Unidentified Flying Objects

Our skies are not as empty as they may appear. From threadless t-shirt designer Aled Lewis.

Sideshow Bob: The Perfect Side Dish... For Revenge!

"Bart if I wanted to kill you, I'd have choked you like a chicken as soon as I walked in that door.... then what kind of guest would I have been?"

Die Bob, die: Master food carver Ken A. over at Only Knives unleashed his blades upon a poor, unsuspecting turnip and slashed it into an impressive likeness of Springfield's most-industrious attempted murderer, Sideshow Bob.

As someone who can neither cook nor carve, I'm in awe. Of course, I wouldn't eat it — turnip, yecch! But to each their own — check out the entire process.

Stamp And Deliver: Early TV Memories

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land where a twentieth century technology is commemorated by a nineteenth century invention in the early years of he twenty-first century. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.

The U.S. Postal Service will be releasing a 20 stamp set of Early TV Memories next year. The collection will include: Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet; Alfred Hitchcock Presents; Dinah Shore Show; Dragnet; Ed Sullivan Show; George Burns & Gracie Allen Show; Hopalong Cassidy; The Honeymooners; Howdy Doody; I Love Lucy; Kukla, Fran and Ollie; Lassie; The Lone Ranger; Perry Mason; Phil Silvers Show; Red Skelton; Texaco Star Theater; Tonight Show; Twilight Zone; and, You Bet Your Life.

Now if I could only recall what one uses a stamp for. Perhaps, looking at the way the economy is going, they should convert them to food stamps. They may get some more use that way.

Elements of Awesome

Bacon, ninjas, beer, coffee, pirates, robots, Lego, sex. Just a few of the elements that make up Dapperstache's Periodic Table of Awesoments.

It is explained thusly: In the 300 B.C., years before the birth of black Jesus, Aristole postulated that all good things were made of "win."

I could never get my head around the periodic table in school, but maybe if it had elements such as Mr. T and video games, I may have paid more attention.

100 Pop Culture Santas (Almost)

Everyone has their favourite pop culture Santa, be it the kindly old gent from Miracle on 34th Street or the irascible Billy Bob Thorton in Bad Santa. In between these two extremes are a lot of Saint Nicks, some celebrated, some rightly forgotten.

Here are 96 pop culture Santas, from Archie to Zanta — hopefully I found the one you love. Merry Christmas everyone, see you after the holidays. Ho ho ho. Click here or on the picture for a full-size version.

(Oh yes, it is 96 instead of 100 because the snazzy app that laid these pics out for me does them in lines of 8. Tell me four others you would have included.)

Survivor: Technology Edition

Survivor is my one reality show addiction — I've been watching since its inception back in 2000 and 17 seasons later I'm still hooked. It's like comfort food, you know what you're going to get.

The PVR has been a great boon in allowing me to keep up with the show — I just set it and forget it, watching when I have time. Such was the case this past weekend when the season finale of Survivor: Gabon aired on Sunday. Except it got delayed by a football game and the recording is tied to the time slot and not to the program itself (why, I have no idea), so we missed half of the show.

Sigh. OK, we figured, we'll just watch it on demand. Rogers has been promoting that, so we'll pony up the $0.99 and get our fix. Ooop, after 24 hours, its still not available.

Sigh. OK, we'll go to the Survivor site and watch a grainy, streaming video version. Oh, wait, CBS is blocking Canadians from viewing any of their videos. Fine, off to Global, Survivor's simulcasting partner in Canada. Hmm, they don't even have the episode, just a promo video.

Sigh. OK, off to Hulu, surely they will have it online. Oh, wait, it's another site that geo-blocks Canadians. What are we, terrorists? Let's work this out, networks! When you sell a show to a foreign broadcaster, don't make the online rights a separate deal — insist on bundling them together. And if you can block Canadians, surely you can tag them so you only serve up Canadian advertising.

Sigh. OK, it looks like Rogers has gotten it together add added the finale to the on demand lineup, but oh no, the service is down and it won't play.

Sigh. Finally, it plays and we watch the finale 72-hours later, which is a letdown as I'd already seen who the winner was all over the interweb about 70-hours earlier.

