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Spoon, New Releases, 3 O'Clock, Dancing Walrus   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SPOON has a new video for "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," a song that still puts up the hair on the back of my neck.

NEW RELEASES:  New albums from The B-52s, Destroyer, DeVotchKa, the Dodos and more are streaming in full this week via Spinner.  Zooey Deschanel and M Ward, a/k/a She & Him, are streaming via Merge, as is the multi-disc anthology from Big Dipper.

THE FIVE FACES of LOU REED, courtesy of The A.V. Club.

SxSW REDUX: Largehearted Boy (of course) is compiling a comprehensive list of streaming and downloadble sets from the Austin fest.

THE BREEDERS:  Kim Deal talks to Harp magazine about working with her sister.

THE THREE O'CLOCK:  It's a trippy Twofer Tuesday with "I Go Wild" and "Jet Fighter."  BONUS: "Her Head's Revolving."  Just because.

R.E.M.  Idolator has an advance review of Accelerate: "Anyone who is expecting a 2008 version of Life's Rich Pageant will be sorely disappointed, but Accelerate's certainly a solid modern rock album, and probably will fall near the top of the bottom third of their catalog, if you're into ranking those sort of things..."

STATE of the INDUSTRY:  Like most purveyors of media, music labels are flailing about for a new business model -- but they do not want to give it away on blogs.

ABBA:  A former drummer for the Swedish pop band was found dead with cuts to his neck in the garden of his house on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Police said Monday an autopsy showed it was an accident.

TUPAC SHAKUR:  I don't normally cover the hppedy-hop much, but The L.A. Times has a lengthy, gripping piece on the rapper's 1994 shooting: "Now, newly discovered information, including interviews with people who were at the studio that night, lends credence to Shakur's insistence that associates of rap impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs were behind the assault. Their alleged motives: to punish Shakur for disrespecting them and rejecting their business overtures and, not incidentally, to curry favor with Combs..."

BRITNEY SPEARS is getting advice and support from Mel Gibson.  No, really.  Former confidante Sam Lutfi has agreed to stay away from the pop wreck for another month, according to People magazine.  It appears the deal was struck as a way of warding off a courtroom confrontation with Spears's parents over the TRO against Lutfi.  And Spears was ordered by a court commissioner Monday to pay Fed-Ex 375K to cover his attorney fees in their child-custody dispute.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills said she was "very, very happy" with her 48.6 million dollar divorce settlement, but will appeal, after launching a non-stop rant on the steps of the High Court against Sir Paul, the judge and McCartney's lawyer Fiona Shackleton.

GEORGE CLOONEY has reportedly agreed to be godfather to Nicole Kidman's baby.  Both Clooney and Kidman are notoriously hostile to the paparazzi, so perhaps this will be their chance to settle all family business.

BRADGELINA:  Pitt met with former President Bill Clinton and hundreds of volunteers in the Lower 9th Ward of N'awlins on Sunday at the site where a foundation headed by Pitt plans to begin building affordable homes for Hurricane Katrina victims.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but Larry Birkhead has just testified in the Bahamas in the inquest involving the death of her son that Daniel used to steal the supermodel's Methadone.

CHARLIE SHEEN may have been another Client of "Kristen."

WILL & JADA PINKETT SMITH are the new celebrity faces of Scientology? The case is made in "Scientology Under Siege," Radar magazine's April cover story.  Courtney Hazlett notes that d espite a fervent denial from Smith's rep, sources close to Smith earlier told MSNBC that the actor definitely is becoming a member of the religion.  The NYDN previously reported that Smith gave the crew of next summer's comedy "Hancock" a card good for a personality test at your local Scientology center as a "wrap" gift.

HARRY POTTER and the DEATHLY CANCER:  Daniel Radcliffe has recently been smoking up to 20 cigarettes a day, according to the ever-reliable Sun.

HEAVY METAL:  Director David Fincher wants a reutrn-trip ticket to midnight.

ENCHANTED comes out on DVD today; it's full of Disney-fied Easter eggs.

