Thursday, September 29, 2005

Flight of Fancy

Captain America kicks some Nazi butt in this picture by Adam Hughes.

BBC Complaint

A few days ago I made a complaint to Ofcom, the organisation responsible for broadcasting standards here in the UK. I did so because I was driving my daughter to playgroup and I turned on BBC Radio 1. Expecting to hear pop music I was instead confronted with a voice saying "I like big boobs. Bring it on" over and over again. And again and again. Luckily my daughter had just left the car when this started- she's three and I really don't think she needs to be exposed to that- but my youngest was still in the vehicle with me. Thankfully at just over one she's a little too young to understand.

Anyway, I made my complaint, feeling that the TV licence funded station (the BBC is paid for by everyone in the UK who owns a TV and who are legally obliged to pay a yearly licence fee) should not be broadcasting such clearly inappropriate material at a time when parents are taking the kids to school. It is, afterall, a pop station.

I got a reply from Ofcom today. Here it is-

Radio 1; The Chris Moyles Show; 26 September; 9.00 am

Thank you for contacting us. We’ve noted your concern about the comments made within the above programme and we regret you felt this material was inappropriate to be broadcast. However, after listening to the programme, we do not believe this breached our broadcast codes.

If I may explain, the context for the conversation was an interview between Chris Moyles and pop star Will Young. Will Young has been open about his homosexuality and regular listeners to the programme, and also those familiar with pop music, would be familiar with this aspect of his life. During the interview, Chris Moyles said he had read a newspaper interview where Robbie Williams had kidded a journalist by saying he was gay and this had received wide coverage in the paper. Chris then joked to Will Young that if he said he was ‘straight’ and loved ‘big boobs’ that this would get newspaper coverage also. It was that Chris Moyles mockingly asked Will Young “You’re gay though, aren’t you Will?” to which the pop star replied in a monotone voice “No. I’m a straighty. I love big boobs. Bring it on.” A clip of this was then repeated during the show.

We feel the intention here was not to be lascivious towards women, but to comically subvert the audience’s awareness of Will Young as a gay man with overtly heterosexual comments.

The responsibility for the production of programmes on radio lies with the individual broadcasters and they must comply with the requirements of our code which sets out standards for matters such as harm and offence. However, radio is a different medium with different audiences and does not operate a similar watershed policy as television. Broadcasters are guided by public reactions and their understanding of the different audience for each station or at different times of the day. Given the great predominance of adults in these audiences, radio operates with more latitude than television, however any transition to adult material should not be at a time when children are likely to be listening, such as during the ‘school run’.

Listeners familiar with Chris Moyle’s style will know what to expect of him in terms of presentation and humour, and audience opinions differ widely over what are and what are not acceptable boundaries of humour. There is no doubt that he is a very popular DJ and has a loyal following amongst the target audience for the station which is those in the 15-24 age range. Certainly there is no indication from our log of telephone calls, often a useful indicator as to whether there may have been an error of judgement, that these comments caused widespread concern.

We appreciate this won’t diminish your distaste, but we don’t feel there are grounds to uphold your complaint in these circumstances. Nevertheless, thank you for taking the trouble to contact us, as it is important for us to be aware of viewers' opinions.

--------- I replied today with this-

Thank you for your response. You may feel that this did not breach your code but I have to disagree- according to your own words-

Given the great predominance of adults in these audiences, radio operates with more latitude than television, however any transition to adult material should not be at a time when children are likely to be listening, such as during the ‘school run’.

“I love big boobs. Bring it on” would seem to me to fall into the category of adult material, particularly given the continual repetition of the statement. I did not hear the interview with Will Young and the context of the statement is immaterial- whether or not this was intended as a comment on Will Young’s sexuality or being lascivious towards women, it is simply NOT appropriate for that time of day- the school run. Do you think that young children listening to a pop station on their way to school should be exposed to the repetition of that statement? Are young children going to be able to differentiate between the two? If Radio 1 can manage to function without this sort of adult material- and I honestly don’t believe you’ll contradict me and say that it is not adult material- throughout the rest of the day, when children are at school and not listening, then I don’t see why Chris Moyles should be permitted to get away with it in the morning.

To quote the Broadcasting Code-

1.3 Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

Meaning of "children":

Children are people under the age of fifteen years.

Meaning of "appropriate scheduling":

Appropriate scheduling should be judged according to:

* the nature of the content;
* the likely number and age range of children in the audience, taking into account school time, weekends and holidays;
* the start time and finish time of the programme;
* the nature of the channel or station and the particular programme; and
* the likely expectations of the audience for a particular channel or station at a particular time and on a particular day.

1.5 Radio broadcasters must have particular regard to times when children are particularly likely to be listening.

Meaning of "when children are particularly likely to be listening":

This phrase particularly refers to the school run and breakfast time, but might include other times.

Radio 1 is probably the nation’s most popular morning show and Moyles’ show made this broadcast on a weekday just before school was to begin meaning that a good number of children beneath the age of fifteen were likely listening to the programme. Is “I like big boobs, bring it on” appropriate for children to hear? If Chris Moyles’ show is intended for a purely adult audience then his programme should be carried with a warning to parents that it is not appropriate for children to hear. I would also suggest that his school run time-slot be reconsidered.

According to the Broadcasting Code this type of material should NOT be permitted and I cannot see how you believe that such material should be broadcast while children might be listening- especially given the specific wording of the Code which makes plain and clear reference to the school run and breakfast time. Context is irrelevant here- the statement was repeated over and over again after the interview was finished.

It’s seems a particularly clear cut issue to me- children must be protected from material unsuitable for them and radio broadcasters must have particular regard for the time of the broadcast. “I like big boobs” is NOT suitable for children. It was broadcast during the school run time. Therefore it broke the code.

I await your response.

