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The Hold Steady, Downloads, Boy Scouts, Pig Olympics and the End of the World   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, April 15, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: FlySui: "He who can catch flies with chopsticks can accomplish anything!"

THE HOLD STEADY may be getting more conventional o­n their the forthcoming Separation Sunday disc (out May 3rd), if "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" is any indication. But the Pitchfork digs it and so do I. You can read more at the link or go straight to the legal download from French Kiss Records.

MP3 BLOGS: An article in The Guardian rounds up a whole bunch of the blogs offering MP3s for download -- often illegally. Some of the blogs mentioned, like Fluxblog, often appear in articles like this, but kudos to reporter Chris Alden for going beyond the usual suspects for blogs like Number One Songs in Heaven, which posts soul, funk and dance and Honey Where You Been So Long? which is dedicated to pre-war blues -- both are worth a visit for fans of those genres.

GUIDED BY VOICES VS. 50 CENT: Speaking of downloads, Largehearted Boy has a link to this improbable mash-up, "Da Club Is Open."

THE SHINS frontman James Mercer talks to Toronto's Now magazine about life after contributing to soundtracks for Garden State and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. "It sort of bothers me that we now tend to get the sort of guys coming to our shows who would've kicked my ass in high school," sighs Mercer. "But with all the exposure we've been getting, I can't really complain."

DO YOU KNOW JACK? At Coolfer, Glenn rounds up coverage of the "Jack-FM" format that tries to approximate an iPod Shuffle.

U.K. TERROR PLOT: During a sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey, cop-killer Kamel Bourgass was unmasked as Osama Bin Laden’s master poisoner — part of a gang that planned to smear lethal ricin o­n door handles of cars and shops in North London, open toothbrush packs in shops, daub them with ricin and re-seal them and launch a cyanide attack in the Tube, targeting passengers with a pump-style garden spray gun. The al Qaeda cell in London could still have the ricin. A British-based network of Algerian terrorists with links to al Qaeda are suspected of being behind the plot; the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch's attempt to break the network has led to more than 100 arrests, with investigations stretching from Bournemouth to Scotland.

DOGS ARE SMART: At Loránd Eötvös University in Budapest, scientists are studying just how much canine brains are capable of. Vilmos Csányi, founder of the University's department of ethology, says his research suggests that dogs can speculate o­n what we are thinking. UNRELATED: Women can rate men at Puppy Or Dog? But dogs can get into o­nline dating themselves at Date My Pet.

THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' DINNER: Donald and Melina Trump, Robert Duvall, Sideways director Alexander Payne, Ray director Taylor Hackford, hawt Lost star Evangeline Lilly, Desperate Housewives star James Denton, Everybody Loves Raymond's Peter Boyle, Phantom of the Opera star Emmy Rossum, Deadwood heavy Ian McShane, Mary Tyler Moore, Goldie Hawn, Helen Mirren, LL Cool J, supermodels Vendela, Elle Macpherson, Natalia Vodianova and Liya Kebede, Jack Welch and Bill Maher are all going. Will there be any journalists there?

ELEPHANTS were driven to extinction by man, not climate change, scientists say.

JURASSIC PARK IS MELTING IN THE DARK: Japanese scientists hope to find a frozen woolly mammoth specimen with sperm DNA, which would then be injected into a female elephant. By repeating the procedure with offspring, a creature 88 percent mammoth could be produced within fifty years.

JACKO JUSTICE: Sources tell Roger Friedman of Fox News that Michael Jackson will soon be pressed to sell most of his 50 percent interest in the Beatles' catalog to pay off hundreds of millions in debt and save his interest in his own Mijac Music Publishing, which owns Jackson hits such as "Billie Jean" and "Beat It," as well as songs by Sly and the Family Stone and others. Freidman adds: "Jackson, mind you, is not likely to sign this deal. Insiders tell me that he's encouraged his fans to spread the word that he's the victim of a 'conspiracy.'"

THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA notified local councils last month that they would have to find private sponsors for troops that currently have formal relationships with public schools and other governmental entities. The directive followed a November agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which said that the direct public sponsorship of Boy Scout troops posed a constitutional conflict because Scouts must pledge "to do my duty to God." The settlement is in a case that now restricts the Scouts' use of the Defense Department's military facilities and personnel. The Scouts disagree that the formal ties binding public schools and Scout troops are improper, but volunteered to find new sponsors rather than strike the reference to God from its oath or put individual school districts at risk of being sued, said Robert Bork Jr., a BSA spokesman.

OUTKAST AND ROSA PARKS have settled a lawsuit in which the civil rights pioneer accused the group of wrongly using her name in a song title.

AMERICAN DUI: Chris Klein of American Pie fame is facing two drunken-driving-related charges following a February arrest in San Diego. His alleged booze cruise came just weeks before his high-profile split with former Dawson's Creek cutie Katie Holmes. The couple, who dated for five years, called off their engagement in early March.

ON THE PITCHFORK: Andrew Bird lists "Ten Songs or Albums That Still Bust My Bunker," with selections ranging from Charlie Patton to Ravel.

DAVE MATTHEWS: "Listening to Radiohead makes me feel like I'm a Salieri to their Mozart. Yorke's lyrics make me want to give up." Who am I to argue?

BRYAN ADAMS may be a better photographer than he is a musician; faint praise, I know.

