Jack Reacher

jackRHaving read loads of very exciting Lee Child novels, I would like to see the Movie Jack Reacher, Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie and Based on the 2005 novel One Shot by Lee Child. Jack Reacher Stars Tom Cruise as a 6′ 5″ tall (1.96m) former United States Army Military Police Major named Jack Reacher, who has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair (and looks nothing like Tom Cruise). Reacher served 13 years in the Military Police, during which time he became part of a fictional military police unit, the 110th Special Investigations Unit, formed to handle exceptionally tough cases, especially those involving members of the United States Army Special Forces. He has also received many military awards during his distinguished military career, including the Silver Star, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Soldier’s Medal, the Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart.

Since leaving the Army, Reacher has been a drifter. He wanders throughout the United States because he was accustomed to being told where to go, when to go and what to do for every day of his life from military childhood to military adulthood. He also felt he never got to know his own country, having spent much of his youth living overseas on military bases and at the military school West Point. He usually travels by hitchhiking or bus. As a drifter, the only possessions he carries are money, a foldable toothbrush and, after 9/11, an expired passport and an ATM debit card. He has never possessed a driver’s license.

Jack Reacher is asked to investigate after the city of Pittsburgh is thrown into chaos when A gunman fires into a rush hour crowd, murdering five victims with six shots. What at first seems like a simple case becomes complicated when The evidence leads the police to James Barr, a former Army sniper.Reacher believes Barr is guilty but Barr’s sister Rosemary is convinced her brother is innocent, enlisting young defense lawyer Helen Rodin against her D.A. father and a prosecution team that has a secret of its own. While investigating Reacher goes to the sniper’s practice range and learns some facts from Samuel Cash, the former U.S. Marine who owns the shooting range, which make him doubt the guilty airtight case against Barr. Could someone have set Barr up as the sniper

As he investigates the unseen enemy pulling the strings, Reacher also clashes with a Russian gang, masquerading as legitimate businessmen. The gang’s capo spent most of his life in the infamous Soviet Gulag and is known only as The Zec, soon Reacher begins to feel that he has only scratched the surface on a conspiracy that will not only take down the city leaders, but may end up costing him his own life. The film also stars Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog, David Oyelowo and Robert Duvall and is released on December 21, 2012. For more information Visit the official site

Happy Birthday Nate Mendel (Foo Fighters)

Nate Mendel, the Bass Player with Sunny Day Real Estate and Foo Fighters was born 2nd December 1968. The Foo Fighters were formed Following Kurt Cobain’s untimely death in April 1994, after Dave Grohl made a Demo tape which created considerable major label interest. Nirvana’s A&R rep Gary Gersh & president of Capitol Records signed Grohl  with the label. Grohl did not want the effort to be considered the start of a solo career so he recruited other band members: former Germs and touring Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear, and two members of the band Sunny Day Real Estate, William Goldsmith (drums) and Nate Mendel (bass). Rather than re-record the album, Grohl’s demo was given a professional mix by Rob Schnapf and Tom Rothrock and was released in July 1995 as Foo Fighters’ debut album.

In the midst of the initial sessions for Foo Fighters’ second album, tension emerged between Grohl and Goldsmith. After which Goldsmith officially announced his departure from the band. The band’s second album, The Colour and the Shape,was released in 1997 and cemented Foo Fighters as a staple of rock radio. The album spawned several hits, including “Everlong“, “My Hero“, and “Monkey Wrench“. Just prior to the album’s release, former Alanis Morissette drummer Taylor Hawkins joined the band on drums, he was joined by Grohl’s former Scream bandmate Franz Stahl. (Stahl departed the band prior to recording of Foo Fighters’ third album and was replaced by touring guitarist Chris Shiflett, who later became a full-fledged member during the recording of One by One.

In 2000, the band recruited Queen guitarist Brian May to add some guitar flourish to a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar”. The friendship between the two bands resulted in Grohl and Taylor Hawkins being asked to induct Queen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Grohl and Hawkins joined May and Queen drummer Roger Taylor to perform “Tie Your Mother Down”, with Grohl standing in on vocals for Freddie Mercury. (May later contributed guitar work for the song “Tired of You” on the ensuing Foo Fighters album, as well as on an unreleased Foo Fighters song called “Knucklehead”.)

