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Links: My Favorite Work of Art edition   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, February 14, 2005 - 09:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

CLAUDE PATE AND THE GRAMMYS: ONE DEGREE OF SEPARATION!

That's Jerry Lee Lewis on the left with Pinetop

One of the areas where the Grammys did well this year was in its awarding of Lifetime Achievement Awards. Among the honorees were Janis Joplin (who received a televised tribute sung by Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone), Jerry Lee Lewis, the Carter Family, Art Blakey, Morton Gould, Jelly Roll Morton, the Staple Singers, and 91-year-old Delta blues pianist Pinetop Perkins. o­ne of Claude Pate's drummers, Jon Hahn, has played with the legendary Perkins.

AND THEN THERE WAS LED ZEPPELIN: The British quartet that opened the door to heavy metal (and whose name was originally one Keith Moon proposed during a period when it appeared the Who would break up) was also belatedly recognized by the academy, though they did not have to wait as long as Perkins, I guess. I caught of glimpse of Jimmy Page looking surprisingly good, by which I mean not looking like o­ne of Keith Richards' legions of the undead. The Crowley thing must be working for him. It's a shame John Bonham didn't live to see the day they won a Grammy, but my tribute will be to point you to a site which purports to have some John Bonham outtakes available to download for the next few days.

BRIAN WILSON, MusiCares Person of the Year, was honored with an all-star tribute concert over the weekend as part of the Grammy festivities. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Earth, Wind and Fire, Barenaked Ladies (no, not palying "Brian Wilson"), Jeff Beck, Darlene Love Neil Young and more took part before Wilson finished the evening, which, imho, would make a nice CD release. Although Smile did not win Best Pop Vocal Album (being wiped out by the Ray Charles disc), "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" won Best Rock Instrumental Performance . Given that Wilson's original effort to record this track are a legendary disaster and emblematic of Brian's second breakdown, the award takes o­n additional meaning. Finally, o­ne of the odd moments of the Grammy telecast was during the all-star version of "Across The Universe" (the proceeds from which go to tsunami aid), when Brian looked more comfortable o­n stage than Norah Jones. The number also showed how much taller Brian is than most pop musicians.

Tweedy may feel differently now that he wonWILCO took Best Alternative Music Album for A Ghost Is Born, not that Jeff Tweedy cares. Tweedy recently told The Birmingham News: "I can't say that having Grammy nominations means an enormous amount to us. I don't see it as being a validation of anything. To be really blunt, I don't have a lot of respect for the artists that have won Grammys. "On the other hand, it's very exciting to be nominated for a Grammy because it makes your parents happy."

THE FULL LIST OF WINNERS is up at the Grammys site. In general, it was a big night for the late Ray Charles and Alicia Keys.

AND TO DIGRESS for a moment, mentioning Jon Hahn reminds me that another good reason to hit Austin for SXSW would be for the BBQ.

REMEMBER, IT'S VALENTINES DAY! Looking for a last-minute valentine? How about downloading a EPS file of the cards Lisa and ralph exchanged so many moons ago o­n The Simpsons? Or maybe go straight to the designer sex toys.

IRAQ ELECTION UPDATE: The Shiite parties' 48 percent of the vote is far short of the two-thirds majority needed to control the National Assembly. Thus, the situation will require formation of a coalition government, which should allay the fears some had that a resounding victory by the Shia would move Iraq toward theocracy. As an aside, I would like to complain about something the press almost always gets wrong. News accounts, including the o­ne I just linked, tend to break down the population of Iraq into Shia, Sunni and Kurds. The Kurds are an ethnic minority, not a religious o­ne. Many Kurds are Sunni muslims, so this breakdown is technically inaccurate. The press is using the term Sunni to refer to the non-Kurd Sunni population in central Iraq that gained the most under Saddam and is the most supportive (though certainly not completely so) of the insurgency. It's shorthand, but sloppy. And that doesn't even consider the degree to which Iraqis align with their tribe above and beyond their religion.

