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Pipettes, Kelly Stoltz, Why?, Protest Cows   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 08:15 AM
Posted by: Karl


ELVIS COSTELLO recently performed 1977's My Aim Is True album, with most of the same musicians, for a charity gig in SF.  He started -- of course -- with "Welcome to the Working Week."

THE REPLACEMENTS:  The Mpls. City Pages has a review of Jim Walsh's The Replacements: All Over but the Shouting.

THE PIPETTES stopped by the Bryant Park Project (with Monster Bobby in tow) for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via NPR.  There's also -- by request -- a casual acoustic video of "Pull Shapes" from the session.

THE WHITE STRIPES have collaborated with Beck on a trio of B-sides for 7" singles covering "Conquest" and an all-encompassing US-only digital download due December 18.

KELLY STOLTZ will have his next album out on SubPop in February.  You can stream the new single (which sounds a bit like mid-period Kinks) plus two older tracks at StoltzSpace.

MUSIC vs. FOOD:  Amber Taylor asks whether you think less highly of those with no appreciation for good food or those with no appreciation for good music.

THE KILLERS & LOU REED both appear in the video for "Tranquilized."

MATTHEW DEAR talked to Pitchfork about balancing his techno and indie careers.

WHY? is garnering blog buzz for The Hollows EP due next week, you can stream the title track (nsfw) and four older numbers at WhySpace.

A PALER SHADE OF WHITE, REDUX:  Writing in the Joplin Globe, Jeremiah Tucker agrees that Sasha Frere-Jones' recent argument about the whiteness of indie rock missed the mark, but argues that indie rock has an over-abundance of bad singing, deliberately poor musicianship and sensitive white males.

L.A. PUNK, REDUX:  Meanwhile, Sasha Frere-Jones has a new piece for the New Yorker about the rebirth of the genre in L.A., a local club called The Smell, and a duo called No Age.

KEVIN DREW:  The BSS maestro touring solo talked to Gothamist about his album, indie songs in commercials, desert island CDs and assassinating Pres. Bush.  That last bit could earn Drew a visit from the Secret Service and cost him the visa he needs to perform in the US.  The irony that his imagined police state probably will do none of that is probably lost on Drew.

BRADGELINA:  The birth family of their adopted daughter Zahara reportedly wants to bring the two-year-old home to Ethiopia.  OTOH, reports claiming Pitt and Jolie have purchased a man-made island in the shape of Ethiopia in Dubai as a tribute to their daughter are untrue.

THE FRENCH HOTEL:  Similarly, an AP report that the heirhead was set to help drunken elephants in India turns out to be untrue.  Instead, the woman changed by her jail term has been working the stripper pole at Marquee.

KANYE WEST:  Dr. Jan Adams -- under scrutiny following the death of West's mother -- physically assaulted his ex-wife, according to court documents obtained by TMZ.

OJ SIMPSON must stand trial on charges that could send him to prison for life, Las Vegas Township Justice of the Peace Joseph Bonaventure ordered Wednesday.

HUGH GRANT made 21 million dollars auctioning Andy Warhol's 1963 Pop portrait of Liz Taylor.

HALLE BERRY:  Reportedly devastated after learning bf Gabriel Aubry plans to remain in NYC following the birth of their first child next year.

JESSICA BIEL & JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE:  He got her the same birthday present he once gave ex-gf Cameron Diaz.  Both probably got this, too. (nsfw)

LANCE ARMSTRONG let one of his daughters take new gf Ashley Olsen to school for show and tell.

GYLLENSPOON took their love on the road to Napa Valley, California.

THE 50 GREATEST TV ICONS, according to cable's TV Land and the writers of Entertainment Weekly magazine.  A TV special based on the list airs Friday night.

DAVID LETTERMAN is paying his staff from his own pocket, even though the show isn't on the air during the writers' strike.

MATT. DAMON. is The Sexiest Man Alive, according to People magazine.  Extra features at the link for you ladies (and some dudes, nttawwt).

PAKISTAN:  The cricketing legend Imran Khan faces charges under Pakistani anti-terrorist laws after emerging from hiding to join a student protest at which he was arrested.  The Times of London notes that Khan was grabbed by the student wing of the Islamist Jamaat-i-Islami party, but failed to note that Khan is also an Islamist.  "Khan has more than a soft corner for the ousted Afghan Taliban," a senior leader of his party said on the condition of anonymity.  This past summer, members of Khan's party protested Salman Rushdie's knighthood by chanting, "Curse Rushdie, Long Live Osama (Bin Laden)" in northwestern Peshawar.  All of which may not justify his seizure, but I note it because events in Pakistan may be a little more complex than conveyed in the average news report.

IRAQ:  Authorities seized the headquarters of the country's most influential Sunni clerical group Wednesday, sealing off its west Baghdad compound and accusing the organization of supporting AQI.  BTW, Harith al-Dari, the leader of the Association of Muslim Scholars, was in Syria last month, plotting strategy with "insurgent" groups.  He already had a warrant out against him.  Sunni tribal leaders from Anbar province are demanding greater recognition and support from the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.  The NYT reports on Baghdad's Bab al Sheik neighborhood, where Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians live together with unusual ease.  Coalition forces killed the emir of Tarmiyah and captured 26 during raids throughout Iraq.  Karbala police arrested 48 suspected insurgents, including five Sadrists. The Iraqi Army killed five al Qaeda operatives in Khalis and captured another 30 throughout Diyala province.

