Exclusive interview with Discovery's 'Homemade Astronauts' Ky Michaelson - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MOVIES

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson

The real-life “Rocketman,” Ky Michaelson, is the first civilian to build and launch an unmanned rocket into space. He’s working together with his son, Buddy, and entrepreneur Kurt Anderson – “The Rocketboys” – to take his skills to new heights. Ky hopes to become the first amateur to build and launch a fuel-powered, manned space rocket. Along the way, Ky and the Rocketboys built a rocket sled, in which Kurt attempted to break the land/ice speed world record. ‘Homemade Astronauts’ is available to stream Thursday, May 13, on discovery+

What is your favorite thing about rocketry?

Well, I’ve been building rockets ever since I was 13 years old and I’m 82 now. So, just the thrill of it. Developing rockets. Building rockets. We were the first amateurs to put a rocket into space. That was our really big goal at the time. We did that and now we’re looking at doing other things – much bigger.

What sets you apart from your rivals?

I’ve got an old saying: ‘You can’t be beat if you don’t quit,’ and I’m the kind of guy that don’t quit. I’ve been able to do many things in my life. We’ve set 72 state and national speed records with rocket-powered cars and snowmobiles. I just never quit. I keep pounding away until we accomplish what we set out to do. That’s why I’m always confident in our successes. I don’t quit, I keep at it.

What kind of tech do you use in your homemade rockets?

Now-a-days there is all kinds of technology involved in homemade rocketry. We built a lot of solid motors and a lot of liquid motors. I’ve also brought on people that have helped me through the years. Especially with the internet, anything and everything that you want to know, it’s on there. That’s helped a lot. I started out with a chemistry set way back in the 50s not knowing anything. The only thing I knew how to do was make black powder. We progressed from black powder to zinc to sulfur. Then we started to get into liquid motors like hydrogen-peroxide motors and on. I continue to keep getting bigger and bigger in regards of propulsion.

This is extremely dangerous — even to on-lookers. What safety precautions do you take on launch day?

It’s all about distance. The further away you are from something you’re going to be much safer. We don’t have crowds. There are certain laws in effect with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration); it’s all about safety. Get the right distance you have to be away from everything.

What is it like to work together with your son to achieve your dreams?

That was a really a big thing for me, to be able to work with my son. He’s following in my footsteps. In fact, he’s launching a rather big-sized rocket that he built on his own. I taught my son how to be a perfectionist in what he builds. He’s really intense and he’s really doing a really good job with this. I’m really proud how he’s gone on with this whole thing.

As mentioned in the show, this is not cheap. What is your strategy for fundraising?

(Laughs). I’ve used a lot of my own funds, that’s for sure. We’ve done some promotional things like the GoFast company when we put our rocket into space. They’ve helped fund us a couple of times. I’m always looking for people to help fund [projects]. Up to that point I did most of the funding myself.

Is there anything that you would like to say to the military audience?

If you have a dream, follow that dream and never stop. I’ve lived my life that way. I’ve proven it to be a successful thing all my life. I haven’t just talked about it, I’ve done it. I have an old saying, ‘The harder I work, the luckier I get.’

What’s next for you?

We’ve started to get into other propellants that we’ve never used before. So, we’re mainly working on new propulsion. If you go to our YouTube channel we have over 200 videos or go to my website http://kymichaelson.us/ and see all the things I’ve built over the years.

‘Homemade Astronauts’ is available for streaming Thursday, May 13, on discovery+

MIGHTY MOVIES

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge park finally announced opening date

Before Star Wars fans get to see the next huge installment of the mega-popular space fantasy franchise, everyone will have the opportunity to live in the dangerous galaxy, thanks to Disney’s much-anticipated Star Wars theme park.

In a press release on March 7, 2019, the company finally announced the opening dates for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — and it’s ahead of schedule. The 14-acre expansion will open on May 31, 2019, at Disneyland in California and on Aug. 29, 2019, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.


“On opening day for phase one, guests will be transported to the remote planet of Batuu, full of unique sights, sounds, smells, and tastes,” the release describes. “Guests can become part of the story as they sample galactic food and beverages, explore an intriguing collection of merchant shops, and take the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy aboard Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run.”

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Open May 31 at Disneyland Resort, Aug. 29 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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According to the statement, however, the park will open in phases “to allow guests to sooner enjoy the one-of-a-kind experiences that make Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge so spectacular.”

