"Yesterday seems as though it never existed / Death greets me warm, now I will just say good-bye." -Metallica/Fade to Black

Every year for the past five years or so, I’ve posted open Thanksgiving invitations to our home. Literally, I’ve publicly stated that if “anyone reading this” doesn’t have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with, they could spend it with us. I’ve had a few friends say this is very kind and generous. My wife says this is very crazy and stressful. Then again, I’m simply the one that unleashes this madness upon the world. Susan is the one that has to worry if we’ll have enough mashed potatoes to go around if two hundred people were to show up.

As a compromise, I made a minor concession this year — the offer still stands, but if you plan on coming, please let me/us know in advance. (That way, Susan won’t freak out quite so bad.) Between Facebook, Twitter and e-mail subscribers to my blog, over 2,000 people will be immediately notified the minute this offer goes live. I think an RSVP is fair.

I’m getting sappier in my old age, and hate the thought of people I know spending time alone during the holidays. If you don’t have anyone else to hang with, you can always come hang with me.

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Sunday afternoon, Mason and Morgan went outside to play around 5:30 p.m. The sun was still out, it wasn’t too windy, birds were chirping… good times, all around. When the two of them decided to play basketball, Morgan set her phone down on the bumper of Susan’s car. A few minutes later, now dusk, Susan left to go pick up stuff for dinner. Five to ten minutes later, Morgan remembered her phone was still sitting on Susan’s bumper, and panic ensued.

By the time I was drawn into this, it was dark. The kids and I retraced Susan’s path through the neighborhood. I drove, while the kids hung out the truck’s windows with flashlights in hand, scouring the road’s shoulder for any sign of the phone. We found nothing. Susan’s path led from the neighborhood out to Northwest Expressway. My thinking was if the phone was still in the neighborhood there was a good chance of finding it. If it had fallen off between the neighborhood and the expressway, we still had a fair chance. And if it had made it all the way to the expressway, it was probably gone for good.

On Monday, with aid from sunlight, I drove the path a few more times after dropping the kids off for school. During my lunch break, I walked the length of the neighborhood. I saw lots of beer bottles and black pieces of plastic, but nothing resembling Morgan’s phone. We also tried calling the phone multiple times, but it was going directly to voicemail despite the fact that Morgan swore it had 50% battery and was on when she set it down.

After school, Mason and I drove the entire route. Each time we saw something on the side of the road Mason hopped out to investigate.

When we got home, Mason fired up “Find My iPhone,” an app that will help you locate your lost phone, and sure enough, a blip appeared on its radar. The phone was showing up just south of 23rd and NE Bryant, almost 30 miles away.

By this time Mason had remotely locked his sister’s phone and placed a message on the home screen with our contact information. We had also texted and called the phone multiple times. Someone had the phone turned on but was ignoring us.

After contacting the local police department we were instructed to go to a public location near the phone (a gas station, etc.) and call the police department back. An officer would be dispatched and we would all go retrieve the phone together. Things were looking up! Mason and I hopped in the truck and drove over to a funeral home at NE 36th and Bryant. In retrospect, perhaps the funeral home was an omen.

By the time the officer arrived the phone had moved positions. It was floating up and down NE Bryant, and the officer told us that unless the phone was in one place he really couldn’t help us. He also explained that the Find My iPhone feature is only accurate to 900 meters. I have to disagree with him on this one — after looking up my own iPad and iPhone, I can tell not only that they are inside my house, but which one is in the living room and which one is in the bedroom. Regardless, he told us there wasn’t anything he could do, which would have been good information to have before we drove half an hour to meet him.

Mason and I pinged the phone last time and it returned an address of NE 34th and Bryant. Suddenly the phone went offline. We called it back and it went directly to voice mail. Someone had just turned it off.

With one final attempt at sleuthing Mason and I drove to where the phone was pinging. At exactly NE 34th and Bryant was a crew of 10-15 road construction workers, repairing the road. To the west of that location was an unoccupied neighborhood still under construction, and the houses to the east were too far away for it to be there. Based on where the ping had moved to, it seemed to me like one of the workers probably had the phone on them.

As to how Morgan’s phone made its way from the north side of Yukon to the NE side of Oklahoma City in less than twelve hours, your guess is as good as mine. Monday is garbage pick up day, and my personal opinion is that one of the trash collectors spotted the phone near the side of the road in our neighborhood, picked it up, and kept it. That’s just my made up theory. Maybe the phone made it all the way to the store and someone found it there. Who knows. The one thing we do know is whoever found the phone has no intention of returning it.

