Rogue One: An (Average) Star Wars Story

Sans a droid and the closing moments, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is an average movie.

Entertaining?  Absolutely.

Worth the price of the admission?  Yes.

Best Star Wars movie ever – f*ck no.

Force choke yourself if you exited the movie believing this idea.  Simply not having (mild spoiler alert) Jar-Jar Binks (I know Jar-Jar’s 12 fans are disappointed by his absence – again) ensures that Rogue One is better than Episode I & II.  Better than III, IV, V, VI, or VII?!  No.

Rogue One’s (R1’s) short comings come in the form of a rushed plot, simple script and dialogue, and bland presentation.  The only instances in which I sensed any emotional investment or gravitational pull towards a character was with thd entertaining drone (his witty one liners become stale by movie’s end) and nostalgic characters from other episodes.  Simply plugging an average script into the Star Wars universe does not make for a compelling movie.

You’re left wanting more.  Rogue One feels like Disney knew they needed to deliver ice cream but they gave us vanilla.  I like ice cream, however, it’s really hard to f*ck up ice cream.

Rogue One will satisfy your Star Wars appetite until Episode VIII – but, nothing more.

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5 Ways to Dump a Friend: WWE Style

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

-Jim Rohn

This quote, or some variant of, makes its way around social media – ALL THE F*CKING TIME.  Yeah, me and my friends are the coolest.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  Well, but that one guy though…

Now, what do you do about that one guy who is no longer up to par?

Do you have a friend who needs to get lost?

Thankfully, WWE has given us timeless examples of how to dump that friend of yours who is (only) a B+ (at best) player.  You’re moving up.  You’re moving on.

Here are 5 Ways to Dump a Friend:  WWE Style.

1. Put them through a barbershop window

Everyone has a friend like Marty Jannety.  He’s just, well, boring. You pity him (especially if he has a sweet mullet, too).  His vanilla does not mix with your rocky road.

Well, you and your friend just may find yourselves in a barbershop and when you do, it is time to cut bait, and ditch your friend.  “Sorry, bro – it’s not me.  It’s you”  (He’ll leave in such shame and disgrace, that he’ll find his way out through the window.  Sidenote:  never get your hair cut from a barber if he looks like this or this.  Run.).

2.  A chair to the back of the spine

You’re the chosen one.  You’re the rightful heir to the future and present.  You find yourself in the predicament that you need to eliminate two friends at the same time.  The weaponry simply acts to neutralize the numbers advantage.

3.  Your Title/Trophy to their Face

Is your friend jealous and envious of you and your standing with your significant other?

Is your friend jealous of well – you.

Don’t take their two-face, prayer saying, vitamin eating, hard training  ways.  They’ll attempt to move-in and steal your thunder (and your girl).  Thankfully, your (Madness) ways will take matters into your own hands and your championship will find a new home -their face.

4.  Tear apart their belongings

Is your friend avoiding you at all costs?  Do they like to ghost your invitations?  “Hey man, I want a shot at the title.”  Friend:  (silence).  Bring in a new friend (his replacement) to serve as a manager and talking piece.  When you’re the 8th Wonder of the World, you do not need to talk any more than you are required.  After your new friend says what he needs, just rip off their shirt.  Your sheer intensity will cause their respective religious medallion to rip off in the process, too.  Sorry man – you should have just texted me back.

5.  Put Their Face on TV

Does your friend blatantly lie?  Do not tolerate their poor morals and character.  You can do better.  Once their head goes through a television, your message will come across loud and clear:  you are moving on.

 

Busy? You’re Not Busy – You’re Lazy

“Hey – how are you doing today?”

“Busy.”

Holy.  Sh*t.  If the next person responds to the question, “How are you doing today?” with, “Busy” I will lose my mind.

Last week within just a few hours, nearly a dozen people mindlessly recited to me that they were busy.  The hell does this even mean anymore?

Everyone is ‘busy.’  Congratulations, you’re just like everyone else in the world.

Everyone has 34,003 things on their plate.  Some more ‘important’ than others.  However, when has this word becomes a badge of honor, who is really ‘busy’ and who is just really ‘lazy?’

We’re not busy.  We are distracted.  Distracted by the notifications, the bells, and the whistles of modern conveniences and autonomy.  Thanks group text message notification, you’re killing me.

