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Blondie, Smokey, Cutout Bin, Pirates, and Kitty faces a Wood Chipper   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 07, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



BLONDIE IS BACK, according to Entertainment Tonight. And Debbie Harry is older than the President. No, really. Anyway, it put me in the mood for Clem Burke's thundering drums o­n "Union City Blues."

YO LA TENGO: Ira Kaplan explains how the band's upcoming album got titled I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your A**. (Thanks, LHB)  You can download or stream "Beanbag Chair" as an advance track.

SMOKEY ROBINSON wants to be the new Rod Stewart. But his interview with PopMatters has an embedded YouTube video of "The Tracks of My Tears."

COVERS: My Old Kentucky Blog has been collecting versions of Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine" (including a live cut from Richard & Linda Thompson, but no Nico as I write this), while Mars Needs Guitars rolled out versions of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit In The Sky."

MIDLAKE frontman Tim Smith talks to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about touring Europe and the US. NPR says the band "has been compared to everyone from The Flaming Lips to The Beatles" and is streaming their segment from the World Cafe.

TOM WAITS has announced plans for a (rare) short tour of the South and Midwest: "We need to go to Tennessee to pick up some fireworks, and someone owes me money in Kentucky." You can stream a whole mess of Waits via the Hype Machine.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Hardcore Pate fans probably saw the band at Gabe's Oasis in Iowa City, which is where the late great Dick Dale cranked out a medley of "Miserlou" and Surf Beat" in May 2004. And there's also more twangin' o­n a mystery cut.

FIERY FURNACES frontman Matt Friedberger talks to the Sydney Morning Herald about the band's calculated approach, which you can hear in the recent live set streaming from NPR (along with a stream from opening act Man Man).

DAVID GILMOUR: The Pink Floyd axeman talks to Harp magazine about the music that changed his life and suggests that ex-bandmate Roger Waters is two-faced o­n the Middle East.

WEEKEND CUTOUT BIN: Fortuitous Friday finds from the Hype Machine include: Julie Dawn Cole - "I Want It Now" (from Willy Wonka, with the Oompa Loompa coda); R.E.M. - "Pop Song '89"; The Jamies - "Summertime, Summertime"; Bangles - "James"; Donovan - "Sunshine Superman"; XTC - "Mayor Of Simpleton"; The Kinks - "Sunny Afternoon"; The Decemberists - "July, July!"; The Sonics - "Have Love Will Travel"; Okkervil River - "For Real"; Hoodoo Gurus - "Bittersweet"; The Strokes with Eddie Vedder - "Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology Song)"; and The Blind Boys Of Alabama - "People Get Ready."

CAMERA OBSCURA: Tracyanne Campbell tells Raleigh's Independent Weekly about being inspired by Lloyd Cole -- which is not surprising, given the appearance of Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken -- a play o­n Cole's "Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?" o­n the band's new LP. There's plenty more via the Hype Machine.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The supposedly sober supermodel has multipled her income more than seven times over since getting photographed blowing rails in a recording studio during her roller-coaster affair with the troubled singer.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST is this weekend's sole wide release, currently scoring a mere 55 percent Rotten o­n the Tomatometer (though this may not matter, esp. with Roger Ebert in hospital).  Of course, I went to the midnight showing, so devoted am I to bringing you fresh material. So, what do I think of it?  As it's past 3 a.m. local time, I think it's long.  Other critics have mentioned that without realizing that the first o­ne was about as long.  The problem with length here is that this o­ne takes longer to get rolling, despite the advantage of having known characters.  That is a function of the script, which is every bit as complex as the first, but with worse flow.  And the perceived need to be a "bigger" film means that there is less sword-fighting, which is a shame because that type of action scene allows for more character interaction.  As the second part of a trilogy, it has the problem of being a second act standing alone, much as The Empire Strikes Back did in its day (but which is viewed more favorably today).  Indeed, like TESB, this sequel is also a bit darker in spots than the original, which may compound that feeling of leaving the story unresolved.

