"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.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


"Incantations" from Mike Oldfield's Exposed Tour in 1979.

Dollar Sinking Against The Yen

Ouch! I took a look at today's currency exchange rate between the U.S. Dollar and the Japanese Yen and it is bad (and seems to be getting worse).

Today's rate:

1 US Dollar (USD) = 86.6554 Japanese Yen (JPY)

Source: International Currency Converter

To keep this in proper perspective, I got 116 yen for every dollar I exchanged two years ago. That's a 30 yen difference!

Now is not the time to get the most value for your dollars.

Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda

Reviewed by Armand Vaquer

Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda
Author: Peter H. Brothers
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN 978-1-4490-2771-1

Since I’ve had four days off from work for the Thanksgiving holiday, when I wasn’t working on The Monster Movie Fan’s Guide To Japan, I read Peter H. Brothers’s new biography/filmography on Japanese director Ishiro Honda. It is titled, Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda.

Ishiro Honda was the director of the 1954 movie that ushered in the golden age of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy films: Godzilla. He went on to direct other science-fiction classics such as Rodan: The Flying Monster, The Mysterians, Battle In Outer Space, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Mothra and many others.

As in the case of the book Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters by August Ragone, this book was written by a fan. Although a fan, Brothers does not mince words on things he likes about a given movie or the things he doesn’t like about said movie. This is good as he does not come off like a fawning fanboy. For example, he described the farewell scene at the airport in Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964) as “a boring and stagnant affair.” So, if you’re looking for a critical analysis of Honda’s movies, both good and bad, you’ve come to the right book. He also discusses each of Honda's movies with quite a bit of wry humor.

Originally, the book was going to be published by Midnight Marquee, but due to time delays in getting a contract out and the publishing schedule, Brothers decided that he wanted his book out sooner rather than later.

So he checked out AuthorHouse, a self-publishing publisher, and decided to go through them.

In my initial perusal of the book at a gathering at Brothers’s home in Agoura Hills, I came away impressed at their professionalism in their set-up of the book, including the cover. While they are a self-publisher, they do have arrangements with retailers and have a marketing staff to market the book. This does not leave the author “alone in the woods” to fend for himself.

Within days of publication, Amazon.com offered the book on their website. This is far better than having to, as some may get the impression when dealing in self-publishing, market and promote a self-published book on one’s own time and dime. AuthorHouse also provided review copies of the book.

A few things would have improved the book. One, is having an index. There are two schools of thought on having an index: first, it makes it easier for the reader to locate items of interest. Second, by not having an index, it forces the reader to actually read the book. You decide which school you belong to.

Having photographs also would have improved it. Brothers originally planned to include photographs (at least one for each movie covered), but due to rights issues and costs, it was decided to forego photographs. He discusses his book at length in an interview in an upcoming issue of G-FAN. Although it would have been an improvement, most people who would be buying the book are already familiar enough with the movies that photographs aren’t critical.

Overall, I think the buyer will find this book useful and interesting. My grade: A.

Oh, The Irony!

My sense of humor, being what it is (and I make no apologies for it), can see humor in mundane things. I spotted something today on the ground in the supermarket's parking lot that gave me a good laugh.

This is Rep. Brad Sherman:

And this is what his campaign committee (I presume) hands out:

Oh, the ironies of life!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan: Movin' Right Along

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan: Movin' Right Along

Fortunately for me, I have four days off from work for Thanksgiving and I put the time to good use in working on the travel guide.

I managed to get the ads set up (the deadline cut-off is Tuesday, December 1). I should be receiving one tonight via email from horror host Karlos Borloff of Monster Madhouse. Speaking of Karlos, he sent me a message last night that said,


Karlos Borloff is one cool cat! He has been busy editing his videos and is releasing DVDs and other goodies (more on this when I receive the information from him for posting here).

It appears that I will be done with the guide this coming week and then it'll go to Comixpress for publication.

So, we're movin' right along!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jonathan Frid Turns 85

Above, Jonathan Frid in 1984. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A pop-culture icon will be celebrating his birthday this coming week.

Next Wednesday, December 2, actor Jonathan Frid will become 85-years-young. Frid is best remembered as the 175-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins in the 1966 - 1971 gothic soap opera Dark Shadows.

Baby-boomers around at that time would race home from school in the afternoon to catch the latest installment of the show. Dark Shadows originally was conceived to be a gothic soap opera embodied by paperback book illustrations of a damsel looking fearful with a looming spooky mansion in the background.

At first, the show garnered enemic ratings. So producer Dan Curtis added some supernatural elements (ghosts, a woman phoenix, etc.). It helped the ratings a little but the show was still in danger of being cancelled.

Figuring that he had nothing to lose, Curtis decided to introduce the Barnabas Collins character. Canadian-born Jonathan Frid was chosen to play the vampire for about thirteen weeks. But he became so popular with viewers that it was decided to keep him on. In a way, the vampire became a national hero. A flashback story was presented when governess Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke) was taken back into time via a seance. This story showed how Barnabas became a vampire.

