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Blondie, The Replacements, CYHSY, BSS, ELO, Built To Spill, Giant Lobster   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 10, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: With the sixth season of The Sopranos starting Sunday, the New Jersey Star-Ledger brings us Sopranos Sudoku. UPDATE: If you can't wait until Sunday, you can watch the fifth season recap and an advance scene from the premiere at Yahoo!

BLONDIE: Debbie Harry talks to USA Today's Whitney Matheson about American Idol, Suicide (the band), lipgloss, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, among other things. Harry also talks about convincing Chrysalis Records to freshen up the latest Greatest Hits CD with things like the mashup of "Rapture" with the Doors' "Rider o­n the Storm," which you can stream at the link.

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH played Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club Wednesday night -- it's now streaming at NPR.

METALLICA will not o­nly induct Black Sabbath into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame o­n Monday, but the group will also perform a short set of Sabbath songs at the ceremony.

KILLING MUSIC: Two men were indicted Thursday o­n federal charges for posting portions of the album Jacksonville City Nights by Ryan Adams & the Cardinals prior to its release o­n a Web site frequented by Adams fans.

ARCTIC MONKEYS: Coolfer Glenn posts o­n a WSJ article wondering why the band's album sold o­nly about ten percent in the US of what it sold in the UK in its first week (which was still good enough for No. 24, I note). The comments also offer reasons with which I tend to agree, e.g., that the band hasn't really toured in the US, which is the usual path for indie success. BTW, the Monkeys are the musical guest o­n Saturday Night Live tomorrow.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: A reminder is killing music with a bootleg of the band's recent gig in Paris, which included Jason Collett and Leslie Feist in the collective.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: In Chicago, it was in the 20s last weekend and may be in the 60s this weekend, which put me in the mood for ELO's "Mr Blue Sky." PLUS: The A.V. Club inventories "Ten Memorable Saturday Night Live Musical Moments." I have already linked to a couple of them, but NBC has been purging YouTube of clips like the infamous 1977 Elvis Costello appearance. Ashlee Simpson's lipsync slip can still be found around the Internet. You can even find Fear's o­nstage melee, if you want to tax your bandwidth. But the real find is the o­ne site where you can see The Replacements' star turn in glorious Quicktime.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer scrawled "I Love Kate 4 Eva" o­n the inside of his windshield as he left court following another appearance o­n drugs charges. Pete Townshend comments o­n their drama, proclaiming Doherty "the ultimate rock 'n' roll f**kwit." Meanwhile, Moss is expected to return to Chanel.

THE WHO's upcoming world tour is expected to be its last. I saw the 1982 farewell tour.

DOWNLOADS: Some record labels now think that legal advance sales of singles are killing music, according to The New York Times. The paper notes that in the supposed test case, increased album sales may be due to the label's discount to retailers who stocked the album, which sold at Target for $7.98 last week.

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Noah Lennox tells the Tuscon Weekliy that o­n the band's latest, Feels, "The themes o­n the new record are way more adult. ... The themes of love ... its complications and joys, the good and the bad." But he admits there are some -- including friends -- who think the album is too "happy." You can hear one from Feels and o­ne from Sung Tongs at MySpace to note that -- happy or sad -- their stuff is odd, in a good way.

SEXAGENARIAN ROCK AND ROLL: Last week's British album chart included Paul McCartney, 63, Neil Diamond, 65, Dolly Parton, just 60, and Ray Davies of the Kinks, 61. London's Guardian thankfully looks beyond them to youngsters like Iggy Pop, John Cale and Ry Cooder. Asked how he had managed to keep going into his 50s, Iggy Pop replied: "I'm not bald, I'm not fat, and I'm not safe."

BUILT TO SPILL has "Conventional Wisdom," an advance track from their album, streaming in Windows and Quicktime formats. And it's quite catchy!

V FOR VENDETTA: I mentioned Monday that graphic novelist Alan Moore has taken his name off the movie. MTV has a backgrounder o­n Moore's frustration with Hollywood. In the run up to the March 17 movie opening, Natalie Portman guest-lectured at Columbia.

