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Memorial Day, Emmylou Harris, Cats, Dogs, Crabs, Celebs, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 27, 2005 - 05:40 AM
Posted by: kbade



"Memorial Day has become a paganistic ritual of the passage of spring, when the good people of America open their swimming pools, fire up their barbeques, forgetting or ignoring the real reason for this day's observation."

Remember. At the very least, watch television.

KATHRYN ROTH-DOUQUET, who served in the Clinton White House and the Department of Defense, is also a military wife whose husband left for Iraq two months ago. She writes:

"I o­nce helped to elect a president of the United States, which is admittedly a much flashier experience than being a military wife. But the sense of privilege that I felt at being part of that American pageant — from walking through the empty West Wing of the White House o­n inauguration day to flying o­n Air Force o­ne — was no greater a feeling than the o­ne I feel today, in a different role for my country."

MODERN MEMORIALS are becoming more personal. "Part of it is a protest against the anonymity of mass death, " says Edward Linenthal, a professor of religion and American culture at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Given that o­ne of the memorials noted is staged weekly by Veterans for Peace, another part may be the post-Vietnam desire of some who oppose war to show support for the troops. And I warn slh that the article also discusses a unique memorial at Fort Stewart, GA.

THE FRIDAY TIME-WASTER is also your moment of Sith.

EMMYLOU HARRIS talks to the St. Petersburg Times about working with Conor Erbst (Bright Eyes) and Elvis Costello, who gave her a 40GB iPod he had programmed with every kind of music available. She calls it the Elvis Shuffle.

BOB MOULD is ticked that his forthcoming album has leaked o­nto the 'net. You can stream a little bit legally from Yep Roc Records and there's an allegedly Bob-approved download at Fluxblog.

BELLE & SEBASTIAN: Push Barman to Open Old Wounds, a collection of the band's non-LP output from 1997-2001 (save o­ne track), gets the big 9.2 nod o­n the Pitchfork. It's a record we've been listening to and enjoying.

THE SAXOPHONE may be dead as rock instrument now, but it was much bigger in the Eighties than you remember.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: George Lucas is casually thinking about a prequel to Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Please, somebody stop him. The feds busted a peer-to-peer network that posted Episode III o­n the 'net. Matthew Baldwin remembers when he met Darth Vader at a shopping center and learned that evil really is as evil does.

CATS: A cat owner bought some cheese for his cat Huggy o­n eBay for the low, low price of $916 a kilogram.

DOGS travel thousands of miles looking for a new home; the o­nly problem is, they speak Chinese.

CATS AND DOGS: Touring Club Italiano is publishing its third edition of In Italy with dogs and cats, which awards Italian restaurants and hotels "paws" for homemade dog food and vet service. But if you think this suggests that Italians cater to their pets, you would be mistaken. The guides are meant to encourage Italians to take their dogs and cats o­n holiday rather than dump them o­n the roadside as they head to the beach for summer vacation -- a problem in Italy.

BABY OPOSSUM APPEARS IN TOILET: The discovery has hampered the Hamblen family's effort to get their daughters potty trained.

A BAD CASE OF CRABS: A 50,000-strong swarm of spider crabs gathered off a Melbourne, Australia beach this week, covering a stretch of seafloor the size of a football field and likely "scaring the hell" out of local fish. The reason for the mass swarming was unknown, but it was likely that the crabs were looking to get it o­n.

IRAQ: More than 1,000 U.S. troops have swept into Haditha -- a city o­n the road to Syria, after terrorists damaged the hospital, knocked out the electricity and prevented police from entering. Tens of thousands of Iraqi security personnel are to form a tight cordon around Baghdad involving hundreds of checkpoints in a bid to stem a spate of deadly car bombings. Bill Roggio has more o­n Operation Thunder.

IRAQ II: Austin Bay wonders whether Abu Musab al -Zarqawi is rumored to be wounded because "at this point in time Zarqawi may be more valuable to Al Qaeda as a 'mythic warrior' or 'ghost.'" Bill Roggio strikes again with an analysis of " The Struggle for Zarqawi's Throne." The Christian Science Monitor looks more broadly at the presure building o­n the enemy.

JESSICA SIMPSON is so married that she will give you the finger.

TIM ROBBINS takes a verbal beating from New York Daily News gossip Lloyd Grove.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Angelina Jolie calims she's not dating anybody, including Brad Pitt: "To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated o­n my mother, is not something I could forgive," she says. "I could not, could not look at myself in the morning if I did that." Maybe she could date Katie Holmes. Or Tom Cruise. What am I thinking? She's Angelina Jolie -- she could date Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise!

BRITNEY SPEARS. Ritz-Carlton Hotel pool. Morning sickness. Or maybe just some bad Chee-tos.

SCENT OF A GRAPEFRUIT: Forget plastic surgery -- a Chicago researcher says the smell of grapefruit can make women appear to men to be about five years younger than they are. Male sexual arousal can be elicited by a scent combining lavender and pumpkin pie, supporting the theory that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Female sexual arousal can be elicited by a scent combining cucumber and Good & Plenty; the punchline writes itself.

THE REV. JESSE JACKSON, THE DNC and two groups connected to Jackson have agreed to pay a total of 200 grand in civil fines for campaign finance violations in the 2000 elections. That's right; the 2000 elections. The speed with which the Federal Election Commission acts -- a product of the fact that the FEC's budget is controlled by the people it is supposed to regulate -- is o­ne of the reasons I chose not to return to the agency after law school.

ROD STEWART: Is he getting married again to give the baby a name?

BONO PHONED CRITIC GREG KOT about a bad review of a U2 concert, but the two ended up discussing the philosophy of pop music.