A BABY SEAL waddled about a mile from the Pacific Ocean... to the front steps of the Tracy Animal Shelter.  Video at the link.

A KANGAROO was spotted bounding through the suburbs of east Hillsborough, Florida.

COWS stampeded a McDonald's restaurant in Utah after escaping from their trailer as the driver stopped for a bite to eat.  The punchlines write themselves.

A MAN and a TOAD were busted by police in Kansas City, MO.  The man was released on bond, but the toad remains detained.  Where is PETA when a toad needs bond money?

DOGS eat the darnedest things.

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Okkervil River, Georgie James, Radiohead, Rabid Otters   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


TED LEO and the PHARMACISTS premiered the video for "Colleen" over at the 'Gum.  It's catchy, with exciting arm wrestling footage as a bonus.

OKKERVIL RIVER does the interview and free songs thing for Daytrotter, including covers of "April Anne" by Papa John Phillips, "Do What You Gotta Do," by Jimmy Webb, and "No Easy Way Down," by Carole King via Dusty Springfield (one or two of you already know the Dusty track is a fave of mine).

ART BRUT frontman Eddie Argos is joining with Black Box Recorder under the name Black Arts for the UK's the Christmas number one spot.  The name of their song?  "Christmas Number One," natch.  But can it topple Billy Mack?

GEORGIE JAMES stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.

PRINCE is streaming a new song about his dispute with fansites on a new site of his own.

FIERY FURNACES:  Matthew Friedberger provided a playlist of American accents in music, along with an introduction on indie rock, to London's Guardian.

JOSH RITTER picked up tips from a Josh Ritter tribute band.

STARS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.  Singer Amy Milan talked with InsideBayArea about the Montreal scene, the birth of the band and the new album.  Speaking of which, the band has a new video for "The Night Starts Here."

SOPHISTIPOP:  The O.C. Register's Ben Wener pays tribute to various forms of sophisticated contemporary pop, from Prefab Sprout and The Smiths in the 80s to Stars, Beirut and Nellie McKay today.

RADIOHEAD is having a behind-the-scenes feud with former label EMI over a Google ad and other issues.  Breaking up is hard to do.

YOKO ONO sold John Lennon's rare home recording of "Real Love" to JCPenney for a commercial.  The Beatles have had their songs licensed for commercials in the past, but with the rare exception of perhaps "Revolution" years ago, they never have allowed master recordings out. The songs are always re-recorded.

BOB DYLAN:  London's Guardian interviews quasi-biopic director Todd Haynes about I'm Not There: "I wasn't that interested in, you know, the truth.."

AMY WINEHOUSE was visibly distraught after visiting her husband Blake Fielder-Civil at HM Pentonville Prison for the first time.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  A "spotter" for the paparazzi was reportedly run over by a paparazzo for X17 while chasing Britney Spears who had just come out of The Four Seasons Hotel.  That Other Blog claims the man is in critical condition, with broken legs, arms and back.  Coincidentally, the pop tart has partnered with X17 to raise money for UNICEF by auctioning an autographed CD on eBay.  Spears reportedly had liposuction on her bottom and hips last weekend in Vegas.  TMZ claims that she will now say her false positive drug test may have been caused by her athsma inhaler, though Albuterol is not an amphetamine, and the class of drug that showed up on the test was an amphetamine.  Allegedly.

KANYE WEST:  The investigation into his mother's death seems to be focusing on her doctor.  Plastic surgeon Dr. Jan Adams told TMZ that he was the doctor who performed cosmetic surgery on Donda West before she died, and that he did nothing wrong.  Sources told TMZ the operation lasted twice as long as it should have, and that Dr. Adams then sent Ms. West home, rather than to a recovery center. CelebTV.com obtained a document from the Executive Director of the California Medical Board asking the state to consider revoking or suspending Adams' physician and surgeon's certificate in April of this year.  CelebTV.com also obtained court documents in which a former patient accused the doctor of sexual assault, civil battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  This has brought out past and current medical malpractice suits brought against Adams, not to mention his ex-girlfriend, who got a restraining order against him.

LINDSAY LOHAN back with Samantha Ronson?  Guess she's off the "bad influence" list.  The actress also started community service with the American Red Cross, which was part of the plea deal for her two DUI convictions last August.

BOY GEORGE has been charged with false imprisonment after allegedly chaining a male escort to a wall in his home.  You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out where this story is going.

THE McCARTNEYS:  After a series of outspoken interviews which seemed to do her cause no good, Heather Mills has apparently persuaded producers to let her compete in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.  She hopes her appearance on the "USA versus Great Britain special", in which celebrities from previous series of the two programs go head-to-head, will ensure "damage limitation" after her recent onslaught on Sir Paul.  Mills is reportedly also the target of an upcoming biography which may be less than flattering.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Author Chris Morton has reportedly been forced into hiding because of aggressive threats made to him by Cruise's associates in the Church of Scientology over Morton's upcoming scathing biography of Cruise.

OJ SIMPSON co-defendant Walter Alexander testified against The Juice, telling the court that O.J. wanted him to "pack heat" for the memorabilia confrontation that would later land them both in hot water.  And if you read the whole story, give TMZ bonus points for the NWA reference that's nsfw.

HUGH GRANT & LIZ HURLEY:  Together again?  At least her new husband was around last time.

