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Advance Cat Power, Idolator Pop, Magnetic Fields, Flocke   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, January 17, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE ROSEBUDS left Jasmine instructions to work up a cover song for the band.  The resulting take on Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" is a little too true to the original for my taste, but fairly impressive work for a dog.  Good cowbell, Jasmine!  (The original video is a click-trough at the link, too.)

CAT POWER:  You can listen to an advance stream of her upcoming Jukebox album via MuchMusic.  I had trouble streaming a couple of tracks; if you do, just click on the next track.  UPDATE:  Darn lawyers.

IDOLATOR POP:  The second annual Idolator Pop Critics Poll is online, with poll results, essays, individual ballots, music mixes and more.

DAYTROTTER is set to be acquired by Wolfgang's Vault -- the historic live music archive of Bill Graham Presents -- in an effort to reach a younger audience.  Daytrotter celebrated the announcement with a downloadable live Ramones cut from the Palladium in 1978,

BOB MOULD tells MSNBC that he is "a lover, not a fighter."  Not that anyone will confuse him with Jacko.

SIR PAUL McCARTNEY is to stage the first major UK exhibition of photographs by his late wife Linda, to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.  Having seen such an exhibition here in the US, I must say that photography was her true talent, as one might expect from a member of the Eastman family.  Of course, watching Linda's infamous 1990 "Hey Jude" track will convince you of that, too.

THE DECEMBERISTS frontman Colin Meloy is releasing a live solo album from his 2006 acoustic tour in April.

MAGNETIC FIELDS:  The Current blog has "A Brief History of the Magnetic Fields" to mark the release of the new Distortion LP, which you can stream in full this week via Spinner or MagSpace. And you can listen to Robert Christgau's review from All Things Considered via NPR.

THE NATIONAL:  Matt Berninger talks to The Age down under about the creative friction within the band.

IKE TURNER died of an accidental cocaine overdose, the San Diego County Coroner revealed today.

AMY WINEHOUSE may make a Christmas/Hanukkah album this year.  Meanwhile, the uber-reliable NOW tabloid claims Winehouse's jailed hubby Blake Fielder-Civil has asked her for a divorce.  According to her dad, his mom is putting the idea into Blake's noggin.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  As predicted, after hosting the Cruise-based Scientology PR video, Gawker has received a copyright infringement notice from the Scientologists' lawyers, to which Gawker has reponded not only through its lawyer, but also by hosting four more Cruisetastic Scientology clips.  The controversy made The Today Show yesterday morning, and was mentioned by the  AP, which tends to support Gawker's claim for the newsworthiness of the video.

JESSICA SIMPSON has reportedly angered Dallas Cowbows fans so much that the pneumatic blonde has had to beef up her security.  However, ex-beau John Mayer defends Simpson and her love of Texas: "I just thought it would mean something coming from the guy who has the absolute least to gain from this..."

O.J. SIMPSON grimaced as the judge doubled his bail to 250K, after learning he never paid any money to a bail bondsman when he initially was released. Video at the link.  AFAIK, John Mayer has had no comment.

DAVID SPADE, previously linked to Heather Locklear and Pam Anderson, may have knocked up a 22-year-old Playboy Playmate: "If it is true that I am the father of her child, then I will accept responsibility."

EDDIE MURPHY & TRACY EDMONDS have called it quits just two weeks after their intimate wedding.

BRITNEY SPEARS and her married boytoy, paparazzo Adnan Ghalib, were captured on photos and video checking out a pregnancy test at Rite-Aid on Monday afternoon.  The photos, however, were taken by Ghalib's photo agency, so grain of salt.  The Daily Mail covers Ghalib's nerdy Birmingham background, whith photos for proof.  The pop wreck's cousin and former assistant Alli Sims says the troubled pop star is "not crazy," but she's worried about Ghalib.  Spears camp follower Sam Lufti seems to be worried also; he's using pal Chad Hardcastle as as bait to lure her from Ghalib.  Meanwhile, a psychologist has filed a complaint against Dr. Phil with the California Board of Psychology, alleging the TV doc was illegally practicing without a license when he paid a visit to the pop tart.

GWYNETH PALTROW UPDATE:  The latest speculation is that her brief hospital stay on Monday was due to a a pregnancy complication.  Her rep non-denies it as "guesswork at best."

HOLLYWOOD WRITERS' STRIKE:  In the wake of the cancellation of the traditional Golden Globe Awards ceremony, Writers Guild of America West president Patric Verrone reiterated that he does not anticipate granting the Academy Awards a waiver unless the striking writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reach a deal.  Verrone also said the WGA had received a similar waiver request Tuesday for the Grammy Awards.

