20 Dec 2015 @ 9:38 PM 

Now that opening weekend of the new Star Wars movie is over, I’m assuming most of the hardcore fans have seen it. SPOILER ALERT, don’t read this if you don’t want to know what happens in the movie.

First off, I went to the midnight showing on Thursday night / Friday morning. I was surprised to see that they were showing it before midnight seeing as how Friday the 18th of December was the release date. I’m sure it has something to do with getting more ticket sales for breaking record opening weekend sales.

As for the movie, I had high expectations. The prequels, episodes I, II, III were not very good. Especially II, I almost fell asleep during that one. The originals, IV, V, VI were the best movies. My favorite was episode V, The Empire Strikes Back. My biggest desire was hoping that the movie was better than the prequels. I got that much out of it.

To use one word to describe what I thought about the new movie, weak. It was entertaining and I’m glad I got to see it, but compared to the original trilogy, there isn’t much for me to get excited about.

Oh Jason, you are just being a naysayer. No, I’m being realistic and not all jacked up on Disney hype. Full disclosure, I own shares of Disney stock.

Why was it weak? Well, as is the case with most of the “entertainment” that Hollywood dumps at the theaters, there is nothing original. Everything is a remake or a continuation of something that was once good. The same can be said about The Force Awakens.

Do you remember how the original Star Wars movie started out? The evil Empire is attacking a Rebel ship and Strom Troopers are boarding the ship to retrieve information the Rebellion has. Princess Leia gives R2-D2 secret battle plans (building plans for the Death Star), and tells him to keep them safe. R2-D2 and C3PO then get off the ship and begin the adventure of staying away from the Empire while delivering the plans.

So guess what happens in the first fifteen minutes of The Force Awakens. Storm Troopers attack a village where a rebel leader, Poe, is getting a map of the location of Luke Skywalker. The rebel leader realizing he is trapped, gives the map to his droid unit, BB8. Poe then tells him to get away where BB8 begins his adventure of trying to get the map to the place that it needs to get. Sound familiar? I think it sounds a little too familiar.

When we first see the Millennium Falcon, our new young hero, Finn, makes his way to the lower gun chair where he has to learn how to shoot down Tie fighters using an unfamiliar weapons system. Hasn’t this happened before?

The Millennium Falcon is then captured inside of another large ship where the new heroes hide themselves in a familiar smuggling compartment while waiting for their captors to board their ship. Hasn’t this happened before?

The Order (the bad guys who may as well be the Empire) continues to pursue our heroes who escape in the Millennium Falcon while trying to get the map of Skywalker’s location to the Rebel leaders.

The new villain in the movie, Kylo Ren, is a guy wearing all black, a cape, and a mask that distorts his voice. Please, really? The worst part is that the voice distortion sounds so bad that it sounds like some cheap Darth Vader toy you buy at Wal-mart that your kids talk through to sound like Darth Vader but not really. This guy too has a bad temper and carries a red light saber.

The Order has built a, wait for it, another planet like weapon for blowing up other planets. Except this time its different because it is built into a planet instead of being a completely separate space station. This of course makes it much larger. So guess what the Rebellion has to do now? I don’t know, maybe find a way to blow it up. This hasn’t happened before, has it?

To blow up the new weapon, they have to disable something on the planet so that the Rebel ships can destroy the weapon. To do this Han Solo must lead a small team to covertly get on the planet to sneak their way to this place they must disable. Hmmm….. I seem to remember in The Return of the Jedi, that Han had to lead a….. no, that’s just my imagination.

A Storm trooper Captain gets captured by Chewbacca and Han Solo. Chewy wants to know where to put the captain and guess where Solo wants Chewy to put her. A garbage compactor. While admittedly that was funny during the movie, it was a bit weak.

In a heroic ending for our brave Han Solo, the new heroes watch helplessly from a distance as they watch the old Rebel battle hero get killed with a light saber. Wasn’t this how Obi Wan died?

I’m sure there are more similarities if I wanted to take the time to delve into it, but my point is that the writing for this movie was weak. They took the same story lines from the old movies and put new actors in them, even old actors.

We finally get a glimpse of Skywalker at the end of the movie. He doesn’t speak a word in the entire movie.

Han Solo was without a doubt the best part of the movie. Harrison Ford I’m sure will be nominated for awards which he deserves recognition for. Now that he is gone, I don’t know how the other actors in the movie are going to have the strength to give the next movies what is needed. I’m sure the next movie will be all about Rey and Skywalker, but if they are relying on Mark Hamill to shoulder the acting load of a movie, maybe they should find a way to resurrect Harrison Ford because I don’t think Hamill is that good of an actor.

I’m sure I’ll watch the next movie, but my hopes for it being anything better than OK movie are not high.

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Categories: Hobbies
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 20 Dec 2015 @ 09 38 PM

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 22 Oct 2015 @ 3:19 PM 

I would have liked to have seen the Cubs win the World Series this year. Their getting blanked by the NY Mets 4-0 in the NLCS looked bad. I am not bummed nor disappointed. I’m a Cubs fan, the “Next year” mentality has become a natural feeling to me. Here is what their record has been the last few years:

  • 2012: 61 – 101
  • 2013: 66 – 96
  • 2014: 73 – 89
  • 2015: 97 – 65

At the beginning of the season, my expectations were that I wanted the Cubs to have a winning record. Not only did they have a winning record, but they also had the 3rd best record in baseball in 2015. On top of that, they beat the team with the second best record in baseball (Pittsburgh Pirates) and the best record in baseball (St Louis Cardinals) to get to the NLCS. Things didn’t go so for well for the Cubs after that, but over a whole season, the Cubs did a really good job. What is even better is that the majority of their players are young and very talented. This means that they will only get better and they will continue to be competitive for the next several years. Yes my friends, its finally good to be a Cubs fan, and I’m excited about next year. Go Cubs go!

