Tag Archives: lists

TWENTY COLD WAR ATTACKS ON AIRCRAFT

Mascot new lookBalladeer’s Blog’s theme of Top Twenty lists for 2020 continues. With Memorial Day coming up in a few weeks let’s take a look at some servicemembers who died in assorted neglected Cold War hostilities.

APRIL 8th, 1950 – A U.S. Navy Privateer Electronic Intelligence aircraft was shot down by Soviet Union fighter planes over the Baltic Sea. All 10 crew members were either killed or captured by the Soviets with no further information ever becoming available.

NOVEMBER 6th, 1951 – A U.S. Navy Neptune patrol aircraft was fired upon by Soviet fighters off the coast of Siberia. The plane disappeared along with all 10 crew members.

JUNE 13th, 1952 – A U.S. Air Force Superfortress on a reconnaissance mission was reportedly attacked by Soviet fighters over the Sea of Japan and disappeared without a trace along with all 12 crew members.

SuperfortressOCTOBER 7th, 1952 – Another U.S. Air Force Superfortress encountered Soviet fighters off the coast of Japan and was presumed to have been shot down with 8 crewmen losing their lives.

NOVEMBER 29th, 1952 – A U.S. cargo plane was shot down over northeast China. Two crewmen died in the crash and were buried near the craft. The surviving pair – John Downey and Richard Fectau – were captured and imprisoned. Fectau was not returned to the U.S. until 1971 and Downey in 1973.

JANUARY 18th, 1953 – A U.S. Navy Neptune plane was shot down by Chinese anti-aircraft guns over the Formosa Strait off Swatow, China. It ditched, with 2 crew members presumed captured by the Chinese and 5 presumed dead. A U.S. Coast Guard “flying boat” crashed during the search for the downed crew, leaving 4 more men dead.    Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Neglected History

TWENTY MORE “ANCIENT” SCIENCE FICTION STORIES

One of the most popular topics here at Balladeer’s Blog is “Ancient” Science Fiction. That category covers science fiction stories – often very primitive – from the 1st Century A.D. up through about a hundred years ago. Here’s another list of twenty items for 2020.

Nth ManTHE Nth MAN (1920?)

Author: Homer Eon Flint

“Ancient” Kaiju! An enormous humanoid being with skin like turtle shells rises from the depths to rampage across the United States. The entity is intelligent and lays down political and economic ultimatums to the career politicians of Washington DC and to the plutocrats who pull their strings. Though the enormous Nth Man is told that his demands will be met, the tycoons betray him. They construct a high-tech army to try to kill the giant when he returns and the battle is on.

FOR MY REVIEW CLICK HERE   

Mexican MysteryA MEXICAN MYSTERY (1888)

Author: W. Grove

An inventor in 1860s Mexico seeks favor with Emperor Maximilian by devising an actual “thinking” train engine complete with mechanical arms which allow it to function without humans manning it. The intelligent construct develops a predatory mentality, then goes on a wild killing spree throughout the country while outfighting its human foes at nearly every turn.

FOR MY REVIEW CLICK HERE  Continue reading

25 Comments

Filed under Ancient Science Fiction

TWENTY WRY QUOTES

Mascot sword and pistolAnother of Balladeer’s Blog’s Top Twenty Lists for 2020.

“Whoever is not a misanthrope at forty can never have loved mankind.” – Nicolas Chamfort 

“There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” – Albert Camus

“Education is a state-controlled manufactory of echoes.” – Norman Douglas

“To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight of the blood.” – George Santayana

“Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.” – Honore de Balzac Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under humor

TWENTY MORE HAWAIIAN GODS AND GODDESSES

hawaiianislandsBalladeer’s Blog’s Top Twenty Lists For 2020 theme continues with this look at 20 more Hawaiian deities. FOR THE ORIGINAL LIST OF HAWAIIAN GODS AND GODDESSES CLICK HERE

OPUHALA – The goddess of coral, coral reefs and canoe bailers. Because of the sharp, abrasive nature of coral, fish with spiny scales were also considered to be under her rule. She was the daughter of the sea god Kanaloa and the aunt of the demigod Maui. In some traditions it is said she provided enormous jagged chunks of coral for Maui to use as hooks when he was fishing up islands.  

