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Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #236  (Vol. 5, No. 40)  This edition is for the week of September 27--October 3, 2004.

LA FLORIDIANA
 by William Moriaty
No column this week due to power outages in Plant City
THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
"The Forgotten"
 by Mike Smith
THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
Reviews of the latest CD releases from: Green Day, The Libertines, The Black Keys, The Concretes, The Faint
  by Terence Nuzum
COUCH POTATO
Fanzine Memoirs, Part 4....Not your file-stealing teen’s Napster....Michael Moore’s Slacker tour
  by Vinnie Blesi
ODDSERVATIONS
Guest Oddservations: Filmmaker Andrew Allan on the passing of Russ Meyer
 by Andy Lalino
SPLASH PAGE
Things I Didn’t Know but Probably Should Have – The Star Wars version....More Things, NON-Star Wars Related....Gruden has led us to the end....One Last Question
 by Brandon Jones
MATT'S RAIL
Debate? Not Really....He's King! He's Kong!
 by Matt Drinnenberg
MIKE'S RANT
Finally!....Love You Live....TagliaBOO....Meet The Beatles, Part 36
 by Mike Smith
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Couch Potato Confessions by Vinnie B.

Fanzine Memoirs.
In 1977 I published a comic fanzine called Advent. Subsequently I went on to publish Advent #2 and Gazette (with Ben Gregory). This ongoing feature will contain my thoughts and musings of those times.

Part 4 (Advent #2 continued)
The Editor’s Corner column in Advent #2 states, “Scott Gilbert makes his comic strip debut here with the saga of Mike Marlow, interstellar shamus”. This truly makes Advent #2 an even greater historical document, as it was the debut of local wunderkind artist Scott Gilbert’s first full-fledged story. Scott has gone on to become a successful artist and runs apeshot.com. Looking back at the “Mike Marlowe” strip there are rough edges but there are also glimpses of brilliance displayed. For example page 9 shows a fluid storytelling style that is both cinematic as well as vintage comic book. Once again I am grateful for the hard work put forth by artists and writers such as Scott Gilbert, and for making me look good.

1978 was the 40th anniversary of Superman so Advent had a centerpiece feature called “Reflections on Superman”. The title page to the feature was illustrated by another up and coming artist and heavy metal guitarist, Nolan B Canova. The article featured short reflections on Superman by myself, Jerry Godwin Jr. and the aforementioned Nolan B. Canova. Interestingly enough Nolan’s contribution was about Superboy and the potential for developing that storyline. Showing that Nolan was a man ahead of the times, the latest successful Superman franchise is the television series “Smallville” about Superboy and his adolescent years.

Advent 2 also addressed the issue of having more fandom goodies besides art and stories. A letters column was added called “Dialog” and a feature called “Fandom Gazette” was also added which featured fandom news and opinion. It also marked the first opinion column I penned about “The Comic Buyers Guide” censoring an ad for one of Bobby Sommerkamp’s 'zines. Bobby was remarkable human being and big supporter of Advent. A young handicapped teen, with no arms, he loved comix and despite the insurmountable odds against him he still managed to write, draw and publish his own comics.

The few years I worked on Advent were so influential on me. The support I received was overwhelming. I felt a sense of community I had never felt before, not only with people I met making the fanzine but those I only knew through correspondence. When I was able to hold the finished product in my hands and see I a product that I was proud of was an indescribable joy and an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Next: I tune in, turn on, and drop out.

Not your file-stealing teen’s Napster
I recently tried a free trial of the new Napster, with 20 free downloads. For anyone not familiar with Napster, it was the first peer-to-peer software that enabled users to download music files from one another. It was shut down for copyright infringement but not before the young writer of the software Shawn Flanning sold it for a lot of money.

Roxio software, best known for its EZ Creator CD-burning software, bought the name at a fire sale after that, and is so committed to the project that is sold off all its software products to dedicate itself totally to the new Napster.

While you can buy music tracks for 99 cents like most other online music companies, Napster hopes to make its real money off subscriptions. This basically gives you access to listen and download most of their tracks, however you cannot burn them or move them to a portable MP3 player. This might be a good idea for a parent to get for their children who just want to listen to the latest rap crap.

The Napster software is buggy and often disconnected me, giving me an error that I was already logged on. Sometimes it just froze up. I am running a pretty up to date computer with Windows XP, so I would hate to see how this runs on Windows 98 and 32 MB of ram.

The Napster software is quite vaque as to exactly what you get for free. But until I get my credit card bill, I assume that you are free to listen to tracks and download them. However, Microsoft’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) protects them, so you can only listen to them. To burn them you have to purchase the tracks.

I had 20 free downloads, and quite frankly it was hard for me to find 20 tracks I wanted. If you want the latest top 40 hits, then this service may be for you. To burn CDs, you have to use their built-in burner software. To further irritate me, after I had burned my 20 tracks to CD, they then offered to download the Napster CD cover maker. However, it was too late to make a cover for the CD I had already burned. Hello? Shouldn’t the CD cover-maker be part of the software to begin with?

This software and service is just lame and Shawn Fanning should be ashamed of himself as he drives his Ferrari down the California coastline. The only use I might see for this $15 a month service is for kids to listen to the latest Usher track and not have to worry about getting sued by the RIAA.

Michael Moore’s Slacker tour
Press Release: For Immediate Release -- Thursday, September 23, 2004
Calling it his "Slacker Uprising Tour" in an effort to get millions of traditional non-voters to the polls on November 2, the Oscar-winning filmmaker of "Fahrenheit 9/11" and #1 bestselling author Michael Moore announced today that he will embark on a 60-city tour to the 20 battleground states beginning September 26 in Elk Rapids, Michigan, and ending on Election Day in Tallahassee, Florida.

Moore will be appearing on college campuses in their auditoriums, arenas, stadiums and field houses (Penn State, Univ. of Arizona, Univ. of Florida, among others), NBA arenas (Seattle), and hockey arenas (Toledo). Nearly all venues will hold between 5,000 and 15,000 people, with students -- historically the largest block of non-voters in presidential elections -- admitted for free at most events (at some events, non-students will pay $5 or a nominal charge to cover costs).

Moore's show will consist of his monologue, interaction with the audience, and a few surprise guests. He will read letters he's received from soldiers in Iraq (published in his new book, "Will They Ever Trust Us Again -- Letters from the War Zone"), offer prizes for people who register to vote, and conduct the "world's largest karaoke sing-a-long" to John Ashcroft's "Let the Eagle Soar." At many venues Moore will show as yet-unseen clips from his "Fahrenheit 9/11" DVD (to be released October 5), and give everyone present a chance to win their own "pet goat."

"It should be a lot of fun," said Moore. "Most Americans don't vote, and it's not all that hard to understand why. So, I'd like to offer them some incentives to give it a try, just this once. The 50% who are the non-voters are never called by pollsters and are usually ignored by candidates. Should just a few percentage points of the 100 million non-voters decide to show up on November 2 -- watch out."

Moore said his goal is to see that over 56% of the voting public votes in this election -- something that has not happened since 1968.

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/index.php?id=171


"Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2004 by Vinnie B.  Couch Potato main graphic by Vin Blesi and Nolan Canova.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.