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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2009!
   Assistant Editor / Co-Moderator:  Terence Nuzum.                 HOME        ARCHIVES
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our tenth calendar year!
Number 462  (Vol. 10, No. 5). This edition is for the week of January 26--February 1, 2009.

"New In Town"
DVD Review: "All Monsters Attack"
FANGRRL Looks At 2009
They Really Are Who We Thought They Were! .... Steelers No Slouch Either! .... Mike And Stupid In The Morning .... Super Bowl Media Day .... Personal Foul! .... Bonds Will Need A Bond .... .... h
Super Bowl Prediction .... Top Ten Albums .... .... u
Space...the Real Final Frontier .... Anyone Know How To Dance Like A Zombie? .... Young Talent .... What Is Fair .... Passing On .... 50 Years After The Music Died .... 58 .... Super Bowl Prediction .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... p

Pop Culture in Transition
Predicted Death of Analog TV Back on Schedule (formerly: Slightly Premature)
Another Economy-Related Death?
Readers' Comments

Predicted Death of Analog TV Back on Schedule

The House overturned the Senate bill passed on Monday to delay the nationwide switch to digital TV signals. The new transition date would've moved the original February 17 date to June 12 under the bill. The congressionally-mandated date of February 17th, however, is back on schedule and is, presumably, now locked in stone.

6.5 million households, mostly lower-income, have not bought the newer digital TVs or converters for their old sets, according to a study by the Nielsen Co.

The government experienced a bit of a shortfall of funding, it seems, for the gov't-issued converter box coupons, valued at $40 and intended to help those rabbit-ear devotees buy the $70-ish converter box. They ran out, and new applicants have been put on a waiting list.

I had doubts whether the proposed delay was going to rectify this in the assumption it would only take four months. The original deadline, mandated by Congress about ten years ago, kinda snuck up on us, didn't it?

Ye Olde Editor is one of those rabbit-ear devotees, but got my converter box last May. It took a little doing to get all the stations I need to come in right, but I eventually got it down. For the little TV I watch (mostly news), springing for cable or a digital set is impractical. But, hey, I recognize a deadline when I see one.

Not that I was ever all that worked up over this switch-over anyway, I never had problems with analog TV. It's my understanding, however, that the soon-to-be freed-up analog channels will be used for government emergency signals or something. (Does no one but me smell a conspiracy there?) I mean, yes, I see an improvement in video quality with digital, but it only seems really a big deal viewing sports on a HUGE screen (all the tiny sports data and such, like scores, are more legible). The more pressing urgency, at least it seems to me, is getting TV viewers used to the 16:9 aspect ratio of modern broadcasts, "widescreen" as it were, versus the 4:3 ratio of "classic" TV. Now, the "letterboxing" effect will be reversed where the black bars appear on the sides to offset, er, non-letterboxing of classic TV.

It might be prudent to remind our younger readers that they've been trying to get this switch-over completed for at least 15 years! Americans were slow to get enthralled about HD, digital, or whatever, while TV sets built to view them were still in the $10,000 range (big shock). To say nothing of network broadcasts still being 98% analog (and 4:3) until about 5 years ago. Now, pretty much all network shows go out in Hi-Def and TV sets have tumbled well into affordability range.

Now that I've had a few months to get used to digital via converter box, I only have one real complaint: the signal coming into your neighborhood needs to be real strong, or you wind up with an unviewable, artifact-y picture, or worse yet, no picture at all! At least with analog, you might get a ghosty, snowy picture, but you'd get something. And worst comes to worst, the audio rarely failed, which was especially comforting during storm season when emergency broadcasts were your lifeline!

Hey, I still have the radio.

Another Economy-Related Death?

40-year-old medical tech Ervin Lupoe and his wife, Ava, lost their jobs recently with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center West Los Angeles. Distraught at the thought of living in poverty and homelessness, they hatched a plan that was shockingly desperate.

After sending a fax of his intentions to KABC-TV of Los Angeles(!!), Ervin shot his wife and five children to death, then turned the gun on himself, ending it all.

The chief of police, visibly rattled, commented to reporters that this is not the way to deal with unemployment(!) and there is "help out there". Well...you'd think. Not meaning to be insensitive, but I can't help wondering what else was going on with Mr. Lupoe.

Besides the gruesome nature of this tragedy on its own merits, like killing your own children, all under the age of ten, over something like this, is anyone besides me wondering why his "suicide note" (as it were) wound up going to a TV station??

