October 31, 2004
Star Wars Episode III teaser poster revealed.
Yep. With a poster that cool, I'm sure the movie itself won't be a horrible disappointment.
October 30, 2004
This will be the last chance to score points before our first contest ends. It doesn't really look like this is gonna make a difference standings-wise, but it's a chance to vent your opinion.
Other than The Nightmare Before Christmas, what movie would you most like to watch on Halloween?
Most convincing answer gets 100 points and the honor of being the last contest winner before the points reset. Contest ends at midnight, along with the greater Culture Mavens battle.
(Note that this doesn't have to be a Halloween movie necessarily, just one that puts you in the Halloweenie mood. Also, note that I said other than The Nightmare Before Christmas, because it's a no-brainer and anyone who had put anything different would suddenly have found themselves in negative points. So I'm biased. Sue me.)
Pre-Halloween eye candy
Medium: grainy Photoshop
Six Diseases winners!
Here they are, listed on a disease-by-disease basis.
Paris Hilton disease
The inability to recognize how low you've sunk. (Folkbum, though Joel was close.)
Split personality where one half is Bob Marley. (Ralph. To quote Lisa Simpson: Funny! Funny and true!)
The inability to stop smirking at cameras. (Joel)
The inability to matter. (Joel)
A cancerous forelock of hair; it's not fatal, but it can cloud your judgment at high altitudes. (Folkbum)
A driving desire to appear in every commercial possible. Often found in unknown and marginal actors. Common in Japan. (Joel)
That boils down to:
Good work all around! Kind of!
October 29, 2004
Last chance for 300 points!
The "six diseases" contest ends tonight and could put you right in the thick of the Culture Mavens Points race!
Brain candy by guest poet Mr. E.
Baghdad, 4 October, 2003
by Mr. E. Poet
Note: This is my attempt to deal with some of the ambivalence I am dealing with regarding the current occupation in Iraq. This is not to say that I disagree with the action taken there. But it is of some value to look at the other point of view.
Rockets flew above my head
And thunder followed on their heels.
Fear has long ago been replaced by
Acceptance of what is, and is to come.
“If only,” I thought, as the night closed in,
A warm, dark blanket of night falling
On my shoulders, calling me to rest.
“If only those fellows had CNN,
Or someone to tell them we have already won.”
But, in a quiet moment,
In the still of the night,
A question comes to mind.
How would I feel if it were my land
And I were the one who had lived through the lies?
How would I feel, with the tanks on my streets
And my churches in ruins in front of my eyes?
Night resolves to morning,
and the thermonuclear blossom
brings another day,
full of the promises
of a brighter future.
But I have heard promises in abundance
Of food, and of safety,
And of better lives for my sons.
A man with many guns once said
he had the better way.
Then a man with 2 sons, with many guns
imposed on us his way.
Now many men with guns in hands
have claimed they know the way
What is the way?
Who knows the way?
Is there a way?
For many months they have been here
And will stay for many more.
They have taken
The splendid palaces
And the vineyards have gone to waste.
While in my city
My father’s land
I cannot roam as I please.
Men with rifles,
Men with tanks
Ask for my papers daily.
They offer work, and offer pay
But the work is to fix
That which they destroyed.
They offer water
Which we had before they arrived.
And what is this Democracy?
What is this Federalism?
I am a man, and a simple man.
All whom I know are simple men.
Who are we to choose
How our nation will be led?
There will come a day when I must choose.
Already I have been asked.
I have delayed for now, but soon enough
My sons will be asked as well.
Where will my allegiance stand?
Whom will I believe?
For it has been so long
Since I have believed
Day follows night, and night follows day.
Man builds one home, and destroys another,
And each man,
Sure in his heart that he abides
In the Shadow of the Almighty
Continues his Jihad/Crusade.
There is nothing new
Under the sun.
October 28, 2004
Eye Candy, expanded
Artist: Claude Monet
Title: Impression, Sunrise
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Original Size: 63 x 48 cm
I thought we'd all take a moment from our busy days to reflect on Popping Culture now that the first Culture Mavens contest is drawing to a close. (Remember the 300 point "six diseases" contest below that finishes up Friday).
I originally intended this site to include random happenings in the world of popular culture, opinion polls, the contests, and longish reflections on my own loves in film, art, literature and the like.
With school in (I drive 4 hours to school every week, stay three days, and head back to a local full time job), I am too busy for lengthy discourse. I do, however, graduate in May, when I can put my efforts back into Popping Culture as they should be.
