Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spontaneous combustion leaves UNPASID leadership vacuum

Brigade General "Boogyman" Rojas, UNPASID's Director of Operations, who yesterday assumed temporary command of the directorate has reportedly spontaneously combusted and died. The incident appears to have occurred in a lavatory at the UNHQ in New York early this morning. It happened only hours before the general was due to represent UNPASID during a UNSC session where the report of the Special Investigation Committee would be issued.

There are few details available at this time but the Spanish air force officer [right] appeared to have answered a call of nature at approximately 08:45 EST and entered a male lavatory cubicle. While there, the occupant of the adjoining cubicle and another individual at the urinal reported a bright flash, some smoke and a scream.

The witnesses broke down the door with a fire extinguisher but were met only by the remains of General Rojas' shoes on the floor, a dark pile of ash in the toilet bowl and a smell "like sulphur." UNPASID agents investigated and tentatively identified the general from his jacket which still hung undamaged on the cubicle door.

Analysts have said that the council have now "shot themselves in the foot" by delaying requests for senior appointments to UNPASID as well as not making permanent appointments within the last nine months. The net result of this "shambles" is that there is now no one in the organisation who can assume command under its own contingency plan. Furthermore it would appear that the UN is also unable to deal with both this albeit unprecedented situation and the current Syrian conflict simultaneously.

The UN High Commissioner for Paranormal Affairs, Alberto Hov DiWafnae informed the press office that the operating forces of UNPASID were working from the Theta Protocol Manual which assumes that UNPASID command is out of communication and allows them to operate at battalion command level but with higher instructions and formation orders coming directly from the UNSC through the UNHCPA's office.

The UNSC have asked the Special Investigation Committee to delay their report publishing and are holding a high level meeting with the UN Military Staff Committee this afternoon to deal with the UNPASID crisis.

In other developments, a suicide note apparently left on the computer of Lieutenant Commander "Stingray" Hern, UNPASID liaison officer to the DOD whose body was discovered on Sunday morning, supports the cause of death delivered by the NCIS Medical Examiner.

Monday, July 30, 2012

UNPASID COS surrenders!

The Chief of Staff, currently temporary acting director of UNPASID, Rear Admiral "Piscine" Aguillard [left] failed to assume his duties at UNHQ this morning.

It's understood that Admiral Aguillard had his staff car re-route to the french consulate on 5th Avenue rather than proceed to the UNHQ for "diplomatic reasons".

The admiral's aide proceeded to the UNHQ 90 minutes later to inform the UNSC that the admiral had surrendered himself to authorities, admitting corruption and potentially treasonous activity.

Senior Colonel “Matsu” Lee, the UNPASID Director of Logistics and Assistant Chief of Staff did not answer a call to report as temporary director of UNPASID after Aguillard's surrender. Colonel Lee was apparently “recalled urgently” to China this morning due to what was described by the Chinese Ambassador to the UN as “a family matter”. He asked that the UN should not ask when the colonel will return to work and should appoint a replacement for him “to most likely be a permanent replacement.”

Brigade General "Boogyman" Rojas, UNPASID Director of Operations who was on site at UNHQ is understood to have been now been given temporary command of the directorate with the consent of the United States who has the power of veto over all non-P5 temporary appointments.

In other news, the crew and passenger of Gryphon 12, the UNPASID transport carrying Brigadier "Walrus" Jones to UNHQ, who were rescued off the Canadian coast yesterday have been interviewed at St. John's Coast Guard Base, Newfoundland. Investigators however have still not been able to ascertain any cause for the loss of the aircraft or Brigadier Jones

Neither the rescued passenger Captain "Watchtower" Park, senior pilot Flight Lieutenant "Jinks" Herrick nor his crew felt, heard or saw anything between normal operations on board Gryphon 12 at 00:10NDT Saturday morning and suddenly waking up in their life jackets in the Labrador Sea 29 hours later.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

UNPASID woes continue

The aircrew of Gryphon 12, the UNPASID transport aircraft reported missing yesterday have been rescued at sea. The Canadian Coast Guard vessel CCGS Cygnus discovered the crew floating in their life preservers at 05.25 NDT. They were airlifted to CGS Base St. John's to receive medical attention.

