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Art Brut, Ted Leo, Cutout Bin, The Dark Knight, Moose!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 18, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...with ART BRUT!  Courtesy of Moshcam, their debut at the Factory Theater in Sydney, Australia opens with a triple-blast of "Formed A Band," "Bad Weekend" and "Bang Bang Rock & Roll" before venturing into material from their second album. including "Pump Up The Volume," which is not a cover, btw.  But staples from their debut, including "Moving to L.A.," "Emily Kane" and "My Little Brother" appear later in the set.

APPLES IN STEREO bassis Eric Allen talks with Lumino about the band's summer tour, and with the Cedar Rapids Gazette about the "Colbert Effect." (Thx, LHB.)

TED LEO plays a new song and a Waterboys cover for the Bryant Park Project, before his performance at New York's River to River Festival.

RONNIE WOOD is in rehab, but his wife has fled England, amid reports that the Rolling Stones guitarist remains smitten enough with a a 20-year-old Russian waitress that he was going to try and sneak a mobile phone into rehab so they could still send kisses to each other.

THE MORNING BENDERS do the five free songs thing for Daytrotter, two previously unreleased (one of which is a Ronettes cover).

RADIOHEAD has made a video for "House of Cards" using lasers instead of cameras... and the band is soliciting interactive remixes using their computer code. Here's the "making of" video.

RAY DAVIES is well-respected by the Portland Mercury: "Let's face it: The man is a living legend-the chief songwriter behind the Kinks, simultaneously one of the biggest bands of all time and one of the most underrated..."

THE HOLD STEADY guitarist Tad Kubler vents a little to the National Post about the leak of the Stay Positive album: "And you spend a lot of time on the quality of the sound and mastering, and then people are out there listening to really sh!tty BitTorrent files that are corrupted and out of phase. And that's not how you want people experiencing your record. So it's frustrating, but it is what it is..."

NICK CAVE talks to the Telegraph about his compulsion to write.

CUTOUT BIN: From the Dead Milkmen to Linda Ronstadt, ftom the Aerovons to the Zombies, from the Sex Pistols to the Beautiful South, from Rush to the Pogues and more -- this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed separately via the Pate page at the ol' HM.

THE DARK KNIGHT was as good as or better than Batman Begins -- in its own way.  The talk about Heath Ledger getting a posthumous Oscar nomination seems like a stretch to me, but Ledger does give a fine performance, transcending Jack Nicholson's 1989 star turn as the Joker.  Ledger's Joker is filled with the true psychpathology and terror this script demanded. Terror is key here, as director Christopher Nolan raises some very contemporary themes in the movie, though not in a didactic way, which is as it should be.  Some may find that Gotham City resembles Chicago too much in this sequel, in the sense that it is far less stylized than the Gotham of Batman Begins -- no futuristic train or specially dressed sets like the Narrows.  But I found it to be a good fit with the nature of this film.  Nolan and Maggie Gyllenhaal do whhat they can to make Rachel Dawes more than a damsel in distress, though they did not sell me on her relationship with Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent enough early in the film to get the full impact the movietries to draw from it.  Perhaps I should fault Eckhart, who I have liked in some roles, but who never seemed to define Dent.  Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine do their usual things with the smaller roles they get here, though Freeman gets a particularly choice scene.  Gary Oldman also excels, though he could probably excel reading the phonebook.  The Dark Knight is critic-proof, which makes it all the better that it is as satisfying as it is.  BONUS: Scientific American explains, "Why Batman Could Exist--But Not for Long."

NOW SHOWING:  In addition to The Dark Knight, currently scoring 94 on the ol' Tomatometer, this weekend's wide-releases are counter-programming the Bat -- Mamma Mia! is currently scoring 48 percent and Space Chimps is scoring 25 percent.

BEN AFFLECK & JEN GARNER pregnancy rumors are getting louder.

ASHLEE SIMPSON & PETE WENTZ reportedly are expecting a baby girl

LINDSAY LOHAN & SAMANTHA RONSON get the thumb's up from Sam's brother, producer Mark Ronson.

DENISE RICHARDS went to court Thursday morning, asking the custody judge for an emergency order restricting Charlie Sheen's access to their kids. The judge, who's sitting in for the regular judge on the case who is on vacation, put the matter off until Monday.

