Tuesday, February 14, 2017


People from the same film blowing their brains out? Not really that common.


The only thing this movie conquered was it's own cast and crew.

The Conqueror, which just had its 60th anniversary last year, was a mediocre performing CinemaScope film released in 1956 (but was two years in the making). It was produced by Howard Hughes, directed by Dick Powell, and written by Oscar Millard.

It starred John Wayne as the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan (yes, you read that correctly) and co-starred Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead, and Pedro Armendáriz.

During the Korean war era, several above ground atomic tests were run at the Yucca Flats government-run testing area in Nevada from 1951–1953. That included 11 tests specifically in 1953 under the name “Operation Upshot-Knothole.” Principal photography of the movie was shot from May-August of 1954 in Snow Canyon State Park, located 11 miles (18 km) northwest of St. George, Utah. Snow Canyon is 137 miles (220 km) downwind of Yucca Flats.

Nuke tests run in 1953, and filming in the same area the very next year? Wow, the "upshot" of this "knothole" was that they were not only dosed with radiation, they were dosed with some very fresh radiation!

Making matters worse, after the cast and crew spent many difficult weeks at the site, Hughes also shipped 60 tons of that same radiated dirt to a Hollywood backlot in order to match the Nevada-Utah terrain and lend more realism to studio re-shoots.

So they were exposed to the stuff both on location and later at the studio. (Because, you know, California dirt could never look the same as dirt from another state. Huh?!) While the filmmakers had heard about the nuclear tests, the federal government assured them and local residents alike that the tests caused no hazard whatsoever to public health.

The first shoe to drop was owned by Powell, with a whole shoe store to follow. He died of brain cancer in January 1963, seven years after the film's release. Shortly after getting the bad news about his diagnosis, he blew his brains out. He was not only a very fine talent both in front of and behind the camera, but he was a very practical guy.

Armendáriz was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1960, and, like Powell, killed himself (in June 1963) after he learned his condition had become terminal. Hayward, Wayne, and Moorehead also all died of cancer in the 1970s. Hoyt died of lung cancer in 1991.

Skeptics of "the Conquerer cancer curse" position point to other factors, such as the wide use of tobacco among the cast and crew. They note that Wayne and Moorehead in particular were heavy smokers. Wayne said he thought his lung cancer to have been the result of his several-packs-a-day cigarette habit, but he ultimately died of stomach cancer.

But since cigarette smoking was much more widespread back in the day, why has no other collection of film stars or crew from any other film in history ever shown cancer rates even close to those who worked on The Conqueror?

The cast and crew totaled 220 people. As ascertained by People magazine (by the end of 1980), already 91 of them had developed some form of cancer, and 46 had died of the disease. Several of Wayne and Hayward's relatives also had cancer scares after visiting the set. Michael Wayne developed skin cancer, his brother Patrick had a benign tumor removed from his chest, and Hayward's son Tim Barker had a benign tumor removed from his mouth.

Naysayers claim those are close to average stats, but also neglect to mention such major factors as the following: The extreme eagerness of the state of Nevada to promote filming in their area, assuring everyone with a Hollywood checkbook that things couldn't be safer. Yes indeed, it could be wagered that this is the same line Nevada gave to the original film scouts for The Conquer back in the 1950s.

Also to be factored in is the extreme shortness of time between the first radiation exposure and death of so many of them - just 10 to 15 years. Most such passings (from radiation, asbestos, etc.) usually take decades. Not only that, but it sure is strange that the naysayers so-called "smoker's cancer" usually did not attack the lungs in these cases, but just about everywhere else - brain, stomach, kidneys, etc. - like radiation does.

Reportedly, Hughes felt very guilty about his decisions regarding the film's production, particularly over the decision to film at a hazardous site. So much so that he bought up every print of the film for $12 million and kept it out of circulation for many years, until Universal Pictures purchased the film from his estate in 1979. The Conqueror, along with Ice Station Zebra, is said to be one of the films Hughes watched repeadetly during his final years.

Dr. Robert Pendleton, then a professor of biology at the University of Utah, is reported to have stated in 1980, "With these numbers, this case could qualify as an epidemic. The connection between fallout radiation and cancer in individual cases has been practically impossible to prove conclusively. But in a group this size you'd expect only 30-some cancers to develop. With 91 cancer cases, I think the tie-in to their exposure on the set of The Conqueror would hold up in a court of law."