Reports are that the four rescued were the three HS125 aircrew and passenger Captain "Watchtower" Park, Assistant Station Chief for London of UNPASID's Paranormal Action Command. There was no word or sight of Brigadier “Walrus” Jones or the Gryphon 12 itself.

Elsewhere, speculation concerning the death of  Major General "Skullcrusher" Shaw, Director of UNPASID continues. Speculation suggests that he had been previously asked by the Special Investigation Committee tasked with investigating irregularities in UNPASID and UNETIDA, to present details of his personal finances to them at a meeting scheduled for last Friday afternoon. The committee had also advised the general to have legal consul present. Inside sources speaking on conditions of anonymity say that the evidence thus far collected is most damning against some UNPASID officials and they are of the opinion that General Shaw took his own life rather than face personal humiliation and even prison.

To add to the tragic events, the body of Lieutenant Commander "Stingray" Hern [left] was pulled from the river Potomac in Arlington, Va. this morning.  

Hern was the UNPASID liaison officer to the U.S. Department of Defense. She reportedly left her office in the Pentagon on Thursday as normal. As Commander Hern had scheduled vacation, her absence was not noted. Her body was discovered by a Georgetown University rowing team. The DOD has declined to comment until NCIS have completed their investigation.

The temporary acting director of UNPASID, Rear Admiral "Piscine" Aguillard is expected to hold a press conference at UNHQ tomorrow morning.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Acting UNPASID Director missing

An UNPASID transport aircraft carrying three crew and two passengers including Royal Marine Brigadier “Walrus” Jones, [right] to the UNHQ in New York to report as temporary UNPASID Director has failed to reach its destination.

At 00:12 NTD radar contact was lost with Gryphon 12, 200 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland. It has been determined that the RAF BAE HS125 aircraft did not have enough fuel to stay airborne beyond 02.30 and the RCN and the CCG have begun a joint air/sea search and rescue operation this morning.

UNPASID Chief Of Staff, Rear Admiral "Piscine" Aguillard will temporarily assume Brigadier Jones' duties and was sworn in as temporary acting director of UNPASID at midday.

It has also emerged today on a popular whistle-blowing website that Major General “Skullcrusher” Shaw, the UNPASID Director who was found dead yesterday; died from a self-inflicted gunshot to his temple. The website reports that it had been informed by an anonymous source that the generals staff became suspicious of his absence when he failed to appear at a memorial service for deceased UNPASID officers Colonel “Svarog” Tarasov and Major “Ghast” Giordano. It's understood that an aide to the general discovered his body at approximately 10:00 EST next to his Ivory-handled Colt Peacemaker.

Non-Cameron 3-D isn't good enough


In April 2009 I witnessed Monsters vs. Aliens, the first movie to be directly produced in a stereoscopic 3-D format instead of being converted into 3-D after completion. It was quite remarkable. I remember reaching out with my hands attempting to touch several “floating” objects – my senses being completely fooled by the technology.

Just before the dawn of a new decade I witnessed the first mainstream modern 3D blockbuster, Avatar which applied this new stereoscopic tech to live action. With one fell swoop James Cameron redefined 3-D as he pioneered the next evolution of computer generated imagery and melded it with the 3-D technology previously reserved for children's animated movies. The care and attention to each and every detail, creature, character and environment was abundantly clear.  Graphically, Avatar was a masterpiece. A triumph of three dimensional projection technology that pushed the boundaries of cinema as we know it.

In the months, nay - years that have followed, we have seen a multitude of examples of movies that have capitalised on this emerging technology. Among those; Resident Evil: AfterlifeUnderworld: Awakening and Prometheus. All of these movies, good or bad have had some extremely impressive set-pieces which took advantage of the extra dimension. However when compared to Avatar, they all sadly lack the same level of three-dimensional detail. The main overriding problem is that that the common 3-D movie throws things out at you, enhances depth and makes obvious vain attempts to surround your perception. It was however only Avatar that truly immersed me in the movie and made me feel like I was practically there inside it.

While I reject the notion of post-processed 3-D movies [with the obvious exception of Star Wars] I felt it was my duty as a progressive patron of both technology and the arts to offer singular unswerving support to true-3-D. After recently evaluating the examples that Hollywood has offered to us since Avatar, culminating with the 'flat' 3-D of The Amazing Spider-Man, I must admit that not a single one has come anywhere near the magic that Cameron wove.

