Is Luke Skywalker the Villain in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope?

It is pretty widely accepted that Emperor Palpatine, the Sith Lord, is the main villain in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. However, I would like to take a more critical look at the hero of the movie, Luke Skywalker, to discuss his role in story events. I would like to pose the argument that, when you change perspective, Luke Skywalker is actually the biggest villain (at least the biggest antagonist/jerk) in the first installment of the Star Wars series.

1. In the movie the only family that Luke has ever known is his Aunt Beru and his Uncle Owen. They raised him and taught him valuable skills, while working on their moisture farm, that he channels throughout the rest of the series.

Luke repays his Aunt and Uncle with constant pressure to send him away to "the academy" so he can join the Rebels. Ignoring the fact that Beru and Owen are both of advancing age and obviously need help running their farm- Luke's request is akin to a modern day teenager asking their parents to join Isis.

It gets a little worse, though. Luke goes on a trip to Mos Eisley with Obi-Wan Kenobi and, when he returns, he finds his Aunt and Uncle dead. Their farm is burning to ashes and Luke is sad... for about thirty seconds. He uses his new freedom to jump on board the Millennium Falcon and never mention his dead family members again.

2. When Luke finally does meet up with the Rebels, and they are making plans to attack the Death Star, he gets a warning about the difficulty of the situation. Luke is told about the narrow corridor where he will be flying, the small opening he needs to fire through, and the amount of time he has to get out of before the resulting explosion consumes his ship.

His answer?

"I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, they're not much bigger than two meters."

Great, Luke! Your hobby back home was, what, murder? I am not an expert on this type of thing but I'm pretty sure killing animals is one of the biggest red flags that a child will grow up to be a serial killer. 

3. Luke destroys the Death Star in an act of terrorist rebellion. The Death Star was a space station that had just been built by a legitimately elected government- and was housing thousands of innocent people who worked on board.

Luke gives no thought to the countless government workers, independent contractors, and maintenance crews that were killed in the blast. Instead, he and all of his team let out cheers of excitement.

They cheer for mass murder and, actually, so does the audience.  

 - Opponents to my claims will argue that the government contractors onboard the Death Star were not innocent. However, in the real world, how often do we actually know the intentions of our governing bodies? Would a mechanic or someone working in the canteen be given the same access to information as a top tier officer? If the answer is no, and it obviously is, then why is it acceptable for the rebels to condemn everyone on board the space station to die? Have they all committed the same crime- and should that crime actually be punishable by death? 

Is it possible, instead, that the workers on The Death Star were just normal people who landed some pretty sweet government jobs? 

Further, If the Rebels do overthrow the Empire, who is going to follow them? The simple act of destroying the Death Star diminishes the credibility of the Rebel Alliance as a governing body and stains their hands just as red as the the Empire's. 

 - I'm sure that people, thinking critically, will question why the Empire's space station was named The Death Star to begin with. I think that it was built as a weaponized space station, and given an intimidating name, as a show of power to the rising Rebel threat. This is just speculation/opinion but I do think that citizens of any place want to believe that their government is strong enough to protect them. 

 - My final thought on the matter deals with Alderaan. I have heard it said before that Alderaan was a planet full of innocent people- but it was also the home of Princess Leia and many other Rebel sympathizers. It is important, in order to put things in perspective, that we think critically about the implications of harboring terrorists. Claiming that Alderaan is totally innocent is the same as saying Pakistan is totally innocent for harboring Bin Ladin. You know, someone had to know what was going on. 

The photos in this post come from Google, and the videos from Youtube; but because this post is Star Wars related it is important for me to also credit George Lukas and Disney. 

 

The Ron Swanson Collection: A Gift Guide for Parks And Recreation Fans

The Ron Swanson Collection: A Gift Guide for fans of Parks & Recreation on NBC + Netflix

Sarah & I are in the middle of watching Parks & Recreation all the way through. When the show was in its final two seasons we were, I guess, living in Oz. While we didn't see any flying monkeys, wicked witches, or people made of tin (though there were an odd number of people in red slippers...) but we did live in a world without cable television. That's like living in Oz, right?

