Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: July, 2014 (93) Currently Viewing: 11 - 20 of 93

July 5, 2014 at 8:39am

Saturday Morning Joe: Taliban set fires, F-35 grounded, Putin hates US, real life World War Z ...

The 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron throw coffee during a survive, evade, resist and escape challenge at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Original photo by Airman 1st Class Gustavo Castillo


Taliban insurgents set fire to about 200 oil tanker trucks supplying fuel for NATO forces in an attack just outside the Afghan capital Kabul.

Government forces recaptured a flashpoint area of eastern Ukraine from pro-Russian rebels.

Why Putin turned against the U.S.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey: Iraqi military can't regain lost territory on its own.

The Navy and Air Force have grounded the entire fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

Crunch time for VA deal.

Quarantine the Middle East.

Faced with a newly aggressive Russia, NATO has been mulling how to react, but it is ruling out one option: rapid expansion.

Custody case highlights a dilemma of deployment.

Queen Elizabeth II smashed a bottle of whisky against Britain's biggest warship on Friday as she gave her name to the new aircraft carrier at a ceremony in Scotland.

The eight presidents with the most badass military records.

Drone captures beautiful film flying through fireworks.

An emoji-only social network: Ridiculous or brilliant?

Breaking ground on the world's largest shopping mall.

City of Wolfsburg - in Germany - is currently hosting the worst Star Wars exhibition ever.

Endless flood of people in Hong Kong is like real life World War Z.

Here's a Burger King video that makes us want to puke ...

LINK: Original photo by Airman 1st Class Gustavo Castillo

July 5, 2014 at 9:06am

5 Things To Do Today: Ben Union, South Sound BBQ Festival, Hellgate, Spamalot ...

Ben Union plays solo tonight at The Spar in Old Town Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Facebook

SATURDAY, JULY 5 2014 >>>

1. He's not the new king of pop yet, but Ben Union makes a pretty good Adam Levine. Union frames his prodigious and rock solid talent - soulful vocals, a danceable funk groove, irresistible pop hooks - with passion and showmanship. Imagine the music of Maroon 5 and Train being forced occasionally through the Red Hot Chili Peppers backbeat, grabbing Fred Hammond's soul and then pumped out Levine's larynx, and you have a pretty good idea of the kind of sound Ben Union and his band can produce. While most of Union's songs don't stray too far from the characteristic blend of funk and soulful rock, some of his best moments are the more mellow tunes, such as "Angeles" - which will most likely be front and center at 8 p.m. as Union will perform solo at The Spar in Old Town Tacoma.

2. The craft of blacksmithing is waning, even as the art of wrought iron is on the rise, working its way into art schools. But it's the craft-its usefulness, its dignity and its allure should draw you to Fort Nisqually's Crafts of the Past - Blacksmithing demonstration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ray Baker trained with the NorthWest Blacksmith Association and has participated in workshops with master smiths from Colonial Williamsburg. He has mentored several budding blacksmiths at the Fort, where he has been volunteering for 15 years.

3. Who doesn't like meat off the grill? Well, vegetarians we suppose, but still. Barbecue is pretty damn popular. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. the LAcey Chamber of Commerce looks to jump all over this fact with the South Sound BBQ Festival, which returns to Huntamer Park. Admission is free, and yes - the chicken wing eating contest is back.

4. Louie G's Pizza takes its rock as seriously as its oversize pies. Restaurateur Louis Galarza installed professional-grade light and sound equipment, then threw his doors open to the types of bands you may not expect with your meatball calzone. At 6 p.m. he's hosting Montana's heavy-metal trio Hellgate as part of the all-ages Killhate Tour, a fist-pumping demonstration against police brutality and hate crimes everywhere. That's right, Hellgate shreds with a conscience. Guitarist and lead vocalist Joel Floyd West snarls through such retro rockers as "Dear Me" and "Death of Faith" with clarity and conviction, while Scott Daniels' crunching bass lines supply the perfect counterpoint. Also: fried pickle spears. Rawk!

