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Spinto Band, She & Him, Sons & Daughters, Petra update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE SPINTO BAND is poppy as ever on "Summer Grof," an advance clip from the forthcoming Spinto Band release, Moonwink.

THE RACONTEURS' Brendan Benson talks to Newsweek about the surprise release of the band's new album, his iPod Nano commercial commercial, and more...

SHE & HIM fill out a questionnaire for Canada's Exclaim!  What are your current fixations? She: Bobbie Gentry, Marvin Gaye, pumpkin seeds. Him: The Louvin Brothers.  You can stream their album in full via Merge.

GARY LOURIS:  The ex-Jayhawk tells The Phoenix his goal as a solo artist is "to make more records more often. I have a lot of material, and I'm just trying to figure out the musical waters here."

SONS & DAUGHTERS, known for dark folk-punk, have brought in strains of '60s pop and garage rock for their new album, influenced by producer and ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler (who is also mentoring Duffy).  You can stream a bunch of tracks via S&DSpace.

THE ROLLING STONES perform "Ruby Tuesday" on a show whose copyright holder is usually more vigilant.

JULIANA HATFIELD is blogging about her guilt, shame, and embarrassment at being part of a system that exploits women/people and their art -- and taking a blowtorch to MTV's The Hills (and herself for watching it).

BELL X1 stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

THE CURRENT has shrun its playlist as its ratings have delined, according to the Mpls City Pages.

TUPAC SHAKUR:  The L.A. Times will launch an internal investigation into the authenticity of documents used in a story last week asserting that the newspaper had uncovered new evidence implicating associates of rap impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs in a bloody 1994 assault on the hip-hop superstar, after the celebrity-centric website, The Smoking Gun, posted a story saying the records -- purportedly statements by an unnamed informant to an FBI agent, which the newspaper posted on its website -- appeared to be forgeries.

RICHIE SAMBORA is off the wagon and arrested for DUI in Laguna Beach.  The Bon Jovi axeman may be criminally charged with child endangerment because his 10-year-old daughter Ava and another juvenile in the car (along with another adult).

ROBIN WILLIAMS and Marsha Garces Williams, married in April 1989, are splitting up.  Williams had dumped his first wife for Garces, who had worked for Williams as a nanny and personal assistant.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Katie Holmes is finally cracking under the strain of life with Tom Cruise, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine, which tells of increasingly common fainting spells.

BRITNEY SPEARS seems to be reporting to work, making regular visits with her sons and focused on taking her life back.  So perhaps it's no coincidence that the paparazzi are moving on, perhaps to Miley Cyrus.

RICHARD WIDMARK, who made a sensational film debut as the giggling killer in "Kiss of Death" and appeared in some 40 films, including "Judgment at Nuremberg," "How the West Was Won," and  "Murder on the Orient Express," died after a long illness. He was 93.

KATE MOSS reportedly is set to wed her rocker boyfriend Jamie Hince.  The supermodel reportedly told fans the pair were going to 'get married' as they enjoyed a trip to Amsterdam.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills is trying to prove Sir Paul is worth much more than the £400million he claimed in their divorce battle.  Mills also has told friends she cannot look after their daughter Beatrice on £35,000 a year, the sum awarded at the High Court.

ISLAMISM in the UK:  A new study suggests as many as 4000 Muslim teens and young adults simply vanish every year -- forced into arranged marriages by family members through abduction, rape, and threat of death.

IRAQ:  Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave gunmen in the southern oil port of Basra three days to surrender their weapons and renounce violence as clashes between security forces and Shiite militia fighters erupted for a second day.  Moqtada al-Sadr has demanded that the country's prime minister leave Basra.  Bill Roggio notes that the current Iraqi offensive has been anticipated for some time. The Iraqi Army and police have been massing forces in the South since August 2007, when the Basra Operational Command was established to coordinate efforts in the region. As of December the Iraqi Army deployed four brigades and an Iraqi Special Operations Forces battalion in Basra province. The Iraqi National Police deployed two additional battalions to the province.  Armed clashes have resumed in Sadr City, stronghold of the Sadrist movement in Baghdad, between Iraqi and US forces on one side and militants on the other, while US helicopters shelled the city of Tikrit.  NPR has started a series on the Major Crimes Task Force -- Iraq's first professional investigative agency, which takes on the politically explosive cases no one else will touch.

