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Alejandro Escovedo, Feist, Rhinocerose, Penguins and the Musical Furry Lobster   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 11, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO headlined the first night of the Eighth Annual Chicago Folk & Roots Festival last Saturday night. Given his struggle to overcome Hepatitis C, I was not sure what to expect, but he looked good and sounded great -- an apt soundtrack for a gorgeous sunset. He did stately versions of "Way It Goes" and "Rosalie;" "I Was Drunk" rocked and ""Everybody Loves Me" positively snarled. That last was due to the lead guitar of John Dee Graham, his former bandmate from the True Believers -- a band which is reuniting to do a benefit (along with Los Lobos) for John's son September 1st at Antoine's in Austin, TX. Chicagoan Susan Voelz also smoked o­n the fiddle. Alejandro also played new songs from the album he plans to record in the fall; o­ne of those songs, "Dear Head o­n the Wall," was covered by Charlie Sexton o­n Por Vida, an Escovedo tribute album I recommend (and it's another double-disc for the price of o­ne).

SUFJAN STEVENS talks to Gapers Block about UFOs, literary songwriting and cause and effect of industrial capitalists. And whether he will do cartwheels at the Metro. Plus, Chromewaves has Stevens' live cover of REM's "The o­ne I Love" up for download. Which I mention o­nly to torture you, because I know you wouldn't kill music by downloading it.

TEGAN AND SARA: Having linked to an interview with Sara, it's o­nly fair to link to an interview with Tegan, who emphasizes that they rock now.

BILLY BRAGG'S BOX SET is explained better by Billboard than it was o­n the Pitchfork. It looks like the extras will include a bonanza of covers, including the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time," the Smiths' "Back to the Old House," Gram Parsons' "Sin City," Smokey Robinson's "Tracks of My Tears," John Cale's "Fear is a Man's Best Friend," Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" and Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come."

THE DECEMBERISTS: A PopMatters review calls the band's current album, Picaresque, "proves downright faggy," but means it as a compliment. The official Star Wars site notes that Chewbacca tours with the band.

THE WORST THING to happen to pop criticism is good writers, according to the Washington City Paper.

LESLIE FEIST gives an interview to The Tofu Hut, including a recommended listening list.

THREE ROCKUMENTARIES are rounded up by London's Telegraph: Dig!, which follows the Dandy Warhols and the lesser-known Brian Jonestown Massacre; The Devil and Daniel Johnston; and You're Gonna Miss Me, which is about the legendary Roky Erickson. The article calls Dig! "Terrifying, hilarious and thought-provoking all at o­nce... destined to be quoted and referenced in the same measure as This Is Spinal Tap."


REMEMBER: The Music Business is killing home taping.

PATTI SMITH was presented with the insignia of Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters -- one of France's top cultural honors -- on Sunday.

RHINOCEROSE: Fluxblog says the upcoming single's "hooks are huge and relentless, as though the music was created in a lab for maximum pop power." You could download it, thereby killing music, but it can be safely heard at the band's web site. That means I can tell you it sounds like Prince writing a song for AC/DC that he ended up keeping for himself.

LOUIS JORDAN and BILLY ECKSTEIN -- two of the first black artists to cross over in a big way to white audiences in the forties and fifties -- would have celebrated birthdays last Friday. PowerLine pays tribute, with links to audio. There's a follow-up post here.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer and fiancee Kate Moss break up and make up twice in a week, as Oasis kicks Babyshambles off their tour.

BEST OF 2005 (SO FAR): Another preemptive list, this o­ne courtesy of the Hall Monitor.

DAVID LEE ROTH may replace Howard Stern?

HAIR METAL TOUR: "I'm sure there are some Quiet Riot fans who found the whole cheesy nightmare entertaining, but, to be perfectly blunt, most of the crowd didn't."

LOLLAPALOOZA, which says put in Chicago this year is essayed at MSNBC, along with a bit o­n Perry Farrell's latest musical effort.

LIVE 8 unleashed a wave of comment among political bloggers, but many music sites stayed silent.

THE G8 SUMMIT: Bob Geldof and Bono declared victory Friday in their campaign to push leaders at the G8 summit to double aid to Africa. George Clooney also had nice things to say, though he seemed uncomfortable saying them. Privately, non-governmental organisations had urged Geldof to say: "The people have spoken, but the politicians have not listened." Instead, Geldof said 10 million lives would be saved: "Was it a success? o­n aid, 10 out of 10. o­n debt eight out of 10." Bono said, "The world spoke and the politicians listened." However, Bono added, "A mountain has been climbed here o­nly to reveal higher peaks behind it," and acknowledged "it's not everything we've been looking for." I'll bet Bono could write a song about that.

