A Few of My Favourite Things

What would New Year’s be without me adding to the plethora of lists? So without further ado, here is my picks for the best in pop culture for 2006, in no particular order:

The most sci-fi show on network television since The X-Files is also the best show on TV this year, topping Prison Break and even Lost. Random people suddenly develop powers and must figure out how to handle and use them, for better or worse. It is the best comic-inspired work of fiction since Sin City, doling out plot developments at a furious pace.

Hiro Nakamura
Super Hiro is the heart and soul of Heroes and the one character who wholeheartedly embraces his newfound powers and sets out to do good with them. Also, as a Star Trek quoting Japanese nerd, he provides the show with comic relief.

Stephen Colbert was on a tear this year: he lambasted George Bush and the assembled media as a speaker at White House Correspondents' Association Dinner; he had his fans stuff the online ballot box to have a Hungarian bridge named after him; and the Merriam-Webster dictionary selected truthiness as its Word of the Year for 2006. The Colbert Report is spectacular satire.

I’d never heard of these guys until the day I got sent a link to a video for a catchy song – Here It Goes Again – and their treadmill-hoping, choreographic perfection. Then I watched it over and over and over again.

Royale With Cheese
After the unceremonious dumping of Pierce Brosnan as the agent with the licence to kill and years of speculation on who would fill the tux, Daniel Craig emerged as the new, hard-edged 007, reinvigorating the venerable franchise without abandoning its past.

The most thrilling movie chase of the year had no gadgets and no cars, just two people making their way though a construction site at a death-defying, breakneck speed. The opening sequence of Casino Royale showed a terrorist using the technique, also known as free running, to escape the pursuing James Bond. Pure adrenaline.

After 15 years, the Canadian power pop quartet refuses to phone it in, releasing the 30-song Never Hear the End of It and heading back out on tour. Much goodness to be had.

Toronto During TIFF
Visitors often complain that Torontonians are cold and aloof – and they aren’t wrong – but all of that changes during the Toronto Film Festival. Suddenly complete strangers are chatting with each other with ease while in lines and theatres. They compare notes, thoughts on films, celebs they’ve spotted and then as quickly as it began, it evaporates. I wish the city were like this year-round.

The Tick vs. Season One
The big blue bug of justice finally comes to DVD after 12 years and multiple fan requests. A parody of superheroes, The Tick is as dim as he is strong – neigh well invincible – as he battles bizarre villains alongside an equally bizarre cast of characters, including American Maid, Die Fledermaus and the Civic-Minded Five. I’m so thrilled, all I can say is spooooon!

Shut Up and Sing
I’m no Dixie Chicks fan, but the documentary on what the country stars went through after lead sing Natalie Maines said “Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas,” was a real eye-opener. Their statement is mild by today’s standards though it was almost a career killer a scant three years ago. I picked Fido as my top movie of the Toronto Film Festival, but months later, it’s the Chicks that I keep talking about.

S.O.A.P. Suds
Despite massive amounts of internet hype, Snakes on a Plane is grounded. Turns out all the bloggers saying “wouldn’t it be cool if they did…” never had any intention of going to see it. Best web hoax of the year!

Video Mashups
It was like the birth of a new art form as digital videos, YouTube and people with loads of free time collided to create some of the most hilarious web moments of the year, from Toy Story 2 recast in the Requiem for a Dream trailer to the Peanuts gang shakin’ like a Polaroid picture to Outkast’s Hey Ya. Absolute brilliance.

Britney Spears
While there are many pretenders to her throne, Spears is in a class of her own when it comes to young celebrity train wrecks. From questionable parenting (now where did I put Sean Preston?) to finally dumping her parasite impregnator Kevin Federline, and then partying harder than Paris Hilton in a one-week period, she bows down to none. Keep trying Lindsay and Nicole.

