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James Brown, Cats, Penguins, Cougars, Theocracy, Satan, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 09, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE FLAMING LIPS are tackling "Bohemian Rhapsody" for a Queen tribute disc. I hope that doesn't put percussionist Steve Drozd back o­n the horse.

CBGB AND TALKING HEADS: Stereogum links to a site dedicated to saving CBGB as a landmark and o­ne offering a download of Talking Heads' first show at the venerable venue.

RYAN ADAMS: Golden Fiddle really wanted to dislike Cold Roses, but ended up liking it.

THE DECEMBERISTS' Friday night concert can be streamed from NPR.

LOVE WILL TEAR US APART: The Observer looks back at Joy Division o­n the 25th anniversary of the release of its signature song, which also happens to be the anniversary of my release. Who'da thunkit? Explains a lot.

BENNIFER: E! o­nline and E! News, citing "multiple sources close to Garner and beau Ben Affleck," report that Jennifer Garner is three months pregnant.

BRADGELINA: Jennifer Aniston is rumored to be furious that her husband is breaking their deal not to date for six months.

WHORE COLLEGE: Get your diploma as a Graduate in Sex Work at the end of a o­ne day seminar. Then you won't care if she's got a face that would stop a clock.

IDENTITY THEFT FUNDS BREAST IMPLANTS: It must be sweeps season!

BREAST REDUCTIONS are o­n the rise: over 113,000 women will elect to have their breasts made smaller this year, an increase of 11% from previous years.

KIMBERLY STEWART (Rod's daughter) gave her breast implants to Jack Osbourne (Ozzy's son). That's some weird symmetry I can't figure out.

GODFATHER OF SOUL JAMES BROWN, the hardest working man in show business, had a statue in his honor unveiled in Augusta Georgia o­n Friday.

BRIAN WILSON will put out a Christmas album in October.

ROCK SHIRTS FOR BABIES: Some of these seem inappropriate, but the Sonic Youth Dirty tee sort of works for an infant.

THE BOSS IS TOO HOT FOR STARBUCKS: Bruce Springsteen's Devils & Dust will not be sold at Starbucks coffee shops, because he's channeling Howard Stern.

COLDPLAY make U.S. singles history, but doesn't do as well as... the Spice Girls. Could be why Gwyneth seems a bit cranky lately.

LIVE AID II? Bob Geldof is deflating the trial balloon lofted by people in his office, though the possibility of a second concert event will be discussed at a meeting of the Live Aid Trust this week.

AUDIOSLAVE PLAYS CUBA in the first open-air concert by an American rock band in the communist country. The concert was given the rare approval of both the Cuban and United States governments.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Variety digs it: "Whatever o­ne thought of the previous two installments, this dynamic picture irons out most of the problems, and emerges as the best in the overall series since The Empire Strikes Back." The London Telegraph concurs: "Lucas has created an eminently satisfying, albeit surprisingly violent, final instalment that brings the story back full circle to the first film. It contains all the ingredients that fans have come to expect: aerial dog-fights, swirling light-sabres, Jedi battles, evil droids -and it packs an emotional wallop."

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: The lucrative summer movie season suffered its worst start in years o­n Sunday, as the costly epic crawled into the No. 1 slot at the North American weekend box office with meager ticket sales of just $20 million. I saw it and thought it well done in terms of its acting and production values, but Kingdom suffers from two major flaws. First, for a battle epic, it lacks pacing, particulalrly as it runs two and a half hours. Second, while no o­ne should expect historical accuracy from Hollywood, I suspect U.S. audiences are not going to flock to a politically correct revision of history that makes the British Christians foaming maniacs while depicting Saladin and the Sacracen Knights as the epitome of chivalry and having the hero be a man who renounces God. Historians have blasted the picture, scoffing at the notion that Jerusalem was a peaceful, multicultural community at the time in question. The movie almost completely ignores the 450 years of Islamic jihad that preceded the events at issue. And in the real world, Saladin acted far differently than he does at the end of the film.

IRAQ: Iraq's parliament approved six new ministers o­n Sunday hoping to fill the political void that has stoked the insurgency, but o­ne minister turned down the job. Proposed human rights minister Hisham al-Shibli told Reuters he had been picked purely to placate Iraq's restive Sunni Arab minority: "This post was given to me without anyone consulting me. I was surprised when they nominated me. It was just because I am a Sunni," he said. "This is something I reject completely. I am a democratic figure... and I am completely against sectarianism." While accomodating the Sunnis may help tamp down the insurgency, a politician speaking out against sectarianism this soon in the country's democratic history may be a very good sign.

IRAQ II: Austin Bay writes about how history will view the Iraq war and the extraordinary story of the 19-through-35 year olds who are winning it, including part of his prior interview with former Sen. Bob Kerrey.

IRAQ AND THE HOME FRONT: When that high school student was suspended for 10 days in Columbus GA for refusing to end a cell phone call with his mother, a soldier serving in Iraq, you just knew the backlash from the community (near Fort Benning) would force them to back off. So why didn't the school officials have this sussed in the first place?

PETRA NEMCOVA, the supermodel badly injured in the south asian tsunami, is now able to walk without crutches and plans to return to NYC this week to start raising money for tsunami victims. She will meet with representatives of international charities and develop a plan for how to best help people in the region near Khao Lak, the idyllic area where she and her boyfriend (who was killed in the disaster) were staying.

IDOL GOSSIP UPDATE: ABC's controversial special Primetime Live o­n the talent show won its time slot, as did American Idol itself. Meanwhile, journos are concerned that the networks are training their guns o­n each other. J. Max Robins, editor in chief at Broadcasting & Cable, said it ''is valid to ask the question, 'If Idol were an ABC show, not a Fox show, would they be doing the story?'" No, Fox would; so what? And fwiw, Matt Drudge reports that days before the program aired, Paula Abdul's lawyer fired off a detailed two page warning to ABC News strongly denying any wrongdoing regarding Abdul and drugs... though the issue was not part of their investigation.

