Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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February 5, 2014 at 7:30am

Wednesday Morning Joe: Horrific barrel bombs, Afghanistan plans, military pension payouts, actual broncos vs actual seahawks...

Cafe Brosseau in Tacoma's North End neighborhood carries delicious Alina's Soups and a love for "Star Wars."


Footage has emerged showing the Syrian regime using explosive "barrel bombs" on civilian neighborhoods, killing hundreds, while its representatives attended peace talks at Geneva.

Pakistan's government reportedly made the request as it pursues peace talks with the Taliban.

President Obama called his commander in Afghanistan and the nation's top military leaders to the White House to hear planning options.

DOD lacks plan for collecting and validating Afghan security forces capability assessments.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and her colleagues criticized Army and company officials for failing to previously spot an alleged National Guard recruiting scam that may have cost taxpayers some $50 million.

The effort to repeal the $6 billion cut to military pensions advanced on numerous fronts on Tuesday, although the central problem in Congress with passing one of the measures - how to pay for it - has yet to be resolved.

Lockheed Martin is planning to offer a civilian version of the C-130J Super Hercules, an aircraft designed for Special Operations Command.

Negotiations over the multibillion dollar deal to sell 126 Dassault Rafale jets to India have stalled.

The White House's nomination of Robert Work to be the U.S. deputy defense secretary is said to be imminent.

The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade added a different twist to the primary joint training exercise Koa Kai 14-1 around the islands of Kauai and Ni'ihau: integrating the rotary wing aircraft aboard the naval ships.

Among those in the hunt for precious metal in the mountains of Russia will be a squad of military athletes competing in the downhill speed sports of bobsled and luge.

The Olympic torch arrived in Sochi, Russia, today, and most Americans aren't too thrilled - with that country, its anti-gay laws or its President Vladimir Putin.

Area 51 spy plane and other aviation tales.

Who would win if it was actual broncos and actual seahawks?

This simple invention seals gunshot wounds in 15 seconds.

America is preparing to land a robot on the moon for the first time in four decades.

Though-provoking photos of Israeli soldiers' bedrooms and the guns they keep in them.

A great piece on Salon: "Too Poor for Pop Culture."

Magnolia Pictures will release the Roger Ebert documentary this summer.

Will Ferrell did a Q&A on Reddit.

This whatchamacallit is made out of parts from a scooter and from roller blades.

Instagram, Atari style

February 3, 2014 at 7:06am

Monday Morning Joe: Seahawks win Super Bowl, Army suicides drop, super parachute, free U2 song...

The Starbucks at 11th and Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma has a hidden chill space in the way back.


On Sunday night at MetLife Stadium, Carroll's old-school football produced an old-school Super Bowl beatdown, something that was common in the 1970s and 1980s. The Seahawks won their first NFL championship by dominating the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII.

At Munich Security Conference, Secretaries Hagel and Kerry, as well as NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Breedlove and others wrestled with how to deal with Syria and other hotspots at a time when the public is growing weary of the war in Afghanistan.


February 2, 2014 at 8:14am

5 Things To Do Today: Alex's Hands, theater, cello and piano, Super Bowl, and more ...

Alex's Hand: You won't drop your beer during their shows. Photo courtesy of Facebook

SUNDAY, FEB. 2 2014 >>>

1. Few things tend to evoke more viscerally polarized reactions in music lovers than this series of words: "they're like a progressive jazz-fusion band." At that point, you absolutely know whether you're in or out. All of those obnoxious people who claim to be into "all kinds of music" - throw that one at them and see how quickly they backpedal. Alex's Hand is a band that can be described as such, though their brand of progressive rock lands more on the Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart side of things, as opposed to Happy the Man or Gentle Giant (shout out to my dad, that prog-rock-lovin' son of a gun). That is to say, this is progressive jazz-fusion with rough edges, a sort of blend that refuses to let the listener hypnotically drift along. Alex's Hand wants you to feel every hard corner they turn. Catch the band with Trash Heap at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. It's Super Bowl time! That's always exciting. The Seahawks are playing! That's even more exciting. Unless, of course, you don't give a crap about football. The local theater companies give a crap. They have moved their 2 p.m. Sunday matinees up two hours so afterward we can race to the nearest bars and root, root, root on the home team. Tacoma Little Theatre will stage To Kill a Mockingbird at noon. Lakewood Playhouse has also moved Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to noon, which closed today.

