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One-ders, Grant Hart, Ben Folds, QotSA, Video on Vinyl, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 17, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


TOP 25 ONE-HIT WONDERS OF THE NINETIES, courtesy of Glide magazine, via Stereogum. Anyone who saw Trip Shakespeare play their first gig outside the Twin Cities at the M-Shop has to have a soft spot for "Closing Time..."

RILO KILEY'S Jenny Lewis talked to the Chicago Tribune, but ducked questions about her sitcom past.

GRANT HART tells the Winnipeg Sun why a Husker Du reunion is unlikely.

ON THE PITCHFORK: The lineup for the Intonation Festival in Chicago in mid-July. I may have to go see the Swedish psych-metal of Dungen! ALSO: An interview with The Hold Steady. I liked Craig Finn's comment: "I've said a number of times that people think of songwriting as a very personal thing: A guy gets up there with an acoustic guitar and he sings his heart out, bares his soul. What we're doing is more cinematic. No o­ne goes up to Quentin Tarantino and goes, 'You must shoot a lot of people. You must do karate all the time.'"

BEN FOLDS may be getting mixed reviews for his latest album, but he got a rave for his concert in Boston over the weekend. Marc Hirsh also suggests that Folds owes less to Joe Jackson than he does to Randy Newman.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Roger Ebert gives it three and a half stars. After noting George Lucas' inability to write dialogue, he proclaims that it "has more action per square minute, I'd guess, than any of the previous five movies, and it is spectacular." Anthony Lane in The New Yorker is less charitable in a spoiler-laden review: "The general opinion of Revenge of the Sith seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement o­n the last two episodes... True, but o­nly in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion."

POLITICS OF THE SITH: I wasn't going to get into the political aspect --such as it is-- of the movie, but apparently folks at the Cannes Film Festival have picked up o­n an anti-Bush gibe in the film, as though anti-Bush and even anti-America sentiments are not common at Cannes. Anyway, at o­ne point, Anakin tells Obi-Wan, "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy," which is taken -- probably correctly -- as a stab at President Bush's speech o­n terrorism. I would simply note that Obi-Wan's reply -- that o­nly the Sith see things in such black-and-white terms, is belied by the fact that the Jedi refer to the Dark Side of the Force as, well, the Dark Side of the Force. Anyone who sees the movie will be forced to admit that Darth Sidious has a more nuanced and morally relativistic view of the world than the Jedi Order in Episode III. All of which demonstrates that space opera is probably not the best source for political commentary.

ALCOHOL is worse for female brains, according to a University of Heidelberg study.

WEDDINGS AND NAME CHANGES are discussed at length o­n MetaFilter.

JACKO JUSTICE: Everyone has an opinion about the Michael Jackson trial, including Alice Cooper.

CATS AND DOGS: If youíve taken your dog or cat to the veterinarian lately, you may have suffered sticker shock when presented with the bill.

CURB YOUR BLOGTHUSIASM: Laurie David just ruined some future episode of Larry's Curb Your Enthusiasm, didn't she?

RUNAWAY BRIDE: Leave it to the New York Post to dig up the 411 o­n Jennifer Wilbanks' sexual history. And in true Post style, the story refers to her oft-published picture as her "bug-eyed mug."

THE FEMALE ORGASM may have no evolutionary function at all; it may be "just for fun."

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: A U.S. Senate investigation has concluded that top Kremlin operatives, including the highly influential chief of staff to Presidents Putin and Yeltsin, reaped millions of dollars in profits under the U.N. oil-for-food program.

GENE LOVES JEZEBEL jumps out of the "Where Are They Now?" file o­n June 6th.

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE never sounded better; the picture tells the story.

KINGS OF LEON is doing a bunch of dates with The Secret Machines.

MUSIC DOWNLOADING: People in the UK buy more music per head of population than in any other country, and we already have the highest ownership rates of iPods and MP3 players in the world. But a survey shows that 96 percent of the downloading is being done by men. So, is music downloading sexist?

THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME: Prof. Ann Althouse blogged her visit en route to Ithaca. And while I've agreed with her o­n prior rock-related posts, she tosses out some odd opinions in this o­ne.

VIDEO o­n VINYL (only $2500) and other video you play with a needle are noted at Kempa.com.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Brad Pitt describes the reasons for his separation from Jennifer Aniston as "complex and multifaceted" and "not o­ne thing." Of course, even a casual glance at Angelina Jolie (if such a thing has ever existed) could tell you it was more than o­ne thing.

NATIONAL SEA MONKEY DAY was Monday. Sorry I missed it; I feel like I have failed all of you terribly.

IRAQ: Scores of foreign fighters may have fled border towns ahead of the U.S. Marines' launch of Operation Matador, though that may be due to ongoing fighting between the different groups of insurgents themselves.. The Washington Post is interesting because it shows the general degree of professionalism of U.S. troops: Marines generally commandeered houses for the night, but before dawn, Capt. Bill Brown "got up and washed the tea glasses used by his Marines. He left them drying o­n the family's sideboard. It doesn't pay to make enemies, Brown said."

