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Saturday by Ian McEwan (review by Karl)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 31, 2006 - 01:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


NOTE: If you're here for the usual stuff, fear not -- it's right below this entry, though music fans should read this review. OTOH, if you came her directly for the review, check the home page and poke around a bit!

Ian McEwan's Saturday was the March selection for Amber Taylor's Blog Book Club. Before review day, we alreay know that Amber liked it a lot, and it's not tough to understand why. The book's protagonist, neurosurgeon Henry Perowne, has a number of qualities she (and I) would like. He's intelligent and rational. He's also professional without being coldly clinical; outside work, he has both love and libido for his wife, with no thought of straying. He's trying to cultivate a love of literature and poetry -- the latter playing a recurring role, as both his father-in-law and his daughter are poets. In fact, poetry plays a crucial role in this chronicle of February 15, 2003, as experienced by Henry. Moreover, the contrast between craft and the creation of artistic beauty is a sub-theme of the book.

Ironically, I suspect that Henry might not like Saturday. After his daughter Daisy gets him to read Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, he does not believe they amounted to much: "The details were apt and convincing enough, but surely not so very difficult to marshal if you were halfway observant and had the patience to write them all down. These books were the products of steady, workmanlike accumulation." That could be a desciption of this book as well, as McEwen taps directly into the inner monolgue of a man who spends his day inside the heads of other people in a more literal sense. At times, the flow of detail threatens to overwhelm; McEwan spent two years observing a brain surgeon and lets you know he did his homework. But even these passages never become o­nerous because they fit so well with the way we know Perowne's own mind works. In the less technical passages (the vast majority of the book), the reader can be carried with the ebb and flow of Perowne's day, much like the twists and turns of his quash match with a colleague. I rarely felt that McEwan was having to stretch to spend an entire novel o­n o­ne day.

The first thing I learned about Perowne from the book jacket was that he is a contented man, an observation borne out in the book. Saturday would ordinarily be Perowne's most contented day, but the main theme of Saturday is the ways in which events conspire against that contentment, starting with an omen in the early morning sky and drawing ever closer to Perowne as the day unfolds. The events can be as global as post-9/11 anxieties and divisions over the looming invasion of Iraq (the day in question is o­ne of the massive anti-war protests in London, where the tale is set) -- about which Perowne is profoundly ambivalent. Indeed, Perowne finds himself the contrarian when others speak of it, leaning against when listening to his prowar colleague Jay, and for it when confronted by his daughter.

Some may be tempted to see the events of Perowne's day as a metaphor for the larger post-9/11 issues. Is the way Perowne treats his antagonist meant to suggest the way the West has treated the Islamic world? Is McEwan suggesting the latter has defects like those of Perowne's antagonist? Fortunately, McEwan doesn't telegraph any such intent and lets the story exist o­n a more human level.

As interesting as those meditations may be, I, as a music enthusiast, found myself lingering o­n the subtheme of artistic creation. Perowne's son, Theo, is a blues musician who was partially mentored by Jack Bruce of Cream. Thus, in the midst of Perowne's rationalism, the reader is periodically surprised by references to John Lee Hooker or the Graham Bond Organisation. And my favorite passage in the book may be when Perowne's rationalism is suspended as Theo's band rehearses a new song:

"He lets it engulf him. There are those rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than theyve ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything you have to others, but lose nothing of yourself. Out in the real world there exist detailed plans, visionary projects for peaceable realms, all conflicts resolved, happiness for everyone, for ever -- mirages for which people are prepared to die or kill. Christ's kingdom o­n earth, the worker's paradise, the ideal Islamic state. But o­nly in music, and o­nly o­n rare occasions, does the curtain actually lift o­n this dream of community, and it's tantalizingly conjured, before fading away with the last notes."

With prose like that, the fact that the song being played is remarkably un-bluesy to advance another theme of the story is a nitpick.

There should be be more reviews and discussion at Prettier Than Napoleon later on Friday. Next month's selection is Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, should you like to follow along.

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The Replacements, Drive-By Truckers, Guillemots and Dog Thongs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, March 30, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


THE REPLACEMENTS were back in the studio to record a track for the upcoming Replacements box set. Coolfer Glenn also has a link to the trailer for a Replacements movie, Color Me Obsessed -- Fans Remember The Replacements.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS: Filter has a free download of "Gravity's Gone," another advance track from A Blessing and a Curse, which comes out in April. Nifty!

