To date, we've looked at the more fighting in the world....!
The Fighting Continues...
A heavy battle is current being waged in the Paktia province of Afghanistan where al Qaeda and Taliban forces have been regrouping. Afghan troops and U.S. advisors have been involved in both bombings and ground fighting to take control of this area near the Pakistan border in the Eastern part of Afghanistan.
Elsewhere, elements of the Israeli army made an assault on the Jenin and Balata, two Palestinian camps, looking for weapons, militants and terrorists.
Art Emulates Life...
While two current movies we looked at in our Movie section are both based on true stories, Blackhawk Down and We Were Soldiers are both very much in the "you are there with out boys" spirit of things. Black Hawk deals with a group of soldiers sent to extra survivors from a crashed helicopter (and recent we faced just this sort of disaster in Afghanistan with similar details and results) while Soldiers deals with men fighting against an enemy dug in underground who has been sent there to entrap and defeat the American's, again much like our current warfare in Afghanistan. Rarely does current art so readily cover current reality...
Sun Sues Microsoft
As we predicted in our current DOT NET article, Sun is going full gun after Microsoft who release Windows XP with no Sun Java support (how could they, the license has expired and Microsoft is not on speaking terms with Sun). Microsoft has implemented their new DOT NET supporting using C Sharp as the primary code of choice instead of Java.
There is a lot of talk for more legal action down the line, possibly from other companies!
Bogus Internet .USA Names...
Consumer alert! Don't buy any .USA (dot USA) names at this time. They don't work, may never work and you may be getting ripped off!
USA suffix has not been approved or set up for use (as opposed to shorter US which is active -- .US or dot US). Companies selling these names (for up to $50 a crack) are being investigated.
If you want to buy a DOT USA name just for the heck of like (much like those deeds for Martian lands that were being sold, which have no value and carry no weight) that's one thing, but if you expect a .USA name to work on the internet you will lose you money and have nothing to show for it...!
Marshall Amplifiers Turn 40!
Jim Marshall created these accidentally some 40 years ago. Until then people usually liked clean, quiet amps, but Marshall created a loud, distorted amp with lots of sustain that helped to create the heavy metal, hard rock, punk and grunge generation with the famed Marshall amp that received a big boost from Jimi Hendrix back in the 1960s.
Marshall still runs the British company which, unlike virtually every other instrument maker, has not sold out to some big, nameless company...
Remember, we look at the music business in this issue, including some guitars that are just perfect for plugging into a Marshall amp!
'Microsoft Security' Hoax!
Watch out for an e-mail with the heading: Internet Security Update
This e-mail says it is from: "Microsoft Corporation Security Center"
No offense Microsoft, but thanks to law suits, bad press and other factors everyone knows your company is not famous for being consumer friendly, ergo when we get a care package via e-mail from "Microsoft Corporation Security Center" claiming to be a free, unsolicited Internet Security Update, with a patch program called q216309.exe to help us fix this security problem, we stop and think: Microsoft giving something to consumers for free to help them?
What's wrong with this picture?
Does someone think I look like an Oxy Moron?
Sure enough our virus scanner shows this 'gift' of the q216309.exe program to be the dreaded: Virus W32.Gibe@mm.
Don't open this program! Dispose of it immediately!
And we're pretty sure it didn't come from Microsoft and that someone was using a phony Microsoft address (firstname.lastname@example.org) in a stupid attempt to trick us (next they'll try and get us to believe that the Tax Man wants to give us free money)....
EMI Cuts Staff, Drops Acts
In keeping with our special this month, EMI Records the 3rd largest music group in the world, is cutting down on staff and dropping acts from the roster in an effort to trim and reduce costs.
Baywatch girl Pamela Anderson has developed Hepatitis C from sharing tattoo needles with her former husband Tommy Lee. According to Ms. Anderson, Lee had this condition for a while and either didn't know or didn't disclose the facts to her. The condition attacks the liver and is generally fatal.
For a while Pamela Anderson had changed her name to Pamela Anderson-Lee.
Tommy Lee, drummer with rock band Motley Crue, was previously married to Melrose Place star Heather Locklear.
NBC Drops Liquor Ads
NBC will discontinue their experiment in carrying hard liquor advertisement due to pressure from political and lobby groups.
In the United States only beer and wine are advertised on broadcast television. While no real law prevents hard liquor advertising, no U.S. broadcaster has ever tried this form before NBC began a small experiment in trying this... 03-23-2002
Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman and Leonor Varela star in this very dark sequel filled with lots of fight sequences and special effects.
I was discussing this today with two associates, one of whom said other critics are panning it. I found it not to be quite as good as The Matrix, but overall not a bad film. It is satisfying for anyone looking for a fight movie.
It's not quite as good as John Carpenter's Vampires. The plot line is that there's a new breed of killer that is going after vampires, so the vampire community recruits vampire killer Blade (a daywalker -- half vampire who can survive in daylight) to help an elite squad of killers (who were original to go after Blade!) to stop this new "virus" in the world.
The story takes some interesting twists and turns.
This is NOT a date movie. It's a guy film. It's also not really an action film, it's more a fight film, much like 'Matrix' was (an action film is more like "Rush Hour 2" or "Fast and Furious"). There are a lot of high speed (over cranked) fight scenes with both guns, blades and karate moves.
