NEIL DIAMOND: A wise man once said, "There are two types of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't." I liked the earlier stuff and not the newer stuff, so the Newsweek piece calling his forthcoming, Rick Rubin-produced 12 Songs "the best work Diamond has done in 30 years," I filed it away in my bottomless pit of trivia. The album comes out tomorrow, but you can stream the whole thing at My Space, including the two bonus tracks that will appear on the Digipak edition -- one of which features Brian Wilson.
ANOTHER BEACH BOYS LAWSUIT: Greed and chutzpah combine in Mike Love's multi-million dollar claim that Brian Wilson, his cousin, promoted the 2004 release of Smile in a way that "shamelessly misappropriated Mike Love's songs, likeness and the Beach Boys trademark, as well as the Smile album itself." Love hated Smile and was one of the main reasons it wasn't finished 35 years ago (and a likely factor in Brian's meltdown). Love is griping about a newspaper giveaway of a Beach Boys comp CD, claiming millions in illicit profits. Because last year was supposed to be huge for another Beach Boys comp in England. Riiiiight.
THE SEX PISTOLS: Thirty years ago yesterday, the Sex Pistols played their debut gig at St Martins College of Art, on the Charing Cross Road in London; they were thrown off the stage after 20 minutes. Nevertheless, the college organised an evening commemorating the occasion, featuring films from punk's in-house cinematographer, Don Letts, various DJs, and performances from a handful of present-day groups -- alleged descendants of the Sex Pistols's anarchic spirit. ALSO: London's Independent talks to some who were at that first gig, including Pistols, future Vibrators and Adam Ant.
JEFF TWEEDY talks to Mlive.com about his freewheeling solo acoustic tour: "This way, I can do any of the 200 or so songs I've written over the years... and it allows me to change it around every night, which is also part of the appeal -- it'll be fun to just get up there without a firm set list.''
ROGER DALTREY comments on the McCartneys, Pete Townshend, Pete Doherty and more: "Paul acts like what is expected of him. I find it very strange - but it's how he deals with his life. Everything, though, becomes The Paul McCartney Show."
JACK WHITE confirms he has recorded a new song as an ad for Coca-Cola. Because he'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, natch: "To be asked to write something particular along one theme of love in a worldwide form that I'm not really used to appealed to me." ALSO: Jack has told fans he wants to be known as "Three Quid" while touring in the UK. Which is odd, but at least it's not "Two Sheds" or some unpronouncable symbol.
ART BRUT is profiled in a Village Voice piece that asks wheteher the band is "cooly uncool."
MILK 'N' COOKIES: The Village Voice also gave a good review to the reissue of this sorta glam, sorta powerpop outfit's self-titled album from the 1970s. The VV says they "sounded like the New York Dolls at times," Blog to Comm asks you to "imagine the perfect three-way bop between the Bay City Rollers, Sparks and the Ramones and you'll be halfway there." You can stream a tune from WFMU by clicking on the band's name at the link.
THE NATIONAL, a band I mentioned here Friday, is lauded by London's Independent as "The band who may just have made the year's best album." You can grab their MP3s to decide for yourself.
RILO KILEY lists what's on their iPod playlist.
BILLY IDOL is desperate for even more women to sate his desires.
U2 invited unsigned rockgrrls onstage in L.A. to cover "Out of Control." And got record execs interested.
GUIDED BY VOICES: Being There magazine provides a newcomer's guide to the band in the guise of an article about Robert Pollard. Those who have seen the band will enjoy the section entitled, "How To Spot Him."
THE ARCTIC MONKEYS are invading America for a few shows. Stereogum quotes the Pitchfork's delightfully snarky coverage: "There's hype and then there's HYPE. The Sheffield, England-based baby band Arctic Monkeys have somehow harnessed the power of the video iPod, Asian bird flu, the Arcade Fire, and Samuel Alito into one big blazing ball of buzz, resulting in mass hysteria and the UK-chart-topping debut of their second single ever, 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.'" Even the band can't stand the hype and has asked the press to tone it down. You can (and should) stream their hit and a few others from MySpace.
