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Archive for the ‘Star Wars’ Category

War Gaming Tactical Entertainment: Birthday joy at Nostalgic Ink

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It’s not quite my birthday, but usually my family makes a big deal about it always leaving me something to look forward to.  This year, because of my interest in the game Star Wars X-Wings Miniatures we all gathered at Nostalgic Ink in Mason to play a series of games.  My daughters brought their husbands and a tray of Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets and we had a blast.  The highlight of the evening was when the owner of the popular comic book store came back to watch our game overhearing a South Park reference that we had been talking about and performed a perfect reenactment of it.  It sounded just like this!

That is typical in these gaming environments, there is such a love of creativity and boundless imagination which I find refreshing.  Comic book stores are great places to recharge after all the dread of reality has done its best to erode away logic.  Some of the best people I have known over the years find solace in those kinds of places, so it was nice to celebrate my birthday there with my kids.image

I can’t say enough about the X-Wing Miniatures game.  As often as I reference it, it continues to impress me.  Nostagic Ink had on hand an impressive array of Y-Wings, and X-Wings.  The Y-Wings have been mostly sold out on Amazon because players buy them up for their durability during combat and Ion Turret ability.  My son-in-laws’ had their Imperial Aces on the table for the first time which was a sight to behold.  Those new Imperial ships have a curving barrel roll effect that is really valuable and is yet another wrinkle in an otherwise highly imaginative and innovative game that is ever-changing forcing constant adoption.image

Way back when I was 13 to 14 I was involved in military war simulations which were tabletop games that I found very stimulating, intellectually.  Back then, West End Games was producing some great stuff and eventually the realistic simulations of actual World War II battles, and Civil War engagements gave way to a game called Assault on Hoth, which was a Star Wars strategy game done in the spirit of those battle simulations.  It contained a map with the traditional game hex-and-counter mechanic and played well.  Imperial Walkers attacked the Rebel base on Hoth and Rebel Snowspeeders had to meet them to prevent the shield generator from being destroyed.  During the early days of our marriage my wife and I played it three to four times a week and it set a pace for our relationship that would last for decades.image

When I learned war gaming as a young man I quickly learned that much of what was being studied were battle tactics no different from what military generals had been taught at West Point for generations—only without all the politics of the position.  By role-playing battle field formations set against values players had to make the same kind of decisions that military generals had to make in wars from the past.  In this modern age of gaming—for the first time in the history of the world, war gaming wasn’t regulated to the military elite—but to hobbyists and history enthusiasts.  Of course the emotion of the battlefield is not present, and the threat of death not a factor, but the same types of decision-making that George Washington had to make during Revolutionary War battles, or General Lee had to make during the Civil War were available to anybody curious enough to play a game.  Most modern war games are very sophisticated and take into account the many factors which are required for such strategic thinking.image

Nostalgic Ink has in the middle of their store an entire section of these military war simulations that are much better than the ones I played as a kid.  They are fascinating and players routinely set up in the back of that store to play them.  But for me, Fantasy Flight Games has changed the entire field of miniature war gaming with Star Wars X-Wing.  It has all the battlefield tactics of many of those traditional war games, but it has the added element of flight.  I find myself thinking about that game all the time these days.image

This is a good thing because real life often requires the same kinds of hard decisions that X-Wing forces players to realize.  American society has the Second Amendment to protect themselves from an overzealous government.  But it also has freedom of thought, and this has given rise to a culture emerging in these comic book stores where tactical decisions are available to regular people outside of any orthodox political class.  For instance, this year’s FFG world champion is Paul Heaver a software engineer from Northern Virginia who is married with two kids.  He plays online CCGs and computer games, but X-Wing Miniatures is the first game of its type that he’s gotten really serious about.  Before going to the World’s competition—where literally people from many countries all over the world came to battle it out in Minnesota during February of 2014, Heaver paid close attention to the battle reports on the game forums and saw that Tie Swarms were dominating tournaments so he calculated a strategy of using two low pilot value X-Wing fighters and two moderate pilot rating B-Wings to slowly whittle away at the low pilot rating Tie Swarm strategy.  The effectiveness of this approach can be seen below in the video of his championship game.   If you watch the video it has the visual quality of a golf game.  People cheer when ships are destroyed the same way an expert golfer sinks a long birdie.  The same skills that Heaver used to win the Worlds championship at FFG are the same skills it takes to manage large companies, run military maneuvers, and run countries.  I would put Paul Heaver against Vladimir Putin any day and I’d put my bets on Paul.  But in this emerging X-Wing popularity there is Paul Heaver types popping up everywhere and this is a very good thing.  There are a lot of very smart people coming up in these gaming circles.

The tactic that Paul used to win his championship will be destroyed with all the new ships and rules coming out quickly, like the new rules involving the Imperial Aces ships.   They can now barrel roll out of a firing arc and right into the side of a targeted ship taking away their shot, while performing theirs with deadly effectiveness.  So what works today may not work tomorrow, which is why I love X-Wing.  It is why I spent my early birthday with my kids at Nostalgic Ink eating chicken nuggets and playing tactical table top warfare.  Back when I was introduced to these miniature war simulations I learned from a Green Beret who was so obsessed with military tactics that these war games were the only way he could experience battlefield excitement, that the only real difference is that you don’t hear the bullets whizzing by your ears and possess the obvious knowledge that every breath might be your last.  Otherwise, this is what it is like.   Fantasy Flight has done with X-Wing Miniatures something that is new—it has turned up the heat considerably and no longer is reliant on the Star Wars brand to sell the game.  It’s great by itself as its own thing.  Tactically it is complex, and is a wonderful way to pass the time for those obsessed with strategy.  And that would be me.  It is my ideal of a fun time and how I prefer to spend my leisure because all too often real life calls on those skills—and because usually what we do in our recreational time directly contributes to how we conduct ourselves professionally.  And because of Star Wars: X-Wing, the future looks very bright to me.image

Rich Hoffman   www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com 

The Grand Fortissimo of Star Wars: Episode 7, Expanded Universe, and the Abeloth

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What does Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart, and Seth McFarlane all have in common even though they are all political commentators and satirists from polar opposites—a rather intense love of Star Wars that often comes out in their work.  Star Wars as I have said many times has the ability to reach beyond the rhetoric of modern politics and perspective and speak to the heart of very complicated matters.  I have never known of anything like it and have enjoyed the constant DAILY musings about the new film, Episode 7 coming out in 2015.  Every single day there is a new story on the internet speculating about the making of that film and I have really enjoyed the debates about whether or not the Expanded Universe will be included into the new films.  There is much wonderment about how much Disney and J.J. Abrams will want to make their imprint on the new saga.  The belief as of now is that these new creative interests would pick and chose from the many comics, novels, and other material created before them constituting the “expanded universe” and would change names and places to suit their own input.  Well, I think people who believe those kinds of things are intensely wrong as there is a cool dude who is the current protector of the intellectual Star Wars universe named Pablo Hidalgo working with Abrams and Disney as he has for years with dozens of writers and game designers to keep the story continuity of the massive Star Wars saga consistent.

My intent with this article is not to give away spoilers for the next film, or to give away details of the massive volume of books from the last thirty Star Wars novels, many of which were New York Times Best Sellers.  We are not talking about a silly bit of escapist fantasy, but many of these novels are very series explorations into political science, philosophy, and psychology.  For instance in the book Ascension written by Christie Golden an ancient being 100,000 years old named Abeloth seeks to make a power play against the entire galaxy while a group of political strategist look to resurrect the Empire of old by provoking a slavery revolt to create a crises for the Republic overwhelming their resources allowing the Empire to make a move.  Meanwhile a group of ancient Sith are teaming up with the Abeloth to return their dominance against the long hated Jedi.  The story reads like something out of a Saul Alinsky manual, but what’s different is that there is context in a story to apply the meanings too, which makes the concept of such betrayal digestible.  When Ascension was released a few years ago it was #7 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

When the novel Lockdown, which came out this past week hit the shelves at our local book store my wife rushed out to snag up her copy.  The book was not nestled in the distant corner hidden shamefully where nobody would see it—it was right out in front next to the front door so it was the first thing customers would see when they arrived.  Stacks of them were there right next to Glenn Beck’s newest book Miracles and Massacres.  My wife consumes these Star Wars books in about 3 to 4 days on average devouring them with great intensity—and she’s certainly not alone.  In our house, we have well over 200 Star Wars novels, some of them junior readers, but at least 160 of them were written for adult audiences and feature a very complicated and intricate history from the Star Wars universe.

I feel extremely confident that Disney and Abrams with all their prudence would be foolish to ruin what Lucasfilm has spent decades building—but rather would tap into this vast mythology from the business side preserving the creative input by hundreds of individual minds guided to the same spot by George Lucas.  Lucas provided the canvas for which many, many people painted a very elaborate picture of a vast story that explores the nature of politics, life after death, and the fundamentals of human interaction.  I do not believe for a second that Disney would be so foolish as to disrupt this process.  Rather, I believe with the same deductive reasoning that I have predicted many actual truths in the world here at this site of Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom, that it is the many speculations of established thought that are wrong.  The new Star Wars films will pick up shortly after the novel Crucible just over 45 years after the original Star Wars film A New Hope.   I believe that the villains will not be a resurrection of Darth Vader, or even the Emperor this time, but will center on instead on the story of Abeloth, the void in the galaxy left by the destruction of a place called Center Point Station, and events that took nearly 70 years prior when Anakin Skywalker refused to play his role in becoming a Keeper of the Balance upon solicitation by the Ones.

