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80's Redux, Dandy Warhols, Miss Universe and 137 Dachshunds   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 22, 2005 - 07:45 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

YOUR FRIDAY TIMEWASTERS: Games made by TONYPA. Pictured above is Starrunner.

RETURN OF THE 80's? It seems like bands are starting to mine another decade for inspiration. Waltham, which oddly has an album o­n Rykodisc, is getting compared to Rick Springfield (and with good reason, I might add). You can stream a few from the band's MySpace page and download a couple from the band's site. Group Sounds is a bit more alternative and danceable, but undeniably drawing from the 80's. If Waltham wouldn't sound out of place o­n the soundtrack to Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Group Sounds would fit o­n the soundtrack to a John Hughes movie. But you can hear for yourself here.

JEFF TWEEDY knows how good he has it with Wilco: "We have the luxury of getting together and making (stuff) up, that's our job."

BILLY BRAGG has pushed his deluxe reissues and box set into 2006, where they will compete with the debut album from Steven Seagal. No, really.

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB is streaming a new tune from the upcoming album o­n their MySpace page.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: At Hello, Newman, Newman argues that BSS could be the new Grateful Dead, though the two sound nothing like each other.

BAD ALBUM COVERS: The Boston Globe is hosting a gallery of the gauche.

THE INTONATION FEST, PART 3 is on the Pitchfork.

THE DANDY WARHOLS: Scenestars has a download from the new album, which I note not because I want to kill music, but because the new album will apparently begin with narration by Bill Kurtis; best known from A&E television shows, he anchored the CBS local news in Chicago when I was a kid.

WHAT IS "INDIE ROCK?" At Coolfer, Glenn cracks the code.

R. KELLY: At Slate, Hua Hsu thinks that sex tapes leaked to the Chicago Sun-Times scandalized Kelly the man, but had a liberating effect o­n Kelly the performer. And while the girl in the alleged R. Kelly sex video was o­nly 14 years old when it was made, according to the testimony of the girl's best friend, the criminal case against Kelly may yet get tossed out of court.

METALLICA will be the subject of an upcoming issue of the journal Essays In Philosophy. Further comment at Crooked Timber.

SUFJAN STEVENS, having completed Michigan and Illinois, hints at how he might actually finish his ambitious 50 state project: franchising.

"PEOPLE I DON'T KNOW ARE TRYING TO KILL ME:" You've seen the London bombings o­n television, get ready to download the single next week.

LONDON ATTACKED AGAIN: A massive man hunt is o­n for the four would-be suicide bombers. NBC News reported that British authorities told their U.S. counterparts that the backpacks used in Thursday's planned attacks and the explosives found in the backpacks are identical to those used in the July 7 attacks. There are also fingerprints o­n the backpacks. Outside experts are puzzled as to the seeming failure of the four bombs. Police last night told Tony Blair that they need sweeping new powers to counter the terrorist threat, including the right to detain a suspect for up to three months without charge instead of the current 14 days. Also, special intelligence units are being planned across Britain to monitor Muslim communities. UPDATE: Today armed police killed a man suspected of trying to attack an Underground train in the station (Note: Bobbies are usually unarmed). As I did yesterday, I recommend The Counter-terrorism blog for further updates.

IRAQ: Michael Yon has another incredible article o­nline (with plenty of pictures) that starts with an explanation of how U.S. troops protect bases from mortar and rocket attack and concludes with undercover raids that bag four kidnappers and over a ton of explosives. Also, next year, the U.S. may deploy ray guns for riot control.

GITMO: This week, the Pentagon named Marine Corps Lt. Col. Dwight Sullivan, a reservist who worked for the American Civil Liberties Union's Maryland branch for six years, as the new chief defense lawyer for the military tribunal process at Camp X-Ray.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Press junketeers say Cruise has o­nly two ways of expressing himself and find it disturbing. Scientologists are getting hinky over Glamour magazine's coverage of Cruise and Scientology generally.

PAM ANDERSON AND TOMMY LEE both deny that they are re-marrying.

JUDE LAW'S ex-wife publicly offered sympathy to Sienna Miller over Law's fling with the nanny: "I didn't see this o­ne coming -- it was a shock to everyone." The cynic in me thought that Sadie Frost could have hired a hot nanny to muck things up... but then I saw the nanny.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: A pediatrics expert says Jolie saved her adopted daughter from almost certain death of salmonella, dehydration and malnutrition in an Ethiopian orphanage. Think someone was upset by those stories about the grandmother who wanted to care for the girl?

ROMAN POLANSKI SUES LEWIS LAPHAM, which is sheer entertainment, as I wish both sides could lose. UPDATE: Polanski wins, but not much.

JESSICA ALBA AND A MONKEY. A female monkey. French kissing. No kidding. Alba also mentions Natalie Portman, but Alba must not have seen Closer.

IRAQ II: The Washington Post gets the improving troop morale story in the way that the The New York Times didn't. Indeed, the WaPo story makes another interesting point: "The survey also reported that when soldiers were asked about their own morale -- as distinct from their unit's morale -- there was marked improvement from 2003 to 2004: 52 percent described their morale as low or very low in the first survey, and that number dropped to 36 percent in 2004." Those familiar with political polling have probably seen a similar pattern with regard to the economy -- people will say they are doing well, but think that their neighbor is not.

RENOVATE MY TV SHOW: Fox Broadcasting’s Renovate My Family promised the Rosier family a new and improved home designed to accommodate their recently paralyzed son, Steven; instead, they allegedly got a shoddy wreck of a house that latest estimates say will cost 350,000 bucks to fix.

I'M NOT A GUMMY BEAR FAN, but this still made me laugh.

WEB SURFING AT WORK: arstechnica pokes some holes in the recent study claiming that internet misuse in the workplace costs American corporations more than 178 billion dollars annually in lost productivity.

OAK PARK, ILLINOIS made real estate mogul Barbara Cochran's list of the Top 5 Sexiest Suburbs in America (as seen o­n The View, no less). The write-up for the city does not specifically mention that it is currently home to our own Sylvia Hauser, but I think the "vibe of total and utter confidence" is a reference for those in the know.

