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Brendan Benson, Split Enz, VEISHEA, Sin City and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


ON THE PITCHFORK: Brendan Benson's The Alternative to Love gets a lukewarm review, finding the second half weak. It's not the o­nly review I've read to make that criticism. I would say the second half is less baroque, but not necessarily weaker for it. The whole thing has some 70s pop, Matthew Sweet-meets-the Fountains of Wayne feel, with a whiff of Brian Wilson during the first half and a bit of Wilco-esque americana toward the end. So the end may be less arranged, but the songwriting is pretty strong throughout.

THE DECEMBERISTS IN THE OUTFIELD: The band's live cover of The Outfield's "Your Love" is available for download at Chromewaves.

CROWDED HOUSE DRUMMER Paul Hester hanged himself in a park in southern Australia Monday; he was 46. He was also the drummer for Split Enz. Sydney's Daily Telegraph has the sad details. MTV notes that Hester went o­n to a career in television including the role of Chef Paul o­n The Wiggles.

A SMALL VICTORY: Michele has yet to resume the Greatest Rock and Roll Songwriters Poll nomination essays linked last week, but has provided blurbs for her "500 Songs" project. Reading them, I could not help but remember that Mike Kelly had a Mr. Bubble t-shirt. Or that I still own a laser-etched version of True Colours by Split Enz.

JACKO JUSTICE: Comparing himself to Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson tells the Rev. Jesse Jackson that he is being persecuted because of race.

HIP-HOP PRODUCT PLACEMENT: McDonald's reportedly is willing to pay rappers o­ne to five dollars each time a song with a plug for the Big Mac hits the radio. Apparently, Seagram's gin already employed this strategy last year, getting mentions from artists such as Kanye West, Twista, the Franchise Boys and Petey Pablo.

SXSW REAX: Page Six of The New York Post notes five more bands that should not be missed, a blurb which should not be missed for the mention of Dale Watson at Ginny's Little Longhorn.

CATS AND DOGS: The owners of a cat trapped for a week in the London home of a vacationing neighbor have been pushing ice cubes and cat food through the letter box to keep their pet alive. Another Carnival of the Cats is o­nline. Gumball-style dog biscuit machines are starting to sprout up all over NYC. A Connecticut man has turned to the classified ads to recover Thor, a 3-year-old Shih Tsu his estranged wife gave away. And mail carriers said they were recently unable to deliver mail to homes along a section of Guyer Street in Hobart, Indiana because of a 4.5-pound Chihuahua named Bobo. "The little Chihuahua was 10-foot tall when he was o­n the street," said Florence Page of the Hobart Humane Society.

PASSION OF THE PEEPS, PART II: Okay, when I posted some Peeps links o­n Good Friday, I confess I had been looking for an article o­n the joy of microwaving them. As it so often happens, I found o­ne by accident Monday, with a bonus page with a link to a movie of a guy eating 50 Peeps in o­ne hour.

VEISHEA 2006 will be April 22nd, as Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy decided not to abandon tradition, but instead to re-evaluate past practices, including the university’s "dry" VEISHEA policy. "Many believe that the 'dry VEISHEA' alcohol policy has had unintended consequences and encouraged large, off-campus parties," Geoffroy said. Oddly enough, when I had lunch with Sylvia Hauser last week, VEISHEA came up and I recalled that o­ne of my friends in student government actually went to a meeting during the summer after we both graduated to tell them that a dry VEISHEA was a disaster waiting to happen -- for the very reason Geoffroy stated. Which is probably why Sylvia provided me with the link!

IRAQ: The Christian Science Monitor looks at Iraq two years after the invasion. A balanced piece overall, but if you show a graphic of poll results showing 65 percent of Iraqis think the country is headed in the right direction, having the o­nly two Iraqis quoted in the story complaining seems a little odd, even if the complaints are valid. Army Lt. Col. Jamie Gayton reminds everyone of the importance of winning hearts and minds with reconstruction projects carried out in partnership with the Iraqi government. The Mudville Gazette rounds up military comments o­n the difficulty of recruiting -- and has cool motorcycle pictures. ALSO: If I missed this story about Iraqis getting NASA water purification technology last week, I'll bet I'm not alone.

EGYPT: A month after President Mubarak proposed a constitutional amendment to open presidential elections, Egyptian security forces arrested scores of members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, but hours later the group demonstrated against the government. The Associated Press story states that the group was "outlawed in 1954 after the government accused it of advocating the violent overthrow of Egypt's secular government," but then notes that, "Since the 1970s, the Muslim Brotherhood has pledged to use o­nly peaceful democratic means to establish an Islamic state," which sorta tells you what they were pledged to before the 1970s... and probably still are.

IRAN: The Regime Change Iran blog relays a report from Iran Press News about widespread protests last Friday.

THE TRANSPORATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION misled the public about its role in obtaining personal information about 12 million airline passengers to test a new computerized system that screens for terrorists, according to a report by Homeland Security Department Acting Inspector General Richard Skinner. And yet it is unclear whether the new system will be effective in determining which passengers should undergo additional security scrutiny, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

SIN CITY: The Hollywood Reporter has an unfavorable review, as Kirk Honeycutt seems to consider it a bit of a o­ne-trick pony. The Apollo Movie Guide also has a negative review, though Brian Webster makes clear he has issues with the subject matter and film noir generally. In contrast, Time magazine's Richard Corliss writes: "For all its astronomical body count, Sin City is brazenly, thrillingly alive." James Berardinelli of ReelViews thinks the movie has style and substance. Meanwhile, Page Six of The New York Post profiles the women of Sin City.

UNDERWATER DRUG-SMUGGLING? Colombian police found a homemade submarine capable of carrying ten tons of cocaine hidden in the port of Tumaco, near the border with Ecuador.

NOT THAT FINGER, but a University of Alberta study finds that measuring a man's index finger length relative to his ring finger length predicts his predisposition to being physically aggressive. So those gypsies may have had at least o­ne kernel of truth buried in all that palm-reading.

WHAT HAPPENED TO HARVARD? Harvard University has cleared its dining halls of brand-name cereals, such as Fruit Loops and Cap'n Crunch and there is no organized protest? Shame o­n them! What do we want? Quisp! When do we want it? Now!!!

ZEPPELIN COMEBACK? Maybe.... Not the o­ne with Jimmy Page, but the giant gasbag. No, not Robert Plant.

CULT OF THE iPod: Stereophile presents a tube amp and preamp for the iPod, costing much more than the gadget itself, natch. MookieKong compares and contrasts the iPod and the PlayStation Portable. The Independent notes coming competition from cellphones.

FILESHARING: Maverick billionaire Mark Cuban will pick up the tab for the defense in the Grokster case being heard by the Supreme Court today, explaining that it's not o­nly the big content companies against the technology companies, but also the big content companies against little content companies. And that software doesn't pirate content, people do. Meanwhile an article in The Economist suggests the problem with the music biz isn't downloading, but the dogfood they're serving.

THE UNITED NATIONS: Writer and blogger Roger L. Simon has an exclusive report o­n the oil-for-food scandal, suggesting secretary-general Kofi Annan may know more than he has been saying publicly.

TSUNAMI: An earthquake measuring a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 (later revised upward to 8.7) struck off the coast of Indonesia Monday -- o­n the same fault line that originated the December 26 quake, raising concerns of a potential repeat of the deadly tsunami that struck the area last year. Bloggers were on the case, though it appears the quake was the real threat this time around. Jeff Jarvis excerpts some of the quakebloggers, including this gem: "Bloggers Are Morons. Blogging has fried our brains. Instead of evacuating after the tremor, we, bloggers staying in high rise apartments, sit here n blog about it, oblivious to the risk should the building topple over or collapse..."

LINDSAY LOHAN seems to remain o­n remain o­n really, really good terms with her exes. The same gossip column also has a nice bit about Pat O'Brien humping NBC head Jeff Zucker's leg.

BRAD AND JEN UPDATE: It's official: Aniston Files for Divorce From Pitt. A nation mourns.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Star magazine claims she's pregnant. Of course, Star magazine claims everyone is pregnant. Awful Plastic Surgery thinks... well, you can guess.

GOSSIP COLUMNIST LIZ SMITH should know better than to fib about not reading blogs.

CONGRATS TO MAYOR JERRY BROWN on his impending nuptials.

MISTER SNITCH found another Amazon item that may be NSFW, unless you work someplace that's pretty outre.

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The Who a cappella, Drive-by Truckers, Kaiser Chiefs, dirty voicemail and more..   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, March 28, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


A ONE-WOMAN, A CAPPELLA VERSION OF THE WHO SELL OUT: It was Mike Watt's idea and Pete Townshend digs it the most. And you can stream clips of Petra Haden's multi-tracked arrangements at the link.

YO LA TENGO: The New Jersey Star-Ledger recaps the band's annual appearance o­n WFMU, taking requests from fans in return for donations to the station. They didn't know Rush's "The Spirit of Radio?"

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS must have been in Cleveland. Jason Isbell talks to the Plain Dealer and Patterson Hood talks to the Free Times, both about (among other things) the band's fans:"I think it's frustrating to record-company types because they don't know quite where to focus their attention; it's not like we're all the rage with some demographic that they can aim their little gun at and shoot us into making sales... [Our fans] are really a hodgepodge of people who have come together through word of mouth over the course of us being o­n the road for the last six years. So it's weird. It's cool, though."

THE DECEMBERISTS are profiled by the Daily Nebraskan. Chris Funk notes that Pitchfork was a key ingredient in the band's rise: "The music fans in Europe read Pitchfork like it’s the Bible."

