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The Flaming Lips, Mixtapes, Wonka, Grackles, Hawkeyes, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE FLAMING LIPS documentary, The Fearless Freaks, gets a boffo write-up at Digitally Obsessed: "Considering the rampant acclaim, I would expect the Flaming Lips to posture at least a bit regarding their importance as rock icons. Instead, they rarely even discuss the trappings of becoming major stars. Coyne seems more at home discussing his 11 years working at the local Long John Silver's, a job that he loved."

ROBBIE FULKS gets a meager 4.1 for his new album o­n the Pitchfork. Ouch!

MIXTAPE magazine launches today. If you're wondering whether that's a concept that can sustain over the long-term, remember that the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do's and don'ts. SEMI-RELATED: The June issue of The Believer magazine will include a compilation CD of indie artists covering other indie artists, which is no surprise from a magazine that runs columns by Nick Hornby.

TRENT REZNOR is in court over his finances, prepping the inevitable VH1's Behind the Music show.

WILCO will start recording a new album in August and releasing a DVD/CD of their four-night stint at Chicago's Vic Theatre later this year.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Sithstud Hayden Christensen was spotted canoodling with voracious Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria during the party for Episode III at the Cannes Film Festival. Defamer thinks there's more to the story. ALSO: I got better swag at the Chicago premiere than Boing-Boing's Xeni Jardin did in L.A...

WARREN BEATTY is suing Tribune Media Services for $30 million, saying it had violated an agreement to give the actor rights to make another movie featuring comic character Dick Tracy. He would stand a better chance in court if he had not put Madonna in the last o­ne.

CANADA: The scandal-plagued Liberals got a better chance of surviving a crucial confidence motion o­n the federal budget o­n Thursday, and consequently to avoid being forced into a summer election when high-profile o­ntario MP Belinda Stronach crossed the floor Tuesday to join the Liberal party. Stronach, who was considered o­ne of the rising young stars of the Conservative caucus, has joined the Liberal cabinet and was rewarded with the plum portfolio of minister of human resources. She did so without telling her boyfriend, Conservative deputy leader Peter MacKay. Last month, Stronach was spotted all over NYC with former president Bill Clinton. And not for the first time, iirc.

FILMCRITIC.COM lists its All-Time Top 100 Voices in the Movies.

JANE FONDA strongly rejects the notion of running for public office. She probably wouldn't get many votes around Elizabethtown, KY, where the owner of two theaters refuses to show the her new movie Monster-in-Law because of the activist role she took during the Vietnam War; both theaters are just a few miles from Fort Knox. Elizabethtown is also the title of Cameron Crowe's next movie.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: Ain't It Cool has two advance reviews of the Tim Burton - Johnny Depp version of the Roald Dahl classic. Both are pretty positive, but both also have some spoilers, so consider yourself warned. ALSO: The Gene Wilder version as an allegory of life at college.

TOM AND THE SCIENTOLOGY FACTORY: Tom Cruise takes Holly Millea, a writer for Details magazine, o­n a tour of the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Center. Details to follow.

THIS PILL will improve your memory; its called... um... it's mentioned in this story I read, I think.

UZBEKISTAN: Government forces massacred hundreds of peaceful protesters on a scale not seen since Tiananmen Square in 1989. Since some, like CBS News, insist o­n mentioning that Uzbekistan has been a U.S. ally in the war o­n terrorism, it should be noted that the U.S. withdrew most foreign aid last year over president Islam Karimov's anti-democratic tendencies.

A WORKING-CLASS DOG IS SOMETHING TO BE: On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America may bar members from registering their dogs with other clubs, to preserve the working-dog characteristics of the breed and prevent it from becoming a show dog.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: British Member of Parliament George Galloway gave a bombastic performance yesterday, but failed to convince a U.S. Senate investigative committee that he had not profited from oil dealings with Iraq under the U.N.ís oil-for-food program. And it was a Democratic senator, Carl Levin, rather than the Republican committee chairman, Norm Coleman, who gave him the hardest time. Sen Levin repeatedly requested that Galloway deliver a straight answer to a straight question, but he could, or would not. Columnist Christopher Hitchens notes that the committee looked lackluster, but, imho, the fact that Galloway falsely accused Sen. Levin of supporting the invasion of Iraq will end up damaging his credibility far more than Hitchens imagines. ALSO: Norm Geras corrects The New York Times o­n the reasons why Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party.

JACKO JUSTICE: According to E! News: "During their alleged captivity at Neverland Ranch, the family of Michael Jackson's accuser made several demands. o­nly the demands weren't about being set free--they were about body waxes, braces and 'f--king Cheetos.'"

THE NEW YORK TIMES' decision to start charging for its op-eds and some columnists o­nline is getting a bad reaction from left and right in the blogosphere.

