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New Sun Sessions, New Releases, Elvis Costello, Monkey Mini-Biker   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

SUN STUDIO SESSIONS:  Grace Potter & the Nocturnals record "Mystery Train" to kick off a new series in which today's rising artists perform in the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and many other rock and roll greats recorded their first hits.

NEW RELEASES:  The Breeders, Man Man, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Tapes N' Tapes, The Long Blondes and more are streaming in full this week at Spinner.  Billy Bragg has a new album out, as does the fab Richard Swift.  I am also interested in checking out the album from Wye Oak, which is streaming in full via Merge.

LIZ PHAIR reviews Dean Wareham's book, "Black Postcards: A Rock & Roll Romance," for the NYT.

OK GO! frontman Damian Kulash Jr. has an op-ed about "net neutrality" in the NYT, in which he wonders "if Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner sit around arguing who was listening to Vampire Weekend first."

FEIST may have been shut out at the grammys, but she dominated the Juno Awards.

ELVIS COSTELLO and friends do a majestic cover of "Pretty Flamingo" at the Montreux Jazz Festival.  Add an alternative version of "I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea" with The Attractions on TOTP, and you have twofer Tuesday.

MIGHTY MAX WEINBERG gives the Orange County Register an insider's tour of life on E Street.

NADA SURF stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream on demand via MPR.

NELLIE McKAY tells the Mpls Star-Trib that "interviews should be vague" and plays cat-and-mouse with the interviewer.

MUSIC MAGS DIE:  Billboard collects reax to the recent passing of Harp, Resonance and No Depression magazines.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise has been asked to be godfather to J-Lo and Marc Anthony's babies.  Will he settle all Scientology business?

NICOLE KIDMAN & KEITH URBAN bought a seven million dollar home just down the road from Kidman's ex Tom Cruise in L.A.'s Brentwood neighborhood, the Los Angeles Times reports.

BEYONCE & JAY-Z's WEDDING:  Apparetnly, you could not bring guns into the church.

WOODY HARRELSON & OWEN WILSON skinny-dipping?  Sorry, gals; Wilson kept his trunks on.

PAM ANDERSON will star in an "observational documentary series" that promises to present an intimate portrait of the mother and actress.  Someone is trying hard not to call this a "reality show."

BRADGELINA:  Pittmania reigned at Sunday night's taping for Fox's second annual American Idol Gives Back special, making talking impossible.

MADONNA & GUY RITCHIE will adopt a child from -- (throws dart) -- India!  Madge gave up on her attempt to find a little girl in Africa after getting frustrated with red tape.

DREW BARRYMORE was looking a bit unrehabbed leaving a West Hollywood club Sunday night.

PRINCESS DIANA died because of the gross negligence of the driver, Henri Paul, and the paparazzi, an inquest jury has found.

IRAQ:  Newsweek reports that despite a spate of early grim assessments of Basra in the US media, US military observers on the ground in Iraq are more sanguine, according to retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a long-time critic of the war.  Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia has held on to its weapons and much of its turf. But Iraqi forces appear to be largely in control of the city and its ports, and Basra is still mostly calm. Even more important, the Iraqi security forces have remained mostly intact.  Prime Minister al-Maliki has warned that Moqtada al-Sadr will be banned from participating in the country's political process unless he disbands his militias.  The Mahdi Army says it will voluntarily disband if Shia scholars advise al-Sadr to do so.  Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is already on record as supporting government attempts to disarm the country's sectarian militias.

MONKEY RIDES MINI-BIKE:  Let's go to the video!

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Militant squirrels recruited a rat to take down the grid in Stockholm.

A WOLF and a GOAT have become unlikely sweethearts after sharing a cage together at a Chinese park.  Pic at the link.

THE SHEEP of TURIN:  Doing the jobs Italians just won't do.

RAISE YOUR HANDS... and step away from the hedgehog.