COMPUTER MADE FROM FROZEN LIGHT: Scientists at Harvard University have shown how ultra-cold atoms can be used to freeze and control light to form the "core" – or central processing unit – of an optical computer. Such computers would transport information ten times faster than traditional electronic devices, smashing the intrinsic speed limit of silicon technology.

GOOGLE VIDEO DISTRIBUTION: Google is preparing a video distribution platform that provides a complete ecosystem of services for content producers, publishers and users. Google is already rolling out the first phase of its Video Upload Program. Eventually, users will be able to search, preview, purchase and play videos directly from within Google.

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA, appearing at NYU, was asked whether government had any business enacting and enforcing laws against consensual sodomy. Following Scalia's answer, the student asked a follow-up: "Do you sodomize your wife?"

BLOG CENSORSHIP IS POPULAR: A new poll shows that most Americans believe bloggers should not be allowed to publish sensitive personal information about individuals, though more than o­ne-third of respondents had never heard of blogs before participating in the survey, and o­nly around 30 percent of participants had actually visited a blog themselves. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said bloggers should have the same rights as traditional journalists, while 27 percent did not express an opinion.

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

IRAN: Did Israeli Prime Minister Sharon really rule out an attack o­n Iranian nuclear facilities? Mickey Kaus thinks the Associated Press botched the story.

HOW WILL THE WORLD END? Global warming or a robot rebellion? Terrorism or a super-volcano? Bellus or Zyra? The Guardian asked scientists then rated the chance of it occurring in our lifetime and the danger that it would pose to the human race if it happened.

PIG OLYMPICS: Thousands of Shanghai residents have turned out to a city park to watch a herd of pigs compete in what organizers are calling the "Pig Olympics." The porcine Olympians run over hurdles, jump through hoops, dive and swim in shows twice daily for an urban crowd with few other opportunities to see farm animals in action. That'll do.

HENRY EARL of Lexington, KY gets drunk and gets busted... a lot. As in "900+ times in the last 13 years" a lot. Check out the "Random Henry Mugshot " at the link, which changes every time you hit the "refresh" button o­n your browser.

FILESHARING: Grouper, a P2P app which enables groups of up to 30 to swap files in an encrypted "space," is praised by some for the ability to allow sharing of sensitive personal content. Unsurprisingly, Hollywood and the music biz are not happy.

UKRAINE: The old boss is trying to look the same as the new boss.

KYRGYZSTAN: Acting Kyrgyz President Bakiyev has assured U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld that the U.S. military will not lose access to a base it established here in support of the war in Afghanistan.

PETA PROTEST ALL WET? Recently, I noted that Russell Simmons and the Rev. Al Sharpton tried but failed to broker a truce between People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and KFC, so PETA is protesting outside KFC franchisees around the country. In Brownsville TX, the franchisee decided it would be a nice day to turn o­n the sprinkler system.

PAJAMA PROTEST: South African nurses are wearing pajamas and nighties to work to demand a higher uniform allowance. And they are lucky I'm not the health minister.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: A Texas oil company owner and two oil traders from Houston and England were indicted for paying millions in secret kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime, cheating the United Nations' oil-for-food program of humanitarian aid funds. A criminal complaint, also unsealed Thursday in Manhattan, charged Tongsun Park, a South Korean citizen, with conspiracy to act in the United States as an unregistered government agent for the Iraqi government's effort to create the oil-for-food program. Tongsun Park also appeared in Koreagate, so he must be riding that 70s revival wave. The New York Times story o­n the charges notes separately that many member countries at the United Nations have refused to cooperate fully with Paul Volcker's independent inquiry into waste, fraud and mismanagement in the oil-for-food program.

CULT OF THE iPod: Now that we know what's o­n President Bush's iPod, the London Telegraph asked Members of Parliament (MPs) about their MP3s.

HEARTWARMING: A Pennsylvania judge dismissed misdemeanor charges against a 33 year old former assistant high school football coach accused of buying his 16-year-old girlfriend mixed drinks at a bar. And if you were wondering, the coach's former employer could not say what reason he gave for resigning from the high school.

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Johnnie Johnson, Jenna Jameson, Janet Jackson and much more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


GO, JOHNNIE, GO, GO, GO: After apprenticing with blues masters like Muddy Waters and Albert King o­n the club scene, Johnnie Johnson teamed with Chuck Berry for hits like "Roll Over Beethoven" and "No Particular Place to Go." Johnson often composed the music o­n piano, then Berry converted it to guitar (explaining why these classics are not written in "guitar keys") and wrote the lyrics. In fact, Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" was a tribute to Johnson, who died Wednesday at 80. Uncredited for his work with Berry, Johnson had become a bus driver when, in 1987, he was tracked down by Keith Richards, who relaunched Johnson's career -- producing a solo album for Johnson and campaigning to get the pianist into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Berry was returning from Europe and not available for comment, but Bo Diddley, who performed with Johnson o­n Feb. 9th, called Johnson "a great man and a great musician."

OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL multi-instrumentalist John Fernandes was interviewed in Flagpole about the band's mini-reunion at the 40 Watt in Athens and U.K. festival dates.

THE SHINS: James Mercer, singer/songwriter/guitarist for the band talks to NewCity Chicago.

THE SOPRANOS begins production of its six season April 29th, to air in early 2006. Though creator David Chase has publicly said this is the last season, Michael Imperioli says he's "not sure it's the last season."

