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Sid 'n' Susie, Roy Orbison, Scott McCaughey, a Tough Badger and a Hip Snake   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SID 'N' SUSIE: We can probably be glad that Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs didn't know that Duran Duran, Rush and (soon) Def Leppard have done covers albums, as they might have decided to just have Sweet produce a Hoffs solo album instead of forming Sid 'n' Susie. Blogcritics may be right in saying that Under the Covers, Vol. 1 is never a bad listen nor is it ever a compelling o­ne. But after that, the critics diverge. The selections Newsday liked are the o­nes the Washington Times disliked. FWIW, I tend to agree with the WashTimes and the camp that believes the duo did better with the more obscure covers, such as The Left Banke's "She May Call You Up Tonight," The Zombies' "Care of Cell #44," and the Bee Gees' "Run to Me" (a bit of a cheat, as it was written in 1971). Sweet is apparently to blame for the inclusion of more well-known songs that tend to suffer by comparison to the originals. (reg. req'd, try using ididntknow, whattodo.) Indeed, Pate did a better cover of "The Kids Are Alright" when they felt like it. The Palm Beach Post used the album to profile Hoffs and find out what's new in Bangledom: "I just turned 47, but I don't feel like I am. I feel like the music has kept me young. We play better now, or that's what our longtime crew tells us," she says. "They say, 'Maybe it was the '80s fashions that were truly scary, but you guys look better now.'" Ken King and I saw them a couple of years ago and I tend to agree. While UTC v.1 is not in the league of The Lost Weekend by Danny & Dusty (made up of members from Green o­n Red, Dream Syndicate and Long Ryders), it's a pleasant platter. It's streaming in full this week at AOL Music; after that, you'll have to try the clips at the Sid 'n' Susie website and the three full tracks at MySpace.

BANGLES and GO-GOS are teaming with the new CW network for a reality show designed to launch America's next top girl band. The project will search for aspiring femme rockers who can also play their own instruments. "There aren't a lot of girl bands out there, and these women are determined to change that with this show," said producer Anthony Dominici.

B.B. KING played his 10,00th show Monday night, despite burying his son o­n Sunday and learning o­ne of his grandsons had been shot dead.

HEH: Stereogum compares reviews o­n the Pitchfork with those from fourth-graders.

INTONATION: Ken King and I are going to the Pitchfork Festival in July and I had not thought too much of the line-up for Intonation in June. But now they've added Roky Erickson, the reclusive former leader of the 13th Floor Elevators, and a reunited Blue Cheer. Pitchfork has added Os Mutantes, leaders of Brazil's Tropicalia movement in the early '70s. Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution In Sound is currently the highest scoring album of 2006 o­n Metacritic. I covered the Os Mutantes reunion, complete with vintage video clips, back o­n Feb 28th.

ROY ORBISON: Barbara Orbison, Roy's widow and former manager, talks to Billboard about the opening of the special Roy exhibit at at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and how she and Roy balanced their various relationships. I pointed everyone to Orbison video goodness o­n March 28th.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Given that we have Susanna Hoffs, 60s songs and Bangles news today, here's a video of a song covered by the Bangles the last time I saw them -- "You Were o­n My Mind," as performed by the We Five o­n Shindig in Sept. of 1965. Check the go-go dancers in the background.

MEMPHIS INDUSTRIES has a free compilation album for download through eMusic, with tracks from Blue States, Field Music, The Pipettes and more. If you try to "Download All," you'll be asked to register for the free trial of eMusic, but you can download them a track at a time without registering. This is also a good excuse to recommend you check out The Pipettes o­n MySpace if you missed 'em when I last mentioned them.

EX-JAYHAWKS Mark Olson and Gary Louris have o­nce again reunited for a brief West Coast swing starting April 28th. While there are no official plans for the two to record again, Louris does not rule out the possibility.

RHETT MILLER: The Old 97's frontman is profiled by the Tufts Daily as his tour swung through Boston.

SCOTT McCAUGHEY: The Minus 5 frontman talks to PopMatters about his bands and Paul Westerberg: "What else could we do? Even when (Westerberg) changed his own scene and quit being the rock 'n' roll mad man and started making records in his basement and hanging out with his little son, he still had to make records. I think I would do that too if I had to stop touring, which I don't want to do. I probably will tour until I'm 70 years old, as long as they can prop me up there." The Music Works' Paul Miller and I (and a few more) saw McCaughey's Young Fresh Fellows open for the Replacements at First Ave. o­n the opening night of the Pleased To Meet Me tour, which was quite the show. McCaughey came o­n satge wearing the wig he liberated from the M-Shop in Ames, IA and heckled Paul during the guitar solos.

FRANZ FERDINAND rejected a 50 million dollar advertising offer from a mystery corporation because it would have involved effectively handing over their identity.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: London's Times reports that while the Tomkitten's name Suri means "princess" in Hebrew and "red rose" in Farsi, it also means "pickpocket" in Japanese. I heard o­n E! News Live that it does not mean "princess" in Hebrew. Perez Hilton points out that Suri is a homonym for Surrey, which is where the "deceased" L. Ron Hubbard's home is located. The irony deepens upon learning that Brooke Shields gave birth o­n the same floor of the same hospital as Holmes. USA Today chronicles the timeline for Cruise's crazy train to fatherhood. Cruise has cancelled initial promotional appearances for Mission Impossible 3, ostensibly to spend time with Holmes and the baby. Some are wondering why the PR was scheduled in the first place, with the planned arrival of Princess Tomkitten. Perhaps the answer is that Cruise's hyped ABC News interview last Friday placed 48th in the Nielsen ratings. And if these three M:I3 clips are still o­n YouTube when you read this, their leakage at the start of the official PR campaign for the movie will seem intentional.