3. If you are a South Sound resident and you're feeling deprived of classical music, you're clearly not paying attention. Look under any bush in this region and you're likely to uncover a virtuosic masterwork for cello and piano concert, such as the one Sunday in Schneebeck Concert Hall. David Requiro, a University of Puget Sound artist in residence with a string of prestigious cello performances and prizes to his name, will give a faculty recital with New York-based pianist and guest artist Solon Gordon accompany him. The 2 p.m. performance at Schneebeck Concert Hall will include Pierre Jalbert's Sonata for Cello and Piano, Frédéric Chopin's Sonata in g minor, Op. 65, and Zoltán Kodály's Sonata for Cello and Piano Op. 4. Both of these chaps have awards and prestigious performances up the ying yang.

4. Super Bowl Sunday could be the biggest holiday in Washington state history. When the Seattle Seahawks face off against the Denver broncos today, the South Sound will be awash in blue and green jerseys, seven-layer dips and, of course, lots and lots of booze. Whether you're throwing a party, or just watching the game with some friends, the South Sound bars are an option. Click here to find the nearest bar.

5. In celebration of Black History Month, the University of Puget Sound will screen The Butler at 7:30 p.m. in the Rausch Auditorium at McIntyre Hall. This film tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man's life and family.

LINK: Sunday, Feb. 2 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

February 1, 2014 at 8:29am

Saturday Morning Joe: DoD hugs Europe, Marines in Africa, al Qaeda's resurgence, Super Bowl beer battle...

Valhalla Coffee on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue has installed retro furniture.


Throughout the next 60 days, senior Air Force leaders will re-examine the way ahead for the Air Force's nuclear mission.

In a changing security and fiscal environment, the Defense Department will seek to collaborate more closely with European allies, especially to help build the capabilities of other global partners, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said this morning.

Four afghan soldiers killed in ambush.

Syria talks end first round, government not committed to return.

Marine units that specialize in crisis response could be based in Africa in coming years as military leaders work with host nations that have shown interest in the U.S. posturing troops in their countries.

The state of defense is solidly ill-defined and in flux. And the brass knows it.

Two House committees are holding hearings next week to examine al Qaeda's resurgence.

Report: Russia surges in global arms sales.

Joe Biden took a lot of grief for suggesting Iraq should be partitioned. He might just get the last laugh.

The Defense Department will provide security and entertainment for Sunday's Super Bowl at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Army is expanding its resilience training to include teenagers in military and civilian Army families.

Air Force singer headed to Hollywood stage on American Idol.

When two Dakar-based photographers recreated with some familiar on-screen moments,they created a response - and a backlash - they never imagined.

Turner Classic Movies' "31 Days of Oscar" screens Oscar-nominated flicks like Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington uninterrupted on TV - and that's just on the first day.

The heroic Bill Murray flew into the Late Show with David Letterman dressed as Peter Pan.

The 10 albums you need to hear in February.

Think stakes are already high for this year's Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks? Two craft brewpubs have made the game even more interesting.

What's best to drink with pizza and football?

See a street legal Little Tikes Car that can zoom up to 70mph.

Get ready for frustration!

January 31, 2014 at 5:32pm

Army's first "Gold Star" PSA honoring survivors of the fallen will air just before Super Bowl XLVIII

Gold Star Lapel Button (left) and the Next-of-Kin of Deceased Personnel Lapel Button / photo courtesy of DoD

The Army announced today that it will release three public service announcements over the next year to increase awareness of DoD-issued gold star and next-of-kin lapel pins. The first PSA will screen on Fox Sports a half-hour before kickoff of Super Bowl XLVIII

According to an Army IMCOM release, "The pins are designed to signify the loss of a loved one in support of our nation. Although the gold star pins have been in existence for decades, many Americans are unfamiliar with their meaning. The PSAs were developed to help educate and inform the public of the significance of the pins."

"It's heartbreaking to think that a mom wearing a gold star might have someone ask her, 'What a beautiful pin, where do I get one?'," said Donna Engeman, a gold star wife who manages the Survivor Outreach Services program for the Army.

"We decided we had to do something to ensure the nation-the world-recognizes what that pin really signifies," Engeman said.

For the full story on the DoD-issued gold star and next-of-kin lapel pins, click here.