PAUL GIAMATTI talks to the Philadelphia Daily News about starring in the new HBO mini-series John Adams, the debut of which I fully enjoyed.  "Most people have thought of John Adams and many still think of him as a rich, Boston blue blood," author John McCullough said. "A cold Puritan. And he was none of those."  If you want to catch up on Eps. 1 & 2, here is the full schedule.

KRISTIN DAVIS may be giving a whole new meaning to shooting "Sex in the City" on video.  (pretty darn close to NSFW, btw.)  If that is not Davis, it is a remarkable resemblance.  Either way, it's a Very Gratuitous Tuesday.

CREEPY GNOME terrorizes the town of General Guemes, in the province of Salta, Argentina.  Video at the link.

TIBET:  Protests against Chinese rule in Tibet culminated Friday when Tibetans attacked ethnic Chinese and torched their shops in Lhasa, the region's capital. Tibet's governor, Champa Phuntsok, said 16 people were killed and dozens injured. Unconfirmed reports from Tibetan exile groups put the death toll at 80.  Witnesses say Lhasa had been turned into a war zone, with both sides suffering casualties.  Both the Chinese and the radical protesters are angry with the Dalai Lama.  The Chinese government is restricting foreign journalists from entering Tibet and neighboring areas; CNN, the BBC, Google News, Yahoo and YouTube have been blocked or have faced temporary blackouts or service disruptions in some parts of China.  The UN Security Council will likely keep silent about China's crackdown, mostly due to worries that provoking Beijing would accomplish nothing, diplomats said on Monday.

PAKISTAN:  The newly-elected parliament convened Monday and within minutes, it was apparent that the session in the coming days will devolve into a showdown between the newly-elected lawmakers and beleaguered President Pervez Musharraf.

IRAQ:  A new national poll by ABC News, the BBC, ARD German TV and the Japanese broadcaster NHK finds 55 percent of Iraqis say things in their own lives are going well, well up from 39 percent as recently as August. More, 62 percent, rate local security positively, up 19 points. And the number who expect conditions nationally to improve in the year ahead has doubled, to 46 percent.  The number of Iraqis who feel entirely unsafe in their own area has dropped by two-thirds, to 10 percent. With Sunni Arab buy-in, US-funded Awakening Councils, are more popular than the Iraqi government itself.  Just under half of Iraqis now have confidence in the government, but that is up from 39 percent in March 2007.  In almost all cases, however, the improvement since August and March still has not brought Iraqi sentiment back to its pre-2007 levels.

GOO GOO GOO JOOB?  Actually, this walrus grooves to "Smmoth Criminal."

THE SWARM!  A truck flipped on its side Sunday on a highway in Sacramento, California, releasing between six and 16 million bees.  The bees stung cops and firefighters who tried to corral them. They buzzed toward nearby businesses and forced them to shut their doors. They prompted authorities to warn drivers to roll up their windows and turn off their air conditioning.  Video at the link.

HORNY TOADS cause a weeklong highway shutdown in Wales.

EVE UPDATE:  The one -legged pet chicken is recovering at home after becoming the UK's first hen to have radiotherapy for cancer.

A BLUE HEELER MIX DOG is rescued after spending four months in the desert.

3166 Reads

SxSW, Gutter Twins, Long Blondes, Surfing Mice   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, March 17, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


SxSW VIDEO:  Festival keynote speaker Lou Reed takes a "Walk on the Wild Side" by joining his own tribute concert.  WXPN also has clips of The Weakerthans, Kaki King, and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.

SxSW REDUX:  You can stream the full sets from The Weakerthans, Kaki King, and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (among others) on demand via NPR.  The Current is streaming mini-sets from (among others) The Raveonettes, Jesca Hoop, DeVotchKa, She & Him, Billy Bragg, The Heavy, Nicole Atkins and the Sea, and John Doe.

R.E.M. is an Irish band?  Who knew?  Meanwhile, Flogging Molly, fronted by Dubliner Dave King and Bridget Regan, now Billboard's independent and internet charts -- but are largely unkown on the Emerald Isle.

THE GUTTER TWINS:  Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan tell Newsday their latest effort began a s a joke, but they hope to keep it going -- like Sam & Dave, or the Captain & Tenille.

