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Don't forget your booties, because it's COLD out there!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, February 02, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


I got flowers...in the Spring...

First D.J.: Rise and shine, campers and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today.
Second D.J.: It's cold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?
First D.J.: Not hardly. So the big question o­n everybody's lips...
Second D.J.: o­n their chapped lips...
First D.J.: ...their chapped lips is, "Does Phil feel lucky?" Punxsatawney Phil! That's right, woodchuck chuckers it's...


Today, Punxsutawney Phil ---  the Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary will predicted whether we will have six more weeks of winter.  According to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, Phil has seen his shadow 96 times, and hasn't seen it (predicting an early spring) only 14 times.  (UPDATE: Phil makes it 97 this morning).  Phil's track record is hotly disputed, though he's has been right 80 percent of the time over the last ten years.  Nevertheless, a crowd of somewhere between 15000 and 40000 will spend a night of revelry awaiting the sunrise and the groundhog at Gobbler's Knob in the tiny Pennsylvania hamlet that has become known as the "Weather Capital of the World," due in no small part to the movie that makes every day Groundhog Day.

This is o­ne time where the Internet really fails to capture the true excitement of a movie about a large squirrel predicting the weather. However, you can see the trailer as a refresher.

In 2005, Roger Ebert revisited Groundhog Day, declaring that the film "finds its note and purpose so precisely that its genius may not be immediately noticeable. It unfolds so inevitably, is so entertaining, so apparently effortless, that you have to stand back and slap yourself before you see how good it really is."

At the other end of the political spectrum, Jonah Goldberg's equally effusive movie meditation grabbed the cover of National Review: "When I set out to write this article, I thought it'd be fun to do a quirky homage to an offbeat flick, o­ne I think is brilliant as both comedy and moral philosophy. But while doing what I intended to be cursory research -- how much reporting do you need for a review of a twelve-year-old movie that plays constantly o­n cable? -- I discovered that I wasn't alone in my interest. In the years since its release the film has been taken up by Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, and followers of the oppressed Chinese Falun Gong movement."

Indeed, a 2004 article mentioned by Ebert (but not linked) from London's Independent observes that the Harold Ramis comedy has been hailed by some religious leaders as the most spiritual film of all time. In addition to the examples given in that article, another can be found at the Christian Science Monitor.

As Phil Connors ultimately observed: "When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."

ACCORDINGLY, we start off a new week:

...with Sonny & Cher o­n Hullabaloo and famously o­n Letterman years later, plus UB40 with Chrissie Hynde, not to mention The Cynics (from the Bonograph tribute CD), and David Bowie & Marianne Faithful.


MOTOWN AT 50:  PopMatters completes its week-long series of features, including favorite singles, oddities, the label's band, its influence on hip=hop and more,,, ALSO: Amazon is selling the MP3s of Motown's No. 1s for 1.99.

THE ANNUALS played the World Cafe on Friday; you can stream the gig on demand via NPR.

TOM JONES stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.

HEARTLESS BAST^RDS get a meaty profile in The New York Times.

LISA LOEB got hitched to Roey Hershkovitz, a music supervisor for Late Night with Conan O'Brien. But did they play "Stay (I Missed You)" at the reception?

BISHOP ALLEN: Justin Rice talks to Exclaim about Victorian literary nomenclature, vinyl fetishes, and forthcoming record, Grrr.... 

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE talks to the Seattle P-I and the Houston Chronicle about his solo LP and what keeps the collective humming.

BEIRUT: Zach Condon talks to Metromix about Mexican folk music and...electronica.

NEKO CASE talks to Spinner about animal rights and tells PETA to "blow me."

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Liam Neeson has Taken the top slot with an impressive 24.6 million, which was at or above expectations. It was a bit risky to open an action film on SuperBowl weekend, but it paid off. Paul Blart: Mall Cop slides to second, earning another 14 million on a decent 35 percent drop.  The Uninvited debuted in third place with 10.5 million, which may be acceptable, assuming a budget of 25 million. Hotel For Dogs held the fourth slot, but even as counter-programming to football, its 48 million total to date is well short of a reported 75 million production budget.  Gran Torino rounds out the Top Five with 8.6 million, having made 110 million on a 33 million production budget.  Below the fold, Slumdog Millionaire slides to sixth, but has made 67.2 million in the US on a 15 million budget.  Worldwide, it has made almost 100 million.  New in Town debuted in eighth place, which makes this weekend not at all super for Renee Zelleweger.

