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Geezer Rock, Geek Rock, Derek Smalls, Alt-Fuels and Gators   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


IGNORANCE IS BLISS: Knowing very little about country music, Johnny Cash or even how to sing probably helped Joaquin Phoenix turn in an Oscar-worthy performance as the Man in Black in Walk The Line.

GEEZER ROCK: In the Seattle P-I, David Lister opines that the '60s icons can still give exhilarating shows, but have lost some of their gift for songwriting. Lister asked Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who about this; Daltrey seemed to agree, saying Townshend could yet be the great chronicler of middle-age angst. Lister wrote that we "shall see if that is the case when their new album is released shortly." Don't bet o­n it -- Townshend now says that the process of writing songs worthy of the Who could take another five years or more.

BRAINY GEEK ROCK, including Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, the Postal Service, the Shins, Bright Eyes and Iron & Wine, is racking up sales. Spin executive editor Doug Brod believes there's a ceiling to how far these dorks can climb: "Frankly, these guys are nerds in sweaters and polyester pants who sing sensitive songs. That can o­nly take you so far."

DEVO: WFMU has an a cappella version of "Mongoloid" as performed by a German vocal choir.

CAMERON CROWE lists music you should hear at Amazon. Oddly missing is anything by My Morning Jacket, who appear in his forthcoming Elizabethtown and o­n the soundtrack.

LOU REED will be involved with a seminar o­n Lou Reed at Columbia this semester.

SIGUR ROS: The Icelanders get a great review, with links to streams and MP3s from... National Review o­nline.

THE DECEMBERISTS' vinyl version of Picaresque is a double LP in a gatefold sleeve with a 24-page full color booklet and five "kinda new songs."

LEONARD COHEN: The Hollywood Reporter calls I'm Your Man "A beautifully produced concert film/documentary tribute that's as poetically soulful as its man of honor." Also: "While Cohen's far-reaching fan base will be pleased -- his ruminations o­n love and loneliness have been embraced by everybody from Diana Ross to punk rockers -- the Lions Gate release also serves as a terrific primer for the as-yet uninitiated."

THE SMITHS hang in the National Galley in London. Because the music that they constantly play, it says nothing to me about my life.

SPINAL TAP BASSIST DEREK SMALLS launches a record label called Courgette --which is an English term for zucchini.

CLEAR CHANNEL has launched o­nline programming showcasing newly signed and unsigned artists. The artists will be showcased exclusively o­n Clear Channel radio stations' websites for 90 days at a time, and will be promoted both o­nline and o­n-air.

KANYE WEST VS. GEORGE W. BUSH: An unbiased head-to-head comparison. For example, which wildlife each resembles.

THE JOURNEY THAT SAVED CURIOUS GEORGE: A new book details how Margret and H.A. Rey, German Jews who created Curious George, fled in June 1940 from the Nazis advancing o­n Paris. Is there a lost manuscript for Curious George Visits Rick's Cafe Americain?

THE FRENCH HOTEL fears we will mock her mock musical efforts. Don't fear it... bet o­n it! Especially following rumors that she's too cozy with her greasy producer.

MADONNA: o­ne-armed Madge is pelted with food in a resttaurant. By her husband.

BILL COSBY gains custody of Fat Albert.

HEIDI KLUM gives birth to a baby Seal.

TINA FEY gives birth to a mean girl.

TERI HATCHER refuses to wear a bikini: "I wear a swimsuit, never a bikini Maybe 50 per cent would say I look cute but the other 50 per cent would say that my a** is a little droopy." Again, you really can't go around saying things like this without some polling to back it up.

GARRISON KEILLOR is suing a blogger for selling t-shirts with the saying, "A Prairie Ho Companion." I can see where Keillor would want to save that idea for when the movie with Lindsay Lohan comes out.

JOHNNY DEPP grilled a puppet for acting tips.

FRODO is tickled by websites suggesting he is very, very gay. Like this o­ne.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie's daughter Zahara, who weighed a mere nine pounds when adopted, gains six pounds; Angie calls her "chubby."

J-LO makes her employees call her "Mom." That's not at all creepy.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON is distracted by a roomful of hottie men in pinstripes. But not too distracted to collect 200K from them.

MARCH OF THE PENGUINS: At the beginning of this month The New York Times critic suggested the popularity of the movie might be a "a response to the Orwellian political climate." Now the NYT suggests it's a weapon of a vast right-wing conspiracy. For 99.9 percent of the population it's a movie about penguins marching and mating.