Disney has an opportunity through the intense work of Lucasfilm to create perhaps the most potent mythology ever fashioned by human minds dwarfing all the Greek myths, the symposiums of oriental culture, Hindu legacies, and Andes folktales.  If Disney taps into fully the work done by the Expanded Universe there will be a tremendous wave of culture that will hit the current empty vessels of civilization with the force of a tsunami, only it won’t be a destructive force—but a positive, creative one.  There will be nothing like it in the works of mankind.  I’m as sure of it as the sun shines during the day and the stars can be seen at night.  It is a certainty.  The story of Abeloth is one that has the potential to eclipse the threat of the Emperor from the previous films and ties all these Star Wars stories into a giant complex tapestry of interwoven stories that make bold attempts to dig at the heart of evil and will sufficiently wrap up the entire point into a unifying principle worthy of all the hard work done for so many years by so many people.  Only a villain of such an epic—timeless scope has the ability to justify more Star Wars films.  Disney will then be free to make television adaption’s of all the novels bringing all the story lines leading into Episode 7 providing content for decades further that will plaster itself to the minds of millions.  Disney will obtain a very needed revenue stream from the Expanded Universe—thousands of additional Star Wars figures instead of just hundreds, and merchandising that will eclipse the sales of all their current efforts.  This will make Star Wars the most massive, and valuable cultural phenomena ever known.  Finally, the Jedi and the Sith will have to decide how to unite after many thousands of years of war bringing the force into sharp focus for the first time in anyone’s memory fulfilling the attempt by the Ones to have that balance restored by Luke’s father Anakin.

I have not been shy, I am a raving lunatic when it comes to the latest Star Wars X-Wing Minatures game and the announcement of the Rebel Transport.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS THING!  Keith Ryan Kappel is a writer and employee at Fantasy Flight Games who makes X-Wing Miniatures and he recently had a posting at the official Star Wars website telling the complicated history of Centerpoint Station which was destroyed by Jacen Solo.  That act by Jacen caused the rise of the Abeloth which I believe will be the focus of the new Star Wars films as the premier villain.  Keith from his perspective is in a position to know things—and this article on Centerpoint Station and the Abeloth has some importance that should put things to rest and ease the minds of millions of Star Wars fans.  Episode 7 and beyond won’t be about Darth Vader, the Emperor, or even a bunch of Stormtroopers. It will be about transcendence beyond pairs of opposites and will be extremely powerful philosophically.  It will accomplish what no religion in the world has ever thought possible, it will unite the minds of mankind on planet earth in a way nothing else has ever been able to—and it will be very important, as well as entertaining.  So enjoy Keith’s insight and history shown below and use the link at the end to visit the original article.

Throughout galactic history, Centerpoint Station has been many things to many beings. For the Killik hives, it was a religious duty. To cosmic threats, it was a prison. Colonists called it home, while criminals called it good for business. Governments have viewed it as a doomsday device, while Jedi thought it as a threat to galactic peace. For the Corellians, its power represented true independence. Centerpoint has been all of these things and more.

Centerpoint Station, the most powerful force in the galaxy, second only to the power of the Force itself, was created in February 1995 by legendary science fiction author Roger Macbride Allen for his Corellian trilogy series of novels for Bantam Spectra. The station’s power dwarfed that of previous superweapons and left an impression on fans, paving the way for the station’s return as both a setting and superweapon in future novels and role-playing games. This is its story.

(Note, there are SPOILERS ahead if you have not yet read the Fate of the Jedi book series.)

Centerpoint Station is a massive 100 kilometer sphere with a pair of thick 125 kilometer poles at either end. The station is situated in the Corellian System, and sits at the exact barycenter between the planets Talus and Tralus. Xenoarcheologists have dated parts of the station at over 100,000 years old, making it four times older than the earliest known incarnation of the Galactic Republic. The purpose and mystery behind its construction has only recently been uncovered.

The Killik hives that constructed Centerpoint Station called it Qolaraloq, or The World Puller. However, the Killiks did not design the station, they were working on behalf of two Celestial architects known as the Son and Daughter of Mortis. The purpose of the station was to create a tractor beam analogue powerful enough to move planets, stars, and even black holes from across the galaxy. To accomplish this feat, the Killiks first constructed Centerpoint Station in orbit around Corel, a star with only two outlier planets.

At the same time, other Killik hives built planetary repulsors on habitable worlds. When construction was complete, Centerpoint dragged these worlds through hyperspace with its advanced tractor beam to create the Corellian System. Centerpoint itself, amplified by the additional planetary repulsors, had enough raw power enough to move black holes throughout the galaxy.

The architects had a stepmother of sorts named Abeloth, a being similar, but not quite as powerful as the Celestials. Unfortunately, Abeloth had been driven mad in a bid for power, and for the good of the galaxy, would have to be imprisoned. Since no known prison could hold beings of the architects’ power, the Son and Daughter were forced to construct one. Centerpoint Station was to be the tool that built the prison.

Centerpoint dragged dozens of black holes into a precise formation known today as the Maw Cluster near Kessel. The black holes blockaded Abeloth in exile, where she remained imprisoned for tens of thousands of years as the Architects faded from power and civilizations rose and fell.

Over millennia, the function and importance of Centerpoint Station became lost to history. By the time of the Clone Wars, any information regarding the station’s origins or function were unknown, except that the station itself was approximately 100,000 years old. While many researchers and locals had theories, most of the galaxy gave Centerpoint no thought at all. During the fledgling Republic, Centerpoint became a staging area for colonists boarding generation ships. Later, those supporting the colonization industry simply stayed.

Centerpoint itself is a part of the Federation of Double Worlds of Talus and Tralus, and is subject to their laws and taxes. The station gets by largely on trade and tourism, with additional funds generated from scientific research. Due to the station’s immense size, only a fraction is mapped or even explored, and countless orphans, homeless, and undocumented beings eke out a meager existence on Centerpoint.

The biggest area on Centerpoint Station is Hollowtown, a massive, 60-kilometer-wide spherical void at the center of the station. Hollowtown contains tourist attractions, lavish estates, and countless farms and ranches to feed the station. It is also home to two artificial mountain ranges known as the Northern and Southern Conical Mountains. Between the two mountain ranges lies the mysterious Glowpoint, a small artificial sun that lights Hollowtown at all times.

The remaining decks in the spherical portion of the station are known as the Shells, because of the way each layer outward from Hollowtown encases the next like an eggshell. These decks contain a number of living quarters, but are largely unexplored. The space where the spherical center joins either pole contains massive docking bays where most trade occurs. The northern pole contains most administrative offices and a number of university and private led research projects, while the southern pole is believed abandoned, but occupied by a growing criminal element.

The power of Centerpoint Station was rediscovered in 18 ABY by a distant cousin of Han Solo, Thrackan Sal-Solo, who was working with the Sacorrian Triad. In a scheme known as the Starbuster Plot, the Triad, after a test-firing in a vacant system to ensure the station worked, held the galaxy ransom. An unfortunate side effect of the test-firing was the unexpected consequences to Hollowtown. When the weapon switched on, the Glowpoint swelled in size, incinerating all Hollowtown’s inhabitants instantly. The entire void was actually a combustion chamber to power the hyperspace tractor beam. Centerpoint Security immediately evacuated the rest of the station, leaving the station under the control of the Triad.

The Starbuster Plot was eventually foiled by Han Solo and Princess Leia’s children, particularly Anakin Solo, who bonded with Centerpoint Station’s command center, and locked everyone else out of the system. The station was firmly under the control of the new Corellian government, which was allied with the New Republic. During the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, it was proposed that Centerpoint be used as a weapon against the invaders. Thrackan Sal-Solo was brought in by the Corellian government to get the weapon operational. Eventually, after enlisting the help of Anakin Solo’s help, he did just that. However, firing the weapon during the Battle of Fondor ensured the young Jedi would never help him again, as the shot destroyed as many Hapan ships as it did Vong.

Following Anakin Solo’s death a short time later, Sal-Solo set himself to the task of rearming the station’s hyperspace tractor beam by creating an advanced droid using Anakin’s genetic material. Over a decade of work paid off, and Sal-Solo once again held the trigger to the galaxy’s most lethal weapon. With Centerpoint Station firmly within its control, the Corellian System declared its independence.”

Reactivating the most dangerous artifact in the known galaxy sparked a new galactic civil war, as the Republic sought to once again remove Centerpoint Station from being the ultimate power in the universe. The Jedi decided enough was enough, and sent a strike team, who were able to sabotage the targeting computer so Centerpoint would always target itself if fired. The slicing subroutines worked, and moments later, while trying to destroy Coruscant, the station imploded in on itself, ending the threat posed by Celestial power in mortal hands forever.

