Star Wars: Phantom Menace comments and questions

I have heard that making the Trade Federation characters as Japanese was racist- particularly when Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn was extremely dismissive of them, saying “These Federation types are cowards. The negotiations will be short.”
But maybe rather than calling the screenwriter a racist, it is showing the viewer how racist and extremely arrogant the current crop of Jedi are. You go in the movie assuming, with a nudge from the opening crawl, that the Jedi are awesome- but maybe there is nuance in there. Gray areas you didn’t think of before.

Jar Jar Binks is the most annoying character in the Star Wars universe. It goes without saying, but I’m saying it to lead into a favorite fan theory that really he was meant to be a dark side Sith Lord- above Darth Sidius! If it would have played out in Episodes II and III that Jar Jar was either working for or even the master of Sidius, then THAT would have been worth wading through his annoyances. But since his annoying behavior doesn’t lead to any payoff, it has no reason to be. It’s just annoying, and George Lucas is a coward for removing Jar Jar’s reveal as a Zui Quan (drunken boxing) style Sith master from the storyline. Jar Jar is either the true Count Dooku or even the Supreme Leader Snoke!

So when they enter the underwater Gunga City, they just pass through a force field separating water vs air. So…what happens when a fish swims through? This would probably happen every minute. Do they have like an automatic squeegee or something to sweep them back into the water?

Wow, the Boss was really trying to kill them by making them go through the planet core!
It sounds like Sith Jar Jar was trying to kill Boss Nass. It didn’t work. He got off as just clumsy and banished instead of evil and executed.

Why does Lucas do the small fish, bigger fish thing twice in a row?

Is R2-D2 a Zui Quan jedi droid?

These hologram teleconferences always have the audio breaking up to show the large distance involved in transmissions across the galaxy (I guess?), but my experience is the high bandwidth of a hologram video would probably freeze or break up before the audio would.

Are we ever going to see the Angels from the moons of Lego?

So slaves have their own, off-site apartment. Just like me!

What revenge against the Jedi is Darth Maul talking about? What did the Jedi do to the Sith?

Shmi Skywalker has a Swedish accent. Why doesn’t her son Anakin have the same accent? (I know. That’s nit-picky.)

So slaves have their own podracer. Just like I have a car!

What were all those midi-chlorians doing in one of Shmi’s fallopian tubes?

No Jedi has a midi-chlorian count as high as little Ani, but then rather than assume “it’s A Force Miracle!” I would guess there is some technology involved since midi-chlorians are a physical life force measurable in a blood test. The question would be did a Sith Lord do this with a dastardly plan or did a Jedi with all of our best interests at heart and know-better-than-us-what-is-good-for-us do this? They would have made her unconscious (or cause to forget?), kidnapped her, knocked her up in a lab, and set her loose on Tatooine (so-to-speak, relatively- for a slave. Not actually set loose).
Which high level Sith or Jedi keeps tabs on the goings-on in Tatooine? Which one has connections with Gardulla the Hutt and could grab one of her slaves for a lab project? (BTW my money is on Darth Plagueis, who had power over life and death, and Gardulla is mentioned in the book.)

God, this podrace is sooooo long.

So Qui-Gon Jinn can jump up into a moving ship, but Darth Maul can’t?

Having an entire planet turn into one big city is MESSED UP! I’d guess a civilization with such a thing would be messed up also.

Jar Jar telling Ani that the Queen is “pitty hot” is pretty gross. But he is Sith, so…

I don’t understand why Queen Amidala believes Senator Palpatine’s view of the scenario. Why not at least get a second opinion? I’m sure she could even take a meeting with Chancellor Valorum himself since he was already magnanimous enough to send two Jedi to help the Naboo and meet her at her ship when she arrived at Coruscant.

So during this assembly, we can pause for a vote of no confidence in the supreme chancellor, but not introduce evidence of an invasion?

Yoda is a hard-ass.

So if Obi-Wan has to face the trials before becoming a Jedi knight, what did Luke do for this since the Jedi Council was no more?

Huh, they took the photo of Microsoft Windows XP desktop background just before the battle of Naboo started.

The Gungans have HUGE feathers on the back of the mount for the animals they ride. I wonder what ginormous bird they killed to put three feathers on each saddle.

Wait, at the beginning of the movie, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon did some kind of lightning-fast, Force run down a hallway to escape the droidikas, but now Obi-Wan can’t run fast enough to reach Qui-Gon fighting Darth Maul when the forcefield-doors-hallway separated them?

Why is Darth Maul flat footed with Obi-Wan jumps right over him?