Phase two won’t open until later in 2019. It will feature the park’s largest attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, where guests will board a full-size starship and join the battle against the First Order, including a face-off with Kylo Ren.

To visit the Disneyland park between May 31 and June 23, 2019, Disney says that guests will not only need valid theme park admission but also a “no-cost reservation.” Details on how to make that reservation have not yet been released but will be posted on Disneyland.com. The park will then open to the general public on June 24, 2019.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

How Metallica put this unknown war movie on the map

The year was 1988. Metallica had been making their way into the hearts and stereos of rock lovers for the better part of seven years. And wanting to make a political statement, the band decided to write and release an anti-war song. The result was their hit One from the album …And Justice for All. 

Lead vocalist James Hetflied and drummer Lars Ulrich penned the song together, telling the story of a World War I soldier. In the gruesome song, the soldier was injured badly by a landmine, with arms and legs taken with the explosion, wanting to die in order to end his agony. 

Anyone who knows anything about Metallica knows One went on to be a huge hit. In fact, it was their first top-40 song and reaching number one in Finland. 

Enter the song’s music video.

By January of ‘89, Metallica’s music video for One began airing on MTV. What made it notable was the use of scenes from Johnny Got His Gun, a 1971 anti-war flick. The film was a box office failure and relatively unknown. 

Soon after its release, the video ranked number one on MTV; the band ended up winning multiple awards for the song. 

Johnny Got His Gun goes viral

After the release of the video, fans started paying attention to the movie, turning it into a cult film. What’s even more interesting is that Metallica itself owned rights to the film. To avoid paying ongoing royalties for their music video, the band decided to buy rights outright, allowing them to replay their own video with ease. 

It’s worth noting that after its original release in 1971, the film did not even recoup its budget at the box office. Despite Donald Sutherland staring, fans paid little attention — and little in tickets, avoiding the film almost altogether. 

Once Metallica used its scenes, the film seemingly came out of the woodwork, selling copies by the dozens, and even sparking multiple remakes. 

Hetfield is quoted saying the movie Johnny Got His Gun was used for the music video because its storyline followed closely to the song’s theme. In fact, the band created their lyrics from the novel of the same title. 

To date, One remains one of Metallica’s most-played songs. It was the first song to win the category for Best Metal Performance at the Grammy’s. It’s also the most played song from their …And Justice for All album. 

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This is what happens when the ‘Mother of Dragons’ channels Mad Dog Mattis

In the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen has finally done it. She’s managed to pull off her version of one of “Mad Dog” Mattis’s signature moments — albeit after some serious military blunders and at least one close call.


Early on in the episode “Eastwatch,” Daenerys gave a speech that boiled down to “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f#ck with me, I’ll kill you all.”

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson
James Mattis, then a Marine general, speaks to Marines in Iraq. (USMC photo)

Well, Randyll Tarly and his son Dickon f#cked with the Mother of Dragons and became crispy critters as a result. The demonstration was effective – in essence, the Breaker of Chains is telling Westeros that they can have “no better friend, no worse enemy” than her.

Not so well-known, though is the fact that Jon Snow is obeying another teaching from “St. Mattis of Quantico.”

In 2010, Mattis famously said:

In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony — even vicious harmony — on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson

Jon Snow has demonstrated this multiple times throughout the series. He’s managed to stitch together numerous alliances over six-plus seasons – to the point that he now has a coalition of Northerners, Free Folk, Knights of the Vale, and is now carrying out a special operation with the Westerosi version of the “Dirty Dozen.”

Now, for a case of the stupids.

Arya Stark is falling for an “AF is low on water” gambit being run by “Littlefinger” Baelish. Unless Arya can keep calm and ask why Littlefinger wants her to have that specific document, it looks like the Stark girls are headed for trouble – and we could see a fight between Brienne and Arya that is for real.

MIGHTY MOVIES

This ‘M*A*S*H and the Coronavirus’ episode is must-see TV

We knew the members of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H) were well-equipped to handle any situation, but this new hybrid from five episodes of the popular 1970s series is showing us how to handle COVID-19 as well.

While the sun may have set after 11 seasons on the beloved characters stationed in South Korea during the Korean War, their advice on everything from how to wash your hands, hoarding in a time of toilet paper shortage and social distancing seems almost prophetic.