HURRICANE RELIEF: In Memphis, displaced and dipossessed musicians are getting help from the Beale Street Merchants Association and the local chapter of MusiCares. ALSO: Evacuees at the Astrodome will be getting free copies of Star magazine.

IRAQ: President Talabani said that U.S. could withdraw as many as 50K troops by the end of the year, declaring there are enough Iraqi forces trained and ready to begin assuming control in cities throughout the country. The Washington Post dryly notes, "That assessment differs dramatically from those offered by Bush and by U.S. military commanders in Iraq." Joint U.S.-Iraqi military efforts have damaged the network of foreign insurgents led by Zarqawi, but the indigenous Iraqi insurgents have been tougher to track down, according to Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. Arthur Chrenkoff posts his final round-up of under-reported news, though the job is being taken up by others.  And Bill Roggio has more o­n operations in Haditha, Tal Afar and around Karbila.

THE SUPREME COURT: Chief Justice nominee John Roberts sees himself as an umpire. But how cool would it have been for him to say that he always wanted to be a lumberjack, leaping from tree to tree as the float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia?

NASCAR DADS: Sitcom writer Jack Burditt pays a visit to the track.

CULT OF THE iPod: Time magazine backgrounds the birth of the Nano, while CoolTechZone looks at the strategy behind the ROKR iTunes phone.

SNOOPING o­n YOUR TYPING just from the sound of it is now possible.

SMELL is more subjective than vision hearing and touch: "The human genome contains 347 olfactory genes fully o­ne percent of the total while there are o­nly four, for example, for vision."

NANOTECH: The debate over potential health and environment risks of nanomaterials may heat up when the EPA holds a public hearing Sept. 29th o­n recommendations for voluntary nanotech safety guidelines scheduled to take effect in 2006.

ALTERNATIVE FUELS: Would you prefer to generate power from stinking hog manure or dead cats?

L.A. GATOR UPDATE: Reports of the gator's capture in Lake Machado were greatly exaggerated.

ANOTHER SMUGGLED GATOR roams the busy city streets of Nicosia, Cyprus.

SEA SQUIRTS may overpower the ecosystem o­n the ocean floor o­n Georges Bank in Maine.

A STUD THOROUGHBRED was accidentally shipped to Ukraine, with illegitimate foals fathered down under by a mystery horse.

HUMAN ZOO: Following the display at the London Zoo, humans visting the zoo in Zagreb, Croatia can now experience what it feels like to be a caged animal.

2904 Reads

Brain Surgery, Jive Talkin', The Bruce Lee Peace Plan and Zsa Zsa Top   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


CHARLIE AND RONNIE o­nly have eyes for each other... NTTAWWT. ALSO: Mick Jagger thinks terrorists scare him, but not as much as the London police do. Mick can take comfort in the fact that Tony Blair is getting advice from people like Cat Stevens, Inayat Bunglawala -- who refers to Osama bin Laden as a "freedom fighter," and describes Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman ("the blind sheikh" behind the 1993 WTC bombing conspiracy) as "courageous" -- and Ahmad Thomson, who claims Blair decided to wage war o­n Iraq after coming under the influence of a "sinister" group of Jews and Freemasons. They are currently advising Blair to scrap the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day because it is regarded as offensive to Muslims. And Britain is still the weak link when it comes to extremists, so Mick can rest easy about those scary London Bobbies.

PLEASED TO MEET YOU, won't you guess my name? What's troubling you... my operation o­n your brain?

MEATLOAF is donating the proceeds from his upcoming show in Savannah, Georgia, to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

NEW RELEASES: Largehearted Boy, from whom I often steal material, usually has a handy guide to what's new, including Sonic Youth and Richard Thompson re-issues, new albums from the Dandy Warhols, Diamond Nights Tim Fite and Super Furry Animals, as well as the Iron & Wine/Calexico EP.

THE TOP 100 HITS from 1960 to the present. Look up the year you graduated high school, just to frighten yourself. (Thanks, Debbie... and domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!)

THE WHITE STRIPES show to be streamed o­n NPR will also include The Shins and M Ward. Pitchfork snarks that it's "a crash course in the sounds your favorite record store clerk was grooving to, like, two years ago," but it's not a bad triple bill.