BRITNEY SPEARS' conservators have just obtained a restraining order against Sam Lutfi and Adnan Ghalib; a source close to the pop wreck claims that she hoped they could be locked up in jail.  Lufti and Ghalib are accused in court docs of spreading misinformation about conservator Jamie Spears and the family.

MADONNA won her battle with former husband Guy Ritchie to take their children back to the US.

HEATH LEDGER: A ten-million-dollar lawsuit over his life insurance policy has reached a confidential settlement.

SUZANNE SOMERS' SECRET?  Vaginal Hormone Injections and 60 Pills a Day. Shouldn't that have remained secret?

SUPERBOWL TRAILER PARK: NBC finally sold out the ads for the Big Game (hey, where's that economic downturn?);  H'wood was there in force, with teasers for Transformers 2, the Star Trek reboot, G.I. Joe, the latest Fast & Furious, Will Ferrell's take on Land of the Lost, Jack Black and Michael Cera in the Harold Ramis-helmed Year One, and Pixar's Up, among others.

PAMELA ANDERSON finds love in a trailer park.  Shocka!

JOHN CLEESE is telling friends he has dumped the girlfriend who claimed to be 27 years old, but may be 45.  Apparently, her comments about him were the final straws.

ALYSON HANNIGAN tells Ellen DeGeneres that being pregnant not only gives her cravings - but makes her feel like a stoned Koala bear.

NORTH KOREA said Friday it is ditching a nonaggression pact and all other peace agreements with South Korea, in an apparent attempt to use the threat of an armed clash to press Seoul to give up its "confrontational" stance.

AFGHANISTAN: The Afghan "Awakening" program has begun. The US may add a fifth brigade to serve as Afghan Army trainers.

IRAN: With Pres. Ahmadinejad demanding that US Pres. Obama apologize for America's great transgressions against Iran, it's worth remembering that the Clinton Administration already did. Twice. Obama's offer to talk is being taken as a sign of weakness.  Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad has again cast his lot with Holocaust deniers.

IRAQ successfully held provincial elections with few reports of violence. An estimated 51 percent of eligible voters participated. The Dawa party is leading in the southern and central provinces. Bombs were detonated at the homes of politicians in Ninewa and Babil.

KITTEHS on a ROOMBA: The inevitable sequel to Cat on a Roomba.

ROLCATS: Like LOLCats, but with Russian captions, translated into English.

HENRY the TUATARA has unexpectedly become a father at the ripe old age of 111 after receiving treatment for a cancer that made him hostile toward prospective mates.

GORILLA FIGHT captured on camera.

FOUR-LEGGED SNAKE helps legislative candidate lure voters in Indonesia. After all, on the campaign trial, the snake usually has two legs.

4986 Reads

Winter Dance Party, Free MP3s, Cutout Bin, Cat Scratch Fever   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, January 30, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



... with THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED.  It's 50 winters later, but the passing of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in a plane crash outside Clear Lake, IA is still bringing people (including Los Lobos, Graham Nash, the Crickets, Pat DiNizio and others) to the historic Surf Ballroom, as well as the Riverside Ballroom, where the Winter Dance Party made its penultimate stop. And the tributes to Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens are already being printed again, in advance of the true anniversary on Feb. 3rd. So it's worth linking to an MPR audio feature on the Winter Dance Party, plus rare footage of Holly playing "Peggy Sue" and "Oh Boy!" in 1958.  There's little video of Valens, outside this lipsync of "Ooh, My Head!", but there's rare live audio of "La Bamba" and "Donna" on the Tube. And no survey would be complete without the Bopper's signature song, "Chantilly Lace."  The tragedy has echoed through the years in movies like The Buddy Holly Story and La Bamba.  The latter featured Los Lobos, who would make "La Bamba" a hit again almost 30 years later, and Marshall Crenshaw as Holly, who can be seen here covering "Crying, Waiting Hoping" with Dave Edmunds. And the legacy doesn't stop there -- M Ward's upcoming album includes a cover of "Rave On."  Indeed.

HUNDREDS OF FREE MP3s are posted at Amazon, including tracks from Apples In Stereo, the Gaslight Anthem, OMD, The Raveonettes, King Khan & the Shrines, My Morning Jacket, the Black Lips and many more...

LAURA MARLING stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set streaming via NPR.

M WARD has a two-part interview with Drowned In Sound.