CATS AND DOGS: Wisconsin residents voted to make feral cats an unprotected species at the spring meeting of the Conservation Congress, but Governor Jim Doyle opposes the idea. In Norway, a dog owner is being sued after the dog frightened a moose into a residential area, where it damaged a swimming pool. Meanwhile, in the States, Three Dog Bakery is baking Oreo-esque cookies for dogs and their owners to enjoy together.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Golden Fiddle lets loose with a little Photoshop phun.

ALICIA KEYS apparently decided to go into music to avoid prostitution. Hey, in Hungary, an Alicia Keys CD and some paid sex may soon be one-stop shopping. But when I read about a woman allegedly forcing her 12-year-old daughter into prostitution and trading a 14-year-old daughter for a car, I can see Keys' point.

IRAQ: While insurgents have launched a few big attacks recently and taken a U.S. contractor hostage, Austin Bay writes that the insurgents' "Iraqi Tet" strategy is likely to fail. StrategyPage also has a new article about the use of rewards versus informants in Iraq. The Washington Post has a dispatch from Mosul about the success of the grinding counterinsurgency operation being carried out by U.S. troops, including a former Brooklyn gang member (bringing to mind Rick Blaine's advice to Major Strasser). And a new book suggests that The New York Times' reporting in Iraq leaves a bit to be desired.

STARSTRUCK: A mixed review in the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that Michael Joseph Gross' book o­n the twisted marriage of celebrities and fans might be interesting.

PORN STARLET JENNA JAMESON and her uber-publisher Judith Regan are getting into a hot girl-on-girl legal action. No plans for the video announced yet.

FDA FLIP-FLOP: o­ne day after rejecting a similar request, federal health advisers recommended allowing silicone-gel breast implants to return to the U.S. market, concluding that the "stripper look" is increasingly popular. Actually, if the FDA agrees, there will be strict limits o­n the use of such implants. Moreover, I joked yesterday that the saline implants looked more natural, whereas the linked story says the opposite, which suggests that I don't spend enough time in gentlemen's clubs.

THE HILLARY METER: The Rassmussen Reports polling firm will measure public perceptions of Sen. Clinton twice monthly, in anticipation of a presidential run.

PERSNICKETY SOCIALISTS: The Socialist Scholars Conference was cancelled this year after seven of the group's 16 board members resigned, "in protest of the lack of democratic and participatory governance procedures." Given the intensely felt political beliefs of those involved, co-founder Bogdan Denitch characterized the parting as an almost inevitable outcome. "It's not unfair to say that people o­n the left tend to be more persnickety," he said. "Conservative people o­n the right tend to respect authority. People o­n the left are taught to question authority."

MICROSOFT WORD Grammar Checker Are No Good, Scholar Conclude. That headline cleared Microsoft's grammar checker.  At this site, I use neither a grammar checker nor a spell-checker, which explains a lot.

WARREN BUFFETT: The billionaire investor is playing dumb about o­ne aspect of the scandal-ridden American International Group.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS or Bruce Springsteen? Pretty Fakes has a pop quiz.

JEFF TWEEDY: Artforum has a Tweedy-centric writeup of the NY Public Library panel o­n filesharing.

TEENAGE FANCLUB'S Norman Blake is interviewed by Poptones, where he talks about whether the band will go full-on indie for the just-completed album.

PIXIES: The reunion continues, though mostly at festivals.

LISTS: I've often said o­n this site that people make lists to start conversations or arguments. A Boston Globe columnist agrees.

JANET JACKSON almost killed The Onion.

MISSISSIPPI: Although Montana has finally outlawed drinking while driving -- aparently under threat of losing federal highway funds -- it's still legal in Ole Miss.

GAY MARRIAGE NIXED IN MASSACHUSSETS between two sex offenders confined at the same facility.

CULT OF THE iPod: President Bush is stealing music. Business Week calls the iPod Shuffle "The Little iPod That Could." And the iPod's domination of the MP3 player market caused Apple to beat Wall Street's earnings and profit forecasts.

METAMORPHOSIS, NOW: a protein wisdom sudden fiction from Jeff Goldstein.

IRAN: The New York Times confirmed the report linked here yesterday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon shared aerial photos of Iranian nuclear facilities with President Bush. U.S. officials said said Sharon was clearly pressuring Bush not to allow the European negotiations with Iran to drag o­n, which may also explain Sharon's public statements that Israel will not mount a unilateral attack aimed at destroying Iran's nuclear capability.

LEFTY BLOGMEISTER Markos Moulitsas Zúniga -- creator of the Daily Kos, is setting out to create a network of interactive community blogs devoted to sports.

RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES: A set of numerals written o­n the back of a dead man's hand turned out to be a licence plate number that led police to his suspected killers. Undoubtedly, the Law and Order script is already being written.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER TEACHER accused of allegedly gettin' it o­n with o­ne of her students. In this case, it's alleged that she's havin' his baby, Paul Anka-style.  Or Fantasia-style, for you youngsters.

TODAY'S NEWS was brought to you by the letter "J" and the word "persnickety."

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Brendan Benson, Bluegrass, Britney, Breast Implants, Baseball and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BRENDAN BENSON talks to the Boston Globe about his new disc, The Alternative to Love, (which I dig) and his forthcoming project with Jack White: ''I hang out with people like Jack White, who's just full of eccentricities and fictions, to the point where it's almost annoying," Benson said by phone from his Detroit home. ''And I wonder, is that why he's so successful? Is it because of that and why I'm not successful, because I'm too regular?"

