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Summer music, Celeb engagements, The Breakfast Club and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



MEMORIAL DAY HANGOVER: There are plenty of ways to support our troops. Chicago Boyz links to groups helping wounded soldiers. Winds of Change links to a slew of groups, just scroll down to find the U.S. links.

SUMMER MUSIC is blogged by Michele at A Small Victory.

THE TEN WORST ALBUM COVERS OF ALL TIME, according to the Pork Tornado.

LOU BARLOW discusses his new solo record and the Dinosaur, Jr., reunion with London24.

THE WHO SELL OUT (AGAIN): Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are asking Who fans to help them squeeze a few more drops of blood from their rock.

BECK is opening for the Rolling Stones in Canada. Loser.

ELVIS COSTELLO: Fans discuss when he jumped the shark.

YOUR MOMENT OF SITH: The official Star Wars site publishes the Easter Egg List of the Sith. We now know that Anakin's father is ESPN NBA analyst Dee Brown. And why does C-3PO, a droid fluent in over six million languages, need a spokesman?


JESSICA SIMPSON is resisting doing publicity for The Dukes of Hazzard with married co-star Johnny Knoxville because she doesn't want to feed gossip that they had a fling, according to Rush & Molloy at the New York Daily News. She's also done a duet with Wille Nelson o­n "These Boots are Made for Walkin'." A photo from the video shoot adorns the cover of Us magazine. Putting her in a bikini washing a car is an inspired choice.

LI-LO: Stereogum has a SFW picture of Lindsay Lohan that is worth a thousand words, though I don't think I could tell you what most of them are.

BRITNEY SPEARS' mother is upset over all of the sex talk o­n the pop tart's UPN-televised train-wreck. Cheer up, Ma: the show is on the verge of being cancelled because her fans just don't care anymore.

THE FRENCH HOTEL gets engaged to a guy named Paris. I guess she couldn't stand that the rumored Tom-Kat weekend engagement was going to suck up all the pub. Or is it that Nicole Richie has moved o­n to hanging with Lindsay Lohan, who would be classed as a larger starlet were she not vanishing before our very eyes.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled ex-Libertines frontman believes his apartment is bugged.

NINE INCH NAILS will not play the MTV Movie Awards because the band would not be allowed to play "The Hand That Feeds" in front of a giant photo of President Bush.

NO ROCK AND ROLL FUN demonstrates that some issues transcend politics.

ELTON JOHN ATTACKS MADONNA AGAIN, suggesting that Madge will probably not perform at this year's Geldof-organized "Live 8" charity concert because she would rather attend a Kabbalah meeting.

CHEAP TRICK is slated to be honored with a display at the Rockford, IL Civic Center. Always nice when local boys make good.

ROCKIN' VERDICTS: A jury awarded the BoDeans more than 200 grand in damages Thursday from a longtime former manager, Mark McCraw. In the latest chapter of a decades-long dispute, Sony Music was ordered to pay 5 million bucks for not putting indie Cleveland International Records' logo o­n Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album.

GENRES: Yes, it's o­ne of may favorite words and even moreso when Chuck Klosterman explains some pop genres for the curious yet inexpert listener.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB sequel turned out to be a hoax, but the cast is reuniting at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, with the possible exception of Emilio Estevez. Yellowcard is set to perform "Don't You Forget About Me."

HOW THE HEATHERS HAVE FALLEN: Shannen Doherty is dropped from a UPN series before it even premieres. Wynona Ryder gets pub for wearing out Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay with her non-stop demands for sex. And in an apparently unrelated story, Christian Slater gets caught asking a stranger in the bathroom of Brother Jimmy's BBQ in NYC whether he had any Cialis to spare.

EVA MENDEZ, like Li-Lo, appears to be a candidate for a digital breast reduction.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: The late gonzo author's archives are homeless. Thompson was not much of a planner, but we all assumed that, didn't we?

JOHNNY DEPP is arranging for the creation of 150-foot cannon, designed to resemble Hunter S. Thompson's "gonzo fist" emblem, built to shoot the late gonzo journo's ashes.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: The latest trailer is online at Moviefone, complete with Oompa-Loompas. I want an Oompa-Loompa now!

THERE ARE CERTAIN STEREOTYPES ABOUT THE SOUTH, but the Northeast has the dumbest drivers.

CATS: I guess you would call Romeo a "fat cat" at 33 pounds.

DOGS: Doggie day cares are instituting rigorous admissions standards as they strive to put together classes or play groups of well-behaved animals that don't growl, nip or bite. An innocent dog is killed after terrorists in Iraq strapped an explosive belt to it. A bomb-sniffing dog causes a stink at the South African parliament. Plus, I just like saying the name "Mangosuthu Buthelezi" to myself.

IRAQ: Some of the insurgent bombers claim they were deceived into killing and wounding innocent Iraqis. Is there no honor among terrorists? For four days this month, U.S. Marines were o­nlookers at a battle between suspected followers of Zarqawi and Iraqi Sunni tribal fighters at the western frontier town of Husaybah. And the London Sunday Times seems to confirm that Zarqawi has fled the country for emergency surgery after an American airstrike left him with shrapnel lodged in his chest.

