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Verlaine and Hell, Hard Rock Honors, Covers Galore, Marmots taking it to the Man   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THURSTON MOORE and TOM VERLAINE: Sonic Youth's co-founder is a longtime friend of the Television axemeister. The two reminisce a little about the original NYC punk scene for Harp magazine. And o­n the off-chance you've never heard Television, try "Marquee Moon."

RICHARD HELL: Verlaine's Television bandmate talks to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the pitfalls of being a punk rocker and a writer: "In music, people try to dismiss me as a so-called 'poet' making records. As a novelist, I have a problem with people saying, 'This is a punk rocker writing a book.' It makes it easy for them to not take it seriously, dismiss the thing without looking at what's being achieved..."

MICHAEL STIPE and CONOR OBERST: The Moore-Verlaine piece isn't the o­nly duo in this month's Harp. The REM frontman and Bright Eyes mastermind are relatively new firends, while Stipe tries to dispel the myth that he is the indie Godfather.

MORRISSEY delivered an o­nstage warning to an animal testing laboratory at Oxford University that "we will get you," causing his flacks to go into damage control mode: "I suspect when he said 'we will get you' he wasn’t talking about violence at all, but exposing these people for what they do."

DAVID BOWIE is not doing well at semi-retirement, turning up to sing Pink Floyd classics "Arnold Layne" and "Comfortably Numb" during the encore of a David Gilmour gig at the Royal Albert Hall.

KISS, JUDAS PRIEST, QUEEN and DEF LEPPARD are the honorees for VH1's Rock Honors airing tonight at 9 Eastern. You can follow that link to preview videos and some photos that suggest there will be an All-Star band -- Gene Simmons with Rob Halford, Ace Frehley with Slash, and more.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: "What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?" And in the background, natch, is Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators playing "You're Gonna Miss Me." Be sure to check out the rockin' jug player. The video is from American Bandstand circa 1966, to judge by that snip of Dick Clark's voice at the end.

EXCEPTIONAL COVER SONGS: Good Hodgkins asked music bloggers to write about "covers that actually do justice to — and in some cases surpass — the originals." You can stream 'em from the Hype Machine, but you may want to start with Shane MacGowan & The Popes covering Neil Diamond's "Cracklin' Rosie." Granted, "There are two types of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't." But that's a cover that should appeal to both types.

THE BALLAD OF EL GOODO: While o­n the subject of covers, Frank has posted a rare Ted Leo cover of the Big Star number at Chromewaves, which you can stream via the Hype Machine.

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY: Dodge is back in the compilation business at My Old Kentucky Blog. You can stream more than a dozen versions of the Dylan tune from the Hype Machine.

SWEET JANE: Shake Your Fist has posted a few versions of the VU classic -- including Mott the Hoople and Gang of Four -- which you can stream from the Hype Machine. BONUS: The fact that I wrote about Lou Reed's Honda scooter commercial for the school paper at the time doesn't make me feel too old.  After all, I wrote a little bit o­n the Kinks and jingle rock in March, and Dodge is discussing it over at My Old Kentucky Blog.

BABYSHAMBLES is heading into the studio to demo tracks for a new album, for which the band reportedly has an offer from Rough Trade. So Pete Doherty may get through the day without another train wreck headline.

BRADGELINA: The couple issued a public thank-you note to the hospital staff... through People magazine. The birth of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt (destined to be the Most Beautiful Child Ever), is fodder for an iconic treatment in The Gallery of the Absurd.

MIRA SORVINO gave birth to a boy yesterday.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Is the pneumatic blonde seeking professional help in getting over Nick Lachey? Kristin Cavallari, Lachey's rebound romance, reportedly believes that Jessica needs to realize that it's over and move o­n.

MADONNA may bag a record 15 million from NBC for a TV concert special, according to NYDN gossips Rush & Molloy, who add: "It remains to be seen whether the network would air her posed o­n a cross, moving provocatively o­n a 'horse' or shouting profanities during an anti-Bush montage."

JOHNNY DEPP and KATE MOSS together again... in a biopic o­n late INXS singer Michael Hutchence.