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Joe Jackson, Tapes N' Tapes, Jens Lekman, Rex & Roo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, April 07, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

JOE JACKSON did a set mixing new tracks with old faves at the World Cafe, streaming on demand via NPR.  Joe is still The Man, in a good way.

BILLY BRAGG talked with the New York Times about what he's listening to now.

TAPES N' TAPES stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.

GNARLS BARKLEY talk about defying expectations in a profile for the L.A. Times.

MYSPACE struck a deal with three of the four major music companies to start a music website.

Vote for Pedro

PROCOL HARUM Gary Brooker on Friday sorta won his court battle over royalty rights to the band's most famous hit, the 1967 song "A Whiter Shade of Pale."  In 2006 London's High Court awarded former keyboard player Matthew Fisher 40 percent of the copyright of the track.  On appeal, John Mummery said that, while Fisher should be credited with co-authorship of the seminal track, the fact that it took him 38 years to take the case to court meant he should not benefit financially.

GEORGIE JAMES:  John Davis talks to Fredricksburg.com about the band's influences and moving from the drums to the guitar.  The drummer always wants to be the guitar player.  Jon Pratt's daughters should ask him about this.

JENS LEKMAN performs and takes questions from listeners about his work and his influences on NPR's Talk of the Nation.

THE ROLLING STONES get a primer to their body of work (w/plenty of streaming audio) at The A.V. Club.

LILY ALLEN has stepped down as a judge on the Orange Prize (a women's literary award), the organisers have confirmed.

CHARLTON HESTON, the Oscar-winning actor who achieved stardom playing larger-than-life figures including Moses, Michelangelo and Andrew Jackson, and gained another generation of fans as the hero of dystopian sci-fi classics like "Planet of the Apes" (1968), "The Omega Man" (1971) and "Soylent Green" (1973), died at 84.  Heston, who fought for freedom and civil rights throughout his life, was one of the last American movie stars.

BEYONCE & JAY-Z got hitched over the weekend, according to People magazine.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: 21 cashes in for a second weekend with 15.1 million as the three new releases -- Leatherheads, Mim's Island and The Ruins -- all underperformed.  Universal had been hopeful that Leatherheads would rake in the high teens and with luck even 20 million, rather than 13.4 million on its 60 million budget.  George Clooney continues to prove he cannot open a move big as the main draw.  Shine A Light, the Rolling Stones concert shot by Scorsese, opened in 15th place, but had the highest per-screen average.

RENEE ZELLEWEGER told Letterman Thursday night that she will be calling her therapist over Tracy Ullman's impression of her.  But the box office returns for Leatherheads may have jumped to the top of the list since then.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Cruise isn't getting any giggles from a new strain of medical marijuana being marketed as "Tom Cruise Purple."  One weed devotee said, "I heard it's the kind of pot that makes you hallucinate."

SHAKIRA may have a threesome tape, but it is being held by the prosecutors evaluating the case against Carlos González and his wife, Sylvia Alzate, who are accused of extortion against the artist.  People en Español released an article citing that both artists' agencies have denied the existence of such a tape.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, Britney's knocked-up sister, turned 17 years old over the weekend.

CAMERON DIAZ has fallen for the obvious charms of buff Scottish actor Gerard Butler ("300"). The duo were caught looking cozy at L.A.'s Shutters Hotel last week.

LINDSAY LOHAN:  Don't call it a comeback... yet.  But analysts think she could be on the right track toward becoming big business again, or at least more respected.

EVANGELINE LILLY & DOMINIC MONAGHAN had Lost that lovin' feelin', but are reportedly back together, according to the ever-reliable Star magazine.

THE McCARTNEYS:  The ubre-reliable News of the World has nude pics of Heather Mills from 1991, while reporting that Sir Paul is dating three women.  His main squeeze, Nancy Shevell, was spotted spending some dough at Stella McCartney's boutique, while Heather Mills goes redhead, according to the Daily Mail.  BONUS:  Sir Paul writes about his late wife Linda for the Times of London.

