The Demons of Charlottesville: Screams from the evil trying to seduce us all to sleep

It took me a couple of days to get my mind around the extreme hypocrisy on full display in the wake of the Charlottesville racism issue in Virginia. I thought Donald Trump did a great job of addressing the nation just a few hours after violence broke out between the usual Black Live Matter communists and the Nazi socialists fighting over the removal a Robert E. Lee statue in that extremely liberal town.   At the time that Trump spoke he kept his statements general because after lunch on a Saturday afternoon it wasn’t yet known who ran over whom.   Was it the same ol’ radicals from Ferguson and Baltimore—or was it the skin heads, and Nazi fascists?  Trump couldn’t have been sure until much later and it was at that point that even Republicans were criticizing the president for not specifically identifying the white nationalists—as if he were associated with them.  It truly was an amazing display of evil—not in the violence at Charlottesville which was despicable in and of itself—but in the mass volume of the media propensity to advance a false plot against Trump that was truly vile.  Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago where a Bernie Sanders supporter shot up a bunch of Republicans at a baseball game, and a few months ago where Kathy Griffin held up the bloody severed head of a fake Donald Trump—and Snoop Dogg put out a video showing the mock assassination of our new president?  What we all witnessed in the wake of Charlottesville was a new kind of evil which was much more sinister than the kid who ran into a mob of communist radicals in a clash of leftist maniacs gone wild.

Again I was very proud of Donald Trump—he did all the right things at all the right times during the crises and the people who came out in criticism against him are the people who are protecting the swamp we are all trying to drain.  If you wanted to root out the Never Trump types who are holding up legislation in congress to prevent the President’s agenda from being implemented then just listen to those who criticized Trump so quickly.  They had an agenda against Trump and they used the death and injury of people at this tragic protest as a way to advance their selfish agenda.

There were many times in just the past eight years that Barack Obama took many days to respond to a tragedy on the scale of Charlottesville and when he did he often didn’t come close to providing an adequate statement.  The media, even the conservative media, never went this crazy over anything any previous president has said on a national stage.  This attitude against Trump is a whole new category of hate revealed through a swarm of aggression born from sheer evil.  It was a truly magnificent display of pure malevolence.

Trump revised his statement on Monday, August 14th to include all the white supremacy groups that the media had been criticizing him for not specifying.  I didn’t think he should have done so—he should have just let his Saturday statement stand.  After all, he addressed the real issue correctly the first time and nothing he could or would say would matter.  These parasites were going to use anything he said as a way to attempt to paint him into a corner.  The media and many of the Never Trumpers who lost to Trump during the 2016 campaign wanted to pin the president to white supremacy as their last-ditch effort to stop the movement which elected him.

The “alt-right” movement is not what makes up the Trump campaign.  White supremacists, Nazis, and the KKK radicals are all leftovers of southern Democrats and it is true that Hitler took notes from these people to advance his purge of Europe of people he didn’t want in his pure German society.  The people gathered in Charlottesville were all aspects of liberalism, the Black Lives Matters people were the hard-core communists while the Nazis were the socialists and the media framed them in their coverage as the extreme right and extreme left as if we all lived somewhere in between.  In that way they attempt to put us all into some crazy fringe of leftist radicalism and by default we must then defend our innocence from being too close to either of those fringe groups.  But, in reality, most of us are nowhere even near thinking like those two sides of the same idiotic coin.

Trump showed leadership early in the crises and it was a positive effort—in a sane world.  But we are not living in a sane world.  We are dealing with an evil that hides behind the pain and suffering of others to an extremity that is baffling to normal people.   It baffled me to see that evil so alive and desperate as they thought they had Trump pinned up against the ropes over doing what was expected of him during a crises. Trump didn’t say anything wrong. The skin heads, the communists, the people who wanted to take down the Robert E. Lee statue, the Mayor of Charlottesville, the Nazi lovers all the leftist losers who were in those city streets ready to fight for varying degrees of leftist philosophy were present to do damage and hurt others.  Trump had to be general in his statements given the level of evil present in Charlottesville.  Trump did the right thing—the media showed their real game plan perhaps too audaciously.

I’ve referred to it before but there is a wonderful scene from a great Akira Kurosawa film called Dreams where there are three mountain climbers caught in a snow storm high in the Himalayas.  They’ve lost their base camp in the storm and were dying in the extreme cold.  The leader found himself seduced by a beautiful ghost who came to his side to ease him into death.  She sings him to sleep gently and seductively pushing him into death.  But, being the leader that he was, he decides to fight back and once the ghost realizes that she’s not going to get her way, she turns into a skeleton and screams angrily at the leader then vanishes into oblivion.  Once gone, the storm clears and the leader is able to wake up his friends saving them from death as well.  As the sun came back out they realized that their base camp was always only about 20 feet away the whole time.  While they had only moments before been ready to die out of desperation, now they saw clearly that they were always so close to safety—but couldn’t see it for the chaos.  That is what we see happening, the demons of our lives are hiding in this chaos and now they have been exposed and are screaming out pain that they cannot get us to follow them to our death.  And in the aftermath of Charlottesville we will also see all along our base camp has always been right next to us.  When we do, as it’s being revealed right now, we will learn that it was never in between the communists and socialists but in the warm bed of conservatism which exists well to the right of the skin heads and Nazis.  That is where America lives and that is what Trump represents in our great republic, for which we stand.

