Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Take on New Action Hero-Gabriel Hunt

I have just finished reading the first book in a new Pulp-Action Adventure series.  And I loved it. 

Book one is:  Hunt At The Well Of Eternity (Gabriel Hunt, James Reasoner), May 2009. Cover art by Glen Orbik.

Synopsis:  The woman carrying the bloodstained flag seemed desperate for help-but it was the attack that followed that convinced Gabriel there was something here men would kill for.  And that was before he knew about the dungeon in the Mayan ruins, or the legendary secret in the rain forest of Guatemala.  

This new book series is intended to be, in my opinion, the new Indiana Jones of the 21st Century.  Supposedly written by the 'hero' himself, Gabriel Hunt. Along with assistance from "guest" authors going under the Hunt name such as James Reasoner in this first book of a planned five plus book series.   In fact, Publishers Weekly said about the Gabriel Hunt line the following, "Raises the action bar to nosebleed heights.  Pulp adventure fans will be thrilled to see the genre so smashingly resurrected."  

And add to that the cover art work by Glen Orbik - it just fits in with the Pulp Adventure look.  One could have expected to see this style on bookstore shelves back in the 1960s/70s along side of Doc Salvage, the Man of Bronze, etc.  

The pacing is quick.  You get the right amount of information when you need it to carry the story along further. It was a quick read for me.  I took it along to work hoping to be able to read it on my breaks, but Saturday, the incoming call volume to the call cent that I work at was slow for the majority of the day.  Only towards the end of my shift at 8pm did call volume start to pick up to where I was no longer able to read the book.  But in between those calls, I was able to read about three or four pages at a time.  From the time I clocked in until I clocked out, I was able to read three quarters of the book.  

James Reasoner was able to fold in some of his recent U.S. Civil War knowledge into this tale. Anyone astute enough to understand what the Well of Eternity is, that the well is also known by another-more famous name; can figure out what the main plot device is driving this story.  

Ref. (

Friday, May 29, 2009

Henry Jones Senior - Another Jones boy Coming to Town

Sideshow Collectibles' Preview of New Figures shows a great "Hidden" Preview.  As in you see part of it, and by that one part - you know who it is.  Such teasers!  I will have to wait until this Jones boy appears in my local Hastings before I would be able to pick one up.  

For those of you who have still not figured out who this 1/6th scale action figure is, heres a clue for you.  Its Indy's father Henry Jones Sr.  However, there have already been a few digs against this one picture shown so far.  That being that the bag and umbrella appear to be underscale for a 1/6th scale figure.  We will just have to wait and see I guess if the production figures have this same issue or not.
Ref.  Sideshow Collectibles website ( ).

Katrina Pierson Invites Garafolo to Southfork Ranch

Found this nice YouTube video dealing with a pretty Africian American woman by the name of Katrina Pierson and why she is on the side of the teabaggers - not the so-called, non-racists side of the issue; such as the likes of one Ms.(Yankee American) Janeane Garafolo said in the news clip that you will see. 

You see, it looks like there is a big nationwide tea party to be held on the Southfork Ranch (i.e. the location of the famous home of the Ewing clan from the 1980s tv series DALLAS).
Ref. YouTube Video. 
( ).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day: Remembering My Father

This was something I was planning on doing "sometime" out in the distance future.  But keep putting it off due to (insert whatever trivial crisis one experiences in normal life here). This post is more about the life of my father than just on his military history.

I have been reading some of the other blogs tributes to their fathers, bothers, uncles, 
from past wars and that got a light under my butt to do this small tribute to my father - Bert Shanks.  I would love to have gone into more detail than I will for this particular posting.  Simply because my father's military stuff are now put up in storage and for this post - I'm going by only memory.

My father was the baby of 12 children from my grandparents.  There was a 13th baby, a girl who died not to long after birth and my grandparents finally called it quits for the baby making department of their lives.  Dad, like the other Shanks children, would help out on the family farm doing whatever their respective ages would let them do.

After graduating from high school, he signed up with the U.S. Army Air Force and became a airplane mechanic.  If memory serves me correctly, this would be summer of 1942.  He had to hitchhike into the recruiters office in Lubbock from Muleshoe, Texas.  He was never sent overseas.  He was one of those who served on "The Home Front."  He was about to be shipped out to the Pacific when the atomic bomb was dropped.  At that time, he was a engine mechanic for B-29s.  Throughout the war, he was a private.  He never made it up to corporal or above.