DOGS will be able to avoid getting neutered o­nce these condoms reach the market.

FAMETRACKER audits William Shatner, but which William Shatner?

DENISE RICHARDS is publicly breaking bad o­n hubby Charlie Sheen. Richards' pals say Sheen paid a hooker $15,000 for sex; Former porn star and prostitute Chloe Jones claims Sheen recently paid her more than $15,000 for sex and proposed marriage. Sheen denies Jones' claim and has gone to court to contest Richards' claim for spousal support.

PAULA ABDUL may have pleaded no contest to that hit-and-run charge last week, but the New York Post's Page Six claims she freaked out in Kuala Lampur and the flight home after learning she was being charged.

BRITNEY SPEARS wants a summer job as a waitress at her dad's fast-food restaurant. It doesn't sound like it will actually happen this summer, but I expect it will someday.

OPRAH WINFREY is the target of an assassination plot, according to an anonymous nutjob posting flyers up around NYC.

THE SCHIAVO CASE has a lot of people considering and signing living wills. However, people who want them should be aware that they do not always work, though I'm a bit more positive o­n them than the study discussed in the linked story. The linked story also recommends using a "durable power of attorney" to appoint someone to make decisions for them when they can no longer make their own decisions. I would recommend the same in addition to a living will for those interested. There are companies, like this o­ne, that sell such forms cheaply (though I neither endorse nor recommend this particular company -- it's just an example). I would bet that many states offer such forms for their state as a free download, as does my home state of Illinois. Yeah, that's not the best grammar in the world, but you get the idea.

THE KAISER CHIEFS make The New York Times: "If timing is everything, Monty Python has nothing o­n this rowdy five-piece group from Leeds, England, named for a South African soccer team."

PAUL WESTERBERG: Following his well-received Folker disc, Rhino is putting out a "best of" compilation entitled Besterberg, natch.

METALCARVER produces handmade aluminium guitars. Very cool looking; the company claims they sound good, too.

"POP CRITICISM and Cred in the Era of MP3s, Zines, and Blogs" is a panel discussion to be held Tuesday at Columbia University. "These days, every aspiring pop critic can create his or her own soapbox. The resulting atmosphere is as fragmented as it is high-speed: A blogger shows up at a club, orders a beer, and reviews a show in real time. New trends break at a faster clip than ever before. How can anyone keep up? And which critical voice do you trust?" Panelists will include Sasha Frere Jones, pop music critic for The New Yorker (to whom I often link), Tunde Adebimpe of TV o­n the Radio, Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone, Amy Phillips, blogger at More in the Monitor and Michael Azerrad, author of Our Band Could Be Your Life (a book I highly recommend).

BECK is interviewed by Elle magazine, which is a little... different from what you would get from a music mag. It's like what I magine a Barbara Walters interview of Beck would be like.

WEEZER: o­n their previously linked video-shoot at the Playboy mansion, frontman Rivers Cuomo looked just a bit uncomfortable as Playmates cavorted around him in the mansion's infamous grotto. Who'da thunkit? But MTV News has video at the link.

SIN CITY: Brad of Bradley's Almanac tries to resist the raising of your expectations and the all-out gushing, but o­nly partially succeeds. Superherohype runs interviews with the men and women of Sin City. Coming Soon interviews co-director Robert Rodriguez.

FAMILY MOVIES sell tickets, says John Fithian, President of the National Association of Theatre Owners. Last year, PG titles grossed $2.3 billion domestically, with $2.1 billion for R-rated films. PG-13 movies did the most business with $4.4 billion. The story doesn't mention G-rated flicks, but it's no secret that G and PG-rated movies together regularly outgross R-rated movies.

PEZ MP3 PLAYER: Why didn't I think of that? But it's a big mistake that it won't carry the candy.

SIX-SHOOTER HAIRDRYER: Okay, I know why I didn't think of that.

GRAFEDIA: ...and the e-mail addresses of the prophets are written o­n the subway walls.

HONEYBEES are being killed in large numbers by the resurgence of a pesky mite, with a potentially broad effect o­n agriculture in California.

CULT OF THE iPod: The iTunes music store catalog now tops o­ne million songs. The Guardian finds UK complaints about Apple's customer service.

PODCASTING is now offered by the classic comedy troupe Firesign Theatre.

FILE-SHARING: The Big Picture questions the record industry's claims of big losses from music downloading. PC World magazine reports that industry lawsuits against file swappers may be forcing Internet users to using e-mail, instant messaging, blogs and other methods for exchanging songs and videos.

TiVo IS KILLING THE WATER COOLER? That's what an article in USA Today claims. I think HBO might beg to differ. And the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) --a pioneer in developing ethernet, laser printing and the graphical user interface for computers -- is developing Social TV, which would allow geographically dispersed friends to chat and watch TV together. Social TV software, located o­n a device like TiVo or even your TV set, might notice that your and your buddy’s yacking has gone well past the commercial break. The software would conclude that you are no longer watching the show and, perhaps, pause the program until you are ready to resume, says Nic Ducheneaut, member of PARC research staff.

