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Byrds, Spring Preview, Black Hollies, Cutout Bin, Cheeky Gibbon   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, April 11, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



... with THE BYRDS!  a rare 1965 clip of their breakthrough smash cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man"  There are more screaming girls, plus go-go dancers when they hit Shivaree for "Feel A Whole Lot Better."  There are even more dancers when they cover Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" for Shindig! on June 23, 1965, while I'm pretty sure that's Ed Wynn introducing "Chimes of Freedom."  You might recognize the voice introducing "Bells Of Rhymney" from poolside in August 1965 and "It Won't Be Wrong" from a corral in January 1966 on Where The Action Is.  BONUS:  Want one in color?  Here's "Mr. Spaceman."

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD of the UNDEAD has, apparently, been "inundated" with requests from researchers seeking permission to poke around his carcass when he dies.

SNEAK PREVIEWS:  New tracks from My Morning Jacket, Shearwater, Feet Foxes, Cloud Cult and more are featured in the latest edition of All Songs Considered.

THE GUTTER TWINS:  Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan talk to Pitchfork; Dulli drank iced tea and Lanegan watched the Bulls play the Celtics on TV (on mute).

DOMINIQUE LEON writes for Pitchfork, but you can download or stream some of techno takes on Brian Wilson and Harry Nilsson-inflected pop at Stereogum and the 'Gum Mix.

THE BLACK HOLLIES have anew album, but it's the garagey "Tell Me What You Want" that most folks have heard, thanks to the fine folks at Dell Computers.

THE B-52s get a segment and songs on NPR's All Things Considered.

JOHN VANDERSLICE talks to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about influences from Bob Dylan to Lil' Wayne. He also gives a Spring-themed playlist to the Riverfront Times.  (Thx, LHB.)

OKKERVIL RIVER frontman Will Sheff tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette why he has mixed feelings about being labeled as "lit-rock."


CUTOUT BIN:  From The Clash to Jackie DeShannon, from The Feelies to Funkadelic, from The Individuals to INXS to the good, the bad and the ugly form the 80s, this expanded edition of Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NATALIE PORTMAN & DEVENDRA BANHART have been caught canoodling as she prepares to appear in the freak-folker's next music video.  You can find the money shot at People magazine.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases are the unscreened horror flick Prom Night; the Keanu Reeves crime drama Street Kings, which is currently scoring 28 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; and the derk comedy Smart People, which is scoring 45 percent.

ASHLEE SIMPSON & PETE WENTZ are engaged.  The Fall Out Boy asked creepy dad-manager Joe for permission to propose; pneumatic sister Jessica "couldn't be happier."  All just in time for the release of Aslee's new album

BRITNEY SPEARS was so touched by the American Idol Gives Back show on Wednesday she donated 25K to the cause.  And now Moby claims he would wed the Toxic singer in a heartbeat: "The fatter she gets, the weirder she gets, the more I love her."

SCARLETT JOHANSSON & RYAN REYNOLDS had a bit of a lovers' spat in Boston's Financial District the other day.  Word is, the couple is going through "a rough patch," because Reynolds wants to tie the knot, but Scar-Jo is younger and very focused on her career.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY & SIENNA MILLER will première their steamy ménage a trois movie at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

PENELOPE CRUZ & JAVIER BARDEM are to marry later this year, according to the ever-reliable National Enquirer.

WHITNEY HOUSTON's 27-year-old lover Ray-J written a song dissing her ex Bobby Brown and detailing his sex life with the diva.

INDIANA JONES and the Legion of Fans gets a story and video at USA Today.

MISCHA BARTON was sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation in a Beverly Hills courtroom Thursday in her DUI case.  Which is as good an excuse as any to link to new bikini pics at Egotastic.  Call it Gratuitous Friday.

MILA KUNIS talks about David Bowie, Chuck Norris and Forgetting Sarah Marshall with Complex magazine.  Photo gallery and video at the link.  Call it Doubly-gratuitous Friday.

ZOMBIE COMPUTERS are the most vexing net threat today, according to law enforcement and security professionals.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE OIL:  An area of shale and other rock in North Dakota and Montana is estimated to hold the largest potential oil resources in the 48 contiguous states, according to an assessment released Thursday by the United States Geological Survey.  The area, known as the Bakken Formation, might contain 3 billion to 4.3 billion barrels of oil that could be extracted using current technology, the survey said.