SIENNA MILLER is said to be considering marrying Rhys Ifans after his tenth proposal.  Sources tell the Daily Mail she promised to give him an answer by Christmas.

STAR TREK REBOOT:  Pics of Zachary Quinto as young Spock have found their way online.

OWEN WILSON is reportedly dating leggy model Le Call.  His dalliance with Jessica Simpson may have been an effort by Simpson to drum up good favor in the court of public opinion in advance of her first country album.

JASON SCHWARTZMAN was supposed to be promoting The Darjeeling Limited at Aint-It-Cool-News, but he and Wes Anderson already sorta did that, so he ended up geeking out over other movies with interviewer "Quint" instead, complete with embedded audio.  I enjoyed it, but I am not right in the head.

PAKISTAN:  Benazir Bhutto ruled out discussions with Pres. Musharraf as she was placed under a seven day house arrest. North-West Frontier Province Gov. Orakzai said the military did not exchange Taliban leaders for captured soldiers.  He also said the situation in the tribal areas was conducive for holding elections.  A military corps commander said that upwards of 800 Taliban are active in Swat in the NWFP.  The Pakistani Army took over command in Swat on Monday.  The current political and military turmoil may be straining the military there.

IRAN has met a key demand of the UN nuclear agency by delivering blueprints that show how to mold uranium metal into the shape of warheads, in an apparent concession meant to stave off the threat of new sanctions. Iran maintains it was given the papers without asking for them during its black market purchases of the nuclear equipment that now serve as the backbone of its program to enrich uranium... which explains why Iran refused to turn them over since 2005?  Diplomats said Tehran has failed to meet other requests made by the IAEA in its attempts to end nearly two decades of nuclear secrecy on the part of the Islamic Republic.  Meanwhile, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference that homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both.  BTW, the Pet Shop Boys have a cameo in that story.

IRAQ:  Bill Roggio rounds up news on Operation Iron Hammer, which is meant counter AQI's repositioning in the northern provinces of Ninewa, Tamin, Salahadin, and Diyala.  In addition, US forces killed a wanted al-Qaeda terrorist network cell leader and his family in Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, while a key al-Qaeda figure was killed in a US strike on  Samarra in Salahaddin province.  At least 59 terror suspects, including a key al-Qaeda operative, were arrested on Sunday in the town of Bihriz during joint US-Iraqi security offensive, as mop-up operations begin in Baquba, 60 km north-east of Baghdad.  The numbers of senior AQI operatives killed or captured have steadily increased since mid-June -- 19 in July, 25 in August, and 29 in September. 

IRAQ II:  US and Iraqi troops killed an estimated 15 al Qaeda gunmen during a fierce battle south of Baghdad after the militants launched a major attack on recently formed neighborhood patrols.  Meanwhile, the Iraqi government announced preparations for a major military operation in Baghdad, even as it hopes it will soon be able to declare an end to a US-Iraqi security operation in the capital.  Ronald Kessler's new book claims that Saddam Hussein anticipated that UN sanctions would be lifted and he could resume making a nuclear weapon; he also claimed his WMD deceptions were intended as a ruse to convince Iran that he was a threat to them.

WHEN OTTERS ATTACK:  At least one woman and two dogs have been attacked by seemingly rabid otters on South Merritt Island in Florida.  If there is a hero in the rabid otter tale, it has to be Taz, the 10-year-old Westie who fought off one frothing otter to keep it away from the Linnett family.  Video at the link.

A 9-FT ALLIGATOR hands down vigilante justice to a fleeing robbery suspect at the Miccosukee Resort and Gaming facility in Florida: "Some alligators just have a nasty disposition and he was just a nasty gator," owner of All American Gator Brian Woods said.  Let's go to the video!

HUNDREDS OF CROCODILES washed away from a farm after floods in central Vietnam are being hunted by soldiers and villagers.  At least seven of the animals have been shot or recaptured, media reports said, but no-one yet knows how many escaped.

THE LAST GREAT WHITE WHALE could be slaughtered as Japan's whaling fleet prepares to embark on its annual hunt in the Southern Ocean.  The whale has been named Migaloo, when it could have been named Ishmael.

KNUT UPDATE:  The director of the Berlin Zoo has banned zookeeper Thomas Dörflein from having contact with the celebrity polar bear -- it's just too dangerous to play with the once-cuddly Knut these days.

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New Releases, Weakerthans, Soulsavers, Cobraman   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE FOO FIGHTERS pay tribute to 70s soap operas in "Long Road to Ruin," with a cameo from The Office's Rashida Jones.

NEW RELEASES:  Somehow, Disc 1 of the Led Zeppelin comp joins Os Mutantes, Dust Galaxy and more on Spinner.  Good times.  Bad times.  The Robyn Hitchcock box set officially hits stores.  The Hives release The Black and White Album.  And Japancakes issues a tribute to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless

MY BLOODY VALENTINE:  Speaking of which, here's the video of Kevin Shields revealing the MBV reunion, as noted here last week.  (Thx, Chromewaves.)

THE PIPETTES:  Gwenno tells the Boston Globe that the band allows both its male and female members to reveal elements of their hidden selves.

THE HOLD STEADY and ART BRUT:  Craig Finn and Eddie Argos were interviewed by Pitchfork on Halloween, which was the night Ken King and I saw them play Metro.  Both have praise for Mountain Goats, whom Ken and I saw play the Empty Bottle last year (in Jnauary, I linked to video of the MG's show in Ames).  Finn notes: "All my favorite rock bands are funny in some way. Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, the Replacements, those are all funny bands. But they're also honest..."

