MEMORIAL DAY has become -- in the minds of some -- a day devoted to uncovering their swimming pools and barbeques. So take a moment (preferably at 3 p.m. local time) to remember what it's really about. The Wikipedia entry for Memorial Day notes a race track connection unrelated to the INdy 500 -- and even mentions the Drive-By Truckers. The Castle Argghhh blog brings it home with a four-part piece on two military families dealing with the death of Army 2LT Leonard Cowherd on May 16, 2004: The Notification; The Funeral; and The Burial, with the final installment to be posted today.
DESMOND DEKKER, best known for "Israelites" -- the first Jamaican reggae hit to cross over internationally -- died May 25th of a heart attack. Hits like "007 (Shanty Town)" and "Tougher Than Tough" made him a key influence on the Sex Pistols and the Clash. BONUS: The video for a slower version of "Israelites."
BLOG RADIO debuts tonight on Sirius Satellite Radio. Weeknights at 10 Eastern, a blogger will host the new show and showcase his or her favorite music and provide insights into the indie rock music scene. Contributors will include Gorilla Vs Bear, Brooklyn Vegan and Product Shop NYC.
GNARLS BARKLEY made their US TV debut on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Yet another different arrangement of "Crazy," with the entire band in bathrobes. Not as good as the TOTP version, but still pretty cool. Will NBC's lawyers have it yanked from YouTube before you see it? If so, you can stream the audio from the Hype Machine.
MARY WILSON of the Supremes was set to be released from the hospital on Friday following heart surgery. There hasn't been any update on the wires, so let's hope no news is good news.
THE TOP 50 CONSERVATIVE SONGS? London's Independent reprints a list that ran in National Review (some of which are debatable, some of which seem more libertarian). Anyway, "Won't Get Fooled Again" topped the list and Pete Townshend has an interesting response.
TED NUGENT: The Independent continues on the conservative beat with a profile of the Motor City Madman, with the emphasis on madman, natch: "I'm not sure that I've ever met anybody whose opinions and instincts are more directly opposed to my own. And yet, in some odd way, I find Ted Nugent impossible to dislike: I think because I consider him to be a psychotic -- by the classic definition that he does not perceive the world as others do." Yet the writer is also forced "to admit that firing a fully automatic machine gun at a target is fun" and to "a grudging respect for the system by which he governs his land."
SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Okay, my concession to Memorial Day-as-the-start-of-summer is to offer up a repeat of the Pipettes' "Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me," which is my current nominee for feel-good hit of the summer (along with Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy"). Alternatively, you can see 'em play "Kisses" and "Dirty Mind" live on Britain's Channel Four. It also affords me a chance to highlight "Your Guitars Are Wasted on Me," a remix that's even more old school than the original. And there's even more to stream via the Hype Machine.
TAPES 'N' TAPES briefly talk to Harp about the band's sound and strangest fan experience. You can hear 'em via MySpace.
MARILYN MANSON has a rather odd theory about moustaches.
ELVIS COSTELLO listed his 500 essential albums for Vanity Fair in 2000. I suspect he would pick The Replacements' "best of" now. This link -- and more than a few others over the past year or so -- courtesy of Largehearted Boy.
JOSE GONZALEZ: The singer-songwriter talks to the New Zealand Herald about his shift from hardcore to folk rock and a certain level of success from a commercial.
PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Canada's Globe and Mail sketches a timeline of the troubled singer's rise to fame and descent to infamy.
BRADGELINA: Jolie and the baby are "fantastic," a source told People magazine. Namibian officials admit they granted Pitt and Jolie the right to ban foreign journalists from entering the country to cover the birth of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. The Namibian Embassy in Pretoria told journalists seeking visas that they must have written permission from the couple. Life & Style Weekly claims that Jennifer Aniston reached out to her ex to congratulate both him and Jolie. Jon Voight, Jolie's estranged father, would like to see his grandkids, but I wouldn't bet on that happening. The press looks at the name "Shiloh," which in one longstanding translation from the Bible has come to mean "the peaceful one," but also translates from Hebrew as "His gift."