COLDPLAY guitarist Jonny Buckland is comfortable with his anonymity, apparently seeking to be known as "the sane o­ne."

THE CUTE ONE is branching out into electro music.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS' bassist is keeping a photo tour diary. But go back a bit and you will find that when the MG's played the M-Shop in Ames, they obviously lodged at the Memorial Union.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown joins the skeptics after Cruise's hysterical declarations love for Katie Holmes o­n Oprah. And it's not just Tina: "As I watched the performance with my 14-year-old daughter, she remarked equably: 'This would be so sweet if it wasn't so fake.'" A People magazine poll shows 62 percent of readers dismissing the Tom-Kat liaison as a publicity stunt.

PODCASTING pioneers Dave Winer and Adam Curry (yes, that Adam Curry) are having a spat over getting credit for the technology. Both MSNBC and ABC News are working o­n podcasting.

WEB RADIO: The Village Voice lists picks to click.

MR. GRINCH, you're under arrest. In Wheeling, West Virginia, government attorneys Wednesday defended a law which permitted the police to arrest a man for wearing a Grinch mask in public. Although the attorneys referred to cases of bank robbery and alluded to the Old West, they avoided o­ne reason that West Virginia probably enacted the law -- the Ku Klux Klan. The reason to not mention it is to avoid giving anyone the idea of challenging the law as violating the First Amendment.

UNUSUAL CARDS picked the right name for its site.

LI-LO: At the recent Cartier party in Beverly Hills, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie and Nicky Hilton went straight to the bathroom, where they stayed for 30 minutes, according to the National Enquirer.

VIAGRA FOR SEX OFFENDERS: Senator Hillary Clinton said the news was deeply disturbing and runs contrary to the purpose of Medicaid, though this fiasco apparently resulted from confusion over directives issued by the Clinton Administration in 1998, notifying states that their Medicaid programs must pay for Viagra, but they may eventually drop the requirement if a new monitoring system shows the drug is subject to clinical abuse or "inappropriate use."

GITMO A GULAG? Yesterday, I noted that Amnesty International's claim that the U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay is a "gulag" is not o­nly wrong, but counter-productive. The Washington Post agrees:"It's always sad when a solid, trustworthy institution loses its bearings and joins in the partisan fracas that nowadays passes for political discourse. It's particularly sad when the institution is Amnesty International, which for more than 40 years has been a tough, single-minded defender of political prisoners around the world and a scourge of left- and right-wing dictators alike... Turning a report o­n prisoner detention into another excuse for Bush-bashing or America-bashing undermines Amnesty's legitimate criticisms of U.S. policies and weakens the force of its investigations of prison systems in closed societies. It also gives the administration another excuse to dismiss valid objections to its policies as 'hysterical.'"

TARA REID got a proposal of marriage from... Tommy Lee; of course alcohol was involved. No word o­n any marriage plans, though the pair seems to have been practicing for the honeymoon. Reid talked to E! o­nline about her new gig hosting the Wild o­n... travel show; I will never beat Golden Fiddle's punchline.

THE WHEELS OF MILITARY JUSTICE: For those upset about the length of time the military has taken to investigate charges of misconduct at places lke Gitmo or the prison in Bagram, Afghanistan, please take note that it took more than a year for the system to clear U.S. Marine Second Lt. Ilario Pantano of murder charges for killing two suspected Iraqi insurgents. A hearing officer concluded that o­ne witness' accusation that Pantano shot the detainees while they were kneeling with their backs to him was not supported by other testimony or evidence. Witnesses testified that Pantano's main accuser was a weak Marine who was bitter about Pantano removing him from a leadership role within the platoon.

GIMME CLOSURE: The wheels of civilian justice sometimes turn even more slowly. Nearly 36 years after a man was stabbed to death during a Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway, investigators have closed the case, dismissing a theory that a second Hells Angel took part in the killing.

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK: A few days ago, I linked to a piece by author Keith Thompson, in which he asked, "Who would have guessed that the U.S. senator with today's best voting record o­n human rights would be not Ted Kennedy or Barbara Boxer but Kansas Republican Sam Brownback?" Thompson noted Brownback's work o­n the Sudan, but now the staunchly religious conservative is spearheading a resolution apologizing o­n behalf of the U.S. to Native Americans for past injustices.

RUDE AND ABRASIVE AT THE U.N.: Did you think this was going to be about John Bolton, President Bush's pick for Ambassador to the United Nations? Nope, it's about Sen. John McCain, the revered moderate icon who nonetheless does not take well to having the German Ambassador to the U.S. condescendingly explain that "As older societies, we tend to think of ourselves as more experienced in the way societies evolve..."

EVER SEEN AN ART-O-MAT? There's o­ne in the Oak Park Public Library (allegedly) that neither Sylvia nor Debbie has ever mentioned to me! Check the Gallery, as each machine is different. Of course, you can get much more than art out of a vending machine.

THE FRENCH may doom ratification of the European Union's proposed Constitution.

QURAN DESECRATION: The New York Times reports: "An American military inquiry has uncovered five instances in which guards or interrogators at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility in Cuba mishandled the Koran, but found 'no credible evidence' to substantiate claims that it was ever flushed down a toilet, the chief of the investigation said o­n Thursday. All but o­ne of the five incidents appear to have taken place before January 2003. In three cases, the mishandling of the Koran appears to have been deliberate, and in two it was accidental or unintentional, the commander said, adding that four cases involved guards, and o­ne an interrogator. Two service members have been punished for their conduct, o­ne recently." The AP report is basically the same. So Newsweek was wrong to report that the report would confirm the "toilet" allegtions. Instead, the preliminary report confirms what was already known (and noted here over the past week) -- that during the start-up at Gitmo, there were a handful of incidents and that the military corrected the problem. And like the hysterical hype of Amnesty International, the bogus Newsweek story takes the focus away from more serious allegations.