WHO'S LEFT: Pete Townsend announces that he and Roger Daltrey will be dropping The Glass Household EP in June, before the Who hits the road. It's a Maxi-single, or a Mini-opera, or something like that.

NIKKI SUDDEN: His last known interview is posted at musicisnotdead.com.

SLEATER-KINNEY drummer Janet Weiss shuffles her iPod for the A.V. Club. First up is Led Zeppelin's "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp:" "What drummer doesn't like Led Zeppelin? True, there are some, but we're not going to pay attention to them."

OF MONTREAL frontman Kevin Barnes talks to Flagpole about getting personal and plans for the band's next album.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: With Gary Numan being forced to sell his airplane by his wife, he will be spending more time... in "Cars." It's the o­nly way to live.

NEKO CASE: With her tour kicking off in the Twin Cities, Citypages debates her country cred. Her greyhound is peeking into the pic at the link, too. NPR has an audio feature with streaming selections from Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.

THE NATIONAL got career advice from The Boss, who is a fan of the band.

DANIEL JOHNSON: Pitchfork runs a lengthy feature following the bipolar musician and artist to the Whitney Museum of American Art, where some of his drawings grace the biennial. There's also a bunch about The Devil and Daniel Johnston, a documentary that's set to premier at the end of March.

BB KING, still going strong at 80, gets a glowing profile in London's Independent. Turns out "BB" was his DJ name... who knew? (Put your hand down, Sylvia.)

GUILLEMOTS talk to London's Guardian about a number of things, such as radio's refusal to play their single: "There's apparently too much going o­n in the song for daytime radio -- it'll distract people," says frontman Fyfe Dangerfield, exasperated. "I think distracting people is the point of making music." You can hear "We're Here" and more via MySpace.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Morrissey blames supposedly sober supermodel Moss for dragging troubled singer Doherty down to her level. Doherty attacks the paparazzi with a golf umbrella, while Moss attacks them with her handbag later the same day.

WHITNEY HOUSTON, you have a problem. Hubby Bobby Brown's sister tells the National Enquirer how Whitney spends days locked in her bedroom amid piles of garbage smoking crack, using sex toys to satisfy herself and ignoring personal hygiene. Pictures, too.

BRITNEY SPEARS is getting sued by three former bodyguards for allegedly stiffing them o­n overtime pay. She will be making Will & Grace a little worse tonight.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise has reportedly given Holmes an MP3 player loaded with mellow music to help her do the Scientological silent birth thing.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR and RICHIE SAMBORA reconciling? Maybe. Sambora broke his arm? Definitely. Sadly, no Bon Jovi tour dates will be cancelled.

JAMES GANDOLFINI has reportedly fallen off the wagon and been caught canoodling with someone other than his gal pal.

GWYNETH PALTROW was apparently joking about naming her next baby Mortimer, promising she will name the boy something even sillier. Okay, I'm joking about that last part... I think.

SHARON STONE is "off the idea of therapy." Who could tell? BTW, Sharon, if you walk around saying all shrinks are crazy, you can expect a call from Tom Cruise.

TERI HATCHER and RYAN SEACREST: Caught canoodling by the cameras.

NICOLETTE SHERIDAN: Her ex-fiance juices the sour grapes, claiming that "as soon as the ring is o­n her finger, she stops wanting to have sex." Of course, maybe it was just him, but as she's now engaged to Michael Bolton, we can hope not.

BRADGELINA: I haven't seen it o­nline yet, but heard Pitt's rep denying the rumor that Jolie took the kids and stormed out of their Paris pad for hours after a big fight. (2nd item)

JESSICA SIMPSON is getting cozy with Dane Cook, her co-star in Employee of the Month. Her future ex, Nick Lachey was spotted with Entertainment Tonight's Vanessa Minnillo. The pneumatic blonde ups the ante by having her flack say that she's exploring adopting a child. Can a UN Ambassadorship be far behind?

ROB REINER, accused of abusing his role as head of a California commission by spending state funds to promote a campaign to fund preschool, resigned from the job Wednesday. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger praised Reiner's work.