Abeloth was a being created as a servant by the three Celestials: the Father, the Daughter, and the Son. In time, Abeloth won the Father’s heart, and became known as the Mother. Nowhere near as powerful as the other members of her new family, and destined to die in what would be an eyeblink for them, Abeloth drank from the Font of Power and bathed in the Pool of Knowledge — both forbidden acts — in hopes it would make her a Celestial.

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

While Abeloth did become a long-lived creature of immense power, it also corrupted her, changing her into something dark and covetous. When she was found out, the Celestials contracted the Killiks of Alderaan to construct a specialized prison of their own design for Abeloth. This prison, known as the Maw, was built by Centerpoint Station. For 100,000 years she languished in her prison, angry, terrified, and worst of all, alone.

When Centerpoint Station was destroyed in 40 ABY, it created a fissure in the Maw that allowed Abeloth to reach out into the galaxy through the Force. This led to her escape and subsequent rise to control the Galactic Federation of Free Worlds. Abeloth encountered Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker a number of times during her escape and rise to power, and she bested him handily each time. Finally, they fought on Sinkhole Station on a mental plane of the Force, where she was ultimately defeated. However, with no way to truly kill or imprison her, it is only a matter of time before she returns.

A distant cousin to famous smuggler Han Solo, Thrackan Sal-Solo was born on Tralus, and raised believing he was of an ancient royal Corellian bloodline. The two lived together a short time, cultivating a murderous hatred of each other before Thrackan betrayed Han, selling him back into slavery with pirates. Thrackan believed he was better than Han, or anyone, thanks to his privileged upbringing. This sense of entitlement would time and time again prove his undoing.

Two years after the Battle of Yavin, Sal-Solo achieved the position of Deputy to the Diktat as an Imperial administrator, but still felt he walked in the shadow of his now infamous cousin. Thrackan disappeared after the Empire was dealt a crippling blow at Endor, and formed a terrorist organization allied with criminal syndicates. By 18 ABY Thrackan gained control of Centerpoint Station, with full knowledge of its potential destructive power. Thrackan saw his chance and declared himself Diktat, but was foiled by Han Solo and his children. Thrackan was arrested, tried, and incarcerated.

After eight years in prison, Sal-Solo was released and put in charge of Centerpoint Station to use it against the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. When he used the station against the Vong, despite the massive friendly casualties, he became an overnight hero, which led to his election as Governor-General of the Corellian System a year later. Thrackan finally had everything he had ever wanted, but he didn’t get to enjoy it long. He was tried for treason after the war, but after winning his freedom, he manipulated his way into being Corellia’s Head of State.

It wasn’t long before Sal-Solo’s double-dealing and obsession with a free and powerful Corellia under the protection of an active Centerpoint Station drove the galaxy to civil war. Just after allying himself with Dark Lady of the Sith Lumiya, Thrackan was assassinated by bounty hunters Mirta Gev, Boba Fett, and Han Solo.

Special thanks to Ed Erdelac, Ryan Brooks, and Sam Stewart.

Want more Centerpoint Station? Pick up Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars: Edge of the Empire: Suns of Fortune, with contributing author Keith Ryan Kappel. Available now at your friendly local game store!

Sources

The Corellian Trilogy: Ambush at Corellia\

The Corellian Trilogy: Assault at Selonia

The Corellian Trilogy: Showdown at Centerpoint

Star Wars: The Old Republic Codex Entry

New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse

Legacy of the Force: Betrayal

Legacy of the Force: Exile

Legacy of the Force: Fury

Cracken’s Threat Dossier

The New Jedi Order Sourcebook

The Official Star Wars Fact File 37

The New Essential Chronology

Rebellion Era Campaign Guide

The Essential Atlas

Star Wars Saga Edition: Galaxy at War

Star Wars Saga Edition: The Unknown Regions

Star Wars: Edge of the Empire: Suns of Fortune

AUTHOR BIO

Keith Ryan Kappel is a freelance writer working for Fantasy Flight Games’Star Wars line of role playing games, and was a credited playtester on the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars RPG line. As a Star Wars fan, Keith co-founded, wrote, and edited for FandomComics.com from 2005-2012, where he has written hundreds of pages of Star Wars fan comic and RPG material. A long time ago, Keith was also an intelligence specialist at Naval Space Command for the United States Navy. Keith can be found at KRKappel.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

http://starwarsblog.starwars.com/2014/01/24/the-world-puller-the-history-of-centerpoint-station-needs-author-entry/

I make a point to identify things to you dear Reader that is way out ahead of the curve.  In four years you will read this and wonder how I knew all these things.  Even though they may seem to be irrelevant trivia from fantasy, this article is far from that.  The people who are shaping our society currently love Star Wars.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart or the creator of the Family Guy cartoon on Fox—Star Wars has power and that power will shape the political and economic landscape of tomorrow.  Trust me………..it will.  Dear Reader, take this information and prepare yourself for that point in time, and be ready.  Most of the speculation from modern-day commentators who work for entertainment are not aware of what is about to happen.  They cannot see the big picture that has been taking place at Skywalker Ranch in California since the early 1980s.  There is a power here that can shatter the way everything is viewed today—especially politically—and when that happens, good minds will need to be available to provide guidance to the millions upon millions who find themselves discombobulated and disenfranchised in need to rebuild their minds properly.  The key is not so much how things were done in the past, but in how those events point to the future and come together in a grand fortissimo.  And when that fortissimo reaches our senses, we must conduct ourselves accordingly—and without hesitation.

How do I know all this……………..I have read all the books, but more than that, I have intensely studied Joseph Campbell, who also taught George Lucas.  I know exactly where this is going.  And I am excited about getting there!  Disney will make a lot of money, and they will do good things with that money.  But more than that, society will receive insight where before there was only confusion and darkness—except for those who have taken the time to read all those fantastic Star Wars novels.  They already know, and soon—so will everyone else.

Rich Hoffman

 www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com

 

I am Han Solo: The ‘Star Wars’ personality test

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I’m Han Solo—at least that’s what the new Star Wars personality test told me when I took it.  A friend of mine told me that The Blaze did a story on a new Star Wars personality test by www.Zimbio.com which was actually more sophisticated than I thought it would be.  The questions are involved and pretty good about bringing to the surface the raw nature of a person’s personality as related to the Star Wars film series.  For instance, while taking the test I thought I’d come out as Obi-Wan Kenobi—whom I personally admire for his love of wisdom and the philosophic chess matches he tends to play on a galactic scale.  But Han Solo has always been my favorite character and that trait emerged during the test even though I was consciously aware of avoiding it.  So it was a pretty neat test.  At the end of The Blaze article linked below it was revealed that most of the staff at The Blaze including Glenn Beck, Doc Thompson and Skip LeCombe had taken the test and were enthusiastic about their results which they promised to cover on air.  I thought this remarkable because it provides insight to all that I have been saying lately about the cultural impact of Star Wars and the future of our society.  There are few things which can unite minds quicker than Star Wars does in discussions with other people and it’s not just nerds anymore—but mainstream acceptance.  NFL football used to be that topic item breaker that anybody could discuss with any other person in business or other affairs, but quickly Star Wars is overtaking it.  It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t know about Star Wars who is under 55 years old and doesn’t have an opinion about the film series.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/18/are-you-a-yoda-luke-skywalker-or-maybe-a-princess-leia-take-the-star-wars-personality-test/

I took the test while on the road at my sister-in-law’s house with many family members present so we all took the test and had a good time with the results.  I was surprised how many of them came back as Yoda, and the young men who took it mostly came back as Boba Fett—which was remarkably accurate.  There were no Darth Vader’s in our group which says a lot about the quality of our family.  That much didn’t surprise me—but the number of Yodas did—my wife included.  It could not be ignored how many of our family members instantly understood what the test was and the intent which reflected the response of The Blaze staff.  Star Wars is something that touches just about everyone as good memories of their childhoods flood back to them upon the mention of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia.

I remember what it was like to be a kid in the late 70s and early 80s.  Star Wars was everywhere—it was on the radio, it was at the stores, it was on television, it was in comics, magazines—it defined popular culture from about 1977 to 1985 when it began to subside just a bit.  Even popular films like Back to the Future and ET the Extra Terrestrial made frequent Star Wars references—so it was a huge part of that 8 year period and anybody who was a child during that period knows what I’m talking about.  That doesn’t mean that everyone was an open Star Wars fan.  Many of the kids in my school made fun of kids who openly loved Star Wars—kids like me who had Star Wars notebooks, wore Star Wars t-shirts, and drew pictures on my homework papers of Star Wars space ships.  I didn’t care what other kids said, once I got past the 7th grade, I was never picked on for Star Wars again because I had so many fights at school that kids stopped trying.  The more they made fun of me the more I rubbed it in their face.  I had a Star Wars shirt for every day of the week—my favorite was a Han Solo shirt that I never got tired of wearing.  I wore it so much that it fell apart.  I developed a rivalry with another kid in Junior High school at Lakota who was a Star Trek fan and hated Star Wars.  We actually had fist fights over Star Wars and which movie was better.  It got so bad that I shoved the kid right into the principles office as he was trying to escape me after I was waiting outside his bus in the morning to catch him with a confrontation before class started.  He had previously declared during lunch period that Captain Kirk would beat Han Solo any day of the week—so I was going to teach him otherwise. I’d give him some real life Han Solo through me—and as he was running away from he thought he’d get safety inside the principles office—which he didn’t.  I took the fight straight there shocking all the other kids in the hallway and the adults alike when I grabbed hold of the Star Trek lover by the back of his shirt and threw him right into the front door with the principle and secretary standing right there.  Nobody had been so audacious before—and nobody knew what to make of it.  Nobody understood that I loved Han Solo that much because the character represented everything I wanted to become when I grew up—and calling him names was the same as calling me names—and I wasn’t going to stand for it.