In the meantime, since I have maybe an hour tops each day, I thought we might be able to focus. Would you prefer culture over Britney Spears sightings? Would you rather keep up the artistic eye candy or concentrate on the latest movie releases? Do the top ten book lists do anything for you? Would you like to see guest bloggers give opinions on the top topics?
I am very happy with the way this first half-year or so of Popping Culture has gone and I cherish my regular visitors, those who speak and those who just read and reflect. I won't be able to do a big traffic push until after graduation in May, though, so it might be nice to tailor our efforts to the regular attendees.
That said, reflect on!
Three sentences winner(z)
Since only two entered, I thought I'd just divvy up the points 50-50. Folky and Joel each get 53.5 points for their efforts.
Don't miss out on the 300 or so points up for grabs in the disease contest below, finishing up Friday!
October 27, 2004
Gonna be in Hollywood any time soon?
While you're working on the two contests below, here are a few items you may have missed:
-Don't miss this appearance by Beastie Boys record-scratcher Mixmaster Mike. We love the Beastie Boys.
-Julia Roberts was hospitalized.
-Our boys nabbed a 10 million dollar Picasso stolen by Nazis.
-Ashlee Simpson's dad says her credibility is intact. So it must be true.
-Porno, a sequel to the popular book Trainspotting, is on the shelves.
You are now officially up to speed.
300 points and six diseases!
While you're finishing up the "Three Sentences" contest below, here's something else to chew on.
Remember Lou Gehrig? The impressive baseball player who died of a disease they ultimately named after him?
This contest operates the same way. I'll name six diseases and you describe what the patient who has that disease is suffering from. For instance, if I said "Folkbum Disease," you could say "this disease causes an inflated ego and the uncanny ability to take political truth and spin it to fit into your own fantasy world." For examples of Folkbum disease, visit his hallucinatory website, or his current Iron Blog battle.
Got it? So there are six diseases. The best explanations of each disease will earn 50 points each. Potentially, you could earn 300 points. Enter as many times per disease as you like; only your best responses will be judged. Contest ends Friday at midnight.
Here we go:
1 - Paris Hilton Disease
2 - Ricky Williams-itis
3 - Ben Affleckia
4 - Ralph Naderism
5 - Donald Trumpoma
6 - Moby Disease
Don't know one of these folks? Google on!
October 25, 2004
107 points up for grabs! Get a pencil!
With the top Culture Maven about to be crowned on Sunday night, it's time to pull out all the stops.
That's right, I'm about to get literary on your tails.
For a whopping 107 points, I want you to write three more sentences for me.
These three sentences will be the opening lines of a new fiction novel destined to reach the top ten in Barnes and Noble sales. It can be fantasy, drama, historical fiction, sci-fi, romance, whatever - as long as it's fiction.
If your three sentences make me want to read your novel more than the other entrants, you win.
There can be only one. Deadline for posting is Wednesday midnight. More contests will start before this one ends, so stay frosty, people.
The late Gregory Hines inducted into Hall of Fame.
More Photographic Eye Candy
Bread Store, 259 Bleecker Street
100 quick points winner!
Sorry, Mr. E.
Your ADAM-12 response was THIS close, but then Folkbum hit me where I live.
The Greatest American Hero was one of my obsessions as a teen. Today, it would still be a great vehicle for the humor, action and drama it could have been back there.
That theme song has been running through my head all day.
100 points for Folkbum, who is in the process of losing at Iron Blog. New contest to be posted later today! Watch for many scoring chances as the contest draws to a close!
Look at what's happened to meeee-heeee.
October 23, 2004
Spirits Of The Dead
by Edgar Allan Poe
Thy soul shall find itself alone
'Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness- for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.
The night, though clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven
With light like hope to mortals given,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne'er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop from the grass.
The breeze, the breath of God, is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token.
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!
100 quick points
I was THIS CLOSE to seeing the General Lee up close, maybe even getting a ride in it. Ben "Cooter" Jones had the famous Dodge Charger on display in Sperryville, Va. until recently. Of course, recently is when I drove through Sperryville on the way back from vacation.
How many people could say they had been out for a spin in the General? How many people are going to vote for Kerry once they hear that ol' Cooter is rootin' fer him?
Still, it got me thinking about upcoming Dukes of Hazzard flick. And me thinking means points for you!
What TV show (80s or earlier, please) would you most like to see revamped on the big screen?
There will be one winner.
You have until Sunday midnight.
Let's hope there's not a soundtrack.
