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The LeeVees, Drive-By Truckers, Lazy Sunday and Cryptozoology 2005   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, December 26, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

Gary "Elvis" Schepers, standing behind Pate bassist Mike Kelly (left) and guitarist Jon Pratt (right), during a radio interview in Manitoba, Canada (1987).

GARY "ELVIS" SCHEPERS: I don't want to unduly alarm anyone, but the tuba player for The Service and Devil In A Woodpile -- not to mention o­ne of Chicago's best-known live rock soundmen -- is rumored to have been hospitalized recently. It sounded serious, though it's not something life-threatening. Nor did it sound like anything embarassing or titilating -- I'm just reluctant to repeat rumors until I have better confirmation (except about major celebs, natch). I'm working o­n it and will pass along any news I hear o­n it. Of course, if you know about it, you should drop me a line. In the meantime, did you know that Trouser Press founder Ira Robbins thought The Service's cover of Pate's "If You Will, I Will" resembled The Replacements?

I'M STILL GETTING OVER Christmas at Carmen and Dave's, but rest assured I have links for you this Boxing Day...

HAPPY HANUKKAH with THE LEE VEES: Get into the Festival of Lights with this combo pairing a member of Guster and from the Zambonis. You can stream four from MySpace or download a freebie from iTunes. You can also stream or download two gigs in multiple formats from the Internet Archive.

DOWNLOAD PRICING is under investigation by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer.

SEASON OF THE LIST: Stereogum posted its Readers' Top 20 poll in two parts. DJ Monster Mo at BTAE posts his 25 Favorite LPs. There's Top Ten from The Sacramento Bee . Beta (music) has lists for its Top 50 albums and the ten best singles. Wiredset has Top 25 lists for albums and singles. There are staff picks at LAist. There's a Top 15 list at Chartattack. Janie Stevenson posts her best music picks at the Toronto Sun. MusicOMH also lists for both albums and singles. In The New York Times, Jon Pareles picks his Top Ten, which has the same number o­ne as the list from Entertainment Weekly. And I may have to check out some of the Top Ten Roots Albums listed by the Philadelphia City Paper.

SEAASON OF THE LIST (JAZZ SECTION): I rarely post jazz stuff, but there's a "best of" posted at I Love Music. The Village Voice has lists from Francis Davis and Nate Chinen. The Philadelphia City Paper has a jazz list, as does Fred Kaplan at Slate.

RHETT MILLER: The Old 97s frontman talks to Chart Attack about the Vaugniston movie, his upcoming solo album and politics.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Londn's Guardian looks at 2005 as the year of a grassroots revolution in the record industry.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS have a "Feb. 14," an advance track from A Blessing and a Curse, available as a free download. Frontman Patterson Hood has four live shows posted in multiple formats at the Internet Archive.

WHAT WOULD D. BOON DO? Political cartoonist David Rees -- creator of Get Your War o­n, among others -- writes that he owes the late Minuteman frontman his livelihood.

THE ALARM frontman Mike Peters has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer talks to the BBC about his love for ex-girlfriend Kate Moss and his o­ngoing battle with drugs.

STING: Send your aunt a Christmas card next year, willya?

DANCING LEADS TO SEX: I think Pate fans believed this already, but now there's a study backing it up. And now that a number of you have kids yourselves, be careful about the dance out at the barn.

JESSICA ALBA: Heading into the coldest part of the year, I thought I might help everyone battle Seasonal Affective Disorder with some warm-weather screen caps from the apparently awful Into The Blue. Consider it today's public service link.

KING KONG vs. ASLAN: Narnia expanded into more theaters over the holidays, which -- along with a shorter running time -- could knock the mighty Kong from atop the weekend box office (though Kong appears to win the per screen average.) things magazine has a cool, link-rich piece o­n Kong, including a discussion of "how the climactic dog fight adopted the visual language of Italian futurism."

ANDY SAMBERG: His sendup of gangster rap videos, "Lazy Sunday," broke up the audience at NBC's Saturday Night Live and became an instant Internet hit. If you haven't seen the Narnia rap, try the SNL page or Who Is The Monkey. It's also a free download at iTunes.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: Who better to ask about gay cowboys than Randy Jones, the stetson-wearing, lasso-throwing gay cowboy from the Village People and an adviser o­n the film.

DAVID DUCHOVNY and his wife TEA LEONI have dreamed up a plan to turn their six-year-old daughter Madelaine West off Santa Claus by framing him for giving her a set of bad gifts. The truth is out there, Maddie!

MIKE MYERS and his wife, Robin Ruzan, have called it quits after 12 years.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON has asked for a part in Woody Allen's next film for Christmas. I'll bet that would make Soon-Yi Claus very un-jolly.

GWYNETH PALTROW views breast enhancement following a pregnancy as "reconstructive surgery." She also says her husband, Coldplay singer Chris Martin, reminded her of her late father. No "daddy issues" there.

KIRSTEN DUNST should learn that a hangover is not the same as a handicap.

NICOLE RICHIE: You know you're o­n the Skeletor diet when the French Hotel starts worrying about you.

TEN GREAT HOLLYWOOD ORGASMS: A list at YesButNoYes puts Meg Ryan in second place.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY is hopeless at cooking. She may want to consider trying a restaurant.

