The Blaze Coverage of Tesla: Zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds and a smiling Preston Tucker

I was listening to Pat and Stu on The Blaze Radio Network when Glenn Beck rushed into the studio to interrupt their show declaring with great excitement that he had just driven one of the new Model S Tesla dual motor cars that accelerated from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds. Beck offered anybody who wanted to test drive one of the new cars by Elon Musk a free ride which immediately sent the radio crew into tapes so they could take Beck up on his offer. Musk has been proving himself to be leaps beyond the current automobile offerings. I have been complexly turned off to electric cars viewing them as environmental wacko projects—because electricity is still largely generated by fossil fuels. However, the magic of the Model S and the rest of the Tesla product line is the dual engine concept which removes all the mechanical linkages which inefficiently drop power dispersal in conventional cars. The Tesla delivers power exactly where it’s needed achieving supercar acceleration in a car that is priced like a regular luxury car.   Watch Stu’s test drive in the following video.

One of my favorite and deeply personal movies is the George Lucas production Tucker: A Man and his Dreams. In that classic film Preston Tucker invented a car that was far superior to the products being put out by the Big Three–Ford , GM, and Chrysler in 1948. Tucker is certainly one of the people I most admire and he was about the age I am now when he was trying to get his Tucker car off the ground. Otto Kerner was a US attorney who on behalf of the Big Three attacked Tucker for making his revolutionary car “too good.” Kerner was later jailed for three years and fined $50,000 for 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury and other charges for stock fraud. The result was that Tucker’s cars featuring a 5.4 liter Franklin 0-335 aircraft engine with hydraulic vales, fuel injection, torque converters on each of the rear wheel—disk brakes, a padded dashboard, self-sealing tubeless tires, and an independent springless suspension—was stopped before it even got started. At the time it was an incredible car about thirty years ahead of its time. The Big Three rather than compete with Tucker looked to bury him, literally suppressing automotive development for nearly a half century thereafter. Only now are they finally starting to climb out of the stalemate technologically that they have been under for so long. Tucker never went to jail, but he never got his car to production either.

Elon Musk unlike Tucker was much wealthier going into the project and was able to achieve market domination in the electric car market while the Big Three were reeling from years of mismanagement and stagnate technological development. At the same time foreign offerings were starting to finally bore Americans. Musk using American ingenuity and the benefits of capitalism launched a new car company that has put on the road a car far in excess of the current offerings. It is technically well ahead of its time and is setting a new standard.

Even as I write this roller coaster season is coming to Southern Ohio where I live. I love the technology of roller coasters and have watched them evolve from wooden roller coasters to the sleek new metal coasters. The electric current launches common now in the best of them make it seem like the logical next step for personal transportation. But it took Elon Musk to actually use the technology in a way that should have been applied decades ago. Tesla’s technology is only state-of-the art because the technology involved was purposely underdeveloped to protect the industry of old. Yet the direction of General Motors didn’t save them from going bankrupt before 2010. The direction of the old cars just doesn’t meet the future, and they failed as a company. In amusement parks new technology comes out all the time to unleash new sensations to thrill parks. The same enthusiasm should have been carried over into personal transportation—but it wasn’t—leaving the door wide open for someone like Musk.

And Musk isn’t alone, just a few days ago I wrote an article about the new self driving Mercedes, and of course Richard Branson is emerging into the market. Both Branson and Musk are also building companies that are punching the reaches of space—so it is natural that their automotive companies are going to push the limits of previous mediocrity. The race for the best between Musk, Branson and the rest coming into the field of play will change the way we all transport ourselves around and I’m excited to see how it transpires.

With the electric car power is not so easily lost to where the tires hit the road. I can easily see a day where the very power that makes them run could be cheaply produced through Thorium energy leaving cars that never ran out of power—no matter where on earth they are. Power creation is another field of endeavor that has been deliberately suppressed by the previous generation. For the same reason that traditional coal power was kept over the emerging technology of Thorium Tucker was destroyed so to protect the Big Three—but to what result? The big companies failed anyway, just as the current energy creation companies will—its only a matter of time before someone breaks through the deliberate suppression of better methods using competition to drive human beings toward advancement.

It was exciting listening to Pat and Stu during the Tesla portion of their show. It was unscripted and their enthusiasm was noticeable, and contagious. In just a few weeks, I have been largely won over by The Blaze and their coverage of this emerging technology. If I could have a car that goes from zero to 60 so quickly without the noise and violent expulsion of energy—I’d take it. If it’s truly better, it should replace the old, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is something we should all embrace and thank because it is yet another example of the wonderful attributes of capitalism and the excitement that comes from minds un-tethered from the rules of engagement established by criminals like Otto Kerner. When people like Elon Musk have success, like he is with his Tesla Company—I smile a bit to myself at a victory Tucker predicted would happen. Musk is doing what Tucker couldn’t—and that makes me very happy to see someone—ANYONE—doing it.

Rich Hoffman


Listen to The Blaze Radio Network by CLICKING HERE.