COUGARS: It wasn't all about American Idol last week: ABC News Primetime also examined the phenomenon of older women dating younger men. The Phat Phree site offers a guide to dating women in each age bracket.

CATS: One gets toilet-trained. Another is a dangerous fugitive under a death sentence in Chile.

PENGUINS are dying from chlamydia.

TALES OF THE FRIENDLY SKIES: Hit in the head by a shot fired from the ground, pilot Mike Spicer managed, with the help of his passenger, to get his plane safely back to the Clay Center, Kansas airport. In North Las Vegas, a passenger was forced to crash land a private plane Thursday after the pilot suffered an apparent heart attack.

JOHN BOLTON: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed its vote on embattled nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations after Sen. George Voinovich expressed reservations, but Voinovich hasn't bothered to meet with Bolton since. And we're not going to get to hear his ex-wife dish about his kinky sex life, as she says he didn't have o­ne. Insert your own mustache joke here.

THEOCRACY: At a recent academic conference at the City University of New York o­n "the real agenda of the religious far right," the central threat speakers raised was "theocracy." No speaker representing religious conservatives was invited to offer a rebuttal.

DISCOUNT DEVIL: The number of the Beast has been marked down from 666 to 616.

AL-QAEDA: So far, Abu Farj al-Libbi has refused to reveal the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and his key accomplices, but having learned that he was ambushed by commandos in burqas, it's nice to learn that al-Libbi also was disguised as a woman. European terror experts doubt that al-Libbi was the number three man in al-Qaeda, but even if he is not, imho, the fact that Pakistani forces were willing to undertake the operation (including dozens of follow-up arrests) in the border area sympathetic to bin Laden represents progress.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Bill Clinton urges his fellow Democrats to offer their own plan.

THE FDA is about to implement rules recommending that any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from serving as an anonymous sperm donor. Critics accuse the FDA of stigmatizing all gay men rather than adopting a screening process that focuses o­n high-risk sexual behavior by any would-be donor, gay or straight. Probably true, but from a health perspective, that's an argument for broader rules, not against the o­ne being implemented.

CULT OF THE iPod: You can now get them from a vending machine in the Atlanta airport.

U.K. ELECTION: Although Iraq was the focus of the media in the election, the opposition's gains also bear out the old saying about politics being local. For example, Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame, writing in the Guardian, notes that Iraq eroded voters' trust of Tony Blair, but the Liberal-Democrats picked up votes o­n the economy and education policy in university cities like Cambridge. The Tories' marginal gains appear to be due in no small part to issues like taxes and immigration.

THE SECOND COMING OF UNDERPASS MARY: Less than 24 hours after being sprayed with mocking graffiti and lacquered in dark brown paint, the "Virgin Mary" emerged again to greet her flock Friday afternoon o­n the wall of a Kennedy Expressway underpass.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: Former Fed Chair Paul Volcker, who is heading the internal investigation of the UN. scandal, is desperate to get back boxes of information provided to Congress that are believed to contain information damaging to secretary-general Kofi Annan, to the point of claiming witnesses' lives amy be at stake and threatening the former investigator who provided the material under a Congressional subpoena.

CRAZY IN MARYLAND: The current home state of the Pratt family is ordering gas stations to raise prices.

HOWARD DEAN was supposed to attract indivdual donors to the Democratic National Committee, but the GOP raised twice as much from individuals in the last quarter.

THE SIMPSONS: Publicists not connected to the couple are gossiping that they could split could as early as next week. Which I would care more about if they were gossiping about Homer and Marge, as opposed to Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey.

UNBREAKABLE CODES? Australian scientists believe they have developed an unbreakable information code using a diamond, a kitchen microwave oven and an optical fiber to create a single photon beam of light they say cannot be hacked.

THE GERMAN AMBASSADOR in London complains that Britons continue to see the Germans as Nazis. Of course, it doesn't help when the tennis club hosting the German Open puts a photograph of Nazi Hermann Goering in the program and refers to the club's "golden times" after its Jewish members fled in the 1930s. To be fair, I must note that a neo-Nazi march in Berlin was stopped by thousands of anti-fascist demonstrators Sunday. However, the fact that 3,300 neo-Nazis gathered to protest what they called a German "cult of guilt" ought to give that Ambassador a moment's pause. Although I'm sure he's concerned about German kids being beaten by British kids, the anniversary of V-E Day might not have been the most diplomatic moment to complain.

KILLER CHILI POWDER: It is pure capsaicin - the chemical that lends habanero and jalapeno peppers their thermonuclear heat. It is 30 times hotter than the spiciest pepper, the Red Savina from Mexico, and 8,000 times stronger than Tabasco sauce. Although capsaicin does not actually burn - it fools your brain into thinking that you are in pain by stimulating nerve endings in your mouth - some medical experts believe that it could kill an asthmatic or hospitalise a user who touched his eyes or other sensitive parts of the anatomy.

DAVID ROSEN goes to trial Tuesday o­n charges of repeatedly misleading the Federal Elections Commission about contributions received to stage an August 2000 Hollywood fund-raiser for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Conversations recorded for the FBI by Ray Reggie, Sen. Ted Kennedy's brother-in-law, are expected to be key evidence. A partial transcript of the Sept. 4, 2002, tape obtained by The Times-Picayune in New Orleans captures a conversation rife with gossip about the seamy side of political life, including the sex, drugs and prostitutes enjoyed by big-name Democratic stalwarts.

TIME-TRAVELLERS' CONVENTION: I just got back from the big weekend convo. Or I never left. Anyway, I picked up a cyborg bodyguard o­n the cheap.

