"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.

Buy The Amazon Kindle Store Ebook Edition

Buy The Amazon Kindle Store Ebook Edition
Get the ebook edition here! (Click image.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How To Order A Copy of Classic Images #477

Above, the cover of Classic Images magazine issue 477 (March 2015).

Classic Images magazine has an article on the Superman Celebration of last August in their March 2015 issue (number 477).

If your local newsstand doesn't carry Classic Images, you can obtain a copy directly from them.

Here's the information from Bob King at Classic Images:
Just send $6 to Classic Images, 301 E Third, Muscatine, IA 52761 and ask for a copy of March 2015 CI #477

Superman Super Site Picks Up Rondo Nomination News


Above, Stephanie Shayne Parkin address the Superman plaque
dedication group and displays her father's cane. Photo by Steven Kirk.

The Superman Super Site, where "Everything there is to know about the Man of Steel," has posted a brief article on the Superman plaque dedication's nomination for the "Best Fan Event" in the 2014 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards.

They wrote (in part):
The dedication of the "Adventures of Superman" plaque has been nominated for a Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award in the category of "Best Fan Event".
The nomination now also includes the entire Superman Celebration of that August weekend, which includes the luncheon at the Beverly Garland Hotel and the tour of the Pasadena Playhouse, where George Reeves began his acting career.

To read the full article, go here

Monday, March 2, 2015

Superman Plaque Dedication Rondo Ballot News At Superman Homepage

Above, the Superman plaque. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the world's premier Superman websites, the Superman Homepage, has posted a brief article about the Superman plaque dedication's placement on the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards ballot.

To access their article, go here.

Superman Celebration Events Now Included On Rondo Ballot For "Best Fan Event"

Above, Jack Larson addresses the Superman Celebration luncheon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

At my request, the chiefs (i.e., David Colton) of the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards modified the ballot designation of the Superman Plaque Dedication for "Best Fan Event" to also include all of the activities of the Superman Celebration weekend.

Besides the plaque dedication, the luncheon and the tour of the Pasadena Playhouse are now included.

Here's how the ballot designation appears at the official Rondo Award website with the Superman Celebration listing highlighted:

21. BEST FAN EVENT

– BLOB PANIC RE-ENACTMENT: Fans run from same theater in Phoenixville, Pa. where The Blob was filmed. Blobfest
– EDGAR ALLAN POE BRONZE BUST PROJECT: Sculpture of Poe placed at Boston Library thanks to Kickstarter campaign.
– EVIL DEAD CAST REUNION, Bruce Campbell and every ‘Evil’ actor unite at Horrorhound Weekend.
– FRANKENSTEIN: MODERN PROMETHEUS,by Quicksilver Radio Theatre presented on public radio on Halloween night.
– GODZILLA IN YOKOSUKA: Godzilla actor Haruo Nakajima appears at Armed Forces Day attended by Americans and Japanese.
– IFUBUKE 100 concert at G-Fest features suite of Godzilla music by 52-piece orchestra.
– KARLOFF: A ONE-PERSON SHOW, directed by and starring Randy Bowser, authorized by Sara Karloff. Four shows in Salem, Ore.
– MAC OF THE RED BETH, performance of ‘Masque of the Red Death’ by  Veronica Carlson, Martine Beswicke, Yvonne Monlaur and Caroline Munro at Monster Bash Octoberfest.
– OUTER LIMITS art show at Creature Features, Burbank, included cast members along with artwork..
– ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW screening with cast members Barry Bostwick, Patricia Quinn and Little Nell at Mad Monster Party (Charlotte, NC)
– THE SHINING’S TWINS, Lisa and Louise Burns, make first convention appearance at Monster-Mania (Cherry Hill, N.J.)
– SUPERMAN CELEBRATION AND PLAQUE DEDICATION in Tarzana, where  episode of 50s TV show was filmed; luncheon, tour of Pasadena Playhouse. Jack Larson among attendees.
– THAT $#!% WILL ROT YOUR BRAIN rough cut of Bob Tinnell’s documentary on How the Monster Kids Transformed Popular Culture, WonderFest
– WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS CAST REUNION: Russ Tamblyn, Haruo Nakajima, and others with translator/host Jim Cirronella at Monsterpalooza.
– WITCH’S DUNGEON full-figure monster exhibit relocates to Bristol Historical Society in Connecticut.