5. Lakewood Playhouse never seems to disappoint and their most recent production is no exception. People who don't like Monty Python humor, also known as fuddy duddies, might want to skip it but for everyone else, Spamalot (books and lyrics by Eric Idle) will have them laughing, whistling and singing even after the show. Director John Munn's brilliant cast and crew could not have done a better job. Read Joann Varnell's full review of Spamalot in the Music & Culture section, then catch the show at 8 p.m.

LINK: Saturday, July 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

July 5, 2014 at 9:34am

Words & Photos: Freedom Fest at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Carla Cooper-Haamid and Sibley Haamid IV pose for an image promoting the Madigan Army Medical Center during Freedom Fest at Joint Base Lewis-McChord July 4. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

What a delight!

Perfect weather - and it can't get any better than it was yesterday - combined with the tradition of delighting and entertaining families from the local area greeted the general public during Joint Base Lewis-McChord's annual Freedom Fest.

Held at Cowan and Memorial Stadiums, the festival featured live entertainment, aerial demonstrations, military displays, carnival rides, a fantastic classic car show, food, and games.

On this day, the nation's 238th birthday, the attitude among many attending Freedom Fest is decidedly patriotic.

"I am very proud to be an American," said Vietnam veteran Jerry Murphy as he stood next to his immaculately restored 1970 Ford Mustang.

Murphy's car underscored his patriotism.

Inside the car were visible the multiple Purple Hearts he had earned while serving in Vietnam.  In the truck were Silver and Bronze Stars neatly arrayed next to his flight suit.

"I served in the infantry and aviation," he told me.  And I value our freedom to be able to live our lives as we see fit."

>>> Vietnam veteran Jerry Murphy's 1970 Ford Mustang was one of the many classic cars on display. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Classic Cars:  Thousands of individuals turned out in ideal weather conditions to enjoy Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Freedom Fest activities. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Joan Greenwood clearly understood the value of freedom today represents.

"My dad served in the Navy and died for this country.  My brother served and died for this country.  My husband is a Marine, and I am proud to be a part of this country," she said.

>>> Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Walker, 110th Chemical Battalion, holds the American flag during Freedom Fest activities at JBLM July 4. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Abigail Hart enjoyed Freedom Fest by receiving an air brushed red dragon. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

July 6, 2014 at 8:49am

5 Things To Do Today: Museum of Glass birthday, Wings and Wheels, Dayclub, Talk of Shamans ...

Happy birthday Museum of Glass!

SUNDAY, JULY 6 2014 >>>

1. Sunday, July 6, Museum of Glass will celebrate its 12th birthday with a party FROM noon to 5 p.m. The Museum has entertained more than 2 million visitors, hosted more than 350 artists and has shown 86 exhibitions and displays since opening in 2002. Numerology states a birthday on the 6th of the month adds a tone of responsibility, helpfulness and understanding to one's natural inclinations. This is a number associated with strong sense of responsibility, artistic, a nurturing disposition and community oriented - with a strong degree of concern for others. Those born on the sixth are more apt to be open and honest with everyone, and more caring about family, too. Makes sense since MOG cares about family so deeply; it's family-friendly party on July 6 will be free for those 12 and younger with free cupcakes, balloon art, chalk art and cookies. That said, if your kid knocks over a piece of glass, MOG will dub your family's number 86.

2. Two great American loves will unite for the fourth time as part of the Gig Harbor Wings and Wheels show at the Tacoma Narrows Airport. The event, which is hosted by the Tacoma Events Commission, runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and feature bi-plane rides, cool cars and aircraft, live music and the Smoke 'N' Thunder Jet Dragster making a 300 mph run down the runway, plus three hours of aerial demonstrations and displays, featuring warbirds and aerobatic airplanes.