IRAQ:  Voices of Iraq quotes a leading figure in the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, Jalal el-Din al-Saghier, as saying that dissolving the Mahdi Army is Moqtada al-Sadr's responsibility, and that top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on the Mahdi Army to disarm.  The Jonestown Foundation breaks down the Shiite factions and Iran's Role in the Basra fighting.  The struggle for control of Sadr City has become a testing ground for the Iraqi military, which has been thrust into the lead.  Michael Yon wishes there were more US troops to patrol Niveneh province.

A CHEEKY GIBBON taunts two tigers, and has to hustle when he loses his grip!

MAN'S BEST FRIEND:  I refer, of course, to the giant snail.

AN INJURED BABY ZEBRA was rescued along I-75 outside Atlanta, GA.

ANIMAL HOARDING:  Authorities say a woman has been found living with hundreds of rats and four malnourished snakes in a home outside Rochester, WA.  It seems like everyone missed the obvious solution.

THE SWARM:  About 100 police officers in Mexico were forced to bolt from an open-air firing range when they were attacked - and stung - by swarming killer bees.

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Man Man, Amber Rubarth, Frightened Rabbit, Swearing Parrot   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, April 10, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


MAN MAN vocalist/keyboardist Honus Honus tells Chart that the band's latest release, Rabbit Habits, is their "pop record," though he has no idea whether it is accessible.  This week you can watch them recording on Pitchfork.tv and stream the album in full via Spinner.

MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND, which now includes a full string quartet, visited WNYC to play a few new songs.

THE TING TINGS talk to the Irish Times about their pre-Tings failed major label deal and their clash of sonic styles.

TAPES N' TAPES did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.  And you can stream their new album in full this week via Spinner.

HOLOGRAPHIC TOURING?  Serj Tankian, the frontman for System of a Down, wants to launch a virtual concert tour to reduce his carbon footprint.


AMBER RUBARTH records "Another Perfect Sunset" -- a countrified song she wrote on a songwriting retreat with Chris Difford -- for the latest Sun Studios Session.

AXL ROSE is pitching a reality TV show that would follow the troubled rocker as his continues his decade-long effort to release the Guns N' Roses project "Chinese Democracy."  The project would be part of a larger effort to build buzz for an album which faces a number of promotional hurdles.

FRIGHTENED RABBIT singer and guitarist Scott Hutchison talks to The Scotsman about their US appeal: "I don't know if we can put it solely down to the piñata but stuff like that helps."  You can stream tracks from the debut and upcoming albums at RabbitSpace.

EISLEY:  Stacy DuPree chatted with The Daily Texan to discuss life on the road, Combinations and why she can't get enough of Harry Potter.

KATHLEEN EDWARDS talks to Velocity Weekly about her love of bourbon and her concern over Canada.

JOHNNY DEPP plans to marry longtime galpal and baby mama Vanessa Paradis this summer, according to Life & Style magazine

SEAN PENN & ROBIN WRIGHT have dismissed their divorce actions.

MARY-LOUISE PARKER & JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN:  The Weeds co-stars have broken off their engagement, according to People magazine.

BEYONCE happily flashed a whopping hunk of diamond on her left-hand ring finger Tuesday night at Jay-Z's concert with Mary J. Blige at Atlanta's Phillips Arena.

GWYNETH PALTROW tells British Glamour that the rumors concerning her marriage are "ridiculous."

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills has issued an amazing list of dietary demands for daughter Bea while she is on holiday with Sir Paul.

JESSICA SIMPSON shaves for the cover of Esquire.  The shoot is a recreation of a famous Esquire image of Italian actress and Marilyn Monroe lookalike Virna Lisi from March 1965.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie was discussing Iraq education policy Tuesday in Washington D.C., she "felt kicking suddenly," she tells People magazine.

NAOMI CAMPBELL has been accused of hurling a torrent of racial abuse at a woman cop during her arrest at Heathrow last week.

BARRON HILTON pleaded no contest to DUI charges Wednesday in a Malibu, California, courthouse.  His license was suspended for a year, and he was placed on three years' probation.

KIRSTEN DUNST & RYAN GOSLING are co-starring in the upcoming "All Good Things," but are they dating?

HARRY POTTER star Daniel Radcliffe is preparing for his Broadway debut in the transfer of the London revival of Peter Shaffer's psychological stage drama Equus, which took the West End by storm when it opened in February 2007 - thanks to, among several reasons, Radcliffe's nearly 10-minute nude scene.

