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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2010!
Assistant Editor / Co-moderator: Terence Nuzum

Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our eleventh calendar year!
Number 514  (Vol. 11, No. 5). This edition is for the week of January 25--30, 2010.

iPad Unveiled
R.I.P., J.D Salinger, 91
Obama's State of the Union and the Tampa Connection
Avatar Watch
Conan Watch
President Obama to Visit Tampa
Readers' Comments


Crazed Fanboy's Most Memorable Moments, 2000--2009
As submitted by PCR writers, compiled by Chris Woods
From 2000, the debut of Mike's Rant by Mike Smith and Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg.
Apple's Steve Jobs unveiled his new gadget this week ending weeks of speculation from tech-geeks everywhere. Named the "iPad", presumably as a derivation of "iPod", Jobs demonstrated his new baby as a revolution in portable computers....or something like that.

To a fellow baby-boomer, I can describe it as a MacIntosh computer stuffed inside an Etch-A-Sketch. To a younger person, this might look like a touchscreen iPhone for André the Giant.

I can see where they'd get that. It looks more Star Trek-ish---like that thin monitor-looking thing the crew is always carrying around. And like all things MacIntosh you can move icons around by touching and dragging them.

The biggest complaint is the gadget's name, iPad, sounding like a feminine-hygiene product, and spoofs on YouTube are already popping up. "iTablet" or "iSlate" or something like that probably would've been more spoof-proof, but like I said, I think Jobs wanted it to sound like iPod, one of the company's most successful products ever.

In the comedy-always-predicts-ridiculousness department, years ago, MadTV did a spoof on a computerized feminie hygiene product called, you guessed it, the iPad. I guess Jobs missed that episode.

Slight digression: I seem to be only one of about three people on the planet who remembers about thirty years ago when Saturday Night Live did a spoof-type commerical featuring a three-bladed shaving razor as ridiculous in its excess (the two-bladed razors had just come out). Sure enough, sometime during the '90s, the three-blade razors came out for real. Except for the most subtle of mentions on Weekend Update by Colin Quinn, the SNL prediction was never acknowledged!

Digression concluded. Despite the name, I can see the iPad catching on and....coincidentally, of course...being renamed for next year's model.

R.I.P., J. D. SALINGER, 91

The author of the quissentential required-reading novel, 1951's The Catcher In The Rye, J. D. Salinger, has died at the age of 91. I'll go ahead and use the most oft-quoted description of the novel as, the "enduring anthem of adolescent angst and youthful rebellion and a classic of 20th-century American literature". To try and summarize this enigmatic and reclusive author's life--what is known of it--in a short space is futile. Sources all over the web can help with that (including this excellent bit in The Washington Post).

My main memory of Salinger has to do with his notoriously reclusive nature and hatred of all human contact, especially after his last short stories were published in the mid-'60s. He did leave a wish with his family to publish more stories after his death, but there is no word on when or if that will happen.

The adventures and misadventures of Holden Caulfield, the disillusioned 16-year-old central character in The Catcher in the Rye, arguably laid the groundwork for the "disenfrachised youth" literature that came after. Salinger's characters, it is said, were more real and desirable to him than real people and helped him express his feelings of the world's phoniness.


I, for one, was quite taken with President Obama's first State of the Union speech last Wednesday night (Jan 27). It was a really uplifting and encouraging experience. He spent most of the time talking about the economy, not all that much on health care (though it did get an important finger-shake), and a renewed commitment to exiting Iraq. All good stuff.

My favorite part -- and here I'm biased, of course -- was the "shout-out" (sort of) to Tampa, roughly 20 minutes into the speech. "Tomorrow, I'm going to Tampa, Florida, where ground is being broken on a new high-speed rail," or words to that effect. Yay, us.

Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden were indeed in Tampa yesterday, Thursday, January 28th. And indeed we're getting an infusion of Federal money, though not quite as high a figure as originally estimated. About $1.25 billion is going into the "bullet train" that will initially connect Tampa to Lakeland and Orlando. This is part of a $8 billion stimulus that is being seeded all around the country for a bullet-train initiative.

I couldn't attend the Tampa event myself, but the video of it makes me giddy to know that both the President and Vice-President of the United States were standing together not all that far away from where I am now. But if they'd've stopped by my 7-Eleven for a Slurpee and I wasn't there -- oh, would I have been mad.

Seriously, though, the new bullet train project will create something like 40,000 jobs during construction, but reduce to a labor force of somewhere around 600 to maintain and operate the facility. Good news in a dire economy.


