"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

U.S. Dollar Now At ¥111.35

The Japanese yen has been stronger against the U.S. dollar in Tokyo trading lately. This strength pushed Tokyo to regain the distinction of being one of the world's most expensive cities, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Tokyo is now ranked number four.

But the dollar did regain some strength Friday.

According to Jiji Press:
Tokyo, March 24 (Jiji Press)--The dollar gained ground modestly to move around 111.35 yen in late Tokyo trading Friday, on the back of expectations that the U.S. House of Representatives will vote for an Obamacare replacement plan.

To read more, go here

Japan Cheapo's Chugoku Region

Above, Miyajima's famous torii gate. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

People traveling south from Tokyo will reach the Chugoku Region of Japan before leaving the main island of Honshu for Kyushu.

In Chugoku, one of the prefectures is Hiroshima, where visitors can see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum and, nearby, Miyajima.

Japan Cheapo has an article on visiting the Chugoku Region.

They begin with:
What makes Japan so amazing to travel in is the variety—with every new prefecture, city or village you find something unique. Consisting of 47 prefectures, including 43 traditional prefectures, two urban prefectures (Osaka and Kyoto), one territory (Hokkaido) and the Metropolis of Tokyo, Japan has a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of surprises to unearth. If you’re thinking of venturing outside of the obvious, here are some highlights to help you pick your prefecture! 
We’ve divided them by region, with this part covering the warms isles of Chugoku. With plenty of stunning sea views and breathtaking landscapes like Tottori’s sand dunes and the torii gate of Miyajima, the sea is a vital part of the region. For lovers of seafood, amazing views and untouched towns… this is for you.

To read more, go here

Tracing The Roots of the RV Lifestyle

Above, a teardrop trailer my grandfather built in Oregon in 1940.

Ever wondered how travel in trailers and motorhomes came about? How did the "RV lifestyle" begin?

VVDailypress.com (the Daily Press out of Victorville, CA) has an article on "Tracing The Roots of the RV Lifestyle".

It begins with:
The RV lifestyle goes way back. Possibly, the RV way to travel was as much a necessity back then. Drawn by horses, caravans carried some of my ancestors from Bohemia on long journeys before departing for North America on sailing ships. The journey was much more pleasant, having a few comforts along the way. 
With so many seeking a new life in America, many craftspeople from other countries shared their skills with others. As best as Lori and Russ could see, the first actual practical travel trailer was built in 1880 by Bristol Wagon and Carriage Works. It basically looked like an 18-foot miniature cabin on wheels.

Traveling in this fashion was called "Caravanning." With the advent of automotive power, Caravans started gaining popularity in the United States during the 1920's. A new nickname came about for these travel trailer campers. They were called "Tin can tourists." These had few amenities yet there was no more need to ever set up a heavy canvas tent ever again.
To read more, go here.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

FDA Warns of Cancer Risk With Breast Implants

Source: Food and Drug Administration

Another good reason why one shouldn't alter with what God gave them has cropped up bigtime in the news this past week.

Valley News Live reported:
SILVER SPRING, M.D. (NBC) - Breast implants can cause a rare form of cancer that may have killed at least nine people, the Food and Drug Administration said. 
The cancer is called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) and the FDA is checking into more than 350 reports linking it with both silicone and saline breast implants.
Upon hearing this news, I almost considered sending this article to "someone that I used to know" who had breast implants put in last year.

But, as my "honorary sister" said:
No contact is the best from here on out.  She probably will hear about it later anyway. Whether it is that or something else, karma has a way of evening out things in the universe.
As I said, almost. I don't want to be "catty" either (I wouldn't have, anyway). As my dad died from another form of lymphoma, I know how bad that kind of cancer is. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

To read more, go here.

Underground Spring Cracks Yosemite Road

Above, a lake along Yosemite's Tioga Pass Road. Tioga Pass Road
 intersects with Highway 120 near Crane Flat. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The winter has caused problems with man-made things in our national parks.

A previous blog post noted that heavy snows collapsed a porch roof in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Now we find that a big crack that opened up on Highway 120 in Yosemite National Park in February was caused by an underground spring, closing the road.

