Friday, April 29, 2016

Dennis Hastert made me realize that the 107th Congress was filled with sexual predators many of whom marched under the banner of righteousness

Dennis Hastert, the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House, is guilty of molesting multiple boys. He admitted as much this week and has to serve time for paying "hush money." But the horrors of the crime made me think of other congressmen guilty of sex crimes and scandals, and it made me realize that all of the following names came from the 107th congress (including Dennis Hastert) but I think I'll start with him:

Dennis Hastert (Republican): Sexually abused multiple teenaged-men in the 1970's while in a position of power as a high school wrestling coach.

Mark Foley (Republican): Guilty of sexual predation of multiple teenaged boys (congressional pages).

David Vitter (Republican): Involved with a Washington DC escort service and a scandal around prostitution.

Strom Thurmond (Democrat): Had a mixed-race grown daughter out of wedlock.

Larry Craig (Republican): Lewd conduct in a restroom soliciting sex from an undercover cop.

Gary Condit (Democrat): Had an extra-marital affair.

Ed Schrock (Republican): Caught soliciting sex from men on an interactive telephone service where men could leave messages for other men in order to get sex.

Steven LaTourette (Republican): Left his wife for a female aide.

David Dreier (Republican): Was vehemently anti-gay and gay in real life (had a partner).

Don Sherwood (Republican): Caught having an extra-marital affair and accused of assaulting a woman who locked herself in his bathroom.

Vito Fossella (Republican): Admitted to an extra-marital affair that resulted in a child while he was married.

John Edwards (Democrat): Caught having an extra-marital affair.

John Ensign (Republican): Caught having an extra-marital affair.

Chip Pickering (Republican): Caught having an extra-marital affair.

Holy crap, people. The 107th congress was bad news. Maybe it's just a weird coincidence that the majority of these names are Republican. I'm sure that's it. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Peter Principle validates everything I've suspected about our society here in the United States and totally puts it into context I can understand.

Have you ever heard of the Peter Principle? I stumbled across it yesterday in another random search, and it totally validated how I feel most people in our (read United States) society are in all actuality, mediocre human beings. The Peter Principle is a concept in management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter, and the overall idea is that our society is structured in such a way that people are promoted into positions for which they are doomed to failure. This is because people are not assessed on what they can do, but on their accomplishments in a previous position. So the higher and higher they go up the promotion ladder, every person eventually reaches a plateau called "The Level of Incompetence" in which they are unsuited to perform their job. Once they reach that plateau, they can't get promoted out of it because they are terrible at their job, and they can't get demoted because they deserved to be promoted. So they are stuck. In other words, "ambitious people will always rise to their level of incompetence." It's a fascinating take on the world and when I think about it, it makes so much sense to me because I see incompetent people all the time holding down positions they are incapable of performing. How did they get there? Easy, they were good at their last job.

Watch the video below if you have the time. It explains so much about this wonderful little theory that provides an answer as to why there's so much incompetence in every day America.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The season six premiere of A Game of Thrones was mostly just setting the table for the other nine episodes, but we at least found out that Melisandre may in fact be immortal.

Warning: There are spoilers for "The Red Woman" in this post.

The season six premiere of Game of Thrones titled "The Red Woman," seemed kind of short to me. And then I realized that a lot of the individual scenes were long zoom in shots that took up a lot of screen time. There was a nice panorama of the Wall and Jon Snow lying dead in his own blood, there were impressive shots of Jaime's ship returning from Dorne with a dead Marcella, and nice dramatic shots of Daenerys surrounded by a horde of Dothraki. So my first impulse was that this was an episode of style over substance, picking up where we ended off last season, and setting the table (as it were) for the other nine episodes in the season.

However, there was one shocker: the reveal with Melisandre. I never picked up on that in the books, but I guess it's been in there the entire time, this idea that the Lord of Light empowers Melisandre with glamor--a kind of magic that allows her to change her appearance. George R.R. Martin has also said (I looked it up) that she's ancient. This was a fantastic yet sad reveal. It made me realize that Melisandre needed to use glamor to appear as she does in order to be taken seriously or have any respect. But it does frame earlier events from prior seasons a lot better. For example, remember when she survived the poisoned drink back at Dragonstone? I think that's a hint that she's immortal. I kept wanting her to at least try and resurrect Jon Snow, but she obviously hasn't worked herself up to that yet. She just sits and stares into the flame.

