Archive for the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Category
At Mos Eisley Radio these guys not only talk news concerning the most recent Star Wars Game X-Wing Miniatures, which I am crazy about, but a lot more. Have a listen to them for in-depth looks at classes, guilds, lore, and everything else fans care about in the galaxy far, far away. But related to this article, they go into great detail about the strength of ships and strategy of the game for those who are prompted to get more involved by the conclusion of this article. Have a listen while reading the below text!
While it’s true that many of the people I know are locked into the very real and immediate danger of a real-life rebellion, which is covered at this site extensively, the way I endure the stress of such a thing is to fill my life with interesting hobbies, that also help build up my strategic ability. I share some of those hobbies from time to time in hopes that others might become inspired and do the same for themselves, not by copying my suggestions so much as in finding something that works for them to give themselves a break so to endure the rigors of life just a bit more efficiently. I have shared glowingly my love of the strategy game Pirates, the Constructible Strategy game by Wiz Kids. My family has spent many hours buying, building, and playing that game till the very small hours of the morning. I can remember one very fun Holiday week after Christmas where my kids and I with a small army of other kids bought every single pack of WizKids pirate ships on a cold December afternoon at Cincinnati Sci Fi in West Chester, Ohio. The delighted store clerk even brought out a new shipment of those ships which had just arrived that was in the back while we were in the store, of which we bought every single one. So needless to say, we love those types of role-playing games as a family, and as individuals.
Recently while on vacation in Florida my nephews along with my kids, my wife and I played a very cool Dungeons and Dragons type of role-playing game called Heroscape over pizza from the best place in Central Florida till the late hours of night with the condo door open to the ocean outside. We had turned our large dinning room table into a war zone and found ourselves intensely engaged in mortal combat with dragons and warriors. Like the referred to pirate game, I enjoy those types of games that allow you to play with several live players around a dinner table. It is a great way to bond with other family members and actually speak to each other, while exercising the brain. I find those types of games to be stimulating in a similar way to reading a novel, or playing a great video game. The difference is that you have to work with other people in a way that is only possible with this type of strategic gaming. For many years these role-playing strategy games have increased in popularity from a sub-culture of Dungeon and Dragon players, to what is now considered mainstream geekdom at major conventions all over the country. The transition came officially from the popular game, Magic the Gathering. The gaming industry in that market has never been the same, which is wonderful for the human race. A short history of this type of gaming can be seen at the link below.
However, for me, I always loved that Pirate game from Wiz Kids the best of any that I have played in the last twenty years. My entire family was deeply into it and our playing time together represent some of the most fun we’ve had together, which is quite a statement. So I have missed it as Wiz Kids stopped making the game in the format we enjoyed, and time and distance has moved us away from the contents. However, I recently received news from Lucasfilm about their latest version of a Star Wars Role Playing game by Fantasy Flight Games which I thought at first would be gimmicky, but upon investigation quickly found that it was a quite in-depth game that actually combined the type of game play that I enjoyed so much in Pirates, the Constructible Strategy game by Wiz Kids and the Heroscape. The new game is called Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game.
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful Rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, the X-Wing Miniatures Game recreates exciting Star Wars space combat throughout its several included scenarios.
Whatever the chosen vessel, the rules of X-Wing facilitate fast and visceral gameplay that puts you in the middle of Star Wars fiercest firefights. Each ship type has its own unique piloting dial, which is used to secretly select a speed and maneuver each turn. After planning maneuvers, each ship’s dial is revealed and executed (starting with the lowest skilled pilot). So whether you rush headlong toward your enemy showering his forward deflectors in laser fire, or dance away from him as you attempt to acquire a targeting lock, you’ll be in total control throughout all the tense dogfighting action.
Star Wars: X-Wing features (three) unique missions and each has its own set of victory conditions and special rules; with such a broad selection of missions, only clever and versatile pilots employing a range of tactics will emerge victorious. What’s more, no mission will ever play the same way twice, thanks to a range of customization options, varied maneuvers, and possible combat outcomes. Damage, for example, is determined through dice and applied in the form of a shuffled Damage Deck. For some hits your fighter sustains, you’ll draw a card that assigns a special handicap. Was your targeting computer damaged, affecting your ability to acquire a lock on the enemy? Perhaps an ill-timed weapon malfunction will limit your offensive capabilities. Or worse yet, your pilot could be injured, compromising his ability to focus on the life-and-death struggle in which he is engaged…
The Star Wars: X-Wing starter set includes everything you need to begin your battles, such as scenarios, cards, and fully assembled and painted ships. What’s more, Star Wars: X-Wing’s quick-to-learn ruleset establishes the foundation for a system that can be expanded with your favorite ships and characters from the Star Wars universe.
More can be learned at these links:
The hook for me was when I saw the game’s version of The Millennium Falcon which is for me one of my favorite fictional symbols in film history of rebellion. CLICK HERE FOR MORE. I remember vividly when I toured the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. to see the actual model of the Falcon in a traveling display that was set up there. I traveled to Washington that weekend just to see the Falcon. I spent nearly two hours looking at it, photographing it and memorizing every pipe, dent, and burn mark on a ship I had watched so many times in the feature films. It was for me one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. When I saw the level of detail that Fantasy Flight Games had poured into the Millennium Falcon game piece for the X-Wing Miniatures role-playing game it called to my mind memory of that original model in sheer detail and I instantly fell in love. I immediately bought a starter set of the X-Wing game and launched my family onto a new generation of game play that is sure to engulf for many years. In the game players can fly the legendary Millennium Falcon into fast-paced battles for the fate of the galaxy! The Millennium Falcon™ Expansion Pack for the X-Wing™ Miniatures Game allows players to blast through hyperspace with Han, Chewie, Lando, and more. The Millennium Falcon comes with four pilot cards, thirteen upgrades, and all requisite tokens. New rules expand the X-Wing galaxy to include large ships and modifications. With its pilots, upgrades, and lovingly detailed miniature, the Millennium Falcon Expansion Pack is a beautiful addition to the X-Wing game! It may be the coolest thing I have seen in years regarding this kind of thing. It is a marvel to look at and unbelievable to have as a game play option. I consider it stunning.
If the Millennium Falcon didn’t close the deal for me on the new X-Wing game the promise of the next ship did. It doesn’t come out until the end of August, but when it does, I will buy it immediately. It is the HWK-290 designed by Corellian Engineering Corporation to resemble a bird in flight, the “hawk” series excels in its role as a personal transport. The HWK-290 Expansion Pack comes with one detailed miniature at 1/270 scale, a maneuver dial, all necessary tokens, six upgrades, and four pilots, including the renowned Kyle Katarn. Each HWK-290 provides a wide range of support options for your squad and can be outfitted with both a turret weapon and crew member. The reason this ship is significant for me is because it was the featured spacecraft of the main character in the video game Dark Forces. It never appeared in a Star Wars film, but was the home craft of the video game character Kyle Katarn, who would later become a Jedi Master in the novels years later. One of the very first video games that my oldest daughter ever played was Dark Forces. It was a first person shooter that came out in 1995. My daughter was only 6 years old at the time and helped me play it by pressing the space bar on the key board when I told her to which caused my character to jump. She was too young for the complex shooting and strategy it took to win the game, but she knew how to hit the space bar when I told her to and it was that game that launched her into a lifelong love of video games. She and I will always share that unique father/daughter experience, and I will always think of her when I think of the HWK-290. I was dazzled to learn that Fantasy Flight Games was actually inserting that ship into the game mythology before other types of ships, which let me know that the game designers were very serious about expanding the Star Wars experience of role-playing gaming in a format that hasn’t seen such a level of attention since our beloved Pirate Constructible Strategy Game.
Now that I’m going to be playing, it won’t take long before other members of my family will also and soon we will be ordering LaRosas pizza late at night and lining up 2-liters of Coke along our kitchen counter playing Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game well into the night. It doesn’t matter that everyone playing will be well over 20 years old and in my case their 40s. I still get a thrill about purchasing new strategic game pieces that can be used under battlefield conditions that have infinite possibilities. I do not feel this kind of passion for other types of games. The reason is that the role-playing games allow for complete independent freedom of strategy, unlike board games where the path is set and random chance puts players often into a position to win the game. With games like X-Wing Miniatures all the conditions of battle are set and designed by the player, and that is why I love these experiences so intensely. For me the game is only part of the fun. I enjoy often reading the stats of the cards and infinitely considering various strategies before hand. The game only proves a theory good or bad.
