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Another Review of Superman Returns   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Saturday, July 01, 2006 - 04:10 AM
Posted by: darthfeckey

Superman ReturnsSuperman Returns, and with much of the same explosiveness as the original with updated, edge-of-your-seat effects. Brandon Routh quickly and aptly fills the boots of the man of steel in his return to an Earth that has moved o­n, or as I would put it, gotten by to the ends of the realities in our own world.

We find another familiar charachter perfectly preformed, with the proper addition of a little sadism, by none other than Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. It was interesting to see the former Usual Suspects' baddie showing us his brand of the greatest villian in comic history.

For lovers of the original, Superman Returns promises to be an action packed, emotional, surprise-filled ride that does justice to what I will call, for the time being, the Superman trilogy.

This movie made me remember what it meant to be a kid and humanity's capacity for good. We can be a great people, we wish to be, could this be the light we lack to show the way?  Take a look around and tell me we don't need a savior.

In the most bold statement I have ever made, I believe Chistopher Reeve would be proud.

More to come...

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Beach Boys, a Slew of Summer Songs, Jason Molina, and Some Pig   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, June 30, 2006 - 08:10 AM
Posted by: kbade



...with THE BEACH BOYS, because it's summer, because folks my age will always remember their big concerts o­n the Fourth of July weekend at the Washington Monument (as with this take o­n "Catch A Wave"), and because my Dad just got broadband and can watch YouTube now. Given the time of year, I have to include this 1964 clip of "Surfin' U.S.A." There's also a nifty twofer of "I Get Around" and "'When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)" from their first UK TV appearance o­n Ready Steady Go! You can see Jack Benny intoduce these quick takes o­n "Barbara Ann" and "California Girls." Brian Wilson is writing with Burt Bacharach, sad over the state of the music biz, and still entertains the notion of working with the Beach Boys sometime. Brian just turned 64; "Good Vibrations" just turned 40. That link is to Brian's version, but you can also see the Beach Boys play it at Live Aid. Brian also did a nice solo take o­n "God Only Knows" in this clip from 1988.

MARKY RAMONE: The last Ramone standing will celebrate the band's 30th anniversary July 2nd with a first-for-him all-Ramones set for all ages. Given the Beach Boys lead today, I'll point you to the Ramones' cover of "Surfin' Safari."

THE SONGS OF SUMMER: Eureka's Times-Standard compiles an eclectic playlist.

WAY MORE SONGS OF SUMMER: I'm working o­n my 2006 Summer Mix, but in the meantime, here are some songs of the season from the Hype Machine. PAS/CAL - "The Bronze Beached Boys (Come o­n Let's Go)"; Sweet - "The Ballroom Blitz"; Urge Overkill - "Sister Havana"; Thin Lizzy - "The Boys Are Back In Town"; Terry Jacks - "Seasons in the Sun"; They Might Be Giants - "Birdhouse In Your Soul"; Fountains of Wayne - "Stacy's Mom"; Martha Reeves And The Vandellas - "(Love is Like a) Heatwave"; The Jam - "A Town Called Malice"; Wilson Pickett - "Land of 1000 Dances"; Kool and the Gang - "Summer Madness"; Sydney Barnes - "Summer Sunshine"; Jean Knight - "Mr. Big Stuff"; Reunion - "Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)"; The Vandals - "Summer Lovin'"; Beck and Sia - "You're The One That I Want"; Boston - "More Than A Feeling"; The Smashing Pumpkins - "Jackie Blue"; Alice Cooper - "School's Out"; Seals & Crofts - "Summer Breeze"; Belle and Sebastian - "A Summer Wasting"; Yo La Tengo - "The Summer"; Wilco - "Summer Teeth"; Pavement - "Summer Babe (Winter Version)"; Led Zeppelin - "Going to California"; Rolling Stones - "Country Honk"; Billie Holiday - "Summertime"; Pizzicato Five - "The Girl From Ipanema"; Smoosh - "Find A Way"; Ryan Adams - "Summer of '69"; Blue Cheer - "Summertime Blues"; Ramones - "Rockaway Beach"; Rare Earth - "I Just Want to Celebrate"; Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - "That Summer Feeling."

ELEPHANT SIX UPDATE: Tiny Mix Tapes did some digging and found that reports of a Jeff Mangum project were greatly exaggerated.

JOY DIVISION: The Ian Curtis biopic Control will feature the music not o­nly of Joy Division and New Order, but also David Bowie, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop, Roxy Music, Lou Reed, Sex Pistols and more...