MENA SUVARI is set to wed music producer Simone Sestito. She was previously married to cinematographer Robert Brinkmann, whom she divorced over three years ago.

WHERE ARE THE WILD THINGS?  Something has gone very wrong with "Where the Wild Things Are," the much-anticipated Spike Jonze adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book.

THE EMMY NOMINEES are led by 30 Rock and Mad Men, with 17 and 16 nods, respectively. That Mad Men -- an under-watched new drama on AMC (which was running no other series at the time) -- tops the dramtic noms is pretty impressive. Sarah Silverman's "I'm F****** Matt Damon" is up for the gold in the category of outstanding original music and lyrics. Silverman's video -- and her now ex-bf Jimmy Kimmel's response -- were both nominated for editing.

THE WATCHMEN teaser trailer that appears in front of The Dark Knight is now online, set to "The End is the Beginning is the End," by the Smashing Pumpkins.

ISLAMISM in the UK: The Times of London looks at "The hidden face of political Islamism."

THE STANS: Despite growing pressure on Pakistan to quell Islamic militancy, jihadist groups within its borders are, in fact, increasing their cooperation to attack US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, according to interviews with a wide range of militants, intelligence officials and military officers.

IRAQ: The New York Times has a balanced and interesting article on how Iraqis view proposals to get US troops out of Iraq. With violence in Iraq at its lowest level in four years and the war in Afghanistan at a peak, some US troops (mostly on their first tours) want to go where the fighting is.  It is still one of the most dangerous places in the world, but officials are determined to persuade tourists to return to the war-torn country.

MOOSE FAMILY has summer fun with the sprinkler -- hey, who doesn't?

A MISSOURI LAWSUIT alleges that Wal-Mart, local health officials and Cox Health Systems discriminated against a woman and her monkey. Everybody's got something to hide?

THE BIRDS are after the vicar of St Petroc's Church, in Bodmin, Cornwall.

GULLIVER the CAT travelled 300 miles from Scotland to Yorkshire on the radiator of a bus. Cute cat, too.

A GREY SHARK found with a hooked pole used to haul big fish on to boats wedged in his mouth was rescued and restored to health by divers off the Aussie coast.

1243 Reads

She & Him, U2, Foo Fighters, Puppies' lullaby   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 17, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

SHE & HIM drop their first video, for "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" Playful and morbid.

THE JAYHAWKS are getting the band back together, with a production assist from Black Crowe Chris Robinson.

U2 is streaming the deluxe reissues of its first three albums over at iMeem.

THE MORNING BENDERS are putting out a covers EP; 3hive is streaming the band's take on The Crystals' "He's A Rebel," while MOKB has their take on Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion."

RONNIE WOOD has entered rehab for a drinking problem, following British newspaper reports that he had been spending time at his Irish retreat with a young Russian cocktail waitress.

FOO FIGHTERS & GAZ COOMBES (Supergrass) rock out on "Bargain" in a preview clip from the VH1 Who tribute.

THE HOLD STEADY guitarist Tad Kubler is profiled in Madison's Capitol Times, with a bit about his side gig as a fashion photographer. Really.

THE HEADLIGHTS, from Champaign, IL, play Brooklyn's Union Hall in a short video segment for the Bryant Park Project.

FEIST tells Denver's Westword she is taking a break after six years of touring, and adds a bit about re-doing her hit for Sesame Street: "In a way, I was so sick to death of '1234' at that point," she admits. "It was such an amazing, cathartic release to have the song turned into a song for kids, which is what, in essence, it turned out to be in reality, too. So many people came up to me and said, 'My three-year-old can't stop singing it!'"

RON SEXSMITH talks to Paste about his new album, singing, songwriting and the biz: " I remember my last record, Time Being. Trying to get a label was ridiculous. They'd say, "We love Ron, but we can't sell his records." One label said they'd quit signing people over the age of 24. It's an interesting at this time to see where it's going..."

ANDY DICK was arrested early Wednesday morning in the parking lot near a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Murrieta, Calif. on suspicion of drug possession and sexual battery.

JESSICA ALBA rolls out the baby pics for OK! magazine.