It looks like the many plot threads that scattered the heroes to the four winds might be bringing them together in this season, and I think that's good because the show's at its best when the main characters are interacting with one another. Sansa, Theon, Brienne, and Podrick are headed to the wall to hopefully join up with a resurrected Jon Snow with a Melisandra and Davos at his side. I hope in Daenerys's storyline that we don't get bogged down in Vaes Dothrak. The Dothraki respect strength, so maybe Drogon will fly out of the sky and have all of the Dothraki name her as a Khal--could they even follow a woman like that? Who knows.

As far as what's going on in Dorne, I really could care less. Here it is in season six and we've got these new Sand Snake characters murdering their own patriarchy, and I fail to see how any of them are a part of the big story. It just seems to me that Dorne (like the Greyjoys) is where George R.R. Martin kind of fails because he just kept going with all of these extra characters and storylines and they aren't really connected in any way to the rest of the characters. It's almost like he got so into his world-building that he was like, "Hey...let me tell you what's going on over here..." "Ooh, and over here there's this other thing going on." I's cool...but I'm one of those people that isn't in love with the world but I am in love with the story. In other words...I don't want to know about what kinds of stew ancient Valyrians made on their nameday, but I do want to know how the Night's King gets his powers. I realize there are all kinds of readers who concern themselves with the tiny nuances of a fantasy world, and their appetite is insatiable. I'm just saying that I'm not one of those people.

And Arya's storyline (to be honest) is getting a little stale. She's obviously going to become a Faceless Man, and I've enjoyed the journey up to this point. But now we're just getting bogged down in the whole "superhero origin" story. I hope there's more to her storyline that explains who the Faceless Men really are. Do they get their power from the Great Other? Is the many-faced god opposed to the Lord of Light? I've thought for some time now that the Faceless Men were actually collecting souls for the White Walkers, which is why it's taken them 8,000 years to make another appearance. I think it would be cool if Arya ended up becoming a White Walker through servitude with the Faceless Men. After all, the Starks have had relations with the White Walkers before.

Friday, April 22, 2016

On Agents of Shield Hive is Legion for he is many.

I have to admit, I didn't think that Grant Ward was gonna pay off like he did for Agents of Shield. The twist in having him become a traitor and join Hydra was really interesting. I think it's about that time that I felt the show really took off. But I knew eventually that even Grant Ward with his almost superhuman ability to land kicks, jabs, and punches would get his comeuppance. I also knew that when that happened, they'd have to search for another villain. What I didn't expect was for the show to go back to Ward and have him return as a zombie alien squid-faced thing. And then for him to do even more creepy stuff, like invade Daisy's mind by being able to blow weird mind-controlling particles into her face (called Hive).

I suppose misdirection and suspicion are important quotas to maintain in a show that's about secret agents. And that ending of this week's episode called "The Team" was pretty gut-wrenching. And let's talk about Hive for a moment. The sand blast doesn't directly control the target. Instead it makes them look at Grant Ward (Hive) as their true savior. This is kind of an interesting take on fanaticism. And it certainly makes Hive the most dangerous inhuman because he happens to be every inhuman. "I am legion for we are many" sound familiar? Religion, even in a fictional show like Agents of Shield, continues to fascinate me. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Serialized storytelling is an old tradition and superhero movies are using the principle of it to bring together some previously impossible story arcs.

A friend recently said that superhero movies are just commercials for more superhero movies. I thought it was kind of brilliant to think that a three-hour movie is just a setup for bunches of three-hour movies that supposedly will pay of in one big three-hour movie. But then I started to think about how chapters in a book are organized, and how it's impossible in anything with an "epic" kind of scope to tell a complete story arc in just one chapter. Not everything can be boiled down to Hemmingway's famous line, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

I think critics of superhero movies do them a disservice by just dismissing them as advertising for another movie. Batman V Superman isn't an advertisement, it's a chapter in a much longer story that has yet to be told. Maybe it's this idea of "serialized entertainment" that has thrown people for a loop. It used to be that novels would be serialized and released a bit at a time. My most recent memory of this (and it's not too recent) was Stephen King's serialized novel, The Green Mile. Since that came out more than a decade ago, it's easy to think that a whole generation (that doesn't read stuff on Wattpad or the Nifty Archive) is unfamiliar with stories being told in bite-sized chunks, released one chapter at a time.

