The other day I learned about something too good to be true - a free, insanely quick, and virtually effortless way for citizens of free countries, like me, to help Iranian revolutionaries and other oppressed people. No, I'm not talking about liking a Facebook page, I mean something that actually helps people. If you install the Tor Snowflake extension on Google Chrome or Firefox, people anywhere in the world can use it to circumvent government censorship of the internet. Download it here. Do it do it do it. The little icon turns green when someone is using it, and it displays the number of people who have used it in the last twenty-four hours. Right now mine is at twelve. The highest it's been is sixteen. Already I've gotten my money's worth out of it. I also embedded it in the code of my website's footer, so I have no idea how but I guess people can visit my website and then use it to do other things. That one says it's helped one person. Good enough for me. We now return to our regularly scheduled post.
Almost the only thing my grandpa does is watch TV, especially since his wife died, so during my recent visit I watched it with him for a few hours every day. It's nice to just be able to enjoy someone's company without talking. Mostly he watches on the YouTube app, and since the search function isn't working very well, nowadays he just scrolls through the recommendations that tend to fall into a few distinct categories that I feel like discussing in no particular order.
I'm not a fan of Fox News but I stuck around for some of it to get out of my echo chamber. And it's not that I think Biden is above criticism. I'm not a die-hard fan or anything. I didn't even vote for him. I just don't notice a lot of things to criticize because I'm too busy being grateful that he's not Donald Trump. So I didn't mind that, but when Tucker Carlson started bashing Volodymyr Zelenskyy, I had to leave the room before I threw something at the TV. Zelenskyy is eight hundred thousand times the man Carlson will ever be. He has more class, courage, and integrity in the dead skin cells he sloughs off in one night than Carlson will manifest in his lifetime. But while millions of his people are losing their homes and their livelihoods, he had the gall to not wear a tie to the White House and to request more military aid, and that triggered this shitflake. (Really, the US is doing the bare minimum required by basic human decency. It should have sent Navy Seals to kill Putin months ago. I'm not even joking. This war is almost entirely his fault, and he has so little support in his own country that his death would probably end it overnight.) Then there was this other guy with his own show, Greg Gutfeld. He's a jerk but sometimes he's pretty funny. So help me, I like him. I guess he reminds me of me.
This show is like a cowboy-themed version of Laugh-In, which I didn't find funny either. A lot of humor from the seventies doesn't seem to land the same way anymore. This even applies somewhat to The Muppet Show, but in that case the goofy characters' delivery saves it, and anyway they're constantly making fun of how bad their show is and that works as a kind of reverse psychology. This also partially explains The Star Wars Holiday Special, though the only thing that can fully explain The Star Wars Holiday Special is lots and lots of drugs. So when I visited for Thanksgiving I just thought Hee Haw was painfully unfunny with some decent music. My sister and brother-in-law concurred. This time, though, I enjoyed several clips and an entire episode from start to finish. Maybe I was just glad not to be watching Fox News. But I thought the same thing I thought the second time I saw The Croods: Either this show got better, or I got stupider. My favorite joke was when this guy showered praises on this lady and she responded to all of his lines with "Olé!" and he asked her why and she said, "That's what they say when the bull comes out."
Ray Stevens Music
My grandpa used to watch a lot of Home Free, which is, get this, it will blow your mind, an all-male acapella group that covers other people's songs, but he doesn't anymore for some reason. Now it's usually Ray Stevens. Some of Ray Stevens' songs are hilarious, some are just weird, and some are very right-wing and/or somewhat racist, but fortunately we didn't watch any of those. This is rightly considered one of his best.
America's/Britain's Got Talent
These shows live up to their names. Great music and incredible feats abound. I cry sometimes. This time we got a blast from the past watching Susan Boyle. I remember hearing about her appearance on the news in the airport coming back from my high school's Spanish Club trip. I didn't think as much then as I do now about how crappy everyone was toward her before she sang. They didn't even try to hide the fact that they assumed she would suck because she wasn't young and beautiful. People are really awful. Oh yeah, and then there was the teenager that everyone thought would suck because he was fat, and he put them in their place. But then Simon Cowell suggested that he should dump his friend who supported him through everything and just did the duet with him, because he was phenomenal and she was just good and she would hold him back, and she was standing right there pretending not to be hurt. What a jerk. Oh, here's a nice clip that made me cry. I watched it at Thanksgiving but that's close enough.
