Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Oklahoma Legislature protects rich, oil companies, not education or health

Despite all the hoopla building up to the Oklahoma Legislature passing a last-minute budget (with $1.3B less than they had last year), conservative politicians are glossing over the cuts to education and health with pretty words and double-speak.   Even the media outlets can't agree on how to spin the bad news.  For example, NewsOK.com reports that flat funding for education was maintained for common education, the Department of Corrections (which needs more education) and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, but KFOR (NBC affiliate in OKC) states:

"The State Department of Education‘s budget actually increased for the upcoming fiscal year when you compare it to the budget that was imposed after cuts were made at the end of this fiscal year."

Nice spin, guys!

But Dr. Kurt Hochenauer of UCO reminds us that teachers did not get a pay raise and many of them have been laid off because of the budget cuts.  Higher education's budget has been slashed dramatically by 15.9%.  I suppose if we keep the K-12 students dumb enough, there won't be any need to have higher education, is that how it works, OKC?

Look at the budget agreement summary.  Do you see any tax increases for the wealthy or oil companies?  No.  How about tax credit elimination for the families who need it?  Yes!





Monday, May 30, 2016

Benny Goodman "King of Swing" born 1909

Benny Goodman, born May 30, 1909, became known as the "King of Swing".  During his lengthy career, he recorded many hits such as "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "Sing, Sing, Sing".  His music, along with another big bands, were popular during WWII but by the mid-forties, the big band sound wasn't as popular as during the 20's and 30's.

"Sing, Sing, Sing" is my favorite!

Mariner 9, mission to Mars, launched 1971

Mariner 9, launched May 30, 1971, became the first artificial satellite of Mars in November of the same year.  Russian probes arrived several weeks later. The probe had to wait for another month, for a planet-wide dust storm to subside before it could take pictures of the surface. 

Mariner 9 returned over 7000 pictures of Mars and succeeded in photographing the entire surface. It also sent back close-ups of Phobos and Deimos, the Martian moons.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, born 1908

Ian Fleming, the man who gave us Agent 007 James Bond, was born May 28, 1908.  He published his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952 but wouldn't live to see it come to the big screen.  He passed away one month before it premiered.

Despite all that secret spy stuff, he also wrote "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", just about everyone's favorite magical car story.

Here is an interview with Fleming shortly before he passed away.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Pointer Sisters release "Steppin'" 1975

The Pointer Sisters released their third studio album, "Steppin'" in May 1975.  The album includes a wonderful medley tribute to Duke Ellington, which includes "I Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues", "Satin Doll", "Indigo Mood", "Rocks in my Bed", "Creole Love Song" and "I Got it Bad (And That Ain't Good)".

My absolute favorite, and the most played song on my iPad is "Going Down Slowly"  This is an audio only but it's still one to crank up!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bram Stoker's "Dracula" released in 1897

Bram Stoker's Victorian-era Gothic-horror masterpiece, "Dracula" first appeared in London bookstores May 26, 1897.  Although it only enjoyed moderate success at the time, it has become Stoker's best-known and most favorite novel.  It began to gain popularity when Stoker's widow Florence allowed the story to be adapted for stage in the 1920's.  But it was when Bela Lugosi appeared in the 1931 movie "Dracula" when it really became a hit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

John F. Kennedy delivers his "Landing a Man on the Moon" speech 1961

President John F. Kennedy delivered his speech to Congress urging their support in sending a man to the moon and returning him safely to Earth May 25, 1961.  Unfortunately, JFK would not live to see the fulfillment of his dream, since he was assassinated 6 years before Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon in 1969.

Alan Parsons recorded an instrumental "Apollo" on his "On Air" album, which features the famous quote from Kennedy's speech.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Scott Carpenter launched aboard Aurora 7 1962

Scott Carpenter became the fourth American in space and the second to orbit Earth in Aurora 7, launched May 24, 1962.  He made three orbits in just under 5 hours before returning, splashing down 250 miles from his target.  He was found several hours later northeast of Puerto Rico, no worse for the wear.