The happy ending, if there is one, is that we had the foresight to purchase insurance on Morgan’s phone, which covers (we’ve already called and checked) both loss and theft. Her old phone has been remotely locked and is (as far as I know) in an unusable. Morgan will be getting a free replacement soon and, I can only imagine, will be a little more careful next time where she sets it down.

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My Star Wars collection can be divided into three categories: things I owned as a child (and still own today), things I used to own as a child (and replaced over time), and new toys and collectibles I’ve bought as an adult. This die-cast X-Wing Fighter falls into the first category. This is the same one I owned back in the late 1970s.

Everybody is familiar with Kenner’s original line of 3 3/4″ action figures and their accompanying ships and play sets, but not everyone remembers all the other toys Kenner also released in 1979. Along with a few board games and radio-controlled toys, Kenner also released four miniature die-cast ships in 1978.

(Catalog scan courtesy of PlaidStallions)

The original wave of die-cast ships released in 1978 included this X-Wing fighter, along with Luke’s Landspeeder, Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter, and a traditional TIE Fighter. The following year, Kenner released four additional vehicles, followed by another three for The Empire Strikes Back. Each ship had a plastic part or two that attached to the toys’ metal hull, and you can tell what they were by what parts are now missing from the ones you find in the wild. Due to their relatively small size, these ships weren’t terribly detailed. The X-Wing only had a couple of colors applied. R2’s dome was completely silver, and Luke (or whoever the pilot is) is completely orange. The X-Wing Fighter originally came with a clear canopy that fell off way too easily. It also had four rubber laser cannons that, as you can see here, got bent over time.

Because these things were so small I took them to school with me more than once. They slipped easily into lunch boxes and pencil bags and could be removed during lunch and recess. One vivid memory I have of this specific toy was holding it at arm’s length and running around the playground, pretending I was controlling a real spaceship. Whenever I would “fly” over a small mount of dirt I would kick it, pretending that the dirt flying up into the air was the result of a well-placed laser bolt. At home I remember doing the same thing while riding my bike.

I don’t recall for sure how many of those eight vintage die-cast vehicles I owned in all, but today I own three of them. All three have missing parts and display many battle scratches from the many playground adventures we had back in the late 70s.

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I’ve been taking a lot of photos for my Star Wednesday posts, and decided the other day that I would like to set up a clutter-free area where I could take those pictures. It wouldn’t have to be large or permanent — just a small place where I could take clear pictures of my Star Wars items. On the backs of the early vintage action figure cards, each figure appeared in their own little colored box. I decided that this was the look I wanted to emulate.

I can’t remember if I read about it, saw it, or just figured it out on my own, but somehow at some point it came to me that you could recreate this look with a single sheet of poster board. By placing the poster board flat on a table and then bending the back up at a 90 degree angle, the color runs together and you get that look.

I bought a sheet of poster board from Dollar Tree for 50 cents, placed it on a metal chair, and placed a figure on top of it. Then I took a picture of it with my phone.

Here’s the same shot from a bit further away:

The one thing I hadn’t anticipated was the shadow cast by the figure. Each of these pictures were taken under terrible lighting conditions (LED bulbs inside a ceiling fan’s light fixture). I may need to relocate closer to a window or use another piece of poster board to reflect some of the light.

Based on the results of my trial run I went back and bought three more sheets of poster board: blue, green, and orange.

The solid colors also make it pretty easy to cut out the backgrounds and drop different ones in.

I’ll need to do a little work to clean up the shadows, but other than that I think this will work!

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Friday evening I was in the middle of writing a blog post about photography when my social media feeds began to fill with posts about an active shooting incident in Paris. As the situation escalated, I lost all interest in writing. Instead I spent the next several hours glued to the television, flipping between CNN and MSNBC to follow breaking news updates as the carnage unfolded.

To me, the difference between warfare and terrorism is the difference between a scheduled boxing match and randomly walking up to an old lady at the mall and punching her in the face when she’s not looking. Warfare is a scheduled event, for lack of a better term. Two entities, be it religious factions, countries, or large coalitions — agree to do battle. There are rules. “We agree to only shoot these people, in these places.” But as we have all unfortunately come to understand, with terrorists, there are no rules. There are no gentlemen’s agreements to be made with terrorists.

