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

Buy The Amazon Kindle Store Ebook Edition

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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gadget Added For Monster Japan Travel Guide Dealers


A new "gadget" (well, that's what Blogspot calls 'em) has been added to this blog.

It is a listing of dealers links for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. As more dealers carry the Guide, they will be added to the list. It is located on the right side of the page, about 3/4 of the page down.

Of course, The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan may be ordered directly though ComiXpress.com or through me. See "About The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" link just below the main Rancho photo at the top of the page for more information.

Above right, Yuu Asakura. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Feel free to visit the dealers listed and all other advertisers on this blog.

Greg Smith vs. Lisa Benlon Campaign Analysis

Above, Greg Smith.

This morning, I was perusing SwingStateProject.com's analysis of the 2010 Kansas state legislature races and noted their analysis of the race between Greg Smith, the father of Kelsey Smith, and Rep. Lisa Benlon in Overland Park.

They wrote:

KS-HR-22: 34.6R/32D/32.5U : District Map : (D) Lisa Benlon - Another former Republican state representative, Benlon returned to politics in 2008 as a Democrat, winning 53% to succeed Democrat Sue Storm, who rose to a seat on the state Board of Education. Benlon did draw a fairly strong opponent in Greg Smith, the father of the late Kelsey Smith. Still, the district's blue tint, and Smith's very conservative profile, should be enough to save Benlon, assuming Democrats actually turn out. Rating: Lean Democrat


Note that the district is 34.6% Republican and 32% Democrat with 32.5% Unaffiliated. Swing State Project's rating would make some sense had Barack Obama and the Democrats hadn't made a worse mess out of the economy than it already was in and, also, not forced Obamacare down people's throats. The voters are hopping mad!

Additionally, this is marginally a Republican district. Independents (the unaffiliated voters) tend to be more conservative and vote GOP than they do Democrat. Also, independent support of Obama and the Democrats nationally has plummeted.

It doesn't help matters that Lisa Benlon became a Democrat after being a former Republican state representative. There are three kinds of unpopular politicians this year: Liberal-Socialist Democrats, R.I.N.O.* Republicans and turncoats. Just ask Sen. Arlen Specter! By being a turncoat in switching parties, Benlon makes her chances at re-election much more difficult than what meets the eye, especially this year.

Keep in mind that Swing State Project is a left-wing website, so their "analysis" may be more wishful-thinking than objective.

Greg Smith is running on a conservative platform.

If Greg Smith mounts an aggressive campaign on the issues and ties the Obama/socialism noose around her neck, Benlon can be defeated.

To read swingstateproject.com's ratings, go here.


*Republican In Name Only

Monday, August 30, 2010

Police Searching For Kara Kopetsky?



Sheriff deputies are draining and searching ponds in Johnson County, Kansas "for a body," possibly that of Kara Kopetsky, a high school girl who has been missing since May 2007.

KCUR-FM in Kansas is reporting:

Twenty Johnson county Sheriff's Deputies were able to get within inches of the bottom of a pair of ponds south of Leawood today. They've been searching for human remains.

A tipster last week gave a credible enough account to send deputies to a remote area near 164th and Mission Road.


The site where these ponds are located was the former site of the Kuhlman Die Casting company.

A surveillance video at the high school Kopetsky was attending shows her walking out of school in Belton, Missouri, but she has not been heard from since. Weeks later, high school graduate Kelsey Smith of nearby Overland Park was abducted from a Target store near her home. She was found days later and her killer is now serving a life sentence. Many have speculated that the Kopetsky and Smith cases are related.

So far, no body has been found during this week's search.

Jackson Gillis, "Adventures of Superman" Scripter, Dies At 93



Jackson Gillis, the writer of some of the best and most-enduring episodes (in my opinion) of the Adventures of Superman, that starred George Reeves, has died. His memorable Superman scripts included:

"Panic In The Sky," "Superman In Exile," "The Defeat of Superman," "A Ghost For Scotland Yard," "The Face and the Voice," "The Seven Souvenirs" and "Around The World With Superman."

Above, George Reeves and Jack Larson in a scene from "Panic In The Sky" (1953).

