Saturday, December 31, 2016

Fuck You 2016!

With the single exception of the death of dictator Fidel Castro, we say good riddance to a truly awful year. Brexit, that Gorilla that got shot in the zoo, the Shawshank tree fell down, toddler killed by Disney World Alligator, Jo Cox and Andrei Karlov's murders, football child sex abuse, war continues in Syria, the Zika virus, terrorist attacks in Brussels, Nice, Berlin, Normandy, Istanbul, Florida, the U.S. election and worst of all: Brangelina is no more.

But more than anything, this will remembered as a year of death and sorrow for all:

Colonel Abrams, 67, American musician ("Trapped")
Sir Ken Adam, 95, German-born British Oscar wining production designer (Dr. Strangelove, James Bond)
Joe Alaskey, 63, American voice actor (Looney Tunes)
Jean Alexander, 90, English actress (Hilda Ogden on Coronation Street)
Muhammad Ali, 74, American boxer, Olympic gold medallist, three-time world heavyweight champion [left]
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Beckwith Ashmore, GCB, DSC, 96, British Royal Navy officer, First Sea Lord (1974–1977)

Kenny Baker, 81, British actor (R2D2 in the Star Wars franchise)
Erik Bauersfeld, 93, American voice actor (Admiral Ackbar in the Star Wars franchise) [right]
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93, Egyptian politician and diplomat, Secretary-General of the United Nations (1992–1996)
David Bowie, 69, English singer-songwriter, musician ("Space Oddity", "Starman"), and actor (Labyrinth, The Prestige)
Pete Burns, 57, English singer-songwriter ("You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)")
PFC Hector A. Cafferata, Jr., USMC, 86, American marine, Medal of Honor recipient
Robert Carrickford, 88, Irish actor (The Irish R.M., Glenroe)
Leonard Cohen, 82, Canadian singer-songwriter ("Hallelujah")
Ronnie Corbett, 85, British comedian and actor (The Two Ronnies, Sorry!)
Paul Daniels, 77, British magician (The Paul Daniels Magic Show)
Steve Dillon, 54, English comic book artist (Preacher, The Punisher, Judge Dredd), 
Jerry Doyle, 60, American talk show host and actor (Babylon 5), founder of EpicTimes [left]
Larry Drake, 67, American Emmy winning actor (L.A. Law, Darkman, Star Trek: Voyager "Critical Care") 

Ronnie Claire Edwards, 83, American actress (Corabeth Godsey on The Waltons, Talur in Star Trek: The Next Generation "Thine Own Self")
Wayne England, English artist (Magic: The Gathering)
SGT Santiago J. Erevia, US Army, 69, American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient
Carrie Fisher, 60, American actress and icon (Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise), novelist and screenwriter (Postcards from the Edge) [right]
Rob Ford, 46, foul-mouthed and controversial Canadian politician, Mayor of Toronto (2010–2014)
Glenn Frey, 67, American songwriter, musician (Eagles) and actor (Jerry Maguire)
Brad Fuller, 62, American video game composer (Tetris), Director of Engineering for Atari 

Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, Hungarian-born American actress and socialite
George Gaynes, 98, Finnish-born American actor (Commandant Lassard in the Police Academy franchise)
RADM Paul T. Gillcrist, 87, American Naval officer (Consultant on JAG)
Gary Glasberg, 50, American television producer and writer (NCIS)
Ron Glass, 71, American actor (Firefly)
Col John Glenn, USMC, 95, American marine and astronaut (Mercury-Atlas 6) and politician, U.S. Senator from Ohio [left]
Dan Haggerty, 74, American actor (The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams)
Guy Hamilton, 93, French-born British film director (James Bond, Battle of Britain)
Florence Henderson, 82, American actress (The Brady Bunch)
Drewe Henley, 75, British actor (Red Leader in Star Wars)
Gil Hill, 84, American police officer, actor (Inspector Todd in the Beverly Hills Cop franchise)
John Hostetter, 69, American actor (Bazooka in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Heartbreak Ridge)
Ken Howard, 71, American actor (Rambo, Clear and Present Danger, 30 Rock)
David Huddleston, 85, American actor (The Big Lebowski, Blazing Saddles)
Gary Hutzel, 60, American visual effects supervisor (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica)
Barry Jenner, 75, American actor (Admiral Ross in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) [right]

