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Jerry Wexler RIP, Scott McCaughey, Calexico, Nils Olav   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, August 18, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

JERRY WEXLER, who coined the term "rhythm and blues," and who as co-founder of and producer for Atlantic Records helped lead the genre to mainstream popularity, died Friday at age 91.  The NYT obit is quite good, as is the one at Rolling Stone.  Rolling Stone is still streaming Wexler's playlist of the songs he was the most proud of from his half-century career in music.  Selections for Tubers include: Professor Longhair's "Tipitina" (1953); Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll" (1954); Ray Charles smashes "I Got a Woman" (1954) and "What I'd Say" (1959); Booker T. & the MG's with "Green Onions" (1962); Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" (1965); Aretha Franklin's cover of "Respect" and "Chain of Fools" (both 1967); Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" (1969); and Dr. John's take on "Iko Iko" (1972).  And though he was never as big a fan of rock as R&B, Wexler did sign Led Zeppelin, so there's that.

SCOTT McCAUGHEY hits for the cycle in an online chat session with readers at ESPN.com.

BENJI HUGHES, who has drawn comparisons to Beck and The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, got a feature on All Things Considered.

BARACK OBAMA & JOHN McCAIN: Their Top Tens are analyzed by Randy Newman and Girl Talk.  Not sure what planet Newman is living on to think McCain would pick Streisand, though.

TYLER RAMSEY does the five free songs thing for Daytrotter.

CALEXICO has put the video for "Two Siver Trees" up on PitchforkTV.

THE OCTOPUS PROJECT does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.

DUFFY doesn't mind the hype for the album she took three years to make.

GARY GLITTER: The convicted child molester will be met by police on his return to the UK from Vietnam next week and required to sign the sex offenders' register.

LYKKE LI discusses three songs from her debut album with... The Wall Street Journal. Say what you will about Rupert Murdoch; the paper's indie rock coverage is much improved since he bought it.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Tropic Thunder topples The Dark Knight, topping the box office with 26 million. TT has made 37 million since opening Wednesday, which makes it a risk to make back a 92 million budget, as comedies like this often do not rake it in overseas.  Batman places with 16.8 million; it has made 471 million in the US and 734 million in total to date. Star Wars: The Clone Wars shows with 15.5 million.  The horror flick Mirrors debuted in fourth with 11.1 million.  Pineapple Express rounds out the Top Five with ten million, though it cratered 57 percent in the face of Tropic Thunder.  Nevertheless, the stoner action comedy has made 62 million in the US on a 27 million budget.  Below the fold, The Mummy 3 came in sixth; its 86.6 million in US receipts looks bad against a 145 million budget, but much less bad with global receipts of 228.8 million.  Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona debuted in tenth -- his best debut since 2000's Small Time Crooks.  Hot women kissing = success.

TROPIC THUNDER was entertaining, and probably deserved to be making more than it did.  Not a gutbuster, but with some nice satire on Hollywood itself (which may explain first sentence).  Indeed, as good as Robert Downey Jr. is as Kirk Lazarus, an Oscar-winning Aussie who has his skin dyed black for the movie within the movie, the picture is largely stolen by someone named in many reviews, but whom I will leave unnamed here, just in case.  He plays a crazed amalgam of Viacom head Sumner Redstone and producer Scott Rudin and it is this actor's finest performance in years -- and I say that as someone who regularly mocks him.  It is an odd thing to write that he and Downey are funnier than Jack Black and Ben Stiller.  Or Jack Black, anyway... but that's a good thing.  As for the controversy about "retarded" jokes, Stiller was right -- the jokes in question are on Hollywood, not the mentally challenged.

VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA does not rank with Woody Allen's best work, but was charming enough to at least get into the same ballpark as Match Point, if a notch or two below Hannah and Her Sisters. Allen relies a bit too much on narration, though that may have been a decision meant to boost the film in Europe (a new narrator is less obtrusive than overdubs).  As I suspected after reading the Allen interview linked here last week, the movie is mostly carried by the performances of its main stars.  Although most of the attention has been on te lovely Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz, the movie would not work without the charisma of Xavier Bardem and the overlooked Rebecca Hall, who represents Allen's neurotic streak.  But this is hardly the first movie whose success depends mostly on casting, so I give Allen credit for matching the cast and script so well to the location that provided the financing.

ELLEN DeGENERES & PORTIA de ROSSI wed in an intimate ceremony at their home in Beverly Hills, California, Saturday night.  Portia wore a dress; Ellen wore the pants.

JEN & JOHN: Mayer denies reports of lying or cheating on Aniston: "I ended a relationship to be alone, because I don't want to waste somebody's time if something's not right."

LINDSAY LOHAN is either converting to Judaism for Samantha Ronson or may leave her for a may-yun.

POP ICONS at 50: Madonna turned 50 over the weekend, but she's only 36 in Kabbalah years )and is reportedly miffed at Britney Spears). The Times of London surveys the careers of Madge and Michael Jackson, who turns 50 later this month.  USA Today adds Prince, who turned 50 in June.

BILL MURRAY kicked off the 50th Chicago Air and Water Show by skydiving with the US Army Golden Knights to support the Illinois United Service Organizations.  Let's go to the video.

AMY WINEHOUSE does not want to be asked about her health, okay?

MIKE MYERS has been cast by Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds as British Gen. Ed Fenech, a military mastermind who takes part in hatching a plot to wipe out Nazi leaders.  QT knows when someone's carrer needs rehab.

HAWAII fought off a coup attempt over the weekend.

GEORGIA, GEORGIA: Russian leaders failed to follow through on a new agreement to withdraw troops from Georgia. Maybe today will be the day. But with US officials saying the Russian military had been moving launchers for short-range ballistic missiles into South Ossetia, maybe not.  Russia is considering arming its Baltic fleet with nuclear warheads for the first time since the Cold War. Europe has been feckless as usual, even though the threat to Europe is bigger.

PAKISTAN: Women who say their husbands threw acid at them or burned them find help in becoming self-reliant through salon work.

IRAN continues to finance, train, arm, and support Shia terror groups in Iraq. The Qods Force, via its Ramazan Corps command operating in eastern Iran, remains active in subverting the Iraqi government and attacking US and Coalition forces.

IRAQ: Moktada al-Sadr called on his followers to sign in a blood oath of loyalty; only a few hundred people turned up. There was a series of bombings targeting Shiites heading to Karbala for a major religious festival over the weekend.  The L.A. Times covers further progress in Anbar, with video.

NILS OLAV, a 3-foot tall King penguin, was awarded a knighthood by Norway on Friday. It's a tradition. Let's go to the video.

SHEEP & GOAT OLYMPICS: There's no Michael Phelps -- but it has sheep and goats!

BIGFOOT remains as mythical as Spiny Norman, as one of the two samples of DNA said to prove the existence of the Bigfoot came from a human and the other was 96 percent from an opossum. Chewbacca was very disappointed.

PET HOARDING: A Central Florida school teacher known as the "cat lady" who was fighting to keep nearly 150 cats at her home will get to keep her pets on property. Pics at the link.

3001 Reads

Elvis, Dr. Dog, Cutout Bin, Squeaky the Wonder Pig   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, August 15, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

with ELVIS PRESLEY! The King died 31 years ago tomorrow, but remains a global pop phenomenon, so it's worth a recap of highlights from the bigh 30th anniverary last year.  Canada's Star-Phoenix, which discusses ten important parts of Elvis history worth reliving, notes: "His was a sequined coat of many colours: '50s Greaser Elvis. Military Elvis. Hollywood Elvis. Aloha from Hawaii Elvis. Vegas Elvis. And, ultimately, Dead Fat Elvis."  The BBC has friend and aide Sonny West recall life with The King. 

