Please, PLEASE, watch the State of the Union


Tonight at nine PM — as in less than three hours from now — President Obama is speaking. This shouldn’t be news to you, but hey. I won’t judge.

I don’t care if you have never watched the news. I don’t care if you refuse to identify with a political party. I don’t care if you think that the democratic/republican/save-the-llamas party drinks the blood of innocent children. I don’t care if you’re scared of The Man. You’re gonna watch this speech.

The biggest problem in American politics today is ignorance. People refuse to listen and refuse to participate. They think so little of our system that they forget that the system is run for, and by, The People. And when The People don’t step up, political types have to run the show all on their own. Thus we end up with an inefficient, ass-backwards governing body.

Interestingly, President Obama is doing a post-address interview with three YouTube stars. Not major networks, but people you’ve likely watched while you were procrastinating that history paper.

Your criticisms or praises of the Obama administration — of the system — have no weight unless you know what you’re talking about. And the very least you can do is listen to this general, likely short, address tonight. It’s an annual tradition. It’s bare-bones politics. And it is aimed at you.

Besides, it’s not like you’re doing anything on a Tuesday night. And if nothing else, you’ll get the jokes on SNL when they inevitably parody it this weekend.

Nine PM. Every freaking network channel (NBC, right after Parks and Rec ). Be there. You owe it to yourself and the rants you’ll go on this year.


The Hallowed Field of Army/Navy


Today, two teams of heroes will clash on the field of battle. Today, brother will fight against brother. Today, all feelings of unity will be set away for an afternoon of no-punches-pulled competition.

Today is the Army/Navy football game.

It’s hard to explain why this game is so special. I’ve asked many friends over the years and I’ve gotten many different answers, and they’re all valid:

This is a game that is fought by two teams of men who are so dedicated to a cause that they’re willing to give their lives to it.

This is a game that will pit a Squid son against his Grunt daddy.

This is a game that deserves its own hallowed Saturday afternoon all to itself — no other games are played today.

This is a game steeped in 115 years of tradition — played by organizations that care about tradition above almost everything else.

This is a game that kills the spirit of unity in the US Armed forces and allows us, for just a few hours, to play with the objective of victory instead of cooperation.

This is a game that represents millions and millions of people. The players on the field represent soldiers and sailors past, present and future, as well as their families and support groups.

This is a game that’s fair. Most colleges have football teams that are staffed by guys too big to even be in the service, and this game eliminates that disadvantage.

This is not a game. This is a war, and we take it very seriously.

This is your year, Black Knights. Go ARMY, beat Navy!

10 Thoughts On The Star Wars Teaser Trailer


Earlier today, the first official teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens debuted online and in a handful of movie theaters. If you’ve been fighting the urge to watch it in fear of spoilers (or if you just want to watch it again and again and again and again, like I do), click the big red button:

Though I have no  experience in film or critique, I do feel qualified enough to give a few of my first impressions.


  1. I liked the concept of a masked man-killer. That was my favorite thing about a stormtrooper: you knew there was a person in there, but you never saw a person. He was human and inhuman at the same time. So am I excited to see this? Not really. But it could potentially be interesting to see the personal story of an exceptional stormtrooper. Maybe.


  1. So… a soccer ball mated with an astromech droid?


  1. This screamed I, Robot to me. Is this a remaining faction of imperial troops trying to kill the new republic? Is the fight still not over for the rebellion? We’ve received word that the movies will not necessarily follow “canon” that the fans have established since release of Return in 1983, but Disney has declared the Expanded Universe—the fan-determined future of Luke, Han, Leia and Co—will “fit into” their new storyline. But there are no promises. They technically have artistic freedom. So really, we don’t know what’s happening. At all.


  1. Well, this looks familiar:

Speeder Bike

Callback? Or am I seeing things?


  1. Oh. My. THAT is the single coolest shot in the entire trailer. I could always use some more X-Wing dogfights in my life. It’s just beautiful. If I wasn’t excited before, I was sold when I saw this. Just… way to go, Disney. Thank you so much.


  1. Now, this is simultaneously extremely stupid and mind-blowingly awesome. That second blade isn’t particularly useful unless used in super-close, super-careful combat; the crossgaurd (also called a quillon) on a sword is meant to protect the wielder’s hand, not chop it off. But that little extra blade could do something we’ve never seen before. It’s Star Wars; anything could happen And is it cool looking? Yes. Yes it is.


  1. Finally, we see something that even casual fans will recognize right off the bat: the Millennium Falcon, in all its butt-kicking glory. Again, always happy to see air/space combat. Also the first time I knew I was watching a J.J. Abrams production because I saw my first lens flair. As a huge fan of Abram’s work with Star Trek, I’m not surprised.
  1. Voice-over in the trailer. I’m not a movie person, but these ominous voice-overs remind me of 70s/80s movies—ET, the original three Star Wars movies, and The Omen come to mind first. Granted, those trailers usually did a narration thing, and this trailer uses what I suspect are in-universe quotes (one of the characters might say this but I can’t tell). So not a direct connection, but I also think that it threw me off more than any other element of this trailer.
  1. John Williams’ music. This isn’t specific to the trailer, but I just wanted to add that I am very, very, very excited that Mr. Williams is up to working on these next films. Star Wars would lose a lot of its appeal, to me, without his name on the score.


  1. I have to wait a full year for this? If they push the release date back at all, Disney is going to have a mob of impatient fans to deal with. And I will be a member of that mob.

Who’s ready for trailer number two? Anybody have any thoughts?

All photos and screenshots are property of LucasFilm

You Are Not A Bumpkin, So Go Vote

Voting pumpkins

You’re not a pumpkin, either.

I happen to have a lot of friends that are interested in politics. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I can always have an intelligent discussion with someone about the state of our democracy. It’s a curse because I always come away from these conversations feeling like a back-road bumpkin.

Continue reading

Never Forget


I was in first grade on September 11th, 2001. It’s one of the few days of that year I remember with any detail, and even then my memory is kind of spotty. I remember seeing images of the two towers—what remained of them, anyway—on the news and thinking that whatever had happened was going to be a big deal. I knew it wasn’t a movie. I knew that it wasn’t a temporary thing. I knew that something unforgivable and unforgettable had happened. Continue reading