"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, September 30, 2009

Sayonara Saturn

Fox News.com is reporting that General Motors will phase out the Saturn Division after a deal to sell it fell through.

Fox reported:

General Motors Co. said Wednesday it would shut down its Saturn brand after an agreement with Penske Automotive Group Inc. to acquire it fell apart.

Penske, citing concerns of whether it could continue to supply vehicles after a manufacturing contract with GM ran out, ended talks with GM Wednesday to acquire the brand.

GM CEO Fritz Henderson said in statement that Saturn and its dealership network will be phased out.

Let's see, the government under King Barack I took over GM in exchange for bailout money. GM tried to sell Saturn to Penske, but that fizzled. So, the government-owned GM has to close down their Saturn division. The closure of Saturn will cause about 15,000 workers to lose their jobs.

Is this the "hope and change" you expected? Didn't think so.

Brad Sherman Must Be Scared

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Woodland Hills, must be running scared in a normally "safe" Democrat district. He's got a fundraiser coming up next month. Mark Reed must be seen as a real threat to Sherman if he has to bring out the big guns.

Democrat fatcats will have the golden opportunity to meet former President Bill Clinton, who lied about his relations with Monica Lewinsky, at a "gala" fundraiser for Rep. Brad Sherman on Sunday, October 4, 2009.

The event will be held at the home of Linda and Syd Leibovitch in Hidden Hills, California. The event is two and a half hours long.

So if you agree with Brad Sherman that we should pay more for gasoline, not expand refining capabilities to meet energy needs, buy more jets for congressional junkets, support the porkulous bill, support cap-and-trade (the job-killer) and support the government takeover of almost 20% of the economy with Obamacare, then this is the event for you!

Club Mecca Murders In Los Angeles

Above, the Los Angeles Times front page coverage of the murders.

The crime was called the "biggest mass-murder" in Los Angeles at the time. Some would say that the crime is "tame" by today's standards. Perhaps. But it was a shocker to the city's residents at the time, including members of my family.

Club Mecca was a small neighborhood bar located at 5841 S. Normandie Ave. About 21 people were inside the bar on the night of April 4, 1957. The bar, 25 feet square, exploded in flames when four men entered shortly before midnight, angry for being ejected from the bar earlier, with a can of gasoline and a match. The result was a fiery holocaust.

Five men and one woman died, and the others survived. One of those killed was Anthony M. “Tony” Smaldino, 27, an assistant pressman, Korean War veteran and former Golden Gloves contender.

Smaldino was a friend of my dad, aunts and uncles. Back in the 1950s, they all hung out together at Los Angeles boxing gyms. My dad boxed in the Army during the Korean War. Although Los Angeles was a large city, the boxing/wrestling/judo enthusiast community was tight-knit and everyone knew everyone. [My dad met television's Superman, George Reeves at a gym. Reeves was keeping in shape for the show by practicing judo.] My uncle Tony was also a boxer. Through them, my aunts also became friends with Smaldino.

Smaldino's funeral was held at St. Brigid's Catholic Church, with 300 people attending. Smaldino was buried at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles.

The killers were caught and brought to justice. Those who were given death sentences later had their sentences commuted to life in prison by Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown.

Today, Smaldino's name occasionally comes up at family gatherings. The former location of Club Mecca is now a vacant lot.

Below, a memorial ad that was placed in the Los Angeles Times last April.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Former High School Teacher May Have Found Missing Jet

Above, a Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star.

A group headed by a former high school teacher of mine found what may be a missing Lockheed T-33A training jet that became missing 54 years ago.

Fox News.com reported:

LOS ANGELES — Military officials are investigating a historian's report that the wreckage of an Air Force jet lost at sea 54 years ago has been found off the Southern California coast.

A volunteer group headed by amateur historian Pat Macha claims it found debris of the Lockheed-Martin T-33A that went missing on Oct. 15, 1955.

Left, Patrick Macha.

Macha was a history and aerospace teacher of mine at Hawthorne High School. His group of aviation crash site finders located other planes in the past.

Macha looks the same to me as he did when I was one of his students, except he had a mustache back then.

For the full story, go here.

Phyllis Coates "People" Article

Above, Phyllis Coates greets fans at a 2007 collectors show in Burbank, California. Photo by Armand Vaquer

Fifteen years ago last May, People magazine published an article on the original (1951) television Lois Lane, Phyllis Coates. This was tied to her appearance as Lois Lane's (Teri Hatcher) mother in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Phyllis Coates portrayed Lois Lane in the Adventures of Superman during its first season, but opted out to work on another television series pilot. She remained a close friend to George Reeves until his death in June 1959. Coates was replaced in the show's second season (1953) by Noel Neill, the original Lois Lane in the Sam Katzman Columbia serials.

Here is the People article for your reading pleasure (click on it to see it larger):

Andy Williams: Obama Follows Marxist Theory

Crooner Andy Williams blasted President Barack Obama, saying that Obama follows "Marxist Theory."