According to the Modesto Bee:
An underground seasonal spring that began flowing again after being dormant for years was the cause of a 200-foot long fissure resembling an earthquake fault that closed U.S. Highway 120 into Yosemite Valley in February. 
This portion of the road, in the park called Big Oak Flat Road, began cracking in late February. National Park Service crews patched the crack “but it did not hold and it continued to widen and spread and we began conversations with the National Highway Administration,” said Yosemite National Park spokeswoman Jamie Richards. 
Crews had to tear out 200 feet of asphalt and dig 40 feet below the surface of the original road, creating nine tiers to avoid further erosion.

To read more, go here.

Porch Roof Collapse At Grand Teton National Park From Snow

Above, Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This has been one rainy and snowy winter in the U.S. Heavy snow has caused the collapse of a porch roof at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

According to a press release posted by East Idaho News:
MOOSE, Wyoming — A heavy snow load appears to have caused the collapse of the front porch roof on the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center in Grand Teton National Park. The collapsed roof was discovered mid-morning Thursday, March 23, 2017. The seasonally-used building is closed each winter from late September through late May and was unoccupied at the time of the porch roof collapse. The main building structure and its contents appear to be undamaged upon initial evaluation. 
The collapsed porch roof was discovered by two park maintenance employees conducting a routine wintertime building check. Maintenance crews have been busy this winter clearing large amounts of snow off park buildings. Area measurements show the current snow water equivalent is around 150 percent of median, and recent rain and warm temperatures may have contributed to the weight of the snow on the roof.

To read more, go here

Seeing Wolves In Yellowstone National Park

Above, somewhere in Lamar Valley of Yellowstone are wolves. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Lucky people who visit Yellowstone National Park are the ones who get to see wolves. Unfortunately, despite two trips to Yellowstone, I haven't seen any.

According to an article in the Idaho Statesman, winter and the early spring are the best times to see wolves.

They wrote:
Three dark-colored wolves loped in single file on a stark, snowy, wind-swept bench along Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar River after feeding on the eerie-looking skeletal remains of a bull elk. 
“There they are,” a photographer whispered on a February day in a highway turnout, about 40 miles deep into the northern part of the park at Lamar Valley. 
The tight parking area was spilling over with vehicles and excited onlookers with spotting scopes and cameras with 2-foot-long telephoto lenses mounted on tripods.
“This is addicting,” said Don Andrews of Vancouver, Wash., as he peered into his scope. Right next to him was his wife, Gail, with her eyes glued to another scope watching the wolves romp silhouetted against the snow. The Andrewses were spending 12 days in the park in February searching for, photographing and watching the storied Yellowstone predator.
For them, seeing Yellowstone wolves doesn’t get old. They keep coming back year after year in winter.
To read more, go here.

Bison Not Welcome By Montana Ranchers

Above, bison sunning in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer

It seems that not everyone in the state of Montana are willing to welcome herds of Yellowstone bison with open arms.

According to the Great Falls Tribune:
In 2014 the conservation organization, Defenders of Wildlife, commissioned a survey asking registered voters for their opinions on re-establishing bison herds on public lands in Montana. The survey concluded that two-thirds of Montanans support efforts to relocate disease-free bison from Yellowstone National Park to start new herds in other parts of the state. 
The same cannot be said for the opinions of a large percentage of the landowners living in areas were bison restoration has been proposed. Among the farm and ranch communities of central Montana, the prospect of large herds of free-roaming bison grazing one fence-line over is viewed as a threat; not only because of the potential damage escaped bison might inflict on ranching and farming operations, but also as a challenge to the region’s economic viability and cultural traditions going back more than 130 years.

To read more, go here

Bryce Canyon In The 0ff-Season

Above, Bryce Canyon Lodge is relatively quiet. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Only once have I ever visited Bryce Canyon National Park during the off-season. While there, there were hardly anyone there. I was nice having the place almost to yourselves.

The Calgary Herald has an article on visiting Bryce Canyon during the off-season.

It begins with:
During the summer months, roads and trails in this tiny national park become congested and seeing the key sites can be slow going. Those who visit in the spring or fall enjoy the scenic overlooks and hike the trails in relative solitude. In the off season, you can see as much in one day as a summer visitor might see in two. And if you time the visit just right, you can witness the amphitheatre of natural rock pillars with a light dusting of snow – a contrast that adds a little something extra to the scene.
To see more, go here

Friday, March 24, 2017

Shopping and A Wrap Party

Above, Don Glut with Christine Nguyen featured on the poster for The
Mummy's Kiss: Second Dynasty in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

My cousin Ralph came over today. Instead of rummaging around used record, DVD, CD stores, we headed up to Camping World in Valencia.

