Thursday, June 30, 2016

On the Coffee Table: Showa 1944-1953

Title: Showa 1944-1953: A History of Japan
Writer and Artist: Shigeru Mizuki
via Goodreads
This is the third volume of Mizuki's outstanding Showa comic book series.   My reflections on the first two books can be found here and here.  Japan's Showa era was defined by the reign of Emperor Hirohito: 1926-1989, a period of extraordinary national transformation.  Mizuki lived through it all and his books weave historical events with his own personal experiences.

The war was not going well for Japan in 1944.  After scoring early, dazzling victories over the Allies, deficient supply lines were taking their toll.  Defeat was essentially inevitable but no one within the military establishment was willing to admit it.  Surrendering was not considered an option.  Instead, thousands of Japanese soldiers and sailors scattered about the Pacific - the author included - were expected to go "onward toward their honorable deaths."  The lives of individuals were worth nothing compared to the honor of the nation.  Under-supplied and with no hope of reinforcements, they fought disease and starvation as much as the enemy.

By his own admission, the author survived it all through sheer luck, though hardly unscathed.  He lost his left arm and endured violent bouts with malaria.  When he finally returned home to Japan, his homeland was physically, emotionally and economically devastated, hardly in a position to absorb legions of servicemen back into society.

The post-war occupation of Japan by the United States had as much to do with the forming of the modern nation as the war did.  With the country's own military leaders defeated and disgraced, the Japanese looked to General Douglas MacArthur as the new father figure.  Even when I was in Japan 50 years later, MacArthur was still held in high reverence by those who remembered.  Not all American decisions were popular or effective but their presence allowed the newly demilitarized Japan to build an economic foundation for the future.  Prosperity came sooner than expected.  When the United States entered the Korean War in 1950, Japan provided a staging ground and vital supplies.  The economy boomed.

Meanwhile, the author struggled to find his own place in the world.  The genius of the series is the effective interweaving of Mizuki's story with that of the nation.  For all of his troubles, his suffering was minimal compared to millions of Japanese.  The Showa series is a powerful reminder of the extraordinary journey the country has been on over the past three generations.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

On the Coffee Table: Phil Jackson

Title: Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success
Authors: Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty
via Amazon
Do you remember Suze?  She of the now defunct Subliminal Coffee blog?  Well, I sought out this book on her recommendation and finally got around to reading it.

Phil Jackson is the most successful coach in the history of American professional team sports.  Between Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers, his basketball teams won 11 NBA championships.  Some have belittled Jackson's own contributions to those star-laden squads.  But anyone who follows sports for any length of time knows that it takes more than assembling talent to win titles.  Those who worked with him and played for him admire his ability to manage egos and convince superstars to buy into a team concept.

Eleven Rings got a lot of press when it came out in 2013 as a different kind of sports book.  After all, Jackson was a different kind of coach, his style of leadership derived from his own, broad-ranging spiritual explorations, particularly Zen Buddhism.  He teaches his players meditation.  His famed Triangle Offense is designed to allow creativity rather than depending on rigid set plays.  He believes that a team's success or failure ultimately depends on players' relationships with one another, and also their coaches.  Eleven Rings documents all of this and as a teacher, I find Jackson's insights valuable.

But the book is still mostly basketball.  I don't know if one would enjoy the book much if one didn't like basketball.  I personally love the game but I don't follow the NBA, preferring the college game.  Interestingly, Jackson sees the same problem with the league that I do.  Since the Magic-Bird-Jordan days of the '80s, the NBA has valued individual players over teams and marketed itself accordingly.  As a result, the very rules of the game have evolved to spotlight the superstars and teams employ their tactics in order to take full advantage.  It's been years since I followed the league closely, really not since the mid '90s.  But I know the players well enough to enjoy a glimpse into their world.  I don't know if a non-fan would care.

Thanks for the recommendation, Suze, wherever you are!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Clone Wars: Monster

My friends and I are watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Every Tuesday, we will be featuring an episode from the series which began in 2008 (as opposed to the one that started in 2003).  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of the fun.

