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Now in our eighth calendar year!

PCR #375. (Vol. 8, No. 22) This edition is for the week of May 28--June 3, 2007.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! I apologize for the Lou Gehrig-streak keeping rant from last week. Late in his career, as his illness progressed, to keep his consecutive game streak alive the Yankees, when playing out of town, would often bat Gehrig first in the line up and list him as the shortstop. Of course, once he batted he was replaced at the bottom of the inning with another game under his belt. Quite an exciting week was had by your humble writer. Shall we begin?

"Bug"  by Mike Smith
The Greatest Thing We Can Do to Honor the "Star Wars" 30th Anniversary is To Abolish the First Three "Episodes"....Charles Nelson Reilly Has Died....The Ed Wood of presidents calls W "The Worst"!  by Andy Lalino
The Week That Was  by Mike Smith
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Hard to know where to start but I guess the beginning is the best place:

Juanita and me.
Last Friday myself, my girlfriend Juanita and my son, Phillip, headed back to the island of Martha's Vineyard to reunite with some friends. We had to be at the airport early, so 4:30 am came awful early. After an uneventful flight from Kansas City to Chicago to Boston we headed to the Cape Air ticket counter. I had been told that the flight would be a puddle jumper over the ocean to the island. I expected one of those nice 30-40 seat jets. WRONG! What we got were two propeller/nine seat Cessnas. I should have mentioned that Juanita does not like to fly. Having mentioned that, I should now mention that as there were two planes heading out at the same time, we were separated, with Juanita going on the first plane and Phillip and I following immediately after. Once we took off I couldn't help but worry about how Juanita was doing as the turbulence (caused by the warm air the pilot told us) bounced us around for 20 mins. Upon landing I realized my fears were justified when we were greeted by a very ashen faced Juanita. However, after some reassuring hugs, all was right again and we picked up our rental car and headed to the hotel. After checking in we met some of our friends across the street at a very nice sandwich shop. After lunch we headed back to the airport to greet some more friends, including our mate Eddie from Liverpool. We gave him a Beatles like welcome and laughed as he knelt down to kiss the ground. Apparently his flight hadn't been as smooth as ours had been. One of our friends, who lives on the island, said that one of the local radio stations had reported that "some JAWS fans" would be visiting that weekend. We later learned that this news was put out by one of the ladies at the local Chamber of Commerce. Our group has grown increasingly popular with the Chamber, who last year let us keep Greg Nicotero's recreation of the Bruce the Shark at our housing compound when we visited.

With everyone now present (a few more were scheduled to arrive the next morning) we headed into Edgartown to have dinner at the Wharf. Those of you with great memories may recall that this is where Matt played live last year. When we got there, the hostess told us that she couldn't accommodate our group of 18 because she had another large group coming in. When we asked her if she was sure she nodded then said, "You can talk to Jeff if you want to." To most people, Jeff is the manager of the Wharf. To us crazy fans of the film "JAWS," Jeff is Jeffrey Voorhees, who played Alex Kinter, the little boy who is eaten by the shark in the film. So I went up and "talked to Jeff," who remembered our group and Matt's concert from last year. Do I need to mention that our group was sitting down and ordering shortly after we spoke? After dinner we all headed back to the hotel where the night continued for many of our group. I nursed my beer for a couple of hours and then turned in.

