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James Hunter, the Brit Awards, Willie Nelson and Rufus - King of Dogs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


JAMES HUNTER likes his soul music old school, but he will disagree: "I feel this music is as relevant for people today as it would've been 40 years ago," he explains. "It has a groove that makes people feel good--it makes girls want to dance. What's retro or old-sounding about that?" He's featured o­n Van Morrison's live album A Night in San Francisco and the studio recording Days Like This. His first US album, People Gonna Talk, drops March 7th, but you can stream a couple from the World Cafe at NPR, or the four tracks at MySpace, or clips from every track at his website.

THE BRIT AWARDS: Kaiser Chiefs led the winners, winning three prizes (including best British group and best rock act). Arctic Monkeys won best British breakthrough act. Prince did show up to play "Purple Rain" and "Let's Go Crazy." Kanye West (best international male) performed "Gold Digger" accompanied by 77 women wearing gold body paint and bikinis. Paul Weller was presented with the outstanding contribution to music award.

PAUL WELLER: His father begged him not to break up The Jam at the height of its success, because he was convinced it would spell the end of his musical career.

J. MASCIS talks to Rolling Stone about his old school metal band, Witch, for which he plays drums -- further proof of Jon Pratt's theorem that the guitarist always wants to be the drummer. You can stream a couple from TeePee Records.

DAVID BYRNE and BRIAN ENO: The duo's influential My Life in the Bush of Ghosts will be reissued March 28 o­n Nonesuch, with seven previously unreleased tracks that date from the original recording sessions.

AC/DC: Bon Scott's grave in western Australia was classified with a heritage listing Wednesday. Heritage listings are usually reserved for buildings, but the grave was recognized because of AC/DC's global popularity and because it is visited by thousands of fans annually. They get there by taking the Highway to Hell, natch.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: The emblematic Replacements video for "B-stards of Young," from the band's major-label debut, Tim.

SAM MOORE (of Sam & Dave) has inked a new deal with Rhino, with an album, Overnight Sensational, due May 16.

DARK SIDE OF THE MOON will be performed in its entirety by Roger Waters at this year's Roskilde Festival.

WILLIE NELSON not o­nly contribured to the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack, he's now released "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other," in which the Texas country icon sings about love among men o­n the range. It's supposed to be available exclusively at iTunes, few things remain exclusive for long on the Internet.

BOB GELDOF has joined forces with Transparency International to better ensure global aid is not lost to corruption. They will focus o­n the 50 billion dollars pledged last year by the G8.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer blames his fame for his drug problems. As the BBC TOTP points out, it's more like the reverse these days.

MADONNA reportedly went from the Grammys to Cedars Sinai hospital in L.A. last week for hernia surgery. Hubby Guy Ritchie was not at her side.

GWYNETH PALTROW thinks Madonna has amazing boobs. She also reportedly said that if she ever got a "free pass" to indulge a crush, "it would be with someone like Phil Selway, my musical hero." The Radiohead drummer may well be a better musical choice than her hubby Chris Martin, but I can't imagine it was fun at home that evening.

JENNIFER GARNER is using Britney Spears as motivation to shed her baby weight.

BRITNEY SPEARS is reportedly negotiating to become the spokeswoman for an all-natural appetite suppressant. Granted, it's the Star, but it's not difficult to see Britney using Anna Nicole Smith as a career model.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Regarding the pair's alleged split, Cruise's his rep, Paul Bloch exclusively tells Star, "This is totally and 100 percent untrue." Which is what Bloch also exclusively told Access Hollywood. I would think that o­ne's credibility is diminished when everyone else thinks thy have an exclusive from you. Of course, as Gawker notes, Life & Style is not exactly the Oracle of Delphi, either.

BRADGELINA: Pitt and Jolie want to buy a second home in Paris, far from the prying lenses of the press. You can almost hear Johnny Depp grumbling, "There goes the neighborhood..."

JESSICA SIMPSON: Us Weekly claims that the pneumatic blonde has been more than canoodling with Maroon 5's Adam Levine since 2004, "while Simpson was still wed to Nick Lachey." (Note to Us: she's still wed to Lachey.) The Daily Blabber has details from the story. TV reports have Simpson denying the story, natch. Meanwhile, Star is claiming that earlier reports of a Simpson-Levine hookup at the Chateau Marmont o­n Feb 7 are untrue, supposedly with pics to prove she was in NYC. The problem with this is that the walk of shame dates to January.

SIENNA MILLER was shocked when she slimmed down to play Edie Sedgwick in Factory Girl because her breasts vanished. An objective observer would want to judge for himself -- or herself.

TERI HATCHER complains her lovelife is "nightmarish" because she has been without romance for nearly a year. She won't run a personal ad looking for love o­n the Internet, "But can you imagine the National Enquirer? That would be fun." Or maybe when a tabloid runs a story about you having a special love van parked in the driveway, you should consider it a good suggestion instead of suing for libel.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN has been passed in its entirety by the film censors in Singapore, despite the country's stringent laws against homosexuality. Gay sex is punishable by a maximum of two years imprisonment in the country. Singapore's media content director said Ang Lee's film was passed as it did not "promote or glamorise the lifestyle."

OSCAR PREDICTIONS by computer reflect the consensus views of critics this year.

CITIZEN OPRAH: Why America’s most powerful celebrity should be more feared than loved.

WERNER HERZOG: I previously noted that the Grizzly Man director shrugged off a shot from an air rifle in the middle of an interview. The BBC has the video of the interview, complete with the shooting, posted for our enjoyment.

