Cultrface is a blog about culture and how it can enrich our lives.

Vox analysed the impressive economics of Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson: An economic analysis

But how does Homer Simpson represent America? Vox did some calculations to see how he stands amongst the rest of the US and how he represents the “upper lower middle class”.

His salary from the nuclear plant was pretty bad, at least by today’s standards: $37,416 (adjusted for inflation). According to Vox’s calculations, that puts the Simpsons on the zip wire of lower and middle class. Of course, they’ve tasted morsels of the upper class high life (when Marge got that pink Chanel suit and when Homer got hair).

(Full article including list of jobs)

Homer related: Binging with Babish makes Homer Simpson’s Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles and Homer’s Brain

JetSetRadio.Live

Set in a futuristic age besieged by corporate forces, Jet Set Radio (and its sequel Jet Set Radio Future), were the cell-shaded chronicles of the GG’s, a gang of rollerblading youths (or “rudies”). Their use of graffiti thwarted the evils of the “Rokkaku Group” and at the very core of the franchise lied two incredible soundtracks primarily composed by Hideki Naganuma. His compositions and others were spun in-game by “DJ Professor K”, who commandeered the titular “Jet Set Radio”, a pirate radio station our spray-paint wielding heroes regularly tune into, not only for dope tunes but also essential tips and mission information.

Considering JSR is my favourite video game franchise of all time, you can only imagine the joy that enveloped my soul when I stumbled upon JetSetRadio.Live. JetSetRadio.Live is the brainchild of Reddit user DJProfessor_K and greatly expands upon the in-game station. A vast majority of the OST is present, with a plethora of inspired songs added to the playlist. There are also selectable stations (themed after the various factions of rudies within the game), a chat room, JSRL TV (a playlist of intriguing videos played in random order) and even an Android app!

JetSetRadio.Live is pure unadulterated awesomeness condensed into the form of an internet radio station and is one of the best love letters to a video game I have ever had the pleasure of coming across.

You can listen to JetSetRadio.Live here and follow DJ Professor K on Twitter.

Sucklord, The NYC Artist Who Makes Bootleg Action Figures

Bootleg culture is a major subculture of our times.

It repurposes the discarded and creates new life. The Sucklord lives by his name under a super-villainous guise and makes bootleg action figures. The New York City pop artist is known for his “subversive Action Figure mashups and Reality TV Persona”, according to his website.

Operating under the Brand SUCKADELIC, The Sucklord’s Line of self-manufactured Bootleg Toys steal shamelessly from STAR WARS, Vintage Advertising and All manner of Pop Culture Trash. Packaged in layers of ironic self-Mockery, His shoddy looking wares have inspired an entire secondary Art movement, with dozens of entrepreneurial Toy Bootleggers creating their own versions of highly referential, low-Rent interpretations of their favorite figures.

Stream the video on Vimeo.

AntennaPod - A Podcast Manager For Android

Episodic in nature and distributed via web feeds, one could argue that podcasts have become the ‘talk radio’ of the internet age. Great podcasts are addictive and can often be a nightmare organising subscriptions for these delectable audio morsels if your software isn’t up to scratch. That’s where AntennaPod comes in.

Created by Daniel Oeh and hosted on GitHub, AntennaPod is a full-featured open source podcast manager that will bring out a smile from even the most ardent podcast listeners. AntennaPod’s developers have taken a meticulous approach in crafting the app as it contains arguably more features than many ‘paid’ podcast apps.

Some of its features include:

  • Support for both audio and video playback
  • Access to over 250,000 podcasts on iTunes and the gPodder directory
  • The ability to add subscriptions via RSS and Atom Feeds
  • OPML import/export
  • Variable playback speeds
  • Advanced download management features

The app is undoubtedly a triumph for “Free and Open Source Software” (FOSS). It’s a tangible step above the podcast management software provided by a certain fruit-flavoured corporate entity.

AntennaPod is published under the ‘MIT License’ and is available on both Google Play and F-Droid. You can download it for your Android device from the links below.

Google Play (Sign up for the beta!)

F-Droid

Observe The Rugged Side Of The Internet With "Brutalist Websites"

The idea of brutalism is normally reserved for architecture as Wikipedia defines:

Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century. The term originates from the French word for “raw” in the term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete). British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into “brutalism” (originally “New Brutalism”) to identify the emerging style.

But the ethos has transferred to web design lately, creating a “ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy”. This is according to Brutalist Websites, a compendium of sites with nothing but the basics at hand. You won’t see any fancy fonts or CSS3 on these web pages. Some look archaic but on the whole, they bring web design and the internet back to the bare bones and it’s quite refreshing.

