Binary Sunset in Star Wars: A New Hope

I saw The Last Jedi at the end of last year, and a little late with my thoughts on the film, but wanted to get my opinion down here. The Last Jedi was a nice mix of story, CGI and nostalgia. I liked it much better that “The Force Awakens”. JJ Abrams is ok in technical ways as a director, but I feel he really just doesn’t understand the Star Wars and Star Trek genre. Rian Johnson did as good a job as he could in The Last Jedi with the arc of the story as it is (basically a reboot of the 1st trilogy). I felt a real emotional resonance with the nostalgia in The Last Jedi, something I didn’t get with The Force Awakens. There’s plenty to like in The Last Jedi that connects back to the original trilogy. Mark Hamill was superb as an older Luke Skywalker and handled what he was given to work with quite well.

Spoiler alert: I especially liked the scene where Luke makes a visit to the Millennium Falcon. It’s one of those “I’m back” moments. Then he meets R2D2 again, who plays the Leia hologram from Star Wars: A New Hope. The whole scene was spot on and brought the emotion and nostalgia back home. I did enjoy the appearance of Yoda also. At first when I saw the Yoda ears I thought it might be corny, but it was really quite touching and made better by the fact that it wasn’t CGI Yoda, but puppet Yoda from the Empire Strikes Back. Bravo!

An older, more bitter Skywalker is brought out of his self indulgent exile by these things, R2D2 displaying the ‘Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi’ message and Yoda giving Young Skywalker, as he calls him, a reminder Jedi Lesson. He rejoins the fight with the spirit of his youth, and it is heartfelt in the film showdown. Alas, Luke is spent by the effort projecting himself across the stars, and he ends as he began with a binary star sunset, as that familiar background music builds. Luke goes out as Obi-Wan and Yoda did. This is a classy end to Skywalker, and much more dignified than what JJ gave Han Solo. Rian Johnson definitely knows how to handle the Star Wars material.

Overall, The Last Jedi is like watching two films with separate, but linked story lines – one the Resistance vs the 1st Order, the other the Jedi Master Skywalker and Jedi novice Rey. It works, and while some liberties are taken with The Force that we’ve never seen before, the story is all brought together in the end that is satisfying. The humor hits all the marks, the CGI is great, the nostalgia pulls at the emotions and the story plays out in a reasonable way, which I liked. I enjoyed the extended parts for Leia and Luke, though in separate story lines. Hamill was especially good with his performance.

Not sure where the story goes from here, but it’s the final phase for Luke, Leia and Han Solo. Some conclusion can be brought to this trilogy with the new characters in Episode IX. For me, the Lucas story line is a complete with Episodes I-VI, and this trilogy of Episodes VII-IX is something separate, a different story than Lucas would have told. Whether one likes the prequels or not, Episodes I-III, Lucas was a story teller and always gave something fresh. The sequel trilogy is basically a retelling of the original trilogy in the story arc, not particularly original, but enjoyable from a nostalgic perspective and getting some new characters of interest to build on.

Maybe there is another trilogy going forward with the new characters, but they need a fresh story line to keep me engaged in this franchise. JJ needs to stay out of it as director also, and let Rian Johnson or others handle it. Rian is better at the Star Wars saga and understands the material deeper I think. What I might like to see someday is to go back in time, far back, to the Old Republic, and tell the story of the Jedi and Sith, how the original Empire eventually came to be and such. There’s a few thousand years of things to cover there with original story telling. We’ll see where it all goes in the hands of Disney and hope they don’t drive it into a ditch with repetitive stories.

I liked The Last Jedi, well enough that I would give it multiple viewings, a feeling I didn’t have with The Force Awakens. Hats off to Rian Johnson for bringing the Star Wars saga back home with some emotional nostalgia. I’ll also be looking forward now to see what comes in Episode IX for a conclusion.

May the Force be with you, always…


As I did at the end of 2013, 2014 & 2015, so I do again here at the end of 2017 to recount some travel experiences, which I don’t normally write about here. I did not post anything about my travels at the end of 2016, so this years post will cover my travels from 2016 and 2017. I need not give the setup again for the premise of such entries and see my blog from the end of 2013: Travels of Spocklogic. The notable travels from 2016 & 2017 (travel blogs I finished or made additions to) include:

That’s the summary for 2016 & 2017. For the previous years travels, I include the links here for convenience, but all blog links can be found in the “Browse Blog Posts” at the top of the page.