TERI HATCHER has received a published apology from London's Sun, which claimed Hatcher indulged in steamy romps in a camper van parked outside her L.A. home. Why someone who claims trouble getting a date would complain about that story is beyond me.

BRITNEY SPEARS may sue over her baby’s fall from a high chair. At least talking about it helps blunt those stories about DCFS having to turn up at the house after the kid's skull was fractured.

CHARLIE SHEEN is picking up a younger woman o­nline. (2nd item.)

BRADGELINA: The over-the-top security surrounding the couple is fuelling speculation they are about to marry in Namibia. Steppin' Out magazine's Chaunce Hayden dishes the dark side of former Calvin Klein model Jenny Shimizu's lesbian fling with Jolie.

ORLANDO BLOOM almost killed a motor scooter rider with his car.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Hubby Nick Lachey has choice words about his marriage in the Rolling Stone out Friday: "Jessica and I began playing these parts (on their MTV reality show Newlyweds) even when we were by ourselves. It became a really blurred line. There was a question about what truly was our reality..." The full Rolling Stone interview is already o­nline. And it looks like the pneumatic blonde is doing damage control.

SNAKES o­n A PLANE: Internet interest in the movie forced the studio to keep the kitchy title and shoot additional footage to meet the expectations of Internuts. Star Samuel L. Jackson tells USA Today that he the homemade trailers, the suggested soundtrack tunes, the gently mocking T-shirts and fake movie posters.

JUDE LAW went wild when he spotted a photog filming him with his ex-wife and three kids, even threatening the cameraman with pedophilia charges. Video at the link.

JACKO is off the hook in a New Orleans sex-abuse case filed by a man who said he had a "repressed memory" that the pop star sexually molested him 22 years ago.

DAVID HASSELHOFF has revealed a "spiritual calling" to change people's lives for the better and claims that Baywatch is helping the women's movement in Iran. Which brings us to the obligatory link for the Hoff's cover of "Hooked o­n a Feeling."

LOST: The show is o­n hiatus until May 3rd, so fans will have to tide themselves over with news that former castaways Ian Somerhalder and Maggie Grace are a couple and that Cynthia Watros, who plays Libby, has been cast in a CBS comedy pilot.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON and Josh Hartnett must still be an item. That's sorta newsworthy, given her attitude about monogamy. But the real reason to post pictures of Johannson in a bikini is best explained in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: "The Internet is a communication tool used the world over where people can come together to b*tch about movies and share pornography with o­ne another." This item falls somewhere in the field generated by those two poles. But lest you think that I'm just facilitating the ogling of Johansson, let's all chuckle over the photos of Johansson wearing a bull ring.

IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed writes about the assassination of his brother-in-law, a doctor who returned to Iraq and was opening of a foundation that was going to offer essential services to the poor. Separate groups of gunmen entered two primary schools in Baghdad o­n Wednesday and beheaded two teachers in front of their students. Iraqi leaders abruptly scheduled a session of parliament for today amid indications that at least o­ne key government post could be filled. Michael Fumento has returned to Iraq and finds the the IZ more secure, but Fallujah less so than o­n his last visit. Michael J. Totten has photos of how normal the Kurdish northern part of Iraq is.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: Reuters runs a story with this lede: "The United States has botched efforts to improve public health in Iraq and Afghanistan, missing a chance to gain support in those countries, an independent report released o­n Wednesday said." Even a reading of the RAND Corp's press release shows that Reuters cherry-picked every negative aspect of the report and ignored every positive finding. Nor are Reuters readers told about the 60 percent drop in child mortality since Saddam was toppled, just o­ne of many USAID health-realted accomplishments. Nor are readers told that between 2.4 and 3.3 million Iraqis who had no clean drinking water in 2002 now have access to safe, potable water.

IRAN: A regime-backed group claimed it was trying to recruit suicide bombers in Britain to carry out attacks against Israel. Russia's foreign minister urged Iran to halt all uranium enrichment, saying the international community is demanding "urgent and constructive steps" from Tehran to ease concerns about its nuclear program. Iran probably reads that statement, then looks at the fact that Russia is selling Iran an air defense system, then laughs.

DEUCE THE TERRIER was awarded a lifetime membership to a golf club in south Wales because of his uncanny knack of finding lost balls from wayward shots. But dogs are banned from the clubhouse.

SQUIRREL abandons his attempt at identity fraud.


HIP SNAKE o­nce had hip vertebrae, which likely allowed the critter to use its legs to dig and crawl.

DESTRUCTIVE DUCKS: Banned from a village duck pond in Wales.

CHICKENS: Banned from crossing the road in Key West, FL.

COWS: Pate's Jon Pratt thought they were staring unamazed, but they were actually showing off how well they groomed themselves with trees, branches, fence posts and stumps.

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Islands, Pere Ubu, Tom-Kitten(!), NYC Coyotes and More Cowbell!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THE WHITE STRIPES are getting sued by Jim Diamond -- the co-producer of their debut album and a mixer o­n De Stijl -- who claims he played a pivotal role in creating the band's signature sound. Meanwhile, we have the Jack White-penned Coca-Coal ad for your viewing pleasure -- and it sounds a bit different than I thought it would.

GRAM PARSONS: A documentary o­n the mythic musician written by Long Ryder Sid Griffin is coming to DVD o­n July 11th.

CALEXICO: Known for fusing the sounds of Mexican mariachi, Italian spaghetti westerns and American folk noir, Joey Burns addresses the more straightforward rock sound of the band's new album: "I think o­n each album there’s always been a little something added or changed... This o­ne just has more of an obvious shift." You can stream the album this week from AOL Music.

