Sunday, July 31, 2016

Spinosaurus was the star of the film Jurassic Park III. This drew a resounding set of complaints, since the Spinosaurus displaced the T. rex as the film's antihero.

A large number of amateur paleontologists also criticized the film for depicting Spinosaurus as a predatory land animal, when its snout and teeth clearly indicated a fish-eating animal which spent a good deal of its time in water.

The first Spinosaurus remains were discovered in western Egypt in 1912, and given the name Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. This specimen was destroyed during World War II when the British bomed the Paläontologisches Museum München on the night of April 24-25, 1944. In 1996, a second species, S. maroccanus, was described, although most paleontologists now think this is incorrect and that only a single species existed.

Spinosaurus was enormous -- the largest of all known carnivorous dinosaurs. Estimates are that it reached 50 to 60 feet in length. It had distinctive spines growing out of its backbone, which grew up to 5.5 feet in length. They mostly likely were covered by skin, although some paleontologists argue that they were buried in the body. Its skull was long and narrow, similar to that of a modern crocodile.

Biologically, Spinosaurus had a snout like a crocodile, which would indicate that it ate fish almost exclusively. A 2009 X-ray computed tomography study of one skull indicated that Spinosaurus had pressure receptors inside its skull that allowed it to detect swimming prey without seeing them. The following year, an isotope analysis of Spinosaurus teeth indicated the animal spent most of its life in the water. However, biomechanical stress data show that Spinosaurus had powerful jaw muscles, and its teeth and jaw were structurally very strong. Thus, Spinosaurus is not precluded from being a land predator which could bite through muscle and cartilage, perhaps even bone. A problem for Spinosaurus is that theropod (carnivorous) dinosaurs lacked the ability to rotate their hands. Spinosaurus's hands -- whatever they looked like, and whatever their size -- probably were little different from that of a T. rex or Allosaur. The back feet, however, seem to have been at least partially webbed. Furthermore, an emerging majority of paleontologists believe that Spinosaurus legs were a little shorter than usual. This indicates that the animal probably walked bent over in the water, it's snout above or just on the surface. It would move about by "punting" (not swimming so much, as gliding like a hippo), seeking prey and snapping quickly.

If these hypotheses are true, then on land Spinosaurus would have waddled more than ran. It would not have been the swift, running, powerful hunter depicted in Jurassic Park III but rather an ambush predator which lay in with in the shallows or on the bank.

Although most of this research has come out since Jurassic Park III, there was a good case to be made for a Spinosaur as a fish-eater, not a T. rex killing machine. So it's no wonder that Steven Spielberg drew some heavy criticism for depicting the animal incorrectly, and for killing of T. rex.
July 31, 1964 -- Ranger 7 sends back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.

Ranger lunar orbiter - Smithsonian Air and Space Museum - 2012-05-15

As the United States planned for a lunar landing, it needed high-quality maps of the lunar surface. Mapping of the Moon began with the Ranger spacecraft. This was followed up by the Surveyor spacecraft, which not only took high-quality photos but actually landed on the Moon in areas NASA thought were good for human exploration. The Lunar Orbiter spacecraft was the third mapping mission, which performed high-resolution reconnaissance just before the Apollo Moon landings.

There were three types (or "blocks") of Ranger spacecraft. Ranger 1 and 2 were part of "block one," which was designed to test the Ranger technology in Earth orbit. The basic spacecraft technology we take for granted today -- three-axis attitude stabilization (without spinning the craft), on-board thrusters, two-way communication, closed-loop tracking (in which the spacecraft measures where it is a space and moves without receiving ground signals), on-board computing, control from the ground using commands that tell the on-board computer to run complex sequences -- all had to be developed for the Ranger program.

Sadly, the Atlas-Agena rockets that launched Ranger 1 and Ranger 2 left these craft in orbits which were too low. The spacecraft could not stabilize themselves or collect solar power. (NASA would later use the designs for Ranger "block one" for the Mariner space probes of Venus.)

