Thursday, January 12, 2006

Stern Words

This was the week that Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed "King Of All Media," made the leap from terrestrial radio to the brave new world of Sirius satellite radio. The press attention would make you think that this was a major cultural event. Through the magic of the Internet, I was able to listen to Stern's first broadcast. I just can't bring myself to pay money to listen to radio. I haven't listened to commercial radio since I left the air 16 years ago. To me, when radio is not being employed as a music delivery system, it's being horribly abused and misused.

So, you're wondering what I thought of Stern's first uncensored broadcast. Well, I can't, for the love of God, understand why people would pay money to listen to this crap for four hours each day. Stern can be funny, in very short bursts, and he's a top-notch interviewer, when he has a fascinating subject, but this self-involved garbage with Stern talking about his "new venture," all the while surrounded by sophomoric sycophants is just UNBEARABLE. It just seemed to go on forever.

The changes from his old show are that he isn't censored, and there are no commercials. Sadly, the censorship was the only reason to listen to his show. It was a kick to see how far he could push the envelope. Now there is no envelope. F-Bombs fly left and right. After a few minutes of that, you don't care anymore. The shock value is gone. And that was the show's raison d'etre. My reaction to the show is "eh."

Once you get past the shock value being gone, you're left with Howard's gang of sidekicks, and his shtick of being misogynistic and making fun of the handicapped. Oh, and there are the porn stars and strippers he brings on his show, which, being on the radio, can only titillate the most desperate of listeners.

If you like Stern, now you can get him uncut and unadulterated. You have to pay for it, but maybe you can look at it as a tax on people with horrible taste. I fairly well despise all morning "shock jock" radio, and have no use for radio as long as I have a CD player in my car, so this show ain't gonna make me run out and buy a satellite radio system. This block of morning misery is not a selling point for me. Maybe I'm not the right person to critique this program, but faced with the prospect of having to listen to the Howard Stern Show every morning, I'd rather chew my right arm off, just below the elbow.

Art Blogging

Red Ballz

Pencil Sketch 1980

Digitally manipulated October 2005

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


....ten days late.

See, here's what happened. I lost last week trying to sort out my mother's new Medicare drug plan. There has not been a government program initiated with this level of preparedness and expertise since the Bay of Pigs invasion. Lucky for you, Rant Week is over. Now to catch up with the Culture Populaire:

The latest on DEVO

DEVO has devolved into DEVO 2.0, a group of kids performing vocals for DEVO classics, produced by Mark Mothersbaugh, with videos by Jerry Casale. DEVO themselves play all the instruments. The album and an accompanying DVD, including two brand new DEVO songs, will be released by Walt Disney Records on March 17. Yes, DEVO and Disney--together at last.

In other DEVO trivia, Jerry Casale directed many of those creepy commercials for Burger King. You know, the ones with the Burger King mascot showing up and just staring at people while holding one of those artery-clogging monstrosities that they sell. You can check out Casale's latest side project here.

Lastly in DEVO news, you can read my review of the DEVO action figures over at

Miyazaki Reminder

Way back in November, I told you about Turner Classic Movies running a festival of films by acclaimed Japanese master animator Hayao Miyazaki. That festival started last week, with Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. It continues Thursday with Naussicca Of The Valley Of The Wind, and Castle In The Sky. You can catch classics by Miyazaki every Thursday night in January. They're showing the English dubbed versions at 8 p.m., followed by the subtitled versions later that evening.

Speaking of Animation

Animated Discussions will return next week. In the meantime, be sure to catch Melanie's and my review of Hoodwinked in the Gazz this Thursday.

And for a brief animated tidbit, there's going to be a new Tom and Jerry short, The KarateGuard directed by the cat and mouse team's legendary co-creator Joe Barbera, debuting on Cartoon Network January 27. At 94 years old, Barbera may not have too many cartoons left in him. This will be a rare chance to witness a new work by one of the last living animators from Hollywood's golden age.

Comic Book Guys...and Girls

It's been a busy couple of weeks in the land of comic books.

Richard Branson is leaping into the four-color fray, starting up Virgin Comics with some help from Deepak Chopra's kid and director John Woo.

Rosario Dawson is stretching her creative abilities by creating and co-writing a new comic book.

Peter Bagge, the cartoonist behind HATE, has given up his gig chronicling the adventures of Bat Boy for the Weekly World News. Newsarama has an interview with his replacement.

Bonzo Reunion!

The surviving members of the legendary Bonzo Dog Band will reunite on January 28 at the Astoria in London. This performance will be recorded for a future DVD release. The show is being billed as a tribute to the late Viv Stanshall, a co-founder of the band who died in 1995 in a house fire (another senseless cigarette-related death). Opening for the Bonzos will be The Rutles, the band that former Bonzo Neil Innes created with Eric Idle to parody a certain group of Liverpudlian mop-tops. This will be their first live performance in decades.

That's enough for today. PopCult plays catch up this week with upcoming posts on Howard Stern and Pirates.