Cellists Covers Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal"

WATCH: Cellists Covers Michael Jackson | Loo & Chilli | 97.1 WASH-FM: This is so cool!

Who wore it best - Carrie or Daenerys?

Carrie White or Daenerys Targaryen?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Def Leppard releases "Yeah!" 2006

Def Leppard released their 9th studio album, "Yeah!" May 23, 2006, the first album of cover songs.  It reached #16 on the Billboard 200.

Screamin' Joe Elliott does an awesome rendition of "Rock On", a David Essex song that's been covered so many times, it's almost cliche.

Tulsa World: "Surely Oklahoma has reached the tipping point now" - I seriously doubt it.

Ginnie Graham, columnist for the Tulsa World, wrote in today's issue that Oklahoma has reached a 'tipping point' or if not, is close to one. I don't share her optimism because there doesn't seem to be any indication Oklahoma politicians are going to change the direction they're headed. Down the toilet, where the minds of state officials reside.

Where are we going and why are we all in this handbasket?

Graham lists what the Oklahoma State Senate accomplished in one week:
1. Cutting $110M from the education system

2. Passing a Republican-sponsored illegal abortion bill, so "lawmakers are purposely passing bad laws to attract costly lawsuits"

3. A grand jury found that corrections officers were told “to Google” how to execute prisoners.

4. The parole board refused mercy for a man serving life without parole for selling an ounce of cocaine.

5. Passing bills to “adjust” the earned income tax credit, eliminating or reducing a break for about 200,000 poor, working families

6. Calling for the impeachment of President Obama and other federal officials and want a “religious” exemption on where people can take a piss.

Oklahoma politicos certainly does not have their constituents interests in mind, only their own.

Ginnie Graham: Surely Oklahoma has reached the tipping point now: Oklahoma sure had one embarrassing week. The state has to do better than what our elected lawmakers are giving us.

San Diego Padres 'discipline' employee after 'mishap'? WTF?

The Los Angeles Times report that the San Diego Padres have 'disciplined' an employee after Saturday night's "mishap". The Padres went on to say:

"that it had conducted an internal probe and concluded that there was "no evidence of malicious intent" by any of the individuals involved in the mishap, but the organization faulted personnel for not immediately intervening and correcting the situation."

No "malicious intent"? It was a deliberate act of sabotage! This was no accident! And what sort of "discipline" did they dole out to this employee? Sensitivity training? After publicly humiliating the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus, the employee needs to apologize publicly!
The Padres released a statement via Twitter saying "We apologize to anyone in the ballpark who this may have offended,..."

MAY have offended?  They still doubt that a single person was offended by that?

The Padres have a long way to go in just being human beings.  You'd think this happened in Oklahoma!


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Oklahoma legislators call for Obama's impeachment over "bathroom policies"

The Oklahoma Legislature, still trying to keep from facing a $1.3B deficit, has now decided to impeach President Obama over his "bathroom policies".  How stupid can they be?  Transgendered people have been using public restrooms for years without everybody having a heart attack in the process.  Now, all of a sudden, Oklahoma Republicans are having heart attacks over transgendered people using public restrooms.  Unfortunately, none of the Republicans have died yet. 


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle born 1859

Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, born May 22, 1859, created one of the world's most famous and beloved sleuths, Sherlock Holmes. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, he attended a Jesuit school in England before returning to Scotland and attending medical school.  His first work featuring Sherlock Holmes and Watson, "A Study in Scarlet" was purchased in 1886 and published the next year, to good reviews.

Doyle 'killed' Holmes in "The Final Problem" by having him and Professor Moriarty fall over Reichenbach Falls to their deaths.  He wanted to focus more on his historical fiction novels, which he preferred writing.  Of course, the public outcry was so great, he had to bring back Holmes.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Oklahoma Senate passes bill to detract attention from budget shortfall

The Oklahoma Senate has passed a bill that allows students with "deeply held religious beliefs" can petition their schools to use different facilities than transgendered students. 

