"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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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hold On To Your Wallet: Tax Hikes Coming In 2011

Source: Kiplinger

Despite President Barack Obama's campaign promises of no tax hikes for individuals, here's a few tax hikes we can expect to see in 2011:

Boosts in top marginal rates from 33% and 35% to 36% and 39.6%.

A higher rate on capital gains and dividends, but only for those in the top brackets. They will probably be hit with a 20% rate, though it could go a little higher.

Caps on itemized deductions for top earners. Obama's push to limit the value of deductions at 28% ran into a wall of opposition from charitable groups, but he's not giving up. Some way of curtailing the tax break still seems likely by 2011.

No repeal of estate taxes, but count on an exemption of at least $3.5 million, and it could be set as high as $5 million if the Senate prevails. Estate tax legislation will include spousal transfers, making the exemption $7 million or more for couples. The estate tax rate will be capped at 45%, the same as it is now.

More easings for the alternative minimum tax, but no repeal.

What about businesses? Businesses can expect a mixed bag of hikes and cuts, but with a higher total tax bill.

Higher SECA taxes for owners of S firms and partnerships by blocking them in the future from skirting payroll taxes by taking their compensation as dividends instead of salary.

New restrictions on worker classification to make it easier for the IRS to crack down on firms that treat workers as contractors who are really employees.

An elimination of some tax breaks for big corporations, including the deduction for domestic production, accelerated depreciation and incentives for foreign income and oil production.

To read the full Kiplinger article, go here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Give Obama Your Power of Attorney

Since people now are so enamored over President Barack Obama and expect the government to care for their every need, so they would be free of any worries as Obama is all-knowing and all-wise, here's a sample Power of Attorney* you can send to the White House to make it official:

"I (fill in your name and address), do hereby appoint Barack Obama, my attorney in fact, to act in my name, place, and stead in respect to the following matters:

the vehicle I drive,
the salary and bonuses I receive,
the job I get,
the education my children get,
all medical matters,
and all tax matters.

This durable power of attorney shall extend through his entire term as president, and beyond: through the rest of his remaining years as a mortal walking the sod of planet Earth."

Simply sign it before a notary public. Send it immediately to the White House.

*As suggested by Rush Limbaugh.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Big Man Japan May 15

Big Man Japan (Dai-Nipponjin) (2007) is opening in selected theaters on May 15. It is a hilarious spoof on Japanese giant monster movies (daikaiju). It is well worth a look!

The official website is here: Big Man Japan

It'll be playing at the Nuart Theater in West Los Angeles on May 15 and 16.

Good Riddance, Senator Specter!

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania announced today that he is switching party affiliation. Good Riddance, Senator Specter!

He is only confirming that many of us have said, he was a Republican In Name Only (RINO). It isn't about party, it is about saving his political hide during next year's GOP Primary. Polls show that he has lost support among Pennsylvania Republicans.

Specter's statement:

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania's economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords' switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy's statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

It isn't that the GOP has gone too far right, Specter and the Democrats have gone too far left.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Obama As "Messiah"

World Net Daily.com has an interesting item. It has an article on a painting called "The Truth" that is to be unveiled on President Barack Obama's 100th day in office on Wednesday.

The article states:

On his 100th day in office, President Obama will be "crowned" in messianic imagery at New York City's Union Square.

Artist Michael D'Antuono's painting "The Truth" – featuring Obama with his arms outstretched and wearing a crown of thorns upon his head – will be unveiled on April 29 at the Square's South Plaza.

According to a statement released about the portrait, "The 30" x 54" acrylic painting on canvas depicts President Obama appearing much like Jesus Christ on the Cross: atop his head, a crown of thorns; behind him, the dark veil being lifted (or lowered) on the Presidential Seal. But is he revealing or concealing, and is he being crucified or glorified?"

This isn't the first time that Obama has been called "The Messiah" since he began his quest for the presidency. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan dubbed Obama "The Messiah" back during the campaign last year.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Adventures of Superman 1953 Music

Above, Los Angeles City Hall became the Daily Planet Building in 1953.

1953 was the year Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated president. The Adventures of Superman began its second season filming with some changes. Out was Robert Maxwell and in was Whitney Ellsworth as producer. Noel Neill replaced Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen gave Perry White (John Hamilton) more ulcers. Bob Shayne as Inspector Henderson finally convinces Clark Kent (George Reeves) that fingerprints cannot be changed.

Above, "The Man In The Lead Mask."

It was a year of high adventure for the show. Some of the best episodes were filmed in 1953. "Panic In The Sky," "Superman In Exile," "Beware The Wrecker," "The Clown Who Cried" and "Around The World With Superman" were just a few of the highlights of the year.

Above, "Beware The Wrecker."

Musically, the Adventures of Superman had a new sound. Some of which may be found here. The tracks that were used in the 1953 season were:

4. "Crime Doesn't Pay" by Jack Beaver.

5. "Where Danger Lurks" by Ronald Hanmer.

7. "The Sword of Damocles" by Jack Beaver.

23. "Hollywood Epic" by Jack Beaver.

Ever since the first season's music tracks were released on CD a few years ago, fans have been clamoring for a CD of Adventures of Superman 1953 music. It has been rumored that a CD is being produced. Unfortunately, it appears that those plans have hit a snag.

In the meantime, we have these samples to listen to. Enjoy!

UPDATE (4/28/09):

This link will take you to another page that features a piece of 2nd season Adventures of Superman music. Go to: 6. "The Adventures Of P.C.49" by Ronald Hanmer. Also, go here for Hanmer's 14. "Dagger In The Dark."

Lucky Dragon No. 5: Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall

Lucky Dragon No. 5: Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall

by Armand Vaquer
(Special thanks to August Ragone)

(Originally published in G-FAN #80, Spring 2007)

A brilliant fireball was seen in the South Pacific at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands on March 1, 1954. The United States exploded a H-bomb in the first of a series of "Castle Test" detonations of hydrogen bombs by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. This bomb test was called "Bravo."

The explosive power of this bomb was equivalent to 15 megatons of TNT, almost 1,000 times greater than the atomic bombs that completely destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

Unfortunately, twenty-three crew members of a Japanese tuna fishing trawler, Daigo Fukuryu Maru (Fifth Lucky Dragon) encountered radioactive "death ash" from the Bikini blast. They were located roughly 160 kilometers east of Bikini Atoll (see map below). At about 3:45 am on March 1, while some crewmen were staying in the boat's cabin for breakfast, they saw the window shine as if it were sunrise. At around 7:00 am, white ash began to fall on the ship and continued to do so for several hours.

Peace Society for the Lucky Dragon.

