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Arctic Monkeys, Sir Paul, Grizzly Bear, New NPs, Tabby Puppies   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 09, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE ARCTIC MONKEYS paid tribute to Shirley Bassey by covering "Diamonds Are Forever" at Glastonbury 2007.

NICK LOWE doesn't mention her in the Brisbane Times, but it turns out he owes Whitney Houston a debt of gratitude.

PAUL McCARTNEY stopped by the World Cafe for an interview and mini-set, including "A Day In The Life."

LIVE EARTH, the concerts supposed to raise awareness of global warming, were held over the weekend, though the Arctic Monkeys, Bob Geldof, Roger Daltrey and Neil Tennant were among those noting the hypocrisy of energy-hungry pop acts touting the issue.  The event was estimated to directly generate at least 31,500 tons of carbon emissions and some 1,025 tonnes of waste at the concert stadiums - much of which will go directly into landfill sites.  In New York's Giants Stadium, trade unions blocked  attempts to recycle, and the 52,000-seat arena is not near public transportation.   And it's not clear whether those estimates included the 9000-LED backdrop Genesis used.  But some of those solid waste estimates may be high, as it appears that attendance at many of the venues was underwhelming.

GRIZZLY BEAR:  You can stream and interview and performance (or just the songs) from a recent session at KEXP via NPR.

TOM JONES, backed by JOE PERRY, cover the Arctic Monkeys' "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" at the Princess Di tribute concert.  Arctic Monkeys big-stage cover symmetry... catch it!

BILLY BRAGG, with help from Mick Jones, is on a campaign to provide musical instruments for prison inmates.  A similar program seems to have reduced the recidivism rate.

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS have another advance track, "Myriad Harbor," to stream and download.

AVRIL LAVIGNE responds to claims of plagarism on her website.  The Rubinoos are linking to her hit, their song (and various covers thereof) at their website.

AMY WINEHOUSE reportedly was propping up the bar at her London local The Hawley Arms when she was supposed to be entertaining paying fans.  Pals begged the singer to ditch her wild ways at what looked like a rehab-style intervention meeting in a London restaurant on Thursday night.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  Model Lindi Hingston is so wracked with guilt over splitting the couplke that she had to spill her guts to London's Sunday Mirror.

BRITNEY SPEARS has set tongues wagging in L.A. after being seen several times with her former counsellor, John Sundahl, a 38-year-old real estate developer.  Sundahl reportedly told the National Enquirer he knows Spears is serious about the romance because she recently helped him recover from bowel surgery.

MADONNA has taken to badmouthing Britney Spears for her selfish behavior and failure to fully embrace Kabbalah.  Or maybe Madge is just trying to distract the press from noting that she -- a Live Earth headliner -- has invested millions in oil exploration, digging, and refining companies, and has a ginormous personal carbon footprint.

EVA LONGORIA and TONY PARKER got married in France, first in the obligatoty French civil ceremony, and again at a church.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Transformers takes the top spot with 67.6 million and 152 million so far on a 150 million budget (showing the import of controlling the budget).  It is already the sixth most successful release of 2007; that's Autobot momentum for you.  Ratatouille showed it has legs much bigger than rat-size, dropping only 38 percent, making 29 million and crossing the 100 million mark after the biggest ever opening week grosses for a Pixar film.  Live Free of Die Hard dropped 48 percent and made 17.4 million -- it has already exceeded its 110 million budget in global ticet sales.  License to Wed debuted in the fourth slot with 10.4 million.  Evan Almighty rounds out the Top Five with a 45 percent drop and still short of 100 million on a budget reportedly twice that amount.  1408 still showed some leg with a mere 33 percent drop and receipts more than double its 25 million budget.  Knocked Up was also leggy, with a 29 percent drop and a 132 million total on a 30 million budget.  The Fantastic Four continued its less-than-fantastic US run, dropping another 55 percent -- but it has made over 200 million on its 130 million budget so far.  Sicko dropped 19 percent, even as it added screens; it has made 11.5 million after three weeks, which is about half of what Fahrenheit 911 made its first weekend.  Rounding out the Top Ten is Ocean's 13, which added another 3.5 million for a worldwide gross of about 233 million.

A MIGHTY HEART, not performing so mightily at the box office, is getting triage from Paramount Vantage studios.

LINDSAY LOHAN was snapped partying with her mother and sister at a beach shindig in Malibu, though no one saw Li-Lo with any contraband.  Her ex-con dad is trying to force her mother to undergo drug testing, claiming Dina's drinking has contributed to Lindsay's recent troubles.