PANDA SEXERCISE:  Zoo keepers at the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre in the Sichuan province, South West China, are putting their charges through a rigorous exercise scheme - mainly involving apples - with the aim of improving their mating skills.  Let's go to the video.

PETRA UPDATE:  The black swan who once fell in love with a swan-shaped paddleboat has been dumped by her beau, and is reuiniting with the boat on Friday.

FISH may be able to count, but scientists are testing a plan to train fish to catch themselves by swimming into a net when they hear a tone that signals feeding time.

SNAKE in a KITCHEN:  A Belfast woman got more than she bargained for when she reached for a bin bag under her kitchen sink.  Karen Kennedy and her fiance both thought the other was playing a practical joke.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  These sneaky, militant rodents socially-network better than Kevin Bacon.

3791 Reads

British Sea Power, The Heavy, The second coming of Rick Astley, Knut   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE RACONTEURS drop the video for "Salute Your Solution" from the surprise sophomore LP, Consolers of the Lonely. (Profanity.)

BRITISH SEA POWER stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.

COLIN MELOY: The Decemberists' frontman talks to PopMatters about cover songs and his two new releases -- Colin Meloy Sings Sam Cooke and Colin Meloy Sings Live!

THE HEAVY is a late addition to the albums streaming in full from Spinner this week.  I Like what I have heard from them so far.

BILLY BRAGG has started a conversation about whether social-networking sites ought to consider paying some kind of royalties to the musicians who provide the music that helps drive traffic and user acquisition.  Coolfer links Bragg's NYT op-ed and reax.

RICK ASTLEY:  The normally reclusive 90s popster talks to the Manchester Evening News about why he is finally doing a UK nolstalgia tour.  He also talks to the L.A. Times (w/embedded audio clips) about the second coming of  "Never Gonna Give You Up" as Internet prank, basketball game stunt, and unofficial theme of anti-Scientology protesters.  Astley's favorite is the tribute on Family Guy, complete with the Back to the Future II allusion.

DEMI MOORE tells Letterman her extremely alternative beauty therapy -- First, shave your body. Then immerse yourself in turpentine. And when the stinging stops, allow leeches to feast on your blood.

THE FRENCH HOTEL says she loves South Africa... and West Africa!  "They are both great countries."

RENEE ZELLEWEGER may want to cut down on the "facial sandblasting" she favors before a movie premiere, as she's now quite shiny.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS -- Britney's 16-year-old knocked up sister -- is sporting some sparkling new jewelry - an engagement ring from fiancé Casey Aldridge.

BRITNEY SPEARS, btw, gave the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" its highest viewership of the season on Monday, and assures the modest performer will be renewed for a fourth season in the fall.  Critics were relatively impressed with the pop wreck's cameo.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS have decided against building a Catholic church in the kingdom.

IRAQ:  The Bush administration hailed an Iraqi offensive against Shiite militiamen in the southern city of Basra as a "bold decision'' that shows the country's security forces are capable of combating terrorists: "This is one of the first times that they've had such an entrenched battle and we'll be there to support them if they need it.''  The burgeoning crisis - part of an intense power struggle among Shiite political factions - has major implications for the United States.  Gen. Petraeus has little use for recent claims in the British press that the "surge" is on the verge of collapse in parts of Iraq, writing that the story, as reported in the Guardian were "based on dated info."  In addition, he said that reports that the Iraqi government is refusing to employ Sunnis are incorrect."  The US military says it is taking steps to alleviate conditions at the Fallujah city jail after a recent report from blogger Michael J. Totten found a filthy, overcrowded facility.  Iraq has emerged as a more stable country than Afghanistan, thanks to lower violence, the presence of a large US-led international force and high oil prices, according to a report published on Tuesday by the British-based Jane's Information Group.

