Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brute Passes On

Lt. Gen. Victor "Brute" Krulak died Monday at the Wesley Palms Retirement Community in San Diego, he was a decorated veteran of World War II and the Korean War and a Marine legend, he was 95.

During World War II on the island of Choiseul, Krulak led his outnumbered battalion during an eight-day raid on Japanese forces, diverting the enemy’s attention from the U.S. invasion of Bougainville. Krulak’s troops destroyed hundreds of tons of supplies, burning both camps and landing barges. He was wounded on Oct. 13, 1943, and later received the Navy Cross for heroism along with the Purple Heart.

At age 43 he became the youngest brigadier general in Marine Corps history up to that time. Krulak later commanded about 100,000 Marines in the Pacific from 1964 to 1968 — a span that saw the United States dramatically increase buildup in Vietnam. Before assuming command of Fleet Marine Force Pacific, he served as principal adviser on counterinsurgency warfare to then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and the joint chiefs of staff.

After retirement, he often criticized the government’s handling of the Vietnam War. He wrote that the war could have been won only if the Vietnamese had been protected and befriended and if enemy supplies from North Vietnam were cut off. Krulak once summed up the U.S. dilemma in Vietnam by saying, “It has no front lines. The battlefield is in the minds of 16 or 17 million people.”

Following retirement, he worked for Copley Newspapers, serving at various times as director of editorial and news policy and news media president of Copley News Service. He retired as vice president of The Copley Press Inc. in 1977 and contributed columns on international affairs and military matters for Copley News Service. He also wrote the book First to Fight, an insider’s view of the Marine Corps.

His son General Charles Krulak served as commandant of the Marine Cops from 1995 to 1999.

Source AP

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Just a quick note to wish all who read this a very Merry Christmas. Especially to all the troops overseas sacrificing their time with their families to bring safety, freedom and security to the world.

Merry Christmas.
Lt. Colonel "Whopper" Creedon, UNETIDA

2IGTV Episode 63

It's Christmas in the world of 2IGTV and this is not lost on us as we discuss Star Wars snow speeders, gifts, the latest technological advancements in the world of 3D, the health of Apple and Steve Jobs, the state of the games industry in the economic crisis and the shuffling of the late night talk show hosts.

We talk Knight Rider, TR2N, Judge Dredd, Buck Rogers, The Star Wars musical, Shatner's Raw Nerve, Cocaine, Roger Ebert and Bitches!!!

All this and More here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The First Lady Of Star Trek Has Passed

Majel Barrett Roddenberry, wife of the late Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek has died of leukemia aged 76.

She was also one of the most famous guest actors on many of the Star Trek series. She had been involved with Star Trek from it's very beginning playing the mysterious Number One, first officer of the USS Enterprise under Captain Pike in the unaired pilot "The Cage". Later she had a recurring role as Nurse Christine Chapel in the 3 year run of the original Star Trek series and the character later became a doctor for the migration to the Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

For the 24th century incarnations of Star Trek, Barrett would protray the endeeringly annoying Lwaxana Troi, mother of Enterprise-D councellor Deanna Troi. But perhaps she more famously provided the federation computer voice for the original Star Trek Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager as well as a number of episodes of Enterprise and some of the Star Trek movies.

She was a formidible woman; following Gene's death she took the reigns of two of his projects, Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda and brought them to fruition. She was very much a part of the Fan community for Star Trek and Sci-Fi in general and made countless convention appearences up to the point of her illness. I'm glad to say that I was able to meet her in person in Dublin at a Star Trek convention in 1995[?].

On December 9th 2008, Roddenberry Productions announced that Barrett would be providing the voice of the ship's computer once again, for the new Star Trek in 2009. It is not clear, however, whether she had already recorded the voiceover at the time of the announcement, or had been scheduled to do so. Nevertheless, her greatest legacy is that her voice is now heard all over the world every day in the from of the Federation computer voice, as episodes of the Star Trek shows she voiced are constantly rerun.

Rest in peace.