IRAQ: At Iraq the Model, Mohammed posts that the Shia UIA bloc risks being outnumbered and that the political map of Iraq may be about to change. Michael J. Totten is blogging from Erbil in Kurdistan -- today he's got an entry with plenty of pictures of Dream City, a massive development going up o­n the outskirts of the city. ABC's Nightline aired portions of tape recordings of Saddam meeting with top aides during the 1990s in which Saddam put forth the future probability terrorism with weapons of mass destruction and otherwise details attempts to hide information about WMD programs from UN inspectors. FWIW, Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a/k/a the "Butcher of Basra," claims that Saddam provided Al-Qaeda with intelligence support and whatever money or munitions they could provide and that Saddam's weapons are in Syria due to certain military deals dating back to the late 1980s. he is the second ex-Iraqi commander to make claims about Syria in recent days.

CARTOON JIHAD: Three more people died in Pakistan yesterday as more than 70,000 "demonstrators" torched and ransacked franchises of Western shops and fast-food restaurants and were drawn into gun battles in several cities -- all over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. In Iraq, officials condemned the airing of photos and video showing Iraqi prisoners being abused in the Abu Ghraib prison in 2003, complaining that the footage would o­nly enflame tensions in the war-ravaged country. What does that have to do with the cartoon riots? The answer is that western media have largely refused to show any of the Danish cartoons at the heart of that story, ostensibly because some of them are offensive to Muslims and could enflame tensions. Yet the same media outlets -- The New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN and the BBC, to name a few -- have no qualms about publishing years-old photos regarding a prison the US no longer runs, where those soldiers involved have been tried and punished, at a time where the Muslim world is already inflamed. It begins to look like these outlets will publish inflammatory material that increases the risk to US troops, but will not publish such material where these outlets fear they may be subject to greater risk.

NSA SURVEILLANCE: The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote today o­n whether to start an inquiry into the NSA's eavesdropping o­n international telephone calls. But the panel, which was clearly leaning in favor of an inquiry last week, now is closely divided and possibly inclined against it, apparently due to last week's closed briefings of the full House and Senate intelligence committees, and to private appeals to wavering GOP senators by officials, including Vice President Cheney. Insert your Veep with a shotgun joke here. ALSO: Slate covers the pervasive wiretapping by European governments, which may suggest that international calls are not all that private in the first place.

HURRICANE KATRINA: Yesterday, a House panel released a scathing report concluding that deaths, damage and suffering could have been decreased if the White House and federal, state and local officials had responded more urgently to Katrina. Popular Mechanics finds the the report to be "riddled with poor logic, internal contradictions and exaggerations." The report "seems designed to narrow attention o­nto a few individuals, ignoring larger, and frankly more important, issues—such as what role FEMA should actually take in large-scale emergencies."

BEST IN SHOW: Hail, Rufus -- the king of dogs. He wagged his tail when he won the the 130th Westminster Dog Show Tuesday, overcoming his unpopular breed as a Bull Terrirer o­n the strength of his perfectly egg-shaped head. Rufus (a/k/a "Champion Rocky Top's Sundance Kid") beat out a favorite -- a Norfolk terrier named Coco -- and a Dandie Dinmont co-owned by Bill Cosby to reach the final ring. So where is his buzzy bee!?

ZOO SEX TOURISM: I was shocked, shocked to discover that this trend started in San Francisco. Jane Tollini, former penguin keeper at the San Francisco Zoo, came up with the idea 17 years ago: "I like to watch."

ASSASSIN SPIDERS welcome a new member of the species from the remote forests of the African island nation of Madagascar.

MOOSE CHEESE: The Exeter News-Letter delves deep into the exotic world of moose-milking.

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Rare Pate, Jens Lekman, the Centipede King and the Scorpion Queen   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 08:30 AM
Posted by: kbade


ANOTHER RARE PATE TRACK, courtesy of Jon Pratt: The original two track master for "My Turn." This is not the mix Tom Tatman did for South East Records' Iowa Compilation. It's available in the "Downloads" section of the site, accessible thru the links at the left and top of the page. Grab it. Dig it.

JENS LEKMAN is given up o­n his hiatus, discovering that being a musician is more rewarding than working in a bingo hall. He's giving away his tour EPs as free downloads. Oh You're So Silent, a compilation of his regular EPs, was universally acclaimed. You can stream some of his fab chamber pop from NPR and download two from his label.

TALKING HEADS reissues are streaming in their entirety from AOL Music. Elsewhere, David Byrne has posted a bit o­n the multimedia musical about Imelda Marcos he's worked o­n with Fatboy Slim.

THE SUBWAYS: The band's debut album, Young for Eternity is also streaming in its entirety from AOL Music. PopMatters spends a day o­n tour with the trio.

BONO is prodding the Mexican government to investigate the odd death of singer Kirsty MacColl, who was killed by a power boat in December 2000 while scuba diving with her two sons in Cozumel. And he's getting some results.

ROBERT POLLARD: At Things I'd Rather Be Doing, John Kenyon has outtakes from an interview with Pollard he did for PopMatters as part of a larger, as-yet unpublished piece. Pollard talks about producers and collaborators in this hunk.

PAUL WELLER played a tiny warm-up gig for the Brit awards, which heckled the audience, not to mention James Blunt, Sting and Bono: "I'm pretty sure I said all of it to be honest with you. I thought [the tabloids] were being polite, if anything."

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: As the Wikipedia tells us, "In December 1977, Elvis Costello and The Attractions appeared o­n Saturday Night Live as a last minute fill-in for the Sex Pistols. During the live broadcast, Costello played the first few bars of "Less Than Zero," then -- much to the shock of the program's producers -- stopped and broke into a spirited rendition of the then-unreleased "Radio, Radio" (despite having been denied permission to play that song because of its anti-corporate message). Costello was not invited to perform o­n Saturday Night Live again for 12 years..."

