Ultraman creator Eiji Tsuburaya poses with Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, Hiroko Sakurai and the cast of the original ULTRAMAN.

Mecha VS Kaiju? It all started with ULTRAMAN!

With Mecha VS Kaiju (Giant Japanese Robots and Monsters) on everyone’s radar, I thought this would be a good time to talk about ULTRAMAN.

It was created as “A Special-Effects Fantasy Series” by Tsuburaya Productions, the same folks who brought GODZILLA to “Man-In-Suit” life back in the 1950s. In it’s original run in 1966-67 (on Tokyo Broadcasting System), ULTRAMAN was the story of the Science Special Search Party, or SSSP, a UN based “police force” intended to combat nefarious aliens and yes, Giant Monsters. One of their own, Shin Hayata (Susamu Kurobe)… well, who ever wrote the Wiki says it better than I. Take it away Wikipedia!

“The first series begins when Science Patrol (Kagaku Tokusou Tai) member Shin Hayata is flying his plane and a red sphere of light crashes into his Mini-VTOL. The sphere turns out to be the transport (Travel Sphere) for a red-and-silver giant being who calls himself Ultraman. Feeling remorse for having killed the human, he merges his essence with Hayata to revive him. In return, Hayata serves as the human form for this being, and whenever danger threatens, and the resources of the Science Patrol are not enough to counter it, he raises and activates a power-object and artifact called a “beta capsule” and transforms to Ultraman to save the day.” –from Wikipedia.

Anyway, ULTRAMAN (the show) was as big in Japan as the 1960’s BATMAN was over here, and soon became a world-wide phenomenon. spanning 22 television series and over 20 Movies between its inception and 2012.

It’s kind of a big deal. Several Stories of a big deal when the Beta Capsule is activated.

Well, this past spring MONSTERPALOOZA (a Classic Monster Horror Convention in Los Angeles) hosted three of the of the stars from that original Iconic TV show in not only their first American appearance, but their first appearance together anywhere: Bin Furuya (who played the Red and Silver giant himself), Susumu Kurobe (Shin Hayata, his human host), and the lovely Hiroko Sakurai (Akiko Fuji, the SSSP’s communications operator, and only female member).

I was honored to do a limited edition print to commemorate the occasion.

An ULTRAMAN limited edition print that I did for the MONSTERPALOOZA in LA this past spring, commemorating guests Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, and the lovely Hiroko Sakurai.

An ULTRAMAN limited edition print that I did for the MONSTERPALOOZA in LA this past spring, commemorating guests Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, and the lovely Hiroko Sakurai.

Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, and the lovely Hiroko Sakurai signing my ULTRAMAN print at Monsterpalooza 2013.

Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, and the lovely Hiroko Sakurai signing my ULTRAMAN print at Monsterpalooza 2013.

Thank you very much kind readers and giant monster fanatics!

Thank you very much kind readers and giant monster fanatics!

Showing off some of the signage that I designed for Texas Frightmare Weekend 2013.

Hey, what’s shakin’?

Seems like I’m always making this excuse… You know the story of the cobbler who was so busy making shoes that his own children went barefoot? That is kind of my relationship with this blog. But I hope to get better about it… (famous last words.)

Well it’s been quite a year so far. Far and beyond the biggest thing that has happened is that my wife, the amazing Realitychick, is currently gestating this decade’s designated Mirthling, codenamed ZEPPO. About once every 7-9 years we bring forth a new version to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting populace. Of course, that you have the forethought to peruse my blog on the oft chance that I actually UPDATE it, you now have fair warning. As is the common cinematic parlance… He’s “coming this October” to a delivery room near… home.

So I’m staying plenty busy with my art projects, making sure that we can stay afloat once October comes.

Here’s something you might be interested in…

I also had the honor of being a guest at the 2013 Texas Frightmare convention (My first as a guest!) and had a great, though remarkably busy, time. Being a guest is a WHOLE different thing than being a attending as a patron or working it as staff though. I sat less than 20 feet from Danny Trejo the entire weekend and never got the opportunity to talk to the man. But I *did* make some great contacts (it helps when you’re “art directing” the show), and its always good to see friends from previous years. Looking at the pictures from the show though has started me on the long haul back to a reasonable weight. It’s a hard row to hoe, but I’m gonna do it. Mock me if I don’t!

