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Fountains of Wayne, Stooges, Bono & McCartney and Flesh-eating Aliens   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE'S Out of State Plates came out yesterday. It's a double-disc of non-album material -- two new tracks, live tracks and B-sides (for those who care what's o­n the flip side of a record), for the price of a single disc, I might add. If you like FoW, you'll like this, too; if FoW is anything, it's consistent. Much of it will remind you of other FoW songs, e.g., "California Sex Lawyer" reminds me of a crosss between "Radiation Vibe" and latter-day Jesus & Mary Chain tracks. I wouldn't say it's essential for the casual fan, but there's virtually no filler, either. The covers are all pretty good, including an acoustic take o­n Jackson Browne's (and Nico's) "These Days," a deliciously countrified take o­n Gene Pitney's "Today's Teardrops," Their infamous take o­n Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time" rendered as a ballad and a live version of ELO's "Cant Get It Out Of My Head," which Ken King could tell you is great without hearing the disc, as he commented that it might make him re-evaluate ELO generally when we heard it a little over a year ago. The version we heard was even more Lennonesque than this 1997 take, but this o­ne's still pretty darn good. Plus, you get two Christmas songs and a Chanukah number to take you to years' end. And sardonic liner notes from Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood. All told, a nifty package at a nice price. Don't forget you can stream samples at the Amazon link above.

ON THE PITCHFORK: Rhino is releasing deluxe editions of the Stooges' first two albums, The Stooges and Fun House, in August. The Decemberists and Ted Leo will headline the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle over the Labor Day weekend; Son Volt is opening its tour there. Nike apologizes to Minor Threat and Dischord Records for imitating the band's cover art in an ad for the shoe company's skateboarding tour.

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH: Brooklyn Vegan directs you to nine downloads from the band's vocalist, Alec Ounsworth.

A VENTI CAFFE LATTE'S A-GONNA FALL: Starbucks will produce and exclusively release a CD of 10 Dylan bootleg recordings from New York's Gaslight Cafe in 1962, including the earliest known recordings of "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right."

RYAN ADAMS cancels his UK tour due to an ear infection.

BONO WANTS HIS HAT BACK. And his earrings and sweatshirt. U2 went to court Tuesday to recover items from former stylist Lola Cashman, who has a range of memorabilia from her work o­n their 1987 Joshua Tree world tour.

BONO-McCARTNEY LIVE 8 FEUD: The Cute o­ne threatened not to play Saturday's Hyde Park Live 8 concert unless he both opened and closed it, causing conflict with U2. A Live 8 source said that "Bono, in particular, was quick to demand a share of the opening number and sees what he has done politically over the years as a bit more relevant to Live 8 than what Paul has to offer." The compromise: Paul and U2 will open the day with a version of "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" - reworded to honour the achievements of Bob Geldof - wearing the multicoloured militarystyle suits the Beatles wore o­n the 1967 album cover.

AN EX-CORNETIST with the River City Brass Band has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming he was fired from the band because of his age, ethnicity, gender and his opposition to commands that violated "sincerely held moral and ethical belief as to right and wrong."

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled ex-Libertines singer and his galpal, Kate Moss followed through o­n their faux two-day marriage plan for the Glastonbury music festival.

CHUCK KLOSTERMAN (mentioned here as recently as yesterday) has written a book, Killing Yourself to Live, recounting his road trip to visit rock and roll death sites. Chuck provides Largehearted Boy (a blog from which I steal mercilessly) a soundtrack for the book.

WAR OF THE WORLDS open today, which may begin to draw the curtain o­n the Tom-Kat experience. The movie seems to be getting almost unanimous good reviews, scoring a 92 o­n the Tomatometer, though it should be noted that even some of the good reviews say things like, "War of the Worlds is a terrific film for the first 100 or so minutes. Unfortunately the movie’s 117 minutes long and those last 17 minutes are just plain horrible." The AP review seems negative, as does the San Jose Mercury News. There's no review from Roger Ebert yet, though there probably will be o­ne at the link by the time you read this (unless you'e more of a night owl than I). Will I be going? The Magic 8-Ball says, "You May Rely o­n It."

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Fresh off the Hollywood premiere for War of the Worlds, the ubiquitous duo showed up at the BET Awards. Allan Mayer of the Hollywood "crisis P.R. firm" Sitrick & Co., says reactions to Cruise invite comparisons to Jane Fonda, who sparked a backlash with her anti-war activism during the Vietnam era. The same article links to the viral video "Tom Cruise Kills Oprah," which turns his now infamous TV appearance into a demonstration of Sith powers. Banterist diagrams Tom Cruise for the X-Box. Another blogger lists "Other Things that Tom Cruise Knows More About Than You." Salon finds Dianetics to be "a fantastically dull, terribly written, crackpot rant." The Citizens Commission o­n Human Rights issued a statement saying that Cruise was right o­n with his criticism of psychiatry and psychiatric drugs. Did I mention that the CCHR was formed by the Church of Scientology? Colby Cosh has no love for Scientology, but argues that, "Of the two cults to which Cruise belongs, Hollywood is easily the more powerful, and quite possibly the more menacing and ruinous." Rosie O'Donnell expresses her concern for Cruise through the art of collage. Columnist Dave Barry gets in o­n the act, too. Even Statler and Waldorf get in a Scientology joke. And if The Superficial still has this post up by the time you read this, Cruise's lawyers are losing a step.

RUSSELL CROWE threw not just a cellphone, but also a vase at a hotel employee, then acted smarmy about it, according to people claiming to have seen a video of the incident.

PAULA ABDUL lobbied California lawmakers o­n Monday to crack down o­n nail salon hygiene. If you read the whole thing, you might conclude that the reporter does not take this topic seriously. Also, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest claims that when he was a wee lad, "I remember thinking Paula was hot. That's when I realized I liked girls." An interesting choice of words.

BATMAN BEGINS: The real Batmobile is capable of going from zero to sixty miles an hour in 5.3 seconds, but lacks air conditioning.

MILLION DOLLAR BABY: A boxer who suffered brain damage during her first professional fight has come out of her coma, and is now able to recognize family members, according to her doctor.

EVA LONGORIA: The desperate housewife fears that the photographers hiding in bushes around her home will o­ne day be replaced by a rapist.

LI-LO UPDATE: Perez Hilton seems quite proud that a Yahoo! search ranks the site number o­ne o­n the Hohan lowdown. Not so o­n Google, where even Sterogum beats Perez's appearance o­n page three.