Barrett's Memory Alpha entry.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Robert Carlyle to head Stargate: Universe

Dispelling most of the internet fueled rumours about him being the next Dr. Who; BAFTA award- winning actor Robert Carlyle OBE will be playing a lead role in a popular long running sci-fi series but it won't be in the UK - it'll be over in Canada where they will be filming Stargate: Universe!

Carlyle will play Dr. David Rush on the new Stargate: Universe an "edgier and younger in tone" series than the two previous incarnations, "SGU follows a band of soldiers, scientists and civilians, who must fend for themselves as they are forced through a Stargate when their hidden base comes under attack. The desperate survivors emerge aboard an ancient ship missing in the far reaches of space. As they fight to survive, Dr. Rush (Carlyle) works to unlock the mysteries of the ship and return the group home, but evidence of his ulterior motives soon arises." according to the MGM press release.

Many Stargate fans were worried that according to the original casting call, only the series' military commander, a Colonel Everett Young would be older than 25 and the remainder of the cast are in their early 20's. Carlyle is obviously not the colonel however so there'll be at least two characters who'll have some idea what they're doing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dumbass Iraqi Journalist Flings Shoes At Bush

The training that I personally gave President George W. Bush to dodge missiles such as knives or eggs etc. paid off today when some dumbass Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at him during a press conference. The conference, part of the outgoing president's secret tour of Iraq was being held with with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to mark the signing of a U.S.-Iraq security agreement.

Bush had been finishing his remarks in which he said the security agreement was made possible by the U.S. surge of troops earlier this year, when the journalist, one Muthathar al Zaidi pulled off his shoes and hurled them at the president shouting "This is a goodbye kiss, you dog"*. Bush dodged the shoes and was not struck, mostly because of the comprehensive training I gave him in 2005 after watching the Ben Stiller movie Dodgeball, where I emulated the training given by Patches O'Houlihan, a character in the movie. Bodyguards quickly wrestled Zaidi to the floor and hauled him, kicking and screaming, from the room.

I must say that I'm extremely disappointed that the man didn't receive two 9mm's into his skull and instead was merely "subdued" before being carted off - but perhaps he will have an accident in custody. If this is the gratitude that people show for being liberated from tyranny - Obama may have the right idea to begin getting out of there and letting God sort 'em out. Anyway, while I can take credit for his Jedi-like reflexes, I can't take credit for Bush's razor sharp wit - "All I can report," he joked of the incident, "is a size 10."

*Different news sites are all reporting variations of what the moron was shouting as he threw the shoes

Source: Youtube,FoxNews, MSNBC, AP

Thursday, December 11, 2008

World In Conflict - Full Review

It was back here in April '07 when I mentioned that I may be picking up an RTS (Real-Time-Strategy) game; A genre with which I've had little time for in the past, but World In Conflict secured my custom for these main reasons:
1. - It would dispense with the usual boring mechanic of mining for gold, ore, oil or whatever such raw material was required to build your war machine and replace it with a point system that allowed you do air-drop units into your battle zone and begin the fight immediately.
2. - The game would be one of the first to utilise Direct-X10, the Windows Vista API, the next evolution in graphics.
3. - The story would be crafted with the aid of Tom Clancy collaborator Larry Bond which may perhaps explain the games similarity with Red Storm Rising which he co-wrote.
4. - Alec Baldwin himself would be the narrator of that story between the battle sequences.
Thankfully, all of that and more were part of this stunning game.

Picture a world where in 1989 the Soviet Union is collapsing, but instead of what happened in our reality- the hard-line commies instead quash glasnost and perestroika and invade Europe, drawing US forces there and launching a daring attack on the mainland United States. Remember Red Dawn?

In a nutshell: World in Conflict plays out like a Bay-directed, Clancy-penned hybrid of an RTS game. There's no base-building; Instead you get a pool of "reinforcement points" to create a customised force from. When you loose a unit, the point cost of that unit counts back into your point pool and can be used again to summon reinforcements to the field. As the point pool isn't huge, you need to be pretty accurate in which units you bring out because most of the time you force will consist of between a few to a dozen units. The result of such a dynamic resource and strategic model is an RTS that plays far differently than any other sample of the genre.

