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Number 81 (Vol 2, No. 41).  This edition is for the week of October 8--14, 2001.
More bad news from Florida, the jinxed state:
First 2 US cases of anthrax in 25 years diagnosed in Lantana, FL; 2 more cases likely related.

Except for the Twin Towers disaster, inarguably a monumental historical event, all bad news over the last couple of years seems to come from Florida. This particular bit of news, tho, has the stink of terrorism about it---one more post-Twin Towers domino effect.

Last week, Bob Stevens, a photo editor with The Sun, a weekly tabloid rag originating out of The American Media offices in Lantana, Florida (The Nat'l Enquirer, etc, also comes from there), died of the first case of pulmonary anthrax known to the US in 25 years. This week, Ernesto Blanco, a mail-room clerk working in the same building as Stevens was found to have the anthrax spores in his nasal cavities, but is in stable condition, and never actually contracted the disease.

Just before I wrote these words, news came "over the wire" of a third and possibly fourth case of anthrax...from Virginia/Washington DC area...of former employees of The Sun! Altho health officials at first were not particularly leaning towards a terrorist threat for the first case, it has gone far beyond coincidence to ignore the possibility.

Add on to that a former Sudanese exchange student, a former employee of The Sun, and already now departed for home, sent a cryptic email back to his fellow employees, saying something to the effect of "I left a little surprise for you."
UPDATE: 10-11-01. A third, current American Media employee, a 35-year-old woman in Lantana, FL, has tested positive for the anthrax virus.

How and why anthrax spores turned up at the American Media offices, we may never know. But, it shows it can be planted just about anywhere. THE BACKWASH: More and more I'm hearing through the media about the need for everyone to carry gas masks. For everyone to stock up on antibiotics. Even to the point of advertising discount rates (I'll follow that point up in a moment)! This may be good advice. But, it looks like one big fringe benefit our enemies hoped for is turning the United States into a paranoid, survivalist/police state. Maybe they planned on that, maybe not. It's like they hold our freedom in such contempt, they want to expose our liberty to ruin by exploiting its weaknesses, thereby, turning us into them: militants. We, of course, must not let that happen. George Dubya has made a very positive impression on me with his resistance to suspending civil liberties for incremental gains in security. I agree. It's just not worth it--and, over the long haul, any short-term gain, will be relaced with long-term pain. Remember: once we forfeit civil liberties, we will NEVER get them back.
(Readers: the current American bombing campaign in Afghanistan is something I'll wait until next week to comment on, if I address it at all.--Nolan)
    OK, now about the "discounts"....THE INDUSTRIALIZATION OF DISASTER AND THE COMMERCIALIZATION OF PATRIOTISM. I'm incredibly impressed, but not surprised, that Americans have poured so much help and offerings into the New York City area. We are a great, generous people, when we're told where and how to help. It's too bad that, all too frequently, it takes something of this magnitude to bring that out. That being said...
   America is a capitalist society and everything here is for sale. I'm fine with that, it's what democratizes us. I'm sure it was lost on none of you that American flags sold out of all retail stores within one week of the Twin Towers disaster, some still on back order. That's great, very patriotic, I only hope some of that profit went to NYC. Further, gas masks are on back order till the end of the year.
   There is reason for precaution in times like these, absolutely, but when I hear a guy on radio describing different models of gas masks and what the discount rates are (whenever they're available again).....I just gotta wonder, is this for real? Is this actually where we're at? At the same time, I'm routinely exposed to sound bites of George Dubya accompanied by swirling violins and trumpets. Very patriotic, but very packaged for TV and radio. Strangely, comfortably--odiously--American, that. REMINDER: the exploitation of the nuclear scare in the 50s: fallout-shelter blueprints. It's happening again. Take precautions, but beware of seductive swindles.

