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We Are Scientists, Watson Twins, Isobel Campbell, Seal molests penguin   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 05, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


WE ARE SCIENTISTS stage a Western of sorts in the video for "Chick Lit," which may be the catchiest thing they've ever done.

TEGAN & SARA bring some of the banter featured here on Friday to a discussion of their current musicl faves in the New York Times.

THE WATSON TWINS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

STEPHEN MALKMUS talks to Canada's National Post about the differences between Real Emotional Trash and his previous albums.

ADELE: The 19-year-old British soul singer-songwriter has a chat and mini-set in audio or video at The Interface.

DESPERATELY SEEKING PAUL McCARTNEY: The upcoming indie mockumentary on a woman who turned down Paul's marriage proposal now has a trailer online. (Thx, Bena Warren.)

ISOBEL CAMPBELL talks to the Independent and The Scotsman about working again with Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age) on their second LP, Sunday at Devil Dirt: "He'll be jolly one day and then he'll go back to being quieter than ever and it's as if you're not even there. I try not to take it personally but it's not always easy. For me, it's actually quite masochistic. Sometimes you want to put a whoopee cushion on his chair or blow a big raspberry at him - which I actually do sometimes!"

JAMES BROWN: A DNA test reportedly confirms that the late Godfather of Soul fathered the son of a woman who claims to be the singer's widow.

EL PERRO del MAR: Sarah Assbring talks to Pitchfork about her self-recorded and self-produced new album, From the Valley.

AMY WINEHOUSE is unfit to work on any new music projects, according to her producer and friend Mark Ronson.  The pair were supposed to be recording the theme tune for the next James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

IRON MAN RULES the weekend box office taking in about 100 million in the US and 200 million worldwide.  That is far more than the 70 million consensus prediction for the US.  Iron Man enjoyed the 10th-best three-day opening ever, the 10th movie premiere to exceed $100 mil, and the No. 2 debut of all time for a non-sequel (behind only Spider-Man's $114.8 mil). Robert Downey Jr. has never fronted a movie that grossed 100 mil during its entire run, let alone in one weekend.  It has recouped its production budget of 150 million and is well on its way to recouping estimated total costs of 225 million.  It did all this despite failing to appeal to what industry insiders call ''all four quadrants'' - that is, its audience was not evenly divided between men and women, young people and older folks (a whopping 71 percent of ticket buyers were men and 64 percent were over the age of 25). Speed Racer may face his greatest foe in the Golden Avenger when he rolls into theaters this Friday.  The weekend's other wide release, Made of Honor, made 15 million.  Iron Man's repulsor rays were felt all down the rest of the Top Ten.

R. KELLY: A woman is set to testify at the R&B superstar's upcoming child pornography trial that she had a three-way sexual encounter with Kelly and the allegedly underage girl shown in the video at the heart of the case.

COURTNEY LOVE made a 3am trip to the emergency unit of LA's Cedars Sinai hospital complaining of laryngitis.  Moments after being released, she was off to get some smokes.  Hmmm...

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, Britney's 17-year-old knocked-up sister, was feted with an intimate baby shower in Kentwood, LA.  The pop wreck was in attendance.

ROB LOWE:  It's a small world -- Laura Boyce, the second nanny accusing Rob Lowe and his wife of sexual harassment, also babysits for reality TV star Shanna Moakler.  Lowe's wife denounces the allegations against them as "lies meant to embarrass and humiliate."

KATE HUDSON apparently has herself a stalker.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  This time, Oprah visit's Cruise's couch.  The Big O has a preview at her website.

NICOLE KIDMAN is reportedly set to play Dusty Springfield in a new biopic of the singer's life.

DREW BARRYMORE & JUSTIN LONG are secretly planning to marry in the Caribbean later this year, according to a source who overheard the couple planning the ceremony over a recent lunch date.

CSI star Gary Dourdan has issued a statement to Access Hollywood over his arrest for drug possession in Palm Springs last weekend, claiming the substances found in the car did not belong to him.

LINDSAY LOHAN began shooting her spot on ABC's Ugly Betty on Saturday.

PATRICK SWAYZE, who is battling pancreatic cancer, looked just a shadow of his former self as he went shopping this week.

