So You’ve Played Red Dead Redemption 2 and Loved it: Be a gunslinger in real life, join the Cowboy Fast Draw Association

As much as I talk about other things, I am not completely lost like a lot of people my age might otherwise be on the magical world of video games and their relatively new impact on global entertainment. But let me just say to my usual readers, its big business. I finally finished the story mode of Red Dead Redemption 2 after around 100 hours of game play, taking my time when I could and I have to say that I was absolutely amazed by the result. The game is such an astonishing technical achievement and it is by far the best thing that could have ever happened to the entertainment format of the American Western. As a story and experience it really is like taking a real-life cowboy experience like the movie City Slickers and placing them into a 1960s spaghetti western with all the high drama of something like Game of Thrones. It is big, bold and beautiful in so many ways. And I knew that as I completed the game and all the epilogue missions that there was going to be a Red Dead online coming at the end of November. I planned to revisit the game at that time but wasn’t expecting much. But let me say that I have been pleasantly surprised. It looks like as massive as Red Dead Redemption 2 is as a game with sales well over a billion dollars already and something like 20 million copies sold before the Holiday season, that the purposed of the online play is to use the game as a kind of training experience for the online world that they have created. It is just vast and ultimately never-ending in what it allows players to do and interact with one another.

I couldn’t help but think as I was playing missions with other people the other day, most of them much younger than I am, that this game is really their only experience with a real American western and for many they are very touched by it. The game itself is a very moral story about good and bad and the many quandaries of the critical decisions that went into exploding life across the American frontier. But at its core it’s about gunfighting and is clearly one of the best arguments for the real-life problems of the Second Amendment. A lot of young people may not be paying attention to the real political problems going on in the outside world, but they sure care a lot about earning enough money in the game to purchase upgrades for their guns and dress in the coolest gunfighting outfits. But I couldn’t help notice that many of them probably didn’t know that they could do all the things they are doing in Read Dead Redemption in real life with Cowboy Fast Draw as seen at the following link:

http://www.COWBOYFASTDRAW.com

Belonging to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association is one of the groups I am most proud to affiliate with, they are really a good group of people who meet all over the United States to compete in real life fast draw competitions using real guns. It’s what I think of as one of the coolest sports in the world right now as other countries are trying to participate but have too strict of gun laws to actually do it. But in the good ol’ United States it is much easier to participate in. Yet I have noticed that most of the members are well over 40, largely because guns and holster rigs are expensive so it takes a little upfront investment to get involved. But once you do, it is infinitely rewarding. I enjoyed the original Red Dead Redemption enormously and getting my own fast draw rig was always something I had planned to do. But raising a family every last dollar that I made went into family needs, a car was always breaking down, a kid always needed a school fee or band instrument. Someone needed braces of a family member across the country wanted us to visit them, so there was always something for like twenty years that kept me from getting my own fast draw gun rig.

I ran across a substantial amount of money for a big job I had been working on so I treated myself to my gun rig and have been practicing at Cowboy Fast Draw for several years now, and am getting pretty good at it. After probably 30,000 to 35,000 shots at a fast draw target, I am starting to feel good about my speed and accuracy. It did take a while. It was something that had been on my mind well before I ever played the first Red Dead going way back into my twenties when I was going through a really tough time. Westerns and western music really kept the zest for life alive in me. On their most basic foundations westerns are about the meaning of life so they always had great appeal to me so when I grew up I wanted to be as much of a gunfighter as society could endure. Ironically, I had acquired my gun rig and some advanced fast draw skill before Red Dead Redemption 2 came out which had even more meaning for me because of the new hobby I had.

Traveling around the online world it has become very obvious that many young people are deeply touched by Red Dead Redemption 2 and likely would like to have a similar experience as I have. So let me put this little invite out there. If you are unsure of how to get involved in Cowboy Fast Draw because you are enjoying playing Red Dead Redemption but would like to take everything up a notch, don’t hesitate to ask me. I can help you get started on something that would be infinitely rewarding. While my regular audience here is much older than the people playing Red Dead Redemption 2 I would personally love to see more young people getting involved in Cowboy Fast Draw. It really isn’t any different from what you do in the game, but that it never ends. While the content of Red Dead Redemption does eventually run out, the challenges in real life never do.

In the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, you get to dress up as a gunslinger for real, and have a reason to do it. You have a reason to buy fancy guns for real and learn to take care of them. And the scoring format is safe and fun. Its one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in my life and I would recommend it to anybody. I had been thinking that membership in the cowboy sports may just flicker away because new generations just do not have many positive western entertainment venues that are cool enough to hold their attention, that is until Red Dead Redemption 2 came along and inspired millions of people to live in that world quite authentically. And for those who just want to climb into the world of Red Dead Redemption for real and live it in real life I’d point you to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association at the link shown here. If you have any questions, just ask. I’d love to help as many new people get involved in the sport as possible. While I personally love the world of Red Dead Redemption, it is no match for having a real fast draw rig on your hip which is an experience I have every day. And wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here: http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707 Use my name to get added benefits.

The Call to Adventure: A 52 Week Project which photographs authenticiy

It was strange recently getting yet another notification from the Ohio courts of Butler County that I’ve been selected for jury duty because my name ends up in the hat so often due to my voting patterns.  I noticed while filling out the form which included my wife and kids that none of them have what you might call—“traditional” jobs.  My wife is a happy housewife, my oldest daughter a professional photographer who is very highly sought after and my youngest is an illustrator.  As I write this she, (my youngest) is doing a commission piece on the Batman villain The Joker shown below.  But none of the ladies in my family have a “traditional” job where they go to work, punch in and sell away their day for cash.  I know that’s the typical way that we measure economic success, but I’ve always been a big supporter of that type of freedom—especially for women because they tend to invest more into children, households and the emotional nurturing of a family as a whole.  When people are free of that primary concern of having to sell away their time for money, it allows them to invest in less tangible aspects of family building, so it makes me proud to see that among the women closest to me, they are all on that type of path.  They don’t have a “boss” out there they must yield to, and that is something I think is very important to family development, because it makes them the authority figures of their own lives which is why that question is asked on a jury selection form.  Attorneys obviously want to know that the people in their pool are “normal” people miserable like everyone else—so the way I answered that question likely will knock me out of the selection process.