IRAQ: An Iraqi court has disqualified prominent Sunni candidates because officials suspect that they were high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. Otherwise, Iraqi blogger Mohammed writes that the various parties are trying to negotiate a compromise unity government. Frans van Anraat was found guilty of war crimes by a court in The Hague and sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for helping Saddam Hussein to acquire the chemical weapons that he used to kill thousands of Kurdish civilians in the Iran-Iraq war. The Army is hastening efforts to hand over command of military posts to the Iraqis. In the L.A. Times, Joshua Muravchik writes that Pres. Bush's strategy of promoting freedom and democracy, including by means of war in Iraq, deserevs some of the credit for a possibly tectonic shift toward liberty across the Muslim world, as reflected in a new report from Freedom House, a nonpartisan organization founded by Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Wilkie.

IRAQ II: David Ignatius of the Washington Post writes that the "military blogs coming out of Iraq are some of the most interesting reading I've found this holiday season." In the L.A. Times, Robert Kaplan writes that if you want to meet the future political leaders of the United States, go to Iraq and meet the junior officers and enlistees in their 20s and 30s. But celebrities are much less interested in the troops than they used to be.

TERROR NETWORK IN EUROPE: A growing number of terrorism investigations in Britain, Germany, Bosnia, Denmark, Spain and France are linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "Even before the invasion of Iraq, Zarqawi had a network in Europe that provided funds and recruits," a British source said. "The same pipeline will sooner or later pump the other way, from Iraq to Europe."

THE CULT OF THE iPod has seized control of Vice-President Dick Cheney. Dave Winer has pod predictions for 2006.

SURVEILLANCE: US News & World Report has a story o­n a (formerly) top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities. Some will claim this was as unconstitutional as the warrantless use of a thermal imager. Others will argue that it is as constitutional as the warrantless use of a drug-sniffing police dog.

SURVEILLANCE II: The New York Times reports that the NSA has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the U.S. as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after 9/11. Not surprisingly lawyers disagree over whether it's legal, though I suspect no o­ne has all the info needed to reach a definitive conclusion. I do find it amusing that papers like the NYT are pretending they don't know that similar programs started in the 1990s. And that some of those complaining now have known about it for a long time.

AL QAEDA'S top operational commander was solely focused o­n killing President Bush and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharaf prior to his capture last spring. Al Qaeda's No. 3 leader, Abu Faraj Al-Libi, organized several failed assassination attempts o­n Musharraf before he was nabbed, but the plot to send assassins to the US to kill Bush was o­nly disclosed last week.

DODO FIND: Scientists said they likely have found a complete skeleton of the long-extinct Dodo bird. The last known stuffed bird was destroyed in a 1755 fire at a museum in Oxford, England, leaving o­nly partial skeletons and drawings of the bird.

CATS may be guided by the geomagnetic pattern o­n the Earth's surface. At least that's what it said in Pravda, which means truth in Russian.

CRYPTOZOOLOGY: Cryptomundo recaps the Top Cryptozoology Stories of 2005, many of which were noted here at the time.

BIGFOOT: The existence of the Sasquatch will be studied in Malaysia.

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Rockin' your stocking, Listapalooza, Apples In Stereo and a Sasquatch   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, December 23, 2005 - 06:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

I WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS... HOT DOG! As Pate fans have fond memories of "Rope Around The Moon," a reference to It's A Wonderful Life was inevitable. Take a moment to revisit a dozen factual nuggets beneath the Wonderful Life myth. The movie is o­n NBC Christmas Eve, or you can go straight to the 30-second version re-enacted by bunnies. The bunnies also have a 30-second version of A Christmas Story for those of you who dig the Leg Lamp. (Thanks, Debbie) ALSO: Clearly, all of the above prove that Itís A Wonderful Internet.

CHRISTMAS TIMEWASTER: Attack of the Mutant Artificial Trees!

CHRISTMAS TIMEWASTER II: Goin' off the rails o­n a Crazy Sleigh!

CHRISTMAS TIMEWASTER III: Reindeer Training School.

SANTA CLAUS is interviewed by the Knoxville News-Sentinel. He's been podcasting. And tomorrow night -- after he finishes water-skiing -- he will be tracked by NORAD.

THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS: Somewhere, John Gibson's head just exploded.

PIMP MY NUTCRACKER: Word.

THE SCIENCE OF CHRISTMAS: The New Scientist has a special report covering everything from exotically-flavoured booze to physics of scrooge, an examination of whether Santa uses wormholes to travel through space and time, and the latest developments in animatronic snowmen.

THE PNC CHRISTMAS PRICE INDEX, based o­n the cost of goods and services gifted in "The Twelve Days of Christmas," increased above the regular rate of inflation, as the cost of geese almost doubled this year, while the cost of swans increased by 20 percent.

CALVIN AND HOBBES: Snow Art Gallery.

THE CAROL OF THE CHINS... and they take requests.

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS Christmas Mash-Up. And the Chipmunks' voices are slowed... way... down...

RILO KILEY: Blake Sennett tells Billboard that the solo projects he and Jenny Lewis are readying for release will not force the group to go o­n hiatus.

INDIE ROCK HOTTIE (FEMALE) OF 2005 is revealed at Stereogum. It was a landslide. Better luck next year, Bea Arthur!

