"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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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When in Los Angeles...

The plaque commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Americanized Godzilla, King of the Monsters was dedicated in March 2006 at the former location of Visual Drama, Inc., the small studio where Raymond Burr's insert scenes were filmed by director Terry Morse.

I paid a visit to the location, now the Frank del Olmo Elementary School and took these photos. The plaque is located at the school's entrance at 100 N. New Hampshire Ave. (near First Street and Vermont Ave.), Los Angeles.

The plaque was sponsored by the Godzilla Society of North America and Platrix Chapter No. 2, E Clampus Vitus.

If you happen to be in Los Angeles, make sure to go see the Godzilla plaque.

Walpurgis Night is Tonight

From Wikipedia:

The festival is named after Saint Walpurga, born in Wessex in 710. She was a niece of Saint Boniface and, according to legend, a daughter of the Saxon prince St. Richard. Together with her brothers she travelled to Franconia, Germany, where she became a nun and lived in the convent of Heidenheim, which was founded by her brother Willibald. Walpurga died on 25 February 779. She is therefore listed in the Roman Martyrology under 25 February. Her relics were transferred on 1 May, and that day carries her name in, for example, the Finnish and Swedish calendar.

Historically the Walpurgisnacht is derived from Pagan spring customs. In the Norse tradition, Walpurgisnacht is considered the "Enclosure of the Fallen". It commemorates the time when Odin died to retrieve the knowledge of the runes, and the night is said to be a time of weakness between the living and the dead. Bonfires were built to keep away the dead and chaotic spirits that were said to walk among the living then. This is followed by the return of light and the sun as celebrated during May Day. Due to Walpurga's holy day falling on the same day, her name became associated with the celebrations. Early Christianity had a policy of 'Christianising' pagan festivals so it is no accident that St. Walpurga's day was set to May 1st. Walpurga was honored in the same way that Vikings had celebrated spring and as they spread throughout Europe, the two dates became mixed together and created the Walpurgis Night celebration.

In the 1931 Dracula with Bela Lugosi, a Transylvanian villager states that the night Renfield is heading to Castle Dracula is Walpurgis Night.

Speaking of Lugosi, the "Night on Bald Mountain" portion of 1940's Fantasia takes place on Walpurgis Night (not Halloween, as mistakenly thought). Lugosi performed the body movements for the Disney animators as the demon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Economy Woes: Democrats' Fault

The current economic downturn (recession, if you prefer) will not end any time soon. The mortgage crisis still has not hit bottom. Foreclosures are still mounting. More people are filing bankruptsy and the claims for unemployment have been steadily rising. This was caused by greedy lenders in the sub-prime market making loans to people who had no business taking out loans in the first place.

But the main factor for this economic mess can be placed on the laps of Democrats.

Oil prices are continuing to reach record levels. The problem there is being caused by oil speculators, rising demands from India and China, artificially low output and inadequate refining. The last new oil refinery was opened in the U.S. in 1976, which was 32 years ago when Gerald Ford was president. Thanks to liberal Democrats and their environmental wacko allies, new refinery construction has been blocked. Much of the problem is also being caused by the weakness of the dollar (a direct result of the credit crunch).

Liberal Democrats and environmental wackos are preventing new oil exploration in the United States. There's plenty of oil, but they are not allowing the exploration or drilling for these oil sources. Some industry analysts have said that gasoline prices may even reach ten dollars per gallon ($10.00/gallon).

These problems are being caused by liberals and environmentalists, yet they demonize the oil producers. It has been proposed to put federal gasoline taxes (18%) on a "holiday" during the summer driving months. This proposal is supported by Senators McCain and Clinton. Obama opposes it. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says that the oil companies should "pay for it [the tax holiday]." There is no way that oil companies will pay for it. Three trillion dollars are taken from the taxpayers by the federal government. They also are blocking proposals for a national energy policy.

Nuclear power is another solution that has also been killed by these groups.

If you think things are bad now, just wait and see what happens if Democrats take the White House and increase their majorities in Congress this November.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Man's Home Is His Castle: Apparently Not In California

From Bartleby.com:

People enjoy the position of rulers in their own homes, and others have no right to enter without the householder’s permission.

‡ The legal doctrine “A man’s home is his castle” is reflected in the Bill of Rights: “The right of the people to be secure in their … houses … against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.”

If California Democrat State Senator Alex Padilla has his way, this doctrine will fall by the wayside. According to the Associated Press, "California apartment complexes could be declared smoke-free zones under legislation that's scheduled to be considered this week by a state Senate committee.

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles) says his bill would ensure that owners of rental housing have the option to ban smoking.

"The way the law is (currently) written..., it's not explicit for landlords to declare smoke-free housing units without being sued," he said. "We're trying to make the law a little more clear, a little more explicit."