IRAQ: A bipartisan Senate delegation, including four Democrats and two Republicans, all indicated they are encouraged by signs of progress in bolstering Iraq's security forces, economy and political system. Even Sen. Barbara Boxer, a leading critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, seemed upbeat about the future of the new Iraq government. However, Iraqis who defied insurgent violence to vote in the historic January elections say they are increasingly angry at the failure of politicians to agree o­n a new government. The Australian Broadcasting Corp. notes that Iraqi soldiers, backed by U.S. helicopters, reportedly have seized 131 suspects in a dawn raid o­n insurgents planning attacks o­n the holy city of Kerbala. The sooner that Iraqis can conduct these operations regularly, the faster that the U.S. can take a smaller role.

IRAQ II: While insurgent attacks continue, including the Friday assassination of a senior Iraqi army commander, the Financial Times reports that many insurgents, including former officials of the ruling Ba'ath party, army officers, and Islamists have been searching for a way to end their campaign against U.S. troops and Iraqi government forces. Similarly, The Guardian reports that "at least two Middle Eastern intelligence agencies believe that recent 'backchannel' initiatives aimed at persuading Sunni Muslim tribes in western Iraq to cease their resistance are meeting with some success."

CAMP BUCCA: Last Friday, U.S. military police thwarted a massive escape attempt by suspected insurgents and terrorists when they uncovered a 600-foot tunnel the detainees had dug under their compound. The Hill article compares this to The Shawshank Redemption. A better movie reference might be The Great Escape, though perhaps The Hill didn't want to be accused of comparing our troops to the Nazis -- nor do I!

COKE ZERO UPDATE: The other day, I had a little rant about an Associated Press story that had the sweeteners in various Diet Pepsis and Cokes badly confused. In the interest of fairness, I note that this weekend, some of the Pepsi o­ne bottles at my grocery store are marked as having a "brand new taste" using Splenda. The AP story thus might have been correct o­n that point in the market where it was written, though it failed to note that it was a new development. Indeed, given this new development, the AP may have missed the real story -- that Coke Zero is adopting the sweetener blend used in Pepsi o­ne at the very moment Pepsi is abandoning it for Splenda.

SMACKDOWN: New York State officials yesterday ordered radio station Hot 97, which bills itself as the "Official No. 1 station for hip-hop and R&B," to stop its controversial Smackfest, in which women wallop each other in the face in order to compete for a grand prize of $5,000.

BLOG ADVERTISING is o­n a steep rise, but many companies are wary of putting their brand o­n such a new and unpredictable medium. But credit The Wall Street Journal for making this story a free link to generate traffic from blogs to its site.

PLAYSTATION PORTABLE: Sony's new handheld PSP, a device for playing games, music and video, has gotten nicknamed "PornStation Portable."

THE UNITED NATIONS has been battered by a series of allegations embroiling its peacekeepers in a web of global sexual misconduct, usually involving children. But in East Timor, it appears that not even goats were safe. No wonder U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan is said to be struggling with depression and considering his future.

PAT O'BRIEN: That voicemail of his that's been floating around the internet is graphic. Probably NSFW, unless you work at a strip club. But he's pretty repetitive. You would think someone in the communications biz could think of ways to vary the basic message.

LEBANON: Beirut is now a place from which Syrians can protest their government, including a Syrian journalis who worked for the past 20 years for a Syrian state newspaper. ALSO: Senior U.S. officials met in Washington o­n Thursday with prominent Syrian Americans, including political activists, community leaders, academics and an opposition group. U.S. officials denied the meeting was meant to coordinate efforts to oust the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

TSUNAMI NEWS: Three months after the largest natural disaster in living memory struck South Asia, Aussie blogger Arthur Chrenkoff rounds up the follow-up coverage.

KYRGYZSTAN: Registan has a first-hand account of the Tulip Revolution from from Elnura Osmonalieva of Bishkek, with plenty 'o' pictures. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready to work with the Kyrgyz opposition, but also has offered refuge in Russia to ex-president Akayev. Putin, who is ex-KGB, has undoubtedly noticed that Felix Kulov, freed from jail by supporters o­n Thursday and appointed acting interior minister, was o­nce head of the National Security Ministry, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB. And Fulov now is in the middle of discord in the newly formed government involving the legitimacy of dual parliaments.

BELARUS: A thousand White Russians rallying outside the office of authoritarian President Lukashenko o­n Friday were beaten back by riot police swinging truncheons. Lukashenko, who has largely retained the Soviet system and hasn't changed the name of the KGB in his country, has stifled dissent, persecuted independent media and opposition parties, and prolonged his power through elections that international organizations say were marred by fraud. Gateway Pundit has pictures of the rally and its aftermath.

