Due to the news of the passing of Arthur C. Clarke shaking me up quite a bit last week, I neglected to note two important milestones in the headline section. Over the weekend, a third came up which ties into one of them anyway.
PCR TURNS EIGHT YEARS OLD!
Yay me. Yay us! Eight years ago last week, on or about March 19, 2000 I created the first issue of what would become Nolan's Pop Culture Review. I say "on or about" because I started this 'zine as Nolan's Newsstand very casually in the first two weeks of March of that year. (My first ever webpage, an AOL Pagebuilder version of The World of Nolan, Friends and Family Homepage went online only about a month earlier, on February 15.)
We were underway a few weeks before PCR was "codified" and I needed to remember such things as important dates. Since we were covering things like the Academy Awards in our first issues, obviously Mike Smith and I were in progress well before March 19. And even though I dated Issue #1 as for "The Week of March 19--25, 2000", I seem to recall I did that slightly post-facto, when I officially went "live" with the 'zine. I used a cross section of file upload date stamps and post-hypnotic regression to arrive at the date of March 19th as the closest "final" answer to go back and date those first couple issues. Keep in mind that at the time this was strictly a done as a lark, figuring it might last a few weeks -- I had no idea it would become my legacy.
The current declaration on each webpage of PCR that we are "in our ninth calendar year" stems from the confusion a year with zeroes brings, i.e., 2000 to 2008 is actually nine years. But birthdate to birthdate, March to March, we are eight years old.
THE IRAQ WAR TURNS FIVE
I mentioned something about this in last week's Readers' Comments, but I felt this is important enough that I should make an official entry on the homepage. It has been FIVE YEARS since the US war with Iraq started. It was founded on non-existent evidence (WMD), misinformation over 9/11 (alleged ties with Iraq), and an administration so obsessed with oil (don't kid yourself) and revenge (Saddam tried to kill daddy) that any possible stop-gap measures were ignored. We have invested nearly a TRILLION DOLLARS into that monstrosity. We have, as of last weekend, lost FOUR THOUSAND American soldiers (the third milestone I alluded to above). THOUSANDS more are sick, injured or maimed from the conflict.
And for what? We removed Saddam Hussein from power, who was not a nice man, but which left a power vacuum that has caused dangerous instability in that region. Although this was supposed to be a "slam-dunk" operation, some estimates have the conflict continuing over there for at least another five years, maybe much longer. The creation of Homeland Security and The Patriot Act have paved the way for the erosion of civil liberties in America (we're all potential terrorists, you know). And, for the life of me, I can't see how this has improved our lives here at home. Meanwhile, millions of illegal immigrants continue to make their way into this country and our economy spirals out of control with no end in sight.
Speaking of the economy, I wish the Feds could pump say, oh, about A TRILLION LOST DOLLARS back into it -- there's an economic stimulus package that would actually improve our lives -- but, woops, we're too worried about, you know, bringing democracy into the Middle East. Or something like that. Whatever.
NOTE: The CANOVA comic for last week was completed very late over the weekend and has only been up a few days. Additionally, artist John Miller has experienced a recent illness which has delayed production on the series, so we're leaving the latest issue up for a while longer. Of course, we all sincerely wish John a speedy recovery! --Nolan
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The atmospheric Olive Garden restaurant was a great place to meet for lunch. Our server was good enough to take this group picture for us. L-to-R, Diane Talento Woods, Chris Woods, Marie Talento, Mary Ann Talento, Terence Nuzum, and Nolan Canova.
I heroically sacrificed my place in this picture so I could personally get a better close-up shot of the family. L-to-R, Diane Talento Woods, Chris Woods, Marie Talento, Mary Ann Talento, our server (behind Mary Ann, I don't remember his name, sorry), and Terence Nuzum.
A VERY WOODS EASTER
With just about everyone I know either out-of-town for Easter, or else having plans with family here in town, it was obvious there was going to be no PCR gathering last Sunday. Mixed feelings there, as yours truly can always use some extra rest, but I've never been real crazy about the lonelier prospects these occasions create.
Terence Nuzum and I were honored to be invited to A Very Woods Easter (an imaginary TV special title if ever there was one), where we'd meet members of Chris Woods' family who'd traveled all the way from his hometown of Utica, NY, just to be with him and sight-see Central Florida. Enthusiastically onboard with this idea, Terence and I met up with everyone at the Olive Garden Italian restaurant on U.S 19 in St. Petersburg right about 1:00pm Easter Sunday.
We were introduced to Chris' mother, Diane Talento Woods, her mother, Marie Talento, and Chris' adorable 21-year-old cousin, Mary Ann Talento. We heard a few funny stories about growing up Woods in Utica, and how Utica compares to Tampa ("Tampa's so BIG!"). It's been noted that while Utica's arts community is much smaller than Tampa's, it is covered and promoted by the local media there much more vigorously. The Talentos are charming people and I was enchanted by their stories of raising children in a small Northern town.
They have a great sense of humor too, so when they asked what kind of job Chris had at Bay News 9, I told them that his lofty position title was basically fancy talk for "janitor". Of course they didn't they believe me, but I got great laughs. When asked what I did for a living, I shifted in my chair, harumphed loudly and I said I was a "senior sales associate for a massive retail chain". Natch, Terence and Chris chimed in with "he works at 7-Eleven" right on cue.
As our last official act, we posed for pictures holding each other's cameras to get adequate coverage of the event (it was a media circus!!! Haha). We had a great time and pledged to get together again as soon as the opportunity arises.