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April 14, 2015 at 6:19am

5 Things To Do Today: Haunted Summer, Captain's Party, Science Cafe, Teddy Haggarty's Starbucks Evening ...

Haunted Summer performs at Le Voyeur tonight. Photo courtesy of Facebook

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14 2015 >>>

1. Los Angeles duo Haunted Summer bring a dimensionality and range to dream pop that's as refreshing as it is intriguing. Without sacrificing the gauzy serenity that typifies the genre, they bring inflections of '50s pop (as on the swaying "Ain't One" and their swooning cover of Animal Collective's "Bees") and lo-fi eeriness (as on "Something in the Water," which recalls the Flaming Lips' cover of "Plastic Jesus" in its spare murkiness). While they are sometimes joined by other members on drums, which adds a welcome bit of pep to the proceedings, Haunted Summer still find strength in low numbers. With just dreamy guitar and keyboards, they are more than capable of taking your brain by the stem and leading it on a hazy walk through a secluded wood. Catch the band with Beatrix Sky, Captain Algebra and Coma Figura at 7 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. At the inaugural Tacoma Eco-Hour, adults will meet local business leaders who are creating impact through their innovative and sustainable products and practices at 5 p.m. in the Madera Furniture Company. Expect to build relationships with like-minded peers, share ideas and learn about the activities Northwest nonprofit Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability is carrying out to promote sustainable and profitable business in the region. The first hosts will be professional woodworker Carlos Taylor-Swanson of Madera Furniture Company and Paul Birkey of Belina Interiors. They sustain the hell out of their businesses.

3. The city of Tacoma, Downtown On the Go, Pierce Transit and Pierce County want to thank the region's Bike Team Captains and motivate a few others to saddle up with a Captain's Party from 5-7 p.m. at the Harmon Tap Room. Enjoy food and drink specials while picking up special Captain's Packet with Bike Month incentives to help you and your team get in gear. Learn about what other captains do at their worksites to make riding easier for everyone. Whether you're a seasoned veteran, a new captain or thinking about creating your first team, drop by and hug it out.

4. Longtime nationally and locally renowned artist, actor, filmmaker, designer and South Sound resident Teddy Haggarty has been painting up a beautiful storm, with a positively prolific collection of new works to debut tonight at the Starbucks in the Lakewood Towne Center, which coincides with the launch of the Starbucks Evenings program at the store. After 4 p.m., the menu will include the after-work favorites such as beer and a variety of wines and selections such as truffle macaroni and cheese, chicken skewers and double chocolate brownie bites. Haggarty's artist reception will run 5-10 p.m.

5. Ever wonder how scientists study ALS and Alzheimer's? Join the University of Washington's Laura Taylor in a Science Cafe discussion of human dementia and learn how worms are used in the lab to study the early progression of ALS and Alzheimer's disease at 6:30 p.m. in The Swiss Restaurant and Pub.

February 25, 2015 at 7:59am

5 Things To Do Today: Hilltop Kitchen Novo Fodo Night, beer drinking, Vince Brown, Positive Rising ...

Novo Fogo on Hilltop, yo.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 25 2015 >>>

1. If you were drinking a cocktail with the floral notes of a rainforest, the aroma of banana and lime flowers, the earthiness of sweet red peppers and the saltiness of oysters, you'd be drinking cachaca (pronounced ka-SHA-sa), a Brazilian spirit distilled from sugarcane juice. Suffice it to say that, if you enjoy rum, you'll enjoy cachaça. Until recently, the only cachaças available in the States were the industrial style, made in a column still and full of harsh, unrefined flavors. Today, with the upswing in premium-spirits appreciation, high-quality, artisanal cachaça (both aged and unaged) is now easily accessible outside of Brazil, including a new brand of cachaca: Novo Fogo, which translates to "New Fire" in Portuguese. Every week or so, Novo Fogo Cachaça Empresários take over a hot bar somewhere in this country for a few hours of "Brazilian Zen." From 6-9 p.m., Team Novo Fodo - Leroy Thomas and Jim Romdall - visit Hilltop Kitchen to deliver South American alegria in the form of delicious cachaça cocktails and happy times.

2. This week in "Humans and Other Animals," Dr. Erin Colbert-White of the University of Puget Sound will be giving a talk entitled, "Evidence for Language-Like Conversational Strategies by an African Grey Parrot," in which she'll discuss evidence that parrots can pay attention to social contexts and take turnsduring conversations. Check it out at 12:25 in Dougan 201 on the University of Washington Tacoma campus.