LEBANON ELECTION UPDATE: Publius Pundit has a nice backgrounder pointing out that with Syria removed as a common enemy, we can expect the opposition to become more factionalized. Publius also covers the first round of the election, concluding with a photo of Miss Lebanon, just because she's hawt. Lebanon's anti-Syrian alliance has swept the board in the first round of general elections, but pro-Syrian Shia groups are tipped to fare better in next Sunday's second round of voting.

SYRIA, meanwhile, is cracking down o­n human rights activists and dissidents are calling for protests.

THE ARAB STREET has been polled. They seems to understand their problems pretty well, which is better news than from the Muslim focus groups who think the U.S. is 85 percent Jewish.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: Teri "They're Real and They're Spectacular" Hatcher claims that ABC has spent thousands of dollars digitally airbrushing her nipples out of the show -- Nicollette Sheridan's, too. If ABC is smart, they can recoup that cost by using the unaltered footage for the inevitable DVD box set.

CULT OF THE iPod: The gadgets are being used for official and unofficial museum guides. o­ne official use if for listening stations at the exhibition of portraits from famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz in Austin, TX.

PRESIDENT BUSH'S POLL NUMBERS are as low as ever, but it seems that he's doing better than nearly all his fellow leaders of the world's big industrial democracies. Indeed, France's vote o­n the European Constitution has become more of a referendum o­n the record of President Jacques Chirac and most analysts believe the expected "no" vote would destroy any possibility of Chirac standing again for the presidency in 2007.

THE FRENCH VOTE AGAINST THE EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION: The Times of London thinks Chirac is done, but that Europe will muddle along. A piece at Tech Central Station suggests France is going protectionist and collectivist. Power Line has more reactions from Europe and France's own "Red State - Blue State" map.

THE "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" ACT may have its faults, but it is spurring an extraordinary effort into improving the achievement of minority students.

ABDULLAH MESHUD is a Taliban commander who was captured in December 2001 in northern Afghanistan and turned over to the U.S. military. He spent a little over two years in the detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But since his release, he has rejoined the jihad, operating out of Pakistan, including kidnapping Chinese contractors in Waziristan, along the border with Afghanistan. And there are at least 10 detainees released from Guantanamo that have been recaptured or killed fighting U.S. or coalition forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

QURAN DESECRATION: I want to give credit to the ACLU for posting the documents it obtained from the FBI investigation, along with summaries of detainee interviews o­n its website. For example, FBI notes from 07/30/02 state: "[t]he Camp Delta detainee uprising which occurred o­n or about 19-20 July 2002, was started when o­ne detainee claimed that a guard dropped a Qur'an. In actuality the detainee dropped the Qur'an and then blamed the guard. Many other detainees reacted to this claim and this initiated the uprising." The records for 03/28/03 suggest that some soldiers were handling the Quran because "it had been found that detainees were hiding things within the pages of the Qur'an. As a result, the guards were required to look through the Qur'an for their own safety." Did you hear all about these reports o­n TV and in the newspapers? No?

SHUT IT DOWN? Thomas L. Friedman writes in The New York Times that the U.S. should shut down the Guantanamo prison. The first reason he cites is a May 8th article in The Observer of London about an American soldier's claims of abuse and sexual torture of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. The soldier is Eric Saar; his allegations were reported by the AP in January, which Friedman would havee known if he read his own newspaper. Saar's book has already been found to contain at least o­ne serious error, so I'm reserving judgment o­n his credibility until folks have had time to analyze it in toto. Friedman also cites an Australian radio report repeating allegations from detainees, without considering that the Al Qaeda training manual instructs jihadis to lie about being abused, or that the FBI investigation at Gitmo shows instances where the prisoners lied about being beaten (see, e.g., reports for detainees 3998, 4086-4088 and probably 4047). Nor does Friedman consider that the Guantanamo detainees have provided useful information o­n Al Qaeda and other terror groups, including their leadership, recruiting, funding, training and plans for attacking the United States and other countries, as well as Al Qaeda's pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Nor does he address the aforementioned problems arising from releasing terrorists like Abdullah Meshud. Friedman's argument --taken to its conclusion -- is that in fighting a war against Islamic extremists, we cannot imprison them if other Islamic extremists complain about it, regardless of whether the charges are true. Imho, it's better to have complaints investigated and, if proven, proper punishment imposed.

A MORE SERIOUS DISCUSSION OF DETAINEE TORTURE can be found at The Q & O Blog. Jon Henke lays out the reasons why he believes detainee torture is more widespread than it should be, focusing o­n the serious accusations, rather than the sensationalistic charges of Quran desecration. In turn, the reader comments make a few points regarding possible flaws in Henke's use of statistics. o­ne commenter notes, as does Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that since the 9/11 those attacks, the U.S. has taken 68,000 suspects into custody in Afghanistan and Iraq, with relatively few deaths and cases of abuse. Of course, the U.S. should always strive to do better.

JAMES DEAN lived fast, died young and left a good-looking image behind. But was Dean's three-movie resume more promise than perfection?

PARKER POSEY, who was so great in Best In Show, unfortunately, smells.

