Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: April 2021 (Page 1 of 4)

May 1 is Dia de la Discoteca (plus we have new music shows Friday) on The AIR!

The PopCulteer
April 30, 2021

May 1 marks one full year since MIRRORBALL, Mel Larch’s Disco Mixtape program debuted on The AIR as a one-off music special, and became such a runaway hit that we decided to put it on our weekly schedule full-time. The AIR is PopCult’s sister radio station. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player at the top right column of this blog.

It was during the late summer of 2019 when Mr. and Mrs. PopCulteer were careenig through Eastern Pennsylvania, listening to The Rialto Report podcast about Andrea True, when Mel remarked on how much she loved Disco music, and we began to talk about doing a show of Disco music for The AIR. The show didn’t happen until the pandemic shut everything down and gave us more free time, and the first MIRRORBALL debuted as an AIR Music Special on May 1, 2020.

One year later and Mel still does a fresh episode of the show every other week, but because it’s been a full year since its debut, to celebrate we are going to run 24 hours of MIRRORBALL beginning May 1 at Midnight (that’s Friday night, into Saturday, if you’re keeping track at home). We will play every episode (except for holiday specials) and we will wind up with Mel’s latest Disco opus, which debuts Friday at 2 PM.

To mark one full year of MIRRORBALL, Mel put together an hour of some of her absolute favorites from the Disco era. Tune in at 2 PM Friday, and check out this playlist…

MIRRORBALL 024

Jimmy “Bo” Horne “Dance Across The Floor”
Labelle “Lady Marmalade”
Chic “Le Freak”
Dan Hartman “Instant Replay”
Anita Ward “Ring My Bell”
Peter Brown “Dance With Me”
Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive”
Donna Summer “Dim All The Lights”
The Trammps “Disco Inferno”
Heatwave “The Groove Line”
Andrea True Connection “More, More, More”
Village People “YMCA”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with a 24-hour marathon beginning Saturday at  Midnight and with replays at 9 PM, Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM, Tuesday at 1 PM and Wednesday at 7 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with a special mixtape show of her own. In response to request from her fans in New Zealand, Sydney has done a deep-dive into her New Wave record collection to assemble an all-Kiwi edition of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat.  Sydney promises lots of bands that are barely known outside of the Islands of New Zealand, along with a few ringers who went on to have international success.  Best of all, every track is drenched in crunchy New Wave goodness. Check out the playlist…

BEC 070

Split Enz “What’s The Matter With You”
The Androidss “Auckland Tonight”
Flesh D-Vice “Kill That Girl”
Car Crash Set “Fall From Grace”
The Body Electric “Pulsing”
DD Smash “The Gambler”
Th’ Dudes “Bliss”
Penknife Glides “Taking The Weight Off”
Mi-Sex “Computer Games”
Alms For Children “Danny Boy”
The Verlaines “Death And The Maiden”
The Mockers “Good Old Days”
The Gordons “Sometimes”
Desperate Measures “Generation Gap”
Screaming Meemees “Sunday Boys”
The Tall Dwarfs “Nothing’s Gonna Happen”
Blam Blam Blam “Don’t Fight It Marsha, It’s Bigger Than Both Of Us”
Danse Macabre “Between The Lines”
Dum Dum Boys “Idiot Boy”
The Instigators “Hope She’s Alright”
The Scavengers “Mysterex”
This Sporting Life “Total Loss”
Broken Dolls “Serenade”
Coconut Rough “Sierra Leone”
Coup D’etat “Dr. I Like Your Medicine”
Pedestrians “Saturday Night”
Newmatics “Riot Squad”
The Knobz “Culture”
The Features “City Scenes”
Citizen Band “Feel Good”
Spaces “Just Like Clockwork”

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

That’s what’s on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for fresh content every single freakin’ day.

