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Magic Numbers, Dylan, Stamey, Van Morrison, Fluffy the Snake   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 30, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE MAGIC NUMBERS sound a bit laid back on "Undecided," the title track from an EP due this September.

BOB DYLAN at NEWPORT:  Heather Browne is streaming another memorble moment in rock history, as Bob plugs in with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

THE 20 BEST LIVE BANDS RIGHT NOW, according to the Rolling Stone blog.

CHRIS STAMEY:  Flowering Toilet has posted three tracks from his "unjustly overlooked classic," It's Alright.  You can (and should) jukebox 'em via the ol' HM, especially the gorgeous "Cara Lee."

DAYTROTTER creator Sean Moeller gives a pretty passionate interview to CBC Radio 3, including his "want list" of artists he's like to record for the site.  (Thanks, Chromewaves.)

PAUL STANLEY of KISS had to bow out of a Southern California concert because of heart problems before the show.

PREFAB SPROUT perform one of may fave songs of theirs -- "Faron Young" -- in Munich, circa 1985.

THE PHIL SPECTOR TRIAL is shaping up as a L.A. Noir classic, according to local prosecutor and blogger Patterico.

WES ANDERSON:  The release of the trailer of The Darjeeling Limited inspired The Yellow Stereo (jukebox Jul 26) and An Aquarium Drunkard (jukebox) to dip into past Anderson soundtracks.

CAPTAIN'S DEAD is streaming boots of R.E.M in NC circa September 1984 and Van Morrison in Sacramento circa September 1971.  The title to the Van post is yet another Wes Anderson reference.

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD of the UNDEAD:  Bids for Keef's' autobiography reached a whopping 7.3 million bucks at an auction in NYC last week.  Fears that Richards may "do a Jagger" and renege on the deal because he can't recall enough of his infamously debauched past have been dismissed by his agent.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE:  The supposedly sober supermodel is reportedly trying to get over her split from the troubled singer by... spending "quiet time" with Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood?

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Woo-Hoo!  The Simpsons Movie raked in almost 72 million -- much more D-oh than even the optimists projected last week, in a masterpiece of media synergy.  Homer & Co. set an opening weekend record for a movie based on a TV series, edging out Transformers in the category.  It should do well worldwide, but whether it has legs remains to be seen.  The Adam Sandler comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry fell 44 percent from its debut -- about typical for a Sandler comedy -- to make about 19 million.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was third with 17.1 million.  Hairspray was fourth with 15.5 million.   The Top Five was rounded out by the Catherine Zeta-Jones comedy No Reservations, which debuted with 11.8 million.  Transformers dropped a not-bad 44 percent to sixth place with 11.5 million.  Ratatouille dropped 34 percent, making another 7.2 million.  Live Free or Die Hard dropped 24 percent and made 5.3 million.  Lindsay Lohan's I Know Who Killed Me debuted in ninth place with 3.2 million, while Who's Your Caddy? opened in tenth with 2.9 million.

NICOLE RICHIE follows her ex-BFF French Hotel to the Greybar Hotel for a few days by the end of September.

MADONNA is considering leaving Warner Music Group in favor of an all-encompassing music deal with touring giant Live Nation that could be worth more than 100 million dollars.

STEVE MARTIN married girlfriend Anne Stringfield in a ceremony presided over by fmr. Sen. Bob Kerrey at Martin's L.A. home over the weekend.  Most of the roughly 75 guests - who included Tom Hanks, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Carl Reiner and Ricky Jay - were not told that he and Stringfield would wed when they were invited to his home for a "party."

EDDIE MURPHY and his girlfriend of 10 months, Tracey Edmonds got engaged on July 25.

JESSICA SIMPSON:  Creepy dad-manager found his (current limit), turning down a role as a pr0n starlet.

BRITNEY SPEARS, looking dead-eyed and disoriented, lost it during a shambolic video shoot and ended up "sobbing hysterically," according to the uber-reliable News of the World (backup link).  Estranged hubby Fed-Ex is demanding that the pop tart return with the kids from Las Vegas, where son Sean Preston was struck during an altercation between Spears' bodyguard and a photographer.

LINDSAY LOHAN may be sued by Dante Nigro, Jakon Sutter and Ronnie Blake  -- the three men who say they were passengers riding with her on the morning of her arrest.  Meanwhile, a judge chided Michael Lohan on Friday for his failure to make child support payments to Li-Lo's younger brother and sister since his release from prison earlier this year.