The Telegraph of the United Kingdom posted:

The 81-year-old was a friend of the Kennedy family during the 1960s and was present at the Los Angeles rally where Robert F Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.

"He knew about me being a Republican, but just laughed and said, 'Sign yourself in as a Democrat and then change back afterwards'. Sadly, I never got to do that.

"I was very close to Teddy Kennedy, too, and his death recently brought it all back. What a tragedy. Had he lived, I think Bobby would have been a great president."

But Williams had a less favourable opinion of the current president.

"Don't like him at all," he said, "I think he wants to create a socialist country. The people he associates with are very Left-wing. One is registered as a Communist.

"Obama is following Marxist theory. He's taken over the banks and the car industry. He wants the country to fail."

Williams is famous for such songs as "Moon River" and "Music To Watch Girls Go By."

To read the full Telegraph article, go here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monsterland Ohio Reviews G-FAN #71

Above, the late Honorary Mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant presenting a plaque to Godzilla at the Walk of Fame Ceremony. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Mark Matzke takes a look back at G-FAN #71 in his Monsterland Ohio blog. #71 was the issue which, at the time, I called the most opinionated issue since the release of the TriStar Godzilla (also known as GINO) in 1998.

G-FAN #71 (right).

The issue covered the Hollywood events of November 2004 including the Christmas Parade, Walk of Fame Ceremony and the premiere of Godzilla Final Wars at Grauman's Chinese Theater. It's hard to believe it has been almost five years ago since these festivities took place.

To read Mark's review of G-FAN #71, go here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What Did Tomoyuki Tanaka Say And How Did He Say It?

Above, director Yoshimitsu Banno at dinner following G-FEST in 2005.

Shades of Senator Howard Baker! The Howard Baker who said, during the senate Watergate hearings in 1973, "What did the president know and when did he know it?"

How does this fit in with Godzilla vs. Hedorah? Read on.

In this case, Godzilla vs. Hedorah director Yoshimitsu Banno seems to have changed his story on what Godzilla executive producer Tomoyuki Tanaka said and his demeanor after he saw the finished Hedorah movie's scenes of a flying Godzilla.

A noted kaiju historian says he has a 1990 tape of Banno saying that Tanaka irately exclaimed, "You've ruined the image of Godzilla!" Whereas, in 2005 at G-FEST, Banno stated that Tanaka was not too upset over the scene and said something akin to "it's too late to change it now." (I was there and remember this.)

Naturally, people's memories fade and have a tendency to change over time. But it does make one wonder what is the real story. Banno never again directed a movie for Tanaka. That should tell you something!

Generally, when I (as an adjuster) take a recorded statement from a claimant or witness in relation to an accident claim, every effort is made to talk to them immediately as possible before the story changes and while facts are still fresh in their minds.

So, "What did Tanaka say and how did he say it?"

William Safire Dead At 79

The New York Times reported that former speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon, columnist, op-ed writer and author William Safire has died:

William Safire, a speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon and a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New York Times who also wrote novels, books on politics and a Malaprop’s treasury of articles on language, died at a hospice in Rockville, Md. on Sunday. He was 79.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said Martin Tolchin, a friend of the family.

There may be many sides in a genteel debate, but in the Safire world of politics and journalism it was simpler: there was his own unambiguous wit and wisdom on one hand and, on the other, the blubber of fools he called “nattering nabobs of negativism” and “hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.”

To read the full article, go here.

Get Kelsey Smith Act Into Law In California

Above, Kelsey Smith.

A push to get the Kelsey Smith Act on the law books in all 50 states is now being undertaken by the Kelsey Smith Foundation and its supporters.

A few months ago, I tried to reach my state Assemblymember, Julia Brownley (D-Tarzana) to see if she would be willing to sponsor or co-sponsor the Kelsey Smith Act in California.

Unforunately, she had not responded to either my calls or emails. As one of her constituents, I find this lack of response insulting. Isn't Assemblywoman Brownley interested in aiding law enforcement in finding kidnap victims?

Accordingly, I am contacting a state senator in a neighboring district who has a good reputation for responses to see if he would sponsor or co-sponsor a bill.

The Kelsey Smith Act requires cell phone companies to fully cooperate with law enforcement in cases where an abduction has taken place and where the victim has a cell phone.

This legislation was prompted by the murder of Kelsey Smith in Kansas. The Kelsey Smith Act was signed into law by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. The law requires cell phone companies to release “ping” information to police showing the whereabouts of missing persons.

After Kelsey went missing, her parents and law enforcement got the runaround from the Smith's cell phone company, Verizon, for days before the company released the so-called “ping” records. The police then used the information to quickly find Smith’s body (in about 45 minutes), four days after she was abducted and killed.