Later that afternoon, some of the crew began to feel headaches, nausea and eye irritation. A few days later, their faces began to become strangely dark. The captain and officers decided to immediately return to their home port, Yaizu in Shizuoka Prefecture, abandoning further fishing plans. Two weeks after returning home, most of the crew members were suffering from painful burns to their faces and hair loss, in addition to the earlier symptoms. Following a thorough medical examination by Doctor T. Oi, it was diagnosed that all crew members were seriously ill from radiation poisoning and were moved to larger hospitals in Tokyo.

Above, exhibits on the effects of radiation poisoning.

A survey conducted by Professor T. Shiokawa of Shizuoka University, found that the ship body, the crew and the tuna fish brought back aboard the Lucky Dragon were heavily contaminated by fallout from the "Bravo" test. Due to this ominous news, most of the Japanese people were seized by panic as their daily foods depend largely on marine products. Consequently, any fishing in the open ocean became practically impossible.

Despite the hard work by doctors, Mr. Aikichi Kuboyama, the Lucky Dragon's chief radio operator, succumbed on September 23, 1954. He became the world's first victim of the hydrogen bomb. Up to the present, ten other members of the crew have died due to cancer and other H-bomb-related diseases.

The Lucky Dragon was delivered to the Tokyo University of Fisheries to be used as a training ship in 1956. The radioactivity had previously been confirmed to have decayed to a safe level. After serving the university for ten years, the ship was sold to a scrap dealer and abandoned on Dream Island, the graveyard for wooden ships in Tokyo Bay (photo below). Plans were made to sink the ship, but a letter to the Asahi Shimbun on March 10, 1968 began a campaign to save and restore the ship for a memorial and reminder of what happened.

Peace Society for the Lucky Dragon.

After an expenditure of $800,000 and a full year of labor, the Lucky Dragon was completely renovated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and is now housed in a triangle-shaped building in the Koto-ku ward of Tokyo. The exhibition hall is located at Dream Island Park (Yumenoshima).

Above, restored, the Lucky Dragon No. 5 sits in its home in Dream Island Park.

The accompanying photographs of the Lucky Dragon No. 5 were made during my visit to the exhibition hall on April 15, 2007.

As many Godzilla fans know, the Lucky Dragon incident was one of the inspirations for Godzilla. In fact, some of the publications on sale (below) at the exhibit include references to Godzilla.

Up until recently, I did not know that the Lucky Dragon No. 5 was on display in Tokyo. Fortunately, a timely tip from August Ragone told me of the exhibit prior to my vacation departure to Japan. A visit to the exhibit is a must-see for serious Godzilla fans and history buffs. Although the incident is a sad one, and the exhibit is somber, it is still well worth a visit.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Manfred Nowak: Shove It!

Breitbart.com reported:

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama left the door open to prosecuting Bush administration officials who devised the legal authority for gruesome terror-suspect interrogations. He had previously absolved CIA officers from prosecution.

Manfred Nowak, who serves as a U.N. special rapporteur in Geneva, said Washington is obligated under the U.N. Convention against Torture to prosecute U.S. Justice Department officials who wrote memos that defined torture in the narrowest way in order to justify and legitimize it, and who assured CIA officials that their use of questionable tactics was legal.

"That's exactly what I call complicity or participation" to torture as defined by the convention, Nowak said at a news conference. "At that time, every reasonable person would know that waterboarding, for instance, is torture."

Nowak, an Austrian law professor, said it was up to U.S. courts and prosecutors to prove that the memos were written with the intention to incite torture.

What kind of idiocy is this? What kind of "law professor" would prosecute attorneys for providing legal opinions? I would tell Mr. Nowak (Mr. No-wacko) he can stick his U.N. Convention where the sun doesn't shine!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dick Morris's "Obama's Leap To Socialism"

Former Bill Clinton aide Dick Morris has an interesting article on the implications of President Obama's proposed changes to TARP.

In The Hill.com, Morris wrote:

President Obama showed his hand this week when The New York Times wrote that he is considering converting the stock the government owns in our country’s banks from preferred stock, which it now holds, to common stock.

This seemingly insignificant change is momentous. It means that the federal government will control all of the major banks and financial institutions in the nation. It means socialism.

The Times dutifully dressed up the Obama plan as a way to avoid asking Congress for more money for failing banks. But the implications of the proposal are obvious to anyone who cares to look.

To read Morris's full article, go here.

Obama Injecting Poison

President Obama has opened up a Pandora's Box when he indicated Tuesday that he is open to prosecuting Bush Administration officials for legal opinions on enhanced interrogation techniques. Instead of bringing people together (as he had promised in the campaign), Obama is injecting poison into our body politic.

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent editorial today on this:

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.

Policy disputes, often bitter, are the stuff of democratic politics. Elections settle those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama's victory in November has given him the right to change policies on interrogations, Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.

This really doesn't come as a surprise to conservatives. This behavior from the left (radical liberals, Marxists, socialists, statists, etc.) is classic. They aren't interested in electoral victory, they seek to destroy opposition.

If Obama or the Democrats in congress press ahead on prosecutions or "investigations" (i.e., a witch hunt), you can expect all hell breaking loose in this country.

To read the full article, go here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

GE Execs Raked Over Coals At Shareholders Meeting

GE Execs Raked Over Coals At Shareholders Meeting

General Electric, the parent company of NBC-Universal, had their annual shareholders meeting today and it wasn't "business as usual."

Shareholders loudly voiced their displeasure over the leftward tilt of MSNBC and its biased reporting during the presidential campaign and during the recent tax day tea parties.

Several got up and spoke and aimed their ire at Keith Olbermann's interview with Janeane Garofalo in which she called tea party attendees "racists" with no challenge by Olbermann.

At least a couple of shareholders who took to the microphone had the microphone shut off, according to a report by the Hollywood Reporter.

The Hollywood Reporter quoted one attendee:

"The crowd was very upset with MSNBC because of its leftward tilt," one attendee said. "Some former employees said they were embarrassed by it."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mark Levin Offers Defense For Bush Legal Advisors On Enhanced Interrogation

The Associated Press reported today:

President Barack Obama left the door open Tuesday to prosecuting Bush administration officials who devised the legal authority for gruesome terror-suspect interrogations, saying the United States lost "our moral bearings" with use of the tactics.

The question of whether to bring charges against those who devised justification for the methods "is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general within the parameters of various laws and I don't want to prejudge that," Obama said. The president discussed the continuing issue of terrorism-era interrogation tactics with reporters as he finished an Oval Office meeting with visiting King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Obama also said he could support a congressional investigation into the Bush-era terrorist detainee program, but only under certain conditions, such as if it were done on a bipartisan basis. He said he worries about the impact that high-intensity, politicized hearings in Congress could have on the government's efforts to cope with terrorism.

Talk-show host Hugh Hewitt wrote:

Instant and genuine outrage from callers and e-mailers greeted President Obama's about-face on the possibility of prosecuting former Bush Adminstration officials. Not only do such wild swings give everyone dealing with the president or the U.S. pause over his reliability, the idea of such an unprecedented attempt to criminalize prior policy positions immediately summons up the memory of Tailgunner Joe*, though this time the hunted are conservatives and the pitchforks are in the hands of Democrats.