BLUEGRASS: Jim & Jennie & the Pinetops get a pretty good review for Rivers Roll o­n By o­n the Pitchfork. On Tuesday, Rounder released Earliest Recordings: Complete Rich-R-Tone 78s (1947-1952) by the Stanley Brothers.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS play a knockout gig in L.A., according to the Hollywood Reporter: "The long, loud show was a monster."

ADAM SCHLESINGER: Somehow, I missed this profile of the songwriter with Fountains of Wayne, Ivy and The Oneders, which is filled with nifty trivia, such as the fact that he co-owns a studio with Ivy's Andy Chase and former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha. But there is also a troubling tidbit: FoW singer-songwriter Chris Collingwood claims to still be "burned out" from the touring behind Welcome Interstate Managers.

CATS AND DOGS: In Hinesville, GA, the local animal control and humane shelter have been crammed to capacity with dogs and cats since Army troops from neighboring Fort Stewart deployed to Iraq. In America's Dairyland, the issue of whether to make feral cats an unprotected species, meaning they could be hunted and killed, was put before the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, an independent organization created by the state 70 years ago to take public input o­n conservation issues. In Omaha (listen my friends), two pit bulls rescued a woman who was being attacked by a red chow. And in Tampa, FL, a trusty dog sacrificed its life to save its owner from an alligator. If Cindy Hernandez had owned a cat, she would probably be dead today.

U.K. ELECTION: Billy Bragg is starting a tactical voting campaign to vote for Labour and Labour supporters in Dorset West and Dorset Mid & Poole North to go Lib Dem. Lady Margaret Thatcher worked a glitzy London lap-dancing club for the Tories.

IRAN: Ariel Sharon’s military attache presented aerial photos of Iranian nuclear installations during the Israeli prime minister’s summit with President Bush, Israeli public radio reported o­n Tuesday. The report said the images proved that the Iranian nuclear program was at a "very advanced" stage.

PRESIDENT BUSH has a thing for petting heads, especially bald o­nes.

AL GOLDSTEIN has gone from porn baron to homeless and back again, due in both cases to the Internet.

HIP-HOP MOGUL RUSSELL SIMMONS AND THE REV. AL SHARPTON tried to broker a truce between KFC and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but are now backing PETA.

BRITNEY SPEARS IS PREGNANT: She finally fesses up after reports that she was in the hospital last weekend, which she did not deny. Credit the ever-reliable Page SixSixSix with the exclusive that she was hospitalized because of complications to the pregnancy. And it was confirmed by the National Enquirer, so it must be true. Stereogum has scans of morphs done by Star magazine imagining what the demon spawn will look like. Also, when (as noted yesterday) the pop tart snubbed those "false tabloids" to give an interview to a ten-year-old girl, she probably didn't know the fourth-grader was the daughter of the former West Coast Bureau Chief of Star magazine. Heh.

k.d. lang, Canada's most famous lesbian, is not pregnant, just getting bigger.

BREAST ENHANCEMENT: A panel of federal health advisers decides against silicone-gel breast implants, because the saline implants look much more natural. Actually, it had something to do with lingering health issues, though the company that requested the review was only inviting a swarm of lawsuits down the line. Virginia Postrel rounds up links about the implant controversy. Slate has a slideshow of drawings from the U.S. Patent Office tracing the history of breast enhancement. And it looks more painful than sexy.

YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP: In San Francisco, a dominatrix hangs up her paddle and gets a job with the Treasury Department, where o­ne of her bosses is a former client. Sexual harrassment ensued, allegedly.

YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP, EITHER: In Nashville, a man was beaten to death after catching his wife's lover living in a closet in their home. The wife had allowed her lover to live in a closet of the family home for about a month without her husband's knowledge. It being Nashville, is a country song far behind?

TEA LEONI AND DAVID DUCHOVNY grace the cover of Redbook magazine, which could mean their marriage is in trouble: "Of the last four couples to appear o­n the mag's cover, two are headed for divorce, o­ne pair was (literally) defunct at the time they appeared and o­ne set co-starred in Dodgeball."

AMICABLE BREAK-UPS: The BBC's Great Debate is tired of them and wants bands to split acrimoniously. The article salutes Johnny Rotten’s last, defiant "Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?" and "Paul Weller’s decision to break-up The Jam at the absolute peak of their powers – without doubt, the best band split ever..."

TINY MIX TAPES has the complete list of recordings added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry, along with a link to the site where you can submit your nominations for the next batch.

NOT A WHOLE LOTTA LOVE between Robert Plant and Jimmy Page these days.

BILLY JOEL is movin' out of the Betty Ford Clinic. Drive accordingly.

MEL GIBSON is seriously considering making a biopic of Pope John Paul II. Mel dispatched a production crew to film the spectacle surrounding his death and funeral.

IDAHO: The legislature adopted a resolution commending Jared and Jerusha Hess and the City of Preston for showcasing the positive aspects of Idaho's youth, rural culture, education system, athletics, economic prosperity and diversity." Moreover, Napoleon's bicycle and Kip's skateboard promote better air quality and carpooling as alternatives to fuel-dependent methods of transportation."

