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PCR #442 (Vol. 9, No. 37) This edition is for the week of September 8--14, 2008.
Matt's Rail

"Burn After Reading"  by Mike Smith
The Fight For Sanity in Insane Times  by Will Moriaty
DVD Review: “Psychotronica Collector’s Set”  by ED Tucker
DVD Grindhouse: "Murder Mansion" (1972)  by Andy Lalino
If I Had An Idea....  by Corey Castellano
The Star Wars Years  by Chris Woods
Bucs Drop One To The Saints .... Rays Falling From Grace? Can’t Be! .... Stick A Fork In Him .... Week 2 Nfl Picks .... .... .... ....  by Chris Munger
Toga, Toga, Toga, Toga .... Happy Birthday Sag .... ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
My Dad .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1997 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Yes. It was a Roman Toga Party.

I must confess to not really remembering a lot of this major event as I was skunk ass drunk. I'll have to rely on my cohorts in crime to fill in the missing pieces. That said....

The idea of this grand event was birthed in honor of what was then the greatest comedy ever. Heck, 'Animal House' may still hold that honor. It certainly does for me, but I don't want to speak for everyone.

I believe the honorarium of this event was hatched by Mike, Scott Gilbert and myself as we perused a National Lampoon Animal House mag purchased at an iconic store known was the Book Nook.

Don't remember how we were able to come across all the booze, as I think we were all underage at the time, but there are some hurdles meant to be cleared. The acquisition complete, we set up the party at East 26th Street off Florida avenue.

Draped in Togas, we all did our best to be our worst and partake of the evening's endeavors. Of course, no one could hold a candle to me when it came to being our worst. Here's the back story.....

It was during our high school years this party took place. As is true with a lot of teens, I had fallen in love for the first time in my life. Her name was Laurie James and to me she was the end all be all of happiness. Having been abused in my childhood I really didn't have a lot of confidence in myself at the time. I smiled and laughed a lot. But wasn't really that happy, due to my inability to tell the one person who really meant something to me how I felt. That I still regret this to this very day should tell everyone something about how much she meant to me. In fact, she was the recipient of the first love song I ever wrote, titled simply "Laurie". (there's another story there too, but I'll let Mike tell it)

I recall getting completely hammered in quick time and, true to a lovelorn sap, felt incredibly depressed about my 'Laurie James' dilemma. Certain that my inability was useless and undeserving of her greatness I decided, in a state of utter drunkeness, to stand in the middle of busy Florida Avenue and try my luck at dodgecar.

Flashing lights, beeping horns, and worried faces come to mind as I tried my luck at immortality. Mike and Scott G, sure I would lose at this proposition, yanked me back to the house. This only served to strengthen my resolve as I again headed for the center lane of this busy street, followed closely by Mike and Scott.

Fearing his beer was getting warm due to all of this, SAG took things into his own hands, giving me a nice, big-fisted wallup on top of my head which, amazingly, shuffled everything around. Brought back to earth by the force of friendship, we headed back to the house and resumed partying.

Shorty thereafter a girl none of us knew came to the house. It goes without saying she was immediately invited inside to party. Like most girls who came our way, she quickly found herself naked with Mike. I do believe Mike was the gentlemen for the only time in his life and deferred taking advantage of her due to thinking she was troubled. Of course, I could be wrong about that.

Partying, swaying Togas, listening to music, getting smashed...it was all going down hard and heavy when, all of a sudden, a tall figure stood in the doorway.

It was Mike's dad.

Somehow, even tho I was completely smashed, I still remember vividly the look on his face when he saw me staggering by the kitchen. He just looked at me and smiled as he walked up to face me. Trying my best to appear sober and rational, I uttered the 5 words that have been rehashed to me countless times over the last several decades..

"Where's the Pepsi, Mr. Smith??"

He looked at me and laughed, extending three fingers tapping me in the chest. My inebriation took this light tap as the thundering Hammer of Thor, as I fell back against the wall. Tony laughed and asked "Where's Michael?"

Knowing he was in his bedroom with a naked girl, I said 'I don't know'. Someone, I don't remember who but know it wasn't Scott, gave him up and pointed down the hall to his room. Not being in the room at the time, I don't really know what transpired there but I do know the party was soon to be over. Given the state of myself and fellow Toga-ites, this probably saved the livers of several human beings.

The next morning I woke up to a vicious hangover. I was so spanked with booze I still don't remember if I woke up at home or slept over at Mike's. It was probably the latter as I don't have any recollection of my parents giving me grief.

The next day when I saw Mike's dad he just looked at me and laughed his ass off. I told him he shouldn't hit children. He laughed again and said he barely touched me. Sure. Whatever.

I do know that from that moment on, even tho he had always been nice to me, Mike's dad and I had a stronger connection. It only grew when I decided to forgo the Coast Guard and joined the Army with his son. As for the Toga party, it went down in party lore for not only the partakers, but Mike's dad, who mentioned it occasionally to me over the years.

He even showed up once at Dillards department stores in St.Pete to say 'hi' to me, and brought it up again. I reiterated he shouldn't hit kids. We both laughed.

Like I said at the beginning, I'm certain I'm leaving a lot out of this. But I'm confident that either Mike or, if he's willing, SAG will fill in the missing pieces.

What else can I say, except....


Bigtime birthday wishes go out to Scott Gilbert. As do repeated thanks for knocking me back to earth.

I'll have a Guiness in your honor.

Happy Birthday.



"Matt's Rail" is ©2008 by Matthew Drinnenberg. The Matt's Rail banner is a creation of Matt Drinnenberg. Webpage design and all graphics herein, unless otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.