So No More Jar Jar Binks, Then?

Change of plan: George Lucas had already been planning to make a seventh Star Wars film before he sold his company Lucasfilm to Disney, pictured in New York in June
Pictured: A former filmmaker and producer
Jabba the Lucas is apparently a bit pissed off at the fact that Disney (very wisely) ignored all of his ideas for STAR WARS VII: The Force Awakens. They even had the audacity, the bare-faced cheek, the almighty chutzpah, to turn down his kind offer to direct the movie!
George Lucas had already been planning to make a seventh Star Wars film before he sold his company Lucasfilm to Disney. 
When the auteur handed over his iconic franchise he also gave the studio his plotline for Star Wars: Episode 7. 
Disney, however, did not use any of the 70-year-old filmmakers ideas for the new installment. 
Speaking with Cinema Blend, Lucas revealed that none of his original ideas made it into the J.J. Abrams reboot. 
'The ones that I sold to Disney, they came up to the decision that they didn't really want to do those,' the iconic director said. 
'So they made up their own. So it's not the ones that I originally wrote.' 
He created the iconic double trilogy of epic space films that have earned nearly $2 billion since they first burst onto the big screen in 1977. 
And in another interview, Lucas admitted he initially wanted to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which will kick off the third trilogy in the sci-fi franchise when it bows in December. 
But one of the reasons he decided not to was to spend more time with his 17-month-old daughter Everest, he revealed in an interview with USA Today.
Look, the last great movie that George Lucas directed was the original STAR WARS. That was released in 1977. And even then, he wasn't actually a very good director- it's just that his imagination and ideas were fantastic. When he directed STAR WARS Episode I: The Phantom Menace (my sister and I call it "The Phantom Headcase", and with good reason) twenty-two years later, it was very clear that he was just jerking off to a lot of CGI work instead of actually spending any time creating a great story or interesting characters.

I have very low expectations for the next film in the saga. I used to be a huge STAR WARS nerd, but the prequels, and the awful bilge of the Expanded Universe novels and comics and whatnot, have left a very bad taste in my mouth. The joy and wonder of the original trilogy died a long time ago, and I don't expect J. J. Abrams to bring them back.

You'll Need a Bigger Chainsaw, Buddy

My name is Mara Jade. I'm Hot.
Okay, to be fair, I am a big fan of Mara Jade Skywalker. And her rack.
Sticking with the STAR WARS theme for a moment, it looks like the new film is going to feed something like 30 years' worth of Expanded Universe canon straight into a woodchipper:
Star Wars is sacred to geeks. Characters in Kevin Smith movies refer to it as "the Holy Trilogy," and for almost as long as Star Wars has existed, fans have wanted to know more about the universe outside of the movies—and the canonicity of all the elements of that universe is the subject of almost ecclesiastical-scale debates. The movies are unquestionably official—they are the foundational elements of Star Wars, even Episodes I-III. However, the combined mass of video games, board games, tie-in novels, cartoons, and anything else branded with a Star Wars logo occupies a lesser tier in the hierarchy: all these things are still "official" in that they carry the logo, but they are merely part of theStar Wars Expanded Universe. 
The Expanded Universe—the "EU"—sprawls like a bloated dead thing with tentacles stretching in all directions. Everything is in there: Timothy Zahn's Thrawn series (which introduced the eponymous Admiral Thrawn, as well as fan favorite Mara Jade, the former Emperor's Hand-turned-smuggler who overcame her hatred of Luke Skywalker and became his wife). Clone Wars and The Old Republic. The Yuuzhan Vong and the death of Chewbacca. Kevin J. Anderson and all the unspeakably, unreadably bad literary atrocities for which he's responsible. 
A sci-fi universe with as long a tail as Star Wars can be death for new stories, though. Finding space among the EU to make a mark without being hamstrung by established ideas is difficult, and even keeping the EU somewhat organized is challenging. Its growth has been cancerous—like a tumor, it has no plan and no organization—it simply expands, blindly, as the collective fan engine shovels in new material. 
And like a tumor, Disney is going to rip it out.
You may have just felt a great disturbance in the Schwartz, as though a million fanboyz suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. Don't worry, you can cure the after-effects with a cold beer.