I have played these games with people who are really good. They are very quick with their mind and spend a lot more time playing the games than I ever will. It is fun to watch these kinds of players at tournaments and conventions. I will never put the kind of time into these games that they do, but I admire their efforts. Too many adults in our modern age believe falsely that games are for kids and that such things should be put away as adulthood consumes our lives. Games are not for kids, they are for minds. Games like the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game feeds the mind with more than entertainment, it provides mental exercises that are invaluable to real life. I can’t say how many times I have been locked in epic political struggles and other situations where I resorted on the practices used in these strategy games to apply some skill I tried and won with in theory, against real opponents in real scenarios.
So as I sometimes take breaks from the rebellions of the real world to embark on these flights of fantasy, even in my leisure, strategy is an important part of my life. It is far safer to make errors in judgment among friends and family over pizza and Coca Coke than when it really counts in real life. And with that said, I am ecstatic to see this new Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game available at what might only be termed, an essentially important period in my life. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and I am so glad that the good people at Lucasfilm put the short playing clip of the example with Wil Wheaten and Seth Green up so I could see the Millennium Falcon playing piece for the first time and become enticed enough to investigate further. That investigation will yield tremendous benefits that can only be found when adults play the games of young people and further develop their minds against the antagonists who have lost such abilities to their own detriment. Sometimes being good at strategy isn’t about being better at the game itself, but is due to working against un-armed opponents. Those who don’t play these kinds of games find their minds unable to think strategically enough to compete when it really matters, and every time a new game like Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game comes out, I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to feed my mind with the contents that have benefits which extend beyond convention. When a vacation is needed, it’s not just the body that needs rest, the mind does also. But the mind enjoys stimulation, not stagnation, and often a game like this can provide the crucial ingredient that the mind seeks with abundance in all the best scenarios.
To get the gist of what I’m talking about read this review from Boardgamegeek.com. It reveals why this game is so much better than most other games, and why it will become one of the most enduring games of its type in this generation.
Harrowing dogfights, family drama, shootouts, a tender moment, amazing monsters, humor.
There’s a tempo to Star Wars. We all remember Luke screaming NOOOOOOO at Vader. For different reasons, we remember Anakin turned Vader screaming NOOOOOO. But we also remember Leia offering a little cracker to an ewok. We remember first seeing Darth Maul’s double lightsaber. And we remember Han saying “I know.”
It is NOT all pew-pew-pew. It is NOT all Vrusssshhhhhhhzwwwmzwwwmmm. It’s a cycle of teasing action and drama.
Even though the X-Wing Minis game plays out some incredible dogfight sequences, the play of the game is NOT a straight forward flow.
I’ve got dozens of rounds under my belt now, and I’ve been wanting to write a review, and it finally came to me what it is that makes this game such rip roaring fun.
It’s not the astoundingly detailed minis. And anyone complaining about scale needs to take a close look at the movies, where the scale of the ships to each other changes from shot to shot due to the compositing techniques used at the time.
The minis are awesome. I’m somewhat surprised that different ships use different plastics, but I understand why. That denser stuff used on the X-Wing would collapse a Falcon into itself.
The prepaint jobs are incredible. The cards gorgeous, the components just off the scale. Even with the bit more they must pay in royalties to Uncle George, the massive appeal of this game allows them to make a ton of copies and the price, while at first glance seems daunting, isn’t a lot for what you get.
What makes the game work is the pendulum swing. The rhythm.
First, the setup. The agonizing squad building. Is it worth 2 points to raise this pilot’s skill, not knowing what the enemy force contains? It could easily be two points that have ZERO effect on the game. Terribly tough gambles. Now that wave 2 is out and you could just as easily face a hulking mothership like a decked out Slave I or a swarm of the world’s most annoying TIE fighters, you really have to prepare for a wide contingency of opponents.
This setup is tense. You want flexible. But strong. Synergistic support between squad members, but not so much that the loss of a key ship means defeat. And you ALWAYS want about 3 more points for that perfect build. No matter how many points you choose to fight, you will kill for another 3.
So it’s got that whole squad building aspect down great. Especially now that there’s a ton of options. Who knows what your opponent will bring?
But the flow of a turn is brilliant.
Everybody chooses their maneuvers. No downtime. But here in the game is where you are playing cat and mouse. Maybe psychologically toying with the opponent, making them think your plan is A when it is actually B.
Hidden agendas and secret moves. That’s the next game that plays out after the squad building math.
Then the wonderful move system. Everyone slowly reveals their moves, in what might be the games most questioned rule. The lowest skilled dudes go first, and eventually the better skilled dudes, which mean they have a fairly good chance of accidentally hitting and losing their action, where the lower skill guy might pull it off.
But it works in the long run, because it keeps higher skills in tailing positions.
Bit in this phase of the game, again, very, very little downtime, as the nefarious plans and maneuvers are revealed.
Squeals of glee and grunts of horror abound as unexpected collisions happen and skillful turns are executed.
But then comes the start of your devastating on the spot decision making. While plotting your squadrons moves, you had an overall plan. Now, each ship must choose it’s precious action.
Evade? How many guys might end up firing on you? Target? Are you clear to get the shot this or next turn? Focus – the all purpose “Egads, I need help” token. Or maybe that barrel roll or super freakin cool new Boost – move a bit maybe out of a firing arc or -surprise – snap someone into your arc. Maybe you execute some trick of your specific pilot.
Here is where you are tempering your odds. Things that will alter the upcoming luck sequence. carefully guiding the gods of luck to your favor.
The tokens build up on the board as actions get selected. At first, this is a pile of confusing cardboard. In a few games, the counters become invisible, simply reminding you of who plans what.
Whew. So, strategic planning in the squad build, then the secrecy of move plotting, then the agonizing action choices. What more does this game need?
Bring out the dice. Or the iPad app, if you prefer.
Its Star WARS and the dice bring on the war. Now MORE decisions that hurt. Do I spend my focus token to get that extra damage possibly in, or hold on to it to help me avoid possible damage? What if I hold it and no one fires? What a waste… Two hits coming in… Do I evade? Or hold on to the evade since a crit might come next?
Hopefully, you’ve pile bonus upon bonus on your fighters. Distance, skill, weapon, focus… Or maybe all you’ve got is a shot in the dark.
Even defenders are active, choosing focus and evade moments.
Again, very little downtime. Lots of whining and cheering. Little downtime.
Start the cycle again. Hidden choices, movement reveals and actions, combat.
I think THIS is why X-Wing is such a stunningly successful design. It bobs and weaves each turn. No phase is long enough to overstay its welcome. And you must juggle and balance each phase to support the others.
An excellently designed system that overcomes any of it’s perceived problems due to the overall strength of play.
Listen to Star Wars gaming news at Mos Eisley Radio broadcasting straight from the Outer Rim!
When I first heard that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had signed DT Eric LeGrand to the 90 man roster my first thought was that it was in bad taste to appeal to the world and sell tickets to my favorite team for the upcoming season by exploiting a young man’s depilating injury. LeGrand was severely injured during a special teams tackle while playing at Rutgers and broke his neck paralyzing him at age 20 from the neck down. Doctors gave LeGrand a 0 to 5% chance to ever regain any feeling in the neurological systems of his body.
But Eric is a tough kid and shortly after his injury, he insisted to be taken off his breathing machine. Then he gained feeling in his hands. LeGrand worked every day to move a part of his body and now he can actually stand for periods of time, which is an absolutely tremendous achievement. Coach Schiano who was his coach at Rutgers when LeGrand went down with the injury has been helping the young man stay focused, along with the fantastic support of a mother who refuses to quit, and it is becoming clear what forces have helped give Eric LeGrand the inner strength to beat these impossible odds to recovery.
Coach Schiano is now the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that is loaded with talent, but lost their way last season with a lack of focus and leadership. My love of the Buccaneers stems from the ownership of the Glazer family, and how innovative they have been in their approach to the game of football, and the NFL in general. When they hired Schiano after many interviews with many coaches, some who had taken their teams to last year’s playoff games, it was evident they saw something special in Schiano that would resurrect a level of greatness that the fans of Tampa Bay had come to expect.