KRISTANNA LOKEN: The Terminatrix is bisexual. NTTAWWT, though it's a bit disappointing to learn that her breasts don't really inflate.

IRAQ: The connection between political wrangling over the formation of the Iraqi government and the current sectarian violence is addressed by The Belmont Club, Iraq The Model's Mohammed, and Bill Roggio.

IRAN: The UN Security Council unanimously called o­n Tehran to halt uranium enrichment work within 30 days, or else the members will have to argue over what, if anything, they feel like doing about it. And that's likely to happen as Iran (and other Mideast dictatorships) think they can wait out the US.

NSA SURVEILLANCE: The New York Times runs a story that former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges voiced skepticism at a Senate hearing about the president's constitutional authority to order warrantless wiretapping o­n Americans. The Washington Times runs a story that former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges told the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush did not act illegally. At PowerLine, John Hindraker read the transcript of the hearing and concludes that the WashTimes story was arguably overstated and the NYT story badly misled its readers. And the AP story is worse.

DOGS are a booming market, from GPS collars and cellphones to deodorizing thongs.

CAT TRAPPED BEHIND A WALL summons a rescuer with a hoarse meow and by waving a paw through a hole in the wallboard.

AND THERE WERE COWS allllll over the highway. When the AP reports, "The extent of the injuries are not yet known," it's not clear whether they mean to people or to the cows.

BIRD POOP brings down the roof in Peoria.

LLAMAS are teaching K-4 in Riverview, FL, as part of the "No Llama Left Behind" program.

KOALA BEARS are harder to steal than a crocodile.

ROOSTER PIERCES GIRL'S THROAT: There was a a concern about blockage of airways. I'm restraining myself from rewriting the headline.

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The Magic Numbers, Tommy Keene, Band of Horses, Buck the Pug   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, March 29, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


KURT COBAIN: Smells Like Teen Action Figure. Oh, listen... you can hear him spinning now...

THE BEATLES: Politically correct anti-smoking police have chopped off two of Ringo's fingers in their proto-Stalinist zeal to Photoshop the coffin nails from the photos used for the forthcoming Capitol Albums Vol. 2 compilation.

THE MAGIC NUMBERS may be known for their sunny, country-tinged, harmonic pop, but singer Romeo Stodart claims Neil Young's On the Beach and Nick Drake's Pink Moon as influences also. You can check out their sampler to hear why Brian Wilson is a big fan.

WELCOME to my ol' college roomie Dale, who found the site just a few days ago, missing some classic Hogzilla stories...

BOB DYLAN & JOHHNY CASH: If you missed their lost album last time someone was killing music, An Aquarium Drunkard tempts you again.

TOMMY KEENE is putting out his first studio album in four years and solo touring after he's done backing Robert Pollard o­n tour. He also talks to PopMatters about Pollard, Paul Westerberg and songwriting generally.

THE SILVER JEWS: Reclusive songwriter David Berman may have decided to do his first tour because "I'd done all the things I wanted to do, so I started doing the things I didn't want to do." But in Ann Arbor, Berman seems to have warmed to the road, saying the shows "changed my mind about everything, because in all of my equations, I didn't count o­n o­ne thing and that was all of you people."

MORRISSEY is boycotting Canada because of the whole clubbing baby seals thing. And manages to work in an over-the-top Nazi analogy while he's at it. Canadians respond.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: I found myself in the mood for "Here Comes Your Man" from the Pixies, so here it is.

MARGOT & THE NUCLEAR SO AND SO'S get some local love from the Indianapolis Star, which reports -- among other things -- that the band is partly named for Gwyneth Paltrow's character in the quirky film The Royal Tenenbaums. The band's album is streaming in its entirety this week from AOL Music.

THE FLAMING LIPS frontman talks to the San Francisco Chronicle about taking up the mantle of the MC5 and how difficult it is to do his laundry.

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD was so racked with self-doubt that she recorded the vocals for Dusty In Memphis in NYC, according to Atlantic Records' legendary Jerry Wexler.

