Friday, March 30, 2012

A movie that will have you thinking.

I just got through seeing "The Hunger Games", and I was impressed by this film.  Let me state for the record, I had not heard of these books, so I knew nothing about the premise... and honestly, I had no interest in seeing the movie even after several people had explained the concept to me.

To me, the movie sounded like one more long winded film that was going to just be a lecture on the mistakes of the human race.  For me, movies that come across heavy handed, or sound like they will be, never capture my interest and if they do, the impact is short lived.

When I started viewing the movie, I had to struggle to stay awake because the movie was slow at the beginning; however it did remind me of another popular legend, in that at the beginning when Karisst Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is in the forest hunting for deer with a long bow, and is interrupted by a young man who is he main love, a man she is separated from

Katriss is introduced to a person who will be tied to her, when she is in the streets of her district, a young man Peera Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) throws a loaf of bread to her,  by this act this young man becomes very important as the story unfolds.For it is these two who become the main focus and their struggle to survive the games.

Katriss volunteers to protect her sister, who is too young and has no skills to survive the games, which are a battle to the death.  24 people are selected, 12 male 12 female from the 12 districts left from a rebellion that failed.  The competitors battle for food, as a way of appeasing the government for their rebellion 74 years before.

The games a brutal, and televised live,   Imagine the Roman Colosseum broadcast live?  This is even more evil, for the games take place in what is very much a holodeck environment, where everything can be changed by merely touching a display, want a fire storm, boom it;s there.

The film is fast paced and has several interesting twists along the way.  As I said this movie leaves you asking many questions, and most importantly, it leaves you hungry for more.

You will enjoy this film and it is well worth the price.  100 Stars.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The most unfair thing a job board can do...

I have been seeking work on line, since I lost my last job, at the beginning of October of last year.  I have used a variety of job boards to hunt for work, many repeat the same postings that are out there; however the one thing that all of these have had in common, is that they are free boards.

You sign up, with your e-mail address and a password, and you can search and apply to any job that is listed, at no cost.

However, that is changing.  One job board that had been free, is now having people "upgrade to a premium membership, to apply to their job listings.  This means if you do not have a credit card, or can pay by check on line, you can not access their listings.

Which site?  I had used this job board in the past to apply to potential job offers, but now I can not.  One more resource gone, all for the sake of the board making a profit.

What really is annoying, is that some of us, only draw on unemployment benefits, so we do not have spare cash to sign up for a premium job board.

Personally, I feel this is not just wrong, but is one more nail in the coffin to people who are unemployed to finding work.  This economy is bad enough as it is, now the unemployed have one less tool at their disposal.  Way to go,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

THE BLACK SHEEP, The definitive history of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in World War Two. By Brice Gamble.


This is perhaps one of the most powerful books I have ever read in my life.  I grew up in the 1960's and by the time I was fifteen I knew about VMF=214 aka The Black Sheep, and their infamous leader Gregory Pappy Boyington... and by the time I was sixteen I was watching the T.V. series that was a fictional account of Gregory Boyington and his squadron.

So it comes as no surprise that I would end up reading this book, what came as a surprise, was how much I did not know.  With the exception of reading Boyingtons auto biography "BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP" and watching the T.V. Series I had been unfamiliar with the history of the squadron.  I had seen one program on the History channel, but beyond that I had no real understanding of this squadron.

The first thing that you discover, as you read the opening paragraph is that VMF 214 had a rather interesting history before Boyington came on the scene, for VMF-214 had been organised as a Marine fighting wing in early 1942 at Ewa airfield in Hawaii as a result of Marine Air wings being decimated so badly in the early days of the war.

You learn of how this squadron, originally called "The Swashbucklers" gained a reputation as one of the best Marine squadrons, who had racked up a fair record of victories in their two combat tours, and how they had been disbanded before completing their third combat tour, due to fear that the entire squadron would be killed by the Japanese.  The squadron number 214 was reassigned to a brash young man and his squadron that had arrived in the Solomon islands in August of 1943, that of course was Major Gregory Boyington.

The book dispells the myth that the pilots of VMF-214 were misfits and screwballs totally, if anything several of the pilots of the Black Sheep, were established pilots, a few aces, and others who were already on their way to becoming aces.  The rest were fresh pilots from the states on their first tour of duty.  Boyington did teach these pilots skills to survive in combat, and the squadron became a legend, racking up a record of 129 planes destroyed,

One of the original leaders of the Swashbucklers was Captain John Burnett, whom Major Boyington replaced, when the squadron was rebuilt as The Black Sheep.

Bruce Gamble goes out of his way to dispel myths about Boyington and paints the man as someone who deliberately misrepresented aspects of the record, for his own purposes.  Since Boyington died in 1988 we will never know for sure if Boyington deliberately rewrote history, or if his misrepresentations came from the time he was a prisoner of war.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of this book, is what happened after Boyington was shot down.  For VMF-214 and the name BLACK SHEEP did not fade away, the squadron was reformed, and had some of its' previous members in the new squadron formed.  This incarnation was taught carrier landings, because it was now a point where the land based Marine units would not have effective range, so the Black Sheep were all carrier qualified and served on the U.S.S. Franklin, a fast carrier that had barely survived a Kamakazie attack prior to the assignment of the Black Sheep to it.

For the second Black Sheep Squadron, their history would be short, and unfortunate.

The book chronicles the three incarnations of VMF 214 and is breath taking at points, you will find yourself caught up in some of the most amazing moments in history.  It is well worth the reading.

Some images of the SWASHBUCKLES and Black Sheep.

Boyingtons' Black Sheep

Black Sheep on U.S.S. Franklin 1945