Brutalist Websites before it died

UPDATE: *sigh* once again, another site has been taken down or otherwise defunct. Not sure why but the site is covered with a Brutalist Websites Are Dead logo. If you’re good with Dev Tools, you can get rid of it and still navigate the site but it’s a shame. Then again, a lot of the websites on there were questionable from a brutalist design perspective.

UPDATE 2: The watermark is gone but the webmaster told me the site isn’t active and remains as an archive.

X-Men Fan Creates Web Show Based On The 90s Animated Series

X-Men Danger Room Protocols Episode 1 Full

The web series will be called X-Men: Danger Room Protocols and see teams of X-Men characters up against Marvel villains in Professor X’s notorious Danger Room.

Each episode will be based around a single Danger Room battle and the first one will be called “Survival,” starring Jean Grey and Wolverine (we get the feeling Cyclops won’t like that one). X-Men: Danger Room Protocols will debut on 19th January with subsequent episodes freely available on his YouTube channel.

UPDATE: It turns out X-Men: Danger Room Protocols was cancelled after one episode. Why? Because Marvel said so. According to Joel himself (via CBR):

“When I set out to make this project, I never really thought this was going to be an issue. I didn’t think that Marvel was going to react this way, and this outcome, for me, is a little bit shocking.”

Marvel declined to comment.

The Machete Order - An Alternative Way To Star Wars

Well, think again as an alternative order has been proposed called “The Machete Order“. Absolutely No Machete Juggling writer Rod Hilton came up with the idea that suggests you watch the Star Wars films in the following order:

You’ll notice Episode I: The Phantom Menace has been omitted. The primary reason for this isn’t because it sucks (although that certainly helps making the decision to ignore it much easier), but you’ll need to read the full Machete Order blog post as to why it didn’t make the cut.

Read the whole thing at Absolutely No Machete Juggling.

Machete order-related: Polygon’s MCU Machete Order and The Machete Order for X-Men

PokéDad: A Webcomic About A Dad's Journey Through The Pokémon World

With over 200 million copies of their merchandise sold and over $35bn earned, the Pokémon franchise is only behind the Mario as the highest-grossing video game-based franchise.

But one of the best aspects of the series is the market of fan-made projects. One such project comes from LA-based illustrator Liz Rodriguez, entitled “PokéDad”. The webcomic tells the story of a dad in search of his son who has already completed his journey.

Players of Pokémon Red/Blue for the Gameboy will recognise the characters and tropes but the titular dad knows nothing of the Pokémon world and his logical viewpoint leaves him confused and frustrated throughout, much to the reader’s enjoyment. It’s a fantastic take on a well-known storyline and one you should check out. The comic updates every Friday.

Read PokéDad on Tumblr

Update: You can now follow PokéDad’s story on Instagram.

The Original Ghost Busters

The Ghost Busters - 1975

In 1975, “The Ghost Busters” (note the space) aired for 15 episodes as a children’s show. Comprised of two men (played by Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch) and their pet gorilla, The Ghost Busters travelled around the world in search of ghouls with their camera-like device ready to dispel them. An animated series was created in 1986 but it was only aired for one season although it did spawn a comic book.

While the series had nothing to do with the better-known Ghostbusters film franchise, Columbia Pictures did pay Filmation, the makers of The Ghost Busters, to use the name.

Fun fact: the characters Eddie Spencer and Tracy were named after the Golden Age actor Spencer Tracy and Kong (not the gorilla’s name, surprisingly) was named after King Kong.

You can watch an episode of the animated series on YouTube.

Animation/ghost related: The damp history of Tigersharks and Steamed Hams made by different-animator every 13 seconds, and Michael Jackson’s Addams family promo that turned into Ghosts.

Pop Culture Soaps by Yvonne Kai

These dope pop culture soaps are “all natural, vegan, and kosher with 100% pure essential oils and fragrance oils” and “Come Clean” with a number of different designs, from pugs to Nike sneakers and Minions (if that’s your thing).

The creator of the soaps, Yvonne Kai says the soaps are:

  • Handmade in USA
  • Hand-poured in New York City
  • Naturally scented with 100% Pure Essential Oils
  • Paraben and sulfate free
  • Moisturizing
  • Kosher
  • Vegan
  • Adorable

You can buy them on Etsy.

(via The Inspiration)

The Rights To "Do The Bartman" Sold For $38,500

Although long rumoured to be a Michael Jackson creation, the song was, in fact, written by singer-songwriter Bryan Loren. The latter called the prolonged rumours a “thorn in his side” and advised:

“Along with me, Michael Jackson does sing backing vocals. And it WAS his idea to call the song, DTB. AND, he did insist I include his name in the lyric.”

Hardcore MJ fans like myself may already know Loren’s name as Michael sang backing vocals on one of his tracks, To Satisfy You (which is brilliant, I might add). This also wasn’t the only Michael Jackson/Simpsons collab either. Michael voiced the character of Leon Kompowsky (but not the singing voice; that was Kipp Lennon) in Stark Raving Dad as well as adding a clip of Homer and Bart at the end of his infamous Panther Dance.

