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Memorial Day, Brian Wilson, Lily Allen & Blondie, Monster Pig   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 28, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


MEMORIAL DAY has become -- in the minds of some -- a day devoted to uncovering their swimming pools and barbeques. So take a moment (preferably at 3 p.m. local time) to remember what it's really about.  Or you could read the messages in The Hill from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, Army chief of staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., chief of naval operations Adm. Mike Mullen, Air Force chief of staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Marine Corps commandant Lt. Gen. James Conway, Coast Guard commandant Adm. Thad Allen, and National Guard Bureau chief Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum.  Milblogger Blackfive has messages from soldiers and family members about those who have given all, as well as links to tribute videos.  The Wikipedia entry for Memorial Day notes a race track connection unrelated to the Indy 500 -- and even mentions the Drive-By Truckers.  But that DBT number is nowhere near as well-known as Sgt. Barry Sadler's No. 1 smash, "Ballad of the Green Beret."

ROGER DALTREY has blasted this summer's Live Earth concerts, branding them "un-environmental" for the amount of air pollution flying the stars in for the gigs will cause: "The last thing the planet needs is a rock concert..."

BRIAN WILSON is interviewed by the Pasadena Weekly; it's a good companion piece to the assorted Beach Boys videos embedded at Pitchfork to mark the release of The Warmth of the Sun compilation last week.

RADIO, RADIO:  WOXY is streaming the Modern Rock 500 today, while (as noted on Friday) WLS brings its music and DJs back for the day.

R.E.M. began recording a new album in Vancouver earlier this month... but no mention of Bill Berry.

LILY ALLEN joined BLONDIE for "Heart of Glass" on NBC's Today Show.  And if you keep watching, you'll get "Call Me" also.

ROBERT POLLARD and fellow ex-GbV member Chris Slusarenko have plenty of indie cameos on their next album as The Takeovers; you can stream and download four tracks at TheirSpace.

PETER BJORN & JOHN visited the World Cafe, so you can stream a mini-set on demand via NPR now.

THE EDITORS have a new song, "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors," streaming via Spinner.

SNAP.FM, coming in August, looks to be a combination of a music-centric social bookmarking site and a Daytrotter-esque showcase for indie bands.

LINDSAY LOHAN was busted on suspicion of DUI Saturday.  Splash News has near-immediate post-crash video.  Beverly Hills cops say they found a "usable amount" of a drug they say was cocaine at the scene.  Svedka vodka has decided against sponsoring her 21st-birthday bash in Las Vegas.

ROSIE O'DONNELL, as previously rumored, has left The View, though her contract wasn't up until June 20.  She reportedly capped her on-air meltdown by trashing her dressing room, while her chief  writer was allegedly escorted from the building after she was caught drawing moustaches on photographs of Elizabeth Hasselbeck that hang in The View's studios.  But we have one last video of Rosie warming up The View audience with 9/11 conspiracy theories.

CHARLIE SHEEN is rumored to be "having second thoughts" about being involved in an updated version of the 9/11 conspiracy flick, Loose Change.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills has been dropped from a week-long guest slot on The View after a tiff with host Barbara Walters, according to London's Daily Mirror.

PIRATES 3:  I'll wrap up the holiday box office tomorrow, but the regular weekend box office for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was 112 million (126 when you add in Thursday night showings).  Believe it or not, that may be considered a disappointing number.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE loves JESSICA BIEL, a source close to the singer tells People magazine, adding, "She's the coolest chick ever."

JESSICA SIMPSON writes that she is cowering from her true identity, while others write that she was following Leonardo DiCaprio around like a lost puppy in Cannes.

BRADGELINA:  Caught canoodling in Cannes; video at the link.  Meanwhile, the Daily Mail asks whether Jolie and Pitt are Hollywood saints or just bonkers.  I'm not so sure those are mutually exclusive; they may be synonymous.

HEIDI KLUM has named them Hans and Franz.  I guess she knows they are here to pump... you up.

KELLY CLARKSON:  Crossing mogul Clive Davis is probably not the smartest career move, but it appears he may have gone too far in his feud with the American Idol.