THE WEAKERTHANS come up in that P-Fork interview; frontman John K. Samson talked to AOL Music Canada about the Canadian identity.  (Thx, Chromewaves)  A recent gig from the Reunion Tour tour is posted at the Bootlog, which you can jukebox via the ol' HM.

SOULSAVERS are mostly known as a British production team, but their latest album features fmr Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan, who is increasingly working a Lee Greenwood-esque mojo.  The videos for "Revival" and "Kingdom of Rain" are your Twofer Tuesday, but at the moment you can stream more via the ol' HM, including a cover of the Rolling Stones classic "No Expectations."

LOU REED talked to PopMatters about Metal Machine Music and the new avant-garde classical ensemble interpretation of the album.  With embedded video, if you dare.

FUTUREHEADS are previewing some new material ahead of their next album, which you can download, stream or watch via Drowned In Sound.

MINUS THE BEAR corresponded with the Seattle Times, with drummer Erin Tate revealing a love for LOLCats.  The band recently got an audio feature on WXPN you can stream via NPR.  You can also stream a few from MTBSpace.

SUFJAN STEVENS has started a Christmas song contest, along with a website where you can stream Sufjan's 2006 Songs for Christmas box set.

THE PLASTIC PEOPLE of the UNIVERSE, who catalyzed democracy in Czechoslovakia, were profiled by Jon Pareles in the NYT.  At the moment, you can stream their "Podivuhodn Mandarin" via the ol HM.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  That rumored failed drug test is now supposedly for prescription drugs... or not.  The paparazzi at Splash News has a pic of Spears passing a car on the wrong side of the road while talking on the cellphone right next to the court-appointed parenting monitor.  The pop tart and her mama both have new managers.  Someone has put the raw rehearsal video in a split-screen with Spears' VMAs trainwreck, so everyone can see how bad the latter was.

THE McCARTNEYS:  The uber-reliable News of the World reveals the sensational contents of Heather Mills' secret :box of evidence" in her divorce battle with Sir Paul McCartney -- including a claim he branded her "a one-legged *****."

KATE HUDSON & HEATH LEDGER were... wait for it... caught canoodling Thursday night at the Beatrice Inn.  Ms. H seems to be playing the field a bit.

KANYE WEST's mother died at the age of 58 after cosmetic surgery developed complications.  Life imitates Clueless: "Wasn't my mom a total Betty? She died when I was young. A freak accident during a routine liposuction."

THE FRENCH HOTEL recognizes that without the paparazzi, she ceases to exist.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie suffered not one, but two, wardrobe malfunctions at the Beowulf premiere, stepping in chewing gum in stilleto heels and splitting her leather pants.  Pitt lent a hand covering up the latter on the red carpet.

EVAN RACHEL WOOD has no problem kissing women.  Which partially explains her attraction to Marilyn Manson.  And vice versa.

OJ SIMPSON has a bad memory.  Good thing his "sting" opeartion was put on tape to refresh his recollection.

HUGH JACKMAN at the beach.  One for the ladies (and some dudes, nttawwt) to balance out all those Jessica Alba links.

ULTIMATE HOTTIES, according to EW.com's readers.  Both female and male, by decade.  I'm all about the equal time today.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  The theatrical trailer for "Valkyrie," Cruise's Hitler assassination movie, is now online.

PAKISTAN:  Authorities placed opposition leader Benazir Bhutto under house arrest for the second time in four days to prevent her staging a grand procession on Tuesday to protest emergency rule, police said.  Under a media blackout, young Pakistani bloggers are spreading the news on the web.  Commonwealth foreign ministers have given Pakistan ten days to lift its emergency rule or face suspension.  The Bush Admin. is dispatching a high-level envoy to tell the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, face to face that the US will not be satisfied with his plan to hold elections unless he first lifts emergency law.

IRAN:  Newspapers have printed a list of moral vices that the police are targeting, including wearing make-up and hats instead of headscarves.  The police say they will also suppress "decadent" films, drugs and alcohol.  Last week, Ayatollah Khamenei urged the police to keep up their crackdown on social vices, clearly lending his weight to a campaign that has proved controversial.

IRAQ:  Gen. Petraeus has met with representatives of Muqtada al-Sadr to discuss cooperation on improving security.  The US says the number of rocket and mortar attacks are at their lowest levels in 21 months.  Prime Minister al-Maliki announced an amnesty for detainees who had been "deceived" into joining the insurgency; the amnesty would not apply to those found guilty of killings or planting bombs.  An Iraqi academic and a tribal chief were among those killed in Baqubah Monday.  "Surge" troops are starting to leave Diyala province, though extremists used a 10-year-old child for a suicide bomb attack on sheiks there on Friday, and five Iranians were arrested there Monday.

A KANGAROO on the run in Melbourne, Australia, kept police, wildlife rescuers, and one very unfortunate toddler on the hop.  Video at the link.

A BLACK BEAR stole a minivan in Vernon, New Jersey.  Video at the link.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:  A frog with six legs.  Or four arms and two legs.

BABY BONOBOS born in San Diego.  Try saying that ten times fast.  Awww...some pic at the link.

COBRAMAN still hospitalized nearly two weeks after his 44th venomous snake bite.