AFGHANISTAN:  In public, NATO is demanding that all allies contribute their fair share to the ongoing effort in Afghanistan. But behind closed doors, a paper has been circulated that may provide the beginnings of an exit strategy. Germany is pushing the plan.

IRAN is again urging OPEC members to form a joint bank and stop pricing oil trades in US dollars.  The Basij, the volunteer paramilitary wing of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, is organizing battlefield tours at a week-long camp for the young dedicated to martyrdom and patriotism.

IRAQ:  Bill Roggio looks at the Iraqi gov't asssault on the mahdi Army in Basra, finding that the plan was rushed by Prime Minister al-Maliki and included a brigade of raw recruits just out of training (which may account for the four percent desertion rate).  Gen. Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, is expected to tell Congress this week that Iranian forces were involved in the recent battle for Basra.  PM al-Maliki's faltering crackdown on Shiite militants has won the backing of Sunni Arab and Kurdish parties that fear both the powerful sectarian militias and the effects of failure on Iraq's fragile government.  The political council of national security, which comprises the president, the prime minister and the heads of political blocs in parliament, issued a 15-point statement calling on all parties to disband their militias before provincial elections this year, an apparent attempt to isolate Moqtada al-Sadr.  With the Sadr bloc politically isolated, the US and Iraqi military launched a fresh raid on Sadr City, its main Baghdad fiefdom, triggering heavy fighting.  Militiamen loyal to al-Sadr have been positioning explosives to defend the major routes into Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood in anticipation of a major battle with US and Iraqi government forces.

REX the POINTER adopted a four-month-old joey after a road accident killed the mother kangaroo.  More awww...some pics at the link.

POLAR BEARS are not going extinct, according to the only peer-reviewed paper on polar bear population forecasting that has been accepted for publication in an academic journal.  Three scientists audited the government studies commissioned studies to support the listing of polar bears as a threatened or endangered species, to assess whether they were consistent with forecasting principles -- concluding that they were not.

A CAMA is a cross between a llama and a camel; there was only one in existence, but now there are four.

HEY, IS THAT A BOA CONSTRICTOR in your pants?  Must be, since you're a woman.

A DEAD GATOR caused a tractor trailer to topple on southbound Okeechobee Road in Miami.

TONY the CHIMP was killed in a police standoff at the the University of Texas, Austin.

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Beat Farmers, Wilco, Ting Tings, Cutout Bin, Albino Croc   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, April 04, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...with THE BEAT FARMERS!  Performing at the 1988 CMA Awards and introduced by no less than classic MTV VJ Martha Quinn, Part 1 includes "Ridin'" and "Riverside." Part 2 includes "There She Goes Again" (L. Reed) "Lucille" (K. Rogers)(profanity) and "Happy Boy."  Part 3 features "Bigger Stones" and "Hollywood Hills."

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED:  New tracks from Colin Meloy, DeVotchKa and Man Man are among those featured in the latest edition of the NPR staple.

WILCO:  The band's Sky Blue Sky outtake, "Glad It's Over," is on the Heroes soundtrack available only at Best Buy, but you can stream it via the ol' HM.

ELVIS COSTELLO will host a new talk/music series that will air on CTV in Canada, the Sundance Channel in the US, and Channel 4 in the UK, starting in December.

NELLIE McKAY composes a new song, "Cavendish," for NPR's Project Song feature.

THE BEATLES:  Apple Corps Limited and Fuego Entertainment, Inc. struck an agreement filed in Miami federal court that requires Fuego to halt plans to release eight song recordings featuring Ringo Starr on drums as a Beatle for the first time at a German club in 1962.

THE TING TINGS have new video for "That's Not My Name," with a bit of a "Hey, Mickey!" bump to it.

FEEDBACK:  New software for sound engineers promises to make feedback a thing of the past -- but should it?

BRYAN SCARY did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter, including a previously unreleased track.

EVANGELICALS, currently touring with Headlights, answer five questions for Muzzle of Bees.