GLEN MATLOCK: The Ex-Pistol has stuck up for punk proteges Green Day after Johnny Rotten dubbed them "a w**k outfit".

TEN TO WATCH and ten notable returns, courtesy of Glide.

ISOBEL CAMPBELL: Frank at Chromewaves is killing music with the ex-Belle & Sebastian belle's cover of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)."

BILLY BRAGG has his "List of Music You Should Hear" up at Amazon and it's surprisingly free of Woody Guthrie and "The Internationale."

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The producers of the Brit Awards have invited the troubled singer to attend — in the hope he will turn up and cause chaos.

THE SI SWIMSUIT ISSUE came out yesterday, though the cover features a bevy of beauties -- including cover vets like Elle MacPherson and Stacy's Mom -- who misplaced their tops. Kinda defeats the notion it's about swimsuits, if anyone was dumb enough to believe it. If you can't get to a newsstand, you can peruse it on the web, watch videos from iTunes or get some o­n your cellphone or handheld device. Insert your "handheld device" punchline here. This is merely an expansion of the secondary products -- calendars, DVDs, and television shows -- that already bring in an extra ten million in revenue annually. And you can compare this year's shots to past years at SI's swimsuit collection.

PRINCE has arrived in the UK, but producers don't know whether he will show up to play the Brit Awards. Apparently, he may be partying like it's 1999 -- and making demands like it's 1984.

MADONNA converted from Catholicism to the ancient mysticism of Kabbalah because she found the Christian religion too restrictive. Of course, Kabbalah requires that o­ne live a modest and holy lifestyle in accordance to Torah Law, observing all those commandments applicable to them. Which is why Madonna is involved with pseudo-Kabbalah, which is quite a concept, given that Kabbalah itself is controversial within Judaism.

COURTNEY LOVE may be sued by her father if her forthcoming book alleges that he put her o­n the road to drug addiction by giving her LSD as a toddler.

BRITNEY SPEARS stopped at the Malibu Urgent Care Center o­n Monday, reportedly suffering from stomach cramps after filming a cameo o­n NBC's Will & Grace. A smarter woman would have known that Will & Grace has been nausea-inducing for a while now.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Perez Hilton reports the pneumatic blond's publicist confirmed that Simpson is "officially dating" Maroon 5's Adam Levine, then gets an official denial from Simpson's rep. Meanwhile, hubby Nick Lachey made a good impression with a speech at Cosmopolitan's Fun Fearless Male Awards.

TOM-KAT DONE!? That's what Life & Style Weekly is reporting: "The insiders say that Tom, 43, and Katie, 27, plan to keep up the charade of a romance until after their baby’s birth this spring." Cruise's publicists tell Access Hollywood: "It should be known that the story is 100 percent false." A rep for Life & Style responded: "We stand 100 percent behind our story."

JOSH LUCAS: The Glory Road star is looking for a new galpal and was spotted bumping and grinding o­n the dance floor with ex-Playmate Victoria Silvstedt at a Victoria's Secret pre-Valentine's Day bash. I have to think that Chris Wragge won't like to hear that.

SIENNA MILLER quashed any rumours of a Valentine’s reunion with ex Jude Law last night by saying: "I’m definitely single." In further comments, she makes like the president of the She-woman Man-hater's Club.

LOST: Ex-hobbit Dominic Monaghan and and Evangeline Lilly continue to be the subject of rumors that the couple will wed in Hawaii when the series wraps this spring and even that Lilly is pregnant, though the photo at the link doesn't convince me.

SHARON STONE is miffed that Basic Instinct 2 had to be edited to get an R-rating: "Let’s face it, this is going to be my last hurrah doing something like this and isn’t Basic Instinct 2 supposed to be even baser still?" Hard to argue with that logic, though it seems like the finished film won't be family fare (NSFW).

CHRIS PENN had "accidental death" caused by the combo of an enlarged heart and several prescription drugs.

UNCLE OWEN is dead, man. Miss him, miss him. Who knew he had been blacklisted in the 1950's?

THE 25TH ANNUAL OSCAR NOMINEES LUNCHEON was held Tuesday, with 116 Academy Award nominees -- from actors to visual-effects designers -- democratically seated to dine o­n beef tenderloin and Chilean sea bass. Sadly, though somehow fitting, Paul Giamatti was stuck in NYC by the weekend blizzard. Felicity Huffman was so excited that she was two hours early: "I helped set up the tables." I guess that's how she got that front row right seat for the "class photo." There's a link to huge version of the "class photo" at OscarWatch.

IRAQ: Though Bill Roggio has been regularly posting o­n the progress of Iraqi forces, there are now statistics to go with the anecdotal evidence. The US military says 40 percent of Iraq's combat battalions are effective enough to have taken the lead role in fighting the insurgency, a key measure for determining when U.S. forces can withdraw. At Iraq the Model, Omar posts an update o­n cracks within the main Shia party and notes that militias seem to be selling weapons sent by Iran to help them carry out attacks o­n coalition forces. BTW, I predicted the other day that if Iraqi forces did well securing the celebration of Ashura, the press wouldn't notice. I would brag, but it's like predicting the sun will rise in the east.

CARTOON JIHAD: Thousands rampaged through two cities Tuesday in Pakistan, burning buildings housing a hotel, banks and a KFC, vandalizing a Citibank and breaking windows at a Holiday Inn and a Pizza Hut. At least two people were killed in riots over the Danish cartoons. The secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference compared the publication of the cartoons to 9/11 and the Holocaust. Italy's Reform Minister Roberto Calderoli had T-shirts made emblazoned with cartoons, saying that they were not meant to be a provocation but added that he saw no point trying to appease extremists: "We have to put an end to this story that we can talk to these people. They o­nly want to humiliate people. Full stop. And what are we becoming? The civilization of melted butter?" Meanwhile, there is anger in Iran over a football cartoon printed in a German newspaper showing the Iranian national team standing in a World Cup stadium with bomb belts strapped to their jerseys. And Batman will soon be fighting al Qaeda, thanks to Frank Miller, perhaps best known for his Sin City books, but who earlier revived the Bat-franchise with The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One.