If they had any religious beliefs, they wouldn't care.

Transgendered people have been using public bathrooms for years.  Why is this all of a sudden an issue?


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Apocalypse (Not) Now - Earth passes through Halley's Comet tail 1910

Doomsdays come and doomsdays go.  On May 19, 1910, Earth passed through the tail of Halley's Comet and was expected to extinguish all life.  Weeks before astronomers had discovered cyanogen, a deadly poison in the comet's tail.  Prognosticators warned people that cyanogen would permeate the atmosphere and kill every living thing.  The good news was you could take a pill, which would protect you against the effects of the poison.  They didn't explain how you would protect yourself when the Pacific Ocean emptied into the Atlantic.

Oh, but the best way to escape the apocalypse was in a submarine!

People awoke on May 20 and nothing had happened. Oh, well.  The world is scheduled to end December  21, 2012.  Oh, right.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Happy birthday, Rick Mason!

I had a schoolboy crush on sexy teacher Rick Mason, played by still-sexy Brian Cutler, on the Saturday morning show "Isis".  Born May 18, 1945, Brian also appeared with other super-heroes, such as the Hulk, the Bionic Woman and Mork (Mork & Mindy).

Debralee Scott starred in an episode of "Isis" with Brian and the beautiful Joanna Cameron.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Oklahoma Senate gives the shaft to the state's poorest people

The news from Oklahoma just keeps getting worse.  Despite religious leaders pleading with legislators, the Oklahoma Senate voted 31-7 last Thursday to do away with the earned income tax credit.  This benefited the poorest people in Oklahoma who can't even afford to pay income tax.

The senate will also consider doing away with child tax credit and sales tax relief credit.


Racist, homophobic Sally Kern is outta here!

Unfortunately, the reason is she's reached her term limits and not because she's a psychotic bitch. 
She's obviously proud of her hate-filled speeches because she delivered one on her way out the door.  Back in 2008, she said that "studies show" societies that embraced homosexuality disappeared within a few decades.  She never produced  any of these "studies" and went on to say gays were worse than terrorists and Islam. 

Of course, she never called Ellen back after Ellen left her a nice message.


Book review - "Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor" by Robert Stinnett

Okay, let me first start by saying I did NOT finish this book.  I barely started the second chapter when I had to put it down.  The title should really say "The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor according to Robert Stinnett."  Stinnett makes it clear in the foreward that he blames FDR for blatantly provoking Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor and knew ahead of time without question the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.   Other authors of books I have read on this subject manage to stay objective and state the facts without a certain bias.  Stinnett is not one of these.  From the beginning, he sets out stating FDR is guilty and presents the facts, skewed as they are, to prove FDR's perfidy.

Stinnett ignores the fact that the U.S. was critical of Japan's involvement in China and had made numerous attempts to defuse the situation.  As last resorts, U.S. began to cut off trade to Japan, decreasing and then stopping shipments of oil and metal.  This made a huge impact on Japan and they felt they had no choice to retaliate. 

FDR and his staff were certain this would goad the Japanese into an act of aggression but stood their  ground.  They expected an attack but thought it  would be the Philippines or Guam. 

Stinnett's own soapbox and personal vendetta are clear in his writing and wants to do anything, including leaving out certain details, to force the reader into believing him.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Happy birthday, Miss Jackson!

My girl Janet was born May 16, 1966 and she's still going strong!  I liked her ever since she released "Control" but it was "Rhythm Nation" when I fell in love with her!

"Miss You Much" is one of my all-time favorite recordings and videos.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Gordon Cooper in Faith 7 launched 1963

Oklahoma native Gordon Cooper blasted off May 15, 1963 in the Faith 7 spacecraft for what would be the last solo flight for an American astronaut.  The mission, Mercury-Atlas 9, was the last of NASA's Mercury program.

