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

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

40 Years of "Godzilla vs. Hedorah": The Men Who Played Godzilla and Hedorah

Above, Kenpachiro Satsuma (Hedorah) and Haruo Nakajima (Godzilla) take a break during the filming of "Godzilla vs. Hedorah." This still was signed by both actors. From the personal collection of Armand Vaquer.

As posted previously, July marks 40 years since the release of Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) in Japan.

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the two men who gave it their all in their portrayals of Godzilla and his foe, Hedorah.

Above, Kenpachiro Satsuma (left) and Haruo Nakajima share a laugh in Hollywood 29 years after making "Godzilla vs. Hedorah." Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I had the good fortune to first meet Kenpachiro Satsuma (Hedorah) and Haruo Nakajima (Godzilla) at G-FEST 2000 in Hollywood. Since then, I have gotten to know Mr. Nakajima well and attended a dinner party in the Nakano section of Tokyo with Mr. Satsuma in 2001, following the premiere of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Both men are some of the nicest people I've ever met in show business.

Satsuma played Hedorah and other monsters before he took over the Godzilla role in 1984 in Return of Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla 1985). His stint as Godzilla ended with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah in 1995.

Above, the Bandai Hedorah toy I bought during my 2007 Japan vacation.

Nakajima's appearance of Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Hedorah was second to the last before his retirement from the role. He began his run as Godzilla in the original 1954 feature. His last appearance as Godzilla was in the following year's Godzilla vs. Gigan. Nakajima published an autobiography of his life and career in Japan last year. He is now a spry 82-year-old.

A tip of the cap to both men and domo arigato gozaimasu!

Tax and Tax and Tax and Tax...

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill requiring that online companies such as Amazon.com collect taxes on items bought by Californians.

According to the article:

Reporting from Sacramento— Shopping at Amazon.com Inc. and other major Internet stores is poised to get more expensive.

Beginning Friday, a new state law will require large out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases that their California customers make on the Internet — a prospect eased only slightly by a 1-percentage-point drop in the tax that also takes effect at the same time.

Remember, elections have consequences and this is another consequence of electing Brown along with a Democrat-controlled legislature.

To read the full article, go here.

Monster Japan Travel Guide News In PR-USA.net

Above, Miki Hayashi with The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

PR-USA.net picked up the press release "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan vs. The Japanese Media."

PR-USA.net posts news releases on many topics including culture, politics, business sports and healthcare.

To view, it go here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan Available At G-FEST XVIII

Good news for aspiring Japan travelers!

Monsterland Toys will have The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan at G-FEST XVIII.

G-FEST will be held July 15-17 at the Crowne Plaza O'Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, Illinois (just outside of Chicago and next to O'Hare International Airport).

Be sure to stop by Monsterland Toys booth in the dealers room and pick up a copy!

Midwest Happenings

The news today is coming from the Midwest.


Above, Sarah Palin and her husband Todd arrive for the premiere of The Undefeated in Pella, Iowa.

First, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin attended the premiere of her documentary movie The Undefeated in Pella, Iowa. There is speculation that she is running for the presidency, but she says she hasn't made a decision.

This morning, Palin Tweeted:

Thank you, Iowa! Pella represents the state beautifully & Iowa reflects America's good heart. Hard working optimistic heartlanders= love you.


I received an email from my tenant who farms the property in Nebraska. He reports:

Summer is flying by, seems like we just planted the corn. It's about waist high and looks great.

I just hope it stays "great." Just in case of problems, I submitted the application for this year's crop insurance.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

40 Years of "Godzilla vs. Hedorah"

Seven years ago, the 50th anniversary of Godzilla (1954) was celebrated.

Part of that celebration included the DVD release by Columbia-TriStar Home Entertainment of Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971), along with several other Godzilla movies.

Suddenly, next month marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Godzilla vs. Hedorah in Japan on July 24, 1971. It was released the following year in the United States as Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster.

This is the famous (or infamous, depending upon one's point-of-view) movie in which Godzilla curls up his tail and uses his atomic breath as a rocket engine to fly (!) after Hedorah. Director Yoshimitsu Bannai added the flying scenes to "lighten up" an otherwise dark movie. This was Banno's message movie on pollution.

