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Forty Years Later

The movie Star Wars opened in theatres about forty years ago. It was later called A New Hope, but then it was just another summer movie. I have run across several articles proclaiming how great it was, and asking people to comment on how it changed their lives. It always reminds me of a girl.

That summer, I got a letter from my college roommate who had seen it already, and he said despite all the hype, it was actually pretty good scifi. Technology showed signs of wear and tear, and even had dust and dirt streaks. He recommended it.

I was working in Southern Virginia, moving from town to town managing a crew of other summer interns. We were all architecture or engineering majors who had gotten work with the Corps of Engineers. There were two groups, one was guys from Maryland (me) through Massachusetts. Another was guys from Virginia through Texas. I put in a few weeks with the Southern group, then took over the Northern group.

At the end of the summer, we all came together for a few weeks. Before that, the guy from Notre Dame, Larry, wanted to visit his friend in Augusta, Georgia over a long weekend. He couldn’t rack up that sort of mileage on his government car, but I was using my own car. Coincidentally, my college girlfriend was visiting my previous college roommate who was interning in that same city. She had only given me his phone number but not his address, and I thought I might be able to call them up when I got there.

So I agreed to drive us down there. Along the way I was surprised to discover he didn’t believe in evolution. It wasn’t a bad drive. His friend’s name was Leonard, and they knew each other from track team, both doing long distance running. He was an in-your-face extravert. “Two Words!” he shouted at Larry when we got there, “Two words and you’ve got it made here: All Hail!”

“All Hail?” I thought, but he was really saying, “Aw Hell!” in an exaggerated local accent. I told him I was there to try to find my girlfriend, and he asked, “Is this bad news?” Anyway I never connected with her, but we men had a good time, played some tennis, and drank some beer. Now, Leonard had a girlfriend, a buxom local gal, I forget her name, but she had a roommate, Anne, who was a visiting student from Belgium, who was the thin, pretty sort that I always notice. She spoke English but was generally quiet.

So the five of us went to see Star Wars. Somehow I ended up sitting next to Anne at the theatre, and was very conscious of being near a pretty girl who wasn’t my girlfriend. Star Wars, as you probably know, is a very American movie. Parts of the film echo both Western gunfight serials, and old WWII dogfight flicks. I laughed at the more obvious references, but Anne would just look at me with a puzzled expression. I don’t think she understood why a guy would laugh during a battle scene.

Afterwards we all went to a big old bar with loud music. Larry and Leonard were reliving old times. I tried to talk to Anne, but it was tough sledding with the noise and language barrier. By that time I had completely forgotten about the movie.

Now I can’t remember how we got to the next situation, but somehow, Larry and Anne were in my car and we were following Leonard’s car. He had accused his girlfriend of steppin’ out with someone else, so they were having a fight, and she was going to take off in her car, and he was going to follow her. Poor Anne suddenly realized she was in a car with two American guys she hardly knew and panicked. I was trying to think of some way to assure her that she was perfectly safe – even though I didn’t really know the route back to their apartment – but I realized it probably looked pretty bad to her. She got out and yelled the other girl’s name. I don’t actually remember what happened next, or how we made it back to Leonard’s place, but that was the last I saw of Anne.

Today she probably tells her grandchildren scary stories about American architects. I look back and wish I had had a chance to just talk to her. Yeah, the movie was good, but the only life-changing drama was in the real people I was meeting.

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Flowers for Trumpmentum

Once there was a young man from a wealthy family. He studied hard at good schools, and when he was old enough, his father let him drive the company limousine so he could learn how rich people talked. So he learned to be very thoughtless towards other people, and even more obnoxious if they complained. And he learned lots of great words. Later, he wanted to be a real estate mogul like his Dad, and so he wore a suit and a colorful tie, and went to work every day, and made deals with people to build great stuff for very little money, like his Dad. The stuff wasn’t that great, but it looked good enough in brochures.

Everyone at work was rude, and he thought that he fit in well and that he really got along well with everyone. He got someone to help him write a book on making deals with the word ‘Art’ in the title, which was a great word. And he just kept showing up and giving orders, and blaming other people for stuff that went wrong, and sometimes his lawyers and accountants declared bankruptcy when there was no one left to blame. Since a lot of businessmen weren’t any smarter, he made a fair amount of money, and claimed he made even more to impress women.

As a joke, one day someone told him he should run for President. He actually tried it, but chose a small party no one had ever heard of, and he soon gave up.

