My nine-year-old granddaughter addressed a letter to: God c/o Pearly Gates, Heaven.
It was returned.
Someone at the postal service had written across the envelope:
"Nobody at the post office is headed that way. Sorry!"
I think complete lack of patience should be a covered disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Then people like me wouldn't have to sit through all those annoying red traffic lights.
Q: What's the difference between a nine-month pregnant woman and a super-model?
A: Nothing (if the pregnant woman's husband knows what's good for him).
The dean and the coach struck a simple deal. Despite his abysmal grades, the all-star tackle could play in the big game if and only if he could learn and remember the formula for water before then. The coach and the chemistry teacher both worked with the gridiron star and were confident that he'd come through with flying colors.
On the morning of the game the dean came down to the locker where the tackle was suiting up. "Well?" said the dean. "What is the formula for water?"
Grinning broadly, and drawing confidence from the presence of his proud coach, the player said, "H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O."
I was reading an article the other day about how "political correctness" has infected the manufacturers of school text books in the United States. These publishers have to scrub their text so as to not offend anyone.
I'm not making this up.
For instance, these publishers can't even print the legendary "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway.
"Old" is ageist.
"Man" is sexist.
"Sea" can't be used in case a student lives inland and doesn't grasp the concept of a large body of water.
Issue of the Times;
'Star Wars: The Last Jedi': The 5 Biggest Complaints From Fans by James Barrett
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has owned the box office in its first ten days in theaters, but it has already fallen far behind “The Force Awakens” in total revenues. While it has a surprisingly good 92% among critics on the Tomatometer, it’s getting bad reviews from fans, currently at just 52% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’ve seen the film twice. The first time with great anticipation; the second time with the faint hope that I’d be able to appreciate the movie more after having accepted its various shortcomings. Unfortunately, the second time I saw it, I felt even worse about it. When I went back and watched “Force Awakens,” the frustration with its sequel intensified. I’ve since gone on to read a bunch of fan reviews and found a lot of similar responses. Below's a discussion of what I found to be the five most consistent and significant complaints from fans about director Rian Johnson’s epic misfire.
1. Burns It All Down
As Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro highlights, it becomes clear by the end of “The Last Jedi” that Kylo Ren’s call to kill the past is actually the theme of the Disney sequels. Not only does the film literally endorse book-burning—the destruction of the collective wisdom of our forebears—it also methodically tears down and then needlessly murders the characters “Star Wars” fans love.
Han’s murder at the hands of his own son in “Force Awakens” is a meaningless sacrifice, serving no purpose in helping the Resistance and having no positive impact on his son, whom Solo clearly did a terrible job raising. Like Han, Luke has retreated from the world, allowing the boy he badly trained run rampant murdering millions while he sulks in self-pity and deconstructs the “hope” his character once embodied. His bizarre life on the island with the fish-nuns and the alien sea cows comes off as pathetic and cowardly, not the austere life of a monk trying to attain further spiritual enlightenment. In fact, Luke has gone apostate, so what exactly is he doing hanging around the books he eventually tries to burn, other than being a coward? When he fights Rey, he loses to a novice in a way that diminishes him.
Luke's final confrontation with Kylo Ren at first appears like true heroism, but Johnson burns that down too. We learn at the end of the showdown that Luke isn’t even there, only astrally projecting himself, thus facing no actual physical threat. Sure, Luke fades away at the end with a beautiful parallel to the powerful moment on Tatooine from Episode IV (still the best moment in the franchise), but that feels more like his fated time coming than having bravely sacrificed himself. Like Han, Luke’s portrayal (which Mark Hamill hated, by the way) feels mean-spirited, as if Disney wants to show its audience that these old, classic embodiments of heroism need to go the way of Old Ben.
