Star Wars: The Force Awakens (The Special Edition)

Surely, you’ve seen the new trailer for the new Star Wars movie. A little bland, sure, but fortunately George Lucas is already hard at work at improving it with his own Special Edition:

Now, that’s going to be awesome!

The Mecca of Guns

In the course of my job, I often travel past an icon of gun culture. Visible from I-66 at the back of an 80s era office park is the headquarters of the National Rifle Association. It would be indistinguishable from all the other Beltway buildings but for the large NRA logo on the outside.


After passing it dozens of times I finally had time to kill between appointments and decided to tour their museum. Admission is free and it takes up one wing of the ground floor of the building.


As you might expect, the primary artifacts are firearms of all varieties. But the sheer quantity is a bit overwhelming.


There are several thousand weapons, mostly rifles with plenty of pistols and a smattering of machine guns.


Each case is stuffed to overflowing with plaque noting the semi-famous collector who donated them. There are so many in each display that even the numbered keys aren’t very helpful in distinguishing the distinctive feature of one gun from the nearly identical version just above or below it.


The galleries are arranged in roughly chronological order running from colonial times to our various Gulf Wars. The largest segments are devoted to the Wild West days with another display devoted to the sport hunting trophies and weapons of Teddy Roosevelt.


The modern era weapons case had plenty of weapons nearly identical from the ones in the “modern sporting rifle” case except for the affixed much recently maligned bayonets.


The current exhibit in their rotating gallery is a tribute to Hollywood movie weapons. They have the actual prop gun used in the movie along with a poster or still from the movie. The oeuvre of noted Republican stand-up comic Clint Eastwood is well represented.


The items which caught my attention were the blaster and lightsaber from Star Wars. As I stood there taking a photo of them with my cell phone one of the other guests that sparsely attended weekday afternoon chuckled that I must have a kid at home if in this enormous display of weaponry those were the items I wanted to photograph. No, I thought to myself, I’m a nerd. Just a little different for the type that usually tours the NRA museum.

Like any decent museum, and plenty of crappy ones, they have a gift shop full of coffee mugs and tee-shirts and trinkets for kids. And on the way out they have a newsrack with the most recent issue of their magazine and a catalog of their wares.


The museum isn’t much different from all sorts of narrowly defined special interest organizations. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is stuffed full of gold records and rock star costumes. The Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian has more beaded blankets than you knew existed. And the NRA museum has guns. And as I mentioned, it sure has plenty of guns. Really way more than is needed for any sense of historical context. The museum fetishizes its collection with highly technical descriptions of each item.

But what it lacks is perspective. It is all about the role of guns in American history. Each gallery tells how guns were used to gain our independence, resolve the issue of slavery, and settle the West. Perhaps we need at least one display about how they are being used today in our schools and malls and post offices.

What the @$%?! Disney buying ‘Star Wars’ maker Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion from George Lucas

Disney buying ‘Star Wars’ maker Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion from George Lucas
By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 4:37 PM

LOS ANGELES — Disney is paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind “Star Wars,” from its chairman and founder, George Lucas. It’s also making a seventh movie in the “Star Wars” series called “Episode 7,” set for release in 2015, with plans to follow it with Episodes 8 and 9 and then one new movie every two or three years.

Bits & Pieces (Friday Night Open Mic)

DNA Nanorobots can deliver a cancer-destroying payload to take the fight to leukemia. Yay, technology!

How was it that bad ass bounty hunter Boba Fett could be killed accidentally by a blind Han Solo? Finally, the truth can be told.



You can’t make this shit up: $6 Trillion in Fake U.S. Bonds Seized in Mafia Probe Were Part of a Plan to Buy Plutonium.

Oh, Obama. I want to keep liking you, but you make it so hard. Among the many campaign promises President Obama has largely broken, his promise to leave medical marijuana legalization to the states (where it ought to be, IMHO) has come to naught.

I may have mentioned, I am an on and off writer of various fictions (mainly off), but here’s one I wrote that I like: “Rain on Mars“. How can it rain on Mars? Read it and see!

I’m in the process of sporadically writing a fantasy novel that apparently engages in every fantasy cliche every committed by aspiring unpublished writers of fantasy novels. “Black Apple” is a short story I wrote in 1990 set in the same fantasy world, and featuring one of the characters. Not that you care, but I’m short on other stuff right now. As regards to writing a fantasy novel, that is nothing but tired fantasy cliches and a collection of the common pitfalls of such writing (too slow to start, too many locations, heavy on explanatory dialog, etc) . . . well, it’s mostly for my own edification, anyway. So there.

That’s it for me. See you next week! — KW

Bits & Pieces (Wednesday Night Open Mic)

The Rev. Manning advised Ron Paul to whip Obama’s behind with the Constitution. Or did, can’t link to it now because his YouTube account has been suspended and he’s under a federal investigation for being a birther. How come this happens to him, but not Donald Trump, eh? Well, here’s a clip from one of Rev. Manning’s interesting rants now set to music. Jammin’!

Also from World Net Daily, John Stossel explains that when politicians talk about “cutting” spending, that word does not mean what they think it means.

Bruce Carlson of My History Can Beat Up Your Politics tackles the long history of negative campaigning. I cannot recommend his podcast enough. He asserts that early newspapers were essentially the blogs of the day, and also tackles the economics of the emancipation of the slaves.

4 Things Star Wars Fans Need to Accept About George Lucas.

Whose a scruffy lookin' Nerf Herder now, your highness?

Media Matters wanted to hire gumshoes to dig up dirt on the employees of Fox News in order to “discredit” them. That such a strategy might backfire, and make their side look like the bad guys while not impacting Fox’s viewership a jot or a tittle apparently never occurred to them.

That’s it for me! — KW

Bits & Pieces (Tuesday Night Open Mic)

You probably won’t want to watch the whole thing. It lasts over 2 hours.

In 2009, Casey Pugh asked thousands of Internet users to remake “Star Wars: A New Hope” into a fan film, 15 seconds at a time. Contributors were allowed to recreate scenes from Star Wars however they wanted. Within just a few months SWU grew into a wild success. The creativity that poured into the project was unimaginable.

The 5 Online Petitions that Prove Democracy is Broken. Like that was really necessary.

Coming up with stuff to link to would be a lot easier if the Net Nanny here didn’t block The Onion. Someone link to something from The Onion.

Will this be Apple’s First $40 Billion Quarter?

I miss Bloom County.

For you physicists and metaphysicists in the audience . . .

Click on it to actually see the whole thing. All right. That’s it for tonight. Just somebody link to something in The Onion.

— KW

And, by the way, the FAQ page is up. Look it over and let me know what you think–and feel free to add (or just leave it in a comment and I’ll add it either tonight or [more likely] tomorrow)!
— Michigoose

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