Anyway, we couldn't watch the last few seasons as they aired on television and so we are using Netflix to relive Parks & Rec in all of its glory. Aside from April & Andy (as a unit), my favorite character has always been Ron Swanson- so today I am proud to present a Ron Swanson themed gift guide for fans of Parks & Recreation. 

Ron Swanson Gift Guide

  1. Lagavulin 16 Year Single Malt Scotch
  2. Offerman Woodshop Canoe
  3. Swanson Pyramid of Greatness Print
  4. Charles Mulligan's Steak House Poster
  5. Sanborn Canoe Trout Valley Paddle
  6. J. Crew Red Polo
  7. Smoking Pipe "Ship" from SovietHouse on Etsy
  8. The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O'Brian
  9. Steak & Eggs from a Breakfast Restaurant (IHOP)

As a special bonus, here are a few of my favorite Ron Swanson quotes!

  • Honor: If you need it defined, you don't have it.
  • Crying: Acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon.
  • Friends: One to three is sufficient.
  • Sting like a bee. Do not float like a butterfly, that is ridiculous.
  • I'd wish you the best of luck but I believe luck is a concept created by the weak to explain their failures.
  • Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga except I still get to kill something.
  • Never half ass two things. Whole ass one thing.
  • Go outside. Remain.
  • When people get too chummy with me, I like to call them by the wrong name to let them know I don't really care about them.
  • Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish... and feed yourself. He's a grown man and fishing is not that hard.
  • I'm allergic to two things: cowardice and weak-willed men. And hazelnuts.
  • I regret nothing. The end.

 

Pokémon Every Villain Should Catch Pt. II

Next Gen Pokemon that every villain should catch in pokemon go

Today I present a follow up to my "Pokémon Every Villain Should Catch in Pokémon Go!" post with nine villainous nextgen Pokémon. These Pokémon, I think, are even more mischievous than the first bunch and would be terrifically hard to defeat should you encounter them in the real world. The descriptions come to us courtesy of the official Pokédex.

Disclaimer: These Pokémon are not yet in Pokémon Go but I am sure they will claw their way into the game some time soon.

HOUNDOOM

In a Houndoom pack, the one with its horns raked sharply toward the back serves a leadership role. These Pokémon choose their leader by fighting among themselves.

Type | Dark, Fire

Weakness | Fighting, Ground, Rock, Water

HYDREIGON

The heads on their arms do not have brains. They use all three heads to consume and destroy everything.

Type | Dark, Dragon

Weakness | Ice, Fighting, Bug, Dragon, Fairy

ZEKROM

This legendary Pokémon can scorch the world with lightning. It assists those who want to build an ideal world.

Type | Electric, Dragon

Weakness | Ice, Ground, Dragon, Fairy

DARKRAI

It chases people and Pokémon from its territory by causing them to experience deep, nightmarish slumbers.

Type | Dark

Weakness | Fighting, Bug, Fairy

TYRANTRUM

Thanks to its gargantuan jaws, which could shred thick metal plates as if they were paper, it was invincible in the ancient world it once inhabited.

Type | Rock, Dragon

Weakness | Steel, Ice, Dragon, Fighting, Fairy, Ground

AGGRON

Aggron claims an entire mountain as its own territory. It mercilessly beats up anything that violates its environment. This Pokémon vigilantly patrols its territory at all times.

Type | Rock, Steel

Weakness | Water, Fighting, Ground

ZEBSTRIKA

When this ill-tempered Pokémon runs wild, it shoots lightning from its mane in all directions.

Type | Electric

Weakness |  Ground

SHARPEDO

Nicknamed “the bully of the sea," Sharpedo is widely feared. Its cruel fangs grow back immediately if they snap off. Just one of these Pokémon can thoroughly tear apart a supertanker.

Type | Water, Dark

Weakness |  Bug, Electric, Fighting, Grass, Fairy

MIGHTYENA

Mightyena gives obvious signals when it is preparing to attack. It starts to growl deeply and then flattens its body. This Pokémon will bite savagely with its sharply pointed fangs.

