the third chapter of the Pixel series of medieval fantasy games.

Pixel Arrow challenges you to enter a realm armed with your bow and arrows. You will enter what seems to be an underground mine laden with monsters ranging from spiders to various other beasts. It continues the simple platformer model set forth by the previous titles but applies it to a new style of play. Unlike the previous two games, "Pixel Arrow" comes with a map you can access at any time. So use this feature to plan your moves to try to get through this world and defeat the major boss. A lot of the different enemies from the previous two games appear again in Pixel Arrow, but a handful of newer monsters and beasts occupy the dungeon of Pixel Arrow. Among some of the newer enemies are larger spiders and bats.

If you have played Pixel Sword and/or Pixel Staff, Pixel Arrow will be MUCH different. For one, you must try to deal damage using your bow and arrow. Most archery style games mean the action could bring action to an absolute slow down. Actually, Pixel Arrow isn't overly intense in trying to add in archery mechanics. You can fire off arrows as quickly as magic from "Pixel Staff." Press the attack button to fire off an arrow as you are facing enemies. If you hold down the attack button, though, you will be able to fire arrows at an angle. Most enemies directly above you can be defeated when you fire your arrows upward. This is more like 60° or 70° angles at the maximum aim angle. This can be useful for taking down enemies above you or perched on ceilings, such as spiders.

Without spoiling the game, you can gain access to bomb arrows, which add a new element of strategy because there are blocks you can destroy to access new locations. These bomb arrows also can (obviously) deal greater damage to enemies than any standard arrows. But unlike regular arrows, you do not have an infinite supply of bomb arrows. You can find chests that will allow you to carry more bomb arrows. From my own game playing experience, having these bomb arrows are almost kind of like having those missiles you can use in the Metroid games.

I was playing "Pixel Arrow" once and noted the player was not on the screen. This was as I loaded up the game from some of the saved progress so far in my playing. I went to the menu to access the "Reset Character" feature. It came in very handy because I was contemplating starting a new game. So cheers to HomeWorld Arts for coming up with this nifty feature to prevent me from starting an entirely new game. The only negative to this is that you will have to make your way through the world again from the starting position. If you're already fully powered and have certain extra perks, this is really no big deal.


Final Thoughts.

Other than a few faults playing this game on my Android tablet, the game plays smoothly and offers strategy different from "Pixel Sword" and "Pixel Staff." The game remains as fun as the other titles. It offers a degree of strategy while not heavily relying on it or slowing the pace of the game to a crawl. The archery mechanics are very simple. If the game were more advanced in its mechanics, it probably could have instituted a system where you could freely move around while also using the touchscreen or touchpad to properly aim at targets. Or if it were implemented proper in Flash or PC/Mac, you could use your keyboard for moving and your mouse for aiming. This system in "Pixel Arrow," though, is simple enough for almost anyone to use without feeling like they are playing an overly complex game. Pixel Arrow is no doubt the toughest title yet from the Pixel series from HomeWorld Arts. This game is much larger and much more challenging than the previous Pixel Sword and Pixel Staff games. So if you want a more-than-decent challenge in platforming and action, "Pixel Arrow" has you covered.

Pixel Arrow is free, but if you want to go further than what the unpaid version allows, you will need to purchase the game. I recommend the purchase of this title. Just be sure to try it out first to see if you like it.


For More Information...

This game is (as I know) only available for Android. So go get it on Google Play at Pixel Arrow (Google Play). Learn more about HomeWorld Arts and see all the games offered by HomeWorld Arts (including "Pixel Arrow") by visiting homeworldarts.com.





I am hopeful you got to enjoy this post and found my review helpful. I do what I can. Meanwhile, thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Amazing Frog? The Swindon Space Program

The OUYA has no real exclusive mascot or exclusive experiences. If there was one such game though, it might be "Amazing Frog? The Swindon Space Project" by developer Fayju. This physics game with a farting frog is sure to try to get you to cause havoc in the city while also trying to enjoy acting a fool. So what do I think about this game? Take a look at this blog post of mine.






