Tag Archives: blogging

REBOOTING STAR WARS

masc chair and bottleBalladeer’s Blog is all about responding to reader questions and requests. Some of you have mentioned that you’d like to see me write about what revisions I’d have made to the Star Wars sequels in the same way I write about revisions I’d have made to old Killraven stories or how I’d have handled the unfinished Harry Flashman novels.

I have only ever been a casual (at most) Star Wars fan so it’s possible that lets me approach the subject with a certain detachment that many others lack. I have no favorite characters and I’m not really invested in the story or its universe outside of the original lightning-in-a-bottle 1977 film.

My take is that the sequel trilogy is too much of a mess and has nothing worth salvaging. However, since there is more and more talk about recasting the major roles like Luke, Han and Leia for a potential reboot or tv series I figured THAT’S what I’d look at.

Star WarsThe original 1977 Star Wars is about as close to perfection as you can get in terms of a movie succeeding at what it was intended to be: in this case a fun, uncomplimented valentine to the days of simpler storytelling as a nice antidote to the glut of self-consciously “deep” movies by that point in the 70s.

There’s nothing wrong with deep or introspective movies, of course, but by 1977 it seems that audiences were VERY hungry for a movie that didn’t wallow in unsolvable problems and was instead sheer feel-good spectacle. (I often speculate that if the Robert Shaw film Swashbuckler had come out after Star Wars instead of before it, it might have been received much more enthusiastically.)

My own take on potentially casting a new Luke, Han & Leia and starting over would be that the original Star Wars should remain untouched. Begin the reboot AFTER that film but eliminate the overrated twist in which Darth Vader turns out to be Luke’s father and Leia turns out to be his sister. Continue reading

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL RESULTS FROM JANUARY 18th

NAIA

dalton state roadrunnersWHEN RANKED TEAMS CLASH – The number 6 team in the nation – the DALTON STATE ROADRUNNERS – traveled to take on the 24th ranked WILLIAM CAREY UNIVERSITY CRUSADERS. The Roadrunners were trailing the Crusaders 32-28 at Halftime but after the break they outscored their opponents 47-35 for a 75-67 comeback victory. Rand Bell led Dalton State with THIRTY-ONE points.

Harris Stowe State NEWCENTURY CLUB – Teams scoring 100 points or more in Regulation: The HARRIS-STOWE STATE HORNETS defeated their hosts the FREED-HARDEMAN UNIVERSITY LIONS in a 101-96 shootout   ###   Meanwhile the (1) GEORGETOWN (KY) COLLEGE TIGERS hammered the CUMBERLAND UNIVERSITY PHOENIX 116-74   ###   And the BETHEL (TN) WILDCATS downed the BREWTON-PARKER COLLEGE BARONS 101-82. Continue reading

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MARTIN LUTHER KING WEEKEND

martin-luther-kingA multiple choice quiz for the holiday weekend.

WHY WAS MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY ESTABLISHED?

A. So that it could be politically exploited by out of touch White Democrats of Privilege who think that making a hobby out of the real-life suffering that African-Americans went through means they are qualified to speak on their behalf

B. To commemorate the life of a man who expressed a message of unity and non-violence Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN TWENTY-FIVE: THE 1983 GRAPHIC NOVEL

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

Killraven in his glory daysKILLRAVEN: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL (1983) – Killraven and his Freemen continued their guerilla war against Earth’s alien conquerors. In the 7th of its official line of graphic novels, Marvel Comics let writer Don McGregor and artist Craig Russell wrap up some of the storylines left dangling by the cancellation of the 1973-1976 series of Killraven stories. In the previous post I detailed how McGregor had, in the meantime, transferred many of the Killraven story elements and time period to his independent 1978 graphic novel Sabre.

In the meantime Eclipse Comics had signed McGregor to write a regularly published Sabre comic book series. In late 1982 the original black & white graphic novel was colorized and reprinted in serialized form in the first few issues of the new Sabre series. Unfortunately for Killraven fans that immediately made our red-headed rebel leader into the proverbial red-headed step-child among McGregor’s works.  

Understandably – and fairly obviously – Don McGregor was already saving up his best ideas for his own Sabre title, reducing this last chance for closure on the Killraven saga to a rushed, mundane, unsatisfying mess devoid of much of what had made the original series worthwhile. Even the dialogue, despite a few flashes of the old KR style here and there, was lackluster and pedestrian.    

Killraven and his Freemen seemed like pale imitations being handled by a fill-in writer as Don McGregor virtually Rian Johnson’ed his own characters. I’ll examine that in detail as we move along, but first let’s look at some of the changes necessitated by real-world events in the years between 1976 and 1983.