THE FRENCH HOTEL, who proclaimed herself a changed woman during her stint in jail, returned to attention whoring on the L.A. club scene over the weekend.

JIM CARREY will star in a Robert Zemeckis adaptation of A Christmas Carol, playing not only Scrooge, but also the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

MISS CONDUCT:  Miss New Jersey is refusing to give in to blackmail over a few supposedly racy pictures.  She recieved a second package containing a threatening letter -- and possible additional racy photos -- on Saturday.

DIVINE BROWN  claims her 1995 servicing of Hugh Grant made her a  millionairess.

SIENNA MILLER has been blamed for the break-up of American rapper P Diddy's long-term relationship with the model Kim Porter, the mother of his three children.  A spokesman for Diddy denied that he and Porter had split.  There's a pic of the couple looking cozier than this at the Concert for Diana afterparty.

TERROR in the UK:  Dramatic new video of the alleged Glasgow car bomb attack has been obtained by the BBC.  A top foreign intelligence source said that the London and Glasgow bomb plots were carried out with the approval of Osama bin Laden (which I take with a grain of salt), while senior security officials said at least one of the suspects was in recent contact with Al-Qaeda in Iraq (which seems more plausible -- or verifiable, anyway).  The FBI said Friday that two suspects had made inquiries about working in the US.  British Muslims are leading a new campaign condemning the recent attempted car bomb attacks.  A study of 172 al-Qaeda terrorists conducted four years ago by Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and former CIA case officer in Pakistan, found that 90 per cent came from a relatively stable, secure background.  Up to eight London police officers and civilian staff are suspected of links to extremist groups including Al Qaeda; political correctness is blamed for the decision not to sack them.

PAKISTAN:  Brainwashed children pleaded to die as martyrs in the Red Mosque siege.  Several key aides to Mullah Omar are reported to have been arrested the city of Quetta in western Pakistan.

IRAN:  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has signalled a willingness to reinterpret Islamic law in favor of women's rights, but not following Western convention.  Meanwhile, an Iranian court has sentenced a women's rights activist to almost three years in prison and 10 lashes for attending a banned rally.  It's just one part of Pres. Ahmadinejad's continuing crackdown on reformists, women's rights groups and trade union leaders, to name a few.

IRAQ;  Muqtada al Sadr has returned to Iran, doing damage to his PR effort to remake himself as a nationalist and widening the rift between al-Sadr and Prime Minister al-Maliki, while clashes broke out between members of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and Iraqi security forces in the southern city of Samawa, and evidence mounts that Iranian territory is being used as a base by al-Qaeda to help in terrorist operations in Iraq and elsewhere.  Gen. Petraeus predicted on Saturday that extremists were likely to try a series of high-profile attacks to grab the headlines ahead of his September report to Congress; don't know if he thought those attacks would come this past weekend.  Frustration with Iraqi forces caused prominent Shiite and Sunni politicians to call upon civilians to take up arms to defend themselves.  Even so, it's worth noting that at the current rate, the monthly civilian casualty figures would remain on the low end for the past year.  In the NYT, both Michael Gordon and John Burns had reports on progress in Baqubah and Diayala province.  One observation in the Burns piece -- "Not for the first time, the Americans learned a basic lesson of warfare here: that Iraqis, bludgeoned for 24 years by Saddam Hussein's terror, are wary of rising against any force, however brutal, until it is in retreat. In Anbar, Sunni extremists were the dominant force, with near-total popular support or acquiescence, until the offensive broke their power."  Which suggests what Iraq may resemble if the US retreats.

SKY the TABBY CAT has taken on two rottweiler puppies with her litter of kittens.  Awww...some pics at the link.

243 GOATS were killed Friday morning when a big-rig carrying them tipped over in San Rafael, CA's Canal area.  There were 157 survivors.

A RABID FOX was subdued by a five-year-old boy, who grabbed it by the neck and pinned it to the ground during a family barbeque, protecting six other children before his stepfather could kill the animal.

KNUT UPDATE:  The increasingly not-so-cuddly polar bear got his millionth visitor last Thursday.  Knut's public appearances with his trainer will soon be brought to an end.

HELPFUL HINT:  It doesn't hurt to check your toilet for the occasional iguana or frog.

NC GATOR has a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a.

