Kamikaze Attack Facts – WIF at War

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Facts About

Kamikaze Attacks

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As World War II was coming to an end, American Naval forces were quickly approaching Japan and unless something radical happened, Japan would be defeated. Their answer to turn the tides of war was a unique Navy unit called Tokubetsu Kogekitai, which means “Special Attack Unit.” But they were better known as kamikazes, which means “divine wind.” The division consisted of volunteers who would purposely crash into American warships. Here are 10 interesting facts about those men.

 10. The Battle of the Philippine Sea

One of the major naval engagements of World War II was the Battle of the Philippine Sea, which took place on June 19 and 20, 1944. The victor was the American Navy, which pretty much wiped out much of the Japanese fleet without losing too many of its own vessels.

The Japanese’ problem was that their planes were the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, also called Zekes, and they were completely ineffective against the powerful American Navy. Mainly, they had a tendency to burst into flames when they were hit by machine gun bullets. After the battle, the Japanese lost 480 Zekes, which was 75 percent of their fleet.As the American forces neared the Philippines, which was occupied by Japan, the Japanese Navy knew that they needed to do something drastic. At a meeting with the top brass of the Navy, Naval Captain Motoharu Okamura said:

In our present situation I firmly believe that the only way to swing the war in our favor is to resort to crash-dive attacks with our planes. There is no other way. There will be more than enough volunteers for this chance to save our country, and I would like to command such an operation. Provide me with 300 planes and I will turn the tide of war.

Amazingly, they agreed to his plan and gave him the planes he requested. Okamura retrofitted the planes to make them lighter by removing their machine guns, armor, and radios. They were also given bigger gas tanks and loaded with 550 pound bomb explosives. Now all Okamura needed was some pilots.

9. They Shamed People into Being Kamikaze Pilots

The biggest question surrounding kamikaze pilots is: how did they get people to do it? Well, they simply asked men to volunteer.

As for why someone would choose to die like this comes down to the culture of Japan. In Japan, shame is an important aspect of their society. So if a pilot was asked by a superior to volunteer and the pilot said, “No, I don’t want to die for my country,” it wouldn’t just bring shame to him, but to his entire family. Also, if someone did volunteer and he died, he would be promoted up two ranks.

So while kamikaze pilots were ‘volunteers’ they weren’t exactly given much of a choice. They could stay alive and shame themselves and their families in a prideful society, or die and be hailed as a hero who died for his country.

8. They Used Their Best Pilot For the First Run

When the Japanese Navy decided to form a kamikaze squadron, the first person they chose to be a part of it was one of their best young lieutenants, Yukio Seki, a newlywed 23-year-old. When they told him about the plan in September 1944, he supposedly said, “you absolutely must let me do this.” However, he supposedly told a reporter later that he thought it was a waste of his talents.

Over the next month, 23 other volunteers were gathered and trained. On October 20, 1944, Admiral Takijiro Onishi said:

Japan is in grave danger. The salvation of our country is now beyond the power of the ministers of the state, the General Staff, and lowly commanders like myself. It can come only from spirited young men such as you. Thus, on behalf of your hundred million countrymen, I ask of you this sacrifice and pray for your success.

You are already gods, without earthly desires. But one thing you want to know is that your own crash-dive is not in vain. Regrettably, we will not be able to tell you the results. But I shall watch your efforts to the end and report your deeds to the Throne. You may all rest assured on this point.

I ask you all to do your best.

Then the 24 pilots got into their aircraft and flew off to die. However, they didn’t encounter any American ships until their fifth day of flying. That’s when they finally came across American naval ships near Leyte, which is an island of the Philippines.

They surprised the Americans by flying directly into their ships and managed to sink one of the Navy’s most important vessels, an air craft carrier. After a plane hit the deck of the USS St. Lo it caused a series of internal explosions and it sank. The air craft carrier was carrying 889 men and out of them, 143 were killed or missing.

Besides sinking the mighty air craft carrier, the kamikaze pilots also managed to damage three other ships. The Japanese took this as a sign of success and decided to expand the kamikaze program.

7. The Japanese Designed a Plane Specifically for Kamikaze Missions

As we mentioned before, the Japanese’s Zeke planes weren’t really effective war planes. They didn’t exactly make the best flying bombs, either. Another problem was that you needed to train pilots to fly the Zekes and they had to be good enough pilots to even get close enough to a warship. Instead of just scraping the whole kamikaze program, the Japanese Navy decided to develop a plane that was specifically made for kamikaze missions called the Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka, or “Cherry Blossom.”

The Ohka was essentially a drivable missile; it was about 20 feet long with short wings. A problem with the Ohka was that it could only glide up to a distance of 20 miles. So each one needed to be carried by a Mitsubishi G4M bomber. Then once they were near their targets the Ohka would be released. Once the pilot got close to his target, he would start the three rocket boosters, and this allowed the planes to fly fast enough to avoid enemy fire and penetrate the armor of the ships.