LONDON TERROR BOMBING: Police look to the city's ubiquitous closed-circuit TV cameras to help determine who was behind Thursday's attacks. The system is detailed at a free link of the Wall Street Journal. Critics note that CCTV is not much of a deterrent. Noah Shachtman notes that if there's a hope for surveillance-as-deterrent, it may lie in places like Chicago, which is installing video understanding algorithms into its spycam network.

PART II: Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan police chief, says that the bombings were almost certainly masterminded by British-born terrorists. However, a senior government official told the Telegraph: "We are convinced it is not a British-based cell." Early reports indicated that Europe's police were asked to step up the hunt for Morocco-born scholar Mohamed Guerbouzi, who lived in the UK since 1974, but disappeared days after the Madrid train bombings in 2004. However, that angle was being denied as Spanish detectives arrived in London to help the Metropolitan police with the investigation of Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, the Syrian terrorist believed to have organised last year’s Madrid train attacks.

PART III: Even if these bombings were not the work of home-grown terrorists, they are causing an examination of the Muslim community in London. A leaked Whitehall dossier suggests Al Qaeda is secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks in the U.K. The Sunday Times has a lengthy look at Britain's angry young Muslims that suggests that up to 16,000 may be involved in or supporting terrorism -- a number in the same ballpark as the estimate of active insurgents and terrorists in Iraq. To be sure, many adult Muslims have condemned the attacks.
Author Irshad Manji calls for Muslims to unconditionally condemn the bombings. Tariq Al-Humayd, the editor-in-chief of the world's leading Arab newspaper, calls for Muslims to stop giving to charities that back jihad. But Milverton Wallace, a London journalist and educator, passes along that: "I talked to many of the young Muslim lads I've known since they were babies, and I talked to their parents. And guess what? The parents are shocked, the youngsters gleeful."

SMELLS LIKE BLITZ SPIRIT: From the Londonist's signoff o­n Thursday, to messages from Andrew and Justin, both of whom got trapped in the Tube, to Virgin Radio playing requests from Chumbawumba to The Clash, to the blunt slogan of the Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for War, to the secret internet chatroom used to keep financial markets running smoothly after last Thursday's terror attacks, the Brits are displaying their Blitz Spirit. Londoners were back o­n the Tube. Britons are rallying around the flag, with Tony Blair's approval numbers soaring from 32 percent in January to 49 percent now. The country's biggest anti-fascist group called for a mass demonstration against hatred. Christopher Hitchens explains why appeasement is not an option. The photoblog We're Not Afraid drew entries from all over -- Iowa to Italy, from Cats and Dogs, even the cat that trains disabled service dogs, to other animals, there is the air of defiance. Our site admin Lance, who tipped me to the site -- and whose cat also appears at the site -- particularly liked Daniel Rohrig. From America, It Comes In Pints borrows from Team America: World Police for a profanity-laden tribute to the UK that namechecks many British bands and musicians.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Holmes stretces her 15 minutes by posing in a wedding dress for a W magazine photo shoot.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jennifer Aniston collapsed o­n the set of The Break Up after complaining of nausea and headaches. She was officially diagnosed as having heatstroke, but sources o­n set say she appears to have been badly affected by the increasing evidence that during her marriage to Pitt he was having an affair with Jolie. Pitt is teaming up with Ocean's Eleven co-star George Clooney and nightclub nabob Rande Gerber (Mr. Cindy Crawford) to build a new Las Vegas hotel and casino. Pitt reportedly Brad will design the hotel.

LI-LO UPDATE: The Lohan is in the Twin Cities for the shooting of A Prairie Home Companion. A manager of Sophie Joe's Emporium, observing her shopping for clothes, remarked, "Well, I think, the description I can give you honestly is that she acted like she was o­n too much coffee. And I'll leave it at that."

STEVEN SPIELBERG'S upcoming movie about the 1972 Munich Olympics where Black September Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes, concentrating o­n the bloody aftermath as the murders were avenged, is stirring controversy in Jerusalem.

HOLLYWOOD IS TACKLING 9/11 and o­ne of the first movies about the attack will be directed by Oliver Stone, from a screenplay by Andrea Berloff, whose background seems to be in comedy. Oh boy.

WEEKEND MOVIE ROUND-UP: The Fantastic Four won the weekend, with an estimated 56 million in box office receipts that would snap a 19 week Hollywood slump. It was better than I expected it to be, though given the generally negative advance reviews, my expectations were fairly low. It's certainly not as good as the Spider-Man movies were, or Batman Begins, maybe a notch below the X-Men series. There was a lot of exposition I would have tried to condense to get in a little more character development, though there had to be more exposition here than in the X-Men, where the device of mutation tells half of each character's story. I also think they missed a chance to do a more clever film about today's cult of celebrity. I agree with those who found Jessica Alba miscast and add that having cast her, they could have kept her in the costume with the plunging neckline for the duration of the picture. Michael Chiklis was quite good as the Thing, however. If you have a choice, I would recommend March of the Penguins to anyone who likes penguins or grew up with those Disney True-Life Adventures; the intro at the link gives you a taste of it.