Right, Yoshimitsu Banno at a dinner party in Roppongi, Tokyo in 2004. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The movie is quirky in other ways besides the flying sequences. It also contains animated sequences whose intent was to drive home the dangers of pollution along with strange music motifs and bizarre editing.

Tomoyuki Tanaka, the producer of the Godzilla series, was in the hospital at the time Hedorah was made. When he finally saw the finished movie, he reportedly said that Banno ruined the Godzilla series and was determined to never allow Banno to direct another Godzilla movie. This may or may not be a true story. Banno refuted this at G-FEST a few years ago.

Godzilla vs. Hedorah has risen in G-fandom's esteem over the years. The U.S. version (Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster) was featured in the 1978 book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.

To this day, Godzilla vs. Hedorah remains an odd entry in the entire series of Godzilla movies. At least one can't say it's dull.

Happy 40th anniversary!

L.A.'s Japan Expo: What Happened?

Above, a dancer performs at the 2007 Japan Expo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Back in December 2007, I attended the annual Japan Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Little did I know at the time that this would be the last L.A. Japan Expo.

I've attended the L.A. Japan Expo every year since 2001.

In 2008, it was announced that the 2008 Japan Expo would be held December 13 and 14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Not too long before the Expo was to be held, it was abruptly cancelled, but the next date for the Expo would be October 2009.

The 2009 Japan Expo wasn't held either.

Above, the Samuai Store's booth. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Japan Expo was put on by the Japan Expo Foundation. Their mission statement according to the official Japan Expo website:

The goal of the Japan Expo Foundation, founded in November 1980, is to promote cultural exchanges and understanding between the United States of America and Japan. It is a non-profit and non-political organization, which endeavors to bind these two countries in peace, prosperity and security by developing enduring relationships between their societies. The Foundation seeks to accomplish this goal through bi-lateral governmental involvement and support by way of local, regional and national government agencies, as well as utilizing the local, national and international business interest of these two nations. It is through seminars, expositions and educational exchange programs, in both countries, that true understanding and long lasting relationships can be built. The Foundation, by creating new opportunities for the people of these countries, seeks to strengthen their historic relationship and promote their mutual future welfare. Sponsorships, contributions, membership dues and event fees finance the Foundation.

The overview page for the 2009 Japan Expo stated:

The schedule is postponed by the influence of the influenza virus.

Either the influenza virus killed off most of the members of the Japan Expo Foundation or it is an euphemism for "this sucky economy."

There is nothing in their website providing any information on future Japan Expos or anything on the cancellation of the 2008 and 2009 Expos. The pages are all about the 2009 Japan Expo. The foundation's phone number doesn't seem to be working either. Does the Japan Expo Foundation even still exist?

Above, music performances were a part of the annual L.A. Japan Expo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Googling around, there is no information (one way or another) on the Japan Expo Foundation.

Above, a figure of Astro Boy I purchased at the 2007 Japan Expo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I contacted the Los Angeles office of the Japan National Tourism Organization (since they used to have a booth at the Expo) and they think that the Japan Expo Foundation no longer exists.

It appears that the Japan Expo was another casualty in this rotten economy.

If anyone reading this has information on the status of Japan Expo or the Japan Expo Foundation, feel free to post it here in comments.

About That Poster...

Avery Guerra, who has been a good source for "inside" information on the Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros. Godzilla movie project, has this to say about the Godzilla 2012 poster:

I'll squash this before it get's any further. The poster and website are fake. They're just some elaborate prank, fan made, and nothing more. I've checked with a source close to the production and have now had this debunked. I'm sure we'll probably be seeing more such hoaxes up until the time L.P. decides to start releasing materials.

I had my doubts on the poster, but I figured I'd put it out there for everyone to see. At least it got the message boards buzzing for a little while.

Looks like we'll have to wait for the real thing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lady Gaga Sued Over Japan Earthquake Relief Bracelets

A Detroit area law firm filed a class action lawsuit entertainer Lady Gaga over "We Pray for Japan" bracelets.

According to FoxNation:

Just before she headlined Saturday night's Japan disaster relief benefit concert, Lady Gaga was sued over the bracelets she's been selling for the same cause.