As far as I'm concerned, this is great news- for the most part, anyway. The reality is that the Expanded Universe is ninety-plus percent garbage. I used to keep up with it avidly- there is still a huge amount of EU lore and trivia rattling around in my skull, and you would be very ill-advised to get me started talking about how much I know because you'll never shut me up. But even I'm not going to defend the atrociously poor quality of most of the EU.

There are only a handful of interesting characters from the novels and comics and stories that deserve to be preserved. I was always a big fan of Michael A. Stackpole's and Aaron Allston's work on the X-Wing series, for instance, and Mara Jade was always a great character. (Until Karen Traviss did a really stupid thing and killed her off. Dumbass. She redeemed herself by writing the Kilo-Five Trilogy for the HALOverse, though, so there is that.)

Of all of the EU lore, I would preserve only the stories by truly great sci-fi authors like Timothy Zahn and Aaron Allston. The rest can just get chucked- it's all garbage.

Especially the Kevin J. Anderson material. Vader's Helmet, but his work was awful. And Vonda N. Macintyre, while we're at it. Oh, and Barbara Hambly's work too. And James Luceno. And Matthew Stover. And...

Well, you get the idea.

Meat is Murder

Wild Boar in Berkeley (Anna Abramson via Twitter)
The Didact's idea of a peeled snack
The skinned, bloody carcass of a dead wild boar was left in plain sight of two vegetarian restaurants in Berkeley, California on Monday, raising questions as to whether they were left there intentionally and in an attempt to send a threatening message. 
The discoveries were made on Shattuck Avenue and Adeline Street in front of two separate vegetarian restaurants, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The first discovery was made around 9:30 a.m. near the restaurant Herbivore. But when Berkeley police arrived, the boar’s dead body was nowhere to be found. 
Several hours later, another boar carcass was discovered at the intersection of Adeline and Emerson Streets near another vegetarian restaurant named Flaco’s. The wild boar’s remains were reportedly collected and turned over to the city’s animal control center, the Chronicle notes.
Honestly, I found this hilarious. The only way this could have been better is if the boar carcasses came with free bacon-scented air fresheners. I've long maintained that you could cure vegetarianism just by handing your vegetarian and Vegan friends one of those.

Even Gun Nuts Make Mistakes

Foot in mouth award
Hey, we've all been awarded one of these at least once
Comedian and all-round great guy Bill Engvall gamely attempted to extract his foot from his digestive tract recently, after finding the meal to be not quite to his taste:
Speaking to attendees at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show on January 20, comedian Bill Engvall referenced making a mistake and going along with gun control pushes during an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher in 2011. In a tone of utter seriousness that was a complete departure from his well-known comedic persona, Engvall said he was wrong and that he realizes he should have stood up for more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, not more gun control. 
Engvall’s earlier gun control statement amounted to support for banning assault weapons, particularly AK-47s. 
He first made the statement during an November 2011 appearance on Maher’s show, after MSNBC’s Alex Wagner suggested we “get rid of the Second Amendment.” Engvall initially countered her by saying, “My belief is that if we take away that right to bear arms, the only people that are going to have them are … the ones breaking into your house.” 
Maher then suggested there at least be a limit on the number of guns a person can own, and Engvall made the mistake of saying, “I don’t believe there’s any reason for a person like myself to own an AK-47. I’d be willing to meet you halfway. I think you can ban guns if you can just pull the trigger and 60 bullets fire out.” 
In that instant, Engvall became persona non grata with many in his own comedy audience, an audience comprised of GOP and Second Amendment voters. And as he addressed this statement during his 2015 SHOT Show appearance, it was evident a cloud had been hanging over his head since making it.
Good for Mr. Engvall. He did right by his people and he apologised for saying something boneheaded.

Look, Bill Engvall is, by all appearances, a great guy. He's laid-back, easygoing, a devoted family man, and very, very funny. He also made the mistake of going along to get along- something that conservatives and libertarians do endlessly.