Besides Superman, Gillis also wrote Perry Mason, Columbo, Wonder Woman, Zorro, Tarzan and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The New York Times obituary for Gillis said:

Mr. Gillis died of pneumonia in Moscow, Idaho, on Aug. 19, his daughter, Candida, said. He was 93.

Mr. Gillis was not an award winner — he was nominated for a single Emmy, in 1972, for an episode of “Columbo” — but his résumé traces a remarkable path through the evolution of prime time. His niche was the plot-driven tale of distress, in which danger disturbs the serene status quo, is cranked up to crisis dimensions and is resolved with dispatch by the protagonist, all in a neat half-hour, or, more often, an hour.


Gillis had a good, long life and he left a great legacy that will continue to be enjoyed.

To read the full New York Times obituary, go here.

Messages of Congratulations


Since the announcement that Kinokuniya Bookstores' Little Tokyo store is carrying The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan, I've received many congratulatory messages.






I just want everyone who sent them to know that they are very much appreciated!

Here's some of them:

"Way to go!"

"Congratulations. Awesome achievement!"

"Excellent!"

"What an accomplishment to actually produce a book let alone gather the interest it has gained. You should be very proud of yourself, I know your mom is."

"She is beaming down upon you. I thank you for sharing the joy from your sense of accomplishment. You are, and have always been, diligent and focused and talented.
I am thrilled for you."

"Well done! Well deserved. Congrats, my friend."

"May I also get in on the congradulations. NOW, where's my ice cream sundae????"

"I am soo glad for you! Its a wonderful feeling when you achieve something!"

"Good job on the book. Why don't we do it in Japanese? Perhaps I could get my wife involved in that, and it could be looked into. I bet NHK might also be interested in a story about this. As you know, I used to work for them, and was on the air for two years with them in the mid 1980s."

"Will be getting our copy next Thursday."

"Just got my copy. Excellent book all around and well done." [Note: the writer picked it up at Kinokuniya Bookstores. - A.]

"Hey, you SHOULD have a genuine feeling of accomplishment! Take it from a guy who knows a little bit about journalism. What you did was awesome!

Again I say .... Omedetō gozai masu, Armand san."

Finally, my daughter wrote:

"It's completely your fault that I'm such a nerd. Gracias." [Note: Oops! Wrong message. The one below is the correct one. - A.]

"Very proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Those who helped to put it together and were instrumental in getting it into print should also share in the kudos: J. D. Lees, Archie Waugh and Martin Arlt.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Feeling Of Accomplishment!

Above, Kinokuniya Bookstores in Little Tokyo.

It is a great feeling of accomplishment to have one's book deemed worthy enough to be carried by a major bookstore. It was also a thrill to actually see The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan displayed on their shelf in their Japan travel section (below).





When I was contacted the other day by the Little Tokyo (Los Angeles) store of Kinokuniya Bookstores, I was understandably ecstatic!

It is also heartwarming to receive kudos from so many people. I have to, humbly, thank them for their encouragement and congratulations.

Additionally, I found that the Pillow Talk Japan (catchy title, isn't it?) blog has carried the news of Kinokuniya Bookstores' latest acquisition. To view the article, go here.

I wish my mom were still around to see this. I've mentioned this before, but a few days before she passed away, I was showing my cousin Maria the layouts of the Guide at my mom's. My mom was nearby on her couch. She heard us discuss the book and she said, "It's about time you're getting paid for all the work you do!" She never did grasp the concept that "all the work" I did was just for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Even now, although I am getting paid for the Guide's sales, the money isn't really the main factor (I've even trimmed the wholesale price on the Guide to help push it along here-and-there), but it does help to pay the bills. To me, the feeling of accomplishment is priceless!

Haruo Nakajima Publishing Party

Above, Haruo Nakajima in 2008. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The original Godzilla suit actor, Haruo Nakajima, recently was feted at a publishing party celebrating the publication of his autobiography, Kaiju Life (Kaiju Jinsei) arranged by his publisher, Yosensha Co., Ltd.

Daisuke Ishizuka covered the event and has an article with photos over at Sci Fi Japan.

