"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, September 30, 2012

Fox News: Travel In James Bond's Footsteps

Above, Gert Frobe and Sean Connery at Stoke Park Golf Club in England.

Lonely Planet's Robert Reid takes a look at the iconic locations that James Bond fans can travel to.

To see the video, go here.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Powerful Typhoon To Hit Japan's Kanto Region Late Sunday

Above, heavy rains from typhoon Jelawat is expected to hit Akihabara, Tokyo  late Sunday.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan is in the peak typhoon season with a big one currently bearing down.

According to Jiji Press:

Tokyo, Sept. 29 (Jiji Press)--A powerful typhoon is likely to reach the Kanto region including Tokyo late on Sunday after hitting Okinawa Prefecture on Saturday, the Meteorological Agency said.

The 17th typhoon this year, named Jelawat, engulfed Okinawa's main island in its storm zone. Trucks and passenger cars were rolled over in Naha, while 4,206 households were instructed to evacuate in Nago and Higashi.

What's the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?

According to Hurricane Center.com:

According to the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, a “hurricane” and a “typhoon” are simply different names for a “tropical cyclone.”

Most typhoons hit Japan between May and October. The period of August and September is the peak season.  The subject of typhoons is covered in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan on page 13.

To read the full article, go here

Romney Needs To Approach Debates As A Fighter

The first of three presidential debates between President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney is coming up this week.

If Romney is to make any inroads in this campaign, he has to go in as a fighter, not as a lamb as Sen. John McCain did in 2008.  McCain blew opportunities to put Obama away.

Romney has the advantage going into next week's debate as he had several debates during the Republican primaries and became a better debater and candidate as a result (although some within the GOP ranks are grousing that he is still a "poor" candidate).  Frankly, I think Romney's skills as a candidate are far superior than McCain's.

But we shall see as the debates begin.

British Airways and Japan Airlines Launch Joint Venture

Above, the Wako Department Store in Ginza.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

British Airways and Japan Airlines have announced a new joint venture.

Japan Today reports:

TOKYO —Japan Airlines (JAL) and British Airways will begin a joint business agreement with the two airlines sharing revenue on applicable flights between Europe and Japan. 
The joint business, which starts on Monday, will benefit customers by providing better links between Japan and Europe, greater choice of flights to more destinations, enhanced frequent flyer benefits and the potential to launch new routes. 
JAL and British Airways, both members of the oneworld alliance, have been forging ever closer ties in their evolution to the joint business. Earlier this month, JAL and British Airways began offering codeshare flights between Tokyo (Haneda and Narita) and London (Heathrow). 

Japan is a popular destination of British citizens, and quite a number are residents in Japan.  There are many British-style pubs in Tokyo (actress Shelley Sweeney introduced me to one of them).

This comes at an opportune time for British fans of Japanese monster fans who want to visit locations and landmarks from Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies.  The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan has seen good sales.  The United Kingdom has been number two in sales of the travel guide outside of the United States.  The United Kingdom's Amazon website is now carrying the guide in its Kindle Store.

To view the full article, go here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

First JapanTourist Article

Above, the Saikai Bridge in Kyushu, Japan.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The first article for JapanTourist has been posted.

It is about the Saikai Bridge near Sasebo City, Kyushu, Japan.  I used a 2007 article on the bridge and re-worked it for JapanTourist.

Fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies will recognize the bridge from the movie Rodan (1956).  JapanTourist should be a great conduit to present kaiju-related locations to tourists who are also monster fans.

To view the article, go here.