And serialized storytelling has a lot of advantages. For one, it's kind of like a 401k investment plan. In other words, thinking of retirement as one huge chunk of money that you'll need in order to leave the workforce forever can be very daunting. However, taking it in small pieces over a great deal of time makes it a lot more palatable. The same can be true for storytelling. In our fast-paced low attention span culture, a serialized story does not ask for a lot of investment from a person. Everyone can spare ten minutes out of their day to read the latest installment.

Another benefit of serialized storytelling is that installments need to have a hook that brings the audience back. This is why in superhero movies, we usually have a complete story arc that has a definitive conclusion, yet leaves the door open for more growth.

Anyway, I guess all I was trying to say is that serialized storytelling is not advertising, and superhero movies are using the principle of it to bring together some previously impossible story arcs. Who wins in that situation? We all win because we get to sit back and watch the story unfold one piece at a time.

Monday, April 18, 2016

In iZombie are the zombies going to establish a nation where humans are raised as cattle to supply them with brains?

Spoilers ahead :) for season two of iZombie.

iZombie is a great show. The season finale two parter ("Dead Beat" and "Salivation Army") aired this last week, and it continues to impress by solid storytelling, fascinating characters, and a take on zombies that I never expected. Because the zombie outbreak (established in season 1) is chemical and linked to Max Rager energy drinks, there's a mechanic present that makes being a zombie more of an unfortunate lifestyle choice rather than an "end of the world" plague. As you can probably tell from that one line pitch, the story has got lots of humor but can go dark really quick if the situation warrants it. This gives it a kind of humor/horror mix I find really appealing, and it reminds me a little bit of Buffy.

Season Two had lots of very satisfying story arcs too. Clive figures out that Liv's a zombie. At first you think that this is going to be a card that they play very late in the series, but the writers don't shy away from it. Liv needs to reveal herself in order to stop Major from going full zombie in prison (and hurting a lot of people) and proves she's a zombie (to Clive) by stabbing herself in the heart. Unlike in other shows, the writers don't delve into Clive feeling betrayed, etc. and then trying to reconcile that over several episodes.

I also like how Blaine's character evolved. Initially a douchebag zombie, the cure left him with no memory at all of Mr. Boss (who orders Blaine killed). That plan fails and Blaine ends up rescuing his girlfriend in a story arc that's kind of romantic.

The season two finale had a lot of things packed into it, including singer Rob Thomas being eaten by a zombie along with a lot of Max Rager staff. Now the military contractor that had purchased Max Rager is composed entirely of the undead, and Seattle is going to become the capital of a new zombie nation. That sounds really an apocalypse of a different kind as the nation goes to war against zombies who need to eat their brains to stay human and use cell phones and check Facebook. It makes me wonder who will win, and it makes me wonder if zombies are ultimately doomed or will they become overlords of the humans and begin to raise them like cattle?

The CW is knockin' it out of the park with these shows. Sheesh.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Is there a huge population in our country that is suffering from Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder? And is that even a real thing?

Yesterday in a wild google search, I stumbled across something that caught my eye. It's called Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder, and you can read about it on Wikipedia HERE. Here's a quote from the article:
Some psychiatrists are proposing this as a mental disorder because they believe there are people who have become so bitter they can barely function. PTED patients do not fit the formal criteria for PTSD and can be clinically distinguished from it, prompting the description of a new and separate disorder.
German psychiatrist Michael Linden, who has conducted research on the proposed disorder, describes its effect on people: "They feel the world has treated them unfairly. It's one step more complex than anger. They're angry plus helpless." He says that people with the disorder are almost treatment resistant and that; "These people usually don't come to treatment because 'the world has to change, not me.'" He believes that 1 to 2 percent of people are affected at any given time, and explains that, although sufferers of the disorder tend to have a desire for vengeance, "...Revenge is not a treatment.
The article goes on to say more, specifically this:
In PTED it is hypothesized to come from a threat to one's basic belief system -- which may be just as life-threatening as physical trauma i.e. an existentialist, metaphysical, value-systems attack.
"From our own clinical observation comes a more specific model, which stipulates a violation of strong ‘basic beliefs’ as the cause for a pervasive mood not of ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’, but of feelings of injustice and ‘embitterment’. Basic beliefs can be conceptualized as value systems that are learned in childhood and adolescence. They encompass religious or political beliefs and values as well as basic definitions of oneself and one’s personal goals in life. They are needed to guide coherent behavior over the life cycle of an individual, and even over generations for groups and whole nations. This makes them resistant to change, even when confronted with opposing evidence. If these basic beliefs are threatened or violated, it can come either to martyrdom, i.e. an active opposition, or to embitterment, or possibly both. In this context it is of great interest that, for instance, political activists show less psychopathology after torture than non-activists, even when the former experienced more severe torture. It is hypothesized that the core pathogenic mechanism in PTED is a characteristic mismatch between basic beliefs and critical event, so that the event activates this particular, deeply held belief and the associated emotions."
So, the reason I'm posting this is to perhaps spark a discussion based around these questions: 1) Do you think that this is a real disorder? I mean to ask...does this sound legit to you? And 2) Do you think that this is what's going on in our country with the extreme rhetoric we're hearing from presidential candidates? I'd be curious to know your opinions. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