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Classic Videogames, Rick Mosher, Richard Thompson, Cat Man and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 06, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND (AND NO PANTS DAY) STARTS HERE:

I AM 8-BIT: Fort 90 has a slew of photos from the opening of an art exhibit based o­n classic videogames.

FRIDAY TIME-WASTER DELUXE: A classic video arcade -- Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Frogger and more.

RICK MOSHER, vocalist and guitarist for the New Duncan Imperials (and The Service before that), has a 48-drawer cabinet full of nearly 4,000 beautifully mounted and catalogued insects. A little Jame Gumb for my taste, but to each his own. Hat tip to Craig O'Neill for the link!

RICHARD THOMPSON has an impressive slate of releases planned throughout the rest of 2005, including a new studio album, a five-disc box set and several live CDs and DVDs. It will be much easier to get RT's killer version of "Oops... I Did It Again."

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS FESTIVAL lineup is announced. Acts include: Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Jimmy Cliff, Kasabian, Rilo Kiley, The Decemberists, The Ditty Bops, Kathleen Edwards, Buddy Guy and many, many more.

THE HOLD STEADY get a mighty 8.7 for Separation Sunday o­n the Pitchfork. They also get called "Brooklyn's best band" in a Village Voice piece calling the new disc "an early contender for record of the year." Brooklyn Vegan can hook you up to some downloads.

LOUIE, LOUIE: A pop culture controversy that has simmered for decades came to a head when a middle school marching band in Michigan was told not to perform "Louie Louie" in Saturday's Grand Floral Parade. Band members and parents complained to the Board of Education at its Tuesday meeting that it was too late to learn another song. Since they were going to play (rather than sing) the song, any Pate fan knows the solution is to have the band play the same music, but tell everyone they are playing "Wild Thing" or "Hang o­n Sloopy." UPDATE: The band will now be allowed to play Louie squared; never underestimate the power of public mockery.

CATS: Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na.... Cat Man! That's not makeup, that's tattoos and surgery! More pictures here.

BIONICS IS BIG at Wired this week, with an article o­n bionic eyes and another o­n bionic animals. I get the feeling PETA won't be happy about the chickens.

A NEW DINOSAUR discovered by paleonotlogists in the Utah desert was going vegan.

AL-QAIDA ROUND-UP:The Pakistani commandos who captured al-Qaida honcho Abu Faraj al-Libbi ambushed him by wearing burqas. "We are trying to arrest his other contacts, but news of his arrest was prematurely leaked to the media," said a Pakistani intelligence official. Nevertheless, raids across Pakistan Thursday resulted in the arrest of more than 20 other al-Qaida suspects. al-Libbi was said to be plotting new attacks o­n U.S. targets in Afghanistan and possibly on the American homeland itself.

U.K. ELECTION: Britons grudgingly returned the Labour Party to power for a third time o­n Thursday (a record for Labour), according to an exit poll of voters (for what such polls are worth), but the party may lose close to 100 seats, a worse-than-expected showing that may weaken Prime Minister Tony Blair.

BRADGELINA CAMBERLAKE MASH-UP: New York Daily News gossips Rush & Molloy note Pitt and Jolie's second hookup in Africa and Justin Timberlake's discomfort at being used as a dancing pole by Cameron Diaz.

GET THE FUGU OUT OF HERE! A man died in Nagasaki, apparently from poisoning caused by eating a puffer fish. Life (and death, sadly) imitates The Simpsons.

HOW DID IT GO IN? is a site devoted to theories explaining that incredible shot Tiger Woods made on the 16th hole of the Masters, illustrated with movie clips. Yes, o­ne theory involves a gopher.

INSIDE TV, a new weekly magazine from the publishers of TV Guide, is marketing itself as a TV Guide for women. At Slate, Dana Stevens asks, "Why o­n earth do women need their own TV guide?"

PEOPLE NEED TO GET THEIR HANDS OFF OF KIDS: A Deerfield Beach, FL baseball coach was arrested late Tuesday o­n charges of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl. Two men have accused the mayor of Spokane, WA of molesting them when they were boys and he was a sheriff’s deputy and Boy Scout leader.

JACKO JUSTICE -- BEATLES FOR SALE? Roger Friedman of FOX News writes that Bank of America has sold Michael Jackson's $270 million in loans to a private hedge fund called Fortress Investments. The fund stands to become a 50 percent owner in Sony/ATV Music Publishing if Jackson should default o­n the loan (and he is technically in default now). Sony/ATV, which holds a catalog of 251 Beatles songs as well as thousands of other compositions, including most of Bob Dylan's better-known songs and Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious," is valued at $1 billion.

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE: The Seattle Times' Tom Scanlon writes: "Atlantic Records, please, please do not mess this up: Ben Gibbard has written a remarkable, perhaps even perfect pop song. 'I Will Follow You Into the Dark' is not o­nly better than any song Gibbard has written, it's better than any song most people have written (notable exceptions: Dylan, Bob; Shakur, Tupac; Hooker, John Lee)."

A MUSIC RESEARCHER with Sun Microsystems complains that Digital Rights Management schemes interfere with the sort of research and innovation that created things like the MP3 format in the first place.

MADONNA is too busy to be godmother to Britney Spears' baby. So Madge is apparently not planning to settle all family business anytime soon.

ANN COULTER UPDATE: The dude who heckled her at UT Austin sends his message to the masses at the Daily Kos: "I am Ajai Raj, and I am a jackass."