NOW SHOWING: This week's wide releases are The Shaggy Dog remake (32 percent Rotten o­n the Tomatometer), The Hills Have Eyes remake (50 percent Rotten), and Failure to Launch (31 percent Rotten) which is not -- afaik -- a remake, though its title begs for bad reviews.

TARA REID: Whats worse -- being spotted outside Dennis Rodman's house in the morning, or getting into a car accident while trying to get away unnoticed?

BRADGELINA: Pitt would like use his unborn child to promote his next movie, The Assassination of Jesse James, by naming the kid Jessie or James.

SHARON STONE: As a member of Mensa, she's smart enogh to know that there are o­nly two reasons for interest in Basic Instinct 2.

BRITNEY SPEARS: People are spreading rumors that stress is causing her hair to fall out, but it appears that this is common for a woman to temporarily lose hair after giving birth.

JESSICA SIMPSON got dumped by Maroon 5's Adam Levine via text message? ROTFL! At least it will allow her to focus o­n lobbying Congress about Operation Smile, an organization that provides surgery for children with facial abnormalities.

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife has girl crushes o­n her neighborhood crew -- Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson and Eva Mendes. It's tailor-made for reality TV! Meanwhile she's complaining about complaining about all of the bath and lingerie scenes she has to do for her show, apparently unaware as to why people watch it.

BOY GEORGE cops a plea to avoid possible jail time o­n a cocaine bust, agreeing to enter rehab and perform community service.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise may be the o­nly person so self-unaware that he had the gall to ask ex-wife Nicole Kidman if she was doing the right thing regarding Keith Urban. He then reportedly suggested that Nic postpone the wedding until after his baby with Holmes is born. Speaking of which, Holmes has reportedly asked Posh Spice to be her birthing partner. Not surprising, given that Cruise has been working o­n converting the Beckhams to Scientology for a while.

DAVID HASSELHOFF was accused of domestic violence by his estranged wife, court records show. The Hoff denies the claim. I hope it's not true, or I will never be able to watch his cover of "Hooked o­n a Feeling" the same way again.

JACKO has been ordered to shut down the Neverland Ranch by California authorities for failing to pay his employees or maintain proper insurance.

CULT OF THE iPod: Pope Benedict XVI is grooving o­n an iPod Nano loaded with his favorite tunes.

IRAQ: At ITM, Omar has gossip that the Shia bloc is willing to pull back Jafari's nomination as Prime Minister, if they can negotiate certain conditions. The US military plans to return Abu Ghraib to the Iraqis within three months. And the AP has noticed that Sunnis are turning o­n Al Qaeda, forcing some foreign terrorists to flee Anbar and Ramadi for remote areas near the Iranian border.

NEGATIVE VIEW OF ISLAM INCREASING: A growing proportion of Americans are expressing unfavorable views of Islam, and a majority now say that Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The WaPo reports: "Conservative and liberal experts said Americans' attitudes about Islam are fueled in part by political statements and media reports that focus almost solely o­n the actions of Muslim extremists." True enough, though I predict the WaPo will never dismiss attitudes about the invasion of Iraq as the result of a media focus o­n the actions of Muslim extremists. And when prominent Muslims and others denounced Islamic extermism, the WaPo ignored it. The WaPo also suggests that we are confusing Muslims and Arabs: "Though the two groups are often linked in popular discourse, most of the world's Muslims are not of Arab descent. For example, the country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia." Again, true enough, but the paper's page o­ne Iraq story the same day discusses "the main Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish religious and ethnic groups," without noting that most Kurds are Sunni Muslims.

FLUFFERNUTTER is at the center of a legal battle between the company that makes Marshmallow Fluff and Williams-Sonoma. I guess if yoou have to have a center of legal conflict, it may as well be crazy delicious.

GIANT LOBSTER: With all of the press attention given to the fuzzy lobster, the giant 35-year-old Tasmanian lobster, measuring almost o­ne meter in length, got short shrift.

DON'T FEED THE GATOR, especially not a rabbit you stole from the zoo.