To view it, go here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Noel Neill Update

Biographer and manager of Noel Neill, Larry Ward has provided an update on her condition:
Noel Neill Update
Dear Friends:

Noel was doing moderately well enough recently that she was transferred from the physical therapy center to an assisted living facility in Tucson. Unfortunately, yesterday Noel unexpectedly fell from her wheelchair, necessitating an MRI.

Thankfully there were no broken bones, but her fall set her back considerably in her recovery. To that end, in a long talk with her doctors, it was agreed that Noel's road to recovery has just gotten longer and more difficult and it will be many months before she will be able to once again become mobile.

Also in this equation will be her inability to travel anytime soon. What this means is that Noel's long-awaited 90th Birthday Party (long-awaited by us, but not necessarily by Noel) has been cancelled, and it would not be prudent to attempt to reschedule this private event.

Noel was well-aware of the party, and I think she was probably working too hard to recover too soon, mostly by trying to do her own physical therapy - never a good idea.

Well, the pressure is off her now, so perhaps she can attempt to recover in a more relaxed manner and not try to overdo it.

As I have said previously, all we can do at this stage is help Noel become more comfortable and encourage her in her efforts to recover.

Larry .

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" At Kinokuniya Bookstores' Little Tokyo Store

Above, the entrance to Kinokuniya Bookstores' Little Tokyo store.

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" At Kinokuniya Bookstores' Little Tokyo Store

Yes, the title says it all! Kinokuniya Bookstores' Little Tokyo store in downtown Los Angeles is now carrying The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan in their Japan travel book section.

Above, "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" on display.

They were delivered this morning to the store. The store is located in Little Tokyo's Weller Court (upstairs). Just look for the memorial to the space shuttle Challenger and you'll be at Weller Court.

Their address is 123 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street, Suite 205, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Telephone (213) 687-4480. Kinokuniya Bookstores' Little Tokyo store is open seven days from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.

I've been going to Kinokuniya in Little Tokyo for years. I make it a point to pick up a new Japanese calendar there every year. They also carry many books on kaiju and anime along with a selection of DVDs. They also occasionally carry kaiju toys.

Above, yours truly delivering the Japan monster travel guide.

If you've never been to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, you are in for a treat. It will give you a little bit of Tokyo flavor with plenty of shops and Japanese restaurants to choose from.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bookseller Interested In "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan"

Above, Yuu Asakura. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I got up this morning and found a welcome query from a major Japanese bookseller on The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

They are very much interested in carrying the kaiju-oriented Japan travel guide. Terms are yet to be worked out, but it looks very promising!

If an agreement is reached, I'll announce it here.

UPDATE: Terms have been reached. I will announce it when I deliver the copies tomorrow.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CREATURE FEATURES NIGHT AT THE GIANTS GAME II

Above, "Creature From The Black Lagoon" star Julie Adams and Armand in 2009.

An interesting event caught my attention the other day. Bob Johnson, Executive Producer of Bay Area Film Events, is putting on a screening of Creature From The Black Lagoon at an unusual venue:

CREATURE FEATURES NIGHT AT THE GIANTS GAME II

When: September 18 · 6:00pm - 11:00pm

Location: AT&T Park, San Francisco

Join the San Francisco Giants as they partner with Bay Area Film Events for an evening of exciting baseball, scary monsters, and ghoulish fun as the Giants host the 2nd Annual Creature Feature Night at AT&T Park! Start off the night by cheering on the Giants to a victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the special Creature Feature section of the ballpark. Directly following the game, join host John Stanley for on-field access to watch the classic 1954 horror movie, "Creature from the Black Lagoon," on one of the largest "movie screens" in Northern California with General Admission seating on the grass with your event ticket.

Don't wait until Halloween to get your fright on!

Free event shirt with ticket purchase, courtesy of Ripley's Believe it or Not at Fisherman's Wharf!

Keep an eye on www.bayareafilmevents.com for updates and details!


A horror movie screening following a major league baseball game? Interesting concept! Bob says they did a similar event last year with Night of the Living Dead:

We did it last year with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and had Judith O'Dea as a guest. It worked out great and everyone had a blast!


Sounds like it would be. If I can get the time off and the financial picture looks favorable, I may just go to this.

For ticket information, go to: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/sf/ticketing/group_special_events.jsp#creature

An Interesting, But Busy Night



It was an interesting, but busy night last night in Malibu.