I've watched bits and pieces of Western movies with my grandpa. When I was there for Thanksgiving I watched Hang 'Em High in its entirety. This time I watched Sonny and Jed (originally La Banda J.&S.) in its entirety. A brief synopsis with spoilers follows.
Jed is an outlaw who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. He also swears a lot more than necessary. Sonny rescues him from the sheriff and says she wants to join him. The second time he talks to her, he's surprised to realize she's a woman, which surprised me because it was pretty obvious, but then I remembered that this movie is set in an era when women weren't supposed to be cowboys. But he also makes a weird joke about her being "castrated at birth" and for a couple minutes I thought he was serious and that it was going to be an interesting plot point. Anyway, as soon as he finds out she's a woman he's like "Do you know what I do to females?" and then tries to rape her but gives up in disgust when he discerns, through some means I don't want to know, that she's a virgin. At that point, for me, Jed crosses the line from anti-hero or likeable villain to someone whose death I'll actively root for throughout the rest of the movie. His redeeming qualities don't balance out this monstrous act. But Sonny keeps following him anyway.
He belittles her nearly every time he opens his mouth, whether he's addressing her or someone else in front of her. At one point his brothel-owning friend wants to buy her and pins her to a bed and tries to take her clothes off, and he just sits back and watches for an uncomfortable length of time before intervening, at which point she's crying not because of trauma but because she loves him. They get married and immediately rob the priest, which is pretty funny. Then there are some more funny scenes of them robbing people as a couple. I feel like this should have been the focus of the movie, but it doesn't last very long. He's nicer to her for a while but then he's a jerk again. Eventually she betrays him to the sheriff, then rescues him from the sheriff (again), then leaves him while he hobbles behind on his injured leg and begs her to come back. Earlier in the movie he told her to walk five feet behind him "like a dog;" now she tells him the same thing.
The best part of the movie is a recurring motif in Ennio Morricone's score with a banjo and then voices singing, "Sonny... Sonny..." Not Jed, which is just as well, as he doesn't deserve to have his name in a song. It's like unseen angels urging Sonny to get out of this terrible relationship. I'd have to go back and keep track of when it comes up to guess at its actual intended meaning.
We took a break from YouTube to watch two of the finest Christmas movies ever made on VHS (ask your parents what that is) - The Muppet Christmas Carol (without the heart-wrenching musical number "When Love is Found" wrongfully excised) and It's a Wonderful Life. They both made me cry. I was a wreck, y'all. The next day, Christmas Day, I suggested Miracle on 34th Street and we looked on Netflix but it wasn't there so instead we watched Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas instead. Then my grandpa just scrolled through Netflix and asked if there was anything I wanted to watch. I saw The Man from Toronto and mentioned that it was funny, so he put it on, and I realized with some chagrin that it's not nearly as funny when I'm not watching it with a bunch of college-aged friends, and this was the day before we watched Sonny and Jed so I wasn't sure how comfortable he'd be with the content, but he slept through most of it anyway.
Out of a silly concern for people's privacy, I used to give pseudonyms to everyone I wrote about on my blog. So when I wrote about my group from Shanan Ballam's Fall 2015 Poetry Writing course, I gave the members stupid pseudonyms: Bracelets, Redhead, and Glasses. And then Bracelets was the only one I wrote about consistently but I think I did mention the others once each. Anyway, I hate those nicknames now, so I'm going to come clean. Their names are Lauren, Clara, and Joe. That felt weird. I called Lauren "Bracelets" because she wore lots of bracelets on both arms, as well as hats with big, floppy brims and other generally fabulous clothing. She liked to be fabulous, but she wasn't conceited or anything. She was responsible for the formation of our group when she said those of us who happened to sit near her on the first day of class should just be a group, so she shaped my life in some ways with that thoughtless act. She also became a fan of my blog and more than once the only reason I continued writing it every week despite its very underwhelming performance. I would have given up back then, a few months after starting, but because of her I didn't, and now I've sunk too much time and energy into it to give up despite the paltry returns on my effort being nowhere near worth it. Thanks, Lauren, I say sarcastically.
On my phone, she was and remains listed as "Lady Lauren" because she had an affinity for the romanticized version of the Middle Ages that we all know never really existed. I don't even remember why, but she once told me, "You're my knight in shining armor." And I told another woman about that and the other woman said, "Dude, either she likes you, or you're really deep in the friend zone." Women are allowed to say "friend zone" unironically without getting their heads bitten off because reasons. But Lauren was just big on being a lady and being treated like a lady and stuff. In her phone, I discovered one day that I was listed as "Christopher Aspie Friend". I posted on Facebook, "Today I found out that my crush has me listed in her phone as 'Christopher Aspie Friend'. I'm not sure how I feel about that." I felt safe posting it because Lauren didn't have Facebook. A couple months later, some random lady liked the post. The random lady, upon investigation, turned out to be Lauren's mother.