Anyways, here are four tips to become less ‘busy:’

  1. Establish the day’s priority.

Competing priorities?  Once everything becomes the priority, nothing is the priority.  When something is essential, it is a thing (not several or multiple things) that is absolutely necessary.  You can rob Peter to pay Paul, or you can tell Paul to f*ck off until you are able to pay him in full.  Congratulations Peter, you have been spared on this day.

2. No one cares.

Spare another the tale your tale of woe with your ‘busy’ day.  No one cares about your ‘Lifetime Story’ where you are you nominated for Best Actor/Actress in the leading role of the victim.  When someone asks if you are busy – smile, and say your day is going well.  More importantly, ask how their day is going.  95% chance their day is ‘busy.’

3.  Own your ‘To-Do’ List

Yeah – your boss, your sister, your blah blah blah just dumped stuff on you.  Own it.  Figure out how to get the sh*t done and don’t place the onerous on another – place it on yourself.

4.  Get off social media, email, television, and turn off notifications.

Simply detox from these’outlets’ which do not serve your purpose of No. 1.  If you’re REALLY busy but you have plenty of time to tell someone about the latest viral video from YouTube or you take endless ‘Personality’ quizzes on Facebook – this just in you’re not f*cking busy.  Also, it is quite okay to cheat on your iPhone or Galaxy with a book.  Also, turn off ALL notifications on your phone.  No one, yourself included, needs to be tethered to your device every 73 seconds in which a ‘bing’ goes off.

If you’d like to turn in your badge of honor called ‘busy,’ the world will thank you for it.  At the least, the person who asks how your day is going will be grateful.

 

 

Stoic Sunday – All In

 

Every hour of the day give vigorous attention, as a Roman and as a man, to the performance of the task in hand with precise analysis with unaffected dignity, with human sympathy, with dispassionate justice — and to vacating your mind from all its other thoughts.  And you will achieve this vacation if you perform each action as if it were the last of your life:  free, that is, from all lack of aim, from all passion-led deviation from the ordinance of reason, from pretense, from love to self, from dissatisfaction with what fate has dealt you.

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Two, Five

F*ck.  I love this passage – a favorite of mine.  This section in ‘Meditations’ is bracketed, underlined, and bracketed again.  Each segment and thought deserves a reciting with bold intensity and careful analysis.  F*ck it, here it is again (but, this time, allow the words and their meaning to marinate):

Every hour of the day give vigorous attention, as a Roman and as a man, to the performance of the task in hand with precise analysis with unaffected dignity, with human sympathy, with dispassionate justice — and to vacating your mind from all its other thoughts.  And you will achieve this vacation if you perform each action as if it were the last of your life:  free, that is, from all lack of aim, from all passion-led deviation from the ordinance of reason, from pretense, from love to self, from dissatisfaction with what fate has dealt you.

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Two, Five

Every hour of the day…

All the f*cking time.  Not some of time time.  All of the time.  “Pat, I like to sleep 6-8 hours a day.”  Even when you sleep.

…give vigorous attention…

None of this weak a*s, kind of attention.  We’re talking ‘all in.’

…as a Roman and as a man…

I prefer ‘as a Warrior’ but the title is irrelevant.  Principled.  Convicted.  These values are indifferent to sex.

…to the performance of the task at hand…

11 Essential Ingredients for the Perfect Brunch

Brunch without alcohol is just a depressing breakfast.  

-Abraham Lincoln

 

Wise words Honest Abe.

Well, what makes brunch the ‘perfect brunch?’   If you must ask, the following ingredients will get you on your way.

  1. Mimosas

    Add vodka.  Is it a ‘screw driver’ with champagne?  Is it a mimosa with vodka?  Who knows.  Who cares.  Thank me later.

  2. Bacon

    Sorry Vegans.  Sorry 3 Little Pigs.  This is a must.  And a lot of bacon too.

  3. Bloody Marys

    Rim the glass with Old Bay, add everything else in your kitchen and some vodka.  Stir with a stick of celery.  Look classy AF.

  4. Coffee

    A solid  pick me up in between those Mimosas and Bloodies and helps with last evening’s activities.

  5. Eggs Benedict

    Second to bacon.  Calories do not count and are not observed during the hours of  Brunch.

  6. Awesome Fu*king Friends

    If you do not have awesome fu*king friends, keep drinking No. 1 and No. 3 until your friends or company becomes fu*cking awesome.

  7. Mimosas

    In the event No. 1 was dismissed or skipped, here is a reminder.

