Busy Busy Busy

Just a quick note to let everyone know I’m still alive and the blog is also. 🙂

Things have been chaotic with trying to make progress with our move. Mainly trying to get the exterior work around the house done before winter truly hits. It’s showing signs of being an early and strong winter here.

Anyway, I’m playing catchup again here, and should be back to blogging regularly in a couple days.


The Great Star Wars Conspiracy

Want to know the rarely discussed conspiracy theory around one of the greatest movie franchises in history? The one only a few old time fans discuss? No, it’s not that Jar Jar Binks was secretly a Sith Lord and helped Palpatine engineer the clone wars (that IS on YouTube). LOL

It’s that George Lucas didn’t actually write Star Wars at all!

The theory or story is that George Lucas was approached by an unknown third party with the manuscripts for (at least) the original trilogy. Lucas liked what he saw, bought the story outright from this mystery author, and went on to make a fortune from the manuscripts while leaving our poor unknown author to fade away in obscurity.

I’m going to take a rational look at this theory and it’s evidence here.

First, there’s the original 1976 copies of the books for Star Wars (A New Hope). All the early printings had a note on them that said either “Based on the Adventures of Luke Skywalker” OR “From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker”.

I owned a copy similar to this one LONG ago.

What IS known and admitted to is that Alan Dean Foster ghost wrote the novels for the original trilogy for Lucas. Part of his reward for that was being able to author “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye”, which was the only other Star Wars novel for ages.

Great book also.

The naming inconsistency between the New Hope film and novel is something that points towards Lucas and Foster working with an outside manuscript. Even in 1976, the movie was “Episode 4: A New Hope”, but the book (which actually was released shortly before the film) was not. Lucas otherwise kept VERY tight creative control and branding over the franchise for decades, but couldn’t keep his branding consistent at the start?

Lucas not writing the original manuscripts would also explain some of the inconsistencies with canon between the original films and the prequels. The biggest of which is how “the Force” is defined. In the original trilogy, the Force is described in terms that are nearly identical to the concept of chi / qi / ki / prana in Eastern cultures; “…an energy force created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us and binds the galaxy together.” Jedi seem to be equal parts Zen Buddhist warrior and Taoist chi wizard.

The other big indicator of a different author’s mindset is the infamous “Han shot first” drama over Lucas adding in an attempted shot by Greedo before Han kills him in the Mos Eisley cantina. That’s a BIG change in mindset by an author OR it never was Lucas’s belief system to begin with. The original author understood that when a known killer is holding a gun on you and says he’s marching you out of the building to kill you, it’s a reasonable use of lethal force in self defense to shoot them before they can shoot you.

Lucas gets typical West Coast far, far left wishy-washy on self defense and adds Greedo shooting first. Worse, he turns the Jedi into monastic unfeeling robots. The teaching of every Eastern philosophy that the Jedi were remotely based on is NOT that emotions are to be completely eliminated, it’s that they’re to be controlled. Unlike Catholic monks, the monks of most Eastern religions and philosophies are permitted to marry also. Part of my dislike of the prequels is in fact that Lucas’s ideas of the Jedi come across as the badly bastardized and distorted idea of Buddhism that exists among the new agey white folks on the West Coast looking only to virtue signal and pretend to be more enlightened than those around them.

The force… Reduced to a virus, or more accurately some microscopic symbiotic parasite. That from a energy source created by and surrounding all living things. The former is as unspiritual and illogical as you can get while the other reflects at least a casual understanding of martial arts or Eastern philosophy. It’s just FAR too big a change in view to make it likely that they both came from the same author.

We can also look at some of the things that were leaked EARLY on also. For example, it was known / leaked shortly after “The Empire Strikes Back” and Vader was first seen without his helmet that he needed his armor because he was disfigured in a duel with Obi-Wan at a volcanic site. Yet it took almost 30 years to see this come to life on the big screen. Either Lucas was planning far, far, far in advance OR he had a manuscript he was working from.

The tipping point for me came when a friend of mine actually talked to Alan Dean Foster. My friend said that Foster was cagey about outright confirming that Lucas was working with somebody else’s earlier work. He did confirm some of what’s known elsewhere though, such as Luke’s original last name was going to be Starkiller (hence the tribute name of the character in the game “The Force Unleashed”). Foster also said that (quoting my friend here) “alot of Lucas’s visions were borrowed”.