The Nights Before Christmas: White House guilt in the IRS targeting of conservative groups

Shhhhhhhhh, do you hear that dear reader?  SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  It’s a few nights before Christmas and not a creature is stirring…………..not even a mouse.  Instead, they are all huddled together in the cracks of society planning what to do next.  If you listen carefully you can hear them making their plans at damage control.  Did you wonder why Obama suddenly showed courage and support for Hollywood in the face of North Korean aggression when he had blamed an anti-Muslim video for the whole Bengahzi incident?  And could the timing of the Cuban deal have come months before, or several months later—instead of right now.  And how about the executive orders in favor of amnesty?  SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, listen carefully.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report Tuesday that found the Obama White House turned the IRS into a political organization that has spent years attacking conservative groups.  Yet with all the noise surrounding Christmas, the 18 trillion-dollar debt, the Korean crises, the Cuban crises, the Chinese crises, the declining Russian economy, the parade of scandals following the Obama White House like tin cans chained to a beat up car hosting newlyweds after a shotgun wedding, the race wars in America, the plummeting gas prices, there just isn’t any room in people’s minds for the most important news item of them all—how the government from the very top used the IRS as a personal weapon to attack political rivals so that their regime could stay in power during the 2012 election.  Here’s some of what the report said:

“The Internal Revenue Service has compromised its traditional position as an independent tax administrator,” the report found. “The IRS’s inability to keep politics out of objective decisions about interpretation of the tax code damaged its primary function: an apolitical tax collector that Americans can trust to treat them fairly.”

The report indicated that improper IRS activities began with a 2010 comment from President Barack Obama, who said some of the Tea Party groups were being funded with corporate money, and “we don’t know where this money is coming from.” That criticism was prompted by Democratic reactions to the Citizens United case in the Supreme Court, which many Democrats blamed for allowing the wealthy to pour more money into campaigns.

Five days after Obama spoke in 2010, former IRS official Lois Lerner spoke at Duke University and said many wanted the IRS to “fix the problem.”

“The pressure to ‘fix the problem,’ as articulated by Lois Lerner, originated with President Obama and senior party leadership,” the report found. “For twenty-several months, from February 2010 until May 2012, the Internal Revenue Service systematically targeted conservative tax-exempt applicants for additional scrutiny and delay.”

“As prominent Democratic politicians and the media condemned conservative non-profit groups, the IRS sought ways to rein in the groups’ political speech,” the report found. “Lois Lerner initiated a ‘c4 project’ — careful to ensure that it was not ‘per se political’ — and called applications filed by Tea Party groups “very dangerous” because she believed that they could undo existing IRS limits on non-profit political speech.”

That led to additional scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. The report said that while a few groups were targeted with the words “progress” or “progressive” in their title, almost all were conservative-leaning organizations.

The decision to target conservative groups was followed by later decisions to cover it up, and blame lower level workers for the initiative.

The report also blamed Obamacare, which gave the IRS a key role in implementing Obama’s health program, for turning the IRS into an arm of the White House, when it should have remained independent.

“Evidence shows an IRS responsive to the partisan policy objectives of the White House and an IRS leadership that coordinates with political appointees of the Obama administration,” it found.

It said efforts to cover up the scandal were ultimately led by Obama himself. Obama initially said the IRS’s actions were inexcusable, but later said there was not a “smidgen of corruption” at the IRS.


Yet there’s a good bet that the report will be largely ignored.  Most of the premier newscasters are on vacation using replacements to fill the airtime while everyone has their eyes on the Christmas Holiday and time with families.  The story will likely die on the vine as everyone is thinking about everything but the IRS.  Even those who do watch the news over the holiday season do not give it much weight as their minds are heavily encumbered with social obligations—and that is all by design.  Obama and his White House simply overloaded the news cycle with news bits with such density that most people’s heads would simply explode if they tried to take it all in.

So punishment for the IRS crime and the “smidgen” of evidence pouring in from the White House will go unpunished.  When the senate released their report about the waterboarding torture conducted by the CIA under the Bush administration—the entire news cycle covered the story even as Paul Gruber was testifying on the Hill about the deceptions that helped Obamacare get passed as a new tax because Americans were too stupid to notice—his words.  But regarding the White House aggression in using the IRS as a personal political weapon next to nothing will be said, even on Fox News because all the heavy hitters are on vacation and by the time they come back in January, there will be new things to talk about and the IRS story will be old hat—and uninteresting.

But the proof that the White House was involved from the very start of the scandal is there.  You just have to listen very closely to hear it.  SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  Do you hear it now?  Good, so can I..  Now, what do you want to do about it?

