Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: August, 2014 (87) Currently Viewing: 71 - 80 of 87

August 25, 2014 at 8:52am

Nerd Alert! - Videographer Vince Ynzunza, "As Above, So Below," Houdini ...

Adrien Brody plays the title role in "Houdini" on the History Channel.

Reaching out and grabbing ya, 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.

We aren't exactly bombarded with story suggestions for this column, more's the pity, so I'm happy to forward a heads-up from videographer Vince Ynzunza. Inspired, no doubt, by the Lovecraftian flavor of his own family name, Ynzunza is one of the driving forces behind Pacific NorthWEIRD, a YouTube show devoted to paranormally significant locations in Washington state. Its first episode covers the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve near Littlerock, which you or I might consider geologic aberrations, but which certain fanciful individuals regard as something ... more. What that something may be I couldn't tell you, as despite my journalistic integrity I was too skeptical to make it any farther than 10 minutes into the episode. I'm sorry, Vince; I'm allergic to woo woo. But if you, Gentle Reader, have a fondness for such uncanny topics as Squatchin' or the Black Houses of Olympia, then Vince Ynzunza would like to be your woo-woo, hoodoo man.

FRIDAY, AUG. 28

If you're lucky enough to visit Paris, the City of Light, be sure to spend an afternoon down in the dark. There's a network of catacombs underneath the city, in which the late 18th century saw the remnants of six million Parisians stacked into artful patterns of femurs and skulls. A sign over the ossuary's entrance warns, "Arrête! C'est ici l'empire de la mort!" ("Halt! Herein lies the empire of the dead!") About a quarter of a million visitors ignore that warning each year. My wife and I toured the site last fall, and I can honestly say it was one of the most memorable events of my life. I was so struck by it that I wrote my first horror story, Silver, about the burial of all those unnerving remains. (You can read it for free at CreativeColloquy.com.) Apparently the catacombs had a similar effect on brothers Drew and John Erick Dowdle, who set their movie As Above, So Below, opening Friday, within its subterranean depths. It stars Perdita Weeks as Scarlet, an archaeology student who believes the famous "philosopher's stone" of alchemist Nicolas Flamel, or at least a decent Tomb Raider knockoff, might be hiding in all those tunnels. The trailer suggests Scarlet and her friends find a passel of found footage horror tropes instead, so this is basically The Blair Witch Project's European Vacation.

OK, let's not get our hopes up for a classic horror movie; but the Dowdles did record much of As Above, So Below in the actual Catacombs of Paris, including tunnels that aren't generally open to the public. If you can handle its cinematic shocks, it may be a fun way to log some travel time in one of France's most unforgettable locations. Or you could just stay home and watch Andrew Zimmern slurp down snail caviar on Xfinity. Vive la France!

MONDAY, SEPT. 1

It may surprise you to learn that such professional illusionists as Penn and Teller regard Erik Weisz, better known to spellbound audiences around the early-20th-century world as Harry Houdini, as a barely mediocre magician. No, Houdini's true calling was as an escape artist, a skill he pursued with obsessive-compulsive rigor starting in 1899. Touring Eurasia and America as the "Handcuff King," a name you'd never admit to calling yourself on Facebook, Houdini escaped from riveted beer barrels, a water-filled milk can, the memorably-named "Chinese Water Torture Cell" - even once, on a Boston beach, from the belly of a beached whale. He starred in movies, learned to fly (and then crashed) his own biplane, and aided Scientific American by debunking clairvoyants and other Ynzunzan mystics.

Who better to play the stocky, round-faced, 5'6" Handcuff King than the chiseled, hawk-nosed, 6'1" Adrien Brody? That's a question the History Channel hopes you'll be too enthralled to ask Monday night, as it debuts its two-night bio-miniseries Houdini. And, considering it was written by author and screenwriter Nicholas Meyer (Star Treks II and VI, The Day After, Time After Time, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution), the History Channel may just get its wish. The show airs Sept. 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. As the Amazing Mumford would say, "A la peanut butter sandwiches!" (Yes, it was "a la," not "Allah." I looked it up. I'm a journalist!)