I only know a little bit about ISIS or ISIL (or Daesh, as they are sometimes referred to). I read about their caliphate declaration on Wikipedia and how their goal is to “continue to seize land and take over the entire Earth.” My dad has a theory that if spiders were the size of dogs, they could not co-exist with human beings. Either the spiders would have to go, or we would. I think the same rule applies to ISIS. When an organized group of terrorists has announced their plan is to take over the earth, it seems like the unstoppable force will eventually meet the immovable object. Both cannot succeed.

The attacks in Paris were attacks on freedom. Specifically, “soft targets” (groups of unarmed civilians) enjoying food, sports, and music were slaughtered. I find the targeting of non-combatants cowardly, but the targeting of people enjoying art downright despicable. If we are not allowed to enjoy the fruits of this world without being persecuted and attacked by others that do not agree with us… what is left? I have always stood behind “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (which may or may not have actually been said by Voltaire). Along those same lines, I believe people should be able to enjoy anything that does not harm another person. I am all for other people enjoying types of music, art, books and films that I do not care for. Variety is the spice of life, after all. It is this freedom of choice that makes the free world free, and when a group comes along that declares violently that other people shall not have this right… we both cannot exist.

I cannot help but think that eventually these fighters will arrive on our shores. Several of the targets in Paris, including a professional sporting event and a concert, are places where Americans are not allowed to carry weapons. I am afraid that attacking those types of locations here would have similar results. ISIS will never attack a gun show here in the Midwest. If and when they do attack on American soil it will be against unarmed and unsuspecting civilians. And it will be terrible.

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For me, the hardest thing about learning how to type properly was unlearning how I used to type. I began typing in 1980 when we got our first computer. My original technique involved poking at keys one at a time starting with only a single finger, and quickly graduated to two and then four before eventually unleashing all of my digits on the machine’s expensive keyboard. It wasn’t until I took a computer class my senior year that I heard that phrase so common in today’s online society: despite being able to deliver 90-100 words per minute, I was told “you’re doing it wrong.” Unlearning those muscle memories and habits I had spent the previous ten years perfecting was not easy to do, and I never completely switched over to “the right way.” I can still type pretty darn fast using my own method. I also think, due to my stubbornness, I have carpel tunnel; my wrists hurt and my fingers involuntarily twitch after typing all day long.

I went through a similar experience with the guitar. My friends and I invented (out of necessity) weird ways of contorting our fingers to force those electric beasts to emit sounds that sorta-kinda resembled our favorite songs. When I went to my first guitar lesson the instructor wasn’t as dismissive of my form as he was downright befuddled by it. (Me too.) I never mastered the first batch of “traditional” chords he asked me to learn. As a result I relegated myself to canoodling around on the guitar instead of learning how to play it properly, and never progressed much past those primitive riffs I learned 30 years ago.

I am now doing the same thing with my writing.

In my writing class, we’re learning about the structure of a short story. The most important thing I’ve learned so far is that successful novels, short stories, and other works of fiction are structured — by that I mean they follow a rigid framework, and contain specific ingredients that readers expect. In one way that knowledge feels constricting, to know that things must appear in a certain order — but in another way, it’s actually quite enlightening. It feels great to finally understand what makes stories work. Many times in the past I’ve written the same scenes over and over, stabbing in the dark in an attempt to “make things work” in the same way a child might randomly poke at keys on a keyboard in hopes that they might eventually make a word appear. Anyone can pile bricks up until they resemble a wall, but to build a structurally sound one that will withstand weight and strong winds requires practice and knowledge.

I ran all of this past a friend of mine who also writes, and he countered with “short stories don’t need to be that rigid. You can do anything you want in them!” And that’s true, you can. This degree program (Masters of Professional Writing) is not just about writing; it’s about writing things that sell. You are, of course, free to write whatever you want. You can include no characters with dialogue in your short story or a hundred (good luck with both). You can name your protagonist Mr. Bsdunensdoppylxyzzz and have everyone in your story speak a made up language. None of those are likely to sell, but you are free to write them. In musical terms, this program is more about writing hit singles than constructing hour-long free-form jazz performances. In terms of music expression both are equally valid, but one of them is much more likely to put money in your wallet.