IT'S OFFICIAL: Former Vermont Gov. and presidential candidateHoward Dean took the helm of the Democratic National Committee o­n Saturday. "This is a revolutionary redefinition of the party chairmanship," said Brian Lunde, a former national party official who, during the 1980s, helped several Democrats win the chairmanship. "We are moving into totally uncharted waters." FWIW, I think Dean hits it o­n the head in saying that the path to success for Democrats in national and congressional elections is to win races from school board o­n up.

Marilyn is the one on the leftDEATH OF A PLAYWRIGHT: Arthur Miller, a giant of 20th-century American literature and o­ne-time husband of Marilyn Monroe, died of heart failure at his beloved Connecticut farm o­n Friday, aged 89.

NOT LOVIN' IT: McDonald's has agreed to pay 8.5 million dollars to settle a alifornia lawsuit over artery-clogging trans fats in its cooking oils, the company said Friday. No doubt Ronald is happier with the 14 states that have passed so-called "common sense consumption" acts, dubbed by some as "cheeseburger bills," that bar people from seeking damages in court from food companies for weight gain and associated medical problems.

XTINA: Engaged to her longtime boyfriend. He's a music executive instead of a backup dancer.

WHAT'S NEW, PUSSYCAT? Tom Jones is fed up with ladies chucking their knickers at him. "If I'm doing a ballad and trying to create a mood, then undies appear from nowhere and then it's a problem," he said.

INDIE ICON ANI DIFRANCO is unhappy with the state of our society and her industry: "The corporate overthrow of our whole society does not help any of us independent or small-business owners," she says, likening media consolidation to mom-and-pop stores driven out of business by megachains. "On every level of the music industry, indie record stores are closed, indie promoters locked out of venues because Clear Channel has bought up every last live performance venue and has exclusive deals with their corporate promoters, indie radio completely gobbled by corporate conglomerates with very restrictive play lists." But when the music world gets like this is when things get interesting, imho. Punk and the original DIY movement came out of a similar environment. This time, I think it will happen (or is happening) through the internet.

NAPSTER'S UNLIMITED MONTHLY DOWNLOAD DEAL appears to have a huge hitch in the not-so-fine print: all of your music disappears if you unsubscribe.

CNN EXEC RESIGNS UNDER BLOG PRESSURE; Having noted last week that liberal bloggers forced the resignation of a conservative reporter for a web site run by a conservative activist, balance dictates that I note that CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan quit Friday amidst a furor over remarks he made in Switzerland last month claiming that journalists had been "targeted" by the U.S. military in Iraq. Although most accounts of Jordan's remarks in Davos have him backtracking after being challenged by Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and David Gergen (who has worked for Presidents of both parties), bloggers found a pattern of Jordan making such claims against U.S. troops and Israeli Defense Forces. The session was "off the record" but videotaped; apparently, Jordan made a judgment about what that tape would show if released. Incidentally, o­ne of the people often quoted in support of such claims tells The Mudville Gazette -- a blog written by a soldier in Fallujah -- that Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Jornalists misquoted him.

XBOX is being used to train U.S. troops in Iraq. "Moreover, the military does not allow booze or prostitution for the troops in combat zones these days. So compelling electronic entertainment solves a potentially serious morale problem."

HIP-HOP CONFIDENTIAL: Karinne Steffans, the legendary hip-hop groupie/video vixen/wannabe actress who goes by the nickname "Superhead," just signed a "lucrative" deal with HarperCollins' imprint Amistad books to "tell all — and we mean all," which amy iclude tales about Usher, Jay-Z, Chris Rock, Ja Rule, Ice-T, Vin Diesel, Xzibit and Sean 'Puffy' Combs."

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Links : Get 'Em Out By Friday edition   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, February 11, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

FRIDAY TIME-WASTER: Band to Band interactively charts the degrees of separation between bands.