THE 100 GREATEST DEBUT ALBUMS, according to ChordStrike, which somehow omitted Please Please Me (and even Meet The Beatles).

WEEZER: "Buddy Holly," natch. What, did you think I was going to hit you with Don McLean?

A.C. NEWMAN talks to Paste about his new album, working at home, and what comes next.

THE PERFECT POP SONG: From Jarvis Cocker to Donovan, stars tell Will Hodgkinson the stories behind their hits - and why musical ability is over-rated.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING VIDEO: How the Internet has affected how music videos are shot.

THE CUTOUT BIN: From Buddy Holly to the Psychedelic Furs, from The Clash to Lulu, from Wilson Pickett to Gary Wright, plus Junior Walker & the All-Stars, Sniff 'N' the Tears, Modern Lovers, REO Speedwagon and more  -- this Friday's fortuitous finds are streaming from the Pate page at the ol' HM.

SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY appeared on Colbert Nation and accused the Dalai Lama of cannibalism in an emergency.  Elsewhere,, the Cute One spoke out on his bitter divorce from Heather Mills, saying: "I've been through a dark place."

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases are the Liam Neeson action flick Taken, which is currently scoring 56 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; The Uninivited, currently scoring 43 percent, and the rom-com New In Town, which is scoring 11 percent. Yes, it's January.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX is serious about his rap career, according to his rep, fwiw.

MADONNA: Guy Ritchie's father has welcomed Madge having ‘lots of boyfriends' since the divorce from his film director son last year.

AMY WINEHOUSE plays topless Scrabble in the Caribbean. 

ANGELINA JOLIE wore her gown backward at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, for reasons that I think have something to do with motherhood.

MICKEY ROURKE will not wrestle WWE superstar Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania, according to his rep. His Wrestler co-star, Evan Rachel Wood, denies having a thing with him.


THE OSCARS: Film critics David Denby and A.O. Scott discuss their problems with the 81st Academy Award Nominations on the Charlie Rose Show.

THE FBI has cut off contacts with the Council on American-Islamic Relations amid mounting concern about the group's roots in a Hamas-support network. The decision was made quietly last summer as federal prosecutors prepared for a second trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, an Islamic charity accused of providing money and political support to the terrorist group Hamas.

IRAQ: Encouraged by security improvements throughout the country, thousands of women are running for council seats in the provincial elections.  The elections could also ease tensions in Iraq's most violent province.

CAT SCRATCH FEVER: Let's go to the video.

HAPPY COWS produce more milk, according to researchers at Newcastle University.

AN IMMORTAL JELLYFISH is swarming through the world's oceans, according to scientists.

A PREHISTORIC SHARK was photographed alive; then it was caught and died almost immediately.

SPINNER SHARK freestyles with surfers off Hutchinson Island, FL. Video at the link.

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Andrew Bird, Ramones, Jay Reatard, Loris   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, January 29, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


ANDREW BIRD breaks down his new album track-by-track for Drowned In Sound. And Dave loved "Fitz & Dizzyspells" the other night.

FRANK BLACK has a new band with his wife.

PETER BJORN & JOHN: Bjorn talks to Paste about the forthcoming Living Thing album, including this about the song "Blue Period Picasso": "It's like a hit single from the '80s that never got to be a single. It's a really cool song... It's like an old Paul Anka song, but played by Prince."

DEREK TRUCKS, guitar prodigy and nephew of Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks, did a mini-set for the World Cafe streamable via NPR.

MATT & KIM fight Cute, fail miserably: "Onstage, Matt sings, attacks keyboards, and narrates with the wild, rapturous glee of a lottery winner; Kim kicks the sh^t out of her drum set and smiles so adorably she makes babies jealous. If this strikes you as nauseating, you're just not acquainted."

I WANNA BE SEDATED gets a beefed up feature with Ramones video links as part of the upgrading NPR 100.

METRIC: Emily Haines talks about the band's next album, which will be self-released in April.

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE: Between his addiction and his dad Steve, which do you think he's less happy discussing?

JAY REATARD, a/k/a lo-fi Memphis garage-rocker Jay Lindsey, is profiled in the East Bay Express.  You can stream a few at HisSpace.

THE WHITE HOUSE RECORD LIBRARY: There's vintage vinyl in the basement.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Sister Ashlee is "completely disgusted" by the headlines concerning her sister's weight.  I would be also, if Jessica was a talented singer or actress.  RELATED?  The ever-reliable Star has Tony Romo cheating on Jessica in her own bed.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX may be hoaxing the public with his amazingly bad rap career.

