Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Charm City?

I will never suffer the indignity of being pulled over for Driving While Black.  I have never lived in a neighborhood that fears a police presence.  I have never felt like my vote didn't count.  I can never truly give full voice to to the anger of feeling marginalized  due to the color of my skin.  I have never been, and hopefully never will be, placed in the back of a police vehicle.  If I do find myself in police custody, however, I deserve, as does EVERYONE ELSE, to be treated with dignity and fairness until justice is served.  So I can't fully live the experience of all my neighbors, but I can stand with those seeking answers in Ferguson or New York or with those wanting to know what really happened in the back of a paddy wagon in Baltimore.  I can appreciate the outrage.  I acknowledge it.  I get it.  What I don't get is using this outrage as an excuse to indulge in wild, illegal, destructive behavior.

The looting and rioting has eclipsed any positive message the peaceful protestors sought to spread.  Thousands of people protested peacefully Saturday.  Unfortunately, a much smaller number of people (not entirely unprovoked, by the way) decided to show their asses.  This destruction, and the coverage of it by local media, seemed to give license to troublemakers who took to the streets with the craziness after Freddie Gray's funeral yesterday.  Just like in Ferguson and New Orleans after Katrina and countless other places before, opportunistic losers took advantage of a grievance to act like assholes.  I have been pissed about a lot of things in my life, but I promise you I have never once thought, "You know what would make me feel better right now?  Burning down a CVS after I steal all the Charmin."  Vandalizing your own neighborhood, "getting mines", attacking police with bricks, destroying businesses-these things make no sense even in, maybe especially in, this context.  My favorite, in a hilariously sad way, video from yesterday was a news chopper feed of the one mall being looted.  One of the looters ran from the store with an armload of clothes, which she had to put down so she could unlock her car.  Rioting Pro Tip:  Be sure to lock up so no one steals your stuff while you are off stealing someone else's stuff. Brilliant!  What are we doing here people?

Thank goodness for those who cut through the nuttiness to help.  Thank goodness for Robert Valentine and for the mom who slapped some sense into her son.  Thank goodness for the man who quietly started sweeping up in the middle of the chaos.  Thank goodness for the hundreds of first responders who stood watch last night while the city burned around them.  I love Baltimore.  She is a proud city.  Despite making fun of her for once being the most syphilitic city in the country, I constantly defend Baltimore to the naysayers.  We have never had trouble going to ball games or to Johns Hopkins for my daughter's surgery and follow-ups.  I hope the city finds peace.  I hope communities across the nation can find peace. How that happens, I don't know.  We are talking about systematic injustice and mistrust.  We are talking about drugs and the violence and sadness they leave in their wake.  We are talking about selfishness.  We are talking, but not always listening.  Criminals and victims.  Sometimes, criminals as victims.

 What I do know, is that we can all help.    We must be sensible and sensitive.  Respectful and responsive.  Caring and careful.  And I know that burning police cars and smashing in windows or skulls is none of those things.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Game Seven:The Two Most Exciting Words In Sports



Bring it in Caps Fans.  Huddle up.  You guys out there on the ledge-climb back in the window.  You over there muttering, “Here we go again”- come on over.  You there, holding your Ovechkin sweater- put down the butane lighter and get over here.  Take a knee and listen up.  I know it doesn’t look good.  Home Game 7s (Games 7?) haven’t treated the Caps very well. (1-4 record in the Ovechkin Era.)  Our stars seem to shrink in these moments.  Big Mo seems to be on the Isles side.  Jaroslav Halak is 6-1 in elimination games during his playoff career.  So what? I choose optimism.  It may not be rational.  It may not be logical.  But it sure is more fun. 
 