Amazing Frog? The Swindon Space Program


"Amazing Frog? The Swindon Space Program" is a physics-based game where you take a frog all around this city performing stunts and collecting items. The game was released to the OUYA in June 2014. The frog you control has these ragdoll physics and get all kinds of air. You gain a good amount of points depending on how well you are able to control this frog. Use things like cannons, trampolines, and things like that to try to reach the UFO to get to the Moon.

My description of this game is fairly vague because I am trying to offer my intro and thoughts on this game without playing it. It actually has been a while playing it, so I am going fairly on what I remember from my last play of this game long ago. I do have enough experience to offer a fairly decent review of this game. So...




Amazing Frog? The Swindon Space Program: Final Thoughts


Amazing Frog Swindon Space Program
^ from: (YouTube) - How amazing is Amazing Frog? Find out in my review.

I am sorry- "Amazing Frog? The Swindon Space Program" is pathetic. As much as I try to give things a chance and try to get engaged with games, I just can't do it with this game. People who already hate the OUYA or have hated the OUYA consider this only another mark as to the the OUYA being such a disappointment. Even having a farting frog trying to be the first frog to go into space just is an overall poor experience. Don't go thinking a game is cool just because of some of the concepts featured in this game. It lacks any fun factor or appeal. People even complained about how poor the graphics look. The game just doesn't have anything reassuring or will make you come back for more. If you are an OUYA hater, then the only reason to care about this game is to remember it being perhaps the only real OUYA exclusive that has defined the system and its appeal. I didn't like this game. Maybe you will, though.


Video Preview.

This video is a look at this Amazing Frog:



Want to Play?

Want to try out Amazing Frog? Get this now for the OUYA if you don't have it already: "Amazing Frog? The Swindon Space Program for OUYA.





Another game review is now complete. Remember that "John's Blog Space" is a blog about just about anything. So you don't know what you'll get to see mentioned here. It's a mixed bag of blogging goodness. Subscribe and Follow to get more of my posts. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Positive Health Wellness

I always try to make my material positive. If one such site can offer advice for living healthier and happier, it is a site called Positive Health Wellness. I was approached in an e-Mail regarding this site. In my attempts to try to gain some more exposure and perhaps seek sponsorship, I took up on the offer to mention Positive Health Wellness. So I decided to take this opportunity to talk about this website.

Positive Health Wellness is a site offering advice to help people live happier and healthier. They offer loads of tips on a variety of health-related topics ranging from simply living life to tips on proper hygiene to parenting and more. There are a multitude of topics along with suitable advice on each topic. The site mostly features topics from Karen Reed, the Managing Editor of Positive Health Wellness.

I am someone who believes in offering positive material and offering a positive voice. With the notion of Positive Health Wellness and all they have to offer, I am sure this is a total boon for the greater good of the online realm. Most of what I have read features a handful of great ideas to various aspects of our health. This is advice you can take from Positive Health Wellness and apply it to your own life to live better.

So if you are willing to seek resources on how to improve your life or get someone else to improve their lives, Positive Health Wellness is not a bad online resource to help you life life better. I would like to thank this site for reaching out to me.


For More Information...

You can visit Positive Health Wellness by going to www.positivehealthwellness.com. You can visit their site to also get social with them by connecting to PHW across various social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and more.




That concludes this brief post. I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Prancing Elites

We often romanticize cheerleaders, especially female ones. Most people don't even know or care about male cheerleaders. Now imagine this- Black, gay, cheerleading males. Far fetched? No. Meet the Prancing Elites of Mobile, Alabama, USA. In researching a topic, I came across these guys while both researching a blog topic and also working on an eBook. I had a chance to look at a bunch of videos as well as see some other online material on them. This is my opportunity to showcase these individuals in this blog post.






Prancing Elites


I'll try to find another image if I am unable to use it. But anyhow, here is a picture I found featuring the Prancing Elites. This sets the mood for this blog post:

Prancing Elites
^ from: www.adweek.com - Meet the Prancing Elites.