-----Frankly I'm not expecting too much. Ofcom is notoriously ineffectual but I will continue to make my voice heard. I'm paying for the show to be broadcast afterall. The Ofcom regulations I've quoted can be found here.

"Punisher" Comic

I just had to post on this- Punisher actor Thomas Jane has teamed up with 30 Days of Night creator Steve Niles to put together a unit to make comic books and independent horror films!

I'm a huge fan of Steve Niles- 30 Days is brilliant- and I like Thomas Jane; he's definitely underused. This man should be making huge Hollywood action movies.

The pair have already created a comic book called Bad Planet which will debut in December. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for that one. Thomas Jane has also put together a little trailer for it at his website.

This looks like a match that will produce some fine work. Can't wait to see what movies they come up with.

Fast Blog

Just a few quick notes now-

A Saudi scholar explains why Islam is incompatible with democracy-

[S]overeignty is reserved for Allah alone, replacing shari’a with democratic elections is considered “an appeal to the devil and destruction of Allah’s rule,” democracy considers all people equal, “knowledgeable and the ignorant and Muslim and “infidel” alike, which is deemed anathema. Further, according to the speech, jihad is the solution, justified in its course because it means to defend Islam, “which the enemies are aiming to remove from the hearts of the Muslims and from their lives.”

Iranians attack the British embassey in Iran over the UK's support for the UN Security Council to get involved in its nuclear program. The riot "coincided with a vote by lawmakers to speed discussion of a bill that would force the government to scale back its cooperation with the U.N. atomic watchdog". So when it looks like they may have to face inspections of their totally peaceful and non-violent nuclear program, the Iranians decide not to comply. Odd coincidence, isn't it?

MIT is working on a program to develop a $100 laptop to enable children from less developed nations have access to more modern learning capablilites. The specs for the machine are impressive-

The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop that will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data. These rugged laptops will be WiFi- and cell phone-enabled, and have USB ports galore. Its current specifications are: 500MHz, 1GB, 1 Megapixel.

The One Laptop per Child program will be made possible through the use of a cheap LCD display and a system trimmed of all bloat. The free Linux software will probably help with that too. Seemslike a great idea- sound en masse to education ministries, the laptops will be handed out like textbooks to pupils. Seems to me that they could also be mass produced for the Western world too- lots of kids here don't have PCs at home to work on.

Yet more evidence that the US needs to tackle the problem of its unsecure borders. The FedEx Bandit, responsible for a string of over 40 armed bank robberies was picked up trying to cross onto the US from Mexico. The Iranian national had originally entered the US on a student visa in 1978. Looks like he was singled out by border guards because he was sweating and looking nervous. In other words, almost pure chance.

Dept of Bad Ideas 2

Looks like the UK doesn't have the monopoly of bad educational ideas- in the wake of the news that a British school was going to allow students to say the F-word in class (and reward those who didn't swear), a Florida school has now decided that too many of its students were being punished for swearing- so they are reducing the punishment for the offence.

Gee, I wonder if lessening the punishment is the way to prevent a type of behaviour- or to encourage it?


Frank Miller's Sin City was a cinematic tour de force. Let's hope that the same can be said of his 300 - the tale of the 300 Spartans who held off King Xerxes' forces at the Battle of Thermopylae.

Zach Snyder, director of Dawn of the Dead, is set to direct- he has also written the screenplay. I thought he did a superb job of DOTD and am hopeful that he will do another good job with 300. I just wish that he'd gotten Frank Miller involved in the process. The comic is a superb work and Sin city proves that faithfully sticking to the source material pays off.

There was some talk of two other Thermopylae films in the making- Michael Mann's adaptation of Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire and a remake of the '62 picture The 300 Spartans- but these seem to have fallen through. Hopefully, 300 will inspire some other studio to jump on the bandwagon and make Gates of Fire. Be good to see the two versions on the big screen.

Molon Labe.

Update- Almost forgot the story which inspired this post in the first place- Gerard Butler (Reign of Fire and Tomb Raider 2) is to star as King Leonidas and they are casting for kids to play him as a child.

IRA "Decommissioning"

Looks like Dr. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, is not taking the government line on the IRA binning their old and useless weapons. He said "the process was a mess, that the IRA made the rules, appointed the referee and was doing as it wanted."

The weird thing about this whole process is that it has been done in secret- no photos or vidoes allowed- and the weapons are never referred to as destroyed- merely "put beyond use". What exactly does that mean? Added to that what few witnesses there have been, have been picked by the IRA themselves.

The feeling in Northern Ireland at the moment can best be summed up by this quote-

Another man said that the guns had only come thanks to "concession after concession" to the republican movement [ed- the Nationalists i.e. those wanting a united Ireland]. What had happened to the investigation into the Northern Bank robbery, he asked. Why had Shankill Road bomber Sean Kelly been released? Why were the Army reducing their presence with so many unanswered questions?

It's a good point- even the Irish government is convinced that the IRA carried out the Northern Bank robbery and as I blogged a few days ago, there's no doubt that Sinn Fein [the political party] and the IRA are one and the same. For years the government has bowed to the Nationalists, blaming every incident on "dissident republicans" and NOT the IRA. This was at the same time that the police were telling us that officers were being moved from their homes because of IRA surveillance and while the IRA's gangster activities continue unabated. The Army have been stood down and security posts dismantled in the wake of the IRA statement (long before this actually happened)- oddly, all of the recent terrorist activity here has been blamed on dissidents not linked to the IRA. Strange then that we're removing our security when the dissidents are still armed? There's surely no link between them is there? The government wouldn't lie to us about something like that would it, simply to keep their "peace process" going and prevent the IRA attacking them again?

The bias at the BBC on this matter is apparent in the articles they've written on this- by tacitly assuming that the IRA have been forthright and honest, and in placing the onus on the DUP to share power with Sinn Fein/IRA-

"it will become clear whether the DUP are just playing hard to get or if they simply cannot bring themselves to share power with Sinn Fein."