I'll concede that a few years ago of you missed an episode, you we're mostly out of luck unless a friend had taped and saved it, so things have improved, but it seems the networks still have a ways to go before TV is truly personal.

Transmissions From The Satellite (Radio) Heart

Often the hardest thing to do in pop culture is to keep up with music. You can always catch up with new movies and TV shows, but finding new music is tough, which is why most people tend to settle in with a particular decade, leaving new music for "the kids."

Where do you find new music, especially if you like listening to the radio? Your local radio station is terrible — Top 40 is painful to listen to, DJs are annoying, the ads endless. Even in a city like Toronto, there are many stations, but little choice. Soft rock, classic rock, dance, country, meh. Unfortunately, I still love the format, the chance of discovering a new song, or hearing a new band.

When satellite radio was introduced I was intrigued — multiple, ad-free channels in all kinds of styles. It sounded ideal, but it was pricey and you'd only have it in your car or house, neither of which was enough play time for me to justify.

So when I was approached by Matchstick to review XM satellite's XMp3 player, I jumped at the chance. Portable satellite radio seemed like the answer to a lot of my concerns. For the most part, it has been.

The unit itself is small and lightweight, just slightly larger than an iPod Nano. Its reception has been great - I've only last contact while in the grocery store and in the subway (of course), but you need to get a separate adaptor for the car, which is a pain. The upside of downtime is the record function. Anytime you're listing to a song, there is a one-click button that will record it for playback later — like a PVR for the radio. I'm already collecting a nice mix in there.

The winner for me has been the station, Sirius XMU, which I think is a shared station with the merging (but not really in Canada) XM and Sirius satellite outfits. It is described as North America's indie rock station and I've picked up a couple of artists I'd never heard before (The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, The Virgins) and some I had but had never really listened to (MGMT, LCD Soundsystem). Not too shabby for a month of sporadic usage. In fact this has mostly replaced my iPod for that time, mostly because I was hankering to hear something new. Now if they would only add CBC Radio 3 to their lineup, we'd have a winner. Of course they do have 130 other channels, so there is bound to be something for everyone. If I had a remote interest in sports this would be a gold mine, or so I gathered when I showed it to a hockey-mad friend.

Anyway, it's a fun toy, but like any tech it comes at a price. The player is going for $199 and a month's subscription is another $14.99. Not cheap, but not horrific either. Depends on how much you want it.

As this was a marketing company that approached me, they of course have a survey. Knock yourself out.

More Canadian blogger reviews:
Toronto Mike
Sens Army Blog
NASCAR Ranting and Raving Blog
Nunc Scio
Top Cheddar
if the music's loud enough
Cloud9 Sports Blog

If the Shoe-icide Bomber Fits...

Before the first shoe hit the floor, netizens began work on parodies of George W. Bush's dodging of an Iraqi journalist's footwear. The raw footage itself has been viewed millions of times on YouTube alone and on countless other news sites worldwide.

Several web-based games have already appeared, where you can either toss shoes at President Bush — who pops up and down like a Wack-A-Mole (Sock and Awe), take the role of the shoe-dodging Dubya and see how long you can avoid getting smacked in the noggin (Flying Babush), or play one of his beleaguered Secret Service detail and try and shoot the shoes before they reach their target (Bush's Boot Camp).

Would-be humorists have been hard at work mashing up the footage into their own videos, the most popular subjects being Dodgeball, the Three Stooges, the Matrix and Austin Powers — the last time anyone can recall a shoe being used as a projectile weapon.

While TV reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi has became an instant sensation in the Arab world as well, Iraqi officials have not taken the incident lightly. Zaidi appeared before a judge on Tuesday and admitted “aggression against a president”, a judicial spokesman told Agence France-Presse, and he could be facing up to 15 years in jail.
Zaidi’s brother said on Tuesday that the reporter was hit on the head with a rifle butt and had an arm broken in the chaos that broke out after he threw his shoes at Bush and was leapt on by Iraqi security officers and U.S. secret service agents.