Saki Kaskas, 45, Greek video game music composer (Need for Speed, Sleeping Dogs, Mass Effect 2)
Frank Kelly, 77, Irish actor (Fr. Jack in Father Ted)
George Kennedy, 91, American Oscar winning actor (The Naked Gun, Airport)
Burt Kwouk, 85, British actor (Cato in The Pink Panther franchise)
Melvin Laird, 94, American politician and writer, Secretary of Defense (1969–1973)
Flt Lt Keith Lawrence, DFC, 96, New Zealand-born British RAF officer during World War II, surviving member of "The Few"
Yevgeni Lazarev, 79, Russian-American actor (Iron Man 2, The Sum of All Fears, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
Michael Leader, 78, British actor (believed to be the Stormtrooper who walked into a door in Star Wars)
Richard Libertini, 82, American Actor, (Akorem Laan in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "Accession", Rabbi in Lethal Weapon 4)
GEN William J. Livsey, US Army, 85, American army officer. Commander in Chief of United Nations Command/Commander in Chief, ROK/U.S. Combined Forces Command/Commander, United States Forces Korea/Commanding General, Eighth United States Army
P. J. Mara, 73, Irish public affairs consultant, Senator (1977–1981, 1982–1983) [left]
Don Marshall, 80, American actor (Lt. Boma in Star Trek "The Galileo Seven")
Michael Massee, 64, American actor (The Crow, 24, The Amazing Spider-Man)
George Michael, 53, British singer (Wham!
Edgar Mitchell, 85, American astronaut (Apollo 14)
Alethea McGrath, 95, Australian actress (Jocasta Nu in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones)
Michu Meszaros, 76, Hungarian-born American actor (ALF)
Ivan Mikoyan, 89, Russian aircraft designer (Mikoyan MiG-29)
Rick Parfitt, 68, British singer, songwriter and guitarist (Status Quo)
MSgt Richard A. Pittman, USMC,  71, American Marine, recipient of the Medal of Honor
Jon Polito, 65, American actor (Modern Family, The Rocketeer, DC Comics IPs voice actor)
Prince, 57, American musician, songwriter ("Purple Rain", "Little Red Corvette") 

Nancy Reagan, 94, American First Lady (1981–1989) [right]
Debbie Reynolds, 84, American actress (Singin' in the Rain)
Alan Rickman, 69, English actor (Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)
Doris Roberts, 90, American actress (Remington Steele)
Major Erich Rudorffer, 98, German Luftwaffe fighter ace during World War II. 222 aerial victories. Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Christopher Rush, 50, American illustrator (Magic: The Gathering)
Paul Ryan, 66, American comic artist (Fantastic Four, Iron Man: The Dragon Seed Saga)
Andrew Sachs, 86, German-born British actor (Fawlty Towers)
Joe Santos, 84, Actor (The Rockford Files)
Antonin Scalia, 79, American judge, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
William Schallert, 93, American actor (Star Trek "The Trouble with Tribbles")
Garry Shandling, 66, American comedian, actor and writer (The Larry Sanders Show, Iron Man 2) [left]
Gen William Y. Smith, USAF, 90, American air force general. Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (COFS SHAPE) from 1979 to 1981
David Spielberg, 77, American actor (Cmdr. Calvin "Hutch" Hutchinson in Star Trek: The Next Generation "Starship Mine)
Trevor Steedman, 62, British actor and stuntman (Private Wierzbowski in Aliens)
Peter Sumner, 74, Australian actor (Lt. Pol Treidum in Star Wars)
Alan Thicke, 69, Canadian actor and talk show host
Gareth Thomas, 71, Welsh actor (Blake's 7)
Ron Thornton, 59, Visual Effects Artist (Star Trek franchise, Babylon 5)
Ray Tomlinson, 74, American computer programmer, invented email and assigned use of @ sign
Peter Vaughan, 93, British actor (Game of Thrones)
Robert Vaughn, 83, American actor (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Magnificent Seven, The A-Team) [right]
GEN John William Vessey Jr., USA, 94, American military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1982–1985)
Abe Vigoda, 94, American actor (The Godfather, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm)
Maj. John Keith Wells, 94, Navy Cross, American Marine platoon commander (2nd Battalion 28th Marines).
Kit West, 79, British Oscar winning special effects artist (Return of the Jedi, Raiders of the Lost Ark)
General Sir Peter John Frederick Whiteley, GCB, OBE, DL, 95, was a British Royal Marines officer. Commandant General Royal Marines, Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Northern Europe
Gene Wilder, 83, American actor (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles)
Sir Terry Wogan, 77, Irish-British broadcaster
Anton Yelchin, 27, Soviet-born American actor (Star Trek, Green Room) [left]

and let us hope 2017 will be better.

