"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.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"The Flintstones" Is Fifty

Wow! Fifty years?! It's hard to believe, but it's true!

Fifty years ago tonight, Hanna-Barbera’s The Flintstones TV series premiered on ABC on September 30, 1960 and "yabba-dabba-do!" became a fixture of pop-culture.

The animated cartoon series involving Fred and Wilma Flintstone with their next-door neighbors Betty and Barney Rubble was somewhat based on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason and Art Carney. Fred and Barney worked at a quarry in the town of Bedrock during "prehistoric" times. The show had sabre-tooth cats and dinosaurs. Fred and Wilma had a pet dinosaur named Dino.

If my memory serves, The Flintstones aired Friday nights around 9:00 PM on KABC-TV Channel 7 in Los Angeles. I remember it being Friday nights as it was my dad's bowling night, so that left my mom and me to fend for ourselves watching TV. I was six at the time.

The series ran as a first-run show until 1966. It is reportedly the first television series showing a married couple sleeping in the same bed.

Later, the Fred and Wilma had a daughter named Pebbles and Barney and Betty adopted a boy named Bam-Bam.

At one point, one of the sponsors of The Flintstones was Winston cigarettes. Commercials featuring Fred and Barney smoking Winstons were shown.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Allred's Press Conference Blows Up In Her Face

Feminist media-whore attorney Gloria Allred's press conference today with the former housekeeper to GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman blew up right in Allred's face.

Nicky Diaz, who worked for Whitman from 2000 to 2009 for the paltry sum of $23.00 per hour, claimed through Allred that Whitman employed her knowing that she was an illegal alien.

Diaz took the microphone and admitted that she confessed her immigration status to Whitman in 2009 and was fired. She also admitted that Whitman was "surprised" over her admission of being an illegal alien. This blows Allred's stunt to smithereens! Diaz's statement at the press conference supported the Whitman side of the story.

An attorney for Whitman said Diaz was hired through an employment agency, she also completed standard hiring forms (Dept. of Justice, IRS and Immigration) and provided her social security and drivers license numbers. She signed a statement form, under penalty of perjury, stating that she was in the U.S. legally.

Naturally, Gloria Allred is as pure as the wind-driven snow. She's a big supporter of Whitman's Democrat opponent, Jerry Brown.

If anything, people will think that Whitman was a generous employer for paying $23.00 per hour to a housekeeper/nanny. Such abuse!

Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Rivera called Allred a "shameful manipulator."

Whitman issued a statement which said, "After 9 years of faithful service, Nicky came to us in June 2009 and confessed that she was an illegal worker." Whitman added, "Nicky has falsified the hiring documents and personal information she provided to the employment agency that brought her to us in 2000."

When the Social Security number Diaz provided Whitman didn't match, the Social Security Administration allegedly sent letters to notify Whitman. Whitman claims she never saw such letters and that Diaz handled the household's incoming mail, implying that Diaz discarded the letters so Whitman couldn't see them.

The Democrats' stunt today with their politics of personal destruction will backfire on them.

UPDATE (9/30/10): Allred came up with a Social Security letter to Whitman and her husband from 2003. It has a note from Whitman's husband to Diaz asking her to look into the matter. That is, IF it is actually his writing. It also says that it is not to be construed that she is an illegal alien and not to lay off or terminate the employee based on the letter. It does not prove Whitman knew that Diaz was illegal. It just muddies things up. All Whitman's husband could derive from it is that there was an error concerning the Social Security number Diaz provided. It could be anything.

Super-stuff From The Super Museum

Jim Hambrick, who operates the Super Museum in Metropolis, Illinois, has unveiled a newly-designed website, Supermanstuff.com, offering Superman-related goods the the Superman fan in your family.

According to Supermanstuff.com:

We are located at 517 Market Street at the Super Museum across from the Superman Statue in Metropolis, Illinois. Everyday hundreds of families and other Superman fans stop in the Super Museum to see the world's largest collection of Superman on the planet.

Jim Hambrick has been an avid fan and collector of Superman since the age of 6. After years of living in southern California Jim took his museum on the road. He traveled all across the country, even bringing along stars like Kirk Alyn, the original Superman, to sign autographs with his traveling museum.

After years of showing his collection, Jim heard about Metropolis, Illinois and began building relationships with local businessmen to build a Superman theme park. Although the park never was built, Jim continues to bring his genuine love of Superman to daily life in Metropolis.

Don’t believe me? You can see us on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Today Show, The O’Reilly Factor, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and many other television shows. Don’t forget to stop next time you’re in Southern Illinois and we’ll make sure you get the SUPER treatment.

I saw Hambrick's traveling show back in the early 1980s at Chapman College in Orange County, California. I obtained an autographed photo from Kirk Alyn, the silver screen's first Superman, which still hangs on my wall.

At Supermanstuff.com, one may purchase a wide gamut of items including t-shirts, beach towels, DVDs, stationery, posters, action figures, auto accessories, books and many other Superman goods.

Every June, Metropolis puts on its annual Superman Celebration, a weekend festival featuring actors and actresses from Superman movies and television shows.

To view Supermanstuff.com and make purchases, go here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lois Lane Statue Boosts Tourism

Above, the Noel Neill/Lois Lane statue unveiling. Photo courtesy of Bill Dillane.

