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Brian Wilson, Rick Rubin, Woody Guthrie, Small Sharks   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


MENOMENA:  The video for "Evil Bee," a track from the Friend Or Foe album, has some birds in it, too.  Literally and figuratively.

BRIAN WILSON has re-teamed with Van Dyke Parks -- the lyricist behind Smile -- for a new work titled That Lucky Old Sun. You can stream "Midnight's Another Day" from Wilson's website.

RICK RUBIN is the subject of a lengthy profile in The New York Times magazine, as Columbia has brought the famed producer onboard to save the label -- and maybe the music business.

JEFF TWEEDY:  Heather Browne is streaming his 2006 Living Room concert, one of a series of charity gigs where he auctions himself for a fan-directed concert.

WOODY GUTHRIE died in 1967, but is releasing his first live album and collaborating with Lou Reed, jazz bassist Rob Wasserman, cabaret satirist Nellie McKay, the rapper Michael Franti and Son Volt's Jay Farrar.

PETE SEEGER belatedly comes out against Stalin's gulags and imagines what Woody Guthrie might have written had he been around to see the death of his old Communist dream. 

BEIRUT has released an advance track, "A Sunday Smile" from the upcoming sophomore LP, The Flying Club Cup.  Steam and download at the link.

IAN HUNTER & MICK RONSON deliver the goods on "All The Young Dudes" in Cleveland on June 18 1979.  Because Cleveland rocks (nsfw).

ROCK STARS DIE YOUNG:  A Liverpool John Moores University study of 1,050 US and European artists found they are twice as likely to die early than the rest of the population.  And if you're thinking, "What about Keith Richards?", remember that he is the Lord of the Undead.

WRINKLY ROCKERS: Mocked in Germany! (Danke, Ken King.)

LED ZEPPELIN are planning to play a huge comeback concert at the O2 arena, the UK concert hall housed in the former Millennium Dome.  The Zep already has a history with Denmark, but not Germany.

MAN MAN maven Honus Honus tells Stylus that "Modest Mouse is a gateway drug to better music" and "Unless you're independently wealthy or a masochist you're not going to make money off selling records. Bands survive now from playing."

RHORDRI MARSDEN, otoh, writes about how the Internet can make you a pop star for almost nothing.

THE MERCURY PRIZE:  Amy Winehouse ended her run of no-shows to sing "Love Is A Losing Game," but The Klaxons took home the prestigious award.

KATE MOSS enjoyed a 30-hour bender at the weekend with Jamie Hince, guitarist for the garage rock group The Kills, putting to rest rumors she is back with on-off boyfriend Pete Doherty.

HALLE BERRY is knocked up, a source close to the upcoming Lionsgate film Tulia told TMZ.  Berry later confirmed the story to Access Hollywood.

NICOLE KIDMAN has revealed for the first time that she suffered a miscarriage at 23, shortly after marrying Tom Cruise.

BILL MURRAY explains that he was just dropping off people after a party when he was stopped in downtown Stockholm driving a golf cart.  He could face drunken driving charges, though a Stockholm police official has said fines were more likely than a prison sentence.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but former ANS boytoys Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern have branded a woman who claimed they're gay lovers a liar and a "loser" with a grudge against them.  The Today show has pulled the plug on the Rita Cosby interview about her book which reports those claims after Today received a threatening letter from Howard's lawyer.

THE FRENCH HOTEL, after years of intense practice, has vowed to have children by next year.

MADONNA and husband Guy Ritchie face another setback in the adoption process of Malawian tot David Banda - the welfare official overseeing the case has been replaced after "compromising" his position.

SIENNA MILLER launched a foul-mouthed, drunken tirade at photographers at her new shop, shouting: "F*** off, you f***ing ****s... See you in court, you f***ing rapists."  Video at the link.  She was there with "friend" Rhys Ifans, who was hitting the sauce heavily as well.

JERRY LEWIS called someone - or something - an "illiterate f*ggot" in the 18th hour of his Labor Day telethon.  Video at the link.  GLAAD has accepted his apology.

GWYNETH PALTROW:  OK! magazine claims that all may not be well in the nearly four-year marriage of the Oscar-winning actress and hubby Chris Martin, of the band Coldplay.  Seems pretty flimsy to me, though she is leaving the family to do a cooking show.

HEATHER MILLS McCARTNEY was slapped with a 250-dollar ticket for by a New York traffic cop for parking in a handicapped space, even after she knocked on her false leg!

TOBEY MAGUIRE married the mother of his 9-month-old daughter in a secret Hawaiian ceremony last night, according to the ever-reliable In Touch Weekly.

IF I BLOG IT:  A blog started with the express purpose of getting Kevin Costner to send a photo of himself looking at a blog about himself fulfilled its mission over the Labor Day weekend.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG  started her regular gig on The View by defending convicted former QB Michael Vick, arguing that he didn't know dogfighting was wrong due to being raised in the "Deep South."  Except that Vick was raised in Virginia -- hardly the Deep South -- and his dad urged him to quit dogfighting in 2001, in part for legal reasons.  Her claim that she had not heard anyone else talk about the culture of dogfighting also strains credulity.

TERROR in DENMARK:  Danish intelligence agents arrested eight alleged militants with links to leading al-Qaeda figures early Tuesday and said the suspects were plotting an attack involving explosives.

TERROR in GERMANY:  German authorities said Wednesday they had arrested three suspected Islamic terrorists for allegedly plotting attacks on Frankfurt airport and the nearby US military base in Ramstein.

IRAN:  Former Pres. Hashemi Rafsanjani was picked Tuesday to head a powerful clerical body.  The AP declares this "another defeat for the current president's hard-line faction," which it is.  But Rafsanjani has been implicated in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish charities office in Argentina (among other terror attacks), gives sermons about nuking Israel and blamed the US for Tehran's then-secret nuke program.  So "hard-line" and "moderate" are relative terms.  Meanwhile, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei blames the US for starting both WWI and WWII.

IRAQ:  The "surge" is having an impact in the former "Triangle of Death," with an assist from Retired Iraqi army Brig. Gen. Mustafa al-Jubouri and his group of "Concerned Local Citizens.''  The AQ-linked Islamic State of Iraq is planning its own "surge" for Ramadan, as it has in past years.  The warning came as Iraq's parliament got back to work after a month-long summer break.  Three members of Saddam's regime -- including the man known as "Chemical Ali" -- will be executed within 30 days, senior appellate Judge Munir Haddad said Tuesday.  Tribal justice can be harsher in Anbar, where the US is trying to stand up the judicial system.  Excerpts from an interview with Sheik Ali Hatem Ali Sleiman of the Anbar Salvation Council, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV and Al-Alam TV in July and August, touch on law enforcement issues, his attitude toward Maliki and the central gov't (not identical) and much more.  Some of it probably should be taken with a grain of salt, but still interesting.  Also in the fwiw bag -- the Crisis Management Initiative claims that Muqtada al-Sadr, Adnan al-Dulaimi (a leader of the largest Sunni Arab political group) and Humam Hammoudi (the Shia chairman of the Iraqi parliament's foreign affairs committee) agreed to work towards peace during talks in Finland.  You can download the text of the "agreement" in. pdf format from CMI's website.

MAXIMUS the BEAGLE crash lands on the highway outside Ottawa, Canada.

A BABY SHARK was saved by a Rockaway Beach lifeguard from a mob of angry swimmers.

THE MICROSHARK is the second rare creature brought up alive by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii, which operates pipelines that bring up cold sea water from 3,000 feet below the ocean surface.  (The first was the octosquid.)  We're gonna need a smaller boat.

GOING TO SNAKE CITY, 'cause it's two-to-one...

CHINESE CHOCOLATES contain a wriggly surprise for South Koreans.  Still no Crunchy Frog.

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Big Star, New Releases, Echo, Uncle Earl, World's Heaviest Pig   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


BIG STAR 2.0:  Alex Chilton & Co. play the classic "In The Street" for the late-night show with the lantern-jawed host.  Auer & Stringfield wear their Sunday best.  If you have never heard Big Star for some reason, stop cheating yourself.

NEW RELEASES:  Hard-Fi, Black Lips, Liars, Pinback, the Guilt By Association comp and more are streaming in full via Spinner.  Jon Spencer side project Heavy Trash releases a second album.