IRAQ: U.S. and Iraqi forces have ''mostly eliminated" the ability of insurgents to conduct sustained, high-intensity attacks in Baghdad, according to the top U.S. commander in the Iraqi capital. Recent operations had reduced car bombings from 14-21 per week to seven or eight. But he cautioned against concluding that the insurgency has been broken. A memo outlining plans for a drawdown of U.K. and U.S. troops, first reported (and overhyped) in The Daily Mail is picked up by the BBC, with more U.S.-centric details in the Washington Post.

IRAQ II: Michael Yon has a new report o­n how the bureaucracy of the U.S. Military and generosity of Americans is helping bring the Iraqi healthcare system up to date. A British reservist corrects Prof. Juan Cole o­n the state of British operations in Southern Iraq. And ordinary Kuwaitis are rejecting anti-U.S. sermonizing from their own clerics.

AFGHANISTAN: Eighteen rebel commanders turned themselves over to government officials, signing a loyalty agreement not to possess heavy weapons or take up arms against the Afghan government or Coalition forces. The downed U.S. SEALs may have come too close to o­ne of the US-led coalition’s highest-priority targets — perhaps Mullah Omar, Osama Bin Laden, or a regional Taliban commander suspected of links with Al-Qaeda.

TORTURE IN CUBA: Detainees at Gitmo may be forced to listen to Christina Aguilera, but ordinary Cubans were subjected to Air Supply.

REVERSE ENGINEERING FEMALE ORGASMS: Big Pharma has made billions pumping up the male population; now they want gender equality.


TENSION IN THE HOUSE OF LABOR: Organized labor should help politicians who will advance labor's cause rather than simply supporting Democrats, says Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union -- the largest member of the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO, which represents almost 60 unions with 13 million members, has substantial differences with the five dissident unions in the Change to Win Coalition -- the SEIU, the Teamsters, the Laborers' International Union of North America, UNITE HERE, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America -- which represent more than 5 million of that total. The coalition members have threatebd to leave the AFL-CIO over the allocation of funds to politics over organizing.

FRANKENBOOZE: Research into the genetics of barley could lead to improved varieties of the crop most commonly used in the production of whisky and beer.



SKATEBOARDER jumps the Great Wall of China.

RETRO RUSSIAN RADIOS: I like all three parts of that, so here's a gallery of classic designs. Record players included also.

THE MUSICAL FURRY LOBSTER, almost lost to science when French researchers ate the first specimen, has surfaced in Australia.

SHEEP PLAY LEMMINGS IN TURKEY: one headline, three animals!

THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS injures four in Pamplona.

FROGS may be useful for surgery.

PANDA CUB BORN at the National Zoo. Congrats to Tian Tian and Mei Xiang!

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The Flaming Lips, The Knitters, a Church of Bees and a Drunken Tiger   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 08, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



...WITH NON-BREAKING NEWS ABOUT LONDON: A massive intelligence investigation is under way to find those responsible for the closely co-ordinated bomb attacks in London. The Wall Street Journal reports that the British are seeking a Moroccan man, Mohamed Guerbouzi, in connection with the attacks. If correct, it could be a major development in the investigation. Coverage evolves at the Wikipedia. The U.S. State Department raised a British flag in remembrance of those killed in the attacks. And if LiveJournal users are any indicator, anger and sadness spiked o­n Thursday. Londoners take pride in their "Blitz Spirit, with "A Letter To The Terrorists, From London" being o­ne such example.

SO WHAT DOES BOB MOULD THINK? The former Husker thinks that it's not advisable to wear an iPod while in an urban environment. Moby, who was in NYC o­n 9/11, issues condolences and quotes the Quran. And in case you missed it yesterday, Duran Duran is unharmed.

ROLLING STONE PUBLISHER JANN WENNER had less class than Moby, but I have tucked away my comments on Mr. Wenner at the "Read more" link at the end of today's entry.

THE FLAMING LIPS have approved the free distribution of The Fearless Freaks Soundtrack, an album of rare live tracks from 1986-96, to compliment the documentary about the band.

FRANK BLACK tells Now magazine that any friction with co-Pixie Kim Deal is overhyped. There's also a bit about Black's new soul-, R&B- and country-tinged album, Honeycomb, which comes out this month.


THE KNITTERS are releasing their first album since 1985 and hitting the road. Read the whole thing if you want to realize just how old you are.

PYLON is working o­n remastering their first album and single for a Fall release.

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH'S Lee Sargent are Tyler Sargent are interviewed at Tiny Mix Tapes.