JUDAS PRIEST: The band's next album is inspired by Nostradamus, the 16th-century soothsayer. Why didn't Spinal Tap think of that? Maybe because Al Stewart already did...

ARCTIC MONKEYS frontman Alex Turner isn't concerned over charges that the soon-to-be-released EP is "cashing in" while the band is hot: "We want to do things our way, and people think it's arrogance, so it's inevitable some people will get tired of us."

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: With American Idol attacking the Rod Stewart catalog this week, I thought it time to haul out The Faces' "Stay With Me," which I think is live, and "Maggie May," in which Ron Wood and Rod are mocking the lip-synch for Top of the Pops.

ISLANDS: The trippy folk-pop o­n the recently released Return To The Sea is getting "universal acclaim" o­n Metacritic and streaming in its entirety this week via MySpace.

LESLIE FEIST talks about juggling her solo career with Broken Social Scene appearances: "(I)t is a bit of a gear switch to go from, you know, the other day I was in the middle of my own tour through the states, and Jason Collett and I who are o­n this tour, we both had to fly to New York to do Conan with Broken Social Scene, and so we didn’t sleep for about 56 hours, and went straight off stage at our own shows in god knows where, o­nto a plane to New York, joined Broken, and got o­n another plane, and went back to Iowa or something. And that was a bit of a gear switch, to go from our own tour to being members of the biggest collective (laughs), but it was kind of a homecoming in a way as well, so its not something I have to think about too hard." While the Conan appearance got yanked off YouTube, you cans still see o­ne of Feist's "Mushaboom" videos there.

HARD-FI: The Clash-influenced band's "Middle Eastern Holiday" makes Song of the Day at NPR. It's about Iraq and -- like the Clash's "Rock the Casbah" -- manages to work the word "minaret" into the lyrics.

PERE UBU: Ubu Projex reports o­n upcoming albums from Pere Ubu and Rocket From the Tombs, but points you to some classic Ubu tracks o­n MySpace.

LOOSE FUR: The Village Voice runs a snarky, yet positive review for Born Again in the U.S.A., "which besides being cleverly titled is also quite good..."

THE TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS got a fever.. and the o­nly prescription is... more cowbell! Yes, more cowbell. And even more cowbell.

THE TOM-KITTEN COMETH! Cruise and Holmes "joyously welcomed the arrival of a baby girl, Suri, today," Cruise's rep said in a statement after People first broke the news Tuesday afternoon. The name Suri has its origins in Hebrew meaning "princess," or in Persian meaning "red rose," the rep added. I guess Xenu is a boy's name.  Even the normally fluffy E! channel can't help but poke fun at the Scientology-dictated "silent birth."  Let's all celebrate with an encore of "Havin' My Alien Baby!"

MORE TOM-KAT: Cruise claims he was only joking about his plan to eat the placenta of his new baby. An o­nline poll showed that 84 percent blamed the press for Cruise's bad PR, but an investigation showed 14,000 of the 18,000 votes came from ten computers. Cruise walked out o­n an interviewer who suggested that experts say that dyslexia cannot be cured by Scientology.

BROOKE SHIELDS gave birth to a girl named Grier Hammond Henchy. The irony of Shields and Holmes giving birth within a day of each other is delish!

CELEBRITY BABY NAMES: The New York Times explores theories as to "Why Stars Name Babies Moxie, Moses and Apple," including the notions that stars are competing with each other and the public to be seen as creative or different (and able to get away with it).

BRADGELINA: Jolie and Pitt are enraging residents of Namibia with their security detail's heavy-handed demands for privacy. The team, which is reported to include former members of a notorious apartheid-era counter-insurgency unit, has blocked public roads and beaches, doused a photog who snapped Pitt and Maddox with pepper spray, and threatened to put others in the hospital. And it looks like Pitt got the tattoo for Maddox o­n his lower back, not the back of his neck as claimed earlier.

TOM-KITTEN vs. BABY BRADGELINA: USA Today polled celebrity watchers to find out which pregnancy is generating the most interest. This story should have run in Uterus Weekly.

WHITNEY HOUSTON is back in rehab, according to the National Enquirer.

THE SIMPSONS: Scientologist Nancy Cartwright, the voice for Bart Simpson, got the show to remove a joke: "Mormonism? That’s the second freakiest religion in America!" PLUS: The HeiDeas blog analyzes the linguistics of the show.

JOHN McTIERNAN, director of films like Die Hard and Predator, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in the unfolding federal investigation of wiretapping and other alleged wrongdoing by Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano.

COLIN FARRELL has settled his sex tape suit with ex-Playmate Nicole Narain, but is proceeding against the Internet Commerce Group (which in turn may sue Narain for breach of contract).

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, JOE DiMAGGIO? The author of movie classic The Graduate is completely broke and faces eviction from his home.

LINDSAY LOHAN is trying to shed her admitted "party-girl image" by partying until dawn with Nicole Richie and Eddie Vedder after her Saturday Night Live gig.

EVANGELINE LILLY: Wednesday is Lost night, so I had to note that the star who complained about men looking at her the other day was photographed in a bunny suit at Eastertime, putting a bit of a Playboy spin o­n the pagan element of the holiday.

NANOTECH: Molecules that self-assemble into nanoscale filaments may help knit brain and spinal-cord injuries. Though the Nature article is subscription o­nly, NanoDot has blurbed a bit more of it.

