"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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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Trump's Grand Slam

Above, President Trump tonight at the U.S. Capitol. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

President Donald Trump gave the nation a positive plan for America's renewal before a joint session of Congress tonight. I haven't been so pleased with such a speech since the days of Reagan.

From foreign policy to domestic infrastructure, to wars against Islamic terrorism to domestic crime and everything in-between, Trump spelled out what he wants to get done. He called on the Democrats to end their pettiness and to join in to solve the nation's problems. He hit strongly on jobs for American workers.

Above, President Trump receiving congratulations as he exits the House chamber. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For the most part, the Democrats essentially sat on their hands while the GOP majority gave standing ovations. The Democrats groaned like corn-holed pigs when Trump announced the formation of VOICE for victims of illegal alien crimes.

There was hardly a dry eye in the House chamber (except the uncaring Democrats) when the widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens received over a two minute standing ovation.

While Trump may not be a great orator like Ronald Reagan, for him tonight was a grand slam. A job well done!

First Lady Melania Trump looked hot tonight, as usual.

2017 KOA Kampground Directory Has Arrived

Although it was announced (somewhere) that the new campground directory for KOA Kampgrounds will be arriving in March, I anyway had an odd feeling that it was going to arrive today.

Sure enough, the 2017 KOA Kampground Directory arrived in today's mail.

It looks like I'll have something to read before President Trump's speech before a joint session of Congress tonight.

Shaynemovie1 Posted At YouTube

Above, Stephanie Shayne at the Superman Celebration Luncheon in 2014. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Stephanie Shayne has announced that the first of many home movies shot by her father, Bob "Inspector Henderson" Shayne (of the Adventures of Superman), has been posted on YouTube.

She wrote at Facebook:
It's been a long time coming! The first of the Robert Shayne Home movie clips is now on my You Tube channel. This one is my brother Bob coming home from Basic Training at Fort Ord in 1966 and a family trip to Las Vegas that same week. Thank you, Ray for making the clip and watermarking it. Thank you, Iva, Brian, Hugh, Brad, Darroll, Don, Elsa, Peter, Bruce, Jorge Casales,Scott, Alvaro, Mary, Victoria, Meg, Armand, Alan, Miriam, Clare, Caryn, Crystal, Dennis, Jodi, Brad, Susan, Delmo, Deborah, Howard, Charles, and Micah for making this possible. More to come soon!
It was nice to see Las Vegas back "in the good ol' days" before it became the crowded and cluttered mess it is today, especially the Hacienda Hotel, where I made some good money on the roulette wheel back during Spring Break in 1973.

Here's the video:

Other videos will follow on Stephanie's channel.  Here's the link to the video so you can give her a thumb's up!

On the cars shown in the video, here's what Stephanie says about them:
The 'Stang was my dad's. My mom's car was the beige Beetle and my car was the aqua Beetle in the driveway. Oh, the days...

Matsushima Bay's Kanejima

When I took the harbor boat cruise in Matsushima Bay in April 2006, the boat I was a passenger on passed by many of the islets that dot the bay (there's about 200 of them).

The boat passed one of the larger ones and it was only today that I found out that it has a name.

Thanks to Muza Chan's Gate To Japan blog, I now know that it is called  Kanejima (or “bell island"). This is because when waves pass through 4 natural arches, they make a bell-like sound.

Above, Kanejima in Matsushima Bay in 2006. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Best Season To Visit Kyoto?

Above, Kinkaku-ji "Golden Pavilion" in Kyoto. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Kyoto is a city in Japan that I've visited twice. The first time was in 2004 during the summer and, most recently, in 2015 during autumn.

Of the two, I preferred visiting in autumn as Kyoto was not unbearably hot at the time. It was very hot and humid during my summer visit.

But, others may have different preferences and Kyo Tours Japan takes a look at each season in a new article.