THE OFFICE returns with a new episode tonight. Jenna Fisher has a lengthy chat with an Office fansite (w/ mild spoilers).  John Krasinski talks to The A.V. Club about Leatherheads, The Office and more.

LOST:  Previously on Lost - "What?"

VENEZUELA:   A Venezuelan TV channel has yanked The Simpsons off the air because it may be inappropriate for children. Taking its place: Baywatch Hawaii.  D'oh!  Ooga-chucka!

MOSQUE & STATE in MN:  A report from the Mpls. Star-Tribune suggests that Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy is an Islamic charter school, funded by Minnesota taxpayers.  The ACLU of MN has launched an investigation of TIZA, and the MN Dept of Education has also begun a review.

NORTH KOREA:  Progress has been made on what North Korea will receive from the US in exchange for disclosing its nuclear activities, negotiators have said.

IRAN:  An Iranian court gave a two-year suspended sentence to a former senior nuclear negotiator who had been accused by Pres. Ahmadinejad of spying for the West.

IRAQ:  Interior Ministry forces have started their search for unauthorized weapons in Basra on Wednesday, a security spokesman said.  The marines of India Battery of the 3rd Battalion, 11th Regiment are fighting what they call the last insurgent stronghold in Anbar Province.  Iraqi police on Wednesday arrested a senior militant and close aide of AQI chief Abu Ayyub al-Masri in western Iraq's Anbar province, the provincial police chief said.

BARNEY the SWEARING PARROT is now teaching his bad habits to two other birds at the wildlife sanctuary where he lives.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:  An elephant inside a giant soap bubble.

A FANGED CREATURE found in Utah after some ice melted on a pond has stumped biologists trying to determine what it is.  Pics and video at the link.

WISPA the LABRADOR helped her owner discover she was suffering from life-threatening breast cancer.

WOODY, the bird with a massive pecker that's triple the normal size.  Pic at the link.  SFW.

4565 Reads

PitchforkTV, Kelley Stoltz, The Eels, REM, Snowflake   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



PITCHFORK.TV is online (and not crashing under the traffic now), featuring The Thermals, Radihead, Man Man, The Pixies and more this week...

KELLEY STOLTZ brings his classic pop to not four, but five free songs for Daytrotter, drawn from his past two LPs.

THE NATIONAL is the subject of a film, "A Skin, A Night," by Vincent Moon (La Blogotheque) coming to DVD on May 20th and packaged with a bonus cd, The Virginia EP.  Watch the trailer.

THE EELS:  Mark Everett stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

MUSIC FESTIVALS:  The Chicago Tribune notes the fests defy the music industry's troubles, while other music promoters grumble.

R.E.M. turned up on the Colbert Report last week; you can watch the interview and the performance via Red Lasso.  Remember, what's good for GM is good for R.E.M.  ALSO:  At Hitsville, critic Bill Wyman notes that Rolling Stone's reviews of their last four records have all been "comeback"-themed.  Nice allusion to Jane Austen's Emma also.

CARBON/SILICON:  Mick Jones (The Clash, B.A.D.) and Tony James (Generation X) played the World Cafe, so you can stream the whole gig on demand via NPR.

THE ROLLING STONES are taking questions at YouTube.  Paste has suggestions for questions you might ask.

MY MORNING JACKET frontman Jim James gives a video preview of five tracks from the band's upcoming Evil Urges album at Rolling Stone.

PETE DOHERTY has been sentenced to 14 weeks in jail for violating a probation order.  NME cited a court spokesman as saying Doherty had used different kinds of drugs, breached "time keeping," and generally not complied with his probation.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise's Nazi assassination plot film Valkyrie gets knocked to Presidents' Weekend, 2009.  Which is also Valentine's Day weekend.  Because nothing says romance like Nazis.  Or maybe the thing stinks like a whorehouse at low tide.  BONUS:  The latest target of Cruise's legal team?  Randy Jones, the original Village People cowboy.

BEYONCE & JAY-Z:  Buzz is building that this weekend's quickie nuptials were actually a shotgun wedding.

PATRICK SWAYZE has had an "excellent" response to treatment for pancreatic cancer, the actor and his doctor said Tuesday.