ACTION NEWS 5 has posted its local coverage from Aug. 16-17, 1977, on the Tube, where you can also see funeral footage from the BBC Archive.  Here's read the obit that ran the next day in the Washington Post. Elvis Presley News recaps the international headlines from the event and links to the eulogy at his funeral.  Geraldo Rivera had national coverage that night, though he would later wallow in the King's drug habit.  On a happier note, check out what is likely the first footage taken of Elvis, with backstage shots of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly in 1955; shades of Walk The Line!  You can also see him play "I Got A Woman" live o­n his first TV appearance in 1956. I also include his performance of "Hound Dog" o­n The Milton Berle Show six months later, not o­nly because it's historic, but also because Paul Miller and I often reached for it when we would stumble into our KUSR shift at the last minute -- Uncle Miltie vamps for awhile, which gave us time to pull records for the show.  He was also iconic in "Jailhouse Rock" that year.  Elvis sang a mashup of "Love Me Tender" and "Witchcraft" with Frank Sinatra when he got back from the Army.  All of his movies -- such as "Viva Las Vegas" --made money, but his musical career stalled in the 1960s until he electrified and charmed the public with his televised '68 Comeback Special, which you can see uncut and unedited on the Tube.  1970 finds him singing "In The Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds" in the jumpsuit, though pre-bloated.  I'm going to throw in "Little Sister" just 'cause I like it.  Sadly, in a few short years, bloated jumpuit Elvis would be delivering a wacked-out take on "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" -- though to be fair, this audio-only version from 1969 is even more demented and he knows it.  I would rather remember Jumpsuit Elvis for the signature horns that open "See See Rider."  a tribute to his enduring legacy as the fact that he could hit the charts decades after his death with a remix of "A Little Less Conversation," a video subtly recalling "Jailhouse Rock,"  followed by Paul Oakenfold's remix of "Rubberneckin'" and even the bizzare CGI Elvis duet with Celine Dion on American Idol last year. The King may be gone, but the brand lives on, making millions and recruiting new fans under the watchful eyes of Elvis Presley Enterprises and CKX, Inc. 

MYSTERY JETS just released the video for "Half In Love with Elizabeth," which takes a surprising turn.  More info on getting free downloads of the band's upcoming EP at the link, under "More Info." Tricky.

DR. DOG does the latest Lilywhite Session for NPR.

LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION, a/k/a/ Dev Hynes, talks to Filter about transitioning from Test Icicles to his current work.

CAVE SINGERS guitarist Derek Fudesco talks to Drowned In Sound about transitioning from Pretty Girls Make Graves to his current band.

BEST OF 2008 (SO FAR), according to eMusic, complete with streams. I'm still amused that the Cool Kids' cover art pays homage to the the Beach Boys' lost Smile album.

GRIZZLY BEAR: Ed Drozte is blogging their tour with Radiohead at Rolling Stone.

PITCHFORK TV is coming to IFC.

CUTOUT BIN: From Ryan Adams & Elton John to George Thorogood, from Bob Dylan to The Embarrassment, from Jamie Lidell to Steve Miller, from Johnny Rivers to the Lyres, from Manfred Mann to the Replacements and more -- this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed separately via the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases are the action-comedy Tropic Thunder, which is currently scoring 83 percent on the ol' Tomatometer (which opened Wednesday); Star Wars: The Clone Wars, currently scoring 23 percent; and the unscreened horror pic Mirrors. Plus, Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona opens on about 700 screens with 89 percent. 

WOODY ALLEN tells The A.V. Club that Vicky Cristina Barcelona could have been made in any number of cities, the more he talks, the more you get the idea that it would have been a totally different movie.

HARRY POTTER and the HALF-BLOOD PRINCE was pushed back on Thursday to July 2009 from its original slot in November 2008. Warner Bros said it made the change to bolster its release schedule for the lucrative summer movie season.

