Video Made the Internet Star

A few favourites I've found while surfing about — share and enjoy!

Richard Scarry mixed with the Beastie Boys. So clever and fun that I keep watching it over and over again. Originally stumbled upon over at Layercake, a source of much goodness.

Find more videos like this on BAM Vid Vault

Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit, set to incredibly appropriate scenes from the original Star Trek. This makes me happier than it should. I first ran across it over at Boing Boing.

The Passion of the Christ with Benny Hill Yakety Sax chase music. It's sacrilicious. Thanks to Fandumb, via Culture Kills.

Garfield Out to Lunch

"Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?"

garfield minus garfield is my new favourite site. I have no idea who created it but the results are erie and a little bit sad. I read the strip for years when it first came out but eventually moved on (and passed my collections on to my youngest sister). I'd never realized how disturbing Jon Arbuckle was until now, but I suppose I should have seen it. After all, he does think his cat can talk.

Lights, Cameras, Oscar Live Blog

So even the writer's strike couldn't stop the show from going on, and while I think it would have been amusing to see this bloated love-in taken down, now that it is here I might as well as snipe from the sidelines. I couldn't bring myself to watch the red carpet though, but for a full rundown of all the fakery, check out The Ampersand and Inside the Box. On with the show...

8:30 - Just a big ol' montage — every film needs a montage.

8:33 - Jon Stewart acknowledges the writer's strike right off the top — nice to see, I suppose you can't ignore the elephant in the room. He's looking way more comfortable than last time.

8:35 - "Thank goodnees for teen sex!" Truer words were never spoken.

8:36 - The first Jack Nicholson reaction shot. They will return to it again and again and...

8:38 - Going after Dennis Hopper? Seems a little odd and easy, but ok. Oh, but he did teach everyone how to find their own porn name, thanks to Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, which is also a fine porn name. Mine is Sasha St. George.

8:39 - Iraq humour is not going down so well, but jokes at Republicans? Bullseye.

8:40 - The camera guys keep panning to black members of the audience each time Stewart mentions Barack Obama. It's already predictable.

8:42 - Aren't they supposed to start with a big award? Costume design is the first up, which leads me to believe we are in for a long night. First Oscar goes to Elizabeth: The Golden Age and I am batting zero on the Oscar pool. Nice short speech though. Did they have the Babs clip ready if somebody went short?

8:47 - George Clooney comes up to joke about how long the show is and then presents a clip that will help it drag on. It's 80 years of Oscars as the show tries to get a piece of what every online site, paper and magazine has been running for the past few weeks. Can't blame 'em for trying to get a piece of the action I suppose. On the up side there was a great shot of Jack with what looked like hair plugs. God Hollywood loves themselves.

8:51 - Steve Carrell gets a Get Smart intro. They are really going to push that film. Hmm, they really needed the writers to put together that "spontaneous" dialogue?

8:54 - Ratatouille wins for Animated Film and I'm on the board. Where is the Simpson Movie in this category? Nowhere, that's where. Let that be a lesson for anyone who waits a full decade after they were at the top of their game. And the winner is the first to be played off the stage.

8:57 - La Vie en Rose wins for Best Makeup. Another win for me, another play off the stage.

8:59 - While I don't find people reading lists of names all that enticing, I'd pick that over performances of the Best Original Song. Play long clips of the Best Picture nominees, linger on Jack smirking at the camera — anything but these songs which have so little to do with the films.

9:07 - Visual Effects? Really saving up the for the biggies aren't they? And the Rock as a presenter? Is that some sort of comment about wrestling?

9:08 - The Golden Compass wins and my Oscar picks drop to 50/50. So in a battle between polar bears and giant transforming robots, the bears win. Who knew?

9:10 - We are whipping through the tech categories — take that newspapers with early deadlines. Sweeny Todd wins for Art Direction and I'm back on the plus side, for anyone who is keeping track. Much love for Johnny Depp — and who can blame them? He is the coolest man on earth.

9:13 - Jon says Cate Blanchett is unstoppable. She's a double nominee for Elizabeth and I'm Not There, but that's the sort of thing that tends to split your vote. We'll see soon enough.