The Prancing Elites is a cheerleading squad consisting of gay Black males. This is a group based in Mobile, Alabama, USA.

Normally, the image of a male cheerleader is mostly of some guys performing routines along with female cheerleaders. Most male cheerleaders often don't wear really appealing outfits. Well, the Prancing Elites are different. This is a group of guys who wear cheerleading outfits of cropped tops, short shorts, and even bodysuits. These alone would make most people cringe at the notion of seeing males (let alone Black males) wearing outfits you normally would see any average cheerleader wear and perform routines any average cheerleader would perform. Even for the sake of being different, the Prancing Elites should be worthy of some credit. Even Shaquille O'Neal ("Shaq," of course) thought the Prancing Elites were cool. Their popularity has garnered them a reality TV series on Oxygen called "The Prancing Elites Project."

Now let's look at a few issues regarding the Prancing Elites.


Prancing Elites vs. Mainstream Perception.

I will try to be careful choosing my words for this section.

Our society is so wrapped up in social norms and certain perceptions. For one, we tend to think of Black males as being "hard" and freakishly athletic. We may even see hip-hop music videos of them living fabulous dream lives. The idea of someone gay usually disgusts some people. We also tend to romanticize females who have lustful body features. So when you think of a cheer company such as the Prancing Elites, there will be people who will be disgusted at the sight of gay Black males wearing skimpy cheerleader outfits and parading around in high-energy dance routines. Or maybe some people actually would find them entertaining- to the point of being the basis of memes and cruel jokes.


It Ain't Easy Being a Prancing Elite...

The Prancing Elites will admit that they get lots of threats and homophobic insults. Just about anyone would get any sort of cruel looks or be the butt of most peoples' jokes. Had the Prancing Elites been students in grade school, they would likely be the ones to most be bullied and made fun of simply because they aren't as "cool" as the "cool kids" at school. The Prancing Elites are mostly unapologetic and do what they do because they love cheerleading.


The Prancing Elites and Homophobia...

There would be people who feel like they need to go to an eye doctor or visit a psychologist after seeing males in feminine cheerleader outfits like with the Prancing Elites. Like some (especially heterosexual males) who will think, "yuck! I saw a dude's butt!" or "...I just saw hot legs... from a guy!" These would be the same types who are romanticized or aroused at the image of feminine beauty... only to be disgusted to find out the one with such feminine appeal is either a male or someone who was born a male.

I am not going to convince everyone who is against the Prancing Elites to think otherwise. At the same time, though, one would be foolish to say this cheer group represents anything that is wrong with America or society. Most of what they do is no different from any average cheer group or cheer company. So maybe they are different because these are gay Black males parading around in cheer outfits and performing cheer routines. This is at least a cheer group that is very different from the norm. Regardless of sexual orientation, the main point of what the Prancing Elites exhibit is primarily about the love of cheerleading. Let us not forget there is a certain passion involved regardless of the fact these are gay Black males performing cheerleading.

Homophobic types will immediately find the Prancing Elites as a disgrace to humanity and society. Some seriously homophobic types probably even wish to commit violence against such individuals. They would probably think, "who thought it was a great idea to have gay Black males as cheerleaders, wearing cheerleader outfits, and performing cheerleading routines?" The Prancing Elites are no more different of cheerleaders as any usual cheer company or group. So what if a male wants to be a cheerleader and dress up in feminine cheerleading outfits? If a male wants to take part in something like this and has the passion to cheer his heart out like any female cheerleader, why hold back or think he has no business being a cheerleader? And it would make that male honestly no less of a person just because he chooses to exhibit himself and conduct himself like almost any usual female cheerleader. He isn't a "sissy" or a "wimp" for choosing to be this way. The Prancing Elites are not going to back down or be told what they can and can't do. You don't have to like the Prancing Elites (even if you aren't homophobic), but at least respect them and respect what they do. Also, what makes you think the Prancing Elites are a disgrace to society and humanity? Have they killed people or animals? Have they plotted acts of terror or conspired to commit massacres? Or do you only dislike them because you simply hate what the Prancing Elites stand for? Simply being anyone in the realm of LGBT is not anything worth hating to the point of them being the bane of society or humanity.