THE LONG BLONDES are set to unveil their sophomore album, Couples" on May 6. Drummer Mark Turvey gives The Scotsman some backstory on the title and the impact of teaming with electro DJ Erol Alkan: "The dance element is more dancier certainly, but at the same time we want the faster songs to be even faster and punkier."  Advance tracks like "Here Comes the Serious Bit" and "Century" have already surfaced on the Internet.

PETER MacBETH, a founding member and bass player with the Foundations until 1970, who had a worldwide hit with "Build Me Up Buttercup," has been jailed for child sex offenses.  The 71-year-old from Trefriw near Llanrwst in the Conwy valley may die in prison because he has terminal cancer.

LOS LOBOS has undertaken a new project - a children's album for Disney of songs from the sudio's animated features.

MOUNTAIN GOATS frontman John Darnielle talks to the New York Press about moving forward as a trio: "I don't want to do what I used to do, not because I have anything against it, but because the shark must move or die."

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD of the UNDEAD, has revealed the only modern pop star he rates is troubled Amy Winehouse -- but warned she "wouldn't be around for long" unless she cleaned up her act.

HARP magazine is kaput, though we have yet to hear the full story.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE:  Horton Hears a Who takes the top slot with 45 million -- a bit less than tracking figures projected, a bit more than the opening for Cat in the Hat (even accounting for inflation).  10000 BC dropped 54 percent with 16.4 million, which is pretty bad, but probably not as bad as it deserved.  Never Back Down debuted in third with 8.6 million, while the other new release, Doomsday, opened in seventh place with 4.7 million.  Vantage Point continued to hold well in fifth place, as did The Bank Job in sixth.  The rest was unremarkable.

HALLE BERRY had a baby girl Sunday and "is doing great," her rep has confirmed.

BRITNEY SPEARS:  According to the L.A. Times, the UCLA Medical Center is taking steps to fire at least 13 employees and has suspended at least six others for snooping in the confidential medical records of the pop wreck during her recent hospitalization in its psychiatric unit.

THE McCARTNEYS:  Heather Mills is to receive a divorce settlement of up to £46 million from Sir Paul, including an immediate lump sum payment of £25million from the ex-Beatle.

MINNIE DRIVER is expecting her first child, joking her morning sickness is so bad it actually occurs "morning, noon and night."  The father remains anonymous.

BRADGELINA were spotted at a natural food conference (of all places) on Friday afternoon.

TOM-KAT UPDATE:  Gawker has a brand new-to-you wackalicious Scientology video, in which Cruise celebrates his birthdat on board the Scientology cruise ship, Freewinds.  Cruise dances and duets on "Old Time Rock & Roll" from Risky Business.

LINDSAY LOHAN faces rumors of cash problems again -- spending 70K on tanning will do that.

SAMANTHA MORTON:  told a music magazine she had been "close to death" following a stroke she suffered after part of the ceiling at her London home collapsed on her... but is it true?

JACKO has pulled off a monetary moonwalk to save his dilapidated Neverland Ranch from the auction block.

ANNE HATHAWAY, formerly of the Princess Diaries, was spotted stocking up on five bottles of newly legal Lucid absinthe at Park Avenue Liquors the other day.

THE TIPPING POINT:  Timed for St. Patrick's Day.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS:  The Kingdom's most revered cleric said in a rare fatwa this week that two writers should be tried for apostasy for their "heretical articles" and put to death if they do not repent.  Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak was responding to recent articles in al-Riyadh newspaper that questioned the Sunni Muslim view in Saudi Arabia that adherents of other faiths should be considered unbelievers.

PAKISTAN:  After secret interrogations, the CIA transferred to US military custody a high-level al-Qaeda figure who helped Osama bin Laden escape from Afghanistan in 2001, the Pentagon announced Friday.  Mohammad Rahim became the 16th "high-value" suspect handed over to the military by the CIA and held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

IRAN:  Iran's hardliners maintained their political upper hand after Friday's parliamentary poll, which was a foregone conclusion after more than 1500 pro-reform candidates were banned from running and reformists were only allowed to compete for 120 of 290 seats.  Despite these obstacles reformers said they were expecting to win 50 to 70 of the seats in the assembly, which could make them a stronger minority.  ALSO: The Washington Post's William M. Arkin lists "Six Signs the U.S. Is Not Headed for War in Iran."

