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Xmas lights video, Asobi Sexsu, The Hold Steady, Pandas and a Jackass Penguin   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 08:30 AM
Posted by: kbade


AS SOME OF YOU KNOW, I decorate more than o­ne Christmas tree each season. I know people who -- for various reasons -- won't be able to put up their own trees or be home for the Holidays, so I thought I would post a few of my tree (as opposed to my family's tree). This picture features a French-made astronaut and a moon-head (which always reminds me of the old McDonald's ad), as well as the Cat in the Hat. The valuable o­nes, however, are the goose (upper-right) and the Thomas Jefferson by Christopher Radko (lower-left). There are more pictures if you click the "Read more" link at the end of today's entry.

25,000 CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, computer-synched to music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, broadcasted by a low-power FM transmitter so that people driving around to view decorated homes can listen o­n their car radios. There's video -- with the music -- at the link. (Thanks, Debbie!)

BONO and THE GATESES may be Time magazine's Persons of the Year, but Paul Theroux, an author who knows Africa pretty well, is not a fan of any of them: "There are probably more annoying things than being hectored about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star in a cowboy hat, but I can't think of o­ne at the moment." And then he gets critical.

PITCHFORK has quietly become to this generation what Rolling Stone magazine was in the 1960s, but the Toronto Star wonders how long they'll be able to resist the "lame-ifying" forces of big money.

SEASON OF THE LIST: PopMatters lists the best 50 albums, the best 20 reissues, the best ten electronic albums and the best ten jazz albums. There's a Top 50 Singles list o­n the Pitchfork. The Underrated blog has its "Top 25 (er 28) Songs of 2005." There's a Top 20 list from Questionable Content. A Top 50 Albums countdown has started at Stylus. And there's o­ne at Rolling Stone, too.

ASOBI SEXSU: Chromewaves turned me o­nto this NYC band's mix of J-pop, noise-pop and shoegaze music. You can stream a few from MySpace, or download their cover of "Merry Xmas, Baby (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)," which sounds more like the Raveonettes with the female vocal.

IRON & WINE/CALEXICO: Joey Burns talks to the AP about bringing guests like Sufjan Stevens, Mike Watt and the Shins' James Merecer o­nstage and jokes that it was an "Internet hookup" that first got the bands together.

HEAVY METAL has gone to the dogs.

THE HOLD STEADY'S Craig Finn and Tad Hubler are interviewed o­n video by Spacelab at First Avenue in Minneapolis. And they talk about Minneapolis, too. Not to mention Cheap Trick and Triumph. Also, there are clips of the band playing.

CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS is staffed with geniuses who set up a concert, theatrical and sports portal at livenation.com without noticing that livenation.net is a hardcore p0rn site.

BILLY JOEL is movin' out of his pad in Miami.

JACKO may be saved from bankruptcy by Sony Music, as a foreclosure o­n some 270 million worth of loans by Fortress Investments would put Sony farther away from owning his half of the company.

MORRISSEY answers more fan mail, managing to opine that the US food industry is "more of a threat to the American people than so-called 'terrorism' is. Am I bleating o­n? ..." (Well, now that you mention it...) He also seems to advocate a nuclear attack o­n China for trading in dog and cat fur.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The supposedly sober supermodel unveils a clean-cut image in a new TV ad for Virgin Mobile.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: I guess we can figure out whose side Madame Tussauds is taking... Meanwhile, more tabloid rumors about engagement rings and a Buddhist-style ceremony at Pitt's Malibu mansion make the rounds.

ORLANDO BLOOM and KATE BOSWORTH were also spied checking out engagement rings.

JESSICA SIMPSON may have hubby Nick Lachey sitting for a 300K tell-all with OK! magazine.

KING KONG: The Box Office Prophets -- while still optimistic -- turn Monday Morning Quarterback.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was mocked by Nathan Lane o­n NBC's Today show, lecturing the fictional gay cowboys: "You're in the middle of nowhere! Get a ranch with the guy! Stop torturing these two poor women and get a room! What's the problem?"

TOM-KAT UPDATE: The ever-reliable Perez Hilton has more than o­ne source claiming that Cruise and Homes slept in separate bedrooms in NYC. Gawker analyzes People magazine's "Star Tracks."

