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The Civil War Ghosts That Roam Key West

by Will Moriaty

"Mystic River"
by Mike Smith

Beer Guzzling, Fried Food Eatiní, SUV driviní Nirvana
by Vinnie Blesi

Terry Schiavo....Roy Horn and Montecore

by John Lewis

From This Week's Editorial....Check The Alleys of London....Fields of Greed....Do the Bartman....Bob Zemeckis and Nostradamus....Ahoy Mateys!....On Broadway
 by Mike Smith

Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2003!
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our fourth calendar year!
Number 186  (Vol. 4, No. 42). This edition is for the week of October 13--19, 2003.

Decisions, decisions...

  ∑ Terry Schiavo's feeding tube removed.
  ∑ Supreme Court agrees to hear "Pledge of Allegiance" complaint.
  ∑ After nearly 20 years, cable television & I come to a parting of the ways.

  ∑ Will's TV Picks!

One of Tampa's longest-running court battles is coming to an end. As I write these words close to noon on Wednesday, October 15, 2003, it's just a couple hours away.

Some 13 years ago, a woman named Terry Schiavo (SHY-voh) suffered a heart attack and lapsed into a coma. Gradually regaining only very partial consciousness and mobility, it was determined she was in a "persistent vegetative state" with no hope of recovery. Several years ago, her husband, Michael Schiavo lobbied to have her feeding tube removed as there was no prognosis for recovery. The court agreed. Two years ago, her feeding tube was removed (actually "capped") for the first time with the intention of letting her die---days later, another court overturned that decision.

Now here we are, two years later, still holding a death-watch for this poor woman who has no idea she has the attention of the entire world. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, still petitioning to end her suffering. The woman's parents, the Schindlers, have been arguing that recovery is just a matter of intensive therapy and Michael just wants the insurance money to marry his new fiancé.

The court battle lasted until just last month when all appeals pretty much ran out. Judge Greer, presiding over the case sided with Michael and scheduled the removal of the feeding tube for today at 2:00pm. Activists from all over the country are in Tampa right now trying all sorts of last-minute hoopla, including repeated calls to the Governor's office and calls for Judge Greer to step down. I've seen the tapes that supposedly show Terry reacting to her mother's touch. The opposing attornies call that "involuntary muscle spasms" or some such thing. However....I'm convinced that if Terry could fully appreciate the condition she's in, she would not call a few slight arm movements and vocal grunts "living", and she would opt to ease on out of this world. Who wants to live like a vegetable? Frankly, I don't believe the Schindler's "experts" who insist that after 13 years, there's going to be some kind of miracle. But I will tell you this...

I wish there was a better way to let the woman die. By removing her feeding tube, Terry Schiavo will literally starve and dehydrate to death. The proponents say she's too far gone to even feel the pain, but how can we be sure? I figured whatever Kevorkian used on his suicide patients would probably be more merciful. Oh, but woe-is-me, that opens a whole new can of worms, likely positioning the opponents to label the doctors as "executioners" or something.

Moral of the story: make absolutely sure someone close to you knows what your wishes are if you're ever rendered incapable of making decisions for yourself. It not only could mean the difference between life and death....but how you live and how you die.

(Readers: please make sure you visit this issue's Letters To The Editor for some fascinating feedback regarding the Shiavo case.--Nolan)

Pledge of Allegiance
Among other cases the US Supreme Court will take up next year is the long-standing argument over whether the line "One nation, under God" from the "Pledge of Allegiance" violates the principle of separation of church and state. This is important because the High Court has never faced the Pledge issue head-on before.

Long-time PCR readers may remember PCR issue 119 and the headline piece, "One Nation, Under God" (for more in-depth history of this case and the history of the Pledge please refer to that). Briefly, last year, a Sacremento physician and atheist, Michael Newdow, became extremely incensed when his grade-school daughter was not only made to recite the Pledge intact, but threatened with punishment if she didn't. Several court decisions and a reversal later, tada, Supreme Court territory.

My prediction: since the "God" part of the Pledge has only been in the mantra since 1954 (to help us combat those "godless Commies" don'tcha know), the Court will realize that it was an opportunistic thing to start with, is no longer relevant to this society that prides itself so much on diversity, religious and otherwise, and rule the phrase be removed.

Now the question is: after the dust settles, will kids who put the God part back in the Pledge voluntarily be punished?