ECHO and the BUNNYMEN are the "bridesmaids of rock," according to Guardian music blogger Alan McGee: "There was only one thing that stopped the hugely influential band from reaching the superstardom they deserved - themselves."

OKKERVIL RIVER frontman Will Scheff tells the Arizona Star that the music blogosphere is like Oz, the great and terrible.  The band also gets a streaming audio feature from NPR's All Things Considered.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENESTER KEVIN DREW tells the Edmonton Sun that he and BSSer Brendan Canning "wanted to do an Outkast thing but his wasn't done in time and I needed this thing out of my life," so he's putting his solo LP out on Sept. 18.  Drew also says that the video shoot for "Backed Out On The ...," which features the members of Dinosaur Jr., "is going to go down on my top three evenings."

CHEAP TRICK:  Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos join King Crimson's Tony Levin to back John Lennon on "I'm Losing You."  Add the full band's signature take on"Surrender" at Budokan and you have your Twofer Tuesday.

ST. VINCENT:  Annie Cark lists a few of her favorite things for Pitchfork's Guest List.  You can still stream a few tracks from the singer-songwriter at HerSpace.

DEVENDRA BANHART, the freak folkster who doesn't care for the label, takes a pop quiz at the San Francisco Chronicle in which he reveals his menagerie, as well as which member appears on his upcoming album.

UNCLE EARL, an all-star, all-female, old-time string band, named in honor of the band members' mutual appreciation for Earl Scruggs and Steve Earle, played a full set for the World Cafe last Friday, which you can stream now via NPR.  They have a nice story bout playing the MN State Fair, too.

THE WORST JOBS in ROCK & ROLL, according to Blender magazine.  Hard to argue with "Pete Doherty's lawyer."

AN AMY WINEHOUSE-PETE DOHERTY CONVERGENCE?  Make sure your Apocolypse survival gear is packed.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but an explosive tell-all book about the late spokesmodel's sad demise alleges the two men who battled for custody of her baby girl and control of her fortune were gay lovers.  Larry Birkhead has threatened suit against the book's author, fmr. FNC and MSNBC reporter Rita Cosby.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Rob Zombie's horribly-reviewed remake of "Halloween" made a Labor Day-weekend record of 26.5 million.  "Superbad" is still doing well in its third weekend, with 12.2 million.  Debuting at No. 3 was "Balls of Fury," which grossed 11.5 million; its total slighly exceeds its budget.  "The Bourne Ultimatum" slipped to No. 4 with 10.2 million, bringing its US total over the 200 million mark.  "Rush Hour 3" slid to No. 5 with 8.6 million; it has made 162 million worldwide on a 140 million budget.  "Mr. Bean's Holiday"  took in 5.93 million;   Scar-Jo and "The Nanny Diaries"  made 5.11 million; revenge flick "Death Sentence," debuted to 4.2 million of Kevin's Bacon; "WAR" plunged from fifth to ninth with 3.61 million; and "Stardust" continued to bomb with three million.

BRITNEY SPEARS has reportedly hired a hotshot CA P.I. to monitor Fed-Ex as the couple begins its child custody battle.  Meanwhile, her former assistant Shannon Funk not only sold her down the river by giving an exclusive to OK! Magazine about the singer's odd behavior, but Funk is doing all she can to be famous in her own right.

BRADGELINA:  Pitt says that with four children, "sleep is non-existent," but says he and Jolie were ready for a fifth child.  Meanwhile, we have pics of Pitt being attacked by a crazed fan at the Venice Film Fest. And video.

X-RATED HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL?  Nude photos Vanessa Hudgens took for her boyfriend Zac Efron have been leaked, the ever-reliable National Enquirer is reporting.  If true, it could threaten the gazillion-dollar Disney franchise.

OWEN WILSON may be looking a bit haggard, but he is doing well and even making colleagues laugh, according to director Wes Anderson.

JOHN MAYER is non-exclusive with Cameron Diaz, while a friend explains one reason he dumped Jessica Simpson: she "used to call photographers and set him up all the time."

BRIDGET MOYNIHAN & TOM BRADY got a thousand-dollar gift basket from Gisele Bundchen, including a onesie with the word "supermodel" written across it.  As NYDN gossip Ben Widdicombe notes: "Which is exactly what you want when your boyfriend leaves you for a Brazilian supermodel just after you get pregnant. Tactful!"

