Friday, April 29, 2005

Ain't It Cool

I'm not what you'd call a frequent visitor to Harry Knowles' infamous site but when I do go I always make sure to check out his monthly DVD picks- April's are here. It's a fairly eclectic round up of movies being released and while a lot of it's not to my taste, there's usually something there that I'd like to see but would never have thought of looking for.

Bond News

There's been so much talk about who is or isn't going to be the new James Bond that I'm really hoping this news is true- Brosnan has apparently signed on for two more pictures. He's certainly a better choice than any of the other names that have been mentioned. Clive Owen seems to be everyone's hot favourite but after seeing him being interviewed on Tonight With Jonathan Ross a few months back I was extremely underwhelmed. He lacks a certain something.

Now, with Brosnan back in the saddle all they need now is a decent script and an actual action director. The past few movies haven't exactly been up to scratch. Maybe the franchise needs some big summer blockbuster help- Bruckheimer should step in and gloss up the format. It certainly couldn't do the series any harm.

Schoolkid Sex Tape

I'm thirty two but it seems like things in schools are changing at light speed; life certainly wasn't like this- not even remotely- when I was at school. A group of schoolkids has made a sex tape, four girls and one boy, ages twelve to seventeen. They were found out when one of the girls tried to show the tape to her younger brother. Why she would want to do that is beyond me.

As if that wasn't bad enough the girls were apparently not upset when the tape was shown to their parents by police- they were "carefree" as if it were a commonplace occurrence, claiming that this is what's going on in schools. As a father of two young girls- who will not be in high school for another ten years, this is pretty damn terrifying. If this is the kind of thing teenagers are getting up to now- and I'm hoping that it really isn't that common- then what's it going to be like a decade down the road?

Comparing my high school days (I finished in 1991) to those of people from about five years ago, my school-life starts to seem like something from an idyllic fifties movie; times really were more innocent back then. It doesn't bear thinking about what it's going to be like in years to come.

Something else for me to worry about for my girls.

Desert Storm

Thanks to The Sun here are some cool pictures (low quality I'm afraid) of a massive sand storm in Iraq, taken by US Marines in Al Asad. The storm was 80 miles across and the cloud of sand reached as high as 5000ft. Very impressive.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


I finally got round to moving up from my one pood girya (16kgs or 35lbs kettlebell) to the two pood weight. This is 32kg or 70lbs. The standard weight girya used by the Russian military is 24kg or 50lbs weight, and while I'd originally planned on getting one to work up gradually, I jumped the gun and went for the big boy instead. The next weight up is 88lbs. I think I might pass on that one!

Now, 32kg doesn't sound like a lot but believe me it is when you're swinging it around. To be honest, while I'm happy enough doing high rep sets with the 16kg KB, this 32kg is a whole different ballgame so I'm taking it very easy. My first workout consisted of swings, cleans and squats. This is too much weight for me to attempt to snatch just yet- I'm not quite sure how my body'll hold up so I'm taking no risks. My second workout was just three sets of swings, keeping the reps low and trying to get the girya a little higher than the night before. I can get it up to chest height now which is all I need for swings. Now that I know my limits with that my next goal is to increase my cleans, get the reps up a little and then work towards adding in the overhead jerk. When I started with the 16kg kettlebell I really noticed my shoulder strength increase so I'm hoping to see big gains with this. Though my workouts have been light so far I can already feel the muscles around my torso being worked by the KB- these things really do work your whole body.

I've got to say that I'm pretty much hooked on kettlebell training- it's simple, fast and effective- and it's good to finally have the two pood girya to train with. I feel like I can finally call myself girevik, a "kettlebell man".

Blade Trinity Review

First off let me say that I'm a big fan of the first two Blade movies- I really enjoyed both films. So I was looking forward to Trinity and, boy, was I disappointed.

The film has several problems, first of which is Hannibal King, played by Ryan Reynolds. There are a lot of things wrong with this character, and my main complaint was the simply appalling dialogue. He keeps trying to be whimsical and amusing but it comes across as if this guy is supposed to be in another movie. A movie that is not funny at all. Second, he's a kick-ass vampire hunter- well, no that's not right either. He gets his ass kicked several times and he just struck me as being effeminate. This man is no action hero and shouldn't be within 100 yards of a Blade movie set. Oh, did I mention that he can't act either? Bad, bad choice.

Second up, is Dracula. We know from the get-go that he's Dracula but for some reason he calls himself Drake in the movie. This is maybe a minor quibble but if you're going to have the arch-vampire in your film, why go and change his name? There's a point in the film where Dracula says something like- "didn't you ever read Stoker's fable?" (I'll ignore the fact that he's been in vampire hibernation for hundreds of years but upon awakening has apparently prioritised reading Bram Stoker's original Dracula novel); seems to me that David Goyer, the individual responsible for writing and directing this mess, should have read Stoker's book because the casting is all wrong. The actor picked has all of the charisma and presence of a lampshade. Also, he doesn't actually play too big a part in the film- any generic vampire badguy would have fit the bill- there's nothing really Dracula-specific about the plot. There's some distraction about him being the first pure vampire, but he turns out to be not that scary or dangerous at all.

Which leads me on to my next complaint- Blade can handle vampires because he's half-vampire, he's as strong and as fast as they are. The Nightstalkers on the other hand- a bunch of badly drawn background actors along with Jessica Biel and the aforementioned pansy Ryan Reynolds- are not. The vampires they're up against just aren't frightening at all. The threat simply does not exist. And speaking of the Nightstalkers, shouldn't the makers of Alias be suing over the theft of their tech expert? He's been lifted right out and set down in Blade- the actor even looks a little like the Alias character.