P. DIDDY seems to have no limit to his delusions of grandeur.

HUGH GRANT CAUGHT having his digit sucked by Liz Hurley, much to the anger of his current galpal.

BOX OFFICE BLAHS: A new Gallup poll confirms that nearly half (48%) said they were going out to the theater less. Asked why they are reducing their habit, o­ne in three said they "prefer to watch movies at home," but 1 in 4 said "it costs too much to go to the movies," and 1 in 5 alluded to the "poor quality" of movies today. People don't want to pay a lot of money to see bad movies; who'da thunkit?

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Page Six and Star magazine are fanning baby rumors.

WEB NOLSTALGIA: Keep Going has a nice article ten years from the launch of Suck.com (wonder if our site software will censor that), which is dubbed "the first great website" with some justification. Site alumni have gone o­n to write for Salon.com, Wonkette.com and The Daily Show o­n Comedy Central.

BLOGGERS AS JOURNOS? Law Prof. Ann Althouse blogs an article in The New York Times bemoaning that federal courts are figuring out that the institutional press is not entitled to First Amendment protections over and above those of ordinary citizens.

UNVERIFIED SOURCES: An internal investigation of a former columnist for The Sacramento Bee could not verify 43 sources she used in a sampling of 12 years of her work.

STEM CELLS: It may surprise no o­ne that James Thomson, the first scientist to isolate and culture human embryonic stem cells, supports federally funding embryonic stem cell research. It may be news that he believes supporters of stem cell research are overestimating the prospects for transplantation cures, that the current stem cell lines aren't well-suited for such applications anyway, and that there's no need to resort to therapeutic cloning right now — or perhaps ever.

ABE LINCOLN: During the slower news cycle of summer, mags often run canned stories like the Time cover story o­n Abe Lincoln (Jesus is a summer favorite also). Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has an essay o­n Honest Abe in the mag; there's a lively, but not too overheated debate o­n the essay at Indepundit. I think there's actually less distance between Obama and his critics than the critics believe o­n this point.

GITMO: Two Democratic senators just back from reviewing U.S. detention facilities and interrogations at Gitmo said they saw no signs of abuse and said it would actually be worse to close the facility and transfer the detainees elsewhere. Asked how they knew they were seeing real operations rather than a staged display, both Republican and Democratic senators said that they had access to everything and that they trusted the troops they talked with from their own states. The Democrats nevertheless called for better-defined rules about who should be detained there. BTW, I forgot to mention in noting the trip made by House members that o­ne interrogation involved a female interrogator reading a Harry Potter book aloud for hours, causing the detainee to turn his back and put his hands over his ears. Where is Amnesty International when it's really needed?

IRAQ: A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that most Americans do not believe the administration's claims that impressive gains are being made against the insurgency, but a clear majority is willing to keep U.S. forces there for an extended time to stabilize the country. A narrow majority -- 52 percent -- believes that the war has contributed to the long-term security of the United States, a five-point increase from earlier this month. Michael Yon watches a robot dispose of an IED o­n the highway back to Baghdad. MSNBC's military analyst assesses progress o­ne year from the transfer of sovereignty to the transitional government. Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, appeared to offer a major concession to the Sunni Arab minority o­n Monday when he indicated that he would support changes in the voting system that would probably give Sunnis more seats in the future parliament. Meanwhile, the Marines and Iraqi forces have launched Operation Sword, aimed at rooting out terrorists and foreign fighters living along the Euphrates River (which would be o­ne of the major routes between Baghdad and Syria).

IRAQ II: o­ne of the key issues is the training and progress of Iraqi forces. NBC News compares and contrasts two Iraqi units. Stars and Stripes, concluding a four-part series o­n the issue, notes that Iraqis are now involved in training Iraqi forces: "With all due respect to the Americans, I think it is better that Iraqis train Iraqis," a 26-year-old former high school gym teacher, now a member of the Hilla SWAT team, said through an interpreter. "They know the language and the culture and the way Iraqis think." I don't think that trainer has to worry about offending Americans.

CULT OF THE iPod: Diane Sawyer has Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen o­n hers. Apple has released the latest update for its iTunes software, which supports podcasting.

FLESH-EATING ALIENS CAUSED FATAL CAR CRASH, according to Scott Krause, the California man facing life in prison for crashing his car into a UPS truck.

CANADA TO BAN BULK DRUG SALES TO THE U.S. to block state-backed re-importation plans. Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh says Canada does not have the supplies to meet a vast increase in demand from south of the border. That whole supply-demand thing can be very tricky.

YOU'RE FIRED: A Taiwan stock trader mistakenly bought 251 million bucks' worth of shares with a mis-stroke of her computer. Her company is looking at a paper loss of more than $12 million; she is looking for a new job.

CHINA has declined to slaughter birds to contain the spread of the avian flu virus because many are from rare, protected species.

NORTH KOREA IS OPEN FOR SUMMER VACATION, right after they remove enormous stretches of barbed wire from its shores.

A FOUR-FOOT LONG CAIMAN, a relative of the alligator, was roaming the streets of a neighborhood in Eugene, Oregon. It's legal to own such reptiles in Oregon, though the neighbor who says her cat is missing might have a complaint or two...

A KANGAROO roams loose o­n the streets of... South Bend, Indiana?

AN IRISH BEEKEEPER failed to break the world's record for bees landing o­n a human body, but still looked really bizzare.

THE FEDS INVESTIGATED THE CAUSE OF THE TIGER ATTACK o­n Roy Horn. Some popular theories were ruled out, but the incident remains a mystery.

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Nextfest, Grokster, The Giraffes, Zombie Dogs and King Kong   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

NEXTFEST 2005, a collection of exhibits about the future of exploration, entertainment, transportation, science and medicine, communication, design, defense, was held at Chicago's Navy Pier the other day, so I went armed with a disposable camera I now cannot find for the life of me. Yes, I checked the trash, and the refrigerator. So you will have to make do with more professional pics of the cool stuff that was o­n display (and there are more at the Wired link above).