ELLEN DeGENERES & PORTIA de ROSSI will wed this weekend in California, according to US Weekly.

JULIA CHILD, actor Sterling Hayden ("Jack D. Ripper"), Chicago White Sox catcher Moe Berg and IRS Records founder Miles Copeland served in an international spy ring managed by the Office of Strategic Services, an early version of the CIA created in World War II by FDR.

JOHNNY DEPP, COLIN FARRELL & JUDE LAW, filling in for the late Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam's film The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, are donating their salaries to Ledger's daughter, Matilda.

MADONNA & GUY RITCHIE reportedly plan to adopt a girl from Malawi.  Madge's rep denies these reports... as she did before the last time the couple adopted.

CHRISTIAN BALE escapes criminal charges in connection to an assault allegation filed by his mother and sister.

JEN & JOHN: The latest gossip out of Team Ansiton is that Mayer was a three-time cheater.

PAM ANDERSON is reportedly dating a member of Abu Dhabi's royal family, whom she has codenamed Milk-Sheik, or Milk for short.

ALEC BALDWIN: The outtakes from his interview with the L.A. Times are even funnier than the original.

ERNEST BORGNINE: More than you ever wanted to know. Really. I warned you. Consider yourself warned.

GEORGIA, GEORGIA: As US military transport planes landed in Tbilisi, the Russian Army undertook search-and-destroy missions with impunity, defying the ceasefire agreement brokered by President Sarkozy of France. Tanks and soldiers continued to occupy Gori despite promising to leave by yesterday. Georgia's president said that Russian tanks and vehicles were moving toward the country's second-largest city, and that Russian forces already control a third of Georgian territory. The latest Pentagon information did not show any major movement by Russian troops or tanks Thursday. However, more than 100 Russian armored vehicles were massed near the center of Zugdidi, a major town in western Georgia, a Reuters witness said.  While Russia's ground forces have generally had their way, Georgian air defenses have been noticeably more effective. And Ukraine threatened to blockade the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which is based in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol.

PAKISTAN: Faced with desertions by his political supporters and the neutrality of the Pakistani military, Pres. Musharraf is expected to resign in the next few days rather than face impeachment charges.  Meanwhile, there are currently 157 training camps and "more than 400 support locations" spread throughout the tribal areas and the settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province, senior intelligence officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Long War Journal.

IRAQ: The Long War Journal looks at the payment of the local "Sons of Iraq" security forces in Tarmiyah, and Diyala Governor Ra'ad Rashid al Tamini surviving an assassination attempt and a coup d'état in a two-day period.  In Baghdad, Coalition forces killed one AQI operative and detained five while targeting the group's financial infrastructure.

SQUEAKY THE WONDER-PIG herds cows, loves pizza. Video at the link.

BIGFOOT: The photo expected to be shown today is already online. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization is already debunking the hoax.

SEALS are having radios glued to their heads to help measure global warming.  Where is PETA on this?

VENOMOUS LIONFISH prowls the Caribbean: "This may very well become the most devastating marine invasion in history," said Mark Hixon, an Oregon State University marine ecology expert who compared lionfish to a plague of locusts.

JENNY, a "special needs" elephant, has a champion in Lily Tomlin.

3968 Reads

Bowerbirds, Okkervil, Holsapple, Bad Veins, Tiny Turtle   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, August 14, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

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I'm From Barcelona, Rosebuds, W.A.S., Stones, Mini-Moo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

I'M FROM BARCELONA drops the video for "Paper Planes," the new single from the forthcoming album, Who Killed Harry Houdini?

THE ROSEBUDS have four new songs that can be streamed via their MySpace.

WE ARE SCIENTISTS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

THE PRETENDERS are a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll on the upcoming album.

DR. DOG gets a nice hometown profile in the Philadelphia Weekly.

THE ROLLING STONES roll through "Let It Bleed" in a club gig.  Quality sound and video, too.

