A Popped Culture Canada Day

Happy Canada Day. It's a long, long weekend so I'm taking a break from pop culture, but here are a few images to celebrate some of Canada's contributions to the field.

Pop Science

From the people who brought you Lolcats comes GraphJam: pop culture for people in cubicles. It's like indexed, except user generated and mostly about pop culture. I don't know what it is about graphs that I find so amusing, but here a few that kept me skimming the site:

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

Worth A Read... Dirty Words Edition

I heard a great quote from the late George Carlin on the radio this afternoon about the power of those infamous seven words. Of course I can't find it now, but cut to the essence of his Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television routine — that words only have power because we give them power.

It's been amusing to read all the coverage and eulogies to Carlin that tiptoe around this still taboo words (well, at least in the mainstream media). Of course you can read them (and see them in action for that matter) online all the time, but they still seem to carry a mystique.

So in honour of Carlin... Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits. Phew, don't we all feel better now?
So what's worse than swear words? Celine Dion singing AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long. Total Guitar magazine named it the worst cover of all time and having watched it I can't say I disagree. The horror...

The Ultimate Lego Weapon

Having no artistic or engineering skills, all my Lego creations tended to be square houses, square cars, squares, well, you get the picture. Even my pre-formed sets never turned out the way they looked on the box, so I've always been impressed by intricate dioramas.

But nothing prepared me for the 3,800 piece Death Star recreation. Gizmodo has some great hi-res pics of this piece of geek Nirvana, which is going for the low, low price of $499 (Canadian). Yeesh, who says Lego is for kids?

Of course for your money you get "the Death Star control room, rotating turbolaser turrets, hangar bay with TIE Advanced starfighter, tractor beam controls, Emperor’s throne room, detention block, firing laser cannon, Imperial conference chamber, droid maintenance facility, and the powerful Death Star superlaser," plus a trash compactor monster!

Ok, I'm off to play with my son's Duplo blocks and make a, um... box.

Requiem For A Day Off

Some selective editing and a dramatic score can completely change the flavour and intent of a film. Take Ferris Bueller's Day Off, cut everything except the most dramatic scenes and lines and overlay Lux Aeterna, best known as the theme music for Requiem for a Dream and you have an entirely different movie.

For a stunning mashup of Requiem for a Dream, check out the twisted version of Toy Story.

Coo Roo Coo Coo Coo Coo Coo Coo

Take off, eh. Beauty. Break out your toques and your stubbies, we may be in for another round of hoser-mania.

Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas are returning to the small screen this fall as the beer-swilling McKenzie brothers in The Animated Adventures of Bob and Doug McKenzie. The cartoon, which will air on Global this fall, has just been picked up by Fox — a network with considerable success in launching new cartoon series. (And a penchant for cancelling them too, I might add)

The hoser icons have been on an upswing recently, showing up in Disney's Brother Bear films as moose and last year's Two-Four Anniversary Special. It's quite the run for a couple of characters created as SCTV filler back in 1980. And it would only be cynical of me to suggest that the pair has few other prospects.

There will, of course, be a certain nostalgia factor in checking out the series, at least for Canadians. Like all good Canucks (or at least teenage boys of a certain vintage) I thought their movie Strange Brew was hilarious even though I'm positive it would not hold up to a repeat viewing these days.

It's not like you can update the characters, so it appears Moranis and Thomas are playing off the fact that the brothers are out of their decade. A press release describes the show as following the "exploits of the McKenzie Brothers as they do their best to "beat the system", avoid work, and have some fun in a changing Canadian society." We'll see.

I'm not positive if this pilot/trailer from ANIMAX Entertainment is what the basis of the show is, but seeing as Dave Thomas is one of the founders, I guessing so. If so, I hope they move away from flash animation for the prime-time series and ease up on the product placement.

Obsoletely Fabulous

A superb rendering of the cast of characters of Futurama, from Al Gore to Zoidberg. Kenneth White has been adding to the image for years and it is reminiscent of the Simpsons cast poster I have hanging in the basement.

The next direct-to-DVD Futurma release, The Beast With a Billion Backs comes out next week and I'm hoping they will have gotten by the "Hey, remember all these guys?" format that made it seem more of a retrospective than a new episode.

I have a great love of Futurama and don't want to see its legacy diluted by a Lucas-esque desire to fix what wasn't broken.

One Chord to Another

Sloooooooan, Slooooooooooooan! Sorry, but you just have to do that when talking about Sloan, who to my surprise (and no doubt theirs) released their ninth studio album today, 17 years after they stormed out of Halifax.