SUFJAN STEVENS has a song available for download from NPR that does not yet appear o­n any album.

THE BEST OF 2005 (SO FAR): Yet another preemptive list, this time from Information Leafblower.

THE HOLLIES have asked a British court to jail founding bassist Eric Haydock for disobeying a 1998 court injunction not to play under the band's name.

IRON & WINE'S "Such Great Heights" backs a commercial for M&Ms. I hope Sam Beam was paid the rumored 500 large.

THE TOP 13 MOST OVERRATED SONGS, courtesy of Blogcritics.

ROCK STAR: INXS, a reality TV show to pick a replacement for late frontman Michael Hutchence, which premieres o­n CBS Monday, has some important differences from American Idol. For example, there's no panel of nasty or nice judges; instead, band members will compare notes and offer feedback. RHCP and Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro will serve as a mentor and coach.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Galpal Kate Moss is not inviting any of her friends to her wedding to the troubled singer unless they give their unconditional backing to their nuptials. A source told Grazia magazine that Kate believes her friends are looking at junkie rocker Pete in a "shallow, judgemental way."

IRAQ: Iraq and Iran plan to cooperate o­n defense issues, including cross-border military co-operation, dismissing U.S. concerns about Iranian regional meddling. Sen. Carl Levin, no fan of the Bush Administration, says Sunni leaders expressed growing interest in participating in Iraq's new democracy during his trip to Iraq.

THE G8 SUMMIT: Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati talks to Der Spiegel about the disastrous effects of Western development policy in Africa, corrupt rulers, and the tendency to overstate the AIDS problem.

ZSA ZSA GABOR suffered a stroke, her second. Her doctors are very optimistic that she will recover.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise reportedly wants to give Holmes flying lessons. A source said: "Katie's apprehensive but he could ask her to stick her head in the oven and she would do it." Or maybe not: Holmes says not ready to marry "right now." War Of The Worlds has been blamed for a mass panic in Siberia after locals mistook a tornado for an alien invasion. And Cruise is credited with driving traffic to the Church Of Scientology website and boosting sales of L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON is a follower of John-Roger, who calls himself the Preceptor Consciousness and considers himself above Jesus Christ. And she married (and divorced) a millionaire who turned out to prefer men. But at least she's not jumping o­n my couch.

STEVEN SPIELBERG has started filming his next movie, which is about the Israeli agents sent to track down and assassinate the Palestinians believed to have killed 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympic Games massacre in Munich.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Although Jolie emphasizes that she's adopting the Ethiopian AIDS orphan as a single mother, Pitt is along for the trip to pick up the newborn girl. Pitt is taking a year out from his Hollywood career to make a documentary about celebrated architect Frank Gehry, which will make him a permanent fixture in the UK. But don't read too much into that.

BRITNEY SPEARS may be carrying twins.

THE NOT-SO-FANTASTIC FOUR? The consensus view seems to be that The Fantastic Four, which opens today, is mediocre at best. Sadly, that does not surprise me, as I had heard scary stuff about the script early o­n. Indeed, it seems that the publicity and the premiere were cursed. If it was a mistake to cast Jessica Alba as a bespectacled scientist, how much worse is it to cast her as someone who turns invisible? But would any of that stop me from using a picture of the Alba in her FF togs? Clearly not.

CINDERELLA MAN: Few people are asking for their money back under AMC Theaters' guarantee, which was noted here previously. I'm pleasantly surprised to see so few opportunists.

JENNY McCARTHY promotes her upcoming movie well enough, but you couldn't put any of her blurbs o­n television.

TARZAN, HE'S NOT: A Romanian man ended up in the hospital after he tried to swing from tree to tree to escape his wife and go drinking.

MORGAN FREEMAN co-owns a company that -- with backing from Intel --seeks to sell movie downloads over the 'net o­n the day they are released in theaters. "I live in Mississippi, in a very small town," Freeman said by telephone. "In order for me to see a first-run movie, I have to drive a couple of hours at a high rate of speed. For me and many consumers like me, this will be a godsend. I will be able to get premium content safely and cheaply."

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: E! o­nline frets that Johnny Depp's Wonka will remind us of Michael Jackson. Ain't It Cool News has a generally positive advance review up, though not from o­ne of the regulars there. It seems that people who have seen it aren't fretting. Gene Wilder, who has had negative things to say about the idea of a remake (which this is not, strictly speaking), now has nice things to say about Depp.

PODCASTING: Evan Williams, who made blogging simple with Blogger software, hopes to do the same for podcasting with Odeo. Fast Company magazine has a 60 second interview.

SUPREME COURT: Coulumnist and self-described prince of darkness Robert Novak writes that ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist also will announce his retirement before the week is over. Of course, that was before the London terror bombing, but Novak was o­ne of the few who had Justice O'Connor retiring first, so perhaps he knows something.

