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Eleni Mandell, Billie Holiday, The Redwalls, Lacey Underall and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, June 13, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

ELENI MANDELL may break through to a wider audience thanks to Cole Porter and the French Hotel. My review of o­ne of her concerts is right here o­n the site. You can stream stuff from her last album, Afternoon (which I recommend), at her own website.

LIVE 8 REUNITES PINK FLOYD: Roger Waters and Dave Gilmour are putting aside their differences for the gig. No Syd Barrett, natch. ALSO: TalkLeft points you to a MP3 of Sir Bob Geldof's conference call with Joe Trippi and prominent bloggers mentioned in this space previously.

MEET THE NEW BOSS: Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein suggests in an Onion A.V. Club interview that classic rock is the new punk rock.

LEONARD COHEN is being sued by a Colorado investment company for civil conspiracy and extortion.

BILLIE HOLLIDAY: Robert Christgau essays "The First Lady of Song" for The Nation magazine.

ARE WE NOT MEN? In a new interview, Devo's Jerry Casale explains how devolution sprung from the Kent State shooting. I had no idea he was that old.

THE REDWALLS: In advance of their major-label debut, Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot calls them "part of the strongest wave of Chicago pop and rock bands to surface in a decade." Of the various comparisons Kot makes, I'm surprised he didn't also mention CCR, as that was the name (along with late-period Beatles) that leapt to mind when I heard their last disc.

INDIE BANDS are being marketed like Tupperware, according to Newsweek.

TERI HATCHER: They're real and they're spectacular, but she is considering not keeping 'em real.

LOS ALAMOS WHISTLEBLOWER beaten outside a Santa Fe bar, but Santa Fe police now believe he could have been attacked for allegedly striking a pedestrian in the bar's parking lot.

HIT-AND-RUN VICTIM run over by the police car responding to the hit-and-run report.

IRAQ: Two Washington Post reporters spent three days with a unit including Iraqis drawn from a disenchanted Sunni Arab minority, being rebuilt after the company commander's death prompted all but 30 of the company's 250 soldiers to quit. Not surprisingly, the reporters paint a highly negative picture of the effort to build up Iraqi security forces. Author Michael Yon also has a gripping read of operations in Mosul that suggests a more positive view. So does the pseudonymous "Major E," writing PowerLine from Baghdad. Which portrait proves more accurate of the overall effort remains to be seen, but certainly bears watching. There's more analysis and discussion at The Belgravia Dispatch.

IRAQ II: Strategy Page has a nifty blurb o­n helmet-mounted vidcams (along with iPod-like storage drives) becoming useful as a military intelligence tool. The number of Iraqis getting married is surging, but so-called experts seem to have a different explanation than those actually getting married.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Katie Holmes appeared o­n The Late Show with David Letterman; Katie was clueless, Dave was merciless. Cruise continues to bash psychiatry and prescription drugs, but the normally fluffy Entertainment Weekly can't help but insert editor's notes contradicting some of his statements. A story about Cruise auditioning other starlets before Katie Holmes disappears from the E! website faster than you can say, "Hi, this is Tom Cruise's lawyer..."

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Mr. & Mrs. Smith tops the weekend box office, raking in 51 million bucks. I went to see it solely for the purpose o­n reporting back o­n it and not at all to gawk at Angelina Jolie for two hours. I share Roger Ebert's view (and that of Semisonic) that it's all about chemistry: "Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have it, or I think they have it, in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and because they do, the movie works. If they did not, there'd be nothing to work with." I think Roger is a little charitable with the rating, also.

ARE SECRETS OF THE STARS to be revealed o­n the Pellicano tapes? An appeals court ruling affirmng the conviction of celebrity sleuth Anthony Pellicano o­n charges that he had unregistered firearms, grenades and enough plastic explosives to bring down an airliner in a safe in his office also ruled that prosecutors can comb through the equivalent of two billion pages of wiretap transcripts found in the office. Pellicano's client list included Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, Kevin Costner, Farrah Fawcett and some of Hollywood's biggest entertainment lawyers.

RUSSELL CROWE was not given preferential treatment during the investigation of his alleged assault of a hotel employee, according to a NYPD detective. Everyone gets a four-motorcycle police escort to the station.

CATS set a house ablaze in Kobe, Japan by using the fax machine as a litter box. Cat ownership can make men less attractive and women more desirable. And there's a movie of a cat losing a fight with a ceiling fan.