3. Several brewer's nights are doing down tonight. Check it.

4. Vince Brown is no stranger to string swing fans in the Northwest. He plays western swing style take-off guitar with Red Brown & the Tune Stranglers; strums guitar and tenor banjo with the gypsy swing band Hot Club Sandwich; he's half of Red and Ruby - a swing duo project with vocalist LaVon Hardison; performs mandolin and tenor banjoist with the old timey outfit Deaf Lester; and the guitarist with the modern jazz/lounge group The Greta Jane Quartet. Brown's nimble fingers have delighted audiences for more than 35 years. Catch his solo jazz guitarist downstairs at Swing Wing Bar & Cafe, the converted bungalow overlooking Capitol Lake in Olympia, from 6-8 p.m.

5. Positive Rising - a Seattle-based reggae band whose members have been rooted in the reggae community for over 10 years - strive to bring a positive message put to catchy hooks and danceable grooves. They have shared the stage with such acts as Natural Vibrations, Easy Star All Stars, Josh Heinrichs & Skillinjah, Kyle & C-Money of Slightly Stoopid, Tomorrows Bad Seeds and Josh Fischel as well as other local acts such as Valley Green, The Approach and Tribal Order just to name a few. Catch them as part of Jazzbones' One Love Wednesday music series at 9 p.m.

January 12, 2015 at 1:21pm

Nerd Alert! Blackhat, lap dancing, Seven Swords Guild ...

Set within the world of global cybercrime, Legendary’s Blackhat follows a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta.

Penetrating your firewall, 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.

FRIDAY, JAN. 16

Blackhat, directed by Michael Mann of Miami Vice, Heat, and Collateral fame, stars Thor (I mean Chris Hemsworth) as the hottest computer hacker in world history. When this guy arrives on screen, my wife begins purring. It's unseemly. Hemsworth plays the leader of an international team of cyber-crimefighters - so have at thee, Kim Jong-un!

Now that your spouse is all hot and bothered over a shirtless Australian playing a 1337 hax0r, maybe this'd be a good time to visit Beyond Vertical in Fife. The premier pole-dancing emporium offers a ladies-only workshop on the art of lap dancing for fun and, presumably, profit. The event is called "Fifty Shades of Seduction," so if you break it down, that's a mere half-dollar per shade. Last I checked, a proper lap dance runs about ... Wait. Never mind. I wouldn't know. Forget I said anything. What's a lap dance?

FIFTY SHADES OF SEDUCTION, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Beyond Vertical, 2412 Pacific Hwy. E., Fife, $25, 888.549.4166

If, on the other hand, you have kids, you'll be over in the PG-rated wing of the cineplex, glumly schlepping into Paddington. It's the charming, tea-and-crumpetful tale of an Andean bear cub that talks like Colin Firth. Would you believe me if I told you established critics are raving about Paddington? No? Well, I'm serious. Not that it matters - you'd be seeing it anyway. At least this time, your kids won't have awful taste in movies.

SATURDAY, JAN. 17

Imagine this. Suppose you're walking down a dark alley one night when some goon jumps out and demands your cash and phone. Like most of us, you're an easy target, because you have to nothing to protect yourself other than your questionable wits and two fists that wouldn't intimidate a Jack Russell terrier. Now, imagine whipping around instead as you draw a damn longsword. Yeah. Do I have your full attention now? 'Cause you sure as hell have your assailant's! Muggers think twice before tangling with a meter-long, double-edged blade of steel justice. That's why the Seven Swords Guild in Lakewood isn't just some loose coalition of dudes that geek out over "Historical European Martial Arts." No, sir! They're incredibly badass dudes who belong to the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword! Are you ready to test your mettle against their, uh, metal? Then hie thee to their weekend longsword demonstration and tournament, knave. They provide the mask and blade; you bring the agile wrist of a champion.

