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Throw Me the Statue, Non-Comm, Sex Pistols, Bilbo Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, June 02, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THROW ME THE STATUE now has its own video for "Lolita," which you may have heard in an ad for Rhapsody.  Don't worry; she's 19.

NON-COMM: Stream sets from Dr. John, The Hold Steady, Ani DiFranco, and Newton Faulkner from an annual convention of non-commercial radio programmers and music directors, as well as other music-industry professionals.

THE HOLD STEADY's forthcoming Stay Positive album gets a Premature Evaluation from Stereogum.

THE AVETT BROTHERS have a new track, "Murder In The City," which you can stream via MOKB.

THE SEX PISTOLS: On the 30th anniversary of Punk, Johnny Rotten talks to the Telegraph about turning fat and fifty, punk, priests and family traumas. The Independent covers a new exhibition of photos -- some never seen before -- of the late Sid Vicious.

MGMT brings an appropriate jungle theme to the video for "Electric Feel," though it still has a bit of an Eighties feel to it.

THE FIERY FURNACES' upcoming "Remember" album, due out in August, is a double-CD live set, but the 51 songs on the release have been re-edited and recombined.  Chief songwriter Matthew Friedberger talks to the North County Times about how the songs change from the record to the live setting in the first place.

BE YOUR OWN PET is profiled on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, including a track cut from the band's major label debut for violent content.

DAVID BYRNE has turned a hangar at the foot of Manhattan Island into a giant, cast-iron orchestra.

PRVATE PARTIES:  The Times of London reports on the growing trend of pop stars playing intimate gatherings for wealthy guests.

CHARLIE SHEEN wed Brooke Mueller in a small ceremony in Beverly Hills Friday night, the couple's rep confirmed.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Sex & the City pulled a stunning upset, beating Indiana Jones with a 55.7 million opening weekend.  However, the fantastic pre-sales, tales of SATC parties and the Friday to Sunday sales trend leaves open whether the gals will have legs next weekend.  Indy dropped 54 percent to make 46 million -- less than Iron Man did in its second weekend, but more than Iron Man in their first 11 days, and 363.8 million worldwide to date.  The Strangers debuted in third place with 20 million -- not bad on nine million budget.  Iron Man had legs, pulling in another 14 million in its fifth weekend; it is increasingly likely to top 300 million in the US alone.  Prince Caspian tumbled 43 percent from second to fifth with 13 million; it topped 100 million this week, but Disney CEO Robert Iger admitted moving Narnia from the comfy Christmas season to mid-May was a mistake.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS suffered a massive fire Sunday that destroyed the building housing the King Kong exhibit and damaged a video library vault.

KURT COBAIN's ashes have been stolen; Courtney Love is said to be suicidal over the theft.

AMY WINEHOUSE was late to and distracted at her comeback gig.

BRADGELINA: Jolie revealed she owns real versions of the guns she toted in the movie Tomb Raider - and she and partner Brad Pitt wouldn't be afraid to use them.  Rumors that she has already given birth to twins are not true.

STEVEN TYLER claims he checked into rehab to recover from foot surgeries to repair problems caused by his stage moves.

KIRSTEN DUNST claimed she went to Cirque Lodge for depression, not substance abouse, but Defamer reports that the rehab facility says "if someone is suffering solely from chronic depression, we're not the place to go."

LINDSAY LOHAN talks to the Times of London about her troubles and her new projects.

KATE HUDSON & LANCE ARMSTRONG are becoming inseparable.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY sings "Blue Tahitian Moon" in a scene from The Edge of Love, which costars Sienna Miller and Cillian Murphy. The screenplay was written by Knightley's mom, Sharman Macdonald.

AL QAEDA Less than a year after his agency warned of new threats from a resurgent al-Qaeda, CIA Director Hayden now portrays the terrorist movement as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. An al-Qaeda trainer and explosives specialist involved in a range of European terrorist networks has been killed in Pakistan, the latest senior militant to die in a spate of controversial US missile strikes. Meanwhile, Muslim extremist women are challenging al Qaeda's refusal to include - or at least acknowledge - women in its ranks.