DEMOCRACY IN SYRIA? The Baath Party eases the state of emergency that has been in force for over 40 years, will allow some new political parties to be formed and seems to move towards a free market economy. However, these measures, which come at a time of huge international pressure o­n Syria, were not the great leap forward promised by President Bashar al-Assad and demanded by reformers. Meanwhile, a senior U.S. official told The New York Times and Reuters that the U.S. has received "credible information" that Syrian operatives in Lebanon plan to try to assassinate senior Lebanese political leaders and that Syrian military intelligence forces are returning to Lebanon to create "an environment of intimidation."

DEMOCRACY AT MICROSOFT? There's some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that Microsoft's new Chinese internet portal has banned the words "democracy" and "freedom" from parts of its website in an apparent effort to avoid offending Beijing's political censors. The good news is that, ironically enough, the linked article is posted o­n Microsoft's site in the U.S.

LIZ PHAIR is going unplugged this summer. It's kinda hard to think of Liz unplugged, based o­n her body of work.

THE DOUBLE DOOR, the Chicago venue where Rob Gordon DJed in High Fidelity, where I have seen acts like the Soft Boys, Van Hunt and Eleventh Dream Day, was in danger of closing in a landlord-tenant dispute (shades of CBGBs). Fortunately, the o­ne-time speakeasy will remain a Wicker Park fixture for the foreseeable future.

SAD SONGS: In the Guardian, Tom Reynolds, author of I Hate Myself and Want to Die, compiles a 25 miserable tracks. But the commenters at Althouse do better, for the most part.

BOB DYLAN'S NEVER-ENDING TOUR: Prof. Althouse also has some observations and questions for the latter-day Bobby Z based o­n a piece in The New York Times o­n Sunday (but o­nline Saturday).

JIMI HENDRIX'S boyhood home is saved from the wrecking ball.

BONNAROO: The Chattanooga Times Free Press blogged the festival. Kings of Leon and Iron & Wine seem to draw raves; Dave Matthews, not so much.

CONDOLEEZA RICE: The Secretay of State played a rare and unpublicized piano gig for the improbably named Charity Sunshine, a 21-year-old soprano who was diagnosed with often-fatal pulmonary hypertension a little over a year ago. Sunshine is a granddaughter of Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), and his wife Annette, who Rice has known for years.

YOUR MOMENT OF SITH: You may think you know what Darth Vader looks like under that mask, but you probably haven't seen this photo. George Lucas gets the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute at a black-tie dinner attended by a who's who of Hollywood, including the stars of the original "Star Wars" films. Carrie Fisher called Lucas the man "who ruined my life." In accepting the award, Lucas joked that he started out not being able to write a word, but became "the king of wooden dialogue." At the official website, a father is blogging the reaction of his seven year-old son, who is familiar with Eps. I-III, to seeing the original Star Wars as the fourth in the series. And you may want to check out Passed Out Wookies.

THE DUTCH-MUSLIM CULTURE WAR: An article by Deborah Scroggins for The Nation o­n Somali-born Dutch legislator Ayaan Hirsi Ali seems awfully confused. Scroggins writes:

"Seven months ago, Hirsi Ali's implacable campaign against what she views as Islam's oppression of women prompted a Muslim fanatic to ritually slaughter Theo van Gogh, her Dutch collaborator o­n the film Submission. The murderer used his knife to affix a five-page letter to the corpse promising the same treatment for Hirsi Ali and another Dutch politician who has criticized Islam."

First, there is the implication that Hirsi Ali should bear some of the blame for the van Gogh murder. Second, there is the phrase "what she views as Islam's oppression of women..." Back in the 1960s, there were people who suggested that the murder of three civil rights workers by Klan members was really the fault of Martin Luther King, Jr., or the ACLU, too. Apparently, the Old South's big mistake was not inventing multculturalism (though arguably they tried). Would Ms. Scroggins blame Hirisi Ali for the Pakistani judiciary that frees 12 gang rapists? How about the farmer who shoots his daughters after o­ne did not immediately serve him a glass of water when he returned from working in the fields? Or the Saudi Arabian couple accused of turning a young Indonesian woman into a virtual slave? The hundreds of Iranian women protesting their status? Or the way women were treated in Afghanistan under the Taliban? However, to Ms. Scroggins' credit, she does report that Dutch feminists are backing Hirisi Ali.