The article begins with:
So you've decided you want to come visit Japan. Great! Now all you have to do is figure out when... 
Japanese locals are notorious for their insistence that the changing of the four seasons is one of the things that makes Japan special. (They're always shocked to hear that yes, the leaves change color in North America and Euorpe as well) Nonetheless, the yearly cycle in Japan is quite stunning and dramatic. 
So when's the best time to come to Kyoto? I'll tell you the answer up front: any time of year is great here. However, picking the right time to visit can mean a big difference between temperatures and local happenings, and it also affects things like seasonal food and sightseeing scheduling. Here's a breakdown of each season, with some pros and cons for each time of year.

To read more, go here

What's There To See At Shibuya Crossing?

Above, Shibuya Crossing. People cross it from 5 directions. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Those of you who are Japanese giant monster (kaiju) fans are familiar with Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo.

Shibuya Crossing was featured during the battle sequence between Gamera and several Gyaos birds in Gamera 3 (1999).

But Shibuya Crossing is a popular area for Tokyo's "yutes" (youths) and the Hachikō Statue is a famous meeting spot. It is also known as "Shibuya Scramble".

What else is there to see at Shibuya Crossing? Japan Blog has the answers for you in an August 2016 post.

They begin with:
Shibuya Crossing may be a small area but it’s one of the most jampacked places in Japan every single day. As the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing, it accommodates thousands of people every day crossing from five directions. Additionally, the traffic lights have a two-minute cycle and the crowds thin out only after midnight when the Shibuya stations finally close.

To read more, go here


Monday, February 27, 2017

Train Etiquette In Japan

Above, rush-hour commuters boarding the Yamanote Line in Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Suppose you are riding in a commuter (or even a long distance) train in Japan. You may get the urge to do something that, in the eyes of Japanese citizens, may be a no-no.

Well, to educate yourself on train etiquette, City-Cost.com has a list of things to avoid doing while in a Japanese train and creating an "international incident".

They start with:
There are rules for a reason, though; without them some people wouldn’t care. Even with them, some people don’t, but the numbers are probably reduced. In Japan it’s not unusual to see polite appeals from authority for passengers to pay attention to rules, situations regarding safety, and the desired etiquette that comes with shared spaces and services. Interestingly these polite appeals tend to have more of a presence than the blunt threat of fines or legal action that you might find in other nations. Some anti-authoritarian types might sneer, ‘Rules are there to be broken.’, and foreigners in particular are often unwittingly guilty. So, to avoid surprise, embarrassment, and causing upset among the locals let’s take a look at what one can expect to find in terms of rules (written and not) and common etiquette on Japan’s trains. These would be more of the ‘don’ts’ rather than the ‘dos’ for Japan’s trains.
To read on, go here

Japanese Internment Exhibition Opens

Above, the sign marking the entrance to Manzanar in the Owens Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Smithsonian Institution of American History has opened a special exhibition on the Japanese-American internment during World War II.

According to The Japan News:
WASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — The Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington has opened a special exhibition about people of Japanese ancestry sent to U.S. concentration camps during World War II. 
The exhibition, “Righting a Wrong,” opened ahead of the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19. The order, signed on Feb. 19, 1942, by then President Franklin Roosevelt, resulted in the imprisonment of a total of 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals. 
The exhibition displays the executive order document, as well as goods used in concentration camps, such as hair accessories and baseball gear. Photographs taken in the camps are also on display.
Above, the monument for the internees who died in Manzanar. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The exhibition runs until February 19, 2018.

To read more, go here.

The Return of Astro Boy

Above, the Astro Boy figure in my collection. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japanese companies are gearing up to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the birth of comic and animation master Osamu Tezuka.

Five of those companies have banded together to create an Astro Boy robot.

According to NHK:
Five Japanese companies have teamed up to re-create legendary comic book robot Astro Boy in toy form. The product marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of comic and animation master Osamu Tezuka. 
The Astro Boy manga started in 1952 and was later adapted to TV and film. 
The newly created Astro Boy robot stands 44-centimeters tall, one-third the height of the original.
To read more, go here.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Taxi Calculation App To Be Tested In Tokyo

Above, a taxi in the area of Tokyo Station. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A new app is to be trialed in Tokyo and other area's taxis that will allow passengers to calculate the cost of a ride.