So, what do we have so far- uber-wet blanket Ryan Reynolds, appalling dialogue, a script that's not very well paced, vampires who aren't really scary at all (among the bad guys only Parker Posey's vampire bitch stands out- the others seem to burst into flame at the merest hint of Blade or giggle in the background), a seriously badly cast Dracula, silly weapons (don't even get me started on that), a completely unfunny script, and uninspired action sequences. In the first two movies, Blade was the epitome of cool. Here, he seems underused. It's as if David Goyer wanted to make a Nightstalkers movie, but had gotten lumbered with Blade instead. I'm not all that surprised that Wesley Snipes is taking legal action after seeing this- his Blade is a shadow of his former self. It's a sad way to end the series, going out with a whimper instead of a bang.

One other point that I should mention is that Goyer has absolutely no idea of how to even hint at menace. In the first movie we were treated to time lapse imagery of the sun going down and the night taking over the city. The same trick is tried here- several times- but it fails to establish any sense of menace. There's no impending threat of darkness coming because the vampire enemies just aren't that frightening. If Ryan Reynolds can be a Nightstalker, then so too can any geeky fifteen year old kid. If there is a Nightstalkers spin-off franchise, Reynolds is not the man to helm it. Jessica Biel is more butch that he is. And Biel's character was oddly missing. As Whistler's daughter she had some cool points saved up already- and in her first confrontation with the vampires she handles herself pretty well, but Goyer throws it all away by giving her a bow and arrow and a silly UV light weapon- kind of like a batleth. He also totally fails to develop her at all. She remains little more than a cardboard cut-out throughout the film. There's one scene where we see her in a shower apparently terribly upset, but it seems like nothing more than an excuse to show some Biel-flesh rather than to try and be meaningful in any way. Sure, there's a place for nudity in horror movies, but shouldn't she be upset about something? As far as I can remember all that's just happened is girly man Reynolds got wounded. Maybe she was crying because his character hadn't been killed off? Now there's a thought, Blade: Duo would have been a much better movie. One totally ridiculous and unnecessary thing about her character is her need to listen to MP3s while she's hunting. Quite aside from the fact that she wouldn't be able to hear the superpowered vampires sneaking up on her, this comes over as a totally blatant ad for Apple iPod and iTunes. There are more subtle ways to sneak marketing into films- Goyer obviously didn't get that memo.

One last thing, which really annoyed me because it was so stupid- sissy Reynolds holds up a tiny fragment of Dracula's armour, and I mean we're talking thumbnail size. He then goes on to show us what Dracula's entire suit of armour and helmet look like, because they've extrapolated. Yeah, right. Shouldn't someone over the age of five be watching for mistakes like this in the script? I'm stunned that stupidity like this can not just go into a script, but it can be storyboarded, the scenes prepared, even a little computer graphic designed and filmed- and it can actually make it into a final cut of a movie without anyone saying, "hang on a moment, you can tell what a whole suit of armour looked like based on this tiny thing that could have come from anything?"

Okay, there's one other thing that jarred with me and really annoyed my Other Half, and that's the swearing. I can't for the life of me remember Blade cursing in the first two flicks but he does in this and it just didn't sit right. There's no need for to use "MF" in a film based on a comic book.

All right, there's another thing (I'm in danger of becoming Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition sketch)- without wanting to give too much away, there's a prison break scene and at the end of it the group is faced by a swarm of police cars with cops pointing guns at them. Big problem? No, they just run away from the twenty or thirty cops- without getting shot- and drive away. The police don't bother to drive after them. It's this kind of poor thinking that characterises the whole film. If only Guillermo del Toro had been the director, things would have been a whole lot different.

Top Tip

Stranded outdoors somewhere? Need to light a fire but don't have any matches? Never fear, with just a bar of chocolate and a can of Coke, you'll soon have a roaring blaze!

For details on how it's done, go have a look here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

How Fit Are You?

From the pages of Men's Health magazine comes this simple test to measure your fitness level. I'd actually meant to write about this some time ago but the magazine ended up on the bottom of my 'to read' pile. Oh, well, better late than never. Here goes:

1. Strength
a. Press Ups- get down and hammer out as many as you can in two minutes with proper form. You're in good shape if you can do 40-50 and apparently top army recruits can manage 68 in that time.
b. Sit-Ups-Feet flat on floor, knees bent and hands on thighs. As you curl up move your hands up to your knees. Do as many as you can in one minute. The average for most men is 35 and Men's Health rates 40 as giving you a solid core.
c. Squats- Keeps knees behind toes and lower until thighs are parallel to the ground. Do as many as you can- no time limit. A score of 31-34 is average leg strength. 45 is excellent.

2. Cardiovascular Fitness
You'll need to concentrate for this one. Get a sturdy box or step that's 12-18" high and step up and down for three minutes straight. Rest for one minutes and then take your pulse rate for 30 seconds. Multiply the result by 5.6 and then divide this figure into 18,000. A mark of between 60 and 100 is considered fit.

3. Flexibility
Sit down on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you and reach towards your toes. Being able to reach your toes is okay, past them is good.

4. Agility
You'll need someone to time you on this one. Place two markers on the ground 9ft apart, marker 1 and 2. Set two books down beyond marker 2. Start the clock at marker 1 and sprint to 2, grab the book and run back to 1 and set it down. Return to 2, grab the second book and return to 1. Stop the clock. Anything under 10 seconds is fast.

5. Power
Standing against a wall, wet your fingers and reach as high as you can to mark the wall. Now, do three vertical jumps, marking the wall with your fingers each time. Select the highest of the jumps and then measure between it and your standing mark. 20" is good.