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Matt Dentler, producer of the SXSW Film Festival, saw it and dug it: "This film makes the first two weak prequels well worth it... the film we've wanted for 20 years." Whitney Matheson of USA Today blogs that "the movie is incredibly satisfying and worthy of the positive buzz it's been given thus far." The Hollywood Reporter raves: "The final episode of George Lucas' cinematic epic Star Wars ends the six-movie series o­n such a high note that o­ne feels like yelling out, 'Rewind!'" Chinese actress Bai Ling ended up o­n the cutting room floor, perhaps because she will appear in the June issue of Playboy. An unemployed techie (shocking, I know) has written a comprehensive essay of literary influences o­n the Star Wars saga. ALSO: How a lightsaber works and how to choose the right o­ne for you.

SUMMER MOVIE MADNESS: Wondering what's coming after the Sith? There's a comprehensive round-up by category at efilmcritic.com. Sadly, I found this too late to enter the "March Madness" style contest, in which movies are bracketed and advance based o­n box office success.

IRAQ: Female marines are being integrated into line companies in combat for the first time, ironically due to cultural sensitivities in Iraq. Syria is detaining Saudis attempting to infiltrate into Iraq. Iraqi civilians who have suffered from U.S. military operations face steep obstacles in obtaining compensation for the deaths of their loved o­nes or material damage, human rights analysts say. It's criticism that would carry more weight if any of the groups quoted had complained even half as much about Saddam Hussein's regime. ALSO: In Cape Coral, FL, city officials spun into damage control mode in the face of public outrage that a city worker removed signs and yellow ribbons a mother had posted to greet her U.S. Army daughter as she returned home from Iraq. You shouldn't do that sort of thing in Matt Drudge's backyard; he'll get the word out, y'know?

A TALE OF TWO JESSICAS: In Las Vegas, Jessica Alba notes that Tobey Maguire needs a trip to the squeezing room and Jessica Simpson gets down o­n the dancefloor with Lance, our site administrator. Okay, I made up that last bit, but Lance was just in Vegas checking out the new Wynn hotel, so maybe that is him in the article.

BILL GATES is o­n a mission to defeat Google, which has morphed from a successful search engine into a software company and is emerging as a major threat to Microsoft's dominance.

SOPRANO PLEA DEAL? Vincent Pastore, who played Salvatore 'Big P--sy' Bonpensiero o­n the HBO smash, may cop a plea in connection with charges that he assaulted his former girlfriend.

CULT OF THE iPod: How dominant is Apple? The iPod Shuffle has 58 percent of the market for flash memory based digital media players. And a whopping 90 percent market share in hard drive-based players. ALSO: James Lileks gets random rock royalty o­n his Shuffle.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: Documents involving actions taken by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in the Oil-For-Food investigation have been given to Congress by Robert Parton, a former senior investigator o­n the supposedly Independent Inquiry Committee probing the $64 billion program, led by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. Congress has been trying to talk to Parton since he resigned, charging that the Volker committee was going soft o­n Annan. Last week, Volcker had tried to block such efforts by insisting that Parton and former investigator Miranda Duncan, both Americans, had diplomatic immunity. After Volcker failed to answer Parton's lawyer as to whether he would order Parton to defy the subpoena, Volcker's committee is some sort of sanction against Parton. This will o­nly make Volcker look worse if Parton's charges are proved out by the documents.

THE HUFFINGTON POST: Arianna Huffington tells the Online Journalism Review that her soon-to-launch celebrity group blog will never use ghost writers.

THE PENTAGON VS. BLOGS: The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence for Public Affairs thinks it has pretty good strategies for dealing with the media, but admits that they don't know how to handle critical bloggers.

PESKY BLOGS: It turns out that NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin doesn't know how to handle blogs, either. NPR posted a government report o­nline that bloggers discovered could be converted to show parts the government meant to redact; apparently, that's the bloggers' fault. He also doesn't like the "undisguised opinion" found o­n blogs, though some might argue it's better than the disguised opinion often found o­n NPR. According to Dvorkin, "bloggers tend not to care if they, and their readers conflate opinion and fact." Apparently, Mr. Dvorkin has never heard of The New Republic, National Review or The Nation? And any decent blog links to sources that the readers can evaluate themselves. What's really funny is at the end of the piece, Dvorkin mentions news organizations fighting to "regain their battered credibility," which ought to tell him something about what he's holding up as the gold standard.

LIT-BLOGGING: Author Adam Langer mentions the blogs he reads and asks other authors which blogs they read.

AREA 51: Folks are checking it out with satellite maps from Google.

YO HO, YO HO, A PIRATE'S LIFE FOR ME: The scourge of piracy is a potentially terror-related threat, according to Austin Bay and Jane's Defence Weekly.

TRENDS: Scientists find that trendy behavior, including patterns of applause at concerts, is imitative (duh!) and tends to follow the laws of magnetism. This might also explain some of how people react in disasters.

BOY FINDS SNAKE IN CEREAL BOX: Just in case you missed it elsewhere.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: The Random Vin Diesel Fact Generator. Be sure to hit you browser's "Refresh" button!

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Cream, Bumbershoot, Ann Coulter, Rockism, No Pants Day, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, May 05, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

HEY, IF YOU DIDN'T VISIT WEDNESDAY, be sure to keep scrolling down for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings!

CREAM is playing those reunion gigs at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS made a mixtape that sounds like I could have made it -- Sly and the Family Stone, The MC5, a Beach Boys track from Surf's Up... BTW, the song in question, "Feel Flows," was used to very good effect in Almost Famous and plays again over the credits.

DEVO, THE DECEMBERISTS, THE GOSPEL HUMMINGBIRDS, MAVIS STAPLES AND TED LEO are among the announced acts for Bumbershoot over the Labor Day weekend in Seattle.

RYAN ADAMS gets a mixed-to-positive review for the double-disc Cold Roses, the first of three albums he's allegedly releasing this year. "Overstuffed and vaguely monotonous, the album could be easily whittled down to a single sequence of impressive songs; Instead, it's a meandering, occasionally moving series of mid-tempo laments, some more memorable than others." Yet the reviewer also states: "it's increasingly difficult to say exactly when Adams transitioned from bloated media darling to scrappy underdog, but it happened, and he commandeered the passage all by himself, squirming away from the overblown antics of yesteryear and embracing, instead, the staid earnestness of his roots. It's a welcome return."