Having a laugh at Ryan's expenseRYAN, BRYAN AND ROBBIE: Ryan Adams recently had someone booted from his Nashville gig for requesting "Summer Of '69." Adams personally refunded the guy the $30 that he paid for the ticket and kicked the guy out, refusing to continue the show until the guy had left the theatre (though he really didn't leave). Now, Robbie Fulks has posted an offer o­n his website, encouraging people to inundate Ryan with requests for Bryan songs by offering free merch from the Fulks o­nline store.

WILL IT BE A SUICIDE BLONDE? A reporter for the Chicago Tribune's Metromix auditions for INXS Rock Star, the new Mark Burnett show that's looking to replace the band's late, great lead singer, Michael Hutchence.

MICKEY KAUS has a nice post about the mutli-culturalism of rock up at Slate, which has not learned to do permalinks, forcing you to scroll down to February 9th.

CONSERVATIVE WRITER JEFF GANNON, who attracted attention by asking President Bush a loaded question at a news conference last month has resigned amid questions about his identity and background. The question drew the attention of liberal blogs (including DailyKos, Eschaton and Media Matters) that discovered Gannon was not his true name and that web sites such as hotmilitarystud.com, militaryescorts.com, and militaryescortsm4m.com, allegedly were registered to the same owner as Gannon's personal Web site. Kelly McBride, who teaches media ethics at the Poynter Institute, said the investigation of Gannon's personal life crossed traditional boundaries and was characterized by ''mean-spiritedness and snarkiness."

BLOGS ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF REPORTING, creating situations where the mainstream press feels it has to cover something it wouldn't ordinarily. Baltimore Sun reporters Abigail Tucker and Stephen Kiehl then write:

"Of course, o­nline news sources can be, and often are, wrong. In 2004, Matt Drudge - the blogger best known for breaking the Monica Lewinsky scandal - posited o­nline that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was having an affair. But when the mainstream media began chasing that story, it proved groundless."

Putting aside the debate over whether Drudge should be considered a blogger, had Tucker and Kiehl taken a minute o­n the internet, they would have found the story Drudge ran, which reported that the mainstream press was already chasing the story, which ultimately fizzled out. Drudge did not drive the press o­n the story. Rather, the press drove Drudge -- as was the case with the Lewinsky story, where Drudge reported that Newsweek had the story, but had decided not to run it in the next issue. So I guess the Baltimore Sun should be o­n the list of o­nline news sources that "can be, and often are, wrong."

AL FRANKEN rules out running for the Senate in Minnesota in 2006. Franken made the announcement due to reports that he might jump into the race after incumbent Sen. Mark Dayton announced that he will not seek re-election. Dayton stated that he did not believe he was the best candidate to keep the seat in the hands of the Democrats, adding, "I cannot stand to do the constant fundraising necessary to wage a successful campaign." Late last month, a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll found Dayton's approval rating had fallen to 43 percent.

A SPECIAL ANTI-TERRORIST COURT in Britain has released a man it found "actively assisted terrorists who have links to al-Qa'eda" because the man is clinically depressed. Prison is dpressing -- who knew?

BRAD AND JEN UPDATE: Brad has moved o­n to model -- who'da thunkit? The NYDN Daily Dish also reports bad behavior by Jessica Simpson's himbo and Lindsay Lohan sharing a toilet stall with a friend for some reason.

GOLDEN FIDDLE relays the following blind item from gossip e-list Popbitch: “Which no-longer-newly-wed blonde had a recent affair with a movie co-star? (According to her friends, the jackass taught her to enjoy rimming.)"

JESSICA SIMPSON is again denying rumors of any impending split with husband Nick Lachey after tabloids ran pictures of Lachey surrounded by cheerleaders at a Super Bowl party in Jacksonville, and reports of a dinner with an ex-girlfriend.

ON THE PITCHFORK: A good review for Triple Your Workforce, by the Four Volts. I checked out their downloadable MP3s at Amazon. Pretty good, pretty good; pretty neat, pretty neat.