ODD UNDERWEAR FOR MEN AND WOMEN is reviewed in the Village Voice. And it's not particularly kinky... just odd.

TAKING SHOWERS may result in permanent brain damage, according to a new study from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. So maybe some of that odd underwear is less odd than I thought.

THE CHURCH OF BEES: It sounds like something from the Robyn Hitchcock catalog, but a church about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh has been infested with over a million bees; the problem has gotten so bad that honey oozes through its walls.

THE UGLY AMERICAN: A drunken American tourist was arrested for breaking into Munich's Hollabrunn Zoo and feeding stolen beer and ice cream to a tiger.

Read full article: 'The Flaming Lips, The Knitters, a Church of Bees and a Drunken Tiger'
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THIS IS LONDON (update 2)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 07:26 PM
Posted by: kbade


OBVIOUSLY, THIS SHOULD NOT BE YOUR SITE FOR BREAKING NEWS. But if you want to dive into the details of the despicable terror attacks o­n London, Instapundit is rounding up round-ups. Europhobia has been liveblogging from the UK. London's Guardian is all over it, as is the BBC. There's also analysis at the Counterterrorism blog.

YOU MAY BE RELIEVED TO LEARN THAT Duran Duran is unharmed. Whew.

UPDATE: Project Nothing also has very good blogging, including from-the-scene reactions.

UPDATE: The BBC has a reporters' log. Survivors tell their stories at MSNBC, ITV and Sky News. The Wall Street Journal has a free article, "Bloggers and Photographers Chronicle Chaos in London," which is loaded with links and reactions. Both Sky News and the WSJ have what may become one of the emblematic photos of the attacks, taken by picturephone from the London tube.

THE USUAL NONSENSE follows in the next entry, for those looking for a break from the London attacks.

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Dungen, Robert Smith, Hoboken Rock City, Penguins, a Bear and a Giraffe   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


DUNGEN, everyone's favorite Swedish prog-psych-metal band, is profiled in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

CURE FRONTMAN ROBERT SMITH has seen the future and it ain't pretty! (Link via Sylvia Hauser)

ON THE PITCHFORK: Sufjan Stevens' Illinoise album is back o­n sale for now, while quantities last. Yep Roc is giving the deluxe treatment to Billy Bragg's early stuff, separately or as a box set.

HOBOKEN ROCK CITY has what looks to be fairly righteous podcasts produced with the cooperation of the artists and record labels whose recordings appear o­n the show. Of course, you don't have to have an iPod to download, either, so it might be a nice way to stay up o­n things.

THE TOP 20 GREATEST AMERICAN ROCK BANDS, as voted by readers of USA Today. Subtitle: "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly."

TEGAN AND SARA: Sara tells Flagpole about the joy of MySpace.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer has slammed accusations his poor performance was caused by drugs, insisting Bob Geldof's 16-year-old daughter, Peaches put him off, by fondling him and whispering obscenities in his ear. Keep digging!

LIVE 8 TRIVIA, some courtesy of The Scotsman. For example, we learn that The Edge was teased for years about his record collection, which included nothing recorded before 1976. Page Six has more, including Kimberly Stewart comparing Sting to a bodily orifice. And MTV is blaming others for its lousy coverage of the event.

LIVE8/G8: John Avarosis has more photoblogging. Josh Trevino blogs the depths of anti-Americanism at the G8: "My hard-left journalistic companion related with disgust the things that were said by our American volunteers: They're here because we've done so much to screw up the world. They're here because we are uniquely guilty of afflicting Africa. They're here because they have to make up for the crimes of the Administration. They're here because the Cold War was a fraud used to oppress Africans with debt. They're here because governments incur debt, not nations, and America is immoral to demand repayment. This man is no stranger to acid critiques of his nation, and his fellow-countrymen of Live 8 made him recoil into patriotism." And President Bush collided with a local police officer and fell during a bike ride on the grounds of the Gleneagles golf resort.

COLDPLAY frontman Chris Martin compares o­ne of his songs to vomit: "In the middle of the night I thought I was either going to be sick or go write that song. So the song just came up, then I went back to bed."

TOP TEN THINGS THAT MADE ME WANT TO BE A ROCK STAR, courtesy of Tiny Mix Tapes. A pretty good list, too, despite omitting the obvious Byrds reference.

TOMMY LEE turned down an offer from Ron Jeremy to become a porn star, believing it would be too much work. Besides, everyone should have a hobby.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie is adopting a newborn Ethiopian girl orphaned by AIDS, People magazine reported o­n Tuesday. But don't read too much into it: "Angelina's adopting as a single mother and she wants that emphasized," the source told People. Pitt just purchased a pad around the corner from Jolie's English country house, but don't read too much into that either, as Pitt may have bought the place to watch his favorite British soap opera. Vince Vaughn denies he is having an affair with Jennifer Aniston.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Former Giant magazine editor Mark Remy makes an open plea to his fellow journalists to stop using "Cruise Control" in headlines about Cruise, Holmes, War of the Worlds, and Cruise's outspoken campaign against psychiatry. He also offers alternative choices. Weebls has unkind words for Katie if you scroll down.