Not Ready for Prime Time Players
Saturday Night Live is hot this year, not so much the show, but the shows about the show. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip gives West Wing fans a taste of what they’re missing (even if it does take comedy writing far to seriously) and 30 Rock has all the laughs, especially with the sublime Alec Bladwin playing network blowhard Jack Donaghy. As for SNL itself, on the rare occasions it has a funny skit, I can watch it the next day on YouTube – see Lazy Sunday and Dick in a Box.

Yul & Ozzie
The top two finalists in Survivor: Cook Islands actually deserved to be there: Yul for his masterful playing of the game and controlling other contestants without it ever being obvious and Ozzie for being one of the most natural physical players ever to compete. The reality show granddaddy proved it still has chops.

For more lists than you can possibly imagine, be sure to check out Fimoculous' stunning list of lists, including such gems as the Best Re-cut Movie Trailers, the Top 10 Retro Gadgets, the Top 10 Sex Toys, the Top 5 Most Pretentious Looks and more music and film Top 10s than you will ever be able to read.

They Have the Internet on Computers, Now?

I wish the media could report on the web without me being able to sense all the eye rolling and smirks. It’s not to say that there hasn’t been some begrudging acceptance of the online world, but I often get the feeling it is being couched in “ahh, aren’t you cute!” head-patting condescension whenever there are stories about blogging, Wikipedia, MySpace and the like.

The latest came in the National Post this week, in an article titled “Behold the new narcissism” which went after YouTube and how it had “cornered the unnecessary media coverage of online ephemera.” Author J. Kelly Nestruck, while conceding the video site was a huge phenomenon, described it as the “online repository of videos of pandas sneezing, experiments documenting the effects of Mentos on Diet Coca-Cola” and sniffed at the number of mentions journalists had made of the site this year. His own chain, CanWest, racked up well over 800+ and I’m just going to assume he saw the irony of adding to that number. It’s just not worth the coverage, he concludes.

Now while I can’t defend the earth-shattering nature of the content, you can’t negate the popularity of the site – which has somewhere in the nature of 20 million site visits a month, with tens of thousands of clips uploaded daily. Why wouldn’t this deserve coverage? The most appalling dreck to come out of Hollywood garners pages of coverage everyday, no matter what the quality. The same can be said for music, TV shows and most of all, celebrities. Some may argue that none of it deserves ink, but not me. That’s the deal with pop culture – a lot of it may be trite and shallow, but if millions of people are consuming it, you’d best pay attention.

For Auld Lang Syne

It's the start of another new year, better call the newspaper up. I'm not usually one for self-indulgent posts (cough, cough) and I have studiously avoided blogging memes, but I couldn't resist end of year wrap-up, even if there are still a few days left in 2006. For those interested, just snag the first sentence of the first post of each month and let 'er rip.

January: There are no 20-something acting superstars these days, and The New York Times blames it on the actors.
Almost a year later and it's still true. Come on 20-somethings, step it up. Is Lindsay Lohan the best you have to offer?

February: Lots of interesting tidbits about the new James Bond film, Casino Royale, today.
Yeah, I was going on about the new Bond back them and months later it was totally worth it. Best Bond in years.

March: Forget the Seinfeld curse, that’s so early 2000s. The question now, is there a Friends curse?
Seems like Matthew Perry has put an end to that speculation with the full-year pick-up of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Not that any of the rest of them have anything to brag about.

April: Why do TV shows have such inferiority complexes?
I still don't really want to see The Simpsons movie.

May: It’s funny how pop culture moments happen.
It sure is. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

June: File these under Ways In Which My Life is Unlike a Celebrity.
I could pretty much begin all posts this way.

July: Canadian musicians haven’t recorded anything worth commemorating since 1970.
I don't actually believe that to be true - just being overly dramatic for effect.

August: Jer is back at his cottage - lucky bastard - and tagged me to step in for a post.
Yeah, I'm a real slacker. I wish it was summer already.

September: I wonder who looked at the short and stubby Hobbits and thought, “what it would be like if they could sing Broadway tunes?”
September was a truly geeky month for me.