JESSICA SIMPSON gives her webcam a workout for the benefit of bf Tony Romo, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

THE FRENCH HOTEL in Africa:  'If I bought a cheetah, would it run away from me or could I keep it?'"  I don't know, sheetheat; how about an Oompa-Loompa?

LINDSAY LOHAN offered to do the full monty as a nymphomaniac waitress in the indie film "Florence," for which she is being paid a mere 75K.  The producers declined.  Also, Li-Lo has been slapped with a 55K lawsuit by a man who claims the actress never paid him while he was her bodyguard.

GEORGE CLOONEY chills out with Elle Macpherson, Thandie Newton, Clooney, Natasha McElhone, Helena Bonham Carter and Mariella Frostrup.  It's good to be George Clooney.

ROB LOWE, who accused a former nanny of trying to extort 1.5 million from him and his wife, went a step further on Monday, filing three separate lawsuits against two of his former nannies and his former chef - whom he claims had sex on Lowe's bed "with third parties" and stole prescription drugs.  Lowe has posted an article on The Huffington Post condemning the ex-nanny.

MISCHA BARTON will accept a plea deal in her DUI case, sparing her any jail time, according to People magazine.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON plays sexy nurse Silk N. Floss in Frank Miller's adaptation of The Spirit.  This may be the only pic left online.  Can you beat the lawyers?

STAR TREK:  You can watch the entire original series, thanks to the fine folks at CBSKhaaaaan!

IRAN has begun installing 6000 new centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, state television quoted Pres. Ahmadinejad as saying Tuesday.  Ahmadinejad also accused the US of using the 9/11 attacks as a "pretext" to launch invasions and cast doubt on the accepted version of the terror strikes.

IRAQ:  Moqtada al-Sadr canceled his protest march he scheduled for Tuesday in the streets of Baghdad.  Regarding disbanding the Mahdi Army, al-Sadr's spokesman says on the one hand that al-Sadr has consulted with Iraq's Shiite clerical leadership "and they refused that," but did not provide details of the talks.  OTOH, he also denied that al-Sadr had referred the dissolution of al-Mahdi army to Shiite clerics, describing reports in this regard as inaccurate.  MIchael J. Totten covers reconstruction efforts by the US Marines in Fallujah.  Pres. Bush awarded the Medal of Honor to Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor, who was killed in 2006 when he threw himself on a grenade in Iraq to save his comrades.

SNOWFLAKE (a/k/a FLOCKE) the polar bear cub made her public debut at the Nuremburg Zoo.  More awww...some pics at the link.

CIRCLES the DUCK has received an order of protection to keep it safe after being shot and wounded by a neighbor with a pellet gun.

MISSING ELEPHANT found in Carbondale, IL.  Due to the size, the elephant was transported back to the Murphysboro Police Department by Express Towing.

WILD TURKEYS attack postal workers in Madison, WI.

BEACH DONKEY BINGO:  A donkey code of practice is being brought in to stop anyone over 50.8kg (8st) from riding the animals amid growing fears that Britain's 850 donkeys are buckling under the weight of heavier children and putting their health at risk.

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New Sun Sessions, New Releases, Elvis Costello, Monkey Mini-Biker   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SUN STUDIO SESSIONS:  Grace Potter & the Nocturnals record "Mystery Train" to kick off a new series in which today's rising artists perform in the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and many other rock and roll greats recorded their first hits.

NEW RELEASES:  The Breeders, Man Man, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Tapes N' Tapes, The Long Blondes and more are streaming in full this week at Spinner.  Billy Bragg has a new album out, as does the fab Richard Swift.  I am also interested in checking out the album from Wye Oak, which is streaming in full via Merge.

LIZ PHAIR reviews Dean Wareham's book, "Black Postcards: A Rock & Roll Romance," for the NYT.

OK GO! frontman Damian Kulash Jr. has an op-ed about "net neutrality" in the NYT, in which he wonders "if Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner sit around arguing who was listening to Vampire Weekend first."

FEIST may have been shut out at the grammys, but she dominated the Juno Awards.

ELVIS COSTELLO and friends do a majestic cover of "Pretty Flamingo" at the Montreux Jazz Festival.  Add an alternative version of "I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea" with The Attractions on TOTP, and you have twofer Tuesday.

MIGHTY MAX WEINBERG gives the Orange County Register an insider's tour of life on E Street.

NADA SURF stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

NELLIE McKAY tells the Mpls Star-Trib that "interviews should be vague" and plays cat-and-mouse with the interviewer.

