Prize Evening

Tonight I got to attend the prize evening for Maendy Primary School, in my dual role as Vice Chair of Cwmbran Community Council, and also as a school governor. I got to hand out the prize for boys sporting achievement. It was very hot, so I’m glad it didn’t take to long, but it was nice to be involved in recognising the accomplishments of future generations.

Bring Back The Camelopard

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Camelopard’s that half leopard, half camel creature that flounced across the plains of Africa. Camelopard’s are currently classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as Vulnerable to extinction. Their skins have been used in experiments for finding space suits for astronauts and have been common prey for trophy hunters throughout Africa. Their meat was used for food. The tail hairs served as flyswatters, bracelets, necklaces and thread.Shields, sandals and drums were made using the skin, and the strings of musical instruments were from the tendons. The smoke from burning their skins was used by the medicine men of Buganda to treat nose bleeds.

If you still cant picture one of these mighty beasts in the wild you could always try calling it by its other name, the Giraffe. But like myself you’ll agree that Camelopard (its original name, owing to the half camel, half leopard look) is a better name, the species itself being classified as Genus: Giraffa Camelopardalis. 

And thus I say unto you, that we should bring back its original name, we should honour the Mighty Camelopard. And steer away from the term giraffe and revert to Camelopard. if only because its so fun to say.

Tank Biathlon

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Today I discovered that there was such a thing as a Tank Biathlon. President Putin of Russia hosts an annual tank biathlon in which a growing number of countries compete.

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Participating tanks drive a three-lap route of 6–10 km. During the first lap, crews fire at targets positioned at distances of 1,800, 1,700 and 1,500 m. In the second lap, different targets imitating an anti-tank mortar (RPG) squad and an infantry unit are fired upon. These targets are at a distance of 600–700 m, and must be engaged with a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. In the third lap the tank crews targets a target shaped like an anti-tank gun and ATGM unit by use of the turret-mounted heavy machine gun at a distance of 1,200 m. One or more misses leads to an extra penalty lap of 500 m . On the final lap tanks have to go through various terrain obstacles; an obstacle missed or improperly traversed adds 10 seconds to the crew’s final time.

Last years world championship saw entries from Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Iran, Mongolia, Venezuela, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and India.

CHALLENGER 2 TANK FROM THE SCOTS DRAGOON GUARDS TRAVELS TO THE FIRING RANGE AT BERGEN HOHNE TRAINING GROUND IN GERMANY

Unfortunately Britain and its N.A.T.O allies are not one of the nations taking part in this years Biathlon, however I would strongly urge the Secretary of State for Defence (& possibly the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) to show these ruskies who the superior gunners are.

Comic Review: The Ballad of Halo Jones

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This comic came out of the blue at me a little bit. I’d sort of come across it in the past in name only, and then boom, I saw that they re released it as a colourised version, and thought yeah, I’ll give it a go its Alan Moore after all, his work is usually pretty strong, and so I found myself picking up a copy of volume one of the Ballad of Halo Jones.

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Its a really good, but simple tale, Girl is really fed up with the world in which shes living and this is really highlighted by the shopping trip from hell. Alan Moore manages to portray a real world gone to shit in just a short number of pages and set up a real in depth history and a load of interesting cultures within that world.

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For his early work Moore’s writing is still showing the in depth nature that we have come to expect, the Art by Ian Gibson really does throw you in a the deep end of this alien infested future scape, and manages to blend the ideals of future dystopia with that of small town girl looking for an escape route. I look forward to picking up volumes 2 and 3 in the very near future.

Street Surgery

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This morning I took part in a street surgery with my local MP Nick Thomas Symonds and One of the local borough Councillor’s Dave Daniels and leader of Torfaen Council Councillor Anthony Hunt. It was good to get out an about in the fresh air and pick up some ward work to keep me going.

The Ballad Of Jimmy Olsen

One of the most unsung heroes of all of comics is Jimmy Olsen.

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Superman’s sometime son, sometime sidekick and always Pal, Jimmy Olsen first appeared with a little cameo all the way back in Action Comics #6 in 1938, but wasn’t actually given a name for a whole two years until Superman #13.

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Jimmy was a cub reporter and junior photographer working alongside Clark Kent and Lois Lane at the Daily Planet, and has been one of Superman’s closest confidants for 80 years.

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I don’t know why I like Jimmy Olsen as a character so much, maybe its that he’s a fellow ginger who frequently rocks a bow tie? Or maybe its that I just like taking the mick out of his Superman obsession? Who knows? But in spite of being a supposedly powerless civillian and sometime sidekick, Jimmy has enjoyed a whole host of temporary powers from time to time making him both hero and villain.