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The Police, Sly Stone, Interpol, Cutout Bin, Orphan Wallaby   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 06, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE POLICE!  Ken King and I just got back from seeing them rock Wrigley Field (where it's usually the Chicago Cubs getting rocked); Sting was booed for mentioning their last gig here was 1983 at old Comiskey Park.  Ken King pegged the show as "highly satisfying, but not life-changing." The material from the band's first two albums and from Synchroncity seemed to play the best -- the former because those songs were written when the trio had to carry everything without any studio elaboration, the latter bacause it was probably written with large venues in mind.  The selections from Spirits In The Material World also held up fairly well, with stuff from the tweener album Zenyatta Mondatta tending to fare worst.  Anyway, you can play Police Concert Home Edition right now; here is your setlist: "Message In A Bottle"  "Synchronicity II"  "Walking On The Moon"  "Voices Inside My Head / When The World Is Running Down" (made a bit too fast and jazzy) "Don't Stand So Close To Me" (choruses sounding a bit limp) "Driven To Tears" "The Bed's Too Big Without You" "Truth Hits Everybody" "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" "Wrapped Around Your Finger" (the former being the first mass sing-along) "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da" (surprisingly the strongest Zenyatta track) "Invisible Sun" "Walking In Your Footsteps" "Can't Stand Losing You/Regatta de Blanc" and "Roxanne." First Enore: "King of Pain" "So Lonely" and "Every Breath You Take", Second Encore: "Next To You" (the last six consistently strong).

THE TOP 25 POLICE SONGS, according to IGN.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED is currently streaming selections from Bryan Ferry, Mark Ronson, Michael Hearst's Songs for Ice Cream Trucks and more...

THE COPACABANA, the inspiration for Barry Manilow's smash single and a staple of Manhattan nightlife since World War II, will close its doors Saturday night as its owner hunts for a new home.

AVRIL LAVIGNE is one of several people named in a lawsuit filed July 2nd that alleges striking similarities between her hit "Girlfriend" (NSFW) and the Rubinoos' power-pop gem, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" (Unplugged).

CHAIRMAN of the BOARD is a collection of vintage tracks from iconic cult surf films.  You can stream a few, you-know-where.

SLY STONE:  The Vanity Fair interview from which yesterday's item was taken is now posted online.

ELVIS COSTELLO will be glad to expose you to "The Other Side of Summer."

INTERPOL:  The band's Our Love To Admire comes out next Tuesday, but you can stream it all now via MTV.

FLEETWOOD MAC:  A new tell-all book suggests that Linsey Buckingham and awards shows do not mix.

OZZY OSBOURNE wants to help Taiwan become a member of the United Nations.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE:  The troubled singer has dumped his supposedly sober supermodel fiancee?  That's his story, and he's sticking to it, though London's Mirror has her dumping him for cheating on her.

THE CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds on the ol' HM are:  Art Brut - Formed a Band; Cream - I Feel Free; The Raspberries - Go All The Way; Love - Bummer in the Summer; The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man; Camper Van Beethoven - Take The Skinheads Bowling; Husker Du - Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely; Teenage Fanclub - The Ballad of John and Yoko; Simon & Garfunkel - The Only Living Boy in New York; Danny & Dusty - New York City Lullaby; Neil Diamond - Thank The Lord For The Night Time (Live); Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods - Billy, Don't Be a Hero; Dawn - Knock Three Times; The Guess Who - No Sugar Tonight; Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues; ZZ Top - Tush; Joe Tex - I Gotcha; The Dynamics - I Don't Want Nobody To Lead Me On; Van Morrison - Wild Night; Van Halen - Panama; Bob Seger & Silver Bullet Band - Roll Me Away; and The Rolling Stones - Waiting On A Friend.

BRITNEY SPEARS has written a bitter poem entitled "Dear Mama" and delivered it to her mother, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

LINDSAY LOHAN and the FRENCH HOTEL reportedly reunited for an alcohol free July 4th beach party in Malibu.

NOW SHOWING:  There are not actually any wide releases opening today, because there were early releases this week for Transformers, which is currently scoring 59 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, and the Robin Williams-Mandy Moore "comedy" License to Wed, which is scoring 15 percent.  So go see Ratatouille (96 percent) or Live Free or Die Hard (77 percent).

WHO TOPS THE GLOBAL BOX OFFICE?  Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End has now earned 904.7 million worldwide at the box office, becoming the 9th movie in Hollywood history to make this much money. Pirates 3 is now the most popular global release of the summer and of 2007, beating out Spider-Man 3, which has a worldwide total now of 882 mil.

