The Subtleties of Astophotography: Sorting out the noise of light and living

Don’t worry, my daughter is a concealed carry holder who routinely shoots in dangerous areas such as Over-the Rhine and in Chicago—so she knows how to handle dangerous situations.  In these following photographs I didn’t worry about her.  She did take her sister along on some of the shoots which was smart, but even though she knows the risks, she has enough experience to mitigate the impact of those risks with her knowledge of firearms.  The thing I worry about more is the legal mess a young woman would get into after having to shoot someone in self-defense.  She has the personal safety angle covered—the legal angle is the biggest concern for me.  However, I hardly ever get to see my kids anymore because they are always out doing things like this.  Professionally my oldest daughter Brooke has literally been booked for photo shoots every weekend and many week days lately and has a full schedule extending into 2019, and it keeps getting worse with bookings.  She’s become a very good photographer in a very competitive field and now she is turning up her comfort zone into the very difficult field of astrophotography.  As she shared her images obtained during the third week of July I knew she had done something very special and was headed in a direction that was putting a fine point on her professional uniqueness.   To hear from her personally click on the video below or read her article about how she captured these really phenomenal images of the Milky Way in the night sky.

For people who have become victims of our horrible education system and our generally destructive trend socially to highlight stupidity as some badge of honor so not to make stupid people feel bad about themselves, the Milky Way is the galaxy that we live within through the vastness of space.  We are loaded on a spiral arm of star clusters spinning around a massive black hole which is at the center of it.  So to capture the perspective of that arm in the night sky is quite an intense feat of light, focus and natural environmental conditions.  It is not an easy thing to do so it makes me very proud to see my daughter attempting to do just that.

My kid is not yet 30-years-old and while her peers are out making fools of themselves partying it up like a bunch of idiots—she’s out doing things like this in her spare time which  is increasingly happening after long days of professional endeavor between photo shoots.  If you watched the video you can understand why I couldn’t be prouder of her—listen to her speak.  It’s like listening to a fine symphony of music to hear her utter complete sentences and using a nice vocabulary coming out of the mouth of such a nice young lady. If she weren’t my daughter I’d be extremely impressed.  However, she is my daughter and I know what she has pushed herself through to arrive at this level of professionalism—but it’s still nice to take a moment to consider how magnificent she really is as a person.   She’s a pace setter and she’s emerging as a very unique photographer in a field of professionals who have been doing it for years and are quite good.  What’s giving her the advantage isn’t just the conceptual side—it’s the conceptual application that she naturally has mastered that is doing it.  There are a lot of people in the world who know how to take a nice photograph.  There are people professionally working in Hollywood as cinematographers who would greatly struggle with the light she was working with to capture these images.  But it is how she sniffs out a photo from nowhere that is setting her apart from the crowd.  In the world of tomorrow—which is literally getting nearer with every sunrise, Brooke is the photographer of her age to record the optimism of all that’s coming.  Her playfulness at living comes out in her photographs and that is something you can’t teach.  A person either develops this trait or it’s not there revealing only mechanical applications of a heartless artist.

Just as she said in her video, there is a lot of light noise in the night sky and so it is true as well in most professional fields.  It doesn’t matter if the profession is acting, being a musician, business tycoon, or housewife; you have to work really hard to separate yourself from the noise of our society.  Everyone is living their life and hopefully they all think of themselves as great and try to be the best that they can be every day.  But as nature has it, not everyone can be the best so to put yourself above the fray, you have to work really hard and make it so that you are continuously pushing yourself.   My daughter and I have had these long talks for many years so she understands what she needs to do, but it is always nice to see her doing it.  Just as she had to drive hours out of the way to capture these photographs at just the right time of year and at the correct time of day—so too in life—you have to go further than other people and be willing to always push for that extra bit to get there to arrive at the definitions of success—because there is a lot of noise from people who try to be good at things from the rolled down windows of their cars.

I’ve showed Brooke a lot of movies over the years and she is well read and has been exposed to the finer things in life—so she has context on the details of what makes things—good.  But I was surprised to learn that her favorite movie was Interstellar recently.   That was the Christopher Nolan film that I wrote about several years ago which I drug my family to on an opening night because I thought it would have an impact on their lives.  I’m glad it did, but it still surprised me that it was her favorite movie out of all the movies she’s been exposed to.  She told me that recently in one of those rare moments where she and her husband were able to come home and have some dinner and watch a collection of political speeches about NASA, that it was Interstellar that most touched her and I just think that’s magnificent.  You might have noticed that she inserted a song from the Hans Zimmer masterpiece musical score from that film on her article for context.  When the first space stations open up to the public and hotels start popping up on the moon in a few years, I have no doubts that Brooke will be one of the first to be there.  And that quite simply makes me very proud.

