"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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Friday, September 30, 2016

Road Trip To Metropolis Stops

Above, The Beast at Manzanar Relocation Camp during the Owens Valley trip. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The road trip to Metropolis, Illinois for Noel Neill's celebration of life services is just about set.

Heading over, I will be mainly on Interstate 40. Heading back, I will mainly be on Interstate 70. I will be staying at campgrounds or RV parks in The Beast. It should be a fun and interesting trip.

Unfortunately, the "World's Largest Ball of Twine" in Cawker City, Kansas is a little too far north and out of the way from Interstate 70 to warrant a stop.

Some of the stops heading over include:

Williams, Arizona
Meteor Crater

New Mexico:

Elk City/Clinton
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton


Fort Massac State Park*
Super Museum*
Lincoln Museum, tomb, home**
Heading back, stops include:

Beale Street
Civil Rights Museum

Kansas (or Missouri):
Kansas City
Overland Park (KS)
Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Mesa Verde National Park

Monument Valley

Navajo Indian Reservation
Grand Canyon National Park

* While in Metropolis.
**During the return trip home.

Judgment Final Today!

Above, yours truly and Scott aboard the Blue Hawaiian Helicopters tour.

The Small Claims Court judgment against Jacquese Scott is final today.

Legally, she now has to pay up or collection action(s) would commence.

The total due now is $878.25.

Scott has elected to pay me though the court (which is an option she is allowed to do).

According to the online Case Summary:
Histories (Dates listed in descending order)
09/26/2016 Request to Pay Judgment to Court; Filed by: Jacquese Antoinette Scott (Defendant) 
09/26/2016 Invoice: Small Claims Pay Jdgmt to Court Fee-Pmt of jdgmt to ct-CCP 116.860; Fee: $20.00; Payment: 20.00 Receipt: VE-2016-0004421 (Check); Balance: $0.00; 
09/26/2016 Trust Deposit: Civil Trust Account; Amount: $885.49 Receipt: VE-2016-0004421 (Check); Party: Jacquese Antoinette Scott (Defendant)

The court will be sending the judgment amount notice:  "Judgment Creditor's Request for Funds" (a portion of Form SC-145, the Request to Pay Judgment to Court).

I am actually pleasantly surprised that she took care of this right away. I have to give her kudos for that.

Jerry Brown Signs Stupid "Collectibles: Sale of Autographed Memorabilia" Bill

Above, autographs from actresses Michelle Bauer, Brinke
Stevens and President Ronald Reagan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Special thanks to actress Brinke Stevens for the head's up and article link!

The "nanny statists" of California have done it again!

The Democrat-controlled state legislature passed and Gov. Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown signed into law AB1570, "Collectibles: Sale of Autographed Memorabilia" into law. It goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

Here's what Eureka Books has to say about the law:
On September 9, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB1570 Collectibles: Sale of Autographed Memorabilia into law. 
The law requires dealers in any autographed material to provide certificates of authenticity (COA) for signed item sold for $5 or more. 
The idea is to crack down on fraudulent autograph sales. “That sounds pretty reasonable,” you are probably thinking. I, too, can get behind the motive. 
Unfortunately for you, the consumer, the legislators never seem to have considered that buyers of autograph material eventually become sellers of autograph material. 
Let’s say you like to go to author events and get books signed. Eventually, your shelves fill up, and you want to trade books in at a shop like Eureka Books. 
Guess what? Remember that Certificate of Authenticity that sounded so reasonable? 
Well your name and address has to go on the certificate of authenticity because I (as the person issuing the COA) have to say where I got the book. This applies to signed books, artwork, and any other autographed items you own. 
[If you are concerned about this legislation, which goes into effect on January 1, 2017, please contact your state legislators]
Maybe you’d like to sell that Morris Graves painting you inherited. You send it to an auction house, where it sells for $40,000. Good for you. But did you supply a Certificate of Authenticity? What? Why do I have to issue a COA? What do I know about authenticating Morris Graves paintings?
Guess what? AB1570 requires YOU, as the owner of the painting, to guarantee its authenticity. And you don’t issue the COA? You can be liable for TEN TIMES damages, plus attorneys fees. Call it a cool half mill, because you didn’t know you were supposed to issue a COA.
Gee, I guess I'll have to provide a COA on the portrait painting Asya did of me! Especially if she becomes a famous artist!