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Advance reviews at Ain't It Cool News are running positive. Of course, the site is often fanboy central, so just consider it another data point where you can get spoilers also.

TOM & KATIE UPDATE: This should serve as a warning -- date Tom Cruise and you end up looking like this.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Pitt and Jolie allegedly were making with the jungle love in Africa. An insider at the luxury Alfajari Villas beach resort told Star magazine that the couple's loud lovemaking "sounded like a wounded animal, like someone being killed!" Which is pretty much how you imagine it, isn't it?

JESSICA SIMPSON was followed closely out the door at the end of of an NYC gala by Johnny Knoxville, but her rep scoffs at those rumors linking her with Knoxville and Fred Durst.

FRANK SINATRA was a mob bagman and nearly got busted while smuggling $3.5 million into New York, according to Jerry Lewis (so consider the source).

DOGS: Serving at Camp Fallujah. ALSO: A Dalmation finds his family six years after being swept away by a tornado.

CATS AND DOGS: Both cats and dogs have coffee table books coming out.

SEXY CHEERLEADING would be banned under a bill passed by the Texas state House. And the bill was introduced by a Democrat?

U.K. ELECTION is today. Tony Blair is heading for a record third term with a three-figure majority, but potentially the lowest share of the vote for any governing party in modern times, according to the final public opinion polling.

ANN COULTER: A heckler was arrested Tuesday night during her appearance at UT Austin's LBJ Library and Museum. I think that the heckler might like one of the sites I indirectly linked the other day.

JOHN BOLTON: The political clout of lefty blog collective Daily Kos o­n the Bolton nomination is given props by Byron York at National Review. The sub-headline: "A left-wing website rescues clueless Democrats in the confirmation fight."

IRAQ: The Christian Science Monitor has what seems like a nice round up of the general situation, particularly the way U.S. and Iraqi forces are adapting to counter changing tactics of the insurgents. The London Guardian runs a shocking (for the Guardian) piece titled, "Perhaps the neocons got it right in the Middle East." Don't panic: the author remains skeptical; after all, it is the Guardian.

IRAQ II: A military judge o­n Wednesday threw out Army Pfc. Lynndie England's guilty plea in connection with the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, declaring a mistrial. She may have faced o­nly about two years in prison under the secret terms of the plea deal. I suspect she won't see an offer that good again, which makes me all the more glad her counsel overplayed their hand.

TERRORISM: As you probably heard, Libyan Abu Faraj al-Libbi , the man thought to be al-Qaida's head of global operations and the mastermind behind an attempt to assassinate the president of Pakistan was captured by the country's troops after a fierce gun battle. The AP reports that his capture is a rare coup for "human intelligence," or old-fashioned spycraft, and may yield details of how the terror network hoped to disrupt last year's U.S. presidential elections. Others wonder how much al-Libbi will know about some the U.S. government's most-wanted suspects — bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. Pakistan's Daily Times reports that al-Libbi has been in contact with OBL and Al Zawahri and knows their whereabouts. Of course, that could be a ruse to beat the bushes in hopes of startling the terror masters out of hiding.

TERRORISM II: At Winds of Change, Armed Liberal breaks down the numbers from the annual report o­n terror attacks; the problem is much worse in Kashmir than Iraq.

EXPLODING BRAS: Scotland Yard has sent details of the potential terror threat to Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Hilarity and sexual harassment to ensue.

SUFJAN STEVENS talks a bit about the recording of his forthcoming Illinois disc, though you have to scroll down a bit through boilerplate PR to get to it. And there's a stream at the top of the page.

JEFF TWEEDY denies any connection between the Middle East peace process and Wilco's plans.

ROCKISM: Douglas Wolk writes that "rockism" is "a potentially useful concept for thinking about the way people write about popular music, and the way people experience it. The trick is to figure out exactly what it means."

IDOL GOSSIP: The hype over the ABC News piece that ran last night distracts from the slumping ratings for TV newsmagazine shows generally.

RUNAWAY BRIDE: I was going to avoid this topic, but how can I pass o­n an article that begins, "Jennifer Wilbanks hails from a slice of the South where 32-year-old never-married women are either insane, in prison or gay."

CULT OF THE iPod: Mike Davidson announces the winner and shows you notable entries for his contest of iPod Shuffles made from food.

EDU-BLOGGING: The latest Carnival of Education is o­nline.

IF THEY HAD REMADE THE GRADUATE ten years ago, they would have replaced the word "plastics" with "the Internet." If they remade it today, it could be replaced by "Internet t-shirts."

TV AND VIDEOGAMES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN: So claims a new book by Steven Johnson. Sounds like he's been watching too much TV.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL TAKES NASTY TURN: Congressional investigators are discovering that vast sums intended for humanitarian purposes in Iraq were rerouted through a global web of companies with links to terrorist funding and arms trafficking.

KELSEY GRAMMER falls down, goes boom.

NO PANTS DAY is tomorrow. Now that's Casual Friday. How else to top Cinco de Mayo?

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Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings rule; we trail in the wake of their turbulence   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP KINGS! My o­ne-word review of Naturally would be, "Whoa!" My two-word review would be, "Holy Crap!" My three-word review would be, "Oh. My. God." Naturally came out at the end of January and I can't believe I cheated myself for three months. It's almost exactly like a classic Atlantic or Stax R 'n' B record that accidentally got left in the vault for 35-40 years. Instead, it's o­n Daptone Records, where you can download clips of the album and even see their performance o­n Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Based o­n their cover of "This Land Is Your Land," I may have to order the 45 of "I Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In." Yeah, yeah, oh yeah.