According to the federal class action, the do-gooder pop star wasn't exactly being honest when her Web site claimed all the proceeds from sales of her "We Pray for Japan" wristbands would go to help victims of the March earthquake and tsunami.

A Detroit-era legal network said in its complaint, filed Friday, that Gaga kept part of the $5 that every customer paid for a wristband and inflated shipping charges so she could pocket more.

As the old saying goes: "No good deed goes unpunished!"

Read more: http://nation.foxnews.com/justice/2011/06/27/lady-gaga-sued-scamming-tsunami-victims#ixzz1QVzqEfQl

Monster Japan Travel Guide A "Hottest Link On Twitter"

Above, Miki Hayashi with The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Word has been received by TweetMeme.com that last month's press release on The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan is one of the "hottest links on Twitter."

According to their "About" page:

TweetMeme is a service which aggregates all the popular links on Twitter to determine which links are popular. TweetMeme categorises these links into Categories, Subcategories and Channels, making it easy to filter out the noise to find what you're interested in.

I don't know how accurate this is, but it, admittedly, sounds good!

To see the site go here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bachmann and Romney Top Iowa Poll

The Des Moines Register Iowa poll has two GOP presidential contenders almost tied for the top spot:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann sit atop the standings in the year’s first Des Moines Register Iowa Poll on the Republican presidential field.

Romney, the national front-runner and a familiar face in Iowa after his 2008 presidential run, attracts support from 23 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers. Bachmann, who will officially kick off her campaign in Iowa on Monday, nearly matches him, with 22 percent.

What will be interesting is how well organized both campaigns are in getting their supporters out to the caucuses.

For more, go here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Devastation Has A Name: Obama!

Special thanks to Michael Wayne!

Godzilla 2012 Poster?

Things have been quiet on the Legendary Pictures/Warner Brothers Godzilla project.

I received this in an email today. This is the first I've seen of it, so I can't say if this is authentic or not.

Any Which Way You Can

While grocery shopping this morning, I found a DVD copy of Any Which Way You Can (1980) in a bin for $5.99. I already have this movie on VHS but figured that I'd get the DVD anyway since the price was right.

I watched it this afternoon. This is the second Philo Beddoe and orangutan Clyde movie. It is hard to believe that this sequel to 1978's Every Which Way But Loose is 31 years old!

It was directed by Buddy Van Horn and starred Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis and Ruth Gordon.

This one involves bare-knuckled brawler Philo Beddoe (Eastwood) having a big fight forced on him after Lynn Halsey-Taylor (Locke) is kidnapped by New York gambling goons. The fight took place in Jackson, Wyoming. A lot of great scenery of Wyoming is featured.

Every Which Way But Loose was not critically acclaimed, but it did make over $75 million at the box office. A sequel was a natural. Unfortunately, Any Which Way You Can was poorly-paced and it lacked a music score. The only music were the music interludes in various nightclubs. Glen Campbell, who announced that he is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease this week, has one of them (singing the title song).

A bit of trivia: During the movie, Beddoe and Halsey-Taylor decide to go to Bakersfield, California for a weekend getaway and stay at the Pink Cloud Motel. The motel, although supposed to be in Bakersfield, is actually on Sepulveda Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley in the North Hills area. It is still there.

Like in Every Which Way But Loose, North Hollywood's Palomino nightclub was prominently featured. It still stands but it ceased being the Palomino in the mid-1990s. It is now a Latino nightclub.

Any Which Way You Can was released on December 17, 1980. A month prior to the movie's release, I attended a private reception at the Century Plaza Hotel on Election Night to celebrate the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency. Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke were also at the reception and I managed to get Eastwood's autograph on my pass ticket (below).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Elvis and Reagan?

Ronald Reagan and Elvis Presley.

Somehow I can't seem to associate the two. Nixon, yes. Reagan? I don't know of any association between Reagan and Elvis, unless they crossed paths back in the days when Reagan was president of the Screen Actors' Guild and Elvis was beginning to make movies (before he was drafted).

Above, President Richard Nixon, Elvis Presley
and Egil "Bud" Krogh in the Oval Office.

