Tag Archives: terrorism

Bombing at Ariana Grande Concert in UK

Hey 3.5 readers.  Very sad news as I’m reading that at least 19 are dead after a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in England.

Sad news.  Sad news indeed.  This is not the same world I grew up in.

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Movie Review – Patriots Day (2016)

Wacky Boston accents.  Explosions.  Mark Wahlberg wants you to say hello to your mother for him.

BQB here with a review of Patriots Day.

It’s not easy to make a movie about real, tragic events.  First, there’s the possibility that people might be offended by the idea of Hollywood making a buck off of other people’s misery.

Second, real life often does not provide cookie cutter storylines.  Thus, movies like these often come across as well-acted documentaries instead of an actual cinematic story.

Mark “I’m From Boston So I Have to Be in All of the Boston Movies that Ben Affleck Isn’t In, Kid” Wahlberg leads the cast as Sgt.Tommy Saunders, a chronic pain sufferer forced to work crowd control on the Boston Marathon as a punishment.  Saunders is in the dog house with the department for unspecified reasons, but he’s assured this assignment will return him to good standing.

What begins as a fun event quickly turns tragic when bombs go off.  Scenes of mayhem, carnage, responders assisting people who have lost limbs, blood, body parts etc.  Personally, I could have done without seeing that, though I understand the overall goal was to explain to the viewer the pain, both physical and mental, that people experienced due to this attack.

Throughout the film, we are introduced to various people from all walks of life, from a young studious couple who end up losing their legs, to the poor unfortunate MIT police officer who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, to the dude who’s just checking his text messages when he gets kidnapped by a pair of terrorists and forced to go on a scary ride as their hostage.

Things get more interesting as the hunt for bombers/terrorist brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev gets underway.  Kevin Bacon and John Goodman are among the actors who play the assorted suits in charge.

One part that caught my attention was how technology made a big impact on the investigation.  Officers collected cell phones from the scene and were flooded with emails from citizens who had been recording footage.  Based on all that data, the authorities were able to find images of the two suspects.

It all concludes in a frightening chase/stand-off in Watertown, where the Tsarnaevs shoot at and hurl homemade bombs at police officers.  The scenes rival any action packed summer blockbuster.  Intriguing to watch until you realize…this actually happened.  Dun dun dun.

Overall, I felt the film treated the event with respect, though there has been some controversy.  For example, there have been some reports that Dennis Simmonds, a black police officer who was injured during the Watertown shootout, then died a year later from his wounds, was not granted any screen time.  Way to go, Hollywood.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  It runs long.  You could wait to rent it, though the Watertown shoot out scene is pretty intense on the big screen.  Again, I do say that reluctantly, as this stuff actually happened.

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Daily Discussion With BQB – Be Excellent to Each Other

This isn’t a political blog, yet at times like these, it’s difficult not to say something.

I believe the Western world, and the United States in particular, is the best because you have so many different groups of people and the people, at least those in the mainstream, realize everyone can be different, work towards common goals and still disagree on many aspects of life but continue to live near one another.

Orlando, Florida is representative of that.

You’ve got a bustling night club scene where all kinds of partying happens.

Minutes away you’ve got a “world” dedicated to providing wholesome entertainment involving a cartoon mouse.

The cartoon mouse lovers don’t protest the night clubs en masse.  The night club partiers don’t try to put a rave hat on Mickey Mouse (as funny as that would be.)

You probably even have a lot of people who go back and forth between both worlds. Cartoon mouse lovers feel the need to party sometimes. Party people sometimes feel the need to pretend that a cartoon mouse loves them.

Both worlds exist within the same city. They have for years and neither world has felt the need to stop the other in order to continue to exist.

This is all just the rantings of a nerd I suppose.

What I’m getting at is the West works when we all get up, go about our daily lives, work together on our common interests, then at the end of the day, stay out of one another’s personal lives.

It’s not perfect and it doesn’t always work out, but it’s a better system than other parts of the world where you must do exactly as the powers the be say or else.

I don’t know the answer to any of this madness.

But I just hope people don’t take their freedom here for granted.

Every time you type on your blog, keep in mind there are places in the world where blogging is either outright banned or so hazardous as to make it not worth doing.

And that’s even if you just write about zombies and yetis and magic bookshelves.

Be kind to each other, 3.5 readers.

As Bill and Ted once said, “Be excellent to each other.”

Millennials, Bill and Ted were these California dudes who…nope.  Never mind. Google it.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Daily Discussion with BQB – What’s Up With Orlando?