Honour Killings

I'd actually wanted NOT to blog on Islamists for a day or too, but the outrages won't stop coming. The latest is from Jordan where a man shot dead his sister after seeing her photo on his friend's camera phone. Let me repeat that- he murdered his sister because someone took her photo. He said he did it to "cleanse his family honour" and turned himself over to the police. According to the article this is the fifth honour killing in Jordan this year, while there were nineteen last year.

Under Jordanian law, the murderer faces a maximum jail sentence of one year.

Religion of Peace?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Hollywood Takes on 9/11

Hang onto your hats for a Moonbat storm warning- Hollywood has determined that enough time has passed to allow it to begin making films about 9/11. Now, I know what you're thinking- 3,000 innocent people perished in the biggest ever terrorist attack on the United States, an act which has changed our entire world forever. These reprehensible f**kers flew planes into buildings where civilians were doing nothing more harmful than going to work. You'd expect that Hollywood would understand that the unprovoked mass murder of American citizens going about their daily business would be a sensitive issue. That's what you'd expect but this is Hollywood we're talking about, so instead we get this-

A new movie called The Great New Wonderful, which actress Maggie Gyllenhaal informs us "deals with 9/11 in such a subtle, open way that I think it allows it to be more complicated than just, 'Oh, look at these poor New Yorkers and how hard it was for them." As if this wasn't sickening enough she then adds, "because I think America has done reprehensible things and is responsible in some way and so I think the delicacy with which it's dealt allows that to sort of creep in."

That a spoiled, overpaid brat like this can come out and blame America for Islamic terrorists murdering 3000 people is so staggeringly stupid that I'm astonished. And absolutely disgusted. What makes this even worse is that this movie- which delicately deals with America's blame for 9/11- is being shown at the Tribeca Film Festival which was "founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff as a response to the attacks on the World Trade Center". Isn't that great, a film festival created to help the damaged city of New York is playing host to this garbage?

Well, I know for sure that I'll never again paid a penny towards any movie associated with any of the people in this film- that includes dumb b***h Gyllenhaal, Tony Shalhoub (whose work I actually used to like), and the writer and director. Remember, the only way to affect the crap Hollywood pumps out is to boycott it and the people involved with it.

Hat tip to LGF for the story.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

First Piece

Well, I rummaged around my PC and found a short little work to post over at Cryptic Fiction. It's little more than a fragment, a writing exercise I did some time ago. Hopefully, it'll give a little taster of things to come.

Flight of Fancy

I've never been a huge fan of glamour girl Betty Page but I do think that this image of her is pretty spectacular. Although I wasn't sure when I first found this piece, it turns out that it's by Dave Stevens, the guy who created the The Rocketeer comic book.

Cryptic Fiction

I've added my new site, Cryptic Fiction, to my Links. I intend to post some of the stories I've written there. Right now, it's a "coming soon" feature as there isn't anything there, but I need a kick in the pants sometimes to keep me motivated. Knowing that the page is there waiting will hopefully given me a bit of extra motivation to work harder.

The main type of story I work on at the moment is adventure. Burroughs is a BIG influence on me, but I'll try to put a variety of things up. I dabble in various fields; horror, science fiction, action, nothing too literary. My intent at the moment is to put up sample chapters, stories I'm writing at the moment and any other bits and pieces I can find. Feedback is appreciated. My Other Half tells me she loves what I write but I think she's just being kind.

Anyway, I'm trying to get a few things together tonight/tomorrow and get them posted ASAP.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

RoP Issues Death Threat

A Norwegian minister is under police protection in Sweden because he denounced Mohammed as a 'confused paedophile'- and a fatwa calling for his death was promptly issued. There are several interesting points raised by this story.

First off is the actual factuality of the statement- that Mohammed was a paedophile. Well, he was married to a girl called Aisha when she was six, consummating the marriage when she was nine years old. Sex with a nine year old girl would pretty much fall under the heading of paedophilia for me. Now, I got to this story via FARK and I decided to enter the comments section there to see what the general view was. Boy, what a mistake. In relation to the facts of the case the point was made that long ago in olden times, young girls got married. This seems to obfuscate the point- a grown man having sex with a 9 year old, regardless of who else was doing it at the time, is still a paedophile.

The second point is one of free speech. This didn't seem to bother too many of the FARKers. Few railed against the fatwa and its effect on others speaking their minds. That the preacher merely uttered something that was true was also pretty much disregarded. According to the Aftenposten story, Muslim groups have called the preacher's statement "a hateful attack on Islam". They were also fearful of the violence seen in the Netherlands after Theo van Gogh was killed by an Islamist for making a film. They didn't elaborate on whether they were fearful of retaliatory attacks on them if the preacher was killed. I don't recall reading in the article that the Muslims in Sweden had denounced the fatwa as being entirely inappropriate. Maybe I missed that section? An Islam expert also said he thought that the preacher's statement was intended to provoke a religious war. He found it 'unpleasant'- he's not the only one, I find it unpleasant that a Christian preacher can point out a fact mentioned in hadiths regarded as the most accurate by Sunni Muslims, and then be issued a death threat. The only religious war being threatened here is by the Muslims. So far, Swedish Christians have not issued any kind of death threats.