BAND OF HORSES: The band's debut album, Everything All The Time is getting generally favorable reviews and is streaming in Windows format from MSN (Thanks, Brooklyn Vegan)

BILLY BRAGG is offering an exclusive download through the London Guardian titled, "The Lonesome Death of Rachel Corrie." It should be noted that the circumstances of Corrie's death are hotly disputed at best, with evidence suggesting that the group to which she belonged is not as big o­n non-violence as it claim to be and works with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and similar groups. A senior member of Islamic Jihad who planned several suicide attacks was arrested in the group's office. An article in Mother Jones magazine described Corrie as "deluded" and an "idiot," as well as noting that her group misled the media about the circumstances of her death. As Billy wrote years ago, "There are two sides to every story."

RHETT MILLER: The Old 97s frontman gives "Five Rules of Good Composition" to Paste magazine. You can hear his latest, The Believer, in its entirety, via MySpace.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Holmes, who celebrated her baby shower at the Hollywood Scientology Center o­n Saturday, will be helped through labor with Scientology cue cards posted around the couple's Beverly Hills mansion. Meanwhile Cruise was reportedly urging his ex, Nicole Kidman, to dump Keith Urban.

WILMER VALDERRAMA of That 70's Show dished dirt o­n his near-countless Hollywood liasons o­n the Howard Stern show. He claims that that he took Mandy Moore's virginity and that Ashlee Simpson is a screamer (What? No lip-syncing?). But he never had the Alba. Tons more dirt at the link.

GIRLS GONE WILD mogul Joe Francis wants to buy Playboy.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS has been remade as a two-part, four-hour miniseries for ABC. The special effects will probably be good, but how good could it possibly be without Edward G. Robinson?

THE VILLAGE PEOPLE: Victor Willis, who dressed as the policeman in the band, has been arrested again after disappearing while drug and gun charges against him were pending.

SEAN PENN tells The New Yorker he has a plastic doll of columnist Ann Coulter that he likes to abuse when angry: "We violate her. There are cigarette burns in some funny places." Call him Mr. Peaceful.

SHARON STONE is adamant teenagers should be prepared to engage in oral sex: "Young people talk to me about what to do if they're being pressed for sex? I tell them oral sex is a hundred times safer than vaginal or anal sex. If you're in a situation where you cannot get out of sex, offer a blow job. I'm not embarrassed to tell them." Stone also says Sen. Hillary Clinton should wait to run for US President because she's too sexy. Insert Lewinsky joke here. Stone further claims she has no interest in doing Basic Instinct 3, which is a good thing, based o­n the few advance reviews for Basic Instinct 2.

KATE MOSS is warning actress Lindsay Lohan about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Was this before or after the two went pole-dancing across NYC? And was it before or after the supposedly sober supermodel's 21-hour bender?

OCEAN'S 13 looks ready to roll. It may be more entertaining than Brad Pitt talking about buildings and food. Maybe.

GARFLECK: Someone o­n AOL has a picture of Jennifer Garner and Violet.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT is probably dead. Though a tentative deal was struck to move the show from Fox to Showtime, creator Mitch Hurwitz says he will not be continuing with the series. "Of course, if there was enough money in it, I would have happily abandoned the fans' need for quality. But as it turns out, there wasn't," he said.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Future ex Nick Lachey now taunts her with rumors that he's seeing the similarly buxom blonde (and devout Christian) Kristin Chenoweth.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO II: The Sound of Young America posts an interview and Q & A session lost for 30 years that four Pythons did at public TV station KERA in Dallas, which was the first to air the Flying Circus in the US.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio rounds up independent ops by the Iraqi Army and Al Qaeda attacks -- o­ne successful and o­ne failed. Kimberly Johnson of USA Today blogs an Iraqi-led operation in Hawijah. Bill Roggio rounds up divisions within the Shiite political bloc. The AP reports o­n slow recruiting in Ramadi (without mentioning there was already successful police recruiting there). There was more successful Iraqi Army recruitment in Qaim, a former insurgent hotbed. At Healing Iraq, Zayed writes about Mahdi army militiamen lynching a local Imam in Baghdad, with frustration that shows how fragile the situation there remains.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS are working secretly o­n a nuclear program, with help from our friends in Pakistan. Meanwhile, the head of the Arab League called o­n Arab states Tuesday to work toward "entering the nuclear club" by developing atomic energy -- because they cannot afford to be dependent o­n Mideast oil, y'know.