BIOPOLITICS is a fledgling political movement that could make mortal enemies out of o­ne-time allies -- such as back-to-nature environmentalists and technophile lefties -- and close friends of traditional foes, such as anti-biotech activists and evangelicals.

NORTH KOREA publicly admits it has nukes; it had been privately admitted for some time already.

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED are also most likely to choke under pressure, according to a new study.

MICROSOFT is releuctant to disclose more of its source code to other programmers, in part because there are "inappropriate comments" in the code.

WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG and o­n your own, how did it feel to be alone? It turns out that love really can break your heart, though it's not the o­nly thing that can.

He also toured supermarkets in the 1950sELEKTRO, the o­nly survivor of a group of eight robots created by Westinghouse in Mansfield between 1931 to 1940, as well as a star of the New York World's Fair in 1939 and a sexploitation flick called Sex Kittens Go to College, will return to a Cleveland museum in September.

STARSHIP FEDERATION: being formed by America's top rivals in the private-sector space race.

TELEPORTERS: The Air Force isn't buying them to beam the troops in behind enemy lines. At least, not until they get that whole ending-up-with-a-fly's-head thing worked out.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA has been renewed by the Sci-Fi Channel. As noted here before, I grudgingly admit that it's like some leftovers -- better the second time around.

LUIS VUITTON has won a suit in a French court to stop Google from displaying ads for competitors when users searched for the luxury goods maker.

THE FOURTH AMENDMENT IN CYBERSPACE: A columnist argues that a Supreme Court decision o­n canine-assisted roadside searches opens the door to a new regime of Internet surveillance.

I liked him when I saw him.BEN LEE talks to the Telegraph about his latest disc, Awake Is The New Sleep, which drops at the end of the month.

NELS CLINE, who is wielding his axe for Wilco -- having played with Mike Watt, Thurston Moore, the Geraldine Fibbers, MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, the Blue Man Group, and Rickie Lee Jones (to name a few) -- is profiled in Guitar Player.

NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED EDITOR David Shipley has split from his wife, Naomi Wolf, the feminist author of "The Beauty Myth," who famously advised Al Gore to wear earth tones during his 2000 presidential campaign.

CULT OF THE iPod: Howard Stern may end up in iPods, if Sirius exec Mel Karmazin can realize his vision of adding satellite radio to MP3 players. ALSO: iPodlounge has grown from a o­ne-man niche website into a professional publishing operation with big plans, according to Wired News.

"STICK 'EM UP, I HAVE A GUB" is the inspired headline for the story of the Spelling Bee Bandit, who cops believe intentionally misspelled words in his demand notes to convince cops they were chasing an illiterate crook.

LEO AND MARTY, TOGETHER 4EVER? Following Gangs of New York and The Aviator, DiCaprio and Scorsese are remaking Infernal Affairs and Drunken Angel.

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Links: The Name of the Motel Was the Wagon Wheel edition   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

NOT in VainJOE STRUMMER has a locomotive named in his honor.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: He's trying to rehab, so the Babyshambles have pulled out of their NME awards gig.

GLENN REYNOLDS (the Instapundit) takes a well-deserved shot at music industry lawyers filing suits generated by robots.

BRAD AND JEN UPDATE: It looks like Jen has moved o­n to Vince Vaughn, baby!

SLATE seems happy to be free of Mister Softee.


More theremin!PIONEERS OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC: NPR's Morning Edition runs a piece o­n Louis and Bebe Barron, who opened o­ne of the first private sound studios in America and manipulated the sounds of electronic circuits to create the score to Forbidden Planet.

A SAFE-DRIVING PLAYLIST is being compiled by Ann Althouse, who just bought an Audi TT after totaling her VW Beetle.

HABITAT FOR HARASSMENT? Habitat for Humanity International has fired its founder (and his wife) amid a dispute over his allegedly inappropriate conduct toward a female staffer, though it found insufficient evidence to substantiate the sexual harassment allegations.

TONYA HARDING has undergone the transformation from ice skater to boxer, according to the Boston Globe. If you look at the before and after pics, you will see that is a vast understatement. For legal reasons, fill in your own punchline.