Above, Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins.

As the show progressed, Barnabas became the star of the show and Frid attained star billing along with veteran actress Joan Bennett (who played matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard). Other supernatural characters such as witches, warlocks, werewolves were introduced during the show's run.

IMDB decribes Jonathan Frid's career (I cannot vouch for the accuracy) as follows:

Jonathan Frid's career in drama began when he first "offered his soul" to the theater as a young boy at a preparatory school in Ontario, Canada. Following his graduation from McMaster University, he attended London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and later earned a Master's Degree in Directing from the Yale School of Drama. Mr. Frid was a leading actor in English and Canadian repertory and went on to work in many of the most celebrated regional theaters in the United States, including the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, and the American Shakespeare Festival under the direction of John Houseman, performing with Katharine Hepburn in "Much Ado About Nothing". He has appeared in major roles on-and-off Broadway, in such productions as "Roar Like A Dove", "Murder in the Cathedral" and "Wait Until Dark". But, it was Mr. Frid's portrayal of a complex, conflicted vampire on ABC-TV's daytime drama series "Dark Shadows" (1966) (co-starring with Joan Bennett) and in the subsequent motion picture "House of Dark Shadows" (1970) that earned him a place as an icon of American popular culture. His other film credits include co-starring roles in "The Devil's Daughter" (1973) (TV) (with Shelley Winters) and "Seizure" (1974) (Oliver Stone's directorial debut). In 1986, Mr. Frid joined the Broadway production of "Arsenic and Old Lace" (co-starring with Jean Stapleton). He won critical acclaim for his villainous turn as the homicidal nephew and spent ten months with the play's national tour. That same year, Mr. Frid founded his own production company, "Clunes Associates", to create and tour a series of one-man readers' theater shows across North America. Mr. Frid continues to perform his one-man shows, now under the banner of "Charity Associates", to raise money for a variety of charities. Combining the arts of his voice and his zest for entertaining", as one critic put it. In June of 2000, Mr. Frid returned to the traditional professional stage in the play "Mass Appeal" at the Stirling Festival Theatre in Stirling, Ontario.

Now retired from acting, Frid spends much of his time working on his website in which he posts his musings on his career, current events and personalities and answers queries from fans. He has also returned to making appearances at annual Dark Shadows Festivals after a hiatus of several years.

Above, Dark Shadows cast members have a reunion at the 1989 Dark Shadows Festival. Photo by Armand Vaquer

He is still sharp as a tack, but grouses over the inconveniences of aging. I had the pleasure of meeting Frid at one of the earliest Dark Shadows Festivals in 1984. The photo of Frid at top of this article was one I took at that festival.

Frid is tentatively planning on attending the 2010 Dark Shadows Festival in California next summer. He has started an online store at his website and plans to have items available for sale at the festival.

A big "Happy Birthday" to Jonathan Frid!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Noel!

Above, with Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Noel Neill addresses the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors during the "Superman Week" celebration.

Noel Neill, the original Lois Lane, is celebrating her 89th birthday today. She was born November 25, 1920 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Happy Birthday, Noel!

Britain Blasts Obama's Dithering

Ministers in the British government are upset over President Obama's "dithering" of the Afghanistan war.

The U.K. Daily Telegraph is reporting:

Bob Ainsworth, the defence secretary, has blamed Barack Obama and the United States for the decline in British public support for the war in Afghanistan.

Senior British Government sources have become increasingly frustrated with Mr. Obama’s “dithering” on Afghanistan, the Daily Telegraph disclosed earlier this month, with several former British defence chiefs echoing the concerns.

But Mr. Ainsworth is the first Government minister to express in public what amounts to personal criticism of the US president’s leadership over the conflict which has so far cost 235 British lives.

Polls show most voters now want an early withdrawal, following the death of 98 British service personnel this year alone.

Ministers say the mission is vital to stop international terrorists using Afghanistan as a base, but Gordon Brown has promised an “exit strategy” that could start next year.

The Defence Secretary’s blunt remarks about the US threaten to strain further a transatlantic relationship already under pressure over the British release of the Lockerbie bomber and Mr Obama’s decision to snub Mr. Brown at the United Nations in September.

Wasn't it President Obama the one who said that he will repair our relations with allies and other nations? Wasn't it President Obama who also said that the relations were caused by the Bush Administration? Didn't he also say that he will approach diplomacy with other nations based on mutual respect?

It appears that the prediction of many of us that the election of Obama will be, in effect, Jimmy Carter's second term is coming true.

To read the Telegraph's full article, go here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda

My copy of Peter H. Brothers' Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda arrived in the mailbox today. I'll be reading it over during my four-day Thanksgiving holiday.

As I mentioned in a previous blog article, I perused the book at Pete's home two weekends ago and I was impressed with the finished result.