Travels of Spocklogic
Travels of Spocklogic II
Travels of Spocklogic III

All in all, it was a good couple of years in travel with a visit to France in early 2016, visits to Sicily and Central Italy in the summer of 2016, and a trip to the Shenandoah region of Virginia in the fall of 2016. For this later blog on Shenandoah, I included a couple of other trips there with one from 2000 and another from 2005. Over the years, since I have lived in the state of Virginia, I have visited this area of the state maybe a dozen or so times, but I don’t have photos for all the visits there, and just the years 2000, 2005 and 2016. I also have a Virginia blog called “Virginia Perspectives” covering 1990-present that is a mix of travel & slice of life. The year 2017 consisted of a road trip to New England in the early summer and a trip to Brazil in late summer, my first trip to South America, making it my 5th continent to visit. There is also another blog I made on Places in Passing, which consists of entries regarding places I mentioned in passing, but did not write about in great detail. I have plans to fill in the narratives, but for now the entries display  photos and a reference link to a blog where the place was mentioned.

For a complete collection of blogs, one can always visit Spocklogic’s Travel Blogs at TravBuddy.

Best wishes for the New Year in 2018!


Keep on Trekkin

As I did at the end of 2013 & 2014, so I do again here at the end of 2015 to recount some travel experiences, which I don’t normally write about here. I need not give the whole setup again for the premise of such entries and see my blog from the end of 2013: Travels of Spocklogic. The notables this year (travel blogs I finished or made additions to) include:


Feature - Washington DC-1




That’s the summary for 2015. Some are carry overs from 2014, but I finished the blogs in 2015, after my last post on travels (see: Travels of Spocklogic II) in December 2014 or earlier if I made additions. As I alluded to in recent entries, I will take a break from this Cogito Ergo blog for a while in 2016. I’ve had 20 years of internet exposure and been blogging for 10 years (see: 20 Years of Internet and Mapping the Internet). I hope to return again with a fresh perspective down the line. There’s plenty to explore in the Cogito Ergo blog archives until then (see the link to: Browse Blog Posts). Best wishes for the New Year 2016! See you in the future…



My father died on October 25, 2015 at 1:25 a.m. – Age 76 years and 23 days as the calendar counts. My thoughts go back to the death of my mother in 2007, which I wrote about in Exploring Death and Dying. These things still apply, but I don’t know what to say having lost both my mother and father now. He faced his health issues over the last decade or more with courage, but also acceptance of what faced him. In the end he faced death with the same attitude he faced life, as he thought best. Death came quickly for him, advancing in just short time, and he was awake and aware until shortly before he died in the company of his wife for some 35+ years. She told me a story of his brave last hours knowing he was dying, but not suffering. That’s my father, and I would have expected nothing less than going out the way he wanted to. Even going so far as telling the doctors to go away, stop checking, and let him die in peace. That’s my father! The headline image of this blog is a poem I wrote for my father in 2002 about his craftsmanship as a carpenter, and it echoes his passing now too.

Farewell My Father, and if there is an afterlife, may you build in new and interesting ethereal ways… I have some photos of me and my Dad over the years to offer and a video slide show of a particular Baseball reunion with my father and his two sons in 2007. Baseball has played a role in our lives over the years as long lamenting Red Sox fans, but in the recent decade or so have been victorious 3 times over. I’m glad my Dad got to see that in his lifetime and hope in the end he was somewhat proud of his sons, and his daughter too. We are all proud of him in our own way and maybe it can be said that if a man does the best he can, he has achieved all that he can be. That’s something to celebrate and to remember…

APR 63

A Family (big brother, father, mother and me) – 1963


Father & Son – 1965


Father & Son – 1967


Father & Son – 1969


Father & Son (with little sister on the right) – 1980


Father & Son – 1989


Father & Son 2002


Father & Son – 2007


Father & Son – 2010


Father & Son (With my daughter Jennifer in between) – 2014


Father and Son Reunion at Fenway Park in Boston – A slideshow my brother and I put together a day or two after the event in 2007.

My father and I would sometimes discuss poetry, and the last one we talked about was “Good Hours” by Robert Frost and it’s a good one to end on, or continue on…

Good Hours

I had for my winter evening walk—
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.

And I thought I had the folk within:
I had the sound of a violin;
I had a glimpse through curtain laces
Of youthful forms and youthful faces.

I had such company outward bound.
I went till there were no cottages found.
I turned and repented, but coming back
I saw no window but that was black.

Over the snow my creaking feet
Disturbed the slumbering village street
Like profanation, by your leave,
At ten o’clock of a winter eve.