My Final Thoughts on the Prancing Elites.

The Prancing Elites may not be to everyone's liking, but this is a most unique group of gay Black cheerleading males. Cheerleading is cheerleading no matter who does it and of what sexual orientation of the cheerleaders. The Prancing Elites should be inspirational in a sense because they do what they want to do and don't feel like they have to apologize for being themselves. If you dislike the Prancing Elites, that's fine. But if you see the Prancing Elites as some kind of disgrace, why so? The Prancing Elites are no different a cheerleading group as any more proper cheerleading group. Only instead of mostly girls and a few guys that make up the team, this is all a bunch of gay Black males doing most of the same cheerleading routines. One thing I may not be sure of is if there could possibly be other cheerleading groups of gay males that could get popular.

Reading YouTube comments of one video of the Prancing Elites were more along the lines of saying the Prancing Elites are a disgrace to Black people. Some even may go as far they are a disgrace to humanity. I say no and no. It may be disgusting to a lot of people seeing such males performing in such routines and exhibiting themselves in this manner. However, what makes the Prancing Elites such a disgrace? What- the fact these are gay males (let alone gay Black males) doing most of the same cheer routines and dances as any usual cheerleading group? These guys are not killing cheerleading. They are not ruining the game. The Prancing Elites should be an example of people wanting to do what they want to do because they love doing it. In no way should anyone have to feel like the Prancing Elites are individuals who disgrace humanity. If there is something you want to do and love to do no matter what people think of you, do it. Why let people stop you in your pursuit of happiness and for your own personal gratification? Why hold back? I'm sure this is something the Prancing Elites would teach others if they did speeches and such.

If anything, the Prancing Elites should be thought of as a group of individuals who don't feel they have to apologize for being themselves. This cheer group is out to have fun and add energy to any space. So even if you don't like them, you don't have to like them. They'll be just fine cheering their hearts out and being their own inspiration to others.


Video Preview.

Let me share with you a bit of what the Prancing Elites are all about. This is a video montage featuring the Prancing Elites in a variety of routines and such. You may need to adjust the volume at parts of the video:


^ Prancing Elites: High Road to Fame


So now you know about the Prancing Elites more than I provided in text.





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Ignis Mortis

Ignis Mortis is a "Metroidvania" platformer game. It was released earlier in 2016. You play as one of three characters who set out trying to survive in a massive world full of demons and other hazards. There is no real storyline here. It is a fairly straightforward game where all you do is kill off monsters while trying to survive as best as possible. Based on my playing experience, I will be sure to offer you my thoughts on this game. So welcome to "John's Blog Space" and another game review of mine!

NOTE: This review is based on my experience playing this game on the OUYA.






Ignis Mortis


Ignis Mortis game
^ from: friv-games.com - This is the opening screen to "Ignis Mortis."

Ignis Mortis has you traversing a huge 2D world. With no real storyline, you are basically out and about killing off monsters across a number of environments. The ultimate goal is to be able to enter the boss' lair and kill him. Ignis Mortis was created by a developer who goes by the handle of LordHannu.


Characters.

If you are to become a champion in this game, you will need to go around this massive land and kill off monsters. Doing so means you must use one of these three:

• Knight: deals 1 unit of damage and has 10 units of health. Main weapon is a sword.
• Berserker: deals 2 units of damage and has 5 units of health. Main weapon is an axe.
• Archer: deals 4 units of damage and has 2 units of health. Main weapons are a bow and arrow.

If you ask me, I recommend you use the archer. Since all or almost all of the enemies are close-quarters enemies, having the advantage of attacking from distance is handy with the Archer. Just remember that the Archer has the fewest health points. So make sure you don't get into any kind of jam with enemies on both sides.


The World.