The bill, scheduled to be heard Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would allow landlords to ban smoking on all or a portion of their property, including in any building on the site.

Tenants could continue to smoke inside their homes until their pre-smoking ban rental agreements expired. A violation would be considered a breach of the agreement and could lead to eviction."

Obviously, this legislation would, if enacted, affect the poorest renters the most. "It could result in month-to-month renters, many of whom are poor, having as little as 60 days to quit smoking or find new places to live," said Cindi Alvidrez, a legislative assistant with the Western Center on Law and Poverty, which lobbies on behalf of the poor.

The bill also relies on disputed data on the effect of second-hand smoke on non-smokers.

When a person rents an apartment or house, that is his castle. He or she has every right to indulge in a lawful activity. Smoking is a legal activity and the sale of tobacco products is also lawful.

It appears that the Democrat-controlled California legislature feels otherwise. Nanny government rears its ugly head once again.
Side note: Is $10.00/gallon of gas coming? Check this article out: $10/gallon coming?

Astro Boy Through The Years

Astro Boy Through The Years

Japanese 1960s

U.S. 1960s

1982 English

2003 Japanese

2003 English

Sunday, April 27, 2008

50th Anniversary Superman Reunion

Back in early 2001, a drive was underway to collect contributions to put an ad in Variety commemorating the 50th annniversary of the Adventures of Superman television show starring George Reeves. (The ad ultimately appeared in The Hollywood Reporter).

The year prior, I organized "Godzilla Week" through the offices of Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich to help advertise G-FEST 2000 (that was to be held that summer in Hollywood) and the first theatrical release in the U.S. of a Japanese Godzilla movie, Godzilla 2000, since Godzilla 1985.

I contacted Jim Nolt, who was the editor and publisher of the Superman fanzine, "The Adventures Continue," to see if it would be a good idea to arrange for a 50th Anniversary event in L.A. He liked the idea and went to work on contacting the surviving stars of the show. I contacted Supervisor Antonovich's office and they agreed to sponsor it. We decided to have Los Angeles County declare July 10-16, 2001"Superman Week" in Los Angeles County. July 10 was the first day of shooting of the theatrical feature (that served as the pilot for the show) Superman and the Mole Men. It was also a nod to an episode of the show, "Superman Week."

Lou Koza put us in touch with Mrs. Jerome Siegel, the widow of Superman creator Jerry Siegel and we invited her to attend. We also reached Paul Levitz, then vice-president of DC Comics. He also agreed to attend.

Superman historian Chuck Harter provided some photographs for use in publicizing the event.

A reporter with the Daily News came over the day before the ceremony to shoot some photos of my collection and get background information on the event.

On July 10, 2001, fans gathered at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles for the ceremony. Also attending were Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen), Noel Neill (Lois Lane), Jeff Corey (Luke Benson in the Mole Men movie), Robert Rockwell (Jor-El), Mrs. Robert Shayne (widow of Robert "Inspector Henderson" Shayne), Joanne Siegel, Paul Levitz and Walter Walbrecht (Warner Bros. VP). Also attending were Stephanie Shayne Parkin (daughter of Robert and Betty Shayne) and Laura Siegel Larson (daughter of Jerome and Joanne Siegel). A proclamaton scroll was presented to Mr. Levitz and copies were given to each of the participants.

After the ceremony ended, a luncheon was held at Cafe Pinot. (Ceremony photos courtesy of L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Luncheon photo courtesy of Jim Nolt.)

This was the biggest reunion of stars from the show since the 1950s and it was also the first time Mrs. Siegel met Noel Neill. Mrs. Siegel was the model for the Lois Lane character. The stars addressed the chambers and Jim Nolt spoke on behalf of the fans.

Unfortunately, within two years of the "Superman Week" ceremony, we lost two of the participants: Jeff Corey and Robert Rockwell. We are grateful that they both were able to participate.

Fans around the country (and one came from Australia) came to the ceremony and luncheon and now have fond memories of that day. The event was also attended by Superman historians Chuck Harter, Jim Beaver, Lou Koza and Jan Alan Henderson.

See also The Adventures Continue

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The rat...and the cat!

This is the rat who has decided to take up residence in my patio...

I have two cats. One is 13, and fat and lazy. The other is a little younger but is full of energy. This is her...

Should I open the sliding door and let her out to go after the rat?

Friday, April 25, 2008

McCain Out of Touch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. presidential candidate John McCain accused North Carolina's Republican Party of being "out of touch with reality" over its refusal to pull an advertisement criticizing Democrat Barack Obama.

In an NBC interview aired on Friday, the Arizona senator said he has done all he can to persuade the state party to cancel the television ad that criticizes Obama as "too extreme" because of controversial remarks made by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"They're not listening to me because they're out of touch with reality and the Republican Party. We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan and this kind of campaigning is unacceptable," McCain told NBC's "Today" Show.