In the M*A*S*H montage put together by Frank Vaccariello, we see unbelievably timely themes: How to wash your hands from the episode, “Fade In, Fade Out,” social distancing from the episode,”Cowboy,” don’t touch your face from the episode, “War of Nerves,” working from home from the episode, “Hepatitis,” and yes, even a toilet paper shortage from the episode,”Crisis.”

When asked what prompted his creativity, Vaccariello said that he started comparing the guidance the nation is receiving on protecting ourselves from COVID-19, to scenes from M*A*S*H in his head. “I have been a M*A*S*H fan since the days it originally aired,” he said in an interview with WATM. “I loved the show, the writing and the acting. I can actually be said to be more of a M*A*S*H freak,” he admitted. “I had intended just to make a couple memes, but then last Saturday morning I woke up and decided to create the video.”

MASH and the Coronavirus

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Mash and the Coronavirus

Vaccariello has a soft spot for M*A*S*H and the military community. His dad was an Army veteran and Vaccariello served on the board of directors for a veteran-focused charity.

In his Facebook post where he first published the video, Vaccariello commented, “No matter what question or problem comes up in life, M*A*S*H always has the answer.”

Ain’t that the truth. Bravo, Frank!

Articles

The Air Force’s new virtual reality video game looks pretty awesome

The US Air Force’s latest recruiting tool is probably the closest you can get to jumping out of a military plane without having to leave your living room.


Called “Air Force Special Ops: Nightfall,” and jointly developed by the service and GSDM, its longstanding creative partner, this video game aims to demonstrate a key component of a number of special operations jobs to the general public — namely, jumping out of perfectly good aircraft at altitudes so high, you’d suffocate without specialized gear.

Using Sony PlayStation’s virtual reality headset, players find themselves immersed in a graphics-rich environment where they jump from planes and make their way to drop zone markers using their parachutes.

In the game, you enter the shadowy world of Air Force Special Operations Command as a recruit undergoing training. Players can choose to enlist as special operations weathermen (yes, that’s a real thing), pararescue jumpers, or joint terminal attack controllers.

In real life, each and every one of these specialties within AFSOC is trained to serve on the ground alongside infantrymen of the Army, Marines and special operations troops, gathering environmental data, directing airstrikes, and rescuing downed aviators.

While everything in the game is geared towards realism, you’ll probably be very thankful that you don’t have to go through any of the grueling training PJs or combat controllers undertake in their pursuit of joining AFSOC’s elite units. First-person shooter fans might be slightly disappointed – there won’t be any shooting involved.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson
A familiar sight in the game – looking out the open cargo doors of an MC-130 (Photo Air Force Special Operations: Nightfall via YouTube screengrab)

But for what the game lacks in machine guns and grenades, it makes up for with the experience of a combat jump. Players get a taste of high altitude low opening jumps from an MC-130 Commando II, the Air Force’s special operations version of the C-130 Hercules.

Daytime operations are easy enough in themselves, but night ops… that’s where you earn your keep.

In fact, the game is so realistic that your night vision goggles will likely wash out and possibly blind you for a few seconds when they’re turned on for the first time — just like a real airman.

All jokes aside, however, the game has already been well-received from airmen who’ve given it a whirl.

“It is so realistic I could almost smell the airplane and feel the wind,” says active duty combat controller Master Sgt. Brian Hannigan. That’s high praise, considering Hannigan’s line of work and real-world experiences as a member of AFSOC.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson
USAF special operations troopers jump from an MC-130J Commando II over Japan (Photo US Air Force)

And echoing real-life HALO training, the instructors can be very critical, especially if you fail a jump by opening your parachute too early, too late, land outside the drop zone or steer off course.

This isn’t the first time the US military has attempted to use video game as a recruiting tool. “America’s Army,” a first-person game that puts you in the boots of a soldier from basic training to deployment, was actually hailed a success when launched in 2002.

With the advent of virtual reality systems, the Army actually turned its game into a training tool, which is still used today.

It remains to be seen whether or not the Air Force’s venture into video games will turn out to be a hit or a miss, but if you’d like to judge that for yourself, you can download a copy for free via PlayStation’s store.