BAD INTELLIGENCE: Having recently linked to an article claiming that out intell services missed major military developments in China, it's o­nly fair that I note that former intell analysts have responses posted at the PowerLine blog.

NOT THAT MILE-HIGH CLUB: 'Netrepreneur Jason Calacanis videoblogs from 30,000 feet.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY characters get their own promo websites.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: The Strong Museum in Rochester, NY opened an exhibit dedicated to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. But should they really have invited Mr. McFeely to greet the kids for what is billed as a "Hands On" exhibit?

AFGHANISTAN: The former leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guards says the U.S. has not given Iran enough credit for helping overthrow the Taliban. GI there sometimes joke that Afghanistan is the forgotten war, despite (or maybe because of) progress against insurgents and in training the Afghan Army. If the military wants more media coverage of Afghanistan, they are going to have to start torturing more detainees.

HEAD START: A new study of the program's impact is spun all sorts of ways.

NANOTECH: Hewlett-Packard claims its researchers have created a new way to design future nano-electronic circuits using coding theory.

LAPTOP COMPUTERS MORE POPULAR THAN DESKTOPS, outselling them for the first time in a calendar month in the U.S. In a related story, lap dances are now more popular thann table dances.

HOWARD DEAN gets a mixed review from Howard Fineman in Newsweek. On fundraising, he quotes DNC member Elaine Kamarck as saying, "For people who really look hard at the numbers, he's wowing people." Well, looking at the numbers, the RNC held a fundraising edge of 17.2 million dollars in 2003; now, the RNC is ahead by 17.6 million dollars. But maybe if I looked really hard, I'd be wowed. On organization, Fineman talks about Dean sending "assessment teams" to investigate states with weak organization; I would have to give him an "Incomplete" for this until we see the results. And organization may be more important than the fundraising for a DNC chair, as many candidates can raise funds, but hardly any are tasked with party-building.

CINDY MORGAN -- probably too-well known as Caddyshack's Lacey Underall -- is interviewed by Retrocrush. A must-read if you're enjoy skinny-skiing and going to bullfights o­n acid. Or Tron.

STUCK ON LODI, AGAIN: In the midst of a probe of alleged Al Qaeda cell in Lodi, the Oakland Tribune runs an article to assure readers that mosques are not strange places to be feared. That may often be the case. However, it doesn't help when o­ne of the primary sources quoted is Hatem Bazian, a lecturer at UC Berkeley who has called for a Palestinian-style intifada by Muslims in America. Given the reliance o­n Bazian, should readers be concerned that the author of the Tribune article, Sajid Farooq, was the organizer of a muslim rally at Berkeley in 2003?

JOURNO TARGETED BY U.S. MILITARY? A Spanish judge wants to question three American soldiers as suspects in the death of a Spanish cameraman who was killed when a U.S. tank fired o­n a hotel housing foreign journalists during the 2003 assault o­n Baghdad. "It would be a very, very cold day in hell before that would ever happen," said a State Department official. The Pentagon has exonerated the U.S. soldiers from any blame, which is corroborated by Boston Herald reporter Jules Crittenden.

TORTURE BY THE U.S.: The New York Times Magazine o­n Sunday has a lengthy piece by the paper's former executive editor, Joseph Lelyveld. It's a serious piece of work, but what does it say about the NYT that it is illustrated with photographs by Andres Serrano? After all, this is the photographer who produced an infamous photograph that has again been raised by some in the context of the debate over Quran mishandling at the detainee camp at Gitmo. Imho, the topic of torture is already inflammatory enough without gratuitously inserting Andres Serrano into the middle of it.

TORTURE II: Time magazine will probably make a splash with the story of the interrogation of Mohammed al Qahtani, who is widely believed to be the so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker. Special interrogation techniques were approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for use o­n a select few detainees like al-Qahtani, who was forced to hear Christina Aguilera music and watch a puppet show. No, really.

THE DOWNING STREET MEMO: Michael Kinsley has about the same opinion of it as I did, but adds: "Nevertheless, I am enjoying it, as an encouraging sign of the left's revival. Developing a paranoid theory and promoting it to the very edge of national respectability takes ideological self-confidence. It takes a critical mass of citizens with extreme views and the time and energy to obsess about them. It takes a promotional infrastructure and the discipline to settle o­n a story line, disseminate it and stick to it."

SEAN PENN is on assignment in Tehran for the San Francisco Chronicle ahead of presidential elections o­n June 17th. The Iranians confiscated his video camera temporarily.

PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN THE MEDIA hits an all-time low in the latest Gallup Poll. The military topped the poll with a 74 percent confidence rating.

MONSIEUR MOM: In a new survey, nearly 40 percent of French men said that they would like to become pregnant, science permitting.

SMART AND DUMB STATES are ranked by the Morgan Quitno Press, which appears to be the work of a former Bob Dole staffer. The list seems suspect to me, as the rankings are based in part o­n per-pupil expenditures, average class size and pupil-teacher ratios, which do not by themselves make a state dumb or smart. Indeed, I would bet that many states with higher per-pupil expenditures have lower student reading and math proficiency and graduation rates.

VIOLENT CROWS BLOODY A BRITISH JOGGER in Battersea Park. Joanna Leonard, an interior designer, saw the birds - which she thought were ravens - in the same place an hour after the attack: "I thought they were very nasty, sinister things."she said. "Two of them focused in o­n me as I walked past. I couldn't help thinking of that Hitchcock film."

WHEN PIGEONS attack!

THE UNDERWEAR GANG: Thai thieves prove to be slippery and elusive.

VETERAN'S CORPSE STOLEN FROM THE MORGUE for an alleged insurance scam, then dumped in the trash.

WOMAN'S ASHES MISSING and replaced with a can of sour-cream-and-onion potato chips.

GOODNESS! GRACIOUS! Great balls of snot explain an ocean mystery.

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Flaming Lips, Richard Thompson, Craig O'Neill, Grey Goo and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, June 10, 2005 - 08:20 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...WITH A FORAY into the widely recognized phenomenon of Friday catblogging, just because I enjoyed these photos of my co-clerk Debbie's felines, Malcolm and Ella.

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: Test your knowledge of 80s lyrics.

THE FLAMING LIPS will be spending the autumn playing headline dates o­n a Carnival cruise ship, for the first ever Xingolati Groove Cruise. The Lips are great live, but that's a tough gig. After all, that quintet o­n The Love Boat manages to sound like 20 musicians.

RICHARD THOMPSON, Live from Austin, TX rates a 7.6 o­n the Pitchfork: "On this CD, Thompson could be a guitar salesman demonstrating his product. See how simple it is to sound like three guitars at o­nce. Now you too you can mimic a banjo or a slide guitar in your home or office."

LES PAUL is recording an album with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Santana and more, then a bluegrass album. The man who dreamed up multi-track recording and the father of sorts to Jon Pratt's guitar has even more to say in a wide-ranging interview with Modern Guitars magazine.

JONATHAN DEMME, who brought Talking Heads and Robyn Hitchcock to the big screen (and even gave a cameo to The Feelies playing Bowie and The Monkees before directing their video for "Away") is going to shoot a Neil Young concert at the Grand Ole Opry.

HOMES OF THE STARS: Jimi Hendrix's house is in danger of demolition. Johnny and June Carter Cash's home is on the block.

YOUR MOMENT OF SITH: James Lileks delivers a definitive review of Episode III. Meryl Yourish interviews Darth Vader, who claims "Lucas got almost nothing right, not even my name," which we discover is Leonard.

THE CASTING COUCH: Movie producer Chris Hanley says it's alive and well in Hollywood: "Almost every leading actress in all of my 24 films has slept with a director or a producer or a leading actor to get the part that launched her career."

STEVE McQUEEN went AWOL from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, but also rescued five Marines in a training accident, and took advantage of military educational benefits to study at the Actors' Studio. That's just o­ne of many stories in U.S. military documents released o­n Thursday.

NERDS MAKE BETTER LOVERS. I hear this all the time, but I guess some folks didn't know.

THE LODI TERROR PROBE expands; we all know how uncomfortable that can be.

THE STORY OF THE SEX PISTOLS, in comic book form.

JONATHAN RICHMAN doesn't do an interview with The Huntsville Times.

WITH A REBEL YELL, Billy Idol gives a Lamborghini Gallardo a makeshift sunroof with some sort of power tool.

SIMON "SI" WARONKER, founder of Liberty Records, o­ne of the top indie labels of the 1950s and early '60s, died in his sleep Tuesday in Los Angeles at age 90. During the rock 'n' roll era, Liberty was the home of singer-guitarist-producer Eddie Cochran, teen idol Bobby Vee, rocker-turned-pop vocalist Johnny Burnette and surf duo Jan & Dean.

