Where is the airport?

Paro Bhutan Airport Landing, Cockpit Interior

Video from the interior of an Airbus A319, the craft is going to land at Paro, Bhutan.  Early in the video you can see the Jeppesen chart for Paro clipped to the window ledge of the pilot.  Final approach includes a very low hard right, then an even lower hard left.  All planes must perform a 180-degree pivot at the end of the runway to acquire the terminal.

My question early on: where is the airport?


Winter Kills, 1979

WK, Title Card

[The opening scene, utilizing a hand crafted $100,000 chess set.]

One of the greatest, most star-filled movies you’ve likely never seen, is William Richert’s 1979 film, Winter Kills, a terribly black comedy — but not a comedy — packed with a host of actors of great note (who mostly didn’t get paid, except for Richard Boone, up front).

It is also a film that almost didn’t get made, got shut down three times and went bankrupt, featuring a director who had never directed before, involving the Mafia, payoffs in envelopes, and produced by two men — Leonard Goldberg and Robert Sterling — who had made their money as dope dealers.  In fact, Goldberg was killed — handcuffed and shot in the head — in the middle of production of the movie because he failed to pay certain debts to the Mafia.  The other producer, Sterling, received a 40-year prison sentence for dope smuggling.

Intrigued yet?

WK, Jeff Bridges & Mob GuyPerhaps a little background on the film (37:04):

In Winter Kills, the premise involves the assassination of a president and his powerful father, much like Jack and Joe Kennedy, and how the killing and conspiracy played out.  The protagonist is Nick Keegan, played by Jeff Bridges.  Richert managed to acquire such stars as Elizabeth Taylor, John Huston, Toshiro Mifune, Ralph Meeker, Eli Wallach, Anthony Perkins, Sterling Hayden, Richard Boone and Dorothy Malone.  He also scored a major coup (at least for a neophyte director) with the acquisition of cinematographer Vilmos Szigmond (Deliverance, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Deer Hunter, among others).

WK, John Huston SpeakingThe actors involved provide performances that stick in my brain like many of those in Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove.

WK, Sterling HaydenSterling Hayden (all 6’5″ of him) as C.K. Dawson, in the incredible tank scene.

WK, Anthony Perkins as John CerruttiAnthony Perkins as the manic John Cerrutti.

WK, Richard BooneRichard Boone, who was known to never do a second take, portraying Keifitz.  And, as Richert indicated, was damned near falling down drunk 99% of the time, but still functional.

In this clip Jeff Bridges as Nick Keegan, son of one of the wealthiest men in the country, drives a Ford Pinto to meet with C.K. Dawson (Sterling Hayden) as he played “war games” with actual tanks, armored vehicles and live shot:

Here, Richert recalls working with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Boone.  He remembers that Elizabeth Taylor became fixated on a leopard skin coat used in a scene that was eventually deleted.  She wanted it.  He initially refused but later relented.  When the film ran out of cash, the furrier came and repossessed the coat from Taylor.  He also tells about he and Sterling Hayden smoking weed openly in the Beverly Willshire Hotel restaurant.  Richert can certainly spin a yarn.

Worth watching and, for me, a journey back in time to appreciate a film that, at that juncture, was much more nuanced and problematic than I’d ever suspected.

Check Netflix, DVDs or other streaming venues for Winter Kills.



Pushback pushes Marxist Houston Mayor Annise Parker BACK?

Mayor Annise Parker, HoustonI wrote about the situation originally here, where Mayor Parker wanted to remove the free speech of religious organs in Houston.  Please read the post first.

That said, Thursday, from WashingtonTimes.com:

Bully pulpit: Houston subpoenas pastors’ sermons, then backs off amidst outcry

Pastors had slammed demand from Mayor Annise Parker, city, as a threat to religious freedom

by Valerie Richardson

After calling church sermons for subpoena, Mayor Annise Parker backed down Wednesday from the city’s effort to force local pastors to turn over speeches and papers related to a hotly contested transgender rights ordinance.

The city had asked five pastors for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons” on a variety of topics, including the mayor, and “gender identity.”

The subpoena prompted a storm of criticism when it became public Tuesday. The pastors are involved in legal efforts to overturn the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, also known as the “bathroom bill.”

First Amendment FlagWait.  Is it just me?  Is this writer attempting to gloss over the fact that the mayor was attempting to set her Stasi Rottweilers upon those persons with which she simply disagrees?  In one word: yes.