SNUPPY UPDATE: His creator has been discredited and controversy has long surrounded him, but scientists have confirmed that the Afghan hound is the world's first cloned dog.

A KITTEN is one cure for clutter.

THINGS CATS DO NOT LIKE: Amber Taylor is making a list. I had never seen SuperGlued rubber tips o­n a cat's claws before...

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Calexico, Yo La Tengo(!), Furry Lobster and Rainbow Sheep   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

CALEXICO: Harp magazine suggests the band's upcoming album, Garden Ruin, "finds the group undergoing a subtle yet profound tectonic shift." John Convertino doesn't mind if people call it pop. You can stream and download the opening track, "Cruel," at MySpace (they also have a Quicktime video that loads -- and sucks up bandwidth --at the bottom of the page, so you may want to select the "standalone player" and close the main page).

BELLE & SEBASTIAN and ISOBEL CAMPBELL also get interviewed in the new Harp. B&S frontman Stuart Murdoch talks about Campbell, possibly doing something other than B&S next, and opines that "Funny Little Frog" may end up being the band's biggest hit. "Another Sunny Day" is available for download.

RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN: The new book by Simon Reynolds causes Slate's Stephen Metcalf to meditate o­n British Wimps and American Weirdos.

NEKO CASE is the musical guest on The Tonight Show... tonight!

IMOGEN HEAP, formerly of Frou Frou, says blogging helped her record her latest album, Speak For Yourself -- from which you can stream a few at MySpace.

SILVER JEWS: Cassie Berman creates a "Get In The Van" playlist for Discollective, including Richard Thompson, Lucinda Williams and X. BTW, she gives an honorable mention to "Elvis Theme Music," which is actually the intro to "C.C. Rider," as played by The King's band.

PEARL JAM is offering an advance track from the upcoming album through their website, though I think today is the last day you can get it for free.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Any fan of The Replacements or The Service has a soft spot for "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" by the studio musicians going under the name of the Edison Lighthouse. Singer Tony Burrows was also the voice o­n "My Baby Loves Lovin"', "Beach Baby", "United We Stand", "Gimme Dat Ding" and "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke."

YO LA TENGO: YANP is sorta killing music with a whole mess of MP3s ripped from the band's annual appearance for WFMU's pledge drive, where they play requests for each hundred dollar donation -- ranging from Leonard Cohen to the Bay City Rollers to The Records to the Replacements to The Zombies to Hall & Oates to... well, you get the idea. YANP also suggests that people who download donate to WFMU.

CRACKER LOW DOWN: Stereogum is killing music with three versions of Low. The consensus there seems to be that the Cracker's re-recorded greatest hits collection is not as good as the o­ne released o­n the same day by the band's ex-label, Virgin.

MIGHTY MAX WEINBERG, drummer for Conan O'Brien and Bruce Springteen, channels Henny Youngman.

SNOW PATROL is readying a sophomore album with guest shots from Martha Wainwright, Ken Stringfellow ( Posies/Big Star) and Eugene Kelly (Vaselines/Eugenius).

MORRISSEY: Pate frontman Jon Pratt was fond of saying that it's hard to be a prophet in your home town, but Moz gets four out of five stars in advance review of Ringleader Of The Tormentors, which is due next month. Stereogum points us to the video for "You Have Killed Me" and his readers' list of fake Moz song titles -- a must-read if you missed them last time I linked it.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The Thames Magistrates' Court was told that the troubled singer is making "positive progress" in his fight against drug addiction, despite testing positive for drugs in his first month of his community service order and being charged with seven fresh counts of drugs possession.

TERI HATCHER was molested by her uncle when she was five years old; her testimony forced her uncle to plead guilty. When she went to the police in 2002 (after o­ne of his victims committed suicide), Hatcher thought the details would get out and that cynics would accuse her of using the story to boost her career. But that didn't happen, so she's telling Vanity Fair now and getting o­n the cover again.

GORDON PARKS knew the answer to the question: "Who's that Black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks?" Director Gordon Parks, who also wrote fiction and was an accomplished photographer and composer, died in New York at 93. You can see a gallery of his famous photos courtesy of Kodak.

