Saturday, December 03, 2011

Just the Facts?: "Letters from the Big Man" Review -- Japan Chef Jailed For Serving Toxic Puffer Liver

'Letters from the Big Man' - Thumbs Up From Ebert

"Letters from the Big Man" makes no secret that it involves the mysterious forest creature known as Sasquatch, or more popularly as Bigfoot. No wonder. Legends about Bigfoot have inspired more than 20 previous films, from exploitation pictures to the big budget "Harry and the Henderson." Two things are different about this film. It is serious, and it isn't shy about showing us the creature. Instead of blurred shots of something vaguely seen through trees, we see the Sasquatch clearly and even in contemplative close-ups.

The story involves a Forest Service employee named Sarah Smith (Lily Rabe), who is on the rebound from a failed relationship and accepts a commission to study the rainwater run-off in a remote area devastated by forest fires. She packs camping gear, heads into the wilderness, measures the depths of streams, and enjoys her solitude so much that she actively repels a young Green activist named Sean (Jason Butler Harner) when she meets him on a trail. Lily Rabe's performance exudes self-confidence and determination (she's the daughter of Jill Clayburgh and playwright David Rabe.)

Sarah is aware she's being followed. She thinks Sean is the stalker. In a gradual way, without a dramatic turning point, she absorbs the fact that her shadow is Sasquatch. She isn't electrified with curiosity, nor is she frightened. She accepts his presence, and he accepts hers. Often she is aware of him without seeing him. A few shots show him transparent, hinting at metaphysical powers or invisibility.

Sarah keeps a journal and makes a great many sketches and watercolors. She also treats herself in the evening to red wine -- a great deal of wine, actually, considering how hard supplies must be to come by in these remote Oregon woods. The activist, Sean, encounters her again and this time they do a little necking on the deck of a Forest Service cabin while Sasquatch watches them from behind a tree with -- what? Curiosity? Disappointment? His eyes seem very sad.

The creation of the Bigfoot costume, by Lee Romaire, is so much better here than in previous movie appearances. He looks like a very tall cross between a gorilla and a bear, and inside is the actor Isaac C. Singleton Jr. At nights Sasquatch begins leaving where she will find them little arrangements of twigs, sticks and stones. These are his "letters." There is also an indistinct voice heard on the sound track, suggesting men and Sasquatch must find acceptance and peace.

Left unestablished is what Sasquatch thinks, how "human" he is, or indeed any details of his life. Does he mate? Have children? Live in groups? What do his thumpings of logs on trees mean? His mournful night cries? ("That's no coyote," Sarah says.) In the film he seems to be as much a manifestation of the forest as an inhabitant.

This film is unlike anything else by the indie writer-director, Christopher Munch, such as "The Hours and Times," the biopic about John Lennon and Brian Epstein. Asked if he believes in Bigfoot, he says "yes." He also apparently believe there is, or was, a CIA plan to investigate if the Sasquatch has extrasensory powers. Well, the CIA has investigated more cockamamie schemes.

"Letters from the Big Man" will mystify some, please others with its serenity, and be unlike any Bigfoot movie you have ever imagined. - rogerebert.suntimes


Japan: Chef Facing Jail Over Toxic Puffer Fish Dish

A Michelin two-star restaurant in Tokyo is facing a criminal investigation after a customer was admitted to hospital having been served the toxic liver of a puffer fish.

Fugu, or puffer fish, is a Japanese delicacy which can only be processed by specially licensed and trained chefs.

By law, chefs must cut out toxic parts including the liver and skin.

But Fugu Fukuji, a restaurant in Tokyo's upmarket Ginza district, last month served one customer puffer fish liver.

The 35-year-old woman had to be taken to hospital after complaining of a headache and numbness in her lips.

The chef is now facing a possible jail sentence for knowingly serving up the toxic dish.


Two strange hooded teenagers (not sure exactly what they were)

Campbellton, New Brunswick, Canada - 10/10/1991 - unedited: I want to tell you about a strange experience that took place at my house on Ramsay street in the fall of 1991. I believe it was the first weekend of October but I could be mistaken. It happened between 10:30 to 11pm. Earlier that night my parents had gone out to my aunts for the night. My friend "K" and I were the only ones home at the time. We had planned on going out to the clubs but first I wanted to finish my six pack.

While sitting there watching music videos something in the window caught my attention. Across the street were two teenage boys, one was kneeling and the standing on the curb waiting for a drive. They both wore hoodee jackets with the hoods pulled up but I didn't pay much attention to them. About twenty minutes passed and they were still waiting for someone to give them a drive.

At that point "K" slides open the little window open and shouted out loud "you guys want me to call a taxi for you?". They responded by coming over to the front door but before I got up to let them in I heard the door being kicked followed by the jiggling of the doorknob. For a moment I was worried the glass inside the door might crack. Entering the hallway I caught a glimpse of the taller guy but before I could get a good look at him he turned swiftly, bumping into his friend as they both ran away. I hurried outside to speak with them but neither of the two responded to my questions so I got fed up and went back inside for another beer.