October: Will Lost sink or swim this year?
Still waiting to see. The second-half of the season better rock. And enough with the Others.

November: It’s odd, I know this song, but I can’t say I’ve ever listened to it.
Pop culture, you don't always need to participate in it to be part of it.

December: It's down to the final day of voting for the Canadian Blog Awards and Popped Culture is in a tight, three-way battle for the title of Best Entertainment Blog, thanks to your votes and proselytizing on my behalf.
Second! It's the new first!

The True Meaning of Christmas

The Peanuts gang and their classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, seems the most open to mashup and light parody (see Hey Ya and SNL's clever version). I think it is because it has become part of our common pop culture heritage over the past 40 years, as special to kids as their parents and grandparents.

The latest I have come across is a 10-minute version of the ‘toon, voiced by the cast of Scrubs. It’s not just a rework, but their own dialogue done in character and it’s great, even if you don’t watch the show. J.D. plays Charlie Brown, Dr. Cox is Linus, Carla is Lucy, Turk is Schroeder, Elliott is Sally, Ted is Pigpen, among others. The mashup (does this qualify?) was reportedly made for a cast Christmas party.

And as a parting gift, my friend Steph sent me a link to The Christmas Spot, which has links to 101 classic Christmas videos and is where I found the Scrubs video. Merry Christmas everyone, and I’ll see you in a few days.

Sugar, Sugar, You Are My Candy Girl

Imagine you're well over 60, but you are still trying to appeal to teenagers who read Japanese manga and worship at the alters of Lohan, Hilton and Duff. How can you possibly compete? A facelift and a makeover seems to be the fashion – just ask Betty and Veronica of Riverdale, USA.

The comic book icons, who often duel over the apparently must-have affections of Archie Andrews, have gone under the pen and emerged with a look that is more Hollywood than Toontown, all in an effort to give the brand a little more realism and romance. This is what female fans are supposedly clamouring for, according to Archie publisher Michael Silberkleit, and how they want to view themselves.

But you needn’t worry that these wholesome young ladies are going to start partying till dawn, snorting cocaine and dropping their underwear before eventually checking into rehab for “exhaustion.” No, no. "There will be no denigrating anybody, no putting down authority or family, no sex, no drugs. The characters will still wear seatbelts. There'll be no smoking. Nobody is going to break the law. It's going to be the same thing from dear old Riverdale that we know and love," says Silberkleit. Phew!

As a kid, I was always more partial to Archie comics, but despite what some may think I am not a prepubescent girl, so I really have no idea what they are looking for in a comic book. Maybe they could make Betty and Veronica more like Ugly and Mars versions currently tearing up our TV screens. They are strong, clever and rarely boy and clothes crazy.

Of course, they could also just leave well enough alone. The desire to changes the characters seems more an exercise in brand expansion than any desire to keep the characters fresh and relevant. Archie comics haven’t been cutting edge since, well, ever. You can pick up an issue and literally read the same stories, with the only concession to the times being our current technological obsessions. And what’s so wrong with that? There is a time for everything and once those readers have grown out of that phase it is as foolish to chase after them as a senior citizen trying to pass herself off as a teenager.

If It Weren't For You Meddling Kids!

Their animation was often choppy, the action repetitive but even so, William Hanna (who died in 2001) and Joseph Barbera created some of the most memorable cartoons ever made. Barbera passed away earlier this week and looking back at what he and his partner created at Hanna-Barbera is to view the work of animation giants.

The list is incredibly extensive and impressive: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You, The Flintstones, Tom & Jerry, The Jestsons, The Yogi Bear Show, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Wacky Races and the Super Friends to name just the some of the A-list. While Warner Bros. animation was the gold standard, Hanna-Barbera were the workaday heroes, pumping out cartoon after carton and making my Saturday mornings heaven.