Several cast and crew members, as well as relatives of those who died, tested the legal waters regarding suing the government for negligence, claiming the military brass and political big shots knew more about the hazards in the area than it let on.

Statistically, the odds of developing cancer for men in the U.S. population are 43% and the odds of dying of it are 23% (slightly lower in women at 38% and 19%, respectively). Because the primary cast and crew numbered about 220, and a considerable number of cancer cases would be expected, controversy exists as to whether or not the actual results are attributable to radiation at the nearby nuclear weapons test site.

It is worth noting, however, that although many years have passed since the era of The Conqueror, if it could be proven in court that the government lied about the radiation dangers involved in that situation, it would be considered the same as murder. And there is no statute of limitations on that particular crime.

However, it's abundantly clear that neither the powerful government of Nevada nor the Feds ever had the slightest intention of paying a dime for damages.

Considering this medical mess and it's dismal courtroom chances, was the whole miscast and badly written production even worth doing in the first place?

Even strictly in the profit category, it cost 6 million to make, and ticket sales were 9 million, which means a profit of a quick 3 million. A tidy sum, but nothing to write home about. And quality-wise not only was The Conqueror artistically no Gone With The Wind, but today it's regarded as one of the worst movies of all time.

It never even became regarded as one of those "cult classic" clunkers, though, like Plan 9 From Outer Space.

So what of the cancer controversy of The Conqueror curse? It would have to be concluded that the whole project wasn't really worth it at all.

But the loopy legend of it will continue for many more years - just like deadly radiation.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


What your family gave you, the tax man can still take away.


First let's dispose of the disclaimer: I'm not a licensed or bonded financial adviser, real estate agent, contractor, or even lawyer. Sure, I've taken classes in most of that stuff, but what I did many years ago really doesn't count. What happened in college, stays in college.

Anyway, the following property tax loophole info goes out to the ancient majority, meaning those having a few extra bucks who will soon be approaching retirement (and beyond) and may have a few concerns about their future and/or might be puzzled as to why certain taxes seem to be eating up their money like a ravenous devil dog.

(Sorry, young people, but unless there turns out to be any social security or other significant chucks of money in your future, you're in the vast minority here. You can hang around with the grownups, but no doubt you'll get bored and start missing your little portable phone thingies.)

Each year tangible "real property" which includes houses, cars and boats are arbitrarily tax appraised, and based on that, homeowners must likewise pay said tax annually. (Some areas even require this every half year.)

Early last century, it started out being based only on what was originally paid for the property, but that didn't last too long after local governments got tired of demanding what seemed like only 10 bucks per year, if you get my drift.

Having a great grandparent will you a long since paid off house very much irritates most council members, especially those who are more firmly than usual in the pockets of greedy land speculators.

Your comfortable old rambling ranch house makes those future mall developers - and their bulldozer drivers - very uncomfortable indeed.

The result is having your 401K type life savings account, monthly social security funds, checking account and savings account drained in an ultimately failing effort to pay this tax, until you eventually also lose said house, car and boat, etc., anyway.

As it is in the world of betting, the odds are always tilted in favor of the gambling house, not the gambler.

However, stocks and bonds are not considered to be "real property," so keep any investment savings in safe stocks and bonds.

Therefore do not buy said house, car or boat. Instead just rent a modest property using social security money only. Because renters cannot be property taxed and expected to pay for resulting bills. Only their property-owning landlords are required to do so.

And if you cash out your 401K type savings after retirement, put it into a Roth IRA or regular savings account in your bank, which also cannot be property taxed.

Until far better property tax laws are put in place of the current scam system we have now, we're forced play a little dirty ourselves, thus putting far less money into governmental and real estate company coffers. Well, they showed no mercy to us, so why should we give them a break?

The above may sound like fairly basic financial common sense. But you'd be surprised at how many people have very little clue about these things, nor do they have any particularly strong desire to find out such facts.

So they wind up being scalped on an annual (or semi-annual) basis. Then later on they wonder what the heck happened to their poor beat-up wallet.

Then they also blame media types like me for not writing about it in a column first, to warn them ahead of time. Well, those who needed said warning have now been warned. So mission accomplished.

Now gentlemen, re-start your financial engines!

Sunday, September 6, 2015


At least Cosby hasn't fallen for any money scam, so far.