IRAN: Now that the US has backed off and provided its info to the UN's nuclear watchdog, over the last few months, the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency have come to worry that Iran - before suspending its work nearly five years ago - may have made real progress toward designing a deadly weapon.

IRAQ: As the Washington Post editorial board notes, there has a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi govt and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and US forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda.  Moreover, for all of that, US casualties are at a four-year low.  Prime Minister al-Maliki is facing growing opposition to a proposed security agreement that would set out how long American forces and military bases stayed in Iraq.  The govt has sent teams to four countries that have military pacts with the US ahead of entering a similar status of forces agreement (SoFA), Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said on Sunday -- which may alleviate some concerns.

BILBO the LIFEGUARD DOG may be allowed to return to the beach after his sacking earlier this month prompted a public outcry.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: A faux-albino foal; the technical term for the colt is a cremello blue-eyed cream. Pics at the link.

HECTOR the TERRIER got his head wedged in an owl-shaped pot after chasing a mouse into it.  Firefighters had to use the jaws of life to free the dog.  Owl-shaped pot would have been a good title for a Nirvana song, had Kurt Cobain lived. Pics at the link.

SPINY NORMAN: A New Zealand man who assaulted a teen by hitting him with a spine-covered hedgehog has been fined by a court and ordered to pay most of his fine to his victim.

TURKEY VULTURES will have a smorgasboard in the Land of Lincoln. The state's transportation department says it won't be picking up as much roadkill left along roads because it spent too much of its budget during the winter.

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Talking Heads, Swedes, Cutout Bin, Gin the Border Collie   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 30, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



... with TALKING HEADS!  To maintain a low profile, I won't mention the title of this set, which should be known to some of you.  I saw this tour and it remains one of the more impressive shows I have seen. This selection includes "Psycho Killer," "Heaven," "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel," "Found A Job," "Slippery People," "Burning Down The House," "Life During Wartime," "Making Flippy Floppy," "Swamp," "What A Day That Was," "This Must be the Place (Naïve Melody)," "Once In A Lifetime," "Genius Of Love" (as Tom Tom Club), "Girlfriend Is Better," Pate staple "Take Me To The River" and "Cross-eyed and Painless."

GARY LOURIS: The former Jayhawk stopped by WFUV for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.

SWEDES! Lykke Li, El Perro del Mar, and Anna Ternheim are touring together and featured at the World Cafe via NPR. Peter Moren of Peter Bjorn and John also visited the Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

BEACH HOUSE write a song on a Norwegian train. Let's go to the video.

DESTROYER frontman Dan Bejar tells Canada's Metro that people spend too much time interpreting his lyrics, when he is more interested in the placement of lyrics than the lyrics themselves.

THE RASCALS' frenetic take on Smokey Robinson's "Mickey's Monkey" resurfaces online, and just in time for Friday!

SOLOMON BURKE, best known for his songs "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" and "Cry to Me," but enjoying a resurgence in the 21st century, answers five questions for the Detroit Free Press.

GNARLS BARKLEY: Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse talk with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about their craft and their new album, The Odd Couple. You can also stream two album tracks at the link.

THE 100 GREATEST GUITAR SONGS of ALL TIME, as compiled by Rolling Stone, includes legends like Hendrix, Clapton, Page and Santana... but Husker Du, too.

CUTOUT BIN: From the Jamies to Husker Du, from Guadalcanal Diary to Shirley Bassey, from the Monkees to Suicide, from the Jesus & Mary Chain to Belle & Sebastian, and Martha Wainwright covering Pink Floyd, the Fridays fortuitous finds overfloweth, and can be jukeboxed or streamed separately via the Pate page at the ol' HM.