Type | Dark

Weakness | Fighting, Fairy, Bug


If you're interested in the dark side of Pokémon you should definitely check out the independent game Pokémon: Insurgence. The game, by Canadian developer Wyatt Verchere (thesuzerain), tells the story of a murderous cult who is trying to use their Pokémon to take over the region. I've just started playing it and already my character has witnessed Pokémon used for mortal violence like in no other Pokémon game. It's awesome. 

Death Eater Gift Guide

Gift Guide for Death Eaters and Fans of Voldemort in preparation for Harry Potter & The Cursed Child

Death Eater Gift Guide

  1. Rough Design Co. Death or Glory Rings
  2. Woe & Shucks Death Eater T-Shirt
  3. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows Pt. 1
  4. Aberfeldy 21 Year Scotch
  5. KikoIlustrador Daily Prophet Cover Page
  6. G. Wiseman Handmade Knife
  7. Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots
  8. Geek Tat Dark Mark Temporary Tattoo
  9. Farrow Co. Hand Engraved Zippo Lighter

 

I've spent years waiting for J.K. Rowling to see the light- and by "see the light" I mean that I've been waiting for her to come to the dark side. Today marks the release of the official script book for Harry Potter & The Cursed Child but, while I already picked up my copy, this collection was more inspired by Andy Kluthe's art for Dorkly. In his renderings, Kluthe reimagines the covers of every book in the Harry Potter series so that they reflect Voldemort's struggles. My favorite is Voldemort and the Year Part of My Soul Was Stabbed By That F****ing Potter Kid, Seriously What Are The F***ing Odds?

I've always wanted to read at least one book that went further into Tom Riddle's story. I want to learn about why he developed an interest in the dark arts and, more than that, how he became the most powerful dark wizard in history. I don't want a book that will try to spin the story. I don't want people to come around to Voldemort's point of view because the book portrays him as some misunderstood hero. What I want is a literary celebration of Tom Riddle's vicious ambition and his relentless pursuit of power. 

J.K., if you're reading this, hook a muggle up.


I chose to include a DVD/Blu Ray of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows Pt. 1 in this collection because I feel that movie is where the cinematic story should have ended.

Related Posts: Slytherin Gift Guide, Harry Potter Spells For Death Eaters, How it ended, The Cursed Child

Pokémon Every Villain Should Catch in Pokémon Go!

Pokémon every villain should catch in Pokémon Go plus Pokémon Go tips and tricks

When making a list of Pokémon that every Villain should catch, it's really hard to resist just putting in Pokémon because you remember them or like how they look. I had a hard time resisting the urge to include Charizard, believe me, but he's a noble dragon who won't attack a weaker being. I've chosen these particular Pokémon, not because of their looks, because of their personalities and their descriptions in the official Pokédex. The resulting list are Pokémon that, I feel, are mischievous enough to make a good counterpart for a villain living in the Pokémon universe.

Tauros

"This Pokémon is not satisfied unless it is rampaging at all times. If there is no opponent for Tauros to battle, it will charge at thick trees and knock them down to calm itself."

Type | Normal

Weakness | Fighting

Ninetails

"Ninetales casts a sinister light from its bright red eyes to gain total control over its foe's mind. This Pokémon is said to live for a thousand years."

Type | Fire

Weakness | Ground, Rock, Water

Arbok

"This Pokémon is terrifically strong in order to constrict things with its body. It can even flatten steel oil drums. Once Arbok wraps its body around its foe, escaping its crunching embrace is impossible."

Type | Poison

Weakness | Ground, Psychic

Gyarados

"When Magikarp evolves into Gyarados, its brain cells undergo a structural transformation. It is said that this transformation is to blame for this Pokémon's wildly violent nature"

Type | Water, Flying

Weakness | Electric, Rock

Gengar

"Sometimes, on a dark night, your shadow thrown by a streetlight will suddenly and startlingly overtake you. It is actually a Gengar running past you, pretending to be your shadow."

Type | Ghost, Poison

Weakness | Dark, Ghost, Psychic

Mewtwo

"Mewtwo is a Pokémon that was created by genetic manipulation. However, even though the scientific power of humans created this Pokémon's body, they failed to endow Mewtwo with a compassionate heart."