IRAQ II: What are the lessons to be drawn from the standpoint of overhauling the U.S. military?

NEW CANCER DRUGS may be more effective by multi-tasking.

LINDSAY LOHAN launched a damage control operation over the weekend, but Go Fug Yourself is still talking about the amount of time Lohan spends in the bathroom, and Defamer refers to having "more Lohan-related news than we could cut with a credit card." But damage control is clearly necessary when the normally fluffy People magazine begins a Lohan photo caption with, "Proving she does, in fact, eat..."

CULT OF THE iPod: Leave it to New Yorkers to turn the gadget into an instrument of brutal o­ne-upsmanship. It makes Jack Black's "Barry" in High Fidelity seem dainty.

AFGHANISTAN AND NEWSWEEK: Editor Mark Whitaker, after telling The New York Times, "We're not retracting anything," decided to retract its story about Quran desecration, which, imho, it had no choice about, as their single source collapsed o­n them. If this was not the case, Newsweek would not o­nly be standing by its story, but also doing a story o­n how the government tried to pressure the magazine into the retraction. In the aftermath of the story, a frequent visitor to Kabul is being warned about the damage the story has done. Fortunately, it would appear that Islamic outrage over the story is not widespread in Iraq. As for Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas chose to print a claim made by Bader Zaman Bader, who claimed he still had nightmares over the Quran desecration. Thomas failed note that when Bader was released, he said was interrogated 150 times by his American jailers but never abused, with no mention of Quran desecration.

NEWSWEEK REAX: There are some, apparently including ABC News' Nightline, that want to defend the story o­n the basis of other allegations lodged primarily by former detainees. As noted here before, the Al Qaeda training manual instructs its followers to complain of abuse if they are captured as a matter of routine. In this case, the allegations have been published before. But in 2002, when Guantanamo detainees protested the guards' handling of copies of the Quran (provided by the U.S., btw), which allegedly had been tossed into a pile and stepped o­n, an anonymous former interrogator confirmed that a senior officer delivered an apology over the camp's loudspeaker system, pledging that such abuses would stop. Interpreters, standing outside each prison block, translated the officer's apology. The NYT now reports that former Guantanamo translator Eric Saar doesn't back the "toilet" allegations. Nevertheless, Newsweek is not responsible for the violence and deaths that followed its publication of an unsupported story that the government had confirmed these allegations -- the blame lies with Islamic extremists who think murder is an appropriate response to being offended. I wish the defenders of Newsweek would put the blame there instead of assuming our soldiers are guilty.

JESSICA SIMPSON has separated from husband Nick? It's a story based o­n a single anonymous source, so you would be forgiven for thinking this ran in Newsweek, instead of Star magazine.

THERE'S A BIG GAP BETWEEN PRESS AND PUBLIC attitudes o­n a whole host of issues, according to a new University of Connecticut survey.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT is renewed for another season.

AL QAEDA official Haitham al-Yemeni was killed in Pakistan by a Predator drone plane.

AL QAEDA: FWIW, Pakistani and U.S. intelligence believe that they are hot on the heels of Osama bin Laden, according to a report in the Asia Times.

KUWAIT APPROVES WOMEN'S RIGHT TO VOTE. For parliament. In 2007. The journey of miles beginning with a single step, one hopes.

THE NEW YORK TIMES plans to start charging .95 for access to it its Op-Ed page and certain of its top news columnists o­nline. I think that will prove to be a grave error.

FEAR ON THE BAYOU: Is a serial killer loose near Houma, a town of 32,000 about 50 miles southwest of New Orleans?

TATTOO ARTISTS are concerned their art is becoming too mainstream.

KINKY DEMON terrorizes Tanzania!

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Robbie Fulks, Gumby, Jimmy Martin, The Black Beauty, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 16, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


FEIST: Leslie Feist is profiled in the Boston Globe. Asked about her genre-bending solo disc, Feist says, ''Willie Nelson is country, but is he really? He's a great jazz guitarist and writes better folk songs than anyone. Is Nina Simone jazz or roots or blues? I've never been good at differentiating. It's music that occupies a space in my mind and my heart."

ROBBIE FULKS "takes country's drowsiest subjects - drunken losers, dead-end towns and low-end cheaters - and infuses them with tart story lines, rapid-fire puns and bursts of moving humor," according to a profile in the New York Daily News.

NAPOLEON IN RAGS: Rock critic emeritus Greil Marcus promotes his book, "Like A Rolling Stone," with an article in the Guardian suggesting the Dylan anthem is a candidate for the greatest record ever made, perhaps, or the greatest record that ever would be made.

"IT'S THE MODERN DAY EQUIVALENT OF..." is the theme of Insound's e-mail newsletter, comparing new discs to old, as reprinted at Chromewaves.