Payback For Treachery: Abel Maldonado Appointed Lt. Governor

Last night on the Jay Leno show, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated State Senator Abel Maldonado, the poster boy for why RINOs aren't to be trusted, to replace John Garamendi as lieutenant governor.

The state senate has to approve the appointment for it to take effect.

As many Californians recall, Maldonado's vote was the deciding vote last February for a more than $12 billion tax increase on Californians, the largest state tax increase in U.S. history. This tax increase, right smack in the middle of a recession, did absolutely nothing to fix California's finances.

Now Maldonado is being rewarded for this treachery. If he should decide to run for lieutenant governor next year, it is doubtful he would survive the GOP primary.

Monday, November 23, 2009

J. D. Lees Was Right

On the global warming matter, as an aside, a few years ago G-FAN editor and publisher J. D. Lees (who is a high school science teacher in Canada) wrote in the magazine that climate change was bogus.

His comment drew some flak from those who either didn't agree with his point-of-view or just didn't want real life injected into a magazine on Japanese science-fiction and fantasy films.

With the release of the hacked emails from scientists claiming global warming is manmade (notice how they ignore the fact that the earth has been cooling since 1998), it appears that J. D. Lees was right.

Who is having the last laugh now?

Emails Expose Global Warming Fraud

Just as many of us have always known, the issue of climate change (i.e., global warming) is a total fraud promoted by the radical left, the mainstream leftist media and scientists with a leftist agenda.

Hacked emails from pro-climate change scientists show that they manipulated the data on the alleged global warming to fit their findings, ignored contrary data and claimed opponents of "disinformation."

The Canada Free Press (amongst other news organizations) writes:

We now know Gore’s errors are based on the global warming fraud orchestrated by a few scientists centered round Phil Jones, Director of the CRU. Emails between those climate scientists, identified by Professor Wegman as publishing together and peer reviewing each other’s work disclose the complete manipulation of climate science and the Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Bishop Hill provides a useful summation of some of the outrageous comments and actions. What is missing is the nasty vindictive tone that permeates almost every item.

To read the full article, go here.

The Wall Street Journal also writes (their site includes a link to the emails):

In the emails, which date to 1996, researchers in the U.S. and the U.K. repeatedly take issue with climate research at odds with their own findings. In some cases, they discuss ways to rebut what they call "disinformation" using new articles in scientific journals or popular Web sites.

The emails include discussions of apparent efforts to make sure that reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that monitors climate science, include their own views and exclude others. In addition, emails show that climate scientists declined to make their data available to scientists whose views they disagreed with.

To read the WSJ's full article, go here.

This blows to smithereens Al Gore's propaganda and his money-making ventures in promoting government controls in the name of "saving the environment."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Revisit To "Godzilla 2000"

Above, the U.S. poster for "Godzilla 2000."

This last week, my boss asked to borrow my DVD of Godzilla 2000. I handed it to him Friday.

Last night, I was in a mood to watch a Godzilla movie. I've purposely kept from watching them for a few months. I decided to watch the Japanese version of Godzilla 2000: Millennium. It's been the first time in years I've sat down to watch it through.

Although in many respects (editing, sound, etc.) the U.S. version is better (overseen by Mike Schlesinger), I found myself enjoying this revisit to the start of the third Godzilla series. It actually wears much better than the second (or Heisei) series of Godzilla movies from the 1990s (with the possible exception of Return of Godzilla or Godzilla 1985).

I feel the acting was much better than the 1990s films and Toho took some daring steps in special effects. Some worked great, others didn't. At least they tried to be a little bolder with the effects.

Having Godzilla bumped back down to about 50 meters in height made for more realistic and detailed miniatures. The big flaw of the 1990s movies was that Godzilla was beefed up to 100 meters, and the miniatures had to be scaled down accordingly. This didn't allow for much detailing in the miniatures and it made them look fake.

Although there was much criticism about Godzilla not being shown in the movie for about 30 minutes, the story was still compelling enough that I didn't miss him all that much during the duration. The characters were more interesting than the later films featuring military people (male and female) with personal issues.

I first saw Godzilla 2000 on opening day in 2000 at the Mann's Theater in Tarzana. (That theater is now gone. It was torn down a few years ago.) It was a packed house with lots of kids with their day camp groups. They relished the movie. So did I. After all, it was the first wide theatrical release of a Japanese Godzilla movie since Godzilla 1985, which I saw at a drive-in on a warm summer night. I went for other screenings of the movie in the weeks that followed. It was Godzilla as he was meant to be seen: on the big screen!

Maybe I'll re-watch the rest of the series in order over the next few weeks.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Monsterpalooza 2010

(Click on images to see larger.)

Author Peter H. Brothers and I are currently discussing having a table at the 2010 Monsterpalooza show in Burbank, California in April.

At the table, Pete would be selling his new biography/filmography on Godzilla director Ishiro Honda, Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda:

And I would be selling The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan:

Perhaps, if J. D. Lees is interested, we can also have available back issues (or even the current issue) of G-FAN there as well.