Mark Levin, talk show host and author of the number one best-selling non-fiction book, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, offered to provide any Bush Administration official who provided legal opinions on the "enhanced interrogaton techniques" on terrorist prisoners legal defense "should the need arise." Mark Levin is president of the Landmark Legal Foundation in Washington, D.C. and is a practicing attorney.

Levin even went further in stating that if he does provide a defense, he would subpoena and depose Attorney General Eric Holder, President Obama or any other Obama official who presses for prosecution of Bush Administration officials. He also indicated that he would seek all correspondence, including emails, from the Obama Administration on this matter. This is politically-motivated, Levin said, and he would pull all stops to prove it.

He even indicated that he would go after Obama Administration officials in civil court, if necessary.

Levin likened this to "war" and will go after President Obama and his advisors in this case. Levin shouts: "Bring it on!"

*Senator Joseph McCarthy.

UPDATE (4/22/09): Levin said on his show today that he received a note from a daughter of John Wayne offering her services. She's an attorney. Sean Hannity says if necessary, he will raise defense funds.

Toho's Income Declined

Bloomberg.com is reporting that Toho Co., Ltd.'s income declined more than expected.

Toho Co. (9602 JT): The movie distributor’s full-year net income declined more than expected to 2.2 billion yen from 7.29 billion yen a year earlier, pared by charges on devalued stockholdings, the company said in a preliminary earnings statement. The profit was 50 percent lower than the company’s forecast. The stock slid 0.2 percent to 1,372 yen.

Toho is not alone as other Japanese companies have also seen declines this year.

The World Is Reading

When one puts up a website or blog on the Internet, the concept of people around the world accessing and reading what's posted is abstract at best.

On April 12, I added a Clustrmap to this blog. A little over a week later, there's clusters from virtually every continent in the world, with the exception of Africa.

I was surprised to see recorded "hits" from ISP codes from faraway places like Nepal, Turkey, Fiji, Singapore and others. Naturally, I would expect to see some from English-speaking places like United Kingdom, Australia and others. There's even some from China, Russia, Taiwan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Argentina. Japan is understandable as I post a lot of articles on Japan travel and kaiju movies.

I am curious as to what topics I posted drew the interest of the other countries. Godzilla? Japan travel? U.S. politics? G-FAN magazine? (If you are a reader from a country outside of the U.S., please feel free to post on what caught your attention here.)

So now the concept of world-wide Internet communication is no longer an abstract one. All I can say is a big "Wow!" Also, I might add, "Welcome!"

A Timid Advocate of Freedom

Former Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney has written a hard-hitting evaluation of President Obama's forays in foreign policy. He didn't like what he saw.

From National Review.com:

A Timid Advocate of Freedom

President Obama has failed his early foreign-policy tests.

By Mitt Romney

At last week’s Summit of the Americas, President Obama acquiesced to a 50-minute attack on America as terroristic, expansionist, and interventionist from Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega. His response to Ortega’s denunciation of our effort to free Cuba from Castro’s dictatorship was that he shouldn’t be blamed “for things that happened when I was three months old.” Blamed? Hundreds of men, including Americans, bravely fought and died for Cuba’s freedom, heeding the call from newly elected president John F. Kennedy. But last week, even as American soldiers sacrificed blood in Afghanistan and Iraq to defend liberty, President Obama shrank from defending liberty here in the Americas.

In his first press interview as president, he confessed to Arabic television that America had “dictated” to other nations. No, Mr. President, America has fought to free other nations from dictators. And in Strasbourg, the president further claimed that America has “showed arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” London’s Daily Telegraph observed that President Obama “went further than any United States president in history in criticizing his own country’s action while standing on foreign soil.” Of course, it was not just the Daily Telegraph that was listening: People around the world who yearn for freedom, who count on America’s resolve and support, heard him as well. He was heard in China, in Tibet, in Sudan, in Burma, and, yes, in Cuba.

To read the full article, go here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ford's Mustang: Celebrating 45 Years

Above, a 2005 Mustang GT at a Woodland Hills, California Mustang club rally.

45 years ago on April 17, the Ford Motor Company introduced its newest car - The Mustang - at the New York World's Fair.

That year, Ford projected to sell 100,000 units. Instead, Ford sold 417,000 units. Now, 45 years and 9 million units later, the Mustang is still as popular as ever with the car-buying public.

I currently drive a 1989 Fox body Mustang LX (below) that I inherited from my dad and a 2000 Mustang.

One of the most iconic Mustangs was the one Steve McQueen drove in the movie Bullitt (1968). James Bond (Sean Connery) drove one in the 1971 movie Diamonds Are Forever through the streets of Las Vegas. And a Mustang won the final race in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006).

Above, vintage Mustangs on display in Woodland Hills, California.

Congratulations to Ford for this milestone in automotive history and a toast to 45 more years!

Tony Isabella Reviews "Gamera The Brave"

Above, Gamera and Zedus battle in Nagoya, Japan.

Comics writer and critic Tony Isabella recently (I guess January is relatively recent) watched Gamera The Brave (2006) and posted his review of the movie:

Gamera The Brave

Gamera The Brave was originally released in Japan as Gamera: The Little Braves.

Did he like it?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Susan Boyle & Janeane Garofalo: Which One's Really Ugly?

An excellent article was posted today at the Big Hollywood blog on the differences between Susan Boyle and Janeane Garofalo.

You should read it as it proves the old saying: Beauty is only skin-deep, but ugly goes right to the bone.

From Susan Boyle To Janeane Garofalo

San Francisco's Super 7 Store and Japantown

Above, Mama mia! That's one big poster!

San Francisco's Super 7 Store and Japantown

by Armand Vaquer

This summer, Haruo Nakajima will be the guest of honor at the Godzilla & the Monsters of Mass Destruction film festival at the historic Castro Theater in San Francisco. It is being produced by August Ragone ("In August By August", eh?). For those of you who are thinking about attending but are currently sitting on the fence, besides seeing a good show at the Castro, you would also have the opportunity to wander about San Francisco, especially Japantown.

In February 2008, I went to San Francisco to check out a possible job opportunity (I got downsized out of a job in November 2007) and while there, I met up with Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters author August Ragone in the city's Japantown section. This was the first time I had been to San Francisco's Japanese enclave. We agreed to meet up at the Super 7 store located there. As luck would have it, Japantown was only a 20-minute walk from my hotel.

I arrived at the store a little bit early so I could browse around to see what they have to offer and I was impressed. I was greeted by the store's clerk, Hiro Hayashi (who is also an artist) when I entered the store. At the cashier's desk, there's a nicely-framed Italian one-sheet poster of Godzilla vs. Megalon.