Maybe you could put a little fire under Assemblywoman Brownley's behind by calling her district office at (818) 596-4141, (310) 395-3414, or (805) 644-4141.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beach Boys: "I Can Hear Music"

Some more from some guys from my high school (they played at the school prom in 1969)...

Beach Boys

Just some guys from my high school...

Democrats Afraid To Let You Read The Baucus Health Care Bill

It appears that the Democrats are afraid of letting anyone read their latest health care scheme.

Human Events.com is reporting:

Senators are negotiating on Senator Max Baucus' ObamaCare 6.0 proposal and it hasn't even been written yet.

Of course, to state the obvious, the fact that they're negotiating on something that hasn't been written means no one has read it yet either.

And, to add even more insult to injury, it's now clear they have no intention of letting you read it.

You read that right. On an almost straight party-line vote, Democrats in the Senate Finance Committee squashed an amendment by Senator Jim Bunning that would have required Baucus' ObamaCare bill to be posted on the Internet - for all Americans to read - for 72 hours prior to the Committee voting on it.

Not only that. Bunning's amendment also called for requiring the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office's official tally of how much Baucus' ObamaCare 6.0 will cost the American people and what the real impact will be on health costs to be released before the it was voted on.

It's as plain as the nose on your face.

They're leaving the door wide-open to pass Baucus' ObamaCare 6.0 proposal in the dead of night... under the cover of darkness... without even telling you and other concerned Americans what it will cost and how it will affect your health care.

But what really takes the cake is that even after those shenanigans, some Senate Republicans are still going out of their way to play Let's-Make-A-Deal on Senator Max Baucus' ObamaCare 6.0 socialized health care scheme.

They're actually fighting tooth-and-nail, not to stop ObamaCare but to negotiate a so-called compromise on this Obama-Baucus scheme to socialize the nation's health care system.

And that's just one more reason why we must tell our elected officials, right here and right now, that the American people don't want any more negotiations or deals or compromises.

We want ObamaCare off the table and we want it off the table now.

Now it's been confirmed that not buying health insurance under the Baucus bill will lead you to jail.

Fox News is reporting:

Under the health care bill being considered in the Senate Finance Committee, Americans who fail to pay a penalty for not buying insurance could be charged up to $25,000 by the Internal Revenue Service or face up to a year in jail, according to congressional analysts.

That's just one of the concerns Republicans say the Democratic-run Congress is ignoring in the rush to pass legislation to overhaul the nation's health care system.

"The American people expect us to get this right and to do it in an open, honest and bipartisan debate. That's what they deserve," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in his party's radio and Internet address Saturday. "But that's not what they're getting from the Democrats on Capitol Hill."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Report: California Regulations Killing Business and Jobs

A report was issued by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office on the effects of the state's regulations on doing business. The report was not a good one.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

Regulations on small businesses in California have cost the state's economy $492 billion and 3.8 million jobs, according to a report quietly released by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office this week.

Republicans in the Legislature have pounced on the findings and on Thursday called the report the "smoking gun" that proves lawmakers are killing the state's economy through burdensome government mandates. But Democrats and at least one capital think tank are highly skeptical of the accuracy of the findings.

The 84-page report does not specify which regulations were studied and relies on data collected largely by Forbes.

Citing the report, Republicans said the state should suspend implementation of Assembly Bill 32, California's greenhouse gas reduction plan championed by the governor, along with all other new regulations.

"We are protecting ourselves literally to death," said Assemblyman Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks (Sacramento County), at a Capitol news conference held by Republicans to call for action, including legislative hearings and further study to determine costs, or benefits of specific regulations.

This report really does not come as as surprise as California has lost many businesses to other states. Nevada has been actively advertising the "business-friendliness" of the state.

To read the full article, go here.

If This Were Wall St., People Would Be Jailed

If This Were Wall St., People Would Be Jailed

by Armand Vaquer

Regular readers of this blog are aware of a controversy concerning the commentary extras on Sony's Icons of Sci-Fi: The Toho Collection. This collection includes Mothra, H-Man and Battle In Outer Space. (Go here to refresh yourself on the controversy.)

Sony's Michael Schlesinger, as you may recall, intended that prominent G-fans and historians from all sectors would be participating in the set. However, that did not come to pass as the person in charge of putting together the set selected Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski to provide the commentaries in this set. August Ragone and others, in good faith, relied upon Schlesinger's advice on participating.

But the cards were already stacked, pretty much from the start.

As far as anyone can tell, the set was announced in July 2008 in a blog by Ian Friedman when he interviewed Schlesinger:

MS: "The set is penciled in for ’09. It will contain those three plus REBIRTH OF MOTHRA 3 (1998), which somehow got overlooked for DVD. The intent is to have the uncut versions with Japanese tracks as well as the English dubs. MOTHRA and BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE are done; THE H-MAN is proving to be a bit trickier, but it should be completed in time."