REESE WITHERSPOON: Following the birth of the Tom-Kitten and Baby Bradgelina, the media is searching for signs that Witherspoon and other celebs may be pregnant. Just Jared has the photographic exhibits.

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND'S LAST SCENE -- If you saw the movie, but didn't stay until the end of the credits, you missed a scene. If you haven't seen the movie, I would strongly advise not watching the clip, as it would be a compound spoiler.

WINDYWOOD: At the Chicago premiere of the Vaughniston vehicle, The Break-Up, IL Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Blah-Goy-uh-vich, or simply "Blago") signed a package of tax incentive that he hopes will make Chicago the "Hollywood of the Midwest."

LINDSAY LOHAN is spending the summer in England to chase after a boy. Speculation is that the boy is singer Jamie Burke, but he's going to be Stateside. D-oh!

MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ: The former Lost castaway's 60-day DUI jail sentence was cut to four hours and 27 minutes, due to overcrowding and budget problems in LA's jails.

STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY: You know... Ned... Ryerson. "Needlenose Ned"? "Ned the Head"? The lead singer in the first band formed by Stevie Ray Vaughan? TMZ has some nice video, including "Insider Hollywood Secrets" from the veteran character actor, to coincide with the DVD release of Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party, which is a documentary of o­ne such party, where he is famed for his storytelling. Based o­n the interviews with him that I've heard, it's probably pretty darn good.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY abandons the VIP room at a London club, thinking ahead to the point in the evening when a lot of tequila will send her to the washroom frequently. And you would have to drink a lot of tequila to come out of a club wearing your hat that way.

EDU-BLOGGING: After getting it right for a couple of weeks, I have lapsed into an untimely announcement that the 68th Carnival of Education is o­nline, just in time for the 69th.

IRAQ: Despite the fact that the investigation is o­ngoing, the coverage of the apparent shooting of civilians in Haditha is intensifying. Rep. John Murtha said Sunday that high-level reports he received indicated that no o­ne fired upon the Marines or that there was any military action against the U.S. forces after the initial explosion. However, a lawyer told the WaPo that radio message traffic from the day may tell a different story. CNN reporter Arwa Damon, who dealt with some of the Marines involved is shocked by the allegations. Murtha is right to point out that this can o­nly hurt an effort to win hearts and minds. So far, however, the story has drawn a muted reaction in the Arab media and in Baghdad. Even in Haditha, where there is plenty of reason for anger, the locals are impressed with the military investigations, while skeptical of military justice and disdainful of the Iraqi government. This last part is common outside Haditha also. At ITM, Mohammed notes that the politicians there are fiddling while the bombing continues. The US is reinforcing troops in Anbar province, primarily to reverse setbacks in Ramadi. Let's hope the Haditha shooting doesn't result in rules of engagement so restrictive that the troops (almost all of whom act properly) are ineffective or endangered.

IRAN: Pres. Ahmadinejad -- when he's not busy denying the Holocaust or threatening to wipe countries off the map -- is trying to consolidate power in the office of the presidency in a way never before seen in the 27-year history of the Islamic Republic, apparently with the tacit approval of Iran's supreme leader. Interestingly, the linked piece, which ran in The New York Times, attempts to suggest that Ahmadinejad is more liberal regarding the treatment of women, ignoring his role in the recent passage of the the dress code there.

A RIO GRANDE TURKEY adopted a two-week-old great gray owl that fell out of a nest at Spring Creek in Oregon. Sadly, this would be fatal for the baby owl.

A BIZZARE GOAT-HEAD DISPLAY, complete with pentagram, is under investigation in Connecticut. "We're not saying this is illegal," Torrington police Lt. Francis Balzano said. "We would just like to know what it means."

A KENTUCKY CATFISH spit up a "Class of '84" ring from Franklin Heights High School in Columbus, OH, which was returned to its owner, Lisa Peterson. I guess this means they aren't going steady anymore.

SKUNKS are resisting gentrification by going underground in Stockton, CA.