MUSIC MAGS DIE:  Billboard collects reax to the recent passing of Harp, Resonance and No Depression magazines.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise has been asked to be godfather to J-Lo and Marc Anthony's babies.  Will he settle all Scientology business?

NICOLE KIDMAN & KEITH URBAN bought a seven million dollar home just down the road from Kidman's ex Tom Cruise in L.A.'s Brentwood neighborhood, the Los Angeles Times reports.

BEYONCE & JAY-Z's WEDDING:  Apparetnly, you could not bring guns into the church.

WOODY HARRELSON & OWEN WILSON skinny-dipping?  Sorry, gals; Wilson kept his trunks on.

PAM ANDERSON will star in an "observational documentary series" that promises to present an intimate portrait of the mother and actress.  Someone is trying hard not to call this a "reality show."

BRADGELINA:  Pittmania reigned at Sunday night's taping for Fox's second annual American Idol Gives Back special, making talking impossible.

MADONNA & GUY RITCHIE will adopt a child from -- (throws dart) -- India!  Madge gave up on her attempt to find a little girl in Africa after getting frustrated with red tape.

DREW BARRYMORE was looking a bit unrehabbed leaving a West Hollywood club Sunday night.

PRINCESS DIANA died because of the gross negligence of the driver, Henri Paul, and the paparazzi, an inquest jury has found.

IRAQ:  Newsweek reports that despite a spate of early grim assessments of Basra in the US media, US military observers on the ground in Iraq are more sanguine, according to retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a long-time critic of the war.  Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia has held on to its weapons and much of its turf. But Iraqi forces appear to be largely in control of the city and its ports, and Basra is still mostly calm. Even more important, the Iraqi security forces have remained mostly intact.  Prime Minister al-Maliki has warned that Moqtada al-Sadr will be banned from participating in the country's political process unless he disbands his militias.  The Mahdi Army says it will voluntarily disband if Shia scholars advise al-Sadr to do so.  Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is already on record as supporting government attempts to disarm the country's sectarian militias.

MONKEY RIDES MINI-BIKE:  Let's go to the video!

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Militant squirrels recruited a rat to take down the grid in Stockholm.

A WOLF and a GOAT have become unlikely sweethearts after sharing a cage together at a Chinese park.  Pic at the link.

THE SHEEP of TURIN:  Doing the jobs Italians just won't do.

RAISE YOUR HANDS... and step away from the hedgehog.

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Joe Jackson, Tapes N' Tapes, Jens Lekman, Rex & Roo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, April 07, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


JOE JACKSON did a set mixing new tracks with old faves at the World Cafe, streaming on demand via NPR.  Joe is still The Man, in a good way.

BILLY BRAGG talked with the New York Times about what he's listening to now.

TAPES N' TAPES stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.

GNARLS BARKLEY talk about defying expectations in a profile for the L.A. Times.

MYSPACE struck a deal with three of the four major music companies to start a music website.

Vote for Pedro

PROCOL HARUM Gary Brooker on Friday sorta won his court battle over royalty rights to the band's most famous hit, the 1967 song "A Whiter Shade of Pale."  In 2006 London's High Court awarded former keyboard player Matthew Fisher 40 percent of the copyright of the track.  On appeal, John Mummery said that, while Fisher should be credited with co-authorship of the seminal track, the fact that it took him 38 years to take the case to court meant he should not benefit financially.

GEORGIE JAMES:  John Davis talks to Fredricksburg.com about the band's influences and moving from the drums to the guitar.  The drummer always wants to be the guitar player.  Jon Pratt's daughters should ask him about this.

JENS LEKMAN performs and takes questions from listeners about his work and his influences on NPR's Talk of the Nation.

THE ROLLING STONES get a primer to their body of work (w/plenty of streaming audio) at The A.V. Club.

LILY ALLEN has stepped down as a judge on the Orange Prize (a women's literary award), the organisers have confirmed.

CHARLTON HESTON, the Oscar-winning actor who achieved stardom playing larger-than-life figures including Moses, Michelangelo and Andrew Jackson, and gained another generation of fans as the hero of dystopian sci-fi classics like "Planet of the Apes" (1968), "The Omega Man" (1971) and "Soylent Green" (1973), died at 84.  Heston, who fought for freedom and civil rights throughout his life, was one of the last American movie stars.