Anyway, what got me on this topic was an email from the Ronald Reagan Foundation which contained this:

Sounds like it may be a fun evening. Dinner and Elvis music under the wings of Air Force One.

Any photos out there of Ronald Reagan with Elvis?

LACYR Hayakawa Party

Above, yours truly introduces S. I. Hayakawa to the LACYR party. Photo by Ken Huthmaker.

Back in 1975, I served as 2nd Vice-President of the Los Angeles County Young Republicans (LACYR).

Above, Hayakawa with Assemblyman Paul Bannai and Armand. Photo by Ken Huthmaker.

On September 27, 1975, I also co-chaired a fundraising cocktail party (with Mrs. Hideko Bannai) at the Beverly Hills home of record producer Mike Curb. S.I. Hayakawa was the special guest at the event. Hayakawa beat incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator John Tunney in November 1976 for the senate seat.

Above, Assemblyman Michael Antonovich, S.I. Hayakawa, Assemblyman Bannai and Armand. Photo by Ken Huthmaker.

The party was seen as the beginning of Hayakawa's run for the U.S. Senate.

S.I. Hayakawa was born July 18, 1906 in Vancouver, B.C., Canada (he died Feb. 27, 1992 in Greenbrae, California). He was a scholar, university president and U.S. senator from California (1977–83). He is best known for his popular writings on semantics and for his career as president of San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University). (Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica)

He became a bit of a "folk hero" when he yanked out the wires from a public address system of some student protesters at San Francisco State.

For more on S. I. Hayakawa, go here.

Peter Falk, R.I.P.

Sad news today. Peter Falk, best known as homicide detective Lt. Columbo, has died.

Variety reported:

Peter Falk, the Emmy- and Tony-winning stage, screen and TV actor, best known to world audiences as the always-underestimated police detective in the long-running telepic series "Columbo," died Thursday at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 83.

It was announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease in December 2007.

Falk won five Emmys, four for portraying Columbo, and was twice Oscar nommed for supporting roles.

"Columbo" was one of my favorite shows when it aired on NBC's Mystery Movie.

To read the full article, go here.

Ronald Reagan 1980 Campaign Kick-off

While watching, whenever you hear the name Jimmy Carter think Barack Obama instead.

Ronald Reagan 1980 Campaign Kick-off

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Aboard The S.S. Catalina

Summer is here. I thought this would be a good time to take a look back at another summer when two friends and I went to Catalina Island aboard "The Great White Steamer."

From Wikipedia:

The S.S. Catalina, also known as The Great White Steamer, was a 301-foot steamship built in 1924 that provided passenger service on the 26-mile passage between Los Angeles and Santa Catalina Island from 1924 to 1975. According to the Steamship Historical Society of America, the Catalina has carried more passengers than any other vessel anywhere. The S.S. Catalina also served as a troop ship during World War II, transporting more than 800,000 soldiers and sailors. After a period of service as a floating discotheque, the ship ran aground on a sandbar in Ensenada Harbor in 1997 and remained there half-submerged and decaying for more than a decade.

In January 2009, it was announced that the ship would be cut up for scrap, which has been completed.

July 24, 1974

It was on July 24, 1974 that Max Bettman, Mitch Geriminsky and I took a round-trip cruise to Catalina Island aboard the S.S. Catalina. There were faster, but smaller boats ferrying visitors to the island, but we opted to take the historical S.S. Catalina instead. Besides, the ship had a full bar!

At the time, we were students at El Camino College but were on summer vacation. Little did we know at the time that this would be the next-to-last season of the S.S. Catalina. The owners had financial difficulties, with smaller and faster boats competing for passengers to Catalina Island.

Above, en route to Catalina Island, passengers enjoy the ocean view on the S.S. Catalina's bow.

Above, Mitch Geriminsky (left) and Max Bettman aboard the S.S. Catalina.

Above, the three of us aboard the S.S. Catalina as we headed to Catalina Island. Looks like we all could've used haircuts!

Above, Catalina's Avalon Harbor is in sight as we approached the island.

Above, here I am after getting off the ship. This was my first visit to Catalina Island. I was 20 at the time.

