From about age 12 to 15, almost all of my pop culture itches were scratched at the Torrance Public Library. Where Greg Hatcher steeped himself in genre fiction, I was all about the nonfiction; the people, the history, the methods. We were both trying to escape, but while Greg was escaping into fictional worlds, I was trying to escape into a different real world, become a different person, and I knew that the tools to do that would be found almost entirely in the 700 section.
The Atomic Junk Shop’s Amazon Affiliate links bring in enough for the occasional Starbucks visit every couple of months, while Google ads bring in just about enough to cover the annual hosting bill. Backstage, we started talking about setting up a Patreon account a couple of years ago, but haven’t launched it yet. We’d like to know what you think of the idea, and what incentives or rewards you would like to receive.
Songwriter Jim Steinman, best known for writing the Bat Out of Hell album for Meat Loaf, a number of hits for other singers, and a couple of musicals, died last week. He was 73 and had been ill for some time, ultimately succumbing to kidney failure. It took me a few days to figure out what to say about him. I think the best approach is to just tell my story of discovering and experiencing his work.
So I was listening to Spotify, and up comes “Precious” by the Pretenders. I had never really paid much attention to the lyrics, so you can imagine my surprise when, finally, after 41 years, I heard Chrissie Hynde’s shout-out to Howard the Duck. This reminded me of a collection of comic-themed songs I had put together in 2005, and here we are.
This morning, The Atomic Junk Shop hit two milestones: post number 1000 and comment number 10,000.
A while back, author Adam-Troy Castro commented on Facebook that he keeps seeing posts on different pop culture sites with titles like “All-Time Greatest Movie [whatevers]” — best villains, sexiest stars, costumes, vehicles, etc. — and almost never do the lists include any movies made before 1980, and often not even from before 1990. It’s like a whole lot of people think nothing existed before they did. So, let’s discover some things from decades before we were born. Welcome to the latest Atomic Roundtable!
One thing I think everyone who loves Star Wars has said at least once is “man, I wish I had an R2-D2!” My good friend and fellow archery coach Russell Rucker said the same thing, and then he went ahead and built one. His R2 unit is completely screen-accurate, and has appeared at a number of Star Wars events over the years. Naturally, like a whole lot of other people, I asked Russell how he built his R2. He gave me permission to share the process here.