JOHNNY DEPP is developing a feature based on the '60s daytime supernatural sudser Dark Shadows.  Depp has said that he has always been obsessed with the show and had, as a child, wanted to be vampire patriarch Barnabas Collins.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie has tallied up like a kinky scorecard in a new book that sizes her up as having more talent as a publicity machine than an actress.

ISLA FISHER is finally talking about her pregnancy by her fiancé, Borat funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen.  But it's SNL filmmaker and co-star Andy Samberg that gets the punchlines.

THE DARK KNIGHT has been shooting along my route home from work; there's prop helicopter wreckage behind the Federal Reserve Bank at the moment.  The teaser trailer for the flick debuted in front of The Simpsons Movie, which reminds me to post this little bootleg clip of the Batmobile and the Batpod on lower Wacker Drive.

PRINCE currently known as William opened the 21st World Scout Jamboree, marking the 100th anniversary of the movement's founding.  Around 40,000 young people from around the world are at the 12-day event at Hylands Park near Chelmsford, Essex.  Pate site member Ken King is there too, so I could have headlined it "King Marks Scouting Centenary."  Indeed, he dropped me line that there have been no electrocutions so far.

GIT OUT of GITMO?  At least 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or recaptured after taking up arms against allied forces following their release.  An analysis of 516 Guantanamo detainees found that while there was no evidence linking six of them to terrorist activities, 95 percent were a potential threat to US interests.

THE FOUNDER of EGYPTIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD is putting the finishing touches to a remarkable recantation that undermines the Muslim theological basis for violent jihad and is set to generate furious controversy among former comrades still fighting with al-Qaeda.

PAKISTAN:  Pakistan's military leader, General Pervez Musharraf, has held secret talks with his rival Benazir Bhutto in the Middle East to discuss a power-sharing arrangement that could extend his presidency.

IRAQ:  Fighting has erupted between Shiite political factions in the southern cities of Basra, Diwaniya, Karbala, Nasiriya and Samawa in recent months.  Bill Roggio rounds up coverage of Coalition and Iraq security forces fighting the Iranian-backed "rogue" elements of the Mahdi Army and the Special Groups in Karbala, Baghdad and in Diyala province.  The Iraqi government strongly criticized the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front on Friday, accusing it of using threatening, pressures and blackmailing ways to cripple the work of the government and the parliament.  The IAF has said that it will withdraw from the Iraqi government if its 11-point demands are not met.  The government-funded al-Sabah newspaper quoted MP Haidar al-Abbadi from the Shiite Unified Iraqi Coalition as saying that a tripartite meeting was held on Saturday between the UIC, the Kurdistan Alliance and the IAF to tackle thorny issues.  The Small Wars Journal suggests that the story that Prime Minister al-Maliki sought the removal of Gen. Petraeus is greatly exaggerated.  Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack --  two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush Admin's "miserable handling of Iraq" -- are back from Iraq and were  "surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily 'victory' but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with."

IRAQ and the MEDIA:  I would have dropped The New Republic's "Baghdad Diarist" controversy, but for the Columbia Journalism Review publishing a piece claiming that the criticism of poor Pvt. Beauchamp was "mostly led by the know-nothing Michelle Malkin's (sic) of the world," and that joining the Army is "something most of the brave souls who inhabit the milblog community prefers to leave to others."  In reality, Michael Goldfarb first raised the issue based on comments from "several people with experience in Iraq."  And McLeary clearly does not know what the milblog community is, as Beachamp's critics were mostly soldiers at the Mudville Gazette, Blackfive, Badgers Forward, Vox Veterana, Dadmanly, Eighty Duece on the Loose, and OpFor, to name just a few -- almost all of whom are Iraq vets.  This sort of grotesque distortion is unworthy of a journal supposedly dedicated to encouraging and stimulating excellence in journalism in the service of a free society.

IRAQ and the MEDIA II:  The New York Times was so baffled by its own poll showing increased support for the invasion and a a drop in the number of people who said the war was going badly that they wrote an entire story about their bafflement.  That the latter finding might be related to the former finding has not occurred to the paper.  Perhaps folks there should start reading the recent stories filed by their own reporters John Burns and Michael Gordon.