Schiano has not disappointed so far, he has made some fantastic acquisitions in the free agency market, and this year’s draft is considered to be one of the best in Buccaneer history. The team has managed to create some cap room to work with, and they have used it to get some really good players to fill the voids exposed during the last season. That is why it seemed like a publicity stunt to see that Schiano had put LeGrand on the Buccaneer 90 man roster. After all, there is no way that LeGrand will play DT for Tampa Bay in 2012 if ever. Even if he could gain the ability to walk again, there is simply no way that he could outperform the hoards of other athletes all competing for the same job who have not suffered a debilitating injury. That is the conventional wisdom of the stats and science in placing an NFL player on the field to win football games. But conventional wisdom does not produce exceptions, and in any competitive endeavor, it is the exceptional that tip the balance of power in favor of a victor.
Great players are a dime a dozen, and coaches, teams and fans are always on the look-out for those special individuals who display leadership in the face of adversity and overcome odds that are insurmountable, and LeGrand certainly exhibits these traits without even stepping onto a football field.
My personal feelings about injuries and the kind of things doctors tell us are well noted here. I believe cancer could be cured tomorrow but the pharmaceutical companies and FDA are more concerned about preserving the status quo for their retirement accounts than actually solving a problem that will change medicine. When it comes to spinal cord injuries and nerve damage, doctors often project doomsday scenarios tapping their patients into the local pharmacy promoting bags of drugs to return the sick to some semblance of a normal life.
I don’t trust much of what doctors tell me, because I find the limits of their medical understanding confining and their belief in the potential of the human body to be deficient. My own doctors and rehab specialists tried to guide me in returning my knee to full function after extensive ACL surgery. I had torn my ACL in a basketball game, and then further damaged my knee by tearing the MCL while jumping through a wall of fire performing a whip stunt. The grass was wet to protect it from being burnt, so when I landed my foot slipped out from under me because there was no ACL to support my leg, and my femur actually drove into the ground leaving a small crater. My knee-joint slipped so far out of socket the bone had no knee in the way to protect it.
Doctors gave me weeks of rehab as the prognosis once they repaired my ACL, but I worked hard to recover as quickly as possible. I had my surgery done on a Thursday; I was walking and back to work on the following Monday. I could have milked time off work for weeks if I wanted to, but that is not how I think. I wanted to recover, and get back on my feet quickly—and I did. I went to rehab every couple of days, and I felt they were wasting my time, like my appointments were simply to provide work for the rehab employees and had very little to do with my actual recovery. I stunned the staff recovering 6X’s faster than the average, according to them. When my insurance company saw my progress with the rehab clinic, they cut the payments to my rehab. And on that day, it was my last session. I wasn’t about to pay for something out of my own pocket that I could do better on my own.
As I was leaving my therapists warned me that I might lose my advanced progress if I did not come to them anymore, in fact, my leg might not be as strong. They were aghast that I refused to take any medication during this time and made it sound as though my leg would fall off if I quit therapy. Within weeks of walking out on my therapists because my insurance company would no longer cover the costs, I was running on my leg again, and jumping through walls of fire—doing what I love doing.
My wife had ruptured a disk in her lower back carrying my youngest daughter the rest of the way up a mountain hike and didn’t realize it until we got home because she had difficulty walking. We went to see a back surgeon and discovered that she was about to become paralyzed from the waist down due to the disk slippage, so she went through emergency surgery.
After the surgery she had lost a lot of feeling in her toes and parts of her leg and was told that those nerves in her leg had been severally damaged, and she may never be able to walk correctly. Well, to my wife, this simply wasn’t an option. She had kids to raise and things to do. We rubbed her legs and feet for hours stimulating the damaged nerves and gradually she regained most of her feeling, and within a month, was able to walk normally. Again, if we had listened to the doctors, she would probably still have problems walking and her body would most likely be addicted to some pharmaceutical product to this very day even though that was well over decade ago.
The injury to LeGrand is much more severe than either one of the injuries described above, but what he has that is in common is a will to recover, to conquer his debilitation and take charge of his own body and its functions, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. For that, Coach Schiano is wise to understand that by placing LeGrand on the very young Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team that the presence of LeGrand will inspire the other players to greatness, to be at the top of their physical prowess, because compared to LeGrand, what does anyone have to complain about. If LeGrand can work out with the Buccaneers players and they see what it looks like to recover from paralysis what does a healthy player have as an excuse to not strengthen a ham string injury, or a sprained ankle?
For the inspiration of having such a positive presence on the practice field, LeGrand is worth the roster spot, and will certainly earn the privilege of playing in the NFL, even if it’s just on the sidelines. Because like most games, the battles are not won just on the field of play, they are won in the mind of the participants before the contest even begins.
I believe that with the positive attitude that Eric LeGrand has, with the support of his very positive mother and mentoring of Coach Schiano, that Eric may very well take his first steps on the practice field at One Buc Place sometime during the upcoming football season. Once Eric is on the field around other athletes, that desire to compete will drive the cells of his body to his cause, and he will walk while in a Buccaneer uniform, and the world will shudder at the miracle. LeGrand will become a shock to the medical industry of the world as new hope will be given to all victims of paralysis. The medicine of positive thinking will begin to get serious reappraisal.
Further, I believe that by the 2013 season, Eric will be running again and will be able to practice on the field simulating plays with the practice squad. And because he will have recovered and worked so hard to come back to that point, he will be a superior athlete, far surpassing what most in his position have otherwise achieved, because he has had to learn to overachieve just to recover.
By the 2014 season Eric will be in the rotation of DT’s in Tampa and he will find that he has surpassed his previous playing ability with a ferocity that defies fear, because he will have a new lease on life and will know that he has survived the worse that can be thrown at him, and he beat it back and the world will gasp at his stunning performance on third downs.
By 2015, just 5 short years from his terrible injury at Rutgers, at the tender age of 27, Eric LeGrand will be the dominate DT in the league and will be the starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Many all over the NFL will be comparing him to Warren Sapp and Lee Roy Selmon but Eric will have done something nobody in the history of the world has done, he will have returned from an injury that doctors had doomed him to a life of paralysis to not only recover, but be bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before because he had knocked on death’s door and faced that ultimate fear at the brink, and that will make him unstoppable. And his never-say-quit attitude will carry the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a string of Superbowl wins that will dominate the NFL for a 6 year period up to the 2022 season. And Eric LeGrand will be known as one of the greatest players to ever play the game and he’ll not only change the game of football for the better, but will alter the course of medical science.
It will all come back to the odd decision of Coach Schiano and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to sign a paralyzed, but optimistic kid to their 90 man roster in 2012, a decision that will reenergize Buccaneer football in Tampa to a new decade of dominance and inspire the world to the unlimited possibilities of positive thinking. Once again it will be proven that the prizes of life do not go to the quicker, the stronger, or the largest man, but to the one who simply refuses to quit and believes that they can do anything once they set their mind to it and force their bodies to equal the quality of their thoughts. The strength of heart simply has more value than the bulk of muscle, and is so rare that even if a person is in a wheel chair they can have more value than a whole busload of healthy players that are the best physical athletes of their age, yet lack the inner drive to achieve beyond expectation. That is why Eric LeGrand will change the world, starting with the fate of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!
Fire the CANNONS!!!!!!
This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon
A friend of mine just opened a new restaurant in Orlando, Florida. Every time I hear about one of these success stories, where an entrepreneur is able to leap all the hurdles placed in front of such an endeavor to open a new establishment I find myself enjoying the announcements more than I should. To me, these types of things should be common place in America. Ideas should be allowed to flourish, and actually encouraged. But the way things are it’s a minor miracle when something like a new restaurant opens because there are so many regulations and looters involved in the process of innovation. By the time all the regulations are satisfied, the permit issues are written, the taxes are paid in addition to all the requirements involved in funding the enterprise; it is only the strongest projects with the most money behind them that survive.
The reason is that America has allowed socialism to permeate every single government position in our country so the amount of government employees that are involved in any entrepreneurial activity directly impacts the chance that a project will survive to actually open. The situation is so bad that John Stossel of the Fox Business Network and Glenn Beck discuss John’s attempt to open a lemonade stand in downtown New York. Watch this video so you can see how difficult it is to even start a business, let alone defend yourself from all the looters who attempt to rob you with law suits and excessive taxes once the business is established.