*******

To access the ballot (make sure you carefully follow the directions on voting), go here.

We appreciate your vote!

Superman Plaque Dedication On Rondo Award Ballot!

Above, the plaque dedication. Photo by John McCoy/Daily News.

The ballot for the 2014 Rondo Awards is now up! The Adventure of Superman plaque dedication got nominated for "Best Fan Event", although I did request that it be included with the entire Superman Celebration.

Here's the category (the Superman Plaque Dedication is highlighted and an "X" placed):

21. BEST FAN EVENT

-- BLOB PANIC RE-ENACTMENT: Fans run from same theater in Phoenixville, Pa. where The Blob was filmed. Blobfest
-- EDGAR ALLAN POE BRONZE BUST PROJECT: Sculpture of Poe placed at Boston Library thanks to Kickstarter campaign.
-- EVIL DEAD CAST REUNION, Bruce Campbell and every 'Evil' actor unite at Horrorhound Weekend.
-- FRANKENSTEIN: MODERN PROMETHEUS,by Quicksilver Radio Theatre presented on public radio on Halloween night.
-- GODZILLA IN YOKOSUKA: Godzilla actor Haruo Nakajima appears at Armed Forces Day attended by Americans and Japanese.
-- IFUBUKE 100 concert at G-Fest features suite of Godzilla music by 52-piece orchestra.
-- KARLOFF: A ONE-PERSON SHOW, directed by and starring Randy Bowser, authorized by Sara Karloff. Four shows in Salem, Ore.
-- MAC OF THE RED BETH, performance of 'Masque of the Red Death' by Veronica Carlson, Martine Beswicke, Yvonne Monlaur and Caroline Munro at Monster Bash Octoberfest.
-- OUTER LIMITS art show at Creature Features, Burbank, included cast members along with artwork..
-- ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW screening with cast members Barry Bostwick, Patricia Quinn and Little Nell at Mad Monster Party (Charlotte, NC)
-- THE SHINING'S TWINS, Lisa and Louise Burns, make first convention appearance at Monster-Mania (Cherry Hill, N.J.)
-X- SUPERMAN PLAQUE DEDICATION in Tarzana, Calif. where episode of 50s TV show was filmed. Jack Larson among attendees.
-- THAT $#!% WILL ROT YOUR BRAIN rough cut of Bob Tinnell's documentary on How the Monster Kids Transformed Popular Culture, WonderFest
-- WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS CAST REUNION: Russ Tamblyn, Haruo Nakajima, and others with translator/host Jim Cirronella at Monsterpalooza.
-- WITCH'S DUNGEON full-figure monster exhibit relocates to Bristol Historical Society in Connecticut.

So we need your votes along with the votes of all of your family and friends!

Go here to vote (make sure you follow the directions): http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/topic/58443

The First Blog Post Pick-ups For March

The kind folks at The Japan Daily have picked up three blog posts for sharing with their readers.

They are:




To read The Japan Daily, go here.

L.A. To Tokyo Airfares Unchanged

Above, the pagoda at Sensoji in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This will be the airfare report for March (unless there's a major change in either direction).

Yesterday's Los Angeles Times Travel section reported that airfares since my last report of February 23 remained unchanged.

In that blog report, I reported that airfares from Los Angeles to Tokyo were at $709 on the low end and $1,061 on the high end. These fares are before any taxes or fees are added in. The Times reported yesterday that the low and high end prices remain the same.

While it may be disappointing that fares haven't dropped, at least they aren't rising either.