Palpatine knew Anikan would have a “career he would watch with great interest.” That tells me he already knew about him, so probably a Sith engineered Anikan.

The actor who plays little Ani is remarkably believable in this role. Good job. What ever happened to his career? (Yes, I could look it up on IMDB before writing this down, but I’m just sayin’ off the top of my head I have no idea.)

Song Lyrics Analysis: You Know You’re Right by Nirvana

Time for another installment of Song Lyrics Analysis where I discuss the meanings of certain songs. Today, I’d like to talk about You Know You’re Right by Nirvana. For reference, here it is on YouTube:

Here are the lyrics:

I will never bother you
I will never promise to
I will never follow you
I will never bother you
Never speak a word again
I will crawl away for good

I will move away from here
You won’t be afraid of fear
No thought was put into this
I always knew it would come to this
Things have never been so swell
I have never failed to feel [fail]

Pain [x3]
You know you’re right [x3]

I’m so warm and calm inside
I no longer have to hide
Let’s [There’s] talk about someone else
Steaming soup begins to melt
Nothing really bothers her
She just wants to love herself

I will move away from here
You won’t be afraid of fear
No thought was put into this
I always knew to come like this
Things have never been so swell
I have never failed to fail [feel]

Pain [x5]
You know you’re right [x12]
You know your rights
You know you’re right
You know your rights
You know your rights
You know your rights

Listening to it, you probably think you hear “failed to fail,” but I think the first time he says it, he’s saying “feel” with an accent that makes it sounds like “fail” as a homophone double entendre. Pretty clever. Then I’d say the second time he’s saying failed to fail.

Like I’ve said before, there are as many interpretations of an item of art as there are interpreters, and even the artist may not claim to have the only valid interpretation. That said, it would be nice if the song lyricist would publish their lyrics to give us a head start to understand their intent. This song has lots of mis-hearings because Cobain sings the lyrics rather ambiguously. Fail vs feel and steaming soup against her mouth vs sterling silver begins to melt vs steaming soup begins to melt and right vs rite. It’s a mess.

Most people believe this is an anti-Courtney Love song because she is a total bitch who doesn’t ever think she’s wrong, and maybe he’s singing about how he is going to leave her, and she only loves herself anyway. (And maybe if he’d left her earlier, he would be alive today.)

But all good lyrics, poems, scriptures have multiple levels of meaning. Another way to interpret this song is Cobain is singing to his drugs (again)- specifically heroin. In Spanish, heroin is feminine (la heroína), so nothing really bothers heroin. Heroin just wants to love herself. Heroin tar is the soup that melts on the spoon before getting sucked up into the “gun” for injection. With little thought he’s thinking about leaving heroin use- but he’s not going to promise.

He experiences pain because of his heroin use, but also he experiences pain in withdrawal.

In the middle of the song he goes back to heroin use (feeling all calm and warm inside, soup melting). Then he says he’s leaving heroin and the cyle starts over.

But also, the song could be the heroin singing to Kurt. Still works.

You know your right is the toughest lyric to jive with the heroin interpretation. I’m guessing that it’s just a call-out to the punk band The Clash and their song “Know your Rights.”

Song Lyrics Analysis: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

I’m introducing a new category to my posts: Song Lyric Analysis.

With any single work of art, there could be as many interpretations of that art as there are interpreters. So I recognize that my analysis of song lyrics is not the definitive, end-of-discussion interpretation. I would argue that even the music artists’ intention when writing it and/or their statements about its meaning are not the only valid interpretation either.

So with that acknowledgment, let’s talk about Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

There are some ideas proposed in this article:

  • It’s about Freddie Mercury being gay.
  • It’s about Freddie’s affair with someone.
  • It’s meaning is unknowable. Freddie never talked about it.

I don’t accept any of those- too inconsistent with the entire work, and I philosophically am opposed to the idea that it’s unknowable. I concede something could be completely non-sense, but I assume Freddie Mercury was trying to be coherent and convey a theme or thesis.

This article says it’s about death, which is closer to my interpretation.

My cultural and religious upbringing discounted reincarnation- so much so that it wasn’t even discussed. But then I opened my mind to the concept of reincarnation, and ever since I’ve felt a bit of despair about it. How is doing a mind wipe every time I reincarnate EVER going to allow my soul to leave this earth life system? Who is in control of that process? Is it voluntary? Is earth life a school or a prison? Is my soul just eternally board and playing a game?

