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Will's Key West Adventure -- Part Two
 by William Moriaty

"Fahrenheit 9/11"
 by Mike Smith

KidFlix Florida International Children's Film Festival
 by Andy Lalino

This Guy's No "Starr"....The MOH website update
 by Matt Drinnenberg

Getting Better....Movie Music....Movie Notes....Meet The Beatles, Part 22
 by Mike Smith

Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2003!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our fifth calendar year!
    Number 222  (Vol. 5, No. 26). This edition is for the week of June 21--27, 2004.

Announcements and Updates

 Teck Talk
 Will and Jason
 SpaceShip One
 Mattie Stepanek
 A Special 3 Stooges Memory
 The PO BOX Reviews return

Lots to tell you about, so let's get right to it. I'm skipping the "Announcements" banner this week, because it turned out the whole front page is one big announcements section.

First of all, my apologies to fandom assembled for leaving the PCR #221 under construction "headline" up until Friday, even though the issue was published late Wednesday! I was so miserably behind and in a panic for time I forgot to write a final headline, and worse, didn't even notice it. I've gotten things a little more under control this week, so without further ado...

Belated Birthday Wishes go out to Derrek Carriveau, editor-in-chief of Legion Studios.com. Derrek turned 32 years old last Thursday, June 17th and I was supposed to post it in last week's Announcements. Woops. Apologies to Derrek, hope it all went well, and, of course, many happy--and drunken--returns.

If anyone remembers Legion rabble-rouser and fellow beer connoisseur Christian Dumais from last year's MegaCon/Renegade Film Fest III firestorm, a reminder that last summer his jovial self moved to Poland to become a writing/English teacher. Derrek is now following suit and is leaving the States August 7th to join Christian is Wroclaw, Poland where, after a brief settling-in period, he will begin teaching at the same university 'round about October.

Right about the same time as he leaves, Other Side Cinema gurus Mark Terry and Vito Trabucco are leaving for LA the same week. Hey, everyone's abandoning me here, what the hell!?! Of course I wish the boys the very best and I'll try to keep an eye on remaining Other Sider Shelby McIntyre.

TECH-TALK: Slight coding change to This Week's Movie Review. It is likely none of you even noticed this, but from the beginning of the year, as we accumulate movie reviews, the Javascript drop-down menus on those pages only reflected what had been published in the weeks prior to that issue---meaning the very earliest issues had only one or two links, the end-of-the-year issue would have all the previous links. Every issue I'd just add one more link (as I did last year and part of 2002). I realized this could be an inconvenience to those wishing to surf only this year's movie reviews as they'd continually run into incomplete link menus. So...

Starting with this issue of PCR, all movie reviews from all year will have all the links all the time. For you tech-heads out there (the rest of you skip ahead) this is accomplished via Server-Side Includes, so the movie links menu only has to have one complete text file on the server; it is "summoned" into all This Week's Movie Review pages by source code that doesn't even show in the final output, which rocks. Also...in order to facilitate this, it was necessary to permanently change the page's extensions from ".html" to ".shtml". (The extra "s" stand for server-side, I guess.) I realized this would cause havoc with old issues of PCR still linking to ".html" pages, so, where appropriate, those were replaced with re-direct links that should automatically take you to the current versions (your browser's Javascript must be on for this to work reliably).

You all may not have noticed this either (or cared), but the Crazed Fanboy homepage's file extension was changed some weeks ago from ".html" to ".php" mostly to facilitate the new hitcounter. Again, certain things had to be done to "re-direct" back issues.

Even after all these years, I feel I've only just scratched the surface of the many wonderful scripting languages out there---the more I learn, the better and more streamlined it gets here and for the handful of clients entrusting me with their websites. However....I realize I may not have covered everything. If there are any back issues of anything anywhere on this webspace not coming up for you, please let me know ASAP!
TECH-TALK OVER. It's safe to come out now.

From William Moriaty --
Local South Tampa Landmark Demolished
Although abandoned since the late 1980's, the building on Gandy Boulevard in South Tampa that used to house the Mexican Burro restaurant, which has been referred to in numerous PCR articles, was demolished over the past week. Located next to an existing Checkers restaurant, it was yet another reminder of the passing of time and the continued loss of unique character that once defined this part of Tampa that many of this publication's writers and readers grew up in.