Besides being a better flying bombs, the Ohkas were easier to pilot than Zeke planes. Pilots didn’t have to learn how to take off and land, they simply learned how to control the direction of the plane and once they got close, they would push the rocket boosters, so they didn’t have to learn how to maneuver.

The Ohka also had something that no other cockpit has ever had. That was a place behind the pilot’s head to place a samurai sword.

6. It Was Supposed to be Psychological Warfare

Clearly, the most important task of kamikaze pilots was to sink warships. However, there was an added benefit that they thought would help them on the battlefield, and that was that it would give them a psychological edge. The Japanese wanted to come across as fierce warriors who had no limits and would rather die than surrender.

Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t that effective. Not only did the American Navy clobber the Japanese Navy, but when the Japanese unleashed the Ohkas, the Americans nicknamed them “Baka” or “Baka Bomb,” which is Japanese for “fool” or “idiot.”

5. Torpedo Kamikaze Pilots

The Japanese fully embraced the kamikaze attacks and they didn’t just limit them to the sky. They also manufactured drivable torpedoes called kaiten.

How they worked is that the pilot would find a ship in his periscope. Then, using a stop watch and a compass, he basically had to blindly drive into the enemy ship. As you probably guessed, this wasn’t very easy to do and it took months to train pilots.

Another problem was that they were large and couldn’t be driven over long distances, so they had to be transported using a larger submarine. The “mother ship” would have to transport six or eight kaitens to the battles where they were needed.

On November 20, 1944, five kaitens were launched at the USS Mississinewa, which was an oiler. One of them struck it and the explosion was massive, as you can see in the video above. Since the explosion was so big, the Japanese thought they had sunk five ships instead of just one. As a result, the Navy considered the attack as a success and ramped up production of the kaiten.

4. The Nazi Suicide Squad

The Japanese weren’t the only members of the Axis who were desperate to turn to suicide bombers as a way to turn the war around. Near the end of the war, Germany also formed its own suicide squad, called the Leonidas Squadron. The squadron was suggested by Hannah Reitsch, a Nazi test pilot. Reitsch was twice awarded the Iron Cross and she came closer than any other German woman to seeing combat.

In 1944, while Reitsch was getting her second Iron Cross, she pitched the idea to Adolf Hitler. She wanted to put pilots into modified V-1 rockets loaded with explosives and use them as weapons. At first, Hitler didn’t like the idea, but later changed his mind because he liked Reitsch’s commitment to the idea, so he agreed to have planes designed for suicide missions. The aircraft was the Fieseler Fi 103R, which had the code name Reichenberg, and they V1 rockets loaded with 2,000 pound bombs.

Ristsch was assigned to the Leonidas Squadron and she was the first to swear its oath, which read, “I hereby voluntarily apply to be enrolled in the suicide group as a pilot of a human glider-bomb. I fully understand that employment in this capacity will entail my own death.”

Altogether, the squadron had about 70 volunteers, but in the end the program was scraped before any of the Reichenbergs were used.

As for Reitsch, she survived the war. Afterwards, she published her autobiography, and she was the director of the national school of gliding in Ghana. She died at the age of 65 in 1979 from a heart attack.

3. The Pilots Might Have Been High on Meth

Methamphetamine was actually invented in Japan in 1893. However, it didn’t become widely used until World War II by at least two members of the Axis. German forces used a form of meth called Pervitin and the Japanese used a drug called Philopon.

During the war, the Japanese stockpiled Philopon and gave them to their soldiers when they got too tired or hungry. However, the drug became particularly useful for kamikaze pilots. They needed to be sharp and alert while facing certain death. So before the pilots were sealed into their flying bombs and flown several hours to their death, the pilots were given high doses of Philopon. This would have kept them focused until they were needed. Also, meth has a tendency to raise aggression levels.

While this is one of the worst problems when dealing with addicts, this side effect would have been particularly useful in suicide bombers who had to fly through gunfire before hitting their targets and killing themselves.

2. The Last Kamikaze Pilot

After the creation of the kamikaze unit, Admiral Matome Ugaki was put in command of it. Months later, on August 15, 1945, the Emperor of Japan announced Japan’s surrender over the radio, and Ugaki decided he wanted to die the same way as his men – in a kamikaze mission.

Before Ugaki flew out, he posed for the above picture, and then climbed into the plane. The problem was that Ugaki didn’t know how to fly, so another pilot had to volunteer for the mission.

En route to his death, Ugaki relayed the following message over the radio:

I alone am to blame for our failure to defend the homeland and destroy the arrogant enemy. The valiant efforts of all officers and men of my command during the past six months have been greatly appreciated.

I am going to make an attack at Okinawa where my men have fallen like cherry blossoms. There I will crash into and destroy the conceited enemy in the true spirit of Bushido, with firm conviction and faith in the eternity of Imperial Japan.