STAR WARS TURNED 30 this weekend, with the largest Star Wars party in history, which organizers expected would draw more than 25000 would-be Wookiees and stormtroopers over the long weekend.  Time's Richard Corliss explains how the movie changed everything in Hollywood.  And it's a good excuse to relink Gnarls Barkley at last year's MTV Movie Awards.

COUNTER-INSURGENCY:  At the Small Wars Journal blog, Brigadier General (Ret.) Huba Wass de Czege -- founder of the Army's elite School for Advanced Military Studies (SAMS is also known as the "Jedi Knight program.") notes the import of the fact that serving field grade officers -- Majors, Lt. Cols and Cols -- have far more sustained combat experience than the younger generation of retirees acting as contractors or serving on CGSC and War College faculties.  He also highlights the "outside the box" thinking that SAMS grads can provide. 

IRAN claims its nuke program is peaceful, but Pres. Ahmadinejad has told the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps that "Once Iran is established as a nuclear state, all the world nations would come under the political flag of Iran.."   Meanwhile, Iran's financial system suffered a jolt last week, with panic selling on the stock market after Ahmadinejad abruptly ordered banks to cut interest rates sharply, despite surging inflation.

AL QAEDA deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged supporters in Iraq to extend their jihad to Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.  If only Lebanon, Palestine and Syria had not invaded Iraq... oh, wait...

AL QAEDA in IRAQ's TORTURE MANUAL:  In a recent raid on an al-Qaeda safe house in Iraq, U.S. military officials recovered an assortment of crude drawings depicting torture methods like "blowtorch to the skin" and "eye removal." 

IRAQ:  There is one matter on which US military commanders, many Iraqis and some of the Bush Admin's staunchest congressional critics agree: If the US withdrew its forces from Baghdad's streets this fall, the murder and mayhem would increase.  Iraq vet Phillip Carter has a step-by-step plan for withdrawal, while Iraq vet Owen West and former assistant secretary of defense Bing West have a plan for transitioning to an "adviser" presence.  The NYT claims that the admin is developing concepts for reducing US combat forces in Iraq by as much as half next year -- though reducing from 146K to 100K is not reducing by half (poor math skills at the NYT). Apparently, no top scenario has emerged.  It does look like the US is choosing the diplomatic track with Iran and Syria.  And with AQ now threatening to turn on Syria, something might come of it.

IRAQ II:  Moqtada al-Sadr re-appeared for the first time in months and again demanded that US troops get out of Iraq.  Sadr's aides have described the cleric's orders to stop fighting Iraqi forces as intended to improve his credibility and dispel allegations that the Mahdi Army was fueling sectarian violence.  Lt. Gen. Odierno, the No. 2 commander of US forces in Iraq, said he believed Sadr had returned to Iraq to shore up his organization.  At ITM, Omar is hearing a similar strategy.  Coincidentally, the same day Sadr popped up, Iraqi special forces killed the leader of the Mahdi Army in Basra after he tried to resist arrest.  Approximately 45 local sheiks met with Diyala provincial leadership in Baqouba to discuss their tribe's concerns, reconcile grievances and discover solutions to rid terrorism from the province.  And info from locals in Diyala led to a US raid on an al-Qaeda hide-out northeast of Baghdad on Sunday that freed 42 Iraqis imprisoned inside, including some who had been tortured and suffered broken bones.  Newsweek discovers the tribal salvation councils you have heard about here for about six months.  Michael Yon has a new dispatch from Anbar, with a bit about Mosul, also.  In Ramadi, 200 members of a Marine batallion have chosen to extend their enlistments, for no bonus money.

MONSTER PIG:  An 11-year-old boy used a pistol to kill a wild hog his father says weighed a staggering 1,051 pounds and measured 9 feet 4, from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail.  If the claims are accurate, Jamison Stone's trophy boar would be bigger than Hogzilla, the famed wild hog that grew to seemingly mythical proportions after being killed in south Georgia in 2004.

HAMSTERS are taking Viagra to cure jet lag.  That's their story, and they're sticking to it.  Richard Gere was unavailable for comment. (Thanks, Lance.)

A SWARM of BEES grounded a Boeing 737 bound from England to Portugal, just two days after the swarm of 20000 bees descended on Bournemouth Pier.

GIANT SQUID have returned to the waters of Southern California, and it appears that one has washed up on the beach in San Diego.