MY conclusions from all of this: Lucas VERY likely did buy the manuscripts from a third party. Lucas and Foster probably spent a great deal of time fine tuning the manuscript into a workable trilogy. A New Hope probably got the least amount of modification from the original as Lucas worked on getting it to the big screen. The other two likely got a little more.

So, do we go out and burn Lucas at the stake for profiteering off of somebody else’s work? Nope. We have no way of knowing exactly how close the movies are to a theoretical original manuscript. As somebody who has followed the franchise since it’s inception, I can also say unequivocally that the movies wouldn’t have succeeded without all the other work that Lucas put into it. Just about EVERY special effects technique used in film for 30 years following the original trilogy has it’s roots in Star Wars. Blue screen (later green screen) being one of the biggest example. It also takes connections and resources to bring a book or books all the way to a blockbuster film franchise. This alleged other writer doubtless didn’t have them and Lucas did. For all we know, this mystery author (maybe Foster himself) is also getting quiet royalty checks to this day from Lucas.

As an author and fan however, I *do* wish Lucas would have been more true to the original vision of the franchise.

Star Wars History and Story Ideas…

My mind tends to wander a mile a minute when I’m doing mindless labor like packing and painting. Now despite the fact I should be working on my Witchfire series and the other writing that I’ve mentioned in the past, I find my thoughts drifting towards a few Star Wars ideas I mentioned far ago.

So my story ideas circle around a character of mine from the game Star Wars: The Old Republic. I realize most of you won’t be familiar with the game, so a quick bit of background. It’s a game set in the Star Wars Universe, but about a thousand years before the movies.

Side Note: At the time the game was released in 2011, it’s content was at least more or less canon. Since Disney has taken over an turned things on it’s head, I have NO idea if that’s still true. Their pattern SEEMS to be if they license it, it’s canon. If not, or it’s before their time, it isn’t. Bioware still has license, soooo…

The technology level is about the same as the movies. Apparently technology can only advance so far when you’ve hit that level. The Empire and the Republic both exist side by side and in conflict with each other. The Empire has many more Sith dark side force users than the movie however.

There’s some background to that also. Sometime between the game and the movies, the Sith got into a massive internal struggle and they all but obliterated themselves. The strongest survivor (by far) was a Sith named Darth Bane who created the “Law of Two” which says there’s only ever two Sith Lords; a master and an apprentice. Bane deemed legions of Sith to be a threat to themselves even more than the universe. But at the time of the game, there are still several Sith, all jockeying for power within the Empire.

Enter my character; Adoxia:

As a quick note, the bone color looking things on her face are actually jewelry.

She’s a pureblood Sith. What’s that you ask? The Sith were originally a red skinned humanoid race that were strong with the dark side of the force. They were largely untrained though and quickly conquered by the first fallen Jedi. From the combined teachings of the Pureblood Sith, and the fallen Jedi, the Sith Order arose. The pureblood SIth were quickly becoming an endangered species at the time the game was set. Interbreeding with human SIth and steady warfare had greatly reduced their numbers.

Adoxia goes through all the standard Sith trials and then fights her way through all the traps and politics of the Empire to become a Sith Lord. She tires of all the bloodshed though and also realizes as her adventures progress that the humans on the dark council are going out of their way to feed the Purebloods to the wolves and solidify their own power. Not too hard a task either since the Purebloods were the elites of the Empire for centuries and have the hubris to show for it.

Adoxia defects to the Republic and tries to train as a Jedi. While extremely capable, she has has an extremely hard time going from the passionate philosophy of the Sith to the emotionally dead ideology of the Jedi. This was 2011, so the revamped ideas of the Jedi as suppressing all emotion and connections that the prequel movies put out was already in full force canon-wise. Yes that was a deliberate pun also.

Philosophical discussions with a few other players who were dissatisfied with that new canon, AND the mean spirited power gaming on the Empire side and the lackluster play on the Republic side led to me (or rather Adoxia) creating the Order of the Grey.

Yes, God help me *I* may be partially responsible for the wishy washy grey, morally ambiguous force users that Disney is now trying to push on us.

MY Order of the Grey was a spin on the existing Revanite philosophy in the game though, and more accurately based on a true interpretation of Buddhism’s teachings regarding emotion. The original Jedi concept, as I mentioned, was based loosely on Buddhist teachings. Proof Lucas didn’t actually write the original trilogy, but that’s another post.