By Ed Gauthier

In a humor-laced interview on New York’s 105.1 Breakfast Club radio show Friday, comic star Damon Wayans offered a serious defense to comedian Bill Cosby, who was accused late last year of administering "roofies" to and having sex with some three dozen women over the last few decades of his career.

Wayans said, “I just don’t believe it. I think it’s a money hustle.”

“To tell the truth, if I was him, I would divorce my - wife, wink wink - give her all my money, and then I would go and do a deposition,” Wayans jokingly told the radio station.

“I’d light [a] three-hour cigar, I’d have me some wine, and maybe a Quaalude, and I would just go off because I don’t believe he was raping. I believe he was in relationships with all of them and then he’s like, ‘You know what? [Cosby is] 78. It don’t work like that no more. I can’t get it up for any of y’all. Bye, bitches,’ and then they’re like, ‘Oh, really? Rape!’”

Wayans continued: “And some of them, really, is unrapeable. I look at them and go, ‘No, he don’t want that. Get outta here!’ Look, I understand fame. I’ve lived it. Women will throw themselves at you. They just want be in your presence. There’s some that innocently will come up there, but not 40-something women. They’re not that naive.”

When Breakfast Club radio host Angela Yee pointed out that many of the women had, in fact, come forward years before, Wayans dismissed her: “Bitch, how many times did it happen? Just listen to what they’re saying.”

Those legal actions of "coming forward," it must be noted, always resulted in their losing in court, and Cosby has not ever been convicted of any such crimes, nor of any other crime.

Of course, the same public forces who accused Cosby in the first place are now attacking Wayans for defending him on air.

As to Wayans' "money hustle" comment, the record shows that before any investigation of last year's wave of charges had been completed, lawyer Gloria Allred was already suggesting that Cosby pay thousands of dollars into a compensation fund for the women accusing him.

Which looks unmistakably like a denial of the legal rule known as innocent until proven guilty.

Earlier today, Wayans used the online communication mode Twitter to say that some of his words [in the radio interview] had been twisted, and he urged his followers to listen to the full interview itself.

Monday, June 15, 2015


And it's not called a penalty, it's called a jail term.

By Ed Gauthier

Not to be harsh, but a lot of people would be much better off by not assuming that everything in life is somehow a kind of "game."

Therefore there is no "playing field" that only needs some leveling to be more in their favor.

And nobody is going to call a "time out" to give them a break.

This is the real thing.

Meaning that they're not safely protected in the schoolyard anymore.

So they need to just grow up and stop their endless whining!

Rant over. (For now.)

Friday, June 12, 2015


Yes, they want you to drink
their Kool-Aid, but not yours.

By Ed Gauthier

This one is a case of dietary meets interplanetary.

Over the years, books mentioning alien encounters with man have yielded, among various social and political warnings, additional concerns regarding health.

And they don't just mean obvious things like staying away from fish, in this modern era of the Fukishima, Japan-radiated Pacific ocean.

Earthly visitors have been told by outer space entities to avoid certain common food and drink substances which they say will seriously harm the human metabolism.

These offenders to the digestive system most often include hard liquor (specifically whiskey) and pork (specifically ham). Another alien-perceived danger is also one of most peoples' guilty pleasures - chocolate.

Of course, every doctor on the planet has agreed with not overdoing such menu items, as well as many more, including smoking cigarettes.

Okay, so you'll live to be a ripe old age if you just do without the evils of certain booze, candy and ham on rye sandwich temptations that may come your way.

But really, who wants to always live like that, though?

Well, it's entirely your own choice to ignore doctors - and now also aliens - in the pursuit of such unwholesome "fruit," as it were.

But thanks to our friends from outer space, at least (once again) you've been warned!

Monday, May 25, 2015


John "Beautiful Mind" Nash.

By Ed Gauthier

The "taxi accident" death the day before yesterday of both genius mathematician John Nash and his loyal wife Alicia contained several elements that were mighty darn fishy. Such as:

A rerouted flight plan making their plane early to the airport.

A limo service that refused to pick them up earlier than previously scheduled.

An erratically-driving foreign cab driver whom they had to hire to replace the limo.

Said driver had only worked in the cab driving business for a grand total of two weeks.

A set of seat belts were in the cab for the driver who survived the crash he caused.

But no seat belts were in the cab for the Nashes in back, who did not survive.

(No doubt said driver will soon vanish from the picture, if not also the country.)