JACKO has been hunting for real estate on Maryland's Eastern Shore as he searches for a vacation home.

RATATOUILLE:  If you can't wait for the DVD extras, the movie has extras on its own YouTube Channel, including a podcast on how Pixar makes computer-generated food look yummy.

JENNIFER ANISTON has reportedly dumped her summer fling with dodgy British model Paul Sculfor.

ZACH BRAFF and DREW BARRYMORE were caught canoodling at NYC's Beauty Bar last weekend.  Doesn't Drew know Zach is a toxic bachelor?

CBS and ABC fell to their lowest ratings among the coveted adults 18-49 demographic in two decades in June.  NBC's ratings cratered weeks ago.

OLIVER STONE was snubbed and dubbed part of the Great Satan by Iranian Pres. Ahmadinejad.  But don't worry; Stone still used the occasion to call Pres. Bush names.

A MIGHTY HEART:  Daniel Pearl's father is worried that the movie falls into a trap Bertrand Russell would have recognized: the paradox of moral equivalence, of seeking to extend the logic of tolerance a step too far.

THE DARK KNIGHT:  SuperheroHype can hook you up with pics of the Gotham Police and the US military cordoning off a bridge near Michigan and Wacker in Chicago, as well as point you to some on-set video and some spoiler-y pics taken at Navy Pier.

COUNT GOTTFRIED von BISMARCK, who was found dead on Monday aged 44, was a louche German aristocrat with a multi-faceted history as a pleasure-seeking heroin addict, hell-raising alcoholic, flamboyant waster and a reckless and extravagant host of homosexual orgies.  But wait... there's more!

CANADA:  At least 76 radioactive devices -- some of which have the potential to be used in terrorist attacks -- have gone missing in Canada over the past five years.

FORTY-FIVE MUSLIM DOCTORS threatened to use car bombs and rocket grenades in terrorist attacks in the US during discussions on an extremist internet chat site.  Investigators have found no link between the chat room and the group of doctors and medics currently in custody over attempted car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow.  "Sources" said it was "definitely spooky" that the use of doctors for terrorist purposes was being discussed in jihadi terrorist circles up to three years ago.  However, videos have tried to attract doctors, lawyers and scientists into Islamic extremism for more than a decade.

PAKISTAN:  Fears mounted that women and children were being used as human shields at a besieged mosque in Pakistan's capital today, as hundreds of militant students ignored a plea from the radical cleric arrested while fleeing in a woman's burqa and high heels said Thursday that the nearly 1000 followers still inside should flee or surrender.  His brother remained inside the mosque with followers and said there was no reason to surrender.  ALSO:  The journalist who first uncovered the existence of Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan's atomic weapons trading network told a conference in Washington, DC, last week that Pakistan still using his network to procure materials for its nuclear weapons program.

UK TERROR in the MEDIA:  The Toronto Star reports that "All eight detainees have ties to Britain's National Health Service... but investigators have thus far found scant few common threads in their respective backgrounds in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, India and Saudi Arabia."  Yet the very same story carries reaction from the Muslim Council of Britain, which is telling reporters it now is ready to set aside quarrels over British foreign policy and directly urge its communities to play a key role in the fight against extremism that operates under the cloak of religion.  BTW, the Daily Telegraph reports that 3 of the terrorists "are members of the same family from the Indian city of Bangalore, while the families of another two were old friends in the Middle East. Several shared homes in Britain."  The London Times reports that two of the terrorists are cousins.  I'm guessing ivnestigators know this.

IRAQ in the MEDIA:  The news of progress in Iraq noted here on Monday was mostly blacked out by the major media -- with events in Iraq falling out of the top stories for the first time in months.  Michael Yon wants to know why the media failed to cover mass atrocities by Al Qaeda in Baqubah; a journalist "whose name you would know" has a theory about it.  OTOH, both the AP and Reuters ran stories claiming that Iraqi authorities found the bodies of 20 beheaded men dumped on the banks of the river Tigris in the town of Salman Pak.  The French press did not run the story, as they could not get confirmation.  Reuters later ran a follow-up titled, "US says report of 20 beheaded bodies in Iraq false", which included the following: "Verifying reports in Iraq is very hard for journalists, who have been systematically targeted by different militant groups and rely extensively on local sources for information."  That caveat appeared nowhere in the original story, natch -- and one of the "local" sources cited was a police officer in Kut, which is some 75 miles away from the alleged killing.  And the headline was still "US says," whereas the original story was reported as absolute fact, instead of the complete hearsay that it was.