The other thing about this that really got my blood boiling- quite apart from the fact that Islamists can issue death threats against someone was speaking their mind- was the FARK comments. It doesn't take them long to stop criticising the Religion of Peace and begin attacking Christianity. I wonder if it had been a Christian issuing a death threat if the reaction would have been the same? Would other religions have been attacked too? The majority of the posters also seemed to miss the point that Christianity is not in the habit of threatening to kill those who speak out against it. Nor are there sections in the New Testament advising on how to fight infidels or cut off their heads. This fact seems to have missed some of these mooonbats entirely- "oh, but Christians did bad things hundreds of years ago". How this has any bearing whatsoever on the state of Islam today is beyond me. Nor can I see how wars in the past which had been claimed in the name of Christ can have any relation to Christ's teaching- love your enemy and turn the other cheek are what he preached. He did not call for war.

Besides, what has Christianity got to do with Islam? What's the link between Islamists calling for a man's death for speaking and the Christian Church? I don't know what's p*ssed me off more- this ridiculous fatwa or the sheer ignorance and muddled thinking of the moonbats. Argh!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Traitor Galloway

The despicable bastard George Galloway, former Labour MP who told British troops to mutiny during the War in Iraq, is now running for Parliament for the 'Respect Party'. Frankly, I'm amazed that the son of a bitch isn't rotting in a prison cell- taking an oath of loyalty to the crown and then telling troops to disobey orders in time of war obviously isn't something to worry about any more apparently. Thank God that WW2 happened when it did- if we came up against a Hitler now, we'd be screwed because it seems that the free world doesn't place as much value on its freedom as the Greatest Generation did.

Anyway, Galloway is running for a seat in Parliament in Bethnal Green in London. This has become a largely Muslim area in recent years and the Labour MP currently holding the seat, Oona King, has been a supporter of the war. The media reported some weeks ago that this area would be a yardstick of Muslim opinion on the war on Iraq. Galloway, who also met with Saddam Hussein, has been quick to capitalise on his anti-war notoriety by picking the one place in the country he felt sure he could get elected. Actually, he doesn't have a clue- but I'm sure you could tell that already.

While Galloway was trying to smooze potential Muslim voters a group of 30 Muslim fundamentalists surrounded him and proceeded to let him know that voting was un-Islamic, that he was a false prophet, that they had already built a gallows for him and that any Muslim who did vote for him would face a sentence of death. The situation was so serious that Galloway later told reporters that the police saved his life.

In a related story, another group of Muslims interrupted a Muslim Council of Britain meeting and announced that Muslims should not vote in the election.

Religion of Peace strikes again.

Essential Read

Found at both LGF and Jihad Watch is this article by Laura Mansfield. It details her attendance at an Arabic language meeting at a mosque- though the Muslims present assumed she could not speak the language. Amongst the matters discussed were obstructing searches at an airport (proving in one simple step how Mineta's ridiculous aversion to profiling is a danger to the security of the citizens of the US), spooking passengers on an airline and praising terrorists fighting in Iraq. All this happened in a small town mosque in the United States. It makes for very unsettling reading.

This sort of fifth column activity certainly wouldn't have been tolerated during World War 2- and the War on Terror is no less important a fight for freedom. Given our current craze for political correctness though, I cannot possibly see how this sort of treasonous behaviour can be successfully combated.

Religion of Peace my ass.

Confederates vs the Federation

This sounds so much like an April Fool's story that I can't quite believe that it's actually true- but I really WANT to believe it, because it made me laugh.

A bunch of Trekkies battling it out with some Civil War re-enactors; a battle between AA battery toys and black powder rifles. Gee, I wonder who will win?

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Lights Out

I just finished reading the available parts of Lights Out by Halffast (chapters 1-69) and it's a cracking read. The story details the attempts by a small community to survive after an EMP takes out the USA. I've got to say, it's a real page turner and it's pretty action packed. The characters are very well delineated and it's a sharp paced read, switching between episodes of combat, the struggles of the hero Mark and the efforts his community makes to ensure their continued survival. In fact, I can't recommend it enough. A great piece of survival fiction.

The only downside is that it's a work in progress and by the time you get to chapter 69, you'll be screaming out for more- it's starting to get really exciting!

If you read it and want to comment, head along to THR and check out the thread dedicated to the work. All I can say is, great job Halffast- and write quick, I want to read some more!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Lance Armstrong Retires

News just in from CNN- Lance Armstrong has announced his retirement from professional cycling. This years Tour de France will be his last.

Lance is arguably the greatest cyclist of all time and his retirement, while not entirely unexpected, is sad news. The six-time winner (the only rider to ever win that many Tours) will try to get a seventh victory under his belt before he hangs up his shorts. I really hope that he can win this year's Tour de France and go out in a blaze of glory. His focused approach and high-tech training have raised the standard for cycling- his domination of the Tour has been absolutely stunning, he's at a whole different level from the other riders in the peloton.

Here's wishing him luck for a seventh victory.

Grenade Launchers

World Guns has another update to the site and the Grenade Launcher section is beginning to grow, with details on RPGs, the Russian GP-25 and GP-30, the Yank 203 and M79, and HK's M69 and M79.

This site is a real gem for information on military weapons and ammunition. Highly recommended.

More Nazi/Islamist Ties

I posted a while back on a hopeful Nazi wanting to join forces with Al Qaeda. According to Jihad Watch, an Islamic advocacy group in Florida invited a neo-Nazi to speak at one of their meetings. The man in question is the head of a group called Christians and Muslims for Peace. Somehow I don't think they are advocates of peace at all.

This is a particularly worrying trend and while the links between Nazis and Islamists might not seem to make much sense, remember that in World War 2 there were several units formed which comprised of Muslims and which served alongside Hitler's troops.

Amongst these Muslim units were the Free Arab Legion, volunteers from Turkestan in various units, and the Bosnian Muslim Handschar Division. It might seem astonishing that the Nazis with their mantra of racial purity would form these units but this quote from is quite telling-

"The reasons for the recruitment in particular of Croatian Muslims by the SS were many-fold. For one, Himmler was fascinated by the Islamic faith, and thought Muslims to be fearless soldiers. Himmler also subscribed to the propaganda theory that Croatians (and therefore the Croatian Muslims) were not, in fact, Slavic people, but actually of Aryan (Gothic) descent, and thereby acceptable to the racially "pure" SS. The fact that this ludicrous theory would not hold up to any kind of serious scrutiny was conveniently ignored. Finally, the Germans were hoping to rally the World's 350 million Muslims to their side, in a struggle against the British Empire. The creation of a Muslim, albeit European Muslim Division, was considered a stepping stone to this greater end."

Dreams of Nazi world domination probably fit in quite well with the goal of a worldwide Caliphate.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Bavarian Approach

After months of surveillance, German police arrested seven Islamic extremists and raided 31 mosques, homes and offices. The arrests and raids are part of a crack-down on terrorist funding, but the one thing that really struck me was the statement from the Bavarian Interior Minister-

"We'll step up the pressure on Islamist extremists even more and use every possible provision of immigration law to deport as fast as possible those who threaten us or preach hatred."

Europe is often portrayed as being soft on Islamic terrorism but this statement is one that I cannot imagine a British or even American politician uttering right now. In Britain the Conservative Party has made immigration one of the main issues of its election campaign- when introducing the topic Michael Howard said time and again that immigration did not equal racism- but here in the UK that seems to be the way many people feel. After the infamous "rivers of blood" speech made by Enoch Powell back in the sixties, immigration and racism have become intertwined in British politics and to demand tighter border controls and curbs in immigration is somehow seen as being equivalent to racism.

Given the current world situation and the continued threat that Islamic terrorism and culture is to the West, it seems like Powell might have been right after all.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Angelina Jolie

Just a bit of a pleasant distraction.

Immigration Round Up

I've been laid low by my blasted back so nothing more than a quick round up today I'm afraid.

First up, the Minuteman Project seems to be a resounding success in Arizona, although it appears that the ACLU is not helping- according to reports they are actually actively aiding illegal immigrants evade capture.

Head's Bunker has a great article on this today (while you're there go see some absolutely superb photos of his BAG Day gun). If this weren't enough reason to detest the ACLU, have a look at where they stand on the issue of the Second Amendment and the Constitution as detailed by Smallest Minority. Or how about this quote from one of the founders of the ACLU- "Communism is the goal". Perhaps they should change their name to the Anti-American Union?

Next some good immigrant news to bring your blood down from the boil- a Russian immigrant to Israel has been awarded that country's second highest honour for his undercover role combating terrorism. With two dozen confirmed kills to his name, one of his fellow officer's described the agent, known only as Y, like this: "There is something wrong with his fear instinct. It does not exist." It must take some extreme courage to do the job he does.

With an estimated 10 million illegal immigrants in the US, one wonders why an effort like this one to apprehend fugitives is not being carried out by the Immigration Service. Surely the question of national security is such that if the US Marshals can do this, illegals could also be cracked down on too? With a terrorist plot foiled in Britain- and an illegal immigrant involved there too- it would seem prudent to take all necessary precautions. It seems that the memory of 9/11 is fading fast for some policy makers. What will it take to make them realise that the security and safety of the citizens they represent is more important than political correctness and expedience?

When is a hate crime not a hate crime?

Remember this is not a "bias crime"- a group of some 30 black teenagers attacked four white girls and during the attack they call out "Martin Luther King" (bizarrely), "white cracker" and "black power". The girls were playing on a basketball court when the black teens told them to leave. An adult intervened and the teens left- only to return later with a gang in tow. They then proceeded to carry out the "non-hate" crime, leaving two of the girls hospitalized.

Can you imagine if the situation had been reversed and a gang of thirty male and female whites attacked four black girls, and uttered the equivalent epithets at them? Don't you think that would qualify as a 'hate crime'. In fact, wouldn't racism be one of the first things mentioned? The phrase double standard springs to mind.


I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to writing- I like my Word documents to have a nice looking title and finding a suitable font is not always easy. That's quite sad, isn't it?

Well, have a look at the selection at Font Face- both to buy and to download for free. There's a pretty good selection of well put together fonts. Enjoy.

California Moonbats At Work

In a sign that IQs and common sense have fled California, the city's police commissioner has given the chief of police clearance to do away with the standard police issue foot-long, 2lb flashlight- a Maglite I presume- because *gasp* they might be used to defend the policemen's lives.

It seems that one cop beat one suspected car thief with a flashlight and in a shining example of moonbattery all cops are now going to be issued lightweight, totally harmless flashlights. The Chief, Bratton, claims that taking away the issue sturdy flashlight is in the best interest of the department and the city. I can't quite see how taking away a torch from police officers who routinely carry sidearms, shotguns and batons is in the best interest of either the cops or the citizens whom it is their duty to serve and protect. I'm sure that a lot of officers would carry a torch while on duty knowing that they do not have to draw their weapon or baton, because if they are surprised the heavy flashlight can be used as a makeshift weapon to defend themselves. Perhaps if they have the plastic 7-inch model instead (insert rude joke of choice here), they will be more inclined to have their pistol drawn.

