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New Grizzly Bear, Mates of State & Destroyer, 'Mats, Talking Goat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


GRIZZLY BEAR played a new song, "While You Wait For The Others," on the Peacock the other night.  It has me waiting for more...

THE REPLACEMENTS are thinking of semi-reforming after 17 years. Tommy Stinson tells Billboard that he and Westerberg were close to accepting lucrative festival offers this year.  Hold out for Chris Mars!  Meanwhile, PopMatters uses the reissues for a critical evaluation of the band's Twin/Tone output.

THE HELIO SEQUENCE stopped by KEXP for a chat and mini-set you can stream (together or just the music) via NPR.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS: John Darneille talks to PopMatters about the Mighty Riff, the uneasy relationship between indie and metal camps, and the life experiences behind his new book on Black Sabbath's Master of Reality.

HEADLIGHTS singer-keyboardist Erin Fein talks to The A.V. Club on harmonies, making a summer record and more.  Plus vidoe at the link.

MATES OF STATE release the video for "Get Better," from their upcoming release, Re-Arrange Us.

KATHLEEN EDWARDS talks songwriting, major-league exposure and human behavior of the worst kind with the Toronto Star.

DESTROYER:  So Much Silence has posted stream/download for a vinyl rip of "Madame Butterflies," a heretofore unreleased track that appears on a 7" split-single issued for Record Store Day.

FEIST tells the Dallas Morning News that the success of "1 2 3 4:' is a double-edged sword and that her backup plan is to franchise herself with Feist puppets.

THE TOP TEN ACTS going green, compiled by Reuters for Earth Day.

NATALIE PORTMAN was the unfortunate victim of a surprise soaking by a pooch who mistook her for a fire hydrant at a downtown NYC dog run.  Or the dog may have seen the Star Wars prequels.  But hanging with Devendra Banhart clearly puts Portman in a groovy mood, as he was hugging the paparazzi just moments beforehand.

LINDSAY LOHAN is denying falling off the wagon on her possibly fake Facebook page under the name "Lindsay Ronson."  And allegedly screaming at Ashley Olsen to "Get your 15-year-old 'Full House' a$$ away from my girlfriend," referring to lesbian lover Samantha Ronson.

EWAN MacGREGOR says he is "fine" after having a cancerous mole removed from just below his right eye.

RICHIE SAMBORA has been charged with two counts of DUI, but escapes child endangerment charges.

AL PACINO & ROBERT DeNIRO are ripped at length in the L.A. Times: "The two icons of '70s New Hollywood, heroes to a generation of young actors and filmmakers, have become parodies of themselves, making payday movies and turning in performances that are hollow echoes of the electrically charged work they did in such films as Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Mean Streets and Taxi Driver."

SHANNON ELIZABETH was... wait for it...  caught canoodling with her Dancing With the Stars partner Derek Hough on Thursday, while frolicking at the beach in Malibu.  Of course, it may be just for show - a cynical ploy for votes in the hoofing contest.

HEATHER MILLS gave Sir Paul McCartney an ultimatum to marry her or she would leave him, according to a friend and ex-prostitute.  I'm shocked.

DAVE NAVARRO was... wait for it... caught canoodling a dancer of indetermiate gender backstage at his Miami concert.  Pic at the link.

JULIA ROBERTS just says "no" to deodorant.  Video at the link.

PENELOPE CRUZ is setting pulses racing with her steamy new film, Elegy.  The pics at the link may well be NSFW; the video at Egotastic certainly is.  Call it Gratuitous Wednesday.

ELISHA CUTHBERT says many men blow their big chance of a romance with her by committing first-date sins.  Seriously, who goes to a movie with Cuthbert and falls asleep?  Who goes to a movie with Cuthbert and watches the movie?  Who takes Cuthbert to a movie instead of chatting her up?  ALSO: Cuthbert is on the cover of this month's Maxim magazine.  Call it Doubly Gratuitous Wednesday.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS executed a convicted murderder with the 48th beheading in the Kingdom this year.