I trust that the members of all units under my command will understand my motives, will overcome all hardships of the future, and will strive for the reconstruction of our great homeland that it may survive forever.

Long live His Imperial Majesty the Emperor!

Unfortunately for Ugaki, his mission was not successful and his plane was probably intercepted before it could reach its target.

1. It Wasn’t Very Effective

Clearly, the Japanese thought that kamikaze pilots were a good idea. However, in hindsight it was a pretty ineffective way to take on the strongest naval force of World War II.

In total, kamikaze pilots were only able to sink 51 ships and just one of those was an aircraft carrier, which was the first major battleship to be sunk by a kamikaze attack, theUSS St. Lo. Kamikaze pilots were also responsible for the deaths of 3,000 American and British men. However, when you compare that to the Japanese’s losses, it’s hard to believe that Japan was doing offensive tactics. In total, 1,321 Japanese planes and submarines crashed into American naval ships and over 5,000 pilots were killed in attempts.

Eventually, the American Navy simply overwhelmed the Japanese Navy because they had more men and superior planes and ships. Today, the kamikaze project is considered one of the biggest blunders of World War II.


Kamikaze Attack Facts

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– WIF at War

USA No, Elsewhere Yes – WIF Edu-tainment

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Things You Can Do

in Other Countries

You Can’t Do

in the USA

 

The citizens of the United States of America like to consider themselves one of the freest countries in the world. However, the truth is actually a lot more complicated than that. The United States enjoy some of the most lax laws in the world when it comes to saying whatever you please, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to being free to do what you want to do. In many countries around the world, it is perfectly legal to do many things people wish they could do in the States.

 10. In The Czech Republic You Can Use Magic Mushrooms

Magic mushrooms are the common given nickname for a class of mushroom that has an active compound called psilocybin that can have very strong psychedelic effects when ingested. Of course, most people who find this mushroom intriguing will need to accept that it is beyond their reach, as it remains in the realm of the black market of illegal drugs. That is, unless they are willing to live in the right, very specific country.

In the European country of the Czech Republic, mushrooms are actually mostly decriminalized, making it fairly easy to use them or get your hands on them. While it is not legal

 to sell mushrooms, import them into the country, or buy them, it is perfectly okay to own small amounts and grow them yourself. The law was likely set up this way so that their citizens could have their own freedom, without too strongly encouraging tourists to come to their country just to get a chance to go on a drug trip. Also, in the country of Brazil psilocybin is mostly legal, but only because of a technicality and the fact that no law has yet been written to correct it – this is mainly because it isn’t really a problem there in the first place.

9. In Mainland China People Often Allow Their Young Children To Pee In Public

China is known for being overpopulated despite having had a one child policy for a long time. Their major cities are also especially known for being overcrowded, and as such they have to deal with certain cultural situations in different ways. Not long ago, a Chinese couple from the mainland caused a stir because they were visiting Hong Kong, and allowed their small boy to pee into a diaper in a public space. This was quite controversial to do in Hong Kong, but in mainland China, their actions would have been perfectly normal.

Parents in mainland China often allow their children to pee in public if they are having trouble finding anywhere else for them to go in time – this has likely cropped up over time as a solution to the overcrowding issue. Of course some people may find the very idea repulsive, but those parents who do so claim that their child would have had to go anyway, and they usually find a corner as out of the way as possible.

8. In North Korea It Is Both Legal And Commonplace To Smoke Weed

North Korea is known for being a strict, fascist dictatorship that rules everyone inside with an iron fist. Most areas of the country are extremely poor and hardly anyone enjoys anything that can be called a quality of life. Even those who tow the party line and get to live in the major cities don’t exactly live in the lap of luxury. However, on one particular front, the North Koreans tend to be incredibly lax. They are totally okay with the growing, and smoking of marijuana and make regular use of the drug.

Those who have managed to sneak around enough in North Korea to find out have discovered that it can even be found on the roadsides, that people grow it for personal use and that it enjoys incredible popularity. Weed can grow fairly easily in North Korea, and cigarettes and alcohol can be expensive to import in, so weed is usually the major drug of choice for most North Koreans. Tour guides discourage visitors from looking for weed, mainly because they don’t want to be known only for drugs. For those stoners who are interested in visiting North Korea and trying some of their weed, it likely isn’t worth the effort. Those who have tried it claim it is fairly poor quality as far as the drug goes.

7. In Japan It Is Considered Strange If You Don’t Slurp Your Noodles Loudly And Proudly

There are some particular cultural traditions out there that happen to be completely the opposite in another part of the world, and this is one of them. In the United States, and most Western countries, making a lot of noise while eating is generally frowned upon. Even while eating foods like noodles, we have come up with many different techniques to eat our food as noiselessly as possible. However, in Japan, eating noodles is a completely different experience.