Edgar Rice Burroughs - Tarzan Postage Stamp

Last month, a commemorative postage stamp honor Edgar Rice Burroughs was issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

According to the USPS website (August 16, 2012):

TARZANA, CA — The U.S. Postal Service will honor tomorrow one of the most prolific authors of the early 20th century and inventor of the iconic character Tarzan with the issuance of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Forever Stamp. 
The stamp issuance coincides with the 100th anniversary of the publication of Burroughs’ first story, Under the Moons of Mars, and his first Tarzan story, Tarzan of the Apes, in 1912. 
The Edgar Rice Burroughs Forever Stamp will be dedicated tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. PT at the Tarzana Community and Cultural Center in Tarzana, CA, and will go on sale tomorrow at Post Offices nationwide, online at usps.com and by phone at 800-782-6724. 
Best known for inventing the legendary character Tarzan,Burroughs wrote more than 70 books, including historical fiction and several popular series of science fiction tales.
I finally got my hands on a few of the stamps today and posted a scan of them at top.  Burroughs once owned a ranch in the San Fernando Valley, Tarzana Ranch, for which the community (part of the City of Los Angeles) of Tarzana (my base of operations) is named.

Here is the news article from the Daily News of the stamp's unveiling.

Patrick Caddell: Media Has Become "An Enemy of the People"

Patrick Caddell, former pollster for Jimmy Carter, gave a speech stating, in no uncertain terms, that the press has become an "enemy of the people."

To see some of Caddell's speech, go here.

A Message To President Obama

Thanks to Michael Reagan for passing this on!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Benghazi-gate Cover-up

The Obama Administration has not been forthcoming with the truth on the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya which resulted in the murder of  U.S. Ambassador John Christopher Stevens and three security personnel.

For weeks, the Obama Administration has been blaming the attack on a dumb YouTube anti-Islam video.  They claimed that it was "spontaneous" so that their glaring failure to beef up security at our embassies on September 11.

Fox News reports:

Fresh claims that U.S. intelligence officials knew practically from the start that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was terrorism possibly tied to Al Qaeda have lawmakers alleging they were misled and questioning whether the administration has something to hide.

"This is turning into something not short of Benghazi-gate," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told Fox News, adding he's "very suspicious" about the way the administration has handled this.

Two senior U.S. officials told Fox News on Thursday that U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault that it was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda-tied elements were involved.

The account sharply conflicted with claims by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on the Sunday after the attack that the administration believed the strike was a "spontaneous" event triggered by protests in Egypt over an anti-Islam film.
The story was fishy from the start.  First, it was claimed that protesters got out of hand and attacked the "safe house" the ambasssador was at.  Since when do "protesters" bring rocket launchers to a protest?  Then, it was claimed that the protest was "spontaneous" over an amateur video attacking Islam.  But the video has been on YouTube since July.  They just decided to "protest" on the 11th anniversary of the attacks in New York and the Pentagon?  Not likely.

To be blunt, Obama and Susan Rice lied!

The Administration dropped the ball in not heightening security at our embassies for the anniversary of 9/11.  Obama is more interested in the election campaign than doing his job.  It is obvious that Obama and his administration are engaged in a cover-up!

Obama wanted this to be a spontaneous incident, but the facts show that his foreign policy of appeasement is a failure.

Anybody who votes to re-elect Obama would have to be a total idiot!

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/27/lawmakers-uspicious-administration-trying-to-hide-libya-attack-details/#ixzz27iAgeAgT

News From Tony Strickland For Congress

Just yesterday, Julia Brownley sent out a message to her supporters urging them to help her raise another $40,000 in just four days to let Super PACs know they aren’t welcome in Ventura County.

It’s hypocrisy at its worst. Julia Brownley was hand-picked by Nancy Pelosi to move from Los Angeles in order to advance her agenda in Congress. And right after she did, Nancy Pelosi’s Super PAC launched a $1 million dollar campaign to smear Ventura County leader Linda Parks with some of the most dishonest and shameful tactics one can imagine.

Now, we’ve learned that Pelosi’s Super PAC is at it again, buying almost $1 million dollars in commercials that are sure to be filled with the same deceit we saw them use against Linda.

Please click here and tell Julia Brownley and Nancy Pelosi that Ventura County deserves an independent voice in Congress.