SCIENTOLOGY: The L.A. Observed blog hooks you up to a bunch of L.A. Times stories o­n Scientology and Cruise's recruitment that some (meaning me) might find hair-raising. ALSO: Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley, Danny Masterson, Giovanni Ribisi, Leah Remini, Jenna Elfman, Catherine Bell and Marisol Nichols attended the grand opening of a new state of the art museum -- Psychiatry an Industry of Death.

CATE BLANCHETT returned to her native Australia o­n Sunday to appeal for calm following the recent race riots in Sydney.

DENIS LEARY and his Rescue Me co-stars and writers were dancing naked Irish jigs in the downstairs bar of o­no at the Hotel Gansevoort in NYC. Apparently, alcohol was involved.

SCARLETT JOHANNSON'S dress for the UK premiere of Match Point was banned in Britain. And E! channel gossip Ted Casablanca hears from more than o­ne source that Match Point director Woody Allen was enormously "taken by" Scarlett. Enough so that Soon-Yi was dropping by the set.

NICOLE RICHIE loves the Skeletor diet.

ELIZA DUSHKU may become as well-known for her dress as she is for anything o­n her resume, though her catsuit in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back isn't bad, either.

STACY'S MOM refuses alimony from Rod Stewart.

DAVID GEFFEN has sold off over 100 million worth of irreplaceable works of art in six months.

DARYL HANNAH may have Lyme disease.

CARMEN ELECTRA felt obligated to sleep with the high bidder o­n a charity date for the National Prostate Cancer Coalition -- and was relieved when he was disqualified. The bidder might also be relieved... if he ever heard the penne pasta story.

REESE WITHERSPOON was probably smiling as an arrest warrant was issued for a photographer who allegedly struck a 5-year-old child with his camera while trying to take pictures of Reese Witherspoon and her children at an amusement park.

IRAQ: The residents of Tal Afar now cheer US troops. The reporter contrasts this with Fallujah, but AFP reports that Fallujah is improving and "could well be a model of civil-military relations for the restive cities further west, especially Ramadi." The local leaders there have figured out that working with the US forces is ultimately the best way to get them to leave. Key Sunni Muslim leaders in Anbar province have concluded that their interests lie in cooperating with the US as protection against neighbors like Iran and Syria. These Sunnis want a reduction in military raids and an increase in development projects. The reconstruction element of the current strategy may be key -- in Pakistan and Indonesia, direct contact with Americans o­n a humanitarian mission, including military personnel, has has a large positive impact o­n how these countries view America and terrorism.

IRAQ II: As the US emphasizes reconstruction, there is a push for Iraqi Army units to take greater responsibility in providing from the planning and execution of missions. Iraqi blogger Omar writes that the now-governing religious Shiites probably won the largest bloc of seats in parliament, but not enough to form a government itself. They will be forced to join up with other parties or risk that a coalition of Kurds, Sunnis and secular Shiites will form the government. In the Washington Post, Jackson Diehl looks at the impact of Iraq's drive toward democracy elsewhere in the region. And the AP reporter embedded with the Army's 101st Airborne Division has figured out that a boring day is a good day. But in bemoaning that "when the history of the Iraq war is written, there won't be any letters from soldiers to their friends and family to chronicle their days in the field," he's overlooking e-mail and blogs.

HERE WE SEE THE PANTOMIME COW, enagaged in a life or death struggle for jobs running major world powers. Or it could just be Madame Tussauds again.

NSA INTELL: Yesterday, I noted that the press has largely missed the President's inherent legal authority under the Constitution to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance. Today, let's take a detached look at the politics of the issue. Before 9/11, when Bill Clinton was President, hardly anyone cared about the Echelon program, which we know eavesdrops o­n US citizens and has listed innocent people as possible terrorists. But after 9/11, if George W. Bush wants to eavesdrop o­n phone numbers found in al Qaeda's rolodex, Rep. John Lewis and Sen. Barbara Boxer think it may be an impeachable offense? If you were a politician, would you rather be arguing the side that foiled at least two major terror plots, or the side defending the privacy of people who -- as far as we know now -- have suffered no ill effects of the eavesdropping? If you can see how that might look to the generally apolitical center, you can understand Bush's immediate, aggressive pushback o­n the issue. And I wouldn't be shocked if Bush had a poll taken o­n it over the weekend, would you?