This law, while it may be well-intentioned, is just plain stupid!

The author of the law was Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) (Why is a Republican writing such a "nanny state" law?). You may want to write to her to protest.

To read more, go here

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"We Were There When Nixon Met Elvis"

Above, Nixon and Elvis, one of the most requested photographs from the National Archives. National Archives photo.

Here's an interesting video of a discussion of how the historic meeting between President Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley at the White House took place.

Above, from left, Jerry Shilling, Bud Krogh and Timothy Naftali.

The video is posted on YouTube by the U.S. National Archives. The description of the video is as follows:
In commemoration of the 75th birthday of Elvis Presley, the National Archives presented a discussion about the meeting between Elvis and President Richard Nixon at the White House on December 21, 1970. Timothy Naftali, Director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, hosts a discussion with Egil Bud Krogh, Assistant to the Counsel to the President, and Jerry Schilling, veteran music industry professional and long-time friend of Elvis Presley. Krogh and Schilling were present in the Oval Office and now offer their eyewitness accounts of the meeting, along with on-screen projections of related photographs, memos, and correspondence in the holdings of the National Archives.

Visit Hakone

Above, a torii gate on the shore of Lake Ashi. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

12 years ago, the first G-TOUR spent the night in Hakone after the tour group enjoyed an evening of fireworks at Lake Kawaguchi near Mount Fuji.

The tour group enjoyed the Hakone area, including a cruise on Lake Ashi and riding the aerial tramway over the volcanic areas of Owakudani Valley.

City-Cost has an article on things to see and do in Hakone and how to get there from Tokyo.

They begin it with:
Hakone (箱根) must be one of the premier getaways for residents of Tokyo, as well as a Japan bucket list mainstay for travellers to this part of the world. Rightly so. Hakone has much to offer. Too much maybe. The visitor here is spoilt for choice; onsen, lake-based activities, bonkers outdoor art installations, Mt. Fuji views, history, Spartan marathon races, storied hotels, and hard-boiled eggs that come out black (the shells of eggs sold at Owakudani). This and plenty more.  
Visitors to Japan will find Hakone an interesting and enjoyable area to experience.

Godzilla fans are familiar with Hakone as the battleground between Godzilla and Baragon in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001). Hakone is spotlighted on page 36 of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

To read more, go here

One Year Ago...

It was a year ago today that our cat Siren passed away. She was 18 years old. She is still missed.

Above, Amber and Siren. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Juanita Broaddrick Responds To Chelsea Clinton: Best Comment!

To read the article, go here.

Japanese Hoteliers Urged To Hold Onto Tradition

Above, a Japanese-style ryokan room in Atami. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When people visit a foreign country, one of the main draws is to experience that country's traditional culture. Who wants to go somewhere that one could find the same in Indianapolis?

This was a topic at the recent JATA T-Expo.

According to Travel Daily Asia:
‘How do you make visitors stay more nights at your property?’ was one of the questions asked to Japanese hoteliers at the recent JATA T-Expo in Tokyo. 
In a symposium entitled ‘Diversifying destinations for sustainable growth’, a panel discussed the appeal of truly local experiences – in this case, Japanese activities like seeing monkeys bathing in hot springs, wearing Yukata pyjamas and Japanese-style sandals, pottery making and traditional archery. 
Owners of local ryokans – traditional Japanese guesthouses – also discussed how they had improved sales. 
Embracing culture differences was a key theme; sleeping on tatami mats was an attraction in itself, not a comfort problem.
 To read more, go here.

A New Tangle In The Yosemite Lawsuit

Above, the Ahwahnee Hotel, renamed the Majestic Yosemite Hotel due to the lawsuit. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The never-ending lawsuit by Delaware North against the federal government has taken another turn, adding more tangle to an already tangled case.

McClatchy DC reported:
WASHINGTON A legal battle over trademarked names at Yosemite National Park is now trickier than ever. 
In the latest twist, lawyers are fighting over whether the park’s new concession company should be formally added to the case. The Justice Department, representing the National Park Service, says yes. Delaware North, the former concession company, says no in the latest legal filing.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/crime/article104613361.html#storylink=cpy

Judgment Becomes Final Friday

Above, Scott in Hawaii. Photo by Armand Vaquer

The Small Claims Court judgment against Jacquese Scott becomes final Friday (September 30). That means I can begin collecting the judgment amount of $878.25.