My photographer daughter has really impressed me; she is taking her business to a new level as seen in these included videos.  She’s doing something called the 52 Weeks Project where each week she is picking a subject to photograph then she shows how she comes up with the shots and how the editing process goes on arriving at the final product.  She’s a full-time mom, but on both of these efforts she was up at dawn before her little boy woke up wanting breakfast and conducted these pictures for her project squeezing in a lot of creativity into an already packed day.  She’s been busy with booked appearances for several weeks now and coming up shortly after this publication she has a photo shoot in Chicago.  So what you see here is a very developed photographer who is expecting herself to be one of the great ones.  What she does is out of pure passion which I liken back to having the ability to be free of having a “boss” in her life who governs her away from home while on a time clock. That freedom has allowed her to expand her personal life in ways that I think are quite extraordinary—and necessary to achieve the level of art that she is shooting for.

Even her subjects are unique in the scheme of the photographic community.  Her first entry into the 52 weeks project was “A Call to Adventure” which I thought she managed to squeeze a lot out of while working in a very limited area within Cincinnati.   For those who don’t understand why a “Call to Adventure” is important it’s a classic motif most appropriately defined by Joseph Campbell in the telling of mythologies.  Usually after the first act of a movie or the introductory phase of a novel the main character is faced with a jumping off point from the static patterns of their normal life and into the promise of adventure provoked by some dynamic force. For some people the “Call to Adventure” might be as simple as a stranger approaching you from the back of a cab at a stop light while you’re walking to work in New York and asks you to help them get to the airport.  You must then decide to help or not because if you do, the static patterns of your day will be disrupted and that could have unpleasant consequences.  Then for others it might be an opportunity to fly to Cambodia to do sex traffic rescue work in some steamy jungle nightmare, but while there you make a new archaeological discovery that changes the world perspective on our knowledge of history.  The “Call to Adventure” is often how you can dramatically enrich your life for the better with vast experience, but to do so you must step away from your static patterns and allow dynamic forces into your life.

For instance, a friend of mine who worked on the Trump campaign in 2016 called me on a very busy day last week and asked me if I could appear on CNN the next day.  I had scheduled a lot of events and I really didn’t have the time.  After all I had an oversea meeting planned at the very same moment I was supposed to be on with Anderson Cooper.  So did I answer the call and go on CNN which was likely just going to do a hit piece.  As it turned out the CNN people were very gracious and were not the kind of gotcha people who Rush Limbaugh surmised when he talked about the event on his show.  I did the CNN segment along with some other peers and it got people talking and was fun to do.  I still managed to get all my work done—although it was different from my usual day and I could point to many times in my life where answering the “Call to Adventure” directly led to some very unusual experiences which ultimately enhanced my life.

I have learned over time to never get too rigid about things.  The “Call of Adventure” is something I consider so important that I often go out of my way to find it with a very laissez-faire approach to living and personal management.  I may start the day with all kinds of planned activities but by the end of it, I end up doing things I never thought I would at the start and that comes from saying yes to the “Call of Adventure.”  So it made me particularly proud to see my photographer daughter out there capturing not only dramatic photos but articulating that difficult concept artistically.  She, standing at the entrance of a forest goes back to some of the great Arthurian legends of the Middle Ages where the knights would all enter the forest of their various adventures at different points basically to establish that no two paths of adventure were the same for other people.  People must pick their own paths in life to be living truly authentic lives so here was my kid showing this rather difficult concept to explain with a simple photograph.  But as you can see from the editing process, it’s not so simple.IMG_4644

This brings me back to the importance of my girls not being encumbered with a traditional job—especially while raising their children.  If they put their children in daycare, there would be many fewer opportunities for the kids to experience the wonder of a life lived authentically, because the static schedules of daily living prohibit it—and true intellectual learning is often crippled in children as a result.  But for a mother who is there ready to answer that “Call to Adventure” at the slightest provocation a simple trip to the grocery store on a sunny summer in July might lead to a lifetime of discoveries that stay with young people forever because if the schedule of acquiring food is relaxed there may be opportunities for adventure that come up along the way—someone might need help changing a flat tire or a snake may be caught under a car in the grocery store parking lot and need help getting over to the cool grass before somebody runs it over.  You just never know—but there is tremendous value in following the “Call to Adventure” and it makes me feel very good to see that my daughter has matured to a point where she can understand it well enough to photograph.  That takes talent!

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

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Dreams of a Giant: The Skeleton Key to Finnegan’s Wake

There are plenty of modern things to write about—however, most of them have been covered here and are predictions previously submitted simply manifesting before our eyes. Every day feels like an “I told you so moment” so I no longer feel inclined to provide warnings—because they are before us. Personally, I am about to embark on the most intense, and difficult year so far in my life, and for those who know me—there have been some really difficult years leading up to this one. Also for those who know me, they by now know that I deal with difficulties through intellectual expansion. In much the way that a fighter trains for a big match, so to must the intellectual who will have to move mountains of passive aggressive opposition hell-bent on mediocrity to punch through to the other side. So for that I seek lots of literature to help push my mind to the point where it can deal with anything. In the past, I have found that novels like Finnegan’s Wake does that for me. I have read it before, I have it even on a book to tape that I have listened to many times. It is likely the most difficult book of literature ever created. I love the book and I love the primordial giant at the start of the book named Finnegan who dies and is buried by his wife Annie (Anna Livia Plurabelle) who puts out his body for the mourners to eat. But before they can feast on his body, he vanishes only to rise again by the end of the first chapter bawling for whiskey. His mourners put him back to rest convincing him that death is better and so he dreams through death that he awakens into the modern family man and pub owner H.C.E. H.C.E. stands for “Here Comes Everyone” meaning all of mankind. So in essence the giant Finnegan in Finnegan’s Wake dies and is born again as all of mankind and the content of the book is primarily a dream that takes place in the wake of his life.