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I don’t remember when or where I got this 8-Track. In a way, it seems like I’ve always had it, and yet I’ve never listened to it. I’ve never owned an 8-Track player — I was raised on vinyl, followed by cassettes. I don’t even know if this 8-Track tape actually works.

The tape contains the original soundtrack, as composed and conducted by John Williams as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra (I read the label). The tape is a “twin pack.” I originally thought this meant that the original package contained two packs, but from what I now understand, “twin pack” meant “long play.” I believe regular 8-Tracks could hold 40 minutes of audio and twin packs held twice that, so by adding up the times of all the songs this makes sense.

The tape has a copyright date of 1977. I’ve also seen this same 8-Track in a pink plastic case; I assume that’s a later release. One thing I find interesting about the song titles is the one labeled “Ben’s Death and TIE Fighter Attack.” Talk about spoilers! This is something Lucas repeated on the Phantom Menace soundtrack, with the track titles “Qui-Gon’s Noble End” and “The High Council Meeting and Qui-Gon’s Funeral”. I will not be reading the track titles for the new movie until after watching it!

I keep this 8-Track because to me it represents how long Star Wars has been around. The movie soundtrack was released on 8-Track, vinyl, cassette, and of course CD. It was even released in limited numbers on reel-to-reel! The movies have been released on Betamax, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray. Whatever new audio and video formats that appear in the future, you can be sure that Star Wars will appear on them as well.

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More than the average person, I think about what will happen to my stuff after I die. Not the mundane everyday stuff I own like clothes or furniture, but the stuff I really care about — like, the stuff I had sentimental attachments to when I was alive. For example, in my backpack right now I have a “Bend ‘Em” Darth Vader action figure. New, it cost only a couple of bucks. It’s been on every flight I’ve been on over the past 20 years. It means the world to me. When I die, best case scenario, it’ll end up being sold at a garage for a quarter; worst case, and most likely, it’ll end up in the local landfill.

When you die, sentimentality dies with you.

Estate sales rekindle these thoughts. Everybody knows “you can’t take it with you,” but estate sales always remind me “somebody else has to deal with it after you shuffle off.” From a logistical standpoint, estate sales make sense — people should keep things with sentimental value and sell what they don’t need. From an emotional standpoint, I’ve never attended one that didn’t feel at least a little bit uncomfortable.

A saw an ad on Craigslist over the weekend that said “blah blah blah, Commodore computers, blah blah blah.” I can’t imagine needing or buying any more Commodore equipment at this point in my life; I also can’t imagine not going to find out what they had for sale, so that’s what I did.

The morning was cold and rainy and the drive was just over an hour long. I arrived five minutes after the sale was scheduled to begin and discovered forty cars — mostly pickups and SUVs — had beat me to the punch.

After parking and walking for ten minutes in the rain I began to survey the property, just looking at random things. Halfway up the driveway, the house was to the right and a large workshop stood to the left. On the driveway in front of me were piles of tools with an orange tarp attempting to them dry. Beyond the driveway in the yard were things being rained on: lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, and other mysterious piles.

The workshop was packed with tools and older electronics and junk. After maneuvering past the old men evaluating each hammer and drill, I found what I had come for.

All of the Commodore computer equipment had been combined into a single lot, with masking tape declaring the boundaries. The lot included three Commodore 64 computers, three 1541 disk drives, one box of cables and joysticks, and a Commodore +4 (in the box). The lot had a single, firm price: $100. Not a bad price, if all the cables were there and all or most of it still worked. If a guy had the gumption he could have bought the lot and, if he sat on it long enough, doubled his money — assuming of course the guy would be willing to sell any of it.

Just beyond the pile of Commodore stuff was a second, larger lot of Atari computer systems.

I saw two Atari 800xl computers, multiple floppy drives, a couple of datasettes, another large box of assorted cables and joysticks, a stack of magazines, and a disk box full of floppy disks. The price on that lot was $160.

After finding the computer equipment I decided to walk around for a few minutes and mull things over. The other corner of the workshop was stacked floor to ceiling with older electronics: large, vintage stereo speakers, tube televisions, a few reel to reel stereo units, a couple of TV/VCR combos, and other outdated things.