Zaidi is in a hospital in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, his brother Maitham al-Zaidi said.

“All that we know is we were contacted yesterday by a person — we know him — and he told us that Muntazer was taken on Sunday to Ibn-Sina hospital,” Maitham al-Zaidi said. “He was wounded in the head because he was hit by a rifle butt, and one of his arms was broken."
From National Post's Posted blog, where I got to pass this off as work today. I love my job.

Fourth Is The New First

The results are in for the Best Cultural/Entertainment Blog at the Canadian Blog Awards and I can't deny the fact that you kinda like me, right now, you kinda like me! The votes have been tallied and Popped Culture came in... fourth. Hmmm. It's like high school all over again.

What the hell, I'll take it! Thanks to those of you who voted and even those of you who meant to, but didn't. I'd say this was a ranking drop after 2006's third place finish, but I wasn't even in the race last year, so this is a vast improvement. I will leave the heavy burden of pop culture leadership on the shoulders of two-time winner Mike's Bloggity Blog.

I'd also like to thank/ask you to visit the other members of the illustrious Top Five: Department of Culture, The Nag on the Lake and The Delete Bin, which are all new blogs to me, and is kind of the point of all this anywho.

And while fourth doesn't come with a snazzy badge like the others get, I just went ahead and made my own. Thanks CBAs, see you next year!

F Is For Freeze Ray

Professor Farnsworth: "So what are you doing to protect my constitutional right to bear doomsday devices?"
NRA Guy: "Well, first off, we're gonna get rid of that three day waiting period for mad scientists."
Farnsworth: "Damn straight! Today the mad scientist can't get a doomsday device, tomorrow it's the mad grad student! Where will it end?!"
And where does it begin? It seems today that nobody is putting any thought into teaching the next generation of mad scientists and supervillains? Remember the children are our horrifying future! Thankfully Xylocopa has stepped up with a Young Mad Scientist's First Alphabet Blocks.
"We have noticed that there is absolutely no training in the K-6 grades that prepares students to become mad scientists. In this competitive 21st-century world, the need for mad scientists will only increase, but the lack of basic education in primary school leaves us concerned that there will be no future students capable of leading in this illustrious field.

"These lovely blocks contain many carefully engraved illustrations of the equipment, training, and activities that a budding mad scientist will require, combined with a clever alphabetic introduction to the concept depicted. A complete list of the images represented by the letters is as follows:
A - Appendages

B - Bioengineering

C - Caffeine

D - Dirigible

E - Experiment

F - Freeze ray

G - Goggles

H - Henchmen

I - Invention

J - Jargon

K - Potassium

L - Laser

M - Maniacal

N - Nanotechnology

O - Organs

P - Peasants (with Pitchforks)

Q - Quantum physics

R - Robot

S - Self-experimentation

T - Tentacles

U - Underground Lair

V - Virus

W - Wrench

X - X-Ray

Y - You, the Mad Scientist of Tomorrow

Z - Zombies

So won't you help and warp a young mind today?

The One Where Rachel Gets Naked

Ever seen something that was both sad and titillating at the same time? If you somehow managed to avoid the internet over the past couple of days you may have missed Jennifer Aniston baring it all on the cover of GQ.

The 39-year-old ex-Friend and ex-Mrs.-Brad-Pitt wears nothing but a tie in her latest national magazine nudie shot, the first coming 12 years ago in Rolling Stone when she was a pop culture figure of note. Back then Aniston was riding high as the It Girl of TV's hottest show. Now she's playing the mom in Marley & Me, where "a family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog."

Sure, she still looks great, there's no denying it, put it just reeks of desperation. In 1996 it said look at me! In 2008 it says PLEASE! Look at me — and it has nothing to do with her age. At this point in her career, is this what she wants to be know for?

Aniston got naked and ended up revealing more than she wanted to.

Joker Golden, Dark Night Not So Much

The collection of part-time journalists that make up the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the Golden Globe nominations today and managed to lock in Heath Ledger's Oscar hopes and skewer The Dark Knight's chances, all in one fell swoop.