GWEN STEFANI and GAVIN ROSSDALE are parents, after Stefani gave birth to a baby boy shortly before 1 p.m. on Friday. Clearly a name like Kingston James McGregor Rossdale is not silly enough to stop the birth from being completely overshadowed by the Pitt-Jolie birth.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: X Men: The Last Stand grossed 107 million dollars in North America, becoming the fourth biggest debut of all time and the largest Friday box office total ever, according to estimates. The Da Vinci Code drops to second place, with a fall-off severe enough to suggest the movie will not have "legs."
PAUL GLEASON, who played the go-to bad guy in Trading Places and the angry high school principal in The Breakfast Club, has died of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer linked to asbestos. He was 67.
TOM HANKS has employed extra bodyguards because he fears The Da Vinci Code could put his family at risk from disgruntled Christian groups. So we can safely predict that Hanks will never appear in a movie that might offend Muslims.
HILARY SWANK and CHAD LOWE are divorcing. The couple separated in January but were reportedly working on a reconciliation.
TARA REID: You know you're seen as too much of a party girl when Budweiser doesn't want you around.
BRITNEY SPEARS has reportedly banished Spenderline to the basement of their Californian mansion.
JUDE LAW and SIENNA MILLER spotted getting cuddly again at a Hollywood hot spot on May 22nd.
NETFLIX plans on offering flicks by net by year's end.
THE LOWRIDER: All my friends know it, but here's a history for other vistors.
EMMY ROSSUM (how's the career? ouch!) says the school she and Gwyneth Paltrow attended was full of Mean Girls.
KATE MOSS is kung fu fighting the paparazzi. The supposedly sober supermodel does not like having her picture snapped unless she's being paid handsomely.
IRAQ: Military investigators believe that Marines wantonly killed unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children, and then tried to cover up the slayings in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha. Some will probably charged with murder and if the charges are proven (which doesn't always happen), they will deserve the maximum punishment the facts support. Horrible, tragic crimes do happen in war. Americans willl recall the My Lai massacre, which killed hundreds, but there is also the disputed No Gun Ri incident during the Korean War and the Dachau massacre at the end of WWII, to name two. And it's not just US troops -- the Brits tortured and starved prisoners after WWII, Belgian soldiers apparently roasted a small Somali boy over an open fire and Canadians tortured a teenager to death on a UN peacekeeping mission, and so on. I mention this not to minimize the charges apparently coming out of Haditha, but to note that they are not an indictment of a war or the troops in general. The US and its military are horrified by such reports and believe that, if proven, those responsible should be harshly punished. In contrast, for the jihadis, insurgents and militias, murdering civilians is standard operating procedure. This is why, in the town of Tarmiyah -- once a hotbed of the Sunni insurgency -- even those who dislike the occupation like the security and protection the US affords against nearby Shiite militias.
IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: CNN ran a story claiming that Iraq's foreign minister said there was no need that the international community ask Iran to guarantee it will not build a nuclear bomb. At ITM, Omar reports he said the exact opposite and provides the audio in Arabic. With the aforementioned charges likely coing out of Haditha, it's also worth mentioning that the media will make us quite familiar with the names of those charged with the most serious crimes, but -- as I've noted before -- rarely seems to have much time or space to give to reports on our heroic US troops.
IRAN: Pres. Ahmadinejad told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that "the German people are prisoners of the Holocaust" -- though he still doubts the Holocaust happened. Either way, he believes Jews in Israel should be returned to Europe. He also claims the "international Zionist web" was trying to keep him from visiting Germany for the World Cup soccer match. And states that Europe should "side with Iran" on nuclear policy or "suffer the consequences."
JOSE PADILLA: Federal investigators say they have evidence that the former Chicago street gang member had had risen high in Al Qaeda's ranks, having personal relationships with the top planners of the September 11th attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.
DUCK EATS SPACE ALIEN: That, at least, is the conclusion reached by workers at the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia, CA when they viewed an X-ray image they took of a sick mallard.
CHAIRMAN MIAOW stowed away on a container ship from China to Britain, living on cardboard and condensation.
A PYTHON misplaced in a rental car surprised the next costomer a little.
A BEAR causes teen's first car accident.
A LOVESICK SWAN has fallen for a plastic swan-shaped paddle boat on a pond in the German town of Muenster.