Once we arrived on Catalina Island, we spent the day swimming in Avalon Harbor and did some horseback riding. When we walked to the stables, we had to go through an Avalon neighborhood. It was like being transported 30-40 years back in time as the homes looked like they were time-locked in the 1930s or 1940s.

After a day's worth of fun on Catalina Island, we got back on board the S.S. Catalina for the return trip to the mainland.

1982: Destined For Oblivion

After the 1974 trip to Catalina Island, I hadn't seen the S.S. Catalina until 1982, when a group of us were cruising on a business associate's yacht.

Above, the S.S. Catalina at anchor in Long Beach Harbor as our boat approached.

Early in 2009, it was announced that the S.S. Catalina would be dismantled and sold for scrap. It had partially sunken into the mud of Ensenada Harbor, Mexico. Preservationists tried to raise funds to re-float the ship and restore it, but they were unable to do so.

The old ship is now gone. Here are a couple of photos of the ship that I took in 1982. The ship was at anchor in Long Beach Harbor at the time, waiting for oblivion in Ensenada Harbor.

Above, a business associate invited several of us for a lunch cruise on his yacht and we passed by the Catalina during the cruise. The photo above was taken as we closed in.

This little song was played aboard the S.S. Catalina as we sailed to Catalina Island:

Japan Tourist Numbers Down But Improving

Above, the Yokohama waterfront.

Although the disaster of March 11 hit the Japanese tourism industry hard, there is a silver lining that is seen in the new tourist numbers.

According to The Japan Times:

The number of foreign visitors in May plunged 50.4 percent from a year earlier to about 358,000, the second-biggest year-on-year fall on record, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Thursday.

The rate of decline, however, has been narrowing since the 73 percent fall seen in the March 12-31 period following the March 11 disaster, as foreign governments have been lifting advisories on travel to Japan, according to the organization.

April saw a drop of 62.5.

As the article states, March saw a 73% drop in tourism. April's drop was 62.5%. And May's tourism drop was 50%. The figures for June and July should be much better as the Japanese tourism industry has been fighting back. At least the tourist deficit is narrowing.

To read the full article, go here.

Japan Tourism Numbers Down 31.9%

Above, a streetcar in Nakasaki. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

March 11 earthquake and the resulting tsunami and radiation fears took huge bite out of number of visitors to Japan so far this year.

According to Travel Weekly:

Foreign tourist arrivals to Japan were down 31.9% from January to May compared with the first five months of 2010, according to figures released by the Japan Tourism Agency.

The disaster also reduced the number of American visitors:

Tourist arrivals from the U.S....were off 30.3% for the first five months of the year.

To read the full article, go here.

This is so unnecessary.

Tourism-Review.com put it best:

However, Japan has now risen from the ashes and is trying to tell the world the country is no longer posing any threats to the health of its people and visitors. Especially now, Japan needs tourists to return.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Noel Neill To Make First Public Appearance In Over A Year

Above, Jack Larson and Noel Neill in 2005. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Fans of the original Lois Lane can rejoice!

Jim Nolt of The Adventures Continue reported:

Here's the latest news from Noel Neill: For the first time in over a year, Noel is about to make her first public appearance. She will appear at the Heroes & Villains Comic book store in Tucson on Saturday, July 2th, for only one hour, from 3 pm - 4 pm. She is excited about the prospect of once again greeting fans and well-wishers.

Noel spent most of last year recovering from a fractured hip that she sustained in a fall at her home.

It is great news that Noel feels well enough to meet and greet her fans!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hideko Bannai

After posting about my days working as a field representative for Assemblyman Paul T. Bannai, I did some Googling and found this (Source: Rafu Shimpo):

Hideko Bannai, 82 year-old, Burbank, Calif.-born Nisei, passed away on June 14. She is survived by her husband, Paul Bannai; and their children, Kathryn Bannai (Robert Miura), Don Bannai, and Lorraine Bannai (Norman Mar). She is also survived by her grandchildren Jared Nagae, Sean Miura, Akira Bannai, Eliot Mar, and Dana Mar; sister, Alice Yamashiro; and nieces and nephews. A private memorial service was held on June 18, and an interment in July.