TAIWAN had massive protests denouncing Beijing’s recent approval of an anti-secession law aimed at Taiwan. If Taiwan is relying o­n U.S. help, this is bad timing; right now, it's more likely Secretary of State Rice would offer to calm down Taiwan in return for Chinese help with North Korea.

DEMOCRACY IS ALSO o­n THE MARCH in places as far-flung as Mongolia and Bahrain, maybe even Zimbabwe.

LET'S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF: New Jersey residents are divided over a Statehouse effort to designate the Jersey tomato as the official state vegetable. "The tomato is a highly partisan issue in New Jersey," said Clay Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Democrats say it's a vegetable, while Republicans and independent voters believes it's a fruit." Of course, technically, it's a fruit, which we should all know from Reagan Budget Director David Stockman's attempt to classify ketchup as a vegetable in federal school lunch programs.

A SURE THING: A bill changer at the Bluffs Run Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa began spitting out 100 dollar bills instead of 20s. Customers walked away with almost $47,000 extra.

THE GENE GENIE: Researchers have shown that plants can overwrite the genetic code they inherit from their parents, and revert to that of their grandparents. The finding challenges textbook rules of inheritance.

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Kaiser Chiefs, Sin City, Diving Pigs, Horny Alligators, The Bush Twins and more!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 25, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



IMPROV EVERYWHERE throws an office party in an unsuspecting building.

PASSION OF THE PEEPS: What would the Easter weekend be without chocolate bunnies and Peeps? More religious and serious, I suppose. But can't we have it all? Peeps art and Peeps statistics? Maybe even a gadget to make Peeps at home, made by Wham-O?

THE KAISER CHIEFS, fresh off some boffo buzz from SXSW are profiled in the London Telegraph: "In Austin, Wilson's group exemplified a new attitude of hard, selfless graft, which is essential for success in the post-millennial pop world. Indeed, so charged up was the garrulous vocalist for the band's first US tour dates that, o­n the opening night in Seattle, in the middle of the first song, he slipped over and tore the ligaments in his foot. Bandaged and forced to use a crutch, he careered about the stage in Austin with an energy which clearly impressed US industry bods, who are naturally sceptical about the UK's latest cool sensations having the requisite gumption to undertake a gruelling campaign across the pond." It's very Craig O'Neill-esque music. 'Nuff said.

THE FUTUREHEADS, another hot UK prospect following SXSW, talk to PopMatters about being the opening act and gig culture.

A SMALL VICTORY is starting a poll of the Greatest Rock and Roll Songwriters, with nomination essays. So far there are entries for Difford and Tillbrook, Joe Strummer and Roger Waters and David Gilmour, with plenty more to come, including (but not limited to) the Glimmer Twins, Paul Westerberg, Lou Reed, David Byrne and Tom Waits.

SLANT magazine throws out a list of 50 Vital Pop Albums.

THE SLOW RIDE IS OVER: Guitarist Rod Price, the founding member of Foghat who also played with blues legends such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon, died Tuesday after falling down a stairway at his New Hampshire home. He was 57.

SIN CITY: More advance rave reviews in the Monteal Film Journal and Slant magazine. Nick Schager's review for Slant says the movie is a verbatim translation of Frank Miller's graphic novels, which he calls "pulpy noir o­n steroids, amplified black-and-white visions of seedy, nightmarish urbanity in which dangerous men consume o­nly steaks and brews, women are either angelic 'babes' or tough 'dames,' and cops, clergymen, and politicians hungrily wallow in the corrupt mire." Lest you think that it's all about the striking female half of the cast, Victoria Anderson liked it, but leads her review as follows: "My husband’s decree immediately after leaving the screening: 'Anyone who likes that movie is seriously ****ed up.'" And a common theme in the advance reviews is that this movie could do for Mickey Rourke what Pulp Fiction did for John Travolta. ALSO: Michael Madsen talks a little about Sin City, but more about Quentin Tarantino's planned WWII pic, Inglorious Bastards.

FILE-SHARING: Panels at SXSW debated the effect of P2P technology o­n the music biz and speculated about the Grokster case that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court o­n March 29. Meanwhile, the Decembrists, frustrated with the narrow playlists of MTV and VH1, are distributing their new video with BitTorrent.

BIG RED, THE DIVING PIG was electrocuted when it dived into a pool of water that had a live wire connected to it by mistake. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was unsuccessful, but handlers were able to save another diving pig named Sweet Georgia Brown.

HORNY ALLIGATORS invade a Florida suburb, but are now in the custody of the Pesky Critters Wildlife Control Company facility in Miami.

OLD T-REX: A 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil dug out of a hunk of sandstone has yielded soft tissue, including blood vessels and perhaps even whole cells, U.S. researchers reported o­n Thursday. Jurassic Park is melting in the dark/ All the sweet, green icing flowing down...

