LEGO Star Wars the Gateway to the Star Wars Universe

On July 3, 2015, in Family, by Chris Baccus
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There are a few moments in my life where I experienced some amazing unforgettable moments in film, music and art that is unique to many.  One example, is having seen Nirvana live twice on what none of knew was their last tour ever.  Another was fulfilling an amazing moment seeing The Police reunite and having the luck of sitting front row center and getting to meet the band before the show. Both incredible moments I’ll never forget.

In film, the moment I remember most was waiting in line at a theater in north Pasadena at age 5 to see a movie called Star Wars.  I remember my brother Billy who was only 3 at the time was too young to go. So it was just my dad and me.  It was awesome. AWESOME!  So amazing that our toy room growing up was basically a recreation of every Star Wars film.  Every Christmas and birthday my brother and I would get quite a few Star Wars toys to add to our toy box.  We had everything including The Death Star, Millennium Falcon, Tatooine, X-Wings, Y-Wings, and many, many more.

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This was before video games were big. Yes we had an Atari 2600, but we played with Star Wars toys the most. They were so key to my childhood and every time a new film was released it was a huge deal and we went as a family to see the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Fast forward to this past February when I attended the Dad 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Part of the event included a RSVP to the LucasFilm campus hosted by LEGO.  Being there surrounded by tons of Star Wars art, characters and spending some time in the theater was just insane. The kid-me would’ve been very impressed with the adult-me that night.

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The big reveal of that evening was a partially, mostly finished version of the cartoon series LEGO® Star Wars™: Droid Tales episode Droid Tales Exit from Endor. It is debuting this coming Monday July 6th at 6:30pm (check your local cable listings.)

I can’t wait to see the final version.  What I saw last February was entertaining on so many levels.  The mashup of Star Wars characters and scenes from the original films were memorable, but add-in the sarcasm and attitude of the LEGO writers and you get something that feels like it was written more by Patton Oswalt than George Lucas. It’s almost as if someone listened to Oswalt’s rant on the Prequels and wrote the cartoons in this vein, minus the cursing of course.

I tried a couple years ago to get my boys interested in Star Wars. We watched all the movies, but there wasn’t that much interest.  Hopefully, this LEGO series will get them more involved and excited about seeing the Phantom Menace this December.  Maybe the boys will even rewatch the original films and find a connection that didn’t happen at age 7, but happens now at age 9.

I can only do.

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Farewell David Letterman

On May 20, 2015, in Family, by Chris Baccus
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Tonight is the last night of The Late Show with David Letterman. I honestly feel the show should’ve ended 10 plus years ago. The past decade Letterman has reminded me of an employee who just phones it in every day and politically protects his domain while adding little to no value to an organization (network in this case.) So I really won’t miss the show because the few times I’ve stopped to watch it I get so angry with how little effort Dave puts into it these days.

That said, I was a huge fan of early Letterman. The baby boomers had Carson. My generation had Letterman. While I enjoyed Carson too, Letterman was more cynical, dry and sarcastic all the things I still seek in the comedy I enjoy. The Letterman of the 1980s was awesome. It’s when late shows were more than lame, boring, publicist laced dribble from celebrities promoting their latest stupid film or project. The stupid then was fun like stupid human tricks and odd Americana coming by to entertain even when the guest didn’t see their life as entertainment. Letterman made it all come to life with his timing and expressions. He was brilliant.

Celebrities stopped by too, but it wasn’t the typical promotional crap of today. It was sometimes totally random and bizarre like it was with the late Andy Kaufman who came by to introduce his three adopted kids. The following clip is legendary and probably not really understood by people under 35, but I know some of you will get it and will appreciate its brilliance: Kaufman and Letterman’s brilliance.

This is the Letterman I’ll miss. Sadly he’s been gone for decades.

Farewell Dave. You are still my generation’s late night genius!

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UPDATE: I watched the show this week. It’s a train wreck. Bad directing. Bad jokes. Obnoxious expressions. Tons of stupid gimmicks. This show will not last. It is painful to watch unless someone decides to rework it and make it more about the food instead of trying to be funny and cool.  Oh well, maybe some day there will be a good vegan cooking show that doesn’t insult my intelligence and use words like “funkalicious.”

Like most cable channels the Cooking Channel and the Food Network have been taken over by reality show competitions and less about learning how to cook that is why I’m happy to see a new show that gets back to cooking.  Yes cooking. You know learning a few recipes, enjoying the craft from a chef, and then trying it at home as opposed to watching four people I’ve never heard of coming up with disgusting concoctions using canned sardines and candy canes.

I remember great cooking shows like Mario Batali’s Molto Mario that taught simple, amazing Italian recipes to the masses. Perhaps this show can do that with vegetarian cooking.

The best part is this new show is entirely focused on plant based recipes, no meat.  Also organic, non-GMO, and some raw food people can learn to make.  How to Live to 100 debuts this Sunday at 5pm PST.  Bonus, the host Jason Wrobel is Detroit native

My only concern, since I haven’t yet seen this show, is it may be trying to be too clever. Jason describes the show as part cooking show sitcom, part comedy show, part man on the street. Three concepts in one. He claims they still manage to fit four recipes into each 30 minute show.

Guess we’ll see how much cooking really happens, but it is great to see a Detroiter bring vegetarian cooking to the masses in what looks to be a promising show in 2013!

More info: [Cooking Channel Website]

Jason’s YouTube Channel: [The J-Wro Show]

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