"Block two" Rangers were improved versions of the "block one" craft. They carried a TV camera, a radiation detector, and a seismometer. The seismometer was designed to be ejected from the craft as it crashed into the Moon. Retrorockets would slow the seismometer capsule, allowing it to land softly. The capsule would then transmit seismic data back to Earth.

Sadly, Ranger 3 missed the Moon due to a trajectory miscalculation on Earth months earlier. Ranger 4's TV camera and radiation detector failed during the flight to the Moon. Its seismometer also failed to function, but the seismometer did soft-land on the lunar surface. Ranger 5 also missed the Moon due to a trajectory error. (The Rangers used gold-plated diodes. NASA discovered that this gold cracked and flaked off in the harsh conditions of outer space. They were immediately replaced.)

The "block three" Rangers carried a high-resolution TV camera. Items as small as a 12 inches across could be discerned on the images it generated. The camera on Ranger 6 failed as it approached the Moon. But Ranger 7, 8, and 9 performed flawlessly! Ranger 7 photographed Mare Cognitum, proving that impact craters covered the Moon -- even in the supposedly smooth highlands. Ranger 8 photographed the southern part of Oceanus Procellarum and Mare Nubium, and eventually was told by NASA to crash in Mare Tranquillitatis (where Apollo 11 would land four years later). Ranger 9 was told to crash in the crater Alphonsus.

Although less scientific knowledge was gained than expected by the Ranger spacecraft, NASA engineers learned an immense amount about spacecraft and quality control which would later allow NASA to put a man on the Moon safely.
I'll tell ya who I liked on Star Trek: Enterprise: Ensign Anthony Mayweather. He was a CRIMINALLY UNDERUSED character who deserved much, much, much more shirtless screen time.

A watchful hawk....................

This is looking west from the Washington Monument at West Potomac Park in 1912.

Almost none of the National Mall west of the Washington Monument grounds (the road running across the bottom of this image) and south of Constitution Avenue NW (the road on the right right of this image) existed prior to 1882. It was all part of the Potomac River. A low tide, there might be only a few inches of water there. When the river ran low in the fall or dry weather, it might actually be marshy or dry land.

After terrible flooding inundated much of downtown Washington, D.C., in 1881, Congress ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge a deep channel in the Potomac and use the material to fill in this area. There really was a vast amount of material... This "reclamation" project created the current banks of the Potomac River and raised much of the land near the White House and along Pennsylvania Avenue NW by nearly 6 feet. The reclamation project -- which also built East Potomac Park out of nothing -- was largely complete by 1890. Initially, city boosters wanted the land to be used for industrial purposes. But smarter heads won out, and this land was designated Potomac Park by Congress in 1897.

It remained a dirt field full of weeds until Congress appropriated money for its beautification in 1902. This led to the planting of sod, bushes, and trees; grading and paving of sidewalks, bridle paths, and driveways; and the installation of irrigation, drainage, and sewer pipes.

Here's an altered image, showing where the Lincoln Memorial (begun in 1914 and completed in 1922) and the National World War II Memorial (begun in 2001 and complete in 2004) are today.

Ernie Langeberg...

Ernie Langeberg (sometimes spelled "Langeburg") was an American model who first did nude work for Playgirl in March 1974. That's one of his photos, above. At a full 6-feet, 7-inches in height, and weiging 220 pounds, Langeberg was born in 1951 and grew up in Cypress, California, in northern Orange County. His mother, Nora Langeberg, was a woodcarver and artist. He played basketball in high school, and then in college at Cypress College (a comprehensive community college located in the town). In 1971, the University of California at Riverside offered him an athletic scholarship, and he played there in the 1972-1973 season. During this time, he also modeled nude for art classes. Langeberg dropped out his senior year because, he said, "I wasn't allowed to be myself." (Hmm.) He moved to Arcadia, California, just northeast of Los Angeles, and got a job at a health spa.