The Glorious Rebirth of Looney Tunes

Animated Discussions

I’ve had HBO Max for a few months now, and I have mentioned this in passing before, but today, since they’re dropping a batch of new episodes on the service, I want to praise Looney Tunes Cartoons, the latest revival of the classic Warner Brothers cartoon characters, and the first to get it right in decades.

Since they were created under the absent management of Leon Schlesinger, the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons produced at “Termite Terrace” at the Warner Brothers Studio have been the gold standard of animated shorts. Only MGM and Max Fleisher came close to the chaos and hilarity of Looney Tunes. The other studio’s cartoons, expecially Disney’s, pale in comparison.

With animation legends Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng at the helm, Warner Brothers led the pack with a roster of animation superstars like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird and more. Even with top directors, Avery and Clampett, moving on after WWII, the Warner Brothers cartoons still cranked more hits than misses until around 1960.

After the animation unit was shut down in 1965, there have been attempts to revive the Looney Tunes characters at least once a decade, with mixed results. Some of the revivals have been commercially successful, and some get credit for trying, but none of the revivals have come close to matching the comedic craft and anarchy of the classic Looney Tunes of 1935 to 1945. In fact, a lot of the attempted revivals were downright horrid.

My expectations were low, going in. I did not bother to even read up on the creative teams producing the new shorts for HBO Max. In fact, before I watched the new shorts, billed as “Looney Tunes Cartoons,” I went back and watched a bunch of the classic Looney Tunes and a few of the less-than-stellar revivals.

When I settled in to watch Looney Tunes Cartoons, I was stunned. The animation was lush and easily as good as the golden age. The character designs skipped over the last few decades of ill-advised “updates” and returned to the classic looks. And the cartoons are funny as hell. There was none of that limited animation and angular design crap.

These were like finding freshly-discovered artifacts, unseen since the 1940s. If it weren’t for the occasional contemporary reference (flat screen TVs and smartphones), these would pass for vintage Looney Tunes gold.

Even more shocking to me was the credits. The producer of Looney Tunes Cartoons is Pete Browngardt, the creator of Uncle Grandpa. I loved Uncle Grandpa on Cartoon Network, but I never got any indication from the show that the same producer could make classic-style Looney Tunes cartoons. The show had more of a modern, Cal-Arts style to it.

Yet even way more shocking to me was the discovery that Johnny Ryan was one of the writers and story editors. I’ve been a fan of Ryan’s since Fantagraphics started publishing his underground comic, Angry Youth Comix, back in the 1990s, and with his extreme and obscene take on the world he is probably the last person on the planet that I would have pegged as ever working on a mainstream animated property. (I was unaware of work he had done previously for Nickelodeon Magazine under a pen name).

I cannot stress how pleasant a surprise it is to see new Looney Tunes that are so faithful to the source material. The character designs harken back to the designs of Bob Clampett, Tex Avery and a young Chuck Jones. The Bugs Bunny you see in Looney Tunes Cartoons is primal Bugs. He’s not even the refined Bugs that we saw in the 1950s. This is pure, uncut Bugs Bunny.

There have been minor design changes, but they are miniscule. Bugs Bunny has yellow gloves instead of white.

Daffy Duck is the insane Bob Clampett Daffy, not the lame egotistical Daffy of the post-war era. This is manna from heaven for fans of classic animation.

Much has been made of the fact that, in the new cartoons, Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam have had their guns taken away. That actually happened decades ago. What Looney Tunes Cartoons does is to arm Elmer with large axes and scythes and the occasional giant robot or batch of explosives.

Other Looney Tunes characters are revived as well. Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote return in new cartoons which are as funny as the three good ones that Chuck Jones made back in the 1950s. We get to see classic renditions of Marvin the Martian, Gossamer, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety and Sylvester, Beaky Buzzard, Taz, Porky Pig and others. In the new batch that drops today we get a new cartoon with Gremlins, and the first ever Petunia Pig star vehicle.

The Voice work is great. The direction and tone is perfect, and the animation is amazing. Check out HBO Max for the best Looney Tunes Cartoons in 75 years.

