THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:
FRIDAY TIME-WASTER: A version of Super Breakout that even allows you the option of making your own custom levels.
THE NEXT MAGNET magazine will feature some bands near and dear to many Pate fans.
FREE DOWNLOADING OF BOOTLEGS IS KILLING MUSIC: For example, The Rolling Stones, Live in Sidney, 1973. Or some Russian offering loads of Tom Waits, both live and unreleased studio stuff. That is just so wrong.
JAY FARRAR talks to Pitch about his new album and new-model Son Volt.
SUFJAN STEVENS expands his Illinois tour to include, among other places, Illinois.
LESLIE FEIST talks to SF Weekly about how Patsy Cline and Peggy Lee encouraged her eclecticism.
BONO was horrified during a visit to Ethiopia, when he saw local Muslim women pelting a breast-feeding aid worker with stones.
FOO FIGHTERS' In Your Honor gets a 6.8 on the Pitchfork, with the reviewer preferring the acoustic disc to the electric one.
THE ART OF THE MIXTAPE: As you know, the making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. In the Village Voice, Brandon Stosuy (who normally writes for Pitchfork) waxes nolstalgic as he makes his girlfriend a 100-song mix for her iPod. Along the way, he mentions Thurston Moore's new book Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture; NPR recently interviewed Moore about it. The New York Times notes the efforts of record labels to crack down on commercial mix discs.
TOM VERLAINE has signed with Thrill Jockey and expects to have an album out early in 2006. Meanwhile, Television is touring Europe.
PITCHFORK PERFECT TENS: The inimitable Uncle Grambo complies a list of 30 albums that sit at the very tip of the Pitchfork.
THE WILLIE AND ANNIE NELSON Professorship in Stem Cell Research is being established at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: Defamer reports "rumors spreading around the War of the Worlds publicity tour... that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes... (got) engaged in Rome last night. The rumor holds that an announcement may come in Paris as early as tomorrow."
BRITNEY SPEARS wants to to make hubby K-Fed a movie star, so naturally she's asking Madonna's hubby Guy Ritchie to cast Federline in his next film. She ought to tell Guy what a great impression K-Fed made when she brought those Disney execs to her hotel room, only to find him watching porn... which he did not even rush to switch off. A classy guy, the stuff from which stars are born.
FORBES magazine's Celebrity 100 list is out and can be viewed by categories, too. The musicians' list is depressing.
IRAQ: A deal was reached for Sunni Arabs to participate in a panel to draft the new constitution, ending weeks of political wrangling and raising hopes that the insurgency might be undermined as a result. Also, in a a major defeat for Al-Qaeda's terrorist organisation, U.S. and Iraqi forces have captured Mohammed Khalaf Shakar, Zarqawi's most trusted operations agent in all of Iraq, in Mosul. He is accused of masterminding some of the deadliest attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces in Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city and a major front for the insurgency since November. Austin Bay blogs from trips to the Al Anbar province, Tal Afar and Kirkuk, reporting a mixed performance of Iraqi troops in Tal Afar. And the members of the MP squad under callsign Raven 42, which includes two women, are awarded for their heroism in combat on March 20th, 2005.
TORNADO WATCH: A new study of Oklahoma's legendary May 3, 1999 tornado stirs controversy in suggesting that running like a sissy was as safe or safer than hunkering down in homes. The study reconfirmed that people caught in mobile homes face the worst odds.
YOUR MOMENT OF SITH: Princess Leia was born in Episode III, but Princess Leah was just born in Norway. Defective Yeti provides a guide to fast-forwarding through The Phantom Menace. Dan Weaver blogs conversations with his wife about the series. And to promote the Revenge of the Sith videogame, LucasArts has released a series of limited-edition airsickness bags available on Virgin Atlantic flights. The punchlines generally write themselves, so I'll just say, "Barf Vader?"
CATS AND DOGS are being replaced by PlayStations and iPods in the UK. However, Brits who do own pets are spending more money than ever on their care.
PETA EMPLOYEES ARRESTED on ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES: Andrew Benjamin Cook and Adria Joy Hinkle, were busted for allegedly dumping dead dogs and cats in a dumpster at a shopping center in Ahoskie, N.C. Both suspects were charged with 31 counts of animal cruelty and eight counts of illegal disposal of animals. Officials say the animals were alive when they left the shelters, but have not said how they died. North Carolina officials say they have been investigating reports of dead animals at the shopping center for over a month. A PETA spokesperson told WAVY News 10 that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a long-standing relationship with shelters to euthanize pets that the shelters feel are no longer adoptable. That's an understatement; PETA put to death over 85 percent of the animals it took in during 2003 alone.
