Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

8 Cool Things To Anticipate in 2008

2008 is still in its infancy, and the new year promises some cool new things that will thrill and delight those of us who surf the waves of Pop Culture. With that in mind, PopCult presents a list of 8 Cool Things To Anticipate in 2008. This list runs the gamut from a revival of a classic toy line to long-awaited new laws, from really inexpensive computers to cool TV shows and more.

This is a totally arbitrary list of what PopCult deems to be “cool.” Feel free to disagree in the comments, or chime in with your own suggestions. But first sit back and memorize this list. At the end of the year you can see which of our picks were amazing life-changing experiences, and which of them were total busts.

1. Cinematic Titanic.

I know I’ve written about it before, but this is something big to look forward to this year. The original creative force behind “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” including Joel Hodgeson, Trace Beaulieu and “TV’s Frank,” Frank Conniff, reconvene to put cheesy movies through the wringer. This time they have the support of Lucasfilm, which promises a much bigger budget than the pennies they used to get from Comedy Central.

If you’re not sure what to expect, take a look

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/MQ0eAPAzvm4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

You can visit the Cinematic Titanic website for details on how to order this wild movie experience.

2. The ASUS Eee PC Laptop Computer.

This was actually released late last year, but it’s taking a while to filter out to retailers. A product of Asustek (ASUS), other computer companies hate this nifty little laptop. Why? It’s a fully-functional (but tiny) laptop computer that can sell for as little as $299. That’s why the other PC makers hate it. They can’t compete on price. Microsoft hates it because it runs Linux, instead of Vista, Microsoft’s new bug-filled operating system that can cost more, just for the software, than this entire computer does, fully-loaded with such non-MS programs as Open Office and Firefox. One reason that the Eee PC is so cheap is that it uses flash memory, rather than a hard drive. Dell is working on its own flash-based laptop, but it’s expected to cost five times as much as the Eee PC, and it’s not going to be available until after Ausustek, the Taiwanese company behind the Eee PC, has had time to corner the market. While the competition hates this laptop, the reviews are mostly positive. The only drawback seems to be the limited memory, at 8 GB, but I’m sure that will be improved in the future.

In the end, the consumers win as computers get even cheaper.

3. The Aquabats TV Show and new album.

The Aquabats, one of the rock world’s coolest bands–I’ve described them as “Devo meets the Power Rangers,” is taping a TV pilot THIS VERY SATURDAY at the El Ray in Hollywood, California. The superheroes of third-wave ska already conquered children’s television last year with the delightfully disturbing “Yo Gabba Gabba” for Nick Jr. but this show promises to be a fun-for-the-whole-family extravaganza in the vein of The Monkees, with a dash of Rat Fink, Madness, and the 1960s Batman show thrown in. It doesn’t get any cooler than this.

On top of that, The Aquabats will release a new CD sometime this year, too. The last one was great, so this one probably will be, too.

4. Toy Fair 2008.

Okay, I always look forward to February’s annual New York International Toy Fair, but this year could be extra-special. Hasbro will unveil their line of action figures based on Indiana Jones, in advance of the new movie. Mega-Bloks will announce the new entries in their Pyrates line. Dozens of toy companies will try to put themselves on the map with weird new toys, like the Electronic Yodeling Pickle and The Vivisect Playset. Mattel will try to do damage control on the lead paint controversy, and should have a ton of new toys based on DC Comics characters.

I admit it, I’m geeked for this stuff.

5. Snide Charleston.

This one’s pretty obscure. I found it while surfing around Cafepress, where I maintain a few shops devoted to PopCult, Radio Free Charleston, and Monday Morning Art. Snide Charleston is apparently local, and it’s pretty mean-spirited. It’s also pretty damned funny. It all started with the “Nobody Cares That You Are Marshall” T-shirt and bumper sticker, but after a few months of inactivity, the anonymous owner of this shop recently put up new items lampooning “Friends Of Coal” and the user fee. I would imagine that, this being an election year, we’ll see more new stuff at Snide Charleston as the year progresses. At least I hope so.

6. The Smoking Ban In Kanwha County Extends To Bars.

I have to admit, I’m gleeful at the whining of the smokers. For years I’ve had to deal with extremely rude smokers who seemed to take joy in driving me out of bars, which is where most of the local bands play music. Come July 1, I’ll be able to go listen to music without making myself sick for days due to tobacco exposure (I have very severe allergies). I understand that there are serious issues concerning the rights of businesses to allow what they want on their premises and the whole “let the marketplace decide” argument, but to be honest, I couldn’t care less. I’ll finally be able to enjoy music without having to deal with tobacco smoke. It’s about time an unfair law actually worked to my advantage.