During the course of the game you're given command of various ground and air units from Bradley IFVs to Apache gunships. You play a company-grade Army officer and so are not laden down with the usual several dozen units you get in other RTSs. As with other RTS' you're not in command of every unit on your side on the battlefield. No, in this you have a small mobile team capable of achieving your objectives swiftly and concisely as part of a larger force that you must support and defend and they will do the same to you, much as you do in FPS form in the Call Of Duty games. You also have power at most stages of the game to direct different forms of artillery fire from daisy cutters to bunker busters and of course the final solution: The Tactical Nuke! - but I wish there could have been more of them to use.

A major issue with trying to weld a story to an RTS is that you basically have a whole load of disposable units that will most likely not survive from the start to the end of the level [not the way I play anyway]. Massive Entertainment dealt with this challenge by disregarding the implementation of "hero" units and presenting the narrative through the interactions of four different US Army officers. The tough abrasive no-nonsense Colonel Sawyer, pulled out of retirement to command the resistance against the Soviets and his three primary commanders. Captain Webb in support, tank commander Captain Bannon and the player's alter-ego Lieutenant Parker. Each has an interesting character arc that weaves its way through the different missions and is detailed with well-written dialogue. In addition to the game engine and FMV cut-scenes; Alec Baldwin narrates the game from your point of view. Each level transition is told through a series of majestically painted stills of soldiers in the conflict with dialog giving us a glimpse of what they are thinking and feeling as war rages on. It's a very effective way of telling the story and certainly adds flavour to an already rich storyline.

The game interface for World in Conflict is smaller than that of most other examples of the genre. The bottom middle contains a graphical representation of your current units and their status, the top right hand corner contains the reinforcement widget. A mini map is in the bottom left hand corner, and on the bottom right hand corner: the special abilities buttons (including unit formation). Overall, the reduced interface gives players a larger view of the battlefield, allowing greater micromanagment and taking advantage of the game's magnificent visuals.

The game's engine is incredible, you can zoom right into each unit and see an incredible level of detail right down to the model of assault rifle one of your soldiers is carrying, or zoom outwards to see the whole battlefield. As mentioned previously, WIC was one of the first games to utalise DX10 and Windows Vista. Users on this platform will have a much higher graphical presentation including "god rays", cloud shadows and soft particles. However I'm told the engine still looks magnificent on DX9, but once you experience it on DX10 you know that the future of gaming at this level is certainly bright. DX10 provides only cosmetic enhancements over it's predecessor, WIC still features deformable terrain in the form of buildings and foliage that are destroyable, dual-core multithreading and Havoc physics. The only technical let down was the omission of 3D sound due to the game being completed at the height of the Windows Vista sound debacle; but the game still has awesome sounds with great filtering.

Final Verdict: Easily the best experience of a Real Time Strategy game I've had since WarCraft 2.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****1/2

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Hornet Down ***Updated***

An F/A-18D Hornet preparing to land at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif. crashed in a densely populated San Diego neighborhood Monday, killing two three four people on the ground and destroying two houses.

There was little sign of the plane in the smoky ruins, but a piece of cockpit sat on the roof of one home. A Navy bomb disposal truck was at the site, and Marines were talking with police. Authorities told observers to leave because the smoke was toxic.

The Marine Aviator, who ejected safely and ended up hanging by his parachute from a tree in a canyon beneath the neighborhood, was in stable condition at a Navy hospital, said 1st Lt. Katheryn Putnam, a Miramar spokeswoman. "He had been returning from training on the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast. Investigators will review information from a flight data recorder. There was no indication the pilot was using alcohol or drugs."

The exact cause of the crash is not yet known, but Steve Diamond, a former military instructor who witnessed the crash, said the downed pilot told him the plane suffered a mechanical problem. "The pilot was flying quite low in the moments before he ejected," Diamond said.