In Japan, they believe that noodles should be eaten when they are still piping hot in order to fully enjoy them. And to eat them piping hot essentially requires the mouth movements that create that distinctive slurping sound. No one in Japan minds because it is simply considered a sound that is necessary in order to properly eat noodles – in fact, if a Japanese person does not hear you slurping, they may make the mistake of thinking that you do not like your food.

6. In The UK And Much Of Europe It Is Legal To Jaywalk As Much As You Wish

In the United States, nearly everyone has a car, and roads have become very serious business indeed. Places like New York are the exception instead of the rule, and even in places with a decent public transportation infrastructure, most people still find it more convenient to have their own method of transportation. This means we often have very congested roads full of very peeved drivers, and have thus made very rigid rules on where and when pedestrians should cross the street in order to ensure public safety. There is also a legal element involved, as it helps deal with liability in a country with a lot of lawsuits, if there are well laid out places and ways that people are supposed to safely cross the street.

However, in the United Kingdom, where they are a little less sue happy and have a lot less cars on the road, the rules are much different. Some visitors from across the pond have even found themselves arrested in the United States because they crossed the road randomly in a very busy place without using a proper crosswalk. While it is not always enforced, jaywalking is against the law in the United States, but there is no law against it at all in the United Kingdom. Instead, in most European countries, people are simply expected to cross responsibly, wherever and whenever it is safest.

 5. In New Zealand Prostitution Is Fully Legal And Regulated

In many countries in Europe sex trafficking is a problem, and some countries believe the solution to this is to clamp down hard on the legality of prostitution. Most of them are targeting those who buy the services of the prostitutes instead of the prostitute themselves – as they may be a victim of trafficking – but New Zealand has long felt that this is the wrong approach to dealing with the situation. They feel that in order to deal with sex trafficking, you need to remove the veil of secrecy from the business and regulate and keep an eye on it like any business.

To this end, in New Zealand a law was passed in 2003 that decriminalized prostitution and set up a framework that would allow for brothels to be inspected just like any other business for health and safety standards. This ensures that women in the business will go to the police when needed, and give them information, instead of living in fear. It ensures that they won’t fear their clients will dry up for fear of police prosecution, and helps avoid exploitation because they know workers’ rights laws and the officers of the law are all on their side. Some countries in Europe argue that New Zealand’s system only works well because they are so isolated, and that as countries with bigger trafficking problems, they need more restrictive laws – not less.

4. In Spain People Take A Several Hour Nap In The Middle Of The Workday

Many people may have already heard of the Spanish Siesta — the habit of Spaniards knocking off for three hours during the hottest part of the afternoon and enjoying a nice, relaxing snooze. The habit developed over time because the area was mostly used for farming, and it made a lot of sense to take a break when the sun was highest in the sky. Today, it is more of an inconvenience for the people of Spain, what with the fast paced industrialized world that most people now live in. Shops will close at 2:00 p.m. and people will often come back and reopen their shops around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. and stay open until late at night.

While it may sound relaxing to knock off for three hours in the middle of the day, it is hardly good for you to segment your work day up that way, and end up constantly working late into the night – and the people of Spain are well aware of this. It is hardly realistic in the modern age to use the time for a nap, and most people actually take the time to get things done instead. Unfortunately, they still have to report for work at the same time every morning. This has led to a culture where most people in Spain stay up late, get up early, rarely nap and don’t get much sleep overall. While the siesta has given them a reputation of laziness, they are actually a hardworking, sleep deprived country that is increasingly considering removing the siesta completely and just shortening the workday to a reasonable amount of time to begin with.

3. In Japan You Can Buy Poisonous Fugu Fish

Most people have heard of the poisonous puffer fish known as Fugu, which is a delicacy in the country of Japan. In the United States and other countries around the world, if you want to taste Fugu, you will have to pay large amounts of money to eat fish that was specially prepared by Japanese chefs and imported frozen to your part of the globe. This is because Japan is the only country in the world that legally allows people to prepare the fresh Fugu for serving, and they have extremely stringent requirements in order to earn that legal right.

The fish has a poison known as tetradoxin that is extremely poisonous, causing paralysis and asphyxiation in a very short time in humans, with only a small amount required to be deadly. Certain parts of the fish are not poisonous, and are actually quite delicious, and it is these that the highly trained chefs carefully separate from the inedible or dangerous parts of the fish. It takes three years of training and only about a third of those who take the licensing exam even pass the test. These standards ensure that those who buy Fugu in a restaurant will not truly be gambling with their lives – although it is said that a truly skilled chef leaves just enough poison to make your lips tingle and remind you of the danger, without actually putting you in harm’s way.