Monday, November 28, 2016

RIP Colonel Abrams

It's with great regret that I must report the death of a fellow '80's veteran who answered the call to wear a uniform. Colonel Abrams, a true pioneer of house and dance music in the 1980s, has died at the age of 67.

The Colonel scored his biggest hit in 1985 with the club single "Trapped," which reached number three in the UK. Although Abrams had no American pop hits through his career, he had a number of entries on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart in the 1980s and 1990s, including four entries that hit number one.

It was reported last year that the Colonel had been homeless and suffered from diabetes.

May he rest in peace.

Friday, September 23, 2016

SPEARHEAD shuts down NASA's reveal

NASA published a somewhat cryptic message, Tuesday, stating that there is “surprising activity” on Europa – the most well known of Jupiter’s 67 moons and it will be holding a teleconference at 14:00 EDT, 19:00 BST Monday, Sept. 26, to present new findings from images captured by the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope of the icy moon.

NASA has been analysing data from its Hubble Space Telescope which is currently prowling the universe and astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity there and it was widely reported that the existence of extra-terrestrial life would be revealed next Monday.

However after a meeting Wednesday morning between the NASA Director Charles Bolden [MajGen USMC Ret.] and Brigadier General "Whopper" Creedon of SPEARHEAD, NASA were quick to tweet: "Monday, we'll announce new findings from Jupiter's moon Europa. Spoiler alert: NOT aliens.

So it appears SPEARHEAD has silenced NASA's true reasoning for the teleconference and will reduce them instead to discussing subsurface ocean microbes. Europa's ocean is believed to be salty, and warmed by powerful tidal forces generated by Jupiter's gravity so that it remains unfrozen. Most scientists agree that where there is water, it massively increases the chances of finding life.

Source: NASA

Friday, September 02, 2016

The election of the 45th U.S. President

The citizens of the United States will go to the polls in November to vote for a new leader of the free world and commander in chief of the worlds strongest military. This election guarantees a new face in the role as Barack Obama will conclude his terms in office in January 2017.

From only a handful of potential Democratic candidates and an almost comical amount of Republican candidates, the race finally narrowed earlier in the summer to a single candidate in each camp.

For the Democrats, Former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a person who seems to struggle with the issue of multiple E-mail accounts.

And for the Republicans; Chairman and President of the Trump Organisation Donald Trump, a man who once declared that attending the New York Military Academy [an expensive prep school where his parents had sent him to finish the 8th Grade and correct poor behaviour] gave him “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”

If elected, Clinton would be the first female U.S. President or Trump would become is the oldest person elected to the office of the presidency.

At this point I would voice 'apprehension' at having to be the person responsible for explaining SPEARHEAD's work and the truth about our existence to either of them once they're sworn in in January.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

"Alien" signal is terrestrial

The impetuous scientists at SETI panicked the world earlier in the week with tall tales of a mysterious signal that they all but 100% confirmed was coming from a highly advanced extra terrestrial civilisation.

Apparently a group of Russian astronomers using the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, at the northern foot of the Caucasus Mountains, discovered the mysterious signal in 2015 from HD 164595, a star system 94 light-years away but only recently sent it to SETI for analysis and confirmation.

SETI blew it's load and swung the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) a system of radio dishes in Northern California, in the direction of HD 164595 on August 28 and has found nothing, nada, zip etc.

Brigadier General "Whopper" Creedon of SPEARHEAD speaking during a curiously timed 'inspection' of the SPEARHEAD facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome said: "... it's bad enough that SETI recklessly send signals deliberately into space, without causing mass panic by erroneously informing us that we got some sort of reply."

A statement from the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences said last night: " interesting radio signal at a wavelength of 2.7 cm was detected in the direction of one of the objects (star system HD164595 in Hercules) in 2015. Subsequent processing and analysis of the signal revealed its most probable terrestrial origin... It can be said with confidence that no sought-for signal has been detected yet."

Sources: SETI, Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Friday, January 15, 2016

“By Grabthar’s hammer, by the Sons of Warvan, you shall be avenged!” – RIP Alan Rickman

The death has sadly occurred of London-born actor Alan Rickman at 69 due to cancer. Rickman was a Tony Award nominated member of the Royal Shakespeare Company who achieved significant notoriety for his silver screen acting performances winning Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG awards.