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may you always find that lock pick you hid in your skivvies.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Screens, History,

August 25, 2014 at 6:53pm

Arrowhead soldiers and 62nd Airlift Wing airmen move quick at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Soldiers with 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, load onto a C-17 aircraft during a training exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Aug. 21. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor

As they sat inside the troop holding area, you could tell it had been a long two days. Now they were waiting to wrap up the last event to prove that all their practice and hard work had paid off. All they needed to do was load their Stryker vehicles onto C-17 aircraft and it was mission complete.

Soldiers with Company A, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, took part in a combined training exercise with airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Aug. 21-22.

The event was designed to test the readiness and quick response of the soldiers as they paired up with airmen.

The two-day event began with a pre-dawn phone call from leaders to their soldiers informing them that it was time to go. They then assembled and checked their equipment. soldiers who stayed in the barracks closed out their rooms and those with vehicles turned them in to the storage lot.

>>> U.S. Army Sgt. Kierra Ivey, an administrative clerk with 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, takes part in a readiness training exercise at JBLM, Aug. 21. The event was designed to allow a platoon-sized group of Soldiers to practice going through the steps leading up to a short-notice deployment. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor

From there they went through the motions of a short-notification rapid deployment as they readied their gear and moved it to the airfield to be loaded onto an aircraft.

This event was the culmination of months of hard work and rehearsals that began at the ground floor.  

"We started at the basic level," said 2nd Lt. Clayton Shillings, a Houston native and platoon leader with A Co. "Every soldier was qualified on their respective weapon system. After that we went to Yakima (Training Center) for two weeks. We went into team live fire and each team was certified."

The training progressed through squad, platoon and company levels before the soldiers returned to JBLM. They then began their practices for this particular event.

"There was a whole bunch of rehearsals," said Capt. Bradley Goodyear, a York, Pa., native and A Co. commander. "We did rehearsals at the division, brigade, battalion and company levels. We did tabletop exercises; we actually did a terrain model all leading up to this."

The training and drills were all designed to help soldiers and leaders feel confident about the process.

"If the first time you do it is the actual call to go to war, the chances of something happening that you are not prepared for are high, so we do rehearsals to prepare ourselves...to work out any kinks," Goodyear said. "The more and more we do this, the more little things we find that we can tweak to make the whole process more efficient."

The practice beforehand helped the soldiers progress quickly through the two days worth of training events as they continually outperformed set timelines.

"It definitely paid off," Shillings said. "Everything went very smoothly to the point where we had more downtime than we thought we would. What that insures is that every level - including our own - is that we can tell we are ready to go, all our weapons systems will work when we get there, none of our night vision equipment will be broken when we arrive and everything is mission capable and we are able to execute whatever is given to us at the time."

>>> U.S. Army soldiers with 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, and airmen with the 62nd Airlift Wing, load a Stryker vehicle on a C-17 aircraft during a training exercise at JBLM, Aug. 21. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor

Although the training was just a test for the soldiers, it opened their eyes to all the work that goes into getting an infantry unit off the base.

"I've never really been deployed," said Pfc. Erik Kanthak, a Cincinnati native and medic with A Co. "I've been to Yakima a few times and did the (National Training Center) thing. I think it made us more ready, more aware of what we need to do. I think with this training, now we will be able to do it even faster if we need to."

The soldiers weren't the only ones training during the event.

"I think the entire process will go faster now because the civilians and Air Force, those guys had more practice," Shillings said. "They had a lot of hand on training with some news guys that the Air Force was training while we were doing this operation and those guys took a while to get the Strykers tied down exactly right, which was good because they needed the practice, and I think now they've got it down to the point where they can be faster next time and everything will go smoother."

As the soldiers loaded the final Stryker and took their seats on the C-17, they knew that two days of hard work and months of training beforehand had paid off.  They are fast and ready for any mission that comes their way.

Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor is with the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs.

>>> A U.S. Air Force airman with the 62nd Airlift Wing guides a Stryker vehicle onto a C-17 aircraft during a training exercise at JBLM. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor

August 26, 2014 at 7:17am

Tuesday Morning Joe: Fixing VA delays, surveillance flights over Syria, ISIS tough to beat, best concert films ...

The Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, Kentucky Army National Guard toss coffee pots at the Harold L. Disney Training Center in Artemus, Kentucky. Original photo by Sgt. David Bolton

GRAB A POT OF COFFEE AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.26.14 >>>

The White House is unveiling a slate of executive actions today designed to ease troops' transition from military to civilian life and boost veterans medical-care options in the wake of scandals at the Veterans Affairs Department.