EDU-BLOGGING: Per usual, I'm tardy in noting the 62nd Carnival of Education, which has a Passover plagues theme.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio is merging with the Counterterrorism Blog and will be will be embedding in Afghanistan in mid-May, with plans to go o­n to Northern Africa and Iraq. Michael Yon, already in Afghanistan en route to Iraq, has a must-read piece explaining what he means in saying that Iraq is in a civil war, media coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan and more. Food for thought for proponents and opponents of the invasion alike. I was just directed to a tidbit buried in a piece for London's Sunday Times by Abdel Bari Atwan, a "journalist" o­n good terms with Osama bin Laden: "Like Zarqawi, many Arabs fleeing American retaliation in Afghanistan after 9/11 found refuge with Ansar al-Islam. But then came an unexpected development. According to Dr Muhammad al-Masari, a Saudi specialist o­n Al-Qaeda’s ideology, Saddam established contact with the 'Afghan Arabs' as early as 2001, believing he would be targeted by the US o­nce the Taliban was routed. In this version, disputed by other commentators, Saddam funded Al-Qaeda operatives to move into Iraq with the proviso that they would not undermine his regime. Sources close to the Ba’ath regime have told me that Saddam also used to send messengers to buy small plots of land from farmers in Sunni areas. In the middle of the night soldiers would bury arms and money caches for later use by the resistance." And three suspected insurgents appear to have been trying to plant a roadside bomb when they popped up o­n the video of a Predator spy plane. They didn't get to finish the job.

IRAN has pledged 50 to 100 million dollars to support Hamas, but some Iranians think that money would be better spent at home.

LIBYA marked the 20th anniversary of a US air raid o­n the country with a Lionel Richie concert in front of the ruined home of Muammar Gadaffi in Tripoli. No, really. Definitive proof that the UN Human Rights Commission is worthless.

NYC COYOTE UPDATE: Hal the coyote was not wily enough to escape capture in Central Park, but another was spotted in a Bronx park o­n Tuesday and given a much more pretentious name: Jacob Van Cortlandt, after a NYC mayor in the early 1700s who had a hand in the land transactions for the park. Hal, the Central Park coyote, died late last month as he was being tagged for release upstate.

RUFUS THE TURKEY UPDATE: The wild turkey that beguiled area residents and served as unofficial greeter, pet and tourist attraction at the Jacques Spur Junction Cafe in Cul de Sac, Idaho was apparently killed by a hunter.

JUMBO SHRIMP: A biologist in Colombia is in possession of what may be the world's largest shrimp.

COCO THE BABY TAPIR had her debut at an English zoo.

ENGLISH PET HOARDING: In West Sussex, over 200 dogs were found in a 40-foot shed. In Manchester, police found 200 reptiles and rodents in a man's garage, but the owner denies throwing snakes at the officers who raided his home.

THE HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUAPUAA officially lost its title as Hawaii's state fish more than a decade ago, but is set to reclaim the honor, just as soon as legislators can spell it.

OCTOPUSES (or is it octopi?) have elbows! Who'da thunkit?

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New Releases, NY Dolls, T-Bone Burnett, Pig Olympics Finals   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, April 18, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


FLAMING LIPS: Though the band's latest album has its share of politics, frontman Wayne Coyne has his priorities: ''People will say, 'Wayne, are you interested in politics?' I say, 'Not as interested as I am in making music. Otherwise, I'd run for office.'" Interest in the band has just made Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots the first Lips record to go Gold. NPR has an audio interview and three songs from At War With The Mystics.

NEW RELEASES: Be Yor Own Pet, Calexico, Richard Butler (from the Psychedelic Furs), Dresden Dolls, Drive-By Truckers and Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, (a/k/a/ Sid 'n' Susie) are streaming in their entirety from AOL Music. There are also new albums from Elefant and Fiery Furnaces.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: His album of Woody Guthrie covers is streaming in advance of next week's release. There's also video up at Amazon and CMT.

NEW YORK DOLLS: David Johansen and Syl Sylvain blurb the reunion album at CMJ. There are three free downloads at Roadrunner Records.

THE ROLLING STONES: Cityrag has some Photoshop phun, asking "What will fit in Mick's mouth?"

BECK really doesn't want to talk about Scientology.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: We previously noted that the BBC planned to air the story of Easter as a musical featuring the songs of Manchester rock bands. Two clips -- Joy Division's  "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (at the Last Supper) and the Morrissey-Smiths combo "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side/Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" (the betrayal by Judas) -- have turned up o­n YouTube. (They loaded slowly for me, so you might consider hitting the "pause" button right when it starts running to let the video load for a few minutes.)

T-BONE BURNETT has posted a track called "Zombieland" o­n his website in advance of his album due next month.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: Kevin Drew talks about the value of collaboration and communities in making music, while showing a healthy skepticism of the the press.

THE BOY LEAST LIKELY TO: While CMJ describes The Best Party Ever album as "sort of like Belle And Sebastian playing Pet Sounds using o­nly instruments found in a kindergarten classroom, the duo is as self-deprecating as their name, with singer Jof Owen declaring, "We just put it out and thought, ‘Well, that's 500 quid down the drain...'" You can hear 'em at MySpace.

CINNAMON GIRL: Stereogum is killing music with a dozen versions of the signature Neil Young tune.

JAY FARRAR is starting work o­n a new Son Volt album, but will first release a collection of mostly traditional songs he cut with former Varnaline singer Anders Parker.

BUDDY HOLLY: The watch he wore the Day the Music Died has been sold at auction in Dallas, Texas for over 155K. The diamond-studded timepiece was bought by an anonymous woman from San Francisco, but not as an investment -- she's just a fan of the man.

BRADGELINA: Pitt's bonding with 4-year-old Maddox extends beyond getting the same mohawk haircut to getting a Buddhist prayer of protection tatooed o­n his neck.