REGGIE THE BULLDOG is crowned Britain's Best Looking Dog.

AMERICAN PETS are increasingly enjoying their own birthday parties.

THE CENTIPEDE KING of Thailand married the Scorpion Queen o­n Valentine's Day. The bride wore a white wedding dress with 15 live scorpions attached to it.

SHEEP ABUSER in Michigan argues that he should not have to register as a sex offender.

WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD? Because the tractor trailer overturned o­n the highway.

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Ram Jam, Rhett Miller, Valentines, Anti-Valentines and a Goat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SLY STONE: Yet another version of the Grammy story. In this o­ne, Sly demanded (and got) a police escort to the show and fled o­n a motorcycle. And I finally found (with help from Coolfer Glenn) the video of the tribute.

THE NEW PANTHEON AWARDS: Several critics at Stylus give a rundown of the finalists. For example, Todd Hutlock o­n The Decemberists' Picaresque: "The fact that this, Arcade Fire, Sufjan, Antony, and Death Cab all got nominated makes me fairly confident which way this award is leaning... it's like they threw in Kings Of Leon just to the big kids wouldn't kick sand in their faces and steal their girls."

KILLING MUSIC: rbally has downloads of Jenny Lewis' recent BBC performance and Art Brut live in Vienna.

MEAT LOAF: His jet shot off a Manchester runway due to weight problems. So. Many. Punchlines.

BJORK is profiled by London's Guardian. Turns out she's a UNICEF goodwill ambassaor. And she talks about the infamous swan dress.

"BLACK BETTY" by Ram Jam has been banned from being played at University of New Hampshire hockey games after more than a decade because it is "theoretically racist." It seems unlikely that Leadbelly -- who wrote or adapted the song -- was a racist, so maybe it should just be "theoretically banned."

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: "My Funny Valentine" as rendered by Rufus Wainwright with mom Kate McGarrigle o­n piano, and Chaka Khan. ALSO: Now that The New York Times has found YouTube, I wouldn't be surprised to find musicians and their lawyers swing into action.

RHETT MILLER: You can stream four advance tracks from the Old 97's frontman's upcoming solo album, The Believer (including a cover of Jon Brion's "I Believe She's Lying") via -- where else -- MySpace (if you get an error page, hit your "F5" button.).

JOY DIVISION: Casting has been announced for the upcoming Ian Curtis biopic, Control. Mostly unknowns, except Samantha Morton, Oscar-nominated for her work in Woody Allen's Sweet And Lowdown and Jim Sheridan's In America, who will play Curtis' widow, Deborah.

HIT SONGS are based partly o­n our perceived preferences of other people, according to a new study.

THE WRENS: PopMatters talks to the folks from Little Quill productions about making a documentary o­n the band. There's footage at Little Quill's website. You can stream and download "She Sends Kisses" from MySpace.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Hours after vowing o­n national television to stay away from crack and heroin, the troubled singer was reportedly kicked out of a football match for taking heroin in the toilets. At this rate it's hard for the BBC's Doherty timeline to stay current! Meanwhile, the latest rumor about the supposedly sober supermodel's visit to a brain doctor is that she fears she is losing her short term memory. So she may not be able to remember, for example, whether she ever took cocaine. It would also explain why she kept making up with Doherty. Look for the pair to star in a remake of 50 First Dates.

VALENTINES: If you forgot to order your Law & Order: Special Valentine Unit cards, you may still have a chance to send an e-card featuring Tom Cruise, Tara Reid or the French Hotel. from the Gallery of the Absurd. Sadly, you can't get Ernest Borgnine or The Olsen Twins in that format. BONUS: "A Valentine's ode to TomKat: "It's love when your sweetie passes over a long list of Hollywood prospects, including Jessica Alba, Kate Bosworth and even 18-year-old Lindsay Lohan, for you!"

FIRST KISSES: Celebs share their generally embarrassing stories. And Heather Graham reveals she has terrible business sense.

MEMORABLE SCREEN KISSES are categorized -- e.g., "The desperate kiss," "The kiss in the rain," etc. -- at MSNBC.

ANTI-VALENTINES: The Washington Post asks readers to listen to and vote o­n a playlist of rage, regret and revenge. I'm not ant-valentine, but I'm impressed with the list, which ranges from Dolly Parton to Stevie Wonder to Wire, Husker Du and Neko Case. E-filmcritic has a nice list of breakup movies, including the brilliant Albert Brooks feature Modern Romance (which finally comes out as a DVD in May). And Forbes ranks the best love films by the amount of money they made, because what's more romantic than that?

ALEC BALDWIN was disappointed when he was set-up o­n a blind date with Cindy Crawford, because she wasn't beautiful enough.

BRADGELINA: If you need to reach Jolie when she's away from home, she's under the name "Miss Lollypop."

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise is threatening to sue acclaimed biographer Andrew Morton after discovering he has hired a gay porn star to shed light o­n Cruise's private life.

CLAY AIKEN'S second album has been put "on hold" until the sex allegations of former Green Beret John Paulus blow over. Pun intended?

SIR IAN McKELLEN has attacked Hollywood's continuing homophobic attitude towards gay stars: "The film industry is very old fashioned in California. It is very, very, very difficult for an American actor who wants a film career to be open about his sexuality. And even more difficult for a woman if she's lesbian." Sorry, I'm not buying that last part.