Onwards to victory,

Copyright © 2012 Strickland for Congress 2012, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
80 Wood Rd N
Suite 304-B
Camarillo, CA 93010
Can you spell hypocrite?

Japan Travel Today's Post On Monster Japan Travel Guide

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

The blog Japan Travel Today picked up an early review of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

It has been posted since November 2010, but it was just brought to my attention.  It doesn't seem to be an active site as of late, but any and all promotions are welcome.

To view the site, go here.

Herbert Lom Dies At 95

Above,  Herbert Lom (left) with Peter Sellers.

Another great actor has passed away.

The New York Times reports:

Herbert Lom, the versatile Czech-born actor who could play Napoleon Bonaparte or a witch hunter with equal aplomb but who was perhaps best known as Peter Sellers’s frustrated boss in the “Pink Panther” franchise, died on Thursday at his home in London. He was 95. 

To read the full article, go here.

Chief Inspector Dreyfus: "Don't just stand there, idiot. Call a doctor. And then help me find my nose."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tohoku, Sendai Planning New Tourism Campaign

Above, Sendai Station, featured in two kaiju movies.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A new campaign to bring back international tourists to the Tohoku region and Sendai is planned for next year.

According to TTG Asia:

THE city of Sendai, Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization, Japan Railways and inbound travel experts in the Tohoku region are coming together to roll out a rejuvenated Welcome to Sendai campaign from April to June 2013, in the hope of regaining tourism numbers. 
Campaign details were still being worked out at press time but are expected to be ready by year-end. Unlike the first Welcome to Sendai campaign held in 2008, which was only targeted at the local market, the second edition will have more international appeal as the global audience comes into the cross hairs this time, with Asia as its core focus, said Sendai City’s economic affairs bureau senior officer, Osamu Arakida. 
The campaign aims to show that Sendai City, the largest city in Tohoku, is safe from harmful radiation and that business is as usual after last year’s earthquake and tsunami, said Arakida, who revealed that foreign arrivals to Sendai dipped from 90,000 in 2010 to 24,000 last year.
 To read the full article, go here.

Busy Night

Above, the Godzilla statue in Hibiya, Tokyo.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last night was a busy one.

First, I was getting my first article for JapanTourist completed, formatted and submitted.  As mentioned previously, I have signed on as a contributor for the new Japan tourism database.

Then, I was working on locating and contacting some Japanese actresses for an East Coast convention set for next year.  Interestingly, during this process, I was told by good friend Masaharu Ina of Toho Cinemas that it has been around 90 degrees at midnight in Tokyo.  Wow!  And I thought it was hot in the San Fernando Valley!

I accomplished what I set out to do and sent out "feeler" messages to the actresses inviting them to be convention guests.  Now the waiting begins!

In relation to the convention, I did get confirmation on a special guest.  I have to wait until the convention organizers release the news before I can say anything.  Stay tuned!

Biased News Media Heads Hit With Open Letter

An Open Letter to the Biased News Media:

This election year, so much of the broadcast networks, their cable counterparts, and the major establishment print media are out of control with a deliberate and unmistakable leftist agenda. To put it bluntly: you are rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome. In the quarter century since the Media Research Center was established to document liberal media bias, there has never been a more brazen and complete attempt by the liberal so-called “news” media to decide the outcome of an election.

A free and balanced media are crucial to the health of this country. It is your duty as journalists – as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics – to “distinguish between advocacy and news reporting,” while simultaneously “seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.”

There is a reason why the media are viewed with such disdain by the American public, as evidenced by every recent poll on the issue.

You have breached the public trust by willfully turning a blind eye to the government’s public policy failures, both domestic and foreign, while openly and shamefully smearing Gov. Mitt Romney. You are:

• Painting conservative ideas as extreme, while refusing to report the disastrous consequences of liberal programs enacted since 2008.

• Submerging the truly horrendous economic conditions America is facing and focusing only on minor political issues.