I’m gonna stop here, for now. Next time, I’ll show off some of my recent logo work! Won’t THAT be exciting?

Pushed into the Deep End.

“North America’s getting soft, padrone. And the rest of the world is getting tough. Very, very tough. We’re entering savage new times, and we’re going to have to be pure… and direct… and strong… if we’re gonna survive them.”
— Harlan (Played by Peter Dvorsky) in David Cronenberg’s VIDEODROME.

Today is September 11, 2012… the eleventh anniversary of the attacks in New York, Arlington, Virginia, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Like Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy Assassination and the Challenger disaster before them, it was a defining moment in out recent history. Just about everyone alive remembers where they were when they heard the news.

Where was I? I was at Wichita Area Technical College, in my Quark XPress class. One of the guys in the back of the room always started is morning by checking the news on the internet.

“A plane has hit the tower of the World Trade Center.” he announced.

I didn’t bat an eye. I grew up with ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, in which the narrative started with terrorists hijacking Air Force One and crashing it into Manhattan, yet that didn’t cross my mind at the time. First thing I thought was “I’m surprised that hadn’t happened before now. It’s an awfully tall building.” Even then, I was thinking it was a Piper Cub or something.

A few minutes later he announced that a second plane had hit the second tower.

Suddenly we were all at our workstations, logging into the internet news stations… CNN, ABC, NBC, BBC… anywhere we could get information. And we were stymied… not by our own IT department (who had lifted the restrictions on our department) but by the limitations of the infrastructure at the websites themselves.

The news websites were simply not prepared for the pounding that they took those first few hours. The Internet to that point had always been a novelty to the bureaus and networks. But not on that day. We needed to know what happened and NOW, and were going to all lengths to get it. Infrastructures were updated on the fly in a heroic effort to get the information to the people.

Eventually that day we were astounded by what we saw. Live updates, streaming video, and reports worldwide, as the globe mourned for our losses.

In our classrooms and labs at the tech college? We were artists, video producers and web designers… This was the first time any of us studying “New Media” really saw our own careers at work. The media was disseminating information like never before, through any means necessary. Though we were appalled at the situation, we were amazed and appreciative of the technology we were studying. It was the beginning of a whole new age. New media got pushed into the deep end, and, for better or worse, really learned to swim.

But now, after a decade in the pool, are we getting Pruney?

“Well, I think we live in overstimulated times. We crave stimulation for its own sake. We gorge ourselves on it. We always want more, whether it’s tactile, emotional or sexual… I admit it. I live in a highly excited state of overstimulation.”
— Nikki Brand (Played by Debbie Harry) in VIDEODROME

Because of the advances made on and because of that day, you are reading this blog, watching cat videos on YouTube, watching streaming movies on Netflix, vilifying presidential candidates on Facebook and are kept up to date on every news story no matter how monumental or trivial, not only from your computer, but from your cellphones, ipads and video game consoles.

We are a generation hardwired into the internet, junkies of the information age, overdosing on terabytes of data every day. Is it good? Is it socially positive? Or are we effectively dragging down our own humanity and becoming desensitized because we see everything through the filter of our LED screens?

That’s a subject for another blog. Long Live the New Flesh.

NATALIES: Natal Anniversaries for August 7, 2012

NATALIES!* Today is August 8th, The Day of the Roleplayers, Frozen Custard Day, Happiness Happens Day, Admit You’re Happy Day, Zucchini Day, Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night, Stable Clean-Up Day, Swimming Day, Burryman Festival Holiday (Scotland), Cheesecake Day, Date to Create, Discordian Season of Bureaucracy (first day), Fairies’ Finest Fairy Finals Festival Holiday, Fourteen Holy Helpers Day, Garage Sale Day (varies), International Character Day, International Day of the World’s Indigenous People (Australia), the Nudist Convention Holiday, Universal & International Infinity Day, and the feast day of St. Dominic, patron Saint of Astronomers.