The fact that I would have no issue with sitting down and watching Transformers: Dark of the Moon or Tron: Legacy and the like on my 2-D TV but could never watch Avatar [itself a 5-Star movie] in 2-D speaks not about the quality of Avatar but the lack of necessity to need only to witness the 3-D of the other movies. I feel no great overriding need to see these movies again in 3-D but I could never watch Avatar in 2-D.

I must therefore publicly declare, my withdrawal of total support for three-dimensional cinematic presentations and reduce support to a provisional basis which covers only the following instances:
(A) Movies which must be seen but have no 2-D presentation such as Underworld:Awakening, (B) 3-D conversions of religious imagery [the Star Wars saga], (C) Avatar 2 and all subsequent creations of James Cameron, (D) any presentation for which like-minded individuals explicitly request that it be viewed in 3-D and (E) force mejure.

This declaration will remain in effect from the date below, until such time as Hollywood begins to adopt the standards and practices employed by James Cameron and create visual imagery at least to 75% of the standard that he set in 2009.

Signed: Colonel "Whopper" Creedon, Mahon Point Omniplex, July 7th 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

UNPASID Director found dead

Major General “Skullcrusher” Shaw, Director of the United Nations Paranormal and Supernatural Interdiction Directorate has been found dead this morning. The general’s cause of death is not known at this time, he was 55 and in good health.
General Shaw held a variety of assignments upon graduation from West Point military academy including the U.S. Army Rangers and served in Grenada, Panama and in The Gulf War. In 1992 then Captain Shaw was appointed to UNETIDA where he commanded a training company before transferring to UNPASID. Upon promotion to Major he was assigned as Chief of Security for the Central Demon Containment Facility in Antarctica and later commander of the elite Paranormal Threat Response Unit - Gamma based in Europe. From 2001 to 2003 then Lieutenant Colonel Shaw served as the Military Assistant to the UN High Commissioner for Paranormal Affairs. Later as commander of Counter Zombie Strike Team One in 2004, then Colonel Shaw prevented an outbreak at a secret medical research facility in South Korea. In 2007, then Brigadier General Shaw was assigned as Chief of Staff and later Assistant Director of UNPASID. He assumed position as Director in January 2010.

Shaw’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with combat distinguishing device, Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device and two oak leaf clusters, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachutists Badge and Ranger Tab. He is survived by his wife Cathy a metallurgist and twin sons Jason and Josh both cadets at West Point.

Alberto Hov DiWafnae the UN High Commissioner for Paranormal Affairs expressed his deep sadness at the tragic loss of General Shaw. “Great sadness is upon me this day to find that my trusted friend, the crusher of many bones and skulls is gone from us. He was a slayer of demons and a ghost-buster, not like in movie but of vengeance,” said DiWafnae. The UNHCPA said that this has been a tragic few days for UNPASID noting the passing of Colonel “Svarog” Tarasov in a road traffic accident and the apparent suicide of Major “Ghast” Giordano yesterday.

It is understood that UNPASID Assistant Director / Director of Personnel Brigadier “Walrus” Jones, will act as Director until a permanent appointment can be made.

A new beginning - The Amazing Spider-Man

Branded as pointless and unnecessary due to the original being only 10 years old, this version of Spider-Man was quite frankly just made because Columbia would’ve probably lost their option to the franchise if they hadn’t gone ahead with it. Many eyebrows were raised the day the word ‘reboot’ was announced. None of the original cast would be returning for this, there’d be no Sam Raimi [a good thing perhaps after Spider-Man 3] and it would essentially stem from new origin rather than a continuation of the previous trilogy. There was every reason to hate it and condemn it as heresy by those that adored the trilogy [or at least the initial installments]… but we can’t!

The Amazing Spider-Man is as different to Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man as Batman Begins is to Tim Burton’s Batman from ’89. They are almost entirely different movies, each presenting their own ideas of the character with their core elements completely intact. They are on a more simple level, products  of very different times. I think it’s perhaps somewhat unfair to compare them despite being ripe candidates for such obvious comparisons. If I was a better reviewer I could perhaps avoid that pitfall, but I’m not and I can’t, so apologies in advance.