Episode: "Monster"
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 3, Episode 13
Original Air Date: January 14, 2011
via Wookieepedia
Obviously, if there are Nightsisters, there are going to be Nightbrothers, too!  In "Monster," the second episode of a three-part arc, we accompany Asajj Ventress as she ventures to the far side of Dathomir, where the males of the planet live, in order to find a suitable new apprentice for Count Dooku.  Darth Maul, Darth Sidious's first apprentice, emerged from this community, a major selling point for those in the market for young and promising evil henchmen.  In reality, the new guy will be loyal to Asajj, central to her plan for revenge upon her former master.  She sets the best young bucks on a three-stage challenge, the survivor to become her new minion.

The big winner is the subtly-named Savage Opress.  Savage distinguished himself from the other candidates by being protective of his younger brother, Feral.  In true Dark side fashion, this devotion is ultimately used to test his loyalty to his new master.  Once Asajj gets him back to the Nightsisters' abbey, they use their powers to bulk him up.  His emergence from this transformation is highly reminiscent of the birth of Lurtz, the first of the Uruk-hai created in the film version of The Fellowship of the Ring.

Savage is voiced by Clancy Brown, born Clarence J. Brown III on January 5, 1959 in Urbana, Ohio.  His mother was a professional classical musician.  Both his father and grandfather were Congressmen so he spent much of his childhood in Washington, DC.  He graduated from St. Albans School, then went on to Northwestern University.
via Wookieepedia
Brown has had a long, esteemed career playing the heavy.  He is almost certainly best-known as the sadistic prison guard Captain Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption.  Other films include Highlander, The Adventures of Burckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension and The Bride.  On television, he was the ultra-creepy Brother Justin Crowe in Carnivàle.  Other voice credits include Lex Luthor in various media and Mr. Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants.

Despite what his characters would lead one to believe, he is apparently a very nice guy, active in numerous charities.  He and his wife Jeanne Johnson have been married since 1993.  They have two children, a boy and a girl.

If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants today.  Next week: "Witches of the Mist."


Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Cephalophod Coffeehouse: July 2016 Blog List

Greetings to all!  I hope you'll join us for the next installment of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, an online gathering of bloggers who love books.  The next meeting is set for Friday, July 29th.  If you're interested, please sign on to the link list at the end of this post.

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.  Please join us:

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: June 2016

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: Samskara
Author: U.R. Anantha Murthy
Translator: A.K. Ramanujan
via goodreads
I've had this Indian novel on my shelves for 21 years.  I was assigned to read it in college but never did.  I've kept it with me through several moves and a brutal household book purge.  At 138 pages, it never took up much space.  Surely I'd read it one day, finally making my old Eastern Religions prof proud.  It took 21 years.  And now it's done.

So good, too.  Samskara packs a lot of punch into what is really a simple story.  A man, Naranappa, dies and his neighbors are at a loss as to how to properly dispose of the body.  According to Hindu law, he must be cremated.  But who should do the job?  Naranappa is a Brahmin so only another Brahmin can perform the necessary rites.  But Naranappa was not a good Brahmin.  He openly lived with his low caste concubine, Chandri, out of wedlock.  But he was never excommunicated for fear he would convert to Islam, poisoning the entire community beyond repair.  But Chandri offers a heap of gold jewelry to anyone who will claim responsibility and do the deed.  Such a dilemma...

While perspective switches between characters, most of the tale is told through Praneshacharya, the community's religious scholar.  His neighbors come to him for guidance but he is at a loss.  To his credit, though, while the others are motivated by self-interest, Praneshacharya (Acharya for short) genuinely wants to do the right thing.  For this man of pious virtue, life gets complicated when he is unexpectedly confronted with his own humanity.  Everything he has ever understood about himself and his world is thrown into confusion.

Samskara paints a richly detailed picture of India and the important role religion still plays in people's daily lives there.  Interestingly, it is only because of the mention of things like buses, flashlights and the Great Communicator (Nehru) that the story can reliably be placed in the 20th century.  One can easily imagine the same moral dilemmas playing out a thousand years before.

So yes, I finally read it and genuinely enjoyed it.  Prof got the last laugh.