This is why I get so infuriated by government organizations, primarily schools that push for tax increases. Every business you see is a minor phenomenon. The fact that you see many businesses in your neighborhoods is evidence of 5 to 6 failures for every success. So when a new restaurant is seen opening in your neighborhood or a shopping complex, you are seeing the lucky ones who made it. If an entrepreneur is politically active and gives money to a lot of charities, they find that their chances of success increase dramatically, because paying off officials with political support and getting the crazy emotional mothers of a community appeased with charity work calls off the looting dogs as long as the money flows, but it takes money to pay off such fools. So only the luckiest of the lucky gain the ability to use their money to pay off the trolls who set up shop in our political system.
It is not the “permit” department at your local government office who creates jobs and new ideas. It’s not the regulator of any agency. It’s not the bureaucrat in any capacity who does anything, but creates a barrier for the dreamers, for the entrepreneur. These barriers push up the cost of playing the game so that only those who have been lucky enough to squeeze through the cracks before the looters realize that there is money to be made, make it, because that’s the only way one can achieve success these days. The business needs to either be established or have large financial reserves to combat the looters in court and in politics, or the business must fly under the radar of convention and arrive before the looters realize that the new business is going to be profitable.
I know this tragedy first hand. I’ve been involved in many business start-ups and all of them were made unnecessarily hard by excessive regulation. I once had a building code permit issuer tell me I had to prove to him that the HAVAC unit he was demanding I buy was not required under the Cincinnati Building Code. I spent an entire weekend reading a boring book to prove that the HAVAC unit was not necessary for my change of use submission. In a book of over 750 pages I found one sentence that disqualified my project from the imposition. Once I found it, the administrator gave me a rubber stamp with a smile on his face, as though it was an office joke whether or not I’d find the one sentence out of the thousands that would exclude me. It was literally like finding a needle in a hay stack.
But that wasn’t the end of the road. That was just one issue out of 32 similar complaints by the CBC office, and that was just one organization that had their teeth into my project. There were as many as 7 such agencies that my project had to comply with just to open and my choice was to do the work myself, or hire out a small army of lawyers, engineers, architects and other professionals to do the work of arguing each item for me. By the time all those employees are hired just to meet the cost of compliance the project budget increased by nearly a half a million dollars.
So these days I just write books, and study philosophy. I hire out my expertise because it’s unattractive to argue with all the fools in any endeavor that catapults the idea generators into the quick sand of the social looters. I determined a long time ago that since I refused to play the pay-off game because I find it ethically questionable, and too expensive on the front end, that I have no chance of getting anything off the ground in this modern environment. But I have friends who aren’t so restricted by such limits and they have managed to do the nearly impossible and open new shopping complexes, and restaurants. And for that I admire them.
That is why I get very angry when I hear people proclaim that my friends, are “rich” and they owe their school system more, or they “owe” the township more in taxes, or they “owe” Barry Obama more! They owe their state government more when it is proven that there are too many government workers to pay whose only purpose is to create more bureaucracy, which in turn drives up the cost of compliance as shown above. Anyone who says or thinks such things are correct thinking are fools—and socialist sympathizers. They are parasites to everything America has stood for and are destroyers of its future.
So I do salute with utmost respect my friend and the opening of his new restaurant. The small-minded and looter mentality will look jealousy at him and proclaim that he should do more for his community. They will say that he is wealthy, and if he has enough money to buy a restaurant then he has enough money to pay more in taxes. What those same fools don’t comprehend is that it will take years to return to my friend the money he invested, not just in opening the building, but the cost of fighting the looters along the way. And they don’t know that my friend has plans that will fuel his own retirement in the future and that these restaurants are part of that plan. He has no plans to draw a government pension or a check of any kind. He plans to take care of his own business the way every American should. And every time there is a new cost to him, a new looter who attempts to rob some of his money from him because they are too lazy to do for themselves, it pushes my friend’s retirement further into the future. The ultimate cost is to my friend who has worked hard, created jobs, and fought his way through every kind of red tape imaginable. The cost to the looter is nothing. They simply show up and demand money for doing nothing. It is my friend who must make more money to pay for more looters who have attached themselves to those who create, like my friend.
So congratulations are in order to my friend and those like him who have survived well enough to open a restaurant in the golden land of Orlando, where imagination still counts for something, and making money is expected, and not chastised as criminal behavior by the lazy looters of the government employee. The next time I’m in Orlando, I will stop by for a visit and pay homage to the great ordeal that has become of starting a business in modern-day America as controlled by the looters, the moochers, the derelicts, the welfare recipients, and the mentally deficient who occupy the jobs that make opening a restaurant such a pain in the ass.
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Sometimes the best way to see something clearly is to back up so you can put it in focus. It also helps to not view the world exclusively through one particular specialization of which one makes a living. Living life should be a constant adventure of always learning and expanding ones viewpoint, and not relegating a perception to just those within the field of one’s occupation. This is the role of philosophy and story tellers, people I enjoy spending time around more than any other, because they often see the bigger picture of things, excel in this skill and do society great justice when they share the fruits of their labor.
This is also why I have been spending some time talking about the new film The Hobbit by Peter Jackson, because stories like this are much bigger than the small issues that surround us on a daily basis, so in placing our energy onto such projects metaphors of our own reality can be analyzed. So let me share with you dear reader a clip from the video blog of The Hobbit hosted by Peter Jackson before we plunge into a bit of darkness in our discussion today. When watching this clip it reminded me of two things—first I am happy to see that Jackson is filming The Hobbit, for the first time in 48 frames a second and in 3D. I had the privilege of working with Real D 3D a few years ago on the development of a new camera system they were testing for the 3D market which is very similar to the version seen in this clip, so it excites me greatly to see this kind of technology being utilized to the furthest extent of artistic interpretation. Second—for the reasons that have held up The Hobbit as a production and almost prevented it from being filmed in New Zealand are the same that I will probably never get the chance to do work in Hollywood again, because of my stances against unions in my written work.
The dark story of making The Hobbit is one that has held the project up for years and is yet another story about how labor unions are corrosive organizations. And its statements like that which have blacklisted me from any future work within the Hollywood community. I made this choice consciously knowing that I will instead shift my attention in these middle years of my life to writing novels instead. So I am happy to let my whip work and other entertainment talents drift into the nature of that independent task of authorship. Because there is no going back now, I’ve said too much.
But what I said needed to be said. It’s the things that Peter Jackson doesn’t want, or need to say. It’s the things that the distributors at Warner Brothers can’t talk about even if their opinions are harsh on the matter privately. This is because a subtle harness is placed upon the entertainment industry and that harness is the exact same gag that exists on public education, and is preventing the open learning and creativity of millions of children from realizing their full potential. It is that of the labor unions.
During Lord of the Rings, the production could be said to be very successful because Peter Jackson as a director is extremely personable, grounded, and fantastic at multitasking. He kept his set fun which allowed for a bonding to occur between his technical staff and his actors which showed up on-screen in a tremendous way. It is unlikely that Lord of the Rings would have been such a great production if Jackson had not been the director, or if the entire film had not been shot in New Zealand.
My wife and I made serious plans to move to New Zealand in the early years of our marriage and live on a sailboat. So I understand the appeal of a country that as of now prides itself on rugged individuality. When one thinks of New Zealand government of any kind does not come to mind, just big open fields, mountains, horses and–sheep. But the one great thing that I’ll say about New Zealand that the film industry can’t say is that one of the reasons Lord of the Rings went together so impressively, and all members of the crew got along unusually well, and communication worked at all levels was the absence of a labor union in New Zealand involving the actors and technical unions. Before Lord of the Rings came out there were only a few major films to come out of New Zealand, The Man from Snowy River films, and the George Lucas spectacle Willow. So the labor unions didn’t protest too intensely when New Line Cinema aligned with Wingnut films to produce a massive three film adaptation to the Tolkien classic, the unions didn’t pay much attention. Jackson wisely shot the films back-to-back while Fellowship of the Ring was still in post production and had not yet hit theaters. The Lord of the Rings films were able to be made outside of the chaos of the usual Hollywood production without a lot of union influence in an almost campfire style production where everyone bonded on the set.