NICOLE KIDMAN said she would never think of selling pictures of her daughter -- but maybe the price wasn't right.

A-ROD's teammates must wish they could divorce him too. "He's become a huge distraction with the Madonna fiasco," a source told Page Six.

JUSTIN LONG & KIRSTEN DUNST were spotted looking cozy in New York City early Wednesday morning.

THE SPIRIT now has an exclusive trailer posted at Yahoo! Movies. It's loaded with starlets, btw.

THE DARK KNIGHT: Maggie Gyllenhaal talks to The A.V. Club about why she jumped from new motherhood into the sort of big action movie she would normally never do.

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS: Quentin Tarantino is pitching Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio on his long-delayed WWII pic.

THE STANS: US troops in Afghanistan massed close to the border Tuesday for a possible attack on al-Qaeda and Taleban bases in the lawless North Waziristan tribal belt in Pakistan.

IRAQ hopes to have security control of all its provinces by the year-end, the national security adviser said on Wednesday, though I think we've heard that before.  Iraq did take control of security in the Shiite province of Diwaniyah on Wednesday, making it the 10th province to be regained by Baghdad from the US-led forces amid a fall in violence nationwide. The US military says it has arrested a key bombing suspect who was trained by Iranians.

GOODNIGHT, SWEETHEARTS: Doo-Wop puts the puppies to sleep in a hurry.

GREATEST AMERICAN DOG, a canine-centric reality show in which pets and their owners compete for 250K by doing things that dogs don't ordinarily do, hauled in an impressive 9.5 million viewers for its premiere last week.

A SCHOOL of CATFISH were spotted "walking" through a Florida neighborhood, shocking homeowners who said they've never seen anything like it. Pics, video at the link.

A BEAR did some window-shopping at Circuit City in Colorado Springs, but left without purchasing anything.  Pics, security video at the link.

CAMELS cause a traffic jam in Austria after escaping from a nearby circus.

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Baseball Project, Aerovons, R.E.M., Koala cheats death   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE BASEBALL PROJECT impressed Letterman last week with "Past Time," the lead-off track from their new album.  It's an All-Star lineup.

THE DEAD MILKMEN will reunite to headline an evening during the Fun Fun Fun Festival being held November 8 and 9 at Waterloo Park in Austin, TX.

THE AEROVONS, in all of their Beatle-esque glory, are blurbed with streaming tracks at WFMU. Totally gear.

RUSH will be appearing on The Colbert Report tonight. Alert Craig O'Neill.

THE FLAMING LIPS: Wayne Coyne talks to the newly-launched The Quietus about the band's next LP: "Some of it sounds like John Lennon, but if he got together with Miles Davis and they went back in time, but there was a supercomputer that they could figure out how to work!"

R.E.M. goes C.G.I. for the new clip of "Man-Sized Wreath," premiering at Spinner.

LYKKE LI is profiled in the Times of London, with a video link. Interesting comments on Portugal and Sweden also.

BODIES OF WATER does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter. Languid and jammy.

CROOKED FINGERS is going direct to retail with the upcoming Forfeit/Fortune album. Eric Bachmann tells Billboard: "We realized that we could sell a fraction of the number of copies the last albums sold and still be more profitable if we decided not to sign a label or distribution deal."

BEN & JERRY & ELTON: Hello, Yellow Brickle Road.

SIENNA MILLER has been caught frolicking in the nude with married father of four Balthazar Getty - but don't call her a homewrecker.

MADONNA is "loving" the attention she's getting from the Alex Rodriguez scandal, friends said - and as of Sunday, she was reportedly planning to cheering him on her close friend at last night's All-Star game at Yankee Stadium.  Her rep denied it.

LINDSAY LOHAN is making all the right moves in satisfying her DUI probation requirement -- including a trip to the morgue.

GYLLENSPOON: Jake has to play by the rules at Reese's house.

UMA THURMAN pregnant... or just a little overweight?

DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG, a 'net musical created by Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly) and starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day, is a site-crashing success.  You can try to watch Act I on the new server.

MEGAN FOX was forced to gain 10 pounds in three weeks for her role in the second "Transformers" movie following a dramatic and dangerous weight loss for her last film, "Jennifer's Body."