THIS DAY IN GEEK HISTORY: On this day in 2004, one of the original “Scream Queens”, Fay Wray passed away a few days short of her 97th Birthday. She had been scheduled to make a cameo in Peter Jackson’s KONG remake. When he death was announced, the lights in the Empire State Building were shut off for 15 minutes as a mark of respect.

On this day in 1960, Brian Hyland and the John Dixon Orchestra hit the top of the charts with their hit single, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”

On this day in 1930, writer Terry Nation was born in Cardiff, Wales. The writer, who created the science fiction series SURVIVORS and BLAKE’S 7, is probably best known for the creation of DOCTOR WHO’S Most iconic Foes, THE DALEKS!

Samuel Glass, Illustration by M Mrakota Orsman

Samuel Glass, Illustration by M Mrakota Orsman

Today’s featured BIRTHDAYS include screenwriter, promoter, and all around good guy Samuel Glass, and one of our all-time favorites of our kids’ teachers, Alisha McClure, who was savvy enough to catch something that not only everyone before her had missed, but whose intervention also had positive consequences far into the future.

They share their birthday with Katie Leung of the HARRY POTTER films; Peyton List of FLASHFORWARD; Meagan Good of SAW V; editorand director Lee Unkrich of TOY STORY 2 & 3; Filmmaker Jon Turteltaub of NATIONAL TREASURE and SORCERER’S APPRENTICE; Don Most, aka “Ralph Malph” of HAPPY DAYS; GHOST IN THE SHELL director Mamoru Oshii; PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi; Keith Carradine of DEXTER and COWBOYS & ALIENS; Adult actor John Holmes; Brooke Bundy of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 and 4; Connie Stevens of TWO ON A GUILLOTINE; Dustin Hoffman of MARATHON MAN, LITTLE BIG MAN, and WAG THE DOG; Keith Barron of THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT; TV producers Donald Bellisario and William Asher; Richard Anderson of FORBIDDEN PLANET and THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN; Illustrator Károly Reich; Rory Calhoun of MOTEL HELL; and the patron saint of movie producers, Dino De Laurentiis.

Happy ate ate!

*“NATALIES” is a combined short form of the words NATAL (refers to birth) and ANNIVERSARIES… In other words, Birthdays. For the last year or so I’ve been posting these on my FACEBOOK page. I’ve been needing to start blogging more regularly, so this kills two switchboards with one operator… or something like that.

NATALIES: Natal Anniversaries for August 7, 2012

NATALIES! Today is August 7th, aka The Day of the Double Agent, Beach Party Day, Lighthouse Day, Professional Speakers Day, Raspberries and Cream Day, Sea Serpent Day, Canadian Heritage Day (varies), Fairies’ Smartest Leprechaun Eisteddford Holiday, Feast of ‘Aut-Yeb – Personification of Female Joy (Egypt), Feast of the Holy Name and Ivory Coast Independence Day, Mustard Day, National Night Out, Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day, Pea Festival Day, Smile Week, and the Feast Day of St. Cajetan.

This Day in Geek History! On this day in 1941, HERE COMES MR. JORDAN, adapted from the Harry Segall play “Heaven Can Wait”, premiered. The story of a boxer taken to the afterlife before his time, it was nominated for seven Oscars, and took home two, for writing. It was the basis for the 1978 Warren Beatty film HEAVEN CAN WAIT, which itself was the basis for the 2001 comedy DOWN TO EARTH with Chris Rock.

The first-ever computer chess tournament took place on August 7, 1970.

Heather Harbin Dye, Illustration by M Mrakota Orsman

Heather Harbin Dye, Illustration by M Mrakota Orsman

Today’s Featured Natalies include Clinical Psychology Consultant (and damn funny performer) Drew Fowler; insanely talented costumer Katie Kaufman; DYE CEO and movie fan Heather Harbin Dye; and Derby Hills secretary, and fellow St. Michael’s cantor, Devon Graf Packard.

