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New Eric Bachmann and Yo La Tengo, MTV Turns 25, Bill Berry Turns 48, and more..   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, August 02, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH -- actually two benefit concerts held o­n the afternoon and evening of August 1, 1971 -- organized by George Harrison to help Bengali refugees, was commemorated with a plaque in Madison Square Garden's "Walk of Fame." It is the first concert so honored at MSG. Here's an outtake from the film of the concert of Harrison and Bob Dylan playing the latter's "If Not For You." You can find the whole concert o­n YouTube, along with a clip of Harrison talking to Dick Cavett about selecting the group to which the proceeds were to be donated.

BOB DYLAN and YUSUF ISLAM (f/k/a Cat Stevens) did phone interventions with Welsh (to Nashville) singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews that prompted her to kick heroin.

PITCHFORK FEST REVIEWS poured out o­n Tuesday, from regular press outlets like Rolling Stone, the Village Voice and Live Daily. In the blogosphere, YANP has added reviews, pics and MP3s of Destroyer, Art Brut, the Mountain Goats, and Band of Horses. Skatterbrain did the same for Tapes N' Tapes and Jens Lekman. Marathon Packs has a two-parter that includes a visit to the third stage Ken and I passed o­n, and nice pics of Mission of Burma and Spoon. There's yet another roundup at Fluxblog, which may be o­ne of the first MP3 blogs. Interesting, differing opinions -- except that virtually everyone thought it was frickin' hot and that Art Brut rawked (both true).

ERIC BACHMANN, formerly of Archers of Loaf and Crooked Fingers, has not o­nly been living in his van, but has also recorded his first solo LP, To the Races, primarily in a hotel room at North Carolina's Outer Banks. You can stream two advance tracks via the Hype Machine.

YO LA TENGO: Pitchfork notes the band has another new track posted for downloading from the upcoming I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your A**. It's a bit more like the typical Yo La Tengo sound than the leaked tracks I linked o­n Monday.

VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR: I forgot to mention that yesterday was MTV's 25th anniversary. Heather Browne remembered by posting the song that launched the channel -- both the original by The Buggles and a cover by The Presidents of the United States of America. I'll make up for my lapse by linking the original Buggles video and a clip of the first time they played it live... in 2004. A beefier take o­n the tune, too. And because it's o­ne of Pate frontman Jon Pratt's favorite ditties ever, I give you the original MTV promo bumper and a longer version.

THE PIPETTES trash talk Razorlight, Dirty Pretty Things, Pete Doherty and the Kooks in a new radio interview. Which is another excuse for me to remind you to listen to the ladies via the Hype Machine.

SWAN LAKE is the name of a Canadian collaboration featuring Dan Bejar (New Pornographers, Destroyer), Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes), and Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown).

BILL BERRY: The former R.E.M. drummer's birthday was celebrated at Timedoor by posting two solo tracks released under the name Thirteen-One-Eleven, streamable from the Hype Machine.

GORILLA VS. BEAR: Dallas music blogger Chris Cantalini was profiled by o­ne of his local TV stations, WFAA. You can stream his blog from the Hype Machine.

MAD MEL UPDATE: While Disney exec Oren Aviv seems to forgive the anti-Semitic outburst that accompanied Gibson's DUI arrest, Disney's ABC has canceled a development deal Gibson's company o­n a non-fiction TV mini-series about the Holocaust. Nikki Finke quotes a trusted source as claiming that the outburst, like driving 94 m.p.h, was part of a death wish arising from his alcoholism (which doesn't mean he didn't mean it, imho). Gibson issued a second apology directy addressing his anti-Semitic comments and asking to meet with Jewish leaders for a "one-on-one discussion" to find "the appropriate path for healing." I hope Gibson will redeem himself or reap what he has sown. In the meantime, I will still be amused by the lovely photos of Mel before the bust.  As a side note, I observe that those calling for a Gibson boycott have not made similar calls for folks like Susan Sarandon to boycott activities with Cindy Sheehan, who has made similar comments. I also note that Oscar-winner Paul Haggis may be directing a 9/11-themed movie, yet Tinseltown does not care that Haggis spent a weekend speaking at a rally for International A.N.S.W.E.R., a group that is clearly anti-Israel and gives a platform to anti-Semites and 9/11 conspiracy theorists like Muslim cleric Abdul Malim Musa. Third, Hollywood's criticism of Gibson does not address the clearly misogynistic epithet he hurled at a female cop during the arrest, perhaps because anyone who did so would have to face the ways in which Hollywood routinely exploits women.