IRAQ:  Anthony J. Diaz, who has a master's degree in strategic studies and international economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, writes about the hard-won progress in Baghdad he has seen since August.  His combat outpost sits in Adhamiyah, which was the scene of protests over the security wall built there at the outset of the "surge."  Iraqi security forces clashed with a breakaway faction of the Mahdi Army in Kut again on Saturday, leaving five dead and 15 injured.  Dozens of arrests of militiamen followed in the wake of the violence.  AQI is nowhere near being in position to regain momentum, but is likely to persist in Iraq for the foreseeable future.  The NYT reports that black market oil revenue is "the money pit of the insurgency."  The Times of London talks to a loyal officer under Saddam Hussein who became an insurgent, but switched sides recently and is cooperating -- albeit reluctantly -- with the US military as part of its grassroots security drive.

SURFING MICE DOWN UNDER:  Bunsen, Harry, Curly and Chopsticks are a viral hit on the Tube.

MOKO the DOLPHIN saved two pygmy sperm whales, a mother and a male calf, who had become stranded on Mahia Beach, about 300 miles north-east of Wellington, New Zealand.

HOUSE of BEES!  A million bees and hundreds of pounds of honey in the walls of a San Marino estate can only be summed up one way: Un-bee-lievable.  And, after 25 years as housemates, the bees have left a reminder of their existence: honey purging through the wall.

RATS gnawed away almost one-third of an Ethiopian farmer's life savings.  Lesson:  Do not stash your cash in a haystack.

BRONX the BULL TERRIER been sacked from a stage production of Oliver after he kept stealing the limelight.

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St. Pats, SxSW, The Heavy, Cutout Bin, Nice Beaver   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 14, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



...with a head start on ST. PATRICK'S DAY!  Around here, that means bringing on The Pogues with a vintage live set from 1985 and this later set from Japan, which includes a Celtic cover of Steve Earle's "Johnny Come Lately" and their own "Yeah Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" -- not particularly Celtic, but fabulous.  Kristy MacColl joins the band on her dad's "Dirty Old Town."  Joe Strummer joins the band for a Celtic spin on "London Calling" and "I Fought The Law" on St. Patrick's Day, 1988.  Round it out with their appearnce for "Sally Maclennane" from the OGWT.  Follow it up with the Dropkick Murphys' videos for "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" and "The Wild Rover."  BONUS:  Pogues pics and review from their recent Chicago stand.

SxSW:  Last night's sets from Yo La Tengo and My Morning Jacket should be streaming on demand from NPR today.  Sets from Jens Lekman (Sweden's answer to Burt Bacharach or Harry Nilsson), bluesy folkster A.A Bondy, the achingly pastoral Bon Iver, and the worldbeat influenced Vampire Weekend are already available on demand.

THE HEAVY did an interview and mini-set for WNYC in location Austin.  They tend to be described as like Marvin Gaye fronting the Stooges, or Curtis Mayfield fronting Led Zeppelin.  Recommended, despite less than ideal mic placement (there's also a click-thru to HeavySpace).

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe is interviewed by indiepixie down in Austin. (Thx, LHB.)

TIFT MERRITT talks to the Austin American-Statesman about her plans for SxSW, Emmylou Harris and her iTunes podcast.

THE BEATLES sound pretty tight belting out "You Can't Do That" in Austrailia on their 1964 world tour.

BROOKLYN:  The New York Times surveys the ever-burgeoning indie scene in the borough.

LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION perform a mini-set on video as an acoustic duo in a park in Austin.

BOB MOULD talks to Express Milwaukee about his new album and revisiting songs he hadn't played live for years: "‘Celebrated Summer' will always work for me," he notes. "It's something of a timeless story."