He first found significant fame as Hans Gruber, nemesis to Bruce WillisJohn McClane in the 1988 classic Die Hard. Rickman's Gruber was an evil and sardonic foil to to Willis' wisecracking hero cop and the character was ranked by the AFI as the 46th best villain in film history. Rickman continued to master a portrayal of evil by becoming the Sherriff of Nottingham in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves delivering perhaps the most over the top performance of his career. He objected to being constantly referred to a villain up to his later years citing that he hadn't actually played one since the Sheriff.

Rickman was someone as much at home with serious drama as he was with comedy delivering dozens of roles since the 90's. In 1996 he delivered a well acted albeit almost entirely inaccurate portrayal of Éamon de Valera in Neil Jordan's Micheal Collins which loosely depicted the events surrounding Ireland's struggle for independence from Britain. Later in 1999 he had comedic roles - as The Metatron in Kevin Smith's Dogma and a somewhat self-parodying role as the fictional method actor Alexander Dane who in turn portrayed the alien Dr. Lazarus on a fictional TV show Galaxy Quest.

In the 2000's Rickman adopted his most most common role and for which he acquired legions of fans; during the 10 year period of the Harry Potter film adaptations from 2001 to 2011. Rickman played the somewhat enigmatic Prof. Severus Snape in eight Harry Potter adventures for which his performance garnered universal praise.

Rickman will appear in and lends his voice to two projects which have yet to be released. Gavin Hood's suspense drama Eye in the Sky due for release in April and he most recently completed voice work for a reprisal of the character Absolem, the Caterpillar in Through the Looking Glass the sequel to the 2010 movie Alice in Wonderland

May he rest in peace.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

And now we say goodbye to 2015. A year that redefined marriage as The Supreme Court of the US makes same-sex marriage legal while in Ireland a marriage equality referendum is passed in a landslide victory that hammers yet another nail in the coffin against the most archaic and outdated form of the Catholic establishment which will soon fade into history.

It was also a year of terror attacks felt notably in Kenya and France, of migrant swarms, Iran's nuke deal, Hilary's E-mail, an Earthquake in Nepal and Volkswagen's lies. Bruce becomes Caitlyn, Trump dominates Election 2016, Germanwings 9525, Kogalymavia 9268, the U.S. shakes the hand of Cuba and Ramadi is retaken.

The FCC reclassified retail broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service, a victory for Net Neutrality for now. New Horizon flies by Pluto, Birdman wins Oscars but The Force Awakens wins all.

Many greats are lost including Harve Bennett at 84, producer and writer, the man who saved Star Trek. Leonard Nimoy, 83, actor and director best known for his portrayal of Mr. Spock in many incarnations of Star Trek. Herb Trimpe at 75, a comic book artist who visualised The Incredible Hulk and G.I. Joe and co-created Wolverine. Sir Christopher Lee at 93 the British actor known as Dracula, Saruman and Count Dooku. And most sadly James Horner, untimely at 61, Oscar-winning composer of musical scores for "Titanic", "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", "Aliens" and "Apollo 13".

We also remember others we have lost this year.