The store (below) carries all varieties of kaiju and henshin toys along with books, magazines, videos, t-shirts, posters and pictures. They also publish the Super 7 magazine for Japanese collectibles.

Hayashi indicated that they would like to contact G-FAN for some possible advertising business, so I provided him with the information.

After August arrived, we headed over to a local Japanese mall for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Along the way, he pointed out many of the landmarks in the Japantown district. The district has its own pagoda, which was a gift from Japan.

Above, August poses in front of a model of a Japanese castle at a Japantown mall before he does his best Haruo Nakajima impersonation.

There are many Japanese restaurants and shops catering to Japanese-American clientele including bookstores, clothing stores, toy stores and nightclubs. Like many Japantowns and Chinatowns in the major cities of the United States, they constantly have to battle with outside developers to keep the district ethnocentric to Japanese-American residents. Too many cultural and ethnic centers such as Japantown have to struggle to preserve their identities.

If you plan to visit San Francisco for the Godzilla & the Monsters of Mass Destruction film festival or any time soon, make sure you include Japantown and Super 7 on your itinerary. Super 7 is located at 1628 Post Street, San Francisco, California 94115. Telephone (415) 409-4700. Their email address is info@super7store.com.

Susan Roesgen On 'Extended Leave'?

It has been reported that CNN "reporter" Susan Roesgen, who got into a political debate with a peaceful demonstrator at the Chicago Tea Party instead of being a professional reporter, is now on "extended leave."

I checked around but couldn't find any news or other confirmation of this.

Here's a transcript of the exchange at the Chicago Tea Party:

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN REPORTER: OK. You're here with your two-year-old and you're already in debt. Why are you here today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I hear a president say that he believed in what Lincoln stood for. Lincoln's primary thing was he believed that people had the right to liberty and they had the right...

ROESGEN: Sir, what does this have to do with taxes? What does this have to do with your taxes —

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me finish speaking.

ROESGEN: Do you realize that you're eligible for a $400 —

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me finish my point. Lincoln believed that people had the right to share in the fruits of their own labor and that government should not take it. And we have clearly gotten to that point.

ROESGEN: Wait. OK. Well, Kyra, we'll move on over here. I think you get the general tenor of this. It's anti-government, anti-CNN since this is highly promoted by the right wing conservative network FOX, and since I can't really hear much more, and I think this is not really family viewing I'll toss it back to you, Kyra.

It was also reported that she had applied for a reporter's position with Fox News but was turned down. Maybe that's why she's so bitter at Fox?

She shouldn't be put on "extended leave" (if that is the case), she should be fired.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mark Steyn's Live Tea or Die!

Mark Steyn has an amusing article on the coverage of the tea parties held on Tax Day (April 15, the Democrats' favorite day) entitled, Live Tea Or Die!

It reads in part:

Asked about the tea parties, President Obama responded that he was not aware of them. As Marie Antoinette said, “Let them drink Lapsang Souchong.” His Imperial Majesty at Barackingham Palace having declined to acknowledge the tea parties, his courtiers at the Globe and elsewhere fell into line. Talk-show host Michael Graham spoke to one attendee at the 2009 Boston Tea Party who remarked of the press embargo: “If Obama had been the King of England, the Globe wouldn’t have covered the American revolution.”

The American media, having run their own business into the ground, are certainly qualified to run everybody else’s into the same abyss. Which is why they’ve decided that hundreds of thousands of citizens protesting taxes and out-of-control spending and government vaporization of Americans’ wealth and their children’s future is no story. Nothing to see here. As Nancy Pelosi says, it’s AstroTurf — fake grassroots, not the real thing.

To read Steyn's full article, go here.

Giant Advertising Balloons Not Welcome In Fort Worth

The City of Fort Worth, Texas is considering whether or not to regulate those giant balloons that you frequently see outside of businesses. They are concerned that they may become permanent fixtures and many people consider them "eyesores."

I've seen some Godzilla ones in Los Angeles and some of them are a pretty good representation of the King of the Monsters.

CBS Channel 11 reported:

You may have driven by them – a big Godzilla, pink gorilla, or sumo wrestler, flapping on the rooftop of a business. "All they do is use up a bunch of electricity to keep the air plugged into them," said driver Kim Keiser. "And they flop around. And half the time they don't work."

Now the city council is focusing on inflatables that many feel have become permanent fixtures.

Mayor Mike Moncrief and some council members want to look at ways to keep the inflatable's 'air time' limited to particular events, or to a limited time. They feel the balloons are eyesores and as a semi-permanent part of the business are subject to regulation.

We had considered obtaining a Godzilla balloon to put on the roof of the Radisson Hotel for G-FEST when we held the conventions there, but since we moved to the Crowne Plaza O'Hare, it really wouldn't be practical. As the Crowne Plaza is within close proximity to O'Hare International Airport, all we need is one of the "Windy City's" high gusts to blow the balloon off the hotel roof and carry it over to the airport's runways. Can you just imagine a plane about to take off or one landing being attacked by a Godzilla balloon?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama Asking For Another Attack

Internal memos from the Bush Administration for the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorist prisoners to obtain intelligence were released by the Obama Administration.

This move was nothing less than a political stunt to gain political points for Obama. There was no legal or other reason to do so. It is a reckless and stupid move, especially since we are in wartime.

From FoxNews.com:

Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said the decision to release the memos was "reckless."

"These are people that cut off people's heads," Perino said of terrorists. "I do not think that they think about the fact that they will be withheld sleep is something that they cannot abide by."

Michael Chertoff, former homeland security secretary, told FOX News the release gives terrorists advanced notice of what to expect during interrogation. Former CIA chief Michael Hayden said it could have a chilling effect on CIA agents' work.

Perino suggested the interrogation techniques were critical, saying intelligence was a "key part" of keeping the U.S. safe.

"I think the correct course is the last seven-and-a-half years when President Bush was in office. We were not attacked again and there is a reason for that. It was not an accident," she said.

Rivkin said releasing the memos "rendered (the interrogation techniques) essentially unusable in the future," since U.S. enemies will train their operatives to "withstand" the techniques.

This, plus the Obama Administration's defense cuts, closing Guantanamo and other recent moves is putting our troops and country in jeopardy. Obama seems hell-bent on having this country attacked again if we are prevented from using such techniques to unearth any terrorist plots. The memo showed that the methods used weren't torture, but still tough enough to get results.

If another attack on the U.S. happens, it will be all over for Obama, but many other people will be made to pay a high price for this stupidity.

Good To Meet You, Comrade! You Too, Comrade!

President Obama is shown shaking hands with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad today. This and other photos were relased by Venezuela's Miraflores Press Office, which is government-controlled.

It appears to be a meeting of like minds.

