Star Wars: The series that never should have continued

The Art of the Story
Having finally seen Star Wars, The Last Jedi, I have a few thoughts about the entire franchise. I'm grateful that I only paid the RedBox fee. Had I paid movie theater prices for that movie, I would have walked out and demanded a full refund. I saw enough entertainment in Rogue One to like it as a B-Side Star Wars movie. I wasn't a fan of the discontinuity of the technology and had a flashback to SpaceBalls while watching it, but as a one off, I was OK with it. I thought The Force Awakens was formulaic, and served only the purpose of passing the baton with a copy/paste of the major Episode IV themes. I maintained an optimistic thumbs up, but wasn't completely sold on the movie. The Prequels…
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There was a gun scare in my community this week and I’m angry

Life
Yesterday an alert was sounded that a white man wearing black clothes with a backpack and holding a rifle was seen in the vicinity of a Waukee school. This caused the schools to be put on lockdown, an outdoor elementary track and field event to be moved from the High School track to the elementary facilities, uneasiness among the faculty and students, and more. News reporters converged on the town. Everybody had a sense of dread, waiting for the next bit of news. And as the information trickled in, I began to become angry. Why aren't they giving us more information? Why isn't this all over the news outlets? Why haven't they hardened the schools against attack yet? The day continued on, more or less a normal day, and our…
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Switchfoot and the Art of the Bridge

Switchfoot Bridges
Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a love for the band Switchfoot. Their music, the interaction they have with the fans, the words that Jon Foreman writes, the whole enchilada. I became a fan when the album "The Beautiful Letdown" was in stores, so that would make it about 2003 or so, and since then I have purchased every album they put out, as well as any solo project that Jon has produced. I┬áhave seen them in concert several times and love every moment that I'm there. Their song lyrics are honest and they hit home with the realities of life. It is no stretch for me to say that "Hello Hurricane" was an album that helped ground me during the most difficult time of my entire…
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Buh-Bye YouTube Red. Facebook is on notice.

Airing of Grievances, Life
I've been a YouTube Red subscriber for years now. Ad-free videos, YouTube original content (which were pretty lame, to be honest), YouTube Music, and so on. It cost a little something each month, but in exchange, I had a wealth of information and entertainment in front of me. I could learn about sports, a diverse range of political ideas, woodworking tips, sermons, product reviews, marksmanship concepts, apologetics, concerts, cooking and more. YouTube has been established as the dominant medium of informational video on the Internet. My $9.99 a month was given in exchange for a world of uninterrupted content. But that world is just not worth it any longer. YouTube has been constricting certain viewpoints that don't march in lockstep with the social engineers of Google. This goes for thoughtful…
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Trying out wine for the first time

Life
Dayna has expressed an interest in trying out wine. Since I have VERY limited knowledge of wine, we discussed it and decided to try some red wines. I love shopping at Trader Joe's, their Kenya coffee is the bomb, and they also have a decent (I think) wine assortment. Most notably, they have Three Buck Chuck. So if we don't like a wine, we're not out too much money. I did some investigative research, which means I Googled it, and the top wines in that category I purchased were Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. $6 for two bottles. We'd have a few evenings of wine tasting, probably with chocolate or cheese or something like that. We would feel sophisticated and romantic. We'd find out what the big deal is! Except for…
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NFL Playoff Predictions: Wild Card Round

Life
Welcome to the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs, the one week where the home stadium is a true advantage, with the home teams historically winning 75% of the time. With that in mind, here are my predictions. Titans at Chiefs I live in Iowa, where you only see the Titans on television if they are playing the Vikings or Packers. Or if they are playing on a Monday or Thursday night. And that's assuming that I don't have something more important to do, which is likely because the Titans haven't impressed me since... Look for the Chiefs to take this game by at least a touchdown. Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking and Alex Smith with complete a pass that travels more than 10 yards in the air. Yeah,…
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