As another joke, some network executives put him in a special reality TV program, where they made him look smart and forceful. He got to make decisions, with a little help, and even thought he was really hiring and firing people. Then a funny thing happened. More and more people started to believe he was really as smart as he seemed on television.

Someone else said he should run for President, but they were serious this time, and so he did, and he chose a bigger party. Now at this time, a lot of businessmen thought they were really smart, too, but they weren’t of course, so things were bad for a lot of people who were trying to follow company orders. Things were so bad that a lot of people hoped that a real businessman could save them from professional politicians, even though the politicians were actually taking orders from all the not very smart businessmen.

A lot of highly-educated people thought he was just kidding, and wasting his money, and would soon go away, but he didn’t. In fact, a lot of desperate people liked that he was rude to politicians and reporters, and he soon had momentum. Once he had momentum, people started asking harder questions, so he got even more obnoxious, just like he had learned. All the reporters tried to act like they were in on the joke, and they would call him up every day, and smile knowingly while they let him talk and talk and talk on the air.

The networks held debates and figured more people would watch to see how obnoxious he would be. So they asked him the most questions, and he obliged by being obnoxious, and all the other candidates thought it was great that someone else was attacking their rivals, and that holding back made them seem more presidential. And everyone thought they were winning.

He lost the first caucus, and all the reporters exhaled at once, and snickered. But then he started winning primaries, not by much, but by enough. At first the reporters called it a fluke, but after a few more they got scared, and tried to make fun of him to make people stop liking him. But the desperate people wouldn’t stop liking him.

Now not all the people were desperate. The not-desperate people wanted to elect not-desperate candidates that would do what they were told and make sure the not-desperate would stay that way.

So they held a debate where all the other candidates were obnoxious to him right away, and he was obnoxious right back. But he liked it, and was better at it, and his supporters still liked him. So they got another guy whose father had been rich, and who had tried to be president, to make fun of him. But all the desperate people still liked him. So they held another debate where even the reporters yelled at him, and helped the other candidates make fun of him.

That last debate made it very obvious to his desperate followers that they were right to not trust reporters and politicians and the not-desperate.

To be continued …

 

 

Rubio Hit by Meteorite

While campaigning just after polls opened in New Hampshire, Sen Marco Rubio (R-Fla) became the second man in as many days to have been struck by a meteorite. Rubio, however, survived, and said, “Let’s dispel this notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Indiana to change name

The Indiana General Assembly has doubled down on the recent religious discrimination law with a joint Senate resolution that will change the state’s official name to Homophobiana.

In addition the bill provides that the Constitution of the State of Indiana guarantees the right of the straight people of Indiana to engage in homophobic practices. Provides that the general assembly may not pass a law that unreasonably abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to refuse to employ homosexual or transgendered workers, or anyone that owns a small doggie named, or frequently called, Precious. Provides that no business is required to transact business with any homosexual or transgendered workers, or anyone that has ever watched more than three episodes of Ellen DeGeneres in one calendar week. Provides that the new constitutional provision does not modify any: (1) provision of the common law; (2) statute relating to trespass or eminent domain; or (3) other property right, existing or previously enacted statute, or existing or previously adopted administrative rule.

Gunmen Kill 12 in Shooting at Frederick Newspaper

Masked gunmen wielding AR-15s and a shotgun killed at least 12 people and injured 10 more at the offices of the Frederick News-Post on Wednesday before escaping. Frederick’s Mayor Randy McClement called the shooting, “unquestionably a terrorist attack.”

The attack is believed to be in response to the paper’s somewhat satirical article, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter. Apparently ignorant of the first amendment, Councilman Delauter had threatened a lawsuit, accusing the paper of using his name without permission. “We had no idea that Delauter’s followers were so militant,” said a source close to the paper who refused to be identified.

A video from the scene shows at least two gunmen shooting in Ballenger Center Drive and shouting what might be, “Git ‘Er Done!”

 

Update: Apparently the shootings occurred in Paris. Such attacks on freedom of the press could never happen in the US.

Don’t Break The Law

King Joffrey decrees: “Breathe Easy, Don’t Break the Law. Don’t resist and we won’t behead you, pierce you with darts or drown you in wine. … Unless we’re in a bad mood.”

Ass Trays

I knew that too much sitting was bad for office dwellers, but I just heard the saying:

Sitting is the new Smoking

So it occurs to me that we should now refer to chairs as Ass Trays.