It started off routinely until I went to patrol one of the gated communities early in my shift. I was going down one street when I spotted actress Shirley MacLaine with her dog (she has a home in the community). She seemed to wave me over so I stopped and rolled down the passenger window to talk to her.

Above, Shirley MacLaine during the filming of "Two Mules For Sister Sara."


She was waiting for a friend to arrive. I introduced myself and she said, "I'm Shirley!" We shook hands. Then I pointed to her and said, "Two Mules For Sister Sara!" At that, she gave a good hearty laugh and said, "Clint [Eastwood] and I would like to forget that one!"



My response was, "Oh, no! That was a fun movie!" Then she said, "Yeah, that was a fun one!" She said she enjoyed working with Eastwood and we proceeded to discuss him at length. I mentioned that I met Eastwood years ago. She asked, "Really? When?" I told her, "It was at something that you'd probably wouldn't go to. It was at Reagan's victory party." She chuckled, "Oh, yes. Clint is a big Republican." I mentioned that I read somewhere he is more of a libertarian in his political views.

We talked for a little bit more and then her friend arrived and we said our goodbyes. I came away with a good impression of Shirley MacLaine. I wouldn't mind talking movies with her again.

Later, things got busy when I received a call at another community about some kids throwing feces all over the community's men's sauna/shower room. I was kept busy interviewing witnesses, photographing the mess, contacting the sheriff and showing them around. At least it made the rest of the shift go much faster.

What will tomorrow bring? We'll see!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sean Connery Is 80 Years Young Today



Bond, James Bond turns 80 today.

No, not the Ian Fleming character, but the original movie James Bond, Sean Connery.

Described as a "man's man," Connery created the movie James Bond template that has endured the ups and downs of the movies and successor actors including Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and, currently, Daniel Craig. (Bond 23's production is being held up due to financial problems of MGM.)

My parents took me to see a double-bill of 1962's Dr. No and 1963's From Russia With Love (both starring Connery) and I've been hooked ever since. When it was announced that Goldfinger was about to be released, I already knew what to expect and looked forward to seeing it.

I have most of the Ian Fleming Bond novels (I hit the jackpot one day at a used book store).

It is generally conceded that Connery's Goldfinger (1964) is the best of the Bond movies. I think he hit his stride in that one although the aforementioned Dr. No and From Russia With Love were good movies.

Connery's last Eon Productions Bond movie was Diamonds Are Forever (1971). It had its moments, but it showed that the series was beginning to get into the silliness of the Roger Moore (who took over in the next film, Live and Let Die in 1973) years. He then went on to distinguish himself in other films such as The Man Who Would Be King, The Untouchables (he won a supporting actor Academy Award for that one), amongst others.

Connery's last outing as Agent 007 was in the independently-produced Never Say Never Again in 1982. In that movie, he showed that he still had the Bond touch.



Akiko Wakabayashi, who co-starred with Connery in 1967's You Only Live Twice (set in Japan), said in a G-FAN interview (by yours truly and Brett Homenick) of Connery, "James Bond in the movie is a ladies' man, but Sean-san is a warm-hearted honest man. He has a clear vision as an actor. He can be stubborn from time to time, but he is a real man with a bit of old-fashioned taste."

Connery says his acting days are over (almost sounds like one of his final lines in Never Say Never Again). He is enjoying his retirement. Perhaps, if the right project and role should surface, he could be persuaded to make a comeback. Never say never!

Happy Birthday, Sean Connery!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Barnabas Collins Meets Bozo The Clown

During his heyday as Barnabas Collins on ABC-TV's Dark Shadows, Jonathan Frid made guest appearances on different shows, including the Mike Douglas Show.

However, Frid was called upon to make an appearance on Bozo the Clown's show. Here's a photo of Frid as vampire Barnabas Collins trying out a Hula Hoop on the Bozo show as Bozo watches while holding Barnabas's cane:

Fireball XL5

Above, Fireball XL5 on the Space City launcher.

Last night, I was in the mood to revisit an old television show I used to watch on Saturday mornings circa 1963: Fireball XL5.

A few years ago, I picked up the complete series DVD box set and would occasionally take it out and play some of the episodes.