The Golden Globes have an incredible amount of influence for such an otherwise unremarkable and insignificant group. Its crowning achievement is having created an award show and getting the Hollywood to buy into it as a way to market their movies. Which means what they nominate tends to carry a lot of weight with everything that follows. Or they are just a crutch for lazy/busy members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

So when Heath Ledger's darkly electric performance was nominated, posthumously, for Best Supporting Actor, it means you can check that box off on your Oscar ballot right now. It's the free box everyone gets on their bingo card. Subsequently, the Globes snubbing of The Dark Night throws some cold water on the chance of an Academy Award for the comic book adaptation. The Globes have twice as many Best Picture slots as the Oscars, and without this nod, the odds for Gotham's savior have faded. That's award season for you.

The other curiosity of this time of year is kudos being piled high upon films that nobody but select critics have seen. It rankles me about being told that the best film of the year is something that you haven't even has a chance to see. For example, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button won't be out until Christmas Day, and it is leading the nominations.

Not that I don't want to see it, of course. It looks great, I like Brad Pitt and director David Fincher has yet to let me down. And were that not enough, there is a trailer for it that uses a perfect piece of music from Arcade Fire.

Woo Hoo! Blur Reunites

Forget Oasis, Blur ruled Britpop. While the Gallagher brothers still get the headline, their music seems stuck in time while Blur's still holds up. Seems I'm not the only one who thinks so.

"It just felt it was right again," Damon Albarn told NME about a Blur reunion. "It somehow feels like there's something for us to do again, we're not completely useless or pointless, we've got a reason to exist."

Sounds like an album could be in the works, not just a reunion tour. While technically they've really only been gone since 2003's Think Tank, I never really thought of that as a proper Blur album, making their actual last album 1999's 13. So 10 years is a long time. Anyway, here are just a few of their videos as a refresher, an introduction or just an indulgence.

Boys and Girls


Charmless Man

Country House

Song 2

Trimm Trabb - Live

Pop Culture Supreme Court: TV Judges

The Pop Culture Supreme Court is reconvening after a lengthy prorogation to deliberate on an emergency case brought forward by CBC Radio's Definitely Not the Opera. A producer on the show approached our Chief Justice, Matthew Caverhill of culture kills, with a request for a ruling on judicial reality shows.

Case: Given the fact that syndicated reality programming grossly distorts the perception the average viewer has of the law and its practice, should there be a moratorium on the use of the words Judge and/or Court in the titles of these types of programs?

There has indeed been a proliferation of shows placing small-time litigants in front of cameras and court at the same time. A quick look through IMDB shows that 11 have aired since 2000, seven of them appearing since 2006. The judges can be coarse, pompous and condescending; the defendants shallow, petty, bitter and conniving. In other words, the perfect reality-show contestants.

If viewers are coming away from these shows with a distorted view of court proceedings and how the legal system works, they are also likely to believe that they can dance, audition for a singing career and survive on an island for 39 days. Judicial reality shows should shoulder no more blame for people's legal misconceptions than Grey's Anatomy does for perceptions of medical residents or Heroes for people's opinions of gene therapy.

In any case, legal reality shows are hardly a 21st century phenomenon. TV viewers in 1949 saw both Famous Jury Trials and Your Witness, while six court shows aired between 1957-1959, including Divorce Court and People’s Court of Small Claims. What goes around, comes around, it seems. In 1981, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Wapner kick started the modern version by adjudicating actual cases in simulated courtroom settings.

In short, anyone who believes what they see in a reality-based court show might as well search out attorney Lionel Hutz at I Can't Believe It's A Law Firm before their next court date. Legal knowledge is the least of their worries. I rule against a moratorium.

Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Seriously?

Math, diagrams and the like are hard. Humans are insanely complex. From the always entertaining indexed.

Talent Night at the Cantina

Stormtroopers performing Dueling Banjos, Luke and Leia doing a duet of I Got You Babe, Chewbacca's Hungry Like the Wolf, Han Solo as The Gambler, and a Hoth Wampa singing Ice Ice Baby.