As Langeberg told it (believe this if you want) to United Press International, he was in the gym one day in 1973 when his friends told him to model for Playgirl. The magazine told him to send in some photos. He did, and the magazine took photos of him. (In one of the Playgirl images, he's actually in his Cal-Riverside letterman's jacket.) He was paid $500 for the gig.

By January 1974, Langeberg had changed his name to "Eric Lang" and was pursuing an acting and singing career. He most likely moved to New York City in early 1974, where he caught the eye of Andy Warhol. Langeberg was cast as "Eric Hardy" in a musical titled Man on the Moon. The musical had its book and lyrices written by John Phillips of the Mamas & The Papas, and was directed by Warhol associate Paul Morrissey. "Hardy" is an astronaut who leads a group of diplomats to the Moon to try to stop Dr. Bomb from setting off an explosive that will destroy the universe. The play had 43 preview performances at The Little Theatre beginning December 27, 1974. It opened on January 29, 1975, and closed two days later after disastrous opening-night reviews.

With his acting career pretty much over, Langeberg returned to porn. He did a solo masturbation scene for Brentwood in 1975 under the name "Eric". This scene, titled "The Locker Room", appeared in the clip collection Truck Stop (Trophy) in 1976. The scene was reissued by Brentwood in 1981 in Brentwood Classics 2. Langeberg also modeled nude for Jim French (aka "Rick Colt") at COLT Studios, doing two sessions. Langeberg's photos appeared in Dynamo magazine in 1976, and again in Mandate magazine in June 1976. They saw numerous reprints over the years.

Langeberg was heterosexual. There's a strong possibility he was bisexual, because of statements made by Langeberg himself and by Jim French. On the other hand, he struggled to get an erection during his shoot with Brentwood. Interestingly, Langeberg's erect penis was not much larger than his flaccid one. That's not to say that he didn't sport a large erection: His cock was a full 8 inches or more in length and quite thick when he was erect. He also had a splashy, copious cumshot.

What happened after 1976? No one knows. Someone once claimed he died of cancer in 2012, but that claim is not supported by an obituary or place of death.

* * * *

I got hold of a Playgirl retrospective magazine in 1985. The magazine had run Langeberg's nudes over and over in the past decade. He was the epitome of the editorial staff's ideal male: Athletic, tall, dark, handsome, sensual. The magazine routinely excoriated the "effete" physicality of David Bowie, and found Langeberg's build, almond-shaped eyes, and sculpted cheekbones just perfect.

Me? I fell in love with his freckled shoulders. His boyishness. That pudgy, perky nose. His dense pubes. His foreskin. His enormous cock. That touseled hair and eager expression made him look like a gentle, sweet-natured, happy guy, not the arrogant jock prick that his body and cock would otherwise signal. I loved how thick his penis seemed, and how massive that foreskin-hidden knob was.

His later images for Colt, in which he played up the "I'm so hot you can't have me" thing completely turned me off.

In my home town in Montana, junior high and high school car washes were a big thing. You'd see three or four of them every week during the summer. Not once did a boy take his shirt off, or wear a Speedo.

When I got to college, I made a friend, Rich, who was from Los Angeles. Rich told me that guys in nothing but Speedos were the norm at high school car washes. They were all straight, he said, but the guys had a freedom of body and sexuality that made my home town look like an Amish settlement.

Jared Leto as the Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad. A lot of people have criticized the muscle-bound, tattooed Joker. But this is the same Joker that Tony Daniel pencilled in 2008 in Grant Morrison's Batman: R.I.P. No one complained back then...

He has kind of a dopey face, and that expression is so snarky! But he has a lovely, short, compact body that I could caress, lick, and twist for years. I don't even mind that he's strip-shaved.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

So CBS and Paramount have released test footage of the new Star Trek: Discovery series. This show will debut in 2017. So far, CBS has released a trailer which shows the camera whizzing among planets in a style similar to the end credits in the J.J. Abrams movies, and now this trailer. Admittedly, the CGI is not very good, but then the show is still a full year from debuting.

