...AND THE OSCARS WENT to these folks. Crash upset Brokeback Mountain -- screenwriter Roger L. Simon voted for Paul Haggis' screenplay while ripping it: "(D)espite the author's fake values and absurd vision of Los Angeles, he didn't have much competition and I had to vote for something." But the biggest upset of the night was "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" winning Best Original Song. Keira Knightley, Salma Hayek and Jessica Alba looked great; Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron, not so much. Playing music in back of the acceptance speeches was not only an awful idea, it made everyone nervous, messing up their speeches and probably making them longer. Jon Stewart probably did better in TV Land than in the Kodak Theater. There was a fake video of Tom Hanks shown on keeping the speeches short, But I would like to have seen the Hanks video on speechifying given to the nominees. George Clooney, accepting Best Supporting Actor, praised Hollywood's progressive world view -- as did a later film montage -- when a close look shows Hollywood is a lagging cultural indicator. Paul Giamatti was robbed again. The Academy Pres. and Jake Gyllenhaal were given the job of begging people to go to the theater and not watch stuff at home on DVD. Jake did it introducing a montage from "epic" movies -- which was ironic, given that no epics got major noms this year and Jake is speaking to a TV audience... though Don Knotts must not have made the deadline for the dead guys montage. Richard Pryor wins Most Applause For Dying This Year. Philip Seymour Hoffman won Best Actor (as expected), but did not bark or meow, so I'm a little disappointed. Reese Witherspoon winning Best Actress, gave a classy speech, thanking not only her family, the Cashes and the Carters, but also T-Bone Burnett "for helping me realize my lifelong dream of becoming a country music singer."
THE RAZZIES were dominated by Jenny McCarthy and her little-seen Dirty Love, by which I mean the movie. Hayden Christensen and the French Hotel were also among the dishonored. In a nice bit of irony, this year's ceremonies were largely indirectly funded by Ben Affleck.
THE INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS went to these folks, many of whom were also Oscar nominees. As I write this, the Oscar for Best Actress has not been awarded, but I can confidently predict that if Felicity Huffman gets the Oscar, her speech won't be as good as her Indie speech.
SEX PISTOLS have signed away their back catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group. To quote Johnny Rotten (and Pate bassist Mike Kelly): "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"
PINK FLOYD: Roger Waters has invited Nick Mason and Richard Wright for the performance of Dark Side of the Moon. David Gilmour is working up the courage to visit Syd Barrett.
GARY GLITTER was sentenced to three years in jail for molesting two 11-year-old girls. That seems light, though it is a Vietnamese jail.
SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Last Monday, I broke my own rule by posting The Bangles two weeks in a row, but with fresh snow on the ground in the Windy City, I give you the third -- The Bangles' version of Simon and Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter." A TIP: If the video doesn't stream nicely for you, hit the "pause" button when it starts playing and let the video preload a bit.
YOU TUBE: Newsweek asks whether the video sharing service is the video version of Napster (No, it's more like MySpace, imho). Besides, some copyright holders are embracing the site, like MTV2.
JOHNNY CASH: Revelatory, stripped-down tapes from the early 1970s have been discovered in his archive. Personal File, a two-CD set with forty-nine previously unissued solo Cash tracks, is due in May. "This is his 'Basement Tapes,'" says Steve Berkowitz of Legacy Recordings.
LEONARD COHEN has been granted a nine-million-dollar judgment against his former manager, but the devil is in the details. It's a default judgment, which is usually pretty easy for the defaulting party to vacate. And even if it stands, you still have to be able to collect the judgment.
BIKINI KILL is reuniting for a new album and tour.
MUSIC PRICE-FIXING PROBE has been opened by the Justice Dept., tracking a similar investigation by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
NICK SYLVESTER was taken off Pitchfork in the wake of his fabrication scandal at the Village Voice.
ARCTIC MONKEYS frontman Alex Turner is scared he's becoming a bit sensible.
NEKO CASE gets interviewed by the Washington Post about working solo and with the New Pornographers, as well as her steadily increasing audience: "Well, I don't mind the slow climb. That's okay with me because I'm not going to a fat farm and I'm not going to be on reality TV. I need to tour. [Laughs.] I gotta be blue collar about this or otherwise no one's going to know that I'm playing music."
BOB MOULD talks about the brave new world of digital music: "The problem now is for the consumer to wade through all these different things coming at them from different directions... The next step is people have to filter it, which has been happening with MP3 blogs and websites like Pitchfork and Stereogum. Whoever controls distribution wins the game."
PODCASTING: Tower Records plans to let folks create their own podcasts using a catalog of some 6,000 songs, which Tower will provide free of charge.
OF MONTREAL frontman Kevin Barnes talks about the flip side of even mild success: "''There was a time when we could play anything live. Now it's maybe 15 percent of the audience that knows the older stuff -- a lot of people have only seen the video or heard the radio song."
BONO has upset Bolivia by ccepting a small guitar from Chile.
PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer should realize how serious his drug problem is when recovering addict Ozzy Osbourne offers to intervene: "Sharon was a rock to me and if he came to stay with us she'd sort him."
NATALIE PORTMAN rapped for Andy Samberg on SNL. We'll see how long it takes NBC lawyers to get it removed from YouTube. UPDATE: It didn't take long at all, though you can watch it now at NBC.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion /www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/">held the top spot for a second week. 16 Blocks came in second, with Eight Below in third place, leaving Ultraviolet and Aquamarine in fourth and fifth place. Dave Chappelle's Block Party came in seventh, making only 6.5 million -- but that's not bad for a budget of three million.
JESSICA SIMPSON packed on the pounds in the wake of her split from Nick Lachey. Meanwhile, in a bit of MTV surreality show symmetry, Lachey is reportedly hooking up with Laguna Beach babe Kristin Cavalleri.
JACKO: Jermaine Jackson is full of dish in his bombshell book proposal, including that he's not sure Jacko was innocent of child molestation and his children by ex-wife Debbie Rowe were fathered by a "sperm donor."
MADONNA had to explain her kissing Britney Spears to her nine-year-old daughter.
JAMES WOODS has a new girlfriend -- 19-year-old Ashley Myrick -- the daughter of Woods' longtime golf buddy John Myrick, who has reportedly given the union his blessing.
REESE WITHERSPOON confesses that she and husband Ryan Philippe have attended marriage counselling.
GEORGE CLOONEY admits: "I've slept with too many women, done too many drugs, and I've been to too many parties." None of which will cause him to think twice about lecturing everyone else on how to live.
BRADGELINA: Rumors swirl that the couple have secretly married already. Pitt's ex, Jennifer Aniston, reportedly wrote and sent Pitt a 3 page letter to vent and purge him from her system.
PAMELA ANDERSON objects to breeding for large breasts... in chickens. "Why can't they just get poultry-sized implants?" asked the ex-Baywatch bombshell. Okay, I made the quote up, but you were thinking it, anyway.
LOHAN LOWDOWN: The teen queen appears in candid photos taken by friends and posted on the 'net which seem to include paraphrenalia that might hinder future Disney movies.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON having tantric sex? Current beau Josh Hartnett says as much in an interview where he also talks about his failed attempt at celibacy. So -- as I always suspected -- there really was no acting in 40 Days and 40 Nights.
SPIKE LEE dislikes Condoleezza Rice more than Pres. Bush: "While people were drowning in New Orleans, she was going up and down Madison Ave. buying Ferragamo shoes. Then she went to see Spamalot." Lee is apparently unaware that Rice is Secretary of State -- a position that deals with foreign policy. Had she been shipped down to Nawlins, Lee would be complaining that she was being stuck into it to make it look like Bush cares about black people.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY has agreed to star in a film of Ian McEwan's best-selling novel Atonement, which will reunite her with Pride and Prejudice director Joe Wright.
IRAQ: The US and UK are planning to pull out of Iraq by spring 2007, according to two British newspapers. US officials deny there is a set timetable, but (imho) it's probably a goal the US would like to reach. CBS relays US intell suggesting that al Qaeda in Iraq is planning what one source calls a "Big Bang" to try to spark civil war. Ralph Peters is in Baghdad looking for the civil war, but finding the locals cheering US troops. More territory is transferred to the command of the Iraqi Army as weekly attacks in the Anbar province dropped to 104 from 145. Democratic pollser Mark Blumenthal looks more closely at the controversial Zogby poll, concluding: "All we know for certain is that the poll was not a random sample of the population of all U.S. troops in Iraq." Michael J. Totten blogs from Suleimaniya, with pictures from the museum documenting Saddam's genocide against the Kurds. Gateway Pundit notes the mosque bombing is helping unite Sunnis and Shia in Bahrain.
IRAN: As the UN's nuke watchdog meets today, the man led Iran's nuke negotiations explains how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic program, knowing that if they were honest, they would be referred to the UN Security Council.
CARTOON JIHAD: In the New York Review of Books, Law and Philosophy Prof. Ronald Dworkin frets that publishing the Mohammed cartoons may play into the hands of Islamic extremists, but concludes that "Ridicule is a distinct kind of expression; its substance cannot be repackaged in a less offensive rhetorical form without expressing something very different from what was intended. That is why cartoons and other forms of ridicule have for centuries, even when illegal, been among the most important weapons of both noble and wicked political movements. So in a democracy no one, however powerful or impotent, can have a right not to be insulted or offended."
HURRICANE KATRINA: Friday night -- when almost no one would notice -- the AP admitted it falsely reported that Pres. Bush was warned about possible levee breeches before Katrina hit Nawlins. And the media seems keen to rehabilitate Michael Brown now that the unqualified crony is pointing a finger at DHS chief Michael Chertoff. Apparently, we all hallucinated all of those e-mails where he's worrying about where to have dinner and what to wear on TV.
CANADIAN OIL: Oil sands deposits in Alberta are so vast that American pipelines are reversing flow.
COW ABDUCTION: You've been warned.
CELEBRITY PETS: Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe are giving their marriage another chance because they can't decide how to divide up their pets. Denise Richards has called in Hollywood's top "dog whisperer" to control her mischievous mutts, who may be traumatized by the actress' split from Charlie Sheen. Sienna Miller and Jude Law confirm their split as she dumps their dogs on his doorstep.
MUSHKIE THE CAT has been forced to burn through a few of those nine lives.
ROCKY THE DOG sealed a real-estate deal in Missouri.
DOGS like both kinds of music -- country and western.
WALDO THE PARROT is the lead singer of the crushing death-metal band Hatebeak. He has competition from Caninus, which is fronted by two pit bull terriers, Budgie and Basil.
BOBCAT survives being shot through the head with an arrow that lodged between the animal's eyes and out through the skull. That must be one wild and crazy cougar.
ANIMAL RIGHTS EXTREMISTS CONVICTED, face three to seven years in prison and fines up to 250K. The president of the group to which the defendants belong, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, used to be Lucy Van Pelt.
GIANT WORMS are destroying ancient rice terraces in the Philippines.
CUSTOM LAB MICE can cost as much as 100K.