I attended this year's show last May and it was one of the best horror genre shows I've ever attended. I am looking forward to next year's show. Representation of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy films was sparse at the last show, so this will help remedy that at next year's show.

Friday, November 20, 2009

David Frum On Sarah Palin: "Powerful Sexual Signals"

Pseudo-conservative David Frum said something silly about Sarah Palin on PBS in an interview with Judy Woodruff:

"This is a woman who has got into a position of leadership by sending very powerful sexual signals."

Besides being a silly statement, it has bad grammar as well. This guy came from Harvard University?

At least it's a good laugh!

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan: Get Your Ads In!

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan: Get Your Ads In!

As I have received the PDF file of the layouts, we're about ready to go.

All the changes/corrections/additions have been made and all that needs to be done is to get the advertising inserted. This part would be done by Comixpress at their plant. I am extending the deadline to Tuesday, December 1.

As mentioned previously:

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan has ad space available. Advertising should be related to Japanese science fiction or Japan travel. This is a one-shot publication.

Suitable businesses include:

1.) Airlines

2.) Travel Agencies

3.) Tour operators

4.) Japanese toy or model kit dealers

5.) Japanese science-fiction and fantasy DVD dealers

6.) Japanese hotel, ryokan, onsen and attractions operators

7.) Japanese visitor and convention bureaus

8.) Dealers of Japanese books, magazines and products

Ad rates are as follows (very reasonable):

Half-page: $75.00

Quarter page: $45.00

All you need to do is have your camera-ready ad (minimum 300 dpi) to me. Email me at AMVaquer@aol.com if interested and for payment information.

Also, if space allows, your ad will be placed in at least two locations!

Or, if you prefer, just send your business card with your check for $20.00 payable to Armand Vaquer, 18618 Collins St., #105, Tarzana, CA 91356 USA and we'll scan it to the layout!

What the fans are saying about The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan:

"Sounds like a terrific idea. Best of luck with it, Armand."

"I would buy that in a second. I would love to visit the sites associated with our beloved Godzilla films. Your book would be an invaluable reference."

"I'd buy that and send one to my friend who's living in Japan right now as a school teacher."

"This is a great idea! I only wish I had it a couple of months ago in Japan. I had a great time in Japan though… it was every thing I dreamed and more! When will this hit the stands? I’m returning to Japan next year, but this time no Kyoto…, just Tokyo."

"Looks really cool! Too bad this didn't come out sooner as I'm leaving for Japan in less than 36 hours!"

"Armand!! That is totally awesome!! Love it!!"

"Looks great! Put me down for one."

"Could of used this on my trip here now! But maybe next time. One suggestion if I may. Please add small detailed maps and Train or subway info. That would help out a lot. I know finding some places for us was difficult because of this. Good Luck with it."

As mentioned before, this is a one-shot publication, but it could be periodically updated with more information or, as it happens in any industry, changes in pricing for hotels, ryokans or attractions. If new editions are done, the earliest I would anticipate doing so would be in about a couple of years from now.

So, if you're sitting on the fence, now's the time to be a part of this informative and historial travel guide!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Layouts Arrived!

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Layouts Arrived!

The final layouts arrived in the mail yesterday from J. D. Lees.

Now all I have to do is review them and plan out the advertising inserts. Unfortunately, they were sent as a .pdm file, which is a file program my Windows XP can't open.

I am checking with Comixpress to see if they can and send me a review version that my infernal machine can open. Sometimes things just don't happen all that easy!

Also, I received an email from the Japan Times:

Your "Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" sounds like an interesting story. We would like to know if you will be in Japan over the Christmas/New Year period and willing to make yourself available for one day to talk to one of our writers and show him around the sites. We are interested in running a half page (broadsheet) story with photos on some of the locations mentioned in your guide.

I wish I could do this, but right now the personal funding isn't on-hand to accomplish a trip at present.

UPDATE (11/20/09): J. D. sent me the layouts in PDF format (this is what Comixpress needs anyway) last evening. I am pleased at the results and the corrections/additions I requested were done.

I also learned something new last night. During our email exchange, I said, "Domo arigato gozaimasu!" (That's "thank you very much" in Japanese.) J. D. responded with, "Don't touch the mustache!"

I replied with something silly (not knowing what he meant). And his response was,
"Just in case you didn't know, "Don't touch the moustache" is the way of remembering "do itashimashite" or "Don't mention it" in Japanese."

So one learns something new everyday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Iran's Barbarians Hand Down Death Sentences To 5 More Protestors

The Associated Press reported:

Iran has sentenced five people to death over the unrest that followed the country's disputed June presidential election, state television reported Tuesday.

At least three others caught up in the turmoil have received death sentences previously.

Iran began a mass trial in August of prominent opposition figures and activists, accusing them of a range of charges from rioting to spying and plotting what authorities have called a "soft revolution" to topple the country's Islamic rulers.