JERRY LEWIS:  This year's MDA telethon raised another record 63.7 million.  The broadcast returned to Lewis' home town of Las Vegas last year after 11 years in Los Angeles.

JULIETTE BINOCHE, promoting her new film A Few Days in September, reveals herself to be a 9/11 conspiracy theorist.

STATUTORY RAPE at RON WEASLEY'S birthday party.  Not involving Hermoine, but you figure Dumbledore is still going to hit the roof.

MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL is not your typical sex symbol, yet Agent Provocateur has picked her for its saucy new campaign. Why? Because she appeals to women, too.

BILL CLINTON & MICHAEL DOUGLAS are having a hand war.

IRAN, still defiant on its nuclear program, has appointed Mohammad Ali Jaafari as head of the Revolutionary Guards.  Not only was he in charge of anti-American activity in Iraq, but he also seems to be one of the 1979 kidnappers of Americans at the US Embassy in Tehran.  And why not?  Pres. Ahmadinejad's mad math skillz tell him the US will not attack: "I am an engineer and I am examining the issue. They do not dare wage war against us and I base this on a double proof."

IRAQ:  In the NYT/IHT, Michael Gordon has a detailed look at the turning of Sunni sheikhs and insurgents against AQI.  Stars & Stripes also has a piece on Sunni recruitment from the same area south of Baghdad.  Near Abu Ghraib, new Iraqi volunteers are making gains but are not always well-received.  The US military said Muqtada al-Sadr's order to suspend his Mahdi Army militia for the next six months would enable the U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi security forces to "intensify their focus on al Qaeda in Iraq...without distraction from (Mahdi Army) attacks."  Even so, gunmen killed an aide of Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Basra.  Bill Roggio rounds up security ops following the crackdown in Karbala.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  The L.A. Times, the Associated Press and The New York Times all report that civilian casualty numbers rose in August, based on unofficial reports from anonymous Iraqi gov't officials.  The L.A. Times numbers partially match the paper's prior report, which ostensibly dealt only with Baghdad.  LAT reporter Tina Susman -- who did both stories -- has told NPR that we really have no reason to believe the Iraqis have accurate numbers... which hasn't stopped her from reporting them. The AP claims that August had the second-highest monthly casualty count, which is at odds with the AP reports compiled by the iCasualties website.  And the NYT numbers are out of whack with everyone else's numbers by around thirty percent.  BTW, the "official" number from the Iraqi Interior Ministry is 1011... not that I buy that any more than I do the "unofficial" numbers.  The relatively transparently calculated numbers from iCasualties currently show a slight decline from 1690 in July to 1674 in August.  Coincidentally, that's very close to the average of the "official" and "unofficial" Iraqi numbers.

THE WORLD'S HEAVIEST PIG has been sacrificed as part of a religious ceremony, sparking fury among animal welfare groups.

SAVE THE WHALES... from the cats.

COYOTES are stalking grocery shoppers in Phoenix, AZ.  Pics and video at the link.

HAS THE CHUPACABRA been found in Cuero, TX?  Or is it just some sort of mutant dog?

FERAL CAT CASSEROLE:  Tastes like chicken!

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Radio Songs, Consumer Guide, Spoon, Patches the Horse   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, September 03, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


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College Rock, Georgie James, Cutout Bin, Monster Spider Web   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, August 31, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...LEFT OF THE DIAL!  It's that back-to-school time of year, so here is the BBC's documentary on US indie rock of the 80s-90s, which Rolling Stone's David Fricke reminds us was known then as "college rock."  The Nirvana story is the pull for the casual viewer, but the Brits work their way back to Black Flag, with a fair amount of R.E.M. as well.  Sadly, The Replacements and Husker Du get mere cameos, (despite being the Godfathers of Grunge).  But The Pixies get their props as a major influence on Kurt Cobain.  Tubed into seven segments:  Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL MUSIC:  Speaking of which, IGN surveys 25 upcoming albums to make the first few months of the school year more bearable.

GEORGIE JAMES, a duo out of DC, cite Chic, The Cowsills, Cheap Trick, The White Album and K-Tel compilations in describing the four classic pop numbers streaming at TheirSpace, including a mournful take on "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)," the Peruvian folk song popularized by Simon & Garfunkel.  Saddle Creek will be issuing the band's' debut album, Places, on Sept. 25, 2007. (Thx, MOKB!)