IRAN: Seventy-five young people accused of 'immoral acts' have been arrested by police at a birthday party in the city of Shiraz. Dangerous drivers in Iran face being flogged under a tough new law that comes into effect next month.

IRAQ:  The national government  began releasing thousands of detainees accused of all but the worst of crimes during the 2003-2008 time period, most of them Sunnis -- fulfilling another demand of the US Congress and the Sunnis in Iraq towards national reconciliation.  The Iraqi army command in Basra is giving top leaders of the Mahdi Army in the city 24 hours to surrender.  Anthony H. Cordesman argues that Prime Minister al-Maliki's offensive in Basra is more of a power struggle with Sadr than an effort to deal with security, ‘militias,' and ‘criminals.'  I would argue it is both; having the Mahdi Army turn into another Iranian-backed group like Hezbollah was likely too big a risk for the Iraqi govt and for the US.  Moreover, al-Sadr may not be that popular even within his own family these days.

SAY WHAT?  The talking goat is cracking this woman up.

A PLUCKY EWE gave birth to a whopping five lambs - beating odds of one in a million.  Awww...some pic at the link.

BRITISH BEEKEEPERS beg Parliament to prevent an economic and ecological disaster, as honey bees are under threat from a mysterious disease which is spreading across the world.

A HEDGEHOG which had fallen down a hole outside a Yorkshire Dales hotel was rescued by the local fire brigade.  Much like the Jessica McClure story, but with Spiny Norman.

ITALIAN WALL LIZARDS introduced to a tiny island off the coast of Croatia are evolving in ways that would normally take millions of years to play out, new research shows.  Don't buy real estate in Tokyo.

3311 Reads

Kooks, New Releases, Replacements, Engineer's Guide to Cats   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE KOOKS hope to crack the Star-Spangled Ceiling with their second album, Konk -- named after Ray Davies's studio, where it was recorded.  The single is "Always Where I Need To Be."

NEW RELEASES: Albums from Billy Bragg, El Perro Del Mar, A.A. Bondy, Flight of the Conchords, The Replacements reissues and Love's Forever Changes are among those streaming this week at Spinner.

THE CONSTANTINES singer/guitarist Bryan Webb tells DC's Express about how touring affects your ability to play AC/DC and your reaction to "Islands in the Stream," which they cover with Feist.

SHE & HIM talk separately to Pitchfork about the importance of musical history in their collaboration, as well as how people react to them and their material.  You can still stream the album via Merge.

DAN BEJAR talks to the Duke Chronicle via e-mail about his lengthy career with Destroyer, New Pornographers and Swan Lake, and his upcoming tour.  You can stream the new Destroyer LP via Merge.

THE REPLACEMENTS reissues make for a natural Twofer Tuesday of "Kick Your Door Down" and that version of "Bast*rds of Young" that the lawyers are usually good at keeping offline.

SANDY DENNY: Thirty years after her untimely, lonely death, the woman lauded as the British Joni Mitchell may finally get the recognition she deserves.

BIG DIPPER: Gary Waleik tells the Boston herald that the band's reunion really got rolling after reading a blog post by Merge records owner Mac McCaughan saying someone needed to put out a good Big Dipper collection.  You can still stream the collection via Merge.  Yeah, it was Merge-heavy today; no, they aren't paying me.

IT'S NOT A RECORD STORE, IT'S A HANGOUT:  To celebrate Record Store Day, singer-songwriter James McMurtry shared a few memories with All Things Considered of hanging out - and awkwardly self-promoting - in record stores.  PopMatters, Jennifer Makowsky looks back at the way High Fidelity celebrates the era of the dusty record store and the mixtape.

PETE DOHERTY denies taking heroin while incarcerated in Wormwood Scrubs.  Meanwhile, the troubled singer has been kicked out of the Wiltshire pad he hired when he last came out of rehab, after spraying blood all over the walls.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON has leaked "Falling Down" and "Anywhere I lay My Head" from her Tom Waits covers album to... mixed reactions.  She may have peaked with her rendition of Gershwin's "Summertime."