There aren’t many sentences in Finnegan’s Wake that sound even remotely like the normal dialogue of a novel. The book is written in reference to over 60 different languages and none of them seem to string together in a coherent way—yet they do. They are meant to transport the reader beyond the conscious mind into the primordial ooze of a dreamlike existence and to actually peer into the possibly of life beyond death as mankind is but a resurrection of thought—exclusively.

For years many have pondered over the meaning of the novel. It is one of the great puzzles of literature.   Personally I came to the work by the lectures of Joseph Campbell and read the novel knowing that Campbell was obsessed with it. My teacher was so obsessed with Finnegan’s Wake that he spent over four years attempting to translate line by line the entire 600 page novel with another novelist by the name of Henry Morton Robinson. The result of that collaboration became A Skeleton Key to Finnegan’s Wake. It was a book that promised to unlock the mysteries of James Joyce’s masterpiece Finnegan’s Wake.

However, since Finnegan’s Wake is such difficult literature to read, there isn’t much of a market for it even among the most serious intellectuals. Some people spend their entire lives contemplating Finnegan’s Wake—so it is intimidating to even start the book, let alone trying to figure out what it all means. As I’ve said before I am a big fan of the Joseph Campbell Foundation and all the great work they do there. I have virtually everything Joseph Campbell ever wrote—except one thing—his Skeleton Key. The infamous book first went to print in 1944 then again in 1961 but died on the vine for many, many years until the JCF picked up the copyright in 2005. The book was finally republished by the Foundation at the New World Library in March of 2013. Well, at the time I was enormously busy with politics and business—which I still am—and couldn’t find the time to jump back into Finnegan’s Wake through the Skeleton Key. But standing here at the end of 2014 looking into a very, very difficult 2015 the time is now to capture Campbell’s classic wonder about the very elusive Wake before it goes out of print once again. So for Christmas this year I gave myself the book and the time to read it so that I could use the expanded intellectual muscle to deal with an ominous set of obstacles lined up to defend complacency with raised swords and curses from another world.

It is one thing to struggle through Finnegan’s Wake it’s another to seek out its meanings line by line—which is what Campbell was the first to do not long after the first printing in 1939. James Joyce spent nearly twenty years writing the Wake—exclusively. It was a work of obsession to say the least and is a revolutionary masterpiece that more or less killed the author with exhaustion. But thank God he did the work, and even more so, thankfully Joseph Campbell was the first to attempt to unlock its secrets.

My personal obsession with the Wake is that it taps into the ancient mythology of the Hill of Tara in Meath Ireland—the ancient high seat of the Ardri, the High Kings of Erin. The Hill itself is an item of archaeological concern as it is said to have ties to the Lost Tribes of Israel and the ancient Ark of the Covenant. The thoughts of some are that the Tribe then took the Ark to America and settled into the Midwest to establish the mound building cultures found there. It is also thought that among these lost tribes were the Biblical Nephillim whose gigantic stature has been found in the mounds of Ohio, Indiana, and the entire Mississippi Valley. This certainly lends credence to the possibility of how the mound building cultures in Ohio had such advanced mathematics and science. The Hill of Tara is a massive mound structure along the lines of those in Newark, Ohio so there is a connection to the two styles—and intentions.

Joyce essentially wrote Finnegan’s Wake to recreate the illegal Dark Tongue for the Teamhur Feis which took place on the Hill of Tara which had been made illegal after the victory and Christian conquest there by Saint Patrick. So obviously, there is much, much more to the Finnegan’s Wake than just an unintelligible book meant to frustrate readers. It is a coded connection to the illegal language of Dark Tongue. Finnegan’s Wake holds a key literally to understanding the long, deep past of humanity which was deliberately erased by Christian crusaders during 433 AD directly leading into the Dark Ages of Europe.

As if all that wasn’t enough, the main character in my novel The Symposium of Justice and all the subsequent stories coming out starting in 2015 involving the trails and tribulations of Fletcher Finnegan is a direct tip of the hat—literally—to the giant leader from the Teamhur Feis rituals which took place at the Hill of Tara. Fletcher Finnegan for me is the resurrection of that giant who steps into the world of mankind and carries it beyond the limits of the tavern owner H.C.E.

Understandably, many books have been written after Joseph Campbell’s Skeleton Key. But for me, his work is the best because he was the first and many after him were able to take his work and extrapolate further—and deeper than he was able to do with just a few years of puzzling through Joyce’s bizarre work just prior to World War II. When the topic is the resurrection of an ancient language connected to the Druids—made illegal by Christian orthodoxy that wanted Ireland to unite behind English rule—under careful regulation by the church—Joyce wrote in code to preserve an aspect of human life that has long since descended into the recesses of morality. And to truly understand who we are, and where we really come from—the truth is locked up in works of art like those of Joyce. Campbell was the first to offer a key. So for Christmas this year—I finally put my hands on the book so that I can use what I find there to solve the many riddles coming quick and under ominous intent. Like an encroaching army it takes more than muscle to defeat the swarms’ amassing to keep history erased and protect their grip on revision. It takes great intellect and the best way to give intellect a boost is with the mysterious work of Finnegan’s Wake. For me, my Finnegan—Fletcher Finnegan is what begins again after the sentence “A way a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and the Environs.”

