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The Spinto Band, RT, Maximo Park, Katrina Leskanitch and Animal Stories   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

ALEX CHILTON who was missing over the weekend (as followed here) is alive and well. He rode the storm out and had food and water, but was most concerned during the week about roving gangs.

THE SPINTO BAND: Their debut disc, Nice and Nicely Done, is drrawing raves at MSNBC and the Village Voice. The Kinks, The dBs, The Cars, David Byrne and Brian Wilson all get mentioned as influences. You can stream a few from MSNBC and the band's website, with the latter having "Brown Boxes," as mentioned at MSNBC.

THE WHITE STRIPES will do their first webcast o­n NPR September 27th.

THE FLESHTONES were garage rock revivalists when garage rock wasn't cool. Frontman Peter Zaremba talks to PopMatters about the band's renaissance, its new album Detroit, George Jefferson, and the band's signature drink, the blue whale.

EIGHT UNCONVENTIONAL SONGWRITERS are profiled by the Boston Globe, including Bill Callahan (a/k/a Smog), John Darnielle (Mountain Goats), David Berman (Silver Jews) and more.

JAY FARRAR talks to JamBase about Son of Son Volt and the state of the union.

TRAMPS LIKE US, baby we were born to ride polo horses.

RICHARD THOMPSON: You can stream a few of his Front Parlour Ballads at NPR (Thanks, Debbie).

MAXIMO PARK gets a profile in London's Telegraph. You can stream the band's album, A Certain Trigger, through Torr Leonard's blog.

GREEN DAY: In The New York Times, Jon Pareles opines that it is now a band that it o­nce would parody.

CAMILLE PAGLIA thinks that Hurricane Katrina has demolished the Bush Administration's mask of confidence, Angelina Jolie is bewitching and "Like a Rolling Stone" is not the greatest rock & roll song of all time.

CONCEPT ALBUMS: Are they coming back into vogue?

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS try to explain their albums and the South to The Scotsman. Patterson Hood also notes that his Dad was a session musician at the Fame studios where Percy Sledge recorded "When A Man Loves A Woman," Wilson Pickett cut "Mustang Sally" and Aretha Franklin laid down "Do Right Woman."

GREG DULLI talks Twilight Singers with the Cincinnati Enquirer. And he's investing in taverns: "Rock 'n' roll doesn't always pay the bills, and I've been interested in bars -- obviously -- for a long time," says Dulli.

SEAN PENN and his entourage, including a personal photographer, set sail in New Orleans to rescue folks still stranded after Hurricane Katrina. Almost immediately, the boat began taking o­n water, its motor failed to start, and those aboard were forced to use paddles to propel themselves down the flooded New Orleans street, as Spicoli tried to bail out the boat with a plastic cup.

CELINE DION is offering her expertise o­n disaster relief, no doubt gained in working o­n the theme song from Titanic. About the seeming delays in aid, Dion said, "I know there's reasons for it, I'm sorry to say, I'm being rude, but I don't want to hear those reasons." Well, of course not. Didn't Dion hear Kanye West explain that it's all because George Bush doesn't care about black people? OTOH, West also believes that AIDS is a man-made disease placed in Africa, just like crack was placed in the black community to break up the Black Panther party. It's that sort of penetrating insight that makes West the darling of Time, Newsweek and NPR, and "arguably the dominant creative force in mainstream popular music," according to the L.A. Times.

HARRY CONNICK, JR. criticised the fact that troops and the aid columns o­nly made it into the city o­n Friday, four days after the storm, saying his friend, singer Charmaine Neville, had commandeered an abandoned city bus to help evacuate refugees. Connick might be interested to know that the first bus of New Orleans refugees to reach the Astrodome in Houston was commandeered by a 20-year-old. Connick might want to consider that it's much easier to drive a bus out of the area before the hurricate hits than it is to deliver aid or pluck people out of a flooded area after it hits. Then he might want to ask about the over 500 buses that weren't used to evacuate the city. I have more o­n that if you click the "Read more..." link at the bottom of today's entry.

KATRINA LESKANITCH, former lead singer of you-know-who, is planning to launch her first solo album o­n Oct. 17th. Maybe she could get PR tips from Kristin Hersh.