The U.S. has begun surveillance flights over Syria after President Obama gave the OK, a move that could pave the way for airstrikes against Islamic State militant targets there.

Obama's Iraq-Syria Dilemma: No force now on the ground can beat ISIS.

Ukraine released a video of captured Russian soldiers, escalating a dispute over Moscow's alleged backing for separatist rebels in the east of the former Soviet republic

Israel bombed more of Gaza's tallest structures today, bringing down a 13-story apartment and office tower and destroying most of a 16-floor residential building.

According to Gaza's Health Ministry, more than a quarter of those killed in Gaza so far during the war have been children.

After 49 days of war, the armies of Israel and Hamas appear to have run out of new ideas - but not bombs. They are now slugging it out in a lopsided war of attrition.

Sgt. Christopher Waugh Mulalley's death in Afghanistan is under investigation.

A female solider died of a self-inflicted gunshot at the U.S. Army base at Fort Lee, Virginia.

Nearly two-thirds of the public say governments shouldn't pay ransoms to terrorists in exchange for hostages, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey released today. 

It's time to sink the Littoral Combat Ship.

The Pentagon wants next-generation armored vehicles that are more mobile, maneuverable and survivable, but without more armor.

The U.S. Army's new Advanced Hypersonic Weapon failed during an early morning test Monday.

End Of An Era: There have been 20 rotations of more than 600 explosive ordnance disposal technicians who have left their mark in the history of Operation Enduring Freedom since the 2004 inception of the 466th EOD Operating Location Bravo Flight.

Enjoy this cool video of some Royal Danish Air Force's F-16s flying low level over Greenland.

Six months after the Olympics and Sochi looks like a ghost town.

Birds are awesome creatures, but seeing huge flocks of them - like these pelicans diving into a feeding frenzy - both amaze and scare the bejesus out of us.

Watch Billy Crystal's tribute to Robin Williams from last night's Emmys.

Can Game of Thrones be explained in a two-and-a-half-minute video?

Prince has two new albums on the way in September.

What are the greatest concert movies of all time?

One morning we would be preparing our usual gigantic breakfast assortment of tropical fruits, whole-grain toast points and pricey organic cereals, when a wee voice would issue from your little feathered head and you would finally say to us, "Race me!"

LINK: Original photo by Sgt. David Bolton

August 26, 2014 at 7:24am

5 Things To Do Today: "The Standbys," writing workshop, Settlers of Kaletron, Sons of Hippies ...

Every night on Broadway, dozens of the best performers aren't on stage. They are backstage, standing by, ready to go on at a moment's notice.

TUESDAY, AUG. 26 2014 >>>

1. From stories about sleeping on couches and siblings' deaths and to tales about being snubbed by producers who tend to forget they even exist and stars who'd do anything to avoid ceding the stage to a backup, The Standbys captures the unshakable grip live performing has on these Broadway understudies, as well as the personal and familial sacrifices that come along with their in-reserve roles. Catch the film at 2:15 and 7 p.m. at The Grand Cinema.

2. Contrary to popular perception, writing is actual work. No matter the frivolity of the piece, even if it be a mere 5 Things To Do Today blurb, you can rest assured true blood, sweat and tears were spilled during its composition. Perhaps not as much blood, sweat, etc., in this blurb, as say in a novel, or a poem, or an essay, or a radio jingle, but. ... This is not the point. The point is that now it's time for you to meet local author Lindsay Schopfer and get in on his Writing Workshop: Creating Original Worlds.at 5:30 p.m. in the Tumwater Timberland Library. He will guide you through creative world building methods, and shares a variety of techniques to make your worlds as original as possible. You can say he is the word on worlds. Or you can just write it.

3. Rolling Stones tribute band Tumbling Dice perform at 6:30 p.m. in the Red Wind Casino.

4. Last year, The New Frontier Lounge adopted a game night for Tuesdays, called Settlers of Kaletron. MC'd by Kale Iverson, the night revolved around tables of drunk revelers playing rounds of The Settlers of Catan, while Kaletron played ukelele and improvised looped electronica. For the month of August, the event has been revived, with game nights every Tuesday at 9 p.m. This time around, though, attendants are being encouraged to bring along board games of all varieties.

