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PCR #288. (Vol. 6, No. 39) This edition is for the week of September 26--October 2, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! A bunch of ramblings, notes and mentions. Plus how about a new TOP 10 LIST? Shall we begin?

The Latest From the Weird World of Florida's Man in Black, Charlie Carlson…
 by William Moriaty
 by Mike Smith
Illuminati. Fnord. 23.
 by Dylan Jones
Punk's Roots
 by Terence Nuzum
Is This Sarcasm?... Jimmy Dean, James Dean .... Ratty .... Coincidence .... Stamp of Approval .... FEMA....Passing On....New Top 10 Challenge....Jaws: The Story, Part 35
 by Mike Smith
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Here is one reason I love David Spade:
"I'm sorry to hear even the concept of working while you're raising a baby is difficult for you, but most working people can't afford a babysitter to see "Duets," let alone be in it. You once said you always felt you were destined to be famous. Well, that must take a real Magic 8-Ball to figure out when your mother is a famous actress, your dad is a famous director and the man you call Uncle Morty is Steve Spielberg...You might have a shot at landing a part. It's not like you're working at the Red Lobster."

Spade addressed these remarks to Gwyneth Paltrow when she appeared on his Comedy Central series, "Showbiz Show with David Spade."

This Friday, September 30, will mark the 50th Anniversary of the death of actor James Dean. Dean had major roles in only three films ("Rebel Without a Cause," "East of Eden" and "Giant") but cemented his reputation as the idol of millions when he died in an auto accident at the age of 24. He became the first actor to be nominated posthumously for an Oscar in 1956 when he was nominated for his work in "East of Eden." He earned his second posthumous nomination the next year when he was recognized for "Giant."

When I think of James Dean I think of a drawing of him that hangs in the lobby of the Planet Hollywood in New York City. It was obviously something a fan had sent him and he very graciously autographed it and sent it back. What I remember was the few sentences Dean had added above his signature. I copied it down once and carried it in my wallet for years until it was stolen. In paraphrasing what he wrote, I recall Dean basically saying that he was just someone who had the opportunity to do what he loved. Stars, he said, were something God created and were much greater in the overall view of things. A very thoughtful statement from someone so young.

As if Rafael Palmiero hadn't brought enough shame to the game of baseball and, more importantly to me, the Baltimore Orioles, comes word that "Ratty" tried to implicate teammate Miguel Tejada by claiming that a B12 injection Tejada had given him may have caused him to test positive for steroids. Nice try, Rat Boy. I would have gone with "maybe I caught it off a toilet seat in the clubhouse."

Speaking of steroids, I just realized this week that the three big 'Roid cases in baseball, Palmeiro, Jason Giambi and Barroid Bonds all wear number 25. And, just thinking about it, so did Mark McGwire. Pretty weird. Yankee or not, I do respect Giambi for coming clean and apologizing for his mistakes.

Speaking of 50 years, the year also marks the 50th Anniversary of the debut of Kermit the Frog who, with several of his Muppet Pals, was recently honored by the US Post Office with a series of stamps. One of my favorite celebrity moments occurred in 1983 at the World Science Fiction Convention in Baltimore, where the film, "The Muppets Take Manhattan" premiered. While stopping by my dealer table with "Dark Crystal" producer Gary Kurtz, Jim Henson autographed a photo of him holding Kermit twice, once as himself and once as Kermit. My other favorite memory from the con was Matt trying to sell Gary Kurtz (who had also produced "Star Wars") an "official" t-shirt from "Revenge of the Jedi!"

I'm guessing that acronym stands for Federally Employed Major Asshole, especially when you apply it to Michael "Brownie" Brown. Even though he "resigned" his position after his failure to do anything positive after Hurricane Katrina, Brown is continuing to draw his $148,000 annual salary. This week he tried to put the blame on the people of Louisiana, from the Governor on down, for the horrible devastation they suffered. My favorite quote came when he was asked why he refused to let trucks loaded with ice to enter the ravaged city. He stated that people didn't need ice to keep their water or Diet Coke cold. When asked if the ice couldn't have been used to relieve the heat and, more importantly, ice down the bodies left behind, Brown replied that he "isn't in the ice business."

I was very sad to hear of the passing of Don Adams. Not much I could add to Nolan's great piece on the home page so I'll just say that he will be missed. We lost four other very unique people recently:

Thomas Bond, who played Butch the Bully in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" shorts, died at the age of 79. He later appeared as Jimmy Olsen in the films "The Adventures of Superman" and "Atom Man vs Superman" and enjoyed a career as a director for television.

Guy Green, Oscar-winning cinematographer who later went on to a successful directing career in England, died last Thursday at the age of 91. In 1946 his camera work for "Great Expectations" earned him the Academy Award. He later directed such films as "Sea of Sand" and "The Angry Silence."

Sid Luft, a film producer who helped revive the career of his then-wife Judy Garland, also died last Thursday at the age of 89. Luft featured Garland in his 1954 production of "A Star Is Born," which earned Garland an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. During their 13 years of marriage Luft and Garland had two children; son, Joey and daughter, Lorna.

Honey Bruce Friedman, former wife of the late comedian Lenny Bruce, died Monday at the age of 78. Friedman had lobbied for years to get her late husband's obscenity conviction cleared. In 2003 New York Governor George Pataki granted Bruce a posthumous pardon.

The other day a song came on the radio and it immediately triggered a movie memory for me. The song was "Get Right Back To Where We Started From" by Maxine Nightingale and every time I hear it I think of the movie, "Slap Shot." That song is featured when the team's bus, and the one carrying their fans, heads down the highway. It got me thinking how many other people hear a song and relate it to a film they like. I'm not talking about title songs like "Purple Rain" or "Stand by Me" or "A Hard Day's Night." I'm talking about a popular song used in a film or a film trailer that, when you hear, you think of it. My list, and I hope many others, will appear next issue.

My notes for this week were to hype the presentation as a "work in progress" of the documentary "The Shark Is Still Working" at the Stiges Film Festival next month near Barcelona, Spain, where "Jaws" is being honored in it's 30th Anniversary year. Unfortunately, the producers of the project did not feel the film, even in a rough assemblage, was ready to be screened. I've mentioned this film many times in these little pieces and I am proud that, whether or not I make the final cut, I was involved in the creation of an obvious labor of love.

If you are interested in seeing the trailer for this film, go to http://www.sharkisstillworking.com/default.asp

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2005 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 ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.