MIGHTY MOVIES

First ‘Star Wars’ TV show will hit Disney+ sooner than you think

Possibly the most popular TV show in late 2019 is one show that very few people have seen or know anything about. The first live-action Star Wars TV show ever — “Star Wars: The Mandalorian”will hit Disney+ late 2019. But when does it actually come out? The answer is sooner than you think.

According to Entertainment Weekly and a few other sources, the first episode of “The Mandalorian” will hit Disney+ streaming service on Nov. 12, 2019. Right now, this means the series will not have all of its episodes released at once, but instead, most likely be released one at a time. It’s unclear if this kind of weekly release schedule will be the same for all the forthcoming Disney+ series (like the upcoming Marvel “Loki” series) will also be released weekly, but it’s a good bet.


For those who maybe forgot, “The Mandalorian” is a sort of space western adventure about a gunslinger in the Star Wars universe, set after “Return of the Jedi,” but taking place way before “The Force Awakens.” The title refers to the kind of crazy armor costume worn by the bounty hunter Boba Fett and his clone father Jango Fett. It’s not clear yet if the helmeted titular Mandalorian is a good guy or a bad guy or something in between. The show is being run by Jon Favreau, more famous as the guy who directed “Iron Man” and also plays Happy Hogan in the Marvel movies. But, unless you were a hardcore Star Wars person and you were at Star Wars Celebration this last spring, you probably haven’t seen a trailer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uc-7qeYx-4
The Mandalorian Star Wars Celebration 2019 trailer Footage

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All of that will likely change very soon, particularly since “The Mandalorian” debuts a full month before “The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters in December 2019.

The Star Wars saga might be taking a break on the big screen when “The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters on Dec. 19, 2019, but in terms of streaming TV, it’s just getting started.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘Ready Player One’ has the most epic climactic battle scene

A huge battle featuring the Battletoads, Ninja Turtles, Ultraman, Mechagodzilla, a team of Spartans from Halo, and about a thousand other beloved pop-culture and childhood icons is something we sadly had to leave behind once all our action figures were cleaned up and mom called us down to dinner.


Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson
Kinda like that — but not at all.

Well, not anymore.

Hundreds of pop culture references from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and recent years are featured heavily in Steven Speilberg’s new film, Ready Player One. It’s a film the director says was three years in the making and required the coordination of hundreds of artists and creatives the world over — including author Ernest Cline. Cline’s 2011 sci-fi novel of the same name was also filled with these great easter eggs.

The film is about the quest for such an “easter egg,” which, for the unfamiliar, is an inside joke, hidden message, or secret feature created by the designer of a work. Watching or reading Ready Player One is a lot like trying to get to the center of the world’s largest Matryoshka nesting doll of easter eggs.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson
On Easter.

Set in a poor area of Columbus, Ohio in the year 2045, film centers around Wade Watts, a young gamer inside the Oasis, an open, massively multiplayer, online world – essentially, it’s a video game that has supplanted the real world in popularity. The Oasis is populated primarily by other gamers and almost everyone has a customized avatar. Wade’s avatar is called “Parzival” and, in the Oasis, he’s on the quest for the greatest easter egg in history.

The Oasis’ late creator, James Halliday, left a series of clues to help people find hidden keys. Once all three keys are collected, the winner can claim the easter egg – Halliday’s fortune and ownership of the Oasis. Watts, in his quest, stumbles upon another gunter (or “egg hunter”), Samantha (also known as Art3mis) and three gamers he knows only through the Oasis: Aech (pronounced “H“), a samurai called Daito, and a ninja called Sho.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson
An earlier concept of the Battle of Castle Anorak.

Together, as they unlock the secrets to finding the keys, they have to contend with billionaire businessman Nolan Sorrento, CEO of Innovative Online Industries. IOI’s corporate villain has seemingly unlimited resources, unlimited lives, and a vast army of digital slaves helping him wrest ownership of and monetize the Oasis, an idea anathema to the god-like Halliday’s vision.

By the time we get to the Battle of Castle Anorak (Anorak being the name of the late Halliday’s avatar), Parzival has rallied the entire Oasis – the entire world – to fight to keep their digital world pure. Rolling in the DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future, wielding crowd-pleasing weaponry, like Monty Python’s holy hand grenade, and fighting alongside horror movie legend, Chucky, Parzival and friends take on IOI’s respawning army of employees.