BONO doesn't care about the ghetto, according to Mos Def.

KANYE WEST explains when it's okay for Whitey to speak jive. Word.

UK POST-POST-PUNK POP: A feature o­n the Pitchfork counts down the Top 40.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer had to take down the forum o­n his web site after people used it to slam Doherty's drug habits.

PORN STAR or POP STAR? Play the game that's sweeping the nation. SFW, though you may want to keep the annoying music track off. BTW, I o­nly scored 70 percent and was instructed to watch more porn, so if anyone has recommendations...

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise had no idea there were so many wedding magazines. But David Spade is looking forward to the wedding. And according to the all-knowing Enquirer, Cruise Collateral co-star Jamie Foxx is miffed that Cruise allegedly made a ,000 donation to the Church of Scientology in Foxx's name without him knowing. Friends allegedly believe Cruise was was using Foxx's name to recruit African-Americans into the church. SEMI-RELATED: Scientologists put Boys & Girls Club logo o­n booklets.

TYRA BANKS has an X-rated lookalike.

RENEE ZELLEWEGER: More shaky marriage rumors. Craig O'Neill really needs to click o­n this o­ne for the headline.

WE'VE TRACED THE CALLS... they're coming from Clay Aiken!

CLAUDIA SCHIFFER got an engagement tortoise instead of a ring. And still accepted.

SIENNA MILLER: More pregnancy rumors.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: More marriage rumors, from Star magazine this time, so they must be true. Most college women want to sleep with Pitt, more want to sleep with Jolie, according to a recent poll. PLUS: Good Angelina vs. Bad Angelina.

BRUCE LEE unites the ethnically divided Bosnian city of Mostar. Next stop: Iraq!

KEVIN BACON talks about the zero degrees of separation between himself and a game.

EVA LONGORIA has become a good luck charm for the French national basketball team. Don't ask, don't tell. Speaking of which, she probably doesn't make friends telling everyone she's a size zero, even though she is tiny.

BRITNEY SPEARS: The pregnant pop tart denies she went into labor over the weekend. But the Enquirer claims she's an "emotional wreck" because she's faced with spending the first few months of her baby's life with K-Fed o­n the road promoting his alleged music career. And she might be o­ne of the few o­n the planet dumb enough to not see it as a blessing.

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT called ghostbusters to her house, which was o­nce owned by Lon Chaney. That JLH stars as a medium in a new CBS series called The Ghost Whisperer is purely coincidental.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS and GEORGE GALLOWAY will debate the war in Iraq Wednesday. Hitchens has called Galloway a "renegade member of Parliament who has been Saddam Hussein's chief propagandist in Britain" with an "ugly mouth," while Galloway countered that Hitchens was nothing but a "drink-sodden former Trotskyist popinjay." The latter inspired a blog.

IRAQ: Iraqi politicians continue to negotiate over the draft constitution and it remains unclear when a final text may be printed, less than five weeks before a referendum. Do they have Kinko's in Baghdad? The U.S. military denied an accusation that U.S. and Iraq forces used toxic gas during an attack o­n the Iraqi town of Tal Afar. Bill Roggio reminds us that Tal Afar is part of a much larger operation. Defense Industry Daily covers the detection of IEDs by robots and remote-contolled cars from Radio Shack. No, really.

HURRICANE KATRINA: Michael Kinsley, formerly of CNN, Slate and now of the L.A. Times, produces the must-read "Hindsight: A User's Guide." There's the nugget that a "Los Angeles Times colleague of mine, appearing o­n CNN last week to talk about Katrina, was told by a producer to 'get angry,'" but there's much more than that, too.

HEY SEAN, where you goin' with that gun in your hand?

HURRICANE RELIEF: If you are still looking around for some way to contribute, Newsweek had a piece about several groups, including Project Backback, which collects supplies for the thousands of children who are starting school far from home. My co-worker Debbie is working with the group in Illinois and it was oddly fun to shop for school supplies again. Those of you with kids probably won't feel quite that way, but you might empathize.

BIG EASY UPDATE: The City of New Orleans declined to put several hundred people o­n an Amtrak train the Saturday night before the hurricane hit; what would Steve Goodman say? Big Daddy's strip club o­n Bourbon Street is getting ready to reopen as soon as the club can get dancers.

ALREADY THINKING ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS? Perhaps an office person would like The Cubes.

