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Number 84 (Vol 2, No. 44).  This edition is for the week of October 29--November 4, 2001.
Whew! Getting our color back!

Welcome back to our now healthier-looking issue! The last two weeks of Halloween mayhem here at PCR were great fun, altho I never lost track of the fact that the country is in not much of a party mood this season. I wish to thank everyone who contributed to help make it a special time for our readership and, of course, for ourselves. The annual Top Ten Horror Movies of all time challenge, while not getting quite the response it did last year, did acquire two new special additions: Will Moriaty's list, which was published last issue, and Drew Reiber's list, which is featured this issue, below. We thank them both for taking the time to contribute.

PCR wishes also to welcome new contributor Gary Esposito to our hallowed halls. Gary is a mutual friend of some of our "staff" and their relations, and has, himself, long-time associations to Bay-area fandom. Gary's take on the recent USA network's film "Wolf Girl" and the ABC spy-drama "Alias" are featured in PCR Spotlight, further down this issue.

As I said before, the last 2 week's of PCR were fun, but much more time-consuming than I had figured, mostly due to the special graphics. With a touch of irony, I therefore, wasn't able to catch a lot of TV I planned to review in these very pages because the schedule got completely away from me! I'd start the issues in early evening, look up from the computer and it would be, suddenly, 7 hours later! I needn't remind my fellow computer-geeks how frustrating that can be.

BOSTON PUBLIC season premiere. I did, however, catch this one. It's no surprise to long-time readers I'm mysteriously drawn to this David E. Kelly show on FOX, Monday nights. (And despite the fact it took Herculean effort to keep track of the long-delayed season premiere with my currently weird schedule.)
   I say "mysteriously drawn" because I usually haven't gone for this kind of thing since "Room 222" (Oh Gawd, did that date me!).
   I won't dredge up the whole cast list or basic plot of this series--for that, see my piece in PCR #61. Suffice it to say it's a ballsy, frank look at teen life, set at a Boston public school (duh), through the (primarily) teacher's eyes. Also, suffice it to say it appears already it will be as great this year as last.
   When we left off last season, the main cliffhanger pertained to the very strange case of the academically-gifted, but emotionally disturbed Jeremy Peters. When we faded out on Winslow High's graduation, Jeremy's abusive mother (Kathy Baker) was bound and gagged in the basement of their house. I'm sure everyone, like me, figured this was Jeremy's revenge and his mother would not survive into this season.
   In the season premiere, Jeremy brought to school a severed human hand, an adult female hand of about 50 yrs (supposedly from a cadaver borrowed from a college) to his believing science teacher to "learn dissection". (It takes Leslie Jordan's terrific turn as the sweetly nerdy-but-naive science teacher to sell this.) The teacher notices the cut mark at the wrist is jagged--like an axe cut more than a bone saw. Other teachers catch wind of this and, certain this is the boy's dead mother's appendage, investgate. A trip to the Peter's residence shows Mrs. Peters is very much alive---and missing her right hand! She says it was from a gardening accident(!), and Jeremy had taken her to the hospital.....which further investigation bore out. With no further evidence to proceed, the teachers were forced to abandon this for the moment. Except to continue to watch this strange brood.
   A great deal was made, with some justification, of the casting of "Star Trek: Voyager's" beautiful Jeri Ryan as an ex-lawyer who wants to become a teacher at Winslow. Billy Zane played her significant other (well, ex-significant), who is against this move. Ryan's character has already tasted the exhilaration of the teacher's life, and her mind is made up. I think the character--and Jeri Ryan--will be fine.
   In the same hour we saw the initiation of a controversial "Fat Girl's Club"---and the deliberate instigation, by a teacher, of a fist-fight between two male students of rival gangs. I'll keep tuning in.
THE TOP TEN HORROR MOVIES OF ALL TIME CHALLENGE. Our previously-published lists can be found in PCR's #82 and #83.  Below, the latest addition to our beloved archives is the Top Ten list of "Wake Up and Smell the Comics" writer, Drew Reiber.