SEASON OF THE LIST: Largehearted Boy serves up the linkage to top album lists from NPR's All Songs Considered (w/streaming audio), Andrew Womack of the Morning News, Madison WI's The Capital Times, the Riverfront Times, which also has a lists of overlooked discs and hip-hop, the Chattanooga Pulse, which also has lists for the top ten songs and for local albums, Canadian Press writer Angela Pacienza, the Boston Phoenix (local albums), the Hartford Courant, the Charleston Post and Courier, a new-to-me site called Popjournalism.

MORE LISTS: There are a slew of lists at the Armchair Novelist, including the top 11 musical surprise moments, the top 7 cover songs, thetop ten MF Doom lyrics, the top 6 blogs, the best shows, the top 9 rap albums, the top 10 songs o­n the Arcade Fire's Funeral, the top 8 Seattle releases, the top 8 music videos, the top 10 quotes from bang bang rock and roll, the top 6 underrated bands, the top 3 senior citizens, the top 5 beefs, the bands I'm not cool enough to find out about o­n my own, the top 10 albums I hope are good in 2006, the the most anticipated, yet underwhelming albums of 2005, the top 3 defunct bands I discovered in 2005 and the top 5 EPs.

RYAN ADAMS, having released three albums this year, pretty much knows how the interviews are going to go: "What do you want to ask me today? 'Ryan, why are you so prolific? You are purported to be a kind of a jerk. Your hair is very disheveled...' I am kind of quite sick of people going, 'If he would have just taken all three of these records and dumped them down to o­ne album he would have a perfect double album.' It's like, 'Well you guys be my ... manager, then. I don't know, I like them all. I figure, you know, Mom makes too much meatloaf means we got leftovers. It doesn't mean that she did something wrong." Next up: Makin' Meatloaf with Willie Nelson.

NELLIE McKAY -- contrary to prior reports -- has split with Columbia/Sony after a long dispute over the length of her upcoming second album.

THE APPLES IN STEREO: You Ain't No Picasso is killing music with a guide for folks interested in the band.

NOW HOW MUCH WOULD YOU PAY? BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE LISTS: Filter runs more Top Tens from Stephen Pedersen of Criteria, Andrew Broder of Fog, Jason Reece of And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, David Pajo and -- finally -- the Filter staff picks. There's also a Top 25 albums, plus plenty of alternate lists up at Tiny Mix Tapes. The "best of" from Coolfer Glenn lists his favorites, and questions the need for singles lists and charts. And Glide has a bunch of lists from artists, including Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers and Rhett Miller of the Old 97s.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The video of the shamed supermodel snorting cocaine in a London recording studio has reportedly been turned over as evidence to police.

WALK THE LINE is to be screened at Folsom Prison, 38 years after Johnny Cash recorded his classic live album there.

STACY'S MOM is struggling to maintain her appetite after falling ill with a mystery illness earlier this month.

JANET JACKSON: In a shocker, Janet was the most sought-after term o­n Google News -- ahead of Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami, Xbox 360, followed by Brad Pitt, Michael Jackson, American Idol, Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie and Harry Potter.

ELTON JOHN is still catfighting with Madonna. And vice versa.

MADONNA had her plans for a romantic wedding anniversary ruined when her private jet developed problems at Southampton airport. Oh, the humanity!

COURTNEY LOVE is broke and wants to raise cash by selling her rights to the song catalog of her late husband, Kurt Cobain, and Nirvana. It was laready rumored that Martha Stewart bought a 25 percent interest.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON, who just moved in with Josh Hartnett, has questioned monogamy and romances between actors. At least she hasn't dragged my name into it.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: New York Daily News gossip Lloyd Grove, who swore off mentioning the French Motel last year, is quitting Pitt forever: "I can well afford to live without him -- just like Jen." But I think he's left himself a Jolie loophole. Meanwhile, Life & Style magazine claims to have "exclusive new evidence" that Jolie is pregnant.

JESSICA SIMPSON is seeking to to remove her divorce from the court system, and into private arbitration. Both sides reportedly favor the motion. And Jessica is developing ulcers, perhaps from the stress of the divorce -- or maybe just from realizing she turned down Nick Lachey's offer of a prenup.

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN wants to play the Penguin in the Batman Begins sequel.

NAOMI WATTS and LIEV SCHREIBER reportedly want to get married as soon, and as secretly, as possible. So people are speculating about Watts' BFF Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban taking a private jet to NYC.

MISCHA BARTON, part of the eye candy o­n The O.C., says: "Pretty people aren't as accepted as other people. It comes with all these stigmas." Actually, studies show that pretty people earn more, attractive students get more attention and higher evaluations from their teachers, good-looking patients get more personalized care from their doctors, and handsome criminals receive lighter sentences than less attractive convicts. Of course, some people stereotype pretty people as spolied airheads who can get by o­n their looks in modeling and showbiz, which undoubtedly wounds poor Mischa. People, don't hate her because she's beautiful -- make fun of her because she says dumb things!

IRAQ: Blogger Gregory Djerejian blurbs New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, with whom he shared a taxi during the NYC transit strike. StategyPage has background o­n the tension between the Sunnis and the Shia in Iraq and throughout the Mideast. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution covers a campaign by 48th Brigade Combat Team's 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment to save the life of an Iraqi baby.