"Adventures of Superman" For Newbies

Adventures of Superman For Newbies

by Armand Vaquer

I was perusing an Adventures of Superman message board in which a member was introducing his wife to the show. He sought out recommendations from other fans on which episodes to show her in order to get her hooked. All of the recommendations are good ones and I am echoing them and making my own recommendations.

To start off, Adventures of Superman was the show for baby-boomers. George Reeves to the boomer generation was the Superman for them. While many liked Christopher Reeve's portayal of Superman (many disliked his Clark Kent, though), it really was George Reeves who captured their hearts.

The first season was filmed in 1951 and starred George Reeves (Clark Kent/Superman), Phyllis Coates (Lois Lane), Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen), John Hamilton (Perry White) and Robert Shayne (Inspector William Henderson). The 1953-57 shows are essentially the same cast, except Noel Neill replaced Coates as Lois Lane as Coates decided to pursue another television series.

Now, getting back to what episodes to introduce the show to someone who never saw the show, such as a young child or even an adult living in a vacuum. Most of my recommendations are from the 1951 and 1953 black & white shows with the final two from the color years.

1. "Superman On Earth" (1951) chronicles the story of how Jor-El and Lara rocketed their infant son Kal-El to Earth just before the planet Krypton was destroyed and how Clark Kent got hired at the Daily Planet.

2. "The Birthday Letter" (1951) is about a crippled little girl who writes a letter to Superman asking him to take her to the county fair. Unfortunately, she falls prey to some counterfeiters.

3. "Five Minutes To Doom" (1953) is about a man who is framed for a murder and is about to be executed unless the crack Daily Planet staff finds the evidence to save him and nail the real killer.

Above, "Superman In Exile."

4. "Superman In Exile" (1953). After getting a runaway atomic reactor under control, Superman finds himself radioactive. He has to find a way to rid himself of the radioactivity in time to save Lois from some jewel thieves.

Above, "Panic In The Sky."

5. "Panic In The Sky" (1953) has the Earth threatened by an asteroid (possibly a huge chunk of Krypton) that Superman must stop. Superman loses his memory after his first encounter. Will he regain it in time to stop the asteroid?

6. "The Dog Who Knew Superman" (1953) has Superman befriending a mobster's dog and trying to prevent his secret identity from being exposed.

7. "The Machine Who Could Plot Crimes" (1953) has Sterling Holloway as an inventor of a mechanical brain who has the talent to plot successful crimes. Some location work in downtown Los Angeles is featured.

8. "Semi-Private Eye" (1953) has Jimmy Olsen becoming a shamus to solve Lois Lane's kidnapping. Jack Larson's favorite episode.

9. "Around The World With Superman" (1953) has Superman trying to convince a blind girl that there is a Superman and restore her eyesight to take her on a world tour.

10. "The Seven Souvenirs" (1954) has Superman trying to figure out what is behind a plot involving souvenir knives sold by a quirky old man.

11. "The Wedding of Superman" (1955) has Superman proposing marriage to Lois Lane, but some criminals have other plans for the couple at the wedding. Noel Neill's favorite episode.

All Adventures of Superman episodes are now available in four DVD box sets, including the original theatrical version of Superman and the Mole Men (1951) and the special U.S. Treasury promotional episode Stamp Day For Superman (1953).

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The Drudge Report is reporting tonight that Fox News's ratings surged far beyond their liberal rivals during their coverage of the nationwide tax protest tea parties:

8-11 PM ET

FOXNEWS 3,390,000
MSNBC 1,210,000
CNN 1,070,000

FOXNEWS BECK 2,740,000
FOXNEWS SHEP 2,185,000
CNNHN GRACE 1,336,000
CNN KING 1,292,000
MSNBC MADDOW 1,149,000
CNN COOPER 1,021,000

It's great that people watched Fox instead of the "frat-boy" liberal condescending coverages of CNN, MSNBC and others.

Tea Parties Were a Great Success, But Resist Third-Party Temptations

I received this in an email tonight. Rush is right. Historically, third parties have been total flops. Conservatives need to reassert themselves in the GOP.

Tea Parties Were a Great Success, But Resist Third-Party Temptations

April 16, 2009

My greatest concern about this is that there are -- I don't want to impugn anybody here -- but there's a possibility that this is going to lead to a third-party movement, and that's death. Third-party candidates succeed in one thing, and that is electing their alternatives. John Anderson, 1980, you had Perot in 1992. The temptation here is to go third party 'cause the Republican Party is not responsive. The real question, in my humble opinion, is that this effort and energy needs to be used, as Ronald Reagan did, to take over the Republican Party, to repopulate it and that's exactly what Reagan did, he took it away from the Rockefeller blue-blood country club types starting in 1976, took him 'til 1980 to do it. Goldwater did the same thing. Both Reagan and Goldwater could have gone third party, and there's a temptation here to go third-party, and a lot of people advocating third-party are the personalities that are trying to make this all about them, and that troubles me 'cause this is not about personalities, it's not about any politician, and it isn't about any media person that organized all of this.

Ron Paul is out there trying to take credit for it, by the way. He issued a big press release, but this is grassroots, this is why this kind of energy from the grassroots needs to be harnessed into the existing political apparatus that can actually win if it is built and structured right. That's the Republican Party. Third party can't win. Third party is not going to have any congressional candidates. I just think that the effort here to make this third party -- which is bubbling under the surface, it's not something you hear outright, but it's something I sense that is taking place.

Tea Party Media Bias

Tea Party Media Bias

by Armand Vaquer

The mainstream media did their best yesterday in trying to play to stereotypes in their coverage of the nationwide tea parties. They would focus on people with an emphasis on white males and their anti-government, anti-gun control and anti-illegal immigrant signs. Very rarely would they focus in on the reasons for the anger of the tea party participants: high taxes, bailouts, porkbarrel spending and socialistic progams of Obama and the Democrats.

One obnoxious twit, CNN reporter Susan Roesgen, decided to engage in a debate with a tea party attendee (in Chicago, I believe) instead of just asking why he was attending the tea party and what part of Obama's tax policies upset him. Instead of letting the man respond, she kept interrupting him and argued with him. Totally unprofessional! This infuriated the crowd and she cut off the interview. The video of this has been posted at many websites and YouTube. The audio of this has also been re-played by conservative talk shows.

Many of the liberal media networks took the opportunity to deride Fox News's coverage of the tea parties and mischaracterized (okay, I'll say it, they lied) them as being fronted by Fox, big business, talk radio and right-wing groups instead of honestly reporting that they were a grass roots effort by individuals around the country via Twitter, MySpace and other websites.

The liberal media also took the opportunity to engage in frat house "humor" during their broadcasts. CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets jumped on the opportunity to use the term "teabagging".

Teabagging refers to a sexual act involving part of the male genitalia and a second person's face or mouth. Again, totally unprofessional!

It was reported that at the Van Nuys, California rally last night, two ACORN members were arrested and removed for trying to disrupt the rally.

