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Sheen, 'Death From Above' tattoo and Japan's nuke crisis

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Image of Charlie Sheen's "Death From Above" tattoo.
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- "Death From Above."

For fans of the 1979 Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now, that spooky slogan is eerily familiar. Interestingly, the most popular (and reviled?) man in pop culture right now is troubled star Charlie Sheen and he has taken a shine to this war-era phrase.

Specifically, Sheen recently got a "Death From Above" tattoo on his stomach. With all the publicity he's been getting these past couple of weeks, the "winning" actor has been more than happy to show it off.

As you may remember, it was Sheen's father Martin Sheen who starred in that film - and nearly died of a heart attack on the set. The movie clearly made an impact on Charlie Sheen as it did on many of us. It remains one of the best films in cinema history.

The reason for the tattoo? Sheen explained it this way on the program that started it all, the Alex Jones Show: "It's the banner from the death card that Kilgore [the Robert Duvall
character] is throwing on his victims. But also falling from it is the apple from [poet Shel
Silverstein's] 'The Giving Tree.' There's my life. Deal with it."

Curious, isn't it? Particularly in light of what may be right around the corner - or falling from above - in terms of radioactive fallout from the exploding nuclear reactors in Japan. And yet the media is doing a poor job at covering this calamity. Why don't we know more?

As for the "Death From Above" slogan, it was also visible in Apocalypse Now on the American attack choppers that strafed that Vietnamese village in one of the most famous scenes in the history of movies.

To recap, prior to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan this past Friday, people were getting their daily dose of Charlie Sheen updates. But with the horrific 9.1 earthquake and subsequent tsunami we witnessed in Japan, and now the nuclear plant crises that are underway in that island nation, one can't help but wonder if - synchronistically speaking - that the "sync wink" here is the "Death From Above" phrase seen in connection to the predicted radioactive fallout cloud some believe is making its way eastward across the Pacific.

Most reading this may dismiss it as a weak connection. I don't know. The Sheen story went "supernova" for weeks and has since been easily eclipsed by the unprecedented Japan quake-n-nuke crisis. Right before this happened, in fact, I was noting how it was feeling like 1986 (a'la the Hot Tub Time Machine) and here we have an '86-styled Chernobyl-like nuke meltdown crisis. Hard to believe it's been nearly 25 years since that happened and that area is still uninhabitable. What of the affected areas of Japan and beyond? Too early to tell.

But we can look at Chernobyl as a roadmap as to what we possibly can expect. It really depends on the winds.

And we know there are some brave people assessing the situation as best they can. We only wish the Japanese government were more forthcoming with information. It's reminiscent of the way the Soviets kept Chernobyl quiet, at least until Swedish sensors detected the radiation coming up from the south.

In fact, firefighters who survived the Chernobyl disaster noted two decades on that they were aware of the risks of fighting a fire at the plant, noting, "Of course we knew! If we'd followed regulations we would never have gone near the reactor. But it was a moral obligation - our duty. We were like kamikaze."

Like kamikaze!

And coming back to the Alex Jones Show, the Austin, Texas-based radio host had a not-too-subtle caller note that Japanese helicopter pilots acting as "kamikaze" should go in there - sacrifice themselves for nation and humanity - and begin sealing the exposed reactor. At Chernobyl it wasn't until six months after the disaster that the sarcophagus was installed at the plant, sealing off the reactor and everything around it.

"Almighty, almighty, this is PBR Street Gang, get that up" - Jones just said, quoting a famous line from Apocalypse Now, as he told his writers to post stories about the nuclear meltdown underway at Fukushima and the fallout cloud.

"Double-fueled MOX reactor" Jones bellowed just now. "It's just hellish what's unfolding."

"Death From Above," indeed. We can always pray. It would be a good thing for all to do so. This may turn out better than some are predicting. We certainly hope that's the case. Regardless, the people of Japan are in some serious pain right now and need our support.

But back to the synchronicities at play in this situation ...

Apocalypse Now came out in 1979, the same year we had a serious nuclear meltdown scare at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. And there is even an alternative band out there called Death From Above 1979.

And speaking of music and 1986, I often think back to one of my favorite videos of that year - and there were a lot - "Land of Confusion" by Genesis. A world in crisis. Spitting Image puppets. Reagan imagery references and Phil Collins - a man obsessed with the Alamo who, sadly, quit the music business this past week ...

Sings Collins: "I must've dreamed a thousand dreams / Been haunted by a million screams / But I can hear the marching feet / They're moving into the street / Now did you read thew news today / They say the danger's gone away / But I can see the fires still alight / They're burning into the night / There's too many men / Too many people / Making too many problems / and not much love to go 'round / Can't you see this is the land of confusion ..."

Yeah, you feel it too. Nineteen eighty-six ...

As someone noted on a radio show I was listening to this morning, this is a small planet. What happens in Japan can easily affect people on the other side of the world. Think of all the depleted uranium blowing across Asia and other parts of the world as a result of our munitions used in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And then there are the TSA's naked body scanners that are now found to be emitting 10 times more radiation than previously reported.

And we wonder why cancer levels are so high.

And we wonder if it's apocalypse now.

Copyright 2011 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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