Killraven 2*** First, through no fault of Don McGregor or the original Killraven artists, Darth Vader became a huge pop culture figure in 1977. KR’s main alien villain, the High Overlord (introduced in 1974), had worn full-body armor and a Japanese feudal helmet like the kind Darth Vader went on to wear in Star Wars. Obviously, Star Wars was so much better known than the canceled Killraven series that this 1983 graphic novel dropped the helmet for the High Overlord to avoid looking like their villain was a ripoff of Vader, despite the fact that the High Overlord predated Star Wars

              That alteration to the look of the High Overlord was far from fatal, but became another of the distracting elements undermining this continuation of the KR story. Those other elements: Continue reading

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TWENTY COOLEST-NAMED USCAA COLLEGE SPORTS TEAMS

The year 2020 is going to be the year of Top 20 lists here at Balladeer’s Blog. Here we go with the 20 Coolest-Named College Sports Teams in the USCAA (United States Collegiate Athletic Association)

Webb Institute WebbiesWEBB INSTITUTE WEBBIES

Location: Glen Cove, NY

Comment: Sure, some people may have gone with Webslingers or even Webbslingers for this team but that would not be true to Webb Institute’s location and lore.

Great Bay College HeronsGREAT BAY COLLEGE HERONS

Location: Portsmouth, NH

Comment: Herons are similar to storks and ibises and dwell on every continent except Antarctica. Their coolness factor and obvious adaptability make them an ideal mascot for a college’s athletic teams!   

Pratt Institute CannoneersPRATT INSTITUTE CANNONEERS

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Comment: The team name Cannoneers all by itself would put Pratt Institute on this list but when you throw in that terrific logo at left it takes everything to the next level.  

East West University PhantomsEAST/WEST UNIVERSITY PHANTOMS

Location: Chicago, IL

Comment: Goths and college sports fans alike can get behind the incredibly cool team name and logo for the Phantoms of East/West University!  Continue reading

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HUFFINGTON POST’S YASHAR ALI: DEMOCRATS ARE SIDING WITH IRAN’S MULLAHS AGAINST FREEDOM-FIGHTING IRANIANS OUT OF SPITE

Yashar AliBalladeer’s Blog is the only site on the web that equally criticizes both Republicans AND Democrats. In this case this story is about the excellent work by Yashar Ali of the Huffington Post about how irrational the Democrats are for siding against Iranian protestors just because of their (Democrats’) crazed animosity toward President Donald Trump. (Especially regarding THE PLANE THAT IRAN SHOT DOWN.)

The link is below but first some excerpts:

Yashar explained that “all the family/friends I spoke to who live in different parts of Iran) are furious that they were lied to for three days about the case of the plane crash. The Iranian government lied left and right about where the plan was headed” and what “brought down the plane.”

“The Iranian government completely mishandled the plane crash, destroying evidence in the process. Iranians are in the street calling for death to the Supreme Leader (something that could get them executed). Iranians are in the street calling for prosecutions, saying Soleimani is a murderer. Telling leadership of the Iranian government to resign and saying Trump isn’t the problem, that the Iranian government is.”

“The idea that [Trump is] to blame for a decision the IRGC made” to shoot down the passenger airliner, he writes, “is just absurd. And while Iranians aren’t a monolith and there are 80 million people in Iran, you don’t see Iranians blaming President Trump for the crash (in which Iranian citizens were killed). They’re blaming the IRGC and the Supreme Leader for a series of horrific mistakes.”

In other words, the Iranian protesters aren’t NeverTrump. They’re NeverKhamenei.

#WalkAway“I’ve gone through some of the most active and prominent liberal Twitter accounts and none of them mentioned the Iran protests today. These same people were actively tweeting about wanting to avoid war and attacking Trump for his decision. What happened?” Yashar wondered.

Yashar continued “Iranians are being used by certain people on the left (I didn’t say all) as a tool to attack President Trump. But these same people don’t seem to care to support their right to protest?” And so, he continues, “It seems to me the protests were inconvenient for some of these folks today. They were placing the blame on the Iranian leadership who lied repeatedly about what happened. They weren’t blaming President Trump… so it wasn’t worth it to bring attention to or support them?”

“Nearly 2 months ago,” Yashar explained, “Iran massacred hundreds (at least) and up to 1,500 of its citizens in the streets for protesting against gas prices.” Yes, you read that right: the Mad Ayatollah’s butchers slaughtered as many as 1,500 people because they had the audacity to complain about the rising costs of gas. “People in the streets are taking an enormous risk not only by protesting but by saying what they’re saying like death to the Supreme Leader”

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL RANKINGS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG

Per the Glitternight Index:

Saint Thomas Texas CeltsUSCAA (United States Collegiate Athletic Association) – 1. UNIVERSITY OF SAINT THOMAS (TX) CELTS    ###    2. FLORIDA NATIONAL UNIVERSITY CONQUISTADORS    ###    3. BRYANT AND STRATTON COLLEGE (Buffalo) BOBCATS    ###    4. BLUEFIELD STATE BIG BLUES    ###    5. DELHI STATE (NY) BRONCOS    ###   

newportnewsapprentice-school-builder6. NEWPORT NEWS APPRENTICE SCHOOL BUILDERS (Shipbuilders)     ###    7. UNIVERSITY OF DALLAS CRUSADERS     ###     8. UNIVERSITY OF MAINE AT FORT KENT BENGALS     ###    9. CLINTON COLLEGE GOLDEN BEARS     ###    10. FIVE TOWNS COLLEGE SOUND     ###    Continue reading

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