Closely examine how the headline and sub-headline are written.  Any slant there you see?

However, Ms. Parker, a self-declared lesbian, defended the subpoenas after she was aware of them, according to her Wednesday afternoon statement.

In a post on her Twitter feed late Tuesday, around midnight, Parker said that issuing subpoenas for sermons was appropriate if the pastors had been active in promoting the signature-gathering effort to overturn the ordinance.

Frankly, nothing more than a naked abuse of power writ large.

Ms. Parker’s office initially doubled down in the face of such criticism but issued a statement late Wednesday saying the mayor “agrees with those who are concerned about the city legal department’s subpoenas for pastors’ sermons.”

But all is not won; in fact, public opinion isn’t having the effect many would like.

The statement says the city will “move to narrow the scope during an upcoming court hearing” and that city and that City Attorney David Feldman “says the focus should be only on communications related to the petitions to overturn the ordinance.”

Translated: there will still be a focus on the abrogation of the First Amendment in Houston proper.  We will still go for e-mails and other forms of communications.

Mark this now.  For a state that allegedly declares itself uninfluenced and independent and self-reliant and worthy of a lone star flag, Tejas proves itself more aligned with Fornicalia than many other states.

The five pastors targeted by the subpoenas are Hernan Castano, Magda Hermida, Khan Huynh, Steve Riggle and David Welch, all of whom opposed the ordinance.

Mr. Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastors Council, said city officials appear to be interested in “demonizing” the pastors by finding something politically incorrect in the stacks of sermons, emails, presentation notes and other communications requested under the subpoenas.

Tolerant LeftistsA story in flux and transition.  And not yet entirely solved in favor of logic or even the founding documents of our great nation.

Marxist Lesbian Mayor Annise Parker ain’t done yet.

Not until she grinds religion under her heel.



Leftists in America: suppressing Free Speech and Christian beliefs in Houston, TX

Brown Shirts MarchingJust when you were wondering: “how much worse can the attack on the First Amendment get?” — it gets worse.

From FoxNews.com:

City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons

by Todd Starnes

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

Read that again and begin to fully and truly digest its meaning.

Annise D. Parker is a Stalinist mayor in America.  This is the re-creation of the Stasi and Brown Shirts all over again within the borders of the United States of America.

The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa.  The city council approved the law in June.

The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.

However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities.

After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.

But here’s the Crux of the Biscuit:

The pastors were not part of the lawsuit. However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance. The churches represent a number of faith groups – from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.

Therefore, you can chalk the subpoenas up to nothing more than retribution.  And jackbooted authoritarianism.

The lawsuit and subpoenas were designed to intimidate, quash and chill the free speech of pastors and base religious freedoms themselves.

Mayor Parker will not explain why she wants to inspect the sermons. I contacted City Hall for a comment and received a terse reply from the mayor’s director of communications.

“We don’t comment on litigation,” said Janice Evans.

However, ADF attorney Stanley suspects the mayor wants to publicly shame the ministers. He said he anticipates they will hold up their sermons for public scrutiny. In other words – the city is rummaging for evidence to “out” the pastors as anti-gay bigots.

Pages ripped from the playbooks of both Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals” as well as Stalin and Marx:

Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.

The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over “all communications with members of your congregation” regarding the non-discrimination law.

“This is an attempt to chill pastors from speaking to the cultural issues of the day,” Riggle told me. “The mayor would like to silence our voice. She’s a bully.”

No kidding.  The response:

David Welch, director of the Houston Area Pastor Council, also received a subpoena. He said he will not be intimidated by the mayor.

“We’re not afraid of this bully,” he said. “We’re not intimidated at all.”

He accused the city of violating the law with the subpoenas and vowed to stand firm in the faith.

“We are not going to yield our First Amendment rights,” Welch told me. ‘This is absolutely a complete abuse of authority.”

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, said pastors around the nation should rally around the Houston ministers.

“The state is breaching the wall of separation between church and state,” Perkins told me. ‘Pastors need to step forward and challenge this across the country. I’d like to see literally thousands of pastors after they read this story begin to challenge government authorities – to dare them to come into their churches and demand their sermons.”

Pastor Welch said: “We can no longer remain silent. We must stand together – because one day – the government might come for your pastor.”

This, of course, reminds me of the classic quote from another pastor named Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Final question: do you think this would have occurred with regard to Islamic sermons in America?  Do you think Islam “loves” gays?

I know my answers.