Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The New Doctor Who-Matt Smith

I am waiting, experiencing both excitement and dread, for the new Doctor played by Matt Smith episodes to come out.  One one hand another episode/year of the doctor is always a good one regardless of the actor (I even liked Colin Baker) but on the other hand David Tennant's turn at the Doctor challenged even my Tom Baker love.

I had decided to do a post about how going away from David Tennant and Russell T Davies might actually be a good move because it seems like this incarnation of Doctor Who was running out of steam with a plot pattern that was being recycled multiple times.  This plot of unstoppable and relatively unseen alien beings taking over a human and then using their newly gained body to kill the rest of the humans around, with a different plot device used each time to keep the humans trapped in a small finite space where they run and run and run, till the doctor, with a degree of personal sacrifice, saves most of everyone..(See: The Uniquiet Dead, 42, Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead, The Waters of Mars,).

But I have realized that most of my media posts lean to the negative so, I changed my mind and decided to list my favorite episodes of the David Tennant era as a way to help pass the torch from him to Smith.  If you care, enjoy and if you don't just wait for my next post I promise it will be back to my to two major themes of faith and law enforcement.

In no particular order:

The Girl in the Fireplace: I was genuinely moved-it began and supported the first reoccurring theme that the Doctor is alone and lonely  and the second reoccurring theme of this Doctor that saving the world/universe is only accomplished with some great personal sacrifice.

Gridlock: Good Premise, Good threat, Good ending...and like all good Doctor Who Episodes not everything is explained

Blink:  A rare Doctor Who episode that breaks the unwritten over-riding rules of a Doctor Who episode without running out of steam with its premise.  The Pulp Fiction of the Doctor Who world.  The end is the beginning or is it really the end?

Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead:  The best of everything that is Doctor Who, killer premise-literally, has what all the best DW episodes have-the Doctor running in an enclosed space with a threat that he can not overcome physically in any way, thus he has to improvise on the fly, there is also a lot of well timed misdirection, a duality in both plot and setting that is finally brought together into what I guess you would call a mono-ality, a number a cool and unexpected plot twists and easily has the best ending of any DW episode I have seen...ever.  "Now and then, every once in a very long while..." (and I really do not like Donna as a companion yet even she has a real and proper role).

Here is the hope for the future...of these four, three (The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink and the two parter Silence in the Library and the Forest of the Dead) were written by Steven Moffat who is taking over for Russell T Davies.

(The following was an early show with meaning)
Jeremiah 43:9
"While the Jews are watching, take some large stones with you and bury them in clay in the brick pavement at the entrance to Pharaoh's palace in Tahpanhes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Police Interceptor

My first assigned squad was a mid 90's Chevy Caprice Squad with a ZR1 Vette engine.  It was big.  It was fast.  It used a lot of gas and as long as you did not have to turn or stop quickly it was perfect.  The only squad I have driven that came anywhere close was the Dodge Charger with the Hemi V8 but that was only a week long test drive.

As time has gone by the squads have slowly gotten smaller and slower till I am wedged into my seat pushed between the door and the laptop computer watching bicyclists pass me by.

The following article is about the new police interceptor from Ford using the Taurus package (which I believe is the renamed old Ford 500 but I could be mistaken).  If everything that is stated is included into the package that actually makes it into our police parking lot it seems like a major upgrade from what is available to agencies from Ford for the last decade.

Article Link

2012 Ford Police Interceptor: The Crown Vic's Robocop Replacement

 Fords Crown Victoria-based police interceptor will finally end production late next year. This is its replacement — the 2012 Ford Police Interceptor. Other than the movie Robocop, it's the first time Ford's Taurus has served as a purpose-built patrol car.