Rich Hoffman

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The World is not Enough: Thank, God for Hasbro, Sphero, and Nerf

Every now and then I like to cover lighter topics that shed some hope for the human condition.  Occasionally I have written about my observations regarding the new cosplay phenomena and some of the very unique toys being made for kids from really great companies like Hasbro, Nerf and Sphero.  I have no problem admitting that when my wife drags me to the store for whatever reason—usually because she wants my company–that the place I always like to go first is the toy section to see what’s new there.  I have always enjoyed the inventiveness that comes with play and I think the world would be far better off if kids played more and for a longer period of time instead of rushing into puberty too quickly.  They should develop their minds longer than they do and after several discussions with my daughters who are now in their mid twenties I do have some hope that some of the inventiveness that is coming out in the toy markets and cosplay endeavors are the millennial’s generational self correction.

Any analysis into my love of Star Wars as a grown man would conclude that I find the people in those stories more interesting than real people.  The mythology of Star Wars as a whole has in it people I enjoy more than actual interactions.  Now some people might say that my view is unhealthy—that I shouldn’t set my bar for human interaction so high.  I would argue that society doesn’t set its bar for achievement high enough.  As a young person I always measured myself against the unrealistic expectations of the silver screen—not off the terrestrial limits of the real people in my life who I always felt were striving to be, “only human.”  They didn’t think big enough for me—the world they were offering was not enough.  And to a large degree millennials have grown up in broken homes with divorced insecure parents.  Their educations have been a joke and generally the world around them has been a tremendous let-down.  I mean who wants to grow up to be like John McCain? Anybody?  Or Maxine Waters?  How about a news anchor on any network?  Anybody want to be Chris Wallace?  If you have half a brain dear reader, you get my point.  So for their own survival millennials are doing to a larger degree what I always did, they turn to mythology where heroes and villains are larger than life and they base their standards for living off them instead of real people-because they innately recognize that they must do something to overcome the low expectations given to them by the lost generations which came before.

So that is the who and why all these fantastic toys and cosplay devices have emerged and specific to my interest is the Star Wars items from Nerf, Hasbro, and Sphero.   With Force Friday II coming up on September 1st 2017 where all the new Star Wars toys hit the shelves at Wal-Mart, Target and Toys R Us inventories that have been out there for a while since last year’s Rogue One movie is now at a very reduced price so my wife and I have been buying up things we’ve long been watching.  Specifically for me is the Hasbro At-ACT which came out last year for Rogue One but was over $300.  Hard for me to justify spending that kind of money on a toy, but lately it was marked down to $150 so we picked it up.  Another big thing we were able to pick up was the Sphero BB-8 robot which is driven off your smart phone.  In fact that’s what the AT-ACT and BB-8 have in common—both can move around on their own controlled off programming inputted into your iPhone which I think is just phenomenal.   The BB-8 robot from Sphero I think is a remarkable device and after finding it at Wal-Mart for half of its original $150 price tag I thought was a bargain.

For us, even though I enjoy the creativity on display in these new age toys if we didn’t have our grandkids over so much I wouldn’t have much of a desire to get them.  But, the kids are over a lot and I enjoy them immensely so when they are at my house we have all these very epic and expensive things to play with.  I remember how it was as a parent where luxuries were hard to come by and having all these expensive things to play with for the kids was difficult.  But as a grandparent we can afford to give the kids access to those kinds of things so we do, and I enjoy playing with the kids as they build up their brains with positive things I know will last a lifetime.  When kids play they don’t play to be a worthless bureaucrat or an average loser—they play to be a hero that saves the entire galaxy, that is the fantasy and it sets up in their minds the objective to reach for that high bar—even if it’s unrealistic.  It’s better to aim high than to not aim at all.  I also remember what it was like being a kid and I was a unique one.   I built models in the basement of our house very late into my teens and I had a large Star Wars toy collection that I played with until past the 8th grade.  I had a younger brother who had friends come over on Friday nights and we’d have massive Star Wars battles and honestly I found that a lot more fun than what was going on in real life.  I didn’t have any desire to drink, do drugs, use cuss words or play with girls.  The world I had in the basement of our house was far more interesting.  One of those younger kids who came over had a sister my age who was trying to fix me up with one of the prettiest girls in the 8th grade. She wanted me to go to the big homecoming dance with her after the football game.  This girl liked me a lot and had let me know that if I went to the dance with her that she’d let me do anything I wanted to her.  She was two years older than me and could drive.  Guess what I picked?  I chose playing Star Wars with the younger kids rather than messing around with that girl.  I never went to a single school dance until I was in my senior year and that was only to get a picture for my mom to put on her wall.   Many of my parents’ friends thought I was a weird kid so she wanted something to show that I wasn’t so strange.  In reality the toys were more interesting and I still love them to this day.   I can understand fully what cool toys and the freedom from guilt in playing with them can do for children.  I would say that now as an adult I am extremely well-adjusted and a very good problem solver.  I attribute a lot of that to developing my brain with a lot of play as a kid without the hassle of social pressure—like girls in the 8th grade and dances after football games.  Now as an adult with financial means, I do spoil my grandchildren for specifically those reasons—so they can feel the boundless joy of being a kid and discovering so many new things for the first time before life starts clamping down.  When life does clamp down, I want them to intellectually be ready.

