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"A Tale of Two Cities: St. Petersburg and Tampa - - A Bay Separating A Gulf of Differences"
by Will Moriaty
by Mike Smith
"Spidey Powers for the MTV generation" and "Mr. Monk meets Crazed Fanboy"
by Vinnie B.
How rests the Dungeonmaster?
  by John Lewis
Vacation musings, baseball, and television
 by Brandon Jones
Johnny Depp....28 Days Later....Britney Spears
 by Ashley Lauren
What is an Icon?....Ed-Dee! Ed-Dee!....Legion....Who's Watching The Kids?....I Buried The Lead....Thanks for the Memories....Passing On
by Mike Smith
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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2003!

Number 175  (Vol. 4, No. 31). This edition is for the week of July 28--August 3, 2003.

Bob Hope dies at 100
The world is truly Hope-less. "Hollywood Longevity", Part 3

How The Reunion Went
Computer Upgrade May Mean Downtime
Letters (Mike Smith, Andy Lalino)

The death of comedian/legend Bob Hope has truly left a sizable void in the world of show business. Altho in recent years live appearances were rare due to failing health, he made a surprising number at special events right up until about 1999.

Just last month I wrote about Hollywood Longevity and how the Depression-era children of Hollywood often lived to be such a ripe old age. At the time I was referring to the recent passings of Katherine Hepburn and Buddy Ebsen, both well into their 90s when they died. And now, scant weeks later, Bob Hope, gone at 100. This is a generation whose like we will never see again.

The media has already marked his passing with appropriately sizable bios, both televised and in print, so I won't even attempt to do that here (Mike Smith is unquestionably our expert at that). Rather I would just like to mark the occasion by saying that I am glad I "knew" the last of that breed, the classic vaudevillians, mostly through the "Johhny Carson" generation talk/variety shows. I feel for the younger generation that will never know how special it was to see a Hope TV special or watch him surprise Carson with a walk-on. The Oscar ceremonies always benefitted from his presence. And the armed forces certainly owe him a debt of gratitude for NEVER abandoning their entertainment needs.

Not only will there never be another Bob Hope...there can never be another Bob Hope. The conditions that gave him to us are not repeatable. He will be sorely missed.

How the reunion went
As you remember in last week's issue, I commented on how William and I were looking forward to our 30-year high school reunion, which was last weekend for T.R. Robinson, classes of '72 & '73 (we are the latter) at the Radisson Sand Key in Clearwater. Well, it came and went and it went pretty well. The funniest part is how NObody expected to recognize anybody else, so we all were hunched over reading everyone's chest (name tag) to ascertain identities. I myself had one solid hit: one Mark Chapman (not to be confused with the fellow who assassinated John Lennon), who I share a history with that goes all the way back to the second grade! His mother used to be a substitute teacher at St. Patrick's. Mark now works for AOL, coincidentally enough. I also met and talked with Terry Thomas and Debbie Longman Thomas, highschool sweethearts who've been married to each other ever since, and I congratulate them. Terry was class president of, well, everything, as I recall. These reunions were actually handled by these two for years before "Reunion Celebrations, Inc" took it over. I'd also like to give a handwave to Norman Jones, the first one who found me wandering in the corridor. Norman was one of those guys I remembered, but I couldn't remember why! HA ha.

Afterwards, William and I gave a call to Florida Folk Hero and Florida noir author, Dan Allison (All the Little Birdies, On the Whispering Wind) to meet us down he road. Will and I enjoyed a terrific drive down the Gulf beaches to St. Pete (a story in itself really) and picked up Dan at a Waffle House. From there we went to Annie Moore's Irish Pub, but unfortunately it was karaoke night--couldn't hear ourselves think. So we packed up and went over to Woody's On The Beach, a wonderful little bistro/bar/outside restaurant, where we could indulge our beach-bum selves on all things literary and Florida. What a great night!

Dan and WillNolan and Dan
Dan Allison, left, and William Moriaty animatedly discussing our common themes over beers at Annie Moore's Irish Pub Later, at Woody's On The Beach, Dan and I pose for a picture after getting buzzed on wine and Marguaritas! (And the best darn steak sandwich I ever had!)

And it wasn't over yet. From Woody's we went to Fort DeSoto Park and, owing to a beautifully clear night, were able to see the stunning brightness of Mars (currently closer to earth than it's gonna be for a while) and, yes, the Milky Way, which I haven't seen for years due to light pollution in Tampa. Anyway, we continued to exchange stories and drive around until the wee hours when we deposited Dan at home, and Will dumped me on my doorstep around 2:30am. I feel pretty worldly right now--ha ha.

Computer upgrade may mean downtime
As usual at this time of the week, I'm running a little behind, but this time it's mainly owing to formatting brand-new pieces like Jason Liquori's DINOSOLDIER and Vin Blesi's Willim and Molls in our just-launched Original Fiction section. ED Tucker's "Knock-off G.I.Joe Figures of the '60s", the new Schlockarama review, the Florida Filmmaker's Update, all already here, plus any columns arriving after later Wednesday afternoon will be unavoidably delayed in uploading this week due to a major computer upgrade being performed on my aging system by one Corey Castellano, make-up maestro extraordinaire, but also my main computer-tech! This should only take a couple hours (he assures me) Thursday morning, so theoretically and barring catastrophe I will only be running one day late. I'm out of time for today (Wednesday), however, I have to get some rest before work tonight (like THIS isn't work!--ha ha)

UPDATE: Friday, 8-1-03. The whole shebang came to a screeching halt Thursday due to a missing $1.50 adapter that no store in Tampa carries, apparently (last-minute shopping discovery), so had to be special ordered. No harm done, but the advance disassembly-reassembly of the computer in preparation cost me a day's production, so please bear with me as I get the last few extrememly late updates into place! (by Friday noon). Thank you--Nolan.

Letters to the Editor--click image

In Association with
"Mike's Rant" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2003 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2003 byh William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith    "Ashley's Hollywood" is ©2003 by Ashley Lauren Lewis    "Creature's Corner" is ©2003 by John Lewis    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2003 by Vinnie Blesi    Add'l thanks to Andy Lalino and Mike Smith for their input in "Letters"    All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova    
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