This Star Wars fanatic's fevered dream comes from Yak Pub, a web strip (with occasional videos) created with action figures. Geek gold.

Once again my thanks to Topless Robot for turning my on to this, with this stormtrooper version of Queen's Bicycle Race, with speeder bikes, naturally.

For Your Consideration

Popped Culture has been out there delving into entertainment for years, bringing the inside story of a pop culture geek to you. In my ongoing efforts I have flown an X-Wing Fighter as a Lego Miniman:

I then traveled space and time to land in the near past to appear as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever:

It's the sort of thing I'm willing to do and all I ask is for you to vote for me as Best Cultural/Entertainment Blog in the Canadian Blog Awards, where I am one of five finalists.

Is it a popularity contest? Of course it is, but as a wise man once said, what's wrong with that?

Homer Simpson: JUST a popularity contest? Excuse me. What's more important than popularity?

So that's my pitch. Vote for me and I'll vote for whatever crazy thing you ask me to and should I win I will spread the vast wealth that I can only assume comes with an online, Canadian, award.

Oh yes, and go and view my full Lego Miniman history video and make your own. It's amusingly creepy.

Oscar For Joker No Trick

When Heath Ledger died of an overdose last January, their were almost immediate calls for him to receive a posthumous Oscar nod for his work as the Joker in The Dark Knight. It all seemed premature and a little bit exploitative, as only a few had seen the film

The calls came again when the film was released in January, from his co-stars:
Michael Caine: "Heath will surely get a posthumous nomination for an Academy Award"
Maggie Gyllenhaal: "In a way I feel funny thinking about the Oscars when he isn't alive, but at the same time I'm a member of the Academy and I would vote for him."
Gary Oldman: "He may be the first actor since Peter Finch. He may even win the damn thing." Finch being the only person to win posthumously, earning the best-actor prize for 1976's Network two months after he died.

Critics have also praised Ledger's work as Oscar-worthy and having seen the film, I can't disagree. Still, it seemed unlikely. For all its dark reality, it's still a summer blockbuster, the kind of popcorn film the Academy rarely gets behind.

But perhaps we are going to witness one of those occasional moments in time where the most popular movie of the year intersects with the Oscars. Warner Brothers obviously believes its possible and has launched a For Your Consideration campaign, looking for nods in 15 different categories (including best picture), but mostly focusing on Ledger's performance.

I'm beginning to think it might just happen.

(Link via Ampersand)

Somebody Out There Likes Me

Much to my surprise I have landed on the Best Cultural/Entertainment Blog list at the 2008 Canadian Blog Awards. I'm one of 25 nominees, so that's pretty gratifying.

At least one of my competitors appears to be an American author (Robin Slick, not that there's anything wrong with that), some have media profiles (Dead Things on Sticks), others Facebook support groups (Mikes Bloggity Blog). Some are new to the scene (Department of Culture) while others have been hanging about for years (Townie Bastard), and some are kinda odd (I Rate Science Fiction Doctors) at least one is boycotting the awards (Sheena).

It's an interesting collection, worth checking out, if only to expose your self to some different thinking. Am I the best of the lot? Uh... sure. Actually, that's for you to decide — and you don't even have to be Canadian to vote! Yes you can.

One vote per person (or at least IP address) and I won't ask again. Unless I get to the next round.

Bunnies Christmas Vacation

"Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse."

In case you haven't guessed, the 30-Second Bunnies have taken on Christmas Vacation.

Simpsons: Up And Atom!

Artist and blogger Dean Fraser, of Springfield Punx, turns superheroes, villains and other pop culture denizens into residents of Springfield, turning out several every month. Or in the case of the Month of MARVEL, he did, well, a month's worth of characters.

He has also collected his Simpsons universe of one page, reminiscent of the
Simpsons and Futurama cast photos. Everyone should be made over in yellow.

Turbaconducken: A Wonderful, Magical Animal

I don't know if I've ever seen anything that has made my mouth water and appalled me at the same time. Bacon-wrapped chicken, stuffed inside a bacon-wrapped duck, crammed inside a turkey — wrapped in bacon of course.