Now, let's see what my favorite source for airline tickets, GatewayLAX, came up with for non-stop direct flights to and from Narita International Airport. I chose a departure date of March 14 and a return date of March 29.



As you can see, the lowest airfare GatewayLAX came up with for non-stop direct flights was through Singapore Airlines at $540. This fare, of course, is before any taxes or fees are added in.

Unless there's a big change in airfares, the next report will be in April.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tohoku - Where Japan's Past and Present Co-Exist

Above, the statue of Date Masamune at the ruins of Sendai Castle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of my favorite places in Japan I visited was the coastal town of Matsushima in Tohoku.

There, many small islets dot Matsushima Bay, providing beautiful scenic views. Those small islets also helped to shield the town from the tsunami generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.

The Star Online (Malaysia) has an article on places to see in the Tohoku Region of Japan that inlcudes Matsushima and nearby Sendai.

It begins with:
This region is an intriguing mix of trainee geishas, vestiges of feudal Japan, fresh seafood and smooth saké! 
TRAVELLING north to Japan’s Tohoku region in the middle of winter might seem like the perfect opportunity to turn into a popsicle but, as I discovered, it is well worth a visit there in early January, as there is more to see than just the snow.
 To read more, go here.

Narita Airport Budget Shuttle Buses

Above, train and bus ticket counters at Narita International Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Whenever I've traveled to Japan, I've always flown into Narita International Airport and taken either the Narita Express or the Keisei Line trains into Tokyo (which are under an hour's ride).

However, there are also shuttle bus services available that are much cheaper than the aforementioned train lines.

Rocket News 24 reviews both budget bus services. So if you are not in a hurry to get into Tokyo or want to save money, these alternatives may be to your liking.

They begin their article with:
Most tourists to Japan will come in and out through Tokyo’s Narita Airport. But like many international airports, Narita is not exactly on the doorstep of a major destination city, and travellers headed for Tokyo will usually make the 60-kilometer (36-mile) journey to the metropolis via the Narita Express, a high-speed rail service with a single-trip fare of 3020 yen (US $25.34)
What’s perhaps less well-known is there are two budget bus services that take you from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station for as little as 900 yen. Tokyo Shuttle and The Access Narita seem to offer similar airport shuttle services, but which is the better option?  And can they match the Narita Express in comfort and convenience? We sent one of our Japanese reporters to test out both services and find out!
To read more, go here

Saturday, February 28, 2015

2015 Winnebago Minnie Winnie 22R Photos

Above, my new toy at home in Tarzana. Photo by Armand Vaquer.


I finally had the chance to take some photos of my new toy, a 2015 Winnebago Minnie Winnie 22R that I bought this week at La Mesa RV in San Diego. This is a Class C motorhome.

Since RV enthusiasts like to look at other people's, um, rigs, here's a bunch of photos:

















Friday, February 27, 2015

Superman Celebration In Classic Images Magazine



Above, the cover of the March 2015 edition of Classic Images magazine that contains a photo article on last summer's Superman Celebration that was held in Tarzana (plaque dedication), Studio City (luncheon) and tour of the Pasadena Playhouse.

Fittingly, two of George Reeves's movie posters are displayed on the cover.

For their website, go here.

Leonard Nimoy Now On His Eternal Mission

Above, a bust of Leonard Nimoy as Spock at the 2013 Son of Monsterpalooza. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Actor Leonard Nimoy passed away today at age 83 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was best-known as the Vulcan first officer "Mr. Spock" on the 1960s television series (and movies) Star Trek.

He passed away at home. I had read a few days ago that he had been hospitalized.

While he was known as Spock, Nimoy also appeared in television's Mission Impossible and the syndicated show In Search Of as host and many movies since the 1950s (including one with Jack "Jimmy Olsen" Larson in 1952's Kid Monk Baroni).

Back around 1976, I had the opportunity to see Nimoy perform on stage in a rather campy production (as the title character) of Sherlock Holmes at the now-gone Shubert Theater in Century City. It was a joy seeing the man at work.