SEAN PENN wrote a letter blasting the San Francisco Chronicle for publishing an article critical of celebs who suck up to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, arguing that Chavez was democratically elected, and that dictators don't lose constitutional referendums.  Penn forgot to mention that Chavez tried to overturn the results of Venezuela's recent vote but was rebuffed by the military.  Maybe Penn would be okay with "aspiring dictator" or "dictator wannabe" to describe Chavez.

CLOVERFIELD "inadvertently disses New York for what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, by re-enacting scenes of buildings exploding and massive clouds of debris for fun and profit," according to Roger Friedman, who apparently missed the promos with the headless Statue of Liberty.  He also calls it "an 84-minute rollercoaster ride of a monster movie that should be a big hit."

WANNA SEE KATIE COURIC swearing and clueless about the New Hampshire primary she anchored last week?  Of course you do.  NSFW, Courtesy of Harry Shearer.

TERRORIST 007:  Back in October, I flagged the story of a 22-year-old student allegedly at the center of three different terror cases, spanning at least seven countries, buried in a speech by FBI Dir. Mueller.  Now you can read the bizarre story of how the son of a diplomat became the world's most wanted cyber-jihadist in the Times of London and the Daily Mail.  Or, if you prefer, watch TV coverage from the BBC.

ALLEGED US TERROR PLOTS:  A former congressman and UN delegate was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than 130K to an al Qaeda and Taliban supporter who has threatened US and international troops in Afghanistan.  Meanwhile, the "Fort Dix Six" face additional charges, including attempted murder, after a grand jury concluded there was evidence the men tried to kill uniformed members of the military.  Coincidentally (or not), TIME magazine ran a piece this week throwing doubt on a key piece of documentary evidence in the case.

LT. COL. JOHN NAGL, author of the book "Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons From Malaya and Vietnam" and  a co-author of the Army's new manual on counterinsurgency operations, has decided to leave the service to study strategic issues full time at a new Washington think tank.  In a piece by Slate's Fred Kaplan about the Army's difficulty in retaining talented mid level officers, Nagl emphasized that, contrary to some rumors floating around, he is not leaving out of anger or disgruntlement.  It's still a loss.  BONUS:  Watch Nagl's appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart fromAugust 2007.

KNUT REDUX: The Nuremberg Zoo's polar bear cub, unofficially named ''Flocke'' has opened her eyes for the first time.  Let's go to the video.

UNDERCOVER CATS obtain a murder confession from their owner.  I can haz evidence?

A SNAKE is not a fashion accessory.  Not in New York, anyway.

DOG BARKING may soon be translated for humans by computer.

MONKEYS can use their brainpower to control the walking patterns of robots.  Your future is Planet of the Apes meets The Terminator.

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Ryan Adams, Vampire Weekend, Duffy(!), Cheetah Cubs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


RYAN ADAMS plays "Like Yesterday" on his webcam and turns it into an ad for a fictional album, then uploads it to the Tube.  Because he's Ryan Adams.

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe was excused from jury duty in a sexual assault case, after telling the judge he could not be fair and impartial because he has been the target of stalkers and death threats.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED:  A rare live track from Billie Holiday, plus Magnetic Fields, JAMC, Vampire Weekend and Peter Gabriel are streaming in the latest edition from NPR.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND, btw, stopped by KEXP for a chat and mini-set available to stream or download.

MOUNTAIN GOATS frontman John Darnielle holds forth on the craft of songwriting at Drowned In Sound.

DUFFY:  Tell me someone sounds like Dusty In Memphis and you have my attention, even if she really sounds a bit more like Lulu.  The single "Rockferry" is just gorgeous.  Her live takes on "Mercy" and "Warwick Avenue" from Later with Jools Holland aren't bad, either, though the samples of the fully-orchestrated studio versions streaming at DuffySpace are better.  BONUS: A little behind-the-scenes of Duffy working on "Syrup & Honey" with collaborator Bernard Butler.

COACHELLA will swing both ways this summer.

YEASAYER, a combo "working in the long shadow cast by the highly influential collaboration between Brian Eno and David Byrne in the late '70s and early '80s," gets an audio feature from the World Cafe you can stream on demand via NPR.

THE NOISE FROM BROOKLYN: Bands including Yeasayer, Grizzly Bear and Dirty Projectors are noticed in a video feature on the MTV.