THE POSIES are profiled in The Japan Times ahead of their slot at a 25th anniversary party for Shonen Knife. Ken Stringfellow talks about drawing o­n the past for influence: "It was sort of a problem that, as Jon and I were looking up and down the timeline of music for influences when we started playing, there was this punk ethic at work. At the time it was the o­nly reference allowed, so it felt like we were breaking the rules." You can stream three from the latest Posies album via MySpace. The first time I saw them was acoustic, so the pictured video is an acoustic version of "Solar Sister."

IS JASON MOLINA (Magnolia Electric Co., etc.) the new Robert Pollard? Molina has finished no less than six new albums -- including o­ne with Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker founder David Lowery -- though o­nly two will be released this year. Molina has been posting unreleased tracks o­n MySpace and you can stream plenty of Songs: Ohia via the Hype Machine.

JOHNNY JENKINS, a guitarist who worked with Otis Redding and influenced Jimi Hendrix, has died at 67. In 1969, what had been meant to be Duane Allman's solo album became Jenkins' first solo LP, Ton-Ton Macoute when Duane decided to focus o­n the Allman Brothers. Florida Cracker is killing music with a track from that album. Check out the comments there, too.

HALFTIME REPORT: As the first half of winds to a close, you may want to review the top ranked albums of 2006 (so far) at Metacritic and the Halfstravaganza posted at Coke Machine Glow. If you're a regular visitor here, you haven't missed much, but there are always a few strays worth investigating.

THE YOU TUBE HALL OF FAME is weighted in favor of sports, as it appears at the ESPN website, but there are plenty of cool clips mentioned, including some musical o­nes. ALSO: NBC will use YouTube to promote its fall television lineup, which means they almost sorta kinda "get it." But running a contest for people to make promo videos where you can't use any copyright footage from the show is lame.

PAM ANDERSON, as she promised, stripped down to her g-string in the window of Stella McCartney's London boutique in the name of PETA. And she looks pretty scary.

NOW SHOWING: Obviously, the big film this weekend is Superman Returns, which I reviewed o­n Wednesday and is currently rating 76 percent Fresh o­n the Tomatometer. Everyone else is clearing a path for the Man of Steel, except for the fashion-skewering counter-programming of The Devil Wears Prada, which is scoring 76 percent Fresh, and slightly better with the "cream of the crop."

BRITNEY SPEARS is is reportedly moving back to her home state of Louisiana, blaming the lifestyle in Malibu for hurting her battered marriage.

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE & DAVID: Denise Richards is selling the Westlake Village home she bought last year following her separation from Charlie Sheen, which is a stone's throw from the home of her rival, Heather Locklear.

REESE WITHERSPOON, as you may know, is suing Star magazine for speculating that she was pregnant, based o­n photos the tab published. The magazine's response appears to be publishing more unflattering bikini shots and saying, "okay, you're just fat and bloated."

NICOLE KIDMAN, otoh, looks pretty good in a bikini o­n her honeymoon. Just don't get to close to her head.

CHARLIZE THERON was awarded the Los Angeles Film Festival's Spirit of Independence award, for making interesting choices in her career. And because if you were organizing a film fest, wouldn't you want her to show up?

NOW I WANNA BE YOUR DOG: The ol' Iggy Pop lyric works if you're the Target dog hanging with Charlize, but it's even better if you're Jessica Alba's dog.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise has reportedly refused to release pictures of baby daughter Suri because of his Scientology beliefs. Is that really a better PR spin than the initial story that he couldn't get Bradgelina-scale bucks for the pics?

BRADGELINA: The FBI and Massachusetts authorities raided a Westfield, Mass. home Tuesday night and seized photos of a baby shower held by Jolie and Pitt. The pics were allegedly stolen from Jolie's brother's digital camera when he took it in for repairs. That's him with Jolie in the pic at left. Meanwhile, Jolie has allegedly demanded Pitt remove all traces of ex-wife Jennifer Aniston from his Malibu mansion.

SPIDER-MAN 3: Film Ick claims to have plenty of spoilers, which may or may not be true. Proceed at your own risk.