Sometime over this past weekend, at $1.8 billion, the James Cameron film Avatar became the highest-grossing film of all time, surpassing the old record set by the 1997 James Cameron film, Titanic. Add to this that Avatar has only been out six weeks and it's taken the number one spot every weekend. Since it's not going anywhere anytime real soon, I think it's safe to project that Avatar may be the first film to pass the $2 billion mark. And it'll likely do it in the near future.

It's certainly good to be James Cameron right now. In the movie biz, he is indeed king of the world.

I still don't get it, but that's, apparently, my problem. I sincerely congratulate James Cameron and everyone tied to Avatar for this monumental feat.

For those who may still care, after accounting for inflation of ticket prices over the past 60 years, the number one film is -- still -- Gone With the Wind. Avatar, on this list, places somewhere around number 47.


Soon after the announcement in last week's issue that Conan O'Brien's severance package with NBC would total about $30 million to peacefully exit, it was subsequently reported through many sources that his package was upped to $33 million with an additional $12 million to be split amongst his staff, all of whom relocated to LA for the seven months The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien was on. Sweet deal.

Further, at the time, I commented on the Jay Leno situation being inconclusive about his return to late night. It was subsequently reported that he will indeed be returning as host of The Tonight Show after all.

Conan's final show as host last Friday was comparatively dignified, foreshadowing of the agreed-upon deal that though he cannot return to television until September, he is barred from taking any more potshots at NBC.

These moves are historic and will be commented on in books and specials for decades to come. I've never seen anything like it and doubtless won't again. At the end of the day, at least all parties managed to settle with the greatest profit and least humiliation -- save, maybe, for NBC itself.


President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will hold a town hall meeting in Tampa on Thursday (Jan 28) at the Bob Martinez Sports Center at the University of Tampa.

The program begins at 12:30 p.m. There is still no clear word on the subject of Obama's visit, but high-speed rail advocates believe the president will announce a Florida rail grant. Federal funds amounting to $2 billion toward this project are expected to be announced and confirmed.

Having our own bullet-train will solve the long-standing problem of how to cut our drives to Lakeland and Disney World in half. Yes, I'm being sarcastic. But....it may also give thousands of out-of-work Floridians much-needed jobs, so...ya know?

Readers' Comments

The Readers' Comment 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.
Michael [01-02-2010 19:56] 
Steve, I think I mentioned the statue when I covered "Rocky Horror" last year...still, thanks for the note.

R.I.P. David Brown, producer of such films as "The Sting," "Cocoon," "A Few Good Men" and, of course, "Jaws." Wow, February has been a tough month for JAWS fans. We lost Peter Benchley and Roy Scheider in Feb as well. :-(
Steve Beasley [01-02-2010 17:33] 
Hey Mike, in Hamilton, New Zealand there is a statue of Richard O'Brien, the creator/writer of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. They erected it a few years ago since he's from Hamilton. You see it on the main drag as you drive through thesmall town.
Steve Beasley [01-02-2010 17:27] 
In an interview I saw on TV years ago, Pernell Roberts also mentioned that he felt stupid calling Lorne Greene, "Pa" on set when Greene wasn't but a few years older than Parnell, who coincidentally was a native of Waycross, Georgia.

I do remember Adam on Bonanza very well, and didn't really have a preference whether he was there or not, because the better stories revolved around Hoss and Little Joe, and once or twice even involved the Ponderosa cook, "Hop Sing". Adam (Roberts) was always involved in romantic stories which bored me, but I'm sure the chicks dug it.
Simon Lynx [01-02-2010 16:45] 
R.I.P. Jack Brisco
Chris Woods [01-02-2010 14:58] 
R.I.P. Jack Brisco. Legendary wrestler and Tampa resident for many years is dead at age 68 from complications from heart surgery.
ED [01-02-2010 06:08] 
Mike - good photos of the Outlaw figure there. it sure looks like Roberts to me, with a mustache added of course. I was very luck in the mid 80's around the last time I went to Stars Hall of Fame on a school field trip. We got a guided tour and they told us a lot of cool trivia. They also had a statue of Desi Arnez that Lucille Ball had demanded removed from her exhibit. They dressed him as an Arab and put him in the Spartacus set with his face covered!
Vinnie B. [31-01-2010 19:39] 
it is sad when the nerds reject me.
Michael [31-01-2010 15:59] 