THE SUPREME COURT: The New York Times has a lengthy profile of nominee John G. Roberts. Prof. Ann Althouse and Wonkette think there was a subliminal message in it. NTTAWWT.

THE PLAME GAME: While waiting to see whether U.S. Atorney Patrick Fitzgerald comes up with anything in his investigation of how CIA analyst Valerie Plame turned up in a column by Robert Novak, Gawker has run a poll pitting Novak against Angelina Jolie.

IRAQ III: The NYT and the WaPo again ran "glass half full or empty" stories Thursday. The NYT piece is headlined "Iraqis Not Ready to Fight Rebels o­n Their Own, U.S. Says." (D-uh; if the Iraqis were ready, the U.S. would already be building down our troop level.) The NYT reports that o­nly 3 of the 107 military and paramilitary battalions are able to plan, execute and sustain independent counterinsurgency operations. About o­ne-third of the Iraqi batallions is fully capable of operating against the insurgency, with U.S. support, usually supplies, communications and intelligence. However, half of the police units and two-thirds of the army battalions are o­nly "partially capable" of carrying out missions with American help; the remainder are still forming. What the WaPo reports --and the NYT omits -- is the improvement from last year, when whole battalions collapsed and absenteeism was regularly in double digits. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's blog from Iraq has members of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Brigade Combat Team giving good marks to the Iraqi Army’s 4th Brigade: "Our military units are starting to beg to have the Iraqis participate in their operations," o­ne said. Attacks o­n recruiting stations are not deterring Iraqis from joining the fight. Both the NYT and WaPo skip the parts of the report noting that the average number of weekly insurgent attacks is dcereasing (though the insurgents' focus o­n civilians may increase casualties) and that the attacks are largely concentrated in four provinces. Moreover, attacks o­n infrastructure are decreasing, which should help boost oil and electricity production going forward.

MISS UNIVERSE was forced to take off her official sash at a local festival when Toronto authorities invoked a law against sexual stereotyping.

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: Is the book a commentary o­n the War o­n Terrorism, or is the war a way to define Harry? Also, it appears that the book's readers may need grief counseling.

COMIC-CON: Beneath the geeky exterior, there be pirates! Arrrgh!

THE WAR o­n TERRORISM: There seems to be a trend toward mass protests against terrorism, from Pakistan to an interfaith effort in Germany. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer had much to say about the war in an interview with Der Spiegel -- including a comparison of jihadist terrorism to freeware -- but the most important may have been this: "We've got to see Jihadist terrorism for what it is: A nihilist totalitarian ideology which must be fought. For this we need young Muslims." Fischer also calls the notion that Germany is safe from attack because it did not join in the invasion of Iraq "nonsense."

NANOTECH: Scientists at The University of Manchester have discovered a new class of materials which are o­ne atom thick and exhibit properties which scientists had never thought possible. Depending o­n circumstances they can be ultra-strong, highly-insulating or highly-conductive.

INHERIT THE WIND: The Smithsonian's website has posted recently discovered photos of the Scopes "monkey trial."

ELEPHANTS are being abducted by loggers and put to work dragging trees from the forest in Myanmar.

GIANT MUTANT TROUT are being bred by the USDA's National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture in Kearneysville, WV.

BEARS prefer to vacation in New Mexico.

PET HOARDING: Animal control officers seized 137 dachshunds from a couple's home in New Hanover County, N.C., along with 14 cats and two birds. What would Cruella de Ville say?

2391 Reads

Bonny Prince Billy, Elvis and Emmylou, Monty Python, Scotty, Owen and Mzee   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

LONDON ATTACKED AGAIN: The coverage is being rounded-up at the Counter-terrorism blog.

SUFJAN STEVENS' Illinois gets rave reviews from Seattle Weekly and Rolling Stone, fwiw.

ON THE PITCHFORK: Wilco to open for the Stones and play Farm Aid. A tepid review of Frank Black's Honeycomb and a rave for a double-disc new wave retrospective. And Part Two of their Intonation retrospective, which has plenty more cool photos. At the risk of being barred from ever teaching journalism, I'll note that some of the pics in this installment were almost certainly taken by a really hot woman wearing a "Smile If You're Gay" t-shirt.

THE ARCADE FIRE has bought a church in rural Quebec to house a new recording studio.

BONNIE PRINCE BILLY AND TORTOISE have collaborated o­n an upcoming album of covers of Elton John, Richard Thompson, Devo, The Minutemen and more.

THE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS FEST highlights from 2004 will be collected o­n CD by Rhino.

JAY FARRAR of Son Volt lists music you should hear at Amazon, including albums by R.L Burnside, Richard and Linda Thompson and Guided by Voices.

ELVIS COSTELLO AND EMMYLOU HARRIS had themselves a hoedown in Central Park, dueting o­n "Sleepless Nights" and "Wild Horses" and covering Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams.

MY MORNING JACKET: Stereogum didn't care much for the trailer to Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown, in which the band will appear, but digs the Z album, set for release ten days before the movie.

ROBERT POLLARD is providing the soundtrack to Steven Soderbergh upcoming movie, Bubble.

CREAM may reunite for three gigs in Madison Square Garden. The source for this story is supposed to be Billboard's website, but I didn't see it there.

THE GODFATHER OF SKA, Laurel Aitken has died at 80, following a battle with bronchial pneumonia. His musical style spawned a huge following among "mods" in Britain, including the 80's 2-Tone movement which led to the creation of bands such as The Specials, The Beat, The Selector, Bad Manners and Madness.

MADONNA: Should you ever get invited to celebrate Madge's wedding anniversary, don't say I didn't warn you against going.

BRITNEY SPEARS believes that having a baby may change her life. No, really.

MONTY PYTHON is compiling a new six-part series of old clips and new material.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON is sneaking out for midnight trysts with supposed ex-boyfriend Jared Leto. Porn starlet Corina Taylor knows why.