JEFF GANNON/GUCKERT: The Boston Globe runs a piece suggesting that the blogs that outed the conservative hack reporter associated with websites for gay escorts damaged themselves and the traditional press. SEMI-RELATED: Blogs are a powerful new force in U.S. politics but they have not displaced traditional media in terms of information and influence, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. As if a study was needed.

THE AMAZING RISE OF THE D.I.Y. ECONOMY is covered by Fortune magazine and what better example to lead with than Owen Misterovich's creation of the Pez MP3 player!

QURAN DESECRATION: The Washington Post: "More than two years ago, the Pentagon issued detailed rules for handling the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, requiring U.S. personnel to ensure that the holy book is not placed in 'offensive areas such as the floor, near the toilet or sink, near the feet, or dirty/wet areas.'"

BRITNEY SPEARS intends to let her appearance go, undoubtedly causing a flotilla of accountants to go into cardiac arrest. Her surreality show, Chaotic, debuted last night, but I have no doubt that No Rock and Roll Fun's imagining of the Spears proposal is more entertaining. Indeed, the Spears-Federline interview with Ellen Degeneres is probably better -- Ellen stumped the couple by asking, "What's the best part about being married?"

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer who is sorta marrying Kate Moss has been evicted from his flat after hosting a string of all-night parties.

A SMALL VICTORY sets its Listomatic to New Wave.

CULT OF THE iPod: Jason Kottke lists 50 Fun Things You Can Do With Your iPod without using the earbuds. Detatch from your Mac, Jack.

THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION continues to fall apart, losing its oxygen generator. Fortunately the astronauts have about 140 days' of backup supply.

LARGE BLACK GRACKLES are swooping down o­n downtown Houston and attacking people's heads, hair and backs. And Houston is a long way from Bodega Bay.

HARVARD PREZ LARRY SUMMERS committed the university to spend million over the next decade o­n a range of programs aimed at improving the climate for women scientists, many of whom were angered by his remarks that questioned female aptitude for top-level math and science. That's an expensive apology for comments about a possibility that is a matter of current scientific debate, but hey, it's not his money.

OIL-FOR-FOOD II: A Senate Democratic staff report focuses o­n the role of Texas oil company Bayoil and its owner, David Chalmers, who has been charged over the company's activities. Those staffers may make certain assumptions about Texas oilmen, but it turns out that Chalmers gave a grand to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2000 before he gave 300 bucks to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee in 2002. The Democratic staff report also makes much of shipments to Jordan, though it has already been pointed out that both Congress and the U.N. were aware of and allowed the exports to Turkey. As the head of the U.S. mission to the U.N. said in response to this charge when Kofi Annan made it, these shipments were not comparable to "the bribery, the corruption, the kickbacks, the things that were done for self-interest secretively in a nontransparent manner that are really just acts of fraud and crime."

NANOTECH: The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology has published a study purporting to show how existing technologies can be coordinated toward a reachable goal of general-purpose molecular manufacturing.

DO YOU THINK EUROPEANS DON'T LIKE THE U.S.? Just ask them about France!

CAN THE HAWKEYES GET ANYTHING RIGHT? This Fall, the University of Iowa is offering a class examining pornography in popular culture, which isn't sitting well with Iowa House Speaker Chris Rants during state budgeting. Moreover, "It's not a class about enjoying or viewing pornography," according to Jay Clarkson, who is teaching the class. So who exactly is going to like this class, anyway?

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One-ders, Grant Hart, Ben Folds, QotSA, Video on Vinyl, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 17, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

TOP 25 ONE-HIT WONDERS OF THE NINETIES, courtesy of Glide magazine, via Stereogum. Anyone who saw Trip Shakespeare play their first gig outside the Twin Cities at the M-Shop has to have a soft spot for "Closing Time..."

RILO KILEY'S Jenny Lewis talked to the Chicago Tribune, but ducked questions about her sitcom past.

GRANT HART tells the Winnipeg Sun why a Husker Du reunion is unlikely.

ON THE PITCHFORK: The lineup for the Intonation Festival in Chicago in mid-July. I may have to go see the Swedish psych-metal of Dungen! ALSO: An interview with The Hold Steady. I liked Craig Finn's comment: "I've said a number of times that people think of songwriting as a very personal thing: A guy gets up there with an acoustic guitar and he sings his heart out, bares his soul. What we're doing is more cinematic. No o­ne goes up to Quentin Tarantino and goes, 'You must shoot a lot of people. You must do karate all the time.'"

BEN FOLDS may be getting mixed reviews for his latest album, but he got a rave for his concert in Boston over the weekend. Marc Hirsh also suggests that Folds owes less to Joe Jackson than he does to Randy Newman.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Roger Ebert gives it three and a half stars. After noting George Lucas' inability to write dialogue, he proclaims that it "has more action per square minute, I'd guess, than any of the previous five movies, and it is spectacular." Anthony Lane in The New Yorker is less charitable in a spoiler-laden review: "The general opinion of Revenge of the Sith seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement o­n the last two episodes... True, but o­nly in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion."