5. Sons of Hippies are a dark psych/space rock band from Florida who believe the moon landings were staged and that free love doesn't necessarily mean they won't charge a fee. Singer/guitarist Katherine Kelly meanders on topics such as post-apocalyptic wastelands, desertion, true love, and untimely death amid a sonic web of noisy, glitch psychedelia. Catch the band at 9 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

LINK: Tuesday, Aug. 26 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

August 26, 2014 at 11:56am

I Corps mechanics assist 191st Inf. Bde. and Idaho Army National Guard at the Orchard Combat Training Center

Spc. Mark R Richards, a mechanic with 1st Corps’ headquarters support company, removes a starter from a Humvee during a during an exercise at the Orchard Combat Training Center, Id., on Aug. 15, 2014. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Adam C. Keith

Mechanics from 1st Corps' Headquarters Support Company are spending the month of August supporting the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team, an Idaho Army National Guard unit, and the 191st Infantry Brigade, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, during a training rotation at the Orchard Combat Training Center, located just outside of Boise, Idaho.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jose A. Yanes, the 191st Brigade's maintenance technician, said the mechanics were needed to help augment his unit's maintenance capabilities.

"When the 1st Corps' soldiers arrived, we really didn't know what to expect, but they have been nothing but a great help to us," he said.

Yanes said the mechanics work has been vital because the units at the training areas are running 24-hour operations, so they have been working 12-hour shifts keeping the brigade's vehicles in working order.

"The Humvees are the main means of transportation for the observers, coaches, and trainers out here. They use these vehicles up to 20 hours a day and they have limited time to refit," he said. "When they come in here we have to fix any issues and get (the Humvees) on the way as quickly as possible."

>>> Spc. Chris J. Vetter, a mechanic with 1st Corps' headquarters support company, removes a starter from a Humvee during a during an exercise at the Orchard Combat Training Center, Id., Aug. 15, 2014. Vetter is part of a group of 1st Corps mechanics working around the clock to support the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team, an Idaho Army National Guard unit, and the 191st Infantry Brigade during their training rotation at the OCTC. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Adam C. Keith

Sgt. Carlos Villa Jr., a heating and air conditioning technician with HSC 1st Corps, said the mechanics have also had the chance to perform six recovery operations while at the training area as well as cross train with each other.

"To be honest, I think I learn a lot more from my soldiers out here than they learn from me," he said. "Tomorrow we are going to swap out an engine in a Humvee and that's something I've always wanted to learn how to do; so I'm excited about that."

Villa said he also appreciates the time that being out in the field gives him to get to learn more about the soldiers he works with on a daily basis.

"One of the biggest things out here is the time we have to bond with other soldiers in our unit," said Villa. "Back in garrison you don't really have that opportunity all of the time, but over here you have 12 hours to talk and get to know each other."

Yanes said thanks to the efforts of the mechanics, the operational readiness rate for the 191st has been steady at over 98 percent.

"The 191st would be dead in the water if they weren't here; they are a great asset to have," added Yanes. "They are well motivated and have been doing nothing but great work."

August 27, 2014 at 7:37am

Wednesday Morning Joe: Obama wants ISIS plan, war crimes confirmed, China threat, honest Ghostbusters trailer ...

9th Mechanized Brigade and the 307th Marine Battalion, Naval Infantry out of Babadag, Romania, participated in coffee pot competition against Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force 14. Original photo by 2nd Lt. Danielle Dixon

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.27.14 >>>

President Obama's New VA Initiatives: Many of the 19 "new executive actions" aren't as novel as presented; just over a quarter represent fresh efforts while the remaining either have been in the works for months or were introduced by Congress and now have White House support.

The United States said it would not coordinate with the government of President Bashar al-Assad on targeting Islamic State militants on Syrian territory, as preparations for possible air strikes gathered pace.

Obama wants new ISIS war plan, ASAP.

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.) said President Obama must convince lawmakers that airstrikes in Syria are the "only alternative" available for defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria before expanding military operations.

United Nations investigators have concluded that both the Syrian regime and ISIS are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, concluding that both should be brought before the International Criminal Court.