KATRINA ANIMAL STORIES: Ever since the story of Noah, those facing floods have been concerned about the animals. Hurricane evacuees were distraught over having to abandon their pets. Some who stayed in the city attempted to rescue pets. Various groups have set up hotlines and are coordinating efforts for pets and their owners. In the famed New Orleans aquarium, more than a third of the 4,000 fish died because there was no power to pump oxygen into the tanks. But zoos in the Gulf Coast area fared well overall. I hope the survivors recognized that snakes and gators were also been displaced by the flood.

HURRICANE FINGER-POINTING: I'm o­n record from last week as saying there will be plenty of time for this o­nce the situation has stabilized. But that hasn't stopped some -- particularly in the media -- from getting started before the bodies are recovered. ABC News and the Washington Post rushed to take a poll, which says that two-thirds think federal government should have been better prepared to deal with a storm this size, but three-quarters say state and local governments in the affected areas likewise were insufficiently prepared. o­nly 45 percent blame President Bush. Anyone surprised by those results should click the "Read more..." link at the bottom of today's entry. But let me tease you with the lead sentence from a New Orleans Times-Picayune story published July 24, 2005: "City, state and federal emergency officials are preparing to give the poorest of New Orleans' poor a historically blunt message: In the event of a major hurricane, you're o­n your own."

GEORGE CLOONEY condemns television news journalism, saying that the public was worse informed today than 15 years ago despite the proliferation of channels: "When I was growing up there were three networks and basically the same information. Now, because weíve fractioned into little pieces, you go look for the things that reinforce what you already believe to be fact and donít get a common truth." That certainly can happen. OTOH, when mass media was in fewer hands, New York Times reporter Walter Duranty could cover up Stalin's genocide in Ukraine. And anchors like Walter Cronkite could completely misreport the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, persuading LBJ not to run for re-election. Now the self-appointed watchdogs have their own self-appointed watchdogs. If Clooney wants a "common truth," he might try countries that restrict or outright control the media to see how he likes it.

FOUR WEDDINGS, A FUNERAL and a couple of implants, according to The Superficial.

BRITNEY SPEARS wants to land a deal in Vegas, like Celine Dion and Wayne Newton. Sounds about right to me. Looks like Michael Jackson is trying to cut a similar deal and butching up his look to boot. And congrats to the Federlines for making US Weekly's worst-dressed list! Tough to think of anyone more deserving. Except maybe Jacko...

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Pitt's parents reportedly are leery of Jolie based o­n her two prior marriages. What doesn't everyone wear a vial of their husband's blood around their neck?

IRAQ: Marine airstrikes pounded a train station being used as an al-Qaeda weapons storage depot and headquarters after "numerous reliable sources" saw about 50 al-Qaida-linked insurgents using the facility. Bill Roggio notes this is further proof that the U.S. is working closely with the Albu Mahal tribe, gaining good intelligence, both human and electronic, and of an o­ngoing offensive targeting al-Qaeda fighters in the region. He also has two posts o­n the battle in Tal Afar -- easily the largest since Fallujah. Zarqawi's foreign-led Al Qaeda in Iraq have taken control of the border town of Qaim, at least for now. The Iraqi government and armed forces seem to have re-opened the northern oil pipeline to Turkey, which saboteurs had largely shut down for a year.

THE IRAQI CONSTITUTION: o­n Friday, discreet talks were under way to refine language of the draft constitution in a bid to win Sunni approval. At Iraq the Model, Mohammed writes about today's terrorism and tomorrow's constitution.

HALLE BERRY now says she went topless in Swordfish so she could get past her nudity fears in time for her Oscar-winning role in Monster's Ball. So why didn't she mention this when she was making non-denial denials that she was paid extra for the scene?

BARBRA STREISAND wants to be o­n the same floor at the New York Sheraton as Bill Clinton when attends the Clinton Global Initiative Sept. 15-17. Just to talk about global politics, I'm sure.

50 CENT is very popular with Icelandic Valkyries.

WARREN BEATTY: A new warts-and-all biography could become a thorn in his side should he decide to run against Arnold Schwarzenegger for California governor.

AFGHANISTAN: Coalition intelligence agencies believe that the recent surge in violence is not related to a reinvigorated offensive by the remnants of al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but the work of unconnected and uncoordinated groups. Hope so, but also hope they planned for the worst in the run-up to the election.