They choose to ignore that whether or not the IRA have decommissioned all of their weapons- and only a decent period of time without such weapons being used can tell us that for sure- the simple fact remains that Unionists are being asked to share government with a terrorist group. Martin McGuinness is a self-confessed member of the IRA and one time "brigade commander" of a unit which was actively carrying out bombings and shootings- since then of course he has risen to an overall leadership position, along with Gerry Adams, in the IRA "Army Council". In other words, he may be given another government leadership position despite his being responsible for a considerable number of murders. And the way the Good Friday Agreement works, the devolved government of Northern Ireland cannot be one formed by the party with the most votes- power MUST be shared with the nationalist parties which don't have quite so many votes; which is why a terrorist was briefly the Minister for Education.

And let's not forget that Sinn Fein/IRA has further demands- despite the fact that many convicted of carrying out terrorist atrocities were released early from prison, Gerry Adams wants more killers let loose:

Mr Adams also said that whilst the IRA killers of Garda Jerry McCabe had taken themselves out of any political deal, Sinn Fein still regarded them as prisoners who should qualify for early release.

This is the reason that the majority Unionist population has been less than enthused by the IRA's actions- we've had over a decade of British government pandering to a terrorist organisation; our police force has been gutted and striped of its identity, forces placed here to protect the local population have been removed and are soon to be thrown out of their jobs, an armed terrorist group was permitted to govern us, and scores of convicted terrorists have been set free from prison- long before any weapons were offered up for destruction. Sorry- before they were put beyond use- we don't know exactly what's been done with them, perhaps some trusted chap in the IRA has offered to keep them in a safe place and make sure no one else gets them?

And lets not forget that while British taxpayers are paying millions of pounds for a second Bloody Sunday inquiry (and there will no doubt be a 3rd if they don't get the result they want to hear this time round), there have been no similar inquries set up to investigate the circumstances around IRA atrocities- the unsolved bombings and shootings are supposed to remain just so.

In essence a number of weapons of unknown number and questionable usefulness have been put out of use and we are expected to take the IRA precisely at their word and re-enter talks so that the Sinn Fein leadership can once again enter government, make more demands and then act surprised by any further IRA crimes. By the way, the Sinn Fein MPs are willing to accept full MP pay, offices at Parliament and all the other benefits of the job- but they refuse to take an oath of allegiance- a legal requirement of all other MPs. They have been allowed to do this. Can you imagine a US senator refusing to swear allegiance to the United States and yet still being allowed to serve and accept full pay?

Tony Blair can talk tough all he wants but Northern Ireland is where his true colours are shown- he appeases terrorism in the hope that, if we simply give them enough of what they want, it will go away.

Worth reading

What can I say? Another excellent piece highlighted by BlackFive- this time Captain Scott Southworth is Someone You Should Know.

"Every time I thought of a reason, it quickly turned into an excuse, and I was absolutely ashamed and embarrassed," Southworth said. "I thought, 'Well, I can sacrifice a little bit here and make some adjustments, or I can spend the rest of my life ashamed and embarrassed.' "

An amazing act of compassion. Another example of the outstanding calibre of the American soldier.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

9/11 Discovery

This is a pretty sad tale- construction workers in New York have found what appear to be bone fragments from the victims of 9/11. They were discovered on the Deutsche Bank building which was hit by falling debris when the Twin Towers collapsed- the building has been vacant ever since. It was only in February of this year that the effort to identify the victims from remains was halted.

The statistics are pretty awful- of 2,749 victims only 292 full bodies were ever recovered. Perhaps some of these newly found remains can be ID'd by DNA testing. It must be terrible for the families of those whose remains have never been identified at all- I can't begin to imagine what that must be like, but it seems to me that it would be as if their loved ones had just vanished from the face of the Earth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Flight of Fancy

The cover of Catwoman issue 50 by Adam Hughes, featuring Zatanna.

New Zombie Film

Cheer up zombie fans, there's another one on the way, this time directed by Roberto Rodriguez. Seems like he and Tarantino are joining forces to make a pair of movies which are intended to be screened together. Tarantino is making a slasher flick with a difference- his killer's weapon is a car. Odd. Rodriguez is making the zombie flick called "Planet Terror". No more details than that I'm afraid.

One nice touch is that the pair are also putting together trailers for imaginary films to be screened between the main features. Says Tarantino, "I'm working out my blaxploitation trailer, and possibly a kung-fu trailer, a sexploitation trailer, a spaghetti-western trailer."

This looks like it might be a fun experience.

IRA Weapons

The IRA has put its weapons "beyond use". Whether this is the totality of its arsenal or not cannot be verified- no one knows exactly what they have/had. According to this report this is what the IRA is thought to have held in its armoury-

1,000 rifles
2 tonnes of Semtex
20-30 heavy machine guns
7 Surface-to-air missiles (unused)
7 flame throwers
1,200 detonators
11 rocket-propelled grenade launchers
90 hand guns
100+ grenades

The rifles seem to have mainly been AKs, a few Armalites (known locally as "widow makers") and a couple of Barrett .50 BMG rifles. Among the handguns were apparently 60 Webleys. That makes for 30 more modern semi-automatics/revolvers. A pretty tiny number if you ask me. That's 30 guns spread throughout the Province in use for intimidation, punishment shootings or robberies, including whatever amount is held as a cache. I don't think so. Not when individual members are known to have carried guns. And not a single shotgun mentioned either.

The worry of the IRA re-arming is ridiculed- "it would take years!" No mention is made of the ease with with which gansters in places like Dublin or Manchester get their hands on guns.