THE SUPREME COURT: Four-year-old Jack Roberts channels the reaction of most Americans to the opening day bloviations from the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings o­n the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to be Chief Justice. For the rest, there is live-blogging and more at the SCOTUS blog.

CULT OF THE iPod: Ars Technica stress tests the Nano. It's pretty tough, but you'll have to click if you want to know whether you can drive a car over it.

THREE FUGITIVE CHIMPS shot and killed in Nebraska.

SPOTTED OWLS: Almost every night, researchers in the Pacific Northwest scour huge swaths of forest to create a detailed, real-time database of the owls' locations using radio telemetry, global positioning satellite and geographic information systems.

GET HIPPOS CHEAP from the Congo. As low as fifty bucks -- no wonder they are almost extinct.

ANTEATER BORN AT ST. LOUIS ZOO is named Zsa Zsa Top by guitarist Billy Gibbons. She will stay with her mother in the River's Edge exhibit for up to two years, but then you know what she'll be looking for...

3167 Reads

CYHSA, Emmylou Harris, Son Volt, L.A. Gators and Elephant Polo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, September 12, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


CLARENCE "GATEMOUTH" BROWN, after a 50-year career playing blues, country, jazz and Cajun music, died Saturday in his hometown of Orange, Texas, where he'd gone to escape Hurricane Katrina. Brown, who had been battling lung cancer and heart disease, was in ill-health for the past year. He was 81.

THE ROLLING STONES: The Glimmer Twins are interviewed in London's Guardian. Stereogum writes that it's "as interesting as this sort of archeological dig can be" and tags o­n something better from ol' Keef. In another interview, Keef suggests that if Charlie Watts -- who Keef says is "the true soul" of the band -- died, the show would go o­n. And why not? After all, Mick and Keef have been dead for ages.

ART BRUT loses guitarist Chris Chinchilla, but the band is classy enough to put his web address in the press release announcing the split.

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH: Sterogum shows us where the band found its odd name.

BEST BEATLES COVERS EVER are batted around at I Love Music.

GREG DULLI names his Top Ten Albums for WXPN.

JEFF BECK marries for the sixth time at age 61.

BOB DYLAN is getting a whole mini-site at the BBC. Net radio, audio, video, photos and links, links, links.

EMMLYLOU HARRIS has her Best Of reviewed o­n the Pitchfork.

LES PAUL is back o­n the Billboard charts at age 90. He last appeared o­n the Billboard album chart in 1955.

SON VOLT: Jay Farrar serves up juicy dish about the breakup of Uncle Tupelo. You can stream Son Volt's recent performance o­n NPR.

RAY CHARLES' engineer has theft charges against him dropped.

DAVID BOWIE makes a comeback for the Arcade Fire and tweaks Coldplay's Chris Martin. Brooklyn Vegan has the links to audio and video.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer claims he's secretly married to galpal Kate Moss. Which explains why she moved to Los Angeles.

KANYE WEST: His new single, "Gold Digger," gets remixed around his accusation. West himself gets roundly booed at the NFL kickoff. Usher tells young people to ignore Kanye's comment. Master P, who lost loved o­nes in N.O., questions Kanye's rant. o­n last Friday's telethon, Chris Rock mocked West's charge, declaring that "George Bush hates midgets." Since Trent Lott has been berating FEMA's response, perhaps Rock should have claimed that Bush doesn't care about Dixiecrats.

FEMA DIRECTOR MICHAEL BROWN is kicked off of Katrina duty as Time finds problems with his resume (though some of the Time story itself has been called into question). Certainly, Brown has seemed out of his depth, which is going to be fatal to an appointee who got the job largely o­n cronyism, rather than expertise. But is that the whole story? After all, FEMA was criticized last year for moving too fast after four hurricanes ravaged Florida. Those who saw election year politics forget that FEMA got praise from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) for its handling of Hurricane Isabel -- the first major storm where FEMA was part of the Dept. of Homeland Security. Conversely, while FEMA generally got good marks during the Clinton Administration, it was slow off the mark after Hurricane Floyd. It will be tempting for both political parties to scapegoat Brown & Co. I hope it's not too much to ask whoever ends up investigating this to make sure any deeper problems are addressed.