A CROW hooked on lager sticks his beak in his favourite tipple - defying a furious landlady who has barred him from her pub.

A DOG is found 2000 miles from his Australian home after going missing for two months.  Credit those implantable microchips.

FLUFFY, a 5-foot-long black-and-tan boa constrictor, is on the loose near a golf course in Memphis.  Owner Dana Shields said she named him that so people would be less fearful of him.  I'm not clear on how some hapless golfer will know the snake's name.

A GREAT WHITE SHARK was spotted off the coast of Cornwall in the UK.  Always the worst thing during tourist season.

BUTTHEAD the PYGMY GOAT mysteriously returns to Lincolnsfield's Farmyard Funworld.

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Danny & Dusty, Teddy Thompson, Covers, Cutout Bin, Giant Squid   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 27, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with DANNY & DUSTY!  Among americana aficionados, 1985's The Lost Weekend is one of those classic under-the-radar epistles of twang.  In the original days of Pate, the album was in frequent rotation at the Music Works ("It's not a record store, it's a hangout!")  Harp magazine talked to Green on Red's Dan Stuart (Danny) and the Dream Syndicate's Steve Wynn (Dusty) as they headed out for a European D&D tour in support of their second album.  We have clips of the current lineup taking on old faves "Baby, We All Gotta Go Down" and "King of the Losers," along with new tracks like "The Good Old Days" and "Cast Iron Soul."  BONUS:  Here's a re-link to that rare 1986 clip of the original D&D line-up bashing through "The Word Is Out."

 THE LIFEHOUSE METHOD:  You may think of Lifehouse as the sci-fi rock opera The Who abandoned, with remnants surfacing on Who's Next and elsewhere in the early 70s.  But Pete Townshend still wants to take your musical portrait with The Lifehouse Method -- much as Baba O'Riley is said to be based on the reading of his then-guru, Meher Baba.  (Thanks, Ken.)

TEDDY THOMPSON:  His new album of old skool country gets an audio feature and review from Ken Tucker on Fresh Air at NPR.  Or you can go right to the video of Thompson playing the George Jones classic, "She Thinks I Still Care."

THE WHITE STRIPES:  Harp magazine covers Jack's love of his adopted home of Nashville and Meg's contibutions to the new album.  The Young Go-Getter blogs "9 things I learned about business from The White Stripes."

THE WACKIEST COVER SONGS ON THE WEB, according to Blender magazine, has Tubed versions of mostly indie-types tackling the mainstream charts.

EVERY MOTHER'S SON wants you to "Come On Down To My Boat, Baby."

SONIC YOUTH COVERS:  Copy, Right? posts others' takes on the avant-rockers, including tracks from Camper Van Beethoven, The Go! Team and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  You can jukebox 'em via the ol' HM.

DAMON ALBARN, of Blur, Gorillaz, and The Good, the Bad and the Queen, has scored an opera -- Monkey: Journey to the West -- which had its début run in Manchester.  Sasha Frere-Jones writes, "There is even a catchy song about peaches that could possibly make it as a pop single, if the English-speaking world were ready for a hit in Mandarin."

NICK LOWE did an interview and in-studio performance (new stuff, a bit of "634-5789") with Terry Gross for Fresh Air at NPR.  Lowe talks about having a toddler at age 58, and his son's love of rockabilly, and much more.

BOB DYLAN has agreed to let Mark Ronson, the dance world's hottest producer, weave his remix magic on "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)," the bittersweet break-up song from his iconic 1966 album Blonde on Blonde.

THE CUTOUT BIN:  This Friday's fortuitous finds on the ol' HM are: Christopher Walken - More Cowbell; Asia - Heat Of The Moment; Badfinger - No Matter What; The Cure - Friday I'm In Love; Chris Bell - I Am The Cosmos; Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs - Different Drum; David Byrne - I Wanna Dance With Somebody (W. Houston); Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - This Land Is Your Land; Ryan Shaw - Do The 45; The Jackson 5 - ABC; Neko Case - Deep Red Bells; Teddy Thomson & Rufus Wainwright - King Of The Road; Michael Nesmith - I Fall To Pieces (Patsy Cline); Juan Cash - Fuego d'Amor; The Raveonettes - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry; The Ramones - Rockaway Beach; Iggy and The Stooges - Search and Destroy; Sonic Youth - Teen Age Riot; The Jam - When You're Young; The Merseybeats - I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry; Ben Folds - March To Reenergize Iowa; and Marshall Crenshaw - Let Her Dance (Bobby Fuller Four).

