Pop Culture & Current Events

The Most Important Lesson This Election Year

I worked for Borders in 2004 during the Bush vs Kerry presidential election. While most of our customers were polite, some took the election extremely seriously. We were sold out of a particularly incendiary title, and I had a customer get in my face to tell me he did not believe we were sold out, he believed our bookstore was “too <expletive deleted> liberal to carry it.” A coworker jumped…


Are You Ready for ‘Morning After’ Wedding Photos?

I am probably going to come off very out of touch and old-fashioned here, but at least I have a good reason: I have been married for over 20 years, and when we were married having a videographer wasn’t all that common. Cell phones were still uncommon, and those bricks were only used for … phone calls; there were no camera phones, or even digital cameras for that matter. And…


These Guys Are NOT ‘Heroes’ … and Maybe We Are to Blame

Let me get a couple of things out of the way – I am not equating the potential actions of these two men, nor declaring guilt on them. There are many things we do not know and will never know. But the reality is that these two men – Lance Armstrong and Joe Paterno – are both famous due to involvement with sports, both had significant accomplishments in sport, and…


George Lucas and Seth Green Debut New “Star Wars” Cartoon

Through the Star Wars movies and Clone Wars cartoons, we got to know the main and side characters through their major exploits across the galaxy. But what about “what the daily life is like in a galaxy far, far away”? Well, now producers George Lucas and Seth Green are going to let us see that, in the form of a new cartoon series called ‘Star Wars Detours’. Here is what…


‘Hands Off Crazy’ Is a Tribute to This Week’s Political Wingnuts

Image courtesy CoochWatch There are plenty of crazies on both sides of the political aisle, but as a scientist what REALLY bugs me is total misinformation and the perpetuation of blatantly incorrect information. Again, there are plenty of examples on both sides, but the amazing thing recently is the extent to which anti-abortion legislators will resort to misinformation and lies to push their agenda rather than simply standing on their…


Fifty Shades Generator Gives You Filthy Smutty Filler Text (NSFW Obviously)

Aside from being a massively successful entry into the romance sub-genre some refer to as ‘mommy porn’, the book has also spawned a large number of memes and parodies. For example, I love the video of Gilbert Gottfried reading excerpts (video below), and now we have a new one – the 50 Shades Generator. Here is their description: The Fifty Shades Generator is a breakthrough in erotic fiction. At the…


You Should REALLY Be Watching Wil Wheaton’s ‘TableTop’ Series!

Yesterday afternoon I had some time before taking Chris to his piano lesson, and I fired up the latest edition of Wil Wheaton’s TableTop, this week featuring the game ‘Say Anything’ (Amazon link). Soon I had both boys pulling up chairs and thoroughly enjoying watch someone else play a board game. Here is the basis of the show: My ulterior motive with Tabletop is to show by example how much…


xkcd Puts Names to What Our Cultural Memory Will Forget Each Year

Today’s comic from xkcd really struck me – even more than their normally awesome work – because it looks at something I deal with on a seemingly daily basis: cultural memory. My wife and I were born in the mid-60s, so I remember watching Watergate, seeing Jaws and Star Wars in theaters, gas lines, and on and on. Some things like watching Bullitt this week and seeing rotary phones and…


Is Dubstep Actually Avant Garde Genius?

Here is an interesting thought – Dubstep represents a culmination of a century of development in avant garde music mixed with already familiar movements in dance, punk and jazz. That is the tack taken by PBSIdeas that explains the historical context around the development of non-harmonic electronic music over the last century. Here is the text attached to the video. Dubstep. Is. Awesome. While some people may hear noise, we…


Amazingly, 6% of Drivers Would Swerve to Kill an Animal

Imagine that you are driving down the road and see a turtle on the shoulder … what do you do? Well, if you are Blake Shelton or one of his small-minded ilk, you swerve to crush him (or not as he later denied it), then tweet about it and get abusive to anyone who questions you. Actually, for most people you would either continue driving or perhaps stop to help…


Non-News of the Day – Pop Music Getting Louder and Harmonically Bland

There has been loads of talk in recent years about the loss in dynamic range of music – the so-called ‘loudness wars’. Basically, to make the quick impression required by the short-attention span internet age listener, a song needs to ‘pop’ and has about 10-15 seconds to do it. The quick cure for that is simply to bring everything to the front in the mix and make the difference between…


GoodBye Shake-Weight, Hello Ace Power!