Rich Hoffman

Visit Cliffhanger Research and Development

‘The Force Awakens’ Preview: Canon versus fan boy reinvention–concern on the horizen

I am one of the few people who saw the new Star Wars preview for Episode 7 and did not get all that excited. My daughter and I were at the Barnes and Nobel at Newport on the Levee as she was catching up on the New Jedi Order books and we were talking about the new preview which saw millions upon millions of views depending on where it was seen on YouTube in just 24 hours. Some sources had 24 million views in that time frame whereas the official Star Wars site had over 8 million. I’m not that excited about the new story because for one, Han Solo will likely be killed and unless Lucasfilm follows the story line they have been on for over twenty years with their expanded universe I will not be able to accept a new story canon—as I’m too invested. It just won’t work for me. Once Han Solo is out of the picture, there won’t be anything for me in Star Wars any more. Even if there are the planned Han Solo stand alone films, if they do not follow the storyline of the six novels I have read about the origin of Solo, I will likely reject the movies and stick with the books. The whole thing will only work if Lucasfilm keeps everything in continuity with each other.

I told my daughter to get the New Jedi Order books and continue reading them, because there is some great stuff in that series. It is quite possible by watching the trailer that the Daisy Ridley character is Jaina Solo and that the X-Wing pilot is Jag and that the Sith story line that was built up in the Legacy of the Force novels will be the jumping off point for these new movies. It would make sense. But she reminded me that most franchises—particularly Marvel are mixing and mashing story lines with revision and under those circumstances, Star Wars would be making a huge mistake. I told her that I didn’t think they were that stupid—and I don’t think they are. I think most of the story lines leaked out are false ones meant to keep fans in the dark and in doubt. But, there is the part of me that has been so let down by bad decisions made by other people in the past, that it wouldn’t surprise me if my daughter was right. In that case this next Star Wars film will likely be it for me—and I’m sure I’m not alone.

I just don’t see Lucasfilm isolating all their long-term fans with revisionist history in the overall Star Wars mythology. Scrapping the stories of several New York Times best sellers just doesn’t make any sense for anybody. There are many fans who have been with Star Wars through the lean years so taking away the story arcs that they fell in love with would not give the franchise the fuel to carry the kind of numbers Disney needs out of this mythology. Without question the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens will do great initial numbers—but realistically—it needs to be a two billion dollar money-maker at the global box office to hold up to the aims that Disney has for it—and if people like me jump off the ship—I don’t see how they get there. There are obviously a new generation of people who will enjoy them but Star Wars just doesn’t benefit from having a split fan base of people who liked Star Wars before Disney took ownership and those after.

There was nothing in the new trailer that told me that my thoughts weren’t the case, so I am still hopeful. But from the new preview I wanted confirmation that Lucasfilm didn’t decide to take the revisionist route in the story arc.   They didn’t give me that assurance—so anxiety toward the new film was my reaction. In many ways my concerns stem from the new cartoon Rebels—which is alright, but you can certainly tell that George Lucas is not a part of the stories anymore. The content in the new Star Wars cartoon is good, and fun—but much too light. The program is being made by fan boys essentially—like myself and that’s fine so long as it doesn’t screw up the overall story lines of the greater mythology. If it does, and these new filmmakers stray off the path—then there is trouble ahead for Star Wars.

It is possible that Rebels will come around once these filmmakers get their teeth deeper into the story and become more comfortable with the characters—but so far I see Lucasfilm and Disney painting themselves into a corner they don’t need to. Without George, I have my doubts that the whole thing will work because of what I’ve so far seen in Rebels and what they didn’t show in the new Force Awakens movie trailer.

Pablo Hildago who is part of the new story group said in his book The Essential Guide to Star Wars that it was possible that Lucas might revise the canon around the films—that the movies were the establishing parameters. Yet Pablo is the essential guide to the expanded universe and with him a major member of the story group—I just can’t see them making decisions that ruin years of publishing from the guide books to the novels. To do that would be a disaster for the Star Wars franchise. For families like mine where we own every single Star Wars book that there ever was—making them suddenly irrelevant would isolate our investment. So from a business perspective, I just don’t see a rejection of the expanded universe canon. It would be the dumbest thing to do in entertainment. I am a die-hard Star Wars fan and the prospect of a change in canon from what I’ve invested twenty years into to suddenly accept something a bunch of fan boys came up with second-hand is not possible. I would lose my enthusiasm for the upcoming films instantly.

But for now the new film looks great from the preview. Basically, if the female lead is Jaina Solo I’m good for a new generation. If it isn’t, then my love of Star Wars essentially stops now and it will become like a James Bond franchise for me which I’ll watch for fun, but cannot buy into the character since Sean Connery stepped away from the movies. Sean Connery was James Bond canon whether or not anybody likes it. Accepting someone else in that role just never worked. Star Wars is even more sensitive to this issue.

So we’ll see. I told my daughter to stick with Star Wars, read New Jedi Order and all the other books because they perfectly set up another movie by the time a reader comes to the end of the Legacy series. But the new preview didn’t do anything personally for me because I wanted to see assurance that Lucasfilm didn’t screw the pooch. In some ways they gave cryptic indications, such as the Ridley character with a lightsaber mounted to the side of a strange vehicle, and the X-Wings flying in formation with someone who could easily be Jag leading. But if those characters aren’t present—then it would be impossible for me to accept a substitute. It would just be too much to kill off the most beloved character in the series and accept a bunch of new characters not part of the twenty plus year canon formed by the novels. Until that confirmation is materialized, I will be skeptical and not all that enthusiastic to see something very good come to a bitter end.