Since when is telling the truth puts anyone "out of touch"? Sorry, Senator. You have made it your mantra that you are a "maverick" within the GOP. Now you don't like it when a state's party organization decides not to kow-tow to your demands. It is not a racist ad and nothing otherwise wrong with it.

Next, you badmouthed the Bush Administration's handling of the Katrina disaster, deservedly so. But you stood silent over the handling by the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor.

If you expect conservatives to support you and respect you, you will have to earn it first. It seems to me that you need to look in a mirror to find out who is out of touch.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Haruo Nakajima at G-FEST XV

It will be nice to see the original Godzilla (1954-1972) suit-actor, Haruo Nakajima again at G-FEST XV in Chicago on Independence Day weekend. As he is now 79 years old, this will most likely be his last North American convention appearance. G-FEST is organized by G-FAN editor and publisher J. D. Lees.

I have urged J. D. for several years to have him back and award Nakajima the coveted "Mangled Skyscraper Award" for his career as Godzilla and other kaiju characters. Both requests will be honored.

I first met Nakajima at G-FEST 2000 in Los Angeles. Although he does not speak English, I still found him a warm and friendly man who enjoys mixing with fans.

In November 2001, I visited Japan for the first time to attend the Tokyo International Film Festival for the premiere of Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. Following the screening, I was able to see Nakajima out in the theater lobby. Richard Pusateri and I were able to have a photo taken with him (for some reason, some wags have dubbed the photo "Godzilla vs. The Super Mario Brothers").

Fans who have never met Nakajima are in for a real treat. He should be considered "the fourth Godfather" of Godzilla along with Ishiro Honda, Tomoyuki Tanaka and Eiji Tsuburaya. G-FEST is the perfect venue. It is a laid-back convention that is family-friendly with activities for the small-fry so that parents can participate in convention events without worry. As far as I know, no other convention is so family-friendly.

Along with Nakajima, Don Frye from Godzilla Final Wars will also be attending as a guest. Robert Scott Field will return as another celebrity guest as well as being an able translator for Nakajima's sessions. Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters author August Ragone is also expected to attend. If you have a copy of his book, this is your opportunity to have him sign it for you.

For additional information, go to www.g-fan.com. If you have no other vacation plans for this year (considering the high gas prices and air fares, you will want to get more bang for your ever-shrinking buck), you'll be doing yourself a big favor by attending G-FEST XV this summer.

Why "Rancho del Cielo"?

Rancho del Cielo means "ranch in the sky" and it was the name of Ronald Reagan's ranch up in mountains near Santa Barbara. I was a California Reagan delegate in 1976 and 1980 and an alternate delegate in 1984. The ranch is now owned and run by Young America's Foundation. The ranch house has been preserved just as it was when the Reagans owned it. The photo is from the GOP National Convention in Detroit, Michigan and was taken during Reagan's acceptance speech. I am where the arrow is pointing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

G-FAN Special Update

G-FAN Special Update No. 6
Just when I thought I covered all of the locations, I found some more while watching Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster a few nights ago.

Here's the list to date:





Fukushima Airport


Tokyo: Tokyo Overview; Nat. Diet Building; Dream Island Park; Odaiba; Shinjuku; Shibuya; Ginza-Hibiya; Kachidoki Bridge; Tokyo Tower; Ueno Park.

Yokosuka (Godzilla slide)


Kurobe Dam



Mt. Fuji

Seto Ohashi Bridge



Ise-Shima National Park






Mt. Aso



Ultramanland (Kumamoto area)


Typhoon Season

Shinkansen History

So You're Going To Japan?

JR Rail Pass

Japanese Money Denominations



Tokyo Subways & Trains

One Year Ago...

One year ago today, I was in Tokyo, Japan winding down from a whirlwind tour of Kyushu. For several days, I visited Kumamoto, Mt. Aso Volcano National Park, Nagasaki, Sasebo and Fukuoka. The day before (April 22), I took an all-day train ride on the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Fukuoka to Tokyo.

This year, I have a bit too much free time since I was laid off last November. The economic conditions today are hurting a lot of people. My lay-off is directly linked to the mortgage crisis that started last year. I am afraid economic conditions will get more worse before they get better.

Frankly, I was better off last year than I am now. A couple of good things about being out of work is that I had the most healthy winter in memory (since I wasn't around people, I didn't catch anything) and I am not paying these outrageous gasoline prices to get to and from work.

We'll see how things go in the next few months. If you have a job, do the best you can to save more than usual. It just might come in handy if your company finds they have to downsize as mine did.

Phyllis Coates: Hometown Girl

Actress Phyllis Coates, who played Lois Lane in the first season of the Adventures of Superman (1951) starring George Reeves was recently profiled in her Wichita Falls, Texas hometown newspaper, The Times Recorder. I contributed a photo of her that I took last year.

This is the article as it appeared.


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