RAY CAESAR, an animator who probably chafes at the idea that he has "become" an artist, is getting plenty of good buzz about his latest showing of prints in Chelsea. There some pics at the linked story, even more at Ray Caesar's site. Do I think he would be attracted to Christina Ricci? Yes, I do.

ROBERT JOHNSON: Here's a link to that nifty story about the legal battle over the photographs of the Mississippi bluesman. As Sylvia Hauser noted, it's the sort of story that fits the Johnson legend.

ANTHONY AND THE JOHNSONS: Their I Am a Bird Now gets a rave in the Sydney Morning Herald. If you've never heard of 'em, you might want to take a look, if not a listen.

DOUG GILLARD, former lead guitarist and anchor of Guided by Voices, talks to Cool Cleveland about the end of GbV, his new solo disc Salamander, and Cleveland.

THE LAs add three UK dates to their aforementioned reunion gig in Japan. Just when they thought they were out...

THE BUSH TWINS IN MAXIM magazine: It's the April 1st issue, natch. Susan Whitson, press secretary for Laura Bush, said the first lady had not seen the photo and offered a "no comment" after the image was e-mailed to her. I suppose this will upset some people, but if someone said that they never would have done this to Chelsea Clinton, my response would be that there's a non-political explanation for that.

GREAT LEAPFROG FORWARD? The Chinese are dismounting their bicycles and putting them in their cars. But the PRC is also aggressively pursuing hybrids, electric cars and propane taxis, while building conventional cars and infrastructure at a furious pace. Will the PRC gain the sort of advantage other Asian nations got from going directly to wireless phones, leapfrogging the old phone technology?

KYRGYZSTAN: Opposition leaders took the reins of power after President Akayev's hardline regime collapsed. Akayev reportedly fled on Thursday after protesters stormed his headquarters, seized control of state television and rampaged through government offices, throwing computers and air conditioners out of windows. The government apparently had hijacked opposition newspapers' websites and are pointing their URLs to pro-government news sites. Gawker reports that that the folks at CNN are not as up o­n this story as regular readers of this site.

IRAQ: Hundreds of power workers marched through Baghdad o­n Thursday to protest attacks by insurgents. The rate of U.S. deaths in Iraq has fallen sharply since the elections; American military leaders tout progress against the insurgency, but warn of a long road ahead. Along those lines, this week, Daniel Drezner asked "So how's Iraqification going?" and followed up with a sequel. And since it's Friday, I note that while shootings and mortar attacks continue in Iraq, Silflay Hraka has Iraqi bird-blogging, with photos provided by some of our troops.

DAVID CASSIDY wants to win the Kentucky Derby. He had better start working out; those horses are pretty fast. And boy, are my arms tired!

PAULA ABDUL pleads no contest to a misdemeanor charge of hit-and-run driving. Authorities said Abdul was driving December 20 o­n a highway in Encino, when she changed lanes and struck another vehicle, causing minor damage. The driver and passenger snapped a photo with a cell phone camera and wrote down the license plate number of the car, which was traced to Abdul.

GEORGE SOROS: A French appeals court has affirmed the billionaire investor's 2002 conviction for insider trading. Soros plans to further appeal the decision.

BARNEY MARTIN, best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld’s father Morty o­n Seinfeld, has died of cancer at age 82.

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The Mountain Goats, The Las, The Soup Nazi, Sin City, Pat O'Brien and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, March 24, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THE MOUNTAIN GOATS: John Darnielle lists "Music You Should Hear" at Amazon. The band will play the M-Shop April 1st, iirc. And if you're a fan, consider adding to the band's entry in the Wikipedia.

THERE SHE GOES... AGAIN: The La's reunite for a festival date in Japan in August. No word o­n whether Spinal Tap will share the bill.

THURSTON MOORE of Sonic Youth has an article posted about mix tapes, iTunes and file-sharing It's adapted from a book Moore edited, due for release in May.

SOME DEPRESSION: The wryly-titled blog features "Podcast and music news featuring Wilco, Son Volt, Ryan Adams, Drive-by Truckers, and more. No DJs. No talk. No Lincoln Park."

JEFF TWEEDY of Wilco has me pegged. Especially the "retarded" part.

THE DEATH PENALTY FOR UNAUTHORIZED BREEDING: Law and order in the insect world.

SOUP NAZI: Al Yeganeh, the surly New York City soup seller who inspired a character o­n Seinfeld, is plans to franchise his store. However, Yeganeh is adamant that franchisees don't use the term "Soup Nazi" in their promotional materials. Not out of political correctness, mind you; rather, he says he loathes Jerry Seinfeld.

PALESTINIAN SECURITY FORCES have prevented as many militant attacks in recent weeks as their Israeli counterparts, according to a senior Israeli intelligence official.

YOUR BODY could soon be the backbone of a broadband personal data network linking your mobile phone or MP3 player to a cordless headset, your digital camera to a PC or printer, using a technology called RedTacton.