BEGINNERS' LONGSWORD TOURNAMENT, 10 a.m. Saturday, Seven Swords Guild, 2321 104th St. Ct. S, Lakewood, free to spectators, 253.278.7550

MONDAY, JAN. 19

Now that Neil deGrasse Tyson has settled for a late-night talk show hosting gig on NatGeo, a channel probably some of us get, it behooves us all to learn as much as we can about the vast and amazing solar neighborhood in which we reside. Interplanet Janet retired to the Oort cloud decades ago, so it falls on enthusiastic science geeks like Olympia Family Theater to keep us up to speed. That's why OFT continues its series of morning edutainments for preschoolers by staging a fast-paced (45 min.) episode devoted to the eight major planets. Remember, "trans-Neptunian object" Pluto no longer makes the A-list; like Dr. Tyson, the frigid rock has been relegated to the solar outskirts.

THE SOLAR SYSTEM, 10:30 a.m. Monday (and Saturday, Jan. 24), Olympia Family Theater, 612 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, $5, 360.570.1638

TUESDAY, JAN. 20

Speaking of swords and entertainment that gets my wife excited, Saturday the 17th brings the onset of season two of The Musketeers on BBC America. I don't watch the show, but in this incarnation, apparently, they're covered in milk chocolate and filled with rich, fluffy nougat. But what really revs my better half's engine is the start of season six (the final go-round, we're told) of Justified Tuesday. Timothy Olyphant and his huge, swinging Stetson bring the man-candy; Elmore Leonard's the inspiration for much of the dialogue; and Walter Goggins provides the suave Kentucky verbosity of career slicko Boyd Crowder. It truly is an amazing show. Patton Oswalt enjoys it so much he wangled his way into a recurring guest role. I like it so much I'm willing to overlook my wife humping the couch when Timothy Olyphant doffs his chapeau.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may your opponent forget to use Thibault to cancel your Capo Ferro (unless, of course, you've studied your Agrippa). En garde!

October 16, 2014 at 7:08am

5 Things To Do Today: The Voodoo Organist, O'Leary-Spring reception, Gig Harbor Film Festival, Art + Science Salon ...

The Valley in Tacoma chose The Voodoo Organist to headline its first live music show.

THURSDAY, OCT. 16 2014 >>>

1. You say you want some spooky? The Voodoo Organist, the Los Angeles artist sometimes known as Scott Wexton, channels Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Devo, The Doors and an evil roller-rink to conjure a circus of lounge sounds darkly peppy. The Voodoo Organist has powers, brother - and unless you're willing to dance in the moonlight with Satan himself, the Weekly Volcano recommends you skip The Valley's first live music show featuring said organist, the return of bizarro punk jug-band Swampy Draws and Los Hermanos Brothers. The whale of the Voodoo Organist's Hammond and the moan of synths will get inside you - and it just might wreck you for good. If you do decide to brave it, the free show begins at 8 p.m.

2. Tacoma artists Chandler O'Leary of Anagram Press and Jessica Spring of Springtide Press host a dual exhibition reception beginning at 4 p.m. Here's how it works: stop by O'Leary's reception at the Tacoma Public Library Downtown Branch first and pick up an illustrated keepsake. Then, take your keepsake down the hill to Spring's reception at the Old Post Office, and print a phrase on it with her antique printing press. Both events are free and open to the public. Except a small pop-up shop at Spring's reception, stocked with goodies related to both shows and also featuring guest artist Mare Blocker.

3. The University of Puget Sound's Art + Science Salon series returns to the Tacoma Art Museum for a conversation about the intersection of science, analog and technology at 6 p.m. Expect to hear big words from computer-controlled installation artist Brent Watanabe, audio-visual artist Joel Ong, music composer James Bernhard and multi-media artist Cable Griffith. Admission is free.

4. This weekend the seventh annual Gig Harbor Film Festival will prove once again there's plenty of life across the Narrows by welcoming a variety of locally-made films, independents, documentaries, shorts and more to the Galaxy Theatres Uptown. Upping the ante, special guests scheduled to appear at the Gig Harbor Film Fest include Karolyn Grimes who played Zuzu in It's a Wonderful Life. Tonight, at 6 p.m., the comedy Frank Vs. God kicks off the festival with a post-film Q&A with producer Scott Schill.