3. Operation Ward 57 depends solely on donations to operate their project for wounded soldiers and amputees. Uncle Sam's American Bar and Grill hosts a motorcycle run to benefit Operation Ward 57. There will be a motorcycle run leaving Uncle Sam's Amphitheater at approx. 1 p.m. This run will stop at Lawless Harley Davidson, Destination HD and NW Harley Davidson and returns back to Uncle Sam's for a concert with Commander Cody and His New Planet Airmen plus The Razorback Riders at 6 p.m. Price to join the ride is $15. These funds will support the concert benefit and includes admission to the show.

4. The Social Bar and Grill's patio is a lovely spot to while away a weekend afternoon, sipping cocktails and old world red wine and watching condo residents walk their dogs. Come Sunday afternoon, resident DJ Mr. Melanin and rotating guests spin an eclectic and extremely tasteful selection of lounge, bossa nova and electro soul music 2-6 p.m. This triple threat of delicious happy hour specials, sun and hip tunes is known as Tacoma's only daytime summer party, "Dayclub."

5. Around the mid-'00s, a cavalcade of bands arrived on the scene as blissed-out purveyors of art-pop - off-kilter melodies and shifting time signatures giving nods to progressive rock, without going so far as to approach the uncommercial. Groups such as Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear and Local Natives are on the frontline of this movement of musical geeks, and Talk of Shamans fit right in with that new wave. The San Francisco trio bounces back and forth from bouncy, yelping indie rock and world music-indebted pitter-patter. Catch the band with Globelamp and Union Pacific at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

LINK: Sunday, July 6 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

July 7, 2014 at 7:25am

Monday Morning Joe: US spy claims, new DoD R&D, Army SHARP plan, NASCAR physics, Seinfeld breakups ...

Iron Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, fire a M320 coffee launcher during the unit´s two-man team competition at the Grafenwoehr Training Area. Original photo by Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger


Israeli air strikes killed seven Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths and a Palestinian teen.

Ukraine to lay siege to rebel-held regional centers.

Ukraine's richest man pleads for city's safety after rebels vow to make stand.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel concerned over U.S. spy claims

The U.S. Defense Department is set to roll out a new R&D strategy this week.

The F-35 Joint Program Office has begun carrying out a game-changing plan for sustainment on a global scale.

U.S. Navy's cruiser problem.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy wants every sailor to have a tablet.

Opinion: deck stacked again women in experimental task force.

The Air Force says putting "juicy bars" off-limits has helped shut many involved with prostitution and human trafficking.

Army publishes SHARP campaign plan.

Installations to open SHARP Resource Centers.

Army moving education content to cloud for better access.

Natick investigates shelter lighting effects on soldier thinking, mood.

Veterans turning to American Legion in wake of VA scandal.

Fury, scheduled for release Nov. 14, is writer/director David Ayer's new movie about a U.S. Sherman tank mission behind German lines in April 1945.

A tantalizing brief glimpse inside Fabien Cousteau's underwater lab.

Scientists have located the brain's on/off switch for consciousness.

Neil deGrasse Tyson gives a detailed breakdown of NASCAR physics.

The science behind barbecuing.

The new Star Wars movie has picked two new actors from its open casting call.

See Kevin Smith talk about his visit to the Star Wars set.

A new book counts down Bruce Springsteen's 100 best songs.

Dude, you don't ban a kid from a restaurant for wearing a Ninja Turtles shirt.

Finally: Seinfeld breakups

No words can describe this ...