This week, an interview of Ryfle and Godziszewski by Richard Pusateri was posted at Sci-Fi Japan. In it, Steve Ryfle is quoted as saying:

We lobbied for the job for nearly two years. Through our friend Oki Miyano, I was able to meet with Michael Friend, who supervised the restoration project, in April 2007.

This is interesting because as of March 13, 2009, Schlesinger was not even aware of any decisions concerning extras on this set and had invited people to submit their proposals. And people in general weren't aware of this set being planned until about June 2008. Yet Ryfle and Godziszewski now admit they were actively lobbying for the commentaries and other extras since April 2007.

This sounds very much like "illegal insider trading" in Wall Street (which is, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission,"Illegal insider trading refers generally to buying or selling a security, in breach of a fiduciary duty or other relationship of trust and confidence, while in possession of material, nonpublic information about the security. Insider trading violations may also include "tipping" such information, securities trading by the person "tipped," and securities trading by those who misappropriate such information"). Martha Stewart was sent to prison for illegal insider trading.

So, through Oki Miyano, Ryfle and Godziszewski were given "insider access" to Michael Friend. This was access that no one else was equally privileged to receive. At that point (April 2007) nobody knew that this set was even planned.

As the title of this article states, "If This Were Wall St., People Would Be Jailed." Fortunately for those involved, this wasn't Wall Street and, as far as I know, no laws were broken. But it certainly, at the very least, calls to question people's ethics.

A stacked deck is still a stacked deck.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chuck Harter Completes George Reeves Timeline Manuscript

Chuck Harter called me a little while ago and he has completed the George Reeves timeline. Except for some finishing touches (forward, notes, and misc. tasks), the manuscript is completed. Chuck also has a good idea on what photographs to include.

He is having a friend, who has had his own work published, review the manuscript for any corrections, additions or deletions. The manuscript is way over 200 pages at present.

The timeline will primarily focus on two years, 1957 to 1959, but will also include pertinent information outside of those years such as George Reeves's childhood and the aftermath of his death.

If there are any interested publishers who are reading this, please feel free to contact me and I will connect you to Chuck Harter.

Hollywood Movies Losing Appeal In Japan

It appears that Hollywood movies are losing their appeal in Japan, according to a recent Reuters India story.

Reuters India reports:

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toho Co., Ltd., Japan's largest movie company, said the country's fading interest in Hollywood movies has cast a cloud over its growth prospects and it was aiming to cut costs to offset sluggish box office sales.

Reuters India photo.

Toho President Hideyuki Takai (above) told Reuters in an interview the recent resurgence in popularity of Japanese films, including last year's animation hit "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea", would not be enough to achieve profit growth.

"The popularity of Japanese movies is a very good thing for us as a distributor, but in terms of our cinema operations the drop-off in Hollywood movies is not something to smile about," Takai said.

While Japan's total box office revenue fell 1.8 percent to 195 billion yen last year, the take from Japanese movies actually jumped 22 percent to a record 116 billion yen, according to data from the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan.

Will this resurgence in popularity of home-grown movies also extend to Godzilla as well? Only time will tell.

To read the full article, go here.

Toho Studio’s Cherry Blossoms

Above, amongst the sound stages of Toho Studios are many cherry trees.

Toho Studio’s Cherry Blossoms

Text by Armand Vaquer

Photos by Sonoe Nakajima

We're now officially in Autumn, but it is worth a look back at last Spring when Japan's cherry blossoms were in full bloom at Toho Studios in Tokyo.

Above, a drainage canal that skirts alongside Toho Studios is dressed up by the blossoms. Richard Pusateri and I crossed this canal in November 2001.

One of the main attractions of Japan is their cherry blossom (or hanami) season where the country is bathed in pink colors. The cherry trees, or sakura, herald the arrival of Spring in Japan.

Above, new buildings on the Toho lot are dressed up in sakura.

Hanami season is generally in March and April. According to Japan Traveler, hanami season is “for many Japanese, the best time of year. This is when the cherry blossom trees all over Japan come in to bloom for between seven and 10 days and people hold outdoor parties to view them. The name says it all - hana means “flower” and mi is “to look”.”

Above, one of the approaches to Toho Studios is lined with cherry trees.

Last April, Sonoe Nakajima, the daughter of the original Godzilla suit-actor Haruo Nakajima, paid a visit to Toho Studios in the Setagaya ward of Tokyo where she took several photos of the sakura trees in bloom and was kind enough to share them with us. Domo arigato gozaimasu!

Above, the "Seven Samurai" mural and the Godzilla statue are dwarfed by the sakura blossoming trees.

Above, Toho Studios is a definitely a pleasant place to work for sakura fans.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

L.A. Times "Gojira" Article

The Los Angeles Times has posted an article (I'd hardly call it a review) on the release of Gojira (the Classic Media one) on Blu-ray.