The media is showing again that journalism is basically dead and the media are just mouthpieces for the Obama Administration.

The political elites will be making a fatal mistake if they ignore these protests. The tea parties were well-attended and the anger is real.

Godzilla & The Monsters of Mass Destruction Teaser Trailer

Here's the Godzilla & The Monsters of Mass Destruction Teaser Trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Teaser Trailer

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Copyright 1954 Toho Co., Ltd.


Japanese Monster Film Festival in San Francisco Celebrates the Man Who Played Godzilla on August 21-23, 2009.

San Francisco (March 23, 2009): Stomping into San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre this summer, GODZILLA & THE MONSTERS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, is a weekend celebration of Japan’s monster cinema, featuring ten classic films, presented in glorious 35mm, from the producers of the annual SHOCK IT TO ME! Horror Film Festival. Our special guest will be in the man in the Godzilla suit himself, Haruo Nakajima.

Above, Haruo Nakajima. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Starting his film career in the late 1940s, Mr. Nakajima appeared as one of the bandits in Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954). After volunteering for the first Japanese fire stunt in the war film Eagle of the Pacific (1953), the team making Godzilla (1954) knew that he was the man for the job. From 1954 through 1972, Mr. Nakajima played Godzilla and various monsters on screen and television.

Mr. Nakajima will be in attendance throughout the weekend to meet with fans and sign autographs in the Castro Theatre’s 200-capacity Mezzanine. He will also take to the stage to speak about his first-hand experiences in making these films, during our evening screenings. This is Mr. Nakajima’s first-ever visit to San Francisco.

Japanese film historian and author, August Ragone (Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters, Chronicle Books), who is organizing the event, will be on hand to illustrate how the visual effects for the films were achieved. The San Francisco native will also sign copies of his book all weekend.

All ten of the films screened during GODZILLA & THE MONSTERS OF MASS DESTRUCTION will be presented in five double features. All films are 35mm and projected on the Castro’s gigantic screen—the last large single-screen theater in San Francisco.

Tickets for all of the screenings will be available at the Castro Theatre box office or through ticketweb.com. Prices for each Double Feature are only $10.00 (Adults) and $7.00 (Children/Seniors). A special Event Pass will also be made available to the public in the near future.

"Life's That Way: A Memoir" by Jim Beaver

Actor ("Deadwood," "West Wing") and writer Jim Beaver has a new memoir out, Life's That Way. The book chronicles his life and events surrounding the illness and death of his wife Cecily Adams (she was the daughter of Get Smart star Don Adams).

Jim has issued the following announcement:

A special announcement from Jim Beaver:

Many of you are aware of the dramatic events that overtook my wife and daughter and myself in 2003-2004. What you may not be aware of is that, in hopes of creating something good and helpful and perhaps even inspiring out of those tragic times, I have written a book. It's entitled Life's That Way, and it will be published by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam.

Life's That Way is based on an e-mail journal I wrote nightly during that year, something that started out as a newsletter to family and friends but grew into an exploration of the experience. Many of the recipients forwarded the e-mails to others, who then did the same, until over 4,000 people around the world were reading the entries each day. Life's That Way isn't just the story of hard times, but of an amazing journey through fear and sorrow into the realization of abundant gifts and the goodness of my fellow man that still astonishes me.

I hope you will join me on the journey and will encourage those you care about to do so as well. Life's That Way is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Borders. Please consider visiting your local independent bookstore, as independent stores need as much support as they can get (Visit IndieBound.org to find a store near you.)

For further information, visit www.lifesthatway.com.

From my family and me, many thanks.


Jim has also been working on a biography on the life and death of Adventures of Superman star George Reeves.

Above, (left to right) Lou Koza, Jan Alan Henderson, Armand, Stephanie Shayne Parkin, Chuck Harter, Betty Shayne, Jim Beaver and Jim Nolt at L.A. County Board of Supervisors for "Superman Week" in July 2001. Photo courtesy of Lou Koza.

Akira Takarada on G-FEST

Above, Takarada (left) with Linda Miller and Rhodes Reason in "King Kong Escapes."

My copy of G-FAN #87 arrived the other day and I've been perusing though it.

The issue has this amusing exchange in an interview by totorom with actor Akira Takarada on the subject of G-FEST:

Takarada: So you have the event every year with someone like Rhodes [Reason] as guest? How many fans to you have for the event? Thirty or forty? [Italics mine.]

tororom: No, no. We have about 1,500 fans getting together.

Takarada: 1,500 people? Are you kidding? (laughs) Then, if I were there, thousands of fans would throng the event. (laughs)

Apparently, Akira Takarada must've confused G-FEST with the last few Hollywood Godzilla film festivals. He definitely has a good sense of humor.

On attending a future G-FEST, Takarada said, "I'd love to if I have a chance."

Godzilla's Lawyer Honored

Photo copyright 1954 Toho Co., Ltd.

The Daily Journal, a Los Angeles-area law newspaper has announced that Godzilla's (i.e., Toho Co., Ltd.'s) attorney in trademark infringement actions has been named in their top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators list.

Tradingmarkets.com reported:

Greenberg Glusker announced that partner Aaron J. Moss has been named among the Daily Journal's Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators in California for his representation of high-profile entertainment industry clients in complex, content-driven IP conflicts.

One of "Godzilla's" lawyers, Moss has been an integral part of a comprehensive and vigorous IP enforcement campaign for the character's owner, Toho, which has pitted him in litigation against book publishers, toy companies, fast food restaurants and wineries. Moss also represents actor Tom Cruise in media and publicity-related legal matters.

Today Is Tax Day And Protest Day

Today is tax day, and also protest day. It will be interesting to see how much and what kind of coverage the mainstream media give to the protests.

The Wall Street Journal.com says:

Today American taxpayers in more than 300 locations in all 50 states will hold rallies -- dubbed "tea parties" -- to protest higher taxes and out-of-control government spending. There is no political party behind these rallies, no grand right-wing conspiracy, not even a 501(c) group like MoveOn.org.

So who's behind the Tax Day tea parties?

Read the full article here and find out!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Homeland Security Is Targeting Conservative Dissent

On the eve of Tax Day Tea Parties in America, the Department of Homeland Security issued a "report" tarring conservative groups with the "right-wing extremist" label. The Dept. of Homeland Security sent out a warning entitled, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

The Washington Times reports:

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," the warning says.

It appears that Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals has its tentacles in the Homeland Security department. The tactics include:

1. Pick the target. 2. Freeze it. 3. Personalize it. 4. Polarize (demonize) it.

This is to put a chilling effect and stifle dissent against the Obama Administration's policies. Unless there's dissent, we will soon have a real dictatorship in Washington.

To read the full article, go here.

Reuters adds:

MIAMI (Reuters) - Right-wing extremists in the United States are gaining new recruits by exploiting fears about the economy and the election of the first black U.S. president, the Department of Homeland Security warned in a report to law enforcement officials.

