Showing posts from 2019

Refuting Confederate Revisionism: Why can't the Civil War be called the "War of Northern Aggression" or a war about states' rights?

Why can't the Civil War be called the "War of Northern Aggression" or a war about states' rights? Because those descriptions of the Civil War are deceitful and odious revisionism of history, that’s why. First of all, the Federal government tried to avoid bloodshed from the time of South Carolina’s secession (December 20, 1860) till Lincoln’s Inauguration (March 4, 1860) and on until the morning of April 12, 1861. Lincoln even addressed the issue of slavery in the South in his Inaugural Address, saying that the government was not going to abolish slavery in the states where it was already legal. Second, who fired the first shots of the Civil War? It was not the United States Army (or Navy, for that matter) who did so; it was the Confederate Army that let loose the first cannon shot against Ft. Sumter in Charleston (SC) harbor. So if the Civil War were to be renamed “the War of X Aggression,” the only apt style of doing so is by substituting “Southern” for X. Third, th…

Talking About World War II: When the US entered WWII, how far did geography determine where a draftee would be deployed?

Geography was not a factor in most cases. If you were living in Miami, Florida any time after the draft was reinstated in the fall of 1940 (due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s declaration of a national emergency) and happened to get the “Greetings! The President of the United States and your neighbors…” letter from the Selective Service office, where you went while in the armed forces was pretty much determined by the needs of the service branch you were in. Thus, if you were a Floridian, you would not necessarily be sent to the Caribbean Command, North Africa, or the European Theater of Operations/ETO (including the Mediterranean Theater). You could be just as easily be sent to serve in the China-Burma-India Theater, the Philippines (before Pearl Harbor), or the South Pacific. Heck, you also had a chance to be stationed Stateside, if the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard needed you there. The only major exception to this: the Japanese-American volunteers who served in th…

Talking About 'Star Wars' Legends: Could Mara Jade Skywalker be incorporated into a canon Star Wars TV series or a movie?

Could Mara Jade Skywalker be incorporated into a canon Star Wars TV series or a movie?

Yes, but it probably would not be done in a way that fans of the old Expanded Universe would like. As originally written in the 1990s and early 2000s, the iconic Emperor’s Hand who becomes an ally (and more) to Luke Skywalker would not be a good fit for the current canon. Why? For starters, the ship for making Mara Jade, aka Mara Jade Skywalker, into a canon character (i.e., a major supporting character in an official Lucasfilm Ltd. production) sailed a long time ago in a production company that operates in a land not very far away (California). Mara Jade is a character whose most important story arc occurs in the 1991–93 Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command). She was created by Timothy Zahn, a Hugo Award-winning author whose Star Wars novels stand out like diamonds in a sea of zirconias in the muddled mess that is the Star Wars Expanded Universe (which Lucasfi…

Beating a Dead Tauntaun Department, Part Two: Is there such a thing as Grey Jedi?

On Quora, Jason Lowman asks:
Is there such a thing as Grey Jedi?
Grey Jedi exist only in the minds of Star Wars fans who are enthralled with the idea that a Jedi Knight can use both the dark and light side of the Force without suffering the fate of Darth Vader or Assajj Ventress. Other Quora members, such as Mike Prinke and Eric Lowe, have written extensively on the topic of the non-existence of Grey Jedi. They’ve pointed out the same facts about the “Grey Jedi” mythos, which are: There’s no mention of “Grey Jedi” anywhere in the official Star Wars canon, especially in the material that most counts: the eight (soon to be nine) Skywalker Saga films, the three existing Lucasfilm Animation TV series, or any of the canonical novels, comic books, or post-2014 Lucasfilm-licensed video gamesNone of the maverick Jedi characters seen or mentioned in the aforementioned canon are Grey Jedi. Not Qui-Gon Jinn. Not Ahsoka Tano. Not Quinlan Vos. Not Mace Windu.The Lucasfilm Story Group, the arbiter of…

Refuting Conservative Propaganda: My Reply to 'When will the left finally realize who really colluded with foreign countries to influence the 2016 presidential election?'