However, success breeds the looters, and after multiple Academy Awards the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance union from Australia decided it wanted to move over into the New Zealand market because they feared that such high-profile big budget films in the future would go to New Zealand instead of Australia where the Star Wars films were shot over similar concerns. These big productions could not be done in the United States, because there is too much hassle these days over labor disputes, so film companies run from unions out of necessity, and in this case New Zealand is the last far-flung corner of the globe without one of these labor unions controlling the industry, so The Hobbit will be the last of its kind. The unions took action against The Hobbit production joining with the Screen Actors Guild and four other international unions to boycott the production.
You can read an article about this mess here:
Peter Jackson in an effort to save his home country of New Zealand the thousands upon thousands of jobs The Hobbit would bring to craftsman and film personnel refused to buckle under the union pressure and called the union what it was, a bully looking for money, membership and power. He threatened to take the production of The Hobbit and its $300 million budget to Europe in order to make the film. You can read that article here:
Thankfully the whole situation settled as thousands of New Zealanders protested to keep The Hobbit production in New Zealand, so the unions backed off socially, and Jackson was able to go and make the film the way he likes to make them. For me personally it is very nice to see Peter walking around on his sets casually without all the egotistical authority that so many of his predecessors displayed. It’s Jackson’s directorial style to be very open, fair and forthcoming in his dealings with his cast and crew. Jackson is certainly a director who would suffer from too much outside control on his projects which is what the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance union was trying to do. They saw Jackson’s success and they wanted to loot off his back, off his creations, and his relationships so they could get a piece of the pie for themselves.
This is what teachers unions have done to our schools. It’s no different in any respect. A school cannot pick up and move like Jackson threatened to settle a union dispute. A community has a school and it’s fixed in place. So if a union infests it with their looting tendency, the community is forced to deal with the extortion measures they employ.
The Disney Company deals with the unions by tossing more money at the problem which is why the Pirate films are so expensive. Disney has the advantage of generating a tremendous amount of money through their subsidiary companies, so they can play that game. They are too big to fly under the radar like Jackson does today, or Spielberg and Lucas used to. Notice that as Spielberg became bigger and more successful over the years, that his films seemed to become more and more bogged down. He still makes pretty good films, but nothing like his final year as a master filmmaker in 1993 with the release of Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. I know people get angry with Spielberg and Tim Burton (who I think is a fantastic director) for sucking up to the Obama administration now, and the Clinton administration’s back in the 90’s, but at the heart of that evil is a desire for creative people to make their movies as a wall of opposition known as the entertainment unions stand in the way. The union influence shows up in the final product and it does rob the production of some magic. The audience can tell the difference and it does affect Hollywood’s bottom line. They respond by making more comedies, and easy productions that aren’t overly complicated and can be shot around Los Angeles or Las Vegas–easy set ups. The creative minds behind the movies attempt to keep the protesting communists who run the labor unions at bay with appeasement. Disney throws money at unions to advance a project which works, but prevents smaller film makers from being able to compete on equal footing, because the unions hold all producers to the same standard as a company like Disney. Unless the filmmaker makes the film out of the country like Jackson has, they find themselves encumbered needlessly both creatively and financially.
As I see the previews and clips coming in from The Hobbit I am starting to get excited, because such films—stories of such depth are rare for all the reasons described, and are true treasures of our culture. I desire a world where people can speak and do business with each other without the looters standing in the way trying to make easy money for themselves. And yes, my comments here about the education unions have blacklisted me in entertainment which will go on forever. But I have other talents and I’ll use them to tell the story of how human beings get themselves into these fixes. It’s a difficult thing to balance out the need to make a living and then to make a living that is honest and true. Because the chances are, even if you are a wealthy film maker, if your love is to make movies you still need the industry system to make them, so you do your best to shut your mouth and put up with the parts you don’t like. You give money to the Obama administrations as a payoff to a mobster thug and hope they leave you alone politically. And the same holds true for the teaching profession. Or any profession that is controlled by labor unions, it’s hard to come out and speak against it, and to call it what it is, because the system is designed to exclude any voice of dissention. But I will do it, because I’ve already started the process, so I might as well see it through. And in the meantime, I will cheer with much vigor the upcoming film The Hobbit for all these reasons and more. Great stories are so few and far between, and I’m so excited about this one that I may just go get in line for it right now.
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Barack Obama came to Disney World and did what he does everywhere he goes in the United States; he shut down Main Street USA. I’m sure the intentions of this visit were not to indicate the more metaphorical limerick described in that opening sentence, but that is the perfect summation of the President’s 4 terms in the United States Executive Office.
Everyone who knows me understands how much I love Disney World, and what I think of Walt Disney. While it’s clear that the more progressive caretakers of the Disney Company in recent years seem perplexed as to what made Disney such a successful company they have been wise enough to keep the original intents of Walt Disney alive well after his passing. Disney is one of those I would term as being an overman, a person who thinks beyond the conventions of the learned. One who can see clearly what is still invisible to everyone else. In fact, Disney World as a complex is a major portion of Florida’s economy. To understand just how important Disney is to Florida and the United States in general, have a look at this link of an article I wrote quite some time ago. You’ll learn some very interesting fun facts about Disney World:
There is a part of me who finds the Disney Company very misguided in shutting down Main Street U.S.A at their primary amusement park just so Obama can give a speech. It is a bad move on behalf of management to recognize the value of certain human beings. But they are not all at fault. The management at Disney World are in good company when they host the President. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have done similar events for President Obama, and much has been said about Tim Burton hosting the secret Halloween Party at the White House. Heck, even one of my favorite human beings on the planet sent the Chewbacca costume from Star Wars to appear at that same Halloween Party. This is baffling to me, this whole premise of creators, which film makers are, being seduced by politicians of little worth like Obama.
If I were the management at Disney aside from the fact that I think Obama is a worthless President with no management skill, I would tell the President that he was not welcome to shut down a portion of my amusement park to give a self-serving political speech. I would do that because the average customer at Disneyworld has far more value than a politician of any caliber. However, the behavior of these successful filmmakers and entertainment tycoons does not exempt them from poor judgment. I know many people who are of above average income who attend fundraisers for presidential candidates and other politicians that are anywhere from $50 per plate to $5000 a plate and this is the fundamental trouble with our government. People, who actually have the ability to make money and pay $5000 a plate for a meal to put money in a politician’s pocket, misplace the value of a politician. They don’t seem to have the ability to turn off in their minds the aptitude to not become star struck with politicians and treat them with celebrity instead of servitude. Politicians are public servants, not celebrities. They should never be held up as a celebrity under ANY circumstance at any level.
Politicians learned from Hollywood how to build their image into a celebrity appeal, and the same Hollywood producers and image makers who create the images we see, seem to not recognize that the looting politician is simply using the Hollywood strategy against Hollywood itself to gain money, and political influence within the organization.
If I were Hollywood I would be angry at those looting politicians, and I’d abandon the progressive politics that looters like Obama are trying to slide under the door, because Hollywood is being scammed. Wasn’t it Lenan who stated that if he could control Hollywood he could control the world? Well, they’ve tried to implement communism into Hollywood for years and many actors and producers looking for money for their projects to green light from financiers like George Soros steer scripts in a noticeably leftist direction. The result is that box office results for 2011 are about $500 million down from what they were a year ago. In fact, they are so bad that they are down to the 1995 levels.
It is not internet piracy that is causing films to fail, so the new SOPA and PIPA bills won’t save Hollywood. Piracy is up because the quality of films are down. People are not willing to pay good money for socialist propaganda. They might watch those films for free, but they aren’t going to flock to the theaters to see them. All anyone has to do to measure the sad state of depravity that Hollywood is currently in is examine the James Bond franchise of late. Compare the Bond films of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s to the 90’s and the now the dismal 2000’s. They’ve lost their way with the Bond films. Where are the Bruce Willis films? Who are the new tough guys; because that’s what people want to see. That’s what movie goers are willing to pay for. Who are the new Clint Eastwoods, Harrison Fords, Steve MacQueens? Hollywood has Johnny Depp but he’s more of the type of actor like Dick Van Dyke used to be, who is so talented that he could cover any role. Captain Jack in the Pirate films is an iconic role, but Depp is not an iconic actor that sells a type of film. He is such a fantastic actor that he can play anything. Films are hungry for male studs and women who like to be women. The political agenda that the media companies have signed up for and imposed on their employees, the producers, actors, and writers, are being rejected by the typical American who think the product coming out of Hollywood is so worthless, that they either don’t go, or will only watch the films if they are pirated. If SOPA or PIPA takes away all piracy the American people will just blow Hollywood off all together.