Fireball XL5 is set in the future (2062-63) and was produced in 1962 by the husband and wife team of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (Supercar, Thunderbirds, Space: 1999). Sylvia Anderson was the voice of XL5's doctor, Venus. Gerry Anderson was the voice of Robert the Robot.

The ship is piloted by Steve Zodiac and navigated and engineered by Professor Matthew Matic. It was based out in the South Pacific at Space City.

The series was filmed in "Supermarionation" (i.e., puppets). It did not purport to be scientifically accurate (the characters are able to do spacewalks sans space suits by taking oxygen pills) and it was aimed at children. It was filmed in black & white.

Even 47 years later, I still find the show entertaining. For more information, go here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shelley Sweeney: 2006 and 2007

Above, Shelley Sweeney in "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II" (1993), her most visible role in a G-movie. Photo by Toho Co., Ltd.

Text by Armand Vaquer

Canadian-born actress Shelley Sweeney has appeared in five Godzilla movies over the years (can you name them?) and was a special guest at G-FEST XIV in July 2007. She also received a mention in the "So You're Going To Japan?" section of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan since she appears in an Immigration instruction video at Narita International Airport.

On a couple of trips to Japan, I was able to meet with Shelley while there and, later, at G-FEST XIV in Chicago.

April 2006

Above, we first met up at a coffee place (I don't think it was a Starbuck's) near Azabu Juban subway station in April 2006. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, after coffee, we wandered around the boutique shops in Azabu Juban (a section of Tokyo). Here's Shelley outside of a toy shop. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

2007

Above, we met up at a Tokyo Starbuck's Coffee in April 2007.

Above, two months later, we met again (this is from the award's luncheon) at G-FEST XIV.

Above, Shelley discusses her career and her five Godzilla movie appearances at G-FEST. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Empty Suits

Monster suits look pretty sad, especially when nobody's wearing them.

Here's a photo of Godzilla and Minya (Minilla) suits at Toho Studios.

Godzilla and Minilla

Kickback Day

August has finally arrived in the San Fernando Valley. It is hot and somewhat humid out. It is 89 degrees in the shade here. Except for a few days, it has been a milder-than-usual summer.

Today began with going out for an overdue haircut. Luckily for me, the local Supercuts had nobody ahead of me and they immediately got me in a chair.



The rest of the day was watching two Godzilla movies. Both of them dealt with alien invasions and had lots of monsters in them. I started with Destroy All Monsters and finished off with Godzilla Final Wars. I hadn't watched either for a while. The DAM version was with the AIP dub. I can't stand the Toho "international dub" version.

I enjoyed Godzilla Final Wars back when it premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theater (has it really been almost six years?) and still enjoy it.



A welcome piece of mail came in. It was a check for three claim assignments I did last week.

I was going to attend a job fair today in Woodland Hills, but I discovered that I'm out of printer ink to print off some resumes (plus it's too darn hot to go out), so I didn't bother.

Amber stopped by to pick up her mail while en route to work. Her grandmother is still in the hospital and is doing as well as can be expected.

I may just pop open a bottle of California chardonnay and take a dip in the pool this evening after a steak dinner.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vin Scully To Return Next Season!



There is one constant in this universe that I am grateful for: Vin Scully calling the play-by-play for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

USA Today is reporting:

The team announced Sunday that Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully will return to the booth for a 62 season in 2011. According to the Dodgers, Scully's 61-year tenure, which began in 1950 when the Dodgers still played in Brooklyn, already represents the longest of any broadcaster in sports history.

"I'm just honored and humbled to continue my association with the Dodgers, which has been a major part of my life," said Scully, 82.


I got to meet "The Voice of the Dodgers" back around 1982 at Dodger Stadium. A friend and I had to use the stadium elevator as he was wheelchair-bound in order to get to the level where our seats were located. We got into the elevator with about a half-dozen people already inside. We made one floor stop after getting in and when the doors opened, a crowd of people were standing outside waiting. Suddenly, out came cameras and flashbulbs were going off from them. Then, behind us in the elevator as the doors closed, a familiar voice said, "We seem to be very popular!" We turned around and (surprise!) there was Vin Scully. He was in the the elevator the whole time and we didn't notice him when we got in.