My brother and I had so many Star Wars figures that we set up our basement with elaborate hand-made models featuring Star Wars toys. Every Christmas and birthday was an opportunity to increase our holdings for these gigantic Star Wars set-ups.  On Friday and Saturday nights our friends would come over and we’d build new Star Wars buildings and ships late into the night staying up until 3 and 4 AM in a world of our own making inspired by Star Wars.  My parents couldn’t afford to give me a Millennium Falcon like many of my friends had, so I built my own out of a cardboard box.  That creation was destroyed during my late teens—and I never got over it.  During the Christmas of 1995 my wife finally bought me a Millennium Falcon when Kenner re-released the old toys with minor updates in anticipation of the Special Editions to the films which occurred in 1997.  The world we created in that basement had so much reverence for me that I wanted to do little else but create my own world in the context of that one.  We had entire areas around our set-ups in the basement sectioned off with black felt to simulate the darkness of space and on the ceiling was white felt to simulate clouds.  We had our own power supply, there were floating asteroids, and epic worlds re-created to model scale.  It was the happiest place for me on earth.

I was never shy about my admissions.  Star Wars represented limitless possibilities and an escape from oppression and Han Solo was the kind of guy who was full of confidence and a never say die attitude.  He was the model of a man who I would grow up and become.  Many other kids one-on-one loved my enthusiasm, but would never admit it in the light of day.  But privately most of them felt as strongly as I did, they just didn’t show it publicly.  I carried this love into my adulthood and it never really subsided.  With my children I raised them on Star Wars, and now with the Disney acquisition of Star Wars, my grand children will benefit—and with everything I just described, the cultural impact under Disney’s guidance will far eclipse my experience.  There will be more toys, more clothing, more music, video games, posters, magazine articles-virtually everything in our society will be touched by Star Wars and a whole new generation will find solace within the story lines.  Unlike me—who had good parents who really cared and behaved in a traditional sense–kids today have broken families, step parents and lack structure as a result of progressive social engineering policies.  The strongest thing to a real family a lot of modern kids will have is the characters of Star Wars—which as sad as that may sound—is absolutely true.

The character of Han Solo was never intended to be a hero in the way he turned out.  Fans of the films were supposed to yearn for Luke Skywalker, not Han Solo, but I could never relate to Luke’s naïveté.  I wanted to grow up and become the space pirate Solo who is more like a character out of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged than any other creation ever put on-screen.  A lot of people thought this was destructive, but it has made me into an interesting adult—one who thought I’d be more like Obi-Wan Kenobi than Han Solo as more mature years are now upon me. But upon seeing the test results I was actually relieved to see that many of my core values are still intact after all these years and I can honestly say that I’ve lived my own Han Solo type of life and behaved in a very similar way when pressed.  The difference between being a young person and an old person is the experience.  People are drawn to certain types of things based on their core personality—something this Star Wars test is attempting to uncover.  When I was a kid I hoped that when faced with perilous situations that I would behave with the same valor and skill that Han Solo did in Star Wars.  Now as an adult, I no longer have any doubt.  With a string of car chases, crashes, narrow escapes, and perilous follies of virtually every type now behind me, I can rest easily now knowing I measure up to the highest hopes I had as a child.

It is for that reason that this Star Wars test is flooding office buildings and places of business with a fury.  Most of the adult population had similar hopes for themselves, and they want to know how they measure up after all these years.  Now with some of the social stigma of fandom removed, people want to know how far they have fallen from their childhood dreams.  For me—not far at all.  I would have considered Obi-Wan Kenobi to be a concession—an honorable one—but a concession.  Han Solo, out of all the characters in Star Wars was my target, and now as a grown man who has grandchildren of his own—I have hit the bull’s-eye, and for that I am very, very proud.  Setting those high standards actually made me a better grown-up than Han Solo—considerably.  But under pressure—and when it really counts—it is good to know I’m still more like Han Solo than Obi-Wan Kenobi.

And I was there……………….Han shot first!

Take the Star Wars Test for yourself and see who you are most like.  CLICK THE LINK BELOW.

http://www.zimbio.com/quiz/Ukldm8Pi5Ub/Star+Wars+Character

Rich Hoffman

 www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com

 

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game: Pizza, Coca Cola, and Strategy, the cornerstones of a happy life

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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!

star-wars-x-wing-miniatures-game-milennium-falcon

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. 22_Top 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons

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.1XW 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:

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite.asp?eidm=174

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/103885/star-wars-x-wing-miniatures-game

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.  pic1394907_lgIt 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?

Raw luck.

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.

Fire away.

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.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/942443/why-it-works-review-after-wave-2

Listen to Star Wars gaming news at Mos Eisley Radio broadcasting straight from the Outer Rim!

http://moseisleyradio.com/category/mos-eisley-radio/

Rich Hoffman

 www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com

Give yourself the gift of ADVENTURE.  CLICK HERE!  

The Wonderful ‘T-Rex Cafe’: Refusing to honor “Mother Earth” with one more mass extinction

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T-Rex1I enjoy fine dining and have rather high expectations in regard to food.  In my home town of West Chester when I want a nice dining experience, my wife and I go to Jags.  For power dinners it is the Montgomery Inn Boat House downtown along the river that most suits my taste.  So with those qualifiers I must report that I had one of the finest dinners I can ever recall at the T-Rex Café in Orlando, Florida.  This was unexpected as I thought the restaurant featuring animatronic dinosaurs that howl at you while eating would be just another gimmicky eatery that would fall short of anticipated hope.  My family was with me at Downtown Disney recently so I had the opportunity to treat them to a nice dinner in a unique place, so we headed to the T-Rex Café which is only one of two in the entire country.  T-Rex5The other establishment is located in Kansas City.  As expected the interior of the restaurant was fabulous looking resembling more a dynamic museum than a place to eat.  The hostess seated us in a corner table next to the fire pit cooking area directly underneath a pterodactyl dinosaur and flaming licks that emerged from a volcano.  Our large booth was situated inside a geode that looked out into the dining room as a meteor shower flew by violently overhead.  Across the room was the ice cave complete with fossils embedded in the walls.  Everywhere around the large dining room which held over 600 people were spectacles of science and ancient biological history.  But better than that, the food was as good as the environment.  The appetizers were seasoned wonderfully, the service was top-notch, and the feature plates were excellently prepared, and delivered.  For the climax of the dinner we had a Chocolate Extinction which was delivered as a flame spewing volcano that was absolutely fabulous.

As I ate my dinner and spoke with my family I had a persistent thought–the restaurant was just another miracle of capitalism.   Only capitalism could produce such a place, and even though the cost of the meal was certainly on the high side, it was well worth the price as the environment cost an enormous sum to maintain daily.  Only an economic system of capitalism could hope to produce the resources to make such a place possible.  Yet in our current time, capitalism’s greatest predator is socialism, and the current incantation of political socialism is the “green movement” that attempts to take mankind back to the roots of earth worship and primitive rituals in an effort to preserve the world for eternity.T-Rex4

As I looked around the room at the T-Rex Café I thought of a conversation I had with one of my nephews the day before—a small argument that we had in a swimming pool over the merits of personal Thorium reactors for sustainable, cheap power at each home in the world.  His position was one of concern for the radioactive waste generated by nuclear fission taught to him by the six digit debt he incurred in college that had steered his thinking.  I tried to sympathize with his view-point as he spent a lot of money on his education and wanted to believe that the things he learned were valid.  But in the scheme of things he was taught by left-leaning college professors the mystical trend of primitive sacrifice to the goddess Earth and were wrong.  The entire environmental movement is built on mysticism and a primitive need to sacrifice to the gods that are now representative in New Age doctrine as a love for the great Goddess Earth.  The mentality is the same as the Mayans sacrificing human beings to Kukulkan, or a bunch of Native Americans (displaced Chinese people) doing a rain dance to bring water to their crops.  The idea of sacrifice to a deity is a primitive concept that is rooted in ignorance which is wonderfully portrayed in one of my favorite books, The Golden Bough by James Frazer.  Human beings have evolved for the most part beyond that ridiculous mentality rooted in ignorance with the advances found in the philosophy of capitalism.  The T-Rex Café was a direct product of capitalism and was a celebration of life forms on earth that had become extinct for natural reasons.  Because of capitalism, children can share with their parents a celebration of a world long gone so that hopefully they can all learn something from the process while enjoying the roots of our own evolution.T-Rex2

Yet there are thousands of young people like my nephew who have been taught that preserving the earth is more important than the products of the human mind which is in essence a dedication to the primitive nature of human beings before the invention of capitalism.  Those human beings who hate capitalism tend to support socialist tendencies either directly or indirectly and it is they who have perpetuated the myths about global warming, and the sacrifice of human advancement to the benefit of the earth—which is just ridiculous.