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Categories: Baseball, Cubs
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 22 Oct 2015 @ 03 19 PM

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 13 Oct 2015 @ 4:56 PM 

CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! The Cubs have hit 9 HR in the last two games against the best pitching staff in baseball and the team with the best record in baseball. I’m now convinced that the Cubs can win the World Series!

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Categories: Cubs, Misc
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 13 Oct 2015 @ 04 57 PM

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Shootings have been getting a lot of attention over the last few years. This year the number of nationally reported shootings seems to be more than I can remember in the past. I have no proof of that, but its how I perceive it. Meanwhile, politicians try to tell us what is wrong and what should be done to fix it. Main stream media has also been making a big deal of shootings and telling us what should be done about it. The message I’m getting from the people making the most noise is that there are more shootings and we should do something about allowing people to have or get guns. Assault rifles and high capacity magazine are often demonized as well. Seeing as how I don’t trust a politician and the F.U.D. spreading US news media has long since lost any idea of objective news reporting, I decided to look up some information about people being killed in the United States. All of my data has come from the FBI’s website: https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/crimestats

I gathered data from that site to the best of my abilities. I used the data to create a Google Docs spreadsheet which I used to create some charts to help visualize the information. This data is free to anyone who takes the time to look at it. If errors were made in my data entry, please make me aware of it and I will correct it. I believe a lot of the data speaks for itself. I’m not a statistician, but I think some of the simple things that I learned from looking at the data are correct.

The first chart shows the rate of the number of violent crimes committed in the USA per year. It clearly shows a trend of declining violent crimes.

Annual firearm caused murders per 100K US Population

Annual number of violent crimes in the USA

This next chart shows the annual number of murders caused by all firearms. From what this shows, there were more firearm caused murders in the early 1990’s than there have been in the last few years. If you ever hear someone telling you that there are more people being killed by guns now, this data shows otherwise.

annual firearm caused murders

Annual firearm caused murders

After looking at that, it got me to thinking. The rate of number of murders per year is not a completely meaningful trend. I felt that population was a relevant statistic for how many people are being killed by firearms. So I took the US population data found on the FBI website and used that to show how relevant the number of murders per year were compared with population growth. My thinking was if the population rate were changing, this could affect the murder rate. To make the numbers more relevant I took the population and divided it by 100,000 people so we could see how many people per 100,00 were being killed. According to the data, despite a population increase, there is a firearm murder rate decrease. This says that while nearly 6 in 100,000 Americans were being killed with firearms in 1992, in 2014 that had dropped to about 2.5 in 100,000 Americans being killed with firearms. This makes a case that people getting shot and killed with guns is happening less often than it used to. Are things getting better?

firearm murders per 100k population

Firearm murders per 100,000 US population

Now that I can see that people getting killed with firearms is not getting worse, I thought it would be interesting to see by what method people are getting killed. The pie chart below breaks out the type of weapon used to kill people. Clearly, murders by use of handguns are the most frequent. Surprisingly, evil assault rifles is at the bottom of the list which is below knives, personal weapons (fists, arms, legs, feet), blunt objects (such as baseball bats), and shotguns.

percent of murders by type

Cause of murders by percent 1992-2014

I hope this allows you to see some of the data that is out there so you can decide what the urgency might be about people being killed by firearms.

I believe we are just getting the usual F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) from politicians and news outlets. Bad people using guns to kill people is not something that is getting worse. Clearly, assault rifles with high capacity magazines are not the most urgent item in need of legislation. Statistics show that violent crime is becoming less common. I believe that the main cause for concern is the devaluing of human life among people. I don’t know how you put a statistic to that, and I certainly don’t know how you legislate morality. Just because a talking head on TV, radio, or your favorite website claim one thing, does not always mean it is the truth.

Tags Tags: , ,
Categories: Guns, Political, USA
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 12 Oct 2015 @ 07 09 AM

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 07 Oct 2015 @ 8:01 PM 

Cubs win! St Louis here we come!

Fly the W

Fly the W

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Categories: Baseball, Cubs
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2015 @ 08 01 PM

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 26 Sep 2015 @ 1:33 PM 

The Cubs are now in the post season. They will be playing the Pittsburgh Pirates for the Wild Card position in a one game series.

Cubs are in the post season!

Cubs are in the post season!

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Categories: Baseball, Cubs
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2015 @ 01 36 PM

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 25 Sep 2015 @ 1:30 PM 
Cubs magic number is 1 !

Cubs magic number is 1 !

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Categories: Baseball, Cubs
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2015 @ 01 32 PM

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 23 Sep 2015 @ 1:27 PM 

Ever thought about what you would do if someone broke into your home, your work or your kid’s school became the next active shooter? Its a good class to help you learn to survive when evil decides to pay you a visit.

http://combat-terror.com/product/armed-intruder-awareness-defense/

Tags Categories: Hobbies Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2015 @ 01 30 PM

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 23 Sep 2015 @ 1:25 PM 

2000px-Chicago_Cubs_Logo 3

Tags Tags: ,
Categories: Baseball, Cubs
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2015 @ 01 27 PM

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 22 Sep 2015 @ 1:19 PM 
Cubs magic number is 4

Cubs magic number is 4

Tags Categories: Baseball, Cubs Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2015 @ 01 24 PM

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