After the war, he returned to West Texas. Attended Texas Tech Collage (at that time, now its Texas Tech University).  He met my mother thru a cousin who worked with her at the Morton's Potato chip factory that was on east 34th street in Lubbock, Texas.  They at first lived in a small trailer parked next to my mother's parents house in Idalou, Texas.  A small town just east of Lubbock.  At that time, my father was a teacher for FFA in Spur, Texas.  That was quite a daily commute for him during the week.

Eventually, they managed to get enough money together to get a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house in a new (then) housing development in south Lubbock. Within sight of the Channel 11 TV tower.  I came along as a early Christmas present for them in 1959.

My mother, Mildred; she passed away from cancer in August of 1995.  Then it was just the two of us.  At that time, I was going back to school for a semester, then work or try to find work. then go back to school again.  I wasted my "20s" doing that.

That house that my parents bought was falling apart and Dad and I decided to move to a new house.  With him being a veteran, he was able to get 5 acres from the Texas Veteran Land Board.  We had a double-wide mobile home set up on it.

And if anybody has read my previous posts about what eventually happened to that house, check the archives for Nov./Dec. 2008 for those details.  I will not go back over them here.

He passed away in July of 2007. For the previous 10 plus years before, I was basically his live-in home care service. In 2005, the doctors told me that he had to have 24 hour round the clock care from that point onwards.  I eventually was able to get him put into the Texas Veterans Nursing Home located in Big Spring, Texas, days after Christmas, 2005.  My father's roommate was a J.D. Mitchell.  Now he worked on B-17s also with the 100th Bomb Group.  In point of fact, he actually worked on the B-17 that has always fascinated me since my father bought me my first "grownup" book,  Flying Fortress by Edward Jablonski .  Inside that tome was this photograph of a B-17G nose section labeled "Milk Run Mable." Being in Radio Control model airplane hobby at the time, one of my dreams is to build a RC B-17 and do it up in the paint scheme of Milk Run Mable.  Sadly for me, Mr. Mitchell wasn't able to help me with my research on what the rest of that airplane looked like in the fall of 1944.  She was shot down in January, 1945.

The only photograph that I have on my laptop of my father's military service was of his photograph that was hung up along with his roommate's picture outside their door in the nursing home.  My father's photograph is the one on top in this picture.

From that time up until his death, I would make the once a month trip down to Big Spring to visit him.  Those were painful visits in retrospect.  It was a crap shoot to know if he will recognize me or not when I did show up down there.  Thanksgiving 2006 was the worse.  The entire meal, he kept asking me who I was.  The other vets sitting at the same table kept reminding him that I was his son.  The 2 hour drive back to Lubbock that night - I was on autopilot.  I didn't speed any more than the others who zipped past me at 80mph+ on the highway.  The guy who was driving my pickup truck back to Lubbock was remembering his Dad who remembered him.

How, as a young kid, I ran out into the street without looking both ways.  And my Dad grabbed me by the arm and spanked me hard.  Not out of anger - but fear of losing his only child.

He drove me away from sports for what was done to him by some stupid upperclassmen - they splashed some mild acid into his face.  It did affect his vision. This one incident might have actually saved my father's life.  Because when he signed up to join the Air Force, he wanted to be a gunner on a bomber.  Instead, he was a engine mechanic for such airplanes as the AT-6, BT-13, B-25, B-17, B-24, B-29.    

Of road trips when I was in high school going down to Houston or even all the way down to the tip of Texas.  Just guy time (and at home, my mother was having some much deserved "girl time" for herself).  

Memorial Day is more specific remembering of others' military service to our country.  But, this time around, the rest of my father's life has crept in as well.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Free People Own Guns - Slaves Do Not!

  A friend of mine sent me a whole bunch of jpgs in a email overnight knowing that I am a supporter of the 2nd Amendment that ALL Americans enjoy.  These three pictures say it all - especially the second one that I like the most.  Free People Own Guns - Slaves Don't.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Russian Military Equipment

Check out this new vehicle in the Russian Military...  New Russian T-90 battle tank and a new Russian armor car design (KamAZ Armored Car).


Monday, May 18, 2009

Sri Lanka wins Civil War

In an article published by Reuters reporters C.Bryson Hull and Ranga Sirilal published on May 18, 2009 from the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo; the Sri Lanka military declared total victory of the Tamil Tigers today after a huge gunbattle that ended with the death of LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran.