Essentially, the article is a bunch of blah, blah, blah on the movie. Then they finally get to the disc itself in the last paragraph with:

Because those featurettes have been available previously, the biggest advantage in the Blu-ray edition may be the hi-res sound. From Gojira’s signature metallic roar to the ultra-low-register notes of the contrabass clarinet used in the musical theme that anticipates each of his destructive appearances, the audio track is all the more visceral through a good home sound system.

Even 55 years down the road, there’s still nothing quite like the roar of Gojira.

If you have nothing better to do and want to read the full article, go here.

Haunted Hall of Justice?

Tonight, I got together with a couple of my co-workers at the Los Angeles County Hall of Justice. It was not too long before the end of our shift, so we played around with our cameras to pass the time.

Above, the dark Hall of Justice. Not a single light came from the empty building. It is allegedly haunted.

Above, strange orbs floated around outside of the building. Were these orbs spirits of deceased inmates who died in the jail that used to be in the upper floors of the building?

Above, has those strange orbs taken possession of Rebeca, our on-site officer?

Above, Rebeca seems to be normal now. Or is she?

Above, Jesus, another supervisor, comes along and shows of his new cell phone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New "Green Hornet" Movie Features Christine Nguyen

Photo courtesy of Christine Nguyen.

I received a "tweet" from Christine Nguyen who reports that she's on location for The Green Hornet in Los Angeles.

The movie is now filming at Sony Studios in Culver City, L.A.'s Chinatown and in Sun Valley and stars Christoph Waltz, Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz and Jay Chou.

The movie is being directed by Michel Gondry with the screenplay by Michel Gondry and Seth Rogen.

From Wikipedia:

The Green Hornet is a fictional masked crime fighter. Originally created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker for an American radio program in the 1930s, the character has appeared in other media as well, including film serials in the 1940s, a network television program in the 1960s, and multiple comic book series from the 1940s to the 1990s.

According to IMDB, the movie is set to be released on December 17, 2010 although the logo (below) indicates a June 25, 2010 release date.

I am currently checking with Christine for details on her role. All I know at present is that she had a great time "trashing a hotel room."

UPDATE: Comment from CHFB.

Kirby Kin Seeking To Regain Copyrights

The New York Times reported Sunday that the kin of the late comic book artist Jack Kirby has filed notices to regain copyrights following the announcement of the sale of Marvel Comics to the Walt Disney Co.

The article stated:

Heirs to the comic book artist Jack Kirby, a creator of characters and stories behind Marvel mainstays like “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four,” last week sent 45 notices of copyright termination to Marvel and Disney, as well as Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and other companies that have been using the characters.

The notices expressed an intent to regain copyrights to some of Mr. Kirby’s creations as early as 2014, according to a statement disclosed on Sunday by Toberoff & Associates, a law firm in Los Angeles that helped win a court ruling last year returning a share of the copyright in Superman to heirs of one of the character’s creators, Jerome Siegel.

The sale of Marvel to Disney isn't final until it comes to an approval vote by Marvel's shareholders.

To read the full article, go here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Obama Pushing NEA To Push Partisan Agenda

A new Obama scandal has surfaced.

Audio tapes show that White House aides are attempting to get the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to push the Obama Administration's partisan agenda.

The NEA gets its funding from the government and is supposed to be non-partisan. This move by the Obama Administration may be illegal under the law.

This story is developing, but you can read what is known now at Big Government.com.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Looney Left Report: Right Wing Hatred Killed JFK?

The Looney Left Report: Right Wing Hatred Killed JFK?

The nutjob left wing website Media Matters has posted this little goodie:

A President was killed the last time right-wing hatred ran wild like this

September 18, 2009 9:10 am ET by Eric Boehlert

That being John F. Kennedy, who was gunned down in Dallas, of course.

I've been thinking a lot of Kennedy and Dallas as I've watched the increasingly violent rhetorical attacks on Obama be unfurled. As Americans yank their kids of class in order to save them from being exposed to the President of the United States who only wanted to urge them to excel in the classroom. And as unvarnished hate and name-calling passed for health care 'debate' this summer.

The radical right, aided by a GOP Noise Machine that positively dwarfs what existed in 1963, has turned demonizing Obama--making him into a vile object of disgust--into a crusade. It's a demented national jihad, the likes of which this country has not seen in modern times.

But I've been thinking about Dallas in 1963 because I've been recalling the history and how that city stood as an outpost for the radical right, which never tried to hide its contempt for the New England Democrat.

Now, in this this month's Vanity Fair, Sam Kashner offers up in rich detail the hatred that ran wild in Dallas in 1963. To me, the similarity between Dallas in 1963 and today's unhinged Obama hate is downright chilling.

The only hate of late (hey, that rhymes!) has been the injection of race by the left into the debate over Obamacare.