But this o­ne leaves you with more of a cliff-hanger, and even a little shocker at the end that I won't spoil (though a glance at the movie's main IMDB entry would spoil it for you).  The returning cast all performs admirably.  Keira Knightley brings some of what she learned from some of her unsuccessful action roles and puts it to better use.  She also gets to work her dramedic chops from Pride & Prejudice -- particularly in two wonderful scenes with Johnny Depp that skewer the huge action picture cliche of opposing characters really not being so different.  Those scenes also nicely echo the original movie, which not o­nly skewered, but also reversed the task of typical movie pirates.  The new cast members are also quite good.  Bill Nighy is nearly unrecognizable (as he should be) and Tom Hollander brings a touch of his brittle Mr. Collins from Pride & Prejudice to his heavy.  In sum,  this o­ne is less "fun" than the original, but it has more than a few really fun moments and is more fun overall than any of the summer's other big flicks.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, DAKOTA FANNING, WERNER HERZOG, DOLLY PARTON and the Brokeback Cowboys are among those invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Spenderline shows he knows the way to the pop tart's heart.

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE & DAVID: Heather Locklear joins Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen in getting the tattoo of her spouse's name covered, but is she really getting a "Finch" tattoo for David Spade?

JENNIFER LOPEZ is a Voodoo Chile? Her first husband, Ojani Noa, claimed in a legal deposition that J.Lo used Santeria to influence the men in her life.

MADONNA concertgoers may think that she's emerging from a giant disco ball, but it's really a Kabbalah spaceship.

MARIAH CAREY will o­nly eat things that are purple. So. Many. Punchlines.

THE EMMY NOMINATIONS are announced. 24 leads with 12 noms, because you don't want to cross Jack Bauer. Unsurprisingly, Desperate Housewives was largely snubbed. The snubbing of Lost and Nip/Tuck are more surprising. Jason Lee (of My Name Is Earl) was robbed! And the rules changes do not seem to have the effect many thought, as Arrested Development's Jason Bateman, Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham and shows like Battlestar Galactica were passed over yet again, while dead shows Will & Grace raked them in.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: US Weekly joins the media chorus asking, "Where's the Tom-Kitten?" and wondering whether the delay in the Cruise-Holmes wedding is due to the Scientology conversion process.

JESSICA ALBA snapped en route to the beach, but not in full bikini mode. Hey, it's Friday and we take what we can get.

DAVID HASSELHOFF was booted out of Wimbledon because he was "steaming drunk." As he was he was banned from press and players' bars, he yelled at staff: "Do you know who I am? I’m The Hoff!" As if anyone could not recognize the genius who re-interpreted "Hooked o­n A Feeling" and "Secret Agent Man" such that we will never hear them quite the same way again.

IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed worries that amid the violence and scorching heat of Baghdad, the SCIRI and Sadrists are determined to bring down Prime Minister al-Maliki with Hamas-like tactics. However, the Iraqi police are detaining terror suspects and seizing weapons caches in the city. NPR reports that the black-market cost of weapons and ammo in Baghdad is soaring, suggesting that the vast supply of Saddam-era arms may be running dry. Meanwhile, Ray Robison, a former member of the Iraq Survey Group, has a translation and analysis of how-to manuals for Arab operatives working throughout Afghanistan before 9/11, suggesting that Iraq or Syria provided military assistance to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. That it was in captured Iraqi government computer files may tend to suggest it wasn't Syria.

THE MILITARY IN THE MEDIA: The Washington Post decided to report o­n Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart, who was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star -- because the Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to allow a symbol of the Wicca religion to be inscribed o­n his memorial. You will be shocked to learn that the WaPo didn't cover his heroism (aside from its routine notice), but now that he can be used to club the Administration, it's a different matter. If it helps Stewart's family, that's fine, but I'm not giving the WaPo a medal for a story other papers had last month.

KITTY SURVIVES THE WOOD CHIPPER: video at the link. What would Marge Gunderson say?

TWO CATS near the Kentucky-West Virginia border were not as lucky.

BUCKY and BUBBA plowed through a cyclone fence in a pickup truck, rupturing a gas line outside a house. Did I mention they are dogs?

IT'S THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS in Pamplona. And if you saw the naked PETA protesters (SFW), you would run too.

THE 800 POUND GORILLA IN THE ROOM: You might miss him if you're drunk. And here's the video.

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Belle & Sebastian, The Ramones, Mission of Burma, and an Albino Police Horse   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BELLE & SEBASTIAN are playing a rare concert accompanied by the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. The Philharmonic's musicians seem to be looking forward to the gig, as it's o­nly rock 'n' roll, but they like it. Cellist Ben Hong: "I plan to enjoy the concert along with everybody else." You can stream a bunch of tracks from the Hype Machine. I would imagine the show will be light o­n their latest album, which is less orchestrated than their past efforts, as evidenced by this live take o­n "White Collar Boy," the studio versions of "The Blues Are Still Blue" and "Funny Little Frog." But don't miss the short clip of "Rhinestone Cowboy."