In Finnegan’s Wake it begins with the end of the last sentence of the book, the one described in the previous paragraph. All the events that occur between the beginning and end of that sentence which folds over on itself by the end is reflective of all humanity which is always beginning again after perpetual death. It is in this immortality that the eye must focus—and the keys to most everything reside. And it is in that realm that Fletcher Finnegan lives. And to all those who I’m about to piss off in a grand and epic way—you have it coming for being content to sit in the pub of H.C.E. and sip at the contents of mortality when in all reality you are but the dreams of a giant.

Rich Hoffman

Visit Cliffhanger Research and Development

I am Han Solo: The ‘Star Wars’ personality test

I’m Han Solo—at least that’s what the new Star Wars personality test told me when I took it.  A friend of mine told me that The Blaze did a story on a new Star Wars personality test by www.Zimbio.com which was actually more sophisticated than I thought it would be.  The questions are involved and pretty good about bringing to the surface the raw nature of a person’s personality as related to the Star Wars film series.  For instance, while taking the test I thought I’d come out as Obi-Wan Kenobi—whom I personally admire for his love of wisdom and the philosophic chess matches he tends to play on a galactic scale.  But Han Solo has always been my favorite character and that trait emerged during the test even though I was consciously aware of avoiding it.  So it was a pretty neat test.  At the end of The Blaze article linked below it was revealed that most of the staff at The Blaze including Glenn Beck, Doc Thompson and Skip LeCombe had taken the test and were enthusiastic about their results which they promised to cover on air.  I thought this remarkable because it provides insight to all that I have been saying lately about the cultural impact of Star Wars and the future of our society.  There are few things which can unite minds quicker than Star Wars does in discussions with other people and it’s not just nerds anymore—but mainstream acceptance.  NFL football used to be that topic item breaker that anybody could discuss with any other person in business or other affairs, but quickly Star Wars is overtaking it.  It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t know about Star Wars who is under 55 years old and doesn’t have an opinion about the film series.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/18/are-you-a-yoda-luke-skywalker-or-maybe-a-princess-leia-take-the-star-wars-personality-test/

I took the test while on the road at my sister-in-law’s house with many family members present so we all took the test and had a good time with the results.  I was surprised how many of them came back as Yoda, and the young men who took it mostly came back as Boba Fett—which was remarkably accurate.  There were no Darth Vader’s in our group which says a lot about the quality of our family.  That much didn’t surprise me—but the number of Yodas did—my wife included.  It could not be ignored how many of our family members instantly understood what the test was and the intent which reflected the response of The Blaze staff.  Star Wars is something that touches just about everyone as good memories of their childhoods flood back to them upon the mention of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia.

I remember what it was like to be a kid in the late 70s and early 80s.  Star Wars was everywhere—it was on the radio, it was at the stores, it was on television, it was in comics, magazines—it defined popular culture from about 1977 to 1985 when it began to subside just a bit.  Even popular films like Back to the Future and ET the Extra Terrestrial made frequent Star Wars references—so it was a huge part of that 8 year period and anybody who was a child during that period knows what I’m talking about.  That doesn’t mean that everyone was an open Star Wars fan.  Many of the kids in my school made fun of kids who openly loved Star Wars—kids like me who had Star Wars notebooks, wore Star Wars t-shirts, and drew pictures on my homework papers of Star Wars space ships.  I didn’t care what other kids said, once I got past the 7th grade, I was never picked on for Star Wars again because I had so many fights at school that kids stopped trying.  The more they made fun of me the more I rubbed it in their face.  I had a Star Wars shirt for every day of the week—my favorite was a Han Solo shirt that I never got tired of wearing.  I wore it so much that it fell apart.  I developed a rivalry with another kid in Junior High school at Lakota who was a Star Trek fan and hated Star Wars.  We actually had fist fights over Star Wars and which movie was better.  It got so bad that I shoved the kid right into the principles office as he was trying to escape me after I was waiting outside his bus in the morning to catch him with a confrontation before class started.  He had previously declared during lunch period that Captain Kirk would beat Han Solo any day of the week—so I was going to teach him otherwise. I’d give him some real life Han Solo through me—and as he was running away from he thought he’d get safety inside the principles office—which he didn’t.  I took the fight straight there shocking all the other kids in the hallway and the adults alike when I grabbed hold of the Star Trek lover by the back of his shirt and threw him right into the front door with the principle and secretary standing right there.  Nobody had been so audacious before—and nobody knew what to make of it.  Nobody understood that I loved Han Solo that much because the character represented everything I wanted to become when I grew up—and calling him names was the same as calling me names—and I wasn’t going to stand for it.

My brother and I had so many Star Wars figures that we set up our basement with elaborate hand-made models featuring Star Wars toys. Every Christmas and birthday was an opportunity to increase our holdings for these gigantic Star Wars set-ups.  On Friday and Saturday nights our friends would come over and we’d build new Star Wars buildings and ships late into the night staying up until 3 and 4 AM in a world of our own making inspired by Star Wars.  My parents couldn’t afford to give me a Millennium Falcon like many of my friends had, so I built my own out of a cardboard box.  That creation was destroyed during my late teens—and I never got over it.  During the Christmas of 1995 my wife finally bought me a Millennium Falcon when Kenner re-released the old toys with minor updates in anticipation of the Special Editions to the films which occurred in 1997.  The world we created in that basement had so much reverence for me that I wanted to do little else but create my own world in the context of that one.  We had entire areas around our set-ups in the basement sectioned off with black felt to simulate the darkness of space and on the ceiling was white felt to simulate clouds.  We had our own power supply, there were floating asteroids, and epic worlds re-created to model scale.  It was the happiest place for me on earth.

I was never shy about my admissions.  Star Wars represented limitless possibilities and an escape from oppression and Han Solo was the kind of guy who was full of confidence and a never say die attitude.  He was the model of a man who I would grow up and become.  Many other kids one-on-one loved my enthusiasm, but would never admit it in the light of day.  But privately most of them felt as strongly as I did, they just didn’t show it publicly.  I carried this love into my adulthood and it never really subsided.  With my children I raised them on Star Wars, and now with the Disney acquisition of Star Wars, my grand children will benefit—and with everything I just described, the cultural impact under Disney’s guidance will far eclipse my experience.  There will be more toys, more clothing, more music, video games, posters, magazine articles-virtually everything in our society will be touched by Star Wars and a whole new generation will find solace within the story lines.  Unlike me—who had good parents who really cared and behaved in a traditional sense–kids today have broken families, step parents and lack structure as a result of progressive social engineering policies.  The strongest thing to a real family a lot of modern kids will have is the characters of Star Wars—which as sad as that may sound—is absolutely true.

The character of Han Solo was never intended to be a hero in the way he turned out.  Fans of the films were supposed to yearn for Luke Skywalker, not Han Solo, but I could never relate to Luke’s naïveté.  I wanted to grow up and become the space pirate Solo who is more like a character out of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged than any other creation ever put on-screen.  A lot of people thought this was destructive, but it has made me into an interesting adult—one who thought I’d be more like Obi-Wan Kenobi than Han Solo as more mature years are now upon me. But upon seeing the test results I was actually relieved to see that many of my core values are still intact after all these years and I can honestly say that I’ve lived my own Han Solo type of life and behaved in a very similar way when pressed.  The difference between being a young person and an old person is the experience.  People are drawn to certain types of things based on their core personality—something this Star Wars test is attempting to uncover.  When I was a kid I hoped that when faced with perilous situations that I would behave with the same valor and skill that Han Solo did in Star Wars.  Now as an adult, I no longer have any doubt.  With a string of car chases, crashes, narrow escapes, and perilous follies of virtually every type now behind me, I can rest easily now knowing I measure up to the highest hopes I had as a child.

It is for that reason that this Star Wars test is flooding office buildings and places of business with a fury.  Most of the adult population had similar hopes for themselves, and they want to know how they measure up after all these years.  Now with some of the social stigma of fandom removed, people want to know how far they have fallen from their childhood dreams.  For me—not far at all.  I would have considered Obi-Wan Kenobi to be a concession—an honorable one—but a concession.  Han Solo, out of all the characters in Star Wars was my target, and now as a grown man who has grandchildren of his own—I have hit the bull’s-eye, and for that I am very, very proud.  Setting those high standards actually made me a better grown-up than Han Solo—considerably.  But under pressure—and when it really counts—it is good to know I’m still more like Han Solo than Obi-Wan Kenobi.

And I was there……………….Han shot first!

Take the Star Wars Test for yourself and see who you are most like.  CLICK THE LINK BELOW.

http://www.zimbio.com/quiz/Ukldm8Pi5Ub/Star+Wars+Character

Rich Hoffman

 www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com

 

The Lone Ranger’s Nominate a Hero Award: Nominate a local hero who rides for “Justice” in your community

Ahead of Disney’s new Lone Ranger film they are running a promotion for all fighters for justice to receive an advance screening of their new film prior to its July 3rd release.  Given the kind of readers who frequent Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom, there are more than a few such people in Southern Ohio who deserve a ticket.

Nominate a local hero or agency who rides for Justice in your community to receive the Lone Ranger Ride for Justice Award and an advance screening of Disney’s The Lone Ranger.  Post your nominations to @LoneRanger on Twitter with the #LRRideforJustice and your city of residence, to honor your local heroes.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/the-lone-ranger/nominate-a-hero/10151668716963373

Pick a local hero and honor them with a nomination!  And be sure to see The Lone Ranger for the 4th of July!   Click here to read my thoughts and tradition with The Lone Ranger!

“HIGH HO SILVER–AWAY!” CLICK HERE FOR MORE!

Rich Hoffman

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

  

‘Man of Steel’ Success: Get ready for The ‘Justice League’!

It looks like there will be a Man of Steel part two film after all with a Justice League film coming shortly thereafter.  As reported by Forbes at the link below, Man of Steel has made over $125 million during its opening weekend, which was the required amount to get the ball rolling for the DC Comics series of films that have been much talked about.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2013/06/16/weekend-box-office-man-of-steel-soars-to-125-million-debut/

That is very good news……………….


To read my review of Man of Steel, click here.

Of a particular interest is the speculation that the Forbes article makes about the next Superman villain, Lex Luther:

The big question is of course which side of the critical divide audiences end up on, since the film doesn’t just need to make money but establish excitement for Man Of Steel 2 coming summer 2015 (starring… uh… Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lex Luthor?) and the eventual Justice League film coming summer… 2018?  But for the moment, Man Of Steel has reaffirmed DC Comics as a viable brand for big-scale tent poles just as Marvel did with Iron Man five years ago.  So far, so good…

Chiwetel Ejiofor would be a good pick.  For those who saw Man of Steel, did you notice the LexCorp vans being destroyed during the big climax?

Plus, I was looking at the Superman comic #703 yesterday………the one that takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio………………and took note that the story line between Batman and Superman was a compelling one.  I would expect to see a film between those two characters just ahead of Justice League.