Hollywood is losing money because it got into bed with Bill Clinton in the 90’s, it worked against President Bush, actively and now it’s back in bed with Obama, and half the nation hates these presidents, so Hollywood has isolated it’s market share to only half the nation who are stupid enough to blindly accept the progressive images Hollywood has been trying to sell. So like everything that touches government, who is made up almost exclusively of looters, people who have no ability to produce on their own, but can only steal their worth from others, the relationship Hollywood has had with politics has hurt it desperately.
So it is quite appropriate to have President Obama shut down one of the most successful tourist destinations on the planet with his looting presence. The current managers of the Disney Company have only Uncle Walt to guide them, because they don’t have new ideas, or the ability to produce them. And Obama is in the same boat, he has no new ideas, he’s a pawn for the global socialists, and he looks to looting presidents like Woodrow Wilson, F.D.R, and L.B.J, for guidance. But he’s not an original, yet Hollywood treats the president as such and falsely makes Obama believe he has value where he is simply a looter who has turned the Hollywood image machine against the image makers themselves. But as Main Street U.S.A shuts down to qualify a token king of America so he can speak about programs to promote tourism, to the company that is best at it. The elemental ideas of Americana hover like smoke at such speeches only to be seen but unable to be touched by the looter mind. They can only describe what they see, but cannot feel it, let alone maneuver it.
The reality of the situation is that tourism will increase if the president could lower taxes so taxpayers had more disposable income. Yet Obama is intent to loot more money for more government programs and believes that by shutting down the most popular tourist destination in the world is the way to increase tourism. It’s the same mentality of shutting down energy sources so that American’s will buy into the President’s Green Policies. But none of the people involved in this epic meeting know what to do next. The President is a looter of the public, and the Disney Executives are looters to the estate of Uncle Walt.
But the real America and the answers it can provide to all these modern problems exist just outside the roped off area the President occupied in the closure of Main Street. It’s over near the Liberty Tree and is above the Liberty Tavern in a window above the Christmas Store, it’s a lone gunman with his barrel sticking out the window standing guard for the tyrants who might come and rob the town of its liberty. You see, Uncle Walt knew what all these modern pinheads have forgotten, that the spirit of America is in that window, and is reflected in the Liberty Tavern itself, and is under the Liberty Tree overlooking Tom Sawyer Island. It’s not at the podium of a pathetic king who wants to exercise his looted power to stand in front of a castle with the same immature ambition that a young girl hopes to meet Cinderella in that very castle. And it’s not in entertainment executives who have allowed a looter to appeal to their celebrity desires. The answers to all America’s problems are in the people who were shut out of the ceremony, and this is why Hollywood and Disney specifically is facing financial setbacks in not performing to the expectations of their market share.
Movies are ultimately about ideas not special effects. And theme parks are built on treasured ideas from movies that touch the soul. The desire for a family of four to travel to Disney World or Universal Studios is to relieve the magic of the movies they love. At Disney it’s Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Toy Story, and at Universal Studios it’s Terminator, Twister, The Mummy, Jurassic Park, Jaws, Spiderman and The Hulk. Tourists won’t flock to a theme park to ride a MILK roller costar or the latest George Clooney political flick. And until Hollywood gets it, and stops bending over for looting politicians like Barack Obama and putting money into the thieves pockets, the Hollywood market share will continue to plummet.
Hollywood, you will have to choose, will it be progressive reform where you play the role of the propaganda machine for a corrupt group of looting politicians, or will you choose the way of the dollar and pursue the avenues that audiences are truly hungry for, values established in “Old Hollywood,” as modern progressives term it, in a day when movies meant magic and hope, the ideas that built Main Street U.S.A in the first place?
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The second edit for my new book Tail of the Dragon is well on its way. As we speak my editor is plugging away at the daunting task of delivering it back to me for a final edit near the start of the New Year and from there a 2012 release date will be forthcoming. I know a lot of my readers here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom are interested in this very cryptic project of mine that has been three years in the making now. While I can’t give away specific details I can provide the tentative marketing summary that I prepared for my publisher as we enter into this next phase and begin to contemplate marketing necessities for the books release which you can see below.
THE GREATEST CAR CHASE IN AMERICAN HISTORY BEGINS WITH A RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE.
A highly rebellious loner whose NASCAR dreams have fallen short finds himself the victim of a governor’s plans to run for President of the United States. Wellington Royce, governor of Tennessee is seeking the support of the Fraternal Order of Police to catapult him into the White House by adding more officers to the highways around The Great Smoky Mountains and to pay for them with increased citations on the tourists who visit. Thrown in jail, abused, and set-up, Rick Stevens in a fit of rage accepts an offer to declare war on the highway patrol by the governors political enemies using $20 million dollars to build the car of his dreams in a plan to wreak havoc in what becomes the greatest car chase in history. The chase emerges as a journey of self-discovery, deep contemplation and new-found romance as an impenetrable gauntlet of guns, missiles and the might of the military sits at the finish line and the treachery of politics proves to be more sinister than even death.
Tail of the Dragon is an intensely layered novel that intricately combines the struggles of emotional growth with breakneck action and imminent danger with peril at virtually every mile of this illustrious car chase. What makes this particular story unique is that the chase is actually instigated and is politically motivated by the protagonist. People who have read the early manuscript say the beginning is reminiscent of the film First Blood while the ending is 100X the chase at the end of The Road Warrior. The lead character knowing what to expect builds a car specifically designed to out-run, out-wit, and out-maneuver anything the police or military can throw at him. This includes the latest in composite armor technology of course, but the two most unique attributes to this mystery car that is built for this epic car chase are elements that I am particularly passionate about.
When purposely planning to flee from police officers during a high-speed chase the first problem that must be solved is refueling, the Highway Patrol will naturally be sure to shut down all petrol stations within many miles of a fleeing vehicle. That is why the main character in my novel decides to use an alternative fuel for his high performance supercar, something that he can get independent of heavily guarded fuel stops where snipers from helicopters can shoot him dead as soon as he attempts to refuel. The police to prevent further injuries and risk to civilians will naturally attempt to force a car fleeing from officers to simply run out of gas so they can capture the driver when they attempt to escape on foot as the last option. That is when the main character plans to utilize the technology shown in the video below.
Yes, that’s right. The fuel for the supercar in this epic car chase is vegetable oil, which can be found at virtually any restaurant. So in theory our hero plans to refuel his car when he runs out of gas by backing up to a McDonalds and dumping their used oil into his car. And no, the police are not happy about it…..not in the least.
The other big development is in the engine, which is a highly specialized Peugeot diesel engine from France that puts out close to 700 HP. The engine has to be a diesel engine because in order to run a car on vegetable oil the power plant must be a diesel. Now most people think diesel engines are built for trucks. Not so. Have a look at this Audi from Germany and what they’ve been able to do with a diesel engine.
That gives you an idea of what kind of power, and quickness we’re talking about with the super car featured in Tail of the Dragon. When planning to outrun everything the police have available, and the aircraft that the military has to offer a car would need to accelerate from zero to 100 in less than 7 to 10 seconds and would need a top speed of over 200 M.P.H. because many police departments have their own supercars for such high-speed pursuits. But you could not have a fuel source that the police could control but something that existed on the open market in great abundance, like vegetable oil.
In modern America where there are fast food restaurants at nearly every highway exit ramp, vegetable oil is just the thing for a fuel supply. Getting over 700 HP out of an engine that runs on vegetable oil is a bit tricky, but Peugeot has solved the problem by producing a diesel racing engine for Le Mans events so the technology for all my thoughts about the supercar featured in Tail of the Dragon can become a reality. (FOR MORE INFO ON TAIL OF THE DRAGON AND THE WORLD IT’S ABOUT CHECK OUT THE LINKS BELOW FOR MORE HINTS) The first link has a video introduction about the book by me as well as other videos that show how politics and racing have gone together with each other for a long time.