• Characterizing conservatives as cruel budget “slashers” instead of responsible officials trying to avoid a debt catastrophe.

• Focusing on alleged shortcomings in Romney’s business record instead of Obama’s record as the chief executive, whose policies contributed to a failed economy.

• Deliberately covering up embarrassing government failures and scandals, including the Solyndra debacle, Fast & Furious, and national security leaks which have put American lives in jeopardy.

• Pouncing on real and perceived missteps by conservatives, portraying them as bumbling incompetents, while suppressing embarrassing and incendiary remarks made by Vice President Joe Biden to prevent him from becoming a liability.

• Portraying conservative opposition to tax hikes as an impediment to deficit reduction while failing to highlight how liberal tax increase policies will cause massive damage to the economy and cause the deficit to explode.

• “Fact-checking” conservatives in order to discredit their arguments while regularly refusing to "fact-check" liberals who are distorting the truth.

We the undersigned – representing millions of Americans from our respective organizations – are now publicly urging our members to seek out alternative sources of political news in order to make an intelligent, well-informed decision on November 6.

It is time the American people turn you who are offending off, once and for all. You have betrayed their trust.


L. Brent Bozell, III
Media Research Center

Gary Bauer
Campaign for American Values

Kenneth Blackwell
Hon.J. Kenneth Blackwell
Former, U.S. ambassador
U.N. Human Rights Commission

Morton Blackwell,
The Weyrich Lunch

David Bozell
Executive Director
For America

Brian Brown
National Organization for Marriage

Al Cardenas
American Conservative Union

Colin Hanna
Let Freedom Ring

Laura Ingraham
National Radio Host

Matt Kibbe
President and CEO

Amy Kremer
Tea Party Express

Curt Levey
Committee for Justice

Mark Levin
Author and National Radio Host

Rush Limbaugh
National Radio Host

Jenny Beth Martin
Tea Party Patriots

Ed Meese III
Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy,
Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies
Heritage Foundation

Mike Needham
Chief Executive Officer
Heritage Action

Karl Otteson
U. S. Federation of Small Businesses Inc

William Pascoe
Executive Vice President
Citizens for the Republic

Tony Perkins
Family Research Council

Alfred S. Regnery
Paul Revere Project

Mathew D. Staver
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel

Richard Viguerie
Conservative HQ.com

Related story.

Andy Williams Dies At 84

Sad news.

People.com reported:

Andy Williams, whose corn-fed good looks, easygoing charm and smooth rendition of "Moon River" propelled him to the heights of music stardom in the early '60s, died Tuesday at his home in Branson, Mo., following a battle with bladder cancer, his family announced.

He was 84, and 2012 had marked his 75th year in showbiz. Williams is survived by his wife Debbie and his three children, Robert, Noelle and Christian.

It is interesting that Williams was a Republican, but was a good friend of late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

To read the full article, go here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

JapanTourist Takes On A New Contributor

Armand is now a contributor to JapanTourist, a new website that focuses on attractions to see in Japan.

JapanTourist Mission Statement

JapanTourist aims to become the largest and most trusted reference website for travel to Japan, by creating content and a software platform that facilitates sharing and being shared.

JapanTourist is published by Metropolis, Japan's No 1 English magazine.

JapanTourist is fast becoming the largest web database of English-language travel articles in Japan, and currently is Japan's only travel site to use a fully enabled English-language user reviews engine. The site is also unique for other reasons:
  • We offer rewards to contributors who are providing us with substantial articles and photos (versus simple comments)
  • "We" are actually a network of more than 30 partners (more coming) who are representing the whole of Japan, not just Tokyo and other big cities
  • We are co-opting contributors who know Japan best - local Japanese and resident foreigners - to provide the stories
  • We are partnering with major web portals which are hungry for properly licenced, easily available content
Our goal over the next 12 months is to create a massive database of more than 10,000 articles, photos, and videos, and to become the primary hub for travel information in Japan.