You see, I don’t Rock the Red because Big Ted’s marketing team tells me to.  I root for the Caps because they are my team.  If I was going to stop rooting for this team when things looked bleak, I would have stopped 25 years ago, or during the era they wore Red the first time.  Yes, I predicted the Islanders would win the series in seven games.  That doesn’t mean I want to be correct.  And you know what?  The Islanders might win.  They are a damn strong team.  All the more reason to watch with excitement tonight; if the Caps pull out a W, it will have been well earned. I’ll chew my nails through Game 7.  I’ll don my lucky hat at game time.  I’ll let Grace watch a few minutes before bed continuing her indoctrination into this roller coaster ride that is being a Washington Capitals fan.   I’ll believe in a win until the scoreboard reads otherwise.

Tomorrow, if this team I love has laid another Game 7 egg, I will gladly listen to your “I told you so.” To, “Ovechkin isn’t clutch.”  To, “this organization is cursed.”  To, “Barry Trotz is just Bruce Boudreau with a goatee.”  I will listen to all criticisms and likely add a few of my own.  But tonight we cheer.  Tonight we cheer, for we are fans and that is what fans do.  Because the possibility still exists that the Great 8 will net a hat trick, raising his game as he wills his team to Round 2.  There still exists the possibility that Braden Holtby shuts out New York.  There still exists the possibility that this time the Caps prevail in four overtimes.  Of course, there also still exists the possibility my optimism is entirely unfounded.  I’ll let you know after Game 7!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wow Me.

Okay, I admit it.  As I've gotten older I have become a little jaded.  I think we all do as we age.  I suppose we develop a "I've seen it all" mentality.  Fewer things knock my socks off.  I find myself saying, "It was fine" when asked how something was.  I might enjoy stuff, but rarely am I wowed.  Dinner at that new restaurant? Fine.  That book I just finished? Fine.  The Fourth of July fireworks show? Fine.  (Seriously though, I can't be the only adult that is bored with the fireworks, can I?  If you've seen one, you've kinda seen 'em all.)  This is one of the many reasons having a kid is so great.  You can see experiences through their eyes.  When they experience things for the first time, you can experience it anew vicariously through them.  When Grace tells me a day at the beach jumping in the surf is the BEST DAY EVER! who am I to argue?  Instead of dismissing it as hyperbole, I should remember that, yeah, this is a pretty good damn day.  Child-like wonder can do us all some good.

Two separate kid moments cut through the clutter for me today.  Today was a day of errands and other routine distractions.  As we completed them, Grace asked if we could stop by the library.  How could I say no to the that?  (What I should have said no to, though, was letting her check out the Frozen soundtrack sung in Spanish.  I long for the due date so I may then sing Libre Soy.)  One of our post-library traditions is stopping by the nearby pizza shop for a slice.  We had fun just chilling with some pie in the warm afternoon sun.  The real awesome moment came later when Grace started reading one of her borrowed books.  She has been learning and diligently practicing reading in and after school for a few weeks now.  It has been neat seeing her move from letter sounds to blending words and piecing together syllables.  Today, however, was the first time that she has thrown open a book, begun sounding out the words and nailed it without needing or asking for help.  Needless to say I was filled with pride.  It is so cool to see the puzzle pieces clicking in to place as she determinedly sounds out the words.  Wow Moment Number One.

Wow Moment Number Two  was a kid moment, too, but more because it tied to my own childhood.  The internet blew up this afternoon as the second Star Wars teaser trailer debuted and was subsequently shared by a Death Star-sized percentage of my friends list.  Sure it was only a thirty-second snippet. Watching that tantalizing morsel transported me back to childhood.  Some may say it is only a movie, nothing to get so so excited about.  For them, that may be true.  And that's cool. I'm sure they have their passions.  After all, I believe we are all giant nerds about something.  It might be craft beer or baseball or comics or photography; we all have things that we geek out on that leave others scratching their head.  For me, that trailer hitting the Net (do people still call it that?) was a big ol' NERD ALERT.  Hearing John Williams' score, listening to talk of the Force and watching the Millennium Falcon blast across the screen made me feel like a kid again.  Because for me, and millions of people my age,  the Star Wars Saga was not simply a collection of movies.  It was a gateway to so much more.  It inspired creativity and play time. It fired the imagination and it embodied, right there on that big screen, child-like wonder.  And it was just so damn cool.  That is why today's trailer was important to me.  It was a not so sublte reminder that, "travelin' through hyperspace ain't like dustin' crops, boy."