As the rain continued to fall more people pushed their way into the workshop, so I decided to head out into the yard. The things for sale told a story: there were lawnmowers, some rustier than others, followed by wheelchairs and oxygen tanks. Beyond the lawn equipment were multiple piles of items covered in tarps. One pile in particular at the back of the property caught my attention. The wind had blown the tarp back, revealing more computer equipment.

Multiple CRT computer monitors peeked out from beneath the tarp. Everything under the tarp had been placed directly on the wet ground, and with the tarp flapping in the wind, most of the items were now soaked.

Out in my garage I have a shelf full of old computers gathering dust under a stack of old CRT monitors. They’re all attached to dreams and projects — stuff I’ll get around to “someday.”

“Someday,” all the things I’ve spent years and fortunes accumulating will be sitting in a pile out in the rain, like puppies at the pound, hoping someone will take them home.

I left empty-handed.

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After trick-or-treating with the kids Saturday night, I turned on the television and attempted to stream some Halloween specials for the kids to watch (Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror specials, Scooby-Doo and the Headless Horseman of Halloween, Disney’s Halloween Treat — you know, the classics). But my server wasn’t responding, so I walked upstairs to investigate and found the machine in an unresponsive state. It had most certainly been tricked; there would be no treat for me.

I rebooted the server and was greeted by a screen asking me what default language I preferred. Any time you turn on your computer and are asked whether you would prefer English or Swahili, it’s never good. Bypassing that screen led me to a few choices, ranging from “Would you like me to automatically try and fix the problem?” (Who would say no to that?) to “Here’s a DOS prompt — good luck, adventurer.” I think six or seven menu options in all were presented to me; before the night was through I had clicked on them all. None of them fixed anything.

There are three keys to recovering from catastrophic computer failure: backup your data, have a plan, and don’t freak out. Two of those three things happen before your computer crashes. To paraphrase a crude saying, put wishes in one hand and a dead hard drive in the other and see which one coughs up your data first. Typically, it’s a tie.

The good news is, I’m the king of backups. I transferred my virtual web server off the dead machine and to another USB enclosure, where it was remounted on my workstation and back online within an hour. With that (the most critical task) finished I went to bed around midnight and dreamed about how I was going to fix things on Sunday.

Sunday started with four or five hours of CHKDSK, an archaic and somewhat barbaric tool that scans hard drives, attempts to repair damaged files, and discards the rest. After it finished I rebooted the server and was greeted with a new error, one that let me know that the damage to the operating system had been fatal. The next step was installing a new hard drive and reloading the server. From an old, beat up external USB DVD drive, that takes a while. As mealtimes came and went I sat hunched over the keyboard, occasionally punching buttons when prompted while killing time by scrolling through Halloween pictures on Facebook on my other machine.

The only thing I *didn’t* have backed up was the C: drive of my server. The good news was/is, I was still able to see the drive (just not boot from it) and was able to recover all my backup scripts and such. The bad news is, I lost a few programs in the process. By yesterday evening I had most everything reinstalled and back up and running. I still need to recreate a couple of service accounts and scheduled tasks, but I’m 99% done. And, all my virtual machines (hosted on a different drive) escaped unscathed.

Not entirely how I wanted to spend the weekend, but I’ll take a long day’s worth of recovery to a long night’s worth of tears over data loss every time.

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For a couple of reasons, I decided this week for Star Wednesday I would write about my 12″ Lando Calrissian figure.

In 1978, Kenner released a super-sized line of Star Wars figures. It’s referred to as the 12″ line, even though many/most of them are a couple of inches taller than that. In all, 12 figures were released: ten from Star Wars (R2-D2 and C-3P0, Ben Kenobi, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Jawa, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Stormtrooper) and two from the Empire Strikes Back (Boba Fett and IG-88). For the record, I owned five of them as a kid (Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, Vader, and Boba Fett) and currently own four (I lost Luke and Leia, but gained C-3P0). The figures retailed for $10.99, which (according to the online inflation calculator I just used) would cost roughly $39.99 in 2015 dollars. I don’t know why they cancelled the line so early (low sales and high cost, I’d guess) but they did.

In the mid 90s, along with the new Power of the Force line of 3 3/4″ figures, Kenner also relaunched a line of 12″ figures known as the Collector Series. Unlike the original run of figures, Kenner didn’t stop at 12 — dozens and dozens of different figures were released in this new scale. By the time Admiral Ackbar, Greedo, and all six aliens from the Mos Eisley Cantina band show up, you know everybody’s been invited to the party…

Anyway, one of the earlier 12″ figures released was Lando Calrissian. The Collector Series ran from 1996 to 2000, and Lando, part of the second wave, was released in 1997.