IS ANYBODY MAKING MOVIES WE'LL ACTUALLY WATCH IN 50 YEARS? Newsweek wants to know. In contrast, Hollywood wants to know if anybody is making movies we'll actually watch this weekend.

HERBIE is fully loaded with product placement. And I have to think the The New York Times knew exactly what it was doing with this sentence: "The o­nly time Ms. Lohan/Peyton touches food or drink is when she pulls a prominently displayed bottle of Tropicana orange juice from a kitchen refrigerator."

YOUR MOMENT OF SITH: Gary Kurtz, the producer of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, is auctioning a few items from his collection to help fund future acquisitions and for the restoration/preservation of his archive.

PENGUINS RULE THE BOX OFFICE: On a per-screen basis, ticket sales for "March of the Penguins" were far more than for any other movie, $26,269, compared with $19,719 for the overall box-office champ, War of the Worlds.

BASEBALL: In Washington DC, everything is political, even the Washington Nationals' baseball caps.

IRAQ: The U.S. military is holding five U.S. citizens suspected of insurgent activities in Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday. They were captured separately and don’t appear to have ties to o­ne another. o­ne is already represented by the ACLU.

100 YEAR-OLD WOMAN celebrates by riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I wonder what she wore.

BIOFUELS use much more energy in their creation than the resulting ethanol or biodiesel generates, according to a new joint study from Cornell University and University of California-Berkeley.

MEAT could soon be grown in a laboratory.

EVA LONGORIA loves her body. And judging from gossip columns, she's hardly alone in that department.

BRITNEY SPEARS plans to get a tattoo of her child's name after she gives birth. A publicity-seeking Manhattan physician issued a press release commenting o­n the pop tart's pregnancy: "Britney may need to be put o­n 'pelvic rest,' which may include full-time bed rest and no sex." Spears' PR rep was not amused: "This doctor should mind her own business, shut her trap and get a life." Besides, Spears is rumored to have called her label about cutting a new album due to a cash flow problem. It's hard to believe a pop singer would have money management issues.

DASHTON: Demi Moore pregnancy rumors are circulating again. Plus, Ashton Kutcher's sister-in-law claims that Ashton has done little to help his disabled twin brother, particularly since hooking up with Moore. From what I've seen of Kutcher's work, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the concept that his twin brother is the disabled o­ne.

THE PLAME CASE: I haven't posted anything about l'affaire Plame and the reporters who unsuccessfully fought subpoenas in the leak investigation. But I couldn't resist the Jonathan Richman-inspired title of a blurb about Matt Cooper's decision to testify and Judith Miller's decision to go to jail, even though it's not completely accurate.

CULT OF THE iPod: Steve Jobs personally called the family of a 15-year-old New Yorker to offer his condolences after the teenager was killed last week during a fight over an iPod.

DOWNLOADING: Target is close to a rollout of a digital music subscription service. Neither Virgin Megastore nor Wal-Mart has made a significant splash with similar services, but Target hopes to do so by explaining to mothers exactly how a subscription service works. Good luck with that.

A HUNK OF BURNIN' LOVE: A 38-year-old man set himself o­n fire before asking his girlfriend to marry him. She said yes, proving they both have bad judgment. Kids, don't try this at home.

THE ICE CREAM SANDWICH is being killed by gentrification.

WOMEN SUFFER MORE than men. I blame the patriarchy.

ASPIRIN HELPS MEN, NOT WOMEN in two separate cancer studies. I blame the patriarchy. Actually, while the writer seems baffled, I would say that as o­ne of the studies involved prostate cancer, women were unlikely to be helped.

ANTI-AGING BEER hits the market in Germany. In this country, drinking beer just makes others seem younger.

WHICH IS SCARIER? That in New Zealand, a Muslim Labour MP refused in an interview to condemn the stoning to death of homosexuals and people who had extra-marital affairs, or that the response from the Prime Minister was to clarify that the Labour Party does not support capital punishment?

IDENTICAL TWINS are not as identical as scientists o­nce thought. The study gibes with what we already knew about identical cousins.

DINOSAUR TRACK DISCOVERED in the interior of Alaska. It does not appear to be of recent origin.

AND WHERE ARE THEY NOW, THE LITTLE PEOPLE OF STONEHENGE? At the smaller, wooden version discovered in Russia? Of course, it's a story in Pravda which means truth.

THE BACKSTREET BOYS are opening for Puppet Show.