According to Japan Today:
TOKYO —An app that calculates taxi fares in advance of journeys is to be piloted in fiscal 2017 as part of wider efforts to boost taxi use. Passengers will be able to pay the driver either the cost shown on the app or on the meter at their destination, whichever is cheaper. 
As taxi fares are calculated based on the distance travelled and time taken, the system is being developed jointly by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and taxi companies. It will be trialed in Tokyo and other areas for demand and accuracy before being introduced nationwide. 
With a record 24 million international visitors in 2016 and a target to annually welcome 40 million and boost their spending to 8 trillion yen by 2020, a key target market is tourists. Holiday-makers on a fixed budget tend to avoid using taxis due to unfamiliarity about the distance to the destination and how much it will cost, concerns about dishonest drivers, or the inability to communicate with the driver. This app is designed to offer them peace of mind, thereby stimulating increased taxi use, and to make Japan more tourist-friendly ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Industry experts, however, have reservations.
To read more, go here

Wilson Establishes Grand Canyon National Park 2/26/19

Above, Grand Canyon National Park in November 2016. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

On this day in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson established Grand Canyon National Park.

According to Politico:
Three years after the creation of the National Park Service, on this day in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law a bill establishing the Grand Canyon as the nation’s 15th national park. Nearly 2 billion years of the Earth’s history are exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut through the sediment. 
A history report in 2000 by Michael Anderson for the Grand Canyon Association notes that President Theodore Roosevelt liberally interpreted the Antiquities Act of 1906 in creating the 1,279-square-mile Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908. The monument was carved from Grand Canyon National Forest, initially designated by President Benjamin Harrison as a preserve in 1893. The U.S. Forest Service managed the monument from 1908 until it became a national park, relying on the Santa Fe Railroad to invest in roads, trails and facilities to serve a budding tourism industry.
Last year, nearly 6 million people visited Grand Canyon National Park. I stopped in Grand Canyon National Park on the way home from my cross-country trip in November,

To read more, go here

Happy Birthday, Shogo Tomiyama!

Today, former President and Executive Producer of Toho Pictures Shogo Tomiyama celebrates the "26th anniversary of his 39th birthday" in Japan.

He is best known for producing the millennium series of Godzilla movies (1999 - 2004) and, most recently, going on a quest to find a slice of cheesecake at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo for me.

Here's some pictures of Mr. Tomiyama over the years:

Above, at Toho Studios in 2001. Photo courtesy of Richard Pusateri.

Above, the premiere of Giant Monsters All-Out Attack in 2001. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the Godzilla induction into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the 2015 dinner party at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Tomiyama!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Death of Alan Colmes: Liberals Have No Class

Looney Left Report

Whenever I see a liberal on television, I have to roll my eyes at the blather they spew. Most of them are also obnoxious to boot! Lawrence O'Donnell Jr. is one obnoxious liberal. I couldn't stand him on the McLaughlin Group.

Alan Colmes of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes passed away the other day. He was a liberal, but he wasn't obnoxious, but instead, which seems to bother liberals to no end, was actually a nice guy.

He was honored by his colleagues at Fox News. But the liberals in our midst chose to trash him.

According to Young Conservatives:
But liberal Salon attacked him. 
Its obituary was titled, “Alan Colmes, Buffoon and Patsy, Was Fox News’ Original Liberal Weakling.”

Isaac Chotiner in Salon wrote:
Colmes was the most absurd, useless, and mocked television personality in America for many years, precisely because he was nice. In the context of Fox News, being a nice guy—and a “liberal” nice guy at that—meant being a buffoon, and a patsy. Colmes not only played the part to perfection—he defined it.
This only shows that liberals/leftists have no sense of decency in trashing Alan Colmes before he's even buried. It shows a lack of class. One may not have agreed with Alan Colmes, but he didn't deserve to be so attacked. It also showed they have no respect for his family. Chotiner should be ashamed of himself. But he probably isn't.