2. In Russia It Is Perfectly Acceptable To Leave Young Children Home Alone

In the United States there are laws about how young a child can be and still be legally left home completely alone by their parents, and in today’s United States, most parents couldn’t imagine their child walking to or from school alone. If a child too young were too be left home alone in the United States, and the authorities found out, it could lead to a visit by child protective services. However, in the federation of Russia, they do not look at the issue in the same way at all. In Russia it is far more commonplace for children to leave the house on their own at a young age, either to go to school or simply go to the store, and it is not illegal to leave young children home alone.

Some parents in certain parts of Russia have lobbied in the past to make stricter laws regarding the matter, especially due to cases where children have been left home alone and got hurt, but ministers in charge of law making seem reluctant to push the issue. They feel that punishing parents for leaving young children home alone is more of a Western thing, and aren’t sure if that is the route they want to go. While it could someday change, it seems for the moment, Russians aren’t interested in worrying too much about the matter.

1. In Estonia They Vote For Public Officeholders Online

The United States like to consider themselves one of the most technology advanced nations in the world, but despite our many advances, voting online and doing many other government related actions online is still a thing of fantasy. In that particular regard, we are being beaten rather badly by a small country in Europe called Estonia. They are known for being incredibly digitally connected, possibly the most connected in the entire world. They have made training in the understanding of computers and the internet a core part of all school curriculums, and almost all important business can be done online.

 Estonians all get their own unique government ID that also comes with its own special PIN. This special ID allows Estonians to have their own online fingerprint and use that identity to do pretty much everything government related that they could possibly need to do. With this ID, Estonians do business with the library, pay taxes, vote for political candidates and many other things as well. While some Americans fear the possibility of massive voter fraud or cheating, the Estonians have not yet had any reason to believe that their system has been tampered with. They also believe their proportional voting system helps discourage those who would consider attempting to cheat in the first place.

USA No, Elsewhere Yes

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Ten Places to “Live long and prosper.”

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Ten Places to “Live long and prosper.” continued below tribute to Leonard.

 We love you Spock, RIP.

Leonard Nimoy, ‘Star Trek’s’ Spock, Dies at 83


 

FEBRUARY 27, 2015 | 09:21AM PT

Leonard Nimoy lived up to his longtime catchphrase: Live long and prosper. Having achieved success in many arenas during his lifetime, the actor, director, writer and photographer died Friday in Los Angeles of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.

Most widely known for his performance as half-human, half-Vulcan science officer Spock on the classic sci-fi TV show “Star Trek” and its many subsequent film and videogame incarnations, Nimoy was also a successful director, helming “Star Trek” pics “The Search for Spock” and “The Voyage Home,” as well as non-“Star Trek” fare; an accomplished stage actor; a published writer and poet; and a noted photographer. He also dabbled in singing and songwriting.

But despite his varied talents, Nimoy will forever be linked with the logical Mr. Spock. Spotted by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry when he appeared on Roddenberry’s NBC Marine Corps. skein “The Lieutenant,” Nimoy was offered the role of Spock and co-starred in the 1965 “Star Trek” pilot “The Cage.” NBC execs liked the concept but thought the pilot too cerebral, so they ordered a second pilot of the Desilu production with some script and cast changes (only Nimoy made it through both pilots). The series finally bowed on NBC in the fall of 1966. After three seasons, it was canceled in 1969 but would go on to be a hit in syndication, spawning films and other TV iterations and gaining a huge following of fans known as Trekkers or Trekkies.

After the series wrapped, Nimoy joined the fourth season of spy series “Mission: Impossible” as master-of-disguise Paris, leaving after the fifth season. He went on to star in the 1971 Western “Catlow,” with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna, and the 1978 remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” with Donald Sutherland and Jeffrey Goldblum. The actor also made a series of TV films throughout the ’70s and received an Emmy nomination in 1982 for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in telepic “A Woman Called Golda.”

Also during the ’70s, Nimoy narrated the docuseries “In Search of …,” which investigated unexplained events, paranormal phenomena and urban legends long before these matters become the common fodder of pop culture.

Then the siren call of “Star Trek” beckoned again and Nimoy returned to the role of Mr. Spock for 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” The film opened well at the box office, and though not well reviewed, it did spawn enough interest for Paramount to greenlight sequels that would continue into the 1990s: “The Wrath of Khan” (1982), “The Search for Spock” (1984), “The Voyage Home” (1986), “The Final Frontier” (1989) and “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). Nimoy was in all of them, albeit briefly in “The Search for Spock.”

Nimoy also appeared as Spock in a couple of episodes of series spinoff “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” several videogames based on the property and the J.J. Abrams-helmed “Star Trek” reboot, playing Spock Prime to Zachary Quinto’s young Spock in the 2009 film and its sequel.

