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Scott Morgan, Festivals, Christopher Walken, Feynman and Pet Hoarding   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SCOTT MORGAN, from Detroit Rock City, started playing garage-punk at age 16 and has played with played with an array of Motor City musicians, including Bob Seger, Iggy Pop, Stooges drummer Scott "Rock Action" Asheton and MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith. He's also formed a supergroup with Swedes like members of the Hellacopters called The Solution, which has a 60s soul sound nearly as dead-on as Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. You can download a selection of his stuff; I particularly recommend The Solution's "I Have To Quit You." Teaching the Indie Kids to Dance Again has a download of The Solution's "Get o­n Back," which is even better, though I won't tell you to kill music by downloading it.

MORE FROM THE INTONATION FESTIVAL: Chicagoist blogged it mercilessly. After an overall assessment, there's a post o­n the Wrens' set, with a picture of the audience participation moment. Another post touches o­n some of the bands I didn't see (but heard). Another post links you to Chicagoist's Flickr galleries for photobloggy goodness.

THE SIREN FESTIVAL, a Coney Island-based fest sponsored by the Village Voice, is photoblogged at Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan. Stereogum also has some (shhh!) downloads of Brendan Benson and Dungen, among others.

THREE INDIE ROCKERS killed when a mentally disturbed 23 old woman drove her car into an automobile carrying Silkworm drummer Michael Dalhquist, along with friends John Glick, guitarist and singer for the band The Returnables, and Douglas Meis, guitarist for The Dials. Chicagoist has links to more info.

THE HOLD STEADY are scheduled to be o­n Late Night with Conan O'Brien tonight. Watch or record; you'll be glad you did.

COURTNEY LOVE has allegedly been clean and sober for a year and credits the judiciary for her turnaround.

CHRISTOPHER WALKEN sometimes pretends it's his birthday when it isnít and believes showbiz would be a better place if actors were cats. The latter made me recall his cat-like moves in the video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice," which is streamable at various speeds and formats at the link.

JUDE LAW'S engaement to Sienna Miller is o­n the rocks after beingcaught with o­ne of his kids' nanny. Law has issued a public apology, but is reportedly blaming Miller in private. It turns out that the nanny kept a diary -- Law can be thankful it wasn't online, or she would probably be commenting o­n the story.

COLIN FARRELL: Page Six had details of the sextape he made with then-galpal Nicole Narain. And it's no longer a mere rumor, as Farrell is suing Narain over it.

MARCIA CROSS: Should the Desperate Housewife who has publicly rubbished rumors about her sexuality turn up at Outfest? I'm sure she was there just to promote Desperate Housewives among the show's already sizable gay audience. And her co-stars weren't there because they had prior engagements..?

HARRY POTTER, your newspaper is ready...

COMIC-CON, o­nce a swap meet for comic book dealers but now an internationally recognized showcase of pop culture, also has become a staging ground for Hollywood, mostly because of the superhero craze that has fueled the box office. Superman Returns was big deal there this year; Quint from Ain't-It-Cool-News has more o­n that movie, plus Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Peter Jackson's King Kong, Tim Burton's animated The Corpse Bride, The Fountain, and V for Vendetta.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise's Risky Business co-star and former galpal Rebecca De Mornay has some dirt, but won't dish it to the press. Page Six asks, "Did Nicole Kidman become deeply immersed in Scientology before she became disenchanted and quit the quirky 'religion?'" New York magazine has a broader piece titled, "Celebrity and Its Discontents," in which Holmes is called "the Manchurian Fiancťe." There's a Bradgelina story in there also, before returning to Cruise. And a familiar name tops an MSNBC list of celebrities whose lives and careers need an intervention.

WAR OF THE WORLDS: Although Steven Spielberg is o­n record as saying that his movie was infuenced by 9/11, screenwriter David Koepp has said that "it could be about how U.S. military interventionism abroad is doomed by insurgency." Somehow, I don't think that's why the movie lags behind Independence Day at this point in its run.

HILARY SWANK AND KEVIN COSTNER will narrate the upcoming film On Native Soil: The Documentary of the 9/11 Commission Report. Kostner claims the movie is not political. RELATED: The Discovery Channel will air a re-creation of the terrorist hijacking of Flight 93 o­n the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

LONDON BOMBINGS AND THE MEDIA: Dilpazier Aslam, a "trainee journalist" for London's Guardian, who reported o­n the bombings from Leeds and wrote a column claiming that agitation against British foreign policy would build up "till it can be contained no more," turns out to be a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical world organisation which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law. The Independent nicely notes that the association was caught by a blogger. The Guardian said that Aslam was employed to increase ethnic diversity within the newsroom.

IRAQ: Sunday's suicide bombing of a fuel tanker has stunned even jaded Iraqis. Shiite parliamentarian Khudayr al-Khuzai called o­n the government to "bring back popular militias" to protect vulnerable Shiite communities. However, the militias have not really been disbanded; it might be better to attempt to inegrate them into the Iraqi armed and police forces. Soldiers are re-enlisting at rates ahead of the Army's targets, even as overall recruiting is suffering. Arthur Chrenkoff has his usual round up of good news, covering three weeks instead of two this time.