R.I.P. Alan Colmes.

To read more, go here.

They Just Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To, Or...

...I have one strong kitty!

Above, the Red Barn Feed & Saddlery. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday, I stopped by the Red Barn Feed & Saddlery store in Tarzana. I haven't been there in a while. My mom and I used to go there quite a lot. While she shopped, I would spend my time looking at the historical newspapers hanging on the walls around the store and munching on their free popcorn.

Above and below, Sierra having a grand time. Photos by Armand Vaquer.

I picked up a bag of cat litter and got Sierra a toy. The toy cost $8.00.

The toy mounts on glass or other smooth surfaces and has a bird on the end of an elastic string.

In no time, Sierra broke the string and the gizmo that attaches the string onto a bar also came apart. I re-tied the string and used Crazy Glue to fix the gizmo. I let it set overnight.

Above, playing with the bird part after breaking the string. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This morning, I re-mounted it on the patio glass and Sierra was kept occupied with it for hours.

However, the bar that attaches to the sucker that sticks it onto the window broke. My previous fixes are still okay. That has to be one strong cat or the plastic bar was very cheaply made. $8.00 for that?!

I'll try to fix it with Crazy Glue.

They just don't make cat toys like they used to, apparently.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Platrix Clamp-Sites Announced

Above, The Beast at last year's Tehachapi Loop clamp-out. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While paying my annual dues to Platrix Chapter No. 2, E Clampus Vitus, I noticed that the chapter finally posted where this year's clamp-outs will be held.

They are:
April 28-30 at The Loop Ranch in Tehachapi 
Oct. 6-8 (hopefully) at Lake Hemet

We were in Tehachapi last April for the Spring, 2016 clamp-trek. It is a nice area, so I am looking forward to returning. Lake Hemet ought to be nice in October.

I will probably hold a seminar for XSNGH Glenn "Cowpie Kicker" Thornhill on the differences between a RV's house door and a screen door handles. Other Platrix members and PBCs who are in similar need of such knowledge are welcome to attend. Remember what Emil Faber once said: "Knowledge is good!"

Drowsy RV Drivers More Dangerous Than Drunk Drivers

Above, the bed in The Beast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I was driving cross-country to Metropolis, Illinois, I pushed it a little by driving at or near 400 miles a day (sometimes a little more). My drive back to Los Angeles was more leisurely, averaging around 200-250 miles a day. 

Fortunately for me, I was always well rested as I have the odd tendency to sleep better in The Beast than I do at home. I actually got 7-8 hours of sleep every night on the trip. I never did get drowsy during the trip. I enjoyed the scenery as it passed me by.

RV Life posted an article on the importance of getting enough rest before getting behind the wheel in a RV as a drowsy driver is potentially more of a danger to people than a drunk driver.

They wrote:
Even missing just one hour of sleep can make drivers as risky as an inebriated drunk behind the wheel. The study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that “Drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk for a crash.” Even more surprising was the news by Dr. David Yang, executive director for the foundation, who says: “Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.” 
Just because RVers take their bedroom on the road doesn’t mean they’re less at risk. Effective snoozing doesn’t always come easy at noisy rest areas, brightly lit or busy WalMart camping parking lots and RV parks perched next to interstates or other bustling areas. When a drowsy RV driver gets behind the wheel and commandeers a motorhome or trailer, that person is potentially even more of a risk on the highway than sleep impaired drivers at the wheel of passenger cars. An uncontrolled RV can do far more damage than a sedan.
 To read more, go here.

Hiroshima A-Bomb Museum Attracted 1.6 Million Visitors

Above, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan set a new record in tourism in 2016 by attracting 24 million foreign visitors.

Along with that, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum also set a record in the number of visitors during fiscal year 2016.