  8. 90s Rap

    Perhaps you prefer something else?  Nickelback?  Creed?  No.  Not at brunch.  Blast Biggie and enjoy some nostalgia rhymes with your mimosa.  Here is a brief playlist:

    1. Notorious BIG – Big Poppa
    2. Warren G – Regulate
    3. Notorious BIG – Juicy
    4. Luniz – I Got 5 On It
    5. Notorious BIG – Hypnotize
    6. Notorious BIG – Mo Money Mo Problems
    7. Warren G – Regulate
    8. Tupac – California Love
    9. Snoop Dogg – Gin & Juice
  9. Soul Food

    Biscuits & Gravy.  Chicken & Waffles.  Grits.  Yes.  Yes. And yes.

  10. Lunch (I guess?)

    Lunch on the menu is like the red-headed step-child of the family portrait.  Sure, it’s part of the family but it really sticks out.

  11. Sunglasses & Advil

    You’ll need these for the following morning.  Trust me.

 

What did I miss?

Make Wrestling Great Again!

Hulk Hogan.  ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage.  Andre the Giant.  Ultimate Warrior.  Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts.  ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude.  The Undertaker.  Mr. Perfect.

Do those names look familiar?  If not, I am sincerely sorry.  If so, you had an amazing childhood – gold star unlocked.

Either way, at Renaissance Nerd we will introduce (or reintroduce) you to the nuances of professional wrestling.  This will encompass a historical perspective of wrestling as I knew it as a child with the names above, to the Monday Night Wars feature WCW and NWO, to the Ruthless Aggression era, to today’s wrestling.

“Pat, but professional wrestling is fake.”  Sure, Professional wrestling is predetermined; however, it is most definitely not fake.  Just ask Mick Foley how he felt after the Undertaker threw him off the Hell in Cell.  Predetermined, yeah.  Fake, hell no.

Pat – we need you to fall from the cage.  F*ck it, I’m out.

This brings it back to myself, and professional wrestling – why do I enjoy it so much?  The answer is simple, but innocent.  Of all the pleasures I enjoy, few connect me to my childhood.  Aside from the Baltimore Orioles, the one constant has and always will be professional wrestling.  I can, from memory, tell you the context of the time frame of where I was when random events occurred in the WWF.  Most importantly, I remember the first time I watched a Pay Per View, and  I remember like it was yesterday.  The 1994 Royal Rumble.

1994 Royal Rumble

“Don’t you ask your Grandmother if you can get that wrestling shit!”

I was told this as I was being dropped off at my grandmother’s house.  (30 minutes later)

“Bubbie (my grandmother is Jewish)…(all sheepish like a 9 year old would ask), can I, I mean, can we order the Royal Rumble?  I was told not to ask you…”

Sure as shit – she ordered it.  Something along the lines she was going to do whatever she damn well pleased.  Anyways….THIS WAS IT!  The 30 man over the top battle royal where the winner would go on to WRESTLEMANIA for a shot at the title.  Undertaker was facing Yokozuna (a morbidly obese Samoan who portrayed a sumo wrestler…WWF is not racially sensitive) in a CASKET MATCH for the WWF title.  Somehow this sumo wrestler was wearing the same strap that Hulk Hogan used to wear so clearly this sumo wrestler was as good as Hulk Hogan (according to kayfabe).

Well, the Undertaker was all ready to win and defeat the obese sumo wrestler until Mr. Fuji contracted 4098 wrestlers to prevent the Undertaker from winning the casket match.  Complete, and utter bull shit.  Then…the Undertaker ascended into the heavens (see below) and gave me nightmares for a solid week.  Hell, most likely until I was at least 24.

Nightmare inducing video – watch at your own risk

Then it was time for the MAIN EVENT – the ROYAL RUMBLE.  I must have watched this match at least 93 times in the weeks which followed.  Hell, it is predetermined AND I knew who was going to win, but I would watch anyways.  Big Daddy Cool Diesel would go on to eliminate about 18 guys and kick the shit out of these two dudes in cowboy boots and tight Wrangler jeans (The Smoking Gunns — get it? [sigh]).  But the big question on everyone’s mind – would Bret Hart (my favorite) return after injuring his knee earlier in the night in a Tag Team Match.  Owen (Bret’ brother) kicked his leg under his leg.  Got that?  Damnit Owen, you ruined it.

Owen Hart articulating kicking a leg under a leg?  I’m still confused.