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post July's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last  Friday of each month.  Next gathering is July 29th.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

On the Coffee Table: Diana Wynne Jones

Title: Charmed Life
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
via Goodreads
Charmed Life is the first book of The Chronicles of Chrestomanci series, at least according to the author's own suggested reading order.  Diana Wynne Jones has long been my daughter's favorite author and when I asked her for her favorite book, Charmed Life is the one she handed to me.

Eric and Gwendolyn Chant are orphaned when their parents drown in a boating accident.  Gwendolyn seems to have inherited all of her parents' magical powers while Eric (referred to as Cat by his sister) appears to have none.  Eventually, they come under the care and tutelage of Christopher Chant, better known in the wizarding world as Chrestomanci.

Being a Miyazaki fan, I am more familiar with Jones's Howl's Moving Castle series.  Charmed Life was actually written first, though anyone who knows the Howl books will notice common narrative elements.  For starters, Howl and Chrestomanci are similar characters: tall men in flashy clothing, powerful wizards, not especially verbal, intimidating to everyone around them.  Travels between parallel worlds are important to both stories and in both cases, one of the worlds is our own.

Now that I've read it, I'm a little surprised at my daughter's fondness for it.  Not that it's not good.  It is good.  But for a long time, I've worked under the assumption that she preferred stories with female protagonists - not the case here.  In fact, Gwendowlyn turns out to be highly objectionable indeed.  My daughter does love stories about magic, though, and there's plenty of it here.  It's a fun read.  I'm definitely interested in reading more of the series.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On the Coffee Table: Fumi Yoshinaga

Title: All My Darling Daughters
Writer and Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga
via Wikipedia

Yukiko is a career woman in her thirties who still lives with her mother, though the relationship is not an easy one.  Tensions mount when Mom announces she's getting married - to a man younger than Yukiko.  The rest of the book explores the relationships both romantic and familial of Yukiko and her circle of friends.  The themes are subtle ones: no relationship is ever simple and what one sees from the outside is never the whole story.

All My Darling Daughters is a josei manga, meaning it is targeted to women, ages 15-44.  The North American publisher recommends it for older teens, probably about right.  The sexual content, while far from pornographic, is too heavy for me to simply hand it to my twelve-year-old daughter.  I enjoyed the book but was not swept away by it.  The stories are sophisticated and the artwork competent.  Explorations of sexual politics in Japan are always interesting to me and the balancing of personal and professional lives is a hot topic there now.  So, I'd say it's a good book, not a great one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Clone Wars: Nightsisters

My friends and I are watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Every Tuesday, we will be featuring an episode from the series which began in 2008 (as opposed to the one that started in 2003).  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of the fun.

Episode: "Nightsisters"
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 3, Episode 12
Original Air Date: January 7, 2011
via Wookieepedia
"Nightsisters" is a big episode for the development of Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku's apprentice, though not for much longer, as it turns out.  Darth Sidious (aka Palpatine) now perceives her as a threat and commands Dooku to destroy her.  Dooku dutifully follows the order, or so he believes.  While the ship she had been on was destroyed, Asajj manages to slip away at the last moment and makes her way to her home world, Dathomir.

From here, we get a full origin story for Asajj.  The episode also introduces her "family": the Nightsisters, a witch coven who wield magic derived from the Dark side of the Force.  Fortunately, we're going to have a chance to explore this group further over the next couple episodes.
via Wookieepedia
The coven is led by Mother Talzin.  She welcomes Asajj back into the fold and helps her plan her revenge.  In time, we learn she holds respected status on the Dark side, at least enough to inspire Dooku's trust.  Visually, she is based on unused concept art for the character of Darth Maul.  She is voiced by Barbara Goodson.  Told the show was looking for a "Romanian witch" voice, Goodson based her performance on horror actress Maria Oupenskaya.
via Behind the Voice Actors
Barbara Goodson was born August 16, 1949 in Brooklyn, New York.  While her voice resume is extensive, her biggest gig has been the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers franchise, for which she voiced the character of Rita Repulsa among others.  She has also contributed to Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock, Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky and numerous anime projects.