This time around Peter Parker/Spider-Man is played by relative newcomer Andrew The Social Network Garfield and I think he’s as good a fit to Parker as Tobey MacGuire was [before his dance routine in Spidey 3 degenerated our perspective – shudder]. Garfield's Spider-Man is placed in a tale that matches far more closely the true comic-book origin of the hero than the original ever achieved. The movie’s female lead Emma Stone plays Parker’s true first girlfriend Gwen Stacy as opposed to the crazy universe created in the original where Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane Watson was somehow Peter’s first love and this change alone corrected my most major issue with the original. Sally Field and Martin Sheen were drafted in as Aunt May and Uncle Ben and the casting of such renowned and respected actors highlight the importance that the director placed on these characters with regard to the development of Peter Parker. Rhys The 51st State Ifans plays Dr. Kurt Connors who of course becomes The Lizard. The first supervillian which this Spider-Man must face, but it’s Dennis Leary who puts in the best performance as George Stacy the determined NYC police captain, hell-bent on apprehending the vigilante menace that is our wall-crawler.

Spidey is easily Marvel Comics most renowned single character, and thus a very lucrative property for Columbia pictures. When Raimi announced he would be unable to complete a Spider-Man 4 in their time frame, Columbia announced prolific music video director Mark Webb [seriously that’s got to be a contender for ‘Irony of the Year 2012!’] would direct a reboot. Thankfully Webb, as many feared, was not going to turn The Amazing Spider-Man into the greatest music video of all time and had no intention of remaking Sam Raimi's movies. Webb presented a darker vision of the webslinger devoting more time to Peter’s early troubles and sense of loss as his parents leave him in the care of his aunt and uncle one night never to return. It was a brave choice for Webb to have Peter learn “with great power, comes great responsibility” gradually before being force fed the lesson - if strangely not the actual iconic line itself - upon his uncle’s death. 

Similarly to his other movie-realised super-hero brethren, Spider-Man's look resembles more the modern illustrations of the web-slinger and Webb was clearly influenced by Ultimate Spider-Man for elements of the movies visual style. The more modern costume certainly translated better on screen than the iconic one. I was also pleased that he chose to stay more truthful to original comic-book's "super-nerd" characterisation for Peter Parker who as in the movie constructed his own web-shooters delivering him away from the more 'mutant' territory Raimi seemed to be leading him down.

Despite Webb's obvious respect for the project and his clear vision to remain closer to the franchises genesis than Raimi did, overall the movie lacked the true raw emotional and charismatic power that is more deserving of such a classically tragic hero. The ability for a director to evoke that on screen is something that can be developed however, and if Webb brings us the sequel then I hope he can do better in that department. Unfortunately without it, he'll never surpass or even equal the majestic spectacle of Raimi's first two Spider-Man movies. I hope that Webb or his successor will reintroduce "Your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man" and not just as a tag line.

To finish, I can say that it’s clear from the trailers that Webb shot far more footage that’s on show here and that there could even be enough to produce half of the now announced Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014 which will continue this particular franchise down a road that I can now say has a solid foundation.


Final Verdict: While not the most important super hero movie in a year where both the Batman trilogy finishes and Marvel climaxes it’s 6 year long Avengers advertising campaign, this is nevertheless a solid and worthwhile entry in the genre and the flash point of what I hope will be a franchise deserving of the character.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****1/2

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Two UNPASID officers dead

The Military Assistant to the Deputy UN High Commissioner for Paranormal Affairs, Major “Ghast” Giordano has apparently shot two staff assigned to the office of the Deputy Commissioner and then jumped from the 18th floor of the UN HQ in NYC to his death.

Giordano, [left] an Italian Army officer was recently assigned to the Deputy Commissioner after a tour as commander of Paranormal Threat Response Unit – Alpha. He had been with UNPASID for over 5 years. UNPASID Agents are currently investigating and are treating the incident as suspicious after discovering an Ouija board in his office. There are no further details at this time.

The tragic news of Major Giordano came just as news came in from Belgium where the body of Colonel “Svarog” Tarasov, [right] the UNPASID Director of Intelligence and Communications, was pulled from vehicular wreckage in the early hours of the morning near Dilbeek, Brussels. Local authorities say the colonel apparently lost control of his vehicle at 02:30AM local time and collided at high speed with a crash barrier, spun out of control and crashed into an articulated vehicle. It is understood that the Colonel may have been driving under the influence of alcohol. The driver of the other vehicle was uninjured.