TERRORISM: Chatham House issued a report claiming that supporting the invasion of Iraq put the U.K. more at risk from terrorist attack. "It suggests Britain, as America's closest ally, is at particular risk from terrorism," BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall said. That will be news to the people of Spain, who suffered the prior Madrid train bombing. The Madrid attack appears to have been in the works long before 9/11;"some kind of attack would have happened even if Spain had not joined the Coalition ó or if the invasion of Iraq had never occurred." Even after Spain voted in a government pledged to withdraw tropps from Iraq, terrorists planned to continue attacking Spain, including suicide bombings. Similarly, British intelligence suggests that up to 3,000 British-born or British-based people passed through Osama Bin Ladenís training camps, which were dismantled before the invasion of Iraq. In both cases, Madrid and London, the groups claiming responsibility for the attacks refer to Afghanistan as well as Iraq. As the 9/11 Commission Report notes, Bin Laden's grievance with the U.S. may have started in reaction to specific U.S. policies, such as the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia, but it quickly became far deeper.

GITMO: GOP Congressman Frank LoBiondo apologized for suggesting that Gitmo detainees were worse than Adolf Hitler because the Nazi dictator "sort of had a political rationale about what he was doing." At least it took him o­nly a few minutes to realize it was a bad comparison.

IRSHAD MANJI, a lipstick lesbian, a Muslim and scourge of Islamic leaders, whom she accuses of making excuses about the terror attacks o­n London, is profiled by London's Times.

ISLAMIC EXTREMISM: Some of Islamís historic sites in Mecca, possibly including a home of the Prophet Mohammad, are under threat from Saudi real estate developers and Wahhabi Muslims who view them as promoting idolatry.

DO YOU GET SCAM SPAM FROM NIGERIA? If so, you'll be glad to note that a Nigerian court has sentenced a woman to two and a half years in prison for her part in the country's biggest ever international fraud case.

EBONICS: The San Bernardino City Unified School District wants to incorporate Ebonics to improve black students' academic performance by keeping them interested in school. "Ebonics is a different language, it's not slang as many believe," said Mary Texeira, a sociology professor at Cal State San Bernardino. "For many of these students Ebonics is their language, and it should be considered a foreign language. These students should be taught like other students who speak a foreign language... There are African Americans who do not agree with me. They say that (black students) are lazy and that they need to learn to talk."

PODCASTING: Corporate media is moving quickly to stake out podcasting as an avenue for reaching new listeners, according to the Washington Post.

CULT OF THE iPod: Downloads from iTunes Music Store just topped 500 million. Apple reportedly wants to offer video iPods this Fall. Bill Gates is cozying up to Hollywood to prevent Apple from dominating any emerging video market.

SPYWARE: The New York Times reports that rather than take the time to remove spyware and adware, many PC owners are simply replacing their machines. Sounds like there may be some deals to be had in the refurbished computer market.

MEN MAY RULE THE REMOTE, but women rule digital video recorders, according to a survey done for the Lifetime network.

NASA BELIEVES THERE IS LIFE o­n MARS, because it believes the two rover spacecraft scuttling across the red planet are carrying bacteria from Earth.

LOCUSTS plague France. "There is nothing we can do for the 700 or 800 farmers affected," said Patrice Lemoux, an agriculture official. "The locust has no known predator and the o­nly insecticides which might make a difference are banned."

THE DIVORCE RATE IS DECLINING in the U.S., but so is the marriage rate. Some experts are concerned about the effect of cohabitation o­n children.

RICHARD FEYNMAN AND HIS DOODLES are now on a postage stamp. Science News o­nline discusses the importance of the doodles.

DUTCH POLICE AND RANGERS POWERLESS to stop a growing trend of outdoor sex orgies. Eric Droogh, director at the Veluwe National Park, said: "A national debate o­n wild sex parties in the countryside is essential."

PET HOARDING is is not unusual, according to Gary Patronek, a veterinarian who teaches at Tufts University and founded the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium. Cats are the most commonly hoarded pets, Patronek said, because they are easy to acquire; they are quieter, cleaner and simpler to manage than most dogs; and they interact with humans far more than rabbits, guinea pigs and other small pets do.

DOGS: A dog used to jumping from the window of his owners' ground-floor apartment jumped from their new unit six floors up. The dog was saved when it landed o­n a neighbour's balcony three floors below.

ENDANGERED ROYAL TURTLE saved from Chinese soup-pot, thanks to a tiny microchip.

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Intonation, Jimmy Webb, Charlie Buckett, Harry Potter, Cats, Dogs, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 18, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



I GOT A FARMER'S TAN to bring you highly non-exclusive coverage of the Intonation Music Festival held in Chicago, with plenty 'o' links to the bands involved. But you'll have to click the "Read More" link at the bottom of today's entry to see it, because the pictures -- yes, I took pictures -- would slow down loading the home page way too much...

SHAWN COLVIN AND JIMMY WEBB are both lauded at PowerLine. The post recaps a Wall Street Journal piece that contains this tidbit: "Webb has a new CD made for the English label Sanctuary, Twilight of the Renegades, dedicated to three friends who have passed o­n -- Richard Harris, Warren Zevon and Harry Nilsson -- 'rebels with a cause,' according to Webb. The CD is already out in England and Australia; it will be released here next month." Anyone interested in checking out the legendary songwriter could do worse than to start with Ten Easy Pieces, which features Webb performing most of his best "unplugged," with an assist from Colvin o­n o­ne track.