He cannot handle pressure?BILLY JOEL has been hospitalized after suffering severe gastric pains, but was set to be released Wednesday.

THE MINOR FALL, THE MAJOR LIFT posts an unusual Top 10 Song list.

GETTING HIT IN THE HEAD WITH A BEER BOTTLE has its silver lining, if it causes doctors to discover a brain tumor that could have killed you.

OKLAHOMA JUDGE resigns and faces charges for playing with a pump in court. The judge claims this sort of thing ain't my bag, baby.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: Get quarter million dollar bonuses from the network, with the rest of the cast getting lesser raises.

WHEEL MOM: It was all in the family for murder and robbery suspect Christopher DiMeo.

Miss him, miss him...PAUL IS DEAD, according to one dude's photographic analysis.

YMA SUMAC: To think that I almost forgot about her. Many moons ago, Paul Miller became a fan after hearing her stuff from his contact at the Electric Foetus.

WEB HITTING THE BIG TIME? Oscar news sites are now hosting screenings and becoming venues where the studios promote their projects to Oscar voters. In NYC, fashion sites "are inundated with A-list invitations and the endless supply of swag o­nce reserved solely for the city's magazine editors and television producers." And Levi Strauss & Co. is looking for bloggers to model their clothes in advertising.

IS THE POPE CATHOLIC? That's just o­ne question answered in the Shortcuts column at the Guardian. Also scroll down to read about o­ne woman's love for Darth Vader.

The cocktail would taste betterA PAIN IN THE NECK: a 29-year-old football coach in California had a rusty nail lodged in his neck since last summer.

NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT: A German zoo has imported four female penguins from Sweden in an effort to tempt its gay penguins to go straight.

IS THAT A GUN IN YOUR PANTS, OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME? Turns out it's a gun, but it was in prison, so I had to ask.

COPYRIGHT is probably no way to make a living for most recording artists.

She's no Lindsay LohanASHLEE SIMPSON: Dissed by mean girls at the mall.

BABY SPICE sells 5,380 copies of her new album in the U.S.


TROUBLE IN THE TRAILER PARK? Mr. Spears is partying like he's single. Britney is re-thinking her stated eagerness to have children as soon as possible, according to Life and Style magazine.

NANOBOT covers a presser co-sponsored by the NanoBusiness Alliance and the Congressional Nano Caucus.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

...and they have a box full of letters, too.WILCO is the future of music, according to an article in Wired by Larry Lessig. That's not a musical opinion, however; rather, Lessig is talking about the band's use of the internet and related technologies. Wired fails to identify Lessig, who is a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. He has also been involved in court cases involving Napster and Microsoft, to name just two.

ANOTHER REASON TO WEAR BLACK: Merle Kilgore, who co-wrote "Ring of Fire" with June Carter about Johnny Cash, has died of congestive heart failure, related to treatment he was undergoing for cancer. Kilgore was 70.

TALKING BACK TO 80s MUSIC: Jeff Goldstein revives a popular feature of his blog with an easy o­ne. Stay for the comments.

WARD CHURCHILL UPDATE: Paul Campos, a University of Colorado law professor, outlines further allegations of academic fraud by Churchill, the U of C prof who has compared the victims of the World Trade Center towers to top Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, called for more 9/11-style attacks and said that the U.S. should be pushed out of existence. Academic freedom may protect such opinions, but it won't stop people from looking at his background and qualifications.

REINVENTING PHYSICS: Robert B. Laughlin, a 1998 Nobel laureate in physics, argues that "[t]he laws of nature that we care about... emerge through collective self-organization and really do not require knowledge of their component parts to comprehend and exploit." As an analogy, he asks whether legislatures and corporate boards made laws or were made by laws.

"VIRTUALLY ALL MONKEYS will give up juice to see female hindquarters," according to a Duke University study. Male monkeys also will 'pay' in fruit juice to look at a picture of a socially dominant monkey.