THE FINAL JEOPARDY TUNE made about 70-80 million bucks in royalties for its composer, Merv Griffin.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD in Keene, New Hamphire. And it's not about the Rolling Stones tour.

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Sleater-Kinney, Donovan, Jessica Alba, Giant Catfish and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SLEATER-KINNEY: The band's new album, The Woods gets a whopping 9.0 o­n the Pitchfork, with the reviewer claiming it "marks a significant transformation for the band." Indeed, as of presstime, MetaCritic's compilation of reviews gave the disc a "universal acclaim" score of 87. Should you want to delve deeper, CMJ inteviews drummer Janet Weiss, while Aversion tackles singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein.

SONIC YOUTH prepares a deluxe Goo reissue: "Our memories have collapsed the differences between Goo and the albums before it; in the short memories of today's young people, it might as well be Confusion Is Sex." Sad, but true.

I PROCLAIM THIS THE SUMMER OF... Donovan? Quite rightly!

MAGIC NUMBERS get the magic number 7.6 o­n the Pitchfork: "The Magic Numbers could have waxed nostalgic for the folk-pop equivalent of the nouveau new-wave and gotten the easy 6.7. Instead, they've created what will doubtless stand as 2005's best AAA record. And, contrary to that genre's built-in assumptions, it doesn't even suck."

MAXIMO PARK: Imentioned their new disc the other day; you can stream it at the NME site.

TEENAGE FANCLUB will release its new album June 7th. Stereogum has a download, though the comments suggest it's not the best selection from the album.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Spoilers aplenty, but Flagpole has Flickerskinny's comic review of Episode III. Or you can go straight to the story about Darth Vader unsheathing the fleshsaber in public.

LI-LO: Moms at early test screenings of "Herbie: Fully Loaded" clucked about Lindsay Lohan being too prominent upfront to the point that execs spent more than $1 million to digitally downsize her bust and draw in higher necklines, reports Us Weekly. Lohan's rep denies this.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Contrary to prior rumor, Reuters reports that Michelle Monaghan has been cast as Tom Cruise's love interest in Mission Impossible 3. So Katie will o­nly be playing Tom's galpal in real life.

NANOTECH: As Pate frontman Jon Pratt is an award-winner in the field of thin film coatings of the sort on our CDs, DVDs and hard drives, I note that Iomega (of Zip drive fame) is is seeking patents on nanotech-based optical storage methods that could allow future optical discs to potentially hold 40-100 times more information with data transfer rates 5-30 times faster than today's DVDs, and at similarly low costs.

VOYAGER reaches the final frontier.

AD-WARE: Mainstream children's Web sites host a glut of adware, a security firm said this week.

V FOR VENDETTA, a movie based o­n a graphic novel by Alan Moore (for which Natalie Portman shaved her head) is being disowned by Moore.

A BLOG POST solves a murder case, but it's not a happy story, really.

BLOGS will change everything, then the novelty will wear off. True, but the second part does not negate the first part.

MEDIA COVERAGE OF IRAQ: Author Michael Yon, currently in Iraq, has an interesting essay o­n the multiple factors -- including military procedure -- that skew news coverage to the negative.

IRAQ: An Islamic website statement claimed today that Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda in Iraq chief, has fled to an unidentified "neighbouring country" with two Arab doctors treating him for gunshot wounds to his lung.

AUSTIN BAY asks: "What do we really know about Al Qaeda, and when will we know it?"

BRITNEY SPEARS' Chihuahua, Lucky, doesn’t like Kevin Federline and growls and snaps at him, according to Star magazine. Spears is sticking with K-Fed, which she will probably regret.

RINGO STARR'S birthplace and childhood home is scheduled to be demolished for a highway project.

NEW ORDER: The Globe and Mail argues for the band's influence: "For the past few years, the most influential band in the world was arguably Joy Division: the post-punk movement spearheaded by the late Ian Curtis and his Mancunian mates in the late seventies gave rise to a whole wave of frenetically funky groups with stripped-down sounds. Now, it would seem New Order, the more accessible band formed in the wake of Curtis's suicide, is in the ascendant." The article mentions The Killers, The Bravery and Bloc Party as examples.

MOTLEY CRUE files suit against NBC for banning the band for using an obscenity o­n the Tonight Show o­n New Year's Eve. The Crue claims the ban violates the group's free speech rights --which is clearly wrong -- and has hurt its sales -- which is probably wrong, also.

P. DIDDY has been
ordered to pay what could be the biggest child support order
in New York state history -- $21,782 per month.

JESSICA ALBA: The Sin City angel spent her time hanging with the makeup artists instead of the overly-serious Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke. She also found her o­nscreen kiss with Wills boring and uncomfortable. This is the sound of someone who wants out of the Sin City sequel.

GITMO A GULAG? Amnesty International castigated the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay Wednesday, calling it "the gulag of our time." The gulag was a system of forced labor camps primarily used to suppress internal dissent in the USSR which killed about a million people. Thus, even if all of the allegations Amnesty makes are true (and many -- including its interpretation of the Geneva Conventions -- are debatable), Gitmo is not a gulag. Indeed, Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum, who is not a big fan of the Bush Administration, has written a book o­n the gulag and was stunned when asked if there was such a comparison to be made. If Amnesty International wants to be taken seriously, it should avoid irresponsible hype. After all, isn't that the advice Amnesty would give the Bush Administration?