AXL ROSE became ill during a Guns 'N' Roses concert at London's Wembley Arena, after being diagnosed with low blood pressure and low blood sugar earlier that day. Former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach took Rose's place to complete the concert.

BOY GEORGE will be sweeping up garbage o­n the streets of NYC as part of his sentence for falsely reporting a break-in at his Little Italy loft last fall (with the police noticing cocaine there while investigating the phony crime). The Boy hinted he might report for duty wearing a bright yellow Big Bird outfit.

THE FRENCH HOTEL is back with her ex-boyfriend, Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos -- at least for now.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Rumors of the couple having some sort of Scientology ritual are fueled by reports that they have twice visited L.A.'s Scientology Celebrity Centre as it has become covered in tents and outdoor chandeliers.

LINDSAY LOHAN: New boyfriend Harry Morton is reportedly a good influence o­n Lohan, because his half-sister -- model turned bounty hunter Domino Harvey -- died around this time last year of what was largely suspected to be a drug overdose.

KATE HUDSON: Life imitates You, Me and Dupree as the actress confesses she's a little tired of her husband Chris Robinson's friends flashing her when they visit her house.

WILL FARRELL and JOHN C. REILLY interview each other for Moviefone and AOL to promote their Talladega Nights.

THE DARK KNIGHT: Heath Ledger is signed to play the Joker in the next Bat-movie. I hope they make up for it by casting Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin.

THE TOP 50 MOVIE ENDINGS, according to FilmCritic.com.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY and RUPERT FRIEND remind me that couples who dress alike often give me the willies. I would have spotted them the shirt and pants... but the hats and sunglasses?

IRAQ: The AP's usually pessimistic Antonio Casteneda delivers a semi-optimistic report o­n conditions in Fallujah, including a rare description of reconstruction efforts there. FOX's Steve Harrigan reports that Iraqi forces in Fallujah have improved, though his report is not as rah-rah as the network's rep would suggest. Sgt. R.J. Mitchell will receive the Navy Cross for saving five other Marines during a gun battle in Fallujah in 2004. Though the story ran o­n the AP wire, it looks like the story was published o­nly by press in Iowa and the L.A. Times.

MIDEAST CONFLICT: At the Counterterrorism Blog, Bill Roggio maps out Israel's expansion of the ground campaign, while Jeffrey Imm notes that CNN has included a group reported to have disturbing links to Jihadism in its list of "aid groups" to assist civilians in the "Mideast crisis." Regarding the Qana bombing, a Lebanese Christian website claims Hezbollah brought invalid children inside the building after using it as a rocket launching site, but such a group presumably has a bias. More significant (imho) is the fact that the Red Cross reported that 28 corpses were evacuated -- about half of the Lebanese number that was reported without question in much of the media. Egyptian blogger Sam asked his co-workers "some slightly uncomfortable questions" about the conflict and got some uncomfortable answers.

EUROPE'S ROLE: European Union foreign ministers have called for an end to hostilities in southern Lebanon, but not an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah. What that means is that the UK blocked the other EU countries from calling for the latter. Which does not surprise me. The observations of Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler, o­n Europe's attitudes toward Israel and Jews generally in 2002, and updated in light of Iran's nuke drive, seem equally applicable here. Historian and Guardian columnist Timothy Garton Ash further writes that while Europe's history does not require uncritical solidarity with whatever the current government of Israel chooses to do, "(h)ow Europeans speak and write about the position of the Jews in the region to which Europeans drove them is also a matter of our own self-definition."

A BABY GATOR turned up on a woman's porch in Lexington, KY. But the woman will not be adopting it.

A DOG in a sweater speaks out. And it ain't pretty.

A BAND OF BABOONS had to be restrained from heckling workers renovating the primate enclosure at a safari park near Liverpool.

A MAN IS ACCUSED of biting the head off his own rooster. I'm sure there's a punchline there.

SNAKES o­n A PLANE? Not yet, but they are thriving near the Eelde airfield in Drenthe, Holland.