The Tampa Project
The Tampa Tribune has been running a wonderful series on the history, character and possible future of Tampa in its Sunday editions called "The Tampa Project". Written by Tribune columnist Jennifer Barrs, the nine part Series examines such items as "A Sense of Place", "The Way We Were" (this past Sunday's story), "Leaders and Power Centers" and "The Future". The series is essential reading for all people interested in Tampa's colorful history and how this major Florida city and how it behaves has been viewed by outsiders as well as itself over its span of 117 years plus.

T.R.E.E. website completed
The new T.R.E.E. Inc. web site is now 100% complete (link to: www.crazedfanboy.com/tree/)!

Started in late November 2003, the site was completed this past week. Completion of the site was lengthy due to the intense work required by webmaster Nolan Canova for the Projects Listing of which 175 projects and the tree species for each project is listed.

I encourage you to link to this site often, and particularly take a look at the Projects Listing in order to see the great body of work that Mr. Canova did on behalf of this organization.

(TECH TALK: Will is being very kind and I was glad to help. The TREE Project Listings page is singularly the largest construction of a single web page I have ever done (117KB!) and is a DHTML tour-de-force. I would not necessarily recommend anyone else doing it this way and I would never do it again. It was NOT necessarily designed to be a spectacular layout, please understand, it was designed with rollover tricks that were meant to provide an educational experience. The coding for that took weeks and your browser must be DHTML-enabled to view it as designed. ---Nolan)

Lastly, the third 2004 edition of Arbor Bio is slated to become available on-line in July and will feature a series on T.R.E.E. Inc.'s ten years of planting on Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County for Florida Arbor Day. You will be e-mailed the link to that edition upon availability.

Thank you for your continued support, and I hope you enjoy our new web site and on-line newsletter!

William Moriaty

From Jason Liquori--
Hocus Focus Productions has been gearing up to make its next feature film for some time now. In preparation for OPERATION: WOLF SPAWN, which is currently in development, the independent video production company has begun production of three short werewolf movies. The three will be presented in one DVD collection, THE LUNAR PACK.

Each short movie is an experiment in make-up F/X and camera and editing techniques. This means that although the films share one writer and director, they will each have their own signature looks and bring a different twist to the werewolf genre.

DARK ROSE: 700-YEAR ITCH and SHEEP'S CLOTHING are already in the can (or small plastic case since these were both produced on digital video) and CRYING WOLF, is now in preproduction, with principal photography scheduled for this summer. CRYING WOLF is slated to be shot on a 24fps miniDV camera for a more cinematic look, setting it apart from the other two shorts in the collection.

Award-winning director, Jason L. Liquori, has written all three screenplays and is even featured in one of the movies. "I was the only one who'd work twelve hours straight for free," he quips. Liquori explains that all of his cast and crew members actually go well beyond the norm to help tell the tales (or should we say tails) of these most unusual werewolves.

The expected release date is Halloween 2004.

Hocus Focus Productions has just made a deal with horror film legend and scream Queen, Debbie Rochon, to hostess THE LUNAR PACK DVD, due out in October. Miss Rochon will be creating the character Mistress Misty, a humorous woman with a history of fraternizing with some familiar monsters...and she has the babies to prove it! The Mistress will be the cohesive force holding the three short werewolf films together.

"I grew up in New York," Director Jason Liquori stated, "and never got to enjoy those late night shows with old horror films being introduced by a colorful character on local T.V., so I decided to produce my own." Liquori feels that a horror veteran like Rochon will be able to breathe life into the Mistress and help horror fans relate to the string of monster movies.

THE LUNAR PACK is the first in a planned series of DVD's featuring Mistress Mindy and her litter of illegitimate hell-spawn. Next time around Liquori hopes to present three different looks at how to deal with the Grimm Reaper himself.

You can find out more about THE LUNAR PACK DVD for a trailer from one of the movies and for future updates and other Hocus Focus Productions films at www.hocfocprod.com.