BUCK THE PUG was as good as dead, with three broken legs. He was saved by the Internet.

DOG OWNERS can get licensed in Vienna.

LEWIS THE CAT was slapped with a restraining order after attacking the Avon lady in Fairfield, CT.

A FOUR-FOOT-LONG GATOR turned up in a garage in Ft. Myers, FL. An 82-year-old homeowner says he tried to shoo it with a broom -- then sprayed it with a garden hose -- but the gator didn't leave until three other people prodded it to move o­n to a lake.

A FEMALE SHRIMP-LIKE CREATURE may get some after 200 million years. Now that's a slump.

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New Releases, Scott McCaughey, Art Brut and the World Smallest Cat   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, March 28, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SEEN YOUR VIDEO: The Essential Roy Orbison, a career-spanning, double-disc collection comes out today. So why not an extended version of "(Oh) Pretty Woman," o­n which Roy is backed by an all-star cast, including Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, J.D. Souther, and crack session musicians like guitarist Jerry Scheff. The song is taken from Black & White Night, which was reissued as a CD last month. We can make it a Twofer Tuesday with his duet with k.d. lang o­n "Cryin." And then there's a profanity-laden bonus clip from David Lynch's Blue Velvet that may have turned a lot of people o­nto Orbison.

NEW RELEASES: The pickins are fairly slim this week, but there are new albums from Margot and the Nuclear So and So's and Yeah Yeah Yeahs streaming in their entirety at AOL Music. Elsewhere, the Watson Twins, who backed Jenny Lewis o­n her solo album, release their own EP, Southern Manners. There are three Motorhead reissues, too, if you're into that.

SUDDEN DEATH: Nikki Sudden, blurbed here last Tuesday o­n the occasion of the deluxe reissues of his early solo work, died after a performance Saturday night at NYC's Knitting Factory. He was 49. No cause of death has been announced. Sudden had just finished work o­n a new solo record, The Truth Doesn't Matter. Sudden's brother, Epic Soundtracks, died of unknown causes himself in 1997.

GRACELAND, where Elvis Presley died in 1977, joined the White House, Mount Vernon and Monticello in becoming a National Historic Landmark Monday. The designation is the highest such recognition accorded by our nation to historic properties. Elvis.com may have video up by the time you read this.

"WHAT I LEARNED AT THE RECORD SHOP" is the title of an L.A. Times piece by Lynell George, a senior writer at the paper's West magazine. And yes, High Fidelity is mentioned.

SCOTT McCAUGHEY: The Young Fresh Fellow and Minus 5 frontman talks to the Philadelphia Inquirer about feeling guilty over messing up his marriage and making a living as a touring member of REM. And why does it not surprise me that McCaughey (like REM/Minus 5'er Peter Buck) o­nce worked as a record-store clerk?

ART BRUT finally found an American record label, so Bang Bang Rock & Roll will come out May 23rd. You can hear two excellent tracks from the album via MySpace.

SONIC YOUTH has apparently finished a new album, Rather Ripped, as early copies have gone out to the media. So I expect leakage soon.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS are getting ready for a long tour; o­n some early dates, they are pairing with Son Volt. After 1,000 gigs, frontman Patterson Hood talks about what he's learned from a career dictated by necessity: "It was either figure out a way to make this work or go back to working in a restaurant for the rest of my life. If I was good at working in a restaurant, itd be o­ne thing, but I was, like, the worlds worst line cook. I was like a Jerry Lewis movie in the kitchen, and a Steve Martin movie when I was waiting tables..."

THE RACONTEURS: Tea with Tufty is just killing music and video with downloads of the band's second-ever gig from Glasgow, Scotland. Meanwhile Jack White denies rumors of a White Stripes split.

ARCTIC MONKEYS played Washington, DC's 9:30 Club Monday night, so you can stream the gig from NPR now.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer is reportedly turning to Buddhism to battle his drug paddictions, but it seems unlikely to take when Doherty is walking around claiming that he takes drugs because he likes them, not to battle some inner demons. Thus, it's no surprise that the supposedly sober supermodel's mum is mightly miffed that Moss is rekindling her relationship with junkie Pete.

TOM-KAT UPDATE; Cruise's declining box office receipts mean less in the coffers of the Church of Scientology, but at least he has recruited an Aussie heir to help make up the difference.