STATE of THE INDUSTRY:  The Silicon Alley Insider perks up at the mention of EMI's 400K budget for hookers and blow.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Gawker is hosting the suppressed Cruise-based Scientology PR video and daring the Church to bring it on.  To quote Gawker, "if Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch was an 8 on the scale of scary, this is a 10."  Diane Sawyer and GMA botched their interview with Holmes, failing to ask about personal issues at all, let alone the ne new Adrew Mortion bio of Cruise.

DIANE KEATON, meanwhile, dropped the F-bomb on Diane Sawyer today. Good Morning, America!  Video at the link.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  PageSix.com claims the pop wreck called Fed-Ex to tell him she was getting hitched to paparazzo Adnan Ghalib. Fed-Ex later heard that Ghalib and Spears went to Mexico after her hospitalization for Ghalib to get a quickie divorce from wife AzLynn.  Longtime Britney confidant and cousin Alli Sims does not like Ghalib.  The couple was recently spotted at the Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks, Calif., where Spears walked naked around upscale clothing storeUPDATE:  A report that Spears had penned a suicide note days before her last breakdown is being denied by pal Sam Lufti.

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY announced on his website today that his girlfriend, Camilla Alves, is pregnant with his child.

JOHNNY DEPP secretly visited Great Ormond Street Hospital yesterday to donate £1 million of his own money to thank staff for saving his daughter's life.  And on November 29, unknown to the public, Depp spent four hours at the hospital telling bedtime stories to patients dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow after having his costume flown over from Los Angeles.

ELLEN DeGENERES has dethroned Oprah Winfrey from the top of the Harris Poll's annual rundowns of America's favorite TV and film stars.  Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks and Johnny Depp are the favorite movie stars.  Full lists at the link.

GWYNETH PALTROW has retrurned home after being admitted to a New York hospital Monday afternoon.  The reason for the hospitalization remains unknown, but New York magazine reports Paltrow was doing an organic five-day live-food fast.

ZAC EFRON of High School Musical is recovering after being hospitalized with appendicitis.

EVA LONGORIA -- wife of San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker -- is defending Jessica Simpson from Dallas Cowboys fans.

CHARLIZE THERON & VIGGO MORTENSON have signed onto the bigscreen adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's bestselling novel, The Road.

SIMON COWELL of American Idol, knows what the American public wants in its presidential candidates.  They want them to be more like... Simon Cowell.

FRENCH PRES. SARKOZY secretly wed his Italian model fiancee, Carla Bruni?  Ooh la la!

ALESSANDRA AMBROSIO, Victoria's Secret angel extraordinaire, is knocked up?  Funny, she doesn't look it in any of the many, many pictures I studied.  Because it's gratuitous Wednesday.

TERROR in the UK?  As many as 1500 white Britons are believed to have converted to Islam for the purpose of funding, planning and carrying out surprise terror attacks inside the UK, according to one MI5 source.

IRAN:  A little-known fact: the European Union has gone further than the two UN Security Council resolutions against Iran actually require.  The tough European stance is surprising since there are huge commercial interests at stake, but shows Europe's recognition of the threat posed by the Islamic theocracy.

IRAQ:  USA Today is debriefed on a 17-hour Christmas firefight in Mosul that resulted in the deaths of ten AQI terrorists, including the head of an assassination cell, a financier and a military leader.  Syrian sheikh 'Abd Al-Mun'im Mustafa Halima, considered one of the leading theoreticians of the contemporary Salafi-jihadist stream in Islam, is trying to reconcile AQI with groups now backing the US, against the US.  A senior Awakening leader was killed in central Baghdad; two of his aides and four civilians were wounded. A policeman and two Awakening fighters were killed in Shurqat. Police arrested 35 insurgents during two separate operations in Kirkuk.

CHEETAH CUBS befriend the baby gazelle their mother caught for dinner.  More awww...some pics at the link.

THE AUSTRIAN SUPREME COURT rejected claims that a chimp is a human being.  I'm torn between going with The Elephant Man or Planet of the Apes.

AN ENRAGED WATER BUFFALO went on an hour-long rampage in northern Vietnam, goring four people and destroying food stalls before being shot to death by police, officials said Tuesday.  Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome?

DINOSAURS started having sex much earlier than previously thought, according to a new study out of U of C at Berkeley.  I blame the permissive culture of the Jurassic period.  And we all know what happened to the dinosaurs.

WHEN GIANT RATS ROAMED THE EARTH:  The fossilised skull of a rat the size of a car has been unearthed. It was so big that it probably spent much of its life semi-submerged in water, like a hippo, to reduce the stresses caused by its size.  No word so far on when it started having sex.

