PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

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e-chairThe PopCulteer
February 24
, 2017

You probably couldn’t tell, but I haven’t been here for a few days.

I mean, I was here, writing these words and crafting these posts, but I actually did this in advance. For the latter part of this week I have been in Morgantown having some specialized EMG tests done to determine the progress of my treatment for Myasthenia Gravis. If all works out well, I’ll be able to drop some of my meds and enjoy the state of not having to take those anymore.

I’m really hoping that I’m doing well enough to eliminate one of my meds in particular. Prednisone is not fun, and after a few months on it, I’d like to be free of the increased irritability and appetite.

Now, the EMG test itself, is something that I have described as “thoroughly unpleasant.” Here’s how the Mayo Clinic describes it:

Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic procedure to assess the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them (motor neurons). Motor neurons transmit electrical signals that cause muscles to contract. An EMG translates these signals into graphs, sounds or numerical values that a specialist interprets.

Now, that sounds innocent enough, but the way they measure these signals is by using a device that’s not unlike a taser, which they apply to your arms or legs (or face). And they do this over and over again…for a long time. When they are checking for Myasthenia Gravis, they also stick needles in the affected areas. Here’s another description of that type of EMG:

How is an intramuscular EMG done?

A needle is inserted through the skin into the muscle. The electrical activity is detected by this needle (which serves as an electrode). The activity is displayed visually on an oscilloscope and may also be detected audibly with a speaker.

Since skeletal muscles are often large, several needle electrodes may need to be placed at various locations to obtain an informative EMG.

By the time you read this, I have already undergone these tests (I actually had tests like this done last year, but this new batch is supposed to be more comprehensive). I am already resting and/or heading back to Charleston, where I am quite unlikely to feel like doing much of anything this weekend.

And that includes writing a PopCulteer. So this will have to do. PopCult will continue to have all of our regular features and maybe even some extra Toy Fair reports. In the meantime…OW!

Transformers: The Last Knight Actors Meet The Toys

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transThe PopCult Toybox

Transformers: The Last Knight stars Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Isabela Moner, Laura Haddock, director Michael Bay and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura joined Hasbro’s Entertainment Preview Event on Monday, February 20, 2017 during New York Toy Fair. They were able to get a sneak peek of all the new movie-themed figures which are set to release later this year. Transformers: The Last Knight is coming out in theaters on June 23, 2017. Hasbro was kind enough to share some of their photos of this encounter with us.

See below for photos and captions from the event.

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (L) is joined by film stars Mark Wahlberg, Isabela Moner, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel and Director Michael Bay (rear) at the Hasbro Entertainment Preview Event, Monday, February 20, 2017 in New York City.
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT star Mark Wahlberg holds TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST NIGHT PREMIER EDITION LEADER CLASS MEGATRON at the Hasbro Entertainment Preview Event, Monday, February 20, 2017 in New York City. Inspired by the movie, the 9-inch figure will be available this fall.
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT star Josh Duhamel holds Mega 1-Step Turbo Changer Dragonstorm figure at the Hasbro Entertainment Preview Event, Monday, February 20, 2017 in New York City. Inspired by the upcoming movie, the Dragonstorm figure features premium detailing and movie-inspired effects and will be available in fall.
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT star Isabela Moner plays with TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT RC AUTOBOT SQWEEKS at the Hasbro Entertainment Preview Event Monday, February 20, 2017 in New York City. Inspired by a new character from the film, the remote controlled bot will be available this spring.
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT star Laura Haddock holds TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT – KNIGHT ARMOUR TURBO CHANGER MEGATRON figure at the Hasbro Entertainment Preview Event, Monday, February 20, 2017 in New York City. Inspired by the film, this figure will be available this spring.

Stay tuned to PopCult for more Toy Fair news!

Radio Free Charleston International Takes Over The AIR

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rfci-new-logo-2-23-02Don’t forget, Wednesday at midnight we begin a 24-hour marathon of Radio Free Charleston International on The AIR! Tune in at the website, or on this handy embedded radio player…

Tune in at Midnight Wednesday for a special 24-hour marathon of Radio Free Charleston International. This is one full day of nothing but your PopCulteer playing whatever he wants to, all day long. If you want insight into how your humble blogger’s mind operates, check out this marathon that includes everything from The Beatles to DEVO to Frank Zappa to weird experimental synth music to neo-classical to oldies to obscure new music and bizarre old music.

It starts at midnight, Wednesday and wraps up at midnight, Thursday. Then, if you dare, you can settle in for seven hours of the best Swing Music from the last century on The Swing Shift.

