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Warren Zevon, Cutout Bin(s), Grindhouse, Stumpy the Duck   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, April 06, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



...with WARREN ZEVON!  I was remiss in failing to mention that some of Zevon's best known albums were re-issued last week, along with the fine live LP, Stand In The Fire.  So I'm making up for it with live video, starting with an excitable rendition of "Excitable Boy," followed by "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," "Jeannie Needs A Shooter" and his signature "Werewolves of London" (some of which you may need to preload for a few minutes, but worth it)-- all from Passaic, NJ, circa 1982.  BONUS:  An uncensored live take on "Lawyers, Guns & Money" from the ol' Nightmusic series, and "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" from the Late Show in 2002.  TRIPLE-BONUS:  Jackson Browne joins Zevon for "Mohammed's Radio" on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1976.

JOY DIVISION has a tribute sneaker from New Balance?  The story date is April 2nd, so maybe.  Sure looks cool!

NINE INCH NAILS is not one of my favorites, but I note that Trent Reznor's upcoming effort is already streaming from the Year Zero website.

DEAN & BRITTA talk about songwriting, working with producer Tony Visconti and more with Stylus.  They have a short set at the World Cafe streaming from NPR. (Thanks, Chromewaves.)

THE 25 BEST ROCK RUMORS EVER, according to Rolling Stone's blog.  Keith Richards makes the list, but I think he would have scored higher after the thing about snorting his father's ashes.  BTW, I don't think all of these are false; Roger Daltrey recently insisted that Keith Moon did indeed drive a car into the swimming pool at the Holiday Inn in Flint, MI.

CUTOUT BIN, Pt. 1:  This Friday's first batch of fortuitous finds from the ol' HM include: Harry Caray - Take Me Out to the Ballgame; Easybeats -  Friday on My Mind; Hoodoo Gurus - Death Ship; The Lemonheads - Different Drum; Calexico - Alone Again Or; Apollo Sunshine - I Was on the Moon; Black Lips - Not A Problem; Big Black - He's A Whore; T.Rex - 20th Century Boy; Sniff 'n the Tears - Driver's Seat; We Are Scientists - It's A Hit; Yo La Tengo - Dreaming (Blondie cover live); Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945; The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn!; Jefferson Airplane -Today; Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth; 13th Floor Elevators - You're Gonna Miss Me; and Tommy Shaw & James Blades - Time of the Season.

TEMPLE of the DOG:  The grunge supergroup plays "Hunger Strike," just because Winter is clinging to April.

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD of the UNDEAD, reportedly will not promote Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End after saying he snorted his dead dad's ashes.  Concerned Disney studio bosses have decided the Rolling Stones guitarist is too unpredictable.  Or, as the kids like to say, "D-uh!"

REUNIONS:  Given the current rash, Jim Farber of the NYDN writes about the real reasons why bickering bands reunite.

THE NEW PORNGRAPHERS' frontman A.C. Newman spills all sorts of details about their upcoming album to Pitchfork, starting with the likely title, Challengers.  He also talks about the odd feeling he gets from the current nolstalgia for the period in which he grew up -- something to which original Pate fans probably relate.  Other good stuff in there, too.

CROSBY, STILLS & NASH:  An Aquarium Drunkard has posted a two-parter of CSN demos from 1969.  And you can jukebox 'em via the ol' HM.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS say they plan to take it easy in 2007 -- which by DBT standards includes recording a new album, releasing long-awaited solo releases from Jefferson Hood and Jason Isbell, and a short "semi-acoustic, kind of turned-down tour" that Hood says will emphasize the storytelling that gets lost behind the "wall of guitars."

CUTOUT BIN, Pt. 2:  This Friday's second batch of fortuitous finds from the ol' HM include: Harry Caray - White Sox Color Commentary; Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - I Fought the Law; Rockpile -  Teacher, Teacher; Buddy Holly - That'll Be the Day; The Raveonettes - Red Tan; Sam Cooke - Chain Gang; Jonathan Richman - Velvet Underground; The Drifters - There Goes My Baby; U2 - Everlasting Love; Dobie Gray - The "In" Crowd; Aretha Franklin - Chain of Fools; Wilson Pickett - 634-5789; R.E.M. - Tighten-Up; Dionne Warwick - I'll Never Fall In Love Again; Billy Bragg - Saturday Boy; Graham Parker & The Rumour - Local Girls; They Might Be Giants - Birdhouse in Your Soul; Mark Mothersbaugh - Margaret Yang's Theme; Yonder Mountain String Band - Ooh La La; and Mott The Hopple - All The Young Dudes.

