Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Is Here

Christmas is here.  But it seems like just yesterday that Halloween was here.

In fact, it seems like just yesterday when it was September and I was back on the Patapsco River.  

That's the way that the last three months of the year are.  They throw up milestones at the end of each month.  First you're getting ready for Halloween, then suddenly Halloween is over and it's almost Thanksgiving, then suddenly Thanksgiving is over and it's almost Christmas.  It really makes one feel how quickly time passes.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Evening Sky

Here's a picture of the sky from last weekend.  

It's easy to go out at sundown and take pictures of the sky looking like a painting.   I could probably fill up the blog with pictures like that.  But that would be boring.

(Click to enlarge.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Star Wars Worries (or, Star Worries)

The new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, will be opening on Friday.  I don't plan to see it until the end of December, and I will do my best to avoid reviews until then.  But I'm going to go ahead and express my worries.  

I come from the generation whose younger years were essentially defined by the original trilogy–the movies, and, maybe even more importantly, the associated toys, provided the common mythology of our childhoods.  And it was my generation whose entrance into adulthood was greeted by the prequel trilogy.

The prequels clearly weren't as good as the original trilogy.  But I still enjoyed them.  I remember walking out of The Phantom Menace and feeling the old feeling of wanting my own lightsaber, wanting to swing it as I sneaked around the dark corners of a space station, and hear the vroop vroop sound that it made as it cut through the air.  

At the time of the prequels, the general feeling was mixed—that there were some good parts, and some parts that weren't good.  But in the ensuing years, popular sentiment was evolved such that now the only socially acceptable opinion on the prequels is the following three statements:

1. "The Star Wars prequels were the worst movies ever made."

and therefore

2. "They ruined my life."

and therefore
3. "George Lucas must be killed."

(And, I would note, the omnipresence of these sentiments has pretty much destroyed what enjoyment I did get out of the prequels.)

I doubt that the new movie will generate the ill will that the prequels did.  I'm sure that J. J. Abrams knows which buttons to push, as well as which buttons not to push (such as the Jar Jar button), to get the desired audience reaction.  But at the same time, I can't help thinking that the new movie might come across as a transparent copy of the original trilogy.  

The comparison that comes to mind: The prequels were like what would have happened if the Beatles had gotten back together in the late Seventies and made some albums that nobody liked.  The Force Awakens is like what would happen if somebody were to hire professional songwriters to write an album in the style of Sixties Beatles, and then get America's best Beatles cover band to record the album.  

And so, ultimately, I worry that with the new movie, the situation will be the reverse of what happened with the sequelseveryone else will love it unreservedly, and I will be left feeling that maybe it wasn't quite satisfying.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


When I was young, there was fog.  I remember going into school in the morning when the fog was so thick that I couldn't even see the athletic fields from the front of the school.  But after that I went years without seeing any fog.  I wondered if there hadn't been any fog during my adult life, or if it was a matter of fog being limited to the early morning, and my not getting up early enough any more.  

I did see some fog one morning a few weeks ago.  And there has been a lot of fog in the weather forecast recently, including predictions of "zero visibility" for some areas. I have never been in conditions of zero visibility, but I would like to be.  I imagine, though, that zero visibility can be simulated by standing very close to a wall, and staring directly at the wall.  

I also like to imagine fog so deep and thick and enduring that the government announces that the only way to deal with it is stay inside and sleep for days on end.