Surely it should be the job of the chief of police to ensure that the men and women serving under him have the absolute best equipment available to deal with any emergency- perhaps in California though, the job description has been altered to make life as pleasant as possible for criminals?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


When Jurassic Park was first released there was some controversy about the size of the Velociraptors in the movie- Spielberg had been unhappy with the true scale of these prehistoric monsters and had his SFX people make them much larger than they really were. Of course, it turns out that at around the same time a new breed of raptor was discovered, a species which was actually a little bigger than Spielberg's made-up raptors; these were Utahraptors.

The Velociraptor itself was fairly small, about two feet high and six feet long, weighing in anywhere between 30lbs and 200lbs depending on your internet source. It's spring-loaded, killing toe-claw was about five inches long. The Utahraptor on the other hand was a much bigger specimen- eight feet tall and twenty three feet long, it weighted roughly a ton. It's killing claw was ten inches long. It's fore-claws were also much better developed than its small relation and it most likely used these big sickle claws in its attacks too. Talk about dangerous game!

I've just begun reading an account by paleontologist Robert Bakker of the life of a Utahraptor, Raptor Red. I picked this up for next to nothing on Amazon ages ago and I wish I hadn't left it sitting gathering dust for so long because- three chapter in- it's a gripping read full of the sort of details about life in the Cretaceous that I've always longed to know. If you like the Jurassic Park movies or dinosaurs in general, then this work of fiction makes for an essential purchase, it's much better than working through a dry textbook. Bakker's a very entertaining writer and his real love of the subject matter comes through everything of his I've read.

As impressive as the thought of the Utahraptor is, it is surpassed by the aptly named Megaraptor. This is an even bigger beast- ten feet tall and twenty six feet long. Most impressive though is the powerful toe-claw, it measured 14 inches in length. To get an idea of the scale of this monstrous dinosaur have a look here to see how it compares to man. Pretty scary.

Flight of Fancy

This simply stunning piece of art is an image of the comic character Magma by the talented Joshua Middleton. The colouring of the piece is just incredible, making it one of those pictures you just want to stare at for a while.

New Cartridge

There's been an awful lot written lately about the need for a new cartridge to replace the puny 5.56mm currently issued to NATO forces. While this round does leave much to be desired those opining that a return to the big 7.62mm is required are missing one vital point: while it's all very to say that needing to take 2 or 3 hits to incapacitate a target negates the advantage of the small 5.56mm because a 7.62mm can do the job with just one shot, not every shot is aimed at an enemy combatant.

The basic tactic employed by the infantryman is fire and manoeuvre- firing towards the enemy to keep their heads down while your buddy advances. In this situation the superior stopping power of the 7.62mm is a rendered useless- and you need a lot of ammo to do this. I can remember the first time my troop practised this action and I was surprised by how quickly we burned through our ammo. Even taking your time and firing maybe three rounds each "hop" only allows you ten moves before you need to reload. And you may be advancing to one target to engage a large number of enemy before moving on to another target, not knowing when you can get a re-supply to replenish the ammo you can carry on your person. The more ammo you can carry the better.

The HK G11, with its small caseless round, offered the soldier the ability to carry an awful lot more ammo than normal- with one 50 round magazine loaded and two more carried on the weapon itself. However, I suspect that the terminal ballistics of this round were not superior to the 5.56mm. Given what's available today, the best option would seem to be a round similar in size and weight to the 5.56mm but with better stopping power. Once again, the 6.8mm SPC seems to fit the bill.

Monica Bellucci

My Other Half's blog now contains a good selection of (very funny) jokes and images- go see them here.

She has also added a great photo of Monica Bellucci for me. Am I a lucky guy or what?

Six Million Dollar Man

Well, not quite Steve Austin, but if DARPA gets their way, within four years- read that again, four years- we will soon have available a prosthetic arm that "will be controlled, feel, look and perform like the native limb". I've said it before and I'll no doubt say it again, but we appear to be in a time of rapid technological advancement- spearheaded by the USA and in particular their military. The next decade is going to be a particularly interesting time to live through.

The development of highly advanced artificial limbs like this will be of particular benefit to those US servicemen injured in combat. As ACE detailed in a post some time ago, in Iraq the survival rate for those injured in combat is much higher than in any other conflict and one of the reasons for this is battlefield amputations. This extreme method has proven to be be highly successful in saving lives and it is fantastic to hear that DARPA is making this effort to aid these men. Of course it goes without saying that this development will also aid civilian amputees around the world.

Hat tip to LGF for the story.

Zombie Genocide

I bought myself a very rare thing recently- a made-in-Northern-Ireland zombie movie. Called Zombie Genocide, it dates from the early nineties and was put together by an outfit called Midnight Pictures. It is an exceedingly low budget affair and the technology involved at the time was such that they had no editing facilities- it was shot in scene order on camcorder.

The premise is simple- a group of guys are out camping for a week and when they return to town they discover it deserted- save for the walking dead. If you can get past the jarring nineties fashions and the obvious cheapness of it all, it's actually a fairly watchable movie; if you're into this sort of thing. If you aren't a BIG fan of zombie movies don't bother. I actually enjoyed it and I liked that they made the most of their limitations by constraining much of the action to one house and a few outdoor locations. As an example of what you can do with a few friends, a camera and some motivation, it's superb and if you ever felt like you wanted to make a cheap horror movie, then check this out to see how it's done. It would be really interesting to see what they could do with a remake of this film because I think the set-up was well conceived and though the acting and dialogue need sprucing up a little, with a bit more cash and the kind of technology available in on the modern home PC it could be a great little movie.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Cost of Living

After checking out a "where's the best place to live in the US" thread on The High Road I feel thoroughly sick. If you live in the States you have no idea how lucky you are (although I suspect you do- well, hang on a moment, you'll feel even better about it in a second). I posted the other day about the price of fuel- $6 here, compared to $2 there- and now I'm looking at the price of housing. Damn, I shouldn't have done that.