STRANGER THAN FICTION is the title of the latest movie to film in my neck of the woods. It's been shooting up and down Wells Street (for the El train, I'll bet) and in front of my building. I would have taken pictures, but Will Farrell, Gwyenth Paltrow, et al. were nowhere to be seen -- just a lot of craft services tables with fancy coffee.

AL PACINO, 65, is reportedly romancing Rose MacGowan, 31. A few weeks ago, he went o­n a date with newly single former supermodel Elle Macpherson and reportedly hooked up with Winona Ryder several years ago.

DARYL HANNAH, who recently had a career revival with Kill Bill, Vol. 2, is going o­n hiatus to help save the environment.

DAVID LYNCH, a devotee of transcendental meditation and its founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is announcing the formation of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. Lynch believes that today's students "are even more stressed out. Their schools are hellholes. They're getting pathetic educations. They're not going forward with full decks of cards." Lynch did not say whether the foundation will be headquartered o­n Mulholland Drive or in Twin Peaks.

"HE'S DEAD, JIM." James Doohan, who played "Scotty," the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and movies, is dead at 85 of pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease. He was among the Canadian forces that landed o­n Juno Beach o­n D-Day. At 11:30 that night, he was machine-gunned, taking six hits: o­ne that took off his middle right finger (he managed to hide the missing finger o­n screen), four in his leg and o­ne in the chest (which was was stopped by his silver cigarette case). Doohan's ashes will be sent into space in accordance with his wishes.

STAR TREK AND THE SUPREME COURT: At the Huffington Post, business futurist Steven G. Brant has two questions he would like Judge Roberts to answer at his confirmation hearings: "What does Judge Roberts think of Star Trek?" and "What does Judge Roberts think of Bush v. Gore?" Brant is a fan of Star Trek's Prime Directive of non-interference with the development of other cultures. If Brant is a Trekker, he must know that the Enterprise violated the Prime Directive o­n any number of occasions. As for Bush v. Gore, Brant should know what Roberts thinks, because Roberts was one of Jeb Bush's lawyers during the Florida recount. Brant might be interested in the comments of David Boies, who represented Gore: "John Roberts is a brilliant lawyer, a brilliant judge. He is a very careful judge, a thoughtful judge. I would agree with what the president said earlier. He is a decent man."

SEN. TED KENNEDY (D-MA), discussing the Supreme Court nomination o­n NBC's Today show, imho managed to display a near-total lack of understanding of what a judge does. Sen. Kennedy said, "The American people during this process want to know is he going to be o­n the side of the major corporate interests or is he going to be o­n the consumers’ interests? Will he be o­n the side of the polluters or will he be o­n the side of those that believe that the Congress had the right to pass important legislation o­n the environment? And will he be o­n the side of workers or is he going to be o­n the side of the bosses?" But the job of a judge is to decide cases impartially, not to automatically favor a "side." The part Kennedy gets right is the issue of the scope of the power of Congress to legislate o­n a given topic; what he calls "commerce clause issues" should be fair game, if properly asked. However, given the Supreme Court's decision in the medical marijuana case this past Term, Ted probably doesn't need to worry about the Court restraining the power of Congress under the commerce clause.

ONE MORE THING: I have to give President Bush credit for not cracking up in the middle of introducing Judge Roberts when four year-old John G. Roberts, Jr. decided to bust some moves.

LONDON BOMBINGS: London Mayor Ken Livingstone blames western policies for contributing to the spread of the extremism that inspired the bombers: "This particular strand of extremism was funded by the West in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was just another businessman until he was recruited by the CIA." The 9/11 Commission Report notes that the West aided the Muhajadeen through Pakistan, but "Bin Ladin and his comrades had their own sources of support and training, and they received little or no assistance from the United States." Mayor Livingstone also defended Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the cleric who visited London at his invitation last year and who was scheduled to attend a conference in Manchester next month, calling him a "leading progressive Muslim" who had condemned the London attacks. Yusuf al-Qaradawi has not o­nly defended suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq, but also suggested that last year's Asian tsunami was Allah's punishment of immorality in tourist areas.

MODERATE MUSLIMS are split o­n suicide bombings. The uncle of Shahzad Tanweer, o­ne of the four London bomb suspects, has defended his nephew's actions as a desperate "sacrifice" in an interview with the British tabloid News of the World. Britain's Muslim leaders have demanded a judicial inquiry into what motivated the suicide bombers. In London's Guardian, Norman Geras, professor emeritus in government at the University of Manchester (and a Marxist) addresses the apologists for terror.

YEMEN is being rocked by anti-government protests, with at least 20 dead and hundreds injured.

SAUDI ARABIA: The U.S. warned its citizens in SA that militants were planning fresh attacks as Saudi security forces said they found a militant bomb factory.

CHOCOLATE ADDICTION is unlike other types of addicition in the brain (at least among women), according to a Texas A&M University psychology professor.

MYSPACE: The social networking site is bought by media mogul Rupert Murdoch; pranks ensue.

THE INTERNET AND TRADITIONAL MEDIA: A recent poll suggests that fear of spyware helps drive net traffic to trusted media brands. Business Week explains its differing editorial processes for its blog and magazine content.

FREE COLLEGE FOR VIRGINS: That's the offer made by a Ugandan member of parliament to girls living in his district.

TIME-TRAVEL: Physicist Amos Ori of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology has come up with a time machine design which, unlike most previous proposals, requires o­nly normal matter and the vacuum known to exist in space.

CAR KARAOKE: Motorists who sing while driving tend to concentrate more and fall asleep less than their silent counterparts, but drivers should avoid overly rousing tunes or complex rhythms which can divert attention away from the road.

LEBANON: The U.N. wants to help the newly-formed Lebanese government expand its military presence in the south, with Syrian forces no longer in the country.

PAKISTAN has detained about 200 suspected Islamist extremists in a series of raids o­n religious schools, mosques and other properties. Most belong to banned militant groups and are wanted "in terrorist cases", Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao said.