Kamakura Under Consideration As A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Above, Armand at the Great Buddha of Kamakura.

Japan may have another site listed as a UNESCO "World Heritage Site" if a group of experts agree.

Japan Today.com reports:

TOKYO —A panel of experts from UNESCO inspected Kamakura on Tuesday as part of a process to decide whether or not the city will be listed as a World Heritage Site. 
In February, the Japanese government submitted a request to UNESCO to register Mt Fuji and Kamakura as World Heritage sites in 2013. 
I visited some of Kamakura's historical sites in 2004, including the Great Buddha of Kamakura.

To read the full article, go here.

New Ad Style

A new ad style for the Amazon.com Kindle Store edition of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan surfaced.

It is vertical and I was only able to get 2/3 of it copied.

Bob Eggleton Kaiju T-Shirts and Other Goodies From Famous Monsters' Captain Company

Dear Famous Monster,

The highly anticipated Rick Baker Frankenstein and Bob Eggleton Kaiju t-shirts have arrived at Captain Company! Lianne Spiderbaby lets you know what to look for at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights! THE AVENGERS hits Blu-ray & DVD, bringing some cool posters with it!

NOW IN STOCK!! T-shirts and full zip hoodies adorned with Rick Baker's breathtaking Frankenstein cover art
from issue #257! Get your hoodie today and THE SHIPPING IS FREE!
Bigger and badder than ever, GAMERA and GODZILLA face off on the front of our stylish t-shirt featuring the epic Clash of the Kaiju cover art by the great Bob Eggleton! Get yours today!
As the Halloween season (ie. the entire month of October as far as I'm concerned) nears, attractions and costume outlets pop up all over. Whether you live in the middle of nowhere or right in Los Angeles, there is bound to be a new pumpkin patch or a haunted house popping up nearby just in time to get you in the mood for your favorite holiday. My desire to be completely immersed in Halloween started early Friday night with the official opening of Hollywood's Universal Studios' HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS. You can check this attraction out in Hollywood, CA, or Orlando, FL, but is it worth your time? [READ MORE]
THE AVENGERS have debuted four posters that will be available only to fans who purchase the film in any of its various editions (3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, etc.). The posters include three by Matthew Ferguson and one by Mark Bagley, based on his Avengers Assemble #1 cover. [READ MORE]

Media Contact:
Famous Monsters of Filmland
P.O. Box 19123
Encino, CA 91416

About Famousmonsters.com
Famousmonsters.com represents the web entity of Famous Monsters of Filmland. Visitors can quickly and easily navigate between op-eds, video, news and reviews from our staff, exclusive interviews and columns from industry insiders and professionals, photo galleries, and much more.
FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND (words and distinctive lettering design) is a registered trademark of Philip Kim. Reproduction or use of the FM name or logo in any manner, including but not limited to internet "tribute" sites without express prior written permission from the trademark owner is strictly prohibited. All contents of website ©2008 Philip Kim. For more information visit: www.famousmonsters.com.

Japan Tourism Hit By China Dispute and Dollar Falls Below 78 Yen

Above, tour boats in Nakasaki.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Japanese tourism industry is being hit by a double-whammy.

First, Sino-Japanese tensions are growing over a territorial dispute over a group of small East China Sea islands. This dispute between China and Japan is causing a flurry of cancellations of Chinese tour and hotel reservations in Japan. This move by the Chinese government unfairly punishes the Japanese tourism industry as tourism businesses have nothing to do with the matter.

Next, the dollar faltered against the yen in Tokyo today.  This makes Japanese vacations and goods more expensive as the dollar is not buying as much yen in exchange as it did a few years ago.

Jiji Press reported:

Tokyo, Sept. 25 (Jiji Press)--The dollar fell below 78 yen in Tokyo trading Tuesday, as investors snapped up the yen as a safe-haven currency, chiefly against the euro, amid lingering concerns over the course of the global economy.
At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at 77.76-76 yen, down from 78.07-11 yen at the same time Monday.
It appears that neither of these problems will be resolved anytime soon.