If you want to see what the property is like in my neck of the woods go and have a look here. I've picked a couple of places to show you the range of what homes cost in the village I live in. The first is worth £68,500 (almost $130,000) and the second is £275,000 (just under $520,000). The first house is a former terraced council house; that is, it was built and then rented out by the government at low cost . Usually after living in one of these homes for a number of years the residents have the option to buy, at a much lower price than a normal home of the same size and type. Buying it and then selling it on is a great way to move up the property ladder- and houses at that price in this area are few and far between. The lowest priced detached house on that website for instance is more than £130,000- that's over $250,000.

Now, according to THR, I could even get 20-30 acres with a home in OK for about $150,000. I've had a quick browse around for prices in Texas and Oklahoma and....a home for $40,000? You won't find anything like that over here for that price. Unbelievable.

BTW, here's an interesting little survey to find out which area best suits you- Find Your Spot. Seems like I should be living in Alaska or Montana.

New Blog

Hat tip to Head for linking to this new blog- Parallax Adjustment. Shooter is a RKBA libertarian and though there are only a few posts up so far there are already two which are must reads- South Texas Work Day and I'll Take Fries With That. The former in particular is of interest given the focus on illegal immigration in America at the moment. It's pretty scary- how Republican and Democrat politicians can continue to ignore this problem any longer is beyond me.

Go check him out.

Shooting in Rafah

This morning I read this piece on LGF- comparing the contrasting versions of a shooting incident in Israel. According to the Palestinians, three teenagers innocently playing football were shot by the Israeli Army. According to the Israelis, the teens weren't playing football at all and prior to their run at them, all three were crawling in the dirt in a closed military zone. I know which version of events I tend towards.

Well, not so long ago I came across this on CNN. The bias is fairly evident- if you know the background of the story. The first paragraph mentions that the teenagers were playing football and despite the sub-heading on 'conflicting reports', the article doesn't do very much of anything to portray the Israeli version of events. It does mention that warning shots were fired but that's it- the article still gives the impression that these were innocent kids playing football.

Whatever happened to fair and unbiased reporting of the facts?

Flight of Fancy

Fairy tales aren't just for kids you know.

Great Story

It's the little news stories like this which can brighten up your day- a Marine recruiter tackles a purse snatcher and holds him until the cops arrive.



I posted a while back about Venezuela buying 100,000 AKs. Well, it seems that small arms are not the only thing they are interested in. Thanks to LGF for this link about them now buying chemical and biological agents. Though I can't recall the source (probably LGF again) there was a story a while back about Venezuela farming out a contract for their ID cards to Cuba- agents of which are already working for the Venezuelan government.

While the WOT continues and wary eyes look to the growing threat of China, it would also seem prudent to watch Venezuela closely. Especially when their close ally is the communist dictatorship Cuba.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Cost of Driving

Way back in October I posted about the price of diesel here in the UK and in the States. The prices don't seem to have changed much. In the States there's talk of fuel rising in the summer to $2.35 per gallon. Rising to $2.35. Right now people in the UK are paying around $6 per gallon and though we moan and bitch about the price the government happily increases the tax on fuel every budget, usually citing "green" concerns. This is obviously a lot of crap because the cost doesn't stop anyone from driving and all they're really interested in is getting more cash flowing to the Treasury. It won't matter if Blair gets back into power in May, or if the Conservatives do, for both parties see fuel as a big earner and they won't want to kiss their cash-cow goodbye. Either way, the driver loses. It'd be interesting to see how the Conservatives would do if they made reducing the tax on fuel a prime part of their campaign.


Cowboy Blob has a fantastic post on an IPSC contest which sounds like a heck of a lot of fun. The two scenarios under discussion are "Say Cheese" and "Get me a Doctor". I'll let the Cowboy describe the rest to you.

Writing Fever

No posts for a couple of days- as well as looking after a sick baby I've been doing a fair bit of writing. It started off innocently enough, going through some drafts and story ideas and the next thing I know I'm engrossed in a story I'd given up months ago. Strange the way things work.

Anyway, I'm cracking on with while the mood holds and I'm using this one to work out some ideas for another similar story at the same time. Bit of an experiment. I'm also considering posting some stuff here- I'll have to think about that one and see if I can get somewhere to put the files.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Silent Derringer

World Guns has another update and it makes for a good read, detailing as it does several Soviet-era silenced weapons. Of the bunch, the one that most took my fancy was the MSP, a weapon designed for up close and dirty work. With an over-under arrangement and barrels only 66mm long (about two and a half inches) this derringer-alike was intended for military and intelligence clandestine operations. Developed in 1972, this is definitely the sort of weapon you'd expect to find in a James Bond novel- for not only was it a small, easily concealed gun, it also fired silent ammunition. Yes, you read right- silent ammunition.

The MSP is chambered for Soviet SP-3 ammunition which operates on a very simple principle: the case holds the usual powder charge but it is contained by a piston. When the primer is struck and the powder ignited the expanding gases push the piston forward and this forces the bullet out of the case. The piston contains the gases however and, as it is these which cause most of the noise associated with a gunshot, the ammunition is virtually silent. It's an ingenious solution to the problem and requires no awkward suppressors attached to the barrel of the gun to contain the gases, allowing for a very compact and stealthy weapon.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Comics in your email

I'm not one for printed newspapers and one thing that I used to miss about this was not getting to see daily comic strips. Well there is an alternative in this new electronic age- sign up and get them emailed to you. For free.