KALAIPAHOA – The Hawaiian poison god. His images were always carved from the nioi, a poisonous pepper tree sacred to him. He was believed to be able to ride comets across the sky. Kalaipahoa was originally worshipped only on the island of Molokai but his worship spread to all the other Hawaiian Islands after their unification into a single kingdom under Kamehameha I. Oddly, this god is also associated with gamblers.     Continue reading

35 Comments

Filed under Mythology

TWENTY MORE COOL FOOTBALL HELMETS

With too many sporting events getting canceled these days here’s a new Top Twenty List for 2020 here at Balladeer’s Blog. This one examines some neglected football helmets. 

EASTWOOD TROOPERS el-paso-eastwood-troopersComment: Why aren’t there more teams called Troopers?

WEATHERFORD KANGAROOSweatherford-kangaroos

Comment: Awesome name and awesome lids.

LEWISVILLE FARMERSlewisville-farmersComment: There’s something about the stark simplicity of these helmets paired up with the unique name the Farmers.

EISENHOWER EAGLESeisenhower-eaglesComment: Yes, that’s Eisenhower as in General and President Dwight Eisenhower aka “Ike.” Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Cool Helmets

AND TWENTY MORE FAILED PREDICTIONS BY PSYCHICS

Balladeer’s Blog once again shamelessly panders gives readers what they want with yet ANOTHER list of Twenty Failed Predictions By Psychics.

Post ApocalypseBERKELEY PSYCHIC INSTITUTE (For 1975-1981)

*** In 1978 a war would break out between the Soviet Union and Germany. Several smaller countries would be drawn into the conflict and ultimately a new government would rise in the Soviet Union.

*** In 1976 the President of Mexico along with members of his family and two of his ministers would be assassinated, ending in the overthrow of the government.

*** Around 1978 or 1979 a Slovakian avatar would appear. This figure would operate on a psychic level and some time later would manifest himself as God. (Remember when that happened? Good times.) 

Mascot new look*** On May 26th, 1977 a war over fishing rights would break out between the Soviet Union and Greenland with nuclear torpedoes being used.

*** In 1980 several icebergs near the North Pole would break apart, revealing the remains of an advanced ancient civilization. Among the items that the submarine explorers would find would be machines, a time capsule and possibly materials from another planet revealing that they kicked off life on Earth. A giant glowing ball radiating tremendous energy would drive away the explorers. Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under humor, opinion

PART TWO OF TWENTY JAMES GARNER MOVIES (11-20)

FOR THE FIRST TEN MOVIES CLICK HERE

One Little IndianONE LITTLE INDIAN (1973) – Light-hearted family western. James Garner portrays Corporal Clint Keyes, who, after clashing with his Indian-hating superior, escapes a potential hanging for it and rides off into the desert with a pair of camels left over from the ill-advised American Camel Corps attempt in the 1800s.

Clay O’Brien was the title character, Mark, a white boy who had been raised by Native Americans and who winds up tagging along with Keyes, Lone Wolf and Cub-style. Vera Miles plays the widowed Doris McIver and a very young Jodie Foster has the role of her daughter Martha. (“Why did you say that NAME!?”)

Morgan Woodward portrays the bad guy Sgt Raines, who relentlessly pursues Keyes to bring him back to be executed for mutiny and desertion. Robert Pine, Andrew Prine and Dallas‘ Jim Davis are in the cast as well. Naturally there’s a happy ending with Mark, the widow McIver and her daughter serving as a pre-packaged family for Garner’s character in the finale. Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under FRONTIERADO, opinion

TWENTY JAMES GARNER MOVIES

James Garner 2Balladeer’s Blog’s theme of Top 20 lists for the year 2020 continues with this look at a score of James Garner films. NOTE: The Great Escape is not included, only because Garner was part of an ensemble cast in that movie. 

Best remembered for his portrayal of slick-talking gambler/ gunslinger Brett Maverick and Westlake-esque private detective Jim Rockford, Garner inspired the term “marshmallow macho”. That description perfectly captured Garner’s special appeal.