And that’s why these toys are so much better than the toys from my youth, because Hasbro and Sphero aren’t just making them for kids.  They are making them for the many adults who now get past their 20s and aren’t interested in what the world has to offer.  As I think about this interesting aspect of our culture I can’t help but think of the James Bond movie The World is not Enough by the musical group Garbage.  That song captures this issue very well, the world is not enough because it doesn’t offer a big enough tapestry to project our hopes and dreams against—so many people find a relief from those limits by fulfilling their imaginations with these very sophisticated toys and these very creative companies understand and are rushing to fill that market need with some really spectacular offerings.  I always loved that song.  Needless to say I am impressed and continue to look forward to the next great thing to come from Hasbro and Sphero. That AT-ACT and the BB-8 droid are just fabulous and will bring a lot of joy to my house.  And I continue to look forward to what they come up with this year for Force Friday. I waited for some of these items for a few years so that the price would come down, but given the great utilization on display, maybe I won’t wait so long next time.

Rich Hoffman

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Sea World Needs Your Support: Don’t let CNN, PETA, and other radical organizations destroy it

It is a shame that the same forces who are attacking this present Trump administration and the positive outlook he has for a thriving America are the exact same attacking the Sea World Entertainment.  The attendance in the many parks they have around the nation, especially Orlando are down and have not recovered from the CNN hit job created by the PETA film Blackfish which has played on Netflix for several years now and has taken a major toll on park optimism.  In the case of Orlando specifically, as the competition from Universal Studios, Disney World and many other attractions in central Florida where people have to shell out $100 a ticket and spend over $1000 on a vacation experience they have steered away from Sea World because of all the negative press.  People don’t go to amusement parks, which Sea World is to feel bad about things.  They want optimism if they are going to spend that kind of money and the PETA crowd and their liberal sympathizers in the media have taken optimism away from the Sea World experience and put the very good company that does so much good for marine research on their heels foolishly.

We all know what PETA is, it’s the crazy chicks that take off their clothes in public and put on ridiculous displays of extreme foolishness to make their point of saving wildlife from the terrors of mankind.  They are usually kids right out of high school or old pot smoking hippies who are part of that “Earth First” crowd that wonder why Al Gore’s new movie An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power bombed at the box office.  That movie was so bad that it only made $1,495,661 during its opening two-week period starting on July 28th. It was a piece of crap propaganda film meant to evoke the heart-strings of the radical capitalist hating progressives.  The movie bombed because it sucked and was essentially a movie of progressive evangelicalism making nature a god to be worshiped with the same kind of flimsy justification of scholarship that those same people make fun of in Bible thumpers.

Sea World however doesn’t suck—it’s a really good company that does great things for the preservation and understanding of marine habitats.  They do a good job of balancing the needs of scientific understanding using capitalism to drive research—which is how things are supposed to work in America.  I’ve been to many of the Sea World parks and have always loved them.  Their presence in Orlando enhances that city tremendously.   I love visiting the Orlando airport where all the amusement parks scream for attention.  I cannot imagine a Orlando without their buses and signs painted up with the images of killer whales.   With all the fantasy offered by Universal Studios and Disney, Sea World offers a nice blend of entertainment and science which heightens the intellectual experience of the entire Orlando area.  Unfortunately times have been tough in Orlando.  People are still spending money and visiting the parks there but Universal Studios has been literally killing it with their Harry Potter attraction and other very good offerings such as Kong: Skull Island which is simply a phenomenal experience worthy of a trip to Florida all by itself. Then of course Disney has their Avatar Land which just opened this year and the promise of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is coming rapidly.  Those parks have done a great job of staying fresh as the entertainment market for amusement parks has shifted dramatically in recent years to these “experiences.”  Meanwhile Sea World has had to fend off these crazy attacks essentially by CNN who has went on mission to literally torpedo the company to appease their PETA base of supporters at the left leaning cable company.   Instead of fighting CNN, Sea World should have been doing their own versions of those experiences and they are late to the party.  Finally they will have a Sesame Street Land in 2022 which will help, but that’s just too far off for them at this point.  They needed to be opening something like that in 2018 to maintain their market viability.  This attack on them really has not been fair to the good work they have always done in bringing marine life to millions of children over many decades.

To understand this “experience” trend in amusement parks and how big it is for market share it was obvious to me at my local park of Kings Island in Mason, Ohio.  Their newest attraction is a wooden roller coaster called Mystic Timbers which has a kind of Indiana Jones meets the Blair Witch theme to the experience and it’s very effective.  Kings Island has done a good job of keeping itself fresh over the years and has really blossomed under the care of Cedar Fair Amusements which runs Cedar Point up in northern Ohio.  The benefit that Cedar Fair has is that their business is purely thrill rides whereas Sea World is actually about education.  Sea World has some great thrill rides such as the Kraken which reopened just this year with a major overhaul featuring a VR ride that is quite spectacular.  But the essence of their market is education based which is a tough sell these days with all the glitter offered to consumers with extremely short attention spans and not much money in their pockets from wage stagnation.

Sea World used to be a destination vacation experience.  When I was a kid we went to the one in Aurora, Ohio well before it was closed down and I looked forward to it all summer.   It was a big deal to me and I loved the Orca shows and learned a lot about marine life that is still my foundation for that topic to this day.  Now that I have grand children I want to be able to take them to the park in Orlando and give them a similar experience.  However, Sea World is falling behind in the competitive battle to stay relevant in a capitalist society because of these attacks against it which is a shame.  Clearly we are not all one America and so long as these radical losers exist in our society who would even think to attack such a good company then there will continue to be strife over every little thing between us—just as there is under the Trump presidency.  All this started when that other side felt empowered under the Obama White House.  Sea World had an accident that was truly difficult for them and is part of the danger of their business.  But instead of providing support the radicals attacked and sought to put the company out of business and that is just despicable.