January 29, 2014 at 2:36pm

Alert: Tacoma Little Theatre moved Sunday's matinee of "To Kill a Mockingbird" to noon to avoid being egged

Apparently there's a big game on Sunday:

Tacoma, WA - Tacoma Little Theatre is proud to show their 12th Man Pride for the Seattle Seahawks.  Due to overwhelming requests from our patrons who are also Seahawks fans, TLT has moved their matinee start time on this Sunday to 12:00pm (Noon), and are offering a special $12.00 ticket special for anyone who uses the code SEAHAWKS at online checkout or with our box office (in person or over the phone). This special only applies to new ticket orders.


Filed under: Arts, News To Us, Tacoma, Sports, Theater,

January 27, 2014 at 4:26pm

9 Army soldiers headed to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games

U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program bobsledders Capt. Chris Fogt, Sgt. Justin Olsen, Sgt. Nick Cunningham, Sgt. Dallas Robinson will represent Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Nine soldiers in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program are members of the U.S. Olympic Team that will compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, scheduled for Feb. 7 through 24 in Sochi, Russia.

The United States Olympic Committee officially announced the team today.

The Soldier-athletes named to Team USA are 2010 Olympic gold medalist in four-man bobsled Sgt. Justin Olsen, 26, of San Antonio; 2010 Olympic bobsledder Capt. Christopher Fogt, 30, of Alpine, Utah; 2010 Olympic bobsledder Sgt. Nick Cunningham, 27, of Monterey, Calif.; bobsledder Sgt. Dallas Robinson, 31, of Georgetown, Ky.; 2006 Olympic luger Sgt. Preston Griffall, 29, of Salt Lake City; and luger Sgt. Matt Mortensen, 28, of Huntington Station, N.Y.

Tim Hipps with the Army Installation Management Command filed a report:

Three WCAP coaches also will represent the U.S. Army in Russia. Team USA luge coach Staff Sgt. Bill Tavares, 50, of Lake Placid, N.Y., will be making his sixth appearance in the Olympics, including once as an athlete and five times as a coach. Team USA skeleton coach Sgt. 1st Class Tuffield "Tuffy" Latour, 45, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., will make his fourth trip to the Olympics. He has coached U.S. and Canadian men's and women's bobsledders to Olympic medals. Team USA assistant bobsled coach 1st Lt. Michael Kohn, 41, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., is a two-time Olympic competitor who will make his Olympic coaching debut at the Sochi Games. He won a bronze medal in four-man bobsled as a WCAP athlete at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

USA-1 bobsled driver Steven Holcomb, 33, of Park City, Utah, is the reigning Olympic champion in the four-man event. He spent seven years in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.

The 230-member team is comprised of 105 women and 125 men - the largest athlete delegation for any nation in the history of the Olympic Winter Games. The United States will be represented in all 15 disciplines across seven sports, and up to 94 of the 98 medal events that will be contested in Sochi.

Read Hiips' full story on the Army representation at the 2014 Winter Olympics here.

Filed under: Army, News To Us, Military, Sports,

January 27, 2014 at 11:05am

Nerd Alert!: Anthony Ray and Sunday's Quidditch World Cup

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/sirmixalot

Dialing 1-900-MIX-ALOT, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.


"Oh, my God, Becky. Look at her butt. It is so big." Don't even act like you don't know what comes next, playa. You know that like me, you've high-tailed it for the dance floor to extol the virtues of an itty-bitty waist and a round thing in your face. You, too, have begged for a piece of that bubble. So fellas (yeah?), can I get a "hell, yeah" for Seattle's own Anthony Ray, better known as Sir Mix-a-Lot? One-hit wonder he may be, but I'm reminded of a story I heard about Chuck Berry. A critic once scoffed that Berry essentially wrote the same song over and over. "Yes," his colleague replied, "but we all know that song." Anyway, the Mack Daddy's throwin' a gig in town this weekend, and even white boys got to shout. ...