5. DJ SlimRock spins soul, funk and more beginning at 9 p.m. inside The Brotherhood Lounge.

LINK: Thursday, Oct. 16 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

September 10, 2014 at 7:43am

5 Things To Do Today: Lonesome Leash, Red Hot ciders, earthquake chat, Anthony "Harlem" Blu ...

Walt McClements will go all Lonesome Leash on Northern tonight. Photo credit: Alleyn Evans

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 10 2014 >>>

1. Walt McClements, formerly a multi-instrumentalist in bands such as Dark Dark Dark and Hurray for the Riff Raff, has struck out on his own with a one-man operation called Lonesome Leash. Armed only with drums (either preprogrammed or live), his voice and an accordion, Lonesome Leash achieves quite a great deal with so little. Despite the pared down setup, Lonesome Leash covers a surprisingly wide range of sounds. Read Adam McKinney's full feature on Lonesome Leash in the Music & Culture section, then catch McClements with Globelamp, the Raven and the Writing Desk and Eric Freas at 8 p.m. in Olympia's all-ages club Northern.

2. The Red Hot continues its not to ciders with "Ten on the Tenth" with Seattle Cider Co. At 5 p.m., the hot dog and beer joint will tap Semi Sweet Cider, Dry Cider, Pumpkin Spice Cider, 3 Pepper Cider, Honey Cider, Heirloom Cider, Gin Barrel Aged Gin Botanical Cider, Red Wine Barrel Aged Pacific NW Berry Cider, Barrel Aged Wild Ferment Cider and Lavender/Chamomile infused Semi Sweet Cider 3.

3. Jeff McGuire, a geophysicist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of Massachusetts, will give a lecture about what could be the next major earthquake in the region, why it is so hard to predict, and what scientists are doing to change this. He will speak at 7 p.m. in Thompson Hall, Room 175, on the University of Puget Sound campus. It might be a good time to head to Massachusetts.

4. Saxophonist Kareem Kandi has hosted an open jazz session for years, a backyard patio for his music school friends, fellow musicians and newbies to jam out standards - fresh, fiery and exciting. The jam now resides every second Wednesday at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

5. The Laughs & Lyrics Comedy Series highlights local and national comedians on a monthly, and soon to be weekly basis, at The Sampan Restaurant & Grill in Olympia. Laughs & Lyrics 5 features New York's Anthony "Harlem" Blu, Tacoma's Frank Brown (by way of Valdosta, Georgia) and another T-town (by way of Alexandria, Louisiana) resident, Ray "Love 75" Humphrey. This will be an edgy, hilarious night with class, featuring dinner and drink specials, and Crowd Control Entertainment & Live From I-5 spinning soul/R&B, reggae and hip-hop after the comics rock, beginning at 9 p.m.

LINK: Wednesday, Sept. 10 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

September 10, 2014 at 7:37am

Wednesday Morning Joe: Obama's three points tonight, ISIS vs al Qaeda, rocket dodging vehicle, Pixar supercut ...

99th Ground Combat Training Squadron participate in a fragmentation coffee pot training class at Silver Flag Alpha, Nev. This is the last time the course will take place at Silver Flag. Original photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 9.10.14 >>>

Tonight, President Barack Obama will outline his plan for combating the ISIS terror group. A senior administration official says he'll focus on three major themes: the threat posed by ISIS, his strategy to address that threat and proposals on how to fight and destroy the militant group.

Obama is reportedly open to ordering airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria targets in Syria in what would be a significant escalation of the military mission against the terror group.

Obama told leaders of Congress that he did not need for them to authorize his strategy to fight Islamic State, before he addresses Americans on the matter.  

The Long War: No end in sight for America in the Middle East.

ISIS vs. al Qaeda: Terror groups battle for hearts of young jihadists.

House members on Tuesday voted to condemn Obama for failing to notify Congress about plans to exchange five Taliban detainees for prisoner of war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Russia carried out a successful test of its new Bulava intercontinental nuclear missile today and will perform two more test launches in October and November.

Ukraine's president said today Russia had removed the bulk of its forces from his country, raising hopes for a peace drive now underway after five months of conflict in which more than 3,000 people have been killed.

Russia said emphatically on Tuesday it did not want Ukraine to become a NATO member, describing such a possibility as an "unprecedented challenge to European security."

Ukraine isn't the only place where Russia is stirring up trouble. Since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Moscow has routinely supported secessionists in bordering states, to coerce those states into accepting its dictates. Its latest such effort is unfolding in the South Caucasus.

The first veteran provided an exoskeleton that enables him to walk will be in California as part of a veteran's health summit.

The military wants a vehicle that can dodge rockets by itself.

Future Army grenade could kill enemies hiding behind walls.