"We were Canada's Nirvana, then Canada's Oasis, then we weren't anything," Chris Murphy told the National Post's Ben Kaplan. The above photo encompasses the interview (click for a larger version) with the shoot-from-the-lip Murphy. There are more quotes at The Ampersand.

Some choice zingers:
"In the ’90s, all we had to do was show up, we were cooler than everybody. Who’s going to be cooler than us, Tea Party? I Mother Earth? These people aren’t cool — we’re cool."

"Collective Soul? Nickelback? Poor Eddie Vedder — he’s responsible for all that shit."

"Underwhelmed is our Creep. Actually, Creep is their Underwhelmed. We predate those motherfuckers."
The new album is Parallel Play and I'm listening to it as I write this. Check it out. Slooooooooooooan!

It's Not Over Until The Gay Cowboy Sings

The legend of Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar will live forever, the latest iteration coming in the form of Brokeback Mountain: The Opera. The New York City Opera has commissioned an opera based on Annie Proulx's short story, to open in 2013.

While I don't know anything about arias, I do think Andrew Lloyd Webber's I Don't Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar fits the playbill perfectly.
I don't know how to quit him.
What to do, how to split from him.
I've been changed, yes really changed.
In these past few days, when I've seen myself,
I seem like someone else.
I don't know how to take this.
I don't see why he moves me.
He's a man. He's just a man.
And I've never had a man before
In any way,
He's just one score.
Ha, this is easy. I should be in musical theatre!

The above pic is fanseelamb's Sims versions of Jack and Ennis.

Ice Ice Baby

It is likely that the above editorial cartoon by the Globe and Mail's talented Anthony Jenkins will be baffling to non-Canadians — in fact it is too me as well, not because of the content but the context behind it.

Gallons of ink and tears have been spilled over the CBC's decision to walk away from the theme music of Hockey Night in Canada, a jingle that has been bizarrely lauded as Canada's "second national anthem."

I for one reject the notion that every Canadian is obsessed with the game and that our nation's greatest triumph came in 1972 when a Canadian team out-thugged the USSR. But there's little point in saying so — I can't deny the stranglehold that hockey holds on our culture. Even I can talk (sorta) about hockey and I didn't even watch a (whole) game this season.

Admittedly, after 40 years, the song is iconic, so the plan to replace it with the help of a contest seems a touch trite. "It would be the ultimate Canadian Idol, really," mused CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore. Umm, exactly. Idol meets hockey culture — it's the worst of both worlds!

Which brings us to George Stroumboulopoulos. Strombo has been the whipping boy for anyone who hates change at the CBC. As the 'toon says, he "skews to the younger demographic," which was the complaint when he was brought over from Much Music. So he talks fast, get over it. I think I'll have to tune in to The Hour this week to see if we do get an armpit rhapsody.

So there's Canadian culture in a nutshell: hockey and complaining about the CBC.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Fatal Farm's take on the classic Cheers song is just the right amount of wrong. And with an accused al-Qaeda mastermind's trial beginning in Guantanamo Bay today, this seemed an appropriate choice. Is appropriate the word I'm looking for here? Hmm...

Anyway, Fatal Farm has reworked 15 TV themes from the 1980s and given them a neck-snapping twist. They can't even put their version of ALF on their YouTube page and their Ducktales intro made me feel a little wrong. Now that's comedy.

Worth A Read...

The New York Times digs up a little info about the blogger behind garfield minus garfield, which I wrote about last February. Seems Dan Walsh is a 33-year-old technology manager from Dublin and Garfield creator Jim Davis is an occasional reader of the site. He says he is flattered rather than peeved by the imitation.

I guess that's because he's not as amusingly abrasive as Joe Mathlete's Marmaduke Explained.

New York Times: Is the Main Character Missing? Maybe Not.
If a television show turned cultural phenomenon spawns diehard fans who recite dialogue by heart, wear costumes inspired by the show and buy all the tie-in products, are these devotees nerds? If the show in question is Star Trek, The X-Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the answer is certainly yes. But what if we're talking about Sex and the City?

National Post: Female Trekkies
This is the first in what I hope will be a semi-regular posting of stuff I've been reading. We'll see.

Stormtroopers Can Dance If They Want To...

We can dance if we want to, we can leave the rebels behind

'Cause if the rebels don't dance and if they don't dance

Well they're no friends of mine

These are just a few pictures of the secret lives of Stormtroopers from Doctor Beef's Storm Troopin' Flickr site. Hilarious stuff. Link via Information Nation.