The Moller Skycar (pictured at the link) was o­ne of the more exotic entries, but the exhibition had everything from the next generation of cellphones to hydrogen-powered cars (which ranged from GM's Autonomy, pictured at right to a fuel cell-powered Hummer), life sized models of the Cassini space probe and the Mars Rover, demos of computer face-recognition technology, clothes that used nanotech to generate and store their own electricity, unmanned flying internet servers that beam the latest intell to out troops in battle, the lobsterbot (pictured at right) that clears minefields from past and current conflicts, the 17.5 foot tall hub from o­ne of GE's windmills, which have a wingspan the size of a football field, The dolphincraft (pictured at right, with much more at the Innespace site), hydroponic agricultural products being deployed by the U.N. in the third world, and robot DJs (pictured at right) scratching with mathematical precision. And cute cloned kittens (pictured above... awwww).

THE GROKSTER CASE: Though some headlines read "Hollywood wins Internet piracy battle" or "Supreme Court Rules Against Grokster," or "Grokster Loses Copyright Case," the reality is a bit more complicated. A panel of experts convened by the Wall Street Journal correctly note that Grokster and StreamCast may lose at trial if the evidence shows they purposefully marketed their software to facilitate illegal activity, but the Court's opinion leaves plenty of room for P2P technology that is not marketed that way. The experts also note that their first impressions leave open the question as to whether software companies will have to take easily available steps to reduce infringing uses. Ernest Miller rounds up reax, including o­ne from Douglas Lichtman, who wrote a "friend of the court" brief in the case, who reads the opinion as making it clear that "evidence of unreasonable product design can be considered o­nly if there is also smoking-gun evidence of intent." There's plenty more expert analysis to be found at the SCOTUS blog's Grokster sub-blog. Hilary Rosen, formerly with the RIAA, cautions her friends in the record biz: "I hope all sides will take a deep breath and realize that this Supreme Court decision doesn't change o­ne bit their responsibility to move forward together o­n behalf of their consumer."

GROKSTER AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: As the headlines for Grokster suggest, press coverage of the Court in general is often inaccurate. For example the Associate Press story o­n the "Ten Commandments cases" states at o­ne point: "In that 5-4 ruling and another decision involving the positioning of a 6-foot granite monument of the Ten Commandments o­n the grounds of the Texas Capitol, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the swing vote. The second ruling, likewise, was by a 5-4 margin." The same story notes that in that second case, "Rehnquist was joined in his opinion by Scalia, and Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Breyer filed a separate opinion concurring in the result." So Justice O'Connor ruled against the Ten Commandments displays in both cases. Breyer was the swing vote. But the press is used to reporting that O'Connor is a swing vote, so she is, even when she isn't. And if you really want to know the difference between the two cases, the rule is that it is constitutional for government to display monuments to the Ten Commandments if they were donated to promote Cecil DeMille's epic movie.

GANG OF FOUR is re-recording some of their classics for Whitey's Gift, due o­n September 20th. In the UK, some copies will be sold with a second disc containing remixes and covers of the Gang of Four songs done by the Dandy Warhols, the Others and others.

NOW HERE'S A TOP TEN LIST: In response to Spin magazine's list of top albums during the mag's run, Chuck Klosterman presents: "The Ten Best Proper Nouns of the Spin Era That Are Not Albums (or EPs), as Selected by People Who Are Currently in My Office."

DAVID BYRNE apparently put o­n quite a show at the Hollywood Bowl, bringing the Arcade Fire and a marching band for good measure. Plus it seems that DB and I share a guilty pleasure.

ALANIS MORRISETTE sold 56,000 copies of Jagged Little Pill Acoustic at Starbucks last week, landing at No. 17 o­n Billboard's Top Comprehensive Albums chart. Just thought you oughtta know.

MYSPACE: The Hollywood Reporter looks at the use of the web-based social network by Foo Fighters and Billy Corgan, both noted here previously.

THE GIRAFFES "play rock 'n' roll as if they just caught 'Cat Scratch Fever' from Ted Nugent, or like they just staged a Thin Lizzy-style 'Jailbreak,'" according to the New York Daily News. And you can stream some of their "sexy metal" from the band's page at MySpace, coincidentally. There are also a few downloads at the band's official site.

LIVE AID: With Live 8 looming, the New York Post recalls some of the lighter moments of the original global concert event.

WOODY ALLEN, in an interview with Der Spiegel, says, "As a filmmaker, I'm not interested in 9/11. Because, if you look at the big picture, the long view of things, it's too small, history overwhelms it. The history of the world is like: he kills me, I kill him. o­nly with different cosmetics and different castings: so in 2001 some fanatics killed some Americans, and now some Americans are killing some Iraqis. And in my childhood, some Nazis killed Jews. And now, some Jewish people and some Palestinians are killing each other. Political questions, if you go back thousands of years, are ephemeral, not important. History is the same thing over and over again." In contrast, Woody Allen's films never repeat themselves. For example, there's that o­ne where he plays the nebbishy, hypochondriacial Jewish writer who has the offbeat affair with the younger beautiful woman... you know, the o­ne where he talks about how great NYC was in the Jazz era. C'mon, you know the o­ne I mean, it has all those standards in the soundtrack...

STEVEN SPIELBERG, in contrast, admits there is a 9/11 influence o­n his version of War o the Worlds.

GROUND ZERO: Jeff Jarvis probably has the best solution to the controversy over the installation of the International Freedom Center and the Drawing Center at Ground Zero in NYC and the inevitable complaints that Gov. Pataki should not be demanding that they refrain from controversial exhibitions at the site.

PIGLET died the same day as Tigger. If John Fiedler hadn't been 80, I would have a conspiracy theory for you.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise is desperate for ex-wife Nicole Kidman to be there when he weds Katie Holmes. He sees no Scientology in War of the Worlds. But some Scientology observers say that a rumored move to a higher level of Scientology could explain Cruise's recent behavior. And the children he adopted with KIdman are home-schooled with an emphasis o­n the works of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The American Psychiatric Association sharply criticized Cruise for televised remarks in which he called psychiatry a "pseudo science" and disputed the value of antidepressant drugs. But his confrontational interview with Matt Lauer may boost Today's ratings.

ELTON JOHN had flunkies tell the invitees to his annual White Tie and Tiara party at his Windsor mansion in England not to speak to the Rocket Man unless spoken to. I guess he's let that life-sized chocolate statue go to his head.

MISS TRANSVESTITE PAGEANT DISRUPTED by Islamic extremists in Indonesia, but the show went o­n.

IRAQ: Arthur Chrenkoff has his usual round-up of under-reported news from Iraq up at Winds of Change. Time magazine interviews a suicide bomber that might be summarized with a single quote: "The o­nly person who matters is Allah--and the o­nly question he will ask me is 'How many infidels did you kill?'" Army Gen. George Casey tells reporters that U.S. officials have not met with insurgent leaders directly involved in attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces... yet. Casey also said that "A lot of these folks claim they have leverage over the insurgents that we've yet to see realized, frankly," a statement consistent with my interpretation of the story yesterday.

SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), the conservative No. 3 Senate Republican known for his tough stance against abortion and gay marriage, is praised by the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

DOGS are rising from the dead to walk the earth again, courtesy of Pittsburgh's Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research.

EUROPE IS OVERRUN WITH WOLVES, as economics and declining birthrates push large areas of Europe back to their primeval state.

JOURNALISTIC CREDIBILITY: o­ne finding I missed in a recent Pew poll is that 45 percent of journalists are less trusting of the professional behavior of their own colleagues — up from 34 percent in 2003.

THE NEW YORK TIMES will attempt to diversify the its staff and viewpoints, not o­nly in terms of race or gender, but also in political, religious and cultural terms, "to stretch beyond our predominantly urban, culturally liberal orientation, to cover the full range of our national conversation."

LAWSUIT OF THE RINGS: The New York Times covers Rings director Peter Jackson's suit against distributor New Line Cinema, which claims New Line committed fraud in its handling of the revenues generated by The Fellowship of the Ring, and as a result, he was underpaid by as much as 100 million bucks. A litigator for New Line, speaking o­n the condition of anonymity because he is working o­n this lawsuit, said "there's a certain piggishness involved here. New Line already gave him enough money to rebuild Baghdad, but it's still not enough for him." At Slate, Jack Shafer notes that the paper violated its own policy o­n anonymous sources to print the lawyer's attack. BONUS: THE TRAILER FOR JACKSON'S KING KONG is now online in glorious QuickTime.

JESSICA SIMPSON: According to a new poll conducted by In Touch magazine, women want her hairstyle. The magazine did not poll what part of her men want. Speaking of which, Simpson continues to deny rumors of an affair with her Dukes of Hazard co-star, Johnny Knoxville. But Page Six reports that hubby Nick Lachey canceled a party to celebrate the beginning of his new reality show due to "marital issues."

HOW DID STELLA GET HER GROOVE BACK? By marrying a gay man, apparently. Not that there's anything wrong with that, except for the resulting divorce.

HAVE YOUR TAX RECORDS BEEN HACKED? The IRS is investigating whether unauthorized people gained access to sensitive taxpayer and bank account information but has not yet exposed any privacy breaches, an official said o­n Friday.

YOUNGER WORKERS do not know how to effectively deal with sexual harassment.

CHINA: People are raising concerns about the qusi-communist dictatorship's growing global economic influence and its unexpectedly large military advancements.

A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL who shocked some parents and community members by suggestively dancing with male students at a talent show, will not be fired. She wore short shorts, had a male student pretending to be a police officer handcuff her and tore the T-shirt off another boy during an encore of the songs "YMCA" and "Macho Man." There's no picture, but if she's not getting fired, I'm betting she's a knockout.

A TORTOISE ESCAPES its owner by burrowing under a fence. It may not be fast, but it doesn't take a break to laze around under a tree, either.

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The Posies, Big Star, Spinal Tap, Chet Helms and Chuck Grassley   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, June 27, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE POSIES/BIG STAR: The Posies' first album in seven years comes out tomorrow; Billboard has a preview. It also looks like there will be a new studio album from Big Star in late August. BONUS: Chromewaves has a download of the Posies covering the Beatles' "I'm Looking Through You" up this week. Of course, I wouldn't download it (killing music, y'know), but you unscrupulous types may well enjoy it.

WARNING: LIVE MUSIC IS ALSO KILLING MUSIC.

LIAM GALLAGHER thought Spinal Tap was a real band, accoring to his brother and Oasis bandmate Noel. SEMI-RELATED: A team of archaeologists has pinpointed the precise place in Wales from where the huge bluestones of Stonehenge were quarried in about 2500 B.C.

BEST OF 2005 (SO FAR): This ever-changing world in which we live in cannot wait until the end of the year for "best of" lists, if Brooklyn Vegan, My Old Kentucky Blog and TinyMeat are any indication.

PETE TOWNSHEND is pleased that Michael Jackson was acquitted, reminding us of that kiddie porn accusation made against Pete a few years back. Who knows? Maybe Jacko was just "doing research" also.

LIVE 8: Bono appeared o­n NBC's Meet The Press to talk about the concerts, aid, trade, debt, reforming African kleptocracies and more. And though some politicians seem to have forgotten it, Bono has figured out you can attract more flies with honey than vinegar: "I love America. I believe in America. It offends me, it upsets me when the rest of the world thinks America is not doing enough. The president is right to say they're doing a quarter of all aid to Africa. He has doubled, even tripled if he follows through, aid to Africa. But they are about to double aid, the rest of Europe, to double aid, so that will leave America as o­ne-eighth of all aid going to Africa if they don't match that. And that's not a place Americans want to be, o­ne-eighth. And that will be Europe doing four times as much as America. You know, I want to encourage Americans just to give their president permission. I know he wants to do this, but his advisers must break with this kind of fiscal conservativity o­n this o­ne issue. This is the moment to be generous right now. I'm sure of that."

MORNING BECOMES ECLECTIC host Nic Harcourt is dubbed "The Star Maker of the Semipopular" in The New York Times.

THIS IS A PANTOMIME HORSE, spotted at the Glastonbury music festival.

JAMIE LIDELL has an old skool funkiness reminiscent of Stevie Wonder or (more recently) Van Hunt that you can preview at his site.

CHET HELMS, a towering figure in the 1960s Bay Area music scene who brought Janis Joplin to San Francisco and ran the Avalon Ballroom during the Summer of Love, died early Saturday after suffering a stroke last week. He was 62.

TIGGER is dead, man. Miss him, miss him.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise and Holmes threaten to breed, though Cruise added, "We would have to talk to our families about it." (Huh?) Dave Letterman had a judge handy to marry the couple o­n The Late Show Thursday, but Homes was a no-show. Cruise has a tense interview with Today's Matt Lauer, again lashing out at Brooke Shields, despite the fact that she agrees with him about the over-prescription of Ritalin to kids. MSNBC posts the transcript as Cruise again goes off the rails at the mere mention of Scientology. MSNBC also posts a backgrounder o­n Scientology and Hollywood; taken together, it appears that Cruise claims that you can be a Christian and also believe that 75 million years ago, an alien ruler sent billions of subjects to Earth and it's necessary to purge yourself of possession by the aliens' souls. The Smoking Gun has Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's FBI file. Even Rosie O'Donnell is beaking bad o­n Cruise.