The problem here is that he tried to appear reasonable in front of an audience that is not itself even slightly reasonable. By trying to meet people who favour restrictions on your freedoms halfway, he inadvertently gave them a noose with which to hang him.

The lesson from Mr. Engvall's story is clear: never apologise. Never compromise. Never retreat even one inch when defending your freedoms. Never be willing to entertain any of their nonsense. Give the rabbits an inch, and they'll desperately try to take a mile.

Asshat of the Week

Forever In Hell
Time to rethink your life, bucko
A gazillionaire who flew to the world's biggest networking event for rich asshats at Davos, Switzerland, in a private jet, with his wife, his kids, and their nannies in tow, wants to lecture his not-filthy-rich countrymen about the fact that they have too much stuff:
A U.S. billionaire who made his fortune betting against sub-prime mortgage securities has told Americans to lower their expectations so they have 'less things' in life
Jeff Greene made his remarks after flying into Switzerland on a private jet with his 19-year younger wife, Mei Sze, children and two nannies. 
The businessman, 60, who is worth around $3billion through his investments and real estate development projects, said: 'America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. 
'We need to reinvent our whole system of life.' 
The 60-year-old founder of Florida-based Florida Sunshine Investments was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos. 
He said he was due to attend several private parties during the week, including a dinner with former British Prime Minster Tony Blair. 
In an interview with Bloomberg, he said the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and extreme politics. 
He added: 'Our economy is in deep trouble. We need to be honest with ourselves. 
'We've had a realistic level of job destruction and those jobs aren't coming back.' [Didact: He's not actually wrong about this part. Just this part, though.] 
Mr Greene was in the news just last week as his sprawling Beverly Hills compound 'Palazzo di Amore' hit the market with a $195 million asking price - making it the highest listing currently on the U.S. market. 
Mr Greene and his wife were married at the property with Mike Tyson acting as his best man. Oliver Stone and Donald Sterling looked on, according to a New York Times article at the time. 
It is not clear what plane Mr Greene used to fly into the conference.
The fact that this asshat made his fortune betting on the stupidity of his fellow Americans just makes the schadenfreude of this story that much more delicious.

Hurray for Boobies

page 3.thumbnail Page 3 Girls Go Bananas For Keeley Hazell
Page 3 girls: A lot like this, but less classy
Just when it looked like the Evil Forces of Skeletor feminists had taken away Fun Thing #4,926, Britain's The Sun newspaper turned around and pulled a nice troll job on everyone:
The Sun has printed a topless model on Page 3, ending days of speculation that the feature was dead. 
The newspaper has tweeted out a picture of Thursday’s Page 3 which features a blonde-haired model, under the headline 'clarifications and corrections', winking and baring her breasts. 
A notice underneath the picture reads: “Further to recent reports in all other media outlets, we would like to clarify that this is Page 3 and this is a picture of Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth. 
“We would like to apologise on behalf of the print and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us.” 
The campaign group No More Page 3, which began in 2012 and attracted 217,000 signatures to a petition calling for a ban, acknowledged that "the fight might be back on". 
Over the past three days, there have been no topless models on Page 3, fuelling speculation the feature was on its way out. This appeared to be confirmed by a report in The Times, a fellow News UK paper, on Tusday. 
Topless models were first introduced by the Sun in 1970, less than a year after Rupert Murdoch bought the title. 
In recent years, the paper has faced growing criticism from campaigners who said the feature was out of date in the modern world.
I don't read newspapers in print form anymore, so the fact that The Sun dropped (and then reinstated) a great British institution didn't bother me in the slightest. I personally don't read The Sun, at all, and I find the idea of Page 3 girls to be more than a little tacky.

But, hey, if young women with more boobs than brains want to display their quite ample assets in the pages of a daily newspaper and get paid good money for it, and thereby potentially launch their careers as models and actresses, I don't have the slightest problem with that. This is because I am male, and therefore have capacity for both rational thought and self-control.