9:15 - Cuba Gooding's repeat speech is longer than the first winner of the night. Whatever happened to that guy?

9:18 - Woo hoo, Javier Bardem wins for No Country for Old Men! The first for a No Country sweep? Bardem was so incredibly creepy, it's well deserved. Other than "thanking" the Coen's for his bob haircut, he spends the rest of his time thanking his mom in Spanish — what a sweet guy. C'mon Academy, give these folks some more time.

9:23 - Stewart continues his riff on the writer's strike with "faux" Oscar montages — tributes to periscopes and binoculars and bad dreams. Beats out these Best Song sections.

9:26 - You know what I miss? Interpretive dancing. That was at least terrible enough to be enjoyable. These are just good bathroom breaks. Ha, Stewart just rolled his eyes!

9:28 - Look Owen Wilson is at the Oscars and isn't in the dead people montage!
Too soon?

9:30 - Le Mozart Des Pickpockets wins for Live Action Short Film and I'm back to 50% in the pool. Arrgh!

9:32 - Seinfeld does the bee thing and it is good. I wonder how many times he's been asked to host? Peter and the Wolf wins and I am being killed in my picks. Good thing I'm not at any fabulous party or anything.

9:37 - An hour in and only the second major award of the night. Tilda Swinton wins and swears she is going to give her Oscar to her agent. We'll see if that happens. And she appears to dedicate it to George Clooney's Batman nipples as well.

9:44 - Jessica Alba is a hot mommy-to-be. She hosted the Scientific and Technical Awards which makes you wonder, if they have a show like that, how did TWO sound editing awards make it to the big show?

9: 46 - Only the second Jack mugging of the evening. What's going on?

9:47 - More Jack. There we go. And what a terrible intro for an award about writing - a stilted reading of famous lines. The Coen's win Best Adapted Screenplay for No Country and they have an equally awkward acceptance speech. Their talent is behind the camera, not in front of it. Sadly, it means Sarah Polley loses, but I'm sure this is a case where it was an honour just to be nominated.

9:50 - An explanation about how the voting process works. Yet another bit that has been covered in features in the weeks proceeding, ad nauseum. At least even Stewart knows how lame it is: "That's amazing."

10:02 - Knocked Up's Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen bicker over which one of them is Halle Berry (you had to be there). I can only give thanks that neither of them wore a dress.

10:04 - Yay for Bourne Ultimatum, which picks up an Oscar for Sound Editing. The Bourne series needs more recognition for its reinvention of the action film. Too bad it is not on my Oscar ballot.

10:05 - And then they go right ahead and do so, which wins for Sound Mixing. Which, I believe, means Transformers has been shut out at the Oscars. I'm unbelievably relieved.

10:13 - Marion Cotillard wins for La Vie En Rose and seems truly thankful and stunned. You will see that clip played next year. And I am officially killed on the ballot this year. My apologies to anyone who read the previous post. This is also an upset for Julie Christie, the presumed favourite and he director Sarah Polley.

10:18 - Colin Farrell almost wipes out on stage, but then he doesn't. I'm kinda bored now, but seeing as they are playing another song it's time for snacks and beverages.

10:22 - Jack gets the stage and he's got another pair of sunglasses. He's smirking, but who knows why, he's Jack. Then in yet another montage, all the previous Best Pictures are shown, with both the picture and titles cut off. Bang up job there, Academy or CTV. One of you.

10: 27 - Unforgiven becomes Forgiven and Gladiator is Ladiator. Turns out that was more amusing than I expected.

10:29 - Bourne Ultimatum wins again, this time for Film Editing. I'll have to check the stats, but I think that makes it the big winner of the night, at least so far. "Someone just took the lead in their Oscar pool based on a guess," says Stewart. So true, and it's not me.

10:31 - Even pregnancy can't make Nicole Kidman glow. Damn, she's icy.

10:36 - The Honorary Oscar winner, Robert Boyle, is old enough to refer to Alfred Hitchcock as Hitch. That's cool.

10:42 - Time for the foreign film award — turns out that wasn't La Vie en Rose. Austria wins for The Counterfeiters. Never bet against a Holocaust film.