GRINDHOUSE:  So I went to the Thursday night opening, purely as a service to you, the Pate visitor.  And as I have about seven minutes to deadline, this will necessarily be about first impressions.  To sum up:  Oh. My! ICYDK, the concept here is a Robert Rodriguez - Quentin Tarantino "double feature," complete with trailers (directed by folks like Rob Zombie and Eli Roth, and featuring at least one totally wacky cameo).  This effort is definitely more of an homage to the fromage of exploitation flicks than a reinvention of the genre -- closer to From Dusk 'Till Dawn than Pulp Fiction, though certainly kicked up several notches in the gore department.  Folks will differ as to which half they prefer.  Most advance reviews seem to think less of Rodriguez's Planet Terror, but zombies and a go-go dancer with a machine gun leg is at the very least not a bad opening act.  And I did hear a few people liking it better than Tarantino's Death Proof -- which is a mix of Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Duel and (of course) Vanishing Point. The usual excellent soundtrack throughout, too.  A good time was had by all, laughing and grimacing simultaneously, with absolutlely no redeeming social value.

ROSE McGOWAN and ROSARIO DAWSON, btw, are wearing nothing but ammo on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone to promote the "double feature."  US Weekly has excerpts from their chat with RS.  McGowan is asked about some of her past relationships (including Marilyn Manson), but apparently was not asked about her reported relationship with long-married-with-five-kids Grindhouse director Robert Rodriguez. Maybe the mag saved that part for itself.

NOW SHOWING:  In addition to Grindhouse, which is currently scoring 88 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, three flicks went wide on Wed and Thurs ahead of the holiday weekend, including: the family comedy Are We Done Yet?, which is scoring 10 percent; Hilary Swank with the quasi-Biblical horror of The Reaping (06 percent); and another family comedy, Firehouse Dog (37 percent).

BRADGELINA:  The New York Post has noticed (as Gawker and I already did) that US Weekly, Star and other celebrity weeklies are so fed up with Jolie's cozy relationship with People magazine that they've turned on Jolie and Pitt with a vengeance.  Page Six relays some of the digs, including this one: "When Jolie is in L.A., even though she has four full-time nannies, she leaves her three eldest kids at the $931-per-month preschool/day-care center on the Warner Bros. lot, Star reports, where other parents are upset with the special treatment Jolie gets. One flashpoint is a ban on cellphones because Jolie fears parents will take pictures of her kids."

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, and we now officially learn that Smith's friend and psychiatrist, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich prescribed all 11 medications found in the former Playmate's hotel room at the time of her death.  Entertainment Tonight, who frequently used Dr. Eroshevich as a source (and reportedly paid her for interviews as part of a complex deal cooked up by Howard K. Stern), reports that the shrink is being investigated by the medical board of California.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  On March 23, after Cruise told Holmes she hadn't been cheerful enough in public, Katie "ran out of the house," says an insider close to the couple in the uber-reliable In Touch Weekly.

REESE & RYAN BREAK-UPDATE:  People picks up on the persistent rumor that Reese Witherspoon has waded back into the dating pool with Jake Gyllenhaal, her costar in the upcoming CIA thriller Rendition.  A newer, and less reliable rumor is that Ryan Phillipe is dating Scarlett Johansson.

WHITNEY & BOBBY BREAK-UPDATE:  Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown's divorce has been approved in court and will become final on April 24th.

JENNIFER LOPEZ:  The massive attempts to save her singing career -- and even her acting pursuits -- aren't going too well; Roger Friedman picks through the wreckage for you.  TMZ has what looks like the spin from the J-Lo camp, but Shakira's Spanish-language LP sold more than three times as many copies in its first week.  The last J-Lo album sold more than five times as many copies.  And J-Lo sales have been declining since 2001.

SIENNA MILLER was among those evacuated from London's fashionable Cuckoo Club early Thursday after reports that an air gun had been fired by one of its revellers.

WHY IS THIS SATURDAY DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER DAYS?  Because ABC has its annual showing of The Ten Commandments, a grand spectacle featuring acting from Edward G. Robinson and Anne Baxter that is so over-the-top that Yul Brenner starts to look good by comparison.  And while Robinson's Dathan never actually spoke the line "Where's your Messiah now?" in the movie, it  -- like "Play It Again, Sam" (not spoken in Casablanca) -- has become part of a part of our culture. The line actually comes from Billy Crystal (sample), originally a bit from the Oscars, iirc. It later turned up o­n The Simpsons, with Chief Wiggum playing Dathan to Ned Flanders' Moses.

