Friday, January 30, 2009

Zombies! Run!!!

Austin, TX drivers making their morning commute were in for a surprise when two road signs on a busy stretch of road were taken over by hackers. The signs usually warn drivers about upcoming construction, but Monday morning they warned of "zombies ahead."

A city spokesperson said the hacked messages were only up for a few hours, until the construction project manager saw them during his morning commute and immediately ordered them to be changed back. "Even though this may seem amusing to a lot of people, this is really serious, and it is a crime," said Austin Public Works spokesperson Sara Hartley. "And you can be indicted for it, and we want to make sure our traffic on the roadways stays safe." She said the city will discuss more secure safety measures with the manufacturer of the signs.

Personally I think that it's a good thing that folk are reminded that the Zombocalypse could come upon us at any time. Hollywood and it's ilk have damaged the perception of zombie and all undead-related threats by branding movies in which they feature, as "fiction" and bestowing them fictional abilities such as "running" which was denounced by zombie expert Simon Pegg when writing about the British series Dead Set - "You cannot kill a vampire with an MDF stake; werewolves can't fly; zombies do not run."

The threat is real folks, don't end up unprepared like the poor folk in Pittsburgh, PA. I have weapons ready for removing the head and destroying the brain - do you?


Source: Bruce Russell, ABC, The Guardian, The Onion, Wikipedia

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Red Dwarf: Back to Earth

20 years ago, my good buddy Doug Kastle handed me a videotape with the words "Red Dwarf" on it. He had been blathering on about it for what seemed like an eternity; so it was either continue to listen to him and not know what he was on about or watch the bloody thing and get some frame of reference. To be honest I hadn't really heard a word he had said about it because up to the point where I ran the tape - I was still expecting to see a gnome-sized dwarf wearing some gaudy shade of crimson.

How glad I was that it was instead a Sci-Fi / comedy show and was bloody hilarious. Running for eight series on BBC between '88 and '99; it is heralded as one of the UK's most beloved comedies of all time even garnering a Bafta and an International Emmy.

Set 3,000,000 years into the future, we follow the exploits of Dave Craig Charles Lister, a slovenly crew member of the mining ship Red Dwarf and the last man in the universe. He was joined by a cast of oddballs including hologram Arnold Chris Barrie Rimmer, mechanoid servant Kryten (Robert Llewelen) and Cat (Danny John Jules) - a preening half-man, half cat. At its peak, Red Dwarf pulled in around eight million viewers, was broadcast in more than 25 countries and has since sold more than seven million DVDs and videos, 8 of which are on my shelf with a Starbug 1 model.

Now in 2009, Red Dwarf will return for a special for the first time in a decade.

It's resurrection will be for a special two-part Easter weekend special on the digital channel Dave. Written and directed by Red Dwarf co-creator Doug Naylor, the new two-part series Red Dwarf: Back to Earth reunites the cast where we will watch our intrepid space heroes finally reach Earth. It will be followed by a "no holds barred" episode without sets, special effects or autocue. The weekend will climax with Red Dwarf: the Making of Back to Earth, a behind-the-scenes special from the new episodes.

See more stuff at reddwarf.co.uk


Source: BBC News, Dave

*** UPDATED***
The Red Dwarf: Unplugged episode mentioned above as the episode without sets will now not be made and Red Dwarf: Back To Earth is now to be a 3-parter.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

HAIL TO THE [New] CHIEF

As General Mason said to me the day Clinton took office. "Salute the office if not the man."

The Obamas and the Bidens under the watchful eye of Colonel "Whopper" Creedon at the opening of the Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies on Jan. 18th.

I sat at home with Jack on Tuesday and watched 2 hours of Fox News coverage of a historical event from the time President Bush made his way out to his final appearance as POTUS to the time the Fox anchors started analysing the menu of the Congressional Luncheon after the ceremony - at that point I was hungry.

I'll admit to laughing when Chief Justice Roberts fucked up the oath President-Elect Obama was supposed to repeat in order to be sworn in. Thankfully the new Commander In Chief knew the thing by heart so there was no chance of a constitutional crisis that would've split the country in two igniting a race-riot fuelled civil war.

I was a little disappointed that the now President Obama didn't know how many men have taken the oath as President. He said in his speech that 44 had - including himself obviously, but while Obama may be the 44th President- he's only the 43rd man to hold the office. President Grover Cleveland was the 22nd POTUS and lost reelection to President Harrison in 1889 - but he won a second term after the defeat of Harrison becoming the 24th POTUS as well, he was the same man albeit more seasoned. But then again Obama is a student of Lincoln, not Cleveland and only presidential scholars [and well informed Marine Colonels] would have noticed the error.