PAKISTAN: The foreign ministers of Israel and Pakistan, met publicly for the first time Thursday, a diplomatic breakthrough that both ministers linked to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Muslim clerics denounced the shift in policy in fiery sermons during Friday prayers, but planned street protests fell flat.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY overcame dyslexia to become an actress who hates her legs, but loves her stomach. I dunno about her legs; I think I would have to make an extensive investigation to offer a truly informed opinion.

SIENNA MILLER, promoting Casanova, says, "I've met a few Casanovas that I like and some that I haven't and I hope to meet a few more." Sounds Law-less at the moment. Plus, she's showing a Nietzsche streak. She's becoming Sienna the Barbarian!

HEATH LEDGER had to destroy his career to save it, if you believe that.

KATE WINSLET is named top MILF in a new British poll taken for "National Yummy Mummy Week," which runs from September 16-25 in aid of a children's cancer charity.

MUSICAL BENCH: President Bush nominated John Roberts to replace the late William Rehnquist as Supreme Court Chief Justice, instead of taking Justice O'Connor's place. The remaining Justices (except Souter) paid tribute to Rehnquist. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg began: "Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was the fairest, most efficient boss I have ever had..." As before, there's plenty o­n this topic at the SCOTUS blog. With people like Prof. Cass Sunstein, whose liberal credentials are sterling, urging folks to keep an open mind, I think most of the action will be o­n President Bush's second nominee.

AL QAEDA'S PROPAGANDA WAR with the West has become as important to the movement as terrorist attacks o­n western cities and interests, according to analysts studying a videotape featuring o­ne of the London bombers. Azzam Tamimi, director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, said the aim was to exploit the worsening crisis in Iraq and to revive debate in the UK about British foreign policy. Abdel Bari-Atwan, editor of Al Quds, a London-based Arabic newspaper, said "When they show this tape with Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking o­n the same tape they would like to confirm that they are behind the London bombings and to say to those people who doubt this 'You are not telling the truth. We recruited them and we groomed them.'" MI5 and the police have found no evidence of outside involvement in the bombings and they do not believe the video conclusively proves the operation was run directly by al-Qaeda.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON is deeply unhappy with the country's energy policy: "We've had 30 years to do some things we haven't done," she said. "In fact we've gotten, we've gone backwards in many respects." Doesn't that 30 years cover the Clinton Administration? Sen. Clinton also accused oil companies of manipulating energy markets to enhance profits. She has no evidence of this yet, but given her expertise o­n the subject of manipulating commodity markets, people would be well-advised to listen.

IS HILLARY CLINTON POLLING HERSELF? The New York Observer seems to think so.

WHO'DA THOUGHT A LAP DANCE is an offer you can't refuse?

WE CO-EXISTED WITH NEANDERTHALS for at least 1,000 years, according to a new study. When did we stop?

CANE TOADS love the nightlife, they've got to boogie -- which is their downfall.

PIGS are scaring seagulls at a duck club. And you get a free o­ne when you buy a luxury holiday home in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds. BTW, I recommend the Cotswolds; if you are in the neighborhood, check out Wordsworth's pad and the estate of Beatrix Potter.

GIANT POUCHED RATS are detecting landmines in Africa.

WATCH OUT, YOU MIGHT GET WHAT YOU'RE AFTER: A German woman burned down the house by trying to kill spiders in a garage with a can of hairspray and a cigarette lighter.

DOG saves his owner from jumping off a bridge.

CATS: Scientists are studying catnip-sensitivity.

ANIMAL HOARDING: Seventy cats and a ton of trash in Marietta, GA.

Read full article: 'The Spinto Band, RT, Maximo Park, Katrina Leskanitch and Animal Stories'
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A little good news for Labor Day   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, September 05, 2005 - 08:33 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

ALLEN TOUSSAINT, pianist, arranger and songwriter of songs ranging from "Working In A Coal Mine" to "Whipped Cream" (the Herb Alpert hit also used as the theme for The Dating Game), Dr. Johnís "Right Place, Wrong Time" and Labelleís "Lady Marmalade," made it out of New Orleans and is now in NYC. "When I get the signal that it's OK to go back, I'll pick up the rubbish and start fresh."

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HURRICANE UPDATE: ALEX CHILTON PROBABLY ALIVE   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, September 02, 2005 - 10:04 PM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

ALEX CHILTON, of the Box Tops and Big Star, stayed in New Orleans and survived the storm, but has not been heard from since the levees broke. I'll be watching Chilton's Yahoo group and the missing persons board at the Times-Picayune for further updates.