Didn't call a suicide prevention hot-line, nor, evidently, ever inquired as to goverment financial assistance (presumably beneath him). But with the rather twisted view of modern man that things ony really count if they're on television, made his last official act on this earth (not counting the homicide/suicide) one of obtaining publicity for his actions. And to what end? "Shaming" Kaiser for firing him? A shot at immortality by this statement on the sour economy? (Their firing may have had nothing to do with layoffs, but the result of an internal investigation.)

I don't know if anyone else remembers this, but this series of events reminds me of the strange case of John List, the accountant who, seeing the inflation of the early '70s wreck his fragile world-view, and getting deeper in debt, decided to kill his mother, his wife, and their three kids to "send them home to heaven" and spare them the humiliation of going on Welfare. Only being spotlighted on America's Most Wanted resulted in an arrest for List 18 years after the crime (he'd assumed a new identity by that point). Google it, it's wild. (I saw the original AMW episode myself and was riveted.)

The major difference between Lupoe and List is List kept everything secret because he'd never intended to turn the gun on himself (that would be a sin, you see -- he was devoutly religious!). Lupoe wanted his actions "to count" somehow, with greater publicity.

Pop Culture sensibility-gone-wild: I'm just amazed that with everything facing him, Ervin Lupoe still thought about making the evening news.

Readers' Comments

The Readers' Comments section 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.
J.MILLER [03-02-2009 06:58] 
Did anyone else cringe when Springsteens crotch smashed into the camera?
Steve \"Treetop Flyer\" Beasley [03-02-2009 01:42] 
At least y'all got to see Springsteen! They went straight from the end of the 2nd quarter into 3rd quarter. Damn I miss home!

They didn't even show the Tampa skyline down here, the sorry bastards! The cameras never strayed from within the stadium.
Terence [02-02-2009 19:14] 
too bad he didnt get to meet Springsteen. The Boss doesnt like football i hear. by the way his performance last night wasnt so hot. totally unspringsteen and way to Las Vegas. Las Vegas is not the Boss. and Glory Days? cmon! he shouldve played The River or something from Nebraska. yeah yeah i know that isnt peppy and tailgate fodder. he was the wrong choice to play period. itd be like Pink Floyd or Bob Dylan playing the superbowl. fish out of water. but i hope i age as good as him. can you believe hes 59!!!
Former Basketball Star Lisa X [02-02-2009 14:14] 
My 10th grade JV basketball team got absolutely crucified one time way back when. We also scored a big fat zero! )I don't remember what the other team's final score was.) We sucked and we knew it. Everyone knew it. (There was pretty much no arguing otherwise after that game.)

No big deal...who gives a crap? We didn't. I say play the best (sportsmanlike) game you can and if you win by 100 points, good for you. If you can't shoot hoops to save your life, then you should get kicked off the team. (Like most of our team was!)

Chris M. -- Damn, that's harsh about Mike & Mike and Dungy. Wow. FYI-My hubby worked at the Super Bowl last night...he got to watch the game from the 50-yard line...answer a question for Hugh Grant...watch Faith Hill walk by...Jesse Jackson shook his hand and said hello, just 'cos he (hubby) helped him find his seat.
ED [02-02-2009 09:59] 
Chris - Imagine seeing The Demon on regular TV like I did originally with the all the nudity and violence at the end cut out! It was ten times more confusing. The movie has the feeling of something that either ran out of money and had to be cobbled together or even a TV pilot that was paded to feature length. Mitchell's character exiting abruptly is a dead giveaway that something went wrong with this production.
J.MILLER [01-02-2009 23:46] 
Right...High school ball...Girls high school ball at that...

Everybody knows that hotdogging is penalized by cheap shots...In this situation were parents and coaches were cheering as the team closed in on 100 points there should have been a few girls leaving that gym with limps...

Steve Beasley [01-02-2009 22:27] 
Whadd'ya mean "beating up" on a girl's basketball team? They volunteered!

No one said cheat with a shot to the groin is okay in sports. You're talking street ball, not high school ball.
J.MILLER [01-02-2009 22:23] 
Not that I am an expert on the subject or anything...I only spent the majority of my life until adult hood on St. Petersburgs basketball courts...Not exactly the most PC of places...

Were the team on the losing end messed up was they did not take enough cheap shots...When someone hotdogs you send a message...They go up for a lay-up you take out their legs...Go up for a jumper you shove an elbow in their chest...

If you guys think beating up on a girls basketball team is a good thing...I guess because it's some sort of anti-pc message...Then who am I to argue...