So, the Order of the Grey taught that emotions were part of life and not to be blocked out. They were to be kept in check and balanced by reason and logic. Properly focused positive emotions were particularly good so long as they didn’t reach the level of unhealthy attachment. There’s also a right and wrong to the universe, and Order of the Grey members were encouraged to pursue morally correct action along the lines of the Jedi. There was enough of a Sith influence to allow for a bit more extreme options than a Jedi might like though. Jedi were always supposed to try to find peaceful options, and take prisoners alive for example. The Grey might just put down a mad dog attacker.

Long explanations aside; my story ideas (kinky and not) were for stories continuing Adoxia’s adventures. Perhaps in her time, perhaps in the time of the movies. One previous Star Wars book has already established that a hyperdrive malfunction can result in time travel…

Would Adoxia be good, would she be bad? Still undecided there. I can see all kinds of scenarios though.

Welcome New Followers :)

I’ve picked up a fair number of new followers here the last month or so. I’m taking that as a sign I’m doing something right, lol.

First I wanted to say thanks to all those who have followed me. I’ll do my best to keep the blog entertaining and thought provoking. Comments, criticism and feedback are welcome and encouraged. The only thing I ask is keep it constructive and on topic.

I try to keep this a place where people can discuss ideas freely. Ergo, it’s fine to disagree, just be polite about it.

Regarding following back… I’ve tried to do that since start here. I’m up to over 200 follows and it’s VERY hard to keep up with the blogs I already have. I *do* actually read, not just hit and run like topics. A handful have unfollowed me, gone inactive, etc… so when time allows in the near future, I intend to free up my list a little and see about possibly following some of my newer followers.

One thing I would ask: If you don’t post in English, *please* add the translator widget to your blog so that I can more easily follow what you’re writing. 🙂

Omelets For People Without Talent

After a few heavy posts, I decided to do something lighter and do a food post. In the US, “breakfast bowls” have become popular at the grocery store. Eggs with cheese, potato and some sort of meat (usually mystery meat, lol) all in a bowl that can be microwaved and ready to eat in a minute or two.

I came up with the idea before those ever hit the market, and yes as my headline indicates, the idea was born out of my inability to fold an egg and make a proper omelet, LOL.

Not exactly sexy or refined, but it’s a relatively easy breakfast or (more often here) breakfast for dinner. Eggs, cheese (typically Cheddar – and not Re-Farmer’s cat of that name 😀 ), sausage and hash browns

There’s a couple of tricks to get this to turn out correctly.

First I add a bit of milk to the eggs and then thoroughly mix them in a food processor. Great flavor and fluffiness that way. 🙂

Next is combining things. I start the eggs then add in the shredded cheese. After the eggs are mostly solid, I add in the sausage. That way any remaining grease doesn’t ruin the eggs. As a note here, I cook the sausage and then let it drain on a paper towel covered plate to reduce the greasiness. The hash browns go in right as the eggs are finishing. That keeps the eggs from making the hash browns soggy.

One of these days, I’ll buy a couple cartons of eggs and learn to make proper omelets and crepes. In the mean time, here you have a hearty and rustic meal all in one. 🙂 I actually call them ‘scrambles’ not omelets also, hehe.

ADDENDA: I forgot. I also cut the tater tots in half before adding to the eggs so that they’re more “bite sized” with egg and sausage also on the fork. If you’re dainty, you may even want to quarter them after cooking.

The Poor: Round 2

My last post on this subject a few days ago raised a few objections that made me realize I glossed over a few key points regarding poverty. I focused primarily upon self-reliance for two reasons:

1) Ultimately, the only one any of us can truly count on is ourself.

2) Many of the poor have bought into the lie that it’s impossible to do it themselves.

Only the second part bears much comment. Even after pointing out that numerous immigrants come to this country with nothing and become successful business owners, even after pointing out that 73% of all the millionaires in the US started out with nothing, and got no inheritance, even after telling how *I* at least managed to tread water and slowly get ahead, it’s just “Luck”.

Well, *IF* we go with the Stoic’s definition of luck, it is. Because Luck = Opportunity Met With Preparation.

Yes, that means thinking about the long term consequences of every decision you make. Even the smallest ones can have big consequences. Suppose you spend just $3 every work day, stopping to get a drink or snack at Starbucks or some convenience store, etc…

5 day work week x 52 weeks = 260 days worked.

260 days x 3 dollars = $780 gone from your income per year.

That just from $15 spent on snacks per week. Change that to $5 a day and you’re at $1300 per year. $10 (the cost of coffee at Starbucks) = $2600 per year. Now what could you do with an extra $780 a year? How about an extra $2600?