And yes, I decided to revive the old “Animated Discussions” name for this post. Folks with long, long memories may recall that, with Mel Larch,  I wrote the Animated Discussions column for The Charleston Gazette from 1991 until 2005. Mel and I have talked about reviving it as a radio show for The AIR, and I had continued it in the early days of PopCult, so it fit the bill for this.

Go Undercover With The Beatles Again

Wednesday afternoon The AIR brings you a brand-new ” covers mixtape” episode of Beatles Blast! You can listen at The AIR Website, or on the nifty little player over in the right-hand column of this here blog.

At 2 PM, your humble blogger returns with a one-hour mixtape of quirky and wonderful (and largely brand-new) covers of songs by the Beatles, together and solo, on Beatles Blast.  We even snuck in John playing one of Ringo’s hits (which he wrote). We celebrate the joy of singing Beatles songs with a collection of cool interpretations by a diverse collection of amazing artists. Check out the playlist.

Beatles Blast 070

Polyphonic Spree “Let ’em In”
Peter Frampton “Isn’t It A Pity”
Neal Morse “Maybe I’m Amazed”
John Lennon “Goodnight Vienna”
Cheap Trick “Gimme Some Truth”
The Hollies “If I Needed Someone”
Joachim Kuhn “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”
Vanilla Fudge “Ticket To Ride”
Ben Lee “In My Life”
Neal Morse “If I Fell”
Ben Harper & Innocent Criminals “Michelle”
Paul Weller “Come Together”
Michelle Shocked “Lovely Rita”
Adrian Belew “Blackbird”
Chumbawumba “Her Majesty”
Bill Anschell “Across The Universe”

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 10 PM and Saturday Afternoon. Soon we’ll be plugging a Beatles Blast marathon into the schedule, somewhere, so keep reading PopCult for the details.

RFC Hits 50 and Goes Back In Time

Tuesday on The AIR  Radio Free Charleston sort of hits a milestone.  The newish, three-hour version of RFC hits episode 50. If this weren’t the fifth incarnation of the show, I’d make a bigger deal about it, but between the original broadcast version, the video RFC, The RFC MINI SHOW video program, and the earlier versions of the show that ran on Voices of Appalachia and OntheAIRadio, I’ve produced around 540 Radio Free Charleston shows. It’s hard to get that excited, but I did manage to find a way to make this special…by recycling!

You simply have to move your cursor over and listen at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and groove to the cool embedded player over at the top of the right column.

Tune in to Radio Free Charleston at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday and you will hear one of the original broadcast episodes of show, from January 7,1990, when I was but a wee lad of a DJ, and blogs were years away from being invented.  I have mercilessly edited down nearly five hours of on-air chaos to fit into our three-hour timeslot.

This is actually a case where I took two episodes of RFC Volume Three, from 2015 that first re-presented this broadcast, and just edited them further, since this show is historically significant, and hasn’t been heard by anyone for more than six years. Sometimes “historically significant” means, “the least amount of work.”

Check out the playlist to see all the music that made the cut…

RFCV5 050

Stark Raven “Into The Fire”
Brian Diller “Mr. Auctioneer”
Brian Diller and the Ride “Waking Up”
Brian Diller and the Ride “Shoe Fits”
Three Bodies “The Drive”
Three Bodies “My Friend”
Three Bodies “Surpise Ending/Unknown Title”
The Bounty “Mary’s Door”
The Bounty “Buffalos”
The Bounty “Pandora’s Box”
The Bounty “325”
Zone 3 “Willy The Wimp”

The Go Van Gogh Family Tree:

True Rumor “River Beyond”
The Meadowblasters “Da Da Da Da Da I Love You”
The Meadowblasters “She Doesn’t Want My Love”
Go Van Gogh “Planet Freedom”
Go Van Gogh “I Don’t Like Trains”
The Tunesmiths “Ballet Dancer”
The Tunesmiths “For Your Love”
Go Van Gogh “Shut Up, I Love You”