Rich Hoffman

Star Wars: Commander–How the Apple Company greatly increases the quality of life

I have predicted and discussed much of what is happening today in virtually every category over the last 4 years.  Some listened, most didn’t.  For those who didn’t—hopefully you learned your lesson and will in the future. However, for me, which has been the case all of my life, humanity has let me down.  People do not aspire to be what they should, and the times are often regulated and maintained by the laziest of our species.  This is why I often turn to mythology for inspiration, because the Wall Street Journal doesn’t offer much inspiration—just raw news.  Contemporary real-life characters fall short of my expectations—so I don’t even bother.  Thus, my love of Star Wars and the reason I discuss it so much—especially lately is because it provides such motivation.  It is the creation of minds in need of something bigger than the human race is currently offering.  So I often vacation there to recharge my own batteries.  As such, it should come as no surprise that I had a viewing party at my home for the new Disney television series Rebels, which premiered with an introductory movie on Friday, October 03, 2014.

To celebrate I spent the day in the world of Star Wars in one fashion or another.  My wife and I played the Old Republic’s Galactic Starfighter online—which is always fun.  I then spent the morning playing X-wing Miniatures which is of course my latest passion.  I rounded out the time between those events up until the airing of Rebels playing a new game downloaded for free onto my iPad called Star Wars: Commander.  My brother texted me excitedly about it recently and after a few weeks of prodding, I finally downloaded it.  I didn’t give the free app much though because I didn’t think it would be any good—that it would be a kid’s game.  Let me say that it is far from a kid’s game—it is a wonderful war simulation of resource management and I have been wonderfully consumed by its contents.

Years ago—way back in the 90s I once spent an entire week playing an old game similar called Armada 2000—or something to that effect.  One of my nephews introduced it to me and it required the building of fleets by mining raw materials and going to war to conquer planets.  The graphics were rough, but the game content was wonderful.  Around that same time I started enjoying the various Sim City games which developed into a game called Outpost, which required you to terraform an entire alien planet by using the resources there to build a civilization.  I have also been a fan of the various Civilization games over the years including the most recent introduction.  Those are endlessly fun games of strategy and construction that are designed for those with a keen eye for productivity.  Never before in the history of the human race were such tools of resource management available to so many people.  The new Star Wars: Commander is all of those games wrapped up into one.  It is incredible—especially for a free app. It’s a whole new age that we’re living in where such a thing is offered as a simple download.  I can’t recall a time when I enjoyed blowing stuff up so much.

Star Wars: Commander lets you as a player pick a faction—either Rebel player or the Empire and build a base that must maintain an economy through your credit vaults while continually mining alloy for the construction of everything from factories to starships.   You have to build and maintain troop strength, engage in research and development, and deploy defense strategies as your base will constantly be attacked by other player’s bases looking for credits and alloy, and shield generation.  It is fairly involved for a game designed to be played on the go—anywhere and everywhere.  I’m used to playing those types of things on a PC locked in my room and not dressing for days.  This ability to put such a thing on a computer device that I carry in my jacket pocket is unreal to my previous generation eyes.

On that note as I have been playing Star Wars: Commander all week diligently—everywhere that I can really, in restaurants, in shopping malls, in the fabric stores as my wife shops for supplies for the many blankets and craft items she makes, I have been fascinated by how portable this new age of ours really is.  Commander is really a game that must be played against other players so it requires interaction.  The brilliance of the game is that the designers created the basic template, but most of the way the content is used is created by other players—leaving players to essentially let the game evolve through competition.  But it is the portability that I find so strangely interesting.  While shopping at Kenwood Mall with my wife and daughter at the Eddie Bauer store, I stood outside across from the Apple Store and marveled at how busy it was at 7:30 PM on a weekday evening.  Business was thumping inside and a line requiring service was outside the door.  It was amazing.  People were very active in looking at the various Apple products—everything from iPads, iPhones, to new computers.

I’m a huge fan of the iPad as I use mine everywhere for everything.  I use it primarily for maps, and for processing data on spreadsheets.  It is a remarkable device—there is no question about it.  I’m not so keen on the iPhone as I like to separate those two functions.  But Apple and its innovations are game changing aspects to human civilization.  Most of the people shopping in the store were there to pick up devices to allow them to have more versatility in texting their friends or updating their facebook accounts.  They weren’t looking for performance as much as being fashionable.  But, their interest is driving the market in new directions regardless of the quality of their desires.  It is largely because of that swarm in the Apple Store that Disney put out the new game Commander.  It’s the perfect game for a touch screen device.

