When you get to be my age, some things just sneak up on you suddenly. Last year was the 25th anniversary of my graduating high school. No reunion was held, which kind of surprised me. Later in the year I received a notice that a large scale reunion consisting of my class (1978), Matt's class (1979) and the class of 1980 would be taking place this coming June. At the same time, I learned that our class representative, Bill Shields, had passed away (it is actually one year ago this month). I was immediately hit with a wave of memories. Bill and I had been in the same homeroom for three years. We had many of the same classes. He was always a great guy to talk with. And, yes, he gave me the nickname "Jaws" because of my incessant talking about the movie. I learned that Bill had become a lawyer, had married and raised a family. I was shocked that he had passed at such a young age (43, like me). I'm still looking forward to the gathering this summer, though now I'm looking ahead with a heavy heart.
WHERE WAS GEDDY?
Let me say here that I'm not a big fan of the band Rush. I'm not sure if it's because I can't stand Geddy Lee's voice or because I went to school with a girl named Kelly Rush who I really didn't like either. When I attended the 1993 baseball All Star game in Baltimore, my excitement was momentarily squashed when who was there to sing the Canadian national anthem but old Geddy himself. And what's up with that anthem, anyway? "Oh, Canada.....land of moose and ice." At least that's what I heard. Anyway, guitarist Alex Lifeson was recently arrested in Florida on charges of aggravated battery, resisting an officer with violence and disorderly intoxication after fighting with deputies at a Naples hotel. The cops had to take him down with a stun gun. Wish I had been there.
Two notes here regarding the long-running Broadway musical, The Producers. First, Richard Dreyfuss will be joining Lee Evans on the great white way once stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick leave the show. Secondly, Lane and Broderick have signed on to do the film version, to be released in late 2005.
The estate of late Beatle, George Harrison, has filed suit against the doctor who cared for him accusing him of forcing Harrison to sign a guitar 2 weeks before he died of cancer in November, 2001. According to the suit, Harrison tried to beg off, saying "I do not even know if I know how to spell my name anymore," but the doctor, Gilbert Lederman, held Harrison's hand as he finally signed. Nice bed-side manner, doc!
AWARDS AND STUFF
This past week, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, of which I am a member, awarded their annual year end awards. Among the winners: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King took Best Picture and Director, Sean Penn was Best Actor for Mystic River and Jennifer Connelly was Best Actress for House of Sand and Fog.
The Directors Guild of America have announced their five nominees for the past year. They are: Clint Eastwood (Mystic River), Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), Gary Ross (Seabiscuit), Peter Weir (Master and Commander) and Sophia Coppola (Lost in Translation). Coppola, whose father, Francis, has won 2 previous DGA awards, is only the 5th woman ever nominated by the guild. Jackson's nomination is his third in a row, a feat no other director has ever achieved.
SAY IT AIN'T SO, PETE
Before 9/11, when the word "hero" was rightly reserved for those who died doing their job, a hero to most people was a film star or athlete, someone they admired. As a kid, one of my earliest was Pete Rose. I'm not sure if I was the first 10 year old to slide head first into a base in Little League, but I'm pretty sure that I wasn't the last. As a kid we were told to model ourselves after Pete Rose. He was the ball player's ball player. He always ran to first when he drew a walk, was always taking the extra base. He wasn't called "Charlie Hustle" for nothing. Sadly, 14 years after being banned from the game he loved so much, Pete is still hustling us. 13 months ago, in this very column, I wrote the following: Tell the truth, say you're sorry and your plaque at Cooperstown is assured. This week Rose has finally admitted that he did, in fact, bet on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. But his admission came with a lot of holes in the story. Rose states he never used inside information, never bet from the clubhouse phone. As soon as the story broke, people from his past (the same people that convinced baseball 14 years ago) came forward to discount his story. And the sad thing is, Rose has yet to say he's sorry. Not only sorry for what he did, but sorry for the fans who stood behind him all this time. Each time Rose looked into the camera and said, "I did NOT bet on baseball," he lied to us. No, worse, he lied to ME! If he had come clean 14 years ago I would be more supportive of his attempts to return to baseball. But now, I'm conflicted. The man is the all-time hits leader and that deserves recognition. Fine, it's been noted. Maybe he gets in the Hall of Fame and maybe he doesn't. But there is no way in hell that he should be allowed to hold a job in professional baseball.
Well, that's it for now. Have a great week. See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.