MY SPACE: Tere have been a few articles lately noting how it makes it easier for bands, but it should be noted that it also makes things easier for stalkers.
MY MORNING JACKET is profiled in Straight and drummer Patrick Hallahan talks to Glide about "dealing with loss and finding new treasures, kittens on fire and babies in a blender, staying true to mystery, pushing through, and understanding the value of both sonic and physical space."
KINKY FRIEDMAN is turning his campaign for Governor of Texas into a TV reality show.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS are profiled in Straight, including their closeted love of Guns N' Roses.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: London's Guardian sends a reporter to interview the troubled singer: "After 40 minutes or so, we are told that Doherty has tidied up and is ready to receive us. God knows what his room looked like before, because it's in a pretty shocking state now. Drug paraphernalia and CDs are scattered across the bed, and there are rows of blackened, broken miniature bottles of alcohol from which he has been smoking, a trunk full of junk, a motorcycle by the bed, and the words 'ROUGH TRADE' daubed on the wall in fresh, dripping blood..." He says Moss wants to get him into rehab. The shamed supermodel will be making her comeback with Cavalli. In another interview, Doherty says he's had hallucinations long before he got into drugs.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Chicken Little and Jarhead overcame marginal reviews to top the box office, though Jarhead's larger budget will be harder to recoup. I saw Shopgirl -- which also got borderline reviews -- and liked it, Clare danes' performance in particular. I think the movie's problem is that it does not fit neatly into any category -- it's not really a romantic comedy, nor is it a "serious" drama.
CLARE DANES and BILLY CRUDUP spend evenings with a trampoline and a trapeze.
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY is sexually aroused by food and the smell of suntan lotion. Well, alright, alright, alright...
MADONNA lashes out at the French Hotel for dabbling with Kabbalah: "People like Paris Hilton who come into a centre and buy a book or a band and that's it for them. It doesn't mean they study it."
JON FAVREAU is pushing maximum density.
WALK THE LINE: Joaquin Phoenix was doing just fine walking the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the Johnny Cash biopic until he asked a reporter, "Do I have a large frog in my hair?" ALSO: The new Cash comp entered The Billboard 200 at No. 11 -- the highest-debuting title of Cash's career.
LYLE LOVETT is engaged?
LEO DiCAPRIO may be a little rusty in the pick-up department after his split with longtime gal pal and Victoria's Secret supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
JUDE LAW and SIENNA MILLER were reunited by Health Ledger?
SEANN WILLIAM SCOTT, who will forever be known as Stifler, is finishing up Mr. Woodcock and will begin Cockblockers soon. Are we noticing a pattern here?
DENISE RICHARDS and CHARLIE SHEEN: Their once doomed marriage seems to have weathered the storm.
CAROLYN MURPHY: The 2005 SI Swimsuit Issue covergirl's sex tape has fallen into the hands of the Internet Commerce Group, which specializes in such things. But any deal to distribute it is contingent on the outcome of the Colin Farrell sex tape case, which could be resolved as early as next month.
GEORGE CLOONEY is denying a report that he got into a shoving match with a security guard outside a bar in London's West End... but he did get into an argument with someone being unkind to a woman.
BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie is having the tattoo of ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton's name removed from her arm: "I'll never be stupid enough to have a man's name tattooed on me again." George Clooney has previously denied rumors that Pitt and Jolie would get married at his Italian villa, but friends of his are getting married there soon.
VAUGNISTON: Jennifer Aniston's "Seven Things I’d Rather Talk About... Than the Men in (or Out) of My Life."
BOY GEORGE is rumored to be the latest celebrity to fall under the spell of the Kabbalah, after having a huge Star of David tattooed on his bald head.