RADIOHEAD frontman Thom Yorke tells The New York Times that he doesn't like his voice: "It annoys me how pretty my voice is. That sounds incredibly immodest, but it annoys me how polite it can sound when perhaps what I'm singing is deeply acidic." Oddly enough, I stumbled across Radiohead's cover of "Rhinestone Cowboy" o­n the Hype Machine, which makes this Twofer Thursday.

THE RAMONES: Henry Rollins MC'ed the world premiere of the video of the Ramones' It's Alive, the legendary punk band's 1977 New Year's Eve concert recorded in the UK. The movie was projected o­nto the wall of a mausoleum in L.A.'s Hollywood Forever Cemetery honoring Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone. Mars Needs Guitars posted streaming Ramones covers over the holiday weekend.

FLAMING LIPS frontman Wayne Coyne wants to sell vibrating panties to his fans, so he can activate them from the stage at concerts.

JOHNNY CASH: The L.A. Times raves over the posthumous American V: A Hundred Highways. The album is streaming in full from AOL Music this week.

TOM PETTY doesn't care if the Red Hot Chili Peppers' hit "Dani California" sounds a lot like his "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and was amused that The Strokes admitted that part of "Last Nite" was lifted from "American Girl." You can stream those two Petty songs from Tom's MySpace page.

GNARLS BARKLEY: It seems that the band's smash hit "Crazy" is largely taken from "Nel Cimitero Di Tucson," part of the soundtrack to a spaghetti western. Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good has plenty of "Crazy" linkage, including covers and videos (but messed up the link to the Star Wars-themed appearance at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards).

YOU TUBE: USA Today got around to covering the kabuki dance between Hollywood and the video-sharing site, as well as blurbing YouTube and its competitors.

MISSION OF BURMA: The reunited art-punks are profiled in the Village Voice, with bassist Clint Conley remarking o­n the band's place in alt-rock history: "To be lumped in with bands like the Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, Black Flag, Fugazi — how can you not feel great about that?" The band's latest album is streaming from the Obliterati site. You can stream a cross-section of MoB from KRLX via the Hype Machine.

THE VERONICAS and HANDSOME FAMILY are two of the free downloads currently posted by Entertainment Weekly.

GARBAGE frontwoman Shirley Manson talks to London's Sunday Times about turning 40 in August, rejecting motherhood, etc.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Babyshambles are releasing an independent single, "Beg, Steal or Borrow." Hear it via MySpace. Troubled singer Doherty commented o­n his tumultuous relationship with the supposedly sober supermodel Moss o­n the BBC: "She's had enough, I think. I love her bones, I always will."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY has disclosed a family history of anorexia, but said that she doesn't suffer from an eating disorder: "(The press) said to me yesterday `How does it feel to be called anorexic?' and I had no idea that I was..." Well, a dress like the gold o­ne she wore to the UK premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest may be comfy in the summer heat, but is going to start up that kind of questioning. ALSO: Knightley boyfriend (and ex-co-star) Rupert Friend may be walking the plank.

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD OF THE UNDEAD, is supposed to play the father of Capt. Jack Sparrow in a third Pirates movie, according to Johnny Depp. However, Depp wisely added, "You never say it's definite until the guy steps o­n the set and the camera is rolling."

ASHLEY JUDD underwent a 47-day program at a Texas treatment center in order to deal with issues of depression, isolation, co-dependent relationships and obsessive-compulsive behavior.

BRITNEY SPEARS' recent PR debacles have publicist Tracey Nguyen pitching Spears' manager o­n dumping current flack Leslie Sloane Zelnik.

HILARY SWANK tells Vanity Fair magazine that Chad Lowe's "substance-abuse" problem was at the heart of the reason that their marriage broke up.

LINDSAY LOHAN is happy to have her boobs back. Egotastic is happy twice over. Lohan also has to be happy that Life & Style magazine reportedly paid 100K for her 20th birthday party and exclusive coverage thereof.

BRADGELINA: Jolie's mouth has been voted the most kissable in the world in a survey conducted by drinks manufacturers Cafe Kiss in the run up to the UK's National Kissing Day, which is today.

ASHLEE SIMPSON, who reportedly turned down an offer from Playboy with the comment "My body is for me and for whoever my love interest is at that moment, and that's the o­nly person who gets to see it," has reportedly agreed to model a budet line for Victoria's Secret.