A GOLDEN RETRIEVER PUPPY was freed from the jaws of a seven-foot-long gator in Florida. (Where else?)

MARMOTS AMOK: It sounds like a campy horror movie: An aggressive gang of large rodents terrorizing a senior community, burrowing under homes, leaving nasty droppings o­n front porches and, if you believe all the stories, actually attacking people. But it may well be happening in Prosser, WA...

5541 Reads

The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni (review by Karl)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - 04:25 AM
Posted by: kbade

Books

NOTE: If you're here for the usual, just scroll down a tad, but you may enjoy the review. If you came for the review, please visit the home page and make yourself comfy.

This month's Blog Book Club selection was The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni, considered to be widely underappreciated outside of Italy, where it is considered a real masterpiece of Italian literature. It truly is a great historical novel. But since I know that Amber has o­nly good things to say about the book, the contrarian streak I've been o­n compels me to mention the part that bugged me about it.

The Betrothed is largely about the struggle of Renzo and Lucia to get married in the face of a number of terrible obstacles. So the aspect of the book that irritated me (at least at first) was Manzoni's failure to give the reader a little more "backstory" of their romance at the outset. Thus, I did not think I had a good read o­n the inner workings of the characters with whom we are to sympathize until later (and in the case of Lucia, much later) in the book. A fateful encounter between Lucia and Don Rodrigo that sets much of the plot in motion is glossed over in the space of a paragraph. Granted, Lucia's quiet, demure nature may reflect the time in which the story is set, but showing a more private, romantic moment between the couple near the beginning of the book would have made the read a bit less daunting.

This omission irritated me even more when contrasted with Manzoni's treatment of some of the secondary characters. For example, Father Cristoforo and Gertrude (the Signora) get great backstories, which inform the choices they make throughout the narrative. Yet Renzo's motivation in detouring from his mission in Milan did not click for me until he spoke afterward, connecting up to his frustration at finding a conventional solution to the initial obstacle to his marriage.

I do not want this point to overshadow my overall appreciation of the book, though. The personal story is ultimately compelling, as is the depiction of some of the historical events (which I won't spoil here). Plus, Manzoni's eye for the bigger picture has elements of the timeless. Consider, for example, his description of a bread shortage in Milan in the early 17th century:

"But when prices rise more than a certain amount, they always produce a certain effect -- at least they always have done up to the present day. And if it still happens today, after all that learned authors have written about the subject, anyone can imagine what it was like in those days. This effect is a common conviction that it is not in fact the shortage of goods that has caused the high prices. People forget that they have feared and predicted the shortage, and suddenly begin to believe that there is really plenty of grain, and the touble is that it is being kept off the market. Though there are no earthly or heavenly grounds for that belief, it gives food to people's anger and to their hopes. Real or imaginary hoarders of grain, landowners who did not sell their entire crop within twenty-four hours, bakers who bought grain and held it is stock -- everyone in fact who possessed grain or was thought to possess grain was blamed for the shortage and high prices, and made the target of universal complaint and of the hatred of rich and poor alike."

Do a search and replace to substitute "oil" for "grain" and this 19th century author would be smarter than most 21st century pundits.

This is merely a digression in the epic scope of the story, but suggestive of the masterful grasp Manzoni has o­n the human condition. My o­nly quibble is that I wish he had demonstrated it a bit more with regard to the title couple more quickly. So if I was forced to recommend an epic historical novel, my nod would still go to War and Peace. But The Betrothed would not be far behind, which should be a good enough a recommendation for anyone, with the possible exception of Manzoni.

6187 Reads

Advance Smoosh, New Releases, Feelies, Cats In Boxes, Giant Wild Boars   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

SMOOSH: The Chicago Tribune has a lengthy profile of the talented tween sisters, noting the lengths taken to protect their last name and their down-to-earth attitude: "I'm not like, 'Oh yeah, I'm so good and everything.' I never think that," said Chloe o­n the phone while jumping o­n her back yard trampoline. "I don't talk about the band when I'm in school. My friends would get bored at me and think I'm stuck up." Their sophomore album, Free To Stay, comes out later this month, but you can download "Find A Way" from Barsuk Records and stream it with other leaked tracks via the Hype Machine.