THE CUTOUT BIN:  From the Josie & the Pussycats to Sonic Youth, from Boston to Teenage Fanclub, from Leonard Cohen to The Feelies to John Mellencamp covering The Hombres and The Stooges covering Madonna (with profanity), this Friday's fortuitous finds can be jukeboxed or streamed individually on the Pate page at the ol' HM.

NOW SHOWING:  This weekend's wide releases are the CGI version of Horton Hears A Who, which is currently scoring 77 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; the martial arts flick Never Back Down, currently scoring 28 percent, and the bioterror pic Doomsday, which was not screened for critics.

BRITNEY SPEARS has had at least one tattoo removed.  The uber-reliable Daily Star claims that the pop wreck was offered four million bucks to perform "Slave 4 U"  to a group of rich sheikhs in Dubai -- which I don't believe, but find too funny not to share.

NICOLE KIDMAN is so "over-Botoxed" that her "batface" is giving the cosmetic medicine industry a bad name, Dr Martin Braun told a conference of medical experts in Queensland, Australia.

BRADGELINA have made an offer on an 850-year-old stone house in Eygalieres, in the France's Provence region.

REVEALED: Bizarre diet secrets of the stars!

KATE BOSWORTH will drink you under the table, according to her 21 co-star Josh Gad.

KIM KARDASHIAN gets whacked by Barbara Walters on The View: "So, why are you famous?"

STEVE-O!  The "Jackass" star has been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and has also been charged by the L.A. County District Attorney with felony possession of cocaine.  Star magazine claims he is on suicide watch.

JENNA FISHER answers 20 quesions for Playboy magazine, but you can read five or six answers at a SFW link.

PETRA NEMCOVA:  The tsunami-surviving supermodel is talking down rumors of a romance with Sean Penn in an article about her latest lingerie shoot.  And there are pictures at the link, because it is Gratuitous Friday.

THE 12 GREATEST OPENING CREDITS in Movie History, according to Nerve.com's Screengrab blog.  With embedded video.

NORTH KOREA:  The United States and North Korea made progress Thursday in overcoming obstacles that have stalled a major nuclear disarmament deal but remained short of a breakthrough, the chief US negotiator said.

IRAN:  Zahra Eshraghi, a granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, argues that religious hard-liners have hijacked the revolution, which she says was meant to bring freedom to Iran.  Despite her gloom, Eshraghi predicts the hard-liners will fail in the long term. "In this era of communications and flow of information, the young generation won't accept that few hard-liners decide their fate," she said.

IRAQ:  Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences, Gen. David H. Petraeus said.  A close aide to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's ordered his Mahdi Army militiamen to observe a ceasefire after they clashed with Iraqi and US soldiers in the southern city of Kut.  US officers say talk of a decisive battle in Mosul is misguided, adding it will be a protracted struggle in which US soldiers juggle an array of complicated tasks related to counterterrorism, economics, and politics.  Arab lawmakers urged Middle East states to resume diplomatic links with Iraq, after the largest gathering of Arab officials in the country since before the first Gulf War in 1991.

AND NOW a word from a sponsor.

SUPER-SHEEP:  German police are trying to trace the owner of a sheep which outran police patrol cars and beat up a police dog.

A MACEDONIAN BEAR was of convicted of theft and damage for stealing honey from a beekeeper, with a fine of 140000 denars.  The bear did not attend court to plead its case and there was no information on the whereabouts of the bear.

PET HOARDING:  About 800 small dogs, including Chihuahuas, terriers and Pomeranians, were seized from a triple-wide mobile home outside Tuscon, AZ, whose occupants were overwhelmed trying to care for the animals.  Awww...some pics at the link.

BUNNY-NAPPING:  Is there anything lower?

MOM pries her daughter from the jaws of a killer crocodile in south Sumatra, Indonesia.

2997 Reads

Kaki King, SxSW, Mt Goats, Cat Power, Hey Bulldog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


KAKI KING:  The video for "Pull Me Out Alive" was made with over 5000 still photos. There are no special effects; all of the light trails were created by hand, with up to eight individual "light animators" flashing LEDs and flashlights on and off over a long (8 second) shot exposure.