I know, it seems like a lot — even if you’ve already read the book. But look: If you’re a fan of the pop culture of the 1980s, this is the movie for you (listen up, Gen-Xers). The film loves the 1980s as much as you do. More than that, Ready Player One is a throwback to the popcorn-peddling, fun, thrill-ride of movies from the 80s.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson
IOI’s army of faceless game drones. (Amblin Entertainment)

Even if you don’t love video games or cheeky 80s references, there’s still something for everyone to love in Ready Player One. This is a movie for your inner pop-culture fan.

 Just make sure you’ve seen The Shining before you go.

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A Ranger describes what being a ‘towed jumper’ is actually like

Airborne soldiers have some particular fears that most other troops don’t have to worry about. Total malfunctions of the parachute like a “cigarette roll” can cause them to hurtle into the earth at terminal velocity while mid-air entanglements can leave them with broken bones or worse.


One of their most unique fears is that of becoming a “towed jumper,” something that happens when their chute fails to separate from their static line and they are literally towed behind the plane like the pet dog from “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson
Brian Hanson, a U.S. Army Ranger, bounces against the skin of a C-17 over the skies of Fort Benning, Georgia. (Go90 No Sh*t There I Was screenshot)

(Younger readers should not Google that reference. Instead, just imagine the worst possible version of parasailing.)

For Army Ranger Spc. Brian Hanson, the nightmare became a reality during a training jump under the stars of Fort Benning, Georgia. He and the rest of his company were under strict orders to conduct the perfect nighttime jump, to include not losing any gear.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson
Brian Hanson, a U.S. Army Ranger, tries to keep his gear together while flapping in the wind like a dog’s jowls. (Go90 No Sh*t There I Was screenshot)

But Hanson’s chute failed to separate and he became a towed jumper.

This left Hanson flying through the night sky as he fervently tried to keep all of his gear as close as possible despite the wind rushing over him while he dangled 1,200 feet above the surface of Benning. Watch the video above to learn how he made peace with these developments as well as the moment when he realized he was truly screwed.

Watch more No Sh*t There I Was:

Why it sucks to report to the ‘Good Idea Fairy’

This is why the military shouldn’t completely outlaw hazing

That time Linda Hamilton asked a Marine to the ball

This is a perfect example of how ridiculous boot camp is

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘Semper Fi’ trailer explores what happens when a hero breaks bad

West Point graduate Sean Mullin (Amira & Sam) returns to writing with Semper Fi, a film about a police officer and Marine Corps Reservist who is faced with an ethical dilemma when it comes to helping his brother in prison. Murderball director and co-writer Henry-Alex Rubin directed the film, which is filled with stars like Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad), Finn Witrock (Unbroken), and Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl).

But it’s perfectly reasonable if you’re most excited about Recon Marine Rudy Reyes, who plays a role in the film and served as a military advisor for the production.


SEMPER FI Official Trailer (2019) Nat Wolff, Jai Courtney Movie HD

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Watch the trailer:

Courtney plays Cal, a police officer and Marine Corps reservist who decides to break his younger brother Oyster (played by Paper Towns’ Nat Wolff) out of prison. In doing so, he’ll question the system he has sworn to uphold, whatever the cost.

Also read: 3 major reasons you should hire veterans in Hollywood

Some of the initial reactions to the trailer have included veterans and Marines saying the film goes against “what it means to be a Marine” but, given that the film doesn’t come out until Oct. 4, 2019, I’d say it’s probably too soon to tell. Furthermore, what “semper fi” means to one Marine might be different from what it means to another.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson

Besides, Mullin has a history of writing non-traditional veteran stories. Amira Sam, which Mullin wrote and directed, was about a veteran who comes home from war and his relationship with an immigrant. “I think every single ‘veteran comes home from war’ movie that’s ever been made is about a veteran with post-traumatic stress, and I wanted to tell the first story about a veteran who comes home and he’s okay but his country’s lost its mind,” Mullin told Military.com.

Sometimes vets are heroes and sometimes they break bad. It sounds like Courtney portrays a Marine who is navigating both roads — it’ll be interesting to see how the story plays out.

Either way, you can find out for yourself in October. In the meantime, feel free to keep the conversation going on our Facebook page: what is Hollywood’s responsibility when telling military stories?