IRAN:  Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted no deal was done to free 15 Royal Navy crew members, as they arrived in the UK after being held in Iran for 13 days.  The New York Sun claims that a White House decision to release an Iranian diplomat on Tuesday may have been part of a deal.  London's Guardian cites a source close to Iran's Revolutionary Guards as saying the detention of five Quds force members in Iraq was not a motive for the capture of the Brits, but became a negotiating point afterward.  The Christian Science Monitor reports that the hostage release probably does not mean that Tehran now will be more flexible in its ongoing standoff with the West over its nuclear program.  In the Washington Post, Robin Wright reports that experts think Tehran is likely to pay a long-term price for the detention drama, again appearing to undertake rogue actions in violation of international law and coming under pressure even from allies like Syria and other Islamic countries.  Much of the rest of Wright's piece, however, is as Mullah-friendly as her track record would have predicted.

IRAQ:  Iraqi paper Al-Mada is reporting on a possible parliamentary reform plan that would create a "troika" whereby the president, prime minister and speaker of the parliament would equally share the governing of the country, perhaps with a sectarian formula in mind, whereby a Kurd, a Shia Arab and a Sunni Arab would respectively occupy the top three spots.  Bill Roggio looks at US and Iraqi forces preparing the battlefield in Diyala province, with an eye toward kicking into full gear in late May or early June.  It looks like the Anbar tribes fighting Al Qaeda are meeting in Baghdad this month as a step toward greater political and security cooperation.  Bing and Owen West have background and a current dispatch from Anbar.  Blogger Michael J. Totten is in Northern Iraq, where he filed a picture filled dispatch detailing his meeting with the Kurdish Peshmerga.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:  Stumpy, the four-legged duck, who was not expected to live for very long after his birth on February 2nd.

SUICIDE SQUIRREL disrupts an election in Eau Claire, WI.  In Gwinett County, GA, the Daily Post has awakened to the squirrel threat.

SUICIDE SNAKE takes down the power grid in North Queensland, Australia.  Are we seeing the beginning on a Squirrel-Snake Axis?

MICKEY the BOSTON TERRIER, who disappeared four years ago from his suburban Kansas City backyard was found in Montana and reunited with his owners this week.

THE OBLIGATORY PEEPS ITEM:  I coud not let the season pass by without pointing to this rich roundup of  Marshmallow Peep links, including games and Peeps suffering the ten plagues in Egypt.  The Arizona Republic has the scoop on the new Splenda-based, sugar-free Peeps.  The Charleston Daily Mail has a recipe for Gourmet Peeps.  And manufacturer Just Born, Inc. has the results of the annual Peeps survey, showing (among other things) that the third favorite way to enjoy Peeps is by microwaving them.

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Hitchcock, Stooges, Covers, Mothersbaugh, Coyote   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


ROBYN HITCHCOCK and the EGYPTIANS play "I Got A Message For You," "Uncorrected Personality Traits" and "Listening to the Higsons" at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit Michigan on April 7, 1988.  Robyn drops a brief F-bomb between the first two, so careful.

THE STOOGES:  You can watch a live set via Yahoo! now.  They will be streaming their DC gig from NPR tonight, and on-demand starting tomorrow.

SON VOLT frontman Jay Farrar tells Metromix that he could see an Uncle Tupelo reunion... when they're in their 70s.  There's also a video of Farrar playing "The Picture" at the link.

THE MKOB COVERS PROJECT is back with a bang, streaming multiple covers of "Wild Horses" and "Ring of Fire."

LESLIE FEIST is asked five questions by Spinner.  She doesn't really answer most of them, but her non-answers are much more entertaining than the non-answers we get from other interviewees.

PHIL SPECTOR:  Prosecutors in the producer's murder case say they have new evidence that he threatened women with violence, including ranting at comic Joan Rivers' annual Christmas party that women "deserve to die. They all deserve a bullet in their ... head."

LILY ALLEN:  Posting her live cover of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" the other day reminded me to post the version of her single "Smile" recorded in Simlish -- the languaged used in The Sims videogames.  (Here's the original.)  Nor is Allen the only artist to have recorded in Simlish; bands like The Flaming Lips and Barenaked Ladies have as well.

