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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 465  (Vol. 10, No. 8). This edition is for the week of February 16--22, 2009.

"81st Annual Academy Awards"
The Yellow Submarine Chronicles Part Eight: It's All Too Much
Top 20 Albums of 2008 part 2: #10-1
7th Annual Rondo Awards Are Underway .... Monster Kid Hall Of Fame .... Oscar Picks .... t
A-fraud! .... Passing On .... Vote Early And Often .... .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... -

Fanboy Recession?
Anticipating The 81st Academy Awards
Monsters Among Us
Fanboy Recession?
Retrorama Conversion Successful
X-Men Origins TV Spots
Readers Comments

Anticipating The 81st Academy Awards

Once again, a phone conversation with Brandon Jones has brought out something I failed to notice previously.

In years past, we as a PCR community would start our grumblings about the Academy Awards weeks beforehand. Now, except for Michael Smith's chronicling in the Movie Review and the Rant, nary a whisper among fandom assembled (but thanks, Mike, for carrying the torch!).

Is it that no one cares anymore? Or no one saw enough movies? Mike brought up a good point, usually overlooked, that with increasing frequency, Hollywood tends to release its intellectual/feel-good movies after the Fall, and the Academy seems to support that with its nominations. Even last summer's The Dark Knight barely gets a mention and even then it's for the late Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker (well-earned, nonetheless).

With the currently dreadful economy, I can see where consumers are paring way back on theater attendance, and probably also their DVD purchases reserving impulse-buying for really big deals....like, well, Iron Man or The Dark Knight.

How many of you actually saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Reader or Slumdog Millionaire? These are some of the serious contenders.

I was shocked to discover -- or re-discover -- that it's been two years since Mike and I did a Nolan Radio about the Oscars (or a Nolan Radio about anything). This can and must change. Mike, if you're game, let's schedule a Nolan Radio episode about the 81st Academy Awards for next week.

Monsters Among Us

I haven't been posting nearly enough paranormal/UFO/weird/ news the last couple years as I used to previously, and that's a shame, because the last two years have been noteworthy to say the least. I did recap some of the weirdness of 2008 in the December year-end issue (remember the "alien-in-the-window" video and the found Bigfoot carcass just to name two cases).

Well, when they're not obsessing over the latest episode of The View, AOL News can occasionally scare up a juicy topic-of-the-weird that makes me smile (not that The View isn't weird....or makes me smile, which it does not.

Recently, some helicopter pilots flying over a remote region of Borneo were taking some pictures from the air for the purpose of monitoring flood regions, when they spotted the following anamoly.

In the pictures below, what you're looking at, according to the pilots, is a photo of a 100-foot-long snake the villagers of the region refer to as "Nabau" as it trolls down the Baleh River! Another picture was taken from nearer the village, but critics say both pictures are suspect, and what we're looking at is a doctored photo, the wake of a boat, or a strange log.

I am prone to believe the "doctored photo" explanation. In the original helipcopter shot at left, the banks of the river seem unnaturally sharp and clear. Plus, I'm not an expert on Borneo, but I'd think the topography of the region would show a little more diversity than the carpet-like appearance of the tree-top canopy pictured.

I took the liberty of enhancing the detail in question, shown at right. Obviously not a log or the wake of a boat. Additionally, the beast's head seems to be poking out of the water. If it's real, it's an enormous animal to be sure.

Just recently, paleontologists announced the discovery of an ancient 40-foot long snake that weighed 2,500 pounds when it was alive. Could this be its decendant?

Growing up fanboy (sorry, Chris) as I did, I was a rabid believer in cryptozoology (e.g., Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster) and UFOs. It was disillusioning, to say the least, as one sighting or photo after another would be discredited.

The frame from the legendary "Patterson film" of Bigfoot (left) sustained serious conjecture for decades until evidence for a hoax mounted ever higher (Roger Patterson's notorious rep as a huckster/documentarian is just the tip of the iceberg). Despite that, I am still hopeful that someday something will emerge to prove the creature's existence.

More discouragingly, the most famous picture of the Loch Ness Monster, labeled the "surgeon's photo" (seen at right, named after the doctor who took the shot), and hailed as incontrovertible evidence for decades, turned out to be...er...controvertible ...after all. After 60 years, a dying man's confession revealed the monster was a toy submarine with putty affixed to its periscope to simulate a head and neck. While the usual image shown in publications is severely cropped (as is the one pictured), the un-cropped shot, if you can find one somewhere, shows enormous ripples in the water around the beast. Compelling evidence that the object shown is indeed quite tiny.