SpaceShip One a Success

For a space fan like myself, it's a dream come true: The first non-governmental, independently-produced, commercially-designed manned space vehicle, dubbed SpaceShip One, successfuly launched into sub-orbital flight, then landed safely in the Mojave Desert Monday.

X-Prize Competitors Burt Rutan (designer for Scaled Composites, Inc.), and investor Paul Allen (Co-founder of Microsoft) spent only 20 million dollars to launch 63-year-old pilot Mike Melvill 62.5 miles above earth (about one mile for every year, eh?) where at the edge of space he was able to enjoy several weightless minutes, at one point letting go of a bunch of M&Ms so they'd float in front of a mounted camera.

The X-Prize Competition awards anyone who can build an aircraft that can successfully launch three people into space twice in two weeks, even for just 5 minutes. Rutan and Allen have accomplished phase one. Scaled Composites, Inc. is one of 24 different companies from several countries vying for the prize.

Rutan and Melvill were on The Tonight show with Jay Leno last night (Tuesday, June 22) to talk about their accomplishment. Jay was obviously dizzy with excitement as expected, but the studio audience just didn't seem to get it. No matter, Rutan expressed his enthusiasm quite effectively I thought.

Funnily enough, just a few weeks ago, I was ruminating to my colleagues at the hell-pit of despair (my part-time job) about if it is legal to build your own spaceship and fly it into space (I was unaware of the above contest at the time). I mean, can they arrest you or something for wanting to launch yourself from, say, your own back yard? We decided location was the problem and that with MacDill Air Force base just up the road, the legalities would involve invasion of air space or something. Maybe environmental impact thrown in if the neighbor's yards are incinerated at launch.

Gawd I wish I lived in the desert at times like these!

If the crew of SpaceShip One can successfully repeat their feat and meet other requirements inside two weeks, they'll collect $10 million dollars. OK, that's only half of what Allen is said to have spent, but what the hell, when history books are being re-written in your name what's a little negative cash-flow?

Now what's the government bitching about how costly the space program is? With $700 toilet seats and $300 flat-head screws, I imagine it is. Leave it to a couple aircraft fanboys (and a founder of Microsoft, which started in a garage) to show us all how it can be done. God Bless America.

Mattie Stepanek dies at 13

It goes against every instinct of my usually feel-good publication to end the headline section on a down note. But there's a very positive side to one little boy's fight with disease along with my personal notes regarding gifted talents.

Mattie Stepanek, the child poet whose inspirational verse made him a best-selling writer and a prominent advocate for muscular dystrophy, died Tuesday from complications of the disease. He was 13.

The disease runs in Matt's famility to a tragic degree. Mattie began writing poetry at age 3 to cope with the death of a brother. When Matt heard his mother's or other people's heart-beats he referred to them as Heartsongs. He began writing these "Heartsong" poems with individuals in mind. In 2001, a small Virginia publisher issued a slim volume of his poems, called "Heartsongs." Within weeks, the book reached the top of The New York Times best-seller list.

He wrote four other books: "Journey Through Heartsongs," "Hope Through Heartsongs," "Celebrate Through Heartsongs" and "Loving Through Heartsongs." He had some high-profile admirers, among whom were Jerry Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, and former President Jimmy Carter.

I believe I first heard of Matt through a Reader's Digest article that reprinted some of his poems. Heart-wrenching stuff, I wish I could find that damn thing so I could reproduce a sample here.

But what does his case say about the human spirit? About gifted talents that can soar even when your own body is your worst enemy? In Mattie Stepenak's 13 short years, he profoundly affected all lives he touched and became a best-selling author.

Would he have done any of that without the disease? Would a publisher have taken sympathy on a young boy's poems if he were perfectly healthy? I don't know, and really, it's immaterial. All I can feel is it will be a happy day when they find a cure for dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy. I'll be thinking of the even greater heights Mattie Stepanek could have flown.

A Very Special 3 Stooges Memory

The Three Stooges the way they were in 1952: L to R, Larry Fine, Moe Howard (seated), and Shemp Howard appearing at Tampa's Airmen's Service Club.Along for the ride, little Donna Berg joins in for a picture after the Airmen's Service Club performance.