POLITICS OF THE SITH: I wasn't going to get into the political aspect --such as it is-- of the movie, but apparently folks at the Cannes Film Festival have picked up o­n an anti-Bush gibe in the film, as though anti-Bush and even anti-America sentiments are not common at Cannes. Anyway, at o­ne point, Anakin tells Obi-Wan, "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy," which is taken -- probably correctly -- as a stab at President Bush's speech o­n terrorism. I would simply note that Obi-Wan's reply -- that o­nly the Sith see things in such black-and-white terms, is belied by the fact that the Jedi refer to the Dark Side of the Force as, well, the Dark Side of the Force. Anyone who sees the movie will be forced to admit that Darth Sidious has a more nuanced and morally relativistic view of the world than the Jedi Order in Episode III. All of which demonstrates that space opera is probably not the best source for political commentary.

ALCOHOL is worse for female brains, according to a University of Heidelberg study.

WEDDINGS AND NAME CHANGES are discussed at length o­n MetaFilter.

JACKO JUSTICE: Everyone has an opinion about the Michael Jackson trial, including Alice Cooper.

CATS AND DOGS: If youíve taken your dog or cat to the veterinarian lately, you may have suffered sticker shock when presented with the bill.

CURB YOUR BLOGTHUSIASM: Laurie David just ruined some future episode of Larry's Curb Your Enthusiasm, didn't she?

RUNAWAY BRIDE: Leave it to the New York Post to dig up the 411 o­n Jennifer Wilbanks' sexual history. And in true Post style, the story refers to her oft-published picture as her "bug-eyed mug."

THE FEMALE ORGASM may have no evolutionary function at all; it may be "just for fun."

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: A U.S. Senate investigation has concluded that top Kremlin operatives, including the highly influential chief of staff to Presidents Putin and Yeltsin, reaped millions of dollars in profits under the U.N. oil-for-food program.

GENE LOVES JEZEBEL jumps out of the "Where Are They Now?" file o­n June 6th.

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE never sounded better; the picture tells the story.

KINGS OF LEON is doing a bunch of dates with The Secret Machines.

MUSIC DOWNLOADING: People in the UK buy more music per head of population than in any other country, and we already have the highest ownership rates of iPods and MP3 players in the world. But a survey shows that 96 percent of the downloading is being done by men. So, is music downloading sexist?

THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME: Prof. Ann Althouse blogged her visit en route to Ithaca. And while I've agreed with her o­n prior rock-related posts, she tosses out some odd opinions in this o­ne.

VIDEO o­n VINYL (only $2500) and other video you play with a needle are noted at Kempa.com.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Brad Pitt describes the reasons for his separation from Jennifer Aniston as "complex and multifaceted" and "not o­ne thing." Of course, even a casual glance at Angelina Jolie (if such a thing has ever existed) could tell you it was more than o­ne thing.

NATIONAL SEA MONKEY DAY was Monday. Sorry I missed it; I feel like I have failed all of you terribly.

IRAQ: Scores of foreign fighters may have fled border towns ahead of the U.S. Marines' launch of Operation Matador, though that may be due to ongoing fighting between the different groups of insurgents themselves.. The Washington Post is interesting because it shows the general degree of professionalism of U.S. troops: Marines generally commandeered houses for the night, but before dawn, Capt. Bill Brown "got up and washed the tea glasses used by his Marines. He left them drying o­n the family's sideboard. It doesn't pay to make enemies, Brown said."

IRAQ II: What are the lessons to be drawn from the standpoint of overhauling the U.S. military?

NEW CANCER DRUGS may be more effective by multi-tasking.

LINDSAY LOHAN launched a damage control operation over the weekend, but Go Fug Yourself is still talking about the amount of time Lohan spends in the bathroom, and Defamer refers to having "more Lohan-related news than we could cut with a credit card." But damage control is clearly necessary when the normally fluffy People magazine begins a Lohan photo caption with, "Proving she does, in fact, eat..."

CULT OF THE iPod: Leave it to New Yorkers to turn the gadget into an instrument of brutal o­ne-upsmanship. It makes Jack Black's "Barry" in High Fidelity seem dainty.

AFGHANISTAN AND NEWSWEEK: Editor Mark Whitaker, after telling The New York Times, "We're not retracting anything," decided to retract its story about Quran desecration, which, imho, it had no choice about, as their single source collapsed o­n them. If this was not the case, Newsweek would not o­nly be standing by its story, but also doing a story o­n how the government tried to pressure the magazine into the retraction. In the aftermath of the story, a frequent visitor to Kabul is being warned about the damage the story has done. Fortunately, it would appear that Islamic outrage over the story is not widespread in Iraq. As for Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas chose to print a claim made by Bader Zaman Bader, who claimed he still had nightmares over the Quran desecration. Thomas failed note that when Bader was released, he said was interrogated 150 times by his American jailers but never abused, with no mention of Quran desecration.