Someone should remind Mr. Boehlert that JFK received a warm welcome in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 and that he was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, who, it just so happened, to be a self-described Marxist and communist sympathizer who renounced his US citizenship to live in the Soviet Union. Oswald had more in common with the radical left that's currently running the country than with any right wing groups.

The last paragraph above also interests me. Could this Sam Kashner be the same Sam Kashner who co-wrote Hollywood Kryptonite (about the death of television's Superman, George Reeves)? The book was so bad that former Jimmy Olsen Jack Larson called it "Hollywood Kraptonite." If it is, I wouldn't put any stock on what Kashner has to say.

Nutjobs of a feather flock together!

To read the full article, go here.

UPDATE (9/21/09): Yes, it is the same Sam Kashner who co-wrote Hollywood Kryptonite. He has been a contributing writer for Vanity Fair since 2007.

Traci Lords In "Princess of Mars"

Above, Traci Lords is set to play Dejah in new movie by The Asylum. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, who was the creator of Tarzan (and who had a ranch near where I live), will have his Princess of Mars novel come to life by The Asylum.

In the story, a US soldier, John Carter, finds himself inexplicably transported to Mars in the midst of a war between two alien races.

The movie was written and directed by Mark Atkins and stars Antonio Sabato, Jr. as John Carter.

Dejah Thoris will be played by ex-porn star and genre scream queen Traci Lords. So far, no images of Lords as Dejah are available.

The Burroughs novel apparently fell into public domain, so besides The Asylum's version, there will also be a Disney version coming out. This should get interesting!

Princess of Mars is scheduled to be released December 29.

Big Hollywood: Ideology Of A Liberal

There's a great article over at the Big Hollywood blog, "Ideology Of A Liberal."

The article gives a number of examples of why liberalism is nothing but emotionalism and wishful-thinking. It is not based on logic.

The article states in part:

They are based upon emotion. There is no logic behind them. Hence we have the major difference. Conservatives think logically and based upon the reality seen in facts and figures. Liberals think emotionally and from idealistic goals and ambitions. The two do not mix.

To read the full article, go here.

Classic Media's Blu-ray "Godzilla" Worth Getting?

DVD Talk.com reviewed Classic Media's new Blu-ray disc of the original Japanese version of Godzilla (Gojira) from 1954. They recommend a pass.

They wrote:

Classic Media's Blu-ray of Gojira is a major disappointment that can't really be recommended. The HD encoding is interlaced (1080i) instead of progressive (1080p), which leads us to suspect that the source is the same used on the earlier standard def release -- billed as mastered in "Native Hi-Def".

Every comparison with the existing Deluxe Collector's Edition DVD makes that release seem a better purchase option. That disc's variable contrast and odd ghosting issues that were undoubtedly in the tape element provided by Toho. The new Blu-ray looks identical except in the monster destruction scenes, which are timed much darker. Under these conditions the added resolution of HD adds nothing whatsoever to the visuals -- the Blu-ray looks like the standard DVD but with additional problems.

Personally, I haven't purchased a Blu-ray machine and I really am not compelled to do so anyway. Standard DVD is just fine as far as I am concerned. Who needs to see every pore or blemish on an actor's face anyway? I resisted going into the DVD format at the beginning as I really didn't want to bother going into another video format from VHS tape. But, as time went on, releases on VHS became fewer and fewer and colleagues urged that I switch. I bit the bullet and bought a DVD player. In retrospect, it was a wise decision as there are now virtually no VHS releases. If Blu-ray becomes "the standard" for home video as DVD did, then I would be forced into jumping in, but kicking and screaming.

I have Classic Media's DVD set of the Japanese and American versions of Godzilla along with a Region 2 DVD that I purchased in Japan at the "Since Godzilla" exhibit in Koriyama during G-TOUR. The Region 2 version is much cleaner than Classic Media's DVD. I am satisfied with them.

On the other hand, I am hearing that Toho remastered their Godzilla movies in HD and their Blu-ray Godzilla completely blows Classic Media's right out of the water. One nice thing about Blu-ray, so I'm told, is that Japanese Blu-rays have the same region coding as American's. The only drawback is a lack of English subtitles.

To read DVD Talk's full review, go here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

City Hall and National Diet Building

Above, Los Angeles City Hall.

City Hall and National Diet Building

by Armand Vaquer

Posting some recent photos I took of the Los Angeles City Hall, I was struck by the similarities in architecture of it and the National Diet Building in Tokyo, Japan, particularly the towers.

One big similarity: both have been destroyed in the movies.

Above, the National Diet Building in Tokyo, Japan.

The National Diet Building (by the way, it received a profile in a recent issue of G-FAN magazine) is Japan's capitol building and it had been featured in a number of kaiju movies over the last 55 years, beginning with Godzilla (1954) and most recently in Godzilla x Mothra x Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003).

Above, Godzilla tramples through the National Diet Building in 1954. This scene brought applause from Japanese audiences.