ELISHA CUTHBERT has scored herself a new hockey player boyfriend, Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf.

GLOBAL WARMING is blamed for a rise in shark attacks off the East Coast.  Just another thing to add to the list.

IRAN & IRAQ: An Iraqi delegation in Iran has confronted Iranian security officials with evidence that Tehran is providing support for Shi'ite militias battling Iraqi government forces, an Iraqi official said on Friday. "They presented a list of names, training camps and cells linked to Iran," Haidar al-Ibadi, a member of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa party, told Reuters.  Though they admit nothing, Iran backs efforts by the Iraqi government to disarm militiamen, an Iranian news agency said on Sunday.  Maybe it's just happy talk, or maybe Iran is concerned about US military planning for a "surgical strike" against an insurgent training camp inside Iran if Republican Guards continue with attempts to destabilize Iraq.

IRAQ: The US Army targeted and destroyed a Special Groups command and control center in a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System strike in Sadr City Saturday morning.  Bill Ardolino is back in Iraq, reporting that the fighting in Sadr City is causing the locals to turn against Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in the Rusafa neighborhood in Baghdad.

AN ANARCTIC FUR SEAL is observed trying to have sex with a king penguin.  I blame global warming.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT: Their rat allies shut down internet service for Qwest customers through Cochise County, AZ, while they secretly develop their own droid army.

A DOG was framed in a human castration case, but justice has prevailed in France.

A NANNY pulled a 2-year-old girl from the jaws of a coyote when the animal attacked the toddler and tried to carry her away in its mouth.

140 COWS stare unamazed as they are rescued by a military barge from flooding that has struck New Brunswick's capital region. Pic at the link.

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Tegan & Sara, Mystery Jets, Cutout Bin, Iron Man, Dog Slide   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 02, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



photo by optionthis

... with TEGAN & SARA!  They have been called "indie music's answer to Laurel and Hardy," and their onstage banter is here among their performances at the Coachella festival.  The correct sequence, afaik, is: "Dark Come Soon," "The Con," "Burn Your Life Down," "Floorplan," "Speak Slow," "I Bet It Stung," "Fix You Up," "So Jealous," "Nineteen," "Back In Your Head," "Walking With A Ghost," "Hop A Plane" and "Living Room." BONUS: It turns out that there is a Tegan & Sara banter blog, with plenty of embedded video.

COACHELLA: In addition to Tegan & Sara, Largehearted Boy is collecting downloads and streams of acts that played the festival, including Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Roger Waters, DeVotchKa, MGMT, the Raconteurs and more...

OTTER, including Friend of Pate Scott Jasper, is playing the Bali Satay House in Ames, IA, tonight at 9:00 p.m. Be there or be square.  Guys wear ties, gals wear dresses. Yes, I'm kidding about the last bit.

OF MONTREAL's Kevin Barnes is doing a solo show in Toronto, so he spoke to Eye Weekly, in part about how he always identified with feminine male artists like David Bowie, Lou Reed, Marc Bolan and Prince: "I love how they transcend gender expectations without sinking too far into campiness - it's a fine line for sure..."

ELBOW stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.  Frontman Guy Garvey talks to the NYDN about the debt the band owes Radiohead and the dynamics of songwriting.  He discusses a variety of subjects -- politics, the business, self-promotion, etc. --at DCist with Kyle Gustafson, who blogs at Information Leafblower.

THE MYSTERY JETS have a new video for "Two Doors Down" that has a classic cheesy MTV feel to it.  I previously linked the video for "Young Love."

WILCO bassist John Stirratt seems to be doing the press in the current leg of their tour, praising the versatility of the current lineup and hinting about their next record in the Winnipeg Sun, while he talks about the changing nature of the biz and the band's five-night residence in Chicago with the Colorado Springs Independent. (Thx, LHB.)

THE REPLACEMENTS' widely circulated 1985 bootleg, Simply Unacceptable, is posted at PopHeadwound.  You can also stream it for now via the ol' HM.

OKKERVIL RIVER hit WOXY's lounge last week; you can watch the mini-set and download the audio via The Futurist.

CUTOUT BIN: From the Kingsmen to ELO, from Big Mama Thornton to The Babys, from the Ting Tings to the Sex Pistols, The Replcements, The Feelies, Liz Phair and Pavement, this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM.