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MGMT, New Releases, Sharon Jones, Drunken Carp   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


MGMT, a buzz band from Brooklyn, divides the hipper-than-thou hipster boho community, but they wore some bitchin' capes on Letterman, so you can watch "Time to Pretend" and make up your own mind.  Nice ending, guys.

NEW RELEASES:  Magnetic Fields, The Whigs, Dirty On Purpose and Ringo Starr are streaming in full via Spinner.

BJÖRK allegedly attacked a photographer - ripping his shirt in half - after he snapped her early-morning arrival at Auckland International Airport, the New Zealand Herald reported Monday.  According to a later story in the Herald, neither Jeffrey nor the newspaper planned to press charges.  People magazine can link you to the video of her last attack of a reporter.

SHARON and the DAP-KINGS stopped by the studios at WFUV for a chat and mini-set; you can stream both or just the music via NPR.  This actually dates to the release of the current album, but Jones talks about her career and her other jobs, like being a prison guard at Riker's Island.

YO LA TENGO:  Ira Kaplan tells the U of GA's Black & Red that he finds touring unsettling... and "it would be weird if it wasn't."  (Thx, LHB.)

JIMI HENDRIX plays "Voodoo Chile," "Hey, Joe" and Cream's "Sunshine Of your Love," live on the Lulu Show in 1969.  It's like Twofer Tuesday... but it's one more.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND talks with Billboard about touching up their debut LP and plotting a tour.

JULIANA HATFIELD:  Timedoor covers her lost God's Foot album, which should have come out in 1996.  Posted tracks include "Chance Is Waiting" from the album and an outtake titled "I Didn't Know."

ARCHITECTURE in HELSINKI did the four free songs for stream or download for Daytrotter.

BRITISH SEA POWER:  At Chromewaves, Frank Yang has an advance (good) review for Do You Like Rock Music?, due on February 12th, along with your A/V linkage.

BRITNEY SPEARS still may not visit her children, a court commissioner ruled Monday, following a custody hearing the pop wreck missed.  In a bizarre and chaotic scene outside the courthouse, Spears arrived for the afternoon session of the proceedings - but abruptly left the courthouse after paparazzi surrounded her.  Sources tell TMZ the Commissioner now views mental health -- not substance abuse -- as the root of Britney's problems. Commissioner Scott Gordon was definitely influenced by Brit's no-show and was deeply concerned that her instability posed a danger to her children.  Speaking of whch, "The boys are doing fantastic," a source close to the family tells PageSix.com, "but they have not asked for their mom even once since Kevin has had them full-time."  Yesterday, she had a public screaming fit in her wacky British accent.  BONUS:  The News of the World claims that Spears may convert to Islam to marry her already married paparazzo boyfriend Adnan Ghalib, while the equally-reliable Express reports she intends to marry in a Scientology ceremony.  Maybe the truth is that Ghalib still talks to his wife and is fleecing Spears for his work as glorified gofer.

THE FRENCH HOTEL told her fans at the club LAX, "I want to f*** you all!"  Which, in her case, might not have been an exaggeration.

BEYONCE KNOWLES is rumored to be married to and pregnant by Jay-Z, according to the ever-reliable London Mirror.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON will make her directorial debut as part of a Woody Allen-helmed project showcasing 12 short films.

JESSICA SIMPSON:  Bitter, deranged Dallas Cowboys fans are blaming the pneumatic blonde for the team's plyoff loss after QB Tony Romo vacationed with her in Mexico.  And it makes wide recever Terrell Owens cry.  While they're at it, why don't they blame Lynsey Nordstrom, the Simpson impersonator pictured above hired by the New York Post to roam the stadium before gametime?  Nordstrom told the New Jersey Star-Ledger  she was paid her usual fee -- $500 for the first hour and $250 for each following hour.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but her daughter Dannielynn may require eye surgery for strabismus, which is a turning in of one of her eyes.

MARY J. BLIGE:  The Grammy-winning singer blasted a report linking her and other A-list celebrities to doctors and pharmacists targeted in a statewide steroid investigation.  Yes, really.

REESE WITHERSPOON stay grounded by having children who've barfed on her shoes before award shows.

AWARDS SEASON:  Speaking of which, only a Hollywood rag like Variety would photoshop a picture to compare the Golden Globes collapse to the evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.  You stay classy, Tinseltown!