In the meantime, here's a new Nashville Scene article reviewing Rob Jovanovicís Big Star: The Life, Painful Death, and Unexpected Resurrection of the Kings of Power Pop and previewing the upcoming Big Star album, In Space.

SUNDAY 4:30 PM CDT UPDATE: A report placed Chilton at his bar on Wednesday, talking about leaving town has now been corroborated. The people at his Yahoo group note that he has difficulty remembering phone numbers -- even those of his family -- which may explain (along with spotty phone service around the city) why no one has heard from him since.

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Fats Domino, R.L. Burnside, Acme Products and the Silence of the Goats   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, September 02, 2005 - 08:30 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE LONG WEEKEND STARTS HERE...

...WITH FATS DOMINO, who was among the thousands of New Orleans residents plucked from rising floodwaters. He had been missing after telling his manager he would "ride out the storm" in New Orleans. New Orleansís "Queen of Soul" Irma Thomas escaped to the home of her aunt in Baton Rouge. Allen Toussaint, who -- among many achievements -- wrote "Lady Marmalade" and the all-too-appropos "Right Place, Wrong Time," was o­ne of the 25,000 people holed up at the New Orleans Superdome hoping to get o­n a bus for Houstonís Astrodome. The Neville family is safe, but most of their homes are destroyed. Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner is anxiously watching television, hoping to see if his house in New Orleans escaped the destruction. Dave should get o­n the Internet and check the satellite photo.

IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT N.O. and musicians, of course. The L.A. Times has a photo gallery from Mississippi that has some mind-boggling stuff.

GIVE! Multiple telethons are scheduled for tonight and (probably) Tuesday, with Jerry Lewis pledging $1 million from this weekend's MDA telethon to disaster relief. Corporations are contributing millions of dollars. FEMA has links to major relief groups; Instapundit has a slew of links to bloggers and their adopted charity groups. Some, such as the McCormick Tribune Foundation Hurricane Katrina Relief Campaign, are matching or partially matching donations. My fave may be the hard rock radio station in Houston that was playing any request -- including Don Ho -- for every hundred dollar donation.

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: Connexions.

R.L. BURNSIDE, the late bloomer of the Delta Blues, has passed away at 78. Though Mississippi Fred McDowell taught him to play in Chicago in the 1940s, and he performed in local bars for decades, he didn't really turn pro until he was 65. Burnside was popular with a number of younger acts, including the Beastie Boys and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. He had been in declining health since heart surgery in 1999, and died in a Memphis hospital.

TED LEO's cover of "I'm Looking Through You" from the forthcoming Rubber Soul tribute album has leaked o­nto the 'net. YANP is killing music.

TALKING HEADS: A fan site is killing music with a remix of "Take Me To The River." But how could it top Pate's cover version?

TREY ANASTASIO seemingly drinks like a Phish.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer's website is named after bala chadha -- a slang term for crack cocaine.

THE KAISER CHIEFS are good boys.

CBGB has been asked to leave the building, but will not go without a fight. Well over 1,000 photos from the benefit concerts -- including pics of Blondie, Flipper, Steve Van Zandt, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, the Chesterfield Kings and more --- are tagged at Flickr.

TEENAGE FANCLUB: The band's appearance o­n KEXP last month is now available for streaming.

GREG DULLI, formerly of Afghan Whigs, has a podcast promoting his newest effort with the Twilight Singers.

BRITNEY SPEARS: When not busy dreaming up names for her baby sure to provoke abuse from his peers, she's praying for the hurricane victims in her home state. That's nice, but a prayer and a check would be better, wouldn't it?

TERRORIST SITCOM supposedly hilarious, but no o­ne wants to produce it. Who'da thunkit?

LONDON BOMBING: The suspected ringleader of the July 7th attack warned of more strikes in a pre-death video that included praise for the bombings from al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri. London's Times reports that the bomber blamed Britainís role in the invasion of Iraq for homegrown terror, but Zawahiri is quoted by Reuters as saying, "We have repeated again and again, and here we are warning o­ne more time -- all those who took part in the aggression o­n Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, we will respond in kind."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: Constant styling for a quick succession of roles was causing her hair to fall out.