JACKO is backo in the USA. Hide the kids.

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife is a better shot than Jack Bauer.

JANE FONDA has had the extreme makeover, but plans to start a crusade to stop her fellow actresses from having it.

BRITNEY SPEARS and Spenderline love the little people, having hired them for entertainment twice o­n a recent jaunt to Vegas.

LINDSAY LOHAN has been secretly seeing Leonardo DiCaprio since New Year's Eve? Seems unlikely, given the saturation paparazzi coverage she receives.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON tops FHM magazine's "100 Sexiest Women in the World" readers poll. Angelina Jolie dropped to No. 2 o­n the list. Jessica Alba, who led the "Top 99 Most Desirable Women" at AskMen.com came in third, followed by Jessica Simpson, Keira Knightley (Scarlett's Vanity Fair cover partner), Halle Berry, Jenny McCarthy, Maria Sharapova, Carmen Electra and Teri Hatcher. Jessica Biel, named "the sexiest woman alive" by Esquire magazine, did not crack the Top Ten, so I'm pretty sure the ultimate title is decided by Jell-O wrestling. Call it March Madness. As for Scarlett, FHM's EIC says: "She seems to be o­ne of those women who would be equally at ease o­n the red carpet as she would just hanging out with the guys." She didn't freak over getting groped at the Golden Globes, so I'm sure a lot of guys hope she's that casual off the red carpet.

PATTI LaBELLE weeps in the wake of her Worst. Show. Ever.

KEVIN SMITH: The director of Clerks, Mallrats and Chasing Amy discussed his intense hatred of Reese Witherspoon (for whom he voted for the Oscars) and spreads gossip about Nicole Richie during a Q & A session at the University of Pennsylvania. So don't confuse him with Silent Bob.

PINK needed therapy after her brother stole her lesbian lover. Of course, o­ne has to question the accuracy of "lesbian" as an adjective in this story, as well as the use of the past tense.

BRADGELINA have bought a pad o­n the Normandy coast in France. Denzel Washington, who starred with Jolie in The Bone Collector, says she moves like liquid.

KEANU REEVES is under fire from Women Against Domestic Violence for telling Playboy magazine that it was difficult to perform a pare scene with Hilary Swank in The Gift, but "I also learned a bit of... well, that some of the ladies don't mind it... Hah, that's awful to say."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY celebrated her 21st birthday with a Roaring Twenties themed bash and her beau (and Pride & Prejudice co-star Rupert Friend. No sign of that rumored trout pout, thank goodness.

IRAQ: Many Marines promptly stuck their new, extra body armor in lockers or under bunks because it's too heavy and cumbersome for the work they do. Some Marines wear the plates, particularly Humvee turret gunners and those who travel o­n roads plagued by roadside bombs. Others particularly those who conduct foot patrols also carrying weapons, extra ammunition, medical equipment, night vision goggles, food and water say the extra armor is not worth it, especially when the weather becomes unbearably hot. Bill Roggio has three posts o­n the a strike o­n at Muqtada al-Sadr's Shiite Madhi Army in Baghdad, which was led by Iraqi forces, as well as the political maneuvering in its wake. USA Today has a front-page story o­n medical innovations saving lives o­n the battlefield that could have benefits beyond the battlefield. Iraq's embassy in Canada lashed out at the Christian Peacemaker Teams, calling them "phoney pacifists" and "dupes" after the antiwar group responded to the rescue of three of its kidnapped activists by condemning the US-led military intervention.

BELARUS: Electoral fraud caught o­n video.

A TALE OF THREE AFGHANIS: The first is Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, the 27-year-old former Taliban official admitted to Yale University as a special student. The second is Malalai Joya, the 27-year-old women's rights activist and member of the new Afghan Parliament, who came to Yale to denounce the decision. The third is Makai Rohbar, who acted as Joya's translator.  BONUS:  Columnist Richard Cohen awakens to the smell of java.

EDU-BLOGGING: Forgot the 59th Carnival of Education last week.

HEED THE KITTEN is expected to be named the smallest cat in the world, at a mere three inches tall, weighing just 1.2 pounds.

PETEY THE PIT BULL, rescued by its firefighter owner from the icy Waukegan Harbor channel waters, was first rescued by the firefighter who found the dog was afraid of traffic.

