Does Anyone Else Think Star Wars is Overrated?

To all the Star Wars fans out there, I apologize in advance. I grew up watching the movies, and it was always an easy trilogy to enjoy. The original George Lucas movies, Episodes IV and V, were impressive to me as a child, and my imagination would run wild with thoughts of Jedis, spaceships, and aliens. As I began to understand films better, I noticed the use of color and camera angles to communicate deeper elements of good and evil, and I can appreciate what those movies did for the entertainment industry. It just wouldn’t be the same level of entertainment if the rebels hired a dependable defense attorney like this one and settled their differences with the empire in court.

My problem is the new movies. The story in Star Wars is recycled and dull, with every film using the same plot as the previous one. I get that good versus evil is the ultimate battle, but come on! How many times are they going to tell the same story of rebels battling the empire against impossible odds? And more importantly, how many times are people going to buy it? The cultural significance of Star Wars with the newer generations proves that marketing is still a powerful tool to convince consumers to buy, and now that Disney owns the rights, Star Wars is on track to become the most overrated franchise in history.

I don’t use the word “overrated” lightly, either. The notion of judging someone else’s judgment is a little too meta for me, but still. I can’t help but wonder if people lack so much imagination nowadays that once they see it projected on a big movie screen, it becomes excellent, no matter what. It reminds me of magpies, a bird that is attracted to shiny objects merely because it reflects light. If you tell a lie long enough, eventually you will start to believe it. Case in point? Star Wars.

Think about the story of Anakin and Luke Skywalker. Two young boys from a peasant lifestyle that get ripped from their homes and discover their new life with ultimate powers that changes the universe forever. There is nothing original about that, and yet, every Star Wars fan I talk to raves about how awesome the movies are. I don’t get it. The protagonists are whiny and weak, and they make the rebels look like hypocrites. Everyone knows that the best characters in the movies are the bad guys, and you aren’t even supposed to be rooting for them.

The original concept from 1977 had some creative and noteworthy plot twists, and the visual design was impressive considering there were no computers back then. I guess if you give viewers enough of a startle, they will love you forever. The brother and sister relationship between Luke and Leia was a bit of a surprise, but now HBO uses it in nearly every episode of Game of Thrones.

If you like Star Wars, good for you. My beef is not with the original films, which I still think are “meh.” My confusion arises from the amount of popularity Star Wars gets with lame dialogue, an unrealistic expectation of greatness, and recycled storylines.


When is a Slip Someone Else’s Fault?

I’d like to tell you a personal story. My mother was a teacher, and she fell once in the school cafeteria. She ended up injuring her knee so badly that she had to have surgery, lay on a cot for about six months, and go through another six months of physical therapy. She got better, and she ended up not paying for any of this, but only because she knew she wasn’t at fault, the school was.

That was crucial because the school tried to claim otherwise. She knew her rights, though, and the fact the school hadn’t posted a sign that the floor was slippery was enough, with a little effort, to get them to cover all the expenses of her rehabilitation.

That story sticks with me, and it makes me want to make sure others are aware when they aren’t at fault for accidents that occur to them. People need to know because the first thing a business, school, or insurance company is going to do is sow a little doubt into that story, trying to place the guilt on the injured person in order to save money.

So, how can you know that a slip or a fall isn’t you just being clumsy but is the fault of someone else? The lawyers of Mazin and Associates, PC, have thankfully provided a few great tips. According to them, it all comes down to negligence. If the owner of the property where you fell has been negligent in providing you enough information to be aware you may fall, you probably have a very good case, and you should be confident you deserve to be compensated or at least have your bills covered.

What does negligence look like?

The Mazin attorneys give a number of excellent examples. Bad lighting that makes it hard to see where you’re stepping is one example, another is a location having excessively slippery floors (and, it might be added, not putting up signs to explain that fact). Also, a location not removing snow or ice or allowing other dangerous conditions to exist on their property. This can be as simple as a store not doing enough to clear the ice from its parking lots or even a neighbor refusing to shovel the sidewalks.

If any of these conditions were present when you fell, or if there were conditions you feel were of a similar sort, you are probably on very firm ground (which must be a relief at this point) when it comes to your demands to have your bills seen to.

I will always admire my mother for standing up so firmly to the pressure put on her by her employer and by their insurance agency. All it took was a little firmness for them to wilt and to decide to pay for everything. I bet the opposite result occurs every day for people who don’t know they are in the right. I hope this article helps those people a little going forward.

Helping Your Kids Through a Separation or Divorce

When dealing with a highly stressful and emotional experience such as separation or divorce, it can be especially difficult if you have children. The children are dealing with an actual breakup of their family and deal with their own emotions of grief, confusion, sadness, and loss. The children can blame themselves for something that really was not their fault. It is important to reach out to the children and let them know that their well-being is a top priority. According to Kessler & Solomiany, LLC, in the process of focusing on their well-being, you can potentially provide the attention and support necessary to ease them through the divorce process and ease their pain as well.

At any age, divorce can be rather difficult. With smaller children, it can be rather challenging to talk to your kids about separation or divorce, while still trying to demonstrate that you still love and care for them. By listening to your kids and reassuring them that they will get through this stressful transitional period of their life, you can make a difference in how the children cope overall.