The new game only enhanced my Star Wars day experience leading me up to the Disney Channel airing of the new Rebels cartoon—which was fabulous I might add.   I’ve been talking about it for a year now—and it was worth the wait.  Cartoons like that and content on the Apple products like what Commander is certainly elevates the expectations of entertainment.  But what’s more important is the reason people like Star Wars so much—as I’m far from alone on the topic.  Star Wars offers hope and expectations on human potential that is higher than it otherwise would be.  And Apple is there to provide a format to further the mythology into ways that were unfathomable a decade ago.  Star Wars: Commander just seven years ago would have cost $50 dollars for a PC title sold in a store like Gamestop.  Now it’s a free app.  The game makes its money off the impatience and mismanagement of its players.  For those who don’t know how to manage resources, they will pay extra for crystals to build up their defenses or increase their offensive mobility.  Many of the upgrades take several hours to implement, especially shield generators and alloy depots—but they can be sped up through the consumption of crystals and Disney sells them by the bag which I’m sure is generating millions upon millions of dollars.  I typically launch an attack from my base every three and a half minutes—and I have yet to meet the same player twice—that’s how many people are on the game.  I would say that it’s a successful enterprise.

For those who want to play, you can look me up when you arrive by typing in the name of Cliffhanger—the character from my first novel The Symposium of Justice.  Of course you know—I’m playing for the Rebels.

Rich Hoffman


“Winds of Change”: Some of the best, most relevant television ever produced

As I spoke yesterday about the importance that Joseph Campbell played in my personal education, one of the people who most helped the JCF get off the ground and become that resolute organization was George Lucas.   Of course he is  known for the Star Wars films and was the creator of Indiana Jones—but I think George’s best  work as a filmmaker was a little known television project that was shown on ABC by Bob Igor, today’s CEO of Disney way back in 1992 to 1996.  That project was called The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and was considered “edutainment.”  Just prior to the release of the last Indiana Jones feature film, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Lucasfilm released all of the Young Indy television shows on DVD, which of course I snagged up the moment they were released.  I literally pulled them off the delivery truck at Best Buy.  The DVD set was released in three gigantic collections and feature what I think is some of the best television ever done—not just because I enjoy the Indiana Jones character, but because the production quality, and content of each of the shows was impeccable.  Lucas used the character of Indiana Jones to essentially tell the history of the start of the 20th century and it was a remarkable undertaking.  For instance—one of my favorite episodes is the one shown below in several parts.  It is called “Winds of Change” and is about the Treaty of Versailles and covers nothing less than the modern troubles in the Middle East, the cause of the Vietnam War, and the reason for World War II all in a one hour episode.  It is really quite brilliant and if you want your child to know anything about history—or you want to fill the gaps of your own understanding, this is a great place to start.  Because of the modern pertinence to the trouble in the Middle East, watch the “Winds of Change” now through the clips below.  If you enjoy it, consider picking up the entire DVD set. They are tremendous treasures.

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is an American television series that aired on ABC from March 4, 1992, to July 24, 1993. Filming took place in various locations around Wilmington, North Carolina and on the campus of UNCW. The series was an Amblin Entertainment/Lucasfilm production in association with Paramount Network Television.

The series explores the childhood and youth of the fictional character Indiana Jones and primarily stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Corey Carrier as the title character, with George Hall playing an elderly version of Jones for the bookends of most episodes, though Harrison Ford bookended one episode. The show was created and executively produced by George Lucas, who also created, co-wrote and executively produced the Indiana Jones feature films.

Most episodes of the series depicted famous and not-so-famous historical figures, for example T.E. LawrenceLeo TolstoyWinston ChurchillErnest HemingwayAl CaponePablo PicassoFrederick Selous and Mata Hari.

Notable guest stars (playing either fictional or historical characters) include: Catherine Zeta-JonesDaniel CraigChristopher LeePeter FirthVanessa Redgrave,Beata PozniakJennifer EhleElizabeth HurleyTimothy SpallAnne HecheJeffrey WrightJeroen KrabbéJason FlemyngMichael KitchenKevin McNallyFrancisco QuinnIan McDiarmidMax von SydowDouglas HenshallSean PertweeTerry JonesKeith DavidLukas HaasJay UnderwoodMichael GoughMaria Charles, and Haluk Bilginer.

Due to its enormous budget, the series was canceled in 1993. However, following the series’ cancellation, four made-for-television films were produced from 1994 to 1996 in an attempt to continue the series. In 1999, the series was re-edited into 22 television films under the title The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.

Between 1992 and 1997, the series was nominated for 27 Emmy Awards and won 12.[25] In 1993, Corey Carrier was nominated for the Young Artist Award in the category of “Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series”. In 1994, David Tattersall was nominated for the ASC Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series”. At the 1994 Golden Globes, the series was nominated for “Best TV-Series — Drama”.[26]

In 2002, series producer Rick McCallum confirmed in an interview with Variety that DVDs of the series were in development, but would not be released for “about three or four years”.[8] At the October 2005 press conference for the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith DVD, McCallum explained that he expected the release to consist of 22 DVDs, which would include around 100 documentaries which would explore the real-life historical aspects that are fictionalized in the show. For the DVDs, Lucasfilm upgraded the picture quality of the original 16 mm prints and remastered the soundtracks. This, along with efforts to get best quality masters and bonus materials on the sets, delayed the release.[9] It was ultimately decided that the release would tie into the release of the fourth Indiana Jones feature film.

Two variations of Volume 1 were released by CBS DVD, one simply as “Volume One”, and the other as “Volume One — The Early Years” in order to match the subtitle of Volume 2.