SxSW:  If you missed the R.E.M. gig last night, it might be archived at the link by the time you read this.  NPR is streaming plenty more today, including Jens Lekman, Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend.  SxSW Baby has a directory for streaming live performances, also noting that DirectTV has live coverage.  For example, The Raveonettes, Jesca Hoop, Sons & Daughters, and DeVotchka are scheduled to stream today at The CurrentKCRW is broadcasting Morning Becomes Eclectic live from 11am to 2pm (Central Time); a set from Sons & Daughters is already archived, while Meredith Bragg is scheduled for today.  WNYC's Soundcheck already has interviews with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Okkervil River's Will Scheff, plus a live set from lo-fi folk outfit Peter and the Wolf.  Paste magazine has a linky hour-by-hour recommendation guide.  Frank Yang kicks off his Austin coverage by featuring his priorities to see -- Emmy the Great and Frightened Rabbit.  Slacker has set up a SxSW radio channel.

MOUNTAIN GOATS mastermind John Darnielle strums some highlights from the new Heretic Pride album on a recent edition of WNYC's Soundckeck, too.  (Thanks LHB.)

UNDERGROUND GARAGE:  Timothy Finn from the McClatchy chain interviews Little Steven Van Zandt about his radio show, the Springsteen tour and the infamous musical ending to The Sopranos.

EDDIE VAN HALEN is not in rehab, according to ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli, who declined to reveal his mystery ailment.

CAT POWER performs her groovy take on "New York, New York" on the Peacock net for a lantern-jawed host.

DEAN & BRITTA:  Dean Wareham shares suggestions for essential tracks from his former bands, Galaxie 500 and Luna, and his current duo with the Boston Globe.

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS frontman Patterson Hood talks to the Pittsbugh Trib-Review about the lack of a wall between the band and its audience and how that informs the band's new album, "Brighter Than Creation's Dark."

DAN BEJAR, of the New Pornographers and frontman of Destroyer (not to mention Swan Lake and Hello, Blue Roses) is profiled in Canada's Globe & Mail.

NICK CAVE talks to Drowned In Sound about the confrontational fun of his Grinderman project and how it affects expectations for his upcoming album with the Bad Seeds.

KATE BECKINSALE tells Mean magazine: "I don't understand how more people don't drop children out of windows," but is simply explaining her state of mind in 2000.  The mag's website has video of Kate paying tribute to Serge Gainsbourg's "Rollergirl."

BRITNEY SPEARS:  New players have been brought in to look at the pop wreck's business affairs, including an audit with her record label.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON:  The previously reported auction to accompany Scar-Jo to the premiere of He's Just Not That Into You will net Oxfam over 40 grand.

PATRICK SWAYZE:  The cancerous ex-Dirty Dancing star  is looking gaunt -- and smoking a cigarette -- on the cover of The National Enquirer.  Dude.

JESSICA ALBA turns into Satan every few hours if she doesn't eat something.  At least that's what she ays about her pregnancy cravings.

THE INCREDIBLE HULK trailer is now online.  But the pic's producer-screenwriter-star Edward Norton and Marvel are clashing over how to cut the rebooted film.  Ed Norton's hair had no comment.

HULU, the NBC/FOX-led rival to You-Know-Tube, is out of beta.  So if you want to watch episodes of The Simpsons, or movies like Master & Commander or The Big Lebowski with limited commercial interruption, you know where to go.

ASHLEE SIMPSON tells US magazine that she "was never really unhappy" with how she looked and doesn't think she is more beautiful than she was.  The plastic surgery was apparently just for fun.  Or profit.

CONVERSE, favored footwear of hipsters everywhere, has turned 100 years old.

JULIANNE MOORE is no longer a fan of NY's Gov-until-Monday Elliot Spitzer, managing to sum the sandal up in three words.  The alleged escort known as "Kristen" in the Spitzer scandal is a 22-year-old Jersey girl from a broken home (shocka) who now worries what people will think of her, according to The New York Times.  Does this count as Gratuitous Thursday?  Maybe so.