Thirty-four hours and twenty minutes after liftoff, Cooper splashed down in the Pacific Ocean four miles from the USS Kearsarge. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Skylab 1 Launched 1973

Skylab 1 was launched on May 14, 1973 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.  It was the unmanned portion of the space station and three astronauts joined it 11 days later.  Skylab was damaged after it was launched: the micrometeoroid shield separated from the module, taking one of the main solar arrays with it.  Therefore, the first crew, Commander Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr., Science Pilot Joseph P. Kerwin and Pilot Paul J Weitz, had to effect repairs.

Skylab came crashing back to Earth July 11, 1979.

Friday, May 13, 2016

"Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood" released 1988

Amazing!  Splendiferous!  Outstanding!  Stupendous!  Totally Awesome!  Rad!  Gnarly, dude!  Like, fer sure, fer sure!  This movie was better than all the Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Star Trek AND Rocky movies put together!  Why this movie did not sweep the 61st Academy Awards on March 29, 1989 at the Shrine Civic Auditorium will forever be one of those unsolved mysteries of the century.  It pulled ideas and emulated styles of so many other Oscar-winning movies, that it should have been mentioned in AFI’s Top 100 Movies of all Time, at least. 

The first and one of the biggest tragedies to receive this cold shoulder would be Kane Hodder, the leading man in the role of Jason Vorhees.  Mr. Hodder’s ability to portray such a tortured soul, eternally tormented by his inner demons, without the benefit of even a single line in the entire script, puts him in a class all by himself.  The fact that multi-talented Mr. Hodder pulled double-duty as the stunt coordinator was virtually ignored by the Academy. 

Next we have Lar Park Lincoln, as the troubled yet psychokinetic femme fatale, duped into what was to be a fun-loving weekend to Crystal Lake, the scene of more murders than New York City sees in a total of ten years (somehow this easily overlooked fact has been forgotten and left off of the travel brochure).  The role of Tina Shepard was undoubtedly ‘stepping out of the box’ since very few previous movies have tackled such a prickly issue as teenage girls with lethal telekinesis.  One notable actress to portray such a character is Sissy Spacek in the 1976 thriller “Carrie” for which Miss Spacek was nominated for a Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar and won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress in 1977.  It was this same Academy that snubbed Lar Park Lincoln for virtually the saem cutting edge role, even though Lincoln’s Shepard had more demons to face than just some rambunctious high school students and a bucket of blood.  Tina Shepard came face-to-face with one of moviedom’s most notorious serial killers with a host of deadly accoutrements.  Here we saw a young lady blossom into womanhood as a real-life Jean Grey, using her abilities for the good of mankind.  Sadly, it is just possible that this high-profile snub is the reason Ms. Lincoln’s movie career has ended, leaving her to waste her talents on the small screen, starting in forgettable series such as “Freddy’s Nightmares” and night-time soaps like “Knot’s Landing”.

Also being rudely shut out is Susan Blu, in the supporting role as Tina’s mother, Amanda.  Ms. Blu took her character in another direction than Piper Laurie’s Margaret White in “Carrie”.  Amanda Shepard was a caring and protective parent, in fear for her daughter’s well-being.  This more affectionate and touching role was far more Oscar-worthy than the screeching, violent Margaret White, yet it earned Ms. Laurie an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.  But the damage to Ms. Blu’s career has been more extensive than Lincoln’s, being relegated to providing voices on many animated series such as “Godzilla: The Series”, “The Tick”, and “Beast Wars: Transformers”. 

Despite these outstanding performances, the only nomination was Jennifer Banko, for the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Horror or Mystery Motion Picture in 1989.  Not a bad job for someone who is on the screen for less than 3 minutes.  It was a coincidence and accidental that Ms. Banko appeared exactly as Heather O’Rourke’s Carole Ann Freeling in “Poltergeist” who was nominated for the very same award in 1983!  “Poltergeist” garnered 3 Academy Award nominations and won Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films USA for Best Horror film in 1983. 

The reason that Friday the 13th, Part VII: New Blood didn’t win any acting awards in 1989 cannot be because of the actors and actress, since their performances were stellar.  In brief, there was Terry Kiser as the seemingly caring but actually devious Dr. Crews, who’s darker side matches that of Jason’s, and his bedside manner as well; Susan Jennifer Sullivan (no, not THAT Susan Sullivan) was Melissa, the poor little rich girl, trying to find love with the beautiful Nick, but the last thing that goes through her mind, before Jason’s axe does, is that money can’t buy happiness; Jeff Bennett as budding screen-fiction writer, but cancelled going head-to-head (literally thanks to a machete and Tina’s psychokinesis) with the villain; and Diana Barrow’s Maddy, the ugly duckling turned beautiful swan turned worm food by Vorhees. 

Besides the impeccable acting, there were technical gems that contributed to this jewel in the crown of thorns of the Friday the 13th series.

Costume designer Jacqueline Johnson captured the quintessential style of the late 1980’s with enough shoulder pads and sweaters (no parachute pants?) to outfit the cast of Ben-Hur, a multiple Oscar winner including Elizabeth Hoffenden for Best Costume Design.  But Johnson’s unique ability to depict the style of that era so completely there is no doubt when you see the movie that it IS the 1980’s.  Her costume designs are to 1988 what James Acheson’s are to 1760’s France (Mr. Acheson won the 1989 Oscar for Best Costume Design). 

The Make-Up Artist and Hair Stylist Jerrie Werkman also worked (no pun intended) up cosmetic miracles.  With so much big hair on the screen (and enough hairspray to set the Montreal Protocol back 10 years), what can one say but “Ah, those were the ‘80’s!  Still Ms. Werkmen magic on Hodder gave Jason a more horrifying face than any Alien we’ve seen on Star Wars (and Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Star Trek, etc.)  Her only gaff was for John Otrin’s appearance in the climatic scene at the pier.  He looked damn good for being fish fodder for the past decade and a half. 

Probably the only area where an Oscar sweep could have been jeopardized is the original score.  Henry Mancini…oops!...Harry Manfredini (obvious mistake, anyone could have made it) composed the music for previous Friday the 13th movies, so in the “If-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” vein, Fred Mollin’s score is “recycled music” [source: IMDb.com] with some original music composed by Mollin.  The good ol’ (tired) “Jason’s Theme” has been updated and remixed but the Academy apparently was not impressed. 

Breaking away from the “We’ve-seen-THAT-before” mold are writers Daryl Haney (canned by uncredited executive producer Frank Mancuso, Jr.) and ghost writer Manuel Fidello.  This literary duo pushed the envelope first by creating a character with powers so controversial that they are doubted by some of the world’s top skeptics!  What guts they showed to stand up in the face of such animosity!  They also demonstrated their ability to illustrate the 1980’s as well as the costume designs.  For example, a line of dialogue: 

“So he says ‘Let me see your I.D.’ and I’m like, ‘I left it at home’ and he goes ‘You have to go and get it’, so I said ‘OK’ and I left.” 

Another example: “Happy f**king birthday!”

Where else can we find such riveting dialogue and insightful scripts?

It’s the movie as a whole that we should look at.  Tina and Jason, two different people from different worlds (she from the living, he from the undead) inexplicably drawn to each other yet forever apart, like Romeo and Juliet (it’s a stretch, I know, but bear with me).  The first evidence of their attraction is when a grown Tina tries to raise her dead father from his watery grave (a few minutes before, she said she couldn’t move a book of matches, now she believes she can reanimate the dead?).  Instead of focusing her efforts to the shore where her dad went down, directly beneath her, Tina finds herself probing the waters 50 yards away, to the middle of the lake, where Jason waits to be reawakened.