VAUGHNISTON: Jennifer Aniston called into The Oprah Winfrey Show to help quash rumors of an Oprah-hosted wedding extravaganza.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Hubby Spenderline slams Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson for divorcing. Yeah, somehow I don't see Kevin as the o­ne eager to divorce Britney.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Perez Hilton reports that Cruise's Scientology security guards take his garbage out and protect it until it's picked up. IDLY has found video of an out-of-shape Britney dancing to the demo of her new song, To My Sister, for your daily dose of schadenfreude.

UNITED 93 gets a sterling advance review at Ain't-it-Cool-News: "Nothing in this film feels exploitative and is rendered with remarkable taste."

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife is bugged by all the gossip about her sex life when there are more important issues to think about. Maybe if she stopped talking about teaching her boyfriend things and talking about vibrators so much that ABC begged her to stop, the press might ask her opinion about more important issues, though no o­ne will much care.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: The father of the Pirates Of The Caribbean starlet apparently had an odd wish for her success: "My father says, 'I wish this could have happened in five years' time, you could have been 20 and got really p***ed and slept with loads of people and no-one would have known.' "That would have been great." Father knows best!

HUGH GRANT decided to play a Simon Cowell-inspired judge in the upcoming American Dreamz after watching American Idol: "I enjoy cruelty. I like people being humiliated. I like watching freaks. The freakier the better, as far as I am concerned. I think in a way the show doesn’t go far enough." Which may explain that whole Divine Brown incident.

QUEEN o­n AMERICAN IDOL: Guitarist Brian May writes at his blog that the show was edited to make him seem more critical of a contestant than he really was.

GEORGE MICHAEL crashed into three cars while trying to park his SUV in London early Sunday. He was taken into custody in central London in February o­n suspicion of possessing drugs after being found slumped at the wheel of a car.

JANE FONDA would like to tour the country and speak out against US involvement in Iraq, but thinks her controversial history of Vietnam War protests leaves her with "too much baggage."

JULIA ROBERTS: From the "Green Issue" of Vanity Fair: "An admitted latecomer to environmental concerns, Roberts is proof that it's never too late to start caring for the earth and that it can all start at home. From the Prius she drives and the solar-powered house she's building in California to the metal cup she uses to go out for coffee, the grocery bags she religiously returns to the store for a nickel ... Roberts firmly believes that the little things make a difference ..." Page Six wonders how many private planes Roberts has flown o­n. I don't know, but just getting to her Broadway debut likely burned as much fuel as driving a Hummer for an entire year.

BETTIE PAGE: Whitney Masterson at USA Today rounds up links to galleries and coverage of the legendary pin-up as The Notorious Bettie Page opened in limited release this past weekend. The movie trailer is up at Yahoo and YouTube.

IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed has the latest o­n candidates for prime minister and other offices. The San Diego Union-Tribune profiles five heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan. The paper says it's just a start and rightly so, for there are plenty of heroes to cover -- Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Juan M. Rubio (Silver Star) Marine Lance Cpl. Carlos Gomez-Perez (Silver Star) and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Jewett (Bronze Star) are just three recent examples. Note that each of those stories is local news coverage; the national press almost entirely ignores them.

IRAN --contary to prior assurances -- is pursuing a far more sophisticated way of making atomic fuel that American officials and inspectors say could speed Iran's path to developing a nuclear weapon. The Iranian government has also intensified efforts to illegally obtain weapons technology from the US. The cover story of The New Republic addresses the the fanatacism of Iran's current leadership: "The Basiji's cult of self-destruction would be chilling in any country. In the context of the Iranian nuclear program, however, its obsession with martyrdom amounts to a lit fuse." Amir Taheri has more o­n how this fanaticism shapes Ahmadinejad's strategic thinking.

CARTOON JIHAD: Comedy Central bars South Park from showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The "Buzz Log" at Yahoo says "you must give South Park credit for taking o­n a tough target," but the writer is referring to Family Guy.

PIG OLYMPIC UPDATE: Antoinette from Canada was the competitor to beat in Sunday's final, but ultimately the Russians dominated the third annual Pig Olympics, capturing first and second place, with the French taking third. The Ukrainians, Chinese, Canadians and Latvians went home without medals.

CANADA THE CAT stowed away o­n a fertilizer truck crossing the US border to do the jobs American cats just won't do.

SOME ROOSTERS have become sexually aggressive sociopaths in the quest for the perfect breast. The punchline writes itself.

A WILD TURKEY found roaming in an apartment complex was taken to Morningside Park in upper Manhattan o­n Friday. And NYC is pretentious enough that the bird was named Hedda Gobbler, after Hedda Gabler, a character in a Henrik Ibsen play.

A BLACK BEAR was detained o­n suspicion of murder in the remote Cherokee National Forest Chilhowee Recreation Area of Tennessee.

LLAMAS have a dedicated caretaker in Marie McCluskey, who has lived for nearly five months in a home without electricity, water or heat following a fire so that she could stay with her herd in Michigan.

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Built to Spill, Mission of Burma, Pig Olympics and Fairy Penguins   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, April 17, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SONIC YOUTH: We already heard that Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore would appear in the season finale of Gilmore Girls, but now comes word that Joe Pernice, Yo La Tengo, Sparks, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Sam Phillips will also appear in the show airing May 9th.

BUILT TO SPILL frontman Doug Martsch is recovering from a major operation to repair a detached retina. You can stream a couple from the band's new album via MySpace.

THE STOOGES are working o­n a reunion CD, according to Iggy Pop, who says it seemed like the right time because he'd "sort of run out of ideas..."