They share their special day with Eric Johnson of SMALLVILLE; Cirroc Lofton of DEEP SPACE NINE; HAUTE TENSION director Alexandre Aja; Charlize Theron of PROMETHEUS and AEON FLUX; Vanessa Stacey of THE TRIBE, LORD OF THE RINGS and THE FRIGHTENERS; Hans Matheson of SHERLOCK HOLMES and CLASH OF THE TITANS; MAN OF STEEL’s “General Zod” Michael Shannon; Greg Serano of FRAILTY and DEADLY IMPACT; Harold Perrineau of the MATRIX films; David Duchovny of THE X FILES; Caroline Aaron of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and PUMPKIN; Wayne Knight of TOY STORY 2, JURASSIC PARK, TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY and SPACE JAM; Alexei Sayle of THE YOUNG ONES and INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE; David Rasche of SLEDGE HAMMER!; John Glover of SMALLVILLE, SCROOGED, BATMAN AND ROBIN, and GREMLINS 2; Tobin Bell, “Jigsaw” of the SAW franchise; Science Fiction Writer Jerry Pournelle, Edward Hardwicke of Granada’s SHERLOCK HOLMES; Magician James (The Amazing) Randi; Rankin Bass screenwriter Romeo Muller of RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER, THE HOBBIT, ad nauseum; Our Gang member Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer; Humorist, advertising professional and voice actor Stan Freberg; film director Nicholas Ray; Billie Burke, aka “Glinda the Good Witch” of THE WIZARD OF OZ; accused spy Mata Hari; the “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Báthory; and American treasure Garrison Keillor.

Happy August 7th!

*“NATALIES” is a combined short form of the words NATAL (refers to birth) and ANNIVERSARIES… In other words, Birthdays. For the last year or so I’ve been posting these on my FACEBOOK page. I’ve been needing to start blogging more regularly, so this kills two Windows with one Linux… or something like that.

NATALIES: Natal Anniversaries for August 4, 2012

NATALIES*! Today is August 4, 2012 The Day of the Guiding Light, Backgammon Day, Chocolate Chip Day, Hooray for Kids Day, Mustard Day, Quotations Day, Quotations Day, US. Coast Guard Day, Blueberry Festival Holiday (Pennsylvania), Celtic Tree Month of Tinne (last day), Colombian Constitution Day, Constitution Day (Cook Islands), Fairies’ Drying-Out Day,Huancavelica Anniversary Holiday (Peru), Munchkins of Oz Convention Holiday and Nicole Robin Day (Caribbean) and the feast of St. John Vianney.

THIS DAY IN GEEK HISTORY! You’ve seen one of these charts…
Venn Diagram, courtesy Reddit
It’s called a Venn Diagram, and the guy who created it, John Venn, was born on this day in 1834.

Today is the 62nd anniversary of the day Norma Desmond became ready for her close-up. Billy Wilder’s SUNSET BOULEVARD opened on this day in 1950.

Amy Kuyper Stockton, illustration by M Mrakota Orsman

Amy Kuyper Stockton, illustration by M Mrakota Orsman

Today’s featured Natalies are my nephew the drummer Rick Macy (playing a benefit concert to help the Joyland Restoration Project today!), and high school classmate and Des Moines teacher Amy Kuyper Stockton. If she’s as dedicated an instructor as she was a stage manager back in the day, her students are lucky indeed.

They share their birthday with Greta Gerwig of HOUSE OF THE DEVIL; Abigail Spencer of COWBOYS AND ALIENS; ANGEL’s singing “Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan”, Andy Hallett; Stefan Brogren of BITTEN; Michael DeLuise of WAYNE’S WORLD; Daniel Dae Kim, of ANGEL and LOST; writer Dennis Lehane; voice actress Lauren Tom of FUTURAMA; CANDYMAN director Bernard Rose; Billy Bob Thornton of TOMBSTONE and BANDITS; Richard Belzer of HOMICIDE LIFE ON THE STREET; artist and actor Don S. Davis of TWIN PEAKS and STARGATE SG-1; voice actor Martin Jarvis; Scorcese regular Frank Vincent; Anita Page of WITCHCRAFT XI, THE CRAWLING BRAIN and FRANKENSTEIN RISING; poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and actor Donald “Ogre” Gibb.