JOHN TRAVOLTA: The extortion plot aginst him was really lame.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN's former partner , who was believed to have drowned at sea nearly four years ago, staged his own disappearance, according to an NBC Dateline investigation.

BART SIMPSON is making robo-calls for Scientology. Not prank calls, either.

MEGAN FOX could replace Angelina Jolie in a reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise?

HILARY DUFF will star in "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde," which thankfully is not even going to pretend to be a remake of the 1967 classic.

OSCARS ROUNDTABLE: Newsweek's annual gathering of hopefuls hosts Brad Pitt, Robert Downey, Jr., Anne Hathaway, Frank Langella, Sally Hawkins, and Mickey Rourke.  Transcript and video at the link.

THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD fired its chief negotiator and replaced its negotiating committee -- a sign that a SAG feature-primtetime deal may be close without a strike.

GUILLERMO del TORO walks out of an interview that raises his cinematic whitewashing of Che Guevara's record as a mass murderer.

IRAN: President Ahmadinejad said the US must remove its forces from the Middle East and apologize for "the crimes they have committed against the Iranian nation." Egypt's foreign minister said Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas are conspiring to spark a regional conflict. US Rep. Pete Hoekstra says "there's no way and no chance to stop the Iranian nuclear program."

IRAQ: Early voting for the provincial elections has begun. Kurdistan leader Massoud Barazani rejected the formation of Awakening councils in the North.

A LORIS EATS: Let's go to the video.

BABY GIRAFFE born Monday morning at the San Francisco Zoo.  Awww... some pics at the link.

STREAKER the PIG will attempt to correctly choose the Super Bowl XLIII winner.

A GATOR stuck in a pipe in Cape Coral FL, is lured out with...

THE £100000 PUPPY: We can clone him.

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Ting Tings, Nellie McKay, Volcano Suns, St. Vincent, Kitty Cam   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE TING TINGS released a US version of "That's Not My Name," which is a good enough excuse for me.  That and the day-glo cheerleaders. 

NELLIE McKAY and Mia Doi Todd played the Mountain Stage in a set streamable via NPR.

THE VOLCANO SUNS: Merge Records is streaming the reissues of The Bright Orange Years and All-Night Lotus Party at the moment.

ADELE: Some reviewers suggest that her songwriting isn't nearly as intriguing and fully developed as her voice. She agrees.

NEKO CASE lists 17 things she loves for Paste.

ST. VINCENT plays a piano version of "Marry Me" and "What Me Worry?" at the Sydney Festival for Shoot The Player.

AMIMAL COLLECTIVE: "Geologist," a/k/a Brian Weitz, talks to JamBase about their new release, their live show and what's slated for the future.

KAKI KING describes her audience to the Ventura County Star.

THE 50 CRAZIEST POP STARS EVER, according to Blender.

BORN TO ROCK: Newborns can follow a rhythm, a new study has found, suggesting rocking out is innate.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Bigger than ever. In mom jeans.

LINDSAY LOHAN: Waif-like again. In SoHo.

MADONNA & A-ROD: Together again. In Seinfeld's house.

BRADGELINA: Flashing the twins publicly for the first time. And maybe getting upstaged by Jennifer Aniston at the Oscars.

BIJOU PHILLIPS tells the depressed to "get over it" without medicine. Coincidentally, she's a Scientologist.

WATCHMEN: The 10th anniversary of Dr. Manhattan, as reported on the NBS Nightly News with Ted Philips, March 11th 1970.

MICKEY ROURKE & EVAN RACHEL WOOD were... wait for it... caught canoodling at Grey Goose's official SAG after-party.

BENJAMIN BUTTON: Could it seize Oscar legend by the throat on Feb. 22 with 13 losses? Defamer thinks so.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE has sparked protests in Indian slums.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS: Nine Saudi Islamic militants, including former Guantanamo inmates, have been rearrested in the Kingdom despite completing a controversial "rehabilitation" program.

IRAN: How good is US intell on the Islamic theocracy?  Not very. And the declassified version is worse. Meanwhile, the prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies again predicts Iran will have enough enriched uranium to make a single nuclear weapon later this year.