The new Noel Neill/Lois Lane statue is paying off in increased tourism to Metropolis, Illinois.

According to the Superman Super Site:

METROPOLIS, Ill. — The sculpted image of actress Noel Neill in her fictional role of Superman romantic interest Lois Lane is having a very real effect on tourism.

“During the height of the summer tourism season, before kids were back in school, we were getting anywhere from 25 to 40 people a day in here asking where the Lois Lane statue is,” said merchant Jim Hambrick.

The statue was unveiled and dedicated last June in a ceremony in which Noel Neill participated.

To read the full article, go here.

Barry Obama: "The Great Crybaby"

"The Great Crybaby."

President Obama recently gave an interview with the fading Rolling Stone magazine. In the interview, the President said this about FoxNews:

I think Fox is part of that tradition — it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.

Just what "point-of-view" is destructive, Mr. President? Liberty? Freedom? Free-enterprise? Smaller government? Low taxes? Less spending? Strong defense? A vigorous war on terror?

The President is whining about the success of FoxNews. Maybe it's because it isn't part of the ruling-class liberal media, which, by the way, is floundering on the rocks.

Obama, the Democrat congress and the liberal media have to blame someone (or something) else for their failures. They can't grasp the fact that their policies are total and complete failures. Their puppet sycophantic media drones can't bring themselves to report the truth because it is counter to their talking points propaganda.

While Ronald Reagan became known as "The Great Communicator" while in office, Obama is becoming known as "The Great Crybaby."

Japan Monster Travel Guide Video Picked Up By World News Network

Above, Yuu Asakura. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

World News Network.com has picked up The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan YouTube slide show video.

It is listed n the site's Japan Travel Guide Section.

To check out tohe site, go here.

Hot Pussy

You can always tell when it's a hot day by the behavior of your cat(s):

House of Frankenstein

Above, Frankenstein's Monster (Glenn Strange) with an injured Dr. Niemann (Boris Karloff).

With the blistering heat in the triple-digits in Los Angeles today (I heard it reached 113 degrees in downtown L.A.) and being secure in my air-conditioned apartment, I was in the mood to watch the sixth Frankenstein movie in Universal Pictures' franchise, House of Frankenstein (1944). So, I got out my Frankenstein Legacy Collection DVD set and watched.

House of Frankenstein was directed by Erle C. Kenton and it starred Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., J. Carrol Naish, Glenn Strange, and John Carradine.

This was the follow-up movie to Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man. In this one, Karloff plays an evil scientist, Gustav Niemann, seeking revenge on those who sent him to prison for 15 years with a hunchbacked assistant (Naish) named Daniel.

After killing the owner of a traveling horror show (George Zucco) to use the show as a way to "hide out in the open," Niemann uses Count Dracula (Carradine) to kill a burgomaster who was involved in sending him to prison. Following this, Lawrence Talbot (the Wolf Man) (Chaney), and Frankenstein's Monster (Strange) are freed from a glacial ice cavern. Karloff convinces Chaney to locate the Frankenstein records as a means to free him of his werewolf curse.

Naturally, Niemann is more interested in revenge (he kidnapped two more men who were instrumental for his imprisonment) and wants to use the brains of Talbot and the Monster as part of his scheme (involving brain transplants). Unfortunately, his scheming causes Niemann to breach faith with Daniel and Talbot. The Wolf Man ends up killing a gypsy girl (Elena Verdugo) who Daniel fell in love with. During her struggle with the Wolf Man, the gypsy girl fires a silver bullet into the Wolf Man, seemingly killing him.

In grief over the gypsy's death, Daniel begins to strangle Niemann. This arouses rage in the Monster, who was whipped earlier by Daniel while weak and helpless. The Monster frees himself from the restraining straps (at full strength after being re-charged by Niemann) on the operating table and proceeds to pick up Daniel like a doll and throw him through a window to his death.

While all this was going on, the villagers (out hunting for the werewolf) come to the laboratory and drive the Monster (who is carrying the injured Niemann) into a quicksand bog where they sink and disappear.

While not one of the best of the Universal Frankensteins, House of Frankenstein was still an entertaining entry.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chinese Entertainment Co. Buys Interest In Legendary Pictures

Legendary Pictures, the co-producers (with Warner Bros.) of the new American-made Godzilla movie (due to be released in 2012) are now partly owned by a Chinese entertainment company.

The Hollywood Reporter reports:

BEIJING -- It's finally happened: a Chinese entertainment company has bought a piece of Hollywood.

Though Chengtian Entertainment is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment, the company that on Monday bought a 3.3% share of "Inception" producers Legendary Pictures of Los Angeles is Beijing-based and focused squarely on China's booming entertainment market.

After months of speculation that a cash-rich Chinese bidder, or one from Bollywood, might pick up a debt laden Hollywood property such as MGM, Chengtian CEO Chen Xiaowei, formerly president of Nasdaq-listed The9 -- one of China's largest online gaming companies -- called Chengtian's partnership with hit-factory Legendary a "match built in heaven."

"Chengtian and Legendary will produce and distribute films in China and around the world and also produce and distribute games," Chen told The Hollywood Reporter before boarding an airplane to meet Legendary founder Thomas Tull for the first time.