What did impress me was that he swore in as Barack Hussein Obama. That took an extraordinary amount of courage which must be applauded. Now only if he had pledged to the world to rid us of the alien menace that threatens every life on earth - that really would have been something.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Colonel: Reinstated

It appears I needn't have worried at all about my visit to The White House yesterday to see President Bush upon his return from Camp David. It was mostly all good. The President was was very glad to see me [once he remembered who I was]...

I was told to report to The Oval Office where I found the man himself and a White House staff photographer, one of a team that has been chronicling every moment of the 43rd President's last days in office. It was hard not to smile while I was rendering my salute to the Commander In Chief. I had seen a comment somewhere recently that that he often stands as to appear larger and tougher than he really is. "Lieutenant Colonel Creedon reporting as ordered Mister President," I announced. There was a pause as he regarded me for a moment then suddenly he snapped his fingers - "Hey! Hey - You're the guy who keeps Martians off my lawn."

The President examined the medals on my chest and then took a military decoration box from his desk "You don't got one of these already do you son?" he said, opening it to reveal the US Navy / Marine Corps Medal Of Honor. "Now normally there's like a big-ass ceremony that comes with this but they've classified the citation so no one can know why you're getting it," he said." Cheney said even I ain't allowed to know why either, but I'm guessin' it has something to do with there being no Martians on my lawn - Heh heh!" he laughed. Naturally I was speechless.

President Bush has been known to stab himself [or others] with a decoration's metal prongs, so one might be relieved that the Medal Of Honor is worn around the neck via a fastening button and therefore harmless - but this is not the case.

In his recent press conferences, President Bush admitted to some faults with the way certain things were handled under his administration. Some elements of the war in Iraq especially Abu Ghraib and at home with the Hurricane Katrina response. But apparently there was one error of his that he could correct - "I should have granted a pardon from that Court Martian - eh - Court Martial at the time" he said producing a small box with my old Colonel's insignia. "So you can have these back. Cheney says I need Congressional approval to give you stars, but they don't like me much no more in Congress so maybe that's something the new guy can do for you - heh heh heh!" he added.

As I was about to leave The President grabbed my Mameluke sword from it's scabbard and began waving it around yelling "Yee Haw!" and "There Can Be Only One!" before I managed to coax it back off him. He really is more sprightly than one might think as evidenced by his expert ducking of shoes in Iraq last month. I can say he seemed quite happy with the prospect of not being the President anymore come Tuesday.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ricardo Montalban 1920 - 2009

The death took place in Los Angeles during the week of one of the greatest Latino actors of all time, Ricardo Montalban. He was 88 and died of natural causes. Montalban's greatest fame came from his hundreds of Television appearances and starring roles such as the enigmatic Mr. Rourke on Fantasy Island. Soap watchers will most remember him as Zach Powers on The Colbys, the Dynasty spin-off. He will also be remembered for his 1970's advertisements for Chrysler in which he coined the phrase "Corinthian Leather."

Montalban's early work made use of his Latin charisma as the romantic lead in many films and musicals but one his first roles in the US was in the brutal war movie Battleground. He also starred in the cultural taboo drama Sayonara, two of the Plant Of The Apes sequels and the first Naked Gun movie among many others. His greatest movie role however is undoubtedly as Captain Kirk's ultimate true nemesis - the superhuman Kahn Noonian Singh in the 1982 Star Trek movie The Wrath Of Kahn in which he reprised a role from the original Star Trek series in 1967.

Montalban made few live action appearances after the turn of the century instead lending his unmistakable voice to the animated movie The Ant Bully as well as episodes of Dora The Explorer, Kim Possible and Family Guy. This was due not to his age but to his disability.

Little known was that Montalban suffered from a rare spinal disorder since birth that only began manifesting itself after he fall from a horse during a movie shoot in the 1940's. This left him in great pain all this life but he never showed it. Director Robert Rodriguez expressed concern that he had begged his idol - to appear in his Spy Kids sequels when he saw how much pain he was in on set. But when he yelled "Action", Montalban would show no signs of pain. He said later "I cannot think two things at once." Montalban was recognised with the first Easter Seals lifetime achievement award.

It's true to say he was one of the first Hispanic leading men to break into Hollywood, and throughout his career he was an advocate for creating opportunities in America for Latinos in the entertainment industry. In 1970, he even founded a non-profit organisation, The Nosotros Foundation, dedicated to improving the Latino image. Stars such as Antonio Banderas and Edward James Olmos credit him with paving the way for their own careers.