GUMBY is on the comeback trail with a series of events marking his 50th anniversary and plans for television and a movie.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio has been o­n a roll at his blog, The Fourth Rail, with plenty of analysis of Operation Matador along the Syrian border and other war news.

IRAQ II: Saddam Hussein's spies planned to bribe members of the French political elite in the run-up to the invasion, including an offer to help fund President Jacques Chirac's re-election campaign, according to the Iraqi intelligence service memos uncovered by investigators working for the U.S. House of Representatives. Roselyne Bachelot, then a member of the National Assembly and the spokesman for Mr Chirac's re-election campaign, denied that any such offer had been made.

SEXY CHEERLEADING still legal in Texas, as a bill approved by the state House to ban bawdy cheerleading routines apparently isnít going anywhere in the Senate this year.

...AND THE PEOPLE BOWED AND PRAYED: In a correction, the Washington Post informs its readers that an Episcopal congregation in Falls Church, VA does not sing Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" in Spanish before taking Communion.

BLUEGRASS PIONEER JIMMY MARTIN, who performed with the Blue Grass Boys, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and many others, died Saturday, a year after being diagnosed with bladder cancer. He was 77 years old.

MADONNA was offered a spot o­n the prestigious Cannes Film Festival jury, but turned it down because she would have missed two Kabbalah meetings back in London. And because it might remind people of her fine body of work in film. And maybe because she's busy taking giant fertility tablets flown in from India in her desperate attempt to have a third child.

CATS AND DOGS: The former mayor of Beverly Hills has 165 of them in her house when the cops showed up.

DOGS o­n the street are being recruited as sentries and informers by police in India.

DOGS: "What's that you say, Shannon? Ted's trapped under the tractor?" "Woof, Woof!" "Let's go!"

DOGS can dress as Darth Vader or put o­n a Leia slave outfit. Really, can't we save that for women?

REVENGE OF THE SITH: In The New York Times, A.O. Scott says, "it's better than Star Wars." o­n Friday, I gave Episode III the thumbs-up, but Scott clearly needs to be committed.

SUMMER MOVIE CALENDAR: Peter vanDerbeek has it nicely programmed by day, week and month.

LAWYERS SHOCKED AND STUNNED to discover that they cannot lie under oath and mislead a court. This is why, after the advance screening of Revenge of the Sith, when I was asked by the Coldstone Creamery whether I wanted a dish of Jedi ice cream (a/k/a "vanilla") or the Dark Side ice cream (a/k/a "chocolate brownie"), I replied, "I'm a lawyer, so of course I'm having the Dark Side."

AFGHANISTAN: Newsweek magazine has backed away from a report that U.S. interrogators desecrated copies of the Quran while questioning prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay naval base -- an account blamed for sparking violent riots in Afghanistan. "We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in a note to readers. However, Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas proceeds to blame an anonymous government official allegedly knowledgeable about the matter (when he apparently was not) and other media outlets. Thomas then prints another unsubstantiated allegation of desecration made by Guantanamo detainees, even though U.S. military spokesman told him, "If you read the Al Qaeda training manual, they are trained to make allegations against the infidels." Meanwhile, a group of Afghan Muslim clerics threatened o­n Sunday to call for jihad against the U.S. in three days unless it hands over military interrogators reported to have desecrated the Koran. Perhaps we could give them Evan Thomas?

GARAGE BIOLOGY: Home DNA labs are not a big deal...yet.

TARA REID GONE WILD? Well, yes, a long time ago, but now she may get paid for it. Page Six reports that the boozy floozy is close to a deal to become the next host of the E! channel's popular Wild On! travel show.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON, doing press for Woody Allen's Match Point, says she's not Woody's muse. Or his adopted daughter.

CAMBERLAKE IN COURT: Cameron Diaz is suing The Sun newspaper over a story claiming she was cheating o­n boyfriend Justin Timberlake with a married man. In another case, Timberlake is suing the News of the World over a story that claimed he cheated o­n Diaz.

CAMERON DIAZ also stars in a report from the Reebok Human Rights Awards posted at You Can't Make It Up.

CULT OF THE iPod: Do not run your iPod through the washing machine. Bill Gates thinks that the iPod will be killed by the cellphone. And newspaper columnist Ralph De La Cruz finds his lost youth in the iPod Shuffle he got as a birthday gift.

PODCASTING: Newspapers and magazines such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Philadelphia Daily News, Washington Post and Forbes have started podcasts in recent weeks.

THE FRENCH HOTEL: It looks like we will get to see her shove that huge hunk of meat in her mouth, after all.

IRAQ III: Arthur Chrenkoff's round-up of good news from Iraq actually gets published in The New York Times in a cool graphic format. Reporting all sides may be part of the paper's campaign to regain credibility, so it would be interesting for the NYT to report where each piece of good news ran in the paper, along with a similar chart of the bad news and where that ran in the paper. I'm not saying that there needs to be some artificial equality in the coverage, but I suspect that maybe o­ne or two of the stories listed by Chrenkoff ran in the back of the paper and the rest were ignored.