Colonel Tarasov, of the Russian Army served in The Kremlin before joining UNPASID where he commanded the UNPASID Sixth Sense Unit [USSU] and later as chief of the UNPASID Recruitment Bureau.

The shocking news comes just 5 days before a Special Investigation Committee is to publish it's full report on the activities of UNPASID and UNETIDA to the UNSC.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Movie Mini-Reviews 23-07-12

Hmmm some of these ain't too 'mini' but what the hell....

The Raid

You may not have heard much about this movie as it’s a foreign offering from unknown Welshman Gareth Evans. It is one of these movies that promised so much from its trailer but it fell more than a little short on the grander scale. The plot is even more simplistic than your average brainless action movie but despite it being sheer nonsense - it’s not really let down by that. No, the problems here are far deeper. 

So you have a group of rookie cops vs. a group of thugs, shooting at and beating the crap out of each other and quite frankly I couldn’t honestly give a flying fuck about either side or really any character. The criminals deserved to die because they were the bad guys, the cops here were so immensely stupid that they themselves were an armed menace to society rather protectors. There was precious little by way of character development which robbed the movie of its humanity and thus any reason to care. To say they were cardboard cut-out action movie characters is an insult to real cardboard cut-out action movie characters.

An even bigger issue is that it had so much potential unrealised, the cops weren’t long running out of bullets and if they didn’t acquire enemy weapons, they resorted to martial arts against thugs armed with machetes! There was an insane amount of machetes. Everyone in the apartment block had a fucking machete! Lucas, there was almost more machetes in this movie than all of The Sudan – but guess how many limbs we saw being severed? Zilch. Unrealised potential and not using the props properly is a pet peeve of mine.

Final Verdict: It’s not for lack of blood and violence elsewhere, it’s easily the most violent and bloody movie I’ve seen all year and I doubt Expendables 2 will top it for that but I’m rating this movie sub-par as it has so much unrealised potential and is bereft of the humanity that made the Asian action movies of John Woo or Takeshi Kitano so enjoyable.

Colonel Creedon Verdict: **

Men In Black 3

Feck didn’t Tommy Lee Jones get really old? I mean sure he's been in dozens of movies since MIB2 but it's not until you see him in the black suit again does it really dawn on you. I’m obviously not the only one to think this as the man was sidelined for most of the movie substituted by Agent K’s past self, a fantastic Josh Brolin effortlessly mimicking Jones as he did George W. Bush in W. I really had one hope for this movie, and that was that it surpass the somewhat disappointing MIB sequel MIB2, and I’m glad to say it did - with bells on.

Barry Sonnenfeld's 2nd sequel wasn't weighted down with nostalgia from the originals [they mention Chief Zed as being dead because of the crazy shit that Rip Torn pulled in real life means he'll unlikely be working for a major movie studio in a kid-friendly production soon] but the array of superfluous characters like the wise-cracking beer-drinking squid-like aliens, the annoying talking pug Frank and even Tony Shalhoub's shady store-owning alien Jeebs were all absent. The result was a tighter adventure and Sonnenfeld firmly focuses on where most of the real magic is now, firmly in Will Smith's capable hands.

That's not to say the supporting cast were of little help, Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson was recruited as Agent O, the new MIB boss with David Sledgehammer Rasche portraying her 1969 counterpart. Will Blades of Glory Arnett was great in his little cameo but Bill Paul Hader was outstanding as Andy Warhol. Sadly there's an enormous drag against the perfection of this movie and that's the acting ability of New Zealand comedian/musician/actor Jemaine Clement. He's so woefully shit you almost wish Lara Flynn-Boyle from MIB2 would appear instead.

As a former student of the works of Brannon Braga, I’m no stranger to time travel and this movie takes the time twisting conundrum and makes it tremendous fun. The franchise is saved. Roll on MIB 4, but get TLJ to just play the grumpy boss as he did so well in Captain America... please - or wait another 10 years and get Will Smith to play the grizzled old guy next to Jaden Smith's new recruit. Fuck that's gold, I should work in Hollywood.

Final Verdict: Look, it's fun. That’s pretty much this movie in a nutshell, it’s just great fun.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
I do detest revisionist histories. I’m sure there was a lot more vampires in reality.