IRON MAN took a very long and winding road through development Hell to get to your cineplex today.  And it is almost always the better for it.  The original comic sprung from the backdrop of Vietnam; current events make this update seem as ripped from the headlines as an episode of Law & Order -- if Jerry Orbach had worn wicked cool armor.  The script -- which swifty and sharply mixes action and exposition from the outset -- attacks the arms business, though anyone familiar with the comic book's Obidiah Stane stiryline could have seen this variant coming.  The delay also put the project in the hands of director Jon Favreau (who even turns up in Vegas, baby), who does one of the smartest things a director can do -- cast his picture well.  Word is the suits would have preferred someone younger or more bankable than the rehabbed Robert Downey, Jr., but fans immediately saw him as perfect to play the excessive playboy-genius turned redemption-seeking hero Tony Stark -- and Downey does not disappoint.  Favreau lets Downey have his head, and his supporting cast -- primarily Gwyneth Paltrow, Terence Howard and Jeff Bridges -- each bring their game to meet his.  Indeed, while there is enough CGI action to keep the kids' attention, adults may find themselves wishing for more of the character-driven scenes. Downey is also able to fully exploit the comic aspects of Stark's flaws, giving the picture a lighter tone that distinguishes it from most of the recent superhero movies.  As for the music, please note that the first bedroom scene is set to an instrumental version of the theme from the old Iron Man cartoon; you have to wait for the end credits for the Black Sabbath.  BTW, you will want to stay through all of the end credits.  Really.  I cannot stress that enough.

NOW SHOWING: In addition to Iron Man,  which is currently scoring 95 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, this weekend's only other wide release is the counter-programming of Patrick dempsey in Made of Honor, which is scoring 19 percent.

ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. is already looking ahead to a possible Iron Man sequel and added that he'd like to explore the burden his superhero responsibilities impose. One possible sequel storyline thread, Downey said, could be based on the "Demon in a Bottle" comic series. In it, an overwhelmed Stark becomes an alcoholic.

GWYNETH PALTROW, on the Red Carpet for Iron Man, was asked whether she had any well wishes to share with ex-bf Brad Pitt, who is rumored to be on the way to fatherhood again, didn't even play the usual "I-wish-them-the-best" lip service, curtly saying, "no," and moving on.

BRADGELINA: The potential release of a tape showing Jolie snorting and smoking heroin in the 1990s may do some serious damage to the soon-to-be mother of six's new reputation as a much hotter version of Mother Teresa.  Hey, it's in the National Enquirer, right?

BRITNEY SPEARS: Bills for lawyers, rehab and psychiatric care, combined with the pop wreck's inability to work, may have cost Spears 61 million dollars.

UMA THURMAN testified against her stalker Thursday; TMZ live-blogged it. BTW, it's not surprising that Uma didn't look at the defendant or in his lawyer's direction.  She was probably instructed by the prosecutor or her personal attorneys to speak to the jury.

BEYONCE KNOWLES is knocked up? That's what multiple sources tell the Hollyscoop blog, which is allegedly why she and Jay-Z rushed their wedding.

MARIAH CAREY & NICK CANNON married?  Carey's nephew was in the Bahamas, but his Facebook account throws doubt on the rumor.

MILEY CYRUS on top of the controversy surrounding her portrait in Vanity Fair, has also been criticized for telling the magazine that Sex and the City is her "favorite show!" - and for comparing the racy series to her Disney mega-hit Hannah Montana. She watches the edited version on TBS. Meanwhile photog Annie Leibovitz has clammed up.

JESSICA SIMPSON may be dispatched to jinx the Democratic National Convention in Denver... or so Pres. Bush joked in front of members of the Super Bowl-winning New York Giants who visited the White House Wednesday.

ANNE HATHAWAY's boyfriend Raffaelo Follieri has agreed to pay 1.3 million bucks to settle a lawsuit with billionaire Ron Burkle, who had accused Follieri of squandering the sum to support his lavish lifestyle.  Earlier this month, Follieri was arrested and charged with trying to pass a bad check, reportedly for around 250K.