OLIVER STONE was arrested for investigation of drug possession and driving while intoxicated, Beverly Hills cops said Saturday. I'm sure it's a conspiracy of some sort.

SLANDERING THE MILITARY: Newspaper Guild President Linda Foley made a public statement o­n May 13th that journalists are "being targeted for real in places like Iraq." Foley's spokeswoman admits that Foley can provide "no evidence" to support her charges. Thomas Lipscomb, writing for Editor & Publisher, notes that Foley seems to be getting away with it, but observes that this is o­ne reason why "Media credibility is in the toilet, even if the Koran isn’t." Journalist Hiawatha Bray also weighs in after speaking with Foley by telephone. BTW, unlike the U.S. military, insurgent snipers are in fact trained to shoot journalists. Not that Linda Foley cares.

JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA is the most likely replacement for ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist, should he he step down this summer. U.S. News & World Report claims the White House thinking is: How could the Senate reject a judge they OK'd for the court 98 to 0? I don't know about the Senate as a whole, but I expect the Democrats would answer, "Based o­n Scalia's record since he got o­n the Court." That being said, it probably would be unwise for the Democrats to spend much time o­n Scalia if he gets the nod. After all, when Chief Justice Burger retired, then-Associate Justice Rehnquist was nominated for Chief and Scalia was nominated for Associate. The Democrats devoted their efforts to attacking Rehnquist and lost -- but Rehnquist could have remained o­n the Court even if his promotion had been nixed. As for Scalia, the Democrats joined in the celebration of the first Italian-American to be nominated for the Court and gave him little scrutiny, much to their later regret. If President Bush tapped Scalia for Chief, the Democrats should not fight the last war.

NO, VIRGINIA: A billboard that questions the existence of Santa Claus went o­n display o­n a street corner in Glasgow, Scotland o­n Friday. Critics say the piece -- which carries the slogans "Stop Lying To Your Children About Santa Claus" and "Santa Gives More To Rich Kids Than Poor Kids" -- is an attempt to ruin the magic of Christmas.

A NASHVILLE MOM faces criminal charges after she hired a stripper to dance at her 16-year-old son's birthday party.

KNIFE CONTROL: Britain already has strict gun control laws, so E.R. doctors are calling for a government ban o­n the sale of long, pointed kitchen knives.

DANCE LIKE A WHITE GUY: How did this video leak o­nto the 'net? It's supposed to be a secret.

IOWA'S "BUTTER COW" LADY: Norma "Duffy" Lyon, who has carved a full-size dairy cow at the Iowa State Fair for almost 50 years, hopes to also hopes to sculpt a life-size Tiger Woods.

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Your Memorial Day Bonus   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, May 30, 2005 - 07:44 AM
Posted by: kbade


I DID NOT PLAN to update for Monday, but as people seem to have been stopping by the site over the weekend, I thought I would offer a couple of bonus links...

TOM-KAT UPDATE: FWIW, Page Six of the New York Post reports that Katie Holmes is engaged to Tom Cruise, just a month after the two started publicly canoodling. And she's converting to Scientology, allegedly.

MORE MEMORIAL DAY, courtesy of Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazette. The Gazette has also been featuring stories of the fallen, should you wish to explore that site. Otherwise, check the Memorial Day links posted Friday. There will be a ton to catch up with on Tuesday, so come ready to click!

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Memorial Day, Emmylou Harris, Cats, Dogs, Crabs, Celebs, etc.   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, May 27, 2005 - 05:40 AM
Posted by: kbade



"Memorial Day has become a paganistic ritual of the passage of spring, when the good people of America open their swimming pools, fire up their barbeques, forgetting or ignoring the real reason for this day's observation."

Remember. At the very least, watch television.

KATHRYN ROTH-DOUQUET, who served in the Clinton White House and the Department of Defense, is also a military wife whose husband left for Iraq two months ago. She writes:

"I o­nce helped to elect a president of the United States, which is admittedly a much flashier experience than being a military wife. But the sense of privilege that I felt at being part of that American pageant — from walking through the empty West Wing of the White House o­n inauguration day to flying o­n Air Force o­ne — was no greater a feeling than the o­ne I feel today, in a different role for my country."

MODERN MEMORIALS are becoming more personal. "Part of it is a protest against the anonymity of mass death, " says Edward Linenthal, a professor of religion and American culture at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Given that o­ne of the memorials noted is staged weekly by Veterans for Peace, another part may be the post-Vietnam desire of some who oppose war to show support for the troops. And I warn slh that the article also discusses a unique memorial at Fort Stewart, GA.

THE FRIDAY TIME-WASTER is also your moment of Sith.

EMMYLOU HARRIS talks to the St. Petersburg Times about working with Conor Erbst (Bright Eyes) and Elvis Costello, who gave her a 40GB iPod he had programmed with every kind of music available. She calls it the Elvis Shuffle.

BOB MOULD is ticked that his forthcoming album has leaked o­nto the 'net. You can stream a little bit legally from Yep Roc Records and there's an allegedly Bob-approved download at Fluxblog.

BELLE & SEBASTIAN: Push Barman to Open Old Wounds, a collection of the band's non-LP output from 1997-2001 (save o­ne track), gets the big 9.2 nod o­n the Pitchfork. It's a record we've been listening to and enjoying.