Their attraction takes a step forward when Tina runs through the (very well-lit) night-darkened forest after Jason, to find him waiting for her in a clearing.  After his attempts to approach her are thwarted by her psychokinesis (apparently he was a bit too aggressive in making the first move), he advances on her in a jealous fit after catching her with pretty-boy Nick.  We know that Jason does not mean her harm, because he even protects her with his body from a long fall into the basement.  Tina is the only known person that has escaped from the big man’s grasp, losing only her sweater.  Either Jason is slipping in his old age, or he has a soft spot for her in his maggot-ridden heart.  Romantic!

In the final scene, Jason proves once again his love for her by not violently dispatching Nick (as he does everyone in every other scene), but simply pushes him out of the way, safely into a boat so he can assert his presence by standing between them, claiming Tina as his own.  But as in Romeo and Juliet, an annoying father interferes, to show that a man’s love and protectiveness for his daughter are stronger than any suitor. 

Special effects team used methods successfully employed by other Oscar-winning movies, only to be passed over by the double-standard Academy.  In 1980, “Alien” won the Academy’s award for visual effects.  One such effect that was ‘borrowed’ by the F13:VII team was the use of a cat to induce a scary moment by jumping out of a cabinet.  In “Alien” however, the cat was introduced at the beginning of the movie and appeared intermittently throughout until the final frame.  In F13:VII, the cat only appears in one short scene, then disappears for the rest of the film (kinda like JoBeth Williams’s character in 1980 Oscar’s Best Picture, Kramer vs. Kramer).  The kitchen scene where Jason’s victim (whatever his name is) places a flashlight on the counter to illuminate his refrigerator-raiding is reminiscent of Veronica Cartwright’s and Yaphet Kotto’s death scene in “Alien.”  In space no one can hear you scream.  Obviously, no one can hear you scream at Crystal Lake, either.

Cinematographers used creative artistic licenses by incorporating the film crew’s shadows and equipment in many places as background movement to add more of a sense of eeriness and suspense to the movie.  This effective and innovative technique is rarely used in today’s modern age of editing. 

Finally, we must look at the man behind the masterpiece, director John Carl Buechler, whose unique vision by stepping out of the usual rut of the previous six Friday the 13th movies, was so tragically unnoticed by virtually everyone.  By electing to NOT scare his audiences (and risk boring them to death), Buechler instead chose to build the suspense by using lighting (including intermittent oddly-timed lightning strikes off-camera), eerie music, and hand-held camera movements and angles (like Hitchcock) to let us know when Jason is near and ready to strike.  Much more effective than surprising us by having Jason jump through windows, pop out of the lake, or travel 5 miles in an instant.  Buechler eschewed precious-time-wasters like character development.  For example he didn’t bore the audiences by showing how Tina developed her powers (a mistake made by Stephen King…twice).  No, when we see Tina as a young girl, she is fully cognizant of her power and able to use it with deadly accuracy (accuracy which comes and goes, obviously, since she missed the mark with her father by 50 yards, yet wielded small nails as projectiles easily). 

Jason is given the Pepe LePew ability to keep up with his prey.  No matter how fast they run, no matter how slow he walks, he always only ten feet behind them.  Jason also has the Bugs Bunny resourcefulness, since he seems to have a plethora of garden power tools at his disposal (anywhere he goes) and can pull them out of his ass…oops!...thin air (whenever he needs them).  After use, he discards the tool and grabs another one (from somewhere). 

Overall, an incredible movie with only a $3.5 million estimated budget.  With all the evidence pointing to the outstanding aspects of this pinnacle of the Friday the 13th series, yet snubbed by the Academy of Arts and Sciences, it certainly deserves a second look.  Maybe someday it will be included in the AFI’s Top 1,000,000 Movies of all Time!

Daphne Du Maurier, author of "The Birds" born in 1907

Daphne du Maurier, born May 13, 1907, wrote such romantic thrillers as "Rebecca" and "The Birds", both of which were turned into movies by Alfred Hitchcock.  I read "The Birds" in junior high (that was 15 years ago!) and although the theme of the movie was the same as the  story, the chain of events were totally different.  Still, both were exciting!