IRAQ: President Talabani urged the U.S. o­n Friday not to withdraw hastily and said U.S. forces should be reduced gradually over the next two years. Bill Roggio rounds up links outlining simultaneous offensives occurring in Qaim, Tal Afar, and Rabiah, and the launch of Operation Cyclone in the southern town of Rutbah. Al Qaeda-linked websites threaten chemical warfare unless they halt their offensive. The U.S. army said it killed o­ne of Al-Qaeda's military chiefs for Mosul. Michael Yon has a progress report from Mosul also.

TARA REID: How low have you sunk when you get fired from your own reality partying show?

JOHN TRAVOLTA, KELLY PRESTON and Lisa Marie Presley were part of the Scientology Disaster Response Team that hit Baton Rouge and New Orleans last week. All were proudly wearing their church t-shirts.

REESE WITHERSPOON and RYAN PHILLIPE discover the joys of raising their 22-month-old boy and six-year-old girl.

GEORGE CLOONEY beaten by gay cowboys. NTTAWWT.

BRITNEY SPEARS is eating for four.

PORTIA DeROSSI desperately wants to marry Ellen DeGeneres. But DeRossi says she would have to be asked by Ellen first. Why?

IRAQ II: London's Guardian reports that key rebuilding projects are grinding to a halt because American money is running out and security has diverted funds intended for electricity, water and sanitation, according to US officials. In paragraph 13, the paper gets around to noting: "There have been improvements: the health ministry says the overall rate of disease among children under five has dropped; parts of Baghdad are noticeably sprucer; and thousands of schools have been built or rehabilitated. Electricity generation has recently climbed above pre-war levels." Afaik, it's the first time the Guardian reported any of the above.

IRAQ III: The Washington Post runs an article largely based o­n the diaries of U.S. soldiers patrolling Balad. As such, it's o­ne the paper's better pieces, but check this from reporter Steve Fainaru: "The days are infused not with the politics of war but the stark realities of it: tragedy and loss, loneliness and exhaustion, resilience and camaraderie in the face of a stubborn and deadly insurgency." While there is probably an element of truth there, I've noticed that reporters will almost never describe our troops as stubborn or deadly or the enemy as exhausted or losing almost every direct confrontation. Compare the typical media framing with anything written by Michael Yon to see how different the tone of reporting could be. Indeed, im Yon's latest, the Commander of the unit Yon has covered remarks o­n the media coverage.

CULT OF THE iPod: Playlist magazine reviews the Nano, calling it "Apple's thinnest and, quite possibly, coolest iPod yet."

MARTIAN MINING: As Quaid would say, "Get your a** to Mars."

NANOTECH: Mobile phones could o­ne day have the memory capacity of a desktop computer using microchips with nonwires.

WE CAN REBUILD HIM -- we have the technology.

MAC USERS need to wake up to potential security problems -- before they are rudely awoken by a destructive piece of malware.

BABY SQUIRREL takes refuge from Hurricane Katrina in a woman's cleavage. The woman also cares for 11 cats, 12 tortoises, three dogs and two chameleons.

L.A. GATOR UPDATE: "Little Reggie," the smaller of two alligators at large in Los Angeles, was behind bars o­n Friday after firefighters ended a tense standoff by hauling the thrashing reptile from a drainage canal. The bigger gator, "Reggie," a/k/a/ "Carlito," remains at large in Lake Machado.

...AND HE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT, TOO, if it hadn't been for that meddlesome wabbit...

GRIZZLY MAN: Human and bear families face off in Montana's Glacier National Park. Afterward, it was o­nly the human father whose face was off.

ELEPHANT POLO: The Chivas Regal Scotland team clinched their second King's Cup Elephant Polo title Sunday in Bangkok. Even before I clicked o­n the link, I suspected liquor would be involved.

2746 Reads

9/11 + 4   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Sunday, September 11, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council lost its offices, studios and an artist o­n September 11, 2001. How is the LMDC commemorating the fourth anniversary of 9/11?

With an exhibition titled "A Knock at the Door." The exhibition includes depictions of President Bush as Osama bin Laden or Momar Khadafi. Mug shots of Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the president. Fake postage stamps showing President Bush with a gun to his head.  An American flag reconstructed into a straitjacket. A painting showing Wizard of Oz characters prancing down a yellow brick road as the Twin Towers burn in the background. War hero and former NFL star Pat Tillman, who joined the military after the 9/11 attacks and was killed apparently accidentally by fellow Army Rangers in Afghanistan, is featured in what appears to be the cover of a mock magazine called Friendly Fire:

"My death was tragic. My glory was short-lived. Flawed perceptions of myself, my country and the War o­n Terror resulted in the disastrous end to my life."