THE MAGIC NUMBERS are eager to explore darker territory when they begin recording the follow-up to their self-titled 2005 debut next month. You can stream the band's album from their sampler.

NEIL YOUNG has reportedly recorded a song titled, "Impeach the President."

GUNS 'N' ROSES will perform a pair of concerts at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom May 15 and 17, according to concert promoter Live Nation. There's still no word o­n when Rose's decade-in-the-making Chinese Democracy LP will see release.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: If I told you The Velvet Underground played "Sister Ray" o­n The Lawrence Welk Show, you would probably say, "I have to see it to believe it."

ARCTIC MONKEYS: London's Guardian follows the band in the States to see whether this distinctly British band van make it in the US. The boys aren't fond of interviews, so Craig Marks, of Blender magazine, gets the money quote: "Over here, if you want to sell a lot of records, you have to go to local radio stations in Dayton, Ohio, and shake the hands of men with satin jackets."

MISSION OF BURMA is rolling out advance tracks from the upcoming album, The Obliterati, at their wiki, starting with "2wice" (but there should be two or three more posted by the time you read this).

BRITAIN'S FAVORITE LYRIC comes from U2's "One," according to a poll conducted by VH1.

GARY GLITTER is getting extradited back to Britain and will go straight to prison if officials get their way, according to the News of the World. (Sorry, no link; the paper's file structure is about as reliable as the content.)

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The supposedly sober supermodel says she's not getting any, despite rumours she is has rekindled her romance with the troubled singer. What she is getting is another lucrative modeling gig, this time with Nikon. London's Guardian thinks the newly unveiled sculpture of Moss marks the death of British art. Meanwhile, Doherty has been has been voted Worst Celebrity Dad in a new o­nline survey. Former Co-Libertine Carl Barat says he would really like to work with Doherty again someday... if he ever cleans up his act.

BRADGELINA: It's been said that Pitt morphs into his lovers, but it now seems like he's turning into Jolie's 4-year-old son, Maddox, while he and Jolie consider giving their baby a Namibian name. Meanwhile, Jon Voight seems to be trying to curry favor with his estranged daughter. Calvin Klein model Jenny Shimizu told the News of the World about how she and Jolie trawled strip joints to ogle the girlie action, which they recreated when they got home, and more: "Angelina is an unbelievable lesbian lover... She has a body which just makes you gasp and shudder with lust..." and so o­n. And this is why the News of the World should have permanent links.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Scary Movie 4 took the top slot with 41 million in receipts (not bad o­n a 45 million budget). Ice Age 2 and The Benchwarmers placed and showed, with Disney's The Wild pulling o­nly 9.5 million for a movie with an 80 million budget -- ouch!

GWYNETH PALTROW got the first photo of Moses out, no doubt an arrangement with a friendly photog. No plagues or miracles were observed.

MADONNA lost the Best Female Artist award to Ashlee Simpson at the MTV Australian Video Music Awards. That doesn't speak well of Madge or Australia!

LINDSAY LOHAN is making stupid statements: "I want people to know that with all the glitz and glamour you can still go home and it can still be s**t."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY insists she is curvy compared to most of the leading ladies she goes up against at auditions -- and has called o­n studios to take a more responsible attitude. So either she or Hollywood is crazier than I suspected.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise has been running seminars for his adopted children, 11-year-old Connor and 13-year-old Isabella, o­n how to take care of the baby: "The kids will have different responsibilities and run in shifts. They're going to help o­n every level." London's Sun claims that Cruise has spent about 225K o­n in-home hospital equipment. How bad is Cruise's PR? A CBS News poll showing an increasing disfavorable view of Islam shows that only eight percent of the American public view Scientology favorably.

BRITNEY SPEARS threatens to invade your home weekly. Meanwhile, hubby Spenderline claims his "musical career" is the fault of the press: "They are forcing me to do this, and I am glad they are. I am more than happy to do it."

PAM ANDERSON has to face it -- she's addicted to love.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR: I've already noted that if you're David Spade, the first rule of dating Heather Locklear is that you do not talk about dating Heather Locklear. The second rule of dating Heather Locklear is that you do not talk about dating Heather Locklear.

KENNY ROGERS is a plastic surgery disaster. He should know when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, when to nip and when to tuck.

JOSH BOLTEN: The new White House chief of staff is an outlaw biker.

EVANGELINE LILLY: The Lost hottie displays a number of bad traits common to actresses in claiming: "I spent many nights crying myself to sleep wishing I was ugly because of the way men leered and disrespected me, because they assumed things about my mental capacity or my physical willingness based o­n the way I looked." She even quit her job as a waitress over it -- then took a job working for a singles chat line.

IRAQ: As the retired Generals criticizing Defense Secretary Rumsfeld continued to hit the media (with the media's promise of more to come), retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the invasion of Iraq, retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Gen. John Keane, former Army vice chief of staff, retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael P. DeLong, deputy commander of U.S. Central Command during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Gen. Peter Pace, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended Rumsfeld. What strikes me most about the criticism is that it is of the decisions and events of 2003 and 2004, not what's going o­n today. There is an old saying about generals wanting to fight the last battle... Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. John R. Vines contends that Al Qaeda in Iraq and Zarqawi have conceded strategic defeat and are o­n their way out of the country. That's consistent with Vines' prior comments o­n the decline in foreign fighters slipping across the Syrian border since last Fall's operations in western Iraq. It would also partially explain the medium-term trend of declining US casualties. There have been reports that Zarqawi was demoted earlier this month. It seems like AQ thinks Rumsfeld is doing a better job than the critical retired generals do.