ROTC FOR THE CIA: The Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program is seen by some observers as a long-overdue effort to remedy the federal government's collective ignorance about foreign lands. Other scholars, however, view the semisecret program as a profound threat to universities' integrity and to the ethical norms of social science.

GRAY WEDDING: If you were grossed out by the story I linked the other day about Billy Idol's smelly leather pants in the 1980s, you really don't want to know what's going o­n down there these days.

WHITE STRIPES: The duo have banged out a new album in 12 days.

GREIL MARCUS: The veteran rock critic is hailed as the Halberstam of pop culture in a column at MarketWatch. He does not have kind words for Rolling Stone, Hunter S. Thompson or CBS News, among others.

DISCHORD RECORDS is making its entire catalog, including albums long out of print o­n CD/LP, available for downloading at a number of websites, including iTunes.

EDUCATION BLOGGING: The latest Carnival of Education is online.

ANGELINA JOLIE tops FHM magazine's "100 Sexiest Women" list. The 2005 list is kinda sad; shouldn't anyone who ranks below the Olsen Twins (who jointly hold No. 32) be a little embarrassed? "Sure, you're sexy, but not as sexy as the Olsen Twins..." Desperate Housewives' Eva Longoria at number 38? The very mention of her name drives traffic to this site (and I've just done it)! The silver lining: Britney Spears was completely snubbed.

SIN CITY: Two more rave reviews are up at Ain't-It-Cool News. Harry Knowles' family-unfriendly gushing might be considered tainted by his friendship with Sin City co-director Robert Rodriguez. But "Moriarty" is not prone to writing things like, "If you’re anything like me, you’ll stagger away from the encounter with two blacked eyes and a broken bloody smile that will last for days." Jessica Alba (No. 22 on your FHM chart and thus hotter than the Olsen Twins) was on The Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday night; she looked great, but proved she needs a writer. Newsweek is conducting an online chat with Rodriguez on Friday, should you want to submit a question.

KYRGYZSTAN: Riot police have violently broken up an anti-government protest hours after President Akayev named a hardliner to take charge of security.

UNITED NATIONS: After months of denials, the United Nations admitted yesterday that, in an exception to its own rules, it paid for the legal defense of Benon Sevan, the oil-for-food program chief. ALSO: Kojo Annan, son of U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan, received at least 300,000 bucks from Cotecna, a Swiss inspection company awarded a contract ultimately worth about 60 million clams under the oil-for-food program. The amount was almost double the sum previously disclosed, but payments were arranged in ways that obscured from where the money came or to whom it went.

IRAQ: An Associated Press lede: "A raid by US and Iraqi forces o­n a suspected rebel training camp killed 80 militants dead, Iraqi officials said today." Anyone editing at the AP these days? Or are they making fun of some Iraqi official's broken English? Or subliminally advertising Raid pesticide?

WHY THE GERMANS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO RE-ARM: Say what you like about Americans, but none has put up a gallery of art paying tribute to the late Maude Flanders.

PAT O'BRIEN: Did the former host of Access: Hollywood go into rehab, or into defense mode? An embarrassing string of dirty voice-mail messages, which expressed a taste for hookers, cocaine and adventurous (if possibly unhygienic) sex, has become public. It appears there's a photo and some e-mail, too. Now sources say O'Brien was reprimanded several times for sexual harassment during his time at Access: Hollywood. And one blogger is having some fun at O'Brien's expense.

MONA LISA: Like Elvis at Graceland, she is trapped by her own celebrity.

SARAH JESSICA PARKER is miffed over her abrupt replacement by Joss Stone as the Gap Girl. I guess SJP is unfamiliar with the idea of competition among older women and younger women.

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The Raveonettes, Robert Johnson, Hogzilla, nude mud wrestling and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THE RAVEONETTES... with Ronnie Spector! Teaching the Indie Kids How to Dance has it for download. There's also a link to their cover of "My Boyfriend's Back."

REMEMBER: Kathleen Edwards will be on Morning Becomes Eclectic Thursday morning...

THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN may have been unearthed by archeologists in New Orleans. If that news puts you in the mood, you can download 250 versions of the song.

BECK talked to The Guardian about Strokes clones and his rental car.

JUKEBLOG is a beta test of a MP3 blog recommender.

ROBERT JOHNSON: Sylvia Hauser tipped me to a nifty Page One article in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal about how two photos of the legendary Mississippi bluesman became the subjects of a convoluted, 15-year (and counting) legal tug of war between a blues historian and relatives of Johnson, who died penniless and without a will in 1938. The article requires a subscription to read o­nline, but an Associated Press story about the copyright fight I linked in December is archived at the Blues4U News Wire. Sadly, that article lacks the detail and flair of the WSJ piece: which contains grafs like this:
"To understand the spell that Robert Johnson casts over devotees of American music, just travel here to the Mississippi Delta, a fertile expanse of northwestern Mississippi that spawned a strain of blues that became a foundation for rock 'n' roll.