LINK: Original photo by Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger

July 7, 2014 at 7:42am

5 Things To Do Today: Callow, SHUT IT, 7 Seas Brewing, Steve Cooley and The Dangerfields ...

Check out Callow's "ghost western" tonight at Le Voyeur. Photo courtesy of callowmusic.com

MONDAY, JULY 7 2014 >>>

1. San Francisco duo Callow are inordinately preoccupied with mood. Everything they do is measured and drawn out, lending unbearable proportions of tension to every song they make. Composed of Red Moses on guitar and Sami Knowles on drums and keyboard, with both singing, Callow describe their music as "ghost western," which is about as apt as anything. While stopping just short of slowcore - that aching subgenre aimed at fetishists of melancholy - there is certainly no shortage of doom and gloom at work, here. The minimalism of the compositions highlights every sudden shriek or guitar stab, giving their songs the feel of a good, slow-burn horror movie. Catch Callow at 8 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. According to Kitsap CollaBEERation hype, the week of brewery pairings will "showcase the community spirit in liquid form. Kitsap Peninsula breweries were paired up two by two to create special collaborative beers. The breweries will then showcase the creations each day of the week leading up to the Bremerton Summer BeerFest. A limited amount will be available at the Fest as well at each brewery's booth." Today, Sound Brewery taproom and 7 Seas Brewing taproom feature their Crossover Cask collaboration.

3. Speaking of 7 Seas Brewing, five days before it throws its five-year anniversary bash, Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing will take over the ParkWay Tavern's taps, beginning at 5 p.m.

4. Online Tacoma magazine Post Defiance wants you to SHUT IT in the Hotel Murano's lobby. Grab a book and read in silence from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Turn off the cellphone!

5. Guitarist Steve Cooley grew up in Chico, Calif., making a name for himself in the Cream-influenced band Gunge in 1967. The trippy band with blues riffs opened for the Grateful Dead at a Chico fairgrounds in November of 1968. Although Gunge was short lived, Cooley went on to share the stage with such notables as  Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert Cray, Little Charlie and the Nightcats and Tower of Power. After relocating to Tacoma in 1991, he formed the Steve Cooley Blues Bands, which turned heads and landed them a nomination for Best New Blues Band from the Washington Blues Society in 1995. Today, Cooley leads the blues band The Dangerfields, which includes popular keyboardist Johnny Burgess, Rich Nesbitt on bass and Tom Williams on drums. Catch the band at The Swiss' Monday blues night at 8 p.m. 

LINK: Monday, July 7 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

July 7, 2014 at 12:19pm

The re-birth of Old Town Tacoma's music festival

Steve Stefanowicz will kick-off the Tacoma Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival free park shows with a bang at noon, Saturday, July 12. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Bless his gracious heart: Mike Mitchell is bringing back Tacoma's Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival. He has put Tacoma on the musical map for years, bringing bona fide festivals and concerts here, always attached to a beneficial charity. In his mind, it's charity first; the rest is music to his ears.

Permission To Start Dreaming Foundation has Mitchell's full attention this year. P.T.S.D. Indeed, the foundation's mission is to raise awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury and related issues and to support organizations that provide services for returning soldiers to help them re-adjust to the country they served. As a Vietnam War veteran, Mitchell knows the importance of Permission To Start Dreaming Foundation's mission.

"This wonderful organization works with the young men and women who return from war with trauma to help heal them," explains Mitchell. "It's a grassroots organization and I know the money raised from the Old Town festival will go directly to these men and women."

Mitchell won't produce or lend a hand with any event unless there's a local charity benefitting from the proceeds. It was his number one request 22 years ago when he founded the Tacoma Old Town Blues Festival with Ted Brown.

Mitchell was approached by Brown to create a musical festival after Brown witnessed Mitchell's impressive musical tribute for former Wailers' singer and sax-playing songwriter Ron Gardner who passed away after an accidental fire in 1992. Mitchell was a huge fan of The Wailers, sneaking into the now-legendary teen dances of the time before reaching his teens. Mitchell also relied on music to help heal from the atrocities he witnessed in Vietnam.

Partnering with blues enthusiast Brown, who died last year at age 61, the two created the Tacoma Old Town Blues Festival. The partnership fell apart after the 2012 festival.

This year, Mitchell, with the help of T Town Apparel owners Pat and Gail Ringrose, has taken back the reigns of the festival after several alterations the past two years, including Mitchell's absence last year. Mitchell truly missed bringing music to Old Town, and his introduction to Permission To Start Dreaming was the kicker.