JESSICA ALBA was undoubtedly thrilled to be among the honorees in the 7th Annual Mr. Skin's Anatomy Awards.

PHOEBE CATES: Crimebuster! Sadly, she may never top her NSFW moment moving in stereo fromFast Times at Ridgemont High.

KEANU REEVES is often a block of wood o­nscreen, but he understands gossip better than most celebs.

THE SOPRANOS cast observed an an oath of omerta at the kickoff party for the new season, which premieres this Sunday. I'm with Paulie Walnuts, who declared, "It's about time. You can underline that."

JESSICA SIMPSON: Future ex Nick Lachey is "just friends" with Laguna Beach's Kristin Cavallari, which means you can put the survival gear back in the closet. OTOH, the pneumantic blonde is rumored to be getting a flood of e-mail from Jude Law, so maybe you you should keep your gear handy. W magazine reveals that Simpson -- who is getting her first checkbook since age 16 -- feels that the time is right to publish her innermost thoughts, favorite quotes and musings o­n life. Repent now, the end is nigh.

MADONNA is considering having plastic surgery to retain her youthful looks, but insists she won't tell fans about it (except that she she just did, sorta). For now, Madge is relying o­n Photoshop, with mixed results.

NICOLE KIDMAN getting a special love song from rumored beau-fiancee Keith Urban?

HEATH LEDGER flipped off the press after losing o­n Oscar night, but don't think it's a case of sour grapes -- he's reportedly spit o­n photogs in the past, so Ledger was actually being classier o­n awards night.

IT'S HARD OUT HERE FOR A PIMP: The Oscar for the theme song from Hustle & Flow is denounced by many African-Americans for a number of reasons. It even shocked a 17-year-old girl quoted in the Washington Post. But Salman Rushdie was rooting for the song to win.

OSCAR GIFT BAGS worth about 100K are taxable income to Oscar attendees, according to the IRS. Commissioner Mark Everson is reported to have said: "We want to make sure the stars 'walk the line' when it comes to these goody bags."

KEIRA KNGHTLEY: Various gossips and photgs have Keira crying in a swarm of paparazzi and seeking comfort from Sienna Miller. I don't buy this any more than the Jake Gyllenhaal rumor, because Sienna Miller woud have gladly assaulted the photogs had it happened. Meanwhile, contrary to an earlier report, at the Oscars, Jack Nicholson asked Knightley whether she had ever dated an older man. Which means that Keira denied it thinking she was being nice to Jack, or that her PR people realized that it sounds bad if you're the o­nly starlet Jack has snubbed.

NANOTECH: University of Illinois scientists say they've developed an innovative strategy of mixing lipids and nanoparticles to produce new drug delivery vehicles.

EDU-BLOGGING: The 57th Carnival of Education is o­nline. High-school English teacher Patrick Welsh writes that failures in the classroom are sometimes the fault of students and their families.

IRAQ: At Iraq the Model, Omar nicely sums up the Shia bloc's political dilemma regarding the Prime Minister post ahead of negotiations tonight or tomorrow o­n opening the Iraqi parliament. Bill Roggio notes that the AP managed to misreport even part of a good news story about progress in Anbar province.

IRANIANS believe they have the right to nuclear power, but are uneasy about the heavy-handed metods of their government. So they will be thrilled to learn -- if it's not censored -- that Tehran threatened the US with "harm and pain" if the UN Security Council took up the issue of Iran's nuke program. The UN nuclear watchdog cleared the way Security Council action Wednesday. The US has noted that whether its allies are ready to take any action o­n the matter remains to be seen.

"FURRY LOBSTER" discovered by French researchers in the South Pacific. It's blond and blind (probably because it's a deep-sea crustacean, I would guess).

RAINBOW SHEEP appear in politically correct nursery rhymes in Britain. And the BBC looks to have a picture of them, too.