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Roger McGuinn, Rare U2 and Beatles, Richard Thompson, and the Llamas of War   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, August 01, 2006 - 08:55 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

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Pitchfork Fest 2006, Mad Mel and Beer-Swilling Pigs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 31, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

Art Brut

THE PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL: That's where I spent my weekend dehydrating... but worth it.

Highlights from Saturday included Man Man, a collective from Philly that was as relentless as it was percussive and odd and vaguely Eastern European. Visually striking in matching whites, also. Fans of Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, Camper Van Beethoven and The Flaming Lips may want to check out "Black Mission Goggles" and "Engwish Bwudd."

The Mountain Goats are known for relative lo-fi acoustic folk-rock, but the band translated surprisingly well to a big crowd, with John Darnielle pumping up the smarta** factor between songs, which ran the gamut of the bands catalog. As Darnielle spent some of his life in Chicago, he could not help but play "Cubs In Five." The band also played a couple from the upcoming Get Lonely LP, like In The Hidden Places."

Art Brut absolutely ruled Saturday, playing 2 1/2 new songs in addition to most all of Bang Bang Rock & Roll which is now available in the US. From the inevitable opener "Formed A Band" to the double-shot of "My Little Brother" and "Good Weekend," the band brought its mix of Jonathan Richman, the Kinks and the Buzzcocks to a fever pitch, despite the oppressive heat and humidity at Union Park. Frontman Eddie Argos is a force to be reckoned with, capable of being touching, outrageous and funny -- often at the same time -- whether writing about his first love, "Emily Kane" or an episode of impotence o­n "Rusted Guns of Milan."

Ken King and I heard Destroyer, Ted Leo and The Futureheads at a distance during periods of rest and rehydration, so it would be unfair for me to offer any definitive opinion, though Ted Leo and the Pharmacists seemed to deliver a spirited show that also had a number of new songs.

The Silver Jews closed out the evening with a fine set. The more rocking feel of Tanglewood Numbers was brought to the band's older material as well, but the set was more a fine way to wind down a day of fine music -- like having the Mamas and Paps close Monterey instead of Jimi Hendrix. Songs like "Black and Brown Blues," "Slow Education" and "Time Will Break The World" all made the set list (sadly, "Honk If You're Lonely" did not make the cut).

Sunday started with current buzz band Tapes N' Tapes, an outfit with promise, but maybe not matching the hype yet. However, in the hype department, the band opened and closed with a presumably fictional "supervisor of internet promotion" who demanded that the audience take pictures and blog about the band, lest he track you down and kill your dog. The rest of his commentary was NSFW. Anyway, you can hear the band at MySpace.

Jens Lekman

Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman (the post-modern Burt Bacharach) would have been a highlight just for stocking his band with hot Swedish chicks -- but he and they were quite good o­n top of that. Lekman opened with the Motown-ish "A Sweet Summer's Night o­n Hammer Hill" and dedicated "The Opposite Of Hallelujah" to his sister. His short set also inluded "You Are the Light" and "Black Cab." Sadly, the highlight of his set was an unreleased song, "A Postcard to Nina," which was described in The New York Times last week.

Art-punk legends Mission of Burma also delivered the goods with a tight, explosive set mixing songs from their latest album, like "2wice" with MoB classics like "Academy Fight Song" and "That's When I Reach For My Revolver." The band closed with "This Is Not A Photograph," which, sadly, is not currently o­n the Hype Machine.

Devendra Banhart did a nice enough set, though it didn't bowl me over as I hoped it would. Perhaps I was just not in a mood for "freak folk" after Mission of Burma. If you want to know what "freak folk" sounds like, you can hear "Bluebird," which opened the set. The band also did a nice cover of Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)." Banhart also turned the stage over to a fan for a song, which apparently is a regular part of his show.

Yo La Tengo played well (as always), including a number of songs from the forthcoming I Am Not Afraid Of You and I Will Beat Your A**, which is quite a departure sonically. Ken laughed when I turned to him mid-set and said, "It's Yo La Tengo... and Sebastian," but that seems to be a common reaction, if Chaka at Timedoor is any indicator. Chaka posted two leaked tracks the band played at the fest, "Mr. Tough" and "The Race Is o­n." Both are a long way from "The Evil That Men Do," but very nice in their own poppy way.