I received an advertiser from Camping World about their new master catalog being now available with a $10.00 off coupon. Also, I received my dividend from R.E.I. In order to give us something to do, we headed off for both.

First was Camping World. I bought a few things that would have totaled $34. But with the coupon, it cost me only $24. And, I got the catalog.

Next, we headed across the street to Coco's Restaurant for some lunch.

After lunch, we went back to the Valley to head over to R.E.I. in Northridge. I didn't see anything in particular that I wanted, but Ralph bought a chef's knife and got a 20% discount from a discount card that came along with my dividend.

We then left R.E.I. and headed back to my apartment. There, we started talking and somehow the subject of actress Christine Nguyen popped up. Since this was during the beginning of the evening rush hour, I asked him if he would like to see a Christine movie. He said yes and I popped The Mummy's Kiss: Second Dynasty (2006) into the player. It was written and directed by the dinosaur man himself, Donald F. Glut.

He enjoyed the movie very much, especially actress Andrea Smith.

He then headed back home in Mission Viejo after the movie. He texted me later saying that he had a great time.

A Visit To Utah's "Mighty Five"

Above, Bryce Canyon National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you are a fan of national parks, travel or photography, the Port City Daily of Wilmington, North Carolina has an article with many photographs of a visit to Utah's Mighty Five.

It begins with:
UTAH — The Mighty Five, as it is referred to by adventure seekers from around the globe, is fast becoming one of the most popular travel destinations in America. 
Five of the country’s most beautiful national parks are all located in a small geographical area within the state of Utah, yet each one is so different from its neighbors. 
Wilmington resident T.J. Drechsel recently returned from this massive trip, where he visited Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks. He conquered the Mighty Five in only four days.

To see more, go here

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Yellowstone Loans Old Faithful To Acacia National Park

Above, an eruption of Old Faithful Geyser. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Talk about cooperating with a sister national park!

It has been reported that Yellowstone National Park will be loaning Old Faithful Geyser to Acacia National Park for six months.

According to The Onion:
TETON COUNTY, WY—In an effort to give more people across the country an opportunity to visit the famous landmark, Yellowstone National Park announced Thursday that it would be putting Old Faithful on a six-month loan to Acadia National Park. 

To read more, go here.

P.S. I had a good laugh over this!

Newbies To Japan To Be Surveyed

Above, the hot spring resort town of Atami. Photo by Armaand Vaquer.

A new survey will be targeting first-time visitors to Japan to see what interests them the most.

Nikkei Asian Review reported:
TOKYO -- New market research will identify the places, activities and food that appeal to people who have never been to Japan, information vital to meeting the needs of international visitors. 
Similar surveys generally target people who have visited the country before. The new service, from Bluemoon Marketing, will launch in April and aim to show potential demand among foreigners with no prior visits. 
Men and women aged 18-69 will be asked if they are interested in visiting Japan and the cities and tourist attractions they would most want to see.

To read more, go here

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Minnie Winnie 22R Owners Facebook Group

Above, The Beast at Yosemite National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A Facebook group, Minnie Winnie 22R Owners, has been formed.

A fellow 22R owner told me of the group and I joined up a few minutes ago. If you happen to be a Facebook member and a Minnie Winnie 22R (or 322R) owner, join up!

They can be reached here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/974872809311378/?ref=group_cover

Lincoln Assassination Photography

Above, Abraham Lincoln by Gutzon Borglum. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In June 1982, I was invited to a reception at the White House as part of the California Reagan Delegation to the 1980 Republican National Convention.

Above, Ford's Theater in 1982.
Photo by Armand Vaquer.
While in Washington, D.C. I crammed about a week's worth of touring in three days. Among the places I visited were the U.S. Capitol, Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, the Air & Space Museum and Ford's Theater.

Ford's Theater was the site of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Southern sympathizer.

Booth snuck into the Presidential Box at Ford's Theater during a presentation of the play, "Our American Cousin" and shot the President in the back of the head.

Last November, I visited the Abraham Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois. In the museum, there were numerous life-sized dioramas of different events in Lincoln's life. One of these was the assassination at Ford's.