Most parents are proud of their kids—and that is mostly a selfish emotion.  After all, who wants to raise children only to think they are pieces of crap?  To think otherwise would be to concede to failure.  So it’s not unusual for parents to be proud of their children mostly out of the necessity of justifying all the hard work that goes into the job.  But when a child evolves into something that is uniquely defined and hungry for living life in their own endeavors it is something to celebrate. It just so happens that in Brooke’s case she is my kid and she has given me a lot to be proud of, and she’s just getting started.  It makes me very proud that she speaks so articulately, that she is running around at 11:30 PM looking for the right light in a night sky for a perfect picture not for some magazine or other paid endeavor—but because she has a natural passion to do so.  And it makes me proud that she’s not naive enough to do these things without being heavily armed to defend herself.  The results of all those elements are showing up in her artistic endeavors and whether or not she was related to me, it’s a beautiful thing to witness.

Rich Hoffman

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Thinking Big, and Practically: A Hyperloop between New York and Washington D.C.

It wasn’t that surprising to me, because I’ve been talking about it for a while.  Do you remember dear reader all the stuff I’ve been saying about the Hyperloop?  Well, it’s happening too and only because Elon Musk is continuing to be one of America’s greatest outside the box thinkers who has the financial resources to act on those thoughts.  But the fact that we can even talk about the Hyperloop as a reality has only one person to thank, Donald J. Trump.  Without Trump in the White House a lot of bureaucrats would be looking for a way for Musk to grease the skids.  Now, with the swamp draining as we speak we are on a cultural trajectory to have Hyperloops all over the United States starting with the link between New York City and Washington D.C.  Can you imagine traveling that distance in under 30 minutes?  A lot of people suddenly became very excited to hear that news, and most of them were not Trump supporters.  This is what you get when you have people like Musk in your country with a supportive White House.  Just read Donald Trump’s books, How to Think Like s Billionaire along with Think Big and Kick Ass, and it will be very easy to understand what, why, and how Elon Musk put up this Tweet much to the surprise of the mayors of several of the included cities.

The swamp creatures of bureaucracy want their take, but Trump and Musk are moving well beyond the speed of those people and as we speak Trump is beating them in the public relations battle.  By the time the Boring Company presents its proposals for digging underneath cities like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and of course Washington D.C. Trump’s team will have destroyed and replaced many of the figures who would otherwise stand against this project—so you can mark it on your calendar, this will get done.

People need to understand that all this controversy in the media about Trump/Russia, and polling numbers and legislative stalls are not a problem for Trump.  It sounds noisy now, but he has the situation under control.  The bureaucrats are not going to win against a Trump White House.  They may stall.  They may try to delay the inevitable, but Trump just has too many resources and works too hard to apply them for him to fail.  Having Trump in the White House puts him in a position to speak to people like Musk and to be essentially the most powerful lobbyist in Washington D.C. which is what Musk needed from the beginning.  Before, Musk would have had to lobby congress and the White House to get some pin head to even understand how the Hyperloop is different from a typical train.  But Trump gets it and knows what to do with good information when it comes his way.

For way too long we have allowed unproductive know-nothings to stand between us and the future and things have just stalled out technologically.  The following link is interesting in how it shows over time how deregulation of the phone industry and the introduction of the Internet allowed for smart phones to evolve to where they are today.  A lot of people forget that it was only ten years ago that the iPhone first came on the scene—but all that occurred because technology happened faster than politicians could crush innovation with their top heavy lumbering bureaucracy.  Regulators can be a good thing to make an industry safer, but often the kind of people who perform those jobs are cowardly people by nature and they love to have control over dreamers like Elon Musk.  So digging massive holes under all these cities and building a new transportation system that goes over 700 MPH is something they’d love to stop because it gives them power over  genius.  Those are the type of people who presently hate the Trump presidency and are doing anything they can to stop the changes that are happening literally right now.

Anthony Scaramucci is now taking over in Trump’s White House as the top communications official.  Trump met with Scaramucci recently and liked him so much that he put him immediately into the job.  Sean Spicer resigned to give Scaramucci a clean plate and just like that our new White House will be moving into phase 2 right at the 6 month mark.  The first phase of course was typical of any business dealing.  Trump enters the White House and softens up everyone with aggression.  Then when everyone is reeling he offers them an olive branch—which is what Scaramucci is—that is the “art of the deal.”

They are then happy and responsive to what the White House provides to the public.  So as Trump and Musk talked about the Hyperloop they were talking about things that would happen in step 4 as if those things already happened.  It’s just that the rest of the world isn’t there yet.  They will be and before they know it there will be a Hyperloop between New York and D.C.  It’s a good deal; Musk needs to get the Hyperloop rolling in America so he can convince California to put one between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Trump needs to enhance America’s infrastructure with something that is more “Trumpian.’ It was in these kinds of things that provoked Trump to run for office in the first place—so he’s not going to let this die on the vine.

As much as the media hates Trump by watching these videos did you notice how quickly they suddenly became excited?  That’s how Trump will eventually leave office.  All these silly things talked about today will long be forgotten when people are getting daily news reports from places like the Moon and traveling across the country on Hyperloops at speeds over 700 MPH.  If left to the pin-heads in our bureaucratic culture something like the Hyperloop would take 50 years and cost trillions of dollars.  But if left to the private sector it will only take 5 years and only cost billions, which will be recovered by the technology of a new transportation industry and in the end that’s all people will really remember.

