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PCR #309. (Vol. 7, No. 8) This edition is for the week of February 20--26, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Who in the HELL is running this country? And a few sad passings. Shall we begin?

"Capote"  by Mike Smith
A Tale of Two Sergeants...."When a Stranger Calls"....Rain  by John Lewis
Haunt X  by Mark Terry
Happy Birthday....Pulling The String....Passing On....My Favorite Films--Chapter 8  by Mike Smith
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Many happy returns to Will Moriaty, the man we all strive to be here at the PCR!

The news this week tells us that the United States has agreed to turn over the running of six major ports of entry to the United Arab Emirates. When word spread of concern by citizens and, more importantly, by political leaders of both parties, President Bush said that it's what he wants and that he would veto any action to stop the process. Then today (Wednesday), comes word that Bush didn't even know about the deal until a couple of days ago. WHAT? Last I checked he was the PRESIDENT. Has he gone on so many vacations that his handlers have decided to just by pass him and run the country? How does a decision like this NOT get run by the President? And why would we allow another government to run our ports? Bush says that all of the hub bub is just another example of "Arab bashing." And sadly, in a way, maybe it is. Let's see. The majority of the 9/11 terrorists came from that part of the world. If anyone has read Tom Clancy's "Sum of All Fears" (or saw the film), you remember that terrorists hid a nuclear device in a cigarette machine, sailed it into the Port of Baltimore and then detonated it. And let me clarify something. This isn't an Arab company taking over. This is another Government. Bush has said that there is no problem because he's been reassured that these are good people. I wonder if those that reassured him are the same ones that gave weapons to Osama bin Laden in the late 1970s or Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. Do you really want another country regulating what comes into this country? Doesn't Dick Cheney have a pal at Haliburton that can do the job? Bush needs to realize that, no matter how far in bed he and his family are with certain Arab factions, his job is to protect this country. Wow, do you think he even knows he IS President?

A trio of passings this week, including:
Richard Bright, character actor probably best remembered as Michael Corleone's bodyguard in "The Godfather" films, died this week after being hit by a bus in New York City. He was 68. After many years in episodic television, Bright got his break when he got the role of Al Neri in 1972's "The Godfather." He continued the role in "The Godfather Part II" and was a major part of "The Godfather Part III." Other films include "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid," "Handle With Care," "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" and "Hair." He worked steadily until his death, appearing in such television shows as "Law and Order" and "The Sopranos." Besides "The Godfather" films, I remember Bright best for two roles: the thief that tries to take advantage of Ali McGraw in "The Getaway" and as Karl, one of Nazi Christian Szell's henchmen, in "Marathon Man".
Curt Gowdy, who for me was the voice of baseball, died in Florida this week at the age of 86. Cause of death was given as leukemia. Long before ESPN and the many different sports cable channels, if you wanted to watch baseball on television, you did it on Saturday afternoon during NBC's "Game of the Week." To me Gowdy, along with Tony Kubek and Joe Garagiola, were the teachers of a class I grew to love. Hearing Gowdy describe what others may have thought was a routine play was like an artist painting a picture in my mind. After making his radio debut in Wyoming (his home state) calling high school football games, Gowdy worked his way east where he joined Mel Allen in 1949 calling New York Yankee games., In 1951, he became the play by play voice of the Boston Red Sox. He left the Sox in 1966 and began a ten year stint with NBC. In his career he covered most major sports, from the very first Super Bowl to Hank Aaron's 715th home run. He also hosted the ABC series "The American Sportsman" for 20 years. A great voice has been silenced and I will miss it.
William Cowsill, lead singer of The Cowsills, died in Calgary, Canada this week from multiple illnesses. He was 58. In 1966, Cowsill joined with siblings Bob, Barry, John, Susan and Paul - then added mother Barbara - to form one of the most popular singing groups of the 1960s. If that sounds familiar, it's because the group was the inspiration for "The Partridge Family." Their hits included "Hair" and "The Rain, the Park and Other Things." Sadly, Barry Cowsill disappeared in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. His body was found in December.

Starring: Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, Cybil Sheppard, Albert Brooks and Jodie Foster.
Directed by: Martin Scorsese

FIRST SEEN: Varsity 6 Theater, Tampa, Florida
FAVORITE LINE: "You can do anything you want with her. You can cum on her, fuck her in the mouth, fuck her in the ass, cum on her face, man. She get your cock so hard she'll make it explode. But no rough stuff, all right?"
FAVORITE SCENE: Travis Bickle (DeNiro) and a passenger (Scorsese) chat while watching a women's silhouette in an upstairs window.

  • Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (DeNiro), Best Supporting Actress (Foster) and Musical Score (Bernard Herrmann).
  • Winner of the BAFTA Awards for Best Musical Score and Best Newcomer and Best Supporting Actress (both Foster)
  • Winner of the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival
  • Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor (DeNiro) and Screenplay (Paul Schrader)

    Coming off the critical acclaim of "Mean Streets," director Martin Scorsese chose a film that struck a chord in this country he never expected. Full of dark images the film follows Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle (DeNiro) as he takes a job squiring the various characters of New York City around. Along the way he meets teenage prostitute Iris (Foster) and takes it upon himself to help her return to what he considers a "better" life. The film is full of memorable performances, most notably Keitel as Iris' pimp, Sport. My favorite line has little to do with the words and more to do with the way Keitel says them. The final shoot out, where Travis "rescues" Iris, had to be re-cut several times to avoid an "X" rating. Scorsese not only shows an early eye for detail, he also does a fine job as a passenger in Travis' cab, watching his wife through a window from outside and plotting what he's going to do to her: "Have you ever seen what a .44 Magnum will do to a woman's pussy? Now that you should see. What a .44 Magnum will do to a woman's pussy that you should see."

    Speaking of classic lines, DeNiro has said that he picked up the now legendary "are you talkin' to me" from a waiter at a restaurant he used to frequent. DeNiro later poked fun at the line by uttering it in "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle." The musical score was the last one composed by the immortal Bernard Herrmann, who sadly died only hours after it was recorded.

    Next week I hope to turn some heads when I highlight "The Exorcist".

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

    "Mike's Rant" is ©2006 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 ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.