So wrong, but yet so right. Forget turducken, I must eat this. From the twisted minds at Bacon Today.

(Link via Yes But No But Yes)

Star Trek: The Remixed Generation

The new trailer for J.J. Abrams reinvention of Star Trek (a la Batman and 007) only hit theatres last weekend, but it has already been subjected to numerous remixes, mashups and fan edits.

I figure a perfect nerdstorm is accounting for the quick turnaround. Trek fans feel an incredible sense of ownership over the characters of Kirk, Spock, et all; there is much trepidation about the use of young actors and any re-envisionment in general; and they are all pretty much online.

So hence we get the trailers for Star Trek 90210, Top Trek and, to my amusement, The A-Trek (above) among others, which you can see over at TrekMovie.

I don't know if this bodes well for the film. Trek fans were already going to see it, so nothing lost, nothing gained, but if people are already turning to parody, I'd be a little concerned. Or maybe awareness is all that matters. In any case, it made me laugh, which is all I care about anyway.

(link via Topless Robot)

Inspirational, Celebrational, Muppetational

Quick, name the first Muppet that comes to mind. You're likely to say Kermit, Big Bird or, if you're of a certain age, Elmo. But in the cast of thousands, there are many that are on the outside edge of the spotlight.

Such as Link Hogthrob, captain of the USS Swinetrek, of Pigs in Space fame. Hogthrob is precursor to Furturama's Zapp Brannigan. All bluster, no brains.

Topless Robot put together a fabulous list of the eight most underrated Muppets, all with clips, that makes me love this blog ever more.

Popaganda: The Pop Culture Revolution

Who needs world wars, political ideology and elections to delve into the world of propaganda? Papa Smurf needs you and Waldo is watching. I've got a thing for spoofs and parodies, and if you can tie together two disparate cultural elements, I'm sold. I attribute it to a lifetime of watching shows like The Simpsons and The Muppets. So behold, a collection of pop culture propaganda posters.

Invincible: An army of Berts couldn't hold me back. From Michigan illustrator Kevin Skinner. This was the image that set me off looking for all the rest.
Update: Kevin got in touch and he is selling his final print over on ebay. He says it is a reductive linocut, so it can't be printed again, so get bidding.

Waldo: Forget finding Waldo, Waldo's watching you. From Worth 1000's Fun with Propaganda 5)

Smurfs: Red Revolution. Come to think of it, the village really was a commune.

Smurfs: Of couse some take a more positive spin, and believe in the pro'papa'ganda. He will know if we are there yet.

Muppet Propaganda: Kermit the Gorf, from Thought Faucet. A Gorf appears to be a wonderfully obscure Muppet reference, and I love the poster.

Plant of the Apes: You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you all to hell!"

Wizard of Oz: Fly my pretties, fly! From Worth 1000's Fun with Propaganda 2.

Spongebob: Fight for Bikini Bottom

Lord of the Rings: I want you for the fighting Uruk-Hai. Hmm, can Orcs read? From Worth 1000's Fun with Propaganda 5.

Mad: What me worry? Must be a poster from Cracked. From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda.

Jack: Long live the American Nicholson Party. "Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules." From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda 3.

Willy Wonka: Oompa loompa doopadee dee, if you are wise you'll listen to me. From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda 3.

G.I. Joe: You can't beat COBRA if you get VD. You'd figure that there would be way more G.I. Joe posters - seems the perfect subject matter. From Chris's Invincible Super-Blog.

Transformers: All hail Megatron. From the aptly named All Hail Megatron series from IDW Publishing.

Rocketeer: Some revisionist film history, as Cliff Secord lets the rocket pack fall into the hands of the Germans. From Something Awful.

Street artist Shepard Fairey created a series of Hope posters supporting Barack Obama's candidacy for President. They were quickly parodied into 150 different versions. These are four of my favourites:

Star Wars: Long before there was Barack Obama, there was a new hope. Luke Skywalker.

Debork Obama: Says the Swedish Chef, "Yom-yom-yommm, mit de chocolad. Bork, bork, bork!" By Sleeper Cell.

