Monthly Archives: June 2008

“The Dark Knight Animated–DeNiro as Joker, Pacino as Batman” (Video)

One of our commenters to the Keith Ledger Joker trailer (R.A. Grimes) linked us to his video animation on Youtube. Great animation and, of course, DeNiro and Pacino hold their own with the dialogue.

Here’s the embed. Enjoy…

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Let’s lighten up with Keith Ledger’s Joker–My Favorite Trailer

Here it is…back by unpopular demand. My fave…the Ledger trailer to the next Batman.

I confess that Batman was my favorite comic-book growing up. But Ledger has taken my endorsement to a new level…pure genius!


Filed under Entertainment, General News

“Son Of Predator Goes To Iraq” (Sky Warrior MQ-1C UAVs)

This is in part a follow-up on our post last week about SecDef Gates and the Air Force (HERE)

Son Of Predator Goes To Iraq

Strategy Page

June 16, 2008: For the last three months, two pre-production models of the U.S. Army’s new Sky Warrior MQ-1C UAVs have been in Iraq for testing. The first flight, lasting 10.5 hours, was on April 18th. The two MQ-1Cs are slightly larger Predators, and are being used for missions formerly performed by Shadow 200, and other large army UAVs. The big difference is that Sky Warrior can carry weapons (like Hellfire missiles.)

The MQ-1C Sky Warrior weighs 1.5 tons, carries 300 pounds of sensors internally, and up to 500 pounds of sensors or weapons externally. It has an endurance of up to 36 hours and a top speed of 270 kilometers an hour. Sky Warrior has a wingspan 56 feet and is 28 feet long. The Sky Warrior can land and take off automatically, and carry four Hellfire missiles (compared to two on the Predator). The original MQ-1 Predator is a one ton aircraft that is 27 feet long with a wingspan of 49 feet. It has two hard points, which usually carry one (107 pound) Hellfire each. Each hard point can also carry a Stinger air-to-air missile. Max speed of the Predator is 215 kilometers an hour, max cruising speed is 160 kilometers an hour. Max altitude is 25,000 feet. Typical sorties are 12-20 hours each.

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Tabata Anything – Four Minutes of Pain to Gain (Crossfit Intensity Exercise)

Those of you who are familiar with Crossfit will agree with me that it is the best exercise program in the world to date. Because it is scalable, it works well for elite athletes as well as regular people who want to improve their physical conditioning (beginners should start slowly and carefully, however).

To the best of my knowledge, Crossfit is based, in part, on Dr. Izumi Tabata’s shocking findings of how short intense exercise mixed with short rest intervals produces huge improvements in anaerobic capacity and VO2Max. Here is a good article on how the Tabata method works.

Tabata Anything – Four Minutes of Pain to Gain
By John Harker

The Tabata workout is a high-intensity training regimen that produces remarkable results. A Tabata workout is an interval training cycle of 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated without pause 8 times for a total of four minutes. In a group context, you can keep score by counting how many lifts/jumps/whatever you do in each of the 20 second rounds. The round with the smallest number is your score.

Credit for this simple and powerful training method belongs to its namesake, Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. Their groundbreaking 1996 study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, provided documented evidence concerning the dramatic physiological benefits of high-intensity intermittent training. After just 6 weeks of testing, Dr. Tabata noted a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity in his subjects, along with a 14% increase in their ability to consume oxygen (V02Max). These results were witnessed in already physically fit athletes. The conclusion was that just four minutes of Tabata interval training could do more to boost aerobic and anaerobic capacity than an hour of endurance exercise.

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UFO reported by police officers to UK Ministry of Defence (drawing included)

I don’t usually post items like this but, with all the excitement caused by the FOIA release of docs by the Ministry of Defence, I thought it might be fun. BTW, I have never seen a UFO and have not formed an opinion as to what such phenomena might be.

This report was included in the information released by the Ministry of Defence under the Freedom of Information Act (UK). Tip o’ the hat to Nick Pope who discovered this report in DEF 31/173 (we sifted through the pdf and found this info starting at page 240).

The reason this report is so interesting is because not only was the sighting witnessed (in April, 1984) by a local resident and her neighbor, but by the local police (when they arrived to take her report, the object was still visible). The police viewed the object with binoculars and then made a drawing of what they saw (pic of drawing is below).

So…we have the civilian report, the police report, an actual drawing made by the police (included below), and a transmittal letter by New Scotland Yard to the Ministry of Defence.

I present the evidence below. Have fun! BTW, a “Section 40” is where a name has been withheld to protect the person’s privacy.

Here’s the New Scotland Yard notice to MOD…

Here’s the report filed by the officers that saw the object…

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Here’s the officer’s sketch of the object…

Here’s the report to the Chief Superintendent by the local resident who called the police…

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UPDATE: Here’s a LINK to another interesting article on this subject…

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The Church of Oprah!

There was a time when I thought Oprah was a positive influence. She had pulled herself up by her bootstraps and encouraged others to do the same. However, lately, she appears to have gone over the edge of the cliff.

