THIS TIME FOR SURE!
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS airs tonight on ABC.
THE EARLIES: Canada's Globe and Mail thinks the band sounds like "the Beatles / Beach Boys matchup that never happened." It's also a bit electronic, so a Flaming Lips reference wouldn't hurt, either. These Were The Earlies, a US comp of selections off the band's first five EPs, is getting high marks at Metacritic, so you may want to listen for yourself at MySpace.
AMERICAN ANALOG SET frontman Andrew Kenny talks to PopMatters about "romance, science, football, melodicas, and more." You can stream or download a few older AmAnSet songs from My Space.
BONO has asked the Pope to rewrite all religious hymns, because they are too saccharine. Or he could just, y'know, require U2 be played at Mass.
SEASON OF THE LIST: Indie Interviews (which has a cool podcast, btw) lists its Top Ten Albums of 2005, with a bonus list from Michael Bravata of the Dallas area Rockwall Herald-Banner. Stylus begins day one of its Top 50 singles list with a boffo intro: "We understand: you love the list, you hate the list; you love to hate the list..."
THE VILLAGE VOICE BLUES: Robert Christgau reviews Buddy Guy live as well as Rhino's deluxe edition of 1972's Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play the Blues and T-Bone Walker's The Best of the Black & White and Imperial Years.
IN THE YEAR 2525: If Man is still alive...
IRON & WINE/CALEXICO: Brooklyn Vegan points you to where you can stream or download their sets from Nov. 30. And Frank at Chromewaves is killing music this week with a live cover of the Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties."
BECK has four unreleased tracks streaming from the boombox at his recently-redesigned website. Some of it is pretty good stuff, too.
GARY GLITTER is called a "lying monster' by his 12-year-old-accuser. Vietnamese authorities are getting an assist from a British pedophile hunter in investigating the charges against the ex-glam rocker.
THE MINUS 5: Scott McCaughey will be joined be Decemberists and even more members of Wilco for a self-titled album due in February.
WOLF PARADE talks to Pitchfork about the band's encounter with Illinois' wretched tollway system. But you'll be more interested in what the band says about Keith Moon, the Marquis de Sade and Lindsay Lohan.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer expects to go to jail this time.
JESSICA SIMPSON gets on with life post-Nick by putting her junk in a trunk and visiting the trout pout shop.
HEATHER LOCKLEAR and RICHIE SAMBORA are having marital woes. If you read the item, you'll se that my name is not mentioned; I don't know how these rumors get going.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: The Tom-Kat online wedding registry at Needless-Markup may have been a hoax, but what about the one under Cruise's real name, with a ewedding date of July 6, 2006?
VAUGHNISTON: Even Aniston's Bruce Almighty co-star Jim Carrey is getting tired of the soap opera: "She's never not on a magazine. There is not a magazine on earth without Jennifer Aniston on it. (In) Popular Mechanics, she's got a wrench, she's going into a store." Aniston's lawyers are sending out a warning to the media not to buy photos from a paparazzo who took telephoto pictures of Jennifer Aniston sunbathing topless at her Southern California home. Allegedly.
HARRY POTTER has pretty decent taste in music.
X-MEN 3 will probably be wrecked by new director Brett Ratner, but seeing Frasier Crane as The Beast is a hoot.
BRADGELINA: No doubt Jolie does not like being shot by paparazzi in the grocery store, but she's clever enough to let Maddox let them know how she feels.
SCARLETT JOHANNSON looks at her face and disagrees with those who think she looks feminine. (third item)
REESE WITHERSPOON tells us what was in June Carter Cash's closets. And PETA won't like it.
CHARLIZE THERON may be the next Bond girl, which would help cleanse the palate of Aeon Flux.
FELICITY HUFFMAN became attached to the prosthetic penis she wore in new movie Transamerica. William H. Macy became nervous.
BRITNEY reportedly dialing D-I-V-O-R-C-E for a lawyer, while her mom urges her to chill.
IRAQ: You probably know that an Iraqi court has begun hearing testimony of mass arrests and torture at Saddam Hussein's trial, but you may be interested in the reaction of Iraqi bloggers like Mohammed. Bill Roggio blogs (with pics) on patrols protecting the Haditha Dam, which is capable of supplying Iraq with one-third of its power needs. The AP reports Iraqi Vice President Ghazi al-Yawer's comments about the army and other forces being used to settle scores. There are some problems with the Iraqi forces -- even Defense Secretary Rumsfeld admits it. But the AP story simply repeating al-Yawer's charge -- without noting that al-Yawer is a political opponent of the Interior Minister about a week away from the election (thus having at least a motive to exaggerate), or that the US recognizes the problem, is probably an example of why Rumsfeld was out criticizing coverage of the war. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the Democratic foreign-policy elite has stark differences -- and significant vagueness -- regarding a viable alternative to the current course of action.
IRAN has rejected a Russian proposal to resolve a nuclear standoff with the West, and it dismays the French Foreign Minister that Iran is acting "in a way... unilaterally." Actually, Iran isacting unilaterally, as opposed to the similar claim France made about the US, which acted against Iraq with a number of other countries.
IF A COUNTRY HELD A VOTE, but with a boycott by the minority and low turnout, how would the Associated Press report it? It depends on the country. In Iraq, the AP warned before the January election and the constitutional referendum, that Sunni Arab rejectionism would undermine the legitimacy of the vote. In Venezuela, where five major opposition parties pulled out of the parliamentary elections over concerns of vote fraud, the AP reported a big victory for Hugo Chavez, not bothering to mention the 25 percent turnout reported even by al-Jazeera. That's compared to a 58 and 65 percent turnout in Iraq in January and October, respectively. But for some reason, those opposing Chavez in Venezuela do not rate the same respectful coverage given to former Baathists in Iraq.
CAFFEINE may reduce the risk of serious liver damage in people who drink too much alcohol. Just sayin', Pate fans.
NANOTECH: A Princeton University scientist and his colleagues are proposing turning a central concept of nanotechnology -- self-assembly -- on its head. They illustrated their technique by considering thin films of particles. Thin films are a specialty of Pate frontman Jon Pratt.
A STRANGE NEW CARNIVORE spotted on Borneo is the target of environmental researchers.
MUMMY CAT is elected school mascot in Utah. Pics at the link.
KANGAROOS fear the sound of their own feet. Which is a good enough excuse to point you to NSFW kangaroo video.
ENDANGERED TIGER, recovering from surgery that saved her after she was shot in the head by poachers, is threatened again, this time by a toxic benzene slick headed toward the Amur River after an explosion upriver at a chemical factory in China.
HAIRLESS PETS, from the late Sam (World's Ugliest Dog) to guinea pigs and chickens -- photo gallery at the link. No sign of Mr. Bigglesworth.