PIGEONS like a statue of a woman made out of bread in a park in Santiago, Chile. Pic at the link. Meanwhile, in the UK, a man who plunged 30ft down a mill chimney survived by landing in six-inch-deep pigeon poop. Fortunately, no pic at the link.

MOOSE dies trying to figure out the subway in Oslo, Norway.

SHARKINATORS: The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency has creating a neural implant to enable engineers to remotely manipulate a shark's brain signals -- eventually allowing them to control the animal's movements and possibly decode their perceptions. If sharks could be trained to track enemy ships or submarines, or to detect underwater mines or cables, attaching laser beams to their frickin' heads should be easy.

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Isobel Campbell, Neko Case, Real Simpsons, Brigadier the Police Horse   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

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New Releases, Twofer Tuesday, Killer Bees and Hippie Chimps   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, March 07, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

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Sex Pistols, Johnny Cash, Neko Case, Heavy Metal Parrot   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, March 06, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

...AND THE OSCARS WENT to these folks. Crash upset Brokeback Mountain -- screenwriter Roger L. Simon voted for Paul Haggis' screenplay while ripping it: "(D)espite the author's fake values and absurd vision of Los Angeles, he didn't have much competition and I had to vote for something." But the biggest upset of the night was "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" winning Best Original Song. Keira Knightley, Salma Hayek and Jessica Alba looked great; Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron, not so much. Playing music in back of the acceptance speeches was not o­nly an awful idea, it made everyone nervous, messing up their speeches and probably making them longer. Jon Stewart probably did better in TV Land than in the Kodak Theater. There was a fake video of Tom Hanks shown o­n keeping the speeches short, But I would like to have seen the Hanks video o­n speechifying given to the nominees. George Clooney, accepting Best Supporting Actor, praised Hollywood's progressive world view -- as did a later film montage -- when a close look shows Hollywood is a lagging cultural indicator. Paul Giamatti was robbed again. The Academy Pres. and Jake Gyllenhaal were given the job of begging people to go to the theater and not watch stuff at home o­n DVD. Jake did it introducing a montage from "epic" movies -- which was ironic, given that no epics got major noms this year and Jake is speaking to a TV audience... though Don Knotts must not have made the deadline for the dead guys montage. Richard Pryor wins Most Applause For Dying This Year. Philip Seymour Hoffman won Best Actor (as expected), but did not bark or meow, so I'm a little disappointed. Reese Witherspoon winning Best Actress, gave a classy speech, thanking not o­nly her family, the Cashes and the Carters, but also T-Bone Burnett "for helping me realize my lifelong dream of becoming a country music singer."

THE RAZZIES were dominated by Jenny McCarthy and her little-seen Dirty Love, by which I mean the movie. Hayden Christensen and the French Hotel were also among the dishonored. In a nice bit of irony, this year's ceremonies were largely indirectly funded by Ben Affleck.

THE INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS went to these folks, many of whom were also Oscar nominees. As I write this, the Oscar for Best Actress has not been awarded, but I can confidently predict that if Felicity Huffman gets the Oscar, her speech won't be as good as her Indie speech.

SEX PISTOLS have signed away their back catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group. To quote Johnny Rotten (and Pate bassist Mike Kelly): "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

PINK FLOYD: Roger Waters has invited Nick Mason and Richard Wright for the performance of Dark Side of the Moon. David Gilmour is working up the courage to visit Syd Barrett.

GARY GLITTER was sentenced to three years in jail for molesting two 11-year-old girls. That seems light, though it is a Vietnamese jail.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Last Monday, I broke my own rule by posting The Bangles two weeks in a row, but with fresh snow o­n the ground in the Windy City, I give you the third -- The Bangles' version of Simon and Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter." A TIP: If the video doesn't stream nicely for you, hit the "pause" button when it starts playing and let the video preload a bit.

YOU TUBE: Newsweek asks whether the video sharing service is the video version of Napster (No, it's more like MySpace, imho). Besides, some copyright holders are embracing the site, like MTV2.

JOHNNY CASH: Revelatory, stripped-down tapes from the early 1970s have been discovered in his archive. Personal File, a two-CD set with forty-nine previously unissued solo Cash tracks, is due in May. "This is his 'Basement Tapes,'" says Steve Berkowitz of Legacy Recordings.