Steve Beasley [01-02-2009 21:23] 
I'm still going with Mike's original opinion on the firing of the coach. You supposed to try and win, not take it easy on the other team. Especially in junior high school and beyond.
Nolan [01-02-2009 11:22] 
Matt -- the traditional deadline for PCR submissions used to be Friday at noon and eventually crept up to Saturday noon, By that time, if an expected column isn't posted yet, I have to assume the writer isn't interested in posting that week (it will only be up two days before it is archived), so the homepage link is removed.

I re-activated the link to Matt's Rail.
matthew [01-02-2009 09:01] 
i did my rail but for some reason it isnt showing on the home page.
Michael [01-02-2009 06:51] 
4. Again, I agree, you don't run up the score. But you can't NOT PLAY THE GAME. If I was on the losing side I would be more upset that they just dribbled the ball around for 20 mins then PLAY THE GAME. There surely are ways of backing off but to not play the game is the bigger insult to me. Like I said earlier, if your 3rd string players are kicking the crap out of my starters then I'm not doing something right as a coach. And believe me, I been told that by more then a few parents over my coaching career.
Michael [01-02-2009 06:47] 

Point #1 taken. In reading the coachs' comments he kept eluding to the "clock running" which I took to mean the shot clock.

2. Learning differences doesn't mean the kids can't be good athletes. To paint someone with a "Learning Difference" with that big a brush is pretty petty. Dexter Manley COULDN'T READ and played in the NFL. FYI, the boys from the "learning difference" school beat the boys from the winning school right after the blow out game.

3. According to parents. As someone who coaches I can tell you I've had parents talk to me after a game and wonder if they were even at the same game I attended. According to the athletic director of the losing school the game became "a layup drill." You'd think if the kids were bombing threes he would have pointed that out. And if that were the case, then I would have a problem with the winning coach.

Chris M. [01-02-2009 04:11] 
To Chris Woods, Re: 10 Things We Know About Wrestling

Chris, sorry i missed your comment last week, I still have computer problems, but I would like to respond by saying that TNA is coming up and anyone who has sat down and watched an episode of Impact! would agree. Right now they are the fasted growing wrestling promotion in the world. They are touring the world, selling out arenas all over after just 6 years of starting. You are right, they do have all the scraps from the WWE, and they do push Angle, Booker T, Kevin Nash, and all the other legends a little much, but if you think about it, how would Joe Blow wrestler get over if he's constantly wrestling another Joe Blow? He would need to wrestle the big names and beat them. Plus, WCW and ECW did alot things that hurt them in the long run, but they still have a cult following, wrestling fans love that style. Fans would love to see WCW back, or at least I would anyway. But now we have TNA.
J.MILLER2 [31-01-2009 23:44] 
Fair enough...But a few corrections and omitions from your article...

1. High school basketball doesn't have a shotclock....

2. The losing team comes from a small school that specializes in teaching kids with "learning differences"...

3. According to parents in the audience...The winning team continued a full court press and three pointers into the fourth quarter...

100 points doesn't just show up on a scoreboard...Each Quarter is only six minutes...That is not a hard clock to drain even if they had a shotclock...Most of the time my coaches required a five pass minimum before a shot went up during a blowout...

Anybody who has ever played knows that there is an unwritten law against running up the score...

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/ highschool/01/22/covenantschool100.ap/index.html?e ref=si_topstories
Michael [31-01-2009 21:39] 
J. Point taken. However, the team did everything it could NOT to humiliate the other team short of just throwing the ball away each time they touched it. And if your 2nd or 3rd string players are still whipping the opponents best then it's time to address the coaching on the other side of the floor.

The RANT is finished with some new entries and the look at "Chinatown." Enjoy!
J.MILLER [31-01-2009 13:41] 
Mike --- I have to disagree and say that the high school coach should be fired...

If your son played at the high school level then surely you noticed that not all teams are created equally and coaches are normally just the science teacher volunteering for a few extra bucks...They also can't go out and recruit so they are stuck with whatever poindexter shows up for try-outs...

On top of all this it was a girls team...Have you ever seen girls basketball?..It's painful...Plus their skills levels are all over the map...

All I know is that when I played whether at a playground or in high school my goal was never to go out and humiliate a weaker oponent...I showed up to compete...Not run lay-up drills on the dorksquad...
Petrey [31-01-2009 12:48] 
Political Correctness = Teabagging 101
The Beaz [31-01-2009 12:32] 
Hey Mike!

I dug your piece titled, "WHAT IS FAIR". I agree with you about keeping scoring for little kids vs scoring for high school kids.

I can't believe he was asked to apologize for doing a good job.