One that I'm very glad I get is Calvin and Hobbes- yeah, it's no longer written and I have some of the strips in the book collections but it's such a great strip that you can read it again and again. I don't think there's ever been a strip that was so funny, heart-warming, touching and insightful as Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin is just the coolest kid (apart from my own of course) and Hobbes' disdain for human foibles is spot on. Just wonderful.

Another option is to sign up with Every day you can get two strips emailed to you for free- more if you sign up for an account. My choice is for Tarzan and Liberty Meadows, authored by the excellent Frank Cho. The strip doesn't always give him the opportunity to display his artistic skills but every now and then you can see some wonderful artwork.


It looks like the Minuteman Project- the volunteer effort to stop illegal immigrants crossing America's southern border- is having its first successes. As they carried out a familiarisation exercise they spotted 18 illegals and promptly reported them to authorities who made arrests. They were also responsible for the apprehension of another illegal after he wandered onto the campus where they are staying.

The Project officially begins today and already they can rack up 19 arrests and their presence has caused the deployment of more government agents to the area. Looks like they are well on the way to achieving their aims.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Way of K

My other half started a blog last year but she didn't keep at it- partly because I hog the PC. Well, last night she decided to start again and rather than do a commentary or anything like that, she is instead dedicating her blog to strange and funny pictures (with the odd celebrity thrown in for good measure) and jokes- you know the sort of thing that people send in emails all the time. Well, if you ever want to see what's going around, or you find yourself in need of something to send back, The Way of K is the place to go. Here's wishing her all the best, though as she's just posted a delightful picture of Marilyn Monroe I have no doubt that her stats will soon put mine in the shade.

Flight of Fancy

I loved the film Incredible Shrinking Man (written by the incredibly gifted Richard Matheson) when I was a kid and it gave me many a happy hour to imagine that I'd been shrunk down myself and had to survive the impenetrable jungle of my back garden. The bad news is that there's a remake on the way directed by one of the Wayans brothers. This does not bode well. The image here is by an artist known as Vincent Segrelles.

X-Men 2 Review

One site which I like to check into now and again is The Superficial- yeah, it's a celebrity gossip site but it's filled with such bile and loathing of some celebrities that I just can't get enough of it. If that's not enough it's also really funny. Anyway, I was checking it through and came across this capsule review of X-Men 2:

And 'X-Men 2' was even worse. Only Hollywood could be so comically out of touch with the American public that they would feature a movie where the US Military - special op’s no less - is butchered by Wolverine. Last I checked, politics aside, people here liked the military, or at least respected their sacrifice. Way to go there Hollywood. Maybe you could make a movie that says f**k you to sunshine and bunnies too.

Pretty perceptive. Oh, and if that's not enough for you he also has some hi-res images of Angelina Jolie like this one. Definitely a site to have in your bookmarks.

Update 17/10/05- Though the Superficial website continues it seems to be manned by a new cast of writers- none of whom are remotely funny or entertaining. It's most definitely gone downhill and has lost whatever entertainment value it once had.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Calorie Counter

Ever eat out at places like Subway, KFC or McDonalds (and a few others besides)? If so, go and have a quick look here at the Washington Post's calorie counter- simply select what you'd normally eat and a horrendously high figure will appear to tell you how many calories you're consuming.

Pretty scary. My only consolation is that when I grab a 12" meatball Sub I usually eat very little for the rest of the day. Looks like I'm going to have to cut down even on that.

Survival Fiction

I came across this thread at the High Road and decided to check out the work in question- it's a piece of survival fiction called Lights Out and it can be downloaded in pdf form here. I'm just about finished reading the first section (chapters 1-10) and it makes for a pretty good read. It's not the greatest piece of literature I've read but it is something of a page turner- I downloaded it yesterday and I'm something like 62 pages in so far, and I want to read more. Partly it's fascination with what's going to happen but it's also well enough written that it's easy to get into and to stay interested in.

I'd recommend giving it a go.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Real Mecha

Yeah, that's right- a real mecha. A company called Neogentronyx is actually building a working mecha. The details can be found at their website where I recommend you download the video of a guy explaining the concept and a little technical information (about halfway down the front page).

This is pretty cool and has some possible future military applications. Giant robots armed with MGs and RPGs have got to offer some sort of strategic advantage. If the US Army likes their shiny plastic rifles so much, I wonder how they'll feel about this?

Dr Who

As you may know Dr Who has recently been broadcast as a new series with Christopher Ecclestone playing the Doctor. I haven't seen the first episode yet- got it taped- but I have fairly high hopes for the series. The bad news is Ecclestone has just announced that he has quit the show for fears of being typecast- pity he didn't consider that before he took the job. I guess he thinks one series is enough to catapult him to bigger and better things. Shame he didn't show a bit of consideration for the show first.

Anyway, for all you geeks and nerds out there, here's a link to the TARDIS handbook. Pretty nerdy stuff but it's the sort of thing I can't help reading through.


So Sandy Berger has admitted that he "inadvertently" took some classified documents from the National Archive. He also said that it was an honest mistake to remove handwritten notes by shoving them down his trousers.

Perhaps inadvertently should read "deliberately" and honest mistake should be "definitely stole". Can anyone really seriously believe for an instant that a former national security advisor didn't know that he was not permitted to remove these documents? Is that why he "accidentally on purpose" put them in a briefcase and down his trousers?

I find it hard to believe that a year is the maximum sentence for committing this crime- I'd have thought that in an effort to improve security there would be the deterrent of a much stiffer sentence.

I like the way too that the news article ends with a little jab at Bush- of course it's his fault that Berger is going to be charged with breaking the law.