JOHNNY DEPP has laughed off reports he will play Michael Hutchence in a new film about the life of the late INXS frontman.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY begged film bosses to let her kiss Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and gives him better marks than co-star Orlando Bloom.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio takes a detailed look at the insurgent counter-proposal to Prime Minister al-Maliki's national reconciliation plan. The US military claimed an advantage in the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq, saying raids since Zarqawi's death have forced many of its foreign fighters out into the open to be captured or killed. Coalition fatalities have continued to fall from the spike in April; I'm sure The New York Times will report this with the same gusto they gave to predicting in April that increased fatalities would become the new trend. The US military has found more old Iraqi WMDs in recent months, in addition to the 500 chemical munitions recently reported. As even these old WMDs could potentially be lethal, even in their degraded state, it's a good thing insurgents are not actively using them. According to Reuters, Democrats dismissed such arguments and said the weapons were not the "imminent threat" used to justify the war. So it's worth noting that Pres. Bush actually rejected the argument that we must not act until the threat is imminent. Obviously, people can disagree with that argument, but Pres. Bush has enough trouble speaking without others sticking words in his mouth.

AAYAN HIRSI ALI, the feminist critic of Islamic sharia law and former Dutch MP, whom I mentioned earlier this week, must take some small satisfaction in the news that the Dutch Government has unexpectedly collapsed in the wake of a failed attempt to strip Hirsi Ali of her Dutch citizenship.

FREEDOM o­n THE MARCH; With the Fourth of July looming, it's worth noting that huge anti-communist rallies in Santa Cruz are attracting protest babes ahead of a vote o­n autonomy for the region this weekend. And that yesterday's parliamentary elections in Kuwait wer the first to include women.

SOME PIG: Life imitates Charlotte's Web when the press learned that the pig who posed as Wilbur for the cover of an upcoming reprint of the classic children's book was destined to be sold at market.

RAT HOARDING UPDATE: Rat lovers are furious that a Petaluma animal shelter had euthanized more than 1,000 of the rodents taken last week from a man who had been hoarding the creatures inside his home.

PUPPY RESCUED: Emergency crews used a backhoe to dig out a six-inch sewer pipe to reach a 7-week-old puppy that was stuck there headfirst for more than five hours o­n Thursday. Awww...

DOG CUSTODY BATTLE looms over two dogs that survived Hurricane Katrina, as their old owners in New Orleans and their new o­nes in Florida may be headed to court.

A MARMOSET turned up running loose in San Mateo CA. Pics at the link.

AND JUST BECAUSE everyone I know will be disappointed if I skip it, don't you just hate waking up with a lightbulb stuck in your anus?

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SLGTM, Birdmonster, Islands, and Twinkle the Porcupine   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, June 29, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THE PIPETTES are profiled by London's Telegraph, giving the backstory o­n theor run at mixing pre-fab pop with a punk DIY spirit. The article mentions that the band's new video for "Pull Shapes" recreates a scene from Valley of the Dolls, but it actually recreates the party scene from the kitsch classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. And since I've noted that here already (though we now have the original movie clip o­n YouTube), I'm also linking to the video for "Dirty Mind," so you can see how far they've come in a short period of time. As usual, there's plenty more Pipettes to stream from the Hype Machine.

ARCADE FIRE have recorded 15 songs for the band's next album and hope to record with a full orchestra in Budapest.

SATURDAY LOOKS GOOD TO ME: Good Hodgkins has an interview with frontman Fred Thomas about a band that -- as GH describes it -- is "on the verge of either falling apart or breaking through." Longtime Pate fans know all about that. You can stream some SLGTM via the Hype Machine.

THOM YORKE: The Radiohead frontman talsk to the L.A. Times about making his his don't-call-it-a-solo album with visual artist Stanley Donwood and producer Nigel Godrich: ""In the midst of it all there were two or three things that made Nigel and me go, ooh, there's something really direct here. Someone might even understand it the first time around."

TAPES 'N' TAPES: The band with the blog buzz talks to Marathon Press about a range of topics, including why they signed to XL Records and what members of the band think about The Pixies, Pavement and Rush.  You can stream four tracks that sound more like the former than the latter via MySpace.

THE BOTTLE ROCKETS got a nice write-up from the Kentucky Herald-Leader for cleaning up and making their new album, Zoysia.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: I was in the mood for some power pop (when am I not?), so I decided to "Go All The Way" with the Raspberries from 1974.

BIRDMONSTER: Noise For Toaster interviews bassist Justin Tenuto about influences, pirates vs. ninjas, and PBJ vs. fluffernutter. I think he's dead right about music blogs, too. You can stream 'em from MySpace and download an entire set from WOXY.

THE FUTUREHEADS bassist David "Jaff" Craig talks to PopMatters about leaving Warner Bros. to make their second album. There's YouTube video embedded in the story, too.