According to the Court:
You are the judgment creditor (plaintiff or defendant) if you won the claim. The judgment becomes final 30 days after you receive the Notice of Entry of Judgment in court (SC-130) or the date it is mailed. If the defendant has not filed a Notice of Appeal (SC-140) or a Notice of Motion to Vacate Judgment and Declaration (SC-135) you may collect the judgment.
As Denise Santos (her "star witness") (and her "flying monkeys") and Scott do peruse this blog, notice is hereby given that the only acceptable methods of payment are by cash, a certified bank check or by a postal money order. No personal checks will be accepted.

The Court also says:
You should pay the judgment against you as soon as it becomes final. If you do not pay, the creditor can start collecting the judgment right away as long as: 
  1. The judgment has been entered. You can go to the court clerk’s office and check the court’s records to confirm that the judgment has been entered; and 
  2. There is no stay (suspension or postponement) on enforcement of the order because of an appeal, a stay from a bankruptcy, or other legal action.
Keep in mind that if you do not pay the judgment: 
  • The amount you owe will increase daily, since the judgment accumulates interest at the rate of 10 percent per year.
  • The creditor can get an order telling you to reimburse him or her for any reasonable and necessary costs of collection.
  • Your credit may be damaged because credit reporting agencies will know you have not paid the judgment when your name appears on the court's "Judgment Roll." This can make it difficult for you to get a loan, get a credit card, or even rent an apartment.

Since both Scott and her "star witness" chose to lie like rugs in court, I am not inclined to be lenient on this matter. Period. End of story.

The Small Claims Court action was for the front money for Scott's portion of the May Hawaii trip, of which she paid $600 of the total amount of $1,408.25. The additional $70.00 is for court costs.

A Record 84 Million Watched Trump-Clinton Debate

The first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump set a new record in the number of viewers.

According to the Japan Times:
NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES – The first presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump drew 84 million U.S. television viewers Monday night, a record for such an event and a number rarely seen in the age of digital streaming and social media. 
The audience beat the 1980 record of 80.6 million set by the Jimmy Carter-Ronald Reagan debate but fell short of the 100 million viewers some analysts had predicted.

To read more, go here

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Vote Rump!

A friend vacationing in Dublin, Ireland sent this from a hamburger joint there:

Most Snap Polls Have Trump Winning Debate By A Landslide

Well, it was to be expected that CNN's (Clinton News Network) darling Hillary Clinton would come out on top in their post-debate snap poll, but other networks' snap polls gave Donald Trump the winning nod.

It is my opinion that the debate was a draw. Trump missed a lot of opportunities (such as Benghazi) and Clinton came off as nasty.

Since we really can't rely on the American lamestream media to report the facts and tell the truth, this came in from the United Kingdom's Daily Mail:
CNN awarded Hillary Clinton an overwhelming victory in the first presidential debate - but most snap polls show Trump emerged victorious.  
Trump and Clinton tangled over the economy, her use of a private mail server and his unwillingness to release his income tax returns on Monday night.  
They engaged in a vigorous back-and-forth on the debate stage at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, as polls showed them locked in a tight race.  
However, after the debate's end, polls conducted by a number of media websites showed their readers felt the real estate mogul came out on top. 
Trump acknowledged the result, tweeting: 'Wow, did great in the debate polls (except for @CNN - which I don't watch). Thank you!'
To read more, go here

Monday, September 26, 2016

Drudge Poll: Who Won The Debate?

Trump & Clinton: Debate One

Above, before the fireworks, Trump and Clinton greet each other.

Tonight's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump reminded me a lot of the recent Small Claims Court trial and the Hot Seat "show trial" against my ex and her friend. As they did, Clinton pulled stuff out of the air, lied and misrepresented the historical record.

On many occasions, Clinton led with her jaw and got smacked by Trump. An example was when he fired back on her about her staff people for taking the Fifth Amendment. Trump missed an opportunity by not bringing up Benghazi.

I was initially bothered by Trump's sniffing, but since found out that he currently has a head cold. I guess he can be forgiven.

Clinton was more energetic than I expected. But her responses were almost robotic and obviously rehearsed. Trump was being Trump. He was more at ease before a television audience.