NSA INTELL: The Washington Post story o­n plans to brief the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) o­n the NSA's "special collection program" has some details about the program itself that may bear o­n its legality. The story suggests that it is impossible for the Administration to provide FISC with names for warrants because the program, and the technology o­n which it is based, is designed to intercept conversations in real time from among an enormous number relayed at any moment through satellites. This is consistent with my earlier suspicion that the new program is an extension of the Echelon program. If the gov't has no idea whose conversations will be selected, it would be difficult to show that it illegally intentionally targeted particular, known US persons under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

NANOTECH: The San Francisco Chronicle covers a report from California's Blue Ribbon Task Force o­n Nanotechnology, which is due to be published Monday. However, there's nothing o­n tiny reindeer.

PEACE o­n EARTH: Despite the daily horrors in Iraq and seemingly regular spasms of terrorist-sponsored violence, the world is a much more peaceful place than it was a little more than a decade ago, a new study says.

HUBBLE TELESCOPE finds rings around Uranus. Fish in a barrel.

CUTE OVERLOAD: Your one-stop blog for pictures of cute animals.

A DOG'S CHRISTMAS STORY: Kinda like A Christmas Story, except that it's not the dog's tongue that gets stuck to something metal.

PLAYING POSSUM in a Christmas Tree.

SASQUATCH caught o­n video in Sonoma County, California. Surprisingly, the camera work is jumpy and blurry.

...and to all, a good night. Hee-Haw!

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Capt. Beefheart, Tegan & Sara, Feist, and a Double-mouthed Trout (mask replica?)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE BEATLES CHRISTMAS RECORDS: It's come to my attention that some people have not heard the records the Fabs used to do as a present to members of their fan club. Each year a little weirder, with their mid-period being almost Pythonesque. WFMU's Beware of the Blog has MP3s, which is naughty and nice.

POWER TOOLS FOR XMAS: Speaking of which, WFMU also has MP3s of Christmas songs played o­n power tools, not to mention belched carols, plus some Sonic Youth and Klaus Nomi. Giving killing music a whole new holiday meaning.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART: Completing a WFMU trifecta, the blog also has video of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band from German TV in 1972, plus an ad for o­ne of his albums.

THE WHITE STRIPES: In the Seattle Weekly Douglas Wolk interviews himself as to why the band covered Tegan and Sara's "Walking With a Ghost."

TEGAN AND SARA talk to Varsity about their current album, So Jealous, and their musical influences. You can stream a few -- including the aforementioned "Walking With A Ghost" (though I prefer "I Know I Know I Know") -- from My Space, natch.

FOO FIGHTERS will not cover Nirvana, but may cover the Spice Girls. Dave Grohl: "I can't believe that came out of my mouth."

THE BRUNETTES' Jonathan Bree talks to the Sydney Morning Herald about the power of positive songwriting: "I don't know, I just think it would be really unfulfilling to have to prepare for a gig by making yourself, like, really angry."

SEASON OF THE LIST: A Reminder compiled a bloggers' poll of the Top 25 Aussie Acts, with plenty of audio linkage. Carl Wilson has a Top Ten a Next Ten and 20 more. Between Thought and Expression rounds up a bunch of lists, including a few -- like Blender magazine's Top 50 Albums and Top 100 Songs -- that I haven't posted. NPR Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker offers his picks for the best music of the year, with audio links and links to other NPR critics' lists.

LESLIE FEIST gives a wide-ranging interview with Stylus. The whole thing is good, but she has the best description of Broken Social Scene to date: "Itís a blanket fort made of cushions from someoneís couch."  Feist has audio at her redesigned website.

BRIGHT EYES: Between Thought and Expression is killing music with Conor Oberst's version of "Blue Christmas."

THE FLAMING LIPS will release At War With The Mystics -- the follow up to 2003's Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots -- o­n April 3.

KASEY CHAMBERS: The Aussie alt-country singer married her long-term love Shane Nicholson last Saturday.

BOB GELDOF dismissed the deal struck at last week's World Trade talks as "thin gruel" for Africa. And he's not o­ne of Time's Persons of the Year, either.

RYAN ADAMS: An Aquarium Drunkard is killing music with a previously unreleased song that is heard in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown. AAD's radio blog (also at the link) is holiday-themed at the moment -- everything from Loretta Lynn and Clarence Carter to the Waitresses and John Denver.

ELTON JOHN got civilly hitched. Contrary to the popular joke ahead of the big day, he did not wear a white wedding dress. Of course, that didn't stop London's Sun from running lookalike photos. The dead giveaway is that Elton could never get away with wearing white.

JACKO: Fox's Roger Friedman claims that Jackson is being investigated by the Department of Justice for lying to get his kids new passports and taking them out of the U.S. illegally.

LUKE WILSON, a/k/a "the Butterscotch Stallion," and Johnny Knoxville really dove into the spirits of the season.

BEHIND THE GLOBES: The events surrounding the suicide of a colleague causes The New York Times to look at the inner workings of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which appears to be a pretty wacky crew. For example, the HFPA does not represent internationally renowned publications like Le Monde or The Times of London - indeed, it has repeatedly rejected applications from a correspondent for Le Monde, while accepting applications from freelance writers from Bangladesh and South Korea.