AN ORPHAN WALLABY is having to make do with a handmade pouch instead of a mother at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, IA.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Another squirrel with plague bacteria has been detected, this time near Palomar Mountain in California.

MAN BITES DOG to save his own.

HEY, IS THAT A TICK IN YOUR PANTS, or am I just sexually assaulting you?

GERMAN SHARKS are listening to love songs to put them in the mood.

COWS stare unamazed as they chill out, grow smarter and more productive by listening to music.

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White Stripes, Summer Songs, GbV, Pink Dolphin   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 05, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE WHITE STRIPES rock a city bus in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with an impromptu performance of  "The Wheels of the Bus" and "Hotel Yorba."

SLY STONE says he plans to start work on a new album in the fall, and even test new material on the road.  Given his track record, I'll believe it when I see it.

THE SONGS of SUMMER:  At NPR, Christian Bordal urges folks to lighten up for the summer season with plenty of streaming tracks, including ABBA, Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta, and even the dreaded Mungo Jerry.

VAN HALEN:  The reunion tour derailed by Eddie's rehab may be resurrected as a fall arena run.

HALFTIME SHOW:  With June over, you can consider candidates for the "Best of 2007 so far" at Metacritic, CokeMachineGlow, and Pop Tarts Suck Toasted.  Regular Pate visitors will see a lot of familiar names, but there are always a few that slip by (and I will return to later).

GUIDED by VOICES had a brief reunion at a Dayton, OH, BBQ joint; "A Salty Salute" made it to the Tube.

ANDY PARTRIDGE:  The once (and future?) XTC frontman talks about Rasputin's penis, tinnitus, possibly the worst record deal in the history of the music industry, and more with JunkMedia... which still hosting Ken King's review of the Pate box set.

JELLYFISH:  The power-poppers once called "deliberately derivative" by the New York Times are essayed for the stypod feature of Stylus magazine.  You can jukebox the tracks via the ol' HM.

THE OLD '97s frontman Rhett Miller has kind words for the band's former label, Elektra Records.

DOC POMUS, who survived a childhood case of polio and went on to write hits for Ray Charles and Elvis Presley, among others, is given an audio tribute via NPR's Fresh Air.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE:  The troubled singer was more than two hours late for his latest court appearance, according to reports, and when he finally showed up, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and ketamine, as well as to two drunk driving offenses.  Still no jail time, though... he's off to rehab (again).

BRITNEY SPEARS uses an apology to the paparazzi at X17 as a passive-aggressive attack on Fed-Ex.  Her umbrella attack was previously the subject of a portrait at the Gallery of the Absurd.

THE FRENCH HOTEL assured everyone that jail left her a changed woman.  And a changed woman must need a change of clothes, as the heirhead went on a Hawaiian shopping spree last week and has rented a beachfront home in Malibu.  At least she urged folks not to drink and drive over the holiday.

NICK LACHEY & VANESSA MINNILLO may be cashing in on their hardcore sex photo scandal by granting an exclusive interview to OK! Magazine.

EDDIE MURPHY galpal Tracey Edmonds is shooting down rumors that she and Murphy have split, saying his positive DNA test for paternity of Scary Spice's baby had "no impact on our relationship." 

JOHNNY KNOXVILLE (a/k/a P.J. Clapp) has filed for divorce after nearly twelve years of marriage to wife Melanie.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  After considerable confusion about whether WWII drama Valkyrie would be granted the necessary permits, and the role Cruise's high-profile association with the Church of Scientology was playing in the decision, the German Finance Ministry has declined permission to shoot at a Defense Ministry building where Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (played by Cruise in the film) was executed for attempting to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  Another request to shoot at a Berlin police station was rejected after "intensive review," according to a spokesman for the Berlin police department.

JOHN TRAVOLTA has blasted gay rights activists who plan to boycott his new movie Hairspray, insisting that he and Scientology are not homophobic.  The evidence on the topic is mixed, theough Time Magazine had some interesting info on point a while back.

ISAIAH WASHINGTON, still unable to stop digging a deeper hole for himself, siad that if he could do it all over again, he would have used the "n-word" instead of an anti-gay slur during an October argument with former Grey's Anatomy castmate Patrick Dempsey that got him fired from the hit show.