Type | Psychic

Weakness | Dark, Ghost, Bug

Rhydon

"Rhydon's horn can crush even uncut diamonds. One sweeping blow of its tail can topple a building. This Pokémon's hide is extremely tough. Even direct cannon hits don't leave a scratch."

Type | Ground, Rock

Weakness | Grass, Water, Fighting, Ground, Ice, Steel

Golbat

"Golbat loves to drink the blood of living things. It is particularly active in the pitch black of night. This Pokémon flits around in the night skies, seeking fresh blood."

Type | Poison, Flying

Weakness | Electric, Ice, Psychic, Rock

Nidoking

"Nidoking's thick tail packs enormously destructive power. With one swing, it can topple a metal transmission tower. Once this Pokémon goes on a rampage, there is no stopping it."

Type | Poison, Ground

Weakness | Ground,  Ice, Psychic, Water


At the time of this post Pokémon Go only includes Pokémon from the original games. Some villainous next gen Pokémon are:

ZekromHydreigon, Zebstrika, Darkrai, Houndoom, Tyrantrum, Mightyena, Aggron, Sharpedo, Dialga


Where do I find Pokémon in Pokémon Go?

Pokémon spawn most frequently in high traffic areas like college campuses, shopping malls, and downtown areas. When you see rustling grass it means there is a Pokémon nearby.

How do I get more Poké Balls?

When you run out of Poké Balls you need to find Poké Stops near you. When you approach a Poké Stop you need to click on it and spin the medallion. The medallion should change from a blue color to a purple color. When the Poké Stop turns purple it will give you items like Poké balls, potions, eggs, etc. Be sure to click on them (or swipe through them) to ensure you pick them up! You can swipe the Poké Stop again in 3-5 minutes.

How do I level up and evolve my Pokémon?

In order to evolve a Pokémon you need to catch, or hatch, multiples of it. For example, in order to get a Pidgeotto or a Pidgeot you need to collect multiple Pidgeys. Keep one Pidgey but transfer your duplicates to Professor Willow in order to collect "Pidgey Candy". Each Pokémon requires a certain amount of candy to evolve. For example, Magikarp takes 400 candy to become Gyarados. 

How do gyms work?

As a new trainer you may have noticed gyms in various locations around town. You can access these gyms when you reach level 5 and, at that point, you have the ability to choose a team. When you see a gym that is controlled by your team, doing battle there will train the gym and increase its level. Once you've increased the gyms level you can add more Pokémon to the gym and, therefore, make it harder for other teams to defeat. During a training match you will take on all the Pokémon at the gym while only using one of your Pokémon.

When you see a gym that belongs to another team, attacking it (and winning) will reduce the gym's prestige and level. When gyms lose prestige they can hold less Pokémon. When you get the gym to a low enough level it will turn gray and you can then "take" the gym by assigning your own Pokémon to defend it. Pokémon battles against other teams differ from training in that you use a team of six Pokémon for the attack- and your Pokémon can be knocked out.

How do I attack during a gym battle?

Battles are fun but they consist of a lot of quick tapping. Each Pokémon has a normal attack and a heavy attack which you can view by looking at the Pokémon's details. During a gym battle your Pokémon will attack if you tap on the enemy Pokémon. You'll want to do this quickly to try and get as many hits in as possible.

Each successful attack will fill a blue gauge in the left hand corner of your screen. That gauge is your heavy attack bar. When the heavy attack bar fills up it will begin to flash. Tap and hold your finger down on the enemy Pokémon. You'll notice that the screen narrows and becomes a dark at the edges. Your Pokémon will use their heavy attack and, hopefully, cause some real devastation to the enemy Pokémon. 

You can also dodge enemy attacks by swiping left or right during a battle. Wait to swipe until the enemy begins their attack, timing is very important when dodging. It will take some practice. 

How do I heal my Pokémon? 

During training sessions a Pokémon may lose health points (HP) but will not be knocked out. To heal your Pokémon, simply access your items menu and select the type of potion you wish to use. Standard potions heal your Pokémon by 20 HP, Super Potions by 50 HP, and Hyper Potions by 200 HP.