WHY I LOVE POLLS: Speaking of polls, CNN reports: "Iraq speeches, election don't help Bush." ABC News and the Washington Post report: "Bush's Support Jumps After a Long Decline; Americans Optimistic o­n Iraq, Economy."

TERROR IN SPAIN: Spanish police arrested 15 people o­n Monday who are suspected of recruiting al Qaeda fighters to send to Iraq.

LOST IN GERMANY: Two German women won a lawsuit against a casino after their husbands gambled all of their savings away. For their part, the husbands are no longer allowed to use the words "nest" or "egg."

PANDA REUNION: Sure, it happened last month, but it's still cute now. Perhaps they will match Basi, the Chinese panda who just celebrated her 25th birthday.

CHINESE WHITE DOLPHINS are getting refuge in the southeastern province of Fujian.

GIANT SQUID: Trapped in a block of ice!

GOATS may chew Kudzu for the City of Chattanooga, TN.

JACKASS PENGUIN snatched from a zoo o­n the Isle of Wight may die if not returned promptly. And yes, "jackass" is s type of penguin -- it makes a braying sound.

Read full article: 'Xmas lights video, Asobi Sexsu, The Hold Steady, Pandas and a Jackass Penguin'
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Vetiver, Girl Groups, Stars, Mentos explosions and Monarch Butterflies   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 19, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


5362 Reads

Feist, Peter Jesperson, Okkervil River, and Andi the Police Dog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 16, 2005 - 08:10 AM
Posted by: kbade


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Kong(!), Brendan Benson, Robert Pollard and a Panda Dog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


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The ISU Daily List, The National, BMRC and Sad Hamsters   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: With Christmas just around the corner, you might consider getting me o­ne of these:

The price might seem a bit steep fully assembled, but the kit version is o­nly 17 thousand.

BOB DYLAN will start a new career as a radio DJ o­n XM Satellite Radio next March.

ELVIS COSTELLO and ALLEN TOUSSAINT have recorded a new album in New Orleans.

SONY DRM DEBACLE is now under investigation by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the fourth such state investigation looking into whether Sony BMG violated privacy and consumer protection laws. In addition, a number of state and federal class action suits have been filed against Sony BMG.

SEASON OF THE LIST: Gorilla vs. Bear is killing music with his Top 33 songs of the year. The Minor Fall, The Major Lift lists "Music of Note" for '05, with a couple that haven't made the bulk of these lists. Canadians get more love of lists posted at Are You Familiar and pop (all love). And the lists from the staff at the Iowa State Daily are up. It seems that o­ne critic is heavily into death metal. And indie-rock chick Katie Piepel continues the Daily tradition of obscuring o­ne's face for the photo; she should send Jim Hemphill a royalty check. I wanted to obscure my face with o­ne of Hemphill's columns for my staff photo, but was denied.

TOMMY: Good thing he can't read Protein Wisdom. ALSO: Part Four of "Making Hippie music more palatable to Red Staters" takes o­n Stephen Stills.

SNOW PATROL is starting to record their next album. Don't be surprised if it's influenced by Sufjan Stevens.

BONO is still hanging out with former Sen. Jesse Helms. The two men dined and talked about their work o­n fighting the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

PINK FLOYD: Guitarist David Gilmour is putting out a solo album and hitting the road. Crazy diamond Syd Barrett is getting his own DVD in February.

THE NATIONAL: I don't remember where I just saw this, but there's plenty 'o' Quicktime goodness posted at SPIN magazine.

COOLFER fronts what's New at Online Stores, with iTunes adding 11 XTC albums and nine from... Foghat.

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB has announced tour dates, including cities where Pate members reside. If you haven't heard BRMC lately, you should check out the band's MySpace page.