NADA SURF frontman Matthew Caws talks to NewCity Chicago about carrying on after the success of "Popular" threatened to relegate the band to one-hit wonder status: "Some of it was just an ill-advised perseverance, in that I just didn't want to get another job...I'm really lucky that music worked out."  Drummer Ira Elliot talks to NOW Toronto about chilling out.

APRIL 4:  A shot rings out in the Memphis sky.

THE CUTOUT BIN: From Black Flag to the Black Hollies, from Labelle to Chris Bell, from Cheap Trick to Fairport Convention to Urge Overkill covering Neil Diamond, this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM.

JERRY SEINFELD cheated death in the Hamptons when the brakes on his 1967 Fiat BTM failed and the car flipped over.  Miraculously, the comic walked away "without a scratch," wife Jessica told The NY Post. The accident was chalked up to mechanical failure. Seinfeld had not been drinking and no summonses were issued, Sarris said.  Newman!

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases are the family adventure Nim's Island, which is currently scoring 52 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; George Clooney's screwball football comedy Leatherheads, which is also scoring 52 percent; and the unscreened horror flick The Ruins.  Shine A Light, Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones concert doc, opens on 276 screens with an 86 percent rating.

NAOMI CAMPBELL was arrested at Heathrow Airport after allegedly spitting at a police officer.  The supermodel was hauled away "ranting and screaming" from her flight at Terminal Five after a row over a lost bag.

BOBBY BROWN is suggesting that Whitney Houston drove him into a nightmare of drug addiction.  Houston's rep issued a high-road non-denial.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills is househunting in NYC's Greenwich Village, where apartments range in price from 900K for a studio apartment to 12 million four-bedroom penthouses.

BRADGELINA:  In Touch exclusively reveals photos shot by Sean McCall of a beautiful 16-year-old Angelina Jolie posing for a sensual modeling shoot.  Meanwhile, Pitt has dropped his publicist on the advice of Jolie, who has never used a publicist, preferring to manipulate the media on her own.

ANNE HATHAWAY's boyfriend Raffaelo Follieri was popped by the NYPD for bouncing a 250K check.

IRAN:  China has betrayed one its closest allies by providing the UN with intelligence on Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear technology, diplomats have revealed.  China denies the report, natch.  Diplomats say Iran has assembled hundreds of advanced machines in an attempt to speed up a process in its nuclear program that can produce both fuel for power plants and the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

IRAQ:  The NYT covers the pluses and minuses of the Iraqi gov't operation against Shiite militias in Basra.  A thousand or so desertions has to be a minus, though that was only 4 percent of the Iraqi troops in the fight.  Muqtada al-Sadr has hinted at retaliation if Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government does not immediately stop arresting his followers.  OTOH, al-Sadr has offered to help purge Iraqi security forces of militia members.  Meanwhile, the US is making progress in Diyala province.

WHITIE is one of only ten albino alligators and crocodiles in the world.  More pics at the link.

A COURAGEOUS HUSBAND jumped on a crocodile and poked it in the eyes to rescue his wife from its crushing jaws.

WOMAN BITES DOG to save her dog.  She may have rabies.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  Sorry, not wearing underpants is just part of their psy-ops.

OCTOPUSES live in a kinky and violent society of jealous murders, gender subterfuge and once-in-a-lifetime sex.

11091 Reads

Cat Power, Elf Power, Foals, Marmosets   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, April 03, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

CAT POWER sings "Metal Heart" for Letterman, who does not want to let go of her hand afterward.  The man is a dawg.

JENS LEKMAN talks to The A.V. Club about songwriting and to DC's Express about romanticism and touring.

THE FOALS are advance streaming their Antidotes album via MuchMusic.

ELF POWER frontman Andrew Rieger talks to the Charleston City Paper about the band's new 13-song album In a Cave, as well as some of the band's influences: "I feel like we have our influences. We have an original sound, but I'm not going to deny that we're inspired by people like T. Rex, Robert Wyatt, Brian Eno, and others."  Free MP3s at the link, and you can stream a bunch via ElfSpace at the moment.

EMI, hit by artist defections and general industry malaise, has hired one of Google Inc.'s top engineers to help turn the label around.  "It's a bold move, very exciting," an industry veteran said. "The question is, why did he say yes?"

CAJUN DANCE PARTY has dropped the video for "The Race," the propulsive single from their debut LP, The Colourful Life, due Aprl 28th.

KRISTIN HERSH did the four free songs thing for Daytrotter.

EXTRA INNINGS:  Yesterday, after I linked to some baseball-related folk-rock, I find that Hidden Track has linked to Yo La Tengo's cover of "Meet The Mets" and the Hold Steady's cover of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame"

INGRID MICHAELSON, whose songs have been featured on Grey's Anatomy and Old Navy commercials, stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set you can stream via MPR.

TAPES 'N TAPES talk to Drowned In Sound about the delicate balance involved in making their sophomore LP, Walk It Off.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  Normally, I would find OK! magazine's story about her slim-down secrets to be boring, but it turns out that one of those secrets is slapping a picture from 2003 on the cover of OK! magazine.

JAMIE LYNN SPEARS, Britney's 16-year-old knocked-up sister, is making plans for her dream shotgun wedding.

EVA MENDES is taking some "me time" off after spending several weeks in rehab.

JANE FONDA turned up at the afterparty for "Smart People" on Monday with a new boyfriend -- Lynden Gillis, who met her when he asked her for an autograph at a book signing.

CHRISTINA RICCI wants Jessica Biel's butt, which makes it pretty much unanimous.

HEATH LEDGER:  A Perth woman said to be the mother of the late actor's love child and her current husband have given an extraordinary interview to a Western Australian newspaper, in which she declined to answer direct questions about whether Heath was the father and refused to have any part of a DNA test suggestion.

ORLANDO BLOOM was snapped cozying up to Jennifer Ansiton (again) at a star-studded party that fornd the former Pirate of the Caribbean surrounded by a bevy of beauties, including Desperate Housewives' star Eva Longoria and Aniston's best Friend Courteney Cox.

ROGER EBERT returns to the movie beat after recovering from his most recent cancer surgery.

MACHETE -- one of the faux films previewed in the trailers included with the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse double-feature -- looks set to be made into a direct-to-DVD flick directed by Robert Rodriguez.

BOTOX may move from the face to the brain, which explains a fair portion of celebrity news items.

MADONNA has given an extraordinarily candid magazine interview to Elle magazine about her "amazing" sex life with director Guy Ritchie in a bid to finally put to bed persistent rumours about the state of her marriage.  So I'm going with "methinks she doth protest too much," just to mess with ol' Madge.  She also tells the mag that she is following in the footsteps of Oprah with plans to build a girls' school in Africa.

MIDEAST MYSTERY: Israel has admitted for the first time that an air strike in Syria last year was aimed at a nuclear facility built with assistance from North Korea. The Japanese daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun cited sources at the Japanese foreign ministry for its report of a meeting between Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of Israel, and Yasuo Fukuda, his Japanese opposite number.  "While we cannot confirm the facts, the fact that such an assertion was made at an official occasion such as a summit meeting is significant, making it highly credible," said one foreign ministry official.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS remains the world's leading source of money for Al Qaeda and other extremist networks and has failed to take key steps requested by US officials to stem the flow, the Bush administration's top financial counter-terrorism official said Tuesday.

AL QAEDA No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri responded to criticism Wednesday about the organization's notoriously brutal tactics, maintaining that it does not kill innocents, in hour-and-a half-long audio response to questions submitted to the terror group on extremist websites.

IRAQ:  The Iraqi military has continued to target Mahdi Army elements in Basra, Baghdad and southern Iraq, but the government is now referring to them as "criminal elements" -- a move apparently urged by Gen. Petraeus, according to a Colonel in Baghdad, who is otherwise mostly critical of the Iraqi gov't.  Austin Bay, a retired Col. from the US Army Reserve who served in Iraq in 2004, sees the episode as a short-term triumph for Moqtada al-Sadr, but part of a war of political attrition.  Meir Javedanfar notes that al-Sadr decided to publicly condemn the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei as part of the intra-Shia conflict playing out now.  At the Counterterrorism Blog, Andrew Cochran is more pessimistic, comparing the situation to Hezbollah in its defensive standoff in Lebanon in 2006 against the Israelis.