The Air Force awaits a legal opinion whether an atheist can opt out of the phrase "so help me God" in his re-enlistment oath.

In one of the most ambitious product launches in its history, Apple unveiled two new iPhones, a smartwatch and a mobile payments platform yesterday.

Apple Inc's embrace of wireless charging for its new Watch may be a defining moment for a technology that's languished for years amid competing standards and consumer confusion.

Watch: Frances McDormand and Bill Murray stare at rural things.

Frozen food critic realizes what he's done, quits show mid-episode.

John Oliver gives Russia's horny space geckos a proper musical sendoff.

Trippy toonrific ...

ROYGBIV: A Pixar Supercut from Rishi Kaneria on Vimeo.

LINK: Original photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen

September 9, 2014 at 7:50am

Tuesday Morning Joe: ISIS in US, Homeland Security vs Ebola, US military brain drain, atmospheric CO2 at high ...

An Afghan National Police-Provincial Response Company member readies a coffee pot before other PRC members enter a simulated room during a training session at Forward Operating Base Kutschbach, Afghanistan. Original photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Swafford

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 9.9.14 >>>

President Obama will go on the offensive against the Islamic State group with a broader counterterror mission than he previously has been willing to embrace.

Degrading, defeating and destroying the Islamic State.

A longtime CIA operative in the Middle East - whose sources are probably as good as you can get - says "I have been told with no uncertainty there are ISIS sleeper-cells in this country."

Helped by the United States and Iran, Kurdish forces and Shi'ite militia are finally beating back Islamic State militants. But the aftermath illustrates the unintended consequences of the U.S. air campaign against Islamic State.

Iran has detained three foreigners suspected of trying to join ISIS forces in neighboring Iraq.

A spokesman for Steven Sotloff's family told CNN the journalist was captured by "so-called moderate rebels" in Syria then sold to ISIS

U.S. and China discuss avoiding military incidents.

U.S. officials believe Russia may have tested a ground-launched cruise missile in violation of the 1987 Soviet-American treaty.

Not Good: A federal investigation has found that Homeland Security is totally "ill-prepared" for something like the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic - or something worse, such as a global Ebola outbreak.

By The Numbers: U.S. military brain drain.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald launches 100-day VA reform plan.

U.S. House could vote this week to avert government shutdown.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he plans to forge ahead with bureaucratic Pentagon reform initiatives despite the uptick of global threats and military activities in recent months.

"Aurora Monsoon" was the first-ever platoon-level bilateral exchange between soldiers of the U.S. Army and the Bangladesh army at the Rajendrapur Cantonment Area near Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Steadfast Javelin II was a large-scale, joint, multinational exercise held on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, which included aircrew from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

DARPA released a video of what its engineers have in mind for its next generation armored vehicle.

Taxpayers cover Coast Guard private-party patrols.

The U.S. Air Force is bringing back its "Aim High" advertising slogan after a 15-year hiatus with the launch of the "I am an American Airman" recruiting campaign Sept. 8.

All eyes in the tech world are turning to Cupertino, California, today as Apple makes its biggest product announcements of the year.

One For The Record Books: Maibam Itomba Meitei has spent 14 years perfecting his record - the most consecutive pinky pullups!

Bad trip: This man pulls out of his garage and straight into a tornado.

Atmospheric CO2 increases have hit a 30-year high.

List: Top earning authors of 2014.

Finally: The size of dinosaurs compared to airplanes, visualized.

Dagnabbit kids!

LINK: Original photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Swafford

September 8, 2014 at 2:57pm

Nerd Alert! - Ghostbusters, Pluto, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Red Band Society ...

"Red Band Society': A dramedy with all of the snarky teen attitude of "Glee" and none of the musical numbers.

Deleting its iCloud account, 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.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 11

Thursday's screenings offer a last round of chances to catch the 30th-anniversary re-release of the 1980s' most essential comedy, Ghostbusters, on the big screen. Mother pus bucket! Many Shuvs and Zuuls will know what it is to be roasted in the depths of the Slor this day, I can tell you!