If you can get past the whitewashing and the obvious Christopher Nolan influences the Dr. Strange Trailer is actually pretty decent.

The first trailer for the upcoming Marvel (phase 3) production of Dr. Strange happened last night. As a fan of the comic books, I wasn't quite prepared for an obvious Asian character to be played by a very British Tilda Swinton. As much as I like Tilda's work, I kind of wonder why the director may have gone that route. Also, I can't see cities get folded in upon themselves anymore and not instantly think "They stole that from 'Inception.'" In many ways, Christopher Nolan has kind of owned the whole "space folding in upon itself" film technique the same as the Wachowski's kind of own "bullet time." It always looks good but never quite produces within me the same kind of rush that I first felt when I saw it happen. I dunno...maybe Tilda Swinton is just playing the "spoon kid" from the Matrix all grown up. Then again...maybe not. I did like that Dr. Strange was astral in the first trailer. That's pretty central to the character as the dude definitely loves his astral form. I think you'd be hard pressed to pick up a comic book of Dr. Strange and not see him go astral. Just sayin'.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The New York Times was right NOT to collaborate with the Panama Papers Leak because paying subscribers want original content that no one else has.

This weekend on NPR's "All Things Considered" program, the host Ari Shapiro interviewed several people at the center of the Panama Papers Leak, which has an estimated 11.5 million files and has been a collaboration of hundreds of media outlets around the world. The interview, which is pretty fascinating, went over how the whole thing got started and how a team worked in more than 25 languages so that they could all publish their stories at the same time.

Of particular interest to me was a section of the interview in which Ari asked (I think it was Gerard Ryle but my memory fails) the question, "Why do you think this hasn't been a bigger story in the United States?" He offered up the answer that the major newspaper outlets like The New York Times refused to collaborate on the story, and it just wouldn't work out. He claimed that newspapers like The New York Times still have a "We can do this on our own" mentality, and said that this is out of step with the modern times where all information is shared.

I actually had some strong opinions about this. First off, I think that opinion is wrong. I happen to have a New York Times subscription, and I don't subscribe to that paper so that I can read what everyone else is printing. That's what "shared content" means. It's the same as when a Walking Dead episode airs and everyone from Forbes to Vanity Fair to yours truly puts up a post about the episode and tries to single out one or two things that maybe no one else has said (which is impossible to do).
Truly original content is how newspapers make their mark in a digital world overrun by the same
stories printed and reprinted off of the associated press. 
For me, the Times has carefully cultivated a resource of extremely good writers who have (among them) credentials like Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes, and Peabody awards. In a day and age where everyone and their dog can throw up an opinion online, I fall back on credentials when I look to my news. I also want opinions that I can't find anywhere else, and The New York Times has some of the best opinion pages I've seen. And if I pay for something, I want original content.

I hate that there are journalists out there who despise The New York Times because they have a "we can do this on our own" mentality. That's precisely what makes The New York Times worth subscribing to. Otherwise, why even have news outlets at all? We could all just get our news from Twitter (which would be horrible by the way). The New York Times allows me to read the opinions of some of the smartest, most influential people in the world, and what they have to say has value to me.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Mon Mothma hasn't aged a day and is that a Grand Admiral uniform we're seeing? So many observations about Star Wars: Rogue One and so few answers.