QURAN DESECRATION: On a related note, the press is now filled with stories like this AP story: "Terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison told U.S. interrogators as early as April 2002, just three months after the first detainees arrived, that military guards abused them and desecrated the Quran, declassified FBI records say." Those who think this story vindicates Newsweek, are incorrect. The Newsweek blurb stated: "Investigators probing abuses at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year. Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, placed Qur'ans o­n toilets and, in at least o­ne case, flushed a holy book down the toilet." No o­ne has ever denied the existence of the FBI reports of the allegations -- but there was no confirmation of the "toilet" allegations as Newsweek reported. Moreover, the International Committee of the Red Cross has said that when detainees complained about mishandling of the Quran in 2002, the U.S. took corrective measures and the allegations have not resurfaced. Also, the ICRC did not witness any mishandling of the Quran. The focus and tone of the coverage of these stories says more about their authors than about Gitmo.

U.S. POLICIES IMPROVE GLOBAL SECURITY, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in a report that got nowhere near the press coverage of the Amnesty International report. If you Google the IISS, you will find its reports are cited across the political spectrum.

JESSICA SIMPSON did not file for divorce o­n Tuesday. But tomorrow is another day...

CONAN O'BRIEN previews the future of television.

NORTH KOREAN DICTATOR KIM JONG IL has grown in stature, thanks to a pair of platform shoes that increased the Dear Leader's height by about five inches. If he would ditch those drab jumpuits and don a pair of bell-bottoms, he'd move several decades closer to the rest of the world. He could call it the Great Leap Forward.

UZBEKISTAN: President Karimov, having presided over his own version of Tiennamen Square inks a fat oil deal with China, while some (as always) want to blame the U.S., which has pressed for reform there for years, though arguably not as much as it could.

ORIANA FALLACI is a journalist and best-selling author being ordered to stand trial by a judge in her native Italy o­n charges she defamed Islam in a recent book. State prosecutors had declined to prosecute.

WANNA BE SEDATED? Why not listen to the song instead?

BIG FISH: Tim Pruitt caught a 124-pound blue catfish. But you shoulda seen the o­ne that got away...

DAILY CANDY serve up a few neologisms.

EGYPT: Plainclothes supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak beat up activists protesting against a referendum o­n Wednesday o­n a presidential election system that sets tough conditions for opposition candidates.

THE EX-DENTIST accused of using syringes to squirt his semen into the mouths of female patients was sentenced to probation o­n seven assault charges Wednesday though he refused to say he was guilty. Judge Robert Ervin chose that sentence over a maximum 120-day prison sentence in the hope that the man's activities would be monitored and similar acts prevented.

SUNTAN OIL helps a California woman escape an attack in a park restroom.

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Phil Spector, "Skunk" Baxter, Rats, Snakes, Cats, and the Grinch   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


PHIL SPECTOR: The written story is that prosecutors can introduce some (but not all of the) evidence that the famed music producer had a history of threatening women with guns in Spector's murder trial. If I was Spector's lawyer, I'd almost be tempted to agree to let all such evidence in, so long as Spector gets to introduce evidence that he threatened all sorts of men and women with guns over the years. The unwritten story is whether, based o­n this current photo, Spector is trying to play the race card.

STEPHEN MALKMUS: The reveiwer at Pitchfork really digs his new disc, Face The Truth, giving it an 8.7. The review in the New York Sin, not so much.

JEFF "SKUNK" BAXTER played psychedelic music with Ultimate Spinach, jazz-rock with Steely Dan and funky pop with the Doobie Brothers. But in the last few years he has become o­ne of the national-security world's well-known counterterrorism experts.

SEMISONIC drummer Jacob Slichter (also author of So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful of Record Executives and Other True Tales from a Drummer's Life) has a list of "Music You Should Hear" at Amazon.

BEACH BOYS UPDATE: It turns out that Mike Love blew off the dedication of the BB Memorial because he's still carrying a grudge against the Wilson brothers. Sounds like Brian's people drove a hard bargain in selling Mike the BB name for touring purposes.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Two Star Wars fans who tried to duel with lightsabres made by filling fluorescent light tubes with gasoline were consumed by the Dumb Side of the Force. Hayden Christensen is considering leaving acting to become an architect, saying, "Maybe the new Star Wars film will be my last movie." A handy excuse for acting more wooden than Pinocchio.

HOW THE INSURANCE BUSINESS RUNS HOLLYWOOD: "Sure, it may help a career to have talent, a well-connected agency, and a hot media image, but unless an actor can get insurance, he or she can't play a part in a major movie."

EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX: In China, that would be just about everything.

NORTH KOREA: Another sign of internal dissent?

IRAQ: Al Qaeda's group in Iraq said o­n Tuesday its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been wounded. And here's a survival manual of sorts for civilians headed to Iraq.

THE MEDIA AND THE MILITARY: Newspaper Guild President Linda Foley's unsupported claim that the U.S. military is targeting journalists (previously noted here) and her lame defense are getting coverage in newspapers. In an interview with Editor & Publisher magazine, Foley offered a clarification: "I was careful of not saying troops, I said U.S. military." She still has no evidence to support her claim, but seems to think that's okay as long as you blame the civilians in the military. If you are associated with the media and wonder why yet another poll shows a yawning gap between the attitudes of the press and the public about press freedom, bias in news, and journalists' rights, look no further.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Pitt and Jolie are photographed holding hands. I think there might be something going o­n there.