THE SOURCE UPDATE: Raymond "Benzino" Scott, the co-founder, co-owner and chief brand manager of The Source magazine, vowed o­n Monday to stay o­n after abruptly resigning late last Friday, as two former high-ranking staffers filed claims of gender discrimination and sexual harassment against him and David Mays, the magazine’s CEO.

WAR ON TERROR: Iranian author Amir Taheri writes that majority opinion within the terror movement favors the al-Zawahiri strategy — to seize control of at least o­ne Muslim country to provide the safe haven that the Islamists enjoyed in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Their target seems to be Saudi Arabia.

THE SHOCKING TRUE STORY of electricity is detailed in Electric Universe, a book briefly reviewed by blogger Jason Kottke. He was surprised to learn that "Alexander Graham Bell, in part, invented the telephone to impress a girl (well, acutally the girl's parents)?" Kottke ought to have figured out that that's why men do most things.

BASEBALL: At Slate, Noam Scheiber examines why, in almost every measurable physical activity, athletes show improvement over time except pitchers. And I meant to post a link to Greg Hall's poem, "Baseball Is," on opening day, but better late than never, yes? Pass it along to the baseball fans in your family.

SEN. RUSSELL FEINGOLD is getting divorced, which some think will end his 2008 presidential run almost before it began.

A SLAP IN THE FACE: Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times notices that "in our society, public support for the news media has all but evaporated." Indeed, "the o­ne thing Democrats and Republicans agree o­n is that the news media are not trustworthy."

MPLS wants to go wireless. I seem to recall that Philly has made similar noises recently.

FILIBUSTERS: At The American Prospect, Matthew Yglesias argues that Democrats should counter the GOP threat to end filibusters of judicial nominations by proposing that the Senate should end filibusters entirely.

SPAIN sold €539.603 worth of chemical warfare agents and radioactive materials to Venezuela. In the past, President Hugo Chavez, has pledged solidarity with Iran, called Saddam Hussein "a brother," himself "the second Fidel Castro of Latin America" and Gaddafi’s Libya "a model of participatory democracy." Chavez has also been accused of funding the Taliban after September 11th, as well as Marxist guerrillas in Colombia. So the sale might be a matter of some concern to the U.S.

M.I.T. UBER-GEEKS have designed an advanced disco dance floor.

WALKING, MAN-SHAPED ROBOTS go o­n sale in Tokyo. They are o­nly 15 inches tall... now.

GLOBAL SEX SERVICE: The feds have busted a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring that allegedly dispatched call girls to cities across the United States and the world.

YET ANOTHER TEACHER is charged with having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old male student. And this o­ne is just the substitute. Teacher, that is.

RUBE GOLDBERG: I missed Purdue University's 22nd annual Purdue Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. This year, students had create machines that would replace batteries in a flashlight using a minimum of 20 steps that employed principles of engineering and physics. You can see pictures of the finalists and a QuickTime movie of the winner -- which took 125 steps -- at the link.

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Iron & Wine, Crooked Fingers, Cane Toads, Joanna Newsom, Bradgelina and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


IRON AND WINE: Sam Beam's most recent disc under the name Iron and Wine, the Woman King EP, got a good writeup o­n the Pitchfork in February. I just got around to it last weekend and must agree. It's got a bluesy folk vibe that really sets a mood. If there was still a Music Works, it would probably end up in repeat mode all day long.

TOMMY RAMONE is starting an alt-bluegrass duo named Uncle Monk.

CROOKED FINGERS recently appeared o­n WMPG's Local Motives show; the interview and five songs available for download and are a good way to sample stuff from the band's latest disc.

ON THE PITCHFORK: An article about musicians who also write criticism or blog, like the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle.

BOB MOULD blogs that he just finished his new album and is listening to the master in different settings. And like everyone else, Bob had thoughts o­n the passing of Pope John Paul II.

BRITNEY SPEARS disinherited Kevin Federline before marrying him. And fed up with the "false tabloids" reporting o­n her shaky marriage, the pop tart now gives an interview to a ten-year-old girl.

MARIAH CAREY looked too much like a slutty diva for o­ne NYC co-op board. That's understandable, but some of the other cases listed in the linked article are more distasteful.

COPYRIGHT: New York state's highest court has ruled that Capitol Records holds common law copyrights in recordings where the federal copyright has expired.

MIRACLE CURE: Boing-Boing explains why you so often see news stories expecting a cure for some disease "in five years," based on some study.

U.K. ELECTION: Coldplay's Chris Martin is (unsurprisingly) making trade his number o­ne issue in the election. There's a British blog devoted to analyzing the latest polls. PoliticalBetting's current survey of the bookies predicts a Labour majority of 54 seats, much smaller than today.

CANADA: There's plenty of links o­n Adscam and the related publication ban (and many unrelated hot topics) in the 19th edition of the Red Ensign Brigade.

CULT OF THE iPod: What's o­n President Bush's iPod? "Castanets" by Alejandro Escovedo. And "My Sharona," among others. iPod Mini killers are reviewed by c|Net, via the San Francisco Chronicle.

WHAT IS THE PERFECT ROCK AND ROLL SONG? Class Maledictorian Amber Taylor has one candidate, but there are plenty of others. RELATED: The Stones are set to roll again, with a combined age of 242.

IRAQ: The Marines came thisclose to bagging Abu Musab Zarqawi, according to Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, whose 1st Marine Expeditionary Force is back home at Camp Pendleton, Calif., after months of intense combat in Anbar province. Arthur Chrenkoff rounds up other good news from Iraq. Even the New York Times ran a cautiously optimistic piece Monday, which may well mean things are falling apart there.

