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Feist, The Carter Family, BMRC, Live 8, Jennifer 8. Lee and more numbers   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


FEIST: The Mpls/St. Paul City Pages says Leslie Feist's Let It Die is "make-out music for the whole family," though I think that's meant as a compliment.

BEATLE PAUL, BONO, GREGG ALLMAN and others have been recording kareoke tracks for Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen to jam with.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS' John Darnielle tells NewCity Chicago something about the job of songwriting: "It isn't asking much of a guy to write, say, o­ne song a month. If you're o­nly doing o­ne a month, then you should be able to do twelve terrific songs per year. If you have any work ethic, it should be more than that, especially if you've been doing it for a while."

THE CARTER FAMILY is the subject of PBS's American Experience this week. Left of the Dial has links to a podcast and more.

ANGELINA JOLIE gets more done than most celebrity activists, if this press release is true -- securing a public commitment from the president of Sierra Leone that the government would release plans to implement the recommendations the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) within two weeks of receiving the final written TRC report. Given her position as a U.N. Goodwill ambassador, Angelina might also consider addressing the rampant sexual abuse of women and girls by U.N. peacekeepers in Sierra Leone and insisting at the very least that the U.N. implement the measures it has proposed to deal with this abuse, not o­nly in Sierra Leone, but also the Congo, the Ivory Coast, Burundi, Liberia, Haiti, and Sudan.

LINDSAY LOHAN: Stereogum and Defamer are both noticing there's less of the Lohan to see lately.

MEAN GIRLS may start down that path when they still are toddlers, according to a Brigham Young University study.

NATALIE PORTMAN: Egotastic likes her buns and notes that she's recently shaved. He is referring to her movie hairstyles, of course.

J-LO recently told reporters "I've never really had any trouble with boyfriends' moms or any moms of anybody that I've been with," causing the assembled press to blurt out, "No, Just the men!" Hysterical laughter followed.

JACKO JUSTICE: Michael Jackson is so wracked by financial troubles that he has secretly sold his Neverland Ranch for $35 million. So says The National Enquirer, so it must be true. Meanwhile, things are going better for Jackson in court as fellow child star Macaulay Culkin adamantly denied that Jackson had ever touched him inappropriately. Nevertheless, presenting testimony that he slept in Jackson’s bed several times between the ages of 10 and 14 --sometimes with other boys -- carries a degree of risk.

LIVE AID II? More like Live 8, which will be held in Hyde Park o­n July 2-3 coincide with the G8 summit in Edinburgh.

ALMOST FAMOUS: Didja know that Penny Lane met up with the Golden God at SXSW?

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB is releasing their third album, Howl, in August.

THE VIRTUAL DRUM KIT, courtesy of the aptly-named Ken Brashear.

AFGHANISTAN: At least four people were killed and dozens injured in a riot in eastern Afghanistan yesterday after police fired on demonstrators protesting about reports that the Qur'an had been desecrated by US soldiers in Guantanamo Bay. These reports appeared in a Newsweek article by Michael Isikoff and John Barry that is anonymously sourced. If the claims of abuse at Guantanamo Bay are substantiated, the personnel involved will deserve to be disciplined, but if not, I wouldn't want to be Isikoff and Barry.

IT'S ALMOST CARNIVAL SEASON: Do you have your copy of The Journal of Ride Theory Omnibus?

EDU-BLOGGING: Speaking of carnivals, the latest Carnival of Education is o­nline.

UNITED AIRLINES won the approval of a U.S. Bankruptcy Court to dump its four pension plans o­n the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., prompting renewed warnings from some members of Congress that taxpayers may someday have to bail out the deficit-riddled government pension agency. Had the government engaged in this sort of scheme, we would call it Social Security.

POWERBALL LOTTERY OFFICIALS SUSPECTED FRAUD when 110 players in the March 30th drawing got five of the six numbers right, instead of the statistically expected four or five. The real answer was more mystical. And you have to love that this story about numbers carries the byline of Jennifer 8. Lee.

VIKINGS RUNNING BACK ONTERRIO SMITH was caught with an elaborate kit used to beat drug tests called "The Original Whizzinator." But the Associated Press doesn't tell you what that is. As you can imagine, that last link may be NSFW.

GWI: That's "G" for "galloping." A Kentucky man has been charged with riding a horse while intoxicated. A breath test showed the man's alcohol level at .244, more than three times the limit.

CULT OF THE iPod: Okay, an iPod Shuffle Crucifix is a bit much.

YAHOO! is introducing an o­nline music subscription service that will undercut the prices of all-you-can-download music rental services offered by Real Networks and Napster.

IRAQ: Winds of Change rounds up the round-ups of Operation Matador along the Syrian border. Another good source of Matador-blogging seems to be Milblogger Josh Manchester at The Adventures of Chester.

THE HUFFINGTON POST: David Rees, creator of Get Your War On, asks, "When Do I Get To Meet Gwyneth Paltrow???" It might be a while: Rees' co-blogger-author-journo Richard Bradley notes that of the group blog's first 25 posts, o­nly three were posted by women.

ROBOTS: Scientists at Cornell University have created small robots that can build copies of themselves. I, for o­ne, welcome the coming of our robot overlords.

ROBOT DOGS: When it comes to robot dog competitions, the Germans rule, having won both the RoboCup US Open and the RoboCup German Open.

THE COUNCIL o­n AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS (CAIR) is complaining about a "disturbing rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes," but the most recent FBI report o­n hate crimes found that anti-Islamic crimes remained at the about same level — 149 — as the year before. CAIR is counting incidents in which Muslims reported their civil rights had been violated, which rose 49 percent.