I'm not going to get into any UFO stuff or hauntings this issue, and it's off-topic anyway. Even though I'm officially a "skeptic" where the paranormal is concerned, I remain deeply fascinated by people's stories and sightings, and all photographic evidence. **Cliché alert**: The Truth is Out There.

Fanboy Recession?

I confess I got the idea for this week's headline out of a conversation I had with former Splash Page columnist Brandon Jones earlier today. While I've always been extremely proud of the high standards the PCR staff established as a writing team, from about 2004 on, Crazed Fanboy has also been about interaction with its readers and stirring debate. I was complaining to Brandon how the traffic on the Message Board had slowed dramatically in recent months, the topics narrowing, and that even accounting for the cyclical nature of the message board's ebb and flow, for the first time, I'd felt like the board had outlived its usefulness.

There are many speculations as to why the board has foundered, some obvious (especially to long-time readers), some not so obvious, but repeatedly I've been talked out of discontinuing it altogether.

Combine that with a few other distressing factors related to revenue-generation, the increasingly unpredictable nature of many of our writers' availability any given week (not all that unique to these times, but whatever), the current national political and economic climate that could be influencing this, and Brandon opined we might be going through a "Fanboy Recession".

A later conversation with Schlock contributor John Miller revealed ours is far from the only site that has experienced some traffic downturns, and that people's moods may have soured on activities not directly related to surviving our current national financial crisis.

I had to then ask myself if I might be over-reacting on things like the message board situation, and that if the economy recovers, so would our reader interaction? And if so, when?

Not to worry, folks, I have no immediate plans on any drastic format changes as a knee-jerk reaction to this; I don't see anything "broke" that needs fixing yet, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't open to options and a different direction for the goal of readership expansion and interaction.

Retrorama Conversion Successful

This marks the first week ED Tucker's Retrorama was completed using the PCR Content Management System, and I'm delighted to say it was a complete success.

This was ED's first experience using the System on anything of this magnitude (I have to count 2007's "Top 10 Horror Movies" as an entry-level taste of it), and after some first-time jitters were conquered, Ed seized the moment and even improvised some. Well done, Mr. Tucker!

"X-MEN Origins" TV Spots

Now for some good old-fashioned fanboy talk. Anyone catch the X-Men Origins: Wolverine TV spots broadcast over the past few days? Thanks to an alert from Drew Reiber, I was able to see two of the three on YouTube before they were yanked by FOX. Exciting in that it looks like they're sticking pretty close to the comic on this one. Reactions?

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.
Nolan [23-02-2009 23:52] 
To J.MILLER: Good question! You'd think such a big deal would warrant further photographic investigation.

To Tim Fasano: The original Patterson film was 16mm, not Super-8 or Reg 8mm. To have "experts" say it cannot be recreated I've heard before (e.g., the "Alien Autopsy" film, since determined to be a hoax and forgotten). Several old photos of UFOs and strange creatures usually take advantage, however inadvertantly, of unique lighting and environmental conditions, e.g., the "McMinville" UFO photos or the Patterson/Gimlin Bigfoot film, that cannot be reproduced exactly due to these transient circumstances.

It's been established that Roger Patterson had been trying to fund and market a "Bigfoot discovery" documentary since around 1960 without success. It is speculated that the Bluff Creek encounter was only intended to be a scene from a bigger movie to show to investors when it took on a life of its own.
J.MILLER [23-02-2009 16:03] 
Nole - I am wondering why these guys didn't just fly the helicopter a few feet lower to get a better quality photo...This day and age there is no reason people should be snapping blurry shots of monsters...

It is harder to take these claims seriously anymore because with all of the modern advancements in technology somebody should have come forward with some indisputable evidence by now...

If I can go on Youtube and find something as random as a woman getting eatin by a greatwhite shark then there is no reason somebody can't show a legitmate video of a 100ft snake or a 10ft tall skunk ape...
Tim Fasano [23-02-2009 14:44]  
The Patterson film cannot be duplicated even by Winston and his crew. The undelating breast of the creature is a detail no hoaxter would think of, or include in a super 8mm film. Even Spielberg is amazed at the Paterson film.