The list is filled with heavy weapons- weapons which the IRA has little need for in a terrorist campaign. Flame throwers? Also, no mention of the ease with which bombmakers can create their own explosives- and the IRA has plenty of skill in that area. When I was at Queen's University, Belfast the word was that they recruited from the Physics and Chemistry students there.
As General de Chastelain (overseeing the decommissioning) says-

"it would take "a hell of a long time" to do so [re-arm] on the scale he had observed and he saw no reason for the organisation to do that. If any group wanted to carry out a terrorist attack, it would do what he saw happening in Iraq and "go to the agricultural store to buy fertiliser and to the corner shop to buy sugar". However, he had no way of knowing "for certain" that the IRA had not retained some arms. But he believed it had been "sincere" about the process"

Comforting, isn't it? But at least the gang of murderers were "sincere" about giving up their outdated and un-needed weapons.

Here we have a case of the IRA feeling isolated after the 7/7 bomb attacks in London- an organistation that was actively recruiting and training new members at the start of this year- and by the political victory of the Ulster Unionist Party led by Ian Paisley who has refused to bargain with an armed terrorist group. To end the impasse weapons, including Webleys and Brens dating from WW2, are offered up for destruction.

I wonder how long it will be before the next armed robbery or kneecapping occurs and the blame is placed, once more, on "dissidents"?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Dept. Of Bad Ideas

The US military is to release 1,000 detainees from Abu Ghraib as a "goodwill gesture" during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

It's okay though because when they are released they will make clear to the detainees-

"the importance of being a good Iraqi citizen and treating each other with respect and kindness, especially during Ramadan."

What could possibly go wrong?

Middle Eastern Comics

Looks like that uniquely American export, the comic, is proving to be popular in the Middle East. So much so that there's now an Egyptian publisher- AK Comics. Founded to provide a cheaper option to the American imports (did you know that there's also an Indian Spiderman?), AK Comic's quartet of supeheroes are proving to be so popular that there's even an animated series on the way (you might need to view it with IE).

Though religion and politics are forbidden topics, there are some thinly veiled references. The characters inhabit a Middle East kept peaceful by the United Arab Forces after the 55-year War and one of the enemies they face is the Zios Army.

Funnily enough the quartet of heroes becomes a duo in the more conservative countries like Saudia Arabia, where Jalila and Aya are a tad too provocative. Comics nerds the world over, it seems, like their big bosomed women clad in skintight clothing.

Assorted News

Got a few things I'd like to highlight today.

The first is an analysis of the Flight 93 memorial by blogger Alec Rawles of Error Theory. It's very detailed and while I could cite the spectre of the 23 enigma (i.e. the more you look for something the more you will find it- trust me, you'll see the number 23
everywhere) there seems to be much more than mere coincidence going on here. Most disturbing for me is the inclusion of 44 glass bricks- symbolising those who died. 40 passengers and 4 terrorists.

Next are a couple more examples of Islamic intolerance- why this isn't more of an issue for women's rights groups is beyond me; perhaps they're too busy focusing on what Democrats call "women's rights" i.e. abortion to notice the real thing. First of all Muslims
horse-whip Christian women students for dressing improperly at a university in Nigeria.

Second, a Pakistani woman seeking a divorce had her nose and lips hacked off by her brother in law for "offending a man's honour". According to the report, this is far from an isolated incident. Again, where are the women's rights activists on this?

There is some justice in the world. The abhorrent scumbag ultimately responsible for the murder of eight months pregnant Tali Hatuel and her four daughters (aged 11, 9, 7 and 2) has been killed in an airstrike by the Israelis. If ever a tactic needed proof of its effectiveness this is it.

Looks like the USMC might be moving into space- with the development of a rapid deployment from space "Hot Eagle". The vehicle will enable a squad of Marines to be put anywhere in Earth within a matter of hours. Can armoured suits be far behind? Starship Troopers (the book) here we come!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Broadband Woes

Blogging has been particularly light since I got my broadband installed. I had a period of two or three days where I just could not get my new connection to work. It turned out that the modem didn't like my old USB 1 ports but a Belkin USB 2.0 card sorted that out. Since then I've had a few niggling problems- with webpages that just won't load. There are one or two that I just can't access at all- and a few that come and go. One day I'll be able to get the page up, the next I won't. None are particularly important but today BlackFive won't work for me. And I'm beginning to think that my connection should be a little quicker than it actually is. Maybe.

It's pretty frustrating (actually it's infuriating). I did all the usual things- uninstall and reinstall the modem, clear cookies, cache, temporary files. Nothing helps. And by the way, if you're looking to clear up your PC check out a program called CleanUp! Just be careful what check boxes are ticked because this program does a good job. Despite clearing the cache of Firefox and IE, and then downloading a history eraser program, CleanUp was able to delete nearly 700Mb of files from my PC- the majority of them from IE. That blasted program puts temporary files and cookies all over the place!

I've also spent a good deal of time checking my system out for viruses and spyware, thinking that might be part of the problem. Spybot and Ad-Aware don't get everything- check out Panda's free online spyware checker too. It took a long time on my machine which was a bit of a pain- I had to clear a few things up and then re-run it to make sure everything was still copacetic. Even though my system is free of infection I'm still having this problem with pages that won't load. The weird thing is that I can still access them via my dial up modem- so it looks like it's not a problem with my software. Right? My ISP has not been particularly helpful but they did assure me that the pages aren't blocked in any way- and a friend with the same ISP can access them without any bother.

All in all it's consumed an aeful lot of time to check my PC out and I'm still no closer to discovering the solution. I'm left thinking that it's the broadband modem- it seems to be the only link in the chain that I haven't touched yet. It's a USB modem and while that's something I'm not that keen on, it was free when I signed up with my ISP. I think I'll have to scrounge up an internal modem and check out the connection with that.