A fundraiser for my friend, Lee Harrah, following the death of his mother, Mikki, last month, happens tonight at The Empty Glass. I won’t be able to attend for the same reason that I had to miss Toy Fair in New York this week, but if you are free, enjoy great live music, and want to help somebody who helps a lot of other people and gives a tremendous amount back to the community, then please consider stopping by the Empty Glass tonight. Details are in the graphic below.


The PopCult Toybox

toy_fair_banner_2017The International Toy Fair in New York wrapped up Tuesday, but there’s still tons of news to cover. Helping us in that regard is another batch of links to pertinent stories from around the web.

Our friends at The 13th Dimension tell us all about what to expect from Diamond Select, Mezco, Funko, Super 7 and more, with tons of great photos, to boot!

Comic Book Resources covers the toys based on the upcoming movie, Transformers:The Last Knight.

The Fwoosh just as too many stories to mention. Visit their home page and bask in the Toy Fairyness.

Newsday looks all over Toy Fair for the coolest toys, many of which we told you about first here in PopCult.

The folks at Dread Central have photos of NECA’s Ash vs. Evil Dead hand puppets.

The Nerdist offers up previews of some of Funko’s offerings, like Game of Thrones, Wonder Woman and Westworld.

Fortune goes into detail about Mattel’s new holographic Barbie personal assistant.

The world’s first Transgender doll, made by Tonner, is covered by The Guardian.

Look for more Toy Fair coverage in the coming days and weeks.

page1We revisit Michele Zirkle Marcum’s appearance on Behind The Paranormal on  The AIR today at 1:30 PM and 7 PM.  Check out a brand-new episode of Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum on The AIR website, or on this embedded radio player…

Last Sunday Michele appeared on the nationally-heard radio program Behind The Paranormal with Paul and Ben Eno. This show originates from Boston and can be heard online on OnWorldwide,com Radio.

Michele will be discussed her book, Rain No Evil and her encounters with the unexplainable that lead her to create Life Speaks. This week we bring you the first of three installments of her appearance on the show.

Also continuing this week is the “Heal Your Heart” contest with prizes including copies of her book, Rain No Evil,  and a one hour heart-healing session with Naturopathic doctor Dr. Jeanie Short.

The grand prize winner will be announced March 6th at noon in a live video on Michele’s Facebook page. For details on how you can enter the Heal Your Heart contest, go HERE,

rfci-new-logo-2-23-02At Midnight Wednesday we begin a 24-hour marathon of Radio Free Charleston International. This is one full day of nothing but your humble blogger playing whatever he wants to.

Also on The AIR Wednesday is our regular line-up of amazing, intelligent radio:

Wednesday on The AIR:

7:00 AM     The Swing Shift
9:00 AM     Radio Coolsville
11:00 AM   The Mystery Hour
Noon           Curtain Call
1:00 PM     On The Road with Mel
1:30 PM     Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum
2:00 PM     The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe
3:00 PM     Curtain Call
5:00 PM     Indie Music On The AIR
7:00 PM     Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum
7:30 PM     Word Association with Lee & Rudy
8:00 PM     Prognosis
10:00 PM   The Comedy Vault
Midnight     The Radio Free Charleston International Marathon

rfc-2-22It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for a minty-fresh brand-new Radio Free Charleston on The AIR! Tune in at the website, or on this handy embedded radio player…

At 10 AM and 10 PM Radio Free Charleston brings the local music to you with a show that includes The MFB, Mojomatic, Hasil Adkins, Under Surveillance, Tofujitsu, Groove Heavy, Corporate Orange and more.

You can hear Radio Free Charleston’s unique mix of different genres of local music Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, Thursday at 5 PM, Saturday at 10 AM and Midnight and Sunday at 9 PM, exclusively on The AIR. Check out This week’s Playlist right here…

MFB  “Funkin’ Up The Neighborhood”
Holly and the Guy  “Just Can’t Fake This”
Groove Heavy  “Good Girl and You Know It”
Bugaboo  “Attempted”
Andy Park  “Planets”
Mojomatic  “Crazy”
Under Surveillance  “All I Want”
Tofujitsu  “Cabeza”
Corporate Orange  “Climbing Higher”
Granny’s 12 Gauge  “12 Shots of Pain”
Hasil Adkins  “Big Fat Mama”
Southern Culture on the Skids  “Daddy Was A Preacher”
Travis Stephens  “I Can’t Live Like This”
Stone Ka Tet  “Adam’s Song”

At 3 PM The Swing Shift presents two more classic episodes because your PopCulteer and host has not quite recovered from coughing his voice into oblivion.

You can hear The Swing Shift every Tuesday at 3 PM, Wednesday at 7 AM, Thursday at 7 PM, Saturday at 9 AM and if you just can get enough, tune in Thursday at Midnight for a marathon of classic episodes, all night long.


hatchimals-colleggtiblesThe PopCult Toybox

One of the toy companies that was exceptionally nice to us last year, Spin Master, has a massive and impressive slate of new products coming out this year. They’re calling it their “most diverse portfolio of toys, games and entertainment properties to date.”

“Spin Master continues to push the boundaries of innovation, creativity and fun in new and unexpected ways,” said Ben Gadbois, Global President and COO, Spin Master Ltd. “This year, we are launching our most advanced robot with the Meccano M.A.X. Robot, we’re ready to surprise the world with the next evolution of Hatchimals and an amazing new version of the classic baby doll with Luvabella. We are committed to making the world more fun and these are just a few shining examples from Spin Master’s 2017 line.”


luvabella-02Dolls have been a favorite toy over the millennia for good reason: kids are instinctively drawn to play patterns evoking caring and loving behavior. With the introduction of Luvabella (seen right), Spin Master has seamlessly combined nurturing play with advanced robotics, bringing the classic baby doll into the 21st century.

Luvabella affectionately responds to a child’s love, just like a real baby. Tickle her tummy or her toes and she will giggle in delight. Her beautiful expressive face is the first of its kind, leading to the most authentic movement and emotions. From her first word to Luvabella’s joyful giggles, every child will be mesmerized by all the moments to discover. Kids will love her every surprise! Recommended for ages three and up, with a MSRP $99.99 USD.


meccano-max-01Spin Master acquired Meccano in 2013, bringing it new life and relevance, making Meccano the destination for creative kids with an interest in engineering and robotics. In addition to the building sets which have captivated children for more than a century, Meccano is set to launch the exciting Meccano M.A.X. Robot (seen right).

Meccano M.A.X. Robot is the most advanced Meccano robot to date, drawing on advanced robotics technology that combines Artificial Intelligence (AI) learning and customizable programming to create a one of a kind personal assistant. Infrared (IR) Navigation and customizable apps bring M.A.X. to life with almost limitless potential for personalization and interactivity including a built-in gaming platform for added fun. For ages ten and up with a MSRP $149.99 USD.

Building the Meccano MeccaSpider (below) is just the start of the fun. With app control and venom attack, it’s easy to keep enemies at bay. MeccaSpider also has an interactive personality and built in games to keep the whole family entertained. For ages ten and up with a MSRP $99.99 USD


Continue reading…


“Rainbow Unicorn Blood Splatter” is entry number three in “abstract month” here at Monday Morning Art in PopCult. Click the image to take a bigger look at just what the hell it’s supposed to be. It’s an abstract, so there are no wrong answers, just pointless questions.

And while you’re at it, just to remind you guys, PopCult has an internet radio stations, The AIR. You can tune in at the website, or on this neat little player…

On Mondays we feature progressive rock on Prognosis at 3 PM, with Harrah’s Hard & Heavy at 5 PM, cool talk with Patrick Felton, Mark Wolfe and the crew at The Empty Glass starts at 7 PM, and at midnight we get strange and disturbing overnight comedy and audio madness.

Toy Fair 2017: More Links

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btas_galleryhardac1-513x600The PopCult Toybox

As day two of the 2017 International Toy Fair in New York begins, we’re going to post another batch of links toother websties covering the event in person. These are more general and should have way more photos.

ITM brings us tons of photos from Diamond Select’s offerings, including The Muppets, Ghostbusters, Back To The Future, DC Comics, Marvel, Pirates of the Caribbean and more.

The Nerdist plans to update this post all weekend long with their picks of the most impressive toys they’ve seen. Of particular note is their confirmation that Funko will begin production of a line of Batman ’66 standard action figures.

ComingSoon.net & SuperHeroHype attended Hasbro’s 2017 Entertainment Brand Preview at the New York Toy Fair this weekend, and  came away with a gallery of over 85 images of products from the Marvel, Star Wars and Transformers toy lines. Check out their Hasbro Toy Fair gallery.

Over at KOTAKU, Mike Fahey has posted a cool batch of photos that he took on day one of Toy Fair.

Xinhuanet gives us the international perspectives, with another group of photos

Bloody Disgusting has great photos of NECA’s upcoming Batman and Superman vs. Predators and Aliens collection.

Finally, The TOYARK has been extensively covering Toy Fair all week long, and you’ll find a comprehensive guide to their photo-heavy news stories right HERE. Be warned that they do an amazing job and it’ll take you hours to dig through everything. This is where you’ll find the latest images from Funko’s new Planet of the Apes, Masters of the Universe and Batman ’66 lines, as well as ton of other cool things from all the major toymakers. We swiped the image below from The TOYARK, just to give you a hint.


More Toy Fair news is coming your way in PopCult. Keep checking back.