It appears the acquisition of a 3.3% share in Legendary Pictures is hoped to pay off for the Chinese at the cash register. Ka-ching!

To read the full article, go here.

Stop Internet Blacklisting!

The government fascists are now trying to censor the Internet. There is a bill before the U.S. Senate that seeks to do just that.

You can help stop the fascists by signing an online petition:

PETITION TO THE SENATE: Censoring the Internet is something we'd expect from China or Iran, not the U.S. Senate. You need to stop this Internet blacklist in its tracks and oppose S. 3804.

To sign the petition, go here.

Here's an analysis on S. 3804 from Public Knowledge.com.

Encyclopedia.com Picks Up Japan Monster Travel Guide Video

Above, Yuu Asakura. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Encyclopedia.com com picked up the YouTube slideshow video on The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

To view the site, go here.

Gloria Stuart Dies At 100

Left, Boris Karloff menaces Gloria Stuart in "The Old Dark House" (1932).

Actress Gloria Stuart died at age 100, Variety is reporting:

Gloria Stuart, who started out in the early days of talkies and returned to become the oldest Oscar nominee in Academy Awards history for "Titanic" at the age of 87, died in Los Angeles. She was 100 years old.

As Old Rose, the survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, she was nominated for supporting actress for the 1997 blockbuster as well as a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award, which she shared with Kim Basinger.

As a young blond ingenue, Stuart began her career by appearing at the Pasadena Playhouse. She was soon signed to a contract by Universal, and made her film acting debut in "Street of Women" in 1932.

Stuart was remembered as an early "scream queen" for her work in "Frankenstein," "The Old Dark House," "The Invisible Man" and "The Kiss Before the Mirror."

Read more: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118024684.html?categoryId=13&cs=1#ixzz10l0pRVwK

Sunday, September 26, 2010

NRA Endorses Greg Smith For Kansas House

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has endorsed Greg Smith, who is running for the Kansas House in District 22 in Overland Park.

According to Smith's campaign website:

The NRA has endorsed Greg Smith, Republican candidate for Kansas House, district 22, for the house race. Greg also earned an "A" rating from the NRA.

Congratulations, Greg!

Don Glut and Christine Nguyen At Film Fest

Writer-producer-director-dinosaur expert Donald F. Glut catches up with always-radiant actress/model Christine Nguyen (at right) at the Boobs and Blood Film Festival yesterday.

According to Glut, it was "a small "film festival" over this weekend, held at the New Beverly Theatre."

Nguyen starred in The Mummy's Kiss: Second Dynasty (2006) that was written and directed by Glut and was released by Frontline Entertainment.

Above, Christine is interviewed by Don on stage.

Photos courtesy of Don Glut.

Neal Adams On "Batman Odyssey"

Above, a classic Batman-Deadman panel by Neal Adams.

One of my favorite artists from the Bronze Age of comic books was Neal Adams. His art on Batman is considered as "definitive" to the character as Curt Swan's artwork on Superman.

I mentioned to Adams over on Facebook that my favorites were his art on the Batman/Deadman team-ups in The Brave and the Bold for DC back in the 1970s.

Adams responded:

"I reckon you'd better get my ongoing Batman Odyssey series. Deadman is entering the story in a big way. Deadman knows a terrible secret that will shock Batman to his soul!"

It sounds interesting, I may just go out and buy them. I haven't bought a comic book in ages.

Saturday Night Live

Last night was the first night in ages that I got a chance to watch NBC's Saturday Night Live.

I didn't watch it all, but what I did see was hilarious. I am pleased to see the show being funny again.

The mock ad about hair transplants and a skit with singer Katy Perry (as a "suddenly-well-developed" 16-year-old) had a co-worker and I roaring with laughter.

There was also a Christine O'Donnell (GOP U.S. Senate nominee in Delaware) skit that was also very funny. (I wonder if they ever poke fun at Democrats?)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Corn Gains 1.7% This Week

This will be the first harvest season in which I will have a vested interest in commodities prices. Specifically, I have my eye on corn prices.

I was reading Bloomberg.com this morning and this is what they say about corn prices:

Corn futures for December delivery rose 22.5 cents, or 4.5 percent, to close $5.2175 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since June 30, when the government said farmers planted less than they had planned.

Corn gained 1.7 percent this week, the fourth straight weekly gain. On Sept. 20, the commodity reached $5.2375, the highest level for a most-active contract since Sept. 30, 2008.

This is good news for me. All I have to do is hang on through November. Things are a little tight right now as I received no claim assignments for September. Thank goodness I had some sales of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan this week.

To read the full article, go here.

Niigata: Railroad City

A few weeks ago, I was musing about where I'd like to go to in Japan when I travel there in a few weeks. I thought Niigata would be an interesting place.

Niigata City is on the Sea of Japan side of Honshu and it is known for its food (particularly rice), sake and seafood.

While I enjoy hanging out in Tokyo, I also like to see places in Japan on each trip that I hadn't seen previously. In Tokyo, I plan on talking to media people and booksellers about The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

I obtained a copy of the free magazine Japan Up! yesterday and it included an article on Niigata City. According to the article, Niigata City is also known as a popular railroad city. It said that "many trains arrive and depart the city, such as steam locomotives blowing black smoke, sightseeing trains from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Sea of Japan, as well as night express trains. Railcar factories are also located within the city..."