You start off in this rather serene and quiet setting. Once you go further, you will be in forests, a desert-like setting, and you will even delve into what seems like a volcano. You can access the map at any time to plan where it is you want to go. You probably will not get lost too often. However, I will stress that it can be repetitive trying to keep going back and forth to find different ways to access certain locations. This game will surely keep you busy since the world in this game is so large. While going back a lot is a typical element of most Metroidvania games, it can be frustrating playing Ignis Mortis.


The Items.

To enter the final lair, you must find six items. Those six items are three different boots and three different swords. The boots you find will allow you to walk on certain surfaces without taking damage or dying. There are three swords. From my playing, all the swords do is increase the attack power of your character. No magic or anything is given to you.

As you kill monsters, you will be collecting coins. From my playing, the coins are only good for having your health restored by a certain entity in the world. It is the ONLY way to have your health restored as well as gain back any lost lives you may have previously lost playing the game.

There are small white flags with the letter "C" on them. Touch these, as they will be respawn points should you die. The last one you activate will be where you will respawn.


The Monsters.

You will face four different kinds of monsters. Here is a description of each:

• The most common enemies are these zombie-like creatures. They can climb hills and attack furiously if you get too close.

• There are these red creatures that somehow are suicidal in wanting to soak you in their blood.

• Another monster is a green monster that swings punches at you. These are the strongest monsters that require several hits to take down.

• There is a monster that scoots along the ground using its arms for movement. When killed, this one leaves behind a lot of coins. A couple of hits will defeat this creature.

These are among the various other hazards in this game.


Game Hints.

Now let's delve into some of the nuances of this title. Here are some hints of mine...

• The first thing I want to warn you is that the game's heads-up display (HUD) can be confusing. You have three lives, represented with three hearts. The real health meter is in the center. When you see your icon with blood or are withering, you know you are dying. When all three hearts are lost, the game is over, and you must start from the beginning.

• If you are not sure what item to get first, try getting the green boots first because a lot of the world has these green slime pools. You can jump over most of them, but the green boots are the ones I think you should get first.

• Since the enemies don't have any kind of long-distance attacks, it is best to use the archer to be able to attack from a distance. Just remember that the archer has the fewest health points of the three characters.

• You will not die if you are around water blocks. You do, however, need water boots to access one of the three swords in the game.

• Check your map OFTEN. You can (and will) get lost trying to plan where you want to go. Do not be surprised if you find yourself visiting some of the same places again just trying to find a way around.


Now for some final thoughts on this game.


Final Thoughts.

Ignis Mortis is really a game that could have been much better. Too many bugs and glitches really prevent this from being a stellar indie game. The graphical detail looks horrible. Someone noted on a website that the atmosphere in Ignis Mortis and the graphics don't exactly blend well. And to an extent, I agree. While the world is a massive one, the game just feels like it could have been much more. At one point, I was able to get to the edge of one map and ended up going into this area where I was falling forever. More monsters and more items would have made the game better. For instance, having some kind of item to help you heal after taking damage would be nice. The game would probably benefit from a Save system considering how lengthy this game can be. If it were possible, either the ability to double jump or jump higher would be great to try to access some parts of some maps. But maybe the biggest flaw of this game is...

Ignis Mortis is BROKEN.

One aspect of the game that frustrated me from my playing was that you can not access the Green Sword no matter how much you try. Without having all of the items on the map, you can't enter the boss' lair situated at the bottom of the World Map. There were two ways I tried to reach that elusive Green Sword, neither worked. So Ignis Mortis is broken. And again- it could have been much more. Better gameplay mechanics, better graphics, better performance (it can be sluggish and slow), perhaps more items, perhaps more diversity in monsters, and a lot of less frustrating elements would have made "Ignis Mortis" a better game than it really is. The game is still fairly good as a more-than-decent platformer. But compared to other Metroidvania-type games, this game is mediocre and above average at best.

And if you're wondering why I reviewed the OUYA version of Ignis Mortis, it is because the game plays best on the OUYA. The browser version of this game is slow and sluggish. It probably should only be made for the OUYA because that version is the best-performing version of the game.


For More Information...