All things considered, it’s a pretty good looking figure. Other than the somewhat unnatural position of the arms (which make Lando look like he might bear hug you to death), everything else looks good. The head sculpt resembles Billy Dee Williams, and the muscles (unlike his 3 3/4″ counterpart) aren’t bulging like He-Man. He’s wearing his traditional Empire Strikes Back blue and black outfit, along with his weird wristwatch/communicator and a sweet cape. (I swear to you, one of these days I’m going to get a job that allows me to wear a cape.)

I’m not writing about Lando today because of any of that. I’m writing about this Lando Calrissian figure today because he’s black.

There weren’t many black characters in the original trilogy. Along with Lando Calrissian, on screen you’ve got African American Bespin Guard and Oola, Jabba the Hutt’s private dancer (and Rancor’s lunch).

Off screen we had the inimitable James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader and Ahmad Best as the voice of Jar Jar Binks, and behind a mask we had Tony Cox (a little person who you might remember from Bad Santa) as one of the many anonymous ewoks. In the prequels we got Samuel L. Jackson as Jedi Master Mace Windu, along with Captain Typho and Quarsh Panaka.

A couple of weeks ago, Disney released the official full-length trailer for the upcoming Star Wars film, The Force Awakens.

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, the trailer features John Boyega as an apparently AWOL Stormtrooper (I don’t know for sure; I’m avoiding spoilers). Shortly after that, a hashtag began trending on Twitter: #BoycottStarWarsVII. The people behind the boycott claim that J.J. Abrams (director of the new film) is pushing his anti-white agenda by featuring an African American lead in the new Star Wars film.

Let’s get to the bottom of this, shall we?

First of all, to find the racism inherent in Star Wars all one has to do is go back to its creator, George Lucas. Here is a picture of the racist Mr. Lucas with his wife.

The reality is, a couple of (literally, two) Grade-A trolls/assholes figured out how to “play” Twitter by generating a bunch of tweets using the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII. When people saw and began responding to those tweets, Twitter picked up on the activity and added it to their list of “trending topics” — and once it was there, it was all over.

In reality, 99% of the Twitter traffic generated by this hashtag was from people responding to it and saying (using a variety of words and phrases) “that’s not cool.” Today, at its height, the @BoycottStarWarsVII Twitter account has 332 followers.

(I’m a nobody on Twitter and I have 900, if that tells you anything.)

The account has switched focus and its latest tweets are racist attacks against Ben Carson in an attempt to get responses from the media. Somewhere, in their parents’ basement, a couple of kids are giggling and having the time of their lives. I’m sure they can’t believe that the media (or anyone else) would take their goofs on Twitter seriously, but they did, to the point where media outlets are now having to write articles to explain that the previously reported news story wasn’t really news.

Article explaining the farce on Vox.com
Article explaining the farce on Esquire.com

So while lots of news outlets (Salon|USA Today|CNN) covered this non-event, they all got the wrong story: the real story was “a couple of kids trolled the internet and mass media into thinking Star Wars fans are racist.”

Here’s the reality: first, the Star Wars universe contains people of all races and colors. Greedo was green, Walrus Man was blue, Luke was white, Lando was black, and Admiral Ackbar was a squid. For anyone who doubts this, here’s a picture of the Jedi Council:

We’ve never seen racism depicted in any of the films, and except for a couple of internet trolls, we’ve (or at least I’ve) never seen it in fans either. I’ve attended lots of conventions (both sci-fi and video game themed) and seen all kinds of people there: boys and girls, young and old, skinny and fat, straight and gay, and of course, black and white (and everything in between). I’ve never met anyone who lamented the fact that Lando Calrissian or the voice of Darth Vader were portrayed by black actors. Fans of Star Wars are inclusive.

Back to poor Lando; this particular one is too large to take to work, but I have a spare 3 3/4″ Lando figure that’s headed to my desk — not as a political statement, but as a personal reminder that Star Wars is for everybody. Everybody deserves to enjoy the greatest films ever made (at least the first three…) and everybody (especially children) deserves to see characters on screen that they can relate to. May the Force be with ALL Star Wars fans.


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