THE MOHAWK: Now that Natalie Portman and four-year-old Maddox Jolie are sporting it, the punk haircut has gone mainstream.

STACY'S MOM thinks she's too tall to be a leading lady, given the height of most leading men.

MICHAEL YON, the Ernie Pyle of the Iraq war, is interviewed by the Boston Herald.

LOST: I suppose it's tough to suspend disbelief o­n ABC's island drama when naked female fans swim into the scene.

SoCAL TERROR PLOT: A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted four men ó including the alleged leader of a radical Islamist prison gang ó accusing them of plotting a string of terrorist attacks o­n U.S. military facilities and synagogues in Southern California.

MADONNA was back to work after her horse accident, shooting a commercial in London for the Motorola iPod phone; Iggy Pop and other musicians will be doing ads also. Raconteur Camille Pagilia saw Madge's horse accident coming, just by looking at the cover of Vogue.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Some think that the woman who made Cruise appear sane for many years, Pat Kingsley, has taken Brooke Shields as a client as a dig at Cruise, who criticized Shields' advocacy of anti-depressants to treat post-partum depression. Kingsley's people deny this, which is what any good PR person would do.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie plans to sue the Sun over reports her adopted daughter Zahara is not an orphan. No mention of the suit o­n Zahara's blog yet.

SIENNA MILLER is again rumored to be pregnant by Jude Law.

THE ACME PRODUCTS CATALOG is online. From Bat-Man Outfits to Rocket Powered Roller Skates, Acme really has it all.

HURRICANE POLITICS: There are a few people, such as Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News, who couldn't wait until those killed by Katrina are buried to claim that Bush budget cuts caused the catastrophe. However, The New York Times -- hardly a tool of the Bush Administration -- reports (try bugmenot or tuan12, 123456): (1) the current levees were designed to hold back a hurricane at Category 3 o­n the five-step intensity scale, but Katrina was at the high end of Category 4; (2) the primary breech happened at a spot "that, if anything, had received more attention and shoring up than many other spots in the region;" and (3) a new system that would withstand a Category 5 hurricane was just entering the planning stages. The actual completion of such a system would take at least a decade. Not to mention that the cost of Iraq is off-budget. This is probably why I heard Sen. Democratic Whip Dick Durbin say on the radio Thursday night that he hoped we would not get into this sort of argument. UPDATE: As some people cannot resist playing the blame game in the middle of a disaster, I'm going to vent a little more on this at the "Read More" link at the bottom of this entry.

TARA REID really wants to play a role like Pretty Woman or the Patricia Arquette role in True Romance. Which is to say she wants to play someone who has sex for money. Has she forgotten that she played Bunny Lebowski?

BIANCA JAGGER is not a big fan of America, according to Jack Baxter, a New York filmmaker who was partially paralyzed in a suicide bombing in an Israeli cafť. I don't think that's news, though someone actually challenging her o­n it may be.

SCARLETT JOHANNSON finds Woody Allen sexier than boyfriend Josh Hartnett. She's doing her second movie with Allen and given the history of women who do more than o­ne movie with him, Soon-Yi ought to be thinking.

IRANIAN PRESIDENT has terrorist ties, but will be given a visa to come to the U.N. The linked ABC News story, after noting that an investigation uncovered no evidence to prove he had any role in the 1979 hostage crisis, writes: "Evidence or no evidence, the legal finding says the Iranian president has terrorist ties." The folks at ABC apparently don't know or don't care that he has been implicated in the 1989 execution-style slayings of an Iranian Kurdish leader and two associates in Vienna, among other things.

CULT OF THE iPod: Folks with iPods tend to be creators and influencers of consumer-generated media.

DROWNING GIRL saved by a computer.

NANOTECH: Nanospheres could help dentists fill the tiny holes in our teeth that make them incredibly sensitive, and that cause severe pain for millions of adults and children worldwide.

A QUICK ONE: Amber Taylor is thinking of calling her new kitten Ivor, the Dirty Old Sooty Engine Driver, but now seems to be leaning toward "Snape."

OTHER CATS are surviving a 15-story fall and burning down a house.

DOGS are getting rescued from Hurricane Katrina.

SILENCE OF THE GOATS: Plucky girl saves a goat from being eaten. When she grows up, she will become an FBI agent, in hopes of stopping that awful screaming of the goats...

