Two cinnamon rolls. Did you ever notice how Princess Leia's hair looked like two cinnamon rolls on the sides of her head? Just in the first movie.

The theatre was crowded for the opening night of Star Wars. The auditorium was big, but the only available seats were in the first five rows. When the lights went down, we needed to throw our heads over the back of the seats to take in the monster screen. After reading the famous scrawl–you know a long time ago, far away galaxy–the blank screen was slowly, and most impressively, filled by an enormous space freighter. The subwoofers emitted low rumbles as the ship took over all of the space above my thrown back head. It was thrilling. But that wasn’t the most breathtaking.

No. It was the moment when Luke and Han “rescued” Leia and she realized they didn’t have an escape plan. When she grabbed Luke’s blaster and blew through a grate to create an exit, covered herself to get to the chute and led her “rescuers” out of their foolhardy self-trap.

She took charge. She just needed to be released. God, I was totally in love with her. From that moment.

A few movies later a masked operative came into the bad guys’ lair to rescue Han Solo. I’ll never forget the reveal–it was Leia. Whuh? Really? Her? Yay! Here’s my favorite hero. The brave, competent hero who a few scenes later strangled her captor. Yeah, she killed that enormous muther-fukcing slug. With her wits. And her bare hands. Baller.

While Star Wars doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test (there’s not a single scene in any of the first three movies in which two female characters have a conversation about anything at all besides men), it was a liberating experience. Princess Leia was a hero in her own right.

In a Rolling Stone interview last month, Carrie Fisher said

I like Princess Leia. I like how she was feisty. I like how she killed Jabba the Hutt. That’s my favorite thing she did.

Carrie Fisher, who was Princess Leia. Carrie Fisher whose jilted bride character carried a rocket launcher to off her former fiancé Jake Blues, this was after she set explosives to blow up his apartment. Carrie Fisher whose gal pal to Sally who met Harry would not put up with that horrid wagon wheel in her house. Carrie Fisher who brilliantly reprised her role of Leia, but this time as a rebel general and a heartbroken mom.

Carrie Fisher who was funny and honest. Who was a terrific author and one of the best script savers in Hollywood. Carrie Fisher who told us all about her struggles with addiction, depression and being bipolar with authenticity and wit.

I liked Carrie Fisher. I liked how she was feisty. I like how she killed Jabba the Hutt. But the favorite thing she did? She blasted a path by showing us what it’s like to be herself. She worked on a script for me to embrace myself at all of my ages. I am sorry that she left us so soon. I would have liked to see her as an old lady.

Peace, General. And thanks.

What’s A Hero?

I was really mad at Hiro last week. I mean how could he kill his best friend without feeling and without regret? He did not hestitate. He took a sword and stabbed his friend–the one who loved him. To prove he is a “badass.” Just to save the world, and all.

I think it must be a huge burden to be a hero. To feel like you need to save the world. Or to know that the world will not survive without you. You are required to do really awful things, make extraordinary personal sacrifices. Not just once, but many times.

And as this election is winding down, I am thinking of the hero John McCain. People are mourning the disappearance of the “real” John McCain. The driver of the Straight Talk Express. The man willing to sacrifice his political career–even his presidential hopes–for the right thing. Like comprehensive immigration reform that almost killed his campaign. And everyone knows the incredible sacrifices that McCain made as a navy pilot in Viet Nam. People say that they would have voted for THAT McCain.

But I don’t think that is fair. John McCain had an uphill battle in an environment made for the Democratic nominee. And in order to be a hero, in order to serve his country and help steer the country in the right direction, he has made some tough decisions. Not without feeling. And likely not without regret. Just to save the world, and all.

McCain has the burden of the hero. I don’t think for one minute that it’s easy. Thanks Senator McCain.

The Obama Relationship: Why Should We Talk About It?

This is a screamingly odd endorsement. While I can respect the authors’ expertise in family and marriage counseling, I hang my hopes and dreams on the promise of Obama’s policies and NOT on having a “storybook romance.” How silly.

A president can be a great president even if he has a strained family relationship–Lincoln, FDR. A person can be an exceptional leader even if s/he has a hard time with a spouse. And IT ISN”T IMPORTANT if John McCain curses at his wife or sees her as a brilliant partner. It simply doesn’t matter.

Nobody knows what goes on between Michele and Barack behind closed doors. Nobody knows if they have vicious fights or spend days not talking to each other. Nobody knows if she gets angry because he doesn’t know what Sasha’s homework is. Or because he blew off a social engagement with her family. And that they made up or that it simmers. DOESN”T matter.