Being somewhat of a train buff, this article clinched it for me. It looks like I'll be taking an excursion to Niigata City.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Haneda To Open New Runway and Begin International Flights In October

Above, an aerial view of Tokyo International Airport (Haneda).

To assist in handling the hordes of foreign travelers to Japan, the Tokyo International Airport, known as Haneda Airport, is getting back into the international flight game.

Haneda was once Japan's largest international airport until Narita Airport was built in 1978. Since then, Haneda had been domestic flight oriented.

A new fourth runway will be completed and officially opened on October 21.

The new runway will accommodate the following debut flights from U.S. cities (times shown are departure times):

Japan Airlines - October 31: San Francisco to Haneda (10:35 PM); Haneda to San Francisco (12:05 AM); Honolulu to Haneda (6:25 PM); and Haneda to Honolulu (10:30 PM).

All Nippon Airways - October 31: Los Angeles to Haneda (12:55 AM); Haneda to Los Angeles (12:05 AM); Honolulu to Haneda (6:15 PM); and Haneda to Honolulu (12:30 AM).

American Airlines - January 21: New York JFK to Haneda (7:20 PM); and Haneda to New York JFK (12:30 AM).

Hawaiian Airlines - Mid-November: Honolulu to Haneda (TBA); and Haneda to Honolulu (TBA).

Delta Air Lines - January 29: for Haneda bound, January 29; for US bound, January 30; Detroit to Haneda (7:30 PM); Haneda to Detroit (6:55 AM); Los Angeles to Haneda (12:10 AM); and Haneda to Los Angeles (1:00 AM).

Haneda Airport was the location of the final battle between Godzilla and Destoroyah and the melt-down of Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995).

"Ailing" Harlan Ellison To Appear At MadCon

Love him or hate him, there is one thing that Harlan Ellison will always be remembered for (besides his literate scripts): his outspoken fight for writers' rights.

It has been revealed that Ellison is ailing and that this upcoming appearance this weekend at MadCon will be his last and it will be his "good-bye" to fans.

The Daily Page.com reports:

Due to his failing health, there had been some doubt about whether Ellison would show up in person or participate in panels, readings and other events by telephone from his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. But at press time he affirmed he was coming. He is also adamant that MadCon will be the final convention he ever attends, in any fashion.

"The truth of what's going on here is that I'm dying," says Ellison, by phone. "I'm like the Wicked Witch of the West -- I'm melting. I began to sense it back in January. By that time, I had agreed to do the convention. And I said, I can make it. I can make it.'"

Ellison's scripts over the years certainly raised the bar on science-fiction (he prefers "speculative fiction") writing that others only can hope to aspire to. His battles with Hollywood studios over pay, residuals and other rights writers are entitled to are legendary. Losing Ellison's voice would be a tough blow.

I hope that his health rallies and he's able to continue for many years to come.

To read the full article, go here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Pledge To America

The House Republicans unveiled today A Pledge To America outlining their 2010 agenda:

America is more than a country.

America is an idea – an idea that free people can govern themselves, that government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America is the belief that any man or woman can – given economic, political, and religious liberty – advance themselves, their families, and the common good.

America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.

Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.

These first principles were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, enshrined in the Constitution, and have endured through hard sacrifice and commitment by generations of Americans.

In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent.

An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down longstanding laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people.

An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many.

Rising joblessness, crushing debt, and a polarizing political environment are fraying the bonds among our people and blurring our sense of national purpose.

Like free peoples of the past, our citizens refuse to accommodate a government that believes it can replace the will of the people with its own. The American people are speaking out, demanding that we realign our country’s compass with its founding principles and apply those principles to solve our common problems for the common good.

The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated.

With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America.

We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.

We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.

We pledge to make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings.

We pledge to uphold the purpose and promise of a better America, knowing that to whom much is given, much is expected and that the blessings of our liberty buoy the hopes of mankind.

We make this pledge bearing true faith and allegiance to the people we represent, and we invite fellow citizens and patriots to join us in forming a new governing agenda for America.

California Wiretapping Law

In my work as a California-based insurance claims adjuster, I frequently have to take recorded statements from insureds, claimants, witnesses or experts.

When out in the field, I use a hand-held recorder. If I am assigned to take a recorded statement over the phone, I have recording equipment attached to my phone land line for this purpose. It has a feature that puts out an audible beep every few seconds to remind the person on the line that the conversation is being recorded.

It is procedure to begin a recorded telephone (or an in-person) interview with this statement to the person:

This is Armand Vaquer and today's date is XXXXXXXXXX. Mr./Mrs./Ms XXXXXX, do you undertstand that I am making a recording of this conversation? Do I have your permission to record this conversation?

After this, I begin the questioning.

This procedure is made necessary due to the California Wiretapping Law.

Essentially, the law stipulates (Source: Citizen Media Law Project):

California's wiretapping law is a "two-party consent" law. California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation. See Cal. Penal Code § 632.

If you are operating in California, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording any conversation that common sense tells you might be "private" or "confidential." In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the California wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party. See Cal. Penal Code § 637.2.