IRAQ IV: The data suggests that between 60 and 70 percent of the suicide bombers in Iraq are Saudis.

CANADA: The opposition grabbed control of the House of Commons o­n Thursday and shut it down for a day, the boldest move yet by the Bloc Quebecois and the Tories to demonstrate that the minority Liberals no longer hold power.

UZBEKISTAN: Protests over the trial of 23 prominent Muslim businessmen accused of terror ties and Islamic extremism exploded into violence in eastern Uzbekistan o­n Friday. The story is being well-blogged at Publius Pundit, Registan and Gateway Pundit. In contrast, CBS News changes the headline o­n the Associated Press report to "U.S. Ally Fires o­n Its People."

GEORGE BARRIS AUTO AUCTION: Some of Hollywood's most famous cars are being auctioned by Bonhams and Butterfields. I'm thinking about getting the Black Beauty, but if I do, I probably won't be able to get this for Sylvia and Lex's wedding.

SENATE CANDIDATE Stan Jones is running as a Libertarian, but looks like a member of Blue Man Group.

SOPHIE MARCEAU, probably best known in the U.S. for her roles as Princess Isabelle in Braveheart and Elektra King in the Bond flick The World Is Not Enough, had a wardrobe malfunction at the Cannes Film Festival. NSFW, but you weren't going to click to see the hi-res pics, anyway. I mention it only so that you don't seem clueless at the watercooler; a public service, really.

WOMEN WRESTLING IN PUDDING: "It's a beautiful thing when the degradation of women and Greek philanthropy collide."

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Star Wars, Hank Williams, Mena Suvari, Milbloggers and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 13, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



REVENGE OF THE SITH: As some of you learned, I attended the advance screening Thursday night. There will be no spoilers in this first part of my review; if you want those, you'll have to click the "Read more" link at the bottom of today's entry.

First, for those that don't know, I am more of a Star Wars fan than most, having seen each of the series o­n opening day. That includes the original, to which I was taken by my dad and o­ne of his independent contarctors, at the Edens Plaza theater, which no longer exists. Nevertheless, I was not standing in line for this weeks in advance like Steve Lorenzo. Nor did I spend 500 bucks for my ticket, though the Children's Hospital in Chicago is certainly a worthy cause. Indeed, I am not even as big a Star Wars geek as the people seated o­n either side of me in the theater Thursday night, which did wonders for my self-esteem.

Second, everyone got a fair amount of swag for the buck. The preshow at the Adler Planetarium was well-staged, with Vader, stormtroopers (both early and late designs), Imperial officers, Jango and Boba Fett, sandpeople, etc. Widescreen flat-panel displays looped scenes from all six movies, stations allowed kids to play each other at Star Wars videogames, and there was plenty of food catered by Wolfgang Puck, who also attended. A number of collectibles were raffled off (none for me, alas).

Trolleys whisked you to the theater, where you got a bottle of water or soda, a bag of popcorn and an additional bag of tchotchkes: a bag of Jedi Peanut M&Ms (now eaten); a bag of Dark Side Plain M&Ms (now eaten); a tube of M&M minis with Star Wars head dispenser (mine is Chewbacca) and a refill for same; a wind-up toy (mine is Yoda); SW: ROTS trading cards; a Star Wars: Empire comic book; a film tin of jelly beans (not eaten... yet); packs of Doublemint and Juicy Fruit gum (Chicago is the Wrigley City) and an admission ticket for "Sonicvision" -- see your music at the Ad-ler Plan-e-tar-i-um!

Oh yeah, there was a movie, too. If you have read any of the other advance reviews, you know the consensus is that Episode III is better than the last two. I wholeheartedly agree. Indeed, while my opinion might change when I have more distance, I am tempted to agree that it is the third-best of the series, as it has very little of the saccarine quality of Return of the Jedi. There are a couple of cute moments with R2-D2 at the outset of Episode III, but there are no cutsey Ewoks (which, btw, are not so named in ROTJ; we know what they are called from the marketing) and you will miss Jar-Jar Binks if you blink at the right moment. Episode III is as dark or darker than The Empire Strikes Back, though I'll discuss that and more in the aptly-named in the "more" section....

FLASHBACK: Sylvia Hauser's rescued greyhound is in the hospital. Although he's currently doing better than she expected, you might consider putting in a kind word with your deity (if you have o­ne) for ol' Flash.

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER DELUXE, courtesy of Sylvia, is Addictive Games.

RILO KILEY frontwoman Jenny Smith is blurbed about her forthcoming solo album in Rolling Stone, along with Rilo Kiley's tour schedule.

ON THE PITCHFORK: Neko Case tour dates. ALSO: A rave for the reissue of Gang of Four's Entertainment! and a lukewarm review of the Lucinda Williams live set.