What's interesting is the design of the Starship Discovery. This is a design first created by Ralph McQuarrie for the never-produced film Star Trek: Planet of the Titans back in 1975.

* * * * * *

Gene Roddenberry had been pestering Paramount to develop a second Star Trek series, but the studio wasn't interested. So in May 1975, Roddenberry pitched a feature film instead. The studio liked that idea, and green-lit preproduction. Roddenberry's title was Star Trek: The God Thing (later retitled Star Trek: Planet of the Titans). The treatment by Chris Bryant (a British television screenwriter) and Allan Scott (a Scottish screenwriter and Bryant's writing partner) had the Enterprise investigating the disappearance of another starship, during which time Captain Kirk is apparently killed by electromagnetic waves while piloting a shuttlecraft. Three years later, a new captain returns to investigate the site of Kirk's death, and discovers that a planet lies hidden near a black hole. Kirk has been trapped there for three years, and believes (based on his archeological investigation) that the planet was home to the legendary race known as the Titans. The planet's current occupants, the Cygnans, killed off the Titans. The Klingons arrive to claim the planet, and our heroes fight them off. But during the battle, the Enterprise and the planet are sucked into the black hole. The Cygnans die and the Enterprise slingshots out, only to find itself in Earth orbit during the Paleolithic era. Too damaged to return to the future, the crew set down on Earth and teach Cro-Magnon man about fire -- essentially becoming the Titans themselves.

Roddenberry was given a fairly low $5 million budget, and told to begin principal photography in July 1976. Extensive script problems forced the studio to push principal photography to 1977. Paramount CEO Barry Diller, appalled by the lousy script, cancelled the movie in August 1975. Roddenberry continued to work on the script and design concepts until June 1977, when Paramount green-lit a Star Trek: Phase II television series. (It, too, was cancelled in favor of a new movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture.)

* * * * * *

Now, the exact sequence of events is pretty muddled here. But by my reconstruction, noted British production designer Ken Adams (who'd done many of the Bond films) was hired to oversee design of Planet of the Titans, including the redesign of the Enterprise. It appears that Adams disliked the round, tubular engineering secondary hull, and decided to flatten that into just a three-to-five story structure. Most of his designs show this being triangular (as seen from above), to create "wings" onto which the warp nacelle pylons could be placed. In other areas, Adams was not sure what to do. Most of his warp nacelles are round, but in one drawing they are flatten ovoids. Sometimes his nacelle pylons are upright, other times they are raked forward. Sometimes the nacelles are small, sometimes large, and sometimes he placed them way, way back away from the dorsal. His dorsal was invariably raked forward, but sometimes he put it on the front of the engineering hull and sometimes amidships and sometimes toward the rear. He did some preliminary sketches, below:

Legendary illustrator Ralph McQuarrie, just coming off his work on Star Wars, was then hired to help refine and create final designs. Star Wars was nowhere close to release in 1975, so no one yet knew what kind of work McQuarrie had done for George Lucas. Initially, McQuarrie relied on Adam's design. The script called for the new Enterprise to emerge from spacedock, so McQuarrie decided to place the spacedock inside an asteroid.

McQuarrie continued to work on Adam's designs, and finally came up with one of his own. McQuarrie's final design reflected his soon-to-be-seminal design for the Star Destroyer in Star Wars. Instead of Adam's flat hull, McQuarrie's engineering hull was diamond-shaped in cross-section -- higher in the middle, tapering almost to nothing on the edges. He slung the impulse engines below the engineering hull in a long box. These engines jutted out behind the ship, their top serving as a kind of receiving flight-deck for the shuttle bay. His warp nacelles were small; oddly, they looked much like the Romulan nacelles designed by Wah Chang for Star Trek: The Original Series.