THE SIMPSONS MOVIE is pretty much exactly what you would expect.  Oh sure, it's a little more "sophisticated" in having an overarching plot, with subplots and even a little character development (however temporary).  A bit more risque in a couple of images and words that might not meet FCC muster for TV.  It's even a little more technically sophisticated, with some elements clearly done in 3-D by computer and converted into Simpsons-esque 2-D.  But it is, at heart, a long (but short in movie-time at 87 minutes) well-written episode of The Simpsons.  A great opening sequence, funny throughout, laugh-out-loud funny in several spots (which is high for me).  Stay for the credits.

NOW SHOWING:  In addition to The Simpsons Movie, currently scoring 85 percent on the ol' Tomatometer, this weekend's wide releases include Caterine Zeta-Jones making No Reservations and scoring 38 percent, plus Lindsay Lohan as a stripper in I Know Who Killed Me and a hip-hopped take on Caddyshack called Who's Your Caddy? -- neither of which was screened for critics (shocka!).

NAOMI WATTS & LIEV SCHREIBER are proud parents of a baby boy.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  The Arizona man who has been dubbed the "Sultan of Sleaze" for his role in the distribution of celebrity sex tapes was arrested this week for his alleged role in an extortion plot targeting Cruise, according to The Smoking Gun.  On a lighter note, US Weekly has a photo of Cruise and Holmes dirty dancing.  This is best viewed with your back turned to the monitor and using two pieces of card board, one of which has a pinhole to let the light from the monitor project onto the second piece of cardboard.

NATALIE PORTMAN:  Valleywag lists the "Six reasons why Natalie Portman will be the world's best lifecaster."

DAVID HASSELHOFF credits the drunken video of him eating a burger off the floor with bringing "closure" to a troublesome period in his life.

LINDSAY LOHAN may claim that the cocaine found in her possession was not hers and that she was wearing someone else's pants.  The developing spin from Camp Lohan seems to be to blame Lohan assistant Tarin Graham and her mother for the incident, though the NY post helpfully throws in the curse of Zelig-like socialite Dori Cooperman.  Listening to the 911 tape, however, might tell a different story... as do the video interviews with the guys in Lohan's car.

THE 50 CRAZIEST CELEBRITY BABY NAMES:  Glamor model Jordan and her husband, former pop star Peter Andre naming their daughter Princess Tiaamii has inspired the Times of London to listmania.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON just bought an eight-million-dolllar mansion in the Hollywood Hills, boasting seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

BRADGELINA:  Jolie is reportedly "devastated" by the audience rejection of her movie A Mighty Heart, which has earned just nine million at the cineplex.  The flick might have drawn more if Jolie had looked like she does in Beowulf.

THE 25 WORST MOVIE REMAKES of ALL TIME, according to Moviefone.  (Thanks, Dad.)

THE DARJEELING LIMITED:  The trailer for Wes Anderson's upcoming movie can be seen on the Tube or in glorious Quicktime, with some Lola-era Kinks as your soundtrack.

VP DICK CHENEY once confused Jessica Simpson with Jessica Lynch, undoubtedly due to some very bad intell.

IRAQ:  US troop casualty figures that jumped this spring have been gradually dropping as US and Iraqi forces stabilize volatile and dangerous areas, though Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno says he needs more time to be sure it's "a true trend."  Attendance at a convention of Iraqi insurgents in Syria was underwhelming, though attendees were cautiously optimistic that they would be able to throw out the constitution, dissolve the parliament, cancel all resolutions issued from the Bremer era on, and disband the existing security forces after a US withdrawal.  Michael Yon's latest dispatch takes you inside a Tactical Operations Center, where attacks against insurgents are directed with help from an F-16 and a "Shadow" Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