Atomic Cafe “The Trax”
Larry Groce “No Woman, No Cry”
Larry Groce “Accidentally Like A Martyr”
Blue Million “Everything Inside Out”
Blue Million “I’ll Keep You Warm”
David Lanham Band “Rock With You”
David Lanham Band “Small Town Blues”
World Without Fear “Nothing”
World Without Fear “Please Don’t Love Me”
Mad Scientist Club “Live Song”
Mad Scientist Club “Thunder and Lightning”
Mad Scientist Club “Doctor Owsley”
Still Portrait/Mark Scarpelli “Music that I don’t remember the titles to”

Stark Raven (side one of the debut album)”

“Riding On A Wave”
“I Know You”
“Be With Me”
“Feel Only Love”
“He Loves To Limbo”

The Swivels “No Vaccination”
The Swivels “Mobile Man”
Tim Truman “Ten Dollar Dog”
The Pudgy Young Upstarts “Uncontrollable Urge”

This is a pretty fun time capsule back to the first incarnation of Radio Free Charleston, and I hope you guys get a kick out of hearing it.

You can hear this episode of Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR, with replays Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 11 AM and the next Monday at 8 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

I’m also going to  embed a low-fi, mono version of this show right in this post, right here so you can listen on demand.

 

Some notes about what you’ll hear:

Portarit of a young, underpaid radio star

This show originally aired early in January, 1990, right after RFC and yours truly had been the subject of a profile in the Charleston Gazette written by Michael Lipton. I decided to devote all four hours of the first show after the article was published to local artists. Truth be told, the show actually ran almost five hours. Station management wasn’t listening to my show (nobody at the station ever did) so I could run long and have the DJ that followed me make up the time.

You will hear me cracking jokes and making remarks about the piece Michael wrote. A lot of folks thought that I was genuinely angry, when in fact I was thrilled with the press and was just milking it for laughs. So please, do not think that I was really upset with Michael Lipton. He’s always been great to me and I’ve always respected him. I was just only joking, really!

This is pretty much what the people heard between 2 AM and 7 AM on January 7, 1990. I tried to keep the modern-day interruptions to a minimum. I did trim quite a bit of stuff, but it’ll give you the general idea of what the show was like back then.

These recordings are taken from an off-air recording of the original broadcast, so there may be some loss of sound quality.

There may be a new Swing Shift later today on The AIR, but only if I feel like whipping one out first thing Tuesday morning.

Monday Morning Art: Flamingo and Pepper

This week I got a little experimental. Inspired by a pose struck by Pepper Fandango from a Dr. Sketchy’s session probably ten years ago, I pulled out a cheap, small black canvas I had laying around the office, did the basic figure in white-out, let it dry for two days, and then colored it in with pastels. The end result was…flaky and a bit more gray than intended, but it looks good in this photo. In real life Pepper does not have a zombie complexion, and to be honest, the reason she does here is because I didn’t realize how poorly pastel works over top of white-out.

I was afraid to put it in the scanner, even with some protective plastic.

You can see the photo that inspired this to the right.

 This was basically an exercise in trying something new and not being afraid to fail. I’d say it was partially successful, but I have questions about the durability of the finished piece.

If you want to see it bigger, just click on the image.

Meanwhile, Monday on The AIR, we pay salute to the wonders of Suddenlink by scheduling repeats of recent episodes of Psychedelic Shack at 2 PM, followed at 3 PM by an encore edition of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player at the top of the right-hand column of this blog. The Haversham folks produced new episodes this week, but my attempts to download the files met with frequent internet outages. Look for the shows next week.

Psychedelic Shack can now be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

Monday at 7 PM on the air, our Monday Marathon brings you 12 great episodes of Mel Larch’s Curtain Call, so you can still rock out to showtunes while you’re waiting for Broadway to reopen.