So if you are in California or calling someone within California from out-of-state and get the "brainy" idea about recording telephone conversations without the other person's knowledge and permission, you best forget it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Putting Godzilla 2012 3D Into Perspective - Parts One and Two

Ken Hulsey posted a follow-up to my post over at Monster Island News, Putting Legendary Pictures Godzilla Into Perspective, at the Godzilla 2012 blog.

His follow-up is called, Putting Legendary Pictures Godzilla (3D) Into Perspective (Part 2).

In his post, Hulsey reviews what has transpired, what we know and what is surely to be part of the rumor-mill.

For interesting reads, go to the links above.

"Pretty Maids All In A Row" Coming To DVD

The folks at the Warner Archive Collection told me this morning that the 1971 dark comedy Pretty Maids All In A Row will be released on DVD.

The message I received:

Pretty Maids All in a Row will be released through the Warner Archive Collection on 10/12.

The movie stars Rock Hudson, Telly Savalas, Angie Dickenson, and Roddy McDowall. And, it was directed by Roger Vadim.

From IMDB:

In a California high school, a married teacher is the athletic coach and faculty advisor. He starts to have sex flings with his female students and eventually has to kill several of the girls to keep them quiet. Based on a novel by Francis Pollini.

The movie was produced and the screenplay was written by Gene Roddenberry, of Star Trek fame.

The movie came out in 1971, right when I was in high school. I've a VHS tape of the movie and it is interesting to view to see the styles of that period. It is almost like looking through a time warp of one's high school years.

Pretty Maids All In A Row also featured a starlet by the name of June Fairchild (right). I posted a blog on her a few months ago and recently heard from her niece (see June Fairchild).

The movie is also interesting as Hudson played the lecherous and murderous coach. It shows how good an actor he was, in view of his ultimate real-life fate.

UPDATE: A friend tells me that two acquaintances had bit roles in the movie. They're twins, so I have to see if I can spot them. Small world!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

MicaTV.Net Picks Up Japan Monster Travel Guide Video

Above, Yuu Asakura. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Spanish-language MicaTV.net has picked up The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan YouTube video, I discovered today.

To access the website, go here.

Meanwhile, On Infant Island...

Here's a look back, with some rare photos, at Mothra (1961).

When the two Infant Island fairies are kidnapped by the evil nightclub owner Nelson (Jerry Ito), the island's natives call upon Mothra to hatch from its egg to rescue them.

Here are two dancers (left) from "Mothra" (1961) during the hatching ceremony scene.

Once Mothra's caterpillar hatches, it heads off towards Japan on its rescue mission.

After leaving a swath of destruction in Tokyo, the Mothra caterpillar builds its cocoon on the ruins of Tokyo Tower.

No, Mothra isn't stuck in its egg and needs an assist. A technician prepares the Mothra prop for its egg departure scene (above).

Once, Mothra leaves its cocoon, it heads off to Rolisica (a stand-in name for America) to rescue the fairies, who were taken there from Japan by Nelson.

"Mothra, wait right there until we yell "action!""

Godzilla Cybot

After giving Godzilla a nine-year-long vacation, Toho Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka decided it was time to return Godzilla to the big screen. The last Godzilla movie was 1975's Terror of Mechagodzilla.

Initially, the film was released as Godzilla, but was later re-titled as Return of Godzilla. It was released (heavily-edited) in the United States as Godzilla 1985 with Raymond Burr.

The new movie returned Godzilla to his nuclear metaphor roots with Kenpachiro Satsuma as the Godzilla suit-actor. Toho didn't want to just have Godzilla portrayed by an actor, so they created a 20-foot animatronic cybot Godzilla prop to be used in some scenes. Unfortunately, the cybot had limited screen time (mainly in close-ups) and it bore little resemblance to the Godzilla suit used in the movie.

However, the cybot did garner Toho and the new movie some media attention.

At right, the cybot is displayed in front of the Yurakucho Mullion building in Tokyo.

The Godzilla cybot has made a number of appearances over the following years at publicity events.

Toho has since made smaller animatronic Godzilla props capable of more facial expressions than the original 1984 cybot.

Bell Mayor and City Council Members Arrested In Sweep

Under arrest. Former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo is led in handcuffs (above).

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that eight past and present Bell, California city officials have been arrested in a sweep in connection with the salary scandal:

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, whose high salary sparked the outrage that led to the investigations of the city, was among those arrested in the sweep. No details have been released, but a source not authorized to speak publicly about the case said that Rizzo; former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia; Mayor Oscar Hernandez; Councilmembers Luis Artiga, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal; and former Councilmembers George Cole and Victor Bello were among those arrested.

To read the full story, go here.

Wonder what the party affiliations are of these corrupt officials? According to the Orange County Register:

Bell's city council is made up of five elected members: Mayor Oscar Hernandez, Vice Mayor Teresa Jacobo, and council members Luis Artiga, George Mirabal and Lorenzo Velez. According to our review of voter registration records, Ms. Jacobo, Mr. Artiga, Mr. Mirabal and Mr. Velez are registered Democrats. There are multiple voter registration records for the name Oscar Hernandez, but Mayor Hernandez has endorsed a number of Democratic candidates, including most recently Hector De La Torre for Insurance Commissioner in the June 8 Democratic Primary and Luiz Marquez, a candidate for the 50th Assembly District Democratic Primary.

All Democrats! Who'd have thunk?!

