The PopCulteer
February 19, 2021

It’s Friday morning. Your PopCulteer has had a bit of a trying week. Last night, rather than sit down and force myself to crank out this PopCulteer column, I made the choice to turn off my brain so I could watch morons eating awful stuff on one of the cooking channels.

So now…I got nuthin’.

It’s time for a stream-of-consciousness post, filled with half-baked (and some quarter-baked) ideas that I never quite managed to get to congeal into a coherent blog post.

To start, as soon as I began my fourth attempt this morning at writing this post, the phone rang. It was a robocall sternly warning me that this was my last chance for an extended car warranty before they stop calling me forever. I have been getting this robocall almost every day (except for a glorious lull in telemarketing during the early months of the pandemic) for years.

I drive a 2004 Chrysler 300.  It’s not even eligible for one of these crooked extended warranty scams. So I hit the button to talk to a representative, told them I had a 1952 Studebaker, and when they said they couldn’t offer a warranty for any car made before 2006, I asked, in a colorful (that means loud and filled with expletives) manner why then do  they call me every day.  Then I hung up and tried to remember how I had originally planned to start this post.

Like I said, it’s been a rough week. My train of thought keeps getting derailed by all manner of distractions, plus the juggling of power outages, potential power outages, internet outages and on top of that I had a magazine deadline that was not made any easier by any of those things.

Then there is Myasthenia Gravis, the auto-immune disorder affecting one’s muscles which afflicts your PopCulteer. In the last two weeks of last year, my MG symptoms sudenly disappeared. All my symptoms vanished completely and I briefly entertained the hope that I may have gone into spontaneous remission. My double vision even went away, proving that my eye muscles have not completely atrophied. I was able to drive without corrective lenses.

I didn’t really expect it to last, so I enjoyed it while I could.

That brief vacation from MG lasted two weeks, then things went back the way they have been, which is not horrible–I am still lucky enough to have a very mild case of the disease–but it was a reminder that MG will ebb and flow, sometimes with little explanation.

The past few days, it’s been in “flow” mode, with it hitting me particularly bad, which has made writing a bit tricky. While typing, I’ll occasionally miss the key that I’m supposed to hit with my ring finger on either hand, and to be honest, I already make enough typos without any additional physical limitations, so I’ve had to triple-proofread everything I’ve written, and I’m sure I still missed a few things. My long-suffering editor at Non Sport Update will confirm this.

On top of that, the world has been distracting. I’ve got friends in Texas and I’m very concerned with the situation there. This freak storm system, combined with their decades of antiquated energy policies and senseless deregulation added up to a disaster in the making.  I hope things get cleared up there with minimal loss of life soon.

Our own weather has sucked enough to be distracting too, and where I am we didn’t get anywhere near the worst of this giant piece of climate change.

Meanwhile TV networks are announcing new programs like mad, leading up to the “upfronts,” the advertising meetings where they lay out their plans for the coming year. I’ll be telling you about some of this stuff in the coming days. It looks like Cartoon Network, which is currently split between Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, will now fragment further with an early-morning programming block called “Cartoonito,” aimed at pre-schoolers.

Then there was the matter of one of the worst human beings to ever soil the Earth with his presence dying and going straight to hell. I spent Wednesday in such an elevated mood that I was not able to get much of anything done. It was a glee that one rarely gets to experience, even if it did come thirty years too late. My grin was so wide that it restricted my field of vision.  The world is truly a better place now that he’s gone.

I woke up Thursday with a schadenfreude hangover. I’m not going to stain my blog with that bastard’s name, but I take solace in the fact that so many people who have been so brainwashed by his vile poison are so extremely sad. When those people are happy, very bad things happen to the world.

Happy days are here again.

Speaking of Happy Days, there is a whole channel devoted to Happy Days and its spin-off shows, Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy, on Pluto.TV. If you don’t know, Pluto is an app that you can watch on Roku, Smart TVs and other streaming devices, or on the web. It’s like an entire cable system, loaded with hudreds of channels. Since Viacom bought this app a couple of years back, they’ve beefed up their offerings with stuff from the Paramount/CBS/Viacom library, as well as programs from other suppliers. They even have a 24/7 channel devoted to America’s Test Kitchen, and they just added local CBS Newscasts from major cities like New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

There are channels devoted to Star Trek, Doctor Who, Comedy Central animation, and Johnny Carson. On other channels you’ll find classic episodes of American Pickers, The Walking Dead, The Sarah Silverman Show, Red Dwarf, The IT Crowd, Beavis and Butthead, and just recently they have started running new/old episodes of Night Flight.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the thousands of TV Shows and movies they have.

If you haven’t tried it, go check it out. It’s free.

The lack of a Toy Fair for 2021 means that we’re going to have a scattershot approach to our annual toy coverage this year. I offered up one post yesterday, and if I can keep from being distracted, next week I hope to bring you another dozen or so posts to tell you what’s coming to the world of toys in the coming year. I will probably not go into great detail on stuff that’s already all over social media and on other pop culture sites. I might just post links to that stuff. I’m going to try to shine the spotlight on toys that need some more exposure.

For instance, Bachmann Trains has some new Thomas The Tank Engine Sets coming out in HO Scale, like this one…

And with that pretty-cool toy, I’m going to wrap up this PopCulteer. Stay safe, stay warm, and check this blog for all our regular features.