The first photo below was from Ford's Theater in 1982. The portrait of George Washington is the actual one that hung there the night Lincoln was shot in April 1865.

Above, the Presidential Box at Ford's Theater. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Next, the diorama of President and Mrs. Lincoln at Ford's Theater at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

Above, the Lincolns watching the play, "Our American Cousin". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Next, John Wilks Booth sneaks into the Presidential Box during the play. Earlier, he carved a peephole in an inner door to the Presidential Box so he can see Lincoln before he went inside. He also used wooden bar to fasten or hold the outer entrance door shut.

Above, Booth sneaks into the Presidential Box. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Following the shooting, the mortally-wounded Lincoln was carried across the street to the Petersen rooming house, where he died the next morning. It was felt that Lincoln would not survive being taken back to the White House.

Above, the blood-stained pillow is on display at the rooming house where Lincoln died. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There is a small museum in the Ford's Theater basement. Among the items on display, is the suit Lincoln wore when he was shot.

Above, the suit Lincoln wore when shot. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Petersen rooming house. Lincoln was carried up these stairs. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Lincoln lies in state diorama at the Lincoln Museum. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield, Illinois. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Lincoln In Death Photograph Discovered

The only known photograph of President Lincoln in his coffin was discovered by a teen in 1952.

From AbrahamLincolnonline.org:
More than 50 years ago a 14-year-old boy found a photograph of President Abraham Lincoln in his coffin taken on April 24, 1865, in New York City. The discovery startled historians, because Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War, had ordered this photograph to be destroyed. Stranger yet, the one surviving print remained with Stanton, whose son preserved it.

Above, the only known photograph of Lincoln in death.

Platrix Spring Trek

Above, some of the gang at The Beast last year at the Tehachapi Loop trek. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Platrix Chapter No. 2, E Clampus Vitus, will be returning to the Tehachapi Loop area for the Spring Trek next month. We were there for last year's Spring Trek.

Already, the chapter is hawking the Spring Trek t-shirt. I just ordered mine.

Here's what the design on the shirt looks like:

Unless I decide otherwise, this will be the first camping trip for me in 2017.

Makin' Clampin' Great Again!

Tips To Avoid or Negotiate Crowds At Zion National Park

Above, Amber relaxing at Zion Lodge. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Two years ago, my daughter Amber and I drove through Zion National Park on the way home from Yellowstone National Park. When we got to the east entrance (from Mt. Carmel), we found a line of cars waiting to get in.

Once in, we had to wait in another line to be escorted through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. This is necessary as today's oversized RVs won't make it through unless they drive smack dab in the center of the road. Fortunately, we were first in line.

Above, waiting for the escort through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Once we got into Zion canyon itself, we noticed that passenger vehicles are not permitted into the canyon unless they have proof they have a campsite or are staying at the Lodge. We thought we'd have breakfast at the Zion Lodge. We would have had to park The Beast at a shuttle stop and be shuttled in. We did not want to bother with that, so we went to breakfast in nearby Springdale.

My mom, Amber and I spent Labor Day weekend at Zion back around 2002. Since we drove there in the Mustang, parking at the shuttle stop near the Visitor Center was not an issue. We stayed at a motel in Springdale on that trip. We took the shuttle through the park to different points, including the Visitor Center and the Weeping Rock trail. It worked out very well.

Above, Amber in The Beast at Zion National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The shuttle system was made necessary due to the influx of visitors. Years ago, not that many people visited Zion and cars were permitted in the canyon with no restrictions. But those days are long past and the park had to take steps, such as the mandatory shuttle, to manage the crowds.

The Salt Lake Tribune has an article on tips to negotiate or avoid the crowds at Zion.

They begin with:
Zion National Park • In Springdale, the sun is high, the parking spaces are full, and the porta-potties are lined up like soldiers. So grab your shuttle maps and brass knuckles. Busy season has begun at Zion National Park. 
Just kidding, you can leave the weapons at home. I haven't been put out by my fellow tourists, despite the persistent concerns about crowding in the nation's fifth-most-visited national park. 
My family braved Zion Canyon during the opening weekend of its mandatory shuttle, which runs many times a day from March through October and on weekends in November. Spring-breakers were pouring in by early March — and although I didn't struggle with crowds at the entry gate or parking, I can easily imagine summer getting a bit crowded. 
Park administrators are considering measures such as limiting visitor entries to the park or at certain areas or campgrounds, but those wouldn't be implemented right away. 
In the meantime, here are some tips to negotiate or avoid the crowds in Zion.
To read more, go here

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tomoya Sushi & Izakaya

Above, inside of  Tomoya Sushi & Izakaya in Warner Center. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Jessica, my former roommate, has been after me for days to take her out to a sushi lunch. Well, I finally "capitulated" today and was going to take her to one of our favorite restaurants, Kabuki.