RUSH LIMBAUGH GOING TOTALLY DEAF. Pretty shocking news. It was announced by Rush himself on his radio broadcast last night (10-8-01) that over the next few months he will become completely deaf. This began last May 29th, when he discovered he was having trouble with his left ear. Doctors were/are unable to stabilize the loss, to say nothing about reversing it. So far, Rush is totally deaf in his left ear and has only partial hearing in his right. Incredibly, he still intends to continue with his radio show, albeit without the call-in feature. (There is a LOT of money involved.) Many listeners, myself included (but not a regular one), noticed Rush's voice changing for a while (I thought he sounded old, suddenly). Evidently, he just can't hear himself talk anymore.
   When asked for particulars, he only says,..."it's not genetic. My doctor's have a theory as to why I'm going deaf, but I'm keeping that to myself." Oh, really Rush? Why is that part a big secret? Don't get me wrong, I am totally sympathetic to your plight, that's gotta SUCK to sign a $500 million-dollar contract and then lose your hearing! How cursed is that? But what are you afraid your enemies will discover about you now that's worse than this??
HITLER MIGHT HAVE BEEN GAY. I've heard this one before, actually. It kind of explains some of why he was so conflicted about so much. A new book by a German historian claims Adolf Hitler was gay. Lothar Machtan also claims Hitler ordered the deaths of high-ranking Nazis to protect his secret life. The book contains police statements, allegedly given by his former male lovers. According to the book, the leader of Hitler's Storm Troopers, Ernst Rohm, tried to blackmail the Nazi leader by threatening to reveal his sexuality. Machtan, who is a history teacher at Bremen University, claims Rohm was murdered as a result. He also refers to the memoirs of Hans Mend - one of Hitler's soldiers. He wrote about Hitler having a "male whore". Machtan told The Observer, "Hitler himself never condemned homosexuality, but he allowed the persecution of gays in order to disguise his own true colours." His book, entitled "Hitler's Secret: The Double Life of a Dictator", is due to be published on Monday the 8th of October.

 The latest "Matt's Challenge"--for The Top Ten Debut Albums of all time--was taken up by myself, Terence Nuzum, and Mike Smith last issue.  Will Moriaty now has his say:
 Top Ten Debut Albums Of All Time.       William Moriaty
1. MEET THE BEATLES--THE BEATLES (Capitol 1964). Elvis Presley is credited for "creating" rock and roll. The Beatles would take this American musical form and transport it into uncharted waters leaving a transformed society in its wake.
2. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?--THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE (Reprise 1967). Jimi Hendrix radically and boldly changed what constitutes music and one's interpretation of it. His guitar mastery was and still remains one of the most imaginative and innovative in the field.
3. LED ZEPPELIN--LED ZEPPELIN (Atlantic 1967). Led Zeppelin created a "heavy metal" sound that would live through and inspire even unrelated genres of rock such as Southern Rock and Big Hair/Glam Rock.
4. IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING--KING CRIMSON (circa 1968-1969). Incredibly artistic in both lyrics and musical approach.
5. FREAK OUT--FRANK ZAPPA AND THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION (circa 1968-1969). Frank Zappa brought us to new dimensions of comedy, parody, and social statement unlike many before him. In that arena he was in many ways a spokesman of that era.
6. CAN'T BUY A THRILL--STEELY DAN (ABC 1972). The beauty of Steely Dan is their individualism and inability to figure out or define. Lesser-played tracks such as "Fire in the Hole" show their genius as blues piano and steel pedal guitar combine to make an incredibly harmonious sound.
7. TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION--THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT (PolyGram/Mercury1976). Alan Parsons produced "Dark Side of the Moon", one of the finest albums ever. His solo venture with Eric Woolfson would take concept albums to a zenith through haunting lyrics and chords, and beautiful harmony.
8. NEVER MIND THE BULLOCKS HERE'S THE SEX PISTOLS--THE SEX PISTOLS (1976). Much as Grunge was the anathema to Big Hair/Glam, the Sex Pistols and the Damned were the answer to fine-tuned 70's "classic" albums which, although masterfully produced, had lost the hard edge of rebellion, angst, and boldness against authority that was the fundamental basis of the creation of rock.
9. DAMNED! DAMNED! DAMNED!--THE DAMNED (Fiend 91/MCA 1976). Virtually uncredited or unheard of by American audiences; much like the Sex Pistols, this group stood for every vice imaginable. Favorites include "Feel the Pain", "Brand New Rose" (redone by G and R), and a manic rendition of "Help!".
10. VAN HALEN--VAN HALEN (1978). Thank you Eddie Van Halen for saving rock from a premature death by boredom (remember disco was flourishing then). "Eruption" ranks as one of the finest guitar pieces ever. This group literally jump-started talented, heavy rock virtuosity back to life throughout the 1980s.

Will and Camaro at the beachUFOs in FloridaMagnified view of UFO
by William Moriaty

FORWARD: The Aliens May Be Closer Than You Think!
The next time you're at a MacDill Air Force Base open-house, remember that you may be closer to extraterrestrial life or remnants thereof than you could ever have thought possible! UFO folk lore, reaffirmed as recently as 1982 by Leonard H. Stringfield's "(The) UFO Crash/Retrieval Syndrome Status Report II: New Sources, New Data, Part I" in Flying Saucer Review Vol. 28, No. 2, has it that, in addition to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, alien bodies and wreckage recovered from UFO crashes were also stored at Langley Air force Base in Virginia, and MacDill Air Force Base in Tam-pah!

Aliens in Search of the Good Life-West Palm Beach, Revisited
In our last issue, you may recall the close encounter that Scoutmaster D.S. Desverges had just outside of West Palm Beach in August 1952. Well, it's a little over 20 years later in the early morning of September 14, 1972, and those pesky aerial intruders that don't officially exist are at it again in the skies over Palm Beach County, Florida. This time around, an air traffic controller and his FAA supervisor, Mr. George Morales, at West Palm Beach International Airport sight a UFO. Shortly after their sighting, the same UFO was reported by an Eastern Air Lines pilot, local police, and various local residents. Miami International Airport and Homestead Air force Base also tracked the object on radar. By 6:00 A.M. that morning, two F-106 fighter jets were scrambled to pursue the UFO. One of the pilots, Major Gerald Smith, had visual contact with the object, but the object disappeared before he could close in on it. Initially, the Air force denied that such a pursuit even occurred, but they eventually 'fessed up to the incident with Major Smith stating to the press that "there was something definite in the sky, and that if it proved to hostile, we would have destroyed it."
I Remember When This Was Such A Quiet Neighborhood
On the opposite end of the state, 15 years and 2 months later, an aerial drama chronically dogged one small community, and one man in particular. Gulf Breeze, Florida is a relatively affluent and quiet community nestled amongst the white sandy beaches of Escambia County near Pensacola. Home-builder Ed Walters began having UFO "visitations" in November of 1987-he first felt as if he were being watched, followed by a strange buzzing noise in his head. Upon looking out his living room window he observed a self-illuminated UFO and took five Polaroid photographs of it. This was the beginning of a succession of such encounters lasting throughout the remainder of the 1980's and early 1990's. Presuming that this case was not a hoax, it is unique for the following reasons:
1.. It's the first case where extensive detailed photos support close encounters and possible abductions.
2.. It's a multi-photo case studied as it unfolded.
3.. It's a multiple witness case, possibly including independent photographers of the same events.
4.. There are multi-vehicle photos and even video film.
5.. Extraordinary photo techniques, including 3-D and stereo photography were used.
The Gulf Breeze sightings will undoubtedly be hotly debated for years to come. One of Walters'workers admitted to assisting him in "posing" a home made flying saucer model for several camera shots, which only adds to the tenuous nature of the validity of these sightings.

The Strange Life and Death of M.K. Jessup
In our last story, we turn the hands of time back to April 20, 1959. On that date the nearly lifeless body of one Morris Ketchum Jessup was recovered by Dade County paramedics from an automobile parked at the Matheson Hammock Park near Coral Gables, Florida. He died shortly after being removed from his automobile--the official cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning--was it a case of suicide? Or murder as some of his close friends suggest?
   Born in Rockville, Indiana on March 20, 1900, Jessup became a Sergeant in the Army in the First World War. Returning to the States, he continued his college education at Drake University in Des Moines and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was a doctoral student in astronomy and mathematics. Although he never received his doctorate degree, most knew him as "Dr. Jessup". Jessup traveled extensively in the jungles of Mexico and Peru, where he became intrigued by the "perfection" of Mayan and Inca and pre-Inca monuments. Much like 1971's "Chariots of the Gods?" author Erich von Daniken, Jessup believed that these structures could only have been constructed by the use of some aerial craft directing the work. This belief, along with the recent wave of UFO sightings in the late 40's and early 50's inspired him to write "The Case for the UFO" which was published in early 1955 by Citadel Press. Not long after the publication of this book, things really started getting strange for M,K, Jessup.
   In October 1955, Jessup received a very strange letter from an attendee of one of his UFO lectures (who also claimed to have read Jessup's book) bearing a Pennsylvania postmark. The letter was from one Carlos Miguel Allende. This same figure sent Dr. Jessup another strange letter received at Jessup's Miami home on January 13, 1956--but this time it was signed Carl M. Allen. The Allen/Allende letters were exceptionally strange--in addition to commenting on Jessup's book, details of an alleged secret naval experiment in Philadelphia in 1943 were given. According to Allen/Allende, a destroyer escort ship known as the U.S.S. Eldridge was rendered invisible and teleported to and from a naval shipyard in Norfolk, Virginian, with terrible after-effects for the crew members (insanity, appearing and disappearing, being molecularly fused into the ship's walls and decks). Supposedly this was accomplished through applications of Albert Einstein's unified field theory. Allen/Allende claimed to have witnessed this from another ship, the S.S. Furuseth. Although the letters intrigued Jessup, he also thought that their author might have been a crackpot--until he received a call from the Office of Naval Research.
   In 1956, a copy of Jessup's book was anonymously mailed to Admiral Furth, the Chief of Naval Research. The ONR asked Jessup to take a look at the book. By the wording and style of the annotations on the book's pages, Jessup determined that the notes were made by none other than--you guessed it--Carl/os Allen/de!
   After working several years with ONR, Dr. Jessup started to become manically depressed and extremely fearful. By 1959 good friends, fellow UFO enthusiasts and authors Ivan Sanderson (Bigfoot hunter), Gray Barker (Saucerian Press), and paranormal radio-host, Long John Nebel, began to suspect that Jessup was so obsessed with the contents of the Allen/Allende letters that he was going mad, and as a result, may even inflict harm upon himself.
   In the last hour of the last day of his life Jessup had planned to drive across Dade County to see another good friend and fellow UFO author, J. Manson Valentine (Bimini Wall) for dinner--he never made it.

Did Morris Ketchum Jessup know too much about something that was too secret or horrible to ever reveal?
Was he murdered by agents acting on behalf of the United states government?
Did Jessup consider suicide being a better option than death at the hands of such people?
Did the Navy actually render the U.S.S. Eldridge invisible in a harbor in Philadelphia in 1943 and teleport it to Norfolk, Virginia and back?
Or was Jessup simply an obsessed, delusional man who drove himself to insanity and eventually to suicide?
Only Morris Ketchum Jessup can tell us that, and as Long John Nebel would've told you "He ain't talkin."

   Morris K. Jessup:  (In this week's early edition of PCR we gave a link that is, unfortunately, out of business. The new link for Jessup info is:) http://www.cassiopaea.org/cass/jessup.htm

   Ivan Sanderson:  http://www.bigfootcentral.com (UPDATE: 10-11-01. Sadly, after posting the earlier PCR, I found this site is also out of business, however, the webmaster's final message is still up and worth the read. Will and I will look for another link for Ivan T. Sanderson and publish it in a future issue of PCR.---N)

   Gray Barker:  (in Saucer Smear) http://www.martiansgohome.com/smear/v46/ss991205.htm

   J. Manson Valentine:  http://www.bermuda-triangle.org/Theories/Electromagnetism/Worlds_Below__/Prophecy___Fulfillment/prophecy___fulfillment.html (Spelling corrected from an earlier issue.---N)

   Long John Nebel:  http://www.keyflux.com/shep/shepcat2.htm#UFO

NEXT WEEK: "La Floridiana" begins a two-part series on "Ghosts in Florida". We'll touch on a phantom hitchhiker and a spectral Greyhound bus that roam the Sunshine Skyway, the sounds of disembodied babies crying in the Bigelow House, the ghosts that are Don CeSar and his lover, and a brief accounting of visits from the dead at the Falk and Tampa Theaters. All next week in PCR!

Wake Up and Smell the Comics
# 5: 2001 Knights

Welcome back! I hope everybody had a nice weekend. Last week I pretty much laid out the history of Marvel Knights, the imprint founded by independent comic creators and funded through Marvel Comics. This week Iím going talk about the latest projects and series to spawn from the line, including this year and beyond.

Picking up where we left off, newly promoted editor Joe Quesada (now Editor-In-Chief) hired ex-Vertigo (DCís mature line) editor Stuart Moore to take over his duties at the office. Between the position shifting and new hiring, Marvel Knights Year Three had been largely delayed until summer 2001. Dubbed Hot Summer Knights, the new publishing year launched two new monthlies, three limited series and bi-weekly shipping schedule for Daredevil. Despite having just finished a four issue fill-in story arc by writer Brian Bendis (Daredevil: Ninja) and painter David Mack (previously writer), the book had failed to ship on so many occasions over the last several years that it was now several months behind its actual number. It was decided that the next story arc, by writer Bob Gale and artist Phil Winslade (both of Ant-Manís Big Christmas), would be published every two weeks in an effort to catch up. The two new ongoing series included The Punisher, a follow-up to the immensely popular maxi-series with its original creative team Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, and Elektra. Elektra proved to be quite controversial, as she was created by one of the industryís living legends, Frank Miller (Daredevil, Dark Knight Returns, Sin City). Despite the initial shock from longtime fans and readers, the writer Brian Bendis, CGI artist Chuck Austen and CGI cover painter Greg Horn successfully launched the series with a six-issue story. Unlike the previous and quite pitiful attempt by Marvel Comics to use the character in a monthly format (as a dancer no less), this version was the ninja assassin remembered and cherished by millions.

Starting in June, the rest of the Year Three mini-series began to roll out. Starting with a six-issue ode to the classic Daredevil of the 1970ís, Daredevil: Yellow was a return to the brighter days of the character written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Tim Sale (both of Batman: The Long Halloween and Dark Victory). Following in the long tradition of bringing damaged characters out of comic character limbo, Ghost Rider was also treated to a six-issue mini-series, by Devin Grayson (Black Widow) and Trent Kaniuga. Last but not least, Grant Morrison treated fans to yet another strange vision, one of the Fantastic Four. Along with artist Jae Lee (Inhumans, Sentry), Morrison treated fans to a dark yet timeless piece revolving around the relationship the Four, appropriately focusing on each individual member for its four issues. For the end of the year, the team book titled Marvel Knights under Chuck Dixon and Eduardo Barreto was brought to a close due to publishing difficulties and creativity criticisms. The book would be relaunched at a later date with a new creative team.

And that brings us to today. Despite having published more than 80% of the last yearís material over the summer, Year Four begins near the end of this month.
Daredevil and ElektraDaredevil and Elektra - Returning to the Daredevil on an ongoing basis, Brian Bendis will continue as the regular writer with his art partner, Alex Maleev from Todd McFarlane Productionsí Sam & Twitch series. Fans of gritty crime drama will definitely want to check this book out. Of an interesting note, Marvel is making all their monthly books silent during December allowing no dialogue at all. Bendis is taking this opportunity to reunite Daredevil and Elektra through a crossover of the two titles. Recommended.

Double ShotMarvel Knights: Double-Shot - To fill in the void left by the Marvel Knights ongoing series hiatus, this five-issue anthology series was created. Readers will be treated to two individual short stories per issue, by a wide variety of creators including those who canít always time for bigger jobs. These guests include writers Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison and Greg Rucka with artists like E.I.C. Joe Quesada, Manuel Gutierrez (upcoming Blade and Punisher) and CGI painter Greg Horn. Painter Glenn Fabry provides all of the covers. Highly recommended.

Elektra/WoverineElektra/Wolverine: The Redeemer - Shipping in November, upcoming Elektra scribe Greg Rucka is producing Marvelís first original graphic novel along with acclaimed painter Yoshitaka Amano (Sandman: The Dream Hunters). The three-issue mini-series written in prose complimented with amazing paintings by Amano. After the mini-series is published, it will be collected into one volume for bookstores across the nation. Readers looking for something more sophisticated from comics should definitely check this out. Recommended.

Millennial VisionsMarvel Knights Millennial Visions - Shipping in December, this one-shot will feature pinups doubling as comic proposals by many of its resident artists along with entirely new ones. I donít really recommend this to anyone outside the hardcore fanbase, though.

The future of the company looks just as bright. Throughout the spring of 2002, there will be a whole host creative changes and new projects.

ElektraJanuary - As Garth Ennis is only doing six issues of Punisher a year, writer Tom Peyer and artist Manuel Gutierrez will pick up the series with a five-issue fill-in called Taxi Wars until Ennis and Dillon return with issue #13. Bendis departs Elektra after his six issues for the new ongoing writer Greg Rucka, with Chuck Austen and Greg Horn staying along for the ride.

Wolverine/HulkFebruary - Acclaimed writer/artist Sam Keith (The Maxx) will do a four-issue mini-series starring the Hulk, Wolverine and a little girl named Po, titled Wolverine/Hulk.

Captain AmericaMarch - Two more monthlies will join the groupÖ the returning Marvel Knights title with the team of John Figueroa and Alberto Ponticelli and the relaunching of Captain America through the MK editorial office, by John Ney Rieber and John Cassaday.

To Be Announced - Grant Morrison will soon be announcing his sequel to Marvel Boy. Writer/painter David Mack may return with a mini-series based on Echo, the character he launched through Daredevil: Parts of a Whole. Writer/painter Joe Michael Linsner will create another one-shot, Galactus, and we may even see the return of the Sentry. The future is bright indeed.

Thanks for checking out this latest edition of comics. Hopefully youíve enjoyed my exhausting summary of the Marvel Knights history and have been inspired to check some of them out. Otherwise, I bid you adieu until next week!

"Marvel Knights", "Daredevil", "Elektra", "Wolverine", "The Hulk", "Captain America", their distinctive likeness, and all other characters and titles mentioned and exhibited in Drew Reiber's article above are trademarks and copyrighted by the Marvel Comics Group and are used here for reviewing purposes only.

Letters to the Editor

   Here is a little piece of Tampa trivia you may find interesting. I am sure you and your contributors are familliar with Busch Gardens' Howel-O-Scream they do every year. If you recall, last year they purchased Dr. Paul Bearer's hearse and completely restored it. (Dr. Paul Bearer was a legendary TV horror-movie host, whose "Creature Feature" was a staple of Tampa Bay Saturday afternoon TV for 20 years. The actor who played him, Dick Bennick, died many years ago. For a few more details on Dr. PB, check out "La Floridiana" in PCR #73.---N.). The plugged the heck out of it everywhere to get people in around Halloween. Now this year there is no mention of it whatsoever in any of their publicty.
   I had contacted them last year about doing a Dr. Paul Bearer display including the costume. They were very interested but felt they didn't have time to do it justice before Halloween. We had multiple conversations about this before they reached the decision to hold off until this year. When I contacted them early this year, their reply to my E-mail was "We are not interested". When I questioned the change of heart they didn't even bother to reply.
   All I can figure is they must have felt like they wasted their money last year and didn't get enough interest, but I find that hard to believe. Just thought you might find that interesting--it might even make a good piece for the webpage.
   Also, do you know if there is still a sci-fi/fantasy convention in Tampa called Necronomicon? It used to be held every year around Halloween. I am debating if I should mention it in the articles I am writing on Dr. Paul Bearer and I thought I should check and see if it even still exists. I haven't seen any mention of it in years. Thanks.
   There sure is!  It moved out to the Sable Park area (east of Tampa, past the Fairgrounds) many years ago. Presented by the Stone Hill Science Fiction Association, this year's festival (called 2001: A Necronomicon Odyssey) will be held at the Holiday Inn-Crowne Plaza, October 26-28, 2001, and the featured guests are: Orson Scott Card, Walter Jon Williams, Timothy Zahn, and, "Zhaan" of Farscape, Virginia Hey. For location, directions, and prices, please check out the Stone Hill/Necro homepage at www.stonehill.org/necro.htm.
   Readers: in a follow-up email, Ed offered to share the above-mentioned article he's writing on Dr.PB with the readers of PCR! Thanks, Ed!
   As far as Busch Gardens losing interest in Dr. Paul Bearer's Hearse, I have no idea. Does anyone out there have an answer to this mystery?---Nolan

Sometimes I read your online Pop Culture Review when I have the time....but I've noticed that DeadGuy hasn't written anything on it in a few weeks! I sent him an email and it came back saying his inbox was full... Is everything ok with him?
Ha ha ha, that Deadguy, what a character, eh? Testing me by sending a phony email like this? JUST KIDDING!! I've corresponded with Richard a few times now, and he's the real deal. To everyone who's concerned about the whereabouts of Mike "Deadguy" Scott: I contacted him by phone and he says he left his old job back in August and had a hard time finding a new one; that situation is stabilizing as he's now employed, with brighter prospects on the horizon. What aggravates his situation, however, is an inability to correspond with friends and fans alike due to his personal computer's meltdown. I'm told it may be a couple months before he can resume email traffic, to say nothing of his "Deadguy's Dementia" column. I'm attempting to help him with his email situation, but it's difficult---he's a popular guy! We wish Deadguy the best of luck in dealing with his situation.---Nolan
   Well, I just stumbled upon your web page and it is very interesting. I definitely agree with your opinion of Falwell and Robertson (See my rant in PCR #78.---N). I hope you can help me...
   I'm getting close to that "old fart in the mirror" stage. As you deal in pop culture, I was wondering if you knew of any "whatever happened to" or "where are they now" sites. I'm curious as to what happened to members of some of the bands I used to listen to and even some of the one-hit wonders. So far, I haven't had much luck on my own, but then I'm a far cry from an internet genius, anyway.
   Thanks much and I will return to your site often.
UNSIGNED (a private AOL return address)
   Well, thank you and welcome aboard, my friend! There are no...er...internet geniuses...here (LOL!), you're in good company!
   I put ace snoop-dog-and-search-engine-whiz Steve Beasley on the trail and he came up with this: Where Are They Now? Starting with "A": Paula Abdul, Adam Ant, etc... I think this fits the bill!
   Readers: I've corresponded with this new reader privately, but just to remind everyone, we're all friends here, no need to be shy about signing your real name. But, that's a personal decision.---Nolan

Mike's Rant!

Hello gang! A few notes for the week. Shall we begin?

   Again in reacting to the recent national tragedy, Hollywood has moved another major film release date. The Michael Mann directed biopic "ALI," starring Will Smith, has been moved from December 7 to Christmas Day, presumably because the film deals with Ali's conversion to Muslim.
   Also, Disney has scrapped plans (for now) on an R-rated reissue of "Pearl Harbor" for December 7th.
   In casting news, Hugh Grant will play Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in the second "Harry Potter" film.
In negotiations: Ben Affleck to star as "Daredevil," and Michael Caine to appear in the next Austin Powers film, tentatively titled, "Goldmember."
   Finally, Kim Basinger is in talks to play Debbie Mathers, who is the mother of Eminem. I just learned recently that Mrs. M, who recently lost a civil suit against her little boy Marshall, only lives about 25 minutes from me in St. Joseph, Missouri. What a small world.
   In what has to be the most bizarre incident since September 11th, the government has interviewed "Die Hard" writer Steven DeSouza and "Fight Club" director David Fincher, among others, to get ideas from them on how terrorists may strike against our country. (Why stop there? For chrissake, interview Bruce Willis on how to STOP the terrorists---before it's too late!---N).
   Not sure if it's relevant, but I received an email today from someone who knows someone who actually called the person who sent out the original email. To paraphrase...........STAY THE HELL OUT OF SHOPPING MALLS ON OCTOBER 31st! You've been warned. (Nah, I heard this one on the radio. It's another internet thing going around. Allegedly, the former girlfriend of one of the airplane terrorists says he warned her not to fly Sept. 11th. Before he was killed, he also added, "...and stay away from malls on Halloween". I'm taking it with a grain of salt. But y'all decide for yourselves.---N)

internet Twin Towers hoax
modified Twin Towers hoax
By now I'm sure you've seen the "photograph" of the young man on top of the World Trade Center observation deck, posing for a photo (picture at left). The picture is dated 09-11-01, and behind the man is an airliner, heading right toward him. Tasteless, yes. No question.

However, someone has taken that photo and created some others that can't help but bring a smile to your face. He has taken the young man in the picture and placed him at various places in history, including the explosion of the Hindenburg and in Dallas with JFK. The one I enjoyed most was this one (left, bottom). Hope you laughed with me.

Apparently in response to my piece last week, rock and roll chucklehead Chubby Checker has taken out a full page ad in Billboard magazine to argue that he is indeed one of the most important figures in rock. "I want my flowers while I'm alive. I can't smell them when I'm dead," says Checker. "I will not have the music business ignore my position in the industry." Christ, who's next.............David Soul?

Wayne Newton has officially taken over the mantle from the ailing Bob Hope as head of the USO entertainment community. Newton says that he'll go wherever he is needed to support and entertain our troops. 20 years ago, The HATS sent in their tape to tour for the USO. Maybe now that call will come! And now, to paraphrase Bob Hope........................

This past Sunday, Baltimore Oriole 3rd baseman Cal Ripken, Jr. played his last major league game. I have followed Cal's career from the beginning. Both he and I arrived in Baltimore in 1982. He was voted the American League rookie of the year that year, and next year was the leagues Most Valuable Player as the O's won the World Series. In 1991, he won his second MVP award, On September 6th, 1995, Cal played in consecutive game number 2131, eclipsing a record that was thought to be untouchable. He continued adding games to that record until he finally took himself out of the line up after amassing an astounding 2632 consecutive games played. Living in Baltimore I had many occasions to meet Cal, both in and out of the stadium. The theatre I ran was very close to where many of the players lived. Cal was frequently a visitor. In fact, Cal was in my theatre watching "City Slickers" when manager Frank Robinson was fired. In handing down my appreciation for the way he approached the game, Cal quickly became my son, Phillip's, favorite player.

   We both have many memories of Cal, but I'll just share, what are for me, the top three:

   #3:  Phillip's mom allowed him to miss school and he flew out to Baltimore to attend consecutive games # 2130 and 2131. Just to be a part of that crowd, to feel that emotion, was an awe-inspiring feeling.
   #2:  This story proves what a genuine great person Cal is. Phillip was visiting me in the summer and, as always, we took in several Oriole games. On the way to the game, Phillip remarked that in all the games he had attended, Cal had never hit a home run while he was there. That evening, Cal hit two. After the game, we were milling outside the stadium while Phillip was trying to obtain autographs. As the seemingly last player left, we began to head to the car. Just then, a truck turned the corner into the parking lot and stopped. I quickly noticed that the driver was none other then Cal himself. We politely approached the truck and congratulated him on his game. Not only was Phillip not in awe of his hero, he began to question him on what pitches he had hit his homers off of that night. What I thought was going to be a brief hello/goodbye turned into almost 20 minutes of questions and answers. Finally, Cal said good-bye and drove off into the night. To this day, Phillip can tell you what pitches Cal hit and why he hit them.
   #1:  In 1989, the Orioles went from last place to almost first. As the end of the season approached, the Orioles found themselves virtually neck and neck with the Toronto Blue Jays. For weeks it seemed like every time the Blue Jays lost, the O's lost. When they won, we won. Finally, with two weeks left in the season, the Orioles won a close one at home. With the Jays still playing in Canada, the local Baltimore radio station picked up the Toronto feed. Several of us fans gathered in the parking lot and greeted the players as they left. Cal pulled up in his car and, as was customary, stopped to sign several autographs. He had the game on his car radio. For whatever reason, he got out of his car and started listening to the game with us. For the next 45 minutes, we sat around his car, listening to the radio with him. We'd pepper him with questions during the commercial breaks, and then go back to listening when the game resumed. It wasn't until much later that I realized what a great person Cal was. He really was "one of us," the local boy who made good but never forgot where he came from. Phillip and I were at the stadium here in Kansas City when the Orioles played their last games here in August. On the last night, I took some of Phillip's teammates from the American Legion team. 2 hours before game time, I pointed out something to them. I told them that there were 50 major league ball players in the stadium and only one of them was taking the time to sign autographs. After the game, I told them the same thing. Both times that one player was Cal. As Cal walked to the dugout after his last at bat, I turned to a friend of mine and said, "Now I have no more heroes." Since September 11th, the word HERO has been even more defined. But to me it still applies to Calvin Edward Ripken, Jr. Phillip and I plan to be in Cooperstown, New York in July 2007, when Cal is inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame. You all are invited to join us!

That's it for now. Have a great week!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith    "Wake Up and Smell the Comics" is ©2001 by Drew Reiber    "La Floridiana" is ©2001 by William Moriaty (and thanks for the Top Ten list!)    Thanks to Ed Tucker, Richard Fortner, and UnsignedAOL for their letters and support! Stay onboard, it only gets better.    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova.

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