The children need to have stability and structure, now more than ever. If they can count on you to provide that structure through regular routines, whether it is school or fun activities, you are reminding them of that stability that they need right now. Further, staying on good terms with the ex will help a lot so that the children don’t have to hear any disagreements or arguments and get further stressed about the separation or divorce.

Your children want to know that they matter to both parents, especially during this difficult time. You can plan upcoming parties or celebrate special occasions for the kids, where both parents are in attendance. The kids want both parents to be involved in their lives, even if the spouses are not together anymore.

Parents can send notes or make phone calls to the kids, and they can ask the kids a lot of questions about school or their other activities, such as sports, music or arts.  The parents can try to communicate well with each other so that the children don’t feel like they are relaying messages back and forth to each parent. Parents can stop fighting or arguing around the children so that the kids don’t feel like they are to blame or that they did something wrong. Kids don’t want to have to take sides against one parent or the other.

The children must be able to count on both parents to teach them what is right and to help them whenever they have problems or just want to talk about anything. Remembering that stability and structure are very important, the parents can even ask for their kid’s help with home projects or household chores. Helping the kids to feel needed can go a long way in easing the burden of a separation or divorce. Giving your full attention to kids when they ask for it increases the stability of the family unit so that it can maintain itself, even if the spouses are separating or divorcing.

Surface Rights Versus Mineral Rights

While not all of us are fortunate enough to own land at all, some individuals are lucky enough to own land AND own land that sits on valuable resources like oil, gas, and minerals. These extremely valuable resources can be mined for huge profits, but only by companies that know how to explore, extract, and process them. That’s why property owners often consider selling their mineral rights to interested and qualified buyers who know how to get them out of the ground efficiently and effectively.

Say you are a property owner and say you have a pretty good suspicion that you have some valuable resources on your land. It should be easy just to sell those rights and collect the profit, right? Well, unfortunately, it is not always that easy. When it comes to land rights, there are two different types, called “estates,” and they are not always joined together. Surface rights are just what they sound like, ownership of the surface of the land. Mineral rights extend below the surface to the valuable, naturally occurring deposits below the ground. In some cases, the surface rights and mineral rights are “severed” meaning that the person who owns one does not own the other.

In fact, in the 1900’s, when many of the large oil and gas companies were really ramping up production in the U.S., they would often sell the surface rights to people who wanted to settle on the land, but would keep the mineral rights for themselves to later explore and develop when they saw fit. For some property owners, this means that their long-standing mineral rights actually belong to someone else, and they are not eligible to sell those rights.

If a landowner owns both the surface rights and the mineral rights to his or her land, that is known as a “fee-simple deed,” and it is much easier to sell, transfer, or gain royalties to the mineral rights on the property if this is the case. For people who have severed rights, the individual who owns the mineral rights can not only sell them; they can explore, develop, and produce the rights on that land (including the surface, within reason).

If you are unsure of whether or not you own the surface rights to your property, you can do some simple investigation into the ownership history of your property (and should be on the lookout for ownership by gas or oil companies, specifically) or you can hire a title company to do the research for you. It is a good idea to do this research so that you know the true extent of your ownership rights to your property, and if you have valuable resources underground, you might consider selling your mineral rights to a qualified buyer.

The more you know about surface rights and mineral rights, the more educated you can be during the property-buying process as well, so do some research, hire a company, and find out exactly how much of your property you really own.


How Rape Can Happen

Rape occurs when a person has engaged in sexual activity with another that has not given consent. According to the website of the Nashville sex offense lawyer Brent Horst, rape is a Class B Felony, with a fine of up to $25,000 and prison sentence of up to 30 years. It is even worse if the rape has involved coercion, force, or weapons, because it can be elevated into aggravated rape, which has elevated fines and prison sentences too, of up to $50,000 and 60 years.
These are just for the state of Tennessee, but they give you a clear idea on how devastating the consequences are for convicted rapists. But how can rape happen? It can happen in various instances, even on scenarios where it is not as obvious.


Through Force

One of the most known way rape can occur is through physical power, like when a stranger suddenly goes up into an unsuspecting woman and forces himself into her to satisfy his sexual needs. Due to its blatant nature, it is also the easiest case to win, because of the likely availability of physical evidence, like wounds.

Through Threat

Not all rape cases involve blatant use of strength. Many rape cases involve victims who are forced to give in to the sexual advances of the suspected rapist because the suspected rapist has made threats. Threats may come in many forms, but usually, they involve warnings of harm to the victim or the victim’s loved ones, if he or she fails to comply to the suspected rapist’s sexual demands.

Without Consent

One of the most important aspects of rape is that the sexual activity is non-consensual. This can occur on two ways. First, the victim may not be legally allowed to give consent because of his or her age, so the sexual activity, even if it technically features two individuals who have done it in their free will, is still legally non-consensual and therefore considered rape.
Second, the victim may be unable to give his or her consent. The best examples of this are individuals who are intoxicated, unconscious, or mentally incapacitated.

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