KNUT the polar bear has turned from a cuddly cub into a publicity-addicted psycho, one of his keepers claimed yesterday.  And how is this different from Britney Spears?

LOLCATS: I can haz endorsement dealz?

STOWAWAY RATTLESNAKE attacks a high school rowing coach at Yorktown High School in Arlington, VA.  I'm sure the kids have no idea how that got there...

AMY takes the crown of World's Largest Rabbit by a wide margin.  Pics at the link.

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Black Kids, New Releases, Ohio Players, Walkmen, Gopher hunt   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE BLACK KIDS bring the powdered wigs and the cheerleaders for "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend," which falls somewhere between The Go! Team and The Cure.

NEW RELEASES:  Albums from Gnarls Barkley, De Novo Dahl, the B-52s, reissues from The Lemonheads and the JAMC, plus more are streaming from Spinner this week.  Elf Power releases their new album, In A Cave.  The surrpise LP from The Raconteurs still sprung a couple of leaks, like "Salute Your Solution" and "Top Yourself."

R.E.M. has started advance streaming the Accelerate LP via iLike.  Michael Stipe talks to Pitchfork about the recording of the album and their cool supporting bands on tour.  Stipe is joined by Peter Buck and Mike Mills for an interview on NPR's Morning Edition.

OF MONTREAL frontman Kevin Barnes gives Paste magazine a progress report on the band's next album, including the title, Skeletal Lamping.

THE REAL FIFTH BEATLE:  Neil Aspinall, who left an accounting job to become the Beatles' road manager when the group was still a local dance band and who went on to manage the band's production and management company, Apple, died Sunday night in Manhattan. He was 66 and lived in Twickenham, England.

THE OHIO PLAYERS perform "Love Rollercoaster" and "Fire" on the Midnight Special for an especially funky Twofer Tuesday.

RYAN ADAMS has started a blog, with video, wackiness and the occasional news about his current recording sessions.

THE WALKMEN did four free Leonard Cohen covers for Daytrotter.  Says Hamilton Leithauser: "It was -20 degrees the day we did these songs in the Quad Cities. We decided to do Leonard Cohen songs rather than our own...honestly I don't know why but it sounded fun to all of us..."

JENS LEKMAN has delightful stories for the SFBG Music Blog, including someone at US Customs checking him on Wikipedia.

BE YOUR OWN PET:  Three tunes from the Get Awkward album were removed from the US version at the last minute, having been deemed too violent by Universal Records.

BRITNEY SPEARS made her much-hyped cameo on CBS's How I Met Your Mother.  Clips at the link, but I wouldn't be haning 'round the phone for that Emmy nomination.  Meanwhile, a California court denied an attorney's bid to challenge an order that gave control of the pop wreck's personal and business affairs to her father, Jamie Spears.

PRISCILLA PRESLEY had her face injected with industrial, low-grade silicone similar to what's used to lubricate auto parts in Argentina.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE made two separate donations of 100K each to his hometown's Memphis Rock 'N' Soul Museum and the Memphis Music Foundation on Thursday.

DENISE & CHARLIE:  Denise Richards is working on erasing Charlie Sheen from her life.  On Friday, Richards formally requested a family court to legally restore her maiden name from "Denise Sheen." Over the weekend, she also visited a tattoo parlor where she had her "Charlie" tattoo changed into a fairy.

RYAN SEACREST:  Don't bother accusing him of ambitiousness, megalomania or delusions of grandeur. Don't charge him with furtively plotting to become the next Dick Clark, either. Seacrest is plotting, all right, but there's nothing furtive about it.

PAM ANDERSON & RICK SALOMON have had their marriage anulled on the grounds of fraud on Monday.

OWEN WILSON & KATE HUDSON spent Easter weekend together in Miami - and this time, the on-again duo were joined by Hudson's son, Ryder, for a holiday bike ride.

LINDSAY LOHAN's grandmother drove into a tree.  Can you blame her?

THE DARK KNIGHT:  Maggie Gyllenhaal talks to Superhero Hype about replacing Katie Holmes in the upcoming sequel: "I'm Rachel Dawes now. I mean, how many Batmen have there been? Lots of them!"