While I was in the kitchen "K" called to me "they are in the window". I returned into the room to see "K" talking though the glass to the boys in the hood. He asked them if they like to call someone. Suddenly the taller guy looked directly at us. We both saw his face. Whoa...what the ****? There is something really odd about this guys face. Aaaaah!!! This was not some sort of deformity either. I have met my share of shady looking characters but this fucker was something else entirely. Now that I think of it I don't think it was human. Not exactly sure what it is. All I saw was this broad grim faced thing with dark eyes and I don't recall seeing a nose. A rather menacing face to say the least.

Now the adrenaline is pumping so I ran outside anticipating a fight. "K" tried to hold me back but it was too late. We both pursued them into the driveway. The two of them waited for us. Just as one of us attempted to get closer they would advance further into the yard. There is no fence. The Yard empties into a large field. It's just too dark to pursue them any further and I wasn't willing to take chances knowing there could be more of them. What ever they are. I do recall saying out loud "this is private Property." and "you are trespassing." These two bastards slowly made their way back with their hoods pulled up. The last we saw of them they were swiftly walking down Ramsay street. The remaining hours of the night was uneventful.

What was really weird is how "K" no longer wanted to go to the pub crawl. instead he went home. We never spoke of the event until several years later.

The Canadian UFO Report: The Best Cases Revealed


What is so strange about that night was everyone left the house before 10 O'clock. There was little to no traffic. The place was completely deserted just like an old western town. These hooded bastards had the perfect opportunity to do whatever they wanted. To this day I can not fathom what had transpired. I'm not sure is they were spirits or something else entirely. All I know is they tried to communicate with me but at the time I didn't take it as a friendly encounter. I felt threatened and scared like a wounded animal which made me want to lash out. Whatever the message was it clearly didn't get through to me.

Now that I think of it they were also afraid of us too. The taller guy ran out of the porch as I entered the hallway. They both retreated into the yard as we pursued them. When I told them to "leave" they cautiously walked towards us being careful not to show their faces then swiftly made their way down the street. So weird!!!!!

"K" and I never spoke about it for many years. One night there was a party at his place. We sat outback next to the bonfire when someone began telling ghost stories and "K" interrupted ""R", remember those two guys we saw in the window?".... He remembers, so it wasn't a dream. - MUFON CMS


1930s actress Hedy Lamarr - inventor of cellphones, Wi-Fi and GPS

Hedy Lamarr is remembered as a stunning legend in Hollywood's Golden Age. However, most people do not know that she would co-patent the technology for today's cellphones, Wi-Fi and GPS by building a torpedo for the U.S.Navy.

This may have remained the world's best kept secret if it were not for author Richard Rhodes. He had become intrigued with Hedy Lamarr after he finished 30-years of working on a four-volume set about the history of the nuclear age. One of them, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb," had earned him a Pulitzer Prize.

LA Times writer, Adam Tschorn, has reported that Rhodes has just finished writing, "Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World." What has been found is that she was co-holder in 1942 of a patent on spread spectrum radio, a technology that would eventually underlie today's mobile and cordless telephones, the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

Tschorn said that this would be similar to crediting the beautiful Fawcett for developing Google's proprietary search algorithm. It is difficult to comprehend or correlate the two together. But in reality, Hedy Lamarr was born as Hedwig Kiesler, an inquisitive young child who had been encouraged by her father to expand on this talent.

She would eventually marry Fritz Mandl, a munitions manufacturer, where she would become involved in a world filled with technical data. When she became involved as an actress in Hollywood, she had time on her hands because she did not like to drink, or go to loud and drunken parties. Invention became her hobby.

That hobby was having an inventor's corner set up in her Hollywood home that included a drafting table and tools. One of Lamarr's major inventions was the bouillon cube that would create a beverage when mixed with water. Howard Hughes lent her a pair of chemists to assist her inventor's lab. In addition to the bouillon she developed a fluorescent dog collar; a special technique to tighten the skin; and modifications to the Concorde airliner.

As time went on, she would eventually co- patent "U.S. Patent Number 2,292,387" under her married name, Hedy Kiesler Markey. Her partner would be George Antheil, the notable MGM costume designer Adrian she met in 1940 at dinner party hosted by a mutual friend. With a goal to help the U.S. military, they would combine their knowledge to develop a torpedo guidance system for the U.S. Navy. Way before the United States had entered the war, Lamarr was unhappy over the fact that German's actions would cause a ship to sink, while carrying dozens of children. The torpedo was her best project to build a better war bomb.

Lamarr and Adrian developed a method that would cause hopping or switching between radio frequencies that would prevent communications from being detected, and therefore prevent them from being jammed by enemies.

However, she would received very little, if any, recognition for her efforts. She would remain a siren of Hollywood with no credit given to her for her extreme intelligence.

"Lamarr’s effort to invent a radio-guided torpedo as a contribution to the Allied cause in World War II has been noted here and there since the 1940s." (Amarillo) - digitaljournal

Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World