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.
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 …
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Near rural Pahoa Village on the big island Hawaii, Kilauea’s slowly advancing lava has crossed Apaa Street and is closing on Pahoa Village Road itself, which goes straight through downtown. We interviewed Apaa Street resident Imelda and Pahoa Village Road resident Duke.
Imelda and her husband are prepared to leave when and if officials give the word. “We are still praying,” she said. “I hope our home will be spared.”
Duke does not appear outwardly concerned, and has no plans to evacuate or even change his routine. “I don’t see this lava flow as statistically significant. Lava has flowed thousands of times before, and has never reached my house. Why should I worry about it now?”
Fans are mourning Robin Williams after he was gunned down by a policeman. Friends say that the officer – whose name has not been released – warned Williams about being politically incorrect in public. Williams responded by dropping into a good ol’ boy persona, and drawling, “Waal, shoot, Ah’m jest gittin stahted heah …,” at which point the officer angrily threw open the door of his truck, which bounced off Williams. After being pushed back by the door, the funnyman morphed into a tuning fork impression. The enraged officer left the vehicle and fired a shot – hitting Williams, who ran limping away, expounding, “Cry havoc, and who let the dogs of war out? Huh, huh, huh-huh?” About thirty feet away, Williams then turned, raised his arms and in a high voice sang, “Raise your hands if you’re sure!,” Despite Williams being unarmed, the officer fired several more times, killing the 63 year-old actor and comedian.
The comedy community’s claims that police are deliberately targeting funny people are becoming difficult to ignore. Just last week Louis CK was taken down by several NYPD officers after telling a few masturbation jokes on a NYC sidewalk, and died in a chokehold while gasping, “C’mon, it was rhetorical …” Earlier Gilbert Gottfried was shot repeatedly in a WalMart toy section after picking up a stuffed duck and shouting “AFLAC!” Officers insisted they thought that nearby children were in immediate danger.
On the National Freeway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smells from the moon roof, rising up through the air
Albert read me directions, we found the backwoods road
The ruts were deep, Dmitry said slow down
I was to camp for four nights
Past the Farm was a campground
With an old church bell
And I was thinking to myself
“This could be Heaven or this could be Hell”
Someone lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices in the dormitory
I thought I heard them say…
Welcome to Four Quarters, Pennsylvania
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at Four Quarters Pennsylvania
Any time of year (Any time of year)
Bring cold weather gear
Our minds are SUV-twisted, we drive these Mercedes-Benz
We got a lot of pretty, pretty toys – when we need friends
See us dance in the arbor, sweet summer sweat
Some Danse des Mortes Heureux, some dance into debt
So I called out to Orren,
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We have a Meadery here and I think you’ll like it fine”
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say…
Welcome to Four Quarters Pennsylvania
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
There’s a meal plan at Four Quarters Pennsylvania
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
They’ve got plates and knives
Stones stand in the circle,
In long term contemplation,
And she said “We are not prisoners here, its a corporation,”
And in the Starvin Artist Kitchen,
We gather for the feast
We stab it with our spoons and forks,
‘Cause they don’t serve live roast beast
Last thing I remember, I was
Searching for my car
I had to make the long drive back
To my place in Baltimore
“Good luck,” said the Cairn Fairy,
Pack up all of your stash,
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can not leave trash! ”
(apologies to the Eagles)
Update: I originally wrote this just before attending Age of Limits, so I’ve revised it a bit.