Well, somehow some dude named Lex Luger who bored me to tears came out with his titanium plated bicep draped in red, white, and blue and would spoil the party.  He’d go on a tear and eliminate nearly everyone until my man Bret Hart hobbled down to the ring.  He must have taken some Aleve or a few Tylenol – something, but here he was!  And then it happened.  Bret and Lex tangled up, and went over the ropes…and boom both of their feet hit the floor.  At.  The.  Same.  Time.  Co-winners.  I was 9, confused, and pissed.  How could this guy cost Bret the opportunity to wrestle Yokozuna and his 23409 friends at Wrestlemania?

Oh well, I was hooked.  I was hooked prior to watching the Royal Rumble, but I sure as hell was hooked afterwards.

The 2017 Royal Rumble is in a few weeks, and there is one thing I know – Lex Luger better not come out and mess up this one for anybody.

 

Tuesday with TED – Army/Navy Edition

Technology.  Entertainment.  Design.  More affectionately known as, ‘TED.’  These ‘talks’ offer an engaging presentation of revolutionary ideas and perspectives from brilliant minds.

Each week, we’ll examine a TED Talk from TED’s expansive library of topics ranging from the annual TED Conference to locally, organized TEDx Events.

Befitting of Army/Navy week, we’ll look at General Stanley McChrystal’s talk on leadership and Admiral James Stavridis’ talk on global security.

Stanley McChrystal:  Listen, learn,…then lead.

  • And I saw my battalion commander, because I had let him down. And I went up to apologize to him, and he said, “Stanley, I thought you did great.” And in one sentence, he lifted me, put me back on my feet, and taught me that leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure.
  • So how does a leader stay credible and legitimate when they haven’t done what the people you’re leading are doing? And it’s a brand new leadership challenge. And it forced me to become a lot more transparent, a lot more willing to listen, a lot more willing to be reverse-mentored from lower.
  • I came to believe that a leader isn’t good because they’re right; they’re good because they’re willing to learn and to trust.  This isn’t easy stuff.  It’s not like that electronic abs machine where, 15 minutes a month, you get washboard abs.  (Laughter)  And it isn’t always fair.  You can get knocked down, and it hurts and it leaves scars.  But if you’re a leader, the people you’ve counted on will help you up.  And if you’re a leader, the people who count on you need you on your feet.

Of all the TED Talks I have listened, McChystral’s is by far one of my personal favorites.  The quote of ‘leaders can let you fail and not let you be a failure’ and ‘…if you’re a leader, the people you’ve counted on will help you up.  And if you’re a leader, the people who count on you need you on your feet’ speak volumes.

When you’re entrusted to a program or project, the people in which you lead will fail.  They will experince short comings.  ‘Fail early, fail often.’  In the context of brainstorming orgenerating ideas for momentum, the more initial action created the greater the body of work one has to edit or revise.

Successful organizations encourage failing, but most importantly, failing without retribution.  The idea or notion of, ‘don’t come to me with a problem, come to me with a solution’ is archaic and antiquated.  If an engineer has a problem but has one in which he is unable to solve, should that individual keep that problem to themself?  No.  Ultimately, open communication, transparency, authenticity will breed trust.  And trust is the lifeblood of any healthy relationship.

James Stavridis:  How NATO’s Supreme Commander Thinks About Global Security

  • My thesis is, open-source security is about international, interagency, private-public connection pulled together by this idea of strategic communication on the Internet.
  • It’s a perfect evocation of that great population survey, the six largest nations in the world in descending order: China, India, Facebook, the United States, Twitter and Indonesia.
  • …there will be times when we will apply hard power in true war and crisis, but there will be many instances, as we’ve talked about today, where our militaries can be part of creating 21st-century security, international, interagency, private-public, connected with competent communication.

  • No one person, no one alliance, no one nation, no one of us is as smart as all of us thinking together.

  • My thesis for you is that by combining international, interagency, private-public, strategic communication, together, in this 21st century, we can create the sum of all security.

Open-source.  This is the popular method in which problems are solved.  As alluded to by Stavridis, the military in its role must be flexible and agile to play the kinetic role it is designed, but also an expansive non-kinetic role which engages and leverages the capabilities of other agencies and entities.

‘Stove pipe’ is a common theme in organizations.  The more issues and problems are addressed by a broader talent base, a more efficient and better resolution is sure to rise.  The military and global security is no exception.