Hopefully I'll be able to stumble across some sort of solution and get back to normal shortly. My problem is that I can't let go of a problem until it's fixed. If you've any ideas of other solutions I haven't tried yet, please do leave a comment.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Random Thoughts

I was in a second hand bookshop today and I picked up a copy of Travels in Dreamland by Phil Patton- a secret history of Area 51. It made me think- all the films and TV shows about government conspiracies and cover-ups (most notably The X-Files) all took place under Clinton's watch. Now that Bush is in the White House you don't have quite so many plot lines revolving around the Big Bad Government. Strange considering the way Hollywood feels about Dubya. Bill Clinton had Fox Mulder questing to unravel a dark government conspiracy, while George Bush now has Jack Bauer kicking ass and keeping America safe. Isn't that a little funny?

Last night while I was flicking through the TV channels while the ads were on during House, I stumbled across a truly horrific scene. It was a TV show about TV shows- and it was showing excerpts from true life police shows- those programmes put together from dash mounted police car cameras. A female police officer had pulled a guy over to the side of the road. While she was questioning him he punched her to the ground, straddled her and continued to beat her all the while watched by his ten year old daughter. At one point she cried out "Daddy" obviously appalled by what he was doing. I can't get it out of my head- he beat the cop and then got back into his car and drove off. The female cop needed reconstructive surgery to her face- titanium plates in her cheek and jaw I believe. It has to be one of the most shocking things I've ever scene- watching the criminal pummel a woman cop senseless was bad enough but to have him do it while his daughter looked on was just sickening. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the assault.

Update: Just checking out my site meter and one of the "next blog" sites which visited me is The Book of Shadow, which has some bad taste but funny scans from "The Book of Bunny Suicides".

Thursday, September 22, 2005

We don't need no steenking Gameboy

Gameboy? Pah! Who needs it, when you can have the 3 feet tall and 100lbs GameMan!

I've got to admit it- I want one.

Just in case there was any doubt...

Tony Blair likes to talk tough about international terrorism, but closer to home things are a little different-

Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness continue to maintain that they are not on the IRA Army Council and have no knowledge of the IRA’s activities. But it is clear that, according to the Irish Justice Minister, the orders for the Northern Bank robbery came from the top, the IRA Army Council, whose two most important leaders are Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness. It is also inconceivable that the same information and intelligence was not available to Mr Powell and Mr Blair as they offered tea and biscuits to Gerry and Martin across the polished tables in Downing Street.

Tech Support

I found this over at the Frank Cho Message Board and it made me laugh-

Subject: Computer Hard and Software:
Dear Tech Support:
Last year I upgraded from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0. I soon noticed that the new program began unexpected child processing that took up a lot of space and valuable resources. In addition, Wife 1.0 installed itself into all other programs and now monitors all other system>activity. Applications such as Poker Night 10.3, Football 5.0, Hunting and Fishing 7.5, and Racing 3.6 no longer run, crashing the system whenever selected.

I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my favorite applications. I'm thinking about going back to Girlfriend 7.0, but the uninstall doesn't work on Wife 1.0. Please help!
A Troubled User. (KEEP READING)

Dear Troubled User:

This is a very common problem that men complain about.
Many people upgrade from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0, thinking that it is just a Utilities and Entertainment program. Wife 1.0 is an OPERATING SYSTEM and is designed by its Creator to run EVERYTHING!!! It is also impossible to delete Wife 1.0 and to return to Girlfriend 7.0. It is impossible to uninstall, or purge the program files from the system once installed.
You cannot go back to Girlfriend 7.0 because Wife 1.0 is designed to not allow this. Look in your Wife 1.0 manual under Warnings-Alimony-Child Support. I recommend that you keep Wife1.0 and work on improving the situation. I suggest installing the background application "Yes Dear" to alleviate software augmentation.
The best course of action is to enter the command C:\APOLOGIZE because ultimately you will have to give the APOLOGIZE command before the system will return to normal anyway.
Wife 1.0 is a great program, but it tends to be very high maintenance. Wife 1.0 comes with several support programs, such as Clean and Sweep 3.0, Cook It 1.5 and Do Bills 4.2. However, be very careful how you use these programs. Improper use will cause the system to launch the program Nag, Nag 9.5. Once this happens, the only way to improve the performance of Wife 1.0 is to purchase additional software. I recommend Flowers 2.1 and Diamonds 5.0! WARNING!!! DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Secretary With Short Skirt 3.3. This application is not supported by Wife 1.0 and will cause irreversible damage to the operating system.

Best of luck,
Tech Support

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

T. Rex Take Down

David at War on Guns has some great food for thought- what would you use to hunt a T. Rex with? Fairly good timing on the topic considering the Ray Bradbury based movie Sound of Thunder is due out soon. David includes some links to articles discussing the issue. I've already left a comment- a double rifle in .600 Nitro Express (or .585 Nyati) with A-Square Monolithic solids.

That's assuming I can handle the recoil on such a beast- there's no point in hunting with a gun that you can't shoot. Outside of the big bore "African" rifles I'd say that I'd most like to be packing a Marlin 45-70 loaded up with Garrett cartridges. With a squad of Marines packing FN Mags at my back.

Please do head on over there and leave your own ideas.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bond Movie News

"We're trying to reinvent Bond. He's 28 - no Q, no gadgets."

So says the writer of the next installment of the Bond franchise based on the Casino Royale book. Of course, he's not actually reinventing anything at all because in the book Bond was younger and Q did not appear. So it's less of a reinvention and more of an accurate translation to screen.

Quite apart from this chap's very silly self-importance, I am worried to hear that the next Bond movie is being written by the man responsible for Crash (racism in LA) and Million Dollar Baby (a woman boxing). I admit that I haven't seen either of these films but I would have thought that an important franchise like Bond, which is not doing so well, would take the trouble to invest in a screenwriter who actually wrote action or thrillers. With his track record I'm stunned that he has been picked.