After directing several TV projects, including episodes of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery” and his “Star Trek” co-star William Shatner’s “T.J. Hooker,” Nimoy signed on to helm “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.” Variety said the production was “helmed with a sure hand by debuting feature director Leonard Nimoy, who also appears briefly but to good effect as the indestructible half-human/half-Vulcan Spock.” The review went on to say “Nimoy’s direction is people-intensive with less of the zap and effects diversions of competing films.” He went on to direct the next pic in the series, “The Voyage Home,” as well as four other feature films, including the 1987 comedy “3 Men and a Baby,” starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg, and the Diane Keaton-Liam Neeson drama “The Good Mother” (1988).

Nimoy also had a long history of stage work. He appeared on Broadway in “Full Circle,” directed by Otto Preminger, in 1973, and as a replacement for Anthony Hopkins as Martin Dysart in “Equus.” In 1996 he directed “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree” on the Rialto. But he also starred in many regional productions — he played Stanley Kowalski in a 1955 Atlanta production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” — and starred in several touring shows: He was Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1971, Sherlock Holmes in a play of that name in 1976 and Vincent Van Gogh in solo show “Vincent: The Story of a Hero,” which he also produced and directed, in 1978-80.

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston; his parents were Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine, and the language at home was Yiddish. He developed an interest in acting at an early age, first appearing on stage at 8 in a production of “Hansel and Gretel.” He took drama classes for a while at Boston College, and after leaving home to pursue his career in Hollywood, he landed his first lead role in the 1952 film “Kid Monk Baroni.”

After serving in the Army from 1953-55, he appeared in small roles in a few films, but mostly found roles in TV series, appearing in episodes of “Dragnet,” “Sea Hunt,” “Bonanza,” “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Untouchables,” “The Outer Limits,” “The Virginian,” “Get Smart” and “Gunsmoke” before rising to fame in “Star Trek.”

Most recently, he recurred on Fox sci-fi series “Fringe” as maniacal, genius professor William Bell, and he voiced Spock for a 2012 episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”

In addition to his work on “In Search Of…,” Nimoy lent his resonant, intelligent voice to a variety of films, TV projects and documentaries, including A&E docu series “Ancient Mysteries.”

He wrote two autobiographies. The first, published in 1977, was called “I Am Not Spock.” Though “Star Trek” fans thought he was distancing himself from the beloved character, Nimoy had always enjoyed playing the character but was also using the book to talk about other aspects of his life. The book features dialogue between the thesp and Spock and touched on a self-proclaimed identity crisis because he became so associated with his character. In his second autobiography, “I Am Spock” (1995), he embraced that association.

He also wrote several books of poetry, including “You and I,” “Warmed by Love” and “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life.” Some of his poetry books featured his photos.

Nimoy studied photography at UCLA in the 1970s, and his work as a photographer was shown in museums, art galleries and in published works, including “The Full Body Project: Photographs by Leonard Nimoy” and “Shekhina.” He was active in philanthropy and endowed Hollywood’s Temple Israel’s Bay-Nimoy Early Childhood Center.

In music, Nimoy released five albums on Dot Records, the first of which was space-based music and spoken word, “Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.”

Nimoy was married twice, first to actress Sandra Zober. They divorced in 1987. In 1988, he married Susan Bay, an actress who is the cousin of helmer Michael Bay.

He is survived by his wife; two children from his first marriage, son Adam, a director, and daughter Julie; a stepson; and several grandchildren.

“Live long and prosper.”

The Facts About Pearl Harbor – WWII WIF What-ifs

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Cracked History

What if the U.S. Had Been

Prepared for

Pearl Harbor?

pearl harbor

Sneak-up snapshot

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy conducted a devastatingsurprise attack on the Pearl Harbor Naval Base and the Hickam Field Airbase on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

American Naval and Army forces were caught by surprise that fateful sunny Sunday morning and paid a terrible price for their lack of vigilance.  All the American battleships were either sunk or disabled.  Of the 390 warplanes, 188 were destroyed and 159 damaged.  Over 2,400 Americans died.  The Japanese were met with some token anti-aircraft fire and air-to-air interception, but the results were scant.  One U.S. destroyer managed to sink a Japanese midget submarine, but even that feat was not believed until proof was finally found decades later.  Further Japanese losses included another 4 midget subs, 29 airplanes and 64 men.

Much has been made about the lack of American preparation for the attack, including the fact that American radar had detected the raiding air force.   Although it is true that the Japanese were detected by radar, it was at the time assumed that the incoming planes were a flight of B-17s that were expected that day.  Even if the alarm had been raised, the fact remains that fighter planes would still have had to scramble, so it is likely the attack would still have been successful.

If the U.S. had had sea and air reconnaissance forces combing the seas, the Japanese forces might have been detected earlier, which might well have prevented the disaster.  Or, perhaps a U.S. preemptive strike or show of force may have averted the attack.  On the other hand, the better trained and more experienced Japanese may then instead have dealt an even deadlier blow to the U.S. by sinking its aircraft carriers that were luckily spared from the real attack as they were out to sea at the time.  Obviously, had the U.S. forces had interceptors scramble ready, anti-aircraft crews on notice and aircraft scattered on fields instead of bunched together the damage would have been far less.  And had the battleships also been at sea, they would have been maneuverable and more elusive.