PETER BJORN & JOHN have made whistling cool again, according to the Boston Globe.

CROWDED HOUSE:  You can watch their recent gig at Chicago's House of Blues, courtesy of Mister Softee.

THE WOMBATS:  "Let's Dance to Joy Division," and celebrate the irony.  Afterward, you can stream some more of this Brit combo's punk-pop at WombatSpace.  Kinda in the ballpark of The Kooks and Art Brut.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS did an interview and mini-set for NYC's WFUV, which you can stream (or skip right to the songs) via NPR "Sitting behind a music stand with a big, black binder full of songs, she paged through her book, reminisced about this song and that - and, after a fashion, started to open up about everything from her songwriting process to her wedding plans."

THE NATIONAL: Matt Beringer talks to The A.V. Club about songs -- playing 'em live, writing them and even revising them.  NPR has reposted a World Cafe segment on the band from this past June.

ACL FEST:  Austinist has set up a special section for the upcoming Austin City Limits festival, which already features a lineup, interviews with The National, The Decemberists, Gomez, Midlake and more, plus previews of a swath of artists, from the Broken West, Patterson Hood and the Little Ones to Charlie Musselwhite and The Gospel Silvertones.

HILLY KRISTAL:  The late CBGBs founder gets an audio tribute from WHYY, streaming via NPR.

THE HYPE MACHINE:  TechDaily has posted a video interview with Anthony Volodkin, the man behind the music blog aggregator so often used here to bring you the tunes.

THE CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds from the ol' HM are: Bob Dylan - Music v. Message (1967); Brian Wilson - This Whole World; Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky; The Apples in Stereo - Energy; R.E.M. - Shiny Happy People; Joey Ramone - What a Wonderful World; Husker Du - Celebrated Summer; The Jesus & Mary Chain - Just Like Honey; Flesh For Lulu - I Go Crazy; Go-Gos - Our Lips Are Sealed; The Vapors - Turning Japanese; Frente! - Bizarre Love Triangle; The Flaming Lips - The W.A.N.D.; David Bowie - Rebel, Rebel; The Stooges - No Fun; The Replacements - Beer For Breakfast (nsfw); Teenage Fanclub - Mad Dog 20/20;  The Left Banke - Walk Away Renee; The Turtles - Elenore; Looking Glass - Brandy (You're A Fine Girl); Joe Jackson - You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want); The Jam - Stoned Out of My Mind; The Go! Team - Doing It Right; The Pipettes - Dance and Boogie; Manfred Mann - Blinded By The Light; The Decemberists - The Sporting Life; The Zombies - Walking In The Sun; The Ronettes - Walking in the Rain; Roy Orbison - Crying; Sam Cooke - Chain Gang; Johnny Cash - Jackson ("lost" performance w/ June Carter Cash); and Paul Simon - Kodachrome.

GREGORIOUS:  I don't speak Finnish, but the message seems to be that it's fun to stay at the "NMKY."

OWEN WILSON may have slit his wrists, but there was no drug overdose, an attorney for Wilson told Access Hollywood.  The attorney said Wilson had been taking antidepressants, but was not aware of any other drugs in his system at the time of the incident.

NOW SHOWING:  In addition to the ping-pong comedy Balls of Fury, which is currently scoring 28 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, this traditional lull at the cineplex includes Rob Zombie's remake of the slasher classic Halloween, and Kevin Bacon in the revenge flick Death Sentence, neither of which were generally screened for critics.  The few published reviews suggest there was a reason for that.

BRITNEY SPEARS is planning to make her opening act for MTV's Video Music Awards "a big comeback performance," with the goal of making it "shocking."  More shocking than showing the world her privates?  Maybe the only thing that would be shocking at this point would be if the performance and music were actually good.  The song samples leaked to TMZ suggest that's not going to happen.  Meanwhile, Spears' former manager was served a subpoena by Fed-Ex's lawyers today, outside of Sunset Tan in West Los Angeles.  And TMZ has obtained documents from the Britney/Fed-Ex hearing last Monday, where it was revealed the popwreck rakes in an average of 737868 bucks a month.