THE RAVEONETTES' Pretty In Black gets a review that reads better than the seven it scores from PopMatters. I'm listening to the album as I type and find myself agreeing with the text of the review, if not the number. Pretty In Black strips away the feedback and most of the distortion, recalling the Everlys, Buddy Holly or Johnny Cash more often than the Velvet Underground or the Jesus and Mary Chain (though you do get Ronnie Spector and Mo Tucker guesting on this one). I'm cool with that. Sure, it lacks the visceral sonic fist to the temple that you get from Chain Gang of Love, but now I can enjoy the band in quieter moments also.

ON THE PITCHFORK: A review putting In Case We Die, by Architecture in Helsinki in the Best New Music of 2005 category. The Ponys avoid a sophomore slump: "As with all great garage rock bands... the Ponys perform their shameless pillaging with such dexterity and stylish swagger that they've virtually rendered themselves immune to accusations of unoriginality." Cobra Verde's covers album gets a mixed reaction.

DASH RIP ROCK is offering a weekly podcast, including unreleased songs and covers of Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones and more.

FRANK BLACK interviews legendary author Ray Bradbury. Truth is stranger than science-fiction.

TOM AND KATIE UPDATE: At the New York Daily News, Rush & Molloy aren't skeptical about the Cruise-Holmes hookup -- not at all. However, they don't mind mentioning that everyone else is. And that a source tells them that Holmes and Josh Hartnett are "still totally in love." Defamer notes that Richard Roeper is taking the story at face value... maybe. I can't believe Defamer forgot to mention it o­nce referred to Roeper as "the new, seemingly-retarded o­ne."

JESSICA SIMPSON... AND FRED DURST? Have you prepared that Apocolypse Survival Kit you keep putting off?

IDOL GOSSIP: ABC News is fronting its PrimeTime Live piece o­n the web. Apparently, former contestant Corey Clark claims that Paula Abdul provided him with off-camera tips and assistance while he was a contestant, even helping him select some of the songs he would sing. Also, Celebrity Justice reports that at least o­ne taped message from Paula to Corey does exist, patially confirming the Drudge Report about ABC News having such tapes (no surprise there, as I assume ABC News staffers are the leakers). Celebrity Justice also reports that a source close to Abdul says that "Clark illegally taped" the conversation with Paula and "edited it out of context to make Paula look bad." Which is interesting, since I saw Abdul say on TV Tuesday night that she knew nothing about the ABC News piece.

J-LO wants to be the first female President of the U.S. Because that's a job where you never have to discuss your private life.

BRAIN-DAMAGED FIREFIGHTER makes an amazing recovery after a decade of silence.

THE EMILY POST INSTITUTE has advice o­n how to cancel your wedding. Page Six also noted less polite methods. Where were all these people last week?

BRENDAN BENSON gets interviewed and reviewed at PopMatters.

SPRINGSTEEN: At Slate, Stephen Metcalf suggests the Boss is full of it, but in a good way.

BOB DYLAN will be the subject of a movie, where he will be played by Cate Blanchett, Colin Farrell, Adrien Brody, Richard Gere, Julianne Moore, and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

USHER is planning an early retirement. So I can wait him out.

U.K. ELECTION: E-Day is Friday, so the BBC turns to some of the more unusual campaign promises being made by various smaller parties. For example, the Church of the Militant Elvis wants to place giant photos of celebrities such as Johnny Vegas, Graham Norton and Chris Evans in Heathrow and Gatwick airports, "to discourage undesirable foreigners from entering Britain". Sadly, the article makes no mention of Tarquin Fin- tim- lim- bim- whin- bim- lim- bus- stop- F'tang- F'tang- Olè- Biscuitbarrel.

CANADIAN ELECTION? It's looking more like the Tories will seek a vote of no confidence in the Liberal government and a new election in the wake of the Adscam scandal.

RICHARD GERE: It's o­ne thing if a celeb from time to time declines to meet disabled kids; otherwise, it's probably all they would do. But don't say "Maybe later. I'm hard of hearing and I have a bad hip. We all have problems." The Dalai Lama needs to whack him with a golf club.

GOLDIE HAWN says her memoirs do not have a beginning, middle and an end. The New York Daily News says there are "no icky, tell-all details, either." You have just saved $25.95.

PAGE SIX is suing Page SixSixSix for trademark infringement.

IRAQ: The first democratically elected government in the history of Iraq was sworn in Tuesday against a backdrop of surging violence, as has happened with each of these milestones. The U.S. military said Tuesday it has seized a letter from Iraqi insurgents believed to be intended for Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi complaining about low morale among followers and weakening support for the insurgency.

IRAQ II: Yesterday, I noted that The New York Times columnist Bob Herbert presented some serious but uncorroborated charges against U.S. troops by conscientious objector Aidan Delgado. I also noted some reasons why those charges might not be taken at face value. FWIW, a blogger by the name of "Sgt. Ted," who claims that he was closer to the riot Delgado described and remembers it a bit differently. Do I know that Sgt. Ted is for real? No, although his writing suggests a military background. But I don't know that Delgado is for real, either.

IRAQ III: USA Today and CNN report: "Support for the decision to go to war in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since the campaign began in March 2003, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll released Tuesday." The problem is that they really don't know whether that's true. A look at the numbers shows a three or four point swing, which is within the poll's five point margin of error. Plus, the poll was conducted April 29-May 1; weekend polling historically skews Democratic.

WELCOME TO CHICAGO: City Hall officials ordered the city's top water boss to marshal his political army of city workers for Mayor Daley, Congressman Rahm Emanuel and other politicians, according to a guilty plea-related federal court document released Monday and other sources. There is nothing in the plea agreement to indicate that Daley, Emanuel or other politicians knew the possibly corrupt nature of the help they were getting.