The year of the article was 2009. Searching around, I found that she last resided in Seattle, Washington. Paul Bannai will be 91 next month.

Note: In the party photo above, GOP politicals include Mike Curb (who later became California Lt. Governor), Michael Donaldson (later California Republican Party Treasurer), Assemblyman Michael Antonovich (now a L.A. County Supervisor), S. I. Hayakawa and Assemblyman Bannai.

Mrs. Bannai and I served as co-chairmen for a Los Angeles County Young Republicans party (photo above) featuring S. I. Hayakawa (before he became U.S. Senator) at the Beverly Hills home of Mike Curb in 1975. The photo of Mrs. Bannai and I (at top) was used for publicity for the event.

Above, Governor Ronald Reagan lends his support for Paul Bannai during the 1973 special election. From left, Hideko Bannai, Paul Bannai, Gov. Reagan, Kathryn Bannai and Lorraine Bannai.

She was a great lady and I am sorry to learn of her passing.

Back In The Day...

Above, with Assemblyman Bannai in his Capitol office in Sacramento, 1977.

The big news in California today about state Controller John Chiang's decision to withhold the legislature's pay brings me back to the 1970s when I worked off and on as a field representative to then-Assemblyman Paul T. Bannai.

Back in those days, there was more cooperation between the majority Democrat members with the minority Republicans. Bannai was first elected in 1973 in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the sudden passing of Democratic Assemblyman Larry Townsend. The Assembly District (first as the 67th and later as the 53rd) covered Gardena, Lawndale, Hawthorne and some parts of Torrance in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County.

Bannai, the first Japanese-American elected to the California legislature, was a realtor and Gardena City Councilman before he won the assembly seat as a Republican. After he won the special election, he asked me to be one of his two field representatives for his district office. I was a student at El Camino College at the time and lived in Hawthorne.

It was as a field representative that I learned press relations work and handled constituent matters. It was a great learning experience.

Bannai served as state assemblyman until 1980. After this, he joined the Reagan Administration at the Veterans' Administration.

Mike Gatto: California's Crybaby Poster Boy

"I halted a fulfilling private sector career path to enter public service. I now have to explain to my wife and daughter that we won't be able to pay the bills because a politician chose to grandstand at our expense." - Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Burbank.


Mike Gatto has now become the poster boy for the fiscal mess in Sacramento. He is whining over losing days of pay for not timely passing a balanced budget.

Well, it seems that he and the other Democrats in the California legislature had no problem in over-taxing California taxpayers, over-regulating businesses and driving other businesses out of the state, over-spending and being over-generous with extravagant benefits packages and pensions for state workers.

Yes, people are hurting financially, but that doesn't stop the Democrats from adding more taxes and fees. They refuse to cut spending. The Democratic Party has ruined this state. The once "Golden State" is no longer business-friendly.

Mike Gatto, you or your Democrat colleagues don't deserve any sympathy. Now that you are getting some payback, you cry like a big baby. The voters in your district (if they have any smarts) will remember this and send you back to the private sector.

It appears that your chickens are coming home to roost!

For once, there is a Democrat that deserves a big round of applause in docking the legislature's pay: Controller John Chiang! Too bad there aren't more like him.

CA Controller Won't Pay Legislators

Finally there's a Democrat in California I can support!

The Los Angeles Times reported today:

California lawmakers must forfeit their pay as of mid-June because the budget they passed last week -- which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed less than 24 hours later -– was not balanced, the state controller said Tuesday.

Since last week, Controller John Chiang, a Democrat, has been pondering whether to pay lawmakers. They passed budget legislation on June 15, meeting their constitutional deadline for only the second time in a quarter-century, but their plan relied heavily on accounting schemes to paper over the state's deficit. In his veto message, Brown said he could not sign such a plan.

Chiang, who issues the state's paychecks, said Tuesday that it wasn't sufficient to keep their pay coming.

Voters approved a law last fall that empowered legislators to pass a budget with a simple majority vote but also threatened to strip them of pay for every day the blueprint is late. The measure makes no mention of approving a balanced budget, but other laws on the books dictate that state budgets be balanced.

Ironically, the law was backed by unions. Can you spell backfire?