REGGIE the GATOR, who eluded would-wranglers in L.A.'s Lake Machado and managed to disappear for 18 months until it recently resurfaced, was reportedly wrestled into captivity Thursday and rushed to a zoo with TV news helicopters providing live coverage of its freeway journey at rush hour.

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Otis Redding, Black Keys, Cutout Bin, Pirates 3, Armani Monkey   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 25, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with OTIS REDDING!  Otis and the Bar-Kays crank up the energy to 11 for Ready Steady Go, crashing through "Satisfaction," "My Girl" and his own "Respect" in Part 1, and "I Can't Turn You Loose," "Shake" and a bit of "Land of 1000 Dances" in part 3, joined by Eric Burdon and Chris Farlowe on the latter.  I don't know where Part 2 is, but I want to know!  Anyway, there is much go-go dancing, so get to it.

THE 15 WORST ALBUMS by Great Bands, according to the Rolling Stone blog.

NEKO CASE:  Her lingerie is up for auction on eBay.  No, really.

WLS, Chicago's 50000-watt radio blowtorch, will be broadcasting and streaming its most legendary DJ's live from 5AM - Midnight CDT on Monday.

PEOPLE'S BAR & GRILL, site of the 2003 Pate reunion, will be closing its doors - at least in Ames, IA - May 31. (via Ken King.)

ANTSY McCLAIN and the Trailer Park Troubadours poke light fun at the collection of weirdos, party animals and young loves McClain knew growing up in a series of trailer parks in Kentucky.  McClain's latest CD, Trailercana, features cameos from Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, Bobby Cochran of Steppenwolf, Tommy Smothers, and Bonnie Bramlett.  NPR has an audio feature plus four songs, including "I Was Just Flipped Off by a Silver-Haired Old Lady with a 'Honk If You Love Jesus' Sticker on the Bumper of Her Car."

THE ULTIMATE 90s ALT-ROCK PLAYLIST, according to Matthew Yglesias, who is now blogging at The Atlantic Online.

RICHARD X. HEYMAN, an acolyte of the Todd Rundgren school of lone-wolf power-pop, makes Song of the Day at NPR with "I'm That Kind of Man."  And he's one of our friends at PateSpace.

THE BLACK KEYS are offering a free EP for download at TheirSpace.

SURF'S UP:  The Ventures play "Hawaii 5-0."

RYAN ADAMS:  An Aquarium Drunkard strikes again, this time pointing you to the unofficial Destroyer sessions from 2000.

THE HANDSOME FURS tell Hour.ca that they have received "attention" from PETA and the Animal Liberation front, along with the occasional death threat.  You can stream a few of the duo's latest tracks via TheirSpace.

THE BEASTIE BOYS:  Former Music Works patrons may remember the Boys' first "hip-hop" effort, "Cookie Puss" as Paul Miller's favorite way to drive customers out of his store.  FYI, Cookie Puss was a Carvel's specialty character ice cream cake; the track features a prank call to the local Carvel's store... and is probably NSFW.

MAN MAN singer Ryan Kattner, a/k/a Honus Honus, tells the Denver Post that sincerity is important, even for an avant-pop band: "You have to be genuine about what you do, even if you're singing about heartbreak while wearing a gorilla suit."  If you're intrigued by that, but haven't heard the band, I would re-link to their video for "Engrish Bwuud" and their live take on "Van Helsing's Boombox" for Dutch TV.

THE CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are: Dick Dale & the Dale-Tones - Miserlou; The Clash - I Fought the Law; Thin Lizzy - Jail Break; Stealer's Wheel - Stuck in the Middle With You; Johnny Cash -  Ring of Fire; Jonathan Richman - Roadrunner; The Soft Boys - Positive Vibrations; The Polyphonic Spree - Running Away; The Left Banke - I've Got Something on My Mind; The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night; The Monkees - P.O. Box 9847; Dean And Britta - Words You Used to Say; Sly & Family Stone - Family Affair; Otis Redding & Carla Thomas - Tramp; Booker T & the MGs -  Soul Limbo; The English Beat - Mirror In The Bathroom; Gang Of Four - I Love a Man in a Uniform; B-52s - Dance This Mess Around; Feist - 1, 2, 3, 4; The Ditty Bops - Bye Bye Love; The Beach Boys -  Let Him Run Wild; The Boy Least Likely To - Be Gentle With Me; M. Ward - Let My Love Open The Door; Nick Drake - Time of No Reply; and Big Star - I'm In Love With A Girl.