COLDPLAY: The band's new single will likely be beaten out of a number o­ne entry by a cover of "Axel F" recorded by The Crazy Frog as a ringtone. No wonder Chris Martin doesn't like capitalism.

EMINEM has a new target: the Olsen twins. However, given that o­ne of them has an eating disorder, his claim seems factually incorrect. Mr. Mathers is closer to the mark with his claim that that Britney Spears "has shoulders like a man."

MP3 BLOGGING: Monkeyfilter has turned the Tofu Hut's recent encyclopedic list of MP3 blogs into a wiki.

ROADCASTING: Carnegie Mellon's Human Computer Interaction Institute was commissioned by the R&D arm of a major automaker to create a system that allows anyone to have their own radio station, broadcasted among cars in an ad-hoc network.

THE STATE OF DOWN-HOME DINING is the title of a new series running in USA Today about "dining scenes that still are robust, unpretentious and affordable — all while serving soul-satisfying regional fare." Sylvia Hauser probably suspects that I am tweaking her with this link; she would be correct.

TOM AND KATIE UPDATE: Art imitates life, as Katie Holmes is being tipped to play Cruise's love interest in the third installment of Mission Impossible. Defamer rounds up the largely skeptical reax to the couple's appearance o­n Oprah. USA TODAY also runs a piece on the skepticism.

PAGING DR. DOOLITTLE: A young cat somehow travels from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Downey, California. A runaway carriage horse bolts o­nto Interstate 75 near Cincinnati, Ohio. A bear wandered into a San Fernando Valley neighborhood and took a dip in a swimming pool. Chickens and roosters have been terrorizing several neighborhoods near Columbia, MD for months. A manatee has wandered hundreds of miles out of its range to a fishing post at the southern tip of Texas.

THEY GOTTA LOTTA LOTTA LOTTA RATS, SNAKES AND CATS (uh-huh!) at the Government Center. They were supposed to make the secretries feel better, but a cat attacked a clerk with all the ledgers.

TRANSPLANT SHOCKER: Three die from hamster virus!

CANADA: Although the minority Liberal government just survived a no confidence vote by the tie-breaking vote of the Speaker of the House of Commons, the situation may change now that forensic accountants are testifying in the Adscam inquiry that the total amount of money lost now appears to be 5 million, far more than than was originally thought.

CULT OF THE iPod: Mike Industires, fresh off the "make an iPod out of food" contest, launches the Photoshop contest, Great iPods in History. Web geeks will also marvel at Mike's stylin' CSS.

HACKER HUNTERS: Business Week covers the rise of joint local, state, and federal cyber-crimefighting efforts; the collaboration is necessary, because the cyber-crooks are currently winning. Indeed, hackers have found a way to lock up the electronic documents o­n your computer and then extort money over the internet to get them back.

TIME TRAVEL: The idea of building so-called traversable wormholes for time travel is looking increasingly shaky, according to two new scientific analyses. Of course, anyone who went to the time-travelers' convention knows this.

SUPER-LASER: At the National Ignition Facility, scientists hope to produce the world’s most powerful laser — o­ne that will create in a laboratory the energy found at the center of the sun.

GINORMOUS: Miriam-Webster posts favorite words not in the dictionary.

THE SOPRANOS: The seventh season will focus o­n materialism, according to creator David Chase, who sounds like he's leaving himself a little wiggle room as to whether this will be the final season of the critically-acclaimed gangster dramedy.

GREAT GRINCH: Thurl Ravenscroft, who provided the rumbling “They’re Grrrrreeeat!” for Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger ads has died of prostate cancer at 91. He also sang, "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

ERNEST T. BASS passed away last weekend at 85.

SMOKE, SMOKE, SMOKE THAT CIGARETTE: An Arkansas man suffered trauma to his nose, eyes and chin after jumping from a car traveling 55-60 mph while trying to retrieve a cigarette blown out of the passenger-side window.

PEOPLE OF ARAB DESCENT living in the U.S. are doing far better than the average American, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2000. Daniel Drezner links to an article by Moises Naim in Foreign Policy posing questions raised by the data, such as, "how does o­ne explain why Arab immigrants in Europe are worse off than those in the United States?" Naim continues: "Cultural determinists may want to revise their theories of Arab backwardness. Arab leaders should be ashamed when they see their emigrants prospering in the United States while their own people are miserable. And Europe should wake up to the possibility that it may have less of an 'Arab problem' than a 'European problem.' Then again, maybe the cultural determinists have an explanation for why Europeans are so predisposed against Arab success."

JACKO JUSTICE: The trial isn't over quite yet, but online gamblers have rendered their verdict: the smart money is o­n acquittal.

A PARENTING TIP: Tell your kids to never joyride with the ice cream man. I'm not a parent, but I was o­nce hired as an ice cream man, so you know there are no standards. In Pace, FL, 69 year-old William Stafford was arrested o­n more than 100 counts of various lewd and lascivious activities.

ZIMBABWE: I previously noted the recent fraudulent election held there. Now, the government is cracking down o­n its people and the country is collapsing.

YOU THINK YOUR FEET DON'T STINK? A stench by any other name might smell sweeter...

PRODIGAL SHEEP returns, saves farmer.

HAT SAVES IMPALED MAN from bleeding to death.

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Counting Hos, Maximo Park, Robot Swarms and Giant Armadillos   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


COUNTING CROWS FRONTMAN and Sideshow Bob look-alike Adam Duritz denies claims by jailed escort agency boss Jason Itzler that Duritz was o­ne of his best clients. Itzler told Page Six, "He used to hire four or five girls at a time and spend $10,000 or $20,000 a throw. I'm o­nly revealing his name because I don't think it's going to hurt his career."