Rich Hoffman

“If they attack first………..blast em’!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

George Lucas the Great Anthropologist: What ‘Star Wars’ means under the flag of Walt Disney

In the small political battles of our day—the ones over which idea is better than the other, I see such conflicts to be minor squabbles in the scheme of existence.  I prefer always the long view of looking at big things with much distance between myself and the object so I can see the situation clearly.  When I have to engage against competing tribes of political view who attempt to interrupt my enjoyment of the long view I am all too happy to display their conquered scalps as trophies of war, but I am very aware that such things are small insignificant victories upon the tapestry of living.  When battles are raging around you, political or otherwise, there are only two choices, win or become a victim.  Choosing not to play is a choice towards becoming a victim.

I will have to thank my friend over at the Atlas Shrugged site Galt’s Gulch, Dr. Brett for being the first to break the news to me that Lucasfilm had been sold to Disney for $4 billion dollars.  As any who read here clearly know, I think a lot of Star Wars, and specifically George Lucas, so the news that Lucas has officially hung up a company he built all his life as a sole proprietor was very sad for me, almost as sad as losing a loved one to a death.  I respect deeply the creative environment that Lucas utilized to build Star Wars into one of the most recognizable names in the entire world.  I respect all the companies of George Lucas because he maintained his ownership of them the way he should have, and he never yielded to pressure to make his films into anything but what they are.  He reserved his right to make films like Howard the Duck which were bombs, but he also made wonderfully powerful films like Tucker: A Man and His Dreams, Willow, and of course the Indiana Jones series which has changed dramatically the entire field of archaeology and anthropology.  But it was and is Star Wars that made all those films possible, films that couldn’t be made by anybody else no matter how big the studio or the personalities behind them were.

It might seem that no amount of news could eclipse the massive Hurricane Sandy that had shut down the eastern United States, but news that Star Wars was now under the tent of the Disney Company eclipsed the tragedy of that event–even of the presidential elections.  The news that Star Wars was now owned by Disney and that the company fully intended to make more Star Wars films rocked the world of Twitter, Facebook and news organizations all over the world with shock and awe.

I grew up with Star Wars; I raised my family on Star Wars.  Star Wars is one of the great sacred bonds that my wife and I share.  We love it, have watched the movies thousands of times, and read all the books.  In fact, she has read every single Star Wars book ever written. They take up an entire section of our home.  I enjoy watching Family Guy primarily because of all the parodies that Seth McFarland has done as a tribute to Star Wars.  I get along most with Star Wars geeks and adults who aren’t afraid to admit that they love the films.  My father-in-law and I have always shared an intense love for Star Wars.  My nephews and I have stayed up entire nights playing Star Wars video games, and those memories still bond us as busy adults.  Star Wars is always a dominate topic at every Christmas and Thanksgiving Dinner on both sides of the family.  It is also the most commonly given gift for birthdays and Christmas in my family on both sides for over 30 years now.  For me the love of the films are not an immature reach for eternal youth and fantasy, but rather, the long view at philosophy and life in general that they offer against the backdrop of fantasy in a far away time and space that allows ideas to reside in neutral territory.  I find it repulsive when some fans accuse George Lucas of turning Star Wars into simply a cash cow, or that he sold out to the big and powerful Disney—allowing his sole creation to be turned over to some evil empire of the Disney Company.  They simply don’t understand the situation and how the dots connect.

I have spent considerable time explaining at this site Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom why some people believe making money is bad—where those ideas came from, and actually how they hold society back.  This is why I propose that Ayn Rand’s ideas are far more relevant philosophically for mankind than Karl Marx and that if one idea must be refined philosophically over another it should be those of Rand over Marx.  Those reflections can be heard clearly in the opinions of Star Wars by the general public, but one thing that Star Wars does is unite people who would otherwise not be able to talk politics.

For instance, many of the writers of The Huffington Post who might argue with me about the merits of socialism versus capitalism share a love and passion for Star Wars Many who believe that Star Wars is just a movie don’t understand why it is such a phenomena, but Star Wars is not just a movie intending to make money, but a tool that George Lucas has utilized to create the most important, and powerful mythology human civilization has ever known and it is intended to take Earth from a .7 Type Civilization that it is now, to a Type 1 Civilization on it’s way to an accelerated Type 2 with an intent to become a Type 3 and still have a basic philosophy that will hold up to such an expansion.  For people who think Star Wars is just a silly movie, they do not understand that the foundation blocks of any civilization is its basic philosophy that is reinforced by its mythology, and Star Wars created by George Lucas is intended to be a giant mythology.  Disney as a company envisioned by Uncle Walt was created to interpret and communicate mythology to the world, not to just make money.  What most people miss due to the fact that they have been taught to hate money is that Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney Company have billions of dollars of value between them because they offer a very good product—but the value of that product is cultural enrichment through mythological creation that improves the general philosophy of all human beings.  While it is true that Star Wars is geared for children, the messages within that mythology contribute greatly to the improvement of world-wide philosophy.  Lucas and Disney both as heads of their companies have managed to perfectly bring together two important attributes necessary to human survival, the ability to produce wealth, and to use that wealth to dramatically improve the living conditions of mankind.

The limits so far with Star Wars is that George Lucas has been the “brand” of his company.  He has become so big that anything done in Star Wars as a story, because they are so important mythically speaking to so many millions of people, is distracting, even limiting.  I believe Lucas being the “way ahead of the curve” kind of guy that he is has recognized this and has positioned his company, its employees, and the product of Star Wars itself through the television experiment of Clone Wars on the Cartoon Network to make this move with Disney at a very reasonable price.  Disney, as a giant company with no direct face that is the “brand” can take Star Wars to places it could not otherwise go being headed by George Lucas.  Disney has the ability to build an entire Star Wars park so visitors can actually walk around in the Star Wars Universe.  They can expand on the television, the movies, even the video games.  Disney has the power to take Star Wars from a household name and make it a room to room name within that household.