7. Captain Action Returns.

I’ve written about Captain Action extensively here in PopCult, and as a columnist for Toy Trader magazine I was an enthusiastic supporter of a short-lived revival of the action figure back in 1999, but 2008 is shaping up to be THE year that Captain Action makes his comeback in a big way. Joe Ahearn, with Captain Action Enterprises, is overseeing a super-neat slate of new products featuring the original super-hero action figure that includes action figures, model kits, a statue by Electric Tiki and a new comic book featuring the super hero master of disguise. Mooonstone Books will be bringing the Captain back in his first new comic book adventures since his classic DC Comics series back in the 1960s. You can see one of the alternate covers above.

And, if you remember the T shirt I was wearing in episode ten of Radio Free Charleston, you can still order it, and other Captain Action apparel at the Captain Action Store at Cafepress. Captain Action–he’s cool in the way that only toys from the 1960s can be.

8. The Day After Election Day 2008.

Regardless of your political leaning, by the time November 5 rolls around, there’s one ideal, one promise, one shining unchallenged fact that will cross all barriers of race, creed, party and allegiance to bring hope to the brow-beaten populace–our long national nightmare of endless political ads running on television all day long will be over! Oh, we haven’t seen them around here yet, but they’re coming, and they’re going to make your life a living hell.

I’m not just talking about Presidential ads. The worst offenders will be those touting candidates running for local offices. You know, the ones with lawyers who have more money than brains and think they can buy their way into office. You just know that some dimwit (or five) will think he’s the first person to ever think of coming up with a moronic catch phrase or bizarre personality quirk that’s just sure to be his ticket to the cash cow that is public service. And if that’s not bad enough, the special-interest ads will drive us all nuts. God only knows what Don Blankenship has up his sleeve “for the sake of the kids” this year.

And we’re going to be subjected to it, non-stop, for months. When that glorious day arrives and the elections are over, we’ll be like prisoners freed from the Gulag. The light of television untainted by hideous politicking will sting our eyes at first. Then tears of joy will stream down our face as we watch our favorite TV programs unassaulted by the inept attempts at media manipulation and overly-slick propaganda films. Free at last. Free at last.

Until the next election.

That’s our 8 Cool Things To Anticipate in 2008. Do you have a beef with any of them? Suggestions of your own? Hit that comment button. We anticipate your responses.

13 Comments

  1. Mel Larch

    “Then tears of joy will stream down our face as we watch our favorite TV programs unassaulted by the inept attempts at media manipulation and overly-slick propaganda films.”

    Assuming the Writer’s Guild strike is over by then and that our favorite programs are back in full swing.

    Think I’m gonna have to check out that Snide Charleston thing. Anybody who thinks the user fee sucks gets two thumbs up in my book.

    As for the smoking ban in bars? Halle-freakin’-lujah, IT’S ABOUT TIME!!!

  2. oncee

    Rudy,

    We are going to do the Charleston Blogger Meetup thing again soon.

    Go over to my blog and post when a good time is for you, and spread the word.

    Sorry to spam your comments.

  3. Elvis Capone

    That EEEEEE PC computer thingy would look real good with a Action Captain action figure jammed way up it…if you get my drift.

    Oleo Margarine is your best entertainment value.

  4. Brooke A. Brown

    I’m officially excited about Cinematic Titanic. Thanks for the enlightenment, Rudy!

  5. Rudy Panucci

    Oncee–

    I’m flexible on time of day for a blogger meeting. I just need advance notice.

    Also, your “Captcha” thingy isn’t giving me a graphic, so I can’t post to your blog. The audio version isn’t working, either.

  6. E.P.

    We know you’re wishing that we’d go away
    But the inquisition’s here and it’s here to stay

    Workers of the World Unite!

  7. Mountain Woman Phd.

    More than half of that list made me very happy. I wonder if that laptop will have wireless capability? The smoking ban and day after election entries cracked me up, but not as much as “Queer for Coal.”

    I’m off to place my order for Cinematic Titanic right now!

    Good list. Let’s hope it’s a good year.

  8. Dwayne

    Some very cool things things but in fairness a “Queer for Mountains” would be in order.

  9. Longtime Listener

    Nice list. Where are all the whiny smokers?

    I too am geeked for Cinematic Titanic, if not for all the toy stuff. It looks cool, but I got a mortgage to pay off.

    What you wrote about the day after the election belongs in the MountainWord blog. It’s sheer poetry.

  10. John Radcliff

    You forgot another year of RFC!!!! Woop! Woop!

  11. Dwayne

    Queer for Mountains

  12. Strident Weiner

    This is probably the coolest list of crap for 2008 that I’ve seen. With Cinematic Titanic, Captain Action, The Aquabats and cheap laptops, you surely have your priorities straight.

  13. Stephen Beckner

    Unfortunately, the day after election day is when the 2012 campaign kicks off.

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