Phillip, manning the grill.
Early Saturday morning, some of us went back into Edgartown to visit the historical society. Meeting us there was Edith Blake, who had documented the filming of JAWS back in 1974 and wrote a best selling book about what she saw. Edie had taken thousands of photographs and had donated her negatives to the historical society some time ago. Among her photos were some shots from JAWS 2. These photos were taken when the original director, John Hancock, was still in charge. The original story had the island town of Amity facing ruin after the events of the first film and the photos showed how the town had been altered. One of the photos showed Roy Scheider with the little boy who was cast as his youngest son, Sean. At first, the boy looked like Marc Gilpin, who played the part in JAWS 2. However, we were told that the boy in the picture was none other then Ricky Schroeder. This was something that we had never known before. We then took a walking tour of Edgartown and saw some of the familiar locations from the film. Then it was back to the hotel and lunch at the sandwich shop again. Eager to escape us nuts, Phillip headed to the local Frisbee golf course. Everyone was told to be at the hotel at 3 pm for a special event. Actually, there were two special events planned. Event number one was an unannounced presentation of the documentary "The Shark is Still Working." Though I had already seen it, many of our group hadn't and the film was met with much approval. Event number two came in the middle of the screening. I presented everyone in attendance with a box. Inside was an old JAWS ring that could be found in many gumball machines back in 1975. Well, almost every box had a JAWS ring. My son Phillip, who was helping me distribute the boxes, handed one to Juanita. The look on her face when she opened it told me she had gotten the right box. Inside was a beautiful diamond ring that had once belonged to my mother's mother. Juanita asked, "is this what I think it is?" I nodded and the tears began to flow. So look for the wedding edition of Mike's Rant sometime in 2008. Saturday night we all went out to dinner again, then sat up late into the night.

Eddie MacCormack and I man the controls for the shark (I'm in charge of the head).
Sunday morning took us to the farm of the late Craig Kingsbury. Mr. Kingsbury had played the doomed fisherman Ben Gardner in JAWS and we had been invited to visit by his daughter, Kristen Henshaw. She spent most of our visit regaling us with stories about her dad who is still the only person on the island to be given a DWI while driving a team of oxen! Mr. Kingsbury never liked to carry cash and paid for everything, from a $3.00 haircut to a new stove, with checks. Upon our departure, Kristen brought out a stack of her dad's canceled checks and let each person choose one to keep, thereby allowing us to get Mr. Kingsbury's autograph. As Kristen had already given me one in 2005 at JAWFest I found one dated July 26 and gave it to Phillip as that is his birthday. When we returned to the hotel we went to a local sea food shop for lunch. Being cool, yet crazed, fan boys (and girls) we very discreetly snuck glances at the handsome young man sitting at the table across from us - "Smallville's" own Clark Kent, Tom Welling. Nobody bothered him as he ate, which I'm sure he appreciated. That night we had a cook out on the beach and once again talked into the night.

Me and Lynn and Susan Murphy and my piece of the ORCA.
Monday brought us all an unexpected surprise. When the production of JAWS ended, Universal sold all of its unwanted equipment (boats, barrels, etc) to two local people who had worked on the film, Lynn and Susan Murphy. The Murphy's heard we were in town and invited us over to see some of their treasure. Our group of ten split up, with half going with Lynn while the group I was in hung with Susan. We were in the house looking at some incredible snapshots when we heard the sound of a saw. Susan noticed out puzzled looks and replied, "Sounds like Lynn is cutting up the ORCA!" Our jaws dropped! In one of the garages the Murphys have what is left of the ORCA II, which was a fiberglass recreation of the ORCA that was designed to sink on cue for the climax of the film. Our hands were shaking as we were each given a piece of the holy grail of JAWSdom. We left on cloud nine. For dinner on our last night on the island, we decided to go to a little restaurant near out hotel. Our now smaller group of 12 were seated and given menus. Our faces froze. The prices were outrageous, at least for our group. Salad: $9.00. Steak: $32.00. And that was just for the entree. If you wanted something with it, it was going to cost you. Thinking quickly, one of our group picked up his cell phone and then, with a startled look on his face, headed for the exit. Juanita approached the hostess and told her that there had been an emergency and we had to leave. Giggling as we hit the street, we drove into the next town and had pizza! Again a night spent chatting and drinking gave way to sleep.

Tuesday morning we were told that breakfast at the little restaurant we had scurried out of the night before wasn't too pricey. We headed over, silently hoping that the hostess from the night before wasn't working. No such luck. Telling her, "I told you we'd be back," we were seated and enjoyed a nice breakfast. After breakfast we all said our goodbyes. Some were heading to the ferry back to the mainland, while some of us were heading to the airport and a return bout with Cape SCARE! As the temperature was much cooler, the flight back to Boston wasn't nearly so harried and we landed safely. With time to kill in Boston, we took in some historical sights, including Paul Revere's house. Then it was on to Chicago then home.

And now you know the rest of the story!


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

"Mike's Rant" is ©2007 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 ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.