Looney Left Report: Have An Emergency? Get Taxed For Your 911 Call

Looney Left Report: Have An Emergency? Get Taxed For Your 911 Call

The Bluegrass Pundit blog unearthed a story that "bearded Marxist" Chris Coons (the Democrat running against Christine O'Donnell for U.S. Senate in Delaware) once proposed a tax on 911 emergency calls.

To read the story, go here.

New Christine Nguyen Facebook Fanpage

Above, Christine Nguyen.

Actress, model and spokesmodel Christine Nguyen sent me a note informing that she has set up a new Facebook fan page where updates on her activities will be posted.

In her message, Christine said:

I finally got my Facebook page up and running again. I miss my friends!!!

If you're a Facebook member and you'd like to join her fan page, go here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Godzilla 2012 News!

Sister blogs Monster Island News and Godzilla 2012 are reporting that Legendary Pictures producer Brian Rogers disclosed at the 3D Entertainment Summit that Godzilla 2012 3D will have a CGI Godzilla and...

[Drum Roll]

...will fight another monster!

To see the video at Monster Island News, go here.

To see the video at Godzilla 2012, go here.

A tip of the hat to Ken Hulsey!

Powell's Illegal Immigrant Gaffe

On Meet The Press yesterday, Gen. Colin Powell said this about illegal immigrants to David Gregory:

We have millions and millions of illegal immigrants in our country, undocumented individuals, who are working, who are doing things we need done in this country. They’re all over my house, doing things, making repairs. I’m sure you’ve seen them at your house.

Then today, Powell tried to retreat:

I don’t hire illegal immigrants. On Meet the Press yesterday, I referred to illegal immigrants working around my house. I was referring to the many service contractors who work in my neighborhood, using mostly immigrant workers, who do good work. Some may well be “illegal.”

First, Powell says illegal immigrants are "all over my house" (Rush Limbaugh said that it sounds as if illegals are swarming Powell's estate like cockroaches) and then he says he doesn't hire them.

No wonder Michelle Malkin referred to Powell today as a "crapweasel." (Interesting term, I can think of a number of people who are crapweasels.)

The Fruits of One's Labor

From this...

To create something and seeing it go to print (or, "go live") is a thrill in itself. Seeing it on display in a bookstore is another big thrill. Then seeing the fruit of one's labor arrive in the mailbox has to rank right up there. While it is a thrilling experience, it is also humbling.

...to this:

I received the first check today from Kinokuniya Bookstores for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. This is, by no means, the first check for the sales of the book. But, it is the first from a book-seller. I anticipate many more to follow.

To writers/authors who regularly get published, this is probably just old hat to them. But this is a first for me. Admittedly, it feels great!

My daughter Amber stopped by soon after the mailman made his delivery. She was impressed that I am getting paid for this. I told her she sounded like her grandmother who said (referring to the Guide) a few days before she died, "Finally, you're getting paid for all the work you do!"

Considering how bad the economy is, anytime one gets paid for something should be seen as a blessing. Now is not the time to take anything for granted.

Recession Over, Eggheads Say

Bankruptcies are up. Mortgage defaults are up. Unemployment is up (and growing). Yet a panel of academic eggheads say the recession is over.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

The panel of economists that dates the nation's economic cycles declared Monday that the recession that started in December 2007 ended in June of last year -- making it the longest downturn since World War II.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, a private nonprofit research group that is considered the official arbiter of economic contractions and expansions, took pains to note that a determination of the end of the recession doesn't mean the economy has returned to vigorous growth.

Let's see. I got laid-off in November 2007 from my claims adjusting position. Since then, I have a claims adjusting position with an independent adjusting company, but as that work is so sporadic, I have to also work as a security patrol officer in Malibu.

There are scarce insurance claims opportunities out in the hinterlands.

The article also said:

The NBER committee, which is made up of eight academic economists, said it made its determination based on the length and strength of the recovery to date.

To read the full article, go here.

Keiju Kobayashi Dies At 86

The man who played the intense prime minister who stopped the United States and the Soviet Union from going to war after Godzilla attacked a Soviet nuclear submarine has passed away.

Left, Keiju Kobayashi.

Kyodo News is reporting:

Keiju Kobayashi, whose earnest performances endeared him to viewers throughout his nearly seven-decade long career, died of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital Thursday, his agency said Saturday. He was 86.

Kobayashi played Prime Minister Mitamura in Return of Godzilla (1984) (a.k.a. Godzilla 1985) in a very memorable performance. In that movie, the United States and the Soviet Union were about to go to war after a Soviet submarine was sunk by Godzilla. As the prime minister, he disclosed the real culprit for the sinking to both governments, thus averting war. He also resisted the U.S. and U.S.S.R. ambassadors' demands to use nuclear weapons against Godzilla.

His career spanned seven decades with his most recent role in Koisuru kanojo, nishi e. (2008).

Kobayashi appeared in roles ranging from prime ministers to police detectives in over 260 movies and television dramas.

He was also the recipient of medals of honor from the Japanese government for his achievements and cultural contributions.

Witchcraft, Apparently Worse Than Ku Klux Klan Membership

Delaware GOP U.S. Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell poked fun at her high school witchcraft activities yesterday at a Republican picnic:

"How many of you didn't hang out with questionable folks in high school? There's been no witchcraft since. If there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter now."

A video of O'Donnell on comedian Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect" show from 1999 surfaced with her discussing witchcraft. "I dabbled into witchcraft. I never joined a coven," she said in the video.

I remember some high school classmates dabbling in the occult. Silly stuff. I doubt the subject even comes up anymore with them.

I guess "dabbling" in witchcraft in high school is more of a serious offense than being a leader in the Ku Klux Klan as the late Sen. Robert Byrd was.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

O'Donnell Ignoring National Media To Connect With Delaware Voters

Former Governor Sarah Palin has some good advice for Delaware U.S. Senate GOP nominee Christine O'Donnell.

A little while ago, Palin Tweeted:

C. O'Donnell strategy: time's limited;use it 2 connect w/local voters whom you'll be serving vs appeasing nat'l media seeking ur destruction

[Translation: Christine O'Donnell strategy: Time's limited; use it to connect with local voters whom you'll be serving vs. appeasing the national media who is seeking your destruction.]

According to FoxNews' Greta Van Susteren, O'Donnell cancelled two Sunday shows to appear at Delaware events.

Van Susteren posted that O'Donnell will be "in Dover this morning and still plans on attending at the picnic this afternoon in Sussex County at Wilson's Auction in Lincoln, Delaware.

The picnic was one of the reasons given as to why she canceled her two Sunday show appearances."

It appears that the good advice Gov. Palin is giving is being followed by O'Donnell.

Read more: http://gretawire.blogs.foxnews.com/more-on-odonnell-gate/#ixzz0zzueTyXy

What The Heck Is That? Asahi's Golden Flame

Above, Asahi Beer Headquarters and Hall in Tokyo.

Text and photos by Armand Vaquer

One of the interesting things about visiting Japan is seeing their unique architecture and art.

Above, Nakamise Avenue shops and shoppers.

One such item is the Asahi Beer Headquarters and Hall in the Sumida section of Tokyo. It is just across the Sumida River from Asakusa. Asakusa is a main tourist draw in Tokyo with its Nakamise Avenue shops for all kinds of Japanese goods including Japanese dolls, toys (I've bought some kaiju toys there), yukatas & kimonos, candies, swords, knick-nacks, porcelain, fans, lacquer ware, leather goods, art and other items. Asakusa has many restaurants ranging from sushi to Denny's.

Asakusa streetAbove, the "golden flame" of the Asahi Beer Hall is seen from an Asakusa street near Nakamise Avenue.

A part of the Asahi Beer Hall is the "golden flame" sculpture (or, kin no unchi, which is Japanese for “gold turd”) that was created by the French designer Philippe Starck. People seeing it for the first time ask, "What's that?" Many think it looks like a turd (hence the term, "golden turd"), sperm or, as some Godzilla fans think, a golden version of Hedorah (the "Smog Monster").

At night, the golden flame is lit up and can be seen for miles. It is just a little bit down the Sumida River from where the new Tokyo Sky Tree Tower is under construction.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

40 Years Ago: Jimi Hendrix Died

Forty years ago today, rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix died in London of barbituate intoxication under mysterious circumstances.

I remember that day and the shock that many of my generation felt.

Hendrix is buried in Renton, Washington. At left, is a photo of Jimi Hendrix's grave that I took in February 2005.

The man may be gone, but his music is as popular as ever with new generations of fans discovering his genius.

Pete Brothers Gone Batty: Completes Novel Based On Lugosi Movie

Peter H. Brothers reports that he has completed his first novel.

It is based on the Bela Lugosi melodrama, The Devil Bat, which was produced in 1940 and released in January 1941 by Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC).

In the movie, Lugosi plays Dr. Paul Carruthers, a research chemist who is embittered (Who else besides Bela can play such a role with relish?) that one of his formulas brought a fortune to his employers, but practically nothing to himself.

To avenge this affront, Carruthers creates giant bats who are conditioned to attack anyone wearing a special scent (in a shaving lotion) he concocted.

Above, author Peter H. Brothers with his first book, "Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda" in his back yard.

Brothers says:

"Devil Bat Diary" is complete! Clocking-in at 53,000 words it is a novelization of what "really" happened in the movie "The Devil Bat" based on the recently-discovered journal kept by the reporter Johnny Layton. I have already contacted a couple of publishers and will contact several more. Keep your fingers crossed and I will keep you posted on my progress!

This should be an entertaining and interesting read!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sky Tree Tower: Already Impressive!

Above, a beautiful evening shot of the Sky Tree Tower
 taken September 15. Photo courtesy of Jim Ballard.

Sky Tree Tower: Already Impressive!

by Armand Vaquer

Category: Travel

The new Tokyo Sky Tree Tower that is currently under construction is already an impressive structure.

The Sky Tree is being built for digital broadcasting as Tokyo Tower has been deemed too short for this purpose. The new tower is set to open in 2012.

Jim Ballard, who lives across the Sumida River from the Sky Tower's construction site, took the above photo on September 15. As you can see, much progress has already been made and it is already the tallest structure in Tokyo.

I am currently planning a vacation trip to Japan later this year and am looking forward to seeing the Sky Tree.

For more information on the Sky Tree, go here.