The April 7 report, which Reuters and other news media obtained Tuesday, said such fears were driving a resurgence in "recruitment and radicalization activity" by white supremacist groups, antigovernment extremists and militia movements. It did not identify any by name.

DHS had no specific information about pending violence and said threats had so far been "largely rhetorical."

But it warned that home foreclosures, unemployment and other consequences of the economic recession "could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists."

"To the extent that these factors persist, right-wing extremism is likely to grow in strength," DHS said.

No, it is not fears of the economy or the election of a black president that is fueling "the right," it is the power grabs and the socialist policies of the Obama Administration and the left-wing Democrats in congress that have people riled up.

You can tell the DHS has this skewed wrong if they cannot correctly identify what is irking people. Who wrote this piece of crap anyway? Someone (like Judicial Watch) should obtain information on who the author is.

To read the full Reuters story, go here.

To access the actual DHS document, go here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Marilyn Chambers Found Dead At 56

Former porn star Marilyn Chambers, who later became a mainstream actress, was found dead at her Canyon Country home, the Los Angeles Times is reporting:
Marilyn Chambers, a former Ivory Snow detergent model who became a porn star, died Sunday at her Canyon Country home. She was 56.

Chambers, whose real name is Marilyn Ann Taylor, was found unresponsive at 8:51 p.m. at her residence it the 16000 block of Vasquez Canyon, said Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter. The cause of death is under investigation but foul play was not suspected and an autopsy is pending.

Chambers became a pop culture phenomenon when she gave up work as a model advertising Ivory Snow laundry detergent to star in the X-rated "Behind the Green Door" in 1972.

The movie also sparked a buying frenzy on boxes of Ivory Snow soap, then graced by Chambers' angelically complexioned face.

I met Chambers a few years ago while attending a Hollywood collectors show (I was there with other Adventures of Superman fan Carl Glass at actress Noel Neill's table) in Burbank while wandering around the show's celebrity tables. I obtained the above autographed picture of Chambers' famous Ivory Snow box to the amusement of Neill's biographer Larry Ward.

Chambers was very friendly to the attendees and had a good sense of humor about her career.

Above, Marilyn Chambers at the Hollywood Collectors Show in Burbank, California, February 2005.  

Chambers' first mainstream movie, "Rabid," has become a cult movie favorite. IMDB's website says this about the movie: "A young woman develops a taste for human blood after undergoing experimental plastic surgery, and her victims turn into rabid, blood-thirsty zombies who proceed to infect others, which turns into a city-wide epidemic." The final scene of the movie was a stunner.

UPDATE (4/15/09):

The Associated Press is reporting:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles County coroner official says an autopsy has failed to determine the cause of death for adult film star Marilyn Chambers.

Los Angeles County coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said Tuesday that 56-year-old Chambers probably died of natural causes, but additional testing will be required.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pirates Killed; Capt. Phillips Rescued

The Associated Press reported:

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Navy snipers on the fantail of a destroyer cut down three Somali pirates in a lifeboat and rescued an American sea captain in a surprise nighttime assault in choppy seas Easter Sunday, ending a five-day standoff between a team of rogue gunmen and the world's most powerful military.

It was a stunning ending to an Indian Ocean odyssey that began when 53-year-old freighter Capt. Richard Phillips was taken hostage Wednesday by pirates who tried to hijack the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama. The Vermont native was held on a tiny lifeboat that began drifting precariously toward Somalia's anarchic, gun-plagued shores.

The operation, personally approved by President Barack Obama, quashed fears the saga could drag on for months and marked a victory for the U.S., which for days seemed powerless to resolve the crisis despite massing helicopter-equipped warships at the scene.

Congratulations to the U.S. Navy and the Navy Seals for the rescue and kudos to President Obama for authorizing the operation to rescue Capt. Phillips. I had a feeling that some sort of operation was being planned. I was a little concerned over President Obama's silence on the matter, but that was tempered by the fact that sometimes presidential silence means that a plan to take action may be in the planning stages. Looks like my hunch was correct.

I may be an anti-Obama partisan, but when he does right I am not afraid to acknowledge it.

UPDATE (4/12/09): There is some dispute over what President Obama did or didn't do in this matter.

The Wall Street Journal.com is reporting that "Mr. Obama, who had given standing orders Friday night for the Navy to take action to rescue Capt. Phillips if the danger escalated, spoke with him by phone Sunday after he was freed."

The standing orders may have been affirmed by President Obama, but he did not order the rescue. Some are reporting that he still was in favor of negotiating with the Somali pirates. The rescue was launched as the commanding officer on the scene was acting within the scope of his orders.

We'll see how this plays out.

Toho Studios' Sakura

Occasionally, one gets a pleasant surprise in the morning when they check their emails. Today was one such day for me.

I received about a half dozen photographs from Sonoe Nakajima, Haruo "Godzilla" Nakajima's daughter, of a recent visit she paid to Toho Studios where the cherry blossom trees (or sakura) were in full bloom.

I sent them off to J. D. Lees for publication in G-FAN (hopefully he has room in the next issue to include them). But here is one to whet your appetite a tad.

Photo by Sonoe Nakajima.

Happy Easter to all!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tea Parties Has Left Worried

Tens of thousands of Americans are planning to attend tax protest "tea parties" on April 15 (tax day), yet the media is trying to either avoid covering them, downplaying them or just calling organizers "treasonous" or "silly."

"Tea" stands for "taxed enough already." They are a tip-of-the-hat to the 1773 Boston Tea Party in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts where colonists, dressed as Indians, tossed crates of tea into the harbor to protest England's taxes.

The tea parties are spreading by word-of-mouth because the main stream media (ABC, CBS, NBC and most major newspapers) are refusing to even mention them in their broadcasts or news articles. Tea parties have been held during the past several weeks with the biggest protest to come on April 15, when everyone's income tax filings are due.

Some in the media are trying to claim that the tea parties are being organized by "right-wing kooks" or "far-right fringe" groups or even, get this, Fox News. These are being organized by ordinary people who are fed up with the excesses of the Obama Administration and the Democrat congress. Fox News just picked up on the stories after the fact. Some Fox celebrities are planning to attend some of the tea parties (Sean Hannity is to attend the Atlanta, Georgia tea party).

Reports have been surfacing that leftist groups such as ACORN may try to infiltrate tea parties or cause disruption. Some leftist bloggers have gone as far to say that there will be violence at these tea parties in their efforts to scare people to not attend.

The leftist, pro-Obama media is fearful that these tea parties will be effective in organizing a counter-movement against the Democrats that could carry on through the 2010 mid-term elections. You can always tell how effective a protest is by seeing how the left reacts. So far, they seem to be getting mighty worried.

2 Reasons To Subscribe To G-FAN

Above, the cover of the current issue of G-FAN.