YOU'RE GONNA MISS ME:  GvsB will hook you up with the trailer for this documentary about 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson's downward spiral.

MARK MOTHERSBAUGH, currently readying a trip to China with his wife to adopt a second child, talked to the Phiadelphia Inquirer about all things Devolutionary, including the impact his old band had on his 2½-year-old daughter: "After she went on tour with Devo last year, saw Dad in the yellow suit, she couldn't get enough. Between that, the Devo 2.0 (kids singing Devo songs) CD and live DVDS I have of us, she's a Devo fan. That's become her obsession. Devo was her first word. She knows all our songs -- choreography, too."

CAMERA OBSCURA:  Being the sort of person who cares what's on the flip side of a record pays off here, with the band's cover of ABBA's "Super Trouper."

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  For the first time in a decade, it's likely that the supposedly sober supermodel will not make FHM's annual list of the "World's Sexiest 100 Women."  A spokes man for the mag told Page Six: "I think the average guy on the street prefers someone that's a little more womanly," but with Keira Knightley set to score big on the list, one has to wonder whether her troubled singer-fiancee is not a factor.  Indeed, someone has made a Doherty action figure, complete with crack pipe.

BRITNEY SPEARS writes off Fed-Ex as her "biggest mistake," while her agents worry about her lack of focus.  That last link adds that there was no evidence of substance abuse; for those sorts of stories, you need to ask Kim Kardashian's publicist.  BONUS:  An upcoming episode of CSI:Miami will start with a starlet who shaved her head  and is killed during a stay in rehab.  Why not?  Fed-Ex guest-starred on CSI in October as a foul-mouthed gangbanger.

JOHN TRAVOLTA was forced to make an emergency landing in Ireland on Monday while piloting his private jet from Germany to New York.  Do you think he blames the Thetans?

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  The Tom-Kitten gets her hair done every week: "She is always naked and no one's allowed to talk around the baby," laughs a snitch.

COURTNEY LOVE:  Egotastic has a new photo gallery of her hideous liposuction job.

JESSICA ALBA, shooting a remake of the Japanese supernatural thriller The Eye, says, "It's a lot more interesting for me to play someone who is blind and a classical violin player than someone who is running around in the rain wearing a white T-shirt."  To her, maybe.  As for the violin playing in the movie, "All the notes are accurate. I am playing the actual notes of the music," she said. "But (on set), it just sounds like a cat in heat."

JESSICA BIEL has beaten Scarlett Johansson to the top of Stuff magazine's latest 100 Sexiest Women list.  Top Ten at the link.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON has insisted she is ready to bare all on the big screen for the right part, but for now, she is insisting on a no-nudity clause in all of her movie contracts.  A source is quoted by Britain's Daily Express newspaper as saying: "She doesn't want to fall into being too controversial or too trashy so nude scenes are out for now."

BRADGELINA:  Jolie's brother James Haven is again rushing to her defense... sort of.  Haven conceded that his sister likes to be the leader in her relationship with Brad Pitt: "All great leaders are controlling."

PAULA ZAHN is divorcing her husband of 20 years, real-estate developer Richard Cohen, and is said to be seeing a new man, Conti Group CEO Paul Fribourg.  That was fast!

NTTAWWT:  The cover of Out magazine's "50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America" features two people who, afaik, are not actually "out."

HALLE BERRY, getting a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, wished "you all could be inside me right now to know how it feels."  And so did the assembled crowd.  Plus, she "officially" stated that she is an "emotional retard."

EASTER:  A British supermarket chain, in its attempt to sell more chocolate eggs, issued a press release saying that "many young people don't even know what Easter's all about," then claiming that the tradition of giving Easter eggs was to celebrate the "birth" of Christ.

IRAQ:  The security situation in Baghdad has improved enough that the Iraqi government is going to shorten the capital's imposed curfew; ABC's Terry McCarthy visited five Baghdad neighborhoods where the locals said life is slowly coming back to normal.  In the accompanying video report, McCarthy says the new strategy is having a "large and positive effect" so far.  The Fadhila Party, involved in negotiations over rejoining the governing coalition, is insisting on conditions for in exchange for its return.  Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's office has issued a statement denying that he opposes the draft de-Baathification law.  Blogger-documentarian J.D. Johannes has returned to Iraq; he has posted pics and video of the welcome he got from heavy machine guns, RPGs, mortar fire and two suicide truck bombers.

IRAN:  Pres. Ahmadinejad said Iran would free the 15 detained British sailors and marines as a "gift" to the British people, though he also criticized Britain for sending a woman to the Gulf: "Why don't they respect family values in the West?"  Just prior to the hostage release, a former member of the US military intell looked at the linkage to the fate of those five Iranian "officials," arrested by the US military in Iraq back in January.  Coincidentally,  Iranian TV reports that the US is going to let an Iranian envoy meet with the five Quds Force members captured in Irbil.  And this is all before Iran gets a nuclear bomb, so consider it a warmup; ol' Mahmoud is nobody's sweetheart.

A BABY DUCK feeds the carp in Japanese Koi pond.  Awww...

GIANT SQUID are appearing off the coast of northern California and apparently not promoting Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.  Video at the link.  BONUS:  The dateline for this story is Bodega Bay, CA.

A COYOTE wandered into the Quiznos sandwich shop at 37 E. Adams in downtown Chicago the other day.  Hardly the strangest thing you're going to see in downtown Chicago, but here's your video goodness.  There is also video of his release yesterday in Barrington, IL.  Having lived in Barrington, I can say he should fit right in.

FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS ride horseback under the influence of a controlled substance.

A SPIDER MONKEY escaped from a Mexico City zoo, but was busted for misbehaving on the bus.

DOGS are taking yoga classes in Seattle/King County, WA... though the first picture suggests they are in training for the wheelbarrow race.

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Hold Steady, Elk City, Jarvis Cocker, Gromit   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


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New Releases, Covers, Advance Brendan Benson, Knut Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BREATHE:  The Shins covered the Pink Floyd classic at the Kentish Town Hall last week.  The Jeffito blog has posted a Floyd gig from 1975, which you can stream via the ol' HM.

NEW RELEASES from Fountains of Wayne, Jarvis Cocker and Kings of Leon are streaming in full from Spinner this week.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED is streaming songs from those new releases, as well as advance tracks from Wilco, Bright Eyes and Richard Thompson.

THE CURE frontman Robert Smith has reportedly teamed up with "singer" Ashlee Simpson for a collaboration on her new album.  And I Feel Fine.

JOHN LENNON may have been the only person in the world who could get away with stubbing out his cigarette on a Matisse.  You would think he would have more repect for his fellow artist.

ALANIS MORISSETTE covers the Black-Eyed Peas' "My Humps."  No, really.  As only she could.  It may be her best track in a dozen years.

BRENDAN BENSON:  GvsB will hook you up with new demo tracks, including "Feel Like Taking You Home" and "Poised and Ready."  There's even more streaming at HisSpace.

CLASH MAN IN HAMMERSMITH PALAIS:  Former Clash basist Paul Simonon took an axe to the stage of the Hammersmith Palais during a gig by The Good, The Bad and the Queen played Sunday as a farewell to the venue, which is scheduled to be demolished for a block of flats.  Former Clash documentarian and current Mick Jones collaborator Dickey Letts DJed between sets.

BLOWIN' IN THE WIND:  Over at MKOB, Dodge is streaming covers and Bob Dylan's various versions of the song.

IGGY POP paused for an interview with NPR after a L.A. concert promoting the first Stooges CD in 30 years, The Weirdness.

SAD KERMIT covers Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt."  No, really.  As only he could.  It may be his best track in a dozen years.  Very NSFW.  There's more at HisSpace, too.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie is already planning to adopt a girl from Chad to "balance the family," according to Britain's uber-reliable News of the World.

ANNA NICOLE SMTH IS STILL DEAD and a Bahamanian court not only rejected Howard K. Stern's attempt to seal the DNA tests of Anna Nicole's infant daughter, but also penalized Stern to the tune of $10,000.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON struggled while acting with co-star Eric Bana in the upcoming The Other Boleyn Girl, as she couldn't stop looking at his codpiece.

WARREN BEATTY is so vain that he definitely thinks that song is about him.  Yeah, that song.  But I think we know who it was really about.

BRITNEY SPEARS beat Michael Jackson to take the No. 1 spot in the Eighth Annual "Most Foolish American" survey sponsored each year by New York publicist Jeff Barge: "Going commando, mutilating your own head, baby-bobbling -- they've all been done before individually... But combining them, that's like a triple-axel of foolery."

NAVEEN ANDREWS, probably best-known for playing a former Iraqi soldier on Lost, talked to London's Telegraph about how Sex Pistol Steve Jones helped him get off drugs.

GO, SPEED, GO!  Susan Sarandon and John Goodman are in negotiations to play the parents of Emile Hirsch in the live-action version of Speed Racer being directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski.

JENNA JAMESON:  The pr0n queen may lose her legit movie deal due to an allegedly botched vaginoplasty.  And that, my friends, is a phrase you don't get to use very often.

ROSIE O'DONNELL continues her meltdown at her blog, contending that any criticism of her oft-debunked 9/11 conspiracy theories  ravels the the fabric of our democracy.

CAVEMEN GET NO RESPECT:  None of the three actors who play cavemen in the beloved Geico commercials will get to star in the ABC comedy they've inspired. (Thanks, Dad.)

SEVEN MINUTE SOPRANOS:  With the acclaimed mob drama returning to HBO for nine final episodes starting Sunday, this video recaps seven seasons in seven minutes.  Yes, there's profanity.

IRAQ:  A Mideast think tank claims that suicide bombings against civilians have increased dramatically since the start of the year and are deadlier than ever.  However, US casualties in March were the lowest since November, and while civilian casualties bounced back to pre-"surge" levels nation wide, they are down 25% in Baghdad and nationwide remain about half of their peak from last September.  The new draft de-Baathification law is drawing opposition from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and from the Shia chairman of the current de-Baathification program.  US Amb. David Satterfield remains optimistic that parliament will approve a law governing its oil and natural gas despite growing opposition.  The Pentagon has helped reopen three factories shuttered after the 2003 invasion, seeding the ground by buying uniforms and armored vehicles from two of them.  Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Saddam Hussein's cousin, widely known as Chemical Ali for his use of poison gas against the regime's opponents.

IRAN:  Iran softened its rhetoric in the ongoing diplomatic dispute with Britain over the 15 kidnapped sailors and marines, promising not to show further television confessions as a reward for "positive changes" in the British negotiating stance.  The BBC and the Times of London cover the likely negative effect of the mob of hardliners besieging the British Embassy in Tehran.  Looking at the bigger picture Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria argues that the international sanctions containment strategy is working -- to a point, but is it?  As the BBC notes, "Iran is used to being isolated. The US has imposed an economic boycott since 1979 and the Security Council is currently banning trade in nuclear and missile technology, yet Iran goes ahead with its uranium enrichment anyway."  BTW, ABCNews reports that Iran has more than tripled its ability to produce enriched uranium in the last three months, and thus could have enough material for a nuclear bomb by 2009.

KNUT UPDATE:  Last week, I noted that the absurdly cute polar bear cub who escaped a fatwa from animal rights activists seemed set to become a political tool of climate change activists.  Sure enough, he's on the cover of German Vanity Fair  and sharing the cover of American Vanity Fair with Leonardo DiCaprio.  There's a photo gallery and video at the mag's website.  BONUS:  Here's a fan-made video for Germany's new hit song, "Knut Ist Gut."

LOVESICK SWAN UPDATE:  Petra, the rare Black Australian swan that fell in love with a peddle boat is back courting its plastic lover after spending the winter in a German zoo.  Zoo director Joerg Adler said: "This arrangement could go on for ever, the swan obviously believes it has found a partner for life."  Pic at the link.

PETS ARE LIVIN' LARGE at the "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" pet spa and resort in Maine.

THE BOX JELLYFISH has its human-like eye on you -- and has 23 to spare.

WHITE SQUIRREL descended from escaped carny squirrels barks like a dog in Texas City, TX.

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Train Songs, Ted Leo, Lily Allen, Otters Holding Hands   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, April 02, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THE DECEMBERISTS frontman Colin Meloy cites a fairly obscure song by Robyn Hitchcock, "The Ghost Ship," as a major influence on his songwriting.  So it's no wonder that Meloy was all smiles when Hitchcock joined the band to play "Lost Madonna of the Wasps" last month.  If only the sync on the clip was better...

TOP TEN TRAIN SONGS:  At Stylus, Nick Southall has a list of his favorite train songs, mostly obscure ones (it is Stylus, after all).  IGN has a list which at least acknowledges upfront that "we've left off some obvious numbers ('Casey Jones' by the Grateful Dead" for example, songs by Roger Miller and Johnny Cash, too), but we went with our guts, our hearts, and the first 10 songs that popped into our brain with a subconscious sense of entitlement."  Though I might take a few from those lists, I don't know how songs like "Mystery Train," "City of New Orleans," "Train Kept A Rollin'," "Night Train," "It Takes A Lot To Laugh (It Takes A Train To Cry) (live)," "5:15" (live with an F-bomb, but the bass solo by The Ox rawks),  "I Often Dream Of Trains" (with a bonus), "People Get Ready," and "Downtown Train" made neither list.  And Johnny Cash has so many (including "Folsom Prison Blues") that I would be tempted to go with "I've Got A Thing About Trains."

REUNIONS:  Everyone from my Dad to Mother Jones has noticed the rash of rock reunions in recent months.  Guess which one linked here?  However, the rumored Neutral Milk Hotel reunion was an April Fool's joke.

TED LEO & THE PHARMACISTS hit the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC last Thurdsay, so you can stream the gig (and an interview) from NPR now.

MUSIC LEAKS:  The Christian Science Monitor reports that -- brace yourself -- Indie record companies are using controlled (and sometimes uncontrolled) leaks of new music to generate buzz.  Who'da thunk it?  Idolator notes that the leak of the new Modest Mouse LP did not stop it from debuting at No.1 on the Billboard chart last week.  Both items just make BBspot's RIAA Lawsuit Decision Matrix all the more funny.

LILY ALLEN tells the San Diego Union Tribune: "I've never hesitated to say what's on my mind," and the paper provides plenty of examples... though they missed my fave, in which she says she not only wrote a nasty song about an ex, but also slept with all of his friends.  All of which is prelude to this clip of Allen covering Blondie's "Heart of Glass" last week at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, OR.

PAUL WELLER gobbed on a framed picture of Sting hanging at the Royal Albert Hall.  And it's not the first time that 55-year-old Sting has been subject to a mouthful by the former Jam frontman.

PETER BJORN & JOHN were interviewed by NPR over the weekend, but were not asked about the similarity between their best-known song, "Young Folks," and the asian riff that kicks off "Turning Japanese."

THE GENEAOLOGY OF POP/ROCK MUSIC is a wonderful print (be sure to use the "zoom" tool).  Artist Reebee Garafolo explains it a bit at that link and at this link.

THE 20 WORST ROCK LYRICS... but then again, no... courtesy of Spinner.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but we just found out that none of the 11 drugs that were found in her hotel room were prescribed to her -- though they were all written by her shrink.  And that the drug that killed her was stored in a duffel bag, though she supposedly was too sick to get out of bed without assistance.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Blades of Glory skated into first place with million (Will Ferrell's second-best opening), followed by Disney's Meet the Robinsons with $25 million (about in line with movies like Open Season).  300 raked in another $11.1 million.  Last week's leader, TMNT, skidded into fourth place (probably due to Meet the Robinsons), but has made more than ins $34 million budget already.  Wild Hogs rounds out the Top Five with $8.3 million.  Shooter dropped from third to sixth, and will struggle to break even.  Premonition hung around in seventh place and has made almost twice its $20 million budget.  The Last Mimzy skidded from fifth to eighth, another likely casualty of Meet the Robinsons.  The Hills Have Eyes 2 also dropped three slots, but has broken even with its $15 million budget.  Reign O'er Me rounds out the Top Ten, while the near-wide release of The Lookout made $2 million, with an eighth-place per screen average.

HEATHER MILLS is still playing the "my leg might fly off card" this week for Dancing With The Stars.

JOHN TRAVOLTA -- who owns five private jets -- is concerned about global warming as only a Scientologist can be:  "I'm wondering if we need to think about other planets and dome cities." 

JACKO, denying reports that Jackson had been hospitalized with pneumonia, had his rep say that he is "a little bit under the weather," but hasn't sought hospital treatment.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise has a hand-me-down stalker from John Cusack.  How the mighty have fallen.

ALEC BALDWIN has taken his share of criticism for his outspoken politcs, but he was so moved by the story of 18-year-old Pvt. Resha Kane's departure for Iraq that he's going to help pay for her college education after she leaves the military.

HOWIE DAY is  advertising he was in rehab with Britney Spears.

MIA FARROW wants to know: "Does Mr. Spielberg really want to go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games?"  The Nazi comparison is -- as usual -- overdone.  But Spielberg may want to look at the ethical issues raised by helping the PRC on the PR front.

GRINDHOUSE directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez' show Entertainment Weekly -- and the rest of us -- their ten favorite movie posters.