Naturally, greetings and handshakes were then exchanged.

During the game's broadcast, Scully mentioned the elevator encounter and how nice Dodger fans are.

Gee, what I wouldn't give for a print of all those photos that were taken of us when the elevator doors opened!

To read the full USA Today article, go here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Spotlight On Kiyomizu-Dera

Above, Kiyomizu-dera's stage on the main building undergoing renovation in August 2004.

In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), Godzilla passes Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto while seaching for Baby Godzilla.

According to Wikipedia:

Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺?), officially Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera (音羽山清水寺) is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. The temple is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities) UNESCO World Heritage site.

Kiyomizu-dera was founded in the early Heian period. The temple dates back to 798, and its present buildings were constructed in 1633.


I visited Kiyomizu-dera in August 2004 with G-TOUR and found it to be one of my highlights of the trip. Although the walk to the temple was a tad strenuous (it is on a steep hill), the beauty of the temple and its surroundings were well worth the hike.

Above, Kyoto as seen from the stage of Kiyomizu-dera's main building. Note Kyoto Tower, which was blasted by Godzilla in "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II."

The main building of the temple with its stage was shown in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II with Godzilla in the background. At the time of our visit, it was undergoing renovation. It was built over Otowa waterfall. Kiyomizu means clear water, or pure water.




Kiyomizu also has a pagoda (left) and down the hill from the temple are numerous shops that would satisfy the most rabid shopper.

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan provides directions on how to get to Kiyomizu-dera.

For more on Kiyomizu-dera, go here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Problems

Above, Amber at her graduation in May. Her grandmother is in the wheelchair.

As if this year hasn't taken a toll already, my daughter Amber just sent me a text from Disneyland that her grandmother (on her mom's side) just had a heart attack and now only has about 30% of her heart functioning.

She had been in the hospital for the past couple of days.

Amber is now headed back to the Valley.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Jobless Claims Jump "Unexpectedly"

CNBC is reporting that new unemployment claims jumped "unexpectedly":

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed to a nine-month high last week, yet another setback to the frail economic recovery.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 500,000 in the week ended August 14, the highest since mid-November, the Labor Department said on Thursday.


So much for the "Summer of Recovery" the Obama Administration has been touting. Naturally, Obama is still trying to blame everything on George W. Bush despite the fact that he's been in office for 18 months.

How's that "hope and change" working out for you?

To read the full article, go here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Godzilla 1954 Gag Photo

This old gag photo has surfaced recently at the Classic Horror Film Board Forum:



It appears to have been taken during the filming of Godzilla in 1954.

Flashback: The Church of God-Zillah

Above, the church's mascot.


Flashback: The Church of God-Zillah

A little church in Washington state decided to personalize their church's name, so the elders came up with "The Church of God-Zillah."

You see, the church is located in the small town of Zillah, Washington.

Here's an article on the church from 2000.  From Roadside America: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/3227

Grill Zilla vs. Toho


Godzilla's owners, Toho Co., Ltd., has dispatched their lawyers against a Maine eatery called "Grill Zilla BBQ," claiming trademark infringement. The offending logo is at right.

According to The Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine:

Getting a certified letter from a lawyer is rarely a pleasant experience. But when the lawyer represents Godzilla, well, you know you're in big, big trouble.

"I don't want to hire lawyers. But I am ready to call their bluff," said Sarah Burnham. "I mean do they really want to take this fight on? Do they really want to sue us?"

Apparently so. And here's why.

For the past five years, Burnham and her husband, Jay Swett, have owned and operated a thriving lunch-and-dinner stand out of an old Frito-Lay delivery truck on U.S. Route 1 just north of picturesque downtown Damariscotta.

Its name: Grill Zilla BBQ.

Its motto: "So good it's SCARY!"

Its logo: A smiling green creature with a red apron who, the way Burnham sees him, is part dinosaur, part alligator and part dragon. Or, as Swett sees him, "Tyrannosaurus rex on steroids."

Either way, the lawyers for Toho Co. Ltd., a Japanese entertainment conglomerate that owns the rights to the 56-year-old movie icon Godzilla, recently took a long look at Grill Zilla BBQ and saw trademark infringement.