BANDIDAS: Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek are starring in a melange of Bad Girls, The Magnificent Seven, and Buth Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. And they are reportedly more than happy to allow rumors that they are involved romantically to promote it.

BRITNEY SPEARS will celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans later this month, because she wants the city to continue its annual traditions. She'll be the chick looking for those beaded necklaces, y'all!

HEATHER LOCKLEAR and RICHIE SAMBORA: Star magazine has a non-steamy pic of the woman they claim was pictured in the X-rated e-mail to Sambora. along with a description of the the latter.

JUDE LAW and SIENNA MILLER: I love it when a gossip site reports that the two have permanently split and that they are rumored to have rekindled their stormy romance six hours later.

IRAQ: At Iraq the Model, Omar notes that the Shia (UIA) bloc's nomination of Jafari to become the new Prime Minister will most likely complicate the process of forming the government and potentially split the UIA. Bill Roggio notes that as the political process moves forward at a frustratingly fitful pace, Iraqi forces are leading a number of counter-insurgency ops in northern and western Iraq.

IRAN: German prosecutors have charged two men with violating export laws apparently involving delivering weapons technology to Iran. A European Union diplomat claims that a larger group under investigation is believed to have ties to the nuclear black market run by Pakistan's now-disgraced nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan. Iran abruptly postponed talks with Moscow o­n a plan to enrich Tehran's uranium o­n Russian territory. A major American attack o­n Iran's nuclear sites would kill up to 10,000 people and lead to war in the Middle East, according to a report from the Oxford Research Group. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross looks at exploiting Iran's internal political fissures; Amir Taheri goes even deeper o­n the subject. BTW, the White House press corps asked two questions about Iran on Monday, one of which suggesting that we should be concerned about the growing nuclear threat posed by Brazil. In contrast, there were several dozen questions asking why the White House press corps didn't find out about Dick Cheney's hunting accident earlier.

GETTY TRUST CHIEF Barry Munitz resigned Friday as CEO of the world's richest arts institution, under a cloud of allegations about his salary, perks and lavish spending. Instead of leaving with a 2.4 million lump sum severance package, as his contract stipulated, Munitz promised to pay the trust 250K to cover what its board's chairman described as "disputed items."

EDU-BLOGGING: Almost forgot the first Anniversary Edition of The Carnival Of Education is o­nline. Ken King may have a professional interest in it, but the rest of you will just want to scroll to the part about teen orgies.

VALENTINE'S GOAT: Oh sure, some people send flowers, but nothing says Love like a baby goat bearing a perfectly shaped heart o­n its fur. Video at the link.

GIGANTIC WHITE WORM smells like lillies. Come to think of it, that would have been a good backup to the Valentine's goat...

SHARK ATTACKS dropped in 2005 because people are fighting back more often when threatened and the ranks of ocean predators are thinning, but Jaws author Peter Benchley didn't live to hear it.

DOGS have regional accents just like their owners, a study claims.

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Anti-Grammys, Gogol Bordello, Curious George and Popular Dogs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, February 13, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY (yesterday) is observed today. In his prosecution of the Civil War, Pres. Lincoln seized the telegraph lines, suspended habeas corpus and issued an order prohibiting the printing of war news about military movements without approval. Officials arrested people for wearing Confederate buttons and for singing Confederate songs. Generals shut down and destroyed dissenting newspapers. Nevertheless, Lincoln is generally ranked as o­ne of our top three Presidents by historians. And he signed the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act in 1862, which provided government grants for agricultural universities in each state -- and without which there may never have been a Pate.

TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER: A record-breaking storm buried sections of the Northeast under more than 2 feet of snow o­n Sunday. I hope the Pratts are not trapped under the snowy blanket, unless it becomes a fun snow day for them.

SYLVIA HAUSER UPDATE: It seems that Captain Lex will be changing his name to Major Lex next month. As the US Army is probably o­ne of the few institutions that does not fear crossing Sylvia, the promotion appears to be based o­n merit (and what little I know of his record would bear that out).

SLY STONE walked offstage during the Grammy tribute from stagefright. He then vomited and disappeared.

KANYE WEST thinks he lost the Best Album Grammy to U2 due to vote-splitting. With whom?

PAUL McCARTNEY stormed out of the Grammy Awards after losing Best Album to U2. So Sir Paul missed the knockout finale paying tribute to New Orleans and the late Wilson Pickett o­n "In the Midnight Hour," with Bruce Springsteen, Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave), Elvis Costello, The Edge, Bonnie Raitt, Irma Thomas, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and more.

JOHNNY ROTTEN thinks Grammy-winning Green Day is phony punk.

ANTI-GRAMMYS: The New York Times blurbs alternative music awards, including the PLUG awards, the NME awards and the upcoming New Pantheon awards.

SLASH says the near-mythic Guns N' Roses album, Chinese Democracy, will finally hit the shops in March. Axl Rose apparently held a "listening party" to get an NYC nightclub to stay open until 8 a.m. for his birthday.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: The Boomtown Rats. Obvious, but universal.

THE KOOKS, hailing from southern England, may not have the same buzz as Arctic Monkeys, but their debut, Inside In / Inside Out, cracked the Top Ten in Britain and got a a nice write-up at PopMatters as a celebration of ridiculousness when the current trend is toward the exacting precision of their Gang of Four-inspired dance-punk. The band is picking up more press now that it's o­n tour, extolling the XTC-influenced first single, "Eddie's Gun" and the influences of The Clash, The Jam and The Police that Pate fans will surely recognize (though Pate covered Gang of Four, too). However, having the bass player succumb to the excesses of the road four days into the tour is probably not putting o­ne's best foot forward. Though the album is not out in the US yet, you can stream three of their demos at MySpace.

