Time flies, and it does so even faster when you get to be the age your humble blogger has reached.
Thirteen years ago this week, in what was originally just an attempt to inject some discipline into my writing habits, I began a new regular feature here in PopCult (which began in August, 2005, for those of you scoring at home). I didn’t want to fall into the typical blogger rut of only posting one or even fewer items each week, so early on I started adding regular posts to my schedule. I didn’t want PopCult to whither and die with a whimper like so many other blogs have done.
Monday Morning Art was easy, and was the first regular feature, added on the first anniversary of PopCult. Later I added Sunday Evening Video, just to make sure there was something posted over the weekend. Radio Free Charleston video notes made regular appearances too. It wasn’t until I was free of my caregiver duties that I decided to try to post at least one item every day. I’ve been plucking away at that, with just a handfull of missed days, since August, 2013.
Before that happened, I started The PopCulteer. The name was a tribute to Charleston Gazette legend, Jim Dent, and his weekly “Gazetteer” column, which ran in the paper every Friday for about thirty years. The rules I laid down for myself were loose and simple: Each week I would post SOMETHING of some kind of substance. It could be a lengthy essay; a photo essay; lots of small items; news on what was happening in town; book, music or toy reviews; or even video. Of late, a lot of PopCulteers have simply been descriptions of what was airing that day on our sister internet station, The AIR. The idea was that every week there’d be something new for my loyal readers to take in. If you go back in the archives and look at the early years of this blog, there were some weeks where PopCult only had one or two posts. I didn’t like the way that looked, so this was an attempt to beef things up a bit.
The first edition of The PopCulteer kicked off with a lengthy, snarky essay about our state legislature, and their proclivity toward trading their votes for junk food. The shame of this story is that, not only did these folks not all get booted out of office, some of them have moved on to higher offices, and this incident was simply a harbinger for how West Virginia would operate under Koch Brother-funded rule. We’re still paying the price for having cheaply-bought politicians, but it has to reach a breaking point. I mean, they can’t keep getting worse…can they?
Beginning The PopCulteer certainly worked in terms of honing my writing skills. In thirteen years, I have only missed one column, and that was due to illness. Two other columns were taken down after an insane millionaire threatened to sue me and the Gazette for telling the truth about a counterfeit Batmobile scheme of his that I exposed. We never retracted or apologized for telling the truth, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a battle over which it was worth losing my house to pay the legal fees, so we deleted two PopCulteers. I think those posts lived on at the Wayback Machine until a couple of years ago.
Anyway, in honor of our lucky thirteenth anniversary, here are a few more random observations and mini-essays and bonus content for you to chew upon…
Auction House and Prarie Curios
Does anybody else get a serious “Tex and Edna Boil” vibe off of those Joe R. Pyle Auction commercials?
Suddenlink, the Charleston area’s longtime monopoly broadband provider is changing their name. By the end of the year they’ll be “Optimum.” Soon they will have competiton from CAS Fiber Internet, and I guess they wanted a new name to hide the fact that they’re, well…Suddenlink.
To be fair, aside from their rates continually going up for no reason (like they did this month for me), service has been pretty good since I switched to a business account eight years ago. However, the possiblity of once again having to change my email address is a major pain in the ass.
However, Suddenlink’s Cable service was so bad and so overpriced that they drove me to DirecTV, which can try my patience, but is insanely reliable. In eight years with DirecTV, I’ve never had an outage last more than half an hour. With Suddenlink before that, hours or days-long outages were a monthly or weekly occurence.
So, good luck with the new name. Isn’t it Ironic, doncha think?
There is a war going on in the world, and I don’t intend to make light of it or play it down in any way. However I do not write about it here in PopCult. I’m far from an expert, and my opinions are no more informed than any intelligent person who knows which news sources to trust on the internet. While the atrocities in Ukraine are heart-breaking and stomach-turning, my job is to offer a respite from that. I’m the dancing clown waving around the toys and comics and fun stuff to take your mind off of the horrors of reality.
I’m not suggesting that you avoid reality and heaviness. But if you need a break, that’s what I’m here for.
I also try to stay away from politics because I have several readers who are so radicalized into Anti-Democracy right-wing hate-think that, even if I just suggest that President Biden is competent, they fly into a petulant rage and make asses of themselves on the internet. I guess four years of seeing their ideal Republican candidate fail at every aspect of governing has left them easily triggered. So I’ll try not to rub their noses in the fact that Republicans don’t know how to govern.
Never have I cared less about a major pop culture happening than I have the incident at The OSCARs. I’ve never been a fan of Will Smith. I found the Fresh Prince of Bel Air to be a run-of-the-mill crappy sitcom with formula writing, and an obnoxious laugh-track. I found him tolerable in the first Men In Black movie, but never thought he was more than tolerabe in anything else, and was often a good enough reason not to watch a movie. If he was ever really good in anything I probably didn’t see it.
I do find Chris Rock to be intermittantly hilarious. He seems more sedate and less edgy now, and that joke, referencing a 25-year-old movie that was a flop when it came out, was about as cutting edge as a Bob Hope one-liner about John Wayne’s horse.
The fact that it was a lame joke was far more offensive than making fun of someone’s handicap. For one thing, I have friends with Alopecia, and I don’t think any of them consider it to be that big of a handicap. For another thing, maybe he didn’t even know about it and thought Smith’s wife was just wearing short hair for a fashion statement. It was not common knowledge among people who don’t give half a crap about Will Smith and his wife. It was a bad joke, but not anything worth getting slapped over.
Either way, who really gives a crap?
It’s truly a golden time to be a fan of professional wrestling. There’s quality wrestling shows on almost every night of the week. WWE is humming along after a very fun Wrestlemania weekend. AEW is soaring to new heights on a regular basis. NXT is a fun and entertaining alternative, Impact is putting on decent shows every week. Ring of Honor is newly-acquired by AEW’s owner, and will get a big boost from them. New Japan Pro Wrestling is back on AXS TV. Women of Wrestling will return in the fall. Fans can truly get drunk on wrestling and never sober up.
And people on the internet can fill every second of every minute of every day by bitching and complaining about it all!
I can see the appeal of doing word puzzles like Wordle and Dordle, but for the life of me I can’t understand why people feel the need to share their scores every day.
And with that, let’s wrap up this week’s PopCulteer and get ready for the weekend. Check back for all our regular features.
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