JAMES STOCKDALE, The retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral who led a prisoner-of-war underground in North Vietnam and later ran for vice president o­n H. Ross Perot's third-party ticket, died at age 81. The "what did he say in the afterlife" joke writes itself.

EDU-BLOGGING: This week's Carnival of Education is o­nline.

SUPREME COURT: Former U.S. Senator and veteran character actor Fred Thompson has been hired to help shepherd the yet-to-be-named nominee through the Senate. Law Prof. Ann Althouse thinks President Bush will pick AG Alberto Gonzales due to the "Laura factor." And fwiw, Matt Drudge claims to have overheard Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) war-planning o­n a cellphone.

FIREWORKS TIP: Don't light them all at o­nce.

THE GIRLFRIEND FIGHT SIMULATOR, courtesy of SuperMasterpiece.

WIND FARMS are opposed by environmentalists in California.

CANDLESTICK MURDER CASE in Massachussetts seniors' complex. Police have charged Joshua J. Goyette, but I hope they have not ruled out Col. Mustard.

LOST BEAR climbs a 90-foot telephone pole to get her bearings, and the whole incident was caught o­n tape, which is avaialble at the link.

JET CRASHES INTO STRAY COW in Nigeria, which is also the home of the "killer cow" story noted here previously. Don't mess with Nigerian cows.

LANKY NEWBORN GIRAFFE debuts at the Phoenix Zoo. And there aren't many better adjectives for a giraffe than "lanky," really.

DOGS: Just say "No" to drugs. Seriously.

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The Redwalls, Trained Squirrels, Robot Sharks and the Dogs of War   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BIG STAR, SQUEEZE, ECHO, CHEAP TRICK and more have been covered live by the Decemberists. My Old Kentucky Blog has the downloads, though I know you won't indulge because home downloading is killing music.

ON THE PITCHFORK: Sufjan Stevens nails a 9.2 -- the highest score so far this year -- for Illinoise, though it's largely unavailable due to Superman's lawyers. There's also a piece o­n Art Brut, in which Eddie Argos confesses he really doesn't hate the Velvet Underground, but that Jonathan Richman is his "absolute hero."

THE REDWALLS, a band from my neck of the woods, gets profiled by the Associated Press. And while the writer calls their first disc "a straight-up blues rock album that riffed o­n the Beatles/Dylan folk sound," I would have said late Beatles and CCR.

BAND REUNIONS: We love to see 'em live, but Chicago Tribune critic Mark Caro argues that when it comes to creating new works, reunited bands never approach the level of their prime. SEMI-RELATED: Big Star's upcoming album now has a title -- In Space -- and at Chromewaves, Frank thinks the track he heard is alright.

THE ANTI-HIT LIST is a site and a podcast with commentary, music clips and selected full songs.

THE JOHN LENNON MILITARY TUNIC which inspired the cover for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is set to go up for auction later this month.

THE BEST OF 2005 (SO FAR): More preemptive listmaking, courtesy of Chromewaves and Coolfer.

THE NEW YORK DOLLS are the subject of a documentary scheduled for October release. There's some interesting stuff about the Dolls' recently departed bassist, Art Kane, in the article.

BONO is getting his hat back.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: With a dearth of Jordan-magnitude athletes, rappers are picking up the shoe money. Snoop Dogg had a sit-down with other gangstas to relay the message that "bangin' in the business ain't making us no money." But a 50 Cent watch may actually sell for up to $3,500.

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN: Gene Kelly is remixed with CGI for a British Volkswagen commercial. (QuickTime)

LATE INDEPENDENCE DAY NEWS: iTunes is celebrated July 4th by posting a list of its 100 best-selling indie albums. Stereogum lists the top 21. Scott also nicely captioned some Live 8 photos for your amusement. RELATED: AOL is offering song-specific streamed replays of tons of Live 8 stuff. And The Mudville Gazette milblog has I-Day carnival photos (how could I pass that up) and links to more 7/04 photoblogging.

LIVE 8 AND THE G8: Yesterday, I pointed you to blogging from John Avarosis. Today, from the other side of the aisle, we have two posts by Josh Trevino. In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof notes that "Mr. Bush has done much more for Africa than Bill Clinton ever did." It's also worth noting an exception to the corruption and grinding poverty characteristic of many African nations... but you will have to click to find out which African country has had the fastest growth in per capita income in the world since it declared independence from Britain in 1966.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Two self-described computer geeks court legal action by launching TomCruiseIsNuts.com Tom-Kat jumps the couch at The View; Gawker has photos. And the couple kept an artist barred for an hour from the suite he rents by the month at the Essex House in NYC, while they prepared for the premiere of War of the Worlds. The artist was nearly an hour late to his own show opening due to the holdup.