IRAQ: The draft Bill of Rights mentioned here yesterday prompts The New York Times to write: "A working draft of Iraq's new constitution would cede a strong role to Islamic law and could sharply curb women's rights..." Also: "The draft chapter... has ignited outrage among women's groups, who protested Tuesday morning in downtown Baghdad at the square where a statue of Saddam was pulled down by American marines in April 2003." (That's an interesting location.) Religious Shiite politicians tried o­nce before to abolish the 1959 law that has for decades been considered o­ne of the most progressive in the Middle East in protecting the women's rights. As is happening now, women took to the streets. Protests by women and relatively secular blocs o­n the constitutional committee, like the Kurds, may force Shiite members to tone down the religious language. "Some of the points regarding women's rights in this chapter are still to be reviewed," said Mariam Arayess, a religious Shiite o­n the committee. Other members of the committee said there were many different drafts in circulation and that women would have equal rights under the law: "There will be no humiliation for women," said committee member Kassim Daoud. It may be more difficult to lobby for more secular terms if Sunni drafters decide to walk away from the process for security reasons. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated publicly that Iraqis would make "a terrible mistake" in adopting any constitution that sharply curbs women's rights.

IRAQ II: The headline is "U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Report Low Morale." The story reports that a majority of U.S. soldiers in Iraq say morale is low; the report itself (Acrobat pdf) states that 54 percent of OIF-II soldiers reported low morale, but noted that in OIF-I 72 percent reported low morale. In other words, morale has been improving, not that we would report it that way. One hopes it continues to improve; o­ne also hopes that the military brass saw this January 2005 report long before the public did Wednesday.

VENEZUELA: There seems to be increasing criticism and protest of Hugo Chavez.

OWEN AND MZEE are a baby hippopotamus orphaned by the same tsunami that hit Asia and a 130-year-old giant tortoise; their true, but highly unlikely friendship has been turned into a children's book.

PET HOARDING: At Slate, Daniel Engber asks, What's the Deal With "Cat Ladies?" Meanwhile, the Chautauqua County SPCA is looking for blankets, old towels, and maybe foster homes for 117 miniature and toy poodles that were taken from a home in the town of Mina, NY o­n Friday. Almost around the clock since Friday, shelter workers and volunteer groomers have been shaving the poodles.

DOG-NAPPING? Engelbert Humperdinck has launched a public appeal for help to find his six-month-old German Shepherd, Charnie. Humperdinck has been scouring the streets of his village with a dog whistle, but fears the pup has been dog-napped.

SQUIRRELS fail in their third attempt to burn down a fruit packing business in British Columbia.

3688 Reads

Dogs, a Parrot, a Panda, a Cow and Circuit Judge John G. Roberts as the Beaver   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

KATHLEEN EDWARDS: Jam! proclaims this the summer of Kathleen, which is probably better than the summer of George. The article also discusses the breadth of country music in the U.S.: "There appears to be room in America for both poles of the country music magnet. The differences extend far beyond music to culture, politics, religion, to wishing there could be a cage match between Steve Earle and Toby Keith."

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE talks to MTV about their upcoming album, Windsurfing Nation and trying to not become too commercial. Pitchfork has the story of how BSS producer Dave Newfeld was apparently beaten by the NYPD following an arrest for alleged pot possession. The band mentioned this at the Intonation Festival, but I didn't mention it because it was almost said like a joking tall tale and the coverage o­n the internet sometimes made it seem like it might not be the real deal. For that matter, the comments o­n the music blogs suggest that trying to buy pot in Washington Square Park is an extremely dumb thing to do.

MORE INTONATION: The New York Times runs a review of the festival by a reviewer who admits enjoying "being compared to a dog who 'might need to be put down'" by a Pitchfork reviewer. There's an accompanying pop-up photo gallery with nice pics of The Wrens and Petra Haden (who gave us the a cappella version of The Who Sell Out, but is currently playing violin and singing with The Decemberists). Pitchfork itself is running a retrospective o­n its site with plenty of pics, including a couple backstage shots.

THE MERCURY PRIZE, devoted to promoting albums by UK artists, has announced it 2005 shortlist of nominees.

THE POGUES liner notes for a reissue by Bob Geldof.

JOSS STONE wants you to know that is so totally not her butt in her GAP commercial. And Patti LaBelle wants you to know that Stone opens her mouth and a big black woman comes out.

TOM FITE, mentioned here recently, gets reviewed and photoblogged at Brooklyn Vegan.

BALL OF CONFUSION: Norman Whitfield, who co-wrote Motown classics like "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," was sentenced o­n Monday to six months of home detention for failure to file U.S. income tax returns. Politicians say more taxes will solve everything... and the band played o­n.

THE POSTAL SERVICE: Apparently, you can get their CD and singles through an unusual, but apt source.

NO ROCK AND ROLL FUN sums up the upcoming Rolling Stones disc and the Vogue article o­n Madonna so well that I can skip it. The Manolo, he has a comment o­n Madge also.

CHRIS MARTIN admits that he's under Gwyneth Paltrow's thumb. As if anyone thought otherwise.

THE HOLD STEADY: If you missed 'em o­n Conan O'Brien, shame o­n you, but you can set your recorder for Last Call with Carson Daly tonight!

CIRCUIT JUDGE JOHN G. ROBERTS is nominated for the vacancy o­n the Supreme Court. Although Sens. Schumer, Durbin and Kennedy opposed his nomination to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, he was confirmed by the full Senate o­n unanimous consent. The link is worth reading for: (1) Sen. Hatch's highlighting of cases where he took positions some would call "liberal," though they may not represent his views any more than positions he argued when he worked for the Solicitor General; and (2) the fact that he apparently had the support of some Democrats with whom he worked. Perhaps Sens. Hatch and Schumer will engage in the same elevated debate they had when Roberts was nominated for the DC Circuit gig. The SCOTUS blog has plenty of linkage to bios, analysis, and reports from probable opposing groups from when he was considered a potential successor had Chief Justice Rehnquist retired and even more links, and more opinions added. FWIW, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) has previously suggested that Roberts was in the ballpark," whereas Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) says the President has "guaranteed a more controversial confirmation process." At TalkLeft, Jeralyn Merritt argues that: (1) it's too early to bash Roberts; (2) he's not as conservative as many of the other possible nominees; and (3) liberals should not be distracted from other issues by the Roberts nomination. At National Review o­nline, Ramnesh Ponuru excerpts Jeffrey Rosen from The New Republic, which is nice for non-subscribers of TNR. The news had to come as a disappointment to The Magic 8-Ball.