Donna Halsey today, left, with Dave T.'s mom on right.
Sometime in 1952, a 9-year-old girl named Donna Berg went to see the 3 Stooges perform live on stage at what was then an outdoor theater called the Airmen's Service Club "somewhere on Florida Ave." She wasn't even a big fan of the Stooges, but she knew all the adults thought this was a pretty big deal, so went along for the ride with her parents. The MacDill Air Force Base paper's staff photog, a friend of her dad who also worked at MacDill, covered the event, and took the above two pictures after the Stooges' performance, basically because he thought it would be cute, and she'd have this souvenir. She had gotten to watch the whole show from side-stage.

The little girl in the picture is now grown-up Donna Halsey and, until recently, she worked at the same place as PCR contributor David T. (Backbiter69). As a "going away" present to Dave (she left for another job), she gave him these two pictures remembering him being a HUGE Stooges fan, which he deftly scanned and forwarded immediately to me.

Donna remembers her dad's friend the photographer was named Larry Lahey or Lahee, not sure of the spelling. Interestingly, Donna has no other strong memories of the show itself reminding that she wasn't the world's biggest 3 Stooges fan to start with. No matter, we're all grateful she (and Dave) took time to share this amazing behind-the-scenes story with the world!

It Came From The PO Box
Starting a couple weeks ago, I've been going through my backlog of stuff I received at my PO Box address for review consideration that had no ready place to go until now. All of these people and I have been in email contact, so no one is being ignored. In fact, everything has been investigated thoroughly; in some cases, over the course of nearly two years. Some are terrific and more deserving of attention, and other things are just awful (but still got attention). I'll be sharing all of them with you in the weeks ahead. I'm starting with the very recent stuff because it's fresh on my mind, but believe me crazed fans, there's a wildly weird road ahead! --Nolan
Internet Babylon Internet Babylon: Secrets, Scandals, and Shocks on the Information Superhighway.
Written by Greg Holden
Published by: APress, Berkeley, CA.
March 17, 2004
$29.99 US, 472 pages

Sometime last Spring I was contacted via email by one Julie Miller of APress Publishing (The Author's Press™ out of Berkeley) regarding the possiblility of my reviewing for publication a book called "Internet Babylon". (In fact, I don't think she originally said that it was a book, she just said "Like to see Internet Babylon reviewed, may I send it to you?" I said, "Sure.") Several weeks later, a hefty package from California arrives at my haunted PO Box. Opening it, I discover it's "Internet Babylon", a trade-side paperback that retails for $30! I'm very flattered they entrusted me with such an expensive book.
   The good news is it's very nicely laid out and professionally published. The author, Greg Holden, seems well-suited to the subject matter.
   Now for the bad news: the subject matter. I didn't realize until I started reading it that this is a history about surfing wild and wacky websites, a subject I hate! Why? From the earliest weeks of the existence of this website, I have been beseiged by wanna-be writers who pitched to me the same idea over and over: "Hey, I know! My column will be all about wild and wacky websites I find while surfing!!!" I routinely turn that down, because, to me, that is not writing, it is not opinion, it is nothin'. To report your surfing habits for publication is the lowest form of Blogging, as it requires no talent or wit.
   To be fair, Internet Babylon isn't just about wild and wacky websites, but endeavors to recap the entire history of the internet. Author Holden, a prolific writer of technical books, was apparently there at its inception and reports first-hand a very personal history of surfing from his own perspective.
   At 472 pages, there is a lot to take in here, and everything seems to be covered, including more non-surfing type topics like spamming and viruses. After a few pages, though, familiar-sounding stories about funny websites, informative websites, and scary websites (like the one which counts off abortion doctors as they die or are killed), are recounted with a wistful nostalgia that's easy to get caught up in. Like we're all on a park bench recalling the tech-head equivalent of war stories or favorite baseball games or something. It is worth noting that, my objections to surfing books aside, a lot of the websites covered in Internet Babylon are simply not around anymore; some fell to the dotcom crash, others were shut down due to controversy, others simply disappeared. This may be the only permanent record they ever lived.
   If this is the kind of thing you'd like to read about, the book is available at booksellers nationwide. A sample table of contents and sample chapter can be read at the APress website www.apress.com. Any other questions regarding the book or APress should be sent to sales@apress.com.
Discovery Channel Program