As I watched the meteor showers strike each other across the ceiling of the T-Rex Café restaurant I thought of the future of the earth as we know it now.  Part of the ongoing supercontinent cycle, plate tectonics will probably result in a supercontinent in 250–350 million years. Some time in the next 1.5–4.5 billion years, the axial tilt of the Earth may begin to undergo chaotic variations, with changes in the axial tilt of up to 90°.

During the next four billion years, the luminosity of the Sun will steadily increase, resulting in a rise in the solar radiation reaching the Earth. This will cause a higher rate of weathering of silicate minerals, which will cause a decrease in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In about 600 million years, the level of CO
2
will fall below the level needed to sustain C3 carbon fixation photosynthesis used by trees. Some plants use the C4 carbon fixation method, allowing them to persist at CO
2 concentrations as low as 10 parts per million. However, the long-term trend is for plant life to die off altogether. The die off of plants will be the demise of almost all animal life, since plants are the base of the food chain on Earth.T-Rex7

In about 1.1 billion years, the solar luminosity will be 10% higher than at present. This will cause the atmosphere to become a “moist greenhouse”, resulting in a runaway evaporation of the oceans. As a likely consequence, plate tectonics will come to an end.[11] Following this event, the planet’s magnetic dynamo may come to an end, causing the magnetosphere to decay and leading to an accelerated loss of volatiles from the outer atmosphere. Four billion years from now, the increase in the Earth’s surface temperature will cause a runaway greenhouse effect. By that point, most if not all the life on the surface will be extinct.[12][13] The most probable fate of the planet is absorption by the Sun in about 7.5 billion years, after the star has entered the red giant phase and expanded to cross the planet’s current orbit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_of_the_Earth

And at any time during this cycle of destruction, a meteor, an alien race, or even the collision of the Milky Way galaxy with another galaxy may occur destroying not just the earth, but all the millions of planets in the galaxy.  The idea of not installing a Thorium reactor on every home, every car, and every need for power that the human race desires seems insanely stupid when it is realized that the sacrifice of technical achievement to short-sighted preservation of the earth is currently occurring.  Humans would be wise to blast the radioactive waste of such nuclear fission into space to dump among the stars, but such things are of secondary concern to the efforts that are produced by the human mind.  Whether the earth ends in 100 years or in 7.5 billion years, the earth will end, and the human race will need to evolve into a type 3 civilization by that time, or it will go out like a light in the universe that has been turned off by its own short-sightedness.  When the earth ends, human beings need to be elsewhere.T-Rex3

To avoid extinction, human beings not only must develop an ability to move from one galaxy to another, but from one universe to another, because the universe is not exactly stable.  Mankind through capitalism has the ability to solve these problems but the trend of the current environmentalist is a dedication to the failures of mankind’s past, the sacrifice of humans to the gods of speculation—to the mystic desire to shun personal responsibility for ones own life to a deity of convenience and hide their lack of courage behind group behavior.

The T-Rex Café is an excellent example of capitalism at its absolute best.  The food is great, the environment, the service, the location was absolutely spectacular.   But more importantly were the thoughts that the place was able to invoke in the imagination.  Dining with my family at a big comfortable table with good food to ease the tensions of the day allowed for the possibility of thoughts that were stimulated by the dynamic environment.  For me, the conversation I had with my nephew at the pool came rushing to my mind as the meteor shower overhead violently erupted.  Everything on earth was created from violence and force.  Every mountain is the result of earth’s crust violently being shoved upward.  Every river is the result of massive rain fall.  Every drop of ocean water is the result of crashed comets millions of years ago.  The dinosaurs of which the T-Rex Café was dedicated to had lived and died over a much longer span of time than human beings have even been a thought on earth, and in all that time no dinosaur ever invented a way to draw energy from a Thorium reactor, yet the audaciousness of the modern-day environmentally conscious religious zealot is to assume that the earth will always stay just as it is now in the year 2013 and never become hotter or colder, or violently upset by a planetary collision of any kind.  They assume that humans are equal in value to all other life forms on the planet, and that’s not true—only humans have developed complicated thoughts that enable them to leave earth, extend their own life spans, and create their own future.  For the greenie weenie environmentalist the small mindedness of their short-life spans is unfathomably foolish and insecure.  They hope to revert mankind back to a cave man building fires and barking at a bolt of lightning streaking across the sky as some mystery delivered from the gods, instead of understanding the science of static electricity and using that power to carry them off earth for good, to destinations not yet discovered.T-Rex6

A good meal not only fills the belly, but the mind, and I left the T-Rex Café full in both regards.  It was worth the money of a 5 star restaurant because the combination of food and environment was so extremely magnificent.  I won’t soon forget the place because long after the food was enjoyed the experience continued to give me fresh ideas that are invaluable to proper perspective.  It was clearly one of my favorite dining experiences to date anywhere in the world, in part because of the restaurant itself, but mostly in the recreation of a time long-lost to history that was recreated as an honor, and a warning to mankind’s own doomed fate if it fails to embrace the proper philosophy of reaching for the stars instead of the jealous confines of mother earth and her selfish desire to doom all humans to the same fate she will surely suffer.

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes with the Crack of a Whip’!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

Star Wars Rebels: The rebellion begins!

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I am very happy with the title to the new Star Wars animated series coming to the Disney Channel during the fall of 2014.  On the front of my very first car I had a license plate which said, “Proud to be a Rebel.”  After several decades of being a “rebel,” I am still proud of it—which is a trend that will extend for many more decades.  But when Star Wars Rebels makes its debut I will be more proud of being a rebel than ever because I can begin to share Rebels with my grandson, who will be the perfect age to watch this exciting new program with me and enjoy the fabulous mythology from a galaxy far, far away…….a long time ago.

 

 

NEW ANIMATED SERIES STAR WARS REBELS COMING FALL 2014

 

May 20, 2013

Production has begun on Star Wars Rebels, an exciting, all-new animated television series based on one of the greatest entertainment franchises of all time. Scheduled to premiere in fall 2014 as a one-hour special telecast on Disney Channel, it will be followed by a series on Disney XD channels around the world.

Leading the development of the series is a creative team of exceptional talent. Screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class,Sherlock HolmesMr. & Mrs. Smith) is an executive producer on Star Wars Rebels and will write the premiere episode. He is joined by Dave Filoni as executive producer, who served as supervising director of the Emmy nominated Star Wars: The Clone Wars since 2008. Executive producer Greg Weisman brings with him a wealth of animation experience with credits such as Young JusticeThe Spectacular Spider-Man and Gargoyles.

Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, “The entire team at Lucasfilm has provided extraordinary creativity and innovation for over three decades, and we’re thrilled to be bringing the expansive and imaginative world of Star Wars to Disney XD’s viewers.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to explore new corners of the Star Wars universe,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm. “I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars.”

The action-filled series is set between the events of Episode III and IV — an era spanning almost two decades never-before explored on-screen.Star Wars Rebels takes place in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape. Details about the show are a closely guarded secret at this point.

Star Wars Rebels will be produced by Lucasfilm Animation, featuring many of the key talents that made Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Fans attending Star Wars Celebration Europe will be the first to get an exclusive look at the new series. Casting will be announced at a later date. More information about this developing project will be found on StarWars.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/starwarsrebels.

Rich Hoffman

166701_584023358276159_1119605693_n“If they attack first………..blast em’!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

Written by overmanwarrior

May 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Star Wars Weekends 2013: The best the human race has to offer in one place

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Every year I look forward to the Star Wars weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  It is one of the wonderful opportunities for philosophy, fantasy, ingenuity and the best aspects of human nature to converge at a palace of capitalism and celebrate the existence of one of the greatest stories of all time.  I love the energy, optimism, and opportunity that Star Wars offers individuals and families everywhere.   Many die-hard Star Wars fans converge every year in the middle of May to attend the fabulous Star Wars Weekend events.  For those who cannot attend, I offer these clips from the spectacle taken during the opening day ceremonies on Friday, May 17, 2013.

Sit back, grab a snack and enjoy the fun and pleasure of entertainment shown in the videos below!
 