MADONNA, not content to shoot up vitamins herself, is now administering eye-watering vitamin injections to the bottoms of the cast members in her director hubby Guy Ritchie new movie.

BRIDGET MOYNIHAN & TOM BRADY may be proud parents, but there's still bad blood between them, with a source telling the NYDN: "Tom was only allowed to see the baby for a short time... He was only allowed to come after the baby was born. The woman would not see him, period. And she gave the baby her last name."

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but OK! magazine has dropped her ex Larry Birkhead from a 1.7 million-dollar deal, alleging he has "tricked us all."  The magazine has not revealed the exact reason for the decision, however it is reported to be based on rumours Birkhead struck a "backroom deal" with Howard K Stern -- his supposed long-standing rival -- regarding baby Danielynn.  Birkhead calls this a "smear campaign" and that OK! was bent out of shape after Us Weekly put Dannielynn on its cover -- he and the mag dispute the scope of their exclusive deal. 

BRADGELINA:  Jolie complains to Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that people take her politics "less seriously" because she is an actress.  Imho, the press takes Jolie more seriously than most celebs and she would not have a high-profile gig as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador if she was not an actress.  Moreover, I think she knows it, as she added "I think we should be looking for great leaders in people who have dedicated their lives to those issues. And the reality is that actors spend a great deal of their time making films."

LINDSAY LOHAN's ex-con father makes a string of allegations against his ex-wife in an interview with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, which are denied, natch.  Michael states Dina is a compulsive liar, her new boyfriend is a drunk, she has cocaine delivered to her house and that she has knowingly left the scene of a number of car crashes.

JESSICA SIMPSON is "really jealous" that ex John Mayer is seeing Cameron Diaz, according to US Weekly.

DAVID LETTERMAN finally returns the favor with his first visit to Oprah's couch next month.  Presumably, he will not conclude their showbiz feud by jumping on it.

SPEED RACER:  Susan Sarandon explains why the Wachowski Brothers' live-action take on the classic Japanimation will look like nothing we have seen before.

INDIANA JONES IV:  New pictures from location shooting give you a better look at rising star Shia LeBouf with Harrison Ford.

TGIF: Whatever you do, never get into a game of Quarters with this dude.

GLOBAL WARMING:  A new examination of  528 total papers on climate change published from 2004 to February 2007 reportedly shows some surprising results: Only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the "consensus view," defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category  (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis.   The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment.

AFGHANISTAN:  Though the remaining South Korean hostages taken last July by the Taliban have been released, the terrorists have vowed they will abduct more foreigners: "We will do the same thing with the other allies in Afghanistan, because we found this way to be successful."  Appeasing terrorists emboldens them -- Who'da thunkit?

IRAN:  Pres. Ahmadinejad has launched a new verbal attack against Israel, accusing Zionists of sowing conflict, publishing offensive cartoons and "lying about being Jewish."  The UN nuke watchdog said Thursday that Iran was producing less nuclear fuel than expected and praised Tehran for "a significant step forward" in explaining past atomic actions that have raised suspicions. OTOH, the report confirmed that Iran continued to expand its uranium enrichment program, reflecting Tehran's defiance of the UN Security Council.  I hope someone is wondering whether Iran really produced less nuclear fuel than expected, or whether some might be going unaccounted.

IRAQ:  Iraqi security forces have arrested 72 gunmen following clashes in the city of Kerbala this week that forced hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to flee a religious festival there.  Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army disappeared from the streets of Baghdad's Sadr City on Thursday, apparently obeying their leader's order to lie low.  US security analysts believe al-Sadr's decision to suspend Mahdi Army activities is a tactic to weed out rogue elements as the young cleric struggles to maintain control over his militia.

IRAQ II:  Iraq's foreign minister says the government had made progress in responding to US goals for improved security and political reconciliation ahead of key reports soon to be delivered to the US Congress.  The GAO's congressional auditors find that the Iraqi government has failed to meet the vast majority of political and military goals laid out by lawmakers.  The White House believes the criteria set for the GAO report allow no room to report progress, only absolute success or failure; Pentagon policy officials have "made some factual corrections" and "offered some suggestions on a few of the actual grades" assigned by the GAO.  At the Small Wars Journal's blog, David Kilcullen -- who has just completed a tour in Iraq as senior counterinsurgency adviser to the Multi-National Force -- examines the potential upsides and downsides of "the growing tribal uprising against al Qaeda, which could transform the war in ways not factored into neat 'benchmarks' developed many months ago and thousands of miles away."  This is normally where I'd remind you that Kilcullen is a pretty good indicator of what Gen. Petraeus thinks, but Gen. Petraeus just gave an interview to The Australian that is likely an even better indicator of what Gen. Petraeus thinks.  And Michael Yon's latest photo-filled dispatch from Anbar details how principles from the new counter-insurgency manual are playing out on the ground.