AND THERE'S A NASTY RUMOR about Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas and someone else. It's disappeared from at least one source, for unstated reasons, but these things tend to get copied and pasted other places.

LI-LO UPDATE: Herbie the Love Bug hit Lindsay Lohan with his door and rolled over her foot during the shooting of Li-Lo's video. And here I thought the VW wasn't really alive.

MADONNA has given her eight year-old daughter Lourdes a credit card with a ten grand limit. Friends say Madge hopes it will teach Lourdes to appreciate the value of money. Because nothing teaches an eight year-old the value of money like allowing them to get ten grand worth of stuff by handing a plastic card to someone.

BRITNEY SPEARS is reportedly in talks to pose nude and pregnant for the cover of Vanity Fair in an imitation of Demi Moore's famous 1991 cover shot. Brit's middle name is "Originality."

BRADGELINA UPDATE: The new Pitt-Jolie family landed o­n the pages of Britain's News of the World. Brad and Jen's production company, "Plan B," also seems to be splitting up.

THE DUKES OF HAZARD movie was temporarily blocked from release by a federal district court, though o­n reasons other than its effect o­n public health and welfare. Although the case has been settled, you may still want to read a federal judge refer to Jessica Simpson's "hotness." Meanwhile, Simpson is following the Bragelina model of requiring the press to sign agreements not to ask personal questions, which must delight Warner Bros. as it tries to promote a movie it won't show the press.

CATS AND DOGS (and other pets) now have legal inheritance rights in Hawaii.

A BABY MONKEY is kidnapped by a trio of supervillains in Miami.

A 12 YEAR-OLD LEOPARD escaped from Nairobi National Park and was terrorizing nearby farms in Kenya, but it had lost most of its teeth and could not hunt effectively. So a Kenyan dentist performed a root canal and other dental work o­n the leopard.

GAY MARRIAGE: The infallible National Enquirer says talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres and actress Portia de Rossi are ready to say "I do." In repeating that story, I would have thought th Seattle Post-Intelligencer would have avoided calling Ellen a queen, but whatever.

IRAQ: Michael Yon travels to Kuwait and the economically critical Al Basra Oil Terminal with Jeffrey Mellinger, the Command Sergeant Major responsible for the Multi-National Force in Iraq. European Marxists, Maoists, and aging, old-school fascists are funding the insurgency. An attack by insurgents o­n an Iraqi police station gets o­ne treatment in The Guardian and another from Bill Roggio. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld confirmed a report in London's Sunday Times that U.S. officials met with representatives of Sunni insurgent groups, though it seems like the U.S. was primarily interested in gaining intell o­n the structure of these groups in an attempt to determine whether future negotiations would be meaningful.

GITMO got a visit from 16 members of the House Armed Services Committee who were o­n a o­ne-day fact-finding trip. A Senate delegation also was to visit the prison Saturday. A few reporters and photographers accompanied the lawmakers, but military escorts controlled what the journalists could see and hear. The House Republicans and Democrats, including o­ne who has advocated closing the facility, said the U.S. has made progress in improving conditions and protecting detainees' rights.

U.S. TARGETING JOURNOS: Newspaper Guild president Linda Foley, who accused the U.S. of targeting and killing journalists, is now backpedaling. She admits that most journalists killed in Iraq were killed by insurgents, "many of them brutally," but then claims that 14 deaths involving U.S. forces have been inadequately explained or investigated. She cites the case of journalist Jose Couso, who was killed when U.S. troops shelled the Palestine Hotel in April 2003. Reporters from the Boston Herald and the Los Angeles Times who were o­n the scene show that the hotel was not shelled to kill journalists. Indeed, the Boston Herald reporter states that Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists -- the groups Foley relies o­n -- selectively and inaccurately quoted him in reporting the incident. Note that a milblogger who served at Camp Fallujah has done more journalism o­n this story than Foley. While Foley dismisses her critics as a vast right-wing conspiracy, former CNN honcho Eason Jordan's similar claim was criticized by Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd.

THE MEDIA AND THE MILITARY: The latest poll from The Pew Cnter o­n People and the Press now shows more people believe that the media is weakening the nation's defenses than keeping the nation prepared. The critical view has risen ten percent in the last four years. And while the Pew Center attributes the trend since 1991 to Republicans, in the last four years the critical view went up seven points among Democrats and nine percent among Independents.

BATMAN BEGINS remains atop the box office with 28 million, though I think it's probably at the low end of studio projections, which is a shame. George Romero's Land of the Dead comes in fourth place with 10 million, but its budget was o­nly 15 million, so it's well o­n its way. Horror is not o­ne of my fave genres, but this o­ne was well-done, though I would have preferred that the entire move be shot in black-and-white, as the prologue is. Movies like 28 Days Later and the remake of Dawn of the Dead were effective with new school fast zombies, but no o­ne does old skool slow zombies like Romero -- their lack of speed gives him time to personalize them, which furthers the broader themes of the movie. Billy Bragg will love the movie's politics.

IRAN: NBC News reports that between 20 and 25 of al-Qaeda’s former leaders, along with two of Osama bin Laden’s sons, are under house arrest north of Tehran because an anti-U.S. deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia blew up. Major media like the Associated Press and the BBC report elections statistics showing heavy turnout provided by the Interior Ministry, with no mention of anecdotal evidence of another boycott, especially by Kurdish parties, and the Interior Ministry official who was arrested after accusing the Guardian Council of election fraud. Note the difference between the AP's coverage here and its coverage of Gitmo poining out the restrictions placed o­n the journalists.

USAID FUNDS TERROR PROMOTION? That's the claim made by Palestinian Media Watch, which alleges that the agency has ignored legal restrictions to fund television programming that encourages hatred of Jews. Congress will investigate.

9/11 FAMILIES GET A RESPONSE from NY Gov. Pataki, who declares that the International Freedom Center and the Drawing Center must show "total respect for the sanctity" of Ground Zero. The IFC sparked fears it will focus o­n acts of U.S. wrongdoing, like slavery and treatment of American Indians. The Drawing Center already has mounted works linking President Bush to Osama Bin Laden and showing a hooded victim of U.S. abuse at Abu Ghraib, and intended to continue its work at Ground Zero. "It's truly the most vulgar thing I have ever seen in my entire life," said Jennie Farrell, whose brother James died o­n the 105th floor of the south tower of the WTC. However, the statements issued by the two groups at the end of the first linked story suggest that they are going to ignore Pataki.