 

 

Rich Hoffman

166701_584023358276159_1119605693_n“If they attack first………..blast em’!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

The Millennium Falcon: Keeping dreams alive through James Luceno and Chris Lee

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One of the questions I get asked most often is how I have remained so diversified over the years, and so passionate over such a wide variety of subjects and still maintain my optimism.  My answer is often difficult and obscure in articulating, and most do not understand once they have heard it, but symbols are a powerful ally into healing the mind from the many unfathomable tribulations it might encounter in a lifetime—and when a mind beholds a symbol it holds in reverence, it becomes possible to always calibrate ones thoughts to the values that are most functional, and beloved.  Religions often use such symbols to focus their minds on eternity, or spiritual awakening.  Voodoo priests use symbols to focus their minds to speaking to those who have crossed over dimensional understanding.  Shamans use symbols to invoke focus on the problems at hand that only have answers in the world of the unknown.    I have always needed something that does all that and more, and for me, the symbol that I most reverently adhere to is the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars, the intergalactic starship that is the hero of the entire saga, and has been a representation of complete freedom as shown in that fantasy epic from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.Millennium Falcon

The picture shown above is one that I have had on my freestanding Craftsman tool box that I have had for years as I worked in machine shops and other assembly plants where exotic tools were needed to perform the task at hand, and as every real man knows, the size of a man’s tool box says a lot about the level of the mind that owns it, and their ability to solve problems—and my tool boxes have always been big.  While my co-workers would fill their opened tool box lids with pictures of women in various states of undress, hot rod cars, and images from their favorite sports teams, my tool box had pictures of the Millennium Falcon pasted all over it as it has been a long-standing dream of mine to build an actual full-scale model of that famous movie space ship, and looking at those old construction photos from The Empire Strikes Back has always inspired me to think outside the box, and to never allow my mind to linger on the impossible.   The Millennium Falcon for me is a symbol of always having hope, never surrendering even when the odds are terrible, and trusting that effort will always triumph over technical superiority.  I wrote recently about my intention to build a real Millennium Falcon for $15 million dollars that actually flies with anti-gravity technology.  CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW.  In Tennessee there is a small group that is planning to build a replica of the Millennium Falcon for similar education purposes, which I am very excited to see.  CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO VISIT AND OFFER SUPPORT:

http://fullscalefalcon.com/

I adore people like those at Full Scale Falcon.com.  I wish the world was filled with more of them.

I have made it no secret that the car in my new novel Tail of the Dragon was inspired heavily from the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars and many times in my life, I have looked reverently to that classic star ship to reset my thinking on any given topic.  My wife can attest that I engage the engines to my electronic Millennium Falcon that sits right next to our bed every night before I go to sleep.  So I did what I promised myself I would do after a contentious election season in 2012 and that is give myself a break.  I decided to rest from all the heavy-duty philosophy and history that I typically read and pulled a book off our book selves that my wife read last year and had been urging me to give a chance, James Luceno’s novel called Millennium Falcon.

To be honest I did not think the book would be any good and the reason I did not read it earlier was because I needed to finish a few books ahead of it on the Star Wars timeline from the Legacy of the Force series, so just picking the book up to read was not as easy as just reading one book.  Millennium Falcon is a sort of bridge book between the Legacy series and the Fate of the Jedi series, so I didn’t want to spoil anything for myself.  I waited till I had a chance to get to it when I wasn’t so busy.  After the election and all the very heavy reading I did after November 6th 2012 going through books like War and Peace, The Golden Bough and many others, I decided to catch up on some of the Star Wars books from the Legacy and Fate series as well as the Old Republic novels.

James Luceno’s book Millennium Falcon was marvelous, and well worth the wait.  I didn’t know how much I had been wanting to read it, or how much I would enjoy it, because the story is about the 100 year lifespan of the Millennium Falcon from its construction on an assembly line to almost the events that will lead up to the new films that Disney is about to produce, Episodes 7 through 9.  In the Millennium Falcon’s long history under many different owners featuring crime lords, galactic pirates, rogue politicians, fortune hunters, medical innovators, circus performers, and rebel heroes it is literally a star ship that has launched a thousand fates—perhaps billions.  The Millennium Falcon is to Star Wars what the Black Pearl is to Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.  The Millennium Falcon is a hot rod pirate ship and is simply the coolest piece of technology ever put into a movie.  Unlike other famous movie star ships, the Falcon represents individuality, and freedom which is why I behold it as a symbol still after all these years.

I enjoyed every page thoroughly of Luceno’s book as he takes readers on a heck of a fun story into the Millennium Falcon’s past which was unknown previously in the Star Wars mythology.  I didn’t think it would be possible for a skeptical 45 year-old man to be as excited as a 10-year-old boy over a fictional symbol of freedom in a galaxy that only exists in the mind.   But after reading the book it made me think even more seriously about someday walking through a real Millennium Falcon that I build for real function, or one like the good people at Full Scale Falcon.com are building to inspire a whole new generation  of young people to reach for the stars.  The Millennium Falcon has a special place in the hearts and minds of millions and as this evolution has occurred I am more proud than ever that I displayed those original construction pictures so prominently on my tool box, which are still there.  The only difference is that the big stand up unit I used for staying gainfully employed is now in my garage.  That tool box got me through some hard times as I worked excessively hard to make a living for my growing family, and never let my co-workers provoke me into removing my pictures of the Millennium Falcon from my tool box in favor of girls in bikinis.  I can honestly say that the Millennium Falcon is sexier than any lingerie model in any state of super normal sign stimuli pose.

I feel that my life has reflected the fictional history of the Millennium Falcon after reading the Luceno novel, which I never would have known prior.  But there is something destructive and positive at the same time in reaching for one’s individual freedom and sovereignty, and the Millennium Falcon represents that quest.  And I’m not alone in my sentiments.  Good people like Chris Lee at Full Scale Falcon.com feel it as strongly as I do, and are taking actions to make the Millennium Falcon a reality that young people can touch, smell, and walk through—and from those young minds are the next great inventions that will bestow upon the human race a wave of miracles that will usher in a new day in the long story of all of us.  Everything starts with a thought, and a symbol can hold those thoughts into focus as the turbulence of life tries to wash away our dreams.  Holding onto our symbols can keep those dreams anchored to the foundations of our souls.

That is why I LOVE the Millennium Falcon!

And if you’d like, visit me while I take a personal vacation, not in some faraway place, but on Star Wars: The Old Republic.  CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE.

Rich Hoffman

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

  

Written by overmanwarrior

December 19, 2012 at 12:00 am

Star Wars: The Old Republic: ‘Deceived’ — A book review relevant to modern America

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We live in a dangerous time, the progressive utopia of collectivism is failing dramatically worldwide, and every cog in that machine is collapsing primarily impacting teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses, politicians, and virtually every government employee.  The world of progressive vision is failing and the participants are thrashing about like fish just caught and thrown upon a dry deck moments before being cooked over a propane oven—and we all know it.  The failures of that society are due to a focus on all the wrong human attributes, and have materialized into massive economic failures.  Those who bought into those progressive social fantasies are in store for serious social unrest and are now beginning to panic like guests on the Titanic once it had been realized that the ship will sink—slowly, and they will all find themselves soon in the freezing water fighting for their lives.

People like me, and my readers here knew as soon as the ship of America hit the iceberg, that the ship would sink, and we immediately took action to save ourselves.  We knew that when America was faced with life or death in the icy water that it would take individual effort to save ourselves, and collectivism of any kind would result in drowning.  We were wise to not embed ourselves into any collectivism, so that when the ship of our nation sank, we could swim freely, and be away from the chaos—driven by shock that will surely follow.

But it is painful to see my fellow countrymen suffer needlessly, because I tried to warn them—we all did.  But they did not listen—expectantly.  They thought we were pulling their leg, that we were “conspiracy theorists” that we were radical right-wingers—which of course does not justify why we are prepared for the detriment of the fiscal cliff, and they are not.  I was asked the other day what I do to stay sane during the whole ordeal, and I replied that I read.  In fact, I read a lot.  Right now, I’m averaging three books a week, completing one about every 3 to 4 days.  The only exception is that I spent about a week and a half on War and Peace, and before that, about the same amount of time on The Golden Bough.

Out of all the books that I have read lately however, one book jumped out at me as being wonderfully reflective of our times here in modern America, and how I personally feel about it.  Oddly enough, that novel was a Star Wars book from The Old Republic series called Deceived which takes place 3650 years before the action of the popular films that are so well-known.  I found that book to be extremely relevant to what is happening all across the contemporary earth, particularly in United States politics.  The gist of the book is that the Sith Empire has made a move against the Republic stronghold of Coruscant to destroy the Jedi Temple who are the guardians of peace and justice throughout that fictionalized universe in events that took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.    The villain of the novel utters to the Jedi prior to the Sith attack, “Our time has come.  For three hundred years we prepared; we grew stronger while you rested in your cradle of power believing your people were safe and protected.  You were trusted to lead the Republic, but you were deceived, as our powers of the dark side have blinded you…you were deceived and now your Republic shall fall.”

I couldn’t help but be a little haunted by how relevant, and current some of the drama was in that novel.  It was extremely compelling and I highly recommend reading this fine book, even if science fiction is not the normal preferred type of reading material.  Deceived is a novel that explores what happens to people on the microcosm and macrocosm of political failure and how it affects individuals and multi species demographics across the face of an entire galaxy.  I enjoy most of the Star Wars books for the obvious reasons of big ideas, and fun fantasy, but this Deceived novel was quite impressive.  The novel follows the events of the attack shown in the above video advertising the new MMO computer game from Bioware titled Star Wars: The Old Republic.  And no, Old Republic is not just a simple video game—it cost $200 million to produce and counting, and is the absolute cutting edge standard in online computer game play.  It is stunningly epic.