ISLANDS mastermind Nick Diamonds talked to Pitchfork about the necessity of relentless touring and wanting to work with producer Jeff Lynne (formerly of ELO). He also sets the record straight about a Pitchfork review of an Islands live show. There's Islands in the stream at the Hype Machine.

RHETT MILLER: The Old 97s frontman has done o­ne of those "Music You Should Hear" lists for Amazon. It's all indie, but with no alt-country or Americana.

THE BET AWARDS: Apparently the highlight was a performance by Chaka Khan, Prince and Stevie Wonder. Follow the link to see the video.

BRITNEY SPEARS is pretty close to nude o­n the cover and in the August issue of Harper's Bazaar. BritneySpy's copies turned up allover the 'net. Don't say I didn't warn you. Perhaps she can plead insanity caused by the incessantly rapping Spenderline.

SUPERMAN RETURNS screenwriters Mike Dougherty and Dan Harris suggest they left the phrase "...and the American Way" out of the movie because it no longer means what it did back in 1945. Harris told Page Six: "I don't think 'the American way' means what it meant in 1945. He's an alien, from Krypton; he has come to Earth to be kind of a saviour for this world, not our country... And he has no papers." Dougherty adds, "He's not just for Metropolis and not just for America. What would happen with the immigration laws we have now?" The normally apolitical Tyler Durden has an historical response, to which I would add that the studio is probably thrilled every time someone says anything that might put people off of going to their 250 million dollar, 2 1/2 hour long movie.

PIRATES: Though Superman Returns is waving off any suggestion of a gay subtext (and rightly so, having seen it), Johnny Depp likes the idea of Capt. Jack Sparrow being sexually ambiguous. It's a whole rum, sodomy and the lash sorta thing.

BRADGELINA: London's ever-reliable Sun claims that Jolie has offended Pit's parents by refusing to dress Shiloh in the frilly pink outfits they bought as a gift.

JESSICA SIMPSON is telling E! News co-host Ryan Seacrest that she's not ready to date after her divorce, but someone else told Life & Style Weekly that the pneumatic blonde and comedian Dane Cook "looked like two people trying not to look like a couple but who really wanted to rip each other’s clothes off" last week at a Hollywood nightclub.

ASHLEE SIMPSON, meanwhile has reportedly tuned down a four million offer to pose for Playboy, for which we thank her, though she might be better at that than singing.

NICOLE KIDMAN and KEITH URBAN are honeymooning in Bora Bora. Obviously, some parts are more romantic than others.

JACKO has fired his business managers, has hired a New York firm "known for business restructurings and turnarounds" to oversee his financial affairs and is moving to Europe.

KATE MOSS was turned down by Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner, o­n the advice of his mother.

GWYNETH PALTROW: Contrary to internet rumors, Mrs. Coldplay is not working o­n an album.

KATE BECKINSALE should realize that if she's going to check out what's under her husband's towel at the beach, she shouldn't giggle afterward.

MADONNA is back home touring the UK, so she was surely thrilled to hear about this piece in the Daily Mail: "Why do Madonna's hands look older than her face?" Follow the link for an unflattering close-up.

SPIDER-MAN 3 is still a year away, but you can see the teaser trailer o­nline in Windows Media or Quicktime formats.

EDU-BLOGGING: The 73rd Carnival of Education is o­nline. This week it appears to be hosted by a homeschooler.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, speaking about religion and politics to a conference of Call to Renewal, a faith-based movement to overcome poverty, said: "Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith: the politician who shows up at a black church around election time and claps -- off rhythm -- to the gospel choir." That's pretty close to suggesting that Whitey doesn't have rhythm. If the Rev. Jesse Jackson was white, he'd already be demanding an apology.

IRAQ: At ITM, Omar reports details o­n the capture of o­ne of the Samarrah shrine bombers and is glad that Prime Minister al-Maliki has said clearly that amnesty will not be offered to killers of Coalition soldiers. Eleven Sunni insurgent groups have now offered to halt all attacks -- but with serious strings attached. And if you want to see the relationship of these groups to each other, here's a chart. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his country's special services to hunt down and "destroy" the killers of four Russian diplomats in Iraq. So far, no complaints from folks who think the US -- and Pres. Bush in particular -- alienates the rest of the world with cowboy talk.

FUGITIVE BEAR UPDATE: Bruno, the first bear to roam Gemany in 170 years, may have been shot dead, but there remains the sorting out of commercial opportunities. German toymakers said they were planning to produce a teddy bear to immortalise Bruno. Meanwhile, an entrepreneur plans to sue a hunter for shooting Bruno o­ne day after he printed hundreds of Bruno T-shirts with the slogan: "You'll never catch me."

IN OTHER BEAR NEWS, another fugitive bear named Boo smashed a heavy steel door and barreled through two electric fences to escape a second time from a resort in British Columbia. And the current "three bears" trilogy is complete with this report of a bear trying to squeeze its way through a kitchen window in Nevada City, CA.

MUFFY UPDATE: We now have video of America's longest python.

CHAMELEON SNAKE: A new species of snake that can change its skin color has been discovered by researchers scouring through swamps in the heart of Borneo.

IS THERE A TIGER prowling North Yorkshire in the UK?

TWINKLE THE PORCUPINE reportedly burrowed out of a farm visitors center in northwest England. Cumbria Police have warned the public not to approach the animal because her detachable quills can become embedded in skin. At least she is not as dangerous as Spiny Norman.

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Art Brut, Elephant 6, Superman Returns and the World's Ugliest Dog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


ART BRUT fans have started a petition for the band to play its "Top of the Pops" o­n TOTP before the show ends its 42-year run next month. Unfortunately, the song does not turn up o­n the Hype Machine, though you can still stream great tunes like "Formed A Band" and "Emily Kane" there. You can see a bit of "TOTP" o­n YouTube... and Dale will be glad to know there's a little homage to the Kinks in it. However, the pictured video is for "Emily Kane," which is a little Ray Davies and a little Jonathan Richman.

ANN COULTER IS A DEADHEAD: No, really. The provocatress sings the praises of the Grateful Dead in an interview at Jambands.

SLEATER-KINNEY is going o­n an "indefinite hiatus" with no plans for future tours or recordings. So the band's final destination looks to be Lollapalooza. For now, you can stream a couple from MySpace and a few more via the Hype Machine, though music bloggers may have posted more by the time you read this.

EARWORM: London's Guardian has its readers share the irritating songs that stick in their heads. Remember, if you read it, you could catch it.

JOLIE HOLLAND: Ken Tucker does an audio review of the really rootsy singer-songwriter's latest LP, Springtime Can Kill You. You should be able to find plenty of Jolie to stream via the Hype Machine.

AXL ROSE was arrested in Stockholm after allegedly biting a security guard in the leg at his hotel.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions play "Perfect Skin" from the band's first album, Rattlesnakes.

REGINA SPECTOR: The idiosyncratic singer-songwriter shows a writer from London's Guardian her love of NYC, while the Village Voice notes that having immigrated from Russia when she was nine, she occasionally spars with US-bashing Europeans. She sounds like a more modern Nellie McKay or a more interesting Norah Jones if you stream some from her ever-popular MySpace page.

ROGUE WAVE: Zach Rogue talks to the Denver Post about various things, including why he doesn't use his real last name, which is Schwartz. There's plenty of Rogue Wave streaming via the Hype Machine, including the band's live cover of Thunderclap Newman's "Something In The Air."

THE DOORS are getting a star o­n Hollywood's Walk of Fame. But so are Mariah Carey, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Crystal Gayle, Tim McGraw, Leann Rimes and Shania Twain.

THE LEMONHEADS, which now refers to Evan Dando and a pair of former Descendents, will have a new album in the fall, the "band's" first in a decade (not counting Dando's '03 solo disc).

PINK FLOYD frontman Roger Waters, who inspired the rock band's iconic album The Wall, scrawled "tear down the wall" o­n the concrete panels of Israel's West Bank barrier last Wednesday. The Wall came out when I was in high school, so I heard it a lot, but I dont remember there being anything about suicide bombers o­n it.

THE ELEPHANT 6 COLLECTIVE gets an oral history compiled by PopMatters. Turns out that a Cheap Trick concert is part of it! Meanwhile, YANP points to an unconfirmed report that E6 major domo Jeff Mangum may have an album and tour coming under some name. A bunch of E6 bands can be streamed from the Hype Machine, including The Apples In Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control and Beulah.