AFGHANISTAN: Canada's Globe & Mail looks at the return of the Taliban and their more direct attacks on NATO forces.  The WSJ looks at the confusion caused by private security forces in a situation far different from Iraq.  Meanwhile, soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division have left NY for Regional Command - East, increasing the US presence there by thousands.

IRAQ: The Christian Science Monitor looks at the (daunting) logistics of a 16-month exit by US forces.  The Institute for the Study of War has a fact sheet on the Iraqi Provincial Elections.

KITTY CAM: Live video feed.

SHUBENACADIE SAM nearly lost his weather gig in the economic downturn.

FAT DOGS were seized by the RSPCA after their owner  was accused of feeding them too much.

THIS CARDINAL is like the Two-Face of cardinals. And thus we learn what a gynandromorph is.

NICE DAY for a... penguin wedding.

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TVotR, New Releases, Ron Sexsmith, Glasvegas, Elephant   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


TV on the RADIO have released a clip for "Stork and Owl." And you can hear 'em cover Bowie's "Heroes" at the 'Gum.

NEW RELEASES: Mark Olson & Gary Louris, Of Montreal, The Bird & Bee, Loney Dear, Pat DiNizio, Springsteen and more are streaming in full from Spinner this week.

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE played the Bowery Ballroom last week; you can stream the gig via Stereogum.

RON SEXSMITH does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter, all from his Exit Strategy of the Soul.

THE ULTIMATE BEATLES COUNTDOWN: Every song ranked and analyzed by JamsBio.

GLASVEGAS perfoms a mini-set for The Interface, which is more than Twofer Tuesday.

A.C. NEWMAN tries to explain his solo process to MetroNews Vancouver.

BRIAN WILSON talks to LAist about Chris Montez, his latest album, the Wondermints and more...

ANDREW BIRD talks to New York magazine about learning via the Suzuki Method, joining a punk-ska band, current faves and more... 

BILLY JOEL: At Slate, Ron Rosenbaum tries to explain the Piano Man's awfulness. (Thx, Belle!)

TOM CRUISE was quizzed about his flatulence habits by controversial British TV host Jonathan Ross.

SIR PAUL McCARTNEY has told friends he plans to wed his new girlfriend Nancy Shevell.

MICKEY ROURKE may participate in WWE's "Wrestlemania 25" in Houston on April 5.

ALEC BALDWIN celebrated his double SAG award win with the teenage daughter he once called a "rude little pig." Now that you mention it, she loonks like a Baldwin.

OPRAH WINFREY coulda been a Senator, had impeached Illinois Gov. Gov. Rod Blagojevich been just the tiniest bit wackier.

UGLY BETTY got some ugly news.

HARRY POTTER and the HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: There's new footage in the Japanese trailer introduced by Daniel Radcliffe.

THE OSCARS has an entirely convoluted system for counting nomination ballots.

THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD is wracked with infighting over a planned strike-authorization vote. The schism has split SAG's high-profile members in a way that few can recall. "They've got a mutiny of stars, and SAG leadership cannot stand up to a mutiny of the stars," said David Prindle, author of "The Politics of Glamour," a well regarded history of the union.

PAKISTAN: Mullah Fazlullah ordered 43 political and tribal leaders to stand trial in front of a Taliban court in Swat.

AFGHANISTAN: Last year, 3276 IEDs were detonated or detected in Afghanistan, a 45 percent increase over 2007 and a new record.

IRAQ:  Less than four months after the disbanding of the Sons of Iraq, or Al Sahwa, auxiliary force, the Iraqi Interior Ministry has overseen the formation of a new unit created to thwart Al Qaeda strikes.  Provincial elections this month highlights the ascendancy of tribes, esp. the Anbar tribes.

BABY ELEPHANT turns 5 months old at the Oregon Zoo. Awww... some pics and video at the link.

A CAT is recovering after an arrow is removed from its head.  Video at the link.  That's one wild and crazy cat.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: 48 dead whales beached on the north west tip of Tasmania.

PET HOARDING: A 53-year-old man was arrested Sunday at a rural Van Zandt County, TX, property where 185 animals were living in squalid conditions with no food or water. At least 50 goats and sheep, 41 dogs, 30 chickens, 18 ducks and geese, seven rabbits, three turkeys, two cats and one alpaca were found alive at the home Sunday.  ALSO: 600 dogs rescued from puppy mills in Washington State pregnant with an estimated 1500 future puppies.

A FIESTY RACCOON has bitten off a pervert's penis as he was trying to rape the animal.

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