TINTIN:  Georges Remi's comic books are headed to the big screen in a performance-capture-based film trilogy, to be directed by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson.

HEIDI KLUM: Body painting. Gratuitous Tuesday.

EX-AL-QAEDA:  The Washington Post profiles Khalid al-Hubayshi, who trained for religious warfare, never fought in combat (he was abandoned by bin Laden at Tora Bora) and now says he believes in the political process.  Former 9/11 Commission counsel Michael Jacobsen argues that we need to study those who leave terrorist organizations

IRAQ:  Sunni militia employed by the US to fight AQI are warning of a national strike because they are not being paid regularly.  Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia ordered shops to close in some Baghdad neighborhoods on Monday in what they said was a peaceful protest against what they claim are indiscriminate arrests.  The Interior Minister survived an assassination attempt.  Michael Yon's latest dispatch is from Niveheh province, with the Darkhorse Blackhawk helicopter troop, which is supporting Iraqi army and militia forces: "Combat is likely to heat up in Mosul and western Nineveh by about May. There likely will be some reports of increased US and Iraqi casualties up here, but this does not mean that we are losing ground or that al Qaeda is resurging - though clearly they are trying. If there is an increase in casualties here as we go into the summer of 2008, it is because our people and the Iraqi forces are closing in."  Bill Roggio has photos of a suicide car bomb attack at a checkpoint on the road from Mosul to Tal Afar.

DONKEY SHOW:  Monika the dancing donkey takes a final bow after retiring from a Russian ballet troupe.

FISH can count, according to scientists, who have found that North American mosquito fish have the ability to count up to four.

CAT STOPPED BY HOMELAND SECURITY in a "dirty bomb" investigation.

ANIMAL PLANET craves young adult viewers, so it is promising "gripping entertainment" and is trying new series that "bring out the raw, visceral emotion in the animal kingdom."

GOPHER HUNT causes a massive grass fire in Springbank, Calgary. The silver lining is that Danny Noonan won the high-stakes golf tournament held nearby.

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Black Keys, Mountain Goats, 'Mats, Bunny hoarding   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, March 24, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE BLACK KEYS are profiled in the Wall Street Journal as they try to breakthrough to a wider audience with their upcoming Attack & Release album.  You can stream two advance tracks at 9bullets.  Or you can go to the laser tag-themed video for "Strange Times," via So Much Silence.

PARTNERS in RHYME: Top producer, soulful singer: it's a marriage made in heaven! But how well do Gnarls Barkley really know each other? Leonie Cooper turns an interview into a round of the Newlywed Game.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS visit WNYC's Soundcheck for a chat and mini-set, plus a reading from John Darnielle's book on Black Sabbath's 1971 masterpiece, Master of Reality.

THE REPLACEMENTS:  Licorice Pizza has posted a bootleg of the Mats' last show, played in Chicago's Grant Park on July 4, 1991.  You cans stream the sample track, "Swingin' Party," via the ol' HM.

ROBERT PLANT tops Canadian folk magazine Penguin Eggs' seventh annual critics poll.  "To anyone who has followed Plant's career of late, that's not as strange as it seems," said Penguin Eggs publisher, Roddy Campbell, of Plant's collaboration with bluegrass superstar Alison Krauss on their album, Raising Sand.

THE BEACH BOYS amicably settled a long legal dispute over rights to the band's name, possibly pave the way for a long-awaited reunion of the band's three surviving co-founders -- Brian Wilson, cousin Mike Love and Al Jardine -- as they approach their 50th anniversary.  It put me in the mood for Brian's solo version of "Heroes and Villains," plus a bootleg clip of Jardine joining Brian on "The Little Girl I Once Knew" from 2007.

SUPERGRASS tell The Scotsman how a little bit of wife-swapping and a near-death experience goes a long way.

THE NEW FRONTIERS do the four free songs thing for Daytrotter, three previously unreleased.

JENS LEKMAN:  Michaelangelo Matmos tells you five or six things he knows about the sardonic-romantic singer-songwriter from Gothenburg, Sweden.