"It's a rebirth, if you will," says Mitchell. "I'm keeping last year's name change - Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival - and the music will be more than just blues."

The show must go on. The Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival moniker remains, as does a more eclectic show, staged in Old Town Park as well as The Spar and Slavonian Hall. The Mountaineers building's renovations eliminated its popular garden court space for intimate blues performances, such as those legendary performances by Little Bill and Jerry Miller.

The event kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with the traditional Bluesberry Pancake Breakfast, a flapjack feast that will feature acoustic folk and classic rock musician Rick Gonzales and percussionist Ike Sutton on the Slavonian Hall's first floor. Guitarist Steve Stefanowicz will lead the opening ceremonies at noon at nearby Old Town Park, kicking off an afternoon of free, family-friendly sets there with cheers from the adjacent beer garden. I can't stress enough the importance of being there exactly at noon. This year's opening will be a jaw-dropper.

Following Stefanowicz's set on the main stage in the park are Tacoma blues guitarist legend Little Bill; bushy-bearded, curly-haired ultra-talented singer-songwriter James Coates; B-3 jazz/blues trio ButterBean; blues rockers The Jr Hill Band; and veteran blues musicians James King and the South Siders wrapping up the park shows with Texas roadhouse blues at 6 p.m.

Tacoma's nine-piece R&B band The High Rollers will headline the evening showcase, which will start with an opening set by blues band Burnham Drive (hopefully with guitarist Tim Hall) at 8 p.m. upstairs at Slavonian Hall.

Over at The Spar, That's What She Said will take over at 8 p.m., at least that's what he said.

Tickets are $20 for the night shows, and available at T-Town Apparel, Metropolitan Market, and The Spar and ParkWay taverns. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the event in the Old Town Park, The Spar and Slavonian Hall.

There you have it. Leave it to Mike Mitchell's big heart and love for music to continue the tradition in Old Town Tacoma. There will be vendor areas for food, clothing and a beer garden run by Tacoma's adorable bartenders, who donate their time. It's going to be a memorable event. See you somewhere at the festival. If I miss you, there's always next year.


Here's the full lineup, with more details available at tacomaoldtownrhythmandbluesfest.com.

Bluesberry Pancake Breakfast

9-11 a.m. Lower level of Slavonian Hall, 2306 N. 30th

Rick Gonzales and Ike Sutton

Tacoma Old Town Park, 2305 N. 30th

Noon to 12:45 p.m. Steve Stefanowicz

1-2:45 p.m. Little Bill

3-3:45 p.m. James Coates

4-4:45 p.m. ButterBean

5-5:45 p.m. The Jr Hill Band

6-7 p.m. James King and the South Siders

Evening Performances

>>> Main Stage Upstairs Slavonian Hall, 2306 N. 30th

8 p.m. to midnight The High Rollers

>>> Downstairs Stage Slavonian Hall

8 p.m. to midnight Burnham Drive

>>> The Spar Tavern, 2121 N. 30th

8 p.m. to midnight That's What She Said

Filed under: Music, Benefits, Health, Military, Tacoma,

July 7, 2014 at 12:56pm

Tacoma boxer Mike Gavronski part of ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights July 11

Tacoma boxer Mike Gavronski, right, will be the main event of the ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights at Little Creek Casino, July 11. Courtesy photo

Tacoma boxer Mike Gavronski (14-0-1 10KO) continues his rise in the boxing ranks when he returns to the ring at Little Creek Casino, in Shelton, July 11 as the main event of a televised ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights event. Gavronski's climb from Hilltop to Mountaintop has been firm, steady, ever steeper and ever higher. His recent win over Nathan Bedwell, in Chicago shows he is on track and if he continues the progress, a shot at a world title will be waiting.