So, would Hitler still have declared war on the U.S. four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor had the Japanese been averted by detection?  Perhaps the American entry into the war would have been delayed long enough for the Germans to be able to concentrate their forces against Russia, possibly changing the outcome of the war.

As it was, though the attack was initially seemed successful, the Japanese failed to sink the all-important American aircraft carriers, to permanently put the battleships out of commission (all but the Arizona were re-floated), to destroy U.S. fuel and dry-dock ship repair facilities and lastly to cow the U.S. into an immediate negotiated peace.

Some “what if” speculators have claimed the U.S. would still have suffered a crushing loss even with preparation and warning, assuming the Japanese would have sunk American ships at sea as easily as in the harbor.  Better leadership by Admiral Kimmel and General Short might have made all the difference, but this will never be known for sure.  Seventy plus years on: Rest in peace, all brave men who died that day.

The Facts About Pearl Harbor

– WWII WIF What-ifs

Godzilla – WABAC to a Real Monster

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“You know that rubber toy I gave you for Christmas, Sherman My Boy? Well, it was terrorizing Japan in 1954 and it still lives today.”
“Is there anything left of Japan?”
“It is f-i-c-t-i-o-n.”

 

1954: Godzilla, The Greatest Movie Monster of All Time 

godzilla

The Beast

On November 3, 1954, Godzilla, the giant fire-spewing, dinosaur-like dragon, born of nuclear bomb tests, emerged from the sea and onto the silver screen to ravage Japan.

The Perspective…

When the first Godzilla movie hit the theaters, it was a sensation.  By today’s standards, though, the special effects are laughable.  A man in a monster suit walking around scale model buildings and cars is what passed for high tech in those days, but Japanese audiences loved the film and its anti-nuclear undertones.

In 1956, the film made it to the United States in the heavily Americanized version Godzilla, King of the Monsters! and found another eager audience.

Godzilla’s success resulted in a franchise surrounding the smelly monster with the hot bad breath, and he reappeared in numerous sequels to fight other monsters (including King Kong!) and the Japanese military over and over again.  Re-makes of the movie were completed in 1998 and 2014.  In conjunction with the 2014 film, the original 1954 version was released once again.

The budget of the original 96-minute film was $900,000 with a box office take of $2,250,000.  That profit is a pittance, however, compared to the residuals and merchandising income that made this movie a fantastic investment for the producers.

As with any successful phenomenon, imitators and parodies were spawned.  Many cheesy movie monsters owe their existence to the success of Godzilla, including Rodan, Mothra, MechaGodzilla, Megalon and King Ghidorah.  Blue Oyster Cult even sang a song titled Godzilla in 1977.  And that was not the only song aboutGodzilla!

Even Godzilla costumes are popular, with people dressing up their dogs and little horses as the “Destroyer of Tokyo.”

Oddly enough, considering all the sequels and ongoing franchise, the original movie featured Godzilla dying in Tokyo Bay when he was subjected to a secret weapon called the Oxygen Destroyer which caused the great monster to disintegrate to a skeleton, which leads us to the eternal question, Is Godzilla tougher than Megalon? Well, is he, Pop?

Godzilla

– WABAC to a Real Monster

Ten Places to “Live long and prosper.”

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Ten Places to “Live long and prosper.” continued below.

 We love you Spock, RIP.

Leonard Nimoy, ‘Star Trek’s’ Spock, Dies at 83

FEBRUARY 27, 2015 | 09:21AM PT

Leonard Nimoy lived up to his longtime catchphrase: Live long and prosper. Having achieved success in many arenas during his lifetime, the actor, director, writer and photographer died Friday in Los Angeles of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.

Most widely known for his performance as half-human, half-Vulcan science officer Spock on the classic sci-fi TV show “Star Trek” and its many subsequent film and videogame incarnations, Nimoy was also a successful director, helming “Star Trek” pics “The Search for Spock” and “The Voyage Home,” as well as non-“Star Trek” fare; an accomplished stage actor; a published writer and poet; and a noted photographer. He also dabbled in singing and songwriting.

But despite his varied talents, Nimoy will forever be linked with the logical Mr. Spock. Spotted by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry when he appeared on Roddenberry’s NBC Marine Corps. skein “The Lieutenant,” Nimoy was offered the role of Spock and co-starred in the 1965 “Star Trek” pilot “The Cage.” NBC execs liked the concept but thought the pilot too cerebral, so they ordered a second pilot of the Desilu production with some script and cast changes (only Nimoy made it through both pilots). The series finally bowed on NBC in the fall of 1966. After three seasons, it was canceled in 1969 but would go on to be a hit in syndication, spawning films and other TV iterations and gaining a huge following of fans known as Trekkers or Trekkies.