May the fourth be with you!

*“NATALIES” is a combined short form of the words NATAL (refers to birth) and ANNIVERSARIES… In other words, Birthdays. For the last year or so I’ve been posting these on my FACEBOOK page. I’ve been needing to start blogging more regularly, so this kills two girls with one cup… or something like that.

NATALIES: Natal Anniversaries for August 2, 2012

Today is August 2, The Day of the Versatile Signature, Dinosaurs Day, Gymnastics Day, Ice Cream Sandwich Day, Colorado Day, Day of the Water Nymphs (Macedonia), Dryads Wood and Water Gods Day (Greek), Fairies’ Charity Money Distribution Holiday, Festival of Imbolc, Friendship Day, Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Day, Harriet Quimby Aviator Day, Sisters Day, Twins Festival Day (in Ohio), and the feast day of St. Eusebius of Vercelli.

TODAY IN GEEK HISTORY: Author Lewis Carroll published his classic fantasy fiction work, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, on August 2, 1865.

And it’s the 44th anniversary of the the premiere of DESTROY ALL MONSTERS! Originally released in Japan as CHARGE OF THE MONSTERS, the movie is Toho Studios’ ninth in the Godzilla series. It’s also the fifth film to feature Mothra, third to feature King Ghidorah, fourth to feature Rodan, and second to feature Gorosaurus, Anguirus, Kumonga, Manda, Minilla, Baragon, and Varan. This film is also considered that last of the more classical era of Showa films.

Jim Purkey, illustration by M. Mrakota Orsman

Jim Purkey, illustration by M. Mrakota Orsman

Today’s featured NATALIE is soon to be ambassador to North Dakota Jim Purkey, who was a fellow member of the Wichita State Science Fiction Society (known affectionately as “Wizz-Fizz”), and is currently heavy into the Ren Faire and Steam Punk Cultures. Coming from a theatrical family (his brother Brad is a wichita theatre mainstay), I personally worked with him in the production MAD MATT BEYOND HIPPODROME, and I cast him as a Russian Saboteur in my student film THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN COLLECTO.

He shares his birthday with Hallie Eisenberg of BICENTENNIAL MAN; Edward Furlong of TERMINATOR 2, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS and PECKER; Sam Worthington of AVATAR and TERMINATOR SALVATION; game designer Hiroyuki Goto; Alice Evans of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES; “View Askewniverse” creator Kevin Smith; screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna; Mary-Louise Parker of RED DRAGON and RED (hold the dragon?); One of my favorite actresses, Cynthia Stevenson of MY TALK SHOW and THE PLAYER; Apollonia Kotero of PURPLE RAIN and TALES OF THE GOLD MONKEY; Daffy UHF ingenue and Tea Party Girl Victoria Jackson; Tim Dunigan of CAPTAIN POWER AND THE SOLDIERS OF THE FUTURE; Butch Patrick of THE MUNSTERS and LIDSVILLE; Kathryn Harrold of NIGHTWING and INTO THE NIGHT; Joanna Cassidy of BLADE RUNNER and WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT; Max Wright of ALF and THE STAND; THe amazing Peter O’Toole of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and MY FAVORITE YEAR; filmmaker John Dexter; actors Carroll O’Connor, Nehemiah Persoff, Ann Dvorak, Helen Morgan, Marin Sais and Gary Merrill; Beatrice Straight of NETWORK and POLTERGEIST; Myrna Loy of THE THIN MAN movies; Hitchcock collaborator and screenwriter Charles Bennett; producer Jack Warner (of the Warner Brothers); and Horror filmmaker Wes Craven, creator of THE HILLS HAVE EYES, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, the SCREAM franchise, and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.

Happy August 2nd Everyone!