LOS CAMPESINOS! stopped by KEXP for a chat and mini-set now streaming on demand via NPR.

FRANK YANG of Chromewaves is on this year's Grand Jury for Canada's Polaris Music Prize. Congrats to him!

ANTENNA SHOES did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.

SOUNDGARDEN inadvertently reuinites at a local Cinnabon.  Oh, wait, that's The Onion.

BRADGELINA: Jolie will replace Tom Cruise in the adaptation Philip Noyce's spy thriller Edwin A Salt, which will need a rewrite and renaming now. Meanwhile, the Bradgelina baby pics disappointed People magazine.

HAYDEN PANETTIERE's father, bailed on a felony spousal abuse charge, tells the paparazzi the whole thing "was blown out of proportion."

SIENNA MILLER broke down in tears after she was quizzed by photographers about her relationship with married father of four Balthazar Getty.  And they took pictures, natch.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON & RYAN REYNOLDS were... wait for it... caught canoodling on a motorcycle.  Pics at the link.

BEN STILLER says disability groups boycotting Tropic Thunder are missing the point.

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS got a really bad review from Ain't-It-Cool's uber-fanboy Harry Knowles, which was taken down (temoprarily), but Valleywag still has it.

HOLLYWOOD'S TOP-EARNING ACTRESSES, according to Forbes magazine.

GEORGIA, GEORGIA: Russian President Dmitri Medvedev reportedly ordered a halt to its military action in Georgia, after Pres. Bush's strongest statement on the fighting since it began at the end of last week and French Pres. Sarkozy, in his current role as EU president, held talks with Medvedev in Moscow for most of the day. Georgia insisted that Russian forces were still bombing and shelling. Georgian Pres. Saakashvili said he would pull his country out of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The websites of Georgia's government have been under cyber-attack for weeks, with Russian hackers fingered as the culprits.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS have arrested a woman in the region of Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia for driving a car.

PAKISTAN: Senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri has been killed in recent clashes with Pakistani forces in a Pakistani region near the Afghan border, a security official said on Tuesday. At the Counterterrorism Blog, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is skeptical.

IRAN: Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that resistance by nations against major world powers pays off. State TV also reported that the country has set up offices on a Persian Gulf island also claimed by the United Arab Emirates.

IRAQ: A secular lawmaker expected the Kurds would make concessions to allow the controversial provincial elections bill to be re-approved by the Parliament. Coalition forces captured nine Hezbollah Brigades operatives during three raids in the Adhamiyah district in Baghdad within 24 hours. King Abdullah of Jordan has become the first Arab head of state to visit Iraq since the US-led invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein in 2003.

MINI-CATTLE are catching on at farms, livestock shows and 4-H clubs, as feed costs drive up the price of keeping cows.  Video and pics at the link, but if you're not a WSJ subscriber, go through Google News.  And you may get direct access to the video.

CHUPACABRA caught on camera? 

HORSE MASSAGE: "This isn't just a career for me, it's my passion."

A BLIND RETIREE was told he did not walk fast enough to be given a new guide dog.

A SNAKE had to be removed from a car after a mechanic discovered the reptile while clearing an impounded vehicle.

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Dusty, New Releases, Ingrid Michaelson, Pig Wrestling   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD may be the subject of three biopics, starring Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Kristin Chenowith.  So why not revisit "Son of a Preacher Man" and her take on "How Can I Be Sure?"  That would be Twofer Tuesday, but I toss in the audio for "No Easy Way Down" from Dusty In Memphis so we have a clip for each biopic.

NEW RELEASES: Pierre de Reeder (Rilo Kiley), The Pack A.D. and the Walkmen are streaming in full this week via Spinner. Conor Oberst, Elvis Presley and more are streaming via AOL.

SIR PAUL McCARTNEY is still cruising Route 66, playing harmonica for a four-month old boy named Jude in Amarillo.  The Cute One supposedly told daughter Stella he intends to marry new galpal Nancy Shevell, according to the uber-reliable News of the World.