BARBRA STREISAND: Ticket sales for her upcoming gigs have been disappointing, a top music industry source told Page Six. "Some cities [like] Detroit, where they wanted to do two days, are less than 3,000 sold."

MARLON BRANDO, it turns out, did not die penniless, so we see his longtime companion accusing his executors of cheating her out of a home and of forging the actor's signature.

THE SOPRANOS' final holdouts, Tony Sirico and Steven Van Zandt, reached an agreement with HBO for the final episodes of the Emmy-winning series and will roughly double their salaries.

SUSAN SARANDON, SEAN PENN and other members of the Film Actors Guild are joining antiwar activists like Cindy Sheehan o­n a hunger strike "to show the world that there are Americans who are committed to peace." The stars are engaging in a "rolling fast," which is to say they are committed to skipping the occasional meal. No word o­n whether Alec Baldwin and Michael Moore will be missing any meals. The hunger strike is organized by Code Pink, a group that sees our troops as "killers," and paraded coffins around Walter Reed Army Medical Center, all the while claiming to do so in support of the troops. Not to mention taunting children coming to visit the White House. These are some PR geniuses at work.

IRAQ: Zarqawi had the phone numbers of senior Iraqi officials stored in his cell phone, according to an Iraqi legislator. Zarqawi's first wife told an Italian newspaper that al Qaeda leaders sold him out to the US for a promise to let up in the search for bin Laden. Doubtful, but it won't help AQ morale, which is fine with me. Iraqi soldiers rescued three kidnap victims, foiled a kidnap attempt, captured 28 suspected terrorists, and killed eight terrorists in separate operations July 2 and 3, military officials reported. T.F. Boggs, a sergeant in the Army Reserves, has a two-part interview with General Ali, who has largely pacified Qayyarah, a suburb of Mosul.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: The New York Times has a piece by Dexter Filkins headlined, "In Ramadi, Fetid Quarters and Unrelenting Battles." Filkins calls Ramadi "epicenter of the Iraqi insurgency," which is probably a fair statement; the largest hospital was until recently under insugent control. But you have to read almost to the end of the NYT story to learn that: "Iraqi civilians, by and large, did not seem to fear the American marines as they passed o­n patrol. When the Americans rumbled past, the Iraqis often continued whatever they were doing: talking, sitting, standing, eating. The children held up their hands for soccer balls, and occasionally a marine would toss o­ne to a child. 'Football! Football!' the children cried." And you read nothing about successes with the people in the western part of the city.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA II: The AP ran a story headlined, "Only o­ne Medal of Honor given for Iraq war," suggesting that counter-insurgency ops offer less opportunity for courageous military action. Of course, afaik, the AP never bothered to report o­n Sgt. 1st. Class Javier Camacho, who was awarded the Silver Star for rescuing troops from a burning tank. The AP never spilled many pixels over those who won the Air Force Cross and the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism. Nor -- with the exceptions of Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith (who was awarded the Medal of Honor) and Army Sgt. Leigh A. Hester (the first woman to be awarded the Silver Star) -- did the AP cover the awarding of the Silver Star and Bronze Star to six or seven men I've mentioned before. And that's the small tip of a large iceberg. It's a nifty two-step -- ignore heroes and then suggest there is a lack of heroism in Iraq by focusing just the very highest honor awarded.

POLAR BEARS are housed in an expanding, air-conditioned jail in Manitoba. Bears that are locked up are normally released when ice returns to the region. The bears are sort of like drunken Otis Campbell o­n The Andy Griffith Show.

AN ALBINO POLICE HORSE in the UK is getting through a heatwave with the help of thirty bottles of sunscreen a day. Pics at the first link.

RUNAWAY WHIPPET UPDATE: Vivi, who has been missing since running off from NYC's JFK Airport in February (after competing at the Westminster Dog Show), was most recently spotted in Forest Park, where she may be surviving o­n a stray's diet of squirrels and garbage.

A PIRANHA 11-inches long and weighing 1 1/2 pounds was fished out the Des Plaines River in a suburb of Chicago. Those of us who live here are not surprised.

THE BAT CONSERVATION TRUST will be taking a bat-census in the Palace of Westminster, home of Britain's parliament. Check for updates at your same bat-time, same bat-channel.

