Either your browser's javascript has been disabled or it needs an update! Please re-enable your javascript program or update your browser to view this page as designed.
Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2008!
   Assistant Editor:  Terence Nuzum.     Advertising and Promotions:  Andy Lalino.     HOME     ARCHIVES
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our ninth calendar year!
Number 413  (Vol. 9, No. 8). This edition is for the week of February 18--24, 2008.

"The Best Picture Nominees Are..."
Dr. Paul Bearer: The Lost Photographs – Part 1
A Retired Cuban-American Activist Remembers a Different Castro
Barack Attack or Obama Yomama...Rondo Hatton Awards
Oscar Night .... Somewhere John Hooper Is Weeping .... Death Goes To The Movies .... Speaking Of Heath Ledger .... In Memory .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1981 Should Have Gone To... s
Village Inn Encounter

It's Over
Well, a very old question -- "How long would Fidel Castro remain in office as Cuba's President and Commander-in-Chief? How long could he?" -- has finally been answered.

In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, February 19th, the official announcement was made on the state website, followed by Cuba's state-run media: the 81-year-old dictator was stepping down, presumably due to failing health, and ceding total power to his 76-year-old younger brother, Raul.

Castro seized power in 1959, overthrowing the former regime headed by Batista. Shortly afterwards, he turned the island nation completely Communist and aligned himself with Russia. Outlasting ten American presidents and a decades-old embargo, Castro was a pain in our side, yet his people (largely) admired him for his gaul and persistence.

The most notorious attempt to overthrow his tenure was the Kennedy administration's botched Bay of Pigs invasion, to this day one of the worst political embarrassments in history. Although John Kennedy redeemed himself completely during the Cuban Missle Crisis a year later, the Bay of Pigs was hard to live down.

However, that same administration was responsible for instituting the trade embargo with Cuba, that, to a great extent, is still in place. Castro referred to it frequently during speeches, including the one regarding his resignation.

Castro temporarily ceded power to Raul in summer of 2006 while he underwent intestinal surgery. He has not been seen in public since, but has been seen in photos and videos released by the Cuban government. Appearing old and fragile, it was evident his days were numbered, despite cheery propaganda from the ministry.

So....what now? Despite the US offers to, basically, bring a little good ol' capitalism down that way and improve the standard of living, the Cuban leaders have steadfastly refused to entertain the notion. My personal opinion is, over time, Raul will soften the official position in an effort to lift the embargo. Then again, he's pretty old, too, and his successor is being chosen soon.

I lived long enough to see Fidel Castro step down. I think I'll live long enough to see Cuba democratized.

An Adorable Encounter at the Village Inn
Last Saturday was going to be special anyway, as I was meeting up with some very old friends. Former PCR writer Lisa Zubek (Lisa's Lambast, Lisa on the Left) was coming to Tampa to re-introduce me to an old friend of hers, Brian Bomar, whom she recently rediscovered, was pretty madly in love with, and was talking of marrying. Moves pretty fast, that girl.

Funnily, I had met Brian before, when he and Lisa both worked at Busch Gardens together, but it had been, like, 25 years ago. My memory sucks for stuff like that and I had to embarrassingly admit my memory was foggy at best. Anyway, they agreed to come to Tampa and we'd meet at the Village Inn restaurant on S. Dale Mabry. (She's been living in Orlando, but has temporarily taken up residence in Riverview with Brian.) I thought about bringing a camera, but decided against it at the last minute.

Upon arrival, I made some hasty introductions (past PCR contributors Count Poffula and Lauré Piper were present as well), and we sat down to eat and catch up.

Towards the end of our meal I became distracted by some activity at an adjacent table -- a precious little girl, I figured somewhere between 8 and 10 years old, obviously out with her family, was in the process of building a huge castle or a fort or something out of loose jelly packets! I laughed to myself and figured she must be bored and this was how she was going to pass the time. I drew my friends' attention to this scene, and noticed that a few other diners were watching this unfold as well. We kept talking, but we'd occasionally look over to check her progress.

About the time she seemed to be running out of jelly packets, Brian decided to donate some of ours! I cheerfully cooperated myself by handing over our remaining table's supply. Now she had two nearly full containers' worth to continue. After incorporating those, she secured more from still another table. Amazingly, and despite several close calls, the pile did not tip over, and Brian was able to get a picture with his cellphone camera. (I'd have a better shot if I'd decided to bring my camera, but how can you know when these things are going to happen?) I believe a member of her family also got the shot.