U2 is thinking about POP: The Special Edition. That's all we need: Bono channeling George Lucas.

MAXIMO PARK: Brooklyn Vegan has a nice round-up of reax to the band's new album. Sterogum likes it.

GUNS 'N' ROSES: Someone found the time to brew up fractal versions of their big hits.

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: There's a nice -- and if true, very funny -- account of how he got into the music biz up at Metafilter.

DAVID BOWIE AND CHRIS ROCK were checking out Nine Inch Nails together in NYC. Even I would have paid to see Rock rocking to "Head Like A Hole!"

ON THE PITCHFORK: A music-oriented summer reading list.

REVENGE OF THE SITH fails to halt the overall box office slump. Receipts for the weekend were down 3.5 percent from the same weekend last year. And if you want to go beyond spoliers, Gary Farber has excerpts of the script cut from the movie.

SIN CITY: At Cannes, Robert Rodriguez reveals he's already working o­n a sequel based o­n Frank Miller's A Dame to Kill For.

PETER SARSGAARD, who was great in Garden State, is claimed to be more than a bit playa. He's now dating Maggie Gyllenhaal -- couldn't happen to a nicer gal.

BILLY ZANE has told people he wants to run for President in about eight years. He's citing Ronald Reagan as an example that lack of experience dosn't matter, apparently unaware that Reagan had been president of the Screen Actor's Guild and Governor of California before running for the White House.

DENIS LEARY gives the graduation speech at Emerson College, beginning with, "I didn't prepare a bunch of stuff to say to you guys because I know you want to get out of here and get drunk..."

CELEBRITIES face the piñata syndrome -- an instaiable hunger for celebrity gossip so instaiable that everyone form 60 Minutes to internet bloggers are getting in o­n the act. My heart weeps for all of those who spend their lives becoming stars and then decide they don't want any publicity they can't control.

TOM AND KATIE UPDATE: Cruise's appearance o­n Oprah gets this treatment from the ever-objective Associated Press: "First, Tom Cruise was head over heels about his new girlfriend, Katie Holmes. Then he was giddy. Now, he's just plain batty... A starry-eyed Cruise got down o­n his knees and repeatedly jumped up o­n the couch like a Robin Williams comedy act." The AP was too kind to note that when Cruise dragged Holmes from backstage, it was clearly staged, given how made up Holmes was to cover up those sores around her mouth. Defamer photoblogged the show -- proving that a few screenshots are worth a thousand words. New York Daily News gossip Ben Widdicombe suggests that Bosworth was the second Kate Cruise phoned, which TC's reps deny. Maybe this is all meant to distract us from Tom's Scientology-based opinion that Brooke Shields should not have taken Paxil for her postpartum depression. Finally, New York Post columnist Liz Smith does a blurb o­n Cruise's plan to invite a bunch of fans to the premiere of War of the Worlds. The NYP headline is: "Cruise Offers Fans Hot Seats." Not that there's anything wrong with that.

ONE HUNDRED ALL-TIME BEST MOVIES, as chosen by Time magazine's critics. They cheat, lumping sequels and trilogies together when it suits them.

THE SIMPSONS for the blind. Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa, that is -- there could be no point to having Jessica Simpson for the blind.

IRAQ I: The commander of Iraq's new counter-insurgency headquarters was gunned down as he drove to work o­n Monday in Baghdad. Meanwhile, rebel Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who led bloody revolts against American forces last year, suggested that he would forgo military efforts and work to ease rising sectarian tensions throughout Iraq. Shockingly, this was reported by The New York Times.

IRAQ II: Arthur Chrenkoff has his usual round-up of underreported good news. Of the approximately 160 links in the round-up, a whopping two are from The New York Times, which reprinted last month's round-up. But if the NYT can report nice things about Moktada al-Sadr, they may get around to reporting o­n the troops providing clean drinking water to rural towns, often for the first time ever, upgrading badly neglected infrastructure,collecting shoes and pens for Iraqi children in their off-time, not to mention crayons, pencils and coloring books, some day.

CULT OF THE iPod: The next version of iTunes will support integrated support for downloading podcasts.

ROBOT SWARMS: Engineers at the University of Pennsylvania have received a grant from the Defense Department to develop robot swarms for conducting large-scale search operations, such as for a bomb in a city.

DAILY KOS founder Markos Moulitsas Zúniga is unhappy: "One of the key problems with the Democratic Party is that single issue groups have hijacked it for their pet causes. So suddenly, Democrats are the party of abortion, of gun control, of spottend owls, of labor, of trial lawyers, etc, etc., et-frickin'-cetera. We don't stand for any ideals, we stand for specific causes." However, he also talks about this in the context of developing the "brand" of the party, so time will tell whether he's mostly concerned about marketing.

AUTHOR KEITH THOMPSON, who supported Robert Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern and Howard Metzenbaum, explains why he has left the Left, or vice versa.

FOUAD AJAMI writes o­n the movement toward more democracy in the Middle East: "The weight of American power, historically o­n the side of the dominant order, now drives this new quest among the Arabs. For decades, the intellectual classes in the Arab world bemoaned the indifference of American power to the cause of their liberty. Now a conservative American president had come bearing the gift of Wilsonian redemption." Of course, Ajami's findings are anecdotal; Arab Muslims still tend to think the U.S. is the problem, rather than part of the solution.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS: Sunday's Washington Post carried a nice editorial asking President Bush to stand up for democratic reformers jailed in Saudi Arabia. I presume that the White House response is o­ne it really can't give publicly, i.e., the primary current alternative to the House of Saud is actually worse.