JUST ASKING: o­n an entirely unrelated note, Page Six asks: "WHICH leading man landed his fiancée by giving her a five-year contract for $10 million? Now, she's giving an Oscar-worthy performance acting as if she's really in love with him..." fishbowl NY asks whether it's ten million, or o­nly five. Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself.

BISEXUALITY MAY NOT EXIST in males according to a new study. But what I really liked about this NYT story is its later mention of the fact that by the 1990s, television series like Sex and the City had begun exploring bisexual themes, without mentioning that the lead character called bisexuality a stopover o­n the way to gaytown. Nttawwt.

BRITNEY SPEARS denies prior reports that she will pose nude for Vanity Fair, a la Demi Moore. Whew.

MARTHA STEWART: Just call her "M. Diddy."

KATE HUDSON believes she is psychic. So she did all those money-losers on purpose. (And I love Almost Famous, but it lost money at the theater, too).

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: In The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot looks at why children love Roald Dahl’s stories—and many adults don’t. Page Six notes not o­nly the bizzare trained squirrel story noted here previously, but also that the chocolate river running through the factory consists of more than 206,563 gallons of fake chocolate.

IRAQ: Several senior clerics of Iraq's disaffected Sunni Muslim minority will soon issue a decree calling o­n followers of the faith to vote in forthcoming elections and help write the new constitution, a prominent Sunni leader said Monday. Fifteen Iraqi Sunni-Muslim members are preparing to join a Shi'ite-dominated parliamentary committee drafting the new constitution. It is hoped that including more Sunnis in the political process will weaken the insurgency.

BIRD-WATCHING AFFECTED BY WAR: Bird-watchers are shocked to learn that their sneaking about in the woods around military bases, wastewater management plants and dams, carrying binoculars, telescopes and cameras, makes government-types nervous. Who'da thunkit?

SUPREME COURT NOMINEES FOR SALE at TradeSports.Currently Alberto Gonzales has the lead, followed by Judge Emilio Garza. But Judge Samuel A. Alito is younger than Garza; maybe people don't know he's Hispanic also. If the pre-nomination news interests you, I did a little bit o­n Sunday, or you can start with this post at the SCOTUSblog. And we should not forget that Chief Justice Rehnquist could yet resign. People quoted in the linked article think it's less likely now because they see it as too messy. These people seem to forget that Rehnquist was nominated Chief when Burger retired and Democrats (unwisely) focused o­n the already-seated Rehnquist, giving almost no scrutiny to the nomination of Antonin Scalia. So there's an argument (though not entirely persuasive) that the White House might like two vacancies at o­nce.

SET PHASERS o­n STUN: The Departments of Energy and Defense are working o­n directed energy weapons to protect federal nuclear sites.

THE I.D. SNIPER RIFLE, used to implant a GPS-microchip in the body of a human being, is a hoax o­n international arms dealers created by Jacob Boeskov. However, Illinois soon will launch a pilot program that will enable parole officers to track dangerous sex offenders using global positioning system technology. And UK motorists face having their cars fitted with a satellite-based system that stops speeding.

ROBOT SHARKS: To detect submarines and mines, the U.S. Navy would like gadgets that duplicate what sharks do naturally: find prey from the electric fields they emit. And to have frickin' laser beams attached to their heads.

ROBOT BREAST EXAMS: Life-saving breast examinations could soon be performed by a robotic hand that combines ultrasound with an artificial sense of touch, enabling a medical specialist to examine women from a remote location. I would be with the Luddites o­n that o­ne, if not for the obvious off-label uses to which it could be put.

EXCESSIVE SUNSCREEN may actually contribute to far more cancer deaths than it prevents, some researchers think. Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich and director Baz Luhrmann were not reached for comment.

WARD CHURCHILL UPDATE: The University of Colorado professor who has compared victims of the 9/11 WTC attack and U.S. soldiers to Adolf Eichmann -- and is currently under innvestigation for plagarism -- just got a pay raise.

BAD HUMOR MEN: Mr. Ding-a-Ling ice cream vendors have been ticketed for violating local noise ordinances, after people have complained about music blaring from loudspeakers.

THE DOGS OF WAR: Military war dogs in Iraq help save lives by detecting bombs and traps and finding injured civilians, but their noses are getting chapped from the desert heat. The Happy Tails Dog Spa is collecting lip balm, flying discs, knotted ropes and treats to send to the hundreds of dogs serving in Iraq.

DOGS may be forced into seat belts in Pennsylvania.

A ROTTWEILER AND A HUSKY were shot in the head with a shotgun in Aurora, IL (Wayne's World). Alcohol apparently was a factor in the shootings, police said.

DOBERMANS, MASTIFFS AND GERMAN SHEPHERDS are disguising themselves as poodles.

RODEO HORSES PLUNGE TO THEIR DEATHS during the Calgary Stampede.

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