PIRATES of the CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END continues this summer's streak of lesser third installments to blockbuster franchises.  The flick gets off to a very promising start (including Keira Knightley in a skimpy outfit) and has a decent ending (per usual, make sure to stay past the credits), but that mid-section... oy!  If you thought the plot of Dead Man's Chest was convoluted, you ain't seen nothin' yet.  Each of the cast pursues sufficiently diverging agendas that the movie labors -- and nearly collapses -- under its own weight in a flabby second act. And as with Spider-Man 3, a nasty kludge or three is required to get the plot on track in the third act.  It's a tribute to the likability of the cast -- and the fact that the screenwriters get a lot of the smaller accents right -- that the movie manages to stay sufficently afloat to get to there.  Not a bad movie, but mediocre in comparison to the original.

NOW SHOWING:  Aside from the Pirates, who are currently scoring only 51 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, this weekend's sole wide release is William Friedkin's latest stab at the horror-suspense genre, Bug, which is scoring 55 percent.  The late Adrienne Shelly's Waitress, starring Keri Russell, snuck into the Top Ten last weekend in limited release; it expands to over 500 screens with a score of 89 percent.

JOHNNY DEPP claims it was "awkward" to kiss the decades-younger Keira Knightley in the Pirates movies, but she begged for it.  He has also said that while he would be up for more Pirates movies -- under the right circumstances -- he understands Knightley's though's about quitting acting: "I have probably had those thoughts regularly about every 11 minutes for the last 20 years." 

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, btw, won 3,000 pounds in libel damages on Thursday over a newspaper slur that she was excessively thin.  And just for fun, here's Keira with a cute baby elephant in a photo shoot for Vogue magazine.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, so her creepy half-sister would like to take her place.

SARAH JESSICA PARKER says her four-year-old son has started to quiz her about homosexuality -- because so many of her and her Matthew Broderick's friends are gay.  NTTAWWT.

BALD CELEBS:  Britney Spears apparently inspired the Photoshoppers at Worth 1000.  I had to laugh that someone Photoshopped Natalie Portman before realizing she had shaved her head while shooting V for Vendetta.

NATALIE PORTMAN, btw, is reportedly sharing more than laughs with SNL funnyman Adam Sandberg.

INDIANA JONES IV:  Cinematic Happenings Under Development has possible plot spoilers and a casting spoiler.

PAM ANDERSON tells London's Sun how she broke the news of her sex tape with ex-hubby Tommy Lee to their kids.

ROSIE O'DONNELL blogs that she has "no idea" whether she will return to The View after Wednesday's blow-up and clarifies that she does not think the US militray are terrorists for killing civilians in Iraq, but that "the cowards who sent r troops to this war... those men r the terrorists."  Apparently, the "just following orders" defense still works for Rosie, though it does not work for the US military.  She also avoids the fact that the US does not target civilians, while it is the standard operating procedure of terror groups.

UH-OH:  Planet of the Apes is running on the History Channel on Saturday?  Did I miss something?

ISLAMISM in AUSTRALIA:  Taxi drivers who refuse to carry blind people with guide dogs face fines of up to 1100 dollars, the NSW Government warned today amid outrage at the biased practice.  Vision Australia's head of policy and advocacy Michael Simpson said the problem was worse in the Sydney metropolitan area where there were more drivers unwilling to carry dogs based on Muslim objections.

IRAQ:  The WaPo reports on a classified plan (thanks) for a revised US strategy of protecting Iraq's population in trouble areas; building up the Iraqi Army and ministries, purging Iraq's leadership of a small but influential number of officials and commanders whose sectarian and criminal agendas are thwarting US efforts, and reaching out to grass-roots groups such as tribes, religious leaders and provincial administrators that are moving forward on reconciliation efforts.  The piece notes the involvement of Gen. Petraeus's senior counterinsurgency adviser, David J. Kilcullen, whom I have been mentioning and linking for some time here.  In an unprecedented step, a top leader of the pro-US tribal alliance in Anbar Province traveled to Sadr City Tuesday to meet with Sadrist leaders.  The Sadrist current and the Anbar Salvation Front have very different relationships to the Maliki government and the US occupation forces.  However, the two groups share similar interests in opposing al Qaeda and building their political images as nationalists with an agenda that can include all Iraqis.  London's Guardian has a piece claiming that the Bush Admin. is developing plans to "internationalize" the Iraq war, including an expanded role for the UN, as a way of reducing US responsibility for Iraq's future and limiting domestic political fallout as the 2008 election season approaches... but it's sourced to a single, anonymous ex-Admin. official, so a grain of salt there.

