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PCR #290. (Vol. 6, No. 41) This edition is for the week of October 10--16, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! I'm up to my eyes in a new project so this week's rant is going to be a two parter. Shall we begin?

Haunted Pinellas, Part 2
 by William Moriaty and Lisa Clardy
"A History of Violence"
 by Mike Smith
My Life in the "Church"
 by Dylan Jones
Alice Cooper
 by Terence Nuzum
Echo and the Bunnymen Return From Siberia....Stellastarr* Harmonizes With Copy Protection....John Peel Day....Paper or Plastic Medicine?
 by Vinnie Blesi
Welcome Back....Are You Kidding Me?...Movie Notes....God I Hate Her....Thanks....Call Him KashYYYK/American....Where's The WB Frog?...The Answer Is....You're Out....Passing On....Jaws: The Story, Part 37
 by Mike Smith
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Glad to see Terence back on my computer screen. Great piece on Alice Cooper. T, you'll be happy to know that I still have my copy of the "School's Out" album, complete with the pair of panties that came with it!

Speaking of music, I read a recent article on Stevie Wonder, whose new album came out this week, and learned that he is 55 years old. WHAT? 55? Between 1972 and 1976, Wonder released five of the greatest albums ever: "Music of My Mind," "Talking Book," "Innervisions," "Fulfillingness' First Finale" and "Songs in the Key of Life." And I don't mean just the greatest of his albums, but of any albums. And he did that before he was 26! Wow!

By the time you read this, a rumor I first mentioned in April should have been confirmed when Daniel Craig is announced as the sixth (seventh if you count David Niven) actor to portray Ian Flemming's great susperspy James Bond, 007 in a new version of Flemming's first novel, "Casino Royale." Niven played Bond in an earlier version of "Casino Royale," but producers had the story rewritten as a take off of the original story.

It was a good and bad week for animator Nick Park. This past weekend, his feature film, "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," was number one at the movie box office. However, a warehouse fire in Bristol, England destroyed many props and sets from Park's earlier works, including "Chicken Run" and "Creature Comforts." Happily, word is that both Wallace and Gromit were not hurt.

Gotta hand it to Yoko Ono. If there is a buck to be made or an opportunity to capitalize on her late husband John Lennon's memory, she'll do it. Last month, the Broadway musical "Lennon," which Ono approved, closed six weeks after it opened to lousy reviews. I didn't see it, but I'm going to think that the casting of a black actor as Paul McCartney may have done something to puzzle the audience. Not to be un swayed, this past weekend Ono accepted an award on behalf of Lennon at the Q Awards in London. She commented that whenever John would question why other artists "always cover Paul's songs and never mine" she would remind him that, "it's not June with Spoon that you write. Most musicians are probably a little bit nervous about covering your songs." Ouch.

Incidentally, last Sunday, October 9th, was Sean Lennon's 30th birthday. His dad would have turned 65 the day before.

Much thanks to everyone who has contributed their top 10 songs that remind them of a movie. Special thanks to David T who not only mentioned "Jaws 2," but added this comment after mentioning "Singing in the Rain" reminded him of "A Clockwork Orange:"

"Everytime I hear any version, I think of this movie. Hope that counts."

Of course it counts. That's the whole reason for the list.

This coming Monday, October 16, actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in several of the "Star Wars" films, will take the oath to become a US citizen along with 440 other people from 77 different countries. Congrats.

This week, Variety listed the 100 most iconic entertainers of all time. The Beatles were number one on the list. The rest of the top 10 include: Charlie Chaplin, James Dean, Mickey Mouse, Louis Armstrong, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando and Elvis Presley.

How desperate for his country's love must President Bush be? This week, Dubya "chatted" with troops and encouraged them to answer his questions. And why wouldn't he? The whole event, from the questions to the answers to who would answer them was all set up before the "chat" started. After each comment, a moderator would say, "Mr. President, I'll let Private So and So field that question..." and the soldier would give his rehearsed answer. Actually, it wasn't HIS rehearsed answer. It was the answer he was told to give. Pretty sad.