THE WORLD'S 15 TOP-EARNING MODELS, according to Forbes magazine.  Giselle Bundchen towers over the rest -- even Heidi Klum -- but that is due to her savvy business sense off the catwalk.  Yes, there is a slideshow at the link, but the pics at the Daily Mail are better. Metro asks, "Is it all over for Naomi Campbell?"

THE INCREDIBLE HULK has a new trailer online. Ed Norton's hair is pre-Hulked.

GLOBAL WARMING will stop until at least 2015 because of natural variations in the climate, scientists have said. Yet we rarely hear stories about natural variations in the climate exaggerating the warming trend.

SOMALIA: The US military killed a man believed to be the head of al-Qaeda in Somalia and 10 others in an airstrike overnight, an Islamic insurgent group said Thursday. The question now is whether his removal will take the energy out of the Islamists' Jihad or simply provoke a series of revenge attacks.

IRAQ: The apparent respite in fighting ended as US forces killed an additional 27 Mahdi Army fighters and a senior Special Groups leader during a series of engagements in the afternoon and throughout the night in Sadr City. A group of Iraqi Shiite MPs is in Iran for talks with radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in a bid to end clashes between his fighters and troops that have killed hundreds of people, a Sadr aide said on Thursday. A tip from a member of the Sons of Iraq led directly to the capture of a key AQI terrorist, reportedly known for vehicle-borne improvised-explosive device attacks, improvised-explosive device attacks, sniper attacks on Coalition Forces, the kidnapping and murder of Iraqis, and weapons trafficking.  An Iraqi govt spokesman stated that the findings of the committee looking into the recently discovered mass-graves in the "Triangle of Death" proved involvement of AQI and other organized crime rings in the massacres.  The head of the Basra operations room revealed that 324 wanted and suspects were arrested in Basra during the last three weeks.


INCREDIBLE JOURNEY: A cat returned home five days later after making a 460 mile round trip to London.

CRABS on a PLANE: The force of the crash broke off the plane's nose gear and crumpled the plane's fuselage. And while no one was hurt from the crash, one passenger aboard the plane did receive a number of crab pinches.

TWO SENTIMENTAL GEEKS have been charged with second-degree burglary after they attempted to free a dog from the city animal shelter so they could take it to its owner's funeral over the weekend.

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Jason Collett, Morning Benders, Mudcrutch, Duck Xing   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


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Feist, Death Cab, Foals, Shins, Knut Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


FEIST sits for an interview on The Colbert Report, then plays "I Feel It All," which is introduced in the spangly "1 2 3 4 " top he got from Ms. F.  And Kevin Drew will be in for a shock some evening.

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE did six free songs for Daytrotter, some of which are to appear on the forthcoming Narrow Stairs LP.

JIMI HENDRIX may have a sex tape, but the identity of the man in the film is fiercely disputed by experts and former associates.

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

ROGER WATERS: The fmr Pink Floyd frontman's inflatable pig has gone missing: "He escaped and went floating off into the desert," according to Coachella Fest spokeswoman Marcee Rondan.  There's a 10K award out for the porker. UPDATE: The pig is dead.

THE SHINS perform an original song, "It's Okay, Try Again," for Nick Jr.'s show Yo Gabba Gabba! which will air May 23.

SMOOSH: Chloe spoke with Exclaim! about her worst tour memories and some changes in the band.

TINY MASTERS OF TODAY, another accomplished kid band, is profiled in the New York Daily News. Michael Palms, co-owner of the club Southpaw in Park Slope, gives bands like Tiny Masters a regular venue: "They write interesting songs about angst and rejecting pop culture, which is essentially what rock music is really all about."

STEVE EARLE talks to the Dallas Morning News, where he seems to view the international movement of labor as different from the the international movement of capital.

THE POSIES are getting a three-disc tribute from dozens of bands so obscure that even I haven't heard of them!

MILEY CYRUS:  Photogate, Day 3 features reax from dad Billy Ray Cyrus, Rosie O'Donnell, Heidi Montag & Spencer Pratt, Bill O' Reilly and Hilary Duff.

CSI PALM SPRINGS: Gary Dourdan was busted in Palm Springs on suspicion of possessing heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs.

MINDY McCREADY & ROGER CLEMENS had a longterm affair; the two met in a Florida karaoke bar when McCready was a 15-year-old aspiring singer and Clemens was a 28-year-old ace for the Red Sox and a married father of two. It wasn't until later, after McCready had moved to Nashville and become a country singing star, that the relationship turned intimate.

BRADGELINA and their brood are holed up in Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen's vlla on the French Riviera, scouting locations for Jolie's next delivery.

MY NAME IS DAD: Jason Lee and his girlfriend, Ceren Alkac, are expecting a baby.

BRITNEY SPEARS gives onlookers a shock as she wanders into a hotel gym in nothing but a towel.

MADONNA is finally shocked by a sexual practice.  And she only had to go to Africa.

SCIENTOLOGY has started its own YouTube channel, but you just know they aren't going to post the really wacky stuff we want to watch.

VANILLA ICE is off the hook on domestic abuse charges, marking the first time Ice has been off the hook in decades. Wife Laura Van Winkle retracted allegations that he had hit and kicked her during a spat at home.

PAM ANDERSON has become a US citizen, further exposing systemic weaknesses at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

IRON MAN: There's an exclusive clip posted at Yahoo! Movies, plus a version with commentary from director Jon Favreau.  The Detroit Free Press calls it the buzz-magnet kiciking of this summer's movie season.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS: A governor in northern Saudi Arabia has ordered authorities to punish men who flirt with women in public places by cutting their hair, local media said Tuesday.  Which I suppose is better than beheading, but still...

IRAN is demanding that Azerbaijan deliver a Russian shipment of nuclear equipment blocked at its border with Iran for the past three weeks. Meanwhile, Western scientists are intrigued by photos from Iran's nuclear site at Natanz.

IRAQ: The US ambassador to the UN on Monday slammed the alleged destabilizing role of Iran and Syria in Iraq and urged them to stop the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into the country. Heavy fighting broke out between Coalition and Mahdi Army forces in Sadr City as US troops killed 28 Mahdi Army fighters after being ambushed during a patrol. Seven more Mahdi Army fighters were killed during strikes Monday. In Basra, shops and cafes have reopened as the pious young men who for years had been shutting them down -- declaring music "haram" (forbidden) and threatening to kill women for not wearing headscarfs -- have vanished.  Finally, a look at the improbable work of the self-proclaimed "Cat Lady of Baghdad."

KNUT UPDATE: The once cuddly polar bear cub, now a grown psychopath addicted to human attention, may be gay. NTTAWWT.

A GIANT BEAVER crashed into a Russian food store, smashing a shop window and several bottles of vodka.

THE BIGGEST SQUID EVER CAUGHT, boasting a fearsome beak and razor-sharp hooks, may be small compared to others still lurking in the depths, scientists said Tuesday.

A LEGLESS LIZARD and a DWARF WOODPECKER are among 14 discovered species believed to be new to science in central Brazil, a wildlife conservation group said on Tuesday.

GATOR vs. GOLFER: A golfer used a four iron and a rake to save the life of a diver attacked by a giant 11ft alligator as he searched for lost balls in a lake at his local course in Tampa, Florida.

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Prince, New Releases, Justin Townes Earle, Weiner Dogs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


PRINCE rocked the indie kids at Coachella with a surprise cover of Radiohead's "Creep." Catchit before the Purple One's lawyers do, won't you?

NEW RELEASES: Les Savy Fav, Joy Division, Kid Creole, Sarah McLachlan, and more are streaming in full this week via Spinner. Portishead releases its Third. The Constantines visit Kensington Heights.  Robert Forster introduces The Evangelist. Bearsuit goes Oh:lo.

THE LEGENDARY CAPITOL RECORDS ECHO CHAMBERS are threatened by a condo development.

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE plays and talks on Morning Edition about his addiction and his musician-dad, Steve: "It's a really hard family to rebel in. I could have become an accountant. Or I could have become a Republican - that would have really pissed him off."

SHE & HIM: Zooey Deschanel tells the LA Times she's uninterested in keeping up with new bands, preferring instead the thrill of "discovering something old that might've been forgotten. I like the feel of being in a musty record store," she says with a laugh.

I WANT CANDY from The Strangeloves and a super-charged Bow Wow Wow for Twofer Tuesday. 

TIFT MERRITT gets riled up when the Irish Independent raises the tricky subject of genre and how she's perceived as an artist.