AND THE FROG goes... "Meow?"

COW NEWS:  A herd of cows in the Yorkshire Dales are to have their every move monitored by satellite.  Meanwhile, scientists looking for an alternative to corn as an ethanol fuel source have discovered fluid from the largest chamber of a cow's stomach could be the answer to a new kind of fuel cell.

SOCHA the LABRADOR stepped on a wet manhole cover in SoHo and got zapped by 100 volts of electricity.  I thought stray voltage season in NYC didn't start until after Labor Day.

A MONSTER SPIDER WEB blankets several trees, shrubs and the ground along a 200-yard stretch of trail in a North Texas park. "There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs."

"THAT'S A MORAY":  Fisherman-turned-comedian Taro Makeburu presents tales of sleeping with the fishes.

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Okkervil River, Hilly Kristal RIP, Great Lakes Myth Society, Bigfoot   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, August 30, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


OKKERVIL RIVER plays "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" for a late night host on the Peacock network.

HILLY KRISTAL, founder of legendary New York rock club CBGB, died Tuesday of complications from lung cancer at 75.  Kristal ran the club for 33 years and helped to launch the careers of the Talking Heads, Blondie, the Ramones, Patti Smith, Television and countless other bands. CBGB, which stood for "Country, Blue Grass and Blues, closed last year.  Free Indie details his career.

GREAT LAKES MYTH SOCIETY singer Tim Monger tells the Chicago Sun-Times that "the regionalism in our material is more a tendency than an intention," and professes his love for the late Trip Shakespeare, an influence I can kinda hear in the tracks streaming from TheirSpace.  "Summer Bonfire" would be my pick to click.  BONUS: The most important links in my tribute to Trip Shakespeare from last November still work... and the fan-maintained page is streaming the band's cover of "Time of the Season."

"KINDIE" ROCK:  North Carolina's News & Observer not only surveys the secene from well-known kid-friendly rockers like Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner, Lunch Money, the Sippy Cups, They Might Be Giants and Jack Jonson, but also links up to local kindie artists

BAND OF HORSES has a a new track, "Is There A Ghost," to stream and download from TheirSpace.

GLEN CAMPBELL & STONE TEMPLE PILOTS play Jimmy Webb's classic "Wichita Lineman" in this high-quality bootleg video.

BO DIDDLEY was in stable condition at a Florida hospital after suffering a heart attack.  His publicist says "The situation is very serious."

CROWDED HOUSE architect Neil Finn answers five questions from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, including one about fellow NZ rockers The Conchords.

GRACE POTTER and the NOCTURNALS gave an interview and in-studio performance of their earthy rock to David Dye at the World Cafe, streaming via NPR.

AMY WINEHOUSE texted an apology to her distraught father after he told how he wanted to kill himself because of her drug addiction.

OWEN WILSON:  Brit actor Steve Coogan denies claims that he got the suicidal Wilson into heavy drugs:"These accusations are unfounded, unhelpful and hurtful to all concerned. We are taking legal advice."  Wilson has dropped out of Tropic Thunder, a movie comedy he was set to begin shooting in two to three weeks with longtime pal Ben Stiller.  Elle magazine has pulled an interview with him out of respect for the troubled star.  A look at Wilson's collaborations with filmmaker Wes Anderson, which he has called his most personal films, are often comedic meditations on depression, alienation and suicide.

MADONNA has been given the green light to adopt a second orphan from Malawi - a 13-month-old girl called Mercy.

WHITNEY HOUSTON & BOBBY BROWN: All-new divorce papers obtained by Extra claim Bobby lived in his car while Whitney was in rehab.