Check this out…


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“Orwell Does the Hamptons” (Jeffrey Lord)

We have posted excerpts of and links to Jeffrey Lord’s articles in The Spectator on several occasions and confess to being great fans of his work. This article demonstrates how our freedom can evaporate in the blink of an eye (even in the Hamptons)…

“Orwell Does the Hamptons”

By Jeffrey Lord
The Spectator

The Hamptons.

Yes, those Hamptons. The bucolic, upscale precincts of Eastern Long Island that provide so much fodder for the tabloids, particularly in the golden days of summer. The place where at any given moment the media’s A-list of rich and powerful celebs can be found shopping, sipping, and supping. The home of Steven Spielberg’s manse with the dinosaur weather vane, a sly reference to his hit film Jurassic Park. The space shared at any given moment by such as Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld or Mr. and Mrs. Billy Joel or Ms. Martha Stewart or that well-known Amagansett resident Sir Paul McCartney. If you have a hankering for celebrities, charity, and softball, this is the place to be for the every-August Writers and Artists softball game that features Alec Baldwin in the outfield with Carl Bernstein at the plate and Rudy Giuliani calling the balls and strikes.

Yet there’s something disturbing going on in the Hamptons lately, cautionary tales not of celebrity but freedoms lost and privacy invaded.

As it happens, I’ve spent a lot of time in the Hamptons and elsewhere on Eastern Long Island purely out of the accident of birth to two parents who are natives of the area. This has bequeathed to me a large and beloved extended family spread over Long Island’s two “forks” that is decidedly not among the super-rich or super-famous. Long before the Hamptons morphed from a collection of sleepy villages into some sort of cross between Beverly Hills and an international resort, this meant a lifetime of summers, holidays, spring and fall vacations in a geographic location that is without doubt one of the most beautiful in the nation, getting to know every beach and back road with the intimacy that is only possible over decades.

WHICH BRINGS ME to cautionary tale number one, an incident involving the namesake of a much treasured Long Island institution called Dan’s Papers. Founded in 1960 by a young Dan Rattiner, the paper is free, found weekly in just about every commercial institution imaginable from grocery stores to gas stations. Chock full of news stories about the South Fork (which stretches to Montauk Point, harbors the Hamptons and borders the Atlantic Ocean) and the North Fork (the area that reaches to Orient Point and borders the Long Island Sound — my personal favorite where I hang my hat in decidedly un-Hamptons surroundings since I’ve seen lots of celebrities and have more fun with family), it blends local news, commentaries and restaurant reviews with schedules for art events, movies, fishing updates, used book sales, and the happenings at local vineyards. This is added to lots of real estate ads, info on where to pick up a good second-hand boat and, but of course, celebrity news of the local variety. (One of the more recent read “…Jerry Seinfeld was involved in a car accident on Skimhampton Road in East Hampton last week.” Note here to worried Seinfeld fans…the brakes failed, the car flipped, but he was OK.) Dan’s became such a successful institution, now stuffed with expensive ads, that Dan himself (the spitting image of Sir Richard Attenborough in Jurassic Park) was eventually bought out. He still writes for the paper, though. Surely one of the most prolific writers on the planet, his byline is liberally salted throughout each issue. A few years back I had the pleasure of spending an evening in his company at a barbeque, and I understand he is now happily engaged, has a dog named Moo, and a new book that will surely be a great beach read. In the Hamptons it has even been favorably blurbed by Spectator favorite Tom Wolfe.

To our tales.

It seems that back at the end of March, Dan, his fiancee, and Moo set out of a late Saturday afternoon to perform the usual chores. Pick up the eye glasses, stop at the dry cleaners etc. A quick drive from house to the center of East Hampton village, carefully parking the car on the street (relatively easy in the off-season) and Dan was on his way for the eye glasses. Retrieved, he emerges for the short walk to the dry cleaners when he notices a policeman carefully studying Dan’s new Chevy Tahoe. Approaching, he is addressed by name (the cop seemed not to recognize Dan yet knew his name). He notices two police cars are now stopped, blocking one lane of traffic. Within a minute or so Dan is told: “You are lucky I caught you before you drove off. We’re only going to impound your car. You won’t be arrested.”

He won’t be arrested?!!! Hello! For what?

Says the cop: “There was a lapse in your insurance. We now have radar sensors on the roofs of police cars. And we can check the license plates of every car on the road just by driving by. Your registration was suspended. The insurance had lapsed. The plates have to be taken off and sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles. And the car goes to the impound.”

Suffice to say, knowing all his paperwork was in the Tahoe and was completely current — and then producing same for the cop — Dan was astonished. Yes, the paperwork certainly did seem in order, but, well, too bad. No go. Literally. If Dan got behind the wheel of the Tahoe now and tried to drive away he would be arrested. “So we’re just dumped out here on the street?” asks an incredulous Dan.

Yep. Moo too.

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