BEYONCE & JAY-Z got hitched over the weekend, according to People magazine.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: 21 cashes in for a second weekend with 15.1 million as the three new releases -- Leatherheads, Mim's Island and The Ruins -- all underperformed.  Universal had been hopeful that Leatherheads would rake in the high teens and with luck even 20 million, rather than 13.4 million on its 60 million budget.  George Clooney continues to prove he cannot open a move big as the main draw.  Shine A Light, the Rolling Stones concert shot by Scorsese, opened in 15th place, but had the highest per-screen average.

RENEE ZELLEWEGER told Letterman Thursday night that she will be calling her therapist over Tracy Ullman's impression of her.  But the box office returns for Leatherheads may have jumped to the top of the list since then.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise isn't getting any giggles from a new strain of medical marijuana being marketed as "Tom Cruise Purple."  One weed devotee said, "I heard it's the kind of pot that makes you hallucinate."

SHAKIRA may have a threesome tape, but it is being held by the prosecutors evaluating the case against Carlos González and his wife, Sylvia Alzate, who are accused of extortion against the artist.  People en Español released an article citing that both artists' agencies have denied the existence of such a tape.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, Britney's knocked-up sister, turned 17 years old over the weekend.

CAMERON DIAZ has fallen for the obvious charms of buff Scottish actor Gerard Butler ("300"). The duo were caught looking cozy at L.A.'s Shutters Hotel last week.

LINDSAY LOHAN:  Don't call it a comeback... yet.  But analysts think she could be on the right track toward becoming big business again, or at least more respected.

EVANGELINE LILLY & DOMINIC MONAGHAN had Lost that lovin' feelin', but are reportedly back together, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

THE McCARTNEYS:  The ubre-reliable News of the World has nude pics of Heather Mills from 1991, while reporting that Sir Paul is dating three women.  His main squeeze, Nancy Shevell, was spotted spending some dough at Stella McCartney's boutique, while Heather Mills goes redhead, according to the Daily Mail.  BONUS:  Sir Paul writes about his late wife Linda for the Times of London.

AFGHANISTAN:  In public, NATO is demanding that all allies contribute their fair share to the ongoing effort in Afghanistan. But behind closed doors, a paper has been circulated that may provide the beginnings of an exit strategy. Germany is pushing the plan.

IRAN is again urging OPEC members to form a joint bank and stop pricing oil trades in US dollars.  The Basij, the volunteer paramilitary wing of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, is organizing battlefield tours at a week-long camp for the young dedicated to martyrdom and patriotism.

IRAQ:  Bill Roggio looks at the Iraqi gov't asssault on the mahdi Army in Basra, finding that the plan was rushed by Prime Minister al-Maliki and included a brigade of raw recruits just out of training (which may account for the four percent desertion rate).  Gen. Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, is expected to tell Congress this week that Iranian forces were involved in the recent battle for Basra.  PM al-Maliki's faltering crackdown on Shiite militants has won the backing of Sunni Arab and Kurdish parties that fear both the powerful sectarian militias and the effects of failure on Iraq's fragile government.  The political council of national security, which comprises the president, the prime minister and the heads of political blocs in parliament, issued a 15-point statement calling on all parties to disband their militias before provincial elections this year, an apparent attempt to isolate Moqtada al-Sadr.  With the Sadr bloc politically isolated, the US and Iraqi military launched a fresh raid on Sadr City, its main Baghdad fiefdom, triggering heavy fighting.  Militiamen loyal to al-Sadr have been positioning explosives to defend the major routes into Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood in anticipation of a major battle with US and Iraqi government forces.

REX the POINTER adopted a four-month-old joey after a road accident killed the mother kangaroo.  More awww...some pics at the link.

POLAR BEARS are not going extinct, according to the only peer-reviewed paper on polar bear population forecasting that has been accepted for publication in an academic journal.  Three scientists audited the government studies commissioned studies to support the listing of polar bears as a threatened or endangered species, to assess whether they were consistent with forecasting principles -- concluding that they were not.

A CAMA is a cross between a llama and a camel; there was only one in existence, but now there are four.

HEY, IS THAT A BOA CONSTRICTOR in your pants?  Must be, since you're a woman.

A DEAD GATOR caused a tractor trailer to topple on southbound Okeechobee Road in Miami.

TONY the CHIMP was killed in a police standoff at the the University of Texas, Austin.

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