Alva Press, Inc.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
11:02 pm edt
In 1956 Howard
Hughes brought to fruition his passion for the story of Ghengis Khan: Through RKO he produced the film The Conqueror.
By now, its failure and the fate of its cast and crew members is common knowledge, so I’d like to share with you some
of the details about it, picked up through perusing the net.
Apparently the unlikely John Wayne as Kahn was the result of Twentieth Century Fox’s refusal to
loan Marlon Brando to RKO for the part. Wayne didn’t want it, but Hughes recalled an unfulfilled contract Wayne had
signed in 1939 so Wayne had no choice. As a result, the unlikely giant found himself draped in flowing
mustache and, in his usual paced and laconic manner, delivering the already wooden lines of the poorly scripted marauding
vandal, Kahn. Cinema graphically, the film was doomed from the start while the story of its cast has become epic.
The film was shot in the 120 degree heat of the Yucca Flats, Nevada,
137 miles south of the United States Testing Site, Operation Upshot-Knothole. There, three years earlier, eleven atomic tests
had been conducted, two of which were of exceptional size and resulted in a radioactive cloud covering the Flats for days
and poisoning the area with its ash in the form of radioactive fallout. So we find photos of Wayne in the middle of the desert
walking around with a Geiger counter. Unlike today’s dosimeters which can measure radioactivity as it accumulates over
time, a Geiger counter measures radiation levels only at a point in time. So while Wayne was on the right track he was ill-equipped
to make the point. Instead, time would do it for him.
Probably the heat of the desert, a flash flood, and Susan Hayward's close call with a bear served
as some of the reasons why in ignorance, Hughes compounded the problem for the cast and crew by shipping 60 tons of the
radioactive soil back to Hollywood for use in any re-shoots.
a typical population some estimates suggest that before the age of sixty-four, about one in two hundred or a half of
one per cent of the population is likely to die of cancer. Then there's a big jump in incidence between the ages of 60
and 70 with an end result that eventually as many as some twenty per cent of the population may die of cancer.
But the cast and crew of The Conqueror were by and large well younger than sixty years of age. Nonetheless,
of the 220 persons among them by 1981, twenty-five years after the filming, already 91 had developed cancer and 46 had
died of it. Estimates suggest that these rates were at least three times the expected rates. When compared
to certain reports of average incidence, however, the percentage is much higher.
Among those taken by cancer were John Wayne (lung cancer), Susan Hayward
(brain cancer), Agnes Moorehead, and Director Dick Powell. Today, some fifty years hence, their cautionary tale lives on with
that of the rest of the cast and crew, a tragic reminder of the need to carefully tend our fragile environment.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Obama and Medvedev Sign Historic START Treaty
Three cheers for Presidents Barack Obama and Dimitry Medvedev
for today having signed the historic new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
6:14 pm edt
With START, nuclear disarmament
is once again on the international agenda and offers the promise of more significant cuts in the future.
As a result
of START, Russia will reduce its nuclear stockpile and offer greater transparency and associated predictability, both of which
will contribute significantly to the national security of our United States.
In its entirety START constitutes
a significant first step toward
improving international cooperation in the fight against terrorism
the development of more nuclear states.
The need now for the U. S. Senate to offer a strong endorsement for the
START treaty by ratifying it with an overwhelming majority at the earliest date possible.
Do take the time to let
your Senators know you would like their early, positive vote on START by sending them a postcard or email to this effect today.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Speak Clearly and Carry a Careful Stick
11:40 am edt
It takes a cowboy to know one. Still, the better cowboy
wears his gun in view and employs it only to end the suffering of an injured animal or when threatened by snakes or gun
So whatever the response of North Korea and Iran, there remains the option on the table that
neither to my knowledge have yet discussed: Join Russia and the USA in ratifying and upholding the START agreement. And take
steps to adopt a plan similar to Barack Obama's more civilized graded options one. The purpose? The world needs to move
as quickly as possible toward reducing nuclear proliferation to the extent that nuclear weapons become obsolete.
Bad enough that on the way we'll be drilling for oil now off the coast of Virginia. Bad enough that a humanist
like Obama rightfully sees the notion of the use of graded options among potentially devastating conventional military
choices as a move toward a safer world. Bad enough that we even need to consider how we might respond in the event of an invasion.
Cheers for a United States of America willing to point its Intercontinental Balistic Missiles (ICBMs) away
from Europe and toward the open ocean . . . in case of accidental firing . . . and by so doing to move them from the
category of constant direct accidental threat to that of constant ready-to-respond defense mechanisms. Cheers for a President
advocating further negotiations with Russia even after the signing of the START treaty today.
But the next thing is
to trust the US Senate to ratify the new START treaty. From what I've read it's somewhat iffy that they will. But it becomes
much less iffy if we all contact our Senators and remind them that we really want it passed. Not only for ourselves, but for
our sons and daughters. And for future generations.
RMR in Po-Town
Roberta M. Roy incorporated Alva Press www.alvapressinc.com on October 5, 2004. The express purpose of Alva Press, Inc., was to ensure a safe venue for
the publication of her works and those with similar focus. As such, upon the completion of the science
fiction novel Jolt: a rural noir, Alva would immediately publish it. Further Alva Press, Inc., would offer a
venue for Roy to publish her children's books, including Yell'n'Tell. (At this point Yell'n'Tell needs
only design as the watercolor illustrations by Dan Dyen are complete and the text fully edited. But then there is also Wedding
Ready, complete, but in need of an illustrator talented in the art of drawing forest animals. But all that anon.)
Currently, until the soft cover version of Jolt's Library of Congress Number
is in, Jolt waits to go to press. Usually the LCN takes but a few days after which will become available in hard cover
at $24.95 and Trade paper at $14.95 (plus $5.50 mailing).
was some five years in the writing; its research took longer. It's scientific basis for nuclear survival has been
carefully reviewed by oncologists and experts in the effects of ionizing radiation for accuracy of representation. Jolt
is a fast-paced novel that spans two years in the lives of a group of diverse urban, suburban, and rural residents brought
together in an imaginary part of the northern United States. There in Locklee, the small town to which those who are forced
emigrants flee, they become mutually caught up in the necessities associated with post-nuclear survival.
Check www.alvapressinc.com for a more thorough review of Jolt as well as the most recent updates on its publication
and availability. And should you be so inclined and care to help defray the last payment of its first printing, a check
in the mail to Alva Press for your very own pre-publication autographed copy of Jolt: a rural noir would be a
Thinking of self-publishing? Emergency response?
Send your questions, comments or ideas to RobertaMRoy@alvapressinc.com
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1) If you walk out uninjured from a nuclear event, you probably will survive.
bywords to survival from
a nuclear event are TDS: Time,
3) Use regular soap and water to decontaminate from fallout.Strip and shower or cleanse as best you can. Use bread.
4) Nuclear fallout contaminates open water and plants.If there is fallout (ashes),use bottled water and canned goods.
5) Babies as well as adults can take Potassium Iodide (KI) to protectthe thyroid against ionizing radiation.
6) There is no plume with a nuclear power plant meltdown.
7) A large event may seem ‘over there’ if you can’t define its impact.Ionizing radiation is invisible.
8) A family needs an escape plan.
9) A community can respond as a team to mass events.
10) After a mass event, a communitymay heal changed but well.
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