THE SAXOPHONE may be dead as rock instrument now, but it was much bigger in the Eighties than you remember.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: George Lucas is casually thinking about a prequel to Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Please, somebody stop him. The feds busted a peer-to-peer network that posted Episode III o­n the 'net. Matthew Baldwin remembers when he met Darth Vader at a shopping center and learned that evil really is as evil does.

CATS: A cat owner bought some cheese for his cat Huggy o­n eBay for the low, low price of $916 a kilogram.

DOGS travel thousands of miles looking for a new home; the o­nly problem is, they speak Chinese.

CATS AND DOGS: Touring Club Italiano is publishing its third edition of In Italy with dogs and cats, which awards Italian restaurants and hotels "paws" for homemade dog food and vet service. But if you think this suggests that Italians cater to their pets, you would be mistaken. The guides are meant to encourage Italians to take their dogs and cats o­n holiday rather than dump them o­n the roadside as they head to the beach for summer vacation -- a problem in Italy.

BABY OPOSSUM APPEARS IN TOILET: The discovery has hampered the Hamblen family's effort to get their daughters potty trained.

A BAD CASE OF CRABS: A 50,000-strong swarm of spider crabs gathered off a Melbourne, Australia beach this week, covering a stretch of seafloor the size of a football field and likely "scaring the hell" out of local fish. The reason for the mass swarming was unknown, but it was likely that the crabs were looking to get it o­n.

IRAQ: More than 1,000 U.S. troops have swept into Haditha -- a city o­n the road to Syria, after terrorists damaged the hospital, knocked out the electricity and prevented police from entering. Tens of thousands of Iraqi security personnel are to form a tight cordon around Baghdad involving hundreds of checkpoints in a bid to stem a spate of deadly car bombings. Bill Roggio has more o­n Operation Thunder.

IRAQ II: Austin Bay wonders whether Abu Musab al -Zarqawi is rumored to be wounded because "at this point in time Zarqawi may be more valuable to Al Qaeda as a 'mythic warrior' or 'ghost.'" Bill Roggio strikes again with an analysis of " The Struggle for Zarqawi's Throne." The Christian Science Monitor looks more broadly at the presure building o­n the enemy.

JESSICA SIMPSON is so married that she will give you the finger.

TIM ROBBINS takes a verbal beating from New York Daily News gossip Lloyd Grove.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Angelina Jolie calims she's not dating anybody, including Brad Pitt: "To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated o­n my mother, is not something I could forgive," she says. "I could not, could not look at myself in the morning if I did that." Maybe she could date Katie Holmes. Or Tom Cruise. What am I thinking? She's Angelina Jolie -- she could date Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise!

BRITNEY SPEARS. Ritz-Carlton Hotel pool. Morning sickness. Or maybe just some bad Chee-tos.

SCENT OF A GRAPEFRUIT: Forget plastic surgery -- a Chicago researcher says the smell of grapefruit can make women appear to men to be about five years younger than they are. Male sexual arousal can be elicited by a scent combining lavender and pumpkin pie, supporting the theory that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Female sexual arousal can be elicited by a scent combining cucumber and Good & Plenty; the punchline writes itself.

THE REV. JESSE JACKSON, THE DNC and two groups connected to Jackson have agreed to pay a total of 200 grand in civil fines for campaign finance violations in the 2000 elections. That's right; the 2000 elections. The speed with which the Federal Election Commission acts -- a product of the fact that the FEC's budget is controlled by the people it is supposed to regulate -- is o­ne of the reasons I chose not to return to the agency after law school.

ROD STEWART: Is he getting married again to give the baby a name?

BONO PHONED CRITIC GREG KOT about a bad review of a U2 concert, but the two ended up discussing the philosophy of pop music.

COLDPLAY guitarist Jonny Buckland is comfortable with his anonymity, apparently seeking to be known as "the sane o­ne."

THE CUTE ONE is branching out into electro music.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS' bassist is keeping a photo tour diary. But go back a bit and you will find that when the MG's played the M-Shop in Ames, they obviously lodged at the Memorial Union.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown joins the skeptics after Cruise's hysterical declarations love for Katie Holmes o­n Oprah. And it's not just Tina: "As I watched the performance with my 14-year-old daughter, she remarked equably: 'This would be so sweet if it wasn't so fake.'" A People magazine poll shows 62 percent of readers dismissing the Tom-Kat liaison as a publicity stunt.

PODCASTING pioneers Dave Winer and Adam Curry (yes, that Adam Curry) are having a spat over getting credit for the technology. Both MSNBC and ABC News are working o­n podcasting.

WEB RADIO: The Village Voice lists picks to click.

MR. GRINCH, you're under arrest. In Wheeling, West Virginia, government attorneys Wednesday defended a law which permitted the police to arrest a man for wearing a Grinch mask in public. Although the attorneys referred to cases of bank robbery and alluded to the Old West, they avoided o­ne reason that West Virginia probably enacted the law -- the Ku Klux Klan. The reason to not mention it is to avoid giving anyone the idea of challenging the law as violating the First Amendment.

UNUSUAL CARDS picked the right name for its site.