The meddling kids of Scooby-Doo was always a favourite, despite the fact that every show was nearly identical – kids drive about in Mystery Machine, discover a haunted (fill in the blank), they would split up and Shaggy and Scoob would go off and find food and the ghost/monster and after a failed trap the ghost/monster is revealed to be Old Man (fill in the blank).

So much of today’s prime-time cartoons owe a debt of gratitude to Hanna and Barbera. Without The Flintstones you wouldn’t have The Simpsons and Family Guy. Fred and family were the most successful animated prime time show until Homer’s clan took the crown. Many of the original cartoons are being revived these days, albeit in an ironic, mashed-up kind of fashion. Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law and Space Ghost: Coast to Coast have both bought back the original HB characters and reimagined them as layers, judgesm, talk show hosts and more. Robot Chicken also delves into the archives every so often, going to show that I wasn’t the only on sitting on that couch every weekend.

The pair were amazingly prolific and imaginative and it will be a long time before pop culture sees the likes of them again.

Reality Bites

Mark Burnett is a genius. When Survivor announced its 13th season this summer people were up in arms over the premise – dividing the contestants into white, black, Asian and Hispanic tribes. Critics howled racism, advertisers pulled out and executive producer Burnett was accused of putting together a cheap publicity stunt.

It was a publicity stunt for sure, but it was hardly cheap. People talked about the show, mostly negatively, but they still tuned in. And at the end of the run, the show was in the Top 20 for the season and Sunday’s finale toped the night when Yul Kwon won the title of Sole Survivor. I would have given it to Ozzie, but what can you do?

For all of the concerns that the show was trading in racist stereotypes, the issue didn’t really rear its head beyond a lot of posturing about “representin.’” The gimmick played out for a few episodes before the merge returned the show’s usual scheming and backstabbing. I’ve been watching Survivor since a fat, naked, gay Machiavellian named Hatch schemed his way to a million dollars and this season held its own with the best of them. That is impressive for any show of this longevity, let alone a reality show.

I can’t say the same for the recently concluded Amazing Race. I haven’t been watching the series, but this year decided to give it a try. While it was entertaining enough, I couldn’t help noticing how contrived the whole production was – more so than Survivor. Every time a team got a head start they were inevitably sent to some store or attraction that was closed for hours, allowing the other teams to catch up. And when a favourite team was about to be knocked off, they oh-so-luckily happened to be in a non-elimination round. (I’m looking at you, blonde beauty queens.)

But my current guilty pleasure reality show is a Canadian production called The Big Flip, airing on HGTV. Two guys attempt to renovate and resell as many Toronto homes that they can in a year. It may not sound exciting except for one thing – they keep screwing up. It’s not that they don’t do good work, but they assume everything will be simple and it keeps biting them in the ass. Homes cost too much, they sell them for too little, they tear down load bearing walls and they ruin heritage homes. I watch it purely for the schadenfreude.

Our Stories, But Who's Watching?

Have you seen any Canadian films lately? It’s likely that you haven’t, because they aren’t that easy to get to. The Toronto Film Festival Group released its list of the Top 10 Canadian films of 2006 this week and most of them haven’t been seen outside of the festival circuit. I would say it is only because I am an avid TIFF attendee that I've seen any homegrown films this year.

Here is the Top 10, celebrating the best of Canuck cinema:
  • Away From Her – Sarah Polley
  • Congorama – Philippe Falardeau
  • The Journals of Knud Rasmussen – Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn
  • Manufactured Landscapes – Jennifer Baichwal
  • Monkey Warfare – Reginald Harkema
  • Radiant City – Gary Burns and Jim Brown
  • Sharkwater – Rob Stewart
  • Sur La Trace D'Igor Rizzi – Noel Mitrani
  • Trailer Park Boys: The Movie – Mike Clattenburg
  • Un Dimanche a Kigali – Robert Favreau
Sharkwater was one of our festival faves, at has been cut by 90% since the 1950s. It, like many of the films on the list, has not been released yet, nor does it have a distributor. Even Sarah Polley’s film, Away From Her, won’t hit theatres until May.