The National did a nice set, though it didn't bowl me over as I hoped it would. The set leaned heavily o­n Alligator, including "Secret Meeting" (the opener) and "Abel," "Looking For Astronauts" and "All the Wine." For those unfamiliar with the band, the new stuff reminds both Ken and me of a countrified Joy Division (in sound, if not tone).

Austin's Spoon also delivered what Ken called "a very serviceable set." Some of you who think you don't know Spoon may have heard "I Turn My Camera o­n" in a camera ad. "I Summon You" was a highlight of the Spoon set.

Tropicalia legends Os Mutantes closed the fest and what Ken and I heard was a little disappointing. Ken thought they reminded him of a harder rocking Fifth Dimension, to which I specified old school Santana. I've liked stuff I've streamed from the Hype Machine, but it somehow seemed cheesier in person.

FOR LOADS OF PITCHFORK PICS, try Chicagoist.

PAM ANDERSON and KID ROCK had a wedding ceremony Saturday o­n a yacht in Saint-Tropez, though it's likely not legally binding. At least they dressed up for it.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Miami Vice seizes the top slot from the Pirates, grossing roughly 25 million -- but the movie may not make back its budget domestically. Pirates placed with about 20 million. Teen girls put John Tucker Must Die in third place, making 14 million o­n an 18 million budget, almost ensuring profitability before it gets to home video. Monster House dropped to fourth, with total receipts of about 43 million o­n a 75 million budget. But the news is even worse for Ant Bully, which debuted in fifth place with about 8 million. The budget is not public, but it's probably in the ballpark of the Monster House budget, so everybody say "Ouch!"

THE McCARTNEYS: Sir Paul has filed for divorce from Heather Mills, citing her "unreasonable behaviour" for the break-up. Mills is not pleased and plans to file her own counter-claims in both the UK and US.

CHRISTIE BRINKLEY BREAK-UPDATE: In an interview o­n Sirius Radio, Alexis Stewart, Martha Stewart's daughter, claimed she had a romp with Peter Cook before he married Brinkley.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Rumors persisted over the weekend that Cruise and Holmes had some sort of Scientology ritual performed, noting that the couple's hairstylist was booked for the whole weekend.

NIOLE KIDMAN and KEITH URBAN are moving to Britain while Kidman films The Golden Compass, based o­n the first in a trilogy of fantasy novels.

MEL GIBSON was busted o­n a DUI charge and later had to apologize for his belligerent behavior, including an anti-Semitic tirade, during said arrest. The police might have covered-up the tirade, had the story not leaked to the Internet.

GEORGE MICHAEL says he will sue a photographer for harassment and the man man who claimed he had a gay encounter with the singer o­n London's Hampstead Heath. Michael said he would not sue the News of the World or Rupert Murdoch for libel.

JANET JACKSON fans believe the singer has been "blacklisted" from MTV airplay, with her 2004 Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" -- which was co-produced by MTV -- being the supposed reason.

OWEN WILSON denies any connection between his new movie, You, Me and Dupree, and '70s supergroup Steely Dan's Grammy-winning song, "Cousin Dupree," about a couch-hopping houseguest: "I have never heard the song 'Cousin Dupree' and I don't even know who this gentleman, Mr. Steely Dan, is. I hope this helps to clear things up and I can get back to concentrating o­n my new movie, 'Hey Nineteen.'"

VICTORIA SILVSTEDT: The Victoria's Secret supermodel gives herself a hand o­n a hotel balcony. Probably NSFW.

LINDSAY LOHAN was blasted by the head of Morgan Creek Productions for her "discourteous, irresponsible and unprofessional" behavior. James G. Robinson must have figured out that hospitals do not treat dehydration and exhaustion with Vitamin B-12 shots. Robinson warns Lohan that she will be held "personally accountable" for losses caused by her actions. Lohan's mother continues to be an enabler.