FIERY FURNACES announce a new album (on Fat Possum!?) and tour dates; *Sixeyes hooks you up to legal MP3s.

OASIS frontman Noel Gallagher blasted Jack White for writing a Coca-Cola ad, then sold his "All Around The World" to AT&T.

BRYAN FERRY: The 60-year-old Roxy Music crooner and his lover, 24-year-old dancer Katie Turner, are back together after a two year split.

GOGOL BORDELLO: Carl Wilson profiles New York's "gypsy punk" ensemble, featuring highly quotable frontman Eugene Hutz: "You don't have to give in to these pre-fab ideas fed you by education, or the celebrity cult of values that is force-fed you by media... That is where you revolutionize yourself first." You can stream a selection of tunes and the video for "Start Wearing Purple" at MySpace.

NEIL YOUNG and JONATHAN DEMME talk to the L.A. Daily News about Heart of Gold -- which captures Young and friends at the Grand Old Opry -- and the fact that Young has never won a Grammy. Demme also talks to the Philadelphia Inquirer about his favorite concert films and his "wish list." Demme would like to work with Fats Domino and Sufjan Stevens -- who he believes will be "acknowledged before too long as o­ne of the great American composer-performers."

MISSION OF BURMA: The Columbia Spectator reports that while Burma is called Myanmar these days, Mission of Burma is bigger than ever.

GARY GLITTER, awaiting trial o­n child molestation charges, discovers that Vietnamese prsons are icky.

VAN MORRISON hasn't spoken to former friend and artist Cecil McCartney (whose work in the late Sixties inspired Morrison's seminal album Astral Weeks) in 17 years, following a row over whether Myra Hindley, the Moors murderer, could be forgiven for her sins. McCartney is putting up o­ne of his works as a peace offering to the singer.

ARCTIC MONKEYS and PETE DOHERTY are frequently blurbed here, but if you're new and want to catch up, New York magazine has a backgrounder pretending to be a record review. PLUS: The Arctic Monkeys prove its tough to be a prophet in your home town.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: London's Guardian has published extracts of the troubled singer's prison diaries, including a rewite of "What a Wonderul World" which refers to the supposedly sober supermodel as his "true love/On a Rimmel advert." The paper's readers are merciless. Doherty claims that Moss contacted him in jail, and believes they never broke up.

MADONNA: Her latest video shows off the 47-year-old diva's "amazing flexibility and strength." Hubby Guy Ritchie is ignoring Madge's demand that he attend the Brit Awards to quash rumors their marriage is o­n the rocks.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Sadly, Curious George came in third, beaten by both The Pink Panther and Final Destination 3. Neil Young: Heart of Gold came in 33rd, but with an impressive $14,325 per screen average.

CURIOUS GEORGE was generally true to the spirit of the books and thus a nice family film, without any post-modern reimagining (though Will Farrell as the Man in the Yellow Hat has hints of a G-rated Ron Burgandy). However, if you watch the end credits, you will see what I mean when I say that it would have been cool if the animation had kept even closer to the original. Inevitably, the media looks at whether the charming chimp is politically correct. BTW, H.A. and Margret Rey were German Jews in France who fled from Hitler's Nazis o­n bicycle hours before the invasion of the city -- WBUR has an audo interview with Louise Borden, the author of The Journey That Saved Curious George.Curious George Goes to Wordsworth, which has been selling books and toys related to the original children’s literature character since 1996, caters to those who want the book version of George.

GWYNETH PALTROW suspects her daughter Apple will be an artist or scientist rather than follow in her family's acting footsteps: "I'll be curious to see -- sometimes children of actors want absolutely nothing to do with it whatsoever." Apple may well have the brains to be a scientist if she's already figured out that actresses are dippy enough to name their children after fruit.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: More Cruise wackiness reported from the pre-Grammy party featuring Kanye West. Page Six quotes an amused spywitness: "First, he raised his hands in approval when Kanye sang about the need for a prenup -- good thing Katie wasn't there."

MENA SUVARI is dating a professional breakdancer. He could probably practice o­n her ginormous forehead.

BRADGELINA: Newly-surfaced pic shows Jolie had those lips at age 13. The Enquirer claims she and Pitt had their first major bust-up o­n the eve of their trip the World Economic Forum, with Pitt leaving Jolie and the kids in a hotel room to party with British screen siren Patsy Kensit until the early hours. But the latest pics and video at Just Jared suggest the two are canoodling again.

SHARON STONE is disgusted by the cleavage display o­n Hollywood's red carpets: "Frankly, I find the acres of shoved-up booby so much more horrifying than a calm bit of walking across the room nude. o­ne is much more honest and other looks like you have your a** o­n backwards."

COURTNEY LOVE may still be clean, but someone fresh from rehab probably shouldn't be hanging out at Teddy's, a notorious star swillery in L.A.'s Hotel Roosevelt, at 1 a.m.

BOBBY BROWN: I am shocked, shocked, to discover his kids have issues.

MR. WILLS is movin' o­n up to that deluxe apartment in the sky.

JESSICA and ASHLEE SIMPSON have been billed ten grand for pulling out of a Rolling Stone photo shoot with David LaChapelle.

JESSICA ALBA is Playboy's Sex Star Of The Year, beating out Jamie Pressly, Jenny McCarthy, Halle Berry and Pamela Anderson, among others. But she'll be clothed in the magazine.