This is a bizarre yet entertaining movie from the mind of Seth Grahame-Smith who thought of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and started a phenomenon of placing the undead and fantasy elements into accepted history or famous [read: famously intensely boring] works of literature. Here we have Abraham Lincoln’s origin and life to become one of the most influential Presidents of the United States, a life irrevocably linked to the blood-sucking undead.

Final Verdict: If you’re a stuck-up history nerd who balks at the idea of altering ‘the classics’ or even documented history then you will detest this ‘outrage’. If the thought of a silver-plated axe-wielding Abraham Lincoln [or anyone] cutting through hordes of vampires excites you on any level then you’re in for a treat.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Killer Joe

 Sweet Lucas, this movie was the fast train to Crazytown, Texas. It’s just so fucked up on so many levels it’s practically impossible to review. Matthew McConaughey, determined to shed his ‘sweet’ image from too many rom-coms, fantastically plays Killer Joe Cooper a local detective who moonlights as a hired killer who likes ‘em young and pure if ya’ll know what I mean? He’s hired by Chris [Emile Speed Racer Hirsh] and Ansel [Thomas Hayden Spider-Man 3 Church], trailer-park redneck trash to kill Chris' mother/Ansel's ex-wife but Joe’s high price tag means they must offer their sister/daughter Dottie [Juno The Dark Knight Rises Temple] to Joe as a retainer, a young and pure retainer.

While this appropriately rated IFCO-18 [US NC-17 / BBFC-18] movie features some pretty intense violence, and one truly grotesque scene involving fried chicken that is easily the single most truly obscene thing I’ve ever seen on the silver screen [several people walked out and I can’t say I blame them], this was overall a thoroughly entertaining and unique movie from the great Oscar-winning director William Friedkin director of classics The Exorcist and The French Connection, far better than the last offering I saw of his - Jade.

Final Verdict: Squeamish? Sensitive? Easily offended? Off you go into Magic Mike or an animated feature instead then and give this wild ride a wide berth.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***1/2

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Deliberately Untitled

Nowadays I try to stay away from commentary on the kinds of atrocities that sick and disturbed individuals commit on groups of unsuspecting innocents such as the tragedy which unfolded in Aurora, Colorado not 48 hours ago.

I'm presuming by now that everyone has seen the usual awful media frenzy that surrounds this type of tragedy and are aware of the events. A young man apparently legally purchased an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a .40 Cal Glock and hundreds of rounds of ammunition within the last two months. He put on a mask and body armour, called himself "The Joker" and proceeded into a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises shooting and killing 12 people and wounding almost 60 others.

Normally I'm glad when the perpetrator turns the gun on themselves or is taken down in a permanent fashion by the police. However in this one instance I'm glad he wasn't because he was able to inform the police that his apartment was booby-trapped, possibly averting the deaths of subsequent investigators. I'm also delighted that Colorado has the death penalty, only unfortunately it's a "humane" kind... something that this bastard did not allow his victims.

My condolences go out to the families of the victims of this senseless tragedy, sentiments echoed by many other influential people. The US Department of Defense released a statement yesterday: "...Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those impacted by this event. One sailor was injured and one, known to have been at the theatre that evening, is currently unaccounted for.  Two airmen were injured in the incident.  The Navy and the Air Force are working with the families of these service members to ensure they have the care and attention they need." I've since learned that the unaccounted for sailor was one of the victims, Petty Officer John Larimer, 27. 

Chuck Rozanski, President of Mile High Comics of Denver, Colorado [the outlet from which I have purchased much of my considerable Iron Man collection] also expressed condolences, and was relieved that none of his staff, their families or friends were victims of the incident and considers that his choice of local theatre for his midnight viewing was the right one: "I was at a different movie theater last night with my wife, daughter and her fiancé. Had the shooter chosen to instead make the quick drive from Aurora to Boulder, the horror of last night could have easily been ours to bear..." Rozanski however wants to help those less fortunate: "it is clear by the fact that they were willing to attend a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises that they were, at least by some measure, comics fans. That being the case, I think that it is beholden upon all of us in the comics world to pull together to help them in their time of need. For the families of the dead, we want to help with funeral expenses. For the wounded, we want to help with medical bills." and so 10% of all proceeds from the current Mile High Comics sale will be placed in a fund for them.