She was granted the ceremonial title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1969.
The movie "Rebecca" is an excellent mystery.

Here is the iconic phone booth scene with Tippi Hedren from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds".  The thing to do when thousands of birds are attacking is to run OUTSIDE!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Oklahoma is "Earthquake Alley" - 60 Minutes

Bill Whitaker, 60 Minutes correspondence, aired a report this past Sunday, May 8.  No surprise that Gov. Failing and Kim Hatfield of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association looked like the brain-dead politicians we expect.  Scientists and experts say that disposing of waste-water, created from fracking, is responsible for the rise in earthquakes.  Hatfield says it's "inconclusive".  How stupid can he be?  Where is his science?


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Happy National Twilight Zone Day!

I just found out that May 11 is the unofficial holiday where people celebrate by watching episodes of the popular television series.  The show was created by Rod Serling and was on the air from 1959 to 1964. 

My favorite episodes are "Twenty-two" (which was one of the very few to be filmed on videotape) and "Ring-a-Ding Girl".  Of course, I like everyone's favorites "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" with William Shatner"Living Doll" with Telly Savalas, the one with Ellie Mae Clampett, etc.

What is your favorite episode?

Ed Wood's "Bride of the Monster" released 1955

Certainly not the crown jewel in Ed Wood's tiara of campy movies, but "Bride of the Monster", released May 11, 1955, was Wood's only commercially successful film upon its release.  It was Bela Lugosi's last movie where he had a speaking part and it was hilariously sliced and diced by the crew of the Satellite of Love, "Mystery Science Theatre 3000".

I especially love the scene where the newspaper clerk's pencil keeps appearing and disappearing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book review - Pearl Harbor Betrayed by Michael Gannon

It’s futile to critique or say something negative about Michael Gannon’s excellent book on the political climate and subterfuge taking place between the United States and Japan in the first eleven months of 1941.  Cannon based his work on documents surrounding the events that led to the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor when they were unsealed sometime prior to 1999.  

Apparently other books preceded Gannon’s and lay blame on the shoulders of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel (in charge of the naval forces at Pearl Harbor) and General Walter Campbell Short (in charge of the Army there).  Gannon meticulously addresses those points and manages to dispel them with the facts presented.  And he’s not the only one to take notice.  After the attack, investigations publicly blamed Kimmel and Short for “allowing” the attack to take place, but after the documents were unsealed, Congress posthumously exonerated both Kimmel and Short from blame.

We will probably never know all the facts though since many documents were destroyed after the war.

Gannon boils it down to a catastrophic breakdown in communication.  Among his examples:  Admiral Kimmel not being informed of the collapse of US-Japan negotiations, the intelligence being gathered wasn’t accurate but being passed on as truth (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?), and the infamous McCollum memorandum.

Gannon presents the facts and urges the readers to make their own conclusions.  The only critique I have of Gannon’s work is that it is not an easy read.  He writes well and his presentation is spectacular but I had to re-read several passages to understand his meaning.

I appreciate the work even more now I realize over 2400 men and women were not sacrificed just to pull America into WWII.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Our solar system has a new moon, MK 2

NASA announced last week that they have discovered a new moon, orbiting the dwarf planet Makemake (pronounced either "maKI-maKI" or "ma-KAY-ma-KAY" depending upon who you ask).  The dwarf planet is in the Kuiper Belt which lies beyond the orbit of Neptune.  (Remember when Pluto was demoted to 'dwarf planet', making Neptune once again the outermost planet?)

MK 2 is "Charcoal Black" whereas Makemake is snowy white, which made it difficult to find initially.  But the Hubble telescope found it with its specialized equipment. 


Happy birthday, Billy Joel!

My man Billy Joel celebrates his 67th birthday today!  He's been a top favorite of mine for years, but his album "Innocent Man" sealed the deal.  It's one of the best albums ever!  Billy Joel was inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and got his Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame for Recording September 20, 2004.