IRAQ in the MEDIA:  The New Republic's "Baghdad Diarist" is revealed to be Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, as TNR continues to seek corroboration of his gruesome tales.  Did TNR know that Pvt. Beauchamp blogged about his antiwar views and ambition to write a book about his service?  Or that he used to be associated with the University of Missouri's creative writing program?  (Semiotician John Barnes must be smiling.)  Pvt. Beauchamp's statement at TNR complains that he is being questioned by people who didn't serve in Iraq, when in fact he was challenged by Iraq vets at blogs like the Mudville Gazette and Blackfive.  He was also challenged by Michael Yon, a former Green Beret who embedded at FOB Falcon.  Indeed, there seem to be any number of military-types who see Pvt. Beachamp as the typical company malcontent.  Columnist Jeff Emanuel is headed to FOB Falcon in September and has offered to help TNR independently investigate Pvt. Beachamp's war stories.  BONUS:  TNR apparently fired someone who revealed that Pvt. Beauchamp is married or engaged to a TNR reporter.  And the Army has launched an formal investigation into the matter, which will certainly end badly for Pvt. Beauchamp -- if his stories are true, heads will roll; if his stories are false, heads will roll.  But Pvt. Beauchamp may yet get his book deal, maybe even a movie deal; after all, it worked for Stephen Glass.

VORACIOUS GIANT SQUID are invading central California waters and preying on local anchovy, hake and other commercial fish populations.  So where's the Nautilus when you need it?

HORNY HEDGEHOGS are disturbing the peace in Germany.  Dins-dale!

IF YOUR ENGINE PURRS LIKE A KITTEN, check under the hood.

BRIAN the HAMSTER, who made a great escape after being dumped in a pile of rubbish, starts a brand new life... as a female.

THE CROW THREAT:  Just outside Enköping, Sweden, a crow flew into an electrical cable, burst into flames and set a field of hay on fire.

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Tegan & Sara, John Vanderslice, Spoon, Ryan Adams, Devo, Fugitive Cow   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 26, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


TEGAN & SARA play for balaclava-bedecked crowd in the video for "Back In Your Head," from The Con LP.

JOHN VANDERSLICE drops his live video for "White Dove" at GvsB as the second stop on his tour of blog love.  He talks about music blogs, business and the world scene at PopMatters, which also links to a full album stream.  And he shuffles his iPod for The A.V. Club.

JENS LEKMAN will finally have his next LP out in October, according to Pitchfork (which rightly raves about his 2006 Pitchfest set in general and "A Postcard to Nina" in particular).

BISHOP ALLEN is streaming The Broken String album in full via Virb; two tracks are offered as free downlaods.

I SAW THEM WHEN:  At The Current's blog, Jaquie Fuller asks, "when you discover a band, isn't there a part of you that feels like a kid who found a chest of pirate loot buried in your backyard?"

SPOON:  The City Paper's Michaelangelo Matmos goes ga-ga for frontman Britt Daniel's solo cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me."  Which seems like a good excuse to point y'all at Spoon's take on "The Underdog" from The Late Show.

GRIZZLY BEAR answer nine questions posed at Ptichfest by Muzzle of Bees. (Thanks, Chromewaves.)

RYAN ADAMS:  Heather Browne is streaming an alternate version of the Easy Tiger LP, as well as the gig she caught in Santa Cruz on July 21st.

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS:  The Boston Globe surveys various Sgt. Pepper's tribute albums, finding that the 1988 compilation, Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father, ramains one of the best.  One highlight of that LP is Sonic Youth's version of "Within You, Without You."

DEVO returns to help sell Dell Computers with a song called "Work It."  There's even a cowbell in it!

LINDSAY LOHAN proclaimed her innocence in a missive Billy Bush, though it lacks any reference to that alcohol test.  TMZ claims that mega-lawyer Blair Berk was desperately seeking Lohan after getting the signal from Lohan's SCRAM braclet.  Lohan's DUI and cocaine arrests endanger two pictures, including the opening of I Know Who Killed Me; comic Rob Schneider dressed in drag to fill in for her on The Tonight Show.  Mega-manager Bernie Brillstein told the NYT: "I hope they put her in jail for as long as they can. Maybe she'll realize how serious it is. I believe she's uninsurable. And when you're uninsurable in this town, you're done."  Li-Lo's inner circle is ripping her parents and say she is less capable of doing jail time than the French Hotel.

THE FRENCH HOTEL:  Speaking of which, it appears that the heirhead has been sampling very sloppy seconds from former O.C. hottie Mischa Barton.  Oh, she's a changed woman after prison, alright.

OPRAH WINFREY tops TV Guide magazine's list of the highest-paid television stars in the United States.

DAVID CRAIG has become the highest paid actor in the UK after signing a £13m contract to reprise his role as James Bond.