Beach Boys' Mike Love "Up To His Old Tricks"

Above, Brian Wilson.

Fans of the Beach Boys were pleased that the surviving members of the original group joined forces for a 50th anniversary tour.

Unfortunately, all things eventually come to an end.  Mike Love, who has legal control of the Beach Boys name, decided that the "good vibrations" of this past year should end.  There is disagreement over that.

Somethingelsereviews.com reports:

Through the news release issued by the Beach Boys tried to portray their latest split as a planned event following a celebrated 50th anniversary album and tour, new comments from ousted leader Brian Wilson tell a different story. 
Mike Love, it’s now clear, has decided to retake a central role in the Beach Boys, having led an offshoot group that only includes second-generation member Bruce Johnston for the last 14 years. Wilson, in new comments to CNN, says Love told him in no uncertain terms that Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks — the only other surviving original members of the Beach Boys — were not welcome. Seems Love thinks too many shows with them will dilute the reunion concept’s impact.
Over the years, Love has garnered the reputation of being an egotist.  I attended Hawthorne High School about ten years after the Wilson brothers (Brian, Carl and Dennis) and the old timers with the school's alumni group constantly complain about Love and his ego.  The general reaction concerning this story is, "Mike Love is up to his old tricks!"

Al Jardine has set up an online petition to keep Brian, Al and David on the tour.

To read the full article, go here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Japan Airports: Duty-Free Shops May Open In Arrival Areas

Above, shops at Narita Airport's departure area.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's some possible good news if a plan for Narita Airport and other Japan airports is approved.

News On Japan reports:

The tourism ministry plans to allow duty-free shops to open outlets in the arrival area at Narita Airport and other international airports to enable travelers to buy duty-free goods before going through entry procedures, ministry sources said.
This, if approved, will mean that travelers entering Japan can purchase tobacco, alcohol and cosmetics at the airport.

However, one would think that prices for these items would be cheaper in town.  But visitors must keep in mind the limits certain items have when leaving the country.

To read the full article, go here.

Julia Brownley Is Useless; Elect Tony Strickland U.S. Congress

Above, Tony Strickland.

Three years ago, I wrote to Democrat State Assemblywoman Julia Brownley about sponsoring Kelsey's Law (or Kelsey Smith Act) in California.

It is a proposed law that would have cell phone providers provide cell phone ping data to law enforcement agencies in emergencies (such as kidnappings).  It is named for Kelsey Smith of Overland Park, Kansas, who was kidnapped from a Target store and later found murdered in Missouri.  Her body was found 45 minutes after the cell phone provider gave law enforcement officials the data on Smith's last cell phone pings.

Three years have gone by and Assemblywoman Brownley still has not responded to my query.  Instead, she is running for Congress in the 26th District in Ventura County.  She is up against State Sen. Tony Strickland.

If this is the kind of service Brownley provides constituents, then she'd be better off retired.  She's useless!

I would suggest voting for State Senator Tony Strickland for U.S. Congress in the 26th Congressional District in Ventura County.

Backstabbing Pundits

One has to wonder about some of the so-called conservative pundits who are out there badmouthing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  Do they want Obama in the White House for another four years?

Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard called Romney "arrogant" and "stupid" the other day over Romney's 47% comment.   Kristol is an elitist establishment type who, according to talk show host Mike Gallagher, tries to curry favor with the Matt Laurer's (of NBC's Today Show) of the MSM.

Another pundit from the Beltway is former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan.  On September 21, she wrote (in the Wall Street Journal) about the Romney campaign:

This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant "rolling calamity." 

Well, if coming from behind in Gallup Polls to be currently even with Obama, the Romney campaign seems to be on the right track.  I don't recall Noonan (or Kristol) ever running any political campaign to have the expertise to be judging the Romney campaign.