GWYNETH PALTROW is putting Hollywood on hold to film her own TV cookery show, leaving hubby Chris Martin and kids Apple and Moses behind for two months as she tours Spain with chef Mario Batali for PBS.

DENISE RICHARDS was "disappointed" to learn of ex-husband CHARLIE SHEEN's statement complaining that Richards sent her assistant in place of a nanny for his supervised child custody, adding in her own statement that "This was and should still be a private matter that we as responsible parents settled privately."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY is disappearing into thin.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  According to Star Magazine, Tom Cruise's pre-Kitten kids, Isabella and Connor, are away at a Scientology camp in Oregon as part of a "get them while they're young' campaign."

MISS CONDUCT:  Miss South Carolina Teen USA Lauren Caitlin Upton - whose mangled answer to a simple competition question became an Internet sensation - is now hosting a geography quiz at People magazine's website.

INDIE ROCKIN' ACTRESSES:  The L.A. Times posts a photo-essay.

ELISHA CUTHBERT is reportedly back on the market, so I may not be here Monday.

THE DARK KNIGHT:  Some Joker blew up Gotham General Hospital (i.e., the abandoned Brach's candy building) on the West Side of Chicago (not the infamous East Side) yesterday.  Kris Habermehl of Chicago's WBBM-TV was over the scene and immediately went on the radio to assure people that the blast was all part of the script and not a terrorist act.  Video at both links, 'cause you can never get enough video of stuff blowing up.  BONUS:  Here's a Flickr photoset of shooting -- including director Chris Nolan, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart and Anthony Michael Hall -- down by the Chicago Board of Trade.  There are also shots of the extras having to wear fall clothes in our current steamy weather, and the helicopter that bases out of the lot across the street from my digs.

NANOTUBES:  Professor Nicola Pugno, of the Polytechnic of Turin, has worked out a formula for the adhesive power of the technology and he predicts that the first Spider-Man suit will be created by 2017.

DON'T FEAR THE REAPER, unless you belong to the Taliban or Al Qaeda in Iraq.  The Reaper is an upgraded version of the unmanned Predator drone, but twice as fast, with the bombing power of an F-16 and eight times the flying time without refueling.  Let's go to the video.  Of course, it could use a little... more cowbell.

PAKISTAN:  Pres. Musharraf has agreed to step down as army chief as part of a broad and once-unthinkable agreement being finalized with his chief political rival, Benazir Bhutto, officials on both sides said Wednesday.  The agreement, if completed, would likely permit Musharraf to continue as president and allow Bhutto to return to Pakistan after eight years of exile to try to win back her old job as prime minister.  More broadly, the deal would fundamentally alter the political landscape in Pakistan, a top US ally on counterterrorism but also a haven for al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.  The guardian looks at the stakes and angles for Musharraf, Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted by Musharraf in a bloodless coup in 1999.

IRAQ:  Radical Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered the Mahdi Army to stop attacks on US-led forces as part of a six-month suspension of the militia's activities after Shiite clashes during the pilgimage to Karbala leave al-Sadr with PR and leadership problems.  And the freeze doesn't extend to rival Shia factions -- gunmen believed to be from the Mahdi Army  attacked several Baghdad offices of the two major governing Shia parties.  Bill Roggio breaks down the internals of the Mahdi Army.  Prime Minister al-Maliki made an "emergency visit" to Karbala, accompanied by two government ministers, amid attempts to defuse tensions between the major Shia parties there after the armed clashes which marred the pilgimage.  Maliki sacked the local security chief.  The US military in Baghdad says a leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq was killed after grabbing a soldier and attempting to detonate a "suicide vest."

BOBBY the BOB-TAILED RACOON outlasts a Southern Illinois cattle rancher.  Video at the link.

OWLS are taking calls from mobile phones in the UK.  It's about time Hogwarts joined the 21st century.

BIGFOOT:  A member of the Canadian Mounted Police has officially notified Parliament that he believes that Bigfoot should be added to the nation's Species at Risk Act, which is similar to the Endangered Species List in the US.

DOGS can now take swimming lessons at Manhattan dog spa houses.  Four months after his first lesson, Salty the miniature schnauzer is the envy of his classmates, who excitedly bark and sniff the water but don't dare jump in without the instructor's help.

325000 TROUT are skydiving into Aspen Colorado.

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