I often try to feature a video of a game after offering thoughts on it. So look at the following video to see the game I just reviewed:


^ (Russian Text) // Ignis Mortis

You can play this game online and even download it for the OUYA (which this review is based on).

Ignis Mortis on Newgrounds
Ignis Mortis (OUYA)

So there you have my thoughts on "Ignis Mortis."





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League of Evil

League of Evil is an indie game by Noodlecake Studios Inc. offering quick action. You are a highly-trained operative out to try to kill scientists who have assembled to build devices to destroy the world. This game can be played online in a browser or on iOS and Android, including the OUYA. The blog post only focuses on the first "League of Evil" game, as there were two sequels to this title.

NOTE: This blog post is based on my experience playing "League of Evil" on the OUYA.






League of Evil


League of Evil
^ from: (Google Play) - Scientists have joined forces to build weapons of mass destruction. This group, called the "League of Evil," must be stopped! Here is where you come in to try to foil this dastardly plot.

As usual, I must provide some insight on whatever I mention. So take a look at this to learn more about League of Evil.

The story behind "League of Evil" is that several scientists have banded together to develop weapons of mass destruction. You are a highly-trained operative who sets out to kill these scientists across 54 brief levels in the main story. This is a game that is a combination of platforming and puzzle solving. You will have to avoid things such as enemy attacks, spikes, and other dangers. Can you save the world from destruction by foiling this evil plot?

From my OUYA experience with this game, the game features the main story of "League of Evil" along with "Lite Missions." League of Evil is free to play outside of the browser version, but there are in-app purchases that allow you to play additional missions of "League of Evil." So you can play extra missions if you enjoy the two missions offered.


Hints.

These are things to be mindful of should you get to play "League of Evil."

• The goal of each stage is to find the scientist and kill that scientist in the level. In addition to trying to find and kill the scientist, there is also a briefcase hidden in each level. It is not required for you find the briefcase. However, if you want the best possible score for a level, find the briefcase and kill the scientist within a certain specified time.

• Your run is judged by how quickly you complete the level. Completing the level within a certain par time will give you the maximum three stars. Most stages have time goals between 10 seconds to almost 30 seconds.

• You can always go back to any level to improve your score for that level. You can find the briefcase you may have missed or try to complete the stage with a faster time.

• If you take damage at any point of the level, the game is over. You must either try that stage again or retire from that level or the game. You have infinite continues.

• If you want to judge your performance in a level that you retry, allow Ghosts to be saved. All of your failed ghost attempts will feature you covered in red.


Having mentioned all of this, here are my final thoughts...


Final Thoughts.

League of Evil can be a lot of fun to play. The fairly brief levels make for an engaging experience that doesn't entirely feel repetitive. The challenges and dangers do not feel entirely frustrating, but every level can mostly be completed fairly and doesn't seem too difficult to clear each stage. It probably wouldn't make the game better or worse, but I think some boss battles would make this game a bit more interesting. It still is a pretty good, pretty intense game. Plenty of action for a game you could play for hours on end. I'd say this game here is a winner. Maybe you'll see it the same way, too.


Want to Play?

Did I convince you about "League of Evil?" If I did, then here is where you can play or download the game:

League of Evil - official
League of Evil (browser, on Kongregate)
League of Evil (Steam)
League of Evil (Android)
League of Evil (iOS)
League of Evil (Amazon)
League of Evil (OUYA)


And here is a video preview of the game:

^ "League of Evil - Android Trailer"


Remember that "League of Evil" is free, but the non-browser versions have in-app purchases.





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Vivaldi Browser

Many loved the Opera browser before being more Chrome than Opera. To fill this gap, ex-developers of Opera created Vivaldi. Vivaldi is a stylish browser that runs as fluidly as the former Opera. Whether or not I'd recommend it is up to you to read in this blog post I'm making about Vivaldi. So please keep reading. If you are a returning visitor, this is nothing new. But if you are new here, welcome to "John's Blog Space!"

To avoid any kind of confusion with names, I am using "Vivaldi Browser" to mention the browser. I am even using the Vivaldi browser to upload this review on Blogger/Blogspot.