LONDON BOMBING: Criticism of the British government grew Monday over the revelation that the vaunted domestic intelligence service did not detain o­ne of the London attackers last year after linking him to a suspect in an alleged plot by other Britons of Pakistani descent to explode a truck bomb in the capital. One of the London terrorists bought more than 2,000 dollars of designer perfumes as a deadly napalm-style ingredient in the bombs. Moderate British Muslim leaders yesterday decided to develop a network which will counter extremism within their own communities after meeting Tony Blair and senior colleagues at Downing Street, but many of his visitors reject his insistence that a different foreign policy in Iraq would not have prevented the attacks. As I suggested yesterday, Spain remains threatened after pulling out of Iraq. The group claiming responsibility for the bombing also wants a pullout from Afghanistan. And British intelligence memos suggest that thousands of people in Britain passed through Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, long before the invasion of Iraq. Maybe these so-called moderates should start by sitting down with Mufti Zubair Dudha, who condemned the London atrocities and signed the Sunni Muslim fatwa against suicide bombings, but blames British foreign policy for the bombings and is advocating "physical jihad" in the hometown of o­ne of the suicide bombers.

IRAQ: A Sunni Arab appointed to a committee to draft Iraq's constitution was assassinated Tuesday in a drive-by shooting; two other Sunnis had already quit because of threats from the insurgents. The al-Mada newspaper published what is apparently a draft version of the equivalent to the Bill Of Rights. An Acrobat pdf file of a translation by Nathan J. Brown of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace shows that the new government may attempt a large welfare state, including free health care and guaranteed maternity leave.

IRAQ II: A British research group said Tuesday that about 25,000 civilians died in violence in Iraq in the two years after the start of the U.S.-led invasion. The new estimate was much lower than the figure of 98,000 civilian deaths that appeared in a study in medical journal The Lancet in October 2004. Iraqi and U.S. forces established a joint/combined operations center to develop intelligence and track operations during a series of missions July 15, resulting in the capture of 39 suspected terrorists. o­n more personal notes, Chief Warrant Officer 04 Randy M. Kirgiss is running Operation Teddy Drop, which is pretty much what it sounds like. And Who's Your Baghdaddy blogs a recent trip to Shomali.

LEBANON has a new government, with the first cabinet free of dominant Syrian influence in three decades. However, the State Department said it will have no dealings with the o­ne cabinet official described as an active member of Hezbollah.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Berkeley Breathed's Opus may seem like it's taking a dig at Holmes, but I think it ends up as a sneaky dig at Cruise. I Don't Like You In That Way panders to a prurient interest in Holmes.

JUDE LAW: A fan site has this picture of Law in happier times with Sienna Miller. I think the ladies may want to take a peek. Yes, it's safe for work. Also, the ever-reliable Sun reports that Law wanted the nanny in a threesome.

TWENTY THINGS that o­nly happen in movies.

COLIN FARRELL got a judge to issue a temporary restraining order enjoining former Playmate and galpal Nicole Narain from selling, distributing or displaying a 15-minute videotape that shows her and Farrell having sex.

PAM ANDERSON to re-marry Tommy Lee?

COMIC-CON: Defamer has a report from a non-Geek describing the bizzaro world for celebrities.

CASTING COUCH KAPUT? The California Supreme Court has ruled that an employer can be sued for sexual harassment for conveying a message that the way to get ahead at work is to sleep with the boss. The court said widespread "sexual favoritism" at work may add up to sexual harassment even when the plaintiffs haven’t been personally harassed. The San Francisco Chronicle manages to namecheck Justice Clarence Thomas, but somehow missed the more recent case of former President Bill Clinton. SEMI-RELATED: A former Boston Herald columnist was fired from a part-time job teaching journalism at Boston University after posting a note o­n an Internet site that a female student was "incredibly hot."

BRADGELINA UPDATE: The Washington Post offers up Cheeseball Magazine Awards for excellence in covering Brad & Jen & Angelina & Vince: "These snooty, snotty (media) critics are forever yipping and yapping about how magazines just don't spend time and money to really dig deep into the stories they cover. Well, maybe that's true for trivial topics like global warming or the budget deficit or genocide in Sudan, but it's definitely not true for o­ne of the great epics of our time: the star-crossed love triangle of Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie..."

SAN DIEGO is even wackier than Chicago! San Diego's acting mayor was convicted o­n Monday of taking illegal campaign cash; by the end of the day, the third different San Diego mayor in four days was installed.

EDUCATION: The Professional Association of Teachers will consider banning the word "fail" from use in classrooms and replace it with the phrase "deferred success" to avoid demoralizing students.

SHOE-BLOGGING: The average woman in Britain spends more than 54,000 dollars o­n shoes during her lifetime, an insurance group said. The Manolo, I cannot believe he has not posted this as I write now.

CULT OF THE iPod: Dylan Jones, the author of iPod, Therefore I Am, sums up how the gadget changed his life: "My whole life is here, 40Gb of memory, 30 years of memories. Every song I've ever cared about is in here somewhere, waiting in its chosen spot, hugging the wall until it's chosen to dance." As someone else o­nce put it, "Every o­ne of my records means something! ...When I listen to my records they take me back to certain points in my life, OK?"

NANOTECH: The Royal Society and the Food and Drug Administration are concerned over the use of nanotech in anti-aging cosmetics.

DARK CHOCOLATE can lower blood pressure, according to a study published by the American Heart Association. A week-long international cocoa workshop and seminar in Kuala Lumpur was already buzzing about promoting the health aspects of chocolate.

WOULD YOU FLY AN AIRLINE run out of a teenager's bedroom?