LINDSAY LOHAN was spotted off the wagon, drinking Grey Goose and Red Bull cocktails at a party deejayed by pal Samantha Ronson last Saturday.

RYAN PHILIPPE talks about the effect the paparazzi have had on his kids, which is pretty sad.

OWEN WILSON & KATE HUDSON were... wait for it... caught canoodling at her 29th birthday party last Saturday.

HARRY POTTER star Daniel Radcliffe need only mention his attraction to a mystery girl he met an Australian film function and the young lady is apparently tracked down and headed for London.

JESSICA SIMPSON & TONY ROMO got into some messy cake-play at his 28th birthday party.  Life & Style reports that the pneumatic blonde's romance with Tony Romo is responsible for Simpson dialing back the makeup and hair care -- which certainly sounds nicer than the possibility that Simpson is making much less than she once did and can't afford to have hair and makeup people on call 24/7.

SIENNA MILLER is decked out in a leather catsuit for her part in the movie adaptation of G.I Joe.  So why did you read to the end of that sentence?

BRUCE CAMPBELL, who will be starring in the upcoming 2008 film My Name is Bruce, which he directed and co-produced, answers PopMatters' infamous 20 Questions.

CAMERON DIAZ got some friendly support from her exes Justin Timberlake and John Mayer as her family held a memorial service for her late father Sunday.

DAVID HASSELHOFF is back in the hospital, but not for rehab.  Phew!

QUANTUM of SOLACE: RottenTomatoes has a bunch of behind-the-scenes promos for the next James Bond flick.  But the Daily Mail has pics of the £134,000 Aston Martin DBS that plunged into Lake Garda in Italy on the way to the set.

AFGHANISTAN: The Afghan Army and police forces should be able to secure most of Afghanistan by 2011, allowing international forces to start withdrawing, according to the US commander of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, General Dan McNeill.

IRAN: The UN nuclear agency's deputy chief arrived in Tehran for talks with Iranian officials on allegations that Iran is testing high explosives and seeking to design a missile re-entry vehicle, two features which could have use for nuclear weapons.

IRAQ: Iraqi soldiers took control of the last bastions of the cleric Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia in Basra. Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari rebuked al-Sadr for his threat of all out war.  US warplanes dropped bombs overnight in the east Baghdad district of Sadr City where Shia militiamen are battling security forces, residents said on Monday.  A US general said on Sunday that the increasingly sophisticated attacks carried out by Shiite extremists in Iraq were evidence they were getting extra aid from Iranian groups in the country.  Al Karama, a new political front, is joining together tribal sheikhs and heads of awakening councils in Baghdad, a group of technocrats and members of armed factions that have fought against AQI.  Three months after US forces dropped tons of bombs on Arab Jubur and put AQI to flight, farmers are everywhere out in their fields tending their tomatoes.

AN ENGINEER'S GUIDE TO CATS: Let's go to the video. The cat yodeling is excellent.

KAISER the BULLDOG has shocked her owner - after giving birth to a whopping 20 pups.  Awww...some pics at the link.

INCREDIBLE JOURNEY:  Moon, a Siberian husky that ran off during a road-trip rest stop apparently made her way nearly 80 miles across Nevada's high desert and two mountain ranges to return home a week later.

GEORGE the HEDGEHOG has shed nearly a quarter of its body weight after adopting a high protein diet similar to the Atkins plan.

PYTHON vs POLICEMAN in a life-or-death struggle in a Eugene, OR pet shop.

4307 Reads

A Fine Frenzy, Pipettes, MMJ, Danny Federici, Frankencroc   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, April 21, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


A FINE FRENZY: Alison Sudol confesses to the Times of London: "I'm not very rock'n'roll.. I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't party after a gig. I prefer to read."  Indeed, Sudol has an online book club, and recently shared some of her favorites at LHB. The live video for "You Picked Me" is indirectly via Amber, who will be delighted to learn that Sudol is also vertically challenged, loves books (including The Fountainhead), cheese and swearing.