ARMANI, a one-year-old, four-pound, 18-inch capuchin monkey, is in the custody of the Montgomery County Division of Animal Control and Humane Treatment, suspected of being an illegal resident under Maryland's wild animal law.  The owner might try arguing that Armani is just here doing jobs that American monkeys won't do.

AN ORANGUTAN escaped from his cage at same Taiwan zoo where a crocodile recently chomped off a veterinarian's arm... and headed straight for the food court.  There are two videos at that link, though I think this one works, too.

WAYWARD WHALES UPDATE:  The whales in the Port of Sacramento are getting a break after recordings of clanging pipes, feeding humpbacks and killer orcas failed to induce the pair to head downriver.

MARK McGOWAN plans to eat a Corgi in protest of the inability of the RSPCA to prosecute Prince Philip and his friends for shooting a fox this year.  RSPCA chiefs blasted the stunt.

A THREE-DAY-OLD FAWN in Des Moinse, IA, survived the grisly death of its twin and its mother, who tried to jump a metal fence and became impaled.  Awww...some pic and video at the link.

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New Smashing Pumpkins, Sir Paul, Spoon, Winged Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SMASHING PUMPKINS play a new tune titled  "For God and Country" at the Grand Rex in Paris.  You can find more from the gig on the Tube.

WILCO:  Entertainment Weekly says that Sky Blue Sky may be "the best Eagles album the Eagles never made."  Frontman Jeff Tweedy says, "Those are fighting words..."

THE PHIL SPECTOR TRIAL:  The music producer's driver wrapped up four days of testimony by firmly holding to his account that he saw Spector emerge from his Alhambra mansion moments after actress Lana Clarkson was shot, a gun in his bloody hand, and heard Spector tell him, "I think I killed somebody."  Also, the trial judge ruled that that famous criminalist Henry Lee withheld evidence from prosecutors, and that the jury could consider that in weighing his credibility as a defense expert.

THE HOLD STEADY:  Heather Browne got geared up to see the band by streaming some rarities, including a cover of Bob Seger's "Against The Wind."

PRINCE has signed up for a seven-week residency at the historic Roosevelt Hotel in L.A., starting in mid-June.  He reportedly will make three million from various sponsors, plus free room and board.

SONIC YOUTH:  The band's classic Daydream Nation will be re-issued by Geffen Records in a two-disc Deluxe Edition with bonus tracks, new liner notes, and unseen band photos on June 12, 2007 and on a super-special 4-disc vinyl set issued by the band's own Goofin' Records.  More details at the link.

SIR PAUL McCARTNEY talks to Pitchfork about his new album, "Yesterday," 9/11, and more.  The Cute One's new video, "Dance Tonight," is directed by Michel Gondry.  The ghost of Natalie Portman has a cameo.

BILLY JOEL gets a note in his pay envelope at McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

VOXTROT talks to the Austin American-Statesman about the upside and downside of the Internet.  Sean Moeller has posted a short essay on the band, along with free songs from an SxSW session, at Daytrotter.

THE DAP-KINGS give Spinner the lowdown on touring with Amy Winehouse.  Spinner also has a free download of the new Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings single.

SPOON:  GvsB claims that "The Underdog" will be the new LP's first true single, which (imho) makes a lot more sense than "The Ghost of You Lingers," the first video (posted with other Spoon leaks on Monday).

LINDSAY LOHAN:  As her parents battle over visitation rights, Star magazine reports that the reason for the screamfest with bf Callum Best that got Li-Lo tossed from an NYC hotel was that he checked into the hotel with another woman.  The story also has the allegedly rehabbed starlet partying until 1.30am before collapsing in the hotel lobby, writhing on the floor such that everyone could see that she wasn't wearing any panties.  BONUS:  Lohan has lined up Svedka vodka to sponsor her 21st birthday blowout in Las Vegas, which she will be paid at least 200 grand to attend.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise and Holmes are planning a sequel to the Tom-Kitten, according to the ever-reliable Life & Style magazine.