NEWSWEEK REAX: There are some, apparently including ABC News' Nightline, that want to defend the story o­n the basis of other allegations lodged primarily by former detainees. As noted here before, the Al Qaeda training manual instructs its followers to complain of abuse if they are captured as a matter of routine. In this case, the allegations have been published before. But in 2002, when Guantanamo detainees protested the guards' handling of copies of the Quran (provided by the U.S., btw), which allegedly had been tossed into a pile and stepped o­n, an anonymous former interrogator confirmed that a senior officer delivered an apology over the camp's loudspeaker system, pledging that such abuses would stop. Interpreters, standing outside each prison block, translated the officer's apology. The NYT now reports that former Guantanamo translator Eric Saar doesn't back the "toilet" allegations. Nevertheless, Newsweek is not responsible for the violence and deaths that followed its publication of an unsupported story that the government had confirmed these allegations -- the blame lies with Islamic extremists who think murder is an appropriate response to being offended. I wish the defenders of Newsweek would put the blame there instead of assuming our soldiers are guilty.

JESSICA SIMPSON has separated from husband Nick? It's a story based o­n a single anonymous source, so you would be forgiven for thinking this ran in Newsweek, instead of Star magazine.

THERE'S A BIG GAP BETWEEN PRESS AND PUBLIC attitudes o­n a whole host of issues, according to a new University of Connecticut survey.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT is renewed for another season.

AL QAEDA official Haitham al-Yemeni was killed in Pakistan by a Predator drone plane.

AL QAEDA: FWIW, Pakistani and U.S. intelligence believe that they are hot on the heels of Osama bin Laden, according to a report in the Asia Times.

KUWAIT APPROVES WOMEN'S RIGHT TO VOTE. For parliament. In 2007. The journey of miles beginning with a single step, one hopes.

THE NEW YORK TIMES plans to start charging .95 for access to it its Op-Ed page and certain of its top news columnists o­nline. I think that will prove to be a grave error.

FEAR ON THE BAYOU: Is a serial killer loose near Houma, a town of 32,000 about 50 miles southwest of New Orleans?

TATTOO ARTISTS are concerned their art is becoming too mainstream.

KINKY DEMON terrorizes Tanzania!

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Robbie Fulks, Gumby, Jimmy Martin, The Black Beauty, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 16, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

FEIST: Leslie Feist is profiled in the Boston Globe. Asked about her genre-bending solo disc, Feist says, ''Willie Nelson is country, but is he really? He's a great jazz guitarist and writes better folk songs than anyone. Is Nina Simone jazz or roots or blues? I've never been good at differentiating. It's music that occupies a space in my mind and my heart."

ROBBIE FULKS "takes country's drowsiest subjects - drunken losers, dead-end towns and low-end cheaters - and infuses them with tart story lines, rapid-fire puns and bursts of moving humor," according to a profile in the New York Daily News.

NAPOLEON IN RAGS: Rock critic emeritus Greil Marcus promotes his book, "Like A Rolling Stone," with an article in the Guardian suggesting the Dylan anthem is a candidate for the greatest record ever made, perhaps, or the greatest record that ever would be made.

"IT'S THE MODERN DAY EQUIVALENT OF..." is the theme of Insound's e-mail newsletter, comparing new discs to old, as reprinted at Chromewaves.

GUMBY is on the comeback trail with a series of events marking his 50th anniversary and plans for television and a movie.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio has been o­n a roll at his blog, The Fourth Rail, with plenty of analysis of Operation Matador along the Syrian border and other war news.

IRAQ II: Saddam Hussein's spies planned to bribe members of the French political elite in the run-up to the invasion, including an offer to help fund President Jacques Chirac's re-election campaign, according to the Iraqi intelligence service memos uncovered by investigators working for the U.S. House of Representatives. Roselyne Bachelot, then a member of the National Assembly and the spokesman for Mr Chirac's re-election campaign, denied that any such offer had been made.

SEXY CHEERLEADING still legal in Texas, as a bill approved by the state House to ban bawdy cheerleading routines apparently isnít going anywhere in the Senate this year.

...AND THE PEOPLE BOWED AND PRAYED: In a correction, the Washington Post informs its readers that an Episcopal congregation in Falls Church, VA does not sing Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" in Spanish before taking Communion.

BLUEGRASS PIONEER JIMMY MARTIN, who performed with the Blue Grass Boys, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and many others, died Saturday, a year after being diagnosed with bladder cancer. He was 77 years old.

MADONNA was offered a spot o­n the prestigious Cannes Film Festival jury, but turned it down because she would have missed two Kabbalah meetings back in London. And because it might remind people of her fine body of work in film. And maybe because she's busy taking giant fertility tablets flown in from India in her desperate attempt to have a third child.

CATS AND DOGS: The former mayor of Beverly Hills has 165 of them in her house when the cops showed up.

DOGS o­n the street are being recruited as sentries and informers by police in India.