Ford first introduced its police package in 1950 and today the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor is the industry leader. The automaker's dominated the streets to the point that over the last five years, Ford's controlled more than 70% of the patrol cars sold. Obviously police fleets are an important segment. Unfortunately, the Crown Vic's Panther-platform's getting a little long in the tooth — it hasn't seen a redesign in over 15 years. The replacement? An all-new Police Interceptor built off the Ford Taurus platform that will be produced at Ford's Chicago, Ill. assembly The new Police Interceptor sedan will obviously offer two powertrain options in order to be competitive with the upcoming Chevy Caprice PPV. The first'll be a standard engine with a 3.5-liter V6 Duratec engine producing more than the Crown Vic's current anemic V8 and more than the standard Taurus V6 — over 263 HP. But it's the second powertrain that police officers'll be pining for — a twin turbo Ecoboost 3.5-liter V6 delivering 365 HP and 350 lb-ft of torque. That's the same engine found in the new 2010 Ford Taurus SHO and it gives Ford a performance boost over the new GM patrol car — the Chevy Caprice PPV — that'll be hitting the streets at about the same time as the new Police Interceptor.

There's also an optional AWD system for the members of the Fargo police department and any other P.D.'s with need of more-than-front-wheel drivetrain police cruisers.

And oh, that interior. We're told by police forces who've already seen the vehicle that nearly 90% of the interior's been redesigned specifically for police. Ford's done little things — like installing the slimline shifter on the column to free up more console area. The instrument panel includes a horseshoe shape for aftermarket equipment installations. It even appears they've thoughtfully provided standard 9" spacing between the passenger and driver — just like the Crown Vic — so agencies can transfer existing aftermarket equipment to their new Police Interceptor. Ford's also supposedly redesigned the doors to make them open 71 degrees. That's not quite as good as the Carbon Motors concept's suicide doors, but not too shabby — and better than the Caprice PPV it'll really be in competition with.

We can also see that there's a 220 amp alternator to provide officers with all the power they'll need for computers, lights and the like — and we're told by suppliers there's a flexible conduit inside the headliner for ease of wiring aftermarket equipment. Lastly, don't forget the anti-stab plate in the back of the front seats — for your protection from shiv-equipped baddies in the back seat.

But that's the near-term future. The long-term future reportedly include a second Police Interceptor that'll be available as a "utility version" built on the same platform. Yup, a Ford Flex-based Interceptor.

But, we are wondering if the Taurus being used as a Police Interceptor is just one more step in the eventual evolution of Detroit police officers into Robocop. Probably not, but somehow that's all we'll be thinking if we see this mean-looking patrol car pulling us over.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Firefly Thunderbolt Watch

I just picked up a Firefly Thunderbolt Watch through a friend of mine that is a throw back-the classic traveling salesman.  It has led's embedded into the watch so that one push and it illuminates low level blue to read the watch but the second push turns on the orange LEDs that work like a flashlight.  It is rechargeable and all you have to do is lay it on its stand and it will recharge no cords etc.

This is a law enforcement friendly tool.  The reason I decided to buy it was to have a last resort flashlight with me at all times on my wrist and...well...to also tell me the time.  The last time we were out late in the morning working, my flashlight up-and-dried-out (LED's do not dim so you never really know when they are going to go out on you) leaving me to run through a couple of places in the dark-not a good tactical position-and then perform some searches borrowing other guys lights.  If I had this watch then it would have saved a lot of hassle.  I think for any Officer that works after the sun goes down this would be a good way to go.  Just a thought.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Three Floyds Alpha King

A couple of buddies and I ran over to the Three Floyds Brewery on a Saturday.  First, we went on the brewery tour and I discovered that beer crafting is both easier and harder than I thought at the same time (and I came to this dichotomy before we started drinking) .  Second, we went to the little pub attached to the brewery and had a couple of beers that you can not get anywhere else and ate and ate and ate (Scotch Eggs, Mussels, fried chicken skin and my sandwich was a pastrami and beef tongue).