NICOLE RICHIE is denying a joint report from the National Enquirer and Star magazine that she re-entered rehab at Beau Monde on May 11 to fight anorexia and a painkiller addiction.  The report was that she entered rehab on an outpatient basis, so that may be a very carefully-worded denial.

OPRAH WINFREY is "shocked" and "disappointed" that she had to hear it from the NY Daily News that her 74-year-old pop, Vernon, is writing a book about her.

KATE BECKINSALE says her hubby's workload directing Live Free Or Die Hard has left them no personal time and she's planning on making him her sex slave for four weeks when the film's finished.

GWYNETH PALTROW took a page out of the Jacko playbook the other day, throwing a long black veil over her daughter Apple's head to thwart the paparazzi from getting good pictures.  Ironically, the snappers say it made their shots more valuable.

ROBERT RODRIGUEZ, who had been looking at family-friendly projects after Grindhouse, is reportedly set to direct the remake of Barbarella, for a 2008 Universal release.  Now that he and Rose McGowan are a public couple, maybe she'll take the lead.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR can keep a Van Gogh painting that may have been seized by the Nazis during World War II, a US appeals court has ruled.

MIKE MYERS is attached to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the long-in-the works remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye classic.

ROSEANNE BARR says she is "probably not right" to replace Rosie O' Donnell on The View.  Barr claims that Rosie told her the show is looking for "someone they can control."

ROSIE O'DONNELL, otoh, was well out of control with Elisabeth Hasselbeck on The View.  Rosie plays the victim card, interrupts and avoids answering Hasselback's questions -- a measure of how little Rosie thinks, as it's not like Hasselback will be joining Mensa anytime soon.  Hasselback later said the fight was no big deal, unaware that O'Donnell decided to skip work today.  An added twist is that today was supposed to be 9/11 conspiracy day on the show -- but that seems unlikely now.

JESSICA ALBA may be dating Cash Warren, she admits to a crush on former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr.

TERROR in the US:  Newsweek reports on the worrisome trend of copycat jihadist cells that spring up inside the US without any concrete connection to Qaeda central or other foreign terror organizations.  And the story predates the new Pew poll finding that 26 percent of young US Muslims say suicide bombings to defend their religion are acceptable in some circumstances.  "It is a hair-raising number," said Radwan Masmoudi, president of the Washington-based Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy.  Apparently not to USA Today, the IHT/NYT, the BBC or the WaPo, all of which headlined the non-news that most US Muslims are assimilated -- and moreso than in Europe.  But terrorism tends to take root with a younger generation, so the fact that there are roughly 100000 young US Muslims sypathetic to jihad is not great news.  And by a margin of 48 to 35 percent, all US Muslims think it was wrong to take action against the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11, probably because 40 percent do not believe Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks.

IRAN is making progress in perfecting its uranium enrichment tech, while the UN nuclear watchdog's knowledge on Iran's nuclear program is diminishing.  Tehran is also refusing to provide the UN nuclear watchdog with design information on its heavy water plant at Arak, or responding to requests to clarify uranium contamination at a research center, Iran's acquisition of centrifuge technology or a document in Iran's possession showing how to cast uranium metal into hemispheres - a technology employed in nuclear bomb building.  And like ABC the other today, CBS News decided to potentially blow covert ops to sabotage the Iranian nuke program.  Another set of kudos to the press for making a non-military option less workable.

IRAQ:  There are unconfirmed reports that the bodies of the missing US soldiers have been found.  The Sadrist parliamentary bloc and the Iraqi List (of ex-Interim Premier Iyad Allawi) are trying to muster support for a timetable for the withdrawal of Coalition forces from Iraq, a top-ranking Sadrist political official told Aswat al-Iraq.  The Sadrists may also withdraw confidence from the gov't if the the mandate of the Multinational Forces is renewed.  Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said that Iraq still hopes for agreement based on the oil law draft this month, thus allowing the Parliament to pass it soon.