This shows once again that the barbaric rulers of Iran won't tolerate dissent among its citizens and should be denounced.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Looney Left Report: Holder Consulted With Wife and Brother

Looney Left Report: Holder Consulted With Wife and Brother

Attorney General Eric Holder was interviewed by PBS's Jim Lehrer on his decision to bring 9/11 terrorists to New York to stand trial in civilian court.

This incredible exchange took place during the interview:

JIM LEHRER: Who did you consult while making this decision?

ERIC HOLDER: I talked to the prosecutors in the Justice Department, prosecutors from the Department of Defense, people on the staff here at the Justice Department, people at Defense, a whole variety of people, who shared ideas, thoughts, gave cautionary ideas as well, and, using all of that, came up with the decision that we announced just earlier today.

JIM LEHRER: Did you run it by President Obama?

ERIC HOLDER: Just informed him of the decision.

He's a person who believes that a president's supposed to have hands off with his Justice Department. He's a good lawyer. And there are times when I would like to involve him maybe a little more, but his view is that, in those things that are in the province of the attorney general, all he needs to be is informed.

JIM LEHRER: So, you just told him what your decision was; you didn't say, "What do you think about it, Mr. President?"

ERIC HOLDER: Nope. Told him last night -- or had relayed to him what I was going to do last night while he was on Air Force One on his way to Asia.

JIM LEHRER: Did you talk to anybody outside the government?

ERIC HOLDER: I talked to my wife...


ERIC HOLDER: ... about what she thought. And I actually talked to my brother, who's a retired Port Authority police officer who served...

JIM LEHRER: Oh, is that right? Yes.

Holder didn't talk to prosecutors, constitutional scholars or attorneys?! And he made the decision without consulting with President Obama first and just told him his decision?! Either he's a liar (to cover the President's ass) or he's a clueless numbskull! And his only outside consultations were with his wife and brother?!

Above, Eric Holder and Barack Obama.

Okay, if the trial goes forward in civilian court, with full constitutional rights granted on the defendants, all they need to do to get off is to tell the jury that, 1.) their Miranda Rights weren't read to them; and, 2.) their confessions were obtained via torture (i.e., waterboarding).

Eric Holder just showed that he's unfit to be U.S. Attorney General. He's a flaming idiot! Unless Obama reverses this decision, he's equally an idiot.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Greg Smith For Kansas House of Representatives

Above, Greg, Kelsey and Missey Smith.

Ever since I began to follow the Kelsey Smith case of Overland Park, Kansas from the beginning in June 2007, there has not been too many happy surprises.

However, I saw a Twitter post by Kelsey's dad, Greg Smith, just a few minutes ago and what he wrote came as a big, but very pleasant surprise to me: he's filed his papers to become a Republican candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives in District 22!

I have to confess, I am a big admirer of Greg Smith and his family. From the beginning of the nightmare of Kelsey's kidnapping and murder, Greg worked tirelessly within the community to first find his daughter and then to bring her killer to justice. He didn't stop there. He and his wife Missey started the Kelsey Smith Foundation to educate young women on how to protect themselves against predators, so they won't meet the horrible fate Kelsey did. They have traveled around their state and around the country to speak to groups, large and small, on self-protection.

They also saw to it that the Kelsey Smith Act was enacted in Kansas and are working so that other states pass similar laws that require cell phone companies to fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies in kidnapping cases.

The energy and determination Greg displayed tells me that he would be a great asset to the Kansas House of Representatives. If I lived in Kansas, I would unhesitantly vote for Greg Smith. He's a doer, not a talker.

From Greg's campaign website:

Greg Smith is running for the Kansas Legislature because he realizes that both political parties have abandoned core conservative principles: fiscal responsibility; limited government; and accountability. These principles need to be restored. Greg is the candidate who best represents the values and people of the 22nd District.

Is this an endorsement of Greg Smith for the Kansas House of Representatives in District 22? You bet it is!

If you would like to donate to Greg's campaign or become a volunteer, please go to his campaign website: http://www.gregsmithforkansas.com

We've An Idiot In The White House!

Looney Left Report: We've An Idiot In The White House!

by Armand Vaquer

The Los Angeles Times began their editorial on President Obama's decision to bring 9/11 terrorists to New York to stand trial in civilian court began with this:

The decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other accused 9/11 conspirators in the civilian judicial system shows a commitment to the rule of law.

No, the decision only shows that President Obama and his radical-left advisors (including Attorney General Eric Holder) are idiots. It is not surprising that the Times would give that view since they are owned by the Chicago Tribune Corp., sycophants of President Obama.