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Nilsson, Voxtrot, Keith Moon, and a Smarter-than-Average Bear   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 05, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


HARRY NILSSON talks about songwriting and plays a few numbers o­n the ol' Smothers Brothers show. He mentions that he wrote o­ne of them for Midnight Cowboy, which was rejected in favor of his version of Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'." IIRC, o­ne of the songs turned up in the 1971 animated feature The Point, which got an audio feature o­n NPR's Fresh Air when the movie came to DVD in 2004.

HALFTIME REPORTS: I noted a couple o­n June 30th, but here's o­ne from Largehearted Boy, a music blog from which I frequently steal links. Plus, Pitchfork has a list of overlooked records from the first half of the year.

VOXTROT, which has two EPs o­n the aforementioned Pitchfork list, gets a blurb and an interview in the New York Daily News. And I think I saw this at LHB, so it's all sort of falling together today. You can stream a bunch from Voxtrot -- including covers of Talking Heads, Blondie, New Order and Felt -- via the Hype Machine.

SONGS OF AMERICA: The Salt Lake Tribune recommends books, films and albums that embody the soul of America, including selections from Camper Van Beethoven and Drive-By Truckers. London's Guardian tried to come up with a list that did not confirm the popular cliche of an America-hating Guardianista, but was o­nly partially successful. The Hype Machine logged plenty of July 4th-related entries, including: Galaxie 500 - "Fourth of July"; U2 - "The Hands That Built America"; Bruce Springsteen - "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"; Simon & Garfunkel - "America"; The Decemberists - "July, July!"; Lucinda Williams - "American Dream"; and Ray Charles - "America the Beautiful." And David Bowie's "Young Americans" and "I'm Afraid of Americans," proving he really does swing both ways.

JIM MORRISON'S LAST NOTEBOOK, including previously unseen poetry and lyrics, is going o­n auction at the Abbey Road studios o­n July 28th.

THE DIABLEROS just got a mighty nice review of You Can't Break the Strings in Our Olympic Hearts, which you can hear at the band's website.

DARK SIDE OF THE (KEITH) MOON: To help plug the CD re-release of the late Keith Moon's solo album, Two Sides Of The Moon, the Who drummer's longtime assistant, Dougal Butler, dishes some dirt from his book, Moon the Loon. Moon's legendary misbehavior rarely affected his drumming, with the notable exception of being carried off stage in mid-concert after taking too much horse tranquilizer, which led to Pete Townshend soliciting the drumming services of Scott Halpin from the audience. BONUS: Townshend and Moon appeared o­n Good Morning America to promote Who Are You, which must be o­ne of Moon's last TV appearances.

KILLING MUSIC, in a good way is music blogger rbally. Currently, you can stream the J. Mascis-Broken Social Scene gig and a Replacements concert via the Hype Machine.

CHRISSIE HYNDE of the Pretenders thinks meat-eaters are the real terrorists. Then again, she wanted the US to lose to Saddam Hussein, so I guess I'm not surprised.

SUPERMAN RETURNS: The Awesome Until Proven Guilty blog has a super-themed post you can stream via the Hype Machine.

PAUL, RINGO and YOKO all turned up for the Las Vegas premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Love extravaganza, which George Martin scored from remixed Fab tracks. I would think George's widow had to be there, too, as the idea was sparked by the friendship between the late Harrison and Cirque founder Guy Laliberte.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The supposedly sober supermodel is reportedly seeing a shrink to get over her addiction to dodgy men like junkie rocker Doherty, ex-drug addict Russell Brand and Dirty Pretty Things rocker Anthony Rossomando. Plus a friend is reportedly sending Moss and Jude Law's ex-wife, Sadie Frost, to a detox retreat in the Maldives.

STACY'S MOM: Rachel Hunter has had some work done, based o­n some NSFW pics. The same site has some safer bikini pics and video as well. And since the safer post is titled, "Stacy's Mom Has Got It Going On," I'm certainly not going to pass up the opportunity to re-link to the Fountains of Wayne video.

BRADGELINA: It looks like rockers and new parents Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale brought their baby over to the Pitt-Jolie pad for a celebrity playdate with baby Shiloh, where the moms chatted while Rossdale, Pitt and Maddox revved up the ATVs.

MADONNA, perhaps realizing that she's been a failure as an actress, really wants to direct, which I'm sure will thrill her director hubby, Guy Ritchie.

VAUGHNISTON: Jennifer Aniston also really wants to direct, just at the moment of having cinema success with The Break-Up. Meanwhile, she's pouring sheep sperm o­n Vince Vaughn's head.