Uh…hey Orlando, I thought you were the happiest place on Earth.

Eh…seems odd to not say anything about it though all of the usual “I’m offering my prayers” and so on seems nauseating.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Movie Review – 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)

War. Guns. Terrorists.

Do I really have to call “SPOILERS” on a movie about an event thats been in the news for years?

Probably.  There’s a lot more than what the news covered.

BQB here with a review of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

Hello 3.5 readers.

I’m just going to say it. I almost thought about not writing this review because I do my best to keep this blog non-political.  This blog is about books, writing, and my adventures as a magic bookshelf caretaker forced to launch a writing career in order to satisfy the whims of a maniacal alien overlord known as the Mighty Potentate.

All hail the Mighty Potentate.

But – it is a movie.  And it is a pretty good one.  And I do write movie reviews soo…here it goes.

However, before I begin, please remember that whether you’re a Democrat, or a Republican, or a member of some other party, please know that I still want you to like me and more importantly, I want you to spend lots and lots of money on the books I one day hope to put out whenever I get around to writing them.

Where to start?  The whole situation was a mess. After Qadaffi, the country’s dictator, was ousted, Libya descended into chaos (well, much more chaos than usual) with rival gangs vying for territory and control.

There were two U.S. locations in Benghazi involved – a State Department compound and a CIA site.

It became pretty clear that Libya was becoming so dangerous that U.S. personnel needed to either leave or more security forces had to be added.

Neither happened.  Instead, the government sent Ambassador Chris Stevens, a high level target for terrorists, to stay at the State Department compound.  According to the film, the U.S. government felt that the time was ripe for diplomacy with Libya (they’ll like us because we helped get rid of Qadaffi!) and that additional security would send an unfriendly message to the Libyans (because, you know, Libya is world renowned for its hospitality.)

Long story short, a group of CIA security contractors (John Krakinski from the Office and that guy who plays Pornstache on Orange is the New Black were the only actors I recognized) travel to the ambassador’s residence (when it is under attack) in an attempt to save Stevens.

SPOILER ALERT FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T READ NEWSPAPERS OR WATCH CNN – Stevens dies when the ambassador’s residence is set on fire.  The CIA contractors manage to save Stevens’ security detail.

The group returns to the CIA location and whammo the terrorists start attacking there. The contractors spend a long ass night fighting off wave after wave of attackers.  Perhaps I didn’t pay as much attention to the press coverage as I should have, but I never realized just how intense and long that battle was, so props to the security forces for fending off the bad guys for so long.

By the end of it all the deceased included:

Ambassador Chris Stevens

Information Officer Sean Smith

CIA Operatives Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods

From the movie, its clear that there were many acts of bravery, these dudes taking on all kinds of heat from all sides all night and its something I certainly couldn’t have done.

Now here comes the hard part.

It is clear that were a lot of bad decision made by the powers that be.  And something I never realized from the news coverage – that CIA location had a whole helluvalot of people working there without much security.

A small security force fended off a much larger terrorist attack and saved the day but holy crap, had they not done so a lot of people would have been slaughtered.  Way too many people being protected by too few.

They should have either been allowed to clear out or been provided with additional manpower.  More help should have arrived sooner when the attack began.  Throughout the movie, theres help nearby that can be deployed, but all kinds of ridiculous, bureaucratic nonsense intervenes.

Is this opinion I’m about to say popular? Probably not.  But here it goes.  You, the public, were totally lied too.  Bad decision making let this whole mess happen and then the government tried to cover it up with some nonsense that it was a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islamic video that got out of control and could never have been predicted.

Sigh.  Yeah.  Protestors don’t have mortars.  Protestors don’t have training.  Protestors aren’t heavily armed with AKs and so on.

The government really should have just been straight with people and been like, “Yup.  We screwed up.  Here’s what we did wrong and here’s what we’ll do so it doesn’t happen again.”

Another issue the film raises that we didn’t hear much about in the media – a number of good Libyans did come to the security team’s aid.  Some fought along side with them in the attempt to rescue the ambassador.  Others provided them with information “i.e. don’t go that way there’s bad guys over there, etc.”  A Libyan interpreter who could have left at the start sticks with the team till the end.

And after the attack, over a hundred thousand Libyans held a demonstration to state they did not support the attack.

Soo…ok…the Middle East is a place of great turmoil, but it should be remembered that not everyone there is a total dick.

As for the election…Hilary did get up and make the statement, “What difference does it make?” i.e. was it an attack or was it a protest over videos.  I’m sorry.  It does make a difference. Government needs to be honest with people.