DAVID LEE ROTH impersonator identified by the Ontario Provincial Police.

IRAN: A top US diplomat will for the first time join colleagues from other world powers in meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, according to the AP.

IRAQ: AQI conducted a successful dual suicide attack on an Army recruiting center in Baqubah as the Iraqi military is preparing to launch a new offensive in Diyala province. More than 250 new lieutenants joined the Iraqi Army and Air Force after graduating from the Iraqi Military Academy Rustamiyah July, 14. Parliament failed to approve a draft provincial elections law on Tuesday because of disagreement over what to do about voting in the disputed oil city of Kirkuk.

"LUCKY GRILLS," a male koala, cheated death after being hit by a car at 100 kmh (about 60 mph) and dragged with his head jammed through the vehicle grill for 12 kms (about 7 miles) by an unwitting motorist north of Brisbane.  Let's go to the video.

MIRACLE KITTY "EDISON" survives a suspected microwave cooking.

A CHEEKY RAM is certainly not the black sheep of the family after he made himself at home in his rescuer's house.  Pics at the link.

ORPHANED WHITE TIGER CUBS are bottle-fed at a German zoo.  Awww...some pics at the link.

GREAT WHITE SHARK turns up dead on a beach near Sheep Pond Road in Nantucket. A second reported sighting turned out to be a hoax... or so they say.  What say you, Police Chief Brody?

1039 Reads

Feist!, New Releases, Throw Me... Koala Bears   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

FEIST comes to play "1 2 3 4" on Sesame Street.  Four is one less than five, one more than three.

NEW RELEASES: The Hold Steady, Black Kids, BadReligion, Little Jackie, John Mellencamp and more are streaming in full this week via Spinner. Wire releases Object 47. The Del Fuegos reissue their first three albums.

THE HOLD STEADY is profiled by Joshua Ferris for New York magazine and by Michaelangelo Matos for Salon.

THROW ME THE STATUE does the three free songs thing for Daytrotter. Fab light pop for a summer's day.

GUNS N' ROSES plans to put out a new song in September - on the video game Rock Band 2. The inclusion of the song on a game suggests that the Guns N' Roses album "Chinese Democracy" will come out this fall, after years of delays.  And we will all get our free can of Dr. Pepper.

OTTER (featuring Friend of Pate Scott Jasper) will be playing the Progressive at 118 Hayward in Ames tonight at 8:30, if you're in town....

CAT STEVENS performs energetic versions of both "The Wind" and "Moonshadow" in a single clip from 1976, just so for Twofer Tuesday.

OF MONTREAL frontman Kevin Barnes talks to YANP's Matt Jordan about the band's upcoming album.

THE MIXTAPE: Don't call it a comeback. "Nowadays, any old Casanova can whip off six CD burns in a night for six different girls. Where does that leave the nerds of the world, who once, at least, had the advantage of elite musical knowledge and a social life barren enough to put in the time and effort required to select, compile and record the tracks for a cassette tape? *** Mix tapes can also have mass appeal. The genres of mix tape are many and varied, though the most common is the courtship tape and its corollary, the break-up tape... There's the walking tape, the summer tape, the dance party tape."

THE JAMES BROWN COLLECTION: Place your bids at Christies.  BONUS: USA Today covers the rock memorabilia market.

 THE BEATLES come to the iPod... but only 100 of them.

JIMMY KIMMEL & SARAH SILVERMAN have called it quits after five years of dating, by mutual agreement. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were unavailable for comment.

WILL & JADA PINKETT SMITH apparently have an open marriage,

JENNIFER LOPEZ & MARC ANTHONY are going through nanines like cocktail peanuts. J-Lo also apparently insists on dressing her five-month-old twins in new designer gear every day.

MADONNA's estranged brother, Christopher Ciccone, characterized her husband, Guy Ritchie, as a homophobe who destroyed Ciccone's close relationship with his sister. Ciccone also said that his "controlling" star sister is beginning to "crack" under the pressure of turning 50 and is struggling to maintain her choreographed, mythological image. Video and a book excert at the link.  AdAge's Bonnie Fuller claims Madge has just proven once again that she is the No. 1 marketer in the nation, maybe even in the world.