Now, the jaded me worries that the movie might suck.  A friend, and fellow fan, reminded me that the best part of Episode I was the trailer.  I admit, as happy as I was to see Han and Chewie on screen again, Harrison Ford's gravelly voice sounded a lot like Krystal Skull-era Indy. (Shudder.)  But none of that matters.  I will sit with Christmas morning-like anticipation as the house lights go down December 15th.  Not only will I get to be a kid again, but I get the opportunity to take Grace to see a Star Wars movie in the theater for the first time.  Peaking into a Galaxy far, far away through my eyes and hers could be awesome.  A shared joy and Wow Moment Number Two.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Forecasting the unpredictable NHL postseason is a bit like having dandruff- people think you are weird and you are often left scratching your head.  Knowing just how much the internet is clamoring for my predictions, I have doused my crystal ball with Selsun Blue, so let's get started.  Who wants to talk about the Caps-Islanders Eastern Conference Quarterfinal match up? 

WHY THE CAPS WILL WIN THE SERIES:
1. BARRY TROTZ:  During his first season in D.C., Trotz has installed a tight-checking, gap-control system that the players are actually buying in to.  Playing as a five man unit defensively, players see that sound defense can quickly transition to opportunistic offense.  Trotz has a good feel for his team.  Whether talking line combos, goalie starts or healthy scratches, he has often pushed the right buttons.  That he has never advanced any deeper into the playoffs than the Ovechkin-era Caps is a valid criticism, but Trotz  never had in Nashville the offensive firepower that he has in Washington. 

2. TOUGHNESS:  Trotz has demanded a level of toughness that even hard-ass Dale Hunter could not coax out of these Caps.  Opponents remark that the Caps are now hard to play against.  Washington has big bodies that can grind a team down.  I'm not saying they are the second coming of recent Bruins teams that punished defenses under a relentless forecheck, but the Caps are swift enough and rugged enough up front to make teams pay. Now, will they?

3. DEFENSE: For years, fans begged GM George McPhee to improve the defense.  Yet trade deadlines and offseasons passed year after year with only a rotating cast of has-beens and minor league journeymen manning the back half of the defense corp.  During free agency new GM Brian McClellan overspent to land stud defenseman Brooks Orpik and fellow blue-liner Matt Nisskanen.  They have stabalized a realigned defense that is now a team strength. 

4.MIKE GREEN:  Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the revamped defense has been Mike Green.  Relegated to the third D pairing has been a blessing.  He appears to be healthy after no longer being asked to play thirty minutes a night.  Bruce Boudreau irresponsibly ran this kid into the ground.  Green has responded to playing less minutes by producing nearly the same number of points in far fewer minutes than in recent seasons.  He is getting hot at the right time and could be a major offensive weapon in this series.  Though, I reserve the right to move him to the WHY THE CAPS WILL LOSE THIS SERIES column as soon as he makes a bonehead, high-risk pass to the other team.

5.NUMBER 8:  Alex Ovechkin has had some masterful playoff performances (dueling hat tricks with Sidney Crosby, Game 5 against the Rangers in 2009), but he has yet to elevate his game to an elite status during a deep playoff run or  even an entire series, for that matter.  This has probably been Ovi's best all-around season.  He has played better defensively (Let's be honest, it would be hard no to.), he has played well with many different linemates and he has led by example with his physical play.  Is this the year he is less Pavel Bure and more Mike Modano or Steve Yzerman, still a potent scorer, but a more mature defender and leader?

6. BRADEN HOLTBY:  Solid, bordering on spectacular regular season.  Most playoff-ready backstop since Godzilla.  My chief concern is the number of minutes he has logged.  73 games played is a lot.  In fact, not since Grant Fuhr twenty-nine years ago has a Cup-winning goalie played so many games during the regular season. But In Trotz, We Trust.  (Not that I think this team has what it takes to win it all.) 