An open-ended ceasefire in the Gaza war between Israel and the Palestinians held as Prime Minister Netanyahu faced strong criticism in his country's newspapers over a campaign in which no clear victor emerged.

Afghanistan's election stalemate this summer hurt progress in training the country's military, and resolving the political chaos will be key to that military's success in 2015, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said as he stepped down as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

A U.S. man believed killed in Syria was there to fight alongside an extremist militant group, most likely the Islamic State.

The Islamic State militant group is holding hostage a young American woman who was doing humanitarian aid work in Syria.

Ukraine accused Russian forces of launching a new military incursion across its border today, a day after the leaders of both countries agreed to work towards ending a separatist war in the east of the country.

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates secretly carried out airstrikes against Islamic militias inside Libya.

U.S. Giant Slumbers: The U.S. could check China, but our leaders need to wake up to the threat.

Army Professionalism: Why the Army needed to cut officers.

Tracking Space Junk: Defense Department officials announced additions to its space situational awareness program's Space-Track.org website.

Two soldiers who served in Vietnam will receive the Medal of Honor. A third soldier, who fought in Gettysburg during the Civil War, will also receive the top valor award.

The USS America is configured with more deck space than previous ships of its kind to accommodate a range of aircraft.

The Future Is Scary: Video shows Israel's Iron Dome intercepting 15 rockets at once.

Jet skiing through a canyon looks a lot like podracing in Star Wars.

Watch John Malkovich play a vampire in this French commercial.

We can watch this time-lapse video of the Panama Canal's ship traffic forever.

H. Jon Benjamin has launched a hilarious Kenny Loggins-related Kickstarter.

NPR is streaming Interpol's new record.

This guy watched the Simpsons marathon for 24 hours straight.

David Lynch does the Ice Bucket Challenge, David Lynch-style.

Finally: Here's an honest trailer for Ghostbusters.

We dare you to watch the whole thing ...

LINK: Original photo by 2nd Lt. Danielle Dixon

August 27, 2014 at 7:47am

5 Things To Do Today: English Beat, photography exhibit, organic food chat, Kittredge Gallery reception ...

English Beat perform at Jazzbones tonight.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 27 2014 >>>

1. Thanks to the English Beats' "Mirror in the Bathroom," countless kids of the Reagan era perused restaurants for glass tables, hoping to mimic the paranoid - yet chic - stars of the flick Less Than Zero. Led by vocalist Dave Wakeling and punk-toaster/rapper Ranking Roger, the Birmingham, England-based sextet English Beat secured success by merging reggae with mainstream pop. Thanks to VH1's Bands Reunited crew, Wakeling and company remerged 10 years ago. Tonight, at 8 p.m., the English Beat perform at Jazzbones. The Georgetown Orbits and DJ Dubmatix are in the house, too.

2. Experience the work of Washington's talented high school photographers in the Community Art Space at Tacoma Art Museum. The 2014 Washington State High School Photography Competition received more than 4,100 entries, submitted by 1,524 students from 70 Washington schools. Finalists from each of the 12 competition categories are included in the exhibition, which opens today at 10 a.m.

3. Kittredge Gallery on the University of Puget Sound campus hosts an artist reception for two new exhibits from 5-7 p.m. Marita Dingus' "They Still Hold Us" featuring mixed media sculptures from her "Fence" series and Sarah Gilbert's "3000 Miles from Home" new work about the concept of home and a sense of place will be on display through Sept. 27. Gallery talks with both artists will be scheduled during the run of the exhibition.

4. Puyallup River Alehouse hosts the Harmon Brewing Co. crew for a night Harmon beers, giveaways and prizes beginning at 6 p.m.

5. The Tacoma Food Justice Book Club will discuss the story of organic food from its humble beginnings to its industrialization by a number of large producers, and what's good and bad about the industry today as they flip through the pages of Organic Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew, by Samuel Fromartz. Fromartz loved cooking and food and its presentation and ecology, so he soon fell in love with Whole Foods; he also loves knowing from whence his ingredients come. Some of the best parts of Organic, Inc. serve as an extension of the farmers market ideal: to put a human face on the otherwise anonymous food-supply line. How do you create a health food Americans actually want to eat? Discuss at 7 p.m. in King's Books.