She eventually introduced herself to me as Samantha Basco and said she is 10 years old. I introduced myself and complimented her on her inspiration and persistence. We asked her mother if we could publish the picture on this website and we exchanged contact information. The Readers Comment that appeared last week from Samantha was an inquiry about the photo that appears here.

In all the excitement, we never thought to take pictures of our reunion! Haha. It's OK, Brian and Lisa are relocating closer to Tampa, and hopefully we'll be meeting up fairly frequently. Last Saturday's encounter, however, has me visualizing a future where Samantha is a master sculptor and I'm the old man covering her escapades for my website!

Readers' Comments

The Readers Comments for this issue of PCR is now closed. To continue to interact, please use the Message Board or write a Letter to the Editor! The comments below are listed starting with the most recent. Thank you.

Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
Nolan [25-02-2008 23:36] 
Art, hello , I hope all is well with you. The video of Harry Wise and Halloween Village will join other World of Nolan episodes that were shot but never edited and posted (due to a litany of various problems I won't bore you with at this time) later in 2008. Or, I as should say, "barring further catastrophe". Sorry for the delay.
Art Litka [25-02-2008 19:58]  
Nolan, I heard something about the video of Harry Wise and the Halloween village appearing somewhere. Could you let me know how to access it? Thanks and hope all is well with you.

Art Litka
Michael [24-02-2008 15:00] 
Matt, Good choices, though sadly not the right ones! Huh! Huh! Huh! Good luck.
Steve Beasley [24-02-2008 11:50]  
Hi Nole!

Great piece on Samantha Basco! I know you made her (and her family's) day! It's good to see just a bit of light reading on the site....just to break it up a little bit.
Steve Beasley [24-02-2008 11:46]  
Hey Paul!

I loved your piece on Raul Villamia! The timing is excellent and the story holds true with the opinions of the mothers of the Cuban girls I used to date. I would always ask their mothers about Batista, Castro, the Revolution, etc....mainly because I have always liked to know these things from a survivor's perspective, rather than just reading the Tampa Tribune or the Miami Herald, etc. I've been reading La Gaceta since the early 70s (except for the last 6 years that I've been in NZ) and have always loved reading it front to back. Roland Manteiga's back page was always a favorite, as was the photos of people all over town. I seldom read an issue that I didn't know at least one person in it....of course I was in the liquor wholesale business and had to visit all the bars, package stores and restaurants in the Bay area in my work.
matthew [24-02-2008 08:17] 
Oscar predictions conclusion

Achievement in sound mixing
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro)
Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Achievement in visual effects

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney)
John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier

Adapted screenplay

“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Original screenplay
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight)
Written by Diablo Cody
matthew [24-02-2008 08:15] 
Achievement in makeup

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney) Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted”
(Walt Disney)
Music by Alan Menken
Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Best animated short film

“Peter & the Wolf” (BreakThru Films)
A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production
Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Best live action short film
“The Tonto Woman”
A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production
Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

Achievement in sound editing

“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Christopher Scarabosio and Matthew Wood

matthew [24-02-2008 08:14] 
Achievement in cinematography

“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Robert Elswit

Achievement in costume design

“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood

Achievement in directing

“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Paul Thomas Anderson

Best documentary feature
“Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience” (The Documentary Group)
A Documentary Group Production
Richard E. Robbins

Best documentary short subject

“Sari’s Mother” (Cinema Guild)
A Daylight Factory Production
James Longley

Achievement in film editing

“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Dylan Tichenor

Best foreign language film of the year
“Beaufort” A Metro Communications, Movie Plus Production

matthew [24-02-2008 08:12] 
Forgot to do my Oscar picks this year. Wups. Have to do it here in 3 posts.

Best Movie of the Year

“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Best Actor
Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah” (Warner Independent)

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.)

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal)