...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: A seven-foot-tall Great Dane.  Not a hoax this time, I hope.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: Ferocious Thai insects that devour fish.

PET HOARDING:  An Orange Park, FL man had a dog, a rat, a tarantula and an 8-foot python snake in his apartment... plus a baby alligator in the toilet tank.  We can only hope  the Ty-D-Bowl man got out in time.

SHARK'S VIRGIN BIRTH stuns scientists, who brought the newborn shark gold, frankinsense and myrrh.

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  Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


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Indie All-Stars, New Releases, Rare Ryan Adams, Gay Flamingos   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


TWOFER TUESDAY: M. Ward is joined by Neko Case, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Kelly Hogan and more for "Chinese Translation" on the peacock network.  Will the lawyers get to it before you do? (If so, the original animated clip is still very cool.)  In another indie all-star lineup, Ben Gibbard was joined by John Vanderslice, Jenny Lews and David Bazan for "Such Great Heights" during an encore from Gibbard's concert at the Fillmore.

NEW RELEASES:  Battles, the National, Voxtrot, Jeff Buckley, the Bravery, Hot Chip and more are streaming in full this week via Spinner.  You might also check out Wolf Parage side project Handsome Furs, NYC noisesters Parts and Labor, and the poppier Shapes and Sizes.

JOE STRUMMER:  All this week, PopMatters is offering exclusive excerpts from the new Chris Salewicz biography of the Clash co-founder, published this week in the US.

SMASHING PUMPKINS:  You can stream "Tarantula" from the upcoming album via Spinner.

REUNITED (and it feels so good):  The New York Sun looks at the year of the reunion, focusing on the Jesus & Mary Chain.

BO DIDDLEY walked around the intensive-care unit at a Nebraska hospital just days after suffering a stroke; doctors were encouraged that the singer-songwriter-guitarist would be able to perform again.  Now he has has improved enough to be moved into a regular room at Creighton University Medical Center

SEEN YOUR VIDEO:  The George Baker Selection is looking a bit like Resevoir Dogs for "Little Green Bag."

THE WHITE STRIPES:  As the June 19 release of the White Stripes' new album, Icky Thump, approaches, Jack White is less concerned about "indie cred" than at any other time in the band's 10-year history.

RYAN ADAMS:  An Aquarium Drunkard can point you to Exile on Franklin Street, a super lo-fi, 24 track collection of demos from 2000.  And you can stream a six-pack of them via the ol' HM.  BTW, his new stuff reportedly sounded good in Louisville on Saturday, even if Adams turned up wearing big sunglasses and a shower cap.

SLY & THE FAMILY STONE are celebrating their 40th anniversary with a brand new box set of the group's first seven albums. Rose Stone and Larry Graham talk to NPR about the band's contributions to popular music.

LILY ALLEN gives good interview on the E! channel, including a bit on what she looks for in a man.  If you want a hint, Enrique Iglesias doesn't have it.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The troubled singer enjoyed some good clean fun Sunday when he led his soccer team to victory, with the supposedly sober supermodel cherring him on.

LINDSAY LOHAN:  The supposedly rehabbed starlet was spotted with bf Callum Best the other night in NYC, "drinking vodka straight from the bottle."  And Best is saying it's Li-Lo who's the best, claiming she's insatiable and dynamite in the sack.

SCOTT STAPP: The former Creed singer was arrested for throwing a bottle of Orangina at his wife's head.  Stapp's lawyer, Robert Gershman, denied a bottle was thrown.

THE DARK KNIGHT:  Anthony Michael Hall reports the plot of the latest Batman movie is so secret he's forbidden to even say what character he's portraying.  But a new website confirms that Aaron Eckhart is playing Gotham DA Harvey Dent (who becomes Two-Face in the comics).  And another possible photo of Heath Ledger as The Joker is floating around, too.

SYLVESTER STALLONE was fined 2,500 bucks by an Australian court on Monday for illegally bringing 48 vials of human growth hormone into Australia during a promotional trip in February.  He was also ordered to pay court costs of about 8,300 -- al in all, far less than the possible maximum of 91 grand.

DAVID HASSELHOFF, despite that recent drunken video, has won temporary custody of his two kids... and there may be some bombshells going off in his secret court proceedings.