CARTOON JIHAD: The Swedish government pressured an Internet provider into shutting down the website of a fringe party over a Prophet Mohammed drawing contest posted o­n its site. Nonie Darwish, whose father founded the Palestinian Fedayeen, writes that the culture of hate is the true root of the riots surrounding this cartoon controversy. Thousands of moderate Muslims gathered in London to call for unity and mutual tolerance. Elsewhere, the moderates were not so moderate. The intolerance spreads beyond cartoons, to burning Valentine's Day cards and pulling a Mideast version of Pop Idol off the air. Star Academy is o­ne of the few places in the Arab world where personal advancement depends o­n talent rather than connections, where men and women can mix freely, where expressing individualism is something to be celebrated, and where people -- including women -- can vote. Such values have made the show both controversial and hugely popular.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio roundds up coverage of native insurgents and civilians of differing religions and ethnicities fighting al Qaeda as well as efforts to keep the western border secure from foreign infiltration. AFP similarly reports that Sunni tribesmen in Anbar province have agreed to take over combating foreign fighters there and securing the borders, within the Iraqi security forces and not as a separate militia (which is significant).

IRAN has restarted the sophisticated equipment at the Natanz uranium processing plant that could enable it to produce material for nuclear warheads, according to reports received by Western intelligence. Pres. Ahmadinejad said o­n Saturday that the Palestinians and "other nations" will eventually remove Israel from the region. London's Telegraph reports that the Pentagon is drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a "last resort" to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb.

NSA SURVEILLANCE: The New York Times reports o­n the rapidly expanding federal probe into its leak of the highly classified NSA international eavesdropping program. The paper quotes Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., who has represented publications like The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine: "There is a very strong argument that a federal common-law reporters' privilege exists and that privilege would protect confidential sources in this case." It's a "strong" argument that will almost certainly lose, but lawyers use words differently from ordinary folk.

HOW DID AN OCTOPUS turn up in an English garden drain?

A HERD OF DUNG-SPRAYING WATER BUFFALO that disappeared from a breeding farm this week were back home o­n the range o­n Friday afternoon -- with no indication where they had been.

DO GORILLAS GO THROUGH MENOPAUSE? Researchers at Brookfield, IL's Brookfield Zoo and Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo answer "yes" in a study being published in the International Journal of Primatology. (Thanks, Debbie!)

MOST POPULAR DOGS: The American Kennel Club recently released the figures for the popularity of various breeds in the US, both nationally and for various cities. (Thanks again, Debbie!)

DOGS helped break ground o­n a new animal shelter in Little Rock.

SHARK FRENZY SHUTTERS AUSSIE BEACHES: Several tourist beaches along Australia's popular Gold Coast were closed again Sunday because of a massive feeding frenzy involving more than 100 sharks, a lifeguard official said.

WHALE LOVE: Some will say it's not all that different from humans.

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Calexico, Al Green, Jon Langford, The Wrens, Undercover Kitten   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, February 10, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



... with the late, but ever-wicked WILSON PICKETT delivering a blistering performance of "Land of 1000 Dances," to a fevered crowd, complete with circa-60's stage-diving. Naa, na na na naa, na na na naa, na na naa, na na naa, na na na naa!

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: A Yeti icicle-throwing game, with a cute penguin. No, you don't throw the icicles at the penguin...

CALEXICO gets a nice blurb with plenty 'o' download links at *Sixeyes, including a legal download of the band's version of the Love classic, "Alone Again Or."

PAUL McCARTNEY was busy Grammy night; YouTube hosts lo-res video of "Helter Skelter" and better-quality video of his dubious cameo with Jay-Z and Linkin Park o­n "Encore."

AL GREEN has recorded a new album with legendary producer Willie Mitchell, with whom Green minted classics like "Tired of Being Alone" and "Let's Stay Together."

MATT POND PA gets a glowing review from Page Six, but he does appeal to more mainstream tastes in folkish-indie. You can check out a few via MySpace.

MARTHA REEVES, newly elected to the Detroit City Council, wants the city to put up statues of Motown legends: "I want a big statue of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, sitting o­n a throne with a crown o­n her head in the city square. I want a statue of the Supremes in that Stop in the Name of Love pose. I want o­ne of The Temptations doing the Temptations shuffle. And why not have o­ne of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas?"

THE FLAMING LIPS take aim at Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Black Eyed Peas and Destiny's Child o­n At War With The Mystics, which is set for release o­n April 4. Frontman Wayne Coyne says: "I guess part of what I'm railing against o­n that song is this preternaturally happy music sung by kids and written by 40-year-old Swedish men."

JOSS STONE wants to quit singing to become a nurse. She should keep singing and -- as a compromise measure -- dress up as a nurse.

ART BRUT: L.A. Weekly didn't have to harsh o­n the Arctic Monkeys to tell us how great Art Brut is: "While their clever, guitar-driven tunes can stop-start with the best of the current post-punk posse, they maintain a classic sensibility absent from most... From the shame of bedroom failures ('Rusted Guns of Milan') to a twisted mix of pride and sibling rivalry in 'My Little Brother,' indie rock hasn’t been this literal since Jonathan Richman sang 'Government Center.'" You can stream "Formed A Band" and "Emily Kane" from MySpace.

JON LANGFORD (the Mekons, Waco Brothers, Pine Valley Cosmonauts) will be at the Twin Cities' Walker Art Center this weekend, performing "The Executioner's Last Songs," a multimedia piece that features both solo and band material, along with his original paintings and photos from his life. He also has new book, Nashville Radio, a collection of 215 paintings, song lyrics, autobiographical writings and a CD of the printed songs largely inspired by Langford's dismay with mainstream country music. It comes out March 7th -- the same day as his next album, Gold Brick.

THE WRENS are o­n the road again o­n their long, strange trip toward a new album. Saw them at Intonation and was quite impressed.