CLOVERFIELD:  The NY Post lists the seven deadly signs that the mystery monster movie is this year's Snakes on a Plane.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Despite legal threats, Andrew Morton's biography of Cruise has emboldened other critics, one of whom flagged Scientology promotional videos found online.  The clips were yanked within a half-hour of being publicized on various websites, but US Weekly has some transcript of it, while The Huffington Post has screenshots.  BONUS:  Slate has condnsed all of the juicy bits of the Cruise bio.

JENNA JAMESON announced her retirement from that sort of video at the AVN in Vegas over the weekend.

GLOBAL WARMING:  Sir David King, the former chief scientific adviser who is credited with convincing Tony Blair of the urgency of global warming, now thinks some parts of the green movement are in danger of going too far: "There is a suspicion, and I have that suspicion myself, that a large number of people who label themselves 'green' are actually keen to take us back to the 18th or even the 17th century."  The answer to climate change, he says, is in embracing technology and technological solutions, not rejecting them.

IRAN:  Pres. Bush is privately disowning the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran to help to quiet a rising chorus of voices inside Israel's defense community that are calling for unilateral military action against the Islamic theocracy's nuclear program.

IRAQ:  Eager to cement current security gains, the US military has shifted its strategy from the streets to the corridors of power in a high-stakes effort to persuade Iraq's wary Shiite leaders to put thousands of predominantly Sunni men, many of them former insurgents, on the government payroll.  Sheikh Ahmed Abu Reesha, leader of the "Anbar Awakening" that has ended much of AQI's hold over western Iraq, warned that an early pullout of US troops would spark a return of savage sectarian violence and be "disastrous."  The Iraqi defense minister says his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq's borders from external threat until at least 2018.  The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps slipped into the green zone of Baghdad last month to press Tehran's hardline position over the terms of the current talks with American officials, it was claimed last week.  Operation Iron Harvest in the north has resulted in 60 al Qaeda fighters killed and 193 suspects captured since last week. Seven AQI fighters were killed in clashes south of Baqubah. Iraqi Special Forces captured an IED cell leader in Mosul.  A senior Sadrist leader was killed in Baghdad.

A CHINESE CHICKEN thought dead survives two days in the freezer: "No, no, I will never eat it. I will keep it as a magic charm," Gan Shugen said.

A SHARK is celebrating an extrordinary virgin birth in a Hungarian aquarium.  Will it walk on land?

TWO LEOPARDS run free in Africa for the first time, following 20 years in captivity.  Let's go to the Andy Wiliams.

A GATOR ATTACK on three dogs in Delray Beach, FL has left one canine presumed dead.

DRUNKEN CARP are all part of the fun of a Shinto ceremony dating back to the Edo Period in Japan.  Pic at the link.

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Polyphonic Spree, Jason, Bon Iver, Louis the Octopus   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, January 14, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE POLYPHONIC SPREE is premiering the video for "We Crawl" -- which involved acclaimed indie film maker Dante Harper issuing cameras and loose instructions all 23 members of the band -- at JamBase, which is also running a contest with a signed Spree robe as the prize.

JASON RINGENBERG talks to the Southern Illinoisian about the breadth of his carrer, from his start in Carbondale, IL, to his children's rock persona, Farmer Jason.  The article also raisies an intersting point about southern Illinois as an incubator for Americana music.

BON IVER:  Justin Vernon's backstory of recording in the woods of Wisconsin is told by the Mpls. Star-Tribune, which has also posted several streaming tracks from For Emma, Forever Ago.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS:  There is an advance review of the upcoming Brighter Than Creation's Dark album at the 'Gum.

RILO KILEY stopped by the World Cafe for a chat and mini-set, streaming on demand from NPR.

THE FORTUNES' biggest hit was "You've Got Your Troubles (I've Got Mine)," played here at the 1966 NME poll winners' concert.  Lead singer Ron Allen's troubles are over; he died over the weekend of liver cancer.  He was 63.

STEVE EARLE talks about playing for and acting in HBO's The Wire.  His hip-hoppin' take on Tom Waits' "'Way Down in the Hole" is also streaming there.

WOXY TO GO:  No, the Internet radio station is not folding again.  Rather, its blog is offering free and legal downloads from its current playlist.

SON VOLT 2.0:  Jay Farrar talks to the Gary Post-Tribune about the similarities and differences between the new line-up and the Nineties version.

AMY WINEHOUSE could miss her big Grammy appearance because she won't kick drugs fast enough to pass a drug test.  And blonde is not her color.

PETE DOHERTY is dating a stunning young catwalk model who has been tipped by fashion experts as the next Kate Moss.  Based on the pic at the link, I don't see it. 