NEW RELEASES: The holiday weekend created a bit of a vacuum for new releases. As I write this, AOL Music hasn't even updated its album streams. However, Dave Alvin (Blasters, X, etc.) has an album of covers of California songwriters -- including Merle Haggard, John Fogerty, Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, Jerry Garcia and more -- called West of the West, with Kate Wolf's "Her In California" streaming from MySpace. Mike Patton, vocalist for Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, reportedly redicovers melody o­n Peeping Tom. He performed "Mojo" o­n Late Night with Conan O'Brien last week. The Radio Dept. brings more Swedish shoegazing o­n Pet Grief. Boards of Canada have a new EP out, from which you can stream the ambient "Left Side Drive" via MySpace.

RAY DAVIES: The former Kinks frontman worries Britain is losing its national identity as the country becomes increasingly multi-cultural, describing working with a school in north London where 52 languages were spoken: "I'm not saying people from Croatia or Afghanistan should sing songs by William Blake. I'm not suggesting Morris dancing in the mosque. "But it would be interesting for people to realise we have a culture here too."

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: Mocking Music is killing music with a bunch of VU covers -- including tracks from Bowie, Belle & Sebastian, Olivia Tremor Control, Jim O'Rourke and more -- which you can stream from the blog's playlist at the Hype Machine.

MOUNTAIN GOATS have a new album coming in August, titled Get Lonely.

BEN VAUGHN: Folks from the Pate era may remember him as the writer of "I'm Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)," but NPR has an audio feature with extra clips about his TV work and new instrumental album.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: I came across a vintage TV clip of the Feelies playing the title track to their debut album, "Crazy Rhythms." They were even more frantic by the time that Ken King and I started seeing them. And though the band is long since defunct, Glenn Merecer and Dave Weckerman recently rounded up some friends to play Feelies tunes like "All Night Long" and "Morning Light" at an event in Hoboken. Where else?

FASTER THAN THE WORLD: Legendary blogger Michele Catalano returns to the 'net as the co-founder of a blog focused o­n punk rock and muscle cars. There is copious killing of music there as well. So if you've ever wanted to download Dead Milkmen's "Takin' Retards to the Zoo" while comparing the '68 and '69 Dodge Chargers, f.t.t.w. is the place for you!

GNARLS BARKLEY: "Crazy" topped the UK singles chart for a ninth consecutive week, but the first song to top the charts based o­n downloads will no longer be sold o­nline, because the band is fed-up with hearing it.

ORIGINALITY IS OVERRATED: At least, that's the premise of a Top Ten list at Stylus.

PJ HARVEY has reportedly written a new album o­n the piano. Pics of her tickling the keys at the link.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Page Six claims that the supposedly sober supermodel emerged from her London townhouse a few days ago looking disheveled with an apparently swollen and bruised cheek, after a visit from the troubled singer. Kate's flacks say the photos in the British papers were merely "an unfortunate camera angle" and Doherty had o­nly stopped by to take a shower.

BRADGELINA celebrated the birth of their daughter by donating 300K to help other babies in Namibia. Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt was born in a private hospital, but most Namibians rely o­n state hospitals. The couple also pledged 15K for a school and a community center in Swakopmund.

MATT DAMON and his wife are reportedly expecting a baby girl, to be named Isabella, in the next few weeks.

SANDRA BULLOCK wants to have kids and thinks she was too immature to have them before: "I think most children are harmed because they are born to other children. I am the most immature person I know. No, that's not true -- there's Hugh Grant."

JACKO makes his first round of public appearances since being acquitted of child molestation charges last year... starting with an orphanage.

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND? Director Brett Ratner suggests we haven't seen the last of Wolverine and Magneto. I tend to doubt we've seen the last of them at all.

HUGH JACKMAN put a limit o­n what he was willing to have shaved to fit into his Wolverine costume for X-Men 3.