JESSICA SIMPSON:  Her next project is half-autobiography, half-Private Benjamin. Meanwhile, on-again, off-again bf John Mayer got busy hitting on super-skinny models in NYC, and tyring to negotiate an alien hostage standoff.  And the latest is that they have gotten together ... again.

BRADGELINA and the kids turned up at the Cannes Film Festival to promote Jolie's new movie, A Mighty Heart -- the trailer for which is posted at Apple in various shades of Quicktime.

OFFICE PARTY:  Brian Baumgartner and Angela Kinsey (Kevin and Angela) turned up in Scranton PA, where they toured some of the watering holes mentioned on the TV show, toured Penn Paper and Supply Co. and attended an autograph session and rooftop party.  The local paper has pics and video from the weekend.

JENNIFER TILLY says appearing in Bride of Chucky destroyed her indie cred, but she now gets free biscuits at the local Popeye's.

ROSIE O'DONNELL tried to backpedal from her suggestion that the US and its troops are terrorists responsible for civilian deaths in Iraq; she also compares fmr. Pres. Jimmy Carter to the Messiah, apparently unaware that Carter was spending his morning beckpedaling from his recent comments about the Bush admin's foreign policy.

KATHERINE HEIGL talked to USA Today about the buzz-building comedy Knocked Up, her engagement and and her contractual standoff with Grey's Anatomy.

ROBOTS could soon replace nurses by performing jobs like dispensing drugs, taking temperatures and cleaning up hospital wards.

DENMARK:  Copenhagen's famed Little Mermaid statue was found draped in a Muslim dress and head scarf Sunday morning.

HAMAS MOUSE:  The Walt Disney Co. didn't speak out when Hamas militants used a Mickey Mouse look-alike to preach Islamic domination because the company felt it would be ineffective, Disney's chief executive said Monday.  In reality, had the copyright infringement been by a daycare center, the grieving parents of a dead child, or even a Chinese theme park, the Disney lawyers would have been all over it.  But the corporation really doesn't want some suicide bomber riding It's A Small World, so shhhh.

IRAN has arrested students for printing allegedly blasphemous items in a campus newspaper.  BTW, blasphemy is punishable by death in Iran.  And here's what enforcing the Iranian dress code looks like.

IRAQ:  The search for three missing US soldiers intensified Monday after commanders obtained what they called a flood of new intelligence.  Multinational Forces Iraq has killed the "mastermind" and "tactical commander" of the Karbala attack that kidnapped and murdered five US soldiers.  US forces would prefer a "soft" approach to moving deeper into Sadr City, but a full-scale assault has not been ruled out.  The US military says it has broken up a network of insurgents who were behind a string of deadly attacks on US helicopters in Iraq this winter.  Violence has abated in Nasiriya and Diwaniya. Melik Kaylan got to witness a firefight between the Iraqi Army (with tribal forces) and al Qaeda while traveling with Ahmed Chalabi in Diayala province.  Tribes from the northern portion of Baghdad province and Salahadin have formed the Salahadin Awakening to fight al Qaeda.  At ITM, Mohammed helps sort out the tribal militias in Anbar province.  Iraqi border patrols are taking some lessons from Texas.  The LA Times reports that the Bush admin is under growing pressure to intervene to rearrange Baghdad's dysfunctional political order, or even install a new leadership.

GAY FLAMINGOS have officially adopted their first chick.  The pink partners had been so desperate to have chicks that they had resorted to stealing eggs to fulfil their unlikely dream of a starting a family at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.

A COELACANTH -- an ancient fish once thought to have become extinct at the time of the dinosaurs -- was caught by an Indonesian fisherman.  It's the third such fish caught since species was rediscovered in 1938.

WAYWARD HUMPBACKS have taken a wrong turn and are swimming back to the inland Port of Sacramento.  Video at the link.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A 47-year-old Janesville, WI,  woman contacted police Friday night to report that she was bitten by a squirrel she was trying to nurse back to health.

HEF'S BUNNIES are a dying breed on Big Pine Key, Florida.

PIGS:  Growing demand for ethanol as a biofuel has pushed up the price of corn has our porcine friends pigging out on trail mix, cookies, licorice, cheese curls, candy bars, french fries, frosted wheat cereal and peanut-butter cups.

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