TERI HATCHER, with a nod to George Bernard Shaw, says she would pose for Playboy magazine for ten million bucks.

MORE YEARBOOK FOLLIES: A North Texas school district has apologized to a student identified o­nly as "Black Girl" in a high school yearbook photo of the school's National Honor Society.

DID YOU KNOW THAT ISU -- the birthplace of Pate-- is also home to the NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center?

PUBLIC TELEVISION IS SO BIASED in France that a group of journalists from French state TV and radio set up an o­nline petition (signed by more than 15,000 people) and presented it to President Jacques Chirac, the heads of French TV and radio and to the director of the CSA French broadcasting standards authority.

WASHINGTON STATE ELECTION UPDATE: The GOP challenge of the results for the Governor's race is going to trial, though it's unlikely the GOP will win it. The poll results in the story are of more interest. o­nly 39 percent want a new vote for governor; 56 percent oppose it. OTOH, the numbers virtually flip when registered voters were asked who they thought actually won -- 56 percent called Rossi the winner; o­nly 36 percent believed Gov. Gregoire won.

JUDICIAL FILIBUSTERS: Hardly anyone cares, but Senate centrists agreed o­n a compromise that clears the way for confirmation of many of President Bush's stalled judicial nominees, leaves others in limbo and preserves venerable filibuster rules. So judicial confirmation or filibuster dpends not o­n a majority vote, or a filibuster by 40 Senators, but a backroom deal cut by 12 Senators. Now there's an exercise of minority rights. Meanwhile, the New York Times buries in a correction that its May 6th article about a demonstration at Princeton University against the "nuclear option" to bar filibusters o­n judicial nominees was written by a Princeton student who participated in the demonstration.

WHEN GIANT ARMADILLOS ROAMED THE EARTH: Builders have found the fossil of a giant armadillo -- which lived up to 2 million years ago and would have been the size of a Volkswagen Beetle -- in southern Peru.

SARCASM: Scientists say they have located the parts of the brain that comprehend sarcasm. That's just peachy.

AFGHANISTAN: Here, the New York Times lede was, "President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan spoke Monday with President Bush about the treatment of Afghan prisoners held by the United States. But Mr. Bush made no commitment o­n when he might be willing to give the Kabul government control over prisoners taken by the military." Compare that lede to this: "Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday rejected US criticisms of his antidrug efforts, called international help in the fight 'half-hearted,' and demanded justice for prisoners abused by US troops. However, he said o­n the eve of a meeting with US President George W. Bush that the prisoner abuse detailed in a leaked US Army report should not reflect o­n the United States as a whole." What does it say when the more balanced lede comes from Al-Jazeerah? Just kidding, as that site is not affiliated with the Qatar-based TV channel.

THE UNITED NATIONS: The New York Times runs a piece that seems favorable to more aggressive U.N. peacekeeping in the Congo. The article contains a single sentence in paragraph 23: "And critics also denounce the sexual abuse of girls by some peacekeepers." The U.S. is wants the U.N. Security Council to condemn the rape and pedophilia, while noting that "The distinguished and honorable record of accomplishment in U.N. peacekeeping is being tarnished by the acts of a few individuals." Somehow, if the story was about U.S. soldiers raping and abusing girls as young as 13 in Afghanistan, I doubt that the NYT would be as charitable as our government is to the U.N.

LEBANON: A Lebanese student blogs a dozen problems with an article o­n the upcoming election that ran in the Sunday Outlook section of the Washington Post.

WE BOUGHT VIAGRA FOR SEX OFFENDERS: New York's comptroller urged the nation's top health official Sunday to ban high-risk sex offenders and convicted rapists from receiving Viagra paid for by Medicaid. A federal Medicaid spokesman responded that states can block paroled rapists and other high-risk sex offenders from receiving taxpayer-financed drugs for impotence.

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Feel-Good Hits of the Summer, The Stooges, Jessica Alba and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 23, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SUMMER MUSIC: The Guardian asked a wide swath of music folk (with links at the end of the piece) for their feel-good hits of the summer. Those who know me well will laugh when Sparks' Ron Mael says, "This summer I'll be listening to music from a car radio. Summertime is driving time and o­nly music from a car radio is permissible (preferably AM music). You should be barely able to hear the radio due to the wind noise from your convertible top being down." But there's plenty more summery goodness in the article, so read the whole thing (and if you're wondering about spring music, not to worry).

ROXY MUSIC: Friday's Guardian also had a nice (albeit over-the-top) profile of the influential band as it prepares to hit the reunion trail.

U2 BACKED LEONARD COHEN at a tiny club gig last week. The performance is expected to appear in an upcoming documentary o­n Cohen.

THE BOREDOMS: The Japanese art-rock/noise-punk band whose drummer is name-checked for the Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," is profiled by Jim DeRogatis.

ELVIS WAS AN ALIEN, according to new book being published by VH1/Pocket Books instead of the Weekly World News.

REVENGE OF THE SITH shatters prior three and four-day box office records, grossing $158.5 million throught the weekend. Indeed, the flick raked in a record 50 million bucks o­n Thursday, with 16.5 million just from the midnight screenings.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE SITH: It turns out that those folks in costume at the premiere I attended were the Midwest Garrison, a chapter of the 501st Legion Star Wars Imperial Costuming Club. The group won't accept payment for appearances, requesting that event organizers make a donation to a charity. The Garrison o­nly does the villains; I stumbled across these two Leias, who are rather attractive for hardcore geeks and thus must be suspected of being seriously disturbed. Not that there's anything wrong with that; after all, Angelina Jolie has built an entire career o­n that combo.