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Polyphonic Spree, Replacements, Radiohead, Garfield Goose   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 12, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE POLYPHONIC SPREE used to say "live and let live," but now they say "Live and Let Die."  The first version has the balloon drop, but the second lets you see more of the instruments and dancing, plus the backstory.  The third version has a grittier club vibe, courtesy of Emo's.

THE REPLACEMENTS:  Jim Walsh's book on the band, "All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History," gets a write-up from the Mpls. Star-Tribune, with an excerpt about the classic Let It Be album.  And there are more excerpts at the publisher's website.

RYAN ADAMS performed old and new songs for Morning Becomes Eclectic on Friday.  You can listen or watch at KCRW.

LED ZEPPELIN are about to break the record for the most expensive concert tickets in British history.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED features songs from The Go! Team and tunes picked by its founder, Ian Parton.

LINDA STEIN:  The personal assistant to former Ramones manager Linda Stein has been arrested in connection with her death.  Natavia Lowery reportedly made implicating statements to the police.

PRINCE has released a statement denying claims that he is suing a number of fansites.

RADIOHEAD did a webcast from their site Friday, including covers of Bjork's "Unravel," the Smiths' "Headmaster Ritual" and New Order's "Ceremony."  Meanwhile, some are questioning comScore's estimates of paid downloads for the band's In Rainbows album.

SILVER JEWS:  I just ran across a two-parter from the Village Voice about Michael Tully's film Silver Jew, which covered the band's trip to Israel.

CHUCK PROPHET, who made a name for himself as the young guitarist in L.A.'s Green on Red, tells Harp magazine ten things you don't know about him.  One thing we do know is that he played the World Cafe Friday, so you can stream the gig on demand via NPR.

AN AQUARIUM DRUNKARD, a/k/a Justin Gage, talks about his music blog -- and others -- at Yahoo! Picks.

WILCO will not have to pay the Marina Towers Condominium Association for the cover of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

AMY WINEHOUSE's husband Blake Fielder-Civil was sensationally arrested in front of her last night over a claimed £200,000 plot to fix a trial.  Video at the link.  Plus, she's again getting support from Pete Doherty.

BRITNEY SPEARS blew a red light at a notoriously dangerous intersection Thursday night, with her kids in the back and a court-appointed monitor crouched down in the front.  Video at the link.  She also reportedly flunked one of her drug tests, though the pop tart's camp claims it's a false positive.  The ever-reliable Star magazine claims that Mama Lynne's upcoming book may disclose that Britney's break-up with Justin Timberlake was orchestrated by agents and publicists, without regard to the pop tart's feelings. 

NORMAN MAILER, author and provocateur, died of acute renal failure on Saturday.  He was 84.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise's Lions for Lambs co-stars, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, reportedly "can't stand" him.  Cruise tells an interviewer that he has "no iPhone, no mobile, no email address, no watch, no jewellery, no wallet."

NICOLE KIDMAN tells  USA Today that she lost her self-identity during her nearly 10-year marriage to Tom Cruise because of the couple's constant traveling.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Jerry Seinfeld's Bee Movie buzzed past American Gangster to the top of the weekend box office; the duo took in 26 million and 24.3 million, respectively.  The holiday weekend no doubt helped the family demographic, though Fred Claus failed to crack the 20 million mark and settled for third place.  The star-studded Lions for Lambs flopped into fourth place with a mere 6.7 million.  Dan in Real Life dropped a mere 25 percent to round out the Top Five with 5.8 million.  Saw IV plunged another 52 percent with 5 mil.  The Game Plan took the seventh slot with 2.4 mil.  P2 debuted in eighth place with 2.2 mil.  30 Days of Night slid another 44 percent with 2.1 mil.  Rounding out the Top Ten was Martian Child, which dropped 48 percent in its second weekend.  The new Coen Bros. film, No Country for Old Men, opened in 15th place, but with a near 43K-per-screen average for its 28 screens.

ETHAN & JOEL COEN talk to PopMatters about their latest film, No Country for Old Men, their working methods and the importance of movie stars' haircuts.  "Q: What's the benefit of working together as brothers?  JC: I haven't detected any benefit yet.  EC: We didn't do it on purpose."

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is scoring 95 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, and deservedly so.  I was tempted to call it a return to form for the Coens after their weak remake of The Ladykillers, but this film -- an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's book -- is quite different in tone from the Coens' prior movies.  While not without its moments of humor, it is much less quirky and much more dark than a movie like Fargo.  Yet in its own way -- particularly in its conclusion -- No Country for Old Men is the Coen Bros' least conventional film; I could see a casual moviegoer leaving unsatisfied.  Although Tommy Lee Jones probably did not have to stretch his chops much as the Sheriff of the piece, Javier Bardem is terrifically creepy and menacing by underplaying an extreme character, and Josh Brolin turns in a really good performance entirely different in tone from his equally good turn earlier this year in Grindhouse.  The technical aspects of the film -- cinematography, editing, etc. -- are as top-notch as any Coen movie.

BRADGELINA reportedly are set to buy Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch?  I doubt it, but it's just too funny not to pass on.  Jolie joined British people marking Remembrance Day by wearing a traditional poppy pinned to her coat in memory of thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

KATE HUDSON & ORLANDO BLOOM were... wait for it... caught canoodling at her Halloween party, according to OK! magazine.

ELLEN DeGENERES crossed the Writers' Guild picket lines to tape her show last week.  Though she praised her writers on-air, an anonymous blogger claiming to have worked for her on the 2001-02 season of her show tells a quite different story.  A TV insider said DeGeneres is unwilling to honor the picket line because "this is her last chance in show business."

KATE MOSS may break up with guitarist Jamie Hince because he is too nice.  Combine that with her overlong entanglement with Pete Doherty and some psychologist could be set for life.

WINONA RYDER has been cast to play the human mother of young Spock in JJ Abrams' Star Trek reboot.

VETERANS' DAY was yesterday, but is observed by the gov't today.  "Mustang" at Social Sense reviews the holiday's history and thanks vets for the present.  Army Maj. Elizabeth L. Robbins reports that the current war has inspired a remarkable level of civic involvement that goes largely unnoticed -- except by those in the field or recovering stateside.

BAND of BLOGGERS:  The History Channel has been running a documentary on milbloggers this weekend; it's airing today at noon and 6:00 p.m. ET.

HUGO CHAVEZ was told to shut up by the King of Spain when Chavez tried to interrupt a speech by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.  Spanish-speakers can enjoy the video.

IRAQ;  Operation Iron Hammer netted more than 200 suspected militants in a week, the US military said on Sunday.  Prime Minister al-Maliki claims sectarian violence "is closed now," which is an overstatement.  Former Sunni insurgents asked the US to stay away, and then ambushed members of AQI, killing 18 in a battle that raged for hours north of Baghdad, while the 1920s Revolution Brigades launched a military-style operation against AQI in Diyala.  The US effort to organize nearly 70000 local fighters is facing severe political and logistical challenges, primarily resistance from the Shia-led national gov't.   The head of police intelligence in Karbala province has been detained after roadside bombs and other weapons were found in a raid on his house.  Iraqi police -- and scores of angry residents --  say al-Sadr's Mahdi Army has been involved in killing of hundreds of people in the mainly Shia Muslim province of Karbala.  US military officials are pushing interrogators who question Iraqi insurgents to find incriminating evidence pointing to Iran.  Note that the quoted interrogator has a bit of a political agenda, though; it would make sense that Iran would be the focus near the Iranian border, where this guy works.

BRUCE NEWTON, who -- along with wife Claire -- designed children's television original Garfield Goose, star of WGN Television's Garfield Goose and Friends show, which aired from 1952 to 1976, died at 80 of complications related to diabetes.  The couple also worked together on other pioneering children's television shows, such as "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" and "Mr. Wizard."  The couple's beloved Garfield Goose puppet will be donated to the Aurora Historical Society sometime after the funeral.  You can read more about Garfield Goose at TVParty.  Newton was a WWII vet who assisted in the clean-up of Hiroshima two days after the bomb dropped.  (Thanks, Debbie.)

SOME FEMALE TOADS are rather open-minded when it comes to choosing a mate, a study reveals.

A WILD DEER jumped from the top of a 20 foot wall into the tank of two young polar bears at the Pittsburgh Zoo last Friday morning.  If you guessed how this story ends, you would probably not be exactly right.

A SIX-POINT BUCK fights a hunter to the death.

A HOUSE-TRAINED BEAR is looking for a new home.  Awww...some pics at the link.

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When the Gales of November came slashin' (plus more)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 09, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with the WRECK of the EDMUND FITZGERALD. The legend lives o­n from the Chippewa o­n down of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee. Saturday is the 32nd anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -- 729 feet-long, 75 feet in breadth, 39 feet in depth, weighing 13,632 gross tons -- an ore bulk carrier with a capacity of 25,000 tons. When it was launched o­n June 7 1958, at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan, Fitzgerald was the largest ship o­n the Great Lakes. Here's misty, water-colored video of the launch.

The "Queen of the Great Lakes" sank in the eastern end of Lake Superior during a fierce storm -- including snow squalls -- that pounded the ship with 30-foot waves. The crew of 29 men perished; without witnesses, a definitive reason has never been determined. A Coast Guard report suggested that faulty hatches failed to keep water out of the ship's cargo holds, though others believe the ship struck an uncharted shoal and took o­n water. A documentary created and aired by the Discovery Channel concluded the loss of the due to freak waves that overwhelmed the faulty hatches.

After the wreck, the Rev. Richard Ingalls went to Mariners' Church in Detroit and rang its bell 29 times, o­nce for each life lost. The church continues to hold an annual memorial, which includes reading the names of the crewmen and ringing the church bell. Here's video of Rev. Ingalls recounting that night.

At the request of family members surviving her crew, Fitzgerald's 200 lb. bronze bell was recovered by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society in 1995, as a joint project with the National Geographic Society, Canadian Navy, Sony Corporation, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The bell is now o­n display in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Here's a brief video from o­ne of the underwater explorations of the wreck. The Mpls. Star-Tribune still has a nifty interactive exhibit o­n its website, too. Throw in the 3-D animation, and you'll feel just like Bill Paxton.

The song by Gordon Lightfoot spent 21 straight weeks o­n the pop charts, peaking at No. 2. And there's a homemade video for it o­n YouTube, which I highly recommend. Beats the tar of Celine Dion! (PS:  Ken King -- who has lived o­n the U.P. of  Michigan, says the gales of November are quite something.)

ARCTIC MONKEYS have a video for their new single, "Teddy Picker."

CAT POWER sent out "Song to Bobby" -- one of the two original songs from Chan Marshall's next "covers" album -- to a bunch of music blogs.

THE GREATEST MUSIC NEVER SOLD:  At LHB, author Dan LeRoy writes about the songs he listened to while writing his behind-the-scenes look at famous unreleased albums and why they got shelved.

JOE HENRY did an interview and mini-set with WFUV you can stream on demand via NPR.

HOW TO CALCULATE MUSICAL SELL-OUTS:  Bill Wyman, the former arts editor of NPR, enlisted the aid of Jim Anderson, a senior lecturer in mathematics at England's University of Southampton, to develop the Moby Quotient, which measures the ethical and aesthetic implications of any one instance of the pervasive blurring of the lines between rock and advertising.  Note that the WaPo helpfully provides an interactive MQ calculator.

ARCADE FIRE:  Here's an advance clip of "Keep the Car Running" from their upcoming appearance this weekend on Austin City Limits.

THE RAVEONETTES apparently turn the noise back up on their new album, Lust, Lust, Lust, which will be released on Vice Records stateside in early 2008.  Until then, you can stream a few at TheirSpace.

BOB DYLAN:  The tribute concert for the upcoming biopic I'm Not There may have been uneven, but there are streams and photo links for the highlights at Hidden Track.

OKKERVIL RIVER:  Will Scheff talked to Drowned In Sound, though it seems like the interviewer was not on Scheff's wavelength.  Scheff likely thought it an example of not picking up on the playfulness and the joy in the band's records, especially The Stage Names.  That second link comes with a bonus sidebar.

ROBYN HITCHCOCK talked to the Waterloo Record about his reasons for putting out the box set, I Wanna Go Backwards.

THE FILTH and the FURY:  A reference guide to Punk history, books, photos, Cds and DVDs, courtesy of the Library Journal.

THE TEENAGERS' new video for "Starlett Johansson" takes that opening scene from Lost In Translation and mashes it up like the credit sequence for Goldfinger.  BONUS:  The Simthereens did the Bond thing in 1988 for "Only A Memory."

SEA WOLF may be based in L.A. but frontman Alex Church tells the Boston Globe the band reflects his more rural roots

CASS McCOMBS:  The indie crooner gets an audio feature from David Dye at the World Cafe

FIERY FURNACES:  Matthew Friedberger talked to Ireland's Event Guide about the power of sentimentality: "People use the word sentimental as a kind of insult these days, especially if you are in a rock band - but pop and rock can be mawkish and sentimental, and I am fascinated by it. That is essentially the stock in trade of pop songs, and can be a healthier useful end to sentimentality..." (Thx LHB, iirc.)

THE TOP TEN MUSICAL GENIUSES, according to Canwest's Mike Devlin.  Such lists are necessarily debatable, but this one's not bad.

AMY WINEHOUSE:  Police battered their way into the singer's home Wednesday and spent three hours searching through her belongings.

CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are: Spinal Tap - How Much More Black Could This Be?; Al Hirt - Green Hornet Theme; The Raspberries - Go All The Way; The Partridge Family - I Think I Love You; Badfinger - No Matter What; Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting; Looking Glass - Brandy (You're A Fine Girl); The Bird And The Bee - How Deep Is Your Love? (Bee Gees); Grizzly Bear - Owner Of A Lonely Heart (Yes);  Sondre Lerche - Let My Love Open The Door (P. Townshend); Tony Basil - Hey, Mickey; The Nerves - Hanging On The Telephone; Blondie - One Way or Another; The Rolling Stones - Slave; The Feelies - Paint It Black (Stones; Live); MC5 - Ramblin' Rose (Live); Robyn Hitchcock - I Got the Hots (Live); Richard Thompson - Oops!...I Did It Again (B. Spears); Mary Hopkins - Those Were The Days; Lucky Soul - The Great Unwanted; The Vandelles - Swell To Heaven; The Cynics - What She Said; R&J - Sunshine of Your Love (Cream); Brenton Wood - Baby, You Got It; The Five Stairsteps - Ooh Child; Sly & The Family Stone - Dance To The Music; Shirley Bassey - Goldfinger; The Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes For You; and Van Morrison - Sweet Thing.

BRITNEY SPEARS did not respond in a timely manner to eight of 14 random drug test requests, according to Fed-Ex's attorney.  Alleging the singer lives in a "parallel universe," lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan reminded the court that the singer had been reprimanded three times by Commissioner Scott Gordon for failing to be reachable by phone. A missed test is considered a failed test.  When Commissioner Gordon stated that responding to a morning call wasn't an extreme request, Spears's lawyer, Anne Kiley shot back: "But you're not a pop star with a No. 1 album to promote."  Of course, neither is Spears; The Eagles have the No. 1 album, and her label has given up on having Spears promote the record.  BONUS:  The pop tart has learned the new issue of Maxim labeled her one the five most "unsexy" women on the planet.  She did not take it well.

CONAN O'BRIEN:  A Catholic priest from Boston has been arrested and charged with stalking and harassing the NBC late-night television host.  Father David Ajemian is undergoing psychiatric evaluation.  O'Brien is probably really mad that his writers are on strike.  The criminal complaint is posted at The Smoking Gun.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases are: the Vince Vaughn family comedy Fred Claus, currently scoring 28 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the Tom Cruise-Robert Redford antiwar polemic Lions for Lambs, which is scoring 27 percent; and P2, a horror thriller scoring 41 percent.