Another similarity, you will note that the tops of both towers each have a pyramid top and columns, although the National Diet Building's tower is much shorter than L.A. City Hall's. Both were built roughly around the same time. City Hall was completed in 1928 and the Diet Building was completed in 1936.

The L.A. City Hall was used as the Daily Planet Building in the Adventures of Superman from 1953 to 1957. It was demolished by the Martians in the original War of the Worlds (1953) (below).

Superman In Fresno

One fun aspect of being somewhat of a historian of movies and television is the actual digging around for those hidden gems of historical trivia. One such topic came up on one of the Adventures of Superman message boards recently.

Back on August 17, 1958, there was a telethon held in Fresno, California for the United Cerebral Palsy of Fresno County training center. The Fresno Bee reported at the time:

The giving during the morning hours was not spirited. About noon, it started to pick up. At 12:30 PM, the board showed $19,679. Chucko, the Los Angeles clown, and George Reeves, in his Superman guise, autographed pictures of themselves as the KJEO-TV cameras were trained on them. At 12:45 PM, the figure had reached $19,790. The Blue Notes rock n' roll band from Merced went on the air, and the audience nearly lifted the roof with applause when they finished. At 1 PM the board showed $20,286.

Unfortunately, no photographs of either Chucko or George Reeves were included with the article. However, the Bee may still have photos that were unused. We are checking with them. Another possibility is that the local Fresno Valley Historical Society may have some photographs of this event. I sent them a query a little while ago. Carl Glass, of Bakersfield, is also digging around for the elusive photograph(s).

This event's significance is that it could have been the last time Reeves made a personal appearance in his Superman costume before his death the following year.

If we strike paydirt, I'll be sure to post the results here and it will also be posted at The Adventure Continue website.

To read the full article, go here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

39 Years Ago Today...

On this day 39 years ago, rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix was found dead in a London flat belonging to Monika Dannemann.

The cause of death was ruled barbituate intoxication and vomit inhalation. But was it really murder as a new book speculates?

Unemployment Reaches Record Levels

"A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Barack Obama and the Democrats in congress lose theirs!"

Unemployment reached record levels in California and other states according to Bloomberg.com:

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Unemployment rose in 27 U.S. states in August, with California and Nevada reaching record levels of joblessness.

Rhode Island rounded out the list of states with the highest level of unemployment since data began in 1976, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. California’s unemployment rate reached 12.2 percent and Nevada’s climbed to 13.2 percent.

The job market is showing signs of stabilizing as reports indicate economic growth is resuming this quarter. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News this month said the unemployment rate nationally will reach 10 percent this year, a reminder that consumers are unlikely to lead the recovery.

What was that President Obama said back earlier this year that unemployment will be held to 8% if his stimulous package is passed? Another Obama lie.

To read the full article, go here.

Feds After Yard Sales

The Federal government is now targeting your local neighborhood garage sales, yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores.

FoxNews.com is reporting:

Americans who slap $1 pricetags on their used possessions at garage sales or bazaar events risk being slapped with fines of up to $15 million, thanks to a new government campaign.

The "Resale Round-up," launched by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, enforces new limits on lead in children's products and makes it illegal to sell any items that don't meet those limits or have been recalled for any other reason.

The strict standards were set in the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act after a series of high-profile recalls of Chinese-made toys.

The standards were originally interpreted to apply only to new products, but now the CPSC says they apply to used items as well.

This is just another example of nanny government and busybody do-gooders poking their noses into your business.

To read the full article, go here.

Obama Sells Out Eastern Europe

Eastern European leaders are in dismay over President Obama's decision to jettison the missile defense shield.

Yahoo! News reports:

Poles and Czechs voiced deep concern Friday at President Barack Obama's decision to scrap a Bush-era missile defense shield planned for their countries.

"Betrayal! The U.S. sold us to Russia and stabbed us in the back," the Polish tabloid Fakt declared on its front page.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski said he was concerned that Obama's new strategy leaves Poland in a dangerous "gray zone" between Western Europe and the old Soviet sphere.

Recent events in the region have rattled nerves throughout central and eastern Europe, a region controlled by Moscow during the Cold War, including the war last summer between Russia and Georgia and ongoing efforts by Russia to regain influence in Ukraine. A Russian cutoff of gas to Ukraine last winter left many Europeans without heat.

This decision by Obama shows again that we have returned to the Carter-era brand of appeasement.

To read the full article, go here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Suspect In Le Murder Arrested

Raymond Clark III, a lab technician who worked with murdered graduate student Annie Le, was arrested and charged with her murder early today.

Clark was arrested earlier this morning at a Super 8 hotel in Cromwell, about 2 miles north of the campus, where he got a room shortly after being released from police questioning in Le's death.

Le was found dead on Sunday, her body hidden in the basement wall of a building where she worked as a medical researcher, on the day she was to marry Columbia University graduate student Jonathan Widawsky. The Connecticut medical examiner said yesterday that Le died of "traumatic asphyxiation."