http://cgi.ebay.com/Bonanza-American-Character -Outlaw-Figure-w-Horse-Acc_W0QQitemZ160377520506QQ cmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item25573 ec17a
Chris Woods [31-01-2010 15:39] 
Lisa - Liked your Pirate article. I liked when you were talking about Hook and said "This movie belongs in Never Watch Again Land." That was cool. And the line where you said "Geena Davis (and her big teeth)", that made me laugh. And check out Ice Pirates. WPIX Channel 11 in NY use to play it all the time in the 80's.
Michael [31-01-2010 12:39] 
ED, the things you learn. I wasn't aware of the action figures or the wax figure. Ironically, I visited the Stars Hall of Fame on my honeymoon in 1981 and remember the Bonanza display. I will say in my defense though that it was years after the show left the air that I even knew there was a third brother....I think I was too young to remember Adam Cartwright when he left, if I even saw the show then.

Thanks for the info.
ED [31-01-2010 05:00] 
Mike - apparently the cast of Bonaza DID have hard feelings for Pernell Roberts after he left the show. When American Character released a line of action figures for the show back in the 60's, the cast demanded the one of Adam be removed so it was reworked into a generic "Outlaw" figure. Years later when Stars Hall of Fame opened in Orlando, the cast refused to have their likenesses used in a Bonaza display if Roberts was among them. His already completed figure was moved to another display and disguised.
Michael [30-01-2010 21:38] 
Lisa, great article. Don't make apologies about being 12...I'm 49 and I still like "The Pirate Movie!" As well as the story it ripped off, "The Pirates of Penzance." Great job indeed. Aaaarrrgh!
William Moriaty [30-01-2010 21:11] 
Great article Lisa! Yar!
Simon Lynx [29-01-2010 20:08] 
Lisa - enjoyed your Pirate article. "Ice Pirates" was one of my favorites as a kid. I recently scored the dvd.
J.MILLER [29-01-2010 16:34] 
Tez --- Im saying what happens when we get off of the train...Like how to we move around from place to place?

I love the idea...As Im sure most in my generation do...I just wanna know what steps are being taken to improve local public transportation once we step off of the train...

Personally I like Miami's system...Plus their local rail line is free!
Happy Young Man [29-01-2010 16:23] 
Trains also encourage economic development .... proof is right here locally. The tiny trolley line has seen $4.5 BILLION in developments go up along the line since it broke ground.... it is also a step towards lessening cars on the road. In other countries, people ride their bikes instead of cars, and when they need to go long distances, right their bikes to the train.... next step for us is a light rail system connecting DT Tampa, USF area, Brandon, airport and St. Pete.

Unless we do something to prevent urban sprawl, we will lose our open land. Train systems allow people to live in downtown areas, commute long distances, and leave the open land alone, rather than building new housing developments on the open land so people can live closer to their jobs in other communities.

Yeah, trains, what an awful idea. Do people even think before their criticize things?
Terence [29-01-2010 15:55] 
the train is for commuters so if they cant find a job in Tampa they can consider jobs farther. i thought that was obvious.
crist [29-01-2010 14:38] 
Seriously, though, Orlando isn't much of a trip, and there isn't much more reason to go than to go to Disney and other theme parks. You don't suppose that it is a secret plan to bring more business to Orlando theme parks? Government money secret bailing out theme parks under the guise of creating jobs for a high speed train to literally nowhere.
It's been said that a one-way ticket on the train would be $30.00. $30.00! For $30.00 in gas, I could go between Orlando and Tampa not one way, not back and forth, but back and forth TWICE! When I got there, too, I'd have the freedom to drive to where I had to go.
Spending four times what it would normally cost at the cost of freedom of mobility is not a good deal. Sure, you can get there faster, but it still isn't worth it. Why would we be in such a hurry to get somewhere close by? Obama, you did it again!
crist [29-01-2010 14:30] 
What do we do when we get to our destination? Why, get back in and head on back! Spending a few hours on a high-speed train should be quite inspiring, and liberating, for us creative types. We can even imagine that we are going somewhere really fast!
I suggest that we go for a slow speed train, kind of like the locomotive at Disney World. We could then spend an entire day going to Orlando and back, and that way it would be more of an adventure, and we'd get more time in our cool train. They could even do murder mystery and theme rides! Yeah! Better yet, integrate it into Disney World! It could end at Disney World, and then merge into their train system for the ultimate vacation experience! How bout them apples?
J.MILLER [29-01-2010 14:15] 
I like the train idea...But what are we sposed to do once we reach our destination?
private [29-01-2010 07:19] 
yeah! les watch some shaft! and then, we can watch love at first bite, where tehy mistake count chocula for a chicken when he is flying through their apartment as a bat! yeah!
Major Major [29-01-2010 06:45] 
Bought a fifteen-pack of blaxploitation movies for $5. Let's crank up the bass and get the party started!
Goro [29-01-2010 06:29] 
Dude, get over it. Chris Woods gave you an honest review. Take it as constructive criticism, and move on.
The best part about MCS was Terence's part. Nolan's was ok, too. Yours was the weakest third of the film. I agree with the review that Chris Woods gave!
Curious [28-01-2010 21:28] 
Chris Woods said that website stinks, so it must.
zombieartist [28-01-2010 20:47] 