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson
MIGHTY MOVIES

6 times war movies totally altered reality

The best war movies are oft-told tales of heroes or of strange and surprising history. To revisit these scenes is to be reminded of these stories and the heroes that made them real.


But we all realize that many of these stories are exaggerated or changed slightly to be more dramatic – and we end up liking the new history better. And sometimes as we watch we are reminded that we haven’t properly honored those who starred in the real-world events. Other times, the movie makes us revisit what’s happening in our own lives.

1. ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ changes bedouin quality of life.

When Peter O’Toole was filming “Lawrence of Arabia,” his rear end was sore from his camel’s saddle. During the scene where T.E. Lawrence assists Arabs in capturing the Red Sea port city of Aqaba, O’Toole used a rubber sponge under his saddle to ease the pain.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson

To be fair, that looks terribly painful. So it’s totally understandable that the Bedouins hired as extras began using the sponge in their daily lives. #spongeworthy.

2. A film propels an actor into the annals of history.

The 1938 Russian movie “Alexander Nevsky” is about a Russian knight who defeated a superior Swedish army on the river Neva in 1240.

During WWII, the Soviet Union awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky to tens of thousands of Red Army officers for heroism. The medal features the image of Nevsky – except no one ever knew what Nevsky looked like.Instead, the image on the medal was that of Nikolai Cherkasov, who portrayed Nevsky in the movie.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson

3. Rhodes gets a colossal new name.

A bay on the Greek island of Rhodes is now named after American actor Anthony Quinn, after his stunning performance in “the Guns of Navarone.”

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson

Quinn plays a Greek resistance fighter in WWII in the film, but he actually spent much of WWII in Albania – organizing resistance fighters.

4. The church of the 82nd Airborne is in France.

After “The Longest Day” hit theaters in 1962, the parishioners of the Sainte-Mère Église church featured in the film constructed an effigy of Pvt. John Steele hanging from the church tower. The real Steele (portrayed in the film by Red Buttons), actually landed on the church’s bell tower on D-Day.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson

The church’s stained glass also shows paratroopers landing next to a praying Virgin Mary, holding a baby. This is a French town so ‘Merica, it belongs in Iowa.

5. “The Battle of Algiers” becomes a COIN training film.

In 2003, the American Directorate for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict screened the 1966 film to the U.S. military’s top commanders at the Pentagon.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson

The briefing was a called “how to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas.” A big jump for a film that was once banned in many places in the world.

6. Gunny Hartman gets Staff Sgt. Ermey a promotion.

Years after he retired from the Marine Corps, R. Lee Ermey was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant. The reason was his performance as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” was so iconic, the Corps thought it only fitting to make the rank fit the man.

Exclusive interview with Discovery’s ‘Homemade Astronauts’ Ky Michaelson

Ermey is the only Marine to be promoted after his retirement. Look at his face. That’s pride.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Discovery Channel’s #1 show features a team of military gold miners

When a global pandemic shut down the world in March 2020, markets crashed and rocked the U.S. economy. However, with economic uncertainty comes great opportunity for those who can seize the moment. And in the goldfields across North America, the opportunity of a lifetime awaited as gold prices spiked to record highs and the price of fuel, a miner’s biggest expense, bottomed out. 

In this all-new season of GOLD RUSH, seasoned gold miners are joined by greenhorn miners eager to forge their own destinies and gamble like never before in pursuit of the greatest pay day of their lives. The all-new season of GOLD RUSH premiered with a two-hour special Friday Oct. 23, and will continue to air Fridays at 8PM ET/PT for the remainder of the season. WATM had the chance to sit down with star Fred Lewis to talk about his background and this season of GOLD RUSH.

WATM: Goldmining is a dangerous profession; how do you use your military experience to mitigate the dangers of prospecting?

Lewis: So, we pretty much run the mine site like an ODA or Special Forces Team where everybody has their own area of expertise. I’ve kind of lined it up so everybody becomes a subject matter expert in their field. It works with everyone having zero experience and tightens us up quickly and keeps everything moving safely. Everyone pays attention to their ‘fire zone’ I guess you can call it.

(Courtesy Discovery)

WATM: What is your favorite team building moment on the show?