Meanwhile, one lawmaker started crying immediately after hearing Chiang's decision:

"I halted a fulfilling private sector career path to enter public service, " said Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) in an emailed statement. "I now have to explain to my wife and daughter that we won't be able to pay the bills because a politician chose to grandstand at our expense."

Left, Assemblyman Mike Gatto struggles to pay his bills.

Hey, Mike! I would be happy to explain to your wife and daughter that you didn't do your job in passing a timely balanced budget. So now you have to suffer the consequences! Maybe you ought to go back to the private sector, eh?

To read the full article go here.


Source: Anime Expo 2011 News Release

LOS ANGELES (June 21, 2011) -- Anime Expo 2011 has announced Tetsuro Araki, Masayoshi Tanaka and Kentaro Hashimoto of Madhouse Studios as Guests of Honor. The trio will be present for a special July 2nd screening of the acclaimed zombie apocalypse series “HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD” and will host a creator’s panel at Anime Expo, when it returns to the L.A. Convention Center from July 1 - 4, 2011.

Tetsuro Araki has engaged with a number of animated TV series, including “Di Gi Charat Nyo” and “GUNGRAVE,” as a Madhouse staff. He makes a shocking directorial debut, with the animation adaptation of the comic series “DEATH NOTE.” Since then he has directed the vampiric saga “Kurozuka” and adapted the zombie apocalypse “Highschool of the Dead.” Mr. Araki is now working with Production I.G. on his new series “Guilty Crown.”

As an animator, Masayoshi Tanaka has worked on popular series such as ”X,” “CHOBITS,” “EUREKA 7,” “HONEY AND CLOVER” and many more. As character designer and chief animator, his most famous works include “TORADORA!,” the animated adaptation of the Shonen Jump series “REBORN!” and “HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD.” He is currently working on “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai” at A-1 Pictures.

Kentaro Hashimoto has produced mega-hit animated television series like “Death Note” and “Kurozuka”. Mr. Hashimoto has brought out new animated interpretation of the classic literature by Ango Sakaguchi in “Aoi Bungaku: In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom.” His newest series is the acclaimed zombie apocalypse action animated series “Highschool of the Dead.”

The roster of Anime Expo 2011 Guests of Honor includes Japanese pop trio Kalafina; singing sensation Maon Kurosaki; techno pop band Nirgilis; “LASTEXILE -Fam, The Silver Wing-“ production team Koichi Chigira, Makoto Kobayashi, Takaaki Suzuki and Hiroyuki Birukawa; Japanese TV Host and blogger Danny Choo; voice actress and singer Miyuki Sawashiro; voice actors Toshio Furukawa, Vic Mignogna, Toshiyuki Morikawa and Taliesin Jaffe; stars of the Power Rangers series and movies; video game developer Sohei Niikawa; Crypton Future Media CEO Hiroyuki Itoh and Producer Wataru Sasaki; Vocaloid songwriter Onyx Kobayashi; manga artists Izumi Matsumoto and Fred Gallagher and anime director Seiji Mizushima. Anime Expo has also announced Hatsune Miku as its first ever Virtual Guest of Honor. Themed the “Year of the Fan,” Anime Expo 2011 will fully immerse guests into the world of Japanese animation, manga (comic books), music and fashion. Anime Expo is a non-stop marathon of Japanese pop culture that’s been likened to Halloween in July.

To stay updated on all of the latest Anime Expo 2011 news, follow us on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook and check us out on YouTube.

About Anime Expo

Held annually in Los Angeles, Anime Expo is North America’s largest anime and manga celebration. Anime Expo gives fans the rare opportunity to meet and hear from some of the most famous anime, manga and musical artists from Japan and get into the action through everything from costume play, karaoke and video competitions to exclusive screenings, non-stop video gaming competitions and the wildly popular Masquerade, in which fans transform themselves into their favorite characters through creative costuming, accessories and make-up and put on their own show before an audience of thousands. AX 2011 will be held July 1 – July 4, 2011 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. To register or for more information, please visit www.anime-expo.org.