GERALDO RIVERA lives in a glass house. No, really. But the article is subscription o­nly -- jerks.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: o­ne of the members of the trobled singer's new band, the Babyshambles has figured out that Pete's antics are stealing the show... and that member is the drummer! Ron, Jon H, I kid because I love -- you know that.

FRANZ FERDINAND frontman Alex Kapranos says the band's next album is "music for girls to cry to." Oh boy, I can hardly wait.

NASTY PETTY RADIO: NPR banned its Weekend Morning Edition host, Scott Simon, from appearing o­n Bob Edwards' new show for XM satellite radio.

HYBRID CARS are often more about feeling good than saving money or getting better mileage.

BEER GOGGLES without the beer. A variation o­n the placebo effect, apparently.

ONLINE CONSUMERS are more likely to comparison shop than buy o­n impulse.

JOHN BOLTON, President Bush's embattled nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. faced more claims of his alleged bullying and intolerance in Tuesday's New York Times, based o­n transcripts of Congressional staff interviews with three former senior government officials, leaked to the paper "by a Congressional official opposed to Mr. Bolton's nomination." So Bolton's supporters leaked the transcripts to the Fox News Channel to show what the NYT left out of their story. Bolton is scheduled for a vote next week and the bottom line is that this is his month.

GREENPEACE CO-FOUNDER ROBERT HUNTER has died at 63 from prostate cancer. "Bob was an inspirational storyteller, an audacious fighter and an unpretentious mystic," Greenpeace Canada Chairman John Doherty said. Interestingly, surviving Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore left the group to become a crusader against environmental extremism.

GOING TO CHURCH is good for your health, as long as you don't hold God personally responsible for it.

WORLD NEWS TONIGHT WITH LARA CROFT: ABC News is offering its content to PlayStation Portable users.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE... in China.

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Super Furry Animals, Idol Gossip, Camberlake, Coulter, DC Ducks, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

XTC, PERE UBU, THE ONLY ONES AND BLONDIE are among the acts featured in in a photo exhibit of classic punks by Rebel Rebelle.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS should have their seventh album, Love Kraft, out in August.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: What it means may depend o­n who is singing about it.

FRANZ FERDINAND is letting the Scottish Green Party use the band's current single for a new party political broadcast in the UK election directed by cult film director Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid & Nancy).

JIMMY BUFFETT AND WARREN BUFFETT have been friends for more than 20 years and have performed together, but are apparently not related to each other.

AMERICAN IDOL: FWIW, Matt Drudge reports that Fox execs have declined to answer all questions posed by ABC News regarding claims American Idol judge Paula Abdul personally "coached" a favorite contestant and then tried to cover up the breach. ABC News apparently has audio evidence. ALSO: The Smoking Gun has the dirt o­n contestant Bo Bice's drug busts.

TOM AND KATIE UPDATE: The skepticism and thinly-veiled innuendo over Tom Cruise's new relationship with Katie Holmes continues at Defamer.

NEWS OF THE FUTURE: Merrill Brown, founding editor in chief of MSNBC.com and a founder of Court TV, writes: "The future course of the news, including the basic assumptions about how we consume news and information and make decisions in a democratic society, is being altered by technology-savvy young people no longer wedded to traditional news outlets or even accessing news in traditional ways." CNN honcho Jonathan Klein, who o­nce called bloggers a bunch of guys sitting at their computers in their pajamas, seems to be figuring this out, too: "You know the blogging and the values vote and direct marketing and even fears about personal safety and homeland security have all changed the political landscape 180 degrees, and yet the mainstream media is still covering politics the way it has for the last 30 to 40 years since the Kennedy-Nixon debate."

ROBOTS: Sony’s Qrio, a humanoid robot, has been attending a Californian nursery school for the past three months where it plays with young children in a test designed to see if robots can "live in harmony with humans in the future."

BACK TO THE FUTURE: James Lileks has alternately uplifting and mildly depressing thoughts inspired by the movie.

CAMERON DIAZ TO WED JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE? Reports are circulating o­n the 'net, though they appear to all be relying o­n the ever-reliable News of the World. Diaz's rep denied it to E! News.

GLOBAL WARMING AND CENSORSHIP: Scientists allege that two of the world's leading scientific journals -- Science and Nature -- are refusing to publish papers which challenge fashionable wisdom over global warming. For example, o­ne study reviewed the scientific literature to show that fewer than o­ne in 10 climate scientists believed that climate change is principally caused by human activity.

ANN COULTER: Given that a more than a few of you checked out Time magazine's blunder in its coverage of the conservative columnist (now corrected), you may be interested to learn that she's currently dating a young Democrat, though it can't be too shocking after her run with Bob Guccione Jr. And while o­n the subject of Coulter hoaxes, Gawker will hook you up with the o­nes rated NC-17.

HITLER'S NURSE speaks, a German newspaper claims. 93-year-old Erna Flegel claims she stayed in the bunker after Hitler killed himself and was there when Soviet troops arrived. She said Hitler was so paranoid that he even suspected spies had filled his cyanide capsule with false poison.

IRAQ: American soldiers returning to their German base from Iraq are undergoing their own small "baby boom," becoming parents in such numbers as to strain the resources of the base military hospital. The 1st Armored Division usually produces o­ne or two babies a month at Baumholder in central Germany, but the birthrate is expected to shoot up to 40 a month in the next five months. My ex-roommate Dru Martin (who saw Pate before I did) was (and may still be) teaching kids of the 1st AD, though I believe he's now at Rammstein. As I had just been thinking of Germany and Iraq, coming across this story was one of those moments where the cosmos just tickled my funny bone.

IRAQ II: The BBC has a dramatic slideshow of an Iraqi sandstorm from Gunnery Sergeant Shannon Aldredge, a U.S. Marine Corps photographer.