Clinton called Trump a racist and anti-woman. During the anti-woman part (which was at the end of the debate), Trump could have fired back about all the abuses of women by her husband Bill. But, as he said, he wasn't going to do it and go there. That showed class on his part, but by not stating the obvious (he didn't have to as people already knew what he was referring to such as Lewinsky, Kathleen Willey (hope I spelled that right), Paula Jones and others), he won. Sometimes understating things will score more points than being explicit. This, I think, was one of those times. Clinton showed that she fights dirty.

It was an interesting debate with more exchanges between presidential candidates than I can remember. This was more of a true debate instead of a canned press conference. I liked this format. But, moderator Lester Holt was like Candy Crowley with Romney in 2012. Not as obvious, but still was biased as he seemed to be like a third debater.

Who won? To me, it was basically a draw. But Trump wins for not making any gaffes and Clinton won for not collapsing as she did in New York a week ago.

Snake On A (Bullet) Train!

Above, a bullet train departs Atami Station. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A shinkansen (bullet) train had to make an emergency stop when a snake was discovered on board.

According to Travel + Leisure:
A passenger on a Japanese bullet train sat for 50 minutes on Monday without noticing that a python was wrapped around his armrest. 
Almost an hour into the train ride from Tokyo’s JR station, a nearby passenger noticed the snake on the seat in front of him and told the train’s conductor, the Associated Press reported.

To read more, go here

5 Tips For Budget Travel To Japan

Above, the Asahi Beer Hall and Sumida River in Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan has a reputation for being expensive, but with good planning and following the five tips for budget travel to Japan that Travelers Today posted, much money can be saved.

According to Travelers Today:
Japan is considered to be an expensive country to travel to, but with these cheap tips and tricks, living off vending-machines is not even an option. Despite Tokyo being infamous for its high cost of living, it is a dream destination for many. Even budget travelers are taking a chance in this country due to its east-meets-west beauty that is truly captivating. 
A  vacation to the Land of the Rising Sun is absolutely possible, but it requires strategic planning and a "cowboy" mentality. The Seattle Times listed 5 tips for traveling to Japan on a budget, when followed, can considerably save tons of money!
To read more, go here

What To See and Do In Japan For First-Timers

Above, Senso-ji and pagoda in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you are contemplating a trip to Japan and never been there before, Australia's Herald Sun has a new article on what to see and do for first-timers. Itg is especially useful if one is traveling there solo.

It begins with:
Celebrity chef David Chang flies there for the food. Pop singer Gwen Stefani finds trends in Harajuku. I finally travelled to this island nation in May. You know it, the place of sushi, samurai films and Sony Walkmans. Japan. One of the most fascinating places in the world. 
CNN presenter Anthony Bourdain considers Tokyo the most exciting city to visit alone. Though I’m partial to independent travel, I wasn’t comfortable tackling the world’s most populous city (of 37 million people), let alone its home country, solo. 
So, in need of a primer, I signed up with On the Go Tours’ Tokyo to Takayama trip: eight cities in 14 days; a flexible itinerary; licensed Japanese tour guides; and travel via buses, subways and bullet trains. Mingling with locals appealed more than sitting in an airconditioned coach. 
Each tour caters to a maximum of 16 people. Together, we were thrown in the deep end on day one, thrust into Tokyo’s biggest and noisiest festival, Sanja Matsuri.
Japan may seem intimidating to someone who has never been there, but after about a day or two wandering around, one's confort level there skyrockets pretty fast. The people there are very friendly and helpful, so don't be afraid to ask (many do speak English to a degree) at a tourist center at a major train station.

To read more, go here

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Golf Great Arnold Palmer Dies

One of THE greats of golf, and sports in general, has died.

ABC News reported:
Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest and most popular players in the history of golf, has died, according to the U.S. Golf Association. He was 87. 
Palmer, who celebrated his 87th birthday two weeks ago, was widely regarded as one of the best professional golfers of all time. He was also one of the most charismatic figures in all of sports, drawing loyal fans known as "Arnie's Army," who would follow him at tournaments. 
He was nicknamed "The King" and had won the Masters four times and the British Open twice.
To read more, go here

Snow On Mount Fuji 16 Days Earlier Than Last Year

Above, a shinkansen view of Mount Fuji last October. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
It is hard to say what this means over the long haul (probably nothing), but Japan Today reported that snow has fallen on the summit of Mount Fuji 16 days earlier than last year.

They reported:
TOKYO —A thin layer of snow was observed on the peak of Mt Fuji on Sunday morning, 16 days earlier than last year, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
To read more, go here.

Asya's Business Card

Last week, Asya attended a charity pre-Emmy party in Beverly Hills. Before attending, she had some business cards printed.

She gave me one of them last night and the design of it is very beautiful. Besides paintings, she also specializes in logo design. Her card shows how talented she is on logos. I have seen other examples of her logos and they were all nicely designed.

If one is in need of a logo for their business (or whatever), contact Asya here.

Last Night At The Odyssey

Above, Asya in the Atlantis Room with the city lights in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last night, Asya and I headed off to The Odyssey Restaurant for dinner and to check out the Atlantis Room that the portrait unveiling party will take place one week from today. Also, we celebrated my receiving the appearance fee check from Hot Bench.

I thought it would be a good idea for Asya to see the layout of the room and The Odyssey Restaurant in general.

Although the lights were off in the room, we discussed where to display the portrait and other paintings she will be bringing along.

Above, at dinner at The Odyssey Restaurant. 

Asya enjoyed the spectacular view of the San Fernando Valley from the room's huge windows. From the room, the stream of headlights flowed down from the Sepulveda Pass and into the Valley like a glowing river.

After discussing details on where to arrange things next week, we headed upstairs to the main dining room for dinner. She had a Caesar salad with chicken and shrimp while I settled on prime rib. She had wanted to have cheesecake and ice cream, but was so full from the meal that we ended up sharing the cheesecake that came with my dinner.

Asya had a "jaw-dropping" moment when during the course of conversation when I mentioned that I like to add pepper to a dish of cottage cheese. She had never heard of that before. She thought I was putting her on. That led to a discussion of foods she enjoyed in Russia.

All in all, an enjoyable evening.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Heard From "Hot Bench"

I received something good in the mail from the mailman today!

It was the appearance fee for the court TV show, Hot Bench. All that remains is either the engagement ring is returned/surrendered by Denise Santos or I get payment for the ring from the show. She's got 30 days from the decision (October 7) to comply with the verdict, according to the Arbitration Agreement.

Not bad for standing there listening to her lies (I can't think of anything she said was true) and being interrupted.

According to the Arbitration Agreement, a Defendant won't receive their appearance fee until they comply with the verdict by the panel. This should prove to be interesting.

We'll see.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial To Celebrate 75 Years

Above, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is kind of funny that I should find a story about Mount Rushmore in South Dakota in a Japanese news website, but here it is.

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota will be celebrating its 75th anniversary next month. It opened on October 31, 1941.

According to Japan Today:
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. —It was a historian’s idea: carve gigantic sculptures into the granite pinnacles of the Black Hills of South Dakota, significant Western figures like Lewis and Clark, Buffalo Bill Cody, Fremont, Red Cloud and Sacagawea. 
“In the vicinity of Harney Peak ... are opportunities for heroic sculpture of unusual character,” South Dakota Department of History Superintendent Doane Robinson wrote to a sculptor in Georgia in 1924. 
The sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, redefined the project entirely. Using jackhammers and dynamite, he began in 1927, first sculpting President George Washington, then Thomas Jefferson, followed by Abraham Lincoln and finally Theodore Roosevelt. 
Next month, Mount Rushmore National Memorial marks 75 years of public pervasiveness, ending up in movies and comics and on quarter-dollar coins.
Back in 1990, when my daughter Amber was three, our family took a camping vacation to Mount Rushmore (we stayed at the Mount Rushmore KOA nearby where we were bused to the sculpture for its nightly lighting show). It is well worth a visit.

There are a lot of other attractions in the vicinity such as the Crazy Horse sculpture (now in progress), Deadwood (where Wild Bill Hickok was shot at the Saloon #10 and where he and Calamity Jane are buried), the 1880 Train and other places.

To read more, go here

How To Become A Ranger At A National Park

Above, a park ranger keeps tourists within safe distance from bears in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since I am on the wrong side of sixty, I wouldn't be able to do this. But many of you who are reading this can.

How would you like to work in one of our national parks? The government has a number of job openings.

According to Travel + Leisure:
If you really want to get close to nature, the federal government has a number of job listings for park rangers and guides, providing the opportunity to help maintain and run America’s national parks and lands throughout the year. 
Listings range from ranger positions at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, to ranger openings at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, which is nicknamed of “The American Spa” thanks to its soothing thermal waters.
To read more, go here

Friday, September 23, 2016

8 Places To Enjoy Autumn Colors In Kyoto

Above, the Kiyomizu-dera stage in Kyoto last October. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you are planning an autumn trip to Japan and Kyoto is on your itinerary, Tsunagu Japan has 8 spots they feel will offer spectacular views of the seasonal colors.

I took the above photograph of Kiyomizu-dera in early October last year. The foliage was just beginning to change color, giving it a yellowish tint. The Tsunagu Japan article has a photo of Kiyomizu-dera (number 4 on their list) with the autumn colors in their full glory.

They begin with:
In the autumn season of travel, why not take a trip to Kyoto to enjoy the seasonal colors? Kyoto has countless places where you can go and see the autumn leaves, and whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed, but here are our top eight spots. By the way, going out to see the autumn colors is known as “Momiji Kari” in Japanese.

To read more, go here

"Shin Godzilla" Review By Crave

If you are starved or craving (bad pun intended) to read a review of Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence) that's set to have a limited release in the U.S. in about a couple of weeks from now, then Crave has one for you.

They begin their review with:
Culturally defiant, and unexpectedly realistic, Japan's 'Shin Godzilla' answers America's bowdlerization of the monster with a laser blast of awesomeness.
Do they like the movie?

Go here and find out!

Sen. Ted Cruz Endorses Donald Trump

Here is Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) statement endorsing Donald Trump for president:

This election is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the right course of action in this general election.

In Cleveland, I urged voters, “please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket whom you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

I’ve made this decision for two reasons. First, last year, I promised to support the Republican nominee. And I intend to keep my word.

Second, even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable — that’s why I have always been #NeverHillary.

Six key policy differences inform my decision. First, and most important, the Supreme Court. For anyone concerned about the Bill of Rights — free speech, religious liberty, the Second Amendment — the Court hangs in the balance. I have spent my professional career fighting before the Court to defend the Constitution. We are only one justice away from losing our most basic rights, and the next president will appoint as many as four new justices. We know, without a doubt, that every Clinton appointee would be a left-wing ideologue. Trump, in contrast, has promised to appoint justices “in the mold of Scalia.”

For some time, I have been seeking greater specificity on this issue, and today the Trump campaign provided that, releasing a very strong list of potential Supreme Court nominees — including Sen. Mike Lee, who would make an extraordinary justice — and making an explicit commitment to nominate only from that list. This commitment matters, and it provides a serious reason for voters to choose to support Trump.

Second, Obamacare. The failed healthcare law is hurting millions of Americans. If Republicans hold Congress, leadership has committed to passing legislation repealing Obamacare. Clinton, we know beyond a shadow of doubt, would veto that legislation. Trump has said he would sign it.

Third, energy. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s war on coal and relentless efforts to crush the oil and gas industry. Trump has said he will reduce regulations and allow the blossoming American energy renaissance to create millions of new high-paying jobs.

Fourth, immigration. Clinton would continue and even expand President Obama’s lawless executive amnesty. Trump has promised that he would revoke those illegal executive orders.

Fifth, national security. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s willful blindness to radical Islamic terrorism. She would continue importing Middle Eastern refugees whom the FBI cannot vet to make sure they are not terrorists. Trump has promised to stop the deluge of unvetted refugees.

Sixth, Internet freedom. Clinton supports Obama’s plan to hand over control of the Internet to an international community of stakeholders, including Russia, China, and Iran. Just this week, Trump came out strongly against that plan, and in support of free speech online.

These are six vital issues where the candidates’ positions present a clear choice for the American people.

If Clinton wins, we know — with 100% certainty — that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country.

My conscience tells me I must do whatever I can to stop that.

We also have seen, over the past few weeks and months, a Trump campaign focusing more and more on freedom — including emphasizing school choice and the power of economic growth to lift African-Americans and Hispanics to prosperity.

Finally, after eight years of a lawless Obama administration, targeting and persecuting those disfavored by the administration, fidelity to the rule of law has never been more important.