WHY THE CAPS WILL LOSE THE SERIES:

HAVE YOU MET THE CAPS?  This collection of misfits deems it their annual mission to make ME, a complete stranger only loosely connected to their place of work on a geographic basis, miserable.  The Islanders are talented, have a goalie that has previously foiled the Caps in the first round and may be poised to embark on a magical, last hurrah, history evoking Cup run to say farewell to Nassau Coliseum. 

As Dave Letterman would say, this is an exhibition not a competition, so please, please, no wagering.  But if I were a betting man, I'd say Islanders in 7.

Hardware Wars

Behold and bear witness to one man's valiant attempt to win both Husband of the Year and Father of the Year in the same day.  Ignore for the moment that this humble warrior is grossly unqualified to complete the tasks that he dreams will win him these accolades. How will our hero, used to doing battle with words and a keyboard, fare wrestling projects that require complex notions such as math and...tools?  Will he land in some catalog of Pinterest fails or cheesy Buzzfeed compilation of home improvement disasters (23 Photos of People Who Should Have Hired a Contractor)? Or will he win the hearts, minds and hearty cheers of his loving family? Stay tuned.

My mission this day was, as stated above, two-fold.  My wife, Amanda, and I have been wanting to create a backyard in which we can hang out and relax.  Unfortunately, our last few backyards have been either dust bowls or tiny, grassy postage stamps with no privacy.  Our current yard is large and fenced in. Check. Secondly, our daughter, Grace, has been bugging us to sign her up for gymnastics.  Since we don't need to add ANYTHING ELSE to our Gracie Shuttle Schedule, I hoped building a gym bar in the yard would hold off her requests for a little while longer.  Room for Grace to twirl and flip. Check. With procrastination being my default setting, my big ideas are often left on the vine to wither and disappear.  Today, though, I was determined get the job done and surprise my ladies with my craftsmanship.

My one requirement for any structure was that it could be fairly easily moved or removed.(In case Amanda hated it or thought it would work in a better spot in the yard.)  This requirement, and a looming afternoon thunderstorm, meant any posts could not be secured with concrete; I would need another method.  My plan was simple, if a bit flawed.  But that is okay because Simple and Flawed are my middle names. With a plan in my head and determination in my soul, I headed for the Home Depot.  Yes, the Home Depot.  That place where, like church, the gym and the health food store, I get looks from the employees that seem to say, "Are you sure you are in the right place?"  You see, in my family, I am the least likely to build, make or fix anything.  My mom is a crafter with a yard that is like a fairy garden filled with flowers,  bird baths and squadrons of hummingbirds hovering nearby.  My brother has an engineer's brain and has remodeled two homes.  He inherited those skills from my dad, who, in addition to being an electrician, contractor and all-around handy guy, fixed engines changed the oil in his cars for years.  I can barely change the television channel with my X1 remote. Anyway, like a tourist in a strange city, I wandered around until I found what I needed.  I packed the car (Hey look, the boards actually fit!) and headed for home.

My simple plan included posts for a hammock, posts for a gym bar and festive lights strung all around.  Because I wanted temporary, I chose to use deck spikes to hold the posts in place.  The spike consists of a metal base that acts as a seat for the 4" x 4" post.  Attached to the metal base is an 18" spike that sticks in the ground to keep the post (allegedly) from toppling over.  The spikes are not exactly designed for what I am using them for, but I figured by securing the posts together there would be enough rigidity to keep everything upright.  And there might have been had I actually completed my plan.  I had the posts in place and the hammock hung.  One hammock post was securely attached to an existing fence post.  I had not, however, secured the bar or the support braces when, smugly, I decided to test my handiwork.  Ignoring the fact that my plan called for everything being attached together for rigidity, I slowly eased into the hammock.  It felt good.  For a brief moment I allowed myself to think of summer afternoons spent right here- SNAP- the popping sound pulled me from my day dream, as I landed with a thud, tangled in the hammock with an 8' salt-treated post in my lap (No, that is not a euphemism).  For half-a-second, I thought I had pulled the existing fence down.  Idiot! Nope, just my one hammock post fell.  A quick survey revealed that only my pride and the deck spike were damaged.  The post did not break; the welds of the spike base did.  My eagerness impatience and stupidity had ruined my first attempt.  Discouraged but undaunted, I hit the Depot for another spike.