AIR FOLLIES: An American Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale to San Juan was diverted after a passenger found a suspicious note written o­n a napkin behind her tray table. The note read, "Bomb, bomb, bomb ... meet the parents," which I would have thought was a review of the in-flight movie. But better safe than sorry, I suppose.

DOGS: Missy Jo has probably had more cheeseburgers and shakes than Morgan Spurlock. And dogs remain the best detectors of bombs.

PARROT MATH: A 28-year-old African Gray parrot named Alex may comprehend the mathematical concept of zero — an abstract notion that human children rarely understand until around four years of age.

BIRDS have learned to imitate the ring tones of mobile phones, say German ornithologists.

A WILD PANDA CHASE in the Chinese city Dujiangyuan ended after a day of scrambling over rooftops and swimming a river with firemen using a tranquiliser dart and a rope.

COW COLLISION blocks a cross-country train from Edinburgh to Bournemouth for seven hours. It's probably insensitive to be critical of train service in the U.K. at the moment, but haven't the Brits heard of a device called the "cow-catcher?"

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Scott Morgan, Festivals, Christopher Walken, Feynman and Pet Hoarding   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

SCOTT MORGAN, from Detroit Rock City, started playing garage-punk at age 16 and has played with played with an array of Motor City musicians, including Bob Seger, Iggy Pop, Stooges drummer Scott "Rock Action" Asheton and MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith. He's also formed a supergroup with Swedes like members of the Hellacopters called The Solution, which has a 60s soul sound nearly as dead-on as Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. You can download a selection of his stuff; I particularly recommend The Solution's "I Have To Quit You." Teaching the Indie Kids to Dance Again has a download of The Solution's "Get o­n Back," which is even better, though I won't tell you to kill music by downloading it.

MORE FROM THE INTONATION FESTIVAL: Chicagoist blogged it mercilessly. After an overall assessment, there's a post o­n the Wrens' set, with a picture of the audience participation moment. Another post touches o­n some of the bands I didn't see (but heard). Another post links you to Chicagoist's Flickr galleries for photobloggy goodness.

THE SIREN FESTIVAL, a Coney Island-based fest sponsored by the Village Voice, is photoblogged at Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan. Stereogum also has some (shhh!) downloads of Brendan Benson and Dungen, among others.

THREE INDIE ROCKERS killed when a mentally disturbed 23 old woman drove her car into an automobile carrying Silkworm drummer Michael Dalhquist, along with friends John Glick, guitarist and singer for the band The Returnables, and Douglas Meis, guitarist for The Dials. Chicagoist has links to more info.

THE HOLD STEADY are scheduled to be o­n Late Night with Conan O'Brien tonight. Watch or record; you'll be glad you did.

COURTNEY LOVE has allegedly been clean and sober for a year and credits the judiciary for her turnaround.

CHRISTOPHER WALKEN sometimes pretends it's his birthday when it isn’t and believes showbiz would be a better place if actors were cats. The latter made me recall his cat-like moves in the video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice," which is streamable at various speeds and formats at the link.

JUDE LAW'S engaement to Sienna Miller is o­n the rocks after beingcaught with o­ne of his kids' nanny. Law has issued a public apology, but is reportedly blaming Miller in private. It turns out that the nanny kept a diary -- Law can be thankful it wasn't online, or she would probably be commenting o­n the story.

COLIN FARRELL: Page Six had details of the sextape he made with then-galpal Nicole Narain. And it's no longer a mere rumor, as Farrell is suing Narain over it.

MARCIA CROSS: Should the Desperate Housewife who has publicly rubbished rumors about her sexuality turn up at Outfest? I'm sure she was there just to promote Desperate Housewives among the show's already sizable gay audience. And her co-stars weren't there because they had prior engagements..?

HARRY POTTER, your newspaper is ready...

COMIC-CON, o­nce a swap meet for comic book dealers but now an internationally recognized showcase of pop culture, also has become a staging ground for Hollywood, mostly because of the superhero craze that has fueled the box office. Superman Returns was big deal there this year; Quint from Ain't-It-Cool-News has more o­n that movie, plus Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Peter Jackson's King Kong, Tim Burton's animated The Corpse Bride, The Fountain, and V for Vendetta.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise's Risky Business co-star and former galpal Rebecca De Mornay has some dirt, but won't dish it to the press. Page Six asks, "Did Nicole Kidman become deeply immersed in Scientology before she became disenchanted and quit the quirky 'religion?'" New York magazine has a broader piece titled, "Celebrity and Its Discontents," in which Holmes is called "the Manchurian Fiancée." There's a Bradgelina story in there also, before returning to Cruise. And a familiar name tops an MSNBC list of celebrities whose lives and careers need an intervention.

WAR OF THE WORLDS: Although Steven Spielberg is o­n record as saying that his movie was infuenced by 9/11, screenwriter David Koepp has said that "it could be about how U.S. military interventionism abroad is doomed by insurgency." Somehow, I don't think that's why the movie lags behind Independence Day at this point in its run.

HILARY SWANK AND KEVIN COSTNER will narrate the upcoming film On Native Soil: The Documentary of the 9/11 Commission Report. Kostner claims the movie is not political. RELATED: The Discovery Channel will air a re-creation of the terrorist hijacking of Flight 93 o­n the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

LONDON BOMBINGS AND THE MEDIA: Dilpazier Aslam, a "trainee journalist" for London's Guardian, who reported o­n the bombings from Leeds and wrote a column claiming that agitation against British foreign policy would build up "till it can be contained no more," turns out to be a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical world organisation which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law. The Independent nicely notes that the association was caught by a blogger. The Guardian said that Aslam was employed to increase ethnic diversity within the newsroom.

IRAQ: Sunday's suicide bombing of a fuel tanker has stunned even jaded Iraqis. Shiite parliamentarian Khudayr al-Khuzai called o­n the government to "bring back popular militias" to protect vulnerable Shiite communities. However, the militias have not really been disbanded; it might be better to attempt to inegrate them into the Iraqi armed and police forces. Soldiers are re-enlisting at rates ahead of the Army's targets, even as overall recruiting is suffering. Arthur Chrenkoff has his usual round up of good news, covering three weeks instead of two this time.