10:44 - Another song. I wonder if I still have pizza in the fridge? I do, score!

10:49 - John Travolta, who is looking more like Steven Segal, or a vampire, repeats all the Best Song nominees. If they cut this category (or at least the songs) that would be a half hour off the runtime. "Falling Slowly" wins — at least he had a fine speech.

10:57 - Stewart hands over his time to Marketa Irglova who was unceremoniously played off the stage before she could speak about her win for "Falling Slowly." A class act by both.

10:59 - Camon Diaz babbles away before presenting the cinematography award to There Will Be Blood. Yay, I got another one right!

11:01 - Dead person montage! My bet is Heath Ledger will end it. It must be odd for the family of people who get no applause. How uncomfortable. They really need to put some film names up with the pics - I don't know who most of these people are.

11:05 - Heath wins the pool and the audience goes silent.

11:09 - Amy Adams explains why film scores matter and it works! In fact it showed why the song category doesn't. Can you tell I don't like the songs. Atonement wins, and my ballot is picking up.

11:12 - Various soldiers, live from Baghdad, present the Documentary Short Film nominees. See, Hollywood supports the troops!

11:18 - Perhaps it was to balance out the win by Taxi To The Dark Side. The most political speech of the night. "Let's turn away from the dark side and into the light."

11:23 - Harrison Ford is back from the dead! Oh wait, he just looks like that. I'm so worried about the next Indiana Jones flick. If it turns out ok they should win an Oscar for best effects.

11:25 - Diablo Cody, the hottest writer in Hollywood, wins Best Original Screenplay for Juno. It's a great moment — she's an ex-stripper, this is her first screenplay (at least her first made into a movie) and it is for the feel good film of the night.

11:31 - We are now officially into overtime. Of course that was the easiest pick of the night.

11:34 - Daniel Day Lewis wins Best Actor for There Will Be Blood — one of the only sure picks of the night. He's so gracious.

11:36 - What have they done with Stewart? He hasn't had any screen time for ages and I didn't notice until now. This show really doesn't need a host and Stewart's talents are wasted here. He's watered down and benign, with out his sidekicks to bounce off. If they ask you again, say no.

11:43 - The Coen Brothers win Best Director for No Country For Old Men. These guys just love making movies. They'd best not go to far, they will have to make another of their short speeches in a few minutes.

11:46 - No Country For Old Men wins for Best Picture. We went to see it at the Toronto film festival this year and I'm glad we did as it was one of the only nominated films we got to see this year. It was a cold, cold film about the evil that men do, but virtuoso film making and well deserved.

11:49 - So I got 15/24 right, a pass, but not much of one. I nailed Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor and Actress and the writing categories but fell apart on the more technical awards. It may have helped if I'd seen more films, but a 16-month-old makes that hard. Ah well.

So a generally unexciting show made more so by showing all the exciting moments of the past 80 years.

Oscar Pool 101

Predicting the Oscars is not that hard, but winning an Oscar pool is almost as difficult as getting one of this little golden men. I may not be able to get you to the top, but follow this advice and I will at least bring you into striking distance.

1. Read those who know

I don't have any special insider knowledge or Academy clairvoyance, but I read people who seem to. First stop for anyone filling out their ballot should be Entertainment Weekly. They predict every category, down to the two sound categories, with surprising accuracy. Yup, there are two sound categories and winning them will help you rise to the top.

Next stop, Film Experience. Nathaniel has a unerring sense of what is going to win and also what is going to be nominated in the first place. His perspective is that of a true film fanatic who is able to look past who he would like to win to who actually will. While neither source is infallible, in the long run you can't beat their track records.

There are a few other sites that can help you through your choices (Awards Daily; The Envelope; Oscar Frenzy) but you can drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with it all.

2. Know what has come before

Academy voters usually belong to another Hollywood group that, more likely than not, has their own award show that precedes the Oscars. These are the folks that get ballots so knowing how they voted will give you a pretty good idea of how the night will progress.