To understand why I think this move to Disney for Star Wars might have a severe impact for the positive it would require knowledge of George Lucas as I have, so to know what he is most likely thinking.  Back in the 1990’s George Lucas was a board member for The Joseph Campbell Foundation who was being carried on by Campbell’s wife Jean after Campbell’s death of which I was also a member.  Lucas has always been interested in using Star Wars to bring young people to the study of comparative religion and world mythology studies.  Few people know it, but Lucas always wanted to be an Anthropologist and books like The Golden Bough and The Hero with A Thousand Faces had a powerful impact on him as a youth and he has always planned to use Star Wars as a way to introduce youth to higher philosophical concepts.  To understand to what extent Lucas has been committed to this just look at his company Lucas Learning.  I would bet everything I have and everything I ever obtain on the notion that Lucas has intentionally planned to inspire young people to reach for the stars with the stories of Star Wars in fields of science, medicine, politics, art, virtually every aspect of society, and Lucas has done this as an anthropology/archaeology enthusiast, not as a film maker.  Lucas, never really wanted to be a film maker, but instead used film making to communicate his interest in cultural studies.  It is his interest in anthropology that gives the Star Wars Universe such a rich texture, that far exceeds any other science fiction endeavor so far to date.  And I believe the result of this investment Lucas has made in civilization will be the necessary mythological tool that is needed to continue the social evolution into a Type 1 Civilization where religious barriers, scientific limitations, and politics get in the way of arriving at these necessary human advancements.  This was why George Lucas made Episodes 1 through 3 the way he did about Galactic Republics and the demise of governments in spite of the efforts of the noble Jedi Knights.   Lucas solved the political problems of his galaxy that has embraced laissez-faire capitalism but is not regulated by untrustworthy politicians, by using Jedi Knights who are governed by a deep commitment to philosophy, not crony capitalism that goes on between gangsters, pirates and politicians, to maintain order.

In a 1964 article on searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev suggested using radio telescopes to detect energy signals from other solar systems in which there might be civilizations of three levels of advancement: Type 1 can harness all of the energy of its home planet; Type 2 can harvest all of the power of its sun; and Type 3 can master the energy from its entire galaxy.

Based on our energy efficiency at the time, in 1973 the astronomer Carl Sagan estimated that Earth represented a Type 0.7 civilization on a Type 0 to Type 1 scale. (More current assessments put us at 0.72.) As the Kardashevian scale is logarithmic — where any increase in power consumption requires a huge leap in power production — we have a ways before 1.0.

Fossil fuels won’t get us there. Renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal are a good start, and coupled to nuclear power could eventually get us to Type 1.  More  info can be found at this article.

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/22/opinion/oe-shermer22

Nothing ever starts until the human mind can behold the concept.  From there, invention and personal innovation will bridge the gaps.  Currently, politically, our global societies are locked between a struggle between individualism and collectivism as political systems of all types are struggling to maintain the former power bases of class society indentured to resources controlled by the very few, whether that few are crony capitalists, socialists, pirates, thieves, looters, or kingdoms.  The future is moving away from these kinds of regionalized controls and the internet is the first step in that particular direction.  But there are still religions that are standing in the way of life expectancy and medicine, and governments that are restricting space travel as the human race is pushing violently against the limits of the past.  Star Wars is a giant leap forward, but at the same time, into the past so to join in the minds of mankind with the possibilities of now.  In Star Wars the galaxy they are living in is coming close to a Type 3 as they are able to travel across the entire Galaxy through hyperspace routes that are like intergalactic highways through worm holes in space.  Such a concept is scientifically viable and scientists are beginning to seriously think about such things—because of Star Wars.  And the utilization of the religious aspect of Star Wars, which is the Force follows many aspects that are just being discovered in quantum mechanics and presents them in story form in ways that human minds can find a practical use in the randomness of ideas.  I could literally go on and on about this type of thinking, but in short, Star Wars is a big galaxy that has a lot of very fresh ideas in it from communication devices to propulsion systems, and those scientific concepts are quickly finding their way into the everyday lives of our current civilization.

Further, Disney as a company is about to do something that I think Walt Disney always fantasized about–it is about to take a bold step forward from a market driven motion picture market place and become a truly world power that will benefit the lives of the entire planet.  For instance, China because it is a communist country only allows 10 foreign films to show in their country per year, which is actually a big step for them.  The people of China are already looking forward to the next installment of Iron Man that is gearing up for a tremendous 2013 release—again another property by Disney who is uniquely positioned to take such a powerful mythology as the Marvel Comic properties and present them to a world hungry for the ideas in those stories.  This is greatly helping China become more and more prone to the free market in all manners of business, slowly but surely brushing aside the kind of communism that has held those people down for over 60 years now.  Star Wars has the potential to communicate those types of messages to a mass audience perhaps 10 times more powerfully, because the texture and depth of Star Wars is so deep and engrossing, and if Earth is to become a Type 1 Civilization, the same idea has to be held in the mind over most of the world.  In other words, the people of China cannot think so much more different from those in The United States.  But the lifestyle of The United States cannot be brought down just to level the playing field globally, but the rest of the world must be brought up to the level of America.  The best way to do that is to export American ideas, like Star Wars to those countries so they can understand what they should be doing, and how to do it.

I feel sorry for some of my fellow adults who share my age, but not my youthful optimism.  They truly believe that Star Wars is just another movie like everything else designed to make money for Lucas, or Disney.  In fact in the days after this big announcement of Disney buying Lucasfilm that was the first thing that most people said to me, “Looks like Lucas just got even richer.”  Those same people rush their kids to soccer practice while they update their Facebook accounts religiously and po-poo anything that isn’t rooted in the reality of their current busy lives.  Their kids feel the magic on Christmas morning hoping they get a new Star Wars toy, or on Halloween when they get to dress up like a Jedi Knight.  The parents feel the magic just a bit when they walk down the isles at Target and look at all the Star Wars toys designed specifically to massage the mind of young people by the toy makers in a plot Lucas hatched decades ago to expand the consciousness of the human race by beholding in their minds all of life’s potential.