Public Announcement of Contract Signing
The Speed Culture of the South and Why it’s Important
Pictures and Video from the actual road Tail of the Dragon, where the novel takes place
My first article upon completion of the manuscript
What does nearly 200 M.P.H look like? An update from the publication hunt
Why are Pirates important to the pursuit of FREEDOM!
Why the Confederate Battle Flag should be remembered
A government out-of-control: the senators who voted for NDAA
Just like in the golden age of piracy in the Caribbean where the ships needed to be much faster than the ships they were robbing, my editor pointed out to me a few weeks ago that Tail of the Dragon is a modern pirate story and the car in the story was like a modern pirate ship. That was an aspect I hadn’t considered, since I simply wanted to resurrect the good old car chase stories of the 70’s like Crazy Larry and Dirty Mary, Bonnie and Clyde, Smokey and the Bandit, Vantage Point and many others. But in this story the protagonists actually picks a fight with the law, on purpose and for political reasons which conjured up in her mind a pirate story. That was completely unintentional on my behalf, but was simply a byproduct of my interests which any writer is vulnerable to. For the blank page that sits before a writer will soak up the mind of those who fill it, and my mind has a lot bouncing around in it, as anyone who reads here often will know. So yes, my love of pirate lore found its way into my epic novel! It was unavoidable!
The benefit however is that we have a car in this story that is unlike anything ever created for literature or a film. Take every trick car in a James Bond film and you might have something comparable to the pirate car in this story, and that is exciting. I waited for years for somebody else to do a story like this, but they never did, so I accepted the task to put my dreams on paper! I look forward to the day in the very near future where I can share all this great stuff with a larger audience and reveal finally the details of an epic American tale that not only looks to be culturally significant given our current government problems, but will help paint an artistic picture of what the world will look like under the rule of a police state, similar to what the senate just passed with the NDAA act. Such things only three years ago seemed like science fiction to many when I first put pen to paper in the mountains of Tennessee and began the journey that has become Tail of the Dragon. Because the government is growing at an alarming rate, and is becoming more and more intrusive it can be a lot of fun to follow the exploits of a man who looks at this encroachment and decides to go pirate. But it takes more than just a pirate to tell such a story because in every great tale of adventure, plunder, and revenge there is a pirate ship, and Tail of the Dragon certainly has one, so much so that in the words of my editor, “the car is one of the strongest characters.”
SEE THE WORLD THROUGH HOFFMAN LENSES:
Fresh off a full day at my daughter’s house celebrating her 22nd birthday and indulging in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie marathon which was one of her birthday wishes, my thoughts returned to the genius of Walt Disney and his foresight to create the original ride of which that film series is based in his Disneyland amusement park so many years ago. This love of pirate lore has deep roots in American society and for good reason, because pirates are one of America’s parents, and to understand America, you have to understand the role that a pirate plays in the process.
Before indulging in that deep abyss of psychological exploration all one must do to witness the world as it always has been before rebellions of courage have lashed out against tyrannical static patterns of thought, the current Obama administration displays clearly why I have always considered it more important to teach my kids about the value of piracy than the importance of getting a doctorate in medicine, or political science. Because to me, the thieves, the scallywags, and the politicians of this world are those who seek to control others through rules and regulation and they should be fought as an enemy to individuality. President Obama to date has been the worst, yet best example of what such thieves and looters are capable of and why the world should run in the opposite direction of such moochers and social parasites.
Walt Disney knew what few people were ready to acknowledge when he designed Disneyland, then his much larger theme park Disney World. When I was a kid, I marveled at how Disney got away with having a theme ride about rapists, terrorists, and drunken bastards robbing and looting in an aimless life, and placed that ride within a very short walk from the Liberty Tree in Liberty Square as if both sections of his park were equal in some way. I always felt that Walt Disney was trying to tell people something important. Even though he sold the Disney image with Cinderella Castle there was something under the covers he wanted to instruct every American alive of the importance, and the sign posts are everywhere in Walt Disney World.
This became very evident to me about a decade ago when I was at Disneyworld with my wife and most of her family. The Park had closed except to employees and their families at 9 PM after the light parade, so for the next two hours the whole park was ours, since my niece was an employee at the time. So my wife, daughters my niece and two nephews went on a quest of adventure those next two hours that cleared up the whole problem for me. We had free access to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, before Disney reinvented it with the film franchise, and the ghost of Walt Disney spoke to me as we rode that ride 8 times in a row from 9 PM till 10 PM. The line was so short we had it virtually to ourselves. We could get off, get back in line and do it again almost immediately. After 4 times in a row the employees let us just stay in the boat and continue on for the next 4 times.
At this time I was reading a book I knew populated the libraries of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams with considerable respect, and I knew that it was a key to the wording of the American Constitution. It was also the book that created the very first libel law suit in the history of mankind, so the Founding Fathers being interested in the laws of England were very much aware of its importance. The book was called The Buccaneers of America written by Alexander O. Exquemelin who served under Henry Morgan’s command on those Buccaneer exploits that took place on the Caribbean oceans of the 1670’s. Morgan was a privateer serving the kind of England with the profits from his loot in raiding the Spanish and their hold on Central America. To England, Morgan was a privateer. To every other nation Morgan was a bloodthirsty pirate. Since the King of England Charles II was becoming very wealthy under Morgan’s exploits the English Jamaican colony town of Port Royal was left alone from the long arm of English law and the Governor of Jamaica gave Henry Morgan free rein to do as he pleased. This was the birth of freedom, even though the results often ended in prostitution, drunken orgies, and other decadence, freedom from the laws of kings began in this small Jamaican port.
Well, another important figure to the foundation of the United States also played a part in all this. The very young John Locke who was serving as Secretary of the Board of Trade and Plantations for Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury a very close confidant to the king. Locke was in a unique position to see how the behavior in the far away land of Jamaica influenced the politics of England to the highest rank. What Locke learned in these observations became the Two Treatises of Civil Government which Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would use to modal the Declaration of Independence after. You see, John Locke became a philosopher based on all these observations, the most pivotal in America history up to that point, because John Locke and the exploits of Henry Morgan occurred a hundred years before the American Revolution and set the foundation of thought that would become America. The seeds of rebellion had been planted by Locke and nurtured along by patriots like Sam Adams and Thomas Paine. But the ship that carried the seed for Locke to plant was Henry Morgan.
After Charles the II died, England sought to make peace with the French, Spanish and Dutch, so English heroes like Morgan were suddenly cast into the light of piracy and were hunted down for crimes that just a few short years ago made them wealthy. Fortune hunters who sought to live the “pirate’s life” of Morgan took to the seas and found themselves bandits as the governments of the world outlawed the practice of privateering.
But the new world of America had attracted all the adventurers and discontent of the world’s countries, many of them coming to America to settle in the various pirate towns, such as New York, and especially New Orleans to be free of people like Obama’s contemporaries, they were every bit as alive and well back then let me assure you. Pirate captains like Black Sam Bellamy continued on in the tradition of Henry Morgan for as long as they could. Politics being the nature of static patterns attacked the dynamic social patterns of the pirates by settling the new world themselves, and buffering out the effect of the wild outlaws who occupied this strange new world called America.
But some men, the raw adventurers who would rather die than lose their freedom, even if it was the chains of hell itself they fought against continued to pillage and plunder long after the laws of civilization had pulled tight the noose of control. This is precisely the same pattern that occurred in the American West. Politicians used the adventurous spirit of its wild and wooly class to settle the frontier. Then once the blood of their enemies had been shed they turned on the adventurous and killed them. This is how Black Beard came to be. Black Beard just thirty to forty years prior would have been a hero for England. But in 1718, he was an enemy to the world because he refused to acknowledge the laws of politicians, and proved far too difficult to socially control.
The great classic movie The Buccaneer with Charlton Heston playing Andrew Jackson and Yul Brynner playing Jean Lafitte was about the unholy alliance between Jackson who teamed up with the pirate of New Orleans in Lafitte to fight off the English in the War of 1812. Jackson wisely used the unpredictable static patterns of the pirates around New Orleans to defeat handedly the English troops who occupied the city. Did you not know that Mardi Gras was brought to Louisiana by early French settlers and the rituals of wearing masks and bringing single women to elaborate masked balls was started by the French pirates and prostitutes of New Orleans?