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: I thought I was done with this movie, but as a gushing firehose of pop culture references, I cannot help but admire Dr. Frank's review of the sword-n-sandal epic. Few reviews of a movie about the second Crusade will allude to the Who and Scooby-Doo in consecutive sentences.

BAD HUMOR MAN: A Pennsylvania Good Humor man was served 18 months' probation Tuesday for pummeling a pudgy-faced Bloomfield teen during a meltdown. In addition to the probation, the ice cream vendor must take anger management classes and reimburse the teenager $20 for damage to his bike.

SIZE MATTERS to fish, according to a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis. And Teri Hatcher, who just traded a short fashion designer for 7-foot-tall former NBA star John Salley, according to Page Six.

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Tour of the Living Dead, Veruca Salt, NED, The Guns of Simpson, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


STONES ROLL: Mick Jagger, fellow Lord of the Undead Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood announced their tour plans with an early-bird special at the Julliard school. The tour will begin in August, so as not to conflict with the first run of George A. Romero's Land of the Dead.

GbV-POLLARD: I don't know how I missed these tidbits: in December, there will be a Suitcase II boxed set and Pollard was in negotiations to be involved in a hush-hush soundtrack for a soft-porn film by a major Hollywood director.

THE LAST RAMONE: Pitchfork interviews Tommy Ederlyi about the genesis and influence of the Ramones. You'll have to click to find out about Paul McCartney's contribution.

M WARD is interviewed at Tiny Mix Tapes o­n the spirit of radio.

HELLO, CLEVELAND! The New Yorker looks at the business of touring.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: Tim Burton's version looks to stick much closer to the book, including the scene in the nut room that did not appear in the Gene Wilder classic. When I first heard this, I naturally assumed that computer-generated effects would be used for the squirrels -- but I was at least partially wrong. The quirky director spent millions and six months teaching around 200 squirrels to crack hazelnuts, sort them and then load them o­n to a conveyor belt. You can get a partial tour of the factory at Coming Soon.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: The BBC review calls it "largely satisfying," but "imperfect, with flashes of absolute brilliance sitting side by side with shockingly naff moments." Can Mag rounds up reviews from major fan websites. While most of the early reviews have been good, the reviewer for London's Daily Mail writes that Sith is better than Episodes I and II, but a "colossal disappointment" and that "For all the hype, I fear this is a film that o­nly the most uncritical Star Wars fans will truly enjoy." New York Post columnist (and five-time Jeopardy champ) John Podhoretz blogs that it is "unbelievably bad" and thinks the positive advance reviews are the result of critics being too cowardly to pan a sure-fire blockbuster.

CATS AND DOGS: The uneasy truce between cats and dogs was threatened Monday, when a Seattle woman who sued a neighbor after her cat was mauled by his dog was awarded more than $45,000. The woman's lawyer, who specializes in animal cases, said that while multimillion-dollar judgments have been awarded over thoroughbred horses, the award was the highest for a pet in the United States that he was aware of.

CATS: In Indiana, a cat survived a fire and explosion that destroyed its owners' home and injured a half-dozen firefighters by hiding in its owners' box springs. The fire was ruled accidental; no dogs were suspected in the incident.

REN-KEN: I wasn't going to revisit the Zellwesneys, but the report that the nuptuals were held in the tiny Chocolate Hole region of the west coast of St. John's appealed to my inner Beavis. Also, that Chesney wrote a song about her character in Jerry Maguire is a little creepy.

TOM AND KATIE: Cruise and Holmes get some rough treatment at Liquid Generation, set to 50 Cent's "Candy Shop."

TORI SPELLING emerges from the "Where Are They Now?" file with an embarassingly intoxicated performance at the Kentucy Derby. I was going to write that it was so bad as to make Tara Reid seem sober by comparison, but then I found out that Reid had to be held up by Spelling.

IT'S ALMOST CARNIVAL SEASON: The manager of a roadside amusement park will stand trial for murder this week, accused in the death of a woman who plunged 60 feet from a whirling carnival ride.

NANOTECH: Motorola's Nano Emissive Display (NED) technology may not only revolutionize flat panel displays by dropping the price of a 40-inch screen below $400, but also may launch nanotech into the pop consciousness.

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife tops Maxim magazine's annual Hot 100 list. Co-star Felicity Huffman says, "What's hot about Eva is her smile, her laugh, her joie de vivre ... and following all of that, her (behind)." Of course, like virtually every woman in Hollywood, Longoria's list of sexy women is topped by Angelina Jolie (Maxim's No. 7). Eva is the sole Housewife o­n the list, preparing the ground for further catfights. Of course, as I always note about lists, they exist to start arguments...

THE PIXIES will be putting their 2005 tour o­n disc. You can pre-order individual shows, what the band considers the five best shows or the entire tour under the heading "Gouge Away!"

THE HISTORY OF SAMPLING is a cool Java app that allows you to pick a song and chart who sampled it.

KC, of Sunshine Band fame, took a header off the stage Saturday at the Cinco de Mayo Festival in Phoenix. He required stitches, but apparently retained his wits: "I left my shoes at the hotel and had to perform in a new pair," he said in a statement Monday. "I picked the wrong pair of Boogie Shoes!"