Two "study models" of the McQuarrie design were then constructed. They are quite similar to one another, with one having a very elongated engineering section and short, upright nacelle pylons, and the other having a short engineering section and raked-forward and much longer nacelle pylons.

* * * * * *

It was all moot, because Planet of the Titans was cancelled just three months after it was greenlit. Although Roddenberry wanted to use McQuarrie's design, he jettisoned it in June 1977 when Paramount green-lit the TV series, Star Trek: Phase II. The concept behind Phase II was to return to the simpler era of the original television show. That meant no radical ship redesign. Roddenberry commissioned the original designer of the Enterprise, Matt Jeffries, to update the ship. This redesign would die when Phase II was cancelled in August 1977 in favor of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Motion picture art director Richard Taylor used Jeffries' design and refined the nacelles. Concept artist Andrew Probert refined the rest of the ship redesign.

McQuarrie's flat-hull Enterprise can be seen in the spacedock in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. All you can see of it is the back half, but it appears to be the long-engineering hull version. Allegedly, this is one of the study models created in 1975, but this has yet to be proved.

It's alleged that McQurrie's flat-hulled Enterprise design was seen in in the Wolf 359 battle scene in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Best of Both Worlds", but it has never been identified. The short-hulled study model does, however, appear the episode "Unification", and production personnel have verified that this is the 1975 study model.

The asteroid spacedock later showed up as a Tholian spacedock in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly".

Short, compact blond. With a barrel-like torso, generously endowed package much too large for his body, and a large, pudgy nose that renders him less beautiful than you'd expect -- and therefore more desirable.

July 30, 1975 – United Brotherhood of Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa disappears from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, near Detroit, at about 2:30 PM. He is never seen or heard from again.

I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... Washington, D.C., resident John Adlum was a pioneering American viticulturalist was the first to cultivate the Catawba grape -- which led him to be called "the father of American viticulture" (grape-growing)?
I like this sort of 1970s retro look. The post-industrial/faux French countryside door doesn't work for me here, because it's so obviously fake.  But the rest is erotic. (Even if the guy has small genitals.)

We got a little more rain last night in my town. Just three-one-hundredths of an inch, though. A massive line of storms was headed our way from the southwest, but -- sure as shootin' -- it passed south of Cleveland. A clump of it passed to the north, over Lake Erie.

Just can't cut a break in the shitty dry weather!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Someone asked me, "If they wrote a book about you, what would the cover look like?"


Brothers should do it.

I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... that Washington, D.C., sportscaster Glenn Brenner enjoyed such a close friendship with WUSA-TV news anchor Gordon Peterson -- an authoritative figure in a three-piece suit with much on-air gravitas -- that Brenner often asked Peterson to "ask me anything you want because you're the anchor", at which point Petersen would attempt to stump Brenner with sports trivia or ask an embarrassing question?

The Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol is clad in scaffolding and netting as the next phase of the Capitol's exterior stone and metal preservation project gets under way. The Capitol has NEVER had a complete refurbishment/conservation. Not once in 150 years. Much of the stonework has been damaged by pollution and earthquake, and metal has rusted through.