Nimoy appeared as "Spock-prime" in the two recent J. J. Abrams Star Trek movies. No doubt, the next Star Trek movie will honor Nimoy in some fashion.

While the title "television icon" is often given to some celebrities who may be undeserving, it certainly fits Leonard Nimoy.

LLAP.

Top Three Places In Japan By Rocket News 24 Reporters



Rocket News 24 has an article in which they asked three of their reporters to choose the top three places in Japan that they'd like to visit again someday.

It begins with:
Figuring out where to go during your stay in Japan can seem like an insurmountable task. For first-time visitors to the country, there are so many famous places to visit that the task of deciding becomes overwhelming. On the other hand, if you’ve been living in Japan for a while, you’re probably tired of all the crowded, touristy places and would like to go somewhere off-the-beaten path. 
To help out our readers who are struggling with this internal dilemma, we’ve asked three reporters from our Japanese-language RocketNews24 team to share with us the top three places in Japan they’d definitely like to visit again someday. These three have had ample opportunities to travel to various places around the country and experience the local scenes in the name of eclectic journalism, so you can think of them as seasoned experts on the matter. Let’s see what little-known travel recommendations they have waiting for us!

To see their picks, go here

STOP OBAMA'S AND ATF'S AMMO BAN!



As NRA has been reporting since the night the news broke, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) is moving to infringe upon the rights of law-abiding gun owners with a drastic reinterpretation of a nearly 30-year-old law regulating so-called “armor piercing” ammunition. So draconian is BATFE’s new “Framework” that it would prohibit the manufacturing, importation, and sale of M855 ball ammunition, one of the most popular cartridges for the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15. Not coincidentally, the AR-15 is among the firearms the Obama Administration has unsuccessfully sought to outlaw. If they can’t ban the pie, so the thinking apparently goes, they might at least get the apples.

In an effort to thwart BATFE's attempted action, NRA has worked with U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to draft a letter to BATFE expressing the lawmakers' opposition to the proposed Framework.

According to the letter, “The idea that Congress intended [the ‘armor piercing’ ammunition law] to ban one of the preeminent rifle cartridges in use by Americans for legitimate purposes is preposterous.” It goes on to state that the law “should be construed in accordance with the American tradition of lawful firearms ownership, as protected by the Second Amendment.” This includes due consideration of “the many legitimate uses Americans make of their firearms including target practice, hunting, organized and casual competition, training and skills development, and instructional activities.“ The letter concludes with several pointed questions for the B. Todd Jones, BATFE’s director, including why the agency bypassed the Administrative Procedures Act in proposing such a radical change to its prior interpretation and enforcement of the law.

NRA will also be submitting its own detailed comments to BATFE in opposition to the ban and is continuing to work with Members of Congress on legislation that will put a stop to this abuse.

In the meantime, gun owners and other affected members of the public must act now to help ensure BATFE does not get away with this attempt to deprive Americans of ammunition for their favorite rifle and to squeeze ammunition markets between converging bans on both lead and non-lead ammunition. BATFE is accepting comments on their proposed ban and will consider all comments received on or before March 16, 2015.

Please be sure to submit your respectful comments in opposition to the ban. For more detailed information on the proposed ban and how you can submit your comments to BATFE, please click this link.

Finally, please contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to sign Rep. Goodlatte's letter and to oppose BATFE's proposed "armor piercing" ammunition Framework.  To contact them by phone, call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or CLICK HERE TO WRITE YOUR LAWMAKERS.

********

To read more, see this article from the Washington Examiner, which begins with:
It’s starting. 
As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

In Japan, You Can Now Sleep With Godzilla

Above, the Godzilla statue in Hibiya. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A Japanese hotel in Tokyo now has a special Godzilla room where guests can spend the night with the Big G.