THUNDERBIRDS ARE NOW frontman Ryan Allen understands when oldtime fans complain about the band's evolving sound: "I loved Weezer’s first two records when I was in high school... Then they came out with their third album and they totally sucked, they were the worst band in the world. So I can see where some people are coming from about us."

THE PIRATE PARTY aims to abolish copyright laws in Sweden, after parliament passed a law making it illegal to download copyrighted material for personal use. Yawr!

HEART ON A STICK has a 2005 bloggregation that provides an alternative or supplement to the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll.

THE ARTIST CURRENTLY KNOWN AS PRINCE is hiding a small number of "purple tickets" in his new album and single, which are released next month. The winners will go to a private concert at his home, where he will be backed by a band of Oompa-loompas. Somewhere, Michael Jackson is kicking himself for not having thought of this as a way to meet kids. But that somewhere is probably not Bahrain. I was going to say this was a clever move by Prince to encourage folks to buy the album instead of illegally downloading it, but it's more fun to talk about the purple waterfall that mixes his music.

NOW SHOWING: The big rollout today is the desecration of The Pink Panther (32% Rotten o­n the Tomatometer, with an even lower score from the "cream of the crop") o­n almost 3,500 screens. Harrison Ford defends his family yet again in Firewall (24% Rotten, even worse from the "cream"). And there's the oxymoronic Final Destination 3 (50% Rotten, 23% from the "cream). Fortunately, there is Curious George, which is 73% Fresh overall and 64% Fresh from the "cream."

CURIOUS GEORGE MURDER: Speaking of which, two men have been charged with murdering Alan J. Shalleck, who co-wrote Curious George books and helped bring the very curious little monkey to television.

THE GRAMMYS were clobbered by 'American Idol in the TV ratings. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is demanding its awards back from Kelly Clarkson.

LOVE MONKEY is all but cancelled after three episodes.

KATE MOSS spent four hours with a top brain doctor Wednesday; a spokesperson insisted the supposedly sober supermodel is fine. My theory is that she was thinking about making up with her troubled ex-beau Pete Doherty and decided she should have her head checked.

LOHAN LOWDOWN: Li-Lo is supposedly cozy with co-star Jared Leto, but In Touch magazine reports that she has been "quietly seeing" 31-year-old singer Ryan Adams and "hooked up with" 38-year-old Benicio Del Toro last Sunday, after "spending hours canoodling."

BRITNEY SPEARS says she "made a mistake" driving with her baby son sitting in her lap, but still blames the paparazzi for it.

COURTNEY LOVE: The newly rehabbed widow of Cobain has been working in the studio with Billy Corgan. She's apparently normal enough to be unbanned from Hollywood's Chateau Marmont.

TOMMY LEE was beaten by Eminem's posse for trash-talking fellow Detroiter Kid Rock.

GREY'S SKELETAL ANATOMY: Ellen Pompeo, the star of Grey's Anatomy, seems like she's o­n the Skeletor diet. But the actress claims she eats 3,000 calories a day. A nutritionist says most women burn between 1,500 and 2,000 calories a day. Of course, it's possible to eat 3,000 calories daily and still lose weight, isn't it?

WELCOME TO THE O.C. -- it's a handy guide to international relations.

HARVEY PEKAR: The American Splendor anti-hero tallks about his latest graphic novel, The Quitter, which apparently is doing better than DC Comics expected.

BRADGELINA: Jolie says, "Honestly, I like everything. Boyish girls, girlish boys, the thick, the thin. Which is a problem when I'm walking down the street." This is part of her secret. She's really unattainable -- just ask Colin Farrell. But she gives off the vibe that, otoh, she's a crazy woman, so maybe today is your lucky day.

CARTOON JIHAD: The Associated Press wakes up to discover that Syria, Iran and extremist groups like the Taliban are fanning Muslim outrage over 12 Danish cartoons. Socialist blogger Norm Geras takes aim at people asserting moral equivalence of sincerely-held beliefs. IraqPundit notes that more moderate Muslims have spoken against the riots than did in the case of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Reza Aslan has related thoughts at Slate.

IRAQ: The Arabic newspaper Al Bawaba reports that US and Iraqi forces have launched a cordon and search campaign in the Hamrin region to look for al-Zarqawi. The leader of Iraq's most powerful Shiite political party has called for greater respect for human rights by the country's security forces. Milblogger Trevor (currently in Baghdad) notes that the Iraqi government has worked very hard to ensure the safety of pilgrims o­n this year's celebration of Ashura, after last year's coordinated attacks. If things go well, will the press bother to notice?

NSA SURVEILLANCE: At least o­ne Democrat left a four-hour House Intelligence Committee briefing saying he had a better understanding of the legal and operational aspects of the NSA warrantless international eavesdropping program. Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer, the senior Democrat o­n the Intelligence Committee's oversight subcommittee, said, "It's a different program than I was beginning to let myself believe. This may be a valuable program." Cramer added that he didn't know if it was legal, but his "direction of thinking was changed tremendously." Cramer further said he didn't know why the White House waited so long to inform Congress of its actions. I know the answer to that o­ne: Congress leaks like a sieve.

UNDERCOVER KITTEN: Fred, a cat with a badge, busts a a college student accused of treating pets without a license. Burt the Boston terrier had Fred's back.

BROKEBACK ICE FLOE: Shy Swedish female penguins sent to seduce gay Humboldt penguins in a German zoo have failed to break up any of the male-male twosomes. What's penguinese for, "I wish I knew how to quit you!"

RATS smell in stereo, enabling them to identify where a smell is coming from in just 50 milliseconds.

EXOTIC FISH killed in a domestic dispute result in charges against a Walnut Creek, California woman.

PET HOARDING: Nearly two dozen cats makes for a feces-filled house of filth in Orlando, FL.

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