If I were in charge (and quite frankly, anyone picked at random off the street would probably make better choices than the studio) I'd assemble the team responsible for the Bourne movies and then give Tarantino a call. Let Tarantino write up a rough draft of the script and then have the Bourne team go to work. Most likely they'd have to cut a lot of dialogue and change some scenes lifted from Hong Kong movies, but it'd have a much better chance at success than a story from a guy with no background in the genre- a man involved in such action-packed projects as LA Law and Thirtysomething has no place on a Bond movie.

What is the studio trying to do? Are they deliberately trying to sabotage the series?

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'm back!

Looks like it's time to get back to blogging again- my back's feeling slightly better and after a lot of hassle (with my crappy old computer) I've now got broadband installed. It's made a big difference in getting caught up- now all I need is something that enables me to read 40 times faster...

Anyway, here's a quick round up of today's stories-

An example of a great teacher- in bear country, and packing pepper spray instead of a .500 Smith and Wesson Magnum, a teacher explains her grizzly bear drill: the kids walk in formation from the playground into the school, while the teacher puts herself between the kids and the bear. An awful lot of teachers should be taking a leaf from this woman's book.

A judge in the UK issued an arrest warrant for a former member of the Israeli military for "war crimes" and preparations were made to arrest him at Heathrow airport. How long before some kook decides to begin arresting and prosecuting Allied citzens for serving in the War on Terror?

The world's smallest fossil footprint has been found in Scotland, showing the track of a very young dinosaur with an adult.

Speaking of the world's smallest, how about the world's smallest robot? It's so tiny that 200 of them could line up on an M&M. It's the same size as the width of a human hair.

This microrobot and similar versions that could be developed might eventually ensure information security, inspect and make repairs to integrated circuits, explore hazardous environments, or even manipulate human cells or tissues.

The days of working medical nanotech move closer and closer. When that happens it will transform the world.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Quick Post

Just a quickie today.

First off, I blogged about a study recently (carried out by pro-abortionists) which argued that foetuses couldn't feel pain until very late in pregnancy- later than most medical experts agree on. Well, with advances in imaging researchers have found evidence that unborn children can cry from as early as 28 weeks.

"The findings have developmental implications, according to Mitchell and his colleagues. To “cry,” they note, the fetus would need not only the movement capability, but also the necessary sensory and brain development to process the offending sound and recognize it as something negative."

Next up, a fatwa has been issued against India's top female tennis player for wearing short skirts and revealing tops in games.

"The dress she wears on the tennis courts…leaves nothing to the imagination," Haseeb-ul-hasan Siddiqui told The Hindustan Times. "She will undoubtedly be a corrupting influence."

Strange how Muslim men can be corrupted by the sight of a woman in a skirt- nice they way they absolve themselves of any personal responsibility.

Finally, Israel has been asked not to send aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina until later and no mention has been made of its offers of assistance. Dhimmitude at the State Department. Disgusting. Any other countries been asked not to help?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Women in Islam

“Individuals whose state of attire and make-up is against religious laws in public will be prosecuted without having to first wait in a queue and will be sentenced to flogging and fines”

Replace "individuals" with "women". What about dress codes for men in Islam? Why do they get a free pass?

The joys of Sharia- a woman wants a divorce from her husband, who has abandoned her and her child to go to another country and marry another woman. Working with an imam the woman bargained her husband's initial request for $10,000 and her jewellery down to $5,000, which she had to borrow. She was also forced to give up all child-support payments and alimony, and agree to not to take legal action against him in the future.

Why on earth would any woman want anything at all to do with a "religion" which treats them so abominably?

Bruce Campbell

J. Scott Campbell's rendition of Evil Dead actor Bruce Campbell. Rumour has it- and this is purely rumour, possible just wishful thinking- that Bruce is to star as himself in an upcoming movie. The plot is that there's a zombie outbreak and people come to Bruce for help, confusing him with the Ash character he's famous for, even giving him a chainsaw and "boom stick". The trouble is, Bruce is not at all like Ash. It sounds like a great idea to me- definitely lots of comic potential. And even if ther humour fall flat, it's a zombie film. What's not to like?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Armour Burning Shell

Just a quick post today-

The US Navy Warfare Centre is developing a new type of armour piercing shell which will literally be able to burn through armour. Through the use of reactive chemicals, the shell will avoid using the potentially dangerous depleted uranium in its construction. The full patent application can be found here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Okay, just a quick one before I go and take my next dose of painkillers and wait for Diagnosis Murder to start.

At the same time that the PA is accepting $50 million from the US, they are also advocating terrorist attacks on US troops in Iraq. When is this farce going to end? Time to cut off the funding altogether. See how the PA gets on for a few weeks without US support.

Where's the ACLU on this? (I seem to be asking that with increasing frequency these days.) While the slightest hint of Christianity seems to result in a flurry of law suits, it seems to be perfectly fine to allow Muslim prayer in US schools now. Wasn't there a story a while back about Christian kids being preventing from praying while they were in the playground?

Terrorists have taken the Iraqi town of Qaim and turned it into a fascist nightmare. Let's hope the US forces have learned the lesson from Fallujah and button the place up tight before they go in and retake it- they can't allow the terrorists to disperse again.

A film by Spielberg about the Munich massacre will be "sensitive to all sides". Strong language is required to express my feelings on this. What's the world coming to? We're taking about the brutal mass murder of unarmed athletes at the Olympics- why the f**k should he be "sensitive" to the murderers who committed this atrocity?

Chrenkoff sums up NO- "Increasingly, though, it looks like Louisiana in general and New Orleans in specific were a disaster waiting to happen, not just in a sense that a medium-sized city situated below water level in a hurricane-prone region is a disaster waiting to happen, but that the whole political, social and economic culture of the state was one big dysfunctionality, only held in equilibrium by the absence of a genuine crisis."