What’s different now than really at any point prior is that these characters are not ideologically political.  Musk obviously has many leftist leanings, but he is a capitalist by the nature of all his companies which are quite good and operate well.  Trump is a pretty hard lined conservative compared to Musk, but he’s good enough in business to be able to have relationships with people who are not like him ideologically.  Just as Scaramucci has more liberal leanings than a Midwest Republican he is an effective communicator and can sell a lot of the things that Trump wants to do so we are truly entering a new phase of American thinking and it’s very exciting.  Honestly I’m very happy about it.  I don’t care that people think the way I do about things as long as they are being productive and moving the ball of the human race forward—not with political philosophy, but in human achievement.  The political philosophy comes as an off-shoot of an emerging society.  We should not build an emerging society off a political philosophy then use regulation to preserve that philosophy.  Instead, what Musk and Trump are doing will shape our civilization with an optimism that can only come from a couple of dreamers who have the financial resources to think big and the political clout to make it happen.  And finally we have both in the White House and things will begin to happen rapidly—for a change!

Rich Hoffman

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The Doomsday Cult of a new Religion–Climate Change: Using hoakey science to hide sheer laziness

I thought it was astonishing.  In America you just don’t hear these kinds of things, but the view of productivity around the world has changed and their poor economies show it.  However increasingly, especially on college compasses and public schools everywhere the next generation is adopting this mentality.  In dealing with a company overseas recently I learned that they had to shut down their facility for four days due to a need to preserve power—they had an energy crisis and just didn’t have enough energy literally to operate their manufacturing plant.  Obviously their commitment to solar and wind power wasn’t cutting the mustard and they didn’t have enough energy to conduct basic manufacturing.  So their employees went home and conserved power for a majority of this previous week doing nothing to move needed actions on behalf of our business together.  And while explaining it to me they didn’t even have the predilection that there was any possible imposition to the matter.  Buying into all the greenie weenie diatribes that the new communist green movement has put forth, these people were committing economic suicide under the best of intentions—and the entire premise was completely false, artificially created to preserve nature at the cost of human productivity and it’s quite a disgusting phenomenon.   The people I was dealing with were not stupid people, but they have adopted all the nutty European standards on emission reduction that have essentially crippled them as a productive society—and it is astonishing to see.

It was only a few weeks ago where I wrote quite an elaborate, and unique article about the nature of people who silently seek to do as little as possible.  CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW.  They are the type of people who are disconnected from productive enterprise and have lives separate from their work.  They are the TGIF people who dread Mondays, put “hump day” on their Facebook postings and on Fridays celebrate by declaring that they thanked God that the weekend was upon them so they could go home, stuff their fat faces and watch other people live lives on television.  Many of those people are the first idiots who are inclined to listen to Al Gore rattle on about the new communism “green” religion of climate change which articulates quite specifically all the sins of productivity as something to avoid.  For lazy pieces of shit, the green movement is quite an attractive prospect.  Not only do they get the excuse to sit on their ass and bitch about everything but they can hide behind the shield of non productive output to do it and feel like they are saving the earth in the process.   It is the latest rage of the lazy and stupid and it is taking over the world rapidly because of the many soft-souled losers that are out there to solidify the thoughts of non productive behavior.

It’s not the earth these losers are protecting—it’s their own laziness—let’s make that clear right now.  As California recently voted to impose massive regulations on themselves all in the name of “climate change” which is a completely made up falsehood designed to limit the productive output of America to match these other countries who have allowed the lazy losers of their societies to stop productivity all in the name of saving the earth from human beings.  Gov. Jerry Brown is just another Jim Jones cult leader speaking in terms that touch the human desire to regress back to the Stone Age—to build monuments honoring the winter and summer solstice, to make animal sacrifices to the gods for food supply and to dance like idiots under the sun hoping to make it rain.  The new “science” of climate change is just another voodoo cult of idiots casting lunacy toward reality and hoping for some kind of positive result.  But behind every one of those people is a lazy streak that looks to get away from work so that they can hide their tendency behind some social effort to conceal their lazy inclinations.

Climate change is in the same category as religious mythology, the new devil is capitalism and the new God–the Earth, and all its family of planets spinning around the sun waiting for the day that the fuel runs out and destroys the entire solar system.  The lazy Al Gore types and the loud mouthed Jerry Brown’s of the world preach with the Jim Jones charisma of a maniac to turn off our productivity as human beings and turn inward toward the gods of compliance—and to pray for rain, to pray for food and to pray for our everlasting life.  All the while, those of us who work hard, smart and are always thinking know that all those things are improved through productivity.  Everything is fixed in human existence through hard work and productive output.