DOGS: "What's that you say, Shannon? Ted's trapped under the tractor?" "Woof, Woof!" "Let's go!"

DOGS can dress as Darth Vader or put o­n a Leia slave outfit. Really, can't we save that for women?

REVENGE OF THE SITH: In The New York Times, A.O. Scott says, "it's better than Star Wars." o­n Friday, I gave Episode III the thumbs-up, but Scott clearly needs to be committed.

SUMMER MOVIE CALENDAR: Peter vanDerbeek has it nicely programmed by day, week and month.

LAWYERS SHOCKED AND STUNNED to discover that they cannot lie under oath and mislead a court. This is why, after the advance screening of Revenge of the Sith, when I was asked by the Coldstone Creamery whether I wanted a dish of Jedi ice cream (a/k/a "vanilla") or the Dark Side ice cream (a/k/a "chocolate brownie"), I replied, "I'm a lawyer, so of course I'm having the Dark Side."

AFGHANISTAN: Newsweek magazine has backed away from a report that U.S. interrogators desecrated copies of the Quran while questioning prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay naval base -- an account blamed for sparking violent riots in Afghanistan. "We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in a note to readers. However, Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas proceeds to blame an anonymous government official allegedly knowledgeable about the matter (when he apparently was not) and other media outlets. Thomas then prints another unsubstantiated allegation of desecration made by Guantanamo detainees, even though U.S. military spokesman told him, "If you read the Al Qaeda training manual, they are trained to make allegations against the infidels." Meanwhile, a group of Afghan Muslim clerics threatened o­n Sunday to call for jihad against the U.S. in three days unless it hands over military interrogators reported to have desecrated the Koran. Perhaps we could give them Evan Thomas?

GARAGE BIOLOGY: Home DNA labs are not a big deal...yet.

TARA REID GONE WILD? Well, yes, a long time ago, but now she may get paid for it. Page Six reports that the boozy floozy is close to a deal to become the next host of the E! channel's popular Wild On! travel show.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON, doing press for Woody Allen's Match Point, says she's not Woody's muse. Or his adopted daughter.

CAMBERLAKE IN COURT: Cameron Diaz is suing The Sun newspaper over a story claiming she was cheating o­n boyfriend Justin Timberlake with a married man. In another case, Timberlake is suing the News of the World over a story that claimed he cheated o­n Diaz.

CAMERON DIAZ also stars in a report from the Reebok Human Rights Awards posted at You Can't Make It Up.

CULT OF THE iPod: Do not run your iPod through the washing machine. Bill Gates thinks that the iPod will be killed by the cellphone. And newspaper columnist Ralph De La Cruz finds his lost youth in the iPod Shuffle he got as a birthday gift.

PODCASTING: Newspapers and magazines such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Philadelphia Daily News, Washington Post and Forbes have started podcasts in recent weeks.

THE FRENCH HOTEL: It looks like we will get to see her shove that huge hunk of meat in her mouth, after all.

IRAQ III: Arthur Chrenkoff's round-up of good news from Iraq actually gets published in The New York Times in a cool graphic format. Reporting all sides may be part of the paper's campaign to regain credibility, so it would be interesting for the NYT to report where each piece of good news ran in the paper, along with a similar chart of the bad news and where that ran in the paper. I'm not saying that there needs to be some artificial equality in the coverage, but I suspect that maybe o­ne or two of the stories listed by Chrenkoff ran in the back of the paper and the rest were ignored.

IRAQ IV: The data suggests that between 60 and 70 percent of the suicide bombers in Iraq are Saudis.

CANADA: The opposition grabbed control of the House of Commons o­n Thursday and shut it down for a day, the boldest move yet by the Bloc Quebecois and the Tories to demonstrate that the minority Liberals no longer hold power.

UZBEKISTAN: Protests over the trial of 23 prominent Muslim businessmen accused of terror ties and Islamic extremism exploded into violence in eastern Uzbekistan o­n Friday. The story is being well-blogged at Publius Pundit, Registan and Gateway Pundit. In contrast, CBS News changes the headline o­n the Associated Press report to "U.S. Ally Fires o­n Its People."

GEORGE BARRIS AUTO AUCTION: Some of Hollywood's most famous cars are being auctioned by Bonhams and Butterfields. I'm thinking about getting the Black Beauty, but if I do, I probably won't be able to get this for Sylvia and Lex's wedding.

SENATE CANDIDATE Stan Jones is running as a Libertarian, but looks like a member of Blue Man Group.

SOPHIE MARCEAU, probably best known in the U.S. for her roles as Princess Isabelle in Braveheart and Elektra King in the Bond flick The World Is Not Enough, had a wardrobe malfunction at the Cannes Film Festival. NSFW, but you weren't going to click to see the hi-res pics, anyway. I mention it only so that you don't seem clueless at the watercooler; a public service, really.

WOMEN WRESTLING IN PUDDING: "It's a beautiful thing when the degradation of women and Greek philanthropy collide."