~ Robert Frost

Logic-emotionI was listening to a program on NPR called Radio Lab and it was one I had heard before a few years ago, but had forgotten about. It was a program about choices and how logic and reason don’t always figure into the equation. The program itself was called Choice (Season 5, Episode 1) and one story in this program caught my attention again as it did some years before. The story I refer to is called Overcome by Emotion and tells the tale of a man who, after an operation to remove a tumor from his brain, lost all his emotions as a result. One immediately thinks of Mr. Spock and a quick fix to Vulcan rationalism, but apparently the end result was that this man had difficulty making any decisions at all. Turns out, this case was something important in a link that our emotions play a larger part in decision making than previously thought. Our choices, it seems, are guided by emotions, and not just pure reason. They work in tandem (emotion and logic) to give us a basis of what is best in choice. Before you make the conclusion that Humans have it better than Vulcans, remember that Vulcans have emotions too, but suppress them by training their minds. They are not emotionless, but find that suppressing the emotions allows the logic to be a dominant behavior. This got me to wondering, what happens to humans who suppress their emotions? It’s a complicated question I think. I can see that without emotional influence, rational behavior results, but making choices becomes more difficult. Choices, as we all know, often involve an emotional element and are seldom black & white logical.


If I am never happy or sad, love or hate, content or frustrated, then what basis do I have for what is the right decision in any given circumstance? This is different from Vulcans, who know emotions, but choose (mind over matter) to suppress them. What would the total absence of emotion really  do? Again, I make another Star Trek analogy and mention the Borg. They are mostly a machine mind, though composed of a collective – various species assimilated into a hive mind. The Borg do encounter problems with decisions, and when confronted by something not understood, they spend all their resources to resolve it and neglect everything else in the process no matter how long it takes. This is getting closer to an understanding maybe. Of course Vulcans and the Borg are fictional beings, but ones that we can extrapolate from our own being to understand emotion, logic and reason. Is there an example in nature, something more primal than us, that we can look to. Perhaps the bacteria and virus are biological primal forms that have no emotion or logic. They are pure programming (with some logic) and serve one function.  Through random mutation they survive to live another day. What, then, is in between these primitive forms and animal life (humans included)? I am not sure, but emotions evolved in the higher species for a particular purpose maybe – that being the ability to adapt to an environment without waiting for a mutation, but to do it freelance style, so to speak. How would this be accomplished? The answer must be by incorporating emotion!

Logic is good to a point, incorporate emotion in time, and there is reason. All the higher animals function this way. When there is too much logic, or too much emotion, the reasoning goes astray. The balance must be kept in some harmony. Logic and emotion confront to make the best of reason – the best choices in fact. The really difficult aspect of it all is how difficult it is to judge whether another person is too logical or too emotional, because we ourselves are subject to the same conditions under examination. It’s like the brain trying to examine itself in an impartial way – it can not be done! So, what’s the ‘take away’ from all this and what can we learn from it? I may be wrong, and disagree with me if you have a conviction, but the brain is a biological mechanism. Inside that mechanism is a complex network of complexity that affords us a logical and emotional side. If we use one or the other too much we are not using our full capacity to combine them in ways they were meant for – that is, to reason! Perhaps that is the fundamental nature of what is wrong with humanity, why we struggle so with one another in love, war, race, ethnicity, nationality. Maybe humans are a species that came to their prime before their time – or maybe that prime time has yet to come. I won’t see it in my lifetime and maybe it won’t be see in humans for 50 thousand years if man survives that long.

Perhaps we face a Planet of the Apes scenario in the future. Maybe it’s not apes, but another species rising. Or it could be like in the song: “In the Year 2525” (1969) by Zagar & Evans.

Our own emotion, logic and reason will play a role in the ultimate understanding of these 3 things that make us who we are, how they are balanced, and our destination. It’s not politics (yesterday, today, or tomorrow) which is basically meaningless, and it’s not money (yesterday’s gold & silver, or today’s paper & plastic), nor is it science (whatever the current understanding is), and I believe it will be philosophy that ultimately makes the decision – it’s the only thing that makes sense. USA, USSR, OPEC, NATO, Christian, Islam, Buddhist, Black, white, yellow, green or purple – it’s all so divisive it seems! Man must find a philosophy all people can embrace. Maybe then he will make a paradise of this Earth. I’d like to see that day come, but if it’s not meant to be then I don’t lament my own death because it’s a future I don’t necessarily wish to see if there is no hope for change. Emotion, Logic, Reason – humanity’s gift, I hope, is not squandered, ultimately, in the destiny of man.