MIDEAST CONFLICT: Israel agreed Sunday to halt air attacks o­n south Lebanon for 48 hours in the face of widespread outrage over an airstrike in Qana that killed at least 56 Lebanese, mostly women and children, when it leveled a building after warning the local population. Or not. Israel said Hezbollah had fired more than 40 rockets from Qana before the airstrike, including several from near the building that was bombed. If this video turns out to be that building, Israel might have a point. The eight-hour gap between the bombing and the collapse of the building raises questions as to what happened, including the possibility that the aftermath was staged for the press. Salon ran a piece Friday arguing that it is a "myth" that Hezbollah hides among civilians. However, Christians fleeing Lebanon say this is exactly what Hezbollah does. And Australia's Daily Mail has a gallery of pictures showing how Hezbollah is waging war amid suburban homes.

A BABY PYGMY LORIS debuts at the San Diego Zoo. Maybe it will grow up to oppose the manufacture of Thneeds.

FUGITIVE SQUIRREL MONKEY UPDATE: Betty, the lone remaining fugitive from last week's breakout from the London Zoo, has turned herself in after a 12-hour, slow-speed tree chase through Regents Park.

POISONED PIGEONS created a hazmat incident in Schenectady, NY. What would Tom Lehrer say?

GATOR suffers housing discrimination near Broken Arrow, OK.

600-LB MOOSE CARCASS disappears from the side of Route 272 in Connecticut. Nothing up my sleeve... Presto!

BEER-SWILLING PIGS are targeted by animal welfare group Choose Cruelty Free. Visitors to "Pub in the Paddock" in the island-state of Tasmania are invited to pour bottles of beer down the willing throats of resident pigs Priscilla and P.B. Pub owner Anne Free said the pigs liked beer, adding that she also watered the beer down to ensure they never got drunk. Now that's cruel!

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Wilson Pickett, Cracker, Robert Pollard w/ Pearl Jam, Terrier Adopts a Squirrel   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 28, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

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The Rascals, Rare Beatles, Devendra Banhart, and Snakes in a Wal-Mart   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 27, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE RASCALS absolutely rave out o­n this version of Holland-Dozier-Holland's "Mickey's Monkey," which was originally a hit for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Watch; you'll be glad you did.

ERIC BACHMANN, formerly of Crooked Fingers and Archers of Loaf, talks to Aversion about how living gypsy-style out of his tour van for a summer affected his life and work.

THE FAB FOUR: He's A Whore, who sadly has started another round of chemo, has posted the first part of an alternate version of The White Album, which you can stream from the Hype Machine.

JOAN JETT, headlining the Warped Tour, has been called "the godmother of punk," but she would prefer to be thought of as the hip big sister. There's a selection of Jett o­n the Hype Machine, including her cover of the Sweet's "A.C.D.C.," which is mentioned in the article.

PITCHFORK PREVIEW: Jewlie at Fabulist focuses o­n day two of this weekend's festival -- including Jens Lekman, Yo La Tengo, Mission of Burma, Sppon and more -- as you can stream via the Hype Machine.

THE PIPETTES make Pitchfork's "Best New Music" with an 8.4 for their debut LP: "In the end, We Are the Pipettes is a modern indie pop album, and a classic o­ne at that..." They were interviewed o­n MTV in the UK for the release, which isn't out in the US yet. Of course, you can still see the ladies play infectious tracks like "Pull Shapes" and "Your Kisses Are Wasted o­n Me" via YouTube, not to mention a live twofer of "Your Kisses..." and "Dirty Mind" from Channel Four's Album Chart Show.

PITCHFORK'S INFINITE MIXTAPE adds "In The Morning" by Junior Boys, which is pretty good, as synth pop goes. You can stream it from the Hype Machine, too.

ROBERT CHRISTGAU, at age 65, caught all or most of 52 acts and bits of nine others in June.

DEVENDRA BANHART serves up an eminently quotable breakfast for Pitchfork. For example, when asked about championing his friends: "I know the Espers and Vetiver. I love their music. If I didn't I wouldn't talk about them. I'd just say they were great people if someone asked about them. I'm not going to try and rip anybody off. If anything, I'm ripping you off by making records. That's as far as I'll go (laughs). But I've never ripped anyone off by recommending music that sucks. By the way, 22 songs (on Cripple Crow) might be too many songs but you get your money's worth, man (laughs). There's plenty of Banhart streaming via the Hype Machine.

THE TOP 50 ALBUMS OF OUR TIME: UnderGround o­nline compiles a list from 1990-Present.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer claims his soon-to-be-published diaries are full of "amazing nonsense." I believe at least half of that.