GIRLS GONE WILD has been hit with a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment, sexual battery and various unfair business practices.  Founder Joe Francis responds.  Certainly, it would be shocking to learn that some of the men working for GGW were anything less than perfect gentlemen.

INDIANA JONES IV will reportedly be shooting on the garden island of Kauai within a few weeks.  Indy should know the place well; it's where the opening scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark were shot.

JESSICA SIMPSON and DANE COOK were caught in a near-canoodling incident at Prince's V.I.P. concert at L.A.'s Roosevelt Hotel last Saturday.

TERROR in the UK:  Several doctors arrested over the London and Glasgow car bomb plot were on the files of MI5.  US intell sources suggested that some cell members were recruited by al-Qaeda in Iraq up to three years ago, but British security sources insisted there was no intell that al-Qaeda commanders plotted to infiltrate the NHS.  The Times of London reports that an al-Qaeda leader in Iraq boasted before last week's failed bombings in London and Glasgow that his group was planning to attack British targets.  BTW, the notion of doctors as terrorists is not new.  New PM Brown has pn_bbsmile/pnimages/smilies/icon_biggrin.gif" alt="icon_biggrin" /> on">banned ministers from using the word "Muslim" in connection with the case, and the AP is following suit, reporting on the "diverse backgrounds" of the suspects, with no reference to religious extremism whatsoever.  A Glasgow cabbie damaged a tendon in his foot kicking the flaming driver of the Jeep in the groin.

IRAN'S new English-language TV channel debuted claiming that the Glasgow attack was staged by Britain to discredit Muslims, which is ridiculous, but mentions Muslims more than the British gov't.  Venezuela agreed to sell Iran gasoline on Tuesday, less than a week after Iran unveiled a rationing program to limit its dependence on gasoline imports.  Pres. Ahmadinejad has announced his intention to ration electricity as well.

PAKISTAN:  Bill Roggio has background on the clashes between Pakistani security forces and followers of Taliban supporters Maulana Abdul Aziz and Ghazi Abdul Rasheed at the notorious Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in the heart of Islamabad, the nation's capital.  Pakistani forces early Thursday demolished the front walls of the radical mosque, where battles between security forces and students have raged for two days.  Time magazine just happened to be there beforehand, and now seems convinced that these radicals mean what they say.  Even so, the leader of the radicals was been caught trying to escape wearing a woman's burqa.

IRAQ:  Iraqi troops have detained a senior official and operator in the Al-Qaeda network in central Baghdad.  US troops won a fierce battle outside Al-Qaeda's former stronghold in western Iraq, as commanders warned that recent victories must not be taken for granted.  The use of tribes by US forces, pan-Arab, London-based  al-Hayat claimed, "is causing an acute conflict among tribes and armed groups."  Parliament replaced a well-known, controversial Sunni Arab legislator wanted on corruption charges.  The Cabinet approved a revised bill to share the country's vast oil wealth, which will be debated in Parliament; the Sadrist bloc has announced its reservations over the draft oil law.  The latest Iraqi Red Crescent report shows the number of internally-displaced people leveling off at just over one million.

THE STURGEON THREAT on the Suwannee River finally has been noticed by The New York Times.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT has descended on Bald Knob, Arkansas.  It's like The Birds, but with bushy little tails.

A PINK DOLPHIN was spotted in Calcasieu Lake, an estuary just north of the Gulf of Mexico in southwestern Louisiana.  Pic at the link.

AN ALBATROSS that landed in a pensioner's garden is believed to be from a species never before seen in Britain: "We are talking about an endangered species on a par with the tiger and lowland gorilla."

SHERBORN, MASS:  Where boys will be boys, and sheep will be scared.

PET HOARDING?  Not really, considering that a Lake View, IA  man is accused of dumping more than 140 dead pigs into the Raccoon River.

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Hey, Baby... It's the Fourth of July!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE BEACH BOYS!  Because folks my age will always remember their mammoth July 4th concerts at the Washington Monument (as with these 1980 takes o­n "Good Vibrations" -- pictured above -- and "Catch A Wave"). Given the time of year, I have to include this 1964 clip of "Surfin' U.S.A." which I think is from the same gig that produced these takes on "Little Deuce Coupe," "In My Room" and "Fun, Fun Fun." Their take on "Dance, Dance, Dance" from Shindig! later that year may be even better.  There's also a nifty twofer of "I Get Around" and "'When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)" from their first UK TV appearance o­n Ready Steady Go! You can see Jack Benny intoduce these quick takes o­n "Barbara Ann" and "California Girls."  There's a primitive video for "Wouldn't It Be Nice" that starts with a cameo from Brian Wilson's dogs (Banana and Louie), who appear at the end of the Pet Sounds LP.  And I'll finish with a live version of "God Only Knows" from 1969.