LINK: Wednesday, Aug. 27 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

August 27, 2014 at 11:00am

Well, Well, Well: What's happening at Olympia's Artesian Park and Commons

Artesian Park and Commons in downtown Olympia hosts food trucks year round.

At one of five picnic tables at the Artesian Park and Commons in the core of downtown Olympia, I meet with Rob Richards, program director for the Downtown Ambassador Program, and Brian Wilson, downtown liaison for the city of Olympia. Both are in button-up shirts with to-go coffee in hand. A group of street kids, in patchwork pants and tie dye shirts, mill around under a speaker that's playing classic rock. Behind them, a man fills a jug from the well.

The three of us are here to discuss the Artesian Park and Commons, officially opened by the City of Olympia Parks Department May 4. Since then, Phase 1 has shown a glimpse of what the park is slated to be. For now, there are picnic tables and food trucks. The plan includes recreation, such as basketball and skateable areas, and the construction of structures like a stage for live performances.

The two men are working to bring a community space to the variety of people that inhabit downtown. This plan is based on Project for Public Spaces (PPS), an organization that values placemaking - how we collectively shape our public realm to maximize shared value.

"Placemaking breaks through by showing planners, designers and engineers how to move beyond their habit of looking at communities through the narrow lens of single-minded goals or rigid professional disciplines," reads an excerpt from www.pps.org. "The first step is listening to best experts in the field - the people who live, work and play in a place."

This is the sentiment that Richards and Wilson are using as momentum. PPS sets up models for other cities to utilize, and it specifically encourages a concept called the Power of 10.

"All great public spaces - Washington Square, Pioneer Park in Portland, Central Park - they have 10 things that bring in a variety of people to the space," explained Wilson. "And they are typically crowd sourced. So what we did was bring everyone from kindergartners to senior citizens, neighborhood association to people that hang out downtown, and we asked, ‘What do you want to see? What would bring you down here?' ... The city took that info and came up with a design."

Working on the core of downtown is timely, Wilson said. Between the Sears building, Legion Square and Columbia Heights, Olympia will see a 100-percent increase in market rate housing within 16 months.

"We're going to start to see in downtown the need for different types of businesses and different spaces - probably more so than in the last 20 years," Wilson said. "A lot of people ask, ‘How can we handle this?' ... This (park) is the perfect opportunity."

The Olympia Downtown Ambassadors were contracted by the city to put on three events over the summer, and all were well received. There were activities for young and old.

"My philosophy was that it's an opportunity to show everybody what this park can be," Richards said. "We set up a basketball hoop, and immediately people played. Kids who are sitting here now, actually, played basketball. We had an 80-year-old woman shooting hoops with a street kid, a cop and a community worker. There was a huge diverse mix - it brought people together."

The next phase of the park will be discussed Sept. 9 at city council

August 28, 2014 at 7:04am

Thursday Morning Joe: Russian forces are in Ukraine, Islamic State terror, changing memories to treat PTSD, Ramones film ...

Sailors assigned to Weapons Department wait for the command to toss their coffee pots during a live training exercise on the fantail aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Original photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.28.14 >>>

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared today that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine" and called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council to respond to what he said was a "sharp aggravation" in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian armed forces are battling separatist rebels.

According to a pro-Russian rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, between 3,000 and 4,000 Russians have joined the separatist ranks.

China said it will continue responding to U.S. military surveillance flights off its coast, rejecting American accusations that one of Beijing's fighter jets acted recklessly in intercepting a U.S. Navy plane last week.

Islamic State fighters have executed dozens of members of the Syrian army they took hostage after capturing an air base in the northeast of the country.

Militants with the Islamic State are increasingly relying on terror tactics and suicide squads, and the method was key in their recent capture of one of Syria's largest air bases.

American forces face formidable challenges as President Obama considers an air assault on Islamist fighters in Syria, including intelligence gaps on potential targets.

Pressure from the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue is mounting on President Barack Obama to seek congressional approval before launching military strikes inside Syria.

The U.S. airstrikes targeting Islamic extremists in northern Iraq have probably cost about $100 million since they began three weeks ago, according to a defense budget analyst.

The Obama administration is investigating reports from Syria that a second American was killed over the weekend while fighting alongside Islamist State extremists.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says all U.S. citizens who join Islamist militant organizations in the Middle East should be defined as enemy combatants and subject to capture or death. 

As fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continue to seize territory, the group has quietly built an effective management structure of mostly middle-aged Iraqis overseeing departments of finance, arms, local governance, military operations and recruitment.

Ground teams planned to resume searching today for a pilot who went missing after an F-15 fighter jet crashed in a remote, heavily wooded area of western Virginia.

Opinion: A new era in anti-submarine warfare.

The Obama administration is considering launching a humanitarian relief operation for Shiite Turkmen in northern Iraq who have been under siege for weeks by Islamic State militants.

Changing memories to treat PTSD.

Novel: Fives and Twenty Fives tells how members of a Marine Road Repair Platoon in Iraq deal with the war and its aftermath.

A team of researchers thinks they've found the best explanation yet to how the great pyramids were built.

Here's a list of the 50 best garage rock songs.

Robert Plant talks about his new record.

Reunited Ramones estates plan big comeback including Martin Scorsese film.

Twitter finally lets you see just how few people are faving your tweets.

The moon smells like spent gunpowder.

Scented duct tape for half-assed repairs that at least smell good.

It's now time for Angry Dogs in Cute Costume ...

LINK: Original photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

August 28, 2014 at 7:13am

5 Things To Do Today: Endless Summer Party, Searching for Sugar Man, Middletown, Kareem Kandi ...

Eliot Lipp wants to see your tan tonight at The New Frontier Lounge.

THURSDAY, AUG. 28 2014 >>>

1. If you're one of these mixed up people who enjoy summer, it stands to reason that you wouldn't want summer to end so soon. So, why not attend a totally rad party at The New Frontier Lounge that promises Eternal Summer. No word on whether refunds will be offered in the event that summer should end. In addition to the always welcome beats of Eliot Lipp, there will be cool synths brought by the lovely Lobsana and the incredibly new band Crater. If you can stand dancing in this dumb weather, that is encouraged, as is beach attire, beginning at 9 p.m.

2. The public is invited to celebrate the reinstallation of "Children's Bell" by Larry Anderson from 2-3 p.m., in the park at 3825 Ruston Way, in Tacoma. Anderson will be present at this event, along with Tacoma City Councilmember David Boe, representatives from Washington Partnerships for Action Voices for Empowerment (PAVE), and members of the Tacoma Arts Commission. The sculpture was commissioned as a gift to the citizens of Tacoma from PAVE and other private donors to celebrate the life, spirit and accomplishments of PAVE founder and director Marty Gentili (May 26, 1942-Feb. 28, 1993).

3. Will Eno, a playwright (and Pulitzer finalist) born in 1965, was cocky enough to write his own, 21st-century take on Our Town. The resulting script, Middletown, is less than four years old, so it truly is about the meaning of life in our time. Its ad copy emphasizes the arc of life from birth to death, and that's a fair summation of the play. An anti-Seinfeld, it's a show about everything. It's loaded with jokes, but none are delivered as jokes. We laugh a few seconds later, having solved a mental puzzle. Read Christian Carvajal's full review of Middletown in the Music & Culture section., then catch it at 8 p.m. at Harlequin Productions.

4. You should really stop reading this right now. Seriously. It isn't that Searching for Sugar Man's plot developments are gotcha!-like, but this documentary does boast some bowl-you-over reveals best experienced blind. Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul treks his camera to South Africa to investigate the legend of Rodriguez, a '70s-era singer-songwriter long rumored dead. Hidden behind long, flowing hair and dark glasses, he sang in folk music bars with his back turned to the audience. His first album got a rare four-star review from Billboard. Neither it nor the second one sold well, and the story seemed to end there. Bendjelloul traces him to South Africa where the singer's music became anthemic for the anti-apartheid Voëlvry movement of the Afrikaans counterculture, and the musician, with his hazy origins and questionable demise, became an icon. OK, that's enough. Grab your lawn chair, maybe a longhaired wig and dark sunglasses, and head to Olympia's Sylvester Park at 8 p.m. for an outdoor screening of Searching for Sugar Man.

5. Readers voted the Kareem Kandi Band Best Jazz Band in our 2014 Best of Tacoma issue. Catch this amazing jazz band for free at 8:30 p.m. in the Hotel Murano's lobby.

LINK: Thursday, Aug. 28 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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