Posts tagged ‘Darth Vader’

May the Farce be With You

Here is something I really, really did not know, or probably even want to know, before a friend emailed me a link today:

In the 2001 United Kingdom census, 390,000 people - 0.7 per cent of the population - listed Jedi as their religion.

They are not alone - 20,000 Canadians also listed their religion as Jedi in 2001...

Some may list such a choice only as a joke, but there are apparently real churches set up in the model of the Jedi religion as detailed in the Star Wars franchise:

The two cousins and Barney Jones' brother, Daniel, set up the Church of
Jediism, Anglesey order, last year. Jedi is the faith followed by some
of the central characters in the "Star Wars" films.

The group, which claims about 30 members, says on its website that
it uses "insight and knowledge" from the films as "a guide to living a
better and more worthwhile life."

Oh, but it gets even better:

A man who dressed up as Darth Vader has been spared jail time for assaulting the founders of the Jedi Church in Britain.

Twenty-seven-year-old Arwel Wynne Hughes was given a suspended sentence for the crime by a judge in Wales on Tuesday.

Prosecutors told Magistrates' Court in Holyhead that Hughes attacked
Jedi church founder Barney Jones - a.k.a. Master Jonba Hehol - with a
metal crutch, hitting him on the head.

He also whacked Jones' 18-year-old cousin, Michael Jones - known as
Master Mormi Hehol - bruising his thigh in the March 25 incident.

 

Review for Star Wars III

First, I must confess that I have been to opening day of every Star Wars movie, and I have tickets for opening day of this last one.  Yes, I am kindof a geek, but no, I am not a total geek:  I did not sit up all night in line or anything for these movies. 

This is actually a bit of an accomplishment, because I don't think many people saw the original Star Wars movie on the first day.  One thing that I think a lot of people don't remember, given all the Star Wars hype and success, is that the original movie opened without much hype or expectations.  I was with my family visiting LA, where we were staying in some hotel in Century City  (maybe the Century Plaza - I remember it seemed pretty nice).  Anyway, my dad was on business and my mom and sisters were shopping so I walked over that morning to see what was playing at the Century City movie theater.  It was in that way I accidently saw the first showing on the first day of the original Star Wars.  It was me and about 7 other people in that huge theater.   I was so blown away that I stayed for a second showing.

Anyway, time passes.  Empire Strikes Back was great.  I thought at the time that Return of the Jedi was pretty mediocre, but that was before I saw Clone Wars which I thought was visibly stunning but really bad.  I cringed every time there was any substantial dialogue, particularly  when Padme was on the screen.

Anyway, I take this review pretty seriously, because they seem to have had the same reactions I had to the previous movies.  The Good news:  visually even more stunning, cool fight scenes, and a better all around movie than the other prequels.  The Bad news:  the Padme dialog still sucks, maybe even worse.

I really enjoyed watching Revenge of the Sith. And yes, it is quite a good film.
However, the scenes with Padmé alone are enough to give you flashbacks of the
worst parts of the first 2 sequels, and thus lower your overall enjoyment ofthe
movie.

Still... it is a strong film with a strong story, great effects and much
improved dialog (with the exception of anything with Padmé in it). Star Wars
fans should be quite happy... and non-Star Wars fans will enjoy as well.

Overall... I give Revenge of the Sith a solid 7 out of
10
(would have been a 9 if they just totally took out Padmé or
re-wrote all her pathetic dialog).

It gets much worse treatment in other venues, but for roughly the same reasons.

UPDATE:  Here is my review

By the way, Darth Vader has a blog now.  We learn a lot from it about the daily trial and tribulations of being a dark jedi master (thanks to VodkaPundit for the link):

Due to the haste with which we are proceding through the
latter phases of this battle-station's construction we have been forced to
employ scores of civilian contractors from across the galaxy in addition to our
own Imperial Corps of Engineers. This had led to a certain clash of working
cultures.

For instance, this morning I critiqued a tragically sub-par
piece of workmanship on a tractor-beam repulsolift inversion assembly by
snapping the neck of the site supervisor and throwing his limp corpse down a
disused elevator shaft.

