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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Typically an army shares a basic hand signal vocabulary but small units develop stuff to fit their particular mission. They have to be distinct and easily recognizable to work though, since we typically use them at great distances (think of an baseball infielder making the sign for two outs, for comparison). Besides that, the American military, at least, has ways to confirm signals and pass them along. I hardly ever see that in movies.

    Watching most military movies is like watching most computer movies or most police movies or whatever. If you are in the biz you usually scoff at the ignorant portrayal of it. When they make "Perl: The Movie" I'm sure use.perl will have long threads about the use of map in void context in the big climax, or the "!#pearl" at the top of some script. (Anyone remember Hackers?)

    Most military movies are just stupid, although I heard an interesting comment from Jeremy Piven who played a pilot in Blackhawk Down [imdb.com]. Some of the actual NightStalkers [nightstalkers.com] consulted on the film and would give the Jeremy notes such as "When I was saying this on the radio my finger was on that button over there". The level of accurate, technical detail in the movie is astounding.

    The recent flick "We Were Soldiers" showed something most people do not think about at all---the use of whistles as signalling devices. They are loud, piercing, and take very little energy. I carry one on my combat vest. Once the shit hits the fan, you do not worry about being quiet. You can barely hear anything at all with the loud gun fire. :)
    • Somehow I figured you might respond. :-)

      Yeah, I'm sure many / most portrayals are bad, though some are obviously quite good, detailed, and accurate. I was specifically thinking of this while watching Stargate SG-1, which is (or was at some point) granted the seal of approval by the USAF. "The USAF carefully reviews every script for accuracy in scenes involving military storylines, procedures, conduct, chain of command, and policy." (From the DVD of the first three episodes.)
      • Huh---we were sitting around making fun of Stargate [imdb.com] this weekend. :)

        Our complaint with this and similar movies is that they pick a bunch of bozos to be soldiers.

        The commander guy (Kurt Russel?) radios pack to their base camp "Secure base camp." We, in our live action version of MST3K, respond "Oh, you mean stop goofing off and don't let the natives keep stealing stuff, because that wasn't clear before."

        That movie was full of people asking to die or to kill their buddies. In real life we do not walk in
        • To clarify, I meant the (first Showtime, now SciFi) TV series [imdb.com], not the movie. It's completely different acting, writing, producing, directing. The TV series got the USAF seal of approval in 1999, five years after the movie was released.