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe talks to Billboard about the upcoming album and the lead single, "Supernatural Superserious": "We all have our geek moments that we kind of carry with us or that have some impact on us throughout our lives (laughs). I hate to use the term 'geek anthem' but it's a little bit, for me, like that."

BRITNEY SPEARS's vocal recording secret is exposed by Henry Rollins.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, the pop wreck's 16-year-old knocked up sister, is seeking professional help for her emotional issues, according to the ever-reliable National Enquirer.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Horton Hears a Who? repeats as box office champ with 25.1 million; that's a 44 percent drop, comparable to the Ice Age franchise over Easter weekends.  Horton has grossed back its 85 million production budget and should end up plenty profitable. Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns was a strong second with 20 million on only only 2,006 screens.  Shutter came in a distant third with 10.7 million; maybe teens are tiring of Asian horror remakes.  Drillbit Taylor was close behind with 10.2 million, but given the an ultra-wide 3,056 screen release, one has to wonder if Judd Apatow is hitting a dry patch.  10,000 B.C had a better weekend than expected, amking 8.7 mill, dropping only 48 percent.  Vantage Point and The Bank Job held pretty well, while Under the Same Moon snuck into the Top Ten, with America Ferrara perhaps boosting it beyond a Hispanic audience.

BRADGELINA gave more than eight million dollars to charities through the Jolie Pitt Foundation in 2006.  The first year's filing show the foundation's expenses were a mere 27K.  The figure does not include Pitt's Make It Right Foundation, which is going to help build sustainable housing in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward -- and reportedly has raised an additional five million dollars.

SIENNA MILLER and RHYS IFANS are officially engaged, according to his mother.  The couple is alleged to be planning a summer wedding.

JAMIE LEE CURTIS has posed topless to mark her 50th birthday, for the cover of AARP magazine, to convince older women that they can still be beautiful if they take care of their bodies.

KATE BECKINSALE tells Moviefone that she would rather eat kitty than sushi -- or something like that, while noting that her publicist "has literally turned a funny color and is going to go have a lie-down..."

THE McCARTNEYS:  Hearther Mills wants to go back to the High Court, hoping to lift a gag order that prevents her going public on her doomed marriage to Sir Paul.  Mills will argue that a court order banning her from speaking about the proceedings, in which she won £24.3million, should be lifted because it leaves her with no right of reply.

JOE SIMPSON, Jessica & Ashlee's creepy dad-manager has been acting a lot like a single man and making an even bigger fool of himself.

THE JACKSONS:  Stiffed by their superstar brother Michael and plagued by decades of bad fiscal decisions, the once-mighty Jackson family is barely scraping by, with one brother stocking groceries, another repairing cars and others living at home with mom while hoping for sister Janet's next handout.

RYAN PHILLIPPE said nice things about Gyllenspoon and denied rumors of hook-ups with an array of famous women on The Howard Stern Show Thursday.  Meanwhile Reese Witherspoon was snapped buying piglets for their kids.

JOSS WHEDON has wrapped his latest project -- Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, an entirely independent made-for-Internet (but no word yet on where you'll find it) musical-comedy, starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day.

GARY BUSEY, as I forgot to mention, apologized for his misguided attempt to garner attention by embracing Jennifer Garner at last month's Oscars.  Which is a good excuse to watch the incident again.

PEEPS:  What with being ill most of last week, I forgot to do a Peeps blurb for the Easter holiday -- all the more unforgivable once you know my Dad even e-mailed me about it.  But there are probably cheep Peeps in stores today, so here's a link to a Peeps gallery and to The Lord of the Peeps.

AFGHANISTAN:  There is increasing talk of a troop "surge" to reinvigorate the war effort against the Taliban and other extremist factions.  The US is now sending some 3200 Marines, but senior defense officials expect some announcements to come at next month's NATO summit in Bucharest, including a possible commitment by France to send as many as 700 additional troops.