Ultimately, the novel hit a theme that I spend a lot of time considering, and that is how do you re-build a society once it has crumbled?  What do you do when it is realized that the ship of society that we are all floating on is destined to sink into the abyss?  What is the proper method of maintaining integrity in the face of so much devastation and destruction?  For me, the ideas were explored in the novel Deceived and were wonderfully relevant, and a much-needed vacation from the treacherous events of the real world, and the many plots of destruction that are unfolding upon the American landscape where it is now obvious that we have all been Deceived in nearly the exact way that the Sith characterized in that very good Star Wars novel from the Old Republic Era.

I like the guy in the hat. He has the right attitude on how to deal with the crises that befalls us.  And to learn more about Star Wars and hear an interview that I have done on this subject with Matt Clark on WAAM……….CLICK HERE. 

Don’t forget, Friday, December 14th is Star Wars Dress up day.  Support Katie Goldman.  (CLICK HERE)


 

Rich Hoffman

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

  

George Lucas the Great Anthropologist: What ‘Star Wars’ means under the flag of Walt Disney

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In the small political battles of our day—the ones over which idea is better than the other, I see such conflicts to be minor squabbles in the scheme of existence.  I prefer always the long view of looking at big things with much distance between myself and the object so I can see the situation clearly.  When I have to engage against competing tribes of political view who attempt to interrupt my enjoyment of the long view I am all too happy to display their conquered scalps as trophies of war, but I am very aware that such things are small insignificant victories upon the tapestry of living.  When battles are raging around you, political or otherwise, there are only two choices, win or become a victim.  Choosing not to play is a choice towards becoming a victim.

I will have to thank my friend over at the Atlas Shrugged site Galt’s Gulch, Dr. Brett for being the first to break the news to me that Lucasfilm had been sold to Disney for $4 billion dollars.  As any who read here clearly know, I think a lot of Star Wars, and specifically George Lucas, so the news that Lucas has officially hung up a company he built all his life as a sole proprietor was very sad for me, almost as sad as losing a loved one to a death.  I respect deeply the creative environment that Lucas utilized to build Star Wars into one of the most recognizable names in the entire world.  I respect all the companies of George Lucas because he maintained his ownership of them the way he should have, and he never yielded to pressure to make his films into anything but what they are.  He reserved his right to make films like Howard the Duck which were bombs, but he also made wonderfully powerful films like Tucker: A Man and His Dreams, Willow, and of course the Indiana Jones series which has changed dramatically the entire field of archaeology and anthropology.  But it was and is Star Wars that made all those films possible, films that couldn’t be made by anybody else no matter how big the studio or the personalities behind them were.

It might seem that no amount of news could eclipse the massive Hurricane Sandy that had shut down the eastern United States, but news that Star Wars was now under the tent of the Disney Company eclipsed the tragedy of that event–even of the presidential elections.  The news that Star Wars was now owned by Disney and that the company fully intended to make more Star Wars films rocked the world of Twitter, Facebook and news organizations all over the world with shock and awe.

I grew up with Star Wars; I raised my family on Star Wars.  Star Wars is one of the great sacred bonds that my wife and I share.  We love it, have watched the movies thousands of times, and read all the books.  In fact, she has read every single Star Wars book ever written. They take up an entire section of our home.  I enjoy watching Family Guy primarily because of all the parodies that Seth McFarland has done as a tribute to Star Wars.  I get along most with Star Wars geeks and adults who aren’t afraid to admit that they love the films.  My father-in-law and I have always shared an intense love for Star Wars.  My nephews and I have stayed up entire nights playing Star Wars video games, and those memories still bond us as busy adults.  Star Wars is always a dominate topic at every Christmas and Thanksgiving Dinner on both sides of the family.  It is also the most commonly given gift for birthdays and Christmas in my family on both sides for over 30 years now.  For me the love of the films are not an immature reach for eternal youth and fantasy, but rather, the long view at philosophy and life in general that they offer against the backdrop of fantasy in a far away time and space that allows ideas to reside in neutral territory.  I find it repulsive when some fans accuse George Lucas of turning Star Wars into simply a cash cow, or that he sold out to the big and powerful Disney—allowing his sole creation to be turned over to some evil empire of the Disney Company.  They simply don’t understand the situation and how the dots connect.

I have spent considerable time explaining at this site Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom why some people believe making money is bad—where those ideas came from, and actually how they hold society back.  This is why I propose that Ayn Rand’s ideas are far more relevant philosophically for mankind than Karl Marx and that if one idea must be refined philosophically over another it should be those of Rand over Marx.  Those reflections can be heard clearly in the opinions of Star Wars by the general public, but one thing that Star Wars does is unite people who would otherwise not be able to talk politics.

For instance, many of the writers of The Huffington Post who might argue with me about the merits of socialism versus capitalism share a love and passion for Star Wars Many who believe that Star Wars is just a movie don’t understand why it is such a phenomena, but Star Wars is not just a movie intending to make money, but a tool that George Lucas has utilized to create the most important, and powerful mythology human civilization has ever known and it is intended to take Earth from a .7 Type Civilization that it is now, to a Type 1 Civilization on it’s way to an accelerated Type 2 with an intent to become a Type 3 and still have a basic philosophy that will hold up to such an expansion.  For people who think Star Wars is just a silly movie, they do not understand that the foundation blocks of any civilization is its basic philosophy that is reinforced by its mythology, and Star Wars created by George Lucas is intended to be a giant mythology.  Disney as a company envisioned by Uncle Walt was created to interpret and communicate mythology to the world, not to just make money.  What most people miss due to the fact that they have been taught to hate money is that Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney Company have billions of dollars of value between them because they offer a very good product—but the value of that product is cultural enrichment through mythological creation that improves the general philosophy of all human beings.  While it is true that Star Wars is geared for children, the messages within that mythology contribute greatly to the improvement of world-wide philosophy.  Lucas and Disney both as heads of their companies have managed to perfectly bring together two important attributes necessary to human survival, the ability to produce wealth, and to use that wealth to dramatically improve the living conditions of mankind.

The limits so far with Star Wars is that George Lucas has been the “brand” of his company.  He has become so big that anything done in Star Wars as a story, because they are so important mythically speaking to so many millions of people, is distracting, even limiting.  I believe Lucas being the “way ahead of the curve” kind of guy that he is has recognized this and has positioned his company, its employees, and the product of Star Wars itself through the television experiment of Clone Wars on the Cartoon Network to make this move with Disney at a very reasonable price.  Disney, as a giant company with no direct face that is the “brand” can take Star Wars to places it could not otherwise go being headed by George Lucas.  Disney has the ability to build an entire Star Wars park so visitors can actually walk around in the Star Wars Universe.  They can expand on the television, the movies, even the video games.  Disney has the power to take Star Wars from a household name and make it a room to room name within that household.

To understand why I think this move to Disney for Star Wars might have a severe impact for the positive it would require knowledge of George Lucas as I have, so to know what he is most likely thinking.  Back in the 1990’s George Lucas was a board member for The Joseph Campbell Foundation who was being carried on by Campbell’s wife Jean after Campbell’s death of which I was also a member.  Lucas has always been interested in using Star Wars to bring young people to the study of comparative religion and world mythology studies.  Few people know it, but Lucas always wanted to be an Anthropologist and books like The Golden Bough and The Hero with A Thousand Faces had a powerful impact on him as a youth and he has always planned to use Star Wars as a way to introduce youth to higher philosophical concepts.  To understand to what extent Lucas has been committed to this just look at his company Lucas Learning.  I would bet everything I have and everything I ever obtain on the notion that Lucas has intentionally planned to inspire young people to reach for the stars with the stories of Star Wars in fields of science, medicine, politics, art, virtually every aspect of society, and Lucas has done this as an anthropology/archaeology enthusiast, not as a film maker.  Lucas, never really wanted to be a film maker, but instead used film making to communicate his interest in cultural studies.  It is his interest in anthropology that gives the Star Wars Universe such a rich texture, that far exceeds any other science fiction endeavor so far to date.  And I believe the result of this investment Lucas has made in civilization will be the necessary mythological tool that is needed to continue the social evolution into a Type 1 Civilization where religious barriers, scientific limitations, and politics get in the way of arriving at these necessary human advancements.  This was why George Lucas made Episodes 1 through 3 the way he did about Galactic Republics and the demise of governments in spite of the efforts of the noble Jedi Knights.   Lucas solved the political problems of his galaxy that has embraced laissez-faire capitalism but is not regulated by untrustworthy politicians, by using Jedi Knights who are governed by a deep commitment to philosophy, not crony capitalism that goes on between gangsters, pirates and politicians, to maintain order.

In a 1964 article on searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev suggested using radio telescopes to detect energy signals from other solar systems in which there might be civilizations of three levels of advancement: Type 1 can harness all of the energy of its home planet; Type 2 can harvest all of the power of its sun; and Type 3 can master the energy from its entire galaxy.

Based on our energy efficiency at the time, in 1973 the astronomer Carl Sagan estimated that Earth represented a Type 0.7 civilization on a Type 0 to Type 1 scale. (More current assessments put us at 0.72.) As the Kardashevian scale is logarithmic — where any increase in power consumption requires a huge leap in power production — we have a ways before 1.0.