I think I'm still listed as "Christopher Aspie Friend", and I'm torn between wanting to keep it that way for nostalgia's sake and wanting to change it because I now know that Hans Asperger collaborated with the Nazis by knowingly referring children with disabilities to be murdered at the Am Spiegelgrund clinic. (Nobody knew this in 2015.) I have ceased using Aspie or Asperger's as a descriptor in any other context.
I never mentioned on my blog how she broke my heart, but I did cryptically allude to it with some very melodramatic language that's still better poetry than any of the actual poetry I wrote for our poetry class. Around that time, though, I saw Disney's Inside Out and learned that it's okay to be sad sometimes, and that was powerful. She started dating the guy she'd called "basically my brother" and then that ended but I still didn't have a chance. Anyway, we remained good friends but we argued sometimes because I got frustrated with her sometimes. I won't talk about why because I don't want to criticize her, and I'm sure she had legitimate reasons to be frustrated with me too, and I didn't fully appreciate the toll that the hardship she was going through must have taken. Let's just say we weren't great at communicating. We stayed in touch after she graduated and moved on, and I got her into the Star Wars fandom and found out she was already in the Legend of Zelda fandom, but sometimes she stopped responding to texts for months at a time and I still don't know why. I have another friend who was like that for the better part of a decade, but it was because she periodically relapsed into heroin and felt embarrassed to talk to me, so I don't know what the deal was here.
Most recently, Lauren stopped responding for about twenty-six months. In late 2019 I was texting her once a week with no response, and then in early 2020 I told her to have a nice life, which, even though it sounds like a nice thing to say, is actually a rude thing to say. My frustration this time around stemmed in large part from waiting indefinitely on the feedback she had promised for the book that I'd sent her in April and she'd finished reading in July or so. I still texted her happy Easter 2020 and then in October 2020 I texted her to mention that I had a dream where she told me why she'd disappeared for a year, and I was very disappointed when I woke up. But I just accepted that she would probably not be part of my life again and I didn't know why. I didn't expect anything to happen when I texted her Merry Christmas this year. And nothing did happen for three days. But then -
So this was a really, really nice surprise. I do hope she'll stick around for a while. I haven't asked about why she disappeared or why she didn't give me feedback on my book, and I'm sure I will at some point but first and foremost I'm just grateful to have her back and I have no hard feelings whatsoever. I value her friendship very much. I don't even feel like my former romantic interest in her was a complete waste of time like most of my romantic interests have been. Her kindness, her intelligence, her thoughtfulness, and her sense of humor, besides just generally making her a good person to associate with and a positive influence on my life, have helped to shape my vision of the kind of woman I'm going to marry. The thing I like most about her sense of humor is how we can take a joke that isn't all that funny and play along with it so seriously that our seriousness about the joke becomes the joke. Anyway, maybe I can't adequately convey what I'm trying to convey in this post to those who haven't met her, but our reconnection is the greatest thing that's happened to me for a while and though it came out of the blue, I'm sure I was prompted to text her Merry Christmas, and it increases my confidence in the glorious promises God has made me if I can just be patient and stay close to Him.
This will be a brief and not particularly good post because I'm on vacation and I don't want to put in a lot of time or effort (insert your own quip about my usual lack of effort here). I went to the usual place for Christmas this year, though now it's just my grandpa's house since my grandma died a few months ago. Since my aunts moved out, their rooms have been reclaimed and one is a guest room that I used this time around. They had a snowstorm and then the window blinds were too weak to block out most of the light reflecting off the snow, which made for a hellish time trying to sleep, but the window was almost the exact right size to stuff with four long pillows that were in the room. I'm a genius. The shelf in the closet was lined with binders full of looseleaf papers containing my great-grandma's journals. Being the incurable narcissist that I am, I made an immediate beeline for June 23, 1993.
It says: "Denece called this morning to say that Brenda had her baby about 5:30 this morning after a long labor, all night - Yesterday when she went for her check-up, her bag of water was leaking and so the doctor put her in the hospital - There was a staph germ present, and the doctor was afraid the baby would get it, so he induced labor - It was no fun! So have this 7 lb 12 oz baby boy, Christopher Randall Nicholson, our first great-grandchild - Brenda said he is the cutest, sweetest baby in the world - She sounds like a devoted mother! and we are glad. Dale is walking on air."