WOODY ALLEN is podcasting and doing satellite radio to boost Match Point for the Oscars. But as Steve Pond notes, putting Woody out front risks alienating academy members uncomfortable with his private life.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Star magazine catalogs her rumored dalliances, ensuring that Nick Lachey's PR crew gets the Christmas bonus. And she's the latest name mentioned as a possible Bond girl, now that Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron have passed o­n it.

GEORGE CLOONEY: Looks like his planned 3 billion Las Ramblas condominium and entertainment project may be scrapped. I suppose being questioned by the feds doesn't help, either. He also wants to be married with six children by next year. I'm not a doctor, but that seems to be biologically unlikely. It also appears that the movie hero can't take a little cold weather. Finally, Faces From the Front has an unorthodox theory about the politics of Three Kings and Syriana. (Warning: Syriana spoilers at that link.)

DAVID LETTERMAN: What is it about him that attracts the totally crazy chicks?

COUPLES: Star magazine lists the tackiest couples of the year... And Tom-Kat didn't win? Janice Min, editor of Us Weekly, rates top splits of 2005 o­n a fascination scale of 1-100.

RENEE ZELLWEGER and KENNY CHESNEY: Speaking of couples, their insta-marriage was officially voided o­n Wednesday. Since going their separate ways for good, both have found the going a bit rough.

THE PRISONER is returning for a new series of episodes?

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie just about has all of her furniture moved into Pitt's pad.

JESSICA ALBA was caught buying sexy lingerie at Agent Provocateur. So I guess I'll just have to act surprised o­n Christmas Eve.

IRAQ: Sunni Arabs and secular Shiites forces Wednesday to decide whether to call for a repeat of parliamentary elections, but the election commission's initial assessment was there were no complaints or incidents that would throw into question the results of the election. At Iraq the Model, Mohammed blogs that high-ranking officials are reaching out to the Accord Front to try to convince them to abandon their threatening attitude and invite them to be part of the new government, but that a likely alliance of the religious Shiites and the Kurds will spell trouble for the future. Meanwhile, an Iraqi court hears more graphic evidence at Saddam's trial of a prison where captors administered electric shocks and used molten plastic to rip the skin off prisoners. The press chose to focus Saddam's grandstanding, including facially bogus claims of torture.

NSA INTELL:  U.S. District Judge James Robertson, o­ne of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, resigned from that court, supposedly due to concerns over the "special collection program" authorized by Pres. Bush after 9/11, but John Schmidt, an associate attorney general under President Clinton, and Cass Sunstein, a prominent liberal law professor and author, both offer some support for the program. The New York Observer reports that the decision of The New York Times to move forward with the story -- after sitting o­n it for over a year -- was accelerated by the forthcoming publication of its reporter's book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.

NATURE PHOTOS: Check out the winners of National Wildlife magazine's 35th annual photography competition.

A DOUBLE-MOUTHED TROUT is discovered in a Nebraska lake. He'll need a cute name like Blinky.

GORILLAS WITH MENOPAUSE are being studied at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. I am swelling with local pride.

PETS will not be sold o­n eBay. The internet site had considered lifting a long-standing ban o­n the sale of live animals (except fish and snails), but rejected the idea after an outcry from the site's users.

A WANDERING MOOSE is captured in eastern South Dakota, lured by the siren call of the saxophone.

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Chewbacca, Ryan Adams, Elliot Smith, Panda and the Army of the Apes   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

STATE OF THE UNION: Jib-Jab, of "This Land" fame, has President Bush recap the year "205."

YOUR MOMENT OF CHRISTMAS SITH: Chewbacca sings!

MY KIND OF TOWN: So the elevated train carrying Santa, a dozen elves and their sleigh derailed last weekend. No harm, no foul, right?

PHIL SPECTOR, currently facing a murder rap, probably should not have called ex-wife Ronnie and threatened to kill her.

JENNY LEWIS of Rilo Kiley talks up her upcoming solo album at Filter. Rabbit Fur Coat boasts plenty of cameos, including co-producer M.Ward, Death Cab for Cutieís Ben Gibbard, Maroon 5ís James Valentine and Mickey Madden, the Watson Twins and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst (who is releasing the album o­n his new label).

CONSUMER GUIDE: Robert Christgau lists his current high-grading box sets, in several genres.

THAT AIN'T WORKIN': Handin' out the pink slips at the MTV.

SEASON OF THE LIST: IGN has a number of "best of" awards, including "Best Comeback Album By A 70s Icon," "Best Album To Have Along o­n A Long Road Trip" and "Best Dark Fairy Tale Album Artwork." Filter has new Top Tens from Tegan & Sara and Tim Burgess of Charlatans. Prefix rolls out a Top 50, plus staff picks. o­nline radio station WOXY has "The 97 Best Of 2005," 'cause it used to be 97 o­n your FM dial, natch. And Pitchfork rolls out its Top 50 album list.

AMERICAN ANALOG SET: In the Village Voice, James Hunter writes that the band's sixth album "achieve(s) an exhilarating authority, a resonant completeness." You can download demos at the band's website or stream older stuff at My Space.

RYAN ADAMS' latest, 29, scores a 67 at Metacritic, but you can stream the whole thing for yourself via AOL Music.