The History Channel acquired television rights to all 94 of the DVD historical documentaries.[10][11] The airing of the documentaries was meant to bring in ratings for the History Channel and serve as marketing for the DVD release and the theatrical release ofIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.[12] The History Channel and History International began airing the series every Saturday morning at 7AM/6C on The History Channel, and every Sunday morning at 8AM ET/PT on History International. A new division of was created devoted to the show. As Paramount and Lucasfilm had already reserved solely for news and updates related to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, temporarily served as the official site for the DVDs—providing regular updates, insider looks and promotions related to them.[13] However, Lucasfilm and Paramount soon set up an official website proper for the series—[14] Paramount released a press kit for the media promoting the DVDs, which consists of a .pdf file[15] and several videos with interviews with Lucas and McCallum, and footage from the DVDs.[16] A trailer for the DVDs was also published on, with a shorter version being shown on The History Channel and History International.

Lucas and McCallum hoped that the DVDs would be helpful to schools, as they believed the series was a good way to aid in teaching history. Lucas explained that the series’ DVD release will be shopped as “films for a modern day high school history class.”[17] He believes the series is a good way to teach high school students 20th Century history.[18] The plan was always to tie the DVD release of the series to the theatrical release of the fourth Indiana Jones feature film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was released on May 22, 2008.[8][19][20][21]

After watching the Lawrence of Arabia recently I had to go back and watch the Young Indy episode “Winds of Change.”   It was after all through Young Indy that I was introduced to T.E. Lawrence who was a personal friend to Indiana Jones on the show.  Jones met T.E. Lawrence in Cairo at the pyramids when he was a very young child being homeschooled by a private tutor.  The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is an answer to the education void found today.  The work has been done by producers like Lucas and is available for a relatively cheap price.  The series is television at its absolute best—it was entertaining, fun, but best of all—educational.  After watching all those episodes so many years ago, then again with my family when the DVDs hit the market once again with their 90 one hour long documentaries produced exclusively by Lucasfilm what is found is a phenomenal effort not even surpassed by the National Geographic Society or the Smithsonian.

Often I would read more about the characters in the Young Indy episodes after seeing them for the first time during the broadcasts and would marvel at how accurate the writers for the show were at capturing their historical significance with precision.  In the cynical world that we see today in most entertainment formats, do yourself a favor that will help directly in understanding the modern world—watch the DVDs of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles with your family and learn together about history.  Because I can’t think of a better way to tell about the events that have shaped our lives better than through the character of Indiana Jones as he become the kind of action hero so well known to motion pictures presently.  The character became the kind of person he was due to his vast education with the most significant figures of the past who shaped the world for good and bad—but none-the-less—shaped it all the same.

If you care about the education of your family, click the link below to start an unforgettable journey.

Rich Hoffman


The Pirates of Mason, Ohio: Similarities between the MEA and Blackbeard


Parents and teachers in Warren County want more money and better benefits for the Mason City School District.

The Mason Education Association, which represents 650 educators, has been negotiating a new employment contract since April.  Mason teachers say they’re not only concerned about money and benefits but also concerned about cuts to academic programs and facilities.

The union also declared a “no confidence” position in superintendent Gail Kist-Kline.

The district meanwhile says it’s hopeful that negotiations will continue during the summer months, and a contract settlement will be reached before the beginning of the school year.

According to school board members, Dr. Kist-Kline was hired following a levy failure, and asked to lead during a time of economic challenge that required the district to improve efficiency and make difficult decisions.


The story continued with the MEA (Mason Education Association) threatening to go on strike and late in the afternoon on July 8th 2014, a contract agreement was reached which will then go to a vote by the union members. Teachers all across Ohio rejoiced as one of the wealthiest districts in that state had proven that it was once again ripe for pillaging. The entire story of how the teacher’s union in Mason threatened a hostile action—work stoppage—preventing parents who pay the taxes there from retaining their free baby sitting service at the end of summer, forced the payment of ransom which were pay increases. It was all too reminiscent of an old pirate story about Blackbeard’s blockade of the Charleston harbor in 1718. That old story about pirate action was essentially the same as the modern story of the MEA in Mason, Ohio 2014.

Edward Teach (also Edward Thatch, c.1680—22 November 1718), better known as Blackbeard, was a notorious English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies. Although little is known about his early life, he was probably born in Bristol, England. He may have been a sailor on privateer ships during Queen Anne’s War before settling on the Bahamian island of New Providence, a base for Captain Benjamin Hornigold, whose crew Teach joined sometime around 1716. Hornigold placed him in command of a sloop he had captured, and the two engaged in numerous acts of piracy. Their numbers were boosted by the addition to their fleet of two more ships, one of which was commanded by Stede Bonnet, but toward the end of 1717 Hornigold retired from piracy, taking two vessels with him.

