Wednesday, June 25, 2003

I'm hot, bored, and under-caffeinated. 'Tis a combination that inevitably leads to babbling about Star Wars....

:: The clamoring as to the title of Episode III has apparently begun, over on AICN. As usual for AICN, the "TalkBack" provides some fine nuggets of amusement (Star Wars Episode III: All Your Base Are Belong To Us) amongst the throngs of "Star Wars sucks, God bless The Matrix" posts. Oh well. As for me, I think that trying to guess the title for Episode III is a pretty useless exercise, because in both of the last two cases, the titles eventually announced were not titles that anyone would have thought of before. The only Star Wars film to have an obvious title is The Empire Strikes Back, and I don't expect things to change now. So I'll just wait and see.

:: Over on the rec.arts.sf.written newsgroup, a thread recently kicked off about "Sequels that ruin the original", which eventually settled on a number of haughty, "literate" SF-fan types savaging The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, with no one complaining that those discussions were off-topic in a written SF newsgroup (but just try discussing any other SF movie there and see what happens). Anyway, one mini-debate within the larger debate is on Han Solo's well-known "gaffe" when he claims that the Millennium Falcon is "the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs".

Most people assume that Han is using "parsec" as a unit of time, which it is not -- a parsec is a unit of distance -- which most people therefore take to mean something like, "I drove between Buffalo and San Francisco in less than two hundred miles", an absurdity. The obvious explanation -- that Han somehow found a much shorter, and more dangerous and therefore more impressive, route for executing the Kessel Run -- is usually rejected, because well, George Lucas is a hack and just couldn't have come up with anything clever like that. Whatever.

I do recall, though, that when I grew up in Western New York, my family would occasionally drive to visit my grandmother who lived in New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia. This involves moving southeast -- but the problem for us, from a driving perspective, was that there is no good south-east route between Western New York and Southeastern Pennsylvania. So we'd do a "stair-step" kind of route, going a bit east then a bit south then a bit east then a bit south and so on, until we reached Philly. Thus, a trip that was about 300 miles "as the crow flies" turned into a 400 mile drive. Of course, my father never gave up the dream of finding the "Southeast Passage", which usually involved narrow country roads through the hill country of central Pennsylvania (think Deliverance, but farther north). So we were trying to make the "Philadelphia Run in less than 400 miles".

Thus, Han's claim has never bothered me. Go figure.

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