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Julie Christie – Away From Her

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Javier Bardem – No Country For Old Men

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Ruby Dee – American Gangster

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
No Country For Old Men

Writers Guild of America

Original Screenplay
Juno, Written by Diablo Cody

Adapted Screenplay
No Country For Old Men, Screenplay by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Based on the Novel by Cormac McCarthy

Directors Guild of America

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men

Producers Guild of America

Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures
No Country for Old Men

3. Know the odds

You can read the critics lists but realistically they don't really come into play on this night. The critics will pick what they believe is the best film or performance of the lot — which is at it should be — but should win doesn't matter. So go the guys who are in it to win: the Las Vegas Oscar odds.

Pretty much all the online bookmakers are putting out odds, as do the casinos. Here's the line from Bodog on best picture — you can read the rest here.

Odds On: Which film will win the 80th Annual Academy (Oscar) Award for Best Picture?

Atonement: 6/1
Juno : 13/2
Michael Clayton: 25/1
No Country for Old Men: 4/11
There Will Be Blood: 11/2

4. Ignore all the above

Every year there is an unexpected winner that nobody sees coming. So take a chance on a long shot to get an edge over the competition. But you should mostly copy EW. I'll let you know how it worked for me.

Lost & Found

Is this the land of the Losties? It is according to yung23, who has poured over every topographic tidbit Lost has doled out then mapped, graphed and then generated the above island. Check out the whole thread and the multiple map versions on the losttv-forum.

Of course the real question is, who is the father of Kate's baby? Sawyer? Jack? Or is it actually Claire's son Aaron? Head over to my friend — and Lost expert — Nikki's blog where this will be discussed in much better detail than I can offer.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and Optimus Prime

Killer robots and grim-faced heros? This is not your King James Bible. Forget Mr. T in anime, how about the figures of the Old and New Testament in manga form?

Boing Boing featured two versions of Manga bible tracts over the past few days and it reminded me of the illustrated version I had as a kid — which never looked this interesting.

The Manga Bible, described as "the most Extreme version of the Bible yet!" is a full version of the scripture while Mecha-Manga Bible Heroes features Old Testament tales, but in "a futuristic world of robots, aliens and advanced technology!"

Anything to get those crazy kids to learn about the word, right? Reminds me of Ned Flander's religious trading cards:

Bart: Oh boy! Free trading cards!
Milhouse: Wow! Joseph of Arimathea! Twenty six conversions in A.D. 46.
Nelson: Whoa, a Methuselah rookie card!
Flanders: Heh heh, well boys, who'd have thought learning about religion could be fun?
Bart: Religion?
Milhouse: Learning?
Nelson: Let's get out of here!

I Pity The Fool

The '80s revival continues unabated (did it ever stop?) with the Transformers up for three Oscars, a new Rambo flick in theatres and a reunion of Morris Day and The Time at the Grammys. Even the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is part of the trend. (And yet I still can't go and pick up a pair of desert boots. I've switched to the equally winter inappropriate Bludstones, but it's just not the same.) I hate my generation — our obsession with the touchstones of our youth is matched only by the boomers.

So of course it came as no surprise to see 80's icon Mr. T joining the fray in one of the few media forms he hasn't tried — the graphic novel. I suppose this differs from his 1993 and 2005 comic books, how I can't say, which both had quite short print runs. Will this venture be any different?

He's been in movies, TV shows both live and reality based, wrestling and put out an album. So why not conquer the world of 2D? If you want to see it for yourself, the whole first chapter is a free download. How about another tease, in the form of Mr. T in his Jesus Christ pose...

Can Scientists Dance?

Or more specifically, can they interpretive dance? In a peculiar mashup of impenetrable scientific prose and an often mocked art form, a dozen brainy types strutted their stuff in the first Dance Your Ph.D. Contest.

From quantum physics tangos to mechanisms of messenger RNA regulation set to tap, the results were certainly unique. The winning thesis was "Refitting repasts: a spatial exploration of food processing, sharing, cooking, and disposal at the Dunefield Midden campsite, South Africa," set to the music of Herbie Hancock - naturally. Check out the results for yourself.