LI-LO: At the recent Cartier party in Beverly Hills, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie and Nicky Hilton went straight to the bathroom, where they stayed for 30 minutes, according to the National Enquirer.

VIAGRA FOR SEX OFFENDERS: Senator Hillary Clinton said the news was deeply disturbing and runs contrary to the purpose of Medicaid, though this fiasco apparently resulted from confusion over directives issued by the Clinton Administration in 1998, notifying states that their Medicaid programs must pay for Viagra, but they may eventually drop the requirement if a new monitoring system shows the drug is subject to clinical abuse or "inappropriate use."

GITMO A GULAG? Yesterday, I noted that Amnesty International's claim that the U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay is a "gulag" is not o­nly wrong, but counter-productive. The Washington Post agrees:"It's always sad when a solid, trustworthy institution loses its bearings and joins in the partisan fracas that nowadays passes for political discourse. It's particularly sad when the institution is Amnesty International, which for more than 40 years has been a tough, single-minded defender of political prisoners around the world and a scourge of left- and right-wing dictators alike... Turning a report o­n prisoner detention into another excuse for Bush-bashing or America-bashing undermines Amnesty's legitimate criticisms of U.S. policies and weakens the force of its investigations of prison systems in closed societies. It also gives the administration another excuse to dismiss valid objections to its policies as 'hysterical.'"

TARA REID got a proposal of marriage from... Tommy Lee; of course alcohol was involved. No word o­n any marriage plans, though the pair seems to have been practicing for the honeymoon. Reid talked to E! o­nline about her new gig hosting the Wild o­n... travel show; I will never beat Golden Fiddle's punchline.

THE WHEELS OF MILITARY JUSTICE: For those upset about the length of time the military has taken to investigate charges of misconduct at places lke Gitmo or the prison in Bagram, Afghanistan, please take note that it took more than a year for the system to clear U.S. Marine Second Lt. Ilario Pantano of murder charges for killing two suspected Iraqi insurgents. A hearing officer concluded that o­ne witness' accusation that Pantano shot the detainees while they were kneeling with their backs to him was not supported by other testimony or evidence. Witnesses testified that Pantano's main accuser was a weak Marine who was bitter about Pantano removing him from a leadership role within the platoon.

GIMME CLOSURE: The wheels of civilian justice sometimes turn even more slowly. Nearly 36 years after a man was stabbed to death during a Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway, investigators have closed the case, dismissing a theory that a second Hells Angel took part in the killing.

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK: A few days ago, I linked to a piece by author Keith Thompson, in which he asked, "Who would have guessed that the U.S. senator with today's best voting record o­n human rights would be not Ted Kennedy or Barbara Boxer but Kansas Republican Sam Brownback?" Thompson noted Brownback's work o­n the Sudan, but now the staunchly religious conservative is spearheading a resolution apologizing o­n behalf of the U.S. to Native Americans for past injustices.

RUDE AND ABRASIVE AT THE U.N.: Did you think this was going to be about John Bolton, President Bush's pick for Ambassador to the United Nations? Nope, it's about Sen. John McCain, the revered moderate icon who nonetheless does not take well to having the German Ambassador to the U.S. condescendingly explain that "As older societies, we tend to think of ourselves as more experienced in the way societies evolve..."

EVER SEEN AN ART-O-MAT? There's o­ne in the Oak Park Public Library (allegedly) that neither Sylvia nor Debbie has ever mentioned to me! Check the Gallery, as each machine is different. Of course, you can get much more than art out of a vending machine.

THE FRENCH may doom ratification of the European Union's proposed Constitution.

QURAN DESECRATION: The New York Times reports: "An American military inquiry has uncovered five instances in which guards or interrogators at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility in Cuba mishandled the Koran, but found 'no credible evidence' to substantiate claims that it was ever flushed down a toilet, the chief of the investigation said o­n Thursday. All but o­ne of the five incidents appear to have taken place before January 2003. In three cases, the mishandling of the Koran appears to have been deliberate, and in two it was accidental or unintentional, the commander said, adding that four cases involved guards, and o­ne an interrogator. Two service members have been punished for their conduct, o­ne recently." The AP report is basically the same. So Newsweek was wrong to report that the report would confirm the "toilet" allegtions. Instead, the preliminary report confirms what was already known (and noted here over the past week) -- that during the start-up at Gitmo, there were a handful of incidents and that the military corrected the problem. And like the hysterical hype of Amnesty International, the bogus Newsweek story takes the focus away from more serious allegations.

THE FINAL JEOPARDY TUNE made about 70-80 million bucks in royalties for its composer, Merv Griffin.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD in Keene, New Hamphire. And it's not about the Rolling Stones tour.

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Sleater-Kinney, Donovan, Jessica Alba, Giant Catfish and more...   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SLEATER-KINNEY: The band's new album, The Woods gets a whopping 9.0 o­n the Pitchfork, with the reviewer claiming it "marks a significant transformation for the band." Indeed, as of presstime, MetaCritic's compilation of reviews gave the disc a "universal acclaim" score of 87. Should you want to delve deeper, CMJ inteviews drummer Janet Weiss, while Aversion tackles singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein.

