IRON AND WINE: Sam Beam's most recent disc under the name Iron and Wine, the Woman King EP, got a good writeup on the Pitchfork in February. I just got around to it last weekend and must agree. It's got a bluesy folk vibe that really sets a mood. If there was still a Music Works, it would probably end up in repeat mode all day long.
TOMMY RAMONE is starting an alt-bluegrass duo named Uncle Monk.
CROOKED FINGERS recently appeared on WMPG's Local Motives show; the interview and five songs available for download and are a good way to sample stuff from the band's latest disc.
ON THE PITCHFORK: An article about musicians who also write criticism or blog, like the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle.
BOB MOULD blogs that he just finished his new album and is listening to the master in different settings. And like everyone else, Bob had thoughts on the passing of Pope John Paul II.
BRITNEY SPEARS disinherited Kevin Federline before marrying him. And fed up with the "false tabloids" reporting on her shaky marriage, the pop tart now gives an interview to a ten-year-old girl.
MARIAH CAREY looked too much like a slutty diva for one NYC co-op board. That's understandable, but some of the other cases listed in the linked article are more distasteful.
COPYRIGHT: New York state's highest court has ruled that Capitol Records holds common law copyrights in recordings where the federal copyright has expired.
MIRACLE CURE: Boing-Boing explains why you so often see news stories expecting a cure for some disease "in five years," based on some study.
U.K. ELECTION: Coldplay's Chris Martin is (unsurprisingly) making trade his number one issue in the election. There's a British blog devoted to analyzing the latest polls. PoliticalBetting's current survey of the bookies predicts a Labour majority of 54 seats, much smaller than today.
CANADA: There's plenty of links on Adscam and the related publication ban (and many unrelated hot topics) in the 19th edition of the Red Ensign Brigade.
CULT OF THE iPod: What's on President Bush's iPod? "Castanets" by Alejandro Escovedo. And "My Sharona," among others. iPod Mini killers are reviewed by c|Net, via the San Francisco Chronicle.
WHAT IS THE PERFECT ROCK AND ROLL SONG? Class Maledictorian Amber Taylor has one candidate, but there are plenty of others. RELATED: The Stones are set to roll again, with a combined age of 242.
IRAQ: The Marines came thisclose to bagging Abu Musab Zarqawi, according to Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, whose 1st Marine Expeditionary Force is back home at Camp Pendleton, Calif., after months of intense combat in Anbar province. Arthur Chrenkoff rounds up other good news from Iraq. Even the New York Times ran a cautiously optimistic piece Monday, which may well mean things are falling apart there.
SATELLITE RADIO: Kathy Lally reports that we are what we listen to: "This is the first time I've gone shopping for an electronic object and discovered I had to give myself and other members of my listening household a personality test." What would Ms. Lally make of XM's new partnership with AOL?
THE END IS NIGH: It's been a while since we had a story about the plague of cane toads down under, but they are not forgottten. A member of the Aussie parliament is encouraged to smash the cane toads to death with golf clubs and cricket bats. Perhaps more strange, local animal welfare groups discouraged people from taking up Tollner's call to arms, saying freezing the animals to death was more humane.
THE MOOSE DEFENSE INITIATIVE: High-tech laser and infrared devices, developed for space exploration and anti-missile systems, are being adapted to warn motorists when a moose wanders into the road.
PRINTMAFIA is another in a series of outfits I've found doing cool music posters.
Q: ARE WE NOT MEN? A: We are Devo's webmaster. I can't be too judgmental, however, as I'm pretty sure I have one of those flowerpot hats in storage somewhere.
PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Blackmail and robbery charges against the troubled former Libertine and Babyshambles frontman have been dropped due to insufficient evidence.
HARPIST JOANNA NEWSOM and the "New Weird America" are essayed by the BBC, with streaming audio and video of Newsom and others in Real format.
SHE'LL BE A VERB: Who knew the Game Theory tune was about Jane Fonda?
KEANU REEVES: How bad an actor do you have to be to get a thumbs down from Ashton Kutcher? Whoah, indeed.
ISRAEL recognizes a "new Schindler."