Best Supporting Actress
Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

Best animated feature film of the year

“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Brad Bird

Achievement in art direction

“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Art Direction: Dante Ferretti
Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
Puff Chrissy [23-02-2008 07:18] 
Village Inn never did it for me. I don't miss many things from the States, but when it is 3 in the morning and we're in town, I miss being able to have breakfast at Perkins in the middle of the night.
terence [21-02-2008 18:47] 
wow. just when i think jmillers art on Canova cant top itsself he goes and draws his best issue yet. looks amazing.
Chris Woods [21-02-2008 17:37] 
In St. Pete, there's a Village Inn on 4th St. and Ulmerton Rd. that I know of. We had one in Utica, NY back in the day. Not sure if it's still there. I thought Village Inns were only up north, but when I moved down here a saw a bunch of them.
ED [21-02-2008 16:04] 
There is also a Villiage Inn about two miles from my house on San Jose Bld in Jacksonville. We refer to it as Villiage Idiots and only eat there about twice a year.
Michael [21-02-2008 13:04] 
Ironically, I've only seen two other Villiage Inn's in this country. There used to be one, I think, in Temple Terrace, and there is one near me here in Kansas. Small world.
matthew [21-02-2008 04:05] 
yeah, we couldn't have our Krystal burgers, but long live the traditionalist champions who keep village inn pancake house rocking and rolling with superior food and service! and one of the finest breakfest menus this side of morning.
Michael [20-02-2008 20:27] 
Wow, sorry I missed the Pancake House get together. I used to bus boy there in high school and still proudly remember the night Andre the Giant came in. We actually shared a few breakfasts there this past year when Matt's mom passed. Funny thing is, the place hasn't really changed in 30 years.
matthew [20-02-2008 20:11] 
that's a mighty impressive pyramid. even from the scaled down diameter to a real one perspective.

perhaps samantha should entertain the idea of getting into sculpting, with clays and woods. and later, get into architecture.
Paul Guzzo [20-02-2008 16:33] 
check out my film look this week guys ... not a film article, but an article on Ybor City's role in Castro's revolution, a fitting article for this week.
Steve Beasley [19-02-2008 19:52]  
Oh God, I miss diners!

I knew we'd live long enough to see Castro either step down or die in office, after all....he's ancient.
Paul Guzzo [19-02-2008 16:43] 
I hear my boss preach everyday ... I don't wanna hear him when I'm home too!

Castro stepped down because he pretty much admitted he couldn't handle the day to day life of running a country ... if only Bush was so honest!
Chris Woods [19-02-2008 16:31] 
We've been reporting on the Castro story all day at work. I don't think anything will really change with his brother in charge. I hope Bush doesn't think this is a window to jump on Cuba and force Democracy on them. Like, Paul said they have to want it. We shouldn't butt in and I hope we don't.

BTW - Paul, Bay News 9 interviewed your boss at La Gaceta on local reaction to Castro resigning. It was a pretty good piece, not sure if you saw it yet.
Paul Guzzo [19-02-2008 15:15] 
If Nolan would allow it, I have a few good articles I've written on both anti and bro Castro leaders in Tampa over the years ... some of these people are fascinating. If he doesn't mind me publishing something on his site that ran in La Gaceta a few years ago, I'd love to re-run them ... they're fitting for this time in history.
J.MILLER2 [19-02-2008 14:05] 
The poor in Cuba will remain poor with or without democracy and Captialism...The only thing that will change is maybe now they can get a job cleaning up after tourist when the whole island turns into a clone of St. Pete beach...

I dont blame the Cuban people for overthrowing the Batista regime...Its just a shame Castro provided such poor leadership...Hopefully things will pull together...
Nolan [19-02-2008 12:47] 
Hear! Hear!
Paul Guzzo [19-02-2008 12:33] 
Only if the people want Democracy. We can't force it on them. All we should do is make sure that they can make the decision for themselves and not have the decision forced on them, either by Raul Castro or the U.S. government. I know a number of people who have been to Cuba ... YES, many hate the system and want nothing more than an opportunity to live in a Democracy ... BUT, many are happy with the system and the free health care and education they receive. Who knows ... we can all try and read their minds and thrust our opinions on them, the fact is every fact we read or hear mirrors the opinion of the fact giver and must be taken with a grain of salt. LEt's hope we let them decide and let's hope they have the opportunity to decide.
Nolan [19-02-2008 12:18] 
And, of course, ED has another jaw-dropper in this week's Retrorama! Haha, I know you'll dig it.
Nolan [19-02-2008 12:14] 
OK, so now you all know what the "pancake restaurant" talk from Samantha was about in last week's Comments.

I know I'm a little ahead of schedule, but it was getting to be a busy news week! I'd like some comments on Castro's stepping down. Can Cuba be democratized and embrace capitalism?
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

"Mike's Rant" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2008 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2008 by Andy Lalino    "FANGRRL" is ©2008 by Lisa Ciurro    "Retrorama" is ©2008 by ED Tucker    "Filmlook" is ©2008 by Paul Guzzo      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova    
Crazed Fanboy dotcom is owned and operated by Nolan B. Canova

Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan

In Association with Amazon.com

Back to Top