JIMMY STEWART was forced to prove he wasn't gay by bedding two hookers, according to an upcoming biography. NTTAWWT.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY deals with PMS by listening to gay pop anthems. NTTAWWT. Particularly when Egotastic uses it as an excuse to post pics of her at the UK premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. She may want to check out the secret history of gay pop published in yeaterday's Guardian.

JESSICA SIMPSON and NICK LACHEY are officially divorced, so the pneumatic blonde can focus o­n a likely investigation of her bodyguards after a news photographer was roughed up outside the Pink Elephant in Southampton, L.I.

KRISTIN DAVIS is the surprise winner of a "world's most beautiful woman" poll taken by Eve magazine in the UK. Not that Davis isn't beautiful; it's just that she usually doesn't turn up in these sorts of polls.

DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE & DAVID: Bon Jovi wisely nixed Denise Richards' plan to give Richie Sambora a birthday cake o­nstage next Monday.

NAOMI WATTS: Pregnancy rumors have re-surfaced, though I think the gorilla has been ruled out as a suspect.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: The Cruise Crazy Train inspired a "silent inning" to honor his baby's "silent birth" at a minor-league baseball game between the Lake Elsinore Storm and the High Desert Mavericks. Instead of the more traditional bobblehead, the team handed out a "bobble-couch" depicting Cruise's famous couch-jumping incident o­n Oprah.

IRAQ: At ITM, Omar reports that the people of Samarra are offering a 100 million dinar reward to anyone who provides information that lead to the death or arrest of Haitham al-Badri, suspected mastermind of the mosque bombing there. Iraqi forces are taking the lead in operations in portions of Tal Afar, central Baghdad, and Haswah. The Coalition is transferring authority to Iraqi forces in o­ne fifth of the Diyala Province. The US military says it killed an Al Qaeda operative suspected of orchestrating the massive truck bombing in Baghdad last week that left 66 people dead. An Iraqi insurgent group announced the "martyrdom" of its top commander "Abu Abdel Rahman" in clashes with the "infidels and apostates" in Ramadi. Gulf Arab states promised to crack down harder o­n sources of funding for the insurgency, according to Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki. We'll see. Iraq's justice minister has demanded that the UN Security Council ensure a US troops are punished for allegedly raping and murdering a young Iraqi and executing her family. The ex-soldier already charged was dishonorably discharged from the Army because of a "personality disorder" before the attack came to light. As usual, the US will investigate and mete out any appropriate punishment, which is a far cry from the "rape rooms" that operated under Saddam and those run by militias and busted by US forces after the invasion.

NORTH KOREA test-launched the long-range Taepodong-2 missile, but it apparently failed. So the pre-emptive strike suggested by former Pres. Clinton's Defense Secretary and Assistant Defense Secretary, which might have set off a second round of the Korean War, turned out to be unnecessary.

ISLAMIC EXTREMISM IN THE UK: Britons who criticize Prime Minister Tony Blair for not winning Muslim "hearts and minds" since the 7/7 London bombings really ough to read Sunday Times reporter Ali Hussain's account of his six weeks undercover in Beeston, where three of the 7/7 bombers came from. And they ought to ask what the supposed moderate Muslims in the UK are doing to combat the delusional conspiracy theorists and violent jihadis in their midst.

A BEAR CUB munched o­n barbecue-chicken-and-jalapeno pizza, washing it down with a swig of a Jack Daniel's mixer, an Absolut vodka and tonic, and a beer in the back seat of a vintage red Buick convertible at Lake Tahoe. I'm tempted to say "smarter than the average bear," but mixing your liquor like that is not a good idea.

MAN SAVES DOG FROM GATOR'S JAWS after a protracted struggle in South Carolina. Video at the link.

DOG o­n THE RUN FOR THREE YEARS re-adjusts to life as a pet. Videos at the link.

HORNY PEACOCKS are causing trouble in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

HORSE CAUSES TWO CAR CRASHES, but the ambulance tranferring o­ne patient hit a moose. Hard to believe Ken King moved away from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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Happy Independence Day '06!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 04, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THE UNITED STATES celebrates the 230th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. As the Wikipedia notes, this is a little arbitrary: New Englanders had been fighting Britain since April 1775; the first motion in the Continental Congress for independence was made o­n June 8th; and the Congress voted 12-0 for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain o­n July 2nd. Even so, the publication of the Declaration was momentous -- with our National Archives recovering from flood waters, the best way to see and learn about the Declaration may be through the Charters of Freedom website. But you can watch Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Renee Zelleweger, Kevin Spacey, Wynona Ryder and other Hollywood folk read the Declaration at YouTube, after a short introduction by Morgan Freeman, who squeezed in his narration between March of the Penguins and War of the Worlds.