LAURA GIBSON stopped by Oregon Public Broadcasting for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand, broken up into handy segments.

NICK CAVE talks to The List about... the press: "I'm represented in all sorts of different ways. But it does become frustrating to read a lot of what's written about me. The same set of anecdotes strung together by yet another lazy writer who lacks any imagination. Not you of course (laughs). It's frustrating that no matter what your efforts are in terms of music the press lags behind."

THE BYRDS are set to release a recording of their 1971 appearance at London's Royal Albert Hall - featuring a line up of Roger McGuinn, Clarence White, Skip Battin and Gene Parsons. Roger McGuinn told Uncut that the recording came from his private collection and that more releases of a similar kind would probably follow it.

MILEY CYRUS: Everybody weighs in on Hannah Montana's semi-topless Vanity Fair photoshoot, from photographer Annie Leibovitz to Jamie Lee Curtis to the Christian Coalition.  Along with reax from Disney and The View, The Superficial looks at the behind-the-scenes pics and opines that she's probably not really embarrassed.

BRITNEY SPEARS: The Child Custody Evaluation report is in, and it's a "mixed bag" that "makes it more likely that Britney will show for the hearing" on May 6, according to TMZ.

AMY POEHLER & WILL ARNETT are to become first-time parents, in a fabulous promotion for Baby Mama.

CHERI OTERI, formerly of SNL, mourns the loss of her father, who was stabbed to death on Saturday in Nashville.


TOM-KAT UPDATE: Oprah Winfrey's upcoming interview with Cruise includes questions about Scientology, his verbal smackdown with Matt Lauer on the Today show and, yes, the infamous couch-jumping incident.  Winfrey leaked this and more during last weekend's Vegas taping of a joint interview with Tina Turner and Cher, who talks about her affair with Cruise at the start of his career.

ANGIE EVERHART was busted for DUI last Thursday, and no longer engaged to Joe Pesci.

SCOTT WEILAND, once again the frontman for Stone Temple Pilots, has been sentenced to 192 hours in county jail for his November DUI arrest.

KATHY GRIFFIN has split from billionaire Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, but it seems amicable.

THE HOBBIT movies are officially under the directorial hand of Guillermo del Toro. Though no screenplay deal's been set, it's expected that the "LOTR" scripting team of Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens will collaborate with Del Toro.  TheOneRing already has an interview with del Toro, who says -- among other things -- that Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis seem game for more.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR still looks quite healthy at 46.  BONUS:  Add her ex-pal Denise Richards for a Gratuitous Twofer Tuesday to mark the onset of bikini season.

CARRIE FISHER reveals that she got quite cozy with Harrison Ford while waging Star Wars.

LEE ELIA: It is the 25th anniversary of one of the most notorious sports rants evah.  Present and former Chicagoans may remember that Les Grobstein and a young Mark Giangreco were responsible for recording the Cubs manager's profanity-laden tirade.

MIDEAST MYSTERY: CIA Director Michael Hayden said Monday that the alleged Syrian nuclear reactor destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in September would have produced enough plutonium for one or two bombs within a year of becoming operational.

IRAN: A top Iranian judiciary official warned Monday against the "destructive" cultural and social consequences of importing Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter dolls.

IRAQ:  TIME asks, "Is AQI is back in Baghdad?"  ITM's Omar Fadhil asks, "Is AQI teaming with Moqtada al-Sadr?" US forces killed 45 Shiite militiamen in Baghdad in fierce fighting that included a tank battle with dozens of gunmen who attacked a checkpoint under cover of a dust storm. The CFR's Greg Bruno looks at the upside and potential downside of the "Sons of Iraq."  Meanwhile, the McClatchy chain reports that one of the most powerful men in Iraq is Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, who commands the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, an elite paramilitary and espionage organization whose mission is to expand Iran's influence in the Middle East.

WEINER DOG RACES in Austin. Let's go to the slideshow.

DOLPHIN DIES IN MIDAIR COLLISION at SeaWorld in Orlando, FL. Sharky was 30 years old.

BEE FAITHFUL: A religious beekeeper in Serbia has started making beehives shaped like tiny monasteries and churches "because bees have a soul too."

SPIDER PLAGUE closed a tiny Australian hospital.


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