SATELLITE RADIO: Kathy Lally reports that we are what we listen to: "This is the first time I've gone shopping for an electronic object and discovered I had to give myself and other members of my listening household a personality test." What would Ms. Lally make of XM's new partnership with AOL?

THE END IS NIGH: It's been a while since we had a story about the plague of cane toads down under, but they are not forgottten. A member of the Aussie parliament is encouraged to smash the cane toads to death with golf clubs and cricket bats. Perhaps more strange, local animal welfare groups discouraged people from taking up Tollner's call to arms, saying freezing the animals to death was more humane.

THE MOOSE DEFENSE INITIATIVE: High-tech laser and infrared devices, developed for space exploration and anti-missile systems, are being adapted to warn motorists when a moose wanders into the road.

PRINTMAFIA is another in a series of outfits I've found doing cool music posters.

Q: ARE WE NOT MEN? A: We are Devo's webmaster. I can't be too judgmental, however, as I'm pretty sure I have one of those flowerpot hats in storage somewhere.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Blackmail and robbery charges against the troubled former Libertine and Babyshambles frontman have been dropped due to insufficient evidence.

HARPIST JOANNA NEWSOM and the "New Weird America" are essayed by the BBC, with streaming audio and video of Newsom and others in Real format.

SHE'LL BE A VERB: Who knew the Game Theory tune was about Jane Fonda?

KEANU REEVES: How bad an actor do you have to be to get a thumbs down from Ashton Kutcher? Whoah, indeed.

ISRAEL recognizes a "new Schindler."

PALESTINIAN GUNMEN from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades took up positions during an Israeli army incursion in the West Bank city of Nablus, on Monday. Coincidentally, the Associated Press and Reuters both had photographers trained on the very same group of gunmen in the midst of a potential battle. What are the odds?

PROTEIN WISDOM: Jeff Goldstein has his five word review of Sideways o­nline (fans of the Dream Syndicate will enjoy it all the more). He also has an interesting excerpt of a subscription-only article from the Weekly Standard with bad news from Saudi Arabia in the war o­n terror.

NAKED PATIENT PHOTOS: A woman has filed a lawsuit against a hospital alleging that while she was anesthetized, naked and awaiting surgery, a hospital employee took pictures of her and then distributed them.

THE SOURCE magazine has problems. MTV reports that co-founder Raymond "Benzino" Scott stepped down as chief brand manager o­n Friday, claiming that "everyone is too politically correct." Coincidentally, o­n Monday, two of the magazine's highest-ranking former female executives filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing co-owners David Mays, the Chief Executive Officer, and Raymond "Benzino" Scott, the Chief Brand Executive, of committing gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and unlawful retaliation against women at the company.

PHONY AS A THREE DOLLAR BILL? No -- but Mike Bolesta got into a lot of trouble paying a repair bill with two-dollar bills.

LEBANON has dropped off the front pages, but Publius has an update. Also, blogger Michael J. Totten -- temporarily posting at Spirit of America -- is noting unity in the opposition camp and taking a lot of photos while in-country.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Brad Pitt is personally denying the Us magazine story that he and Jolie looked like a couple over a hotel weekend promoting their upcoming movie. Nevertheless, Pitt pays the mag a backhanded compliment: "Because these tabloids are making so much money, and yes, I consider Us Weekly a tabloid, they go to great lengths to corroborate their stories, whether they are true or not." Meanwhile, Jennifer Aniston became godmother to Courtney Cox Arquette's daughter. Fortunately for Pitt and Jolie, Aniston did not use the occasion to settle all family business.

SEYMOUR HERSH: New York magazine notes that the investigative journalist who broke the Abu Grahib story admits that he often fudges the facts in his interviews and speeches. The article also surveys his uneven track record in print.

ACTRESSES AND WHORES is the title of a book; here, it's reviewed by one of the latter.

TROUBLE FOR ELITE COLLEGES? Steve Goodman, a consultant who advises college-bound students and their families, writes in the Washington Post that "With faculty and administrations leading the way, political correctness and posturing -- from both the left and right -- is reaching dizzying heights in the land of the ivory tower. And rising right along with it is the frustration of middle-class parents, who are growing increasingly resentful of paying sky-high tuition for colleges they see offering their kids a menu of questionable courses and politically absurd campus climates that detract from the quality of a university education." One of the schools mentioned more than o­nce in that article is Columbia, which recently issued a report whitewashing dozens of complaints lodged against faculty members. Perhaps most odd is that the report purports to clear the faculty members involved of anti-Semitism, but the complaining students never made that allegation.

I... AM... IRON MAN. Okay, not really, but I soon could be.

NEAR IMPACT: With high profile stories swamping television, you may have missed "Science's Doomsday Team vs. the Asteroids," about the rock that would miss Earth o­nly by 15,000 to 25,000 miles -- about o­ne-tenth the distance to the moon. RELATED: Stephen Sommers, apparently tired of remaking Universal Studios' horror classics, intends to remake When Worlds Collide, a George Pal "so bad it's good" gem that used to run frequently o­n WGN's Family Classics when I was a ute.

SMUCKERS UPDATE: On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected an effort by J.M. Smucker Co. to patent its process for making pocket-size peanut butter and jelly pastries called "Uncrustables."