SIR MIX-A-LOT, 8 p.m. Saturday, Jazzbones, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, $15, 253.396.9169


My friends and fellow geeks, I never thought it would come to this, but the unthinkable has happened. We must now deal with an alternate reality, aka the craziest timeline. In other words, it's time we wrapped our heads around sportsball. Civic pride in our beloved Pacific Northwest demands no less. (It's like when we all gave in and ate quinoa.) In those rare moments when you departed World of Warcraft for the Mart of Pizza Pockets, you may have noticed people walking around in eye-catching raiments of navy and green. Such folk are allied with House Seahawk. The raptors of Seattle have emerged from the NFC playoffs victorious, and now must defeat the orange-clad steeds of Mount Doom (OK, the High Plains of Denver, Colo.) in a loud form of ground-based Quidditch World Cup. Perhaps you've seen something about this on Reddit?

Anyway, the last (and only) time the Seahawks made it to the big game was eight years ago, when they lost to the Steelers, 21-10. If you've somehow managed to miss Seahawk fever all season, please understand there's a reason Seattle's fans are so heavily invested. The team boasts the NFL's best defense, as reflected in a heart-stopping interception by cornerback Richard Sherman ([no, not the same Richard Sherman who wrote "It's a Small World (After All)" - we've been over this and over this) that crushed the hopes of San Francisco two weeks ago. The problem here is the Seahawk offense, which, while certainly capable, is nowhere near the best in the business. Ergo, their opponents tended to load points on early in each game, losing ground only in the second half when Seattle's punishing defense wore them down. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos wield the highest-scoring offense in NFL history, an air-and-ground assault commanded by veteran (37-year-old) quarterback Peyton Manning.

Look for much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the Broncos strike hard and strike fast. Think of this as the grim Hoth battle of our epic saga. The outcome will still be very much in doubt at halftime. Sports mages prophesy this game could be decided by as little as a single point, and those of us who screamed through the NFC championship's final moments can all too easily believe it. That game was tighter than the E Street Band.

If the Seahawks win, expect Seattle to explode into confetti, Gorp, and shards of IPA bottles. This is, after all, the city that lost its collective mind over an international trade meeting. It's the Naboo of America. If, however, as the bookies would have it, the Broncos eke out a victory, expect thousands of fair-weather fans like myself to crawl back into our holes and leave you in peace again till autumn.

But seriously, though ... wouldn't it be amazing if we won? At football? A SPORT?! The mind reels.

SUPER BOWL XLVIII, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, FOX TV and a jock bar near you

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and DON'T YOU EVER TALK ABOUT ME! I'm the best nerdist in the game! When you try me with a writer like McKinney, that's the result YOU GONNA GET! L.O.B.!

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Music, Tacoma, Sports,

January 23, 2014 at 3:33pm

Instagram Watch: darth_saydious and the JBLM Bettie Brigade

JBLM Bettie Brigade team member darth_saydious is all about fun - and slamming your ass to the track.

Just a quick heads up if you're a fan of both roller derby and Instagram - darth_saydious of the JBLM Bettie Brigade posts the latest action from the flat track.

Side note: The JBLM Bettie Brigade's Belle Ringer Bootcamp is designed to help you prepare for the WFTDA skills test and get ready to try out to be a Bettie for the 2014 season. No skating experience required. You do need to be associated with the military and carry personal medical insurance. For $80, you'll receive 20 hours of on-skates instruction. An orientation and introduction will commence at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Lacey Derby Center, 5700 Lacey Blvd. The two-hour Sunday sessions begin at noon Jan. 26. For details, visit bettiebrigade.com.

January 20, 2014 at 9:29am

Words & Photos: JBLM Bettie Brigade's season opener

The JBLM Bettie Brigade chills minutes before Saturday's bout begun. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Holy hoo-ah - Saturday's JBLM Bettie Brigade's Bare Bones bout against Tumwater's M.I.A. Derby Girls was intense. The Lacey Derby Center was packed to watch the two teams battle it out on the flat track. The elbows were flying, derby girls were checked into the crowd and the announcer was dropping expletives left and right. And the action wasn't only limited to the track. The JBLM Bratz - the Bettie Brigade junior varsity - were darting between the crowds in anticipation of their halftime bout, which featured hits just as brutal as the varsity.

Final: M.I.A. Derby Girls 191, JBLM Bettie Brigade 178

But what those numbers don't reflect was the last-minute (literally) drama of the bout, with the Lacey hall erupting in jeers and boos during the final jam. No holds were barred, or beared or bared, for that matter. The action was feisty.

Below are a few photos we snapped during Saturday's bout.

LINK: More photos from JBLM Bettie Brigade's Bare Bones bout

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