The Navy recently inspected hundreds of F/A-18 Hornets, built by Boeing Co., after discovering "fatigue cracks" on more than a dozen of them. The inspections looked for cracks in a hinge that connects the aileron — a flap that helps stabilize the jet in flight — to the wing. The Navy announced last month it had grounded 10 of the $57 million fighters and placed flight restrictions on 20 more until repairs could be made.

[Left] The distinctive markings of an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet from the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101) the unit from which the crashed plane was part of.

Source: FoxNews, AP, Sky News

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Transporter 3

Jason Statham returns to our screens (after a shaky appearance as a driver in Death Race) as a driver of a different sort and a somewhat more familiar role in his third outing as the rule-confined loner Frank Martin in Transporter 3.

It's not made abundantly clear if this time Frank is fully or semi-retired, but nevertheless he's forced by a big bad-guy boss-man Johnson (Prison Break's Robert Knepper) to go on a mission to deliver a 'package'. This time he's rigged with a magnetic explosive which will detonate- killing him if he wanders too far away from his beloved Audi. He's also got a passenger in the form of a sweet piece of fluff called Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) a freckled, red-headed Ukrainian who is annoying as she is sexy.

The plot to this is beyond ridiculous, even for a Transporter movie, hell even for a mindless action movie. What in the nine hells was Luc Besson doing while writing this? Painting? Cooking? Masturbating? Because he certainly didn't seem to have actually written anything - I just don't get why the bad-guy had to do what he does, it's really making life a lot harder for himself. However, the insane unbelievable stunts, Statham's fights and chases as well as Valentina being annoying (or sexy) almost completely distract you from any semblance of story. Still it would have been nice to have some small thread of plot no matter how daft, at least to hold against the most rudimentary of analysis, but this is a basic popcorn flick, so just roll with it I guess.

Cory Yuen choreographs some brilliant fight scenes for director Olivier Megaton and it seems like Frank has to take down more enemies than usual at once, but they're not as good as in previous installments. After seeing him take down a host of thugs with a fire hose before; using his clothing as a weapon this time round seems a little naff. There does seem to be some incredible stunts here and completely over the top even physically impossible which sometimes converts cool to laughable but I'll leave you judge those for yourself.

Final Verdict: 95% of 3rd movies don't turn out to be as good as their predecessors and Transporter 3 is no exception. It has none of the character or spirit of the first movie or the more intense adrenaline action of it's sequel, but that said- it holds it's own as an action movie.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Youtube Trailer / Official Site / IMDB Entry / Wikipedia Entry

Friday, December 05, 2008

Bears... In... Spaaaaaaaaaace.....

Four Teddy-Bears were blasted to the edge of space by university boffins at Churchill College in Cambridge. The cuddly toys were attached to a helium balloon and launched 30,000-metres into the atmosphere.

They were fitted out with space suits designed by schoolchildren from the city as the toys braved freezing temperatures. The computer-controlled quartet, who were fitted with a GPS system and camera to track their progress, landed safely just north of Ipswich, Suffolk, following their pioneering flight of just over two hours. Cambridge University said the project was part of an initiative to "engage local schoolchildren in science and engineering".

The project was overseen by the Cambridge University spaceflight team - a student-run society launched two years ago. Ed Moore, one of its 10 members, said: "There can be few more worthwhile things for us to do than to try and provide that spark for the current generation of school kids. We had a fantastic time working with the kids."

Lt. Colonel "Whopper" Creedon of U.N.E.T.I.D.A., denied reports that he had a flight of Harriers scrambled from the RAF station in Wattering to deal with an "imminent danger" at the same time of the bears' flight and was unavailable for comment.

Source: Press Association

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Jones is NSA

General James L. Jones (Ret.), former Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and former Commander of the Unitesd States European Command has be officially nominated by President-Elect Barack Obama as his National Security Adviser.

Jones is currently President and chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy. He will bring 40 years of active duty in the Marine Corps and is no stranger to the the executive as he was senior aide to former SECDEF William S. Cohen.

In other appointments; Hilary Clinton was also officially named Secretary of State and as previously presumed, Robert Gates was officially confirmed to remain as SECDEF. Obama said he would be giving Gates and the military a “new mission as soon as I take office: responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control.”