Recently Viewed: Solo

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You can NOT listen to the critics.

I watched Solo: A Star Wars Story and it was actually far better than most of the critics claimed. The sci-fi action is fun to watch. The characters are well played.

Do we owe the entertainment factor to Alden Ehrenreich who fits the part of Han Solo so well, Joonas Suotamo who does justice to the character of Chewbacca, to Emilia Clarke’s portrayal, to Donald Glover’s excellent performance? To director Ron Howard? To the writers?

The plot is pretty decent, though there were a couple of tropes thrown in which make it somewhat predictable. I tell you what though, the way Chewbacca and Han Solo meet is perfect. It was somewhat predictable, but as a viewer I wanted them to meet so much the predictability was forgivable.

An injection of jokes by L3 were seasoned and brief and well placed within the movie. They were just puerile enough to be welcome and satisfying for younger viewers. Had the jokes carried on too long, or been placed somewhere else within the film it would have been ruined.

The way Han Solo and Lando get along is exactly as it should be. Their friendship should always be hanging by the thinnest of threads. They’re both outlaws in a wild universe.

Stunt performers did a fabulous job. You can’t credit the stunt-men and -women enough for any movie. They make the action seem real.

For a while now, I’ve been worrying about Disney ruining a good thing. Star Wars can be a massively fun escape from reality. I can get into a movie and get into a galaxy far from my own, to view the sights and hear the sounds—sounds of a long time ago.

By the way, the opener with the introduction to the setting was all goofy. It starts out as it should: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” and then it goes from past tense to present tense, like so: “It is a lawless time. CRIME SYNDICATES compete for resources—food, medicine, and HYPERFUEL.” This is a lesson for writers. Don’t switch tense mid-paragraph. They should have written it like so: “It was a lawless time. CRIME SYNDICATES competed for resources—food, medicine, and HYPERFUEL.”

On this and many other films, I think I’ll listen less to the critics and make up my own mind. This is a great movie and I’ll watch it again sometime.

Silent Lullaby

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Depending on where you’re living, the world can be a clamorous place. Ostensibly endless streams of digital diversions try to capture your attention. Cleverly disguised ads masquerade as entertainment. Forever-selling sales channels vie for your dollar.

This Christmas, tell the stentorian advertisers you don’t have dollars. Say you only have pesos and watch them run away afraid. Then find a quiet place and meditate. Find inner peace by buying nothing. Refuse to be a consumer and discover how little you need. Reality has a way of showing the true color of the clamor. Pale and lifeless clamor.

A night of quiet might set you right. If you were feeling a bit too commercial, a bit too confounded, a bit too beset on all sides by need and greed, then take time out to relax. Regroup and reform. Reflect on the precious gift given to the world on a night with a new star in the sky. Reminisce on traditions you’ve enjoyed with your family. Recall the secret solitude of silence.

The art of the lullaby is when it lulls. A sweet melody, a susurration from a mother’s lips, a song murmured, even hummed, all these things bring quiet to the troubled mind. Contemplation and meditation can be like a silent lullaby in a mind.

May you have a peaceful Christmas.

Life Lessons

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Life cereal. You can’t open the package without destroying it.

Scissors. Using scissors is the only way to open your box of Life. Opening a box of Life is like life itself. What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of Life? The purpose of Life is to sustain life. Not only human life, either. Horses will eat Life cereal. I’m not sure it’s good for them, but they’ll eat it.

Opening a box of Life is like life itself. You mess up some things, but the reward is worth the pain.

Eating Life cereal is like life itself. If you wait too long after pouring the milk, the cereal gets soggy. In life, if you wait too long for some things, they lose their appeal. If you know this about yourself, you can use it to your advantage. Wait long enough for something you don’t need and you won’t even want it any more.

Chocolate cake. Chocolate cake is one of those things I want right away when I see it, but if I leave it sitting there long enough it loses its appeal. Eventually the cake gets dried up and hard. The frosting gets even drier and harder. It might even collect dust. Do you want to eat dust? No, thanks.

The latest digital device. Wait long enough to get one of these and there’s usually a better, more appealing, one being produced only days later. Why not wait and save yourself the cash? In fact, you could probably go your whole life waiting to see what’s next without actually ever purchasing any of the newest devices.

If you’ve ever bought a cell’ ‘phone only to drop it and crack the screen, you probably wish you had waited. Like that box of Life cereal. Only much more expensive.

Patience isn’t a common skill. That’s why the package gets ripped. If the reward is worth the pain, the life lesson is probably, “Go for it.” If the reward isn’t worth any amount of pain, leave the package closed. As for me and my box of Life cereal, well, I’ll be pouring it through the shredded flaps so it comes out of all sides…from now until eternity.

Babies II

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If we all shaved our heads, would we find equality? These two are the same, aren’t they? At least on the surface, to the eye of the first impression, they seem to be nearly the same age, because their heads have the same amount of hair.

By the way, “The Eye of the First Impression” is a great title for a novel, isn’t it?

Where you gonna take it today?

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I’ve never heard any writer say they have limits on ideas for novels, but I think it’s fun to throw the prompts out there anyway.

What are some clever ways to take a day off of work?

What are some interesting ways to meet friends? Sure you can think of social media, but what are some original ways to meet friends?

How would you solve a common problem in the world? There are already a million novels about apocalyptic consequences to common problems. Few writers actually manage to give solutions for the problems they see, though. Isn’t that interesting, that the so-called creative among us can’t create solutions?

How would you dress up your baldness? With plastic, with someone else’s hair, or with metal? Or something else?

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Could you start the idea for a novel by coming up with the title first?

If you remove your hair, will the ideas come out of your head easier?

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Are ideas for new epic novels like babies? Babies in your mind? Mind babies?

Give birth already!

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Babies

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Clearly, the world loves babies.

It’s no accident. If you look at it scientifically, we ensure the survival of our species if we have a deep admiration for our young. That’s the stodgy, clinical answer to the question, “Why?” But there’s more…

Why else do we love babies? Because they’re a continuation of our own selves, or in other words we can see ourselves mirrored in them, we recognize and remember through them. We also see our future more clearly as we see the steps they take to learn and grow. Does it take long for a baby to learn to count? Yes. The first ten numbers take a long time. The first one hundred numbers take a little longer. It’s a beautiful process, but it’s also valuable to watch, to observe it happening. We can see, even though we’re grown, we have more to learn.

What is our fascination with babies, and who are some of our most recent muses?

There’s baby Groot. “Sooo cute!” There’s baby Kal-el, who many refer to as Superman, so baby Kal-el is baby Superman. There’s baby Yoda, who many Star Wars fans refer to as The Child.

And there’s the greatest baby of all: baby Jesus.

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Baby Jesus is greater than baby Groot, baby Kal-el, and baby Yoda combined.

Granted, the three lesser are fictional characters. Real babies are going to be greater than fictional babies every time we compare them, but it comes down to the reasons we adore baby Jesus. He was the answer to all of our worst problems. We have this death thing hanging over our heads from the moment we’re born and Jesus came to correct it. Three days after he died he was born again as a resurrected being. We also have the regrets of our sins threatening us with eternal punishment, but Jesus is our advocate in the courts of heaven. He suffered for our sins.

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When he was born, the spiritual world rejoiced, the mortal world rejoiced. They knew, as we know, the birth of the Christ, the Anointed One, meant the beginning of the end for death and sin. And surely the Savior accomplished what he was born to do.

So, as Christmas comes this year, don’t forget to say, “Happy Birthday baby Jesus!”

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