And not o­ne, but two, people produced fake bombs that had to be checked by the police after o­ne claimed that he intended to build a real bomb from items o­n sale in stores and that could be detonated via cellphone.

This exhibition is part of Cities, Art and Recovery, a conference that "will consider how people remember and rebuild after tragedy and how the arts have been crucial to such recovery."

Oddly enough, some of the families who lost members o­n 9/11 do not feel helped by the exhibit or the conference.

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Dr. John, Nick Cave, Diamond Nights, Shoe-blogging and over 130 animals!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, September 09, 2005 - 08:30 AM
Posted by: kbade



FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: Our site admin Lance has plenty of games up at his site. Let's start with the classics.

SUFJAN STEVENS tells the Cleveland Scene that he is more comfortable with storytelling than with history or politics.

THE ROLLING STONES are having so much trouble getting their new single played o­n the radio that theyve hired a "specialist" to help them. Former Sony International exec Rick Dobbis may be paid as much as 500K to "work" the stations. Roger Friedman blames Clear Channel for fracturing radio into so many genres that theres almost no place for an "oldies" act with new material. I blame Karl Rove! Or maybe the new Stones record -- like all of them since at least Tattoo You -- just isn't that good.

RILO KILEY: The opening slot o­n the Coldplay tour is getting the band lots of press, even in outlets like the St. Petersburg Times.

RAY DAVIES: The Kinks frontman criticizes President Bush and the government response to Hurricane Katrina generally, but spends more time noting that the whole infrastructure of New Orleans seemed very fragile to him.

DR. JOHN, who lost a nephew in New Orleans, does not like celebrities being used as propaganda.

NICK CAVE scored a victory for rock and roll over health and safety laws, refusing to take the stage in London without his beer and cigarettes.

LAURA VEIRS gets a feature in NOW Toronto, in which she talks about rocking out and mentions that Mudhoney is working o­n a new record.

THE POLYPHONIC SPREE is not just the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Thumbsucker -- the band also pulled the director out of a depression following the suicide of Elliott Smith, who was originally going to do the soundtrack. You can stream a few cuts from the band's MySpace page.

DIAMOND NIGHTS are taking their "I Love the 80's" metal/rock/power-pop o­n the road. Check out the legal download of "Destination Diamonds" as an introduction.

MADONNA: We all knew her British accent was fake, but did you know her husband's accent is fake, too?

COURTNEY LOVE: Dean's Planet has a gallery of her scary faces.

GEORGE CLOONEY is angry that he cannot voice his opinions without fierce criticism from President Bush's supporters. Seems like Clooney can't stand to hear opposing viewpoints. He seems to think he's liberal, but that would include free and open debate, wouldn't it?

SUPERMAN RETURNS, set to open next June, has a budget of nearly 250 million dollars.

RUSSELL CROWE: As the studios plan to re-release Cinderella Man in hopes of recouping losses and boosting chances for Oscar nominations, Crowe says boxing is stupid. As is Crowe, apparently. Of course, he has a point -- why punch someone with padded gloves when you can just throw your cellphone at them?


HURRICANE KATRINA: The Natural Hazards Center 2004 paper analyzing the local response to Hurricane Ivan noted: "A proposal made after the evacuation for Hurricane Georges to use public transit buses to assist in their evacuation out of the city was not implemented for Ivan. If Ivan had struck New Orleans directly it is estimated that 40-60,000 residents of the area would have perished." Thursday's Washington Post looked at federal flood-control funding for Louisiana and reported that during the Bush administration, Louisiana received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state. Moreover, Bush's funding requests for the key N.O. flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its last five years.

IRAQ: The operation to rescue hostage Roy Hallums was put together in under three hours. As noted here yesterday, Sunni voter registration surged for the contitutional referendum. Haqy Asaad -- an Iraqi expert in bomb disposal -- has been gunned down in an ambush. Peter Kann, who covered the Vietnam War, looks at differences and similarities.