Fossil fuels won’t get us there. Renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal are a good start, and coupled to nuclear power could eventually get us to Type 1.  More  info can be found at this article.

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/22/opinion/oe-shermer22

Nothing ever starts until the human mind can behold the concept.  From there, invention and personal innovation will bridge the gaps.  Currently, politically, our global societies are locked between a struggle between individualism and collectivism as political systems of all types are struggling to maintain the former power bases of class society indentured to resources controlled by the very few, whether that few are crony capitalists, socialists, pirates, thieves, looters, or kingdoms.  The future is moving away from these kinds of regionalized controls and the internet is the first step in that particular direction.  But there are still religions that are standing in the way of life expectancy and medicine, and governments that are restricting space travel as the human race is pushing violently against the limits of the past.  Star Wars is a giant leap forward, but at the same time, into the past so to join in the minds of mankind with the possibilities of now.  In Star Wars the galaxy they are living in is coming close to a Type 3 as they are able to travel across the entire Galaxy through hyperspace routes that are like intergalactic highways through worm holes in space.  Such a concept is scientifically viable and scientists are beginning to seriously think about such things—because of Star Wars.  And the utilization of the religious aspect of Star Wars, which is the Force follows many aspects that are just being discovered in quantum mechanics and presents them in story form in ways that human minds can find a practical use in the randomness of ideas.  I could literally go on and on about this type of thinking, but in short, Star Wars is a big galaxy that has a lot of very fresh ideas in it from communication devices to propulsion systems, and those scientific concepts are quickly finding their way into the everyday lives of our current civilization.

Further, Disney as a company is about to do something that I think Walt Disney always fantasized about–it is about to take a bold step forward from a market driven motion picture market place and become a truly world power that will benefit the lives of the entire planet.  For instance, China because it is a communist country only allows 10 foreign films to show in their country per year, which is actually a big step for them.  The people of China are already looking forward to the next installment of Iron Man that is gearing up for a tremendous 2013 release—again another property by Disney who is uniquely positioned to take such a powerful mythology as the Marvel Comic properties and present them to a world hungry for the ideas in those stories.  This is greatly helping China become more and more prone to the free market in all manners of business, slowly but surely brushing aside the kind of communism that has held those people down for over 60 years now.  Star Wars has the potential to communicate those types of messages to a mass audience perhaps 10 times more powerfully, because the texture and depth of Star Wars is so deep and engrossing, and if Earth is to become a Type 1 Civilization, the same idea has to be held in the mind over most of the world.  In other words, the people of China cannot think so much more different from those in The United States.  But the lifestyle of The United States cannot be brought down just to level the playing field globally, but the rest of the world must be brought up to the level of America.  The best way to do that is to export American ideas, like Star Wars to those countries so they can understand what they should be doing, and how to do it.

I feel sorry for some of my fellow adults who share my age, but not my youthful optimism.  They truly believe that Star Wars is just another movie like everything else designed to make money for Lucas, or Disney.  In fact in the days after this big announcement of Disney buying Lucasfilm that was the first thing that most people said to me, “Looks like Lucas just got even richer.”  Those same people rush their kids to soccer practice while they update their Facebook accounts religiously and po-poo anything that isn’t rooted in the reality of their current busy lives.  Their kids feel the magic on Christmas morning hoping they get a new Star Wars toy, or on Halloween when they get to dress up like a Jedi Knight.  The parents feel the magic just a bit when they walk down the isles at Target and look at all the Star Wars toys designed specifically to massage the mind of young people by the toy makers in a plot Lucas hatched decades ago to expand the consciousness of the human race by beholding in their minds all of life’s potential.

When I was a little kid, I wanted the full-sized Millennium Falcon from Star Wars for Christmas like nothing else.  This would be way back in 1980.  But my parents couldn’t afford it, because it was really expensive.  So I built my own Millennium Falcon out of a card board box that I played with for years.  Once I got older and could afford to buy it myself, the toy had been off the market for a number of years, so I was never able to get it.  But in 1995, prior to the Special Editions in 1997 Lucasfilm released all the old toys only updated with new manufacturing techniques complete with the “battle worn” condition made so popular in the films.  That year for Christmas my wife bought me the new electronic Millennium Falcon with the updated paint scheme and everyday since that Christmas I have proudly set it next to my bed where I engage the engines every night before I go to sleep.  Every night.  And what’s strange is that it still has the same batteries in it from 1995, and they still work.  Call it the FORCE!  When I have had to fix a number of complicated problems around the house from broken dishwashers to electrical problems I have sometimes stared at that toy for hours pushing the buttons and thinking about the problem at hand which often frames the answer for me with perspective.  The toy for me is a symbol of innovation and technical marvel, so it often elevates my logical trouble shooting thinking.  That magic has stayed with me my whole life so far and doesn’t appear to be abating.  And I know I’m not alone.

Under Disney, these toys, the books, the multiple nick-knacks will flood the marketplace and without question a sector of the population who hates money will call the whole ordeal a symbol of capitalist excess that is just making a lot of money for Disney and its shareholders.  But the estimates from people like George Lucas are that the money drives the product and allows more people to experience such magic, and even the most hardened skeptic against capitalism or fantasy stories knows that they too feel a little of that magic when the media blankets the release of a new film, or they hear the famous tune to Star Wars which indicates to the ear that something great awaits the witness of the story at hand, they feel the magic.  Lucas has attended many of the Star Wars Celebration events that take place each year, and he has seen the multitude of grown adults who share with their children love for a mythology that makes more sense to them than the reality of their daily life.  With Disney now pushing the mythology machine of Star Wars, these events will explode with interest by even more people. Already the Star Wars weekends at Hollywood Studios in Florida that take place from May to June is so packed that the visitors have to use the parking lots at Epcot Center and Animal Kingdom to hold all the extra Star Wars fans.  That was before Disney owned Star Wars.  Now, it is certain that the parks in Florida will have a continued and much, much larger presence during the entire year and new generations will catch the fever even more than in the past, because if Disney does with Star Wars what they did with The Avengers the possibilities for how big Star Wars may become is immeasurable.

I have my doubts that the new Star Wars films will be as good as Episode 4 and Episode 5.  But I have no doubt they can be as good as the other four.  The proof is in the Cartoon Network episodes of The Clone Wars currently on television every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM.  With that in mind, Disney could make Star Wars movies for centuries, because the material is that rich, and is so vast that the plot lines are literally infinite.  I believe that with Disney at the helm of Star Wars, the ideas contained within it will find their way to every corner of the globe and in that way, will put every human being on common ground for the first time since the Tower of Babel separated all human beings with foreign language.   That is what it will take to move Earth to a Type 1 Civilization, and Star Wars is the best hope for getting there.

So, in a lot of ways the news announced on October 30th 2012 has seismic consequences for every human being on planet Earth.  Star Wars is not just another movie, and it is not just another product of Hollywood.  It is modern mythology that surpasses the work of the Iliad, all the Greek classics, the Book of the Dead from Egypt, War and Peace, or all the works of Shakespeare, anything ever done in literature.  It is the next step put into visual form what human beings are supposed to be working toward and they weren’t created superficially by whim from the mind of George Lucas, but are mythic characters dusted off from past stories and placed into the future for all to see with common eyes transcending language, political, and sociological backgrounds.  That is the magic of Star Wars and the potential impact that the decision to move Lucasfilm under the umbrella of Disney can explode into uncharted waters never before seen by–anybody.

So I’m a fan of the move even though it does sadden me.  The sadness is a selfish one, which I wish to preserve what Star Wars meant to me growing up, wanting to freeze-frame those films in time for my own enjoyment and memory.  But I see the strategy and like Lucas I want the same thing.  I want to see a world that embraces capitalism, embraces technical advancement, embraces philosophy, and never losses its belief in the limitless potential of the human imagination.  There are only two directions possible at this juncture in history one where societies regress backward, or one where they move forward into space, colonizing the moon, Mars, and planets beyond with the effortless propulsion utilized in Star Wars.  And the inventors of those future technologies are probably not yet even born, but will grow up in a world where Star Wars entices their minds with sounds and images plunging their imaginations into fantasy yearning for a Christmas toy under the tree to open and play with while they work out all the problems of advanced propulsion systems, gravity manipulation, and medical miracles performed without the added complication of losing their very souls to a shackled embrace of institutional imprisonment which always threatens to cast the mind of man back to the creation of fire.

That is what the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm means, and why it is very good. Also as  a side note to George Lucas, when he enrolled in Modesto Junior college to become an anthropologist, and a philosopher he succeeded as both and those titles many years from now will come to describe him once all the concept of filmmaker is lost to the scrolls of time.  Not only was he successful in studying the past and developing an expertise of history, but he has also changed the future for the better in ways that are subtle, yet unfathomably powerful for a civilization that is teetering on the brink and may yet survive thanks to Star Wars.

And…………………..for me, Han Shot First! 

Rich Hoffman

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

 

I appreciate the support my readers here provide by clicking on the pictures below.  The support expands life in ways that will ultimately create the means to boundless imagination.  For a sample of such projects, click here and witness one of my ever reaching projects. 

 

Written by overmanwarrior

November 2, 2012 at 12:00 am

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