A rank outsider?


Many moons ago, I mentioned how much I enjoyed District 9, both as a movie in its own right and for the deeper themes within it. I’ve been following the District 9 Facebook page for a few months now and was rapt to see last night that it has been nominated for Best Picture for the Academy Awards this weekend…

Congratulations to producers PETER JACKSON & CAROLYNNE CUNINGHAM on their Academy Award™ Nomination in the category of BEST PICTURE for DISTRICT 9!

Did you know? Peter Jackson was originally going to produce Director Neill Blomkamp’s vision of HALO, but when that fell apart, he offered Blomkamp $30 million dollars to make any movie we wanted. District 9 was that movie.

District 9 is also up for Oscars® in the categories of Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Visual Effects. Watch the 82nd Academy Awards™ THIS SUNDAY March 7th!

The FB item links to this article Oscar shocker: Could ‘District 9’ win best picture?

“It would be nice if the Academy surprised us. They don’t surprise us very often,” says Betsy Sharkey, film critic for the Los Angeles Times.

“If something unexpected walked away with an Oscar this year, particularly in the Best Picture category, it would say volumes to the industry,” says Sharkey.

“That Best Picture prize sets the tone for whole Oscar show. An unexpected win would get people talking and make the Academy Awards more relevant than they have been in a long time,” she says.

I, for one, would really like to see an adventurous enterprise like District 9 pip the big studios at the post this weekend – not only would it send a message to Hollywood (although whether Hollywood is actually listening is another issue) that we do actually want original innovative and entertaining movies not endless rehashs and remakes of someone else’s good ideas but it is another score on the board for the New Zealand film industry and the magic Mr Jackson. I haven’t seen Avatar – it been a while since I have been in a city big enough to have a 3D screening of Avatar with time on my hands to go to the movies and Carmen’s description of it as “Fern Gully on steriods...” hasn’t really motivated me that much – or The Hurt Locker yet but I think my second choice for Best Movie would have to go to The Hurt Locker if for not other reason than its topic and setting.

Bridgegate totters toward resolution

Michael Yon Facebook ‘Bridgegate’ posts in the last 24 hours…

#1

After the Monday attack, the Generals are avoiding responsibility for security of the Tarnak River Bridge. Worse, nobody is claiming responsibility for the bridge this morning. Tarnak River bridge, three miles from me, is a strategic artery. The Commanding Generals failed on Monday. They are failing today. Confidence in RC-South and TF-K leadership is plummeting. Dark clouds for the upcoming Kandahar offensive.

#2

U.S, considers Afghan command structure changes. (While they are at it, they might consider getting some generals down to Kandahar who know how to secure a little strategic bridge.)

This item links to an article on “…The United States and its allies are considering setting up an American-led command in southern Afghanistan to oversee operations in a key battleground province, U.S. officials said…” This is interesting and aligns with comments made when I was in the UK last year that the US war machine is very powerful and superbly organised to operate with itself and when you get right down to it, it doesn’t really need (from an operational perspective) much help from anyone to get the job done. Blistering coalition elements into US organisations often only creates unnecessary and drag-inducng friction, more so when those elements do not or will not (hello, UK, are you there?) read from the US playbook. While sharing command across other coalition members may make for a nice stand of flags in the higher headquarters and a strong ‘feel good’ factor for senior coalition staff, it is not an efficient nor an effective method of WARFIGHTING…”We’re not in PSO-ville now, Toto…

#3

Got a call out of the blue from the office of Brigadier General Ben Hodges. We will meet in 90 minutes at his office.I have only two questions. 1) Which Coalition partner was responsible for the security of Tarnak River bridge on Monday, before the explosion. 2) Which Coalition partner is in charge of security at Tarnak River bridge now.

That’s it. If the answer is fuzzy, the answer is that nobody was in charge of a vital bridge. Otherwise, the answer will be that X was in charge on Monday while X1 is in charge today. Simple questions, simple answers. We’ve got 20 minutes. Should take less than five.

It’s been astonishing that it has taken from Monday to Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, there remain combat leaders whose soldiers cross that bridge every day, who do not know who is in charge of not letting their soldiers get blown up.

#4

Summary of meeting with Brigadier General Ben Hodges: The result was unexpected. General Hodges courageously accepted full responsibility. My respect for him doubled in about 30 seconds. Henceforth, Strykers will “own” the bridge. Bottom line: problem solved. BREAK. Something very important came up tonight, so will give accounting Friday. The accounting will include an apology from me to General Menard.

#5

Working on dispatch with more details about the Tarnak River Bridge. There are many assumptions flying in comments — often talking (incorrectly) about assumptions made here. Surprises are coming. Suggest cease fire until facts are presented. Some folks are wedging into corners by making assumptions about ‘assumptions.’The detailed dispatch will contain email traffic. After facts are presented, it will be a simple matter for pros to check the trail. (Many pros on this FB.) Remains amazing that MSM missed the fact that a strategic bridge was hit, and instead focused so much on hockey.

Have meetings today with Special Forces and others re ongoing matters. Further details on Tarnak River Bridge will not be published today. Will present ASAP.

Yon’s final Dispatch on this topic should be released today and I expect that it will make for interesting reading…

Travels

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I was on the road the last couple of days on job-seeking activities: had what certainly felt like a very good interview in Taupo on Thursday, and a very interesting day yesterday exploring some alternatives that are closer to my heart, including a couple of left-field initiatives that had me buzzing the whole drive home.

I stopped for dinner, well, fish’n’chips anyway, at the Fastlane Takeaways in Waiouru which we used to frequent regularly when we were living there: sorry, guys, but that was YUK!!! Even the dogs weren’t too sure about the muddy-tasting fish…so you’re OFF the Eating Out list and I’ll be transferring my allegiance to the shop in Ohakune next to the Information Centre…

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