MARVIN GAYE performs "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game.

RAY CHARLES performs "America The Beautiful" like no one else.

HOLIDAY BIN:  The full bin will be here on Friday, but today is the day for: The Decemberists - July, July!; X - Fourth of July; Ben E. King - 4th of July, Asbury Park (B. Springsteen); Jimi Hendrix - Star Spangled Banner; and Matt Stone & Trey Parker - Theme from Team America: World Police (NSFMost Places!).

TRANSFORMERS:  I was given half of Tuesday off, so I stopped by the cinema.  The visual effects were impressive, as was the aptly-named Megan Fox (Number 18 on Maxim's Hot 100).  Not a bad popcorn flick, but I think I may prefer the new Die Hard movie, despite one autobot really knowing his popular music.

THE UNITED STATES celebrates the 231st anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. As the Wikipedia notes, this is a little arbitrary: New Englanders had been fighting Britain since April 1775; the first motion in the Continental Congress for independence was made o­n June 8th; and the Congress voted 12-0 for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain o­n July 2nd. Even so, the publication of the Declaration was momentous .  If you're not in DC, the best way to see and learn about the Declaration may be through the Charters of Freedom website. But you can watch Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Renee Zelleweger, Kevin Spacey, Wynona Ryder and other Hollywood folk read the Declaration at YouTube, after a short introduction by Morgan Freeman.

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

TWENTY QUESTIONS from US citizenship tests, as asked on the official United States Immigration and Naturalization Services Web site.  I had a perfect score (because I am a geek), but had to guess on one of them.

FIREWORKS:  As James Lileks recently wrote, "There are few emotions that match the pleasure of walking out of a fireworks store with a giant sack of explosives."  But he had to leave Minnesota to get them, and he's not the only one crossing state lines -- New Jersey State Police troopers said they confiscated nearly four tons of fireworks along the border with Pennsylvania, which allows the sale of fireworks to out-of-state residents.  But please, let's observe the do's and dont's for our dogs and try to end the day with the same number of fingers we started with.

Back with the usual tripe tomorrow.

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New Releases, Advance REM, Go! Team & Rilo Kiley, Mary Zwo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SMASHING PUMPKINS release the video for "Tarantula" a week ahead of the Zeitgeist LP.

NEW RELEASES:  Smashing Pumpkins, They Might Be Giants, Welsh spetet Los Campesinos!, Gabby Glaser and more are streaming this week via Spinner.

BILL CALLAHAN:  The Artist Formerly Known As Smog talks to Pitchfork about the change in his work that he's still tyring to sort out himself.

R.E.M. is playing new material in Dublin, Ireland; video previews at the link.

CULT of the iPod?  Universal Music Group has opted to not renew its distribution contract with Apple's iTunes music store.  Instead, the label will enter into month-to-month deals with the JobsCorp.

RILO KILEY has a video from its upcoming LP called "The Moneymaker," but be forewarned, it's shot in a pr0n store and is introduced by nine minutes of conversation with pr0n "actors" and "actresses," so there's some language that likely NSFW.  You can skip to the music by clicking about 75 percent into the timeline on the video player.

THE GO! TEAM has leaked another new track, "The Wrath of Marcie," which is more typical of the Team than the first leak -- funky horns, indie guitars and danceable beats.  Scroll down to the "Contenders" at the link to find the stream.  ALSO:  Team songwriter Ian Parton spoke to Pitchfork about the band's new label and new album, due in September.

TOM JONES & JOE PERRY may have stolen the show at the Princess Diana tribute concert with a cover of the Arctic Monkeys' "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor," which sounds exactly like you would expect.

MORRISSEY has a large Latino fanbase... who knew?  No doubt they tuned in to see him play "That's How People Learn" on The Late Show.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The supposedly sober supermodel has fled to Paris with her daughter after it emerged her troubled singer fiance cheated on her with a South African model called Lindy.

NICK LACHEY & VANESSA MINNILLO have a lawyer trying to keep photos of the couple having hardcore sex out of the weekly magazines and off the Internet.