After a gym battle you may find that your Pokémon have been knocked out. You need a Revive to restore your Pokémon. After you use a Revive you can replenish their health the rest of the way using different types of potions. Revives only restore half of the fainted Pokémon's maximum HP.

How do I change my team?

When you reach level 5 you have the ability to choose between Team Mystic (blue), Team Valor (Red), and Team Instinct (Yellow). You do not have the ability, in the confines of the game, to change your team once you have made a selection. However, many trainers have found that they were able to change their team by contacting Niantic (the company that made the game) directly. Click this link to contact Niantic and get change your team. You may not change your team more than once. 

Comic Books Every Dr. Doom Fan Should Read

Comic Books Every Dr. Doom Fan Should Read

Dr. Doom & Dr. Strange: Triumph and Torment

Dr. Doom's mother, Cynthia, was a sorceress who sold her soul to the devil (Mephisto) for more power. When she passes away, Dr. Doom makes annual trips to hell in an attempt to rescue her. In Dr. Doom and Dr. Strange: Triumph and Torment, he finally succeeds in securing his mother's freedom... at any cost.

Emperor Doom

After stealing power from Zebediah Killgrave (Purple Man), Dr. Doom uses his new mind control powers to eliminate free will and take over the world. Doom, having succeeded in his push for world domination, soon grows bored. During a fight with the Avengers, Doom basically lets Purple Man escape just to shake things up a little bit.

Secret Wars

The Secret Wars story arc began back in the 80's and became relevant again in the last year or two. In the story, Dr. Doom (and some other, lesser, characters) are faced with a strong enemy called The Beyonders. The Beyonders are a race of omnipotent aliens who are hellbent on destroying the multiverse. In order to stop the Beyonders, Dr. Doom destroys the multiverse himself.

Molecule Man sacrifices himself so that Doom can absorb his power. Doom then travels throughout various alternate realities to murder all other versions of Molecule Man and absorb their power as well. When he is strong enough, Doom finally takes on The Beyonders alone. 

Fantastic Four Annual #2

In Fantastic Four Annual #2, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee give us our first real look into Dr. Doom's origin.  From the issue: "As a young boy, Victor von Doom's father --a gypsy healer-- is asked by the King's men to heal the King's wife. Werner von Doom tries his best but fails, and when the King's wife later dies of her illness he sends his troops to get Werner. Werner and his son Victor then fled into the mountains where the father wrapped the boy in his own coat while they hid in the snow and ice. They were later found by the rest of their clan and taken back to the village. There Werner died of exposure, but not before asking Boris to look after his son. Boris took this to mean to watch out for the boy, not look after him. Furious at the death of both his father and mother at the hands of the King, Victor dug up his mothers old chest filled with mystical potions and books."

Fantastic Four: Books of Doom

Fantastic Four: Books of Doom is a retelling of Dr. Doom's origin story that gives us more insight into the character's development. The first few issues of this arc revolve around Doom's relationship with his mother and that's important because it gives more credence to his annual visit to hell. The book goes on to explain Doom's facial scarring, his suit, and various other important aspects of his character. As far as I'm concerned, Books of Doom is a must read for anyone trying to learn about Dr. Doom's background.

Fantastic Four #58  

This should really be listed as Fantastic Four #57-60 but I chose to highlight #58 for one very specific reason- Doom is winning!

 In Fantastic Four #57  Dr. Doom tricks the Silver Surfer into standing before a machine that steals his power, transferring it to Doom. In Fantastic Four # 58 Doom uses Silver Surfer's board to fly to New York and attack the Fantastic Four. One by one all of the members of the Fantastic Four fall to Doom's new power- but he does not kill them. Instead, Doom tells them that resistance against is plans is futile and gloats about his victory. 

Fantastic Four: Unthinkable

The story of Fantastic Four: Unthinkable revolves around Dr. Doom and his desire to return to magic- feeling that science and technology are no longer a suitable means to conquer his enemies. In his pursuit of power, Doom makes a deal with the Haazareth Demons that will increase his power. This is the infamous book that sees Dr. Doom reunited with Valeria, the love of his life, only to betray her and make a new suit of armor from her skin.

Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #5

Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #5 makes this list for the sole reason that it is Dr. Doom's first appearance. 

Fantastic Four #258

Fantastic Four #258 is an issue that offers a unique look into the daily life of Dr. Doom. This issue sees a doombot destroyed for failing a mission, a potential rival slain, and offers a unique glimpse into the relationship Doom shares with his son Kristoff.

 

Slytherin Gift Guide

Slytherin Gift Guide for Harry Potter Fans, Pre Cursed Child Release 7/30

The official script book for Harry Potter & The Cursed Child is scheduled for release on 31 July 2016 and, as that date draws near, my excitement continually grows. I read the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the week that it was released here in the States and have found it difficult to live in the muggle world ever since.  I've put together a "Gift Guide for Modern Slytherins" as a way to jump back in to the wizarding world and get prepared for a day when J.K. Rowling will no longer ask fans to #keepthesecrets

The website for The Cursed Child has a pretty strong selection of Slytherin gifts. It's a little bit ironic that I didn't look through their merchandise until I was writing this post and inserting all of my links. Sarah & I are going to the Brand New and Modest Mouse concert tonight and I wish that I had that Slytherin House t-shirt to wear! 

Slytherin Gift Guide

  1. Theory 11 Monarch Playing Card (Green Edition)
  2. Aliexpress Black Peacoat
  3. Juniper Press Slytherin Book Set
  4. Tobermory 10 Year Scotch
  5. Natalie B Jewelry Slytherin Ring
  6. The Patriarchy Slytherin Banner
  7. Malfoy Tea Emporeum "Malfoy" Loose Leaf Tea
  8. Boker Rosewood Lock Back Knife
  9. The Witches Brew Python Leather Journal w/ Latch 

Related: Slytherin Merchandise from the Cursed Child Site, Harry Potter Spells for Death Eaters, How the Harry Potter Movie Series Should Have Ended, Death Eater Gift Guide, Harry Potter & The Cursed Child

Vanilla Blood Orange Old Fashioned Recipe

Sarah & I spent the weekend celebrating American independence by going to the beach, watching The Patriot, reading about the Declaration of Independence, and drinking prohibition era cocktails.

Sarah learned a recipe for the Clover Club and, while I sampled about four of those delicious drinks, I thought fondly about my love for bourbon. As for my own offering to the internet, I would like to present a slight variation on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail recipe. 

Vanilla Blood Orange Old Fashioned Recipe

Vanilla Blood Orange Old Fashioned

What you will need:

(For Old Fashioned Cocktail)

(For Vanilla Syrup)

  • 1 Vanilla bean
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1 Cup sugar

Step 1 | Make vanilla bean simple syrup by adding sugar and water to a small sauce pan. Slice the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out all of the tiny black seeds. Add the seeds and the pod into the water/sugar mixture. Turn the stove to medium high and heat the mixture for 10-15 minutes- until it comes to a boil and the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove the vanilla bean syrup from the heat and pour it into a glass container for storage. You can save this syrup in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Step 2 | Cut desired number of slices from your blood orange. I usually do at least one slice to be shaken with the cocktail and one more for garnish. 

Step 3 | In a shaker combine 1 tbsp water, 2 tbsp homemade vanilla bean syrup, 1.5 oz bourbon, a few dashes of bitters, and 1-2 slices of blood orange. 

Step 4 | Shake cocktail mixture vigorously and add ice to your whiskey glass.

Step 5 | Pour cocktail mixture over ice, garnish with a slice of blood orange, and enjoy!

I know it isn't a traditional Old Fashioned but I find this cocktail to be totally delicious and enjoyable. Let me know if you have any edits or bourbon recipe suggestions!