BEOWULF:  A hyper-violent and highly sexualized adaptation of the oldest story in the English language (by screenwriters Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary) was served up in digital 3-D projection at Comic-Con in San Diego  last night before screening again in standard digital projection for thousands of genre fans today.  Who wants to see Angelina Jolie emerging naked from a pool of dank cave water, rivulets of gold streaming gently down her body? In 3-D?  Is there a market for that?  ALSO:  Gaiman talks about Comic-Con hits and misses with THR.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  The NYDN has the lowlights from the OK! magazine story on the pop tart's disastrous interview and photo shoot, including letting her puppy poop on a $6,700 Zac Posen gown.  Her latest round of erratic behavior has estranged hubby Fed-Ex wanting sole custody of their two children, according to Life & Style.

DAVID HASSELHOFF admits there are some Baywatch episodes he doesn't even remember filming.  So only the audience suffered.

MADONNA will get you fired for mouthing off about her son.  Frankly, this was a surprise only to the now-unemployed idiot.

STEVEN SPIELBERG, contra a prior report in Business Week, is said to be quite happy with Paramount these days.  A source tells Nikki Finke: "Understandably, Brad Grey's head right now is so far up Steven Spielberg's a$$ that the Paramount chief may never see daylight again."

ALYSSA MILANO:  The former Charmed one is a baseball blogger and -- apparently -- a bit of a baseball Annie as well, having been been previously linked to pitchers Barry Zito, Carl Pavano and Brad Penny.

JESSICA ALBA dumped longtime boyfriend Cash Warren over the phone, and had her people packing his things hours later.  Warren thinks another guy is involved, but I have no comment on that.

9/11 TRUTHER Korey Rowe, who helped produce the conspiracy documentary Loose Change, was arrested Monday for allegedly deserting the Army.

MUSLIM PUBLIC OPINION:  The percentage of Muslims saying that suicide bombing is justified in the defense of Islam has declined dramatically over the past five years in five of eight Muslim countries where trends are available.  The decreasing acceptance of extremism among Muslims also is reflected in declining support for Osama bin Laden.  That still leaves too many potential jihadis for my taste, but it suggests that the unpopularity of the US in the region isn't swelling support for jihad.

IRAN and IRAQ:  People are wondering what to make of the US-Iran agreement to agreed to form a security committee,which will -- according to Amb. Ryan Crocker, "address at an expert or technical level some issues relating to security-be that support to violent militias, Al Qaeda, or border security."  IraqSlogger wonders whether Iran will turn against al-Qaeda.  The analysts at Stratfor wonder whether the US and Iran will create a "purge committee," with the US killing any Iraqi Sunnis who do not cooperate, while the Iranians do the same to rebellious Iraqi Shia.

IRAQ:  Another 18 tribal chiefs signed an agreement to fight terror at a meeting with Iraqi and US officials in Diyala province.  Iraq's largest bloc of Sunni politicians suspended membership in the government.  According to Az-Zaman daily, a major meeting between the heads of political coalitions, scheduled for next Friday, has collapsed due to "Iranian interventions" that were rejected by the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front, and a disagreement over the presence of Iyad 'Allawi in the talks.  Parliament has approved a law privatizing the country's oil-refining sector in order to lure investment and stem a fuel shortage.

IRAQ in the MEDIA:  ABCNews covers the controversy over The New Republic's "Baghdad Diarist."  The Weekly Standard's blog notes problems with some of TNR Editor Franklin Foer's comments in that piece.  John Barnes writes that he is "fairly indifferent to the clash," but offers a semiotic profile of the pseudonymous "Scott Thomas."  Mackubin Thomas Owens (a Vietnam vet and professor of national-security affairs at the Naval War College in Newport) notes that the "Baghdad Diarist" -- as well as a recent article in The Nation -- carry a whiff of the the so-called "Winter Soldier Investigation" during the Vietnam War -- an effort later debunked by James Reston Jr. and Neil Sheehan.  BTW, that article in The Nation is analyzed at The Sword of Achilles.  That The Nation piece is authored by the factually-challenged Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian (daughter of Sami Al-Arian) does not inspire confidence that the claims made were thoroughly investigated.  And Hollywood is jumping on the bandwagon.

A FUGITIVE COW kept the Miami-Dade police on the run most of Tuesday morning in Miami Lakes, FL.  Video at the link.