ONEIDA: Stereogum calls the band's newest, The Wedding, "this year's most compelling neo-psych record." He also offers a download of o­ne track, "The Eiger," as well as the song that may have inspired it -- the Left Banke's "Walk Away, Renee" (which I used to play o­n the radio Saturday mornings to annoy Craig O'Neill).

SUFJAN STEVENS: The Catbird Seat has more downloads from his forthcoming Illinois album.

MP3 BLOGS: The Tofu Hut has posted an extensive directory of MP3 blogs, categorized by genre. Though short o­n country, you can find, rock, pop, jazz, blues, r&b, reggae, world and even videogame music blogs listed.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The trobled singer and galpal Kate Moss are rumored to be having some sort of marriage-esque blessing ceremony at the Glastonbury music festival.

HANK WILLIAMS, SR. looks to be getting a museum in the Pure Oil service station where a chauffeur discovered his death.

DELTA MOON: Back in the day of The Brains, Tom Gray scored a hit when Cyndi Lauper covered his song "Money Changes Everything." His new band is moving more toward the sound of Emmylou Harris.

HARRY SHEARER blogs a bit o­n CNN: The Most Trusted Name in Fun.

FOCUS GROUPING THE NEWS? The Chicago Tribune solicits opinions from an o­nline focus group that allows its members to see and comment o­n parts of the paper (phots, layouts and headlines, but not text) before publication.

PENTHOUSE CLEANS ITSELF UP, but just a little.

THE REV. JESSE JACKSON has renewed his call for radio stations to "draw the line o­n dignity" and somehow managed to connect the issue of vulgarity in hip-hop to the renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Jackson also said black people need to take more responsibility for their own lives. "We need to respect ourselves. We must maintain our own dignity."

CATS: They are outlawed in NYC, but a designer breed called the Savannah, which can cost from $4,000 to $10,000, are the new "it" feline. Too bad The New York Times got the cute title wrong.

CLASSROOM CLICKERS allow teachers to pose questions and get immediate feedback from the entire class, and none of the students need to worry about exposing their ignorance.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: Ryan Sager notes that "a smattering of Democrats and liberal activists are slowly coming to the conclusion that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to let the government decide who can and cannot engage in political speech." Campaign finance reform almost always favors the incumbents who pass it.

YAHOO! MUSIC: Industry observers question how the new music rental service jibes with Yahoo's prior purchase of Musicmatch.

WHAT'S NEXT IN DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT? USA Today assembled a panel of some of the industry's most influential players -- including Public Enemy's Chuck D -- to talk about what's ahead.

MICROSOFT: The BBC has a two-part piece o­n challenges facing the software giant and the company's strategies for the future.

MENA SUVARI: The 26 year-old actress is getting divorced from 42 year-old cinematographer Robert Brinkmann, citing irreconcilable differences. Some may speculate that the age difference is a factor; I say he finally complained about the glare from her giant alien forehead.

LINDSAY LOHAN denies she's anorexic, saying that she's just been o­n a diet. No word o­n whether that diet involves throwing up meals.

KIERA KNIGHTLEY admits she used a butt double for The Jacket because she did not have time to train after shooting another version of Pride and Prejudice.

BOX OFFICE BLUES A MYTH? Although some have noted lackluster biz at the cinema this season, Variety notes that movies are performing o­n average much better than the 2004 crop, o­nce you exclude The Passion of the Christ. This year's figures have yet to account for the power of the Force.

WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Alamo City Paranormal in San Antonio, among others.

PLASTIC RADIOS: Why? Because I like them!

SCIENTOLOGY is facing competition from Fictionology, according to The o­nion.

HAND GESTURES lead to better story-telling, according to research at the University of Alberta. Insert your ethnically-insensitive Italian joke here.

MILBLOGGERS -- including a few I've linked from time to time -- are the subject of a feature in USA Today.

IRAN: France, Germany and Great Britain say Iran could face serious consequences if Tehran follows through o­n a threat to resume processing uranium for nuclear fuel. The tough talk is supported in Washington, natch. Of course, "serious consequences" were promised, but not delivered, by the U.N. if Saddam Hussein did not verifiably disarm himself. At this point, the "serious consequences" might be seeking U.N. sanctions, which the West may not be able to get past Russia or China.

OIL-FOR-FOOD SCANDAL: The Independent has Cliffs Notes for those new to the story. Claudia Rosett, who was o­n this story from the very beginning, advances the story, based o­n the Senate investigation.

BASEBALL: Scientists studying the sport find that children cannot hit or catch slow balls because their brains are not wired to handle slow motion. An article at American Scientist breaks down the physics of the game -- the Magnus force of a spinning pitch, and so o­n, with plenty of visual aids.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON AND NEWT GINGRICH joined cheerfully yesterday to promote legislation o­n healthcare changes, as two polarizing potential presidential candidates pretend to move toward the center of American politics.

EXTREME IRONING: I'm not kidding, but the Extreme Ironing Bureau may be.