Your Suicide Squad roster...................
  • Will Smith as Deadshot - A super-villain assassin appearing in Batman comics. He's often considered an antihero, as he is also a concerned father. He has a death-wish, and won't kill if he can't get paid.
  • Jared Leto as Joker - A psychopathic super-villain appearing in Batman comics. Does this need more explanation?
  • Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn - A psychotic super-villain appearing in Batman comics. A doctor in psychiatry, she was the Joker's therapist. Then she fell in love with him, and he drove her insane. She acts infantile, and calls Joker "Pudding" and "Mister J".
  • Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag - A U.S. intelligence community operative who works for Task Force X, the secret government agency that put together Suicide Squad. He leads the Suicide Squad.
  • Viola Davis as Amanda Waller - The head of Task Force X, she is an ambitious, manipulative government employee who is ruthless in her pursuit of her goals.
  • Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang - A super-villain with a fascination for boomerangs who appears in Flash comics. He's Australian, and a complete shitbag of a human being.
  • Jay Hernandez as El Diablo - A super-hero and ex-gang member with fire-generating powers.
  • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc - A super-villain who has a genetic disease that gives him reptilian skin and fangs and who appears in Batman comics. He's a cannibal, not very smart, and has rage issues.
  • Karen Fukuhara as Katana - A Japanese super-hero who is an expert swordswoman appearing in Batman comics. She is Rick Flag's bodyguard
  • Adam Beach as Slipknot - A super-villain assassin who uses indestructible rope to kill his victims and who appears in Batman comics.
  • Raymond Olubowale as King Shark - A super-villain and son of a shark-god who appears in Superboy and Aquaman comics. He's a psychotic humanoid with shark-like jaws and features.
Cara Delevingne plays the Enchantress, an evil sorceress who is possessed by an demonic force. She's the Suicide Squad's target.

Imagine being in college, and having THAT on top of you! His hips up and down in the air like a fast piston.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I can listen to this album over and over....

A presidential candidate just asked a foreign power to help him win the election. He asked a foreign power to commit a crime against the United States.

That is what is wrong with Donald Trump. THAT is treasonous.

I have my air conditioning back.

Monday, July 25, 2016

I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday munching on cheese and crackers and watching The Goodbye Girl. It's one of my favorite films.

Marsha Mason and Neil Simon married in 1973, and spent their honeymoon in Florence, Italy. Simon, who liked to write plays and scripts specifically designed for the actors performing them, began to muse openly about writing a script for Mason. They talked about it endlessly in Italy, identifying themes (romance, witty dialogue, newlyweds, etc.) that they would like to see in it.

After their honeymoon, the couple relocated to Los Angeles from New York City. The move caused major anxiety for Simon, and he conceived of the film script around this move. He also drew inspiration from a conversation he had with Dustin Hoffman, who struggled with immense fame after appearing in The Graduate. Titled Bogart Slept Here (a reference to the Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood, where many aspiring actors lived in the Golden Age of film), the female lead was an ex-dancer newly married to a promising actor who gets a major film role. The move to California (so different from New York City), and the husband's sudden fame, causes problems with their marriage.

The final draft of the script was darker than Mason and Simon had envisioned, but it was nevertheless very good. Simon convinced his friend Mike Nichols to direct, and Nichols got Warner Bros. to finance the picture. Ray Stark (West Side Story, Lolita, Funny Girl, The Toy, Annie, Steel Magnolias, The Sunshine Boys) was the producer.

Stark and Nichols asked Hoffman to be Elliot, but Hoffman dithered and instead they cast Robert De Niro. De Niro had just skyrocketed to stardom in The Godfather Part II, and was working on Taxi Driver. De Niro was so eager to play the part of Elliot that he promised to finish work on Taxi Driver on a Saturday and start rehearsals for Bogart Slept Here on the following Monday.

Rehearsals began in mid-August 1975. Simon and Nichols now began arguing over the tone of the film. Worse, De Niro was having trouble moving from the two months he'd spent playing a psychopath into a role requiring light comedy. De Niro needed time to find his center, but there wasn't any. De Niro, Simon, and Nichols now began feuding with one another. Filming began in September, and Stark and Warner Bros. openly worried that De Niro didn't understand the script's humor. Simon realized that De Niro's humor is subtle, and comes from his facial expressions and body language. Mason, a much more verbal actor, could not find a rhythm with De Niro.

Nichols shut down the production after the first week and fired De Niro. De Niro was livid. His dismissal created big headlines in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, and caused problems for Warners.