THE TOP TEN HORROR MOVIES OF ALL TIME (not necessarily in any order)   by Drew Reiber
The Dead trilogy (Night of the Living Dead/Dawn of the Dead/Day of the Dead). George A. Romero's apocalyptic zombie masterpiece. Social commentary, statements about racism and chauvinism, with anti-science messages abound. I worship these films, so should you all.
Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter. The single greatest vampire action/adventure epic ever produced. Man vs. every vampire myth ever created. Hammer at it's best. If only they had survived long enough to spawn a franchise...
Dracula (1931: American & Spanish). The two greatest vampire films ever created which succeed and fail in their own ways. One has Bela Lugosi for God's sake, the other has atmosphere. True classics, in every sense.
The Phantasm series (I - IV). Don Coscarelli's Lovecraftian, reality-bending, science-fiction/horror series. The more insane it became, the more it made sense. Perhaps the strongest horror franchise of the modern age, strangely enough, the lower-budgeted films outshine the studio produced ones. I pray that the foreign investors for "Phantasm's End" come through.
The Monster Squad. Oh, to be a Universal & Hammer horror fan at age 8. For whatever bizarre reason I will never truly understand, some fools at Tri-Star decided to give Fred Dekker and Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) the funds to make a Goonies vs. Universal/Hammer monsters flick. I must have been one of three kids who loved that movie. I eagerly await a DVD....
A Nightmare on Elm Street films. Unfortunately mired by too much studio interference and greed for sequels, this franchise was created with a stunning original vision and ended with a surprisingly original idea, by actually taking the nightmare from film and into reality. Arguably filled with at least a couple good films and many highlights, eventually spawning video games and a TV show, this series was the most culture-influencing horror franchise of the last 20 twenty years.
Deadly Blessing. An extremely underrated horror film by Wes Craven, this film is practically completely forgotten. Everything in this film is subtle, relying more on its ability to frighten you with the unknown rather than gore and/or effects. Mystery, suspense and a finish that has managed to disturb me nonstop since the first time I saw it. Too bad it's so hard to find.
Tombs of the Blind Dead. One of the scariest and most shocking horror movies I've ever seen, it can still scare me today. The director setup a typical zombie movie and then began to break every rule of the formula. If I learned anything from this movie, it's to never stop the train. Ever.
Evil Dead Trilogy (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness). This was a battle for me to include, because half the series was horror and the other half was fantasy. A strange mix of Lovecraft, zombie movie and Three Stooges inspiration... the series is best viewed when you know how and where they all fit together. Each film kind of stands on its own, but they differ in tone as well. They are definitely not for everyone, though.
Fright Night (1 & 2). Both remakes of Dracula (and the second a remake of the first), I simply enjoy them for their completely updated take on vampirism that still remains true to the original mythology. These are some of the last classic vampire films before the "modern goth" take became more popular. For me, they were the last truly enjoyable vampire films.

   Terence Nuzum and Viddywell Productions is ready to begin filming the long-delayed "Room 109" (or whatever room he's able to secure). This announcement (and renewed inspiration) comes on the heels of a phone call Terence received from public access of Tampa to "please produce more movies--we need content!"
   Upon hearing this I, myself, felt guilty for not producing anything for them for a year (well, I did help Malcolm ealier this year a bit) and despite the fact they didn't call me to produce more content (probably gave up--after "The Horror Writer" got bogged down, I don't blame 'em), I've about 95% decided it's necessary to re-boot "The World of Nolan" or some similarly-themed show, for the winter/spring season. Two more older TWONs will be transferred ASAP (namely, the filmmaker specials). And please, folks, "The Horror Writer" WILL see the light of day eventually.

This issue:
Wolf Girl and Alias
Blank thoughts on the film "Wolf Girl" -- USA network (October, 2001)
   Wow. A wonderful, contemporary reworking of the "Wolfman" myth/legend... there is a profound irony here with this one. A remarkable metaphor/significance below the surface of the story...
Wolf Girl   She is offered a way out of her "wolf" condition (a "cure") to become normal--to lose her hair--her wolf-self; yet she ends up losing her "self" altogether. In fact, at the end of the film, she vanishes into thin air! What's up with that?!
   Well, the metaphor is that in losing her hair she loses her connection to nature and in turn becomes (ironically) more violent as she becomes more human/normal. The real wolf throughout the film is peaceful/non-aggressive--the humans shoot and kill it and are the violent ones (the ones that "fear"--which is a big subject throughout the story).
   Now, the violence here is more psychological then physical i.e., to lose one's place in nature (which man/humans have) is in itself an an act of violence and separation which is unnatural and has psychological consequences - indeed her "cure" becomes like a drug addiction; what is more unnatural then an addiction of which the modern human condition suffers from many forms. So, to be disconnected from nature is unnatural and leads to the human nightmare called "fear" in which man can so lose his/her place in nature as to disappear--psychologically speaking--to be so out of touch as to be afraid of our own shadows. Our lost "true selves". No longer "seen"/reflected in nature (her disappearing mirror image on the water/lake at the end) i.e., out of harmony--dead by our own hands.
   The TV film was beautifully done by USA Network. Gee, even when the guy was kissing her, I wanted to get in on the action--am I weird or what?! (As my friend, Pat, would say, "Weird as all get out.") Yes, I thought the lady was quite lovely. Hey if Catherine & Vincent can kiss, why not?! And actually, the film can ultimately be seen as hopeful in that to see the fear (in this case, in the form of self-rejection) is the first step in healing ourselves--our wolf-selves--to find peace in the unknown part of our nature most at one with nature. And indeed, perhaps the wolfgirl, touching her reflection on the lake's edge, did just that!

The Nature of the Secret Agent Man - an ontology of TRUST --- ABC's "Alias".
   Espionage, for me, is one of the greatest kinds of modern drama. The intrigue of the "spy" is that he or she is ultimately a wanderer in the unknown; yes there is a plan that is to be followed and yes at times they work with others, but all this is mere shadow to the essense of spy-hood. And that essence is that he, in the act of spying, discovers what he or she is really made of, i.e., to have an enemy, a foe, is to face yourself. This was brought out is the wonderful British TV series "Secret Agent Man", the best show of its kind to date.
   Now, Sidney, a woman on a jouney to self-discovery (symbolized in the question before her: who/what is her father), ironically found, in the face of "the enemy"--and therein lies the great potential of freedom, i.e, to 'know' the enemy is the spy's job--a job of journeying into no-fear. It is lonely at times, but this loneliness is ultimately healing. Bringing her face to face, nose to nose, with the unknown/true part/whole of herself.
   The spy's ultimate 'intelligence' is TRUST. The good undercover sees/spys reality among the shadows of deception with the vision of TRUST. To go naked into the unknown--the freedom of self-knowledge, the ultimate jouney of the Secret Agent Man. The one who looks through, goes through--SPY--to "recognize" truth--the "job" of the TRUE INFORMER.
--Gary C. Esposito

La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
Will Moriaty
   When I was growing up, I remember my mother uttering the following Florida Cracker mantra: "In Florida, we skin two things: alligators and tourists."
   Yes, before the Interstate highway and the mega theme-parks, Florida was home to delightfully tacky roadside tourist attractions where unwary snowbirds piddled away plenty of dead presidents. These attractions were typically found on the U.S. Highways that connected our Sunshine State's then far-separated communities together. Sadly, the much more sophisticated corporate attractions, as well as the passing of time and public interest, have all but killed these once flourishing mom and pop backyard operations.
   These old tacky tourist attractions often revolved around two or three themes: alligators or wildlife (Gatorama, Lion Zoo Safari, Noah's Ark, Marineland, Rainbow Springs, the Miami Seaquarium, and the Aquatarium), plants (Tom Gaskin's Cypress Knee Land Museum, Sunken Gardens, Tiki Gardens, Flamingo Gardens, and Caribbean Gardens), or Pop Culture Minutiae (Madame Toussade's Wax Museum, Cars of Yesterday, Terror at Church Street Station, and even the Christian-based Black Hills Passion Play). These attractions typically had gift shops that offered such coveted prizes as Florida table mats, orange blossom honey, flamingo martini stirrers, flamingo shot glasses with "Welcome to Florida" emblazoned on them, and boxed citrus trees, as well as a rack filled with brochures from other tacky attractions in the State.
   NC-PCR brother in good standing, Steve Beasley furnished me with a great web site on old Florida attractions that you must check out--and it is called "Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions" at http://www.lostparks.com/index.html.

   Some of these old tacky tourist attractions somehow hang on into the present, however. One of the most fascinating of these is the Coral Castle in Homestead. This unique estate located on the Federal Highway (U.S. 1) was built by a Latvian native known as Ed Leedskalnin or, "Ed L." as we will refer to him here.    Built entirely of mined earth composed of coral and limestone known locally as "Miami Oolite", Ed L. somehow managed to excavate and transport these massive boulders, some weighing up to 30 tons, all by himself--quite a feat for a 5-foot tall, 100-pound man with tuberculosis! This work was usually conducted in secret during nighttime.
   Ed L. was fascinated by astronomy, magnetism, the State of Florida (a man of my own heart!), family, and a lost love he simply referred to as his "Sweet Sixteen". In addition to this, he confided to what few people came into contact with him, that he knew the "secret" of how the Pyramids were built, thus enabling him to erect such an incredible compound by himself. Ed L. mined the native Oolite by using homemade pulleys and levers salvaged at automotive and railroad junkyards. From this he sculpted and carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock. The most notable pieces of such coral include a 9-ton gate that swings open with the touch of a finger, a 20-ton, 20-foot tall Polaris telescope that can be used to calculate the earth's path around the Sun, a sun dial that accurately tells the time and indicates the solstice and equinox days, and dining table carved in the image of the State of Florida, and a 5,000 pound heart listed by Ripley's as the world's largest valentine.
   Ed L. initially finished this incredible work to the public in 1920, charging nominal donations. He lived on the premise with his living quarters located inside of a coral watchtower. If you ever have the privilege to visit this watchtower, it feels dry and comfortable without benefit of air conditioning at any day or season in the typically hot, humid Miami-Dade County climate. Ed L. died in the early 1950's and left a wonderful legacy behind for all of us to be inspired, enchanted and challenged by.
   Not long after Ed L.'s death, his magnificent Coral Castle fell into disrepair. During the 1960's it became known as the "Coral Castle Naturalists Park" where the Doris Wishman sexploitation classic movie, "Nude on the Moon", was filmed. Realizing the value and commercial potential of this geological masterwork, local private and public citizens worked hard through the late 60's and early 70's to open the Coral Castle back up to the public as the family-oriented attraction that Ed L. also envisioned it to be--all I can say to them is "thank you"!
   In 1984 the Coral Castle was placed on the National Register of Historical Places. It is now owned and operated by the State of Florida, but still has a tacky gift shop!

   Why travel the world, particularly at this perilous time, when there is plenty to see down the block or down the highway right here in Florida? When in Miami, visit the Coral Castle--realize that all of it was conceived and built from life that once teamed beneath Florida's waters millions of years ago, and that it is a lasting tribute to one man's love, commitment, and hard work for ideals he believed to be of great gravity, significance and worth.

Next week: the country's first commercially-scheduled airflights were from right here in Tampa. The story of Tony Jannus and history-making at the turn-of-the-(previous) century.

Wake Up and Smell the Comics
# 7: Frank Miller Strikes Again, and Again, and Again…

Hey folks! You caught me in the middle of my latest comics’ splurge. You see, with the sequel to Dark Knight Returns approaching, every publisher from DC Comics to Todd McFarlane Productions (Spawn) is rushing to reprint any product with writer/artist Frank Miller’s name on it. It just so happened I was reading his Elektra: Assassin series when all this was going down. With the impending smorgasbord of Miller projects/reprints and my current high stemming from the mind-screw glory that is Elektra: Assassin, I was now all set for a full-blown obsession. Come along with me as I detail the tools for my descent into madness.

VisionariesDaredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller (vol. 1 - 3) - That is the name of the trade paperback volumes containing Frank Miller’s entire first run on Daredevil, from 1980 to 1983. These are the stories that put Frank Miller on the minds of comic readers all over the world. He introduced us to Bullseye, Elektra and Stick, as well as a side of the character we had never been privy to before. A grittier look with ninjas and a literal underworld of crime, Miller inspired dozens of stories and parodies from the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” to “The Tick”. With a Daredevil feature film based on Miller’s work only months away from production, anyone wanting a head start on the storylines and ideas that brought all of this together should head to their local bookstores and start picking those Visionaries up. You’ll be glad you did.
WolverineWolverine - This was Frank Miller’s first and only major collaboration with the legendary X-Men writer, Chris Claremont. The X-Men character, Wolverine, was at the height of his popularity, Marvel editorial pressured Claremont into coming up with some kind of spin-off project for the fans in 1982. Pairing up with Miller (right in the middle of his Daredevil run), the two creators decided to portray Wolverine as a kind of failed Samurai and play with the character’s interests and background in the East. I just bought this trade paperback of this 4-issue series, so I’m still in the middle of reading it. Hopefully if there are any X-Men fans out there, you guys will take a look at this book too.
Born AgainDaredevil: Born Again - In early 1986, Frank Miller returned to Daredevil with collaborator/artist Dave Mazzucchelli to tell one of the most controversial and status quo shattering story arcs in Daredevil history. Someone who knows his uttermost secret has sold it to the highest bidder, an enemy who uses that knowledge to destroy Daredevil piece by piece until the man is a broken nothing. How can a man be a hero when he has lost everything? If you’re ready for a Daredevil story but you need something shorter or you already read Miller’s previous run, this story arc is also in trade paperback.
The Dark Knight ReturnsBatman: The Dark Knight Returns - This book turned me onto the writer’s work, back when I was 10. A gripping future noir with roots in the cold war 80’s, this book rocked the comics industry when it hit the shelves in 1986 (right on the heels of “Born Again”). Having retired the costume many years beforehand, Bruce Wayne is brought back into the superhero fold when mutant gangs overrun Gotham City. With appearances by the Joker, Superman, Green Arrow, Two-Face and Catwoman… this series became one of the greatest and most influential comic books of all time for it’s crime fiction and social/political criticisms. It gets my highest possible recommendation, as well as recommendation by fellow P.C.R. contributor Terence Nuzum. Anyone who read this series should keep their eyes out for the 3-issue sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, which ships from December 2001 through February 2002.
Batman: Year OneBatman: Year One - Following up his success with the future tale of “The Dark Knight Returns”, DC Comics asked Frank Miller to come back and retell the origin and first Batman adventures for a new generation of readers (along with Mazzucchelli). This storyline was quickly heralded as yet another one of Batman’s greatest stories, if not THE greatest. To this very day it has been looked upon as the defining moment of the modern Batman mythos, so much so that Miller has been asked to participate with filmmakers on a feature film adaptation of the story arc, hopefully due sometime in the next several years.
Elektra AssassinElektra: Assassin - With the birth of Marvel’s first mature line, EPIC, Frank Miller decided to take his popular Daredevil creation, Elektra, to new heights. Working with the popular Marvel penciler/painter Bill Sienkiewicz, Miller told a tale of the ninja assassin that did not quite blend into the current Marvel Comic continuity, because it didn’t really need to. Taking place during an undefined period after the events of her meeting with Daredevil, Elektra is hired to settle some political upheavals in Central America. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a much bigger ploy that may result in the possible nuclear destruction of the Earth. A fantastic story that refuses to be restricted by the linear story structure of the modern comic book.
Sin CitySin City - Published in Dark Horse Presents from 1991 to 1992, this was Frank Miller’s first major creation outside of Marvel and DC Comics. A strictly crime noir story, the opportunity was much less restrictive and allowed Miller to tell stories with more violence and sexuality than usual… not to say that’s a bad thing. The anthology was so popular that it eventually launched out of D.H.P. and into it’s own limited series and one-shots. You can find the original Sin City and its follow-ups - “A Dame to Kill For”, “That Yellow Bastard”, “The Big Fat Kill”, That Yellow Bastard”, “Family Values”, “Booze, Broads and Bullets” and “Hell and Back”- collected under the Sin City banner as well, through comic or book stores. Miller is still doing the occasional Sin City project and I believe that he plans to begin work on another one soon. Definitely recommended to fans of gritty crime fiction. Also recommended by Terence Nuzum.
DD: The Man Without FearDaredevil: The Man Without Fear - By the early 1990’s, Marvel was able to get Miller back for another go at Daredevil, this time with artist John Romita, Jr. Between 1993 and 1994, the limited series retold many aspects of Daredevil’s origin from the creator’s personal vision. This is one series that I know very little about, though it is the last Daredevil-related project by Miller and therefore part of the collection.

There are many more projects that Miller has done over the years - “Ronin”, “300”, “Robocop vs. Terminator”, “Spawn/Batman”, “The Big Guy and the Rusty Robot”, “Give me Liberty”, “Hard Boiled”, “Martha Washington Saves the World” - that I do not know very much about at this time and I would rather get the higher profile projects out of the way before I start stepping into unknown territories.

Well, that’s it for this week. As per usual, I hope I’ve piqued some of your interests and that you’ll be picking up at least one book in the near future. Also, please bear in mind that not all of the books found in stores will match the photos I’ve included, as covers vary printing to printing. Good luck on the hunt! Until next time.

All the Marvel and DC comics characters mentioned and/or exhibited in Drew Reiber's articles, and their distinctive likenesses, are trademarks and copyrighted by their respective companies and are used here for reviewing purposes only. Drew Reiber would like to thank Mile High Comics for the use of some of the graphics used in this article. And so would I!--N

Matt's Rail    by Matt Drinnenberg

Hello all. Shall we begin?

I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Ray Ferry, former assoc. of Forry Ackerman, now has virtually NOTHING to do with Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. So much so, in fact, that "Classic Monsters Magazine" is about to makes its appearance on your news stand shelves. Don't be too suprised when you see that the format is an exact duplicate of FM.
   The bad news is that a bankruptcy judge in California has decreed FM and all its parts be sold to a legitimate source. If a single owner doesn't step up to the plate, FM, for all intents and purposes, will once again, be dead.
   For the tried-and-true FM fan, this has been pretty much the case since Forry's departure earlier in the series. But I must admit, it's been a lot of fun seeing the rag on shelves again.

Sad to hear that George Brett is too full of himself to pay attention to the fans that lined his wallet with cash. Jerk-off.  Mike is all too correct in his lament about the realities of fandom. All too often, stars end up letting down the ones who placed them upon the pedestal. Fortunately, once in a great while, someone comes along, like Cal Ripkin, and shows these life losers how to act.
   A few years ago, during the Senior Baseball League, Mike and I got to hang with Doc Ellis, former pitching sensation in the majors. His biggest claim to fame was pitching a no-hitter while under the influence of acid. The great thing about it, is that he finally got his life together and, at the time of our meeting, was genuine, polite, and appreciative of those who wanted his autograph. Much more of a man than George Brett could ever hope to be. Not that he's concerned what "I" think!

Till next time, take care and God Bless,

Mike's Rant!

Hello gang!  Not too much this week, so let's get going, shall we?

I'm starting to get pretty pissed at all of this "sensitivity" in the world of Hollywood recently. Just last week, Ben Stiller felt he had to address his critics in a long letter to the New York Times. Stiller, whose film, "Zoolander" opened just 10 days after the terrorist attacks, had been slammed for digitally taking out the image of the World Trade Center buildings from the film. As Stiller explained it, he didn't want the images, still fresh in the country's mind, to take his audience away from the movie. It was a comedy and he wanted it presented that way. I fully agree with Stiller's decision.
   Now comes word that when Universal re-releases "E.T." next March, it will include the following changes: 1) Elliot's mother forbid him to go trick or treating as a terrorist in the original. Now she forbids him to go out as a hippie. 2) The police chasing ET and the children will now carry walkie-talkies in their hands, not guns as originally presented. This is bullshit!!
   Long before video, the main purpose of re-releasing a great movie was so that another generation would be able to experience it on the big screen...............AS ORIGINALLY SHOWN. Unfortunately, the success of the new-fangled "STAR WARS" Trilogy and the newly revamped "The Exorcist," has apparently given the greedy studios another excuse to make money. If you want to take a film like "The Wizard of Oz" or "Grease" and clean it up, re-record it in digital sound, so be it. Leave the "special editions" to the DVD's. I have no interest in seeing "Saving Private Ryan" and watching Tom Hanks live or "Return of the Jedi" where the Millenium Falcon doesn't make it out of the Death Star anywhere except on my DVD player. Leave the big screen classics where they belong.........on the big screen. Speaking of "The Exorcist," Liam Neeson has signed to star in the prequel to the 1973 horror classic.

Woo Hoo! The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band have announced that they will tour in 2002! Get in line now for those tickets, gang!

I have mentioned several times in this column my fondness and appreciation for former Major Leaguer, Cal Ripken, Jr. Here is another story to prove that Cal is one in a million. Among my other favorite ball players over the years was Kansas City Royal, George Brett. One of the best hitters in the game, Brett was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. On August 5, 1990, I caught a home run ball Brett hit at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. The game was eventually rained out and, as the game did not go a full five innings, the home run did not count in the player's statistics. I always thought that if Brett only got 2,999 hits I could give him the ball and say, "here's number 3000!" Of course, Brett didn't need my help as he amassed more then 3,000 hits in his career. For the next five years in Baltimore, and almost six here in Kansas, I tried to get him to sign the ball. He blew me off every time in Baltimore, either by ignoring me or just walking by and saying, "I'm not signing." The same thing happened here in Kansas City. I would say something to other fans and they would tell me how surly Brett could be. I would laugh and say, "I guess Ripken spoiled me," and the others would agree. Well, today I finally got the ball signed! My years of frustration behind me, I began to tell Brett the story of how I had gotten the ball. It was then that I noticed he was staring off, signing my ball as if he was swatting a fly. He wasn't paying any attention to what I was saying and didn't even acknowledge my sincere, "Thank you, Mr. Brett." Oh well...........another idol toppled.

The following retraction was published in the Kansas City Star after a story ran about a little girl finding her way home to the US after 13 years in Nigeria. The retraction read "...........the story incorrectly stated that Renita's father had hit her with sticks, canes and metal rods. He did not hit her with sticks." Glad they clarified that!

Well gang, that's it for this week. See ya!

Just caught the new teaser trailer for "Star Wars - Episode Two: Attack of the Clones." I can sum it up in four words: IN-CRED-A-BULL! From a black screen with only the labored breathing of Darth Vader to the brief flash of (as far as I can tell) Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in a light-sabre duel, this trailer left me literally with goosebumps. Both Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor have matured and it shows on the screen. McGregor is even sporting a beard. Hayden Christensen looks like a good choice for Anakin. Familiar faces include Yoda, Mace Windu and Watto. And let me state right here that the trailer is 100% Jar Jar free! This trailer is currently scheduled to ONLY be shown with "Monsters, Inc," which is in itself quite a funny film. Together they make a great "double feature!"
---Mike Smith

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith    "La Floridiana" is ©2001 by William Moriaty    "Wake Up and Smell the Comics" is ©2001 by Drew Reiber    Add'l thanks to Drew Reiber for sending in his Top Ten Horror Movies list    The PCR Spotlight reviews/blank thoughts on "Wolf Girl" and "Alias" are ©2001 by Gary C. Esposito    "Matt's Rail" is ©2001 by Matt Drinnenberg    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova.

Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of  Nolan B. Canova, ©2001