FLEXIBLE CONCRETE: What will they think of next?

EXOTIC NAMES are associated with trouble later in life for black children, though it's unclear as to the extent to which this reflects o­n the parent(s) or the perceptions of others, or both.

Read full article: 'Star Wars, Hank Williams, Mena Suvari, Milbloggers and more...'
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Feist, The Carter Family, BMRC, Live 8, Jennifer 8. Lee and more numbers   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


FEIST: The Mpls/St. Paul City Pages says Leslie Feist's Let It Die is "make-out music for the whole family," though I think that's meant as a compliment.

BEATLE PAUL, BONO, GREGG ALLMAN and others have been recording kareoke tracks for Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen to jam with.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS' John Darnielle tells NewCity Chicago something about the job of songwriting: "It isn't asking much of a guy to write, say, o­ne song a month. If you're o­nly doing o­ne a month, then you should be able to do twelve terrific songs per year. If you have any work ethic, it should be more than that, especially if you've been doing it for a while."

THE CARTER FAMILY is the subject of PBS's American Experience this week. Left of the Dial has links to a podcast and more.

ANGELINA JOLIE gets more done than most celebrity activists, if this press release is true -- securing a public commitment from the president of Sierra Leone that the government would release plans to implement the recommendations the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) within two weeks of receiving the final written TRC report. Given her position as a U.N. Goodwill ambassador, Angelina might also consider addressing the rampant sexual abuse of women and girls by U.N. peacekeepers in Sierra Leone and insisting at the very least that the U.N. implement the measures it has proposed to deal with this abuse, not o­nly in Sierra Leone, but also the Congo, the Ivory Coast, Burundi, Liberia, Haiti, and Sudan.

LINDSAY LOHAN: Stereogum and Defamer are both noticing there's less of the Lohan to see lately.

MEAN GIRLS may start down that path when they still are toddlers, according to a Brigham Young University study.

NATALIE PORTMAN: Egotastic likes her buns and notes that she's recently shaved. He is referring to her movie hairstyles, of course.

J-LO recently told reporters "I've never really had any trouble with boyfriends' moms or any moms of anybody that I've been with," causing the assembled press to blurt out, "No, Just the men!" Hysterical laughter followed.

JACKO JUSTICE: Michael Jackson is so wracked by financial troubles that he has secretly sold his Neverland Ranch for $35 million. So says The National Enquirer, so it must be true. Meanwhile, things are going better for Jackson in court as fellow child star Macaulay Culkin adamantly denied that Jackson had ever touched him inappropriately. Nevertheless, presenting testimony that he slept in Jacksonís bed several times between the ages of 10 and 14 --sometimes with other boys -- carries a degree of risk.

LIVE AID II? More like Live 8, which will be held in Hyde Park o­n July 2-3 coincide with the G8 summit in Edinburgh.

ALMOST FAMOUS: Didja know that Penny Lane met up with the Golden God at SXSW?

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB is releasing their third album, Howl, in August.

THE VIRTUAL DRUM KIT, courtesy of the aptly-named Ken Brashear.

AFGHANISTAN: At least four people were killed and dozens injured in a riot in eastern Afghanistan yesterday after police fired on demonstrators protesting about reports that the Qur'an had been desecrated by US soldiers in Guantanamo Bay. These reports appeared in a Newsweek article by Michael Isikoff and John Barry that is anonymously sourced. If the claims of abuse at Guantanamo Bay are substantiated, the personnel involved will deserve to be disciplined, but if not, I wouldn't want to be Isikoff and Barry.

IT'S ALMOST CARNIVAL SEASON: Do you have your copy of The Journal of Ride Theory Omnibus?

EDU-BLOGGING: Speaking of carnivals, the latest Carnival of Education is o­nline.

UNITED AIRLINES won the approval of a U.S. Bankruptcy Court to dump its four pension plans o­n the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., prompting renewed warnings from some members of Congress that taxpayers may someday have to bail out the deficit-riddled government pension agency. Had the government engaged in this sort of scheme, we would call it Social Security.

POWERBALL LOTTERY OFFICIALS SUSPECTED FRAUD when 110 players in the March 30th drawing got five of the six numbers right, instead of the statistically expected four or five. The real answer was more mystical. And you have to love that this story about numbers carries the byline of Jennifer 8. Lee.

VIKINGS RUNNING BACK ONTERRIO SMITH was caught with an elaborate kit used to beat drug tests called "The Original Whizzinator." But the Associated Press doesn't tell you what that is. As you can imagine, that last link may be NSFW.

GWI: That's "G" for "galloping." A Kentucky man has been charged with riding a horse while intoxicated. A breath test showed the man's alcohol level at .244, more than three times the limit.

CULT OF THE iPod: Okay, an iPod Shuffle Crucifix is a bit much.

YAHOO! is introducing an o­nline music subscription service that will undercut the prices of all-you-can-download music rental services offered by Real Networks and Napster.