BILL MURRAY is being sued for divorce; Jennifer Butler Murray, his wife of more than 10 years, accuses Bill of drug addiction, abandonment, adultery and physical abuse.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's two wide releases are the Sex & the City movie, currently scoring 59 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, and the house thriller The Strangers, currently scoring 47 percent.

CLAY AIKEN has reportedly impregnated record producer Jaymes Foster, apparently artificially.

OWEN WILSON isn't taking his Kate Hudson's rebound relationship with Lance Armstrong too well, according to clubgoers who spotted him at club G in Philadelphia.  Meanwhile, Hudson was spotted sans Armstrong having a late dinner with her girlfriends in New York's SoHo neighborhood.

KIRSTEN DUNST is saying her recent stint in rehab was for depression, not booze or drugs - but the actress was "wobbly" over the weekend at Bar on A, a spy tells the NYDN. Her rep confirms she was at the bar, but says "she was certainly not intoxicated or wobbly." If booze isn't a problem, then maybe it was the fun kind of wobbly.

LINDSAY LOHAN & SAMANTHA RONSON are "together," a source says in the new issue of People magazine -- enough so to be spotted lunching with Ronson's writer-mom and Lohan's sister Ali.

BRITNEY SPEARS is still unable to participate "in any meaningful way" in legal proceedings and may need further tests, a court commissioner presiding over Spears's conservatorship said Thursday.

SHANIA TWAIN's close friend and longtime assistant is finally speaking out - and denying reports she's behind the singer's surprise split from her husband of 14 years, People reports in its new issue.

NAOMI CAMPBELL has been charged with a string of offenses after allegedly assaulting a police officer at London's Heathrow airport, her lawyer said Thursday.

CELINE DION & TIGER WOODS use a lot of water.

HARVEY KORMAN, the legendary comedic actor possibly best known for his stint on the "The Carol Burnett Show" and in the film "Blazing Saddles," died at UCLA Medical Center after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago.  He was 81.

SYRIA: The Bush administration is pressing UN inspectors to broaden their search for possible secret nuclear facilities in Syria, hinting that Damascus's nuclear program might be bigger than the single alleged reactor destroyed by Israeli warplanes last year. At least three sites have been identified by US officials and passed along to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is negotiating with Syria for permission to conduct inspections in the country, according to US govt officials and Western diplomats.

IRAN: A ranking International Atomic Energy Agency official called Tehran's possession of a drawing showing how to make part of an atomic warhead " alarming" Thursday and said the onus is on Iran to prove it had not tried to develop nuclear arms, said diplomats attending a closed briefing. The documents are dated from early 2004; last year's US National Intelligence Estimate claimed with moderate confidence that the Iranians had ceased work on a nuclear bomb by 2003. Oops.  Senior US officials tell ABC News that in recent months there have been secret contacts between the Iranian government and the leadership of al Qaeda on the status of high-level AQ operatives, including two of Osama Bin Laden's sons, who have been under house arrest in Iran since 2003.

IRAQ and the MEDIA: The American Journalism Review discusses "Whatever Happened to Iraq?" in news coverage: "During the first 10 weeks of 2007, Iraq accounted for 23 percent of the newshole for network TV news. In 2008, it plummeted to 3 percent during that period. On cable networks it fell from 24 percent to 1 percent, according to a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism..."

GIN the BORDER COLLIE, previously featured here, is now poised to win Britain's Got Talent with her canine freestyle dancing; the Daily Mail reports that she barely escaped death by poisoning two years ago.

LET'S GO SURFIN' NOW, every hippo's learnin' how, come on a safari with me...

RARE RHINOS don't care much for the paparazzi of the World Wildlife Fund. Video at the link.

AN ENGLISH BUMBLEBEE, otoh, smiles for the camera, Peg.

A SNAKE, a toilet, an unlucky dude.

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Paul Weller, Phonograph, Martha Wainwright, Henri the Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, May 29, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


PAUL WELLER: The former Jam master and Style Councillor asks, "Have You Made Up Your Mind?"

PHONOGRAPH bring their brand of Americana to Daytrotter for the four free songs thing, one previously unreleased.