2 Reasons To Subscribe To G-FAN

The recent policy changes involving Diamond Comic Distributors have many small-press publishers reeling as the company now has a new minimum order requirement before they will continue distributing those publications. In view of this article from Publisher's Weekly about Diamond's owner, Stephen Geppi, it would be wise to subscribe to G-FAN. Diamond distributes G-FAN.

G-FAN is not in any danger of being dropped by Diamond as it consistently far exceeds the minimum requirements of Diamond. But, should Diamond go under due to Geppi's legal troubles, that would put a major crimp of getting G-FAN out to dealers. G-FAN is currently investigating other distributors in case the need arises.

Besides the above matter, subscribing will also save you some money. A one-year scription to G-FAN is only $20.00 (U.S. and Canada) for four quarterly issues. The cover price is $5.95. By buying at a dealer, you would have to pay that ($5.95 x 4 = $23.80) and sales tax. Minus sales tax, you are already saving $.95 per issue or $3.80 per year. I know that isn't a huge chunk of money, but in these economic times, saving here and there does add up with more money left in your wallet.

You can subscribe to G-FAN through the official website at G-FAN.com or you can send a check or money order for $20.00 (U.S. and Canada) and payable to:

Daikaiju Enterprises, Ltd.
530 Willow Cres
Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada R5G 2A3

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dollar Reaches 100 Yen/Dollar Threshold

Finally, after several months of poor performance, the U.S. dollage now is getting over 100 yen.

The current rate of exchange is:

1 US Dollar (USD) = 100.291 Japanese Yen (JPY)

While this is only available to "high-roller" travelers, it is still good that the dollar broke the 100 yen/dollar threshold.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Parties In Famous Monsters Litigation Reach Agreement

Ray Ferry, Connie Bean and Philip Kim have announced that they've reached a settlement agreement in the ongoing litigation over the "Famous Monsters of Filmland" trademark dispute.

A statement was issued by all three which read in part:

April 08, 2009 --
Many of you are aware that, for the past 6 months, we have been involved in legal proceedings related to ownership rights concerning the "Famous Monsters of Filmland" trademark. These proceedings stemmed from unresolved matters arising from a sale of the property rights to Mr. Kim in October 2007. After a personal meeting among us, we have fully resolved our differences and reached an amicable settlement. Ray and Connie acknowledge Phil Kim as the new owner of the trademark. His web site at www.famousmonstersoffilmland.com is to be considered the "official" internet site for the mark. Connie will retain her www.filmlandclassics.com web store and will continue as the reseller of back issue of Famous Monsters magazine published by Ray until the current inventory is depleted. Ray will continue his work as editor and publisher of his two new magazines FREAKY and SHOCK THEATER CLASSICS.

Pursuant to our agreement, FM #250 will be edited/published by Ray Ferry as originally planned. FM #250 will be the FINAL ISSUE in the SECOND SERIES of FM magazine, which began with issue #200 (May 1993). Filmland Classics customers who have current subscriptions that include FM #250 will receive their copies. Pre-orders for FM #250 are currently being accepted. The issue will ship at the end of May, 2009. Note that there will be only a limited number of copies available for general purchase once the issue is published! There will be no reprints of any more issues and once current inventory is depleted, that's it. Visit www.filmlandclassics.com (or www.famousmonstersoffilmland.com) for pre-ordering information.

It is good that the parties involved resolved the issues in the litigation. Spending time and money on attorneys and court costs is not fun. This was a smart move by all.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April 15 Tax Day Tea Parties

A week from today, April 15, Americans fed up with having additional taxes being dumped on them by the Obama Administration and the Democrats in congress on top of the taxes they are already paying (besides the hardships caused by the recession), are organizing Tea Parties in many cities and communities across the country.

Tea stands for Taxed Enough Already!

If you want to take part in a protest Tea Party, go to http://taxdayteaparty.com/ to find the nearest Tea Party nearest you.

Chasing Famous Monsters #30

In reading the G-FAN #87 summary by Ryan Clark that I posted today, this item caught my eye: Chasing FM #30 by Mike Bogue. Why would Godzilla fans want an issue with a Bela Lugosi Dracula cover?

It contains an article on the making of Godzilla and its sequels, so that is why this issue is sought after by Godzilla fans. Checking around, I noticed several copies of Famous Monsters of Filmand #30 are up for auction at eBay.

Another issue of Famous Monsters that Godzilla fans seek is issue #114. Fortunately, I have this issue (I have it packed away somewhere, but I do have it.) It is an issue devoted to the Japanese giant monster genre. It may be more sought after than #30. And, no, mine isn't for sale, sorry.

Above, FM #114.

I bought this issue when it came out on the newsstand. Note the $1.25 cover price!

Nevertheless, both issues of Famous Monsters are collectors items that serious Godzilla fans seek to complete their collections.

Do you have either issue? If so, feel free to post on how you obtained it, when and how much you paid for it.

G-FAN #87

Since I haven't received the current issue of G-FAN (#87) as of yet, I haven't been able to do my usual summary. However, Ryan Clark received his issue and he sent me his summary. I am happy to post it here. Thanks, Ryan!

Son of Ackermonster? intro by J.D. Lees

Godzilla: My Old Friend Akira Takarada Interview by totorom

Mystery Photo (Famous Monsters tribute)

Godzilla Takes A Holiday: Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster Retrospective by John LeMay

Adapting Godzilla 1985: Easier Said Than Done, Interview with Lisa Tomei by Brett Homenick

Tales of King Komodo: Episode 5 by Mike Rogue & Todd Tennant

Dracula vs. Godzilla: A Tale of Two Studios by John LeMay

Chasing FM #30 by Mike Bogue

Master Monster Maker by James Babbo

Ichiro's Mom's Fond Memories, interiew with Machiko Naka by Brett Homenick

Gfantis: Heart of the Beast! by Matt Frank and Daniel Arias-Maduro

G-Fan Retro Review: The Monolith Monsters by Mike Bogue

Steve Agin's Toy Report: Kaiju Cavalcade

Curtain Call For Far East Monsters: Bad Economy Claims Company by Tom Tvrdik

Kaiju Treats!

G-Fest Registration Info

Gamera The Brave DVD Review by Ryan Clark


Note: J. D. completely forgot to include the photos of Haruo Nakajima at the new Godzilla statue at Toho Studios with his Mangled Skyscraper Award (hey, it happens). He promised that they will be included in issue 88 (summer issue) along with an interview and a DVD review Brett Homenick completed and an interview that I completed. There just wasn't enough room due to the Famous Monsters (the format didn't allow for much text) salute and other goodies.

Additional Note: On G-FEST XVI, I was able to negotiate a special arrangement for the movie screenings with Toho (sometimes having friends in high places comes in handy!). J. D. will make an announcement when everything is finalized. Fans will be very pleased as this will make Kenji Sahara's G-FEST appearance much more memorable!

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