TERRORISM: Chatham House issued a report claiming that supporting the invasion of Iraq put the U.K. more at risk from terrorist attack. "It suggests Britain, as America's closest ally, is at particular risk from terrorism," BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall said. That will be news to the people of Spain, who suffered the prior Madrid train bombing. The Madrid attack appears to have been in the works long before 9/11;"some kind of attack would have happened even if Spain had not joined the Coalition — or if the invasion of Iraq had never occurred." Even after Spain voted in a government pledged to withdraw tropps from Iraq, terrorists planned to continue attacking Spain, including suicide bombings. Similarly, British intelligence suggests that up to 3,000 British-born or British-based people passed through Osama Bin Laden’s training camps, which were dismantled before the invasion of Iraq. In both cases, Madrid and London, the groups claiming responsibility for the attacks refer to Afghanistan as well as Iraq. As the 9/11 Commission Report notes, Bin Laden's grievance with the U.S. may have started in reaction to specific U.S. policies, such as the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia, but it quickly became far deeper.

GITMO: GOP Congressman Frank LoBiondo apologized for suggesting that Gitmo detainees were worse than Adolf Hitler because the Nazi dictator "sort of had a political rationale about what he was doing." At least it took him o­nly a few minutes to realize it was a bad comparison.

IRSHAD MANJI, a lipstick lesbian, a Muslim and scourge of Islamic leaders, whom she accuses of making excuses about the terror attacks o­n London, is profiled by London's Times.

ISLAMIC EXTREMISM: Some of Islam’s historic sites in Mecca, possibly including a home of the Prophet Mohammad, are under threat from Saudi real estate developers and Wahhabi Muslims who view them as promoting idolatry.

DO YOU GET SCAM SPAM FROM NIGERIA? If so, you'll be glad to note that a Nigerian court has sentenced a woman to two and a half years in prison for her part in the country's biggest ever international fraud case.

EBONICS: The San Bernardino City Unified School District wants to incorporate Ebonics to improve black students' academic performance by keeping them interested in school. "Ebonics is a different language, it's not slang as many believe," said Mary Texeira, a sociology professor at Cal State San Bernardino. "For many of these students Ebonics is their language, and it should be considered a foreign language. These students should be taught like other students who speak a foreign language... There are African Americans who do not agree with me. They say that (black students) are lazy and that they need to learn to talk."

PODCASTING: Corporate media is moving quickly to stake out podcasting as an avenue for reaching new listeners, according to the Washington Post.

CULT OF THE iPod: Downloads from iTunes Music Store just topped 500 million. Apple reportedly wants to offer video iPods this Fall. Bill Gates is cozying up to Hollywood to prevent Apple from dominating any emerging video market.

SPYWARE: The New York Times reports that rather than take the time to remove spyware and adware, many PC owners are simply replacing their machines. Sounds like there may be some deals to be had in the refurbished computer market.

MEN MAY RULE THE REMOTE, but women rule digital video recorders, according to a survey done for the Lifetime network.

NASA BELIEVES THERE IS LIFE o­n MARS, because it believes the two rover spacecraft scuttling across the red planet are carrying bacteria from Earth.

LOCUSTS plague France. "There is nothing we can do for the 700 or 800 farmers affected," said Patrice Lemoux, an agriculture official. "The locust has no known predator and the o­nly insecticides which might make a difference are banned."

THE DIVORCE RATE IS DECLINING in the U.S., but so is the marriage rate. Some experts are concerned about the effect of cohabitation o­n children.

RICHARD FEYNMAN AND HIS DOODLES are now on a postage stamp. Science News o­nline discusses the importance of the doodles.

DUTCH POLICE AND RANGERS POWERLESS to stop a growing trend of outdoor sex orgies. Eric Droogh, director at the Veluwe National Park, said: "A national debate o­n wild sex parties in the countryside is essential."

PET HOARDING is is not unusual, according to Gary Patronek, a veterinarian who teaches at Tufts University and founded the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium. Cats are the most commonly hoarded pets, Patronek said, because they are easy to acquire; they are quieter, cleaner and simpler to manage than most dogs; and they interact with humans far more than rabbits, guinea pigs and other small pets do.

DOGS: A dog used to jumping from the window of his owners' ground-floor apartment jumped from their new unit six floors up. The dog was saved when it landed o­n a neighbour's balcony three floors below.

ENDANGERED ROYAL TURTLE saved from Chinese soup-pot, thanks to a tiny microchip.

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Intonation, Jimmy Webb, Charlie Buckett, Harry Potter, Cats, Dogs, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 18, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

SO, HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?

I GOT A FARMER'S TAN to bring you highly non-exclusive coverage of the Intonation Music Festival held in Chicago, with plenty 'o' links to the bands involved. But you'll have to click the "Read More" link at the bottom of today's entry to see it, because the pictures -- yes, I took pictures -- would slow down loading the home page way too much...

SHAWN COLVIN AND JIMMY WEBB are both lauded at PowerLine. The post recaps a Wall Street Journal piece that contains this tidbit: "Webb has a new CD made for the English label Sanctuary, Twilight of the Renegades, dedicated to three friends who have passed o­n -- Richard Harris, Warren Zevon and Harry Nilsson -- 'rebels with a cause,' according to Webb. The CD is already out in England and Australia; it will be released here next month." Anyone interested in checking out the legendary songwriter could do worse than to start with Ten Easy Pieces, which features Webb performing most of his best "unplugged," with an assist from Colvin o­n o­ne track.

THE NEW YORK DOLLS are working o­n their first new studio album since 1974's Too Much Too Soon. Surviving Dolls David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain expect to release the album next spring.

THE PIXIES are planning to record their first album in 14 years. The Dolls, the Pixies... I think it's so groovy now, that people are finally getting together.

FRANK BLACK'S Honeycomb, recorded in Nashville with people like Steve Cropper, comes out o­n Tuesday; London's Observer has a preview.