BON IVER: Justin Vernon talks to Pitchfork about his personal code of conduct, couch-surfing past, favorite quotes, Fleetwood Mac and more...

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT's latest album, I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too, is streaming in full via MuchMusic.

R.E.M. axeman Peter Buck talks to the Examiner about laying down the law to his bandmantes before making the Accelerate album:  "Everybody knew I wasn't happy, and I wanted everyone to understand that I had absolutely no interest in making records the way we'd been doing it, like we were making an Eagles album or something. So I said, ‘If we don't make a great record, I'm not doing this anymore.'"

WE FIVE were on my mind when I woke up this morning, introduced by no less than Fred Astaire.

THE FAVORITE 100 ALBUMS of the 1970's, as picked by the staff at Pitchfork, with many shocking omissions.

BEN FOLDS talks to DC's Express about his upcoming album: "The new record is just like an explosion - it's a pretty full-on record," he said. "There's a lot of energy and I thought we kind of captured the live show for the first time (in the studio)."

VASHTI BUNYAN talks to Crawdaddy about about her early success, her long period in her own blissfully self-imposed exile, and her heartening revival.

JELLO BIAFRA made a second career as an anti-censorship advocate, but is now calling for the censorship of insane radio talk show host Michael Savage.

ASHLEE SIMPSON & PETE WENTZ officially admit she is knocked up.

JESSICA SIMPSON & TONY ROMO are reportedly back together, on the condition that creepy dad-manager Joe leave them alone' and stifle his tendency to tell Romo how to run his life, career and endorsement deals.

BRITNEY SPEARS could get some songwriting help from Johnny Rotten, who feels sorry for the pop wreck.

MILEY CYRUS: A photo of Hannah Montana's first kiss could be worth between 30K and 150K, depending on who she kisses.

MADONNA & GUY RITCHIE's adoption of David Banda has been officially approved, more than a year and a half after the duo picked up the boy at an orphanage in Malawi.

GEORGE CLOONEY has broken up with Sarah Larson after nearly a year of dating.  Clooney reportedly moved out of his LA home while the 29-year-old former Las Vegas cocktail waitress removed her belongings.

CSI COACHELLA: Gary Dourdan pleaded guilty to two of the felony drug possession charges against him and won't have to serve any jail time.

R. KELLY TRIAL: The young girl who allegedly appears in a sex video with R. Kelly visited the R&B star's recording studio regularly, did her homework there and once brought an overnight bag, Kelly's former personal assistant testified Tuesday.

ALLY SHEEDY is divorcing actor David Lansbury, her husband of 15 years.

JULIANNE MOORE talks to The A.V. Club about crying on cue, paying the bills, and the TV shows she wishes she was on.

JACK NICHOLSON's alleged penchant for prostitutes has been outed in former co-star Debra Winger's new autobiography, Undiscovered.

ROBERT RODRIGUEZ & ROSE McGOWAN are shopping around "Women in Chains!" a violent exploitation TV series set at a woman's prison.

EARLE HAGEN, who co-wrote the jazz classic "Harlem Nocturne" and composed memorable themes for "The Andy Griffith Show," "I Spy," "The Mod Squad," "That Girl," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." and other TV shows, has died. He was 88. Video at the link. Stream themes via the ol' HM.

IRAN's new parliamentary Speaker has used his inaugural address to give warning that Tehran could set limits on future co-operation with the UN's nuclear watchdog, after an unusually critical report from the agency.  Meanwhile, Iran and its close ally Syria have signed a new defense cooperation pact, Iranian media reported on Wednesday.

IRAQ: Newly-promoted Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a senior Petraeus adviser known for leading a successful counter-insurgency effort in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar, recently gave a briefing on Iraq at AEI.  ABCNews has a look at how Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki turned his and Sadr City's fortunes around. After an absence of nearly three years, Salman Pak's three judges have returned to the bench at the city courthouse, where security conditions have improved enough that the justices have opted to come out of a self-imposed exile. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior dismissed more than 7500 police members in 2008, usually for absence, negligence, or corruption.  The "Triangle of Death" has boomeranged to become a bastion of relative peace on the edge of a violent capital, while Sunni militants remain elusive in the north. US troops do the dirty work needed to maintain the security berm in Mosul.