Feminists, on the other hand, are capable of neither, and therefore are unable to understand that, in the name of "gender equality" and "female empowerment", they are seeking to get rid of something that provides employment, power, attention, and other warm fuzzy things to young attractive women.

Honestly, I think that every feminist is just a hideous old crone on the inside who, through foul necromancy and black magic, manages to go through daily life wearing the skin of a human being.

Oh, hey, while we're on the subject of stupid funny stuff, check this out:

Boy, does this bring back some memories of the early 2000s...

Bad News Bears, Baby!

Funny Sports Accidents
This is actually a lot less horrifying than what follows below
It's official, gents: having your woman on top of you while making the beast with two backs is actually the most dangerous way to go about getting busy:
Having a woman on top isn't quite the wild ride most men might have imagined. 
Scientists have learned that the 'woman on top' or 'cowgirl' position is the most dangerous one for men to engage in during sexual intercourse. 
According to new research, the risky position is to blame for half of all penile fractures that occur during sex. In comparison, 'doggy style' or the woman on all fours is responsible for 29per cent of injuries, while 'man on top' or 'missionary' is only liable for 21per cent. 
In the study published in Advances in Urology, researchers hypothesized that a man is prohibited from quickly stopping a painful movements when a woman has her entire body weight on his erect penis. 
However, if the man is in control, he has a better chance of minimizing injury by disengaging in harmful movements as soon as they happen. 
Of the 44 suspected penile fractures studied in three hospitals in Campinas, Brazil over the course of 13 years, 42 cases were confirmed - and evaluated in order to discover what the initial cause was. 
Twenty-eight of the men were having heterosexual intercourse during the time of injury, while six of the subjects were engaging in 'penile manipulation'. 
Four were participating in homesexual intercourse, and it was deemed to be 'unclear' how the final four men had sustained their injuries. 
Half of the patients who participated in the study heard a crack when they were first injured, followed by swelling and pain, while two of the men actually developed erectile dysfunction following the injury. 
But before you swear off your favorite position remember that penile fractures are rare. 
The researchers describe the injury as being a 'relatively uncommon clinical condition that frequently causes fear and embarrassment for the patient'. 
Despite the awkward nature of the injury, men should seeks a professional opinion as soon as they feel pain. 
According to the study, a delayed search for medical assistance following a penile fracture can 'lead to impairment of sexual and voiding functions'.
Right, chaps, who here is horrified by the idea of a penile fracture?

*** Didact tallies the votes ***

That's one hundred percent of all men. And rightly so.

Can I just say- a penile fracture is possibly the nastiest thing I've ever heard of. It's not even funny to joke about! (Note: DON'T GOOGLE THIS. I didn't. If you did, you're on your own, pal.)

It also is absolutely real. Good luck porking your wife/girlfriend/FB/Tinderella sleeping tonight.

Just goes to show, God sometimes has a weird sense of humour.


  1. A Halo fan mocking Star Wars for the quality of its supplementary literature falls quite deeply inside of "pot calling the kettle black" territory.

    1. The HALO novels can get pretty dicey.

      But nothing- and I mean nothing- in the expanded HALO canon is anywhere near as bad as the horrors that Kevin J. Anderson, Vonda N. McIntyre, and Barbara Hambly inflicted upon the STAR WARS EU canon.

  2. I'll have to disagree, because the integral backstory of SW canon, prior to The Mouse getting his grubby paws on it all, was not defined by Anderson, McIntyre and Hambly, whose works, in my opinion at least, ultimately amounted to little more than silly one-offs with little in the way of lasting influence on the overall tenor of the universe. There's something very different at work in Halo, where the literature, in trying to explain the existence of such creatures as SPARTAN-IIs in the first place, becomes either deeply disturbing (anything relating to Catherine Halsey's justifications for her various mad science projects) or flat-out ridiculous (the routine pillorying, in-universe and out, of James Ackerson for doing almost exactly the same thing as what Halsey is worshipped for, or the fact that the writers' attempts to make MJOLNIR armour super-duper-special-awesomeness that only the SPARTAN demi-gods can wear essentially renders it completely redundant).


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