THE PIPETTES have two new members, Ani and Anna, as RiotBecki and Rosay have left to pursue other musical projects.  More details at P-Fork.  Disappointing, though I'll reserve judgment, given that the concept was always that of disposable pop band.

KATE NASH played the World Cafe on Friday; you can stream the gig on demand via NPR.

MY MORNING JACKET has released "Evil Urges" -- the title track of the upcoming album -- for downlaod; you can also stream it via the 'Gum Mix.

HOT CHIP stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set (including a cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2U"), streaming on demand via MPR.

DANNY FEDERICI, a keyboardist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band since it was formed in the early 1970s, died on Thursday. He was 58.  Anyone who knows me knows I love the Hammond B-3 organ, and Federici was the one serving it up on "Hungry Heart"', though he's almost as wailing in very different ways throughout songs from The River like "Jackson Cage"  and "Ramrod" without calling attention to himself.  And he is the chiming keyboard-driven glockenspiel on the Boss's signature "Born To Run." He will be missed.

BILLY BRAGG talks to the Philly Inquirer about his new album and how he was influenced by Simon & Garfunkel and The Clash.

ROBERT FORSTER:  The former Go-Between talks to The Australian about his first solo album in nearly 12 years, the first since the 2006 death of Go-Betweens co-founder Grant McLennan.  You can stream an advance track, "Pandanus," via YepRoc.

MYSPACE is set to give the major labels better terms on ad revenue than the indie bands who built the social network into a music destination.  Meet the new boss.

AMY WINEHOUSE has reportedly started making plans to end her marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil.  She was also caught toking up on video by the uber-reliable News of the World; record bosses have threatened to stop her from releasing any new material until she cleans up her act.

RICK ASTLEY:  SurveyUSA estimates that at least 18 million Americans have now been "Rickrolled," according to a national poll of 959 adults, conducted 04/08/08.

ROB LOWE:  Jessica Gibson, Lowe's former nanny who claims Robbie boy was playin' with himself and gropin' her, was secretly on the hunt for 1.5 million bucks from the actor; her boyfriend was also on the hunt for a cool mil to jump start his business, according to TMZ.  The lawyer representing the ex-nanny is demanding videotaped depositions of Lowe and his wife, according to E! News.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  The first time team up of Jet Li and Jackie Chan put The Forbidden Kingdom at the top with 20.8 million, followed fairly closely by the Judd Apatow/Jason Siegel comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall with 17.3 million.  I saw the latter and enjoyed it -- not gut-bustingly funny, but Siegel captured the usual Apatow blend of raunchy and sweet.  Mila Kunis is adorable, but you knew that.  Prom Night tumbled to third, but is still way profitable.  Al Pacino's 88 Minutes managed to debut fourth, despite having been shelved for years.  Nim's Island rounds out the Top Five and comes close to breaking even.  21 drops from 3 to 6, but has made almost twice its 35 million budget.  Street Kings drops 68 percent, but almost breaks even on a skimpy 20 million budget.  Horton Hears a Who takes in another 3.5 million as it closes in on 150 million total,  The Ben Stein doc Expelled debuts in ninth, but I can't imagine there are more intelligent design fans left to go see it.  Leatherheads drops from fifth to tenth and has made less than half of its production budget.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Gossip Girls has some kinda intrusive photos accompanying their inside look at the Tom-Kitten's 2nd birthday party.

BRADGELINA are reportedly planning a secret summer wedding - and the event could lead to a reconciliation between Angelina and her estranged actor father Jon Voight, according to the Daily Mail.

SANDRA BULLOCK & JESSE JAMES were hit by a drunk driver Friday night while riding in a private car in Gloucester, MA.  They said they were fine and didn't need medical attention.

JESSICA SIMPSON's recent hospital stay was triggered by more than just an "infection," according to the ever-reliable Star magazine, which claims the pneumatic blonde was hospitalized after months of hard drinking with beau Tony Romo, and even asked for a pregnancy test.

BRITNEY SPEARS returning to How I Met Your Mother, a source tells People magazine.

GARY BUSEY has been evicted from his Malibu, California home for failing to pay his rent.