Imagine going to Disney World and learning that they had to shut down for the day due to a need to save power.  Or think of New York City—a place that never sleeps having to turn off some of their lights to accommodate the limits of wind turbans and solar cells struggling to put out enough power to supply their needs because there were a number of days when it was cloudy.  That’s what we’re talking about here.  The greenie weenie push to get away from “dirty” “sinful” energy and to move toward less effective “green energy.”  What you end up with is a production plant with no power and a bunch of people who have to take a mandatory vacation just to save the planet from an unseen menace, unseen because it doesn’t exist.   People like Jerry Brown and Al Gore are just the new death doctors of doom preaching the apocalypse as they pass the offering plates around the congregation to pay for themselves to have a wild nights with strippers in Vegas after everyone goes home.  They don’t care about life; they want to do as little as possible and to indulge in vile conduct with a cover story of some majestic cause.

The earth doesn’t give a rat’s ass if we humans live or die.  The earth will die in due time, its climate will change, its oceans will rise and fall, and it will continue to be pelted every few billion years with catastrophic space debris.  Braless bitches and stringy haired hippies with body piercings and their acoustic guitars can stand in the mud and sing about how wonderful the earth is and they can hide their lazy behavior behind climate change and worship the goddess Mother Earth and it won’t change a damn thing—earthquakes will happen.  Hurricanes will still occur.  But mankind’s salvation is bigger than the earth—and it is there in space for the productive and the ambitious to explore.  The religious cult of climate change has been created to hide the lazy from the judgment of the ambitious and that has left good people standing around waiting for the sun to come out so that they can work an eight-hour day—or be sent home until the situation improves.  Meanwhile, nobody was there to answer my God-damn emails because they were too busy smelling flowers and worshipping the earth while their f**king phones charge.  They foolishly sat by candlelight like a bunch of Neanderthals during the Stone Age around a fire wondering what animal might come along to eat them, or why lightning was so scary flashing across the sky.  Meanwhile in America for those who don’t sleep so much and work 16 hour days—and on weekends—we are planning to return to the moon and to mine materials to advance our civilization toward a Type I utilization.

We are not one world.  There are the lazy pieces of crap that live and seek a new form of communism in this green movement to stop production, seek out technology to make it so they can play video games longer in the day and get paid for sitting on their ass.  They are parasites of the earth feeding off it like a barnacle because they essentially don’t want the responsibility for self initiation.  They want someone to blame for their lack of success in life and climate change gives them an excuse to do very little in life and still have a cover story to feel good about themselves over.  Then there are the productive people who don’t want limits on their imaginations or their effort—and those are the people who will carry mankind into the stars to live for billions of years long after the earth has been consumed by the sun as that gassy celestial centerpiece of our solar system dies.  The lazy will die with it.  The ambitious will move on to procreate in space with thought and enterprise that are specific to the human race.  But the two sides will never  get along on earth.   It is sad to see that the influence of the lazy losers have migrated into politics to shut down entire countries with bad policy and sheer stupidity.   We are fighting that trend in America with a new kind of President.  However, by the way things look around the world—many of those other countries need to be doing the same thing.  If you don’t have enough energy to stay open for business, you are doing something very wrong.

Rich Hoffman

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Who Cares about John McCain’s Brain Tumor: Having the courage to repeal Obamacare

Who cares that John McCain has a brain tumor? Why would it surprise anyone that an 80-year-old man who has been in bad health since his 20s would have some ailment—and why was Barack Obama so quick to comment about it? Of course, I don’t wish anything bad on John McCain, but just because he’s sick doesn’t make him any less of a part of the problem. Let’s not forget that it was McCain who got involved in the scandalous dossier on Donald Trump giving it to James Comey and that at every turn the former Republican presidential candidate behaves more like a Democrat that wants war all over the world than a tightly controlled spending conservative. Could it be that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know that McCain is that critical 50th vote in repealing Obamacare and that if they can turn the nation’s sympathies toward a sick old senator who happens to need “healthcare” at the moment that they might undo Trump’s work at removing the government from healthcare all together with a repeal of Obama’s signature legislation of socialist medicine. I wasn’t born yesterday—I’ve been around the block a few times and that’s the only reason so many people poured on the juice of sympathy for old John McCain. McCain is the plug in the swamp and you have to get rid of people like him to drain that swamp. It’s one thing to feel sorry for a person with a brain tumor. It’s quite another to use him as a shield of sympathy to protect Obamacare from repeal in a cowardly senate.

Rob Portman is another disgrace. To think that I actually once knew him and campaigned for him back when he first won his seat for the second congressional district back in 1993. Back then like a lot of young politicians Rob was full of conviction and wanted to do the right things. When he first won that seat, Rob was a virtuous character who operated like a Tea Party candidate—he in fact hung around with the Ross Perot Reform Party voters who obviously became Donald Trump supporters many years later. Now that he’s a beltway boy he hangs with RINOs like John McCain and John Kasich who want to spread Medicaid in the states and deepen that entitlement to the point where people are hooked and can never get off it. They are like drug dealers seeking to get people addicted to government so they will forever be dependent—so that government will always have a part to play in people’s lives centering from the Beltway. Portman is another no vote for the repeal of Obamacare because it was in Ohio where Kasich expanded Medicaid making Barack Obama very happy. All it took for John to cave was a serious defeat of Senate Bill 5 and a golf game with Obama and Biden to lose his nerve and become a major loser. And Portman has his back as a “compassionate conservative” from the land of Ohio. But the Republican party doesn’t belong to Kasich any more in Ohio. It belongs to Trump. Those boys are on the wrong side of history.