MARMOSETS were swept up in Colarado's latest crackdown on illegal immigrants.  Apparently, they are doing the jobs American monkeys just will not do.

DOGS are doing doga at yoga studios in DC, including the "chair" pose and the "downward-facing human" stretch.

CANE TOAD UPDATE:  An Australian politician on Wednesday proposed designating a special day for residents to hunt and kill the poisonous cane toad population that has hopped amok since the 1930s.

THE PET WHISPERER: Clare Metcalf talks to the animals and says they talk to her.

PET HOARDING:  Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources seized seven rattlesnakes, a gaboon viper, a king cobra, an iguana, two monitor lizards, two alligators, a boa constrictor and a python from a Frankfort home while the owner was at a hospital having fingers amputated after a snakebite.

4291 Reads

More New Releases, She & Him, Baseball Season, Wild Croc   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, April 02, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl

Karl

R.E.M. played 30 Rock on the Today Show.  Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin of the Venus 3 join Stipe, Buck and Mills.  Scott & Peter get caught bouncing during "Supernatural Superserious."

THE SPECIALS are reuniting with dignity.

MORE NEW RELEASES:  The new Apples In Stereo is streaming in full via Yep Roc.  Paste magazine is streaming the album from Color Revolt.  (Thx, LHB.)

PITCHFORK TV has revealed its first week's programming schedule, including The Pixies, Liars, Man Man, Jay Reatard, The Thermals, Robyn, and more...

SHE & HIM:  Fresh Air features an interview with Zooey Deschanel plus tracks from her album with M Ward, steaming via NPR.

THE BREEDERS:  The Deal sisters talk to MTV about their rural roots and songwriting.

THE PROCLAIMERS are turning to reality TV to find a third member.  Although the third member won't have to be Scottish, he will have to look like the near-identical twins, and must be able to pull off a passable Fife accent.  No word on whether contestants will have to walk 500 miles.

U2 inked a 12-year deal with Live Nation Artists that includes worldwide touring, merchandising, and the band's U2.com Web site. The deal, however, is not a true 360-degree pact, as there is no publishing component and the band retains its relationship with Universal Music to release music.

BASEBALL SEASON has brought much press about the Chicago Cubs' 100-year drought and a feature of the late Steve Goodman performing "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request" from the Bryant Park Project.  I am still more partial to the Mountain Goats' "Cubs In Five."

LIZ PHAIR has signed a new record deal with ATO, the first fruit of which will be a reissue of her classic 1993 debut, "Exile in Guyville," with four previously unreleased audio tracks and a DVD documentary about the album's genesis.

HARP MAGAZINE gets an obituary of sorts at Idolator.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Roger Friedman writes that Cruise's public grovel to Paramount mogul Sumner Redstone would indicate that the actor knows just how bad Cruise's "Valkyrie" is and that he's trying to shore up his future before the eye patch hits the fan this fall.

JOHN CUSACK:  A woman who showed up Sunday outside the actor's Malibu home -- despite a restraining order barring her from approaching the actor -- was arrested on suspicion of stalking, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said Monday.  However, a year ago, the same woman was arrested outside the Beverly Hills home of Tom Cruise, also on suspicion of violating a restraining order.  Nothing screams "B-List" like getting a hand-me-down stalker from Tom Cruise.

BEYONCE KNOWLES & JAY-Z have taken out a marriage license in Scarsdale, NY, according to People magazine.

JAY LENO has apologized for teasing Ryan Phillippe for landing his first role as a gay teen on the soap One Life to Live. He also asked Phillippe to give the camera his "gayest look."

MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY says JENNIFER GARNER is like Mary Poppins, with a magic bag that carries everything but duct tape.