This prompted Romney surrogate John Sununu to quip,  "I wouldn't hire Peggy Noonan to run a campaign."

Airfare For LAX To NRT: L.A. Times Comes In $200 More Than Last Week!

Above, Shin-Saikai Bridge in Kyushu.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The September 23 edition of the Los Angeles Times containing the Sunday Travel section shows that the paper hasn't found any better prices for airfares between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Narita Airport (NRT) since last week.  As indicated in a recent blog post, I found fares much lower ($450-$495).
In this edition, the lowest round-trip airfare found was $1,844.00 for these airlines: All Nippon (ANA), American, Delta, Japan Airlines (JAL), Singapore Airlines and United.  This is $200 worse than the price published on September 16 ($1,644.00)!

Again, as in their previous survey, Korean Airlines was not included.

Japan Times Review of "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" At Google+

The Japan Times review of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan made its way to Google+.

It was posted (it appears) on May 29, but I only found it this morning.

To view it, go here.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Richard Sheffield, R.I.P.

Richard Sheffield, fan and friend of actor Bela Lugosi, has reportedly passed away, according to the Classic Horror Film Board Forum.

According to this write-up at Heritage Auctions:

[Sheffield] met his idol one Saturday at the fading star's modest apartment. Although Lugosi was failing, Sheffield sensed the power of the old magic (as well as the man's genuine charm and kindness) and fell under his formidable spell. He became the star's devoted acolyte for the last three years of Lugosi's life, and throughout the actor's final real-life melodramas -- including his drug addiction, alcoholism, and final (and stormy) marriage. (He even watched Bela acting his never-finished role in his posthumously released Plan 9 from Outer Space.)

Forbes: Comikaze Expo "A Rousing Success"

Above, artist Neal Adams at Comikaze Expo.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Forbes.com has an article on last weekend's Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The article starts with:

More than 50,000 people attended last weekend’s comic book/gaming/sci-fi/horror convention, Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, at the LA Convention Center. Debuting in 2011 with the largest first-time attendance of any comic book convention in history, this year’s convention definitely built on that success and featured a great roster of guests, exhibitors, and events. I was there and got some great pictures of guests, events, plus fanboys and fangirls decked out in their best cosplay — so read on and enjoy!

The article spotlights the writer's fondness for comic book legend Neal Adams.

To "read and enjoy" the full article, go here.

Japan Airfares: The Case of the Missing Airline, Etc.

Above, Shibuya Station.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Labor Day weekend is generally considered to be the end of the summer vacation season, and that's when airfares are supposed to start to drop in price.

I was perusing the Los Angeles Times Travel section (September 16) for what they consider to be the lowest airfares to Tokyo, Japan (Narita Airport or NRT) .  Well, if their search results for the lowest airfares are any indication, fares haven't begun to drop.  Then again, I don't have much faith in the Times's research.

The Times checks airfares on Thursdays, the day before the Travel section goes to press.
In previous blog posts, I checked to see if I could beat the Times's lowest airfares and each time I've done so, I've found cheaper (much cheaper) airfares from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Tokyo (NRT).

The airlines the Times Travel section currently cited are All Nippon (ANA), American, Delta, Japan Airlines (JAL), Singapore Airlines and United.  Curiously, they did not cite Korean Air, which consistently comes in much cheaper (in my experience) than the aforementioned airlines.  Interesting.

The airfare the Times gives as the lowest is $1,644.00.  I found it interesting that this price for the aforementioned airlines is more expensive than the prices given for Hong Kong which is $1,394.00 - $1,574.00.  These prices vary due to differing fuel surcharges on different airlines.

They use the Sabre reservation system, the airlines and the Web.
Doing my own checking (via Travelocity, Priceline, Expedia, GatewayLAX), I found the lowest round-trip airfares from LAX to NRT to be from Malaysia Airlines at $450.00 (not including taxes and fees).  The second lowest round-trip price was from Singapore Airlines at $495.00 (not including taxes and fees).