Then there are the three Republican women, Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski who talked tough and voted to repeal Obamacare when they all knew that Obama would veto the effort. Now that Trump will sign it, they are acting like—well—a bunch of girls. They can’t make a decision, they don’t want to pick a side, and they lack the courage to stand by their convictions. Just like John McCain’s brain tumor, it’s not their fault they are of the female sex—but it is their fault if they yield to the stereotype and fit the bill for being a bunch of confused idiots. They want to sound like tough conservatives until they have to make a decision. What they really want is to appeal to everyone—just like a typical loser Democrat and that is holding up very needed legislation to put free market influence back into the medical profession.

Is some of what I said a bit too harsh—about John McCain, Rob Portman and the weak girls of the Senate—maybe if we were more concerned with being sensitive than in doing what is right. All these people hide behind some demographic factor to conceal their liberal natures—McCain a sick old war veteran, Portman a guy who found out his kid was gay, and the ladies, people who as women have some mythical right to see all sides of a story so that nobody can ever make a decision—we are supposed to give them a pass because they are women?

There are a million excuses from these very weak people not to act on the massive insurrection that Obamacare always was—some hide behind their illnesses, some hide behind challenges to their conservative thinking by family members, and some hide behind their sex—but they are all wrong and hiding fundamental flaws in their personalities. They are using “circumstances” to avoid making hard decisions about matters critical to our country and it was disgraceful that one of the first people to do so was the former president of the United States, Barack Obama protecting his pathetic socialist care entitlement designed to crush our free market health care system—which has so far been successful.

Brain tumor or not, McCain has a job to do. We don’t need a bunch of fluffy memorials to distract us from the needs at hand. McCain needs to vote to repeal Obamacare, not to use his condition to delay a vote further and hope that everyone will lose their resolve and move on to something else while the world of finance around health care burns into oblivion, because that’s happening right now. McCain’s brain tumor is just a medical condition. It should not stop the wheels of progress by any means.

I have news for those standing against the Trump agenda. If you consider where things were one year ago from this writing then project another year of progress from this date into the future, people like McCain, Portman, Kasich and Collins—along with other never-Trump types like Glenn Beck and all of Hollywood—they are all missing the boat. Trump is moving on and doing so rapidly. He doesn’t take vacations. He doesn’t sleep. He never gets tired and he thinks of ideas a mile a minute—ever day—even on Sundays. He’s doing many good things and has literally changed the political world in only a year. Another year of this and things will be completely different. Silly tricks like this health care stunt and hoping to put a story on John McCain for a week or so to delay a healthcare vote in the Senate just isn’t going to work. Trump won’t let it go. This idea is not going to fade off into the sunset only to be consumed and buried in the Washington swamp. If they were smart, they’d vote to repeal now and consolidate their efforts behind President Trump. If McCain wants to fix his brain tumor, then fix it. But vote—and vote Republican. Otherwise, get the hell out-of-the-way. At 80 years old, nobody expects a specimen of health—but we do expect a Republican if you put an “R” next to your name. And with that “R” we expect courage—not a bunch of wishy-washy liberals.

Rich Hoffman

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Lakota is Paying Matt Miller $169,900 Per Year: We need new school board members–if you want to run, I’ll help you

It was in fact Governor Kasich’s super PAC that got into the heads of the feeble-minded senators at a critical time of the health care debate on repealing Obamacare. The Ohio Governor is of course trying to undermine the Trump presidency for his own run in 2020.  But for such a character in politics, as a public employee Kasich only gets paid around $150,000—more or less.  That’s for being a big player on the national stage of politics.  His Lt. Governor makes a bit more, but not much.  I think we’d all agree that whether we like him or not, the Governor is the big job in Ohio from a public perspective and is well compensated.  However, and I told them not to do this—but they did it anyway, the Lakota school board hired a new superintendent—a kid from Price Hill and paid him $169,000 as a base salary—well over what the governor of Ohio makes.  Lakota is the eighth largest school district in the state of Ohio and it is in one of the most affluent areas of the country—and its located where my home is—so I care a bit about this issue.  Already if West Chester residents look at their tax bill the entire township of West Chester—where half of Lakota is located—they pay roughly 21% to them.  They pay a whopping 61%–roughly—to the Lakota school system and that school is just throwing away money on these overly paid administrative employees—who make more than the radical progressive governor of our state.

Obviously, the scaling is way off in these unionized public-sector schools. While the administrators aren’t typically formally part of the union they often come out of that system and have pay expectations formed by their experiences in the public sector which has been roughly 30% too high for several decades now.  I mean it’s not Miller’s fault he’s been told he’s worth more than he really is—it’s our school board who thinks they need to pay this money to meet some invisible standard that the public education system has created in the industry to “compete.”  But in public education there isn’t any competition.  Builders build homes.  Real estate agents sell the homes and support school levy’s to attract new “family aged’ buyers.  The cycle runs its course.  And over the next twenty years new homes are built elsewhere and people move to those new districts and wherever that is becomes the new “hot” school district.