While on the way to Kabuki in Woodland Hills, it began to rain. Since the Mustang has been in the body shop, I've been driving The Beast and was a bit concerned about finding adequate parking.

As we neared Woodland Hills, we noticed a Japanese sushi restaurant that we had been eyeing for months (it is a parking lot away from El Torito Mexican Restaurant) but haven't tried. The parking situation there was much more favorable for The Beast. I suggested that maybe this is a good time we try it out. She agreed and we headed over.

It is the Tomoya Sushi & Izakaya in Warner Center.

We immediately were seated and we ordered our lunch. I decided to stick to basics and just had tuna and salmon rolls. Jess had something a little more elaborate (the "I'm Stuffed" plate). We both were quite impressed how good the sushi was and liked the decor of the restaurant. It reminded me of a sushi restaurant I tried in Honolulu.

We will be definitely going there again.
Tomoya Sushi & Izakaya
6020 Canoga Ave
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
(818) 703-0318

Mammoth Mountain RV Park

Above, looking toward the main entrance to the campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last summer, during my trip up the Owens Valley, I stayed a couple of nights at Mammoth Mountin RV Park.

The approach to Mammoth Mountain RV Park is the main road from U.S. 395 (about 2 miles) into Mammoth Lakes.

The park is in a forested area with plenty of shade from the pine trees. Some campsites are gravel with sewer hook-ups and some are asphalt without sewer hook-ups. I ended up in an asphalt site since I didn't make reservations. But they do have dump station facilities available. I had a table and fire ring. I had to use my leveling blocks to level the RV.

Above, The Beast at Mammoth Mountain RV Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is a nice park with a pool, jacuzzi, store, laundry, playground and shower facilites. There's also tent areas.

The staff was friendly and helpful. The park is within walking distance (about 5-10 min.) from stores and restaurants. The price per night was $45.

Above, Sierra checking out the birds and squirrels. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The roads are wide enough to maneuver through the park.

I took a day trip up to Mammoth Lakes to catch the mandatory shuttle ($7.00) to see Devil's Postpile National Monument.

Above, yours truly at Devil's Postpile National Monument.

I would recommend making reservations in order to get a gravel site with full hook-ups. At least I didn't track in dirt and gravel into The Beast thanks to the asphalt. The site was more than adequate for Sierra and I.

When I left the Mammoth Lakes area, I headed north on U.S. 395 to Yosemite National Park's Tioga Pass road to drive through to get to U.S. 99 as gasoline was about $1.25 cheaper there than the stations on U.S. 395.

I gave Mammoth Mountain RV Park four out of five stars at RV Park Reviews.

My grade: A.

Brown's Town Campground In Bishop, California

Above, the office and store. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last summer, I took a little trip up California's Owens Valley.

Along the way, I stopped at the infamous Manzanar Relocation Camp. For the first night's stay, I stayed at Brown's Town Campground in Bishop. I did not make any camping reservations as I decided to just "wing it".

I stopped at a coffee shop for a snack. While there, I checked Google for a campground in the Bishop area. I saw several listed.

I looked one over and the people there didn't look too friendly and the campground was rather primitive. So I pressed on.

Above, The Beast at Brown's Town Campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I went to the next campground, which was Brown's Town Campground. It looked like a nice place. It was shady and situated next to a golf course. I walked into the office and found that they had vacancies and the price was reasonable ($30/night).

Above, cooking dinner. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The access road was nice and wide and the campsite I was assigned was level, so I didn't have to use the leveling blocks. It had full hook-ups, a table and fire ring.

The campground has a nicely-stocked store. Their prices were reasonable when I made a few purchases.

Above, Sierra enjoying the air conditioning and view. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Unfortunately, since Bishop gets quite hot during the summer months, the campground does not have a swimming pool to cool off in.

At RV Park Reviews, I gave Brown's Town Campground four out of five stars. I would stay there again should I visit the Owens Valley on another trip.