Well, that's nice. I suppose I could have just asked, but I didn't know all those details. I didn't know what time I was born, for example. Years ago I noticed a newcomer to my ward filling out her information on a blue sheet with "I am a girl" written at the top instead of the customary pink sheet because "Colors are not gendered" and "I like blue better," and then I noticed that she had the same birthday as me, and she asked what time I was born, and I didn't know so I had to cover up my ignorance by saying, "I don't remember. I was very young." She stared at me for a moment, then said "Oh, stop it" and turned away to talk to someone else.
On Christmas Eve I went to see the Spider-Man movie with my brother-in-law. It did not disappoint. Then I went to bed, woke up, and couldn't get back to sleep because I hadn't yet figured out to stuff the window with pillows. Then as I lay in bed feeling like garbage while everyone else was up doing Christmas things, I made the mistake of getting on Facebook and seeing eight hundred pictures of happy couples. Even the heathens I went to high school with are settling down and raising families by now. But the day was turned around by getting to collaborate with family members on a 1,000-piece Lego puzzle.
My heart was also warmed by the continued loyalty of true friends.
That night I had a great prayer and cried a lot. I almost never cry, and it feels so very, very good when I do. So that was nice. Someday hopefully I'll be at liberty to write all about what I said and why I cried.
Prior to Christmas this year, I accompanied my sister and brother-in-law who already had the you-know-what, and my infant niece who already has you-know-what antibodies, to visit my aunt and uncle and cousins who already had the you-know-what, and then my grandparents and other aunts who already had the you-know-what. We came home on Christmas Eve and I spent actual Christmas at home alone and didn't get the package my mom sent that was supposed to arrive on the 16th until today (I assume it arrived yesterday, but I didn't get it until today when I went outside and nearly tripped over it, so I'm glad it didn't get stolen overnight), but that's okay. The highlight of my brief travel was playing Legos with my ten and six year old cousins. Ten year old said at one point, "Who wants to get drugged?" I thought I must have heard her wrong, but no, she showed me the Lego "drug shop" she built where Lego people could "drink drugs" that made them grow extra torsos. Afterward, they "smoked" out of Lego saxophones. I just - what?
Also, two year old cousin found my scriptures and highlighted them for me, so that was thoughtful.
In the spirit of Christmas, I want to think about the good things that have happened this year, gifts from God, if you will. For most people, this year started to go downhill in March or thereabouts, but for me, January 14 was the literal worst day of my life, so everything after that was just kind of whatever. The best things that happened to me specifically were that I got accepted into graduate school and offered a graduate instructor position that I accepted and enjoyed, and my sister had a baby. Those don't go on the official list because they don't mean anything to most people and my purpose here isn't to brag about how great my life is, but I wanted to mention them.
1. We got Covid-19 vaccines in record time. I attribute this in part to the global fasts called for earlier this year by President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially the second one. In the April 2020 General Conference, he said, "I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized." The only immediate discernible result of this fast was an outpouring of love and fellowship among people of different faiths all over the world, which was really great but not the purpose of the fast. Within a few months, though, multiple companies have used new technology to create multiple vaccines faster than any other vaccine in history has been created. Skeptics will say it's a coincidence; I say it's not. I guess that's why they call it "faith".
2. The extent of racism still in the United States is finally being recognized and addressed by white Americans. Of course, many white people are fighting this recognition tooth and nail, insistent on deluding themselves that racism ended after some laws were passed in the 1960s, or that whatever racism still exists will go away by itself if we refuse to acknowledge it, but they've already lost. The protests and riots going on are generally regarded as another reason why 2020 has been a dumpster fire, but they're actually a good thing in the long run. They're the inevitable and long overdue symptom of a disease that's been festering for centuries, they're a step closer to healing, and they're what this country deserves. I don't condone or support riots, but as Martin Luther King (who didn't condone or support them either) pointed out, "in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard." This unrest could have been prevented if people in power had addressed these problems a long time ago, but now they have no choice.
This seems to be a direct silver lining of the you-know-what. If people hadn't been stuck at home spending all day on social media, the necessary outrage probably wouldn't have materialized, just like it never did in the past.