Lakota is not a “hot” community anymore—as far as education. It may be a stable excellent community but it is not the latest thing in the real estate world.  It has more people living within the district that do not have children attending the school system than it does new families moving to the area to buy a new house freshly built on previously productive farmland.  So the necessities have changed for the community as a whole where the school system is just one of the reasons for moving or maintaining property within the Lakota school district which encompasses Liberty Township and West Chester Township, Ohio.  Among the top reasons for living in the area are highway access, standard of living—many of our neighbors have household incomes over 100K a year so we don’t have to deal with too many slack-jawed losers while pumping gas and eating at restaurants.  There are great commercial offerings and the government is small enough to not pillage the homeowner continuously—except for the big open hands of the top heavy over scale pay of the unionized Lakota school system.  People put up with them out of sentimental value, but that only goes so far and news reports that they were paying a superintendent—which is mostly a political role anyway–$169,000 per year doesn’t help.  The job is at best worth half that for a 45-year-old employee such as Matt Miller.  If we paid him more than $85K per year we’d be getting ripped off.

Well, it just so happens that this year there are several school board members who have seats expiring—and it’s safe to say that none of them are exactly conservative bastions of valor. They care about Lakota itself as a microcosm but have been part of that culture that asks for a lot more than Lakota really plays in the success of the community for which it resides.  The people who make Liberty Township and West Chester Township great places to live are the people who live there—the community is not great because of Lakota schools.  The school board members who are up for re-election just don’t seem to understand that.  So this is an opportunity to run against them and challenge the board to have more people properly representative of our district helping to manage the finances.  There are lots of people I know who would be good for doing this job but most of them are older and really don’t want the pain in the ass of attending all the ridiculous meetings and the procedural lunacy that usually takes place. But for those inclined to number crunching and wanting to help with the situation, I’ll make a deal with you.  If you guys will run, I’ll help you with the campaign.  There are three seats open and I’ll help three candidates as a team if we can find the right people.  But it would have to be hard working good people who think correctly about this matter.  If those people are willing to come forward I’ll help with making it not so scary to run and win the seats.

The filing deadline for prospective candidates is August 9th, which isn’t much time from this writing.  I was catching up on summer news over the weekend and Lakota is somewhere down around #400 on my priority list (only because they cost me money) so I didn’t notice that the hit piece reporter Michael Clark had moved to the Journal News and I hadn’t followed up on the Lakota hire for superintendent.  I spoke to a few school board members over the winter and they seemed like they had a good read on the situation so I left them to their business.  But after catching up on the news about Lakota over this previous weekend it was obvious to me that these people haven’t learned anything and they need better management of such a volatile and expensive resource in the Lakota school system.  They are used to runaway train budgets saved only for the fact that Lakota has a projected decline in enrollment which takes the pressure off an immediate levy request.  But these people just don’t know how to budget a check book and the proof is in throwing money at this new superintendent hire.  If they’ll over pay for him they’ll do it for everything.

I know most of the normal people around Lakota’s district view a lot of this as a serious pain in the ass. But Lakota charges so much money for what they provide that we have to deal with them before they are too problematic.  The ideal candidate for school board would be people who have some evenings to give each month to this monstrosity of educational burden and a genuine love of numbers and how they roll together.  Jenni Logan does a good job as treasurer at Lakota and is good to work with, but it’s the system itself that needs to have a re-calibration of thought and some good sound conservatives sitting on the board to keep the costs down.  I’m offering to help and that help won’t stop once elected.  I’ll help fight the union more than willingly and keep them at bay so good management of our tax payer resources can be applied.  But we need smart people to sit in those seats.  I’ll ensure that you are not alone and exposed—but we need formal positions filled to manage the budget properly. If we don’t then Lakota will be asking for a levy again soon because they don’t have control of their costs.  The costs control them—and we just can’t have that.

Rich Hoffman

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‘The 15:17 to Paris’: Sully’s very American story

I was very excited to learn that the next movie Clint Eastwood is working on is the film version of the book by Spencer Stone, Anthony Salder and Alek Skarlatos, called The 15:17 to Paris. The book like the movie chronicles the heroics of those three young men as they stopped a terrorist attack on a train to Paris and became worldwide heroes before even turning 25 years of age.  The heroes are all boyhood friends and the story will display how their lives intersected to that key point in history, and honestly, I think only Clint Eastwood could make the movie version of that book.  Even more stunning to me was that Clint has cast the guys to play themselves in the film which is really unprecedented for a feature presentation.  Clint Eastwood is such a good director, and the three guys so naturally charismatic that they all felt only those people could tell this very unique story and I’m excited about it.  If anyone wondered what Clint Eastwood’s answer to American Sniper might be, this is certainly it.  This film will play well in the core of America and will resonate around the world deeply concerned about terrorism.

