Carrie Fisher 1956 – 2016

From the Los Angeles Times:

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, who rose to global fame as the trail-blazing intergalactic heroine Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise and later went on to establish herself as an author and screenwriter with an acerbic comic flair, has died.

Fisher suffered a cardiac incident on Friday during a flight to Los Angeles from London, where she had been filming the third season of the Amazon comedy series “Catastrophe.” Upon landing, she was quickly rushed to UCLA Medical Center, but after three days in intensive care, she died, a family publicist confirmed. She was 60 years old.

From the moment she first stepped onto the screen in 1977’s “Star Wars,” the character of Leia Organa — whip-smart, wryly funny and fearless enough to stand up to the likes of Darth Vader without batting an eye, with an instantly iconic set of buns on either side of her head — inspired generations of young girls to be bold and inspired crushes in generations of young boys.

When I first read this on Facebook, I was hoping it was fake news. It wasn’t fake news. Unfortunely, it really happened.

Who’s who in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters December 15. It tells the story of a team of rebels tasked with stealing the plans to the Death Star. These are the same plans uploaded into R2-D2 by Princes Leia in the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope. When I was a kid, it was simply called Star Wars.

In anticipation of seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I’m reading the Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel. The book serves as a prequel to the movie. To properly experience the book, I wanted to familiarize myself with the central characters in the movie. When I read a book, I usually imagine and lock in what a character looks like pretty quickly. I wanted to make sure that if a character appears in the book, I don’t imagine them looking different than the actors who play them.

Here’s a spoiler-free breakdown of the main characters in the movie and who they’re being played by.

Jyn Erso

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
The main character in the movie. Estranged daughter of Galen Erso. A streetwise delinquent with mad fighting skills. Played by Felicity Jones.

Cassian Andor

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
A by-the-book Rebel intelligence officer tasked with keeping Jyn Erso in check. Played by Diego Luna.

Galen Erso

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
A brilliant scientist and estranged father of Galen Erso. Played by Mads Mikkelsen.

Orson Krennic

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner
Director of the Advanced Weapons Research Division of the Imperial military. Responsible for the security of the Death Star project. Commands a squad of Death Troopers. Played by Ben Mendelsohn

Saw Gerrera

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Seen as an ultimate rebel who often pushes the envelope of what is considered moral and just by Alliance leadership. Played by Forest Whitaker.


Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

A reprogrammed Imperial security droid now loyal to the Alliance. Voiced by Alan Tudyk.

Chirrut Imwe

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Blind warrior monk. Very spiritual. Not a Jedi, but he believes in their ways. Played by Donnie Yen.

Baze Malbus

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Devoted protector to Chirrut Imwe. Not spiritual. Believes in the power of a good blaster over that of a hokey religion. Played by Jiang Wen.

Bodhi Rook

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

Abrasive and hot-headed, but a skilled pilot. Played by Riz Ahmed.

Death Troopers

Who's who in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Bent Corner

The elite variant of the Galactic Empire’s stormtrooper. By “elite,” I’m assuming that means they can actually hit what they shoot at. They wear black armor and look super cool.

The Maryland license plate is terrible

Sheri and I bought a new car a few weeks ago, a 2016 Ford Fusion, and the license plates arrived in the mail a few days ago.


I hate it.

I love how this car looks. The idea of placing these terrible looking license plates on it pains me.

Our new car, a 2016 Ford Fusion.
Our new car, a 2016 Ford Fusion.

I don’t even understand these plates. They were evidently created to commemorate the 200-year anniversary of the War of 1812. According to my calculations, that was four years ago.

Why am I receiving these plates four years after the fact? Getting these plates now is like getting a graduation card four years after you graduate. Then again, at least said card would probably have a few bucks in it. The opposite is true with these plates. We had to pay for them.

I could care less about the War of 1812. As far as wars go, it’s one of my least favorite. The British were the bad guys. I love England and British culture. I would rather not dwell on such a dark stain in our history when Americans and the British were killing each other.

It was 204 years ago. It is time to move on.