HENRI the CAT seems to suffer even more ennui than the typical cat.

A BEAR was spotted scoping out the pool area of the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios in Florida. Hey, it's almost summer.

AN OWL is being framed in a murder case in Durham, NC.

A CROCODILE is roaming on a river in central Germany.

A "SPIRITUAL PIGEON" is accused of stealing penises in Nigeria.

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Weezer, Raconteurs, Sppon, Urban Verbs, Tama the Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


WEEZER take on viral videos and Internet celebs in the new clip for "Pork and Beans."

THE RACONTEURS played DC's 9:30 Club last night, so you should be able to stream the gig on demand now via NPR.

LOU BARLOW talks to the Jerusalem Post (from Dublin) about juggling his gigs with Dinosaur, Jr. and Sebadoh.

NEW RELEASES: Albums from Islands, Free Kitten, Futureheads, Butcher the Bear, Health and more are finally streaming in full via Spinner, icymi.

SPOON continues to roll out a free download every month; May brings the demo version of "Don't Let it Get You Down."

THE RAMONES remember rock 'n' roll radio -- do you?

CHESS RECORDS: Hollywood is making tow movies about thelegendary record label; Marshall Chess talks to The Independent about a history that stretches from Muddy Waters to the Rolling Stones to the Sugarhill Gang.

THE URBAN VERBS, a short-lived, Brian Eno produced, New Wave combo in the late 1970s, played a reunion show at DC's 9:30 Club last weekend -- and the club might not exist without them.  It's like George Bailey was a New Wave band.  You can stream the gig and an interview now via NPR.

THE HOLD STEADY's upcoming Stay Positive album gets a track-by-track review in The Riverfront Times.  Springsteen gets name-checked (natch), but so are ELO, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Guns ‘n Roses, Led Zeppelin and early Elvis Costello.

THE LAST of the SHADOW PUPPETS may turn out shimmering pop songs of "the kind you might hear if Sinatra and Dusty Springfield knocked boots," but Arctic Monkey Alex Turner and Rascals' vocalist Miles Kane developed their sound after sampling early David Bowie.

LINDSAY LOHAN & SAMANTHA RONSON:  US magazine claims Lindsay's ex-con dad sent them an e-mail saying that their relationship "is evident to anyone with half a brain." OK! magazine reports that Michael Lohan denies any such statement.

JESSICA SIMPSON has released her first country track, "Come On Over." And for contemporary country, it's not as bad as I thought it would be.

BRADGELINA have reportedly signed a three-year lease on the 70 million-dollar, 880-acre estate called Chateau Miraval on the French Riviera.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  There are pictures in the Daily Mail of her new dude, who just happens to be an agent with the powerful William Morris talent agency that looks after the star.

PATRICK SWAYZE gives everyone an update on his medical condition via People magazine.

KIRSTEN DUNST tells E!'s Mark Malkin that she went to the Cirque Lodge center in Utah for treatment of depression, not substance abuse.

CHRISTIAN BALE talks to Details magazine about being the Dark Knight, never having a plan B, and always swimming against the current.

SHARON STONE thinks the Chinese earthquake which claimed tens of thousands of lives may be karmic payback for China's policy towards the Tibetans. I think she could get a slot on the 700 Club.

THE HOBBIT: Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro answered 60 live questions from fans for a site affiliated with the special effects wizards of WETA. Transcript at the link.

THE REAL INDIANA JONES? Otto Rahn was an archaeologist who fell foul of the Nazis while searching for the Holy Grail.

SYDNEY POLLACK, an eclectic and prolific director, actor and producer, died of cancer Monday at 73. The NYT's A.O. Scott surveys Pollack's wide-ranging career in film. At The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg has a funny little reminiscence of his brushes with Pollack.  Watch him work in Tootsie and Michael Clayton.

ISLAMISM in the US: No one knows how many Muslims in the US live in polygamous families. But according to academics researching the issue, estimates range from 50K to 100K people.

UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPERS have been sexually abusing children as young as six years old, according to a new report from a UK charity.  This is at least the fifth such scandal, which seem to be an annual event.

IRAN may be withholding information needed to establish whether it tried to make nuclear arms, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday in an unusually strongly worded report. Cue Claude Rains.

IRAQ: Iraqi Special Operations Forces have captured a senior Mahdi Army Special Groups leader in the Shula neighborhood in the Ghazaliyah district in northwestern Baghdad. As violence continues in Sadr City, public tolerance for the Mahdi Army, and by association the Sadr movement, seems to be shifting toward the same sort of resentment once reserved for US and Iraqi forces. US forces captured a Special Groups EFP expert in Suwayrah. Iraqi troops seized 17 EFPs, 28 IEDs, 99 anti-tank mines, and a host of weapons in Sadr City. Muqtada al-Sadr is calling on followers to hold weekly protests against a long-term security deal that the Iraqi government and US are negotiating. Iraq's main Sunni Arab political bloc said on Wednesday it had suspended talks to rejoin the Shi'ite-led government after a disagreement with Prime Minister al-Maliki over a cabinet post.

TAMA the CAT saves a struggling train company, is promoted and given her own office.

BULLDOG PUPS: Awww...some pics.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: Militant squirrels are eating the displays at a popular open-air museum in Helsinki.

THE HORROR FROG:  Bizarre and hairy, Trichobatrachus robustus actively breaks its own bones to produce claws that puncture their way out of the frog's toe pads, probably when it is threatened.

SCORPION ATTACK in a West Virginia Wal-Mart.  No doubt it was attracted by the falling prices.

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REM, New Releases, Wire, Duffy, Croc vs. Shark   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


R.E.M.'s appearance on Austin City Limits aired over the long weekend, including "Supernatural Superserious."

NEW RELEASES: There may or may not be new albums streaming in full from Spinner when you read this. John Hiatt is the Same Old Man -- which is a good thing. Spiritualized releases Songs in A&E. Julie Ocean debuts with Long Gone and Nearly There.

WIRE has released "One of Us," the single and opening track from the legendary UK post-punkers' 11th studio album.  You can download it from the 'Gum or stream it from the 'Gum Mix.

THE DECEMBERISTS frontman Colin Meloy tals to The Sun about his solo excursion, his inspirations and the follow-up to The Crane Wife.

PAUL WELLER is interviewed by The Scotsman and profiled by The Independent.

DUFFY performs a mini-set for The Interface, including 'Mercy,' 'Stepping Stone,' 'Warwick Avenue' and 'Syrup and Honey,' plus an interview.  That's more than Twofer Tuesday.

ISLANDS frontman Nick Thorburn talks to the Montreal Mirror about how the band's break-up and re-configuration resulted in the Arm's Way album.

THE B-52's singer Fred Schneider talks to the Orange County Register about the impact of the Internet on new and old fans coming to their shows.

LAURA CANTRELL talks to PopMatters about Trains and Boats and Planes, a new record of traveling cover songs.

TAPES N' TAPES drummer Jeremy Hanson talks to the Birmingham Post about the impact of music blogs and MySpace on indie music-making.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull took in an estimated 151 million bucks domestic over the holiday weekend, a bit below the average projection, but the actuals may boost this total past last year's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.  Indy seems to have rolled like a giant boulder over Prince Caspian, as the second Narnia film dropped 48 percent to make 28.6 million in its second weekend; it is making far less than The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe while burdened with a bigger budget.  Iron Man held up much better in its third weekend at 25.6 million and could finish over the 300 million mark in the US.  What Happens in Vegas continues to survive as counter-programming, making another 11 million, while Speed Racer continues to tank, even in the fifth slot, with 5.2 million.