Hugh Ambrose, 48, American historian and author ("The Pacific")
Gen. Earl E. Anderson USMC, 96, American Marine Corps general who at 53 became the youngest active duty Marine to be promoted to the rank of 4-star general in the history of the USMC
Howard A. Anderson, Jr., 95, American visual effects artist ("Star Trek")
Murphy Anderson, 89, American comic book artist (Superman, Green Lantern), creator of Zatanna
Sir Michael Beetham GCB, CBE, DFC, AFC, DL, 92, British marshal of the air force, Chief of the Air Staff (1977–1982)
Theodore Bikel, 91, Austrian-born American actor (Sergey Rozhenko "Star Trek: The Next Generation")
Admiral Sir John Jeremy Black, GBE, KCB, DSO, captain of the HMS Invincible during the Falklands War
General Sir Edward Burgess KCB, OBE, 87, British army general, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1984–1987)
Wesley Burrowes, 85, Irish playwright ("Glenroe")
George Cole, 90, English actor (Arthur Daly "Minder")
George Coe, 86, American actor ("Star Trek: The Next Generation - "First Contact"") Voice Actor (Wheeljack "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" / Doctor Godera "Star Wars: The Old Republic" / various "The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim" and "Guild Wars 2") and original SNL cast member.
Douglas S. Cook, 56, American screenwriter ("The Rock")
Yvonne Craig, 78, American actress ("Batman", "Star Trek") 
Derek Davis, 67, Irish broadcaster
Jim Diamond, 64, Scottish singer-songwriter ("I Should Have Known Better")
Rick Ducommun, 62, Canadian actor ("The 'Burbs", "Die Hard", "The Hunt for Red October")
Brett Ewins, 59, British comic book artist (Judge Dredd, 2000 AD)
Chuck Forsberg, 71, American computer programmer, developer of ZMODEM
Col. James L. Fowler USMC, 84, American military veteran, founded the Marine Corps Marathon
Brian Friel, 86, Irish dramatist ("Philadelphia, Here I Come!", "Dancing at Lughnasa")
Gen. John Galvin U.S. Army, 86, American army general, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1987–1992)
Alan Howard, 77, English actor (Sauron [The Lord of the Rings])
Maurice Hurley, 75, American television writer and producer ("Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Miami Vice")
Bruce Hyde, 74, American actor (Lieutenant Kevin T. Riley ["Star Trek"])
Sgt. Einar H. Ingman, Jr. U.S. Army, 85, Medal of Honor recipient (Korean War)
George Clayton Johnson, 86, American writer ("Logan's Run", "The Twilight Zone", "Star Trek", "Kung Fu")
B.B. King, American blues singer, guitarist, songwriter, and record producer
Alan Kupperberg, 62, American comic book artist (Robocop #1, Transformers, Star Wars, Iron Man
Joseph Lechleider, 82, American, inventor of digital subscriber line (DSL) technology
Grace Lee Whitney, 85, American actress (Yeoman Janice Rand ["Star Trek"])
Lemmy, 70, English rock musician (Motörhead)
Robert Loggia, 85, American actor ("Mancuso: FBI", "Independence Day")
Mick Lynch, Irish indie rock singer (Stump, Bernard)
Don Mankiewicz, 93, American screenwriter ("Star Trek" episode "Court Martial")
Patrick Macnee, 93, English-American actor ("The Avengers", "A View to a Kill")
Bob Minkler, 78, American sound mixer ("Star Wars", "Tron")
Warren Murphy, 81, American author and screenwriter ("Lethal Weapon 2")
John Forbes Nash, Jr., 86, American mathematician (subject of "A Beautiful Mind")
Lt.Gen. William O'Callaghan (DSM), 91, Irish army officer,  Force Commander (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
Maureen O'Hara, 95, Irish-American actress and singer ("The Quiet Man")
Bill O'Herlihy, 76, Irish sports broadcaster 
Jerry Parr, 85, American Secret Service agent, extricated Ronald Reagan during assassination attempt,
Roddy Piper, 61, Canadian professional wrestler and actor ("They Live")
Wayne Rogers, 82, American actor ("M*A*S*H")
Pvt. George T. Sakato U.S. Army, 94, American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient
Lt.Col. Edward Saylor USAF, 94, American World War II veteran, member of Doolittle's Raiders.
Omar Sharif, 83, Egyptian actor ("Lawrence of Arabia", "Doctor Zhivago")
Roger Slifer, 60, American comic book author (Co-creator - Lobo) and Animation writer ("G.I. Joe Extreme" / "Transformers")
John Stephenson, 91, American voice actor (Kup, Alpha Trion ["Transformers"] / Hawk, General Flagg, General Franks ["G.I. Joe"]),
Percy Sledge, 74, American R&B, soul, gospel, and traditional pop singer.
Rod Taylor, 84, Australian actor ("Inglourious Basterds", "The Birds")
Nigel Terry, 69, British actor ("Excalibur", "Troy")
Fred Thompson, 73, American politician and actor ("Die Hard 2", "Law & Order", "The Hunt for Red October"), U.S. Senator from Tennessee (1994–2003)
Tom Towles, 65, American actor ("Miami Vice", "The Rock", "Star Trek: Voyager")
Mary Ellen Trainor, 62, American actress ("Lethal Weapon", "Die Hard")
Francis Tsai, 48, American comic book, film and video game concept artist (Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Spider-Man, TMNT, Myst 3)
Dick Van Patten, 86, American actor ("Spaceballs", "Robin Hood: Men in Tights")
Daniel von Bargen, 64, American actor ("Shaft", "The General's Daughter", G.I. Jane")
Jason Wingreen, 95, American actor ("Star Trek") and voice actor (Boba Fett - "The Empire Strikes Back")
Bernard Williams, 72, British film producer ("Daredevil", "Flash Gordon")
Christopher Wood, 79, English novelist and screenwriter ("Moonraker", "The Spy Who Loved Me")
Robert Z'Dar, 64, American film actor and producer ("Maniac Cop", "Tango & Cash")

May they rest in peace.

And now 

H A P P Y  2 0 1 6