Lewis: You know together off grid in the mountains of Oregon has been probably the best part of this season. The mining aspect and taking a group of guys who know nothing of mining and teaching them what it’s all about and just living it together bonded us a team. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. We joke so much about how it feels so much like a deployment. We do it together, we win, we lose – together. Good weather comes, bad weather comes, we sit by the fire. Hunt, fish, it’s really hard to compare this in the civilian world. It’s kind of like being in the military but you’re a civilian. 

No guns.

Well, we do have but they’re not for fighting.

(laughs)

WATM: Your story is truly inspiring, what advice would you give to veterans who want to follow in your footsteps?

Lewis: The biggest piece of advice I can give is to never quit. I know it sounds cliché but there were so many times I was told when I got out I’d be on pills the rest of my life and wouldn’t have an active life. I got involved with adaptive sports. I keep pushing myself and thinking the bar that was set for me by doctors and everybody else was super low. As I got better and kept raising that bar I just kept pushing for other things.

I’ve done American Ninja Warrior twice, I was on a show called Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge, that made me realize that my story was powerful, and it could inspire people. So, I kept pushing to share and that kind of led me to reality TV.  Once I realized how much it had done for me I had to bring other guys in.

I’ve been literally pushing past all the boundaries everybody has been putting in front of me. The sky’s the limit if you think about it. 

(Courtesy Discovery)

WATM: Veterans are always having their eye on the future, that being said, what is next for you and Discovery?

Lewis: I look at the TV aspect of this as a way of getting our story out and share our story to inspire people. My relationship with Discovery is very important as far as the future goes, I always look at things as an uphill battle. You’re never going to get to the top unless you keep climbing. I’m just barely getting started but long term I want to bring in way more vets. Get people more involved and keep growing and pushing until we make it. 

WATM: Outstanding, now that begs the question — when our audience reads this and they want to get involved, how can they reach out to you? 

Lewis: I have a fully open-door policy. Everything on my social media is open to everybody and actually I enjoy getting messages from vets. I get a lot of messages from people asking if they can have a job, people telling me they’re inspired by my story, and that’s why I’m doing this. People can feel free to reach out to me at any time. I don’t have a lot of stuff planned for the future but it’s always evolving, and I want to involve vets in it.   

I want people to reach out to me any chance they get. I usually reply to pretty much anybody.

WATM: Is there anything you would like to say to the military audience?

Lewis: These group of guys, before this happened, with COVID and everybody’s situations – everything was up in the air. What we’re managed to do is find a new purpose for everybody on this team that they can continue to build and grow in. Even if COVID comes back and puts us in a position where things are getting locked down, gold mining is essential. 

I’ve set it up so these guys have a whole new purpose in life, outside of how much gold we’re pulling it, giving these guys a reason to keep doing things. I was in the same situation; most vets were in the same situation where we have to reinvent ourselves and that is really hard to do. 

This type of work is so up our alley it is inevitable that people are going to want to get more involved in it when they see how cool it is.

MIGHTY MOVIES

I don’t even know what’s going on in this Game of Thrones/Elmo mash-up

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, Sesame Workshop is launching a video campaign about respect. Sounds reasonable enough.

Except…the videos include Elmo, a character designed to connect with children, and villains like Cersei Lannister, a character I hope no child ever becomes aware of.

Another video takes place in Westworld, another show that is decidedly not age-appropriate for children.

And these videos were not cheap to make! The actors, the production, the music…it’s all extremely authentic! We’ve got them right here and I can’t stop watching:


Sesame Street: Respect is Coming

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Sesame Street: Respect is Coming

This video legit looks like it was shot the day Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage shot their Game of Thrones Season 7 scene together. That would not be an inexpensive production, people!

Props to the actors, by the way, who absolutely stay true to character in this silly (by design, I think?) scene.

Sesame Street: Respect World

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Sesame Street: Respect World

Here’s my question: if Sesame Street is meant to educate children, why does Cookie Monster use incorrect nominative pronouns? I am very confused about who the audience is for these videos! Are these videos for children or adults?

And can someone please bring me a cookie???

Sesame Street: Give it, live it, RESPECT feat. Common

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Sesame Street: Give it, live it, RESPECT feat. Common

In this music video, award-winning hip-hop artist Common, backed up by…muppets…sings an upbeat anthem about respect. Do children know who Common is?

According to the press release, the “Respect Brings Us Together” campaign will roll out throughout the year.

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