DEFENSE SECRETARY RUMSFELD says the press was totally "unfair" in selectively quoting from his now-famous exchange with a U.S. soldier regarding armored Humvees in December 2004.

A week without them, thought I'd forget...GO-GOS CRASH MARDI GRAS, but went largely unrecognized by parade watchers, according to No Rock 'n' Roll Fun in a post that adds: "We're not quite sure if this counts as 'pop stars in reduced circumstances' or not; we suspect it's just the sort of thing that The Go-Gos like to do." Given that the gals cracked the Top 20 of Spin magazine's "100 Sleaziest Moments in Rock" with the video described here, I would have to agree with xrrf.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The New York Daily News reports that the maybe-Libertine and Babyshambles front man was bailed out by ex-galpal Kate Moss.

STROKES drummer Fabrizio Moretti has been dumped by Drew Barrymore -- in writing -- according to Lloyd Grove. Barrymore's camp is denying any split.

U2 drummer Larry Mullen apologizes for the snafu in o­nline ticketing for the band's upcoming tour. This sort of thing will happen when you think that the number three is followed by the number fourteen...

Even if the rumor is false, it could be a good plot for the show...DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: fishbowl LA reports that "[t]he gossiblogosphere is abuzz with talk that o­ne of the stars of Desperate Housewives will come out of the closet via the the cover of next month's Advocate. Teri Hatcher (not the subject of the rumor) is currently in a new relationship, but says it's not serious and she insists she has no Valentine's date. UPDATE: Marcia Cross denies the rumor, as does the Advocate.

LAUGHTER literally changes the way you see the world, an Australian researcher has shown.

GOOGLE looks like it is going to compete with Mapquest.

THE FCC is maintaining a "hands off" attitude to internet-based telephony.

FANTASTIC FOUR FLICK is moved from July 1st to July 8th by Fox, to avoid Spielberg's War of the Worlds. Probably smart, as I have heard some very mixed advance buzz o­n the FF.

BRING THE NOISE is a photo history of the evolution of portable audio hosted by the CBC.

SATELLITE RADIO: The biggest attraction to satellite radio is the absence of commercials, not original content like the future Howard Stern show, according to a survey released o­n Monday by J.P. Morgan.

ANIMAL RIGHTS: Worms squirming o­n a fishhook feel no pain -- nor do lobsters and crabs cooked in boiling water, a scientific study funded by the Norwegian government has found. The government called for the study o­n pain, discomfort and stress in invertebrates to help in the planned revision of Norway's animal protection law.

...because schoolgirl and dominatrix outfits make learning funLINUX VIRGIN is an erotic and informative video series for learning to build a Linux-friendly computer, launching o­n St. Valentine's Day.

ATTACK OF THE NANOBOTS: Howard Lovy explains why it's hard for the media to portray nanotech as a menace to society.

THE FBI TERRORISM UNIT is trying to determine whether a virus was placed over money to protect the interest of the Russian mob.

A WELSH RUGBY FAN cut off his own testicles after his team beat England. Was alcohol involved? Yes, it was!

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Links: Yesterday Don't Matter If It's Gone edition   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, February 08, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

He does his best work o­n a throne - just a little (very little) drum humor thereDAVE GROHL is going to be everywhere, releasing a Foo Fighters double-disc (half acoustic, half electric) and playing o­n forthcoming discs from Garbage and Nine Inch Nails.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS, who guests o­n o­ne of the new Bright Eyes discs, will release a live double-disc set o­n May 10th.

ARCADE FIRE UPDATE: The hype around their NYC visit sent their guest list out of control. Martin Hall, the band's publicist: “If the president of MTV calls, I may have to cut somebody’s plus-one. I’ll get a writer in, but it’s not my responsibility to manage their social life.”

New Pornographers, Wilco, Brian Wilson, Radiohead and moreON THE PITCHFORK: The Top 100 Albums 2000-04, plus the indidual writers' lists. ALSO: Details o­n the forthcoming disc from The Mountain Goats.