3. Police officers are finally being put in their place. While I recognize the huge racial disparity in police abuse, I count it as a separate issue from racism because racism manifests in many other ways and black people aren't the only ones subjected to police abuse. Occasionally I see arguments about whether Derek Chauvin is actually racist or not. As far as I'm concerned, even if you could conclusively prove that his murder of George Floyd over $20 (while he himself owed 1092.65 times that amount in taxes) had nothing to do with skin color, it would do little to alter the fact that he's a fascist pig who should be strung up by his genitals and used as a piñata. I hope there's a special place in hell for everyone who's tried to rationalize his actions, blame his victim, or otherwise make him look like less of a fascist pig than he actually is.
I say "abuse" to cover all forms of police corruption and misbehavior, not just physical brutality. I'm very conscious of that distinction after I myself was subjected to police abuse earlier this year on January 14, and after I recovered sufficiently from the trauma to form coherent thoughts I lost all respect for law enforcement and determined that the next time some hemorrhoid in a police uniform comes into my apartment, I'm not going to be Mr. Polite and Deferential while he yells at me. But it could have been much worse for me. All Officer Nelson of the Logan Police Department did was verbally and psychologically abuse me for ten minutes even though he had already been told I was suicidal and already knew he was supposed to make me go to the hospital for being suicidal. He didn't kill me, he just tried to drive me to do it myself. He never explained what I had done wrong and he never accused me of or charged me with any crime. But I thought the police would leave me alone if I didn't break the law? Huh.
Before this experience I wasn't motivated to try to do anything about police abuse, even though I knew it existed and disproportionately affected black people, and after this experience I was too frightened to try to do anything about police abuse because police were above the law, which of course is why Officer Nelson dared to treat me the way he did in the first place. I regret that I didn't get involved with the cause until everyone else did, but I'm determined to keep it going even if everyone else forgets. There is still much to be done until police officers are consistently and immediately held accountable for wrongdoing instead of having their fellow officers, departments, and unions ignore it or actively cover it up. If they abuse a civilian at any time, even if the civilian did something wrong once, they should be fired and, if necessary, arrested, full stop. Not reassigned to administrative duties, not put on paid leave a.k.a. vacation, not given a letter telling them not to do it again even though they've already done it seventeen times. And they shouldn't be able to just go and get hired by another department. Until that happens, people will continue to hate the police for damn good reason.
Bullies like Officer Nelson aren't the whole extent of the problem, either. While he tried to play bad cop good cop by himself, he was accompanied by another officer who seemed nice enough but said literally three sentences the whole time and did nothing to justify his presence there. He didn't stand up for me and he didn't ask his fellow cop to stop being a dickhole. It reminds me of this incident that happened in May but was just recently exposed, where a police sergeant in Boston bragged to another cop about running over BLM protesters in an unmarked police car, and didn't realize the other cop's body camera was on. Did the other cop report him? No, don't be ridiculous. The other cop warned him that his body camera was on, which tells you everything you need to know about law enforcement in this country, and the sergeant pretended he already knew that but immediately walked back his comments. Now that the footage has been made public, this piece of excrement has been placed on leave pending investigation, even though his comments alone are more than damning enough that he should be fired on the spot, and the only question is whether he should also be arrested for actually running protesters over.
Oh, and every time I see that picture of former police officer Brett Hankison with that insufferable smile on his face, I want to wipe it off with a brick.
Again, a silver lining of the you-know-what, for the same reasons. It's not like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were even close to being the first black people murdered by American police officers.
4. Donald Trump was not re-elected president of the United States. I know many disagree with me on this, though those people probably don't read my blog very much, but I strongly believe that for obvious reasons he will be remembered as at least the second-worst president in American history (it's kind of hard to top Andrew "Trail of Tears" Jackson). Again, not saying Biden is anything great, but at least he'll make the United States a bit less of a global embarrassment for the next four years, or however long he's in office before Harris assassinates him. At least he only sniffs women's hair instead of bragging about grabbing them by the pussy. At least he didn't unironically warn his followers that his political opponent "will listen to the scientists". At least come January, refugees in desperate need will no longer be banned from this country that once claimed to be a haven for "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore."
I think this is a silver lining of the you-know-what too. As much as I hate to say it, Trump still has enough support that he very well might have been re-elected if not for his criminally negligent mishandling of and misinformation regarding what he called a "hoax", which put God knows how many preventable American deaths on his hands.