Spotlight On: National Diet Building

Above, the National Diet Building in Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Spotlight On: National Diet Building

by Armand Vaquer

(Originally published in G-FAN #88, Summer 2009)

The National Diet Building is Japan's capitol building. It first appeared in Godzilla (1954) and in several other Godzilla films, most recently in 2003's Godzilla x Mothra x Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. The Diet (Japan's Parliament) consists of the House of Councillors and the House of Representatives. Next to Tokyo Tower, the National Diet Building suffered the most damage in Godzilla movies by a Tokyo building.

In 1910, the Finance Ministry started a commission in an attempt to take control over the new Diet Building design from the Home Ministry. Prime Minister Katsura Tarô chaired the commission, which recommended that the new building emulate an Italian Renaissance architectural style. This recommendation was criticized by many who thought that choice to be too arbitrary.

The ministry sponsored a public design competition in 1918, and 118 designs were submitted for the new building. The first prize winner was Watanabe Fukuzo.

The Diet Building was eventually constructed with a floor plan based on Watanabe's entry. The roof and tower of the building were inspired by another entrant, third prize winner Takeuchi Shinshichi, and are believed to have been chosen because they reflected a more modern hybrid architecture than the purely European and East Asian designs proposed by other architects. The 1936 landmark building southwest of the Imperial Palace is known for its pyramid-shaped cap, and inside are cushy chairs and fantastical mosaics.

Above, iconic scene of Godzilla trampling a wing of the Diet Building in 1954. Copyright 1954 Toho Co., Ltd.

In Godzilla, the Diet Building had one of its wings trampled by Godzilla and in Godzilla x Mothra x Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., the entire tower section gets demolished during the battle between Mechagodzilla and Godzilla. When Godzilla was first released in 1954, Japanese audiences applauded the scene of Godzilla's rampage through the building.

King Kong, with Mie Hama in hand, stood atop the building's tower in King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) and Mothra used it to build her cocoon in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992). Distance shots of the building could also be seen in Monster Zero (1965) and in Godzilla x Mechagodzilla (2002).


Note: Tour information for the National Diet Building is included in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

O'Donnell vs. "The Bearded Marxist"

Above, Christine O'Donnell.

The establishment pundits have been saying that Christine O'Donnell is "unelectable" as a candidate.

Her victory last night proved them wrong. Voters were repelled by the smears against O'Donnell and voted accordingly.

The choice between O'Donnell and Democrat Chris Coons could not be more clear-cut. O'Donnell is a Reagan conservative, whereas Coons described himself in 1985 as a "bearded Marxist."

Above, Chris "Bearded Marxist" Coons.

Politico posted a story last May on Coons' "bearded Marxist" article which reads in part:

An article Democrat Chris Coons wrote for his college newspaper may not go over so well in corporation-friendly Delaware, where he already faces an uphill battle for Vice President Joe Biden’s old Senate seat.

The title? “Chris Coons: The Making of a Bearded Marxist.”

In the article, Coons, then 21 years old and about to graduate from Amherst College, chronicled his transformation from a sheltered, conservative-minded college student who had worked for former GOP Delaware Sen. William Roth and had campaigned for Ronald Reagan in 1980 into a cynical young adult who was distrustful of American power and willing to question the American notion of free enterprise.

Coons, the New Castle County executive who is running against GOP Rep. Michael Castle for the state’s open Senate seat, wrote of his political evolution in the May 23, 1985, edition of the Amherst Student.

To read the full Politico article, go here.

Coons will have a hard time weaseling out of this one. Like Coons, I worked in the 1980 Reagan campaign (I was a California Delegate to the 1980 GOP National Convention in Detroit at age 26) and my political views were long formulated. I was a Reagan California Delegate to the 1976 GOP National Convention at age 22. My political views have not changed in 34 years. Has Coons' political views changed again since college?

Once this story starts making the rounds during the general election campaign, Coons will have an albatross of his own making around his neck. Delaware is home to many corporations and small businesses, and they won't want an anti-free enterprise Marxist representing them in Washington.

Japan Intervenes, Dollar Gains

The Bank of Japan intervened today to weaken the yen in its exchange rate with the U.S. dollar.

The Associated Press is reporting:

The dollar surged on Wednesday to its highest level against the Japanese yen in September after the Bank of Japan unexpectedly moved to weaken the yen.

By late morning in New York, the dollar had risen 3 percent in its biggest one-day gain versus the yen since the depths of the financial crisis in fall 2008.

However, some analysts say the yen's gains are likely to continue.

The yen has hit a series of 15-year highs versus the dollar since August, and has risen about 10 percent this year as investors seek refuge in the yen, which is considered a safe haven currency. The rapid rise, which hurts the profits of Japan's major exporters, has become a major issue for Japan's politicians as it threatens to undermine the recovery in the world's No. 3 economy.

After the yen's most recent peak Tuesday evening of 82.88 yen against the dollar, the Bank of Japan sold yen and bought dollars directly in the marketplace. It was the first intervention since March 2004.

The current rate of exchange (as I write this) is:

1.00 USD = 85.5752 JPY

Source: Universal Currency Converter.

This is good news for Japanese exporters as the action makes their products more competitive and it is better news for Japan tourists from America as they will get a better rate of exchange. It is still a far cry from three years ago when I got 116 yen/dollar.

To read the full article, go here.

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