Bill Shatner wants to go into space. I can only hope that it doesn't inspire him to sing/talk over music.
Well, I guess since they were the only business she WASN'T shilling for...
If you read this story really fast, you can pretend it's about Catherine Zeta-Jones performing at a strip club.
October 22, 2004
Photograph taken by Helen Levitt in New York circa 1940.
I'll give you a dollar if you read this book for me and tell me how it is.
Sounds very interesting. I just don't have the time right now.
Week of 1,000 points scoring results!
The big winner of the week is Folkbum, who, erm, showed up!
Hurray, showing up!
Mr. E, who was probably off defending our families from evil forces or something trivial like that, slipped in the overall standings with a little more than a week to go! Joel and Folkbum both overtook the long-time points leader, although with just over one week left, anything can happen!
Points are broken down by day and total. If you have any questions regarding scoring, they are probably justified. Also note that the overall scoring is updated in the sidebar.
Mr E.: Saturday 25 points; total 25 points.
Folkbum: S 100, Su 25, M 100, T 25, W 94, Th 150; total 494.
Joel: Su 100, M 25, T 100; total 225.
Ralph: S 25, Su 25, M 25, T 25; total 100.
Nathan: T 25; total 25.
Nice work this week! Remember, Halloween evening at midnight marks the conclusion of the Culture Mavens contest. Points will be reset! Someone will win a Barnes and Noble gift certificate!
Next contest: later today, good for 100 points!
October 21, 2004
Popping Culture back on the air!
Yes, I'm back from vacation!
You kiddies finish up the week of 1,000 points, and scores will be posted tomorrow!
For now, here are a few fun links to catch you up on the world of pop culture: try here (for the new super hombre), here (for yet another rap story, this time a rap "star" who cheered when 9/11 happened) and here (for some good news for a change: how they took lemons and made cultural lemonade after a 1989 Bay Area earthquake).
October 15, 2004
The Week of 1,000 Points begins!
The rules are simple:
Mrs. Popping Culture and I will be out of town until next Thursday evening, but that doesn't mean you can't earn a huge handful of points. I think it is safe to say that this week will be the difference in the Culture Mavens Points Contest, which ends at midnight on Halloween and will earn the lucky winner a Barnes and Noble gift certificate!
Below are posted contests, one for each day I'll be gone. You are to reply ONLY on the day that the contest is slated for (within 3 hours, to make up for those living on the Left Coast). So reply to Monday's contest on Monday, etc. Couldn't be easier.
DISCLAIMER: Some of you defend our country or have to leave town or happen to be the Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector. You folks may email me your contest answers all at once and I'll assign a somewhat reduced points total separately, as long as your excuse is valid. "Dude, I was, like, totally wasted on Thursday and forgot" is not a valid excuse.
And so, without further hairdo, here we go. Enjoy your week, friends! I'll be deep in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley region where even cell phones don't reach, watching the leaves turn colors. Nothing could be finer.
SATURDAY: Suicide Island. Reality TV ratings are finally beginning to drop. Name and give a brief description of the fictional reality tv show you think I would least like to see. Enter as often as you like. Only your best entry will be counted. (100 points to the winner, 25 points for any entry at all)
SUNDAY: Book 'em. Nice day to rest, catch the game, and read a book. I was an English major in my college days and still read about 3-4 novel-length books a week. What was the last book you read? Name it and convince me that I should add it to my reading list. One entry per person. (100 points to the winner, 200 points if I am compelled enough to buy a copy (easier than you might think, I buy a lot of books), 25 points for any entry at all)
MONDAY: Movie day. Which movie (you get one entry only) would you MOST like to see a sequel to? This has to be a movie that has no sequel currently planned. (100 points to the winner, 25 points for any entry at all)
TUESDAY: Link me. I've been gone since Saturday morning. I haven't been near the InterWeb at all. Link me to the most interesting bit of news to happen in the world of popular culture since I've been on the road. One entry per person. (100 points to the winner, 25 points for any entry at all)
WEDNESDAY: Return of the Anagrams. Once again using Inge's Anagram Generator (or whatever tool you deem fitting to the task), pick your favorite entertainer (be it music, stage, film, books, art, whatever) and post the best anagram you can come up with using their name. Enter as many times as you like on Wednesday, but only the best of your entries will be scored. (I will score entries separately on a scale of 0-100 points)
THURSDAY: Three sentences revisited. This contest is the payoff! Choose your favorite solo musical act (popular music, opera, orchestra, classical, whatever), be it a performer or a composer, and convince me in three sentences (no run-ons!) that they are the most talented EVER. There will be one winner, who will gain an unprecedented 150 points. One entry only.