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Star Wars, Hank Williams, Mena Suvari, Milbloggers and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 13, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

REVENGE OF THE SITH: As some of you learned, I attended the advance screening Thursday night. There will be no spoilers in this first part of my review; if you want those, you'll have to click the "Read more" link at the bottom of today's entry.

First, for those that don't know, I am more of a Star Wars fan than most, having seen each of the series o­n opening day. That includes the original, to which I was taken by my dad and o­ne of his independent contarctors, at the Edens Plaza theater, which no longer exists. Nevertheless, I was not standing in line for this weeks in advance like Steve Lorenzo. Nor did I spend 500 bucks for my ticket, though the Children's Hospital in Chicago is certainly a worthy cause. Indeed, I am not even as big a Star Wars geek as the people seated o­n either side of me in the theater Thursday night, which did wonders for my self-esteem.

Second, everyone got a fair amount of swag for the buck. The preshow at the Adler Planetarium was well-staged, with Vader, stormtroopers (both early and late designs), Imperial officers, Jango and Boba Fett, sandpeople, etc. Widescreen flat-panel displays looped scenes from all six movies, stations allowed kids to play each other at Star Wars videogames, and there was plenty of food catered by Wolfgang Puck, who also attended. A number of collectibles were raffled off (none for me, alas).

Trolleys whisked you to the theater, where you got a bottle of water or soda, a bag of popcorn and an additional bag of tchotchkes: a bag of Jedi Peanut M&Ms (now eaten); a bag of Dark Side Plain M&Ms (now eaten); a tube of M&M minis with Star Wars head dispenser (mine is Chewbacca) and a refill for same; a wind-up toy (mine is Yoda); SW: ROTS trading cards; a Star Wars: Empire comic book; a film tin of jelly beans (not eaten... yet); packs of Doublemint and Juicy Fruit gum (Chicago is the Wrigley City) and an admission ticket for "Sonicvision" -- see your music at the Ad-ler Plan-e-tar-i-um!

Oh yeah, there was a movie, too. If you have read any of the other advance reviews, you know the consensus is that Episode III is better than the last two. I wholeheartedly agree. Indeed, while my opinion might change when I have more distance, I am tempted to agree that it is the third-best of the series, as it has very little of the saccarine quality of Return of the Jedi. There are a couple of cute moments with R2-D2 at the outset of Episode III, but there are no cutsey Ewoks (which, btw, are not so named in ROTJ; we know what they are called from the marketing) and you will miss Jar-Jar Binks if you blink at the right moment. Episode III is as dark or darker than The Empire Strikes Back, though I'll discuss that and more in the aptly-named in the "more" section....

FLASHBACK: Sylvia Hauser's rescued greyhound is in the hospital. Although he's currently doing better than she expected, you might consider putting in a kind word with your deity (if you have o­ne) for ol' Flash.

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER DELUXE, courtesy of Sylvia, is Addictive Games.

RILO KILEY frontwoman Jenny Smith is blurbed about her forthcoming solo album in Rolling Stone, along with Rilo Kiley's tour schedule.

ON THE PITCHFORK: Neko Case tour dates. ALSO: A rave for the reissue of Gang of Four's Entertainment! and a lukewarm review of the Lucinda Williams live set.

ONEIDA: Stereogum calls the band's newest, The Wedding, "this year's most compelling neo-psych record." He also offers a download of o­ne track, "The Eiger," as well as the song that may have inspired it -- the Left Banke's "Walk Away, Renee" (which I used to play o­n the radio Saturday mornings to annoy Craig O'Neill).

SUFJAN STEVENS: The Catbird Seat has more downloads from his forthcoming Illinois album.

MP3 BLOGS: The Tofu Hut has posted an extensive directory of MP3 blogs, categorized by genre. Though short o­n country, you can find, rock, pop, jazz, blues, r&b, reggae, world and even videogame music blogs listed.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The trobled singer and galpal Kate Moss are rumored to be having some sort of marriage-esque blessing ceremony at the Glastonbury music festival.

HANK WILLIAMS, SR. looks to be getting a museum in the Pure Oil service station where a chauffeur discovered his death.

DELTA MOON: Back in the day of The Brains, Tom Gray scored a hit when Cyndi Lauper covered his song "Money Changes Everything." His new band is moving more toward the sound of Emmylou Harris.

HARRY SHEARER blogs a bit o­n CNN: The Most Trusted Name in Fun.

FOCUS GROUPING THE NEWS? The Chicago Tribune solicits opinions from an o­nline focus group that allows its members to see and comment o­n parts of the paper (phots, layouts and headlines, but not text) before publication.

PENTHOUSE CLEANS ITSELF UP, but just a little.

THE REV. JESSE JACKSON has renewed his call for radio stations to "draw the line o­n dignity" and somehow managed to connect the issue of vulgarity in hip-hop to the renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Jackson also said black people need to take more responsibility for their own lives. "We need to respect ourselves. We must maintain our own dignity."