I would say that if you are thinking of taking a vacation and are going to the Orlando area dear reader, or any of the other locations that Sea World has around the country, you should make a point to visit them and put some money in their pockets.  Sea World could use the help.  The work they do is too valuable to ignore and it costs a lot of money to run an operation of live sea creatures the way they do.  Disney World at the end of the day turns off their rides and powers down their attractions. Sea World has to feed all those animals so their expenses are much different from other thrill park attractions yet that is the market they must compete in.  I’ve never been to Sea World where I didn’t have a good time and learn something fresh—or felt that the cost of admission wasn’t worth it.  So if you love optimism, science and capitalism—then you should support Sea World.  They are the Donald Trump’s of the theme park world and are being attacked essentially for being good.  And we shouldn’t allow that to happen to them.

Rich Hoffman

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The Cause of the Violence in Charlottesville: ‘The Big Lie’ by Dinesh D’Souza explains it all

This would be a good time to tell everyone to go out and read Dinesh D’Souza’s book The Big Lie—because it explains the terrible tragedy that has taken place in Charlottesville, Virginia quite well.  Before I explain why, think about what’s happening.  Liberals in that college town want to take down the long-standing statue of Robert E. Lee provoking a radical group of white supremacists to arrive with torches to defend it.  The next day the progressive advocates and communists behind the Black Lives Matter movement clashed with the socialist nationalists into a violent exchanged that killed several peopleand injured many others.  Shocked reporters on the scene described the engagement as a clash between the extreme left wingers and right wingers of our country and that is where they’d be wrong.  They just don’t know their history and misreported the situation in an embarrassing way.  But one has to ask, what did these leftist think was going to happen—they have been attacking white culture for a long time now and these people who still cling to the Civil War to articulate their social philosophy are tired of getting pushed around—so a fight ensued.  However I’d argue that the fight was caused by ignorance because they are all wrong about the state of history and if they knew better could have avoided a conflict all together.  When a fight gets this bad it’s because intelligence has left the arena and emotion is all that is left to govern.

Calling white supremacists “right wingers” is an incorrect term because I am a serious conservative and their values don’t even come close to my viewpoints.  They are all to the political left of me and it is the very good research conducted by Dinesh D’Souza which explains it to people who do not know their history very well.  Apparently the reporters on the scene in Charlottesville need an education and they should read Dinesh’s books.  Last summer during the presidential campaign D’Souza released the film Hillary’s America which explored the Democratic Party’s foundation of the KKK which over time became the white supremacist movement.  All of the hard-core Confederates during the Civil War were Democrats and racism  in America was fully endorsed by the Democratic Party.  Remember, it was Abraham Lincoln who stopped slavery—he was a Republican.  The Democrats played that game until the 1960s where they attempted to rid themselves of that history and pass it off like a hot potato to the nice Christian Republicans who were too nice to give it back.  Following the example of Christ Republicans took that burden of slave guilt on themselves in a hope to heal the nation even though they had never been guilty of that kind of behavior.

Meanwhile when Hitler wanted to unite Germany with his own supremacist movement  he looked to the American Democrats as his model for how to go about it.  It wasn’t Republicans who Hitler copied; it was Democrats who helped Hitler build the socialist party of Germany.  So talking about the Trump presidency as if it represented the hard right is to completely misunderstand history.  The idiots protesting in Charlottesville are all variations of the American left who founded the Nazi regime prior to World War II and who essentially cased the Civil War.  When you put all those people on the streets of a liberal college town what did anybody think was going to happen?  Nothing I saw surprised me.

The problem is that both sides of those various socialist philosophies have no connection to the average Trump voter in today’s politics which is why nobody in the so-called mainstream media understand what’s going on.  The MSM is functioning from the wrong definitions for our modern events because they assume that the political “right” is these socialist losers who call themselves white supremacists.  I don’t know anybody on the conservative side of things who think anything close to what the radicals in Charlottesville did to the extent where they were willing to kill people who wanted to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee.

Then there are the communist Black Lives Matters activists who continue to push the limits of assaulting police officers and imposing their aggressive tactics against “white America.”  They have enjoyed openly pushing the tempers of parts of society that they think are against them wanting their own civil rights crusade—and they pushed things too fast and too aggressively in Charlottesville.  Just as gay rights advocates love to push against social norms insulting Christian thinking people with great colorful audacity they asked for someone to smack them in the mouth by pushing emotional buttons of the other side.  They were as much at fault in Charlottesville as the idiots who called themselves white supremacists.

Always in the wake of these tragedies people wonder what it will take to become all one country.  I might say again, but I don’t think we’ve ever been “one country.”  We may end up that way under a Trump presidency, but I can’t say that at any point in history we were “one country.”  So what would it take to get there—well Democrats need to get their act together.  All through their history they have been a disaster of criminal minded people who are always associated with socialists, communists and drug addicts with addictive personalities.  They are a psychologically broken people who have inspired all the worst things we’ve seen in our country—from Nazi support to slavery.  It was Democrats who wrote the playbook for violence connected to red flagged communism, black flag anarchy and swastika flagged Nazi supremacy. Traditional Republicans were not in Charlottesville, only radical groups connected to the Democratic Party where there to conduct the violence witnessed on August 12, 2017.

If you want respect you have to give it and going around the south expecting to take down Confederate monuments to prove a point isn’t going to lead to peace and civility.  Stupid people don’t have much to believe in and when you take away everything they trust without replacing it with something positive you will push them to the brink quickly and that drove the neo-Nazi white nationalists from their hiding places and into a battle mode.  Taking down General Lee’s statue to the people around the city of Charlottesville was a hostile act and the Black Lives Matters people knew it—so a fight broke out and people unfortunately died.  But they weren’t from the radical right—both groups were aspects of the political left.  They were in facts brothers of the same mother of a Democratic Party who gave birth to all the violence, only with different fathers.  What we saw in Charlottesville was a bunch of Democrats doing what they always do—cause trouble due to their faulty political philosophy.  And if anybody knew anything about history they’d understand it, and we could all take strides to solving the problem.  The people who have the answers were not there—they are in the Republican Party and they typically go to church on Sunday.  They tend to be employed, and raise nice families.  Those were not the people who were at Charlottesville protesting.  Yet it is they who have the answer how to further prevent the violence we saw.  Somebody ought to be asking them—not the idiots who caused the trouble in the first place.

Rich Hoffman

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An Authentic Han Solo Costume: The miracle of amid changing industries–and people


Everyone knows I’m a huge Star Wars fan—which I view differently from the geeky other types of entertainment exhibitions of public support.  When I see the name Star Wars and participate in its products in whatever form, it evokes in me an optimism that is very specific to it that I am very fond of.  That’s why my favorite character within Star Wars is Han Solo, because he is the most optimistic character perhaps ever created for film.  Nothing is impossible for Han Solo—he’ll try anything under any circumstances because his personality is such that he figures his confidence and sheer will can get him through anything.  He is the Donald Trump of science fiction and I’ve felt that way about that character for more than forty years now.  On more than a few occasions I’ve dressed up as Han Solo for Halloween events, or other science fiction endeavors, conventions, watch parties, literary events at book stores—just various festive gatherings that celebrate costuming and character reverence—but I’ve never had any kind of official Han Solo clothing. I would just piece together whatever I could find that sort of looked like the popular smuggler from the Star Wars series and go from there. But my five-year old grandson is about to have a big birthday party marking that invisible line of being a toddler to a genuine little boy fully aware of the world around him with the memories that now matter—and my daughters are fashioning it to Star Wars.  As I’ve reported before also, these parties my kids do for their kids are not just little events—they go all out in creating a very mythic experience that is almost a theme park occurrence and due to their passion for Star Wars they are going all out.  That meant that of course I had to dress up as Han Solo—but this time I wanted to do it for real—as real as possible because of the effort my kids were putting into this party and the eventual impact it would have on the youth in my family attending this thing.  So I turned to to see what was out there and was stunned by a world I discovered.

My mom made me a little vest like Han Solo’s when I was in the fifth grade and I sort of kept it all these years even though it was way too small for me.  But even a few years ago if you wanted something that looked like a Star Wars character and bought a costume from a place like Party City it always came out looking far from authentic.  If you wanted something that looked like the clothing in the movie you had to make it.  Back when my kids were little we went to a Star Wars Celebration in Indianapolis and my wife made Jedi robes for my girls and their friends so they could dress up at that convention which occurred right before the movie Revenge of the SIth.  The internet at that time had some support—you could get directions from people who built their own costumes but there weren’t suppliers carrying things like that on the shelf.  Even though Star Wars was popular there just wasn’t any money in it for costumers to make costumes of all those characters in the movies  for a public of all shapes and sizes.  The scope of that work was unrealistic. For Han Solo specifically his outfit looks pretty simple yet is really quite complex.  For instance, his vest from A New Hope has a series of very complicated pockets positioned just right—and there is nothing like that off the rack at Wal-Mart or Kholes.  Han Solo’s pants don’t have pockets and have a very specific pin stripe down the side of them which disappears into knee-high boots that are meant to put the swash in the buckle for the very dashing character. The shirt under the vest isn’t just a white button-up but has a very unique collar and v-nick style that has to fit just right through the shoulders to give the correct effect.  Then there is the gun belt which is a thing all its own.  So I went looking for these things and I started with the Star Wars Costume exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center—which has been running all summer and will end around the beginning of October before moving on to the next city.  It’s a good exhibit, most of which I’ve seen before at the Smithsonian, but for my quest it served its purpose.  I was able to get right up to the Han Solo costume and look at things up close so that I could duplicate it authentically.  If I couldn’t find the items online, my wife was willing to build them from scratch so we went and took lots of pictures.

To my shook as I started looking now, in 2017 for these very specific Han Solo costume pieces for this epic party my kids were having I discovered that I was able to buy everything at relatively inexpensively.  For instance the great Han Solo vest that I figured was the most important part of the costume was just under forty dollars from an outfit in China.  I skeptically ordered it expecting it to arrive in a very flawed condition.  I expected something that looked like a typical Party City costume that smelled like plastic and rubber.  But what came to my front door was an exact replica of the Han Solo vest from A New Hope made out of material that was like that of tactical gear for a SWAT team.   It was a very good garment that was legitimate and it fit well the moment I put it on.  I was stunned by the quality of it.  I then proceeded to order the official shirt, the pants, the boots and the gun belt which as of this writing hasn’t yet arrived, but everything else has and again I was stunned by the authenticity of each item.