WE CAN REBUILD HIM: We have the technology.

THE INTERNET is changing your reading habits. In the future, artificial intelligence may beyond highlighting your search words in a text to highlight whole sections it determines you should pay special attention to, as well as other words or phrases it predicts you'll be interested in.

HOVERCRAFTING: A Connecticut high school teacher offers a curriculum related to building hovercrafts, with students getting to the nationals in hovercraft racing this year. I (with help from my Dad) built a hovercraft for the science fair when I was in junior high, but it was tethered by an electrical cord.

FILESHARING: The recording industry is taking a different approach to o­nline file-swapping: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. About time.

...AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: A computer screen made of fog.

GLOBAL WARMING: Alpine glaciers are shrinking, but new research suggests that in the time of the Roman Empire, they were smaller than today and probably didn't exist 7,000 years ago. But Ulrich Joerin, a wiry Swiss scientist in his late twenties, hastens to add that his research may or may not support theories of global warming.

NANOTECH: The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology responds to the Foresight Institute's announcement regarding the proposed development of a "Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems." The Center for Irresponsible Nanotechnology was not available for comment.

CEOs USING THE OCCULT: Aussie businesspeople, from the self-employed to those running public corporations, are joining an expanding network of "covens" organised by businesswoman and self-described witch, Stacey Demarco.

EVEN HOWARD STERN has his limits: The outre radio host was miffed upon learning that porn stars Ron Jeremy and Tabitha Stevens made a sex video in Stern's studio after hours.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA) has rebuked the board of the J. Paul Getty Trust, saying it has failed to curb Chief Executive Barry Munitz's lavish pay, perks and travel: "I'm concerned that the Getty board has been spending more time watching old episodes of 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous' than doing its job of protecting Getty's assets for charitable purposes," Grassley said. The comments came in response to a June 10 Los Angeles Times story reporting how Munitz, who makes more than 1.2 million bucks and is among the nation's highest-paid leaders of nonprofits, had traveled the world first class at Getty expense, often with his wife. This is part of Sen. Grassley's ongoing effort for reform in the non-profit sector following the United Way scandal. Nonprofit hospitals have also been a focus of Sen. Grassley's efforts, to the delight of trial lawyers and chagrin of some conservatives. Plus, Chuck is great with the constituent service; the photo to the right is autographed by the Senator for our site admin Lance's Dad, who was chaperoning a youth group in DC.

SHELDON, IOWA could stand to lose some of that fat. At least 200 gallons' worth.

TEEN LESBIANS were beaten with a sledgehammer in an attack by two men at Illinois State Beach Park. I usually leave the sledgehammer at home when I go to the beach. Also, if you were attracted enough to the girls to make a pass at them, and they said they were lesbians, wouldn't you rather call their bluff?

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New Pornographers, The Crooked Road, Fomalhaut's Ring and a Pangolin   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, June 24, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...IN ELIZABETHTOWN, the upcoming film from Cameron Crowe. The basic premise is vaguely reminiscent of Garden State, but I looks like Crowe will put his distinctive stamp o­n it, based o­n the seven minute, 43 MB QuickTime trailer Crowe made specially for Aint-It-Cool-News. As Crowe put Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" to masterful use in Almost Famous, this trailer is largely set to "My Father's Gun" from 1970's Tumbleweed Connection.

NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: The band's upcoming album, Twin Cinema, has leaked o­nto the 'net. Downloads of two new tracks surface at Stereogum and Said the Gramophone. The title track is available at Matador's website. The Big Ticket has some older NP tracks up also.

COLDPLAY frontman Chris Martin muses, "Would it really be possible to start Nazi Germany if you'd just been listening to Bob Marley's Exodus back-to-back for the past three weeks and getting stoned?" He continues, "It would be interesting to see how the world would be different if Dick Cheney really listened to Radiohead's OK Computer. I think the world would probably improve. That album is f'ing brilliant. It changed my life, so why wouldn't it change his?"

FAT-BOTTOM GIRLS AND THE ROCKIN' WORLD: a normative and scientific examination of a close relationship. This sharing of knowledge is exactly the type of thing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency had in mind when the internet was created.

LOVE TRACTOR: There's a new model, though still based o­n the original Mike Richmond engine.

THE CROOKED ROAD is a 250-mile "trail" through the Virginia highlands tying together eight music destinations - from the Ralph Stanley Museum in Clintwood to the Fiddlers' Convention in Galax - and Floyd, VA, which is is arguably the center of the bluegrass universe. So I've probably just charted Sylvia Hauser's next vacation. No charge for that.

THE GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL is a corporate sellout? If the BBC's business reporters are asking, don't bet against it. Of course, having a professional promoter handle security instead of the Hells Angels might be considered a good thing by some.

LIVE 8: Bianca Jagger thinks Bob Geldof and Bono have sold out to cynical politicians.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Defamer has the dope, from the banning of most press from the War of the Worlds premiere in NYC, to an account of how a reporter's question about aliens and Scientology left Cruise a little edgy. Plus, the Cruise and Holmes parental units had a get-together. Gizmodo hooks you up to the E-Meter. And Golden Fiddle has a must-read I don't want to spoil.

LAND OF THE DEAD: George Romero, who revived the zombie genre with Night of the Living Dead, is interviewed about his latest work by the L.A. Times.

HE'S ON A MISSION: Travis Bell is trying to return to the locations of The Blues Brothers and simulate as many stunts as he can in his Bluesmobile replica, a 1974 Dodge Monaco signed by Dan Aykroyd. Unlike the movie, all of his stunts have been done without permission from any authorities.

CELEBS STRIKE A NERVE: A recent experiment showed that single neurons in people's brains react to the faces of specific people, such as Jennifer Aniston, Bill Clinton, Halle Berry, characters in The Simpsons and members of The Beatles. Images of Aniston with her former husband Brad Pitt did not trigger the Aniston neuron, so perhaps this story should be part of the Bradgelina update.

ROBERT REDFORD: Looking younger every year!

NO OSCARS for stuntpeople. Screen Actors Guild president Melissa Gilbert, Robert De Niro, Steven Spielberg and Dustin Hoffman had backed the stunt coordinators o­n their quest.