TRANSFORMERS opened last night and is currently scoring 59 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, 72 percent among the "cream of the crop" critics -- shockingly high for a Michael Bay movie.  More than meets the eye?

CAMERON DIAZ denies having played any role in breaking up the marriage of Mindfreak magician Criss Angel and his estranged wife.

JOHN STAMOS says jet lag and improper use of Ambien led to his odd interviews with a reporter from Sydney's Daily Telegraph and on the Australian chat show Mornings with Kerri-Anne last month during which he slurred his speech, read lines from the teleprompter and made lewd gestures in front of her: "I am not David Hasselhoff."  And when I read that, I hear the voice of John Merrick.

ROSIE O'DONNELL claims she auditioned for "Price Is Right and even filmed test show, but joked she didn't land the gig because she ad-libbed the line, "Don't forget to spay and neuter your Republicans."  A source at CBS told TMZ that, to their knowledge, Rosie did not do any test shows.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  Mama Spears claims that "Everything is going to be fine," but the pop tart's most recent comments suggest the two are still on the outs: "I hope my mom gets the help she needs... I'm praying for her right now."

LINDSAY LOHAN spent a quiet 21st birthday in rehab.  Her lawyers, otoh, spent it loudly blasting L.A. police for "selling stories", after the actress' toxicology tests following her DUI arrest were leaked online.

CHRIS BENOIT:  The homicidal-suicidal pro wrestler was known by the DEA as an "excessive purchaser of injectable steroids" who, over the past year, was prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids every three to four weeks by a Georgia doctor who was indicted today on federal charges.

TOMMY LEE is dating Kimberly Stewart?  How the mighty have fallen!

SPEED RACER has a new adversary -- PETA alleges that Chim-Chim was beaten and bit an actor on-set.  Speed also has a new role model -- Shaft!

SALMAN RUSHDIE and his hot fourth wife PADMA LAKSHMI (host of TV's Top Chef) are getting divorced, just two weeks after he was awarded a controversial knighthood.

IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME:  Former Jihadi Hassan Butt has sobering words for the West:  "I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy. By blaming the Government for our actions, those who pushed this "Blair's bombs" line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology..."

TERROR in the UK:  An Iraqi junior doctor and a brilliant neurologist working for the NHS are among the suspects being quizzed over the series of bomb attacks across Britain.  The news came as it emerged that an eighth person has been arrested in the terror enquiry.  Five doctors are now being held in connection with the recent attempted terror attacks.  US sources suggested that Ansar al-Islam would have a motive for an attack on Britain, having been driven out of its northern Iraqi stronghold and into Iran after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.  And though some downplay the story, the largely failed attacks may well have been an attempted fuel-air attack -- an explosion with many times the strength of a normal bomb, against which traditional defenses against car bombs may not work.

IRAQ:  US and Iraqi forces move into the next phase of operations in Baqouba. With almost no hostile fire reported in days, combat operations are winding down. The focus of the effort now is to consolidate control and persuade local residents to begin cooperating with US troops and Iraqi security forces.  CBS reports that informants are helping in the city.  Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner provided explicit detail on both Iran and Hezbollah's role behind the Shia terror networks in Iraq and their involvement in the Karbala attack, in which five Americans were kidnapped and killed.  Prime Minister al-Maliki urged Sunni lawmakers to end their boycott of his cabinet.  And following on yesterday's link about the tension between younger officers who have served in Iraq and more conservative generals it appears that some senior Army leaders are worried that the new emphasis on counterinsurgency may be undermining conventional capabilities.  Others would say that ignoring COIN training after Vietnam was a major reason for US problems in Iraq.

MARY ZWO, a six-week-old gorilla, had to be given emergency treatment for severe dehydration and hypothermia -- in a German hospital for humans.  She was able to return to the Muenster Zoo on Sunday and was said to be weak but slowly recovering.

AN UNIDENTIFIED DROMEDARY was found lying dead on the side of the E22 motorway in southern Sweden in the early hours of Monday morning.  Police have ruled out any criminal intent.

AN UNUSUALLY FRISKY DEER tipped off the cops to a mountaintop dope plantation in Italy.

DOG helps a murder suspect escape house arrest in Israel.

THE LAKE SPRINGFIELD MONSTER is right here in the Land of Lincoln.

RUSSIAN FISHERMAN catch a space alien and eat it.  Video at the link.  Hey, it's in Pravda, which is the Russian word for truth!

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