Chris Woods [28-01-2010 19:40] 
ED - I enjoyed your article on Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things. I've always liked that film. It's been awhile since I seen it.
Chris Woods [28-01-2010 19:39] 
Will - Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the schlock reviews. Can't wait to see you back on there.

ED - Yeah, most of the Crown International Films I've seen are from that box set, which is mostly very bad sex comedies or action dramas. I'll have to check out some of the other Crown International flicks.
J.MILLER [28-01-2010 15:35] 
Will - Thanks! ARTpool is an awesome place...They throw monthly events so maybe Ill see you around at one
Michael [28-01-2010 15:32] 
Thank GOD for Crown International. They helped keep Twin Bays in business for years!

J. D. Salinger died...guess we're never going to get to read that next novel.
Jason Fetters [28-01-2010 14:30]  
Reading Will's last article stirred up emotions of eating at the Mexican Burro. I went to Flickr and there is an old photo of the Burro plus a photo set of closed Tampa restaurants.
ED [28-01-2010 08:29] 
Chris - don't dis Crown International on the basis of just the films you have seen. Keep in mind that they released hundreds, if not thousands, of films throughout the 70's and 80's to a starving drive-in market. Granted they were by no means picky about what they distributed but they ended up with some cool titles like Nightmare in Wax, Stanley, and Blood of Dracula's Castle. All these T&A films like Beach Girls had to do was deliver on the nudity to be considered a viable product since that's all the primary audience for this type of movie really cared about.
stn [28-01-2010 06:37] 
have u watched hard rock zombies nolan? it funny!
Nolan [28-01-2010 02:25] 
To "crist": I think you meant to say "The era of depending upon college degrees and big businesses is over." Your support of small business would conflict otherwise. The dispute over the value of a college degree might vary depending on the cases in question.

To Will: I think you meant "Hey John" since it was he who wrote about ARTpool, but yes, a really good perspective on it.

Keep up the great work everybody!
William Moriaty [27-01-2010 19:30] 
Hey Jason! Enjoyed your article on ARTpool. I went there last July for a Mid-Century Modern display and had a blast! They had a comic art show last September, but due to having the plan for an upcoming tree planting project wasn't able to attend.
William Moriaty [27-01-2010 19:24] 
Thank you and God Bless you Chris Woods for your article and your return to pop culture in this thread. I'm still waiting for my "Creature From the Haunted Sea" DVD for my first Schlock write up in a long time.
Chris Woods [27-01-2010 18:10] 
New Schlock Review posted: THE BEACH GIRLS
crist [27-01-2010 16:25] 
LOL... funny stuff. No, I'm not selling a scheme. I'm saying start your own business, and don't depend on anyone else. You can't scam yourself that easily.
J.MILLER [26-01-2010 15:11] 
""Want hope? Start your own business, and work hard at it. The era of depending upon college degrees and businesses is over.""

Crist - U selling Amway or something?
crist [26-01-2010 14:44] 
Agreed. The government is spending too much money on things which could not possibly be worth the potential return. Obama is throwing money at problems, hoping that they will go away. He is also benefiting the jerks who are responsible for the economic meltdown, which is wrong.
This economy is going to be bad for a long time to come. High unemployment will be an issue for at least four more years. Want hope? Start your own business, and work hard at it. The era of depending upon college degrees and businesses is over. So is my faith in government to "save us". We must first save ourselves.
Brandon [26-01-2010 14:03] 
How many jobs is $2billion worth? You could give 2 million people a thousand dollars or better yet, make 2,000 people millionaires. Floridians have voted time and time again - we don't want to pay for it. Having the Federal Government subsidize this project is part of the debt problem.
Trainhopper [26-01-2010 13:03] 
If we can't get high-speed rail working, at least let us get Amtrak service back to the Panhandle. The route between New Orleans and Jax has been dead since 2005...due to "damage."
ED [26-01-2010 08:22] 
First again?
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

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