MADONNA is finalizing negotiations to play a mega-bucks 2 date tour in Dubai, reports The Sun.

CNN's RICHARD QUEST was busted in Central Park early Friday with some drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot, law-enforcement sources said.

DON'T HASSEL THE HOFF:  The long, messy split of Hasselhoff and Pamela Bach resulted finally in a dry, civil divorce settlement filed Thursday in a Los Angeles court.  The Baywatch and Knight Rider icon keeps the rights to the Hoffworld-branded trademarks to his nickname, "Hoff," and his catchphrase, "Don't Hassel the Hoff."  He seems to bag the best of what was known as his Encino, Calif., home's African room. He gets the African pipe, the ivory tusk, assorted statues and the "elephant foot and two elephant stools."  Bach gets the photographs of Hollywood great Claudette Colbert and pop singer Michael Jackson that hung outside the couple's master suite.  She gets the 2006 Mercedes; I presume he gets KITT.

LIZ HURLEY just did a photo shoot for her new line of swimwear.  Call it Gratuitous Monday.

VLADMIR PUTIN, President of Russia, reportedly has split with Ludmilla and is preparing to marry a 24-year-old, sensationally beautiful gymnast who seems quite flexible in the photos at the link.

IRAQ: Iraqi soldiers swooped on the Basra stronghold of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday, saying they had seized control of his militia bastion where they suffered an embarrassing setback in late March.  CD shops sell love songs again. Some women emerge from their homes without veils, and alcohol sellers are coming out of hiding in the southern city of Basra - where religious vigilantes have long enforced strict Islamic codes.  The changes in recent weeks mark a surprising show of government sway - at least for now.  Trying to stem the infiltration of militia fighters, American forces have begun to build a massive concrete wall that will partition Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite neighborhood in the Iraqi capital.  In contrast to the cases of desertion during the first part of the battle for Basra, during fighting in Sadr City, two Iraqi T-72s and four other Iraqi armored vehicles arrived on the scene before US tanks were needed; the Iraqi Army also rushed ammunition to Sadr City, including machine-gun rounds and rocket-propelled grenades to give its units more firepower and address complaints of shortages.  Nevertheless, al-Sadr gave a "final warning" to the government Saturday to halt a US-Iraqi crackdown against his followers or he would declare "open war until liberation."  That has some worried in Najaf, but the L.A. Times also reports that the grand ayatollahs have declined to aid al-Sadr in Basra.

MEOW, MEOW, MEOW, GOOD VIBRATIONS:  A cat with a theremin.  That cat is no Brian Wilson, but make sure to stay for the very end.

CROCODILE BRAIN STOLEN in Zimbabwe. Police in Hwange are on the look out for a suspect who killed a crocodile and removed its brains amid revelations that it could be used for poisoining unsuspecting individuals.  I would be on the look out for a giant Frankencroc made up of the parts of recently killed crocodiles.

VULTURES get no respect... no respect, I tell ya!

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Armchair Generalist and CKR both report the fratricide of an ACORN recon agent.

OH, SURE, IT STARTS SMALL: Scientists have been able to take control of flies' brains to make females behave just like males.

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Turtles, Fleet Foxes, Weezer, Cutout Bin, Naked Cockatoo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, April 18, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with THE TURTLES!  First cracking the Top Ten in 1965 with their cover of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me, Babe."  they made the Top 30 later that year with the similar-sounding "Let Me Be," written by P.F. Sloan.  Their early 1966 hit, "You Baby," was written by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri; you may recognize the voice introducing the sync of the band performing on the streets of L.A.  An album cut from the You Baby album, "Outside Chance," was co--written by Warren Zevon.  "Happy Together," rejected by countless performers, became both their biggest hit and their signature song, knocking the Beatles' "Penny Lane" from the No. 1 slot in the Spring of 1967.   The band appeared on the Mike Douglas show to play "Elenore" and the "House on the Hill."  "Elenore," with its unique use of the term et cetera, was a jab at their label for demanding more hits like "Happy Together," but went on to hit the Top ten anyway. For many years after the band dissolved, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman went by the name Flo & Edde, because their contract barred from using the Turtles name or their own names.  The duo continued to record their own material, but were heard by most adding their trademark harmonies to hits like T. Rex's "Bang A Gong" and Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart."