Rush Limbaugh's Undeniable Truths of Life

Rush Limbaugh's Original 35 Undeniable Truths of Life:

1. The greatest threat to humanity lies in the nuclear arsenal of the USSR.

2. The greatest threat to humanity lies in the USSR.

3. Peace does not mean the elimination of nuclear weapons.

4. Peace does not mean the absence of war.

5. War is not obsolete.

6. Ours is a world governed by the aggressive use of force.

7. There is only one way to get rid of nuclear weapons - use them.

8. Peace cannot be achieved by developing a "understanding" with the Russian People.

9.When Americans oppose America, it is not always courageous and sacred; it is sometimes dangerous.

10. Communism Kills.

11. Neither the US, nor anyone else, imposes freedom on the peoples of other nations.

12. Freedom is God given.

13. In the USSR, peace means the absence of opposition.

14. To free peoples, peace means the absence of threats and the presence of justice.

15. The Peace Movement in the US, whether by accident or design, is pro-Communist.

16. The collective knowledge and wisdom of seasoned citizens is the most valuable, yet untapped, resource our young-people have.

17. The greatest football team in the history of civilization is the Pittsburgh Steelers of 1975-1980.

18. There is no such thing as war atrocities.

19. War itself is an atrocity.

20. There is a God.

21. Abortion is wrong.

22. Morality is not defined and cannot be defined by individual choice.

23. Evolution cannot explain Creation.

24. Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society.

25. Love is the only human emotion that cannot be controlled.

26. The only difference between Mikhail Gorbachev and previous Soviet leaders, is that Gorbachev is alive.

28. Soviet Leaders are just left-wing dictators.

29. Abe Lincoln saved this nation.

30. The L.A. Raiders will never be the team that they were when they called Oakland their home.

31. The US will again go to war. (Remember: Rush wrote this 3 years before the Gulf War.)

32. To more and more people, a victorious US is a sinful US. This is frightening and ominous.

33. There will always be poor people.

34. This is not the fault of the rich.

35. You should thank God for making you an American; and instead of feeling guilty about it, help spread our ideas worldwide.

Rush Limbaugh's Updated Undeniable Truths

Rush has updated this list in 1994 as many of the "old" UTOL having become somewhat dated:

1. There is a distinct singular American culture - rugged individualism and self-reliance - which made America great.

2. The vast majority of the rich in this country did not inherit their wealth; they earned it. They are the country's achievers, producers, and job creators.

3. No nation has ever taxed itself into prosperity.

4. Evidence refutes liberalism.

5. There is no such thing as a New Democrat.

6. The Earth's eco-system is not fragile.

7. Character matters; leadership decends from character.

8. The most beautiful thing about a tree is what you do with it after you cut it down.

9. Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of the twentieth century.

10. The 1980s was not a decade of greed but a decade of prosperity; it was the longest period of peacetime growth in American history.

11. Abstinence prevents sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy - every time it's tried.

12. Condoms only work during the school year.

13. Poverty is not the root ("rut") cause of crime.

14. There's a simple way to solve the crime problem: obey the law; punish those who do not.

15. If you commit a crime, you are guilty.

16. Women should not be allowed on juries where the accused is a stud. (In response to the hung jury in the Menendez brothers trial)

17. The way to improve our schools is not more money, but the reintroduction of moral and spiritual values, as well as the four "R's":reading, 'riting, 'rithmatic, and Rush.

18. I am not arrogant.

19. My first 35 Undeniable Truths are still undeniable.

I'll add one of my own. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan in 1980:

20. A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Barack Obama loses his.

The Caretaker of Mountain View Cemetery

Above, at the urn of George "Superman" Reeves.

In November 2005, actress Noel Neill celebrated her 85th birthday at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in Studio City. Fans from around the country converged to celebrate.

The next day, since everyone was in town, I led them on the first-ever George Reeves tour. Stops included his house in Benedict Canyon where Reeves died on June 16, 1959, his boyhood home in Pasadena and Mountain View Cemetery, where he now rests in the mausoleum between his mother and aunt (photo below). We had about 4-5 carloads of Adventures of Superman fans participate on the tour.

The Los Angeles Times has a story today on the caretaker of Mountain View Cemetery, "Between The Sacred and the Mundane." George gets a mention in the article.

To read the article go here.

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