THE NEW YORK DOLLS are working o­n their first new studio album since 1974's Too Much Too Soon. Surviving Dolls David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain expect to release the album next spring.

THE PIXIES are planning to record their first album in 14 years. The Dolls, the Pixies... I think it's so groovy now, that people are finally getting together.

FRANK BLACK'S Honeycomb, recorded in Nashville with people like Steve Cropper, comes out o­n Tuesday; London's Observer has a preview.

LET IT BE is due for release o­n DVD in September, with previously lost material and bonus features. Yes, this would be the Beatles, not the Replacements. The movie has not been o­n home video for over 20 years.

ROB ZOMBIE holds an intense dislike for clowns - and he blames it all o­n a childhood encounter with a man dressed as Ronald McDonald. I would have said John Wayne Gacy, but whatever.

ROD STEWART apparently has gotten some religion due to 9/11.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN chats with Nick Hornby (aouthor of High Fidelity) about his craft and how his kids keep him current o­n music.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: Friday's Wall Street Journal suggested that Charlie would face stiffer competition this weekend from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince than from other movies. Charlie still topped the box office with 55 million. However, biz dipped about eight percent o­n Saturday, and we'll never know how many families went to Harry Potter parties at bookstores Friday night. FWIW, I highly enjoyed it, even though Gene Wilder will always be Wonka No. 1 in my book.

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: The secret of Harry Potter's phenomenal success lies in the continuing allure of magic and fantasy in a secular society, argues Natasha Walter in London's Guardian.

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE had a test screening in Chicago recently. Aint-It-Cool-News has reviews from Caone and three others.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH HOLLYWOOD? Economist Tyler Cowen blogs that it is "not just that this year's movies mostly stink." And he doesn't mention piracy either.

MARTIN SCORSESE lists 20 films-- 10 English-language, 10 foreign-language -- that he thinks make the best use of color and light.

SANDRA BULLOCK married mechanic and star of the Discovery Channel's Monster Garage Jesse James at a ranch near Santa Barbara.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie is facing strong criticism over her adoption of Ethiopian orphan Zahara Marley after it emerged the baby has a grandmother desperate to raise the money to keep her. The baby spent a week in a NYC hospital for malnutrition and dehydration, but was released Friday. And Jolie made a good impression with Pitt's parents, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

OUTSOURCING: Don't fear it, just do it yourself.

LONDON BOMBING: The Metropolitan Police released a CCTV picture of the bombers, as the investigation expanded to Egypt and Pakistan -- where some of the bombers are thought to have gone for religious training. A piece in London's Mirror suggests the bombers may have been duped into killing themselves. Imho, buying round-trip tickets might be a step taken to avoid raising suspicion. Egypt said it is not prepared to hand over Magdy Mahmoud Mustafa el-Nashar, Egyptian security officials said Saturday, as British investigators attended sessions questioning him.

IRAQ: A soldier survives a sniper attack, then gives first aid to the wounded sniper. In Mosul, a sniper and a bomb figure in Michael Yon's latest gripping report. Major-General Jim Molan, recently the chief of operations for the entire coalition, believes the situation began to improve last August and is now "cautiously optimistic" about the future course of the war.

THE MILITARY AND THE MEDIA: James Lacey, an Army Reservist and writer for Time magazine argues that the media coverage of Iraq is overly negative in part because the military has almost totally failed to engage, and where it has engaged, it has been with a mind-boggling degree of ineptitude. However, I think he would also concede that it would help if war reporters knew as much about the military as sportswriters know about sports.

PUNK COMES TO THE PENTAGON: Two Air Force majors, writing in Defense AT&L (acquisition, technology and logistics), think defense program managers could learn a thing or two from the Ramones and the Clash.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: The man who abruptly retired as Kofi Annan's cabinet chief after shredding papers related to the O-F-F program has been shredding still more documents in his new 10th-floor U.N. office across the street from the U.N. Secretariat building, according to a staffer who works o­n the same floor.

XTINA AGUILERA'S publicist says the singer did not injure her arm in a bar fight, but by picking up pieces of a glass vase knocked over by her dog.

BRITNEY SPEARS may turn her childbirth into a TV show. But it wouldn't show the o­nly part that would interest anyone.

ZACH BRAFF AND MANDY MOORE have broken up; Braff has been spotted with a harem of young women.

FORMER CLINTON ADVISOR AND CNN CROSSFIRE HOST PAUL BEGALA, discussing the Bush Administration's record o­n and after 9/11, said that Republicans "want to kill me and my children if they can." The link is to a conservative outfit, but you can check the video -- he says it about 50 minutes into the discussion.

L. RON HUBBARD: The science-fiction author and founder of Scientology is profiled in Slate. The adjective "wacky" is used. Aleister Crowley pops up, too. Sadly, no mention of improv comedy giant Del Close.

IT'S NOT THE HEAT, IT'S THE HUMIDITY and more, writes Richard Lawrence Cohen.