When I was a little kid, I wanted the full-sized Millennium Falcon from Star Wars for Christmas like nothing else.  This would be way back in 1980.  But my parents couldn’t afford it, because it was really expensive.  So I built my own Millennium Falcon out of a card board box that I played with for years.  Once I got older and could afford to buy it myself, the toy had been off the market for a number of years, so I was never able to get it.  But in 1995, prior to the Special Editions in 1997 Lucasfilm released all the old toys only updated with new manufacturing techniques complete with the “battle worn” condition made so popular in the films.  That year for Christmas my wife bought me the new electronic Millennium Falcon with the updated paint scheme and everyday since that Christmas I have proudly set it next to my bed where I engage the engines every night before I go to sleep.  Every night.  And what’s strange is that it still has the same batteries in it from 1995, and they still work.  Call it the FORCE!  When I have had to fix a number of complicated problems around the house from broken dishwashers to electrical problems I have sometimes stared at that toy for hours pushing the buttons and thinking about the problem at hand which often frames the answer for me with perspective.  The toy for me is a symbol of innovation and technical marvel, so it often elevates my logical trouble shooting thinking.  That magic has stayed with me my whole life so far and doesn’t appear to be abating.  And I know I’m not alone.

Under Disney, these toys, the books, the multiple nick-knacks will flood the marketplace and without question a sector of the population who hates money will call the whole ordeal a symbol of capitalist excess that is just making a lot of money for Disney and its shareholders.  But the estimates from people like George Lucas are that the money drives the product and allows more people to experience such magic, and even the most hardened skeptic against capitalism or fantasy stories knows that they too feel a little of that magic when the media blankets the release of a new film, or they hear the famous tune to Star Wars which indicates to the ear that something great awaits the witness of the story at hand, they feel the magic.  Lucas has attended many of the Star Wars Celebration events that take place each year, and he has seen the multitude of grown adults who share with their children love for a mythology that makes more sense to them than the reality of their daily life.  With Disney now pushing the mythology machine of Star Wars, these events will explode with interest by even more people. Already the Star Wars weekends at Hollywood Studios in Florida that take place from May to June is so packed that the visitors have to use the parking lots at Epcot Center and Animal Kingdom to hold all the extra Star Wars fans.  That was before Disney owned Star Wars.  Now, it is certain that the parks in Florida will have a continued and much, much larger presence during the entire year and new generations will catch the fever even more than in the past, because if Disney does with Star Wars what they did with The Avengers the possibilities for how big Star Wars may become is immeasurable.

I have my doubts that the new Star Wars films will be as good as Episode 4 and Episode 5.  But I have no doubt they can be as good as the other four.  The proof is in the Cartoon Network episodes of The Clone Wars currently on television every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM.  With that in mind, Disney could make Star Wars movies for centuries, because the material is that rich, and is so vast that the plot lines are literally infinite.  I believe that with Disney at the helm of Star Wars, the ideas contained within it will find their way to every corner of the globe and in that way, will put every human being on common ground for the first time since the Tower of Babel separated all human beings with foreign language.   That is what it will take to move Earth to a Type 1 Civilization, and Star Wars is the best hope for getting there.

So, in a lot of ways the news announced on October 30th 2012 has seismic consequences for every human being on planet Earth.  Star Wars is not just another movie, and it is not just another product of Hollywood.  It is modern mythology that surpasses the work of the Iliad, all the Greek classics, the Book of the Dead from Egypt, War and Peace, or all the works of Shakespeare, anything ever done in literature.  It is the next step put into visual form what human beings are supposed to be working toward and they weren’t created superficially by whim from the mind of George Lucas, but are mythic characters dusted off from past stories and placed into the future for all to see with common eyes transcending language, political, and sociological backgrounds.  That is the magic of Star Wars and the potential impact that the decision to move Lucasfilm under the umbrella of Disney can explode into uncharted waters never before seen by–anybody.

So I’m a fan of the move even though it does sadden me.  The sadness is a selfish one, which I wish to preserve what Star Wars meant to me growing up, wanting to freeze-frame those films in time for my own enjoyment and memory.  But I see the strategy and like Lucas I want the same thing.  I want to see a world that embraces capitalism, embraces technical advancement, embraces philosophy, and never losses its belief in the limitless potential of the human imagination.  There are only two directions possible at this juncture in history one where societies regress backward, or one where they move forward into space, colonizing the moon, Mars, and planets beyond with the effortless propulsion utilized in Star Wars.  And the inventors of those future technologies are probably not yet even born, but will grow up in a world where Star Wars entices their minds with sounds and images plunging their imaginations into fantasy yearning for a Christmas toy under the tree to open and play with while they work out all the problems of advanced propulsion systems, gravity manipulation, and medical miracles performed without the added complication of losing their very souls to a shackled embrace of institutional imprisonment which always threatens to cast the mind of man back to the creation of fire.

That is what the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm means, and why it is very good. Also as  a side note to George Lucas, when he enrolled in Modesto Junior college to become an anthropologist, and a philosopher he succeeded as both and those titles many years from now will come to describe him once all the concept of filmmaker is lost to the scrolls of time.  Not only was he successful in studying the past and developing an expertise of history, but he has also changed the future for the better in ways that are subtle, yet unfathomably powerful for a civilization that is teetering on the brink and may yet survive thanks to Star Wars.

And…………………..for me, Han Shot First! 

Rich Hoffman

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

 

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