Frequent PCR contributor David T. (Backbiter69) is absolutely insane over this show, even to the point of posting it on the CF message board) and could not go to a peaceful grave until I was exposed to it. It's a Discovery Channel program, so since I no longer have cable, his mom dropped off a copy to me at work (mom pictured above in the 3 Stooges feature) so I could partake. Two months later, I finally squeezed in some time to give it a look-see.
   The hour is divided up into three segments where our heroes Adam and Jamie (no last names necessary), uber-geeks with experience in movie special effects, attempt to debunk some barely heard of or never thought about "myth" by going to extreme experimentation (to say the least) to prove or disprove it.
   The first segment tells us about an unfortunate Colorado man, Matt Thompson, who was struck by lightning in August of 2003. Seems Matt wore several body piercings made of metal and a couple of them got...well...lost, fried, incinerated, whatever, in the event (Matt himself is OK, though). One was from his lower lip, the other close to his eye. The Question: did the metal in Matt's face attract the lightning?
   Adam and Jamie go to an EXTREME amount of trouble to cast several gelatin head molds and mounted them onto inverted Chinese Woks (I'm not kidding) mounted on poles for the purpose of simulating a human being in a lightning storm. This they took to a laboratory that specializes in Frankenstein-lab-like electrical apparatus. The lower lip of one head was pierced with a metal bar, a separate "control head" had none. The air sparks with electricity as the machines generate a million volts and a thousand amps to make a sort of poor-man's lightning bolt. FLASH!! The bolt went to the head without the metal! In the next experiment, it went to the pierced head, but didn't touch the metal.
   After dozens of tries, it's decided that the lightning favors the metalized head, but confusingly, the sparks never touch the metal. Only after a metal doorknob is placed in the "cheek" of the gelatin head does the lightning make a detour for it.
   Conclusion: the lightning probably is attracted to the metalized head, but for some reason is not attracted to the metal itself. Got it?
   Segment 2: an old Hungarian legend has it that some villagers made a cannon out of a felled tree (well, log then), drilled the barrel in one night, but when they tried to fire it, it exploded, wiping out the villagers. Question: can you successfully make a cannon out of a log and what would it take to blow it up?
   Again, an obscene amount of trouble is put forth finding the right tree wood, circumference, getting tutored in gun powder, etc., etc., etc. The tree cannon comes along well, but when an attempt is made to bore the barrel in a single night with primitive tools....well, power drill to the rescue. This, however, invalidates the claim that it could be done in a single night by primitive Hungarians using primitive tools.
   Unfettered, Adam and Jamie press on and finish the cannon. Jamie chisels a cannon ball out of granite(!) for authenticity. They experiment on a tennis ball, then launch Jamie's granite ball without a hitch...but only using 7 ounces of gunpowder. They then acquire 5 POUNDS from a pyro-tech to see what it takes to blow up their tree. An aluminum shell is placed on top of the powder and the fuse is lit. BANG!! There goes the cannon, in millions of shards all over the runway (they did this at some airport).
   Conclusion: The Hungarians likely exaggerated the "single-night" part of their story, but the force of the explosion caused by too much gunpowder could definitely kill or maim those closest to it. Moral of the story: don't use too much gunpowder and your tree cannon will last a long time! (Interestingly, it's noted that tree cannons were used successfully in Europe as recently as a hundred years ago.)
   I didn't bother with the last segment (something about bad breath, but I bailed) as I figured I had the idea. I was hoping for a show about scientfic/skeptical thought, but this is more carnival-like if you're in the mood for it. No doubt Dave's crazy about this show because Dave's an extreme guy himself. If you're like Dave, check it out.
Much, much more ahead! If you sent me or handed me anything and you don't see it here this week, don't worry, it's coming! ---Nolan

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
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"Mike's Rant" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2004 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2004 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino    "Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones    "Couch Potato Confessions/Vinnie Vidi Vici" is © 2004 by Vinnie Blesi      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova    
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