Nash, 86, creator of the concept known as the Nash Equilibrium, was the inspiration for the 2002 film A Beautiful Mind, which starred Russell Crowe, and was directed by Ron Howard.

Math wizard Nash had said that for many years that he believed that outer space aliens, and/or secret government forces were "out to get" him. They were not happy that early on in his career he chose to turn his back on them, after they had said they wanted to recruit him in helping to save the world.

By hearing their voices in his head (mental telepathy), Nash had said he became convinced that they would be communicating with him further via messages they placed within the pages of the New York Times.

Other stories have also mentioned a few more periodicals containing such messages - including the magazines Life, and Newsweek, which are both published in New York, the area where Nash lived.

Said alien/secret government theory would fit together if Nash, who was born in West Virginia, therefore died in either his adopted hometown (since 1948) of New Jersey (where his alma mater Princeton is located) or its next door neighbor state New York. Apparently, the aliens chose NJ. Theory confirmed.

Of course, a full treatment involving this alien sub plot was found to be too "offbeat" and "distracting" for the Beautiful Mind film, and although some scenes had been shot dealing with the subject, that material ended up on the cutting room floor.

Audiences were left with only "unexplained voices," which they were to assume were just part of some temporary - schizophrenia or paranoia-related - mental problem on his part.

So did certain high level forces - even aliens - want Nash dead? We may never know.

Nash was also one of those many folk who spoke very highly of the numeral 23, calling it his "favorite prime number." That's right - he and his wife of course died in the afore mentioned crash on the 23rd.

Readers are advised to stay tuned for future oddities in the news regarding this very suspicious scenario.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Friday, April 10, 2015


Broadcast: Coast To Coast AM - April 8, 2015
YouTube video first uploaded on Apr 9, 2015
Title: Planet X, The Rogue Planet

Well, this certainly answers the mystery as to why no major psychic (or self-described "time traveler") has ever been able to answer the very simple question of who will win the Presidential election of 2016. It's because there will apparently be no election to begin with! Read on, faithful followers.

In the first half of this Coast To Coast AM radio show, Bob Fletcher, a retired investigative researcher who conducted a probe into the CIA's involvement in the US drug trade, spoke about the return of Planet X (Nibiru), how money has been secretly siphoned out of budgets to prepare for it, and the coming global cataclysm.

According to his information, Planet X was first discovered in 1983 by infrared telescopes and appeared to be on an inbound trajectory. Since then, the United States has built numerous underground facilities (such as at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado), which will be offered as a survival option to only an elite few, he stated.

China, Russia and other countries have reportedly also completed the construction of their own underground facilities.

Operation Jade Helm 15, a military-law enforcement exercise coming later this year, is a dry run for "martial law," and is being conducted as a test for how to deal with the public when they learn about Nibiru's impending arrival, Fletcher said.

The rogue planet will first be visible as a new star - it's been calculated to be five to seven times the size of Earth, and has several attached moons. It will be first significantly observed in December of 2015 and pass by Earth starting near March 26 for a period of one hour, then make its turnaround behind the sun and pass Earth a second time for an additional hour on its way out.

(There is a chance all this may instead take place starting in December of 2016, however the 2015 scenario has been judged to be much more likely.)

Also to contend with at the same time will be a 26% polar orbit shift, possible damage by super volcanoes such as the one at Yellowstone Park, and the fact that almost half of all nuclear facilities may be adversely affected.

Solar flares connected with Nibiru's passage could in addition wipe out all electronic devices, and a multitude of large meteorites hitting the oceans will cause immeasurably large tsunamis, Fletcher added.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Bite me, you cowardly killer creeps.

Yes, I am likewise a cartoonist, and on the Comics Journal message board website I made fun of the Muslin sheets crowd with my cartoon character Mo Hammy (aka Mookhammered the Phake Prophet).

This was a few years back (2006), when they started hassling people during that whole Danish/Swedish newspaper thing. They whined that "depicting their prophet" was not allowed by their religious rules, but investigations quickly found that "no media coverage" claim to be false, anyway.

There is nothing in their favorite ancient clerical texts that even addresses the issue. Which is no doubt mainly due to the fact that online memes, animated cartoons and the science of photography itself hadn't even been invented then.

So you Muslin sheets (Sheetites?) still got problems about it 7 years later? Tough toenails. Refer back to the above art.

- Editor

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Meria Heller gives 'em heck on The Richie Allen Show.