#MayTheFourthBeWithYou

Death Star Croquet

Back in the day, when we were all younger and Dave was still little, when I got home from work, I would ask him if anyone had called me. When someone had, he would usually say, “One of the Ons called.” He was referring to one of my buddies, either Don, Ron or John, but since he never cared to remember which one it was, I was left to guess and frequently had to call around to find out who it was. Today, I convince Anne to play hooky. Flooding this week and the road closures that it has caused is preventing many teachers from getting to school. Me bad, but neither of us are regretting this decision, because we were able to enjoy a lovely luncheon with two of the Ons, in particular Don and Ron. John had another engagement. We met at Viviano’s, an Italian restaurant-market and everyone enjoyed a leisurely four-hour lunch. That’s right four-hours. We had a lot of catching up to do. Now I know why, when we travel and stop at a café, there is frequently an old guys table. It is because they never leave or go home.  

Rogue One

Rogue One Graphic or Giant Croquet

Rogue One Graphic or Giant Croquet

On New Year’s Eve, Anne, Joanie and I storm-trooped up to the Esquire to see the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One. I liked it and recommend that you go see it. If you haven’t though, beware! Because matey, there be spoilers down below.

Anne wasn’t quite as enamored of this latest offering as I and felt that it wasn’t as good as the original Star Wars, later retitled A New Hope or Episode IV in the vernacular. I cannot disagree with her in that. None of the subsequent movies have been as good as the original and many of them have been awful. Yeah, yeah, I know The Empire Strikes Back is generally considered to be the pinnacle of the Star Wars universe, but is also just a sequel. Nothing can match the jaw dropping surprise that I experienced watching that first movie in 1977. Once I saw it, I couldn’t un-see it and it changed cinema forever.

Rogue One is kind of a one-off from the usual Star Wars fare. Since, none of its principles will likely reappear in subsequent shows. To place this movie in the Star Wars universe, you might call it Episode 3.5. It is a prequel to the original movie and sets up that drama by giving us the back story on that show’s McGuffin, the battle plans to the Death Star. It also departs from the usual formula in that it emphasizes the war aspect of Star Wars more than any other film in the series. The director chose as inspiration for this movie the battle scene on Hoth in Empire. That scene lasted only a few minutes, while in this movie the fighting goes on and on. After a while this film’s frenetic pacing becomes a little tiring. All of its violence also earned Rogue a PG-13 rating, which make it another outlier.

What I really liked about this movie was all of its Easter eggs. They really tied the movie into the rest of the franchise. In this category I also include the more than a few actors that appear in this movie, but didn’t really perform for it. Peter Cushing, who has been dead for twenty years is the most obvious, but Carrie Fisher reappearing in her New Hope guise was certainly the most touching. The recycling of these actors’ images has raised new questions of copyright law.

Around the corner from our house there appears to be our own little local Star Wars going on. In the front yard of this building are two inflatable Xmas ornaments, Yoda and Darth Vader. Both have a seasonal motif going. Yoda is wearing a Santa’s suit and Darth has wrapped presents. Both are also wielding light sabers. Also in the front yard are two yard signs. One sign says, “We Support Our Officers”, while the other sign says, “Jesus Is the Reason for the Season”. The only way that I have been able to reconcile the dichotomy of all of these displays is the fact that the property is a duplex. Happy New Year!

Put An Arch On It!

Put An Arch On It!

Put An Arch On It!

Anne Queen of the Beach

Anne Queen of the Beach

A little explanation of this post’s title is in order here, “put an arch on it” is a riff off a skit from the sketch comedy TV series Portlandia entitled “put a bird on it”. I have a t-shirt from Tiny Monsters of Maplewood that I happened to be wearing today that features this riff. The photo with this post is an old header that I am recycling, because otherwise no one else can see it. All this exposition is way more preamble than I had planned on. I just wanted everyone to know that we are home again! After almost two-months gone for Anne and 40 days for me and over 5,000 miles of driving we are back in town, for a while…

Jane Giving Us A Send-Off

Jane Giving Us A Send-Off

Jane gave us a great sendoff breakfast this morning from Ann Arbor. The drive was actually pretty easy. I-70, normally a beast, was a piece of cake. We are both tired tonight, but we both really enjoyed our summer vacation. Seeing so much of the family, while in Michigan was great! Quebec was a blast! I highly recommend it. It was fantastic hanging with our enduring Rochester friends and it would be great to see them again at the cabin next summer.

Flag Gate

Flag Gate, 1876, Unknown Artist

Flag Gate, 1876, Unknown Artist

I’m going to take tomorrow, Friday, off from work and get a jump on the 4th of July holiday weekend. By doing so, I’ll likely get at least one sunny day during this weekend. They are forecasting up to 8” of rain here this holiday. Now, we need the rain, but couldn’t it wait until after the holiday? Also occurring this weekend will be the big Saint Louis 4th of July festival. Again, it is being held in Forest Park, because of continuing construction on the Arch grounds. I think that this will be the third and final year for this venue. I’ve been out-of-town during the two previous iterations and was looking forward to checking the event out, but not if it is raining. Fortunately, while there will be long periods of rain, they are not forecasted to be all day events. Think of a series of waves crashing upon us. Hopefully, the intervening dry times can be taken advantage of and I can get out and enjoy the cool weather that will be also accompanying all of this wet.

The pictured American flag gate is probably the signature artwork in the American Folk Art Museum exhibit, currently on display at the Saint Louis Art Museum. It was created in 1876, in way upstate New York. Made in the year of our country’s first centennial, it has thirty-seven stars on one side and thirty-eight on the other. Colorado entered the union in 1876. I like how each of the stripes have been separately carved, with rippling waves so that the flag seems to be blowing in the breeze. 140 years ago, some unknown, but creative mind transformed what could have been just a common farm gate into an artistic and patriotic statement. The piece shows the maker’s pride in country. Have a great 4th of July! The photo has been colorized to restore it to its original splendor.