The Star Wars: Rogue One trailer dropped yesterday and I had tons of observations, or questions framed as observations. Would you expect anything less? So naturally I'm going to blog about them because that's what blogs are for, right?
1) Who was Mr. Fancy Cloak? I liked that cloak and that look and immediately thought Tarkin! But then not so fast because Tarkin didn't ever strike me as someone who would wear a cloak. Then I remembered my Timothy Zahn novels and a character named "Grand Admiral Thrawn" that dressed like that, all in white. So is this a Grand Admiral? Hmm. Hey, they could have salvaged something from the old extended universe. That's a pretty huge database of some really interesting ideas.
2) Imperial Guard! Remember those guys in red that looked really cool but never did anything? They were all over Return of the Jedi's throne room sequence. Do we actually get to see them kick ass in Rogue One? I sure hope so.
3) Seeing the AT-AT's in a Pirates of the Caribbean-type setting is actually really cool. Maybe it's the director's ode to "Apocalypse Now!" New quote for the movie, "I love the smell of blasters in the morning."
4) Mon Mothma! If that's the original actress from Return of the Jedi thirty years ago, she hasn't aged a bit. Whhaatt? Seriously. She looks exactly like I remembered her looking. How is that possible?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Connecting with other living things is the reward for facing down insecurities about writing. Don't be afraid to take a stand and show your opinions to the world.

Today is the first Wednesday of the month of April.

For you bloggers participating in the A to Z challenge, I just want to say that I wish you luck in completing it. As for my insecurity, I think I still struggle to make a point with my writing. I still struggle to tell people what I really think. Writing (for me) is all about facing this terror and putting myself out there so that people can say: "that's gross" or "that's so weird" or "I like this" or even "you are my favorite author." I really like that last line by the way. It's my favorite.

I just wanted to point out that C.S. Lewis once said, "By confining your child to blameless stories of child life in which nothing at all alarming ever happened, you would fail to banish the terrors, and would succeed in banishing all that can ennoble them or make them endurable."

I think this quote is easily interpretable in a number of ways. For me it reinforces this idea: don't be afraid to make a point with your writing. A point is where you make a stand. It's where you reveal who you are, and readers will either like or dislike what they see. But remember that even if your reader rejects what you write, it is better to face that rejection than it is to hide from it. Being "safe" is a good way to be "invisible," and I don't think that's why any of us write. After all, most of us compose words because we think we have something interesting to say. And how can we stimulate interest if we never take the leap to communicate what we believe with other living things?

I've been fortunate enough as a writer to connect with a number of readers, and I'm continuing to do so. But I never could have made that connection if I'd failed to face my fear and just told stories in which "nothing at all alarming ever happened." 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Barbara Gordon's gruesome fate in The Killing Joke is getting the full-blown animated treatment this summer.

I'm kind of excited that this summer we are getting an adaptation of Alan Moore's The Killing Joke starring Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill (as the voice of the Joker of course). Whether or not you've actually read and either hated or loved the comic book (it's one that is very controversial), if you collect comics then you know that The Killing Joke is one of the most famous comic books of all time. It has dozens of alternate covers (the one with the green writing on it is the first printing but probably not worth that much money). As people have pointed out before, comic book companies produce such huge print runs of gimicky stories that even several decades later, none of them are worth anything.

The most important thing that you should know about The Killing Joke (if you haven't read it) is that it sets up Barbara Gordon becoming a paraplegic at the hands of the Joker. Basically, the Joker knocks on the door of the Gordon residence, and when Barbara answers the door he shoots her in front of her father, Jim Gordon. Because Barbara Gordon is Batgirl, that ends her escapades and sets her up to become Oracle. Oh and it's implied in the same comic book that she's later sexually assaulted by the Joker's goons because what Batgirl went through wasn't bad enough.

Maybe now that The Killing Joke is being made, it will open the door for other Batman-esque stories: Knightfall, the Long Halloween, and Hush. Also, it'd be nice if an animation studio adapted some of the Swamp Thing stories, because (for a while) Swamp Thing was pretty darn good. Any of you have any opinions on whether or not The Killing Joke should have been animated? I'd love to read your comments on the subject.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Could Ezra Bridger on Star Wars Rebels end up being Supreme Leader Snoke?

This is your spoiler warning as I intend to talk about all of the events in Wednesday night's Star Wars Rebels season finale: Twilight of the Apprentice.