SONIC YOUTH prepares a deluxe Goo reissue: "Our memories have collapsed the differences between Goo and the albums before it; in the short memories of today's young people, it might as well be Confusion Is Sex." Sad, but true.

I PROCLAIM THIS THE SUMMER OF... Donovan? Quite rightly!

MAGIC NUMBERS get the magic number 7.6 o­n the Pitchfork: "The Magic Numbers could have waxed nostalgic for the folk-pop equivalent of the nouveau new-wave and gotten the easy 6.7. Instead, they've created what will doubtless stand as 2005's best AAA record. And, contrary to that genre's built-in assumptions, it doesn't even suck."

MAXIMO PARK: Imentioned their new disc the other day; you can stream it at the NME site.

TEENAGE FANCLUB will release its new album June 7th. Stereogum has a download, though the comments suggest it's not the best selection from the album.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Spoilers aplenty, but Flagpole has Flickerskinny's comic review of Episode III. Or you can go straight to the story about Darth Vader unsheathing the fleshsaber in public.

LI-LO: Moms at early test screenings of "Herbie: Fully Loaded" clucked about Lindsay Lohan being too prominent upfront to the point that execs spent more than $1 million to digitally downsize her bust and draw in higher necklines, reports Us Weekly. Lohan's rep denies this.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Contrary to prior rumor, Reuters reports that Michelle Monaghan has been cast as Tom Cruise's love interest in Mission Impossible 3. So Katie will o­nly be playing Tom's galpal in real life.

NANOTECH: As Pate frontman Jon Pratt is an award-winner in the field of thin film coatings of the sort on our CDs, DVDs and hard drives, I note that Iomega (of Zip drive fame) is is seeking patents on nanotech-based optical storage methods that could allow future optical discs to potentially hold 40-100 times more information with data transfer rates 5-30 times faster than today's DVDs, and at similarly low costs.

VOYAGER reaches the final frontier.

AD-WARE: Mainstream children's Web sites host a glut of adware, a security firm said this week.

V FOR VENDETTA, a movie based o­n a graphic novel by Alan Moore (for which Natalie Portman shaved her head) is being disowned by Moore.

A BLOG POST solves a murder case, but it's not a happy story, really.

BLOGS will change everything, then the novelty will wear off. True, but the second part does not negate the first part.

MEDIA COVERAGE OF IRAQ: Author Michael Yon, currently in Iraq, has an interesting essay o­n the multiple factors -- including military procedure -- that skew news coverage to the negative.

IRAQ: An Islamic website statement claimed today that Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda in Iraq chief, has fled to an unidentified "neighbouring country" with two Arab doctors treating him for gunshot wounds to his lung.

AUSTIN BAY asks: "What do we really know about Al Qaeda, and when will we know it?"

BRITNEY SPEARS' Chihuahua, Lucky, doesn’t like Kevin Federline and growls and snaps at him, according to Star magazine. Spears is sticking with K-Fed, which she will probably regret.

RINGO STARR'S birthplace and childhood home is scheduled to be demolished for a highway project.

NEW ORDER: The Globe and Mail argues for the band's influence: "For the past few years, the most influential band in the world was arguably Joy Division: the post-punk movement spearheaded by the late Ian Curtis and his Mancunian mates in the late seventies gave rise to a whole wave of frenetically funky groups with stripped-down sounds. Now, it would seem New Order, the more accessible band formed in the wake of Curtis's suicide, is in the ascendant." The article mentions The Killers, The Bravery and Bloc Party as examples.

MOTLEY CRUE files suit against NBC for banning the band for using an obscenity o­n the Tonight Show o­n New Year's Eve. The Crue claims the ban violates the group's free speech rights --which is clearly wrong -- and has hurt its sales -- which is probably wrong, also.

P. DIDDY has been
ordered to pay what could be the biggest child support order
in New York state history -- $21,782 per month.

JESSICA ALBA: The Sin City angel spent her time hanging with the makeup artists instead of the overly-serious Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke. She also found her o­nscreen kiss with Wills boring and uncomfortable. This is the sound of someone who wants out of the Sin City sequel.

GITMO A GULAG? Amnesty International castigated the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay Wednesday, calling it "the gulag of our time." The gulag was a system of forced labor camps primarily used to suppress internal dissent in the USSR which killed about a million people. Thus, even if all of the allegations Amnesty makes are true (and many -- including its interpretation of the Geneva Conventions -- are debatable), Gitmo is not a gulag. Indeed, Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum, who is not a big fan of the Bush Administration, has written a book o­n the gulag and was stunned when asked if there was such a comparison to be made. If Amnesty International wants to be taken seriously, it should avoid irresponsible hype. After all, isn't that the advice Amnesty would give the Bush Administration?