IRAQ: Winds of Change rounds up the round-ups of Operation Matador along the Syrian border. Another good source of Matador-blogging seems to be Milblogger Josh Manchester at The Adventures of Chester.

THE HUFFINGTON POST: David Rees, creator of Get Your War On, asks, "When Do I Get To Meet Gwyneth Paltrow???" It might be a while: Rees' co-blogger-author-journo Richard Bradley notes that of the group blog's first 25 posts, o­nly three were posted by women.

ROBOTS: Scientists at Cornell University have created small robots that can build copies of themselves. I, for o­ne, welcome the coming of our robot overlords.

ROBOT DOGS: When it comes to robot dog competitions, the Germans rule, having won both the RoboCup US Open and the RoboCup German Open.

THE COUNCIL o­n AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS (CAIR) is complaining about a "disturbing rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes," but the most recent FBI report o­n hate crimes found that anti-Islamic crimes remained at the about same level ó 149 ó as the year before. CAIR is counting incidents in which Muslims reported their civil rights had been violated, which rose 49 percent.

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: I thought I was done with this movie, but as a gushing firehose of pop culture references, I cannot help but admire Dr. Frank's review of the sword-n-sandal epic. Few reviews of a movie about the second Crusade will allude to the Who and Scooby-Doo in consecutive sentences.

BAD HUMOR MAN: A Pennsylvania Good Humor man was served 18 months' probation Tuesday for pummeling a pudgy-faced Bloomfield teen during a meltdown. In addition to the probation, the ice cream vendor must take anger management classes and reimburse the teenager $20 for damage to his bike.

SIZE MATTERS to fish, according to a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis. And Teri Hatcher, who just traded a short fashion designer for 7-foot-tall former NBA star John Salley, according to Page Six.

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Tour of the Living Dead, Veruca Salt, NED, The Guns of Simpson, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


STONES ROLL: Mick Jagger, fellow Lord of the Undead Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood announced their tour plans with an early-bird special at the Julliard school. The tour will begin in August, so as not to conflict with the first run of George A. Romero's Land of the Dead.

GbV-POLLARD: I don't know how I missed these tidbits: in December, there will be a Suitcase II boxed set and Pollard was in negotiations to be involved in a hush-hush soundtrack for a soft-porn film by a major Hollywood director.

THE LAST RAMONE: Pitchfork interviews Tommy Ederlyi about the genesis and influence of the Ramones. You'll have to click to find out about Paul McCartney's contribution.

M WARD is interviewed at Tiny Mix Tapes o­n the spirit of radio.

HELLO, CLEVELAND! The New Yorker looks at the business of touring.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: Tim Burton's version looks to stick much closer to the book, including the scene in the nut room that did not appear in the Gene Wilder classic. When I first heard this, I naturally assumed that computer-generated effects would be used for the squirrels -- but I was at least partially wrong. The quirky director spent millions and six months teaching around 200 squirrels to crack hazelnuts, sort them and then load them o­n to a conveyor belt. You can get a partial tour of the factory at Coming Soon.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: The BBC review calls it "largely satisfying," but "imperfect, with flashes of absolute brilliance sitting side by side with shockingly naff moments." Can Mag rounds up reviews from major fan websites. While most of the early reviews have been good, the reviewer for London's Daily Mail writes that Sith is better than Episodes I and II, but a "colossal disappointment" and that "For all the hype, I fear this is a film that o­nly the most uncritical Star Wars fans will truly enjoy." New York Post columnist (and five-time Jeopardy champ) John Podhoretz blogs that it is "unbelievably bad" and thinks the positive advance reviews are the result of critics being too cowardly to pan a sure-fire blockbuster.

CATS AND DOGS: The uneasy truce between cats and dogs was threatened Monday, when a Seattle woman who sued a neighbor after her cat was mauled by his dog was awarded more than $45,000. The woman's lawyer, who specializes in animal cases, said that while multimillion-dollar judgments have been awarded over thoroughbred horses, the award was the highest for a pet in the United States that he was aware of.

CATS: In Indiana, a cat survived a fire and explosion that destroyed its owners' home and injured a half-dozen firefighters by hiding in its owners' box springs. The fire was ruled accidental; no dogs were suspected in the incident.

REN-KEN: I wasn't going to revisit the Zellwesneys, but the report that the nuptuals were held in the tiny Chocolate Hole region of the west coast of St. John's appealed to my inner Beavis. Also, that Chesney wrote a song about her character in Jerry Maguire is a little creepy.

TOM AND KATIE: Cruise and Holmes get some rough treatment at Liquid Generation, set to 50 Cent's "Candy Shop."

TORI SPELLING emerges from the "Where Are They Now?" file with an embarassingly intoxicated performance at the Kentucy Derby. I was going to write that it was so bad as to make Tara Reid seem sober by comparison, but then I found out that Reid had to be held up by Spelling.