Blockade of Charleston

By May 1718 Teach had awarded himself the rank of Commodore and was at the height of his power. Late that month his flotilla blockaded the port of Charleston (then known as Charles Town) in South Carolina. All vessels entering or leaving the port were stopped, and as the town had no guard ship,[40] its pilot boat was the first to be captured. Over the next five or six days about nine vessels were stopped and ransacked as they attempted to sail past Charleston Bar, where Teach’s fleet was anchored. One such ship, headed for London with a group of prominent Charleston citizens which included Samuel Wragg (a member of the Council of the Province of Carolina), was the Crowley. Her passengers were questioned about the vessels still in port and then locked below decks for about half a day. Teach informed the prisoners that his fleet required medical supplies from the colonial government of South Carolina, and that if none were forthcoming, all prisoners would be executed, their heads sent to the Governor and all captured ships burnt.[41]

Wragg agreed to Teach’s demands, and a Mr. Marks and two pirates were given two days to collect the drugs. Teach moved his fleet, and the captured ships, to within about five or six leagues from land. Three days later a messenger, sent by Marks, returned to the fleet; Marks’s boat had capsized and delayed their arrival in Charleston. Teach granted a reprieve of two days, but still the party did not return. He then called a meeting of his fellow sailors and moved eight ships into the harbor, causing panic within the town. When Marks finally returned to the fleet, he explained what had happened. On his arrival he had presented the pirates’ demands to the Governor and the drugs had been quickly gathered, but the two pirates sent to escort him had proved difficult to find; they had been busy drinking with friends and were finally discovered, drunk.[42]

Teach kept to his side of the bargain and released the captured ships and his prisoners—albeit relieved of their valuables, including the fine clothing some had worn.[43]

The behavior of the MEA was essentially of the same morality as Blackbeard’s seizer and extortion of Charleston. Blackbeard’s actions were designed to exploit the weaknesses of the governor; the MEA was designed to exploit the weaknesses of the superintendent of Mason schools. Both groups used force and fear to obtain wealth—the Blackbeard pirates used fear of physical violence, the Mason teachers’ used the fear of work stoppage by refusing to perform contracted obligations as employees of the state of Ohio. There is no real difference between the piratical acts of Blackbeard or the MEA.

So why weren’t the Mason teachers arrested for their piratical acts instead of rewarded with more money? Because the pirates run the government in 2014 unlike in 1718. The only difference between the MEA and Blackbeard is that they are now the lawyers, legislators, and union leaders who have infiltrated the law to have easy access to the plunder of the tax payers. Pirates have changed their tactics over the years—instead of violence and blockades, they just gained a government backed service—like education—and threatened to take that service away unless they obtained their desires. The ideal of the blockade of education services through a labor strike and Blackbeard’s extraction of medical supplies from the Governor of Charleston are the same because tax payers have no other option. There are no other schools for their children to attend just as there was no other way out of the harbor of Charleston for the citizens to embark on any kind of trade by sea. So Blackbeard had the city by the throat and used it to his advantage just as the MEA had Mason by the throat regarding education. The intentions were extortion to fulfill the desires of piracy. The only difference is that these modern pirates in the MEA were backed by the law which is an evolution from the days of Blackbeard. But the intentions were the same—fear, power, and plunder at the expense of others.

So if anyone dared wish to see examples of modern piracy, don’t look to the South China Sea or the dangerous waters off of Somalia—just look in Mason, Ohio at the members of the Mason Teacher’s Association and you will see pirates just as vicious and greedy as Blackbeard.

 Rich Hoffman



Fantasy Flight Games Does It Again: Wave 5 release to include a YT-2400!

In the context of my lifelong interest in global mythology and comparative religion, I see all the news coming out about Star Wars as infinitely good in so many ways.  When Harrison Ford was injured recently filming the new Star Wars Episode 7 movie, the world stopped as he was airlifted to the hospital in England.  With all the news going on globally, terrorists taking over Iraq, Obama’s parade of scandals, election impact of new blood in the Republican Party, it was Harrison Ford’s injury which captured the headlines of virtually every news source.  Some of that is deliberate misdirection, but a lot of it is genuine interest, and concern for a mythology which touches the heart of so many people. On the same day as this terrible news about Harrison Ford, who will bounce back from such things as he always does—came the latest news from Fantasy Flight Games popular X-Wing Miniatures game.  For Father’s Day my wife hosted a big party for our family, which was wonderful.  But much of the best parts of it were the weekend of playing X-Wing Miniatures with the people who came.

Every time I turn around starting about a year ago, Fantasy Flight Games has been improving their product line.  What they are doing with X-Wing Miniatures is cutting edge stuff that is launching tabletop gaming into a whole new dimension.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  There have been for years great games like Warhammer, Dungeons and Dragons, and Magic the Gathering, but this effort with X-Wing Miniatures is game changing.  As the new films hit the marketplace and return to the mind of society in general as part of their daily dialogue—which is already happening, this Fantasy Flight Games production of X-Wing Miniatures is about to explode.  Mythologically speaking, I think FFG’s relatively new game is the best vehicle to express and maintain new mythological trends that exist.  It is more powerful than novels, more relevant than the films themselves, and more participatory than video games.  Playing the game does essentially what some of the highest minds in the world do at Esalan at the Mythological Roundtable sponsored by the Joseph Campbell Foundation.  X-Wing Miniatures recreates myth and allows players to directly participate actively, as opposed to passively.  They take control of their own mythology, which is what I think is the key to the success of the Fantasy Flight Games venture.