*“NATALIES” is a combined short form of the words NATAL (refers to birth) and ANNIVERSARIES… In other words, Birthdays. For the last year or so I’ve been posting these on my FACEBOOK page. I’ve been needing to start blogging more regularly, so this kills two bottle caps with one wombat… or something like that.

I cull my information from Wikipedia, American Catholic.Org, voices.yahoo.com and my own brain.

NATALIES: Natal Anniversaries for August 1, 2012

NATALIES!* Today is August 1, The Day of Original Style, Homemade Pie Day, Play Ball Day, Respect for Parents Day, Sing-a-Round Day, Abolition of Slavery Day (Jamaica), Admission Day (Colorado), American Family Day (Arizona), Benin Independence Day, Cheyenne Frontier Day, Colorado Statehood Day (1876), Confederation Day (Switzerland), Cross-Quarter Day, Dahomey Independence Day, Document Delivery Day, Emancipation Day (Trinidad and Tobago), Fairies’ Imps Charity Scramble Holiday, Feast of Bread, Fiesta Day (Nicaragua), Friendship Day, Girlfriend’s Day, Guam Constitution Day, Gule of August (Wales), Homowo – Hooting at Hunger Holiday (Ghana), International Friendship Day, Lady Day Eve, Lammas (Scotland), Lanmac Tide – Beginning of Harvest Season, Laughter Day (Southern California), Lughnasadh Holiday (Wiccan), and Lugnasadh – Lammas Day Celtic Festival, National Night Out, Non-Parent Day, Picnic Day (Australia), Pod Body Day (Maine), Sister’s Day, Sports Day, Wattle Day (Australia), Women Astronomers Day, St. Peter ad Vincula Feast Day, The Seven Machabees Martyrdom Day, Armed Forces Day (Angola), Emancipation Day (Barbados, and Jamaica), Mini Fetes (French Polynesia), and the Feast day of St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori.

This day in Geek History! August 1, 1962 was the street date of Issue 15 of the Marvel Comic Book Amazing Fantasy, which featured the VERY FIRST APPEARANCE of SPIDER-MAN, created by artist Steve Ditko and writer Stan Lee!

And on 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 1981, Music Television (MTV) went on the air for the first time with the song “Video Killed The Radio Star”by The Buggles.

My wife, Michelle. Illustration by M. Mrakota Orsman

My wife, Michelle. Illustration by M. Mrakota Orsman

Today’s The Birthday of my beloved wife (and still Significant Techie) of almost 20 years, my Michelle, aka “The Amazing RealityChick”. To this day I’ve not found a tougher chick, or a brighter smile than hers. I really do believe that between us we will take over the world.

Other featured Natal Anniversaries include Railrack Operator Noah Booth, Theology student Beckie Jenek, Cinematographer Carlos Octavio Rubio; and old Derby High School pal Kasy Quinn.

They share their special day with Jack O’Connell of SKINS; voice actress Rumi Hiiragi of SPIRITED AWAY; Jason Momoa of CONAN THE BARBARIAN, STARGATE: ATLANTIS and GAME OF THRONES; Tanya Reid of STARGATE SG-1; David Wain, director of WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER; filmmaker Sam Mendes of AMERICAN BEAUTY, ROAD TO PERDITION, and the new James Bond film SKYFALL; John Carroll Lynch of FARGO and CARNIVALE; Demián Bichir of MACHETE KILLS; author and punk musician Jim Carroll; Avi Arad of Marvel Comics; Carolco cofounder and movie producer Andrew G. Vajna; Giancarlo Giannini of BLACK BELLY OF THE TARANTULA, HANNIBAL, CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLICE; Voice Actor (and MTW alumni) Jesse Corti of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST; comedian and actor Dom DeLuise of BLAZING SADDLES, CANNONBALL RUN, and FATSO; OLIVER composer Lionel Bart; Disney voice actor Val Bettin; filmmaker J. Lee Thompson of both CONQUEST OF… and BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES; comic actor Henry Jones of WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER?; MOBY DICK Author Herman Melville; and “Star Spangled Banner” lyricist Francis Scott Key.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to August.