According to Kyodo News:
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum drew a record of nearly 1.6 million visitors in the year ending March, with visitor numbers rising in the wake of former U.S. President Barack Obama's May visit. 
As of Friday, the number of visitors eclipsed the previous record of 1,593,280 set in fiscal 1999, and the figure is likely to reach around 1.73 million by the end of March, the museum said. 
Following Obama's visit to the city as the first sitting U.S. leader in late May last year, the number of visitors to the museum rose 40 percent from a year earlier in June and July.

To read more, go here

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Eclipse Planning

Above, a 2012 partial eclipse projected through foliage onto a wall. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It appears at this time that I will probably be in the Thornton and Rexburg areas of Idaho when the total solar eclipse occurs on August 21.

It is a "few" miles from where I will be staying in The Beast, so I'll be getting up early to head up there to "secure my beachhead" viewing spot. The eclipse will begin around 10:15 AM.

Speaking of viewing, special glasses will be necessary for eye protection while viewing the beginning and ending phases of the eclipse. I found a website who sells them: http://www.eclipse2017.org/glasses_order.htm.

What's The Value of A Yosemite Trademark?

Above, as sign pointing the way to the former Curry Village. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Now that the administration of President Donald J. Trump is in place, maybe some movement in the years-long battle between the federal government and former concessionaire Delaware North over the trademark dispute of Yosemite National Park will take place.

Above, the former Ahwahnee Hotel. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A new filing has been made by the government over the value of the trademarks.

According to the Star-Telegram:
WASHINGTON A Yosemite National Park trademark challenge now turns, in part, on two dramatically different estimates of what some famous names are worth. 
In a new court filing, the government made public more of its evidence for its claim that the park’s former concessionaire put an “improper and wildly inflated valuation” on its trademarks for such names as the Ahwahnee hotel. While the concessionaire valued its Yosemite intellectual property at $51.2 million, the government’s consultant said it’s more like $3.5 million. 
The vastly different estimates are more than just bargaining positions, though they may serve that purpose. They also illustrate the difficulties in putting pricetags on names associated with a park as beloved as Yosemite.

To read more, go here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Eclipse Reservations Made!

It is official!

I've made my campground reservations for when I go north in August to see the total eclipse of the sun. I will be in Idaho for this event.

I first checked with two campgrounds and both were already booked up! The third one was "the charm" as I was able to reserve a nice riverside campsite. It is only a few miles from the vicinity for where the total eclipse umbra will be experienced.

So if you are planning to head into the umbra zone, I would recommend that reservations (hotel or campground) be made now.

DC Comics: Why No Curt Swan Superman Merchandise?

Above, a Swan Superman digital sculpture by Tony Cipriano and original art by Curt Swan..

A few days ago, Curt Swan fan Tony Cipriano posted at the Curt Swan Facebook fan page the above digital sculpture of a statuette of Superman based on an image Swan drew for the Superman Annual #7.

He wrote:
Hi Guys.. A few days ago, a member posted this artwork and was hoping DC would do it as a licensed statue. I have also always drooled over this piece of art form the Superman Annual #7... I began this digital sculpt this week, so I thought I'd share it. It's still rough, but I thought it would be fun to see it in 3 dimensions. I've wanted that statue on my shelf since I first saw that cover as a kid. Being a huge Swan fan, I've always wondered why there hasn't been more product based on his DEFINITIVE take on the Man of Steel!
Exactly! Older fans of Swan and Superman (like myself) would definitely buy such a statuette based on Swan's drawing.

Above, Superman Annual no. 7.

Other fans are also perplexed as to why DC Comics (or DC Entertainment) hasn't put out any licensed products based on Swan's definitive take on Superman.

One wrote:
I've always wondered the same thing myself. DC seems to have given practically no props to Swan in issuing collectibles based on his quintessential Superman!

And another said:
DC pretty much wants to wipe out it's history. That's the history us older fans care about. I know I'd love a statue like this.

In response to the post above:
Which makes no sense. Look at all the success they have had with the Adam West Batman 66 stuff. Same fan base that would love Curt Swan related products and not to mention George Reeves Superman related products.