5. Disney announced a bunch of new Star Wars TV shows. Given that the most mediocre episode of "The Mandalorian" easily kicks the pants off any Disney Star Wars movie except for "Rogue One", and given that I've long been turning to fan films to get my fix because there isn't enough official audiovisual Star Wars content, I'm thrilled. Of particular interest to me is the show that will star Ahsoka Tano. In a galaxy with thousands of sapient races, it's pretty annoying that almost everything of importance seems to be done by humans, and it's about frigging time someone else got to be the lead in a movie or show. Ahsoka is an awesome character and more than deserving of the honor. I admit that when I first saw her in the animated "The Clone Wars" movie I thought she was a stupid character, but I've repented of that. I actually prefer her more flawed and relatable teenage version but her stoic warrior adult version is cool too. She was one of the most-requested candidates for one of the anthology spinoff films that got canceled after "Solo" flopped, and hopefully her success in leading this series will disprove once and for all the fear of studio executives that "aliens alienate people".
Speaking of "Solo", there's another announced series about Lando Calrissian, which could be interesting as long as it avoids everything that was wrong with "Solo". As you may be aware, when that movie came out in 2018, this character established thirty-eight years earlier was retconned to be pansexual. In the movie, he acts flirty toward Han, and his robot sidekick makes a couple of innuendos and claims he's in love with her, but this is played as a joke until she dies and he's all distraught and it's just weird. Disney exercised restraint with his sexuality, though, just like they did with the brief lesbian kiss between two nobody characters in "The Rise of Skywalker" that could easily be edited out of screenings in more conservative countries. Yet the door is open. The actor who played him, Donald Glover, said in an interview, "How can you not be pansexual in space? There's so many things to have sex with. I'm serious. It just didn't seem that weird to me. You're in space; the door's open." Yes, Donald, you nailed it, no pun intended. That is what Star Wars is all about. So right now, the title of his series is just "Lando", but that's boring and I have a much better proposal: "Star Whores". Jussayin.
In the days leading up to my viewing of "The Rise of Skywalker", I tried to remain untainted and open-minded, without preconceived notions of how much I should reasonably expect to enjoy it. This was difficult to accomplish while being confronted with reviews like "'Rise of Skywalker' is the Worst 'Star Wars' Movie Ever'" or these Facebook posts.
I watched the movie with a small group of friends. We had really good seats except that I was next to a guy who, infatuated with his own voice and unable to understand how public theaters work, thought he needed to verbally react to almost everything that happened onscreen. I wanted to break his nose, but that would have been a path to the Dark Side. I did flip him off a few times but I don't think he noticed in the dark.
My spoiler-free preliminary review of "The Rise of Skywalker": it feels rushed and confusing, tries too hard to exploit nostalgia for the original trilogy, and incorporates several plot points that either too predictable or make little sense even by Star Wars standards. The retcons and justifications for several of "Last Jedi"'s controversial decisions are painfully obvious, making it painfully obvious in turn that the sequel trilogy was made up one movie at a time with no overarching plan or outline from the beginning. The new characters felt awkwardly shoehorned in with little purpose other than to sell toys, and I'm apparently the only person anywhere who doesn't think Babu Frik is cute. Seriously, what's so cute about a ninety-year-old space leprechaun who moves like a crappy stop-motion puppet, looks like his head was squashed and sounds like his brain was damaged in the process? Is this a fricking joke, pun intended?
Notwithstanding all that, the movie has some cool and creative stuff and wraps things up about as well as could be expected given what J.J. Abrams had to work with. The humor, while still not as funny as Disney thinks it is, doesn't feel totally out-of-place and obnoxious like in three of the other four Disney Star Wars movies. I think I like "The Rise of Skywalker" better than either of the previous sequel trilogy installments. It's not a ripoff of an earlier film like "The Force Awakens" and it's not totally bizarre like "The Last Jedi". It was originally announced to be nearly three hours long and I'm guessing there's a lot of cut footage that shouldn't have been cut, that would have made it more coherent and better paced. I thought it would make perfect sense for the finale of nine movies to be the longest one anyway, but nobody asked me.
In any case, with the Skywalker saga out of the way, I hope Disney and subsequently fan films will give the era of the Empire a much-needed rest and move on to other parts of the galaxy's multi-thousand year history. I'd be fine with never seeing another stormtrooper again.
So that was Star Wars. The next and final major event of the year for me is Christmas, or Life Day as they call it in some places, or Impeachmas as several of my left-leaning friends have recently started calling it for some reason. As I'm tired from staying up from the movie, on vacation in sunny Idaho, and generally not in the mood to try and peel back my cynical exterior and wax all poetic about feelings and stuff, yet still feel an obligation to recognize this special day that comes but once a year and only lasts two months, here are some better words from a better person.
"This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love, and then speak it again." - Howard W. Hunter
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
- David Young
About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.