The Helicarrier, or An Exploration of Force and Might Through the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is without a doubt a fantastic media achievement. At the time of this writing, it spans thirteen films, with eleven in development, and four TV series, with four more also in development. One thing immediately apparent to anyone familiar with the series is that it is never afraid, like its comics origin, to provide commentary on contemporary events, politics, and cultural and social trends. Between characters, plots, villains, and more, Marvel films do not cease to provide metaphors for viewers to chew over, even as they deliver bombastic films that are whirlwinds of entertainment. I would like to propose a new vehicle through which to examine a Marvel commentary on force and power: the SHIELD Helicarrier. A gigantic craft that serves various functions throughout its cinematic career, the helicarrier and the events surrounding the titanic ship and her Insight sisters provide an unique look at the appropriate uses of force and might in the resolution of ongoing international crises and even interpersonal conflict through individual lens. Continue with this piece

I Went West And I Went Early, or Gunn Hall and the Advanced Academy’s Gift to Me

A part of me died Saturday, January 17th, 2016. I was one of three winning captains present at the last Decathlon, holding up the victors’ trophy, with a final personal record of 2-2. For me, on Saturday, January 17th, 2016, a part of my life finally came to a close. I had played pool in Bottom Lobby one more time (lost the last time on sinking the 8 ball early), celebrated the end of one of the most terrific parts of my life, and one of the best decisions I ever made, and I drove away from Gunn Hall one more time. Continue with this piece

A Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or I Understand the Star Trek Purists Now

Recently I saw the movie on track (or already through) to shatter every box office record it is in line for, including total worldwide and domestic box office ticket gross: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA). I saw it a few days ago now, and I think I have had the necessary time to mull over the film properly and form my conclusions about it. And I’ve come up with my short answer and my long answer when people ask me what I thought of it. Short Answer: A- as a stand-alone film, B next to the rest of the series, and C+ when compared to the Expanded Universe (EU). Long Answer: well, you’re going to have to bear with me here. It’s not going to be short. Oh, and before you read any farther, THIS IS YOUR OFFICIAL SPOILER WARNING, both for the film and a huge chunk of the Expanded Universe, now called Legends. I repeat, THIS IS YOUR OFFICIAL SPOILER WARNING. Continue with this piece

11/13, or Preventing Europe’s 9/11

On the evening of Friday, November 13th, Paris, France, was attacked. Seven different locations were attacked, including a soccer stadium with French President Hollande in attendance, restaurants, and a concert played by an American band. As of the time of this writing, the known death toll is 132, with over 349 injured and 42 in critical condition. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has claimed responsibility, in the latest and among the most egregious of a long list of atrocities. To the people of Paris, and France as a whole, and to victims of terror attacks around the globe, you have my deepest sympathies, and my sincere hope for your swift recovery and healing as a nation from these unwarranted and unjust attacks. Now, to everyone, but especially the United States of America, we as a world, standing with France, have a responsibility. That responsibility is to not allow this, for any reason, to be politicized, and we cannot, absolutely cannot, allow this to become a new September 11th. This is of the utmost importance, we cannot allow France to follow us to their destruction. Continue with this piece

UFOs and Los Angeles, or Why USS Kentucky Just Saved LA, Again

A fair few of you may have heard about the UFO scare over Los Angeles on Saturday evening, November  7th  (probably some from me complaining about it).  An impressive number of videos appeared, depicted an unidentified flying object streaking through the night sky, leaving an impressive plume as it brightened up the night sky. Coincidentally, a keen observer would have noted that particular patch of airspace, including the ocean approaches to LAX International Airport’s runways was closed that night by the United States Navy (USN). That is because, while unidentified to observers in LA, the object was in fact identified to quite a few people, a UGM-133 D5 Trident II submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), en route to a USN missile range in an uninhabited section of the South Pacific. And in that stroke, USS Kentucky, the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) that fired the missile, protected LA once again, as she and her sisters have been for the last thirty years and will continue to do into the foreseeable future. Continue with this piece