Good luck to all.
October 14, 2004
Quote of the Day
From this insight-filled Yahoo story: Nearly half of the undecideds were uncertain whether Bush should get another term.
Um, so half of the undecideds were uncertain?
Of course, this begs the question: what about the other half?
After all this time, he can still get it (his speed, that is) up.
Eric Clapton: naughty.
The superstar crooner finally got his license yanked after getting caught in his Porsche 911 Turbo going 53 MPH over the speed limit.
Clapton drives more miles over the limit than I drive period. I'm usually good for about 50 MPH.
In honor of his new license-less status, Popping Culture is happy to provide this link to the lyrics of his popular "Walking Blues."
Want more info?
Ok, ok... check it out here.
Bad news for fans of good music
So, I got the news a little late: Christian crossover band Sixpence None The Richer has called it quits.
I hate to see them step off the stage, but they leave behind an excellent collection of songs.
October 13, 2004
Didn't we just last week say the dumbest idea for a movie superhero would be Aquaman?
Then, explain this.
The Incredibles could be a winner, though. Better than the adventures of fish boy, anyway. "If only someone could talk to these fish, the world would be saved! Or swim really fast! Or whatever!" Please.
October 12, 2004
by Grandma Moses
HUGE points teaser!
Next week has been dubbed "The Week Of A Thousand Points" here at Popping Culture. On Friday, a week's worth of contests will hit the screen, all at once, and it is conceivable that one person could earn 1000 points. Not likely, but not inconceivable ("I do not think that word means what you think it means").
Behind? Here's your chance to catch up.
Firmly in the lead with a couple weeks to go? Here's your chance to put it in the bag.
Suffice it to say that a lead at this point is very helpful, but nobody's out of the running for the big prize, to be awarded Halloween night!
October 11, 2004
What's in a Name? contest results
Despite some noble efforts ("bulk Jay cola" "ice Jane warlords!" and "call Johnny about KY!"), there's really nothing you can do once Stacie drops "A wise architect" on you.
Stacie is our big winner, and will be awarded 100 points on the next update. REMEMBER: October 31 is the date when a prize is awarded and points all go back to nil!
How we'll always remember the man.
Rest in Peace.
October 10, 2004
Frankly, I'm shocked.
From Popping Culture's Musical Oddities Department:
A gangsta rapper (should I say "rap artist"?)(answer: no) in trouble with the law?
Who could have seen it coming?
October 08, 2004
What's In A Name? Contest
Using my name (Dan Champion) and Inge's Anagram Generator, here's what I came up with:
a damn phonic
a nomad pinch
coin hand map
and the always popular DNA hop manic.
Pretty lame. So what's your name? Best anagram from the letters of your name wins 100 points. You have until Monday evening.
October 07, 2004
Classical music: dying or reviving?
This article discusses whether classical music is now a niche form of entertainment on its way downhill (like Phish!) or whether globalization can save it.
Interesting bit on China's devouring of the art form. Read it, elevate your mind. The constant online yapping about politics will still be there when you get back.
October 06, 2004
Howard Stern is making the leap to the unregulated world of satellite radio.
First, all the good shows moved to HBO and Showtime. Now, this.
I've even heard rumors that NFL games might one day be available on a pay-per-view basis ONLY.
What do you make of all this extra cash for entertainment? For us at Popping Culture, the show Dead Like Me is worth the couple extra bucks a month for Showtime, but what about the day when everything we watch is a la carte. Is it just another money grab?
I couldn't understand a word of his acceptance speech, but by God, he deserved the award!
Bob Dylan has been nominated for, of all things, a Nobel Prize.
My dinghy is bigger than your whole yacht!
Rest In Peace, Rodney Dangerfield.
October 05, 2004
Superpowers contest results and points update!
All in One!
Remember, each comment I reacted to in a positive way gets 25 points. Please note that some points were withheld, not because the entry wasn't creative or funny, but because the power named was actually useful. Here are the results, broken down by entrant:
*The psychic ability to spot people wearing boxer shorts.
*Lugggage always comes out first from baggage claim at the airport.
*Can shape shift his face into standard emoticons.
Total: 75 points
*Along with his sidekick, Immovable Boy, who has the power to stand still for relatively long periods of time for someone of his age, they fight a relentless battle against their arch nemesis, that nefarious nogoodnik, The Rake, and his feindish plot to capture the fallen leaves of innocent citizens.