LIVE 8: Ordinary Africans are questioning whether Western extravaganzas like the Live 8 concerts, however well intentioned, can help. Sir Bob Geldof is playing the expectations game: "It will be, not for me but for everyone involved, a glorious failure."

COLDPLAY: Critics clash over the band in the Telegraph. Art experts decode the cover of the new album, which will almost certainly be added to this gallery of coded covers.

DAVE GROHL AND PETE DOHERTY: The Foo Fighters frontman tells the troubled ex-Libertines singer to just say no, man.

CRAIG O'NEILL is the man. Not The Man, mind you; after all, The Man can't bust our music. No, Craig is the exact opposite of The Man. He's the man as anti-Man.

NANO-BOTS: The new science of claytronics will use nanotechnology to create tiny robots that can turn into any shape. Intel's robotics expert, Jason Campbell, says: "The more you look at it, the more likely it seems we will be able to manufacture these things. I think there's a good chance we'll get to see it. Now whether that's five or 20 years, I don't know." Expect a round of hype about "grey goo."

THE UNITED NATIONS cannot find its blueprints that give comprehensive details of how to build and test equipment essential for making nuclear bombs.

BAD INTELLIGENCE: U.S. spy agencies failed to recognize several key military developments in China in the past decade. Critics of the study say the report looks like a bid to exonerate analysts within the close-knit fraternity of government China specialists, who for the past 10 years dismissed or played down intelligence showing that Beijing was engaged in a major military buildup.

IRAN has plans to install tens of thousands of advanced centrifuges at its huge underground nuclear plant near Natanz, which eventually would enable the nation to enrich uranium nearly twice as fast as anticipated, Western intelligence officials say.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise used The Tonight Show for damage control, poking fun at his meltdown o­n Oprah, though he faced stiff competition from Russell Crowe, who went o­n David Letterman's Late Show Wednesday to apologize for throwing a tantrum and telephone at a hotel clerk. Cruise's second ex-wife, Nicole Kidman, thinks he ought to stop mixing the private with the public. Don Imus apparently apologized for a sidekick's o­n-air comments that actor Tom Cruise is gay. Katie Holmes admits she has looked into Scientology and thinks it's "wonderful." And if you want to know why everyone is joining in making fun of Cruise the Hollywood Reporter has an excellent explanation, in which Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have supporting roles.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO READ GERMAN to figure out the subject of this Bild story about the heiress named after a French Hotel.

SPACE: The final frontier. In advertising.

IRAQ: President Jalal Talabani averted a crisis Thursday by promising Sunni Arabs a big say in drafting the constitution.

BOLIVIA: The nation's high court chief took office as president late Thursday during an emergency congressional session, setting the stage for early elections aimed at curbing violent protests.

GLOBAL WARMING: The White House is defending Philip Cooney, a lawyer and former lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute and now chief of staff for the White House Council o­n Environmental Quality, who changed descriptions of climate research approved by government scientists. Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. John Kerry have asked the General Accountability Office to probe the matter. If they do, I hope the investigation includes the long history of policymakers changing or pressuring scientists to alter the wording of the summary of reports of the Intergovernmental Panel o­n Climate Change (IPCC), up through 2001, where the National Academy of Sciences later found that the "change in emphasis appears to be the result of a summary process in which scientists worked with policymakers o­n the document." Maybe scientists like Chris Landsea can testify about the politicization of the IPCC. But somehow I don't think Waxman or Kerry would care to hear what they have to say.

IT'S SUMMER, AND THAT CAN ONLY MEAN THAT IT'S CARNIVAL SEASON: You really don't want the carnival owner's son to be the sole technical investigator in two unexplained fatalities o­n the same piece of equipment. You can track lovely stories like this through the ptly-named Ride Accidents site. o­n a lighter note, you can download Ice Cream Truck Music and check out hamburger-blogging, hotdog-blogging and pizza-blogging through WFMU's blog.

A GREAT WHITE SHARK attacked a teen surfer off New Jersey's Surf City o­n Sunday. The kid needed a bigger board.

A KILLER COW was arrested and detained by Nigerian police o­n Thursday.

PHOTOSHOPPING M.C. ESCHER... at Worth 1000.

ROBOTS were hitting fastballs, drawing portraits and more at the 2005 Robot World Expo in Japan.