If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants today.  Next week: "Monster."


Monday, June 20, 2016

On the Coffee Table: How to Cook a Wolf

Title: How to Cook a Wolf
Author: M.F.K. Fisher
via Amazon
How to Cook a Wolf is the third book of five in M.F.K. Fisher's collection, The Art of Eating.  My reviews of the first two books are here and here.  Fisher wrote How to Cook a Wolf in 1942 just as the United States had entered World War II and food rationing had become a national reality.  The author's intention was to demonstrate that good eating could and should continue during difficult times. 

The book was not quite what I was expecting.  After reading Bee Wilson's book Swindled, which included details of the lengths some went to in order to endure dire food shortages during the War, I anticipated more basic survival cooking.  But of course, Fisher was writing from an American perspective, not a European one and that makes all the difference.  She writes of how to manage with less meat than you could buy before, not how to make the most out of sawdust and grubs or perhaps even literally how to cook a lupine trespasser should one have the misfortune of wandering through the yard.  (I must admit, the idiom of a wolf at the door was a new one for me.)

I've also grown accustomed to Fisher writing more about eating than cooking and this book definitely spends more time in the kitchen than at the table, including full recipes.  While some of her advice is dated - she raves about canned and frozen vegetables, hard to imagine any food writer doing that now - many of her basic principles for how to live simply on a limited budget are sound and eternally relevant.  She also includes unexpected chapters on such topics as feeding your pets, drinking well (actually not so unexpected from Fisher) and maintaining one's feminine charms while slaving away in the kitchen (I especially appreciate her ultimate conclusion with that one: don't worry about it).

The main draw to Fisher as a reader is her effortless wit.  If I had known the woman in real life, I would always have angled to sit near her at a dinner party.  While her humor shines through, the editing of How to Cook a Wolf leaves much to be desired.  When Fisher revised the book in 1951, she included footnotes, mainly to highlight the significant differences in American life just a few years later.  The footnotes are embedded as parenthetical comments within the text - more than a little distracting.  Once one gets used to the format, though, one realizes that most of the book's snark is contained within those parentheses.

I don't think this would be a good first Fisher book for a curious reader.  The editing would be more annoying without previous exposure to her style.  But for practical advice, it is the best of the three books I've read so far.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Family Movie Night: Bridge to Terabithia

Title: Bridge to Terabithia
Director: Gábor Csupó
Original Release: 2007
Choice: Purple Penguin's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
Bridge to Terabithia is based on Katherine Paterson's novel of the same name.  Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) is a talented but socially awkward 12-year-old boy who becomes friends with the new girl Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb), just moved in next door.  Neither makes easy connections with the kids at school but they are drawn to each other.  Together, they create a fantasy world in the woods called Terabithia, one that becomes vividly alive on screen.  Jess's younger sister May Belle (Bailee Madison) tries to tag along but Jess is eager to keep this part of his life to himself so he pushes her away.

In time, tragedy strikes and it hits hard.  What began as a story about a search for belonging becomes one about coping with loss.  The change is quite abrupt, in some ways a little too abrupt.  But then, life is like that, isn't it?

Obviously, the story relies heavily on child actors: always a risk.  Fortunately, Robb and Madison are both delightful.  Hutcherson is a bit stiff, though maybe that's not so inappropriate for the character.  Somebody liked what they saw.  Terabithia was the first big role for Hutcherson on the path that eventually saw him cast as Peeta Mellark in the Hunger Games series.

The visual elements of the fantasy world are fun, though really Terabithia ends up being a relatively minor part of the story.  Ultimately, the path we follow is Jess's emotional journey and it's a compelling one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Clone Wars: Pursuit of Peace

My friends and I are watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Every Tuesday, we will be featuring an episode from the series which began in 2008 (as opposed to the one that started in 2003).  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of the fun.

Episode: "Pursuit of Peace"
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 3, Episode 11
Original Air Date: December 3, 2010
via Wookieepedia
No Jedi this time - always seems worth mentioning.  And a strong episode, too.  In fact, I would say "Pursuit of Peace" is a leading candidate for best episode of the season.