As you can imagine, director Christopher Nolan was upset and calling the shooting an appalling crime said: "I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theater is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me." Oscar winning composer Hans Zimmer said: "I was going to send a note to Chris [Nolan] ... but I didn't have the words. Suddenly, words become meaningless because it's so beyond anything."

I finish with the words of wisdom... nay - a 'call to arms' from long time contributor and friend Bruce Russell: "Everyone, please go to a movie this weekend. Don't let one lunatic impact your life in a negative way. Go see Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, Madagascar 3, whatever. Do your bit."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Motley, my drinking buddy makes O-7

Back in 2009, during my unofficial visit to Washington D.C., in a watering hole in the shadow of the Pentagon, I met U.S. Air Force Colonel Jon "Motley" Mott of the Air National Guard [ANG] serving as the Director of Plans and Requirements at the National Guard Bureau to share a few beers in celebration of St. Patricks Day.

Photo credit: C. Paras

Since then Col. Mott, a Command Pilot with 90 combat missions under his belt, more than 4600 flying hours and holder of the record of the most documented flight hours in an A-10 Thunderbolt II, has served as the Special Assistant to the Air National Guard Readiness Center commander, at Andrews AFB.

NG photo by Tech. Sgt. M. Chatham

A few weeks ago at a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, the ANGRC commander Brigadier General Brian Neal presented Col. Mott with the Legion of Merit first oak leaf cluster for his exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

NG photo by Tech. Sgt. M. Chatham

Mott had previously been selected as the next Assistant Adjutant General - Air for the ANG in the state of Connecticut a position which warranted his promotion to the grade of Brigadier General. Col. Mott's new rank was pinned on by members of his family and the newly minted Brigadier General was presented with his first personal flag which will be placed in his office at his new command this month.

NG photo by Tech. Sgt. M. Chatham

"It's very important to build relationships between the state, the ANG, active duty, and Capitol Hill because they are all interrelated," said Mott. "I will miss the ANGRC, but I plan to continue building relationships and improving upon processes as the Connecticut Air Adjutant General."

I wish Brigadier General Mott all the best in his new assignment.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ernest Borgnine 1917-2012

For 60 years, Ernest Borgnine graced both our small and big screens in a variety of memorable roles as both villains and heroes and was loved and appreciated by young and old. Sadly Borgnine died on Sunday aged 95.

Born Ermes Effron Borgnino in 1917 in Connecticut to Italian parents. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1935 after graduation from high school. He served during WWII reaching Gunners Mate 1st Class and earned the Navy Good Conduct Medal and numerous WWII campaign awards.

In 1951, Borgnine moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and received his big break in 1953 playing the sadistic Sergeant "Fatso" Judson alongside Frank Sinatra in From Here to Eternity. Borgnine built a reputation as a character actor and appeared in early film roles as villains, before starring as a warm-hearted butcher in Marty, a role which gained him an Academy Award for Best Actor over nominees Sinatra, Dean, Tracy and Cagney.

Borgnine's film career flourished after this achievement and it continued successfully through the years and included roles in The Flight of the Phoenix [‘65], The Dirty Dozen [‘67], The Poseidon Adventure [‘72], Convoy [‘78], The Black Hole [‘79], Escape from New York [‘81], Gattaca [‘97] and Red [2010]. One of his most famous roles became that of Dutch, a member of The Wild Bunch in the 1969 Western classic from director Sam Peckinpah.

Borgnine was no stranger to the small screen with part in many TV shows of the ‘50s and 60’s. His Naval service served him well in providing a fertile atmosphere to portray Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale in the ‘62–‘66 series McHale's Navy, a World War II sitcom. He later appeared in episodes of The Love Boat, Highway to Heaven, Murder, She Wrote, Walker: Texas Ranger, JAG and many more. Based on one appearance on Magnum P.I., producer Donald Bellasario made him a co-star in Airwolf where he played helicopter pilot Dominic Santini from ’84-‘86.

In 2007, 90-year-old Borgnine starred in the Hallmark original film A Grandpa for Christmas. For this he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television. At 90, he was the oldest Golden Globe nominee ever. Two years later, he earned an Emmy nomination for his performances in the final two episodes of the long-running NBC medical series ER.

Borgnine lent his voice to Kip Killigan in Small Soldiers in 1998 and to his own characterture once on The Simpsons but he was more known for his role as Mermaid Man in SpongeBob SquarePants and even voiced the character in a video game. He expressed much affection for the role as it was popular with children.