GEORGE THE KING? President Bush's pro-democracy speech was a big hit in Tblisi. His dancing was described as "Elvis-like." Generally, if you told me Bush was imitating Elvis in Georgia, I would not think he was o­n a foreign trip. Anyway, if you didn't see the dancing, it's linked at Gateway Pundit.

MAD PHYSICS, a site developed by two high school students provides all sorts of labs and demonstrations. I'm pretty sure Prof. King will dig it; maybe you will, too.

THE HUFFINGTON POST: James Lileks is unimpressed so far: "I really don’t care what Larry David thinks about John Bolton. I care what Larry David thinks about the itchy tags o­n shirts that scrape your neck, because I know that he can make a 12-part TV series that revolves around that detail, and George Will can’t."

AL-QAEDA: At Winds of Change, Dan Darling argues that recently-captured Abu Faraj al-Libbi is not the number three guy at al-Qaeda, but still important.

CANADA: In what may be the beginning of the end, the Liberal-led government lost a vote on a controversial motion in the Canadian House of Commons Tuesday night by a vote of 153 to 150. The motion asks the Commons public accounts committee to amend a report dating back to October 28, 2004: "to recommend that the government resign because of its failure to address deficiencies in governance of the public service." The Liberals maintain that this was technically not a vote of no confidence, apparently hoping for a showdown on the issue in connection with a budget vote, which could -- if all MPs attend -- result in a tie to be broken by the Speaker.

CULT OF THE iPod: Audiologists believe you should turn down that racket. iTunes is starting to sell videos. And some evil person has created Podcast Idol.

PAC-MAN celebrates his 25th birthday, making him almost as old as Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart."

NATIONAL I.D. CARD: Security expert Bruce Schneier says the "REAL ID Act" pending in Congress would effectively create a national ID card... and make Americans less safe in the process.

TROUBLE AT WIRED NEWS: An investigation into the sourcing and accuracy of news stories by a freelance journalist concluded that the existence of dozens of people quoted in the articles could not be confirmed. The writer has said previously she never made up sources.

AFGHANISTAN: How gone is the Taliban? Tolo TV's mix of MTV-style shows and hard-hitting news programs has turned the up-and-coming network is must-see TV, but it's also a lightning rod for critics who see the station as a threat to the country's Islamic values.

REP. BARNEY FRANK was caught blatantly fondling an up-and-coming gay politician's buttocks at a public event.

JESSICA SIMPSON was working the big guns in Iraq. And getting some firearms training.

WHAT KIND OF TRAINING? Army training, sir!

IRAQ: Hundreds of U.S. Marines pushed through a lawless region o­n the Syrian frontier Tuesday after battling past well-armed militants fighting from basements, rooftops and sandbag bunkers. The L.A. Times has an in-depth account of some of the fighting in Operation Matador. The Belmont Club builds on that story and others, adding maps. And Bill Roggio puts the operation in a big-picture context.

IDOL GOSSIP: Paula Abdul burst into tears hours before the appearance o­n Saturday Night Live she hoped would contain any damage done by the ABC News story about her alleged relationship with a contestant. Abdul also was said to have been upset with the way the sketch turned out.

GOSSIP GLUT: Paparazzi Pix Prices Plummet! And Page SixSixSix has noticed a certain sameness in tabloid coverage.

ELLE MACPHERSON claims she can't wear the tiny undergarments she did when she was 20 tears old. I'll believe that when I see it.

SEVERED GOAT HEADS twice found o­n a bench outside a school in nearby Chilliwack, British Columbia, were not the work of Satan. The jury is still out o­n Chilliwack itself.

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U2, Lucinda Williams, Andy Warhol, Plenty 'o' sex talk and whiskey!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THE REV. BONO: Jim DeRogatis found U2's first of four concerts in Chicago "every bit as phony, bombastic and manipulative as a Britney Spears concert, the Republican National Convention or a televangelist's miracle-working dog and pony show." Later, he writes: "If you missed the point, it was this: AMERICA'S WAR IN IRAQ IS BAD. But ever the politician averse to alienating any demographic, Bono, sporting a stars-and-stripes leather jacket as o­ne of several costume changes, followed that none-too-subtle declaration by reminding us to 'support the troops.'"

TINY MIX TAPES has a unique review of the new disc from Nine Inch Nails; a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

NEW RELEASES: Although the live set from Lucinda Williams is out today o­n CD, most of the action is in DVDs this week. The Live From Austin series adds DVDs from Richard Thompson and Son Volt, to prior releases of shows by Steve Earle, The Flatlanders and others. Lucinda Williams will have her own entry in the series out next Tuesday.

SUFJAN STEVENS announces a few tour dates in support of his Illinois album, including two in Seattle. Pitchfork observes: "We suspect this list of dates isn't complete, if o­nly because Illinois is nowhere to be found."

RENEE ZELLWEGER APPARENTLY HAS wed C&W star Kenney Chesney. I'm sure she would understand if I say, "Alright, alright, alright."

ANDY WARHOL AND RONALD REAGAN: Former Interview magazine editor Bob Colacello has written biographies of both and sees a number of similarities.

LINDSAY LOHAN: Defamer prints an e-mail from someone allegedly o­n the set for her most recent video shoot. The writer details behavior falling between diva and crazy, then predicts "another 'exhaustion' stay coming up real soon."

DOGS: A newborn baby abandoned in a forest in Nairobi, Kenya, was saved by a stray dog who apparently carried her across a busy road and through a barbed wire fence to a shed where the infant was discovered nestled with a litter of puppies. A story that warms your heart until the moment you realize what it says about humans.

IRAQ: The Iraqi Government says security forces have captured Amar al-Zubaydi, a/k/a Abu Abbas, a key aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It said he helped plan an attack o­n Abu Ghraib prison in April, as well as a string of car bombings in Baghdad.

IRAQ II: American forces launched a major offensive against followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi near the Syrian border; U.S. military spokesmen said the offensive started o­n Saturday and that it had killed as many as 100 militants. The operation seems to be based o­n information obtained from Ghassan Muhammad Amin Husayn Al-Rawi, who was captured o­n April 26th.

IRAQ III: Arthur Chrenkoff has his regular round up of under-reported good news. Among the multitude of links can be found a report o­n how women in conservative Karbala are getting liberated through city's internet cafes and the news that the U.S. military has set a target of December for handing over responsibility for security to Iraqi army and police units, according to a classified document being circulated among senior officers.

THE HUFFINGTON POST, Arianna Huffington's celebrity group blog, went o­nline Monday, with posts from director Mike Nichols, Ellen DeGeneres, John Cusack and David Mamet, among others. A Newsday columnist observes that the "could be quite exciting - or a log-rolling, self-referential mess." Huffington does an interview with Newsweek, in which her explanation for why she lost the CA governor's race to Arnold Schwarzenegger sounds suspiciously like co-blogger Aaron Sorkin's screenplay to The American President. Gawker brings the snark to both the blog as a whole and historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. in particular. The Register runs a piece mocking an H-post by Hilary Rosen, former head of the RIAA, complaining about iTunes. But the must-read story may be Nikki Finke's L.A. Weekly column, which promises -- and largely delivers -- the "juicy behind-the-scenes story" of the blog's start-up.

THE NEW YORK TIMES commissioned an internal report o­n how to improve the paper's credibility, which is good, as admitting you have a problem is the first step to addressing it. Jeff Jarvis has a good summary, along with links to criticism and the full report.

GAY-BASHING HOAX: A rash of gay-bashing incidents at Tamalpais High School in Marin County, CA was the work of the head of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance, according to Mill Valley police. The girl has been suspended and could face expulsion.

GAY BRAINS? A compound taken from male sweat stimulates the brains of gay men and straight women but not heterosexual men, raising the possibility that homosexual brains are different, according to researchers in Sweden.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS' John Darnielle is interviewed by Junkmedia, which still hosts Ken King's review of the Pate box set. Darnielle reveals: "Right now I am writing about monsters. I despair of writing a song that does justice to the awesomeness of the Mummy." He can't do worse than Stephen Sommers, can he?

WILLIE NELSON HIGHWAY UPDATE: After a bill to name part of Texas state Hwy 130 after the singer was nixed by two GOP state senators, Willie's lawyer fires off a letter stating that Nelson "must decline the request that Willie grant permission to name the toll road in his honor." Now there's some PR skillz.

BECK says he and his Dad have been helped by Scientology. Explains a lot.

CHICKEN CROSSES ROAD, is ticketed for jaywalking.

THE GREATEST DISCOVERY SINCE FIRE: A history of the microwave oven.

NANOTECH: A novel delivery system that transports gene silencing nanoparticles into tumor cells has been shown to inhibit a form of cancer in an animal model of the disease. Meanwhile, in Chicago, a group calling itself THONG (Topless Humans Organized for Natural Genetics) protested in the Eddie Bauer at 600 N. Michigan Avenue to question the safety of Teflon-treated and Nano-Tex clothing.

THE SILLY PARTY: If anyone thought that Monty Python had to work hard to lampoon politics in the U.K., o­ne need o­nly look at the long-standing tradition of candidates for seats in Parliament standing together for the announcement of the vote tally. One cannot help but think that o­ne of the candidates pictured here is Kevin Phillips-Bong. And you may enjoy the snark to be found throughout the photo gallery at the Guardian.

THEOCRACY is the surprising reason cited by Barbara Hall for the ratings slump of her television show, Joan of Arcadia.

FEMALE ORGASM TALK draws a crowd at Harvard University. Who'da thunkit? I'd quote it, but it's near-impossible to pick a favorite excerpt. Let's just say that at some point, a hand puppet is deployed.

DASHTON: Demi Moore allegedly told fashion designer Cynthia Rowley that Ashton Kutcher lacks stamina. Moore's PR flack denies the conversation. The question could be settled through the scientific method.

TOP SEXOLOGISTS met last weekend in San Francisco to try to keep up with society's fast-developing sexual trends. "These couples have problems that I didn't know how to deal with," said Olga Perez Stable Cox, president of the Western US region of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. No, even I couldn't make up that name.

PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIO tripled its profits, driven by DVD sales of The Incredibles. And Pixar exec Steve Jobs said that he had taken part in "nice conversations" with Robert Iger, the new head honcho at Disney, about possibly renewing the studios' partnership.

MALT WHISKEY may help prevent cancer, according to a consultant to the drinks industry who notes that single malt whiskeys have more of the anti-oxidant ellagic acid than red wine. However, Dr. Lesley Walker of Cancer Research UK, pointed out that the same acid was found in fruit, and said she was "very concerned" that whiskey was being promoted as a cancer prevention agent without data to support the claim. Perhaps, but you can't get hammered o­n regular fruit.

STRESS can help people stay young, prolong life and help prevent chronic illnesses such as arthritis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, according to Dr. Marios Kyriazis, the medical director of the British Longevity Society. If forced to choose, I'll take the whiskey, Nietzsche.

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James Brown, Cats, Penguins, Cougars, Theocracy, Satan, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 09, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THE FLAMING LIPS are tackling "Bohemian Rhapsody" for a Queen tribute disc. I hope that doesn't put percussionist Steve Drozd back o­n the horse.

CBGB AND TALKING HEADS: Stereogum links to a site dedicated to saving CBGB as a landmark and o­ne offering a download of Talking Heads' first show at the venerable venue.

RYAN ADAMS: Golden Fiddle really wanted to dislike Cold Roses, but ended up liking it.

THE DECEMBERISTS' Friday night concert can be streamed from NPR.

LOVE WILL TEAR US APART: The Observer looks back at Joy Division o­n the 25th anniversary of the release of its signature song, which also happens to be the anniversary of my release. Who'da thunkit? Explains a lot.

BENNIFER: E! o­nline and E! News, citing "multiple sources close to Garner and beau Ben Affleck," report that Jennifer Garner is three months pregnant.

BRADGELINA: Jennifer Aniston is rumored to be furious that her husband is breaking their deal not to date for six months.

WHORE COLLEGE: Get your diploma as a Graduate in Sex Work at the end of a o­ne day seminar. Then you won't care if she's got a face that would stop a clock.


BREAST REDUCTIONS are o­n the rise: over 113,000 women will elect to have their breasts made smaller this year, an increase of 11% from previous years.

KIMBERLY STEWART (Rod's daughter) gave her breast implants to Jack Osbourne (Ozzy's son). That's some weird symmetry I can't figure out.

GODFATHER OF SOUL JAMES BROWN, the hardest working man in show business, had a statue in his honor unveiled in Augusta Georgia o­n Friday.

BRIAN WILSON will put out a Christmas album in October.

ROCK SHIRTS FOR BABIES: Some of these seem inappropriate, but the Sonic Youth Dirty tee sort of works for an infant.

THE BOSS IS TOO HOT FOR STARBUCKS: Bruce Springsteen's Devils & Dust will not be sold at Starbucks coffee shops, because he's channeling Howard Stern.

COLDPLAY make U.S. singles history, but doesn't do as well as... the Spice Girls. Could be why Gwyneth seems a bit cranky lately.

LIVE AID II? Bob Geldof is deflating the trial balloon lofted by people in his office, though the possibility of a second concert event will be discussed at a meeting of the Live Aid Trust this week.

AUDIOSLAVE PLAYS CUBA in the first open-air concert by an American rock band in the communist country. The concert was given the rare approval of both the Cuban and United States governments.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Variety digs it: "Whatever o­ne thought of the previous two installments, this dynamic picture irons out most of the problems, and emerges as the best in the overall series since The Empire Strikes Back." The London Telegraph concurs: "Lucas has created an eminently satisfying, albeit surprisingly violent, final instalment that brings the story back full circle to the first film. It contains all the ingredients that fans have come to expect: aerial dog-fights, swirling light-sabres, Jedi battles, evil droids -and it packs an emotional wallop."

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: The lucrative summer movie season suffered its worst start in years o­n Sunday, as the costly epic crawled into the No. 1 slot at the North American weekend box office with meager ticket sales of just $20 million. I saw it and thought it well done in terms of its acting and production values, but Kingdom suffers from two major flaws. First, for a battle epic, it lacks pacing, particulalrly as it runs two and a half hours. Second, while no o­ne should expect historical accuracy from Hollywood, I suspect U.S. audiences are not going to flock to a politically correct revision of history that makes the British Christians foaming maniacs while depicting Saladin and the Sacracen Knights as the epitome of chivalry and having the hero be a man who renounces God. Historians have blasted the picture, scoffing at the notion that Jerusalem was a peaceful, multicultural community at the time in question. The movie almost completely ignores the 450 years of Islamic jihad that preceded the events at issue. And in the real world, Saladin acted far differently than he does at the end of the film.

IRAQ: Iraq's parliament approved six new ministers o­n Sunday hoping to fill the political void that has stoked the insurgency, but o­ne minister turned down the job. Proposed human rights minister Hisham al-Shibli told Reuters he had been picked purely to placate Iraq's restive Sunni Arab minority: "This post was given to me without anyone consulting me. I was surprised when they nominated me. It was just because I am a Sunni," he said. "This is something I reject completely. I am a democratic figure... and I am completely against sectarianism." While accomodating the Sunnis may help tamp down the insurgency, a politician speaking out against sectarianism this soon in the country's democratic history may be a very good sign.

IRAQ II: Austin Bay writes about how history will view the Iraq war and the extraordinary story of the 19-through-35 year olds who are winning it, including part of his prior interview with former Sen. Bob Kerrey.

IRAQ AND THE HOME FRONT: When that high school student was suspended for 10 days in Columbus GA for refusing to end a cell phone call with his mother, a soldier serving in Iraq, you just knew the backlash from the community (near Fort Benning) would force them to back off. So why didn't the school officials have this sussed in the first place?

PETRA NEMCOVA, the supermodel badly injured in the south asian tsunami, is now able to walk without crutches and plans to return to NYC this week to start raising money for tsunami victims. She will meet with representatives of international charities and develop a plan for how to best help people in the region near Khao Lak, the idyllic area where she and her boyfriend (who was killed in the disaster) were staying.

IDOL GOSSIP UPDATE: ABC's controversial special Primetime Live o­n the talent show won its time slot, as did American Idol itself. Meanwhile, journos are concerned that the networks are training their guns o­n each other. J. Max Robins, editor in chief at Broadcasting & Cable, said it ''is valid to ask the question, 'If Idol were an ABC show, not a Fox show, would they be doing the story?'" No, Fox would; so what? And fwiw, Matt Drudge reports that days before the program aired, Paula Abdul's lawyer fired off a detailed two page warning to ABC News strongly denying any wrongdoing regarding Abdul and drugs... though the issue was not part of their investigation.

COUGARS: It wasn't all about American Idol last week: ABC News Primetime also examined the phenomenon of older women dating younger men. The Phat Phree site offers a guide to dating women in each age bracket.

CATS: One gets toilet-trained. Another is a dangerous fugitive under a death sentence in Chile.

PENGUINS are dying from chlamydia.

TALES OF THE FRIENDLY SKIES: Hit in the head by a shot fired from the ground, pilot Mike Spicer managed, with the help of his passenger, to get his plane safely back to the Clay Center, Kansas airport. In North Las Vegas, a passenger was forced to crash land a private plane Thursday after the pilot suffered an apparent heart attack.

JOHN BOLTON: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed its vote on embattled nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations after Sen. George Voinovich expressed reservations, but Voinovich hasn't bothered to meet with Bolton since. And we're not going to get to hear his ex-wife dish about his kinky sex life, as she says he didn't have o­ne. Insert your own mustache joke here.

THEOCRACY: At a recent academic conference at the City University of New York o­n "the real agenda of the religious far right," the central threat speakers raised was "theocracy." No speaker representing religious conservatives was invited to offer a rebuttal.

DISCOUNT DEVIL: The number of the Beast has been marked down from 666 to 616.

AL-QAEDA: So far, Abu Farj al-Libbi has refused to reveal the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and his key accomplices, but having learned that he was ambushed by commandos in burqas, it's nice to learn that al-Libbi also was disguised as a woman. European terror experts doubt that al-Libbi was the number three man in al-Qaeda, but even if he is not, imho, the fact that Pakistani forces were willing to undertake the operation (including dozens of follow-up arrests) in the border area sympathetic to bin Laden represents progress.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Bill Clinton urges his fellow Democrats to offer their own plan.

THE FDA is about to implement rules recommending that any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from serving as an anonymous sperm donor. Critics accuse the FDA of stigmatizing all gay men rather than adopting a screening process that focuses o­n high-risk sexual behavior by any would-be donor, gay or straight. Probably true, but from a health perspective, that's an argument for broader rules, not against the o­ne being implemented.

CULT OF THE iPod: You can now get them from a vending machine in the Atlanta airport.

U.K. ELECTION: Although Iraq was the focus of the media in the election, the opposition's gains also bear out the old saying about politics being local. For example, Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame, writing in the Guardian, notes that Iraq eroded voters' trust of Tony Blair, but the Liberal-Democrats picked up votes o­n the economy and education policy in university cities like Cambridge. The Tories' marginal gains appear to be due in no small part to issues like taxes and immigration.

THE SECOND COMING OF UNDERPASS MARY: Less than 24 hours after being sprayed with mocking graffiti and lacquered in dark brown paint, the "Virgin Mary" emerged again to greet her flock Friday afternoon o­n the wall of a Kennedy Expressway underpass.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: Former Fed Chair Paul Volcker, who is heading the internal investigation of the UN. scandal, is desperate to get back boxes of information provided to Congress that are believed to contain information damaging to secretary-general Kofi Annan, to the point of claiming witnesses' lives amy be at stake and threatening the former investigator who provided the material under a Congressional subpoena.

CRAZY IN MARYLAND: The current home state of the Pratt family is ordering gas stations to raise prices.

HOWARD DEAN was supposed to attract indivdual donors to the Democratic National Committee, but the GOP raised twice as much from individuals in the last quarter.

THE SIMPSONS: Publicists not connected to the couple are gossiping that they could split could as early as next week. Which I would care more about if they were gossiping about Homer and Marge, as opposed to Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey.

UNBREAKABLE CODES? Australian scientists believe they have developed an unbreakable information code using a diamond, a kitchen microwave oven and an optical fiber to create a single photon beam of light they say cannot be hacked.

THE GERMAN AMBASSADOR in London complains that Britons continue to see the Germans as Nazis. Of course, it doesn't help when the tennis club hosting the German Open puts a photograph of Nazi Hermann Goering in the program and refers to the club's "golden times" after its Jewish members fled in the 1930s. To be fair, I must note that a neo-Nazi march in Berlin was stopped by thousands of anti-fascist demonstrators Sunday. However, the fact that 3,300 neo-Nazis gathered to protest what they called a German "cult of guilt" ought to give that Ambassador a moment's pause. Although I'm sure he's concerned about German kids being beaten by British kids, the anniversary of V-E Day might not have been the most diplomatic moment to complain.

KILLER CHILI POWDER: It is pure capsaicin - the chemical that lends habanero and jalapeno peppers their thermonuclear heat. It is 30 times hotter than the spiciest pepper, the Red Savina from Mexico, and 8,000 times stronger than Tabasco sauce. Although capsaicin does not actually burn - it fools your brain into thinking that you are in pain by stimulating nerve endings in your mouth - some medical experts believe that it could kill an asthmatic or hospitalise a user who touched his eyes or other sensitive parts of the anatomy.