Vellupillai Prabhakaran, 54 years old, and the founder of the LTTE, was killed in an ambulance as he tried to flee the battlefield.

Sri Lanka Army commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka told reporters that army troops had crushed the last of the Tigers. Quoting from the Reuters article, "We have liberated the entire country by completely liberating the north from the terrorists.  We have gained full control of the LTTE-held areas."

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had already declared victory this past Saturday even as the last final battle was underway.  The LTTE conceded defeat on Sunday.  But it ahs long warned it would intensify guerrilla attacks on economically valuable targets if defeated on the battlefield.  This threat has held in check Sri Lanka's business growth in the tourism sector.  

News of Prabhakaran's death shot the country's currency and stock markets to a one-month and seven-month high respectively. 

The final battle was played out on a sandy patch of ground near the Indian Ocean island's northeastern coast where the Tigers had set up bunkers guarded by land mines and booby traps.  More than 250 LTTE corpes were recovered, and Fonseka said that checks were underway to see if Prabhakaran's body was among them.  Prabhakaran's son and heir-apparent, Charles Anthony and his two top lieutenants, Pottu Amman who was the intelligence chief. and the naval wing leader Soosai.  Their bodies were recovered and even shown on TV. 

India, which in the beginning was a supporter of the LTTE until the mid-1990s when the Tigers bit the hand that fed them; have now come out urging Rajapaksa to let ethnic Tamils to have political power in the country.

Rajapaksa has indeed pledged to allow elections in the former LTTE areas as swiftly as possible.  

The Sri Lanka military has long viewed the death of Prabhakaran as an essential element to defeating the Tigers in the long lasting civil war.  

For additional details, please refer to that original article.  Link below. 
Ref. May 18, 2009 (

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Traveller Role Playing Game YouTube Vids

  I don't have any time anymore to play role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, or Traveller.  But now and then I will check out the gaming sites just to see what is happening.  I have heard that a lot of people thought of the tv series and the single follow-on movie "Serenity" the be the closest tht any Hollywood series has ever come to the feel of what Traveller is all about.  

I miss those days.  For me, painting the metal miniatures and later, building models and or "sets" for play action was great fun for me.  But now, I don't have anyone to sit down at a table with and get our bags of dice out and start rolling them.  I loved the Traveller Science Fiction role playing game.  Getting the little black books with the red or yellow strip going across the front jacket cover of the book.  Then there was the Traveller's Aid Society and the information that they contained within their covers.  

I came across FFE's (Far Future Enterprises)YouTube page where some folks have created their very own Traveller mini-movies.  Please check out the links below to see for yourself.  

Traveller Wars(  The opening to Star Wars #4 redone with Traveller spaceships.
Traveller - The Battle(  This one is very good.  You see different ships and weapons being used including the Azhanti High Lightning.
Traveller - A Quick Getaway ( The title says it all.  Enjoy watching all three.
The Wikipedia summary of what Traveller is all about. (  Image of Azhanti High Lightning off of box art for that supplement.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

MAinfo: Medical Personnel Leaving the U S

Check out this post.  Can You say "Brain Drain?"
MAinfo: Medical Personnel Leaving the U S

Saturday, May 9, 2009

LT Nixon Rants: If Liberals Are Spock, I Guess Conservatives Are Kirk

This posting is INSPIRED!  Take a look at some of the modivational pictures that are included with this posting. Thats why I decided to link that article.  Way to go Lt. Nixon!
LT Nixon Rants: If Liberals Are Spock, I Guess Conservatives Are Kirk

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The New AH-6 Littlebird

Being a collector of 1/6th scale action figures.  Century 21 Toys came out with their version of the AH-6 Littlebird helicopter back when they were in the toy business (supposely, they still are. But when it comes to the Ultimate Soldier line that they put out years ago - they are now MIA).  So, whenever I see something relating to the Littlebirds, I'll stop and take a look at it.

I was cruisng through the aviation tech sites today. Aside from what Bell helicopters has come up with for their HTR system.  Boeing is twecking their Littlebirds.  Basically adding 15 inches to the cabin to create the AH-6S(for stretch) in Boeing's bid to get the Army's ARH program.  Mockups shown at the Army Aviation Association of America show in Nashville, Tenn.

AW&ST has a little bit posted on their website by Bettina Chavanne who also took the photograph that went with it.

Ref ( ).
AW&ST ( ).