Vivaldi Browser


Here is an official look at Vivaldi...

Vivaldi logo
^ from: (Twitter) - Vivaldi - "a browser for our friends."

And here is a video on the Vivaldi browser...


^ Vivaldi Browser - Not for everybody, just you

Vivaldi was born sometime earlier in 2016. This browser was created off of the Chromium browser. Even extensions for it are done through the Chrome Web Store. Apart from my poor experiences with Chrome, however, Vivaldi is NO Chrome. Many of its features are incredibly adaptable. You can port over content from other browsers to make the feeling out process easier when you first use Vivaldi. Once you settle in, you're ready to go.

A lot of the features in Vivaldi are features I recall from the former Opera. You can change options such as sizing the text and images, notifications to certain sites, and things like that. One thing I did remember enjoying was ad blocking on certain shady websites. Unfortunately, you have to download AdBlock Plus for Vivaldi if you want to enjoy blocking certain sites' ads, because AdBlock Plus does NOT come with Vivaldi. You can choose certain color themes for Vivaldi. When you visit some websites, the main window color adapts to the website and provides a nice color scheme for you. For example, if you visit Amazon, the top of the browser window will turn orange. Many other sites you visit will have different colored windows to them. If you don't like the light themes, there are dark themes available. You can even arrange to set certain themes based on times of day or night. If you make your own theme, you won't get to see windows in other colors.

As for browsing, the experience is wonderful. I hated how Opera had the Speed Dial thing or using the address bar for searching. I always liked having the address bar and search engines separate. You can even add and remove certain search engines to have more searching options available. Past search results can be removed from the search bar. However, if you have multiple things you searched for, you may not be able to remove all of those search options at once.

You can add Favorites to your searches. One thing to note, though... you MUST confirm certain re-naming by pressing Enter. Otherwise, the names of certain items will not be saved. It can also be a bit tough trying to drag-and-drop items into folders. It won't immediately go into a folder you specify sometimes. You can open the panel to manually adjust certain items in folders. You can even use the panel to manage downloads and even add notes.

Most of the operations have been mostly fluid. Even when I view HTML5 for YouTube videos in Vivaldi, the operation remains mostly fluid and stable. There just isn't too much to complain about when using Vivaldi.


Final Thoughts.

Vivaldi is a must-download. This browser filled many gaps left behind by the Chrome takeover of Opera. Annoyances and complaints regarding Vivaldi are mostly minimal. It isn't perfect, but it is an excellent browser that is adaptable and useful on many different levels.


For More Information...

You can get Vivaldi for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Start your Vivaldi journey today by visiting vivaldi.com.





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Same Name

Know people whom share the same name as you? Are there any famous people you like who have the same or similar name as yours? This is actually a blog post I wanted to start up a long time ago... only I've only completed it now. For this blog post, this is where I ask my readers/viewers if there are any famous people whom share the same name as you or similar that you like or admire.

However many people you can recall may mostly depend on your name. Since my name is John, "John" and "Jon" are actually going to be more popular than a lot of other names. Heck... "John" is even in The Bible!

Anyhow, let's begin!






Same Name


In case you don't know, my name is John. So I will be looking at some folks with my name or with certain variations of my name.


How This Post Works.

Here is how this post works:
• personality must have the same name or a similar name as yours.
• if you go by a certain English name, only those with the same or similar name is allowed.

So for example, if your name is Don or Donald, you think of someone like Donald Trump. If your name is Carly, you may think of someone like singer Carly Rae Jepsen (call me maybe?). Your name may be Lily, and you think of someone like Lily Allen. Your name may be Bill, and people who come to mind include Bill Clinton or William Tell. Ladies named Jennifer may know of Jenny Chu or Jennifer Hudson. If you know your name in another language, then it is fair to know your name is Joe/Joseph and know someone like José Bautista.

Conversely, this is not a post about if you have a first name which is a surname. For example, this is not about if your name is Carlton and think of people like Larry Carlton or Vanessa Carlton.