Their beer Alpha King is easily the best beer I have had in a long long time.  It runs against my IPA love but it is what a beer should always be about, sharp hoppy beginning, citric middle and crisp end, with clean limited aftertaste.  Brewed in limited batches and hard to find, it is worth the search to have a few and if you go to the brewery I will meet you there! 

3Floyds Link

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mosab Hassan Yousef, The Green Prince

I was listening to the BBC World Service News Hour and they had a lengthy interview with Mosab Yousef, who revealed himself to be the green prince.  After his arrest and subsequent release he became an informant for Israeli's version of the CIA.  He has since become a Christian and moved to the United States, and in fully embracing American culture has, of course, written a book which I will be getting.  It all started when a tourist gave him a Bible.

Mosab was able to turn against his homeland, his friends, his family, his initial religious affiliation, his initial political philosophy, his wealth and his power base.  Wow, even though I believe what he did was not only courageous and correct, I am not sure I could have over come all these obstacles that was between Yousef and the right thing.  Is he a hero or a deeply flawed human being that was able to throw off his loyalties and turn his back to all he has known.  I will let you decide.  I am leaning toward hero but need a lot more research on this matter.


Newspaper Write up.
Revealed: 'Green Prince' who betrayed Hamas
Israeli informer who provided intelligence to Shin Bet for more than 10 years is son of jailed Palestinian leader
By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem

The son of a Hamas leader in the West Bank has told an Israeli newspaper that he was the "Green Prince", a key informer who provided Israel's intelligence services with crucial information for more than a decade.

Mosab Hassan Yousef, 32, is the son of Hassan Yousef, a founder of Hamas in the West Bank who is serving a six-year prison sentence in Israel. His intelligence is said to have helped Israel's Shin Bet intelligence service to prevent dozens of suicide bombings and led to the arrest of top Palestinian leaders. "So many people owe him their life and don't even know it," his former handler told Haaretz. "People who did a lot less were awarded the Israel Security Prize."

The claims were dismissed by Hamas as a "Zionist ruse", but independent analysts in the West Bank said they were plausible. If widely believed, they would deal another blow to the prestige of Hamas, already reeling from the assassination of an armed wing leader in Dubai last month, apparently by Israeli agents. Dubai police say a Hamas member facilitated the killing, and Hamas has been at pains to deny there was a security breach.

Mr Yousef, who now lives in California, has gone public with his claims ahead of the publication of a memoir, Son of Hamas. "I wish I were in Gaza now," he said. "I would put on an army uniform and join Israel's special forces in order to liberate Gilad Shalit." He was persuaded to work as the "Green Prince" – a nickname derived from the colour of the Palestinian flag and his own status as the son of a key Hamas figure – in 1996, while he was in an Israeli prison.

Throughout the early years of the second Palestinian uprising that broke out in 2000, he was considered the agency's best source inside Hamas, and contributed to the arrests of the suicide bombing mastermind Abdallah Barghouthi, now serving 67 life sentences, and the firebrand Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, according to the newspaper.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Random Thoughts - John Carpenter

I am on Netflix and was sent John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars.  Despite being an incredibly bad movie (you know there is a problem when all the director/writer of the movie/screenplay can talk about is the score he created with the help of aging rock stars) it seems that Carpenter was being just lazy.

Take his remake of The Thing (great movie) and turn the snow to sand, the prevailing color white for the color red, the transmission source from blood to sand, keep the formless aliens and also keep the sense of isolation and desperation and you come out with Ghost of Mars...well once you add in bad acting, bad script and crappy sets aaaaaaaannnnnddddd lets add a dash of the clothing ascetic from Escape of New York.
He simply ripped himself off and let us down.  This, from the man that gave two of my all time favorite movies: Escape from New York and The Thing.  Why would you phone it in when you are going to spend all the time and energy being the director, script writer and composer, wouldn't be simpler to attach yourself to another low budget project where you only spend 30 shooting days with the movie?  I don't know, it's just a random thought.

PS:  My daughter says he looks like Yoda.