Near the end of 2001, Foo Fighters returned to the studio to work on their fourth album “One by One”. After which, Grohl accepted an invitation to join Queens of the Stone Age and helped them to record their 2002 album Songs for the Deaf. On November 23, 2002, Grohl achieved a historical milestone by replacing himself on the top of the Billboard Modern Rock chart, when “You Know You’re Right” by Nirvana was replaced by “All My Life” by Foo Fighters. When “All My Life” ended its run, after a one week respite, “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age took the number one spot. Between October 26, 2002 and March 1, 2003 Grohl was in the number one spot on the Modern Rock charts for 17 of 18 successive weeks, as a member of three different groups.

On June 14, 2005 Foo Fighters released their fifth album In Your Honor  Featuring collaborations with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Norah Jones. the album was a departure from previous efforts, and included one rock and one acoustic disc. Foo Fighters’s sixth studio album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace was released on September 25, 2007. and spawned three singles  “The Pretender”, “Long Road to Ruin” and “Let It Die”. On November 3, 2009 Foo Fighters released their first Greatest Hits collection, consisting of 16 tracks including a previously unreleased acoustic version of “Everlong” and two new tracks “Wheels” and “Word Forward” which were produced by Nevermind’s producer Butch Vig. The Foo Fighters’ latest studio album, Wasting Light, was released on April 12, 2011, and contains the single “Walk” among other great songs.

Happy Birthday Rick Savage (Def Leppard)

Rick Savage,  bass player with Def Leppard was Born 2nd December 1960.Formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement.Def Leppard  ’s strongest commercial success came between the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Their 1981 album High ‘n’ Dry was produced byRobert John “Mutt” Lange, who helped them begin to define their style, and the album’s stand out track “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” became one of the first metal videos played on MTV in 1982. The band’s next studio album Pyromania in 1983, with the singles Photograph and Rock of Ages, turned Def Leppard into a household name. In 2004, the album ranked number 384 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Def Leppard’s fourth album Hysteria, released in 1987, topped the U.S a nd UK album charts. As of 2009 it has 12x platinum sales in the United States, and has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide. The album contained loads of great songs, including the U.S. Billboard Hot 100number one “Love Bites”, alongside Pour Some Sugar on Me  , “Hysteria”,Armaggeddon It , “Animal” Rocket“., Gods of War and Women

Their next studio album Adrenalize  reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and UK Album Chart in 1992, and contained several hits including, “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”. Their 1993 album Retro Active contained the acoustic hit song “Two Steps Behind”, while their greatest hits album Vault released in 1995 featured track “When Love & Hate Collide.

LNER 4472 (BR 60103) Flying Scotsman

On 30 November 1934,  4472 Flying Scotsman became the first steam locomotive to be officially recorded at 100 mph (160.9 km/h) and earned a place in the land speed record for railed vehicles. The LNER Class A3 Pacific steam locomotive No. 4472 Flying Scotsman (originally No. 1472) was built in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at Doncaster Works to a design of H.N. Gresley. It was employed on long-distance express trains on the LNER and its successors, British Railways Eastern and North-Eastern Regions, notably on the 10am London to Edinburgh Flying Scotsman service after which it was named. In its career 4472 Flying Scotsman has covered more than 2,000,000 miles (3,200,000 km).The locomotive was completed in 1923, construction having been started under the auspices of the Great Northern Railway (GNR). It was built as an A1, initially carrying the GNR number 1472, because the LNER had not yet decided on a system-wide numbering scheme.

Flying Scotsman was something of a flagship locomotive for the LNER. It represented the company at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924 and 1925. Before this event, in February 1924 it acquired its name and the new number of 4472. This locomotive was one of five Gresley Pacifics selected to haul the prestigious non-stop Flying Scotsman train service from London to Edinburgh, hauling the inaugural train on 1 May 1928. For this the locomotives ran with a new version of the large eight-wheel tender which held 9 tons of coal. This and the usual facility for water replenishment from the water trough system enabled them to travel the 392 miles (631 km) from London to Edinburgh in eight hours non-stop. The tender included a corridor connection and tunnel through the water tank giving access to the locomotive cab from the train to permit replacement of the driver and fireman without stopping the train. The following year the locomotive appeared in the film The Flying Scotsman.