Obama does not walk on water. He does not need to be a perfect specimen of a human being. He needs to be an effective leader of the U.S., a cool-headed man who can propel our country forward into this millennium full of challenges like energy, the environment, education and healthcare.

Good for Michele if he picks up his socks or he is sexually attracted to her–but it makes no difference to me.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Ultimate Battles

Thor versus Hulk or is this Urlacher vs. Shockey?“Who would win in a fight? An orange or an avocado?” So the 13-year old began the discussion.

16-year old: Avocado, definitely. Has a pit in the middle–so if they pulverized each other that would be all that was left.
Me: And the orange is just not a’ peeling.

Batman or Ironman? >> Ironman.

OK, Jackie Chan or Jet Li? >>> Here an argument ensued. Jackie Chan won out.

Kobe or Michael Jordan? >>> Kobe. But Doctor J would destroy them both.

Urlacher or Shockey
? >>> Another toughie, slight edge Urlacher.

Whitney or Beyonce? >>> Whitney definitely tougher, she’s a crackhead.

Lupe or Kanye? Definitely Kanye–unless Lupe kicked and pushed. Lupe or Pharrell? Lupe, since he is from Chicago.

Bush vs. Gore? Nod to Gore unless Bush cheated, there is a precedent. Chris Tucker vs. Michael Jackson? MJ for the moonwalk. Superman vs. Flash? Thing vs. Hulk? Godzilla vs. Charizard? Jason Bourne vs. James (Daniel Craig) Bond? Only Bourne could beat Bond. Nobody can beat Bourne. Billy or Mandy?

Special Guest 16-year-old: Naked Brother Band or the Jonas Brothers? >>> ??? critical stop. Where did this one come from?

Everyone laughed.

Sticks and Stones II

The man with no eyes a boss/guard from Cool Hand Luke.Hurry, hurry, hurry. You don’t want to be the last of the sappy, hopeful idealists who still believes in the Obama message of hope and unity. Why believe and work for change if cynicism is just around the corner?

Yes, I mean you David Brooks and others who were fawning all over Barack Obama just a few months ago. You were excited about the potential of a transformative leader. About the promise of a post-Bush future tackling issues of today’s and tomorrow’s America. About breaking from the old liberal/conservative debates from the 60’s 70’s, and figuring out new solutions and a new coalition of people from left and right for a new, and united, United States.

It’s like Cook Hand Luke. The other inmates idolize Luke’s bravery–that he challenges the status quo. They egg him on to take risks while sit back to enjoy–and exalt–his strength which gives them hope. When Luke shows that he is just flesh and blood like them, his former fawners show their disappointment with Luke–and with their own cowardice–by turning their backs on him. They won’t take the risk, but are excited that he does. And reject him rather than take up the mantle.

It’s easier to say that he isn’t who we thought he was, rather that to see that we aren’t who we wish we were.

Journey of the Hero

Hillary Rodham (Clinton) circa 1992.“I’ve been there. You have no idea what you are stepping into.” So Hillary Clinton suggests–especially to Barack Obama.

Some say that Hillary had a Howard Dean moment during the debate last night when she flared about her experience as an agent of change. I don’t agree, I think that she directly addressed her record and her frustration that people don’t get the fact that it’s a trial to be in the White House.

Joseph Campbell, in his well-known theory of the journey of the hero, writes

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.–The Hero with a Thousand Faces

So you are Hillary Rodham–Yale Law grad, big fish in little pond attorney in Arkansas, and you live in the governor’s mansion. You give this comfort and status up to live out a dream in the White House–but deep down you are still wonder how you got here. You have trappings of the middle-class girl in suburban Chicago. And now, the White House?

They make fun of how you look, your old man humiliates you with his philandering, and there are all these rules and protocols that you slip and slide in. And you have trials–health care reform, travel office scandals, dealing with the intrusion of secret service so you can’t even have a good fight with your husband. But you are smart, and you prevail.

So, here she is, in true hero mode, bestowing boon on Obama. She warns him that this is not so easy. “It is only for the tried and true. I have walked through the fires, I have lost myself, all in a quest to find myself and return in triumph. It’s my turn for the payoff.

I get to be Luke/Leia. I don’t want to be Yoda. Why don’t you be Han Solo and fly to the next galaxy? On hyper-drive.”