THE MONKEES sing a Christmas medley at MTV, circa 1986. Even Mike Nesmith turned up.
NEW RELEASES: It's pretty much all that hippety-hop stuff at AOL this week. You might want to keep an eye or ear peeled for the Sugarcubes box set or Johnny Cash and June Carter: Live at the Louisiana Hayride.
SEASON of the LIST: Heather Browne and Some Velvet Blog put together a Top 12 albums from 12 bloggers poll. Stylus has started counting down its Top 50. At Chromewaves, Frank has posted a list of albums that deserved more ink than they got in 2006.
RBALLY has posted "unofficial live recordings" from R.E.M. circa 1981 and The Ramones circe 1975. You can jukebox 'em via the HM.
CHILDREN'S INDIE: Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Bros.) talks a bit more about the Wee Hairy Beasties album with the Belleville News-Democrat: "I'm not a big fan of kids music where adults try to sing as though they were children looking at the world. I thought kids music could be something more than that.''
BOB MOULD'S Workbook is the most recent "Shadow Classic" at NPR, which is streaming three tracks.
THE JAM play "Start!" and "Private Hell" on Fridays in July, 1980.
GREG DULLI (Afghan Whigs, Twilight Singers) tells Harp magazine ten things you don't know about him, though one of them is really more about Van Halen.
THE ARCADE FIRE has unveiled "Intervention," the first track from its hotly anticipated new album, Neon Bible, via a pre-recorded telephone message accessible by calling 866-636-6242, extension 7777. Or you can stream it via the HM. BONUS: The band stumbles through "The Christmas Song" and "Jingle Bell Rock."
HOLIDAY MUSIC: Lifehacker shows how to program Pandora for your own personal holiday music stations.
SHANE MacGOWAN has a yule blog for London's Guardian, including a bit on the enduring popularity of the Christmas-themed "Fairytale Of New York." Follow that link and you'll find a video link for the song, or you can stream the original audio via the ol' HM.
BRITNEY SPEARS was booed at a L.A. Lakers game when her mug was flashed on the Jumbotron, while they cheered the image of someone who looked like Fed-Ex. The pop tart was so upset that she left before halftime. Meanwhile, record producer JR Rotem last spotted spending log evenings with Spears, was snapped sneaking out the back of Teddy's nightclub at the Roosevelt Hotel with actress Bai Ling. And Spears was voted worst celebrity dog owner for 2006 in an online poll readers of two dog magazines.
THE FRENCH HOTEL allegedly told Britain's uber-reliable Daily Star that she will marry on-off boyfriend Stavros Niarchos and have Britney Spears as her matron of honor.
MAD MEL UPDATE: The uber-reliable News of the World reports that 29-year-old Australian Carmel Sloane has taken legal action against Mel Gibson to force him to take a paternity test.
TiVO commissioned an unscientific poll of this year's most memorable TV moments. Katie Couric and Mel Gibson top the list.
NO GOODIE BAGS for stars at the Oscars or Golden Globes this year. Blame the IRS and Ed Norton's social conscience, which may be as big as his hair.
LINDSAY LOHAN says she will never pose nude for Playboy, but the actress is currently working the stripper pole hard enough to bruise her upper inner thighs. It's for a movie, natch. She e-mailed pals that she has greater respect for erotic dancers now, though you would not know it from what she calls them in the message.
REESE & RYAN BREAK-UPDATE: Witherspoon is still in regular communication with her estranged hubby and says she's getting out a little more now," but friends deny she's dating anyone, including current co-star Jake Gyllenhaal.
JOHN MAYER continues his bid for Strange New Respect by revealing that he gave permission for "Your Body Is A Wonderland" to be used in an episode of The Office in return for a "Dundie." Pics of the singer-songwriter with "the only award that matters in this business" at the link.
BRADGELINA: Brad Pitt is older than I am. Geezer!
ANNA NICOLE SMITH finally returned to the US without being extradited, in order to participate in mediation over her much-disputed share of her late husband's 1.6 billion estate.
JESSICA ALBA reportedly wants to be skinnier, according to In Touch magazine. The grass is always greener, isn't it?
IRAQ: Maj. Ben Connable writes about the likely effect of US withdrawal. Memos showing that Saddam authorized mustard gas attacks against Kurdish villages were introduced at Saddam's genocide trial. Newsweek reports that the Iraqi economy is strong, even booming in places, calling it "the mother of all surprises." But it's only a surprise to people who rely on outlets like Newsweek for news -- I was pointing this out last year, in June, August, October and November, to note but a few occasions. And I have often pointed out that statistics like those in the Newsweek story have long been available to anyone with Internet access, via the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index.
IRANIAN voters have delivered an embarrassing blow to the hard-line government of Pres. Ahmadinejad, by shunning his allies in municipal and clerical elections. Former Pres. Rafsanjani trounced Ahmadinejad's fundamentalist mentor, too. The government had disqualified most of the reformist candidates. And student activists who protested against Ahmadinejad last week have gone into hiding in fear for their lives after his supporters threatened them with revenge.
HATE CRIMES in the UK: Muhammed Abdul Bari, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain, invoked Hitler's 1930s Nazi regime while accusing the British government of stigmatizing Britain's Islamic community and fuelling xenophobia. He also defended the council's decision to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day. Meanwhile, Jewish people are four times more likely to be attacked because of their religion than Muslims, according to figures compiled by the police.
FIRST FEMALE DOGS CLONED by an ex-collaborator of disgraced South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk -- or so he claims.
PYTHON kills it's owner. Overdid the hugging.
COCKFIGHTING suffers a blow in Texas.
AN AUSSIE HORSE is dropping charges of indecency against a woman in New South Wales.
ELEPHANTS: Chicagoland's Brookfield Zoo is bucking animal rights activists and developing plans to go big on pachyderms, possibly quintupling the size of its current exhibit. "Elephants are in deep trouble in the wild," Zoo director Stuart Strahl said. "Their resources are shrinking."
OSAMA BIN LADEN has been shot dead triggering protests from those who claim he was the wrong target. Did I mention this is about an elephant?