LEONARD COHEN has been granted a nine-million-dollar judgment against his former manager, but the devil is in the details. It's a default judgment, which is usually pretty easy for the defaulting party to vacate. And even if it stands, you still have to be able to collect the judgment.

BIKINI KILL is reuniting for a new album and tour.

MUSIC PRICE-FIXING PROBE has been opened by the Justice Dept., tracking a similar investigation by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

NICK SYLVESTER was taken off Pitchfork in the wake of his fabrication scandal at the Village Voice.

ARCTIC MONKEYS frontman Alex Turner is scared he's becoming a bit sensible.

NEKO CASE gets interviewed by the Washington Post about working solo and with the New Pornographers, as well as her steadily increasing audience: "Well, I don't mind the slow climb. That's okay with me because I'm not going to a fat farm and I'm not going to be o­n reality TV. I need to tour. [Laughs.] I gotta be blue collar about this or otherwise no o­ne's going to know that I'm playing music."

BOB MOULD talks about the brave new world of digital music: "The problem now is for the consumer to wade through all these different things coming at them from different directions... The next step is people have to filter it, which has been happening with MP3 blogs and websites like Pitchfork and Stereogum. Whoever controls distribution wins the game."

PODCASTING: Tower Records plans to let folks create their own podcasts using a catalog of some 6,000 songs, which Tower will provide free of charge.

OF MONTREAL frontman Kevin Barnes talks about the flip side of even mild success: "''There was a time when we could play anything live. Now it's maybe 15 percent of the audience that knows the older stuff -- a lot of people have o­nly seen the video or heard the radio song."

BONO has upset Bolivia by ccepting a small guitar from Chile.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer should realize how serious his drug problem is when recovering addict Ozzy Osbourne offers to intervene: "Sharon was a rock to me and if he came to stay with us she'd sort him."

NATALIE PORTMAN rapped for Andy Samberg o­n SNL. We'll see how long it takes NBC lawyers to get it removed from YouTube. UPDATE: It didn't take long at all, though you can watch it now at NBC.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion /www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/">held the top spot for a second week. 16 Blocks came in second, with Eight Below in third place, leaving Ultraviolet and Aquamarine in fourth and fifth place. Dave Chappelle's Block Party came in seventh, making o­nly 6.5 million -- but that's not bad for a budget of three million.

JESSICA SIMPSON packed o­n the pounds in the wake of her split from Nick Lachey. Meanwhile, in a bit of MTV surreality show symmetry, Lachey is reportedly hooking up with Laguna Beach babe Kristin Cavalleri.

JACKO: Jermaine Jackson is full of dish in his bombshell book proposal, including that he's not sure Jacko was innocent of child molestation and his children by ex-wife Debbie Rowe were fathered by a "sperm donor."

MADONNA had to explain her kissing Britney Spears to her nine-year-old daughter.

JAMES WOODS has a new girlfriend -- 19-year-old Ashley Myrick -- the daughter of Woods' longtime golf buddy John Myrick, who has reportedly given the union his blessing.

REESE WITHERSPOON confesses that she and husband Ryan Philippe have attended marriage counselling.

GEORGE CLOONEY admits: "I've slept with too many women, done too many drugs, and I've been to too many parties." None of which will cause him to think twice about lecturing everyone else o­n how to live.

BRADGELINA: Rumors swirl that the couple have secretly married already. Pitt's ex, Jennifer Aniston, reportedly wrote and sent Pitt a 3 page letter to vent and purge him from her system.

PAMELA ANDERSON objects to breeding for large breasts... in chickens. "Why can't they just get poultry-sized implants?" asked the ex-Baywatch bombshell. Okay, I made the quote up, but you were thinking it, anyway.

LOHAN LOWDOWN: The teen queen appears in candid photos taken by friends and posted o­n the 'net which seem to include paraphrenalia that might hinder future Disney movies.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON having tantric sex? Current beau Josh Hartnett says as much in an interview where he also talks about his failed attempt at celibacy. So -- as I always suspected -- there really was no acting in 40 Days and 40 Nights.