With  the new spike and all the planned pieces secured, I was confident everything was going to work fine.  I decided I will keep my fat ass from testing the welds.  I will leave the hammock to the lighter members of my family.  All that was left was to string the lights.  The area to be lit is a square measuring approximately 25 feet on each side.  My 150 foot string of colorful lights will be more than - wait, what? 150 count measuring 50 feet? Dammit.  So much for words being one of my strengths.  On my third trip to the store I picked up another pack of lights and considered another spike, this one to drive into my skull as punishment for thinking up this scheme in the first place. A few minutes and a few calming breaths later, the lights were up and my project complete.

I don't yet know if I will win any awards, but I will call the project a success.  Grace was surprised and delighted to have a "flipping" bar.  Amanda greeted her backyard oasis with a bemused, suspicious look, probably wondering who helped me.  So, friends and neighbors, I invite you to join us in our backyard, uh, paradise.  Just be gentle with the hammock.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Rivalry Renewed

You're right Pittsburgh media outlets, Alex Ovechkin is a monster.  A menace to society. Deport his sorry ass for the blatant act of violence committed against poor, helpless Penguins defenseman Kris Letang last week. I'll grant you Ovechkin's stick work probably should have been called  a penalty, though the hyperbole coming out of Pittsburgh was a bit much.  But I don't mind the trash talk.  In fact, I love it.  I love that America's Top Douche, Chris Kunitz, retaliated by cross-checking Ovechkin after the next whistle. I loved it even more when an undaunted Ovie laughed in his face. Because all this can only mean one thing: this is a rivalry reborn. 

For too long, the Caps-Pens rivalry, once a pressure cooker ready to boil over at any second, has been set to a tepid simmer.  Six years without a playoff meeting has cooled the hatred built upon  passionate playoff matchups.  During that span, Ovie's game went MIA for a bit as did Sidney Crosby's ability to stay healthy enough to be in the lineup.  A once proud rivalry has taken a back seat to others.  Since 2009, these teams, which are more alike than Pens fans probably like to admit, have been stuck in neutral.  The young teams, once expected to duke it out for dynasty status, have been passed by the Kings and Hawks as the  top teams and top rivalry in the sport.  The Caps-Pens regular season matchups though always hyped, are often more network bluster than actual substance.

Then something happened last week.  There was snarl.  There were huge hits.  There were chops and chips and facewashes after every whistle.  For maybe the first time since the New Patrick Metropolitan Division was formed, a Caps-Pens game had some real juice to it.    And I watched with glee.  You see, as a young hockey fan, I suckled at the teat of this rivalry.  The first Caps game I attended was against the Penguins.  Mine is a hockey fandom burnished by the vicious rivalries of the old Patrick Division-battles with the hated Pens, the filthy Rangers and the despicable Flyers.  My buddies and I practically swung from the rafters of the Capital Centre, cheering our hockey heroes and disparaging the enemy.  We bore witness to so many formative moments in that barn: penalty filled games stopped to scrape the blood from the ice, chants of "Barass-hole, Barass-hole", games that featured more fights in the seats than on the rink, hand-written signs questioning both the length of Ron Hextall's, uh,  goalie stick and the sexual prowess of his sister.  We drank it all in and learned.  Then we carried on the proud traditions and created a few of our own along the way: talking shit with visiting fans, sneaking in airplane bottles of liquor to supplement our colas, tackling each other as the siren wailed after another Capital goal.  Sorry, but the likes of Columbus and Florida don't feed the rage quite like a good ol' Patrick Division showdown.  Make special "Blue Jackets Suck" t-shirts for the game? Nope.  But "Flyers Suck" was a different story.  We witnessed playoff victories and bitter playoff disappointments. Many of those defeats, admittedly, at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  That is why last Tuesday's game was so fun to watch.  It conjured so many wonderful memories.  The game was also an important step in the Caps-Pens history.  It was a beacon of hope, a symbol of things to come, a sign of a rivalry re-ignited.  