POST-ELECTION IRAQ: The New York Times (via the International Herald Tribune) reports that the election may have improved Iraqi opinion of the U.S. Daniel Drezner blogs coverage of the election's impact in Iraq and Europe. The Washington Post reports that the public mood appears to be moving more clearly against the insurgency in Iraq (though I take WaPo coverage from Iraq with a grain of salt. An op-ed piece in the WaPo notes that the reaction o­n the "Arab Street" is more diverse than some believe.

SAUDI ARABIA, OTOH, is fomenting hatred of the infidel here in the U.S.

PETA is thrilled with the new, leather-free cars from Mercedes-Benz.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Much like actual war, the political battle over Social Security is beginning with an air war.

Always fun to hear about this ever changing world in which we live inTHE CUTE ONE IS THE SAFE ONE: The Washington Post review of McCartney's Super Bowl gig is positive, but didn't the Beatles used to be symbols of rebellion?

MISS ANY SUPER BOWL ADS? You can watch them here. You can see the uncensored version of the GoDaddy "wardrobe malfunction" ad at its site.

CULT OF THE iPod: James Lileks explains why his his iPod Shuffle is his favorite iPod. Slate looks at audiophile options for the iPod. At the other end of the spectrum, Wal-Mart is dipping its toe into the iPod pool.

Not available in stores; banner sold separatelySPECIAL OPS CODY UPDATE: The action figure taken hostage by terrorists has become a star, fetching many times his regular price o­n eBay.

THE JOY OF PHOTOSHOP: Fishbowl NY imagines the Harper's edition of US Weekly. I would like to see the US Weekly version of Harper's.

BLOGGER ED DRISCOLL has an article up at Tech Central Station o­n the "long tail" of media.

DEEP THROAT of Watergate fame is not well. Plus, Washington Post media reporter Howie Kurtz chats o­nline about how Watergate would play out in the internet age.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: The Financial Times reports that "Fatah, the leading faction of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, has begun a hunt for millions of dollars in assets hidden by Yassir Arafat, its late leader."

DON CHEADLE will be the guest correspondent when Nightline covers the Sudan o­n Wednesday or Thursday night.

KITES ON ICE: Some 80,000 people went to Madison, Wisconsin for North America’s largest kite festival on Lake Mendota. The fest included synchronized flying shows, kite boarding and an extreme form of skiing known as “power kiting.” I love this country.

If you stand under it and look up, it's like a funhouse mirror tunnelFRENCHNESS IN CHICAGO: Having complained that the new lighting of the Eiffel Tower has been copyrighted, I must note -- in the interest of fairness -- that Cloud Gate (a/k/a The Bean), the centerpiece sculpture in Chicago's new Millenium Park, is copyrighted. But that hasn't stopped folks from photographing it.

A FOUR YEAR OLD BOY drove his mother's car to a video store in the middle of the night, Sand Lake (Michigan) police said. It was o­nly a quarter mile, but took a while because the boy could not reach the gas pedal.

DEMOCRATIC DIAGNOSIS: In The New Republic, Ryan Lizza dishes the backstory of the race to chair the Democratic Party, which Howard Dean seems to have sewn up.

BIG BROTHER IN THE BIG EASY? New Orleans is installing a citywide security system with state-of-the-art cameras that can monitor an eight-block area around each o­ne, as well as communicate with police, track crime in the area and provide proof in court.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Contrary to earlier reports, record companies failed to make timely bail for the maybe-Libertine and Babyshambles frontman. He may be released today.

Busted like Ashlee Simpson, dawg.MTV2 gets busted in its attempt to create grassroots buzz for its two-headed dog from astroturf.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: Series creator and executive producer Mark Cherry notes there are outtakes too racy for broadcast, which could turn up o­n the inevitable DVD set.

THE MALTESE FALCON may be the stuff that dreams are made of, but an article in The San Francisco Chronicle argues that it's all about Bogie.

BRITNEY AND HUBBY have matching haircuts. Eww.

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