THE SIMPSONS are flamed by famous photog David LaChapelle: "They're everything that's wrong with music. Out of everything combined, they're everything wrong with culture, and everything wrong with art, and what we think of as art and musical culture - in o­ne family!" Also: "They're reality-red-carpet, lip-synching television stars. I don't know what they are beyond that. I don't think they offer anything." The Simpson camp suggests LaChapelle is bitter that the sisters recently refused to pose for him for a Rolling Stone cover -- and LaChapelle's producer doesn't really deny it: "We've worked with everyone from Madonna to Janet Jackson, and have never had someone so o­n-again, off-again as the Simpsons. In the 10 years I've worked with David, I've never known anyone to be so difficult as they were." Someone who touts working with Madge and Janet probably shouldn't complain about lip-syncing... though the bit about being everything wrong with music still holds up.

BRUCE WILLIS will help pick Italy's most beautiful woman when he heads the jury of the "Miss Italia" pageant later this month. A decision made by people who should never run a henhouse.

THE FRENCH HOTEL and Colin Farrell sold themselves for hurricane relief. Shockingly, Farrell was cheaper.

THE MIDDLE EAST: The Economist looks at tentative steps down the road to democracy. The opposition is now claiming massive fraud in the Egyptian elections. The Big Pharaoh -- an Egyptian blogger -- thinks the Egyptian election was rigged, but still important.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: London's Times editorializes that "The United Nations would be better off without Kofi Annan."

SCARLETT JOHANSSON wants to tell budding starlets to eat something, already!

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife has a euphemism for two-timing: "I end up overlapping people because I know I'm over the relationship, so I move o­n without telling them. It's not good. I've never broken up with someone successfully."

BRITNEY SPEARS is planning a cesarean section because she doesn't want to go through pain. So much for giving birth in the tub of Kabbalah water.

ENGLISH WOMEN: are just getting started in their 40s. But the pre-teen girls are fond of Playboy stationery.

IT'S THE SHOES: The Manolo, he is having a Super Fantastic Essay Contest with many shoe-related prizes.

HURRICANE OF BLAME: The new CBS poll shows people spread the blame around all levels of government. Though President Bush lost some public confidence in his abilites, his job approval numbers are virtually unchanged from prior polls and only three percent think he is most to blame for the situation in New Orleans. ALSO: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's online petition to fire the head of FEMA also tried to raise money for Democratic candidates. After an inquiry from the Associated Press, the DSCC quickly pulled down the page and said they would donate to charity any money raised by the petition.

CULT OF THE iPod: People like Walter Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal are raving about the iPod Nano: "it's stunningly skinny -- about the thickness of five credit cards stacked o­n top of o­ne another."

SOLAR ENERGY: Southern California Edison has agreed to purchase upwards of 500 megawatts of electricity from Stirling Energy Systems -- more than all other U.S. solar projects combined. But no photovoltaic panels are used.

NANOTECH: Ultrafast Electron Microscopy is a breakthrough that may allow scientists to to watch nanotechnology experiments as they happen.

HURRICANE RELIEF: Some evacuees will be stylin' in designer duds from Jay-Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs. What would Barbara Bush say? The linked article reports that Jay-Z and Combs are thrilled to be able to help "their people." What would Kanye West say?

HURRICANE EXPLOITATION: Guys o­n Craigslist are targeting women from New Orleans looking for a fresh start.

SANDY BERGER, former Clinton National Security Adviser, is fined 50K for illegally taking classified documents from the National Archives. Under the deal, Berger avoids prison time but he must surrender access to classified government materials for three years. The sentencing capped a bizarre sequence of events in which Berger admitted to sneaking classified documents out of the Archives in his suit (in his pants, really), later destroying some of them in his office and then lying about it.

L.A. GATOR UPDATE: A second renegade gator was seen basking in a drainage canal this week, not far from where wranglers have spent weeks chasing the first alligator, "Reggie," a/k/a "Carlito," around murky Lake Machado.

POLICE FIND 130 ANIMALS IN A BUS in Mexico City, including an eagle, two toucans, 41 mockingbirds, three iguanas, 14 parrots, 15 snakes, 55 tortoises and a tarantula. Insert really politically incorrect crowded bus joke here.

EL CHUPACABRA shot in Coleman, TX. Or it could be a mangy coyote.

SHRIMP apparently knew enough to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina's path.

IT'S ILLEGAL TO SERVE TIGER MEAT in China, but authorities discovered that a restaurant advertising it was actually selling donkey flesh marinated in tiger urine, according to a reprt in the China Daily. "The report didn't say how the urine was obtained." I'll bet they got it from tigers. Probably stuck sleeeping tigers' paws in bowls of warm water.

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