BRITNEY SPEARS:  Fed-Ex's attorney will ask the court today that the Spears's visitation rights "be cut off completely until the trial in April," a source close to the case tells Usmagazine.com.  However, a source close to Britney's lawyer tells PageSix.com that Commissioner Scott Gordon is expected to reinstate the pop wreck's visitation with very limited and brief visits.  Meanwhile, the pop tart continued her bizarre behavior. going out in her old wedding dress with her new boyfriend, married British paparazzo Adnan Ghalib.

ROGER AVARY, the Oscar-winning co-screenwriter of Pulp Fiction (and most recently co-writer on Beowulf) was arrested Sunday on suspicion of manslaughter and driving under the influence after a Ventura County car crash that killed a man and injured Avary's wife.

TINSELTOWN BABY BOOM:  Nicole Richie & Joel Madden, Christina Aguilera, David Allen Grier and Courtney Thorne-Smith all became parents in a 24-hour span.  ALSO: Stella McCartney.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Speaking of which, Heather Mills snubbed her neighbors when she celebrated her 40th birthday bash Saturday night - so they blasted out Beatles hits as her guests arrived.  Sir Paul spent £8,000 on birthday gifts for Mills -- while she was secretly hiring an ex-SAS trooper and former M15 spy to try and make Sir Paul look like a bad dad.

O.J. SIMPSON returned to jail on Friday, where he will spend several days before a judge hears allegations that he violated terms of his bail in an armed robbery case.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise and Holmes were spotted dining with the French Hotel after the premiere of Katie's new film Mad Money.

NICOLE KIDMAN faces a difficult family decision over where to deliver her baby.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The Bucket List took the top slot with 19.5 million, largely on the star power of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  It's a good opening for Jack, though I doubt it will have the legs of movies like Something's Gotta Give.  First Sunday was just behind at 19 million; Screen Gems had a similar opening for Stomp The Yard 52 weeks ago.  But the real story continues to be Juno, which slipped only 11 percent to third (from the second-place it got when last weekend's actual receipts were tallied.  With a gross over 71 million, Juno is about to pass Sideways as the biggest earner ever for Fox Searchlight and will likely break the 100 million mark with ease.  Atonement, clinging to the bottom rung of the Top Ten, fell off 15 percent in expanded release.  I suspect that it would do better if the writers' strike was not wrecking shows like the Golden Globes.  Charlie Wilson's War, which could also use awards show PR, has fallen out of the Top Ten.

GOLDEN GLOBES:  Speaking of which, Atonement won Best Drama, with the full list of winners at the link.  Juno wuz robbed, though tens of millions of dollars probably eases the disappointment.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON is being asked by Courtney Love to play her in the new £30million movie about life with tragic rocker husband Kurt Cobain, who reportedly will be played by Ryan Gosling (though I'll bet that's a "Courtney wants" thing also).

BRADGELINA:  Pitt is not getting his own museum in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri.

VIVICA A. FOX says, "Vivica does not have a sex tape. If I did, I would be making my own money off of it."  Vivica sometimes refers to Vivica in the third person.

JEREMY PIVEN is pursuing burlesque babe Dita Von Teese, who was just officially divored from Marilyn Manson.

THE HOBBIT, Pt 2:  Elijah Wood talks about the possibility that the Lord of the Rings cast may appear in the planned film bridging The Hobbit and the Tolkien trilogy.

HARRY POTTER UPDATE:  Crew working on the sixth Potter film, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, have been told J.K. Rowling's seventh novel, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, will be released in two halves.

CLOVERFIELD:  GreenCine rounds up advance buzz on the mystery monster movie.  You can watch exclusive TV spots at Premiere Daily and Fandango.

MIDEAST MYSTERY:  The puzzling site in Syria that Israeli jets bombed in September grew more curious on Friday with the release of a satellite photograph showing new construction there that resembles the site's former main building.  If international inspectors eventually get to the site, he added, they will have a more difficult time looking for nuclear evidence. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, noted:"The new building covers whatever remained of the destroyed one."