But since acknowledging reincarnation, I’ve been seeing it in art and popular culture everywhere, and I propose that Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is ALL ABOUT feeling trapped in endless reincarnation.
Before you read the lyrics, note some interesting definitions:

  • Bohemian: a person who has informal and unconventional social habits, especially an artist or writer.
  • scaramouch: Scaramuccia (literally “little skirmisher”), also known as Scaramouche or Scaramouch, is a stock clown character of the Italian commedia dell’arte. The role combined characteristics of the zanni (servant) and the Capitano.
  • fandango: a lively Spanish dance for two people…a foolish or useless act or thing.
  • Bismillah: Arabic: بسم الله‎‎ “In the name of God” or “In the name of Allah”) is the first word in the Quran and the incipit (the shortened form) of the basmala, a name for the Quran’s opening phrase in Arabic, bismillāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm (“In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the most Merciful”).
  • Galileo- another name for a christ or savior (h/t to this article again).

Now let’s review the lyrics, and as you read them, think about the author being endlessly reincarnated in a soul trap:

“Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go
A little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me, to me

Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooo
Didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters

Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body’s aching all the time
Goodbye everybody I’ve got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooo (anyway the wind blows)
I don’t want to die
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo Figaro – magnifico

But I’m just a poor boy and nobody loves me
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come easy go will you let me go
Bismillah! No we will not let you go – let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go – let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go let me go
Will not let you go let me go (never)
Never let you go let me go
Never let me go ooo
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
For me
For me

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh baby, can’t do this to me baby
Just gotta get out just gotta get right outta here

Ooh yeah, ooh yeah
Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters nothing really matters to me

Anyway the wind blows”

I think by Beelzebub he is referring to the demiurge that apparently runs things and tricks us into staying here.

“Nothing really matters” when you’ll just be reincarnated forever. It sounds like Freddy Mercury is resigned to just go along with the program instead if escaping. “Any way the wind blows” is an attitude that could have brought him here in the first place: boredom or adventure.

Return of Jedi Comments and Questions

Jabba the Hutt in the desert.

I watched Return of the Jedi again for the first time in about 20 years. I have some thoughts and questions:

  • If R2-D2, an “R2” unit, goes around telling people that’s his name, does that mean there were only 260 R2 units ever made? From R2-A0 to R2-Z9?
  • I feel like the aliens weren’t given enough thought.
    • How do those bipedal, green-skinned hippo guards survive in Tatooine? Their drool alone would require its own Hoover Dam!
    • What is the natural food source for a very large, immobile sarlacc nested in the middle of a big sand dune?
    • What are the chances of a squid species eventually becoming bipedal?
  • There must have been several hours of conference room meetings about how to portray Jabba’s place as super sleazy, but still retain a PG mpaa rating.
  • How is being threatened to die by digestion over a thousand years a threat when your typical lifespan is <10% of that?
  • R2-D2 was SELLING drinks aboard the sail barge. Jabba is a cheap bastard.
  • Since Jabba is apparently also a sex slave trafficker, and he was killed by choking…did he find it pleasurable? I am not familiar with hutt anatomy and physiology.
  • I believe we saw Jabba’s wife in Episode 1 at the pod races. Where is she in Episode 6? What does she think about Jabba’s bipedal, chained sex slaves?
  • I am not attracted to hutts AT ALL, so why would Jabba be excited by humanoids?
  • Luke is introduced as a jedi knight in the opening title crawl and at Jabba’s palace, but then he talks with Yoda and THEN realizes that he is finally going to be a Jedi Knight after facing Vader? Continuity problem?
  • What real mom is Leia taking about? Another continuity problem, psychology snafu, or Mandela effect?
  • If you ever think the Ewoks are adorable, just remember that they worshiped as a god the 3rd-most annoying character in the Star Wars universe.  (The first goes without saying. I think the second is that Rizzo-the-rat-like creature that pecks out C3PO’s “eye” aboard Jabba’s sail barge.  Wow, Threepio is a pansy.)
  • Ewoks are boring. I am falling asleep.
  • Sorry, no way the emperor survived that.
  • Come to think of it, I am not familiar with the sex anatomy of Ewoks and Wookies. I presume their anatomical textbooks have multiple instances of prefixes beginning with “crypto” and “endo.”
  • The music is the best thing about Star Wars.
  • Bipedal is a fun word.

Godzilla 2014 and my Visceral Hatred of its Choices

WARNING: *Spoilers*

As I mentioned before, I saw Godzilla (2014) in 3D with my son in the movie theater. At the time, I was disappointed with the story choices they made regarding killing the father off early on.