There is so much to say about the second season finale of Star Wars Rebels that I hardly know where to begin. Called "Twilight of the Apprentice" it may be thus named because we've just seen the swan song of one of my favorite characters: Ahsoka Tano (Anakin Skywalker's one and only padawan), which has been an epic seven-year arc if you consider the character was created in The Clone Wars with the sole intent that there would be a showdown with Darth Vader at some point in a blazing lightsaber battle to the death.
The ambiguous outcome/dream sequence following the lightsaber battle on a Sith Temple on Malachor has led the online community to believe that Ahsoka may not be dead. However, Rebels is a story that has always seemed to me to be about Kanan and Ezra, so I doubt we will see much of Tano in the future. I'd like to think that she survived, but what better way to end a character than with the biggest bad of all taking them out. It's a little sad but also elegant in a way.

The other thing that came as a real surprise to me was the appearance of Darth Maul again. Now going by Maul (how he survived a lightning storm battle with Emperor Palpatine is beyond me, but then again, this is the same guy that survived being cut in half by Qui Gon). Maul lured Ezra to the Dark Side so easily it wasn't even funny. I like to think that it was written this way, because Star Wars Rebels is a television show on the Disney channel with an audience (target group) around thirteen or fourteen years old. But literally, Ezra had became fully engaged with the Dark Side of the force basically in the time it took to ride two elevators to the top of a pyramid. Enough at least that he was able to open a Sith holocron all by himself by show's end...something that only a Sith is supposed to be able to do.

This revelation leads me to conclude that (in recollection of the events we saw in episode VII) either Ezra Bridger or Darth Maul might (in fact) be Supreme Leader Snoke (whom we saw in the chair overlooking Kylo Ren in the movie). It seems fairly simple to assume Snoke could be either of these two. If Ezra Bridger were Snoke, it would explain his fascination with Luke Skywalker because he faced his dad in combat and Luke's dad destroyed his first lightsaber and basically opened his mind to the true power that the Dark Side possessed because Ezra saw him kill Ahsoka Tano. It also could be that Ezra (as Snoke) just wants to kill Luke Skywalker because he wants revenge against Vader (who happened to be Luke's dad). There was also the bit of foreshadowing when Ezra picked up a lightsaber that looked a lot like Kylo Ren's, and Maul did name Ezra "my apprentice" and kept stressing how there was always "two" in a Sith relationship (no more no less). So the path to Ezra becoming Snoke could be as easy as 1) Ezra killing Maul, and 2) then taking Kylo Ren as an apprentice at some point in the future (before the events of episode VII).
However, Snoke could also be Maul. Here's my evidence: first, the body types look eerily familiar if you contrast what we saw in episode VII to the way Maul moved in the series finale last night. As part of gaining the secret of immortality (previously known only to Darth Plagueis) I would think might also come a profound undead appearance and possibly the loss of the horns on his head? That would make him look a lot like Supreme Leader Snoke, if you could swallow that there would be those physical changes. Maul has already shown (and stated) that he no longer cares about the "Darth" title (I've never really been sure what that means). Perhaps it's a declaration similar to what Ahsoka said when she faced off against Vader and declared, "I am no Jedi." It's propagating this idea that (while the movies concern themselves with Skywalker and Yoda) there are other Force users in the galaxy that don't belong to either group as traditionally identified by the old Jedi Council. This gives leeway to walking around the statement from Yoda when he says to Luke on his deathbed, "When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be."
And then there's the matter of the whole Sith holocron that Ezra recovered. A holocron is like a huge library/database of Force knowledge. The Jedi have them and they can be used to teach other Jedi how to manipulate the Force. I never realized that the Sith would have them too. Presumably, it's going to be filled with all sorts of Sith tricks: Force Lightning and Undead Immortality spring to mind. Perhaps the ability to stop a blaster bolt in mid flight is also included (we saw Kylo Ren do this in episode VII). The thing that's got my mind swirling is why was Asajj Ventress' voice coming out of the Holocron? It could be that they used the same voice actress for the holocron. Or it could mean that the Holocron is Dathomirian technology (think witches from the planet Dathomir) as she was raised by the Nightsisters (who employed "magick" as opposed to the Force to do any number of miraculous things).
The last thing I wanted to touch on is that Kanan is now the Star Wars version of Daredevil. Maul blinded him, which is going to have a lot of repercussions I'm sure. Maybe it will make his Force use stronger. Or perhaps it's just a nod to the original Star Wars movies that with 1) Kanan blind and 2) Ezra embracing the dark side, that Luke really is the only alternative the Jedi have with any kind of chance to take down the Emperor.

Looking forward to season three. That season two finale was pretty darn incredible.