IRAN:  The story of last week's clash in the Strait of Hormuz between the US Navy and Iranian gunboats also gets stranger over time.  The threatening radio transmission heard during the incident may have come from a locally famous heckler known among ship drivers as the "Filipino Monkey."  And the objects dropped by the Iranian boats apparently posed no threat.  However, the incident eerily echoed a 2002 wargame in which the US "lost" 16 major warships.  US sailors have not forgotten how a small boat that hid among refueling and garbage vessels off a port in Yemen detonated alongside the American destroyer Cole in October 2000, killing 17 Americans and crippling the warship.  Also, sources within Iran's ministry of foreign affairs claim that Pres. Ahmadinejad was kept in the dark about the decision to challenge the US ships until after the confrontation had ended. He is understood to have been unhappy about the action, which was ordered by hardline elements in the country's Revolutionary Guard.  Which is unsettling on its face and in its implication that the Guard is more hardline than Ahmadinejad.

IRAQ:  Iraq's parliament unanimously passed a benchmark law Saturday allowing lower-ranking former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to reclaim government jobs, the first major piece of US-backed legislation it has adopted.  The Interior Ministry claimed Friday that AQI has been successfully penetrated by means of a recently formed government security apparatus and is virtually an "open book."  Two senior AQI operatives were killed along with 32 foot soldiers during fighting in Arab Jabour, Miqdadiyah, and the Samarra region as part of Operation Phantom Phoenix.  Light snow fell in Baghdad early on Friday in what weather officials said was the first time in about a 100 years; delighted residents declared it an omen of peace.

THE MILITARY and the MEDIA:  The New York Times has launched "War Torn," a "series of articles and multimedia about veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have committed killings, or been charged with them, after coming home."  The Army responds that the NYT's statistics "appear to be based on a basic review of American newspaper crime stories from 2004 to 2006, rather than statistics provided by the U.S. Army or the Department of Defense, or even any interviews with military medical or judicial professionals."  Bloggers who disagree over Iraq -- like Phil Carter and Marc Danziger --  agree that the statistics are misleading.  Bruce Kesler notes this is consistent with a media that inflates the extent of PSTD among members of the military.

NINETEEN BALD EAGLES died in Alaska on Friday after gorging themselves on a truck full of fish waste outside a processing plant.

LOUIS the OCTOPUS is so attached to his Mr Potato Head that he turns aggressive when aquarium staff try to remove it from his tank.  Pic at the link.

A DOPE-SMOKING MONKEY needs a new home.  Nobby was caught up a 1997 police raid after being photographed puffing on a hash bong in Southend, Essex.

A STOLEN PUPPY was found on Kitty Street.  Who would look there?

SNAKE BALLS UPDATE:  The golf balls surgically removed from a python which swallowed them thinking they were hen eggs have been sold on eBay for $1401.

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Beatles, Black Mt., Blakes, Cutout Bin, Glowing Piglets   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, January 11, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE BEATLES!  In 1965-66, at Twickenham Film Studios, The Beatles videotaped a series of B&W promos, all produced by a British company, Intertel.  These videos were meant to be aired on shows like Hullaballoo and Top of the Pops.  Some never aired; the rest have been rarely seen until Al Gore invented the Internets.  Today's selections are:  "Help!" "Ticket To Ride," "Day Tripper," "Rain" and "Paperback Writer."

LED ZEPPELIN:  John Paul Jones tells Rolling Stone, "There is a band meeting in January," among other things.

BLACK MOUNTAIN:  Jeremy Schmidt lists a few of his favorite things for Pitchfork's Guest List feature.  Fans of Lee Hazlewood and Harry Nilsson will want to read it.  Rolling Stone belatedly names the heavy psych-folk band a "breaking artist," complete with a profile and video.  You can stream a few, including one from the album due Jan 22, from BlackMtSpace.

BONO pressed French Pres. Sarkozy to raise development assistance from .31 percent of gross national income to 0.7 percent by 2012 as agreed earlier.

PHONOGRAPH, who gently stretch the bounds of Americana with a dash of electronica, stopped by the World Cafe for a mini-set, streaming via NPR.

THE BLAKES, from Seattle, play some rock that somehow echoes the mid-60s with a dash of punk, without sounding retro on "Don't Bother Me."

THE A-SIDES did an unpluggedy Daytrotter session with four streaming and downloadable tracks.

AVRIL LAVIGNE has settled a lawsuit that accused her of plagiarizing her summer hit single, "Girlfriend," from the Rubinoos power-pop classic, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend."

YO LA TENGO:  Creative Loafing talks to Guitarist and lead songwriter/vocalist Ira Kaplan and notes the band has been inspired by the remarks of baseball and basketball players.

AMY WINEHOUSE & PETE DOHERTY are the odds-on favorites for "celebrity most likely to be sent to jail in 2008," according to British bookmaker William Hill.