*“NATALIES” is a combined short form of the words NATAL (refers to birth) and ANNIVERSARIES… In other words, Birthdays. For the last year or so I’ve been posting these on my FACEBOOK page. I’ve been needing to start blogging more regularly, so this kills two ball point pens with one spool of dental floss… or something like that.

NATALIES: Natal Anniversaries for July 31, 2012

“NATALIES” is a combined short form of the words NATAL (refers to birth) and ANNIVERSARIES… In other words, Birthdays. For the last year or so I’ve been posting these on my FACEBOOK page. I’ve been needing to start blogging more regularly, so this kills two wyverns with one marshmallow… or something like that.

Today is July 31, The Day of the Human Portrait, Always Live Better Than Yesterday Day, Cotton Candy Day, Friendship Day, Mutts Day, Shredded Wheat Day, Bosnia-Herzegovina Independence Day, Devoted Couples Day, La Hae Hawai’I – Flag Day in Hawaii, Lammas Eve, Norse Loki and Sigyn Day (Norway), Raspberry Cake Day, and the Feast Day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Today in Geek History: On this day in 1966, THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS premiered.

The movie, released in Japan as Frankenstein’s Monsters: Sanda versus Gaira, is a 1966 daikaiju eiga (giant monster movie), and a semisequel to Frankenstein vs. Baragon.
It introduces two giant, hairy humanoids called Gargantuas, which spawned from the discarded cells of Frankenstein’s monster from the previous film and are described as brothers. The Green Gargantua is violent and savage, preying upon human beings; as he lives in sea water, he is given the name Gaira (from kai, “sea”). The Brown Gargantua had been raised in captivity, and is docile and gentle; because he resides in the Japan Alps, he is called Sanda (from san, “mountain”). The film follows the investigation and military engagements of these creatures until their climactic confrontation in Tokyo.

Michael Biehn, Illustration by M. Mrakota Orsman.

Michael Biehn, Illustration by M. Mrakota Orsman.

Today’s featured NATAL Anniversary is that of Actor and Director Michael Biehn of THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS, THE ABYSS, TOMBSTONE, and PLANET TERROR. He has recently directed his first film, THE VICTIM. I hope he gets to make his “True Story of Johnny Ringo” biopic. TOMBSTONE never got him remotely correctly. Ringo never shot a priest, for example…

Other folks celebrating their birthdays today are Rico Rodriguez of MODERN FAMILY, Eric Lively of BRAINSTORM, B. J. Novak of INGLORIOUS BASTERDS; Emilia Fox of the BBC’s MERLIN; Ben Chaplin of LOST SOULS and DORIAN GRAY; Loren Dean of SPACE COWBOYS and APOLLO 13; video game composer Tim Wright; voice actor Mitsuo Iwata; anime director Tatsuya Ishihara; Dean Cain of LOIS AND CLARK and RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT; HARRY POTTER scribe J. K. Rowling; filmmaker Julian Richards of SHIVER and THE LAST HORROR MOVIE; Wesley Snipes of the BLADE films, and DEMOLITION MAN; Wally Kurth of POM POKO, GENERATOR REX and MORTAL KOMBAT 2011; Dirk Blocker of POLTERGEIST and PRINCE OF DARKNESS; Barry Van Dyke of GALACTICA 1980; Richard Griffiths ot the HARRY POTTER films, WITHNAIL AND I, and KING RALPH; Geraldine Chaplin of THE WOLFMAN; France Nuyen of BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES; Geoffrey Lewis of THE DEVIL’S REJECTS and LAWNMOWER MAN; Ted Cassidy of THE ADDAMS FAMILY and THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN; author Lynne Reid Banks; Don Murray of CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES; Percy Herbert of ONE MILLION YEARS B.C., and MYSTERIOUS ISLAND; MATCH GAME co-producer Bill Todman; and TOM AND JERRY producer Fred Quimby. Happy Day All!