Last Tuesday's game was also an important step in the development of this current Caps team.  The Capitals, long in search of an identity, may be coming together.  The nastiness of the game didn't seem to bother the Caps.  They seem tougher than before.  Perhaps they can shed their reputation for softness.  Outside of goalie Braden Holtby's stellar play it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for their climb in the Eastern Conference standings.  But a tougher attitude and being harder to play against seem to be at the top of the list.  Why?  Is it Brooks Orpik's leadership?  Is it Barry Trotz's coaching style?  Is Alex Ovechkin maturing into the all-around player he could have always been?  I don't know.  What I do know is that when the Penguins got dirty with cross checks and sucker punches last week, the Caps didn't blink.  Players that shy away from the rough stuff were in the mix.   To paraphrase the announcer in the movie Slapshot, "The fans are standing up to them!  The security guards are standing up to them!  The peanut vendors are standing up to them! By God, even Eric Fehr is standing up to them!"  An identity forged of toughness, togetherness and offensive firepower could make the Capitals formidable down the stretch.  

Which brings us to tomorrow night's rematch in Washington.  The Pens have cheap shots to answer for.  The Caps have home ice to defend.  Pittsburgh is likely surly as the Caps have had their number so far this year.  Washington can pass Pittsburgh in the standings with the victory.  There is a lot at stake.  A possible bloodbath in the making that can continue the shenanigans from last week and lay the groundwork for a possible matchup later in this Spring.   I hope somebody pulls a Reg Dunlop and pays the ambulance driver to take a few pre-game laps up and down F-street ringing the siren to stoke the bloodlust  of the fans coming to enjoy the rivalry.  A rivalry renewed.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Elf Has Left The Building.

Despite my previous run-ins with Santa, I still love the magic of Christmas.  I do, however, despise lying to my kid to perpetuate the magic and myth.  You know the questions that dominate the holiday season- Is Santa real?, Is that guy in the mall really Santa's helper?, How does Santa fly all over the world in one night?, Daddy, are you really going to eat all those chocolate covered cherries?  I love the joy my daughter, Grace, finds in Christmas.  From opening the advent calendar to setting out reindeer food to wide-eyed excitement at seeing what Santa delivered, I hope it lasts a few more years.  It is the lying I hate.  But lie I did when Grace recently found her Elf on the Shelf packed away in the drawer of the nightstand.

In case you are unfamiliar with the Elf on the Shelf, allow me to explain this plague.  The Elf is a creepy inanimate doll with weird follow-you-across-the room eyes that visits your home daily during December to keep tabs on your child, reporting naughty or nice behavior back to Santa when he or she makes his or her nightly flight back to the North Pole.  When the Elf returns to your home each morning, it lands in a different perch where it waits to be found by the child. "Ambitious" parents create a fun, perhaps mischievous, scene each day such as the Elf shitting out peppermint candy poops into the toilet or spilling cereal all across the breakfast table. (Oh, those pesky elves!)  Less ambitious parents simply hope they remember to move the elf to a new hiding spot before their child wakes.  Is the Elf on the Shelf a delightful family tradition or a shameful extension of bribing our kids to behave by telling them that Santa is watching?  Is it fanciful holiday fun or a grim lesson to our children that Big Brother is always watching?  You make the call.  All I know is there were several mornings I had to sprint out of bed to toss our elf, Katie, into a new hiding spot as Grace was waking.  There was at least one morning I had to make an excuse (for which there are entire websites dedicated to assisting you in creating your lie) as to why Katie was hiding in the same spot as the day before.  You would think this would have left me prepared when Grace found Katie packed away.