CUTOUT BIN:  From John Lee Hooker to Big Star, from Chuck Berry to Beck, this Friday's fortuitous finds -- with covers a-plenty -- can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS:  A source close to the knocked up 16-year-old is denying a report that she was dumped by boyfriend Casey Aldridge because he doubts he is the father.

BRITNEY SPEARS made a run south of the border with married paparazzo Adnan Ghalib.  Meanwhile, US Weekly reports that police found at least one bite and several bruises on son Jayden James when they arrived at her home to end last week's custody standoff.  BONUS:  An internal memo shows that Spears is a priority for the Associated Press.

LINDSAY LOHAN is rumored to have gone on a romantic date with Entourage's Adrian Grenier.  Radar has a transcript of Grenier's uber-suave pick-up lines, which I think would work on Li-Lo.

NOT PREGNANT:  Pam Anderson and Avril Lavigne.

HALLE BERRY, otoh, is quite pregnant and wants "to stay pregnant forever."  It's good for her skin.  And she has taken up golf.

BRADGELINA, meanwhile, hope to get pregnant soon,

NOW SHOWING:  This week's wide releases include The Bucket List, currently scoring 42 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the crime comedy First Sunday, currently scoring 21 percent; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which was not screened for critics; and the animated The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, which is scoring 57 percent.  Atonement goes near-wide on 950 screens with its 84 percent score.  The Kite Runner expands to 715 screens, scoring 65 percent.  Foreign suspense flick The Orphanage expands to 707 screens with 83 percent.  And there is till the adorable Juno at 93 percent, and Charlie Wilson's War at 81 percent.

JUNO, btw, has a delightful screenplay written by an ex-stripper from Lemont, Illinois.  The stripping, however, was done in Mpls.

MADONNA has conned both UNICEF USA and Gucci into helping her raise money for the Kabbalah Center and her patron gurus, the Berg Family.  OTOH, Madge reportedly spends 10K a month on specially blessed Kabbalah water, so she's conning herself, too.

MISCHA BARTON phoned into "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" and called her recent DUI a major disappointment -- and something she never intends to do again.  Oddly enough, I rarely hear people busted for DUI announce their intent to do it again.

THE HOLLYWOOD WRITERS' STRIKE is about more than the writers.

THE DARK KNIGHT:  The trailer for the Batman Begins sequel is remixed for 1966.

GRATUITOUS FRIDAY:  Transformers' Megan Fox, Natalie Portman and Leo DiCaprio's gf, supermodel Bar Rafeli, all courtesy of Egotastic.

PAKISTAN:  An ethnic Pashtun tribe vowed on Thursday to raise a militia aimed at forcing al Qaeda-linked foreign militants from their lands on the Afghan border.  Shades of Iraq?

IRAN:  After the US Navy released the video of Iranian speedboats swarming around US warships, which featured a chilling threat in English, the Navy is saying that the voice on the tape could have come from the shore or from another ship.  The Navy never said specifically where the voices came from, but many were left with the impression they had come from the speedboats because of the way the Navy footage was edited.  The US sent a formal protest to Iran on Thursday over the incident.  Meanwhile, Iran's supreme court has confirmed that two youths found guilty of rape will receive 100 lashes each before being cast off a cliff.

IRAQ:  American bombers and fighterst dropped 40K pounds of bombs on suspected militant hide-outs, storehouses and defensive positions in the southern outskirts of Baghdad on Thursday, in support of Operation Phantom Phoenix.  Anbar province will be returned to Iraqi control in March.  NPR has a report on progress by the Iraqi Army and police.  On Thursday, newspapers in Baghdad went on the attack, accusing al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden of fueling sectarian sedition in the country.  Time magazine has a piece on how far Baghdad still is from normal.  An estimated 151K Iraqi civilians have been killed in the violence that has engulfed the country from the time of the US-led invasion until June 2006, according to the latest and largest study of deaths carried out by the World Health Organization and the Iraqi health ministry. That estimate substantially lower than the 601K death toll reported by US researchers in 2006.  The National Journal has come out with a devastating critique of the Lancet's report.

GLOW-IN-THE-DARK CLONED PIG passes the gene to its offspring.  Cue Mr. Burns!

BABY MICE on a PLANE!  Okay, not so scary, but they were quarantined.

GEMIMA, the "crooked-necked giraffe," had to be put to sleep Wednesday, having lived to the ripe old age (for giraffes) of 21.  Pics at the link.

DOG BITES BOY, saves his life.

DOGS & CATS:  Oscar the dog and his best friend, Arthur the cat, have a friendship which has lasted past death.  Cute... and creepy!

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