SATURDAY, SEPT. 13

It was a tearful ordeal in the geek community when Pluto, erstwhile friend of Interplanet Janet, was downgraded from full-on member of the post-Copernican pantheon to trans-Neptunian dwarf planet in August 2006. Some of us still haven't gotten over it, despite the fact that Pluto isn't in the ecliptic and has a larger cousin, Eris, farther out in the Kuiper Belt. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson was obliged to write an entire book, The Pluto Files, in defense of the International Astronomical Union's decision. One little girl, Madeline, actually wrote Tyson to say, "Some people like pluto (sic). If it doesn't exist then they don't have a favorite planet." Madeline added, "Please write back, but not in cursive because I can't read cursive." Awww! So bring your wee ones out to the plane'arium, learn more about frigid little Pluto out there in the solar 'burbs, and have fun explaining to your wide-eyed progeny why small things are undeserving of equal treatment in an ostensibly ethical society.

PLUTO, THE FORGOTTEN PLANET, 2 p.m., Pierce College Science Dome, 9401 Farwest Dr. SW, Lakewood, free, 360.786.9484

SUNDAY, SEPT. 14

Speaking of Dr. deGrasse Tyson, Sunday marks his first of two appearances at the Paramount in Seattle. Be sure to bring your psychologically wounded children, a busload of Flat- and/or Young-Earthers, tinfoil helmets, and a full trunk of easy-light torches along with your signable copy of The Pluto Files. The avuncular Cosmos host and Spacetime Odysseus is eager to hear your proofs that the Moon landings were a hoax, the first three chapters of Genesis constitute a science textbook, and DNA is a myth.

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, 7 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Monday, The Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle, $31.25-$71.25, 877.STG.4TIX

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 17

After the demise of ER, I bet you thought network television and Steven Spielberg would never barf up another prime-time dramedy set in a hospital staffed with hot doctors. Well, you're wrong! You are so wrong! And everyone loves The Fault in Our Stars, so will this new show be full to weeping with sick, witty teenagers? You bet your sweet vat of Proactiv it will! Ugh, I'm losing my will to live just by writing about it. Anyway, the premiere of Fox's Red Band Society airs Wednesday at 9. If you stuck it out through Extant or this year's season of America's Got Talent (break a leg, Quintavious Johnson!), then those finales air tonight, too.

As this episode of Nerd Alert hits the Web, Apple is probably announcing the rollout of its new product, iWatch, plus two smokin' new models of iPhone with larger screens, faster WiFi, NFC, and A8 processors. I was unable to reach Siri for comment, as I'm still dejectedly rocking my iPhone 4.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may your junky old iPhone fetch a decent resale value on Gazelle.com.

September 8, 2014 at 7:36am

Monday Morning Joe: US campaign against ISIS, sanctions vs Kremlin, contest to Mars, app lets strangers wake you up ...

Task Force Raptor launch dummy coffee pots from the kneeling position at Camp Swift in Bastrop Texas. Original photo by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 9.8.14 >>>

The U.S. is planning a campaign against ISIS that may take as many as three years of sustained effort to complete, including attacking the self-proclaimed Islamic State's redoubt in Syria.

A suicide bomber struck a meeting of Sunni tribal fighters and Iraqi security troops today, killing 16, just hours ahead of a key parliament meeting that is expected to vote on a new government.

The head of the Arab League on Sunday urged its members to join the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The new U.N. human rights chief urged world powers today to protect women and minorities targeted by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, saying the fighters were trying to create a "house of blood".

The U.S. launched a new round of airstrikes in Iraq late Saturday night in an effort to halt ISIS's advance towards the Haditha Dam.

President Obama stressed that U.S. efforts against ISIS will not escalate to a full-blown war on Meet the Press on Sunday.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has established a stronghold in the border area between northern Syria and Iraq, but officials and experts are watching closely to see if its influence will spread to other regions

Just 36 hours after Ukraine reached a ceasefire agreement with pro-Russian rebels on Friday, eastern Ukraine was hit with new shelling.

NATO leaders emerged from a summit in Wales with a plan to protect eastern members from a resurgent Russia, a pledge to reverse the decline in their defense spending, and an embryonic Western coalition to combat Islamic militants in Iraq.

Potential 2016 presidential candidates are using hawkish terms when it comes to Russia and the Islamic State. But while some are banging the drums of war, few are calling for larger annual U.S. defense budgets.

President Obama said Sunday he will send U.S. military assets and personnel to help contain the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Hamas criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today for attempting "to destroy the reconciliation and play into the hands of the Americans and the Israelis."

Russia's prime minister warned in an interview published today that Moscow would respond "asymmetrically" if the United States and Europe impose new sanctions.