Rest In Peace.

The three links take you to Youtube to view three 7-minute parts of the show awarding Montalban with the first Easter Seals Lifetime Achievement Award: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3.


Montalban's famous Chrysler commercial from 1975


Parody of the Chrysler commercial using The Wrath Of Kahn

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Jews Don't Fight..." "These Jews Do!"

It's a good feeling to start the year's cinematic experience with a good movie. That's why I didn't go to see Frank Miller's The Spirit which has already been touted as the worst movie of 2009 - I'm sure you would have enjoyed reading that review but I would rather nor have spent €9.50 for the privilege of writing it. No, instead I went to see a movie about a group of Jews in Belarus who resisted the Nazi occupation.

Edward The Last Samurai Zwick's Defiance is a beautifully shot adaptation of Nechama Tec's book Defiance: The Bielski Partisans. Based on the true story of four Jewish brothers who escape their German-occupied homeland and join the Soviet partisans to combat the Nazis, the brothers eventually rescue roughly 1,200 Jews and the movie tracks their struggle to evade invading German forces while still maintaining their mission to save Jewish lives.

The movie centres more on the two elder brothers, Tuvia played by Daniel Craig and Zus played by the grossly underrated Liev Schreiber and how they escape the occupation, exact revenge, help hundreds of fellow escaping jews, survive the wild and unforviving Winter - oh and and kill lots of Nazi's! The main source of drama is the brother's own conflict, while Tuvia is seen as touchy-feely Moses who wishes the people to survive above all - Zus prefers to express his grief through anger and an understandable desire to fight back.

Craig exhibits more charisma here than he did as Bond in Quantum of Solace, dispelling rumours that he lost the ability altogether. He's thorughly convincing as a leader of men but probably could've done with out the Braveheart-esque speech on his while horse. Zwick coaxes a passable local accent out of Craig who wobbles it a bit throughout the course of the movie - nowhere near the perfect South African accent Zwick got from DiCaprio in Blood Diamond. Schreiber while not much better than Craig in the accent department - outshines him as an actor here delivering a most powerful performance and I'm hoping that Hollywood will take more notice of him because of it.

There is a danger, especially to those who have no knowledge of history, to accept the events here a pure historical fact. However if you did, you would be in error. As with Zwick's 1989 Oscar winning movie Glory, there are many historical inaccuracies and omittions from accounts of the time including most notably in the press: The Bielski Partisans' involvement with the Naliboki Massacre. However Zwick is neither the first nor will he be the last to slightly bend the facts to make things look better when projected 50 feet high on the cinema screen and it's good that he does. The Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza has claimed the Bielskis tended not to engage in combat with Germans as depicted in the film, but rather spent its energy stealing civilian supplies in order survive. Had the film remained true to this account however I don't imagine there'd be half the amount of stars at the bottom of this review.

I'll put Defiance on a shelf with Zwick's Blood Diamond, The Siege and Courage Under Fire but it's beneath a shelf containing Glory and The Last Samurai.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****




Friday, January 09, 2009

Aliens Took Out Our Wind Turbine!

An investigation is under way into how a blade was mysteriously torn off a wind turbine in Conisholme, Lincolnshire, England amid reports of "strange lights" in the sky. A turkey farmer from North Somercotes, he said he saw a bright white light with an orange edge as he drove close to the turbine on Sunday morning.

Local residents speculated the damage could have been caused by a UFO and Wind turbine company Ecotricity said it had never seen anything like it before. A spokeswoman said: "We're conducting a thorough investigation into what happened. This kind of thing has never happened to us before." The missing blade was found on the ground beneath the turbine, she said, adding that the company could not speculate on the cause of the damage.

Robert Palmer, 66, leader of East Lindsey District Council and member of Lincolnshire County Council, wants both authorities to investigate what happened. "I would be very interested to find out what it was. If we are being looked at by other people, by other planets, it would be interesting to find out why they have chosen this part of the country. It's a rich agricultural part of the country and we have got a concentration of turbines here which may have fascinated them. You just don't know, do you? I am not counting it out that it was a UFO. There are things out there that you cannot explain. I would have thought that if it was a UFO, it would have been more sophisticated than to drive in to the turbine. It's fascinating."

While the British Ministry of Defence said it was not looking into the incident, the United Nations Extra Terrestrial Invasion Defence Agency dispatched Lt. Colonel "Whopper" Creedon to investigate. "I've never heard of a weather balloon doing this kind of damage before, but I think it's obvious that that's what we're dealing with here. It must have completely disintegrated on impact - incredible!" the Colonel told press later.