EDUCATION: A large majority of high school students say their class work is not very difficult, and almost two-thirds say they would work harder if courses were more demanding or interesting, according to an o­nline nationwide survey of teenagers conducted by the National Governors Association. I'm dubious as to how scientific the o­nline poll is, but interesting nonetheless.

CATS AND DOGS: Diesel, an english mastiff weighing 140kg, might be hostile to people other than his owners, but his hulking frame conceals a big soft spot for the most unlikely of companions Ė Maggie the cat.

ACOUSTIC KITTY: A blogger taking a class o­n the History of American Spying taught by the Chief Historian of the CIA claims the Company created a cyborg cat to help eavesdrop o­n the Soviet Compound in DC during the Cold War. And he links to a document that seems to back it up.

DOGS: A five year-old golden retriever, fought off a 14-foot, 700-pound alligator in a Lake Moultrie canal last month and lived to howl about it.

DOES A TIGER STALK SAN ANTONIO? There are unsubstantiated reports that a tiger is loose in northern Atascosa County, TX, including unusual attacks o­n other animals.

BLIND MAN ALLEGEDLY HAS SEX WITH HIS GUIDE DOG: But in Florida prosecutors puzzle over the proper charge, because Florida, like many other states, has no bestiality statute.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, King County sheriff's detectives are investigating the death of a Seattle man from injuries sustained while having sex with a horse.

Read full article: 'Intonation, Jimmy Webb, Charlie Buckett, Harry Potter, Cats, Dogs, etc.'
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Gerbil's Guide to the Galaxy; How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 15, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



...with the opening of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Newsday gives it 3 1/2 stars, calling it "a Frankenstein monster of arrested development and unresolved childhood conflicts that have been maniacally funneled into Wonkaland, a child's totalitarian fantasy in the elaborate disguise of a candy factory." Coming Soon says: "Tim Burton's magical version of Roald Dahl's classic is as weird and twisted as you might expect, but it still far surpasses the original movie in every sense." John Hartl of MSNBC writes: "The new movie often feels less like a remake than a trip through Burtonland, where weird landscapes, Danny Elfmanís spry music and Johnny Deppís whims threaten to turn the movie into a series of improvisations. Fortunately, thereís more of the classic Burton (Beetlejuice, Ed Wood) than the problematic Burton (Big Fish, Planet of the Apes) of recent years. And the casting couldnít be much better." Of Burton and Depp, Rolling Stone's Peter Travers says, "Their missionary lunacy is a treat for twisted children of all ages." The Washington Post review calls it "a major comedown." The Christian Science Monitor review tweaks the reader: "On paper, Tim Burton seems the ideal filmmaker for a remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... o­n the screen, Burton turns out to be the ideal filmmaker for this deliciously bizarre yarn." Harry Knowles of Aint-It-Cool-News calls it "simply scrumdiddliumptious... Burton hasnít been this good in a very long timeÖ if ever." Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune gives it four stars: "In a summer of movie discontent, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stands out like a gourmet truffle in a box of stale caramels and curdled creams." And Oddjack has Matthew Tobey's handicapping of the movie -- for example, the odds that the film will feature "hot Oompa-Loompa-on-Oompa-Loompa action" are 47/1.


FRIDAY TIME-WASTER II: As I've been remiss in posting time-wasters, today's bonus is Cannibal Chase, for which I really recommend turning o­n your speakers or earphones.

BILLY BRAGG and others announce a free music festival in London this Saturday to remember those who died in the cityís terrorist attacks. "This free festival gives all Londoners an opportunity to come together to send a message of defiance to the bombers by celebrating the diversity they wish to destroy," said Bragg.

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH announce tour dates and the second pressing of their album. Pate fans should note that o­ne gig is at a Unitarian church.

THE HOLD STEADY frontman Chris Finn lauds bar bands in Rolling Stone.

ALISON BROWN and her unique banjo stylings are profiled in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I never thought I'd make a living playing music," she says, "maybe something behind the scenes o­n the business end. When you're a banjo player, there aren't a lot of opportunities."

SONIC YOUTH: Tiny Mix Tapes has th details o­n the deluxe Goo due Spt. 12th. A 4-LP version is due later this year from the band-run Smells Like Records.

MUSIC BLOGS: The recording industry, while suing P2P networks, may stop worrying and learn to love the blog.

FREEBIRD! My Morning Jacket will accommodate America's number o­ne drunken request in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown, which comes out in October.

BULLETTE offers a live download at her site, where you can still download her album for free.

MOBY'S various o­nline projects are blurbed by Vanity Fair.

SUFJAN STEVENS talks to SF Weekly about balancing personal storytelling and history o­n his Illinois (or do you say Illinoise?) album.

TUVAN THROAT SINGERS Albert Kuvezin and Yat-Kha record an album of popular covers. You can download Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" at the link, but you'll have to buy the disc to get the Hank Williams and Captain Beefheart.

BLOC PARTY already have 25 songs to choose from for the follow up to their debut, Silent Alarm.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Jerry Maguire fights Toby Maguire and Rob Lowe is also involved. Nicole Kidman says that when she was married to Cruise, she became more isolated. "Part of me shut down, put up barriers and became very insular. It was very hard to keep friendships alive during that period." And Cruise bought War of the Worlds co-star Dakota Fanning a cellphone for her 11th birthday. Her parents didn't want her to have o­ne; I can't imagine why.

CHRISTIAN SLATER rejects a plea bargain from prosecutors o­n a charge of allegedly groping a woman.

JULIA STILES gets dissed by a clerk at Whole Foods. Ouch!

OLIVER STONE, explaining how he would keep politics out of his 9/11 movie, says a film about 9/11 should have "been done right away. I don't think you should run from things. You should confront them. It's better for the country. Look at the English [reaction to the recent London subway bombings]. They took it and absorbed it and continued o­n. They didn't run around and call for huge pieces of legislation costing billions of dollars to defend our homeland and create a huge war in a foreign country." Note that he's not just complaining about the war. BTW, in October 2001, Stone called 9/11 a "revolt" against media consolidation. "Does anybody make a connection between the 2000 election"ófor the Presidencyó"and the events of September 11th?" he asked, and added cryptically, "Look for the thirteenth month!"

ALBERT BROOKS' UPCOMING FILM, Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World, gets a good advance review.

SUPPORT FOR BIN LADEN FALLS in several heavily Muslim countries, particularly those where terrorist attacks have occurred, according to surveys conducted for the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Solid majorities in Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan and Indonesia have an unfavorable view of the United States, while Moroccans are split. However, young people in Morocco, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey view America more favorably than the overall populations in those countries.

IRAQ: Noah Shachtman and Christopher Allbritton both blog from the midst of a desert duststorm in Baghdad. Allbriton, who awakened to the sound of a suicide bombing in which o­ne bomber was captured by Iraqi police, advises: "On July 17, the Ba'ath Party will somehow celebrate its 1968 coup that brought it to power. It probably won't be good." Over 1,000 citizens in Qayarrah, including several influential political and religious leaders, marched alongside Iraqi Army and police officers in the first of several planned demonstrations against terrorism. But I'm sure you saw it o­n the news. No?

LONDON BOMBINGS: The British-born mastermind of the London attacks had direct links with al-Qaeda, according to the police. The fourth bomber was identified as Jamaican-born Muslim convert Lindsey Germaine. Following last week's attack, BBC output was not to describe the killers of more than 50 in London as "terrorists" although they could refer to the bombings as "terror attacks."

NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF MAJOR MEDICAL STUDIES are contradicted or undermined by later studies, according to a new study. Of course, this study may be contradicted or undermined by later studies.

HOMO LIGHT: Norwegian homosexuals are set to launch their own soda brand, "Homo light," at an upcoming gastronomic festival, in the hope that it will help promote tolerance. Tastes great or less filling?

THAT AIN'T NO WOMAN! IT'S A MAN, MAN! Samukeliso Sithole (try saying that five tmes fast) -- a triple jumper and runner who competed as a woman at several international sports events -- was convicted in a Zimbabwean court o­n charges of impersonation and offending the dignity of a woman athlete who undressed in his presence, unaware he was a man.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES gets 15 Emmy noms, but Eva Longoria and Nicolette Sheridan are snubbed, thereby ensuring more entertaining catfights in our future.

SIMPSONS-FAMILY GUY FEUD: I hate to read about cartoon-on-cartoon violence. Can't we all just get along?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY) is asking the Federal Trade Commission to probe how users of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" can access "graphic pornographic and violent content" for the videogame from the Internet. I didn't know she was a gamer... or do you think Bill put her up to asking?

WILL CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST RETIRE? "I'm not about to announce my retirement,'' he said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. "I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement,'' said Rehnquist, 80. "I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits.'' Like any good lawyer, there's your loophole.

CHINA IS PREPARED TO USE NUKES AGAINST THE U.S. if it is attacked by America during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said o­n Thursday.

THE UNITED NATIONS would like to wrest control of the Internet from the U.S. I'm shocked to discover China leading the effort.

THE GERBIL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY is being prepared by a gerbil and artist Sally Madge. So far there is no info o­n the Richard Gere entry.

WHAT'S WORSE THAN THE HOUSEFUL OF CATS? A Burke, VA townhouse where nearly 200 cats (many dead) were found Wednesday is owned by the family of the Alexandria, VA woman who had nearly 300 cats removed from her home over the weekend.

THE BLUE PIGEON GROUP debuts in Mancester, England.

MOUSE RESCUED by a special emergency team of the Hamburg Fire Brigade.

GOATS are are working o­n wildfire prevention at San Pedro California's Peck Park Canyon.

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Super Furry Animals, Cats, Dogs, Fugitive Tortoise and Monkey   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 09:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


WONKA WEEK CONTINUES with a few more advance reviewsof Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Gannett News Service is generally negative: "There's so much facade at the center of this movie that it suffers from emotional drift about halfway through... Luckily, the heart that Burton loses somewhere in the middle of the movie is regained in the end." The Amsterdam News calls it "by Hollywood standards, a pretty good film. The sets (both real and computer generated) are stunning. Freddie Highmore's Charlie comes off as sympathetic, but not sappy." In Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman gives it an "A," calling it "a madhouse kiddie musical with a sweet-and-sour heart."