It's been 20 years since umpire Don Denkinger made the wrong call in the 1985 World Series. And almost 10 years since Richie Garcia hosed my Orioles when Jeffrey Maier interfered with a catchable fly ball and Garcia ruled it a home run. Both were judgement calls and, though they were later shown to be bad calls, you can't blame them. However, the call made this week by umpire Doug Eddings is beyond explanation. The situation: with Chicago batter A.J. Pierzynski at the plate with two outs and two strikes already, the Angels pitcher throws a ball that breaks low. Pierzynski swings and misses, and home plate umpire clearly indicates "strike three" and then gives the fist pump that has been the sign for an out since Jesus Christ played shortstop for the Holy Land Bombers. With the batter called out, Angels catcher Josh Paul rolls the ball towards the mound. Suddenly, Pierzynski bolts towards first base. Eddings rules that the ball hit the dirt and that Paul did not tag the batter so he is safe. Of course, replays show that the ball did not hit the ground and that Eddings did not declare the pitch in the dirt but that it was an out. Of course, later he said he probably could have made his intention better known. Bull shit! Dude, you are a MAJOR LEAGUE UMPIRE. To say you didn't see the ball and "thought" it hit the dirt is inexcusable! You had 5 other umpires you could have checked with but, like others in your profession, you had to make the game about YOU! My favorite umpire is Jim Evans. Who? Exactly. The man does his job and doesn't bring attention to himself. Major League Baseball needs to discipline Eddings. Wish I was there because I would have used one of my favorite heckles, courtesy of the movie, "Fever Pitch:" 'Hey, Eddings, get off your knees. You're blowing this game!'

As I mentioned last week, three great men left us recently. They are:
August Wilson, distinguished playwright whose 10 play cycle looked at 100 years of African American life, died of liver cancer. He was 60. Born Frederick August Kittel in April 1945, Wilson was always interested in writing, first tackling poetry. After the death of his father in 1965 he changed his last name to Wilson, his mother's maiden name. That same year he got his first typewriter and began to write short plays. In 1968 he co-founded the Black Horizons Theatre in Pittsburgh, where one of his early plays, "Jitney," was performed. He later revisited that show and revamped it. His cycle of plays examined every decade from 1900-2000 and the effects those eras had on African Americans. The last play in the cycle, "Radio Golf," just opened this spring. He earned Pulitzer Prizes for the plays "Fences" and "The Piano Lesson." "Fences" also won a Tony Award as Best Play. Six other plays were nominated for the Best Play Tony Award and he also has a record seven New York Drama Critics Corner nominations.
Nipsey Russell, often referred to as the poet laureate of television, also died of cancer. He was 80. Born Julius Russell, he was performing at the age of 3 as part of a tap dance team called The Ragamuffins of Rythym. It was while he was a youngster that his mother gave him the nickname Nipsey. Russell was one of the first black actors to co star on a television series. He played Officer Anderson on "Car 54, Where Are You?," and also appeared in the 1994 movie version of the show. In 1964, while appearing on the show "Missing Links" with Ed McMahon, McMahon jokingly asked Russell at the end of the program if he had a poem for the audience. Thinking quickly, Russell came up with one. He later memorized over 600 poems, altering them for his audience. One well known verse: "The opposite of pro is con/That fact is clearly seen/If progress means move forward/Then what does Congress mean?" Russell appeared on such shows as "To Tell the Truth," "Match Game, " "What's My Line" and "Hollywood Squares." He also appeared as the Tin Men in the movie musical, "The Wiz."
Pat Kelly, a ball player who changed his ways and became an ordained minister, died from a heart attack at his home. He was 61. Kelly began his baseball career with the Minnesota Twins. The next year, he was taken by the expansion Kansas City Royals in the draft and also played for the White Sox, Orioles and Indians. It was while as an Oriole that the speedy outfielder decided to turn his back on the vices he observed (drinking, women, drugs) and became born again. He would often hold chapel services in the clubhouse before the games and I still remember him running out to left field and pointing skyward towards heaven. A great story: One day, while talking to Oriole manager Earl Weaver, Kelly asked him if he knew he walked with the Lord. Weaver replied that he rather he walked with the bases loaded!

A short one this week, dealing on Finatics like me who collect ANYTHING on their favorite films. Two great sites that feature memorabilia are: www.jawscollector.com and www.jawsmoviearchives.com. Both sites feature a great collection of items related to the film, from posters to toys to clothing. The photos below are some more of the items in my collection, which doesn't hold a candle to the above sites overseen by my friends Jim and Eddie, respectively. Take the time and take a look.

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.