Sunday, July 27, 2014

Star Wars: 10 Reasons The Galactic Empire Wasn’t As Bad As Everyone Thinks

The Galactic Empire have had to deal with something of a bad image since Star Wars was first released in 1977, but that’s what happens when you lack a PR guy to tell you not to make Darth Vader the public face of government. Of course, it could also have something to do with the huge Imperial Navy, relentless brutality and the use of super weapons like the Death Star, too.
None of these actions are particularly virtuous, of course, and it is understandable as to why so many believe that the Empire was evil… but if you look deeper, it’s possible to see past those first impressions. Examining the Empire closely, it becomes clear that – instead of an inherently bad government – you can actually see a group of people who are trying to do their best for the good of the entire galaxy. You can view their actions in a much more positive light – in fact, many of the decisions they made actually make sense.
After all, if you look at what the Empire replaced in the Old Republic and the Jedi, you start to realise just how hurtful those organisations were for the general population. In some ways, the Empire can seem like the much better option and there are some really strong reasons for why they were not as bad as they have been made out…

Here's the list.

Before the 110 Freeway.

Driving through the Figueroa Street Tunnels might be one of L.A.'s most dramatic freeway experiences. As you plunge through the first Art Deco portal, the downtown skyline recedes in your rear-view mirror. A minute later, leaving the last of the four bores, you enter the world of the Arroyo Seco Parkway: sycamore trees, sweeping curves, and arched bridges.
The tunnels weren't always part of the state freeway system. Built between 1930 and 1936 by the city of Los Angeles, they originally carried Figueroa Street through the rugged terrain ofElysian Park. Two lanes traveled in either direction, separated by white double stripes. Pedestrians were welcome, if not expected; a single five-foot sidewalk (since removed) ran alongside the forty-foot wide roadway.


On ice cream trucks, memory, and race in America

Can ice cream be racist? The question has lately caused a small dustup—and, as you might imagine, the issue is larger than ice cream. It is, in fact, indicative of a certain psychic roadblock in enlightened black thought of late.

It started with Theodore R. Johnson III, writing on NPR’s blog to tell us that when we hear an ice cream truck play “Turkey in the Straw,” we must understand that the tune has racist origins. Johnson points out that when ice cream trucks started playing the tune in the 1920s, it was not long after the tune had been tricked out repeatedly with racist lyrics—including a minstrel-show perennial called “Zip Coon,” not to mention an awful pre-World War I version he unearthed with the lyric “Nigger Love a Watermelon, Ha Ha Ha.” Furthermore, because ice cream parlors played minstrel songs in the nineteenth century, people in the 1920s and 1930s would have associated “Turkey in the Straw” with its unsavory alternate versions. In response to Johnson, I wrote that by the time those trucks existed, people thought of the tune as simply “Turkey in the Straw,” a song about the farm. No evidence exists that ice cream parlors were ever sites uniquely associated with racist music.

Read the whole thing.

Miss Vikki Dougan, the real life Jessica Rabbit.

While actress Veronica Lake is typically assumed to be the muse behind Jessica Rabbit, it was the lesser-known and near-forgotten Vicki Dougan along with her notorious derrrière that really put Jessica on the map. Pin-up girl turned (struggling) actress, Vicki earned herself the nickname, “The Back” in 1950s Hollywood for so often wearing her outrageously provocative backless dresses.

The article is here.

Jumpin Jive - Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers

The Great Liberal Hobby Lobby Freak-out

Social liberalism is becoming illiberal. That is the only conclusion that can be reached from the unhinged reaction to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which was being mischaracterized before it was even handed down.
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren—or perhaps an intern speaking in her name—tweeted, “Can't believe we live in a world where we'd even consider letting big corps deny women access to basic care based on vague moral objections.”

Read the whole thing.

Chicago Alleys

An amazing little article on something so many in Chicago take for granted.

New Beginnings

I've neglected this blog. It was once, very much  a labor of love, taking up the bulk of my free time. But then it sort of fell away. My life was confused and in a state of flux and my desire to weigh in on the great events of the day was pretty much non-existent.

Life is a funny thing though. Things have settled down. I've found a good woman, a job I enjoy-I feel happy and content for the first time in a long time.

In that spirit, I've decided to start posting again. We'll see how long it lasts. I suspect I'll be busy and have a hard time sticking to it. Still, better to try and fail than to not try at all.

More to come.