As far as the snake goes. Im sorry, with "photoshop" anything is possible.
Michael [21-02-2009 12:58] 
Everyone, the "Hardcore" piece has been updated. Great contributions from ED and Greg Van Cott. Enjoy!
Nolan [21-02-2009 09:09] 
Mike, thanks, I'll be in touch via email on that.
Michael [20-02-2009 22:32] 
I'm pretty much tired of the cheaters in baseball. When he was in high school my son used to train in the off season with David Segui of the Orioles (among other teams, including the 2000 Texas Rangers) and we always used to talk about whether or not David was juicing. He did take HGH but that was prescribed to him. However, to see his body change the way it did over the years raised some eyebrows. Thankfully my kid is a spray hitter so I know he's clean! :-)

Nolan, give me a time next week for NolanRadio.
Steve Beasley [20-02-2009 14:53] 
I voted in the Rondo Awards for Dirk Benedict, er, umm...I mean Dick Binnick!

I always enjoyed fangtastic Creature Feature and the not-to-be-missed Shock Theater. It seems weird now, but I remember watching Shock Theater on TV and listining to it simultaneously on a portable radio we had back then. It felt more like Iwas at a Drive-in theater.
Petrey [20-02-2009 13:41]  
Hey everyone, for some Bigfoot fun, go to my website and there is LEGEND OF BIGFOOT, BIGFOOT & CURSE OF BIGFOOT. Corn Syrup aplenty, but taken with the right herbs, it's good fun. Also a couple of IN SEARCH OF episodes on there as well, to which I'm in the process of purchasing tons more of episodes!!
Petrey [20-02-2009 13:31] 
I've been hanging out with a group of twentysomethings so it has drained the life out of me trying to keep up but at the same time bring me out of my computer room and back into the fun zone!
matthew [20-02-2009 07:39] 
alex rodriguez continues to get caught lying. it has now come out that the drug he got nailed for using, which his cousin supposedly bought over the counter in the Dominican, was not available over the counter during that time, Now he's linked to some guy who has been banned from baseball for treating his player pateints with performance enhancing drugs. As late as 2007!! unfreakingbelieveable.
matthew [20-02-2009 07:20] 
nolan, please check out the Rondo site and vote for Dick to be in the Hall of Fame. if you havent already.

you can vote for Masters of Horror too, as a write in, but only if you are a real friend. huhuhuhuh. lol.

seriously, Dr.Paul Bearer belongs in the Hall if anyone does.
ED [20-02-2009 06:12] 
Mike - Glad you liked th Sub piece and the interview. I felt it would be worthwhile to postpone and then expand the final installment when that became available and then Mr. Shepard was kind enough to send me a copy of the stamp proof for inclusion. To the best of my knowledge that is the first time anything like that has been published.
Nolan [19-02-2009 22:06] 
To Everyone: Thanks so much for the feedback re: the Message Board. The Readers' Comments section is one of our greatest successes, and of course I'm gratified to see it being made such great use of! I'm glad you enjoy it, I do too. The Message Board, however, was installed to encourage more ongoing interaction with readers on topics that may be unrelated to PCR's current ones and can be very exciting in its own right. Spam maintenance and other abuses can be a major headache, so I tend to get discouraged those times when the minuses appear to overwhelm the pluses.

Matt: Thanks for replying to the Top 10 Album Covers inquiry, we'd been wondering what happened. Of course, I, of all people, know what it's like to promise more than your schedule or personal situation allow. I'm glad it's at least still on the middle burner for you, haha.
Me again [19-02-2009 19:43] 
ED, great job on the "Yellow Submarine" piece and incredible interview. Again, I tip my hat to you!
Michael [19-02-2009 19:40] 
I don't hit the message board as often as I should, though I did go to the 10 Album Covers notice (nice choices, by the way, T) I do agree with ED that the reader's comments section is always full and more up to the minute then a post someone might miss. I second Matt's note to hit the Rondo site and vote for the late, great Dick Bennick. I already have!
matthew [19-02-2009 17:02] 
believe me terence, the top ten album covers hangs over my head like a noose. as most of us have learned in life, alot of things don't always transpire the way we would prefer.

there is alot going on for me right now. and this week, i have the 81st academy awards to go thru and predict, hopeing against hope that i, at last, predict more winners than Mike. this, of course, is a major pipe dream that will more than likely never come to pass. kudo's to him for being as good as he is.

as for top ten albums, i will do it soon. i'm hoping to offer more than just a jpg image, but i keep running out of time i might have to do that. we'll see.