THE GOAT SUCKER: Is a Texas television station desperate for ratings or is there something behind the legend of the Chupacabra?

PYTHON ATTACKS SLEEPING CHILD: A 12-year-old boy awoke to an unpleasant surprise this week when a python bit him in his bed. The Rodriguez family recently moved into their northwest Fresno, CA home and doesn't own a snake.

WOLVES are being kept as pets by an Italian minister who told authorities to feel free to come and investigate as he always needed "fresh meat." The minister used to keep a tiger, but had to get rid of it because it ate a dog.

Read full article: 'Fats Domino, R.L. Burnside, Acme Products and the Silence of the Goats'
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Dungen, Lucinda Williams, Echo & the Bunnymen, Freaky Fish   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

HURRICANE KATRINA: Terry Teachout and Our Girl in Chicago continued to update their extensive round-up of Katrina-related links. For o­ngoing blog coverage, try N.Z. Bear's aggregator. Wonkette notices something strange about the captions for Associate Press stories about looting in New Orleans. The Mudville Gazette, a gung-ho Milblog, posts an extensive piece o­n NORTHCOM and coordinated military aid efforts. The world reacted with an outpouring of compassion Wednesday for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, but Islamic extremists rejoiced in America's misfortune, giving the storm a military rank and declaring in Internet chatter that "Private" Katrina had joined the global jihad.

DUNGEN frontman Gustav Ejstes talks to PopMatters about the good reaction to the band's ta det lugnt: "I'm pretty amazed over all this of course, because I'm doing it in a language which I suppose no o­ne understands. Of course it's great getting appreciated as a musician, though." He also translates the title, which wouldn't go down well at Wal-Mart.

WHO'S LEFT is recording a new version of "My Generation" with McFly to promote HMVís digital download site when it launches o­n Monday.

NEIL YOUNG: You can now stream "The Painter," from his upcoming Prairie Wind album.

COURTNEY LOVE is allegedly claiming to be pregnant again. I think this will be sorted out in a few months.

CBGB: Its lease should have expired by the time you read this, but the venerable nightclub has gained NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg as an ally.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer has hired a prisonmate to join Babyshambles. o­n-again, off-again galpal Kate Moss was caught canoodling with Bodyrockers frontman Kaz James in Ibiza.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS may have a new album out in early 2006 and a second volume of live stuff to boot.

THE BETA BAND were o­nly a month away from the dole when the group finished.

ANDRE 3000 of OutKast, named "sexiest male vegetarian" last year by PETA, plans to make endangered gray wolf tails the must-have accessory from his upcoming clothing line.

ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN: The band's upcoming Siberia can now be streamed from Scenestars. Have they picked up where your precious Echo left off?

WHITHER THE ALBUM? Warner Music's decision to launch an e-label featuring packages of three songs sparks positive and negative feedback debating the merit of the album concept.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN will be discussed by academics at a conference devoted to the star. More than 150 papers are being presented at the symposium at Monmouth University in New Jersey, starting September 9th. Discussions will include "A Marxist Perspective o­n Darkness o­n the Edge of Town" and "The Boss and the Bible."

MINUTEMEN: The Mpls. City Pages reviews the We Jam Econo documentary.

BLUEGRASS: Alison Krauss and Union Station led the nominations from the International Bluegrass Music Association, with 14. The Nashville City Paper has complete list of noms, natch. My personal fave, the Del McCoury Band, got at least five noms and has dominated the awards over the past decade or so. The band also just got a a nice write-up for The Company We Keep in Paste Magazine.

BRIAN WILSON talks to The Onion's A.V. Club about SMiLE and is more honest about the problem drug abuse became o­n the original effort than many of his friends and colleagues from the era. Probably doesn't know how to spin things in his current state.

JOHNNY ROTTEN takes aim at Bono and Bob Geldof. Maybe Lydon could form a band with Russell Crowe...

GOTHS AND CHAVS go to war in Peterborough, as distinctive and implacably opposed to each other as the rival gangs of mods and rockers in the 1960s.

AFGHANISTAN is getting its own Oprah-type show. The station said in a statement that the new chat show would examine topics affecting women, such as education, changing social norms, marriage, leadership, motherhood and physical and mental health.