BURIED TREASURE UPDATE: A fourth man charged in the alleged buried treasure scam has been arrested. Police say Matt Ingham was part of a group of men accused of stealing a cache of old currency while doing a roofing job in Massachussetts.

DEMOCRACY IN EGYPT: Egyptian judges are joining other groups in the country in calling for reform ahead of this year's presidential elections. Over 1,000 Egyptian judges say they won't supervise upcoming elections unless they are given more independence and control.

CANADA: The Liberal government has rebounded from Adscam, causing some Tories to question the decision to call for a new election.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer's ex-galpal Katie Lewis is warning his current fiancee Kate Moss that Pete loves romps with men and women. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

NO OASIS: in an interview with NME, Liam Gallagher lashes out at Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Scissor Sisters, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane and Pete Doherty, with a frantic, "I'm dancing as fast as I can" quality in advance of the new disc from Oasis at month's end. He likes Charlotte Church, though. No, really.

LIVE AID: Bob Geldof is trying to organize another Live Aid concert event.

IRAQ III: In its search for partners and intermediaries to help fight the insurgency and speed reconstruction, the U.S. military has turned to tribal Sheiks sidelined for decades under Saddam Hussein. Not surprising, given the lack of Sunni participation in the first election.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Angelina Jolie tells Vanity Fair that she and Brad Pitt came to trust each other while taking gun training for their upcoming movie, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

21st CENTURY ROCK: Stereogum reprints a list of 21 albums for this century that Chuck Klosterman did for Esquire magazine.

LINKIN PARK has demanded to be released from its record contract with Warner Music Group, claiming the company's impending initial public offering is enriching investors at the expense of label artists.

LIFE ON MARS, "many scientists believe, is now more a likelihood than merely a possibility." Or is it the work of Cruise and Spielberg?

IRAQ IV: Pfc. Lynndie England, the woman grinning and giving a thumbs-up in some of the most notorious photos to come out of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of conspiracy to maltreat prisoners, four counts of maltreating prisoners and o­ne count of committing an indecent act. Prosecutors agreed to drop another count of committing an indecent act and o­ne count of dereliction of duty. She will end up spending less than 11 years in prison. Given how badly she damaged U.S. efforts in Iraq, she should count herself lucky.

IRAQ V: The New York Times columnist Bob Herbert's latest recounts serious, but unsubstantiated charges against U.S. troops made by Aidan Delgado, who was discharged in January as a conscientious objector. Delgado's first claim is this: "Guys in my unit, particularly the younger guys, would drive by in their Humvee and shatter bottles over the heads of Iraqi civilians passing by. They'd keep a bunch of empty Coke bottles in the Humvee to break over people's heads." Michael Rubin, editor of The Middle East Quarterly, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, currently in Baghdad outside the U.S.-secured International Zone and apparently a bigger fan of Coca-Cola than I am (which is saying a lot), doesn't buy it. And Delgado has been telling different versions of other stories. Sadly, the Lynndie Englands of the world will cause some to believe such stories without any corroboration.

THE FRENCH HOTEL is eager to make the leap from sex kitten to savvy business titan. She intends to model her career after those of moguls Donald Trump and Sean "Puffy" Combs. But I don't think either of them did a hamburger commercial too pornographic to air.

THE AFL-CIO IS IN TROUBLE: President John J. Sweeney, who is facing challenges from some of the labor federation's largest member unions, last week acknowledged that the organization is financially squeezed and may have to lay off a quarter of its workforce. Four dissident union presidents have demanded that their members' names be removed from the AFL-CIO's master list of 13 million households, attacking what many consider to be organized labor's most important tool to influence political campaigns and legislative proceedings o­n Capitol Hill. The action by the presidents of the Service Employees International Union, Teamsters, Laborers and Unite Here is the most serious attack o­n Sweeney's administration. The membership of the four unions exceeds 4 million, a third of the AFL-CIO total.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: Congress wants to hear from two investigators who quit the United Nations inquiry led by Paul Volcker into the Oil-for-Food scandal because they felt that it was too soft o­n Kofi Annan. Questions have been raised about Mr. Volcker’s impartiality by the resignation of the two investigators and by his ties to a company o­nce run by Maurice Strong, a Canadian tycoon and diplomat under investigation by the Volcker panel.

MICHAEL KINSLEY, opinion page editor and editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times, on President Bush's Social Security proposals and the politics thereof: "If privatization is truly voluntary, it can't do much harm. And if that is Mr. Bush's price for being out front o­n a real solution to the real problem, the Democrats should let him have it. Unless they are complete morons - always a possibility - the Democrats could end up in the best of all worlds. They know in their hearts that Social Security has to change in some unpleasant way. Mr. Bush, for whatever reason, is willing to take most of the heat. And all he wants in return is the opportunity to try something that will alienate people from the GOP for generations to come."

D.C. DUCK UPDATE: A duck who nested at the Treasury Department and became a tourist attraction hatched her brood under the watchful eyes of the U.S. Secret Service and took swimmingly to motherhood Sunday, guiding her 11 ducklings unerringly to water with the assistance of at least three government departments.

AFGHANISTAN: Arthur Chrenkoff rounds up under-reported good news from Afghanistan. My favorite may be this: "to make it easier o­n the voters, 'candidates for Afghanistan's first post-Taliban parliament must choose symbols such as an apple, a ladder or an ice-cream cone to help illiterate voters identify them...'" I've got to say that if a third party ever emerges again in the U.S., it must use an ice cream cone as its symbol. Obviously, the apple is right out, lest you get pummeled by lawyers for Steve Jobs and Yoko Ono.

LOCUSTS: Swarms of locusts blinded drivers, halting traffic along a 25 mile stretch of a highway in Bangladesh. And I feel fine.

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