SUPERMAN RETURNS is in theaters today, so I -- as a service to you -- went to an advance screening.  So, was it any good?  First, let's note that Rotten Tomatoes now has it 79 Fresh overall, 73 percent from the "cream of the crop," with Ebert not liking it. The average rating from each is a 7.3 and a 7.1, respectively.  And that's about right, or maybe that's a few points too low.  Superman Returns was good, but not great, and certainly not everyone-sees-it-twice to make back the 250 million budget great.  Bryan Singer brings some emotional depth to the story generally and Kal-El particularly (and someone cut the trailer material that made people wonder if there was going to be some gay subtext -- though Singer was correct to say this is a very hetero Superman, bordering o­n stalking Lois Lane).  Unfortunately, this seems to have come at the expense of the pure fun element you should have in a Superman movie.  Thus, the action set pieces are technically amazing, but not as viscerally satisfying as they should be, especially for a film checking in at 2 1/2 hours.  Brandon Routh does a creditable imitation of Christopher Reeve; Kate Bosworth may have been better than Margot Kidder (which, if you revisit the Richard Donner original, may strike you as faint praise, but she benefits from my low expectation).  Kevin Spacey turns in a worthy Lex Luthor.  He might suffer compared to Gene Hackman, but both Lois and Lex benefit from better writing this time around.  There's a kid in the movie who is not played as super-precocious, which was refreshing.  There's plenty of homage to the Donner film -- and plenty of nods to the John Williams score -- without turning into fromage.

REESE WITHERSPOON, having filed suit against Star magazine for speculating that she was pregnant, is now wearing baggy clothes and covering her belly with a shopping bag, probably just to mess with the tabloids. Which I admit is pretty funny.

LINDSAY LOHAN makes the Gallery of the Absurd by way of the Wanton Starlet Trading Card.

NTTAWWT: Internet gambling sites are taking bets o­n the next celeb to come out of the closet. It's an interesting list.

HEATHER MILLS McCARTNEY is terrified that she is a target for assassination — because of her links to The Beatles. But Yoko Ono doesn't find it necessary to videotape random people o­n the street as evidence.

CAMERON DIAZ spends enough time playing in the surf that she should know her bikini top is going to fall off sometimes.

KATE MOSS: The supposed sober supermodel still stirs controversy as anti-drugs campaigners condemn the haste with which fashion companies like Burberry have brought her back.

JACK BLACK is reportedly furious that he hasn't received any multi-million dollar offers from magazines for photos of his new son Samuel. He blames the recent spate of high-profile births for "flooding the market." I'm pretty sure he's kidding.

PIRATES: The premiere of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at Disneyland also marked the re-opening of the ride that inspired the movies. LaughingPlace has pics and video of the re-tooled attraction.

THE SOPRANOS: Chef Artie Bucco pleaded guilty o­n Monday to drunk driving.

QUENTIN TARANTINO and ROBERT RODRIGUEZ talk to Entertainment Weekly about their current project, Grind House, which is a a tribute to zombie romps, slasher flicks, and women-in-prison extravaganzas.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON and WOODY ALLEN have re-teamed to make the upcoming Scoop and are lavishing each other with praise. Allen says, "Scarlett is God’s answer to Job. God would say, 'I've created a terrifying and horrible universe, but I can also make o­ne of these, so stop complaining." Johansson says, "He has a genuine thirst for knowledge. And he’s a very passionate person about work and music and all kinds of things—certainly about women." I say, "Soon-Yi, it's time to start visiting the set regularly."

IRAQ: Forensics experts unearthing the skeletons of Saddam's alleged victims have found an unexpected wealth of identification cards in mass graves. A fascinating story of two US Colonels clashing at Camp Taji that ran o­n the subscription-side of The Wall Street Journal is reprinted at the link, if you scroll down a bit. And the AP runs a story o­n up-armored Humvees saving the lives of US troops. A recent investigation by the Dayton Daily News noted that up-armored Humvees are also taking the lives of US troops, but the press made much of the lack of armor o­n Humvees, so the downside is simply ignored and the public never learns whether the armor is an overall benefit (my guess would be it's useful in some places and dangerous in others).

HADJI GIRL: Reuters "reports:" "The U.S. military will not punish a Marine who performed an obscenity-laced song to a laughing and cheering crowd of fellow troops in Iraq making light of killing Iraqis, the Marine Corps said o­n Tuesday." Reuters then proceeds to take o­ne or two lines of the song out of context, when the song is about a US soldier getting abushed by a family of insurgents. It turns out that a Marine Corps official suggested what I did at the last link -- that poor taste, poor judgment and poor timing, not to mention offensive lyrics, do not necessarily amount to criminal conduct.

AYAAN HIRSI ALI: The reformist Muslim member of the Dutch parliament will retain her her citizenship, which the government threatened to strip, based o­n a technicality after she became internationally known for speaking out against the oppressive practices of sharia law. Hirsi Ali has had to maintain a high level of security due to threats against her life for voicing views critical of certain aspects of Islam.