Above, Noel Neill's George Reeves Superman statuette. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Indeed! The late Noel Neill, the original Lois Lane, had in her possession a George Reeves Superman statuette. It was on display at her celebration of life services in November in Metropolis, Illinois. Reproductions of this would be nice to have!

Maybe DC Comics (or whatever they are calling themselves these days) will see this post and get on the ball and issue Swan-based (and some based on George Reeves) Superman merchandise starting with the above statuettes. Fans are eager to snap them up!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

5 Important Features Needed For Dry Camping

Above, The Beast while dry camping at Lake Cachuma with E Clampus Vitus. Photo by Armand.

During my cross-country trip to Metropolis, Illinois and back, the only time I dry camped (that is, camping without water, electric or sewer hook-ups) was one night in a Missouri roadside rest area.

The Beast is self-contained with good battery capacity, a power generator and large enough fresh water and grey and black water holding tanks, so dry camping is not a problem. I've done it a few times during the past two years at Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Parks, clamp-outs and at Chiriaco Summit Campground.

Above, Yosemite National Park's North Pines Campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

But, it one is looking for a new or used RV or want to modify a RV to use it for dry camping, RV Life has an article by Dave Helgeson on the five important features you'll need.

It begins with:
When I conduct my dispersed camping seminars I am typically asked what is the best RV for dry camping. While some types of RVs are more friendly for this type of RVing than others, the question really should be, “what should I look for in a RV if I want to use it for dry camping?”
Above, Chiriaco Summit Campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here.

Clint Hill Strikes At Hollywood Inaccuracy

Above, Clint Hill speaking at Book Passage last June. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Former secret service agent Clint Hill gives an exclusive interview with i News (United Kingdom). He discusses his experience in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 and hits at Hollywood inaccuracies.

They begin with:
It’s surely the most famous few seconds of amateur video footage ever filmed.  
A moment after seeing her husband’s head blown apart by a rifle shot, a distraught Jacqueline Kennedy climbs out of the presidential limousine’s back seat and onto the boot. The film is too grainy to show the blood stains now spattered over her pink suit, as she reaches for something with a white-gloved hand.  
But as the car begins to speed away to Parkland hospital, a dark-suited figure appears on the rear of the vehicle with the First Lady and pushes her back into the car, next to the body of the stricken president – knowing they could both be the next targets in the crosshairs.  
That man, seen in the final reels of the Zapruder film which captured John F Kennedy’s assassination, was Clint Hill. Every day for the past 53 years, the former Secret Service agent has regretted he could not reach the limo in time to jump in front of that shot: the third round fired by Lee Harvey Oswald on 22 November 1963.
The article also includes a video of a 1975 interview of Hill by Mike Wallace of CBS News and a trailer for, Jackie, a movie that Hill says is filled with inaccuracies.

Below, is a video of Clint Hill's talk at a June 2016 book signing event that I shot at Book Passage:

To read the i News interview article, go here.

Ten Reasons Why Japan Is A Hot Destination

Above, the Godzilla mural at Toho Studios. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It seems that Japan is on the minds of people planning upcoming vacations.

According to Stuff (from New Zealand):
According to research compiled by Amazon, books about Japan were the bestselling non-UK travel books in December last year. Japanese phrase books were also the bestsellers on Prime Now. 
While some street signs and cultural quirks might be "lost in translation", clearly that's not deterring travellers from picking Japan as a number-one holiday destination for 2017.
So what's all the fuss about? Here are 10 reasons why everyone's going crazy for Japan...

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan is available as an ebook at Amazon, by the way. Since Japan is "hot" right now, that explains why the ebook has been doing good in recent months.

To see what the ten reason are, go here

More Than Just Parks

Above, Grand Teton National Park, one of the parks filmed by the Pattiz brothers. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Five years ago, two brothers began a series of films, More Than Just Parks, on U.S. national parks. This is a multi-year project to film all of the parks.