If I can find these (much-lower) prices, why can't the Los Angeles Times?

Japan Tourism Numbers Surge In August

Above, the Bandai Bridge in Niigata.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Japan tourism numbers for August is making a lot of people smile within the Japanese tourism industry.  The August numbers are now out.

The Japan Times reported:

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in August surged 42 percent from a year earlier to an estimated 776,000 — the second-highest figure for the reporting month, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Friday. 
The figure is 3.3 percent lower than in August 2010, when the monthly record was set, it said.

 To read the full article, go here.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Since the shuttle Endeavor's arrival in L.A. was delayed an hour, this forced me to change plans.  I went up to the top of Mulholland Park in Tarzana to view the shuttle.  Unfortunately, we only caught a few seconds glimpse of it flying over the Getty Center before it disappeared behind a ridge (above, behind those other shuttle-watchers).  So, I have to settle for this shot from the television screen (below).  I should have stuck to my original plan to remain in the Burbank Hills.

However, attorney Thomas Cotrel did manage to take this photo from his cell phone (below) from his office in Burbank.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Cotrel.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

John Wayne and Ronald Reagan Talk GOTV (1966)

Here's a stroll down "Memory Lane."  It is a video of John Wayne and Ronald Reagan talking GOTV (Get Out The Vote).  It was produced in 1966 by the Los Angeles County Republican Central Committee with the Republican State Central Committee of California.

Endeavor Arrives In Los Angeles Tomorrow

Photo: NASA

Tomorrow's the day when space shuttle Endeavor lands at Los Angeles International Airport.

After a tour of the Bay Area and Sacramento, the shuttle will enter Los Angeles airspace at around 10:30 tomorrow morning.

This link will provide the flyover spots of Endeavor (atop a modified Boeing 747) for best viewing.  As it will fly over Griffith Park Observatory and Universal City, I will remain in the Burbank Hills after work with my camera to get an excellent hilltop view.

Western Farm Press: Regulations Are A Financial Noose For Small Producers

Source: Western Farm Press

  • Buttonwillow, Calif., farmer Jason Selvidge says every year state and federal governments pile more and more regulations on agriculture. It appears government is intentionally trying to drive agriculture out of business, he believes.
Government regulations impact all agricultural-related operations (farms, processors, shippers, etc.) regardless of size. Larger operations often hire employees to strictly work to ensure the farming enterprise complies with government requirements, Selvidge says. The costs are often spread out across the larger operation. 
Yet smaller farmers — the same ones government says it wants to protect — are actually hardest hit financially by regulations. 
"Everyone loves to hear about small farms and the need for the small family farmer," Selvidge says. "What really happens when government develops regulations and the related rules is overhead costs are driven higher which in turn drives smaller farmers out of business faster. They cannot financially handle the regulations."

To read the full article, go here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Obama Has Time For This Nonsense, But...

Obama has time for this nonsense, but no time to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu!

Sales Up!

Sales for the Amazon.com Kindle Store edition of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan are doing great!

No wonder, the Amazon ad for the travel guide is still popping up at the Drudge Report and elsewhere:


*Quantcast counted 941 million of them...

Happy Birthday, Adam West!

Above, Adam West at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles last weekend.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Adam West, who gained international fame as the Caped Crusader in the 1960s camp classic, Batman, turned 84 today.

West was born William West Anderson on September 19, 1928 in Seattle, Washington.

He appeared at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo last weekend in Los Angeles.

Monster Japan Travel Guide Ebook Available To United Kingdom's Fans

Our British cousins, who are also fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies, are able to pick up the ebook edition of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan through their own Amazon source, Amazon.co.uk.

Next to the U.S. Amazon.com web store, the Amazon.co.uk Kindle Store is also doing brisk business on the travel guide.

So, if you are a resident of the United Kingdom and want to pick up the ebook edition, go here.

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