GO, SPEED, GO!!!  Two new international Speed Racer trailers, with new Wachowski wackiness.

IRAN:  Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said the US and its allies were behind criticism that upcoming parliament elections will be unfair.  The remarks by Khamenei to a crowd of supporters were an indirect call to voters to reject the few reformists remaining in the race.  The abrupt resignation of the Pentagon's top Middle East commander has removed one of the Bush administration's fiercest opponents of a unilateral military strike against Iran, yet top administration officials themselves do not see real prospects for any kind of military action before the end of Pres. Bush's term, current and former US officials say.  Moqtada al-Sadr has reportedly travelled to the holy city of Qom in Iran to further his Islamic studies.

IRAQ:  Several senior Iraqi officials said that the government might soon deploy Iraqi Army troops to seize control of Basra's decrepit but vital port from politically connected militias known more for corruption and inciting terrorism than for their skill in moving freight.  Iraqi police raided strongholds of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army in the southern city of Kut after the local branch of the militia broke a ceasefire and clashed with security forces a day earlier.  Bill Roggio has a slideshow of the anatomy of an IED seized from a car in the Al Bakir neighborhood in Mosul.  US authorities in Baghdad have received five severed fingers belonging to four Americans and an Austrian who were taken hostage more than a year ago.  Habaniya Tourist Village in western Iraq became a refugee camp during some of the fiercest fighting since the fall of Baghdad, but investors hope to turn it into a romantic haven again.  A new paper by a pair of Harvard economists concludes that insurgents in Iraq were emboldened by voices in the news media expressing dissent or calling for troop withdrawals from Iraq, though with numerous caveats to their findings.

HEY, BULLDOG:  Louis shocked Blackpool's early rising commuters at around 7am on Monday morning when he hopped on board a bus in South Shore travelling into the resort.

GARTER SNAKES evolve to take on toxic newts.

THE SQUIRREL THREAT:  A gray squirrel contraceptive research project is under way on the Clemson University campus in conjunction with the USDA National Wildlife Research Center.

A RANDY FROG molests a plastic duck!  A cat swims in a pool! The Sun is there.

RARE PYGMY HIPPOS are surviving in Liberia's forests despite two civil wars that threatened to destroy their habitat, according to British scientists.  Pics at the link.

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Iggy does Madonna, SxSW, Brunettes, Ugly Dogs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


IGGY DOES MADONNA:  The highlight of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony?  Rather than perform herself. Madge had fellow Motown natives Iggy Pop and the Stooges (plus SteveMcKay on sax) wail through her "Ray of Light."  This is what the HoF lamesters get for not voting the Stooges in already.

RADIOHEAD is taking over the BBC on April Fools Day.

SxSW:  You can stream three artists to watch at NPR, which has also posted a schedule of streaming concerts, both from NPR and its various affliates.  Tonight's headliner is R.E.M. at Stubbs.  WOXY has also posted a schedule of its Lounge Act sessions from the music fest.

PITCHFORK FEST:  Promoters announced a partial list of acts for this year's installment on July 18-20, including hip-hop legends Public Enemy performing their classic album "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back."  Others already scheduled include Animal Collective, Spiritualized, !!!, M. Ward, Boris, Vampire Weekend, Dizzee Rascal, No Age, Atlas Sound, Fleet Foxes, Extra Golden and El Guincho.  Tickets go on sale today at noon CDT.

THURSTON MOORE stopped by the KEXP studios for an interview and mini-set you can stream (together or "just the music") via NPR.

THE BRUNETTES:  The kiwi indie-popsters have their own board game in the video for "B-A-B-Y," but it seems eerily reminiscent of Mystery Date.

THE END of A&R?  Popmatters suggests the death of the "talent scout" may spread beyond EMI.

SHE & HIM:  Zooey Deschanel and M Ward, who started working together over a cover of Richard and Linda Thompson's "When I Get to the Border," are "breaking" at Rolling Stone.  Video at the link.

KEITH RICHARDS, LORD of the UNDEAD, has been reading the Bible, but is finding it boring.

NICOLE ATKINS talks to Houstonist about her influences, her side metal band and more.