2. Diminishes Old and New Characters
Not only are the old characters diminished—except perhaps for Leia (though her constant call for retreat isn't exactly inspiring)—the new additions are less likable by the end of “The Last Jedi.” Poe gets abused the worst in this film. For some reason, Johnson decided to portray Poe as an even more two-dimensional version of Maverick who’s every action in the film until the final retreat proves to be rash and counter-productive. Johnson also seems to go out of his way to repeatedly emasculate Poe: he gets slapped by Leia, looks physically and intellectually small next to Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo, and then gets knocked unconscious by the "woke" general after his pointless mutiny.
Finn is a flawed character from the start. We’re told that for most of his life he was trained to be a soldier, yet he is always in a state of panic in battle and seems to know surprisingly little about being a soldier. He delivers one of the worst lines in the new film when he declares that it was “worth it” to make the rich people feel some pain when he and Rose free the horse-like alien creatures. No, it isn’t “worth it.” The #Resistance might be destroyed, and Rey with it, if he and Rose don’t succeed. Petty schadenfreude has no place in Star Wars.
Despite attempting to build Snoke up as the unbeatable bad guy, the all-digital villain is killed off rather easily and before the audience is given any background whatsoever on him. His treatment in “Force Awakens” suggests he will be the Emperor that haunted all six of the first films, but with a simple click of a light saber, he’s out of the series.
Kylo Ren is the most interesting new character, but both “Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” do grave damage to him as the bad guy. In the first film, he’s bested by someone who’s never picked up a light saber before. It’s a terrific fight scene, for sure, but it undermines his threat. In the second film, he easily falls for Luke's delay tactic and thus is defeated again. The only time we see Darth Vader defeated in battle is in “Return of the Jedi”—and Luke has to nearly embrace the Dark Side to do it. Kylo Ren’s temper tantrums are also getting ridiculous. He can’t keep breaking his toys every time something goes wrong and still be respected by the audience.
Like Leia, Rey comes out of the second film okay. She is earnest, brave, and contains the “ray of hope” that her name is supposed to invoke. Building up to the revelation about her parents, however, feels like a cheap trick—though thematically it does work well with the democratization of the Force theme.
3. Breaks Cardinal Rule In Cinema
Director Rian Johnson breaks the most important rule in film: Never waste the viewers’ time. The unspoken agreement between an audience and a filmmaker is that every second of the film is there for a reason. “The Last Jedi” breaks this rule repeatedly by taking us on a number of missions that do not further the plot, and in so doing, undermine the sense of purpose in the plot and the audience’s trust in the lead characters’ judgment. Finn and Rose’s trip to the casino world (which is prequel-level silly) to get the “master code breaker”—whom they didn’t find, but did find sort of(?)—and their harrowing mission onto the command ship all ends up being pointless. So does Poe’s utterly unnecessary takeover of the Resistance ship. After being once again smacked down by Leia, Poe wakes up to learn in about 10 seconds what he should’ve been told by Holdo before the waste-of-time mutiny. The dominant motif of the film is "delay and retreat"; in many ways, the entire film feels like one big delay tactic.
4. Gets Political
This film feels political in a way that previous Star Wars films wisely avoid—and many fans have commented on this as one of the key distractions of the film. Many critics, on the other hand, clearly loved this aspect of it. The #Resistance is led entirely by women, who make a point of putting men in their place. Rey even bullies her elder and would-be father figure Luke, while he proves that he indeed is not a worthy mentor—except, in the film's worldview, that he’s willing to burn down the past, just like Kylo Ren. The burning down of the past, particularly ancient spiritual texts, feels a whole lot like a direct slap in the face of religious viewers. The pointless sequence on the silly Casino planet could’ve been written by someone from the Occupy movement, particularly the gross schadenfreude moment from Finn and Rose. Rey, who is the most likable of the new characters, is set up by the end of the second film to be the perfect millennial social justice warrior, who we’re told doesn’t need to learn anything from her elders or any old ancient books because she knows it all already.