During Father’s Day my family played the game extensively, and as we played we talked heavily about the new ships coming out in Wave 4, in just a few weeks, and we discussed the very exciting news about Wave 5 set to hit the marketplace later this year—2014.  The most exciting news of that announcement is the YT-2400 from the old video game Shadows of the Empire from Nintendo 64.   That particular ship will go well with my Millennium Falcon to cause all kinds of trouble in a game that has become a mild obsession.  Here is the press release from Fantasy Flight Games published as news poured out to the world the Harrison Ford would quickly recover from his injury.

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of two new starships for X-Wing!

In this, the game’s fifth wave, two large starships arrive ready for the heat of battle: the Rebellion’s YT-2400 and the Imperial’s VT-49 Decimator.

In addition to their starships, each of which is sculpted faithfully at the game’s standard 1/270 scale, the YT-2400 Freighter Expansion Pack and VT-49 Decimator Expansion Pack introduce a host of new upgrades and terrain pieces that allow you to explore a wide range of new tactics in your space battles.

You’ll also find a large cast of characters drawn from the expanded Star Wars universe, the first Imperial turret weapon, and upgrade cards designed by the game’s first two World Champions.

YT-2400 Freighter Expansion Pack

A fast and resilient light freighter, the YT-2400 features no fewer than thirteen weapon emplacement points, making it an attractive vessel for smugglers, mercenaries, and other individuals looking for a heavily armed “transport.” Although a stock YT-2400 light freighter has plenty of space for cargo, much of that space is often annexed to support modified weapon systems and oversized engines.

The YT-2400 Freighter Expansion Pack brings this formidable light freighter to your table as a Rebel starship with two attack, two agility, five hull, and five shields.

The highlight of the YT-2400 Freighter Expansion Pack is its detailed miniature starship, which is enhanced by one new mission, three debris cloud tokens, a maneuver dial, all requisite tokens, and four ship cards, including one for the famed smuggler Dash Rendar.

VT-49 Decimator Expansion Pack

To be granted command of a VT-49 Decimator is seen as a significant promotion for a middling officer of the Imperial Navy. A heavily armed transport, the VT-49 Decimator is one of the Empire’s most feared warships, often used to provide long-range reconnaissance or to deploy raiding parties past enemy forces.

The VT-49 Decimator Expansion Pack brings this intimidating Imperial gunboat to X-Wing as the game’s largest ship yet designed for Standard Play. Even at the game’s signature 1/270 scale, the expansion pack’s detailed miniature towers over its base and smaller starfighters.

In addition to its imposing, pre-painted miniature, the VT-49 Decimator Expansion Pack introduces four ship cards, three debris cloud tokens, a new mission, a maneuver dial, and all the tokens you need to fly your Decimator into the thick of combat. Finally, you’ll find thirteen upgrade cards, which introduce a variety of crew members like Mara Jade and Fleet Officer designed to help you fill out the Decimator’s three crew member slots.

X-Wing Miniatures as it stands today is one of the coolest games on the market.  I have never seen something like it which has united my family the way it has—from young to old and all economic groups.  Everyone who plays the game loves the game—even if they aren’t very good at it.  I would say that is because of the strength of the mythological nature of it—it pulls players into a story which they control, and that is what separates it away from novels, movies, and video games.  In those forums, participants simply unlock what someone else created, but with X-Wing Miniatures, Fantasy Flight Games simply provides the tool box–the players use the tools for their own stories.

In my personal story arc, I’m a YT guy in every way possible—and to get my hands on a YT-2400 that barrel rolls and has a turret that can equip a secondary weapon is extremely powerful.  This will be the build that replaces the twin Falcons and with the meta game moving away from TIE swarms and toward the devastating aspects of Whisper who flies the upcoming Phantom Wave 4 ship shooting with 4 dice.  The game is getting faster and more maneuverable.  Rebel ships can’t just sit around with no agility waiting to get picked off.  They will also have to be able to shoot every turn just to survive the weapons the Imperial players are throwing at them—and that is where the fun begins.  Figuring out those types of problems and letting the mythology play out based on the thought of the players.

I think this game X-Wing Miniatures will replace Monopoly as the newest, hottest selling game that brings families to the kitchen table to play—because as the new films hit the market over the next 6 years, and the new Rebels television show on Disney XD gains in popularity, the innovation created by Fantasy Flight Games will have hit critical mass and the general population will find themselves every bit as addicted to the sheer joy that the game brings—only for them the learning curve will be steep.  What started as a simple game with just a few ships has turned into a very complex web of tactical entertainment with a seemingly infinite combination of strategic options which can keep a mind occupied for years.  But beyond that—there is a story to this game which has more power than Chess, all the ambition of a novel, and more edge of the seat excitement than a year’s worth of video games—and the new additions never stop coming—the most exciting for me yet is the YT-2400.

Rich Hoffman