Of course, the holiday more broadly celebrates the American Revolutionary War, and the Founders' unlikely victory. People with the highest standard of living and the lowest taxes in the Western World fought a sometimes unpopular war for our freedom. Early o­n, the Revolutionaries (also known as "Americans" or "Patriots") had the active support of about 40 to 45 percent of the colonial population. By 1779, there were more Americans fighting with the British than with Washington, which is why Washington needed help from the French, the Spanish and freed Blacks. You can separate fact from fiction regarding the sacrifices and fates of the Founders at Snopes. You can hear two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough read from the first chapter of his 1776 via NPR.

And yeah, I've got your Marvin Gaye and your Jimi Hendrix right here, via the Hype Machine. Back with the usual tripe tomorrow. Try not to blow a finger off, willya?

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The Prez, the PM, the King, the Godfather of Soul, the Man of Steel, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 03, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THE PRESIDENT, THE PRIME MINISTER, poorboys and pilgrims with families are all going to Graceland. President Bush, took Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi -- a self-described Elvis Presley maniac -- to the former home and final resting place of the King (after giving him an Elvis-heavy jukebox). They also had some fine Memphis BBQ and visited the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. CBS News has a nice photo gallery, though you may need to watch some video for the full flavor. There's even a Pate angle, as PM Koizumi said at Graceland that "I sometimes see the image of the United States as Gary Cooper in my favorite movie, High Noon." I didn't want anyone who was traveling this weekend to miss it. I recently rounded up a whole mess 'o' Presley video, but let's throw in audio of Marc Cohn's "Walking In Memphis" (live at KBCO), along with the King's "A Little Less Conversation" (JXL Remix).

JAMES BROWN: An interview with the Godfather of Soul in London's Independent reveals him to be more than a little eccentric. "And still we come back, for the simple reason that Brown is worth the trouble. He is often described as being, to black music, what Elvis Presley was to white - a serious understatement of Brown's stature. Presley, iconic as he was, was ultimately derivative; the most accomplished of the numerous performers delivering black music to white people. Without Brown, popular music would not exist in the form that it does today."  And if it's hot where you are, break out in a "Cold Sweat."

JOHNNY CASH: The posthumous American V: A Hundred Highways is released tomorrow, but you can stream the whole thing now. Not particularly festive, though.

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, otoh, were festive enough playing WXPN and World Cafe Live o­n June 30th, which you can stream from NPR.

BIG BLACK is reuniting for a couple of songs at the September concert marking the 25th anniversary of the Touch & Go label. I might have to go see my ol' law school classmate, Santiago Durango.

THE FEEL-GOOD HITS OF THE SUMMER: The NY Post solicits odds o­n this year's candidates and posts a 50 year list of summer hits.

THE SUMMERTIME BLUES: There ain't no cure for them, according to Eddie Cochran, some murky video of The Who at the Superdome in '75, Blue Cheer from the Beat Club, and Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band o­n the Darkness o­n the Edge of Town tour.

STAX PROFILES: The latest set of Stax reissues is a series of 10 Profiles, o­n which fans, friends or associates choose their own favourite tracks by an individual artist. London's Independent particularly liked the compilation of Otis Redding selected by MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, who produced and co-wrote many of the soul giant's classic tracks. You can listen to a streaming Stax sampler via eMusic for free (but you have to sign up if you also want to download it).

GNARLS BARKLEY: London's Guardian calls them a 21st-century version of Sly and the Family Stone. Moreover, "(t)he Gnarls persona and the attendant costumes might well appear like some kind of Snap, Crackle and Pop gimmick, but they are (Cee-Lo) Green and (Brian) Burton's attempt to deflect attention away from themselves and towards the music."

LLOYD COLE is lightening up o­n Antidepressant, which is due in September. Until then, we have to make do with the audio and video at Lloyd's MySpace page.

BOB DYLAN need o­nly mention Alicia Keys in a song to get her "crazy excited." Not bad for a senior citizen.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer had to leave all his belongings at the front desk of a Paris hotel and make a round-trip to the UK to pay his bill. Meanwhile, the supposedly sober supermodel is spending evenings downing champagne and becoming dissheveled. And publishers have uncovered a "woeful poem" Moss wrote about Doherty and his addictions.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Superman Returns obviously took the weekend with 52 million bucks, with a total of 84 million since opening. That sounds like a lot of money, but in reality the box office is far less than super, falling between Batman Begins and The Fantastic Four, and less than X-Men 3 did in its three-day opening. And all of those cost much less than Superman Returns. In contrast, The Devil Wears Prada earned 27 million from o­nly 2,847 venues, making for highly effective counter-programming. Click, Cars and Nacho Libre round out your top five.

SUPERMAN RETURNS: In this case, Superman is Dean Cain, who found Lois Lane's behavior in the new movie to be disturbing. The latest Lois, Kate Bosworth, was voted the sexiest Lois ever, beating off competition from Erica Durance and Teri Hatcher. It's an o­nline poll, so it would be interesting to know how many Warner Bros. employees voted.

PIRATES: Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom had a lot of red wine right before a surprise greeting from the Prime Minister of the island of St. Vincent's. Oops. Jack Davenport, who courted Keira Knightley's character in the first Pirates, says, "I've never done a job where I've felt so much like a seedy uncle." Unsurprisingly, Depp said much the same thing o­n the DVD commentary during the scene where he and Knightley share an island. Knightley and Bloom suffered near-dehydration o­n the world's longest red carpet at the sequel's Disneyland premiere.

HEATHER MILLS McCARTNEY reportedly will accept a £10 million divorce pay-out from Sir Paul, rather than the £200 million she might have won. Maybe she's hoping that will stem the stream of porn from her past that has surfaced since the couple separated.

EVA LONGORIA and TONY PARKER are crashing Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban's honeymoon.

BRADGELINA may next adopt an older child, which could save o­n those nanny expenses.

COURTNEY COX-ARQUETTE and her daughter, Coco, were having some fun at the beach. Of course, Coco's next move was NSFW, because kids live to embarass their parents.

WOODY HARRELSON allegedly choked a cameraman. But wait, wouldn't Woody Harrelson be smart enough to realize that you're likely to be photographed if you choke a camerman? I didn't think so, either.

BRITNEY SPEARS syas she has an obsessive compulsive cleaning disorder. Which would explain why she can't seem to leave Spenderline.

DAVID HASSELFOFF was hospitalized following a freak shaving accident. No, really.

JESSICA SIMPSON and NICK LACHEY are officially divorced.

JESSICA BIEL, Esquire's reigning "Sexiest Woman Alive," and CHRIS EVANS (a/k/a the Human Torch) have called it quits after dating for more than two years. And before I start getting any e-mail, I had nothing to do with it.

NANOTECH: Scientists from MIT think nanotech could provide significant breakthroughs for solar energy. N.Z. Bear looks at the underlying math, which is sobering.

IRAQ: At ITM, Omar looked at the number and size of insurgent groups open to the national reconciliation plan, but noted an attack he suspects was made by al Qaeda to provoke followers of al-Sadr. Sure enough, fighting followed in the mostly Sunni Aadhamiya district in eastern Baghdad. After an initial drop, insurgent attacks in Baghdad have risen during Operation Together Forward, which seems to surprise Reuters, but not US commanders. This is what happens when you take the fight to the enemy. Interestingly, the informal numbers suggest that the increase in attacks has not increased the number killed, thoug July is off to a bad start. Meanwhile, conditions in some parts of Ramadi have improved to the point where the US can do "hearts and minds" work and advance reconstruction.

IRAN: State television has bought the rights to 65 episodes of the Teletubbies, with experts dubbing them into Farsi. Apparently, no o­ne told the mullahs about Tinky-Winky.

THE ACLU LOVES WHISTLEBLOWERS... until someone blows the whistle o­n the group, in which case it tries to censor any dissent.

WHEN THE FLOOD COMES, A frog helps a mouse. Awww... Bigger pic at the link.

A HAMMERHEAD SHARK caught off Boca Grande last month was impressive, not o­nly for its 3-foot-wide hammer, 14-foot length and 1,280 pounds, but also because it was carrying 55 shark pups. Pics of the shark and the pups at the link.

SUMA THE ELEPHANT was bereaved and inconsolable after her pachyderm partner of 10 years died of cancer, until she heard Mozart.

A RUNAWAY DOG returns home after three years in the wild.

AND A SPECIAL TREAT for everyone stopping by during a holiday weekend: The Bodydoubles International Twins Search. Oh. My. Somebody get Wrigley's o­n the phone.

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