***Additional***
Civillian Overseer reported this link to me from Sky News.

Source: The Press Association

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bush Honoured With Parade

An armed forces parade honoring the service of President George W. Bush as commander in chief took place Tuesday at the gymnasium at Fort Mayer in Arlington Va. In a speech, Bush acknowledged that his military decisions haven’t always been popular. He defended his actions, which include taking the country into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and told an assemblage of troops representing all branches of the military that they have served a “just and right” cause. "The missions you have carried out have always been necessary. And the work you have done has ... been every bit as courageous and idealistic as that of any generation that came before you.”

Bush said U.S. troops helped liberate the people of Afghanistan and Iraq from the “chains of despotism” and he thanked them for that. He talked about the boost in military enrollments in response to the terrorist attacks. And he noted that the troops are never alone in shouldering the burdens of lengthy and repeated deployments far away from home and their loved ones. “We appreciate you, we love you and we honor your service,” Bush said.

Above: Lieutenant Colonel Creedon, USMC, Rear Admiral Justice, USCG and other members of the armed forces applaud the great George W. Bush.

Before the president spoke, Adm. Mullen, CJSOS, and SECDEF Gates thanked Bush in separate speeches on behalf of the more than 2 million military men and women. Mullen read from a journal, signed by service members, that he said he had passed around during his travels. One entry, from a member of the Air Force, said: “Nice to see that our president is still quick on his feet after eight years in office. Next time, pick up the shoe and throw it back.”

Gates, who has agreed to continue as defense secretary when Barack Obama becomes president, said Bush will leave behind a U.S. military that is “more agile, lethal and prepared to deal with the full spectrum of 21st century conflict” than when Gates last served in government 15 years ago.Bush received several honors, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, and the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal from the five military branches.

Nearly finished with his eight-year presidency, Bush has been saying his goodbyes to the uniformed men and women under his command, including recent stops in Iraq and Afghanistan and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Source: DefenseLink / AP

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Spade Arms Phoenix PD

The Phoenix Police Department has gotten some high-powered goodies courtesy of David Spade. The one-time Phoenix resident donated $100,000 so that the department can buy approximately 50 AR-15 rifles.

Spade said he wanted to make the donation after seeing a TV news report about Phoenix officers having to buy their own rifles. He grew up in the Phoenix area and graduated from Arizona State University.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Alan Hill says the rifles will be given to patrol officers and that the agency was grateful for the gifts. "These guys need to be able to do their jobs and I am just happy I could help," Spade said in a statement released by his publicist.

I can't say I'm a big fan of Spade. We've taken the piss a few times on 2IGTV over his seemingly unbelievable relationship with goddess Heather Locklear, but this gesture paints him in a new light I applaud David Spade. Now Dave? Can I have some guns too?

Source: Yahoo News

Monday, January 05, 2009

Wannabe Nazi Goes Down Like A Punk - Part 15 in my "Shoot First, Questions Never" series!

A college student dressed in full Nazi regalia was fatally shot by police on New Year's Day in Seattle, Washington.

Miles Murphy, 22, a University of Washington senior Germanics major, was shot several times at his apartment early Thursday after police said he pointed a World War II Kar 98 German infantry rifle affixed with a bayonet at officers and refused orders to drop the weapon.

Seattle police had converged on Murphy's apartment after receiving complaints that several men were firing rifle and shotgun rounds into the air. A witness told some officers at the scene that he had been firing blanks that night.

When Murphy emerged from the apartment and refused several orders to drop the weapon, two officers fired seven shots, police Officer Jeff Kappel said. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died. Police searching the house found alcohol, live ammunition and a large collection of German, Russian and Nazi memorabilia including photographs and uniforms, Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said.

But Murphy "wasn't a Nazi," Hattie Taylor, a friend, told the press. "He was just fascinated with the past... He liked to dress up and have fun." He was "a peaceful and loving young man," his mother, Dianne Murphy, told the local newspaper. Proving how the weak-minded are fooled by the true evil of the Nazi menace.

Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske called the situation "truly sad" but stood by the officers' actions. "Right now, I don't see any other choice that they had," he said. The two officers who fired at Murphy were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure, but hopefully safe with the knowledge of their righteous kill.

Seriously, if you want to dress up as a Nazi and shoot Nazi weapons I suggest you find a multiplayer Medal Of Honor, Call Of Duty or one of several dozen other WWII FPS games and point lethal weapons at sprites instead. At least if you die there you can respawn. RIP dumbass!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

It was a meteor?