There's also a heck of a lot of Good News From Afghanistan. Better get a big cup of coffee ready before sitting down to read that.

Stop the ACLU highlights the work the ACLU is busy with- preventing the passage of a law which would would have imposed a maximum sentence of 20 years for sexual offenders who molest children three times or more. And no, they aren't doing it because they think it should be a 20 year minimum sentence instead.

FrauBudgie of the excellent Red Hot Cuppa Politics has bravely posted over at Daily Kos, her question- what can liberals and conservatives agree on? It's a very reasonable question and you would expect that it would be greeted with a plethora of suggestions. Perhaps it would be anywhere else apart from Kos but there you will find answers like these-

"Because anyone trying to make excuses for the GOP on...

  1. 9-11 and the Bush administration asleep at the wheel;

  2. The Iraq War, with thousands of casualties, a looted treasury, and international shame/criminality; and now

  3. The abandonment of federal responsibility for a natural disaster which is worse than 9-11 not someone who I care to engage. As of now, it seems as if the conservative GOP is, indeed, continuing to excuse the near biblical atrocity which is the GOP one-party state. We're back at the cusp of the Civil War, in which some citizens absolutely refused to support the outlaw of slavery. I don't want to argue with people like this. I want them to wake up and show some decency, for God's sakes."

So, instead of finding middle ground and trying to work from there the tactic seems to be to insult and demand that conservatives "wake up", which I presume means "agree with everything liberals say". To her credit, FrauBudgie is nothing less than perfectly courteous.


I've never been much of a Superman fan- he was too clean cut for my taste, too powerful- but I do have quite a liking for this picture. When I first glanced at it I thought he was sitting in the snow, not clouds. There's something serene about this composition that gets me. Hope you enjoy.

Message to Readers

Light blogging for the next few days. Long time readers will know that I injured my back some years ago (hence my medical discharge from the Royal Marines). It's given me a lot of trouble ever since but it seems that I've now developed arthritis in my back too. It's been particularly painful the past week and I'm having to lie down a lot, moaning gently and hoping that my family will take pity on me and bring me cups of coffee and chocolate biscuits.

Seems to be working so far.

Anyway, I'll be posting what I can for the next couple of days and hopefully after that things will be back to normal.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Buses to be used

For some good blogging on the New Orleans fiasco head on over to Americans for Freedom and check out the posts there.

First up is a list of reasons why Bush is not to blame but there are some great follow ups on the bus-mess. About a week too late, Governor Blanco has authorised the use of buses to evacuate people from NO.

Talk about incompetence.

Dinosaur Appearance

Maybe I'm being too harsh because I don't want the image of dinosaurs to be slighted in such a manner, but it seems to me that overturning the accepted notion of dinosaur appearance based on a few fossil finds in China is unwarranted.

A paleontologist from Dublin, Gareth Dyke, holds that the description of all dinosaurs is false based on the evidence from China of a few fossils which display evidence of being feathered.

Of course, this ignores completely the evidence which we already have of actual fossilised skin. Which incidentally includes some of the T. Rex which Dyke would have us believe is feathered.

Odd for a scientist to ignore previously discovered evidence in preference of his own discoveries? It seems to me that the current fad for the dinosaur/bird link is over-riding his objectivity.

And Pigs Might Fly...

Scrappleface hits the nail on the head-

"When Sandra Day O'Connor retired, we insisted Bush appoint a centrist to replace her and maintain the balance on the court," said one unnamed Senator. "Now, we demand that the president name a right-wing, conservative, originalist to replace Rehnquist for that same reason."


Now, who thinks the Democrats will act in a logical and fair manner and make this call?

MS vs LA

Chrenkoff has posted an article by one of his readers on the differing results of leadership in Mississippi and Louisiana with regards to Hurricane Katrina. It's well worth the read. This seems to sum it up pretty well-

Mississippi got hammered much worse than Louisiana but is barely in the news because the leadership has been much more competent. Ms. Blanco is clearly way out of her league in this situation.

Aid for US

BlackFive has a list of those countries helping the United States in its hour of need. The UK is delivering half a million ration packs (hint- the chocolate pudding is particularly delicious but you might want to steer clear of the fruit dumplings; they are not nice) while Afghanistan is donating $100,000. Who could have imagined a few short years ago that Afghanistan would be helping out when a crisis hit America?

Given that Afghanistan is still very much a fledgling country who would even have expected them to give aid right now?

At least there's some good news.

New Orleans Chaos

The New Orleans situation is best described, I think, as a gigantic f**k up. A natural disaster compounded by a man-made one. The blame seems to lie with local government for not being prepared enough (and reading Michelle Malkin on this, the local government was corrupt and inept) but more importantly, with the criminals who are making the rescue operations immensely more difficult that they need to be. This is pretty much evidence, if any were needed, that civilisation is just a thin veneer for some people- beneath it lies horrific savagery. Clayton Cramer has details of some of the appalling crimes being committed there and he makes the very valid point -

I can't believe that the savages committing these crimes don't have long criminal histories. Unfortunately, New Orleans suffers from the problem of most big cities--an unwillingness to recognize that violent criminals need to go to prison and stay there.