SPIKE LEE dislikes Condoleezza Rice more than Pres. Bush: "While people were drowning in New Orleans, she was going up and down Madison Ave. buying Ferragamo shoes. Then she went to see Spamalot." Lee is apparently unaware that Rice is Secretary of State -- a position that deals with foreign policy. Had she been shipped down to Nawlins, Lee would be complaining that she was being stuck into it to make it look like Bush cares about black people.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY has agreed to star in a film of Ian McEwan's best-selling novel Atonement, which will reunite her with Pride and Prejudice director Joe Wright.

IRAQ: The US and UK are planning to pull out of Iraq by spring 2007, according to two British newspapers. US officials deny there is a set timetable, but (imho) it's probably a goal the US would like to reach. CBS relays US intell suggesting that al Qaeda in Iraq is planning what o­ne source calls a "Big Bang" to try to spark civil war. Ralph Peters is in Baghdad looking for the civil war, but finding the locals cheering US troops. More territory is transferred to the command of the Iraqi Army as weekly attacks in the Anbar province dropped to 104 from 145. Democratic pollser Mark Blumenthal looks more closely at the controversial Zogby poll, concluding: "All we know for certain is that the poll was not a random sample of the population of all U.S. troops in Iraq." Michael J. Totten blogs from Suleimaniya, with pictures from the museum documenting Saddam's genocide against the Kurds. Gateway Pundit notes the mosque bombing is helping unite Sunnis and Shia in Bahrain.

IRAN: As the UN's nuke watchdog meets today, the man led Iran's nuke negotiations explains how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic program, knowing that if they were honest, they would be referred to the UN Security Council.

CARTOON JIHAD: In the New York Review of Books, Law and Philosophy Prof. Ronald Dworkin frets that publishing the Mohammed cartoons may play into the hands of Islamic extremists, but concludes that "Ridicule is a distinct kind of expression; its substance cannot be repackaged in a less offensive rhetorical form without expressing something very different from what was intended. That is why cartoons and other forms of ridicule have for centuries, even when illegal, been among the most important weapons of both noble and wicked political movements. So in a democracy no o­ne, however powerful or impotent, can have a right not to be insulted or offended."

HURRICANE KATRINA: Friday night -- when almost no o­ne would notice -- the AP admitted it falsely reported that Pres. Bush was warned about possible levee breeches before Katrina hit Nawlins. And the media seems keen to rehabilitate Michael Brown now that the unqualified crony is pointing a finger at DHS chief Michael Chertoff. Apparently, we all hallucinated all of those e-mails where he's worrying about where to have dinner and what to wear o­n TV.

CANADIAN OIL: Oil sands deposits in Alberta are so vast that American pipelines are reversing flow.

COW ABDUCTION: You've been warned.

CELEBRITY PETS: Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe are giving their marriage another chance because they can't decide how to divide up their pets. Denise Richards has called in Hollywood's top "dog whisperer" to control her mischievous mutts, who may be traumatized by the actress' split from Charlie Sheen. Sienna Miller and Jude Law confirm their split as she dumps their dogs o­n his doorstep.

MUSHKIE THE CAT has been forced to burn through a few of those nine lives.

ROCKY THE DOG sealed a real-estate deal in Missouri.

DOGS like both kinds of music -- country and western.

WALDO THE PARROT is the lead singer of the crushing death-metal band Hatebeak. He has competition from Caninus, which is fronted by two pit bull terriers, Budgie and Basil.

BOBCAT survives being shot through the head with an arrow that lodged between the animal's eyes and out through the skull. That must be o­ne wild and crazy cougar.

ANIMAL RIGHTS EXTREMISTS CONVICTED, face three to seven years in prison and fines up to 250K. The president of the group to which the defendants belong, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, used to be Lucy Van Pelt.

GIANT WORMS are destroying ancient rice terraces in the Philippines.

CUSTOM LAB MICE can cost as much as 100K.

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