COLIN MELOY, frontman for The Decemberists, is the guest DJ for the latest installment of All Songs Considered.

FLEET FOXES may boast  '60s folk and antediluvian country influences, but singer-guitarist Robin Pecknold tells The A.V. Club they're not "neo-hippies."  There's a track from the upcoming Ragged Wood album streaming at the link.  The band also did the four free songs thing at Daytrotter.

SHE & HIM:  Zooey Deschanel, actress-turned-indie darling, is profiled in the New York Times.

WEEEZER is streaming a new song, "Pork & Beans," at their webiste.  Very Weezer.

THE FIFTH BEATLE:  Most people forget that brief period when David Lee Roth fronted the Fabs. (slight profanity)

NIGHTMARE OF YOU covers Cheap Trick's "Top of the World" at TheirSpace.  Jangly!

ROGUE WAVE: Zach Rogue talks to DC's Express about dealing with the death of keyboardist Gram LeBron's father, drummer Pat Spurgeon's kidney transplant, his newfound fatherhood, the recruitment of a new bass player, Patrick Abernathy, and the death of former bassist Evan Farrell in a fire.  It also sounds like he might be suffering from eco-anxiety.

RYAN ADAMS sets the record straight on some personal and professional rumors in highlights from his wacky blog excerpted at Stereogum.

THE WORST NO. 1 SONGS OF THE '80'S, according to PopDose, with embedded video.

CUTOUT BIN:  From GbV to JJ Jackson, from Iron & Wine to Sonny & Cher to Sam & Dave, with Queen (and covers) and a hunk o' Cheap Trick, this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM

ASHLEE SIMPSON is still dodging pregnancy rumors, but creepy dad-manager Joe is already trying to sell the baby pictures -- for a million dollars, when the tabloids are thinking more like 60 grand.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases include the Jackie Chan-Jet Li flick The Forbidden Kingdom, which is currently scoring 57 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the Judd Apatow-Jason Siegel comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is scoring 83 percent, the Al Pacino thriller 88 minutes, scoring 10 percent; and the Ben Stein documentary Expelled, which is scoring 9 percent (albeit on only 11 reviews at the moment).

BRITNEY SPEARS is in negotiations with Bally Total Fitness to be a frontwoman for the company.  Meanwhile, lawyers are collecting a big payday from the travails of the pop wreck.

OPRAH WINFREY may have gone too far in exploiting and distributing the teachings of a questionable New Age writer, as life begins to imitate The Onion.

DEATH & THE CITY:  Did Cynthia Nixon let a spoiler for the Sex & The City movie out of the bag?

OLLIE JOHNSON, the last of the classic Disney animation team known as the Nine Old Men, has died at the age of 95.  Tons of tributes and links at CartoonBrew, including one from Brad Bird -- who put animated versions of Johnson and pal Frank Thomas in both The Iron Giant and The Incredibles.  Anyone who ever enjoyed Pinocchio, Thumper, Peter & the Wolf, Mr. Smee, Pongo and Perdita, Baloo the Bear, the dancing penguins in Mary Poppins (and many more ) owes a childhood debt to Ollie Johnson.

EMMA WATSON, Hermione in the Harry Potter films, turned 18 on Tuesday, which grants her access to the 20 million bucks she's amassed making the wildly popular film series.  She has taken lessons in money management given by Coutts Bank, which also manages the millions of co-star Daniel Radcliffe... and Queen Elizabeth II.

TILDA SWINTON (Michael Clayton, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe) wants to be left for the birds when she dies - stretched out on a remote Scottish beach.

SPOCKS SPEAK:  Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto talk to TV Guide about the movie (within strict limits) and the Vulcan experience. ALSO: William Shatner says he never realized until after "Star Trek" ended how disliked he was by the rest of the cast.