JESSICA ALBA wants to be President because she fantasizes about dominating a room full of men. Ahem. Maybe she can start by replacing Geena Davis in Commander In Chief and wearing those chaps from Sin City.

JENNIFER GARNER: If you ask her for a nibble from o­ne of her biscuits, know what you're getting yourself into.

DENNIS HOPPER comes out of the closet (try bugmenot, toves67@yahoo.com, toves67). It's not what you think; it's even more shocking.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SHOES: Tara Reid books an extra hotel room for hers. But Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell feels guilty that she owns a mere 60 pairs. The Manolo, his world must be in turmoil this day!

IRAQ: Panicked by rumors of a suicide bomber, thousands of Shiite pilgrims broke into a stampede o­n a bridge during a religious procession Wednesday, crushing o­ne another or plunging 30 feet into the muddy Tigris river. About 800 died, mostly women and children. World leaders offered their condolences, though my favorite was Iranian President Ahmadinejad proposing the establishment of a regional trio to fight terrorism -- comprised of Iraq, Iran and Syria.

WEST DES MOINES public school students were given a promo flier for a dance studio run by a man who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault after being accused of briefly caressing the buttocks of a 17-year-old female dance student.

JESSICA SIMPSON and hubby Nick Lachey seemed to exude all the warmth of liquid nitrogen -- and Jessica's wedding ring was conspicuously missing -- as they walked the red carpet at an MTV VMA party last weekend. Bet that won't stop them from wrecking "America the Beautiful" as part of the NFL's tribute to 9/11 o­n the opening day of football season. I'd rather have Jamie Foxx channel Ray Charles for that. For that matter, I think Ray could still do a better job.

LOHAN LOWDOWN: La Lohan claims feud with Hillary Duff continues after sister Haylie Duff hung up o­n Lohan's olive-branch phone call.

KATHLEEN TURNER is separating from her husband. The blurb notes that Turner is "known for her hard-partying ways," which would explain why she now sounds like Marge's sisters from The Simpsons.

JON STEWART and The Daily Show's executive producer, Ben Karlin, talk to Wired about a new model of television and new media, but manage to be funny anyway.

KING KONG VS. THE PIRATES OF THE MULTIPLEX: Pegged to Peter Jackson's remake of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, C|Net reprints an examination of professional movie piracy, which appears to be a bigger threat to the industry than filesharing.

GRETCHEN MOL is starring in The Notorious Bettie Page. Don't know how I missed that!

IRAQ II: Maj. Joe Leahy, who studied engineering at Iowa State University, is a civil engineer with the 20th Engineer Brigade of the Army National Guard, and has been stationed at Camp Victory, outside of Baghdad, since November 2004. Maj. Leahy tells a local paper in Missouri about combining combat and reconstruction: "One thing we've got to understand is that it's not going to happen tomorrow, but we are doing something that's getting better everyday."

GOOGLE: Some fear the company is becoming the next Microsoft (though mostly it seems to be competing with the current Microsoft). Nevertheless, French president Jacques Chirac yesterday pledged to help fund a new European internet search engine to rival Google and Yahoo as he railed against what he sees as the threat of Anglo-Saxon cultural imperialism: "We're engaged in a global competition for technological supremacy. In France, in Europe, it's our power that's at stake."

CELLPHONE CANCER RISK: So far, so good.

NANOTECH may give you the wall-crawling abilities of Spider-Man. Research scientists at Georgia Tech have built nano-scale detectors so sensitive that they will be capable of spotting individual cancer cells. But how do scientists see the nano-scale objects they are trying to study? In the future, they may use a golden bowtie nanoantenna.

THE FIRST "MR. ROGERS SCHOLARSHIP" is awarded, making some young person feel very special.

CHE GUEVARA: His family is trying to contol the rampant commercialization of his image. What would Alanis Morissette say?

GIANT VENOMOUS CENTIPEDE from South America somehow turned up in a London apartment.

TREE KANGAROO: "Jumpy" has evaded capture for four days after escaping from his owners in Bavaria, Germany.

ROBOT DOGS monitor your diet.

LAB RODENTS my be replaced by freaky fluorescent fish that can show the impact of experimental drugs o­n cancerous tumors.

THE GREAT APES are endangered, prompting a summit in the Congo.

A MONKEY dressed in blue pants ran away from the circus, but is returned before the troupe left town. No word o­n whether the naughty monkey was spanked.

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