Related: 1, 2, 3

What I'm Reading (Independence Day Edition)

What I'm Reading Kindle paperwhite July 2016 Independence Day Collection
  1. American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence by Pauline Maier
  2. Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence by Joseph J. Ellis
  3. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis
  4. 1776 by David McCullough
  5. Common Sense by Thomas Paine

This month's WIR is dedicated to the American Revolution and the circumstances which drove the colonies to declare themselves independent from Great Britain. It all started when I was collecting items for my "4th of July Essentials" post. I got so carried away that I (honestly) imagined an alternate version of myself, alive in 1775, adding to the atmosphere of revolution with my snarky words and rebellious attitude. When I came back to reality I scoured the internet for books that would give me a deeper understanding of the Revolution, what it meant, and the people that created a nation. 


Faux Leather Case Kindle paperwhite by The Rucksack Refinery, What I'm Reading July 4th 2016, A Modern Villain

 1 American Scripture: Making The Declaration of Independence by Pauline Maier 

This book covers the Declaration of Independence in great detail by discussing its creation, its influence, and the true origin of its ideas. Thomas Jefferson has famously said that the Declaration was  "Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion." In American Scripture, Pauline Maier expands on this sentiment by examining the sources of Jefferson's ideas.

 2 Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence by Joseph J. Ellis

I'm a big fan of the way Joseph J. Ellis transforms historical accounts into an entertaining, flowing, narrative. In Revolutionary Summer, Ellis discusses some of the major players of the American Revolution- George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, etc.- and the influence they had on world events. 

3 Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis

Another book by Joseph J. Ellis, this was actually the first book that I read. I originally picked this book up because I wanted to read about the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr- but I kept reading because of the insightful way Ellis humanizes the Founding Fathers. 

4 1776 by David McCullough

I'm currently reading 1776 and I'm really enjoying the way McCullogh portrays George Washington and his military campaign during the Revolutionary War. Where the other books on this list do a good job of discussing the political/social climate of the colonies that lead to our separation from Great Britain- 1776 describes the military operations that made that separation a reality. 

5 Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Common Sense by Thomas Paine was a pamphlet printed during the time of the Revolutionary War. Though it contained little, if any, original thoughts Common Sense encouraged readers to discuss their feelings/grievances publicly- which helped the revolutionary mentality to spread throughout the colonies. 

Well that's it for the 4th of July edition of WIR. The next edition probably won't be as patriotic. 

4th of July Essentials

A Modern Villain, 4th of July Collection

For the past few months Sarah & I have been binge watching House of Cards to the point that, well, we finished all four seasons. Now we're stuck in a weird Netflix limbo, with the music of that damned intro stuck in our heads, until 2017

While House of Cards didn't charge me to take on a career in politics it did inspire within me a new level or patriotism and appreciation for my home country. The aesthetics of the show were always just dark enough to be mysterious and sophisticated enough to be aspirational. I think its similar to the way Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World" makes you wish you were an old man telling stories and a young man living them all at one time. While watching I found myself trying to develop classy habits or to garner American versions of the ones that I already had. For example: I stopped spending my tip money on scotch and, instead, purchased nice bottles of bourbon. 

 House of Cards made me wish there were real politicians that are ruthless and ambitious enough to behave like Frank Underwood. It isn't his murderous nature or his corrupt actions that I appreciate- it's the passion behind his actions and, above all, his desire to leave something worthwhile behind. 

As Independence Day approaches I have been reading up on the Founding Fathers, the American Revolution, and the Declaration of Independence. I started putting together a collection of items that I'm calling "4th of July Essentials"- a list of goods to help you celebrate in style. I did my best to include only American made products here but, in the end, I think its our freedom to choose what we buy/how we live our lives that makes America great.  Happy independence Day!

4th of July Essentials

  1. Theory 11 "Union" Playing Cards by Jay Fletcher
  2. Leather Head Sports "Handsome Dan" Leather Football
  3. John Mihovetz Vintage American Flag
  4. Design Unsanctioned Bottle Opener Key Fob
  5. Peg & Awl Duffel Bag in "Moss"
  6. Blanton's Original Single Barrel Bourbon
  7. Penguin Random House Declaration of Independence & Constitution
  8. Lucky Liberty 1989 Coin Ring
  9. Diamond Sparklers Gold Sparkler #10 
  10. Manready Mercantile "Work Hard Live Well" Coaster Set
  11. Society Six USA 1927 Throw Pillow by Jon Contino (I wish it were a 1776 pillow.)