Sunday Evening Video: Duke Ellington, Andy Warhol and Stan Kenton

No, they don’t walk into a bar.  The video above is an episode of Music 55, a summer replacement program that filled the summertime timeslot of Edward R. Murrow’s Person To Person back in 1955. Hosted by Stan Kenton (which was news to me, and I’m a big fan of Kenton’s), this live variety show presented some pretty epic and cool stuff.  This episode features guests, Yehudi Menuhin, Ann Richards and the legendary Duke Ellington.

After a piano duet between Kenton and Ellington, The Duke delivers a monolouge about “Pretty and the Wolf,” while drawings scroll by in the background. Those illustrations are by a then-unknown artist by the name of Andrew Warhol.

Following that wild convergence we have Menuhin and Kenton taking on an Ellington piece, and a vocal and dance number by Ann Richards. The rest of the show features more from Menuhin and Richards and the Stan Kenton Orchestra.

It’s a pretty cool artifact of mid-century sophisticated entertainment, and it has a lot of quality art, music and dance packed into less than half an hour.

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number 53

This week we go back to late March, 2015 for an episode of The RFC MINI SHOW that was hot off the presses, so to speak. We had just returned from JoeLanta (now ToyLanta), the huge annual toy show in Atlanta, Georgia, and we brought you a couple of songs from Radio Cult, who perform there every year.

Radio Cult is Bambie Lynn and Ricky Zhero, with Jay Jay Slotin on drums, and they tear through the hits of the 1980s and beyond, plus they have some pretty impressive originals, too. In this show, you’ll hear them do “Highway to Hell” and “I Love Rock N Roll.”

Earth Day A Day Late With ZURU

Your PopCulteer was tied up with other projects, to which I’ve vaguely alluded the last few days, and I missed this cool news item for Earth Day. It is still very cool news, and April is still “Earth Month,” so let me tell you about how balloons can get better for the environment.

ZURU, the innovative toy company that we’ve been telling you about for some time now, has partnered with Terracycle, an innovative recycling company that’s been making big waves this week.

Just yesterday, ZURU announced that the company’s “deliberate 360-degree sustainability initiatives have led to over 1,200 tons of virgin plastic being removed from its top-selling and 100% recyclable Bunch O Balloons brand. The huge 57% increase over ZURU’s original goal of 800 tons announced last year is a result of robust 2021 retail orders.”

Their press release goes on to elaborate…

Over 704 million balloons in ZURU’s Bunch O Balloons line distributed online through Amazon are now made with recycled (non-virgin) plastics, and will also ship with ZURU’s new recyclable, frustration-free packaging (FFP) that will reduce excess Bunch O Balloons packaging materials, and which the company estimates will result in another 29 tons of plastic being saved through Amazon sales in the United States this year alone.

“We’re thrilled to report these significant milestones as part of our commitment to make a transparent and lasting global impact,” said ZURU Chief Operating Officer Anna Mowbray, who was also named 2020 Wonder Woman in Manufacturing by the global organization Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT). “It’s critical that we lead our industry by example and make meaningful, environmentally-conscious changes in our products with the future of our planet top of mind. We share this long-term commitment to conscious sustainability with both our business partners, as well as children and families around the world.”

Mowbray continued, “We were able to improve both the manufacturing process and materials used – today we source and upcycle 100% certified and traceable used plastics that are found in landfills and polluting our oceans, and ZURU consumers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand can recycle at no cost to them by sending their used Bunch O Balloons parts, balloon pieces and foil bag packaging to renowned recycling company TerraCycle.”

ZURU also announces a move to plastic-free packaging on ZURU’s Sparkle Girlz products by 2025, and ZURU programs that will reduce CO2 emissions by optimizing space required to ship its Tiny Town products. A unique stackable design and shipping method means that ZURU can pack three times the number of Tiny Town pieces per shipment, which reduces shipping and product costs and therefore reduces its carbon footprint.