In practice and by tradition, no prisoner-of-war or enemy combatants have ever been granted constitutional rights or stood trial in a civilian courtroom. They've all been tried by military tribunals. People who think that a conviction is a slam dunk are living in a dream world. Just ask the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

There's a reason why Guantanamo Bay's prison was set up, it was established so that foreign enemies could not lay claim to "constitutional rights" by stepping foot on U.S. soil.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said this on Fox News Sunday:

“This seems to be an overconcern with the rights of terrorists and a lack of concern for the rights of the public.”

And over on ABC's This Week, Giuliani said:

“In this particular case, we’re reaching out to give terrorists a benefit that’s unnecessary. In fact, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, when he was first arrested, asked to be brought to New York. I didn’t think we were in the business of granting the requests of terrorists.

“It seems to me that the Obama administration is getting away from the fact that we’re at war with these terrorists. They no longer use the term, ‘War on Terror.’”

Giuliani, as you may recall, was the incumbent mayor of New York City on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked.

There's hardly been a week when Obama or someone from his administration has not said or done something stupid that angers people. Small wonder his approval numbers are sinking.

This also will cause unnecessary security issues for New York.

The only people who are happy with Obama's decision are the radical nutjobs at the ACLU and the extreme leftists of the Democrat Party.

Sheer idiocy!

We Need Westerns And Western Superstars!

Above, John Wayne.

Since I added some music from classic Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns to this blog, I've been thinking that we really don't have any western superstars.

Granted, as a movie genre, the western has been practically dead. Hollywood used to crank out many westerns a year. That is not the case anymore. Why?

There's plenty of good storytelling that can be done in a western setting. Heck, Seven Samurai was remade as The Magnificent Seven, a western.

Above, Clint Eastwood.

Right now, I don't see any potential western superstars of the calibre of a John Wayne (who's been dead for 30 years now) or a Clint Eastwood (who is now, gulp, 79) amongst the current crop of male actors. Most of today's male stars are too effeminate-looking metro-sexuals, girly-men or liberals (note that credible western superstars like Wayne and Eastwood were/are conservative in their political leanings) to be considered really manly cowboys. And none of that Brokeback Mountain crap for me!

Thankfully, we have the old western classics to watch on DVD. I just wish that there could be a revival of the western with a credible western superstar.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Celebrating Peter H. Brothers' Book

Above, author Peter H. Brothers with his new "baby" in his back yard.

A relaxing day with friends next to a golf course is good. Celebrating the publicaion of a friend's book makes it even better.

Peter H. Brothers has a new book out. It's called Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda. It is a biography/filmography of the most celebrated director of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy films, Ishiro Honda.

Today, several of us gathered at Peter's home in Agoura Hills, California for a little celebration of his book's "going live" (i.e., offered on the market) through his publisher, AuthorHouse and through Amazon.com (see photos).

We discussed the trials and tribulations (and joys) of getting a book out into print. Originally, Peter's book was accepted by a publisher, but their schedule was too lackadaisical for Peter's taste (he discusses all this at-length in an upcoming G-FAN interview). Rather than let things languish, he elected to go the self-publishing route.

Above, Peter is joined by friends Gordon (left) and Ray.

To be honest, although he would have preferred to have gone through a conventional publisher, he is pleased at the end result. The book does look good and, it is being offered at Amazon.com. The arrangement offered him more control over the resulting product. So, as far as he's concerned, he's satisfied that his years of work is seeing the light of day.

Above, I was impressed with the job AuthorHouse did on Peter's book.

While there, I showed the group the initial layouts and cover of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan and they were complimentary.

Peter and I may join forces at next year's Monsterpalooza in Burbank and have a table set up to sell our publications.

Now the task of promoting it begins!

Godzilla's Walk of Fame Induction: Five Years Ago!

Above, Johnny Grant is Master of Ceremonies at Godzilla's induction.

Godzilla's Walk of Fame Induction: Five Years Ago!

Text and Photos by Armand Vaquer

It is a little mind-boggling that it was five years ago this month that we congregated to Hollywood, California for Godzilla's induction into the Hollywood Walk of Fame and attended the ceremony for the unveiling of his star.

Above, Godzilla blasts the assembled press covering the ceremony.

The late Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant, led the festivities which included an address to the throngs by Toho Executive Producer Shogo Tomiyama. There was a lot of levity in the proceedings as Grant botched the names of different Toho kaiju while reading the history of Godzilla speech (that I prepared for him).

It was a busy weekend. Besides the Walk of Fame ceremony, the premiere of Godzilla Final Wars took place at Grauman's Chinese Theater. Godzilla's star is located in front of the theater. And, the night before the star ceremony, Godzilla appeared as a float in the Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Above, Godzilla gets his star.

In a way, this also marks the mid-way point for Godzilla's imposed 10-year retirement by Toho. Unless Toho changes its mind, we've another five years to go before Godzilla returns to the big screen.

It was a fun weekend for those who attended.

Another Obama Bow Before A Monarch

This photo captures the moment that President Barack Hussein Obama (Ummm, ummm, ummm!) bowed before Japanese Emperor Akihito in Tokyo.