IRAN: There have been 12 bombings in the five days before Iran's presidential election today, leaving more than 10 people dead and dozens wounded. The mullahs blame U.S. mercenaries; reformers blame religious extremists. Polls show that the mullahs' candidates are not expected to do well and may not make it into a runoff election, if one is required. Supporters of the main reform candidate say the violence escalated as he surged into second place.
CELEBRITY KABBALAH: Radar magazine begins a series describing "how a renegade rabbi and his striver wife ended up atop a multi-million-dollar empire built on bracelets, bottled water, and Madonna." But even Kabbalah wants nothing to do with Jacko...
JACKO JUSTICE: The verdict may be in, but you can still enjoy Triumph the Insult Comic Dog's visit with some of Jacko's supporters. He may have hardcore fans, but record companies aren't lining up to do business with the sad freak, as he hasn't sold albums in years.
CHILD SACRIFICES IN LONDON: They are brought into the capital to be offered up in rituals by fundamentalist Christian sects, according to a shocking report by Scotland Yard. The report, leaked ahead of its publication next month, also cites examples of African children being tortured and killed after being identified as "witches" by church pastors.
JOURNO TARGETED FOR MURDER... by a Chechen rebel leader. Funny how journo bigwigs like Linda Foley and Eason Jordan claim without evidence that the U.S. military does this, while ignoring those who actually do it.
TROTSKY'S ICEPICK -- the implement of his death -- appears to have been found, 65 years after it was apparently stolen from the Mexican police. It's also a good name for a band.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL) went to the Senate floor Thursday evening to repeat a controversial statement about the interrogation of detainees at Camp X-Ray in Cuba and insist he said nothing objectionable. Dick explained that he was not comparing U.S. soldiers at Camp X-Ray to Pol Pot, Nazis or Soviet guards, but was "attributing this form of interrogation to repressive regimes such as those that I note." Right; Dick accuses our troops of doing things war criminals did, but was not comparing our troops to those troops. Other Democrats, such as Sen. Jay Rockefeller, are not backing his statement. Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita invited more members of Congress "to go down to Guantanamo and see what's going on, because what's going on down there is not the way it's being described by certain members of Congress." Eleven Senators, 77 members of the House, and 99 or a hundred congressional staff members have visited Guantanamo; Dick is not one of them. Durbin's statement also came under sharp attack by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which has 2.4 million members, including tens of thousands in Illinois.
MICHAEL BAY, director of Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, and Pearl Harbor, is defended by Bryan Curtis at Slate.
BRADGELINA UPDATE: Vanity Fair denies that Jennifer Aniston has told the mag that infidelity caused her split with Brad Pitt; Page Six stands by its story. So how is Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie's ex, taking things? "Sex doesn't have to be with a model to be good," Thornton says in July's Esquire. "Sometimes with the model, the actress or the 'sexiest person in the world,' it may literally be like f-ing the couch." Jolie was Esquire's "Sexiest Person in the World" last year, so I'm guessing he has issues. Jolie joined Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and others to promote World Refugee Day. Jolie then appeared on CNN to talk about World Refugee Day, but the interview ended up revealing more about CNN than Jolie. The National Enquirer claims Pitt and Jolie recently joined the mile-high club en route to the Mexican premiere of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN OREO BARBIE: Auction expires today on eBay.
ELIZABETHTOWN: Production stills from the forthcoming Cameron Crowe movie heve been posted at Coming Soon.
COLIN FARRELL dating secrets revealed!
THE URANUIM FOR "LITTLE BOY," the bomb dropped by the B-29 Enola Gay over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, was enriched in part by a 19 year-old who had no clue what she was doing.
A BLUE CRAB with a feminine side. Literally. The confused crustacean may have mated with itself, but otherwise shows strange mating behavior.
STUNTPEOPLE planned to petition the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a bid to get a long-desired Oscar category for stunt coordinators. They planned to draw attention by staging a stunt display on AMPAS's doorstep. Cunning!
THE DISABLED can be integrated into society and accomplish what some might might never expect. For example, wrestling alligators. Okay, so maybe not gator rasslin', but the main point is still right.
TROUSER SNAKES: No, really.
THE COMMIE CATWALK: Chinese authorities will require that models be tested annually on their runway skills and have proof of a high school education.
AN ORPHAN SEA OTTER taken in by Chicago's Shedd Aquarium is receiving round-the-clock care and is being taught life survival skills. Sorry, no cute photos; the 8-pound pup won't be on public display for perhaps months. For now, Kiana lives alone, spending much of her time sleeping in a playpen lined with SpongeBob SquarePants sheets.