According to the Malaysian Insider:
If you've ever wanted to sleep with a giant lizard – and let's face it, you only live once – one Japanese hotel has just the thing with its soon-to-be opened Godzilla Room. 
Hotel Gracery in Tokyo's buzzing entertainment district of Shinjuku offers the chance to catch some shuteye under the watchful gaze of a man-size atomic mutant as he stomps on a miniature Japanese capital in the corner of your room.

To see the Godzilla Room, go here.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/travel/article/a-night-with-godzilla-in-japan-anything-is-possible#sthash.990DJ8fA.dpuf

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tourism's Economic Benefits To Japan

Above, a department store in Yurakucho, Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Sometimes you have to laugh at how some headlines are written.

Today's article in Nippon.com contains one such headline: "Rise in Foreign Tourists Brings Economic Benefits to Japan." Who cannot look at that headline without saying, "Duh!"?

Still, it is an interesting article with plenty of stats.

They begin the article with:

Over 13 million foreign tourists visited Japan in 2014, setting a new record. During their stay, these visitors spent a total of more than ¥2 trillion. The recent rise in the number of foreigners visiting Japan has been bolstered by the weak yen and the expansion of duty-free items available to them.

To read more, go here.

Got My New Toy!



Today, my trek down to San Diego to pick up my "new toy" went off without any problems, as I expected it to be.

It began with the ride to Los Angeles International Airport to catch my flight down to San Diego. I got to American Airlines's terminal and check-in went smoothly (well, I did use their check-in machine) and got my boarding pass. On the boarding pass, I was directed to go to gate 44B. So I headed there.

After going through TSA's screening station, I bee-lined it to Gate 44B. Upon reaching it, it consisted of a long passageway with a sign that said that Gates 44 A through J will need to take a shuttle to another gate in another terminal. I got down to the end of the passageway and there, waiting, was the shuttle bus. I got in and we headed down a road adjacent to the runway.

At one point, we had to stop for a couple of minutes so a big Boeing 777 could cross the road we were on to get onto the runway.

Finally, we got to our terminal and gates which serviced small commuter jets. The plane assigned to the trip to San Diego was a small 50-seater jet.

Soon, we took off and headed for San Diego along the coast at 11,000 feet. It was a clear day and on the port side of the plane, the San Gabriel Mountains were covered in snow from the recent storm we had. On to starboard side, we had a clear view of Santa Catalina Island. As I had an aisle seat, I was unable take any photos of the island. The flight had no beverage service due to the short duration of the flight.

Upon arrival at San Diego's Lindbergh Field, the courtesy car from La Mesa RV took me to the dealership. On the way to the dealer, we drove through San Diego's Hotel Circle and passed by the Town and Country Hotel, the site of many GOP state conventions I attended in the 1970s and 1980s.



At the dealership, a big welcome monitor screen with the names of their newest customers displayed. Mine was at the top.

Before getting down to complete the paperwork (and hand over the check) and walk-through, I contacted my insurance company to get insurance coverage for the motorhome. After this was done, the walk-through began. I was going to video the walk-through, but it went so fast (and much of it was already familiar to me), I didn't bother.

After the walk-through, the sales paperwork was completed and signed. During the signing, I was given a $75 certificate to spend at the La Mesa RV accessory store. And spend it I did!

After my spending spree, I headed to my new 2015 Winnebago Minnie Winnie 322R and headed for home.

Above, my Aunt Rose and I with the Minnie Winnie.

Along the way home (which was about half-way to Los Angeles), I stopped in Mission Viejo to visit my Aunt Rose and a couple of cousins. I showed them the motor home and a couple of their neighbors came over to admire it.

Above, my aunt, cousins and I. No, I wasn't scowling. I was just caught mid-sentence.

After visiting with my aunt and cousins, I headed back to Los Angeles. The distance from La Mesa RV to home was 148 miles, much of it in rush-hour traffic. I was in no hurry, so I just relaxed and enjoyed my new toy.

It was an enjoyable day!



Today's The Day!

