Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Republican Senate candidate Fiorina issues provocative Web attack ad

U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina's campaign has produced a provocative new Web attack ad aimed at Republican primary opponent Tom Campbell. The ad accuses Tom Campbell of being a "Fiscal Conservative In Name Only" and depicts Campbell as a sheep with glowing red eyes, a spin on the classic wolf in sheep's clothing analogy.

At three and a half minutes long, we're not going to see anything like this on television, though it's possible Fiorina could produce a condensed version for television. However, it's already been much talked about in the blogosphere, on Twitter, and elsewhere (I found out about it when I saw it in a list of "Hot Trends" on the Huffington Post).

Jonathan Chait of the New Republic raises a good point: It's a somewhat awkward analogy to have sheep as the good guys, particularly when you're voting for a leadership position.

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Whistling past the graveyard

When I graduated from college nearly two years ago I couldn't have imagined that one day I'd be working as a Web producer, much less at a radio station. I simply wanted to write.

While that desire still exists within me, the landscape of the news media has changed quite dramatically during my foray into the industry. So while I scramble to keep abreast of how technical advancements are driving the way news is broadcast and published, there's also not much comfort in knowing many editors, producers and publishers are playing catch-up, too.

A rather novel proposal to start charging visitors to The New York Times Web site is seen as a "gamble" by some. View a video of what some people think of paywalls, some of which I can relate to:

Another proposed solution comes from the two co-authors of a recently released book, "The Death and Life of American Journalism."

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An American Question Time

People were taken aback by President Obama's question and answer session with House Republicans last Friday. It was a serious discussion of the issues facing the nation, carried live on several cable networks, which seemed to go beyond what we usually see in public politics. You can view the 20 minute address by Obama and the hour of Q & A that followed here:

Obama took questions from members of his own party this week in a public session with Senate Democrats:

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A group has come together demanding that something like the House Republican question and answer session become a regular thing. Demand Question Time, a group describing themselves as "an ad-hoc cross-partisan group of activists, writers, bloggers, journalists, technologists, philanthropists and politicos," has set up a Web site with a petition stating their demand, as well as a list of high profile supporters. The group's steering committee ranges from blogger Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds on the right to Mother Jones' David Corn.

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Random thoughts on the Oscar nominations

• Having 10 nominees for Best Picture takes away a bit of the meaning of being a Best Picture nominee, but I like that it makes the Academy Awards more accessible to the wider movie-loving public, even if it's being done for largely commercial reasons. As a history buff, I also give the Academy points for their citation of the fact that early Oscars also featured 10 nominees, and even up to 12 nominees in 1934 and 1935.

• Can we just hand the Avatar team the visual effects trophy now?

• I've seen most seven and a half of the Best Picture nominees (I still need to see Precious and An Education, and I have the Hurt Locker at home via Netflix and still have to finish the last hour), and I think it's a fair field with no film coming to mind as a glaring omission. The one that made me raise an eyebrow was The Blind Side, a good but not great movie, but I do have to give it credit for telling an emotional story, and it also features Sandra Bullock's best performance of her career as a southern belle who feels like a real person; it's a performance worthy of that Best Actress nomination.

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Grammys: Still relevant?

The Grammys are an interesting creature. They get the biggest stars in the industry to perform, while giving them prizes for songs that have, by this point, largely moved from contemporary stations to adult contemporary stations.

Still, the show manages to deliver a few special moments every year. They started off strong with a fun Lady Gaga performance, including a duet with Elton John.

Lady Gaga & Elton John – "Poker Face," "Speechless"/"Your Song" mashup

Pink also delivered a memorable performance, doing her best Cirque du Soleil impression.

Pink: "Glitter In The Air"

Finally, as a fan of Stephen Colbert, I enjoyed his appearances as he finally won the Grammy after previously being nominated for his audiobook in the spoken word category. He also kicked the show off with an excellent opening monologue:

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