In a continuation of last week's story, Padmé is working desperately to defeat a senate bill that would deregulate the banks, allowing for a massive increase in funding for clone production.  Her efforts have been undermined by an attack on Coruscant, followed by personal assaults upon senators sympathetic to her point of view.  We all know from the real world how difficult it is to push back against widespread panic.  As she struggles to find the right message - and messenger - to convince her colleagues not to bankrupt the Republic for the sake of war, she turns to Teckla Minnau, her handmaiden, for insights into the impact of the conflict on the citizenry.  The result is genuinely moving.
via Wookieepedia
Minnau first appeared in the novelization of Attack of the Clones.  In this episode, she is voiced by Ashley Moynihan.  This is the second of two Clone Wars appearances for Moynihan.  She was also Cadet Soniee in "The Academy."  Other voice work includes the TV series Wulin Warriors: Legend of the Seven Stars and Detective Conan and the video game Grand Theft Auto IV.
via Behind the Voice Actors
If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants today.  Next week: "Nightsisters."


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mock Squid Soup: July 2016 Blog List

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to present Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society!

Next meeting is Friday, July 8th.  As announced last month, the plan for this month is for each participant to pick someone else's movie from our ever-growing society library.  I maintain a list of those movies here, also to be found on my page list as "Mock Squid Soup Film Library."

The signup list:

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mock Squid Soup: Ant-Man

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to welcome you to Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society, meetings on the second Friday of each month.  Last week, society members posted three clues as to their chosen film for the month.  Today is the big reveal.  A reminder on my clues:

- The hero is played by an accomplished comedic actor.  In his first big role, he played a borderline-incestuous love interest in a Jane Austen adaptation.

- The female lead is played by an actress who first came to prominence when her character was stranded on a tropical island.

- The actor who portrayed the villain was also a sleazy politician in a popular streaming series.

Title: Ant-Man
Director: Peyton Reed
Original Release: 2015
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki
Over the past several months, I've been playing catch up with superhero movies.  In advance of our going to see Captain America: Civil War, Mock lent me a couple of DVDs to watch in preparation: Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man.  Of the two, Ant-Man was my favorite: a self-contained story with clearly drawn, well-acted characters.

Ant-Man made his first comic book appearance in 1962.  Scientist Hank Pym discovered a serum that allowed him to shrink to insect size.  As we join his story in the film, Pym (Michael Douglas) has fallen out of favor with his own company.  His former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is the new man in charge and he's out to replicate Pym's technology.  Pym is worried, justifiably as we learn, that Cross's motivations are less than noble.

Pym needs a new guy to wear the Ant-Man suit.  Enter Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), an expert cat burglar with his heart in the right place.  Hank and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) convince Lang to join the cause.

Obviously, the movie plays a lot with the idea of scale.  For instance, there's a great chase scene on a toy train set - not quite as awesome as the one in Wallace and Gromit's The Wrong Trousers but still pretty cool.  I also enjoyed Lang's training, especially as he was learning about the different species of ants and how to work with them.  Apparently Rudd bought a huge ant farm in preparation for the role.

Rudd's natural comedic instincts also brings something new to the genre.  The humor doesn't feel campy at all with him.  It's also not so much humor that the story feels like a spoof.  It's a nice balance.

Getting back to my clues...

- The hero is played by an accomplished comedic actor.  In his first big role, he played a borderline-incestuous love interest in a Jane Austen adaptation.

Rudd's breakthrough came in the movie Clueless, adapted from Jane Austen's Emma.  

- The female lead is played by an actress who first came to prominence when her character was stranded on a tropical island.

Evangeline Lilly played Kate in the ABC series Lost.   Full disclosure: I disliked Lost intensely, the character of Kate especially.  But to Lilly's credit, she has shown surprising dynamism in her roles since, including this one.

- The actor who portrayed the villain was also a sleazy politician in a popular streaming series. 