From day-to-day operations to leading the change in the toy industry, ZURU operates with a continued commitment to a sustainable future. From rethinking how ZURU designs new and existing products, reducing the use of plastics and their products carbon footprint, and offering consumers easy avenues to recycle, all while still delivering a top-quality experience.

It’s great to see ZURU leading the toy industry to this next and important step in the evolution of recycling.  You may have heard of Terracycle earlier this week when they unveiled a partnership with Taco Bell to reclaim used taco sauce packets. Terracycle has also partnered with Kroger, MONAT, Subaru, Herbal Essence and other huge companies to reclaim vast amounts of plastics and keep them out of landfills or our oceans.

Terracycle has been around for a few years, but they seem to be kicking into high gear now. Terracycle collects what were previously thought to be unrecyclable plastics, arranges for them to be washed, shredded and processed, and then TerraCycle sells the pellets to manufacturers such as injection molders or extruders to create products such as plastic lumber, containers and Dunnage (large containers used for carrying objects). Acording to Resource Recycling.com, Composite decking company TimberTech and global retailer Ikea were the top two buyers of recycled materials in 2016.

It’s really cool to see ZURU getting into the act, because in the end, anything that’s good for the planet, is good for us all.

Get Down With Women Friday On The AIR

The PopCulteer
April 23, 2021

Your PopCulteer is still slacking a bit this week, but I may have a bonus post up later today. Meanwhile, Friday afternoon we offer up new episodes of MIRRORBALL and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. The AIR is PopCult’s sister radio station. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player at the top right column of this blog.

At 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL! The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents a collection of the Disco hits of on Howard Wayne Casey,  who may be just a little bit better known as “KC” when in the midst of The Sunshine Band.  Mel brings you a solid hour of Florida’s Disco Kings. Just check the playlist for this bodacious bit of boogeymania…

MIRRORBALL 023

KC & The Sunshine Band
“That’s The Way”
“Shake Shake Shake”
“Baby Give It Up”
“Get Down Tonight”
“I’m Your Boogie Man”
“Sound Your Funky Horn”
“Let It Go”
“I’m So Crazy (’bout you)”
“I Like To Do It”
“Baby I Love You (Yes I Do)”
“It’s The Same Old Song”
“Ooh I Like It”
“Who Do You Love”
“Boogie Shoes”
“Keep It Comin’ Love”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at  Midnight and 9 PM, Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM, Tuesday at 1 PM and Wednesday at 7 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with a one-week-delayed new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Last week technical glitches on my end held up this show, and it’s a good one, so we made sure it was perfect this time.  This week Sydney salutes the proud women who infiltrated New Wave music and made sure that it didn’t turn into yet another old boy’s club. Every sng in this week’s show is spearheaded by feminine creativity. Check out the playlist…

BEC 069

Romeo Void “A Girl In Trouble”
The Motels “Shame”
Siouxsie And The Banshees “Hybrid”
Kuruki “Souvenir Souvenir”
Home Service “Only Men Fall In Love”
Toyah “She”
Kim Wilde “Tuning In, Turning On”
The Producers “Dream Within A Dream”
Berlin “Tell Me Why”
Nuns “Black and White”
Nina Hagan “Wir Leben Immer…Noch (Lucky Number)”
Plasmatics “Living Dead”
Pretenders “Message of Love”
Kate Bush “Babooshka”
The Pollen “Factory Hours”
Correct Spelling “Strange Boy”
Joan Jett “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”
Scarlet Fantastic “No Memory”
Hazel O’Connor “Eighth Day”
The Go Gos “Our Lips Are Sealed”
Scudocrow “Hero To Tomorrow”
Lene Lovich “I Think We’re Alone Now”
Bow Wow Wow “Louis Quartorze”
The Eternal Waiting “Darkness”
Midnite Lunch “After All”
The Selecter “Three Minute Hero”
Ana Hausen “Professionals”
Die Hausfrauen “Midnight Rain”
The Petticoats “Dreams”
Art of Noise “Close”

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

That’s what’s on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back because we have a fresh post every day and there should be a bonus post up this afternoon.