Above, the Van Nuys Flyaway bus at LAX. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
Today's the day that I pick up my new toy.

My taxi will be here in a half hour to take me over to the Van Nuys Flyaway for the bus ride to Los Angeles International Airport to take a one-hour flight (actually, more like 45 minutes) to San Diego. There, the dealer will pick me up from the airport to take me to the dealership.

At the dealership, all the paperwork will be signed and the cashier's check handed over. After this, they will give me a detailed walk-through of the motorhome to show me all the features and how to operate them.

Fortuately, I had a Gulf Stream motorhome 35 years ago, so I know the basics on motorhome operations.

As I did when I bought the Gulf Stream, I will video the walk-through so I have it for future reference.

Above, the new toy.

Once I am done with the walk-through, I will be doing some shopping for items for use in the new motorhome. I have some camping equipment items, but there are some I still need to get.

After all this, I will be driving back to L.A. En route, I will make a stop in Mission Viejo (which is on the way to L.A., just off Interstate 5) to visit my aunt and cousins. I haven't been there in a while, so this will be a good opportunity to pay a visit.

It will be interesting to see the changes along the coastal route of Interstate 5. I haven't been there for several years.

Should be a fun day!

Monday, February 23, 2015

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Going Up Like Gangbusters At Amazon

Above, Yuu Asakura with the print edition of The Monster
 Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The ebook edition of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan is going like gangbusters over at Amazon's Kindle Store. It began going up yesterday, but it has gone even higher today.

It moved up in three categories:
Best Sellers in Japanese Travel

Best Sellers in Two-Hour Travel Short Reads

Best Sellers in General Japan Travel Guides

To get the ebook edition, go here.

To get the print edition, go here.

Latest Blog Post Pick-ups

The fine folks at The Japan Daily have picked up three of yesterday's blog posts for sharing with their readers.

They are:



To read The Japan Daily, go here.

L.A. To Tokyo Airfares Drop

Above, the beach at Atami. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last week, I reported that airfares for flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo spiked up at $959 on the low end and $1,311 on the high end, according to the Travel section of the Los Angeles Times. These prices are before any taxes or fees are added in.

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that airfares from Los Angeles to Tokyo have dropped. On the low end, they reported the lowest price at $709 and on the high end, the price was at $1,061. These, again, are before any taxes or fees are added in.

The next airfare report will be in March.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Luxury "Hotel War" In Kyoto

Above, a view of Kyoto from Kiyomizu-dera. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Travel + Leisure named Kyoto, Japan the "World's Best City" last year.

Foreign visitors are flocking to Kyoto and this is sparking a "hotel war" among luxury hotel chains.

According to The Japan Times:
Kyoto’s recent record-setting tourism boom has sparked a mini-”hotel war,” with some of the world’s best-known luxury inn chains opening branches in the ancient capital, as its international popularity as a travel destination spreads even further. 
Not too many years ago, Kyoto had a dearth of international first-class hotels. Visitors found a choice of domestic chains, some of which were run-down, with dark lobbies and moldy carpets in the lobby, and dirty, small rooms with hard beds. Or they could opt for a traditional evening in an ancient Japanese-style inn that cost far more and offered a cultural experience, but often lacked modern amenities that today’s international travelers demand.
A year ago, the Ritz Carlton opened. The Hyatt Regency opened in 2006. Next spring, the Four Seasons Kyoto is to open.

This bodes well for foreign tourists who want to see the ancient city, but want to stay in luxurious accommodations.

To read more, go here.

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Ebook At No. 47 At Amazon

Above, Miki Hayashi with the print edition of The Monster
 Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

February is ending on a very high note for me.

First, I purchased a 2015 Winnebago motorhome (being able to pay cash without needing to finance it opened a lot of doors in getting a great deal). Next, the Amazon Kindle ebook edition of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan is now in the top 50 of the top 100 in the Best Sellers in Japanese Travel category.

It is currently at number 47.


To get the ebook edition, go here.

To get the print edition, go here.

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