I haven’t seen the Trailer Park Boys movie, which made the list, nor the top grossing Good Cop, Bon Cop, which did not. Neither of which had any appeal to me in the first place. So do I really have the right to tell people to go and see Canadian films? Perhaps not.

This year the festival didn’t separate the Canadian films in the program, placing them in the categories that were the most appropriate – allowing them to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of world cinema. If we picked a Canadian film it was because it appealed to us – being homegrown was just an added bonus – which is how I think it should be done. But outside of the festivals, it can be difficult to find a screen with a Canadian film on it, or two even hear about them in a Hollywood dominated entertainment press.

If people don’t even have a chance to see the best of what comes out of this country – as evidenced by the TIFF list – than how will the industry even grow any larger? Maybe it is time for some Cancon regulations for theatre distribution. It worked for the music industry.

Spider-Man, You Blockhead!

Did you ever want to be a superhero, or a comic strip character for that matter? I don’t think I ever did but, having said that, my high school yearbook listed my destination as Bloom County.

But what if you were a comic strip character that became a superhero, which part of your personality would win? Great power or your schluby self? In one of those wonderful moments of pop culture serendipity, I came across a great Peanuts link over at Casual Slack soon after searching out the Hey Ya, Charlie Brown link. An artist named jdh has mashed together Marvel Comics characters with the Peanuts gang, to wonderful effect. Charlie Brown as Spider-Man, Linus as Thor, Lucy as The Hulk (Don’t make me crabby. You won’t like me when I’m crabby!)

It's a Hey Ya Christmas, Charlie Brown

I stumbled across a new Christmas classic the other day while compiling my favourite holiday TV list. It didn’t fit with the post, but it’s too good for just me to sit watching over and over and over again.

Imagine, if you will, Outkast’s André 3000 and Big Boi meeting up with the Peanuts gang and you get another fantastic mashup. I love how two wildly different pieces of pop culture can be spliced together to create something both unique yet familiar. Enjoy - those kids sure can dance! Oh yeah, please vote for me at the Weblog Awards so I don't finish dead last behind Famous Quotes and Recipes. Good grief.

A Pop Culture Christmas

I know it is the Christmas season, not by the ever-growing forest of lights on the neighbours houses, or the fact that advertisers have been pushing holiday shopping since the first of November, but by the specials on TV. There are a few that I just have to see to make me feel the seasonal spirit.

Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics has become a recent favourite, with the profane denizens of South Park remaking various Christmas classics and creating some of their own along the way. It is often blasphemous and likely offensive to many, but somehow it still manages to be sweet at the core. It also speaks to the eight-year-old in me who thought singing fake lyrics to We Three Kings was the height of hilarity:
We three kings of Orient are,
Puffing on a rubber cigar.
It was loaded, it exploded
Now we’re on yonder star
So when Cartman sings O Holy Night, I know where he’s coming from:
And, O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
O holy night! The something something distant
It is the night with the Christmas trees and pie.
Jesus was born and so I get presents.
Thank you, Jesus for being born.

My favourite though has to be the lounge act duet of Jesus and Santa, singing carols and songs in the first person – a brilliant concept. Who hasn’t wondered what these two would be like singing at a piano bar?
Jesus: He he hoo, get away!The 2006 Weblog Awards
Santa: Go away?
Jesus: Get away.
Santa: Where away?
Jesus: Away in a manger, no crib for My bed
That's where cute little old Me lay down My sweet head.
The stars in the sky
Both: Looked down where I lay.
Jesus: Cute little eight-pound me (Santa: Oo-oo)
Both: asleep in (Santa: on) the hay.
Another modern-day classic (ok, ‘80s classic) is Scrooged, Bill Murray’s greed is good interpretation of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Murray plays the Scrooge-lik Frank Cross, a driven and cynical TV exec who torments his employees and keeps the entire network working to produce a live show on Christmas Eve.