A Notable Anniversary

Five years ago today, in this blog, I went public with my diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis.

To my great surprise, people actually cared, and that post has become the most-read at this blog.

It was a bit strange to hijack my pop culture blog and turn it into a personal journal about my experiences with having a chronic illness, but I don’t do that too often, and PopCult has never really been a normal blog anyway. During my days as part of the Gazette and Gazette-Mail I managed to mix in family obituaries and births and my stealth wedding with my coverage of comics, toys, movies, TV, nostalgia, music and local happenings.

On this fifth anniversary of that big personal post, I thought it might be time to give my readers a quick update, since so many of you have been writing and asking how I’ve been holding up during the pandemic.

I’ve actually been doing pretty great. Not eating out so often has been very good for my diet, and I’m finally starting to drop some of the extra weight I put on while I was taking Prednisone for a year and a half when I was first diagnosed. Melanie and I have been coccooning, and it was nice to slow down a bit. Thanks to masking, social distancing and staying in, I managed to dodge any of the usual sinus infections that have been a regular part of my entire adult life.

I went thirteen months without seeing a doctor, so it was nice to have a respite from being poked and prodded. During that time, my Neurologist, Dr. Glenn Goldfarb began his well-earned semi-retirement, and I am now under the care of a new doctor, who is intrigued by the lack of severity of my disease. I still have an unusually mild case of Myasthenia Gravis. This means that I have been and will be undergoing new rounds of baseline testing, just to make sure that I still have the disease, and maybe find some alternative treatments. It is my hope that if he changes my meds, he puts me on one where the side effects are that it reverses baldness.

The last two weeks of 2020 saw me having a run of several “good days” to the point where I considered that I may have been in remission. Then in January my MG returned, possibly due to a change in the recipe of something I’d been drinking.

I try to stay away from Aspartame, or “Nutrasweet,” but sometimes a food company will switch artificial sweeteners without warning, and the next thing you know…crossed eyes and wonky fingers return.

During that brief near-remission, my eyes uncrossed completely for the first time in years. I was able to drive without wearing glasses with corrective lenses. This was a big deal for me, because I had feared that the muscled involved in uncrossing my eyes had atrophied to the point where I would need surgery to uncross my eyes. This proved to me that surgery is not necessary.

So things are looking up for me, but I still have bad days and good days. The good far outweighs the bad, and I still consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. I mea, I’ve just spent a year locked in a house with tons of comic books, toys and music, and the girl of my dreams. We never even had to go without our regular brand of toiler paper.

After a delay to monitor the possibility of contraindications between the vaccines and the many meds I take, I will be getting my first vaccine shot very soon. I will probably still wear a mask when I go out after my second shot because I take so many immuno-suppressants. I think we are still several months away from “normal,” with this pandemic, and having made it this far, I would hate to be wiped out close to the finish line.

Mel and I are chomping at the bit to travel and get out and shoot video of bands again, but we aren’t dying to do it. Literally, we don’t want to risk dying. That would really suck.

As for how Myasthenia Gravis affects PopCult…I’m sure you’ve all noticed that I’ve cut way back on videos, and have taken Radio Free Charleston back to its roots as a radio program (you can hear it on The AIR in that embedded player up near the top of the blog).  Monday Morning Art features a hell of a lot more physical art than it used to. When my fingers cooperate, I take advantage of that and draw or paint.

And when I’m having a bad day, or one where the medical industry comes a calling for my time, I slack off. I still haven’t missed a day for a long time, but some of the posts can be a bit skimpy, and sometimes when I have something medical scheduled, I’ll sit down the night before and crank out one of my trademark wordy-assed essays that doesn’t really say anything new, and just fills up space so I can keep saying that I post fresh content every day.

Not that this post is one of those.

« Older posts

© 2021 PopCult

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