Cable Access and Me
I just told Corey and even he can't believe it. I mean, he was there when I first went gaga over the thought of cable television finally coming to my area. Exactly 18 years ago this month, I signed up with the old Tampa Cable Company, the first minute it was available in South Tampa. I bought my first VCR about a month later, and still have those first tapes! (Corey was working at a video store on the north end of town, where I used to buy blank tapes by the case.)

Jones Intercable came and went after that, followed by Time-Warner, which recently re-christened itelf "Bright House". I worked at public access TV from the late '90s until last year when I produced and hosted The World of Nolan.

Recently, sadly, I came to realize something important: I can no longer afford to keep up with sky-high payments for something I barely have time to sit down and watch anymore. I realized I haven't had a "favorite show" in years, and that mostly I was only watching when I was eating. Even then, mostly the local news, which I get for free anyway. Most shocking was the fact that I've only videotaped ONE SHOW this whole year, the "Return to the Batcave" TV-Movie, and even then it was because I needed it to do a PCR review.

Don't get me wrong. I lived and died by The Sci-Fi Channel, MTV, The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, The Weather Channel, and especially Bay News 9, a round-the-clock news program of local origin. I'm going to miss them bitterly, same for many others. I have fond nostalgia for cable's early days--wild and wooly stuff that. I'm glad I was there.

But there are a lot of other things demanding my attention now. Your're reading one of them. Much of the time I used to spend in front of the TV I now spend at the computer, working on several projects at once, all to the point of exhaustion. Still....I would hang on to cable if it wasn't so g*&d%$d expensive.

Minutes ago I heard the TV go to snow, which means I've been disconnected. I feel like I've lost an old friend. The merciless corporation that now owns it all, and does so without competition can blow me. I hope satellite puts them out of business. I wish to god a rival would come into town and give us all a break, but that's not likely to happen. I may go to a satellite set-up, I've heard good things about it. Or I might break down weeks or months from now and re-sign up for cable, who knows? I didn't think I could live without a car this long, but I have. Let's see how long I can live without cable TV!

And on a ligher note....

Will's TV Picks, Week 2     by William Moriaty
Two weeks ago was the basic debut of the Fall TV season. This second week marked a redemption in one returning series, highlighted the quality in scripting and production of the newest series, and earmarked a return home in the oldest of the three series.

Karen Sisco
On ABC at 10 P.M. on Wednesday nights,this week's episode had Agent Sisco protecting two rubes that broke out of a South Florida Correctional Institute, and at the urging of a fellow prisoner, stole an originally signed Babe Ruth baseball owned by a mob king named 'Lucre", wonderfully portrayed by actor Danny Devito. This was a ten out of ten as Lynrd Skynrd music coursed through the wonderfully Elmore Leonard inspired script with its twists, turns and eccentric sense of humor. DiVito's real life wife Rhea Pearlman portrayed the rube's trailer trash mother. In Leonard type style, the rubes accidentally kill two Detroit hit men hired by Lucre to kill them (and don't even know it). This show is great! Watch it!

This show just gets better and better! This week had Jonathan Kent paying Clark a visit in Metropolis in order to bring him back home to Smallville, and his senses - - the effort was dangerous but worked. Lex Luthor returned home and decided to take his wife on another flight to the Caribbean - - only this time I don't think she made out as well as the first honeymoon flight - - Rutger Hauer portrayed a mob boss friend of Lionel Luthor, forcing Clark to give him a new veil of blood or he would kill John and Martha Kent. Lana does some serious booty-kicking in the Clark barn, but Clark just can't seem to get it right with that girl. He may be Super, but when it comes to the women folk, his dough just ain't riz! Ten of ten stars. Watch for it on the WB at 8:00 P.M. on Wednesday.

Good Morning Miami
Much improved over last week. Jake and Dylan's move to the Big Apple was short lived as after getting a gig with Dateline, Jake was shown a video tape by the Dateline staff of his former station and was heartbroken to see that the morning show he had worked so hard to get off the ground in Miami had turned into a three ring circus due to the smarmy new wench running the station. This episode returned the show's fun factor and I'm looking forward to watching it on a regular basis again. Eight stars out of ten. Tuesdays at 9:30 p.M. on NBC.

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"Mike's Rant" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2003 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2003 by 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    "Murder on the Woo Woo Express" is ©2003 by Patty G. Henderson     All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova    
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