Archive for November, 2012

Sign of the cross

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Kevin Doonan

David Jimenez’s wife gets ovarian cancer. He goes to a St. Patrick’s Church in Newburgh, N.Y., and prays before a gigantic, 600-lb., crucifix for his wife’s speedy recovery. The wife makes it and Jimenez attributes his wife’s cancer-free status to the time he spent putting his palms together before the jumbo cross. To show his appreciation, he volunteered to clean the crucifix and in May, 2010, it fell on him. Jimenez’s leg had to be amputated and now he is suing the church for $3 million.

Didn’t he hear? The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. It probably would have been safer to clean his wife’s doctor’s car instead. The church had been able to raise $7,000 to help Jimenez out before he filed the lawsuit. Where does he think the church is going to get $3 million anyway? The Catholics haven’t been making that kind of bank since the Renaissance. And what did Jimenez expect was going to happen when he scaled the crucifix to rub Jesus’ face with a soapy cloth? It’s doubtful that the artist who created the cross intended for it to be used as a ladder. It was a statue, not a jungle gym.

News stories overlooked this week

Friday, November 2nd, 2012
Shawn Magrath

With Tuesday elections nipping at our heals and media outlets dominated by despairing images and growing death tolls on the East Coast as a result of Sandy, I thought it might be a relief for people to know there are other stories making headlines. I scoured the always reliable (and never wrong) internet to find a few stories, non-political and non-Sandy related, that were overlooked this week:

• The undeservingly famed Bristol Palin, daughter of the also undeservingly famed Sarah Palin, has a new boyfriend… Anybody care?… Yeah, me neither.

• Build.com reported that when you apply shaving cream to your bathroom mirror then wipe it clean with a paper towel, it will keep the mirror from fogging over when you take a hot shower. I haven’t tested it yet, but it sounds like something someone made up… then again, it was on the internet so it must be true.

• The ongoing feud between Arby’s and Subway continues. The two fast food chains each claim to have the freshest sliced meats and each have their own loyal customers to back them. Not to worry, Norwich residents. Riot control shan’t be needed so long as Arby’s stays at the North end and Subway – all two of them – stay South.

• According to Consumer Reports, KitchenAid no longer carries the number one stand mixer. The newcomer brand Breville took the number one spot this month. It’s the first time in a very, very long time KitchenAid hasn’t claimed the title. No word yet on whether this will actually make cookies taste better, although it’s been confirmed that if you lick the beater while the mixer is running, the end result will be the same.

• George Lucas, owner of Lucasfilm and creator of the sci-fi “Star Wars” movies that brought delight to nerds the world over, announced that he will sell his company to Disney. For those that can’t make the connection, this puts Princess Leia in a long line of underdressed Disney princesses and makes Darth Vader a Disney villain (which ignites the philosophical debate of which is worse: Making a puppy skin fur coat or secretly plotting to overthrow Emperor Palpatine and become the ruler of the Empire).

The New Normal

Friday, November 2nd, 2012
Kevin Doonan

Of course something that has been on everyone’s minds and all over the news this week has been Superstorm Sandy, the Frankenstorm. Much talk has revolved around the notion that freakish super storms are going to be the new norm and debate has already begun to rage as to the significance Sandy has in regards to proving/disproving the theory of global warming. The entire discussion is worrying and I can already feel my hypothalamus signalling my pea-sized pituitary gland to release buckets of adrenocorticotropin.

But an interesting comment I overheard was how Sandy acted as a mini economic stimuli for the upstate community that prepared for the worst, but spared the mutilation wrought upon the lower portions of the state. The commentator pointed out how it was actually a good for local economies where grocery and appliance store shelves were strip-mined of their resources as people hurriedly stocked up for the impending Sandypocalypse.

This struck a chord with me. He was right; in a economic system based on continual growth and expansion, success is measured by consumption. Buying vast quantities of mercantile goods that later prove unnecessary, seems like a monumental waste to me. I believe frugalness is not only an advantageous and admirable quality, but that it will also soon prove imperative to our survival as a species. As our population grows ever more bloated and glutenous in proportion, it seems ever more likely that in our lifetime we will witness our species surpassing the capacity of Earth. Like a starving deer population which has depleted its food source, it seems as though will some day we will be the cause of our own demise when we face shortages of our own creation more detrimental then spiking gas prices.

And now I hear that China wants to reevaluate its one-child policy? I am missing something or are people activily trying to place us in a situation were we have to sqeeze blood from a stone? I think I have to have a lie-down.

Mickey Mouse with a lightsaber?

Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Brian Golden

Yesterday’s news of the Walt Disney Corporation’s purchase of all things Lucasfilm, including the Star Wars franchise, hit me like a ton of bricks … or maybe the swat of a wampa (inside Empire Strikes Back reference there). Born the same year that Episode IV: A New Hope (as it’s now known) was released (1977), I was raised on the original Star Wars trilogy, a fascination that’s continued over the course of my 35 years.

Am I a Star Wars geek? I most certainly am. Does that embarrass me? Not … one … little … bit. Long live the über-geek.

In addition to this startling news, the rumor of an Episode VII; something I never thought would happen; not in a million years (or should I say a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?); and I’ll be the first to admit I’m worried. Granted, I have no problem with the creation of additional Star Wars films, series or television programs (all rumored), although I’m unsure which direction the franchise’s new owners should (or will) go.

Here are some ideas, however …

1) Star Wars Episode VII: Heir to the Empire, Episode VIII: Dark Force Rising, Episode VIIII: The Last Command
These three novels, penned by the fantastic Timothy Zahn and also known as the Thrawn trilogy, or Heir to the Empire trilogy, are – far and away – my favorite post-Return of the Jedi Star Wars novels. They’re extremely well written (you can almost hear John Williams’ famous soundtrack playing in the background as you read them) and take our heroes in new directions, all while maintaining the pace, tone and excitement of the original Star Wars trilogy. The only problem? Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are all getting up there in years, and the thought of re-casting Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia (now a Disney princess?) and Han Solo just doesn’t sit well with me. In fact, it’s blasphemy, when you get right down to it.

2) Reboot the entire franchise?
This, if you ask me, is a fairly decent idea, considering the fact that – if you did episodes one through six in order – you could … a) lose Jar Jar Binks (or have him killed off immediately, something many fans would willingly pay good money for) … b) find actors young enough so that the possibility of the Thrawn trilogy becomes more of a reality (what can I say, the books are simply awesome) … and c) set the stage for any number of offshoot films and/or television programs.

Regardless, I’m still more than a little concerned with the direction Disney will go with one of my all-time favorite sci-fi franchises, and it’s with trepidation that I await some hard news on said direction. Until then, I guess I’ll just have to hope that the Force is with them, and pray for the best.

Boba Fett lives!