PALESTINIAN GUNMEN from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades took up positions during an Israeli army incursion in the West Bank city of Nablus, on Monday. Coincidentally, the Associated Press and Reuters both had photographers trained on the very same group of gunmen in the midst of a potential battle. What are the odds?
PROTEIN WISDOM: Jeff Goldstein has his five word review of Sideways online (fans of the Dream Syndicate will enjoy it all the more). He also has an interesting excerpt of a subscription-only article from the Weekly Standard with bad news from Saudi Arabia in the war on terror.
NAKED PATIENT PHOTOS: A woman has filed a lawsuit against a hospital alleging that while she was anesthetized, naked and awaiting surgery, a hospital employee took pictures of her and then distributed them.
THE SOURCE magazine has problems. MTV reports that co-founder Raymond "Benzino" Scott stepped down as chief brand manager on Friday, claiming that "everyone is too politically correct." Coincidentally, on Monday, two of the magazine's highest-ranking former female executives filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing co-owners David Mays, the Chief Executive Officer, and Raymond "Benzino" Scott, the Chief Brand Executive, of committing gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and unlawful retaliation against women at the company.
PHONY AS A THREE DOLLAR BILL? No -- but Mike Bolesta got into a lot of trouble paying a repair bill with two-dollar bills.
LEBANON has dropped off the front pages, but Publius has an update. Also, blogger Michael J. Totten -- temporarily posting at Spirit of America -- is noting unity in the opposition camp and taking a lot of photos while in-country.
BRADGELINA UPDATE: Brad Pitt is personally denying the Us magazine story that he and Jolie looked like a couple over a hotel weekend promoting their upcoming movie. Nevertheless, Pitt pays the mag a backhanded compliment: "Because these tabloids are making so much money, and yes, I consider Us Weekly a tabloid, they go to great lengths to corroborate their stories, whether they are true or not." Meanwhile, Jennifer Aniston became godmother to Courtney Cox Arquette's daughter. Fortunately for Pitt and Jolie, Aniston did not use the occasion to settle all family business.
SEYMOUR HERSH: New York magazine notes that the investigative journalist who broke the Abu Grahib story admits that he often fudges the facts in his interviews and speeches. The article also surveys his uneven track record in print.
ACTRESSES AND WHORES is the title of a book; here, it's reviewed by one of the latter.
TROUBLE FOR ELITE COLLEGES? Steve Goodman, a consultant who advises college-bound students and their families, writes in the Washington Post that "With faculty and administrations leading the way, political correctness and posturing -- from both the left and right -- is reaching dizzying heights in the land of the ivory tower. And rising right along with it is the frustration of middle-class parents, who are growing increasingly resentful of paying sky-high tuition for colleges they see offering their kids a menu of questionable courses and politically absurd campus climates that detract from the quality of a university education." One of the schools mentioned more than once in that article is Columbia, which recently issued a report whitewashing dozens of complaints lodged against faculty members. Perhaps most odd is that the report purports to clear the faculty members involved of anti-Semitism, but the complaining students never made that allegation.
I... AM... IRON MAN. Okay, not really, but I soon could be.
NEAR IMPACT: With high profile stories swamping television, you may have missed "Science's Doomsday Team vs. the Asteroids," about the rock that would miss Earth only by 15,000 to 25,000 miles -- about one-tenth the distance to the moon. RELATED: Stephen Sommers, apparently tired of remaking Universal Studios' horror classics, intends to remake When Worlds Collide, a George Pal "so bad it's good" gem that used to run frequently on WGN's Family Classics when I was a ute.
SMUCKERS UPDATE: On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected an effort by J.M. Smucker Co. to patent its process for making pocket-size peanut butter and jelly pastries called "Uncrustables."
IRAN: After a quarter-century of estrangement from Iran, the Bush administration is openly preparing to spend government funds in that country to promote democracy. I'm pretty sure the key word in that last sentence is "openly."
GERMANY: The highest ranking female member of parliament theorizes that the U.S. government set the Catholic pedophilia scandal in motion and made Poland its chief partner in the Iraq war because it wanted to weaken an already frail pope. Not even Der Spiegel is buying it.
SPANISH MEN will have to learn to change diapers and don washing-up gloves under the terms of a new law designed to strike a blow at centuries of Latin machismo.