Political correctness run amuck!
Petrey [31-01-2009 10:41] 
"El Topo" - 2nite @ The Britton Theatre - Auditorium 8 - 7:30 & 9:45PM - Free for all
Steve Beasley [31-01-2009 01:01] 
Oh, great! I can just see Charles Manson working a suicide hotline!

Hey Mike, I've got a similar TV squeen from Panasonic! ;)
J.MILLER2 [30-01-2009 22:06] 
Nole --- Funny you should inquire about the man not calling the "suicide helpline"...People should be aware that the experts on the other end of the line are people in prison!
Michael [30-01-2009 21:02] 
Christ, did I write "squeen?" My apologies. Fast fingers tonight. Obviously I meant "screen." Or did I?
Michael [30-01-2009 21:01] 
I have a Panasonic HD television where the squeen is more rectangular then a normal set, more like a theatre screen. It also has a "cinema" setting which allows me to watch the biggest scope films and avoid the dreaded "black bars." Which reminds me of a funny story. We had played "Braveheart" for months and had finally moved it into a small auditorium. The masking on the screen wasn't working properly so the film did not fill the screen top to bottom. I had two different customers come out and complain to me because the movie was "letter boxed." I think one of them was married to the guy who used to complain after a movie and tell me that he was a sound engineer and could tell that "the THX wasn't turned on." Memories.
Terence [30-01-2009 09:22] 
I didn't say it was released here all i meant was that I confused it with the planet X title.
Nolan [29-01-2009 20:55] 
Lonnie: I know, I heard. I didn't have time to update the homepage to reflect that until now. (Jan 29)

the fangrrlish Lisa X [29-01-2009 20:10] 
I've finally written a column again! I just published it, but Papa Nolan will have to work his website magic to make it visible from the homepage.

Now can I take off this dunce cap and stop standing in the corner? I wanna play with my friends at recess. I'll behave, I promise!
Petrey [29-01-2009 17:22] 
Big screen High Def. Televisions are a joke for us projectionists. Movies like "SUSPIRIA" or "THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY" will STILL have the black bars on the top and bottom unless you choose ZOOM features. Philips has only just now come out with a TV 'wide' enough to where you won't need to zoom AS MUCH. This is why I will stick with my video projector. You get the WHOLE picture, never any cropping and most importantly. it's 6 lbs!
Lonnie Dohlen [29-01-2009 11:07]  
Nolan,the House of Republicans defeated a Bill to delay the upcoming Transition from Analog tto Digital.That means The Turnover will proceed on Feb 17.
ED [29-01-2009 09:41] 
Ter - Actually the alternate title is Invasion of the Astros or Invasion of the Astro Monster. Those were the two alternate theatrical titles and Monster Zero was the main one when it was released on a double feature with War of the Gargantuas. Later on television and home video it was retitled Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero to be sure everyone knew it was a Godzilla film. I believe IMDB and some other sources may list some other titles like the Planet X one but I don't think it was every released under those, at least not in the US.
Terence [29-01-2009 09:04] 
ahh you caught me in an error ed! yeah i was confusing it not with Gamera but melding it with its monster zero title and its other alternate Invasion of planet X.
ED [29-01-2009 03:39] 
Ter - Monster X was a Gamera foe, I assume you mean Monster Zero which was King Ghidora, That film was done in 1965, three years before Destroy All Monsters but it wasn't released in the US until after it. Smog Monster tried to go for a darker tone but it still had an annoying kid character that was too much of a reminder of Revenge. The first Mechagodzilla film gave Godzilla a worthy adversary and the fight scenes are decent but he had become too much of a good guy character by this point from TV exposure. All he was missing was a white hat and a badge!
Terence [28-01-2009 21:23] 
Godzilla's Revenge is one of the worst things ever made. its nearly unwatchable its so bad. To me Godzilla's later period while fun ( Revenge isnt even that) was an embarrasement to the earlier more serious films. Only Godzilla vs The Smog Monster really is a classic from the post Monster X films.
SUPER Partier Paul Guzzo [28-01-2009 20:52] 
But where is the Super Bowl mention ... and WHAT did you buy at the convention two years ago?!?!?!
Chris Woods [28-01-2009 19:05] 
First! Great PCR so far. It's jammed packed for a Wednesday.
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

"Mike's Rant" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2009 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith    "FANGRRL" is ©2009 by Lisa Scherer Ciurro    "La Floridiana" is ©2009 by William Moriaty    "Retrorama" is ©2009 by ED Tucker    "Sports Talk" is ©2009 by Chris Munger      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova    
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