At different points in my life I had looked for these things and nobody carried them—as I said, everything had to be made by hand.  What’s unique about now from then—and by then I mean like six months ago—is that due to all the COSPLAY that goes on at these Comic Con conventions and now that Disney World is building these amusement parks with Star Wars lands within them there is this big COSPLAY movement that has emerged—where people dress up as characters from their favorite movies to delve into the mythology of these various sci-fi events—and out of nowhere there are all these suppliers who are making these costumes to meet the growing demand.  It’s a whole industry of itself that has virtually arrived out of nowhere.  I am aware of some of it because I find Comic Cons interesting as well as Gen Cons and other conventions.  I also noticed that the plans for the new Star Wars resort coming to Disney World is seeking to tap into this emerging market with a Fantasy Island style of Star Wars experience where they encourage people to show up dressed for the part.   Obviously Disney knew all about this culture and were building their business plans around it.  I only discovered it because of my grandson’s birthday party—but this was big business!

As I had ordered everything from my home computer and each item arrived one by one to my doorstep without having to go anywhere to search for it I became more and more impressed.  Even more shocking was that everything fit nicely, I didn’t have to send anything back.  Just by reading some of the reviews I was able to size myself accordingly with no trouble at all.  I figured that the risk was low because if the stuff showed up and was junky I figured my five-year old grandson would forgive me.  He’d appreciate the effort and wouldn’t get hung up on the details—even though he is a very smart little kid.  He surprises me what he notices.  He’s already playing the video game Battlefront very well which is about two years before I thought he would.  He plays online against other people who are very good—and he’s effective.  He knows all the different types of weapons that can be used, how to outfit each character and how to manage the Star Cards which give unique abilities to tactical engagements.  So if something wasn’t right, he’d notice. But after getting the parts of my Han Solo costume together it was obvious that I had nothing to worry about.  As far as this party was concerned, except for my hairline, the outfit looks just like it would if it was on the actual movie set.  That’s pretty stunning for something that was so easily ordered on

This is all just another example of how imagination is fueling an entirely new industry and due to the excessive and efficient reach of they were able to connect me to suppliers around the world where I could get a very specific items from a forty-year old movie to my doorstep within two weeks.  And the quality wasn’t junky but meant to impress even under the scrutiny of the most ardent film geek.   In some cases my outfit is better than the movie original on display at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  Those costumes were meant for just a few months of filming, these for purchase were meant to last much longer and under the judgment of live audiences.  Needless to say, which I have before, we are seeing something new and hopeful from these modern movie enthusiasts which starts with a mythology in the movie theater and extends into real life—what Disney is doing down at their theme parks is tapping into the public need to play out their fantasies and is an expansion of imagination that is very specific to our species as human beings.  The need to personify a fantasy experience has deep psychological roots that go far beyond primal necessity.   I think the end result is a very positive one that is headed toward an unknown climax.  I know I love to see the imaginations of so many people at work to make something like all this possible—but it surprised even me at the extent of it all. And the entity most responsible for the success of this new industry was  They were the middle ground players that connected need with supply and allowed both to get what they wanted at the best price and quality.  If they can do that with a simple costume from Star Wars, just think what they can do with real necessities.  We are living in a whole new world.

Rich Hoffman

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A Front Row Seat to History: Trump’s West Virginia speech and the implications

I know I write about Donald Trump nearly every day and there are so many topics in the world, but can you name one other thing dear reader, which is as exciting and game changing?  That’s why Donald Trump is the topic of the century.  Watching the President’s speech in West Virginia on August 3rd 2017 the same day that Robert Mueller announced a grand jury investigation into Russian tampering in the 2016 election—and two leaked transcripts of phone calls with foreign leaders emerged in an embarrassing way—that the event was a testament of fortitude.  It’s something nobody has ever seen in human history before, the most powerful person on earth because of the power of the American presidency stepping out of the Washington drama and into small town USA to be with the real people who are really behind the country—to bypass the soothsayers, the lawyers and the phony lobbyists—the self congratulatory world leaders, the socialist media and the institutional swamp of the Beltway culture to speak to the nation while everyone else was literally going on summer recess.

That’s not all, so far in his presidency Trump has very quietly surpassed the amount of money Barack Obama raised for the Democrats during his first term and poured it into the Republican Party.  The Trump team is very good about sending out emails for donations to their supporters.  I get about two or three a day, which is what I’ve always been saying that Republicans should be doing, because the Democrats sure have done it.  And what’s the rule basically in business and in life—he who has the gold rules.  As rival Republicans and Beltway insiders plot and scheme the destruction of Donald Trump, the new president has amassed quite a lot of wealth for the Party which comes from his charisma and determination.  When the vacationing Republicans come back to Washington after Labor Day, Trump will even further embed himself as the leader of the Republican money and controller of the purse strings and that will certainly help his legislative agenda—especially as many of those House and Senate members start thinking about running for office again in 2018.  Trump is an amazingly positive force in American politics, no matter which side you may be on dear reader.  What’s happening now is the stuff of historic legends.

I realize that most people have no idea what’s going on.  They see his West Virginia speech and they make fun of the participants—but think about the theme of that speech.  Trump specifically said, “We didn’t win because of the Russians, we won because of you.” The crowd went nuts.  The silent Trump supporters aren’t so silent and have been unlocked and activated in ways that no demographic population ever has—in the history of the world.  We’re not talking about the desperate fanaticism of Hitler in 1935 Germany where depravity ushered in an era of evil, or a Roman emperor who conquered the northern realms of Europe to expand civilization into the distant corners of pagan monstrosities—we’re talking about a free people who have gathered behind an indomitable force—by choice.

I remember well when Trump came to the US Bank Arena just a few weeks before the big election and the event was a lot like that August 2017 crowd in West Virginia. Trump filled that place up and the crowd was extremely engaged.  It was for me an obvious turning point especially after all the controversies that had been released trying to derail his presidency.  I remember thinking at the time, “boy, if this guy actually becomes president, this will be a game changer just because of his positive attitude that is so contagious.” While Trump was in West Virginia at that exact moment my oldest daughter was at the Hans Zimmer concert at that same US Bank Arena.  Hans Zimmer is a major Hollywood star and one of the greatest musicians of our time.  What was strange to me was that as my daughter was sending me pictures of the concert on my phone, I couldn’t help but notice that the crowd was far less than when Trump had been there.  Zimmer was far from sold out which reminded me how amazing it was that people would actually show up for these Trump events to just listen to a guy talk.  What Trump does and how he goes about it is an amazing exchange of human emotion aimed at positive resolutions—and it’s simply remarkable.

Most people would have folded under the amount of pressure that Trump is currently under.  Heck, most people wouldn’t have made it out of 2015 during the campaign with the amount of trouble that was thrown at Trump.  As I’ve said often, I feel I understand Trump in a personal way.  Before he ever ran for president he was a very accomplished author and I’ve read many of his books several times.  I can’t say that I learned much because my personality type is very similar to the kind of people Trump is trying to teach people to be in those bestselling books.   For me they were positive reassurance that someone out there thought the same way as me.  One of my favorite Trump books is Think Big and Kick Ass which was published in 2007 after several seasons of The Apprentice had made him into a major celebrity.   In that book Trump covers an entire chapter dedicated to handling pressure.  All great people must learn to handle enormous amounts of crushing pressure—and that is something that essentially separates achievers from the rest of society.  Lots of people are smart.  Lots of people have good educations.  But not a lot of people can handle pressure.  Trump is someone who actually performs better under pressure and that is what makes him so much different from any other person to ever enter the political class.  And that’s why every day he is in office is a game changer for the direction of the country.  People know it too—and they are willing to defend Trump because they understand how unique this opportunity is.

The Beltway culture is essentially like a big high school where peer pressure has been used for centuries now to control the most ambitious and individualistic presidents to house themselves in the White House.  If anybody got too far out of line, peer pressure from their rivals would hold them to the mold of institutionalism and keep them prisoner so that they couldn’t do much damage to the mechanisms of aristocratic deception.   That has left the rest of us scratching our heads as to why we always had such weak presidents who seemed more concerned with being one of the cool kids than in being a figure that might one day be put up on Mt. Rushmore.  I mean if you are going to be president of the United States, why not shoot for a big memorable role?  The sad answer is that most people care only about fitting in with their peers, and that relationship holds them back in life so terribly much.  But Trump doesn’t care about his peers.  He expects to be the top dog—the trend setter who follows nobody and that is what is changing that Beltway culture day by day.  The media is aware of this and they are actually terrified that Trump might be successful.  Nothing they have been able to do has put a dent in Trump’s ambitions because the new president actually thrives under pressure—he doesn’t run from it.  That is a first in American history in a political position.  Most of those types of people have always stayed in the private sector only to die quietly on some mountaintop after the conclusion of their lives.   So this is completely uncharted territory and it’s very exciting to see where it takes us each day.  All I can say is that I’m enjoying each day of this president and am very glad that I voted for, and supported with more than effort, Donald Trump.  History is being made and I love having a front row seat.

Rich Hoffman

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You’re Fired in the White House: The good done by the 2% while the 98% watch

Why is it so surprising that Anthony Scaramucci was fired from the White House communications director job? Given the fact that he only did the job for 11 days, he was effective and assisted on bringing in General Kelly at the chief of staff position.  Scaramucci shook things up during his short tenure, he did a good job and now other people get a chance to do work in his wake.  Yet the perception of these government jobs is that they should go on forever and that the measurement of success isn’t in effectiveness of job performance but in how long a person can manage to hang around in the Beltway.  Trump has brought a business ethic to his White House based on performance—for which the media calls “chaos” and there will be many other firings before all is said and done.  Don’t people remember The Apprentice?  This is that same guy—Donald Trump, who made his mark on celebrity by firing people.  What did people think was going to happen?

What’s different in Trump’s case and virtually everyone who came before him is that this new president is part of that elite 2% club of people who essentially support the entire 98% portion of the human population in productive output. That’s not the same as declaring that Trump is “rich.” Not everyone in that 2% club is “rich” yet, but they typically become that way by their very nature. When anarchists used the Occupy Wall Street group to protest the wealthy 1% they were attacking the visible portion of that 2% who essentially do everything in our economy—who have the inner drive to move mountains of opposition for the sheer pleasure of it—for the boon of being productive.  They are not like the sheepish 98% who are happy to just live life and graze like cattle in the fields of dreams waiting for the inevitable end.  People like Trump are driven by their own energy—and it never ends for them.  That energy is now in the White House and has been misdiagnosed as chaos by those lazy 98% types.