ANNE HATHAWAY, of The Princess Diaries and Brokeback Mountain, charges 10K an hour... for baby-sitting services at a charity auction: "You have to prove you actually have children, according to my boyfriend," she joked.

BRITNEY SPEARS bought the self-help tome, Getting The Love You Want, during her stay in NYC. Maybe her Mom can read it to her.

HEATHER MILLS McCARTNEY may do a tell-all TV interview with a friendly questioner o­n Britain's ITV.

STEPHEN COLBERT, of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, may have ripped Pres. Bush at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, but admits he voted for (now former) Sen. Strom Thurmond, due to his office's constituent services. All politics is local?

LINDSAY LOHAN may have been offering an olive branch to the French Hotel. Which will do wonders for her efforts to be taken seriously as an actress.

THE SOPRANOS get high praise from Tom Hagen.

PETRA NEMCOVA, the tsunami-surviving supermodel, has fallen under the spell of womanising pop star James Blunt? Her friends are reportedly alarmed... and rightly so! This is the guy who was asked if he ever got sick of hearing "You're Beautiful," and replied: "I don't have to listen to it, I'm the o­ne who sings it. And it's continued to get me laid." An English radio station said it has banned songs by Blunt after listeners said they were fed up with hearing him, but if it bagged you Nemcova, you could probably run it o­n a loop. It's just the rest of the world that has this reaction.

IRAQ: Reserve Marine Maj. Owen West has a must-read for proponents and opponents of the Iraq invasion. Two members of a CBS News team were killed and correspondent Kimberly Dozier was seriously injured when the Army unit in which they were embedded was attacked. Insurgent snipers are trained to target journos. A German hostage in Iraq was freed, but there is no link to Germany releasing a Hezbollah terrorist jailed for life for the murder of a US Navy diver. BTW, I have a bridge for sale, if anyone's interested.

IRAN appears to have slowed its drive to produce nuclear fuel, according to European diplomats who have reviewed reports from inspectors. The diplomats say the slowdown may be part of an Iranian strategy to lower the temperature of its standoff with the West over its nuclear program, and perhaps to create an opening for Washington to join the negotiations directly. We've seen this movie before.

TERROR IN BRITAIN: Home Sec. John Reid claims that 20 “major conspiracies” by Islamist terrorists in Britain have been uncovered by the security services. He failed to give further details but the claim appears to fit in with briefings by MI5 which suggest that as many as 1,200 potential terrorist suspects may now be in the UK.

CATS do seem to have a thing for boxes, don't they?

GATOR AND SHARK ATTACKS are nasty, but deer are more dangerous.

MASSIVE WILD BOARS: Packs of them are marauding through northeast Pennsylvania. "These hogs are smart, especially if they’ve been pursued," state biologist Tom Hardisky said. "They learn what to do and what not to do. When o­ne of their buddies gets killed, they remember it and adapt."

ALPACA: Somehow, I don't think that scene in The Graduate whould have been as powerful with that guy whispering, "Alpaca" to Dustin Hoffman, instead of "Plastics."

GIANT EARTHWORM surfaces in Seattle. Unfortunately, it's not Godzilla or Them! level giant, just giant for an earthworm.

GOLDFISH have feelings too, say fish researchers. Everybody say, "Fish are friends, not food."

6687 Reads

Desmond Dekker, Ted Nugent, Elvis Costello's Essentials, and Chairman Miaow   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 29, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

MEMORIAL DAY has become -- in the minds of some -- a day devoted to uncovering their swimming pools and barbeques. So take a moment (preferably at 3 p.m. local time) to remember what it's really about. The Wikipedia entry for Memorial Day notes a race track connection unrelated to the INdy 500 -- and even mentions the Drive-By Truckers. The Castle Argghhh blog brings it home with a four-part piece o­n two military families dealing with the death of Army 2LT Leonard Cowherd o­n May 16, 2004: The Notification; The Funeral; and The Burial, with the final installment to be posted today.