But the news about that film reminded me that I had not yet seen Sully, Eastwood’s last movie about the Miracle on the Hudson where Chesley Sullenberger lost both engines in his commercial flight A320 aircraft over New York City and had to land somewhere.  The trouble was that in New York at only a few thousand feet altitude there was no place to land without coming down on someone’s home or building.  People were going to die one way or another unless Sully—the 40+ year airman working for US Airways could think of something fast—which he did.  He landed the big plane on the Hudson River, literally the only place he could have and it was his unusually quick thinking that saved the lives of all 155 passengers on board.

Well, I knew the story and had read the book so I felt I knew what was going to happen so I waited for the film to come to home entertainment systems and was a little upset that it wasn’t available to rent on either the PlayStation network or Amazon Prime. A film that had done as well as it had should have had a decent rent value.  It did make $238 million worldwide so it was inconvenient to me that it wasn’t easy to watch—because I wanted to see it over the weekend after I had heard the announcement of The 15:17 to Paris. So we went to Wal-Mart, bought the Blue-rey, and watched the film over some carry-out from Chili’s—and it was just a wonderful movie.

It is a shame that Clint Eastwood is now 87 years old because I want to watch movies directed by him for the next hundred years. The guy is just sooooo good at what he does.  It’s the kind of thing that only a person with 60 years in the business could pull off.  Eastwood does these big, gigantic true stories full of top-tier actors and production talent and he presents them as small piano music scores underplayed just right   From a production stand-point Sully is a great movie.  It was nicely paced, wonderfully photographed and compelling—even though we thought we already knew the story.  But the NTSB needed someone to blame for the insurance claim made by US Airways and that was where the drama really kicked in and had me very interested.  Again, I think only Clint Eastwood could have told this story in this way.

I love the competency of pilots. They are one of America’s greatest contributions to the word.  They are by their very nature solid people who do not panic easily—otherwise they wouldn’t be pilots.  Watching the bonus footage on the Blue-rey I learned that Harrison Ford is really the person who got the story rolling by introducing Sully’s book to the producer Frank Marshall.  From there it found its way to Eastwood and production started right after American Sniper was making a lot of money at the box office for Warner Bros.  But this was a movie about pilots from pilots and Harrison Ford may be known for his roles in Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but in reality, what he really is, is a pilot.  We might recall the time he landed his vintage aircraft on a golf course shortly after having engine trouble out of Santa Monica.  His landing was very similar to Sully’s only he hit harder.  Sully at least had water to soften the hit.  So here were a couple of pilots bringing to light a story about pilots and securing a director who knew better than to get in the way of the story.  What ends up on-screen is really a wonderful depiction of the employees of US Airlines—not just Chesley Sullenberger.

Eastwood also cast some of the real people to play in this film, like the air traffic controller and the ferry driver who first arrived on scene to rescue people from the stranded aircraft. What all these people did in a moment of crises was very admirable and Sully turned out to be one of the most inspirational films I have seen in a long time.  I had a feeling it would be good which is why I went out of my way to see it, but it turned out to be one of those extraordinary movies that you just don’t forget.  Eastwood not only captured the heroics of the Miracle on the Hudson, but he captured well the spirit of New York in a crisis.  In the end, even though the National Transportation Safety Board had been looking for someone to blame they came around to seeing things Sully’s way and the story really became an interesting commentary on the nature of individualism standing up to the necessities of institutional collectivism without really making anybody look bad.  The members of the NTSB were after all just doing their jobs in the context of it—but the situation was so extraordinarily individualistic that no part of that institutional framework had even considered such a possibility—even in hindsight during simulation runs.

History will remember these late in life film contributions of Clint Eastwood as being a very accurate commentator on American life. Taken as a three-part trilogy, first with American Sniper then with Sully culminating with The 15:17 to Paris Eastwood is telling of the same type of lost America that he did in his Dirty Harry movies—only now with the all-encompassing view of an 87-year-old man who has literally seen it all and done it all.  And he’s telling these true stories in a way that will resonate for centuries.  Clint Eastwood is proud of the role that America plays in the world and he finds that joy in these little stories without being cheesy, or over-the-top.  Now that I’ve seen Sully and will likely watch it several more times, I am really excited for The 15:17 to Paris. That film may turn out to be the best of all and it will come out in a time where Trump is reshaping the concept of Americanism to fit Eastwood’s vision—and that has a lot of power—and it will happen at a perfect time.

Rich Hoffman

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Disney’s Fantasy Island: Where imagination intersects with reality to create mythology

I have been just a little enamored by all the news coming out of D23 in Anaheim, California over the weekend of 7/14–7/16.  I know many of my readers come here looking for political commentary, or uplifting insight into some complicated matter, but for anyone who knows me; the key to living that I find most valuable is mythology.  I credit the great Joseph Campbell as being the only teacher I ever really found valuable as I spent much of my youth digesting his vast work in the realm of mythology.  And in the modern sense, Star Wars is the greatest realization of modern myth that there is.  To the extent that Star Wars can expand the imagination of the human race is something I find infinitely valuable and is important if we look out beyond the limits of our present political entanglements. Even in the realm of education, Star Wars is changing the game and now under Disney’s guidance the results to me are mind bending—as was revealed by the entertainment company at their D23 Expo.