Got it? So let me begin with various folks with the same name as mine.




Same Name: John or Jon (in my case)


This will be my list of notable folks with my name or a similar name. I'll try to identify a number of folks with my same name. You don't necessarily have to like those who share your name. Having said that, here are a number of folks who have the same name as me.

These are not the most famous ones with my name, but several folks with my name just to show you what this post is about. I'll be mostly brief with some different names.


• John Hancock
When asking for a signature, usually people will refer to it as signing your "John Hancock." John Hancock was one who signed on the Declaration of Independence. The John Hancock known these days is an insurance company.

Need some help with your History lesson? Check this for more on John Hancock: John Hancock - American Revolution on HISTORY.com.


• John Elway
John Elway is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. He is a multi-time Super Bowl champion doing his damage with the Denver Broncos. John Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004. He is currently the general manager and executive vice president of the Denver Broncos.


• John Force

John Force is one of the winningest racing drivers in any discipline of motorsport. As of November 25, 2016; John Force is a 16-time Funny Car champion in NHRA Drag Racing. He even won the championship every year in the 1990s except 1993. His first championship was in 1990. His most recent was in 2013. John Force is an overall great guy. He'll even be a good story teller with his racing career. But don't take my word for it...


^ The Best of John Force


• John Cena
I honestly don't know why people hate on John Cena. He's one of the most consistent and capable wrestlers ever. Maybe he's not like a part of the WWE's "Attitude Era," but he's the best wrestler in the WWE for his era. He's currently a 15-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Only Ric Flair has more reigns as World Champion with 16.

Besides wrestling, John Cena has done quite well in media ranging from acting to being a recording artist. Want to get yourself going? Here's some John Cena raps for you:


^ ""


• Jon Miller
People mostly know of play-by-play announcer Jon Miller as the voice of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball as well as him as the play-by-play announcer for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball.


• Juan Pablo Montoya
John in Spanish is "Juan," so here's my first Juan entry. I would have never followed (then) CART had it not been for Juan Pablo Montoya. The native of Bogota, Colombia is one of the best race car drivers today. Among his list of accomplishments are being a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, the 1999 CART Champion, and what I think is the toughest thing to do in all of racing- win a Formula One race. Juan Pablo Montoya is surely Hall of Fame material if he isn't already.


• Juan Manuel Fangio
One of the best Formula 1 racers in history was Juan Miguel Fangio. In the early years of Formula 1, he was the F1 World Champion five times. Many regard him as the greatest F1 racer that ever lived.


• Giancarlo Stanton
I learned "Giancarlo" is a combination of "John Charles," so that expands the array of names somewhat. Giancarlo Stanton is a beast of a baseball player. He is known for being a solid baseball player as one who furiously hit home runs. You hang 'em, he bangs 'em- HARD. It's like you hold your breath when he bangs balls out of the ballpark.


Other Notable Johns/Jons.

A few others to make mention of...

• Lil' Jon (Jonathan Smith) - hip-hop recording artist.
• John Legend - R&B recording artist.
• John Cougar Mellencamp - rock music legend.
• John Heisman - legendary college football coach, trophy named for single-best college football player.
• John O'Korn - current college quarterback, played for Houston but now with Michigan.
• Johnathan Joseph - professional gridiron football player (currently of the Houston Texans)
• John David Booty - professional quarterback (and former Houston Texan)
• John Stockton - legendary basketball player.
• John Wall - professional basketball player
• John Smoltz - legendary baseball pitcher.
• Jonathan Toews - professional hockey player from Canada.
• John Andretti - professional race car driver from the famous Andretti family.
• John Kernan - motorsports broadcaster and anchor of former ESPN show "RPM2Night."
• Giancarlo Fisichella - former Formula 1 race car driver.


That's some of the many different Johns or Jons out there. I could name more, but I'll stop here.





I hope you found this post fun. So let me ask you...

What famous people share your name? How many such people can you identify?

That's it for this blog post. Remember to Subscribe and Follow my blog(s) for more of my content when they become available. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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