MISS USA Crystle Stewart stumbled over her gown and toppled over at the Miss Universe pageant. It was the second year in a row that a Miss USA has fallen over at the contest. Pics and video at the link.

THE DARK KNIGHT: New York magazine film critic David Edelstein is public enemy number one after publishing the first negative review of the much-anticipated and lauded The Dark Knight. Batman fans and fellow critics are firing back, saying he just didn't "get" the film.  The New Yorker's David Denby has since delivered a negative review; I'm aware of others not yet in print.  However, it's stil scoring 88 percent at RottenTomatoes at the moment.

JESSICA SIMSPON stepped out with Tony Romo, dressed like a pr0n star.  Which is not great, but probably better than if Romo dressed that way.

HEF'S HAREM HOSTILE? Rumors are swirling about the discontent brewing in the Playboy manse between Hugh Hefner's youngest "girlfriend," Kendra Wilkinson and his other ladies, Bridget Marquardt and Holly Madison.

PERIL AT PARAMOUNT?  The studio is denying the financing crisis detailed in tomorrow's Financial Times.  The paper claims Paramount was forced to suspend plans for a 450 million dollar film financing that would have funded up to 30 films, including possible blockbusters such as the sequel to Transformers and the new version of Star Trek.

IRAN: Pres. Ahmadinejad said on state TV that he would again go to New York to attend this year's UN General Assembly session. The regime arrested two student leaders after massive protests that were held last week, on the 9th anniversary of the most widespread and violent public protests since the early years of the Iranian Revolution.

IRAQ: Prime Minister Maliki may not support a timetable for withdrawal of US troops after all.  Their national-security adviser,  Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, emphasized that the Iraqi government wants broad, general "timeline horizons," depending on the readiness of the Iraqi security forces. Iraq and the US have agreed on most points of the joint cooperation agreement.  Baghdad is going solar to improve security and relaibility. Seventy insurgents surrendered to US forces in Baiji. An Iraqi SWAT team detained two Special Groups operatives during raids in Hillah and Al Kut.

LIKE A BULL crashing a pool party.  Exactly like that, actually.

AN AFRICAN LION is loose near Colorado Springs -- or it's a big dog. Hard to tell, really.

JUMPING THE SHARK jumps the shark. BONUS: Leave the sharks, take the cannoli.

JANOSCH the CAT climbed unnoticed into an open box and was shipped 700 km in the parcel across Germany but emerged from the journey unscathed.

BISEXUAL KOALA ORGIES, and other tales from the Wid Kingdom.

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The Hold Steady, Faces, BTO, Bored Kangaroo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 14, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE HOLD STEADY play a 5-song set for The interface. Craig Finn and Tad Kubler talk to the Wall Street Journal about tracks on the Stay Positive album that officially comes out tomorrow; audio clips at the link.  Finn also talks to Gothamist about the album, having a higher profile, and more...

THE FACES -- minus the late Ronnie Lane -- are reportedly reuniting for a tour, and possibly an album.  Ian McLagan tells the BBC: "I think what we'd probably do is a couple of gigs in London and then there's talk of some in America. I think we should do Austin to rock Austin. I don't care about LA but I mean Chicago and Detroit - they made the Faces."  Guitarist Ronnie Wood may be looking to get out of the house now that he's fallen for an 18-year-old Russian waitress.

XPoNENTIAL MUSIC FEST gigs from artists like Alejandro Escovedo and Beth Orton should be streaming on demand via NPR by the time you read this.

THE SUB POP SINGLES CLUB: The Return of the Return of Khan.

PATRICK PARK does the four free songs thing for Daytrotter, which calls them "examples of finding the most silent and yet prevailing tragedy of low self-worth and convoluted identity (no real, honest place in the world to call one's own) and trying to straighten those things out with grit and a notion."

BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE: "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet."  Because it's summer. Plus, cowbell.

SHE & HIM:  The lovely and talented Zooey Deschanel talks to the Guardian.

WYNTON & WILLIE talk to NPR's All Things Considered before an appearance on The Tonight Show.  Music tracks at the link also.

PATTI SMITH is interviewed by The New York Times about punk, poetry and family life.

LYLE LOVETT says he has "never made a dime" from album sales during his two-decade career, and hopes to rectify that situation when his contract with Curb/Universal expires.  I can't say I've ever heard an artist say something nice about Curb Records.