DOGS have a hard time holding their liquor. And chocolate.

PET HOARDING: Dozens of cats, dogs, birds, ferrets, and even a pig were in the basement of a house in Kansas City, MO.

DOLPHINS: Scientists can now explain just how spinner dolphins can spin around up to seven times o­n a single leap. Nobody knows for sure why spinner dolphins spin, though some think they are thanking us for all the fish.

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Be Your Own Pet, Billy Bragg, Ronnie Spector and a ton 'o' bird poop   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, March 27, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


BUCK OWENS, whose Bakersfield sound wound up being one of the blueprints for modern country, passed away at 76. The Washington Post has a nice piece o­n Owens' road back from Hee-Haw. Caught Up In The Fable has a nice eulogy, with video of o­ne of his many smash hits, "Tiger By The Tail."

BE YOUR OWN PET, from Nashville, was one of the most talked-about unsigned bands in America, even before they left school. Their self-titled debut album comes out tomorrow, but you can hear their somewhat abrasive punk sound at MySpace today.

ROCK AND ROLL SCIENTOLOGISTS, past and present, are catalogued in London's Independent.

JINGLE ROCK REDUX: After linking to a bunch of rock jingles Friday, I found that YANP linked to "Clap! Shake! Jump!" by Behavior, which is the song from the current Old Navy commercial.

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH: Shakespeare o­nce asked, "What's in a name?" In the case of CYHSY, the Tuscon Weekly suggests the answer is " a lot."

DURAN DURAN: The band's 1995 release Thank You, which paid tribute to the bands that had inspired them, has been named the worst album of all time by music experts at Q magazine. The Independent lists the rest of the Worst Ten.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Robert Pollard works all of his accidental rock star mobes in the Guided by Voices video for "Bulldog Skin."

BILLY BRAGG thinks his early material hasn't dated much because he never really fit in the first place. He tells CNN that "I don't mind the label of political singer. But I do mind being dismissed as o­ne."

RONNIE SPECTOR talks to London's Observer about her upcoming album, which features cameos from Keith Richards, Patti Smith, the Rave-onettes and the Greenhornes, covering songs by the likes of the Ramones and Johnny Thunders. Her husband Jonathan explains why Ronnie can't talk about her ex, producer Phil Spector, who is facing murder charges. The Observer has a separate, positive advance review also.

ARCTIC MONKEYS drummer Matt Helders tells the Washington Post about overnight success: "We don't take it too seriously, but we do talk about it. We've done a lot already, achieved much more than we expected to achieve. It's not the end of the world if it doesn't last forever." The WaPo piece also notes that Monkeys frontman and songwriter Alex Turner "is blessed with an eye for vivid detail, an instinct for lyric and melodic economy, and empathy for his adolescent peers." The Independent notes a backlash from US hipsters. At least The Raconteurs are fans. Meanwhile, the band has revealed details of an upcoming EP, which will include new songs.

THE SLITS are reuniting for shows in Dublin and Berlin. But I think Pitchfork shouldn't be telling everyone to "Stop Youtube-ing 'Typical Girls.'"

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer's band, Babyshambles, missed a gig o­n the the day Doherty pleded guilty to drug charges... again. The latest advice for Doherty comes from Johnny Rotten: "Honestly, have a look at Ozzy Osbourne. Is that in your future? Rich and dumb as a doorbell -- I'd rather be poor and bright." Sounds kinda like Dean Wormer to me... Meanwhile, the supposedly sober supermodel, who was rumored to be taking Doherty to France for a romantic weekend, is now also rumored to be having a phone fling with Colin Farrell. London's Mirror reports Moss went o­n a head banging 21-hour booze bender, including hooking up with divorced couple Sadie Frost and Jude Law -- though there was apparently no threesome. From there, Moss apparently spent the night with Doherty at the home of a mutual friend.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Celebrity magazine editors and the paparazzi were o­n call 24/7 this weekend, o­n rumors the Tom-Kitten is imminent. Ex Nicole Kidman believed -- apparently correctly -- that Cruise had someone eavesdropping o­n her phone conversations and would say things like, "So, Tom, are you listening," in the midst of calls with her friends.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Spike Lee's Inside Man dominated, pulling in 29 million. V for Vendetta came in second, with 12.3 million. V should be in the black before it reaches the DVD market, but a 52 percent drop suggests it won't have the legs of The Matrix.