To me, the logo bears no resemblance to Godzilla.

To read the full story, go here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Politically Incorrect Warning Sign

A couple of late claim assignments came in today which also required the scanning of two CHP reports. While I had the scanner set up, I also scanned a photo I found in the piles of stuff I cleaned out yesterday. It is of a sign a fellow member of E Clampus Vitus had put up at his campsite.

Here it is:



Click on the image to view larger.

Agoura Patch Salutes Peter H. Brothers

Above, author Peter H. Brothers with his book in his back yard. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Agoura Hills, California seems to be proud of one of its residents.

The Agoura Hills Patch, a community news website (can't tell if they also publish a community newspaper), posted an article on Peter H. Brothers new biography/filmography, Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda.

The article starts with:

Actor, playwright, poet Peter H. Brothers, is now author of an affectionate tribute to Japan's foremost director of fantasy films, Ishiro Honda.


To read the full article, go here.

Socks!



Why would someone post a blog topic titled "Socks!"?

Well, one nice benefit of taking annual trips to Japan is that I ended up with a good supply of socks.

As you may know, in certain situations in Japan, it is customary to remove one's shoes (such as entering someone's home, some restaurants, etc.) and it wouldn't do to have socks that are tattered and have holes in the toes if put into one of those situations.

Since I went to Japan each year from 2004 to 2007, I bought a new supply socks for each trip. I ended up having a drawer full of socks that are in great shape.

Since my last trip to Japan was in April 2007, my supply is finally getting low and I had to toss some out as they were beyond repair.

This fall, I plan to return to Japan, so a trip to the department store for a new supply of socks will be in order. Since my current supply is getting frayed, I may have to go purchase more a lot sooner.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Spring Cleaning Was A Little Late

I finally got around to dumping a bunch of piled-up junk that accumulated on my dining table (that I use as a desk) and my bar/countertop. I was going to do this last week, but had some claims work assignments that took priority.

It was an accumulation of stuff from over the years, plus stuff that my mom had.

Amongst the piles of stuff that I hauled out (four big trash bags full) included old Christmas cards (heaven knows what years they were from), about 100 police reports or police report face sheets, old newspapers and newspaper clippings, Japan travel propaganda, employment rejection letters (including one from a Facebook friend) from three years ago, bank statements, assorted paycheck stubs (from different employers), old American Rifleman and Westways magazines, and a whole bunch of other items. I even found an assortment of several years of Fred Is Dead Dinner (don't ask) programs.

My dining table, once cleared, got a good polishing and the countertop received a good cleaning. What a difference!

I basically tossed stuff that I obviously didn't need or want. Then I sorted the remaining items into two categories: stuff I wanted to keep and stuff that was "iffy." Then I went through the "iffy" pile and asked myself, "Am I going to ever use this again?" If the answer was "no," then out it went.

When she found out what I accomplished today, my daughter Amber wrote, "I AM SOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!!"

It is amazing that I did this anyway, especially since today was hot and humid. I ended up conking out for 2 hours on the couch. I had a late lasagna dinner (around 8:30) while watching 1972's Elvis On Tour. (By the way, it was 33 years ago today that Elvis died at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.)

The next project will be my bedroom. But I'm going to wait for a cooler day to attend to that. Tomorrow will be laundry in the morning and maybe a dip in the pool.

Japan Loses Standing As No. 2 Economy

Ouch! Japan has lost its standing as the number two economy to China, according to the Associated Press via My Way.com:

TOKYO (AP) - Japan lost its place as the world's No. 2 economy to China in the second quarter as receding global growth sapped momentum and stunted a shaky recovery.

Gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of just 0.4 percent, the government said Monday, far below the annualized 4.4 percent expansion in the first quarter and adding to evidence the global recovery is facing strong headwinds.

The figures underscore China's emergence as an economic power that is changing everything from the global balance of military and financial power to how cars are designed. It is already the biggest exporter, auto buyer and steel producer, and its global influence is expanding.


It is hard to believe that in 1972, Japan was an economic powerhouse when President Richard M. Nixon made his historic trip to China. At that time, China was pretty much an isolated and backward communist nation.

To read the full article, go here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

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