5. Doesn't Understand Star Wars Humor
The opening sequence in which the daring and increasingly stupid Poe says he’ll “hold” for Commander Hux (played by chronic overactor Domhnal Gleeson) was jarring. I saw this movie twice with two totally different audiences, and each time there were uneasy laughs from fans. The reason is that the humor is simply not Star Wars humor, a comment that many fans made in their complaints. Same thing goes for Luke flippantly tossing the light saber over his shoulder, his "that is nowhere" line, and the insane sea cow scene where Luke glowers at Rey as he drinks his fresh-squeezed alien milk. Then there’s the fish-nuns, which were supposed to be comic relief at one point, but ended up spoiling the whole isolation feel of Luke’s monkish existence. Neither heavy sarcasm nor outright silliness work in this universe.
The movie is certainly not all bad. It is beautifully filmed. The action sequences are mostly terrific (except for the "gravity in space" bomb-dropping nonsense). The fight between the imperial guard and Rey and Kylo Ren is awesome. The connection between the two is also intriguing, and both actors probably have the capacity to carry the series. The balance of nostalgia and newness is difficult to manage. So far Disney has failed on the character and theme level, but has largely succeeded in the look and feel of the Star Wars universe, as well as the overall tone and pacing of the series. Has Disney left enough of the original spark to keep fans coming back? We'll see, but a lot of longtime fans, including this one, suspect that the studio has fully embraced Kylo Ren's mission to snuff it out.
'Star Wars: The Last Jedi': The Full Shapiro Review:
On Saturday night, I went with my wife and dad to see the new Star Wars film. I’ll save my general rating for the end of this review, but it’s very difficult to put an overall grade on such a chaotic film. There are great parts, there are terrible parts, and there’s a lot in between. The best way to break this thing down is to bifurcate between the good stuff and the bad stuff. So that’s what we’ll do.
1. The Force Awakens Apparently Never Happened. At the end of the last movie, you’ll recall, the Rebel Alliance blew up the Starkiller Base, devastating the First Order’s capacity to make war. Or not. It turns out that they’ve still got heavy advantages in weaponry, which they make obvious from the outset. It’s somewhat weird that the Republic was re-established and fell in less than 40 years thanks to weapons inferiority. I’m fine with pretending The Force Awakens didn’t happen — it essentially ruined my childhood by turning Han Solo into a loser absentee father — but it’s tough to dismiss the ending and just start as though the Rebel Alliance didn’t do a whit of damage to the First Order.
2. There Is No Gravity In Space. The opening sequence features bombers dropping explosives on a First Order dreadnought. It’s a cool scene. But the bombers literally drop explosives in space. That’s not a thing, guys.
3. Snoke Is A Throwaway. In the last film, JJ Abrams made a big deal out of this Snoke guy. Now, I’m not a fellow who spends a lot of time googling whether Snoke is actually Darth Plagueis or whether he’s Mace Windu. But if you’re going to build up a big baddie who has the power to seduce Kylo Ren to the Dark Side, completely override Rey’s force abilities, and threaten Luke, you’ve got to tell us who the heck he is. And then he’s dispatched in particularly easy fashion by Kylo Ren. It’s satisfying to see him go, but he can’t be that scary if Kylo Ren can take him out by activating a light saber.
4. Kylo Ren Isn’t Intimidating. This is the biggest problem. In TFA, JJ Abrams did Kylo Ren a tremendous injustice by making him a petulant man-child who is stymied by a Mary Sue. Remember, Darth Vader literally doesn’t lose a battle until Return of the Jedi — and even that’s after Luke nearly turns to the Dark Side. By castrating Kylo Ren in TFA, it makes it difficult to think of him as the ultimate bad guy in the universe. Snoke was supposed to fill that gap. Now Snoke is dead. Why, exactly, should the Rebel Alliance be worried? Rey has bested Kylo several times already, plus Leia apparently has Force abilities, plus General Hux isn’t exactly terrifying.