SMITHS guitarist Johnny Marr and bassist Andy Rourke will perform together at an English charity show January 28 for the first time since the band split in 1987. Rumors have circulated that former Smiths frontman Morrissey will be involved in the show but at present there's no indication he will participate.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The supposedly sober supermodel will stay in the US rather than return to Britain, as a drug conviction in the UK might jeopardize her abililty to work in the States.

BRITNEY SPEARS gave Cletus the Ferrari again, but he's reportedly consulted a divorce attorney and been dumb enough to talk about it.

GAY GAUCHOS GLOM GLOBES NOMS is the headline I would write for Variety o­n the Golden Globe nominees announced Tuesday, of which Brokeback Mountain lassoed seven. Indeed, the Best Picture noms are all indie pics with grosses under 35 million.

KING KONG: Fwiw, Matt Drudge reports that Universal projects a 110 million dollar US opening, less than Revenge of the Sith, but more than the latest Harry Potter opening.

STACY'S MOM had to go to the hospital after suffering severe stomach cramps.

JUDE LAW and SIENNA MILLER: Apparently, if he cheats o­n her again, her dad will kill him.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN is accosted by someone yelling, "You ruined the Star Wars movies!" Granted, HC did seem like a block of wood, but doesn't most of the blame rest with George Lucas, who managed to make even Samuel Jackson seem stiff?

KATE BECKINSALE is doing naked webcasting for her husband when they're working apart. Where's a hacker when you need o­ne?

PLAYBOY MODELS busted for public intoxication o­n a flight to San Antonio allegedly tried to wiggle out of it in exactly the way you would imagine it in Playboy's Letters section.

JULIA ROBERTS -- and a bad photo of her, at that -- does not sell as many magazines as Bradgelina or Jessica Simpson. It seems that Jann Wenner could stand to hire me as a consultant.

TIME INC. is becoming People, Inc.

SUPERMAN RETURNS, albeit less super after the visual effects crew works over his codpiece.

THE FRENCH HOTEL is trying to reconcile... with Nicole Richie.

RACHEL McADAMS: Somewhat contrary to earlier reports, she did do the nude photoshoot with Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson for Vanity Fair. That's the kind of Hollywood trouper spirit we like to see.

CRUNKS '05: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections is sometimes serious, sometimes hilarious. With special musical guest Broken Social Scene.

IRAQ: Iraqi expatriates cast absentee ballots at polling places across the US in their homeland's historic parliamentary elections, some of them excitedly lining up before the polls opened and many driving hundreds of miles. The Officers Club blogs preparations for security to protect the voters in Iraq. Bill Roggio blogs about "Jihadis, Elections and Ramadi." And Ed Wong of The New York Times finds Sunnis in Saddam's hometown are working feverishly to get out the vote, even though they largely boycotted the January elections.

LEBANON: The second Mehlis Report o­n the assassination of Rafik Hariri by Syrian and Lebanese security authorities has been released. Syria's response was to rant and to claim it was cooperating with the UN investigation, even while trying to drag it out for years. France submitted a draft resolution in the Security Council extending and broadening the probe to cover other assassinations in Lebanon, prompting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to implicate France in a "conspiracy" and demand France investigate the "assassination" of Yassir Arafat. Michael J. Totten, blogging from Beirut, covers the reaction to the new wave of car bomb assassinations against anti-Syrian journalists and political figures in Lebanon.

CULT OF THE iPod: A study by psychologists at the University of Leicester found that while new technology has widened people's access to music, they pay less attention to it. Adrian North, who led the researchers, believes that the unprecedented quantity of digital audio now available over the internet which is also shared with friends has led to music being "cheapened" as a commodity. ALSO: Critics say iTunes-only downloads and inflexible pricing are hurting song sales.

SPARROW UPDATE: The sparrow which was shot dead for knocking over 23,000 dominoes in the Netherlands is to go o­n display at Rotterdam's Natural History Museum. The bird will be placed o­n top of a box of dominoes. o­n Friday, the bird's killer was fined 200 bucks for shooting a protected species.

DEPRESSED HAMSTERS help scientists study seasonal affective disorder.

DOGS really have no need to practice circumcision, do they?

DOG PANTING while playing or anticipating a much desired walk seems to be laughing.

RAMPAGING GEESE eat a school in Romania.

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