THE INCREDIBLE HULK:  Ed Norton writes that there is no dispute among him, Marvel and Universal... but refuses an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

IRON MAN director John Favreau takes you on a video set visit at Yahoo! Movies.  Meanwhile, the Onion News Network has a piece on the wildly popular Iron Man trailer.

TERROR in the UK: Muslim activist Abu Izzadeen has been found guilty of inciting acts of terrorism abroad and fundraising for terrorist purposes.  The principal charges against the eight arose from speeches at Regent's Park Mosque on November 9, 2004.  Six of the eight defendants in the case have now been found guilty of supporting terrorism in some form.

THE STANS: Terrorists are still operating freely in Pakistan along the country's Afghanistan border, despite the US giving Pakistan more than 10.5 billion in military and economic aid, according to a government watchdog agency. The Government Accountability Office says in a report released Thursday that the US lacks a comprehensive plan to deal with the terrorist threat.

IRAN:  Pres. Bush and British PM Gordon Brown jointly pledged to step up efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear enrichment program and work with European leaders to increase sanctions on the country during a press conference outside the White House on Thursday. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, thinks the administration is not doing enough: "Within the next two years, there is a real possibility that Iran will have the means to make an atomic bomb. The reason for this awful truth is that they wanted it more than we wanted to stop them."

IRAQ will open at least six major oil and natural-gas fields for exploration and production in the first bidding for licenses since the US-led invasion in 2003. The main Sunni Muslim political bloc has agreed in principle to return to the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki nearly nine months after quitting the Cabinet. Sadrist leaders asserted they refuse to hand over the-Mahdi Army's weapons to the Iraqi govt or dissolve it except if Shiite top clerics gave directives to do that (which they won't, as they don't see that as their job).  A  prominent govt official has asserted that "any member of the armed forces or security organs who rebels against his government and military authority will be punished."  It turns out to be harder to desert than one Iraqi Army captain thought. Michael J. Totten interviews Marine Capt. Quintin Jones, commanding officer at Outpost Delta in the city of Karmah, on working with the Sunni tribal authorities.


OSCAR the NAKED, DANCING COCKATOO:  Twelve years ago, he was given six months to live after developing a beak and feather disease.  Let's go to the video.  Oscar does a pretty mean Mick Jagger.

HAMSTER KILLS MAN:  Richard Gere unavailable for comment.

A SEVEN-FOOT FISH was landed by an Austrian schoolboy on his first ever fishing trip.  Pic at the link.

A SIX-FOOT GATOR was found in the backseat of a car during a traffic stop near Angleton, TX; video at the link.  William Johnson has previously had a water moccasin snake in his car.

GATOR THEFT FOILED: Surveillance video shows five college teens jumping a fence into a pond full of alligators in an attempt to steal one early Thursday morning from a Daytona Beach Shores mini-golf course.  oddly enough, the teens told police they hadn't thought far enough ahead to decide what they would do with an alligator.

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Alejandro Escovedo, Peter Moren, Born Ruffians, Gin   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, April 17, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO has reached a deal to sign with Bruce Springsteen's management company, so it's probably no coincidence that he joined the Boss and the E Streeters in Houston for a live take on "Always A Friend," a track from Escovedo's upcoming Real Animal LP.

RICHARD THOMPSON has canceled his April tour dates after he was bitten by a scorpion during a vacation in Mexico.

HERE COMES SUMMER:  The weather is barely springlike where I am, but The A.V. Club has posted an A/V playlist of summery songs.

IS IT BETTER TO BURN OUT THAN TO FADE AWAY?  Peter Lester tackles rock martyrdom at the Guardian music blog.

PETER MOREN (of Peter Bjorn & John) does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter in support of his solo LP.

BORN RUFFIANS are cooking on "I Need A life."  At least until the farm animals arrive.

THE DARK ANGELS are streaming their new album, Directions to See a Ghost, via iMeem.  Kinda doom-and-gloomy; Kevin Penner would like it.