JENNIFER LOPEZ finally confirmed she is pregnant on the closing night of her concert series at Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena.  Video at the link.

ROSIE O'DONNELL says Bill Clinton had her bawling like a baby during an emotional chat in which the ex-president apologized for cheapening the Oval Office with his Monica Lewinsky sexcapades.

MICKEY ROARKE was arrested on DUI charges in Miami Beach... on his Vespa.  Looking at his mugshot, we learn that Roarke didn't need as much makeup to play Marv in Sin City as we thought.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills -- perhaps realizing the backlash from her televised rants about Sir Paul -- insists she approves of his blossoming romance with Nancy Shevell.  But her lawyers have already dumped Mills, who went aginst their advice to keep quiet on issues surrounding her marriage and her three-year-old daughter, Beatrice.

FORGET IT, JAKE:  Jack Nicholson did a rare interview with MTV to promote the newly-released collectors' editions of Chinatown and its sequel, The Two Jakes: "Well, I appreciate you wanting to interview me because I, of course, admire my own work. (Laughs.)"  Also, Jack is furious that he was not asked to play The Joker in The Dark Knight.

HELP!  The L.A. Times looks at the newly restored two-DVD edition of The Beatles' Second Movie.

JACKO is looking more ivory than ever on the cover of Ebony.  Yeah, I know that's a Stevie Wonder reference, so sue me.  The gloved one is celebrating the upcoming 25th anniversary of Thriller by releasing a special edition of the album.  Evidence mounts that the Neverland ranch is about to go back to the bank.

STEVE BURNS:  To this day, one of the biggest searches bringing new folks to this site is people trying to find out whether the former "Blues Clues" star is dead -- which was the subject of one of Pate drummer Ron Hahm's first posts here.  Burns is alive -- and an indie rocker -- but the rumors of his death may be getting to him: "I'm starting to think that maybe there's something that people know that I don't know... "

HILARY DUFF -- who shot to fame in the kids' TV show Lizzie Maguire -- was reportedly drinking Veuve Clicquot straight out of the bottle and giving her ice hockey star boyfriend lapdances last weekend at NYC hot spot Tenjune.  It seems as though she's been trying to project a more adult image lately.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY tells Elle magazine that she's a "moody bastard," and backs it up in the rest of the interview.  It's bad PR, but at least she's being honest about it.  It's almost funny when she says of cellphones: "I hate them. It rings, and then I realize that I don't want to talk to anyone. So I always press ignore."  Now everyone calling her knows the score.

TERROR at the MALL?  The FBI is warning that al Qaeda may be preparing a series of holiday attacks on US shopping malls in L.A. and Chicago, according to a bulletin distributed to law enforcement authorities nationwide.  The bulletin acknowledges that US intell officers are uncertain as to whether the information is real, and are concerned that it could be "disinformation."  With the shopping season approaching, however, the FBI decided it was necessary to share the information.

VENEZUELA:  Gunmen opened fire on students returning from a march Wednesday in which 80,000 people denounced President Hugo Chavez's attempts to abolish presidential term limits, give him control over the Central Bank and let him create new provinces governed by handpicked officials.  Hooded Chavez supporters shot at least two anti-Chavez students.  University leaders accused the government of provoking violence to justify military occupations of campuses where students are leading anti-Chavez protests.  The violence broke out after demonstrators marched peacefully to the Supreme Court, which unlikely to act on the students' demands, given that pro-Chavez lawmakers appointed all 32 of its justices.  No word on what Sean Penn thinks about this.

PAKISTAN is fast losing chunks of its territory to pro-Taliban rebels.  Pres. Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule has so alienated Pakistan's moderate middle class that many analysts fear he has created a power vacuum that will allow militant Islamists to flourish.  Suicide bombers have infiltrated the northern Pakistani city of Rawalpindi where former premier Benazir Bhutto plans a protest this week against a state of emergency, police said on Thursday.  And just in case no one is buying that, there is a report that Bhutto has been placed under house arrest.

IRAQ:  Pres. al-Talabani assured US officials Thursday that his country would solve all disputed issues by the end of 2007.  Prime Minister al-Maliki said he was finalizing a cabinet reshuffle and would announce the names of new ministers soon.  US and Iraqi authorities freed 500 prisoners from a detention system strained by the thousands of suspects taken in campaigns to secure Baghdad and surrounding areas.  Prime Minister al-Maliki told the freed prisoners they serve as examples of reconciliation between the majority Shiites and Sunnis.  Two brothers who were members of the Karmah Awakening Council were killed by gunmen.  Police on Thursday accused Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army of carrying out a four-year killing spree in Iraq's central shrine city of Karbala which left hundreds dead.  Fmr. embedded blogger Bill Ardolino looks at the many factors contributing to the significant drop in violence in Iraq, while commanders consider how to reduce the US presence without losing hard-fought security gains.  ITM's Mohammed Fadhil argues that southern Iraq won't "awaken" like Anbar provnce.

WHO SAYS you can't teach an old cat dog tricks?

JITTERY COWS save the tiny hamlet of San Juan Grijalva in Mexico's southernmost state, Chiapas.

TWO MEERKAT PUPS made their first public appearance at San Jose's Happy Hollow Park & Zoo.  Awww...some pics.

A DOGGY URINAL is being touted as the answer to prematurely corroded lampposts in Sweden.

THE RAINFOREST BAT is humankind's closet genetic relative.  Which sorta spoils Plant of the Apes for me.

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