The Star Spangled Banner is one of the worst songs ever written. The high-pitched notes and the ridiculously complicated lyrics make it one of the hardest songs to sing. Ordinary people cannot even sing it. What kind of national anthem is it when most citizens of that nation are incapable of singing it without their voice cracking?

As bad as the short version of the song is, the extended “deep cut” version is even worse. The full version even includes a bit about slavery:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave

Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key

That section of the song was a warning to lowly paid day labors and slaves tempted to take up arms and fight on the side of the British.

The song was written by Francis Scott Key, a slave owner and a co-founder of the American Colonization Society, an organization aimed at sending all non-slave black people to Africa. He is treated as kind of a Big Deal here because he was from western Maryland. That fact that Francis Scott Key lived here in western Maryland should not be a focus of pride. He wrote a bad song and wanted to send black people to Africa. Excuse me if I do not celebrate his existence.

This license plate just looks bad. The artwork looks amateurish. The fonts are ugly. It should not be the default plate for vehicles registered in Maryland.

A review of Retro Pop Box 1970’s

I received a Retro Pop Box 1970’s for the month of April in the mail yesterday. This is the first box I’ve received from them. Although I’m new to Retro Pop Box, I’m very familiar with their business model. Customers pay a monthly subscription fee and the company ships a goodie box every month containing things relevant to a specific theme. In the case of Retro Pop Box, it’s pop culture items influenced by a specific decade. My Retro Pop Box is dedicated to the 1970’s.

As a child of the 70’s, I know only too well not everything was so great in the 1970’s. Sometimes people as old as me will lament on how things were so much better when they were a kid. I am not one of those people. In most ways, the 1970’s sucked. WW Vietnam was still raging on. In the third grade, I remember having to write Richard Nixon a fan letter. Gasoline was rationed and you could only buy it on odd or even days. Iranians stormed the U.S. embassy and took hostages. Fonzie jumped a shark. Polyester was king.

Even though the 1970’s isn’t my favorite decade, I really loved everything that I found inside my Retro Pop Box.

Contents of my Retro Pop Box 1970’s for April 2016


The main item is a t-shirt. It’s tan and brown and based on Star Wars. It features a custom van with Princess Leia posing with her father’s large helmeted head painted on the side. Chewbacca is sitting in the passenger seat wearing a tank-top. Han is leaning against the van wearing sneakers. I’m not really sure that’s cannon. Han wearing sneakers, but it’s awesome.

The t-shirt is nice. Unlike the t-shirts I’ve received from Loot Crate or the Marvel Collector Corps, this t-shirt is long. I haven’t washed it yet, but it’s a cotton poly blend (90/10), so it shouldn’t shrink.


It came with socks decorated with large boom boxes. Unlike the socks I’ve pulled out of Loot Crate boxes, these socks are actually large enough and stretchy enough to wear on my ginormous feet.

Magic Rocks

I forgot all about these until seeing them again. You sprinkle them in water and they eventually grow into rainbow colored crystals. Not only are they pretty to look at, after the crystals come to full maturation, drinking the water will make you gay. At least that’s what I once heard in Lancaster First Assembly of God Sunday School.

Tab Cola Lapel Pin

Of all the items in the box, this is actually my favorite. Tab was a sugar-free cola produced by Coke that was marketed towards women. In the 70’s only woman were concerned with consuming too much sugar because of what it did to their figures. This was before they invented type 2 diabetes for men. The artificial sweetener in Tab not only caused cancer in rats, it tasted like rat cancer.  I can’t stress enough how bad Tab tasted. Compared to Tab, Diet Coke tastes like the nectar of the gods.

Zotz Candy

Rounding out the contents of the box were two pieces of Zotz hard candy. I have no recollection of this this candy. According to the wrapper, the center fizzes in your mouth. I remember Pop Rocks, but not Zotz.

My Conclusion

Unlike Loot Crate or Marvel Collector Corps, I recommend giving Retro Pop Box a try. All good stuff and no filler. Loot Crate will include at most 1.2 things worth having. The rest of the box will have stuff you’d expect to find in the clearance bin at Toys R Us. Marvel Collector Corps will charge your credit card twice and then not send you anything. If you like pop culture stuff from a specific decade, than give Retro Pop Box a try. Not only do they have boxes for the ’70s and ’80s, they will soon be rolling out a box for the ’90s. Let’s just hope it doesn’t include anything related to Monica’s blue dress.