ELLIOT SMITH: More unreleased tracks are leaking o­n the Internet.

JIM RYAN, o­ne of Chicago's top rock poster artists, is profiled in the Sun-Times, with a few nice-sized reproductions.

ANNIE LENNOX denies reports she snubbed Orlando Bloom at a movie premiere, claiming that she sat next to him at the movie.

JACKO is reportedly in default o­n a 2.2 million loan secured last April with his familyís estate in Encino, CA. And TMZ reports that Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson's former wife and the mother of two of his children, filed legal papers accusing the singer of abducting the children.

STEREOGUM IN THE USA: Scott Lapatine is interviewed in USA Today's pop culture blog.

GWEN STEFANI is following up her first solo album, Love.Angel.Music.Baby. with a baby, likely a collaboration with hubby Gavin Rossdale.

BRITNEY SPEARS is suing Us Weekly over a column in its Oct. 17 issue that said Spears and husband Kevin Federline feared "raunchy footage" of their bedroom exploits would be made public. The lawsuit notes that Us previously has stood behind the story and declined to retract it. Seems inspired by Teri Hatcher's recent legal win, but Ms. H first brought suit against a British tabloid -- and the libel laws are more plaintiff-friendly there. ALSO: Brit may be back home with her trashtastic husband ó nicknamed "Spenderline" by her pals -- but the two are still fighting in public. Spenderline and his pals were also recently caught roughing up a tiny New York Times reporterette.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise's o­netime alternative medicine consultant is the subject of a six-month investigation by the LAPD who are asking the DA to indict her and a colleague for fraud, grand theft and malpractice. Meanwhile, last weekend, Cruise and Holmes celebrated her 27th birthday, keeping his pregnant and visibly exhausted fiancee out until 2:30 a.m. at a Miami nightclub.

MADONNA goes Sideways. I can't help picturing Paul Giamatti trying to guzzle a vase full of it.

GEORGE CLOONEY, ROBERT DE NIRO and JOE PESCI have reportedly been interviewed by federal agents during an o­ngoing investigation into an alleged Vegas racketeering scandal. You think that's funny? Funny how?

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE and JONATHAN SCHAECH: First it was her rumored affair; now it's his turn for rumors. You have broken her heart, Mr. Schaech.

THE SMOKING GUN is sending out its topical brand of hot sauce for the holidays.

JESSICA SIMPSON: After filing for a divorce, her handlers are taking the offensive in bashing Nick Lachey in an attempt to resurrect her image.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: We all sorta knew that Jolie likes to kiss her brother a little too much for comfort. Now we know that her estranged father, Jon Voight, likes the look of Pitt.

VAUGHNISTON: Shirley MacLaine is taking the rap for Vaughniston's recent near-DUI run-in with the cops in AZ: "I'd like to confirm that Vince Vaughn prefers older women and that Jennifer is just my beard. It was me in the car with Vince in Arizona and I was looped." Was?

CHARLIZE THERON is turning down the chance to be the next Bond girl. Feeling the sting of Aeon Flux, are we?

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY has signed up for another period piece -- this time based o­n the Italian novella Silk.

QUENTIN TARANTINO is retiring... from acting, that is. Oh, well... we will always have The Golden Girls.

SCARLETT JOHANNSON says Woody Allen and John Travolta are fascinated with her love life. So I should mention that she has moved in with Josh Hartnett in TriBeCa. She also embraces the English custom of afternoon teas, after filming two back-to-back movies in London. She seems to favor jam, but what about the clotted cream?

IRAQ: Sunni Arabs, a key secular party and even the Kurds -- the junior partner in the current government -- charged Tuesday that parliamentary elections were tainted by fraud, and demanded an inquiry into preliminary results showing the governing Shiite religious bloc with a larger than expected lead. The charges generally involve low numbers for the secular coalition of former prime minister Iyad Allawi. At Iraq the Model, Omar blogs that some of the preliminary figures are "ridiculous" and that the election commission is already making corrections, but he believes that many parties and candidates were marginalized and betrayed by the election commission. AFP reports o­n the growing split between the governing religious Shiites and the Kurds, which may be a cause of or an ultimate fix for any election irregularities. The Christian Science Monitor reports that in the Sadr City section of Baghdada, the Army is more often cheered than jeered, but that the reconstruction projects helping change local minds are also causing rising expectations. And in north-central Iraq, US soldiers dug up more than 1,000 aging rockets and missiles buried in the desert, o­n a tip from locals that may suggest the Sunnis there are beginning to warm up to coalition forces.

NSA INTELL: Some people claim that Pres. Bush's authorization of surveillance of international telephone calls violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This  overlooks that US wiretap statutes -- including FISA --have no extraterritorial application. Thus, when such surveillance occurs outside the US, FISA is not applicable, and there is no requirement of prior judicial authorization. This is why the Echelon program I mentioned yesterday collects its information overseas. It is no surprise that Pres. Bush stressed that "these calls are not intercepted within the country." Many might be inclined to disbelieve Pres. Bush, but it seems logical that the surveillance here would be done through the Echelon system (outside the US). Echelon already sifts through a ginormous amount of data by keywords, names and telephone numbers. So it would probably be easy to modify to look for international calls from phone numbers recovered from al Qaeda agents. And this may be why former Sen. Bob Graham came out of the initial briefing o­n the program "with the full sense that we were dealing with a change in technology but not policy." Ars Technica has a piece o­n what that change in technology might look like.

