Monday, December 11, 2017

A Pocketful of Marbles

Remember marbles?
Not, do you know what is a marble, but do you remember marbles? Like from when you were a kid. Back when marbles were magical and sprang into existence through spontaneous generation and you only acquired new ones by finding them, trading for them, or having some benevolent Being gift some to you. When I was a kid, I did, in fact, have a special bag just for marbles. And acquiring new marbles was always cause for trading with my friends, some of whom also had marble bags though some just had jars.

Marbles were like trophies. When you're a kid, trophies also are like magical totems that come into existence for the sole purpose of being awarded to kids who have risen to the level of trophydom. After all, you can't buy trophies at the store, so they must be special. Unless, you know, there are special trophy stores... which there are... but you don't find that out until you're older. Like that whole Santa Claus thing.

But marbles! Marbles were better than gold. Of course, mostly, you could only trade them for other marbles... unless you had some super-cool marble, and, those, you could trade for almost anything. They were magic baubles. You could do a lot when you were a kid with a pocketful of marbles.
Not so much anymore, probably, but the philosophy is sound.

Because, in the end, marbles are worthless. Just bits of polished glass.

Dazzling, polished glass.

Right now, Republicans, the voters, are being dazzled by these bits of polished glass. GOP congressmen have filled their pockets with marbles and are trading them for your freedom. For our freedom, and you Republicans keep handing us over to them in exchange for shiny baubles that mean nothing.

They offer you a wall to keep out all of those dirty illegals,
and you give them your healthcare.

They offer you a tax break,
but they raise your taxes so that the rich can continue to get richer.

They offer you jobs
but give you a ruined environment.

They offer you guns
but give those to you as mass shootings, because the US is #1 in the world in mass shootings, the GOP is determined to keep us that way. After all, America has to be great at something, right?

They offer you marbles,
and you give them your freedom.

Unless your idea of freedom is the freedom to pay them more money. For everything.
Because that's what the GOP is all about, pricing the poor out of life and making slaves of them. And if you're not super rich, you're the poor. In the Republican world view, there is no middle class, and they're doing everything they can to siphon all of that money up to people who already have too much.

So if you're a Republican or if you vote Republican, especially if you voted for Trump (#fakepresident), I hope you have fun playing with your marbles. Maybe one day you'll open your eyes (or get your heads out of your asses) and see that you gave away everything of value for a few bits empty promises and polished gas.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Rebels: "Blood Sisters" (Ep. 2.08)

"It was mostly just an accident."

I've mentioned before the lack of attention given to the female characters and who they are and where they came from. We got origin-type material for Ezra and Kanan and, even, Zeb fairly early on, but, until now, there's been very little background provided about Sabine or Hera. Not that there's a lot in this episode, but it's something.

So what do we know now?
Sabine used to be a bounty hunter.
I don't know; she seems a little young to have used to have been a bounty hunter, but I suppose that explains the Mandalorian armor.
She used to have a partner. And they... split up, not on the best of terms.
Which, of course, makes their reunion less than pleasant.

I wish I could say that there was some kind of moral dilemma in all of this -- I'm going to be spoilery here -- some kind of dealing with past emotional trauma or... something..., but there's not. The Empire conveniently shows up and puts the two "friends" back together again. In some ways, it's a "Han Solo scenario," but it doesn't quite go that far.


It's a fine episode. Lots of action. But it's another reminder that Rebels fails to tackle the difficult questions.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Rebels: "Wings of the Master" (Ep. 2.07)

"We lost the transport! We lost the transport!"

When I was a kid, I never had any of the starships from Star Wars. In fact, almost all I had was action figures. My mom didn't believe in supporting my Star Wars obsession, so I had to buy all my toys with my own money, and money isn't the easiest thing to come by when you're eight years old. So I would save up for one of the ships but, any time I had enough money for one, I would compare the one ship to all of the action figures I could get with the same money, and I would buy the action figures, the one exception being the Rebel transport from Empire, because it doubled as a storage case (and it was cheap).

All of that changed when the b-wing fighter was released. I thought b-wings were so cool after Jedi came out, and I loved the way the cockpit turned on its own as you rotated the ship. When that came out, I bought it. It was my first ship. Of course, I was 13 by then and had much better avenues for earning money.

You can imagine, then, my surprise and delight to discover that this episode was about the origin of the b-wing. It was very cool, and that's all I'm going to say about it. If you're curious, you should just watch it.
And, yes, I do still have my b-wing, and I still love it.

"I just hammered it together, young pilot; you made it soar."

Monday, December 4, 2017

Coco (a movie review post)

This turns out to be a difficult movie for me to review. Seriously, I've been contemplating the review for two days and still haven't figured out how exactly I want to approach this.

The easy thing to do is just to say that it's a great movie, because it is a great movie. In fact, since Toy Story 3 came out in 2010, Coco is one of only two great movies that Pixar has released, the other being Inside Out. The story is well-told and heartfelt. Heartfelt enough that it brought a tear to my eye. The aforementioned Toy Story 3 was the last movie to do that to me, as far as I remember.

As per Pixar, even in their less than good movies, the animation was fantastic. And fantastic in a way that we really haven't seen before: It was fabulously colorful. Like a sugar skull:
In fact, there's not anything I can point to that I would say would make the movie better. No improvements necessary.

And, yet...

And, yet, I am uncomfortable with the message, the message that family always comes first and is most important. More important than anything. I just... well... That's just not true.

I could get into examples of why that's not true, but it's probably not really necessary. Either you agree with the statement or you don't and nothing I say is going to matter one way or the other. Besides, any examples I could make could be entire posts, and I don't want to get into trying to summarize things in a way that is succinct. For instance, I could say:
When my grandmother died, my uncle, through unethical and possibly illegal methods, stole all of  the land my grandparent's had owned, leaving my mother and my aunt with virtually nothing.
But, then, you're going to want me to explain that, and I don't feel like getting into it. The short of it is that family shouldn't get any special passes just because they're family.

However, my disagreement with the message doesn't detract from the movie itself; the movie is great, and you should certainly go see it. At the theater even. It's really a movie which should be enjoyed on the big screen.