Corey Stoll played Representative Peter Russo in Netflix's House of Cards.
Next meeting is Friday, July 8th.  I'll post July's blog list tomorrow.  For July, pick another society member's choice from our ever increasing library to review.  Today, please visit my fellow cinephiles, listed below:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

On the Coffee Table: Kim

Title: Kim
Author: Rudyard Kipling
via Amazon
Kim tells the tale of the orphan son of an Irish soldier, living on the streets of Lahore, late 19th century.  The young, homeless Kim gets by on both wit and charm, weaving in and out of both Hindu and Muslim company as needs suit him.  He is known to his acquaintances as Little Friend of All the World.  He also has a talent for finding people who look out for him.  The Pashtun horse trader (also a British spy) Mahbub Ali employs him as a messenger.  Teshoo Lama, a Tibetan monk, takes him on as guide and disciple.  Through such friends, Kim finds education, adventure and ultimately his own place in the world.

While Kipling's colonialist attitudes are on full display in Kim, his deep love for India, the nation of his birth, is obvious.  Kipling embraces India's rich cultural, lingual, religious and even geographic diversity.  Kim's travels criss-cross the Subcontinent, even taking us to the edge of the Himalayas.  For the author, I can only imagine that Victorian England must have seemed awfully dull in comparison.

I've gone back and forth over whether I would encourage my wife to read Kim.  She loves spy stories though, admittedly, Kim isn't really much of one - more an adventure tale with hints of espionage flavoring.  It's certainly fun as an armchair tour of colonial India but there are probably better books for that, too.  So, probably not.  But it's an enjoyable read.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Clone Wars: Heroes on Both Sides

My friends and I are watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Every Tuesday, we will be featuring an episode from the series which began in 2008 (as opposed to the one that started in 2003).  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of the fun.

Episode: "Heroes on Both Sides"
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 3, Episode 10
Original Air Date: November 19, 2010
via Wookieepedia
There's a push in the Republican senate to increase war funding.  Padmé and her allies, however, advocate for negotiations to end the war.   Ahsoka struggles to follow all of the politics so Padmé takes her under wing.  The two of them arrange for a secret, unsanctioned visit to Raxus, the capital of the Confederacy of Independent Systems.  There, they meet with Mina Bonteri, an old friend of Padmé's, now a Separatist senator.

The Clone Wars is pretty good at exploring its political backdrop and this week's episode in particular provides a new perspective on the Republic's presumed enemy: the Separatists.  I say "presumed" because the whole point of this story is for Ahsoka, and us, to see that the Separatists are not all ruthlessly evil like Dooku and Grievous.  In fact, most of them have legitimate gripes against the Republic and [gasp!] the Jedi.  What we already know, though our heroes don't see it yet, is that the real threat comes from the folks in the middle who are playing both sides: Lott Dod and his fellow profiteers, in this case.

What was it Eisenhower said about the military industrial complex?
via Wookieepedia
While on Raxus, Ahsoka spends most of her time with Lux, Bonteri's son.  At first, she is hostile to him and he doesn't help his own case much when he reveals a physical attraction to her.  But over time, she warms to him and it is through this relationship in particular that we see hope for the future - hope which we already know will be shattered.  Lux will be back in Season 4.
via Wikipedia
Lux is voiced by Jason Spisak.  Spisak was born August 29, 1973 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  While he has the extensive voice acting resume I've come to expect, he is also an accomplished computer programmer.  He designed something called the Mezzo desktop environment for the Symphony OS Project and also wrote the Laws of Interface Design.  No, I don't entirely understand the previous sentence but if you do, I trust you are suitably impressed by Mr. Spisak.

If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants today.  Next week: "Pursuit of Peace."


Friday, June 3, 2016

Mock Squid Soup: June's Three Clues

Today, for this month's edition of Mock Squid Soup, all society members are invited to post three hints about their film choice for the month.  All are welcome to guess, of course.  My three clues:

- The hero is played by an accomplished comedic actor.  In his first big role, he played a borderline-incestuous love interest in a Jane Austen adaptation.

- The female lead is played by an actress who first came to prominence when her character was stranded on a tropical island.

- The actor who portrayed the villain was also a sleazy politician in a popular streaming series.

Any guesses?  Society reviews will be posted next Friday, June 10th.  See you then.  Meanwhile, please visit my fellow cinephiles today: