THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE (NO FOOLING):
CARDSTACKER: Bryan Berg holds the Guinness World Records for the World's Tallest House of Cards and World's Largest House of Cards. He previously served as design faculty for three years in the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University, where he received his Professional Degree in Architecture in 1997. No glue was used to make the structures pictured above or at his site. No fooling.
KAISER CHIEFS break bad on Franz Ferdinand. Lotsa crabby rockers this week.
FRANK BLACK AMERICANA? Frank Black recorded his forthcoming disc, Honeycomb, in Nashville, with musicians like keyboardist Spooner Oldham, guitarist Steve Cropper, and drummer Billy Block. It's coming out on July 19th through Back Porch Records, a roots, rock, and Americana imprint of EMI.
VIC CHESTNUTT has started a song blog, with downloadable demos and such.
DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS Jason Isbell and Michael Cooley talk to the Riverfront Times of St. Louis. Though Isbell says their music is more rural than Southern, Cooley says, "the 'Southern rock' label doesn't annoy me. When you put out a double album called The Southern Rock Opera, you can't b*tch."
PETRA HADEN SELLS OUT: You can stream another bit of her a cappella recreation of The Who Sell Out from NPR. If you missed my earlier post about her, scroll on down to Monday, March 28th.
SIN CITY OPENS TODAY: Roger Ebert gives it four stars: "It's a visualization of the pulp noir imagination, uncompromising and extreme. Yes, and brilliant." But Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum gives it only a C+: "Glued tightly from page to screen, Sin City is so seduced by the visual possibilities of sin that style becomes its own vice." Film Rotation has your boss A-B comparisons of panels from the the graphic novels and frames from the movie -- some mildly NSFW, BTW.
PRODUCT PLACEMENT SPREADS to Broadway, including Spamalot.
TROUBLE IN MUNCHKINLAND: Always is, once an agent gets involved.
DIGITAL CINEMAS: Maverick billionaire blogger Mark Cuban is building the first all-digital theater empire, according to Wired magazine.
A WOMAN GIVES BIRTH IN A GAS STATION, but that wasn't the weirdest part of her day.
NATIONAL TREASURE: Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger will plead guilty to taking classified material from the National Archives, a misdemeanor, the Justice Department said Thursday. Berger removed handwritten notes by putting them in his jacket and pants and took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio. He returned most of the documents, but some still are missing.
PAT O'BRIEN thinks indie rock sucks. Not really, but it's pretty funny to consider. I'm sure the real Pat O'Brien isn't nearly as hip as the one in this column.
POST-PUNK FASHION: Seeking to emulate their favorite music-makers, fans have helped propel retro eyeglasses into popularity, according to the Mpls. Star-Tribune.
BILLY CORGAN AND ROBERT SMITH sing the Bee Gees. No, really.
ROBYN HITCHCOCK: The Boston Herald reviews his live show which --unlike the one Ken King and I saw -- featured a set of requests. And "Kung Fu Fighting."
NEIL DIAMOND is going to work with Rick Rubin.
OH, BROTHER! Big Brother and the Holding Company wants to audition replacements for Janis Joplin with a television reality show.
YAWNING IS CONTAGIOUS, even among animals.
TED KOPPEL intends to leave ABC News in December.
THE FRENCH HOTEL: While at a rock concert, She Who Must Not Be Named and Kim Stewart (Rod's daughter) ducked into a stall in the ladies room, prompting an impatient lass in line to yell, "At least save some for us!" The story gets worse from there.
IRAQ: Mammoth stockpiles of WMDs discovered buried in the desert outside Basra. April Fool! U.S. intelligence on Iraq was "dead wrong," a presidential commission reported on Thursday. Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. As many as one out of four veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq treated at Veterans Affairs hospitals in the past 16 months were diagnosed with mental disorders, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Mudville Gazette compares the statistics from that study to statistics for all Americans, with interesting results. Insurgent attacks have fallen dramatically since the election and the number of U.S. deaths reported in March dropped to the lowest in a year. The Associated Press hastens to add, "But the news isn't all good." Turkey is expected to give the go-ahead to the United States to use an air base in southern Turkey as a logistics hub for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
LEFT OF THE DIAL: Air America celebrates its first anniversary. Jon Sinton, president of programming, calls it a "smashing success." The Fall 2004 Arbitron ratings for listeners 12 and older showed the ''progressive talk radio network" lagging near the bottom but making notable progress over previous formats, said spokesman Joe Mazzei. Notably, the net has gotten a boost from Clear Channel Communications, once a bete noire of the left.
CULT OF THE iPod: Euan Lindsay has targeted fellow students at Glasgow University with anti-iPod flyers. Mercedes-Benz is set to become the first car manufacturer to integrate the iPod, including free "Mixed Tape" music downloads. In a profile of Houston-based podcasters, the writer suggests that some corporations are geting into sposoring or advertising on podcasts.
NANOTECH: This one is probably only for Pate mastermind Jon Pratt, as it invovles thin-film shape memory alloys. I've also discovered Roland Piquepaille's blog, which had entries on: (1) fluorescent and stable nano-probes which can stay inside a cell's nucleus for hours or even days, which should help biologists to better understand nuclear processes that evolve slowly, such as DNA replication, genomic alterations, and cell cycle control; and (2) NASA's plans for robotic nanotech swarms on Mars... in 2034.
ZIMBABWE: PubliusPundit rounds up coverage of the beginning of the election, which international human rights organizations and the European Union already call phony. A blogger from the opposition party claims that electoral officers are being instructed not to publish the results of poll immediately following the completion of the vote count at each polling station. As noted by Publius, "The results of the vote will be announced (after) 48 hours, just enough time for the ballot to be falsified."
DEMOCRATIC DIAGNOSIS: In the American Prospect, Kevin Mattson argues that Democrats should rely less on 60's-style protest tactics and study how the GOP built its infrastructure over the decades. In the magazine's blog, Matthew Yglesias argues that there is a limit to that approach.
THIS JUST IN: He held grudges, couldn't stand criticism, craved attention and had a tendency to bully others, according to a re-discovered 1940s psychological profile of Adolf Hitler. The report said that if Germany were to lose the war, Hitler might kill himself. The full report is at the Cornell Law School.