In terms of ideas that must have seemed great on paper but in reality is so totally sexually suggestive that it can never be taken seriously, it seemed difficult to replace the Shake Weight – which has a great prank video here, but really is perfectly hilarious in the actual TV ad. Well… apparently some folks in Korea have been hard at work, and have come up with a great…


The Irony of Idiotic Idiots and the Rush to Be FIRST!

I hadn’t planned a direct reaction to the Supreme Court upholding all aspects of the Affordable Care Act (calling it ‘Obamacare’ is a pejorative term that shows clear bias), as it isn’t the focus of the site and there wasn’t a direct ‘hook’ that made sense. Well, there wasn’t until the announcement and the hour or so after it … and then there were TWO interesting developments! First, when the…


What Do You Think of Muse’s Olympic Anthem?

Muse was announced as providing the ‘Official Olympic Anthem’ for the summer games in London, and today they have released the song video officially, with the full album coming in September. The song is called ‘Survival’ and Muse singer Matthew Bellamy said: “It’s a huge honor to have the track chosen as such a major part of the London 2012 Olympic Games,” Bellamy added. “I wrote it with the games…


Tay Zonday Brings a Fitting End to the ‘Call Me Maybe’ Meme

If you haven’t experienced SOMETHING of the ‘Call Me Maybe’ meme, which takes the first line of the ultra-popular Carly Rae Jepson song and twists it around … you might need to come out from the bunker and tune into this whole ‘internet’ thing. The actual line is “Hey, I just met you … and this is crazy … but here’s my number, so call me maybe”. One of my…


10 Video Clips for the 10th Anniversary of John Entwistle’s Death

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eFMqKC2C554 Back in early 2002 The Who looked to make a comeback, regrouping and heading out on tour with renewed energy. But before the tour could quite start, legendary bassist John Entwistle collapsed and died of a heart attack … certainly not helped by years of cocaine use. In various interviews he lamented somewhat at how long it took for The Who to ‘get rich’ compared to some of their…


Remembering Ray Bradbury through His Impact on Music

I have already written about the passing of the great sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, but his influence extended well beyond literature and film. But he has also had a profound impact on the world of music, as noted in this LA Times article which cites Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ as the first major song written around the work of Bradbury. But it is another of the tracks mentioned on the…


RIP Guitarist Pete Cosey at 68

Have you ever heard the name Pete Cosey? Don’t be embarrassed if you haven’t – in spite of contributing to some major recordings, developing innovative and influential techniques and tunings, and sharing his gifts and influences in ways that have earned him Grammy Award recognition, he has never been well known. In fact, he passed away last week and I only learned about it yesterday through a friend on Facebook….


Five People, One Guitar, and a Better Version Than Gotye

If you have recently turned on a radio or network TV, entered a shopping mall or grocery store, or simply been in any position to hear music … chances are you have heard the song ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ by Gotye featuring Kimba. What initially caught our attention when we heard it on the ’80s, 90, Now’ channel of Slacker was how the voice in the chorus sounded…


RIP Author Ray Bradbury at 91

Late last year Ray Bradbury reluctantly allowed his classic novel Fahrenheit 451 to be published in ebook form, which was initially problematic but later resolved nicely. Today we learn that the famed author has died at age 91 after decades of creating amazing stories and characters and visions of potential futures based on the human-technology interaction. He is best known for Fahrenheit 451, but through his short stories and collections…


In a Sea of Canceled TV Shows, How Did YOUR Favorites Fare?

I had started to write about canceled shows last fall after the abysmal Charlie’s Angels was unceremoniously dumped along with Playboy Club and a couple of others. What stopped me? The cancellations never seemed to end! But then the season settled in and suddenly it was time for holiday breaks, then mid-seasons shifts and so on. But now we are nearing the end of Season Finale month, and the networks…