BRADGELINA: Baby Shiloh joins the couple at Madame Tussaud's wax museum. Guests are encouraged to pose for a "family photo" with the three figures, of which a dollar per picture will be donated to UNICEF. Shiloh is the first baby to be given a waxwork honor.

LANCE BASS, formerly of 'NSYNC, is so gay. I'm shocked. Bass may have been in the closet, but to read the Internet, the closet has had no door for months, if not years.

CHRISTIE BRINKLEY BREAK-UPDATE: Alexa Joel paints the supermodel's straying husband as the wicked stepfather.

GEORGE MICHAEL claims his gay wedding is postponed, not canceled and that his bf really doesn't mind him having anonymous sex with a pot-bellied, jobless van driver.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: As marriage rumors begin to stir again, it seems that Holmes would like to start working again.

LINDSAY LOHAN was taken to a local hospital Tuesday from the set of her new film Georgia Rule, after she "got overheated and dehydrated." TMZ notes it was over 100 degrees in L.A., but added: "Another contributing factor could also be the actress' night owl lifestyle." You think? It's not like she has been looking like a skeezy ho lately.

BRITNEY SPEARS reportedly went into false labor earlier this month, as a nutritionist told her she needs to cut down o­n the Cheetos.

MADONNA: Her UK tour demands include a new toilet seat and Kabbalah candles every night.

DAVE NAVARRO and CARMEN ELECTRA BREAK-UPDATE: Carmen was spotted geting cozy with Jamie Foxx, while US Weekly reports that Carmen knew of Dave's alleged affair with socialite Sarah Howard this past Spring, but did not make an issue of it.

BOLDLY GOING TO CAMELOT: The cast of the original Star Trek performs the musical number from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, thanks to the magic of video editing and YouTube.

IRAQ: Medea Benjamin of Code Pink briefly disrupted Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki's speech to Congress, shouting "Iraqis want the troops to leave" and "Bring them home now." As to her first slogan, the most recent poll directly o­n point (Jan. '06) showed that only 35 percent of Iraqis favored the US withdrawing within six months. Since that poll, sectarian violence has caused Sunnis to drop their demands for a quick US withdrawal. The most recent general poll shows that Iraqis overwhelmingly think that security is the number o­ne issue; about 30 percent think withdrawal is o­ne of the top three issues. As for Benjamin's call to bring the troops home now, I've noted before that her group sees our troops as "killers," and paraded coffins around Walter Reed Army Medical Center, all the while claiming to do so in support of the troops. If folks who oppose the US presence in Iraq wonder why they haven't had much success, despite favorable poll numbers, Ms. Benjamin's role as a leader of the antiwar movement could be Exhibit "A."

MIDEAST CONFLICT: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan -- who, afaik, has no experience as an artillery gunner -- says an Israeli attack o­n a UN observation post in Khiyam that killed four observers was "apparently deliberate." The Belmont Club looks at the press releases put out by the UN, noting that the UN was acting outside its mandate throughout the recent fighting, providing ambulance services to someone in Lebanon. The most recent release from the UN says that there was a "major concentration" with "heavy exchanges of fire" in the area. And if you advance to the three-minute mark of this Real Audio clip, you will hear Ret. Canadian Maj. Gen. Lewis MacKenzie tell the CBC that o­ne of those killed had sent an e-mail a few days earlier suggesting his position was crawling with Hezbollah. But it was very diplomatic of Annan to leap to a conclusion like that. ALSO: A map of Beirut shows just how little of the city has actually been bombed.

RAGBRAI bicyclists, rolling across Iowa, grab Albert the Bull in Audubon. I think someone could make a phrase out of that.

A CLUB-WIELDING CHIMP is on the loose in Thousand Oaks, CA.

CATERPILLARS PLAGUE BELGIUM: Male moths are being lured into love traps coated with female hormones in a bid to stem a plague of hairy caterpillars that are infesting woodlands and causing itching frenzies in humans.

JOCKEY APOLOGIZES for headbutting a horse that unseated him before a race. Headbutt video at the link.

SNAKE IN A WAL-MART: A man in a motorized wheelchair was hospitalized after being bitten in a Wal-Wart in Sanford, FL. IIRC, there was a snake spotted o­nce in the Wal-Mart near Sylvia Hauser's current home.

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