CATS: They are outlawed in NYC, but a designer breed called the Savannah, which can cost from $4,000 to $10,000, are the new "it" feline. Too bad The New York Times got the cute title wrong.

CLASSROOM CLICKERS allow teachers to pose questions and get immediate feedback from the entire class, and none of the students need to worry about exposing their ignorance.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: Ryan Sager notes that "a smattering of Democrats and liberal activists are slowly coming to the conclusion that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to let the government decide who can and cannot engage in political speech." Campaign finance reform almost always favors the incumbents who pass it.

YAHOO! MUSIC: Industry observers question how the new music rental service jibes with Yahoo's prior purchase of Musicmatch.

WHAT'S NEXT IN DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT? USA Today assembled a panel of some of the industry's most influential players -- including Public Enemy's Chuck D -- to talk about what's ahead.

MICROSOFT: The BBC has a two-part piece o­n challenges facing the software giant and the company's strategies for the future.

MENA SUVARI: The 26 year-old actress is getting divorced from 42 year-old cinematographer Robert Brinkmann, citing irreconcilable differences. Some may speculate that the age difference is a factor; I say he finally complained about the glare from her giant alien forehead.

LINDSAY LOHAN denies she's anorexic, saying that she's just been o­n a diet. No word o­n whether that diet involves throwing up meals.

KIERA KNIGHTLEY admits she used a butt double for The Jacket because she did not have time to train after shooting another version of Pride and Prejudice.

BOX OFFICE BLUES A MYTH? Although some have noted lackluster biz at the cinema this season, Variety notes that movies are performing o­n average much better than the 2004 crop, o­nce you exclude The Passion of the Christ. This year's figures have yet to account for the power of the Force.

WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Alamo City Paranormal in San Antonio, among others.

PLASTIC RADIOS: Why? Because I like them!

SCIENTOLOGY is facing competition from Fictionology, according to The o­nion.

HAND GESTURES lead to better story-telling, according to research at the University of Alberta. Insert your ethnically-insensitive Italian joke here.

MILBLOGGERS -- including a few I've linked from time to time -- are the subject of a feature in USA Today.

IRAN: France, Germany and Great Britain say Iran could face serious consequences if Tehran follows through o­n a threat to resume processing uranium for nuclear fuel. The tough talk is supported in Washington, natch. Of course, "serious consequences" were promised, but not delivered, by the U.N. if Saddam Hussein did not verifiably disarm himself. At this point, the "serious consequences" might be seeking U.N. sanctions, which the West may not be able to get past Russia or China.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: The Independent has Cliffs Notes for those new to the story. Claudia Rosett, who was o­n this story from the very beginning, advances the story, based o­n the Senate investigation.

BASEBALL: Scientists studying the sport find that children cannot hit or catch slow balls because their brains are not wired to handle slow motion. An article at American Scientist breaks down the physics of the game -- the Magnus force of a spinning pitch, and so o­n, with plenty of visual aids.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON AND NEWT GINGRICH joined cheerfully yesterday to promote legislation o­n healthcare changes, as two polarizing potential presidential candidates pretend to move toward the center of American politics.

EXTREME IRONING: I'm not kidding, but the Extreme Ironing Bureau may be.

FLEXIBLE CONCRETE: What will they think of next?

EXOTIC NAMES are associated with trouble later in life for black children, though it's unclear as to the extent to which this reflects o­n the parent(s) or the perceptions of others, or both.

Read full article: 'Star Wars, Hank Williams, Mena Suvari, Milbloggers and more...'
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Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 08:00 AM
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Karl

FEIST: The Mpls/St. Paul City Pages says Leslie Feist's Let It Die is "make-out music for the whole family," though I think that's meant as a compliment.

BEATLE PAUL, BONO, GREGG ALLMAN and others have been recording kareoke tracks for Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen to jam with.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS' John Darnielle tells NewCity Chicago something about the job of songwriting: "It isn't asking much of a guy to write, say, o­ne song a month. If you're o­nly doing o­ne a month, then you should be able to do twelve terrific songs per year. If you have any work ethic, it should be more than that, especially if you've been doing it for a while."

THE CARTER FAMILY is the subject of PBS's American Experience this week. Left of the Dial has links to a podcast and more.

ANGELINA JOLIE gets more done than most celebrity activists, if this press release is true -- securing a public commitment from the president of Sierra Leone that the government would release plans to implement the recommendations the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) within two weeks of receiving the final written TRC report. Given her position as a U.N. Goodwill ambassador, Angelina might also consider addressing the rampant sexual abuse of women and girls by U.N. peacekeepers in Sierra Leone and insisting at the very least that the U.N. implement the measures it has proposed to deal with this abuse, not o­nly in Sierra Leone, but also the Congo, the Ivory Coast, Burundi, Liberia, Haiti, and Sudan.

LINDSAY LOHAN: Stereogum and Defamer are both noticing there's less of the Lohan to see lately.

MEAN GIRLS may start down that path when they still are toddlers, according to a Brigham Young University study.

NATALIE PORTMAN: Egotastic likes her buns and notes that she's recently shaved. He is referring to her movie hairstyles, of course.

J-LO recently told reporters "I've never really had any trouble with boyfriends' moms or any moms of anybody that I've been with," causing the assembled press to blurt out, "No, Just the men!" Hysterical laughter followed.

JACKO JUSTICE: Michael Jackson is so wracked by financial troubles that he has secretly sold his Neverland Ranch for $35 million. So says The National Enquirer, so it must be true. Meanwhile, things are going better for Jackson in court as fellow child star Macaulay Culkin adamantly denied that Jackson had ever touched him inappropriately. Nevertheless, presenting testimony that he slept in Jacksonís bed several times between the ages of 10 and 14 --sometimes with other boys -- carries a degree of risk.

LIVE AID II? More like Live 8, which will be held in Hyde Park o­n July 2-3 coincide with the G8 summit in Edinburgh.

ALMOST FAMOUS: Didja know that Penny Lane met up with the Golden God at SXSW?

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB is releasing their third album, Howl, in August.

THE VIRTUAL DRUM KIT, courtesy of the aptly-named Ken Brashear.

AFGHANISTAN: At least four people were killed and dozens injured in a riot in eastern Afghanistan yesterday after police fired on demonstrators protesting about reports that the Qur'an had been desecrated by US soldiers in Guantanamo Bay. These reports appeared in a Newsweek article by Michael Isikoff and John Barry that is anonymously sourced. If the claims of abuse at Guantanamo Bay are substantiated, the personnel involved will deserve to be disciplined, but if not, I wouldn't want to be Isikoff and Barry.

IT'S ALMOST CARNIVAL SEASON: Do you have your copy of The Journal of Ride Theory Omnibus?

EDU-BLOGGING: Speaking of carnivals, the latest Carnival of Education is o­nline.

UNITED AIRLINES won the approval of a U.S. Bankruptcy Court to dump its four pension plans o­n the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., prompting renewed warnings from some members of Congress that taxpayers may someday have to bail out the deficit-riddled government pension agency. Had the government engaged in this sort of scheme, we would call it Social Security.

POWERBALL LOTTERY OFFICIALS SUSPECTED FRAUD when 110 players in the March 30th drawing got five of the six numbers right, instead of the statistically expected four or five. The real answer was more mystical. And you have to love that this story about numbers carries the byline of Jennifer 8. Lee.

VIKINGS RUNNING BACK ONTERRIO SMITH was caught with an elaborate kit used to beat drug tests called "The Original Whizzinator." But the Associated Press doesn't tell you what that is. As you can imagine, that last link may be NSFW.

GWI: That's "G" for "galloping." A Kentucky man has been charged with riding a horse while intoxicated. A breath test showed the man's alcohol level at .244, more than three times the limit.

CULT OF THE iPod: Okay, an iPod Shuffle Crucifix is a bit much.

YAHOO! is introducing an o­nline music subscription service that will undercut the prices of all-you-can-download music rental services offered by Real Networks and Napster.

IRAQ: Winds of Change rounds up the round-ups of Operation Matador along the Syrian border. Another good source of Matador-blogging seems to be Milblogger Josh Manchester at The Adventures of Chester.

THE HUFFINGTON POST: David Rees, creator of Get Your War On, asks, "When Do I Get To Meet Gwyneth Paltrow???" It might be a while: Rees' co-blogger-author-journo Richard Bradley notes that of the group blog's first 25 posts, o­nly three were posted by women.

ROBOTS: Scientists at Cornell University have created small robots that can build copies of themselves. I, for o­ne, welcome the coming of our robot overlords.

ROBOT DOGS: When it comes to robot dog competitions, the Germans rule, having won both the RoboCup US Open and the RoboCup German Open.

THE COUNCIL o­n AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS (CAIR) is complaining about a "disturbing rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes," but the most recent FBI report o­n hate crimes found that anti-Islamic crimes remained at the about same level ó 149 ó as the year before. CAIR is counting incidents in which Muslims reported their civil rights had been violated, which rose 49 percent.

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: I thought I was done with this movie, but as a gushing firehose of pop culture references, I cannot help but admire Dr. Frank's review of the sword-n-sandal epic. Few reviews of a movie about the second Crusade will allude to the Who and Scooby-Doo in consecutive sentences.

BAD HUMOR MAN: A Pennsylvania Good Humor man was served 18 months' probation Tuesday for pummeling a pudgy-faced Bloomfield teen during a meltdown. In addition to the probation, the ice cream vendor must take anger management classes and reimburse the teenager $20 for damage to his bike.

SIZE MATTERS to fish, according to a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis. And Teri Hatcher, who just traded a short fashion designer for 7-foot-tall former NBA star John Salley, according to Page Six.

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