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED: The latest edition of the long-running NPR series features tracks from David Byrne & Brian Eno, Inara George & Van Dyke Parks, Earlimart, The Avett Bros, and She & Him with Jim James.

INGRID MICHAELSON: The indie sweater girl does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter, including a cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love With You"

SEALS & CROFT: A rare live performance of "Summer Breeze" from 1974.  Because it's, like... summer.

ISSAC HAYES: The L.A. Record has what may have been his final interview. Bonus points to Rena Kosnett for asking, "Does anyone understand you ‘cept your woman?"

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL INDIE ALBUMS of the 80s and 90s, according to JamsBio. I agree with most of the list, though it leaves out quite a few, like the dB's and the Feelies.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND will rock Super Bowl XLIII, according to the NYPost's Page Six.

ROLLING STONE is shrinking to a normal magazine size.  Publisher Jann Wenner promises the magazine will contain just as much lame celebrity coverage and fawning reviews of popular bands as always, but hopes to include stinky cologne ads.

BRADGELINA: John McCain and Barack Obama are seeking the coveted Jolie endorsement for president.

HAYDEN PANETTIERE's father was arrested Monday morning on allegations of spousal abuse. Alan Panettiere will face a felony count of domestic violence for allegedly hitting wife Lesley in the cheek, leaving a visible mark.  TMZ also has some backstory.

JESSICA SIMPSON was bullied as a shy high schooler growing up in Texas, according to the ever-reliable National Enquirer.

TROPIC THUNDER faces a national boycott from a coalition of disabilities groups because of what the groups consider the movie's open ridicule of the intellectually disabled.

ANNE HATHAWAY says her June split from Italian beau Raffaello Follieri - currently under investigation for wire fraud - made her stronger.

LOST: Looks like the cast are all trying to renegotiate their salaries.

HOW BIG IS THE DARK KNIGHT? It depends how you look at it. In raw dollar figures, the Batman sequel is now the third-biggest film of all time.  However, adjusted for inflation, The Dark Knight ranks No. 49, with Gone With the Wind topping the chart.

IRON MAN comes home Sept. 30th.

I LAUGHED THROUGH "THE BIRDS" as a toddler. It may be genetic.

GEORGIA, GEORGIA: Russian forces overran the strategic city of Gori as troops prepared to defend the capital Tbilisi from what one official called a "total onslaught". Georgian president Saakashvili said that Russian troops had in effect sliced his country in half, and appealed for Western aid via the Wall Street Journal. Reaganite Fred Kagan and Clintonites Ronald D. Asmus and Richard Holbrooke actually have similar bottom lines in the dispute. The CSM has backstory on the conflict.

IRAN has an interest in the Georgian conflict, as outlined by Meir Javedanfar at PJM.  Meanwhile, Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashai says Iranians are "friends of all people in the world - even Israelis." Mashai added that his comments did not constitute recognition of Israel's legitimacy.

IRAQ: Al-Qaeda is losing support in Iraq because of a brutal crackdown on activities it regards as un-Islamic - including women buying cucumbers.  The Washington Post looks at the growth of the Commander's Emergency Response Program, which is military-ese for "walking around money."  The NYT reports that Iraq's private sector, particularly its small non-oil economy, has so far failed to flourish as its American patrons had hoped.  The top Marine in Anbar province sees the economy rebounding and a need for less US spending. Iraqi forces halted military operations in Diyala province for a week to give insurgents time to surrender.

NEVER WRESTLE A PIG: You both get dirty and the pig enjoys it.

A HORSE was molested in a field near a busy dual carriageway in West London.

ELEPHANTS' survival depends on their legendary memory.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: A white blackbird -- suffering from leucism, which unlike albinism, does not turn the eyes pink.

VAMPIRE BATS leave 38 dead in remote villages in Venezuela. Or possibly undead.

4727 Reads

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