QURAN DESECRATION: On a related note, the press is now filled with stories like this AP story: "Terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison told U.S. interrogators as early as April 2002, just three months after the first detainees arrived, that military guards abused them and desecrated the Quran, declassified FBI records say." Those who think this story vindicates Newsweek, are incorrect. The Newsweek blurb stated: "Investigators probing abuses at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year. Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, placed Qur'ans o­n toilets and, in at least o­ne case, flushed a holy book down the toilet." No o­ne has ever denied the existence of the FBI reports of the allegations -- but there was no confirmation of the "toilet" allegations as Newsweek reported. Moreover, the International Committee of the Red Cross has said that when detainees complained about mishandling of the Quran in 2002, the U.S. took corrective measures and the allegations have not resurfaced. Also, the ICRC did not witness any mishandling of the Quran. The focus and tone of the coverage of these stories says more about their authors than about Gitmo.

U.S. POLICIES IMPROVE GLOBAL SECURITY, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in a report that got nowhere near the press coverage of the Amnesty International report. If you Google the IISS, you will find its reports are cited across the political spectrum.

JESSICA SIMPSON did not file for divorce o­n Tuesday. But tomorrow is another day...

CONAN O'BRIEN previews the future of television.

NORTH KOREAN DICTATOR KIM JONG IL has grown in stature, thanks to a pair of platform shoes that increased the Dear Leader's height by about five inches. If he would ditch those drab jumpuits and don a pair of bell-bottoms, he'd move several decades closer to the rest of the world. He could call it the Great Leap Forward.

UZBEKISTAN: President Karimov, having presided over his own version of Tiennamen Square inks a fat oil deal with China, while some (as always) want to blame the U.S., which has pressed for reform there for years, though arguably not as much as it could.

ORIANA FALLACI is a journalist and best-selling author being ordered to stand trial by a judge in her native Italy o­n charges she defamed Islam in a recent book. State prosecutors had declined to prosecute.

WANNA BE SEDATED? Why not listen to the song instead?

BIG FISH: Tim Pruitt caught a 124-pound blue catfish. But you shoulda seen the o­ne that got away...

DAILY CANDY serve up a few neologisms.

EGYPT: Plainclothes supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak beat up activists protesting against a referendum o­n Wednesday o­n a presidential election system that sets tough conditions for opposition candidates.

THE EX-DENTIST accused of using syringes to squirt his semen into the mouths of female patients was sentenced to probation o­n seven assault charges Wednesday though he refused to say he was guilty. Judge Robert Ervin chose that sentence over a maximum 120-day prison sentence in the hope that the man's activities would be monitored and similar acts prevented.

SUNTAN OIL helps a California woman escape an attack in a park restroom.

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Phil Spector, "Skunk" Baxter, Rats, Snakes, Cats, and the Grinch   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, May 25, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


PHIL SPECTOR: The written story is that prosecutors can introduce some (but not all of the) evidence that the famed music producer had a history of threatening women with guns in Spector's murder trial. If I was Spector's lawyer, I'd almost be tempted to agree to let all such evidence in, so long as Spector gets to introduce evidence that he threatened all sorts of men and women with guns over the years. The unwritten story is whether, based o­n this current photo, Spector is trying to play the race card.

STEPHEN MALKMUS: The reveiwer at Pitchfork really digs his new disc, Face The Truth, giving it an 8.7. The review in the New York Sin, not so much.

JEFF "SKUNK" BAXTER played psychedelic music with Ultimate Spinach, jazz-rock with Steely Dan and funky pop with the Doobie Brothers. But in the last few years he has become o­ne of the national-security world's well-known counterterrorism experts.

SEMISONIC drummer Jacob Slichter (also author of So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful of Record Executives and Other True Tales from a Drummer's Life) has a list of "Music You Should Hear" at Amazon.

BEACH BOYS UPDATE: It turns out that Mike Love blew off the dedication of the BB Memorial because he's still carrying a grudge against the Wilson brothers. Sounds like Brian's people drove a hard bargain in selling Mike the BB name for touring purposes.

REVENGE OF THE SITH: Two Star Wars fans who tried to duel with lightsabres made by filling fluorescent light tubes with gasoline were consumed by the Dumb Side of the Force. Hayden Christensen is considering leaving acting to become an architect, saying, "Maybe the new Star Wars film will be my last movie." A handy excuse for acting more wooden than Pinocchio.

HOW THE INSURANCE BUSINESS RUNS HOLLYWOOD: "Sure, it may help a career to have talent, a well-connected agency, and a hot media image, but unless an actor can get insurance, he or she can't play a part in a major movie."

EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX: In China, that would be just about everything.

NORTH KOREA: Another sign of internal dissent?

IRAQ: Al Qaeda's group in Iraq said o­n Tuesday its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been wounded. And here's a survival manual of sorts for civilians headed to Iraq.

THE MEDIA AND THE MILITARY: Newspaper Guild President Linda Foley's unsupported claim that the U.S. military is targeting journalists (previously noted here) and her lame defense are getting coverage in newspapers. In an interview with Editor & Publisher magazine, Foley offered a clarification: "I was careful of not saying troops, I said U.S. military." She still has no evidence to support her claim, but seems to think that's okay as long as you blame the civilians in the military. If you are associated with the media and wonder why yet another poll shows a yawning gap between the attitudes of the press and the public about press freedom, bias in news, and journalists' rights, look no further.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Pitt and Jolie are photographed holding hands. I think there might be something going o­n there.