"Dedicated fans have placed gravestones for Mr. Johnson in three separate rural cemeteries outside Greenwood, after puzzling over the sketchy tale of his burial in an unmarked grave. He had been poisoned, the story goes, at the age of 27 by a jealous juke-joint owner whose wife caught the singer's eye. o­n a recent winter afternoon, guitar picks, cigarettes and coins lay scattered around all three gravesites."

These sites were o­n Sylvia's itinerary when she went o­n sabbatical last Fall. I'll see whether she has any photos or whether she used all the film o­n her then-future fiancee.

BONO is buying a piece of Tomb Raider Lara Croft.

HOGZILLA: A team of National Geographic experts has confirmed south Georgia's monster hog, known to locals as Hogzilla, was indeed real -- 7 1/2 to 8 feet long, and weighed about 800 pounds. The confirmation came in a documentary aired Sunday night o­n the National Geographic Channel; it will be rebroadcast Wednesday and Saturday.

PUSS OF THE BASKERVILLES? A black cat-like animal approximately the size as a Labrador dog prowls the streets of London.

CHELSEA CLINTON partying like a Bush twin? Sure, it also happened while President Clinton was in office; it just wasn't reported in gossip columns.

BILL GATES argues that the PC era is just beginning.

WHO'DA THUNKIT? According to the Hollywood Reporter, "The number of broadband Internet access homes (33 million) now exceeds HBO subscriber homes (32 million) and satellite subscriber homes (24 million)."

MISFIT TOYS: The gallery at Toy Lab is right out of Toy Story or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

CBS NEWS UPDATE: Gawker notes that Mary Mapes, the producer who was fired after Dan Rather’s MemoGate, has sold her memoirs, while Josh Howard, the 60 Minutes Wednesday executive producer laid off in the wake of the memo debacle, is about to resign. Gawker seems to believe both are being well-paid.

BLOGGERS AS JOURNALISTS: A sophomore journalism major at the University of Texas at Austin calls blogging "the Dadaism of journalistic form." He acknowledges that "blogs can levy accountability in an area sorely lacking it," but then asserts that what "blogs offer increasingly is an irresponsible, rabid and at times maniacal fringe with a vitriolic bent that has little desire to represent truth or accuracy, o­nly an at-all-costs battering ram for storming the gates of opposition ideology." I would say that lunatic fringes existed before blogs. These fringes may now publish their ravings to a world-wide audience, but this allows those ravings to be challenged and debunked. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis put it, "A little sunlight is the best disinfectant."

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN are thoughtfully compiling their copious EPs and singles o­nto a single CD.

MARIAH CAREY claims that o­n her honeymoon with ex-husband and ex-Sony exec Tommy Mottola, she was "running down the beach, miserable, crying and alone." I wonder whether her forthcoming disc will feature a cover of Freda Payne's "Band of Gold?"

CULT OF THE iPod: Now there's an entire site for those wanting to listen to their iPods through their car stereo.

PODCASTING: After getting into some trouble for its early marketing practices in the blogosphere, Warner Brothers Records will sponsor podcasts of the Eric Rice Show and provide exclusive audio content from o­ne of its bands. Much better than WB employees making anonymous posts to MP3 blogs -- a case of honesty being the best policy.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPER Anthony Kiedis had to be subdued by eight security guards after a recent fashion show in Los Angeles.

IRAQ: Shopkeepers and residents o­n o­ne of Baghdad's main streets pulled out their own guns Tuesday and killed three insurgents when hooded men began shooting at passers-by.

CAMP BUCCA: The woman booted from the military for baring her breasts during a wild mud-wrestling party at the U.S. Army's main prison in Iraq may appeal her general discharge because it will deny her some veterans' benefits. Which I mention because people somehow find this site while searching for nude mud wrestling o­n the 'net. And now I've mentioned it twice.

THE REAL INCREDIBLES: "Moriarty" of Ain't-It-Cool News took a behind the scenes tour of Pixar Animation Studios. And took plenty of pictures.

KYRGYZSTAN: As President Akayev orders a review of some parliamentary poll results amid growing protests over alleged irregularities, Russia's Foreign Ministry condemned the protests and rebuked the Organization for Security and Cooperation for declaring that the elections had fallen short of democratic standards.

ESTONIA: The government collapses after lawmakers said they had no confidence in the justice minister because of a controversial anti-corruption plan. Estonia was another "captive" republic of the Soviet Union. When I visited Tallinn (the capitol city), you could not help but notice that the language was more Finnish than Slavic and the architecture looked like something out of Pinocchio.

JAPANESE WWII SUB WRECKAGE discovered in the waters off Oahu. The submarine is from the I-400 Sensuikan Toku class of subs, the largest built before the nuclear-ballistic-missile submarines of the 1960s.

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