Does that mean Trump is any better?  No.  I have misgivings about a candidate who feels “schlonged” is acceptable vocabulary for the leader of the free world.

To break my non-political rule just this once, this may be the  election where South Park’s admonition that all elections come down between the choice between a douche or a turd sandwich is truer than ever.

Hell, it might be the first election where I don’t even vote.

But…you should vote for whoever you want and still feel welcome in my 3.5 readers club. And more importantly, you should a) not hate me for briefly dipping a toe into political waters for purposes of a movie review and b) more, more importantly, buy lots of copies of my future books that have yet to be written.

Finally, one issue the movie points out to take away from all of this.  There’s a tendency in the media to treat wartime security contracts like crap, like they’re evil cutthroat mercenaries or something but its obvious that they also do a lot of good and in this case, prevented a lot of people from being killed.

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La Marseillaise – The French National Anthem Scene From Casablanca

Bonjour 3.5 lecteurs,

BQB here.

There have been reports that when the Stade de France was evacuated, attendees sang La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem.

If you haven’t heard this part of the news coverage, one of the terrorists attempted to enter the stadium wearing a bomb vest.  He was stopped and questioned before entering and detonated himself right there.  Three people died and its terrible that they did.  It surely would have been even worse had he been able to detonate inside the stadium.

So the evacuees sang their national anthem as they exited the scene.  That protest in the face of tyranny reminded me of another time when French people sang their national anthem in defiance of evil. Although the one I’m thinking of was fictional, it’s still moving.

Casablanca, a 1942 film that brought light to the plight of European refugees fleeing their homeland via Morocco during World War II is one of the best films ever made, filled with quotable lines that still hold up today.  If you’ve ever heard someone say, “round up the usual suspects” that’s where it came from.

OK.  I’ll cry SPOILER ALERT even though its a 75 year old movie.  Whatever.  It’s about a love triangle between Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine, a night club owner who’s fled America to escape his troublesome past, Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund, the hot babe he falls in love with in France and Paul Henried as Victor Laszlo, an anti-Nazi writer and activist.  Ilsa fell for Rick assuming she’d never see Victor again but voila, he returns and it’s heartbreak city all around.

But I’m not talking about that part.  I’m talking about the part where the evil Major Strasser sings a Nazi tune with his jack booted brethren, only to be drowned out by Victor and other French folk in attendance.

La Marseillaise.  It worked against Nazis.  It works against terrorists.

Casablanca – 1942

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Paris

Take a knee, 3.5 readers.

I’m not old.  Depending on your age, you might consider me old or young.

I am old enough to remember the 9/11 attacks, and also, that there was a pre-9/11 world and a post-9/11 world, and I don’t think any of us understood how naive, maybe even innocent we were in those pre-9/11 days until after the World Trade Center came down.

Much has happened since then.  America responded.  Republicans and Democrats have been at each others’ throats as to what’s the best response, leaving the country more divided than ever, to the point where everyone involved in politics hates each other so much that it makes me wonder if the terrorists didn’t in fact win that day.

I don’t get political on this blog.  Prior to 9/11, I was vocal about my political opinions, but that was back in the day when people were able to talk, listen, agree to disagree, and then have a beer together after.

Now each side is so hell bent on convincing the world that the other side is a bunch of fire breathing kitten kickers that I’ll have no part of it.

What I will say this.  The Western World, with all of its democracy, freedom, capitalism, and opportunity, is not a bad place.  If it was, people wouldn’t be flocking in droves to come here.

It should be protected.  More importantly, it deserves to be protected.  The fate of humanity rests on it being protected.

How exactly to do that…I hope the powers that be can come together and find a way.

I’d offer my thoughts, but I’d rather be universally loved then partially hated, and if there’s one thing for sure these days, offering your opinion on anything political is a surefire way to get 50% of the population to hate your guts.

So I’ll just stick with my humble blog and my fun stories and more importantly, with my beloved 3.5 readers, who approve of me at a whopping 100%.

Wait.  This just in.  The .5th reader thinks I stink.  Fine.  95% of my readers love me.  Did I even do the math right on that?  Someone get a pen and paper and figure it out.

I am thinking of you, Paris.  It’s a lame thing to say.  Really, how does me thinking of Paris help them but alas, it’s all I can do.

Politicians of the world, good luck, and make an effort to come together as the free world needs you to do so now more than ever.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be here at BQB HQ with my head buried in the sand, writing my goofy stories that only 3.5 people read.

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