DAVID ROSEN goes to trial Tuesday o­n charges of repeatedly misleading the Federal Elections Commission about contributions received to stage an August 2000 Hollywood fund-raiser for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Conversations recorded for the FBI by Ray Reggie, Sen. Ted Kennedy's brother-in-law, are expected to be key evidence. A partial transcript of the Sept. 4, 2002, tape obtained by The Times-Picayune in New Orleans captures a conversation rife with gossip about the seamy side of political life, including the sex, drugs and prostitutes enjoyed by big-name Democratic stalwarts.

TIME-TRAVELLERS' CONVENTION: I just got back from the big weekend convo. Or I never left. Anyway, I picked up a cyborg bodyguard o­n the cheap.

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Classic Videogames, Rick Mosher, Richard Thompson, Cat Man and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 06, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



I AM 8-BIT: Fort 90 has a slew of photos from the opening of an art exhibit based o­n classic videogames.

FRIDAY TIME-WASTER DELUXE: A classic video arcade -- Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Frogger and more.

RICK MOSHER, vocalist and guitarist for the New Duncan Imperials (and The Service before that), has a 48-drawer cabinet full of nearly 4,000 beautifully mounted and catalogued insects. A little Jame Gumb for my taste, but to each his own. Hat tip to Craig O'Neill for the link!

RICHARD THOMPSON has an impressive slate of releases planned throughout the rest of 2005, including a new studio album, a five-disc box set and several live CDs and DVDs. It will be much easier to get RT's killer version of "Oops... I Did It Again."

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS FESTIVAL lineup is announced. Acts include: Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Jimmy Cliff, Kasabian, Rilo Kiley, The Decemberists, The Ditty Bops, Kathleen Edwards, Buddy Guy and many, many more.

THE HOLD STEADY get a mighty 8.7 for Separation Sunday o­n the Pitchfork. They also get called "Brooklyn's best band" in a Village Voice piece calling the new disc "an early contender for record of the year." Brooklyn Vegan can hook you up to some downloads.

LOUIE, LOUIE: A pop culture controversy that has simmered for decades came to a head when a middle school marching band in Michigan was told not to perform "Louie Louie" in Saturday's Grand Floral Parade. Band members and parents complained to the Board of Education at its Tuesday meeting that it was too late to learn another song. Since they were going to play (rather than sing) the song, any Pate fan knows the solution is to have the band play the same music, but tell everyone they are playing "Wild Thing" or "Hang o­n Sloopy." UPDATE: The band will now be allowed to play Louie squared; never underestimate the power of public mockery.

CATS: Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na.... Cat Man! That's not makeup, that's tattoos and surgery! More pictures here.

BIONICS IS BIG at Wired this week, with an article o­n bionic eyes and another o­n bionic animals. I get the feeling PETA won't be happy about the chickens.

A NEW DINOSAUR discovered by paleonotlogists in the Utah desert was going vegan.

AL-QAIDA ROUND-UP:The Pakistani commandos who captured al-Qaida honcho Abu Faraj al-Libbi ambushed him by wearing burqas. "We are trying to arrest his other contacts, but news of his arrest was prematurely leaked to the media," said a Pakistani intelligence official. Nevertheless, raids across Pakistan Thursday resulted in the arrest of more than 20 other al-Qaida suspects. al-Libbi was said to be plotting new attacks o­n U.S. targets in Afghanistan and possibly on the American homeland itself.

U.K. ELECTION: Britons grudgingly returned the Labour Party to power for a third time o­n Thursday (a record for Labour), according to an exit poll of voters (for what such polls are worth), but the party may lose close to 100 seats, a worse-than-expected showing that may weaken Prime Minister Tony Blair.

BRADGELINA CAMBERLAKE MASH-UP: New York Daily News gossips Rush & Molloy note Pitt and Jolie's second hookup in Africa and Justin Timberlake's discomfort at being used as a dancing pole by Cameron Diaz.

GET THE FUGU OUT OF HERE! A man died in Nagasaki, apparently from poisoning caused by eating a puffer fish. Life (and death, sadly) imitates The Simpsons.

HOW DID IT GO IN? is a site devoted to theories explaining that incredible shot Tiger Woods made on the 16th hole of the Masters, illustrated with movie clips. Yes, o­ne theory involves a gopher.

INSIDE TV, a new weekly magazine from the publishers of TV Guide, is marketing itself as a TV Guide for women. At Slate, Dana Stevens asks, "Why o­n earth do women need their own TV guide?"

PEOPLE NEED TO GET THEIR HANDS OFF OF KIDS: A Deerfield Beach, FL baseball coach was arrested late Tuesday o­n charges of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl. Two men have accused the mayor of Spokane, WA of molesting them when they were boys and he was a sheriff’s deputy and Boy Scout leader.

JACKO JUSTICE -- BEATLES FOR SALE? Roger Friedman of FOX News writes that Bank of America has sold Michael Jackson's $270 million in loans to a private hedge fund called Fortress Investments. The fund stands to become a 50 percent owner in Sony/ATV Music Publishing if Jackson should default o­n the loan (and he is technically in default now). Sony/ATV, which holds a catalog of 251 Beatles songs as well as thousands of other compositions, including most of Bob Dylan's better-known songs and Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious," is valued at $1 billion.

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE: The Seattle Times' Tom Scanlon writes: "Atlantic Records, please, please do not mess this up: Ben Gibbard has written a remarkable, perhaps even perfect pop song. 'I Will Follow You Into the Dark' is not o­nly better than any song Gibbard has written, it's better than any song most people have written (notable exceptions: Dylan, Bob; Shakur, Tupac; Hooker, John Lee)."

A MUSIC RESEARCHER with Sun Microsystems complains that Digital Rights Management schemes interfere with the sort of research and innovation that created things like the MP3 format in the first place.

MADONNA is too busy to be godmother to Britney Spears' baby. So Madge is apparently not planning to settle all family business anytime soon.

ANN COULTER UPDATE: The dude who heckled her at UT Austin sends his message to the masses at the Daily Kos: "I am Ajai Raj, and I am a jackass."

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Matt Dentler, producer of the SXSW Film Festival, saw it and dug it: "This film makes the first two weak prequels well worth it... the film we've wanted for 20 years." Whitney Matheson of USA Today blogs that "the movie is incredibly satisfying and worthy of the positive buzz it's been given thus far." The Hollywood Reporter raves: "The final episode of George Lucas' cinematic epic Star Wars ends the six-movie series o­n such a high note that o­ne feels like yelling out, 'Rewind!'" Chinese actress Bai Ling ended up o­n the cutting room floor, perhaps because she will appear in the June issue of Playboy. An unemployed techie (shocking, I know) has written a comprehensive essay of literary influences o­n the Star Wars saga. ALSO: How a lightsaber works and how to choose the right o­ne for you.

SUMMER MOVIE MADNESS: Wondering what's coming after the Sith? There's a comprehensive round-up by category at efilmcritic.com. Sadly, I found this too late to enter the "March Madness" style contest, in which movies are bracketed and advance based o­n box office success.

IRAQ: Female marines are being integrated into line companies in combat for the first time, ironically due to cultural sensitivities in Iraq. Syria is detaining Saudis attempting to infiltrate into Iraq. Iraqi civilians who have suffered from U.S. military operations face steep obstacles in obtaining compensation for the deaths of their loved o­nes or material damage, human rights analysts say. It's criticism that would carry more weight if any of the groups quoted had complained even half as much about Saddam Hussein's regime. ALSO: In Cape Coral, FL, city officials spun into damage control mode in the face of public outrage that a city worker removed signs and yellow ribbons a mother had posted to greet her U.S. Army daughter as she returned home from Iraq. You shouldn't do that sort of thing in Matt Drudge's backyard; he'll get the word out, y'know?

A TALE OF TWO JESSICAS: In Las Vegas, Jessica Alba notes that Tobey Maguire needs a trip to the squeezing room and Jessica Simpson gets down o­n the dancefloor with Lance, our site administrator. Okay, I made up that last bit, but Lance was just in Vegas checking out the new Wynn hotel, so maybe that is him in the article.

BILL GATES is o­n a mission to defeat Google, which has morphed from a successful search engine into a software company and is emerging as a major threat to Microsoft's dominance.

SOPRANO PLEA DEAL? Vincent Pastore, who played Salvatore 'Big P--sy' Bonpensiero o­n the HBO smash, may cop a plea in connection with charges that he assaulted his former girlfriend.

CULT OF THE iPod: How dominant is Apple? The iPod Shuffle has 58 percent of the market for flash memory based digital media players. And a whopping 90 percent market share in hard drive-based players. ALSO: James Lileks gets random rock royalty o­n his Shuffle.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: Documents involving actions taken by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in the Oil-For-Food investigation have been given to Congress by Robert Parton, a former senior investigator o­n the supposedly Independent Inquiry Committee probing the $64 billion program, led by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. Congress has been trying to talk to Parton since he resigned, charging that the Volker committee was going soft o­n Annan. Last week, Volcker had tried to block such efforts by insisting that Parton and former investigator Miranda Duncan, both Americans, had diplomatic immunity. After Volcker failed to answer Parton's lawyer as to whether he would order Parton to defy the subpoena, Volcker's committee is some sort of sanction against Parton. This will o­nly make Volcker look worse if Parton's charges are proved out by the documents.

THE HUFFINGTON POST: Arianna Huffington tells the Online Journalism Review that her soon-to-launch celebrity group blog will never use ghost writers.

THE PENTAGON VS. BLOGS: The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence for Public Affairs thinks it has pretty good strategies for dealing with the media, but admits that they don't know how to handle critical bloggers.

PESKY BLOGS: It turns out that NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin doesn't know how to handle blogs, either. NPR posted a government report o­nline that bloggers discovered could be converted to show parts the government meant to redact; apparently, that's the bloggers' fault. He also doesn't like the "undisguised opinion" found o­n blogs, though some might argue it's better than the disguised opinion often found o­n NPR. According to Dvorkin, "bloggers tend not to care if they, and their readers conflate opinion and fact." Apparently, Mr. Dvorkin has never heard of The New Republic, National Review or The Nation? And any decent blog links to sources that the readers can evaluate themselves. What's really funny is at the end of the piece, Dvorkin mentions news organizations fighting to "regain their battered credibility," which ought to tell him something about what he's holding up as the gold standard.

LIT-BLOGGING: Author Adam Langer mentions the blogs he reads and asks other authors which blogs they read.

AREA 51: Folks are checking it out with satellite maps from Google.

YO HO, YO HO, A PIRATE'S LIFE FOR ME: The scourge of piracy is a potentially terror-related threat, according to Austin Bay and Jane's Defence Weekly.

TRENDS: Scientists find that trendy behavior, including patterns of applause at concerts, is imitative (duh!) and tends to follow the laws of magnetism. This might also explain some of how people react in disasters.

BOY FINDS SNAKE IN CEREAL BOX: Just in case you missed it elsewhere.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: The Random Vin Diesel Fact Generator. Be sure to hit you browser's "Refresh" button!

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