BILL CLINTON may have gotten some prank phone calls after a Delray Beach busboy found Jimmy Buffett's cellphone and kept it for a week. Of course, the busboy didn't make those calls, but his friends may have.

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Kirsty MacColl, Festivals, Owen Wilson, David Byrne, Pupfish, Goats and Cats   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, June 09, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

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Pate, George Clinton, Dave Grohl, Dogs, Frogs, Cows and Catgarookey   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 09:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

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U2, Live 8, The Poseidon Adventure, Pigs, Toads, Iowan Bats, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 08:10 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

UNDER A BLOOD RED SKY, twenty years later. A look back at a historic gig.

THE WHITE STRIPES' new album gets a 7.3 o­n the Pitchfork.

INXS is searching for a new singer o­n a reality show to be hosted by Dave Navarro and Brooke Burke. (what, no Carmen Electra?)

INDIE BANDS are getting buzz from word of blog.

LIVE 8: Monday, Bob Geldof took a conference call with former Howard Dean guru Joe Trippi and a number of bloggers. Ed Morrisey liveblogged the call. Scott Koenig adds a few details. Ann Althouse rounds up the others. A number of the more conservative bloggers were impressed with and surprised by Geldof, though readers here would not have been surprised. Today's Telegraph has an article noting that a concert is not going to solve Africa's problems and cataloging the ways in which foreign aid has hurt the continent as much as helped it. But the conference call suggests that Geldof largely agrees and supports tying future aid to political reform. And imagine what the righty bloggers would have thought had they known that Geldof is under fire for inviting the Pope to support Live 8.

BAY CITY ROLLERS have been getting in trouble with the law.

PODCASTING: Listening to 100 podcasts a day may be a bit much.

SITUATION: Ten days after MSNBC announces The Situation With Tucker Carlson, CNN announces the debut of The Situation Room. Just another example of Pate arriving before its time.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB had a reunion of sorts at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards. But Molly Ringwald wants to do a sequel to Sixteen Candles. And at the risk of being mean to Molly, John Bender's comment about being able to see the thin person inside comes to mind. But she's got an 18 month old child, so maybe that's just baby weight.

YOUR MOMENT OF SITH: National Geographic asks, how realistic are the alien worlds in that galaxy far, far away? Shockingly, the answer is, "not very," though there is the interesting note that a galactic Republic is likely to not be very multicultural.

THE S. S. POSEIDON SAILS AGAIN, under the direction of Wolfgang Petersen -- a natural choice from the man who gave you Das Boot. The cast will include Richard Dreyfuss, for whom this should be cake after Jaws. I guess a bigger boat isn't always the answer. Also appearing will be Emmy Rossum who, having just done The Day After Tomorrow and The Phantom of the Opera, is an old hand at disaster movies. When I hear of this movie, I always think of the character in Free Enterprise who claims that Irwin Allen is a better director than Jim Cameron because anyone can tip a boat over two hours into a movie...

MOVIE ADVERTISING MADNESS: Edward Jay Epstein of Slate writes that studios o­nce justified their expensive ad campaigns by reasoning that big opening-weekend numbers may pay off later in video, pay-TV, and foreign release. But this is less true every day. Moreover, big DVD retailers do not base their orders o­nly o­n box-office results, but o­n how they help sell big TVs -- a group quite different from the teenagers to whom the studios market new movies.

RUSSELL CROWE is arrested for throwing a telephone at a hotel employee. Sounds like the Cinderella Man still has some Bud White issues.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are making journos who interview them sign a contract to not ask personal questions. Nevertheless, it looks like the pair are negotiating easier terms with major media. Jolie squirmed through personal questions o­n the Today show Monday. Tonight, o­n ABC PrimeTime, when Diane Sawyer asks about Jolie's reputation as a "homewrecker," Pitt says: "It's a good story." Woodward and Berstein would call that a non-denial denial.

LI-LO: The Lohan also shows up to a press junket with a laundry list of questions that shouldn't be asked. She will say, however, that she is "not some crazy, Tara Reid-esque party girl." Me-OW!

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise rambles for 60 Minutes Australia. He seems to go off the rails after being asked, "Why, then, was it a condition of me talking to you today that I had to spend quite an intense four-and-a-half hours in the Church of Scientology here in Los Angeles?" Meanwhile, Holmes now has her own Scientologist entourage... or are they monitors?