As I did at the end of 2013, so I do again here at the end of 2014 to recount some travel experiences, which I don’t normally write about here. I need not give the whole setup again for the premise of such entries and see my blog from the end of 2013: Travels of Spocklogic. The notables this year are a couple of blogs I finished and some reviews that may be of interest:



That summarizes some travel selections for 2014. I did travel to Italy also in July 2014, and have some links to share for photo collections I put together for a special year in Erice to celebrate a 40th anniversary of the International School of Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy (ISAMS):

Rino: 40 Year Erice Celebrations (2014) – Erice, Italy
2014 Erice Workshop: 30 July – August 5 – Erice, Italy
People (2014) – Erice, Italy
Places (2014)
– Erice, Italy

In addition, I traveled to China again this year in November 2014, but am still working on my travel blog for that, so it will have to wait until my 2015 account of my travels. I will make this type of entry something traditional at years end to cover where I have been and what I have done in travel ways. It’s all rather like the City on the Edge of Forever perhaps…




Loose-endsThe definition of ‘Loose Ends’ is given as: A part of something that has not been completed. In life we all have those things that are or were a part of us, but remain uncompleted. What satisfies understanding at least in the end of such things? In other words, what does it take to feel something is completed and there are no ‘Loose Ends’ left over? If it is a personal issue, I can say that all it takes is some communication. Silence can do a great deal of harm on its own over time, but a silence can be broken for making those ‘Loose Ends’ in life seem to fit together better. This is perhaps a thought of advancing years, when the days of youth are well behind, and there is a desire to feel centered, without the unresolved past to disturb that balance. The nature of a person is to guard the self – never mind the altruistic visions of love and giving yourself to another person. The women I have known in my life, without exception, chose self over love in the end. I don’t blame them – it’s a rational choice to believe in head over heart! This is, however, where ‘Loose Ends’ enter and caused by disparity between head and heart. It can be from a relationship, a job, a social occasion, and any other number of human interaction. My philosophical premise is that ‘Loose Ends’ come from head vs heart in human interaction.

We all have stores to tell, and I will tell some here:

1.) I knew a woman who did not want to leave her family and familiar surroundings to take a chance in life. We had a daughter together, and were divided to what was best. She chose her way and I chose mine. In time all the ‘Loose Ends’ were tied together because we communicated and had our daughter to take care of together, even though separate.

2.) I knew a woman who was in some conflict with her home life. I tried to get to know her, but pushed a bit too much maybe, and she pushed me away. That was lost long ago, but there was resolution to that ‘Loose End’  when she told me the whole story many years later. We communicated and brought our interactions to some understanding.

3.) I knew a woman who did not know whether she wanted to live or die, but took a chance on living. We were together for 10 years and I thought she loved me, but today I do not know if she ever did. I won’t speak on the details, but there were odd happenings at the end, and they were never explained to me. There was no communication to understand.

4.) I knew a woman who had issues with me, and was not afraid to speak of them. I appreciated this initially, but when it went on and on, one thing after another, I kept a distance always between us. We were together, but apart for 5 years. There was misunderstanding and pain in the end. We communicated a few years later and sought clarity with each other, to some success.

Well, 3 out of 4 ain’t bad, but I should say that #1 was a constant communication, as it involved our daughter. In regards to #2, it didn’t happen until some 20 years later, so better late than never rings true and I am glad for that. She contacted me to discuss it, and that was meaningful. We are friends now. For #3 I am totally baffled. I have not talked to her for 10 years, but reached out to her a couple years ago. There was no response, so with no communication there can never be understanding. In selfish ways, I always felt she owed me an explanation on the odd happenings,  and all I did or tried to do for her in love and devotion. Some people just are not capable of facing the past and prefer to live as if some part of their life never happened. I can not judge and only say there are ‘Loose Ends’ there because there was no communication then or 10 years later now. This brings me to #4, which I have already written extensively about in this blog. I appreciate she reached out to me and wanted to have closure and tie up those ‘Loose Ends’. I think she has anger issues and she thinks I may have Asperger  Syndrome, albeit a mild form, but we can agree to disagree or consider what is inside us that needs to be thought about.

My examples and explanation here all deal with my relationships with women. In my life I have much of what I want or desired, not through any random luck, some with perseverance and belief in my abilities. In the ways of love & relationships I am perhaps a failure and it is the focal point for my ‘Loose Ends’ to tie them up. I have done so for the most part and feel happy for that. One is missing (#3) and I guess I just wish I knew the odd happenings that led to the end. The last time I saw her,  I hardly recognized her, and that memory stays with me to this day. Sometime the ‘Loose Ends’ have very long threads indeed. As I said, I have 3 out of 4 and that should be enough, but I was hoping for 4 out of 4 to say:

But thanks
For your time
Then you can thank me for mine
And after that’s said
Forget it!
If there was a word
But Magic’s absurd
I’d make one dream come true
It didn’t work out
But don’t ever doubt
How I felt about you

It a total perspective, the ‘Loose Ends’ in life do affect us in time and over time, and with communication they can become threads in the tapestry of life to make a story of who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. I might maintain that some ‘Loose Ends’ may be good for us in the short term because they provoke thought, but in the long term, provoke a manifestly profound alteration of ones psyche. There is this quote usually attributed to Anain Nin, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Maybe that’s what ‘Loose Ends’ tell us, more about the way we are than the way things are..

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