That is why I have no concern over the lack so far of a legislative slate of accomplishments because I never thought congress would work with this president until things got rough—and they are about to. I have no doubt that Trump will end the subsidies on the congressional health care plans putting them equal with the rest of us and that the Obamacare money would be block granted back to the states.  Experts would say that if Trump did such a thing that all his other legislative objectives would be in jeopardy, such as his infrastructure plan, and his tax cut—but that is only thinking from the perspective of 98% of the population.  Thinking like the 2% types, you take it to the objectivists and make them feel the pain, and you pour it on until they break or an opportunity to fire them emerges.  That is the way of Trump.  His legislative agenda will happen one way or the other.  Inactivity won’t be acceptable not under a 2% oriented president used to accomplishing things.  Trump will not stop until he gets what he wants like a lot of driven people are—the 2%.

That was what the plot to The Apprentice really was—discovering the 2% out there who would do almost anything to be successful and having them compete for the right to win.  Most people are content to ride through life and watch these 2% people fight it out.  But then that is the major problem with democracy—is that the 98% feel they have legislative control over the natural drive of the 2%–and that will never work.  In America we have found an economy that frees the hands of the 2% and lets them build industry and invention to the limits of their imagination. The 98% benefit completely from these efforts but they do very little to contribute—except maybe work a job.  They aren’t like Elon Musk who is inventing the Hyperloop on a napkin or Jeff Bezos who is now the richest person in the world who continues to push to new levels of productivity.  As I mention these people they are not conservatives—but they are part of that 2% way of thinking—they are driven internally to always reach for success in any form they can find.  Anthony Scaramucci is another one of those 2% types, and no, he doesn’t have time to dance around an issue just to make the flock of sheep that make up the 98% of the population happy. Trump hired him, used Scaramucci’s efforts, to sniff out the leakers, fired the leakers and then ushered in a new chief of staff who then fired Scaramucci—that’s life in the fast lane.  Scaramucci will still be rich because it’s in his nature to be rich.  You could strip that guy of all his belongings and drop him off on a deserted island and five years later he’d be rich again after having built a thriving sea port on that island.  It’s the survival nature of the 2% and the American system to give them a voice above all others that is most responsible for the country’s GDP.  98% work under contracted hours to perform some of the tasks, but the essential elements of achievement occur by the 2% who seldom ever sleep, love their work and are always thinking and pushing for excellence.  To have a discussion about the proper nature of productivity, these factors must be considered.

The Washington Beltway culture that has emerged for over 200 years has proven unrepresentative of what America actually needs.  It follows a roughly European model of aristocratic behavior that just isn’t conducive to our needs as an economy.  The arrogance of John McCain to theatrically put his thumb down on the critical healthcare vote just a few days before Scaramucci was terminated demonstrated beyond doubt that the Senate is not a representation of what Americans want in their government.  Through natural evolution of observation during many trials and errors of voting patterns we finally elected a 2% type into the White House to break loose the elements that have not been working—ever, on Capitol Hill. Things will not go back to where they were just because John McCain is refusing to adopt to those changes.  Waiting out the clock from the power players in congress will not stop the forward trajectory of our economic expansion because most Americans recognize the necessity for a major change, and Trump is just the first step in that change.

The essence of that change is that it is the 2% who make America great and always have.  The 98% just go along for the ride.  They benefit from a great America but they don’t collectively make it so shattering that long-held government belief that democracies are the foundations of freedom.  No, it is the inventor who creates a new type of vehicle that gives individuals freedom of movement over vast spaces.  It is the computer programmer who writes a code that quickens the pace that human beings can think—therefore expanding their leisure time. It is the 2% who give the 98% their freedom through innovation and effort.  Not the other way around.

As I write this the Dow Jones is hovering near 22,000—which is stunning considering that just 6 months ago it was considered high at 18,000. That is nearly 5 trillion dollars of new money flowing into our American economy and that money doesn’t come from everyone.  It comes largely from the 2% who have worked so hard in life and thought out of the box to a large extent that they have the money to invest. They see in Trump a fellow 2% type.  With deregulation and a White House running more like a business, they are confident that the John McCain losers won’t have access to their money and that its safe to take risks.  The 2% don’t mind risks—that’s part of their nature—but they don’t like to have their backs turned toward looters like John McCain who largely represents the 98% people who struggle through life due to their inherit laziness.  Now that the 2% people have their own kind in the White House, they feel they can invest and act without the artificial restriction of looters always trying to steal their efforts for the 98% people to take the credit for.  There is nothing more deflating for a 2% person than to have the 98% people take the credit for all the hard work and risk through institutionalized democracy.  When that barrier is removed then all bets are off.

In that context I like to see all the firings at the White House and so do the other 2% types. It says that things are being managed and when something doesn’t work, this president is willing to keep trying until he gets what he wants.   And that is precisely what Trump will do in regard to healthcare.  It’s going to happen and if congress has to feel the pain and wrath of it, then so be it. It is nice to see all this for a change and now that people in the 98% see the results of a 2% guy in the White House they won’t vote the other way ever again.  The benefits are just too great and even many of the stupid people in that 98% can see that.  Firings are good and healthy and are done often by the people who are in the top 2% of the population.  Because decisive action is a fact of life in the context of Washington politics which has sought for so long to bend the 2% to the needs of the 98%.  Reality demands however that it is the real minority of the 2% which should always be respected for what they give the 98%–a life worth living and a freedom to pursue because decision makers and leaders fight for the purity of capitalism and the merit of competition which makes things wonderful for everyone.

Rich Hoffman

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