ROSIE O'DONNELL had a full-on 9/11 conspiracy theory meltdown on The View last week; she gets really wacky about four minutes into the clip.  Her particular rant has been debunked many times, but Popular Mechanics did a special debunking, just for her.

CHOCOLATE JESUS UPDATE:  An angry choir of outraged Catholics, including Cardinal Edward Egan, forced the cancellation of a planned Holy Week exhibition featuring a life-sized, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ.  The hotel and the gallery were overrun Thursday with angry phone calls and e-mails about the exhibit, reportedly including death threats.  Anyone making such threats should be caught and subject to appropriate legal action.  Those threats also have had some comparing this to the Danish Cartoon Jihad.  Those people forget that the cartoons appeared after film director Theo van Gogh was murdered by an Islamic fanatic, and a lecturer at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute in Copenhagen had been assaulted for reading the Koran to non-Muslims.  They also forget the hundreds killed and wounded in the cartoon jihad, not to mention the embassies, churches and businesses torched by extremist riots, the million-dollar fatwa and the jailing of some who published the cartoons.  Religions have their fanatics, but some religions seem to have a lot more of them.  BTW, the artist says offers to buy or exhibit the piece have been pouring in.

IRAN:   Britain is in "direct bilateral communication" with Iran over the 15 sailors and marines captured by Tehran.  British ministers are preparing a compromise deal to allow Iran to save face and release its 15 British military captives by promising that the Royal Navy will never knowingly enter Iranian waters without permission.  British options are limited because 48 percent of Brits are opposed to using force (even as a last resort) and the US is unlikely to back military action until diplomacy and possible sanctions have forced Iran to climb down over its nuclear program.  Indeed, the UK is a nation which is now dropping the Holocaust and the Crusades from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils.  At least the Telegraph's legal editor has figured out that the Iranian handling of the prisoners could have broken international humanitarian law.  The kidnapping appears to have caused a split in the Iranian military, according to a report in the Times of London.  Monty Python's Terry Jones thinks the Iranian treatment of the sailors is much better than how the US treats prisoners, managing to overlook the difference (recognized in the Geneva Conventions) between interrogating enemy combatants seized in battle and the unprovoked kidnapping of soldiers in uniform who did not fire on the Iranians.  Not to mention that when US soldiers cross the line, they are prosecuted and punished, as opposed to the official policy of Iran.  And that if this standoff continues, Iran may well resort to beatings, mock executions and such, just as they did after taking US hostages in 1979.  In Germany, Der Spiegel ran a piece outlining the big-picture differences between Iran and the US.  Jones should read it.  At the very least, he should consider what would have happened to him had he made a picture like Life of Brian, but using Islam as the backdrop for his satire.

IRAQ:  In Baghdad, radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a mass protest on April 9th, while Pres. Talabani says the  Mahdi Army has stopped its activities on al-Sadr's orders.  ITM's Omar Fadhil writes about a US search of his Baghdad home.  James Wixted crunches the numbers on the effect of the "surge" so far, to mixed results.  The Kurdish rep to the United States says Iraqi Kurds are afraid they will again be left in the lurch if US troops are forced to leave next year.  So it's good news that the Iraqi govt has endorsed a decision to relocate and compensate thousands of Arabs who moved to Kirkuk as part of Saddam Hussein's campaign to push the Kurds out of the oil-rich city.

IRAQ at HOME:  Congress has gone on Spring Break without appointing people to work out the differences in the bills to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They will not return to DC until until April 16-one day after the Pentagon says it must get the emergency funding for troop operations to avoid cutbacks.  The differences between the House and Senate may not be quickly resolved.  The Congressional Research Service says that the Army could continue to wage war through July without additional funding from Congress, though not without affecting training and readiness, which could lead forces now in Iraq and Afghanistan to have their tours lengthened.  MSNBC had video of a Seattle-area sailor home from a seven month tour in Iraq surprising his six-year-old son in his classroom Friday.  Have the Kleenex handy.

OTTERS HOLDING HANDS:  More aww...some video.

SQUIRREL POWER:  Never underestimate the power of the North American Gray Squirrel.

KAMIKAZE GOOSE  smashes a Skoda on a British motorway.

PET HOARDING goes really arwy, as 30 dogs, 20 cats, seven doves, four finches, two parakeets and one parrot die in a fire at a hoarder's home in Southampton.

A BABY TAPIR makes its public at the Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland.  Here's what it looks like.

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