Flying Scotsman emerged from Doncaster works on 4 January 1947 as an A3, having received a boiler with the long “banjo” dome of the type it carries today. By this time it had been renumbered twice: under Edward Thompson’s comprehensive renumbering scheme for the LNER, it became no. 502 in January 1946; but in May the same year, under an amendment to that plan, it become no. 103. Following nationalisation of the railways on 1 January 1948, almost all of the LNER locomotive numbers were increased by 60000, and no. 103 duly became 60103. under BR ownership, it was allocated to Leicester Central shed on the Great Central, running Nottingham Victoria to London Marylebone services via Leicester Central.

All A3 Pacifics were subsequently fitted with a double Kylchap chimney to improve performance and economy.  German-type smoke deflectors were also  fitted from 1960, which somewhat changed the locomotives’ appearance.Number 60103 ended service with British Railways in January 1963 and was sold for preservation to Alan Pegler, who had it restored at Darlington Works as closely as possible to its LNER condition: the smoke deflectors were removed, the double chimney was replaced by a single chimney, and the tender was replaced by one of the corridor type with which the locomotive had run between 1928 and 1936. It was also repainted into LNER livery, although the cylinder sides were painted green, whereas in LNER days they were always black. It then worked a number of rail tours, including a non-stop London–Edinburgh run in 1968 – the year steam traction officially ended on BR. In 1966 Pegler purchased a second corridor tender, and adapted as an auxiliary water tank; retaining its through gangway, this was coupled behind the normal tender.

Pegler had a contract permitting him to run his locomotive on BR until 1972, but following overhaul in the winter of 1968–69 it went on a promotional tour to the USA, for which it was fitted with cowcatcher, bell, buckeye couplings, American-style whistle, air brakes and high-intensity headlamp. The trip was initially a success, but when Pegler’s backers withdrew their support he began to lose money and was finally bankrupted in 1972. Fears then arose for the engine’s future, the speculation being that it could take up permanent residence in America or even be cut up. William McAlpine stepped in and bought the locomotive for £25,000 direct from the finance company in San Francisco docks. After its return to the UK via the Panama Canal in February 1973, McAlpine paid for the locomotive’s restoration at Derby Works. Trial runs took place on the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway in summer 1973, after which it was transferred to Steamtown (Carnforth), from where it steamed on various tours. In October 1988 the locomotive arrived in Australia to take part in that country’s bicentenary celebrations and during the course of the next year it travelled more than 45,000 kilometres (28,000 mi) over Australian rails, including a transcontinental run from Sydney to Perth. It was a central attraction in the Aus Steam ’88 festival, double-heading with NSWGR locomotive 3801, and running alongside Victorian Railways R class locomotives along the 300 km (190 m)-long parallel Victorian broad gauge|broad and standard gauge tracks of the North East railway line, Victoria. The Flying Scotsman stayed in Victoria for two months before heading back to New South Wales. On 8 August 1989 Flying Scotsman set another record, travelling 442 miles (711 km) from Parkes to Broken Hill non-stop, the longest such run by a steam locomotive ever recorded. A plaque on the engine records the event.

Returned to the UK, to Southall Railway Centre in West London, owned by a consortium that included McAlpine as well as Pete Waterman. in 1996 Dr Tony Marchington,  bought the locomotive, and had it restored over three years to running condition at a cost of £1 million,  a restoration which is still recognised as the most extensive in the locomotive’s history. Marchington’s time with the Flying Scotsman was documented in on documentary, the Channel 4 programme A Steamy Affair: The Story of Flying Scotsman.  It  ran for a while on the mainline to raise funds for its forthcoming 10-year major boiler recertification. Then In April 2004 The Flying Scotsman was purchased by the National Railway Museum in York, and it is now part of the National Collection. After 12 months of interim running repairs, and In January 2006, Flying Scotsman entered the Museum’s workshops for a major overhaul to return it to Gresley’s original specification and in order to renew its boiler certificate; originally planned to be completed by mid 2010 , but late discovery of additional problems meant it would not be completed on time. Completion of the restoration was expected in late 2013.