5. Rey’s Backstory Sucks. After the last film, there was an insane amount of buzz about who Rey was. Who were her parents? Was she Obi-Wan’s granddaughter? Did Luke have a kid he didn’t know about? Was she Han’s bastard? Then it turns out that she’s just a nobody. Now, some of this is George Lucas’ fault for his midi-chlorians nonsense in the prequels, which made coordination with the Force a sort of genetic inheritance. The series wanted to reset so that anybody could have abilities with the Force — a laudable goal. But by sucking Rey out of the family drama, we’re no longer dealing with the central storyline — a point Kylo Ren makes to Rey openly. I guess the idea is that we’re supposed to now think that small street urchins without any sort of bloodline can become incredible Jedi. That’s democratic, but it’s not true to the storyline, and it doesn’t provide any drama.
6. Luke’s Weird Farmer Life Is Weird. Did we really need a whole day of Luke going around milking an alien seacow and drinking it?
7. Luke Is A Bad Teacher. Luke says that he’s going to provide Rey three lessons. The lessons consist of him (1) telling her what the Force is (okay, we already knew that); (2) having her touch a rock and see the Dark Side (she’s drawn in by it but not seduced). There is no third lesson — that’s a lesson for Luke from Yoda, who makes an odd cameo to tell Luke that the Force doesn’t need old texts, so let’s burn us some antique books. Rey literally learns zero practical things from Luke. This isn’t Yoda teaching Luke on Dagoba. It’s just Luke moping.
8. Celebrity Cameos Make No Sense. Laura Dern with purple hair? Benicio Del Toro stuttering? What are these people doing here?
9. Poe Dameron’s Story Arc Is Foolish. Poe is supposed to be newfangled Han Solo. Fail. First off, there is no new Han Solo. Second, Poe is a dolt. And Admiral Laura Dern, working with Leia, has a plan they could easily just tell Poe and solve half the conflict of the plot. Why keep it secret from Poe? We never find out. Instead, Poe runs around like a moron, making stupid plans with Finn that have no actual effect on the plotline.
10. Finn’s Storyline Is Useless. Finn should have died at the end of TFA. He should have died at the end of The Last Jedi. Instead, he goes on a random jaunt to Monte Carlo with aliens, and then rides a bunch of camel/horse/kangeroos to freedom while street urchins cheer. It’s godawful. Then, finally, when he’s about to do something useful, Rose stops him from doing it. Why is he here again, except to have awkward hugs with Rey?
11. Rose Is Useless. Rose is added to the plot to give Finn someone to travel with and develop awkward romance with. But her presence is simply not useful. She doesn’t do anything particularly special. She does give Finn a lecture about income inequality, though. So I guess that’s something.
12. Social Justice Warrioring On Interplanetary Monte Carlo Is Awful. Awful. In this little jaunt, we learn that income inequality is bad (see, street urchins are riding the magic horsecamels, and that’s terrible!), that animal abuse is bad (see, the ugly alien is abusing the magic horsecamels and that’s terrible!), and that weapons dealing is bad (yeah, talk to the Rebel Alliance using all those X-Wings). This whole sequence never should have happened.
13. Captain Phasma Is A Nothing. She’s apparently a white woman who wears a cool suit, and then Finn — a dude who five seconds ago was a janitor — beats her. Welp.
14. Luke Shouldn’t Have Been A Hologram. Turning Luke into Obi-Wan Kenobe for purposes of the reset makes some sense. But his death made none. Why is it cool for Luke to survive a barrage from AT-ATs if he’s not even there? Why is it cool for Luke to best Kylo Ren in a light saber battle if (1) Rey has already done so, and (2) Luke isn’t even there? They easily could have brought Luke there, and had him do exactly the same thing, but sacrifice himself — or perhaps just fade away in front of Kylo Ren.
15. The Powers Of The Force Aren’t Magic. We learn that through the Force, you can now hologram yourself places, and that you can also survive being thrown into space (Leia). Wut?