My grade: A- (had there been a pool, it would have been an A).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Free National Park Days In April

Above, the natural arch at Bryce Canyon National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you happen to have some free time in April, the national parks that charge entrance fees will waive them two different weekends.

According to the Chicago Tribune:
Most of the country's national park sites don't charge visitors an entrance fee, but those that do will be waiving that cost for the weekends that bookend National Park Week, April 15-23. 
The freebies — an annual tradition — are good April 15-16 and 22-23 this year. Other free dates later in 2017 include Aug. 25 in honor of the National Park Service's birthday, Sept. 30 for National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 11-12.
To read more, go here

Kyoto's 50 Overrated Tourist Spots

Above, Kyoto Tower made no. 1 on the list. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For those who wish to immerse themselves in Japanese history and culture, a visit to Kyoto is a must.

The are many places to see and visit in Kyoto, while most are very popular with foreign visitors, some have found them to be overrated. A survey commissioned by goo Ranking (interesting name, eh?) found 50 places in Kyoto to be overrated by those surveyed. I found it interesting that the JR Kyoto Station (featured in Gamera 3) is not on the list.

Before going into the rankings, What Japan Thinks wrote:
Kyoto city and the surrounding prefecture are full of historic spots worth a visit, but of course some places are going to be over-hyped. So, goo Ranking recently conducted a survey looking at Kyoto prefecture tourist spots that didn’t live up to expectations.

I would disagree on several of them being overrated, but then that's just me.

To see what they are, go here

Toxins Found Again In Toyosu Groundwater

Above, the present Tsukiji Fish Market. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo won't be relocating to Toyosu anytime soon, if at all.

Dangerous toxins have been found in the groundwater at the new market site.

According to NHK:
An additional survey at the proposed site of Tokyo's new wholesale market has once again found higher-than-permitted amounts of toxic chemicals in groundwater. 
Metropolitan government officials reported the results to an expert panel on Sunday. The Toyosu market is to replace the aging one at Tsukiji. 
The survey was conducted at 29 locations in the Toyosu compound. High levels of toxins were discovered in the 9th round of tests late last year.

Frankly, I think that the move to Toyosu should be cancelled and, perhaps, Tsukiji be renovated and modernized.

To read more, go here

Horror Comics Great Bernie Wrightson Dies At 68

Acclaimed horror comics artist giant Bernie Wrightson passed away yesterday of brain cancer. He was 68.

He had been ill for some time and had to retire from illustrating.

According to his obituary:
After a long battle with brain cancer, legendary artist Bernie Wrightson has passed away. 
Bernie “Berni” Wrightson (born October 27, 1948, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) was an American artist known for his horror illustrations and comic books. He received training in art from reading comics, particularly those of EC, as well as through a correspondence course from the Famous Artists School. In 1966, Wrightson began working for The Baltimore Sun newspaper as an illustrator. The following year, after meeting artist Frank Frazetta at a comic-book convention in New York City, he was inspired to produce his own stories. In 1968, he showed copies of his sequential art to DC Comics editor Dick Giordano and was given a freelance assignment. Wrightson began spelling his name “Berni” in his professional work to distinguish himself from an Olympic diver named Bernie Wrightson, but later restored the final E to his name. 
His first professional comic work appeared in House of Mystery #179 in 1968. He continued to work on a variety of mystery and anthology titles for both DC and its principal rival, Marvel Comics. In 1971, with writer Len Wein, Wrightson co-created the muck creature Swamp Thing for DC.
I was always amazed at how he can create lighting in black & white ink illustrations. It was fascinating to see his line work. I enjoyed his art over the years and he will be sorely missed.

To read more, go here.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"Three Days To Live" Episode On Kelsey Smith Tonight

Above, Armand with Greg Smith in Topeka, Kansas last November.

Greg Smith, father of Kelsey Smith, posted on Facebook that a new episode of Three Days To Live will focus on Kelsey's kidnapping and murder.

It airs on the Oxygen network tonight at 6:00 (5:00 Central Time).

The show summary:
When a cop's daughter Kelsey fails to return home from a shopping trip, he fears the worst. Detectives know they have little time to track down the missing Kansas teen.

I met Greg Smith last November at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka, Kansas.

For more information, go here. There are several video "sneak peeks" here.

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