STACY'S MOM: As noted here recently, Rachel Hunter is back in the dating pool. I wasn't going to call her, but if she's letting American Idol host Ryan Seacrest grope her in public, I may have to perform an intervention.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Despite her split from Pitt, Jennifer Aniston hasn't lost her sense of humor -- she's currently in Chicago for a movie, booked into her hotel under the name "Mrs. Smith." We can o­nly hope the movie is that funny.

HOW RAMPANT ARE RUMORS that the ailing Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist will resign at the end of the Court's term? The Washington Post accidentally ran a package of obituary/retirement stories o­n its RSS feed o­n Wednesday. For the non-geek, the links to entertainment news that appear at the top of the center column here are an example of an RSS feed.

REPORTERS USE BLOGS, but don't trust them. I suspect bloggers occasionally feel the same way about journalists.

BROADCAST TELEVISION NETWORKS earned less in preseason ad buying this year than last year. Jeff Jarvis, a cocreator of Entertainment Weekly, explains why that's a big deal.

IRAQ: One of Saudi Arabia's most-wanted militants was killed by a U.S. airstrike in northwestern Iraq. StrategyPage has a column suggesting that the economy is exploding and that the Sunni insurgency is all about the oil. The BBC, confirming links posted here yesterday, reports that coverage of the violence in Iraq by Arab satellite television stations has undergone a perceptible change. o­n Al Jazeera, "militants are no longer referred to as the 'resistance' but as gunmen or suicide bombers." Eyewitnesses are shown denouncing them as "terrorists" - which is still apparently too strong a word for Al Jazeera... and the BBC.

ISLAMIC TERRORISTS from al Qaeda in Iraq planned a large-scale chemical attack in Jordan, causing death, blindness and sickness, a chemical expert testified in a military court Wednesday.

FOMALHAUT'S RING: The Hubble Space Telescope discovers... my preciousss...

HOMELAND SECURITY: The latest drill was staged at a Kentucky goat show. And Gawker notes an Anthrax scare at a national treasure.

FILESHARING: P2Pnet has an article arguing that the recording biz could solve their piracy problems through applied freakonomics.

NANOTECH: Researchers at UMass Amherst have discovered a novel microorganism that can produce electrical nanowires. Scientists have increased the cancer-killing capacity of a chemotherapy drug while reducing its toxic side effects by attaching a dendrimer, experiments in mice show. Two of the primary advocates for the original U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative warn that lukewarm support for nanoscale science and engineering puts U.S. technological leadership at risk and might prevent the country from realizing the full potential of nanotechnology.

GLOBAL WARMING: Yury Izrael, Director of the Global Climate and Ecology Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences and Vice-Chair of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel o­n Climate Change writes that "There is no proven link between human activity and global warming" and that expected warming should not be considered a crisis for the next century.

ROBOT GUARDS could soon begin patrolling Japanese offices, shopping malls and banks.

FOOT-IN-MOUTH DISEASE appears to be epidemic in Washington, DC. The most recent casualty seems to be Karl Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, who said at a fund-raiser, "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers... I don't know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the twin towers crumble to the ground, a side of the Pentagon destroyed, and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble." Democrats are demanding that Rove immediately retract and apologize for his comments. I have more in the "Read more" link at the bottom of today's links -- it ended up being long enough to break the flow if I stuck it all up here.

AFI TOP 100 MOVIE QUOTES: Prof. Ann Althouse has a few observations and also addresses songs about movies. There's also a bit about the "compassionate lions" story mentioned here earlier this week.

A RADIO CONTEST WINNER who thought she won 100 grand was given a Nestle's 100 Grand candy bar. And a lawsuit followed.

YAHOO! has pulled the plug o­n perhaps hundreds of chat rooms operating o­n its site after a media report revealed that some of the chat rooms were used to promote sex with minors.

A PANGOLIN -- a highly endangered scaly anteater -- believed to have escaped from a botanical garden, was recovered by police in Bangladesh.

FORTY-SEVEN GRAND IN A MONEY BELT: A Massachussetts woman carrying almost 47 large in cash through Logan International Airport claimed she was o­n the way to see a Texas plastic surgeon when DEA agents seized the money she claimed she planned to use for a procedure o­n her buttocks and breasts. "The agent looked at my buttocks and told me that I do not need an operation," Ileana Valdez told a federal court Wednesday.

CROP CIRCLES: Some think they are messages from aliens, but at least o­ne is a message to aliens.

A SNAPPING TURTLE imitates Lorena Bobbitt.

A DEER GETS STUCK IN A SWIMMING POOL in suburban Detroit: NBC5 has a picture and video.

Read full article: 'New Pornographers, The Crooked Road, Fomalhaut's Ring and a Pangolin'
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Frank Black, Blur, Norman Mailer, Tom-Kat and a 2-headed Kitten   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH: The band's forthcoming self-titled album knocks down a 9.1 o­n the Pitchfork scale. I agree with the reviewer that there's some Talking Heads-by-way-of-a-more-fun-Arcade Fire vibe there; I would say there's a dash of the Cure mixed in, too. You can download three tracks from the band's site. I thought the first o­ne bland, but the second two were better.

FRANK BLACK: His next album, Honeycomb, comes out in July, but the Pixie is already considering an early 2006 release for a second album recorded, like Honeycomb, late last year in Nashville. Among the artists who participated in the sessions are the Band's Levon Helm, Free/Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke, the Small Faces' Ian McLagan, the Funk Brothers' Bob Babbitt, Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson and Mark T. Jordan. Black also predicts the Pixies will record an album next year.

NEW PORNOGRAPHERS' frontman A.C. Newman talks to Rolling Stone about the band's upcoming album and tour.

SUFJAN STEVENS, STARFLYER 59 and more are discussed in a City Pages piece by Daphne Car titled, "Why o­n Earth (Or Elsewhere) Am I Enjoying Christian Rock?"

LIVE 8: Bob Geldof is urging Princes William and Harry to attend in Diana's memory. He is also securing nearly 20 million bucks in loans and sponsorships to help to cover the rising costs of next month’s global network of Live 8 concerts.

BLUR: Bassist Alex James syas the members of the band are suing each other. James expressed his disappointment at the band's uninvolvement in Live 8, following frontman Damon Albarn's blasting of the 'Anglo-Saxon' event. He claims it's not the end of the band, but he's planning to travel the world with a space scientist, collecting samples of meteorites from famous landings.

DOES BONO want to be a Vegas lounge singer?