*The Sloth, who moves slower than the eye can follow.
*Muppet Master - He can control the movements and speech of anyone, but he has to be able to get his hand under the back of their shirt.
*Terpsichore - She is a pretty good dancer, but an evil pretty good dancer.
Total: 100 points
*Air Guitar Girl: Can wiggle her fingers and make noises with her throat to uncannily mimick the playing styles of any prominent rock guitarist of the last 35 years.
*The Smoke Detector: can not only instantly detect the smell of tobacco smoke lit within 50 meters, but can identify the brand and variety purely by smell.
*Also there's Mildew Boy, who has an incredible ability to converse with mold.
Total: 75 points (which doubles his points total!)
*Bookworm Boy: The super-heroic ability to ignore the crises around him as he reads.
*The Tearjerker: Has a George Costanza-like ability to out-pathos anyone else in the room.
*oViT: Erases all the good stuff you have saved on your TiVo.
Total: 75 points
*The Cheese Slicer - The ability to cut perfectly even cheese slices.
*The Bovine Diviner - The ability to read cows’ thoughts.
*Mr. Munchies – The ability to detect junk food from a distance of 100 meters without use of any of his five senses.
*Monkey Master – The ability to make any monkey within one mile dance.
Total: 100 points
*Captain Black -- He has the ability to make everything black. His theme song is "Paint It Black."
*The Amazing Crack -- Nobody's sure if he's for real. All we know is that if you step on a crack in a sidewalk and hear "ouch!" you've found him.
*Homeless Girl -- She's an expert at, well, nobody knows besides simply being a homeless bum. She just follows the Justice League around making rude comments about how they haven't helped HER.
*The Amazing Automated Independent Full-time Random List Generator -- He can fire off lists of different things at will. The problem is that he never stops, and you can't control what the list is about.
Total: 100 points
The current points race, which ends on Halloween evening with the awarding of a Barnes and Noble gift certificate, is posted up to this minute in the sidebar.
As you might expect, October will be filled with huge scoring opportunities, so everyone is still in it! Next contest coming soon!
P.S.: Any concerns about the scoring process can be sent to me directly, via the post office on Fairy Tale Island.
October 04, 2004
The last word on the Presidential debate.
Given the mediocrity of both contenders, I think it's obvious who the winner is.
"Why am I running? For the same historic reason that motivated other top-quality presidential timbers such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill: All the other candidates are goobers."
Click all the links!
(disclaimer: yes, we here at Popping Culture know Churchill was never President. It was a joke. Churchill was, of course, majority leader of the Senate.)
October 03, 2004
Are you the type that enjoys deep music?
Then have we got the show for you.
Salt covers the entire floor, but it looks more a blanket of snow.
October 02, 2004
A timely offering from Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them --
The summer flowers depart --
Sit still -- as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.
How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.
Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!
The dearest hands that clasp our hands, --
Their presence may be o'er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh'd our mind,
Shall come -- as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.
Hear not the wind -- view not the woods;
Look out o'er vale and hill-
In spring, the sky encircled them --
The sky is round them still.
Come autumn's scathe -- come winter's cold --
Come change -- and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne'er be desolate.
Get on Board the Points Train!
Coming on the heels of our ongoing discussion of comic-book-to-cinema crossovers is our latest contest.
Strain your thinkers here, kids, because the points gain is potentially staggering.
I got to thinking about the potential festival of bad cinema that the new Fantastic Four movie is primed to turn into. That got me thinking about Reed Richards. They had to make him a super-genius, because his super "power" was so silly. He can get all stretchy and plastic.
I remember the comics would have to put the heroes in unrealistic positions just so he could participate. We need someone to fit through the keyhole! We need someone to pretend to be the floor! We need someone to wrap himself around an armed criminal and hope he doesn't think to pull the trigger!
Useless powers and forced situations made me think, of course, of Aquaman. Woe is us! If only someone could talk to these fish, earth would be saved!
So here's the contest, and the stakes are high: Every guffaw, laugh, chortle or even grin gets you 25 points. Unlimited entries means potentially unlimited points.
Your job: think up super powers more useless than being plastic or talking to fish.
My own ideas? Always having correct change. Super fashion sense. Creating pink spots on any wall, any time. The ability to always pick up a 7-10 split. Always hitting the light green.
You can do better. You have until Monday night.
And as for the Fantastic Four movie....
It won't be ALL bad.