INVASION of the JELLYFISH:  A plague of stingers is causing havoc at beaches around Europe.  Global warming is blamed -- without any quotes from scientists, natch.

CATS and RATS have teamed up to sniff out the more than 100K landmines planted mostly by leftist rebels across Columbia.

NIMRA the CAT has adopted seven chicks to rear alongside her own litter of kittens.  Awww...some pics at the link.

OSCAR the CAT, otoh, seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. (Thanks, Lance.)

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White Rabbits, Steve Miller, Scott Matthews, Jessica the Hippo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 25, 2007 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE WHITE RABBITS have been getting enough blog buzz that I should have blurbed them before they got to play "The Plot" on The Late Show with Dave.  This Brooklyn-by-way-of-Missouri sextet has the energy of native NYC bands like The Strokes, but with a ska influence reminiscent of early Madness or (especially) The Specials.  Indeed, their interest in rhythm occasionally has a slight tropical bent, too.  Pitchfork gave their debut LP, Fort Nightly, a decent 8.1 score.  You can currently stream a bunch of tracks from the album via the ol' HM.  The band also did the Daytrotter interview, plus free songs, three of which are brand new.

THE SWELL SEASON:  The Chicago Sun-Times profiles singer-songwriters Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova -- who wrote the music for the hit Irish indie film, Once, as well as star in it.  You can stream a few tracks from SwellSpace.

MARNIE STERN may exude "cheeky optimism," but the WaPo's Express also notes that she "pairs frenetic fretwork with crunching barre chords."  Interview and embedded video at the link.

HARD-FI:  The Clash-influenced rockers have their sophomore LP due in September, but the single, "Suburban Knights," is already streaming at TheirSpace.  If you've never heard them, I'd start with "Cash Machine," though.

DANIEL JOHNSON, the manic depressive singer-songwriter and artist talked to Drowned in Sound while touring the UK.

STEVE MILLER:  You know why people keep talking about him.  He came to mind because The Simpsons Movie arrives Friday, which had me thinking about "The Way We Was."

SON VOLT welcomes David Beckham to the US with a cover of The Fab Four's "Hello, Goodbye" for ESPN.

STAX RECORDS is honoring its own legacy by expanding the original double-LP release from the legendary Wattstax festival into a 3-CD collection featuring 47 songs.

SCOTT MATTHEWS: "Frequently (and justifiably) compared to a cross between Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake," according to David Dye at the World Cafe, you can stream a twofer and judge for yourself.

IS JONI MITCHELL the next major artist to sign with Starbucks?

DRINKY BLOHAN:  Though her enabling mother carefully said she is "in a safe place" and her lawyer carefully said she is "receiving medical care," it appears that Lindsay Lohan is not in rehab following yesterday's new arrest on DUI and cocaine charges.  The paparazzi at X17 claim that Li-Lo had been "desperate" for cash in recent days, offering to sell photos to the agency for 30 grand.  The actress was recently dumped by her on-off boyfriend Callum Best - because she's "too boring" when she's sober, according to British tabloid reports.  The producers of Lohan's next film remain hopeful the film will not be completely shelved amid reported financial troubles and Lohan's possible jail time.

BRITNEY SPEARS was snapped driving with her son on her lap again, which caused the pop tart to explode at the photogs.  And OK! Magazine says they're going to show Britney as she really was on the day of her disastrous photo shoot.

JOHNNY DEPP turned Pirate of the Mediterranean, setting sail for a romantic getaway with his long-term partner, French actress Vanessa Paradis.  Ladies, your shirtless Depp pics are at the link.

PAUL POTTS is keeping his day job, in case the opera singing gig doesn't pan out.  He entered the Britain's Got Talent competition on a coin-flip.

ENSIGN PAVEL CHEKHOV hopes to rally Starfleet cadets against Myanmar's military junta, an earthly "outpost of tyranny."

FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF:  Aussie writer Sam de Brito blogs that "everything you need to know about life is contained in the 102 minute running time of this '80s classic."

24 casts America's first lesbian President -- Cherry Jones, who irl is partnered with the younger and hotter Sarah Paulson.

HOT GHETTO MESS may not be the best name for a TV show, even if it's airing on BET.  The concept of the show -- based on a website by that name -- is intriguing.

THE 77 MOST UNFORGETTABLE MOVIE SONGS --except musicals -- according to AOL Music.