Boxing is a severe sport. The more brutal the fight, the greater the fan approval. Gavronski never disappoints and has become a northwest hero in the ring. He banged his way to the interim Global Boxing Organization super middleweight title by winning a brutal bout against Tristan Todd in what many boxing fans considered the best fight in Washington history. The fight had the fans on their feet, a bloodlust they felt but did not really believe. They wanted to see someone hurt, pummeled, beaten because they wanted to see how much punishment a person can endure and still prevail, just the kind of fight Gavronski enjoys.

In the first round, Todd broke Gavronski's jaw in two places. Because his jaw was hanging, Gavronski worried that the referee might stop the fight so he used his tongue to keep the jaw pushed into place. Gavronski never stopped fighting and won by TKO in the last round.

Gavronski is following in the footsteps of such famous Tacoma boxers as Rocky Lockridge, Sugar Ray Seals, Johnny Bumphus, Leo Randolf and Irish Pat McMurtry.

His climb up the mountain may not be as difficult as his climb to adulthood has been. He was raised in Hilltop Tacoma in a violent and dangerous family, a tumultuous environment of which no kid should be subjected. Gavronski made decisions that would have been difficult for most adults. He has always understood what was best for him.

By the age of 13, life had become so precarious at home that he asked his grandparents if he could live with them. They agreed and eventually adopted him. They had both been previously married and each had four children. "They consider me the child they had together," he said. They saved his life.

Like so many young people in tough situations, Gavronski turned to boxing as a way to vent his aggressions and as a possible way to rise in the sporting world. In the amateurs he quickly realized his talent in 50 bouts with only eight losses. He fought well against present world contenders like Daniel Jacobs and Sean Porter.

Boxing is a precarious business. Everyone claims to be an expert and they often offer the moon to a young man eager for fame. Gavronski fell into several of these traps before finding Sam Ditusa, a trainer/manager from Seattle with a reputation for knowledge and honesty. Thinking the move was premature they recently rejected a promotional contract with Banner Promotions, one of the largest and most successful promoters in the world. Banner has handled such fighters as Ricky Hatton, Cristobal Cruz, Verno Phillips, Dmitry Pirog, Ruslin Provodankov and heavyweight champion Chris Byrd.

Gavronski has managed to avoid the seamier side of boxing, especially concerning drugs. He saw too many lives destroyed in the Hilltop area. He avoids any associations with fighters, especially ex-fighters, involved with drugs, and has even changed gyms for protection.

Unlike many emerging fighters who refuse to hold a regular job, Gavronski has always worked. "There is no such thing as a bad, or meaningless job," he said. He has held a job for as long as he can remember.

Maintaining a job and finding the time to train can be difficult. He presently works for Cloudy Sky Tree Services, in Auburn. The owner is a boxing fan and has no trouble giving Gavronski time off to occasionally train in different parts of the country and to attend fights. Gavronski knows that sparring and training in different places and with as many boxers as possible is essential for success.  

Gavronski would like to fight every month, but with the decline in boxing interest, bouts are difficult to find. He is also coming up against the problem of many decent emerging boxers - no one wants to fight him.

Little Creek Casino is doing their part to promote local fighters and hopes to be a regular venue for television fights. Lakewood's undefeated Marquise Weston is also on a card that features Art Houhannisyan (17-1-2 9KO) VS Jonathan Maicelo (17-1-0 11KO) in the co-main event.

The peak of the mountain is within view and if Gavronski stays on track he might possibly be fighting for a world championship within two years. The climb to the top is difficult, but the view is spectacular. Gavronski wants a good look.

Filed under: Sports, Tacoma, Lakewood,

July 8, 2014 at 6:31am

Tuesday Morning Joe: DoD pot warning, wars rage on, F-35 report, new Pink Floyd album ...

Firearms Training Team throw a simulate flash bang coffee during Fleet Combat Camera Pacific’s Quick Shot 2014 combined field training exercise in the Angeles National Forest near Azusa, Calif. Original photo by Spc. Philip Diab


Officials are warning troops and DoD civilians in the state of Washington that indulging in pot could result in consequences.