This is not the first time Obama has been caught bowing before a monarch. He was caught bowing before Saudi King Abdullah earlier this year.

For more on this, go here.

Soon, we'll come across a photo of Obama bowing before his "Sith Lord" George Soros.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Final Layouts: It's In The Mail!

It's In The Mail!

J. D. Lees, the editor-in-chief of G-FAN magazine tells me that the final layouts for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan was put into the mail this week.

The package should arrive at any time (give-or-take, given the U.S. and Canadian postal systems). Those of you who are thinking about placing an ad in the Guide, you may want to get your materials to me as soon as you can. Comixpress will insert the ads at their plant.

J. D. came up with a unique layout, and it will only superficially resemble G-FAN.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" In Anime News Network

The Anime News Network has posted my news release on the Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. This is good news as other anime-related websites do rely upon the Anime News Network for news in anime entertainment. Here is one example.

To read their post, go here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bygone Oil Co. Logos

Above, a "76" revolving ball sign. Since Conoco Phillips bought the Union Oil Co., the balls have been removed (with a few exceptions) in favor of flat plastic lighted signs. Conoco Phillips was going to do away with the 76 ball logo altogether, but a public outcry saved the logo.

Bygone Oil Co. Logos

by Armand Vaquer

The oil business is a volatile business like any other. Some succeed, some don't. And some are bought up by bigger oil companies (like Union Oil Co. was gobbled up by Conoco Phillips).

There's some I remember when I was a kid that are no longer around and some have changed.

Here's some whose signs are no longer seen in Los Angeles:

Above, "Flying A Service" disappeared from L.A. in the 1960s.

Above, Gulf Oil bought out Wilshire Gasoline stations in the 1960s (wish I could find a Wilshire Gasoline sign) and then left the L.A. market in the early 1980s. They're now primarily in the east.

Left, here's an old Richfield sign. Those are long-gone, but Richfield is now known as Atlantic-Richfield (shortened to ARCO).

Above, Signal Gasoline has been gone from L.A. since the 1960s.

Above, Texaco was my family's favored gasoline for our cars. Shell Oil gobbled up Texaco a few years ago and there's only a few Texaco stations remaining.

Shell Oil still has its yellow shell logo; Standard Oil still has its red-white-blue chevron; and Mobil Oil still has its flying red horse.

La Casa de Pedro Gathering Coming Up

To celebrate the publication of his new book, Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda, author Peter H. Brothers will be holding a little get-together this Saturday at La Casa de Pedro.

A full report on the gathering will be posted here.

The book is now available at Amazon.com. Go here to place your order.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kirin Beer's "Fire" Commercials Featuring Godzilla

Kirin Beer's "Fire" Commercials Featuring Godzilla

This is actually Kirin's coffee.

Superman "Biography" Being Written

A "full-fledged" biography on Superman is now being written by Larry Tye.

The book is being written for Random House and various incarnations of the Superman character are to be covered.

From Larry Tye's website:

From 1986 to 2001, Tye was a reporter at the Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter, and sports writer. Before that he was the environmental reporter at the Courier-Journal in Louisville, and covered government and business at the Anniston Star in Alabama.

Tye, who lives with his wife and two children outside of Boston, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993-94. He is now working on a biography of Superman for Random House.

His other books include Satchel, Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy, Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class, Home Lands: Portraits of the New Jewish Diaspora and The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gold Rising, Dollar Weakening

Breitbart.com is reporting that the dollar is weakening while the price for gold is rising:

Gold prices hit a record above 1,100 dollars on Monday with the dollar weakening after a pledge by G20 countries to keep economic recovery pumped up with easy money.
In morning trading here, gold struck an all-time peak of 1,109.50 dollars an ounce as the euro rose to 1.50 dollars for the first time in two weeks.

That is not good news. The dollar is also not performing well against the Japanese yen. This does not bode well for Japan travelers or those who want to purchase Japanese goods such as Godzilla toys.

To read the full article, go here.

How's that hope and change with that printing-press money working out for you?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

How They Voted On Health Care; Sherman Voted 'Yes'

Above, Rep. Brad Sherman voted for the unconstitutional health care bill (H.R. 3962).

To see how your congressmember voted on the Pelosi/Obama takeover of 6% of the U.S. economy, go here.

I note that the cretin who currently occupies the congressional seat in my district, Brad Sherman, voted for this unconstitutional piece of crap.

If you want to work and, most importantly, vote for the only Republican (so far) who plans to challenge Sherman, go here.

Above, Mark Reed, who is challenging Sherman in next year's elections.

Not alarmed? Well, here's what Sherman and the other jackasses voted for:

Pelosi's Radical Agenda Revealed

UPDATE (11/8/09): Rep. Sherman is planning to hold a Townhall meeting this month. The meeting will take place Sunday, November 15th, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. at Birmingham Charter High School, located on the northwest corner of Victory Boulevard and Balboa Boulevard in Lake Balboa. This is your opportunity to give Sherman a piece of your mind on his health care vote.

