Star Wars was released in theaters on May 25th, 1977. In honor of the film’s 40th anniversary here are ten facts you didn’t know about Star Wars.
10. At the final awards ceremony Luke, Han, and Chewbacca all received medals made of chocolate wrapped in gold foil. Chewbacca is not seen wearing one because he ate his.
9. The Rebel fleet had over two dozen Corellian battleships that provided back-up and support for the smaller X and Y-wing fighters. These were not shown in the epic finale because of cost and licensing issues with the manufacturer on Corellia.
8. The battle station plans stolen by Princess Leia and transported by R2-D2 were encrypted. The code was only finally broken when C-3PO, who is fluent in between four and six million forms of communication, spilled coffee on the plans.
7. The Rebel base on the forest moon of the planet Yavin was built entirely out of Empire surplus.
6. There was a Starbucks™ on every level of the Death Star. Shortly before his final confrontation with Darth Vader Obi-Wan Kenobi was seen on station security cameras in one enjoying a tall macchiato.
5. The creature in the Death Star’s trash compactor was a dianoga. Native to the planet Vodran it was intentionally captured and placed there as part of the Empire’s organic waste recycling program. The metal beams and styrofoam waste in the trash compactor were supposed to have been placed in a different specially marked trash compactor. This along with the escape by Luke, Han, Chewbacca, and Leia prompted a thorough review of the station’s waste disposal program en route to Yavin. (Previously: The Dianoga Is In The Details.)
4. The Death Star was never actually called that by the Empire. It was known as the Mobile Operations and Ordinance Nexus. Lucas deliberately changed the name, saying, “It’s a space station, not a MOON.” Alderaan was also already scheduled for demolition to make way for a hyperspace bypass, which is a bonus fact I just threw in there.
3. Chewbacca has a galaxy-wide reputation as a champion of more than two dozen Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit tournaments.
2. Mos Eisley mayor Momaw Nadon is quick to point out that “You’ll Never Find A More Wretched Hive Of Scum & Villainy!” is a local joke and that the crime rate is actually lower than that of Poughkeepsie. He also still emcees a Wednesday night comedy night at the cantina, although Figrin D’an And The Modal Nodes have since been replaced by The Lolas, an all-drag Kinks tribute band.
1. Owen and Beru Lars were detained but eventually released by the Empire. Owen repeatedly responded to Stormtroopers’ questions with, “I told you to forget it,” and they would for several hours before returning to question him again. The couple would later sell their moisture farm and retire to Naboo after suing Lucasfilm for portraying them as dead. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount.
And one more bonus fact:
Empire soldiers did not destroy escape pods leaving the Tantive-IV Rebel ship seen at the beginning of the film. Acting on Darth Vader’s orders to bring him all passengers alive they traced all escape pods to the crash sites and the occupants were either captured or died in the Tatooine desert. The idea that C-3PO and R2-D2 just happened to get away because their pod appeared unmanned has been described by many involved as “too implausible to be true”.
“Not bad for strawberries, eh?
“What did you expect from figs?”
“How do I know it’s a good rambutan?”
“No, it’s jackfruit.”
“Don’t see a lot of guavas, do you?”
“Well how do you eat starfruit?”
“Have a cherimoya for a change.”
“Orange you glad I didn’t say tomato?”
“All my dates have pits.”
“I don’t think that’s physically possible with a coconut.”
“Try blowing these raspberries.”
“Mango? More like you go!”
This picture of several Doctor Pepper knockoffs is making the rounds of the web and is unattributed, although this particular version is pulled from BoingBoing.
Notably absent is Mr. Pibb although if you’ve tried the current version, Pibb Xtra, you know that leaving it out is an act of mercy because it is to Mr. Pibb what New Coke was to Coke, but only if New Coke had also been flavored with lemon, durian, and Borax.
New Coke was of course prompted by the devastating Cola Wars of the 1980’s, a conflict which had been brewing since the very early days when both Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola contained real cocaine and people were slipping on banana peels everywhere, prompting the very first anti-littering campaign and the slogan “Keep America Beautiful”, followed by the very first anti-loitering campaign and the slogan “Keep America Beautiful–Stay At Home”, but that’s another story.
Too often overlooked are some of the other great soft drink conflicts of the 20th Century, so here they are.
Lest we forget.
Pepsi Challenge 1975-1984
The Great Bare Knuckle Root Beer Brawl Of ’29
The Tang Altercation 1969-1973
The Nehi Conflict 1950-1954
The Great Fresca Fracas 1991
The Ascent Of Mountain Dew 1953
The Moxie Square-Off 1949-1951
Sun Drop v. RC Cola (Supreme Court Case, 1954)
The Shasta-Fanta Scrimmage 1984-1985
The Cheerwine And Big Red Ruckus (limited to Shakey’s Pizza parlors in the Midwest) 1973-1982
The Sarsaparilla Shoot-Out of Aught Seven
The Donnybrook of Shloer 1916-ongoing
Every once in a while a friend of mine will put out the question, “What’s on your desk?” on social media. Or at least they used to. I’d share a few things I had including a quote I have pinned to the wall just behind my monitor and, well, now they don’t ask me anymore. I’m not convinced it’s the quote, but it does seem to stun people into silence. To break the suspense here’s the quote:
The philosophers, preachers, and doctors of your world feed you with fine words through the ears. Here we literally take in our teachings orally, through the mouth. Therefore I do not say to you: Read this chapter, understand this gloss. What I say is: Taste this chapter, swallow this gloss. Once upon a time an ancient prophet of the Jewish nation swallowed a book and became a learned man to the teeth. Now you must immediately drink this, and you’ll be learned to the liver. Here, open your jaws.