IRAN: After a quarter-century of estrangement from Iran, the Bush administration is openly preparing to spend government funds in that country to promote democracy. I'm pretty sure the key word in that last sentence is "openly."

GERMANY: The highest ranking female member of parliament theorizes that the U.S. government set the Catholic pedophilia scandal in motion and made Poland its chief partner in the Iraq war because it wanted to weaken an already frail pope. Not even Der Spiegel is buying it.

SPANISH MEN will have to learn to change diapers and don washing-up gloves under the terms of a new law designed to strike a blow at centuries of Latin machismo.

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Rock Movies, The Posies, Bloc Party, Global Dandruff and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, April 11, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


WE HAVE A NEW SERVER, thanks to our trusty administrator, Lance. So we hope that the site will not be as slow as it was the past couple of weeks. We do ask that you pardon our dust while we (Who am I kidding? By "we" I mean Lance) work out any bugs in the system. And I will presume to thank Lance on behalf of our growing community of visitors for going above and beyond the call of duty.

THE TEN BEST ROCK MOVIES: A conversation starter, courtesy of The Daily Breeze. All good choices, but o­ne can argue for certain omissions. For example, what about This Is Elvis, a warts-and-all bio with Presley melting down midway through "Are you Lonesome Tonight?" Or possibly High Fidelity, using the writer's own broad criteria. RELATED: This Is Spinal Tap co-creator Christopher Guest says he's done making mockumentaries: "I had always intended to do just three movies in that format, and then do something else. I don't think I'll go back to the documentary-style genre." Actually, Guest has done four mockumentaries: Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best In Show and A Mighty Wind. That's... o­ne more than three, Nigel.

THE POSIES are reuniting for a new album and wordwide tour this summer.

THE DELGADOS, in contrast, are disbanding. In tribute, Chromewaves posts a Peel Seesion cover of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" for download. Not quite as trancendent as the Fountains of Wayne's even more'Lennonesque-than-Lynne version of "Can't Get It Out of My Head," but still fun.

SPEAKING OF FUN DOWNLOADS, Kyla at Information Leafblower has a bunch from his April iPod playlist o­nline. I would recommend checking out the MP3s from Bloc Party, which just released its disc and got a boffo writeup o­n the Pitchfork for its live show in Chicago. I would also give a listen to the cut from Feist. Leslie Feist's solo disc comes out in the U.S. o­n the 26th, but the import got a rave o­n the Pitchfork also. Her solo stuff seems to have much more of a classic Sade-Steely Dan-Everything But the Girl sort of vibe. She has a lovely voice. However, Feist's regular band, Broken Social Scene, must still be together also, as it's scheduled for the Pitchfork's Intonation Festival in Chicago this July.

JEFF TWEEDY talks filesharing with the BBC, noting that he still likes "putting out artefacts." You can stream audio of the show -- which also has a bit about Queen -- from the Beeb's Music Biz page.

THE BRAVERY frontman Sam Endicott responds to The Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers' slam of the Bravery as poseurs.

THE COOKIE MONSTER is being forced to moderate his appetite and learn that a cookie is a "sometimes" food. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is all for it. The Schiavo case was o­ne thing, but taking away cookies from the Cookie Monster? BTW, o­ne of the benefits of the wall-to-wall coverage of the Pope's death and the royal wedding was that we missed out o­n wall-to-wall coverage of the case of Ora Mae Magouirk, who was awake and not in a persistent vegetative state or terminally ill, but apparently had relatives and a doctor trying to deny her nourishment, despite a living will with contrary directions.

ROYAL WEDDING: I didn't post anything about it beforehand, but I can't help noting that Charles and Camilla have to do pentinence to get their marriage blessed by the Church of England. The Prince and the new Duchess of Cornwall joined the congregation in reading the strongest act of penitence from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer: "We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us."

THE BEAUTIFUL tend to make more money and get promoted more often, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Even so, spending up to ,700 monthly o­n beauty products seems a bit much. o­n the other hand, if your employer is stupid enough to discriminate against you and call you too ugly for the job, a jury might award you $29 million.

I MAY BE A GEEK, but I'm nowhere near this guy's league.

PROFESSOR HAL 2000: A University of Missouri sociology professor has developed a computer program that grades papers and offers students writing advice.

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH: Scientists said this week they had drilled into the lower section of Earth's crust for the first time and were poised to break through to the mantle in coming years.

SUFJAN STEVENS has announced a tracklist for his forthcoming concept disc about Illinois. Many of the titles are a hoot, like "Riffs And Variations o­n A Single Note For Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, And The King Of Swing, To Name A Few," but my fave may be "Come o­n! Feel The Illinoise!"

AIMEE MANN talks to the Guardian about her obsessions and about starting her own label: "Now my fame level is low, but my income is higher than it would be if I were o­n a major label. It's the best of both worlds."

VIBE MAGAZINE is caught sampling Esquire.

ELTON JOHN still has problems balancing the ol' checkbook, with an overdraft of nearly Ł27million.

GENE SIMMONS of KISS has signed o­n to star in six episodes of VH1's Rock School, a reality series inspired by the hit movie, School of Rock, according to Daily Variety.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled Babyshambles singer may be engaged to superwaif Kate Moss, but an ex-galpal calls him a a o­ne-minute wonder in bed with a less-than-impressive endowment, though she attributes the former to his drug habit at the time.

TATUM O'NEAL went o­n a liquor-fueled lesbian rampage last week at a trendy NYC hipster lounge.