KATE HUDSON & OWEN WILSON are reportedly apartment hunting in NYC and looking to move in together as soon as Owen is done filming "Marley and Me" with Jennifer Aniston.

BRITNEY SPEARS has turned to a familiar face for help -- on-again, off-again manager Larry Rudolph, at the behest of her dad-conservator Jamie, according to OK! magazine.

THE DEPARTED is being made into a TV series for HBO.  Will the mob boss be played by James Gandolfini?

JACK NICHOLSON was snapped frolicking in the surf on the Caribbean island of St Bart's, showing that the paparazzi are willing to embarrass anyone, not just young starlets with a few extra pounds.

MIKE MYERS' upcoming movie, The Love Guru, is under fire from some in the Hindu community.  Based on what I have heard, it will face much greater fire from those who pay to see it.

DITA VON TEESE, burlesque queen and ex-wife to marilyn Manson, was interviewed in Sunday's New York Times Magazine.  But it took London's Sun to reveal her hardcore past, including some corporal punishment and girl-on-girl action.  Of course, The Sun is not always accurate, but the censored (but still NSFW) and uncensored (and very, very NSFW) movie stills do seem to support the claims in the tabloid.  Call it Extremely Gratuitous Wednesday.

CARTOON JIHAD:  Dr. Wafa Sultan has been forced to go into hiding with her family following a fatwa from an Islamic scholar, according to Omedia. Sultan faces the fatwa following a recent debate on Al-Jazeera in which she challenged Egyptian Islamist Talat Rheim over Dutch cartoons of Mohammed, who Muslims revere as a prophet. Sultan argued that Denmark had the right to print the cartoons.

TERROR IN THE US:  A South Jersey man swept up in the alleged plot to attack Fort Dix was sentenced to 20 months in prison on weapons charges.  Agron Abdullahu of Buena Vista Township was the only one of the six men arrested last year not charged with conspiring to kill US soldiers.  But US District Judge Robert Kugler acknowledged that this was more than a garden-variety gun case and deserved a sentence to match. The term he imposed was twice as long as the sentence Abdullahu sought and four months longer than the maximum term recommended by federal probation officials.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS:  A young Saudi Arabian woman was murdered by her father for chatting on the social network site Facebook, it has emerged.

AFGHANISTAN:  The house of Parliament passed a resolution Monday seeking to bar TV programs from showing dancing and other practices deemed un-Islamic.  The resolution, which is not now legally binding and cannot be enforced, will go before the upper house of Parliament for consideration. It would also have to be approved by the president before becoming law.

IRAQ:  Michael J. Totten has a two-parter on the liberation of Karmah -- a small city between Fallujah and Baghdad: "So many Stateside Americans still wonder aloud why mainstream Muslims refuse to stand up to terrorists, so apparently the story in Karmah - which is hardly unique to Karmah - isn't familiar enough..."  Wired's Danger Room hypothesizes that Moqtada al-Sadr was in league with Prime Minister al-Maliki to target the "rogue" Mahdi units who are operating as renegades in Basra and elsewhere, but that does not really square with reports that Iran pressured al-Sadr into declaring a ceasefire, because that would further expose the Iranian-backed splinter groups.

A 9-FT CROCODILE was chased and collared on US 441 in Florida.  Video at the link, but my favorite part is John Law's arrival on the scene: ''This is the Broward's Sheriff's Office,'' a deputy said into a bullhorn. ``Get back into the canal!''

THE DWARF CROCODILE that was stolen from a Norwegian aquarium has been returned and is recovering from its ordeal, which included having its mouth taped shut, the aquarium director said Tuesday.

ALCOHOLIC RATS cheer scientific breakthrough.

MALE DOLPHINS flash bling to pull the chicks.

POLAR BEAR SIGHTINGS are up around Newfoundland and Labrador coastal communities in Canada.  Even stranger, the reporter managed to avoid blaming global warming.

THE FLYING PENGUINS of the BBC, from April Fool's Day, icymi.

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