Nichols tried to replace De Niro, but never found the right actor. Worse, Nichols' last film (The Fortune) had bombed. Frustrated with filmmaking, Nichols quit Bogart Slept Here. He returned to Broadway, where he directed David Rabe's Streamers in 1976 and then, later than year, Trevor Griffiths' Comedians. De Niro went to work for Bernardo Bertolucci in 1900 and then Elia Kazan in The Last Tycoon (both box office bombs). Martin Scorsese rescued his career with New York, New York in 1977.

Producer Ray Stark did not want to see the project die, however. He spent most of 1976 convincing Warner Bros. that Simon had a great script and a great leading lady. They just needed to find the right leading man. Warners pretty much lost faith in the film, and offered to sell it to MGM. But MGM refused to buy it. So Warners offered MGM a co-financing deal. MGM accepted, and the project went into development again. In the meantime, Mason filmed Audrey Rose. Simon saw his play Chapter Two produced on Broadway, and his script for Murder By Death filmed in October 1975.

By the fall of 1976, Stark was interviewing actors. In early December, he asked Richard Dreyfuss to read some scenes with Mason and Simon. Dreyfuss had become a major star with Jaws in 1975, but his first film afterward was the made-for-television Victory at Entebbe in 1976. He'd also spent much of 1975 and 1976 filming Close Encounters of the Third Kind for Steven Spielberg, but that film was nowhere close to being done.

It was pure and simple chemistry, right from the get-go. Dreyfuss had fantastic comedy rhythm and a quickness in response that De Niro completely lacked. Dreyfuss and Mason flew through the reading, and were practically giddy when it was over. The room crackled with energy.

Neil Simon then decided that the script had to be rewritten. The script had to be funnier, wittier, and more romantic. Simon jettisoned Bogart Slept Here and decided instead to write what is essentially a prequel, a story about an eccentric Off-Broadway actor who moves in with an ex-chorus girl who has been repeatedly jilted. He wanted them to get thrown together at the start of the film, hate one another, and then slowly fall in love.

The day after the reading, Simon wrote down a tentative title, The Goodbye Girl, and began writing. Six weeks later, he had a finished script.

Dreyfuss and Mason did some readings, and found the same spark again. Ray Stark immediately hired director Herbert Ross, who had helmed The Sunshine Boys for him in 1975, to take over.

Production on The Goodbye Girl began on February 2, 1977, and filming ended in early May 1977.

When filming concluded, Dreyfuss went back to work for Spielberg doing pickups for Close Encounters.

Mason and Simon divorced in 1983.

Mason and Dreyfuss remain close friends to this day.

I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... that the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Congress Heights was developed by "Colonel" Arthur Randle, a successful newspaper publisher, after he realized that the new Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge would not only bring heavy residential development to the area east of the Anacostia River but also give his Anacostia and Potomac River streetcar system access to the area?

Sunday, July 24, 2016


The most beautiful ones are those who seem not to realize just how immensely beautiful they are.


The Thing (1951) was first motion picture to feature a man completely on fire from head to toe.

The Sinclair Paint company was commissioned to come up with a flame-retardant suit. Each suit featured a full face-mask. To permit breathing, an oxygen bottle containing about a minute's worth of air was fitted under the right armpit. Two suits were created, each with multiple layers of clothing.

Each suit could withstand about two and a half minutes of fire. Alarmingly, the oxygen the stuntman breathed was pure -- and they were just goddamned lucky it didn't ignite!!

A special paste was applied to each suit. When the burning kerosene it the paste, the paste ignited and burned a bright, bright orange that showed up well on black-and-white film.

Once sealed in the suit, filming had to take place within seconds or the stuntman would run out of air.

Two stuntmen were used. This allowed one stuntman to do the scene. Then the scene would be reset by a swarm of prop people, and the second stuntman would do the scene. Repairing each suit, replacing the oxygen bottle, and reapplying paste would take up to an hour.

Hawks wanted two minutes of footage showing the alien completely on fire. This required about four days of filming. Just enough paste would be applied to burn fiercely for two minutes, then it would self-extinguish. And it worked every time.