According to Digital Trends:
For the past three years, brothers Jim and Will Pattiz have been documenting the U.S. national parks with a mix of time-lapse photography and realtime video. The filmmakers and founders of Sea Raven Media visited their first national park five years ago — a trip that planted the seed in their minds for what would eventually grow into More Than Just Parks, a multi-year effort to film all 59 national parks. They just released their 10th film, leaving 49 to go. 
Digital Trends has covered the release of several previous More Than Just Parks films, but for the latest, Hawai’i Volcanoes, we were fortunate enough to catch up with the Pattiz brothers at the premiere. In a question and answer session following the film, we learned more about what goes on behind the scenes and how they plan to incorporate new technologies, like virtual reality, into upcoming projects.  
Typically, the brothers will spend anywhere from two to four weeks filming a park.

To read more, go here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Trump Campaign Website Hacked By Iraqi Hacker

A website associated with President Trump by Iraqi hackers.

According to The Hacker News:
During the 2016 presidential election campaign, we reported about how insecure was the mail servers operated by the Trump organization that anyone with little knowledge of computers can expose almost everything about Trump and his campaign. 
Now, some unknown hackers calling themselves "Pro_Mast3r" managed to deface an official website associated with President Donald Trump's presidential campaign fundraising on Sunday.

The hacker, claiming to be from Iraq, reportedly defaced the server, secure2.donaldjtrump.com, which is behind CloudFlare's content management system and security platform.
To read more, go here




Executive Order 9066 75th Anniversary

Above, a guard tower at Manzanar. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

What was Executive Order 9066?

From the Orange County Register:
It began hours after news of Pearl Harbor reached the West Coast. 
A rap at the door, a shoe on the doorjamb, then FBI agents, welcome or otherwise, entered to take away roughly 1 in 10 heads of a few hundred specific households – all men, all Japanese. 
Warnings were not given and explanations were not offered. But when that first wave of arrests came, word spread quickly. Everybody knew. 
So two months later, on Feb. 19, 1942, the Japanese American community in Southern California – the nation’s largest at about 35,000 – was less shocked than it was horrified by what occurred: Executive Order 9066. 
Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 546-word document declared the government’s intent to treat the West Coast as a war zone, complete with powers that suspended some constitutional guarantees. 
Soon, Japanese Americans in the region were told to pack their things, sell or give away what they could, and prepare to be taken. 
Today, on its 75th anniversary, we know that 9066 led to the confinement of more than 110,000 Japanese American men, women and children. It’s widely viewed as a racially motivated, historical stain, a self-inflicted mistake.
Above and below, a camp housing replica. Photos by Armand Vaquer.

Executive Order 9066 incarcerated Japanese-American citizens in internment camps throughout the United States, including one at Manzanar in the Owens Valley of California. There are some today who are attempting to compare 9066 with President Trump's travel ban executive order. There is no comparison between the two. Trump's order is temporary. It will be in effect until effective vetting procedures can be implemented to keep terrorists from our country.

Above, the memorial to internees who died in camp. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I visited Manzanar last summer. There is not much left of any original structures there, but they do have reproductions. They also have an informative visitor center.

Above, a diorama of the Manzanar Relocation Camp in the Visitor Center. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here.

Happy President's Day

Above, the White House in 1982. I am in the background at left. White House Photo.

Today is President's Day (for those of you who are unaware).

The first president I saw in person was Richard Nixon in 1972 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. I attended the opening of the Nixon Library in 1990 in Yorba Linda, California.

Above, President and Mrs Nixon at the Century Plaza Hotel in 1972. I am in the crowd (at arrow).
The Nixons are in SS-100-X, the presidential limousine JFK was riding in Dallas. White House Photo.

Since then, I have seen in person several others:

Gerald R. Ford (in Fresno, Kansas City and Yorba Linda)
Ronald Reagan (I met him in 1977, but have seen him many times, including at the White House)
George H. W. Bush (in Detroit, Dallas and Yorba Linda)
George W. Bush (before he entered politics in Detroit)

Happy President's Day!

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