The Israeli army, air force and navy launched a major operation today against the Islamist militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

An Afghan official says that at least 16 people, including four Czech soldiers, were killed today in a suicide attack near a clinic in eastern Afghanistan.

The top U.S. commander in Europe said he will probably need more troops to counter the renewed military threat from Russia that is roiling the far eastern region of Europe.

NATO leaders will push alliance members to adopt a readiness action designed to improve the speed European militaries can respond to crisis.

It's the tale of the two maritime exercises: In the Black Sea, the U.S. and its allies are starting up multinational training while Russian warships separately maneuver in a large-scale war game.

Report: Engine responsible for F-35 fire.

House Benghazi panel may cost $3 million this year.

U.S. Navy warns it can't meet 30-year funding needs.

Russia to revamp nuclear-missile force within decade.

An international pact on heightened security standards for nuclear materials got one step closer to being implemented when Japan signed on late last month.

The Minuteman has been updated over the years and remains ready for launch, but the items that support it have grown old.

Let's look at storm photos.

Let's watch cells grow.

Kickstarter potato salad guy rules.

MAC is launching Simpsons makeup line.

Pink Floyd has a new album on the way.

Cartoon jokes that went over most kids' heads.

From coal mountains, Walmart, China Buffet, Gus's Guns and PBR, Amanda Nicole demonstrates her hula hooping skills in the Midwest.         

Finally: Hip Hop Family Tree.

Who wants to swim in our pool?

LINK: Original photo by Spc. Philip Diab

July 8, 2014 at 6:44am

5 Things To Do Today: Retro Video Gaming For Grownups, reindeer herders, poetry reading, Doors tribute ...

Missile Command!

TUESDAY, JULY 8 2014 >>>

1. I remember the day when my junior high buddies and I finished our weekly Wednesday of all-you-can-eat Pizza Haven feast then strolled into the Villa Plaza to check out girls inside the Liberty House store. Suddenly girls took a back seat when sitting in the middle of the store was the debut of Pong. The store manager had to kick us out. Today, video-game competitions are serious business, with tens of thousands of dollars in prize money at stake, sponsorship deals and all the other trappings of a big-league sport. But there was a time when video games were much simpler - and probably a lot more fun, too. The Tacoma Public Library wants my generation to relive those good times. It's hosting a Retro Video Gaming for Grownups night from 5-7 p.m., erecting Atari, Nintendo Entertainment System, PS1 and Gamecube systems. Who's up for some Missile Command? Oh joystick! 

2. Jessica Oreck's documentary Aatsinki: The Story of Artic Cowboys chronicles a year-in-the-life of Finnish reindeer herder brothers Aarne and Lasse Aatsinki's rugged existence. Hear sounds of crackling flames, the insistent rasp of wind against her microphone and the hum of a generator at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. in The Grand Cinema.

3. Join author Novella Carpenter for a reading from her latest book, Gone Feral, at 6 p.m. in the Olympia Timberland Library. After writing the national best seller, Farm City, Carpenter has turned to write a more personal book about her family. The book documents her quest to find her missing mountain man father. Novella was raised in Shelton, and currently lives in Oakland, Calif. 

4. This may be a bit weird, but our favorite smell in the world is polyester ink. The strong odor makes us weak in the knees, which is why we are pumped for Last Word Books' poetry reading at 7 p.m. Last Word moved to 111 Cherry Street NE in Olympia, sharing a building with local screen printing company Don't Stop Printing. Sure, our ears will be tuned to poets Adam Hassel, Paul Elliott, Craig Harrison, Cleo Divine and Tess Elizabeth, but our noses will be wandering.

5. The Doors tribute band The American Night hits the Red Wind Casino's stage at 8 p.m. Strange days have found us.

LINK: Tuesday, July 8 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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