16. Light Speed Can't Be Used As A Weapon. You can't destroy ships by flying at them at light speed. If you could, the entire first scene would have been unnecessary (forget the bombers, just shoot an X-wing through that dreadnought), and the Rebel Alliance could have taken down every Death Star ever in the same way.
17. Why Would Luke Try To Kill Kylo? He tried to save Vader after Vader destroyed a planet and cut off his hand. He sensed good in him. He senses evil in Kylo and for a moment wants to kill him? That seems like a mild stretch at best.
18. There Are No Interesting Characters Left Except For Kylo Ren. So, now everybody’s dead. Han’s dead. Luke is dead. Leia was never that interesting, but Carrie Fisher died, so Leia can’t stick around for long. That means we’re left with the new characters — which is the point, since Star Wars can’t survive on nostalgia forever. But Rey isn’t particularly interesting — they just gave her a crappy backstory — and Poe is apparently stupid. Finn is a nonentity and nobody cares about Rose. This leaves Kylo Ren as the only interesting character in the Star Wars universe, and unlike Vader, who was wildly intimidating because of his mystery, it’s incredibly unclear that Kylo Ren can carry this series on his shoulders. It’s also unclear why Kylo Ren would want to rule the galaxy at this point. Everybody’s dead, he’s gotten his revenge on everybody except Leia (who he didn’t want to kill), and he seems to have little idea how to govern except for Hulk Smash.
19. Kylo Should Have Sided With Rey. This is the biggest problem of all. Once Kylo and Rey team up, they should stay teamed up. Rey is a far cooler character as a moderating influence on Kylo than on her own. And Kylo is far more interesting as a character trying to hold his darkness in check than as a guy who gives into it. There’s also no hint that Kylo has some desperate need to rule the universe, so it’s odd that he gives up the possibilities of a joint rule with Rey in order to destroy the transports. Why wouldn’t he just call off the attack on the transports and then work with Rey? That would be a radically different direction for the franchise. As it is, we’re back to Luke vs. Darth, that binary fight that was only interesting the first time around.
Okay, that’s a lot of criticism. But it’s not all bad.
Here’s what’s right with the film:
1. The Kylo/Rey Connection Works. The entire film is built on this relationship. It’s the only interesting thing remaining in this universe. The scenes in which Kylo is being called to the Light Side by Rey absolutely work. They’re great. The truth is that Star Wars was always built on relationships, and this is the only remaining interesting one. You believe it when Kylo turns against Snoke. That’s what makes for one of the best scenes in the Star Wars canon.
2. The Light Saber Battle. The killing of Snoke works emotionally, although as noted before, it makes little sense to kill Snoke before we learn anything about him. But the Rey/Kylo team-up is awesome — it brought open cheers in the theater. The choreography works, it’s emotionally resonant. It was a mistake to immediately jettison that for a forced conflict between Kylo and Rey.
3. Luke’s Final Scene. The mirror image of Luke looking off into the distance at the two suns of Tattooine is his death scene. It works, and it’s heartbreaking. If you grew up with Mark Hamill at 26 and now you’re watching him fade out at age 66, that’s pretty moving stuff. That’s why he should have gone out in a blaze of glory rather than with a cheap apparition trick.
Those big things that are right with the film are more important, in many ways, than the things that are wrong with the film. Rian Johnson, the director, didn’t play it safe, and that’s great. But he did play it safe by having Kylo return to the Dark Side and turning Rey into an avatar of populism. Those are mistakes that will haunt the franchise. And without Luke and Han and the nostalgia factor, can Star Wars carry forward with the same legacy, without just turning into another Avengers series — a fun watch that has no real emotional resonance?
Overall, better than The Force Awakens, which doesn’t hold up on repeat, and planted seeds that poisoned The Last Jedi, particularly with regard to Kylo Ren. Not as good as Rogue One, and below Return of the Jedi. It’s difficult to imagine how Episode IX can remain interesting with a universe this narrowed and a set of compelling characters reduced to a grand total of two: Kylo and Rey.
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Start leaving what you want to leave. Your future is waiting.
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