THE RAMONES are getting the box set treatment from Rhino.

WILCO: Jeff Tweedy wants to make "a really vibrant guitar record" or a "dance" record. Possibly both.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: In Madrid, Cruise took Holmes to meet Penelope Cruz's parents. Katie is at the far right of the picture; Tom is hugging someone else. Journos speculate that Spielberg dropped out of a War of the Worlds press junket at the last minute because he's fed up with the Tom-Kat saga. In Slate, Jack Shafer argues that "The blitzkrieg relationship of the A-list star and his C-list TV-star fiancée, which peaked last Friday with a proposal of marriage atop the Eiffel Tower and a press conference afterward, has caused the celebrity magazine formula to warp and buckle." Nicole Kidman may be bound by the terms of her divorce to say nothing about Cruise, but off the record, "She thinks he’s acting like a jackass half the time and a Scientology zealot the other half," according to Radar. Finally, the Extreme Radio site allows you to interactively Ask Tom Anything!

LI-LO UPDATE: The teen diva stomped out of the world premiere of Disney's Herbie: Fully Loaded because her "song" plays over the closing credits, not during the race scene, where she thought it would be. She volunteers that a doctor she saw recently asked her point-blank whether she is anorexic. Gawker helpfully provides your guide to Lohan's talking points.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Perez Hilton has some pics of Jennifer Aniston looking chummy o­n-set with Vince Vaughn, who played a supporting role in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. And Star magazine is sticking wiith its story about "Jen's Battle Plan," though Vanity Fair denied part of it.

MEASURING THE BUZZ: Scientists have constructed a mathematical equation that approximates box-office receipts in the weeks after release. An interesting aside in the article is that about 70 percent of film revenue now comes from outside the box office.

BRITNEY SPEARS: How sad is it when your parenting skills are questioned by the French Hotel?

MENA SUVARI and her alien forehead have been spotted in Sydney with the Aussie man for whom she recently left her husband. I hope he's better looking than the woman with whom she was spotted in Venice Beach recently.

DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY: The Washington Post's Anne Applebaum complains that the Museum of American History -- with its exhibits o­n pop culture -- does not teach anyone American history. But maybe that's a job for schools or, failing that, parents.

IRAQ: Karl Zinsmeister of The American Enterprise returned to Iraq in April and May of 2005 and notes that the "terrorist struggle has hardly ended," but saw improvements compared to his earlier extended tours during 2003 and 2004, including the state of Iraqi security forces. Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, the No. 2 U.S. officer in Iraq, obviously does not believe that we are seeing the last throes of the insurgency, but believes there could be a significant drawdown in 2006, adding that many of the actual attackers are primarily motivated by money instead of ideology. Al's Girl blogs about the frustration of being a fiancee of someone stationed in Iraq. Yes, that's narrowcasting.

IRAQ II: Al Qaeda in Iraq slammed al-Jazeera television o­n Sunday, saying the channel's coverage was biased in favor of the U.S. "Kev in Iraq" reports that his interpreters say al-Jazeera is giving positve news stories o­n the coalition forces.

THE WAR o­n TERROR "has a popular label and a political label, but it’s not accurate," according to Lt. General Wallace Gregson, commander of Marine forces in the Pacific. The folks at the linked site seem to believe that Gregson does not think there is a war at all, which, imho, misreads his comment. Instead, he's saying that you really cannot declare war o­n a tactic and that there should be focus o­n the nature and ideology of the enemy. Meanwhile, arms experts predict that the chance of an attack with a WMD somewhere in the world in the next 10 years runs as high as 70 percent, with the most likely scenario for a nuclear attack being terrorists using a weapon they made with material acquired o­n the black market. And Mexican prosecutors say that a Lebanese-born man detained this week on Mexico's Baja California peninsula is believed linked to extremists with ties to the 9/11 terror attacks.

PORN STAR and former CA gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey says she got a few interesting proposals at a GOP fundraiser.

BASEBALL SCANDAL: It's not steroids -- it's cabbage.

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

SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT: The Boston Globe is disturbed to discover that 33 percent of 3,247 NIH grant recipients responding to a study said they had engaged in at least o­ne of the behaviors the authors and compliance officers at six research institutions had deemed the most egregious forms of misconduct, with 15.5 percent of the scientists admitting to ''changing the design, methodology, or results of a study in response to pressure from a funding source."

TOY-FREE KINDERGARTEN: In Austria, children in playschool are having their toys taken away in the belief it will help them fight drug addiction and alcoholism later in life.

9/11 FAMILIES are rallying against building the "International Freedom Center" at Ground Zero in NYC. Debra Burlingame, a director of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, charged that the IFC plans to host exhibits at Ground Zero devoted to worthy, but wholly off-topic issues as the alleged genocide of Americans Indians, the fight against slavery, the Holocaust and the Soviet Gulag. IFC president Richard Tofel doesn't deny it.

BATMAN BEGINS, but he can't save the industry.

NORMAN MAILER is not missing, but I'll bet he's not happy.

UNITED NATIONS procurement official Alexander Yakovlev resigned amid an investigation into a possible conflict of interest involving his son.

GRANDPA KILLS A LEOPARD with his bare hands. A 73-year-old Kenyan grandfather reached into the mouth of an attacking leopard and tore out its tongue to kill it.

THE ISLAMIC THINKERS SOCIETY in NYC describes itself as an "intellectual and political nonviolent organization," but it bears a strong resemblance to Islamist movements in England that try to unite Muslims by inciting anger. The New York Times quotes the groups spokesman as saying, "We have always stressed nonviolent means." That would explain their signs bearing messages like "Your Terrorists Are Our Heroes."

MATCHSTICK MEN: o­n the internet, no o­ne knows that you're not Nicholas Cage.

AN ITALIAN JOB? Sunnyvale, CA police are searching for a highly skilled and frustratingly elusive prankster who has been tampering with the city’s traffic lights for more than three months. You'll never stop the real Napster.

MARRIED MEN EARN MORE if the wife stays at home, according to scientists who won't be getting any for the forseeable future.

THE AFI TOP 100 MOVIE QUOTES aired o­n CBS Tuesday night, but it's up o­n the AFI site and reading it takes less than the three hours Pierce Brosnan spent o­n it.

A TWO-HEADED KITTEN named Gemini has died of unknown causes afer less than a month of life. This is not the two-faced kitten noted here yesterday; that kitty is named "Deuce." Strange feline symmetry.

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