Atomic DIY: Build Your Own R2-D2!

One thing I think everyone who loves Star Wars has said at least once is “man, I wish I had an R2-D2!” My good friend and fellow archery coach Russell Rucker said the same thing, and then he went ahead and built one. His R2 unit is completely screen-accurate, and has appeared at a number of Star Wars events over the years. Naturally, like a whole lot of other people, I asked Russell how he built his R2. He gave me permission to share the process here.

‘Soul’ and the Transformation Trope

Pixar’s Soul was the center of a meme that circulated this summer, prior to the release of the film, which suggested that it was racist for the lead character, an African-American, to be transformed into a blue-green blob in the trailer. The author cited several films as examples of the problematic pattern. Taking a look at the trope, the cited films, and the context and messaging of each, might be in order.

“When in Doubt, Do Something.” Harry Chapin in Recent Media

Recently, our own Greg Hatcher sent me a link to a new documentary about Harry Chapin; when I mentioned that I’d seen it, he suggested a review, and when I mentioned that there are also a couple of new books out, he suggested a round-up review. See, Greg is smarter than me and he thinks of things like this. So here we go.

Of Breakfast Cereals and Cults

So I went down a rabbit-hole a while back and I ended up in a weird place. It started innocently enough, with a discussion of General Mills’ monster-themed breakfast cereals, Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry, but it somehow ended up with a weird Victorian-era metaphysical cult.

Pointless Fanboy Speculation: Howard the Duck

After he got his cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, I thought that eventually Howard the Duck would get another shot at the movies. Hope burns eternal. Which brings us to Pointless Fanboy Speculation, in which I tell you how I would adapt this particular character to the MCU. Here’s the Elevator Pitch: Howard the Duck and Beverly take a “road trip” through weird middle America, which warps into a political satire when Howard is cajoled into running for President. It is, at heart, a Frank Capra movie.

It’s Not About What It’s About: Dissecting Some Cult Classics

Buckaroo Banzai is really more fantasy than SF. Where Star Wars is the classic Quest fantasy, Buckaroo Banzai follows a different story; there is a hidden world we don’t know about, and in that world, forces of good and evil are waging a war with our world hanging in the balance. Our hero, a surprisingly resourceful person, has the ability to enter that world and fight for us, along with a team of allies, each of whom is an expert in a different area with skills that the team needs. By recasting this trope in the form of urban legends and conspiracy theories, Buckaroo Banzai responds to anxieties about things out of our control and assures us that we have a champion in the hidden battle. It’s religion for a post-supernatural world.