In addition to his Academy Award for Marty in 1955 he was also awarded a BAFTA, Gloden Globe NBR and NYFCC for same. He was nominated for three Emmys, won his second Gloden Globe in 2007 and in 2009 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhode Island International Film Festival. He was honored with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award at the 17th annual SAG Awards, 2011. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Ernest Borgnine has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6324 Hollywood Blvd.

Outside of acting, Borgnine served one year as the Chairman of the National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, visiting patients in many Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. He had volunteered to be Stories of Service National spokesman, urging his fellow World War II vets to come forward and share their stories. He still corresponded with some of his old Navy pals, and as an honorary flight leader of the Blue Angels, he often took the team to dinner when they flew into NAS Point Mugu, California. He received the honorary rating of chief petty officer in October 2004 from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott for Borgnine's support of the Navy and naval families worldwide.

Borgnine married five times. To Rhoda Kemins (1949–1958), Katy Jurado (1959–1963), Ethel Merman (1964), Donna Rancourt (1965–1972) and finally to Tova Traesnaes (1973-his death) and he had four children along the way. Borgnine died of renal failure on July 8, 2012, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. His wife and children were at his side.

Borgnine had a couple of secrets to staying young, in 2007 he said: "I just want to do more work. Every time I step in front of a camera I feel young again. I really do. It keeps your mind active and it keeps you going." In 2008, during an interviewed on Fox News he was asked about the secret to his longevity. Laughingly, he responded "I don't dare tell you", then leaned over to whisper into the ear of Steve Doocy, the whisper being caught by the microphone, "I masturbate a lot."
RIP Ernie. Fair winds and following seas to the hereafter.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

WIPO sends tech to rogue states

The U.S. State Department has been investigating a shipment of computers and technical equipment to North Korea and Iran by way of an obscure United Nations agency, the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization [WIPO]. Despite ongoing U.N. and U.S. sanctions against both governments aimed at blocking their development of nuclear weapons, WIPO sent 20 Hewlett-Packard Compaq desktop computers to Iran and more sophisticated computers and data-storage servers to North Korea in late 2011 and early 2012.

FOX News reported during the week that WIPO has “has not yet been fully open” to the inquiries, and the State Department is now “working with like-minded countries” to press WIPO’s director general, Francis Gurry, to “conduct an independent, external fact-finding exercise into past WIPO projects in countries under UNSC sanctions” presumably to discover if there are further unpleasant surprises in store, and also to “ensure future development projects are properly reviewed prior to being approved and implemented.”
The broadening inquiry raises new concerns about the ways in which U.N. agencies have managed to sidestep restrictions that the world body expects the rest of the world to obey in halting the spread of sensitive technologies to nuclear-ambitious pariah regimes. It also calls into question how much U.N. member states know about the activities of agencies they supposedly approve and supervise.

Elsewhere in the U.N., a Special Investigation Committee appointed by the Office of Internal Oversight Services has been probing “irregularities” within UNPASID and UNETIDA, the U.N. bodies that police and guard the earth against paranormal and extra-terrestrial threats respectively. After a nine month long investigation the committee say they will be releasing their findings to the UNSC before the end of July.

Source: FOX News

Thursday, July 05, 2012

"No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found!"

The National Ocean Service, a subdivision of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] was forced to issue an official public statement denying the existence of Mermaids on it's website last week.

Apparently, Discovery Channel presented a special on Mermaids as part of their Animal Planet: Monster Week and the results were somewhat convincing to the US public to raise inquiries concerning the creatures. The BBC reported that the NOA received written requests for information and that Discovery has acknowledged that "the programme was a work of fiction but its wink-and-nod format apparently led some viewers to believe it was a science education show."

In secret, UN officials have cited the incident as a "major blunder" by the paranormal watchdog agency UNPASID who "obviously have failed in their duty to monitor public infomation concerning Merfolk" said William Turner the Deputy UN High Commissioner for Paranormal Affairs. "The last thing we need now is curious fishermen starting a war with Atlantis... ...AGAIN!"

When questioned by press on the subject of Mermaids as a naval activities specialist; Captain "Harpoon" Dutton, KBE, Commander, UNETIDA Naval Tactical Support only enigmatically said "You’ll agree we need to be aware of this."