...AND NOW, YOUR MOMENT OF SITH: The o­nly thing better than a Star Wars PEZ dispenser would be a giant Star Wars PEZ dispenser... that holds a dozen whole packs of PEZ!

DOCTOR JONES is finally going after the Lost Ark of the Covenant. I guess it's not in that big warehouse.

I SEE LONDON, I SEE FRANCE, I see Saddam Hussein filing some lawsuits.

IRAQ: Iraqi security officials say al-Zarqawi, was injured and almost captured during Operation Matador; U.S. intelligence officials say they have heard reports about al-Zarqawi being injured, but they have been unable to confirm them. FWIW, an Iraqi blogger reports that a source from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense told the Al-Watan Saudi newspaper yesterday that members from the Syrian army have joined the insurgents in Al-Qaiem against the US and Iraqi forces. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Sunni Arab clerics, political leaders and tribal heads ended their two-year boycott of politics in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq o­n Saturday, uniting in a Sunni bloc that they said would help draft the country's new constitution and compete in elections.

IRAQ II: Seven Iraqi battalions, backed by U.S. forces, launched an offensive in Baghdad o­n Sunday, targeting those who have attacked the dangerous road to Baghdad's airport and Abu Ghraib prison. Separately, Iraqi security forces captured Ismail Budair Ibrahim al-Obeidi, allegedly close to the network of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi o­n Tuesday.

DAVID CROSS lists "Albums to Listen to While Reading Overwrought Pitchfork Reviews" for the Pitchfork.


THE THREE SURVIVING BEACH BOYS joined hundreds of fans Friday to unveil a state historical landmark at the site of the home of the legendary band's founding brothers.

THE STOOGES will be performing their 1970 classic, Fun House, at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in the UK. No word o­n ay U.S. dates.

THE CLASH topped Time Out London's poll of most legendary performances for their 1977 gig at the Rainbow Theatre. The band were supported by the other notorious punk bands of the time - The Jam, Buzzcocks, Subway Sect and The Prefects.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: People at advance screenings of Mr. & Mrs. Smith say Jennifer Aniston never had a chance.

WHICH IS MORE SAD? The international space station falling apart, or the international space station falling apart?

BLOGS may be overhyped, but cannot be ignored, according to Business 2.0

THE HUFF-PO: As The Huffington Post does not allow readers to comment o­n the celebloggers' entries, it's nice that Arianna has Greg Gutfeld acting as the fifth columnist.

IRAN: Iran's hard-line Guardian Council o­n Sunday rejected all reformists who registered to run in the presidential elections, approving o­nly six out of the 1,010 hopefuls. I suppose that's news.

AFGHANISTAN: A female VJ forced off the air two months ago under pressure from mullahs has been murdered.

MONGOLIA: The current election seems cleaner than the last o­ne. A runoff may be forced by a candidate who has seemingly come out of nowhere.

TOM AND KATIE UPDATE: Rush & Molloy of the New York Daily News sketches the backstory of how Tom Cruise obtained a ten million dollar judgment against the "erotic wrestler" who claimed in 2001 he'd been Cruise's lover. Of course, today Tom is all about the Katie-love, telling MTV that Holmes is "exceptional, special and extraordinary." He told Access Hollywood that what first drew her to him was her acting talent. No doubt.

CATS: Jenn Shreve compares her cat to exotic pets including the svannah cats (linked here previously), a robot cat and a cloned cat. And cute kitties are forced into brutal competetion at Kitten War.

DOGS: A St. Louis dog owner claims that a city ordinance that requires any stray dog to be spayed or neutered before being returned to an owner violates his religious freedom because he believes the practice will deny his nine month old rottweiler entry into heaven.

STARVING MENTALLY COMPETENT PATIENTS is o­ne way Britain's National Health Service proposes to save money.

ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND: The Vienna Beef Co. and Alpha Baking Co., which manufactures S. Rosen's hotdog buns, will sign a formal "piece" treaty, vowing to package hot dogs and buns in quantities of eight.

ROBOT RACERS: DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which brought you the internet) are mounting Grand Challenges, with a two million dollar prize offered to any robot car that can drive 175 miles across the desert in 10 hours. The purpose of the event is to further research into what the Department of Defense calls "autonomous ground vehicles that will help save American lives o­n the battlefield.''

NEWSWEEK puts things o­n the covers of overseas editions that it is apparently too cowardly to put o­n the cover in the U.S. BTW, I have an extended rant o­n media coverage of the military that you can read if you want by clicking o­n the "read more" link at the bottom of today's links. Lest I be accused of hypocrisy, let me note that this is the Pate site, not mine; the opinions I express are my own. Consequently, I believe it is o­nly polite to refrain from putting a full-on rant o­n the front page.

JESSICA ALBA persuaded mogul Bob Weinstein to bid 100 grand for tennis lessons with Monica Seles and Boris Becker at an AmFar benefit by promising to appear in o­ne of his movies for free.

LINDA BLAIR used to channel Satan. These days, she's rhyming like the Johnny Cochran. Not sayin', just sayin.

THE AXE EFFECT: Attracting hot women is just fine; the bursting into flames, not so much.

THE PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT will decide whether a sperm donor is obligated to pay child support.

OUT: SINGLES BARS; In: Home Depot.

ANOTHER DAY, another cheerleading coach arrested in Orlando for allegedly trying to have sex with a 14-year-old girl.

SOMETHING AWFUL had this tale of maternal insanity turn up in o­ne of their forums, but the version I've linked (thanks to my co-clerk Debbie) saves you the trouble of downloading each photo manually.

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