James GarnerFor many American males James Garner and the characters he brought to life represented a happy medium between psychotically macho men and unbearably femmey men. I hate the term “role model” but for lack of a better choice that’s what we’ll go with.

In addition Garner served in the Korean War and won two Purple Hearts.

MaverickMAVERICK (1994) – Though James Garner was technically playing a supporting role to Mel Gibson in this film, Gibson was portraying Bret Maverick, the character Garner had turned into a sensation in the 1950s. Since this movie would not exist without the cultural cache built up by James’ portrayal of both Bret AND “Pappy” Beauregard Maverick (in old age makeup) this definitely counts as a Garner film.

NECESSARY SPOILER: The lawman character that Garner portrays in the film turns out to really be Pappy Maverick, with Mel Gibson’s Bret simply playing along with his father’s impersonation. FOR MY FULL-LENGTH REVIEW OF THIS FILM CLICK HERE   

Barbarians at the GateBARBARIANS AT THE GATE (1993) – In this telefilm based on the best-selling non-fiction book, Jim plays F. Ross Johnson, the real-life president of RJR-Nabisco who unleashed one of the most chaotic and frenzied leveraged buyouts in Wall Street history during the “greed is good” 1980s.

The real Ross Johnson was close with Warren Beatty and other major players in the entertainment industry, which may be why he gets painted in a less villainous light in the movie. (Being played by the ever-charming Garner certainly helps.) In reality FEWER jobs were lost by the ultimately triumphant Henry Kravis’ LBO plan than would have been lost if Johnson came out on top.

Teddy Forstmann, the lone Wall Street figure of the 80s who was a voice in the wilderness condemning LBOs and the damage they did to the economy, gets depicted as a virtual loon. Very odd, since Forstmann’s real-life views on LBOs were closer to the sentiments of Larry Gelbart and the others behind this flick than Johnson’s or Kravis’ were.

Ultimately Barbarians at the Gate is a dark comedy classic, it’s true, but read the book if you want the real low-down on the eventful RJR-Nabisco buyout. Continue reading

18 Comments

Filed under FRONTIERADO, opinion

TEN WEBSITES THAT ARE NOT TO BE MISSED

Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at some sites you’ll kick yourself for not visiting on a daily basis. CLICK ON TITLES TO VISIT THE SITES.

INFOGALACTIC.COM

InfogalacticNature: Informational

Comment: Called “The planetary knowledge core,” Infogalactic.com proves you don’t ever need to use W-pedia OR the g-word. Well, you can use the g-word if you want search results that prioritize sites which PAY the g-barons to place them higher than sites that are actually more relevant to your search. And unlike W-pedia, Infogalactic.com doesn’t allow fools with an axe to grind to “edit” entries.

ETHAN VAN SCIVER’S C.A.P.S.

Ethan Van Sciver picNature: Irreverent takes on pop culture … and mummies

Comment: C.A.P.S. stands for Comic Artist Pro Secrets but don’t let that specificity fool you. Van Sciver is like a new King of All Media in the way that he irreverently addresses any and every pop culture topic that enters his crosshairs (And I think we all know how painful that can be). Called “Caesar” and “Uncle Ethan” by his fans, EVS’s YT channel makes for addictive viewing and/or listening. The jovial genius embodies the old clichés like “you know him, you love him, you can’t live without him.” Balladeer’s Blog’s regulars know that I know funny, and Ethan is hilarious! Continue reading

48 Comments

Filed under opinion

TOP 5 COMPANIES LEADING THE SPACE TOURISM INITIATIVE

NASA on UnsplashOften referred to as commercial spaceflight for humans, flying to space is a dream that almost every super wealthy individual will be able to realize in the next few years. Till now, it was only RSA (Russian Space Agency) that used to offer such space tourism services in the early 2000’s at a cost of around $ 200 million per trip. However, they stopped such commercial space tourism back in 2010. 

In recent years, there are some space tourism companies which are going all out to make it the new travel frontier for the wealthy of the world, once again. NASA made an announcement last year that starting 2020 there will open up International Space Station for space tourism. Piloted by Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, civilians will be able to get the space experience at a reasonable cost. Five companies which are leading in this space are detailed below:  Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Neglected History, opinion