CANADA: Justice Gomery has partially removed a ban o­n reporting testimony in the Adscam investigation that threatens to topple the Canadian government. The Globe and Mail published a detailed overview of the claims made in the controversial testimony. The House of Commons erupted in partisan debate shortly after the ban was lifted. Prime Minister Martin refused to answer questions about the scandal en route to the Pope's funeral.

NANOTECH: An article in Forbes magazine frets about a possible rush to regulate nanotech research: "How can you intelligently discuss and regulate something that is still in the discovery and development stage, before it really exists in a practical manufacturing sense?"

DEMOCRATIC DIAGNOSIS: Michael Walzer, a co-editor of Dissent magazine, writes about the importance of values, among other things, in the post-9/11 world: "If we want to protect the American people against environmental degradation, or nuclear accidents, or pandemic disease, or the vagaries of the market, or long-term unemployment, or destitution in old age, then we need to make the case that we can also protect them against terrorist attack."

NORTH KOREAN NUKE MATERIAL ended up in Libya, according to Christopher Hill, the main U.S. envoy o­n the North Korea nuclear standoff. Hill said said there is "physical evidence that the material that arrived in Libya had started its journey" in North Korea. He said the evidence was "beyond my reasonable doubt." Of course, the U.S. has been plagued by bad intelligence o­n such matters, but Libya's cooperation with the U.S. o­n these issues may have produced some good intell for a change.

SOUTH KOREA plans to deploy a droid army along the DMZ, hoping that Kim Jong Il is not working o­n a clone army.

GREEN HERESIES: Stewart Brand, founder of The Whole Earth Catalog and co-founder of the Well, predicts that over the next ten years, "the mainstream of the environmental movement will reverse its opinion and activism in four major areas: population growth, urbani­zation, genetically engineered organisms, and nuclear power."

IRAQ: Saddam Hussein could escape the noose under a secret proposal by insurgent leaders that Iraq's new administration is "seriously considering", a senior government source said yesterday.

IRAQ AND JOURNOS: An Iraqi freelance cameraman for CBS shot during a battle between U.S. soldiers and suspected insurgents has been detained o­n suspicion of insurgent activity. CNN reports that a U.S. military official said at least four videos in the man's camera show roadside bomb attacks o­n U.S. troops. All had been shot in a manner that suggested the cameraman had prior knowledge of the attacks and had scouted a shooting location in sight of the target. CBS says the man was referred to the network by a "fixer" in Tikrit "who has had a trusted relationship with CBS News for two years. It is common practice in Iraq for Western news organizations to hire local cameramen in places considered too dangerous for Westerners to work effectively."

CBS is right about that last part -- the Associated Press gave an almost identical explanation when people noticed that an Iraqi AP stringer seemed to be in just the right place at just the right time to to photograph the assassination of Iraqi election workers. The media seems to have little problem with its reliance o­n Iraqi stringers whose agendas or relationships with insurgents are unknown or undisclosed. Indeed, o­ne of those assassination photos just won a Pulitzer. And a former New York Times photographer thinks that photo had "all the earmarks of a planned image." CBS News may trust a "fixer" from Saddam Hussein's hometown, but the investigation of this cameraman may tell a diffferent story.

IRAQ AND JOURNOS -- THE LIGHTER SIDE: The New York Times has fired Baghdad Bureau Chief Susan Sachs over allegations that she sent anonymous letters and an e-mail to the wives of her ex-colleagues, Baghdad correspondents Dexter Filkins and John Burns, alleging bad behavior with women in the war zone. Sachs has denied the charges, with arbitration proceedings to determine whether what goes o­n in Baghdad stays in Baghdad.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS: The Secret Service is protecting a mother duck and her nine eggs, nesting o­n a mulch pile right at the main entrance to the Treasury Department o­n Pennsylvania Avenue. Awwww...

WAR ON TERROR: The Atlanta Joint Terrorism Task Force has issued a special alert bulletin concerning a man who allegedly took flight lessons while in the United States illegally. Zayed Christopher Hajaig had no means of income, used calling cards to communicate with associates and fled to Britain possibly when he was alerted to the task force's interest in him. Two of the hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks trained for a time at the same airport where Hajaig took lessons. ALSO: Two Failed Terrorism Trials Raise Worry in Europe.

GLOBAL DANDRUFF: Millions of tons of dandruff are circling the Earth, blocking out sunlight, causing rain and spreading disease, startling new research shows. We must get the U.N. o­n this right away. I don't think this one can be pinned on the U.S. After all, when it comes to dandruff, isn't the U.S. head and shoulders above the rest of the world? Thank you very much, ladies and germs; I'll be here all week.

ROGER AILES of the Fox News Channel has been out promoting plan to launch a financial news offshoot network and knows the value of being quotable, Asked about his education, Ailes replies, "I went to a state school because they told me I could drink." About the competition in cable news, Ailes might say, "MSNBC has hired every blonde who doesn’t work for us." And that's mild compared to what he said about CNN.

MICROSOFT AND THE MOUNTIES hunt kiddie pornographers: Microsoft Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Toronto police, the Department of Homeland Security, Scotland Yard and Interpol have come up with the Child Exploitation Tracking System, which will allow police worldwide to link information such as credit card purchases, Internet chat room messages and arrest records.

MONTANA outlaws drinking while driving. So much for my vacation plans...

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