THE 20 BEST & WORST CELEB BLOGS, according to Entertainment Weekly.

WOULD YOU LIKE A CHUTNEY SQUISHEE?  With The Simpsons Movie looming -- complete with the promotion turning 7-Eleven stores into Kwik-E-Marts -- Indian media has been making much ado about Apu.  Some desis see the Apu character and promotion as a travesty, others as much Apu about nothing.

WARD CHURCHILL, the Colorado prof who became infamous for calling some of the World Trade Center victims "little Eichmanns" in an essay, has been fired for "repeated and deliberate" infractions of scholarship rules.  He vows to sue.

IRAN:  The French Press Agency goes on patrol with the Fashion Police.  Women not hewing to the strict Islamic dress code are arrested and sent to a "center for combating vice."

IRAQ:  In the second round of US-Iran talks, the two sides agreed to form a new panel for more regular cooperation on Iraq security issues.  US Amb. Ryan Crocker notes that added that since Iranian and US reps last met to discuss the matter two months ago, Iranian-supported militia attacks on US and Iraqi forces had seen "an escalation, not a de-escalation."  So, anyone want odds on the Iranians cooperating?   The Islamic State of Iraq denied that US troops had captured the highest ranking Iraqi in the leadership of AQ and that that the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq - identified as Abu Omar al-Baghdadi - was a "fictional role" and that an actor is used for audio recordings of speeches posted on the Web.  Anyone hear from Khaled al-Mashhadani lately?  Blogger Michael J. Totten has a photo essay from his patrol in Baghdad's Graya'at neighborhood with the 82nd Airborne.  IraqSlogger has a map showing the remaining hotspots of sectarian violence in Baghdad, though the site's claim that that the number of unidentified bodies in the capital has risen again to pre-surge levels over the last two months doesn't jibe with the actual numbers.

IRAQ in the MEDIA:  London's Guardian and Observer recently ran a remarkably (for them) even-handed piece on the state of the nation, esp. northern Iraq: "For there are two Iraqs in evidence these days: not just the one where weddings are bombed and young women murdered in reply. The other Iraq is harder to dramatise but it is equally real. It is a place where boring, ordinary things take place. And in taking place become extraordinary in the context of conflict," later adding, "the expectation that America may be crumbling over Iraq - and may leave soon - has acted as an accelerant where the violence is worst..."

IRAQ in the MEDIA II:  The New Republic has been running articles attributed to a US soldier in Baghdad using the pen name "Scott Thomas," describing gruesome incidents in Iraq.  Last week, The Weekly Standard questioned the veracity of the New Republic articles in a variety of areas, including the design and operation of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the non-existence of a "Saddam-era mass grave site" described in the TNR articles.  TNR Editor Franklin Foer originally posted on the mag's blog, claiming he was getting corroboration from other soldiers, but yesterday told the NYT it's difficult to get them on the phone.  Vietnam vet Bruce Kesler writes that neither TNR nor The Weekly Standard have fared well in this episode, though he clearly is skeptical of the TNR pieces.  You would think that the mag that published all those stories from Stephen Glass would have corroborated these inflammatory articles before running them.

JESSICA the HIPPO:  If you watch only one ridiculously cute video about a domesticated hippo today, make it this one.  And when you think it can't get cuter, it does.

A COYOTE has been running around the southern end of Chicago's Lincoln Park, and he seems to be too wily for animal control right now.  Let's go to the video... or the slideshow.

PRIZE-WINNING POODLE Afonwen Welch Fusilier is the latest victim of identity theft.

OCTOPUS turns archaeologist, uncovers sunken treasure of the coast of South Korea.

ASSAULT with a DEADLY TURKEY charged in Seffner, Florida.

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Lohan Busted Again -- I'm Shocked! Shocked!!!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 24, 2007 - 04:11 PM
Posted by: Karl


LINDSAY LOHAN was popped early this morning for possession of cocaine, driving under the influence, transporting a narcotic into a custodial facility and driving on a suspended license  -- her second bust in less than three months.  Law enforcement now says Lohan was stopped after cops got a call of a vehicle being chased by another vehicle. The chasing vehicle was being driven by Lohan.   If convicted, she would almost certainly do time, especially with another possible DUI looming.  Here's your mugshot.  It seems that TMZ will be all over this story, so you can always check the Li-Lo category for updates throughout the day.

The usual daily tripe is below.

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