IRAQ: Baghdad is where most of the military and media action is, but it's worth remembering that Iraq is much bigger than that. Author Michael Yon reports from Dohuk in the north, where the mostly-Kurd population is quite friendly to the U.S. Author Steven Vincent reports from Basra in the south, where conditions aren't as rosy, but still optimistic. Chester analyzes insurgent infiltration routes in the west that run into the Iraqi heartland down the Euphrates River corridor, arguing that the normally excellent John Burns of The New York Times may be overstating things in comparing this route to the Ho Chi Minh trail. James Dunnigan writes that military bureaucrats are slowing down upgrades for electronic jammers used to interfere with the radio signals that control many roadside bombs.

AFGHANISTAN: Arthur Chrenkoff rounds up news not involving detainee abuse. For example, did you know that 1,000 Afghan clerics stripped fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar of his claim to religious authority?

JACKO JUSTICE: No verdict as of presstime, but it's not a good sign when o­ne of MJ's lawyers claims it's all about the oil. Not in Iraq, mind you, but at the Neverland Ranch.

BLAIR VS. CHIRAC: It's a Anglo-Franco smackdown after Britain suspended the referendum o­n the EU constitution.

LOUISIANA AND TEXAS are sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. But probably not fast enough for Democrats to write them off politically.

DEMOCRACY IN ETHIOPIA: Protesters are being beaten and arrested.

DEMOCRACY IN DISNEYLAND: Roy Disney's lawsuit to void the 2005 election of Disney's Board of Directors moves forward.

WASHINGTON STATE ELECTION UPDATE: As expected, while the trial judge found 1,678 illegal votes cast, the GOP loses its suit seeking a new election for Governor. GOP candidate Dino Rossi will not appeal the decision.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES led the nominations for the 21st annual Television Critics Association Awards.

BRITNEY SPEARS attended a Federline family gathering. It takes the picture to do it justice.

STEM CELLS: Two recent stories hold forth the promise of basically creating embryo-free embryonic stem cells. Such cells may shut down o­ne large part of the current debate, but would probably not avoid all the moral and ethical concerns in play.

HOW MALE OR FEMALE IS YOUR BRAIN? Take the tests.

ASK METAFILTER: Are you attracted to people of races different from your own?

CHOCOLATE SAUSAGE wins a top German chef first prize at the annual Sausage Championships in Berlin. Though it's supposedly the world's first such treat, the punchlines write themselves.

NORAH O'DONNELL, White House correspondent for MSNBC, is quite attractive. I would not call her a ho, which would come as news to her husband, Jim Carney of Time magazine.

CULT OF THE iPod: Last Wednesday in L.A., someone fraudulently took delivery of 12,000 iPods, valued at over 2.6 million bucks.

THE PLAYBOY MANSION: Not looking or smelling too sexy these days.

EIGHTY YEAR-OLD GRANDMOTHER busted as the alleged madam of a New Jersey prostitution ring.

DEEP THROAT: Mystery Pollster Mark Blumenthal argues that Felt could be the o­nly informer, but that he may have had his own informer, perhaps Nixon secretary Rose Mary Woods.

QURAN DESECRATION: The Quran is being thrown into bonfires in Iran.

GITMO GUARDS get attacked by hardcore detainees. But I suspect groups like the ACLU will be more interested in the fact that all "cell-extraction procedures" at Gitmo are videotaped. I smell a Freedom of Information Act request...

ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS face trial under an anti-terrorism law in New Jersey. The list of potential defense witnesses includes actress Kim Basinger.

PIG-BALL: The first ever pig-ball championships were held in Moscow o­n Sunday.

GIANT TOADS were married in a traditional Hindu ceremony in eastern India over the weekend by villagers hoping to propitiate the rain gods and end a dry spell.

FORTY DEAD ANIMALS FOUND IN U.K. STABLE, including at least 19 horses, 11 chickens, three dogs and a rabbit.

IS THAT A FISH UNDER YOUR SKIRT, OR.. oh, it is a fish.

BATS: The majority of rural Iowa homes -- and a large share of those in urban areas -- have bats inside chimneys, attics or crawl spaces without the homeowners ever knowing, according to o­ne Iowa Department of Natural Resources expert. "When people call us and say they've got a bat or a few bats, I explain, 'You've got more than that,' " Kay Bat Control owner Dwayne Kay said, estimating that the typical home they work o­n has 100 to 150 bats; some have colonies closer to 1,000.

Not too many typos today, were there? Things ran quite late early this morning...

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