On the afternoon I almost ruined Christmas, I had left Grace upstairs in my bedroom watching tv on our tablet while I cooked dinner.  I was downstairs only a few minutes when I heard a mournful wail.  "Daaaaaady!"  I headed for the stairs thinking something was truly wrong.  "Daaaaady, why is she in there?  Why is she in this box?"  I turned the corner into the dining room to see Grace standing perfectly still, sadly looking at her elf smushed in the box she holds in her hands.  Suddenly frozen with panic, my first thought was to chastise Grace for snooping in our nightstand.  Then I realized now was not the time to chastise, now was the time for damage control.  For I had not only stupidly packed the elf away in the box it was purchased in, but I had packed other important things in the box such as Grace's Christmas list, older letters to Santa and the note she left with Santa's cookies this year.  All things, along with Katie the Elf, that should currently be hanging out at the North Pole.  Grace unleashed a flood of legitimate questions.  "Why is Katie here instead of the North Pole?"  "How come Santa doesn't have my letters?"  "Has Katie lost her magic?"  "Is she even real?"  All I could think to myself was, Oh, shit.

As I stood there stammering, trying to formulate a response, I could see Grace's wheels turning.  I could see the puzzle pieces clicking into place. The Elf Truth would lead, eventually, to the Santa Truth which would lead to the My Wife Is Going To Kick My Ass Truth.  The jig was up. If I didn't act fast, my family's Christmas magic would be lost forever.  Stay calm, Bryan.  You can do this.  Fortunately, my Dad Reflexes, innately reserved for moments like these, kicked in.  I made up some bull about Katie missing Grace so much that Katie  secretly flew back to be near her.  Katie had to stay hidden because she would be in big trouble if Santa found out she had left the North Pole.  I think she's buying it! Emboldened, I pressed on.  I explained that Katie must keep something like a case file on Grace; that she is in charge of keeping all of Grace's documents with her even when she travels.  That was why Grace's letters were in the box. Yes, bore her with details of elfin bureaucracy!  I told Grace to say goodbye to her elf because surely Katie would have to fly back to a better hiding place the North Pole that night.  Grace's face softened.  Her look shifted from confusion to skeptical acceptance.  The crisis had been averted, at least temporarily.  I felt bad for lying, but order was restored.  I'm just glad Grace hadn't peeked in the other nightstand drawer.  That would have required a whole other level of explanation.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Bantha Fodder

Disney made movie news yesterday by revealing the official title of Star Wars Episode VII.  I'm not sure what to think about the title, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but at least it was neat news for fans.  I'm pleased to announce that we here at That's No Moon Galactic Headquarters have discovered another scoop from a galaxy far, far away that may interest fans.  J.J. Abrams has kept a tight lid on the entire project, but we have inside sources (Many Bothans died to bring us this information.) that have revealed to us the title sequence and "crawl" that will open Episode VII.  Picture these giant yellow words floating into space as John Williams' title theme crescendos:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
         (Sponsored by Folger's)

Emboldened by the droid nuptials of C-3PO and R2-D2, a union made possible by the New Republic lifting its ban on gay marriage, Han Solo makes a deathbed revelation that his relationship with his hetero-life partner, Chewbacca, has actually been a forty year love affair.

A devastated Princess Leia, fearing Wookie syphilis and a life without her scruffy looking nerf herder, flees Tatooine and dabbles in the dark side.*  Her fear leads to anger, her anger leads to hate, blah, blah, blah.  With revenge on her mind, she grows powerful and begins construction on, you guessed it, yet another Death Star.

Luke, having a "bad feeling about this", chases after the fleeing Leia.  However, he is marooned when his X-Wing Flight 815 crashes on a deserted island.  Here he communes with Jedi ghosts, including a young and old version of his father, Anakin, and a time-traveling Dr. Spock.  He is left to ponder if he is alive or in purgatory, and just how he can save the galaxy...

*No, that does not mean Lando.