It has been reported that Clark has an attorney and he has refused to be interviewed.

It has also been reported that Clark send Le emails criticizing her for "not following protocols in handling the lab's mice and that he requested that she meet with him the day she was last seen alive.

UPDATE (9/18/09):

FoxNews is reporting:

The Yale University lab technician accused of killing graduate student and fellow lab employee Annie Le may have had help in hiding her body from investigators, according to reports, and another arrest could be imminent.

Cops are reportedly questioning another employee who works in the lab where Le's body was found stuffed in a utility compartment, FOX 61 reported Thursday night. That employee was not identified, but Clark's fiancée, sister and brother-in-law also work at the lab.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More Passings

Quickly, two more passings of note were announced today:

Mary Travers, of folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary.

Henry Gibson, character actor and formerly with Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.

Supervisors Bicker Over Guard Back Pay

As much as I am not a fan of L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, I have to agree with him on a matter that came up this week before the Board of Supervisors.

The Los Angeles Times reported:

When a security firm contracting with Los Angeles County went bankrupt earlier this year, hundreds of workers were not paid for their hours guarding county clinics, Sheriff's Department buildings and Fire Department facilities.

On Tuesday, Supervisor Gloria Molina urged county lawyers to find a way to pay them about $200,000 in wages she said they are due, prompting a bitter exchange among her colleagues.

International Services Inc., which placed nearly 800 guards in county facilities, filed for bankruptcy after its president and chief executive, Ousama "Sam" Karawia, 45, was charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, grand theft, making false statements and insurance fraud.

Molina's motion drew fire from Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who said the workers' grievances were with their former employer.

I work for another security company who has a contract with Los Angeles County. When International went belly-up, many of their guards were hired to handle the posts that my company took over with their company's bankruptsy. They continued to work although they weren't being paid, otherwise, they'd lose their County clearances. Those guards worked unpaid from one to two months while with International.

Why am I not a fan of Yaroslavsky?

Yaroslavsky raised my ire several years ago when he introduced a ridiculous county ordinance that banned gun shows on county property. The Great Western Gun Show, a longtime staple in L.A. County, was forced to leave the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds (Fairplex) due to this. They had been a regular show there for years and the L.A. County Sheriff and L.A.P.D. had recruiting booths at the gun show. Apparently, the police had no qualms about the show. But Yaroslavsky and his liberal majority on the Board voted otherwise, despite a good fight that we supporters of the Great Western Gun Show put on with Supervisors Antonovich and Knabe.

In this case, Yaroslavsky is correct. The guards formerly with International has, as their first source of remedy, their employer (via the U.S. Bankruptsy Court). The County contracted with International and paid them for their services. International failed to pay its employees, not the County (i.e., taxpayers). The County should not have to pay twice. While Molina's heart is in the right place, she is wrong in this.

Mark Levin's Book Reaches One Million Sales Milestone

Mark R. Levin's book, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, reached a major milestone this week: it has sold one million copies.

This milestone was reached despite the fact that the major morning shows or the old print media (with the exception of the Philadelphia Inquirer) had Levin on as a guest or reviewed the book. This is remarkable as we are now in the "Age of Obama." It couldn't have come at a better time.

Many people are saying that Liberty and Tyranny is the most important conservative book since Barry Goldwater's Conscience Of A Conservative.

Congratulations to Mark Levin on reaching this milestone!

Carter Proves He's An Idiot Again

The worst U.S. president of the last half of the 20th Century, Jimmy Carter, joined in the Democrat Party's and media's chorus to inject race into the debate over President Obama's policies.

On NBC's Nightly News, Carter said:

I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American. I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans.

That racism inclination still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people -- not just in the South but around the country -- that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply.

Race has nothing to do with the opposition to Obama's health care plan or his other socialistic policies. It is the Democrats who are injecting race into the debate with the assist by the biased news media.

Carter has proved again that the voters in 1980 were correct in handing his political ass to him when Ronald Reagan beat him in a landslide. Carter is nothing but a bitter old man and an idiot.

Whenever Obama and his allies have their asses caught in a crack, they always pull out the old race card from their playbook. Sorry, it ain't gonna work!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Astro Boy Coming Next Month!

Above, the poster for the new Astro Boy movie.

Astro Boy is coming to theaters!

The new CGI (computer-generated images) Astro Boy movie will be coming to theaters this fall on October 23.

Astro Boy is a boy robot who has to use his super-strength, x-ray vision, speed and flying ability to save the things and people he cares about.

Astro Boy will be voiced by Freddie Hightower and Nicholas Cage also lends his voice to the movie. The film is directed by David Bowers. Script by Timothy Harris.

Astro Boy is produced by Summit Entertainment and is based on the Japanese anime cartoon character (below) created by Dr. Osamu Tezuka.

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