DeVotchKa singer and multi-instrumentalist Nick Urata shuffles is iPod for the "Random Rules" feature at The A.V. Club.

THE RACONTEURS:  Jack White and Brendan Benson talk about adjusting to a new band on Weekend Edition Sunday, streaming via NPR.

SUB POP: The indie juggernaut is throwing itself quite a 20th birthday party.

ROB LOWE: People magazine, which coincidentally has a photo shoot with Lowe's former nanny-turned- sex harrassment plaintiff, quotes her family describing her as caring, cautious and concerned about the actor's two sons.  In contrats, TMZ quotes sources connected to the case as saying the ex-nanny privately told folks there was mutual flirting going on between her and Rob, but she never mentioned sexual harassment.

ASHLEE SIMPSON:  People magazine joins those claiming that Simpson is pregnant and plans to get married next month.  OK! magazine thinks it has spotted a baby bump.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Crushed by the weight of her marriage to Cruise, Holmes is striking out on her own - and she's determined to take their daughter, Suri, with her to NYC, according the ever reliable Star magazine.

JENNIE GARTH seems to be loading up the truck and moving to Beverly... (Hills that is, swimming pools, 90210 spinoffs.

LINDSAY LOHAN wants to assume a missionary position, according to her ex-con dad. Meanwhile, Li-Lo is dissed by Rupert Grint?  Ouch!


MARILYN MONROE: Defamer has a trio of experts debunking the "sex tape hoax."

GWYNETH PALTROW tells Vogue that she battled post-partum depression after welcoming her second child in 2006.

CAMERON DIAZ has suddenly lost her dad to pneumonia.  He was only 58.

DEBBIE GIBSON has filed for a restraining order against a Spanish man who runs a fan club and has allegedly followed her on concert tours and showed up at her door.

NAOMI CAMPBELL, having been arrested at Heathrow and apparently banned from all British Airways flights, has annouced she is boycotting the airline.  The short-fused supermodel also claims that BA had changed its mind about banning her from its aircraft and was now desperate for her custom.  You can't fire her, she quits!

MARILYN MANSON has almost finished turning his gf Evan Rachel Wood into his ex-wife, Dita Von Teese.

PAKISTAN:  Pakistani security forces killed a senior Taliban commander who became a hero to Islamic militants for his role in shooting down a US helicopter in 2005, killing all 16 special forces troops aboard. A close aide of rebel cleric Mullah Fazlullah has offered to surrender on the condition that security forces and the government grant him amnesty from prosecution.

IRAQ: The NYT's Michael Gordon reports on the desertion of a company of Iraqi soldiers from their outpost in Sadr City, while engaged with the enemy, which is a serious crime.  OTOH, the Iraqi and US military were able to replace unit on short notice, and it appears that Iraqi govt forces are dug in the area.  The Iraqi government is pumping 350 million into Basra, Mosul, and the Al Shula and Sadr City neighborhoods in Baghdad, in an effort to stem violence by producing jobs and reinvigorating social programs.  The aim now is to launch an ambitious plan of 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day public works and services-improvement projects designed to convince the local population that the Iraqi government - and not Sadr's Mahdi Army militia - is best able to improve the quality of life.  MNF-Iraq kicked off the main phase of its first major operation devoted primarily to capacity building - expanding governance, economics and infrastructure - April 15 in communities south of Baghdad in the Baghdad Province.  Iraq's government removed the top military and police commanders in Basra on Wednesday; they were widely respected by US and British military leaders -- which suggests that Prime Minister al-Maliki is scapegoating them for his rush into fighting the Mahdi Army in Basra, which was a PR disaster, though more successful than the early media coverage suggested.

GIN the BORDER COLLIE gots talent.  Even Simon Cowell thinks so.

PAW PAW, Martha Stewart's 60-lb chow, has died of renal failure; he was almost 12.

ORANGUTAN HABITAT is disappearing -- and Girl Scout cookies are to blame.

ROAMING LION found in a Romanian garden.

PYGMY HEDGEHOGS are the hottest pet in the UK.  Awww...some pics at the link.

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