I saw his "Innocent Man" tour in Oklahoma City in 1984 and his "Bridge" tour in Dallas in 1986! 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky born 1840

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born May 7, 1840 in Votkinsk which was in what is Russia today.  It's generally accepted that he was gay, in an era and country where such behavior wasn't accepted.  The Soviets even tried to portray him as heterosexual.  But he was a hottie! 

His "Nutcracker Suite", which he wasn't too fond of and didn't enjoy immediate success, is now one of his most beloved pieces.  It is a staple of ballet companies during the Christmas season.

Beethoven 9th Symphony premieres 1824

Beethoven premiered his Ninth Symphony on May 7, 1824 in the Theater am Karntnertor in Vienna.  The fact that Beethoven was deaf when he composed one of the greatest pieces of music in the history of the universe is mind-boggling!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hydra, Pluto's Ice Moon

NASA reports that it has received the first compositional data on Pluto's four small moons from the New Horizons spacecraft.  They outermost satellite, Hydra, is covered mostly in unspoiled water ice.  Pluto's largest moon Charon is also covered mainly in water ice, but spectral analysis suggests that ice particles on Hydra are larger. NASA has described Hydra, only 31 miles long, as resembling the state of Michigan.  I suppose if you squint real hard...  This image was taken at a distance of 150,000 miles but closer pictures might not be forthcoming.  The New Horizons team is looking forward to obtaining data about Pluto's other moons.



"Thor" released 2011

My favorite super-hero finally gets his own movie!  "Thor", starring the gorgeous Chris Hemsworth as the title role, premiered May 6, 2011.  It stayed true to the comic books by having Thor as arrogant and brash, and being thrown out of Asgard by his father Odin, until he learns some humility.

Here is a moving scene where Thor sacrifices himself for the residents of Midgard (Earth).

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Country legend Tammy Wynette born 1942

Country music royalty Tammy Wynette, born May 5, 1942, released "Stand By Your Man" in September 1968 and is one of the all-time best selling songs in country music.  Growing up in Mississippi, she worked in the cotton fields as a girl. She moved to Nashville in 1966 to pursue her dream of a singer and got her break when she signed with Epic Records and recorded "Apartment #9" her first hit.

She left us too early April 6, 1998.

I was surprised to see her performing a dance track with the group KLF but she knocks it out of the park, whether country or dance.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

OK Governor Failing as Trump's VP? WTF?

May God have mercy on us if this happens!


Magellan (Venus Radar Mapper) launched in 1989

The Magellan spacecraft, aka Venus Radar Mapper, was launched May 4, 1989 from the Space Shuttle Atlantis. It was the first probe to be launched from the Space Shuttle and the fourth successful NASA mission to Venus.  It ended an eleven-year dry spell for NASA interplanetary probes.  Magellan reached Venus August 7, 1990 and began mapping on September 15. 
From January to September 1992, Magellan began collecting stereo imagery data which allowed scientists to recreate the Venusian surface in 3-D models, like Mount Mons above.

Magellan space craft in Atlantis shuttle bay.

Happy Star Wars Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Iron Man 3" released 2013

Probably the most exciting movie of the trilogy, "Iron Man 3" was released May 3, 2013.  Another trifecta was Guy Pierce as Aldrich Killian, the main bad guy.  Now all three main actors from "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" have played super-villains.  Terence Stamp (Bernadette) played General Zod in "Superman" and "Superman 2".  Hugo Weaving (Mitzi Del Bra) played the Red Skull in "Captain America: The First Avenger".

This is one of the most exciting scenes from Iron Man 3.

Monday, May 2, 2016

X-Men 2 released 2003

The best X-Men movie (my humble opinion only, of course) "X-Men 2" was released May 2, 2003.  I appreciated it more than the first one because Jean Grey and Storm were so wimpy in the first one.  Their powers were pumped up in X2. 

Some deleted scenes from X2: