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PCR #99. (Vol. 3, No. 7) This edition is for the week of February 11--17, 2002.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang. Some news, notes and how 'bout them Oscars? Shall we begin?

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I'm pleased to report that, including my "sleeper" pick of Will Smith, I went 25/30 on the top 6 categories. (Well done! Now if I can just get the complete final list updated on the front page!---N) Overall, I'm quite pleased with this years list of nominees............except for Marisa Tomei', who's nomination came out of nowhere. While she was good in "In the Bedroom," her very short time on screen to me did not warrant a nomination. Not when Cameron Diaz broke my heart in "Vanilla Sky." Tomei', who already has an Oscar for her work in "My Cousin Vinny," is an excellent actress. I had the extreme privilege to sit front row center when she did "Wait Until Dark" on Broadway, and she was outstanding. I just don't think this performance is deserving. And I would love to hear old chum and new Hollywood make-up stud Corey Castellano comment on the fact that "Planet of the Apes" did not get a makeup nomination, while "A Beautiful Mind" did. Let's see..........you made Russel Crowe look old and YOU made an entire cast into a believable race of super apes. Hmmmmmmmm..................who should I pick? (I'll try to reach him for comment...like to know that myself.---Nolan

Also, some history was made with this years' nominees. For the first time since 1972, 3 black actors were nominated (Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry). The last time this happened, Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield had been nominated for "Sounder," while Diana Ross was recognized for "Lady Sings The Blues." Shamefully, only 5 black actors have won Oscars. Hopefully, in future issues of this column, the above news won't be. And congrats to my favorite composer, John Williams. With his two Best Original Score nominations for "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" he becomes the all time living nominee champ with 41!

I must take exception with Matt's portrayal of the Glazer brothers as Heckle and Jeckle. (Re: the current Matt's Rail".---N), I find that to be an extreme insult to the comic magpies of my youth! I hate to say "I told you so," but.............well, actually, no I don't. The Glazers have once again proven themselves to be the clowns of the NFL. Marvin Lewis? That makes sense. You fire your greatest coach ever, who was known as a defensive specialist just to hire another DEFENSIVE SPECIALIST when your teams best receiver had over 100 catches and ONE TOUCHDOWN!! Why not call Ray Perkins? Or get Sam Wyche out of the broadcast booth. Now I hear that Hall of Fame Coach Marv Levy has offered to be a "buffer" coach for a year, presumably to baby-sit the team until Oakland coach John Gruden's last year on his contract expires and he can coach the Bucs without letting Al Davis screw Tampa Bay in the ass. Warren Sapp?! What a PR nightmare that would be for the team to let their heart and soul go to the dreaded silver and black!

I want to clear up just one part of last week's article Will submitted on the possible copyrighting of the phrase, "Lets Roll." You know by now that these were the last words spoken by passenger Todd Beamer as he led a group of fellow passengers in an attempt to overthrow the terrorists that took over their plane on September 11. The attempt to control the phrase was undertaken by Todd's widow, Lisa, who doesn't want a bunch of yahoos to print up T-shirts and the like with the phrase just to make a quick buck. And I must say, when President Bush addressed our Olympic athletes last week and ended his pep talk with the words, "Let's Roll," I was mortified. What's next? Perhaps a Papa John's pizza commercial with some kid rolling out the dough for his pies while Papa John smiles behind him, chanting "Let's Roll, Billy?" Enough please. Don't turn the last words of a hero into this years version of "Where's the Beef?"

As a long time fan of the Baltimore Orioles, I have been proud to call Oriole first baseman David Segui my friend since he first came to the majors in 1991. During a chance meeting in Baltimore, I found out that David lived in Kansas, not far from my son Phillip. Since I moved here, David has invited my son to his home in the off season to work out with him. This past week, I asked David if he could spend 30 mins talking to Phillip and two other players about how to approach their last year of high school ball and what to do to carry their career further. The quick 30 minute get together turned into 2 hours as David gladly answered every question and offered sound advice. With the start of spring training less then a week away, the fact that David took this much time out of his workout schedule to advise these kids is INCREDIBLE. Thanks, David. You are definitely my MVP choice this year.

Glad that the state of Florida doesn't have the market on every stupid criminal in the country. Michael LaRock, 22, was captured in Georgia after a year on the lam on burglary charges. Ironically, he was arrested while on the phone after he called police to brag he couldn't be caught. When he called the Auburn, Georgia police the caller ID system tracked the call to a local hotel. "I heard a knock on the door on his end of the phone," Officer Daniel Charlton said. "I heard him get up to answer it. Next I heard a scuffle and they subdued him." As Bugs Bunny used to say, "What a maroon."

MSNBC has apologized for a computer input error that turned the named of an interview subject into a racial slur. In an interview about the Enron case with Republican consultant Niger Innis, the onscreen graphic identifying Innis, who is black, had an extra "g" in his first name. Shortly after it appeared on screen, correspondent Gregg Jarrett offered Innis a "profuse apology." Innis replied, "Oh, God, I thought you guys thought I was a rapper or something." Yikes.

   Earl E. Rowe
, who portrayed Lt. Dan, the chief of police, in the 1958 film "The Blob," died last week at age 81. Despite a recurring role on NBC's soap opera, "The Doctors," his role as the small town police chief who fought to stop a slithering ball of man-eating goo was his most noted.
   Sheldon Allman, an actor who was also the singing voice of tv's "Mister Ed," died or cardiac arrest at the age of 77. A character actor, Allman appeared in such films as "In Cold Blood" and "HUD." He also cowrote the theme to "George of the Jungle."
   Waylon Jennings, one of the most popular country music performers of all time, died Wednesday from complications brought on by diabetes. He was 64. A boyhood friend of Buddy Holly, Jennings began his career playing bass for Holly after he left the Crickets. Jennings is probably best known to this generation as the narrator of the television show, "The Dukes of Hazzard." He also composed and sang the show's theme song, which was a million selling hit record. Despite winning 2 Grammy Awards and 4 Country Music Association awards, Jennings refused to attend awards shows, feeling that performers shouldn't compete against each other. He did not attend his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year. Troubled with diabetes, Jennings cut short his tour in December and had his left foot amputated. Ironically, Jennings career almost ended when it started. On February 2, 1959, Holly chartered a plane to take he and his band to Fargo, North Dakota rather then have them ride on the tour bus, which had no heat. Jennings offered his seat to the Big Bopper, who was suffering from a cold. In a coin toss, guitarist Tommy Alsup lost his seat to Richie Valens. The rest...............is rock and roll.

On a personal note, may I extend my prayers to my friend Nino Casissi, who appeared with me last year in the play, "Glengarry Glen Ross." Nino's mother passed away last Saturday. On Tuesday evening, the day of the funeral, Nino's father died "from a broken heart." I had the extreme pleasure of meeting his parents after one of our shows, and their praise for our performance still rings in my ears. They were very proud of Nino, and I hope those thoughts are comforting to him in this tough time.

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

"Mike's Rant" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova