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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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Gerbil's Guide to the Galaxy; How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 15, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE...

...with the opening of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Newsday gives it 3 1/2 stars, calling it "a Frankenstein monster of arrested development and unresolved childhood conflicts that have been maniacally funneled into Wonkaland, a child's totalitarian fantasy in the elaborate disguise of a candy factory." Coming Soon says: "Tim Burton's magical version of Roald Dahl's classic is as weird and twisted as you might expect, but it still far surpasses the original movie in every sense." John Hartl of MSNBC writes: "The new movie often feels less like a remake than a trip through Burtonland, where weird landscapes, Danny Elfman’s spry music and Johnny Depp’s whims threaten to turn the movie into a series of improvisations. Fortunately, there’s more of the classic Burton (Beetlejuice, Ed Wood) than the problematic Burton (Big Fish, Planet of the Apes) of recent years. And the casting couldn’t be much better." Of Burton and Depp, Rolling Stone's Peter Travers says, "Their missionary lunacy is a treat for twisted children of all ages." The Washington Post review calls it "a major comedown." The Christian Science Monitor review tweaks the reader: "On paper, Tim Burton seems the ideal filmmaker for a remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... o­n the screen, Burton turns out to be the ideal filmmaker for this deliciously bizarre yarn." Harry Knowles of Aint-It-Cool-News calls it "simply scrumdiddliumptious... Burton hasn’t been this good in a very long time… if ever." Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune gives it four stars: "In a summer of movie discontent, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stands out like a gourmet truffle in a box of stale caramels and curdled creams." And Oddjack has Matthew Tobey's handicapping of the movie -- for example, the odds that the film will feature "hot Oompa-Loompa-on-Oompa-Loompa action" are 47/1.

FRIDAY TIME-WASTER: Bird-Snatchers.

FRIDAY TIME-WASTER II: As I've been remiss in posting time-wasters, today's bonus is Cannibal Chase, for which I really recommend turning o­n your speakers or earphones.

BILLY BRAGG and others announce a free music festival in London this Saturday to remember those who died in the city’s terrorist attacks. "This free festival gives all Londoners an opportunity to come together to send a message of defiance to the bombers by celebrating the diversity they wish to destroy," said Bragg.

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH announce tour dates and the second pressing of their album. Pate fans should note that o­ne gig is at a Unitarian church.

THE HOLD STEADY frontman Chris Finn lauds bar bands in Rolling Stone.

ALISON BROWN and her unique banjo stylings are profiled in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I never thought I'd make a living playing music," she says, "maybe something behind the scenes o­n the business end. When you're a banjo player, there aren't a lot of opportunities."

SONIC YOUTH: Tiny Mix Tapes has th details o­n the deluxe Goo due Spt. 12th. A 4-LP version is due later this year from the band-run Smells Like Records.

MUSIC BLOGS: The recording industry, while suing P2P networks, may stop worrying and learn to love the blog.

FREEBIRD! My Morning Jacket will accommodate America's number o­ne drunken request in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown, which comes out in October.

BULLETTE offers a live download at her site, where you can still download her album for free.

MOBY'S various o­nline projects are blurbed by Vanity Fair.

SUFJAN STEVENS talks to SF Weekly about balancing personal storytelling and history o­n his Illinois (or do you say Illinoise?) album.

TUVAN THROAT SINGERS Albert Kuvezin and Yat-Kha record an album of popular covers. You can download Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" at the link, but you'll have to buy the disc to get the Hank Williams and Captain Beefheart.

BLOC PARTY already have 25 songs to choose from for the follow up to their debut, Silent Alarm.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Jerry Maguire fights Toby Maguire and Rob Lowe is also involved. Nicole Kidman says that when she was married to Cruise, she became more isolated. "Part of me shut down, put up barriers and became very insular. It was very hard to keep friendships alive during that period." And Cruise bought War of the Worlds co-star Dakota Fanning a cellphone for her 11th birthday. Her parents didn't want her to have o­ne; I can't imagine why.

CHRISTIAN SLATER rejects a plea bargain from prosecutors o­n a charge of allegedly groping a woman.

JULIA STILES gets dissed by a clerk at Whole Foods. Ouch!

OLIVER STONE, explaining how he would keep politics out of his 9/11 movie, says a film about 9/11 should have "been done right away. I don't think you should run from things. You should confront them. It's better for the country. Look at the English [reaction to the recent London subway bombings]. They took it and absorbed it and continued o­n. They didn't run around and call for huge pieces of legislation costing billions of dollars to defend our homeland and create a huge war in a foreign country." Note that he's not just complaining about the war. BTW, in October 2001, Stone called 9/11 a "revolt" against media consolidation. "Does anybody make a connection between the 2000 election"—for the Presidency—"and the events of September 11th?" he asked, and added cryptically, "Look for the thirteenth month!"

ALBERT BROOKS' UPCOMING FILM, Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World, gets a good advance review.

SUPPORT FOR BIN LADEN FALLS in several heavily Muslim countries, particularly those where terrorist attacks have occurred, according to surveys conducted for the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Solid majorities in Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan and Indonesia have an unfavorable view of the United States, while Moroccans are split. However, young people in Morocco, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey view America more favorably than the overall populations in those countries.

IRAQ: Noah Shachtman and Christopher Allbritton both blog from the midst of a desert duststorm in Baghdad. Allbriton, who awakened to the sound of a suicide bombing in which o­ne bomber was captured by Iraqi police, advises: "On July 17, the Ba'ath Party will somehow celebrate its 1968 coup that brought it to power. It probably won't be good." Over 1,000 citizens in Qayarrah, including several influential political and religious leaders, marched alongside Iraqi Army and police officers in the first of several planned demonstrations against terrorism. But I'm sure you saw it o­n the news. No?

LONDON BOMBINGS: The British-born mastermind of the London attacks had direct links with al-Qaeda, according to the police. The fourth bomber was identified as Jamaican-born Muslim convert Lindsey Germaine. Following last week's attack, BBC output was not to describe the killers of more than 50 in London as "terrorists" although they could refer to the bombings as "terror attacks."

NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF MAJOR MEDICAL STUDIES are contradicted or undermined by later studies, according to a new study. Of course, this study may be contradicted or undermined by later studies.

HOMO LIGHT: Norwegian homosexuals are set to launch their own soda brand, "Homo light," at an upcoming gastronomic festival, in the hope that it will help promote tolerance. Tastes great or less filling?

THAT AIN'T NO WOMAN! IT'S A MAN, MAN! Samukeliso Sithole (try saying that five tmes fast) -- a triple jumper and runner who competed as a woman at several international sports events -- was convicted in a Zimbabwean court o­n charges of impersonation and offending the dignity of a woman athlete who undressed in his presence, unaware he was a man.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES gets 15 Emmy noms, but Eva Longoria and Nicolette Sheridan are snubbed, thereby ensuring more entertaining catfights in our future.

SIMPSONS-FAMILY GUY FEUD: I hate to read about cartoon-on-cartoon violence. Can't we all just get along?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY) is asking the Federal Trade Commission to probe how users of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" can access "graphic pornographic and violent content" for the videogame from the Internet. I didn't know she was a gamer... or do you think Bill put her up to asking?

WILL CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST RETIRE? "I'm not about to announce my retirement,'' he said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. "I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement,'' said Rehnquist, 80. "I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits.'' Like any good lawyer, there's your loophole.

CHINA IS PREPARED TO USE NUKES AGAINST THE U.S. if it is attacked by America during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said o­n Thursday.

THE UNITED NATIONS would like to wrest control of the Internet from the U.S. I'm shocked to discover China leading the effort.

THE GERBIL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY is being prepared by a gerbil and artist Sally Madge. So far there is no info o­n the Richard Gere entry.

WHAT'S WORSE THAN THE HOUSEFUL OF CATS? A Burke, VA townhouse where nearly 200 cats (many dead) were found Wednesday is owned by the family of the Alexandria, VA woman who had nearly 300 cats removed from her home over the weekend.

THE BLUE PIGEON GROUP debuts in Mancester, England.

MOUSE RESCUED by a special emergency team of the Hamburg Fire Brigade.

GOATS are are working o­n wildfire prevention at San Pedro California's Peck Park Canyon.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 09:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

WONKA WEEK CONTINUES with a few more advance reviewsof Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Gannett News Service is generally negative: "There's so much facade at the center of this movie that it suffers from emotional drift about halfway through... Luckily, the heart that Burton loses somewhere in the middle of the movie is regained in the end." The Amsterdam News calls it "by Hollywood standards, a pretty good film. The sets (both real and computer generated) are stunning. Freddie Highmore's Charlie comes off as sympathetic, but not sappy." In Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman gives it an "A," calling it "a madhouse kiddie musical with a sweet-and-sour heart."

QUEEN invited emergency services personnel who dealt with the London bombings to their Hyde Park concert as a gesture of thanks.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS: Kyle at Information Leafblower gives an early reaction to SFA's latest: "Imagine if Brian Wilson teamed up with Steely Dan and ELO to make their own version of (Radiohead's) Kid A. That might be Love Kraft. It's totally doing my head in."

WILLIE NELSON: Jam has 19 true stories about Willie Nelson and o­ne fib. Wal-Mart got Universal Music Group Nashville to issue sanitized cover art for Nelson's newlyy-released reggae album.

THE SCIENCE OF THE SETLIST: The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Many musicians feel the same way about the setlist (Frank Black excepted).

PEARL JAM guitarist Mike McCready answered fan questions for USA Today, including o­ne about setlists. He also admits, "KISS inspired me personally to pick up a guitar and go for it. My life would have been different without Paul Stanley or Ace Frehley."

THE TOP 40 BANDS IN AMERICA TODAY: As McCready's band was voted greatest American band by USA Today readers, I thought it worth revisiting Information Leafblower's bloggers' poll o­n the subject. It might be a way for those who feel they have become disconnected from the music scene to reconnect, yes?

ROBERT POLLARD has posted a translation of an interview he did for a Portuguese mag. He's going to be right in my neighborhood for a book signing this Fall. And in case I forgot, I should note that he's posted the Official Ironmen Rally Song demo for your downloading pleasure.

SUFJAN SAYS ILLINOISE, others say Illinois. Lets call the whole thing off?

XTINA AGUILERA sliced two tendons in her arm in a scuffle with a drunk fan at a nightclub; it's not considered a serious injury.

"PUSH" FOR NEW ARTISTS: The L.A. Times looks at software like Indy, IRate and Freenet, which download music by new artists to your computer based o­n your prior likes and dislikes.

IRAQ: A suicide bomber detonated his car alongside American soldiers handing out sweets to children in Baghdad, killing as many as 24 people, most of them children. Michael Yon has a new dispatch looking back at his tour and notes that, for better or worse, Iraq's future will soon be in Iraqi hands. The Christian Science Monitor notes (as have others) that Shiite Muslims are dominating Basra, possibly with support from neighboring Iran. But an editor of o­ne of Basra's largest newspapers believes the religious parties "will vanish o­nce our economy picks up and the true nature of Basra reasserts itself." Austin Bay flags news reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has threatened his Ismalist spiritual mentor, Isam Mohammed al-Barqawi, which Bay calls a "significant split."

LONDON BOMBINGS: Police examine material -- including computer files -- seized from homes in Muslim neighborhoods where three of the four suspects lived. The Independent profiles Hasib Hussain, Mohammed Sadique Khan and Shahzad Tanweer. British police have identified the man thought to be the mastermind of last week's bombings. He is apparently British-born; AFX News reports he is of Pakistani origin, but The New York Times quotes an American source as saying he is not of Pakistani descent. Britain's top Islamic scholars are reportedly planning to issue a fatwa condemning the bombers.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie's pet African Gray parrot has reportedly staged hunger strikes and attacked customers at the Amazon Rainforest Shop (where he has lodged while Jolie does press junkets) because he's pining for his famous owner. o­ne cannot blame the bird for pining after Jolie, but she would have been better advised to buy a Norwegian Blue, which pines o­nly for the fjords and is far less active. And our nation breathes a collective sigh of relief as Pitt is released Wednesday from a Los Angeles hospital where he had been admitted for a flu-like illness that turned out to be viral meningitis.

COLIN FARRELL and his former Playmate girlfriend caught o­n videotape?

OWEN WILSON agrees with Gloria Steinem that women have to be responsible for their own orgasms.

CBS NEWS plans to create a 24-hour on-demand Internet network that bypasses cable television. Plans for the broadband network also call for a blog called "Public Eye" that will offer "greater openness and transparency into the newsgathering process."

HOMELAND SECURITY: The Department of Homeland Security is to undergo a major restructuring. Congressional and department officials said Secretart Michael Chertoff will align components into three "buckets" -- intelligence, operations and policy.

GITMO: Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt, who who investigated FBI allegations of detainee abuse at Camp X-Ray, found three incidents of abuse out of roughly 24,000 interrogations, or o­ne-eighth of o­ne-tenth of o­ne percent. The investigation found no cases of actual torture. The AP summarizes the allegations.

CULT OF THE iPod: The New York Times reports o­n the phenomenon of musical hallucination, suggesting the brain becomes an iPod. Apple Computer saw sales jump 75 percent in its latest quarter — and net income more than quadruple — o­n sizzling sales of iPods.

MONEY MAG PICK DOESN'T EXIST: Placing 28th o­n Money magazine's "Top 100 Best Places to Live," Wexford, PA is really only a postal designation. To be fair, however, Money disclosed that this is how they selected places.

EDU-BLOGGING: The agenda of the National Education Association's annual meeting doesn't seem like it has much to do with education.

TEN MILLION GALLONS IS A LOT OF SHOWERS: In Mascoutah, IL (a suburb of St. Louis), Rose Mary Cook got a 74,000 dollar water bill.

THAT AIN'T NO WOMAN! IT'S A MAN, MAN! A chicken seller in Myanmar inexplicably grew a penis last month.

THAT WOMAN USED TO BE A MAN, MAN: The winner of a German beauty contest has confessed she used to be a man.

CATS: Behold the genius of stuffonmycat.com: stuff + cats = awesome.

DOGS: James Lileks pays a tribute of sorts to his dog, Jasper.

SIMBA: The Workman family of Murphysville, KY have a 400-pound pet lion. Three year-old Simba currently shares a cage with a little dog named Jumper, but will need a bigger cae as he is expected to gain another 100 pounds.

THE GREAT ESCAPE: Police in Minot, ND, say they spent several hours surrounding an empty trailer home here, after a man escaped by tunneling out of the house and calling a cab. Police were still looking for the man Tuesday night.

FUGITIVE MONKEY o­n the loose in Caldwell, Ohio.

FUGITIVE TORTOISE UPDATE: Michelangelo, the 22-pound desert tortoise who disappeared in June from a backyard in Orland Park, IL, has been recaptured 20 miles away in Cicero.

CAPUCHIN MONKEYS have been taught to use money. And they're spending it o­n sex.

KING COBRA BITES HINDU PRIEST: Priest lives, snake dies.

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