After the series wrapped, Nimoy joined the fourth season of spy series “Mission: Impossible” as master-of-disguise Paris, leaving after the fifth season. He went on to star in the 1971 Western “Catlow,” with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna, and the 1978 remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” with Donald Sutherland and Jeffrey Goldblum. The actor also made a series of TV films throughout the ’70s and received an Emmy nomination in 1982 for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in telepic “A Woman Called Golda.”

Also during the ’70s, Nimoy narrated the docuseries “In Search of …,” which investigated unexplained events, paranormal phenomena and urban legends long before these matters become the common fodder of pop culture.

Then the siren call of “Star Trek” beckoned again and Nimoy returned to the role of Mr. Spock for 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” The film opened well at the box office, and though not well reviewed, it did spawn enough interest for Paramount to greenlight sequels that would continue into the 1990s: “The Wrath of Khan” (1982), “The Search for Spock” (1984), “The Voyage Home” (1986), “The Final Frontier” (1989) and “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). Nimoy was in all of them, albeit briefly in “The Search for Spock.”

Nimoy also appeared as Spock in a couple of episodes of series spinoff “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” several videogames based on the property and the J.J. Abrams-helmed “Star Trek” reboot, playing Spock Prime to Zachary Quinto’s young Spock in the 2009 film and its sequel.

After directing several TV projects, including episodes of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery” and his “Star Trek” co-star William Shatner’s “T.J. Hooker,” Nimoy signed on to helm “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.” Variety said the production was “helmed with a sure hand by debuting feature director Leonard Nimoy, who also appears briefly but to good effect as the indestructible half-human/half-Vulcan Spock.” The review went on to say “Nimoy’s direction is people-intensive with less of the zap and effects diversions of competing films.” He went on to direct the next pic in the series, “The Voyage Home,” as well as four other feature films, including the 1987 comedy “3 Men and a Baby,” starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg, and the Diane Keaton-Liam Neeson drama “The Good Mother” (1988).

Nimoy also had a long history of stage work. He appeared on Broadway in “Full Circle,” directed by Otto Preminger, in 1973, and as a replacement for Anthony Hopkins as Martin Dysart in “Equus.” In 1996 he directed “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree” on the Rialto. But he also starred in many regional productions — he played Stanley Kowalski in a 1955 Atlanta production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” — and starred in several touring shows: He was Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1971, Sherlock Holmes in a play of that name in 1976 and Vincent Van Gogh in solo show “Vincent: The Story of a Hero,” which he also produced and directed, in 1978-80.

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston; his parents were Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine, and the language at home was Yiddish. He developed an interest in acting at an early age, first appearing on stage at 8 in a production of “Hansel and Gretel.” He took drama classes for a while at Boston College, and after leaving home to pursue his career in Hollywood, he landed his first lead role in the 1952 film “Kid Monk Baroni.”

After serving in the Army from 1953-55, he appeared in small roles in a few films, but mostly found roles in TV series, appearing in episodes of “Dragnet,” “Sea Hunt,” “Bonanza,” “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Untouchables,” “The Outer Limits,” “The Virginian,” “Get Smart” and “Gunsmoke” before rising to fame in “Star Trek.”

Most recently, he recurred on Fox sci-fi series “Fringe” as maniacal, genius professor William Bell, and he voiced Spock for a 2012 episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”

In addition to his work on “In Search Of…,” Nimoy lent his resonant, intelligent voice to a variety of films, TV projects and documentaries, including A&E docu series “Ancient Mysteries.”

He wrote two autobiographies. The first, published in 1977, was called “I Am Not Spock.” Though “Star Trek” fans thought he was distancing himself from the beloved character, Nimoy had always enjoyed playing the character but was also using the book to talk about other aspects of his life. The book features dialogue between the thesp and Spock and touched on a self-proclaimed identity crisis because he became so associated with his character. In his second autobiography, “I Am Spock” (1995), he embraced that association.

He also wrote several books of poetry, including “You and I,” “Warmed by Love” and “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life.” Some of his poetry books featured his photos.

Nimoy studied photography at UCLA in the 1970s, and his work as a photographer was shown in museums, art galleries and in published works, including “The Full Body Project: Photographs by Leonard Nimoy” and “Shekhina.” He was active in philanthropy and endowed Hollywood’s Temple Israel’s Bay-Nimoy Early Childhood Center.

In music, Nimoy released five albums on Dot Records, the first of which was space-based music and spoken word, “Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.”

Nimoy was married twice, first to actress Sandra Zober. They divorced in 1987. In 1988, he married Susan Bay, an actress who is the cousin of helmer Michael Bay.

He is survived by his wife; two children from his first marriage, son Adam, a director, and daughter Julie; a stepson; and several grandchildren.

“Live long and prosper.”
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