On Quora, Trump supporter Jeff Blake asks this insincere question:  When will the left finally realize who really colluded with foreign countries to influence the 2016 presidential election? My reply:  News flash, sweet summer child: The “left,” the “center,” and the sane, honest members of the “right” are painfully aware that it was the Republican Party and - especially - the Trump campaign team who colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 general election. It’s only most of the “right,” particularly the die-hard core of Trump supporters and the craven leadership of the GOP, that constantly bangs on the “No collusion, no obstruction” drum. The Red Cap Brigade uses several tactics to gaslight the public and hide the modern-day Republican Party’s cozy relations with the Russians. They range from outright denial (“Russia did not intervene in the 2016 election at all.”) to clever deflection (“Russia did intervene, but only to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”) to outright defiance …

Talking About 'Star Wars': Are Star Wars animated series only placeholder canon until the movies decide what actually happened during that time frame?

Are Star Wars animated series only placeholder canon until the movies decide what actually happened during that time frame?

No. Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars: Resistance are coequal in canon to the live-action films. Especially Star Wars: The Clone Wars, because that series was created and executive produced by George Lucas and was the last Star Wars content he personally oversaw. The only animated series that meets the “placeholder” criteria is the 2003–2005 Star Wars: Clone Wars 2-D micro-series created by Genndy Tartakovsky and co-produced by Lucasfilm and Cartoon Network. Intended as a means to bridge the three-year in-universe gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Tartakovsky’s series was just one of many elements in Lucasfilm’s multimedia Clone Wars campaign, as well as a backdoor pilot to George Lucas’s CGI animated series. Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In the early days of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Lucasfilm’s official stance was …

'Star Wars' Collectibles & Toys Review: Hasbro 'Star Wars Saga' TIE Fighter (Imperial Dogfight) and Imperial Pilot (2003)

Part One: The first TIE Fighter versions: Good but flawed...

Ever since 1978, the year Kenner Toys (now Hasbro) started the Star Wars action figure collection and its assortment of vehicles and playsets, one of the mainstays has always been the Empire's Twin Ion Engine (TIE) fighter.
Unlike the first production version of its Rebel counterparts (the X-Wing and Millennium Falcon), it has always been proportionate in scale to the 3.75-inch figures, mainly because of its layout -- ball-shaped cockpit connected to two hexagonal solar panels that give the TIE its distinctive H-shape -- is simple and efficient. It could hold one figure -- at first, collectors had no choice but to use either Darth Vader (until he got his own TIE-Advanced X-1 fighter) or a stormtrooper until later runs of figures finally included the TIE Fighter pilot. To simulate severe battle damage during play, two spring-…

Much Ado Over Fox News Channel: Can NBC News buy the Fox News Channel?

On Quora, Rich Madhok asks Can NBC News buy the Fox News Channel? No. NBC News cannot buy the Fox News Channel. Here’s why: NBC News is not now, and never was, an independent entity capable of purchasing any of its competitors. It started out as the news division of the National Broadcasting Company back in the days of radio. (Fun fact: Until 1943, NBC had two networks: NBC Blue and NBC Red. In 1943, RCA spun-off NBC Blue and sold it to Edward J. Noble’s American Broadcasting Service. which renamed the Blue Network as the American Broadcasting Company.)The National Broadcasting Company itself is not an independent company; it’s now part of NBCUniversal, which in turn is owned by Comcast.Comcast is not interested in acquiring another news channel; it already owns NBC News (over the air), MSNBC, and CNBC. It does not need Fox News Channel, nor does it desire to acquire Fox News Channel in order to “silence” it or change its status as a conservative propaganda organ.More relevantly, Rupert…

Talking About Republican Hypocrisy: Why do some people say Mr. Trump instead of President Trump?