IRAQ:  Shiite leaders warned followers in Friday prayers to brace for more violence following a gruesome attack by a female suicide bomber earlier in the week and continued clashes between Iraqi security forces and followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.  Renewed violence in Kut could test a cease-fire ordered by Sadr last August.  AQI has decided to enlist widows to carry out suicide bombings, according to a study by the Voices of Iraq news agency.  The US military said on Saturday it had hampered al Qaeda's ability to recruit new members in Iraq by capturing or killing many of the people who make slick videos used to attract disaffected young Muslims.

IRAQ PRE-WAR INTELL:  David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group, tells Der Spiegel that the German intelligence service BND created the "biggest fiasco" in his career in intelligence by failing to do even the most basic vetting of their Curveball source before the Iraq war, and then lying about him to keep Americans from verifying his authenticity.

MALE MOOSE can hear for miles and miles.  So don't think they don't know about the little tricks you play.

BUNNY HOARDING:  Police removed 57 rabbits from a home in... wait for it.... Egg Harbor, NJ, after a raid revealed that many had soars, open wounds, tumors and lesions.  Just in time for Easter.

THEY CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA:  Huge sea snails, jellyfish with tentacles up to 4 meters (yards) long and starfish the size of big food platters were some of the species found during a major survey of New Zealand's Antarctic seas that ended last week.

ROGUE RATS savage woman on toilet.

A GOOSE passes for a swan under the Tamar Bridge in Plymouth, England.

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MMJ, Stephen Malkmus, Cutout Bin, Jerry the Dachshund   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 21, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with MY MORNING JACKET!  Breakfast on Tour has video of eight new MMJ songs from the band's upcoming Evil Urges LP -- performed live in Houston -- for your viewing and listening enjoyment.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND singer-guitarist Ezra Koenig talks to the L.A. Times about being a "blog buzz band": "You'll hear about bands on blogs now," he observes, "because that's just a new form of media. Yeah, some bloggers really got behind us, which is awesome. But I think that before, like, 90% of any blogs wrote about us, we had a piece in the New York Times. So does that make us, like, 'a newspaper band'?"

STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.  Malkmus also talks to the Nashville Scene about new drummer Janet Weiss, his parents' record collection and being "the Pavement dude."

THE INDIE ROCK 25:  Entertainment Weekly compiles its list of the adventurous artists and albums that defined each year from 1984 to the present outside the major label sphere.

BOB MOULD is pressured into a round of "Who'd You Rather Dü?"

THE MUSIC EXPLO SION sync their way through the classic "Little Bit O'So ul."

MOUNTAIN GOATS mastermind John Darnielle does a presser on the difference between songwriting and writing prose.

FOURTEEN OVERBLOWN CHARITY/ADVOCACY SONGS, besides "We Are The World" (with embedded videos) courtesy of The A.V. Club.

TIFT MERRITT brings her country-Americana to Studio 4A for chat and mini-set you can stream via NPR.

AMY WINEHOUSE, nekkid.  More like a Wendy O. Williams duct tape special, really.

THE CUTOUT BIN:  From Strauss to Billy Bragg, from Muddy Waters to the dBs, from Johnny Cash to The Kinks, to AC/DC unplugged and the arrival of spring announced by Thin Lizzy, this Good Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM.

BRITNEY SPEARS is worth 120 million dollars to the US economy, according to big business magazine Portfolio.  After an exhaustive study, the magazine has published statistics that make the pop wreck a boost to American finances.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, Britney's 16-year-old knocked up sister,  is living it up - shopping, hanging out with her friends and behaving like any other normal teenage girl with less than three months left before she becomes a mom.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases include Drillbit Taylor, an Owen Wilson comedy currently scoring 21 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, plus the horror flik Shutter and Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, which were either embargoed or not screened for critics.

JENNIFER LOPEZ's babies are finally going public in this week's issue of People, but several sources familiar with the early stages of bidding among the many interested magazines said that the arrangement wasn't an easy deal to strike.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie is said to be "ecstatic" to be expecting a boy and a girl, according to the Daily Mail.