Imperial engineers would have snapped to crisp
attention, of course, but all these civilian contractors did was give me was
grief. "Oy, you do that again and I'll have the union on you!" barked one
red-faced buffoon.

"It is vital that you enhance the inter-departmental
syngergies of your operation," I said. And then I killed him.

I can relate.

Forest Service May Close Recreation Sites

Frequent readers of this site may know that my day job is running a company that manages recreation sites under concession contract to a number of public landowners, including the US Forest Service.  I take a lot of pride in this job, as our company helps keep recreation facilities open that the government might not have the personnel or the skills or the money to run.  The Forest Service's budget gets cut about every year, such that tax money comes nowhere near covering the cost of managing recreation sites.

Of late, the Forest Service has begun looking to actually close some recreation facilities:

The cash-strapped
U.S. Forest Service can no longer afford to maintain many of its parks
and has started ranking recreational sites, including campgrounds and
trail heads, for possible closure.

Supporters of public lands generally hate the onset of fee-based recreation, and wish it was still possible for all public recreation facilities to be free.  This was a realistic goal back when recreation facilities were cheap to run, but today campgrounds and other such facilities can be tremendously expensive(a single large campground might cost as much as a half million a year to operate), in large part due to actions by the same people who support free use of public lands.  Some examples:

  • 50 years ago, campgrounds labor was essentially free because it could be staffed with volunteers.  With current labor laws, this is no longer possible (even if people still want to volunteer), and a large campground can require hundreds of thousands of dollars of labor to maintain each year, even at minimum wage.
  • 50 years ago, people in the outdoors just drank water from a stream or out of the hand pump.  Today, in certain complexes, we spend tens of thousands of dollars keeping water systems in compliance with complex state laws.
  • 50 years ago, if someone tripped over a root in the forest or twisted their ankle on a rock, they accepted that as a normal risk of being out in nature.  Today, everyone calls their lawyer.  Each year, campground visitors file millions of dollars of lawsuits for accidents once thought to be normal hazards of nature.
  • 50 years ago, active timber sales in the forest helped fund recreation programs.  Today, timber sales in many forests are at an all time low, due in large part to opposition by nature lovers

So, I admit I don't know the person who said this:

"They will close
those sites the public has always enjoyed but which they cannot afford
because they are not profitable," said Scott Silver of the Bend group
Wild Wilderness. "It's the complete perversion of the meaning of public
lands."

But I would bet quite a bit that he supports some or all of the laws and government regulations listed above that make running recreation facilities so much more expensive than 50 years ago.

Update: By the way, though I might disagree with Scott Silver on the necessity of use fees at developed facilities like campgrounds or boat ramps, he is dead on in certain respects:

  • Politicians love to fund splashy new recreation projects, but hate to fund basic maintenance.  This means that at the same time campgrounds and facilities are closing due to lack of maintenance dollars, new facilities are being opened all the time.  This strikes me as absurd. 
  • Recreation facilities on public lands are missing the boat when they attempt to emulate private operations too much.  There are plenty of KOA's next to the interstate with pools and video game rooms.  Campgrounds on public lands have typically taken a different approach and served a different niche, that of providing a more primitive experience closer to nature, and I think its a mistake when they move away from this approach.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, I will never be able to see eye-to-eye with such groups because they refuse to acknowledge that as a private company I can be anything but Darth Vader with secret plans to put up a Walmart in Yosemite or put up billboards along a nature trail.  Crusading socialists often have the funniest ideas about the profit motive.  For example, if I make most of my money at a recreation site catering to people who want a wilderness experience, why in the world would I do anything to interfere with that experience?  It does not matter what the situation or the facts or the company, the first arguments are always that private companies just want to take a natural setting and put up advertising, then build a shopping mall.

By the way, Mr. Silver sees conspiracies among the private recreation companies.  I have sat on some committees in the "evil" organizations he cites, and I will tell you with complete assurance that these groups would have trouble crafting a successful plan to buy a 6-pack of beer from the local 7-11, much less shape government policy to their ends.  But maybe I got left out of all the really cool SPECTRE-type meetings.