Bits and Pieces: Tidbits from Pop Culture News

NOTE: Google's Blogger has been down, so my apologies for the delay in posting this.  Also, it appears that my post from Wednesday night has disappeared.  I hope Google and Blogger resolve the issue, but I've been frustrated with their lack of communication on what's going on.  Fingers crossed that there will be no further hiccups and the Bill Gallo post will be restored. -- Nick

UPDATE: Everything seems back to normal, whew!

Here is another edition of the pop culture news that makes me go “hmmm” – those nuggets of current events that grabbed my attention and hopefully will inspire some of you to comment.

1. Microsoft has acquired Skype, the popular, free, online video conferencing service. It has surprised me to no end that more people don’t use Skype, but now I think it’s finally going to explode into mainstream acceptance, both for business users and for the general public. The future is here when everyone will be making video phone calls on their computers and tablet devices, on their smartphones, via their Internet-connected television screens, anywhere and everywhere.

2. I’m a sucker for all-star casts, and the actors lining up to appear in Gotti: Three Generations are phenomenal. Barry Levinson (who gave us Diner, The Natural, Young Sherlock Holmes, Tin Men, Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man, Sleepers, Wag the Dog, and other great films) will direct the bio-flick about the life of Gambino crime boss John Gotti. Get a load of these names: John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Joe Pesci, and now the awesome Al Pacino. (Yes, Lindsay Lohan may also play a role.)

3. Cathy Rigby is reprising her memorable performance as Peter Pan. Is it just me or will it be a little strange to see a 58-year-old woman play the part of a little boy who never grows old? Don’t get me wrong, I know how great Rigby was in the Broadway production way back when, but sometimes it’s best to just let things be.

4. Books about gardening are becoming bestsellers beyond just the green thumb crowd. My mom is an avid gardener and I’m happy to see it become a real pop culture interest. Some of the books on my Kindle waiting to be read include Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart, On Gardens by Paula Deitz, Founding Gardeners by Andrea Wulf, and American Eden by Wade Graham. You don’t have to be a master planter to enjoy these well-written and wonderfully entertaining tomes.

5. After a brief hiatus to revamp its story and add new songs with a new creative team, the much-maligned musical Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark is returning for another stab at success. Will the harsh critics be swayed? Will fired director Julie Taymor’s vision be remembered, living in legendary infamy, or will the new version make naysayers long for the return of Arachne and the campy, ridiculous Shoe song?

Let me know what you think.