I saw the movie again on BluRay with the entire family, and I felt felt a strong, visceral hatred of the storyline- made worse by the fact that everyone was board. My girls fell asleep. My son was on the laptop Googling Minecraft stuff. My wife was into the movie at the start, but after the Hawaii sequence (the one right after he dies), she started shopping on her phone! I had to tell her to look up every once in a while so that she wouldn’t miss a nice shot, like when the son jumps out of the airplane or when Godzilla opens the mouth of the female monster and breathes fire into her. (“Why didn’t he just do that at the beginning instead of destroying the city,” she said.)

I just wasted my family’s entire evening! It was a gigantic waste of potential in exploring the divide between a father and son after the death of the wife/mother as well as the decisions military commanders and scientists make. After the father dies, I no longer care about the human story and keep looking at my watch waiting for the monsters to fight so we can get this movie over with.

I will propose ways the story could have kept me entertained, but first let me go beyond my visceral response and repeat and expound logically about the flaws in the story of Godzilla (2014):

…the Godzilla movie left me emotionally unsatisfied for 3 reasons:

  1. I thought the movie was about the father, but then they take a turn, and I guess we follow the son the rest of the movie even though the father had all the emotion in the first act.
  2. Everyone knows you don’t kill the mentor until the end of the second act.  If the father isn’t going to play the hero, then I guess he is the mentor.  They kill the father in the early second act.
  3. Fine, you kill the father early on, but you’re not going to let us see any catharsis with the father and son? Seriously, the closing image should have been the son at the father’s grave or something. Emotionally I want to see the son reconcile with his father.

Further, killing the father eliminated the only character I cared about. He’s the only character the story explored, and they don’t even reference him at all the rest of the film! His death meant nothing to anyone, not even his own son as far as we can tell.

The son is just a punk who barely says anything. He’s too quiet. Sure, he’s got a wife and kid and just came back from the Sand Box, but big deal. Why should I care about him when I just watched his father close the blast door on his mother.

Also, the filmmakers missed a great promotional opportunity with Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, played by Ken Watanabe. In every scene, he should have been carrying a bottle of Jack Daniels (or whatever brand of alcohol that would pay the most to be in the film). That’s the best way to explain his character’s broodiness.

Optoblog Poetry #006

Opt School or a house?
Electricians make more cash.
Too late to drive truck?

As a mid-career optometrist still 20 years from any kind of retirement, I often wonder if I made the right decision. I’ve had to do some electrical work on my 1960 house (because that’s the kind of house an optometrist can afford) and really enjoyed it. Also I really like driving, so I probably should have been a trucking electrician or an electrical trucker.

If you liked this one, read more Optoblog poetry.

optoblog movie short #001: The Air Puff

[scrippet]Title: The Air Puff
Author: David J. Langford

Fade in.


DR. LANGFORD, an optometrist that smiles like a clown, tosses his clipboard on the adjustable table behind three items of ophthalmic instruments. He lowers the table as JANAE, pretty and wholesome, sits down on the stool on the other side of all the machines.

So…Jay-Nay? What brings you in for an eye exam today?

Juh-Nae. Oh, just a check up.

Okay, then. Let’s start with this machine.

Oh, no. Is this that puff of air thing?

Yeah. This one is not too bad.


It’s the most gentle non-contact tonometer on the market.


Janae puts her forehead on the rest. The doctor clicks the button. The machine whirs, and we hear a PUFF of air.

(high, almost squeal)

She sits back and rubs her eye.

Ready for the next one?

I guess…

The machine whirs again then PUFFS. Janae recoils the same way.

(rubbing second eye)
I’m glad that’s over with. What does that machine do, anyway?

Dr. Langford tries to repress his wierd smile.

It checks eye pressure, which is important to know because if it’s outside the normal range, you could have a serious eye condition.

Janae blinks a lot.

My eyes feel dry now.

Okay, let’s move on to this machine. It gives me a close idea of any glasses prescription you might need. Chin on the chin wrest.

She puts her head up to the autorefractor. It beeps and then-PUFF!!

Ah! Hey! I thought we had already finished the puff of air thing!

Did that puff at you?


Huh, let’s try the other eye then.

She puts her head back to the machine, but the monitors shows that she’s squinting in anticipation.

Okay, for the machine to take the measurement, you’re going to need to open your eye wider.

But I don’t want it to puff at me.

Just a little wider…

Janae’s eye opens just barely more and…PUFF!

Ow! It did it again.

(holding up the print-out)
Well…it printed out these glasses prescription numbers, so it can’t be broken.

But it blew air at my eye!

I’ll have a look at it later. Let’s move on to the last machine in this room.