On Monday, Dec 29th last, at her home four miles west of Tok, Alaska, Kathy Olding was loading a large sled with firewood to haul to her house when she was startled by an explosion. "I thought, what in the world?" Turning her eyes to the sky, Olding saw the oddest contrail. "It was just like somebody took a pen and made a white cloud that went up and down and up and down and squiggly," she said, describing the pattern.

Others who witnessed the phenomenon called 911. People reported hearing and feeling an explosion in the air, but no one called in about debris falling from the sky, said Sgt. Freddie Wells, the state trooper on duty at the time. "It seemed to appear like smoke, or a dust cloud," he said. Fearing some sort of airplane disaster, Wells had his dispatcher call the FAA who confirmed that it was a meteor.

But was this a misdirection? For the remainder of the week, there were sporadic reports of low flying helicoptors nearby at nighttime. And during the early hours of the morning Friday, Jan. 2nd; the sound of a dozen military helicopters disturbed the Tok townsfolk. Finally at 08.15 local time, Lt. Colonel "Whopper" Creedon of UNETIDA approached and assured the residents that there was no problem and he and his men were on a "training exercise." They quickly bundled themselves and some large metal boxes into the helicoptors and promptly left.

Read more @ FoxNews / Full Report at Ancorage Daily News

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 - It's All Over!

Goodbye 2008! A year when previously unknown Sarah Palin becomes the most popular woman in the world but she and McCain lost to Obama. Shoes are flung at Bush, Bertie steps down and Lisbon is rejected. Spitzer was caught in a call-girl scandal and Blagojevich tries to sell Obama’s seat.

A year when Somali pirates start to get bold, 179 are killed in Mumbi by Pakistani Terrorists, Russia attacks Ossetia, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake strikes China destroying poorly constructed schools but the Olympics go ahead in Beijing. Petrol prices reach record high and financial markets crash debilitating world economies. The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva doesn’t destroy the planet and Phoenix finds water on Mars.

A year when Blu-Ray emerged victorious, Kerberos comes online, Heath Ledger’s death shocked the world, the writers guild return to work and eventually so does our Television, God gives us more Clones, Rambo returns, Iron Man is forged and The Dark Knight rakes in $500m. Diablo III is announced and Tina Fey “becomes” Sarah Palin.

Spare a moment to acknowledge the many who have died during 2008: Majel Barrett Roddenberry (76, Actress/Producer), Robert H. Barrow (86, General USMC Ret. - Commandant '79-'83), Jeremy Beadle (59, TV Presenter), Arthur C. Clarke (90, Author), Alexander Courage (89, Composer), Michael Crichton (66, Author), Don S. Davis (65, Actor [StarGate SG-1]), Robert DoQui (73, Actor [RoboCop]), Ronnie Drew (73, Singer), W. Mark "Deep Throat" Felt (95, F.B.I. Deputy Director), Estelle Getty (84, Actress), Gary Gygax (69, Game Designer [D&D]), Mark Haigh-Hutchinson (43, Video game developer [Paperboy]), Bernie Hamilton (80, Actor [Starsky & Hutch]), Isaac Hayes (65, Musician/Actor), Charlton Heston (84, Actor), John Hewer (86, “Captain Birdseye”), Sir Edmund Hillary (88, Adventurer), Patrick J. Hillery (84, President of Ireland '76 - '90), Robert Justman (81, TV Producer [Star Trek]), Eartha Kitt (81, Singer), Victor Krulak (95, Lt. General USMC Ret.), Don LaFontaine (68, Voice Actor), Heath Ledger (28, Actor), Bernie Mac (50, Comedian/Actor), Paul Newman (83, Actor), Conor Cruise O’Brien (91, Politician), Betty Page (85, Model), Joseph Pevney (96, Director [Star Trek]), Robert Prosky (77, Actor [Hill St. Blues]), John Walter Ripley (69, Colonel USMC Ret.), Roy Scheider (76, Actor), Stan Winston (62, Special Effects Artist), Joan Winston (77, Star Trek Campaigner). We also remember the coalition servicemen who lost their lives in Iraq and a further 285 in Afghanistan. May they rest in peace.

My predictions for 2009 are: That Star Trek and G.I.Joe will rock, but Watchmen will rule! We'll see a 240Gb iPod; The economy will get worse before it gets better; Lt. Gaeta will be revealed as the 5th Cylon ruining my steadfast assumption that Tom Zarek will be; Afghanistan will be pacified; We'll get our first concrete details on the Star Wars TV series and I'll finally get my eagles back!

HAPPY 2009!!!