When I was a kid there was a popular television show called Fantasy Island that came on Saturday nights and I enjoyed it immensely. The premise was that whatever fantasy a visitor might have they could visit Fantasy Island and live it out only to learn some life lesson by the end of their trip that was important to their return to the regular world.  Well, Disney with all their resources are using the mythology of Star Wars to create their own version of a real “Fantasy Island” at Hollywood Studios with an exhibit they are calling now “Galaxy’s Edge” which is a fully immersive Star Wars land designed to take the theme park experience to the next level.  I wrote about that the other day, click here to review.  But in addition to that they are opening a Star Wars resort which is a completely immersive “fantasy island type of experience where you actually will be a part of a Star Wars story which I think is phenomenal on many levels as these videos will reveal.

Many years ago as I was one of the core members of The Joseph Campbell Foundation invited to Washington D.C. by Campbell’s wife Jean and a few other people who were very close to George Lucas who at that time was a board of director member—to review a very special Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  It was a big event and we had the VIP experience of getting there first before it was opened to the public.  So I took my kids because I knew it would be important in their lives.  And they never forgot it—and neither did I.  It was an experience that bonded us all very tightly—and that is what a good mythology can do.  You should never get lost in some fantasy and avoid living life, but I often say that Star Wars to me is like a vacation that I take in my mind.  I’m always thinking about very intense things and get myself into very stressful acts—and Star Wars in the form of some video game, book, or movie puts ideas onto a place where I can see them differently and usually solve problems by changing the perspective a bit.  For instance I’m currently very excited for the release of Battlefront II.  When it comes out I’ll probably spend a month playing it very diligently because it helps me manage very complex real life situations through the problem solving that you get while playing acting in battlefield strategies and war-time scenarios set in a Star Wars context.  I thought that these Battlefront games from Electronic Arts were the ultimate first person Star Wars experience.  Until this year’s D23—a Star Wars resort with a new land within Hollywood Studios called Galaxy’s Edge.  Compared to when I took my kids to the Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian in 1997 as a proud member of the Joseph Campbell Foundation from the perspective of a “mythology insider,” what Disney is doing is incredible, and I’m a big fan of it.

But that wasn’t all.  Over the past year I mentioned that I bought a Playstation VR device essentially so I could play the Battlefront Star Wars VR mission that came out on it over the previous Christmas.  It was to me a jaw-dropping experience and it has been a feature attraction to anybody who has come to my home over the last 6 months. The ability to fly an X-Wing Fighter into combat in and around a Star Destroyer was incredibly well done and if that was the extent of it I would be forever impressed.  But now a company called Lenovo has teamed up with Disney to create what is called an “augmented reality” experience meaning that you can see reality as you normally would only with a special headset new things can be introduced to it.  In this case you can embark on Jedi light saber training and play the Holo Chess that was so popular in the Star Wars films with this “augmented reality.”  That brings the experience of Star Wars and its mythology even more to the private world of the home environment.   Mythology is driving technology in ways that are then coming back to the personal experience of living the power of myth.   I will certainly be getting the new “augmented reality” headset by Lenovo as soon as it hits Best Buy likely this fall.

But this home technology only hints at what a company like Disney can do at these theme parks now to provide that truly Fantasy Island experience for their guests.  Star Wars is a powerful mythology.  On the surface it’s for kids, but the themes it contains are very primal and communicate with people in ways that nothing else currently does.   For adults Las Vegas has created some of that Fantasy Island mystic, but it doesn’t contain enough mythology to be a truly beneficial experience.  You get the sights and sounds of some fantasy thought, but not the problem solving that comes with experiencing an “augmented reality.”  I typically read a lot which works for me, but most people don’t take time for that kind of experience and the mind does get fatigued if it is not fed a steady dose of imagination.  A mind filled with imaginative elements whether from a fantasy situation or just from stimuli works better than a mind weighed down with the weights of reality.  Mythology helps people think bigger about things and that is a truly beneficial service.   But the ability to move directly into a mythic circumstance is truly revolutionary.  It is a real Fantasy Island type of experience and I think it will have vast importance over the coming decade culturally.

I knew when Universal Studios opened up that Harry Potter experience in their Florida parks that we were moving into a new kind of mythic experience.  And I knew that Disney would have an answer.  But I didn’t think it would be possible to be this cool.  What is happening is far exceeding my expectations and the possibilities are obvious.  I remember all too well how powerful Star Wars was to me and my family when these new options were not available.  What they will do to the mind of the up and coming to me is truly mind-blowing with benefits.  And I’m very excited to see more.  I was looking forward for quite a number of months to see what this year’s D23 would reveal.  What they showed was far more than I anticipated which is hard to do.  That leaves an astounding thought, what will be next?

Rich Hoffman

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