Related: Michael Jackson vs. Michael Jordan vs. LA Gear, MJ’s Addams Family-promo, and The one At The Bottom remix.

A Spotify playlist of songs about tennis

Tracklist

  1. Tennis – Needle And A Knife
  2. Sky Sailing – Tennis Elbow
  3. De La Soul’s Plug 1 & Plug 2 present First Serve – Tennis
  4. Jim Noir – Ping Pong Time Tennis
  5. Pixel Perfect – Tennis Court
  6. Telemachus – Tennis Season
  7. Binge – “Grand Slam Man (Roger Federer)”
  8. Indian Wells – Wimbledon 1980
  9. Florent Campana – Roland Garros
  10. Sasse – Flushing Meadows
  11. The Herbaliser – Game Set and Match
  12. Jackie McLean – Davis Cup
  13. Yannick Noah – On court
  14. The German Art Students – Bjorn Borg
  15. Wyclef Jean – I’m Ready
  16. Profesor Mercury – Astro-Música Rafa nadal Op. 350 -A-
  17. Lorde – Tennis Court
  18. Lilys – The Tennis System (And Its Stars)
  19. Chris Rea – Tennis
  20. The Bicycle Thief – Tennis Shoes
  21. Pernice Brothers – The Ballad of Bjorn Borg
  22. Half Man Half Biscuit – Outbreak of Vitas Gerulatis
  23. Frank Turner – Love Forty Down

Wimbledon is drawing to a close, with all the remaining finals being played this weekend. To mark the end of those two weeks of tennis court action, here is a selection of tracks about tennis (in one way or another). I couldn’t believe some of the titles and artist names when I was spot-digging for songs. It just so happens I’m working on a Federer-themed album but it hasn’t left the idea stage yet.

Some of the tracks are obviously tennis-related, like Pixel Perfect’s Tennis Court and Indian Wells’s Wimbledon 1980. But some are coincidental like Jackie McLean’s Davis Cup. Wyclef Jean’s I’m Ready is the most tenuously linked song; a nod to players telling their opponents that they’re ready to receive serve.

Of course, tennis is for life not just for the Wimbledon Championships, so enjoy this playlist all year round.

Update: Thanks to His Top Ten for finding even more songs I didn’t know about.

Everything Wrong With Batman & Robin In 17 Minutes

Everything Wrong With Batman & Robin In An Awful Lot Of Minutes

In case you weren’t aware of the horror that is Batman & Robin, CinemaSins has it covered with a 20-minute video detailing all the mistakes and continuity errors. I’ll admit to enjoying this film when I was seven, not least for the inclusions of Alicia Silverstone and Uma Thurman. I know better now.

Acting in the pre-Nolan Batman movies was never stellar. It pretty much peaked at the start with Michael Keaton’s brilliant performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jack Nicholson as The Joker, and Kim Basinger as Vicky Vale.

Ah well, at least Batman Returns is intact. Oh wait, maybe not.

Mangle - The Random LiveJournal Image Generator

But why does LJ have such a strong Russian following? Well, the company was sold to Russian media group SUP Media in 2007 and around half of LiveJournal’s audience are from or around Russia. In fact, Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin had a blog there until recently. It seemed the potential for the platform was squandered as Steven T. Wright surmised for Ars Technica:

But, as many of its former employees attest, LJ ultimately had the opportunity to become one of these “second-generation” social behemoths. Instead, a stubborn userbase and questionable business decisions harried those ambitions.

Mangle’s random image generation captures the essence of Russian life. From memes to old Soviet architecture to NSFW photos, it offers a look into a private country with a rich history. And like we said, there may be some NSFW images so discretion is advised.

Try it for yourself.

Play 3 Video Games Featured On The Simpsons

Rumours of Homer and Marge splitting up were quickly refuted but they sounded believable and caused an outrage (not least because the person who was slated to split them up was a pharmacist voiced by Lena Dunham). While the writers try and get the series back on track, its fans continue to breathe life into Simpsons-related nostalgia.

Developers GumpyFunction have created playable editions of three games that featured in the series, including:

Prizes for anyone who can remember which episodes they come from without having to look them up. It’s a pity Disembowler IV, Bonestorm and Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge weren’t included but we can’t expect miracles. For more in-show games, head to the Simpsons Wikia page and check out The Column of All Cosmos’s Fake Simpsons Video Games, Ranked.

Simpsons related: Create your own Simpsons title screen memes with this generator, Fine Art Simpsons combines The Simpsons with fine art, and The Simpsons – The One At the Bottom (Remix)

(via A.V. Club)