THE WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG CONTEST was held recently at the Sonoma-Marin Fair. Archie -- the Chinese crested pictured above -- won, but if you follow the link, you can find the gallery of dogs -- and I think Archie was far from ugliest. There are video links at the link also. (Thanks, Lance!)

FUGITIVE BEAR UPDATE: Bruno, the first wild bear known to have meandered into Germany in about 170 years, was "painlessly done away with" near the town of Bayrischzell. Hubert Weinzierl, president of the German Ring of Nature Preservation, is among the outraged: "In other countries, bear and man are living peacefully together. o­nly in Germany is the bear liquidated."

FLORIDA GATOR UPDATE: The gator which is thought to have attacked and carried off a miniature Shih Tzu last weekend was captured in Largo.

A GIANT CAPRICORN BEETLE, unseen in the UK for 300 years and rare anywhere in the world, was discovered living in a piece furniture due to be recycled.

WALRUSES are making like lemmings, plummeting off cliffs to their death o­n a Bristol Bay beach in Alaska. Goo goo goo joob!

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New Releases, Broken Mascis Scene, Cutout Bin and Moose is mourned   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


ROBERT POLLARD, hiding under the name Townshend Research, played Schuba's in Chicago o­n the 22nd. The sound is bad, but you're right up front for the GbV classic "Game of Pricks." And that's Tommy Keene o­n guitar, too.

NEW RELEASES: You know it's a slow week when Grant Lee Phillips is the o­nly full album that catches my attention at AOL Music. MySpace has new stuff from The Coral Sea, which is kinda ambient and kinda psychedelic, and Dirty o­n Purpose, which got a nice review from Frank at Chromewaves.

BROKEN MASCIS SCENE: Speaking of Chromewaves, Frank also has a writeup of the J Mascis - Broken Social Scene gig that surveyed the greatest hits of the Dinosaur, Jr. catalog. Plenty of linkage to MP3s, streams and pics, as well as to background o­n the gig from Canada's Globe & Mail.

GOMEZ and THE BAD PLUS played DC last week, so you can stream both sets from NPR now. Gomez's latest album, How We Operate, is getting generally favorable reveiews o­n Metacritic.

TOP OF THE POPS: Stylus looks back at the just-cancelled UK music TV classic, noting (among other things) why it thrived during the punk era over The Old Grey Whistle Test.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: There is plenty of Porky's-style voyeurism in this clip of Dwight Twilley's "Girls."

THE GO! TEAM: Scotland o­n Sunday reports the members are able to quit their day jobs, but that Ian Parton seems to have a full-time job finding and getting clearance for obscure samples. There's plenty to stream via the Hype Machine, including a cover of Sonic Youth's "Bull In The Heather."

EMPIRICALLY GOOD MUSIC: I don't know if there really is such a thing, but it's always nice to read when someone like Leah at Ashcan Rantings writes about being exposed to -- and falling in love with -- music not o­n the basic radio menu.

THE CUTOUT BIN: Here's another helping of fortuitous finds from the Hype Machine. Baz Lurhmann - "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" (Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich accidentally spawned the Gen-X version of "Desiderata"); Cheap Trick - "Hot Love" (like a Pate fan would pass it up); Buzzcocks - "Ever Fallen In Love?" (probably my favorite of theirs); The Byrds - "Triad" (which helped get David Crosby kicked out of the band); Yo La Tengo - "Beanbag Chair" (brand new and surprisingly poppy); The Slugs - "Hooked o­n a Feeling" (ooga-chuckas from Pravda Records' Super Fantastic Mega Smash Hits ); Os Mutantes - "Desculpe, babe" (Tropicalia in advance of the P-Fork fest); The Who - "The Seeker" (from a time when you would just put out a great song as a single); The Hollies - "The Air That I Breathe" (just for the harmonies); Funland - "Obligatory Cover (For The Kids)" (I'm warning you, it's not for people with taste).

LEONARD COHEN: Filter talks to Teddy Thompson, Rufus Wainwright and Lian Lunson, the director of Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man about the songwriter and the man.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Babyshambles briefly broke up after the troubled singer left the rest of the band waiting at London’s Waterloo station for six hours, when they were due to go to Paris. But Pete apologized, and the band flew in to the city of lights.

DEAD MAN'S CHEST: Saturday's world premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at Disneyland was a swashbuckling good time, according to USA Today, and a fashion shipwreck, according to TMZ. However, the latter doesn't cite Keira Knightley. Without Rupert Friend lurking nearby, the Mouse was totally macking o­n the Chael-clad starlet. Of course, some of you might prefer to go straight to the pics of Kightley in the see-thru tank top.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: It seems that the reason we haven't seen pics of the Tom-Kitten is that none of the tabloids wanted to pony up four million bucks like they did for Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. Three million is just plain insulting to the Tom-Kat, y'know.

BRITNEY SPEARS, otoh, even has trouble selling photos of herself these days. It probably doesn't help when you attack the very tabloids to which you're trying to sell the pics.

PATRICIA ARQUETTE got hitched to actor Thomas Jane last weekend, while everyone was paying attention to Nicole Kidman and Marcia Cross.

NICOLE KIDMAN and KEITH URBAN seem to be happy enough to enjoy the attention at the Sydney hotel where Urban had been staying before the wedding.

JOHN CUSACK wants a restraining order against a woman who he says has been stalking him.

JESSICA SIMPSON: The pneumatic blonde's new single may sound like Madonna's "Holiday," but the rollerskating themed video will look like Madonna's "Sorry." Eva Longoria, Christina Applegate, Christina Milian, Maria Menounos, Ryan Seacrest and Andy Dick make cameos. The first four are nice, but some PR flack should be fired for raising expectations with rumors that it would be Longoria, Jessica Alba, Eva Mendes and Carmen Electra strapping o­n the skates. ALSO: Shes now denied that she's dating Jared Leto.

BRADGELINA: Jolie has been making the news recently, so let's note that Brad Pitt is o­ne of 15 people making America great, according to Newsweek magazine. I also learned that Target is people, too.

THE EMMY AWARDS have changed their nomination procedures, which could result in some overlooked and new titles — like Gilmore Girls or Battlestar Galactica — making the list of nominees in the top Emmy categories for the first time. These changes are already incorporated in the predictions at EmmyWatch 2006, which is run by Robert Licuria (who also runs the forums at the Gold Derby.

LINDSAY LOHAN is a great spender and a great kisser, proving it's all about practice, practice, practice.

WHITNEY HOUSTON has supposedly detoxed her cracktastic self, with a little help from Denzel Washington and Mel Gibson. Hope springs eternal.

PETRA NEMCOVA: The tsunami-surviving supermodel was playing "music" by James Blunt at her latest photo shoot because it made her feel more sexy. A former Nemcova boyfrend says Blunt should be having the best sex ever. So how do these stories square with Blunt having a dinner date with the French Hotel?

WARD CHURCHILL UPDATE: The University of Colorado professor who called some of the World Trade Center victims "little Eichmanns" in an essay he wrote after 9/11 is being dismissed after investigations found him guilty of research misconduct and "repeated and deliberate" infractions of scholarship rules. He will appeal and -- if he loses -- probably sue.

ROBOTS: Given the recent prediction that people will be having sex with robots in five years, I guess it's not a shock that robots are already having sex with each other.

IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed translates an al-Sabah story o­n the militant groups accepting the national reconciliation plan. This seems consistent with reports (like yesterday's) of the major terror groups not accepting it, as they seem unlikely candidates for amnesty. The Counter-terrorism blog notes a Moroccan newspaper report that Iran may have given Jordan intell help locating Zarqawi. Ray Robison, formerly of the Iraq Survey Group, translates and analyzes a recently declassified document suggesting that Saddam's inner circle not o­nly actively reached out to the Taliban and jihadists in the region, but also hosted discussions with a known Al Qaeda operative about creating jihad training "centers," possibly in Baghdad.

EAST TIMOR: The Financial Times reports o­n the resignation of the prime minister following the worst violence seen in the country since Indonesia's bloody withdrawal in 1999. East Timor does not get much media coverage in the US; it does down under because Aussie troops are involved. Consequently, Aussie columnists like Andrew Bolt have noticed the double-standard applied to East Timor compared to Iraq.

MOOSE, the feisty Jack Russell terrier who played Eddie for 10 years o­n TV's Frasier, has died at 16 1/2.

ANIMAL HOARDING: In Petaluma, CA, Roger Dier admits that, yeah, a thousand rats does seem like too many for a o­ne-bedroom house.

FOUR PELICANS DETAINED o­n suspicion of drunk and disorderly conduct in Laguna Beach, CA.

SQUIRRELS: Nothing but trouble, I tell you.

MUFFY: At 22 feet, 1/4 inch long, she takes the title of largest Burmese python o­n display in America away from the Bronx Zoo's Lulu. But Muffy wasn't ready for her 15 minutes of fame, fuming, spewing from her nostrils and opening her jaws wide enough to swallow a poodle as she was held down and measured.

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