Sex, Chocolate & The Economist

Will a box of chocolate lead you to bed? For the most part, no, at least according to a chart from The Economist. To be sure the Swiss consume the most chocolate (at least in this survey) and seem to be spending a good amount of time in bed. Makes sense, they make good chocolate.

The Greeks, Brazilians and Chinese don't appear to be indulging much in the sweet stuff, but are having plenty of the sweaty stuff. Canadians aren't having too much of either. Go figure.

Solidarity Forever

Pack up the picket signs and break out the pens — the Writers Guild has overwhelming approved their contract settlement with the producers and studios. They got a piece of the money from online streams and downloads but even more importantly they made everyone sit up and take notice. When they stopped working, everything ground to halt.

That's power and they will have earned more than a modicum of respect for that. Hopefully it sticks.

While billions were lost and many had to suffer through reruns, I didn't really notice the strike in my daily TV viewing. My PVR is still running at over 80% full, but there are a few shows that I will be happy to see new episodes of. So here's when some of my faves are returning and with how many episodes. Look up yours on TV Guide's constantly updated list.

30 Rock
Expected to shoot 5 to 10 new episodes to air in April/May. Woo hoo! Best show on TV.

Four pre-strike episodes left. Unclear whether additional episodes will be produced for this season. I've become quite into this show — I think it is because I've never watched any of the other procedurals.

No new episodes until fall. Boo! At least I know it has been given a second series.

No new episodes expected until fall. Another boo. Hopefully the writers thought up some good ideas on the picket lines and this show returns.

Six pre-strike episodes remain. Five additional episodes could air this season. Read my friend Nikki Stafford for more info on this. I hope they do more, the past two episodes have ben fantastic.

My Name Is Earl
Expected to shoot 8 to 10 new episodes to air in April/May. Wow, 8 to 10? What's wrong with the rest of these shows? Slackers.

Prison Break
Two pre-strike episodes remain. Future beyond that TBD. Meh. I'll watch, but part of me just hopes they all get shot and buried in an unmarked Panamanian grave.

No word on The Simpsons or Family Guy yet.

What still perplexes me is why the networks are so attached to seasons ending at the traditional times. When teachers got on strike they extend semesters, why not follow their example?

Plastic Fantastic

Lest anyone think I was being cruel comparing Tina Turner to Little Richard during last night's Grammy Awards, I present to you the results of countless hours of plastic surgery and a combined age of 143. I suspect that Little Richard can no longer close his eyes. The horror.

Grammys: Creaky Legends of Rock

I hate that my generation is in positions of creative control these days. Tonight's Grammys featured the unheralded reunion of The Time. Wha? Remember them? They were the bad guys in Purple Rain and had a couple of minor hits. That was it. (And wasn't having Morris Day hit on Rihanna creepy? There is a 30-year age gap there.)

And Cyndi Lauper presented the Best New Artist award as they highlighted the fact that she won the category back in 1985. She didn't sing, but still. My peers have already helped an '80s revival last longer than the '80s — I hope this isn't the start of another one.

Of course my contemporaries have nothing on the boomers, who still haven't taken their clammy hands off the reins yet — witness the performances of Aretha Franklin, John Fogerty and a much face-lifted Tina Turner. She's 68 for god's sake and looked like she was going to bust something off up on stage. She must have the same surgeon as Little Richard. Nice to see The Beatles get some recognition after all these years. Poor lads have never really gotten their due.

But while the show wallowed (celebrated?) it's 50 years, there was some concession that new music is still being made, with Amy Winhouse (who admittedly has a retro sound) being one of the biggest winners of the night. Nice to see, despite looking like she was dying to climb into a bottle after her fabulous performance (and beating out Feist for Best New Artist). I hope she manages to pull herself together as I'd like to see what comes next.

I thought of live-blogging this too late (plus the show is way too damn long and I work too early) but there are many fine places to get all caught up. May I suggest Inside the Box and The Ampersand was a dash of Dose for the best moments of the night.


Canadians are invading tomorrow's Grammy Awards in droves and of course the one I'm most excited about is Walter Ostanek's nomination for Best Polka Album.