The EU says new sanctions against Russia should be adopted shortly and take effect on Tuesday, despite a Kremlin warning of retaliation.

Russia will hold a nuclear exercise in September that will include over 4,000 Russian troops, according to reports.

A group of the most senior civilian Pentagon officials took to the hustings late last week to outline what it promises will be a sustained, multipronged effort to improve how the Defense Department develops, buys and sustains its equipment.

When it comes to post-service plans, 1st Lt. Heidi Beemer has a clearer picture than most: She's going to win a global contest, get launched into space, become one of the first humans to land on Mars, and stay there.

Four years of fighting in the NFL trenches earned a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate a spot on the Denver Broncos' roster.

The Ohio State University football team lost their game to Virginia Tech 35-21. But the OSU marching band scored big time with this medley of TV theme songs.

This is exactly how amazingly big the supermoon is going to be tomorrow.

Neutron Stars: This video explains all we know-or suppose-about them.

Alarm app lets complete strangers dial you up to help get your butt out of bed.

Wacky golf trick shots in slo-mo.

LINK: Original photo byStaff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon

September 4, 2014 at 7:39am

Thursday Morning Joe: ISIS defector speaks, Al Qaeda craves attention, National Guard shortfall, ice bucket fails ...

The U.S. Army NATO Brigade’s Allied Forces South Battalion throws practice coffee pots during familiarization training at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Original photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Wollaston

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 9.4.2014 >>>

A senior White House official today signaled the United States is already gathering support from countries in the Middle East for a united front against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The family of Steven Sotloff, the second American journalist beheaded by Islamic State militants, said he was "a gentle soul", and challenged the group's leader to a debate on the peaceful teachings of the Muslim holy book, the Koran

In the cities and towns across the desert plains of northeast Syria, the ultra-hardline al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State has insinuated itself into nearly every aspect of daily life.

ISIS Defector: ISIS plans to take over the Arab world and then "go to other countries."

David Cameron says that in going after ISIS inside Syria, the West does not need an invitation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, insisting that Assad's government is not legitimate.

A roiling national debate over how to deal with the radical Islamic State and other global hot spots has prompted a sudden shift in Republican politics, putting a halt to the anti-interventionist mood that had been gaining credence in the party.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro accused Sen. John McCain and Israel of conspiring to create the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

Even Terrorist Groups Crave Attention: Al Qaeda opens new front in India.

Ukraine's President announced progress on a ceasefire agreement yesterday with Russia, but U.S. President Barack Obama is skeptical and even Moscow downplayed it.

Russia's foreign minister said any future efforts by Ukraine to join NATO would "derail" peace talks to solve the crisis in Ukraine.

In 2013, 57 Army Reserve Soldiers decided the only way out of their particular situation was to take their own life. That year was the most deadly since 2009.

Training for tens of thousands of Army National Guard soldiers will be canceled this month as the reserve component hits a $101 million shortfall in the final weeks of this fiscal year.

The Pentagon is pushing its strategy to develop new technologies and capabilities alongside allies to drive down costs and foster innovation, the assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering said on Wednesday.

Budget: The Army is spending far too little to equip its soldiers.

The adversary is looking to exploit vulnerabilities in Army computer systems, said the chief of the Army's Cyberspace and Information Operations Division.

A Pentagon advisory panel on wounded servicemembers is recommending that the Defense Department scrap the disability evaluation system it rolled out across the military just three years ago.

Government Shutdown: The U.S. Senate's embattled top Republican is predicting Congress will pass a funding measure that the president would not veto.

The Pentagon will expand its use of prototyping as the U.S. Defense Department's budget tightens, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday.

The Defense Department has agreed to reconsider the bad-paper discharges for thousands of Vietnam-era veterans who may have suffered from combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder but were kicked out of the military in the era before that became a diagnosable condition.

Dangerous Bag: A ball girl at the U.S. Open shows she has the skills to track down whatever crosses her court.

In Overdrive: This is what you get when you put a pug in a ball pit for the first time.

Headbanging: Metal in inappropriate places.

Oh No: Hollywood will make a CHiPs movie.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! hit the streets of Hollywood asking a multiple guys whether they'd looked up the nude photos.

You knew it was coming ... failed ice bucket challenges ...

LINK: Original photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Wollaston

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