Much like Groundhog Day, I can watch this film over and over again even though I know exactly how it’s going to turn out. I just can’t get enough of that smarmy Murray charm – plus, Bobcat Goldthwait!

Clearly I like my holiday fare with some edge and A Christmas Story walks it quite nicely. “You’ll shoot your eye out!” is all Ralphie ever hears in his relentless quest to get "an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and 'this thing', which tells time."

Ralphie is such a sweet little geek, I’ve always imagined he grew up to be Zach Braff’s Scrubs character Dr. J.D. Dorian – the only other person I could see dressed up in a pink bunny sleeper with feet. There are so many great childhood scenes that ring true as real kid moments and not what adults think kids act like. What kid hasn’t thought about sticking their tongue to cold metal? Or realizes that the way you deal with a bully is to run away? Forget the film? Than catch up with the 30 Second Bunnies.

But my ultimate Christmas fave, the one I cannot make it through the season without is Dr. Suess’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – the animated version, of course. It is such an amazing piece of work, whose sum is better than it’s already amazing parts: the tremendous wit and words of Dr. Suess; the stellar animation work by Chuck Jones (director of multiple classic Loony Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons); and the dulcet tones of Boris Karloff as the narrator. It’s as good as it gets.

No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

What lesson has been learned from Michael “Kramer” Richard’s pro-lynching rant? That tossing around racial slurs in a comedy club is a surefire way for a faded TV comedian to generate some publicity. Andy Dick, formerly of NewsRadio, dropped the n-word during another comedian’s routine on Saturday.

The appropriately-named Dick was heckling the comedian when he grabbed the mic and yelled “You’re all a bunch of n-----s!” Nobody laughed, or caught it on tape for that matter. But to make sure that everyone knew he felt bad, he issued a predictable apology. "I chose to make a joke about a subject that is not funny," read his statement. "In an attempt to make light of a serious subject, I have offended a lot of people, and I am sorry for my insensitivity.”

What he should be sorry for is his shallow attempt to cash in on the Richards controversy. Look, I’m outrageous too! It makes me look back fondly on the practice of washed-up stars making sex tapes – but don’t get any ideas, Andy.

Though not in the same category, the former Mr. Britney Spears, is continuing to garner media attention by turning his impending divorce and potentially divisive custody battle into a reality show. When Kevin Federline loses his wife, home, kids, he turns on the cameras so everyone can watch him implode. As long as people are talking, right Kev?

While Federline is attempting to wring the last drips of publicity out of his extended 15 minutes of fame, another celebrity couple has pulled the plug on their tabloid-friendly relationship. With the DVD release of The Break-Up well behind them, Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn parted company in the traditional fashion – a statement to People. The two got together on the set of The Break-Up, which garnered acres of press and likely helped propel the box office over the $100 million mark.

I can’t prove that Vaughniston was solely a studio/agent creation meant to drum up ticket sales for a middling film, but consider these are two people who are paid exceedingly well to act like they are in a relationship. How hard would it be to extend that to a few well-chosen public events if it meant more exposure for the film and more money on the backend for the aforementioned actors? I wouldn’t put it past Aniston, who has often used her breasts to garner attention for her career – either on magazine covers or sunning topless for the paparazzi. So what’s a couple of public smooches if it means a few million dollars?

Damn Popularity Contests!

The 2006 Weblog Awards Just days after I was soundly trounced for the Best Entertainment Blog at the Canadian Blog Awards (ok, I came in second by 16 votes, but that doesn’t sound as dramatic), I have discovered I am a finalist in the 2006 Weblog Awards. It seems somebody really does like me.

The category isn’t quite as prestigious: Best of the Rest of the Blogs (8751+). The number is based on The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem blog ranking system, so that blogs of similar size can compete on a level playing field. There were over 80 nominations narrowed down to 10 finalists, so I’m happy for the recognition and any new visitors who come by because of it.