This kind of realization is EXACTLY why I preached about how important financial education is.

One comment to the other post pointed out how systemic poverty and it’s mindset is in inner cities. I get that, and I do NOT blame the poor. As I said last time, there are advocates that make ALOT of money “helping” the poor and telling them how abused they are. What they never really do is anything meaningful to help them. Why? They’d be out of a job if the poor were no longer poor.

The same goes for politicians exploiting the poor. It’s all about maintaining their power base. Why do you think that so many social programs are designed to keep people stuck where they are? Got a husband or live in boyfriend? Sorry you might have extra income and don’t qualify for welfare. Gotta stay a single, struggling mother. Food stamps? SURE! Job training and child care while you’re getting the training? HELL NO!

Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a Left vs Right thing. The frequent call from those on the Right is “let private charity take care of it”. Cut the social programs and save people taxes and they’ll donate that money to charity. I believe people WOULD give to charity too. BUT would they REALLY give to charities that help the poor? I think people on the Right are FAR FAR more likely to give to charities that support first responders, veterans, youth science programs, etc… Almost anything before the poor because they’ve been brainwashed to believe the poor are lazy instead of lacking hope and knowledge.

So what’s my answer to it all?

Reform public assistance programs so that they’re designed to help people get back on their feet instead of keep them trapped. Job training, day care while getting job training, financial education classes, better structuring of benefits programs so that they gradually decrease as income improves, etc… Yes, that’s expensive but not as expensive as keeping people in poverty for generations.

Infinitely better management of the bureaucracies running such programs has to be a part of things also. Both for eliminating fraud by applicants and even more importantly for doing away with mismanagement and waste within the agencies. The amount of graft and waste in all government programs (including defense) is obscene.

All the programs in the world won’t make a difference if people maintain a poverty mindset though. Long work days are NOT luck. They’re not permanent either. They’re paying the temporary price for a better life. Learning to budget and later invest is NOT rich people gaming the system NOR is it “acting white”.

Yes, minimum wage is only a FIRST stepping stone also. Anyone stuck at that point should be looking for promotions, raises and job training to better themselves. You have to have the mindset that learning is a lifelong process also. Reality is, it’s never been easier to start a business. There’s the gig economy like Uber and maid and tradeskill apps and websites. Selling on Amazon or Ebay or Etsy is easy. All you need is a skill and a smart phone or laptop. There are even multiple free computer coding classes out there nowadays, especially for Python and Ruby. All it takes is a Google search.

You just have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired, and hungry to reach for more, even though it will cause some short term discomfort.

For those who STILL don’t think it can be done… Check out Dave Ramsey’s “Debt Free Screams” channel on YouTube. There are people there who became disabled during paying off debt, or who paid off $140,000 while raising 11 kids. I’ve personally found the stories there VERY motivating.

Find and listen to his radio show too!

And yes, this is long again, but one last thing… If you don’t understand the trap of credit, consider the high interest credit card for the typical poor person with a low credit score. You’re probably staring at a 30% APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Interest. That means for every $100 in debt on that card, or furniture store account, etc… you’re paying an extra $30 PER YEAR on that money spent. Take 5 years to pay off that $100 balance (minimum payments will take 20 years), and you’ve paid an extra $150 in interest. So you paid $250 for a $100 item because you bought it on credit and didn’t pay it off immediately. Yes, credit is a trap and “The Borrower is slave to the Lender”.

Science Run Amok…

I could only shake my head in disbelief when I saw this story on the news last night. The University of California at Davis is bioengineering new flies to turn loose on the world for a variety of purposes. One of which was garbage clean up. They show a bin of maggots completely devouring a piece of pizza in a matter of minutes.

Yeah, NO way this can go wrong… Let’s set aside the whole Jurassic Park scenario in miniature. Aren’t there enough examples of invasive species run amok to teach these idiots the folly of playing God? Asian Carp in the Mississippi River, Kudzu in the South. Fire Ants, Killer Bees…

Lab Grown Larva Could Save the Environment

Anybody seen pictures of what flies this size do to livestock, pets and CHILDREN in Africa?

People worry about the environment being the end of us. Personally, I think if the end us going to come, it’ll be from genetic engineering or artificial intelligence development run amok. And the news just goes blindly along with it, never questioning. Same as they do with politics.

People wonder why scientists don’t get any respect anymore. This is a definite part of it. Complete hubris playing God with no thought to the possible consequences of their creations.