THE McCARTNEYS:  I think I forgot to note that Heather Mills, after being awarded £700/hr. in her divorce from Sir Paul McCartney, responded by throwing a glass of water over the hair of Sir Paul's lawyer.  Mills may not have cared for the High Court ruling, which stated that Mills had a "warped perception" of the world, "indulged in make-believe," was "not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid" and criticized her "explosive and volatile character."

OWEN WILSON & KATE HUDSON are definitely rekindling their romance in Miami, according to the NYP's Page Six.  On Monday, the duo "ate off each other's plates" at a local restaurant, according to a source.

LINDSAY LOHAN's ex boyfriend Calum Best denies that images making the rounds are from a sex tape of them.  Meanwhile, the ever-reliable Star magazine claims two Hollywood lesbians are fighting for her affections.

RYAN PHILLIPPE, a/k/a Reese Witherspoon's ex, told Jay Leno he has stopped Googling himself: "Some of the stuff that you see when you are someone who is known is so depressing. Just the comments. People make really hateful comments sometimes, because there's anonymity and you can get away with it."  And that's even before you get to movie critics.

WHY IS THIS SATURDAY DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER DAYS?  Because ABC has its annual showing of The Ten Commandments.  A critic once called it "sublime hootchy-kootchy hokum," a description that can't be improved upon.  Most people will immediately think of Charlton Heston as Moses, but the grand DeMille spectacle also featured acting from Edward G. Robinson and Anne Baxter that is so over-the-top that Yul Brenner starts to look good by comparison.  And while Robinson's Dathan never actually spoke the line "Where's your Messiah now?" at the Red Sea in the movie, it  -- like "Play It Again, Sam" (not spoken in Casablanca) -- has become part of a part of our culture. The line actually comes from Billy Crystal (sample), originally a bit from the Oscars, iirc. It later turned up o­n The Simpsons, with Chief Wiggum playing Dathan to Ned Flanders' Moses.

GLOBAL WARMING:  Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming.  But some 3000 diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS plan to retrain its 40000 prayer leaders - also known as imams - in an effort to counter militant Islam.

IRAQ:  A growing number of foreign fighters are leaving or attempting to flee Iraq as US and Iraqi forces have weakened AQI and forced its members from former strongholds, US military officials say.  The departure of some fighters doesn't mean al-Qaeda is quitting the fight, said Brig. Gen. Brian Keller, the chief intelligence officer for the US command in Iraq.  Gen. David Petraeus said Iran continues to support Iraqi insurgents and Syria is allowing foreign fighters passage into Iraq.  The NYT looks at Mosul as a test of the reborn Iraqi Army.

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  Canada's Globe & Mail does a genre piece on the Anbar Awakening: "While U.S. political leaders like to highlight President George W. Bush's 'surge' strategy of more U.S. troops on the ground to explain the relative calm, local commanders say much of the credit has to go to the Sahwa, as well as a decision last year by radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to impose a temporary ceasefire on his militia, the Mahdi Army."  Yet the same reporter also quotes one of the Awakening's leaders: "We have suffered for two years from al-Qaeda in Anbar. Most of Anbar was destroyed," said Sheik Ali al-Hatem, the head of Iraq's powerful Dulaimi tribe, explaining his decision to help form the Sahwa, or "Awakening," councils. There was another reason too, he confesses: "The American army right now is the power on the ground. We have to be realistic."  The Awakening likely would not have happened without year after year of gritty, relentless patrolling by US troops that convinced the tribes the American military was, as one tribal leader said to Bing West, "the strongest tribe."  Similarly, al-Sadr's ceasefire has a little something to do with the way the Mahdi Army got its rear end handed to it in any engagement with the US and the realization that the US wasn't leaving immediately.

JERRY the DACHSHUND plays fetch with himself.  Awww...

PANDA is a miniature seeing-eye pony in North Carolina.  Awww...

THE MOUSE-DEER of Sri Lanka finally has been photographed to a ‘publishable standard' under truly wild conditions.  Awww...

A 75-LB STINGRAY killed a Michigan woman Thursday when it flew out of the water and struck her face as she rode a boat in the Florida Keys, officials said.  Oooh!

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