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His powers have included:

  • Speed Demon – In 1956, a month before the debut of Barry Allen as the new Flash, Jimmy drank a potion produced by a Professor Claude and briefly gained super-speed.
  • Radioactive – After being exposed to a radioactive substance, Jimmy began to irradiate everything in his presence.
  • Super-Brain – Jimmy briefly evolved into a “man of the future” with superhuman mental powers.
  • Monstrous beard growth — The machinations of the sinister Beard Band cause Jimmy to grow an immense beard.
  • Gorilla – When Jimmy switched minds with a gorilla, he went about his reporting duties as a gorilla in Jimmy’s clothes.
  • Elastic Lad – As Elastic Lad, Jimmy by serum or by alien virus could sometimes stretch himself, akin to Elongated Man or Plastic Man. As Elastic Lad, Jimmy was inducted as an Honorary Member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Alien-form – Aliens transformed Jimmy into a telepathic Jovian for a week.
  • Fire-Breather – An accident involving an experiment gives Jimmy fire-breath.
  • Human Octopus – After eating an extraterrestrial fruit, Jimmy grew four extra arms. According to Superman, this was actually a hallucination, but Jimmy suspected that Superman said this to teach him a lesson since Jimmy had foolishly ignored advice from the Man of Steel that would’ve saved him a lot of trouble.
  • Genie – Jimmy found a genie’s lamp and was tricked into replacing its villainous occupant.
  • Wolf-Man – In the vein of the 1957 Michael Landon film I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Jimmy found himself transformed into a werewolf.
  • Morbidly Obese – Jimmy tried to get fat in an attempt to stop a jewel smuggling and to impress a Circus Fat Lady.
  • Giant Turtle Man – One of Jimmy’s most frequently cited transformations was that of his turning into a giant turtle man.
  • Human Porcupine – After rejecting the romantic advances of an imp from the 5th Dimension.
  • Bizarro Jimmy – Although Jimmy has a counterpart on Bizarro World, he was briefly turned into a Bizarro himself.
  • Hippie – Investigating a colony of hippies at “Guru Kama’s Dream Pad”, Jimmy grew a beard and participated in a mock “hate-in”. On the cover of this story’s issue, Jimmy is wielding a sign that says “Superman is a freak-out!”
  • Viking – Jimmy put on Viking armor and mistakenly thought he’d been transported 1000 years backward in time.
  • Steelman – after a volcanic eruption hurls Jimmy and an experimental inter-dimensional travel device into an alternate universe, Jimmy develops his own superpowers as a result of the transit to the (unnamed) “Earth-X” but is vulnerable to fragments of Mount Tipton from his own universe (“Tiptonite”). He adopts a fusion Superman/Batman outfit and launches his own superhero career as Steelman, facing a Joker-masked Clark Kent, secretly the leader of the LUTHAR League before his return to his own universe of origin.
  • Ultra Olsen – Jimmy gained from Professor Lang and his father 2 halves of to the Magic Medallion of the Mayans that, when fused back together, granted him “The Powers of the Mayan Gods”. While he wore it, he possessed super strength, invulnerability, anti-gravity power, and lightning vision. It was revealed the amulet had a limited charge and required recharge from absorbed kinetic energy. Jimmy destroyed the amulet with his lightning vision after the second time he used it.

I still cant work out why I like Jimmy Olsen as a character so much, Maybe its because he is such a nerdy hopeless sad sack of a character that just grows on you.  but c’est la vie.

30 Comics To Read Before You’re 30 Part Three

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In Part One and Part Two we have got through two thirds of the comics that I recommend you check out before you reach 30 years young, here is the final third of the list.

Batman Dark Knight Dynasty 

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Different Batmen throughout time battle against the immortal villain Vandal Savage

Lost Girls

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A rather graphic look at the sexual exploits of Wendy Darling from Peter Pan, Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz and Alice Liddel from Alices Adventures in Wonderland. Its definately a new twist on the original characters.

The Superior Spider-Man: My Own Worst Enemy 

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Peter Parker is dead, long live Spider-man, Otto Octavious, has taken over the mind and body of Peter Parker and is determined to live out the rest of his days as a superior Spider-Man.

Judge Dredd: America 

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A stark look at the lives effected by the brutal rule of the Judges of Mega City One. Read my review here. 

Death: High Cost of Living 

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Once a century Death of the endless takes on Human flesh to better understand the soles of those she is sworn to take. Read my review here.

Wisdom: Rudiments of Wisdom

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Her Majesties very own chain smoking mutant super spy, join Pete Wisdom and his crack team of Aliens, anachronisms, octogenarians, empaths and a Beatle as they take on the threats to the realm that are just to weird to call in the police for.

Flesh The Dino Files

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Time travelling cowboys go back in time to rustle some dinosaurs, all because in the future we’ve run out of animals to eat and man kind still has a hankering for flesh, need I say more? If I do, read my review here.

The Son Of Superman 

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Superman is missing, presumed dead, and all of a sudden his son develops superpowers. Read my review here. 

The New Invaders: Once an Invader

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The New Invaders were formed to take down a Neo Nazi organisation formed by the Red Skull, and features such classic Heroes as the original Human Torch, Union Jack, US Agent, Spitfire, The Blazing Skull and the Thin Man all working together to take down the Axis Mundi.

Harlem Heroes 

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The odds on favourites for the world Aeroball championships suddenly lose half their team to a sabotaged bus, so in the wake of this tragedy, the team must pull together, train some rookies, catch their comrades murderer and bring the Aeroball World Championship back home to Harlem. Read my review here. 

If you liked this check out part one and part two of the thirty comics you should read before you’re 30