Hey, we've been gone a while! Since before Christmas, to be exact. And seeing as you've surely spent that time stomping joyously through mountain passes and heartily breathing crisp, fresh, wintry mountain air and expertly plucking fish out of mountain creeks with your bare hands and otherwise avoiding the Internet in favor of life-affirming mountain-based recreational activities, let's catch up on what we missed. The Last Week in Pop Culture Review starts … right now.
• You already knew Kanye West announced the birth of his miracle child over the weekend while at a concert in Atlantic City. But did you know that he did so shortly after or possibly shortly before … wearing a crazy-ass mask?!
• Because of some hiccups with their new online voting system, the Academy has extended the time period for turning in Oscar nomination ballots by one day, to this Friday. But that hasn't quelled all concerns about this newfangled "Internet." According to THR's awards analyst, "There's considerable concern from many members that voter participation will be at record lows this year because the people who wanted to take a chance on this new cutting-edge system are either giving up on it or worried they won't be able to cast their votes … If the turnout is lower among older members, more traditional Oscar contenders will probably receive fewer votes, and otherwise edgier films that appeal more to younger people could fare better." Grandchildren of the Academy's geriatric voting bloc that never taught their renowned grandparents how to use the computer: If Project X cops an Oscar nom, this is all your fault.
• An onstage meltdown back in September sent him to rehab and messed up a Green Day tour, but Billie Joe Armstrong is now feeling much better, so the tour's back on! It'll kick off March 28, after Armstrong's treatment for substance abuse concludes. By the way, I just checked out said rant for the first time, and it's pretty entertaining. With all due respect to Billie Joe Armstrong's personal health issues, I feel like you shouldn't have to go through this whole public shaming process if your onstage meltdown is this entertaining.
• Making nostalgic music nerds from both sides of the ponds salivate, Pulp teamed up with James Murphy to dust off an old demo, "After You" — a song, as Pitchfork reports, "partly written over a decade ago, but never finished, and never officially released" — while on board the S.S. Coachella. Which makes this officially the biggest happening in nautical-based music activity since those beautiful maniacs in the band on board the Titanic kept rocking down to their watery grave.
• Frank Ocean gave us another newbie, too, posting "Wise Man," his unfortunately scrapped offering to the Django Unchained soundtrack, with a simple "Django was ill without it." And while that's certainly true, one could very well make the argument that the somber, contemplative tones of "Wise Man" would have made a heck of an accompaniment to the sight of SPOILER ALERT Jamie Foxx murdering everyone ever.
• The 38th annual List of Words to Be Banished From the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness was released, and it targets young America's rally cry "YOLO." Meanwhile, Drake did some shopping, saw some bootleg YOLO merchandise, and rightfully demanded his money for his devil spawn via Instagram: "Walgreens....you gotta either chill or cut the cheque." (Haha, he wrote cheque! Cause he's Canadian!) And this has been the Last Week in Pop Culture Review's Last Week in YOLO Review.
• Acting CIA director Michael Morell seconded John McCain by releasing a statement on Zero Dark Thirty, writing "the hunt … was a decade-long effort that depended on the selfless commitment of hundreds of officers. The filmmakers attributed the actions … to just a few individuals" and "the film creates the strong impression that the enhanced interrogation techniques that were part of our former detention and interrogation program were the key to finding Bin Ladin. That impression is false." By the way, note that Morell writes the name as "Usama Bin Ladin," and please correct in all further correspondence.
• How I Met Your Mother almost died because, while CBS always wanted to bring back the creaky old thing during negotiations for its upcoming ninth season, Jason Segel wanted to fly far from his gilded cage. According to Deadline, Segel "decided to bail and leave the cast hanging. But he just got turned around today at the last second." OK, so Jason didn't want to be a dick, and now he's stuck on the show for another year even though he could be off making movies. On the plus side: At least he gets to wander around set knowing every single person owes him their very livelihood, and so therefore pretty much have to go fetch him a muffin if he asks.
• Derek Cianfrance and Ryan Gosling's first team-up was the brilliantly soul-crushing Blue Valentine. They got together again for The Place Beyond the Pines, the trailer for which dropped this week, and I'm excited as all hell. Even more auspiciously: Gosling's again playing a driver-of-vehicles turned reluctant-criminal, but unlike Drive, this time it's one that has a sick motorcycle and rad Metallica sleeveless tees and crappily bleached hair. Go ahead and give this man the Oscar now?