Why do some people say Mr. Trump instead of President Trump? In everyday usage, or in journalistic reporting/editorial writing? Since I studied journalism and mass communications in high school and college, I’ll start with how mass media refers to presidents and foreign leaders. Although newspaper and news magazines’ stylebooks allow for local variations when dealing with honorifics and titles (the New York Times usually places honorifics such as Mr., Mrs., or Ms. before a person’s last name upon second reference), the general style rule is: Use a government official’s title and complete name on first reference, e.g. “President Donald Trump.” After that, use the person’s last name only, e.g. “When Trump was asked about the issue, he said, ‘Fake news!’” In print media, page space is like real estate: a valuable commodity that is measured in column inches. Newspapers especially have only so much space on a page, and there is a limit on how many articles you can fit into your average lay…

September 11: Commemoration is fine; Islamophobia is not

Today is September 11, 2019. It is the 18th Anniversary of al Qaeda's terrorist attacks on the United States of America in New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA (the site where United 93 crashed when its passengers, aware of the other attacks by three hijacked airliners against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, fought back against the al Qaeda hijackers and forced the plane to crash before it reached its intended target, which was either the White House or the Capitol in Washington, DC.) Over 3,000 Americans, as well as the 19 hijackers, were killed in the worst terrorist incident in U.S. history. September 11 is a date that will, like 12/7/1941, live in infamy. The attacks were masterminded by Osama bin Laden and other radical adherents of Islam. They were carried out by young men who were radicalized into believing the tenets of a religion that some "imams" and "religious thinkers" have twisted into something that most Muslims do not believe. …

Refuting Conservative Propaganda: Domain Why do young people in the US read and watch AJ+ media and not realize it is propaganda for Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and other Qatar funded radical extremist groups?

Why do young people in the US read and watch AJ+ media and not realize it is propaganda for Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and other Qatar funded radical extremist groups? Let me ask you a question, with all due respect: Why do so many white males who identify as Christian and adhere to Republican/conservative political beliefs ask questions such as this one and use “Prager U” videos from YouTube as “proof’ of anything? First, I seriously doubt that great numbers of Americans (young, middle-aged, or old) watch or read Al-Jazeera English or any of its associated English language content, including AJ+, on cable TV or online. Some people might, after all, do so, either because (a) Al-Jazeera actually has more actual news-related content than its U.S.-based counterparts (including WarnerMedia’s CNN and “New Fox”-owned Fox News Channel) or (b) they are not narrow-minded and want a different perspective on the news and opinions that shape our lives. As even former Democratic Presidential candidate Hilla…

Talking About 'Star Wars': Is 'Star Wars' part of the Marvel Universe?

Is Star Wars part of the Marvel Universe? No. The Star Wars franchise (including films, animated and live-action TV series, and novels) properly belongs to Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company founded in 1971 by George Lucas, who ran it until October 2012. That’s when he sold Lucasfilm and all of its intellectual property to The Walt Disney Company for $2.2 billion in cash and $1.855 billion in stock. Marvel Comics, which itself is now also owned by The Walt Disney Company, has had a long relationship with Star Wars, starting as early as 1976. Back then, the comics publisher was one of the first companies to show interest in Lucas’s space-fantasy film set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” Marvel artist Howard Chaykin created the very first Star Wars teaser poster for a 1976 comics convention at the behest of Lucasfilm publicist Charles Lippincott; this poster was later adapted for the cover of Marvel’s Star Wars #1, the first issue of six that comprise the official adapta…

How many movies have been made based on Stephen King's 'It'?

How many movies have been made based on Stephen King's It?

It has been adapted twice for filmed audio-visual media. The first filmed version of It was a TV limited series; the second was a duology of theatrically-released movies. 

The first adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 doorstop of a novel was a 1990 adaptation made as a two-part ABC miniseries for television. Among the cast members: Tim Reid, Harry Anderson, Annette O’Toole, John Ritter, and Richard Thomas. The miniseries also featured Tim Curry as the evil Pennywise the Clown. Adapted for television by director Tommy Lee Wallace and Lawrence D. Cohen (who also adapted King’s Carrie for director Brian De Palma in 1976), It was okay but a watered-down take on the scary novel about a group of friends who must face off against a monstrous entity known as “It” twice. Once as kids in 1960, then again as adults in 1990. (Like 11,22.63, the TV version of It avoids the year 1958, which is where parts of 11/22/63 and It are both set.) …