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Now in our sixth calendar year!

PCR #300. (Vol. 6, No. 51) This edition is for the week of December 19--25, 2005.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Another short one. Don't you love the holidays? Shall we begin?

The History of Miami International Airport -- Part Two
 by William Moriaty
 by Mike Smith
Trials of a Mother
 by Mike "Deadguy" Scott
2005 Did Not Really Exist
 by Vinnie Blesi
In Search of Christmas
 by Mark Terry
The Point of Existence
 by Dylan Jones
True Christmas Spirit....Man of the Year....Biggest Surprise of the Year....Bigget Disappointment of the Year....I like Superman?...300?
 by Brandon Jones
Christmas Greetings....The Chronicles of Narnia
 by John Lewis
Issue 300....Freedom of Holiday Choice....Christmas Time
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Big 3 0 0....Merry Christmas....What The?...Passing On....India On Line....WTF?, Part 2....Jaws: The Story, Part 48 -- Final Chapter
 by Mike Smith
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THE BIG 3 0 0
Wow! I can't believe the PCR has hit its 300th Issue. It seems like only yesterday Nolan told me he was putting a little on line 'zine together and asked if I was willing to send in a note or two. What began as a lark has turned into a very important part of my life each week.

My thanks to all of our loyal readers and congrats to my editor and, more importantly, my friend, Nolan.

Hope I'm not offending anyone here with this joyous season's greeting. To me it's Christmas, so I wish you all a very merry one!

OK, I think I've given President Bush as much benefit of the doubt as I can muster. I've been chastised because I've never had anything good to say about him. My mother always told me that if you can't say anything nice about someone, make sure they're out of the Goddamn room! Good advice. I have said in the past that I don't think Mr. Bush is a bad man. I admire the fact that he's not embarrassed to profess his deep belief in God. 45 years ago JFK's Roman Catholic upbringing was a major point in the elections but today it's almost refreshing to see faith out in the open. However, this week the president has done two things that completely boggle my mind:
1. While maintaining that HE has the right to authorize anything he wants, including wiretapping. After all, the safety of the country is what matters. Yet, on the same day he proclaims this he makes no mention of the fact that 24 top officials from Saddam Hussein's regime, including "Dr. Germ" and "Mrs. Anthrax," were released from jail in Iraq with no charges being filed. WHAT?? These were the people our troops went over to Iraq to do battle with and capture. For God's sake, Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, the eerily named "Mrs. Anthrax, was the frickin' five of hearts on those "Most Wanted" cards the government was hawking. She helped make all of those chemical weapons of mass destruction that were given as the reason we invaded Iraq in the first place. Remember those?
2. During his press conference on Monday he was asked a question about the legality of the wiretaps and replied that he had relied on the information a judge had given him. He was then asked if the US would have more success in Iraq if more soldiers had been deployed. He stated that General Tommy Franks had told him we didn't need more so that's why we didn't send more. You know, it's funny. I don't remember voting for some judge. I don't remember voting for Tommy Franks. And let me state for the record that I sure as hell didn't vote for George W. Bush! But those of us that voted assumed we were casting our votes for a President. Every time something reflects badly on him (anyone remember Hurricane Katrina and "Brownie") Mr. Bush feels the need to put the blame on others. YOU ARE THE LEADER OF THE GREATEST NATION IN THE WORLD! ACT LIKE IT!

Very sad to learn of the passing of actor John Spencer of a heart attack over the weekend. I was a great admirer of his for his work on "L.A. Law," as well as work in films like "Presumed Innocent" and "Sea of Love." An Emmy winner for his work on "The West Wing," his character is currently the running mate of Presidential Candidate and former "Law" co-star Jimmy Smits. No word yet on how Spencer's death will be written into the show. Mr. Spencer would have turned 59 this week.

I'm sure you have all heard about the outsourcing of various customer service jobs to other countries, where the workers presumably work cheaper. This evening I was checking my checking account balance when I was shocked to see that three checks (not for very much, between $9.00 and $19.00) had been returned for insufficient funds. Puzzled, I looked over my transactions and noticed a very large electronic withdrawal paid to American On Line. I've been a subscriber since 1996 and recently had Road Runner Internet Service installed. Part of the deal was that AOL was included so I figured I'd save a few bucks that way. The first month AOL still charged me. I called and complained, was assured the problem had been corrected, and received a refund. The next month, nothing. So I figured everything was good. WRONG! So I get on line and log on to speak to a "live" representative. I explain my problem and am greeted with a solicitation for a Wal Mart Gift Card. I click off and dial the number given on screen. I am greeted by a very polite computer asking me various questions that have nothing to do with my problem. Soon I am yelling and shouting into the phone, stringing together a chain of obscenities that would make "A Christmas Story's" Darin McGaven blush. Soon the voice tells me "I see. I'll connect you with a representative now." The line is picked up by a man with a heavy Indian accent. Try as I might, I have no idea what he is trying to say and, after a few minutes, he gives me another number. The voice answers, "America On Line, this is Brian!" "Where are you right now, Brian," I ask? "Albuquerque, New Mexico," I hear. "Thank God," I tell him. Brian laughs. He's apparently heard this before. Anyway, Brian takes care of my problem and assures me of a swift refund. He also gives me some information to present to my bank in hopes of having the fees refunded. Good luck with that!

Michael J. Fox has announced that he is in talks for a fourth installment of the "Back to the Future" series. The catch? Fox wants to play Doctor Emmit Brown, a part played to perfection by the great (and still very much alive and working) Christopher Lloyd. Can't wait to hear how this comes out.

OK, I know I've probably bored many of you with my year long rantings and ravings on the film, "Jaws." For that I apologize. For those of you that continued to read these, I hope you got not only an insight into my favorite film but an idea how much the film has had an impact on me. "Jaws" affected me in so many ways. Not only did it introduce me to an exciting new world, but it played a large part in my career path. On a more personal note, I've made many friends because of the film, most importantly my fellow PCR pal, Matt. In less then a year, Matt and I will celebrate 30 YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP. Not "friends," guys who get together occasionally for a beer or two, but FRIENDS. Brothers, really. From childhood to middle age, through births and deaths, marriages and divorce, Matt has always been there for me. And I'd like to think I've been there for him. I'd hate to think what might have been if the cashier had sold me that ticket to "Dog Day Afternoon." The added joy this year of attending "JawsFEST" with him, and the new friends we both made, only makes the end of this series complete. Next year it's random films, with contributions from many of you reading this. It should be fun!

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week and, most importantly, a very safe and happy holiday. 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.