The Supreme Court will be critical in preserving the rule of law. And, if the next administration fails to honor the Constitution and Bill of Rights, then I hope that Republicans and Democrats will stand united in protecting our fundamental liberties.

Our country is in crisis. Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president, and her policies would harm millions of Americans. And Donald Trump is the only thing standing in her way.

A year ago, I pledged to endorse the Republican nominee, and I am honoring that commitment. And if you don’t want to see a Hillary Clinton presidency, I encourage you to vote for him.

No, Not One of "Monica's Used Cigars"!

Ah, to enjoy a good cigar...

Above, in Las Vegas on New Year's Day.

Above, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Above, "Monica's Used Cigars". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A Clinton-Era Relic: "Monica's Used Cigars"

Above, "Monica's Used Cigars". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since we're a bit over a month away from the General Election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I thought it would be fun to bring out a "relic" of the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton.

Back in Clinton's second term, he was caught up in a sex scandal involving a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, which led to an impeachment trial. It came out during the scandal that President Clinton had made "innovative" uses of cigars. I shall refrain from describing how he used the cigar. (Just take my word for it and use your imagination.) One of Clinton's quotes ("It tastes good!") after Lewinsky was done with the cigar is also on band as is the Clamper motto.

Above, an actual Clinton quote after Monica was done with it and he tasted it. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

During that time, the incoming Humbug of Platrix Chapter No. 2 of E Clampus Vitus decided that his "Humbug's Gift" to the chapter would be an especially-made cigar. He enlisted the aid of yours truly to come up with a unique cigar band featuring Lewinsky.

Above, the Clamper motto. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

So, at the next clamp-out, all attendees were given one of "Monica's Used Cigars". As one can imagine, they were a big hit at the clamp-out!

I managed to save mine took the accompanying photographs of it.

Ah, memories!

Time Out Tokyo: 100 Best Tokyo Restaurants

Above, Sushizanmai in Asakusa, one of my favorites. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Okay, foodies! Time Out Tokyo will be putting out their autumn issue on October 1.

You may want to snag yourself a copy as they include their list of Tokyo's best 100 restaurants.

According to Time Out Tokyo's website:
Tokyo is home to anywhere from 80,000 to 150,000 restaurants and boasts more Michelin stars than any other place on earth. So, the question becomes, how the hell are you going to choose only 100 restaurants to represent this gourmand nirvana? While admitting the inherent futility of our task, that's exactly what we’ve gone ahead and done in our autumn issue, on shelf from October 1. Behold, the ultimate guide to Tokyo’s very best food, from the taste bud-bending sushi creations of Ginza’s Aoki (who were so kind to help out with our cover) to melt-in-your-mouth wagyu, the washoku of dreams and the most slurpable ramen in the galaxy.
Above a meal at Sushizanmai near the Tsukiji Fish Market. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here.

Fort Massac State Park In Metropolis

Above, The Beast is poised to go to Illinois. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Thanks to Jim Hambrick, owner/operator of the Super Museum in Metropolis, Illinois, I know where I'll be staying while in town.

I asked Jim if there's any place to "boondock" in Metropolis and he suggested the Fort Massac State Park instead, which is not too far from the Super Museum and has a campground with electrical hook-ups.

According to Reserve America:
Dedicated the first Illinois state park in 1908 and overlooking the Ohio River at Metropolis Illinois, this park has a military history predating the Revolutionary War. 1802 reconstructed fort, statue of George Rogers Clark, museum and visitor center.

It looks to be an interesting place to camp The Beast at.

Looks Like Romulan Ale

Travel + Leisure posted an article on a new blue wine from Spain.

They wrote:
There's a company in Spain that goes by the name of GIK that's trying to make blue wine a thing. 
Whether or not that's a good (or delicious) thing is yet to be determined, but it's at least intriguing.
It looks like Romulan Ale from Star Trek to me.

To read more, go here

Mother Overdoses As Toddler Cries

Here's a sad story. 

This caught my attention as it reminds me of someone who has an addiction to alcohol.

Fox News Insider posted:
Heartbreaking video shows a two-year-old girl crying as her mother lies unconscious in an aisle at a Family Dollar store in Massachusetts. 
WDTN reported that police say the woman apparently overdosed on an oral version of heroin or an opiate-based narcotic like fentanyl. 
The video shows the toddler screaming and tugging at her mother's limp body.
Thank goodness for the security camera.