If you feel so compelled, please do vote for me – voting begins sometime Thursday and you can vote daily for the following 10 days. But I won’t be harassing everyone to do so this time around. I’m just not up for a second intensive campaign and I think people may start blocking my emails. Anyway, my friend and fellow blogger Amber Mac is up for Best Canadian Blog, so make sure to check off her name as well.

Best of luck to all.

Oh Lindsay, You Nasty Skank

The superpowered sluts have returned, this time to battle crabs and Wilmer Valderrama, which to nobody's surprise turn out to be one and the same. It looks like Heavy.com is using the Superficial Friends as a draw to promote their YouTubeish video site by making it a weekly series. Content is king! To the Brittle Bones Machine!

Born to Runner-up

The votes have been tallied and the results are in and Popped Culture has come in second in the Best Entertainment Blog category of the Canadian Blog Awards.

I would like to thank my many, many friends who annoyed their friends, coworkers and complete strangers to cast a vote for me. It was a valiant effort, but the winner – Bookninja – crushed me by 16 votes and so my congratulations goes out to them for their victory and their stealthy ability to kill people with literature. A tip of the hat as well to my worthy competitors: oRadio, Bow. James Bow and SHZine.

I take solace in the fact that even the mighty Lisa Simpson discovered she can’t be first all the time. (You can always find an appropriate Simpsons reference.)

Lisa: Hey, I am above average! So what if Alison's ahead of me? There's no shame in being second.

Announcer: And now, Avis Rent-A-Car is proud to present the second best band in America. Will you welcome Garfunkel, Messina, Oates, and Lisa singing their number two hit, "Born to Runner-up". [Audience boos]

Lisa: Why would they come to our concert just to boo us?

I’d also like to congratulate Amber Mac for the second place finish in the Best Best Sci/Tech Blog category, My Dinner Table for placing third in Best Activities and CBC Radio 3 and Inside the CBC for the two/three finish in the Media category. Lastly, I’d like to thank Robert McClelland for putting together the awards and introducing me to so many new and interesting blogs.

Thanks everyone, we’ll try again next year. (Yeesh, acceptance speeches are tedious, aren’t they?)


Campaigning is hard work – it takes a lot of effort to get enough people to vote for you. Just ask Michael Ignatieff. Oh… right.

So in lieu of anything trenchant or insightful to say, I present you with a list of things you can while away many an hour on the interweb. Don’t use these at work. Ha ha ha.

Ever wanted to be on The Simpsons or South Park? Well you can be, sort of. There are character generators for both – to the right is me as I would appear (for the most part) if I went to South Park to have myself a time.

Not the animated type? Then how about joining a ‘70’s Bollywood musical? If that's your dream, than it’s your lucky day! Bombay TV lets you subtitle your own mini-epic and email the masterpiece to your entire mailing list – ‘cause you know they want to see it.

Do you like those mosaics made up of thousands of smaller photos? If you thought they were ubiquitous before, now you can make your own with the Image Mosaic Generator which pulls the pics from Flickr and turns any photo you upload into a mosaic. Good, pointless fun.

Lastly, check out this fantastic mashup of the trailer for Requiem for a Dream and Toy Story II. Pure brilliance.

It's the Final Countdown

It's down to the final day of voting for the Canadian Blog Awards and Popped Culture is in a tight, three-way battle for the title of Best Entertainment Blog, thanks to your votes and proselytizing on my behalf. The award comes with 10,000 acres of beachfront on a remote Pacific Island with a mansion so covered in gold leaf, Donald Trump would be speechless with envy. When I win this coveted award, you will all be given two exclusive weeks to relax there.*

All you need to do is cast your vote today and I will stop writing these increasingly annoying posts. Doesn't he have a newborn, you many ask? A job? A life? All perfectly valid questions, but entirely beside the point. So help me help me.

Tristan is voting for me, won't you?

(* Pledges will not be honoured)