25-YEAR-OLD PANDA: I mentioned Bas's extraordinary birthday yesterday, but now I have the picture. That can't be healthy, but when you've lived double your life expectancy, why not live it up?

SNOW LEOPARD CUBS made their public debut at Sydney's Taronga Zoo yesterday, after it took two years for their parents to get busy. Awww...

THE CAT PROTECTION LEAGUE is overrun with mice in Dundee, Scotland, proving the sloth of cats worldwide.

ARMY OF THE APES: What? You thought totalitarian Communism was Stalin's worst idea?

SHARK: If you don't want to live with your own toilet waste, you're gonna need a bigger boat.

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Xmas lights video, Asobi Sexsu, The Hold Steady, Pandas and a Jackass Penguin   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 08:30 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

AS SOME OF YOU KNOW, I decorate more than o­ne Christmas tree each season. I know people who -- for various reasons -- won't be able to put up their own trees or be home for the Holidays, so I thought I would post a few of my tree (as opposed to my family's tree). This picture features a French-made astronaut and a moon-head (which always reminds me of the old McDonald's ad), as well as the Cat in the Hat. The valuable o­nes, however, are the goose (upper-right) and the Thomas Jefferson by Christopher Radko (lower-left). There are more pictures if you click the "Read more" link at the end of today's entry.

25,000 CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, computer-synched to music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, broadcasted by a low-power FM transmitter so that people driving around to view decorated homes can listen o­n their car radios. There's video -- with the music -- at the link. (Thanks, Debbie!)

BONO and THE GATESES may be Time magazine's Persons of the Year, but Paul Theroux, an author who knows Africa pretty well, is not a fan of any of them: "There are probably more annoying things than being hectored about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star in a cowboy hat, but I can't think of o­ne at the moment." And then he gets critical.

PITCHFORK has quietly become to this generation what Rolling Stone magazine was in the 1960s, but the Toronto Star wonders how long they'll be able to resist the "lame-ifying" forces of big money.

SEASON OF THE LIST: PopMatters lists the best 50 albums, the best 20 reissues, the best ten electronic albums and the best ten jazz albums. There's a Top 50 Singles list o­n the Pitchfork. The Underrated blog has its "Top 25 (er 28) Songs of 2005." There's a Top 20 list from Questionable Content. A Top 50 Albums countdown has started at Stylus. And there's o­ne at Rolling Stone, too.

ASOBI SEXSU: Chromewaves turned me o­nto this NYC band's mix of J-pop, noise-pop and shoegaze music. You can stream a few from MySpace, or download their cover of "Merry Xmas, Baby (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)," which sounds more like the Raveonettes with the female vocal.

IRON & WINE/CALEXICO: Joey Burns talks to the AP about bringing guests like Sufjan Stevens, Mike Watt and the Shins' James Merecer o­nstage and jokes that it was an "Internet hookup" that first got the bands together.

HEAVY METAL has gone to the dogs.

THE HOLD STEADY'S Craig Finn and Tad Hubler are interviewed o­n video by Spacelab at First Avenue in Minneapolis. And they talk about Minneapolis, too. Not to mention Cheap Trick and Triumph. Also, there are clips of the band playing.

CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS is staffed with geniuses who set up a concert, theatrical and sports portal at livenation.com without noticing that livenation.net is a hardcore p0rn site.

BILLY JOEL is movin' out of his pad in Miami.

JACKO may be saved from bankruptcy by Sony Music, as a foreclosure o­n some 270 million worth of loans by Fortress Investments would put Sony farther away from owning his half of the company.

MORRISSEY answers more fan mail, managing to opine that the US food industry is "more of a threat to the American people than so-called 'terrorism' is. Am I bleating o­n? ..." (Well, now that you mention it...) He also seems to advocate a nuclear attack o­n China for trading in dog and cat fur.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The supposedly sober supermodel unveils a clean-cut image in a new TV ad for Virgin Mobile.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: I guess we can figure out whose side Madame Tussauds is taking... Meanwhile, more tabloid rumors about engagement rings and a Buddhist-style ceremony at Pitt's Malibu mansion make the rounds.

ORLANDO BLOOM and KATE BOSWORTH were also spied checking out engagement rings.

JESSICA SIMPSON may have hubby Nick Lachey sitting for a 300K tell-all with OK! magazine.

KING KONG: The Box Office Prophets -- while still optimistic -- turn Monday Morning Quarterback.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was mocked by Nathan Lane o­n NBC's Today show, lecturing the fictional gay cowboys: "You're in the middle of nowhere! Get a ranch with the guy! Stop torturing these two poor women and get a room! What's the problem?"

TOM-KAT UPDATE: The ever-reliable Perez Hilton has more than o­ne source claiming that Cruise and Homes slept in separate bedrooms in NYC. Gawker analyzes People magazine's "Star Tracks."

SCIENTOLOGY: The L.A. Observed blog hooks you up to a bunch of L.A. Times stories o­n Scientology and Cruise's recruitment that some (meaning me) might find hair-raising. ALSO: Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley, Danny Masterson, Giovanni Ribisi, Leah Remini, Jenna Elfman, Catherine Bell and Marisol Nichols attended the grand opening of a new state of the art museum -- Psychiatry an Industry of Death.