Winnie the Pooh: Wouldn' you trust a bear of very little brain? By Commissar Maksim.

ALF: It seems to be that ALF would be of very little hope for Melmac, as the planet has already blown up. Easier to keep your promises I suppose.

Animal Farm: Four legs good, two legs bad

Star Wars: Our Imperial Forces. There's no war like a clone war.

BattleStar Galactica: So say we all!

Gnomes: This ain't your garden variety revolution. I knew they were up to something.

South Park: Respect our authoritah. Really fits well with Cartman's fascist bent.

Star Wars: The Empire — Ensuring your safety by choice or by force

SuperMario: The Mushroom Guard

Pokémon: I choose you, Pikachu. Much like everyone else in the draft, he didn't really have a choice. From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda 8.

Waldo: But where is Waldo? At least they let hi keep the hat. From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda.

Star Trek: Stop this Klingon brute. Who knew Star Fleet was so xenophobic?

Futurama: You're not paid to think.

Spongebob: Are you sponge worthy? Loose lips sink ships to Bikini Bottom.

Kool-Aid: Oh yeah! From Worth 1000's Fun with Propaganda 4.

Mary Poppins: Just like a spoonful of sugar is all it takes to corrupt you children. Serves you right for letting some woman who blew in on the wind into your house. From Worth1000's Fun with Propaganda 6.

Previously Popped Culture...
Suddenly Last Supper
Would You Like Fries With That?
Find Waldo, Yet Again
Come as You Are: Nevermind The Parodies
Pillow Talk: 25 Strange Throw Pillows

Fly Me To The Moon...

Fly me to the Moon
Let me sing among those stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars

Nothing to add here, just really loved this picture.

Photo: A plane flies past the full moon on November 13, 2008, seen from the southern German town of Kalchreuth, near Nuremberg, Bavaria. (Timm Schamberger/AFP/Getty Images)

Three Imaginary Boys

A mopey 26-year-old once spoke musically to a 15-year-old. Can a 49-year-old do the same for a 38-year-old?

I was that 15-year-old (the pic is when I was 17, close as I could find) and The Cure diverted me from a path of Top 40 mediocrity. There wasn't a great moment of epiphany when I first heard Robert Smith, but there was when I saw his picture taped to the inside of a locker door of a girl I was far too shy to talk to.

She was what would now be called a goth, but this was the mid-80s in London, Ontario, a solidly staid and middle class town, so she was, of course, labeled a freak. There was a small handful of them at my high school and as somebody who belonged to no particular subculture, our paths never crossed.

So when I saw the birds-nest haired visage of Smith, I figured this was my way in. Get to know The Cure and I'd get to know her. It worked, kind of. For the next six years, I became obsessed with the band, but today I can't remember the name of my goth inspiration. I got as close as calling her one day, but it went no further. But my love affair with the band was intense.

I bought everything they released, pasted up pictures and extolled their greatness to all and sundry. But I never fully bought into the image, never teasing out my hair or lining my eyes and lips in black, which actually made me stand out at the concerts. Which led to one of my first, and best, geek showdowns.

One summer at an amusement park, two typical Cure fans, spying me wearing a tour shirt came up and accused me of not being a real fan, in the righteous way that only teenagers can muster. The demanded I tell them what the band's last two albums were and I responded by listing off The Cure's discography in reverse order, down to the UK-only release of Three Imaginary Boys, which I owned on vinyl. The backed off, apologizing profusely.

But during university, my ardor cooled, as it turned out I really wasn't a despondent teen. Their music remained static, but I moved on. So when I read a review of 4:13 Dream, the band's 13th studio album in 29 years, I was intrigued. Could I go back? Were they playing in this decade, or had they been standing still since I'd last paid them any mind?

The simple answer is not much has changed. Smith, the messiah of melancholy, is still feeling glum, proving that boys do, in fact, cry. The guitar work sounds au courant, but when Smith warbles "I won't try to bring you down about my suicide," he already has.

Above: Poster from the Toronto stop on The Prayer Tour, from The Cure Concerts Guide. Still one of the best concerts I've ever seen. Almost four hours!