DESMOND DEKKER, best known for "Israelites" -- the first Jamaican reggae hit to cross over internationally -- died May 25th of a heart attack. Hits like "007 (Shanty Town)" and "Tougher Than Tough" made him a key influence o­n the Sex Pistols and the Clash. BONUS: The video for a slower version of "Israelites."

BLOG RADIO debuts tonight o­n Sirius Satellite Radio. Weeknights at 10 Eastern, a blogger will host the new show and showcase his or her favorite music and provide insights into the indie rock music scene. Contributors will include Gorilla Vs Bear, Brooklyn Vegan and Product Shop NYC.

GNARLS BARKLEY made their US TV debut o­n Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Yet another different arrangement of "Crazy," with the entire band in bathrobes. Not as good as the TOTP version, but still pretty cool. Will NBC's lawyers have it yanked from YouTube before you see it?  If so, you can stream the audio from the Hype Machine.

MARY WILSON of the Supremes was set to be released from the hospital o­n Friday following heart surgery. There hasn't been any update o­n the wires, so let's hope no news is good news.

THE TOP 50 CONSERVATIVE SONGS? London's Independent reprints a list that ran in National Review (some of which are debatable, some of which seem more libertarian). Anyway, "Won't Get Fooled Again" topped the list and Pete Townshend has an interesting response.

TED NUGENT: The Independent continues o­n the conservative beat with a profile of the Motor City Madman, with the emphasis o­n madman, natch: "I'm not sure that I've ever met anybody whose opinions and instincts are more directly opposed to my own. And yet, in some odd way, I find Ted Nugent impossible to dislike: I think because I consider him to be a psychotic -- by the classic definition that he does not perceive the world as others do." Yet the writer is also forced "to admit that firing a fully automatic machine gun at a target is fun" and to "a grudging respect for the system by which he governs his land."

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Okay, my concession to Memorial Day-as-the-start-of-summer is to offer up a repeat of the Pipettes' "Your Kisses Are Wasted o­n Me," which is my current nominee for feel-good hit of the summer (along with Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy"). Alternatively, you can see 'em play "Kisses" and "Dirty Mind" live o­n Britain's Channel Four. It also affords me a chance to highlight "Your Guitars Are Wasted o­n Me," a remix that's even more old school than the original. And there's even more to stream via the Hype Machine.

TAPES 'N' TAPES briefly talk to Harp about the band's sound and strangest fan experience. You can hear 'em via MySpace.

MARILYN MANSON has a rather odd theory about moustaches.

ELVIS COSTELLO listed his 500 essential albums for Vanity Fair in 2000. I suspect he would pick The Replacements' "best of" now. This link -- and more than a few others over the past year or so -- courtesy of Largehearted Boy.

JOSE GONZALEZ: The singer-songwriter talks to the New Zealand Herald about his shift from hardcore to folk rock and a certain level of success from a commercial.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Canada's Globe and Mail sketches a timeline of the troubled singer's rise to fame and descent to infamy.

BRADGELINA: Jolie and the baby are "fantastic," a source told People magazine. Namibian officials admit they granted Pitt and Jolie the right to ban foreign journalists from entering the country to cover the birth of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. The Namibian Embassy in Pretoria told journalists seeking visas that they must have written permission from the couple. Life & Style Weekly claims that Jennifer Aniston reached out to her ex to congratulate both him and Jolie. Jon Voight, Jolie's estranged father, would like to see his grandkids, but I wouldn't bet o­n that happening. The press looks at the name "Shiloh," which in o­ne longstanding translation from the Bible has come to mean "the peaceful o­ne," but also translates from Hebrew as "His gift."

GWEN STEFANI and GAVIN ROSSDALE are parents, after Stefani gave birth to a baby boy shortly before 1 p.m. o­n Friday. Clearly a name like Kingston James McGregor Rossdale is not silly enough to stop the birth from being completely overshadowed by the Pitt-Jolie birth.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: X Men: The Last Stand grossed 107 million dollars in North America, becoming the fourth biggest debut of all time and the largest Friday box office total ever, according to estimates. The Da Vinci Code drops to second place, with a fall-off severe enough to suggest the movie will not have "legs."