Criminality of this type in the aftermath of such a dreadful disaster is absolutely unforgiveable. It's Lord of the Flies and Mad Max made real- examples of the very worst human behaviour. In light of this you might want to take Kim du Toit's advice and prepare your own "Grab and Go" bags. I have a small supply of tinned food and some first aid set aside for an emergency- sadly here in the UK we are unable to set aside weapons for our defence should some disaster befall us and society disintegrate. Remember, it only takes the space of a day for law and order to be replaced by anarchy. If you live in the United States my advice to you is to go out right now and purchase some emergency supplies and at least one firearm- and then learn how to use it. There are any number of disaster scenarios which could strike anywhere in the country and lead to the sort of break-down we're witnessing in New Orleans. Be prepared.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

M2019 Chief's Special

Just because I mentioned it yesterday here's an image of Deckard's blaster from Blade Runner. Though it goes by different names (the SSG being one due to the use of a Steyr receiver as the basis of the gun) here it's the M2019 Chief's Special by a Japanese company called Hartford. Sadly, they do not ship outside of Japan but they do have some good images of the weapon.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Saturday's Topics

Wow. A Democrat sinks to new low depths- refusing to help a woman and child broken down at the side of the road because of a "W" bumper sticker. Rhetoric is one thing but acting out on Bush Derangement Syndrome is simply inexcusable.

Dennis Hastert is coming under fire for suggesting that building a city beneath sea level in a hurricane zone might not be the best idea. Tim Worstall has other thoughts on the problem- namely that the Federal government insuring against floods (as opposed to private insurance) encourages people to live in danger areas. Now may not be the best time to be discussing rebuilding the city (or not as the case may be) but it strikes me as just a little odd that people choose to live in areas like this, LA being the prime example. Who wants to live on a fault line?

Fjordman highlights the story of Miss England's first Muslim competitor- as demands are made by Muslims that she withdraw from the contest-

"There is no way a Muslim girl should be taking part in this competition because it is unlawful. The ladies in that contest are always very scantily dressed and the only part of the body that should be on display are the face the hands and the feet. I would like this girl to withdraw from the contest immediately. "

How open-minded of him.

Finally, a bit of movie news- the first review of The Sound of Thunder I've seen- and it's not good. Not at all.

That sound you hear while watching "A Sound of Thunder" is actually audience members thundering toward the exits in an effort to get away from this ghastly film.

It doesn't seem promising. Having said that, I'm a fan of horror and sci-fi films so bad effects, acting and scripts are something I'm well used to. I'm actually kind of looking forward to seeing this anyway- dinosaurs in Chicago? What's not to like about that?

Sci-Fi Weapons

Been having a bit of a creature feature craving lately so this weekend I sat down and watched Them! and Aliens. I've got to say that I prefer Them! A much superior film. Just imagine what it could have been like with today's top line special effects! Anyway, while watching Aliens I got to thinking about the hardware the Colonial Marines carry. The Smart Gun and Pulse rifle tend to stand out in the movie. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that a lot of people could name a Pulse Rifle before some of the characters' names.

The thing about the Smart Gun which made it smart- and which wasn't really explained in the movie- is that it operates like the remote sentry guns: a scanner mounted on the gun detects movement and moves the gun automatically towards the target, hence the articulated arm on which the gun is mounted. The gunner helps to steer the weapon but seems to be essentially little more than a mobile platform.

From The Colonial Marines Technical Manual-
"There's no need to fight the gun; just be firm and it'll point where you want it"

It's a neat idea but I'm not fond of the concept at all because I like sci-fi details like this to be rooted in practicality. Giant ants and aliens I can accept but an MG attached to the shooter meaning that they can't get prone? Nah, I don't buy it. Rumour has it that James Cameron originally developed the gun to be used in Rambo III.

The Pulse Rifle- the M41A- is another kettle of fish altogether. It's probably the most famous sci-fi weapon (with Robocop's modified Beretta 93R next?) and that's down to it's looks and sound. Pulse Rifles sound cool. The rifle was made up from a Thompson with the grenade launcher section coming from a Remington 870 and the cowling from a SPAS 12. My only problem with the M41A was the notion that the magazines, which we see in the film at several points to be very slim, hold 100 rounds of 10mm ammo- not likely. I'd have preferred it if the effects people had made up a thicker magazine to fill up the chunky magazine housing, but that's just because I'm a real geek with too much time on my hands to think about this sort of stuff. Anyway, at risk of sounding like a sixteen year old nerd, Pulse Rifles are cool.

BTW, my own personal favourite sci-fi weapon has got to be Deckard's blaster from Blade Runner, which was made up using the action from a Steyr SSG bolt action rifle. Any other ideas?

Minutemen save the day

As the disaster in New Orleans and area continues to worsen (the papers here are claiming up to 10,000 dead now) about 100 US Border Patrol Agents have been reassigned from their duties protected the US border to provide assistance. The Minutemen are stepping into the breech and deploying their own patrols early to protect the border and prevent a sudden influx of illegal immigrants.

The idea of the citizen taking charge is exemplified nowhere else in the world better than the United States. First we had reports of armed citizens protecting their own homes and those of their neighbours from looters and other assorted villains. Now we have citizens stepping in to fill the void left by law enforcement agents who are needed elsewhere- doing their bit to provide for the security of their country. This is the same spirit, I believe, that flowed through the veins of the "greatest generation". That spirit is not gone- it lives on and can be seen in the actions of the men and women who are putting the needs of their community or country first.

I salute them.

BTW, I haven't had time to blog about the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina- to be honest I'm having a hard time comprehending the destruction. The press here seems to be in a blame frenzy (yeah, it's Bush's fault) rather than focusing on the horrible events and trying to help. I don't seem to recall any blame games when the tsunami hit. Shame on them.

Rest assured, the thoughts of many Europeans are with our American cousins in their hour of need.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gitmo Release

Guantanamo Bay. Enemy combatants. Demands for trials, human rights, blah blah blah.

Want to know what happens when these scumbags are freed?

Two jihadis are released to Russia. One of them writes articles about human rights abuses at Gitmo and is about to attend a Gitmo reunion in London, accompanied by his cohort.

Sadly, they won't be attending this year because they've both been arrested on suspicion of plotting a series of terrorist attacks.

Of seven men returned from Gitmo to Russia only two are not in custody.