That’s from Gargantua & Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais, translated by J.M. Cohen.
Some people find that unsettling. I’m not sure why. When you were a kid were you ever told that you are what you eat? It’s fun to think you are what you read too, unless the only thing you’re reading these days is the labels on soup cans because you want your information condensed, but that’s another story.
What got me thinking about this is the upcoming Edible Book Festival. Or maybe it’s already happened, since it’s a moveable feast.
So what’s around you? Whatever you say I won’t find it unsettling. Here, open your desk.
It’s Uranus Day!
You might be thinking I just pulled that out of my ass but really it was on March 13th, 1781 that Sir William Herschel first observed an undiscovered planet beyond the orbit of Saturn. Finding Uranus was not easy. Herschel had to get up before the crack of dawn and look deeply into the nooks and crannies of the night sky. At first he thought what he’d spotted was a comet because the idea of another planet all the way up there seemed ridiculous. Other astronomers who probed the sky had seen Uranus and assumed it was a star or comet. It took almost two years of analysis and scrutiny before Herschel himself acknowledged that he’d discovered Uranus. The name for the new planet was also not accepted for almost seventy years because astronomers kept laughing every time someone asked if they’d been looking at Uranus, but it’s been the butt of jokes ever since.
And what better way to celebrate this day of Uranus than with a trip to historic Uranus, Missouri? If you want to know how to get to Uranus all you have to do is take the Herschel Highway. If you don’t get that joke find an astronomer or a thirteen-year old boy to explain it to you after they stop laughing.
10. Are you related to that racecar driver?
9. Could you spell that?
8. So is it “trip” or “dorp”?
7. Are you related to that car dealer who used to be a racecar driver?
6. Is that Belgian or something?
5. Did you just say ‘D as in Deiter’?
4. Are you related to that 19th century German opera composer?
3. Do you know anyone else with that name?
2. Are you related to that racecar driver’s son?
1. Could you spell that again more slowly?
Given recent events I thought I should offer up a revised version of an earlier post, What It Was Was Fantasy Football because I’m very environmentally conscious so I believe in recycling. In fact every year I go to the store on Superbowl Sunday when it’s really crowded and busy and say to the checkout person, “Wow, lotta people here. Is something happening today?”
Maybe one of these years someone will realize I’m making a joke, but that’s another story.
Nate Solder LT Festin
Joe Thuney LG King Meshugah
David Andrews C Dejah Thoris
Shaq Mason RG Thorin Oakenshield
Marcus Cannon RT Yog Sothoth
Julian Edelman WR Sandman
Chris Hogan WR Ningauble Of The Seven Eyes
Martellus Bennett TE Conan The Barbarian
Tom Brady QB Sir Gawain
LeGarrette Blount RB Hellboy
James Develin FB Namor Of Atlantis
Chris Long DE Balon Greyjoy
Alan Branch DT Mongo
Malcom Brown DT Xena, Warrior Princess
Trey Flowers DE Anita Blake
Elandon Roberts OLB The Red Queen
Dont’a Hightower ILB Lessa/Ramoth
Rob Ninkovich OLB Lord Voldemort
Malcolm Butler CB Atticus O’Sullivan
Patrick Chung SS Eeyore
Devin McCourty FS Rudy Ruettiger
Logan Ryan CB Number Six
Last year I made a wish for a job writing copy for the Hammacher-Schlemmer catalog. This year it still provides a bounty of wonders but I decided to cast my net a little wider to create an annual holiday gift guide with a few last-minute items for that hard-to-buy person on your list.
What better way to keep potential intruders away from your campsite than making it look like the refuge of a bunch of filthy dirty hippies? That’s what the VW Bus Tent is for. It’s not really a vehicle but it will take you back to the sixties. Or set it up at home to get Rocky Mountain high right in your own backyard.
We all look back fondly on the days of getting our asses kicked by bullies because our moms made us wear something stupid, don’t we guys? Well now you can relive those glory days at the office with a wide variety of Christmas-themed suits. My personal favorite is the Mistletoe Money Maker Suit. The design is actually holly berries but you could always accessorize with mistletoe if you’re aiming for that special trifecta of getting your ass kicked, getting fired, and a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Because nothing goes together like drunkenness and children’s games…
Know someone who’s a big gamer? Know someone who’s a really big gamer? And when I say “big” I mean someone who is approximately nine feet tall because I’m pretty sure that’s the minimum height you’d have to be to enjoy this video game console. Seriously, for $99,000 I think you could just have a Nintendo Wii installed in a movie theater.
The Triops Kit is the one item that is not a joke. If you’re old enough to remember ads for amazing sea monkeys you know how disappointing it was that they were only brine shrimp. They didn’t live in tiny castles or wear tiny crowns and, let’s face it, as far as underwater life goes they were only slightly less boring and annoying than The Snorks and at least you could kill brine shrimp.
Triops are everything you wanted brine shrimp to be that they weren’t. Okay, they may not wear tiny crowns or live in tiny castles but they’re approximately a hundred times bigger and have been scientifically determined to be a million times cooler.
Tyrannosaurus rex not included.