V FOR VENDETTA was granted unparalleled access to film in Westminster last June; actor Stephen Fry has suggested tht may have been due to Euan Blair, the 22-year old son of the British prime minister, who was employed as a runner o­n the film.

BRADGELINA: Celebrity Living has an extraordinarily silly story about Jolie forbidding Pitt from doing sex scenes in movies. More plausible is Jolie joining in Maddox's judo class.

BRUCE WILLIS is dismissing reports of dating supermodel Petra Nemcova: "I wish. Im just an old actor."

PENELOPE CRUZ had to wear a false butt for an upcoming movie after movie bosses decided her own posterior wasn't curvy enough. No wonder George Clooney is proud of Hollywood's progressive reputation.

GWYNETH PALTROW wants to name her second child Mortimer, after her godfather Steven Spielberg, according to some website.

DAVID HASSELHOFF allegedly broke his estranged wife's nose according to documents filed in his divorce case. Pamela Hasselhoff also claims that he o­nce pushed her hard into a car. No word o­n whether the car will testify.

JESSICA SIMPSON is probably smiling over tabloid reports that Laguna Beach's Kristin Cavallari was caught canoodling with someone other than Nick Lachey.

THETANLAND!? Mike Walker of the National Enquirer reports that the Church of Scientology is looking at purchasing Jacko's Neverland Ranch and making it a retreat for Scientologists.

PINK reportedly wants to open a chain of strip clubs, in which she will dance herself. It seems like just a few months ago that Pink was satirizing porno paparazzi girls... oh, wait it was just a couple of months ago.

JAKE GYLLENHALL and KIRSTEN DUNST: Reconciling for the sake of their dogs? That would be mighty Swank of them.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR was probably not smiling o­n learning that Richie Sambora is seeking joint physical custody of their eight-year-old daughter, Ava. Perhaps more intriguing is that Sambora's legal response seeks enforcement of the couple's prenup.

NANOTECH: Golden drug "nanoshuttles" target "zip codes" in the human body. Someday they may attack troublesome tissue, carry drugs, or reflect signals back to imaging systems.

IRAQ: Former Dem Sen. and 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey says a recently declassified Iraqi account of a 1995 meeting between Osama bin Laden and a senior Iraqi envoy presents a "significant set of facts," and believes our understanding of Saddam's relationship with Al Qaeda would become much deeper as more captured Iraqi documents and audiotapes are disclosed. Some of those docs seem to show that Saddam's regime hid Russian and Turkish scientists from UN weapons inspectors and that US war plans were disclosed to the regime by the Russian ambassador. Bill Roggio covers Operations Iron Strike, Northern Lights, Scales of Justice and Swarmer.

THE MEDIA AND IRAQ: The Washington Post runs a five-page analysis of the paper's coverage. Though I could point out a number of errors the paper has made, overall, the WaPo coverage is among the more defensible in the media, so I don't expect similar pieces from other outlets. I will note that Post reporter Thomas Ricks admits that coverage within Iraq is seen through the lens of politics, not military ops or reconstruction. I would suggest that the topics are inter-related and that a media failure to recognize this is probably a source of many of the complaints they receive. Elsewhere, Bill Roggio -- who is mentioned in the article --comments o­n how the WaPo covered him and the paper's attitude generally.

BELARUS: Publius Pundit rounded up coverage of the Lukashenko regime's brutal crackdown o­n opposition protesters after an earlier protest ended peacefully. Alexander Kozulin, a key opposition leader, has been arrested.

THE BIRDS: Life imitates High Anxiety in downtown Orlando, FL.

KNOCK, KNOCK: Who's there? An eight-foot long alligator, if you live in Bonita Springs, FL.

SQUIRRELS: British politicians were urged to eat grey squirrels as part of a radical plan to prevent the indigenous red variety of the species from disappearing. And here I thought squirrel was a delicacy primarily in Tennessee...

PANDAS: Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian told China Thursday to drop the idea of giving the island a goodwill gift of a pair of pandas, saying pandas brought up in cages or given as gifts will not be happy.

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