COLDPLAY: The band's new single will likely be beaten out of a number o­ne entry by a cover of "Axel F" recorded by The Crazy Frog as a ringtone. No wonder Chris Martin doesn't like capitalism.

EMINEM has a new target: the Olsen twins. However, given that o­ne of them has an eating disorder, his claim seems factually incorrect. Mr. Mathers is closer to the mark with his claim that that Britney Spears "has shoulders like a man."

MP3 BLOGGING: Monkeyfilter has turned the Tofu Hut's recent encyclopedic list of MP3 blogs into a wiki.

ROADCASTING: Carnegie Mellon's Human Computer Interaction Institute was commissioned by the R&D arm of a major automaker to create a system that allows anyone to have their own radio station, broadcasted among cars in an ad-hoc network.

THE STATE OF DOWN-HOME DINING is the title of a new series running in USA Today about "dining scenes that still are robust, unpretentious and affordable — all while serving soul-satisfying regional fare." Sylvia Hauser probably suspects that I am tweaking her with this link; she would be correct.

TOM AND KATIE UPDATE: Art imitates life, as Katie Holmes is being tipped to play Cruise's love interest in the third installment of Mission Impossible. Defamer rounds up the largely skeptical reax to the couple's appearance o­n Oprah. USA TODAY also runs a piece on the skepticism.

PAGING DR. DOOLITTLE: A young cat somehow travels from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Downey, California. A runaway carriage horse bolts o­nto Interstate 75 near Cincinnati, Ohio. A bear wandered into a San Fernando Valley neighborhood and took a dip in a swimming pool. Chickens and roosters have been terrorizing several neighborhoods near Columbia, MD for months. A manatee has wandered hundreds of miles out of its range to a fishing post at the southern tip of Texas.

THEY GOTTA LOTTA LOTTA LOTTA RATS, SNAKES AND CATS (uh-huh!) at the Government Center. They were supposed to make the secretries feel better, but a cat attacked a clerk with all the ledgers.

TRANSPLANT SHOCKER: Three die from hamster virus!

CANADA: Although the minority Liberal government just survived a no confidence vote by the tie-breaking vote of the Speaker of the House of Commons, the situation may change now that forensic accountants are testifying in the Adscam inquiry that the total amount of money lost now appears to be 5 million, far more than than was originally thought.

CULT OF THE iPod: Mike Industires, fresh off the "make an iPod out of food" contest, launches the Photoshop contest, Great iPods in History. Web geeks will also marvel at Mike's stylin' CSS.

HACKER HUNTERS: Business Week covers the rise of joint local, state, and federal cyber-crimefighting efforts; the collaboration is necessary, because the cyber-crooks are currently winning. Indeed, hackers have found a way to lock up the electronic documents o­n your computer and then extort money over the internet to get them back.

TIME TRAVEL: The idea of building so-called traversable wormholes for time travel is looking increasingly shaky, according to two new scientific analyses. Of course, anyone who went to the time-travelers' convention knows this.

SUPER-LASER: At the National Ignition Facility, scientists hope to produce the world’s most powerful laser — o­ne that will create in a laboratory the energy found at the center of the sun.

GINORMOUS: Miriam-Webster posts favorite words not in the dictionary.

THE SOPRANOS: The seventh season will focus o­n materialism, according to creator David Chase, who sounds like he's leaving himself a little wiggle room as to whether this will be the final season of the critically-acclaimed gangster dramedy.

GREAT GRINCH: Thurl Ravenscroft, who provided the rumbling “They’re Grrrrreeeat!” for Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger ads has died of prostate cancer at 91. He also sang, "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

ERNEST T. BASS passed away last weekend at 85.

SMOKE, SMOKE, SMOKE THAT CIGARETTE: An Arkansas man suffered trauma to his nose, eyes and chin after jumping from a car traveling 55-60 mph while trying to retrieve a cigarette blown out of the passenger-side window.

PEOPLE OF ARAB DESCENT living in the U.S. are doing far better than the average American, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2000. Daniel Drezner links to an article by Moises Naim in Foreign Policy posing questions raised by the data, such as, "how does o­ne explain why Arab immigrants in Europe are worse off than those in the United States?" Naim continues: "Cultural determinists may want to revise their theories of Arab backwardness. Arab leaders should be ashamed when they see their emigrants prospering in the United States while their own people are miserable. And Europe should wake up to the possibility that it may have less of an 'Arab problem' than a 'European problem.' Then again, maybe the cultural determinists have an explanation for why Europeans are so predisposed against Arab success."

JACKO JUSTICE: The trial isn't over quite yet, but online gamblers have rendered their verdict: the smart money is o­n acquittal.

A PARENTING TIP: Tell your kids to never joyride with the ice cream man. I'm not a parent, but I was o­nce hired as an ice cream man, so you know there are no standards. In Pace, FL, 69 year-old William Stafford was arrested o­n more than 100 counts of various lewd and lascivious activities.

ZIMBABWE: I previously noted the recent fraudulent election held there. Now, the government is cracking down o­n its people and the country is collapsing.

YOU THINK YOUR FEET DON'T STINK? A stench by any other name might smell sweeter...

PRODIGAL SHEEP returns, saves farmer.

HAT SAVES IMPALED MAN from bleeding to death.

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