No, wait, it's Feist that I want to see do well. She's the it girl these days and its nice to see a new woman in the pantheon of Sarah McLachlan, Celine Dion and Avril Lavigne.

Here's a great parody of her video for 1234 from Mad TV

Bite My Shiny Metal Ass

I never realized how many similarities there were between Futurama and The Simpsons before seeing this comic spread. While the main cast have no direct counterpoints in either series (it is hardly The Simpsons in Space) there are a number of doppelgangers in the minor characters. The Mafia and the Robot Mafia; Kent Brockman and Morbo; Malfunctioning Eddie and Gil; Mr. Burns and Mom. (Click on the image for a much larger version)

Futurama recently resurfaced after being unceremoniously dumped by Fox in 2003 after a four-year run. Following the cancellation, obsessive fans like myself watched reruns over and over and snapped up all the DVDs until the network execs realized, a la Family Guy, that they may have pulled the plug too early.

Good news everybody, right? I'm not so sure. I love the show — it is densely weighted with pop culture references and sci-fi and parodies with depth of science knowledge that is astounding for a TV show, let alone a cartoon. Like The Simpsons, my years of absorbing science fiction was finally paying off. Wired recently ran an excellent piece on the show if you need to know more about how great it is.

The show is now back in DVD form, with four full-length films that will each be sliced into four 22-minute episodes, to be aired on Comedy Central. Voila, a new season of Futurama. I speculated at the time of the original announcement that it would be simple enough to catch up where they left of - the characters don't age - but worried if something would be missing after such a lengthy interruption.

At their peak, shows are more than the sum of their parts. They have an undefinable quality that comes from the assembled writers that I suspect would be difficult to recreate once all the pieces are scattered to the wind. And so it was with the first film, Bender's Big Score. The animation looked great, the voices were all the same, but something was just slightly off. It's like the show had crawled back to TV following a stint in the Pet Cemetery — I'm not saying it is evil, but the light had gone out of its eyes.

Now it was only the first one, so maybe I'm being too harsh and the show will find its groove again, but there isn't much time. You can usually tell by four episodes if you are going to enjoy a show or not, so that was four in one shot. It doesn't leave much room for improvement. But I shall remain hopeful.

Its fault was that it was nostalgic for itself — showing me familiar characters but not doing much with them. It makes me think that those getting excited about a potential Arrested Development movie should be careful about what they wish for. Some things are better off dead.

Producers See Shadow, Strike May End

Don't negotiate angryDid film and television producers step out of their offices this Groundhog Day, see their shadows and finally realize there was going to be a long season of no new movies or shows if they didn’t start making some concessions?

There are reports that a settlement of the almost three-month-old strike by Hollywood writers could come as early as this week. It appears there has been some resolution of the Writers Guild’s demand for payment of work that play online.

Who knows what may have finally put them over the top? Perhaps it was the Groundhog-esque nature of TV these days, filled with a multitude of shows you’ve already seen. Maybe it was the possibility of the Oscars turning out like the travesty that passed as the Golden Globes this year. Or maybe it was the prospect of the airwaves being filled with Canadian TV shows, as U.S. networks pick up Flashpoint, The Listener, Sophie and continue to sniff around The Border. The horror! In any case, it will be good to see writers getting recognition for their work, even if my PVR backlog hasn’t dropped below 80% in the ensuing labor dispute.

And speaking of Groundhog Day, there are a surprising number of rodent prognosticators these days. From the National Post’s count there are at least 10, with eight of them calling for an early spring and two calling for a longer winter. One of the naysayers is Punxsutawney Phil, but he hasn’t been quite right since Bill Murray rolled through town.

The Groundhog Almanac:
Shubnedacadie Sam (Nova Scotia): Spring
Punxsutawney Phil (Pennsylvania): Winter
Wiarton Willie (Ontario): Spring
General Beauregard Lee (Georgia): Spring
Balzac Billy (Alberta): Spring
Buckeye Chuck (Ohio): Spring
Staten Island Chuck (New York state): Spring
Malverne Mel (New York state): Spring
Woody Woodchuck (Michigan): Spring
Ms. G. (Massachusetts): Winter