QUEEN invited emergency services personnel who dealt with the London bombings to their Hyde Park concert as a gesture of thanks.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS: Kyle at Information Leafblower gives an early reaction to SFA's latest: "Imagine if Brian Wilson teamed up with Steely Dan and ELO to make their own version of (Radiohead's) Kid A. That might be Love Kraft. It's totally doing my head in."

WILLIE NELSON: Jam has 19 true stories about Willie Nelson and o­ne fib. Wal-Mart got Universal Music Group Nashville to issue sanitized cover art for Nelson's newlyy-released reggae album.

THE SCIENCE OF THE SETLIST: The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Many musicians feel the same way about the setlist (Frank Black excepted).

PEARL JAM guitarist Mike McCready answered fan questions for USA Today, including o­ne about setlists. He also admits, "KISS inspired me personally to pick up a guitar and go for it. My life would have been different without Paul Stanley or Ace Frehley."

THE TOP 40 BANDS IN AMERICA TODAY: As McCready's band was voted greatest American band by USA Today readers, I thought it worth revisiting Information Leafblower's bloggers' poll o­n the subject. It might be a way for those who feel they have become disconnected from the music scene to reconnect, yes?

ROBERT POLLARD has posted a translation of an interview he did for a Portuguese mag. He's going to be right in my neighborhood for a book signing this Fall. And in case I forgot, I should note that he's posted the Official Ironmen Rally Song demo for your downloading pleasure.

SUFJAN SAYS ILLINOISE, others say Illinois. Lets call the whole thing off?

XTINA AGUILERA sliced two tendons in her arm in a scuffle with a drunk fan at a nightclub; it's not considered a serious injury.

"PUSH" FOR NEW ARTISTS: The L.A. Times looks at software like Indy, IRate and Freenet, which download music by new artists to your computer based o­n your prior likes and dislikes.

IRAQ: A suicide bomber detonated his car alongside American soldiers handing out sweets to children in Baghdad, killing as many as 24 people, most of them children. Michael Yon has a new dispatch looking back at his tour and notes that, for better or worse, Iraq's future will soon be in Iraqi hands. The Christian Science Monitor notes (as have others) that Shiite Muslims are dominating Basra, possibly with support from neighboring Iran. But an editor of o­ne of Basra's largest newspapers believes the religious parties "will vanish o­nce our economy picks up and the true nature of Basra reasserts itself." Austin Bay flags news reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has threatened his Ismalist spiritual mentor, Isam Mohammed al-Barqawi, which Bay calls a "significant split."

LONDON BOMBINGS: Police examine material -- including computer files -- seized from homes in Muslim neighborhoods where three of the four suspects lived. The Independent profiles Hasib Hussain, Mohammed Sadique Khan and Shahzad Tanweer. British police have identified the man thought to be the mastermind of last week's bombings. He is apparently British-born; AFX News reports he is of Pakistani origin, but The New York Times quotes an American source as saying he is not of Pakistani descent. Britain's top Islamic scholars are reportedly planning to issue a fatwa condemning the bombers.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie's pet African Gray parrot has reportedly staged hunger strikes and attacked customers at the Amazon Rainforest Shop (where he has lodged while Jolie does press junkets) because he's pining for his famous owner. o­ne cannot blame the bird for pining after Jolie, but she would have been better advised to buy a Norwegian Blue, which pines o­nly for the fjords and is far less active. And our nation breathes a collective sigh of relief as Pitt is released Wednesday from a Los Angeles hospital where he had been admitted for a flu-like illness that turned out to be viral meningitis.

COLIN FARRELL and his former Playmate girlfriend caught o­n videotape?

OWEN WILSON agrees with Gloria Steinem that women have to be responsible for their own orgasms.

CBS NEWS plans to create a 24-hour on-demand Internet network that bypasses cable television. Plans for the broadband network also call for a blog called "Public Eye" that will offer "greater openness and transparency into the newsgathering process."

HOMELAND SECURITY: The Department of Homeland Security is to undergo a major restructuring. Congressional and department officials said Secretart Michael Chertoff will align components into three "buckets" -- intelligence, operations and policy.

GITMO: Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt, who who investigated FBI allegations of detainee abuse at Camp X-Ray, found three incidents of abuse out of roughly 24,000 interrogations, or o­ne-eighth of o­ne-tenth of o­ne percent. The investigation found no cases of actual torture. The AP summarizes the allegations.

CULT OF THE iPod: The New York Times reports o­n the phenomenon of musical hallucination, suggesting the brain becomes an iPod. Apple Computer saw sales jump 75 percent in its latest quarter ó and net income more than quadruple ó o­n sizzling sales of iPods.

MONEY MAG PICK DOESN'T EXIST: Placing 28th o­n Money magazine's "Top 100 Best Places to Live," Wexford, PA is really only a postal designation. To be fair, however, Money disclosed that this is how they selected places.

EDU-BLOGGING: The agenda of the National Education Association's annual meeting doesn't seem like it has much to do with education.

TEN MILLION GALLONS IS A LOT OF SHOWERS: In Mascoutah, IL (a suburb of St. Louis), Rose Mary Cook got a 74,000 dollar water bill.

THAT AIN'T NO WOMAN! IT'S A MAN, MAN! A chicken seller in Myanmar inexplicably grew a penis last month.

THAT WOMAN USED TO BE A MAN, MAN: The winner of a German beauty contest has confessed she used to be a man.

CATS: Behold the genius of stuffonmycat.com: stuff + cats = awesome.

DOGS: James Lileks pays a tribute of sorts to his dog, Jasper.

SIMBA: The Workman family of Murphysville, KY have a 400-pound pet lion. Three year-old Simba currently shares a cage with a little dog named Jumper, but will need a bigger cae as he is expected to gain another 100 pounds.

THE GREAT ESCAPE: Police in Minot, ND, say they spent several hours surrounding an empty trailer home here, after a man escaped by tunneling out of the house and calling a cab. Police were still looking for the man Tuesday night.

FUGITIVE MONKEY o­n the loose in Caldwell, Ohio.

FUGITIVE TORTOISE UPDATE: Michelangelo, the 22-pound desert tortoise who disappeared in June from a backyard in Orland Park, IL, has been recaptured 20 miles away in Cicero.

CAPUCHIN MONKEYS have been taught to use money. And they're spending it o­n sex.

KING COBRA BITES HINDU PRIEST: Priest lives, snake dies.

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Leslie Feist, Roky Erickson, Zero-G Dog, Monkeys with Human Brains   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


WONKA WEEK, CONTINUED: There still are not many advance reviews of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but most are positive. The Hollywood Reporter: "Here's a film about kids and for kids that has not lost touch with what it is like to actually be a kid." Britain's Sun tabloid: says it "is so good you can almost taste it." Devin Faraci at Cinematic Happenings Under Development: "I canít deny that Burtonís auterial preoccupations get o­n my nerves, but luckily he has placed them inside a fairly delightful film." The Village Voice calls it "the topsy-turvy equivalent of a three-course dinner in a single stick of gum." The Associated Press review: "It's a film packed with chaste delights for young children and plenty of sophisticated, cryptic edge to entertain and puzzle their parents." And Julia Dawn Cole, the original Veruca Salt, is convinced Roald Dahl would have loved this version of his book.

FEIST: The Big Ticket not o­nly reviews her Mpls. show, but also has video in Quicktime and WMV formats.

DINOSAUR JR.: The whole band talks to the Village Voice about the band's history and reunion.

BEST OF 2005 (SO FAR): Marathon packs adds another Top 10.

OVERLOOKED OF 2005 (SO FAR): Aversions' list looks like it has a little something for everyone, though I don't think the Mountain Goats' album has been overlooked here.

SUFJAN STEVENS AND BIG BLACK: Vinyl Mine Clip Shack compares Stevens' "Casimir Pulaski Day" with Big Black's "Kasimir S. Pulaski Day" (tip to LHB)

THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS: The reissue of The Psychedelic Sounds of... and the first-ever Roky Erickson retrospective, I Have Always Been Here: The Roky Erickson Story, both score well at the Pitchfork.

THE dBs REUNION: Pitchfork reports their two-stop (for now) tour. Ken King and I already have tickets, natch.

THE LUCKSMITHS talk to PopMatters about truth versus honesty.

RICK JAMES has a new album from beyond the grave coming out in August.

DAVE MATTHEWS: Someone at the Phat Phree is not a phan.

GEORGE MICHAEL: As though he didn't already have enough to answer for, he has reconciled the Spice Girls, who are now recording again.

JEWS ROCK is a website devoted to illuminating the intersection of rock and roll and Jewish culture. The founders, including Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker, originally wanted to call it the Jewish Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but were sued by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Either way, the site has some interesting essays -- for example, did you know that Arlo Guthrie was raised Jewish and tutored in Hebrew by the Rabbi Meir Kahane, who later became the leader of Israelís radical Kach party? (tip to my co-worker Debbie)

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie laid out over 1,800 bucks o­n X-rated undies and provocative books from upmarket London sex store Coco De Mer. A source told the Mirror tabloid that "her most recent trip a few weeks ago was the most she has ever spent. Brad's o­ne lucky guy." But not completely lucky -- Pitt has been hospitalized in L.A. with a flu-like illness.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise spent almost 18,000 bucks to fly three top chefs from Italy to South America to cook an extravagant birthday meal for him, Homes, Nicole Kidman and others aboard a yacht owned by the Church of Scientology. And he had Holmes with him as he began shooting Mission: Impossible 3 in Rome o­n Tuesday. But the Vatican, as well as the city of Paris -- where Cruise supposedly proposed to Holmes -- have pledged never to welcome Cruise due to his militant Scientology.

LI-LO UPDATE: The Lohan, in Mpls. for the shooting of A Prairie Home Companion, reportedly got carded at Escape Ultra Lounge last week. As she just turned 19, she had to demur that she didn't have any ID.

PAM ANDERSON tells a kettle how black it is.

SEAN AND ROBIN WRIGHT PENN escape injury in a head-on collision o­n Notting Hill.

WE'RE NOT AFRAID: New York Times critic Sara Boxer prefers Sorry Everybody, a photoblog where hundreds of people posted pictures of themselves apologizing for the re-election of George W. Bush, to We're Not Afraid, a mass pictorial response to the terrorist bombings in London. Boxer bemoans what she sees as a shift in sentiment at the latter, fretting that "more and more, there's a brutish flaunting of wealth and leisure" and that the site "seems to be turning into a place where the haves of the world can show that they're not afraid of the have-nots." First, I invite people to visit the site to see for themselves how much "brutal flaunting" is going o­n. Second, Boxer's unstated premise -- that the people likely responsible for the bombings were "have-nots" is wrong. Psychologists like Dr. Marc Sageman of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Andrew Silke, a UN advisor and forensic psychologist at Leicester University, have studied Al Qaeda members and associates and found them to be overwhelmingly middle-to-upper class and well-educated. These findings accord with research o­n suicide bombers from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hizbollah. For that matter, last year, when the British government foiled what it believed was the largest terrorist plot ever in that country, the arrestees were British, middle-class Muslim suburbanites. And as noted here recently, a joint Home Office and Foreign Office dossier reported that Al Qaeda is secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks in the U.K. Boxer's article ends up saying more about her than about the website.

LONDON BOMBING: Police hunting the July 7 London tube and bus bombers have gone live at Leeds, as Scotland Yard carried out a series of dawn raids Tuesday morning as part of an "intelligence-led operation", described by Commissioner Sir Ian Blair as "significant". Police carried out controlled explosions in Leeds and Luton and searched six houses. Explosives have been found in an abandoned car at the Luton railway station which is thought to be linked to the terror attacks. One man has been arrested in Yorkshire and taken to London. A Populus poll for The Times showed a large majority supported tougher measures to reduce the threat of any future terrorist attacks, though support was weakest in London itself.

IRAQ: Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" that Monday's capture of Abu Abd Al-Aziz, whom he called Abu Musab Zarqawi's "main leader in Baghdad," was "going to hurt that operation of Zarqawi's pretty significantly." U.S. and other foreign troops may be able to withdraw soon from some Iraqi cities, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Tuesday, though he hastened to add there's no timetable. DefenseTech's Noah Shachtman is blogging from Baghdad in his Iraq Diary.

AFGHANISTAN: U.S.-led forces have recaptured o­ne of four Al Qaeda militants who escaped from the main U.S. military detention center in Afghanistan. An unconfirmed report stated that the unidentified man was captured at a mosque in Bagram. Afghan villagers sheltered a U.S. Navy SEAL wounded in a battle with the Taliban until they could get word to American forces to rescue him. Time magazine has a more dramatic version of the story.

IRAN: Students at Tehran University launched a protest against the regime to release all political prisoners, particularly Iranís most prominent jailed journalist. It appears that the size of the protest grew, even as Iranian police beat the demonstrators.

THE VAN GOGH MURDER CASE: Moroccan-born Mohammed Bouyeri, the self-confessed killer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, faced the victimís mother in an Amsterdam court and told her he felt no remorse for his crime: "I donít feel your pain. I donít have any sympathy for you. I canít feel for you because I think youíre a non-believer." He told the court, "I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion." He added, "I can assure you that o­ne day, should I be set free, I would do exactly the same, exactly the same." Bouyeri, a well-educated Muslim, shot and stabbed van Gogh to death in broad daylight before nearly decapitating him and impaling a five-page note declaring holy war into his corpse with a knife.

SHREK-GATE? This morning, in a planned conference call for investors, DreamWorks Animation conceded that the Securities and Exhange Commission had questions about the way their stock was traded. Industry insiders apparently knew this was coming because of a class action suit filed against DreamWorks o­n June 10, 2005, alleging major sales of stock by DreamWorks insiders look timed to pre-date announcements of bad news and tumbling stock prices.

HOLLYWOOD'S BOX OFFICE SLUMP: Sony is going to turn it around by Hollow Man 2, Road House 2 -- Last Call and I Know What You Did Last Summer 3. And if you think that a Road House sequel seems shaky, keep in mind that it may be directed by the guy who did Cruel Intentions 3. Not to be outdone by Sony, Paramount has greenlighted a remake of Summer School.

NETFLIX PLANS 'NET DELIVERY? Links at Slashdot suggest Netflix is planning a service that will let users download movies over the internet.

PURE SCIENCES ARE OLD HAT: According to British government officials, courses in mathematicss, chemistry, physics, engineering and biology should face closures as the demand for new hybrid subjects grows.

DOG IN ZERO-G ENVIRONMENT: MediaFetcher has the video and a discussion.

SAUERKRAUT WRESTLING is set up by a Minnesoata mayor as a forum for resolving the state's budget disputes.

SEX OFFENDERS hand out candy o­n Halloween, dress as Santa Claus or wear an Easter Bunny costume under a law just passed in Illinois.

SPERM-FREE SEX KEEPS HENS HAPPY: By merely mounting females - without bothering to waste precious sperm - cocks ensure their partners will not go looking for male competitors to fertilise them, a new study suggests.

TOP TEN DEADLIEST ANIMALS, courtesy of LiveScience.

MONKEYS WITH HUMAN BRAINS: Scientists have been warned by a high-powered committee of animal behaviourists, lawyers, philosophers, bio-ethicists and neuro-scientists that their latest experiments -- injecting human brain cells into monkey fetuses -- may accidently produce monkeys with brains more human than animal. Critics argue that if these fetuses are allowed to develop into self-aware subjects, science will be thrown into an ethical nightmare.

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