Health Care Vote: House Democrats Just Signed Their Political Death Warrants

Health Care Vote: House Democrats Just Signed Their Political Death Warrants

The U.S. House of Representatives tonight narrowly passed the Pelosi government takeover of 6% of the U.S. economy. The vote was 220-215. One Republican, Joseph Cao of Louisiana, voted for the bill; 39 Democrats voted against.

The health care bill, H.R. 3962, now goes to the United States Senate where they are expected to vote on it by the end of the year.

As of now, the Democrats in congress, with the exception of the 39 who voted against it, have signed their political death warrants.

Despite months of protests by the citizenry beginning last summer, from townhall meetings, tea parties, protest rallies and the direct lobbying efforts last Thursday, they elected to vote for it anyway.

2010 will be the beginning of the end for those radical Democrats. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that gives the federal government the power to force people to buy health insurance or penalize them if they don't.

There will be one hell of a political bloodbath next year!

To see how your representative voted, go here.

Done With Chemo, For Now

First rounds of chemo completed. Whew! Now I have to wait about five weeks to see how they took.

Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan: New Cover Tweak

Well, we did some additional "tweaking" to the cover of the Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. Here's the result (click on it to see it larger):

Originally, we used the free "Godzilla font" that's available online. With the additional effects by Archie Waugh, the finished looked good to me. (Hey, I'm easy to please!)

However, Bill Bussone provided us with the "G-FAN" version and Archie dived right in and changed the cover. It seems that Archie wasn't 100% satisfied with the other font anyway (something about "kerning" or alignment) and he is very pleased with the new (and, hopefully, final) version.

As Archie explained it:

Armand, look at the spacing on the word locations between the a and the t, and the word accommodations between the a and the t...see that unnatural spacing? That's a kerning problem. Kerning is the way letters fit together in a typeface; with an old typewriter, the letters are evenly spaced, which actually looks bad. In professional typesetting, and computer word processing, each font has it's own properties to make the letters fit smoothly together...

For example, an A does not just go next to a T, it actually tucks slightly under the T: ATA. See? This was not happening properly in the free Godzilla font, and it bothered me. If you open both the new and last ones at the same time, or print them out and compare, you will instantly see the difference.

Kerning is how Charles Johnson and also Powerline recognized that something was wrong with the Dan Rather/Mary Mapes/Lucy Rodriguez national Guard "documents" regarding President Bush...while an attempt had been made to age them, the kerning clearly indicated that the letter could not have been typed on a typewriter (a typewriter can't kern...that is, it can't make tiny adjustments for the shape of individual letters), but had been done in Microsoft Word, and therefore were bogus. Kerning made history!!!

Ah, yes, I do remember that! I also see the difference between the cover with the "free" G-font and the one Bill sent.

Speaking of the Guide, J. D. told me the other day that he is done with the corrections/additions and is shipping the final layouts to me.

Thanks, guys!

PELOSI: Buy a $15,000 Policy or Go to Jail

Rep. Dave Camp, ranking Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee released a press release stating that the Pelosi Healthcare bill will fine and jail persons not participating in the government-mandated health plan:


Republican Ways and Means
Contact: Jim Billimoria or Sage Eastman (202) 226-4774

PELOSI: Buy a $15,000 Policy or Go to Jail

JCT Confirms Failure to Comply with Democrats’ Mandate Can Lead to 5 Years in Jail

Washington, Nov 6 -

Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

In response to the JCT letter, Camp said: “This is the ultimate example of the Democrats’ command-and-control style of governing – buy what we tell you or go to jail. It is outrageous and it should be stopped immediately.”

Key excerpts from the JCT letter appear below:

“H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.” [page 1]

- - - - - - - - - -

“If the government determines that the taxpayer’s unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply…” [page 2]

- - - - - - - - - -

“Criminal penalties

Prosecution is authorized under the Code for a variety of offenses. Depending on the level of the noncompliance, the following penalties could apply to an individual:

• Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

• Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.” [page 3]

When confronted with this same issue during its consideration of a similar individual mandate tax, the Senate Finance Committee worked on a bipartisan basis to include language in its bill that shielded Americans from civil and criminal penalties. The Pelosi bill, however, contains no similar language protecting American citizens from civil and criminal tax penalties that could include a $250,000 fine and five years in jail.

“The Senate Finance Committee had the good sense to eliminate the extreme penalty of incarceration. Speaker Pelosi’s decision to leave in the jail time provision is a threat to every family who cannot afford the $15,000 premium her plan creates. Fortunately, Republicans have an alternative that will lower health insurance costs without raising taxes or cutting Medicare,” said Camp.

According to the Congressional Budget Office the lowest cost family non-group plan under the Speaker’s bill would cost $15,000 in 2016.

Where in the Constitution does it say that the government can force people to buy health insurance and if they don't, they can be fined and/or jailed?

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