To read more and see the video, go here

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Odyssey Business Completed

The Odyssey Restaurant was taken care of today. The portrait unveiling party is all paid for and number of guests submitted.

However, if you still want to attend, I do have some flexibility on getting you in. Just email me!

Our guest of honor, artist Asya, sent the photo below earlier today:

Portrait Unveiling Party: Room For 4 More

Above, Asya in Little Osaka in L.A. during the photo shoot
for the portrait project back in July. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today's the day that I will be heading to the Odyssey Restaurant to give them the final count and payment for the October 2 portrait unveiling party.

I spent part of last night tabulating the R.S.V.P.s (and watched Godzilla vs. Biollante) and I found that we do have room for 4 more people. So, if you wish to attend, email me within the next 3 hours.

If you have received an invite already and haven't yet indicated that you're coming, now's the time to do so!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Brown Signs Bill Banning Orca Shows In California

Above, the orca show at Shamu Stadium in San Diego. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The do-gooders in California have won a battle against SeaWorld.

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law that bans the breeding and captivity of orcas (killer whales) in the state.

According to KTLA-Channel 5:
California became the first state to ban the breeding of killer whales and using the animals in theatrical shows. 
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law Tuesday. The law, which goes into effect in 2017, passed after years of controversy over keeping killer whales to entertain humans. 
Under the new law, the killer whales, or orcas, already in captivity may remain in the state, but they can only be used for “educational presentations” starting in June. 
SeaWorld, which has orcas at its park in San Diego, said it doesn’t have a position on the bill, but it ended its breeding program in March. 

Yeah, right. I am sure SeaWorld has a position on the law since it directly affects their business. They're most likely just keeping mum on it.

I am not convinced that this law was even necessary. It was born out of a liberal propaganda documentary, Blackfish, from CNN (known as the Clinton News Network). I visited SeaWorld last February.

To read more, go here.

Godzilla and Osaka-jo Hall

Above, Osaka Twin 21 towers in Osaka Business Park and Osaka-jo Hall (lower right). Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), a rock concert was taking place in Osaka, Japan at Osaka-jo Hall when attendees were told to evacuate as Godzilla was approaching.

Above, Godzilla vs. Biollante Japanese poster.

According to Wikipedia:
Osaka-jō Hall (大阪城ホール Ōsaka-jō Hōru?) is a multi-purpose arena located in the Kyōbashi area of Osaka, Japan. The hall opened in 1983 and can seat up to 16,000 people. Built on a site area of 36,351 square meters, part of its form uses stone walls, modeled after those of the Castle and it won the Osaka Urban Scenery Architects Prize Special Award in 1984. 
The hall may be reached on a short walk from either Osaka Business Park Station on the Osaka Municipal Subway Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line or Osakajō-kōen Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line. The hall is located in Osaka-jō Park, near Osaka Castle and is across a river from two other smaller concert halls. 
It is used for some sports, such as judo championships and is popular for concerts, with many native and international pop and rock music artists.
I noticed Osaka-jo Hall while visiting Osaka Castle in 2004 and 2015, but forgot all about it until I was watching Godzilla vs. Biollante tonight and saw it in the movie.

Godzilla didn't demolish Osaka-jo Hall, but proceeded on to the Osaka Twin 21 business towers in Osaka Business Park. Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo) was also spared destruction in Godzilla vs. Biollante. It did get demolished by Godzilla and Anguirus in Godzilla Raids Again (1955) (a.k.a. Gigantis The Fire Monster).

Above, Osaka Castle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Osaka Castle and Twin 21 are featured on page 42 of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Today's Metropolis Planet Front Page

The newspaper of Metropolis (Illinois), the Metropolis Planet, has a front-page article on the upcoming celebration of the life of the "Original Lois Lane", Noel Neill.

Jim Nolt posted the top image and Noel's manager and biographer, Larry Thomas Ward, sent out the full front page as a file. I made a snapshot of the article for your reading pleasure (below).

I will be heading there in The Beast and when I told Larry of this, he said:
Wow, Armand.  That's incredible!  It'll be great to see you again.  Just great.

Above, Superman adorns the Metropolis Planet masthead.

I am looking forward to seeing Larry and many other friends at the event and, also, the Super Museum.

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