This is why Walt Disney recreated a New Orleans town to place his new ride Pirates of the Caribbean into at the very first Disneyland. Being a natural patriot, who had dropped out of high school, and never had any formal education of any kind, Disney had taught himself, and this is what made him a unique thinker. Disney obviously loved The Buccaneer movie, but during that same period of time the great classic novel called Atlas Shrugged came out, in 1957. In that classic book one of the key characters is the pirate Ragnar Danneskjöld who serves as one of the three main protagonist’s who raids and loots the “looters” of society. In the case of Atlas Shrugged the “looters” were politicians like Obama in the very first clip. Ragnar stole back from the politicians the loot they plundered from those who had originally earned the money. There is no question that Ragnar’s character in Atlas Shrugged, Yul Brynner’s adaption of Lafitte in The Buccaneer, and the many stories of Henry Morgan and how the Founding Father’s adored Morgan and his band of Pirates led to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. So as I was reading at the time of traveling down that boat ride for the sixth and seventh times that night the words of Exquemelin and Locke were clearly written on everything I was looking at.
In those two short years, 1957 with Atlas Shrugged, then in 1958 with The Buccaneer the static pattern of the pirate as a villain, as depicted in Captain Hook, or Captain Flint was suddenly shattered and a new way to look at piracy emerged, which was not shaped on Christian values of morality, but on the true intentions of the human soul. This is why the Disney ride is so popular, and why the movies are so enjoyable.
This is also why pirates are the keys to understanding what America was supposed to be, and what it still can be. This is also why films like Pirates of the Caribbean, and books like Atlas Shrugged are absolute keys to dusting off American Excepetionalism and becoming once again what we were in the beginning, when freedom was an idea created on a pirate ship, written down by a surgeon, witnessed by a philosopher, studied by revolutionaries, and translated for us by artists. It is why we root for blood thirsty killers like Jessie James even though publicly we chastise them. Deep in our hearts we know that the key to our inner desires is to not fall in line with what society tells us to do. The key is to cast off the control of the politicians and their rules, their laws, their meager attempts to control human beings as though they were cattle. The key to American Exceptionalism is in being…..well exceptional……exceptionally free, and living with a passion to protect that freedom, at any and all cost.
We like pirates and outlaws because they have the courage to question the rules that bind the human soul. We may call them unholy, unethical, unpatriotic, but deep inside we call them bandits and mean it as the highest compliment. I have yet to meet a man and especially a woman who doesn’t love a bandit in their lives whether they admit it in the light of day or not. Because the bandit seeks freedom as the highest goal, and adventure is but the vehicle that takes them to their destination. It is the rest of the world who watches in envy as those with courage take their freedom and live each hour of the day by the fruit of their valor. For the rest, they just watch Pirates of the Caribbean and fantasize about a world they could have lived, if only they weren’t such gullible fruitcakes with one foot already in their coffins.
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Avast there matey’s. As my daughter returned to her abode after a full night of retail work, a 22nd birthday awaited her and it is the duty of her family to usher in these festivities with the kind of rhythmic tempo demanded by her upbringing. To understand what follows for those of timid nature, please refer to these past articles.
It was her husband who carried on a tradition that has become a part of our very souls…….savvy. For my daughter has been raised to think as a good and just person, as her sister has been as well, by my wife who is as good and just a person to ever breath air. However, I had my hand in their upbringing also and presented to them a firm distrust of the law, and a wit to survive no matter what the social conditions or government circumstance and that if injustice befalls my children at any point in their lives, that the pirate life would be the only life for them. And so the most treasured prize she desired on this birthday of hers was the recently released Blue Ray edition of Pirates of the Caribbean’s 4 film treasure chest that her husband bought for her, and hid in her home to be found with the aid of a treasure map seen in the video below.
But our love of pirates goes far deeper than Pirates of the Caribbean, for we have spent many nights and days indulging in pirate lore as I taught all my kids the valiant efforts of Henry Morgan and a host of real and unreal mythical pirates which have populated the dreams of my daughter and reside deep in her soul which will overlook her through a life time on earth and a life which will extend into the ever after. It is without doubt, these figures of my stories passed through my daughters exhausted 22-year-old mind as her fingers gripped her steering wheel on her journey home after 12 hours straight of work and no sleep until her final destination and the treasure hunt that found her at the day’s conclusion.
My daughter might say that in her recollections of my stories she sees me most in the spirit of Captain Montana Mays. May’s military commanders disliked his wild and reckless ways: he lost seven ships chasing sea monsters and other cursed ilk. But they admit that he always finds a new ship to sail, even if she doesn’t meet Navy specs. His crew and the American press love him, and extol his exploits every chance they get.
Her mother, my wife emits the essence of Calico Cat, being too successful in the Atlantic; the “Cat” became a target of every nation that sailed there. But it was treachery by her own crew that nearly led her to the gallows. Disguised as a widowed Puritan she escaped to the Pacific, where she has but one goal: to amass enough power to return for her revenge.
Her own husband the heroic Jack Hawkins at the wheel of the Dauntless! Her sister Bonny Peel, mentored by Calico Cat, she saw her opportunity to command when the Cat mysteriously disappeared. Tough on her crew she’s rumored to be kind to those she captures sometimes even ransoming them back for nothing more than the right to dock at their ports.
But that’s not all, Duque Marcus Vaccaro, also known as the “Golden Tongue,” is Spain’s most important negotiator. He alone can interrupt the king at any hour, and his imperatives often become reality. He has been dispatched to the Italian city-states, the Knights of Malta, and even to England and France. Devereaux, the French privateer, has lost his sanity to his obsession with finding the Dragon’s Eye, a gem that legend says grants the owner immortality. The beautiful Lady Baptiste, considered both a hero and a scourge, she has even been asked by Madame LaFontaine to be one of her girls. Her allegiance remains true to her ship and crew. Madame LaFontaine is the proprietress of Chateau Fontainebleu, a burlesque house in New Orleans. Her girls report everything they hear to her which she can then sell to the highest bidder. Guy LaPlante born in New Orleans has never seen the France he defends. Both Madame LaFontaine and Vicomtesse Richelieu covert his new-world attitude, but he desires only one treasure: Lady Baptiste. Luc Savard watched Canada become a pawn and forgotten territory while the upstart United States thrived, Savard grew increasingly dissatisfied. Starting life as a pirate preying on U.S. ships was a start, but when he was outlawed by Canada, he vowed to fight on his own until he controlled the entire hemisphere. Tabatha McWarren was run out of Providence. Two months later she arrived in New Orleans with a crew devoted to her life. To join her crew, a sailor must drink a mug of her home-brew of cursed blood. Geoffery Flores signaled his resignation from the French Navy with the dead body of his superior officer, who referred to him as a half-breed. Captain Flores is ruthless to his prey but generous to his crew. Gaston de St. Croix might have damned his soul, but Crimson Angel has shown him the gates of heaven. Jonas Richman knows the seduction of evil only too well. The loss of his family to violent predators left him with a single motivation: the destruction of any servant of evil! Brent Rice has always been signed on with the American Navy; he’s just always been there. Although he has no rank, his stories of ship engagements are so exact, and his knowledge of naval strategy so advanced, he is sought after by every military commander. And finally, Sammy the Skull! While Sammy Skulow was alive, he was considered one of the most brutal and insane captains. It is only fitting then, that his hatred for everyone damned him to living even after his flesh rotted away upon his death as his body roams the seas with his sails set for destruction as a phantom ghost and recruiter for the gates of hell!
These are but a few of the characters which populate the childhood mythologies of my children and my oldest daughter is particularly deeply embedded in this lore which gives me great comfort in the knowledge that her survival is not dependent upon the souls of mankind. So to celebrate her 22nd birthday it is appropriate for all of her family to recreate the mythology of her youth so the spirit does not die as her age advances. For it is a rule we all established long ago, that so long as the rules of man could provide a reasonable living, that we would be kind to our enemies and live by a justice generally agreed upon by the collective minds of man. However, should the looters of living continue to rob and pillage our existence to the point where our own lives no longer have any quality, then plan B is already on our minds. I’ll crush ye barnacles matey…..savvy……….for there are far more things to fear than the spirit of those who are willing to leave the static patterns of society and the rules that come with them to defeat the enemies of freedom……..no matter what the cost. Shiver me timbers the sweet trade is what comes next when all else fails. And birthdays are a not only a celebration of what years have passed, but what the years have yet to show.
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