JESSICA SIMPSON & TONY ROMO: According to TMZ, Romo was paid to show up at Ashlee Simpson's wedding, because a pic of Jessica & Tony was key to People paying over a million for the wedding photos.  However, the pair looked like they were on a dinner date at N9NE Steakhouse in Dallas on Saturday. Have they made up, or is it made-up?

ROBERT REDFORD has announced he is engaged to his girlfriend Sibylle Szaggars, whom he has dated since 1996.

KATE HUDSON & LANCE ARMSTRONG were... wait for it... caught canoodling in Cannes, at a party thrown by designer Dolce and Gabbana.

LINDSAY LOHAN & SAMANTHA RONSON were... wait for it... caught canoodling and cavorting in Cannes, atop P Diddy's party yacht.  More pics at Egotastic.

MADONNA & GUY RITCHIE went to Cannes together, but did little to scotch persistent rumors that their seven-year marriage is on the rocks.

BRITNEY SPEARS has been spied stepping out with the new man in her life, who has already earned the blessing of her dad.

PATRICK SWAZE, currently battling pancreatic cancer, was spotted with his wife in the crowd Friday as the L.A. Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference playoff series.

DENISE RICHARDS & CHARLIE SHEEN continue to blast each other; this time it's Richards's turn:  "I don't want Charlie's prostitute-tranny-infested sperm. I have two beautiful kids. We'll leave it at that. I am so over him. He's the one who can't move on. He's disgusting and he's hit an all-time low."

JEN & JOHN: Page Six claims the couple were quietly dating for three months prior to coming out earlier this month as a couple in Miami.  The ever-reliable Star magazine claims to have the details of their superhot, kinky sex life.

DICK MARTIN, the zany half of the comedy team whose "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" took television by storm in the 1960s, making stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and creating such national catch-phrases as "Sock it to me!" has died. He was 86.  Younger folks may have to look him up in their Funk and Wagnall's.

SHELDON ADELSON, the billionaire casino mogul who runs Las Vegas Sands Corp., brought 40 wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center to the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Vegas for an all-expenses-paid getaway with all the perks normally saved for casinos' richest regulars.

AL QAEDA is unraveling from within, according to new articles in The New Republic and The New Yorker.  Lawrence Wright, author of the latter article, tells NPR, "In some respects, they are not losing, they are regenerating. But they're still much reduced from what they were. They're clearly losing in Iraq. Their popularity all across the Muslim world is plummeting because Muslims are the main victims. And people are beginning to question the use of violence not only in the case of al-Qaeda but even in resistance movements in Palestine."

IRAQ: Less than one week after pushing into the northern two-thirds of Sadr City from the walled southern neighborhoods, the Iraqi Army is uncovering substantial weapons caches in the Mahdi Army stronghold. As the Iraqi security forces continue to work to secure Sadr City, US and Iraqi forces are pressuring the Mahdi Army in greater Baghdad and beyond. Al-Qaeda fighters and other Sunni insurgents have largely scattered from the northern city of Mosul in the face of a US-Iraqi sweep, fleeing to desert areas further south, an Iraqi commander said Sunday. The US military said AQI was "off-balance and on the run" but remains a very lethal threat. Iraqi legislators must hurry up and pass a provincial elections law by the start of July if they want the vote to happen on the agreed Oct. 1 date, the head of Iraq's Electoral Commission said on Friday.

CROC vs. SHARK: A clash of the titans in the wilds of Australia.

BELLA, a Labrador cross, may be the oldest dog evah at 203 years young. Pics at the link.

THUMBELINA, the world's smallest horse, had to have some dental work done in Connecticut.  Pic at the link.

A FULLY FORMED GECKO was found inside a hen's egg, trying to sell the yolk auto insurance.

POODLES bred as hunting dogs. Not as wacky as it sounds. Video at the link.

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