BRADGELINA: Jolie gave birth to twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline as unicorns pranced beneath rainbow-filled skies in Nice, France.

MAMA LYNN SPEARS talks to OK! magazine about how she's going to be there to help her 17-year-old's mothering skills.

NICOLE KIDMAN & KEITH URBAN buy a 4.7 million dollar pad in Beverly Hills; so much for getting grounded in Tennessee.

MILEY CYRUS seems to have had some quasi-jailbaity photos hacked from her iPhone.

DAVID LEE ROTH was not saved from an allergic reaction by highway cops; it was an imposter: "The only thing I'm allergic to is criticism."

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Hellboy II: The Golden Army takes the top slot with 35 million. This was right in line with tracking numbers, and suggests that the pic will make money in US theaters and will not have t wait to become a hit on DVD sales, as the original did (making 51 million there alone).  I saw it and enjoyed it, though I didn't fall in love with it, despite a fantastic musical moment I won't spoil. Hancock placed with 33 million, better than expected, given the strength of the July 4th numbers. Journey to the Center of the Earth came in third with 20 mill, knocking WALL-E into fourth with 18.5 mill.  After a big opener, the robot may fare worse overall in the US than some other Pixar pics, though international biz may make up for it (the sparse dialog helps overseas).  Wanted drops to fifth, but has already made back its production budget (if only Jolie had given birth on Friday!). Meet Dave flops, opening in seventh place. Get Smart breaks 100 mill; Indiana Jones breaks 300 mill.

MADONNA: The Daily Mail has excerpted her brother's tell-all book, including a lesbian liason with someone named Ingrid.

AMY WINEHOUSE: New video of apparent drug-taking.

JOSH BROLIN, JEFFREY WRIGHT and others filming Oliver Stone's "W" were arrested Saturday during a bar fight at a downtown Shreveport, LA.

THE DARK KNIGHT: Michael Caine predicts Heath Ledger will get a posthumous Oscar nod for his turn as the Joker.  Director Christopher Nolan tells the Telegraph why he thinks Ledger's performance will blow people away. Some gurus think the flick could make 130 million in its opening frame.

SIENNA MILLER was... wait for it... caught canoodling on camera with new boyfriend Balthazar Getty during a secret romantic break on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Some of the pics at the link are NSFW.

ISLAMISM in the UK: A BBC drama has triggered a barrage of complaints after it showed gruesome images of a Muslim being beheaded. The show sparked new claims of anti-Christian bias in BBC programs.

NORTH KOREA: The latest phase of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program ended Saturday with agreement on a timetable for North Korea to disable its nuclear facilities. Japan has refused to take part, saying Pyongyang must first resolve the issue of Japanese citizens abducted in the 1970s and 1980s.

IRAN: Popular Mechanics examines what an Israeli airstrike on Iran's nuclear facilities migh look like.  The Information Dissemination blog looks at international political signposts along the way to any attack that might come this autumn.  The Times of London claims that Pres. Bush has told the Israeli government that he may be prepared to approve a future military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if negotiations with Tehran break down.

IRAQ: US and Iraqi negotiators reprotedly have abandoned efforts to conclude a comprehensive agreement governing the long-term status of US troops in Iraq before the end of the Bush presidency. The Bush administration is considering the withdrawal of additional combat forces from Iraq beginning in September, according to administration and military officials, raising the prospect of a far more ambitious plan than expected only months ago.  ABCNews looks at the feasibility of withdrawing US combat brigades within 16 months (here's the video version).  The Iraqi gov't is handing out street money to rebuild basic services and jumpstart the economy by quickly distributing as much of the country's glut of oil revenue as possible.

PAY NO ATTENTION to that kangaroo behind the curtain!

DOGS are looking forward to the Olympics in China.

PET-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS are revieiwed by the London Telegraph.

INDIANA DAIRY FARM will be visited by state environmental officials this week as part of an effort to determine what is causing huge bubbles in the operation's manure lagoon.

AN AUSSIE SHARK was found in a swimming pool at one of Sydney's most popular beaches on Friday, apparently swept into the baths by a freak wave.

971 Reads

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