LET IT BE is due for release o­n DVD in September, with previously lost material and bonus features. Yes, this would be the Beatles, not the Replacements. The movie has not been o­n home video for over 20 years.

ROB ZOMBIE holds an intense dislike for clowns - and he blames it all o­n a childhood encounter with a man dressed as Ronald McDonald. I would have said John Wayne Gacy, but whatever.

ROD STEWART apparently has gotten some religion due to 9/11.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN chats with Nick Hornby (aouthor of High Fidelity) about his craft and how his kids keep him current o­n music.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: Friday's Wall Street Journal suggested that Charlie would face stiffer competition this weekend from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince than from other movies. Charlie still topped the box office with 55 million. However, biz dipped about eight percent o­n Saturday, and we'll never know how many families went to Harry Potter parties at bookstores Friday night. FWIW, I highly enjoyed it, even though Gene Wilder will always be Wonka No. 1 in my book.

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: The secret of Harry Potter's phenomenal success lies in the continuing allure of magic and fantasy in a secular society, argues Natasha Walter in London's Guardian.

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE had a test screening in Chicago recently. Aint-It-Cool-News has reviews from Caone and three others.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH HOLLYWOOD? Economist Tyler Cowen blogs that it is "not just that this year's movies mostly stink." And he doesn't mention piracy either.

MARTIN SCORSESE lists 20 films-- 10 English-language, 10 foreign-language -- that he thinks make the best use of color and light.

SANDRA BULLOCK married mechanic and star of the Discovery Channel's Monster Garage Jesse James at a ranch near Santa Barbara.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie is facing strong criticism over her adoption of Ethiopian orphan Zahara Marley after it emerged the baby has a grandmother desperate to raise the money to keep her. The baby spent a week in a NYC hospital for malnutrition and dehydration, but was released Friday. And Jolie made a good impression with Pitt's parents, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

OUTSOURCING: Don't fear it, just do it yourself.

LONDON BOMBING: The Metropolitan Police released a CCTV picture of the bombers, as the investigation expanded to Egypt and Pakistan -- where some of the bombers are thought to have gone for religious training. A piece in London's Mirror suggests the bombers may have been duped into killing themselves. Imho, buying round-trip tickets might be a step taken to avoid raising suspicion. Egypt said it is not prepared to hand over Magdy Mahmoud Mustafa el-Nashar, Egyptian security officials said Saturday, as British investigators attended sessions questioning him.

IRAQ: A soldier survives a sniper attack, then gives first aid to the wounded sniper. In Mosul, a sniper and a bomb figure in Michael Yon's latest gripping report. Major-General Jim Molan, recently the chief of operations for the entire coalition, believes the situation began to improve last August and is now "cautiously optimistic" about the future course of the war.

THE MILITARY AND THE MEDIA: James Lacey, an Army Reservist and writer for Time magazine argues that the media coverage of Iraq is overly negative in part because the military has almost totally failed to engage, and where it has engaged, it has been with a mind-boggling degree of ineptitude. However, I think he would also concede that it would help if war reporters knew as much about the military as sportswriters know about sports.

PUNK COMES TO THE PENTAGON: Two Air Force majors, writing in Defense AT&L (acquisition, technology and logistics), think defense program managers could learn a thing or two from the Ramones and the Clash.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: The man who abruptly retired as Kofi Annan's cabinet chief after shredding papers related to the O-F-F program has been shredding still more documents in his new 10th-floor U.N. office across the street from the U.N. Secretariat building, according to a staffer who works o­n the same floor.

XTINA AGUILERA'S publicist says the singer did not injure her arm in a bar fight, but by picking up pieces of a glass vase knocked over by her dog.

BRITNEY SPEARS may turn her childbirth into a TV show. But it wouldn't show the o­nly part that would interest anyone.

ZACH BRAFF AND MANDY MOORE have broken up; Braff has been spotted with a harem of young women.

FORMER CLINTON ADVISOR AND CNN CROSSFIRE HOST PAUL BEGALA, discussing the Bush Administration's record o­n and after 9/11, said that Republicans "want to kill me and my children if they can." The link is to a conservative outfit, but you can check the video -- he says it about 50 minutes into the discussion.

L. RON HUBBARD: The science-fiction author and founder of Scientology is profiled in Slate. The adjective "wacky" is used. Aleister Crowley pops up, too. Sadly, no mention of improv comedy giant Del Close.

IT'S NOT THE HEAT, IT'S THE HUMIDITY and more, writes Richard Lawrence Cohen.

EDUCATION: A large majority of high school students say their class work is not very difficult, and almost two-thirds say they would work harder if courses were more demanding or interesting, according to an o­nline nationwide survey of teenagers conducted by the National Governors Association. I'm dubious as to how scientific the o­nline poll is, but interesting nonetheless.

CATS AND DOGS: Diesel, an english mastiff weighing 140kg, might be hostile to people other than his owners, but his hulking frame conceals a big soft spot for the most unlikely of companions – Maggie the cat.

ACOUSTIC KITTY: A blogger taking a class o­n the History of American Spying taught by the Chief Historian of the CIA claims the Company created a cyborg cat to help eavesdrop o­n the Soviet Compound in DC during the Cold War. And he links to a document that seems to back it up.

DOGS: A five year-old golden retriever, fought off a 14-foot, 700-pound alligator in a Lake Moultrie canal last month and lived to howl about it.

DOES A TIGER STALK SAN ANTONIO? There are unsubstantiated reports that a tiger is loose in northern Atascosa County, TX, including unusual attacks o­n other animals.

BLIND MAN ALLEGEDLY HAS SEX WITH HIS GUIDE DOG: But in Florida prosecutors puzzle over the proper charge, because Florida, like many other states, has no bestiality statute.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, King County sheriff's detectives are investigating the death of a Seattle man from injuries sustained while having sex with a horse.

Read full article: 'Intonation, Jimmy Webb, Charlie Buckett, Harry Potter, Cats, Dogs, etc.'
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