ED [19-02-2009 07:00] 
Nolan, I obviously can't comment on the message board but it seems to me that the PCR itself has been as consistantly active lately as it ever has been. There seems to be more regular columns now than ever and when you add in a few irregular ones, the front page is looking pretty full. Reader's Comments always seems active to me even if some of the comments may not be related to topics in the current issue.

I have to agree with Terence that politics is not pop culture. It is a beast unto itself. In uncertain times, people turn to pop culture and nostalgia for comfort and reassurance so it is possible that anything politcally related might turn them off more than usual now. I am sure the "distressing factors related to revenue generation" are purely economy driven and not related to any downturn in Fandom. Megacon is in about 10 days away (2/28) so the attendance there should be a pretty good indicator if there has been a drop off or not.
Political Paul Guzzo [19-02-2009 06:53] 
True dat on the politics ... I chimed in today on the board, but it is tiring to just keep defending Obama. If we have another 8 years of Clinton ... err... Obama bashing, this will get very boring.
Sundried Puff Chrissy [19-02-2009 06:26] 
I think a lot of it has to do with the way the MB continues to gravitate towards politics. And considering I'm still fatigued from the election cycle, I really don't have any interest in arguing about it anymore. It's also a bad time for movies as we wait for May (or perhaps March with Watchmen), and it's been obvious for a long time we don't watch the same TV shows (my multiple The View threads were sadly ignored).

Also, we might have to accept the fact that the MB loses some of its appeal without The Crazy.

I think we are also finding alternative ways to stay in touch, whether it be through FaceBook or emailed anonymous photos of our genitalia.

Back from the Dead Paul Guzzo [19-02-2009 05:33] 
Personally, I have disappeared for a while ... but it's solely because of work guys. Just been crazy. I work for myself now, which somehow translates to working a ton more. Go figure. BUT I'M BACK BABY! Now who can I bother in the messae board?!?!?!
Terence [18-02-2009 21:08] 

ok so post your top ten album covers already!!!!
matthew [18-02-2009 20:48] 
here, on the week you have this headline, and speak to a fanboy recession, I, the worst offender in absenteeism, am the first to post his column.

how ironic.
Chris Woods [18-02-2009 18:39] 
I was wondering if Matt ever saw are Top 10 on the message board. Matt, let us know if you ever saw them.
Nolan [18-02-2009 15:55] 
Chris, points taken, thanks. Terence and I have been talking about how politics seems to be driving the board, but in absence of anything fanboy-ish driving it more, I'm OK with it, it keeps some traffic moving. As an FYI, I include politics as a legitimate topic in pop culture, Terence does not, but I'm reluctant to discourage it.

I don't know what happened to Matt's Top 10 Album Covers -- he suggested the topic, then abandoned it. I'm not even sure he's seen the thread for it. Nice while it lasted, but serves to illustrate what I'm talking about here.

You and John have done an outstanding job on Schlockarama: Grindhouse!! If that's where you're creative energies best flow, stick with it! And thanks.

Steve [18-02-2009 15:45] 
Damn! Where did that come from! Chris is lightning fast!
Steve [18-02-2009 15:45] 

Chris Woods [18-02-2009 15:31] 
I think one reason for the slow down on the message board is just that more people are using Readers' Comments more because it's faster to just put a quick comment then logging in and finding a thread. Just my thoughts on it. Also, some of the topics as of late on the MB may not be for everyone. It seems there's a lot of political talk, which we're are coming off of a big election year, but politics really isn't my main thing to talk about. Maybe others feel the same way. If there more Fanboy topics I might go on it more, like when we had the Top 10 album covers, which started off good but kind of fizzled. Also, schedule and time play a factor as well. For me latley I only just use the comment section or post reviews on Schlock. Actually Schlockarama has become one of my favorite things on the site.
[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    "Retrorama" is ©2009 by ED Tucker    "The Audio Philes" is ©2009 by Terence Nuzum    "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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