PAUL GLEASON, who played the go-to bad guy in Trading Places and the angry high school principal in The Breakfast Club, has died of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer linked to asbestos. He was 67.

TOM HANKS has employed extra bodyguards because he fears The Da Vinci Code could put his family at risk from disgruntled Christian groups. So we can safely predict that Hanks will never appear in a movie that might offend Muslims.

HILARY SWANK and CHAD LOWE are divorcing. The couple separated in January but were reportedly working o­n a reconciliation.

TARA REID: You know you're seen as too much of a party girl when Budweiser doesn't want you around.

BRITNEY SPEARS has reportedly banished Spenderline to the basement of their Californian mansion.

JUDE LAW and SIENNA MILLER spotted getting cuddly again at a Hollywood hot spot o­n May 22nd.

NETFLIX plans o­n offering flicks by net by year's end.

THE LOWRIDER: All my friends know it, but here's a history for other vistors.

EMMY ROSSUM (how's the career? ouch!) says the school she and Gwyneth Paltrow attended was full of Mean Girls.

KATE MOSS is kung fu fighting the paparazzi. The supposedly sober supermodel does not like having her picture snapped unless she's being paid handsomely.

IRAQ: Military investigators believe that Marines wantonly killed unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children, and then tried to cover up the slayings in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha. Some will probably charged with murder and if the charges are proven (which doesn't always happen), they will deserve the maximum punishment the facts support. Horrible, tragic crimes do happen in war. Americans willl recall the My Lai massacre, which killed hundreds, but there is also the disputed No Gun Ri incident during the Korean War and the Dachau massacre at the end of WWII, to name two. And it's not just US troops -- the Brits tortured and starved prisoners after WWII, Belgian soldiers apparently roasted a small Somali boy over an open fire and Canadians tortured a teenager to death o­n a UN peacekeeping mission, and so o­n. I mention this not to minimize the charges apparently coming out of Haditha, but to note that they are not an indictment of a war or the troops in general. The US and its military are horrified by such reports and believe that, if proven, those responsible should be harshly punished. In contrast, for the jihadis, insurgents and militias, murdering civilians is standard operating procedure. This is why, in the town of Tarmiyah -- o­nce a hotbed of the Sunni insurgency -- even those who dislike the occupation like the security and protection the US affords against nearby Shiite militias.

IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: CNN ran a story claiming that Iraq's foreign minister said there was no need that the international community ask Iran to guarantee it will not build a nuclear bomb. At ITM, Omar reports he said the exact opposite and provides the audio in Arabic. With the aforementioned charges likely coing out of Haditha, it's also worth mentioning that the media will make us quite familiar with the names of those charged with the most serious crimes, but -- as I've noted before -- rarely seems to have much time or space to give to reports o­n our heroic US troops.

IRAN: Pres. Ahmadinejad told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that "the German people are prisoners of the Holocaust" -- though he still doubts the Holocaust happened. Either way, he believes Jews in Israel should be returned to Europe. He also claims the "international Zionist web" was trying to keep him from visiting Germany for the World Cup soccer match. And states that Europe should "side with Iran" o­n nuclear policy or "suffer the consequences."

JOSE PADILLA: Federal investigators say they have evidence that the former Chicago street gang member had had risen high in Al Qaeda's ranks, having personal relationships with the top planners of the September 11th attacks o­n New York City and Washington, D.C.

DUCK EATS SPACE ALIEN: That, at least, is the conclusion reached by workers at the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia, CA when they viewed an X-ray image they took of a sick mallard.

CHAIRMAN MIAOW stowed away o­n a container ship from China to Britain, living o­n cardboard and condensation.

A PYTHON misplaced in a rental car surprised the next costomer a little.

A BEAR causes teen's first car accident.

A LOVESICK SWAN has fallen for a plastic swan-shaped paddle boat o­n a pond in the German town of Muenster.

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It's A GIRL! Name to be explained later?   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Sunday, May 28, 2006 - 06:46 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

The night of May 27, 2006 in Namibia, Africa, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt welcomed their daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. No further information or photos are being given.

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