MARIAH CAREY, having been given dozens of unwanted fur coats by a Russian tycoon, gave the coats to PETA for distribution to the homeless. As Page Six notes, "Here's hoping that animal-rights activists don't add to the homeless fur-wearers' woes by beating them up for donning the stoles."
ELLEN DeGENERES and PORTIA DE ROSSI are considering becoming first-time parents. Maybe right after Thanksgiving dinner?
FREE BLOMMER! Smells wafting from a the Blommer chocolate factory in Chicago might make mouths water, but the EPA says they also could violate the Clean Air Act. Even the Sierra Club thinks this is ridiculous. It appears to be the target of complaints due to gentrification in the area. Both Sylvia Hauser and I can attest that there is nothing like the smell of Blommer in the morning.
IRAQ: Five regional leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq were confirmed killed in an airstrike in Husaybah, while Iraqi Security forces designated for western Anbar are in training. When the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force returns to Anbar province in February, they will be bolstered by 18 battalions from the new Iraqi army, plus a large number of Iraqi police and border security forces. Training and mentoring Iraqi forces will be the Marines' primary mission, rather than directly confronting the insurgents. Iraqi Arab companies are seeding the formerly war-torn Kurdish region with boom towns. The road between Baghdad International Airport and the capital used to be the most dangerous highway in Iraq; in October, only one person was wounded on the road and no one was killed. In Mosul, Tikrit (Saddam's hometown) and even Baghdad, Iraqis celebrated the end of Ramadan with a sense of increasing security. Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, reports that there is an economic boom despite insurgent attacks and that the political situation is also better than it is depicted by critics.
IRAQ II: Bill Roggio has several posts on Operation Steel Cutrain, particularly in the context as a follow-on to the Anbar Campaign. He also looks at IEDs and snipers in Ramadi.
ANTIWAR MARINE Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey has been telling anybody who will listen about the atrocities that he and other Marines committed in Iraq. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that each of his claims is either demonstrably false or exaggerated.
PARIS RIOTS: Mayhem in the city continued unabated, spreading to the city center as rioting, clashes between police and rioters and arson escalated on Sunday, the 11th night of destruction. Police found a gasoline bomb-making factory in a derelict building south of Paris, as well as fuel stocks and hoods for hiding rioters' faces. With the shouting "Allu Akbar" and talking about waging "jihad," it was getting hard for the press to ignore the Muslim aspect of the riots. So there are now stories blaming the riots on discrimination against Muslims, noting that one of France's largest Islamic groups issued a fatwa against rioting and that Muslim "big brothers" are being called on to help quell the violence. So it's apparently okay to use the "M" word, so long Muslims are portrayed as the victims and heroes of the riots. I have no doubt that the French attitude towards its Muslim population is a factor here. However, the relationship is a two-way street. The press seems unwilling to report on the French government's own study showing the dramatic rise in Islamic extremism in France's Muslim ghettoes. The "big brothers" being called upon now may well be those enforcing strict Islamist codes of dress and behavior in these ghettoes... often violently against women with more modern attitudes.
DEERCAM: Researchers at the University of Missouri have mounted wireless video cameras on white-tailed deer because they think deer look really funny with video cameras on their heads. The National Science Foundation has awarded a million dollar grant for the work. The UM research team also plans to put footage from the deercams on a Web site.
DEER COLLISIONS: State Farm lists the top ten states, mostly in the Great Lakes region, but also including Texas and Georgia.
RED THE CAT becomes a millionaire.
UNLICENSED CAT lands a North Dakotan in jail.
BEES attack dozens of Baltimore schoolchildren; 40 were taken to the hospital as a precaution.
THE LOCH NESS MONSTER moved to China? That would explain why they never seem to be able to find it Scotland...
GOATS may become legal pets in Lake County, CA.
TWEETY BIRD rescued from a partially collapsed building by a robot built to disarm bombs.