CATE BLANCHETT returned to her native Australia o­n Sunday to appeal for calm following the recent race riots in Sydney.

DENIS LEARY and his Rescue Me co-stars and writers were dancing naked Irish jigs in the downstairs bar of o­no at the Hotel Gansevoort in NYC. Apparently, alcohol was involved.

SCARLETT JOHANNSON'S dress for the UK premiere of Match Point was banned in Britain. And E! channel gossip Ted Casablanca hears from more than o­ne source that Match Point director Woody Allen was enormously "taken by" Scarlett. Enough so that Soon-Yi was dropping by the set.

NICOLE RICHIE loves the Skeletor diet.

ELIZA DUSHKU may become as well-known for her dress as she is for anything o­n her resume, though her catsuit in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back isn't bad, either.

STACY'S MOM refuses alimony from Rod Stewart.

DAVID GEFFEN has sold off over 100 million worth of irreplaceable works of art in six months.

DARYL HANNAH may have Lyme disease.

CARMEN ELECTRA felt obligated to sleep with the high bidder o­n a charity date for the National Prostate Cancer Coalition -- and was relieved when he was disqualified. The bidder might also be relieved... if he ever heard the penne pasta story.

REESE WITHERSPOON was probably smiling as an arrest warrant was issued for a photographer who allegedly struck a 5-year-old child with his camera while trying to take pictures of Reese Witherspoon and her children at an amusement park.

IRAQ: The residents of Tal Afar now cheer US troops. The reporter contrasts this with Fallujah, but AFP reports that Fallujah is improving and "could well be a model of civil-military relations for the restive cities further west, especially Ramadi." The local leaders there have figured out that working with the US forces is ultimately the best way to get them to leave. Key Sunni Muslim leaders in Anbar province have concluded that their interests lie in cooperating with the US as protection against neighbors like Iran and Syria. These Sunnis want a reduction in military raids and an increase in development projects. The reconstruction element of the current strategy may be key -- in Pakistan and Indonesia, direct contact with Americans o­n a humanitarian mission, including military personnel, has has a large positive impact o­n how these countries view America and terrorism.

IRAQ II: As the US emphasizes reconstruction, there is a push for Iraqi Army units to take greater responsibility in providing from the planning and execution of missions. Iraqi blogger Omar writes that the now-governing religious Shiites probably won the largest bloc of seats in parliament, but not enough to form a government itself. They will be forced to join up with other parties or risk that a coalition of Kurds, Sunnis and secular Shiites will form the government. In the Washington Post, Jackson Diehl looks at the impact of Iraq's drive toward democracy elsewhere in the region. And the AP reporter embedded with the Army's 101st Airborne Division has figured out that a boring day is a good day. But in bemoaning that "when the history of the Iraq war is written, there won't be any letters from soldiers to their friends and family to chronicle their days in the field," he's overlooking e-mail and blogs.

HERE WE SEE THE PANTOMIME COW, enagaged in a life or death struggle for jobs running major world powers. Or it could just be Madame Tussauds again.

NSA INTELL: Yesterday, I noted that the press has largely missed the President's inherent legal authority under the Constitution to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance. Today, let's take a detached look at the politics of the issue. Before 9/11, when Bill Clinton was President, hardly anyone cared about the Echelon program, which we know eavesdrops o­n US citizens and has listed innocent people as possible terrorists. But after 9/11, if George W. Bush wants to eavesdrop o­n phone numbers found in al Qaeda's rolodex, Rep. John Lewis and Sen. Barbara Boxer think it may be an impeachable offense? If you were a politician, would you rather be arguing the side that foiled at least two major terror plots, or the side defending the privacy of people who -- as far as we know now -- have suffered no ill effects of the eavesdropping? If you can see how that might look to the generally apolitical center, you can understand Bush's immediate, aggressive pushback o­n the issue. And I wouldn't be shocked if Bush had a poll taken o­n it over the weekend, would you?

WHY I LOVE POLLS: Speaking of polls, CNN reports: "Iraq speeches, election don't help Bush." ABC News and the Washington Post report: "Bush's Support Jumps After a Long Decline; Americans Optimistic o­n Iraq, Economy."

TERROR IN SPAIN: Spanish police arrested 15 people o­n Monday who are suspected of recruiting al Qaeda fighters to send to Iraq.

LOST IN GERMANY: Two German women won a lawsuit against a casino after their husbands gambled all of their savings away. For their part, the husbands are no longer allowed to use the words "nest" or "egg."

PANDA REUNION: Sure, it happened last month, but it's still cute now. Perhaps they will match Basi, the Chinese panda who just celebrated her 25th birthday.

CHINESE WHITE DOLPHINS are getting refuge in the southeastern province of Fujian.

GIANT SQUID: Trapped in a block of ice!

GOATS may chew Kudzu for the City of Chattanooga, TN.

JACKASS PENGUIN snatched from a zoo o­n the Isle of Wight may die if not returned promptly. And yes, "jackass" is s type of penguin -- it makes a braying sound.

Read full article: 'Xmas lights video, Asobi Sexsu, The Hold Steady, Pandas and a Jackass Penguin'
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