[Join Retro Pop Box]

I want to meet the person who would buy this

Anovos, a company that produces high-end science fiction and fantasy movie related prop replicas, is promoting its upcoming Captain Phasma 1:1 scale helmet prop. It’s made from fiberglass (not metal) and it will cost a whopping $799.99.

It will not be available until late this year, but you can pre-order one now from Entertainment Earth.

I am curious about the person who would buy something like this. What do they do for a living that would allow them to drop eight hundred bucks on a fake metal helmet from a Star Wars movie? Do they own their own home? What type of car do they drive? How much debt do they have? Have they ever been late on an electric bill?

Don’t get me wrong. I like Star Wars. I especially liked the latest movie from the franchise. I also liked the character of Captain Phasma. I thought she looked pretty bad-ass in her metal stormtrooper get-up. When I first saw this replica helmet, I thought it would be something nice to have. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted a replica stormtrooper helmet. Not a flimsy toy helmet, but something indistinguishable from the real thing. This Captain Phasma helmet appealed to me.

I then saw the price.

I can afford the helmet, but I wouldn’t even think of spending that much money on something that would only sit on the shelf, look awesome, and collect dust.

Knowing the Star Wars collecting community like I think I do, I am sure some people will buy this expensive prop even though they are not yet in a station in life that would make buying something like this economically feasible.

I have seen people spend thousands of dollars on nerd-centric collectible, yet they live with their parents even though they were making enough money that they could afford to live on their own. I used to work with a guy who was 30-years-old, lived with his mother, and would spend hundreds of dollars each month on original comic book art. Art he would place in special binders and keep in his closet. At least that is what he told me.

Years ago I used to frequent a Usenet message board dedicated to collecting Hot Wheels. An active member on the board posted a plea for financial help. He had a large electric bill that he could not pay and was facing the prospect of having his electric cut off. He asked the rest of the group for money to let him keep his lights on. Of course he had children and he made sure to mention them in his appeal for free money.

I did not give him any money, but lots of people did.

About two weeks later, this same person asked on the same Usenet message board if anyone had some specific Treasure Hunts Hot Wheels for sale, cars in the $30 dollar range.

People began to question how he could ask people to pay his electric bill and then later, buy $30 Hot Wheels. I didn’t chime in because I didn’t give him any free money. Plus, I assumed from the beginning he was going to do this. I remember finding the whole thing to be highly entertaining.

It is fine to collect things, but just make sure you can afford the things you collect. Make sure you are not taking money that you should be spending on necessities and blowing it on crap you do not need.

What is with all the Kylo Ren merchandise?

I finally got around to seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens this past weekend. I enjoyed it. In fact, as I write this, I believe it’s the best Star Wars movie ever made.

I may change my mind about that after I allow more time to pass and I have more time to place things in proper context. It is better than those horrible prequel movies.

The one thing I do not understand about the Star Wars: The Force Awakens has nothing to do with the movie itself, but has to do with the marketing of the movie. Who decided to make Kylo Ren such a focal point of the merchandise?

Kylo Ren is a terrible, awful person. I am not going to give away any spoilers, but let me just say that because of what he did in the movie, Kylo Ren is my most hated character from the entire Star Wars universe, and that includes George the Lucas.

Kylo Ren is worse than the Stormtroopers who murdered Uncle Lars and Aunt Beru. Kylo Ren is worse than the Death Star crewmembers who destroyed Alderaan.

Kylo Ren is worse than any of them.

Why then would I want a t-shirt with the image of Kylo Ren on it? Why would I want a Star Wars calendar where three of the months feature a photo of Kylo Ren? Why would I want a Kylo Ren Funko Pop! figure?


To be honest, if I saw someone walking around wearing a Kylo Ren t-shirt, a part of me would want to punch them in the throat.

So no, I do not want any Kylo Ren merch because I watched the movie. I not only got choked up in the theater when Kylo Ren did what he did, I almost get choked up even now just thinking about it.