Yahoo Changes POP Mail Services From Free To Fee
While according to the e-mail Yahoo sent me and the magazine, these changes weren't supposed to take place until April 23rd our pop access has already been stopped and we can no longer download mail from Yahoo via Eudora or Outlook Express.
On April 23rd we expect to lose our ability to receive POP mail from our other accounts.
These services will now be an additional $29.95 per year, with a discount rate currently available.
We asked Yahoo about this immediate halt in POP mail downloads but have not as yet received a reply.
This, along with other actions from Alta Vista and Geocities, marks a major turning point in "free services" on the net.
Yahoo has also dropped their free mailbox size from 6 MB to 4 MB, however it should be noted that originally the size was only 2 MB and Yahoo increased this about two years back. Yahoo has also dropped their clubs in favor of groups. Groups require you to look at an ad before looking at a post, clubs did not...
It should also be noted that no law gives you free web services!
Television Creator Roy Huggins Dies
Huggins was one of the first creators of big studio produced television programs with "Maverick" which starred James Garner, Jack Kelly and for a time British actor Roger Moore (who also played James Bond for years and was in the very popular British TV series "The Saint"). This show helped set the pattern for the production of all filmed one hour television shows that followed!
Huggins also created "The Fugitive" which was one of the most popular, longest running and highly watched TV dramas that was recently turned into a feature film starring Harrison Ford.
Huggins last major television offering -- "The Rockford Files" (which also starred James Garner) -- is still in wide syndication with a dedicated viewing audience! Huggins was 87 years old and he sometimes wrote using the pen name John Thomas James (the names of his children). He is one of the great leading figures behind the success of modern television!
The Tax Man Cometh...
Monday, April 15th, is the deadline for filing income tax returns in the United States. Employers are required to withhold a percentage of earnings against uncollected taxes. On April 15 we declare how much income we made, how much we can deduct from this amount and how much tax we should be paying. Most people get small refunds ($200+) a few have to pay extra money. Those making under $8,000 pay nothing. Those making over $50,000 must be at least 15%. Those making over $200,000 with no extra deductions pay 45%.
It is estimated that between sales tax at stores, national and local income tax, vice taxes on cigarettes and liquor, real estate taxes, gasoline taxes and other tariffs such as parking fees and speeding tickets, that the average U.S. citizen pays close to 50% of their income in taxes per year no matter how much they earn or deduct!
Small Plane Crashes Into The 'Pirelli Building' in Milan Italy
A small plane which took off from Switzerland has accidentally crashed into the top area of the former Pirelli Building during rush hour. Three deaths and many injuries were reported. While Milan was believed to be a possible hot spot for the al Qaeda's terrorist network (so much so that local authorities have frozen some bank accounts and looked into terrorist actives since the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center incident), this incident does not seem to be related to terrorism. It is believe that mechanical or possible pilot error caused this accident to occur.
Pirelli tire company once operated the building and had offices there, now the building is simply known to the public as the 'Pirelli building' due to long standing name recognition.
Actor Robert Blake Arrested
Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks announced at 9:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, that actor Robert Blake (pictured at right in an issues-mag exclusive photo by Terrance Bert) and his bodyguard, Earl Caulfield, have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder and suspicion of murder (with special circumstances, allowing for the death penalty in California), for the murder of Blake's wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, which occurred on May 4th of 2001.
Shake, Rattle and Roll!
The Northeast was rocked by a 5.1 Earthquake for close to half a minute. The quake was felt across New York state and out as far as Boston, Massachusetts.
It has been said that New York City is long overdue for a major Earthquake (and this isn't it) and is not really as ready for such an event as is Los Angeles, California, which sees 5.1 Earthquakes on almost a daily basis.
A 5.1 Earthquake is considered moderate in size and is capable of making strong damage. The size and length of shaking both figure into the final amount of damage and this was a short, moderate quake usually associated with bricks separating from their mortar, some canned goods getting knocked off the shelves and dishes broken. Earthquakes of 6 are the kind that damage large areas, such as those in Los Angeles and San Francisco in recent decades. Earthquakes of 7 and above can ruin an area, such as those in Japan, Mexico and South America in recent decades. An 8 will flatten any city, but quakes of that size are very, very rare!
Fatal Train Crash In California
A freight train rear ended a commuter passenger train this morning killing two and injuring dozens of people, some seriously.
A Metrolink train bound for Los Angeles during morning rush hour was stopped at a signal light when freight train traveling on the same track. Passengers were flung from their seats, some smashed into tables between two seats, causing serious injuries to their chests and rib cages.
Metrolink commuter trains (pictured above) cover about 100 miles of distance each route running between Riverside and Los Angeles (Southern route where this crash happened); Los Angeles and Palmdale (Northern route); Los Angeles and Simi Valley (Western route). They carry several hundred people at a time, to and from the central city into the suburbs for work and recreation.
Shooting At A German High School
A 19 year old former student shot teachers and students at Gutenberg secondary school in Erfurt, Germany (previously part of the Eastern sector). The students at the school range from 10 to 18 in age.
At the same time the Germany government was debating tighter gun controls.
We did a special on school violence in our January issue...
TLC'S Lisa Lopes Dies In Honduras Auto Accident
She was the rapper for the musical group TLC, which picked up two Grammy awards for their 1999 smash album Fan Mail from which spawned the mega hit song No Scrubs. We reviewed this album almost a year ago in our May issue and also listed it in our musical grab bag for the holiday season in our November issue.