SECTARIAN VIOLENCE IN IRAQ is generally perceived to be a bigger threat than the insurgents at this point. But sectarian violence is nothing new in Iraq. Saddam's regime committed horrific atrocities against the Shia and the Kurds, killing hundreds of thousands. By historical standards, the number of revenge killings in Iraq has been fairly small. For example, 10K French were summarily killed as collaborators after WWII. The number of Germans killed in eastern Europe after WWII was in the hundreds of thousands, but such are generally not blamed o­n the US for liberating France and defeating Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, the lack of security -- especially in Baghdad -- is a major problem. Bill Roggio (and, by linkage, Omar at ITM) look at anger at the politicos delaying the new govt and plans for a future military campaign focused o­n the city. The campaign seems to be based o­n the operations in Anbar province last Fall, pairing military sweeps with reconstruction.

IRAN has formed battalions of suicide bombers to strike at British and American targets if the nation’s nuclear sites are attacked. Which is a great argument for such a regime to have nukes. Pres. Ahmadinejad was again saying "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by o­ne storm." Another confidence builder. Meanwhile, Kurdish groups are looking for help with regime change, preferably peacefully.

THE PIG OLYMPICS got underway yesterday in Moscow, with a field of 12 piglets competing in three events: pig-racing, pig-swimming and "pigball."

FAIRY PENGUINS are being saved by sweaters knit by Mormons in New South Wales.

CATS: Molly the Cat was rescued after two weeks trapped inside the bowels of a New York City building. More than 200 Chinese cats got a sumptuous fish banquet for eradicating rats from farmland in Sanjiang Township. A cat saved the life of a newborn baby abandoned o­n the doorstep of a house in Cologne, Germany.

WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG competition has put the ballot o­nline. Vote now!

TITUS THE WEIMARANER and three other dogs are sprung from the pound by Titus' owner, who is now in a cage himself.

GATOR stopped from buying a Lincoln Continental o­n Merritt Island, Florida.

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The Go! Team, The Shazam, The Zutons... and Peeps!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, April 14, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



"WHERE'S YOUR MESSIAH NOW?" ABC has its annual showing of The Ten Commandments S-a-t-u-r-d-a-y night, so I cannot let it pass without mention now. Edward G. Robinson's Dathan never actually spoke that line in the movie, but like "Play It Again, Sam" (not spoken in Casablanca), it has become part of a part of our culture. The line actually comes from Billy Crystal (sample), originally a bit from the Oscars, iirc. It later turned up o­n The Simpsons, with Chief Wiggum playing Dathan to Ned Flanders' Moses

SEDER-MASOCHISM: Twisted ToyFare Theatre presents a passover story featuring superhero action figures.

GOOD FRIDAY TIMEWASTERS: Fur Ball Pong and Little Donkey, courtesy of The Boy Least Likely To. Did you catch the video for "Be Gentle With Me" when I posted it? If not, don't miss out o­n a very Spring-y number, with cute and cuddly creatures...

JOHNNY ROTTEN is no more keen about the Sex Pistols getting a Brit Award than he was about entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

THE GO! TEAM: If you haven't heard the band's unique musical mixture, Filter has a documentary for you. The footage of the little kids dancing was shot at last year's Pitchfork Festival, where I saw 'em. As usual, you can check out a few tracks at MySpace.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS: A Blessing and a Curse comes out next Tuesday, but you can hear the whole thing now, in Flash or Qucktime.

JON LANGFORD: When the Mekons' maestro moved to Chicago from Wales in 1992, Langford decided he’d do what most immigrants do when they step off the boat: reinvent themselves. "I felt liberated," he says. "I could do whatever I wanted."

THE SHAZAM: Coolfer Glenn (and Largehearted Boy) turned me o­n to this power pop band from Nashville The band's MySpace page lists influences like "The Who, Beatles, The Move, ELO, Cheap Trick, Mott The Hoople, Queen... british 60s, arena 70s...," which is a pretty good indicator of what's streaming there. They also have plenty of samples and a full Rundgren-esque freebie at their website.

THE BEATLES are finally preparing to sell their songs o­nline, pending the digital remastering of the entire Beatles catalog.

MICHAEL NESMITH: The former Monkee, movie producer and video pioneer talks to Wired about the digital revolution.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Here's something to put some spring in your step -- "Birdhouse In Your Soul," as performed by They Might Be Giants, with the fat horns of Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Orchestra!

THE RACONTEURS: Jack White says the band is not a "side project:" "Of course, there's going to be more White Stripes records, more Greenhornes records, more Brendan Benson records, but for right now, it's time for the Raconteurs."

THE ZUTONS: London's Guardian calls them "the best sci-fi trash-rock band in Britain." Their new album, Tired of Hangin' Around, comes out next week in the UK, but you can get an adavnce taste from MySpace.

TOM VERLAINE and TELEVISION: Brooklyn Vegan hooks you up with album release and show dates. Pitchfork gives the new Verlaine solo albums middling reviews.

THE NEW YORK DOLLS: Michael Stipe, Iggy Pop and Bo Diddley lend a hand o­n their first new album in 32 years, due July 25th.

PAUL WELLER comes alive with a double-disc due for Europe in June.

GANG OF FOUR: Stylus has a regular column that forces their regular writers to listen to bands that they’ve never heard — but by all rights should have — and charts the reaction. That's Entertainment! Don't spoil the ending for yourself.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise talks sex in GQ while Holmes falls under his spell. Meanwhile, at test screenings of Mission Impossible 3, audiences are snickering when Cruise tells Michelle Monaghan their relationship is real and applauding when he gets beaten up. And yet no o­ne dares suggest that his plan to traverse NYC o­n a motorbike, a speedboat, a taxi, a helicopter, sports-car, and the subway for the premiere might play into his mountain of bad PR. REMINDER: Diane Sawyer will be riding the crazy train with Cruise tonight o­n ABC (9 p.m. ET), but you can get a preview right now.

NOW SHOWING: The holiday weekend's wide releases are Scary Movie 4 (45 percent Rotten o­n the Tomatometer) and Madagascar-wannabe The Wild (19 percent Rotten o­n sparse reviews; it's 30 percent Rotten among the "cream of the crop" critics). The Ten Commandments is looking better all the time!

EVANGELINE LILLY: The Lost hottie, like most actresses, would like Scarlett Johansson's career.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR: If you're David Spade, the first rule of dating Heather Locklear is that you do not talk about dating Heather Locklear.

DAKOTA FANNING: Rumors of her death were greatly Photoshopped.

JACKO may avert bankruptcy by agreeing to give Sony an option to buy about 25 percent of his interest in a song catalog that includes scores of hits from The Beatles.

NICOLAS CAGE wants to move into a small castle o­n the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. Which, o­n the Cage scale, isn't all that crazy.

SIENNA MILLER got her toes sucked and made out with Tamara Summers after the Oscars. Apparently, Hollywood execs weren't amused.

JESSICA SIMPSON and LINDSAY LOHAN: Perez Hilton claims that their catfight was brief and instigated by a hairdresser.

JESSICA SIMPSON and KATE BECKINSALE could ensure that the Dallas movie is every bit as bad as I imagine it will be.

GOSSIPOLA: L.A. billionaire Ron Burkle instigated the FBI investigation of an alleged extortion plot by former Page Six staffer Jared Paul Stern, but it got people looking at his personal and political life, and Burkle is not enjoying the spotlight o­ne little bit.

COLIN FARRELL'S last movie, The New World, will be shown with Smell-o-vision when it opens in Japan later this month.

KATIE COURIC and MEREDITH VIERA: The latter is replacing the former o­n the Today show, but o­nly the most observant viewers will notice the change.

SOUTH PARK was banned by Comedy Central from showing an image of the prophet Muhammad. A person close to the show said the network's decision was made over concerns for public safety. So the most recent episode, at the point where Muhammad was to be seen, the screen was filled with the message: "Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Muhammad o­n their network," followed by an image of Jesus Christ defecating o­n Pres. Bush and the American flag. I guess the network won't be rerunning the episode where Mohammed appears as a flamethrowing superhero, either. I would like to hear the explanation of why the network won't run the shows about Muhammed and Scientology, but was just fine with the whole Jesus defecating thing the week before Easter.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio notes another senior al-Qaeda middle-manager has assumed room temperature. Strategy Page suggests the threat of civil war is causing the neighbors to curb extremist support.  A recently translated document seized from Saddam's intell HQ refers to destroying documentation of WMD programs that may have been o­ngoing in 1998 (later than the current conventional wisdom). Wade Zirkle, who did two tours in Iraq before being wounded, is miffed with Reps. Moran and Murtha. The Washington Post rounds up retired Generals rebuking Rumsfeld. DefenseTech notes that Gen. Batiste had a different attitude last year. I would note that another critic, Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, oversaw the training of Iraqi army troops in 2003-2004. IIRC, the training during that period didn't turn out too well, which makes it a case of the pot and kettle at best. There's certainly a legit debate to have about whether the US should have invaded with overwhelming force (which is the trad doctrine) and been "ruthless," as retired Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack suggests. But we'll never know whether that wouldn't have made the US appear to be an occupier in the Iraqi mind faster and further fueled the insurgency against a bigger, fatter target.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: Bilal Hussein, a stringer who has staged photos of insurgents and is mentioned in the National Journal article o­n phony photos discussed here this week, may have been taken into custody by the US military in Ramadi (from where, coincidentally, Bill Roggio noted possibly fishy video emerged this week when compared to a photo from guess who?). The CBS News blog frames this as an issue of whether Hussein has allegiance to insurgents, but that is o­nly part of the issue. The other part comes up in a Winds of Change post o­n Michael Ware, Time’s Baghdad bureau chief, and his relationship with insurgents. The issue is that terrorists know how to use the media, including the ever-implicit threat of violence against journalists, to shape coverage to their favor.

PEEPS protest the removal of the Easter Bunny from St. Paul's City Hall. Shockingly, the bunnies moved ahead of the chicks this year in the marshmallow treat pantheon. These days, you can get your own peep-making machine or even go totally homemade. But let's face it, while some like to eat 100 in an hour, or ten in two minutes with a beer chaser, the dirty secret of the peeps' appeal is that we like to experiment o­n them. Subject them to liquid nitrogen, or a vacuum. Take a blowtorch and get medieval o­n them. Or stick with the traditional microwave oven treatment. Not that violence is the o­nly seemy underbelly to the peep subculture, as people make peep porn and post it o­n the Internet...

THE EASTER BUNNY, a/k/a the Osterhase, and his eggs date back to the time of the Pagans. He has managed to survive in the Christian era, but a German performance artist filed charges of grievous bodily harm against the world-famous fluffy-tailed offender in Dresden this week, alleging that the massive amounts of pastel-colored chocolate and marzipan eggs the bunny peddles have caused untold strokes, heart attacks and cases of obesity and diabetes.  UPDATE: How could I forget? The Easter Bunny Hates You!

THE DIAMOND STELLA EGG: Speaking of which, Faberge has nothing o­n this egg, covered in 100 half-carat diamonds worth £50 000 pounds. That's not counting the peach and apricot chocolate and pralines contained inside.

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