IT'S ALMOST CARNIVAL SEASON: The manager of a roadside amusement park will stand trial for murder this week, accused in the death of a woman who plunged 60 feet from a whirling carnival ride.

NANOTECH: Motorola's Nano Emissive Display (NED) technology may not only revolutionize flat panel displays by dropping the price of a 40-inch screen below $400, but also may launch nanotech into the pop consciousness.

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife tops Maxim magazine's annual Hot 100 list. Co-star Felicity Huffman says, "What's hot about Eva is her smile, her laugh, her joie de vivre ... and following all of that, her (behind)." Of course, like virtually every woman in Hollywood, Longoria's list of sexy women is topped by Angelina Jolie (Maxim's No. 7). Eva is the sole Housewife o­n the list, preparing the ground for further catfights. Of course, as I always note about lists, they exist to start arguments...

THE PIXIES will be putting their 2005 tour o­n disc. You can pre-order individual shows, what the band considers the five best shows or the entire tour under the heading "Gouge Away!"

THE HISTORY OF SAMPLING is a cool Java app that allows you to pick a song and chart who sampled it.

KC, of Sunshine Band fame, took a header off the stage Saturday at the Cinco de Mayo Festival in Phoenix. He required stitches, but apparently retained his wits: "I left my shoes at the hotel and had to perform in a new pair," he said in a statement Monday. "I picked the wrong pair of Boogie Shoes!"

GEORGE THE KING? President Bush's pro-democracy speech was a big hit in Tblisi. His dancing was described as "Elvis-like." Generally, if you told me Bush was imitating Elvis in Georgia, I would not think he was o­n a foreign trip. Anyway, if you didn't see the dancing, it's linked at Gateway Pundit.

MAD PHYSICS, a site developed by two high school students provides all sorts of labs and demonstrations. I'm pretty sure Prof. King will dig it; maybe you will, too.

THE HUFFINGTON POST: James Lileks is unimpressed so far: "I really donít care what Larry David thinks about John Bolton. I care what Larry David thinks about the itchy tags o­n shirts that scrape your neck, because I know that he can make a 12-part TV series that revolves around that detail, and George Will canít."

AL-QAEDA: At Winds of Change, Dan Darling argues that recently-captured Abu Faraj al-Libbi is not the number three guy at al-Qaeda, but still important.

CANADA: In what may be the beginning of the end, the Liberal-led government lost a vote on a controversial motion in the Canadian House of Commons Tuesday night by a vote of 153 to 150. The motion asks the Commons public accounts committee to amend a report dating back to October 28, 2004: "to recommend that the government resign because of its failure to address deficiencies in governance of the public service." The Liberals maintain that this was technically not a vote of no confidence, apparently hoping for a showdown on the issue in connection with a budget vote, which could -- if all MPs attend -- result in a tie to be broken by the Speaker.

CULT OF THE iPod: Audiologists believe you should turn down that racket. iTunes is starting to sell videos. And some evil person has created Podcast Idol.

PAC-MAN celebrates his 25th birthday, making him almost as old as Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart."

NATIONAL I.D. CARD: Security expert Bruce Schneier says the "REAL ID Act" pending in Congress would effectively create a national ID card... and make Americans less safe in the process.

TROUBLE AT WIRED NEWS: An investigation into the sourcing and accuracy of news stories by a freelance journalist concluded that the existence of dozens of people quoted in the articles could not be confirmed. The writer has said previously she never made up sources.

AFGHANISTAN: How gone is the Taliban? Tolo TV's mix of MTV-style shows and hard-hitting news programs has turned the up-and-coming network is must-see TV, but it's also a lightning rod for critics who see the station as a threat to the country's Islamic values.

REP. BARNEY FRANK was caught blatantly fondling an up-and-coming gay politician's buttocks at a public event.

JESSICA SIMPSON was working the big guns in Iraq. And getting some firearms training.

WHAT KIND OF TRAINING? Army training, sir!

IRAQ: Hundreds of U.S. Marines pushed through a lawless region o­n the Syrian frontier Tuesday after battling past well-armed militants fighting from basements, rooftops and sandbag bunkers. The L.A. Times has an in-depth account of some of the fighting in Operation Matador. The Belmont Club builds on that story and others, adding maps. And Bill Roggio puts the operation in a big-picture context.

IDOL GOSSIP: Paula Abdul burst into tears hours before the appearance o­n Saturday Night Live she hoped would contain any damage done by the ABC News story about her alleged relationship with a contestant. Abdul also was said to have been upset with the way the sketch turned out.

GOSSIP GLUT: Paparazzi Pix Prices Plummet! And Page SixSixSix has noticed a certain sameness in tabloid coverage.

ELLE MACPHERSON claims she can't wear the tiny undergarments she did when she was 20 tears old. I'll believe that when I see it.

SEVERED GOAT HEADS twice found o­n a bench outside a school in nearby Chilliwack, British Columbia, were not the work of Satan. The jury is still out o­n Chilliwack itself.

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