BRITNEY SPEARS was laughing on the set of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, but crying after Adnan Ghalib was banned from her home by her dad-conservator.  And the pop wreck's TV cameo caused Alicia Silverstone to flee that sitcom.  Her next video will be animated, thus eliminating the need for her to have her act together.

LINDSAY LOHAN is trying very hard to stay on the straight and narrow and revamp her image, but some friends are worried about a new crop of "bad influences."

KATE HUDSON:  Police arrested three men near her New York City home yesterday; one of the suspects had a toy rifle.

OWEN WILSON has been cozying up to new co-star Jennifer Aniston in Miami, according to the super-reliable Star magazine.

GENE SMIMONS, of KISS and Celebrity Apprentice, is bald.  Pics at the link.

MARY ANN!  A surprise birthday party for Dawn Wells, the actress who played Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island," ended with a nearly three-hour tour of the Teton County sheriff's office and jail when the 69-year-old was caught with marijuana in her vehicle while driving home.

SAMANTHA MORTON, the 30-year-old Oscar-nominated actress who recently appeared in Elizabeth: The Golden Age and the Ian Curtis biopic Control, says she suffered a stroke in 2006 so severe she had to learn to walk again.  And a childhood acquaintance began stalking her by sending her sinister love notes.

HUGH LAURIE admits he attempted to get closer to the character he portrays on House - by experimenting with Vicodin, the strong painkiller to which Dr. Gregory House is addicted.

SUPERMAN RETURNS... AGAIN:  Director Bryan Singer confirms that work is under way on the film that some said would never happen because the first was perceived as a flop: "That movie made $400 million!" Singer says incredulously. "I don't know what constitutes under-performing these days..."

HEIDI FLEISS, former Hollywood madam, talks to Radar magazine about the case of NY Gov. Elliot Spitzer.

FOOD COURT MUSICAL:  The latest video from ImprovEverywhere.

IRAN is blocking UN nuclear watchdogs from speaking to Iranian scientists who were central figures in a secret nuclear research program that operated as recently as 2003.  New evidence purportss to show advanced research into a variety of nuclear-related technologies, including uranium ore processing, warhead modification and the precision-firing of high explosives of the type used to detonate a nuclear device.  However, worldwide support for strong international action against Iran because of its uranium enrichment program has dropped over the past year and a half, according to a BBC study.  Meanwhile, a new stamp to commemorate Hezbollah's slain military chief, Imad Mughniyeh, will go on sale in Iran this week. A Los Angeles court jailed an American of Iranian origin for three years and five months Monday for trying to buy up to 100000 submachine guns and sell them to Iran.  And Tehran's police chief has been arrested after he was found nude in a local brothel with six naked prostitutes.  Before he was arrested, he was in charge of the program for the "moralization of the city," arresting hundreds of young people for not respecting the Islamic code of behavior.

IRAQ:  In the town of Zambraniyah, local sheikhs and tribal leaders were given prime spots to watch "a celebratory cleansing" of an AQI torture chamber and operational headquarters. Three thousand pounds of bombs costing more than $100,000 dropped from a B-1 bomber obliterated the building.  Video at the link.  Bill Roggio blogs the construction of new combat outposts and security walls in Mosul.  Iraq has made "limited but important" political, diplomatic and economic gains in the last three months, but improvements in security remain "fragile," the Pentagon reported Tuesday.  Despite increased counterterrorism efforts by Damascus, as much as 90 percent of the foreign fighters in Iraq cross the border from Syria, according the Pentagon report, which also says Iran's support for Shiite militants is hurting efforts to improve Iraq security.

VICTORIA, an Italian greyhound, repeated as the winner of San Diego's 13th annual "Ugly Dog Contest."  Pics and video at the link.  Plus, a slideshow.

PHILLIPPE Giant Schnauzer was night named Best in Show at Crufts 2008, on his third attempt.

KITTY survived a month after being sealed in a crate and shipped thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean and North America.

THOUSANDS of STARFISH photographed washed up on the beach at Pegwell Bay near Sandwich, Kent.  Cue Terry Jacks.

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