He holds out a clicker for her to take.


It’s going to test your peripheral vision. Every time you see a flicker in your side vision, just click on the button. It takes about a minute per eye.

Okay, that doesn’t sound so bad…

She takes the clicker from Dr. Langford and puts her forehead up to the machine. She SEES THE FLICKERING SQUARES on the screen.

So when I see those dealies I just click?

Yup, but don’t move your eyes around just look straight ahead. Okay…begin.

She presses the clicker and- PUFF! She sits back.

What the…

Keep clicking!

She gets in the the machine again. She clicks, and…


PUFF! Janae clicks, puffs, and yelps over and over. Dr. Langford looks on with a sly grin.


Doctor, every time I clicked on the button, it gave me a puff of air in the eyes!

Dr. Langford looks at his display.

Oh, you know what? I had it set to the serial tonometry setting. Sometimes it’s helpful to take multiple readings to see what your eye pressure is over time. Oh well, no harm done. Let’s go into the exam room.


Janae enters rubbing her eyes and sets her things down. As the doctor enters, she looks in the mirror on the wall to see that her eyes are *bright red*.

My eyes are really red!

Don’t worry, that will go away in a minute. Have a seat on that dentist-looking chair.

I hope you’re right.

Of course I’m right.

He scoots a big Phoropher up to her head.

Now, which is better? One or two?

We see an eye chart, and switching between one or two, WE DON’T NOTICE ANY DIFFERENCE.


Black Screen



And now which is better, one or two? One or two?

I don’t…uh..

Dr. Langford pulls the machine away.

Okay, it looks like you don’t need glasses still.

All *that* just to find out-

Okay, one last thing, I’m going to look inside your eyes with my microscope.

He swivels a slit lamp over. It looks kinda’ like those other machines in the pretest room.

Doctor, look…I’d rather not do this one.

Well, I need to look inside your eyes to complete the exam.

But couldn’t you do it with something…else?

He pulls out an ophthalmoscope, an innocent-looking flashlight.

I guess I could use this.

Let me see that.

He hands it over. She twists it apart, looks, and reassembles it.

Yah, I guess that’s okay.

He takes it back and gets…uncomfortably close to her face.

(pushing back)
Whoa, whoa!

With the ophthalmoscope, I have to get in close. You chose this one. Don’t worry. Nothing touches you.

Janae still has a defiant look of doubt.

Just a quick thing, and then we’re done.

(a look that says don’t cross me)
Real quick.


It won’t hurt.


Fine. Get it over with.

He brings the “flashlight” in again, still uncomfortably close.


And then… PUFF! She recoils.

That’s it! I’ve had it!

She stands up from the exam chair.

I’m not paying for this!

She starts to walk out.

A BLACK SPOT BLINDS her central vision and full view of the doorway.

Janae hits the wall. She holds her forhead.

You are sick!

As she exits she has fire in her red, red eyes.


Dr. Langford strolls to his car. As he gets out his keys.. WHACK! A force of nature- a flash, which vaguely looks like Janae, body checks him onto the car. His limp body then slides to the ground.

Janae brings around the car a big air compressor on wheels. She holds open his eyes while pressing the trigger. Air whooshes his hair and then her aim corrects to his eyes.

(as she alternates the aim between his eyes)
Which is better now, doctor? One! or Two!

Dr. Langford whimpers, eyes red. Now Janae has the weird smile.



Dr. Langford gets really close to Janae with an ophthalmoscope…and steals a kiss.


Fun Fact #001

The phrase “apple of thine eye” is really a mistranslation. We should be saying “Little Man of the Eye” or “Little Doll of the eye.”
If you are the little man in God’s eye that means He is watching over you so closely that whoever looks at His eyes will see you in His cornea’s reflection.

The Problem with Godzilla (2014)

I took my son to see Godzilla in 3D on opening night. It was great that we shared the experience, but the Godzilla movie left me emotionally unsatisfied for 3 reasons:

(Spoilers ahead)


  1. I thought the movie was about the father, but then they take a turn, and I guess we follow the son the rest of the movie even though the father had all the emotion in the first act.
  2. Everyone knows you don’t kill the mentor until the end of the second act.  If the father isn’t going to play the hero, then I guess he is the mentor.  They kill the father in the early second act.
  3. Fine, you kill the father early on, but you’re not going to let us see any catharsis with the father and son? Seriously, the closing image should have been the son at the father’s grave or something. Emotionally I want to see the son reconcile with his father.

Anyway, other than not being emotionally satisfying, Godzilla 2014 was…fine.